Friday, May 30, 2008

Routines in Miniature

I love flylady. I just adore her. Everyone can find something useful on her website. We all need all the help we can get when it comes to cleaning our houses, cooking for our families (or ourselves) and raising children. I think my absolute favorite saying of hers is..."baby steps, baby steps, baby steps". Either that or, "You can do anything for 15 minutes." Both of those can really change your life if you obey them.

Thats where I have a little trouble. I am the sort of person who jumps in with both feet and my head all at the same time. After I had Chloe, that was the issue. I tried to jump back into my routines and keeping the house up to par and cooking all the meals and all that jazz when Chloe was only a week old. I just couldn't do it.

I finally realized last week that my problem was I wasn't taking baby steps. I thought that because I had done everything before and had my routines all established that I could just jump right back into them after my baby-break. Well, that just didn't happen. I learned that I should have taken it with baby steps again.

Well, things have been going pretty smoothly for the past few weeks since I re-instigated the routines back into my life. The kitchen sink has been shiny for the last 2-3 weeks. I wash my face every night. I have made James a lunch every night before bed. (something I've been slacking on the past few years) I have been reading my Bible every morning, showering AND putting on my makeup and swiping my bathroom. These things are all part of my morning and evening routines. Simple and quick but they make the biggest difference in our home. Things really do run more smoothly with evening and morning routines. (and just taking it slow and doing ONLY these routines for the past few weeks has really helped me too. I am no longer overwhelmed)

Hey. If its good enough for me then its good enough for Chloe, right?

I browsed through some of Flylady's website this morning and I ran across this...Flying with Pre-Schoolers. Whoda thunk, huh? So...I decided its about time Chloe had a routine. If people can have routines with their 2 year olds, then Chloe is definately ready for a routine. Okay...so we DO have a routine but its something I tell her every night. I thought it might be wise to teach her to do it herself. Make her own little "management binder" of sorts. Not really a binder..but...well...just check out what we did today.

I gathered some supplies...pictures, construction paper, markers, scissors and glue.

Photobucket


I picked 4 things that we do everynight to begin Chloe's evening routine poster. The key to this project is to keep it simple. Baby steps, right? (nod your head, all you flybabies out there. You know what I'm talking about) Picking up her toys, bathtime, brushing her teeth and reading a book. I found images on the internet (some of them are online coloring pages you can print out to color) and printed them out for Chloe to color. Using my word processor, I typed up the titles to cut out and paste on the poster. (which is two pieces of black construction paper taped together)

I glued the pieces to the poster in order of how Chloe is to complete them each night and let her color away. (she did really well at first and then petered out after the first picture)

Here is her management poster on the door to her bedroom and ready for evening to come.

Photobucket


So that is her bedtime routine. Its short and simple. The pictures will tell her what she is supposed to do every night and I can't wait to try it. I will set the timer after supper to go off when its time for her to begin her routine. I wonder how long it will take for her to grasp this whole concept? She already loves her poster and can tell me what each picture means so I am hoping this means she will also love DOING the things on the poster.

I just wanted to share this idea with you all. I loved reading about it on the FLying with Pre-Schoolers page at Flylady. She has a bunch of others too...like Flying with Homeschoolers, Flying with teenagers, Flying Pregnant. Go check them out.

I DID IT!

I can't believe it, but I did! I am so completely and thorougly proud of myself I'm grinning like a cheshire cat. Of course, because of my complete goodness, I am now lacking some very fine and gorgeous fabric that was screaming my name and saying, "make a gorgeous summer dress with me" yesterday. You see...I did what I set out to do. I went to Jo~Ann's and walked out of there with NO fabric in my buggy or my bags or anywhere in the same vicinity as myself. Do you realize how hard this was?

What made this so difficult was probably the fact that I simply HAD to walk past the fabric and TOUCH it. Just to have a look-see. I always have to see the fabric and let it run through my fingers. It whispers to me and says, "I would make a gorgeous dress for you" or "wouldn't I look stunning on you?" or "Chloe would look so sweet wearing this print". I am not very good at telling the fabric to lie still and be quiet. I mean...because quite honestly, the fabric is 98.5% of the time telling me the truth. I can't deny that. Very rarely, I take a second look and ponder a few moments and realize that I am being deceived. The colors aren't really that great or they would make me look pale or sickly. But the rest of the time, what am I to do? Just leave the gorgeous fabric sitting on its bolt between some zebra print and fake fur? Like I have it in me to be that cruel.

I showed great courage yesterday. After the 8 minutes and 17 seconds it took me to punch the numbers in on my calculator, figure the total cost of the dress at $20, feel the softness between my fingers a second time and decide that I did, indeed, have enough money for it I simply turned the buggy around and walked away. No heartache. No tears. No looking back.

Honestly, I am amazed that I did it. I am prone to believe I simply dreamed yesterday up and I must be leaving soon to run my errands. Gosh, I sure hope not. It took me 6 1/2 hours to get them all done. ACK! Uggg. I hate driving.

Anyways, because errand day took extra long yesterday (I won't mention the fact that I stopped by my girlfriend's work and had lunch with her...that wouldn't further my cause) I didn't get much sewing time. When I got home I fell asleep for two hours and woke up to my darling of a husband cooking supper. (one of those meals in a bag we keep in the freezer for emergencies such as this) I did manage to sew the single fold bias tape on the RIGHT side of the nightgowns last night and also to hem the sleeves and case in the elastic. All thats left is to sew in the sleeves and hem the bottom and the three nightgowns are done. Unless I choose to work on these Sunday, they won't be finished until Tuesday.

