Sunday, September 30, 2012

Everyone Loves the Fair

Who doesn't love the fair?  I don't know what it is about it but it is something I look forward to each fall.  Our school district actually gives the kids the Friday off school during the fair.  Wether, it's the food, the animals or the rides there is something fun about the fair.  We got to go this weekend and Piper really "experienced" the fair for the first time, though she's been every year since she was born.  It was even more fun this year to see it through her eyes.

Piper got to pet some of the animals.

Zachary made friends with a sheep.

Piper rode some rides (Zachary was a good sport and rode some with her).

And, of course we all enjoyed some yummy food!

I would say a good day was had by all.

I didn't think it would be right to put all of the pictures up here so if you want to see more, you can check them out here: Flickr.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Library Wednesday

It's Library Wednesday.  I'm a little late getting this post up.  I haven't been feeling like myself lately and when given the choice between resting or doing work, rest seems to be my first choice.  I am working with my doc and our insurance to get a new medication approved and hopefully once that happens I will be back to myself.

Anyway, guesses as to the theme for this week?

It was the ocean!  I didn't want to keep making dresses for library.  I thought I would try to work in some practical pieces this week.  So I went with an appliqué t-shirt and Oliver + S Sailboat pants.

This was my first time doing an appliqué.  It wasn't as hard as I had imagined in my head it would be.  I'll admit, some of my stitching was a little wonky, but it didn't matter.  Piper liked the pink whale and at the end of the day, that's what is really important.

I used a Garanimals t-shirt from Wal-Mart that I think I paid $3 for, so no big loss if I messed it up.  To make the appliqué itself, I used Thermoweb Heat 'n Bond Lite.  The Heat 'n Bond was kind of fun to use, I can't wait to see what other things I can do with it.

For the pants, I used the Oliver + S Sailboat pattern done in a grey micro-brushed twill.

Instead of doing the pant as a capri, I lengthened them into a full length pant (is that a grammatically correct sentence?).  It had been getting chilly here and so I thought a pant would be more comfortable.  A pant would have been nice yesterday or last week, today however it is 80 degrees outside. 

The pants have an elastic waist in the back and close with 4 buttons on the front.  I opted to use a very pale pink button...

...because I lined the pants with a pink and white stripe cotton.

I'm not sure anyone at the library got the nod to the sea with the sailor inspired pants, but that's okay.

I like the fit of these and will make more.  I do think that I may not use actual buttons and button holes on the next pair.  My concern was getting them on and off, especially in a potty emergency.  We were lucky enough to run into that scenario and I was able to get them off without undoing the buttons at all due to the elastic backed waist.  I think just for a cleaner look on the front, I may do a faux button and sew the front panel closed.  I had some small gapping on the side of these, by sewing the entire thing I wouldn't have that problem either.

I have had some requests to see the model wearing her outfits.  She's not always cooperative, so it's just easier to throw things on the mannequin.  So, here is Piper at the library this morning wearing her ocean themed outfit.

And, it has become tradition for us to go to Starbucks on the way home from the library for a treat.

The good news is, I already have the next two weeks of library outfits done.  The bad news is, I just found out this weekend that I need to have both kids Halloween costumes finished by the 19th of October.  Yikes!  So, you may get a few Halloween sneak peaks over the next few weeks as I finish things up.  I'm usually too excited about a finished product to wait to show it. ;)

Check back next Wednesday to see what the library theme will be.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

I feel like some weeks I hardly get to sit down, those weeks tend to occur when soccer is in season.  The season is going well, the boys are 2-1.  Zachary was named game MVP for yesterday's game.  Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Library Wednesday

It's Library Wednesday!  Yay!  See if you can guess this week's theme:

This week's theme is Transportation.  I think we've represented the theme very well with this dress, in Riley Blake Scoot Toys (Green and Dots).  I had planned to take some nice pictures outside so the colors were more true but sadly it's raining.  The dress really is not such a bright green.

This is my second time making the O+S Tea Party Dress (this was my first: Tea Party Dress).  I like the shape of this dress.  The tulip skirt sort of looks like a skirt that is spinning and what little girl doesn't like a dress that spins?

I added rid-rac between the top and the bodice.

This was my second attempt at adding the ric-rac.  The first time it was sticking too far out.  The second time it's not far enough.  But, I wasn't interested in unpicking the entire thing and trying for a third attempt so I just accepted it.

I used a blue pin dot cotton from my stash to line the bodice and for the hem band.

The directions for the dress call for doing a blind stitch by hand to attach the hem band.  I dislike hand stitching and avoid it as much as possible.  Call it a lazy thing.  So, I took the idea from the Family Reunion dress and did several rows stitching around the hem band.  I like the way it turned out.

For the buttons, I found these cool retro buttons in my favorite button box.  If you don't know about my button box, read about it here:  Buttons!

I'm very pleased with the finished product.  But, I think my favorite part is the unconventional fabric for  a girl.  Piper isn't just in to pink and dolls.  She loves trucks and dinosaurs and bugs, too.  We are doing our best to raise her to be a well rounded "person".  She is thrilled to have a dress with trucks and trains on it.  I can't wait to see how cute she looks wearing it!

