Wednesday, October 29, 2008

hedgehogs and lazy day skirts

I've been meaning to post pictures of the skirts I made Rowan for her birthday a few weeks back, but have not been home in the "light" where I could take decent photos. Somewhat unfortunately, Griffin is sick today with a stomach flu, so I am home with him alone. The good news is that I was able to take pictures of the skirts as well as make him a snuggly pal to cuddle with when he is feeling icky... Really no lasting bad news either since he has been his normal self after a bit of morning puking.

I wanted to do something homemade for Rowan for her birthday... and found the Oliver + S Lazy Day skirt pattern pattern mind you. I came upon it after reading about it on Soule Mama... a great blog I peruse frequently. (I recently bought her book it a lot). Anyways, I whipped up 5 of these in an afternoon using fabric I had in my stash...I'd been dying to use the navy owl fabric. Why only 3 skirts in the pictures, you ask? One did not turn out at all (fabric was shiny and slippery - and I'm not talented enough to overcome the issues that arose)... and one I made for Brooke's Vada in a mini size. It matches the brown one with the Brady Bunch trim I picked up at a great garage sale this summer. They were very easy and I loved the ribbon trim - it was a great way to finish the edge with out hemming!

Onto the "softie". Seems in crafty world, the term "stuffed animal" is obsolete - and "softie" has taken over. Maybe because they are not all animals? Not really sure. Regardless, I have been meaning to try my hand at this, and I found a really cute hedgehog on the Molly Chicken blog. Honestly, my kids are not necessarily overly enamored with hedgehogs - I'm not really sure they even know what they are, but it was a good beginner project for me. I enlarged the measurements to make it a bit more hug able... and only made the pocket work from the front. (If you can't tell from the pictures, there is a pocket the entire size of the bottom fabric on both.). Here are pictures of Hedgy and Hedgette frolicking in the yard while Griffin naps. Their stuffing is a bit lumpy now, but I think it will balance out with some serious hugging and love.

Ack - I think I accidentally posted without pictures first. Sorry for those that get this via email...

Monday, October 27, 2008

hot drinks for hot mamas.... apron swap

I feel a big old sense of accomplishment/relief because I got my Hot Drinks for Hot Mamas apron swap package out the door. OK- so is it THAT great that I got it mailed ON the actual due date and not before? And only finished sewing the buttons on last night at 10 pm? Well, it was still on time, so I'll mark it in the "good girl" column for today.

A bit of background, setting the stage, if you will. Yes, I joined another sewing swap...where I make something for total stranger with only a few hints to guide you as to their likes/dislikes, etc. For those thinking it is a bit odd... maybe...I did wonder this time around why I was procrastinating and not starting on the homemade gifts I'd like to make for family and friends this Christmas. But, honestly, I had more fun this time around - more so than my past 2 swaps where I needlessly spent the majority of time stressing if my partner would like my creation (specifically the fabric choice) and if they would laugh at my sewing skills - or lack there of. Then I thought about it and decided it could be a lot worse - seems that there are a few people who just don't get their swap package each round of these, so my rookie attempts are probably better than nothing! This swap had a fun premise - each of us told what types of hot drinks we like and we based the apron on the choices of our partner. My partner indicated she liked caramel coffee, apple cider and hot chocolate... oh, and her favorite color was orange. (Yes - if she happens to stop by to visit my blog before her apron arrives, then I gave it away just there, but what are the chances??)

Anyway... I chose a orange fabric with some great brown stripey stuff for the trim. I had been eyeing this McCall's apron pattern (I chose view A - Posie's Kitchen) for awhile, and am so glad I got it for this swap. Yes - I swore a bit when the pocket went on in the wrong location the first go around, and maybe I almost forgot to add the ruffle, or "flounce" as it was referred to on the package. All in all, it was pretty easy and looks good. Not perfect - I went a bit crazy making sure that the pocket would not tear off- and was using brown thread, so that part looks a bit wonky... but pretty good none the less. Better than no apron at all, right? Next time around, I'd probably do the orange for the contrast and the striped for the main material. I hemmed and hawed on this, but opted to err on the side of orange, since that was a declared love. I hope my partner likes it! Disclaimer - while I usually do not take good pics, the color here was a bit kooky. I think if I stopped finishing things when there is no chance of any natural light at all, things may begin to look better... or Dave could just give in and get me a new camera.

Now - I only have one more swap before I tuck into making those things for people I have met face to face....So many projects, so little time...

