Saturday, November 16, 2013

So Tired

I'm not sure how long I can keep up this schedule.  I've been deliriously tired for several weeks, but this week was definitely the worst.  I think it's catching up and I know I won't last much longer at this pace. My typical day:

5:30 am Wake up, rush to get ready and out the door by 5:50 or 6:00.
               Technically if I leave at 6:00am I have a chance of being late (traffic), so my goal is to leave at  5:45am.  Which also means I was supposed to wake up earlier than 5:30am, but since I never get to bed before midnight it's impossible to want to get out of bed when you've only have 4-5 hours of sleep.

6:30 am Rush to get things ready for class (make copies, make sure any technology stuff is actually
        working, etc.)

7:00-12:00 on A-days I am teaching, then I have a planning period.  On B-days my planning period is in the middle of the day.  By the time I get to my planning period my desk is a disaster and I end up spending my planning period trying to reorganize, grade papers, and (best case scenario) plan for the next day.

2:05pm  School gets out.  Ellie goes to daycare two minutes from my school, and I have to pick her up by 3:30 or else we have to pay extra for after school care.  So I use this hour after school to grade papers and plan.  But I'm also exhausted so it's incredibly hard to focus.

      Oh and did I mention that in my rush to get out the door in the morning I never remember to bring my lunch, or coffee (unless Nick happens to be awake and makes it for me) or even a bottle of water.  So by the end of the school day I'm starving and exhausted.  I have tried to prep everything so it's easy to pack a lunch.  And I've tried packing it the night before, but, again, this week was particularly hectic.

3:30pm  I pick up Ellie and go home.  Except for Tuesdays (when I have my graduate classes), Nick is at work.  So I play with Ellie, make dinner, give her a bath and put her to bed.

8:00pm  By this point Ellie is in bed, but may not be asleep.  From 8pm-midnight I am working on either papers/reading for my graduate classes or I am frantically trying to write lesson plans for the next day.  I'm finding it extremely difficult to come up with lesson plans that are actually engaging, and last for 90 minutes.

     It's currently 3pm on a Saturday and, if left to my own devices, I would be asleep right now.  I would have stayed asleep all day.  I realize I could get someone to babysit Ellie and get a bunch of work done, but I don't think that's fair.  I barely get to see her all week and now my job and my graduate classes are depriving me of weekend time with her.  And I realize there is a holiday coming up soon, and that after Thanksgiving there won't be that many weeks before the semester is over.  That should be comforting, except it's not.  I have no idea if my students are really grasping what I'm trying to teach.  I constantly ask if they need me to clarify something and no one ever says anything.  So if they're confused, they aren't telling me.  Their work is a mixed bag.  Some of these kids are really bright and some have turned in complete crap and don't even care that they'll get a bad grade.

     On top of this, next semester I get an entirely new set of students.  On one hand that's great because I get a fresh start with them.  However, I don't know that I can use a single lesson plan I wrote for this semester.  I wrote them in such a rush, and I don't think they're very good.  Plus, I didn't get to cover very much material this semester, and next semester I have to cover as much as possible.  So my Christmas Break isn't a break at all.  My Thanksgiving Break isn't a break either.

     And it's not just the work for my job, it's the work for my graduate classes.  I have a research paper that was due last week that I still haven't finished, and I have two more that are due this week.  I have literally no idea when I will find the time to do them.  And it isn't just a matter of time, it's a matter of being able to clear my mind enough to focus and write something that makes even the slightest sense.  I'm at that desperate point where I don't care what the grade is, I just need to turn something in so I can check it off my list.

     I can't keep up this pace.  Everything about this job and this level of stress makes me want to just retreat back to my house and never come out.  I just want to sleep.  But instead I get to make another pot of coffee and write a paper tonight.  Then tomorrow I get to make countless more pots of coffee and write lesson plans.  Then on Monday I get to start my morning and my week with my worst behaved class.  I need there to be a light at the end of the tunnel, but right now I can't see it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

FO Friday: I made up a pattern!

**Disclaimer**  Just so the grandparents/family/friends don't get confused: I am not pregnant.  This is not an announcement of any kind.  This was made as a gift.  Again, I repeat, Ellie is not going to be a big sis, at this time.  Thank you.

