Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You Know You're a Mama of All Girls When...

I've got three little girls. No, not little in the sense that they're all under 10, but little in the sense that they're all under 5. Three little girl preschoolers in my home. As totally awesome as they are (They are the honey in my tea...or rather the sugar in my coffee. C'mon I'm a mama to three little girls; I need the ultra stuff.), they can be a complete riot at times. But I'm so crazy in love with each of them, as particular and unique as each one is, that I'd trade all the coffee beans in the world for them!

First, there's Naomi Simone, or as she used to refer to herself for the longest time: Naomi Simoni. Though I don't like using the phrase, for lack of a better word, she is a drama queen. Every emotion is fully felt and fully expressed, from "This is the worst day EVER and I'm just gonna die" to "OH MY GOSH this day is TOTALLY AWESOOOOOME!!!" She brings joy and life and excitement to every part of our home, since everything is a big deal. She forces me to see things as a child does, with excitement. (Well, unless she's in the pits of despair because she spilled her juice.) Once crazy about the color pink, she now says that red is her favorite color. I secretly think it's because her younger sister Mae is all about pink now and Naomi must distinguish herself. Naomi also thinks pink and red go perfectly together (and any form of stripes together, including pink and red).

Next is my sweet little MaeBalloon, AKA, Mae Juliette. At nearly three years old, she is the epitome of sweetness, cuddly cuteness and daintiness. But don't let those blonde curlies fool you, she is smart, with a vocabulary similar to her older sister's. Mae can entertain herself anywhere, anytime, and is perfectly content to sit quietly on my lap through a whole church service and possibly sleep. If there are no toys or crayons around, she can use her fingers to be little people and have whole conversations among them. With the sweet, there is hard-headedness as well, and hard to break stubbornness. It catches me off guard sometimes, but I know it's a fleeting thing that comes with the age of 2.

Lastly is my Illiana Sunshine, AKA Illy, AKA Baby Sunshine, AKA Illy Badilly, AKA Chilliana, AKA BillyPana (the girls give her lots of nicknames...as do my husband and I). Illy's not so girly girly yet; she's still all baby all over the place. At 10 1/2 months old, she is fast as lightening and adventurous. Today, I came downstairs and found her up on the couch, yet hanging halfway off the couch holding onto a giant potted plant with one hand and digging in the dirt with the other (somehow some of it made it into the mouth...blah). And yesterday, she came crawling at lightening speed towards me when I noticed something black on her chin. Thinking she'd gotten some dirt on her, I wiped it off and then looked at what it was: an even bigger BLAH, a chewed up boxelder bug. Her sisters found that amusingly disgusting. Illy is known to glean cheerios and other assorted dropped food from the kitchen floor, and she recently escaped into the bathroom and overturned Mae's little potty (that Mama forgot to empty). Despite all that, she is my piece of sunshine. One of my favorite parts of the day is when I go in to get her up before the other girls are awake, and she's sitting in her crib all smiley with her fuzzy blanket in hand and thumb in mouth. Then she smiles the biggest smile ever at me while reaching up for me!

So...you know you're a mama of all girls when...

1. You sort your laundry into darks, whites, and pink!
2. Your girls fight over who gets to be the "pink one"
3. You have naked Barbie dolls lying around everywhere; for us they're by the bathroom sink drying off after the girls' baths
4. Your children take forever in the bathroom because they have to make silly faces in the mirror for 5 minutes before actually "going" to the bathroom.
5. Or they take forever because they go to the bathroom together, with the door closed, chatting away for 10 minutes about princesses, stickers, pink, and dressing up
6. You get told, "That's so gross, mama; you should say excuse me" when you burp, but then you overhear them talking about poop, and pee, and eyeballs when you're not around.
7. The favorite cup is the strawberry cup with glitter inside of it.
8. You get asked to play Barbie's "The Princess and the Pauper" for the 10 zillionth time.
9. Your girls disappear when the babysitter shows up, only to come downstairs 5 minutes later decked out in a crown, high heels, scarves, and gaudy dresses to show the sitter how pretty they are.
10. You go shopping and pass the girls' clothing section and you child goes, "Oh this is cute. Oh, and I love this dress. Oh, and this is beautiful, mama."

