Friday, August 30, 2013

My Week

Here's what I did this week:
  • Went to work and left my laptop charger there where my relief accidentally took it home with him. I was able to track it down and he brought it back to me on Thursday.

  • Three days of not using my laptop was really hard. Sure, we have other computers at the house, but I use my laptop the most. It works better than the ancient desktops we let the kids play on.

  • Finished and photographed my son in his Study Hall Jacket. Read my post about it here for more information.

  • Completed a Fedora hat for the boy as well. This will be entered into the State Fair in October.

  • Looks good on both kids.

  • My beagle was barking at something in the wooded area behind our house so I went to investigate and found this creature. Do you see it?

  • Giant Snapping Turtles are woodland creatures, you know. Here's a zoomed in and cropped photo.

  • My son was happy to bring home his first school library book.

  • Did housewife/mother/wife/employee stuff.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Study Hall Jacket

I have declared this project COMPLETE! or at least as complete as it is going to get at this point. You can read about my struggle with this project here. But who wants to read about my struggle when you can see the happy ending right now?


Here's a short, quick version of what I did.

Fabric: Flannel, two colors of ribbing, two colors of twill. I wasn't sure which color of ribbing I wanted to use for the jacket so I bought both colors that matched the twill. All fabric came from JoAnn's.
Love the flannel!

I cut out my pieces after hacking the pattern and adding seam allowances for the color blocking. Then, I sewed the pieces together.

Ready to assemble the outer jacket and the flannel lining.

Welt pockets for the front.

Attaching the two pieces together and preparing for the ribbing.

*sigh* My struggle-y section.

But I persevered and the result is actually not that bad.  

 My boy said he loved his jacket when I first showed it to him during one of his not-staying-in-bed moments. I used that moment to have him try on the jacket to see how it fit. He is growing in to a size 6 so I made the jacket using the size 7 pattern. Depending on how quickly he grows, he should be able to wear it again next year and it will fit him even better.

Grading on my part---
Outcome: B
Effort: A+

Kid Approval rating: A+++


I had gone searching for help with the part I was having an issue with. I think I sent about three requests. To my complete surprise I actually got an email back from Andrea Pannell who created this pattern! I didn't even send her a request for help, but she sent me an email response first. I was amazed. Everyone offered words of encouragement and compliments as well. Thanks, ladies!

Sending a thank you to:
Andrea Pannell

Things I learned with this project:
--I can now make Study Hall Jackets for my kids
--I know how to use ribbing in projects (sort of, minus that tricky part)
--I know how to sew welt pockets; those were a first as well
--Hand sewing can be therapeutic (must get back to cross stitching at some point)
--Don't let the tricky parts define to outcome of the finished product

And there you have it. Have a great day!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sew Struggling

So, on a few different blogs I follow I kept seeing this fall line of patterns being reviewed and shared. The Alphabet Collection by Pattern Anthology. I was sold on getting the set of 4 patterns when I saw Shwin and Shwin blog's fun use of the Study Hall Jacket. The jacket is adorable. I love the colors, the blocking, the fit. The boy is so cute!! I figured this would be a good project to make for my son.

I purchased all four patterns before they were sold individually. A little less than twenty dollars, five dollars per pattern, the jacket is now $12 individually, so it was a good deal!

I went to JoAnn's to pick out fabric for my jacket/coat projects. I got to work on the Study Hall Jacket. For the most part it is looking pretty good. I can see the finish line, as I have almost completed the jacket. I'll just skip to the part that is giving me trouble. I'll do a full post later. Stay tuned.

Here is what I have:

A problem with the rib waistband. Pretty sure it shouldn't look all scrunchy. doesn't look like the diagram on the instructions.

Having never used ribbing, or making something with a waistband that have corners like this, I am not sure what I did wrong.

I followed instructions as I understood them, followed along with the photos, took my time, read and re-read the instructions.

It doesn't look complicated. I'm fairly certain I can handle this. I just don't know how, I think.

