Sunday, October 30, 2011

Something About a Doll

Growing up I loved stuffed animals and dolls. (still do.)
And although I had many "favorites" through the years, I gotta say there are 3 dolls that stand out as my all-time-best-est-buds. First there was one of my first fav doll... Raggedy Ann. I remember looking at her little "I LOVE YOU" heart printed on her chest during my nap-times--of course I couldn't read it, but was told many times what it said ... as well as trying to tie that blazing neck ribbon and getting oh-so-flustered! (The ribbon still shows that frustration in how it is permanently wound and twirled so tightly from trial after trial of my tying attempts years ago.)
Wow ... I must have been not more than 4 years old. Crazy to think that I can remember that so well ... and yet forget to get things on my grocery list that I ran out of just this morning!

But aside from Raggedy Ann, who is most certainly the best rag-doll ever made, my favorite doll was one that I received from my parents for Christmas when I was probably 5. Her name was "Baby Bottoms."(I think she was named this because her legs curved like a real baby's would if you had her cradled in your arms and they perfectly curved over them with her little bottom tucked in for perfect holding.) She was a real baby-doll. One that I picked out of a big toy-wish-book months before the snow even started falling. She was quite the talk at the supper table long before that Christmas. I think the toy magazine was even at the hair salon where I had my hair cut for Kdg ... that memory is a wee bit vague ... but I trust it--so that would have been in August of that year.

She had a plastic head with beautiful blond curly hair and blue eyes that opened and closed when she laid down and was picked up, soft plastic arms and legs that looked so real to me, her little legs curving like a real baby's ... not stick straight like most dolls. And she was SOFT in the middle, perfect for hugging. Oh and the BEST part? When she was tipped over she would say, "Mama."--Oh make me teary!

Her "Mama" voice wore out years ago, her curls are crazy-wild, her soft-stuffin' parts are stained with age and so very fragile from lots of lovin' I suppose. But I still have her up on the shelf in my closet. Oh yes, and I had named her "Beth."--which is quite funny because there was another baby doll that was my sister's that I took under my wing so to speak as my sister was not the doll-playing sorta gal. (Go figure! I guess I got all of those genes.) Her doll had brown hair with red tints and the most beautiful green eyes. I named her "Elizabeth." It never dawned on me that maybe those two names were ... hmmm ... kinda the same? LOL
However if the Velveteen Rabbit book is true? Beth and Elizabeth are most certainly "REAL!" (If you don't know that book, I don't suppose you get that "REAL" part. Read the book it's really good.)

I can still remember that "new baby-doll-plastic-head" smell that she had. Love it! Even though I haven't smelled that for years (goodness knows we don't have any new dolls venturing around these parts with three boys running wild--well, except for MINE, but they aren't new and sniffy.)

So it shouldn't surprise me that when ND organized a child-sponsorship program once again this Christmas for their children I did not take long to check it out and sign up! And ... this year like last I am sponsoring in the PINK zone! Wooo-Whoooo!
And this year I am blessed to have TWO sweeties on my Christmas list! What balm for my soul!
Eliana 
Melissa

I have spent the better part of many evenings this week while Jeff has been duck hunting in Northern North Dakota, surfing for the quintessential perfect doll for each of them late into the wee morning hours. (And of course having the same parameters as the doll that was my fav years ago, soft and huggable and life-like REALness.)

Not to mention browsing those forbidden pink aisles in the toy and clothing sections already once this week. Ahhh, to find exactly the perfect thing ... and considering so many ...

It does take time ... changing my mind a hundred different times and back again. I might have to admit that I could be milking this for all it's worth! Ya think?

Sweet Bliss anyway! 

If you follow the ND blog you might noticed that Eliana always seems to be beaming! What a joyful soul she seems to be in the photos I see.

There is something else about Eliana that I only recently realized. She is exactly one day older than my youngest son Nolan.

One. DAY.

Her momma and I were in labor at nearly the same time, having carried our babies for the very same months. Having hopes and dreams for them and for ourselves. Half way around the world from one another. There is something surreal about that even though I realize that there are babies born every second of every day and that China is about 13 hours ahead of us (so maybe you could argue that they are two days apart? But let's not split hairs.)

