Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ring Slings!

I am working on slings (a ring sling and a mei tai) I *hope* to finish in the next few days. To practice folding and sewing the ring sling, I made one from scraps for the girls. Rena loves using it for her stuffed turtle.

front of carrier with turtle

back of carrier with rings

She has been "practicing" being a big sister with her turtle and sock monkey. She has decided that she will not change Bubba's (what they call the baby, so I guess Bubba will be his nickname) diaper but will talk to him when I change and will watch him when he is in his swing. We are all excited, only a few more weeks!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Xmas part 2

Done!!! OK, so I didn't sew a bunch this Christmas, but I am trying to sew a few things for Vasili before he gets here in January! I am working on 2 slings and some baby sleepers right now, but just finished 2 LGD Claire bags

The one that is mainly music notes is for Evie's piano teacher, the brown is for Serena's classroom teacher. If it wasn't for Evie's piano teacher, Serena would not be at the school she is now.

Today was Serena's school Christmas program. Instead of just doing it for the parents, they went carolling at a local senior living center!

First they sang a few songs for residents in the lounge.

Then they went caroling through the halls so they could meet all the residents. It was super sweet!

I am just so impressed with her school. They do a lot with and for the community, and what better way to teach the children Christ like love for others than by example?

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Sew, I've been spending time doing crafts with the girls and in my sewing room a lot, and have forgotten to at least blog a bit about our projects! First, I was part of a swap. we send each other fabric we have on hand but haven't used, and then whoever gets our fabric makes what they can out of it. My swap partner sent me these absolutely beautiful batiks...

front of bag

back of bag


Of course, the wallet is LGD's Wonder Wallet. The purse is a pattern from Liberty Star, the foldover bag pattern.

I also made coffee cozies out of scraps (thanks to my cousin Alexis, who sent me Christmas fabric to make her scrub hats, I had enough scraps to make a few of these!)

I did a few of these last year, but since we were in Pittsburgh I used Steelers fabric. It is SUPER easy, you just take a cozie from your fav coffee shop, trace it, add 1/4 for seams, than use that pattern to cut out 2 pieces of fabric, and 1 piece of fleece, 1 interfacing or 2 pieces of craftbond. sew, invert, edge stitch around, fabric glue ends together like cardboard one was, and you're done!

Then fill with candy! and if you can, a little gift card to the coffee shop.

Finally, the project we did for our family. We are trying to keep this Christmas simple, so we decided to make gifts. We made a huge batch of Salt dough for ornaments, used our big Valentine's day heart cookie cutter.

you just have to remember to poke a hole for string before you bake, than after baking we glued little wallet size pictures we printed at Walmart, wrote the year with sharpie on the ornament, and mod podged about 6 layers. Hope everyone likes them!

We also made a bunch of ornaments with our Christmas cookie cutters for our tree. The girls had a blast, not only working with the dough, but then painting and adding glitter. Of course, a week later, I am still sweeping glitter out of the kitchen...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

So, there are a few things we usually stick fast to. One is keeping Christmas simple. We do not participate in  Black Friday shopping. We have always told the girls that Santa is make believe, and they only get one gift from us (though usually make out really well because our families are so large). I love saying that my girls know more about Saint Nicholas and Saint Basil than the legend of Santa. We do mostly handmade items for our family for the holidays. It just feels better, and the girls LOVE picking out what they made for what family members. For us to, it means more to get a tub of cookies or a special recipe than stuff from Walmart.

That being said, last night Kevin and our brother in law Dave announced yesterday that they are going to Best Buy. At midnight. To wait in line to be there at opening to get a doorbuster deal. This floored me, because Kevin, well, my husband is not a spender. We get most of our furniture from Craigslist and thrift stores. When we do need a big item like electronics or appliances, he will spend months researching what he wants and figuring out when and where to get the best price. We will spend almost every weekend hitting all the stores near us, just to see what they had in their scratch and dent sections.

