Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Bubble Skirt with a French Feel

I've had this super cute fabric laying around my studio just waiting to be made into something. This is part of the free fabric bundle I got a while back. 

I loved it because it was girly, and sweet, and it reminded me of Madeline, the little french girl in stories by Ludwig Bemelmans. We've read some of them to the kids and the girl seems to enjoy them. Then, we picked up some episodes of the cartoon series from Target for $5. I'll have to get the movie that was made several years ago and let the kids watch it.


I decided to make the girl a bubble skirt. The fabric is quite thin and flowy which makes it perfect for this project.

Bubble skirts are fairly simple to make and I'm sure there are many tutorials online somewhere if you need instructions. 

My girl loves this skirt! Even though she is more of a dress fan, if the skirt is twirly and bouncy, it's a win in her book, and a win for me.

I think I will take one of her plain tees and add an Eiffel Tower applique to match the skirt. What do you think?

Oooh, oooh, ooh, maybe a beret as well...?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

End of Year Fun: Kindergarten Edition

New beginnings are now ending and I am left once again wondering where the time went. 

First up, another season of baseball ended (end of May). The boy did well this year. 

If he plays in the fall he gets to move up to the next level, coach pitch, where they keep score and play outs and not everyone gets to play on the field at the same time. I think that would be a good experience for him. To learn that you don't win all the time, that there are losers and you just might be the loser, but you keep practicing, keep trying, and keep playing. Never give up, never surrender!

He got a game ball on the last game his team played.

After his closing ceremonies we went to the zoo with his Sunday school class. The tee ball groups got medals this year. I promise he is happy even if the photos don't show it.

                                                                        hi giraffe!

I have no idea what they are doing in the first photo, but I love that they are holding hands and having fun. Never has there been a happier girl with a bubble machine than this one. Ha! :)

The next week school ended. He has finished kindergarten. We walked to school on the last day (right photo), just like we did on the first day (left photo). He ended up wearing the same outfit on the last day just like on the first day as well.

I enjoyed spending part of the morning with his class. They sang a song with hand movements, they read a short story that they wrote about their classmates, got awards, and had ice cream.

My Rockin' Reader! I love his face. He doesn't really like attention like this. He's not a performer. I asked him why he didn't smile and he told me it was because he didn't know the names of the people watching him (the audience of parents). I told him he didn't need to know the names they were just the audience. Ha! He's so cute. All of the kindergartners got a certificate of completion.

I made a photo book for his teacher and it arrived on the second to last day of school. Phew, it was a close call. I wasn't sure it was going to get here in time. 

I put all of the photos from field day into my shutterfly account and ordered some prints for the kids, which they got earlier that week. I tried to make sure I got at least a couple of photos of each kid to take home with them.

Shutterfly had a page to add into books for autographs, so I added a couple of those pages to hopefully get the students to write their names in the book for her. I made my way around the room while they were eating ice cream and tried to get to as many kids as possible, but they kept moving around and some parents took some home early so I know I missed a few.

At the end of the book I put my son's first day of school photos, which you can sort of see on the right, and some others of him at school with some commentary about his first day, and a note of appreciation for his teacher. He will have her again next year for first grade, but I thought this would be a good idea.

How was your first day of school? "Mommy, I LOVED it!"

When we got home we looked through his bag to find his report card. The boy has destroyed kindergarten! In the fourth quarter there were 51 areas on which he was graded. The kid got scores of 3's in all 51 areas! My guess is that it would be equivalent to getting straight A's if they gave out letter grades instead of number grades. His reading and math teacher left a sweet comment as well on the report card. He made it to a level 5 reading level in his first year of school. It goes up to level 12, which they have to reach by the end of second grade. So in his first year of school he is firmly, and roughly, half way through first grade. Crazy! We are doing the summer reading program with the public library so he will keep up his reading skills and hopefully move up more levels next year.

It'll be fun to see how much he has grown at the end of next school year compared to the school sign out front, and in the years to come when he graduates from high school and grows into the XL shirt.

His average growth per year is three inches, I think he grew almost four inches, or more, this year.

