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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More gifts

I think the gift that I was most excited to give was the one that I made for Charlotte.  I got the idea and tutorials from a great blog, Twelve Crafts till Christmas.  It's a baby doll play set with a bassinet and diaper bag filled with diapers, wipes, changing pad, and taggie blanket. Here are links to each of the tutorials: Bassinet Part 1 and Part 2, and diaper bag/accessories It's a hit with Charlotte!  My mother-in-law has stated that Charlotte's favorite part is taking the wipes out (every single one) and wiping her baby.  The directions are really very good and I didn't have any trouble following them.  I only cussed a little bit while putting the bassinet together as it's a little tricky to put the lining in.  Here are a few pictures of the finished products:
The outside of the bassinet.  I love the pom-poms!

Inside of the bassinet with a baby

Outside the diaper bag (ribbon strap because I was getting tired)
Inside the diaper bag

Accessories (diaper, wipes, and taggie)
Changing the stinky baby
All decked out in the owl dress made by Mommy, new puppy slippers, and her new bassinet and diaper bag.  She didn't have enough to carry so she took Lily's diaper bag too! Sorry that she's not smiling but she really is happy!

I also made a reversible dress for Lily using the Children's corner William and Winnie pattern.  My friend, Amanda, did the embroidery for me (thanks, Amanda!).  I had fun making this dress and it went together very easily.  I hope that Lily will enjoy wearing it this year!

I also put together a fun hooded towel for Lily and had hoped to add it as my first tutorial but I had to fudge the hood part to make it look right.  Hope to add pictures of that soon.  I forgot to take pictures so I'm waiting on a quick snap from Michelle.  The elephant turned out really well so I'd say it was a successful project but next time, I want a pattern!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And...I'm back!

My mother-in-law and Dad have complained that I haven't updated my blog in over a month.  So, I thought that I better get to it now that the major holiday push has died down.  I've been sewing and baking and wrapping the last month!
Here are a few of the homemade gifts that I gave this year:

I got the idea to make Homemade Vanilla extract, vanilla sugar, and vanilla pecans from my friend, Carrie, who got the recipes and awesome labels from this website.  I didn't realize until I had already made all of my pecans that the labels are for Almonds.  I tried for about 45 minutes to try to change the labels but got grumpy and made my own.  They're not as cute as the originals but they look like they go along with the other labels fairly well, I suppose.  :)  I highly recommend making some of the vanilla to give as gifts next year!

My poor little boy is always complaining that I never sew anything for him so I challenged myself to make something for him this year.  I went with a safe option first, pajamas.  The pants are fleece and I used a t-shirt that we already owned, just added an "A" appliqué and a few abstract appliqués because the A was crooked to add interest.
I branched out a little bit on the next thing for Alexander but this is something anyone with pretty basic sewing skills could conquer.  I made him a Superman hooded towel.  Both kids love hooded towels, we had two, a  duck and an elephant so I knew that he would be pleased with a more grown-up version.  I got some basic instructions for putting on the hood online here.  To add the "S" on the back, I searched online for the outline of the shape and found lots of options.  I copied one like this into word and sized it as big as I could to make it fit on one printed page.  Then, I traced it onto some yellow felt and sewed it on the towel using black thread.  I went over each line with a tight zigzag stitch, like a small satin stitch, so that the black would be accented and wouldn't fade when I washed the towel.  Alexander loves it and has used it quite a bit since Christmas.

I got a wild hair one day after going to a friend's fair trade purchasing party.  Someone had made purses using felted sweaters and I just knew that I could do the same!  So, I went over to the goodwill outlet store and braved the bins of dirty junk.  I found several sweaters and I brought them home to wash and dry.  And wash and dry.  And wash and dry.  And wash and dry.  Yes, it took several wash/dry cycles to get them to shrink to the size/shape that I wanted.  Then, I just decided on a shape and cut it out.  I added a lining and a cute button closure.  My mother-in-law, Irene, is the proud recipient of this little bag.  I had to make something cute for her since she always comes up with great ideas for me.
The outside of the bag and the inside of the bag.  I'm not sure why it looks so wonky in the first picture because it's not quite that extreme.  I did make up the pattern but I think I can sew a straight line fairly well by now.

I'll post some additional gifts tomorrow!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another beautiful day!

Charlotte and I couldn't resist spending time outside today!  It was so warm that in the sun, it was almost hot!  I tried to have a mini photo shoot with Charlotte but she kept saying, "Mommy, put camera down!"  Here's one that I managed to snap before we made it over to the swingset where I'm pretty sure that Charlotte could have stayed all afternoon.

