Mandalorian Costume

This post may be long.
But, This is the Way.
(This is the Way.)

Ahhhh. Is your family obsessed with The Mandalorian??! (the new Star Wars show, now in Season 2) We started watching it last year with our cousins, and the kids fell in love with it. They’ve always enjoyed Star Wars stuff. But there’s just something new about this series, which doesn’t have to stick to old plot lines, that makes it so fresh and appealing—Not to mention that it’s amazingly directed by Jon Favreau and Taika Waititi.

And let’s be honest. Most of us are here for baby Yoda. Or as the purists in our family refer to him, “the Child”.
OMG. We’ve set limits on how often the kids can say, Awwwwwwww during an episode.
Cause I mean. AWWWWWWW.
He’s so cute!

But Mando is equally as cool. They’re just a fun combo! The show is a bit wild west (first episode, Tremors anyone??), it’s a bit Star Wars throwback vibe, and it’s just good fun.

So in September I started asking the kids what they wanted to be for Halloween–IF Halloween was even happening (Covid). But one can dream. Owen knew immediately, “I want a Mando helmet“. So I started looking online, and I’m glad I started early—since it shipped from overseas. I looked at a bunch on Amazon, but settled on this one and it’s SO AWESOME (looks like the price has doubled since we bought ours! Mando. So hot right now). Some of the helmets online were soft and rubbery, which might be good for a younger child. But this one is hard plastic, so it looks really legit.  To make it fit just right, we added some padding inside….from his old baseball helmet! DING! We just pulled the pieces off from his helmet and glued it into the Mando one. And it’s perfect.
The day the helmet arrived, Owen wore it for hours. I love those moments when your kid is stoked about something (like the Zootopia fox head. So glad that worked out)
I went out for a jog that night, and came home to him doing homework like this:

And then chilling on the couch like this. Haha.
(with a real life shot of our house–backpacks and all.)
The helmet also came with a bunch of funny Star Wars stickers. Bonus!

The helmet was a success.
What I didn’t know, was if he wanted a full-on Mando costume to go along? Was it cool to have a FULL costume? Or cooler to just have a helmet and wear that to school? What does a middle-schooler want?? (btw, Owen is a 7th grade teenager now! He’s grown up before our eyes in the last 6 months.)

So I left it up to him.
And he made his own costume! Yay!
Well, Casey helped a bit. And I sewed a bit. And Lucy, Savannah, and eating candy corns helped a bit. But I was happy that he wanted to make something.

It was actually pretty easy, since the helmet was already figured out.

(Wearing his costume, while working on his costume. Meta).

Easy Mando Costume:
• Spray paint a bunch of cardboard and vinyl fabric with silver spray paint.
• Draw the armor pieces on cardboard, cut out, and outline with a sharpie.
• Use a hot glue gun to attach pieces.
• For the shoulder guards, cut a slice in the middle and fold it over itself to create dimension.
• Use elastic and velcro to attach everything. The breast plate has criss-cross elastic in the back and we glued the shoulder pads right onto the elastic. Arm guards have velcro sewn on.
• Sew a simple rectangle bag for baby Yoda with a long strap (and insert scary looking old yoda doll. Haha. We didn’t have a real baby Yoda—that might be coming for Christmas)
• Throw it all together with some black or brown clothing: Pants, shirt, boots. We should have done a scarf around his neck too.

And you’ve got a Mandalorian!
There’s so much more you can do with this costume—add a cape, a scarf around the neck, some amo straps, etc. But I love that this came together fairly easily, and that he was in charge of it. And dude, if I saw this Mando in my backyard, I’d be a little nervous.

THIS IS THE WAY.
And apparently it’s been the way for a while.
I had to compare these new pics to Owen’s old Halloween costumes.
So much Star Wars love!

From Mace Windu, to JEDI Skywalker, to MANDO:

The Force is strong.

And some things never change for Clara too. This year she said she wanted to be a cat again….like the kind with one of those big funny heads. EASY.
So here you have Clara Cat, THEN and NOW.

Happy Mandoween!

RECIPE: Cheesecake Dessert Pie

This might be the fastest post ever posted on my site!

I made this cheesecakey pie over the weekend (along with 6 other pies. Haha. For 12 people. It was pre-Thanksgiving pie-testing frenzie). And I thought, I’ll never get around to sharing it on the blog before Thanksgiving. So I typed out the recipe to simply share on Instagram and I then told myself—Don’t overthink it.

