Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

Lava lamp: A new cocktail!

July 15th, 2015

At Summer Fun, the kids made a lava lamp. Olivia brought it home and put it on the counter, unbeknownst to either of us parents.

Homemade lava lamp, aka my husband's post-workout beverage

Homemade lava lamp, aka my husband's post-workout beverage

It's in a recycled beverage container, and just set it down at the same time she put her lunch bag on the counter. Claus assumed it was some weird drink concoction.

"It was very clear at the top, red on the bottom, and I thought it was fruit punch," he explained to me. He'd just come back from the gym, was thirsty, and wanted to take a swig.

"Well, it's full and she'll notice and get mad at me for drinking her drink," he thought, and decided not to.

Later, she came over with an Alka-Seltzer tablet and asked us to watch her drop it inside. "What's that for?" we asked.

"It's a lava lamp!" Then she dropped the tablets in and delighted in seeing the fizz. "Look!"

Claus and I looked at each other and laughed so hard that he nearly drank a lava lamp.

"What's in that?" I asked.

Water, oil, and food coloring, she answered.

"Well, you wouldn't have died," I assured my husband. "And you would have looked really cool if lit up from the inside!"

Mother's Day 2015

May 13th, 2015

I love Mother's Day because I love being Olivia's mother, and I love my own mother.

Mother's Day is really for the kids, I have come to realize. Olivia took great pleasure in making and giving me gifts, and since seven-year-olds can't keep a secret, I got to hear all about it in the week leading up to it.

That was like a gift to me too - I love hearing her get excited about what she's planning for me. In her art class, she made a coin purse for me with a potpourri sachet inside. I'm required to wear this on my purse.

photo 1

Later in the week, I got a beautiful, hand-made note pad holder. The night before, she laboriously wrapped four gifts for me in secret in her room. JUST - SO - CUTE.

Sunday morning, so woke up early and got her dad out of bed so they could make me breakfast. I was instructed not to come into the kitchen until they called me, which is a little funny since my weekend habit is to have a cup of coffee and wake up slowly while I drink it. I don't usually eat for a while until I have had coffee. So I'm skulking about my room waiting to be told I could come out.

Olivia had taken such great care to make everything perfect and set the table with my place setting in the middle of the counter. She glowed in my praise for her attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and creativity.

photo 2

I remember doing similar for my mother, and it always being such a lovely moment. The daily grind of parenting has its challenges but a day like this reminds me of why it's well worth it!

How was your Mother's Day? I hope it was a good one!

Encouraging Your Child’s Artistic Side

May 4th, 2015

Activities such as coloring, drawing and painting are part of most children’s lives. Exploring visual arts is an enjoyable activity for kids, and has proven brain-boosting benefits. In fact, making art is the perfect example of learning through play. (In fact, Olivia and I have started to sketch together just this year, and through this I've developed a liking for drawing!)

Stuff I draw

Stuff I draw

Stuff Olivia draws

Stuff Olivia draws


“Creating art can play a crucial role in strengthening the brain’s attention system, and helps children to develop fine motor and memory skills,” says Richard Peterson, Vice President of Education for childcare educator Kiddie Academy. “In addition to the cognitive benefits, parents can boost a child’s self-esteem and encourage more art activities by proudly displaying their children’s creations in an ever-changing at-home art gallery.”

Here are five tips for adding more art to your child’s daily routine:

1. Think beyond the white sheet of paper or a coloring book and crayons. Provide a wide variety of mediums for drawing and creating, including newspaper, felt, foam, aluminum foil, wax paper, sandpaper, printed paper, laminated paper, chalkboards and whiteboards.

2. Utilize imaginative drawing materials, such as finger paints, chalk, shaving cream, colored pencils, vegetable stamps and foods such as pudding in addition to the standard crayons and markers. Adding a new way to draw can spark a child’s imagination.

3. Encourage your child to use both scissors and non-toxic glue (with supervision) when creating their art projects. Cutting and pasting are two skills every child needs in school, and each take practice in order to master.

4. Repurpose printed materials you already have to give your child more exposure to the printed word and strengthen literacy skills. Junk mail, catalogs, magazines and coupons are perfect starts for many creative projects.

5. Allow for messy play on occasion. Not every day needs to involve a bath following an art project; however, messy activities can be both educational and memorable for your child. Whenever possible, move messy art project outside to allow for easier clean up.

For more creative art and play ideas, parents can visit Kiddie Academy’s Pinterest page at, where you’ll find multiple boards full of educational activities, art projects and even recipes for DIY art materials.

