Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monarchs, Crafts, & a Coin Toss

Just for some history…I am born and bred L.A. girl living quietly in Pacific Grove, CA (a.k.a PG). I had never even heard of PG until we moved here about 4 ½ years ago (7+ now)…so for those of you who are trying to place it…we are on the southern end of the Monterey Bay…you may not have heard of us but surely you have heard of Pebble Beach (golf galore) and Carmel (that famous guy Clint Eastwood was mayor once upon a time)...ring a bell? We are right there in that mix.

One of the big who-ha's in PG is the Butterfly Parade.
PG is home to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, where, in October thousands (much of the Western population) of Monarch Butterflies arrive to hang out for the winter. To celebrate this occurrence, we have a dandy little parade and all the schoolchildren dress up in some sort of costume - this year we had sea horses, Native Americans, and jellyfish to name a few.

The crowning glory of the parade are the Kindergartner's dressed as Monarch butterflies. It is beyond adorable...(I am including a photo of my boy when he was a monarch so you really get the idea.) Really, just try to picture a hundred or so sweet little 5 year olds with antennae and wings and try not to smile. Even I Ms. Delightfully Cynical cannot contain myself.

For Jules, not yet part of the parade, I always make a butterfly shirt. For the first year, I decided to do this at 10:30 pm the night before the parade. I used applique and fabric paint - just whatever I had laying around the house (yes, I did put crystals on the shirt and my husband just about flipped his lid...Mr. Paranoid thought she was going to eat them and choke. Of course she could have, so I do not recommend that to other parents...I only play fast and loose with my own kids!) The results, not bad, considering...

This year I was very happy with the results. I went for a much more modern design. She couldn't wear it that day because, she, of course, was sick. I think it turned out super cute (I wish I would have made one for myself) and here is the scoop...
You Need:
*One T-shirt - 100% cotton is best...BUT since I was in a hurry (again) I grabbed the first blank white shirt I found and it had lycra, and it was not "the best" - the design cracked a bit when we put it on because of the stretch*...I am willing to admit my mistakes. I have spent way too much time and money doing crafts with lame results...I would like to spare others this same pain with any crafts I do. Be sure to wash the shirt first!
*T-Shirt Transfer paper (use stretchable transfer paper if your shirt has a lot of stretch). I tried a different to-remain-nameless brand this time and I am blowing it a big raspberry. I prefer Avery. be sure to get either transfers for light or dark t-shirts depending on the color of T you choose.
*Image of whatever you want to print. I got these butterflies for free by googling "free clip art, butterfly." I am totally into silhouettes right now...just wait until you see the next craft.
*Iron and a pillow case.

To Make:
1. Printed out design on transfer paper. I printed out a bunch of different size butterflies on one sheet of transfer paper. I ran the paper through twice, once regular and once "mirror image." I made a couple butterflies orange for a little touch of color.
2. Cut the butterflies out leaving 1/8" around perimeter
3. Lay out the pillowcase on a hard surface (no ironing board), and put the shirt on top and place the designs - keep in mind you have to flip them over for to iron them on.
4. Flip 'em over and iron on according to the manufacturers directions provided with the transfer paper.
5. Wait for the T and transfer paper to cool (I always try to pull it off because I am impatient...trust me...wait!) before peeling off the back, and voila! Cute little T!

Just for fun...PG in a Nutshell...
Now I am not really sure where this fits in, but I must share some PG history, facts, whatever you want to call them (at least my interpretation of them). PG is charming and quaint - it began as a Methodist camp in 1875; we have more Victorian houses per capita than anywhere else in America; we have the oldest continually operated lighthouse on the West Coast; and John Steinbeck as well as Robert Louis Stevenson have rich history here.

PG is also a bit odd (sorry folks, from an outsiders perspective it is!). We have tree police - I do not know if they are official, but they pretty much don't let you cut a tree until it falls on your house (little late!); if you want to add a bathroom or prep sink in the new kitchen...you must wait until water credits come available (possibly years), and maybe most importantly all the big fish in the little sea (the city council) could not deiced on a replacement mayor, so they flipped a coin..I will never run for mayor...I always lose coin tosses.


  1. Those kids are adorable! A very cute project, too!

  2. A parade of kids dressed as Monarch butterflies! How cute is that? And that shirt! You are so crafty, it turned out so adorable! :)

  3. "PG" (sounds a little like "PV") sounds like a great little place to live. You mentioned Texas being great, and it is, but I do miss the views of the Pacific and the cooler temps. I LOVE the whole monarch parade and I am sure that is a sight to see all the butterflies. We had the monarchs come through our ranch in South Texas one time it was AMAZING! (I personally like the tree cops, too.) It might be a bit over the top, but TX could use something like that.

