Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Club

I wanted to start sharing my reading list with you in hopes that we can exchange book reviews.  By book review I mean, this one was great, don't waste your time on that one.  Reading is a huge part of my life right now and has been my saving grace!  My kids are little so sneaking off to sew, paint and decorate, garden, even get on the computer and blog are all out of the question right now unless the hubby is home or some other wonderful family member comes to stay so I spend my extra time during the day reading.  It's something I love to do and I can be outside enjoying some grown up time while still making the kids feel secure with my presence.

I'm in a book club and we are currently working our way through all of Jane Austen Works.  We are on Pride and Prejudice right now which who doesn't love that one!  By the way the link I've included is to a site where you can read all of Jane Austen's novels for free online.  Our book club only meets every month so I was looking for something else to fill my time and a friend recommended The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  If I would have read the book description I probably would not have bought it.  It's a bit violent and scary but I trusted my friend and went for it.  It's a fantastic read!  It's a trilogy and they are making a movie so you need to read them fast.  I'm finishing the second book and it's just as good as the first.  It is a bit violent and scary like the back describes but the book is more about the characters, and there are some good ones, so a lot of that stuff it turns out is not as traumatic as I was expecting.  I'm a big wimp by the way! 

Please share what you are reading or have read in the past so I can put together a book club list!

Thanks for sharing;) Pin It

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ruffled Beach Robe

Here is what I worked on this weekend.  The hubby took the kids almost all weekend so I could get a break and have some much needed sewing therapy.  I think he had other plans for our family this weekend but one look at me on Saturday and he started taking over telling me to go enjoy myself.  I must have looked as crazy as I was feeling.  He looked a little scared of me to tell you the truth;)

I call this the "bark tastes yuke face".
 I'm not sure what it is about summer but my kids loose their minds!  All of my friends homeschooling and not seem to be going through the same thing.  It's as if all the kids got together and made a pack to torture their parents this month!  OK, maybe I'm getting a little carried away.  We keep the same schedule for the most part but for some reason they are rowdy, whinny, and restless!  I will say, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact the TV has slowly crept back into our lives.  With ISR swim lessons at the house everyday for 7 weeks our schedule got out of whack and towards the end I was allowing a little TV.  Now I'm finding myself turning it on to get a moments peace which is not good for any of us so tomorrow we will back to no TV and the next two weeks will be training and adjusting time AGAIN!  I just need to remember the pay off is worth it and get back into my 6:00a.m. spin class to release some stress!

Now that I'm done whining I can share my new favorite pattern with you.  Dana over at MADE has a fantastic new pdf pattern for sale.  It is a kids Beach Robe made out of terry.  I've made 3 so far.  One for each of the kids to use when they get out of the pool.  The best part is I was able to use stained towels that were going to be put in the rags drawer.  You can't see any stains now!  We go through so many towels so I'm hoping this will eliminate some laundry.  Even if it doesn't they turned out super cute and the kids seem to really like them so far. 

The pattern was easy to print and follow.  I love pdf patterns!  Just print, tape, and sew.  I usually don't use patterns because I can't stand all that thin pattern paper that the kids think is fun to roll around in and I really don't like tracing patterns to get the right size.  Here I go whining again.  Maybe the problem is me not the kids! 

I added ruffles to Madeline's and instead of a tie around the waist I added a vintage button.  It fits her better this way and the tie was taking away from the sweet feminine look.  I will be posting a mini tutorial this week. 

Hehe, sewing is fun....

Is anyone else out there feeling whinny too????

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Friday, June 24, 2011

knitted doll blanket

I'm slowly preparing for Madeline's first birthday.  She will turn one on August 9th.  I can't believe she is almost one.  It goes by so much faster with the 3rd!  That little knitting project I have been very slowly working on is finally done.  I made a small doll blanket to go with the baby doll I plan to make her.  I think she will also be getting a baby doll stroller if I can find a cute vintage one at the thrift store in time.

The pattern I used is this pattern from Lion Brand.  It has to be the easiest thing you could ever knit.  It took me a week because I have to get up to clean a spill, break up a brawl, rescue a baby from under a chair, and a zillion other things every 5 minutes but even so it was a breeze!  I made it smaller by using smaller needles and cutting my gauge down to 3X3. 

If you are interested in knitting and don't know were to start you should head over to  I learned to knit 2 summers ago by watching the videos on this site.  The videos are fantastic!  Much easier than looking at pictures in a book!

I'm also going to be making this vintage doll for Madeline's birthday.  After we decided to adopt I went on a doll frenzy.  I just had to make a vintage doll!  However, like most things I set out to do, it never happened.  Life is busy right now and this lovely little doll just didn't make the list.  Not by me anyway.  A good friend made it for her daughter's first birthday last year and it turned out super cute!  She did however say it was a horrible pattern to work with.  Lucky for me she took notes of the changes she made.  Thanks Corey;)

She also just made these which I am madly in love with!

Don't you think the doll sort of resembles Madeline?  What's funny is she is exactly what I pictured she would be from the minute we decided to adopt and picked a name.  Looks, personality, the whole package!  God is good!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum

The reason you are not seeing much sewing going on right now is we have started school.  I wanted to start early because I like to play hookie!  The thing I have learned about homeschooling is there is no right or wrong way it's just what works best for your family. In our house it's about what works best for me since I have to manage everything!  We use a combination of curriculum's and homeschooling philosophies.  I love Charlotte Mason's philosophies of short lessons, living books, and nature study.  We have a huge selection of living books in the house that we read daily.  I also use living books in addition to our curriculum for Geography, Science, and Math.  I've found it's a great way to make "education an atmosphere" and keep the kids busy during these HOT and LONG summer days! 

