Sunday, July 31, 2011

Last Day: Christmas in July sale and WonderDads giveaway

Just a reminder that today is your last chance for some great Christmas in July sales on Etsy and for my WonderDads Book Giveaway.

First off, here are a few of the sweet somethings for the little ones in your lives from my shop that are on sale through the end of the day:

In case you didn't notice, I marked down pretty much everything that was red, green, white, silver or gold... not just the "Christmasy" items.

Check out all the EtsyKids shops with Christmas in July sales going on now, or for other non-kid related items on Etsy, just type CIJ or ChristmasinJuly in the search bar. Happy shopping!

Secondly, the WonderDads book giveaway that I'm hosting ends tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. EST. I'll draw a winner through and each person can get up to 5 entries. The winner gets to choose from among 46 book titles!

In case you haven't been to the WonderDads site yet, here is a listing of the 40 cities for which they have Activity Guide Books for dads and kids:

  • Albuquerque
  • Ann Arbor
  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Brooklyn
  • Chapel Hill
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Durham
  • Greensboro
  • Indianapolis
  • Inland Empire
  • Jacksonville
  • Kansas City
  • Long Island
  • Los Angeles
  • Manhattan
  • Marin County
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis
  • Mobile
  • New Orleans
  • Orange County
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Raleigh
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
  • St Louis
  • St Paul
  • The Triangle
  • Twin Cities
  • Washington DC

What makes my husband a WonderDad? On his days off, he doesn't want to just lounge around and relax or watch TV... he wants to go somewhere fun with Little Sweets, even if it's just to the mall for a ride on the carousel. That is one of their favorite activities to do together and it is definitely "their" thing.

So if I could win the giveaway for him, I'd pick the local activity guide since I know they would love that daddy-daughter time together!

This is a low-entry giveaway, so go enter for your chance to win a WonderDads book now!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wrightsville Beach - Part 1

Last weekend, we celebrated my birthday with a little trip to Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, North Carolina. It was such a simple, sweet weekend with my little family yet I felt overwhelmed by how much God has blessed me.

We saw a beautiful sunset on our first night in town. This is near our hotel in Downtown Wilmington, which was next to the Cape Fear River. (Side note: do you remember that scary movie, Cape Fear? Whenever I hear the name of the river, I think of that creepy guy under the car.)

Wilmington, North Carolina by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Back to the pretty sunset. =) See the U.S.S. North Carolina reflecting the sunset on the left side of this next picture?

Wilmington, North Carolina by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Wilmington, North Carolina by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

The next day was my actual birthday and we spent the morning at the beach. Check out our photos from Wrighstville Beach here, but for now here are a few from my afternoon wanderings around Downtown Wilmington.

Wilmington, North Carolina by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

During Little Sweets' naptime, my Sweets (who is definitely a WonderDad, by the way) offered to stay at the hotel so I could have some relaxing time to myself. Is it sad that I was really excited to have some alone time on my birthday? I'm sure most moms can understand that. =)

Wilmington, North Carolina by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

While I was strolling, the skies opened and there was a huge thunderstorm, so these pictures made the town look very dreamy. For those of you who have never been to the Southern United States, it stays very warm on rainy days (it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit). It was so humid that my camera lens kept fogging up.

Wilmington, North Carolina by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

I'll leave you with one more glimpse at the Battleship North Carolina. Pictures from the beach are coming soon!

U.S.S. North Carolina in Wilmington, North Carolina by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial

I (like most people, I'm sure) hate throwing away food. So when I chopped up a giant watermelon for a BBQ and had a ton leftover, I decided to make it into a Watermelon Slushy and freeze it for later. This is a great summertime treat to enjoy with the kids while they play with their Rainbow Ice!

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

This recipe comes from Woman's Day's August 2011 issue. I made this twice, the first time exactly as directed, adding sugar water. The second time, I tried it without sugar water and it was delicious (and I have a sweet tooth). So forgo the sugar and make another all-fruit healthy snack for the kids!

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Ingredients for Watermelon Slushy:

Watermelon, chopped 
Water (maybe)

Are you a visual learner? If so, here's how to make this summertime treat:

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Oops--not pictured: strain the juice as you pour it into your dish so you won't get the seeds!

Now for those of you who prefer the directions written out step-by-step...

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

First, chop the watermelon. It doesn't have to be neatly cubed like this, these are the leftovers from the BBQ I was telling you about.

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Puree in your blender or food processor. You may need to add a bit of water to help it blend. Then, strain it as your pour into a glass dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and freeze.

When it's solid, take it out of the freezer and let it defrost for awhile, then take a fork to it and scrape away! You can scrape it like you see in this photo, or (especially if you're doing a larger batch), chip away at it with your fork held vertically.

