Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Unmentionables

I think I shall mention the unmentionables I made today. I am so excited to show these to you. When I found this particular pattern last Friday at Joanns, I knew I would be falling off the fabric diet wagon. I fell hard too. But I am climbing back on tonight. Lookie what happened when I fell off!

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Aren't they the most darling things you ever did see? Its time for Chloe to start wearing bloomers/panty covers under her dresses, especially with her now attending Awanas with a mess of other children (which includes little boys) and running around wild. These bloomers came from McCalls pattern 4505 which also includes some longer bloomers, a petticoat, two slips and two camisoles. Oh boy...Chloe will have plenty of unmentionables this winter!

I have to say that I am very pleased with this pattern. I learned quite a bit by the detailing it had me do. I finished off seams with a zigzag stitch. How cool is that? I think I will do that more often now. Time consuming but oh...those seams look so good. I also learned that I can double stitch a seam and then trim it and wowsers! It looks even better. I would say it looks fantastic. I gotta do this more often.

So, I finished that winter coat I showed you last week. Chloe insisted on posing for the camera. I told her she could pose as long as she wore the coat. (a little bribery never hurt nothing)

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I had plenty of time left over so I thought I would start a new dress for myself. Well, knock me silly but I was able to complete the dress tonight as well.

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Okay. So here's the story. I bought a bunch *ahem* some fabric while visiting my mother. (She enticed me to do it by saying I could use her sewing machine. It wasn't until later I found out her sewing machine was acting cranky and I can't abide cranky sewing machines so, needless to say, I didn't do any sewing at my mother's this summer.) I figured the fabric I bought while visiting my mother didn't count against my fabric stash diet since I wasn't home and couldn't use the fabric in my stash, which I would have if I had been home. Again I find it needless to say that every scrap of fabric purchased this summer made it home into my stash. The above fabric came from those beginnings.

Anyways, I fell in love with the fabric when I saw it in the store. Pink. Trendy. Cute. Flowers. Who wouldn't love such beauty? I had second thoughts about halfway through sewing the dress though. I tried it on and looked in the mirror and thought, "uggg!!!". Really. I think I may have even said it out loud. "UGGGG". I turned this way and that way and sized myself up and down and thought, "hopefully this will look better when its done because right about now I don't like it one bit." And guess what! Its not every day that a hope like that comes true but today it just so happened that I fell in love with the dress after I finished it. All that it needs now is a little maroon colored sweater. I wonder....

I am off to bed now. Tomorrow is WIP Wednesday and I plan to work on my knitted afghan. Good night everyone. Have a splendid sleep!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Few Updates

Just wanted to stop in and give an update or two for you all. We have been very busy around here lately. This is a good thing. It helps to pass the time until James gets home. (which is soon. Very soon. Not soon enough, but still...its soon) Anyways, I mentioned in my last post that I hoped to start on a Christening dress on Friday. Well, lo and behold, I stuck to my goal. I did it. I started a newborn Christening dress. I have the bodice of my Angel Traditions completed and am now working on 32" of repeating the same row over and over and over and over. I don't have a picture to show you of what I started. I do hope to have one on Friday for you after I work more on those blasted repeats.

So, Friday morning we had a "trike rally" with our MOPS group. Chloe adored it although she didn't actually ride her trike. She just sat on it and watched the other kids ride in circles around her. I knew she was having a good time because she wore a grin from ear to ear and giggled quite a bit at the antics of the other children.

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Now some of you may already know this and some may not, but Friday James and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Yes, that's right. Ten years ago, I married the most wonderful man in the entire world. And do you know what he did for me while miles away fighting in this war? He called me bright and early Friday morning to wish me a Happy Anniversary. Then, Friday afternoon, I opened my front door to check the mail and found a box of flowers on my doorstep. I told Chloe, "Ohhh! Look! Flowers! I sure hope they are from Daddy." Chloe started dancing around the living room sayind, "flowers from Daddy! flowers from Daddy for ME!"

I didn't get just any flowers. No. I received THREE DOZEN RED ROSES!