There is something unquestionably special about the day your child enters the world. And to think that another woman shared that experience so close to the very same hours and yet had a very different experience at what should have been a beautiful time for them ... wow ...

and yet this child SMILES so cheerfully! She is most certainly loved ... even as she waits for her forever family to find her.

That is such a good thing that she beams ... and yet I just cry on the inside for someone to hurry up! ... thinking of how she needs a momma NOW! ... because I look at my Nolan and I just soak him up as my child. He is at the sweetest age right now. Trusting and yet curious and yearning to be independent at times ... and dependent at others.

... We were running late to story hour the other day I said we needed to "sneak in so we didn't disturb what they already had going on." And Nolan preceded to tip-toe running down the sidewalk ... saying "tip-toe, tip-toe, tip-toe," the entire way!

... He is always right there with a hug and kiss for me.

... He has his favorites like his toady-frog and Thomas Rescue Firetruck ... and he'll share them just with me sometimes!

... He has his special piece of fabric that he snuck outta my fabric stash and claimed as his own

... and his favorite dress up Power Ranger outfit.

... Not to mention the crazy "open-closing clasp thingy" that he found somewhere in his travels and keeps as a valuable treasure ... along with his little peach bead which I have no clue where he picked up and yet he guards it like gold.

... He requests everything to be "Disney's Cars" ... as if they make thins like a "Cars-Bible" (seriously he asked for that last week and just won't believe me that they don't have one.)

I want Eliana's family to have these days of her being THIS age.

Because as we moms all know, they are fleeting.

Soon the suggestion on what to wear will be met with an eye roll and a, "Seriously, Mom?" response instead of the eager attitude to please.

Soon it won't be cool to hang out with mom all day making chocolate chip cookies just so they can sneak a chocolate chip or two.

Soon they won't take so kindly to hugs in public or too many questions about how their day was.
And these days of hers now are no less sweet than Nolan's ...

And God willing soon ... there will be an * by her name as well as by Melissa's ... and in the meanwhile ... I'm most deeply blessed to stand in the gap, pray for them ... and shower them with the pink delights of my heart!

If you would like to sponsor a ND child for Christmas, check it out HERE.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn's Twirling Colors: A Skirting

I had the opportunity to donate a skirt to an adoption fundraiser in late August. It was an especially sweet blessing for me because the little girl that the fundraiser was for had been on my list of little ones from ND, for whom I help edit the monthly sponsorship updates, from when I first started. So to even have a glimmer of a speck of something to contribute to help bring her home, wow, I was more than happy to provide a gift certificate for the cause! Here is sweet Khloe and her big sister Mikayla in matching dresses that I surprised their mom with before they left to receive Khloe.



God is so cool. Of course it didn't end with that ...
The winner of the gift certificate turned out to be my good friend Tanya Lea ... who has a daughter with ND roots ... and who happens to have the name "Khloe" just as the Khloe the fundraiser was for!

And now I am blessed to share with you the TWO LAYER FULL skirt that I made from the fabrics Tanya chose and I coordinated into this design. woooo-whooo! Lots of twirling potential! And my she does have good fabric taste!

Beautifully autumn in its tones, I can already envision Khloe twirling through the leaves. I can't wait to see it in action!



If you would like a skirt, dress or ruffle pants designed for your little sugar plum, please leave me a comment or email me at almquist at fmtcs dot com
And make sure to hop on over to visit my sewing site at Ruffled Feathers Company to be inspired.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is how it begins--The Quilt Project

**UPDATE: If you did not have an opportunity to send me a fabric square and wish for Samuel who is from New Day who joined his forever family in March of this Spring, you STILL CAN! But I'm gonna ask you to hurry. Please leave me a comment or email me ASAP so I know to plan a space for it and so I can get you my address. THANKS! I would always welcome more squares and wishes for this sweet boy whom I'm sure you all have covered with prayers.--Thanks!
_________________________