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Try not to make too big of a mess getting it into your glasses, and munch away while you enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Does it make your mouth water just looking at it?

You may be wondering: how much does this make? These two glasses were the yield from 1/2 of a medium-sized watermelon. If you do a giant watermelon, the scraping/chipping away process will take much longer. Let it defrost or put the dish in some hot water and patiently wait for up to 20 minutes before trying to scrape.

Watermelon Slushy Tutorial by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Hmmm... what other fruits would make a good slushy?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WonderDads Giveaway - Helping Dads be Heroes

Every Dad wants to be his kid's superhero.

This giveaway will help the men in our lives to become a bigger, badder Superhero Daddy! One of my lucky readers is going to win a book of their choice from WonderDads.

This is a company founded by men that "supports and celebrates the moments when Dads go beyond the usual, the routine and the mundane to do extraordinary things with their kids".

What a great mission statement, right?

Winner gets to choose from:

WonderDads Activity Guide Books Activity Guide Books available for 40 cities/regions across the United States. Each book features the best Dad and child activities, restaurants, stores, sporting events, outdoor recreation, and unique adventures in the area.

WonderDads Coach Me Soccer Book 
Coach Me Books available for 4 sports: Soccer, Baseball, Golf and Fishing. These books teach Dads how to help their kids ages 3 to 13 learn sports with practice tips, fun facts and the best techniques.

WonderDads Board Books 

Board Books available for 2 titles: Goodnight, Dad and ABCs for Dads & Daughters. Board books will provide that special Daddy-and-Me reading time with the little ones.

How to Enter:
(up to 5 entries per person--leave a separate comment for each entry)
  • Comment on this post and tell us why your Dad or husband is a WonderDad (1 entry) 
  • Follow WonderDads on Facebook and/or Twitter (1 entry--If you already do, comment that you already do)
  • Follow my blog (1 entry--If you already do, comment that you already do)
  • Tweet or link on Facebook or your blog about this giveaway or my blog (1 entry)
  • Become a fan of SweeterThanSweets on Facebook (1 entry - If you already are, comment that you already are a fan)

Please make sure that I have access to your email address in your Blogger profile or in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Giveaway ends next Monday, August 1st at 9:00 a.m. EST. Open to U.S. entries only. Winner will be chosen via and will be mailed 1 copy of the book of their choice by the folks at WonderDads.

Good luck!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Art Smock

Little Sweets and I have been doing lots of arts and crafts lately. I basically tell her, "You will be crafty, whether you like it or not."

Just kidding (mostly).

Anyway she needed an Art Smock so we could really start getting messy and I couldn't find any I liked, so I made her one. Here it is:

Art Smock by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

I love how it turned out and I was so proud to have finally mastered the art of sewing bias tape, which I'll talk about more a bit later.

I learned how to make my own pattern for an art smock that would fit Little Sweets from this tutorial over at Prudent Baby. I didn't add the cute pocket but I changed it up a bit with a tie back closure using the extra bias tape I had (I needed 2 packages).

Art Smock by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Back to the art of bias tape. I finally mastered it thanks to Angry Chicken's video tutorial on the no-swearing bias tape method. I think everyone should check out that video tutorial, whether you plan on sewing bias tape or not. It's hilarious.

I learned a lot from the video tutorial, but the best tip was folding the ends of the bias tape under to give it a nice finish on the corners.

Art Smock by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

And this beautiful oilcloth fabric? It's Passion Lily by Amy Butler, which I purchased from Oilcloth Addict on Etsy. You can find tons of great oilcloth fabrics on her shop and even some chalkcloth (remember my post on Chalkboard Inspirations?).

Once Little Sweets' Art Smock was done, we had to try finger painting for the first time. This is a girl who does not like being messy. It took about 10 minutes of me finger painting before she dared touch the paint.

I really like how this project turned out and I'm thinking about Christmas gifts for nieces, nephews and friends... if any of my loved ones are reading this and your kiddos need their own Art Smock, let me know.  If I start on them now, I may even finish them before Christmas.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Introducing Mini Fascinators

Question: What do peacocks, the Royal Wedding and the Kentucky Derby have in common?

peacock by Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets

Answer: A spectacle of feathers!

Feathered fashion trends have intrigued me so much that I decided I needed to add a new line to my Etsy shop--Mini Felt Fascinators for the little ones in your life!

As of right now, I'm making them out of felt and adding a bit of glam with rhinestones, pearls and other embellishments.

