Friday, August 28


Other than highlighting the fact that we needed to cut the grass... I just think she's adorable! And I'm so glad she's growing into some of the stuff I've been making over the past year. The pants in this pattern looked kind of funny when I was making them, but put it on over her diaper and it's not so weird after all. Just another lesson in having faith in the design.

Thursday, August 27

first day of 4 year old preschool

So typical. We actually got ourselves ready way too early, and the bus was a couple minutes late. Luckily that gave me time to get a couple more fun shots while we were waiting!

waiting. waiting. waiting. "Mommy, I think the bus is late!!!"
(it's hard to see, but he's standing on the sidewalk.)

Wednesday, August 26

one room schoolhouse

When I was little, I totally bought into the mystique of a one room schoolhouse. It seemed like so much fun. Drawing on the chalkboard, all the kids lined up in those adorable flip top desks. Then I became a teacher. uh, no thanks! I'll just take one grade, maybe two. But NO way do I want to try and teach K-12 grade kids in the same class!!!!

This weekend we went to Michigan to support a one room schoolhouse in my mother's hometown. They had an ice-cream social/ fundraiser. There were a couple musical groups playing, calves to pet, old-time games to play (croquet, stilts, hoops, etc), ice cream to be eaten... it was a fun afternoon!Aren't they cute? After I took the picture Abby got into drawing on her slate too. I'm not sure most schoolhouses had pianos, but since they use this one for 4th graders, it's wonderful to have the piano in there!!!

Conner was checking out a bunch of old cars...
and even got to go for a ride in the rumble seat!!
Here he is helping out the "Fire Brigade" - it seems the schoolhouse was on fire! oh no!He was soaked by the end of course, but loved every minute of it!

Sunday, August 23

janey's dress

Check out this dress!!! I conquered something with sleeves!!Look at all that hand pleating too - across the front, at the shoulder, and where the arm band meets the sleeve.
Such a simple, classy, beautiful dress. Unfortunately, the pattern only starts at size 3 so I think I'll have to wait a couple years for my daughter to wear it!
Hop on over to Olabelhe and buy your own pattern!

Friday, August 21

take a walk

I know nature walks aren't exactly a new idea. I just wanted to share ours from the other day. We live in a Chicago suburb... how much nature can you really get, right? Well...

Grab your glue stick, a journal, and join us!

(And before you start worrying about him walking in the road, it's a VERY quiet street, and he stayed at the side of the road investigating the sewer drains. He spent most of the walk on the sidewalk!!)So, if he found leaves or flat things, we glued them in his journal.

Things that were too 3-D to glue, we took pictures of. Then, printed the pictures off & glued them in the book.

Like, I said - not every observation was nature related. These mailboxes are at the side of the road before the construction zone. He said "look - it's a pattern, white, black, white, black, white, black, white" and then he started singing a little pattern song as he kept on walking.

It really came to me as just something to do after dinner before Daddy got home. But I think this would be fun to do once a week as fall approaches... so many changes coming! He was amazed at the amount of leaves already starting to fall. "Mommy, it's not even fall yet!!! Why are all the leaves falling??!"

Thursday, August 20

pattern tweaking

I really love the Peyton's Pinafore pattern that I tested for Dawn of Olabelhe... but it starts at size 3. My daughter wears size 1! So I decided to try and adjust the measurements & redraw the pattern for her size. (Dawn, if you're reading this, hope you don't mind!)

Aren't you proud of me... I didn't just use blue? The bodice is a black fabric with dark gray swirls all over. The bottom part has black swirls & small flowers with turquoise spots colored in throughout the pattern.
The bottom button is bugging me. Gotta fix that. Didn't realize it when I was taking the picture. ah well.
I'm just REALLY excited that my pattern resizing worked for my skinny little gal. There's hope for us yet!!!

Wednesday, August 19

chicken fried rice

What? She cooks????? Yep, every once in a while I do cook something "really" impressive for dinner. (haha on the really impressive) This is one of my favorites... chicken fried rice. It's not really anything too amazing, a lot of diced vegetables & chicken. I just feel so creative when I'm cooking it, and I LOVE eating it. I truly eat a rainbow!