Apparently, one of the doorbuster deals was a TV. The TV he has wanted for a while. Up until this morning, we were using a 20 inch computer monitor as a TV. Hey, it worked. Sure, Kevin missed having his gaming monitor at his desk, but we needed something. This set up has been working for us for about a year now. Kevin would often talk about buying something else, so he could get his monitor back and watch his shows on a TV you didn't need a magnifying glass to see from the couch. So, off Kevin went with Dave at 11 last night, to sit for HOURS in the freezing rain, to get their item tickets for what they wanted at 3 am, then for the doors to open at 5 am. Kev said there was at least 100 people in line by the time 5 rolled around. It took them until 7am to finish checking out. To me, that is insane.

Apparently, for the make and model of TV, they saved almost 40%. Saving that percentage on something he wanted made Kevin really happy. He came home with the grin of a 12 year old boy who got his red rider bb gun for Christmas. He set it up immediately, smiling the whole time.

Now that the cardinal rule of no shopping on black friday was broken, I just hope he doesn't see the TV advertised for less later. That, and I hope both the boys get over whatever illness they now have from sitting out in the freezing rain for hours. They both just woke up with sniffles and coughs, took dayquil and are sitting on the couch under a blanket, watching the new big TV with grins on their faces....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Sew... I have been out of sorts for a while, it seems I want to nap at every possible moment instead of sew or blog! I did manage to finish a quilt for a friend's birthday, simple and quick in batiks

The other reason I have been out of sorts is all the running around! The girls have had a lot going on at their schools, we are getting ready for Kevin's family coming over this Thanksgiving, Evie is practicing like a mad woman for her piano recital, Rena has tae kwon do, it just seems we never stop!

Rena's school had a Thanksgiving Play last week, which was absolutely adorable! She also did a trike a thon for St. Jude's Hospital.

In this photo Rena is in the front corner, first row! She had a blast.

I owe a lot of gratitude to her teacher, Mrs. Jan. The school itself is wonderful, a true caring christan environment. It was so hard for me, after what happened at the last school, to trust sending her to another place. It's wierd though, so many people lead me to Carriage Hills, first our quilt guild president Theresa had sent her children there, and recommended it to me. Then another mom who had children there about 5 years ago told me her experience and how wonderful it was. I was still getting through all the emotions, especially the anger and hurt, from the first school. Then Evie's piano teacher, who goes to the church, sat with me and told her what she knew of the preschool.

Evie's piano teacher plays piano for the church, and for the preschool programs! She knows the teachers and director, and knowing what I had been through already, sat with me a while after a lesson and told me all she knew, then called the director and helped set me up with a meeting and to see the school. I was at the point where I knew Serena needed to be in preschool, but still didn't know where to trust. After meeting everyone there, it clicked where this was where God was leading us, this was where she needed to be.

Since she has started, she is a different girl! Her confidence is back, she is being responsible with her chores and helping around the house, she is excited to go to school.

The other bonus, and I am also greatful for, is that to help Serena get over the emotional abuse at the first preschool we had to stop attending church there. It was a Methodist Church, and since I am Orthodox and Kevin is Lutheran, it was a compromise. Since then, I have gotten Kevin to take us to the Greek Orthodox Church in Memphis. It does take us about a half hour to get there, but the drive is worth it. I feel soooo much better now we are able to take communion, and that Vasili will have a 40 day blessing after he is born. Kevin loves that the service is in English, so who knows, maybe I'll be able to get him to convert one of these days :)

Oh, and if you get a chance and have read this far, pick up a copy of Mark Lipinski's Christmas 365 with this cover

My yia's recipe for Koulourakia is on page 78, along with a really cute picture of the girls!!!

Happy Sewing, Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nap Mat

Sorry the pictures are aweful, but this weekend I wipped up a nap mat for Serena. She needs one for Kindergarten next year and her amazing new preschool has aftercare, which we are going to try out tomorrow so I can stay for the whole quilt guild meeting :) I haven't been to a guild meeting since August.

I found the tutorial for the nap mat on Jenny Garland's Blog. It's an easy sew. I did do velco instead of bottons though.

