Friday, December 28, 2012

New Things in the New Year

A new year is nearly upon us!  And with the new year there will be some changes at our house in the way that we are homeschooling.  Up to now, Miss M has been steadily working through Calvert's First Grade.  She started in August 2011 when she was only four and will be finishing up the math in January and the rest in February 2013.  We took some long breaks in there, but now that she's a smart-as-a-whip 6-year-old, much of the material is too easy for her.  The child is a naturally excellent reader and speller.  I love, love, love Calvert and have fond memories of it from when I myself was a homeschool student, but I'm not convinced that it is the right curriculum for our family or for Miss M's learning style.  So the first change for us will be to drop Calvert and take up My Father's World for 2nd grade.  Or...a 2nd/3rd grade combo to be exact so we'll be working at an appropriate level for Miss M.

Adventures in My Father's World

I really like the idea of a curriculum that incorporates a Biblical worldview into the various subjects as well as tying together the various disciplines into a central theme.  Plus, I've heard wonderful things about Singapore Math, so I'm looking forward to giving that a go.    In addition to all that, we're going to start learning a foreign language.  Tagalog!  The kids are half filipino, after all, and their grandparents still speak Tagalog at home and with Hubby, so it seems appropriate that they learn it first.  Needless to say, he's quite excited by the prospect as well!

Another exciting change for us is that I've been chosen to join the review team at Mosaic Reviews!  I've never done anything like this before and I'm anxious to jump in and give it a whirl!  I really can't tell you what to expect since I hardly know myself, but I'm certain it'll be an adventure and I look forward to sharing it with my readers!  They say they're still looking for reviewers, so if you're interested, go read about how you can join the team too!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

DPP#24 - Christmas Polar Bear

DPP#24 - Christmas Polar Bear

One final gift, made entirely by hand. This adorable polar bear will get lots of cuddles and kisses on Christmas Morn!

December Photo Project

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DDP#22 - Father & Son

DDP#22 - Father & Son

Hubby and Little Guy after ditching their Santa hats at our annual Christmastime breakfast at IHOP. Miss M and I followed protocol and kept our hats on!

December Photo Project

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DDP#20 - Snow Ops

DDP#20 - Snow Ops

Snow day! And by a happy coincidence, Hubby has the day off! So he got to play in the snow with the rest of us.

December Photo Project

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DPP#19 - My Little Ponies

DPP#19 - My Little Ponies

When you have a young daughter, My Little Ponies are just a part of life. She arranged these today according to family after "having an orphanage" and making them "all get adopted into families." This family is actually made up of ponies from my own childhood.

December Photo Project

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DPP#18 - A Run in the Park

DPP#18 - A Run in the Park

Today's high, 58. Tomorrow's forecast: 3 to 5 inches of snow! We decided to take advantage of the nice weather with a little jaunt in the park. Of course, I forgot to grab my camera, so this one was taken with my phone.

December Photo Project

Monday, December 17, 2012

DPP#17 - Tools of the Trade

DPP#17 - Tools of the Trade

A few indispensable tools of the sewing trade! The scissors are ones my grandma gave me for my 10th birthday.

December Photo Project

Sunday, December 16, 2012

T-Shirt Memory Quilt

I've been sewing like a fiend!  I made two patchwork peasant dresses with another one cut out and waiting. I made an underdress and overdress outfit for Miss M to wear in my dad's wedding.  I made Little Guy a vest and tie to wear in the wedding.  And I made this massive queen-sized t-shirt quilt!
T-Shirt Memory Quilt

Mind you, I'm no quilter, so I probably did 101 things you're not supposed to do, but all in all I'm quite pleased with how it turned out!  I was given 30 shirts and used all of them (most had images on both the front and the back, a total of over 50 squares each measuring 15.5 inches).  I stabilized all the knits with ultra lightweight interfacing (a Black Friday doorbuster item at JoAnn) and backed the entire thing with a pretty purple geometric-print flannel (also from JoAnn on Black Friday).  I didn't get a photo of the back (lucky to even get this shot!), but there's also one row of t-shirts on the back.  The couple I made it for is giving it to their daughter for Christmas.  Isn't that a wonderful gift!?

