Thursday, May 24, 2012

Random Thursday

Hi All!
Today is a random kind of day. I have lots of littles going on right now and thought I would share some of it with you. Lucky!
*I bought the materials to make two floor poufs from the Living With Punks tutorial. I will share how they turn out.
*I will also begin working on some high school graduation presents today. The girls and I picked out the fabric earlier this week. Peachy is such a good fabric store shopper. She always manages to charm the store employees. I usually let her pick a fat quarter of her own when we are at the store. She is accumulating quite the stash.
*When we went to run errands yesterday I let Cream ride in the carts. Schlepping her around in the infant seat is getting to be quite the load for me. We even hit up Sam's Club where Peachy got to fulfill her months' long dream of rising in the cart next to Cream.
*This week I ran the farthest I think I have ever run at one time. I was at the gym and chose a fitness program on one of the treadmills and ran for the entire hour. Right as I was finishing wiping it off I was paged to childcare. Apparently Cream had received a little bit of a smack down from another baby and wouldn't calm down. It wasn't anything serious and once she spent some time with me and ate a bit she was fine. I didn't get the shower that I had planned, however, so I was pretty nasty.
*Yesterday Cream surprised me by clapping for me. It is so much fun when they learn a new trick.
*We just finished up our last day of in-home preschool. It was fun thinking back to hoe far these kiddos have come over the last few months.
*This afternoon I am off to get my haircut. It is always fun to have someone else wash and style your hair for you.
Time to get to sewing and laundrying and tidying up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Smoking 5k!

This Friday I laced up my shoes and ran in my second running 5k. (That means that I have walked many 5ks, but have only run one before this weekend.) As race week approached the weather was looking warm. Not just a little warm, but very, very warm. And unfortunately the forecasts were correct. We reached a record high of 93 the day of the event. For a girl who had been doing most of her training in the comfort of the gym, that was toasty!
I followed the race directors advice and left for the race one and a half hours early and it was a good thing that I did. The race traffic was backed up and I ended up having to park over 3/4 of a mile away. That is what happens when you join a race that has a goal of 10,000 runners and walkers!
I had been keeping myself hydrated throughout the day to get a jump on the evening run. And so upon my arrival, my first stop was the bank of port-a-pottys. To give you a glimpse at where my head was at that point, I spent a couple of minutes trying to figure out how to flush the thing. (Can you say pre-race jitters?) After that I made my way to the runners' line up and located my goal time area.
I am not a fast long distance runner. In fact, I could argue that I am not a long distance runner period. However, I had worked my way up to 3.1 miles and my goal was to finish it in around 30 minutes. Being optimistic I joined the 25-30 minute group instead of the 30-35 minute group. As I waited for the start I got more and more excited. In fact, I was so excited I got goose bumps. (Who gets goose bumps in 90 degree weather?!!)
After walking to the start line and the gun, I was off with the thousands of other runners. And that pre-race excitement stayed with me and got the better of me. I clicked off the first mile fast. Too fast. I was having a hard time finding my pace and I paid the price. I ended up having to walk at a few spots along the way. But those out there cheering from the sidelines and the other runners gave me the strength and encouragement that I needed to get back running again.
In the end I finished with a time of 32.05. It wasn't pretty. I didn't quite get the 30 that I wanted. But I did get out there and run. And hopefully I learned a few lessons for my next 5k in June.
Some other stats. I finished in 1595th place out of 8399 finishers. 93rd out of 748 in my division. And 685th out of 5668 women.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ice Cream Birthday Party

This year we chose to have Peachy's friend birthday party at a local frozen yogurt store. This made the planning, just go with the ice cream theme, and the preparation, just bring everything to the store, super easy. (Read, no need to clean the house and just a few decorations needed, and the treats were already provided. Win, win, win.)
I made the invitations using Publisher and printed them at home. When I mailed them out I lined the envelopes with some ice cream treat paper I had found at JoAnn Fabrics.

