Saturday, February 28, 2009

a glimpse

What busy days!Thursday was nice and warm but busy. We had a lot of fun playing outside but we also got a lot accomplished. school work-done...laundry-done (washed, hung to dry on the line, folded, and yes, even put away) dishes-done, art class-done, playdate at the park-fun and done. Busy, busy, busy. Yesterday it rained but was still pretty warm...in the 50's. While it was cloudy in the morning the girls and I went on a scavenger hunt walk.
We walked a different route than we normally do so we saw new front porches, new yards, new blooming flowers. It was really nice...yes, we got sprinkled on a few times, but we survived. After playing outside for a while we headed back inside to do some hands on fun...kinda schoolish, but not. The girls spent some time sorting dried pasta, pretended to cook the pasta and feed it to the dolls, spilled the dried pasta all over the floor(eeek!) and cleaned it up, then I added a little yarn to the pile and they worked on making some pasta necklaces...it was nice to see distinct patterns being made and patience being practiced.
Then on to the joys of tinker toys. Not just any old tinker toys like the ones we had...these are special girly pink and purple tinker toys. I can see the girls thinking about all the things they can create. The final product, after much creating and recreating, was a tent for the doll. Oh, not just any old doll. That's Tallulah in that tent taking a rest from all of her camping fun with a full belly of yummy cooked pasta!
Amongst all of the playing I managed to enjoy some quiet time with them reading some new books from the library. A favorites right now is a new poetry book...this one. They like to take turns picking out poems from the table of contents page then looking at the great pictures that go with each poem. Another nice thing about the poetry book is that it is reinforcing miss E's progress in learning rhyming words. Also, not all of the poems rhyme so miss O is being introduced to other forms of poetry. I know, I know, not all things have to be about learning but life is learning. And no, I don't stop in the midst of building a doll swing set out of toys, or making fancy baubles with dried pasta, or snuggling on the couch reading funny stories to say we just covered this objective or you just mastered that skill. It just happens and I smile. I smile because I am blessed with two beautiful daughters. I am blessed because I have been given the opportunity to stay home with my girls and teach them and love them and lead them. I am blessed because I am the one that gets to be here when they struggle through something new. I can guide them and teach them the way that they learn best. I am here to see the look of accomplishment in their eyes and hear the excitement in their voices when they learn something new...and completely "get it." I love this life that I have been blessed with...my husband, my girls, my home.
...and yes, there is time for me to learn new things,too. Currently, I am working my way through a scarf pattern to match my pink hat.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

pink hat::mission accomplished

Okay, so I encountered several problems along the way in this pink hat journey of mine. Most of the problems, okay, okay, all of the problems, were my own fault. It all started with the type of yarn that I used. I haven't purchased any yarn...I am using the stash that my grandmother so graciously bestowed upon me so I used the lovely pink. I don't plan on buying any yarn until I am super proficient and need a specific type of yarn. The second problem was the size of my hook. Yes, the pattern called for size H, and Simple Beans used a size I...well all I have at this point is a size J(6mm) and some very small hooks that my mom bought for me (sizes 3.25mm down to 2mm) which I used to make my red Lotus Cuff...love it! Anyway, the point is, size J was too big...hence the big hat. Thankfully when I was making all of those hearts for Valentine's Day I learned how to do increases and decreases... so on the third attempt at making this hat I decided to include a decrease stitch at regular intervals all the way around for rd 11 and 12. It seemed to be working out great. The hat was becoming more hat like...and much smaller to fit my ever-so-lovely, pea-sized head. Then came the band. That, my dear friends, was a problem unto itself. Now, since I decreased the circumference of the hat I knew I would be using fewer stitches for the band but the band was starting to bow out like a...like a,....hmmmmm, well, let me think....I guess like a bell. I obviously had to deal with that because it would do no good for the body of the hat to fit my head if the band was going to stick out and not touch my head at all. Ugh, what a dork. So after rereading the band directions for the gazillionth time, which said to use dc, I decided to alternate rows of dc with sc to see if that would make it more in line with the circumference of the hat. Ya know what? IT WORKED!!!!! I cannot believe that in my quest to make such a cute hat, with all of the changes that I made, that it actually came out looking like a hat! And it fits! Okay, I know it's as pink as bazooka bubble gum, but it's my first hat and it fits me not Andre the Giant. I'm so excited! Wanna see it?