I want you all to know that I have and will be working on lots of sewing projects in the next month but I probably won't be able to share many of them with you until the first of the year.  I'm trying to make a lot of gifts and I want them to be surprises!  I did buy nearly six yards of fabric the other day, the same fabric.  A tiny hint...there are no children's clothes, that I can think of, that would take that much fabric.  You can speculate as to what I might be making!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beautiful Day!

Wow, it was such a nice day today!  I fully intended to post about us putting up Christmas decorations today but I think I'm just going to brag a little bit about the seventy degree temperatures, blue skies, and white puffy clouds!  It was, in my opinion, perfect weather!  I've always said that the fall is my favorite season because I love the jeans and sweatshirt 'uniform' that I can wear.  However, Peter is not a huge fan of sweatshirts.  He doesn't own any and makes fun of me when I slip on my favorite hoodies.  So, in the last couple years, my sweatshirt collection has dwindled.  I still own several that come out when it's freezing in our house but I don't often leave home in one.  Thanks for helping my confidence, honey!  The kids and Peter played in the backyard while I made a quick trip to Joann.  They're having a $1.99 pattern sale (McCall's and Simplicity for those that are interested) so I grabbed a couple that I'm using to make a few Christmas presents.  I can't mention what those might be since I never know who might be reading this blog.  There's little chance that the recipients of the gifts are reading but maybe they'll get a wild hair and read my ramblings!
Here's a picture of the kids playing well together!  Peter said that they were so good and that Charlotte was following Alexander around, trying everything that he did.  It makes me happy when they get along!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hospital Visit

This afternoon was not spent merrily putting up Christmas decor with Alexander as I had intended.  Instead, we had to go to the pediatrician and then the imaging department at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.  Charlotte was the patient. 
She doesn't look to sure about the x-ray!

 She had several episodes of weakness and pain in her leg that made her cry like a mad-woman and she wouldn't bear weight on her leg.  We visited the pediatrician who felt that it would be important to rule out any major problems with her hips.  He didn't expect anything to show up on the x-rays but didn't want to send her home if there was something going on.  Charlotte did very well for the x-ray.  I went in with her and wore a fancy, sparkley lead dress to keep from being radiated.  I think maybe she was terrified because she stayed very, very still (the most still that I've ever seen my active little girl be).  They took two x-rays and we talked with our doctor again.  The x-rays showed that her hips are perfect!  So, the diagnosis that we have for now is toxic synovitis which is a scary-sounding diagnosis that basically just means that there is an inflammation and swelling of the tissues around the hip joint.  We're treating her with ibuprofen for the inflammation and pain and warm baths as well.  She should feel much better by Monday and we're to report back to the pediatrician to let him know how she is.  I would have rather been at home buried in Christmas decor than at the hospital, worried about my sweet little girl!  I'm glad that she's going to be ok!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Today's our day!

Happy 6th anniversary to the best husband and friend that I could ever imagine!  Here's to many, many more years of growing and loving together!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


See that?  Yes, it's a wagon.  And I've fallen off!  I had such good intentions to post daily in November but I haven't had much to post about the last few days.  So, I promise that I'm going to get back on tomorrow, even if it's just to say, "Hello!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Give a hoot!

It's so interesting to see what the trends are each season.  Now that I've really gotten into sewing, I'm keeping an eye on fabric trends.  I couldn't resist this owl fabric that I saw at Children's Corner since owls seem to be so popular right now.  Why is that?  They're everywhere!  I've seen several different blog posts on how to make your own stuffed owls, a friend dressed her baby as an owl this year (cutest costume ever!), and now I've made Charlotte an owl dress.  I used a basic pattern but modified it so I could add the piping and argyle accents.  And, since Charlotte is such a girly-girl, I decided to make her a little coordinating purse.  I'm going to have to toot my own horn a little because I'm so happy with how this dress turned out.  Give me a little hoot if you like it too!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Home Sweet Home

After being away from home and Peter for nine days, I was ready to get home!  We had to take two flights to get from Miami to Nashville but it was, luckily, an uneventful trip.  The kids were tired but behaved well.  I was so glad that I made that quiet book for Charlotte!  She had so much fun, especially with the cupcake page!  And speaking of making things, I found a project that I might try for Christmas.  I have a lot of things on my list that I want to get done so we'll see if this actually gets made.  I don't usually share things that I want to make since my list is so long and you might get tired of looking at link after link of could-be projects.  However, this idea came from a Plow & Hearth catalog that the lady in the plane seat next to me shared with Charlotte and me.  What do you think?
Can I just tell you that I missed my sewing machine!  Is that strange?  I'm itching to work on a project so I think that I'll start on something new while Charlotte naps.  I did buy this great owl fabric right before we went out of town that will make a great jumper...Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Caribbean Sunset

