Bambina Mia
Toddlers, Parties and a Day in the Life.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oscar Party


We threw a last minute Oscar party at our pad so I pulled together this concession stand in a hurry. I'd been wanting to try these "popcorn" cupcakes for awhile now and gave it my own twist by having a couple of kernels popping with the aid of some white floral wires. Lots of work, but I love how they turned out!

Hand cut cupcake wrappers

Mini marshmallows make for amazing popcorn.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama-Palooza

Happy Mother's Day!

My poor husband has endured three days of celebrating mothers; His mother, my mother and (of course) the mother of his darling child, me. Taking a cue from Valentine's Day (where we celebrate on February 15th to avoid the crowds and jacked up prices), I told my better half I'd prefer to have my Mother's Day hullabaloo on Saturday. So we packed up the kid and headed to San Juan Capistrano to eat at the superfabulous (if super-pricey) Ramos House Cafe.


Warning posted by the proprietor

Run by the surly, tattooed and sublimely talented John Q., Ramos House is an indulgence we enjoy about every two years or so. With tons of rustic charm, it's located on the umbrella-covered patio of the chef's own home and right, and I mean right, off the train tracks. The food is truly delicious and innovative with a nice Southern bend. Weekends are brunch only so you're roped into spending $35.00 a head, which is a bit steep, but since it's a rare treat, and if you factor in ambiance, we'll call it even.

Ambiance...


...ambiance...

... and more ambiance.

Ok - on to the grub. With brunch you get a starter - interesting choices like basil-cured salmon, caramelized citrus salad or hush puppies with pepper jam. I chose the apple cinnamon bignets and Brad had the huckleberry coffee cake. Both delish. Then for the main course I had their mac and cheese with lemon gremolata and Brad had some kind of breakfast scramble. Mine was very good - rich and creamy, with nice pieces of asparagus throughout and topped with field greens. (I have to admit I like my personal mac and cheese recipe better, though). I'm dying to go back on a weekday to just order lunch and try "Mark's Mom's Chocolate Cake." Mmmmm... chocolate cake.

Cheese-tastic.

I just love Ramos House and that part of town - lovely shopping and old houses turned into charming garden shops, tea houses and restaurants. It's one of those special hidden treasures you feel lucky to know about. We spent just another hour in SJC poking around before it was time to head back, but it was sure a lovely way to spend Mother's Day Eve.

Crazy grafittied cactus

Abby meets Popcorn the horse

Is Mother's Day over yet?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Double Your Pleasure

Business has been steady. Just steady. So I've been trying to expand my more popular line of onesies and tshirts for twins and come up with some new famous pairings (found at bambinamia.com).

The latest one is a new spin on an old classic: Mac and Cheese. It's been selling really well and is the most popular twin set yet.

Some other ideas I've been toying around with:

Rocker Chicks

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Chick Magnets

Rejected ideas:
*Gin and Tonic
*Liver and Onions
*Soddom and Ghammora

Oldies but goodies:

PB and J

Milk and Cookies

Bacon and Eggs

Salt and Pepper

Do I Need To Spell It Out For You?

This blog brought to you by the letter of the day. After one too many episodes of Sesame Street, I'm prompted to post this. (Abby is completely obsessed with that furry freak, Elmo!) So I've been surfing Etsy looking for cool alphabet inspired art and whatnot and discovered the following fabulous finds.

This bright and colorful miniature set of felt alphabet letters comes from fellow Etsian MiChiMa and is just perfect for tiny fingers to grasp. I love this vibrant and tactile way to introduce the A-B-C's, and it's a great way to illustrate the concept of colors, too! Snap up the entire set for just $18.00.

Okay - I think this is just too, too cool. Exlibrisdesigns will make a cloth book "featuring your child’s name appliqu├ęd on the cover and spelled letter by letter throughout the book. Each letter beginning a different word and image on each page." And as you can see, she can do pretty much anything - so bring on the custom orders! All this work and creativity can be yours for just $60.00. Go get yours!

I'm strangely fascinated by bar codes. Don't know why, just am. So the ingenious use of them as zebra stripes in this collage by loranscruggs is doubly appealing. This one of a kind work is made up of a "variety of tin cans collaged and nailed to pine" and measures 11"x11"x 1/2. For $265.00 you can get this original piece of art or any letter you like and customize the image to boot. I'd love to see the enitre alaphabet she comes up with for this series! A is for Awesome.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Want To Go To There

I am a planner. I love making lists just to cross something off. That's why I'm planning a family vacation to Italy slated for 2013. It's not that ridiculous. By 2013 my 1 year old will be a sentient 5 year old and (hopefully) better able to get something out of a European getaway. Plus it gives me that much time to get the scratch together to afford this fantasy trip, do all the research my little heart desires to find some fabulous apartments and discover some kid friendly adventures to embark upon with the bambina.

Il Ponte Vecchio

Piazza Reppublica

My love for Italy began in '94 when I traveled to study abroad in Florence as a young pup of 19. I'd never lived outside of my parents' home, never mind half way around the world. It was three overwhelming months of travel, art and adventure; there were trains that derailed in the middle of the night, all the Renaissance paintings an art history major could desire and life-long friendships forged.