Ok, now that that is out of the way.  I made up a pattern!  I mean, it's a hat, so it's not like it was anything complicated, like a sweater or anything.  Basically I made a rectangle, folded it and sewed the edges.  But I did have to plan out the lettering, which turned out to be a learning experience.  I started with the pink hat and I ended up having to do it twice because I didn't like the way the letters turned out the first time.

I made these hats for a friend of mine who is having her second baby.  I wanted to include her daughter in the gift in some way, and I knew I wanted to knit something.  Since the baby is due in the fall, I figured a hat would be perfect, and why not add a hat for the big sis so she can let everyone at school know about her little brother (although I'm sure she'll tell everyone she sees, hat or no hat).
It was easy to choose the colors, as they were from the yarn I recently inherited from my grandma's yarn stash.  So there is a little bit of grandma knitted into these hats as well.

I can't remember exactly what I cast on for each hat, but I think it was something like 28 for the newborn hat and 38 for the big hat.
Then I knit approximately one inch of 2 x 2 ribbing.
Purl one row.
Stockinette stitch, adding in the lettering (although you could add any design you wanted, it is a big blank square).*
I did about 50 rows of stockinette for the newborn hat and about 80 row for the pink hat.
Purl one row.
Another inch of 2 x 2 ribbing.
Cast off.
Sew the side seems, and add a pompoms or tassels to the top corners to finish the hat.

*I do have my chart for the lettering if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Snacky Snack: Popsicles

My mom and oldest nephew were visiting a few weeks ago.  We decided to do Nashville specific things, which was fun because Ellie and I don't venture into the city that often.  First we visited The Parthenon.  

By the giant doors

                James showing how thick the doors are.          Rub the lion nose for luck!

 The Goddess Athena

I had been there before with Nick when I was (very) pregnant.  It's one of those touristy spots in Nashville that you really should take the time to visit.  It's an inexpensive self-guided walking tour, and it's set in the middle of beautiful Centennial Park.  You could visit the Parthenon and then have a picnic and feed the ducks!

After taking in the views of a gigantic golden Goddess Athena, we needed a snack.  I knew the perfect spot: Las Paletas!  Gourmet popsicles?  Absolutely!  

Ellie had peach, James had strawberry kiwi and mom had butter pecan.  
I think it might have even been Ellie's first popsicle.  

Well, she was hooked, and nearly finished the whole thing!

I realized, I could totally make these at home!  Well, maybe not quite Las Paletas quality, but still yummy popsicles that are healthier than store bought.  My mom always made popsicles when we were growing up.  She would fill little dixie cups and put popsicle sticks in them.  When you were ready to eat one, you just peeled the paper off!  I didn't have any dixie cups, but I had several ice cube trays.  I thought that might be the perfect size for a little popsicle snack.  I also didn't have popsicle sticks, but I had straws!  I just cut my straws in half and they were perfect!  

To Make the Popsicles

You'll need:

One can peaches*
6 oz container of greek yogurt

  1. Drain and rinse the peaches.
  2. Place peaches and yogurt in a blender or food processor.
  3. Blend until completely pureed.
  4. Pour into ice cube trays or popsicle molds, if you have them.
  5. Place popsicle sticks in the middle (or cut straws in half to use as sticks!).

*You don't have to use canned peaches, or even peaches.  You can use frozen, fresh and any mix you want!  This was so simple and I love how versatile it is.  I also have canned mandarin oranges.  I think I might try those with some yogurt next, kind of like a dreamsicle!  And I was thinking, since it's sometimes difficult to get Ellie to eat veggies, I could mix up a green smoothie and turn it into popsicles too!  Of course there is always the true dessert version: frozen chocolate pudding.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ramblings: Potty Training

I may have mentioned in the past how much I was dreading potty training.  
Well I can't officially declare Ellie potty trained, but we're fantastically close!  

We tried the "Kool-Aid Method", which is what my mother-in-law did with her kids.  
Basically you let them have a big cup of Kool-Aid and you hang out in the bathroom, read books, until they go potty.  It's more of a get-them-acquainted-with-the-potty-chair system, than a long-term plan.  I tried it when Ellie was interested in the potty, but wasn't quite aware of when she had to go.  I figured a little Kool-Aid couldn't hurt, but I was secretly hoping it wouldn't work.  I wasn't super excited about the idea of filling Ellie with sugar water.  

Well, it turns out Ellie doesn't like Kool-Aid.  
She seemed into it at first, but after about four sips, she was done and asked for water.  
I was okay with that, less sugar means a better bedtime for me!

