Monday, October 17, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Beef stir fry with radishes, fresh greens, bell peppers, onions and carrots (all from CSA)
Tuesday: Potato soup and fresh breadsticks
Wednesday: Baked chicken, green salad, rice
Thursday: Meatless spaghetti
Friday: Butternut squash parmesan
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Chicken fried rice with more CSA veggies

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Pork chops, fried eggs, green beans, rice
Tuesday: Baked chicken breast, baby butternut squash, rice
Wednesday: Potato soup
Thursday: Southwest chicken w/ homemade salsa, corn chips
Friday: Stuffed acorn squash
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Bean burritos

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Working through Mudworks: Oily Dough 1

My mom bought this book years and years ago, probably shortly after it was published in 1989.  I can’t remember not having it around!  Recently, she loaned me her copy and I thought it would be fun to work our way through the recipes.  I may not get to all of them because some are not appropriate for my kids ages yet, but we’ll do many.  It’ll be a great activity for cold winter days or wet, muddy ones!

Today we made Oily Dough 1 which says it is “easy, models well, keeps well” and is appropriate for ages 1 and up.  It only has flour, salt, oil and water.  My kids are happily exploring it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

I used part of this week's grocery budget last week to buy scrumptious peaches and plums on sale ($0.99 per pound is probably the cheapest we'll see till next year!) and put up 12 jars of sliced peaches, some peach jelly, and plum butter.  I also bought cantaloupes at $0.99 each that I sliced up and put in the freezer.  So my menu will be based on a slightly smaller budget this week.  About $55 instead of $75.
Monday: Runzas
Tuesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green salad
Wednesday: Corned beef, fried eggs, Brussels sprouts, rice = Hubby's favorite meal!
Thursday: Chickpea curry and rice
Friday: Black bean burgers with sweet corn
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Ham and potato casserole

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Calvert Week in Review

Miss M enjoyed science most this week.  From the very first day she opened our Calvert box, she wanted to use the “themodeder” and she finally had her chance this week.  (I don’t let her play with stuff ahead of time or she’ll have nothing left to look forward to, right?)  She also loved charting people’s favorite fruits! I queried my friends and family on
Facebook so we’d have a nice list to work from.
For literature this week, Miss M was supposed to listen to “The Blue Jay’s Nest,” but I had her read it to me instead. She does very well!  But she was heartbroken about the eggs that fell from the nest and were broken.  Kids have such marvelous sensitive spirits!

In social studies she viewed photos and drawings and identified the difference between the two. At first I think she was a bit befuddled by the concept, not because she couldn’t tell the difference between the two images, but because who ever thought of comparing them?  But she quickly caught on.  Maps were always one of my favorite things (“were”…who am I kidding?), but Miss M seemed to be ambivalent about our mapping activities this week. Could have just been the mood she was in.
She is supposed to be using a number line to solve her math problems this week, but so far she’s just figuring in her head and finding answers that way. I encouraged her to use the number line anyway because it’s good to have tools to help us solve more difficult problems we may encounter in the future!

Little Guy was underfoot quite a bit this week. I had to be creative in ways to keep him entertained!  Clay did the trick several times, also dry beans and a muffin tin, and some counters and kitchen tongs!

Wednesday will be Miss M’s Lesson 20 Test!  She’s excited about it! Don’t you just love homeschooling!?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Asian corn cakes, sweet potato casserole, rice
Tuesday: Hot roast beef sandwiches
Wednesday: Pancakes for supper!
Thursday: Oriental chicken in the crockpot, broccoli, rice
Friday: Chili
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Chicken curry, rice

Friday, September 9, 2011

Calvert Week in Review

It was a short week since Monday was Labor Day. We took the day off from school since Daddy was home from work.  Then Tuesday felt like Monday and Wednesday felt like Tuesday and by the time Friday rolled around I was all jumbled up!  Miss M on the other hand keeps careful track of the day of the week and the current date. Right now her reason for doing so is the new “hero” on Super Why! that will be premiering on Monday.  She always finds something to count down to!

We finally received our social studies book today!!  We have managed without it, but I’m glad it came.

