Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sew Much Seersucker

Although the presence of a noisy little newborn is pretty solid evidence that I’m not actually pregnant anymore, the real proof is that I finally feel like sewing again.  It was nice to pull out the sewing machine this week and not feel something akin to seasickness.  I think it missed me. 

To celebrate diving back into sewing, I decided to do some stash-busting.  Last fall when our local JoAnn’s was changing locations they started selling their remaining fabric by the bolt at deep discounts.  This resulted in my acquiring several yards of cheery heart-apple seersucker, but no definite plans on how to use it.  After languishing on my fabric pile all winter long, that fabric finally found its way into three coordinating summer dresses.

Cutting out the pattern pieces.  Good thing my mother-in-law gave me awesome scissors a couple years ago!
In the spirit of working from my stash, I also decided to try and do the whole project using only things I already had on hand, including all the patterns, notions, and trim.  Between leftovers from other projects and hoarding things JoAnns was clearancing last year I had a pretty good stock of the basics on hand.  My biggest shortfall was bias tape.  I made the fabric-stretching choice to use patterns that aren’t lined, but that meant lots of edges to bind, and, with not an inch of pre-made tape on hand, lots of using scrap pieces to cut bias strips. 

Amber's new dress.  You can also see a little bit of my skirt on the side. 

The bias tape issue was probably the biggest with Amber’s dress.  I used Simplicity patter 2677, and honestly I didn’t love it.  I’ve made nightgowns before with a similar (but lined) bodice and definitely preferred the lined pattern.  I also think the cap sleeves are kind of funny.  But I think they look funny on the pattern envelope too, so I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

For Katie I fell back on Butterick pattern 3405: still my very favorite baby girl pattern!  It is such an easy dress, but I always really like the results.  Since Katie already fits the largest size the pattern is printed for, and there’s no guarantee we’ll ever have another baby girl, I thought I better make it one more time before I lost the chance.  I especially love the little ruffled sleeves. 


Katie was super excited that she got a diaper cover with her dress.  She has kind of a funny fetish with diaper covers right now: she calls them her "tubbies" and loves, loves, loves wearing them.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of Robyn’s dress when I started it, but in the end I’m actually really pleased with it.  You can’t tell particularly well in the photos, but it has a very short bodice with a handful of narrow pleats poking out under it.  It’s NewLook pattern 6972 and I think I’ll have to try it again sometime out of a fabric that emphasizes the unique construction a little better.  Robyn of course most liked that it had cute pockets for her to stick “treasures” in.


Robyn's dress and big floppy hair flower.

 When I was laying out the pattern pieces I realized I had just a little bit more material than I needed.  I momentarily flirted with the idea of making Matthew something matchy-matchy too, but ultimately exercised restraint.  Even I can’t put a strapping baby boy in pinky-red heart-apple material. 

So instead Mommy got a skirt too.  I used McCalls pattern M5523, mostly because it had such low yardage requirements.  I think I’m finally going to have to accept that seersucker (at least the tuity-fruity line at JoAnns…maybe the name should have been a clue?) isn’t really “grown up” material.  It doesn’t fall very smoothly and I’m at a point, especially after pregnancy, where I don’t need fabric that floats out any bigger than I already am.  It’s also such thin fabric that I feel kind of naked walking around in it, even with a good slip.  Other than the funkiness of the fabric though, it was a great pattern: another one to whip out again someday. 

You can kind of see some of my skirt in the background.

 Of course, who wants to see pictures of moms in skirts??  Here are a few more pictures of the girls in their new summery dresses.



 And one last picture of the boys.  Who didn't get matching outfits.  I think that's why Matthew is crying, personally.


Maybe next time, boys.  Maybe next time.

Gold Medal Goodies

It’s hard to believe the last time the Summer Olympics came around Amber was a tiny baby and Robyn wasn’t nursery-age yet.  Four years ago on the night of the Beijing opening ceremonies we ate-our-weight in Chinese food before putting the girls to bed and snuggling up for the parade of nations. 

This year we [very briefly] considered making fish and chips for the London games, but [thankfully] we ultimately decided to settle for Olympic-themed munchies instead.  And this time the girls were old enough to enjoy the show with us. :)

Here are a few pictures of the goodies we gobbled:

Our version of a red-white-and-blue spread: red buffalo chicken dip, white popcorn, and blueberries the girls helped pick early that day.

We wanted a patriotic drink too and finally decided to freeze blueberries with water in a star-shaped ice cube tray and then floated them in red Kool-Aid.

