Monday, March 31, 2014

My new Kindle case

Every so often, you complete a project that turned out just as you had hoped. This one was mine.
 I found this tutorial on Pinterest and was intrigued. Not that I need another Kindle case, but I do have some cute material to use up and I wasn't completely happy with my old case.
 I would like to point out that I have little experience with patchwork, and there are several places where my seams aren't straight, but it doesn't really matter. The sewing tips were great and the whole pattern is rather forgiving.
 Thanks to helpful instructions and some fabric that I love, I have a cute, functional case that will keep my little reader pretty and scratch-free.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I don't know who is growing up faster...

 ...the gorgeous little boy...
 ...or the beautiful young lady looking after him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shake things up a little

Recently, I was finding that our daily school schedule was in need of a little shake up.
You know how, sometimes, the same old routine just isn't working for you all of a sudden? The schedule that worked so well for a while, now just ain't cutting it? Sometimes, the needs change; sometimes, we just need a change of routine - whatever the reason, it's time for something new.
It's important to recognize that it's okay to make changes sometimes. There are times to press in when doing a hard thing, but generally how we do those hard things are fairly subjective. I still need to school my kids, keep the house fairly sanitary, and put food on the table, but how I go about those things is pretty much up to me. But since I do not exist in a bubble and how I structure our day impacts several other people, I took some steps:
  1. I talked to the kids. My three big kids (generally known as "The Students") have the most work to do and need to work around the needs of their younger siblings. They are also able to do a certain amount of work independently of me, so I wanted to get their feedback on when they would like to do certain subjects and see how their desires would work for the family as a whole. For them (and me), it seemed like a good idea to modify our schedule so that they were doing most of their independent work in the morning, and we would do our "together" work when the little ones were down.
  2. I sought to prefer my little guys. Ellie is Kindergarten - her school work takes about a half an hour. Dan is about the same - he loves his workbook (he's probably my only "enthusiastic" student!). With the old schedule, I was fitting in their work where I could, which often meant that it only happened a couple times a week. With the new schedule, they get my full attention for an hour while the big kids are doing their own work. They know that their school time is important to me, and it's not getting missed. Score!
  3. I made note of my own needs. I'm generally a morning person, so it's good for me to give my attention and energy to needful projects in the morning. So now, for half an hour after breakfast, I get busy with my own to-do list, whether it's prepping dinner in the crock pot, chipping away at a larger project or just folding laundry. A half an hour isn't long, but it's more than I'd had before and I'm finding that spending time, little and often, on a job is better than waiting and whining for that 3 hour window of peace and quiet. When's that ever going to happen with 6 kids running around, anyway? 
So, that' s what we're doing. It's not perfect, but it's working for now. I'm fully aware that the time will come, probably sooner than I'd like, that we'll have to change things up again to make allowances for a new need. And that's fine, because in the end, whether the schedule is strict or flexible, it's there to serve me and my family (or you and yours), not the other way around.
Are you seeing any areas that need a shake up? Share your thoughts!

Monday, March 17, 2014

More making do

I've had this remnant of upholstery fabric for a while, with no real plan of what to do with it. I also have more bath towels than this family needs. Put those two things together with a sewing machine, and you've got yourself a new mat!
 I was originally thinking this would be good in one of the bathrooms, but it's currently more needed at the kitchen sink. If you have a go, be sure to add some non-slip backing to it - I bought some at the dollar store and stitched it on by hand.
I have some more of this fabric to use, and I'm thinking of using it to freshen up some old and falling-apart-throw cushions. Watch this space!

Friday, March 14, 2014

What have I to fear?

 I am surrounded by super heroes!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Everyone needs a mug cozy...

So, I have this plan to use up some material I have in storage, and make some of the groovy projects I've pinned on my pinboard. I pinned this cute mug cozy ages ago, and thought "I might just have the stuff to make that". And so I did.
 I must say, felt is so easy to work with, particularly for kids, new sewers, or simply the time challenged. I fall into that last category at the moment, by the way.
There's little to do to make it neat and tidy, and since the edges don't fray, you don't need to spend a lot of time seaming and pressing and all that jazz. Just stitch the little triangles on in a fairly artful way, sew around the edges and add a button, and BOOM! You're stylin'. If you think that using a mug cozy is stylin', that is.
It does a reasonable job of keeping my beverages warm, which is nice, since it's so rare that I finish my tea or coffee while it's still hot. It's a good way to claim your mug, too - who else has such  groovy adornment? 
Maybe when folks start coveting one's mug cozy, it's a sign they need one of their own, perhaps with their own name emblazoned on the pennants for easy ID? Now there's a gift idea...

Monday, March 10, 2014

What a week!

It's been a full one, that's for sure, with plenty of chaos thrown in for good measure...
We were doing plenty of birthday prep early in the week, gathering the gifts and cards that had been arriving through the post. Inspiration for Dan's birthday cake struck on Tuesday night - boys like dirt. Hence, dirt cake, complete with worms...
Abi got her creative juices flowing and had to make herself a new pencil pouch, so out came the sewing machine and everything. Needing only a little help installing the zipper, she did a wonderful job, and I am so proud.
The main drama occurred on Saturday, when after a full day at the library and zoo, the kids and I stopped to order some burgers before heading home. Just as I was about to place my order at the drive through, I was interrupted by the unmistakable sound of Ellie, "tossing her cookies". It must have been rather amusing to any onlookers - this large, white van sits at the drive through, suddenly veers off into a parking space and a bunch of appalled children quickly spill out of the car, while the only adult in attendance looks rather frenzied and does a lot of head shaking. They must have thought, "I'll bet someone got sick in that car!". They would have been correct.
Ellie was fine by the day's end, by the way - we put it down to that helpful catch-all of kid illnesses, the "sour belly". And respect to Huggies wipes - they did a fabulous job of cleaning up the mess, since they were all I had. They've got a loyal customer here, that's for sure.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Our Little Dude

Tomorrow, Dan turns 4 years old. Some days, I can believe he's survived that long...
The boy is a riot. Seriously. The stuff he comes out with is typically ridiculous, bordering on the bizarre, so that we can't help but laugh. Fortunately, he always seems to know that we're laughing with him, rather than at him.
He's such a ball of energy: always talking, moving, playing; never, ever still...until he sleeps.
 He's so affectionate, snuggling on laps, giving hugs and kisses, interrupting Daddy's study time just to let him know how much he loves Daddy. And if anyone in this family would be considered the outgoing one, it's Dan. As soon as he meets someone, he introduces himself and makes sure that they know when his birthday is. So, everyone who knows Dan can celebrate his big day with him.
Happy birthday, little dude. You crack me up.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happy March!

A while back, a friend asked for some pictures of our children, complete with the first letter of their names for a little project she wanted to make. This is what we came up with, shared for your pleasure:

 With a couple of cute baby photos thrown in, for good measure...