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And a vase AND a box of chocolates. (which I shared with my girlfriend Karen who came and sat with me Friday night so I wouldn't end up eating a tub of ice cream -and a box of chocolates- all by myself and gaining back the 15 pounds I have lost since James left. What a dear friend to sit and share chocolate with me.) So, one of the roses wouldn't fit in the vase and I put it in a glass vase by itself. Chloe has assured me that this rose was intended for her. "This mine. My Daddy give to me" she informs me every time we sit down to the table to eat. She then points to the ones in the living room and says (very matter-of-factly) "those yours. Daddy give to you".

Okay. This kid literally cracks me up. Every day she does something that has me in stitches. The other day she did something good so I told her to give me a "high five" and I held up my hand. (its a family thing...we love giving high fives around here) Chloe held up two fingers and slapped my palm stating as seriously as a three year old can state, "high two Mama".

And if that isn't enough...I walked in on her Sunday afternoon during her nap to give her an extra kiss (you know those kisses you steal while your cherubs are sleeping and peaceful and quiet and still and oh so cute? I wanted one of those kisses.) and I saw something on her. My vision not being the greatest I couldn't make out what it was. As I walked closer I saw that she had a suncatcher on her forehead and about 20 of them in her bed surrounding her little body. (we had painted them the day or two before)

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I couldn't kiss her. I had to run downstairs and grab the camera because I knew no one would believe me if I said that my daughter slept with a suncatcher on her forehead. (and then I kissed her...after I secured the proof photograph

Saturday we found out that we can chat with James on gmail. WOO HOO! You have no idea how cool this is. (and how upset I am that they didn't allow us to for the past three and a half months) He can even send a picture or a video of himself sitting at his computer over the chat. The first video was to Chloe where James said, "Hello Chloe. How are you?" Our media player on my laptop automatically loops the video so it played over and over about 50 times. (it was only about 5 seconds long) Chloe sat in front of the laptop watching her Daddy talk to her. She then grabbed her Barbies to show her daddy. I took a picture of it to send to him.

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Once she got over initial "shock" of hearing Daddy's voice, all goofiness broke loose. Chloe loves to pose. (especially for her Daddy) So she asked me to take a picture of her jumping from the couch to the air mattress.

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I just have to say how wonderful it is to chat with James on the computer. I know it seems silly when we talk on the phone every other day. But hey! Its just another way to keep in touch, right? I sure do miss that guy. So, what do I do with myself while I anxiously wait for him to return home to me? I crochet! Today I finished a new design. I am calling it Morning Glory.

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It was a fun little design. I enjoyed it. So much so that I think I will design more fashion doll clothes. They are so much quicker than three year old toddler dresses in thread. (and you all know me...I love my thread)

And now I must go to bed. I leave you with pictures of Chloe wearing my shoes and playing dress-up. Have a wonderful evening everyone. Go kiss a cherub face tonight! (I know I'm gonna just as soon as I hit "publish post")

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Winter Coat

Last fall I bought some gorgeous wool fabric with a velvet floral print in dark brown all over it with the intention to make a winter coat for Chloe. Today I finally got around to sewing that coat.

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I lined it with pink lining. (could a little girl's coat be lined with any other color???) I used Butterick 4650 which now says its out of print. Very cute coat. I decided NOT to add the faux fur collar though. I made just a simple collar from the same fabric as the dress.

I still have to add the buttonholes and the buttons. There just wasn't enough time today to finish everything. Tomorrow is Boutique day and I am hoping to start a new Christening dress. I am thinking either Angel Traditions or Angel Kisses. Have a great evening everyone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Get Dizzy and Other Childhood Entertainment

Chloe loves to get dizzy. "I gonna get dizzy", she says as she twirls around as fast as she can for as long as she can before she collapses on the floor in a heap of giggles. Yesterday I happened to catch her on camera.

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And now I want to share a conversation I had with Chloe earlier while I was brushing her teeth. It went like this...