Mini Felt Fascinators by SweeterThanSweets on Etsy

Mini Felt Fascinators by SweeterThanSweets on Etsy

I've been experimenting with craft feathers but I just don't think they're practical when it comes to children's accessories. (Yes, I am implying that feathers are completely practical when it comes to grown women's accessories.) What do you think? Would you want your little girl to have an all-access pass to real feathers?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rainbow Ice - Tutorial

We spend a lot of time outdoors in the hot, humid North Carolina summers. Little Sweets' favorite toy last summer was her water table and it's proving to be again this year. A few weeks ago, I decided to add something different to her water table -- Rainbow Ice!

She loves these Rainbow Ice Cubes and was so sad when they were all melted. Next time I'll make a bigger batch!

This would be a great kids' summer camp idea. Older kids can have a great hands-on (literally) learning experience about mixing primary colors and the changing states of matter from liquid to ice. Science or Art Class?

Here's what you need to make Colored Ice Cubes:

Color Bath Dropz by Crayola
ice cube trays and/or old plastic bowls, bath toys, or anything you can fill up with water
3 large bowls
spoon or ladle
cookie sheet that fits in your freezer

Make sure that your cookie sheet will fit in your freezer before you start this project. You will make life much easier on yourself if you do it now. Also, your plastic "molds" should be cheap and/or old just in case they crack when you drop it on the ground as you're taking it out of the freezer. (I'm speaking from experience.)

The star of the show here is Crayola's Color Bath Dropz. You can buy these at Target or Wal-Mart in the baby bath section for a few dollars. They are non-toxic, fragrance free and are meant for children at least 3 years of age. Obviously, they're meant for the bath and Rainbow Ice would be fun for bathtime, too! But why not add them to your water table or baby pool?

Fill each bowl with about 3 or 4 cups of water. No need to measure but the less water, the more intense the color. This is a good thing, but if you spill on your way to the freezer, you might end up with a blue carpet. Remember these Dropz are intended to be used in a bath tub with much much more water.

After a few minutes, the Dropz will be dissolved. You don't need to use hot water and there's no need to stir.

Now put your empty "molds" on the cookie sheet to make it easier to move to the freezer without spilling all over the place. Then, carefully pour some water into each mold. Remember what we learned in grade school about mixing primary colors to make secondary (and tertiary) colors? Just fill it halfway with yellow and the rest of the way with red if you want to make orange, for example. No need to stir.

I filled up each bowl with 2-3 ladles of water and each compartment of the small ice cube tray with 3-4 spoonfuls of water. Don't try to pour your big bowls of water to fill these tiny trays. =)

Then move your cookie sheet into the freezer (see why you want to make sure that cookie sheet fits in your freezer before you start this project?) and wait until they're frozen.

I loved how these little ice cubes looked, but they melted so fast outside that next time I'll probably just do the bowls. The Rainbow Ice will lose a bit of its brightness when frozen, as you can see here:

Once they're frozen, unmold them (you may want to put some warm water in the tray to loosen a bit first). Fair warning: your hands will probably be rainbow-colored when you touch them but it easily washes off.

Then rush outside to play or store in freezer zip-top bags for later. Put them in your little sweeties' water table, baby pool or bathtub and get your camera ready!

She was so excited that the water turned purple (Mommy's favorite color)!

The blue star ice cube was her favorite.

I would love to see what shapes and colors you can come up with. Let me know if you make these and show off your pictures!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Christmas in July at SweeterThanSweets

Merry Christmas (in July)! Today marks the start of Etsy's Christmas in July promotion and I'm participating.

All of my Christmas hair clips, hooded towels, hair pins, and headbands are marked down 20% off from now until the end of July. Here are a few Christmas items from my shop, SweeterThanSweets:

Christmas in July items from SweeterThanSweets on Etsy

(If you're not quite ready to start thinking about Christmas yet, these items will remain in my store, they just won't be on sale after July 31.)

If you're looking for other great kids items, check out the EtsyKids Blog with a list of all member sales, or click here to search for EtsyKids' Christmas in July sales. Or for other (non-kid) handmade or vintage sales, type CIJ into the search bar on

On a related note, I've noticed that none of my Christmas items are for little boys. Any ideas on what I can do for the boys out there?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chalkboard Inspirations

Although I haven't tried it for myself yet, I am loving the idea of chalkboard paint. I've seen so many great uses online but I've chosen the most unique creations to show you!

Chalkboard Wine Bottles by Ruthi Auda

Chalkboard Headboard by Shelterness

Chalkboard Tins by The Country Chic Cottage

Chalkboard Backsplash by The Elefanta

Chalkboard Pillow by Infarrantly Creative

Chalkboard Blocks To Go by The Sleepytime Gal

Chalkboard Family Center by House to Home

Chalkboard Pumpkins by Your Home Only Better

Chalkboard Globe by Halligan Smith

Chalkboard Shirt by Dukes and Duchesses

What have you made with chalkboard paint? Or if you're like me and haven't used it yet, what do you want to make with chalkboard paint?