Check back next week to see what the library theme is and what Piper will be wearing!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Love: Pete the Cat

In addition to my love of sewing and my family (and chocolate), I LOVE books.  Bookstores and libraries are happy almost euphoric places for me.  In my last job, before moving for the um-teenth time, I was an elementary school librarian.  You know how people say, "find what you love to do and do it", this job was that.  I was happy.  I loved my kids and I loved sharing books with them.  I also really loved the budget to be able to buy many books all at one time.  When my books would come in at the end of the year, it was Christmas for me.  I would sit and look through each one carefully.  Someday, I will be a librarian again.  In the meantime, I love finding books for my kids to read and enjoy.  I figure what better place to give some love to a favorite author or book than right here.

My first shout out goes to:

I happened up Pete sort of by accident and I'm glad I did.  Pete is a blue cat that finds himself in situations that might not make a person (or cat) happy.  His buttons pop off his shirt, his new shoes get dirty, he goes to school.  To quote the book, "Does Pete cry?  Goodness no."  Pete makes the best out of any situation.  He always has a song to sing too.

Piper (and all of us) love these books.  We sing Pete's little ditty's together while reading the book, and sometimes while not reading the book.  When we ask "Does Pete cry?"  Piper answers, "Goodness no."  If a book can get a child engaged in the story and participating with it, that's a good book.

I give Pete the Cat (and all his books) 2 thumbs up!  To quote Pete, "Because, it's all good!"

To learn more about Pete the Cat, visit his web-site: PeteTheCat

Friday, September 14, 2012

Do the Right Thing

How many times a day are we faced with making a decision about what to do in a situation?  (Probably too many to count on certain days)  Anything from picking up a piece of litter and disposing of it or witnessing a crime and reporting in and everything in between.  This week I was put in a situation that really got me thinking about "do the right thing."  We tell our children constantly to "do the right thing."  But, do we as adults always practice what we preach?

This week I needed to run out and get some red thread to start Piper's Halloween costume.  We also needed to run to the grocery store to get more banana's and peanut butter (Piper's current favorite meal. I wonder, is it bad to let a kid eat a banana and peanut butter for every meal? Anyway...)  Wal-Mart is the closest place to get thread so that's where we ended up.  Upon pulling into the parking lot I saw a local company truck parked funny.  Closer inspection showed me the truck had rolled into another parked car.  It must have recently happened because several people were looking at it.  When we got into the store I heard over the driver of the local company paged over the intercom.  In my mind, I said "okay, it's being handled" and went on my way.  We got the thread we needed, looked at a few more things then headed to the check-out. On my way out the door a gentleman caught my eye, I don't know why, so I watched him for a minute.  I'm glad I did.  He happened to be the driver of the truck that had rolled into the other car.  I saw the realization hit him and was so shocked by what happened next.  The driver picked up the pace to his truck, hopped in and drove off.  By this time I had Piper in her seat so I jumped into my car and followed him.  I got his licenses number.  I parked again and called the company to report it.  At first the girl on the other end of the phone seemed concerned.  Until I explained it to her a second time, when she discovered that their truck had hit a car and not vice versa she didn't seem as concerned.  So, there I sat in my car struggling with what to do.  I had called the company and reported it.  Was that enough?  I wasn't sure they were going to do anything.  I already had Piper in her seat.  I needed to go get banana's and lunch time was quickly approaching.  (I should note here that I don't handle confrontation well.  I like staying at home more than I like going out because I don't always like interacting with people, it makes me uncomfortable).  After sitting there for a minute, I went back in the store.  I found a manager and gave her the information.  As I was leaving I heard the driver for the other car (the one hit) being paged over the intercom.

When I got home it bothered me that I struggled so much with what to do.  Doing the right thing should be a no brainer.  Sure, I could have gotten in my car and left.  No one knew what I had witnessed.  I knew.  No one would have seen me leave.  Piper would have.  Yep, she's only two, but we have to remind ourselves that each and every thing we do in the presence of our children is laying a foundation.

So, I have made it a goal to make a more conscious effort when it comes to doing the right thing.  Zachary loves to pick things up off the ground.  I can't tell you how many times I have said, "eww put that down," when I should have been saying "let's find a trash can for that."  When I'm out walking the dog, I have bags with me already, I can easily pick up trash along the road.  When I am given 10 cents too much at the check-out, I'm going to return it (how many of us have ignored this one?).  If I can't return it, I will put it in a change donation box somewhere.  I will return the shopping cart to the corral and any others I see around me in the parking lot.  I will hold the door for the person entering a building behind me.  I challenge you to do the same.  No matter how small the act may be, do the right thing.  Do not walk past something / witness something and assume someone else will take care of it.  I think if we all did the right thing 100% of the time (and it's hard to do), this world would be a much better place.  Don't you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Library Wednesday

Yay!  Library story time is back!  Each week story time has a theme and the stories and craft are centered around that theme.  The children are also encouraged to dress in / bring in theme related items to "show 'n tell" to the class. Story time is really what put me back behind the sewing machine.  One week last spring, the theme was snakes.  Piper didn't have a snake to bring or wear.  Zachary decided we should make her one.  So, we did (actually he did most of the work, I assisted).

