Friday, December 31, 2010

Good Bye 2010

Yes, it is now time to say good bye to 2010. It was a good year I'd say. The 2010 resolution to being more active and eat healthy did not work out. But a number of good things happened; AN started learning Violin and Carnatic Music, I started sewing and blogging. All was good, including the energy and happiness that music has brought to our lives. 

Now, its time to set our resolutions for the new year straight, trying to stick to a few, trying to slide a few through....Should be fun!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Bird Call Dress

2010 will be history very soon. The kids are home for Winter break. Having a 7 year old and 2 year old runinng around, fighting for toys, nagging for TV time is a handful itself, along with that I am working fulltime from home.

Oh, and I almost forgot the blizzard that I mentioned in this post, by the time left, had gifted us 30 inches of snow. And that makes our car look like this.

In the midst of all this I couldn't resist cutting into this cute IKEA fabric.

I made this dress using a basic jumper pattern and adding sleeves to it. I lined it with matching chiffon.

and here's BN wearing the dress, I told her, it's the birdie dress. She absolutely loves to name clothes, the horsie shirt, the cute cats dress, now the birdie dress.

and here's BN jumping up and down the bed!

I got more fabric from Joann last night for Pajamas for BN. But not sure if I will be able to finish any of that this year. But I so want to come back for a final 2010 post. Till then.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The snowflake and the bubble

Over the years Rockefeller Christmas tree and Saks 5th Ave video projection have been transformed into a kind of Holiday tradition around here. We do try to make it every year, so this year on Christmas eve day we trekked up there to see the lights. This year's 3D projection by SAKS 5TH AVE is one show you'd sure remember for the years to come, we'd, but then again because we see it almost every year and we tend to compare it with past years and judge and the verdict is not as good as 2008 show. Why can't we just enjoy? Here is a video of the whole ~ 3 min  show.

It goes every 10 or 15 minutes. No tickets, no charges, just lean on to one of the shop-walls across the street and enjoy. Very unlikely of NYC, you'd think, are we talking about the same city that charges $50 for it's museums and such. But then again, you have to applaud the Mayor and the city for keeping its parks clean for it's children, a public transportation system that runs almost smooth (hey no system is perfect), a public health insurance program that the self employed and uninsured can rely on so on and so forth.

OK, I know I am starting to get detoured a bit. The thing is when I talk about NYC, I remember the days I used to work in midtown Manhattan. Sure the commute was hell. But once you get there, its magic. That is until 4pm, after that you (by you I mean I) get a little restless thinking about getting home, picking up AN from the day care, if it's winter, getting the car dug out of the snow mountain before I can pick up AN so on and so forth. Until that 4pm you can take a break, walk the streets of the greatest city in the world, take a peek into the magical store windows displayed so meticulously, enjoy 100's of world's cuisines available with in the first 50 streets, oh well, I don't work in NYC anymore. The only trip to NYC I get is this yearly trekking to see the lights.

And guess what, the yearly Christmas blizzard is here. We haven't done our groceries for next week yet. Let me take a quick picture of what I see out of my window.

There you have it. It's falling at 1 inch an hour rate.

BN is hungry and did not have lunch yet. Time to get back to my motherly duties.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What have we been up to?

Baking yum yum cup cakes, doing the mind boggling job of figuring out what would be the best gift for everybody on the list, wrapping gifts, BN unwrapping the gifts I wrapped, then a cranky me wrapping it again. Yeah, that's what we have been doing around here lately.

The whole week next week AN has winter break. I am going to have to work from home for the whole week. 2 demanding kids, a demanding job and my laptop and me in the middle. It's gotta be fun!

AN has another math test today. It's a day before Christmas eve and the last day of school before Winter break. I would say not a good time for a test. I hope he nails this one as he did the last one (checkplusplus, that school talk for 100%).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pictures that speak a thousand words!

Saturday Morning this happened.....


Saturday after noon this....


After the above two this...Remember this?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Custom Address Labels and stickers - MAD SCIENCE party - Tutorial

See when you get creativity rush, nobody and nothing can stop you, except time, lack there of to be precise. When I finished THE CARD I wanted to do stickers. When I was done with stickers I wanted to do address labels. I had to stop there because we needed to give families at least 15 days to RSVP.

Alright, enough chit chat. 