Books waiting to get organized for the year.
Heading out to explore even with the smoke filled air.  The wild fires are really bad this year!

Feeding the birds.
For math and phonics we have chosen Horizons K.  It's a spiral math program and the phonics is very thorough.  It covers the phonics rules from the beginning with lots of practice in each lesson.  The books are also very colorful and have some funny pictures which helps keep Nate's attention.  They add weird pictures like a crazy looking guy that is named Ed, we call him crazy Ed, or purple elephants.  Nate finds this very entertaining!  Looking at the 4 workbooks can be intimidating!  My first thought was it was way to advanced for Nate but he is doing amazing with it.  It's fast paced but it's done in a repetitive manner with lots of practice so once Nate gets the sound combinations he knows what to expect with the practice activities and is moving through them with ease.  The math is similar.  It seems to be a little more advanced than other programs but is laid out in a way that is easy to learn and retain. 

For History we are reading Jean Fritz.  She is a fantastic children's author that writes American History books that are fun and interesting for younger children.  Especially boys who love history! 

For Science we are doing unit studies using a combination of living books, activities from More Magnets to Mudpies, and Let's-read-and-find-out-science.

More Mudpies to Magnets: Science for Young ChildrenProduct Details

We have a reward system in place that my dad calls "bribery".  Maybe he's right but it works so I'm not about to change it!  My kids don't get allowance for house chores they are just a requirement but they get stickers which can be turned in for money for school work.  There is a minimum that has to be completed each day to get a sticker and extra stickers can be earned for doing extra work.  Each sticker is worth $1.00.  So if they choose a toy at the store that costs $8.00 we black out 8 stickers.  They also love to go to Ollie Koala (a kids game place) so they can trade in 12 stickers for a trip there.  I use a laminated calendar for our sticker system which is how we do our calendar lessons for the year.  Nate fills out the dates each month and gets a review of the calendar ever day he completes his work and earns a sticker. 

So far things are going better than expected so keep us in your prayers with that! 

I would love to hear how you do things!!!  I'm always looking for inspiration!

We also like to play spider man hehe.....

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Knitting tote tutorial

Step 1:  Cut fabric.

Cut 2 pieces for outer fabric 16"X13" and 2 for lining 16"X13".
One piece 13"X13" for the large outer pocket and one piece 8"X13" for the small front pocket.
Cut 2 fabric strips 21"X3" for straps

Step 2:  Prepare pockets.

Attach bias tape to top of pockets.  If you are using crochet pieces like I did you will cut the strip off and fold under 1/8" and iron and then fold again 1/4" creating a top that is similar to bias tape.

Step 3:  Attach pockets to front of bag.

Place the small pocket on top of the large then pin both pockets to the front outer bag fabric.
Fold the bag in half creating a crease down the middle.  Unfold and top stitch down the crease from the top of the large pocket to the bottom of the bag.  Note:  You will top stitch over the bias tape if you are using bias tape.  I lifted the crochet up and stitched under because it looked better with the crochet.  Zig zag stitch along sides and bottom of entire bag.

Step 5:  Create straps.

With right sides together fold strap fabric in half long ways and sew using 1/4" seam allowance.  Place a safety pin at the end and flip right side out.  Iron flat with seam on the side and top stitch down both the right and left side 1/8" from the edge.

Measure 2" from both edges of outer fabric and pin straps to right sides of bag.  Stitch using 1/4" seam allowance. 

Step 6:  Put bag together.  

With right sides together pin the outer bag fabric along sides and bottom and sew using 1/2" seam allowance.  Place hand inside of bag and open up bottom corner.  Fold bottom corner open lining up seams.  I always look on the inside to make sure my seam are lined up.  Straight stitch across corner about 1.5" from the bottom.  Repeat for other corner.

Repeat step 6 for the lining. 

Step 7:  Finish bag.

With the outer bag right side out and the lining wrong side out, place the outer bag inside of the lining so right sides are together.  Tuck straps inside!  Sew along the top using 1/2" seam allowance.  Leave a 3" opening for flipping.

Straps tucked inside and lining placed over outer bag.

Flip bag right side out and top stitch using 1/8" seam allowance along the top rim.

You are finished!  Know it time to fill it will all your knitting goodies!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Bandana baby sunsuit

This weekend we attended a Hoedown with our homeschool co-op group.  It was so much fun!  Especially the dancing!  I whipped up a quick baby sunsuit from 2 bandanas using the free baby sunsuit tutorial by Rae

I changed the top straps.  Instead of buttons in the back I made it tie around the neck to give it a more southern feel.  That also cut off about 20 minutes of sewing time!  It took about 30 minutes total to make her outfit from start to finish and the bandanas were only $2.50 so it was a huge sucess in my eyes!  I also shirred with black thread which helped give it a little more personality. 

For my outfit I went to goodwill and purchased a dress that I felt look horse back riding worthy.  A friend loaned me the boots and the hat is mine.  Every southern girl has got to have a good cowgirl hat! 

I hope you had a fun weekend as well! Pin It