After that it kind of became an obsession to make sure Piper was properly outfitted each week.  I can't believe how much my sewing skills have improved since then.  I look back at those first few dresses and am a little embarrassed that I sent her to library in them.  I guess there really isn't anything wrong with any of them, I just think I do much better work now. ;)

Anyway, I'm so happy that fall story time is starting today.  Today's theme is Back to School.  Today's outfit for story time is:

I was so excited when I found this fabric.  It's called Gumball's First Day of School Bus Route by Timeless Treasure.  I'm not sure I could have found a more perfect fabric for our theme this week.  Admittedly, it's difficult to work with a fabric like this that has such a large print for such a tiny person.  The best dress to highlight the print and theme was the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress.  This is the second time I have made this dress in as many weeks (the first was the Candy Corn Dress).   I don't normally like to sew a pattern more than once.  I usually feel like, been there done that.  I don't feel that way with the O+S patterns.  As soon as I am finished with one, my mind starts racing with all the ideas for ways to change it up and make the next one.  I think it's the clear directions and the cute results that help with this feeling.

Despite this being the second time I have sewn this dress, I did sew the yoke on inside-out, but you can't tell. 

With the Candy Corn dress, I left the pockets off.  This time I added them, being very careful to match up the print.  I did omit the little notch in the pocket that mimics the notch in the yoke.  Call me lazy.

I had just enough of the grey (Michael Miller Back Yard Baby Snake Skin, grey) for the yoke and hem.  I didn't have enough for the lining of the hem, so I used a pretty blue cotton that I had in my stash.  

I did also finish the side seams with a french seam this time.  So the entire inside of the dress is finished.  I didn't take a picture of that.

I'm looking forward to a fun fall library story time and I know Piper is too.  Thanks to Miss Judy and Miss Barbara for making story time so enjoyable.  Check back next week to see what Piper will be wearing!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress

So far this is probably one of my favorite finished projects lately.

A month or so ago, I was shopping and saw "short, shorts" for toddlers.  Toddlers aren't supposed to wear "short, shorts", toddlers are supposed to wear cute dresses that help them maintain their innocence as long as possible.  This is the kind of dress toddlers (and all little girls) should wear.

Piper is a big fan of the color purple.  I haven't used much purple to make her things.  However, since picking up some of the Riley Blake Dress Up Days a few weeks ago, we've been all about the purple.  This dress is done in the Grape Damask print with Kona Cotton in mulberry for accents.

Just like my previous Oliver + S projects, I enjoyed sewing this one.  I have several books about how to add embellishments to a garment.  I never feel like I need to do that with the Oliver + S garments because they are full of little details themselves.

For example, these adorable pin-tucks (that just didn't photograph well):

Or, this stitching around the hem:

There is a button placket down the back of the dress.  I'm not crazy about the idea of needing to button 6 buttons on a wiggly 2 year old but I imagine I can get it over her head with only 2 or 3 buttons open.  The buttons do give the dress a timeless feel.

At the yoke there is a little tab.  The tab is not a necessary part of the structure of the dress but it does add another design element.  I like that I was able to add some special buttons from my recently acquired button box to the top (please ignore the not so straight stitching lines on the tab).

Now that school is in full swing, Piper's classes will be starting back up too.  I am already planning for her to wear this to her first day of music class.  It's an adorable dress that is sure to be comfortable and perfect for playing in.  Also, library starts on Wednesday.  Come back then to see my first library dress for fall. :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nutella Crinkle Cookies

For a little while now, Zachary and I have been discussing making Nutella cookies.  So, this morning with the weather a little yucky outside and no plans for the day it seemed like the perfect day to try them out.  We were not disappointed.  We did some internet research and came across a recipe to try, changing up a few things.

Nutella Crinkle Cookies (Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cocoa powder (Optional)
11 oz Nutella Spread  
1/4 cup butter or shortening  (I used shortening)
1 1/3 cups granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk ( if using butter use 1/6 cup-this why I love metric recipes!)
1/2 cup to 1 cup toasted and chopped Hazelnuts (I used chocolate chips)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F 
Line a thick bottom baking sheet with parchment

Sift flour, salt ,baking powder and cocoa (if using) in a bowl and set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl cream butter or shortening with nutella spread. on medium speed until light. 
Add granulated sugar, beat until fluffy.
Add vanilla  and eggs; beat until combined 
Alternate flour mixture to creamed mixture on medium speed,with milk. Blend until combined .
Stir in chopped nuts (or chocolate chips) .
Cover and chill for several hours. (I missed this step- and they still came out perfect ) 
Shape dough into 1- 2 inch balls .  
Place the balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. 
Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes  .
Cool cookies on wire rack.

They were delicious!