I like how it rolls up really easily. and she uses velco on one side so the mat comes out to clean, or if you decide to make 2 you don't have to rebuy the foam.

Serena looooves it. I used fleece instead of minky, because it was on sale :)

We're happy with how it turned out, It only took about 2 hours from start to finish if that. My dad is visiting from PA, and then my aunt and uncle came out from Arkansas, and with soccer on Saturday morning I literally had a short window of time to get it together!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Serena wanted to be a Train Engineer

I made the trick or treat bags for them, half yard of fabric, french seamed like a pillowcase, then hemmed and handles added! So easy!

Evie spent a lot of time designing her costume and picking out the fabric. She is Thunder Girl! Superhero who can control Thunder and Lightning to fight crime. Her civilian name is Evie Evanson, an art and math teacher by day and crime fighter by night!

She was totally in love with her costume. It didn't take too long to make, but I hate working with Lame!

In other news, Rena's new preschool is awesome! Through Evie's piano teacher, we found Carriage Hills Baptist Preschool, which it the next town over, but really worth the drive! She has had no issues at all. Her teacher Mrs. Jan has almost 20 years experience teaching and is really sweet. She loves school again.

Now that Halloween is over, back to sewing baby things!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The next step..

I am still angry at myself. Angry that I trusted my youngest in the care of the preschool she was in. I need to work through my feelings, but every session with a psychologist, more and more comes out about how incompetently everything was handled. So if you read this, take from my experience and if you see any of these signs in a preschool, RUN. Find another placement as soon as possible.

I am not saying my child is easy. She is my tough one. She is clever but emotional. She in strong willed and very active. If she can control a situation, she will. Her behaviors were not appropriate, but should have been easily controlled.

Every Preschool should have a behavior plan. It should lay out what the steps are for unwanted behaviors. For example, hitting or biting the first time will be a time out, second a time out and all home, third a suspention. This lets parents know there is a clear policy. If not, it is at the whim of the director on who will be worked with and who will be dismissed outright. It also gives teachers a tool on how to redirect negative behaviors and correct the situation. Some teachers, especially in a state where you do not need more than a high school education to work in a preschool classroom, do not have the tools in their toolbox to work with all children. A competent director should be able to help them find the tools they need.

Never, ever, ever let a teacher or director  try to hand you a diagnosis. If anything like Aspergers, Autsim, etc comes out of their mouths to describe your child, know that what they are doing is unethical, and if in a public school it is illegal. If they do push testing on you, tell them nicely that you need them, as a professional, to observe your child in the classroom and fill out a Connor or Brief-P. If they say they are unwilling or do not have the time, they are unwilling to do their job. Well, I am hoping that what happened to us was because the director was lazy. Anyway, no one is qualified to diagnosis your child who is not a psychologist. Some people will attend a seminar and automatically start taking it upon themselves to start labeling people. You know your child better than anyone else. Instead of trying to figure out what the catalyst of the behaviors were, I was told I needed to start testing for Serena THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL. I made a behavior analysis for them to use in the classroom, because as a teacher I was taught that everything needs to be documented, and you, as the adult, can modify and control the behavior if you understand what the catalyst is. If you do not get to the base of a problematic behavior, it will get worse. Our job as adults is to guide children, at home and in the classroom. Not all kids are easy. If you don't feel up to the job, maybe you are in the wrong profession. Trust me, I was a teacher, I know that you sometimes get really difficult kids. Sometimes it is hard to find out what is the catalyst for a behavior, but hey, that's part of teaching.

When the teachers went to the director for help, she, as the educated professional in the building, should have been able to guide them.

If your child does not like going to school, try to find out why. For us, we found out that Serena felt her teachers hated her. She overheard the director and a teacher discussing her (yup, how professional is that, talking about a child in front of that child) sometime in the first 2 weeks of school. This and the reactions to her behaviors led to a lot of frustration, and she took that frustration out in the classroom. This explains why her behaviors were limited to that environment. Children need an environment where they not only feel safe, but also liked as a person. At 4, what would you do if you felt the adults hated you as a person?