I love my girls. They rock my world with pink and glitter. AND, they like to go hiking and camping, and climb things, and watch Dinosaur Train.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Easy Early Reading Game

My oldest daughter, Naomi, is 4 1/2, and I've been teaching her how to read this year as part of her homeschooling. Since she's only at the 4K grade level (or, in Ambleside Online terms, Year 0), I'm not doing too much with her for school. Mostly Bible verses, Bible stories, cooking, lots of art, writing letters, and easy math. But the most intensive thing I do with her is reading. She's so good with letters, and her vocabulary is awesome, so I figured I'd go ahead and start early with her. I'm amazed that after just a few weeks, she was reading 2-letter words and now 3-letter words.

I've been using the book, The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise (Classical Homeschooling method guru). It's great, because everything is scripted out for the parent who has never taught a child how to read before. I don't do as many repetitions as Wise recommends because my daughter just gets bored with it. We recite the "poems" like rap songs sometimes to make it more fun! My favorite part is that there are no goofy games added in as filler and fluff. I just don't like that kind of stuff. Yes, learning should be fun and engaging, but not just busywork. My daughter needs to know that what she's learning has a point and a value to it. She spends plenty of other time playing.

However, there are a few education games in the book as optional activities that are pretty fun! One is "Mix and Match Words." Here's how you can do it yourself:

Take 12 notecards and cut them in half width-wise (so you have 24 cards 3" by 2 1/2"
With one colored marker, write the following combinations on 8 of the cards (one combination per card):

  • ip, in, ib, it, im, id, ig, ix
  • These are word ending cards
On the rest of the cards, use a different colored marker and write one of each of the following letters on a card:

  • b, d, f, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, w, y, z
  • These are beginning letter cards

Now, take the word ending card with it written on it and put it in front of your child. Then gather these beginning letters: s, h, f, b, k, l, p. Turn them over so that you can't see what's written on it. Have your child pick one and put it in front of the word ending card and read the word she made. If she reads it correctly, she gets the card; if not, it goes back in the "upside down" pile of beginning letters. Keep playing until your child has "won" all the beginning letters.

Here are other combinations to use:

  • it with s, h, f, b, k, l, p
  • ig with b, d, f, j, p, w
  • id with k, l, d, h, r
  • im with d, h, r
  • ib with b, r, f
  • in with p, f, b, s, w, k, t, d
  • ip  with l, r, s, t, h, d, n, z, y
  • ix with  s, f, m
This is a fun game to play, and you can add to it with 3 letter words made with the other four short vowel sounds.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Softie Plushie Dolly

Lately, I've become way intrigued by the Japanese kawaii stuff. It's all over the place in the crafting, blogging, sewing world. And I've been checking out "softies" lately. The girls and I looked at tons of pictures online of softies people have made and posted. Of course, they wanted all of them, so I saved a few images to my computer and decided to design and make softies for them for Christmas. So far, I've just created Mae's. It's cute, but I would have made it slightly smaller if I were to redo it.

The finished softie doll

Here's what I did:

1. I drew a sketch of a softie that I wanted to create based on Mae's likes

2. I drew all the "pattern" parts I'd need to cut out

3. I cut out the "pattern" pieces and then cut out the corresponding fabric pieces

(2 of the skirt pieces, 2 of the top pieces, 2 of the face pieces, 1 hair piece, 4 leg pieces, 4 arm pieces,4 ear pieces, 2 ear pieces from batting)

4. I sewed two arms and two legs and turned the pieces inside out and stuffed them.

5. I sewed the ears together with batting and turned those inside out.

6. I sewed the face together and turned it inside out and then top stitched around the edge. I added buttons for eyes and sewed a tiny smile with red thread in a backstitch.