Me: "So, we don't need to buy any groceries tomorrow Chloe. We have plenty for just the two of us. Do you know what that means? We don't have any major errands to run tomorrow. We can just do some fun errands. Would you like to go on some fun errands?"

pause

Me: "It would be fun to do something different tomorrow, wouldn't it? Huh?"

another pause


Me: "So, what would you like to do with Mommy tomorrow that would be fun for you?"

At this Chloe pushed the toothbrush out of her mouth with her tongue.

Chloe: "I can't talk!"

I about died laughing. I couldn't help it. Needless to say, we didn't get much farther with the teeth brushing after that. I just hugged her and laughed.

I let Chloe watch a bit of Thoroughly Modern Millie with me tonight and during the intermission we popped some popcorn. Later, I peeked down at Chloe to see what she was doing on the floor and I saw this....

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Is she a cat? a dog? Nope. She is a bunny rabbit. She has picked up this weird notion that she is a rabbit or that she owns a rabbit. (Pattycakes is sometimes the "rabbit" whenever Chloe can catch a hold of her)

I about lost it last night during prayer time though. I am usually pretty good at maintaining my self control in front of Chloe. I believe that there is a time to laugh and a time to refrain from laughing. Prayer time is definately the time to refrain from laughing. But last night, I couldn't help it.

I am teaching Chloe to pray herself. I have her repeat simple sentences after me so she is "praying" as well. After the first two sentences last night she started shouting them. Not terribly loud, mind you, but definately not her indoor voice. Since we were in the midst of the prayer, I didn't want to scold her or anything. But when she kept on I couldn't help it. I tried covering my mouth so I wouldn't accidentally let the laugh escape because heaven only knows what would happen if Chloe caught on to the fact that I thought it was funny to hear her shout her prayers to Jesus. She stopped praying and asked me if I was okay. I managed to suppress the giggle inside and let her know I was okay to continue. I finally had to put my head down on my arms in her bed because I couldn't keep a straight face any longer. No noise came out but I was shaking with suppressed laughter. You could hear the dreadful concern in little Chloe's voice as she asked a second time, "You okay, Mama?"

The floodgates burst opened and I knew in an instant I had lost that battle. We will now be having loud prayers every night until the novelty wears off.

WIP Wednesday - Knitted Afghan

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We are finally settling back into life after a busy summer. Things won't stay settled for too much longer since James is due home in a couple of weeks. (I can't specify exactly when...but you WILL KNOW when he gets here!) Today I brought out my WIP afghan again. (more specifically the knitted one)

Got the square done I started Sunday evening and was able to get about a quarter of another square done this evening while watching Thoroughly Modern Millie. Cute movie, but I was extremely disappointed in the couple of curse words thrown in there on the sly.

Anyways, here is the finished square you saw on the needles the other day.

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And part of the next square.

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These two squares lean on the simple side. That's okay by me though. Whatever it takes to get this afghan done and out of the sewing room. Tomorrow I plan on sewing a winter coat for Chloe. I cut it out this morning and its all ready to go. Just gotta get in the mood to sew now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Knitting WIP

A couple of months ago (before I left on my summer trip) I pulled out a new WIP to work on from my list. I, again, used www.random.org to choose my next project and it chose my knitted afghan for me. Great! Just when I was ready to cross stitch or something easy like that it chose something I had barely begun to work on at all. Oh well. It will be good to get this done.

First I will show you the progress I have so far.

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Three measly little squares done. Feeling like a bit of rest yesterday evening, I pulled out this WIP even though its not WIP Wednesday and I worked on a new square. Here is what I accomplished last night.