When Ellie got really into the idea of sitting on the potty, I made her a Potty Chart.  I just bought a poster board, a bunch of stickers, and made a grid.  This kid is obsessed with stickers, so I thought it would work as a reward.  

At the beginning our system was:

  • Sit on the potty = 1 sticker (even if she didn't do anything)*
  • Pee on the potty = 2 stickers
  • Poop on the potty = 3 stickers**
I was hopeful that by the time we filled up the chart she would be potty trained, 
but I wasn't counting on it.  

Well, the chart is full and we're so close!  
I am really glad we didn't have to resort to candy.  

Although I would have done it, if it came down to it.  

Now I have to dig out some of Ellie's old clothes 
because without a diaper she's back to 12 month size pants...

*Once she got accustomed to sitting on the potty, she no longer received a sticker unless she actually went to the bathroom.
**She still has yet to poop on the potty.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ramblings: Hilarious Misbehaving

So last night bedtime was difficult.  
I'm not sure what it was, but Ellie was just not interested in staying in bed.  I was trying really hard to stick with our "silently walk her back to bed" routine, but I was losing patience.  Nick was working late, so I was fighting this bedtime battle on my own.  

I needed a mommy break, so I put the baby gate up.  She could still open her door, but she couldn't leave her room.  I explained to her that big girls stay in bed at bedtime.  Until she learned to be a big girl and stay in bed, the baby gate was going to have to stay up.

 (For the record, I took it down after she fell asleep.)

When Nick got home at 11:00pm, Ellie was still awake.


I was doing my best to ignore her constant requests for 
a snack, or a drink, or a different book, or a new toy.  She had eaten a good dinner, she had a drink before bed (at 8:30pm).  She was fine, just trying her hardest to stay awake.  
She also has a new tactic where she says she pooped and she needs a new diaper.  This is usually not true, but every now and then she has in fact pooped.  
Around 11:45pm she kept saying, 

"Need diaper.  Need diaper.  Need diaper."  

Unrelenting.  I figured if she is this insistent it must be true, so I went to check.  
Remember, it's dark.  She's standing in the doorway.  I go to pick her up and put her in bed.  

She's naked.

She's not dirty, or wet, or anything, just naked.  
I was so confused, I turn the lamp on and look around. 

She has stripped, thrown her clothes and diaper over the gate and into the hallway.  It took everything I had to not laugh at that moment.  I held it in, got her dressed and told her to go to sleep (which she finally did about ten minutes later!).  Then I go back to the den to tell Nick what happened.  

I have never laughed so hard in my life.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Ramblings: A New Goal

Some day I'm going to figure out how to contribute to this blog on a regular basis.  I opened the Etsy shop and somewhere between my toddler and my messing craft room, lost all motivation to make anything for it.

I have this problem when there is something looming on the horizon I am constantly distracted by it.  It could be something as little as a playdate in a few days or as big as planning Ellie's birthday party.  Back in May, I had no idea what we were going to do in June because I was so consumed with Ellie's party.  Well, in two weeks I start graduate school.  I feel frozen in time.

In my head I'm making lists and figuring out the timing of my classes and dropping Ellie off at her Nana's and what am I going to wear because none of my clothes fit or look nice enough.  But my house is a mess and I'm so distracted from what's going to happen in two weeks that I've completely neglected all my knitting and sewing projects.

On top of this, I feel like a bad parent.  I usually have some small level of parental guilt hanging around, but this week is very specific.  When Ellie was little, for the whole first year of her life I kept a journal.  I wrote in it nearly every day.  I also managed to completely fill out her two baby books.  Pictures, journaling, the whole deal.  Well, since her first birthday, I haven't written a word in a journal.  I hate it because she has said and done so many adorable, hilarious, amazing things, and I didn't write any of them down.  It's not like I can go back and try to remember them all, and that makes me sad.  I think I might start making a habit of writing them all on here.  Maybe this will become my new Ellie journal.  I'm not sure, though, because I loved having the hand written copy.  My mom always made a big deal about having things with a person's handwriting.  When that person is gone, having something in their handwriting can be really special, it shows a lot about who they were.  My grandma made lists, my mom kept journals for all her daycare kids, I have handwritten recipes and notes in really old photo albums.

Starting school is going to be a big change in itself, but I want to make a goal to write more about Ellie, whether it's on here or in her own journal.  And maybe with everything that will be happening, I'll feel like I have more to write about.  Staying home can get monotonous, and maybe I ran out of things to say and inspiration to craft.  These next two years are going to be stressful (but hopefully fun too!) and maybe writing will help keep things in perspective.