Since we would already be indulging in treat laden frozen yogurt, I decided to forgo any cake. Instead I attempted to make these ice cream cone cookies from Bake at 350. And while I am all sorts of crafty, I know that I have mentioned on here that I am not a cake/cookie/candy decorator. Props to those that are. Here are how mine came out.
The cookies were added to the favor bags along with ice cream cone bubbles, silly bands, freeze pops, ice cream cone stickers, an ice cream cone bookmark, and some of those sponges in capsules. I decorated the favor bags with little wooden spoons from Michael's that I added the guests' names to along with a small ice cream cone embellishment. (I don't have a picture, but I got the printable bookmarks from the Wild Olive Blog.)

Upon arrival, I had a small table covered with scrap paper that the guests could draw and put ice cream stickers on. The stickers were printed on a full sheet of label paper from the Amy Is the Party Blog.
In order to off set some of the sugar,  I provided the guests with some snack mix, juice, and water. I created the water labels by cutting scrap paper to the label width and adhering punched ice cream cone circles to the center. I then went around the entire label with packaging tape. The ice cream cone image is from the Emmy + Gabby Paperstyles blog.
Once the sugar frozen yogurt had been consumed it was time for activities. I had purchased beaded necklace sets from JoAnn Fabrics for each of the guests to make. I also made this bean bag toss from a cardboard box and some acrylic paint.
My clever friends came up with an additional use for the bean bag toss target. Each of the young guests stuck their head through for an ice cream picture. (That is except the guest of honor. She is not much on being forced to have her picture taken these days.)
Peachy and her friends had a blast. It was a couple hours of craziness, but nothing that a glass of wine at home couldn't wipe away. :o)
Oh, one last thing. I couldn't resist making Peachy an ice cream party dress for the occasion. I found the fabric at JoAnn Fabrics and used one of the patterns that I won from Little Lizard King. It is the Brooke Peasant Dress pattern with short gathered sleeves. I added some ric rac between the dress and bottom band and made a quick and easy sash. I am linking to these wonderful parties this week.
Today's Creative Blog
Making the World Cuter
The Sweet Talk Shop

Friday, May 18, 2012

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Covered Potato Chip Cupcakes

There is a candy store in town that is semi-famous for its chocolate covered potato chips. And they are delicious! That salty and sweet combo just can't be beat. Today's FF (Foodie Friday) isn't so much a recipe as an idea. I recently made these for a baby shower/going away party and they were a hit.
I started with a box of chocolate cake mix, a can of Pillsbury Easy Frost, a bag of potato chips, and some chocolate almond bark.
I made the cake mix according to the directions for cupcakes. I frosted them with the Easy Frosting. (It really is easy. Especially for the cake decorating challenged like myself. And it tasted pretty good, too.) I melted the almond bark according to the package directions and dipped the potato chips in it and let them harden on wax paper. I didn't put the chips int he cupcakes until right before the party so that they wouldn't get soggy. And there you have it! Chocolate Covered Potato Chip Cupcakes!

I am linking to:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Show

*our booth #21*
So, this past weekend I rejoined the craft show circut. (Have you noticed that they aren't always referred to as craft shows anymore? This was a Junk Market with "Local Artisans." I get that they are trying to get away from the craft show stereotype, but I sometimes feel like a bit of a phony being called an artisan. I just craft, really.)
*our business cards*
Anyway, back to the show. Two friends and I have started this little craft business on the side. I love working with someone else. It helps me to fill a booth and keeps me on task. We don't necessarily create together, although we did a couple of times, but we discuss what we want to make and how we want to make it together.
*embellished frames*
So far we are just getting our feet wet. We have a Facebook page and then did this show. We hope to slowly grow it into more shows and maybe an online store, but are just taking it one step at a time.
*some of our merchandise displayed on an old high chair*

When I saw that a local shop would be having this one day market featuring refinished and re-purposed items along with "local artisans" with a very reasonable entry fee, I decided it would be the perfect place to debut our business. So we got up bright and early last Saturday and set up our tent in the store parking lot alongside other artisans and junk vendors.
*pacifier clips*
And let me tell you, there were some great items for sale at the market. The brightly colored refinished furniture, the vintage items, and the handcrafted fair were all great! Looking around before the show each of us fund items we would love to buy.
*old ladder merchandise display*
However, those items went fast! When the market opened at 9, the booths selling the vintage items were buzzing. The furniture was selling fast. We watched as the items we liked were quickly snatched up.