No trip on the Caribbean would be complete without seeing at least one sunset!  I was amazed at how quickly the sun set!  It seemed to only take 5 seconds and then the sun was gone!  If you're lucky enough to see a Caribbean sunset, make sure you watch for the green flash as the sun finally disappears.  Alexander thought that was pretty cool!

Friday, November 12, 2010

St. Kitts and fun on the ship

This view reminds me of the green hills of England!

I'm not all that pleased with this photo of me but it is a recent picture of Matt and me and I was just thinking that I don't have that many pictures of myself and my baby brother so here's one for ya!

In the square near our pier.
We didn't venture very far in St. Kitts.  Dad had both babies so we didn't want to leave him for hours on end.  There is plenty of shopping (mostly junky tourist stuff or fancy jewelry) right outside the ship so we picked around in the shops.  Michelle and I got matching dresses for the girls to wear next summer.  I can't wait for them to run around together with these cute green and white dresses on!

 When I asked Alexander what his favorite part of the cruise was so far, he said that it was the magic show.  I took him to the show, even though it was right at his bedtime because I knew he would get a kick out of it.  He loved all of the illusions and even purchased one of his own at the end of the show (it's one of those 'magic' worms that crawls all over your hands).  Here's a picture of Alexander and the magician (the guy was pretty good but seemed very arrogant).

 And, at this point, Alexander's second favorite thing of the trip was the green monkey tour and then the T-Rex Kid's pools on the ship.  They have 3 waterslides, a small pool with water cannons, and a hot tub plus lots of kid-sized lounge chairs.  The pool was hardly ever busy (but probably would be if you went during a high season); there were only 64 kids on the whole ship!

 Even Charlotte loved the waterslides!  I went with her the first two times but after that, she climbed up and slid down all on her own!  She even made friends with a little girl named Ainsley.  They swam together, see-sawed together, and rested on the lounge chairs together!  It was cute to see Charlotte enjoy another little girl's company!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Yesterday, we stopped at the island of Barbados which is called Little England by some of the inhabitants and visitors.  It was settled by the English back in the 1600s and became independent in 1966.  I really enjoyed our stop in Barbados.  I'm not sure if it was because our guide was so good or if the island really is something special.  Either way, I'm interested in going back for a longer stay to explore more of this great island.  Alexander and I got to venture out on own for our excursion.
On the bus and ready to go!
Thanks to my Dad for keeping a listening ear out for Charlotte while she napped and we played.  We decided to take a city tour and a drive out to the Wildlife Sanctuary where we were told we might get to see some green monkeys.  Oh, did we see them!  We had so much fun!  The beaches on Barbados are beautiful white sand because the island is formed from coral rock, not volcanic rock.  This is also why the roads are bad; coral rock erodes quite quickly!

Alexander and the captain of our ship!

Green Monkeys (pests to the farmers but so much fun for tourists!

Here's a little proof that I was actually on this vacation!

Alexander liked the tortoises as much as he liked the monkeys!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tortola, BVI

Our second stop on the cruise was Tortola which is the biggest island in the British Virgin Island chain.  It's the main commerce island and isn't really my favorite of the Virgin Islands.  I'm partial to a few others: St. Thomas, Virgin Gorda, Peter's Island to name a few.  But, Dad and I wanted to take the kids to the beach while Matt and Michelle took an excursion to Jost Van Dyke.  Since we had three little kids, a boat tour with a swim into the shore on Virgin Gorda just wasn't a good option.  We decided to go to one of our favorite little finds on Tortola...only to find out that Hurricane Thomas had caused the road to close (mudslides) and the beach had a red flag, meaning that the waves and current were too strong for swimming.  Our cab driver suggested another beach that had facilities and a little bar/restaurant.  I'm trying to remember the name of the little beach (maybe my Dad will remember).  It wasn't the prettiest sand that I've ever seen, it was mostly shells and broken up shells but the kids loved that they could find all sorts of shells without having to look for them.  The view was great though and there was even a pool for those who aren't as fond of sand.

