Monday, May 23, 2011

Some Days I Feel Like I'm Doing an OK Job

Most days I feel like a failure. But today was that rare day where I feel like I might be doing something right.

Umm, nevermind that mountain of laundry that needs to be put away. Let's focus on that sweet girl working on her kitty needle work.

And this sweet girl practicing her backstitch.

All while I started piecing the yo yos together.

 Sure the laundry needed to be put away and the dishes needed to be done. And pretty much my house is a wreck but I accomplished a couple things here today. I spent some time with my daughters working on something I'm passionate about and hoping that one day they will be, too. Kennedy said, "This sure is peaceful."


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saving Memories

I actually started and finished a project this week!

I've been putting up Haden's outgrown clothes and equipment the last week or so. When I got down to the receiving blankets I knew we couldn't keep them all but I didn't want to get rid of them either. For one they're cute, and for another it reminds me of my sweet tiny boy who isn't so tiny anymore. Inspired by Hydee's Four Square Blanket, I decided to keep them.

Instead of one big piece of flannel for the back and 4 fat quarters of cotton for the front I used 1 big piece of cotton for the back and 4 flannel receiving blankets for the front.

I found an xlong twin sheet set on clearance at Target for $6. I picked the elastic out of the fitted sheet (I can use it later for something else!) and then cut the sheet 55x55.

I pieced the 4 receiving blankets together, patchwork style. They were a big wonky; stretched out from washing and swaddling, so I had to do some cutting and manipulating to get them close to even.

I then sewed the backing and the blankets right sides together, turned it, ironed it out and added a blanket stitch for the edging. I used crochet thread for the blanket stitch. I liked the texture of it, that is the only good reason I had for picking it.

I am so pleased with it! If you are looking for a great way to hang on to baby items this is the way to go! And, if you're looking for a great baby gift, I would recommend following Hydee's lead with the four square blanket! (You can find her tutorial here)

PS - I'm not the only one who likes the new blanket!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Science in the Park

A friend told me about a neat little play trail in our area last weekend. At the beginning of this short walking trail is a little mulched-off play area that has a giant dragonfly whose wings make a see-saw. As you head down the trail there is a butterfly area with a caterpillar whose tube body makes for some fun climbing and sliding, a chrysalis merry-go-round and a butterfly with net wings. A little further down there is a bee's honeycomb, then an ant hill and at the end there is a giant spider and spiderweb. Perfect for our insect study!

 Yesterday one of the first things I noticed was the over abundance of cicadas! It's that time --- time for the 13 year cicada! I took our Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day book along with us and we sat down and read about these insects.Unlike butterflies with a 4-stage, complete metamorphosis, cicadas have an incomplete, 3-stage metamorphosis. It isn't exactly incomplete, there is just no pupa stage. Periodical cicadas show up every 13 (or 17) years. Here it is every 13 years. The cicadas emerge from the ground, mate, lay their eggs in trees and then die. When the nymphs hatch from the eggs they drop to the ground, burrow down and stay there for 13 years eating rotting tree roots. At the end of the 13 years the nymphs all come out at the same time. Thousands Millions of them! YIKES! I was really creeped out by their presence. There was even one in my diaper bag today.

Watch THIS video to see 13 year cicadas in action.

We went back today since some of the equipment was too hot to play on yesterday so the girls could play some more but also so that they could learn some more! We talked more about incomplete metamorphosis but this time with a dragonfly. The young stage of a dragonfly is called a naiad. We found it very interesting that the young dragonfly lives underwater while going through the molting stage and even has gills to breath like a fish. When it is time to become an adult the naiad climbs out of the water, dries out on a stick or limb, molts one last time and comes out a winged, air breathing dragonfly.

Next we talked about the complete metamorphosis of ants and bees and how in the queen rules! In both social orders the queen is in demand, the females do the work and males are there to help make more babies. The girls both thought it was pretty funny to learn that before winter all the male honeybees are kicked out of the hive and die soon after since they don't know how to forage for food. Those bees aren't very nice!

And finally, we got one more surprise as we headed back toward the van. It was most definitely one I could have done without. Thankfully a friend had met us there because if I had been by myself I really don't think I would have been able to stay as calm as I did.

This nasty creature was stretched out across the walking trail, flicking his little tongue. I gasped and nearly screamed and very quickly backed way, way, way up. My friend took the girls a little closer for a better look and it wiggled on over to this tree. eeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkk.

Science Sunday

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

i can't remember ... am i 30 or 80

i've turned into such an old lady. what makes me happy?

working in my flower beds. these are pictures from spring, i guess i need new ones of the new flowers blooming.

Tulips planted the first fall we lived here. This is their 5th year to bloom!

Daffodils that came in a basket when Kennedy was born. They are dwarf daffodils and are 7 years old!