Ohh, the scrunchiness. :(

Here what it looks like when I turn everything right side out. As a whole it looks neat, until you get to the ribbing.


I know I can do better.

Just not sure how to make it better.

I unpicked a few stitches that looked like they were the trouble makers. I haven't turned everything around to see what it looks like. I was tired and went to get ready for bed instead.

Also, what is up with the lining showing up at the bottom of the zipper? *frown* I'm not extremely worried about that at this point.

The unpicked stitches:
Wow, that is not focused very well on the jacket. Sorry. It was getting late, and I was getting too sleepy to pay attention to the photos I was taking.

This is better.

Most of the scrunch has disappeared. I like it a little better, but I worry about the inside. I will go and look at it when I get a chance and hand stitch the holes.

Here is the mostly finished product:

Zipped up. Doesn't look too bad.

An inside peak. Cute!

Full view of the lining.

In order to finish the jacket I need to figure out the waistband thing. Help?. Sew the lining hole that I used to turn the jacket right side out, and finish the cuffs. It's mostly complete and not too shabby on my part, but it needs improvement before I show it to my son. I hope he likes it, too.

I know it's not going to be "perfect". There will be many errors on  my part, which I can live with. It makes the finished product more human, and gives me a chance to build up my sewing skills. Errors that no one will really ever notice just looking at it, as long they don't inspect it too much, I can handle those errors. But, when it is extremely noticeable, I have to fix it. I have to know how to fix it as well.

Fix the scrunchiness, make it smoother. Any information, help, advice, tips, strategies...?

My Week

Oh, how I love it when I have time off work. Also, how I love to go back to work, especially for the weekend. I know, it's weird. Who wants to work on a weekend? But, really, weekends at work are pretty cool. I get to spend most of my time doing what I want. There are only a few other people at work, not like the busy Monday through Friday workers/meetings/groups of people to contend with. It's quiet. It's still. I can watch cable t.v. (sometimes) because we don't have cable at home. I can get organized. I can get a lot more actual work done on the weekends I work than when I work during the week.

I took four days off so I could send my son off to school, and to use up some accrued time before the end of the year use it or lose it deadline. I am working two days, then I will be back to my short work week, so more time off. Yea!!

Enough about my work schedule, here's what I did this week:
  • Sent my son off the Kindergarten.
  • Enjoyed quiet house time. It was sooo nice!
  • Housework: Laundry, vacuum, dishes, lunches, dinners, swept and mopped dining room and kitchen. *gasp* We really should sweep and mop more often.
  • Spent one-on-one time with my girl. She missed out early on because she was the second born. We worked on counting, colors, shapes, the alphabet, and read books. She knows most of this stuff, but I really want to focus more on her learning now that I can spend more time with her alone.
  • Spent time working on a jacket for the boy. For the most part it is turning out...well...ummm...yeah...I just...I'm struggling with a part of it, and I am almost done with it.
  • Went to the grocery store.
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

His Journey

The school year has begun!

Here's a photo log of what has transpired lately:
About 10 days out from school starting. Such a big kid, now.

Indulging me with some cutie-patootie photos.

His final day as a preschooler.

I added up how many school days he would go through before he graduates high school. 2,340 school days. He's surprised and exasperated.
We read a book: The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing. Follows the same pattern as T'was the Night Before Christmas story, but about getting ready for school and stuff instead of Christmas. Then, he was off to the land of nod.
He woke up ready to start school. He was happy and very excited about his new adventure. I was relieved that he had that up-and-at 'em attitude.
Photos: First Day of Kindergarten August 19, 2013; I'm a Kindergartener paper; Stop Crying Mom chalkboard sign.
The dry erase board photos didn't turn out as well as planned. I a) couldn't find a thicker, darker marker or b) don't own any. I picked up some when I was shopping for school supplies but they were for the my son's class...not for me to use. It also didn't help that it was still dark out before we left to go to school.
When I grow up I want to be a: Super Hero. Again, would have been better with a darker, thicker marker. Then, in the car and ready to go to school. Love the smiles!