Miss M very much enjoyed measuring this week, using both nonstandard and standard methods.  She now knows that her school desk is 4 combs wide, or 22 inches.  And she loved being able to take paperclips out of my canister; she’s not typically allowed to touch them!  This week’s Math also focused on counting and writing numbers 1-10.  She is doing so well with holding her pencil properly!!!

Reading is still far below her level, but she enjoys it.  We skim right over the phonics stuff since she seems to have internalized it all so well already.  She volunteered to read our literature selection one day this week, “The Straw Ox.”  There were only a few words she didn’t know right off!  I may have her do more out-loud reading of longer passages.

Math this week also included some online games that Miss M really loved! She plays lots of online games and begged to play these over and over.

The week was relatively uneventful and passed by in a blur!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Meal Planning Monday: on Tuesday...oops!

I had my meal plan ready, just forgot to schedule it for Monday! :-)
Monday: Labor Day meal with family, supper is popcorn, sliced cheese, fruit
Tuesday: Personal pepperoni pizzas
Wednesday: Grilled chicken with acorn squash and rice
Thursday: Potato soup with fresh sourdough bread
Friday: Chicken enchiladas
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Grilled cheese and fresh tomato soup

Friday, September 2, 2011

Calvert Week in Review

This was our second week of 1st grade.  We read several poems this week, but our favorites were “White Sheep” and “Secret” from the Lesson Manuel.

White Sheepby Christina G. Rossetti

White sheep, white sheep
On a blue hill,
When the wind stops
You all stand still.

When the wind blows
You walk away slow
White sheep, white sheep,
Where do you go?

Miss M was quite enchanted by the idea that there could be a meaning other than just what the words say.  Her eyes  lit up and she exclaimed, “That was hard!”

In math she worked on patterns including ABC patterning which she hasn’t formally encountered before. She did well, though if a pattern stopped before completing the set (e.g. ABB ABB AB), it usually threw her off when extending the pattern which I chalked up to lack of attention to detail, rather than lack of understanding of patterns.

She very much enjoyed the Change of Pace exercise: tossing a paper cup and tallying how many times it landed on it’s bottom, side, or top. I appreciated the connection to science since it had us run the experiment twice just like the children do in the science pages we’ve been reading!  Actually, I find Calvert does a marvelous job at connecting ideas across disciplines!  We had Venn diagrams in both math and reading this week and the Scientific Method showed up in both our science and technology lessons.

Speaking of science, the floating pasta experiment was a total flop!  Our pasta sank to the bottom and stayed there.  Twice.  Maybe the generic brand club soda I bought wasn’t powerful enough (though it seemed quite fizzy to me).  Miss M didn’t know what to expect and enjoyed the process anyway.  I think the food coloring alone was enough to delight her!  Though we weren’t instructed to, we recorded the question, prediction, and results in her science journal.

Our missing social studies book is supposed to arrive today, so we’ll catch up over the course of the next week.

I debated with myself over whether or not to attempt to correct Miss M’s pencil hold. She was resting the pencil on her ring finger and using the first two fingers and thumb to grip the pencil.  I finally decided to try to get her to hold it “correctly.”  To my surprise, she’s been quite willing to attempt the change, although a few times she’s complained that it feels funny or is harder.  Her writing is much sloppier this way, but I’m sure once she gets used to it, that’ll change. I was more concerned with fatigue and writers cramp later on when she needs to write page upon page at a time.  She’s quite proud of herself for learning the “proper” way to do it and eagerly showed off for Daddy when he came home!  She’s also proud of herself for using lowercase letters more, and I’m glad there is some number writing practice in the math lessons because that’s something she needs a good review in. Many of her numbers are typically written backwards.

Miss M loves doing work on the computer. She enjoys the daily Math Checkpoints and her Computer Skills and Applications lessons!  Although she was able to operate a computer better than her lolo before she could even read, at this point I can say with certainty that she knows more about computers than several of her grandparents (who use them nonetheless).

