Winter Wonderland Birthday

Someone recently celebrated their 7th birthday!  Wow, can’t believe we have a seven year old in the house.  While I am mourning the end of my “little” girl, I am so proud of the girl she is becoming.  Always inquisitive, curious, observant, sensitive and sweet- that is my Isabel!  This year for her birthday she wanted a simple tea party with a handful of girlfriends at our house.  Didn’t quite turn out that way- we came up with a winter wonderland theme (that became more and more elaborate!) and ended up with over a dozen little girls as guests.  Crazy fun.


To begin preparing for the decorations the girls and I made dozens of paper snowflakes to decorate the windows, mirrors and walls.  Next came the shopping!  Thinking this would be the easiest part proved me to be foolish- even though winter is in full swing around here trying to find snowflake or winter themed decorations was very difficult- apparently I should have been shopping for this a few months ago…stores are already focused on spring!  We basically bought any snowflake themed item we could find and kept our colors to white and a frosty light blue/silver theme.

Now that the decorations and theme were set I got to sewing.  Every Snowflake princess/ballerina needs a beautiful skirt right?  I designed and sewed coordinating tutu skirts for the girls, with layers and layers of tulle and a glittery snowflake tulle overlay with a silver satin ribbon at the waist and ties in the back or around to the front.


With Isabel’s I chose to handpleat each layer of tulle, sew them onto a scrap fabric waist and then sew the ribbon at the waist- very, very time consuming project!  I simplified Eleanor’s (aka learned my lesson and took a shortcut!) and just gathered the tulle layers and sewed them directly to the ribbon.  I think both of them turned out beautifully!  Bonus- the girls have been dancing around the house with them on all week.  The ability to tie the ribbon will also allow them to grow with them, and should fit for years to come.




Another simple project that seemed to take over my life for a week before the party was the craft- making snowglobes.  I picked up these great plain canning jars at the Dollar Tree, a small container of glycerin (from Joanns), various glitters, distilled water and the figurines.   Any plastic or ceramic figurine would work- but this proved to be the hardest part!  I originally planned on putting in dancing ballerina figures- remember the type that used to be everywhere as cupcake toppers- apparently not sold anywhere anymore?  Ugh…so I had to be creative.  I picked up a few arctic animal toobs from the craft store.  Too small.  When placed in the jar they barely reached the top of the lid.  So, I found myself digging around my basement and came across an old box of light blue ceramic tiles…and I had an idea!   I broke up a number of the tiles with a hammer and glued them to look like ice/snow and glued the figure on the top!  Problem solved.  I prepared ahead and had the figures glued to the stacks, glued to the lids before the party.  I used the most toxic smelling glue- E600, to ensure they would be waterproof and let them set for about 36 hours before the party.



When we were ready at the party the girls chose what figure they wanted and we poured the distilled water into the jars and added a few drops of glycerin and the girls got to work adding al of their glitter and little snowflake confetti and we screwed on the lids to shake them up.  Plenty of screwing and unscrewing came as girls added more and more glitter!  In the end they turned out great, and who doesn’t like to shake up a glittery snow globe!




I’m in a New York state of mind

We just got back from an amazing, exhausting and all too short (and expensive!) trip to NYC.  Although I have been several times, and my husband spent much of his life living there, we always find new ways to explore the city.  This is the second time we have taken the girls, and it was a whole different ball game. The girls are old enough to know what they want to see and do, but still too young to really have enough energy to do it all!  We spent way too many hours walking to toy stores and looking at American Girl dolls, but still managed to get in some culture and (amazing) food.  The best part?  Taking the girls to Washington Heights to see where their Daddy grew up when he moved to the U.S. and watching him share a bit of his Dominican culture with them…along with the most delicious food from Malecon.  Too bad our hotel did not have a fridge and leftovers were not an option.  Ugh.  So good.


Most of our first day was spent on the train, does Amtrak ever run on time?  After spending way too many hours aboard we decided to check into our hotel and stay close by.  Luckily we were staying near Times Square so walking around was easy…a bit too easy.  A visit to the Plaza (looking for Eloise), ridiculous pizza for dinner, American Girl doll store (we broke down and bought Eleanor Kit), Toys r us and the Disney store.  Crazy.



After crashing for the night we spent the following day going to Central Park, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park again to check out Belvedere Castle and headed uptown to Washington Heights for a walk around the “hood” and eat dinner.  Dessert was shaved ice on the street and we returned to walk around Rockefeller center.



Our last day we headed towards the water.  First we stopped in Hell’s Kitchen to check out the flea market…which was a big disappointment compared to the bargain deals we have around here.  Then we headed to the South Street Seaport, had lunch and took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  After exploring the sights, we headed back and went to Rockefeller center again, this time in daylight so that the girls could check out the Lego store.  So cool.






It was a much needed trip out of town, but as with every vacation I am now recovering by doing laundry, grocery shopping, unpacking etc.  I always feel like I need a vacation from my vacation.  Right?  It might take a few days before I post about sewing, but I have a bunch of back to school sewing along with a few projects for myself…as well as my goodies from Purl to show you (couldn’t just do toy shopping!).   You might notice the cute little drawstring backpacks the girls wore on much of their trip.  The best thing ever.  Super easy way to get them to carry their own gear.  Perfect for the little lego cameras they used nonstop.  Tutorial of how to whip em up coming soon.  Until then I am going to relax, drink my coffee and start the laundry!


