Miss Gioia

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


When we were waiting for MissG to arrive, we were given a great gift from one of our friends we made while living in Beijing. Amy lives in Malaysia now, and we were able to meet up with her and her husband for dinner when we were passing through Kuala Lumpur. That night, she gave us a collection of hairbows she had made for baby G. She said, Not sure if you are hairbow people, but here you go.

I was so excited. It was like I was being handed a diamond ring. Turns out we are, in fact, hairbow people. I blame growing up in Atlanta for that.

Gioia wears Amy's hairbows almost everywhere. Most of the time, she tolerates it. Sometimes she even asks for one. Bow...Bow... BOW! They do not always stay in her hair, though. Over the last few months, we have lost some key ones (white, pink). Luckily Amy sent me some supplies to make some of my own, and I finally sat down to do it this weekend. Very easy and very cute.

I roughly followed this this tutorial, but kept my bows a little simpler (two loops, not four). The process involves a hot glue gun, which made me feel like I was back in high school. Wild. I am quite pleased with the results.

The bow-capades are not over yet. She still needs a light pink one and one with some black. To match her goth outfit, of course.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Play Kitchen

Chris finished the play kitchen I wrote about earlier this week. As I mentioned before, we started with plans from this version that was posted on Ohdeedoh.

One of my favorite things about the kitchen is that Chris made a removable mini-table to insert under the sink and stove instead of a fixed shelf. This design allows Gioia to take the table out and play picnic or have a little tea party with bunny. Two toys in one.

Some design notes from the handy man himself.
- The top wooden shelf in the original version seems to just sit on top of the GRUNDTAL towel rack. All attempts to glue it down were unsuccessful. A loose wooden board is kind of dangerous, so Chris is going to have to secure it to the backboard with L-brackets.

- We could not find cabinet hinges at B&Q, so Chris used a regular door hinge for the little door. But then he had problems because the screws were too long, poking through the other side of the door. So if you make a door, remember to use screws which are smaller than 1/4 inch (or smaller than the depth of the wood you use for the door). Generally, the 1/4 inch screws were needed all throughout the project.

- Placement of the "sink" is key. We used an old stainless steel bowl from the kitchen for our version. It was larger than the one in the original and deeper. Once the sink was fixed in the top, it impacted options for other things, like the shelf and door. Shelf placement issues eventually led to Chris' removable table/ shelf idea, so it ended well in this case. But it is a good thing to be thinking about.

- The IKEA S-hooks we brought home did not quite fit over the towel rack, perhaps because they were designed for a real kitchen rack. But after Chris bent one side of the S open a bit, they worked just fine.

- Our kitchen materials and parts came to approximately US$100, more than double the claim in the original Ohdeedoh article. We bought our materials in our lovely island home of Taiwan, though, which probably was the main reason for the inflated costs.

Now that the woodworking part is done, I can play with it and add some real kitchen touches. Like sew a little curtain to hang under the stove and left of the door. Perhaps paint some staple goods on the backsplash behind the sink and stove - a sugar jar, a flour container.

Of course we now need accessories. I ordered a cute little dishes and pots set that is made from recycled milk jugs. And some wooden fruit - apples, pears, grapes. What else? Perhaps more play food.....

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Handy Man

My husband is so fabulous. I needed a sunny ledge for my seedlings, so on Sunday, he put up this trellis with a shelf that hangs above the balcony sink.

He also worked on a play kitchen for Gioia. We had an option to buy a ready made one in a local store. But even if we ordered the kitchen now, it wouldn't arrive until January. Which is not very Christmas-y. I had been eying some of the fabulous do-it-yourself play kitchens, which have been featured lately on Ohdeedoh. We decided to make one instead of buying it. When I say we, I am not really being honest. Really I cajoled Chris into breaking out the power tools and building one similar to this one. It is not finished yet, but I definitely see lots of play food in Gioia's future.

A fabulous Handy Man. Wouldn't you agree?

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Thursday, May 29, 2008


For MissG's birthday party, we needed a game to entertain the littlest guests and some favors for them to take home. We gathered some scrap fabric from the stash and lentils from the cupboard and made bean bag frogs. Chris found the pattern on the web - something similar to this one. The game was simple - toss the froggies into the hole in the lily pond. Harder than it looks, though.

It was a fun idea. Even the adults got into the game. Some of the froggies had to have surgery before the end of the party because they were thrown with extreme vigor and enthusiasm.

At the end of the party, each little guest took home their own bean bag frog. Game and favors in one, all by using materials we had on hand. Very good.

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Monday, May 12, 2008


Come help us celebrate with
a cupcake or two…

Little Miss Gioia is
turning ONE!

Sunday, May 25
4:00 p.m.

The party invitations are finished! Phew.

I had a difficult time with these. First, the laser printer did not want to print my text without smudging. So my tech support (Chris) and I printed almost 20 of them to get to a useable number. Then, the cardstock I used for the invites was not really watercolor paper. So the paint tended to sit on top instead of soaking into the paper like normal.

But I wound up with eight passable invitations. They are pretty close to the idea I had in my head.

Chris asked what the party theme was, and I said "cupcakes"! He says - that's not a theme. That's a food. Hmmm. My position is that - for a one year old - I am not sure if I have the energy for anything more elaborate. Wine for the adults, juice for the kids and cupcakes for all. Good enough, I say!

On a related note, we have searched all over Taipei for cupcake baking pans and cannot find them ANYWHERE. We have conscripted my mother-in-law to bring some pans when she comes. That means no practice cupcakes, but at least it is something. Although, she did ask if we had been to IKEA yet. Stupid us, probably IKEA does have cupcake pans. If I get any spare time, maybe I will check there too.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Again. Again!

Art classes in Taiwan are really different from in the States. In Chicago, I was given lots of creative space and encouragement.

"Draw a still life." GREAT JOB! "Now paint it." GREAT JOB!

Here in Taipei, I spend two hours each Saturday trying to make my fruit (after fruit, after fruit) look just like the instructor's fruit. After each session he points to one and says: "bu cuo (not bad)."

Sometimes I wonder if I am disliking the watercolors because I really hate the painting method or just because of the boring class. Or perhaps I need someone to let me do my own thing and then come over and tell me GREAT JOB!

I shouldn't hold my breath, though.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ornaments in the Mail

About two weeks ago, I finished and mailed six ornaments for a flickr group swap. It was hard to let those kids go, but I was happy I did. My own mailbox was bursting this week with ornaments from my fellow swappers. The cameo ornament came from Tracie. The artwork on this piece is really lovely. If you have some time, pop over and see her other work as well.

Julia sent this sweet little sunflower shadowbox.

And Michele's mitten is cute as can be. The embroidered flower is delicate and charming. Love it.

Such a fun week. Thank you guys for sending such neat ornaments. They are all so different, yet still are perfect additions to our tree. I am so excited to see what arrives in my mailbox this week!

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