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Hopefully I can work on it a bit on Wednesday and get most, if not all, of this square done. I am off now to work on editing the Lady Guinevere sweater pattern which is in testing right now (still) and sip a cup of delicious Watermelon/Kiwi tea. The Winter Wonderland Ensemble is almost completely out of testing and once it is I will have some delightful news regarding this ensemble that I am most anxious to share with you. Gretel's Petals is doing great in testing and I am almost done with designing something new. Well, two new things actually. My goal is to get them finished and into testing this week. (since I didn't make the goal of getting them done two weeks ago) Have a great afternoon everyone.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Princess Tea Party

Chloe hosted her first tea party today. This summer I have spent some time thinking about my bit of loneliness and the lack of kids Chloe's age around us. I prayed to the Lord regarding the issue and after a few moments He said, "Anna? Get Creative!" Oh! Hmmmm. Wonder why I didn't think of that. (God IS more brilliant than I)

So how does Anna get creative? She goes all out, that's how. My mother can attest to this fact - I do nothing simply. I take a good idea, add multiple steps to that idea, make it extremely difficult and time consuming and then it is ready for me to tackle. (guess that could be why we haven't solved this issue sooner) So, how to get kids Chloe's age to be around Chloe? Host a tea party.

I spent a couple of hours last night preparing for her three friends to come for tea. First, I bought some little party favors at the dollar store. I paid $4 for everything you see below. (including what you can't see in the bags)

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I found a box of pink and purple beads at Tuesday Morning for $7.99 so I bought it for the girls to make necklaces. The beads came in many different shapes and hues. Some were opaque, clearish, bright, pastel and sparkly. I gave each girl a small bowl of beads and a couple pieces of ribbon to make the necklaces. I used some of my fancy "tea" china.

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For the centerpiece, I cut some roses from my garden and placed them all together in a bowl. The bowl I set on a cake stand and sprinkled extra beads around the cake stand. I served Pink Lemonade in a white teapot.

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I have been collecting hats for Chloe's dress up chest (and next years dress up birthday party) and so I placed a hat on each "peg" on the back of the chairs around the table. Each girl was to pick a hat to wear during the party.(only Chloe did)

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Chloe helped me prepare this morning for the party. She measured and mixed up the dough for the scones.

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She also dusted off the crayon marks from my coffee table that she had colored on the day before.

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The girls enjoyed making the necklaces and I even have enough beads left over for many more projects. Another project we did was paper fans. I cut out fan shapes from some scrapbook paper and they glued the two pieces together with a popsicle stick in between.

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My Tea Time at the Inn tea book includes a Tea for Tots tea and I got the idea of this whipping cream from there. I bought three different kind of "candy" and poured them into a tea cup with one of my "teaspoons". The girls then each received their very own bowl of whipped cream that they could add their "mix-in" to. They could then dip thier cookies into this cream mixture to their hearts content.

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For the candies I used mini chocolate chips, crushed heath bar (the kind in the package by the chocolate chips) and also some crushed strawberry and creme candy. (I crushed them myself) For the cookies we had Gingersnaps, Nilla Wafers and Keebler Dipping Delights. (all store bought cookies...that was my way of "keeping it simple")

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The party was a HUGE success and I think we will do something like this once a month. Chloe enjoyed having friends over and I enjoyed preparing something special for them. Why wait for a birthday to have a party, right? We can party anytime. We're girls.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thoughts on Mops and Buckets

I am a bucket. Better yet...I am a sponge inside the bucket. Huh? your saying to yourself. Yes. I know. This sounds very confusing and, to be quite honest, weird. Especially for those who took the time to read the title.

So, okay. I will explain. I attended my very first MOPS meeting last night. No, we didn't clean a bathroom, a house or even the church building we were in. MOPS stands for Mothers Of Preschoolers. And I went to the first meeting of the year for my first time. Let me tell you something. If you have a child between the age of birth and 5 and you know of a MOPS group that meets in your area, you simply MUST join. I had no idea how wonderful this group really is for young mothers of young children.

We will meet together once a month in the evening and right off the bat they serve us food. They give us about 30-45 minutes to eat that food and talk. That's it. Just eat and talk. Do you know how refreshing this is for me? I don't have to rush through a meal, or a snack for that matter. I get to talk with other adults who, like me, have kids who throw tantrums on the floor of aisles 5-14 of Safeway because they were forbidden to climb the pork and beans pyramid in aisle 2. I AM NOT ALONE!!! I learned that last night. *grin*

One Saturday a month, they meet for a nice breakfast at a local restaurant. This is optional but it just gives everyone a chance to get out and talk (again) with other mothers and connect and make friends. I sooo need this.