*yikes.  I just previewed my post and saw that all of the girls outfits were handmade.  I guess I favor my own creations when it comes to packing…this way the girls have no choice of what to wear- ha ha.


RetroBuffalo…my new etsy shop! Fun Vintage treasures!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I Love, Love, Love to thrift shop.  A bit obsessed I would say.  I am a bit embarrassed when I walk into my local Amvets and the cashier recognizes me or my girls.  Luckily my girls love it too, and get a big thrill out of checking out old toys, or helping me hunt out treasures.  I stop in at least once a week, usually on the hunt for vintage sewing supplies- sewing patterns, fabric and such.  Most of the time I walk out with a bag of unrelated items; clothes for the girls, random toys or books or all of the above.


I am a sucker for retro children’s illustrations in hardcover books from the past, dainty aprons from the 1950’s, old board games, retro barware.  The list goes on and on.  This passion for sewing and vintage sewing supplies has developed into a love of Vintage domesticity as a whole.  As discussed in this post, the history of a woman’s sewing box or supplies has great meaning to me, and this can be applied to any “old-fashioned” domestic item.  Simpler times, before our culture was so disposable, and things were treasured, protected, mended and appreciated.  The items I have been collecting can fit into this category of “domesticity”.  Everyday items in a woman’s life, that for some reason seem more “beautiful” than what is made today.


I am so excited to announce my new etsy shop- RetroBuffalo.  I have just started adding items (at the time of this post I have less than 10 up so far!), but please check it out and stop back within the next few weeks as the collection grows.  I will be adding a few special half aprons, vintage sewing patterns, more games and children’s items and more.

Check it out!  www.retrobuffalo.etsy.com


Toronto: Spent, and I am not just talking money

I am spent.  Exhausted.  The heat does that to you, so does driving.  How do people do long road trips with kids.  A few hours is my limit!  Just got back from an awesome overnight adventure in Toronto, I also spent way too much money.   Doesn’t that always happen when you are out of town, even if just for one night?  Thankfully, my dear friend Jen was up for following me on some craft shopping with  her little baby Leona (the real reason we went to Toronto- I swear!)  in tow and I made some great finds.  Of course I had to whip up a new dress for the occasion- pattern is from the Stylish Dress book- AGAIN, pattern A.  The fabric was a red tag apparel fabric from Joann’s- a black and white check with stretch.  Total cost=$9.  Awesome.  Thanks to Jen’s sneaky picture taking I have evidence of it. Was I that entranced that I didn’t notice she was snapping MULTIPLE pictures?

checking out the selection with Leona
checking out the selection with Leona

Our first shopping stop yesterday was at The Workroom.  I am in love with this place.  It has been my fantasy lately to open something similar in Buffalo, a cute little shop where folks can come in and use a sewing machine, collaborate together, pick up some amazing fabric and attend classes etc.  I would say next to Purl Soho in NYC, this has to be one of my favorite shops.   I also totally nerded out and introduced myself to the owner Karyn, who couldn’t be sweeter.  It was like meeting a celebrity in person, isn’t it strange meeting someone you have followed online?  I picked up and splurged on an amazing Liberty of London print  in the most beautiful deep pink hand sketched floral print to make a dress for myself, as well as coordinating prints for a bag and a sweet nautical fabric for a girls dress.

photo 5

photo 4

We didn’t let the 90 degree heat get us down, as we walked from The Workroom to Romni wools so I could build up my stash of fabric and yarn.  Just what I need right?  Stopping on the way for an iced coffee sure hit the spot as well.  It is probably a good thing that you don’t live in Buffalo Jen, or I would be in trouble!  Thankfully the husbands took the other kids (three other girls between us!) to a splash pad and lunch while we meandered the city streets in search of crafty deals.  I had an amazing time!  The basement of Romni wools is like a labyrinth of bargain yarn, I could get lost in there for hours.  You never know what you are going to find, I always find something and visit every time I make it up to Toronto.  After our shopping was done we headed back to her house to eat some delicious Portugese chicken and hang out before heading to our hotel.  I think the hotel was the most exciting part of it for the girls, it doesn’ t matter where it is or how fancy or not- something about packing their bags (and dolls) and sleeping in a hotel is super-cool to them.  I love seeing their excitement and joy as they jump onto the beds and run around.  Hilarious.



Before heading back home today we met up at The Junction Flea market and checked out some vintage and handmade goods and ate the most amazing Pollo Rojo tacos.

Yummy tacos, say Hi Bert!

Also, who knew iced coffee served out of the side of an airstream trailor would taste sooooo good?


Of course the best part of our mini-vacation was seeing our girls play, laugh and bond together.


Having been great friends for about 18 years (wow), Jen and I surely have a special bond- but seeing our little girls together has got to be the sweetest thing ever!  I was finally able to give baby leona my presents I posted about here.  Thankfully she still fit in the snugglers!

Even the crazy construction traffic on the QEW won’t deter us from planning our next visit- we can’t wait!