7. I laid the hair over the face where I wanted it and folded it slightly over the back and stitched it into place all around.
8. I sewed the face to one of the top pink pieces using a hidden stitch like I use for hemming.

9. I sewed one top piece to a bottom piece and laid it flat right side up.

10. I laid the arms and legs and ears pointing inwards where I wanted them on top of the piece I just laid flat.

11. Then I sewed the other top piece to the other bottom piece and laid it right side down on top of the arms, legs, ears, and other side of body and pinned into place.

12. I stitched all the way around, leaving one corner open for stuffing. Then I stuffed it and sewed it shut.

13. I added trimmings (you could do this prior to sewing up the doll): a button that I sewed into place going all the way through the doll (so stuffing wouldn't slide around) and an apron that I cut out of an piece of curtain trim.

This is not meant to be a perfect tutorial. I mostly made it up as I went along (which meant mistakes). I've never made a stuffed doll before, so this is my first attempt and Mae is my guinea pig. Now, I'm sure I'll have to make one for Naomi, too, for Christmas!

I'm a novice sewer, so if I can make something up like this, you can too! Try it out and link back here with pictures!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Merry SITSmas!

What is SITS for all those who don't know...Curious? Check it out here.

This is me. Jessie.

Anyway, 2009 is almost calling it closing time, and I decided to make end of year resolutions this year instead of New Years' resolutions. That way I only have a few weeks to start doing the things I need to do instead of 52 weeks to procrastinate doing those things and then forgetting all about them.

Here's what's on my short list. I make short lists so I don't feel like a failure when they don't get completed.

1. Practice banjo daily. Even 15 minutes is awesome!
2. Pray more. ("praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints" Eph. 6:18)
3. Make time for the creative juices to actually flow out: poetry, art, music, sewing, etc.
4. Not be drunk on wine but be filled with the Spirit. (just FYI, I don't get drunk on wine ever...this is also from Ephesians)
5. Don't start any new books until I've finished the ones I'm currently reading. (so hard, so hard to do)

That's it. My end of year resolutions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow, Christmas, Coloring Pages, and Dum Dum Pops

This morning the girls and I decorated the tree with ornaments. We don't have a real tree; it just seems kind of ridiculous (yet fun) to spend $40 on something that we'll just throw out in a few weeks. However, even with some of the lights not working and a sparsity of ornaments, it still just feels nice to have a tree up in the house. It gives this time of year more of a special feel. And the girls LOVE it! Illiana came down stairs this morning to see her first ever Christmas tree and smiled big, probably wondering what it was all about. I thought she'd take off crawling towards it right away, but she just sat by me staring and smiling. She's such a sweet baby!

I'm thinking of making some sort of garland with Naomi as part of homeschool to spruce it up a bit (no pun meant), but am still looking at the options. For now, the girls are coloring away on their new coloring pages I printed up from Elsie Marley. She's putting up one page a day from her hand drawn Advent coloring book (which can also be purchased from her Etsy store).

Here are the links for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7. Stay tuned to her page each day for more pages to print and color.

To add to all the excitement, the girls woke up to--not just the tree up--but a snow covered ground and fat flakes falling down! After breakfast, they went outside to play in it, and of course, eat it!!

Here are some shots of all the happenings:

Mae's beautiful artwork

Naomi's colorful mittens

Even Mama colored a page that Mae shared with her

Mae's window marker creation

Naomi's window art with a snowy background

And the giant bag of Dum Dum Pops we've all been chowing
My favorite so far is the coconut flavor (what's yours?)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Handmade Gifts for the Girls!

I was sick pretty much everyday after Thanksgiving, so I had plenty of time to sit, or lay, around and sew. So, I took the opportunity to make some doll clothes for my two oldest girls and some little booties for my baby girl.

This will be the dress for Naomi's American girl doll, Elizabeth, that she's getting for Christmas. The pattern was free, and I found it here. It's called a wedding dress, hence all the whiteness. But I'm thinking of adding some crocheted flowers or ribbon or something to it. I think Naomi would appreciate that.