Also, make sure the staff is willing to put things in writing. In a public school,we have to document everything. It makes it easier for everyone involved.

Now we are dealing with other moms, who I really don't know but went to the school, asking about Rena because the director told them what happened. It sucks having to explain yes, we were expelled but no, Serena does not have any of the issues she is telling people she has. This is the most unprofessional aspect of the whole situation.

We were there this year for barely 5 weeks. 5 weeks. That amazes me. To help us all heal, we also left the church. I don't care if it is almost an hour drive, we are now attending the nearest Orthodox Church. I am Orthodox, the girls are Orthodox. My husband is Lutheran, and we thouht the church was a nice compromise. But I can not keep going into that building. The pastor, who was at the meeting and knew we were hurt, never bothered to call or ask if we were OK after the fact. The expultion meeting was unnessasary anyway. If the director was competent, she would have had a behavior plan. Barring that, she could have written us a letter, handed it to me that day and not involved the pastor. In the meeting, she said she talked to "professionals" who told her she was not equipped to handle a special needs child like Serena. She was the one who decided to diagnosis Serena as special needs. We had barely started testing when she threw her out.

Unfortunately, doing what is right is not always what is easy, and when you work with children, especially young children, the damage done can have a lifelong effect on that youth. A good preschool is willing to work with parents. A good preschool has a plan in place that outlines for parents what will happen when there are behavior issues. A good preschool keeps high ethical standards. A competent director can guide their staff to handle most any situation. A competent director does not recommend testing for children without thorough observation. A competent director keeps good paperwork.  A competent director can handle situations within the preschool.

As a teacher, I kept Matthew 18:12-14 in mind.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

It feels like in the case though, the sheppardess decided to kick the sheep over the cliff to lighten her own load because it was the easiest way to deal with a situation from her perspective.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The flowers diatribe

Yesterday was my nine year wedding anniversary. Nine years ago, I married an engineer. Actually, his degree is in Engineering and Science. He enjoyed academic torture so much, he attainted his PhD in a field called Polymer Science and Engineering. He is both an engineer and a scientist. I am making this a big point to try to preface that while others like to laugh along to the show Big Bang Theory, I am married to it. I am not complaining, I would not change my life for anything, I love my husband. He is cute, smart, a great dad, and an all around great guy. But yes, I find humor in some of the things that come with the territory of being married to, as his sister calls him, Dr. Dork.

The first is offspring. Both girls take more after Kevin than me intellectually. This summer when looking at camps I tried to get Evie to consider the really cool art camps in the area. For her age they had ceramics, painting, gardening, you name it. REALLY COOL camps. What did she chose? Math Camp. My 6 year old went to Math Camp. On her own choice. She also likes to watch Star Trek with Daddy. Any one will do, but she loves TNG with Wesley Crusher. She wants to grow up to be a Communications Officer with Star Fleet. Not joking here. At 6 I wanted to be a princess. Serena was kicked out of preschool, because she was able to outsmart and control 3 adults. I have to find humor in that now, after spending hours with psychologist and specialist because the preschool director  told  us that there had to be something wrong with a 4 year old because they were incompetent at classroom management.

Yesterday being my anniversary, I got my favorite Sheldon-esq diatribe. The Flowers Diatribe. For this rant, he was labeled temporary king of geeks. Other men have tried the Flowers Diatribe with their significant others. Most get smacked for it.

See, the Geek types have a different view of romance than the rest of the world. Where most people think romance is like movies, where a woman is wined and dined and jewelry and flowers are appropriate gifts, Geeks see things way different. Why go out when you have the Babylon 5 box set and Chinese takeout? Cuddling on the couch with sci fi is way more romantic than having to get dressed up in uncomfortable clothes, driving to some restaurant just to pay $200 for a meal? Chinese take out for 2 is under $20. That leaves $180 for either more sci fi DVDs or electronics. To a geek, romance is making sure your house has a kick butt wi fi connection and your audio system is the best on the block. They could care less about jewels. A new Ipad is a much more romantic gift in their eyes.