Part of me feels like I am getting nothing done with my new Summertime Goal and Plan. But I know otherwise. I do know it, but I don't feel it. I have absolutely nothing to show you today. Nothing. (unless you wanna see a picture of half completed nightgowns) But things are getting done. The end goal (which is an organized and peaceful sewing room) will be accomplished. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. Right?

So, I had best be going and work on the Spring Blossom dress today. I figure I can get that one done and maybe the rest of the ensemble too. (and my coffee is getting cold. Another very good reason to get off the puter) I would LOVE to be able to list it in my Esty shop this weekend and on the website too. Have a wonderful Friday everyone.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Afghan Progress Report

I am happy to report that I made my goal today for the girly afghan WIP. Yes, sirree bob! I finished that panel I showed you and also completed a second panel. Woo Hoo. This Summertime Goal thing is really starting to roll. I think I can get this afghan done with one more WIP Wednesday. (next week)

Photobucket


Of course, you do see all those ends hanging off, don't you? And you all remember me and weaving in ends? Well, let's just say that might be the only thing that would come between me and a completed project next Wednesday. Okay...after second thought, those ends are pretty faint in that picture seeing as how its night out and I can't take a decent picture in the dark to save my life, but anyhoo...they are there. The ends are, I mean. Tons of them. Uggg...the only downside to crocheting if you ask me.

So, I am off to bed now. Gotta get my beauty sleep, for tomorrow is...you guessed it...errand day. I have many places to go tomorrow with Jo~Ann's being one of my stops and I WILL make it out of there with NO fabric. I have made a deal with myself. I am ONLY getting what is on my list and NOTHING MORE!

12" zipper
white ribbon
brown ribbon
lime green TLC Baby yarn (because I won't have enough to finish the afghan pictured above next Wednesday)
Cake caddy (with my handy dandy 40% off coupon)

That's it. That's my list. I wrote it here as a method of accountability. I will not walk out of that store with more than is on that list. Okay?

Good night all. I'll talk at you tomorrow. (after I finish sewing those nightgowns, maybe)

WIP Wednesday - Girly Afghan

I needed help today picking out which WIP from my list I would work on so I headed over to a totally random helping website and created my list. Here are the results...

List Randomizer
There were 7 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

girl afghan
dragon picture
tablecloth
doily
knit sweater
place settings
quilt

Timestamp: 2008-05-28 12:42:30 UTC

Sooo...it looks as though I will be working on the girly afghan today. Maybe I can get it done and out of my Workbasket.

Photobucket


You will have to check back later in the day for my "after" picture. I hope to take a picture of my progress this evening and I also hope that I will have at least another panel done on top of this one...we'll see.

I do have something to show you for my work yesterday though. It was my sewing day and I finished a dress for Chloe...all but the zipper which I do not have or I would have put it in. Simplicity 3512.

Photobucket


I used some leftover fabric from my favorite skirt in the whole wide world for this dress. Now Chloe and I can match. (how sweet...as if this were the first time we matched or something) Little did I know when I bought this pattern that the skirt of the dress was gored. WOW! Now we can really match...because my favorite skirt in the whole wide world (which I am wearing today) is gored. Imagine that!!!

Photobucket


As I was sewing along on this dress I came to the part for the lining. LINING!!! Oh Goodness! I must have skipped that part. Quick! Lining. Think Quick! Ahhhh...that's it. Leftover fabric from the dress I made myself for Chloe's birthday party. Opps. I forgot to show you that dress. Maybe I will get a picture of it today. Anyways, that leftover fabric rescued me and I finished the dress you see above. (aside from the zipper which I mentioned earlier)

I started 3...not two like I thought, but THREE nightgowns for Chloe last night. They are almost done. I got to the part where I was attaching the single fold bias tape to the neckline and I sewed it to the wrong side of the fabric on the first nightgown. That was my cue to put the project down and go to bed. So, I will finish those nightgowns tomorrow for my next sewing day.

I am off now to color lighthouses with Chloe and count to five. (school) Then I think its time to get to work on that afghan. Have a fun day everyone. Don't forget to feed the fish. (opps...that was meant for me)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Turning Wheels

The wheels of change have been set in motion. I am speaking in regards to my Summertime Goal post and the Plan for carrying out said goal which I wrote about last week.

So, you saw what I accomplished on my sewing day last Thursday already. Now for my Boutique crocheting day on Friday. I started a new dress to sell in the Boutique. (or at the craft fair; wherever it will sell)

Photobucket


This is my Spring Blossom dress in a six month size. Gosh, I wish Chloe were this small again. I got most of this dress crocheted in less than a day. I would say I have put about 5 hours into it and all of its done except the neckline and arm edges. Wow! Now it takes me much longer to crochet a dress for her. My how the time flies by.

Anyways, this dress will be much cuter than the picture above dictates once its complete. Its a lovely blue color and I plan to add some brown ribbon embellishments to it. I will be making the matching hat and bloomers this next Friday to match.

Saturday is Home Improvement day so I painted the back door which we installed over a year ago. Slackers that we are never got around to painting the thing. Well, slacker no more. I slathered 4 coats of paint on it this weekend and its done. Finished. Complete. Another item marked off my extensive "to-do list" and I am quite excited about that.

Before...
Photobucket


And After...
Photobucket


And the outside after...
Photobucket


Beautiful. Beautiful. As my reward for doing such a task out in the heat this weekend, I picked some roses and made myself a beautiful bouquet in a glass bowl.