This is the front view. It should fit any 18" doll.

This is a view of the back. The pattern did not call for any kind of closure at the top, so I figured a button would work. I just used one of the spaces between stitches for the button hole.

And here is the dress I made for Mae's doll she is getting. I don't know exactly what size her doll will be, but I'm assuming not as tall as an American Girl. This is using the same pattern, except I did fewer rounds at the bottom and ended with two rounds of single crochet instead of one. I also added a round of trim that was 1 single crochet then two chains in each stitch. Makes it kind of ruffly. Finally I added a ribbon that was simply a chain stitch and weaved it through the middle.

This is the front view. I had these three colors, but not enough of one to make a full dress, so I made a tri-color dress. I actually like it better than the solid white!

And this is the back.

I love this pattern because it's so easy and works up super fast. It uses mostly double and single crochet with a few v-stitches (which is just dc & ch stitches). My favorite part is that it is sewn in one piece, so no joining parts together! And you know what that means! Fewer ends to weave in! Unless you change colors like I did with Mae's doll's dress.

Finally, here are the little booties I made for Illiana from this pattern here. I had to change the pattern quite a bit through, because my babies have all had fat feet and these booties just didn't cover those chubby baby feet. I added a few more stitches per row and moved the strap back a row to have it more centralized on the foot. These also were worked in one piece and super quick.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tawashi: Me Washy Your Dishes

Well, I just typed this whole post up and Blogger decided to delete it and the pictures I posted along with it. In short, here are these tawashis (scrubbies) I just completed. I found the link to the pattern over at Elsie Marley. To get the most scrubbing power, I used some relatively scratchy acrylic yarn.

Side View.

And here's the wash cloth that I also completed recently. I used cotton yarn for this for absorbency purposes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Lisa Leonard Giveaway!

I love reading Simple Mom blog. They did a series on cloth diapering a while back that I still look up sometimes. Anyway, they're doing another giveaway for Lisa Leonard jewelry gift certificates, so go check them and Lisa's site out!

If I win, I'm getting the Be Still necklace. So simple.

American Girl Clothes and Patterns

I heard through the grapevine that Naomi is getting one of the exquisite and fashionable American Girls for Christmas. Not from us, of course. $95 for a doll is highway robbery, but I do think the dolls and their books, especially, are a well-made and even an educational treat for a little girl who will treat them kindly. Naomi is pretty meticulous with her toys, so I think she'll handle the doll fairly well. When I asked her which doll was her favorite, I let her look at all the choices on the website, and she was dead set on Elizabeth, Felicity's blonde friend in an elegant pink dress. I like Felicity's red hair and purple dress better, but I'm not a little girl whose world is seen through Pepto-Bismol pink glasses. (Personally, Josephina is my favorite.) Naomi also really loves Addy, the other little doll in pink, but Elizabeth was her final answer.

Knowing that Naomi loves to dress her dolls up, I decided that I should probably make some doll clothes to fit the 18" inch American Girl doll, so I set out to find some crochet and sewing patterns that would work (ah, if only I could knit). Let me tell you, there are tons out there, but I needed quick and easy since Christmas is only 39 days away, I think, and I don't get much time to sew with three little lovlies running around and needy.

Here are some links to things I found that I'd like to try to make. First and foremost, the tutu. A tutu is an essential for any little girl and her doll (We signed Naomi up for ballet classes starting in January with Parks and Rec...only $35 for 12 weeks!). Next, a crocheted vest that I'm sure could be embellished in any number of ways. There is a link to a little skirt for the doll at the bottom of the page. And this page with tons of crochet patterns, like a jacket, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, pants, skirt, etc. Not all these will be for Christmas, but birthdays and such. Notice most of the links are for crocheted clothes. It's kind of a pain to get my sewing machine out and then have to clear it off the kitchen table for every meal, so until I get a table and corner of my own, I will crochet more than sew.