Last Spring I got a crazy notion. I really wanted to sew a Bai Jia Bei Quilt for a certain little boy who was being united with his Forever Family. He had made a big impact on my heart and it seemed like something that would help bring together the different chapters in his life as he entered a new one with his family. I tossed the idea around a bit and finally acted on it asking his mom if she would be interested.
She was. And so it began. 
Well, that was ... mmmm ... don't count the months please ... but I've now confirmed that summer is NOT the best time for me to sew. However, things have finally gotten underway in a very serious way around here and I thought I'd give a little update glimpse of where things stand.
It has been SO neat to see the packages and envelopes arrive from as far away as China and England! It confirms how beautiful God's love is and also what  a strong network of prayer can be formed across the globe.
The envelopes of wishes
The pile of fabrics ready for their pre-wash.
Some close-up shots.
Aren't they gorgeous?!
And even some special notes from Samuel's nanny and other care-takers.
I hope to make great progress in the next week or so as it's already been far long enough in the making. Stay tuned for the final photos hopefully coming soon!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fire Truck Day!

I still remember Fire Truck Day from my Kdg. days ... so I have to believe that for a boy it is even a bigger milestone! This year we were invited by Easton's teacher to join them for this special field-trip of sorts. While Nolan and I weren't allowed to actually ride the truck, we were able to take a few photos and take in the big-ness of it all!
The truck arrives:

 Miss Blattler's class marching out to see the truck:
 Easton's friend Cael ascends the ladder:
 Easton's turn:
 With the entire class on top they are ready to take a cruise around town!
(Thank goodness for Small-town-USA ... try this in Dallas. Just isn't gonna happen is it?!)
But ... what they didn't tell them was that it was a one-way-trip! They had to walk the 4 or so blocks back to the school on foot, albeit with shiny plastic fire hats in hand.
Luckily they made it back just in time for recess. 
Nolan WAS allowed to stay and play with the big 5-6 year olds which I was so thankful for since he waited so patiently while I took photos of the fire truck and Easton and didn't even fuss when he didn't get to go too. 
And ... just like the terrific brother he is, Easton gave his red plastic fire hat to Nolan right there on the spot since he didn't get one. Now I think that is pretty special! 
It turned out to be a pretty fun trip for everyone.

Friday, October 21, 2011

School Photo Day and NEW Sweeties Photos

Wednesday was "School Picture Day" at our school--oh my. I still remember the angst of wanting to make each year's school photo be a good one ... funny thing is ... from fourth grade through my Sophomore year in High School they were REALLY bad.
scary bad.
like I'm almost tempted to post an example here  ... but I'm just not.
I guess I "bloomed late."

Anyway ... we're now in the digital age and even though things are a bit less tense getting that ONE yearly photo taken since we have quite a few casual photos taken throughout the year, I still want the boys to have a good hair cut and a nice shirt to represent their year in our memories and on our wall.

Well ... balancing that with trying to let them make some decisions and dealing with the outcomes is a trick. I'm learning which battles to pick, or at least when to pick them ... photo day this year was not a mountain I wanted to die on it turns out. Been there, done that ... didn't really matter in the end in retrospect. And I think that kinda surprised them and they did pretty well making some decisions. The boys both wore nice shirts ... but they were both black. Hmmm ... as if people don't often ask enough how close in age they are (alluding to that maybe they are twins?) and considering I wasn't going to shell out the extra $4-5 bucks for a "colored" background I'm not sure how the black will look against the dark gray that comes "free" in the exorbitant cost of the photos. Maybe it will look super trendy like I planned it? 
Also ... Brayden absolutely insisted that he didn't want his hair cut. Oh my goodness ... he is not one that looks good with shaggy long hair! It is SOooooo thick. And it was SO long over his ears. ACK! Well ... I took Jeff's lead in trying not to make it into a mountain. We've learned that sometimes if we don't make it a big deal, suddenly he won't either and he's more likely to agree with us instead of resist us. Sure enough, AS SOON AS he came home from photo day ... he asked for a haircut.
I could have strangled him but instead said through smiling, yet quietly gritted teeth, "REALLY?!"--knowing that hey, photo or not, seeing his ears again would be good. Well, this, that, the other ... his hair didn't get cut that night. And last night when I sat him down he had suddenly changed his mind again and DIDN'T want it cut around his ears, only in the back. Hmmm ... like a reverse mullet? I'm not sure, Jeff suggested a reverse mohawk, ACK!
So ... with an extreme pouting 8-year old, I tried my best to get the best of both worlds. I only cut from the ears back and not that much (an 8 on our trimmer guard, which I think is the highest number.) And then much to his grief I cut around his ears and a clean line at the side burn. Oh my goodness. I am not a barber ... but by the time my kids are grown I might be. I can't say that I am in love with the cut the way I normally am after shearing trimming him. But it's better seeing his ears though. And Easton had a super haircut the other day ... and Nolan did pretty well sitting for his (although it's a bit crooked for some colicky reason.) So all in all, I'm happy.