Flowers, well, that is a whole big story. It started when we were dating, and I love The Flowers Diatribe, so every time a special occasion comes along where non-geek male spouses would present their signifigant others with flowers, I like to bring up the idea of flowers as appropriate gifts just to hear it. Since he is on a business trip, I totally brought it up.

“Hey, Kev, Happy Anniversary!”

“Oh, yeah, it is the 6th. Happy Anniversary.”

“So, do you want to go out when we get home, I can get a babysitter?”

“Naw, that’s OK. If you want we can wait till the girls are in bed and order take out and maybe watch a few DVDs….”

“So, do I need to be home this afternoon for any deliveries?”

“Like what, did you order anything?”

“No, I was wondering if I was getting flowers for our anniversary!”


“Flowers? No, I don’t think flowers are an appropriate way to show love and affection. Think about it, I mean really. You take growing, living flowers, kill them, present them to someone. It’s saying “Hey, I like you so much I am going to give you these dead, rotting things in a pretty glass container to remind you that life is fleeting and you are fading just like the dead rotting plants I present to you!” That does not say love. Flowers are a horrible idea for a gift. Plus there is no skill in decapiting flowers. It would be more a show of manhood if I went out and killed an animal or two to lovingly provide nourishment or show strength by beheading a few enemies and presenting their heads on sticks as trophies. Those feats show affection and love, not the rotting flesh of flowers.”

It does change a little each time. Sometimes he’ll just look at me because he knows I get a kick out of his rants and he doesn’t fall for it. Sometimes he goes for the history of flowers as gifts because hygiene was sub par. I love when he does that. Esp when he adds “so if I gave you flowers, it was if I was saying you smell so bad you need to cover it up”.

Friday, October 1, 2010

sufjan stevens sewing day

I am trying to get a few projects ready to sew. We found out on this week that we are having a BOY! The girls are so excited, Evie because a brother won't bother her barbies and Serena because she can teach him how to play cars and soccer. After two girls though, all of our baby stuff is pink and purple! I don't even have a white onsie on hand.

I have Sufjan Stevens playing, I love listening to him. But my thoughts today for some reason are lead through how we relate to others. How sometimes we hurt others and do not even know it until much later, because it was something small we didn't realize we did. As opposed to how some people hurt others intentionally.  I think it is easier to ask forgiveness for things we did not do on purpose, because we genuinely feel remorse after realizing we have done harm, where as those that harm intentionally have no remorse.

I think part of this is I am still trying to decide how I feel about how Serena was treated by the director of the preschool. Was it intentional? I know that it was not considered what was best for the child in this situation, but what was easiest for the adults involved. Which is why part of me hopes that is was pure laziness on her part she decided to act like that. But then I realize that she often pushes parents into testing their children for special needs. That part to me is intentionally malicious and unethical. Luckily Serena is over the fact that she heard the director and a teacher discussing her negatively. I wonder if the way she was treated by the adults was what triggered her behaviors in that classroom, since that is the only place where they happened?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Halloween Purse!

It's another Lazy Girl Design's Claire Bag with a zipper. Behind it is the second version, since I wanted to make both front and back the same this time. The other one is almost done, its the bright orange owls and bats on the outside.

Now to just finish (ok, start) the girls costumes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soccer Hairbows!

So for soccer each season I make the girls on the team bows or flowers. This season both girls are playing, and since Rena's team is florescent orange, I opted for making bows from this cute ribbon with soccer balls on it!

I left long tails because most girls wear thier hair in a pony and I thought the tails would look cute on either side of the pony! I had to make 12 total.

I also found this cars ribbon on clearance, and of course Rena had to have a cars bow!

Last January I ordered a gross of hair barrette backs for making bows and flowers, and I now have only two left!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I found more autism awareness fabric..

Even after recovering the kids table and chairs with it, I found more autism awareness fabric in my stash! Enough for 2 purses. This is the tweeked version of the bow tucks tie tote. I did use stronger interfacing, giving the bags more stiffness.

The green was also from my stash. I am trying to clean out my stash before the baby arrives, but it seems the more I use up the more I acquire.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

onward and upward!

