Life happens, and my little blog home got neglected for awhile. We moved, we started school, and grandma moved in with us! Lots of adventures, but not a lot of time to blog. Because of some email changes, and html updates, I've actually moved my blog to the following location click here to visit the new site!
The 4th topped out at about 106 degrees. Not too shabby for the desert. We loaded up on the "necessities", ice cream, angelo's italian ice (phoenix made!), lemonade, coleslaw dogs, and of course, donned bathing suits, and headed out for some fantastic sprinkler action!!
my parting thought...yes virginia, there is green grass in arizona...
took a little mini-hiatus to get some photography work done. I feel so much lighter now that it's all done, lol! I also took the opportunity to photograph my son maxwell, since his 7th brthday is this month. i cannot believe how fast the little dude is growing.
I'm starting to very slowly re-enter the world of part time working mommy/photographer. And, well, it's nerve-wracking and intimidating, but at the same time very exciting!
his portrait session was shot in old town scottsdale, in 106 degrees...what a trooper he was!! Here are a few of my faves-->
Finally getting back to working on things for my Etsy Shop...yay! Of course Stella professes her undying love for each item that I make, claiming that we simply MUST keep it. Not such a great way to fill up the shop, hehe, so every few items, she gets something to keep. I've been working on some basic, grow-with-you, fun little pieces. I have been loving this orange sorbet and lavender floral for quite awhile, but didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it, until I saw an adorable ruffled top at anthropologie. I'm scarily addicted to that store, and frequent the one in Scottsdale at least once a month, scouring through clearance racks.
the party streamer skirt...
and in some yummy cotton candy pink! I am all about ruffles lately!
Today we accomplished something great. Wonderful. Superb. A year in the making. We made homemade play dough that turned out perfectly! the kids and I have tried oodles of recipes that were just never "quite right". Either too sticky, too stinky, too dry, or they just plain went bad after only a few days. I took notes from every batch, and researched the topic, and today, we have, at long last, play dough perfection!! And completely non-toxic.
Of course it would be all too evil of me to NOT share the recipe with you all, so here it is! We started with green, but have 3 more batches to make, including purpleicious, orangey-orange, and pinktastic. Names are complements of the kids, and the green is technically named "slime green". We added incredible lemongrass essential oil to ours, that we bought at Chakra 4 Herbs here in Phoenix. They sell oodles of high quality essential oils both at their shop and online.
Squishy-Squashy Play Dough Recipe
1 1/2 cups flour 1 1/2 cups water 1 tablespoon cream of tartar 2 tablespoons citric acid (available at most natural food stores or at amazon) 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil 3/4 teaspoon table salt 10 or so drops of essential oil (we like lemongrass, sweet orange, vanilla, and lavender) gel or liquid food coloring to achieve desired color strength (we prefer gel)
whisk together all of the ingredients in a decent size saucepan. Cook over medium heat for a few mins (3-5) stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan. A whisk works well for this, as long as it's a heat safe material. Keep stirring until the mixture clumps together in a ball and starts to look darker in color. flop it out onto the counter and let it cool. Knead it until it's smooth after it cools, and store it in an airtight container. Squash away!!
I have to be honest...I was far less than eager to leave the lush, idyllic beach town that we lived in to move "here"...to the desert. I love seasons, love the crisp cold of a sunny winter day, the first fluffy snowfalls, the smell in the air after a summer thunderstorm, wading through leaves at Crane's Orchard to pick baskets of Golden Supreme and Honeycrisp apples, the sound of jet skies and boat engines skimming the surface of Lake Michigan, and so many other things that come along with the change of seasons, and life in the midwest. However, our family, along with many others, were forced to pick our family, and leave pretty much our whole world behind because of the changing economic climate. Simply put, we had to go where the work is. Of all the places we considered, I chose the West side of the country, because it's the only other place that I have family, in Arizona and California.
So, here we are, thus far we've tolerated 109 degree days (which I'm told is nothing compared to what's coming), driven through the mountains, the desert, and taken in all of the terrain, and to be honest, it was total culture shock. Almost as much so as traveling to another country. So different from any place I've ever lived or known. There have been days that I just refused to leave the house and wallowed in how much I hated it here...
But, it really has started to grow on me. It's insanely beautiful in it's way. Sunsets that West Michigan can only dream of, majestic shadows cast over red-rock mountains, saguaro, beryl, and ocotillo cactus, date palms and grapefruit trees, the soft smell of orange blossom in the evening, there really is so much beauty to be seen here in contrast with what we've known. Our favorite library is built on an incredible historic farm where we can check out books, wander through trails and paths, chase after roosters and peacocks, and then climb to the top of a grapefruit tree, tossing the biggest ones to the ground to be taken home for breakfast.
The kids tell me daily how much they love it here, and are even more crazed about it after realizing that their favorite Discovery Channel Show Survivorman (Les Stroud) filmed his pilot episode here in the Sonoran Desert. I'm so happy that we are all settling in and adapting to this new life and new adventure.
My adorable little cousin Hudson who is staying with us!
Yes, I am yet another Heather Ross Weekend Sewing junkie. And to make this dress ever easier to sew, there's an awesome video tutorial on Martha Stewart's website starring the super helpful Heather herself! I have been, in all honesty, very unnecessarily scared to death of shirring/smocking (not the old fashioned kind of smocking that takes actual insane patience), but felt incredibly lame after watching the tutorial and making the dress. Oh, and a bit of no-brainer advice for you newbie "shirrers", only the bobbin gets the elastic thread. Try it in your machine and you'll wind up with a lump of fabric that looks reminiscent of a chewed piece of gum!!
i added a little band of elastic in the bottom hem, and we wound up with a really cute, simple bubble dress! I plan to make a few more dresses and shirts for the girly girl using this tutorial.
Give this dress a try, it's so cute, so easy, and season appropriate...I want to make one for myself in a cotton gauze or linen blend.
On another inspiring note, I was browsing through the book racks at the fabric store the other day, and found the coolest book that I'm not even sure how I've managed to miss! It's clearly been out for awhile, and has sweet inspiration (and patterns) for my all time favorite summer clothing piece...the flippy skrt. I seriously want to make every single skirt in this book! And trust me, with my current fabric stash and minimal post-electrical-fire wardrobe, this is entirely possible...