Also, one thing that I did have his two main teachers do for him was write a note in the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the places you'll go!. It's a surprise. shhh. I will give him the book when he graduates high school and it will have little notes from all of his teachers through the years. Fun!

We are engrossed in summer vacation right now and even though school has barely finished, it is all going by so fast.

Friday, June 13, 2014

1930 Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

Guess what I have? Can you? Can you guess?
Yep. You read the title correctly. 
I have been admiring antique sewing machines since I started my own self-guided education into the world of sewing about 4 years ago. Has it been that long? It doesn't feel like it.

On our trip to Savannah we were poking around in different shops and found a couple of older singer sewing machines. I thought it would be nice to have one in my studio. Something old, loved, useful, and a reminder of this art that has been going on for hundreds of years before I decided it would be fun to learn to sew. But, the ones we saw in Savannah cost a bit more than I was willing to pay for something to sit on a shelf and be gawked at.

Left photo: Tybee Island lighthouse family house/museum. Top/bottom right photos: antique shops in Savannah.

Anyway, one weekend my husband wanted to go to visit his family and look through a storage unit that they were renting to house all of his grandparents' things after they passed away several years ago. They had a bunch of stuff and I told him to not bring anything back home. We don't have room for anything else in our house, it is crowded enough. 

He said ok. 

When he returned there was stuff in the back of the truck, and it didn't look like a little bit of stuff. I frowned at him. He said, "I know you told me to not bring anything back home, but I think you will want this." I wasn't so sure. Then, he pulled the tarp/covering back from the bed of the truck to reveal a treadle sewing machine! Of all things! 

And now it is mine. But it comes with some stipulations. It's the same deal that we made with his uncle over another piece of furniture that hub's grandfather made. I keep my fabric in it. 

I can't paint it or get rid of it. I have to keep it. Deal!

Apparently this wasn't the only antique sewing machine that this family owns. There is also another antique sewing machine that was electrified. I am not sure if it is in the storage unit or the uncle's house...?

We set it up in my studio once I cleared out a little place for it. The kids creative area will be a bit smaller, but they will just have to live with it.

My "new" sewing machine needs some cleaning and a little love. I'm sure it could use the touch of a professional to get it into proper working order. It also needs a new belt, the one that was with it is broken, before it can be used for sewing. And then I have to learn how to actually use it.

I did some research online and learned that it was from 1930 based on the serial number on the machine. 

Thank you wonderful husband for not listening to me. :)

Some of the writers of blogs I follow actually have an antique sewing machine that they still use because the new-fangled machines just don't cut it. Mostly I like to think that going back to the simplicity of a treadle machine is cathartic for them and brings back lovely memories from childhood. Sentimentality is a wonderful thing. And you can sew if the power goes out so it is also practical. 

We put it in the corner next to my modern sewing machine that came from the same grandmother. Now they are both mine and I will treasure them. I'm not sure how much use I will get out of the treadle, if I can get it into proper working order, but I do see it being useful in housing projects that need attention. I'll try to not let it collect too many unfinished projects and make sure it gets the respect it deserves.

I like thinking about how a treadle sewing machine changed the lives of early 20th century women. Instead of hand sewing everything, this prized possession came into their home and they could make so much more for their families in a shorter amount of time. The pioneers of home machine sewing. 

I'm sure in 1930 owning a home sewing machine was a big deal, and not a cheap one as well. I think of the show, The Waltons, and Olivia sewing something for her children during The Great Depression, and how appreciative they were of anything that they owned during that time when so many people had little money. A treadle sewing machine must have felt like a luxury.

Today, in my world, owning a quality embroidery machine would by my sewing luxury. Do you have a sewing luxury?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Savannah trip #2

My hard-working husband had been wanting a break from work for a while, but things at work kept preventing him/us from taking said break. We both needed some time away from everything. We sent the kiddos up north to visit the grandparents for a long weekend and we headed south for a mini, adult only vacation. Off to Savannah, Ga. we went! Also, this would coincide with our planned date night for the month of April. Win, win! I know, it has taken me this long to finish this post. Slacker.