Photobucket


Ahhhh...I love roses. Especially when I grew them myself. They make me smile each time I walk past because I know of the hard work that went into them. And guess what...they last much longer than store bought roses.

Well, I am off to do some sewing. My goal for the day is to finish a dress I started a few weeks ago for Chloe and then sew 2 winter nightgowns I cut out for her last fall. Lofty goal but I like to reach for stars. Anyways, I hope to have something to show you later on today. Have a wonderful and blessed day everyone.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don't Forget to Dance

I am so saddened by the news James told me this morning. Steven Curtis Chapman lost his youngest daughter yesterday to a tragic accident. He has been one of my favorite christian music artists since I began listening to contemporary christian music at the age of 11 or 12. I don't know why, but this news hit me a bit hard today. Maybe its because I know Mr. Chapman is such a standup guy and a wonderful Christian man and father. Maybe its because he adopted children and I dream of adopting some of my own. Maybe its because of his latest song which has quickly become one of my favorites. Maybe its because I am reminded how short life is and how much I need to live in each moment I have with my own little girl.

I don't know, but I have tears in my eyes as I type this and I have never met Mr. Chapman. His music has touched my heart through the years and now this tragedy touches me as well. Even though I have never met them, the Curtis are part of my family, the family of God and when one family member hurts, we all hurt.

So, I urge you to listen to this song by Steven Curtis Chapman and take his advice. Go dance with your Cinderella. Go make a mud pie. Drive a dump truck in the garden. Fly a kite. Climb a tree. Blow bubbles. These precious years don't last long.



Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Shame on me. Shame, shame, shame. I can't believe what I just did. Nope. I didn't just do it. I did NOT go to Joanns today for elastic and snaps and come back with 5 yards of gorgeous fabric for a new dress. Not after yesterday's post regarding the choas in my sewing room and my need to finish all the projects in there and sew all the clothes for which I already have fabric and patterns. Did I? Did I really do it?

Well, maybe I did. But hey. You didn't have to see this gorgeous fabric and walk past it.

Photobucket


Now you tell me that you could have walked past that. Go ahead. I dare you. It was only $3.99 a yard and then it was on sale as well making it $2.49 a yard. How could I say no???

But in an effort to redeem myself, I sewed up two baby doll dresses that I cut out last summer. Finally, right? These things have been sitting on my windowsill in the sewing room for almost a year. Its ridiculous really.

Photobucket


This was leftover fabric from a winter nightgown I made Chloe last year. The dress on the baby doll is for Chloe and the second dress will be given to Chloe's cousin when we go visit this summer. She doesn't have many doll clothes so I thought since I am trying to stashbust my fabric scraps I would make her some doll clothes as well.

I have made a sort of a schedule for this summer to help me with my lofty goal. I have been struggling with the issue lately that I cannot keep up with everything. I keep my house clean and play with Chloe and sew clothes and wash toilets and feed the fish and there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything. (makes me wish for heaven where I will have eternity to sip a cup of tea and STILL have time for everything else) The issue bothering me lately is that I just don't seem to be putting forth enough effort towards my business. (because, after all, my crocheting is my business which means I should be crocheting, right?) But its being neglected. (better that than Chloe though) Anyways, I came up with an idea or a plan of sorts that will help me make time for everything I would like to accomplish this summer. I don't know if all my goals for this summer will be entirely finished, but at least I will be working towards that.

Here is my plan.

MONDAY ~ New Designs (when I crochet on new designs)
TUESDAY ~ Sewing (to tackle that mound...er...mounds of fabric in the room)
WEDNESDAY ~ WIP day (work in progress - to tackle something like that quilt or the tablecloth)
THURSDAY ~ Sewing (because I need more than one day for sewing...its my BIG thing right now)
FRIDAY ~ Boutique Crocheting (because my girlfriend and I are going to start doing craft shows together in a few months and I need to build up some inventory)
SATURDAY ~ Home Remodeling (yes...I aim to tackle some projects by myself while James is gone. I want to install some closet doors and some organizers upstairs and maybe even some tile flooring in the basement and such. Who knows.)
SUNDAY ~ Day of Rest (self-explanatory)

So there you have it. You can't reach for your dreams if you don't have goals and ideas of where the dreams are and how to get there. This is my tool to reach my dream of having a peaceful room.

I am off now to have a piece of cheesecake and then go to bed. Have a quiet night everyone. Go hug your kids. Give them a kiss. Dance with them. Hold their hand when they ask you to. They leave us all to quickly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Summertime Goal

This place is out of control! This place referring to my sewing/craft room. With James leaving in three weeks for his deployment to war, my mind is filling up with ideas for things I would like to accomplish while he is gone. Not that I will have loads of extra time, mind you, but because I would like to have a peaceful atmosphere when he comes home. Most of our house is peaceful. The kitchen, living room, bedroom, Chloe's room, bathroom...but when we get to my craft/sewing room, choas reigns.

Part of the issue is the WIP pile. (or piles I should say) Another part of the issue are WIM (Works in Mind) that I purchased supplies for but have yet to begin. The size of the WIP pile prevents me from beginning much more projects than I already do.

Check this out!

Photobucket


This is the closet. My goal for this space is to rid myself of at least three of those shoeboxes up on that top shelf. One is filled with size 3 thread that I bought to make a dress to sell on the website. Another is filled with negatives of pictures from when we were first married ten years ago. (and some from before that) After I clear out some of this and sew some items with that fabric hanging there, I would like to build some shelves in the bottom of this closet (because it is currently at an angle so I can't put much on the floor of it) and then install some closet doors. A nice and lofty goal.