As much fun as I had sewing it, I'm so glad it's done.  I love meeting (and beating!) a deadline.  The euphoria and sense of freedom after completing a big project is exhilarating!

DPP#16 - Christmas Chickadee

DPP#16 - Christmas Chickadee

This cheery Christmas chickadee is joyfully gracing my living room. It makes me happy every time I see it!

December Photo Project

DPP#15 - Beautiful Children

DPP#15 - Beautiful Children

No photo from yesterday. Today I'm keeping these sweethearts a little closer than usual and praying with a broken heart for the families and community in Connecticut that lost too many of their beautiful children.

December Photo Project

DPP#13 - Pouty Sleep

DPP#13 - Pouty Sleep

My very tired boy was pouting in his sleep. I wonder what he was dreaming about!

December Photo Project

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DPP#12 - Flower Girl

DPP#12 - Flower Girl

It's 12.12.12 and my dad got married today! This is my daughter carrying the bride's bouquet.

December Photo Project

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DPP#11 - Saxophone

DPP#11 - Saxophone

Hubby has been practicing his soprano sax in preparation for my dad's wedding tomorrow, 12/12/12.

December Photo Project

Monday, December 10, 2012

DPP#10 - Christmas Penguin

DPP#10 - Christmas Penguin

This cheery fellow and his 7 pals will be much happier were there a dusting or so of snow this Christmas!  Until then, they're content to grace our lawn and warm our hearts!

December Photo Project

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DPP#9 - Corkscrew Tendrils on Thorny Vine

DPP#9 - Corkscrew Tendrils on Thorny Vine

Dried tendrils of some sort of creeper vine. It has small white flowers in midsummer with a very strong fragrance. Some day I'll positively identify it!

December Photo Project

Saturday, December 8, 2012

DDP#8 - Sycamore seed pod

DDP#8 - Sycamore seed pod

This sycamore seed pod hangs on a towering 100-foot high American Sycamore tree atop a large hill overlooking a county courthouse in a small Missouri town.

December Photo Project

Friday, December 7, 2012

DPP#7 - Quilting in Progress

DPP#7 - Quilting in Progress

This is a queen-sized t-shirt quilt I'm working on for a client to give her daughter for Christmas. Machine quilting a queen-sized quilt on a regular sewing machine takes some wrestling!

December Photo Project

Thursday, December 6, 2012

DPP#6 - June's Nativity

DPP#6 - June's Nativity

My grandma, June, made this wooden nativity set years ago when I was still a kid. It's a favorite part of our yearly celebration of Christmas! Grandma June is still very much alive and crafting!

December Photo Project

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DPP#5 - Comfy Princess Scholar

Comfy princess scholar

My little scholar dressed in her finest and doing her schoolwork smack dab in the middle of Mama & Daddy's bed.

December Photo Project

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

DPP#4 - Pint-sized Fashionista

Pint-sized Fashionista

My six-year-old has a very clearly self-defined sense of fashion. She requested a photo shoot.

December Photo Project

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Give Thanks! 30 things I'm thankful for this year

1. I'm thankful that when I say, "There's nothing to eat," what I really mean is that nothing we have sounds appealing. My children have never known hunger.

2. I'm thankful I *get* to stay home with my children, to care for them and raise them. I don't have to work outside the home. Neither am I forced to stay home because I have no other options.

3. I'm thankful for good health; access to modern medical, dental, and vision care; and excellent medical insurance.

4. I'm thankful that I have limitless access to clean running water.

5. I'm thankful that power outages are not common occurrences where I live and that when they do occur, they are rarely more than a mild inconvenience.

6. I'm thankful I've been able to know all my grandparents.

7. I'm thankful for the massive amount of human knowledge available at our fingertips today. We can find out tomorrow's weather, why our child has a rash, what foreign words mean, who our ancestors were and what they did. And so, so much more!

8. I'm thankful for God's unconditional love. Love that pursued me, a despicable sinner. Love that gave everything to ransom me from the Enemy's Camp. Love that I did nothing to earn and can do nothing to lose.

9. I'm thankful for the Bible. In English. In multiple translations. In my house. On my computer. In my heart.

10. I'm thankful for Miss M who is so full of life and ideas and a let-no-one-get-in-my-way attitude. Happy 6th birthday!