We read about Noah, the Flood, and God’s Promise this week and did some rainbow art.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Last week's meals got juggled around a bit and we ate out a couple days, so there are some repeat meals on this week's menu!
Monday: Creamed tuna on toast, cantaloupe
Tuesday: Asian beef and noodles with stir fry veggies
Wednesday: Spaghetti, garlic toast, carrot and celery sticks
Thursday: Black bean burgers
Friday: Ham and eggs with potatoes
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Personal pizzas

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Calvert Week in Review

This was our first week of First Grade!  We mostly covered review material in math and language arts: object position; grouping, sorting, and classifying objects; short a words; identifying and writing lowercase and capital letters.

Miss M is far beyond all this, but a little easy review for getting into the routine of school is fine with me! It builds her confidence and so far has kept her interest despite it’s being too easy for her.

In science, we learned to observe, compare, and classify using our five senses.  We also discussed how scientists use the scientific method to learn about the world.  Miss M is fixated on the magnifying glass that came with the curriculum and wanted to use “magnifying glass!” as her answer to every question.  The book Your Five Senses by Melvin and Gilda Berger was a big hit with Miss M – not included with the Calvert curriculum.

Our social studies lessons didn’t quite happen because I realized during Lesson 2 that I was missing the social studies book! (But I got two Reading Work Pages…oops!)  So we discussed what social studies is and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, but didn’t do any of the associated activities or worksheets. Calvert is sending the missing book and we’ll catch up later.

One area Miss M definitely needs work in is writing.  She writes a lot in her free play time, but does not use lowercase letters and rarely writes right-to-left/top-to-bottom.  She starts somewhere and when she runs out of space continues the proper way to write lowercase letters using the primary lined dry erase boards I got at Target last year.  I’ve seen so much improvement in just this one week!  She concentrates on her letter formation and therefore writes quite slowly.  She sometimes drives me nuts ‘cause she wants to write her name on all her papers; her name is 9 letters long!!!
any ol’ where with no regard for legibility.  Obviously that’s normal for a kid her age, but it makes it very hard to understand what she’s written, which frustrates her.  I try not to correct her during her play time, but when we “do school” I hold her to a more traditional standard.  I don’t let her write on unlined paper for school and I have been showing her

I love the Houghton Mifflin readers! Wow, text books were not that colorful when I was a kid!  Each week features three readings from different genres.  This week’s were: fantasy, realistic fiction, and nonfiction.  Miss M did not like it that I kept interrupting her at the end of each page to ask questions about the reading, but after the first two lessons she got used to it and told me, “After you mess me up and we’re all done, I’m going to read it again and don’t mess me up, okay, mom?”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If you let your 21-month-old paint, be prepared for the consequences

He actually did very well getting the paint on the paper.  There was also quite a bit on himself, but very little on the floor and none on the walls!  And it kept him quiet for a good 30 minutes!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meal Planning Monday: when hail hits

Our CSA got hit by a terrible hail storm the end of last week.  Our week's share was completely destroyed.  Thankfully, none of the farmers' main buildings or animals were harmed!
Monday: Eggs, homemade hashbrowns, sausage
Tuesday: Chicken parmesan, salad, french bread
Wednesday: Black bean burgers, mozzarella, lettuce, salsa
Thursday: Meatballs, broccoli, rice
Friday: Chicken stir fry
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Creamed tuna on toast

Despite needing several higher priced items all at once, I did well staying within my budget this week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meal Planning Mondays: use it or lose it!

This week I built my menu around the fresh produce in my kitchen (mostly from our CSA shares) that needs to be used before it goes bad!

Monday: Eggplant parmesan
Tuesday: Burritos featuring crockpot refried beans and fresh garden salsa
Wednesday: Pasta salad
Thursday: Grilled chicken and patty pan squash
Friday: Beef stroganoff
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Chicken fried rice with carrots

The eggplant parmesan will be an "experiment" meal since I've never made (or even eaten!) it before.  Most of my experiments are passable, not all are enjoyable.

What are you eating this week?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse Cards

I mentioned in this post that we will be using the Scripture Memory System from Simply Charlotte Mason.

I am not, however, using their suggested list for first grade.  I’m sure their list is great, but I already had a few ideas about what I want Miss M to learn this year, so I came up with my own list.  I formatted them the size of 3x5 index cards and printed them on cardstock.   And now that I’ve done the work, you don’t have to! At least not if you use the same verses we are.