But really it was the small delights of everyday living in this larger-than-life city that would ignite an enduring desire to return to Italy. Things like going to the phenomenal glass and steel, two-story central market for groceries, where a poster of fluffy frolicking kittens could be found hanging incongruously above the butcher case filled with pigs' heads and all sorts of delectable entrails. Or discovering our favorite gelateria just off the straw market near il porcellino, where the counter girl would top our Nutella gelatos with a heaping spoonful of the chocolate-hazelnut spread, swabbed from a comically enormous brandy snifter full of the stuff. Somehow little things like grocery shopping or going for an ice cream became elevated to an experience.

The Duomo at night - Florence

I returned 6 years later for a whirlwind week in Italy with my mother to show her why I fell so in love with this romantic, frustrating, crazy and glorious country. We went to all of my old haunts in Florence and then north to experience Carnevale in Venice - truly amazing.

Cypress lined lane in Chianti region

Hilltop view from Orvieto

Back for a third time and a second study abroad program in 2002, again in Florence. Almost a decade older and hopefully wiser, this trip was less about seeing-all-I-can-see-because-I-may-never-have-the-chance-again, and more about just living in the city. In fact, most of my time there was spent either scouring the scads of stationary, paper and art supply stores for ridiculous amounts of hand marbled and fancifully printed sheets of Italian paper or hunched over a studio bench practicing my newly acquired love for bookbinding. Artistically, it was the most prolific and creative time of my life.

Lucca
Wisteria covered balcony, Minori

View from our apartment balcony, Minori

Cut to March, 2007. My brand new husband and I honeymooned throughout Italy for 2 weeks. He'd never been before and graciously let me play tour guide. One week in Florence and three days more in both Rome and the Amalfi Coast and my husband was a smitten kitten. He, too, was bitten by the Italy bug. So I've been to my favorite place in the world with all my favorite people except for my dolly-baby, Abby. And since she was conceived there, it seems only fair that she gets to explore her roots. So here's to Italy 2013! See you there!

How it feels to be back in Italy.

Open Letter to My One Year Old


"Dear Darling Abby,

As delicious and refreshing as it may appear, that bowl full of water, which has the misfortune of being set at an all-too-tempting height within your reach, is in fact a TOILET and none of the following:

a drinking fountain
a hand washing basin
a laundromat

Please refrain from putting your darling hands (or anything else!) in this vile bowl meant for so much unspeakable human excretions. It is no place for a sweetpea like you to be playing. If you want to play in the loo, try the bathtub. It's the big empty vessel 3 inches away from that dispicable toilet you love to splash around in so much.

thank you,
The Management, a.k.a. Mommy"

The evidence

Caught in the act!

My totally unrepentant child

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fourteen Years Bad Luck

Genius! That's what this is! Captured in the Barnes and Noble parking lot, I spied this fabulous example of the pioneer spirit.

Apparently the driver knocked off their side mirror and cleverly duct taped a hand mirror in its place. Looking closely, it appears they've earned another 7 years' bad luck because the hand mirror is cracked, too!

Here's a tip, hand-mirror-as-side-mirror-driver-dude: Allow yourself a wider margin of error! Jackass.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Mr. T

Okay, so a little over a year ago I'd never heard of this thing called Etsy. It is now officially an obsession and this work-from-home-momma's only source of income!

When I was pregnant with sweet miss Abby I knew I wanted to stay home, but would need to bring in some additional income. I'd resigned myself to finding something brutally dull like data entry, but that would at least bring in a consistant paycheck. I never dreamed a year later I'd have a relatively successful career designing children's clothing that would allow me to be creative AND stay at home with my little one. And I owe it all to ETSY - and Mr. T. Allow me to explain.

It all began with a trip to the OC Swap Meet one fateful Sunday morning. My husband, the babe and I were just poking around when I found a booth selling some really cute onesies. I bought one, saw they were just flocked iron-on transfers, and thought - hey, I can do this. So I went on line, found some transfers and fired up the old iron. The downside to the transfers was having to be so limited to what was available in the market. I felt I had some rather novel ideas and whackadoo images I'd like to try, so I went ahead and made my own iron-ons from felt.

Now I had a bunch of stock - what to do with them? My sister recommended I try shilling them on this website featuring only hand-made items called Etsy.com. Etsy-dot-who? I checked it out and thought... I dunno. But the price was right and I figured for such a small investment - what the hell, it beats schlepping all my stock and opening a booth at craft fairs around town (see below). Blockquote


Our humble beginnings - Naples Pancake Breakfast, May 2008

So March 6, 2008, I uploaded everything on Etsy (www.bambinamia.etsy.com) and boom! My first sale in less than 24 hours! I was thrilled! Then another and another! And the funny thing was only my original designs were selling - not the mass produced iron-ons I'd planned on making my fortunes from. So those were quickly ditched as more original designs were added.


My very first sale: Orange Pop

Before I knew it I had a steady stream of sales - each one eliciting an ecstatic phone call to mom and sis (which have subsequently stopped, they're thrilled to report). So where does Mr. T come into the picture? I'll tell you.

I had a client request a custom order onesie of Mr. T as Clubber Lang from the Rocky III movie. I thought, oh that is gooood! So I made her the Rocky Mr. T and I was so inspired I made another version for my store.


Custom Mr. T as Clubber Lang from Rocky III

The second version of Mr. T - I Pity the Drool

Well, it immediately took off and has been a runaway best seller since the first day I posted him, garnering a lot of attention and leading to some phenomenal wholesale and media opportunities, like a feature in Long Beach Magazine (March 2009). For these reasons, I LOOOVE Mr. T. And for the 10,000 fucking tiny Mr. T eyebrows I've had to cut out, I HAAAATE Mr. T.

Long Beach Magazine - March, 2009