Recent Projects

The biggest accomplishment of the past weeks has been finishing the draft of my third chapter (only one more to go!), but I also found some time for a couple of craft breaks.

Remember that vintage sweater I framed last year? Since Jax has actually been wearing the thing, I thought it was time for a nursery decor overhaul. I have this lovely quilted doll blanket my Aunt Marge Ann made for me when I was little, and I’ve finally found the perfect use for it:

The new and improved reading corner: framed doll blanket hanging over the dog-bed-turned cozy corner. The alligator pillow is a TJ Maxx find (and Jax fell in love with the animal in Florida ‚?? “adiddle” he calls them), and the green velvet one is something I made and thought would add interesting texture. The big white pillow is a fuzzy quilted floor pillow.

I then took an idea from Purl Soho that I’ve been harboring for over two years and added some colorful interest to another blank wall:

Once I blogged about the DIY ribbon tag toys I was making, my friend Cecilia requested a couple – one for herself and one for a friend:

{That little donkey print gets around!}

Here are some in-progress pictures:

I also finished a knit bonnet ‚?? my first time trying this pattern and this yarn (big fan of both) ‚?? and sent it off to baby Tegan out in California.

Here’s a tip for gifting your yarn work: make a tag the same size as the yarn label and tie them together to the gift. That way, all the info about material content and washing instructions is all there.

Finally, for a totally random travel idea from the daughter of two scientists, you can make toddler snack packs with little test tubes. {Don’t worry, these were never used in any experiments!} My mom gave me a ton of these to organize craft supplies, but they worked wonders during our trip: not only are you only dealing with one serving of snacks at a time, but the twist-off cap can become an intriguing toy for the toddler.

O’s cereal, Cheddar crackers, and Dried Cranberries, ready for take-off

Similarly, if you need special laundry detergent on the go (if you are using cloth diapers or if your tot has sensitive skin), the tubes work well for that, too:

Just don’t try to get these guys through security…Who knows what they’ll think.

And voilà, my list of recent crafty randomness.

Some highlights of our California trip in progress

Blogging on the fly means only iPhone pictures for now. I have many other friends and family members to show off once we have the “big” camera’s charger and cable set-up, but here is a start of what we’ve been up to this week.

First, we hung out in LA, and got to visit The Getty with friends Philip and Stephen. There is an awesome kids’ area there that our favorite toddlers loved. In nicer weather, the gardens are great, but this was a lot of fun too ‚?? so take your kids there when you’re in the area!

Jax and Stephen create a modern sculpture.

Then we went to Santa Monica and tried out the slides:

The next day we toured the boats Uncle Chuck drives, and Jax got a balloon from the captain himself.

Then it was off to Travel Town to see ‚?? and ride! ‚?? trains.

Today, our first full day in San Francisco, Jax and I checked off a lot of the tourist must-dos while Seth did his MacWorld thing.

Pier 39 and the sea lions:

He loved imitating the bark of the sea lions.

and climbing:

Then we had a lovely lunch for two at Fisherman’s Grotto, complete with chowder and harbor view:

We checked out the various fountains at Ghirardelli Square.

He pointed out that there was “dah-tu” (water) and a “tutle” (turtle) in this one.

We then grabbed some hot chocolate, at which point both the camera and phone were dead. We were pretty pooped, too. Since we had gone the whole day on foot (from Union Square to Fisherman’s Warf), we took the easier and more exciting cable car back to the hotel. Jax was really excited about the “a car” (cable car) but the vibrations going up and down all those hills put him to sleep.

And now begins tonight’s quest for delicious noodles and the continuation of our California adventure.

Some favorite tunes

About a year ago, Amazon had a special deal: 100 kids songs for 99 cents. I thought, “how bad can they be?” and decided it was worth a buck to find out. The answer? very bad: dorky karaoke-esque background music accompanying a kid’s choir butchering classics like “Little Miss Muffet.” I knew there was better kid’s music out there, but it took recommendations from fellow parents and friends and a bit of luck to find it. Here are some of our favorites:

We discovered this catchy rendition of the ABC song thanks to our friend Corry.

We have CD’s of local rock star Big Jeff on repeat in the car. His style is reminiscent of everything from Ween or The Beatles (think “Strawberry Fields”) to ska and hard rock. Jax is a huge fan (and his parents are too).

Big Jeff I

Big Jeff II

This heart-breakingly sweet lullaby is by Renee and Jeremy, found via our friend Curran.

It’s a Big World

There are also some awesome CD’s that have been given to us:

Jazz for Kids: Sing, Clap, Wriggle and Shake (Thanks, Abby!)

French Playground (Thanks again, Abby!)

Down at the Sea Hotel (Thanks, Mom and Dad – and love that Lucy Kaplansky autographed it, too!)

They Might Be Giants has a bunch of kid stuff, too (Thanks for the recommendation, Andrea!):

So what about you? Do you have any kid or kid-friendly favorites?