Scripture Memory Verse Cards – pdf
  • 52 verses
  • New American Standard, unless otherwise indicated
  • grouped in a somewhat logical manner
  • numbered to indicate the order they are to be memorized in (in case the baby dumps the whole box, right?)
If you find any mistakes or have any suggestions – like the “page” numbers; I didn’t think of that till after I had printed and cut mine apart! – let me know!

The rest of our Bible curriculum this year will be reading through the Student Discovery Bible together. It’s not a full text Bible, but has Bible text in it and will be perfect for our needs this year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gearing up for First Grade

We started Calvert PreK about a year and a half ago when Miss M was 3.25 years old.  We enjoyed it very much, but Miss M outgrew it faster than we used it!  She is now a little over four and a half and is quite the little reader.  I’m constantly amazed at the complex words she reads.  (Like “generation” and “Oklahoma.”)  And she tells me, “I just sounded it in my head, Mom, and now I can read it!”

If we were going to put her in public school, then she wouldn’t be eligible for kindergarten until Fall 2012, shortly before her 6th birthday.  Thankfully, we’re not putting her in school and we’re skipping kindergarten altogether!

Some time this past spring Calvert had a sale on curriculum, so we went ahead and purchased 1st grade at a discount!  I looked through it when it arrived and decided Miss M wasn’t quite ready for it, but would certainly be ready by the end of the summer.  Now that I’m looking over it again, I see that the first half or so will be too easy for her, but I don’t mind that. I’m not too worried about her learning a specific set of information as I am about getting into some good habits and a regular routine.  I think Little Guy will thrive on a more structured routine as well.  He likes things to be just-so!

I set a start date of August 22nd, so Miss M has been keeping careful track of the date since the end of July.  She’s very excited to begin 1st grade.

I’ll be supplementing our Calvert curriculum with a Bible curriculum of my own beginning with this Scripture Memory System.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meal Planning Monday: a beginning

To keep myself from wandering aimlessly around the grocery store, spending twice as much as planned, and coming home without half the things I needed, I decided to get myself back into the habit of planning meals for the week before I go shopping!

We have a budget of $75 per week for the four of us.  Hubby's lunches are very dull...he prefers the same thing day after day.  I typically eat leftovers for my lunch while the kids eat simple sandwiches, bits of cheese, and animal crackers for dessert.  That leaves just suppers to be planned.
Monday: Spaghetti, garlic toast, carrot and celery sticks
Tuesday: Pot roast, potatoes, corn
Wednesday: Nachos
Thursday: Asian beef and noodles
Friday: Meatballs, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Italian chicken tenders, rice, green beans

This week I have most of what I need on hand, so I plan to use the remainder of the budgeted amount to lay in a supply of canned goods that are on sale.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Two Unhappy Nightgowns

I'm really not pleased with these two nightgowns I made using Butterick BP436 (which is now being sold as B4647).  I made size 3 with no adjustments and Miss M (who wears size 4T in store-bought clothes) is drowning in it!

But mostly I just think these sleeves are the ugliest things I've ever seen!  I will definitely (and with Miss M's blessing) be cutting them down to short sleeves instead.  I used an old floral bedsheet and vintage eyelet trim, so at least it's soft and comfy!

The strawberry one is a bit hit with Miss M!  She'll probably be able to wear it for two or three years...minimum!  She can wear it now, but it trips her up if she gets "too wild" instead of just going to bed.

Today she was telling me a story and used air quotes...I should start calling her Miss Precocious!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Easter Terno

For Easter this year I decided to make Miss M a traditional Filipino-style dress.  I Google-searched a lot of images before I had fixed in my mind what I wanted the dress to look like. At first I thought I'd make the older baro't saya or blouse and skirt with the accompanying wrap around skirt and scarf (like the one the little girl is wearing in this picture), but in the end I went with a terno which is what the baro't saya has morphed into in modern times.

