Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 30, 2011

I hope you've taken a moment today to think about the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.  I couldn't find a parade or much local celebration of Memorial Day to take part in, so our celebration involves bikes, swimming, cooking out, corn on the cob, potato salad, and fun with neighbors.  I hope you're enjoying the day as much as we are.

Children's Ball.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So where did we go all decked out in pirate costumes?  To a Children's Ball, where we joined princes, princesses, and superheroes in a fundraiser for the Relief Nursery of Central Texas.  The Relief Nursery is dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect through early intervention for overwhelmed and vulnerable families.  A fun event for a great cause -- perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

We first decorated pirate hats.

Then Big Sister got her face painted.

Little Brother gave himself a (chocolate) pirate beard.

Big Sister got her fingernails painted.

Then we went fishing, where Little Brother caught an army man with a parachute.

We watched a clown do funny tricks.

Then a major cold front rolled in, so Big Sister jumped in the bounce house to warm up.  This is how you say "Brrrrrrr" in pirate:

And this is how you say "Arrrrrrr!": 

We posed for pictures.

And we danced on the stage with Oma.

That's the story of our pirate adventure.

Kids Clothes Week Challenge.

Monday, May 16, 2011

During Elsie Marley's seven-day KCWC, participants sew kids' clothes for at least an hour each day.  It's amazing to see what some people manage to sew in a week.  I think they must be sewing seven hours per day instead of seven hours total.  I've always known that my perfectionist tendencies slow me down, but this challenge really highlights just how pokey I am.  I only finished one dress.  It's a cute one though, so I guess I'll call the challenge a success.

This is the Twirly Dress by Sew Sweet Patterns, in size 6 for Big Sister.

The back has two rows of elastic in casings and ties through loops.  Very cute and practical design.

I can't quite tell if this pattern runs a bit small through the ribcage, or if Big Sister is just generously sized herself (probably some of each?).  It fits my large 4.5-year-old perfectly, but without a lot of room to spare.

Sneaky Little Brother wiggled his way into almost every picture!

When they named this dress Twirly, they weren't kidding.  It should be named Tremendously Twirly.  This skirt has some serious twirl power.  I think the circumference around the bottom hem is 152 inches!

Fabric:  This is by Roxy/Quicksilver, and it's some of the softest woven fabric I've ever found.  The quality is fantastic.  I wish I could remember where I bought it, wish I had bought more, wish I could find more now.  If you ever see some of their fabric for sale, please let me know.  The orange dots is by Moda, which has some of the best options for coordinates around. This was my first time to order from Fat Quarter Shop, and the fabric arrived in two days.  Awesome!

Construction Notes:  The pattern designers say up front that this pattern is for people with more sewing experience.  Translation:  There are some things you have to figure out for yourself.  The directions never mention pressing, for example.  And the seam allowance isn't always clear.  It's not a hard pattern to improvise on, but if you sew late at night like I do, improvising can sometimes lead to taking things apart, which can lead to only completing one project during a sewing challenge week.  If you are thinking of making this dress, please heed this warningThere is an error in the pattern -- three strips of ruffle fabric will not be enough for the larger sizes!  After following directions, I calculated that the circumference at the bottom of the skirt was about 20 inches larger than the circumference of the unruffled band that you're supposed to attach.  That does not work.  Instead of three 5 inch by 22 inch strips for the ruffle, I used five.  That's a lot of fabric to work with.  I'm wondering if a ruffle foot would make the job easier (I actually have one but have never attempted to use it)?  Next time I might just use bias tape instead of messing with the ruffle, although it certainly does look good.  Also, I used a 1/2 in. seam allowance on the straps, but next time I think I'd use 1/4 in. instead.

ETA:  Sew Sweet Patterns is revamping the instructions for the Twirly Dress pattern, so it may not be available for a little while, until they re-release it.  Sorry to be a tease!

Sidewalk painting.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Easter Bunny brought each of my kids a stack of paint by Sidewalk Sensations.  You mix the powdered paints with water, grab the paintbrush that's included, and head outdoors to create a masterpiece.  We were surprised to find that the paint didn't show up much on our concrete.  Maybe I should have used a little more powder or a little less water?

But then, after a few minutes, the paint began to dry and it started turning opaque.  The colors began to intensify. 

When dry, the sidewalk paint looked totally bright and fun.

We celebrated with glitter.

And smiles.

Now here's the cool part.  You don't have to buy sidewalk paint at all.  You can very easily make your own with equal parts cornstarch and water, and a few drops of food coloring.  You can find instructions all over blogland, like here and here and here.

For our next sidewalk painting adventure, we just might have to try fizzing sidewalk paint, which includes baking soda and fizzes when sprayed with vinegar.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We recently went to a children's ball, where kids were invited to come dressed as princes/princesses, pirates, or superheros.  Mine wanted to be pirates.  We had no pirate costumes, and the hat and vest I ordered from Canada did not arrive in time.  So the night before the ball, I gathered Old Navy t-shirts, PJs from The Children's Place, gold trim from Joann, and went to work.  Thanks to MADE and the awesome Frontier Vest pattern (with Pirate Vest tutorial) and Basic Pants pattern, I emerged from my sewing room ready to outfit two cute pirates, with hours to spare.

For Big Sister's vest, I took quite a bit of length off and rounded the corners.  I enlarged the pattern just a bit.  I used two soft cotton Old Navy t-shirts -- it gets hot in Texas, and I like dress-up clothes to be breathable when possible.

The vest is reversible, with ric-rac showing only on the red side:

Little Brother's vest was made basically the same way, except that I used a larger seam allowance to make the vest overall smaller.  His is reversible too, red Old Navy tee on one side, Children's Place knit skull PJs on the other side.

You can't see the fabulously cheesy gold buttons, which have anchors on them.

I also made Little Brother some shorts out of a pair of Children's Place woven PJ pants in a skull print.  I didn't take a photo specifically of those, or of the sash I cut for each kid.  But if you look closely, you can probably make out those pieces:

They liked their costumes well enough that I didn't have to walk the plank.  Whew.


Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm a day late, but isn't every day Mother's Day, really?  There's never a bad day to celebrate moms, the sacrifices they make for us, the things they teach us, the love they give us.  I hope I can be half the mom to my kids that my mom has been to me.

This is my mom and me, not long before I became a mother and she became a grandmother.

And these are my kids, celebrating my mom and Mr. Great's mom.

Cheers to all you mothers out there, today and every day!

Easter, part 2.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When we left off, we had just begun our backyard Easter egg hunt.  There were many more eggs to be found.

So many that they wouldn't all fit in the basket.  Opa to the rescue:

Little Brother loved crushing the cascarones to make the confetti spill out.

Eggs were hidden in interesting places.  Look, one way up high!

Opa to the rescue again.

Discovering the goodies in the eggs may be the most fun part of the day.  

Finding non-candy goodies for a two-year-old isn't the easiest thing in the world.  But these wooden memory game pieces by Little Polka Dot turned out to be great:

Big Sister found lots of cute things in her eggs.

Eggs all found, goodies all discovered, time for cake!