Stencil and Vinyl

Continuing on my t-shirt kick, I made one for Sienna. I was excited to combine some stenciling and heat vinyl on her shirt. I don’t usually do step by steps but I thought it would be a good reference. I used Sienna’s favorite color, pink!

For the stenciling, I used one of the fabric sprays I made with the Earth Safe Finishes product. I wrote a post about it here (I have since gotten some tips from ESF for a truer red, more experimenting to come!)  For the vinyl, I used heat vinyl I bought from Nick at Craft Vinyl earlier this year. He is really an awesome vendor! My vinyl arrived the same week (I ordered regular vinyl, glow in the dark vinyl and the heat vinyl.) I was really excited to try the heat vinyl (initially with my Sizzix to cut) and was totally bummed when the instructions say not to cut through the protective layer of the vinyl. Drat! All the fancy digital die cutters can do that (none of which I have but feel free to buy me one!)  but certainly not a Sizzix machine. I tried looking online for some helpful tips or videos. There was nothing. I finally wrote to Nick and he asked me to call him on his 800 number. He was so very nice and informed me that it was ok to cut through that layer and just use my nails to take it off that layer. I was still reluctant so had done a test on a scrap shirt. It was easy to come off! And if you don’t have nails, you can also put it through the wash and it will come off there too or at least loosens it up to make it super easy to come off. What a relief!

For the heat vinyl, I printed out her name on my computer, cut those letters out and then traced it on the heat vinyl. Because of the plastic protective layer on the vinyl there were no worries of my marker transferring to the shirt.

I did an initial layout:

Then started spraying! I used ESF’s tackifier to keep the stencil down. Stencil is from The Crafter’s Workshop. I learned while doing my test shirt to do the spraying in layers

and to dab off the excess between each spray

the spraying is done!

Now on to the vinyl!

I’m not very patient so did all the letters at the same time. Here is the teflon sheet you should use over it and then iron. You don’t need to iron for very long but make sure you keep it moving! Let it cool before peeling the protective layer. If you see the vinyl coming off when you try peeling it, don’t worry, just iron it some more.

You can see the layer that I peeled off. I may keep them to use as templates or stencils for future projects.

All finished!

And Sienna was kind enough to try it on and pose for me!

Birthday food!

My birthday was 2 weeks ago and I’m finally getting around to showing the eats!

Yves took me out the Saturday before my birthday. Since I didn’t satisfy my seafood craving while in Florida, I thought going to Randazzo’s would fill the need. I believe my dad took me there when I was younger (although he doesn’t remember) and I figured that it must be a somewhat decent place in order to still be in business. Unfortunately, I was not really impressed. To be fair, I wasn’t very hungry since we went out for lunch to Jay and Lloyd’s earlier that day and Yves isn’t a big seafood person so I didn’t get to sample too much. We shared fried calamari (they didn’t bring a lemon with it! What’s up with that?), Yves got a crab cake sandwich and I got stuffed filet with fried zucchinis. All I could say was eh. I am willing to go back and try some other dishes.

For my actual birthday my parents took us out to a new place in Brooklyn’s Chinatown. I don’t recall the name but it used to be Ming Gee’s on 6th Avenue and around 63rd. Sadly, not impressed here either. We got peking duck to start and it was a bit chewy. Sienna didn’t care for it. The other dishes were Japanese style short ribs (I ended up being the only one eating this!), the usual Hong Kong style steak,  sauteed snow pea greens and fried rice (that took forever to arrive!). It wasn’t terrible but we definitely had better. Probably won’t be going back there anytime soon.