I was quite intimidated by the "butterfly" sleeves à la Imelda Marcos, but it really wasn't so bad once I got started.  In fact, the whole dress went together pretty quickly!  Fast enough that I was done the Tuesday before Easter and I had time to make myself a blouse too!  I'll post about that later.  It's just a simple A-line design generously flared at the lower hem, with a bodice overlay, and of course those sleeves.  There are two ruffles of netting attached to the lining to give it poof just like you would find in store-bought dresses.

In keeping with the "theme," I purchased Little Guy a barong tagalog.  It's a rather big on him, so hopefully he can wear it again at Christmas and next Easter...and if we have any weddings come up, he'll probably wear it then too!

Aren't they just as cute as can be?  The whole ensemble went over quite well with my in-laws, as you can imagine.  I threw away most of the candy they collected.  I really hate when they get a lot of candy because they think they're entitled to eat it and the sugar rush turns them into little monsters!  So in the interest of my sanity, I gave them each a few pieces and dumped the rest.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl outfit

Toy Story 3 is very popular in our house. In fact, during the day on the weekdays it's on more often than not.  Little Guy will sit still and watch it long enough to fall asleep (which is why I put it on at naptime so often!).  He loves Buzz, in fact, he calls the whole movie "Buzz," but Miss M loves Jessie.  Wow, does she ever love Jessie!

When her grandma and auntie got tickets to go to Toy Story 3 on Ice this weekend, Miss M was over the moon!  She has a Jessie Halloween costume, but it's nothing more than a one-piece printed pajama-like suit and she's already outgrowing it.  She's been asking for a "real" Jessie suit and this seemed like the perfect excuse to sew her one!

I used materials I had on hand -- white cotton toweling, yellow quilting cotton, red piping (vintage), red ribbon, and a bit of white felt. Only the buttons were purchased specifically for this purpose.  I used Ottobre 6/2007 #19, the "Ollie" shirt.  The front "yoke" is nothing more than a piped appliqué sewed onto the front shirt panels!  Since Jessie-the-doll's shirt only has two buttons on the front, I used open ring snaps to close it and then sewed the buttons on over top.  The cuffs are 1 1/2 times the original pattern piece.  The chaps are from McCall's 2851. I shortened them significantly for my wee girl.


She was the best dressed little Jessie there, if I do say so myself!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dolly love

As I worked on my latest sewing project, Little Guy occupied himself with this sweet Raggedy Ann doll my friend gave me.

He lavished her with hugs and kisses and put her to bed again and again. Though he usually managed to get the blanket over her face and left her feet exposed!

I just had to grab the camera and capture his play.  He’s such a sweet boy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Plaid Summer Shorts

I've done so much sewing for Miss M and hardly any for Little Guy. I decided to rectify that. He has plenty of t-shirts that fit right now, but he's short on pants, so I decided to make him a pair or two. I've never done a fly zipper, so I decided to try one.  It turned out pretty well, considering!

I made the "Alma corduroy pants" (Ottobre 4/2008, #6).  I cut up a pair of women's pants and used twill tape that had been in the lower leg of the original pants instead of cutting new belt loops.  The waistband is a bit of blue chambray I had left over from another project.  I made size 68 to fit Little Guy's waist.  I think the pattern is meant to be full-length pants, but it turned out to be more like long shorts. But I knew that because I measured the outseam and inseam before I started!

This is his "I'm not so sure I'm ready to be awake" look.  Can you believe how big he's getting?

I never knew that girls and boys pants flies are supposed to be opposites, just like their button-up shirts. Did you? The weird thing is that when I went on a hunt to see which way is which, ALL our pants were the same! Mine, Miss M's, Little Guy's, and Hubby's all overlapped exactly the same! (The boy way, in case you were wondering). Anyway, I got a little mixed up on the waistband and ended up having to put it on "inside out" which only means the outer portion is interfaced and the inner portion not. Not the worst of problems all told.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vaahtokarkki blouse and dress

It looks like I finished this up just in time for Miss M to enjoy today's beautiful spring weather!  I joined Sandra at Sugar Cubes and Spice Cake for a sew-a-long (although I fell behind working on a quilt for the kids' room instead).  The sew-a-long was helpful and loads of fun! I really enjoy seeing other people's execution of the same pattern.

