Tuesday, January 12, 2010

He's turning 3!

My little Alex, not so little anymore, is turning three tomorrow. What a ray of sunshine he is in our home, his cute round face, dark eyes, and broad smile constantly warming our hearts. I think God has given this child the gift of willfulness, which, channeled in the right direction, will be powerful someday. He knows how to assert his opinion, to butt in when he feels he needs to be noticed, to be importunate in his asking for the things he wants or needs. I love that about him.

I love to watch Alex imitate his big brothers. Most recently, that has involved taking piles of books to bed and "reading" them before drifting off to sleep. His love for trucks and trains, though natural in boys, is a passionate love. I find him clutching his little toy trucks in his sleep, or drowsily rolling them back and forth as slumber overtakes him. He is already quite a little Lego builder. And just recently, he has shown me a budding love for fabric. Yes, I said fabric. As I was browsing online for fabric the other night, he spotted the piece he loved and wouldn't let me navigate away from the page. I ordered it for him as a surprise, and he proudly carried it around with him for quite a while, occasionally spreading and smoothing it out on the floor to study it and find the objects hidden in the busy pattern. Quite a guy, he is.

How often I wonder what he will become. We say goodbye to the tender two today. Tomorrow is the day of three, beginning of year of independence. God bless your little soul, my Victor Alexander!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Listener's Bible

We have been listening to Genesis every day for the past week. There's a whole theological explanation behind listening vs. reading that maybe sometime I'll get into. The great part about listening is that the Scriptures really become part of the fabric of your day. I am amazed what the children have memorized simply by hearing Scripture read over and over again. And I as an adult find myself catching new things every time I hear the same story. We don't require the kids to pay 100% attention, sitting absolutely still, every time we turn the Bible on. They just get the bits and pieces as they play, color, eat, or do whatever they're doing. What a difference it is making in our daily devotion to God!

Goals for the Week

Do one craft a day (5 days) with the kids.
1.Textured painting
2.Fish collages
3.Symmetry painting
4.Painting on wax
5.Vegetable stamps
I have been reading for the past year about how valuable "craft" time is. Frequently we moms think we can't craft except at kids' naptimes. I would never craft anything then, since my older 2 don't nap. It is very valuable to include them in the crafting process. I have learned that it is part of nurturing them. When we're all in the same room together working on projects, helping each other out, interacting with each other, there's a lot of learning going on. My two cents.

Cut way back on white carbs. Specifically, eat white carbs at only one meal a day. This doesn't include whole wheat flour--I'll give myself a break here and ease into this gently.

Reduce sugar consumption, back to the sugar fast I did between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That means only one small sugary treat each day (like one cookie or something similar). This in conjunction with the carb challenge should boost my energy level.

OK, that's 3 things. Three is a really good number. If I can do those things, I'll feel really good about this week.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Butterfly Doll Dress

Another sewing project from a few months back was a little blouse and jumper for an 18" doll.

I started out with plain blue fabric and stitched the red stripes. That added some interest to an otherwise plain (cheap) fabric.

Then I embroidered a butterfly on the bodice. I found the images in a cross stitch book and just transferred them onto the fabric.

I am a sucker for any sort of piping. I added it around the collar of the blouse and the edge of the bodice. I think it turned out to be a really one-of-a-kind outfit, don't you? I can't wait to sew a whole wardrobe for this sweet doll. Incidentally, she is a Gotz doll I found at Value Village for $2.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blue Birds of Happiness

This is a dress I made for Hope a few months ago called Bluebirds of Happiness from Kari Mecca of Kari Me Away. This was a ton of work. I'm not sure I want to tackle such a large project again for a long time. But it did turn out pretty! I love the angled seams in the dress and sleeves. You could make it a little more casual--maybe gingham with some rick rack trim, or a cute pique print. You certainly don't have to gather 9 yards of lace (ack!) to make this dress look really cute.

I decided that the buttons on the dress should probably not be cheap plastic, but I didn't have the time or inclination at that point to go hunting for the perfect buttons. So I embroidered covered buttons instead. I love covered buttons! They really give the dress a little delicate little "wow" detail. And embroidery adds a whole new dimension to an otherwise plain button. Maybe some other time I'll post some ideas on all the things you can do with covered buttons. Too much fun! Oh, and please don't mind the missing button. The second time Hope wore the dress, I was dismayed to find that the button had fallen apart. That was more than a little frustrating! I was so done with this dress that I haven't even bothered to fix this yet.

The insertion on the sleeves was also handmade. It is very expensive to buy, so I decided to go out on a limb and make it myself. I used a sort of parisian stitch with a wing needle. Then I added a little flower stitch I also have on my machine. There are several stitches that would work. I don't have the fanciest of machines as far as stitches go, but I've learned to be creative and try out different needles with different stitches. You get some neat effects if you're willing to play around. The wing needle has become one of my best friends. A little scary at first, as you are essentially punching holes in your fabric. But it all turns out really pretty in the end (if you practice first!).

I love hand embroidery, which drew me to this dress in the first place. The bluebirds are made with the bullion stitch. I got plenty of practice with that stitch making this dress! It's really not a difficult stitch, but oh-so-interesting; you can do so much with it.

I can't wait to try some of Kari Mecca's other designs, specifically some of the projects in Sewing With Whimsy. I'm thinking another Easter dress...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Twelfth Night

Last night we celebrated Twelfth Night with a whole bunch of friends in our little apartment. It was a riot of fun. The theme was Russian Zakuski. The Russians love to pack bunches of people into tiny spaces, so this was an authentic experience through and through! I sent out a list of recipes for the guests to choose from. They each prepared and brought their chosen dish, so we had an amazing spread of food, a culinary adventure. I think the most interesting dish was the kidney beans with plum sauce, mint, and cilantro. It was actually very good. Here is the menu:

Russian Black Bread
Salad Olivier
Mushroom Zakuski
Pot Cheese
Salmon Horseradish Butter
Georgian Cheese Pie
Kidney Beans with Plum Sauce
White Russians
King's Cake

Rag Letters

I recently made these for a couple friends' new babies/older children. They were very simple, and way too much fun to make! I had several swatch books with all kinds of different fabrics, purchased from the thrift store a while back. There were all kinds of textures and colors, so these letters should be very entertaining for the little ones. I'm hoping it might inspire in them an early love for fabric! The tutorial can be found at Oh So Happy Together.