Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We had a great weekend! Saturday we took Baby P to the zoo. I think W and I enjoyed it almost more than he did. P is at the age where if an animal isn't moving it's not super exciting. Still, the zoo is at a park and it's a really nice place to walk. It wasn't overly crowded so we could get pretty close to everything.

Whoa there, sheep with horns.

Check out the creepy ape behind us in this picture. He looked us right in the eye, it was odd.

Sunday night we had the Trunk-or-Treat.

This guy is in constant motion, in most of our pictures he's whipping either items or appendages in all directions. We tried to take a few pictures before heading to the church, but grumpy baby + energetic dog = yucky pictures. 

Here's Pieter Pan and Tinker Bell! I think Leo is a little bit embarassed of his get-up. Do you see how W is keeping P's left arm down so he can't rip off my carefully made hat? :)

The struggle continues...

At church, P discovered the Dum-Dum sucker. Every time he finished one, he ran back to the car to get another. Here we even got a little smile, though we are still holding both of his hands! I'm going to get some better pictures today or tomorrow! His costume turned out really sweet and he looked adorable walking around with those chunky little legs in his baby tights. The hat didn't stay on, but it hung down his back and still looked great.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Think it Through" Thursday

I am currently a stay at home Mama. I studied music in college and for a masters--voice performance and choral conducting-- and then taught for a few years after I got married. I love teaching, seeing the variety of personalities in my students, the different ways they respond to music or new information, and hearing a finished piece performed. I also loved the variety it punched into my day or week, class changes, running around to different campuses, etc... 

Staying at home has been an adjustment. I had planned to work part time after Baby P was born, but after a long hospital stay on bedrest and P being born two months prematurely, any kind of childcare with other little ones was just not an option during that first year. I was so wrapped up in Baby that the change of plans didn't bother me, but as the months passed I definitely got into a bit of a funk, one that I have to consciously remind myself not to succumb to even now. I sometimes felt underappreciated, using every fiber of your being and every ounce of energy to serve a little creature without the ability to smile at you or say "Thank you very much for all that you do, Mama. I truly appreciate the 3 am snack, " can be physically and emotionally exhausting. In addition, our culture (and we ourselves) has made idols of tangible accomplishments like power, wealth, influence and job status. Even Christians, who know that their identity as children of God is the only thing that matters, we are still often discontent with our situation in life. When you give in to the kind of self-focused thinking that craves recognition for your work or your talents, mothering can be downright depressing. The very necessary, day-to-day tasks of caring for little ones, of maintaining a household and raising children with moral integrity are unlikely to bring in six-figures or a promotion. The thing is, if you are a mama and a wife, that's exactly where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be working toward. It doesn't matter if the work you do is appreciated, if the meal you worked hours on is pronounced delicious or not, if the floor that you so laboriously cleaned is muddied within minutes. The work you do for your children and your husband is fruit, we are called to bear fruit. Read this quote from Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic.

"God does not tell us to necessarily be strategic with our fruit. We do not need to know what will happen to the fruit.[...] What happens to all of our fruit is not our problem. That doesn't mean that we are not to care about the fruit. While it is on our branches, it is our life work. It is an offering to God, and we ought to care intensely about the quality of our fruit. But the branches are our responsibility; the ground is not.

I think that in some ways we have let our cultural admiration for efficiency get into places that it doesn't belong. Speaking for myself, sometimes I am working away on something and just cannot shake the question, 'Why am I doing this? Is this a ridiculous use of my time? Should I be doing something that matters, rather than (say) knitting a costumed mouse?' But it is very freeing to laugh at yourself--laugh when you know that "apple" you were working on may very well fall to the ground, and who cares? But the chances are good that the more fruit you make the more fruit gets used. The more you throw yourself into heavy branches, the more inviting the fruit and the more inviting the fruit, the more people it is likely to feed.

You cannot know the depth of His plan for your fruit. So throw it out there on the ground when you have no plan for its future. Waste it. Waste homemade pasta and the mess it makes on your family. Don't save cloth napkins for company only--sew a dress your daughter doesn't really need. Be bountiful with your fruit, and free with it. The only thing that you know for certain is that God will use it."

Rachel refers often here to efficiency in her discussion of fruit. I think it can also really apply to your opinion of whether or not your fruit (i.e. your life's work) will be appreciated. Do I hold back from making brownies this afternoon because I don't think my family will appreciate them? Do I grudgingly pick up after my husband or put away the laundry because I know he may not even notice when he gets home from work? Do I feel discontent or pout because no one noticed how much work it was to clean the entire house today?

