So, I got confirmation that we can visit the White House on our upcoming family vacation. We didn't vote for the current president, but we really wanted to hang out at his house. It's a self guided tour, but the really cool part is that as you walk around there are secret service people all over and guess what? You are suppose to up to them and ask them about the historical relevance of where they are standing. That sounds completely hilarious and intimidating all at the same time!! The rest of the trip isn't fully planned because going to visit the White House was a top priority and you only find out if you are allowed a couple of week before the actual visit time. But now that I know (we also went through the reservation process for the Capital Building and got tickets for there as well!), I will be planning like a crazy person.
I am also hoping to squeeze a visit to Williamsburg in as well on this trip. I think the kids will love it and I remember thinking it was really cool and smart and stuff. The kids want to visit the National Gallery and any other cool place they saw on National Treasure. Plus the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, because there is such a beautiful unspoken reverence there that I want my children to participate in. Any other cool places you love in D.C? or maybe a sweet cool restaurant? Please comment with you recommendations!
Sometime over the summer, I was looking at the stack of ruined jeans that had accumulated in my sewing stash. I'm not sure exactly why I was keeping them or what I was going to do with them, once the space provided had been used up, but there they were, taking up space. I am not a huge fan of jean quilts. The weight of a jean quilt is top heavy and not very warm, rendering the quilt to the back of the closet until the dead middle of winter. However, jean quilts are a quilting/blanket making benchmark and who am I to judge the decades of jean quilt making. The following quilt is my take on this timeless endeavor of cutting up one's own pants and giving them new life.
I clearly didn't go down the standard patchwork squares route. I have see too much of that. Also, if I had decided to go down that route, I would have had to wait a really long time to make this quilt, as I would have needed twice as many pairs of pants. This quilt is built on half square triangles, sewn together to give the overall effect of a diamond or zig-zag look. Most of the coordinating fabric is from my vintage or up-cycled stash, with just a few contemporary pieces placed throughout.
Jeep was my photo assistant. Because I used a combination of cotton and jean fabric, the quilt isn't as heavy as a traditional jean quilt. This will give it more user friendly access and if I put flannel on the back, that should help it with the staying warm issue.
(The backlight view is kinda pretty, isn't it?) The quilt came together nicely and now I am trying to decide how to quilt it. Tie it? Hand quilt using thick thread and big stitches or have it machine quilted? Any suggestions? The jean fabric can be a beast to work with, but I don't really like the tie look. Plus, I want the quilt to be durable and washable, so I will probably have it machine quilted at my local quilt shop.
This quilt is title #1, because I have set a goal to get six quilts made before the New Year. So we will see how it all goes!
This kid turned 6 last week, and like all mom's whose youngest is no longer a baby, I am both happy and sad by this development. Of all my children, I feel like J's childhood has gone too fast. I didn't get enough cuddle time, book reading time and swing under the trees time. Part of that is because He grew up in the back of our car, being the youngest of four, most of his childhood was spent watching his siblings being driven somewhere. But is true for all youngest children! Of all the suggestions about what he wanted to do for his birthday, because, believe me, there were many, taking the family to a TinCaps games was the best option. Plus we could do it on his actual birthday day and the game had fireworks! TinCaps have the best fireworks!
We are huge TinCaps fans, not because we love baseball, because we don't! But because we love everything else. So there are the fireworks, which are amazing, but the venue is clean, open and inviting, Parkview Field goes out of its way to be as family friendly as possible, the food is good and the cost is downright affordable. Best of all, there isn't a bad seat in the house. You can see the sweat dripping off the players faces, which is gross, but that is how close you get to the action. The two times we saw the Reds play, I could only see the red blurs of the players and the seats cost eight times as much.
Plus the players are really engaged with the fans, which is why J has a baseball in his hand... the second baseman brought it over to J at the end of the third inning. The ball had been in played and caught by him for the last out. As he was heading to dugout, he offered it to our birthday boy. Made the evening a complete success, though the eighth inning ice cream helped out too...
Monday- Cold cut sandwiches and soup
Tuesday- Shrimp fried rice found here.
Wednesday- Real Mac and cheese with real bacon on half and turkey on the other half (still have the exchange student!)