But for lack of photos quite yet of MY boys ... I'm going to show off photos of my OTHER kids.
(BIG wink here)
I feel like a Grandma of sorts, HA!
Maybe I posted about them in the past ... I call them "my kids" even though they aren't really mine in a real sense (bummer I know ... but I'm sure adding SIX to our humble fold would surely turn me into the old lady who lived in a shoe quite quickly.)

The children are a group of 6 orphaned children for whom I am deeply, deeply blessed to be a part of a team editing their monthly Sponsorship Updates (basically refining grammar and sentence structure from the translations into English.)
I tell ya ... I certainly have some of the most adorable Updates Kids around if I do say so myself! It's simply amazing how some of those who are so deeply placed on my heart when they first come to ND end up on my list. Only God is all I can say!

Over the summer months God has placed THREE of my previous list children into adoptive- forever-families ... I miss them already, but what a joy to know that they are finally home. And now I have the joy of 3 new little ones (2 boys and a girl) to add to my other 3 beauties.
And I have to say they are some of my FAVORITES ... I am just beyond smitten with all of them. Maybe being an old lady in a shoe wouldn't be so bad?
;-)

So here they are. My new sweeties--Asa. Rebecca. Jonathon, Rosie, Mary and Renee:
If you would like to support these or other children from New Day, you can sign up to be a child sponsor for a well invested $35/month. You will receive a monthly update written by their foster family or their nanny, along with a new monthly photo. You can also follow along with ND on their blog to grow along with all that is happening at the Foster Home. It can be a beautiful family gift that can be shared by everyone, posting the child's photo on your fridge, praying for them and that their perspective families will be called to find them, celebrating when they do! You can even send the children gifts like toys, clothing or candy--which can really speak to a child's heart (both your child's AND the sponsored child) about how far God's love can reach. It is boundless. And who knows exactly how far God will grow YOUR heart in the journey.
If you would like more information you can find it HERE.
Oh yes, and if you email me that you are sponsoring a ND child I will be happy to supply  you with a sidebar button of your child like this:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rock Band in the Making

Forgive me if I've already posted this ... but I came across it from earlier this summer and I don't think I did ever post it and it truly made me laugh!

Click on it to see it larger and to enjoy their full expressions.

I can't remember what tune they were jamming but it was definitely a Christian Band.
Move over current boy-bands ... we have our own in the making.
(also forgive the rawness of our unfinished basement) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cubby Nolan and AWANA

How do kids grow up SO fast?
It's amazing to see Nolan standing here on the line for his first Cubby night 
at AWANA earlier last month.
It seems like just yesterday that he was still in my belly snuggly nestled under my T&T AWANA helper shirt--just a wee bump.
And now he has his very own teacher, Mrs. Trudy
and is learning his very own Bible verses.
 And he even has his very own AWANA vest. 
What a big guy!
(the band-aid is from the bummer earlier this month at the hockey arena not another one, whew!)
___________________

And speaking of AWANA and T&T (which stands for Truth & Training) ... I cannot believe that Brayden is old enough to be T&T age!! Jeff and I have helped with that age group (3-5 grade) for many years. This year the church elders decided to work a little differently with this age group and they renamed the group to FOCUS, after Hebrews 12:1-2:

... And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith ... 

In mid-August our pastor told me the plan to rework this age group's study and asked if I could design a logo for them that would incorporate the idea of the kids "fixed and focusing" on God's word now and throughout their lives ... and also be fun and something THEY would choose to wear to school ...
oh ya, and something that would be ready to print onto the shirts in less than a month, ack! 