Gather your supplies

You will need:

  1. Creativity and a good mood
  2. 30 per sheet address label sheets, color of your choice
  3. Address Label Template to use with Microsoft Word software(Click here to get this from Avery website. if you know how to get the templates in Microsoft Word, you don't  need to go to Avery website)
  4. PAINT.NET software or any other picture editing software
  5. A color Printer
Oh, a note: If you use this tutorial to make stickers, make sure you use clear (transparent) address labels, like this one from Staples.

Got what you need? Let's go!

Step 1: Get the image ready
To do this you will need to open the photo editing software. Create a new project with 203 pixels width and 62 pixels high (This will translate to: 2.11 inches width and .65 inches height). Now get the picture of your choice from your computer, clip art. I used a clip art image. WARNING: You may need to re-size the images as necessary. It should fit into  2.11 inches by .65 inches.

These are the images I came up with.

   Address label


Step 2: Set up the template

Open the template by clicking the link in item 3 above. What you will see is this.

Next up, you have to select each of the 30 little rectangles one by one and change the border format of the boxes to something you like.

Now you need to right click on each box and click "Add Text"

Now, you need to copy the images you created from your photo editing software and paste it to each of the boxes. Paste it as per your needs. For example you may want 15 labels and 15 stickers.

(After you are done doing step 2 you may save the file for future use)

Step 3: Print
Now, Print your work to the label sheets. Peel off and stick to envelopes. Viola!

Enjoy! Have a great weekend.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Custom made MAD SCIENCE PARTY Invitations - Tutorial

Good Morning!

This morning AN started inviting his friends for his birthday party. Here is the super cool hand made (with the help of a home printer and CVS Pharmacy) invitations.  

 Oh, come on! Of course this is an edited version of the original card. I certainly did not give out something that read "Your child's 7th birthday!

Not bad for 11 cents each! Would you like to hear the story behind this?
SN & I decided to throw a Mad Science party and that brought us to the whole dilemma of whether to create invitations or buy them? If buying where do I buy those from, Internet sites (like etsy) or just buy from Mad science itself? We needed around 25 invitations. In the spirit of my making things myself this year, I decided to give it a try. I have to say it turned out pretty good.

If you start making, you will never ever buy birthday invitations. And Mad science invitations are so hard to find, the ones you find are super expensive. If you have around 1-2 hours (with an additional 1 hour for pharmacy printing), you can do it! And that "Mom, you are awesome! You can make invitations!" from your son is worth all the effort :-)

And better yet, you can involve your children, They will love clip arts. Trust me. I've seen my son jumping up and down when he could drag a rocket picture into a word doc.
Grab your supplies. You will need:
  1. A Windows computer with Microsoft Word 2003 or later (tech jargon for release after 2003) (Note: I am not marketing)
  2. Paint.NET photo editing tool. You can get it for free here. If you have another photo editing tool that you are comfortable with, go on with that, if it can clip a picture it will work!.
  3. Box of envelopes that can hold 4 X 6 Pictures ( I bought (1) 50 count box from Staples for $5.00)
  4. Pencil and a sheet of blank paper to sketch your design
  5. Birthday kid and siblings if available
Got everything? Let's start.

Step 1: Decide the card size you want and open PAINT.NET and set up a new picture project
Open PAINT.NET and Click on New icon to create a new picture. Choose the print size you want. I chose to do a 4 x 6 print.

Now, the most important part. Click on Image (menu on top) -> Canvas size. Change the width to 1200 pixels keeping the aspect ratio ON. This is to ensure your picture won't be distorted when you print the invitation.

Step 2: Sketch your design

On the blank sheet of paper, layout a draft of how you want your invitation to look like. Skip this part if you are comfortable with your photo editing tool, you can design as you go!.

Step 3: Decide on the pictures you want on your card

You want to make invitations? Clip Art is your friend! The pictures are free to use, no copyright issues, as long as you download it from your word document tool. Let's go find the pictures we need!

Open a new word document and click on the menu Insert->Pictures->Clip Art. Type in lab and click the Go button to get the pictures with the tag: "lab". Drag a picture to the document. Use other keywords like "scientist", "beaker", "test tube" etc to find the related pictures.

I decided to use the above pictures in my card. Go crazy and find the pictures you love most. Choose images that are not too small in size. You want a high resolution image so when printed it won't look grainy. In layman's terms, if you can enlarge a picture without distorting it then it is a high resolution image.

Step 4: Resize your clip art and transfer to PAINT.NET
I resize the  pictures right in Word to fit the design I had in my mind. Make sure you use the diagonal re-size arrow to keep the picture intact without distortion. Now right click and copy and paste to PAINT.NET

Step 5: Type in matter using the Text tool in PAINT.NET, Add Borders etc

Try different fonts, rearrange the pictures, play around, do it until you get something you love! I just love the free style font. It's a mad science party and scientists love scribbling! Perfect.

