Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Sewing

I've never done a ton of sewing for my kids. I like making dresses the most, but currently both of my daughters have 6 EACH. Not exactly something they need!

The biggest problem with sewing clothes, is by the time you pay for the pattern, the material, and all the notions, you can usually buy it cheaper.

But if you find a free pattern on line . . . it changes everything!

I've been following Sewing in No Man's Land for several months now. When she posted this pattern,  I knew I had to try it!

One note on her patterns: they are NOT super accurate. She talks about that on her patterns page. She doesn't have any fancy program or anything, so you need to do a bit of "intelligent sewing". Just go with your gut for how things should go.

So here was my first attempt:

This one turned out to be free: I bought the fabric like 7 years ago when I was pregnant with Girly-Lou. The white was leftover from my maniac sewing back in November, and I already had the Velcro too.

I love it . . . except for the sleeves.  They stick up so high I feel like they are trying to eat her ears!  But it's still awesome.  I also really changed the pants. My first attempt looked like clown pants instead of shorts.  So I cut off several inches on all the pattern pieces - both length and width.  They were MUCH better the second attempt!

So I thought I'd try to change the sleeves so they stuck down more.

I first tried shirring the hem. It helped, but they still went weird. I finally ended up sewing in a 1/4 inch elastic strip and tucking the sides of the sleeves back into the bodice to help them stay down.

This one is not my favorite, but she sure is cute!

It's also a freebie (I already had the fabric and everything)

But #3 was the charm.

I did buy the fabric this time, but since it only took a yard (with a 40% coupon), that only set me back $2.

For the sleeves, I took a 7 inch strip of 3 inch eyelet  and just attached it to the the shirt bands.  It's my favorite by far!  The eyelet was on clearance for $2 each, and it took two spools for it all.  So total this one was about $6.

To make it sound even better, let's combine all of them. So I can say I made 3 full outfits for $6.  Not bad at all! 

*no children were hurt in the staging of this post. Although many bribes were used, the author is not liable for the aggravation of trying to pose 17 month old adorable girls!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Today I learned that it IS physically possible to get 5 individuals (two adults, 3 children) awake, clean, fed, dressed, and out the door to church in 40 minuets.

It just takes a LOT of cooperation on every one's part!

And next week, I'm setting my alarm. It was not a morning I'd like to repeat any time soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Every Girl Needs a Tea Party

 At least Girly-Lou is sure of that.  For her 6th birthday, she got this cute porcelain tea set.  And she's been bugging me for real napkins for it.  I finally got around to sewing some.  That same day, she made personalized invitations for Happy Mom and her two girls.  She even started making goodie bags.

Since she was going all out, I decided to join her.  After all, if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right!

So, to complement her mini tea set, we had mini everything.  I baked mini muffins:

I made pb &j's, and cut  them out with mini cookie cutters.

I even mini-fied some homemade cookies with the help of an empty spice jar.

Girly-Lou was in heaven getting everything ready - complete with a seating chart.

I don't own  a cute tray. But I fake DIY'd one. It's only fake 'cause its all just sitting there, not actually attached. But it worked for today.

Everyone was asked to dress in "nice clothes" which meant something different for everyone.

Girly-lou went all out.  Buddy felt that a regular shirt and shorts would be best.

All in all, I think it was a successful venture today!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taste testing, family style

This year was the first year we've tried a summer bucket list. I've seen dozens of these in blog land over the last few years, but this summer was the first time I've been organized enough to jump in!

On our list was to make homemade ice cream.  And since I needed to make some ice cream toppings (for the Sadie Hoffmiller test kitchen - we're working on book 7 people!), I thought we'd have some fun with this!

First of all: our homemade ice cream was a flop. I'm not sure what was wrong with it. But for some reason, all we made was chilled cream soup. Maybe my bowl wasn't frozen enough?  Oh well!

I divided the "soup" into 5 different bowls - one for each of us. One stayed plain. One had chocolate chips mixed in. One had pineapple topping. One had homemade caramel topping. And the last one had homemade chocolate sauce.