Well? What do you think? Yes, I know it's really pink. Look past the color and look at the hat. Ahhh, isn't that better? Now, what do you think? I certainly think it's a great pattern and worth making again. Maybe next time I'll actually follow all of the directions. Okay, probably not all of the directions. I wouldn't make a button hole. I didn't on this one. I just sewed the button on through both layers so it would look buttoned. No need in actually making one, right? I debated over which button to use. I had a brown one that was cute, but that pink one is from my newly gained vintage stash and it was exactly the same bubble gum shade of pink so I just had to use it. I put a larger pearly white flat button under in just for fun. Now all I need is a matching skinny pink scarf like this or maybe these in solid pink.

Upon seeing my face up close like this it seems that I need to start using some anti-wrinkle cream...maybe start wearing some make-up every once in a while. And I definitely need to get some sun. Come on spring! Bring it on!

a smorgasbord

smor⋅gas⋅bord
-an extensive array or variety

*The budding artist (miss O) in the house has developed a whole new storyline. There are many characters, all of which are named for their color. My favorite part of the pictures that come from her very detailed and eventful stories are the expressions on the character's faces.
*Because of Tim's gluten-free diet all normal bread products are eliminated from the menu. So when I make a pot of soup or fix spaghetti for dinner there is no garlic bread or bread sticks to eat with the meal. I suppose if I wanted to torment him by way of his senses I could whip up some delicious garlic cheese bread like we used to have with such meals. I'm not that mean and those are some serious carbs and fat grams that I can happily live without. However, there are a few products out there that are gluten free that look and smell delicious and sometimes they even taste delicious! Anyway, when he stopped in the grocery store the other day he saw a box of yummy looking bread sticks that would no doubt be a delightful addition to our upcoming spaghetti meal. Here take a look at the box. Yummy, right?

Nice big bread sticks beside that delicious bowl of soup. Mmmmm. Well, when he opened the box this is what he found.

A plethora of hard, crunchy, bread stick-shaped crackers that are a mere 1 1/2 inches in length. What type of bowl were they using in that picture....a ramekin? Sheesh!
*Okay, I know good and well that I am new to crocheting. I have difficulty with the proper gauge. I even struggle with counting stitches. But this is just ridiculous! It was all good through round 10 or so but then the hat just seemed to get bigger and bigger.
Sure, if I had a head the size of Andre the Giant it would be perfect! Cute even...but, nooooooooooooooo, I have a freakishly small, pea-sized head that requires adjustments in patterns. So, with the help of miss O I pulled it out all the way back to round 10 so I could do a few decreases here and there to make it small enough for my head. She couldn't believe that I was undoing all of that work, but that didn't stop her from getting covered in yarn as she ripped at it with reckless abandon! I, of course, was rewinding the yarn into a ball so I could try it again with adjustments that I am hoping will actually work. In my mind it works out okay, but we'll see. If it's a disaster the second time then I will call for back-up.
*Remember a few weeks ago when we had unseasonably warm weather? Well, unfortunately we're back to seasonably cold weather. Frigid nights, cold, windy days...alright, already, I'm ready for spring. Evidently, so are my tulips

and miss O's Dutch irises.
Gorgeous, right? I love that dark purple with the golden yellow accent. Such beauty when everything else around is still brown and wintry.
*I know I'm not alone when I say this next thing so don't roll your eyes and think that I'm crazy. The girls opened up the new play-doh the other day and we played and played. I just love that smell...fresh play-doh. One good whiff is all I need but I usually end up with some under my fingernails and some on the bottoms of my socks (because a certain little person always drops tiny bits on the floor), and if I'm having a particularly lovely day I may even end up with some on the seat of my pants. Oh sure, go ahead and laugh, but if you have kids, you know it's happened to you, too!
Well, that's all I have for now. A crocheted hat update is coming soon.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

sew happy...


together.