So what if you don’t have step-by-step pics of the crumbly graham crackers whirling in the food processor? Or that gorgeous slice-of-pie backlit shot with cherry juice dripping from the fork? Take a quick photo of the pie as you walk up to your brother’s house for dinner, and share the dang thing, so other’s can enjoy it too!

So here you go!
This was a fan favorite on Sunday.  I hope you try it out for Thanksgiving, or any day of the week.


Pies pictured above:
• German Chocolate Pie (Marie Callender’s recipe)
• Pecan Pie (mix of the Karo recipe and @iambaker)
• Lemon Cream Pie (recipe here on my site)
• Cherry Cheesecake Dessert Pie (recipe below)
• French Silk (womp womp. Didn’t work so well WIP)
• Banana Cream (also womp womp. I used banana pudding and the flavor was funky)
• Pumpkin Pie in the middle! (recipe here on my site, and also on every can of pumpkin!)

CHEESECAKE DESSERT

This is a faux cheesecake kind of dessert that my mom has made for years. She normally makes it in a 9×13 pan or in a 10″ springform pan. But this week I tried a pie version and we loved it! It has that zingy cheesecake taste, but is soft and fluffy.
Top the dessert or pie with any fresh fruit, pie filling, or jam. I went with cherry pie filling this time and it was beautiful (and yummy).

INGREDIENTS:
Graham Cracker Crust (make your own or buy)
To make your own crust:
• Mix 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter.
• Press into a pie pan or 9×13 dish.
• Bake at 350 for 8-10 mins. Let it cool. Your kitchen will smell amazing.

1 (16 oz) carton of low-fat cottage cheese (or 8 oz lite cream cheese)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 (8 oz) cartons Cool Whip (substitute real whipped cream if preferred)
Can of Pie Filling, or fresh fruit and jam

STEPS:
• In a food processor combine the cottage cheese and powdered sugar; whirl until cottage cheese is smooth and creamy.
• Add lemon juice and mix until well combined.
• Pour mixture into a large bowl; fold in whipped topping. Carefully mound the mixture into cooled crust. If you are making a pie, you will only need about 1/2 of this….or you can make 2 pies! Or one 9×13 pan, or a 10″ springform pan. Refrigerate.
• Before serving, decorate the top with well drained sliced fresh fruit, or drizzle with slightly warmed up jam (to soften the jam), or top with fruity pie filling.

Then load the pies in your car and ask your husband, “these will be okay back here, right?”
Famous last words.
Enjoy!


Check out these other yummy pies recipes in the RECIPES TAB:
NEVER FAIL PIE CRUST
LEMON CREAM PIE
CLASSIC PUMPKIN PIE
KEY LIME, MINI PIES

That GOLD COUCH

Hello friends!
Wow…it’s been three months since my last post!
What I love/hate about that….is that when I go missing for months, you guys start emailing and messaging, checking in on us. YOU ARE THE BEST! Thank you! That’s the part I LOVE. Yes! We are here and healthy and doing well.
What I hate is that there’s not enough time in the day to stay on top of all the creative things I enjoy. I wish I had a blog post for you every week, and IG pics every day. Honestly, I have more than enough photos (116,406 maybe? gulp) in my photo library to share more often. But you know what? I’ve made peace with it. We can’t be everything to every platform. So I’m happy to pop in here when I can, when there’s something to share.
And at the end of the day…it’s 2020.
Done.
Bam.
What?

Okay. So here’s why I’m posting today…..OMG!! WE REUPHOLSTERED OUR COUCH!
Well, we paid someone to do it for us. But IT HAPPENED. And it’s so beautiful. I’m so happy with it!

I debated for a month over so many pretty fabrics (I love all of these. Wouldn’t they make a cute fabric collection?)
And you know what I went with?
GOLD!
Haha. Yep.
If it’s not broke, why fix it?

Actually that’s a horrible analogy here. This couch was definitely broke (or in need of major TLC). But I just really love yellow. So, you know.

BACK STORY:
If you’re new around here, here are the basics….