Later in the week, Joy took me and Sienna out for lunch. I was still trying to satisfy my seafood craving and read that Rocco’s Calamari was good. When we got there, the gates were down as they were closed for vacation! Joy’s suggestion of Spartan Souvlaki turned out to be a great back up. As per usual, me and Joy ordered too much food! I ordered a cheese pie for Sienna and then we got grilled octopus and a salad to share. I ordered the Greek sausage pita with fries while Joy got the gyro sandwich with greek fries. I think Sienna filled up on pita bread and feta cheese because she didn’t even try the cheese pie plus she probably was leery of us as we got her to try the octopus and she didn’t like it. The octopus was absolutely DELICIOUS!And it didn’t matter that Sienna didn’t even eat the cheese pie because me and Joy chowed down on it! It’s made fresh to order! Feta and ricotta cheese in a flaky phyllo dough. MMMMMMM. The greek fries come with lemon, feta cheese and oregano. YUM! We didn’t finish the salad and Joy ended up taking one bite out of her sandwich before calling it quits. I only ate the insides of my sandwich and was quite satisfied. I liked the place so much, I went back the next night with Yves! So these photos are from that night.
This salad came with Yves’ dish! I was expecting a small scoop on the side of his main dish. We were able to share this.
Yves enjoyed the octopus as much as I did and asked why I ordered the small plate.
Yves got the sausage and unfortunately did not care for it. There was something in the sausage that he didn’t like and that I did not taste in mine the previous day. Plus they didn’t cut it up like that in my sandwich. I wonder if they were different, well they must have been because mine didn’t taste like this did. Hmmmm…
Every Saturday in the summer they have a pig roast. When we arrived, we saw the pig roasting outside in the front. I didn’t take a photo of it because I thought I would take one when we left. It was done by the time we left! Just the head was laying there.

Oops! I totally forgot to take a photo of the greek style fries! Oh well!

Earth Safe Finishes

I discovered Earth Safe Finishes from the Totally Creative online magazine. ESF makes environmentally friendly, VOC free paints and varnishes. Now, I am all about being green and using less toxic stuff but to be honest, what drew me most to this product was the ability to make my own paints/sprays in my choice of colors. I ordered their green gift starter kit that comes with 3 colorants (red, yellow and blue), a bottle of fabric magic, acrylic paint base and ultra thick. I added a bottle of tackifier and a bottle of white and black colorants (to make sure I have endless color possibilities!). It came within the week! Wowee!

I was especially excited to use their fabric magic for spraying using stencils! I do enjoy using my ColorArtz (as seen here and here) but the smell can really get to you! And with Sienna around the house, I always feel guilty using it. I bought a dozen 4 oz spray bottles and went about mixing all different colors. I even tested them before putting them to use. Here is a scrap shirt I sprayed with 5 colors I made. The pink, green and orange were mixed and obviously the blue and yellow were not. I put between 5 and 10 drops for each color. This is before washing:

and after washing:

Not as vibrant (which is to be expected) but you know, not too shabby either! Also, the lighting isn’t exactly the same in both photos so this is not really scientific. I was heavy handed with my spraying so when I lifted off the stencil, the paint slid off the stencil and onto my shirt. I’ll have to remember to clean up the excess spray next time.

My first really project was for my new earring display so I used the acrylic paint base and red. I was really looking for a true red but didn’t get it. I guess because the acrylic paint was white. The bottle says you only need a couple of drops but I ended up putting a lot of drops in. I don’t remember how many but definitely more than a few. I still didn’t get the red I wanted but the end result wasn’t a bad color. That was a little perturbed about it and not sure how to get a real red. I’ll have to keep experimenting.

For my next project, I wanted to make fabric paint for stenciling the robot on Nico’s shirt as seen here. The “recipe” called for water, fabric magic, the colorant and ultra thick.
esffabricpaint.jpgI followed the exact measurements but look how watery it was! I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll try less water or maybe the acrylic base instead of water? Hmmm…

I don’t think it would have done very well with the stencil so I did not use it. I saved it so I can do a test with it on a scrap shirt. I did use their tackifier as a temporary adhesive for the stencil and it works great for that! I am loving it and can see using it a lot. Maybe I can throw away that temporary spray adhesive that smells and sprays everywhere and gets everything around your project sticky!

I also used the fabric spray on a t-shirt I made for Sienna that I will post soon. I look forward to experimenting more with these products and the ability to make whatever colors I want on a whim will make me keep on using them.