One thing that always makes me feel better is starting a new project. This weekend we are working on recovering our dining set chairs, but have to wait for Sunday to buy the foam (50% off at Joann!)
This morning I decided to gather my scraps up to start my next project, Belle Meade by Bonnie Belle.  I have been searching through my stash and this is what I have that is "civil war"

While going through my fabric I realized a few things. One, I am really unorganized when it comes ot my fabric. It is all just in tubs. My patterns are nice and organized, but not my fabric. The second thing I realized is that most of my fabric is really bright happy fun childrens colors. Third, I realize I have a lot of patterns and magazines I have already done projects from that I don't know if I will do again. I do have my favorite patterns I go back to over and over, especially for bags. I try to make gifts instead of buying them, which is the big reason why. I am trying to decide how much I want to clean out of the sewing room so it can also be a baby playroom in a few months.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I try to keep positive, I really do

But today I think I lost my faith in humanity. I actually had a preschool director and teacher show animosity towards a 4 year old. Worse, it was my 4 year old.

I'll back to the beginning, when we moved here I enrolled her in preschool at a nearby program that had openings. I told my neighbor about it, and she had worked with the director years before in Memphis. She warned me that this woman was inept, and she wouldn't trust her kids in any program run by said director. Well, the teachers we had were wonderful, and I really never dealt with the director, so we stayed. She had a great year and loved it. Forward to this year. First day, I get a call. They can not handle her behaviors in a classroom. I took note. Few days later, they called me to pick her up. She said they would work with me, I tried to give them some ideas, because really, she's 4. Instead of listening, the director told me they don't really have time, and told me all about her adult childrens issues. That was my second red flag, but we had since joined the church, and I thought the teachers would find what worked eventually. From then on she had both good days and bad.  I had a few discussions with the director, who refered me for testing. At the first testing session, I was told that they are wary of children sent from the school, because in the past 3 years they have had a lot of normal children sent for testing from the school. That was another red flag.

So we had been in school about 4 weeks. Just 4. I emailed her last week asking for a meeting with the teachers, to see what we could do. Instead of meeting with the teachers, she scheduled a meeting with the pastor. To me, that said ambush all over it. I was right. The meeting was basically to remove Rena from the school. It was aweful, and extremely unprofessional. When asked what was tried, they basically said everything, but could not give any specifics. Worse, both teacher and the director showed animosity towards a 4 year old. I was more shocked than anything, because here sat 2 adults that one, could not control their classroom, and two, after 4, almost 5 weeks were that hateful of a child. I think I felt even worse that the pastor sat there and just head bobbed with them.

*sigh* so what is next? Do I stay at the church? I was going to teach Sunday school this week, which I might, but I absolutely can not sit through a service. I can always find another school for Rena, but today she has been all out of sorts because her teacher told her she wasn't coming back and took her name off the door. I am glad she is out of there, but it should have been handled better. A lot better.

So thank you if you have read this, sorry I am being negative. I hate that I feel this way. I hate that my daughter was hurt by people who are suppose to be educators. I wish I knew what to do next, other than find a new school. I am waiting for my neighbor to get home, to tell her she was right, the director is inept.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I love Lazy Girl Designs patterns

Sew today while the girls were in school I made a Claire bag. I like the pattern because it is fun to do, but usually make them for other people. It is a fun purse, a little bag with lots of pursonality.

But I added a twist this time. I used the instructions in the Margo bag pattern to add a zipper. It is a super easy technique, and Margo is a great pattern to try if you are afraid of zippers but want to try one.

Working on this project reminds me why I love Lazy Girl Design Patterns. First, I was able to complete the project in a few hours. The last bag I did, Amy Butlers Field tote, took me a few days. Second, she writes her instructions so those of us that are quilters can understand them. A lot of bag patterns are done for people who are used to garment construction. And the best thing about LGD patterns, is that with each one, you learn something new. I love Margo for Margo, but really love that I could take the zipper technique from Margo and use it in other patterns. I often use the LGD way to do inside pockets for any other bag I do. I can't live without lots of pockets anymore!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Amy Butler Field Bag

I finally finished! This is one of the most time consuming projects I have *ever* done. It was a learning experience for sure.

