Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My favorite

 Ten is a first born. Ten loves a schedule, solitude and creativity. Ten writes novels and stories and plays and journals and songs. Ten fills notebooks and loses them. Ten loves to play piano and sing. Ten practices regularly without being reminded. Ten needs lots of reminders when she's on kitchen zone. Ten loves to bake and then eat. Ten begrudgingly cleans up after so she'll be allowed to bake again. Ten loves to read and would read all day if she could. Ten loves to read with many voices and drama and accents when she reads to her littles. Ten patiently does preschool and games with them. Ten puts up with a lot of grief from youngers who pester. Ten is usually quite kind and thoughtful. Ten is helpful and can do so many things. Ten is brave and bold and unafraid of public speaking, but is reluctant to go up and introduce herself. Ten very much wants a bosom friend. Ten prefers the company of one to a crowd. Ten has great ideas. Ten folds her long legs and long arms up as small as she is able and lays her head on my shoulder and snuggles. Ten questions. Ten is quick witted. Ten is often a child but is often a young lady. Ten sprawls haphazardly and holds herself erect. Ten bursts into torrents of tears without warning or knowing exactly why. Ten is long limbed and long necked and blonde haired. Ten has sprinkles of freckles and a sometimes hesitant smile. Ten tries so hard to do her best. Ten is a perfectionist and ten is perfect and ten is my favorite.
 Eight is a commander. Eight is a challenger. Eight is passionate and wild and loud. Eight is persistent and independent. Eight follows through exactingly when she sees how she benefits. When she doesn't, garnering cooperation is an arduous ordeal. Eight loves to read and loves to climb and loves to make houses out of anything, jump on the hay bales, swing from the rope and play games. Eight is a leader. Eight is friendly and draws people to her. Knowing what will happen is important to Eight. Reality aligning with expectations matters to Eight. Eight can express her disappointment better now. Eight swoops up small children. Eight finds delight. Eight is creative. Eight loves stick fighting in Kuk Sool Won and is tenacious. Eight is gentle and rough. Eight is thoughtful and thoughtless and thought provoking. Eight is coming into her own. Eight needs reassurance. Eight snuggles fiercely and pulls away from being over parented. Eight likes her own ideas best. Eight likes instant gratification and works several months to complete a model sailing ship which she gives away to her friend the day she finishes it. Eight is generous and impulsive. Eight is energetic and calm. Eight wonders. Eight questions. Eight pushes. Eight encourages. Eight is pink cheeks and freckles and gap toothed grins and scabs and giggles. Eight is perfect. Eight is my favorite.
 Six is loud covered in dirt. Six loves rockets and volcanoes and airplanes and dinosaurs. Six does things big. Six moves fast. Six does all the puzzles all at once until in the middle of kitchen. Six fights with swords of sticks, of wood, of Styrofoam, of pegs. Six is a pirate, a knight, an army guy. Six is action. Six is the exact middle. Six is the little brother. Six is the "big bruvver". Six taught himself to write and can draw pictures, especially of monsters. Six is sensitive and self-critical. Six is unafraid to climb to the top of the windmill but doesn't like to talk with grown ups he doesn't know. Six will tantrum when tired or misunderstood, but usually has it under control. Six kisses fiercely and hugs thoroughly. Six is learning how to do the work well. Sitting is a chair is just not that fun for Six. Six will follow and also leads. Six loves people and to be alone. Six is tidy and trails a swath of mess.  Six eats as much as a grown man. Six is energetic and tiring. Six is growing into his sense of humor. Six generally follows the rules and has a strong sense of justice. Six is helpful. Six is learning to read. Six spoils his baby sister. Six helps his mama. Six follows directions. Six is tender. Six needs his story, his song and his prayers before bed. Six can wash his own feet but not the muddy tub. Six tries. Six is perfect. Six is my favorite.
 Four is fast and funny and friendly and furious. Four makes mad faces and hits and kicks mostly the air when he's frustrated. Four outgrew naps, but sometime he needs one. Four hides when he's mad or doesn't want his hair washed. Four is snuggly. Four is hungry. Four is thoughtful and sweet and gentle. Four needs to be told to not hit the cat with the broom. Four gets a bite of ice cream when he complies with a request the first time. Fours is giggles with gusto. Four apologizes for screaming. Four loves rough housing. Four's favorite is "sody pop and 'tato tips". Four loves Jeeps and fish and lions and flipping upside down. Four remembers. Four needs reassurance. Four notices. Four asks questions. All day long. "Dada, what would happen if the 'wuk tuwrned into a boat and ran wan into a volcano?" Four sits in on Six's reading lessons and answers the questions. Four is tender with his sister. Four catches Two and then falls down. Four does preschool. Four learns new things every day. Four is independent and needs to hold hands. Four wants to do it himself and needs reminders. Four loves to be read to and loves to race and loves to be silly. Four loves to make me laugh. Four is earnest and genuine. Four is sticky and sweaty and pudgy and solid. Four is bronzed and blonde and baby growing into boy. Four is quick and curious and contrary and certain. Four is dimples and dirt and dynamite. Four is perfect. Four is my favorite.
 