OK, dust off those graphic design skills ... sometimes even I forget that I am a graphic designer at heart, mind and training, somewhere beneath the sewing machine, the apron, the hockey mom and the piles of laundry.
I gotta admit, I was really scared to embark on this ... I guess there are some ghosts from being laid off 8 years ago that I will be facing when I someday go back to "work" in the world. Ug. I wonder if I'll ever be a Designer again?

But whew!--God came through on this one!
Here's what we designed:
And on black shirts it is pretty striking! And from what I've heard I think the kids like it too. YAY!  :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's beginning to look like another year ... of hockey

Earlier this Fall, Brayden had tryouts for another year of travel hockey.
How happy and surprised we all were when he made not just the Mite team ... but the Squirt team! (That's for the next age level up for 9+ year olds!) 
They are not the "Cedar Rapids Stallions" by the way ... it was just the jerseys they had them wear for try-outs so everyone would look the same and would be numbered with specific numbers for tracking and ranking purposes. They are the Jr. Rough Riders, just to clarify.

We are looking forward to another year at the hockey arena. (minus the commuting and meals in the car.)

AND I'm super happy to know that Easton has expressed a renewed interest in spending more time on the ice too and giving it another shot. Whew! With a crew of boys with deep Minnesota roots ... hockey is just going to be an ever-present thing for our family ... and really ... with Jeff and my first date being at the Waterloo Ice Arena ... well ... it's kinda in the genes.

This past weekend Easton asked his friend Cael to join him to go skating. They had a BALL! Cael caught on in NO time flat and would be very good at the sport I think. He and I went out onto the ice even after Easton got distracted by a Spy Kids movie that I had brought along, ya know ... in case the ice skating ended up to be a big bummer. Well, Cael reluctantly left the ice ONLY after the zamboni time had come. He even wanted to take home his rented skates! Ha! We topped off the night watching the end of the BIG Rough Rider's Game. And they won 5-1. So it was exciting! (And also Cael's first hockey game experience.)
 
 
 Down but still smiling!
 *And just so you don't think I sent Easton out there without a helmet ... it just isn't photo-friendly.

Monday, October 10, 2011

4 Boys and a Hunting Blind

October 1st was the opening day of hunting ...
And out came the "toys"
And believe me ... this was the "Still" shot of the boys this weekend in all their excitement with the NEW hunting blind.
Here is the next month or so of our weekends ... tree stands, hunting blinds, camouflage, and lots and lots of excitement for the boys. Or ... at least for some of them.
Brayden, being 8, got to go hunting this year with his dad much to the other boys' sadness of having to stay home with me :-(      Oh such torture one would think.
(Not sure how this will pan out as Brayden kept getting a case of the giggles every time Jeff would see a deer.)

Here is the reality of being the mom to all boys ... oh my ... God give me strength.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Knot Tops and Ruffle Pants--New Ruffled Feathers Items

Things tend to go in spurts around here ... I guess as school and practices get underway we slowly have found our routine again and the things on the "TO DO" list slowly are getting some attention. (It's that transition from Summer to Fall.) Well, this week has been a flood of progress. WHEW!

I've had two actual orders for things in the last month! ... and I hate that it's taken this long to get them finished and mailed. But OH! I'm so happy with the way they have turned out! YAY!

First up is the knot top (a shorter version of the knot dress) that is kick-y and cool all at once.
It's super-duper layer friendly for cooler weather and just as spicy if warmer temperatures are around to wear it alone! Talk about versatile.
And the knot tops look SO cute with the other new item I've been working on ... ruffle pants!
I keep wishing that these in my size would be cute ... but unfortunately I have my doubts ... ALTHOUGH ... I may secretly try them as some pajama pants for myself. That would be cute!! And I know I have some really cute monkey-flannel that is begging to be used! What a great idea.
With either the knot top (above) or with a regular knot dress or skirt ... I cannot wait to see some very sweet girls twirling in style very soon!
Remember to check out Ruffled Feathers Company or leave a comment/email me for some great Christmas prints as well as new fabrics that are super cute! They would be perfect for your Christmas Card photos :-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Renee's Busy Day Dress

When I was little I remember having some pretty sweet clothes sewn by my mom. 
Not that she sewed ALL my clothes ... but the ones she did, well, I still remember them 35+ years later and that is a testament to how special they were to me then and now.
So when I come across fabric that speaks to my reminiscing heart with it's polka-dot-mushrooms and silly birds and fruit ... 
well, it simply has to be mine even if I don't really know what I'll make out of it.