The bag is massive. I was wondering why I needed over 3 yards of the main fabric, and it used it all. I think it holds more than the weekender. The zipper was a pain in the behind, but her instructions were clear, it just took time to get it right.

Friday, September 3, 2010

little steps

We are expecting our third child in January, and are very excited! The girls especially. Yesterday we had midway ultrasound, and were hoping to find out the baby's gender, but alas, the goods were covered. Maybe next time.

However, I have been sewing for the baby since we found out, but because we don't know gender, I have been making 2 sets of everything. The diaper bags I posted a while back are an example of this. I also just did these.

boy set

girl set

If you look closely, in each group the one on the left is a quilt, the one on the right is a flannel backed blanket. I fell in love with the Mr. Men and Little Miss fabric when I first saw it, and had to do something with it!

But with this sewing I am also challenging myself. With each item I make for my baby, I want to make another one just as nice to donate or give. My guild donates to a lot of charities, so most will go to charity.

So far I have diaperbags and the blankie sets, hoping to do some of the projects from the new Anna Maria Horner baby book, and maybe from the Amy Butler baby book. I am just now starting to have more energy, and the girls are both in school in the mornings, so I have some time to sew.
Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Potty Training ideas

Well, I haven't talked about it here, but for those that know me, We had a really, really hard time potty training Serena, my youngest. I was spoiled, Evie potty trained herself before she turned 2, she hated the feel of a wet diaper, and when she realized that could be avoided by peeing in the potty, she chose to go on the potty. Rena was three and a half before we could even get her to sit on the potty. She actually liked the feel of a wet diaper, which made things difficult. When we tried to just put undies on her, she would just go, because she didn't mind the wet panties either, or the wet carpet, floor, couch, etc.

The *one* thing that got her to sit on the potty was the Potty Fairy. See, one day she recieved a special delivery from the Potty Fairy, that looked like this

It's a little plastic tub that fit on the back of the toilet, The box itself comes in many colors, it is made by Sterlite and is available at Target and Walmart. I like this style box because the sides lock. There were stickers to decorate the box, so she would feel it was "hers".

Inside the box were prizes! lots of little things, like lollipops, bonbelle makeup, and anything that was under $1 and would fit.

Of course, the box came with a letter from the Potty Fairy, that said...

Dear Serena:

This is your official invitation to become a POTTY PRINCESS! I hope you will join us! To be a POTTY PRINCESS, all you need to do is practice sitting on the Potty!

To Welcome you to our special group of POTTY PRINCESSES, I have sent you a special POTTY PRINCESS PACK to get you started.

First, decorate your box with the stickers enclosed, or if you have stickers you like at home, feel free to use them.

After the box is decorated, place it on top of your potty, or somewhere in your bathroom that is easy to find!

Each time you sit on the Potty, you can hold one of the items in the box!
If you pee or poop in the Potty, you get to open it and keep it! How exciting!

When you are all finished becoming a POTTY PRINCESS and are wearing big girl pants during the day, the box is yours to keep in your room! You will be an official POTTY PRINCESS!!!
I hope you will join us!

Hugs and Kisses,
The Potty Fairy

She was so fascinated with getting to go through the box, she actually started to sit on the potty, just to pick and hold something from the box. As time went on, she took delight in getting to keep the item she chose, so after a few weeks she got the hang of it. I wish I would have tried this method earlier!
A few tips if you try this : wrap the treasure box up and have it " delivered" (Kevin pretended to find our special delievery outside when he got home from work). let them open it and read the letter together. Let them decorate the treasure box, spend time with it and let their curiosity grow! Then reread the rules with them, and ask them if they want to try it then. Be in the bathroom with them, so they don't get frustrated and open the item! It is really hard at first to make them put the items back when they don't go, but it will pay off very soon.
Happy Parenting!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Keep your eyes open....