Thursday- Rice bowls with Teriyaki chicken
Friday- aluminum camping packets with fish
Saturday- Homemade Pizza
Sunday- Beef stir-fry
This quilt has been a thorn in my side for what feels like FOREVER. I try to make the kids a quilt for their seventh birthday, but this one might be finished by this boy's ninth.... sometimes things just go that way! To be far, we moved twice while I was making this quilt and both places ended up with little to no sewing space. So I have to be creative or we just end up not using our kitchen table for three weeks. The quilt top was finished for a good while, but I wasn't really thrilled about quilting it myself. I am a really bad machine quilter, so the thought of doing this was pure torture! Finally I decided to have it professionally quilted... AMAZING! Why haven't I done this before. The results were gorgeous and it wasn't that expensive. Plus I got to work with an amazing quilter who did exactly what I wanted!!!
The quilting pattern is called pick up sticks and it is a bright orange on top and a light gray for the back of the quilt. It looks great and best of all... no puckers! It took her only a couple of days on her super awesome quilting arm. I have two other quilts in the works and anything bigger than a baby quilt is going to her! Okay, the baby quilts are going to her as well. I just don't have the inclination to do it myself.
All this quilt needs is binding. Which I hope to attach this weekend! Should I wrap this qift or just put it on his bed and see if he notices?
I spent some time today looking over my first blog and copying the entries into a word document. This of course sent me down memory lane and there is some great stuff there. Which is why I keep this blog going, because as parents we really do forget a lot of the best things. One of my frequent posts was called Some Days and the posts were mostly random pictures of the funny things I had found that day. These posts made me laugh out loud, all the little things that my brain had moved to long-term storage. I am so very thankful I took the time to post these on my cute little family blog. Of course, I realized that since moving to Bluffton and living in an internet dead spot has put a damper on my ability to spontaneously add things to my blog, which means that Jeep is seriously under represented here. I sure that will be something for him to tell his therapist...
When we were pregnant with Jeep, our last child, Lou really wanted a sister. However, a brother was born and the pinning began. Even now, some five years later, we hear the occasional request for a younger sister, not just be Lou, but by all the children. So this year we got them all what they wanted. A sister.
We welcomed Tula to our family shortly after the New Year. Adding a teenager has been an interesting experience, but completely wonderful and enlightening. Tula has been a fantastic sister so far and we couldn't be more pleased with her presence in our home. Tula is from Kuwait, but an ethnic Egyptian and she is also a practicing Muslim. Tula has been in the United States since August, but her first family wasn't a good fit, so we got her instead! There is so much to learn from Tula, she has taught us about how she worships, what kinds of foods she loves and what her life is like back in Kuwait. Kuwait is that tiny country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The kids are fascinated by Arabic and Tula has taught them a couple of words. Much of what they learn turns into phrases for spells, so if my child curses you, it might just be the Arabic word for green beans.
Tula loves to draw and hopes to attend college in America. She wants to be an interior designer. She is bubbly and has a great sense of humor. We love this girl! She participates and supports our family in so many ways. She loves to watch Lou play basketball, nerf wars with Bug, reads books to Jeep and snuggles with Mr. E. While she is not really our daughter for the long haul, we are hoping that we can all be part of each other's lives for a very long time.
*** Jeep really had no desire to have his picture taken. His life is soo very hard...
****Yesterday, over dinner, we talked about President Trump's travel ban. While this ban doesn't directly affect our family or Tula, we all felt the sting. I know that past president's have issued similar bans and future presidents will so as well, however, this ban has been about bad politics and bad policy. Americans want to feel safe, but if the causalities are mercy and love, it's not safety we feel, it's loneliness. Two of the exchange students that came over with Tula were from Syria and she, rightly so, has been worried about them. While I don't think that they will be sent home and they will probably be able to get home just fine in June, I can't imagine what it would feel like to have sent your child to a foreign country only to have that country ban all travel and pinpoint your country as a hostile environment. It would be devastating and scary.
These zip top pouches are my go-to gift this year. I made about ten for the just in case I totally forgot that really sweet friend! Three of these are going to women I visit every month and to a lady who has some health problems that I have been getting to know better. Plus they are really fun to make and there is just something fun about a zip pouch. So many possibilities! Art supplies, make-up, a sandwich, socks (okay not socks) and all those really important things you want to keep in a cute little bag!
The pouches are made from scraps and take no more than an hour to make. Less if you apply Ford assembly line techniques and cut all the pieces out a once, ect.,ect.. I used the pattern found in the book Sewing Happiness but there are alot of really great tutorials for these all over the interwebs. HERE, HERE and HERE are good places to start. These are not my first foray into zippered pouches, I have sold a couple on etsy, but this was the first time I added that little scrap bit on the bottom. It was really fun trying to use even the smallest scraps. Plus the contrast turned out a really pretty product.