Who knew under all that hair that Skippy was really a chihuahua? HA! I took him for a long overdue haircut yesterday and told the groomer to cut off as much as possible. It’s just been so hot here that poor Skippy is constantly panting. I don’t have a recent photo of Skippy with his long hair, which is probably best as I might get reported for animal abuse! I took him to the local groomer, a place I’m not totally crazy about (apparently it has been 2 years since I took him there!) because I don’t really like how they cut. But I spoke with the groomer and she was very friendly and seemed to generally care about her clients. I told her she could cut it all off, even the face. I wasn’t aware that they could cut off his whiskers! I think he looks super cute! We took him to the park afterwards and Sienna was so very responsible with him. She didn’t let go of his leash at all and didn’t even go play at the playground because she just wanted to stay with Skippy.
skippycutpark.jpgIt’s hard to work with kids and animals! I couldn’t get them both to look at the camera at the same time. I tried again this morning:
Now if only I could get Neo to pose! HA!

Band Meeting at Stand

bandmeetingstand.jpgOn July 7th, we had a band meeting with all the members! Woot! It’s hard to get everyone together. We went to Stand. I was craving a root beer float and they had that, along with lots of other goodies. We started off with some fried pickles in tempura batter. Quite yummy! I really liked the dipping sauce too. I opted to get the grilled shrimp po boy. I liked that it was grilled and the chipotle mayonnaise was delish but I hesitate to call it a po boy when it is served on a brioche bun. Pete got the mushroom beef burger and Tammy and Joy both got the bacon and egg cheeseburger. We also got sweet potato fries and onion rings to share. Their homemade beverages were awesome! We all ended up getting the fresh blackberry soda. I’d go back just for that! I got my root beer float that I was craving (and wolfed down as pointed out by Pete! ha!) Pete tried the ricotta pistachio shake (MMM! and I don’t see it on their online menu) and Tammy and Joy shared the cola float. Fun times. Hope to do it more often!


Sunday was my 41st birthday. Yikes. They say that once you have kids, it’s all about the kids. I don’t think that should be true. It should be mostly true but I don’t think you should forget about yourself either. I have always made a semi big deal about my birthday during my adult years (I always hated having a summer birthday during my childhood because no one was ever around for parties so I made up for it as I got older) although not as big a deal as some other people. A simple group dinner with some good friends always made me happy.

It’s true that my birthdays of the last 3 years have been pretty low key and I have learned to appreciate the little things. So this Sunday, I appreciate that I was able to sleep in (until 9 am!! Haven’t done that for awhile.) That my beautiful daughter and husband greeted me with birthday kisses in bed (and let me go back to sleep!) That Yves made me the cutest birthday card! That Yves made me breakfast! That Yves took Sienna to the playground even if it was the shortest trip ever. Sienna was excited to get back home and have birthday cake! HA! That my parents bought me ice cream cake for my birthday without a fuss (it’s their tradition to buy the birthday cake and it’s almost ALWAYS cake with fruit from the Chinese bakery and my mother is not a fan of ice cream cake.) And that I got a ton of birthday wishes on my Facebook page! Ok, so I know FB tells you the birthdays of your friends coming up but it was still nice to receive all the well wishes.

As Sienna gets older, I do plan on making a big deal about my birthday again. Definitely for the big 5-0. Oy. Let’s not think about that now…Maybe the big 4-5. 😉

Our Minion, Larry

I joined a Minion swap that was sponsored by Universal Pictures to promote the release of their latest film, Despicable Me (came out Friday, the 9th). They sent out a blow up minion to all the participants and all you had to do was take it around and take photos of it (like the Flat Stanley project and a similar Where in the World is Crusher swap I did). I was surprised at the nice quality of the minion and that it was weighted. We named ours Larry. First we did some shopping. Sienna was nice enough to lend Larry one of her hats.

Then it was time for lunch!

Now every time Sienna sees a commercial or an ad for the movie, she gets all excited and says Look! Larry! ha!