Photobucket


Next, this bookshelf has to go. The room is too small. I have absolutely NO wallspace on the bottom half of the wall. This room is entirely too small so the oversized bookshelf has to go. You see a bunch of 3-ring binders on this bookshelf. Those are filled to the brim with patterns printed from the internet; most of which I do not use nor will ever use. I aim to declutter those and have only one or two binders with patterns in them. Also, that fabric all needs to go. All of that stash was recently bought and I have plans for ALL of it. I just need to get around to sewing them up. That would get rid of my need for these shelves. Then I would like to build some small, box-like shelves for the wall to put my craft books on. Something like these.

Photobucket


Moving on. I have a tall dresser that was my grandparents and I would like to empty it out. One drawer is devoted to thread. One goal for this summer is to use most of this thread. Stashbust it. I am thinking doilies here. (gotta complete my Doily Challenge this year)

Photobucket


Speaking of doilies, I need to finish the one in the book on this windowsill. Maybe this week??? And then I also need to sew up those pajamas you see cut out on that sill. (two pairs)

Photobucket


Here is my workbasket. On top is the quilt I started 6 years ago that needs to be quilted. Hopefully I can finish it this summer. Its not high on my goal list for the summer although I would like to see it finished.

Photobucket


And here is the workbasket without the quilt on top. I would like to finish at least one of the WIPs in here this summer. (the tablecloth is in this basket)

Photobucket


This is my scrap tote. As you can see, its overflowing with scraps from various sewing projects, scraps my mother gave me when she moved and scraps I have collected from old clothes and whatnot. Its too much. (since some scraps have now taken over part of my floor...and you all know me and floors) My goal is to get this scrap stash down to half the tote. Then I would have room for more scraps from future projects.

So, I started small today. I made a dress and bonnet set for my Mother's vintage baby. The fabric was left over from a dress for Chloe and an old sheet.

Photobucket


And I made a Barbie dress with a small scrap from the tote.

Photobucket


So, be prepared to see a bunch of projects finished this summer! I am off now to have tea with Chloe. Have a great afternoon.

A Job Offer

Three years ago, I accepted a job offer and boy has my life changed. Wanna read the job description? Here ya go...

POSITION:
Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

JOB DESCRIPTION:
Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES:
The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from
the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION:
None.
Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE:
None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION:
Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS:
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Imagination

A few nights back I was lying in bed awake with sleep eluding me. My mother once suggested that I pray to help me fall asleep. Hmmm...that might work for some people who find prayer boring or something but not for me. Praying excites me and gets my mind all worked up and...well...excited. Praying is out for me if I want to fall asleep.

I then decided that I would imagine heaven; a very peaceful activity. Practicing this pastime is quickly becoming an addiction of mine. I can't get enough of it. I daydream all day long; while I am working, while I am reading my Bible and just pretty much all the time. Its one of my favorite things to do when I have nothing else to do. Its also becoming one of my favorite things to do even when I DO have something else to do.

So, the other night I began to imagine myself in heaven with Jesus. We walked along through a meadow holding hands. In the distance I saw hills and cliffs very much like the alps. Some were even covered in snow. I saw a couple of mountain goats and tigers playing on the rocks. (in heaven we have perfect vision so we can see far away things...that's going to be so nice to not have to wear glasses) The meadow grasses waved gently in the breeze and the flowers danced as we meandered past. So many flowers surrounded us. Black eyed Susans, Carnations (yes...in this particular meadow there were carnations...its heaven after all, right? Anything is possible in heaven) and Lady's Slippers. They were all there. Purple, pink, red and blue. Some yellow and orange flowers too. Colors I have never seen before. It was so beautiful we just had to lay down amongst them.

As we lay there and the aroma from the flowers drifted to our noses, we gazed into the sky and watched the clouds float by. Jesus pointed to a cloud and told me what it looked like. I pointed to the next cloud and said it looked like a squirrel. Then Jesus took his finger and reached up into the sky and swirled the clouds around to make new pictures. We giggled together over some of the designs he made. Amazed, I watched him form a picture of me with the clouds. It took my breath away.

As I lay there, shoulder to shoulder with my Savior, a flower tickled my ear and as I turned my head to look at it, I caught a glimpse of a fairy sitting on the flower.

WHOA! Wait a minute!!! I immediately stepped out from my daydreaming. "There aren't any fairies in heaven, are there God?" I asked. Do you wanna know what His reply was? My very next thought was this verse (a little out of context)

Mark 10:27 - Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."


I got to thinking that God can do ANYTHING. I highly doubt He is done creating. I expect that He will be creating for all eternity. After all, He is a Creator. That is His character. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And He created us to be like Him. We were created in His image. So isn't it conceivable that He would give us our imaginations to help us imagine things He wants us to imagine? If we, as humans, can imagine fairies (someone had to be the firsts one to imagine them) then isn't it possible that God planted that imagination in them? Concluding thus that fairies could be in heaven? Or something very similar to fairies? God can do it. He can. God can do anything, right?

I honestly believe that there will be things in heaven that will blow our minds. We can't even begin to imagine all that will be in heaven. God gave us imaginations. Some of them are pretty vivid and exciting, but we still can't imagine all that God has for us in heaven. Our limited imaginations prevent us from doing so. Doesn't it just make you so excited? I wanna go there so bad. I can hardly wait. I am dying to know if there are fairies in heaven. I wanna have a fairy over for tea in my cottage in heaven. Ahhh...what fun. A tea party with a fairy and Jesus. Now that would be fun.

