Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Craftastic Afternoon

The extent of my sewing skills pretty much ends at straight lines. Which is why quilting appeals to me so much. You can an awful lot quilt-wise with mere straight lines.

The other day I came across a pattern and tutorial for a reversible bag that caught my eye. It looked like a simple pattern and the instructions had only ten steps. Simple, right? was a learning process. I haven't sewn something other than straight lines since middle school home ec class. Cutting out the pattern went fine. Cutting out the fabric went fine. I was feeling pretty confident at this point. The first change I made *gasp* was to add pockets. That went ok. I improvised, and the first pocket I sewed on (the plaid pocket) ended up being too small. So I cut out a bigger one for the other side and it turned out a decent size after sewing it on. Then I dove into assembling the bag.

I realized I have no idea how to sew darts. I think I did mine wrong. I think I cut them out right, since they were on the pattern (though I did have to go back and cut them out, since I didn't know at first that I needed to do that until the whole "sew the darts" step). Oh, and once I accidentally sewed the whole darn thing shut, but hey, that's what seam rippers are for, right?

But overall it turned out alright. Not perfect by any stretch, but functional. I had hoped it would end up a bit bigger (which is weird, since the instructions say how big you should expect it to turn out), but it will work for what I initially wanted (a bag to throw my portable knitting project in to carry from place to place rather than the ratty, plastic Michaels bag I've been using). Or I was thinking I could use it as a little purse, enough hold keys, cell phone, camera, a few diapers, and a juice box.

It's somewhat less than symmetrical, but it works. And the experience wasn't so terrifying to me that I won't try something else now!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Big Girl Bed

Some of you may recall that our little monkey climbed out of her crib for the first time last August. Our solution was to convert her crib to the toddler bed. It was totally unsuccessful. She just couldn't cope with that level of freedom yet. So we put her in her Peapod tent (model 101) in her room. Which worked, but was a bit small for all the stuff she likes to take to bed with her. So with some of her birthday money in January, we picked up a bigger Peapod tent (model 203) for her bed. Unfortunately, the bigger size came with zippers on the inside, too. Well, she finally figured them out and started getting out of her tent last week.

Over the weekend, we headed over to my friend Lisa's house and picked up the race car bed she had used for her older boy (along with a spare mattress and The Very Hungry Caterpillar sheet set - score!). By Saturday night it was in Jillian's room all set up, and Jilly has been doing absolutely GREAT in her new race car bed! We have instituted a "lights out" time, about an hour after bed time, since she stayed up until around 11pm playing quietly in her bed Sunday night, though. And there are a couple tears around lights out time, but overall I'm SO pleased that Jilly is sleeping IN the bed through the night! We are still baby-gating her room to keep her somewhat confined, but I couldn't ask for more at this point! Thank you thank you thank you Lisa!!!

Here she is crashed out in her race car bed...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crafty Post

Well, it's not 100% done, but it's close enough! I'm so excited to have "finished" my first scarf!

I used this pattern and really liked it! I got some help figuring out Row 2 of the pattern (thanks Joy!), but once I got the hang of it, it went really fast; seriously, this thing only took me a little over a week. The finished dimensions are 54" x 4.5". I’ll definitely use the pattern again. Next time, I will likely cast on an additional 3 or 6 stitches to make it a bit wider, and will probably use a thicker yarn, but something with a bit less texture. I like the boucle, but the texture makes it tough to see the actual pattern details well (the plus of course, is that mistakes are hidden well, too!).

Once I get my hands on a crochet hook, I'm going to add ~4" fringe to each end to finish it off.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dusting Off the Cobwebs

Sounds about right. We've been around. Not getting into too much exciting stuff, though. We're being pretty low key right now. The weather has been hit or miss (mostly miss, though, with cooler temps and RAIN) so that's limited our outdoor time. I've been kind of stressed out lately; money's been tight, husband's company has been relatively busy, but receivables are S-L-O-W to come in. And with this whole pregnancy and placenta previa issue, all of my typical stress relieving methods have been taken away. Stress + pregnant = lazy, apparently.

So here's a smattering of what we've been into over the last week.

Jilly has spent a lot of time playing. I mean really PLAYING. She'll spend hours playing with her Noah's ark, or her dollhouse with her dinosaurs, or her barn.