The best part about these little pouches was the ablity to use up some of my zipper stash. Years and years ago, my sweet nana gave me all her zippers. Which was awesome as I have been using them since. But there were always a couple that I just couldn't find a garment to use with. So when I started this project, I dug out those slightly rejected zippers and build the pouch around it!. I love the bright yellow one and the green one just pops. I also added a little leather cord for the zipper pull. For some reason the zipper pull finishes the whole look, like mascara.
What I love about these little pouches is that they are easy to fill with all kinds of goodies. One I filled with lip gloss and some earrings Lou created. Lou has been eyeing these babies for her own friends as well, which is how I got the earrings... we traded! What else could one put in these pouches? Any ideas?
I was flipping through the Ikea catalog and spotted a wooden bead necklace on one of the pages. I was stuck by the simplicty and beauty of the wood against the leather. It got my brain churning. While I didn't particurlly love the all raw wood necklace that was in the catalog, I did love the look of the leather and bead. The below necklaces are my personal interpretation.
Clearly these necklaces are not for everyone, they are a bit bohemian in nature, but I think you could pull these off with alot of different outfits and occasions.
I purchased the Leather at this etsy shop. The selection is wonderful and the products are top notch. Plus, is it just me who loves the smell of leather! If you end of purchasing the leather from here, I suggest you purchase it in 2 foot increments. Each necklace uses about 2 feet of leather. So if you purchase the 3 foot length, you will end of wasting a bit, which is a pet peave of mine!
The beads came from this shop and the prices were really good, even with the shipping. Most of the beads came pretty well sanded down, but I touched up a couple of ends with sandpaper, that way the paint goes on really smoothly.
I used Martha's paints from Michaels. The colors used were deep sea, vanilla bean, arrowhead, sandcastle, champagne, rose gold, and rose chrome. I wanted a mixture of metallic and satin finishes, which is why some of the beads shimmer. Picking out the colors was the hardest part as it can be hard to see what the colors will really look like on the beads and all together, but it worked out really well.
The above necklaces are my favorite, for some reason the pink bead just makes me smile. And the green bead adds alittle something to the whole look right? You can whip one of these out in an evening. Each bead was sanded and painted twice before stringing on the leather. I think I am going to add a protective layer over the paint. Probably a beeswax shine or something. Any suggestions?
***In an effort to motivate myself to finish all the gifts I have coming down the pipeline, I am sharing what I have been making here on the blog. Hopefully it will inspire you to branch out and create a little something for someone you love. Handmade items can be the best kind of love!***
Ever since I spotted Purl Soho's city gym shorts tutorial, I knew I wanted to make Lou some. Lou plays basketball in the winter, but is always bummed by the gross "boy" short choices and since I have little desire for her to be a walking billboard or spend that much on athletic shorts, making some was the perfect solution.
Luckily this gift cost me $ZERO$ additional dollars, as I already had all the supplies on hand. Mostly leftovers from other projects, which is the best kind of feeling. When you make something really special without needed to spend more money or waste more supplies. Looking at the picture below (left to right), silky-cotton fabric purchased from MOOD, leftover from a shirt project, blue chambray from the bottom half of a maxi skirt I shortened from Old Navy, and lastly, printed linen, left over from a summer dress I made. The bias strips (accents on the short legs) were also made from bits and pieces from my fabric stash.
After downloading and printing the pattern out, I made the bias tape. Making bias tape is not like riding a bicycle for me. I always have to go back and read up on how to make it. EVERY TIME! However, once I wrap my brain around it, it goes really fast and feels pretty easy peasy. I do own a bias tape maker like this one, which is helpful, but not a necessary tool. You could also purchase some bias tape at the store or get super cute bias tape from this etsy shop. I wanted to add a little pop with the bias tape, but subdued would look lovely too!
The pattern is really easy to make and Purl does such a great job with the instructions. The blue linen was the first one I made and I didn't cut the waistband the right width, so I had to modify that pair, but the pattern has wiggle room for those times when you fudge something. I don't own a serger, so I just overlocked all the exposed seams. I also added a tab in the back so that Lou would know which was the backside of the shorts.
I was a little bit worried that the short would come out too skimpy, but the length is really good for running, which is what Leah will be doing in them. But if you want to make the shorts a little longer, scroll down the pattern page on Purl Soho site because there are a lot of great suggestions about length modification and how to add pockets as well. Overall, high marks for the pattern and the shorts look great, don't they!