Two is adorable. Two is hilarious. Two is big eyes and curls and serious mouth. Two is grins and giggles. Two is mischievous. Two talks. Two is "ung-ee". Two prefers bread and bananas to broccoli. Two nurses when she wakes up. Two runs herself to the potty when her bummie is bare. When she has on bundies, she forgets. Every time. Two sleeps alone in a queen sized bed. Two likes to be where the action is. Two loves to play with water, to play with sand and to carry purses and dollies. Two kisses and hugs ferociously. Two is a fat little belly and dimpled knuckles and legs slimming. Two is thought filled and watchful. Two teases and jokes. Two loves attention and to make me laugh. Two opens, two gets out, two dumps, two strews. Two is curious and quick. Two is intuitive. Two eschews her high chair and sits at the table with the rest of us. Two is clever. Two helps put away the dishes and takes her plate to the dishwasher. Two climbs everything. Two is a problem solver. Two gets her shoes and wants to go. Two doesn't like to be left behind. Two wants to run with the bigglets but can't yet keep pace. Two tries. Two loves books and to be in the wrap and for Mama to be a monster and to grab. Two loves the kitties squishingly and the puppy only when Mama is there. Two dashes, Two cackles, Two babbles. Two is tiny and pure and innocent. Two is perfection. Two is my favorite.

photos by the genius Sweekit Photography

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Day in the Life

I'm always curious about the average person's daily life. I found an amazing video on Netflix titled Life in a Day. It is a documentary of snippets of people's lives all over the world. It's a bit of time capsule. It was beautiful.

It inspired me to make one of my own.

I have done this before in written form, with pictures, but never with video. It took me quite a bit longer to put the thing together than I thought it would, especially because I got sick for several days right after I shot it. I stayed up late last night and now it's finally done.

I invite you to take twenty minutes out of your day to share part of mine. :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Throwin' of a Pirate Party

I LOVE to throw parties. I have a philosophy: Go Big or Go Home. Kevin, my everlovin' introvert, can't understand it, but he assists me in all the ways he can. He gets into it too!

I like to have a theme for our birthday party. We just have one a year to celebrate all of us, all born in July and August. This year's theme was pirates.


To set the scene, send out invitations. Of course, you could always do a facebook invitation, or text it, but people love to get something in the mail. I typed out pirate speak on the computer, tore them, dyed them with tea, wrote translations on the back as an afterthought, just in case. 

We built some pirate ships using hay wagons. I made the bunting from felt. 




A friend sent me the link to Catch My Party and these free pirate printables. I don't really think "treat bags" are a necessity, but they needed something to put their treasure in after the treasure hunt, so...perfect! They got a couple of mini candy bars and treasure. (jewels and gold coins I purchased from Amazon.)



First we frolicked and face painted until enough people arrived to start the festivities.


 We started with Pin the Patch on the Pirate.


I had a talented friend draw a pirate.

 


On to the treasure hunt!
putting the map back together
For the treasure hunt, I drew a large map on a folded out paper shopping bag, labeling various areas around our yard, such as the Petrifying Playhouse, Tire Swing o' Terror and the Willow the Wisp. I asked Brielle to tear the map into 15-20 pieces. She got carried away and tore it into 42. We hid those pieces around the yard and the wee pirates had to search for them like an Easter egg hunt. Then we had to put the puzzle back together. I'm not sure if we didn't have all the pieces back or if it was because there were so many of them, because it was a challenge! I was impressed with their tenaciousness. We had wrapped a cardboard box in yellow paper and hidden it in a hollow tree. Then we marched back to the front yard and I threw all the treasure up in the air and they stuffed their bags. The big kids helped the littles get their share. 
 Then it was time for A Battle!

We had the dads be Captain Scallywag and Captain Salty Dog. We numbered off by twos and got the kids loaded up with water balloon bombs, water bomb splash bombs and water cannons.


 Once the ammo was mostly gone, it was time to walk the plank.
 Kevin rigged up the teeter-totter into an admirable plank.


me best matey and meself

 Then it was time for cake and ice cream!
 Brielle and Kevin had been working (sporadically) on this model ship since December. It was the perfect addition to our pirate cake.
All our soggy pirates.

 I made a three layer poke cake. 

It was delicious, but as it turns out, none of us like grape jello. I was trying to go for the colors of black, red and white. Next time I'll just stick with red.

One of the wee little pirates.
 After playing on the hay bales a while, we loaded everyone up for a 
 pirate ship hay ride.



Elivette and her little friend Andrew


After this we had homemade sloppy joe sandwiches and the delicious sides that everyone brought to share. All in all, I would say it was a jolly good time

.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Clothespin Pocket Apron Tutorial

Or more realistically, A What Not To Do Tutorial, otherwise known as a Comedy of Errors.

I use tutorials quite a bit in my career and am immensely grateful for them. I decided, since I have been planning to make this apron anyway, why not make a tutorial at the same time? Sure! Great idea!

First, have your husband take a couple of the kids to the vet and to buy a two row sweet corn planter. Then get the baby down for her nap. Have the biggest sister read to the little brother.