Friday, October 24, 2008

belated birthday - Rowan is 6

I can't believe it. Over 6 years ago, I became a mama and discovered how crazy and amazing parenthood is. Things are still crazy, but I feel I've gotten either a) a better grip on being a mom or b) developed a tough skin and don't let the small stuff (laundry, mud, markers on my furniture) get to me anymore. Probably a bit of both. I don't miss those first new months of parenthood - as wonderful as they were. I vividly remember Dave and I both fake sleeping through her "start up"cries - you know, the little bitty cry that could develop into either into a crisis, or fade to nothing within seconds? We both would stay totally still, knowing whoever twitched first would have to get up and take care of the baby if it developed into trouble. That was before I realized that as mom, I'd probably end up doing most of the baby related work. IF not, I would re-do whatever baby related task Dave had not done quite to my specifications anyways :)

So, back to the topic - we had Rowan Terese 6 years ago this month. I guess it comes with the territory - she has started school, she loves High School Musical, she rolls her eyes at me all the time when I say "dumb" stuff - my girl is growing up. Since her Daddy was in Germany, we were fairly low key on her actual birth date - celebrating with her pal Grady at Space Aliens. This past weekend we went to Duluth to visit all her grandparents, and each set had a special dinner and treat for her - Chinese and a Hannah Montana cake at Grandma Carole's, and Tacos and smiley face cup cakes at Gouma's and Bumpa's house.

Thought I'd share a few pics from her 6 years on earth :) They did not load in order so you'll jump around a bit. Also - I'm sure a few of the pics were taken by others - mainly Brooke. This is my generic photo credits - if they are good, she took 'em!

Here she is at Gouma's - in her Hermione shirt after visiting the "Boo at the Zoo" in Duluth.

Fourth of July in 03...

2005 - when she was 3

Last year on her 5th birthday...

Loved this pic - this is probably 2004

Halloween 2003

2003 in Gouma's sink

Only 4 weeks old here...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

long overdue projects and bad photos of them

Just to follow up some really fantastic photos with some really crappy ones, I thought I'd post about finishing some long overdo projects this weekend. OK, normally my pics are not great even on my camera, but they at least show somewhat accurate colors and what not. Dave is in Germany until Wednesday, and I borrowed him my camera for the trip, so to show you the wonders of these overdue tasks, I was left with only my phone. Sorry - but you've been warned.

First off - the bathroom! About 3 years ago, our master shower leaked a bit, so Dave tore it up to try to diagnose what was wrong. A mere 3 years later, we now have a re-done master bath! We had someone come and do the tile work, which does not show up at ALL in this picture, but is cool. Little octagon tiles for the floor and subway style tiles for the shower. We had stalled out 2 weeks ago on the painting, but I waited up for Dave's transatlantic call til 2:30 am this morning, so I got the final bit of painting done. Today, armed with a level laser thingy, a hammer, those plasticy drywall thing a ma jigs and a screwdriver, I hung up the towel bar, mirror and hooks. It needs some personal touches still (and a light switch cover - I inadvertently bought the 2 switcher when I needed the 3 switcher), but we can at least use it now. The good news? Well, besides having my own bathroom again? The light my mom bought me last October for my birthday works perfect in here!! (But I just noticed that you cannot see it at all in this picture. Oops~)

I decided to dust off the yarn and crochet hooks this weekend as well, since Rowan wants to be Hermoione this Halloween and needs a striped scarf. On my funky light up crochet hook (who doesn't need to crochet in the dark?) I found a purple skull hat that I had started last winter. I still struggle working in rounds, but I finished it up. Don't look close at the flower - I winged it. I have a cracked fingernail that was bothering me so much I could not even get up and find a proper book on how to do a "hdc" or other fancy things that the free online flower pattern called for. I just wanted to finish it up, and Rowan would not let it be finished until it had a flower. I told Rowan she could only wear it for fun.... since it was more a practice hat than anything else. It still looks cute on her though!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

new kid pics and a long explanation of their significance

My friend Brooke is an amazing photographer. OK, she is pretty amazing, period, but her photography is really something special. She has taken my kids' picture the past few years, as well as some family shots of all of us. Now that my monsters are just now turning 4 and 6, it was time for new photos. I'm totally stealing pics from her blog to show how cute they turned out... (she said it was fine, I promise). I met her at the Gammel Gardens last weekend, where she has taken pics before, but I'd never been. Turns out the park was kitty corner from the church where Dave and I had our first date. Odd sounding, isn't it? There is really a good explanation for that as well. Well, maybe not a good explanation, as much as a long, drawn out story that will truly add context to the photographs. I promise.

So, my college roommate and best friend Sarah R (I'm giving last initials for a reason, it gets complicated) and I were invited to a former roommate and friends wedding - that would be Sarah M (well, C now, and R is T now, but that is getting WAY too convoluted to dig much more into now... try answering the phone in college "Which Sarah do you want?" "You mean there is more than one??").

