Mar 27, 2008

Friday Find: MiniBlissCakes T-Shirts

In a search to find non-stereotypical boy’s t-shirts for Lautaro, I discovered this adorable double decker bus stencil t-shirt made by MiniBlissCakes on Etsy. Since visiting London was Lautaro’s first trip abroad I had to buy it. Sarah, the creator behind MiniBlissCakes didn’t have Lautaro’s size listed, but she was able to quickly make me a custom shirt in his size. She also made a custom sparkly seahorse for Malena.

Sarah, a stay-at-home-mom to twin boys started stenciling two years ago. She learned to stencil from a friend and immediately thought of the cute stencils she could make for her son’s clothing. Sarah and I share the same problem of a lack of cute boy clothing! She is also a breast cancer survivor (three years and counting- YAY!!) and stenciled pink ribbons onto her family’s Race for the Cure tees. Friends saw her shirts and started demanding shirts for their kids and her business was born.

Yeah, you read right – Sarah is a mom to twin boys. They turn four this summer. As a mother of one boy, I don’t know how she does it! Lucky for us (and her) she is able to work on her cute shirts during her boy’s naptime and her Mothers Morning Out twice a week.

Sarah’s boys are the source of her design inspiration. “There really aren't enough cute-but-not-babyish things for toddler/preschooler boys out there, so I'm always thinking - what would my boys like to wear to school today?”

Sarah is a transplanted Yankee and diehard Red Sox fan that is happily living in the very Southern and artsy town of Oxford, Mississippi.

"I wish more parents-to-be wouldn't find out - it's one of life's best surprises!" - Jennifer

Visit her Etsy shop and blog to find out more about her business. And if you have any idea of a stenciled shirt, let her know. I am sure she could create it for you!

Easter Felted Goodies

On Sunday, the kids had an Easter Egg hunt and found some felted eggs with surprises inside from the Spring fairies. Last week, the kids and I felted the eggs. During one of our walks, they collected smooth “egg-shaped” rocks. We wrapped wool roving around the rocks, and then I secured the wool by putting the rock inside an old stocking. They then wet-felted the rocks with hot water and soap. The stockings helped keep the wool in place and made it easier for them to felt the eggs.

Once the eggs were done, the fairies took the eggs in the middle of the night and cut the sides to remove the rocks. In place of the rocks, they placed felted chicks (a baby and a mama), hair clippies and a felted dog.



Mar 19, 2008

Welcome Spring!

Well, if has felt like Spring around here for the past couple weeks, but now it is official! Here are a few pictures of what Spring looks like in the California foothills where we live. Recently, the wildflowers have really started blooming. Everyday, the children and I go on a morning walk to pick flowers and listen to the birds. It is amazing to notice the growth, changes and new appearances of the wildflowers each day. The oak trees are sprouting new leaves and the hillsides are a beautiful green.

During the weekends, we have been spending a lot of time working to reduce our pallets of landscape materials. Last Sunday, Diego built this beautiful shade and privacy structure outside our bedroom window. We planted some jasmine in the planter that he also built. I can’t wait for the jasmine to climb, bloom and fill our room with its beautiful fragrance.

Diego also built another planter for tall grassy plants to hide the underneath of the deck. We have two more planters to fill with dirt and plants– one near a deck corner. The other is underneath the laundry room next to our stone patio, which Diego also built with my Dad’s help. Diego will also build another jasmine shade structure for the planter underneath the laundry room. I never would have imagined when I married Diego that I would use his name and the word “built” so many times in one paragraph!

Mar 14, 2008

Friday Find: Soft Star Shoes

Do you remember the Five Finger Vibram shoe Friday Find when I mentioned a great flexible shoe for children? Well, here it is – Soft Star Shoes (and they aren’t just for children anymore)! Be sure to read the Soft Star article about their design that promotes the healthy development of growing feet.

Both Malena and Lautaro love their Soft Stars. I will be ordering new shoes for spring/summer. I think I will order a custom designed Mary Jane with distressed leather for Malena and a playtime shoe for Lautaro.

Soft Star shoes come in a wide variety of models: suede moccasins, leather moccasins, mary janes, boots, playtime, sandal, saddle, classic and the new rambler. They even make moccasins for adults (from size 5 to 15!). They offer in-stock versions of their shoes or custom design shoes. With 22 different leather colors, 19 suede colors, and seven motif patterns the possibilities are endless! Soft Star offers some vegan models using micro-suede and a non-leather material.

Soft Star moccasins are truly different than other similar baby soft-soled shoes. They have a cushy sheepskin inner sole that wicks away moisture and also protects baby from sharp objects. Soft Star has been making soft-soled shoes for over 20 years. The shoes are handcrafted in the US with all leathers coming from US-based tanneries. There are no formaldehyde or heavy metals used in the tanning of Soft Star leathers.

 Tim, Founder Soft Star Elf

The Soft Star Elf workshop is in Corvallis, Oregon (another reason I love this company). They support Kids for Kids, in which an inspiring seven-year-old girl Cassidy Lynn and her friends create cat toys, "Playful Pancakes," from scrap leather and donate the profits to helping kids in Sudan. Buy one of her Playful Pancakes and someone receives one goat in Sudan. Soft Star also supports Waldorf and Montessori schools and La Leche League chapters across the country.

You can order your own Soft Star shoes on their website. I have seen Soft Stars at baby boutiques, but couldn’t find a list of retailers. Custom design shoes usually take 3-5 days ship. And don’t worry about ordering shoes over the web – their sizing charts are the most detailed I have ever seen on a website.

PS – for you crafty mamas, they also sell leather scraps and a fun star craft kit.

Mar 6, 2008

Friday Find: Chocolate and Steel Jewelry Design

My husband and I love mid-century modern furniture. So much so that on our last trip from Argentina, we returned with an Eames lounge chair that has been in his family since original production. When I found this necklace on Etsy, I couldn’t resist hinting to Diego that I found my perfect gift.

Chocolate and Steel designer Christine Street created this sweet little bird pendant from the Eames House Bird. She even designed a necklace inspired by the Eames Lounge Chair Wood (LCW) that is next on my list (the chair too).

Chocolate and Steel’s collection of necklaces, rings and bracelets currently focuses on five categories: Carved and Sculpted, Bold and Colorful, Cut and Paste, Branding and Set in Stone. I find her work so appealing because it is understated and simple with a clever twist.

“I wear jewelry because it makes me feel present,” said Christine. “I hear the *clink* of my ring against the table or the faint *ding* from my necklace pendant sliding down the chain. I make jewelry for myself and for the pure enjoyment I get from making it and wearing it.”

Her jewelry is made using precious metal clay that is shaped and designed before being fired in a kiln at 1650 degrees Fahrenheit! The piece then undergoes an oxidization process and a final brushing and polishing treatment. It is quite a labor-intensive process in which Christine works her magic!

Chocolate and Steel is based in Los Angeles. You can find her jewelry in her Etsy shop, Dawanda, Home Grown Market and Boutique Coquette. She even does amazing custom work. Check out her blog post on a custom pendant she did based on a client’s picture of a helicopter!