11. I'm thankful for trees! I love 'em. (And apparently this is genetic since my grandma and mom are both the same way!)

12. I'm thankful for the Little Mister and his great big, generous, loving heart. Happy 3rd birthday!)

13. I'm thankful for warm socks and cozy sweaters and that I can warm up my house with the flick of a switch.

14. I'm thankful to live in a place with four seasons yet a not-too-long winter.

15. I'm thankful both kids can now use the facilities on. their. own. No diapers to change. No frantic rushing a potty-trainee to the toilet. Just the occasional zip-and-snap assistance.

16. I'm thankful for the freedom to choose homeschooling. Not every country, or even every state, is as friendly to homeschoolers as ours.

17. I'm thankful for the excellent education I received. It successfully prepared me for adulthood and gave me confidence to interact intelligently with all kinds of people.

18. I'm thankful for the gift of faith. I'm not debilitated by doubts and fears or plagued by what-ifs.

19. I'm thankful for my love of reading, for good books to read, for excellent and accessible libraries, for my Kindle, and for an appetite for a huge variety of material.

20. I'm thankful for a park within walking distance.

21. I'm thankful for the treadmill in our garage. I can exercise effectively even when the kids and I are stuck home in the snow!

22. I'm thankful for warm blankets and soft pillows.

23. I'm thankful for my sewing machine.

24. I'm thankful for my husband, who goes to work every day to support us, who encourages me in my crafty endeavors, who thinks I'm hot, and who adores our children.

25. I'm thankful for the astounding variety of fruits and vegetables that God made and that are available to us year-round.

26. I'm thankful for our favorite Chinese place where we can all four eat (and have leftovers!) for the same price as a meal at McDonald's...and that's after the tip!

27. I'm thankful for gadgets that make my life easier: my bread machine, my washing machine, my dishwasher, my Cricut (I just cut out 60 construction paper leaves in 20 minutes)!

28. I'm thankful for technology that allows me to keep in touch with loved ones who live far away, including Facebook!

29. I'm thankful for like-minded friends/family and for the ones who see the world differently than I do. How dull it would be if we were all the same!

30. I'm thankful that we're neither too poor, nor too rich. Each comes with its own set of difficulties and I'm thankful ours are what they are and not something else.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rapunzel and Flynn Rider

My first choice for a costume for Miss M would have been Merida, the new Disney princess from Brave. I want to make her gorgeous dark green dress!  Alas, Miss M wanted to be Rapunzel, so pink and purple it had to be.  And once she had decided on Rapunzel, it was only natural her little brother wanted to be Flynn Rider (a.k.a. Eugene Fitzherbert).

I picked up the Rapunzel pattern (Simplicity 2065) when it was on sale for 99 cents.  I've had enough experience with Simplicity patterns to expect them to run insanely wide, so although my daughter wears size 6 in ready-to-wear clothes, I made her a size 4 in width (and a 6 in bodice length, but 4 in skirt length).  I lengthened the bodice for two reasons: 1) the dress in the movie is longer waisted and 2) it means she'll be able to wear it longer!  Even so, it's a wee big big around on her.  Room to grow!

I found the directions to be sparse and sometimes just plain strange.  A fully lined bodice and a neckline facing??  Needless to say, I did a few things my way, but ultimately changed very little.

If you've seen the movie, you can appreciate how her hairstyle and color fits quite well with how it ends!

The Flynn Rider costume was a little more involved since they haven't (yet?) come out with a pattern for it.  I drafted and made the vest in one day (yay me!).  It's made of two layers of fleece that I quilted together to add the appropriate texture and then fully lined with the same brown interlock I used for his pants.  In a word, it's warm.

The pants are "Desert pants" from Ottobre (1/2008 #17) in size 98 without the elastic shirring on the sides of the legs.  While perhaps not quite accurate to the film, they were super quick since I already had them traced!  And again, warmth was a factor; these are full enough that I can layer them over some long johns if it's too cold out.

