Tag Archives: birthday

A cupcake birthday

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My first baby turned six today! We’ve been celebrating for a week. We’d never before hosted a “friend” birthday party but we did this year. Such fun! I cut a cupcake shape from a cardboard box and Dorothy painted it. We staged this photo, then I used Photoshop to add words to the cupcake for her invitation. They looked sweet printed on metallic paper from Mpix and I made postcards from the same print with only the words “thank you” on the cupcake.

Dorothy chose a Michael Miller print with cupcakes for her birthday dress fabric and insisted that I use the same pattern (Simplicity 5704) I’d used for cousin Lila’s pony dress. I really was into the idea of making her birthday dress but I had computer problems two  weeks ago that prevented me from doing anything crafty since I basically spent all my free time for a week trying to buy a new hard drive, back up files, and act like I knew what I was doing. When the week of her birthday party arrived I hadn’t yet made her dress or the cupcake pajamas she also insisted she needed, given that the friend celebration was to occur in pajamas. I stayed up very late one night sewing the dress, was pleased with the result, then stayed up the next night making her pajamas based on a pair of pajama pants I took out of her drawer as I was tucking her in. The next morning she woke up and said, “oh mom, I forgot to tell you last night, but those pajama pants you took downstairs last night are way too big.” Oy. And the homemade pants were too, but I altered them a bit and they were still cute, if a bit bunchy.

The dress was darling on her but Dorothy may have been the most pleased with the new shoes her grandparents bought her. She fell in love with them on their birthday shopping trip and insisted that six was old enough to wear “high heels.” I’ll never tell her that I don’t really consider these girly little sandals to be high heels. She’s been clomping around the house in them like six-year-old royalty.

I purchased cupcake-themed goodies from Oriental Trading Company and the kids had a great time dividing the little rubber stamps, temporary tattoos and other cupcake ephemera into pink cellophane bags for the party. We invited nineteen children and all of them showed up. Dorothy declared herself a “party animal.” Indeed.

After surviving the adorable mob of small cupcake-eating girls in pastel pajamas on Friday night we hosted a more staid fete for our close family the next afternoon. Nana, at Dorothy’s request, made a sheet cake with a cupcake on it.

Many of our small party guests brought handmade cards. I hung some string on our mantel so we could display all her special birthday cards for a few days to fully appreciate them.

With all the parties over we’re getting back to our routine. Soon it will be time to make decisions about schooling for next year. Our homeschool routine is so cozy and laid back I think it might be hard to make a choice for “away” school (Dorothy’s term), no matter how fond we are of the options we’ve applied to. She’s begging to stay home, probably because she hates setting the alarm. (She gets that from me.) We’ll see. In the meantime my kindergartener is getting in plenty of relaxed time with our little cast of characters at home in the mornings and many great experiences in our afternoon activities out and about. She does Girl Scouts, soccer, gymnastics, Sunday School, ballet, and church choir. I always giggle a little inside when people express concern about homeschoolers getting enough socialization.

On a different subject, I made more new accent pillows for the sofa. I just can’t stop. I’m keeping all the old ones, of course, but changing them seasonally really seems to give great impact for little effort. This green and white Ikat print makes the whole room feel springy. Like cupcakes, you know, but without all that sugar.

Bottle cap cufflinks and a lesson in elastic

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Rob had a birthday this past week. He collects cufflinks and has many interesting novelty pairs, including a couple I have made from Scrabble tiles and Legos. This year I was thinking it would be fun to have a pair made from the bottle caps of an iconic beer–maybe PBR or something. Dorothy and I keep a stash of bottle caps for crafting so I checked them to find a fun matching pair but all I found were caps from yuppie imports, nothing with the “real man” cache as Pabst Blue Ribbon. I did find some Coca Cola caps, however, from a case of Mexican Coke (made with actual sugar!) we’d bought on a whim last year and enjoyed by drinking with ice cream (him) and bourbon (me), and decided these would work. I glued three stacked pennies inside each cap to make a platform for the cufflink hardware, then glued it on and that was that. Making cufflinks is really a three-step process: 1) find what you want to use, 2) acquire cufflink hardware, and 3) glue them together. Done!

Here is my crew getting ready to sing the birthday song to Dad. Dorothy made the paper chain decoration like last year, and I made Rob’s requested angel food cake with strawberry icing and also devil’s food cupcakes for the chocolate-loving sinners like me. Worth has just recently graduated from his high chair and is proud to be seated in an elevated chair at the table with his sister.

Dorothy decided to sew yesterday. I gave her some scrap fabric and she announced she wanted to make a pair of mittens for her brother, a simple thumb-less pair just like some he’s already got. I don’t like to get in the way of her crafty experimentation, so I allowed her to cut mitt-shaped fabric much too small. She impressed me by turning the fabric right-side-in before stitching around the perimeter of the mitt, but once she turned it right-side-out she realized the sizing problem. Undaunted, she stitched up the other mitt and presented them to him, saying, “Buddy! I made you finger-warmers!” And he wore them around the house proudly. After a few minutes, though, she got to thinking maybe she wanted to try again. This time she asked for my help and suggested that her previous design might also be improved with some elastic. I unearthed some scrap fleece which I thought might make better mittens than the cotton, rounded up the requested elastic, and together we cut out much larger mitt shapes. She stitched around the edges and I helped her make a casing for some elastic at the wrist. Our joint venture just about fell apart at this point because she could not get the hang of pushing the elastic (with attached safety pin) through the casing. She shoved it over to me and just wanted me to do it for her, but I knew she’d enjoy this project more if she could really call it her own. I got an idea to sew a casing into the side of a plastic bag, so she could practice threading the elastic through it and actually see the progress she was making through the clear sides. This worked perfectly.

Dorothy figured out how to push the elastic through very quickly and then did it several more times.

She was rightfully proud of the mittens she made her brother, modeled by her because he refused to have his photo taken in them. He’s fond of them too, since she made them, and I’m hopeful he might even keep them on outside.

I’ve been growing herbs in my basement, of all places, courtesy of an AeroGarden I purchased used last year. I’d gotten it around the time we moved but never had the chance to set it up until this fall when the cold weather chased my outdoor gardening efforts inside. The setup really works beautifully and looks so lively and cheerful downstairs in our basement classroom. The basil has been so prolific I’ve had to take snips upstairs to put in water in my windowsill until I can use it. It feels a little decadent to be snipping fresh herbs in January. (Please ignore the splattered window in the background. I never claimed to be a great housekeeper.)

I just realized that this blog’s second anniversary has now come and gone. Two years! That doesn’t seem right, but as I’m browsing back through my early posts it seems even longer than that, making tiny things for the “big” boy who now sits at the table, and then admiring his wee ways. Dorothy’s grown so much in this time too. I’m glad to have this record to reflect on; thanks for joining me!