That was the case for this "Busy Day" fabric that I came across LAST fall. 
It's a happy shade of eggplant with a day-full of FUN sprinkled all over it!
I'm not even sure what part spoke to me ... but it sure did! It wasn't until I was sorting the boys' artwork from a basket that is overflowing in the guest bedroom that I noticed out of the corner of my eye a scrap of fabric that my Grandma Esther had sewn into a baby-wrap she had made for one of my dolls. Being a survivor of the Great Depression, my grandma was impressive in the way she repurposed so many things and she always requested any scraps of fabric my mom might have from the things she made to then make the most impressive "Crazy Quilts" much like this baby-doll-wrap with feather stitching and all.
See the fabric square with the little polka dot mushroom and the little girl? It is a remnant from an outfit for either my sister or myself (but most likely both of us at some point.)
This is the second fabric I've chosen head-over-heels for this year with polka dot mushrooms.
Funny how the little details of life are quietly woven into our subconscious.

So, this is what I've sewn up with the first bit of the fabric... and pending a certain weeklong Chinese holiday that probably has slowed the mail down ... I'm hoping that it makes a certain little girl from the East very happy in her busy day when it finally arrives.  :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Boys--First Day of School 2011

I am playing catch up on a few important milestones ... like the boys' first day of school. 
I actually HAD written a post for this last month ... but held off publishing it because 1.) It's a real pain to get photos off my camera and 2.) I was hoping that some of my "worries" would work themselves out in a short time. And ya know what ... they did! :-)
Here's what I wrote on August 22nd:
"Today was the first day of school for Easton!
Brayden started last Thursday and Friday with early out days scheduled for both days ... so I thought I'd just wait to post them together when they both had their first FULL days today.

Unfortunately, Easton was NOT in the mood for photos this morning and even asked, "Do you have to take photos?!"
ARG! It's a tradition for goodness sake. Is it that hard to follow some slight direction and smile? (Sorry to my dear friend Angie. I did threaten him with a full photo shoot by calling you over with your big serious camera--HA!) I'm sure if it were anyone else taking the photos he'd be FINE, just not Mom.

It is a bit of a bummer for Easton this year. He JUST turned six last Monday. We live in a super small town that does not have an early Kdg/alternative Kdg program for summer birthday kids. In fact, even with Brayden, who was born in May, we were on the fence on if he should start school at age 5 or 6. Jeff voted to hold him ... I voted to send him, feeling he was WAY ready and knowing that splitting up a good friendship with his best bud Gabe might crush him ... and we asked the teacher her opinion and ended up sending him ... with the understanding that we would hold Easton when his day came years down the road since his birthday was very late in the summer. Well ... the day has come and we have all had the understanding through 4 yr. old Preschool and last year's Kdg. that this would be the way it would roll with a second year of Kdg this year.

UG! so much easier in theory! Easton, to say the least, is bummed.

I am praying SO hard that God will send some Godly friends to make this decision sit right with him.
Of course he did very well in the academic portion of Kdg. last year ... he has good friends in his class ...  but we still feel very strongly that we'd rather have him not be the youngest person in his class always feeling pushed and also allowing him to grow in his confidence a bit. As a second born in the shadow of a VERY dominant brother ... confidence is so important to have!
But it is so much easier to be swayed by the pressured of the world though at this point! It'd be so easy to just send him into First Grade. But deep down ... deep deep down beyond E's sad eyes and the want to make everything all better for him ... we are sure we don't want him to head off to college at age 17 like I did. And for some unspeakable reason Jeff and I KNOW that this will be good for him down the road. I guess because we're his parents and we feel that we know him well. But it is hard ... hoping that we are right and that things will shake down well in the near future."