Anyways, Sarah R was in the wedding of Sarah M, and I was invited as a guest. I was at the tail end of a long drawn out break up with a former boyfriend, and did not really have a date,. So, I told Sarah R to go ahead and have her new boyfriend Terry, bring one of his buddies, Dave. We thought Terry would feel more comfortable that way, since Sarah R was in the wedding party and he would spend some time alone. I knew others at the wedding, and didn't really have anyone on the horizon, so I did not really care either way. OK, that is a bit of a lie, I was curious if this guy "Dave" would be cute... and I had heard he could sing, but honestly wasn't expecting much. Well, 9 years, a marriage and 2 kids later, I guess you could say it turned out well!

Why am I going into all this? Well, Brooke took amazing photos of the kids in front of that church too, besides just the gardens, and because of this long, drawn out tale, they are even more meaningful to me. It was a great surprise to see my kids on her blog today - especially since I was having a tough day. Thanks bl! Here are some of the pics... I love them!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shiloh Mathilda

Sadly, we had to put our Shiloh down tonight. We are all devastated - kids are having a hard time understanding, Dave and I are having a hard time coping, Tupelo (our other dog) is wondering where his other half is... We know it is for the best, but we are all broken hearted. Instead of thinking about this sad day, I'm gonna jump on the memory roller coaster. This includes going through old pictures of her and our family through out the past 8 years and sharing her tale (tail?). Her story, in a nutshell, is that I adopted an Australian Shepherd/German Shepherd mix from a rescue group called Pet Haven in 2000. Unfortunately, she was abandoned at 6 months and left on puppy death row. More sadly, her original name was Barbie. We fixed both of these issues by adopting her and giving her tons of love and a sibling/dog, and by immediately naming her Shiloh Mathilda. Shiloh - for the Civil War battle site (Dave) and the Neil Diamond song (me) and Mathilda to preserve her Australian heritage ("Waltzing Mathilda"). She was an extremely affectionate dog for us and the kids and we loved her a lot. She tolerated being climbed on and having her ears and tail pulled so well that she often gave lickey kisses to those small monsters doing the damage to her. Shiloh loved laying on laps (when she was WAY to big to be a lap dog) and chasing squirrels. Auntie Theresa often said Shiloh had impeccable taste... whether this was because she recognized and loved Theresa years after she had moved out, or by who she chose to chew on, I'm unsure. Admittedly, Shiloh was overprotective of her family, but was a docile, teddy bear to those she loved.
We miss you already Shi...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

a little bit of personalized heaven

I arrived home to a package at the door today. This always makes my day, regardless what is inside, but today was extra special. Tomorrow, I'm turning the big 3-4. Yes, not a momentous day, but still a celebration none the less. So.... back to the story. There was a package that was not entirely unexpected, since my Aunt Nancy in Texas mentioned she had picked up a little something for my big day. Well, she said she picked it up cause she knew I'd love it and then when it turned out to be my almost birthday, she thought "Even better!!".

One final preface before you can see it - I'm a royal, class A sucker for personalization. I was the kid at school that LOVED having pencils with her name on them. I always felt bad for my little sister, who was (is) a Brianna way before anyone else was. She would have had to settle for the "Brian" key chains, with a marker adding the extra "na", if she was ever to have personalized stuff. Lucky for me, Emily, while nowhere near as popular as it is today, was usually next to the "Edith's", "Ethel's" and other Grandma names, so I could always find a shot glass or license plate. If there is ever an "e" on anything I will swipe it up quick even today.

OK, lots of build up, I know. Check this out....

Just a close up on the "o"...She got it at an annual craft show down in Texas. You pick out what letters you want and then they frame them there for you on the spot. She said that there were color and black and white versions, and there are a few different versions of each letter to pick from, in case you have same letters in your desired word/name and want them to differ. Their website, just in case you are interested, can be visited here.

I love LOVE love this. In fact, I've been aimlessly walking around my house with it trying to find the perfect place to hang it. Thanks Nance! Now, I'm off to find a coin to scratch off my birthday lottery tickets from my mother in law.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

my brother is home...

My brother was home this weekend from NYC. The kids love to have Uncle Jake here, and I'm sure he got his fill of 4 nieces and nephews clamoring for his attention. We took pictures at my moms lake... brrrrr it was pretty dang cold. Thus - the hooded sweatshirts on all. I do love the fall, since it is the season of bulky clothes to hide muffin tops and double chins, but my blood must have thinned a bit over the summer if I'm this cold already! Here we are....

I did a mini-craft with the girls. I'm calling it "mini" cause it took less than an hour. We found an online tute and made our own birds. I'll post as soon as my mom sends the pics...I know, you are all waiting with baited breath...