I dropped my daughter off at daycare so I could just concentrate on the boy starting school. I didn't want to drag her along with all of the craziness of the first day of school. The primary school is about two blocks away from the daycare they go to, so to avoid the madness of first day traffic, we walked to school from the daycare. We had plenty of time and I could talk to him about what was going to happen and he could ask me questions.

We found his hall and classroom. He found his name on the wall to leave his backpack, but he got to sit on the floor and wait for his classmates first. His hall had a countdown celebration and they got to throw confetti after the countdown and cheer. Fun!

I am so glad that he wasn't clingy or upset. He had been clingy the day before at open house. He's not worried on the photo on the right, he's just waiting.
We had been preparing him for a while for this day. We've had many conversations and read lots of books.
We've introduced new activities for him, beginning with fall t-ball last fall. The first day of that practice didn't go so well. He wouldn't participate. The second practice was much better, then he was fine.
One day he decided he wanted to join a kids Sunday school class (all on his own, no prompting from us. Awesome!). I decided both kids needed to go to children's church instead of sitting on the sanctuary with us being a distraction (fighting and arguing with each other) since the girl had outgrown the nursery. That has been going pretty good. They have each other.
He did spring t-ball. Then, the summer came and I put them in a gymnastics program just for the summer, and had them go to VBS.
All of the prep work paid off on Monday.
He threw his confetti and we walked into his class. He gave me a few hugs, there were no tears from either of us, and went to sit at the front of the room with his friends to start the day.
While we were waiting for the countdown, there was one boy a couple of kids away from him who was having a hard time. New things are scary and it was getting the best of him. He was so upset. It was hard for me to watch. I know how he felt. When I was his age I had a hard time adjusting to new situations like the first few days of school. I felt bad for him. His mom was having a hard time, too. I really wanted to help her and tell her he would be ok, but I was getting emotional just watching them. If I had tried to help I, too, would have been reduced to a puddle. I didn't want my son to see me upset and have it spiral downhill from there. I was able to give her a knowing smile because I have been there. It could have easily have been my son.
Once I got my son in class I asked him if he would sit next to his new friend and be a good friend to him, help him, tell him it would be ok. He told me he would be his friend but didn't want to sit next to him. *scowl/frown* We'll need to talk more about being a good friend and helping others. There was another kid in his class that he is already friends with and he wanted to sit with him. Understandable. It was someone he was familiar with. He went to sit down and I left him there, ready to be a big kid.
I went home to a quiet house. The first few minutes after I sat down and just looked around, something felt off. Then I realized it was because the house was quiet. It was a nice moment and I just sat there in it for a while. After I enjoyed the moment for a bit I did some housework and kept busy until it was time for school to get out.
My son was so excited to see me in the car line. I asked him a simple question about how his day went and without missing a beat he said, "I LOVED it!" He was so enthusiastic and emphatic about his statement. I was so happy for him. He went on to say that he didn't want to come home, he didn't want me to come get him, he wanted to stay at school. He asked if he could come back tomorrow. Yes! I guess that made up for the fact that he had to go home first. :)
His journey to Kindergarten was made easier by the groundwork we had laid beforehand. He's ready to grow up. He's joining a whole group of kids beginning their school journey for the first time. It's making me happy and sad. I'm only partially ready to let go, while he is sort of ready to spread his wings a little more. While we were preparing him for this day, we were preparing ourselves as well. It helped both us.
Have a great year, Son. You are going to do fantastic!
Love you,

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day

Well, we did it!
My boy is off to his very first day of school.
First day of kindergarten.
The first day of the 2,340 school days he will have until he graduates high school.
2,339 school days left.
Class of 2026.

Don't worry. He's not worried. Which you may not be able to tell from the photo. He was a very big kid. He wasn't very clingy, there were no tears from either of us, and he went to class like a pro.

He is going to do awesome!
He is going to be awesome!
He is awesome!

I'm so glad I get to be his mom.

Happy First Day of School, Son. I love you.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Week

I have decided to join Dana over at Old Red barn Co. in sharing what we did over the week. Sounds like fun! It was a good week.