Here's the quick recipe...
1. Cook the chicken. (We usually dice about 3-4 chicken breasts.) Toss in some soy sauce and/or teriyaki sauce.
2. Start cooking up some rice on the stove top. (I usually cook up about 2c worth.)
3. Toss in the veggies with the chicken (frozen peas, frozen broccoli, diced onions first - canned corn, peppers, carrots after the frozen stuff isn't frozen).
4. Add some spices - ginger for sure, and after that - well, whatever you feel like! No specific amounts, just put in a couple shakes worth. More if you're feeling spicy!
5. The rice should be done by now, so toss that in the wok with the chicken & veggies.
6. Mix it all up in the wok, and then shove it to the sides and make a pit in the middle so you can actually see the bottom of the wok.
7. Scramble an egg or two in the bottom.
8. Mix it up and enjoy!

So easy, so fun, and I'm not really following a recipe. I will NEVER claim to be a fancy cook, but I feel great when I sit down to eat!!! Even better... there's always enough for leftover lunch. AND my kids LOVE it. All around wonderful meal.

You think that's good? We made some OH-SO-YUMMY shishkabobs for my husband's birthday. I am happy to share the recipe with you, but it's not my own recipe, and I don't have any pictures cause I just plain old forgot to snap a pic. Just comment if you're interested.

Tuesday, August 18


Rainy days always make us a little restless. We want sun, we want a change of activity, and this is what we did...
Color the paper plate yellow and run a glue stick around the edge a couple times.

I tore up some leftover yellow streamers into little yellow pieces. I put a bunch on Abby's to help her fill hers up. Conner made his own little strips and lined them up neatly around the edge.

Then it was time to get messy with the inkpad!

Fingerprints turned into seeds!! We then hung them up in the window that looks out over our sunflowers. It added a little something bright to our day. We can't wait for the actual sunflower to start bearing seeds. It has been fun watching it grow up taller and taller in the window, though!

Monday, August 17

ice skating

My friend asked me to make a bag for her ice-skating daughters. Everything is so tutu-fairy-ballerina-princess she says, nothing is right for my girls! I just want to have something to hold all their stuff at the ice rink... a nice big bag. Can you do that?Sure!!! I can even use sparkly thread and sparkly felt! Happy skating, girls!

Sunday, August 16


From left to right:
Aunt J - Aunt L - my great-grandma - Dad - Mom - Grama Mega - Poppa - Aunt W - Aunt C

Did you notice all the blue? hee hee. Even my Grama has on blue. See, I come by it naturally.

Now here's the awesome part (well, besides the fact that my parents have been married for 40 years!) -
My Grama made all 5 bridesmaids dresses, her dress, and my mom's wedding dress. (One bridesmaid is from the other side of the family and isn't pictured here. Sorry Aunt N! Didn't mean to leave you out!)
Then, within the next 18 months... 3 more weddings.
Aunt C - Aunt W - Aunt J
5 bridesmaids each + wedding dress + Mother of the Bride dress
Do the math.

(Ok, I'll do it for you)
Yep, that's 4 wedding dresses, 4 MOB dresses, and 20 bridesmaids dresses for a grand total of 28!!!

Oh yeah, and she worked full time.
And oh yeah, the last daughter was still in high school.

(mom/dad/aunts... if I did the math wrong, or told the story incorrectly, please feel free to comment and correct me!)

Most importantly, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Mom & Dad!!!!! Thanks for being an amazing example of communication, caring, commitment and unfailing love.