(Yes, this was just me rambling.  I didn't really have a point, nothing special to take away from this.  Just thinking while Ellie naps.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

FO: The Etsy Shop!

I did it.  I opened an Etsy shop.  And, to my own astonishment, I made my first sale the same day I opened the shop!  Didn't see that one coming, but it was certainly encouraging.

If you are in need of baby and/or toddler clothing and/or accessories, please stop by!  If you aren't in need of those things, you can show your support by liking the shop's Facebook page!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cold Black Coffee

I found this in my list of unpublished blog posts.  I originally wrote it in a notebook several years ago.  It's funny that I had been struggling to write something about Grandma.  It was here all along.

"There are two chairs on either side of the fireplace in my grandparents' living room. On one side is Grandpa's over-stuffed recliner with its worn out springs from all the years of use. This spot was always designated for Grandpa's chair, although the chair itself changed throughout the years. Once a chair was worn, the leather cracking or the upholstery fading, Grandma would banish it to the basement where it resided next to a nearly identical fireplace in the TV room. Upstairs a brand new replacement chair would appear and Grandpa would settle into the first nap of many in order to break in this new chair.
On the other side of the fireplace sat Grandma's armchair, which was always a little stiffer. Grandma didn't sit down often. She always had a cup of coffee set on a coaster on the hearth next to her chair. It was always in the same tan and brown mug, although for a brief time she switched to an over-sized pink polka dot mug that we bought her. She would brew the coffee fresh in the morning, but after pouring her cup, would inevitably busy herself with some household chore or meal to prepare, thus leaving the forgotten coffee to cool on the counter.

Eventually it would be time for a break. After searching for a few minutes, Grandma would remember where she left her coffee, reheat it in the microwave until it was scorching, and relax with mug in hand in her armchair. Grandma drank her coffee black, no nonsense, no need to gussy it up with cream and sugar. It was a simple, hot beverage that served its purpose: to warm you up and keep you going.
As children we loved to sit and cuddle in Grandma's lap, it was the coveted best seat in the house. If you were in Grandma's lap, you had her undivided attention and nothing short of kitchen disaster could take her away from you. Grandma would make sure to move the hot beverage to its home on the coaster so as not to spill it on us, and we would climb into her lap. This is where I tasted my first cup of coffee.
I do not remember all the details, but I'm sure it was the desire to drink this magical drink that was only for adults that lead me to request a taste. Grandma was sure I would not like it, and insisted that I must wait for it to cool first. Patience is a trying circumstance for a child.
The liquid was cold and bitter. Grandma was right, I didn't like it, but I drank it anyway. It made me feel like a grown up. Perhaps if I could just will myself to drink it, I might "learn to like it" as I'd often been told of certain foods on my dinner plate. Perhaps, if I could learn to like this cold bitter drink, I would be an adult and do all the thing I couldn't as a child! Alas, it was not true, but how was I to know? To this day, I will happily drink the cold coffee after the pot has cooled. It takes me back to my childhood, to Grandma's lap, where, for a time, this simple morning cup of joe was magical."

Monday, June 17, 2013


I took my blog down for awhile.  At first I just felt too tired.  Having a toddler is exhausting (some of you might already know that) and trying to come up with interesting, witty blog posts was, quite frankly, last on my priority list.  By the end of a day of tantrums, time-outs and refusing to eat (and don't even get me started on what Ellie did), all I wanted to do was sit in front of the TV with a giant bowl of ice cream and let my brain go numb.

Then, my grandma died.  I had several half-written blog posts in my head about how wonderful it was to grow up knowing my grandparents so well, how much she taught me, how lucky we were that she got to meet so many of her great-grandchildren, and how I didn't realize how alike we were until she was gone.  But I could never get the words to come out right.  There really weren't any words that could do it justice.  So I just took the blog down.

I took it off my list.

I stopped trying to force it.

And things started to get better.  I decided to finish projects that had been in limbo forever.  I finished the gift for my cousin's baby, I sewed Ellie's pillowcase dress, and I opened the Etsy shop.
I still feel exhausted at the end of a tantrum-filled day, but they aren't all bad.  Ellie is at a really fun age and, inbetween the Terrible Twos, she's a little sponge that can't wait to discover new things.  I'm finding all of my little projects extremely cathartic (and maybe a tad healthier than that bowl of ice cream).