Hope you enjoy the links! Feel free to comment with other links you've found!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Bright Sunshine-y Baby

I can't believe my baby is 9 1/2 months old now! Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital like a couple of weeks ago? Wow! She is lively, for sure, and all my time is consumed with the lives of little curly haired blonde girls. Illiana Sunshine (which means Bright Sunshine) captured my heart, and I just had to share some photos of her that I took.

Loving the Little People

Playing with my belt

She's all about the arm-flailing

Sunshine in the Sunshine

How can I get anything done with someone so cute crawling around?

I love watching my girls investigate things

Ok, enough baby boasting! I love her and all my little girls! Here's a closing shot of Mae:

What a ham! And what a mess!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everyone's Favorite Tex Mex Dish

For some reason, in my family, everyone loves Mexican food...well, it's probably Tex Mex in reality, but I don't know exactly what qualifies each. A few months ago, I had some taco seasoning and a bunch of ground beef, but no taco shells and no corn chips on hand (one of which is necessary for either tacos or taco salad), so I came up with something new that turned out to be one of my and my husband's favorite meals. I don't have an exact recipe, because I tend to use what I have on hand, but here's a general idea of what goes into this dish.

3/4 to 1 lb of ground beef, browned
1/2 of a 15 oz. can of crushed or diced tomatoes w/juice
2 cups frozen or canned corn (drain if using canned; thaw if using frozen)
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked (we like brown rice here; it's healthier)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup cooked beans, drained (I really like black beans in this)
LOTS of cheese (hey, we're from Wisconsin; it's a staple here)

(NOTE: We have little kids and somewhat picky adults, so we leave out peppers, onions, and green chilies in ours; feel free to accent your dish with these as you wish.)

Mix everything except the cheese together. Then shred the cheese (use 6-8 ounces). Mix in half the cheese with the rest of the mixture and sprinkle the other half on top when you're ready to bake it. I usually  bake mine at 350 degrees, uncovered) for about 20-25 minutes, or until it's a little bubbly, slightly brown. I usually bake mine in this old, vintage looking pyrex dish that I'm crazy about (It looks to be about 4-6 quarts; I'm not good at estimating, and I'm no chef).

Some variations: Use a whole can of tomatoes for a more "soupy" consistency and use this as filling in a whole wheat tortilla, rolled up. Use no meat and more beans for a vegetarian version. Of course, feel free to add onions, peppers, green chilies, salsa, less cheese (what??). Serve it with corn chips and sour cream.

This is a super easy meal to throw together, especially if you cook up a whole bunch of ground beef ahead of time and keep it frozen in 1/2 to 1 lb. increments. I'm always looking for fast, easy, cheap, kid-friendly meals for my family, especially those using ingredients we can find at Aldi grocery store (that really cheap place where you can find most things, but not everything--no whole wheat tortillas or brown rice here).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DIY Rainbow Crayons

Today the girls and I finally got around to a fun kid craft that I've been wanting to do with them for a long time. With a love of coloring, the girls go through crayons pretty quickly, with many of them breaking or getting worn down after much use, so we end up with lots of little broken pieces. A week or so ago, I went through their crayon boxes and separated out the little pieces into a bowl for us to make rainbow crayons with.

The girls have been pretty excited to do this project, so today I told them if they would help me peel the crayons that still had paper on them, then we could make them. Since the sun was shining and there was, miraculously, no cold wind blowing, we sat outside on a picnic blanket peeling the crayons and eating cinnamon swirl bread. Afterwards, I let the girls put the crayon pieces into the muffin cups to make their own color combinations. I had to help Mae a little, because she wanted to put giant handfuls in each cup. Although they each got to make 12 crayons (a muffin tray full), I think they could have made better crayons if I'd only let them make six each. The results were a little thinner than I was hoping for, but usable nonetheless.