Now I am off to clean up the kitchen from breakfast with Chloe and feed the cat. Have a blessed day everyone. And don't forget to daydream about heaven every now and again. Its good for you. Really, really good for you.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Still Hanging Out

Photobucket


I am beginning to see a pattern here. Do I need to worry? I keep finding things "hanging" in various places around my house. I wonder what instigated this little delight of my three year old.

Anyways, I decided that today I would take a holiday, a vacation, a rest from the regularly scheduled "Monday" duties. James came home this evening and took me out to dinner, but I was still home alone with a three year old all day. I mentioned in my previous post that I didn't know how I was going to fill up my day. Well, I filled it up. With what, you ask? Not alot, I'm afraid. Not very much at all.

Let's see. I felt the need to sew snaps on all the doll clothes I made for Chloe last year. The poor child. Can you imagine a mother who sews their child loads of doll clothes but fails to include a closing mechanism, rendering the article useless to the child? I thought maybe by getting rid of something on my "to-do" list it would help me decide which new project I wanted to start. No problem, right? Just whip on those snaps in a jiffy and I would have the rest of the day to sew projects to my hearts content.

Have you ever sewn teensy tiny snaps on about 10 doll dresses? (3 snaps per dress, 2 sides per snap for a total of 60 - SIXTY - little buggers to sew onto miniature clothes) Let me tell you something. It takes longer than 10 minutes. After about 2 hours I realized I wouldn't be sewing multiple items today. I was lucky to get one item completed after those snaps.

Photobucket


That little doll you see before you was one of my dolls when I was a girl. She came with shorts, a t-shirt and roller skates. I gave her to Chloe when she was 2 and Chloe received her naked. Completely naked. I found a vintage pattern on Ebay and was tickled to find that it fits this doll. Yay! Now she has three outfits. Two that I made last year while I was having my doll clothes obessession (which got some snaps this morning) and the one you see above.

The outfit is much cuter in person. I just can't seem to take good pictures of things. I also fudged up the ensemble. I started cutting out the pattern in blue and after I cut two of the pieces out I realized that I didn't have enough scraps to make the whole shirt blue. So I made the main part of the shirt white. I am not thrilled with the end product. It doesn't satisfy me for some odd reason.

So, James arrived home this evening, took me out to a nice dinner and is now sitting down in the basement watching the Hornets/Spurs basketball game on television. What on earth am I doing writing on this silly computer? I gotta go be with my honey. Have a wonderful evening everyone. GO HORNETS!!!! (only because I can't stand the Spurs!)

Hanging Out

Photobucket


We've had a wonderful weekend "hanging out" together, including Chloe's doll. James has been gone since Friday morning and he is due back home this evening sometime. Its actually been good practice for us since he leaves for the war in less than a month. Chloe asked after her daddy a few times and seemed to be okay with the fact that I didn't reply "at work" which is my typical answer to such a question. This time I replied, "in New York with Uncle Warren" and she repeated the answer and walked away. Good sign. I just don't know if saying "at war" would be a good answer for four MONTHS!!

Anyways, back to our weekend hanging out. As you may recall, I mentioned in my previous post that we were heading out the door yard saleing. Well, we did just that. I think I had better quit taking money with me when I hit the yard sales. I have a little obsession with them, it would seem. I have to buy at least one thing at each. Okay...so its not really that bad, but it sure felt like it. I scored so many cool things. I had been eyeing those Disney Art puzzles at Walmart for the past couple of months (and even more so the past few weeks due to my little puzzle kick I am currently on) and I just can't bring myself to pay $9 for a puzzle on myself when its not a holiday. Its okay at holiday time because that's a tradition. (more of these gorgeous puzzles include Cinderella, Pooh Bear and Mary Poppins...which I may just have to splurge and buy that one.) Anyways...I found one at a yard sale for $1. Sure beats $9. I also found some cake pans for 25 cents each, some clothes, a toy for Chloe, tons of Little Golden Books (since we collect those...all but the Disney ones) and many other things I can't recall off the top of my head.

But that's not all we did this weekend of hanging out together. What does any girl do with a weekend to herself? (aside from watching the edited version of Pretty Woman and eating ice cream late into the night?) I sewed pajamas. Yup. But I didn't just sew any pajamas...no...these are special. I first made a nightgown for Chloe, but then I HAD to sew some matching pajamas for her baby doll.

Photobucket


I got that fabric at the Red Tag clearance sale at Joanns a few weeks ago. Wanna know how much I paid for it? Total was $1.50. Yup. That's it. So I got a nightgown for Chloe and her dolly for $1.50. I can't even find stained up pajamas with tears and holes at the thrift store for $1.50. I scored big time with this one. Chloe now favors these pajamas and wants to wear them all day as well as all night. I made the mistake of letting her do it once so now she asks everyday. Maybe I'll let her today since its out last day of "hanging out with the girls".

For our last day without daddy I think I will do a bit of sewing. I don't know what yet. Maybe more pajamas or a dress for myself. I'll see what speaks to me when I browse through my patterns and fabric.

You may be wondering why I am not crocheting and finishing up that dress I showed you all the other day. Well, the truth of the matter is my carpel tunnel is getting much worse the past year. I simply cannot crochet all day like I used to do. This has slowed me down considerably. I can only crochet for an hour or two at a time now and then I have to take a break and sometimes that break means for a few days. My wrists just cannot handle it any more. Every once in a while I can do an all day crochet session but then I can't crochet for a few days again. That is what happened when I finished off that dress. I am now on my mutli-day break. But I do hope to finish it off this week. I still would like to make that hat to match. Ohhh....its going to be a sweet set once I get it done.