The rules: you got one spoonful of the bowl in front of you. Then you had to vote for how many smiley faces that flavor got. After a sip of water, we passed the bowls around and tried the next flavor!

The kids thought it was such a cool night!  Even 'Lil was happy with this arrangement.

The results:

I was shocked that I liked the pineapple one, but the caramel was my fave. Buddy loved all of them. Girly-Lou was a bit pickier, and didn't care for the chocolate chip. Hubby was the most picky of all, and really only liked the chocolate sauce.

All in all, it was a successful (if messy) family night!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: Breath of Angel

Ok, guys. I'm bugged about this review. See, I was one of the first people to get this book. And I read it really fast. And, while it had some great things in it, there were things that bothered me. Things that could have been fixed if I would have reviewed it quickly.

But I wanted to think about the book for a few days.  And then I lost it.  And I've read a dozen other books since then. And now, here I am 3 months later, finally re-reading it and reviewing.  Way too close to publication for any good to come of it. GRRRR!!

So with that beginning, here we go!

First off: from the back of the book: "
Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of an emaciated stranger in the temple courtyard. Just after she discovers wings on the stranger, the murderer enters the temple, and what Melaia has known only through song and story suddenly takes on flesh. Angels and shape-shifters were myths and stories . . . until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm.  When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of wandering angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt, the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny."

Angels, magic, and myths? Right up my alley!  I liked this book. The plot is complicated enough to keep my interest, but not too much that I couldn't follow it.  The book unfortunately has that slightly unpolished book newer authors typically have. Nothing horrible, but just the occasional awkward phrase.

More than anything, this book NEEDS a glossary. I think almost any book involving more than 5 main characters could use one, but especially if they all have names like Pym and Paullus and Peron.  It could also really use a map.  The directions may seem clear in the author's head, but not in mine!

There were also several plot points that needed more explaining.  For example, what was with all the Comain's disappearing? Where are they going/why is this included?  Why/how/what about the trees echoing Melaia's thoughts? Can they actually speak to her or not?  How did Trevan know who Melaia's father was?  Or Livia for that matter!  

I hope most of these points will be cleared up in future books (this is planned to be part of a trilogy.) But in all, it was an intriguing premise, and I enjoyed it both times I read this!

*I received an advanced reading copy of this book from WaterBrook Press

Friday, June 3, 2011

Miracle Suit

8 years ago, I was engaged to be married.  My fiance did not tell me where we were going for our honeymoon, but he did inform me that I'd need a swimsuit.

I felt I needed a good one. Previously, I'd only ever bought $15 jobbies from wallyworld or other such places. They were . . . suits. But nothing I really enjoyed wearing in public.  And they died really fast too.

A neighbor brought over a catalog for lands end. I'd never heard of it. But back then, they had this AWESOME website where you put in your measurements and they created a virtual you. You could then "try" them online.  I LOVED it!

Everything was way too much money. But I found one that actually covered me, and looked decent. So I bit the bullet, and splurged $60 for a suit.

That swimsuit has been the best splurge ever.

After much searching, here's me on my honeymoon.

Ok, so you can't see much of the suit. But I looked good. I loved this suit. It covered what needed to be covered, but left me shapely and awesome.

The only other picture I can find is from two years later:

(how cute is Girly-Lou!!! I know it looks like it's crazy deep here, but we were about 12 inches away from dry land, 
and the water was only about 3 inches here. She was just really little!)

By this picture, I was 20 pounds heaver. And it still fit me just fine!  While it wasn't the same beautiful silhouette I had before, I still felt good in it.

I just finished trying it on for this summer. I currently weigh a disgusting 40 pounds more than that awesome Caribbean cruise.  And the suit is 8 years old.  But it still fits me. The seams are strong, with no straining.  I feel modestly covered, and not as whale-ish as I thought I would.

Figured out per year, I've spent about 7 bucks a year for this suit.

Now that's a bargain!
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