I think I may have let the crayons "cook" a little too long. My whole kitchen smelled like candles when you blow them out after I took these out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeling Uninspired Taggy Meme Questionnaire Thingy

I haven't been posting much lately, and I have some time right now, but I'm feeling a bit uninspired. So, I saw this questionnaire thingy on luvinthemommyhood and felt inspired to do that at least. So, here goes:

Making : some crocheted wash cloths
Cooking : nothing right now...we've been eating slow cooked pork bbq for the past couple of meals

Drinking : water, a nursing mom's best friend

The Happy Intercessor (AWESOME) by Beni Johnson and Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle (also completely awesome)
Wanting: to finish my current work project so I can get paid

at my banjo that I need to practice if I ever want to learn!
Playing: with Naomi and Mae and Illiana with Little People

Wasting: a perfectly sunny day inside

Sewing: want to make some doll clothes for the American Girl I heard Naomi's getting for Christmas

Wishing: that Wisconsin winter was not on it's way

Enjoying: some peaceful music by Aradhna

Waiting: on God to tell us what to do
Liking: that my mom & dad get to come visit us in a couple of weeks

Wondering: what's in store for this next year??

Loving: that my girls played together for over an hour upstairs without any altercations

Hoping: that I make good progress on my writing work tonight
Marvelling: at how much God loves me even when I screw up
Needing: some free time to actually sew

Smelling: leftover lunch smells of pork bbq

Wearing: t-shirt over thermal shirt and corduroys (sounds so grunge)

Following: the Light

Noticing: that I need to improve my posture

Knowing: I am loved

of doing some work now
Bookmarking: some fun refashioning projects
Opening: MS Word to do work now
Giggling: over Illiana's great big belly laugh from her gut while I was swinging Naomi (she doesn't really laugh too often like that)
Feeling: great that I've been getting up a little early to do WiiFit and get a shower before the little ones awaken!

I guess that's about all I've got in me to write today. Guess the theme is GET TO WORK, JESSIE!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What I'm Working On...

...is this awesome wash cloth from the free Lion Brand crochet pattern found here. The stitch is a combination of single and double crochet stitches that make this fascinating pattern.

Close-up Shot of the Bark Sedge Stitch Wash Cloth (halfway done)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Easy Peasy Skirt from Fitted Sheet

This was probably the easiest piece of clothing I've ever sewn. My mother-in-law gave me a bunch of material from a fitted sheet in a really pretty cornflower blue color. The sheet was the kind that had elastic all the way around, and not just on two sides or just the corners. She used the middle, flat part for something else and gave me the edges to use for whatever. I took one length of it and sewed it together for a skirt with a back seam. Then I simply hemmed the bottom. Voila! A skirt for my four year old. Sorry for the poor picture quality; Naomi is almost never still and these were taken on my phone's camera. 3.1 megapixels, but still not as quality as our regular camera.

Naomi trying desperately to be still.

We like the whole skirt over jeans thing here. It's warm and cute.

And what photoshoot of Naomi would be complete without this face?

Newest Obsession

Mmm! I totally love rice crispie treats, and I think it's the marshmallow flavor I love best. I don't really understand how marshmallows have a distinct flavor all their own, being mostly just sugar, but I love the smell, taste, and texture of them. Anyway, I discovered a new way to make single servings of rice crispie treats that require so little work, and I'm just thinking that it's such an obvious thing that I wish I'd thought of it myself. I read about it here, and thought to myself, I must bookmark this page because this is something I must try.

All I do is take a handful (read: LARGE handful) of marshmallows, any size, and a pat of butter and stick them in the microwave until the marshmallows get all big and puffy and the butter is melted. Then I stir in the rice crispies until it looks about the right consistency. Then, if I can stand it, I let the mixture sit for a few minutes to solidify more and then chow! I haven't revealed this newfangled thing to the girls yet, because I'm not quite sure I'm willing to share it yet. I know they'd love it.

Gooey Goodness!