Bryan and I had to pat ourselves on the back a little when we came up with this one.  Bryan mentioned we hadn't had Bugles in a while and it only took a moment to figure out how they could be incorporated into our Olympic theme.

Robyn raising her Bugle-and-spray-cheese Olympic torch.

A bowl full of M&M's was definitely the easiest munchie to prepare.  It was also probably the one the girls were most excited about.  Sigh.

Since the Opening Ceremonies didn't even begin until after bedtime, we decided to let the girls stay up and enjoy them sleepover-style.   Of course, it didn't take very long before this:

Because nothing compliments athletic excellency like gluttony and idleness.  (It's all about maintaining balance in the force...)
Turned into this:


 Hard to blame them though.  There are an awful lot of nations. 

And one little picture of our gold medal baby sleeping through all the fun.  Because he's cute.  And because we'll be in trouble with Grandma if we don't.

Well here's to seventeen days of summer games.  And hopefully more snacking.  (Have to keep balancing out all that athletic awesomeness somehow... :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fourth of July Slideshow

A slideshow of our fourth of July fun with Bryan's folks, set to the fabulous sounds of a Strawberry Shortcake song.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Going Bananas at Family Home Evening

When we were growing up, my mom served in the children’s organization at church (Primary) for many years and often had opportunities to teach the youngest members of the congregation.  One of my favorite object lessons that she shared involved a banana.  Not only was it a great little demonstration,  I also loved this particular lesson because, as the weird kid who was mildly allergic to bananas (bizarre, huh?), and thus theoretically above being tempted to eat them in Primary, I generally got to be Mom’s special helper when she would do the banana trick.

This past Monday we decided to devote our weekly Family Home Evening to bananas.

To prepare for the lesson (Mom’s banana trick), I used a pin to carefully puncture the peel of a banana.  Careful not to push the pin through the peel anywhere else, I gently wiggled it back and forth, effectively slicing the banana.  I then removed the pin and repeated the process in another place on the banana. 

When it was time for the lesson, we read the scripture in Alma 32:21 that defines faith: “And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”  We asked the girls if they could think of any things that they were sure were real, even though they hadn’t seen them yet.

After a brief discussion, I showed them the banana.  The pin marks were so small they blended perfectly with the brown mottling: just your basic banana.  “Looks like a pretty normal banana, doesn’t it?”  I said to the girls. 

They nodded.

“What if I told you the banana inside is cut into three pieces?  Would that make sense?” 

Robyn shook her head and offered the answer, “no.”  Amber giggled.  "That would be silly."

“I know you can’t see the banana pieces, and I know it doesn’t make sense that the banana would already be cut into three pieces when it’s never been opened,” I continued, “but what if I told you I knew there were three pieces of banana inside?  Would you believe me, even if it doesn’t make sense and you can’t see it?” 

After a moment of consideration the girls nodded their heads.  Since Katie was assigned to the lesson for Monday, she got to be the special helper who then got to peel the banana.

The girls were amazed, bursting out into more giggling, when Katie pulled back the peel revealing three perfectly sliced pieces of fruit nestled inside.

I shared my testimony that there are many things in life that we might not initially completely understand.  There would especially be many things that we would be asked to DO that we wouldn’t always be able to see why we should do them, at least at first.  But just like they trusted me about the banana and eventually got to see it was true, when they trust the Lord and have faith to do the things He asks--even when they are hard or don’t make sense right away--they will always eventually see that those things were true too and that there was a reason for them.

Of course, as much fun as banana lessons are, banana games and banana treats aren’t bad things either.  We rounded out Family Home Evening by playing “Go Bananas” (a follow-the-leader game we used to play at English class in Taiwan) and by eating frozen chocolate-covered bananas. 

Robyn was on treat this week, so she and Amber got to help prep the frozen bananas during the afternoon.

Amber holding up a little baby banana all ready for it's chocolate bath.

I meant to get a picture of all three pieces of banana sitting in the peel...but two of them got eaten before I remembered.  Oh well: you can kind of see where they would have been.

Playing "Go Bananas" for the activity.

More crazy banana people.

Bananas crawling around during "Go Bananas." 

Finally!  Treat time!


One very messy monkey munching on a banana.
Matthew even got into the spirit of things by dressing for the occasion. 

Who'd have ever thought the little kid with the weird banana allergy would ever end up spending an entire night going bananas over bananas?  Family home evening is a wonderful thing!