Step 6: Upload and pick up

Upload to your favorite photo printing place. Remember
to use coupons. Also use the print size as the one that you selected in inches in step 1 (4 x 6 in my case). It cost me $0.71 after coupons.

Step 7: Get the envelopes

I used these from Staples (it was on sale for $5.00)

Step 8: You are done! Look at the envelopes, and cards and be proud of yourself. It cost me around 11 cents each! Awsome, huh?

In the next post, I will tell you how to create these custom stickers and address labels!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back to square one and busy with a brand new project!

I wanted to quickly stop by and post what I am up to now. So it turns out the fabric in the mail I received yesterday wasn't quite the one I ordered. I was expecting a shiny feel to it. I returned the whole package; Now I am back to looking for the perfect fabric. That's boring.
But I have a perfect project in hand now. I am planning a birthday party for AN. He turns 7 in January! Exciting! We are throwing a MAD SCIENCE party for him. We booked the Mad Science guys. I just picked up the invitations I made (yes, I did!) from CVS.  

More party tips and printables along the way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weekend Project in picture(s)

How was everybody's weekend? I know it's too late to ask that considering the fact that half of the word is already enjoying Wednesday. My weekend was really bad, yeah. There you have it. I don't want to go into the details, because it IS after all my happy place here. I did finish the remote holder/hanging caddy over the weekend. What I could not finish was the tutorial. I do have a super ugly picture of the caddy though, here! ha ha ha.

I have to go out and get stiffer interfacing and more batting for the tutorial. Sorry, I realized I had no more interfacing after cutting the fabric. See?

 Will be back sooner than you think.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Forgotten Tunic project

Finally! It's Friday.

This weekend I have every intent to finish the little accessory project I started last night. If it turns out lovely, I will make a couple and post a tutorial. I also want to start the long forgotten Indian Style Tunic Shirt project for AN. Remember? This style?

I completed a trial run, now is the time to start on the real stuff. I am looking at these two choices at

Oh, AN has a math test today and I am so nervous. He is in 1st grade and I shouldn't even care, but I have this thing with tests, always nervous and wondering about the results. Been always like that. Genes!

Have a good weekend every one!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I won the Tamron lens!

I just got an email from Dana from Guess what? I won the Tamron lens! It is this lens, right here in the link below.

Thanks to Dana, BlogHer network and Tamron. Wow! Pinch. I will certainly be coming back and sharing my experience with it. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Too excited.

Beginning of the end of 2010

Isn't it? December always comes with a perplexing look, making you wonder what you've accomplished in the last year. For so many, it's a time to finish up things. For some, it's time to use that treadmill they bought on January 10 so they can tell their spouses, hey I used it! For some it's time to think up some new resolutions for January 1st. I've been there in all these situations before, this year? I really am not sure what I want to do before the year comes to a close. OK, I will come back about that on another day, oh, definitely before January 1st, 2011. 

We've upgraded our camcorder to a Sony HDR CX-150 in black (I so wanted red, too bad SN dislikes accessories and the like in red) from Canon Optura 40.

I wasn't so crazy about it after the first look. Although it does shoot reasonably good HD quality video, transferring is a pain. You need the software that comes with it to watch it (Hey Sony, you can do better than that! Please...). It is so tiny, and not too fragile to handle. There is an in-built lens cap, which comes in handy.

We did try a Canon FS300, which could transfer videos like pictures (you know, you stick the memory card into computer slot and it transfers pictures without any extra software?) and play right away on your Windows Media Player. But the quality and image stabilization (a fancy term for keeping the video stable without blurring when objects move) sucked.

So we went after this one, SN's pick. I think I like it, except for the transferring part, because I am going to be the one doing the transferring :-(. I still have to figure out a lot of things with this one, our first Sony.

In sewing news, I have a little project on the way. Because of the two jumping monkeys in my household, it is very hard to find our TV remotes when we need it. Are you thinking remote caddy? I thought about that too, the trouble is, AN & BN are so good in climbing and reaching it no matter where you keep it. So the solution is a hanging caddy. I have the fabric and batting cut and ready, all I need is some time in front of the machine. If its successful, I will post a how to tutorial, or should I make a video tute, now that I have the HD camcorder?

Have a happy and cheerful Wednesday everybody!