Since the focus was on the junk portion of the market, it took a little while to see the action at our tent. However, the customers eventually made there way over to the artisans and I think all of us did a good business as well. By 4 pm we were all tired, a little bit sunburned, and ready to pack it up for the day.
*the line before opening*
The weather was an absolute dream. Sunny skies with a cool start and a pleasantly warm finish. And thankfully the wind stayed down for the most part, not always something that you can count on in these parts.

We all came away with positive thoughts on the experience and now are looking for the next show!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Peachy is Three!!

Last Thursday we were able to celebrate the three years that Peachy has been a part of our family. And we can't imagine our lives without her. Peachy has blossomed from that tiny newborn to a busy and beautiful little girl. She is full of energy and always doing something. Her absolute favorite thing to do is art projects.
Not a day goes by where the crayons, markers, scissors, glue, paper, or stickers don't come out. Lately her daily practice has really been showing itself in her artwork.
She truly draws now and can also form many of her letters. She is also able to recognize all of her uppercase letters and knows many letter sounds and the words that go with them. It is fun for me to see what she is able to do and where her interests lie as she now is the age of the preschoolers that I taught.
Dressing up is another big part of our days. I have had to limit the number of outfit changes she makes throughout the day in order to cut back on laundry. Her favorite outfits consist of short sleeved shirts and skirts. She is quite the girly-girl favoring jewelry (which she pronounces "glory"), crowns, and items with sparkles.
Independent is a good word to discribe her personality. This has its pluses and minuses. She is able to entertain herself for long stretches of time with her independent play, huge plus! She is also able to dig her heels in and not do anything anyone else suggests, a minus from a  parenting perspective. Her imaginative play has really started to come through in the last month or two, which is such a joy to see.
We are still working on potty training. She will go long stretches staying dry, but then get caught up in her play and forget that she has to go. I am confident that she will master it before she turns four! :o)
She is also a loving big sister. (And little Cream's favorite person.) As a parent it is such a joy seeing her personality emerge more and more with every passing month. What joy this little red headed girl has brought our family! We love you, Peachy!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thoughts on Mothering

Yesterday we celebrated our first born's 3rd birthday. And now I am going to go and get all emotional, sappy, mommy on all of you as I try to put into words what this day meant to me. I don't often have that feeling that I hear other mothers talking about. That feeling of not wanting their babies to grow up. Instead I tend to embrace their growing independence and enjoy watching them enter the next stage of their lives. Yesterday, however, I caught a glimpse of what they must feel. There was just something about Peachy turning three. Maybe it is because this is the age I used to teach. Peachy could now be one of the preschoolers that I taught. It might also be because this is the age where they really can be more independent of their parents. So many activities for children become parent-free at the age of three. You just drop your child off and they do their thing while you do yours.
And so, last night I sat and watched Peachy playing with some of her gifts and had tears in my eyes and a different feeling in my heart. I thought of how she is growing and maturing and how I won't be able to always keep her close and shield her from the hurts in the world. Of how this is the start to her experiencing new adventures in her life that I won't always be a part of. I caught just a glimpse of sending her off to her first day of kindergarten, watching her ride her bike away to a friend's house, kissing her good-bye as she ventures off into the world on her own.
And that, my friends, is what being a parent is really all about. The Lord entrusts these little ones into our care to nurture and guide, to equip them for the road ahead, and then let them go. It really does strengthen my resolve to be the best parent I can be for my girls now so that one day I can let them go with the full knowledge that they are prepared for what the world will bring them.
More on Peachy, her birthday, and what else we have been up to later.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fabric Growth Chart Tutorial

Growing up, I can clearly remember marking our heights on the edge of a door at our homes. I still see one of those doors when we go and visit my parents. It is so much fun to see how tall my sisters and I were at different parts of our lives. Since my oldest will soon be turning three, I decided that it was time to create our own growth chart.
I made our growth chart with fabric and ribbon from the Ribbon Retreat's wonderful selection. This way we can easily hang it in our daughters' room and will be able to do so in any home we have in the future.