  4. That shirt is darling!! Love it. What a great idea with the transfer paper. So crafty!!

  5. Oh, I bet those little 5 yr old butterflies are adorable. (Yours was anyway.) I love the shirt - it is super cute as is your daughter.

    Sounds like you could do a whole blog post on your odd/quaint town. I bet is is very picturesque.

  6. Holly, great post about PG! You did our little victorian hamlet proud! I love the picture of Joe in Kindergarten! It really puts it into perspective how much the kids have grown and changed in so few years! Love the t-shirt project too. I'm sorry Jules didn't get a chance to show it off on Saturday! Can't wait to see what you create next year...
    Jenn @ rookno17.blogspot.com

  7. PG sounds and looks like a great place to raise a family. And that butterfly parade is a winner. What parent wouldn't be beaming.

    My kids are grown, but my 11 year old step-daughter and my grandchildren would really like those shirts. Thanks for the instructions.

    Your children are dolls.

  8. The kids and the shirts are adorable!

    The "tree police" in our small town are the exact opposite of yours. When we lost a limb from our maple back in July, they decided to cut down both 100+ year old trees in our front yard. I'm still sad!

  9. PG sounds like Olympia, where I used to live. The cops there call it "ten square miles, surrounded by reality". That butterfly suit is pretty much the cutest thing ever. You are right.... I had to smile. ;)

    On menu prep. I only make my menus for my shopping list. I do not make my menus to be for specific days. I make up my shopping list along with the 21 main meals for the week. Then, when I am so inspired, I pick one for that day and cross it off. There are things that are time sensitive... but when you plan for just a week, even things like fruit will last most of the time.

    Have a great Tuesday!


  10. My girls love butterflies (although I tried to get them to appreciate scorpions and centipedes, to no avail). That looks like an awesome project with a great payoff for them.

    Maybe I'll sneak in a scorpion somewhere too...

  11. 1st...ADORABLE pictures.
    2nd...I wish I was crafty. Those shirts you made were AMAZING. Makes me happy just to know people like you.
    3rd...Love PG. I live in Los Altos. I go to Asilomar almost every winter for a women's retreat with our church. Always have to stop at that little, quaint cottage on the corner of main street to have lunch. Can't think of the name right now.
    4th...Thanks for a great post!
    5th...Have a terrific day.
    Holly at lifelaughlatte.blogspot.com

  12. Beautiful. I love butterflies.. but I have two little boys. They won't wear a butterfly shirt. The costume is adorable though..I'll have to remember that for my 17 month old...for next year. (we already have a costume for this halloween) nice to meet you. I'm following! :)

  13. I LOVE butterflies. Those multi-butterflies are such fun. I'd love to have something like that on a shirt but I'm not sure I'm that crafty!

  14. Love the butterfly pics, I've seen the monarchs in PG, very beautiful. I didn't realize we were "neighbors"- I live in Santa Cruz County!

  15. Thanks all stopping by...I am happy I made some new friends today. Seriously those shirts are SO EASY!!! And you can find clip art for just about anything (boy stuff too!). I have made shirts so b'day parties etc. I thought it looked way too complicated at first, but it is not.
    See you tomorrow!

  16. Really...SANTA CRUZ! My son always yells it...he loves SANTA CRUZ.

    Holly...are you talking about Red House Cafe? Love that place! I live pretty close to Asilomar (OK, PG isn't that big)

    Small world, eh?


  17. Oh, my gosh, that baby picture is so cute!

  18. HollyL your kids are sooooo adorable. Did you know that my very BFF's name is Julie, we call her Jewells. I like the way you spell it too. I say she's my sparkly friend lol
    Your little butterfly guy is a cutie pie also. It seems like only yesterday that I was dressing my 3 up for Halloween. Now it's just another day. Enjoy all of these special moment HollyL.
    I know this post is a year old, but had to come and see the little butterflies.
    You surprised me again with my little pink kitchen in your post. You do that to me girlfriend. That's enough now. I'm just little old me, living in my little cottage home with my super great hubby and all my fur babies.
    I'm thinking of taking hubby to N.Y. city soon. We usually go your Thanksgiving weekend. Ours is next weekend. It's an 8 hour drive from here. The xmas lights and decorations are all up. The only thing that isn't is the big tree at Rockefeller Centre. Or I might kidnap him and go next week : 0
    Ok I've been on your site for over an hour now. I'm checking everyone out. Cool girls, great stuff.
    Love Ya
    Love Me


Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! I sure hope you come back for more!