So, now I leave you with a couple of pictures. This is the cutest kid in the entire world. Every day she does something funny that makes me laugh. Sometimes its one purpose (she does have a sense of humor) and sometimes its just Chloe being Chloe. I love being a mother. I love this kid.

Photobucket

at the hotel in New York City after our jumping on the bed session

Photobucket


Now I really must be going. Little fingers have found my Gummi Worm stash and I must rescue them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Entertainment For 25 Cents

I LOVE yard sales. Even better are rummage sales or community yard sales. I always seem to find the best deals at church yard sales. Like the puzzle I've been working on this week.

Photobucket


So its missing a piece, but you know what? Who cares. It was only 25 cents and it provided me with 6 days of evening entertainment. They had a whole stack of puzzles and now I am kind of wishing I had picked up a couple more. Of course, with puzzles in the house, that makes it kind of hard to get any crocheting or sewing done.

So, I am off now to get Chloe dressed and make my coffee "to-go" because we are hitting some yard sales first thing this morning. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!! Its a beautiful day that the Lord has made. Go rejoice in it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pizza Party

The start to every pizza party should begin with a dip in the swimming pool. Of course, if you don't own a pool you might have to splurge and buy one per your child's request. Seeing as how it was hot as blazes outside yesterday and I couldn't stand it one more minute, Chloe's request to "go fweeming" went quite a ways with me. Daddy said we could buy the pool and so buy the pool we did. Chloe picked it out.

Photobucket


Notice the jungle theme? She loved the animals and the fact that she was "fweeming" in a "twee".

Photobucket


Okay. Swim time over. Now its time to make some pizza. James brother came into town on Wednesday (and they are heading to New York as I type - NO...I was NOT invited along) and he wanted to make us pizza using his miracle tiles. (OUR tiles, since we are the ones who bought them)

Photobucket


They aren't actually miracle tiles, but I bet you could have figured that out yourself. These tiles are nothing else than Quarry tiles. UN-GLAZED. Very important!!! They must be raw, untreated...you name it, they can't be it. Anyways, place 18 of these tiles in your oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees and you have the perfect setting for a lovely pizza. It takes about an hour to heat the oven (and the tiles) up properly. You want this sucker hot as blazes. (probably not a good idea to make these pizzas in the dead heat of summer) These tiles are like pizza stones but better. They don't cost anywhere near the price of a pizza stone and if one breaks, you replace just that one.

Warren taught me the "proper" way to make dough. Who knew you weren't supposed to use a rolling pin? He returned my previous favor of teaching him how to knead the dough.

Photobucket


Put the circle of dough onto a floured cookie sheet (or other completely flat surface that can go in the oven) and put your toppings on. Quick, quick, quick. You gotta work quick here because you don't want that yeast to start working. It causes the dough to grab onto surfaces and then you will have a time trying to get it off the pan and into the oven. (and that oven is extremely hot so you want this process to go as easily and smoothly as possible) If the dough happens to get a little sticky, simply pick up the edge of it and blow underneath it. The dough will get a bubble underneath it and flutter through so it no longer sticks to your surface. This only works for a little bit though. Work QUICK!!

Once the pizza is in the oven it only takes about 7 minutes to cook. SEVEN minutes. Can you believe that? Its a miracle. Take your pizza out of the oven.

Photobucket


Marvel at the amazing crust on that thing.

Photobucket


You have a beautiful pizza that Pizza Hut cannot compare with.

Photobucket


Its gorgeous. Its delicious. Even James found himself stuffed.

Photobucket


Speaking of stuffed, we made three pizzas. I made my pizza a stuffed crust pizza. Real Mozerella cheese cut into strips then placed on the edges of the dough with the dough rolled over and pressed shut. YUM. So good.

I always get a little spice kick and herb crazy when I make my pizzas though. I add a bit of parmesean cheese to my dough...maybe throw in a bit of Italian seasoning, some basil and/or oregeno. I love to sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on my pizza after I ladle the sauce on before baking. Yummy!!! The sky is the limit in regards to the possiblities when making pizza. And now that we have these miracle stones we will NEVER pay $20 for a pizza again.

It is raining today and the fairies are out so I had better run along. I love lying on the bed and listening to the fairies dancing on our roof. Have a glorious day everyone.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Five Factor

5 Things I Can't Live Without Under $10:
1. crochet hook
2. piece of chocolate
3. journal for my devotions time
4. morning cup of coffee
5. hair clippy (barette)

5 Favorite Movies:
1. Anne of Green Gables
2. Sound of Music
3. Pirates of the Caribbean
4. Princess Diaries
5. Mary Poppins

5 Favorite Baby Girl Names That I Love:
1. Chloe
2. Anna
3. Lavelle
4. Sarah
5. Grace

5 Favorite Baby Boy Names That I Love:
1. James
2. Jason
3. Cameron
4. David
5. Jonathan

5 Songs You Could Listen to Over and Over:
1. This Fragile Breath by Todd Agnew
2. Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin
3. Sing your Praise to the Lord by Rich Mullins
4. Shine by Newsboys
5. Heavenbound by DC Talk

5 Things That Stay In My Purse At All Times:
1. Motrin
2. Coloring Crayons
3. pennies
4. library card
5. chapstick

5 Obsessions I Have Right Now:
1. planning bathroom and kitchen remodels
2. putting puzzles together
3. planting flowers
4. coffee
5. reading books

5 Places I'd Love to Go:
1. England
2. Prince Edward Island
3. Disney Cruise to the Caribbean
4. Greece
5. Papua New Guinea

I tag the following people. Melanie, Misty, Catheryn, Kisha and Mary. Let me know by commenting when you have your five factor posted so I can come take a look.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Few Petals for Gretel

My newest design is almost complete. Hooray!! Did I mention that this was supposed to be Chloe's Easter dress? I missed that one by a few weeks, didn't I. Opps. Oh well. Better late than never, right? So, its not quite done yet, but enough so I could show you a preview.