Growth Chart Tutorial

-1 yd solid fabric
-5 fat quarter cuts of coordinating fabrics
-1 yard each of 3 different 3/8 inch ribbons
-2 yards of 1 1/2 to 2 inch ribbon
-1/4 yard Heat N Bond Ultra
-1/4 inch dowel cut to 12 inches in length
-fabric marker
*use a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout
*don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and end of all seams
*to ensure a flat and neat chart, press each seam with an iron set to a cotton steam setting
Cutting Instructions:
     -Cut solid piece into two 8 1/2 inch strips running the width of the fabric; trim selvages; piece together along 8 1/2 inch side; cut to 64 inches in length (piece A will total 8 1/2 by 64)
     -Cut remaining solid piece into two 12 1/2 inch strips running the width of the fabric; trim selvages; piece together along 12 1/2 inch side; cut to 68 1/2 inches in length (piece B will total 12 1/2 by 68 1/2)
     -Cut each fat quarter into six pieces measuring 2 1/2 by 6 1/2 (you will have 30 piece Cs measuring 2 1/2 by 6 1/2)
     -Cut 3 strips of Heat N Bond measuring 3/8 inches and running the width of the Heat and Bond
Sewing Directions

1. Following the manufacturers directions, adhere Heat N Bond to the back of your 3/8 inch ribbons. Once bonded, cut each ribbon into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

2. Stitch your piece Cs together along the 2 1/2 inch side alternating in pattern to create a long strip. (Remember to keep right sides together as you piece.) You will have a long strip measuring approximately 180 by 2 1/2. Press each seam flat.

3. Measuring every two inches, bond ribbon to the left side piece A. 

4. Reverse print numbers 1-5 onto card stock and cut out. (Your numbers should measure approximately two inches in height.) Trace onto the paper portion of remaining Heat N Bond. (Remember to keep your numbers backward as this will be the back side of the fabric.) Adhere Heat and bond numbers to remaining pieces of your fat quarters. Cut out. Bond numbers to the left side of piece A every 12 inches.

5. Pin your strip of Cs to the left side of piece A with right sides together. Stitch. Cut off extra at end and repeat with the right side of piece A. Press the seams toward the outside.

6. Pin remaining strip of Cs to the top of piece A with right sides together. Stitch. Cut off extra at end and repeat with bottom of piece A. Press the seams toward the outside.

7.  You have completed the top of your growth chart. You will now have a piece measuring 66 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.

8. Now you will place piece B on top of your completed growth chart. Match right sides together and pin along all four sides. Remember to leave about a 5 inch opening for turning at the top center of the chart. (I like to mark that opening with double pins so I don't forget.)

9. Stitch around all four sides. Trim your corners and turn your growth chart out through the opening. You may need to poke each corner out. I like to use a bone folder, however your scissors or any other pointy object will also work. Just don't poke through the fabric or the seam.
10. Press the entire chart. Make sure to work the outsides seams out fully. When you reach the opening, press each layer in about 1/4 inch. Pin the opening shut.
11. Top stitch about 1/8 inch in around all four sides. This will help your project to lay flat and will also close your opening.

12. Cut your wide ribbon into a 40 inch length. Tie a bow in the middle with the ends hanging. Pin the bow onto the top of the growth chart and sew to secure. Trim the ends if needed.

13. Attach the dowel to the top of the chart at the back to support the chart while hanging.
14. Hang your growth chart. Make sure that the number 1 is one foot off the ground.
15. You are now ready to mark your child's height. Using a fabric marker record the date and height on the chart.