Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sewing/knitting posts.

In this sewing and knitting heavy season, I wanted to share what I've been making but didn't know which blog to put it on. I decided to put it on my other blog, but will link to those posts on posts on this blog in case you're interested.

I've started a stash-busting series of posts, but today's was just a needed-to-be-made post ... Hannah's new coat.

Busy, windy, sore throat day.

Two kids had sore throats this morning, it was windy outside, and the snow drifts had us locked in anyway, so we had a busy day mostly spent inside.

Lots of games - chess, Animal Yatzee, Dragon's Journey, Guess Who.

Marshmallow crackles - so soothing for a sore throat.

A tent house.
It started out small but there were ... issues over who was to be allowed in. Hence the three separate houses attached by table tunnels.

Every blanket in the house.

Mailboxes even.

Dancing to Christmas music.

This little guy *loves* dancing, though this shot is unusual. Normally he looks like a velociraptor when he dances.

Remember on my Halloween costume post when I said he's not into costumes? Yeah. He is now. If he has a choice, he'll be squeezed into this costume.

Playing with Halloween clearance scores. Black nail polish and lipstick were in a pack together for ten cents.

Black wig was 50 cents. Awesome.

She felt very glamorous.

Then baking cupcakes and making frosting for four very special birthdays.

Dance recital.

Then the birthday celebration for Moongem (the unicorn in the back), and Nettie, Moonshadow, and Rosie (the dolls).

There were a lot of candles.

That's enough for one day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

This was a long time coming.

Since Hannah was one year old, I've been collecting puppets. Cute, inexpensive puppets are hard to find - and they're one of the few things that I look at and think "I am not even trying to make that." I've seen a *lot* of cute handmade puppets, I've just got no desire to make them myself. (The few handmade puppets we have are from family Christmas presents or from this hilarious episode.)

So I've been collecting them where I find them. Garage sales, thrift stores, dollar stores, clearance sales, IKEA ... I've got two that are really golf club covers but are some of the cutest. :)

And ever since Hannah was one year old, I've been planning on making a puppet theater. Not a fancy one, mind you, just a simple piece of fabric on a tension rod. Two seams to sew. For the last five years I've been planning this. About three weeks ago, I finally did it.

I was pushed more by the need to get our toy room organized than by a desire to finally get it done. The basket of puppets sits down in the toy room and when I clean the room, I am inevitably picking up all of the puppets which have been used as projectiles.

I stopped in the middle of picking them up one day, walked into the craft room, dug through my fabric stash, cut some fabric the right length, sewed a hem on one end and a tube on the other for the tension rod, put it on the rod (which I've had in the craft room *for this very purpose* for three years), and put it on the stairs. Then I went back to the toy room, threw all of the puppets in the tub and hauled it upstairs also. Within 30 seconds, I had two big kids upstairs using the theater - and puppets - as it was meant to be used.


Ainsley insists that a show needs an audience - and one momma does not a sufficient audience make.

For some reason, Ains is always the announcer.


"Are you watching, Mommy?"


Hannah tells stories and sings songs with her puppets. Ainsley *tries* to tell stories and sing songs, but if she can't remember the song or think of more of a story, the puppets involved suffer for it. Every song ends with "And then the lion died" or "Then he died" with the poor puppet falling to the floor in front of the theater. And I still laugh every time.

I also had one 2 1/2 year old using them as projectiles *over* the theater (hence the floating lion).

Now the toy room is more organized because the puppets are not adding to the mess anymore and the puppets get played with at least once a day because their basket is upstairs in the game area in plain sight. An added bonus is that they get picked up almost immediately because if they don't, they're right in the way.

Success all the way around.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The first big snow.

I don't like change. A few months ago, I lost my photo organizing program in a computer crash. I've been nearly crippled blogging-wise without it, but I couldn't pass up sharing our first snow day. (and some cool owl pictures here)

The hairy cocker spaniel is in heaven.

Hannah woke up, looked out the window and said "SNOW! First I'm going to the bathroom, then I'm getting dressed, then I'm getting in my coat, then I'm going outside and throwing snowballs, then I'm building a snowman, then we're riding in the sled, then I'm going to drink hot chocolate and then we're having pancakes!" And then she breathed.

Gray didn't notice the snow until I opened the door with him beside it. Then he squealed and giggled and squealed again.

We were getting those two dressed to go outside when we heard Ains wake up upstairs. The first thing she said was "YAY!!! SNOW!!!" And all was right in my world.

So out in the snow we went. And snowballs were first.

Gray was trying, but couldn't get the snow to go more than 6 inches, so I had to stand really close to let him hit me with it.