Flynn's shirt is also made for warmth, and again I used a pattern that was already traced.  Ottobre 6/2007, #19, the "Ollie shirt."  I had used it previously to make Miss M's Jessie shirt.  I just had to draft a different collar et voila, the perfect Flynn Rider shirt!  Oh, and it's nice thick flannel.  Like the pants, it's a size 98, which is a size too big for Little Guy, but I figured I wasn't going to all the trouble of making him an entire Flynn Rider suit only to have him grow out of it in a month.  And if you think I'm exaggerating, consider this: he grew a half an inch in the past 2 months and Miss M grew three quarters of an inch!

To finish off the ensemble, I used the "Naturalist's Scavenger Hunt Bag" pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated for Flynn's satchel.  I pinched out some of the width of the pattern and simplified the strap.  It's made of some remnant bin bits of marine vinyl and duck cloth.  And I made boots from the instructions on ikat bag.  I used some sort of suede-y, foamy, home dec stuff I found in the clearance section at JoAnn.  No idea what it's typically used for, but it made great boots!  The soles of the boots were cut from a pair of flip-flops Hubby never wore (seriously, we have had them most of our marriage and they didn't even show any wear)!

Don't they make a handsome couple? :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

KCWC Fall 2012: Days 6 & 7

KCWC Day 6 found me deviating from the "rules" a little.  Instead of sewing kids clothing, I finished up a kids toy.  I started the mattresses for this Princess and the Pea a while back, but hadn't gotten around to finishing them, or sewing the princess herself.  With a little friend's fourth birthday right around the corner, I figured I'd better hurry up!

Little Guy came along just as I was about to stuff the princess and wanted to help.  I put a small pouch of zinc coated BBs in the bottom of her to counterbalance her heavy head!  Then we filled her with fluff. "Winnie the Pooh has fluff!" said the little mister.  "But not me. I'm full of bones!"

Her hair is wool suiting (washed and dried so as to be thick and wooly), her face is tea-dyed kitchen toweling, and her dress is a piece of cherry blossom quilting cotton I bought back when Miss M was a newborn!  I embroidered her eyes and mouth and used a stiff paint brush to brush my own blush on her cheeks.  Her hair accessory is plain old craft felt and a button from my late grandma's collection.

Day 7, all I did was cut out the pattern pieces for a Rapunzel dress for Miss M.  She's very anxious I get it finished in time for a bon fire the Friday before Halloween!  I haven't made any promises...

Friday, October 12, 2012

KCWC Fall 2012: Days 4 & 5

Day 4 of elsie marley's Kids Clothing Week Challenge found me coming down with a cough and cold.  But here's the embarrassing thing: I started this flannel hoodie dress for the Spring KCWC!  Yeah, it's been shifted back and forth in an increasingly shabby pile for months!  It was time to put it out of its misery.

It's timely, because this hoodie dress has a special purpose.  It's meant to be a swimsuit cover-up and in just over a month, we are taking the kids to a hotel with an indoor water park.  The prices are *much* cheaper in November, which is convenient because both the kids birthdays are in November too!  The best part is, the kids don't know we are going!

I'm loath to put any of my KCWC garments in the flickr group this time because we've been having such gloomy weather, which means my photos are coming out awfully!  I keep hoping we'll get some sun so I can get some good shots!

I wasn't as productive in my time Thursday and Friday because of my cold, but I managed to finish this baby, photograph the star pajamas, and even make an infinity scarf for myself!

I rarely get much sewing done on the weekends, but my goal is to at least cut out Miss M's Rapunzel dress.  I picked up the pattern last week when they were 99 cents and she helped me pick out fabric.  It's kinda-sorta for Halloween if I get it done in time, but I'd rather save it for her birthday.  We'll see.  :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KCWC Fall 2012: Day 3

Day three of KCWC!  Today I worked on a little outfit for a wee friend who is celebrating his third birthday this Saturday.  He's the fourth of five brothers, so I wanted to make him something extra special just for him, to celebrate his uniqueness!

I used two Ottobre patterns: the "Morris" necktie (3/2009, #22) and the "Ashley" slipover vest (6/2007, #22).  They both went together like a dream!  The tie is made of a slightly heavier quilting cotton and lined with light weight bleached muslin.  The vest is soft velour and rib knit.  Happy birthday, little James!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Belle is my favorite of all the Disney princesses.  (I love this analysis of Belle's character!)  So when a lady from church asked me to make her daughter a Belle dress for her 4th birthday and Halloween, I was happy to oblige!