The thing is, it doesn't matter if what I do here in my home for my family is ever recognized. I am responsible for the fruit I bear, the quality of the fruit and my own attitude while I do it. That does matter, every action, project, meal, or play time is used by God- very likely to shape and sanctify me more into the image of Christ.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peter Pan Costume and Tutorial

Baby P's costume is ready with five days to go til Halloween! All we need is a sword. This was a pretty simple costume, here are the details!


about a yard of green felt (I had a bunch leftover after making a size 18-24 month costume)
several pre-cut squares of felt (for the feathers, I used yellow and red)
about a yard of stretch knit or a pair of baby leggings (you could use an old stretchy t-shirt for this)
a long strip of dark brown fabric, 2.5 " by your desired length (I used corduroy, you could use faux suede, felt, etc...)
1/4 to 1/2 a yard of dark brown fabric for the shoe covers (I used the same corduroy as the belt)
2, 2 inch D-rings
Hot glue gun or quick drying fabric glue

For the Tunic, use an already owned loose-fitting shirt for a template. Add some extra width and length (I wanted mine to be about knee length), and since felt doesn't stretch so you'll need the width to get it on and off.

I traced the shirt then folded the felt in half for cutting so I would have perfectly symmetrical arm holes.

Here you see the back piece with just a slightly scooped neck and a front piece with a scoop and a slit about 4 inches down the middle. Stitch the front and back pieces together at the shoulders.

For the sleeves, use your template shirt, the top of the sleeve is on the fold. Add some extra width and a seam allowance. After putting the shirt on Baby P, he was looking a little too much like Robin Hood so I cut the sleeves off short. You'll see long sleeves in some of the pictures, it's totally up to you, Peter Pan has raggedy short sleeves.

Pin the sleeve pieces to the front and back at the shoulder. Match the center top of the sleeve to the shoulder seam and work outward. Stitch. (Leave the sleeve and sides open!)

Now you will have sort of a poncho type shape, pin at sides and sleeve opening, matching raw edges. Now it's easy to close up the tunic with one long seam, pivoting at the 'armpit.' Do this on both sides.

Now take your disappearing ink marker and draw irregular "triangles" around the edge of the sleeves and the bottom of the tunic, cut them out. You can either stop here, or add the Peter Pan collar (Hee hee) like I did.

This is a simple Peter Pan collar. You cut it out in three pieces. The front two pieces are identical, they need to follow the curve of the neckline on the top edge and the slope of the shoulder on the top side edge. The back piece mirrors the curve of the neckline on the top edge and the slope of the shoulders on both top side edges. Stitch the collar together (matching shoulder seams) and then pin the RIGHT side of the collar to the WRONG side of the tunic. Stitch and turn collar to the outside, press and topstitch along the seam.

The Hat!!

Click on the link above to download or print a copy of my hat pattern for personal use only, please. Templates for the feathers are also included. There are some brief instructions on the pattern.

For the feathers, fold one of the sheets of felt in half. With the disappearing marker, sketch out a feather shape. I wanted mine dramatically large and draping in one direction.

Pin the two layers together and cut. Now, stitch up the middle, around the edges and add some curving lines for a feathery appearance.

I stuck with two feathers, but a third in orange would have been cute too. Overlap them artistically and place them where you want, secure with a dab or two of hot glue to keep them in place. I also added a fine elastic string to keep it on Baby P's head!!

Shoe Covers

 Lay your child's shoe on the fabric and trace around it, leaving enough room for seam allowance and for the width of the shoe. I wanted a slightly pointed toe and enough height that I could fold over about 2 inches. You'll need four pieces like this. Choose two and pin them right sides together. Stitch the back from the top back corner to the heel and stop. Now hem the top and bottom edges, I just turned under about 1/4".

Now you will have a piece that looks like this. Fold the top of the shoe cover down, right sides together (how much you fold over is up to you). 

Sew along both side edges and stop. Now you will be able to flip this fold inside out to become the sort of "cuff" of your shoe. Like Peter Pan's. :)

Now pin the shoe right sides together, matching toes and bottom edge, stitch from just insideyour "cuff" to the toe, then down the front to the sole and stop. Be sure to forward and back stitch securely since these will take a bit of a beating. Add an elastic piece underneath the shoe if you think you need it.