His face when he was hit was hilarious.

Not amused.

Then Ains had had enough of the cold, so she went inside with Bella.

The snow was too dry for a big snowman, so a snowbaby was all that got built.

Hannah talked Ains into coming back out for a sled ride.



Then they made hot chocolate to warm up. You see that jar that says 'Super Family Size' on it?

That translates to "Ainsley Size". Not even kidding.

Hot chocolate with a side of hot chocolate powder. Not much better.

For the next few days, our clear, drifting snow days turned into freezing, blowing snow days, so we've stayed inside and gotten some projects done. It looks like winter is here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How's homeschooling going?

At lunch yesterday, Ains looked at her glass and said "Milk is a liquid, right?"

Yes, it is. She's been obsessed with labeling things 'liquid', 'solid', or 'gas' lately so the question wasn't unexpected.

Then came 'Yeah, because I drink it. So it's a liquid. And I eat the pizza, so it's a solid.'

And Hannah piped up with 'But you don't fart it, so it's not a gas.'

Yeah, don't worry about us. We're doing just fine over here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Happy Halloween!"

Halloween is almost as big as Christmas for my dress-up girls. Over the weekend, we went to Halloween parties, out to eat, and then trick-or-treating. Everywhere we went, Hannah was saying "Happy Halloween!" to every one she met and soaking in all of the different costumes.

I didn't make the costumes until the week before Halloween because the suggestions kept changing. They changed after I began the costumes, but they were locked in by then. I put a picture of each of their choices up on my laptop and they would randomly come by, look at them and remind me of little details they didn't want me to miss. Because of the costumes they chose, I got to work with fabric and techniques that I'd never worked with before. Scary and so thrilling when it actually worked!

Hannah chose to go as Raven from the Teen Titans - a relatively obscure anime cartoon that the kids love.

She looked fantastic. Like Ainsley, she was insistent about the details. I didn't get the belt figured out until the morning of the first party. I tried several different ways and finally hit gold with yellow puffy fabric paint on the red fabric circles which Matt then hot glued on a gold ribbon. The only thing we bought with her costume was the tights.

She's lived in her costume since it was finished.

Ainsley chose to go as She-Ra. I used McCalls 5727 for the dress and it included a belt, arm cuffs, and boots. It turned out *so* cute! She was very definite about what the outfit should look like and was sad - though not overly so - when I accidentally made her red boots instead of gold boots. Luckily, her cousin was going as Wonder Woman and needed a pair of red boots. Otherwise, She-Ra would have had red boots.

I hit a wall, though, when it came to She-Ra's crown and the decorations on her dress. I have no experience with applique and it has always intimidated me.

I started with the crown and appliqued the red jewel on it - much easier and cuter than I expected. Then I went through a few 'wing' cutouts trying to get those right - getting them to stay standing up straight ended up needing not just interfacing but a layer of fleece. Sewing the feather lines on the wings ended up being very fun.

I hand sewed the wings onto the crown.

Then I tackled her dress. That was scary - if I messed that up, I would mess up the dress itself. Two hours before the first party. I ended up hot gluing the pieces where I wanted them and that really helped. I was so excited when it worked!

She ended up being *almost* completely satisfied with her costume. She-Ra has bigger nursies and blonde hair. I couldn't get our blond wig detangled in time and I wasn't even going to address the other one.

Gray, unlike his sisters at the same age, really didn't care what he was dressed up as, so we dug a Spiderman outfit out of the dress-up box for him. Two minutes after he was in his outfit he completely forgot he had it on.

We went to a family party at the local college.

Lots of games, lots of candy, lots of really cute outfits to look at.

A few costumes werent' so cute - there was one college girl helping at the booth who seemed to not realize that this was a family party and was dressed as a sexy bat - you know, if bats wore booty shorts and corsets with their breasts hanging out - so that one made me laugh. Cute costume in the right situation - at a family party, she looked really out of place. There were also two - only two - guys in really scary masks. I was proud of Hannah who went up to talk to one of him even though - actually because - she was scared and asked to touch his Pinhead mask to be sure he wasn't real.

And Hannah actually got recognized once! A college girl dressed in a really pretty princess costume stopped her and said "RAVEN!!! Oh, that is the coolest costume!" Made Hannah's day (and mine, to be honest). Ainsley never got recognized, though one lady stopped me and said "He is so cute! Is he Thor?"

On Halloween night we went to Trick or Treating with my sister's family.

I was surprised that after an hour, even the promise of more candy wasn't enough to keep them going. I was fine with it, just surprised.

After all, they had been running for the whole hour.

Ooh, one more costume picture. My sister's little year-old lion.