Lily didn't care for the sand at first but she warmed up to it and was covered in it by the time we were ready to leave!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Towel Animals

For those who have been on a cruise, this post will be no big deal but for those who haven't, I'm totally spoiling the surprise.  Each evening, when we came back from dinner, our cabin stewards had straightened up our room, turned down our bed, and given us a towel animal to enjoy.  The kids loved each one!  Charlotte would pat them and talk to them (until she decapitated them).  I'm thinking of bringing home one of these cabin stewards so he can clean up after our family each evening and leave towel animals for the kids.  Ah, wouldn't that be the life?

This is one of our cabin stewards making a bulldog for us.  I tried to remember how to do it but forgot instantly.  Wish I had this fun talent!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photo fail!

For those of you who have children and take lots of pictures, how in the world do you get both of them to look at the camera and smile all at the same time?  Here is an example of a photo fail that I just couldn't delete.  Alexander will appreciate me sharing it with a girlfriend in 15 or 20 years, don't you think?
I really could use some suggestions because there are very few pictures of my kids together that I would print and frame!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I probably have the best Dad in the whole world!  I'm not just saying that because he's taking us on a 9 day Caribbean cruise, really I'm not!  We've shipped out and are on our way!  Our first stop was Samana, Dominican Republic.  There's not a lot at the pier at this stop so if you're going to go here, I'd recommend either taking the ship's excursions or researching a tour company and booking something before you arrive.  There are plenty of cabbies standing around who want to take you on tours of the city and some of them even speak pretty good English.  The little rickshaw guy who gave the kids and me a ride spoke zero English and it made me wish Alexander was a little further along in his Spanish studies so he could ask the guy if he had change for a $10 bill! Here is a picture of Alexander waiting for our ride!
I am still determined to make sure that there is a post each day of November.  Wondering if my other blog friends are doing that as well!  Keep your fingers crossed that I can keep the momentum going!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Charlotte's Birthday (Neverending story)

Charlotte probably thinks that every time the UPS truck passes our house, that it's going to stop to drop off a package for her!  I'm so glad that I could capture this look on her face.  Each time she opened a new gift, no matter who it it was from or what it was, she was thrilled to have something new and different to play with!
 Nana and Dad-Dad, Peter's parents, got Charlotte this great bouncy toy called Rody.  Charlotte wanted to take him to bed last night.  And tonight.  I didn't let her.  Does that make me a mean mommy?
 Thanks to Uncle Robert and Aunty Irene for this cute bunny with a tutu on!  Charlotte has insisted on taking her to bed as well as the Hello Kitty that Uncle David sent (no photos of that one yet but she screamed, "Bunny and kitty, bed!" last night until I took them up to her.  Spoiled rotten already.
 Alexander mentioned that I was taking a lot of pictures of Charlotte and asked if I could snap a few of him.  He didn't even mind that Rody is pink because it's so much fun to bounce around the house on him!
I'm still trying to stick to my goal of posting daily during November but the kids and I are getting ready to go on a cruise with my Dad so I may have to post some of my posts when I return.  There were only so many that I could type ahead of time!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Trunk or Treat

This year, we went to Otter Creek for their annual Trunk or Treat.  It's one of the safest ways to trick or treat and you get to see all of your friends and the cute costumes that everyone wears.  I forgot my camera that evening but was able to snap one of the kids in the costumes that I made them.  Charlotte's is a variation of the Children's Corner pattern called Lucy and Alexander's is an original Anne Hamilton design!  It was a huge undertaking but Alexander and I were really psyched about the outcome.
My little sweets!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Charlotte's Birthday Party, Part 2

Here are a few photos from the day of the party!  My dad got Charlotte a Corelle doll set with a playpen, baby doll, and high chair.  Charlotte had so much fun (and is still enjoying) putting the baby in the high chair, 'feeding' her, then putting her in bed and covering her with a blanket.  It's relaxing to watch her enjoy herself for 20-30 minutes at a time!
 Great Linda sent a package with these great bristle blocks.  Both Alexander and Charlotte worked with those at the kid table...together!  Hooray, an activity that they can do together without fighting.  Much.
 Two candles on the cake!  Before Charlotte was born, my playgroup threw me a shower and they gave me these great little candle holders to use each year for Charlotte's birthday.  They're each little sterling silver bunnies and I really LOVE them!
 Charlotte enjoyed the cupcakes in a cone!  She ate nearly all of her cone and had a pink mustache to show for it!
 Snapped this great picture of my friend, Amanda, with Charlotte and the great purse that Amanda got her.  Charlotte carries it around everywhere!  Thanks, Amanda and family!!