Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween 2018

First, a disclaimer. Halloween is my least favorite "holiday." I'm afraid of the dark, am easily overstimulated, don't like being around kids hyped up on candy, get anxious when our doorbell rings, have a hard time talking to strangers, am not creative with ideas, and despise sewing Halloween costumes.

Now that's off my chest and I can show you the kids' costumes. They requested to be Fortnite characters, which haven't made it to mainstream costumers manufacturing lines. Eliza requested a parrot, specifically a gray and white parrot, which became a snow owl.

I made Daniel's from scratch without a pattern, made Eliza's using a poncho pattern from Simplicity and cutting/gluing felt, and we collected items for Lee's from a local thrift shop.

They were thrilled. I griped the whole time, swore I'd never do it again, and had flashbacks to the time I sewed three Elsa dresses and said the same thing.

For real this time -- never again. (As I was looking back through the "costumes" tag for this blog I noticed I've said "never again" about costumes more than once. Sigh.)

Hey!! I'm back on the blog!! I've been off Instagram since June (mostly) and want to share projects and see others' projects, so maybe I'll blow the cobwebs off this blog and my Feedly feed?

it's some kind of getaway driver? a skin? from season 5?

it's a scarecrow? skin? from season 6?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day in the Homeschool Life (6, 8, 10 year olds)

It's been THREE YEARS since I did a homeschool day in the life post! The last time I did it they were 7, 5, and 3! Only one was doing "formal" school work then, so things look a little different now! It's surprising how many things are the same, though.

One thing that hasn't changed - our days aren't driven by a strict routine, but more of a rhythm. I've documented a typical day for several seasons of our lives and enjoy looking back at the posts, so, here's where we're at at this stage of our journey!

There are a few things that rarely vary. One is my training - I'm up at 4:30 and off to the gym in the winter (outside in the summer) to train. (This is later than in years past! I used to meet at group at 4:30, which meant I had to get up at 3:45! Sleeping an extra 45 minutes changed everything.)

Typically I get home by 7:00. My dog-walking job is lighter in school months - only on Monday/Friday weekday mornings and one or two weekends a month.

Ryan wakes before the kids. Daniel is the first up, around 6:30, and he sits with Ryan, who fixes the kids and himself breakfast. Ryan wakes the others (or I do) at 7:00 for breakfast. They eat together while I fold a load of laundry and transfer the previous night's washed load to the dryer. (I drink my breakfast post-workout.)

I do not do not DO NOT take for granted that Ryan is here in the mornings for breakfast! This is new to us in the past few years and it is magnificent.

This laundry routine has been in place since December, and it's working well.

After breakfast the kids set off to play and do their morning tasks - make beds, brush teeth, get dressed. Ryan and I get ready for the day, and he heads off to work.

It's not about how perfectly they make their beds. It's just about the habit of bed-making.

We start school work at 8:30-8:45 with morning basket time. First I read a devotional, then we sing the hymns we're learning (right now it's Blessed Be the Tie That Binds, Blessed Assurance, and Crown Him with Many Crowns). We launch into CC memory work, which is all sung and chanted. We finish up with a read-aloud - either Harry Potter, Story of the World, or The Hardy Boys. Usually it's Harry Potter.

After Morning Basket we take a little break (10 minutes or so) to transition to the kitchen table. I have folders for each kid with a list of their daily assignments. Whichever kids I'm not working with individually first -- I go through their list and show them what they can do without me (i.e. math, handwriting, independent reading, piano, etc.). Then I take turns working with each of the kids individually. Eliza needs my help to complete all of her work; Lee only needs me to complete a couple of subjects; Daniel is somewhere between. If they're not working with me, they have to be elsewhere in the house and quiet. We learned the hard way that our kids (like their mother) are easily distracted.

