DIY Wool Pajama Pants

I got this 100% lambswool sweater for $1 at a moving sale.  I reluctantly admit that I was attracted to the tag (JCREW!) and the material...but not the color or the fit.  This picture might be the only time I ever wore it.

But no worries!  Impulse buys can find new life once they pass through a pair of scissors and a sewing machine.  Using this tutorial from Prudent Baby, I was able to make a pair of wool jams.

It's so easy I felt like I was doing it wrong.  Until the moment I actually put them on him and they were awesome, as promised.

using the original cuff means no hemming!

I even made things hard for myself and added a butt-patch.  I probably didn't need to, but was skeptical about a higher rise taking care of a load as wide as our cloth overnight diapers.

Now I have two big squares of cable knit wool (the body of the sweater) to do with as I please.
Throw pillow?  Quilt patch?  Felt purse?  Coffee sleeve?  I'm open to suggestions!


Wet Bag with Dry Pocket

Love wet bags.  The last one I made (from a shower curtain) died out on me and started leaking.  Tonight I busted out some PUL and made a more durable version.  I included a pocket on the front for dry items (clean diapers, change of clothes, etc).  Can't take credit for that idea - saw it on someone else's bag.

Forgive the awful paintbrush technique.  My ironing board is horrendously filthy and I don't want you judging me for still using it.

The same delirious, after-11pm brain that compelled me to take photographs on a dirty board was also at work when I put on the zippers.  Like how they open in two different directions?  Real cute.

I was going to write a tutorial, but it occurred to me that the only thing I would say is - follow this technique (because it's better than the crazy method I used) and slap a pocket on the front.  Don't forget to add pleats so your dry pocket is nice and roomy :)

Oh, and make sure you actually pay attention to what you are doing so you don't spend half the time ripping it out and doing it over the correct way...like I did.

I'm completely mystified about how to sew PUL without it bunching.  Mine always bunches.  Is it the needle?  I'm using my vinyl presser foot but its still a bunchy mess.  I kind of want to "gift" this to someone and make one for myself that isn't so...pink.



An early birthday present.

A 1930s Armstrong upright piano.  It's old, needs some serious TLC and cleaning.  A few of the keys are broken.  It could stand to be tuned.  There's no bench.  I think the quiet pedal is broken.

But it plays! When we moved to Hawaii, I had all but given up on the idea of having a piano.  Then this baby showed up at our local thrift store.

Now I can just swivel my chair between the computer and the piano and click away on whatever key strikes my fancy!


Free Crochet Owl Hat Pattern

Please excuse any errors or inconsistencies, this is my first attempt at writing a pattern.  Feel free to use this pattern for whatever, but don't forget online creative etiquette.  A link would be deeply appreciated.  Thanks!


Finished hat fits 20" head with quite a bit of stretch.  Toddler sized.
  • Yarn: Red Heart Acrylic Yarn 

MC main color
CC1 (trim)
CC2 (eyes)
CC3 (beak)

  • H/8 Hook
  • Yarn Needle
  • Two large buttons 
  • upholstery thread
  • sewing needle


Rd1:with MC, ch 3.  9sc in first ch, join (10 st)
Rd2: ch 3, 2dc in each st, join (20 st)
Rd3: ch 3, (2dc in next st, 1 dc) repeat to end, 2dc, join (30st)
Rd4: ch 3, 1dc, (2dc in next st, 1dc in next 2 st), repeat to end, join (40st)
Rd5: ch 3, 1 dc in next 2 st, (2dc in next st, 1dc in next 3st), repeat to end, join (50st)
Rd6: ch 3, 1 dc in next 3 st, (2dc in next st, 1 dc in next 4 st), repeat to end, join (60 st)
Rd7: ch 3, 1 dc in next 8 st, (3dc in next st, 1 dc in next 9 st), repeat to end, join (65 st)
Rd 8-15: dc in each st around, join (65st)
sl st (slip st) in next 9 st.
R1: ch 3, 1 dc in next 12 st, turn
R2: ch 3, skip 1st st, dc in next 11 st, turn
R3: ch 3, skip 1st st, dc in next 10 st, turn
R4: ch 3, skip 1st st, dc in next 9 st, turn
R5: ch 3, skip 1st st, dc in next 8 st, turn
R6: ch 3, skip 2 st, dc in next 4 st, skip 2 st, 1 dc in next st, fasten off.

Work second ear flap same as the first.  From center back, count 10 st over, join yarn and begin.

Join CC1 at center back, sc in each st around, join, fasten off.

Eyes (make 2)
Rd1: In CC2, ch 3, 9 dc in first ch, join.
Rd2: 2dc in each st around, join
Rd3: (1hdc, 2hdc in next st), repeat around, join, fasten off (leave long tail for sewing on)
eyebrow (?)
attach CC1 to edge of one eye.  work in (1hdc, 2hdc in next st) for 16 st, sl st into 2nd eye.  Continue working in pattern for 16 st.  Fasten off.