I am a fabric addict. There, I admit it. I look for viable fabric everywhere, anything pretty and vibrant that I might be able to use. That is why, at least once a week, I hit a few local Goodwills and other thrift stores. I hit the home section first. I look through sheets and curtains, table clothes and bedspeads. Then I hit mens ties. Sometimes I can use them for purse straps. or open them up for the fabric. Then I hit ladies scarves. Last week, I found 2 great pieces in ladies scarves.

Not many people even bother with the scarves in a thrift store. Not many people wear scarves anymore, and most of what is there are thin shiny polyester numbers with big florals, or holiday prints. Once I found a handwoven long scarf, that was made of beautiful hand dyed wool. It was purples blues and greens. But last week, I hit the motherload.

Fran├žoise Heron Timbalier in blue

Laurence Bourthoumieux Tropiques

These are the two scarves I found, but on different days. The first one I found was the Timbalier.  I was sorting through the scarves and saw the bright blue border. Then I touched it, a thick silk twill. I rubbed it between my fingers to test, and it was real silk. So I bought it. At home I noticed the Hermes symbol on the scarf, but didn't think it was real because the design name wasn't on the scarf, but all the other telltall signs of a real Hermes was there, the hem, delicately rolled to the front, handstitched in perfect matching color. the car label, the color saturation. By the end of the night with help and a lot of research, I had the scarf authenticated. Two days later, I went back to the same Goodwill and took another look at the scarves, and there was my second Hermes in a week, the Tropiques. This one isn't as desired as the Timbalier, but it is really pretty.

Being thrifty always pays off! Keep your eyes peeled, you never know what you will find at your local thrift store!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank Goodness for SCHOOL!

Now that school has started back up for fall, I actually have time to sew! Last week I tried out Penny Sturges' Bow Tucks Tote Pattern. I used the new Amy Butler Fabrics my husband bought for me when he was traveling. He made a special stop at Green Velvet in Granville, Ohio (where we used to live) for it! I like it as a bag, it's nice and roomy, and I always carry a lot of things. Next time I make it I might make the front pocket smaller though, or make it two compartments. It's a little floppy for my taste, I am afraid my cell or keys will fall out!

I also did this quick little applique this week for Evie to wear tomorrow, it's her principal's 40th Birthday and they asked the kids to wear something black.

I feel so much more "together" as a person when I get to spend time in my sewing room. It also feels good to start working on baby projects, since we are expecting our 3rd in January. I have been piecing quilt tops, which I hope to post in a few days! I found Mr. Men and Little Miss fabric at Joanns and of course had to make baby quilts!

Rena apprently also loves fabric. So much she decided to use all of my  pins to reupholster my sewing room chair...

*sigh* it only took 45 minutes for me to unpin the fabric from the seat, find my pincushions, organize my pins again and take a magnet to the floor for strays....

Happy Sewing!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oxford, MS

Our friends came down for a visit a bit ago, so we took a day trip to Oxford, MS. She went to Ole Miss, and since it is only about 45 minutes from here, we all went. Oxford is a beautiful town. Since we got there at lunch, we had to try Abners, their favorite Chicken place.

The girls at Abners parking lot.

Then we spent some time downtown, getting ice cream at a little sweet shop and  checking out Corner Books.

The town is a square around the court house, with lots of great shops and restaurants. There is a children's corner books, which has a play area for the kids.

this suit just says "southern gentleman"

Of course, after exploring downtown, we had to visit Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's home.

The grounds were absolutely wonderful, cool and shady. The girls ran around outside for a bit, and let the moms explore then inside of the house.

It was a nice day.Oxford is a really cool town, we hope to go back soon to explore more!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wall Hanging

Sew... my friend Gina made this wonderful batik and gave it to me! I had no idea what to do with it at first, but found this nice green leaf batik for a border, and decided to make a wall hanging.

I only quilted around the tree to make it pop.

Then I added a few beads to the moon because who can resist adding beads for sparkle?

I am happy with how it turned out, Gina's batik was so beautiful I was almost afraid to touch it!