Saturday, August 15

running... always running

Do you feel like you're always running? Trying to get something, anything, everything done. Yeah, me too. I only wish I could look as cool as my daughter while I was running!!! (yes, those are size 4 pink hi-top Converse all-stars. be still my beating heart. oh yeah, they were free in a hand-me-down bag too. brand new.)
My problem isn't always that I'm running around doing too much, it's that I run around doing nothing important, or nothing that needs to be done. Because I was (briefly!) considering teaching again, and because I LOVE the start of school, I came up with a plan for myself. A lesson plan to be exact.
When I taught, I used Excel to print up schedule pages for myself. I loved the color-code-a-bility, the ease of arranging everything on my own, and not having to "make-do" with somebody else's schedule book that just didn't have the right times for our school's weird schedules and timing. So I applied those same principles and made up a schedule for our family during the week. With my son starting afternoon preschool 4 days a week, our days are going to look pretty different! I wanted a way to keep myself together, and also a way to look at our week and make sure it's full of fun stuff, errands, house chores, free play time, etc. Trying to find balance. (Hmmm... novel idea, huh?)

I then separated out my kids' schedules and made them each their own sheet. My son loves to know what's coming next, and although he can't read it all (yet) he will definitely be able to look at the color coding, learn that, and get used to what's coming. At the beginning of each week, we can pick a couple fun activities that he wants to do, and pick our time to do them so he has something to look forward to throughout the week. (A special craft or Lego project, computer time, whatever.)
I also realized that since it's on the fridge, I could print off some pictures on magnets and use that too for some of our regular activities. I could also insert pictures into Excel the next time I have to print off our schedule. There's so many ways you could make it work for different age levels!
My daughter can't read hers, but it's more just a way to keep activities separate, should things come up. I can also jot down little ideas of things for us to do while we wait for Conner to come home from pre-school.
"Laminate" it with contact paper, use a dry-erase marker, and there's your plan!
If you think this sounds interesting, e-mail me, and I'll send you the generic version in Excel that you can adapt for your own purposes.

Wednesday, August 12

vintage sewing

My parent's wedding anniversary is coming up, and a lot of my computer time has been spent scanning in pictures & doing something special for them. I did come across a couple little things I thought you all might be interested in.
Really, it just proves my mom and I have always loved blue.

My confirmation dress - 1989 - handmade, blue.

Church directory picture - 1983 - my dress, handmade, blue.

Warning... no pretty blue handmade dress here!!!
This is just a little shout-out to handmade in the early 70s. My aunt made my mom & dad these matching shirts. Stylish, no?

Be sure to come back on the 16th for some fab wedding photos & stories from 40 years ago!!!! (a WHOLE lot of handmade dresses!!!)

Monday, August 10


I try not to get too religious or too preachy here. I just want to share my little Sunday inspiration. (yes, I know it's Monday. I just didn't sit down to the computer last night.)

We have a new minister at our church, and she was talking on Sunday about what is our "center" - and what is at the heart of our worship. Our church's logo has that swirly C in the middle of it, and coincidentally the church is located on Center St. I tried to make a meaningful symbol of the thoughts in my head.

It was a quick & easy applique on top, machine embroidered words, and then some quick quilting on top to hold the pieces together. I used yellow thread to make a cross in the heart in the middle. The yellow fabric is covered in swirls too. I made a couple turquoise ribbon loops on top so it can be hung if chosen. I didn't do a fancy binding, I didn't do a fancy hanging sleeve. I just wanted an outward sign to help remember what I heard at church.

Friday, August 7

ice princess

That's maybe not the nicest sounding title for a post, but it is what I think of when I look at this snowflake, icy blue corduroy dress. No bad feelings here.

It's a fine-wale corduroy that I bought last year knowing that I wanted to do something for Abby with it. Last winter came and went. So, now that it's going to be 90 degrees this weekend, time to haul out the corduroy, right?

I love the sparkly sequins in the middle of some of the snowflakes, I love the pin tucks in the front, I love the snowflake buttons. But I made this dress size 1 bodice, size 3 length. I plan to have my daughter wear it this winter with a pretty long sleeved top or turtleneck and tights. I figured I could always hem it. Only problem... I'm once again not sure what else to do with her skinny little frame. She better bulk up!!! Or I better buy a FAT turtleneck. The length seems like she'll grow into it just fine, but the bodice is swimming on her little 15m self. Maybe by 21 months she'll fit a 12m dress???!!