The belt was easy peasy. Cut a strip of brown fabric 2.5 inches wide and as long as you need for your child's waist plus some for overlap. Fold the strip in half longways with right sides together, pin, stitch across one end and all the way down the open side. Turn right sides out. Fold in the raw edges of the open end and stitch closed. Edge stitch if you want (this adds a little stability, I sewed around the entire outside and one line down the middle). Take the D-rings and thread one end of the belt through both of them, fold the end over them (only an inch or two) and stitch so that the D-rings are now attached by a small loop to one end of the belt. (you can see this pretty well in the picture) The free end goes through both loops, around one and out through the other. Voila! Belt!

I referred to Made by Rae's "Baby Tights Tutorial" except I made leggings and added a "baby bum extending panel" like the kind on toddler pajama pants. That is the technical term in case you were wondering. :) This is some bamboo knit I had lying around from a project a couple of years ago. It's a yellowish green color, exactly what I wanted for Peter Pan!!

I had no luck getting this little guy to sit still for a picture. He's on the move and almost ready to go take down Captain Hook!

I think it turned out really cute! This might be the only time I will see my boy's chunky, little legs in tights. Funny and adorable! My favorite parts are the shoe covers and the hat--gotta love pointy toes and gigantic feathers!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A little teaser...

I'm working on Baby P's Halloween costume today and I'm thrilled with how it's turning out!

Would you like a hint?

Yep! He's going to be Peter Pan! W is going to make him a play sword and everything. I'm considering a Tinker Bell costume for our dog Leo.

Leo, all 80 pounds of him, should make a perfect Tink. He's so dainty. Hee hee. The church is having a "Trunk or Treat" on Sunday night and the cars are supposed to be decorated/themed. I think we will go with Never Never Land, although I have zero ideas at the moment, I figure having an 80 pound black lab dressed as Tinker Bell (not to mention a super cute, baby Pan) will distract from the potential "non-wow" of my trunk decor.

This is what Baby P does when I try to give him kisses. I hope that continues with all the girls for a really long time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

'Tis the Season

Well, not that one...not the Christmas season. But " 'Tis the season' for pumpkins and fall leaves and warm beverages...ok scratch that last one because it's still 80 degrees in New Orleans. It is however, the time for pumpkins. I keep seeing little kids walking around in cute pumpkin gear so I wanted something for Baby P.

             I started with a plain, black, long sleeved T from Target. Then I used wedges of orange fabric, reinforced it with fusible interfacing and did a tight zig zag stitch around the edges. I also added fusible interfacing on the inside of the T so that the jersey wouldn't get wavy as I stitched it. I'm happy with how it turned out, pudgy pumpkins are the best! I will add some pictures of P wearing the shirt as soon as I get some!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Day...

         I was busy today! Cleaning, laundry, exercising, taking care of baby. In the midst of all that I quickly put together these little overalls for Baby P. It's too hot in New Orleans for corduroy overalls, but it just doesn't feel like fall without some of those fall textures. So...I decided on a lightweight seersucker (in fall colors) for the main part of the overalls, with dark red corduroy accents. I did padded knee patches (I ironed fusible fleece on the back then "quilted them" and zig zag stitched around the edges). I did fabric covered buttons and added a little buttoned belt in the back. The pattern is based on something that P already had, I traced it out on freezer paper and lengthened the legs, etc...

P loves the buttons. I could just eat those chubby fingers.

                The topstitching isn't perfect and I wish the knee patches were about an inch higher, but I think they turned out cute and he will get a lot of wear out of them.

             I need to go find some long sleeve shirts in brown or cream for P. The white onesie isn't cutting it! He was playing so nicely here in the kitchen while I'm getting dinner ready, but I just turned around and he was eating a birthday candle.  Oh to be 16 months old and everything looks appetizing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Travel Jewelry Roll-Up

If you're like me, you are always waiting until the last minute on birthday gifts and Christmas presents. The problem is that I love giving handmade gifts...the result is me sewing like a mad-woman (and not always with the greatest of precision), neglecting housework and arriving late to whatever event the aforementioned gift was needed for. So I need to do one of two things: 1) Start earlier on handmade gifts OR... 2) Find some very quick but cute handmade gift ideas. Obviously I'm going to go with the second option. Here's my solution!!

The Jewelry Roll-up!! I love how it turned out. I'm working on a tutorial. I'll get it out soon, long before you need last minute Christmas gifts. This would also be a great gift for a girlfriend's birthday, maybe with a cute ring or pair of earrings. I love the addition of the little screen!

This great print is Joel Dewberry (a fat quarter I picked up a couple months ago just waiting for a great project). The red and brown dot fabrics, zipper and twill ribbon are from Hancocks.

Click HERE for the tutorial!!

Tutorial HERE