These are gifts for my sister-in-law. Her birthday was on the 20th but the family gathering is today. The pin cushion is quite a happy little fellow, especially when accompanied by the snazzy little bag.
Both gifts are reversible, but I've noticed that the pink side is a little more introverted. She did peek out from behind the bag long enough to flash a little grin at me. It's a good thing I'm fast with the camera because I could have missed that shot. I guess having two little people that never hold still very long is good practice after all.
So, do you want to know where I found these great patterns/tutorials? You do? I'm so glad because I really wanted to share them with you...ya know, if you really wanted to know. I don't want to be pushy or anything, I just think you might like to give these a whirl. I mean, if I can make these super-cute fabulous gifts than you can, too. And really, the more you sew the easier it becomes. Although I have noticed my stash of thread is dwindling rather rapidly lately. My fabric stash is still quite healthy, but I'm working on it.
Anyway, on to the sources of these happy little gifts. The pin cushion tutorial, although very simple to construct, was very helpful...some bits were tricky. You can find it here at WhipUp, a place of links and tutorials for all things hand-crafted. Go ahead, click on over and soak it up, but come back here when you're done so´╝ęcan share the snazzy little bag info. Really, go ahead. I'll wait for you.
*blink*
*blink*
Oh good! You're back! Now for more sewing talk. I found the free pattern for the bag over at Show Your Workings. It's called a Japanese Knot Bag. It was amazingly easy to make even though it is completely reversible. You can find the pattern here. Okay, so now that you know where both of the patterns are found I must confess, I discovered them both on The Long Thread's list of the Top 100 Tutorials of 2008...a wonderfully amazing goldmine, really.
So, Kim, Happy not-quite-as-old-as-your-brother Birthday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

i think i can...

crochet a hat.
At least, so far it looks like I can. I found this great hat pattern over at Simple Beans and I just had to try it out. You've got to go check it out, I mean seriously, it's really cute. I know, I know, spring is right around the corner but it's going to be in the teens tonight and the weather guy just said there's a chance for snow showers tomorrow so I think I am justified in making myself a hat. Plus, it's great practice for pattern reading (all those abbreviations are challenging) and it helps me memorize all those different stitches. I was pretty excited about learning a new stitch for this hat...the front post double crochet...FPDc...the raised rows of stitches. I think my grandma will be proud of me when she sees this...assuming that it will turn out right. It's obviously going to be pink. Not my first choice since my jacket is chocolate brown, but pink is nice and if I make a little scarf to match then I just might look like a yummy bowl of neopolitan ice cream...Mmmmmmm, ice cream. So, as I was saying, it looks a little like a hat so far. I hope the finished product turns out as cute as my mental picture of it. Oh, and Adrienne made one of these hats last week with some really pretty blue yarn. She made the finishing band a little narrower but it turned out really cute. I really enjoy this whole crocheting thing, it's a nice compliment to my love of sewing. Crocheting is portable and it's quiet so I can work on it at night after the girls are in bed. Sewing, not so much...my machine is portable but heaaaaavy....and loud....she's a cute machine but she really is loud. If you ask me, I think she just likes to be the center of attention.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

funny, but not

Yesterday miss O came out of her room and she was very excited! She told me that she made up a new game. It's a game that you have to use coins and if you lose the game the winner gets to keep your coins. Wanna know the name of her game? It's called Tic TAX Toe! What a little stinker! She heard Tim and I discussing taxes while working through the filing process over the weekend. She is such a question-asker and a reads-over-your-shoulder kinda girl. She is also a very determined 6 year old that likes to learn new things. So, with her limited explanation of taxes she already knows that it means someone is going to take your money. Funny, right? But not!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