Being the overachiever that I am, I decided to do two simultaneously. Hubby picked out the butterfly fabric from my stash (I purchased it at Tall Mouse when Miss M was less than a year old!).  The yellow gingham was a high thread-count men's shirt. I had to do some creative cutting to get all the pieces cut out.  I'll tell you a secret: the underside of the collar is pieced together since I couldn't quite fit everything!

The pattern is from Ottobre 1/2010, #15.  I made the yellow one exactly as directed, and the only things I changed on the other one was lengthening it to just below the knee and leaving off the frill.

To be perfectly honest, the sew along came at a difficult personal time. My younger brother was admitted to the hospital for the third time in a year. He is suffering from pancreatitis due to chronic alcoholism. He was in the hospital a week going through alcohol withdrawal. All the while, I suffered midgrade depression resulting in part from feeling of helplessness and fear for his well-being. I'm glad I agreed to participate in the sew along because I needed that focus and something to do with my hands.  It was quite therapeutic!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Warmer Winter Day

We had a few warmer days after the snow melted before it got cold again. Since Little Guy learned to walk only shortly before the on-set of winter, he doesn't remember ever walking outside before. To his recollection, when we go out, one of us always carries him.  But since it was finally so nice, I took the kids outside to play!  He thought it was the most amazing thing to be able to walk around outside. He wasn't quite sure what to make of uneven terrain (quite different from the level floors of a house!), but adapted quickly.  He had loads of fun throwing and chasing a bouncy ball his sister got from one of the gumball machines at the grocery store.  While they were playing, I snapped a few shots.

A leftover sycamore leaf, a green patch of moss, a cardinal feather, and an acorn.

A stand of cottonwoods (see the little bits of snow left over?) and a view of the amazing sycamore tree that a photo will never do justice.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Organizing, or the Creation of My Oasis

We have two bedrooms in our home. Hubby and I have the larger master bedroom and it encompasses not only our sleeping area, but also our hobby stations. Hubby plays the saxophone and has various music equipment for making arrangements and recordings and the like. I, as you know, sew and knit and do a variety of other crafts.  From the time we moved here over two years ago, we were short on storage space. But storage devices require money and, frankly, we didn't have the money to spend on shelves.

The room got worse and worse.  As I did projects I had to quickly whisk things up off the floor out of the kids reach.  Things piled higher and higher on what was supposed to be my crafting table and with nowhere else to put it, it all just sat there.  It was embarassing.  It was depressing.  It was a block to our creativity.

I finally decided something had to be done about it. Hubby said I could buy some needed organizers after we got our tax return. Around the same time the 9-cube shelves I wanted went on sale on Amazon — only $40 each and free shipping!  I ordered two for our room and one for the kids' room.  Delivery was delayed twice by the big snow storms that swept the nation, but eventually I had my shelves, assembled them, and set to work.

It took two and a half days to rearrange everything, partially because I didn't really know how I wanted it when I got started and partially because organizing always starts by making an even bigger mess first!  Plus, I had to be sure to keep hazardous items out of the kids reach at all times.

I banished some of Hubby's ancient music equipment to the garage (it wasn't hooked up anyway); I put away my serger and old sewing machine; and I shifted the bed over about two feet.  That gave me a bit more space to work with.  Then I gave my empty sewing cabinet to Hubby for his USB keyboard and Mac Book (I couldn't keep sewing items in the drawers anyhow because the kids could reach them) and leveled the top of the drafting desk to use for my sewing machine.

The thread shelf my grandpa made is now mounted on the wall, as is the cork board you see propped up against the wall. (It was too late the night I took the photos to bang nails into the walls).  I have a little sitting area with a rocker and foot stool -- perfect for nursing Little Guy or reading a book or doing a bit of hand stitching. There's a shelf by my chair to catch my latest read or hold a cup of tea. My crafting supplies aren't organized yet -- just thrown in the cubes --  but now they can be made to have a proper place. After all, it's hard to live by the mantra, "A place for everything and everything in its place," when everything does not have a place.