Here's what I have done this week...that I can remember:

  • It's my short work week, so I get to spend more time with the kiddos. Always something going on with them.

  • Still working on recovering from a virus I caught. I'm improving and am so much better than I was last week, but I still have some days that aren't as good.

  • Tuesday was my day off: kids go to daycare and I get to spend some time alone. What did I do? I went shopping at JoAnn's. It was so fun to do that without kids running around and asking when we could leave. Leave?! Why would you ever want to leave a fabric store? They just don't share my enthusiasm, so I went without them.

  • Housework, laundry, more housework, parenting, teaching, playing, cooked dinners...

  • Spent one-on-one time with my girl. We worked on counting, and colors in English and Spanish.

  • September consignment sales are coming up and I am so excited. I did some organizing and entered my items online.

  • Took the kids to the library. Read books about going to kindergarten.

  • Overheard funny conversations between my son and daughter.

  • Discovered that my daughter had drawn on our bathroom door with a bath tub crayon. We discovered this after she was asleep. The next day I took photos of her explaining what she drew. Then, explained to her that we don't draw on the house, we use paper. I made her clean it off.

  • She's actually pretty good at drawing at age 3. She didn't get that from me.

  • Got an email that I had won an online giveaway from MADE!

  • Went to work. Came home. Discovered later that a Preseason NFL game was on TV. I was one happy girl!

  • Cut out some patterns for future projects.

  • Today I will run errands with the kids. Play with them. Laundry, housework, shopping, and prepare my son for his first day of school on Monday.

  • Kindergarten here we come!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My New Fave: Peasant Dresses

I had been wanting to try my hand (sewing hand) at making peasant dresses. The ones I have been seeing on Pinterest are so darn cute!

They looked fairly simple to make, I just needed a pattern and tutorial. I'm sure there are several out there, but this is the one I used: Peasant dress from Jamie at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. It's a free (woohoo!) pattern that you can print out from the link in her tutorial. The pattern comes in three sizes: 12-18 months, 2T/3T, and 4-7. Just choose your size from the links she provides, print them out, cut them out, and you are ready to get started.

For my girl I used the 4-7 pattern. She wears a 3T and will be moving into the 4T size by next spring/summer, and since I like things to grow with my kids I used the bigger size.

So far I have made her three peasant dresses. I tried the pattern out using the big polka dot fabric. This fabric is from Wal-Mart (Large dots aqua). I had extra of it so if I didn't like how it turned out, I wasn't going to be terribly upset that I had ruined nicer fabric.

No worries, because I loved how it turned out. I love the dots! My girl, not so much. They're not pink.

Well, that is an easy fix. I picked up some pink chevron print fabric (Studio 8), and the pink gingham apples fabric (Timeless Treasures: Tutti Frutti), while I was in San Antonio from the Creative Sewing Center. I made her two more dresses.

And then we had a photo session. I am thrilled at how all three of them turned out. She especially loves the pink dresses, and ruffles. Ruffles are just right for twirling.

I had only purchased a half yard of the apple fabric so I added the pink chevron sleeves and ruffle to finish out the dress. My twin picked out the apple fabric and had wanted me to make something using it and the chevrons. Good call, twin!

My son picked out a long sleeve, button up shirt to wear to church. I figured this was as good a chance as any to get him to wear one of the ties (link to A Little Bit Funky blog, tutorial, and free pattern) I made him that coordinated with his sister's attire. That was about the only way I could get her to wear the dress. She wasn't thrilled, but it worked.

Aww...siblings! They look adorable together. I love it when I sometimes get photos that capture one of them in a more natural state. My girl with her elbows on her knees and hands on her face. Sweet and adorable, she is.

I have more chevron fabric that I want to use for more peasant dresses for the fall. I've been thinking about adding pockets to the dress...long sleeves...or maybe an iron-on applique...hmm.

Oh, the girl also wants a tie to wear with her dress, so I will be working on something like that for her as well.

The creative wheels are a-turning!

Have a great day!