The group also schedules playdates at least once a month. I am thrilled. Chloe will have a plethora of friends to play with all at one time. More friends than she will know what to do with. The first playdate is a Trike Rally. How cool is that??? (I will, of course, be taking loads of pictures for you all...and also taking Chloe to our church parking lot each day to practice)

Do you now get the "mops and buckets" thing? Although I should have said "mops and sponges" but that just doesn't have the same ring to it. I am the sponge in the bottom of the bucket just sitting here soaking in all this goodness and richness that comes from MOPS. I almost cried on my drive home last night. That's how badly I have been needing support like this.

I also wanted to show you some pictures of Chloe at Awanas. We had our second Awanas adventure tonight and since it was parent's night I thought I would snap a few pictures of Chloe.

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This is a very proud Chloe who had just received her cubbies vest.

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Going through the obstacle course at game time.

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Holding her ring along the rope ring. (what they use to transport the kids from one room to the next in a single file line)

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Eating her popcorn during snack time.

Chloe still has a little bit of learning to do. She doesn't quite get the concept of tons of kids crowded into one little area, nor does she grasp the fact that when a leader says to do something, that includes her. She appears to assume she is just a bystander who needs to watch every single move of everyone else. They say sit, she stands. They say move to this side of the room, she says put...standing. I think she may do better without my presence there. We will see how she does next week.

So thats that. Mops and Buckets and Cubbies. Have a wonderful evening everyone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Good Part of the Trip

So, aside from Chloe's seizure, our Ohio trip to visit Melanie went beauitfully. We had a lovely time playing and eating and sightseeing. Yes, we even got to sightsee. Here are Chloe and Sweet E (who happens to be one week younger than Chloe...them girls were two peas in a pod together) sitting in the car the morning we drove to Amish Country.

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Melanie took me to some of her favorite thrift stores and boy...let me tell you...I found out why. The prices were so cheap there. I paid no more than $2 for anything. (except for a heavy winter coat for Chloe which I paid $5 for) I found dress-up clothes for her dress-up chest. (which is her birthday gift next year) We had lunch at a yummy kitchen where I found a new love for Amish Peanut Butter Spread. Oh yes. If you have never had this, you are missing out on the most wonderful, gooey, corn syrupy, marshmallowy peanut butter on the planet. And I got the recipe.

Driving through Ohio I came to the realization that I could SOOOOO live there. I don't know what I was expecting, maybe something like Kansas, but Ohio is definately NOT flat like Kansas. It is gorgeous.

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And I found my farm. Notice the amish buggies in front? I wonder if they will sell this farm to me. Isn't it gorgeous?

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Ahhhh.....*sigh*...I could live on that farm and be perfectly content.

The kids had school while we were visiting so Chloe and I got to have school right along with them. They learned about the sun and the moon and how they rotated around the earth.

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They also made rockets another day. (to help them get to the moon)

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All of the kids played so well together. I was quite amazed at how well they hit it off. ALL of them.

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The kids all lined up to watch a movie. (Signing with Alex and Leah, I believe is what they were watching above)

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And what kid wouldn't love a big shopvac box to play in???

Thursday was James birthday. Since he was gone (his deployment to Iraq) Melanie and Brian took Chloe and I out to eat at a buffet. We had a lovely time. Afterwards they took us to the Children's Garden that the local highschoolers made. I was impressed. I had seen this place before on Melanie's Blog but didn't realize just how gorgeous it was in person.

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The girls took a nap in the "dollhouse". It was so cute to watch them play together. They kept running downstairs for "breakfast" and then back upstairs for night-night time.

We came to home a homemade chocolate cake with Ganache icing. Yum! This stuff is delicious. (I made it from one of Melanie's recipes) Since it was James birthday, Melanie wrote Happy Birthday James on the cake and we had the children each blow out a candle in James honor.

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We had a lovely week and I was sad to have to leave. Chloe misses her new friends and keeps asking when they are coming to visit. So, Melanie????

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