Here are the programs we use:
CC Foundations (memory work in all subjects, weekly science project, weekly art project)
CC Essentials (grammar and composition)
All About Spelling, Level 4
Horizons Math, 4
Kumon (Math)
Zaner Bloser handwriting 4
Independent Reading varies

CC Foundations (memory work in all subjects, weekly science project, weekly art project)
All About Spelling, Level 2
All About Reading, Level 3
Writing with Ease, Level 2
Math U See, Beta
Kumon (Math)
Zaner Bloser handwriting 3
Independent Reading varies

CC Foundations (memory work in all subjects, weekly science project, weekly art project)
All About Reading, Level 1
Horizons Math, K
Zaner Bloser handwriting 1
Writing with Ease, Level 1

They get plenty of breaks when I'm not working with them individually. If the weather's nice they'll jump on the trampoline or play outside. If not, they'll play random make-believe games inside. 

We eat lunch around noon, and afterwards finish any leftover work. We're usually finished with school work by 3. The late afternoons vary: Monday is Kumon, Wednesday is co-op (we don't get home until 5), Thursday is Kumon/Piano/Boy Scouts. There's an after-school play date thrown in a few times a month. When the weather's nice, they play outside after school. They get about 1-1.5 hours of "screen time" if there's space in the late afternoon/evening. 

Around 4:30 I start prepping dinner.

We eat around 6. Ryan works late one night and has a Bible study one night; the other nights he's usually home by 6.

Poor Murphy stays in his kennel during morning school hours. He's a terrible distraction otherwise!

After dinner they play and we piddle around until time to get ready for bed. The kids have a couple of "responsibilities" they take care of every night before bed. If I'm in charge of bedtime, they're showered, teeth brushed, and ready for book reading at 7:15. I'll read Harry Potter for 30 minutes and make them turn the lights out at 8. If Ryan's in charge of bedtime it's a little more, um, protracted and prolonged and I've cried uncle by the end of the process.

About 8 I go through my nightly routine of putting in a load to wash, readying my bottles for the next day's run, and feeding the animals. Ryan and I will chat, read, watch a documentary, or I'll sew while he does his own thing. (On Tuesday nights I prep for tutoring CC.)

We're in bed by 9:30 most nights to read. Most nights it's lights out at 10, if not before.

That's it! We haven't done an organized sport since last summer, and it has been WONDERFUL. Our days are slow, and even though they have plenty to keep them enriched and active, I don't feel like we're running around losing our minds. Having a full afternoon/evening schedule every night works for some people. It makes me a crazy lady. We'll jump back in this spring, but until then it's been nice to slow down!

If you're interested in a whole variety of homeschool days-in-the-life posts, you can check them out at Simple Homeschool where there's a series by that name this time every year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Completed: Buffalo Plaid Washi

It happened. I finished a garment that suits my style, fits perfectly, and is flawlessly (to me) constructed.

It's a unicorn.

And now there's no need to sew anything else ever.

Just kidding. Now I'll sew a hundred more Washis! I've sewn several Washis (Made by Rae) before, which you can see here, here, and here. The two versions I made for myself just didn't fit. There was a weird gape in the front neckline, the darts didn't hit right, and the top was too small. So I decided to tackle it again this fall.

I adjusted the darts big-time - moved them, made them smaller, and shortened them. Then I eliminated the gap at the neckline, adjusted the curve of the armhole to accommodate my slumped shoulders, and changed the angle of the shoulder seam.

All these small adjustments worked! I also sized up to a Medium - because I am a medium up top - and the final result is a perfect fit!

Matching the plaids was tedious, but I focused on the front matching and the bottom sides -- they did, but it took every bit of my fabric.

The best part is that the black and white will match everything and can be dressed up (with tights and boots) or down (with Keds).  And pockets! Somehow I didn't get a photo, but it has pockets!!

Here are the details!
Pattern: Made by Rae Washi dress
Fabric: Kaufman 1" Carolina Gingham from
Size: Medium
Changes: Alterations detailed above
Verdict: After 10+ years of sewing, I finally have a garment that checks every single box. Woohoo!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Plaid & Petals - PR&P Week 2

I'm so excited to be at it again for Project Run & Play! Thank you SO MUCH for your support and encouragement!

This week's challenge was "Buffalo Guys or Gals," and coincidentally, I'd ordered myself a big chunk of black and white buffalo plaid just the week before learning about the themes! Eliza LOVED my fabric, but at first I wanted to use a pretty pastel for her plaid.