two little words

Last night Tim and I were watching Heroes. I didn't really watch it last season when they were villains. It was weird and there were too many good and bad characters on there at the same time. Anyway, last night a new character was introduced. She looked so familiar but I couldn't place her. It's a little game we play, Tim and I...seeing who can figure out first the show or movie where we had originally seen the actor in question. Here she is from Heroes last night. Recognize her? (picture from NBC.com)She looked so familiar. Her voice was familiar. Her expressions were familiar. She was just older. Oh, where did I see her? Then it hit me...my first year of college, movie night for the girls on my floor, cheesy 1992 romantic comedy, two hours of my life that I will never get back....The Cutting Edge.

(picture from Amazon.com)

When I proclaimed myself the winner of figuring it out he was disgusted. Not that I won the crazy little game we play, but because of the movie that she played in way back in 1992. He absolutely hates that movie...the storyline, the acting, the whole thing. It must have come on TV once and he saw part of it because I can't imagine that he actually paid money to go see it in the theater. If ever I want to make his skin crawl or make him dry-heave a little (purely in jest, of course) all I have to do is remind him of this movie by saying two little words....toe pick! But more like....toooooeeeeeeee piiiiiiiiiiiick!

Monday, February 16, 2009

birthday sewing

While sifting through the abundance of wonderful Valentine crafts in blogland I came across this. Simple, adorable, irritable...don't ya think? I had to make it. Thankfully we were invited to a birthday party for a sweet little 5 year old friend...the perfect reason to make one right away. I made the tic tac toe board out of matching/coordinating fabric. Also, I didn't use felt to make the hearts I used some fabric from my stash. Now, because I love the JC Handmade pattern for the Kidlet Bag so much I had to make the birthday girl one of those as well. The Kidlet is such a great bag....a quick and easy project to complete...easily adaptable....and very functional. I have decided that the Kidlet will be my "gift bag" this year. Anyway, for our little friend's Kidlet I made it with two handles instead of one. I also put her initial on the pocket....in buttons! I do love buttons. Pretty buttons. Cute buttons. Little buttons. Big buttons. Colorful buttons. New buttons. Old buttons...oh, you get the idea. It was nice to use my sewing machine again. It's been a few weeks...she was starting to feel neglected. I'm happy to report that she feels much better now after helping me put a smile on this sweet face.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

lovely

Happy Valentine's Day
I hope you are surrounded by those you love.
xoxo

Thursday, February 12, 2009

thankful thursday

I can't believe how long it's been since I have done a Thankful Thursday post. Sheesh! I really need to get back on track here. I think I'll go the simple route today since nap time is almost over.
1. I am thankful that the weather has been very warm all week! It was super windy yesterday...and it is still windy today. However, it is still warm.
2. Getting back into our routine after going to the beach has been a welcomed event. As you already know, I thrive on schedules and routine, but my girls seem to enjoy routine as well. There is less whining and more fun when we know there are things that need to be done and we work our way through it together. So for being home and having a routine I am truly thankful.
3. The girls are still talking about our trip to the beach. It was cold there, with the exception of the first day, so there was no playing in the sand and lingering on the beach all day with a good book, a bag of snacks, and a bottle of water. We enjoyed relaxing at the beach in a whole new way...indoor pools. We also enjoyed the aquarium, which is a must when we visit the beach. I am so thankful that I have a husband that is a wonderful provider, a good steward of our finances, a planner extraordinaire, and a beach bum at heart. We are blessed.
Now, without further ado...more beach pictures.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ch ch ch changes

Well hello my friends. As you can see, I changed the layout of my blog. I really want it to be three columns still but I'm having a hard time getting it to be centered and stretched out properly. I have issues with symmetry...it's the math teacher in me. Anyway, I hope to have it all fixed up within a few days. Of course, any and all tips or tricks in regards to blogger templates and designs will be welcomed with open arms.