I used Simplicity 4764, view G (with modifications) in size 5 length and size 4 width.

The bodice was constructed of 2 layers: outer of sparkly satin and lined with 100% cotton muslin.  I used some corded trim as piping around the neckline.

The skirt was constructed of 4 layers:

Lining of bleached cotton muslin
Two tiers of mesh netting sewn to the cotton lining and then overlayed by mesh cut using the skirt pattern pieces.
Underskirt of yellow taffeta.
Overskirt of yellow sparkly satin.  I cut the overskirt 6 inches longer than the underskirt and used 16 inch pieces of quarter inch elastic to shir the full length of the overskirt "Belle style."

I really enjoyed making it and it turned out even better than I expected!  At one point I had Miss M try it on to check the sizing and she confided in me, "Mama, I think I'm a little jealous."  Well, child, it's not easy to sew without you sticking your nose into my business, but you do have a birthday coming, so we'll just have to see what we can do about that!

KCWC Fall 2012: Day 2

Day two of KCWC!  Yesterday I finished both pairs of penguin pajamas before going to bed (at midnight!), but I didn't get pictures of them until this morning.

I used penguin printed thermal knit and ribbing (dark red for Miss M, and black for Little Guy including the sleeves).  I only had two yards of the thermal knit, so I was pleased to squeeze both pairs from it!

I made sizes 104 and 116, a little too big on purpose!!  And I fully intend on passing down the larger pair to Little Guy when Miss M outgrows them!

Today I made two pairs of fleece pajama pants -- making absolutely no effort to match the plaid! -- from 2 yards of polar fleece I got at JoAnn a couple years ago.  They are the Simo sweat pants pattern from Ottobre (4/2008, #27), but with no cuff.

I also made another pair of thermal knit pajamas (same pattern as the penguin ones) for Little Guy.  I only had one yard of the star print thermal, so no matchy-matchy this time.  Unfortunately, before I had a chance to take a picture of them, Little Guy put them on and after a while I heard his sweet voice coming from the other room:

Little Guy: "Oh no! It's making a mess!"
Me: "What's making a mess?"
Little Guy: "The pee!"
Me: *sigh*

I don't know what he was trying to do, but he managed to get pee all over the rug in the bathroom and on the floor and, of course, on himself.  Oh well, he needed a bath anyway and I needed to mop the bathroom.  Ha!  Needless to say, the star pajamas are in the wash and I'll photograph them tomorrow.

The last thing I made today before calling it quits was a fleece Hello Kitty hat for Miss M.  She saw one while shoe shopping the other day, but I couldn't stomach spending $10 on a hat.  Happily, I had all the supplies necessary to make my own on hand already!  I drafted the pattern myself, kind of making it up as I went along.  I think the "tails" are too long, but once she tries it on, I'll shorten them if I find it necessary.  She hasn't seen it yet, so I put it in her room where she'll find it in the morning!

I'm not sure what I'll work on tomorrow, but we have a birthday party on Saturday for a little boy who is turning 3, so I have a few ideas for him.  How is your sewing going?

Monday, October 8, 2012

KCWC Fall 2012: Day 1

I wasn't going to participate in the Kids Clothing Week Challenge this time. Partially because last time it was a bit of a disaster, and partially because I have so many other projects that need finishing that I really don't need to be starting new projects.

But it just so happened that I (finally) got my sewing area cleaned up and re-organized so that it's now available for immediate use. AND, we just had our first freeze of the season, which means it is time to pack away the rest of the kids summer clothes and bring out all their cool weather clothes. They've got enough hand-me-downs to suffice, except for pajamas. So I decided to make them some pj's this week and whaddya know, it's KCWC this week! I got a tiny bit of a head start Saturday night by cutting out a pair of fleece pj pants for each of them. Last night I traced the proper sizes of the Night Owl shirt and Stripy Legs pants from Ottobre 6/2009.

Today I cut out three pairs of pajamas, one for Miss M and two for the Little Mister.  I sewed more than an hour, but now they each have a new pair of pajamas!  This little guy waited at my elbow until I finished so he could wear them to bed!