Gather your materials. You'll need

An iced coffee.


Depending on if you contrast fabrics or make it out of the same one, you'll need about a 1/2 of a yard of fabric. I used leftovers from other projects. A couple of fat quarters would be perfect for the apron, but you'll need a standard 45" width for the apron ties.

You'll also need several inches of double fold bias tape. I happened to have some that came in my sewing machine table drawer from when I bought it at an auction several years ago, so that was handy. I have never used store bought bias tape before this project. This should be fun! 

So 
what you really want is your fabric to be about 12 inches long in the end. You need a few inches for seam allowance and sticking the apron up into the waistband. I did 17 because I wasn't sure how much room I'd need for the clothespins. (mistake #1).

I ended up folding up a few inches because after I used it the first time, it was too long for my hands to easily reach the clothespins. I made it 16 inches wide, because that was all I had left of the bird fabric and I really wanted to use it. (mistake #2) And of course, I didn't want sideways birds while I'm here hanging up clothes, on the farm, with no one to look at me but the cats and kiddles, because that would just have driven me nuts every single time I used it. But if I were you I'd make it at least 20 inches wide. Fat quarters are 22" and that would be just perfect!

To reiterate, ideal cutting measurements are 22" wide by 14" long. To make the pockets, nip off a corner of the top fabric while it's folded. I went down about seven inches and curved in almost a right angle. This plan worked out!

Pin your bias tape to the top fabric pockets. Sew.
If you miss some of your bias tape (mistake #3), make sure you go back over it. This is easier to do before your apron's all assembled (mistake #4).

Now you're going to sew your apron pieces together and flip it right side out.
Normally, when you do this procedure you put right sides together. Thusly. 

DO NOT DO THIS! (mistake #5)
You want the right side of the  bottom piece to be facing the inside of the top piece when you flip them right side out. You should layer them with the right side of your top piece facing the wrong side of your bottom piece.

If you don't listen to my advice, you're going to have to sew another panel onto your bottom piece, like so. 
Sew the wrong sides together, flip that right side out and carry on as if nothing happened.

Also, double check you didn't miss any edges and have a hole in your new apron already. (mistake #6). If you do, sew it up!
photo by three year old assistant

Now you're (finally) ready for your waistband. What you really should do is measure across your middle and that is how wide you should make your waistband. Or, you could just really want to use this fabric in your apron, because it's all you have left from when you made a dear friend her apron for her birthday, so you make it as wide as you can with the fabric you have. In my case that was 14 inches. I made the little bump just to be fancy. 

You know aprons are fancy.

Then you'll sew wrong sides together (mistake #7) along the top only. 

Know what's a good idea? Making sure you flip BOTH pieces to wrong sides, not just the one you see. I could blame a husband or miscellaneous children, because I know I started to get interrupted about now, but as this was not my first error...probably I won't.

Know what else is a good idea? Not using a really tiny stitch when you sew them wrong. (mistake #8) I decided to just leave it. Even though it will annoy me, I just zigzagged the raw edges. I couldn't flip them so I didn't have raw edges, you see, because I had frugally used the selvage edge of my fabric, planning for it to be on the back of the band where no one would see it.(mistake #9) I decided the raw edge was the lesser of the two annoyances. 




When you're done with correcting all your mistakes---no scratch that, YOU won't make any mistakes, because I've already done them for you---, you'll insert your apron into the waistband. You'll need to turn up the edges of your fabric so you don't have any raw edges showing. I usually fold down about a 1/2 ", iron, fold my raw edge into that crease, and iron again. If you know of a faster way, please tell me.

Insert your apron into the bottom of your waistband, taking care to not catch and cut your thumb on the needle for the first time ever (mistake #10).

If you misplace (somehow) both of your pairs of sewing scissors, even though you just had them, do not think that your son's school scissors will actually cut thread, even though they will cut into the upholstery of the dining room chairs given enough tenaciousness. 

Moving on to the apron ties. I like wide ties. So I cut two 45" lengths of six inch wide fabric. The only one I had enough of was the blue. So I picked that. 

Fold it in half and sew along the long end. If you want to get fancy (again) cut a 45 degree triangle off the end of it. Turn it right side out. It doesn't take long if you like wide ties like me.

If you need to turn narrower strips, I highly recommend a tube turner. (Those are the ones I have, but I didn't get them there; I don't usually shop at Walmart). Once you figure out the directions, you will thank me. (There are also youtube videos, if the directions still don't make sense.)


Gather the end of your apron tie a bit, fold your raw edges in on the sides of your waistband and insert. I made sure I inserted it at least 3/4", because I have been known to be a bit skosh (pronounced with a long O) and had to re-do the entire thing. (I'm sure this comes as a big surprise to you.)







 Sew it well.

VoilĂ ! You're done! And all before the baby woke up from her nap, despite all the mistakes, which proves if you do it right the first time, this is a very quick project.

Now go hang some clothes!

My photographer is short, and was trying very hard to
get the apron in the photos. I promise, I really do have a head.

The first time my bum was ever on my blog.
(at least to my knowledge)

as it looks hanging in the laundry room