miss O at 2 months old...at 2 a.m. ....little stinker!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

crochet projects and vintage goodies

When we went to the beach I took some yarn, a few hooks, and a couple of crochet patterns. Since Valentine's Day is coming soon I decided to try my hand at this lovely crocheted heart pattern. I found it to be a good pattern for working on gauge as well as actually following pattern directions. All those abbreviations can be a little intimidating sometimes, but the more I learn the easier it becomes. Here's a peek at some of the hearts I've made so far. While we're talking crochet, I have been wanting to make this beautiful Lotus Flower Cuff designed by Marta of Creative Yarn. It looked a little scary to try since I'm so new to this whole crochet thing, but I printed out her free pattern anyway so when I was brave enough I could give it a try. Well, insert bravery, look what I made!I just love it and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. However, they are all supposed to be the same size...so can you tell which one I made first? Yep, the middle one. Thankfully the other two are the same size as I tried to be more consistent with my stitches. It is not by any means perfectly done like Marta's, but for a newbie like me...I'm not complaining. This is definitely a good pattern to use if you want to practice counting stitches and rounds. I must say...I see more of these in the near future!

Now for those vintage goodies! My sister-in-law was helping a neighbor clean out her apartment to move into a nursing home and that lovely neighbor wanted to share some of her sewing notions that she's had for a long, long, long time. Most of it is button-y goodness...take a look!

There were no dates on these buttons but the price on most of them was 29 cents! The designs and textures of these buttons were almost too much to handle. Most were made in the U.S.A. but there were a few, like the green ones at the top-center of the picture, that were made in Holland. I also got some snaps and a kit to make tiny covered buttons...all vintage. The other vintage thing I want to show you is a sewing pattern. Now, remember how I made like a zillion aprons last year? I love a cute apron. Okay, okay, take a gander at this beauty...

Oh man! This pattern is so old. I very carefully opened it up to see if there was a date on it anywhere, but I couldn't find one. What I did find was that the size - Large - was for a waist that is 30-32 inches. Large? Really? Another thing I found interesting was that the pattern pieces don't have any writing on them. No cutting lines, no seam allowance lines, no place on fold indicators, no notches....nothing, just plain paper. The pieces have been cut out already, but the only indication as to which piece you're looking at is a letter on each piece that is made of tiny holes, kinda like a mini hole puncher was used to form the shape of the letter. I must say, the pattern directions are pretty clear, but not as straight forwardly written as pattens are today. I have a feeling that there will be more aprons soon! Thanks Kim and Connie for the vintage goodies!

Have a happy Monday!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

for the love of saturday

Unseasonably warm, the sky so blue, and signs of spring. Sunshine and a sweet six year old.
Little and loving life.
The best family in the whole wide world.
Tea Party Game for the gazillionth time...and it's fun every time.
Also, it was so warm that I got to use my clothesline! She was so happy I thought I heard a sigh of happy satisfaction as she stretched out her arms.
Oh, what a Saturday.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

guess what!

I won a giveaway!!!
There's a blog I love to read called One Thing. You really should pop in there and read what's going on out there in Oklahoma. Jenni, the inspiring, humorous, mother of 12, author of the blog really has a way with words. She also homeschools her children and just started another blog called Grueling Homeschooling. I love that name. I love homeschooling and most moms that I know that homeschool love it, too but there are days when grueling describes it best. Now, if you want some neat tips and fun stories to read then you really should visit that blog,too. The giveway was hosted on Jenni's homeschool blog and I had to enter because who doesn't love a good tea party...and who doesn't love a fun game? We ripped right into the box and ooohed and aaaahed over the wonderful pictures on the box. Then we played the game. It's so cute. My girls just loved it. I meant to take a picture of us playing the game but we were having so much fun trying to acquire our cream and sugar and the much desired desserts while avoiding the bees that I totally forgot to take a single shot.
Thanks, Jenni, for hosting this giveaway with such a wonderful, fancy lady, one lump or two, best-ever, tea party game...we love it! And thanks for the sweet note on the most fabulous stationery ever!