Friday, October 30, 2009

What was Lurking in Our Yard

Mushrooms are just gross to me, especially giant ones I've never seen before growing in our yard. However, the girls were totally fascinated with them and got a kick out of me kicking them over (no stupid pun intended, well maybe). I looked them up online, and I think they are what's called The Shaggy Mane. Here they are:

This makes them look really small, but they were not. Supposedly that black stuff around the edge of the opened one turns to this inky black goo that drips down. Nastiness becoming more nasty. I made sure they weren't around to do that.

Freakier en masse!

Ok, that's all for today's lesson in mycology.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hooray! Today, I finally sat down and finished the sweater vest I've been working on for a month or so. I took a break from it for a while because life just got plain busy, and, though I desperately wanted to finish it, I set it aside to do some work from home that I do. I pulled it out here and there to do a couple of stitches and such. Yesterday, I weaved in all the dreaded ends, and today I sewed on the buttons for the final finishes. Here are the pictures.

Here's the front shot. The pattern called for all one color, but I didn't have enough of one color for the project. What I did have was two skeins of each of these Lion Brand Wool-Ease colors. I also made the straps slightly narrower and added a colored trim on them.

This is the back up close. The straps are sewn onto the front and then two buttons are sewn onto the back in order to button the straps down in the back, making their length adjustable. Notice the single large button in the middle; I used that with a loop attachment rather than the five buttons along the middle back opening as called for in the pattern.

And the back shot. My seam is not quite perfectly straight, but it'll do, Pig.

I used this pattern from the Lion Brand website, in case you were wanting to try it yourself. It called for organic cotton yarn, but I chose this thicker, wool-acrylic blend, making it a sweater vest rather than a simple empire waist tank. It'll be more useful up here in chilly Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Breaking the Silence

So, I haven't posted lately as life has been tremendously busy. I started homeschooling my preschooler last month, beginning to teach her how to read, memorize Bible verses, use scissors, write letters better, and sit still through longer stories like Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter stories. Funny thing is, my 2 1/2 year old can sit still longer and more patiently than she can, so I think it's influencing her to want to do school more.

I have, however, been working on that empire waist sweater vest I mentioned last post, and have nearly completed it. But I get short increments here and there to work on it with all the craziness of our schedule lately. Our church is in the process of planting a church in downtown Milwaukee, and my husband is on the worship team at both our current church and the new church plant in Milwaukee--he plays bass, just so ya know. But, it's kind of cool, because just last weekend, we both, independently, felt God telling us to go to Milwaukee and be a part of this new church. It's funny, because prior to that, neither of us really felt called to there, but, like Psalm 37 says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." He is placing that desire for Milwaukee there. Notice the tense of verb I used in that sentence...it's a work in progress. Someday we'd still like to go back to Madison and start a church there. We love Madison. And then to the nations. Someday.

Anyway, between busy Sundays, an awesome youth group (for which my husband is youth pastor) where God is doing some amazing things in the kids' lives, my husband's newest side job for a parachurch ministry, Campus Way (also working with young folks), and the delights and energy of three children all under age five, takes up most of our time. So, blogging has been slow for me lately. But I'm still here, breaking the silence.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Newest Project: Empire Waist Sweater Vest

Well, since I finished those last two projects for my girls, I wanted to make something for myself, and since fall is upon us in full here in Wisconsin with changing colors and fields of brown and amber, I figured I go for something warm. I found this pretty simple pattern from Lion Brand Yarn for an empire waist tank top, but I think it's going to end up being a sweater vest for me, since I didn't have cotton yarn on hand as the pattern suggested, but I did have some Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn in a couple of different heathered tones. Here's a picture of what they say it should look like.

My version is in Mushroom and Rose Heather (I didn't have enough of either one to be a solid color.), and I didn't not have the size F crochet hook, so I'm using the G hook for the smaller one and I hook for the larger. I think I will add some cool looking trim around the top and bottom for a creative effect. We'll see. But I will post photos when I'm done.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Today's Crayola Fall Color Week color is CHESTNUT BROWN! I tried to figure out exactly what color that is...I need to get an expanded box of crayola crayons "for the girls" to really see. Anyway, here's my little MaeBalloon's feet in my big ol' brown mary janes.