I did get to the awesome thrift store in Hillandale earlier in the week (thanks, Mom!) and picked up some fun stuff for Jillian: a new "nightie", a pink leotard, a Candyland board game, a stacking peg board, a Disney princess book, and a pair of pom-poms. All for the whopping total of $6.31!! Here she is showing off some of her new stuff.

And we got a great video of the cute one jamming out like a rock star!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tot School

We started off the week with a very encouraging activity! Jillian willingly and actively participated in a matching activity!!! I got the link for this Fisher Price ABC Zoo Game from another blog last week (I'm terrible at remembering where ideas come from...GRR!). It was a bit temperamental, as I wanted the game to "stop" between letters so Jillian could get her Fisher Price animals that matched up. Finally, I got it to do what I wanted it to, and Jillian happily went and got each matching animal up to X! This is HUGE for her, since any matching activity I've put in front of her before now has gotten ZERO interest.

I had hoped for a very productive week after this awesome start, but somehow it didn't work out that way. Again, we attended the Tales & Tunes for Tots program at our library, and Jillian did a bit better this week. She loved playing the triangle, but I was busy holding it for her, not snapping pictures.

At home, we spent some time with our latch board, which is still a big favorite.

We got sand for our "new" sand table and Jillian just loved it! Clearly, we will be spending a great deal of time playing with it this summer!

We also had some help from my mom planting a mini-garden this week. Jillian has already been a big "help" watering the tomato and marigold plants!

And I've been spending time gestating - 23 weeks and counting!

My favorite from the week...

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there! Head over to 1+1+1=1 to read some great Tot School posts!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Last weekend my mom scored a Fisher Price sand/water table with a cover and two chairs at a yard sale for a whopping $5. She brought it down this week, and today we went and picked up some sand. Since Jilly will get plenty of water play in her little pool this summer, we just filled both sides up with sand and got out her sand toys.

After seeing Jillian play in the sandbox that Brenna had yesterday, I figured she'd love this. And I was NOT wrong. I have a feeling that many an afternoon will be spent in our backyard with me chilling and Jillian playing with her sand table! Thanks Mom!!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tot School

We've been laying pretty low all around lately. I've been feeling somewhat unmotivated and our Tot School (and other) posts totally reflect that.

But we have been doing SOME things. We finished up with the letter "S" over the past two weeks. I had grand ideas of having tons of fun with straw painting. Apparently my toddler was quite angered at the idea of having to blow through a straw to paint, though. Go figure.

Since we were set up for painting, I grabbed a length of string to let her try string painting instead. Not her favorite, but at least it didn't make her cry!

Mommy did some learning at her big 20 week sonogram - we are officially expecting another girl!

Very recently, my brother-in-law and his family moved back to the area after living out of state. This has been tons of fun for Jillian; she has two girl cousins that are three and four years old. We've spent some time hanging out with them and letting the girls get re-acquainted. Trying to get a picture of them together playing is next to impossible!

We've been working on our backyard, getting it ready for some serious summertime playing, and have been making progress. We got Jillian a "car" that she loves! I won a Little Tikes basketball hoop from a blog giveaway and my mom picked up a sand and water table that I can't wait to get set up! I'm sure pics featuring our outdoor play will be featured soon!

With me having to take it easy with this placenta previa issue, I've done some learning too. I re-learned knitting (thanks to all my "teachers"!). I made a mini-scarf for practice and have started my first "real" project!

What there hasn't been around here is a lack of painting. Jillian continues to LOVE LOVE LOVE painting! She periodically gets up from nap time in the afternoon asking to paint and take a bubble bath. Because she is that messy - a bath almost always follows her painting session!

We attended a Tales & Tunes for Tots class at the library last week - it's a series of four classes over four weeks, 30 minutes long, for ages 12 months to 3 years. Perfect for Jilly! Though she acted totally uninterested during the class, she did take something away. Later in the night, she started going through the moves for the chicken dance! I'm going to try and work on that for a video ;-) The class was loosely themed around animals, so that's the theme we're aiming for over the next few weeks around here.

Sticking to animals, we went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival over the weekend. Jillian got to pet sheep, see alpacas and llamas, visit with goats, and ooh and aah over the bunnies.

I'm going to try and fit some more official Tot School stuff into our week this week. Head over to 1+1+1=1 to see what moms with more motivation than me are doing with their tots!