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ramblings: Toddlers

We are trying to potty train.  I hate potty training.  I want her to be potty trained, but I don't want to do it.  Is there just a seminar you can send them to for a couple days and they come back potty trained?  I feel like there's millions to be made in something like that, but I still don't want to do it.

We converted her crib to a toddler bed.  Here is what her pediatrician (the father of a daughter the same age as Ellie) told me when I asked about this particular transition:

                 "Keep her in that crib until she climbs out."

Seemed like great advice, right?  Well, a couple weeks ago she was scaled the outside of her crib to try to get the toy she had just thrown into her crib.  We thought we were really lucky because she had yet to try to leave her room.  We would put her to bed, she would get out of bed and go lay down by her nightlight to read her books.  Usually she fell asleep by the nightlight and we'd have to move her later.  Nick and I were discussing our success with this transition, knowing it would be short lived, and the very next day she opened the door to her room at 6:15am to wake us up.  I will never brag about my parenting skills again.

The Terrible Twos are a real thing, at least for girls.  Until Ellie was born, I only had nephews.  Boys are different.  They seem to have a Terrible Threes phase.  I have also noticed that toddlers are like mini-teenagers, which makes me wonder if teenagers are just giant toddlers.  I mean, I've met a good share of adults who clearly never developed beyond the Terrible Twos.  If this is the case, if Ellie's Terrible Twos are any indication of her teenage years, I'm going to just start drinking now.  Seriously, it's like the worst case of PMS.  Ever.

I had this wonderful weight loss goal for this summer.  I had a whole routine figured out.  I would work out during her nap time and possibly also after she went to bed.  I would take her on walks in the jogging stroller around the neighborhood and on the greenway.  Instead, by the time I put her to bed, I'm mentally and emotionally spent.  You would think getting on the elliptical would help that (it probably would, I should probably do it), but all I want to do is sit in front of the TV and let my brain turn to mush.

I do want to lose the weight, I just don't feel motivated anymore.  I just want to be skinny again.  Can someone please arrange that for me? (I'm going to go eat a cookie now)

Friday, May 03, 2013

FO: So Much Sewing (and a little knitting)

I have neglected the blog.  It was for the best.  Things get stressful and when that happens, I have no desire to write about fun projects (which I also have no desire to make).  This week has been a little better, despite the fact that we seem to be in the full swing of the Terrible Twos, but that's for another post.  Or maybe a never-post.

I've managed to keep my sanity through these Epic Tantrum Days by sewing and knitting.  We are currently on an extremely tight budget, so I have to be a little creative with my projects.  Mother's Day is coming up and I knew I wanted to make something for both my mom and my MIL, so I rifled through my stash and searched the internet for inspiration.  There are some very smart people out there and thanks to them, I was able to make some pretty awesome stuff for both moms and a couple things for the Bean as well.

For the MIL:

Gift: Oven Mitt
Material: old t-shirts
Cost: $0

I had originally planned to do this for Christmas and ran out of time.  I was intrigued by the idea of using stretched strips of t-shirts as yarn, and I especially loved the price: free.  I found a great tutorial on how to cut the shirts in one continuous spiral:

I used two of my old maternity t-shirts and two of Nick's undershirts (he has a ton, he won't miss them).  One thing I learned: use seamless shirts if you can.  My maternity shirts had seams at the sides which showed up in my knitting.  No big deal, really, but next time I'm sticking with seamless.

I used this pattern for my oven mitt.  The pattern was very simple, the project was done in three days, and it was free!

I was very happy with the finished product.  And the best part about making an oven mitt: it's a mitten, but you only have to make one.

For my mom:

Gift: Tote bag
Material: canvas and cotton from my fabric stash and a placemat (that I never use)
Cost: $0

I felt bad about this one.  Last year I made aprons for my MIL.  I had promised to make some for my mom, but have yet to get around to it.  I really wanted to get them done for Mother's Day, but with no extra cash and very little time (Ellie's birthday is the same weekend as Mother's Day and I'm already behind) it just wasn't going to happen.  I rifled through my ridiculous stash of fabric (seriously, I have so much fabric) and found enough to make a tote bag.  Then I found this fabulous pattern for free (yay!) and got to work.  I literally made this during Ellie's nap, which time leftover to relax.  It was so fast and so simple.  I added the pocket using a placemat because it the only piece of fabric in my entire house that was the color I wanted (and I love that it adds a different texture).