R1: with CC3, ch 10, sc in 2nd ch from hook and each st until end (8sc), turn
R2: ch 3, skip st, dc in each st to end, turn (7st)
R3: ch 3, skip st, dc in next 3 st, skip st, dc in next st, turn (5st)
R4: ch 3, skip st, dc in next st, skip st, dc in next st, fasten off (leave long tail for sewing on)

Ear (make 2)
with MC, ch 10
Rd1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, 7 sc, 3sc in last st, then work 7sc down the back of work
Rd2: ch 2, 8sc, (1hdc, 1dc, 1hdc) in center st, 8sc, fasten off (leave long tail)
using short scrap of MC, CC1, and CC2, make tassel in center dc.

Using safety pins, attach facial features in desired location and sew down using a yarn needle.  Weave in ends.
Attach buttons to the center of eyes using heavy thread and a sewing needle.

Tassels (make 2)
Cut 9 pieces of yarn the length of your outstretched arms (example uses 3MC, 3 CC1, 2 CC2, and 1 CC3)
divide strings into group of 5 and group of 4.  Make 2 tassels at each corner of the ear flap (see picture)
divide strings into groups of 6, braid to desired length and secure with knot.

Pau modelling, Mom!


A Scrapbook for Koa

I used a Hallmark scrapbook calendar for Ikaika and, as a result, made a pretty rockin' scrapbook of his first year.  Then Hallmark stopped making those amazing calendars (jerks). 

For a long time I've felt guilty about not having a scrapbook for Koa.  I kept up with a baby book, which, according to my mom-of-multiple-children friends, is still an accomplishment.  But, you know, he needs a scrapbook too.  Otherwise, when they are older, they will use this as evidence that I favored one over the other.

Recently, my mom sent me a scrapbook kit in the mail (from Goodwill, no doubt).  I'm pumped.  I'm motivated!  Rather than let it sit around my house for a year or two, I have decided to slap this thing together ASAP.  You know, before the baby-years fade from my memory. 

This seems like a perfect time for making a Koa scrapbook.  Its a way to celebrate the past and put it behind me so I can make this transition into full toddlerhood without too much nostalgia or sentimentality.


My Spirited Child

My son is a lot of something.  He's a lot of love, a lot of anger, a lot of not listening, a lot of laughing, a lot of learning, a lot of reading, a lot of crying, a lot of screaming, etc.  He's just a lot of who he is.

I was also a loud, in-your-face kid.  I love that hes so enthusiastic, but I'm so torn because I know that its not what society expects from him, I know it sometimes reflects poorly on me, and I think it will make socializing/school increasingly difficult for him in the future.  Some of these feelings are rooted in the fact that, as a child, I had a hard time socializing with peers and frequently felt rejected or misunderstood by teachers and other adults whose acceptance I craved deeply.

Today at preschool (play group) Ikaika was being...well, Ikaika.  He wasn't following directions without multiple prompts and/or threats, he was running around, he was interrupting storytime to yell that he also likes birds...  I know he gets on other people's nerves.  He gets on my nerves all the time!  I know other parents are sick of him carelessly running into and knocking over their kids, his teachers are sick of him running when he is supposed to walk and touching things that are kapu, I am sick of him ignoring everything I say and having to ignore my other child (who also displays some of these undesirable behaviors) so I can drag him away from something or deal with a tantrum. 

All the teachers are so nice and I know their job is stressful because I used to work at a preschool, too.  During singing time he was standing (when supposed to be sitting) touching the word poster (so no one could see it) and a staff member told him very directly, "stop, Ikaika."  After circle time, he went barrelling in for the end-of-the-day-hug (with no real regard for what she was doing or who was in his way) and she just brushed him off.  She finished putting whatever it was down on the table then got down and started hugging all the other, more patient children.  Ikaika was staring at her, dumbfounded.  He seemed really hurt and sulked away.

I guess its good to learn a lesson in being patient or considerate of people's space and I can't expect everyone to treat my little angel nicely (I don't even expect that from myself)...but after we got in the car I just wanted to cry.

I try hard to reign Ikaika in, but its a never ending battle.  I limit TV, provide structure, collaborate with my spouse, give warnings and outlets, etc.  But sometimes it feels like I'm trying to cram a square peg into a round hole for no other reason than to please others.

I've tried a few different strategies but nothing seems to improve his ability to perform appropriately at school and when I'm super working on it we spend more time in tears and fighting about it then actually enjoying or benefiting from playgroup.  If he honestly can't do it, should we just not go?  That seems so unfair! 

My son isn't a bad person.  But he is going to unintentionally alienate teachers and potential friends if he continues to be so...MUCH of himself.   Isn't that terrible for me to say?!  My gut tells me that I should be cheerleading him.  I should be protecting him from being self conscious. 

I feel guilty for putting others opinions in front of what I know about my own child.  I feel totally lost in defining where my job as a parent "ends".  Where does my obligation for teaching end and his obligation for learning and adapting begin? 