Photobucket


Those flowers are my own design. I finally got it right, after hours of contemplating the best way to go about designing a flower. I didn't want to do an Irish Rose, but that was sort of the look I wanted. Anyways, I can't go much further into describing this flower without giving the pattern away so I must stop for now. As you can see, I still have a bunch of ends to weave in. The roses are not attached either. Gotta do that today. I also have plans to design a leaf to go with these flowers. I also have plans to design a hat (bucket style maybe?) and some socks to go with this ensemble.

And the name for this ensemble??? Gretel's Petals. Or maybe Gretel's Petal Garden? I don't know. Its going to be part of my Nursery Rhyme collection and while I know that Hansel and Gretel are FairyTales and not Nursery Rhymes, they are close enough to not matter. Right? (say yes, please) So, I am off now to have school with Chloe. We are learning about the letter "D" today! (we've skipped school since the week before Chloe's birthday so its time to start back up again...slackers that we are) Have a wonderful day everyone. Maybe I will have a leaf to show you all later on. No promises though. No promises.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Teaching the Snips

Sometimes, I run out of ideas to keep Chloe entertained. Granted, I am not her personal "entertainer", but there are moments when it becomes incredibly easy to say "You wanna watch Mary Poppins?" because I just need a little break. Well, when teatime with Mickey Mouse or sticking stickers on our legs doesn't cut it any more, I found a website with loads of ideas to help me out.

I took one of the simple ideas from that website and Chloe had a ball with it. I cut a piece of scrap paper in half, drew a curvy (or straight) line on it, placed a sticker on one side of the line and let her cut away down the line. She practiced her fine motor skill of snipping and didn't quite realize that she was "learning" something. She had a blast.

Photobucket


We have to work on it a bit but she did very well for her first time. And the good news??? It occupied her for all of 10 minutes!!! Hooray!!!

Photobucket


I will be incorporating more of these ideas into our days. Its always good to mix things up and get ideas from someone else. Chloe sure enjoys it.

Well, I am off to bed now. I am dreadfully tired. Have a good evening everyone. (P.S. the dress is DONE!!! Just need to attach the flowers and weave in ends)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cardomom Cookies

Photobucket


There's nothing quite like the smell of baking in a house. I believe its what truly makes a house smell like a home. Not fragrant candles or potpourri but cookies or bread or pies baking in the oven. That's what does it for me. I know there are some out there who don't bake but they buy candles that produce the smell of baking for them. I feel this is cheating and I can instantly smell the difference.

Now, there are parts of the process of baking that Chloe enjoys more than others. She loves dumping the cups and teaspoons of ingredients into the bowl. She also loves sifting the ingredients together with my sifter. She does not like to be near the mixer and when I produce it from hiding she immediately climbs off her chair and stands on the living room couch where she informs anyone listening in the loudest voice she possesses that its "too loud in here".

I tried a new recipe today and Chloe agreed that these were the cookies to be made. Cardamom Cookies. I have this spice in my cupboard I bought for some recipe I made once and I haven't used it since. Well, it needs to be used. I can't leave the poor thing sitting in the back row up there, surrounded with other spices and herbs that get used more often...it just wouldn't be fair. So we made these Cardamom cookies. Chloe thouroughly enjoyed pressing the cookies flat with a drinking cup. She carefully and methodically centered the cup over each ball of dough (which she did NOT help to roll because it made her "hands icky") and gingerly pressed it down onto the cookie.

Photobucket


She also enjoyed sprinkling sugar onto the cookies.

Photobucket


It took her about 7 minutes to precisely sprinkle sugar on two cookies.

For tea this evening, we sat on our couch and I drank some lovely Paris tea from Harney and Sons and Chloe drank her apple juice "tea". Teatime changed yesterday for us. We are now required to wear hats from Chloe's dress up chest and also a pair of "pretty" shoes. She wears her princess shoes and then she grabs whatever shoes from my closet she thinks best for me to wear. (today it was my brown sandels) We had such a lovely time. I am so thankful God has given me such a wonderful little girl to enjoy life with. I am daily amazed at God's goodness to me when I don't deserve such a delightful blessing.

I am off now to crochet a bit on Chloe's newest dress. I have high hopes of finishing it this week. HIGH hopes! Good evening everyone. Go kiss someone you love for no reason.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Vintage Baby

About 55-60 years ago, a little girl awoke on Christmas morning and entered the room where the family Christmas tree stood. Underneath this tree she spotted a large baby doll with her name on it.

Photobucket


The dress you see on the doll was the very dress that this little girl saw that Christmas morning, so long ago. The little girl fell in love with her new baby doll instantly. She spent many hours playing with the doll, dressing her up and combing her hair.

The beautiful friendship between girl and doll lasted many years. That friendship is about to be passed onto another little girl. My little girl. On Christmas morning of 2008, Chloe will walk down the stairs and behold this little face, smiling at her from underneath the family tree.