Oh yeah, and it's reversible!
So there is a pocket on the outside and the inside.
I love it so much I could make a dozen more.  Watch out folks, you might be getting tote bags for Christmas.

These next two projects were for Ellie.  There wasn't any particular reason for making them, they were just fun projects.  The first is a pillowcase dress:

This style/pattern was entirely from my head.  I was basically winging it and hoping for the best.  I love how it turned out.  Because it was a vintage pillowcase, the fabric is so soft and flowing.  It's the perfect breezy summer dress.
I don't have any pictures of her in it, but it fits her perfectly.  She even has a little red cardigan and combined I think it might be the cutest 4th of July outfit ever.  I have another pillowcase with which I hope to make a second dress.  Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures.  Maybe I'll even make a tutorial! (Don't hold your breath on that one)

I also made Ellie some yoga pants.  We have started potty training (I hate potty training) and my daughter is so very tiny that whenever she wears her big girl underwear all of her pants fall off.  So I took the one pair of leggings that actually stays up and used it as a guide.  I had some stretchy jersey knit in the stash.  It's a fun neon/gray stripe, which I bought with Ellie in mind.
She's never very cooperative when it comes to pictures...

Watching the ceiling fan... (you can kind of see the foldable waistband)


The visible side seams were a mistake.  I was too lazy to rip them out and in the end I think it's kind of cute.

So that's all my projects this week.  Next week is birthday week, so I'll probably be too busy for projects, but I'll be sure to post party and yummy cupcake pictures!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Mommy Monday: Cookies!

No April Fools post here, sorry.  We traveled this past weekend for Easter, so I'm too tired to come up with pranks.
Ellie and I made cookies last week.  Ellie has been "helping" in the kitchen since she was tiny and she loves it.

Lately, she has been obsessed with play dough, the colors blue and yellow, and stars, so I figured, why not turn that into something edible?  So we made sugar cookies.  The recipe I used was from the Joy of Cooking cookbook (p. 711).  I had never used that recipe before and it was really good.  I liked the fact that they weren't too sweet (only 2/3 cup of sugar, when most cookie recipes call for 1-2 cups).
I split the dough in half and turned half blue and half yellow with just a few drops of food coloring.  Then we rolled them out and cut out stars.

This was when she told me to stop taking pictures.

Well...that was the plan, but once I opened the drawer and she saw all the cookie cutters we ended up making girls (gingerbread man cookie cutter), socks (Christmas stocking cookie cutter) and tulips.

I happened to have some iridescent dust (from my cake decorating supplies) so we made the star cookies sparkle.  She seems very please with her work!

Oh and I suppose I should point out: I wasn't feeling well on this day and when mommy doesn't feel well we are all allowed to stay in our pajamas.  It just seems fair.

Friday, March 29, 2013

FO Friday: Easter Outfits

In my last FO Friday post, I mentioned that I made a skirt for my niece.  Well, I did.  And a little more...

I didn't end up doing a WIP Wednesday post because I had been so busy making stuff I forgot to write about it.  I made matching Easter outfits for my niece and nephew.  I can't wait to see them in these!  I tried them on Ellie to see how they fit.  The funny part is that both outfits fit Ellie even though one is 12 month size and the other is a 3T shirt.  Ellie actually fits in 12 month clothes.  The 3T shirt was too big, but I tucked it into the skirt so you can't really tell.  She wasn't a very cooperative model, it was mostly me chasing her around the house with the camera.

First up, my niece's outfit:

I made the skirt from scratch.  It's a circle skirt, which is one of the easiest things to make, great for beginners (or people like me who just haven't sewed in a really long time).  One of these days I might make a tutorial.  But for today you just get pictures.  The waist band is just the exposed elastic.  I picked the gray suiting fabric because it's a good neutral.  She can wear it with any t-shirt all summer long.  Plus it's lightweight, so it makes the shape of the circle skirt fun and bouncy.

For the shirt, I found a plain white shirt second hand.  I really should have taken a before/after shot of this shirt.  It already had the color, but the sleeves were full length.  I shortened them to be elbow length, but retained the original hem using this method.  Then (after hours of contemplating) I added the ribbon down the middle and the bow at the neckline.  I think it gives it a 1960s mod look.  

Wearing here daddy's shoes.