We had a great time, despite the weather. It was cold, and rainy with the promise of warming up after we left. Naturally.

We did a lot of walking, sightseeing, and visiting some places we enjoyed the first time around. 

This time we made it to the Tybee Island lighthouse. Man, that thing is hard to find. I had never been in a lighthouse before. I had seen a small one once at the beach, but have never visited one, despite having grown up in NC where lighthouses abundantly exist on the outer banks, and I've never been there. It's on my list of things to do and see when we take the kids on vacation with us, one day. 

The lighthouse complex has several houses you can visit and take a look inside. This residence was for the family and we got a peek at what life was like in the early 20th century on Tybee Island.

Be still, my heart - a singer treadle sewing machine. Of course there would be one in the house. I couldn't get great photos of it because of the light coming through the window it sat in front of, but I love it!

Quilts throughout the house:

These toys would be of interest to my kids:

Across the street is another museum that you can walk around in with the admission to the lighthouse. So we headed over there to see what we could see.

We learned about the history of Tybee Island and Savannah.

I loved the history of the island in its heyday. I think my kids would have enjoyed the pavilion even back then. 

It's so colorful and I love that they had photos of the carnival rides as well as some of the actual pieces!

Aww, this poor clown. Why is he so sad?

Some more fun rides.

There was also history about the girl scouts, since the founder was from that area.

Tybee Island was a nice visit. We enjoyed it.

In Savannah, we did some sightseeing, shopping, and window shopping. I discovered a couple more antique sewing machines in two other shops.

This one was in a thrift store full of neat treasures. This singer is electrified. I took a peek underneath the body and I don't think everything was there that would be needed to make it work. I think it would make a cute decorative piece for my studio. I ended up leaving it in the store, but I did have an interesting conversation with a man whose daughter had a treadle sewing machine that she may or may not have been wanting to part with. In the end, he determined she would probably never get rid of it.

This featherweight was in an antique store on the riverfront. I couldn't inspect it much as it was behind glass in a locked cabinet.

Savannah is a great place to visit. One day we will have to take the kids with us. I think they would enjoy it, as there is so much to do, walk along the riverfront, watch the cargo ships pass by, parks to play in, and of course the candy stores where you can see them make taffy.

It was nice to not have a schedule, to not have to get up early, to not be awakened by kid noise, or barking dogs, or a whiny cat that wants to be fed.

We enjoyed our little break from life and parenting and most of all got to enjoy just being alone together. We'll have to do it again soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Random Kid Moments: #2

I think my kids are funny. They certainly have an interesting take on life.

I took the kids with me to look for a certain color of thread that I needed to hem some pants for someone. I had to go to three different fabric stores to find a color close enough. At the third store I bought a pack of twizzlers to share for the ride home as it was getting closer to lunch time. The boy was holding the package and while I was getting the girl settled into her car seat he says, "Mommy, can I have my low fat snack now?"
I just giggle at him. He says, "What? That's what it says on the package." It sure does Buddy, and yes you can have your low fat snack. Ha. My little reader.

One evening the kids were asking about what we were going to do the next day and if we were going anywhere. My hubs was planning on going on an all day trip to go look in a storage unit and visit his parents. The kids love visiting the grandparents. The girl ended up going along for the trip without either one knowing what was going on that day, otherwise they would both go, and only one could go, and there would be tears. We tried to not answer the question about what we were doing the next day. He asked again if were were going anywhere so I used the expression, "To the moon!" The boy got excited and said. "Really?!" By the next day I had forgotten all about it, but by mid-day the boy and I are on our way to do some window shopping and he says, "Mommy, when are we going to the moon today?" Ummm... 

Oh, silly kid.

The girl has picked up an interesting way of saying some words, mostly with a very southern accent. I'm pretty sure she gets that from daycare. So for entertainment I was asking her to say some words. Say yellow. Yellow. Say water. Water. Then the hubs wanted in on the action. Say wha-ter. Whater. What do we drink from the sink? Water. He was trying to get her to day wha-ter again. What do we go swimming in? Pools. What's in the ocean? Whales. Lol. Good try sweetie. She is just too smart.