Then I remembered a) Eliza loves black, white, and gray and b) black and white is a neutral, so c) I can still use pastels for the accent colors!

So, I started with the black and white and just started throwing fabric at it. My mom and sister kept getting texts asking, "What about this?" They nixed everything until I shot them a picture of the Les Fleurs combo. We all agreed this was it. I'd picked up the coral knit originally to use in the first week's challenge, but it worked perfectly with this combo. I'd already used this same print of Les Fleurs and had some leftover from one of Eliza's spring dress, so it only took a bit more to make a Shandiin by LouBee Clothing.

I added little bow ties on the side and an elastic waist, but kept the Shandiin mostly intact and used my design chops on the ballet sweater. It has a crossover front, finished slit in one side seam to thread the tie through, and a small belt loop on the other side seam to keep the belt in place. It wraps around and ties.

For the jeans, I started with the Juniper Jeggins from Peekaboo Patterns and made them more jeans like by sizing up and using a mid-weight denim. I also added a waistband and some embroidery. I started on the embroidery WEEKS ago and went through THREE pockets. My embroidery skills can definitely use work, but hey. I tried.

That's it! I'm really pleased that this outfit fits our aesthetic - it's just her style. Next week's look was actually the very first one I planned -- it's been in my head the longest and I'm most excited about it, so please go vote at the Project Run & Play site so I can stick around and show you! Thank you so much!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Buttons in the Urban Wild - PR&P Week One

Hello, everyone! I'm so excited to share my first submission for Project Run & Play!

Eliza requested blue, black, white, and gray, and the challenge called for buttons -- so I made sure to check off all boxes just in case this is the only week I'm here.

First, the trench. I knew from the beginning I'd be sewing a trench coat in this style at some point in the competition. I sewed one back in 2013 for Flip this Pattern, and Eliza wore the snot out of it. Why reinvent the wheel? Only I didn't keep my pattern pieces from that project, so I had to reinvent the wheel. 

It started with the Sunki Dress pattern by Figgy's. I omitted the zipper in the back and modified the front, rounded the neckline and changed the shoulders, and added a collar. I added facings to the front as well as belt loops and a tie. I kept my two favorite design elements: the side panel/pockets and the pleated sleeves. (Thanks to Cottage Mama for reminding me how to tie a bow.)

After a couple of muslin versions, I was ready for the real deal. The corduroy fabric jumped out at me as something Eliza would LOVE (Robert Kaufman) and the black was leftover from my bridesmaid's dress. All buttons, fabric, and trim came from Let's Sew in Evansville unless otherwise noted.

I do not like button holes, so I sewed the buttons on and put sew-on snaps on the back of the fabric to close it. It reduces the chance for error, and it's easier for Eliza to open and close. The neckline and facings are trimmed with bias tape.

Also, ever since I dropped my camera I can't get it to focus properly. C'est la vie.

The t-shirt is based on a shirt Eliza had a few years ago and adored. It was a 2T dress, and I kid you not - the child wore it until she was 5. My version is a little different than the original, but the angled neckline with buttons and gathered body are the same. I added trim for a pop of color and to tie it together with the coat and skirt. The buttons are so pretty. There's a thread chain loop to close - no button holes woohoo!

Finally, the skirt. I used the Ayashe pattern from Figgy's, which I've sewn before and adore. I lost the instructions for the pattern and had to wing it, but the only real design change I made was to add shorts underneath. But look! Button holes. Those suckers took me a full 1.5 hours.

While we're talking time, this whole ensemble took me 20+ hours to complete. Wanna know how I know? I watched all 10 episodes of The Vietnam War (AHmazing documentary). Each episode is about 2 hours.

The photo location was perfect. It's a pedestrian overpass by a high school near us. I promise I didn't ask people to come and graffiti in raspberry and turquoise spray paint, but it does coordinate nicely.

I knitted the hat while we were on vacation. It's the Barley Hat (a free pattern) by Tin Can Knits and the yarn is some soft chenille stuff from JoAnn. 

That's it! I'll leave you with a photo dump and a plea to please vote over at Project Run & Play!

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