Photobucket


This doll belonged to my mother. She was the little girl of five who found her beneath the Christmas tree so long ago. Now she has passed that doll onto our family for Chloe to play with. What a priceless treasure. (thank you Mama)

Well, the other night I, in the midst of one of my restless spells, perused through my vintage doll patterns and found the perfect one to make for this doll. My plan for Christmas is to set this doll up under the tree with the original dress and then to have a little hat box next to the doll full of handmade clothes. Chloe will be almost four years old and I am hoping she will be old enough to enjoy the baby doll by then. If not, I can wait til next year to give it to her.

Anyways, I made this little pajama set for the baby doll as my first item for her wardrobe.

Photobucket


Now to give you an idea regarding the size of this doll (and the pajamas) I believe this ensemble would fit a one year old. This doll measures about 29" from head to foot. A little large for a 3 year old to carry around.

Photobucket


I can't wait to make her some cute little dresses and bloomers. This is going to be a fun Christmas!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rainy Day Blues or Pinks or Greens

Rainy days disappoint me after such gorgeous weather as we've been having lately. I am only thankful that we spent the major part of each day this past week outdoors. Planting flowers, seeds and just doing anything that would get us good and dirty by the end of the day. I just love to take a shower in the evening and watch the mud and dirt slid off. It gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and pride, knowing that I have worked hard.

Well, since the rain came down today and created an atmosphere of pure mugginess and un-breathabilityness, I cleaned the house. In the summer of 2002 I found the best website in the world. FLYLADY!!! I immediately joined and let flylady revolutionalize my life. Now, granted, I am a tad bit of a "BO" (born-organized) and flylady doesn't really care for us "BO's" very much. (not that she hates us, she just doesn't understand us) I am of the school that everything could use improvement. No one is the perfect housekeeper. I loved it.

After little Chloe popped into our world, well...things took a downward spiral out of control. Completely out of control. I finally realized this weekend that I don't even have a clean, shiny sink anymore. The very first thing Flylady teaches to do and I wasn't even doing that. So, I decided to get back into it. I am taking baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. I can do anything for 15 minutes and today was awesome. Day four of my "flying" and I was feeling pretty good about all I got accomplished. I made some thank you cards for Chloe's birthday party. (from MARCH...finally)

Photobucket


I took out the trash, vacumned, swept, dusted and tons more piddly little things that would bore you all to death if I listed them here. I even drove to the library and the post office. But the day turned sour at the grocery store. I spent about an hour pushing my buggy around the store, picking out all my groceries and then another half an hour standing in the line, waiting to check out. When I pulled out my card and swiped it the reader said "declined". Now I knew I had money in the account because James had transferred it earlier in the morning. I rushed to the atm and checked my balance. Well, at that moment I remembered that I had paid a fine at the library and also mailed a package to my sister so I no longer had enough money for the groceries. I was so humiliated. I had to tell the clerk (in front of a line of customers) that I would come back later in the day to purchase my groceries. I felt so...ummm...white trash? Like I couldn't even afford groceries with a baby on my hip? I left immediately and drove home. I almost cried as I entered my house. I hate things like this. I don't know why but I always feel so mortified.

Anyways, after such an episode, I needed to do something to lift up my spirits and remind myself of all that I had accomplished this morning and that I was indeed a good person. So, I made a skirt out of some scraps.

Photobucket


Nothing like flowers and lace and pink to cheer you up, eh? The lace at the bottom didn't gather as much as I had hoped it would. I thought I had tons extra but it turned out I didn't. Schucks. Oh well...it still looks cute.

Photobucket


I went the extra mile on this skirt and added some green ribbon over the seam at the bottom. I also added a bow out of the same green ribbon over a tad bit of lace I gathered up to be a little "bob" (of bits and bobs...you know...)

Photobucket


More lace over the seam at the stomach and the skirt is done. It brought a smile to my face when I finished it so mission accomplished. The day was not in vain.

To make the skirt, I started by cutting strips of fabric about a foot long and approximately 2" wide at the base and 1" wide at the top. After sewing these strips together, I added the top of the skirt. I measured the fabric around my middle and then just cut it to size. It was already the right width that I wanted so it worked perfectly. I gathered the strips section and attached it to the bottom of the top section. Then I folded over the very top and made an elastic waistband. For the bottom trim I cut a strip of the floral fabric and another of some vintage lace my mother gave me a few years back. The lace appears to have been a curtain once. After hemming one side of the floral fabric, I placed it on top of the lace and basted them together. I then gathered it just a hair and attached it the bottom of the skirt. I added the embellishements and presto! A pretty little skirt, full of charm and uniqueness. No one in the world has a skirt like mine!!!

Now I have to tell you...I didn't use a pattern for this skirt. I just made it up as I went along. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted and this skirt is pretty close to that idea. I am sort of amazed at myself for being able to make a skirt without a pattern, but really, its fairly easy.

At the library today I checked out a book called Sew What Skirts. This book is great. It teaches you how to make skirts without a pattern. Fancy that, eh? After I have already made TWO. He he he. But okay then. Now I need to make more because I have this book. Maybe they will turn out better. Maybe not. I think my two skirts are pretty cute.

I am off now to cheer up this kid of mine who, at the moment, is wandering around the room saying, "owwwie, owwwwie" but refuses to show me where she is hurt. She is grasping the blanket to hide whatever "owwwwie" she has but carrying on enough to let me know she would like some attention. Then its time for supper. Leftovers tonight. Yum! Have a great evening everyone. If its raining where you are, find something fun and colorful to work on inside and it could cheer you right up. Or you could go plant flowers in the rain. Thats always fun too.