Friday, February 6, 2009

home again, home again

...jiggety jig.

Here's a picture of our last sunrise at the beach. Stunning really....but it was only 28degrees! I've got lots of pictures to share and stories to tell. I must say it was nice to sleep in my own bed with my own pillow last night. I always look forward to going on vacation to the beach, but I do love HOME, there's nothing quite like it. So even though I'd like to relive every relaxing moment right now I've got laundry and dishes and unpacking to do. I'll be back later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

huh?

As I got up this morning and took the daily sunrise pictures I saw something surprising...SNOW FLURRIES!!! It's super cold and super windy today, but the beach is still beautiful and the dolphins are still frolicking. I don't think we'll be strolling on the beach today and we don't have any set plans today but, wait! Do you hear that? I think it's the heated pool calling me. The kids are enjoying some cartoons and I'm finishing up a cuppa joe then maybe we'll go for a swim.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

tuesday

A busy but relaxing day. We went to the aquarium this morning and had a great time. There were only a few people there...no bus loads of kids for field trips. The horseshoe crabs, the sharks, the wonderful sea turtle, the creepy eels, the graceful stingrays, the brightly colored clown fish, and my personal favorite...the weedy sea dragon....all just so great! Then we were back to the condo for some lunch and nap time. I used some of that time to get 3miles of running in today. When nap time was over we were off to the pool again. Lots of swimming and splashing. Then we went back up to the condo for dinner and bath time... a little playing and watching cartoons, then the girls were off to bed. I got my American Idol fix and my fix of Fringe. Seriously good show. Like x-files meets 21st century. Sorry no pictures from today, but here are a couple from yesterday. It was too cold for hanging out on the beach today but it's still nice to see it and hear it. After all that running and swimming I am just about beat. I also got in some reading and some crocheting...aahhhh, vacation. I also washed dishes, washed some laundry, cooked...hmmmm, reality. miss E soaking it all in...and scoping out the best group of seagulls to chase
one of my favorite pics, by far...miss O and daddy looking for the best shells
too bad the water is ice cold...still loving being here though

Monday, February 2, 2009

snipets of today

This morning the sunrise was absolutely beautiful, the ocean was like glass, and the wind was been almost non-existent, which helps it feel much warmer. We started off our day watching people taking a horseback ride on the beach. Seriously, how cool is that? Very, that is until one guy's horse decided he was done and wouldn't go anywhere. The guy got off and tried to make the horse go, but it just kept walking in circles. Hmmm, maybe you should check the saddle, dude. Maybe it's too tight. Anyway, the horses were a lovely surprise. After seeing some horses, we decided to go for a swim. There was a kiddie pool (3" to 1'), a grown up pool (3'-5'), and a lazy river...all indoor and as warm as bath water. One quick cute thing...when we were discussing the pools before we went down miss E asked if the "kitty cat" pool was for kids. *smile* Fun, lots of fun...but shriveled up to pruny in less than an hour. And no, Kim, there was no racing this time. Thankfully my little ones are not ready for that, because I'm not ready to lose another race! After drying off and having a snack we went out on the beach for a while. The sun was shining so it was really nice. Oh, and there were a gazillion dolphins frolicking in the waves really close to shore.
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There were shells to be found and seagulls to chase. Oh, it was just a wonderful time. We are so thankful for such a wonderful day. It's supposed to be colder the next couple of days so we really soaked it up.
I wish you could smell the air. There's nothing like it...warm and salty....oh, and the sand. Nothing like walking in the sand. This pic is for you, Adrienne!

And just so you know, I was a good girl and took advantage of the fitness room today...3 miles on the treadmill with a view of the beach as the tide came in and a flatscreen tv with the channel set on espn. What? Do they think that women want to watch that, too?
On the agenda for tomorrow...Ripley's Aquarium! Yea, baby!