The room is amazing! It's such a pleasant place to be now especially when the afternoon winter sun shines through that northwest-facing window.  It's my oasis. A place of peaceful retreat.  So much so that the kids and I have spent quite a number of our recent days hanging out together crafting, reading, and playing games.  And the best, the absolute best part of all? It has stayed clean!  For over two weeks now, the room hasn't gotten out of hand at all!

You can see I'm still at a loss when it comes to window treatments. But I am determined to get some up. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cars pants

When we were at Hobby Lobby and Hubby bought Dora fabric for Miss M, he also bought a yard of Cars fabric for Little Guy.  Right away Hubby said they should be made into pants.  After finishing the Dora dress, I looked through my Ottobre magazines for a suitable pants pattern.  I settled on the "Kaarna" lined pants from Ottobre 6/2009, only without any frills at all: no pockets, no drawstring, no yoke, no mock fly. And put together in such a way that they can be completely reversible.

  One side is Cars fabric, the other black polar fleece. The waistband is black ribbing with elastic in it since I didn't make a drawstring.  I made size 74 which is a bit long for Little Guy yet, but I figured that way he can wear them for a good long time (and I can use the pattern again later without having to re-trace it!).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Flakes dress

This one was cut out before Christmas! I finished it some time in January, and finally got it photographed now that it's February.  I prefer Miss M to wear long dresses for modesty's sake.  She is, after all, a very active little girl.  To that end, I added 2 inches to each of the skirt panels.  I also added an inch to the length of the sleeve because my girl has freakishly long arms just like her mother.

The pattern is the Snow Flakes dress (Ottobre 6/2010, #7), size 86. (Incidentally, did anyone notice that the pattern only goes up to size 86, but in the magazine it lists size 92 as well?)  In the magazine it is pictured on an infant, so I was curious to see how it would look on a bigger girl.  I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it's darling and I love how it fits Miss M, but on the other hand, adding 4 inches total length did unbalance the design a bit.  In future, I might add the length by adding a ruffle or eyelet to the hem rather than lengthening the panels.

Little Guy wanted to see what his sister was up to during our mini photo shoot.  He absolutely adores her!  And well, we rather adore him too!

Don't you think a frilly white pinafore would look delightfully old-fashioned over this dress?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dora dress

A Friday evening out on the town. Hubby, two munchkins, and me. Where do we spend our leisure time? Hobby Lobby, of course!

Miss M spied some Dora the Explorer fabric and insisted, "Mama, we need this!"  I politely ignored her. I'm quite adept at it. She tends to talk nonstop most of the day, so I'm a pro at tuning it out. Hubby, on the other hand, is wrapped around her little finger and quite easily caved in and bought her a yard of Dora fabric.  I asked her what she wanted out of it and she promptly said she wanted a dress.

I shuttered inwardly.  Most of the garments made of character prints are rather garish and umm...generally repulsive.  Still, I vowed to do my best.

 I used the Jänönheinä tunic from Ottobre 4/2010 as my base pattern since it was already traced off. I added a 9-inch ruffle about 1 1/2 times the width of the bottom edge of the tunic and lengthened the button band to make the tunic into a long dress. I needed something to balance the horrible Dora-pink, so I made the sleeves, button band, and neck binding of black broadcloth left over from a recent project.  (I somehow managed to forget seam allowances on the button band. I made the best of it, but it did turn out narrower than usual).  Using snaps instead of buttons and buttonholes, I think I broke some kind of personal completion record!

I knew Miss M would want to wear her new Dora dress day and night for the next few days, but since the highs have been in the single digits the past week or so, I thought she might need something with long sleeves to keep her warm.  I had a quarter yard of 60-inch wide high quality polar fleece that I picked up as a remnant for 50 cents.  I squeezed out a little cardigan using the "Lemon juice bolero" pattern from Ottobre 3/2010, #9 (but with long, non-poofy sleeves nabbed from another pattern).  I bound the edges with some cheap black ribbon affixed a hook-and-eye and a little black bow, et voila!  Whatever fleece it was is marvelous! So think and sturdy!  Definitely not like the cheaper fleece Jo-Ann sells.

Hubby also bought Little Guy a yard of Cars fabric.  How can you resist a cute little one-year-old's "das! das!" when he sees something that delights him?