The weeping cherry tree that we planted for our baby Joslyn.

and sewing. i've been working on fabric yo-yos. i cut out 70 circles. i used the lid to my flour jar for a template. i'm still on the fence about what i want to create when i finish these but so far the process is fun and easy. i've finished 42 so far.

i love this picture. it reminds me of my great grandmother. she was a master quilter! she always had a stack of fabric sitting on the arm of her chair. she also had a super nifty scissor contraption that folded into itself. i wish i could find some. she'd piece quilts all day long. she pieced a quilt for each of my brothers and myself before she died for my mom to quilt and give to us as wedding gifts when the time came. i love, love, love the quilt she pieced for me! such a legacy! most of her fabric was remnants from the plant my grandmother worked for. you may have heard of it, medline. they make hospital gowns and scrubs. in fact, when haden was born one of my gowns was from the same material as part of my quilt. it made me happy. her sister was also a master quilter! she made a quilt for my oldest daughter who is named after my great grandmother. i love having these pieces to pass down! i'm also thankful that she passed the love of sewing on to me!

lil luna link party button

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hooded Towels

We are having a towel cleansing around here. When Adam and I got married 9 years ago (our anniversary was the day of the tornadoes. happy anniversary, babe!) we received a TON of towels. I'm thinking 30? Something very close to that. My mom told me "you can never have too many towels" so I didn't take any back. Maybe I should have.

The point. The point is we have too many towels and since there are so many towels household members often feel the need to use them all. At once. Time to condense -one towel per child.

I made Haden's towel facing the opposite direction of the girls'. I thought it was clever. Now I'm thinking I should have done it the same way. Thoughts?

Science Sunday {Butterflies and Birds}

Spring has brought a fresh appreciation for God's flying creatures! We moved on from birds to insects a while ago but the girls have loved watching all the birds that have been visiting our yard.
Sorry, for the lack of postings lately but life is pretty busy these days and that is a good thing. I hate that I didn't post as much as I wanted on our caterpillar/butterfly study. We found all kinds of caterpillars and impostors (army worms anyone? YUCK!) and we've had fun catching butterflies and identifying them. Our butterflies emerged during Holy Week. We released them on Easter Sunday. What a beautiful picture of a new life in Christ!

This spring I've had great success with a pot of pansies on our front porch. One day last week I noticed they looked a little droopy and messy. We were in the middle of all the tornado activity a little over a week ago (so very, very thankful that our home and family was spared any of the loss that so many in our area experienced) so I attributed the messy look to high winds. When I went to water the flowers I found a bird's nest in the middle. I gently removed it. The next day there was another bird's nest. Again, I gently removed it. I'm not sure why really other than I was trying to save my pansies! The next day there wasn't a nest but there were 2 eggs laying in the little hole that had been burrowed. Saturday evening the momma bird hopped into the flower pot. I was excited to get a look at it and was able to identify it as a sparrow! I'm so excited!! I don't think my flowers are going to live. Today the eggs were covered with flowers the bird had pulled off the stems. I can't wait to see the babies though!

Science Sunday

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Almost "Abby Tote"

A few weeks ago Hydee had a giveaway on her blog to help support Vanessa from V&Co. Not only did she award the winner with 2 V&Co patterns/tutorials of their choosing she gave each person who entered a pattern/tutorial of their choice! I chose the Abby Tote.

I'm terrible about reading and following directions. I had looked the tutorial over but didn't make any notes on how much fabric I would need. I saw new fabric from Waverly at JoAnn's a couple weeks ago and had it in my head that I wanted a green purse. After church Sunday I ran in to get some poly-fil to finish a pillow that I was working on (more on that later) but got distracted by the 50% off sale on the Waverly fabric. I saw the green that I had wanted but right next to it was a very bright, flowery one! I think it was called button flowers or something like that. I'm not overly observant. Even at 1/2 off the canvas was a bit pricey for me so I only bought 1/2 a yard. I thought that would be plenty for the Abby Tote. I also bought 1/2 a yard of coordinating blue linen for the lining and sash.

I get home, iron my fabric and pull up the tutorial to see that I need a yard and half of each fabric to complete the Abby. Hmmm, now what? I decided to just make due and follow the directions with what I had. And then I ended up not really following the directions. I can't figure out how to make my basting stitch pull and ruffle material. I can do it if I make the basting stitch by hand but not with my machine. So then I just sort of went out on a limb and made it up as I went with an idea that it would turn out like the Abby. 

I think I did a pretty good job. It is much smaller, which is ok because I wanted to use it for a purse. It isn't reversible, well I guess it could be. I added pockets to the inside and I changed up the loops a bit since my fabric tie wasn't as wide as it needed to be. However, I LOVE it! And I have a ton of fabric that I bought several weeks ago so I want to actually follow the tutorial and make THE Abby Tote for the winter.
Anyways, hop over and visit Hydee, she just made a huge announcement about her next project. And visit Vanessa and buy one of her fabulous tutorials! I love all the details and pictures! And then stop by Skip to My Lou and check out all the projects on Made By You Monday.

Without further ado, my Almost Abby Tote

On the loops I went back and sewed through them twice creating 3 loops in one so that my thinner bow would stay in place better.

Turned inside out so that you can get a better look at the pockets. A bigger pocket for holding my keys and such.

A little pen pocket so that I can always (well, one can hope) find my pen!

The other side has a cell phone pocket. I don't a have a big fancy phone so this little pocket is perfect.