Jack of All Trades

Yesterday we had our second interview with Punanaleo (Ikaika's soon-to-be-preschool).  At some point they asked "what can you offer to our ohana?  What skills or talents can you contribute to the school?"

I consider myself a pretty crafty person.  I have a Pinterest account.  I cook edible food and repair clothes so they continue to be wearable.  I have a college degree.  I have a job.  I speak a few languages enough to get by.  At some point in my life I was a preschool teacher!

Still, for some reason, no answer came to me.  It almost felt like they were asking me, "what makes you so special?" and I couldn't come up with anything.  What should I say?

I can make you a latte?
I can sing a few songs in Japanese?
I can write content for a newsletter?
I can manage a budget in Quikbooks?
I could bake healthy muffins?
I could show you how to implement progress monitoring for students with behavior disorders???

None of these answers seemed "right".  I left feeling pretty down about myself.  I thought I had a lot of talent...so why couldn't I think of anything to say?!
(btw: Mr A blurted out right away that he could help with all sports related stuff and teach the kids some martial arts...lucky dog)

This is not a new issue for me.  I'm a jack of all trades, I'm decent at a lot of things but don't excel at anything.  The one thing I have is a willingness to learn it and do it (a trait I got from my mother).  And I'm interested in being involved and contributing.  Isn't that a skill/talent in and of itself?      


Koa Says "I Love You"

Sorry about the sideways action.  This is from about a month ago. 

Kekoa now has a functioning vocabulary that includes more winners like "get down" "please" "au pau" and "nose".  Just the other week he learned how to climb out of his playpen and developed strong opinions about what clothes he wants to wear (had to put the pajama shirt back on over the other shirt in order to prevent a melt-down).  I think this marks the end of his baby days.  He is officially a toddler.

Boo hoo! :(  Gone are the days of feeding snuggles, cooing giggles, and quiet wonderous stares. 


Happy Easter

 Easter was so fun this year!  I actually "did something", which is somewhat unusual for me.  The night before, Mr A and I stuffed plastic eggs with some snacks I bought in bulk (organic gummy bears, yogurt covered pretzels and fig cookies cut in half) - I figured these were all things I didn't mind my kids chowing on first thing in the morning.

Ikaika woke up and had already spotted some eggs from his bed.  We had a blast hunting them down then Mr A and I enjoyed a quick-mix self-crusting quiche.  The boys didn't want to eat anything unless it came from an egg.

We went to service at the Hawaiian church (Ke Ola Mau Loa).  For the first half hour I was certain that everyone was wondering what we were doing there (not a single other white person or child under the age of 10), but the Kahu (pastor) came up to us after service and said they were stoked to see some new faces!  Not only is it a great service, they also have a FEAST afterward.  No worry beef curry and tofu/mung bean sprouts to die for!  There was an egg hunt for the kids complete with basket, candy, dyed eggs, the works.  We had a blast and will definitely go again.

**The reason I wanted to check it out is because with Kaika heading to the immersion school next year, I want him to hear Hawaiian being used in the community outside of school.  It happens, but you have to seek it out.

We took a nap and then had dinner over at a friends house.  Dessert was avocado ice cream pie.  Unbelievable.  I will be making one in the very near future. 


A Loving Memory

"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."    -Psalm 23


Yogurt Maker Miracle - Recyling Jars

I bought my beloved yogurt maker at the thrift store for $3.  In the last two years I have lost or broken two of the 8 glass jars.  After the second one broke I started to look into replacement options.  Amazon has a replacement set of jars, but they are plastic (not pretty glass like mine) so, even though the price wasn't astronomical, I wasn't completely sold that they would be worth the purchase.  I debated whether or not I (or my mother) would be able to find replacement jars at the thrift store.  I scoped out jelly jar physiques and scoured Ebay, all to no avail.

Yesterday, as I was digging through the trash for my "perfect flax meal dispenser" (ie. old jar my husband sometimes recycles by accident), I experienced a small miracle.

how did I overlook this close cousin of the yogurt jar?

I have handled furikake hundreds of times - but only as a dispenser of delicious rice sprinkle.  I never looked deeper.  I took it for granted and let my creativity wane.  Now, I could see this foresaken jar's future...in my yogurt maker.

can you tell which is which?

After months of searching, I discovered that the answer had been in my house the whole time!  It really is the perfect solution.  Furikake even comes with a little plastic lid just like the original yogurt jars!  They are glass, they fit into the holes, they are free, and (because my family is wild about the seaweed/rice combo) I could break a jar every month and still have replacements to spare!     

a match made in heaven

 A little creative repurposing can sometimes go a very long way :)


Ikaika Sings Puff the Magic Dragon

Presenting: Puff the Magic Dragon. 
Ukulele & vocals: Mr A
Spoon-on-KleanKanteen & (louder) vocals: Ikaika