Thursday, August 6


Just wanted to share my cute kids. We spent part of the afternoon yesterday playing outside and I think I got a few good shots!

I've been trying this "RAW" setting on my camera. Although I really have no idea what I'm doing, it seems like I'm getting clearer, crisper shots. Just might need to pink the kids up a little... but Photoshop is a little beyond me for now.

Monday, August 3

dreaming of Hawaii

Hawaii is REALLY high on my list of someday places. For now, I have to settle for pictures, dreams, and a shirt for a friend.

She wanted a "Hawaiian" shirt without the craziness of a true Hawaiian shirt. She is a cook too, so nothing like a real lei or 3-D stuff. I knew I wanted to do something floral, but inspiration just wasn't hitting me. Then I found some really cute flowers. Yes, I realize they're not all Hawaiian flowers, but I thought they were pretty and bright and colorful.
I did some raw edge applique and some free-motion stitching in the middle. The perfect lei for a cook! It's just so bright and colorful, the picture doesn't really do it justice. I hope she enjoys it! (Sorry it took so long, M.) I also did a slightly smaller lei on a turquoise v-neck shirt.

Saturday, August 1

birthday cake

Here's the birthday cake. It's not fancy, it's just simple...sleek... and signifies one of our favorite things here at our house.
My husband loved it.Here's a couple little details you might be interested in:
- make sure you have confectioner's sugar before you put your daughter down for a nap (if you're planning to make your own frosting.)
- don't expect light pink store-bought frosting to take color the same way as homemade frosting.
- don't put in a lot of coloring at a time. Better to use just a little color first. (DUH)
- be thankful that your MIL is there to run to the store for more confectioner's sugar because you don't think a purple laptop is really going to be the look you were going for. :)
- realize nothing's saving this batch of frosting, sprinkle on some silver dust, and laugh about it later.
- then be thankful that the picture makes it look better than it really did. :)

And for those of you who were wondering, it was my husband's request, a yellow 9x13 cake. And yes, it was a fondant apple in the middle.

good night sleep tight

I made something special for my husband's birthday... a silhouette pillowcase. He's been needing a new pillow for a while, so I decided to do something fun to go with it. We have a ton of extra pillowcases, so I just used one of them and some fabric from my stash. No cost - - - even better!
I'm sure there's other silhouette pillow tutorials out there, but I figured I'd just show you how I did mine.

1. Take a picture of your kids' profile. And then when your 15 month old doesn't want to cooperate, just PRAY that you have one of your wriggly sweetheart somewhere that shows her profile and just go with that. I cropped it and printed it as an 8x10. I wasn't going for a fancy picture, so I just did it on regular paper in black and white. Then I trimmed around his profile.2. If you care which way the silhouette will be facing, then flip accordingly. I then put it under my Wonder Under and traced.
3. Iron the Wonder Under to the fabric he chose. (clouds for him, water for Abby. don't ask me why, it's just what I get for letting him choose.)
5. Cut out their silhouettes and iron to the pillowcase. I wasn't really thinking about it at the time, but realized later that depending on how thick a pillow you have, and how long you cut their necks out, you might not want to put their faces so close to the seam.
6. Pause for a moment to adore their cute little silhouettes. Maybe wish that you had proportioned them a little better. Sigh and move on.
7. Zig zag around all their hair spikes, cute little lips, noses, and chins.
8. This was just my special added touch. We always say "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite, see you in the morning light when the sun is bright, right?" as our funny good night to each other. So I added it to the pillow. You could really freehand anything, write with a fabric marker, leave it plain, or whatever.

You're done!!! Good night, sleep tight!
There's so many other cute ways you could do it that I was thinking of as I was sewing...
For a kid to take to camp (silhouette of you? pet? house? whatever they will miss!)
Of a mom/dad who is deployed - that way the kid can always "kiss them goodnight"
Grandma/ Grandpa?

There's other variations too, because there's that cool fabric you send through your printer, so the options are really endless. It doesn't have to be silhouettes, it can be real pictures.