When you put the whole outfit together on our rambunctious little model it looks like a prep school uniform.  I love how it turned out!

Next up, my nephew's outfit:

Both his pants and onesie were found second hand.  The onesie was the most challenging part, but I knew exactly what I wanted and I think it turned out great.  I cut the tie out of the gray fabric and ironed on some interfacing to help it stiffen.  That way it would hold its shape better when I sewed it to the onesie.  Then I pinned the ribbon to the front to look like suspenders.  I'm not sure how other people sew onto a onesie, but it is not easy!  It looks like a balled up mess while you're working, but somehow (assuming you pinned everything well), it all works out in the end.  
The plan was to sew a little strip of ribbon onto the pocket of his pants, but after several tries on the sewing machine, several more tries by hand, some serious fray of the ribbon, and two broken needles, I gave up.  The pocket ribbon was not meant to be.  *Sigh*

I think she looks pretty cute in a tie.

When Ellie tried on the outfit she was wild.  I mean, seriously wild.  Trying to get a picture was challenge because she was running from one end of the house to the other.  These are just a few that I got that weren't terribly blurry.

I had a couple other ideas to add to their outfits, but there wasn't enough time.  At some point I really want to make my nephew a little newsie cap and I had all the materials to make my niece a matching headband (with ribbon wrapped around the headband), but can you believe I don't own a glue gun!?  I don't!  I have no idea how I got this far without owning a glue gun.  I foresee a trip to the store in my near future.  She might get that headband after all, just not in time for Easter. 

The original plan was to make Ellie an outfit to match as well, but we won't be seeing them at Easter, so I slacked on Ellie's outfit.  I'll finish it at a later date and hopefully I'll update with a picture of the three cousins!


Here they are in all their cuteness!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mommy Monday: Playdough

Ellie LOVES playdough.  LOVES.  When I was little my mom used to make playdough for us.  Ellie was still pretty little when I considered giving her playdough to squish.  I figured, if she ate it*, at least it was homemade, right?

I use this recipe: Homemade Playdough Recipe.  It is so perfect.  It's super soft and cooks so fast.  I made our third batch just the other day.  We have done different colors with each batch (I just happen to have a gigantic store of food coloring from past cake projects).

*For the record, she definitely ate some.  She has tried it a couple more times.  Apparently it still tastes gross.

Friday, March 22, 2013

FO Friday: Master bedroom progress and pillow!

This week I decided I was going to work on our master bedroom.  Our house is small and our master bedroom isn't really any bigger than the other bedrooms, it just happens to have a half bath.  I have a "vision" for most of the rooms in the house, but for our room I just feel completely uninspired.

 I painted the walls a pale teal color because I love that color, but beyond that I just didn't know where to go.  I tried to find inspiration online, but it's frustrating when all other master bedrooms are the size of my entire house.  I have yet to find a specific inspiration room, and I'm still rather stuck on what to do, so I decided to start with just cleaning it.  Like, really cleaning.  I think I neglect our room a lot.  No one sees it, it's just not high on my priority list.

I bought an area rug to attempt to make it a little cozier and I rearranged (for probably the 30th time).

I eventually want to get rid of the TV/dresser and put a full length mirror.  The shelf with all our games is only in here temporarily because I'm trying to keep it out of Ellie's reach (tiny game pieces are probably not the best toy for a toddler who still loves to put things in her mouth), so that will eventually go and I'm debating whether or not to keep the recliner in our room, or find a smaller chair for that corner.  I'd like to get a bench for the foot of the bed and, oh, let's talk about the bed.  I want a real bed.  Like, a real bed, with a headboard, like a grown up would have.  But I am completely stumped on style.  I have no idea what I want and, believe me, I have looked.

So right now I'm fine with a clean room, I finally got a couple of pictures on the wall (not sure if that's their permanent home, but it works for now) and I made a pillow for the bed!

I found this orange fabric in the remnant bin at the fabric store.  I've had it for probably a year.  I knew I wanted to make pillows out of it when I bought it, but I never got around to it.  Yesterday Nick was home so I got to do a few sewing projects.  At the last minutes I decided to add the piping, which I had on hand for a different project.  I plan to make two pillows, one for each side, but I only had enough piping for one, so the second pillow will have to wait.  I love how it turned out.  It's the first time I've used piping on anything and I love how it gives it a finished, store bought quality.

Oh, I also made a skirt for my niece.  More on that later...