• A few years ago I was searching for a loveseat and asked for your input. Thanks guys. Love your ideas.
• Then 6 months later, I realized I already HAD THE LOVESEAT I needed, it was just at Casey’s office. Ding! So we brought it home. And it was perfect.
• This loveseat was something I got at garage sale when we first moved to Austin in 2009 (You can read more here). So it had already lived another life before coming to our house.

And then 2020 happened.
Maybe that’s how I should start every blog post this year?
And the couch really started to fall apart.
Let’s go in for a close-up.

YOU GUYS.
THIS IS EMBARRASSING.

Yep. That’s tape.
I was honestly getting ready to call the Upholstery place in March, but then businesses started shutting down. And the couch now had full-on HOLES in the arms. Anyone who sat on it, walked away with foamy remnants on their clothes.  So Casey had the idea to stick packing tape over the hole. Ding again! It totally worked. And looked totally hideous.

So in August, I finally I reached out to an awesome upholstery place that my friend recommended (Economy Upholstery in Round Rock, for any Austin, TX locals) and drove the couch down to their shop (which was naively jumping the gun a bit. They didn’t actually need the couch till my fabric was ordered and had arrived. Guess I was a little excited). I’m so happy that I chose to have someone recover it. I’m fine with recovering IKEA chairs and simple projects. But I have never had an interest in doing crazy hard reupholstery like this, or learning the trade. At least not right now. Remember? I can’t even get a blog post up. Who’s got time for a tufted couch??
These amazing people do. Yay!

FABRIC:
I flipped through books at the upholstery place, and mostly liked their solids. Then at home I stumbled on decorative fabrics direct and ordered tons of samples from their site. And I had all these gorgeous fabrics to choose from. I wanted to go with something unique—a cool print and “wow” statement. But then I also worried that I might get sick of it over time…and having spent so much money, it seemed safer to do a solid?

These four fabrics were the finalists:
• The pinkish fabric design is amazing. But maybe it’s too pink?
• We already had orange end tables in the room, so orange got the boot (though it would have looked freaking amazing)
• Clara really wanted the blue. And so did I…would have looked great. But we also have a ton of blue with our backsplash.

And I wondered if I was going for the blue simply because it was different from the yellow we already had?…almost like an expectation? If you’re going to pay someone a lot of money, the end product should look vastly different from before? But seriously, yellow just really pulls this room together, in all the different seasons (peeps bunting here. Sherpa blanket tutorial here).

So after all the fabric searching, I went back to the very first fabric I picked at the upholstery shop. Ahhh! Isn’t that how it often goes? I guess you have to know what you’ve eliminated before you feel resolved with your choice. So I went with the Sunflower fabric below (which is funny, considering the time I asked for your input on Sunflower fabric also).

Something I learned when picking upholstery fabric is to pay attention to the “double-rub” number—which is a measurement of how well the fabric will hold up after being rubbed on over the years. The upholstery shop recommended at least 30,000 or more. This one has 100,000! Great to know, since many of the upholstery fabrics I considered at Joann were way lower than 20k and would not have been good for this project. So, we went with the Pure Chenille Sunflower.

We ordered the fabric through the upholstery shop. And then it took a few weeks after the fabric arrived for them to cover the couch.
And OH MY GOSH. It turned out so beautifully. Look at all that piping! And the tufting!
Wow. He did an amazing job.

Ready for a good BEFORE and AFTER???
Holy sad before pic.

We basically stayed true to the original design since it had such good bones and was such a comfy couch. But we eliminated the dust ruffle. What a great improvement! When I tipped it over, I noticed how nice the legs were. So we let them shine and it definitely adds a modern touch.

And I really, really love how the fabric looks in the room. It feels special, but not overpowering. It’s extremely soft. And the cushions are no longer saggy! They replaced all the seat cushions and other foam.

Having a piece of furniture redone is not cheap, but considering the amount of time and skill that goes into it…totally worth it. It took a bit of time for Casey to be on board with the project. He wondered why we didn’t just buy a new couch for the same price? So I researched that option too. But this couch was really sturdy, comfy, and I loved the size and the look. So it felt like the right move.

And you know what? When I brought this beauty home, I think he was even more excited about it than I was!
“Wow! WOW. It’s amazing! It almost looks too fancy for us. The fabric is really cool!”
He loves it.
I love it.
We all love it.
Happy couch day!
Thanks for following along with the adventure.