S & M and sewing

April 6th, 2015

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I committed to sewing Olivia curtains for her room, because she asked me to. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can do straight lines (somewhat!)


One Saturday, my friend Kalei came over, so I asked her to help me with the curtains. She is about as undomesticated as they come (What's the opposite of that? Feral?) so she did the following whenever I asked for help:

-Take photos

-Need to respond to a text

-Need to post something work-related on Facebook

-Laugh at me

All this, while I slave over the sewing machine.


Probably the funniest moment was when she said she couldn't help me because she had to look up the number for a sado masochist.

If needing to find a bondage professional has never come up in your casual conversations, this is how it sounds:

Me: "Can you hold the other end of this material so it doesn't move?"

Kalei: "Hang on. I just need to find the number for a dominatrix for an interview." <two text alert ringtones later> "Shoot. She can't go on air. Who was that other dominatrix? Think, think."

I should clarify, Kalei is a media person. The angle here was a tie-in to the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon.


So it goes on like this for many minutes and I, being a liberal media person as well, am also not fazed by the topic. It's just another conversation in my crazy household.

We debate why a professional dominatrix would not want to go on air to advertise her business (I mean, if this is her living, right?), we brainstorm other leads for S&M services, we discuss the attractiveness of the subject matter in general.

I have a lot of contacts in my address book but because I'm a news person, a lot of them are politicians, agency directors, and business executives. She's in music radio, so her sphere of influence is, well - alternative.

"You would make a good dominatrix," she muses. "You're bossy."


FYI this is purely conjecture. S&M is not in my life experiences. Not that there's anything wrong with it!

This, because I've bossed her around (or tried to) all morning with the curtain sewing. She's one of my best friends and so it's easy to slip into the familiar / command form.

Like, thanks? I've never thought about that before?

She continued on. Continued! This is so bizzare! "I also can't see you as the subject. You're too strong willed. You'd be like, 'No. I don't feel like doing that. I'm not going to.'"

Truth be told, she's probably right. That sounds exactly like my personality. Bossy Chinese lady. Spun for political correctness: Confident career professional!

Here's what bossy Chinese lady did accomplish, though, while non-domesticated friend found a zillion ways to not have to help: I whipped up that set of curtains.

Custom curtains

March 27th, 2015

Olivia said she's tired of her green walls and asked me to paint her room pink. I said no.

It took me three years to paint the chalkboard wall. She might get pink walls by graduation. By then her favorite color will be blue.

I told her the next biggest thing we could do the change the room would be to change the curtains. She has drapes that are 80 inches long, so it practically takes up the wall.

She was excited, so I brought her to the fabric store to pick out material. In my mind, I envisioned super cute tokidoki curtains. Maybe, for variety, three different backgrounds but all fitting the same character theme. (Sanrio set me up well to become a fan of tokidoki.)

I remember when I was a child, my tastes ran so counter to what the adults liked. When I crafted with my mother and aunts (which was constant), I always thought their suggestions for my projects were so boring. Now, I'm that boring adult.

The first thing she asked for in the store was a fuzzy rug material that was neon green and fluorescent pink. <?!?> For curtains?? No.

Also, knowing that she changes her mind every other week, I told her it would have to be fabric on a budget. I gave her a price limit of $4 a yard, though I ended up giving in and letting her go up to $6 a yard.

To my amusement/ horror, she wanted three different materials for the three separate curtain panels. Olivia has always been really colorful so it wasn't a total surprise, but none of her materials match. I pointed that out, but she didn't care.

Then, the project gets more elaborate. She saw the notions section with all the sequins, ribbon roses, and lace, and asked me to embellish the curtains.

The chosen fabrics and notions.

The chosen fabrics and notions.

"Honey, this is rather complicated for Mommy. I'm not the best seamstress. I'm a desk worker," I pushed back.

"But! You ARE THE BEST seamstress! You made me that skirt! Please?" she said sincerely.

And visions of Super Mommy danced in my head. I acquiesced. "OK. Pick out the decorations."


I walked out of the store having spent double the money and committing to double the work.


Two weeks later, I finally finished the curtains. Naturally, it took even longer than I thought because half the notions needed to be hand sewn.

Hand sewn ribbon roses and sequins.

Hand sewn ribbon roses and sequins.


Good grief. If I was more experienced I could have realized that in the store and rejected it.

They are pretty cute, though when taken as a collective, so mismatched!