Earring Crazy

Continuing on the earring kick, I joined an earring swap and made these for 2 partners (preface to say I am not totally happy with the photos! They didn’t really capture the essence and I have to work on that):
One partner got the green pair and the other red. I also made these for them:

And of course here are a couple for myself (although I did make myself a pair of the above copper hearts too!)

And guess what I made? Something I’ve been wanting to make for awhile…
I painted a couple of wooden frames with a new kit I got that is eco friendly called Earth Safe Finishes and I used Mod Podge to secure some fabric and my dad gave me some screen door mesh for this…
And do you know what it is?
Woohoo!! The top one is 8×10 and the bottom one is 5×7. There wasn’t really any rhyme or reason to how I laid out the earrings and am happy to have room to add more. I’m so glad that I am now able to see most of my earrings (my post earrings and ear wires are still in the jewelry box.)


I made some t-shirts recently and they were so much fun!

As part of a going away present for Geneva and Co. I made them all Brooklyn shirts (ya know, in case they forgot where they moved from or also to let those Maine people know they are tough!) I pulled out the ColorArtz again (first time here and then here). I love using it and plan to use it more often (I just bought a big can of air too!). I learned my lesson the 2 previous times and really taped around the stencil (I used freezer paper) and used plenty of scrap paper. I did not get any overspray. I used a different color for each person. I even made one for Lennox but it is a bit big for her right now. I had grand ideas of putting a few images on the shirts but I was afraid it would be overkill so just kept it simple instead.
The gray one is for Layne. I couldn’t find a white pocketless T.

I also made a t-shirt for Nico’s birthday and finally put the t-shirt vinyl to good use. I bought a sample kit from Craft Vinyl and I love it! So easy to work with and I just noticed that he now has glitter and glow in the dark t-shirt vinyl! Fun! When I first bought it, I had a question and he had me call him on his 800 number to help me out. He is super nice!

Traced out the letters and cut them out.
I ironed them on and once cooled, peeled off the protective layer. It’s really easy to get off.
Nico likes robots so I stenciled a robot on the bottom. I had in mind to try out the new Earth Safe Finishes kit for the stencil but when I mixed it up, it seemed too watery to hold up so opted to go with the gocco fabric paint (tried and tested!). I plan on doing some tests with the Earth Safe Finishes for another post. I did use the Tackifier included in the kit to hold down the stencil. That worked really well and much better than using the stencil spray. nicoshirtdonesienna.jpg

You can see Phoenix and Nico wearing their shirts in my Hugs post.


Our dear friend Geneva and her family have made the move up to Maine. Starr and I threw a send off party for her and to also welcome their new addition, Lennox Ava. We threw the party on the 13th of June and I had posted the photos on flickr here. I baked some cheesecake cupcakes (with a gluten free ginger snap bottom!) and flourless chocolate cake (no one seemed to notice/mind the couple of pats of butter that did not mix in well). There was other delicious food there too. I made Geneva a collage and Brooklyn shirts for the whole family (I will show them in another post). Here are some shots of what I tried to do for the cake (due to the condensation, it melted into the cake, which you can see here). I cut out the letters with my Sizzix machine. Sienna helped me too.

I just drove Geneva, Phoenix and Lenni to the airport last night. They stayed with us for a few nights. Layne and a friend had loaded up a truck and drove up to Maine on the 30th and they had to vacate the apartment. We were happy to have them here and Sienna and Phoenix had such fun together. Most nights they stayed in the basement but Friday night we had a slumber party. The girls watched Alice in Wonderland (the original) and the adults later watched Up in the Air. Here are some photos from the stay:
Let Loose!
Watching Alice in Wonderland

We also had one last picnic all together Friday afternoon.
The cool hat gang (if Sienna was wearing one of my shirts, it would have been the cool shirt gang!)
I made chocolate banana cupcakes that could use more banana flavor (altho I did not make the banana chocolate frosting, which probably would have made it better)
I forgot what we asked Nico but his answer was Nooooooooooo!
Ride home from the park

Me Me First! from Lisa on Vimeo.

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