That was a little over a month ago.
And I am so happy to report that this year when Easton comes home from Kindergarten it is with a smile and confidence ... which was NOT the case last year. He gets such wonderful reports from his teacher who says he's a leader in his class and is good at helping others. And this morning on the walk to the bus can you guess what he asked? 
"Mom, do you know what an Ornithologist studies?"
--I kid you not! Ya, and he not only knew how to pronounce that big word ... he knew the answer.
Now ... yes, I am proud that he happens to remember from LAST year's kdg. classes that word AND what it means ... but I'm even more happy that he is full of ambition and pride in himself and confidence and wants to share his love of knowledge.

Parenting has it's moments and challenges that is for sure. And I sure wouldn't want to go it alone! Thank you God for the reassuring guidance to know what is best for our boys!

Nolan RUNNING to greet the boys coming  home from their first day of school together. Do ya think Nolan missed them a tad?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A One-Of-A-Kind Skirting: "Pink Tiptoe"

I had the perfect amount of fabric for this one-of-a-kind custom-ordered design.
"Sweet Tiptoes."
The grandma who ordered it for her great-granddaughter, Ava, simply asked for, "something sweet ... in pink I suppose."

If you can hear that sweet pitter-pat and cannot bare to go without a tiptoe of your own, I can keep my eye out for some more of this print. Just let me know.
I really, really like it too ... so it wouldn't take much to persuade me to have some more on hand.

Hot Pink, light pink, avocado on white dancing over 
a second layer of Hot Pink and Light Pink scrolling-trellis print. 
The edging is avocado and light-lavendar punctuated by colored skinny stripes 
in a rainbow of coordinating colors.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gladys Our Couch

A couple of weeks ago it was rainy and cold ... and as I watched Thomas the Train with Nolan ... I couldn't help but notice how very SICK I was of our couch. 
Now, we're very practical MidWestern folks ... and when we got married, even though we were older than the hills mature, we moved in Jeff's hand-me-downs from his house and my antiques (notice the much nicer label for my furniture) from my apartment and we've been living quite happily for 11 years. 
Well, kids are hard on furniture. And so is just plain ol' life. 
Even though we honestly don't have total chaos or trampoline episodes, the kids are truly quite good, there are occasions when I find myself reminding the kids to SIT on the couch, not do a running long jump onto it ... or to not go over the back of the couch, but the front, we are PEOPLE folks! 
Kids.

Compound that with the fact that Grandma Jean (not Grandma Gladys as I originally posted but Jeff's OTHER grandma ... however I still think of our couch in this state as "Gladys") bought this couch in 1981 ... well ... all furniture has a lifetime ... and it passed a few years back I fear. At least for the upholstery.

SO, being the foolishly dangerously creative person, I stalked the fabric store that I love and bought some upholstery fabric when it went on super clearance sale with grand plans to redo Gladys the Couch.
That was in April.

When I told Jeff my plans I thought he'd be glad with my thriftiness. But he really had some BIG concerns that I wouldn't be able to do this and have it come off well. I mean, as he reminded me, I've never reupholstered anything before ... 
So it didn't take much and I suddenly got pretty scared too. But I had all this yardage of upholstery fabric sitting in my dining room!
I thought I'd be okay if I fashioned a giant tailored covering for it, ya know, kinda like the biggest skirt ever made. Well, I let that idea stew all summer ... wondering how that would truly work, again, with 3 boys lounging all over it, there was no way it was going to stay tucked without some major staples and permanency.

Back to a couple of weeks ago as I was watching Thomas with Nolan as I tried to clean the fabric on the arms for the one hundredth time. I flipped up the skirting to look again at how it was assembled knowing that whatever I did I'd probably need to remove the skirting ... and well ... I pulled on the fabric ... really hard and ... pop-pop-pop ... I started ripping it apart. 
And ya know what?
It kinda felt good. 

And throughout the day I continued to rip and tear and pull. It seriously was something between the labor of having a baby and pulling permanent teeth at times bracing my feet against it and pulling out the staples with all of my might! I think they used over a million staples to attach the original fabric!

Nolan stayed busy working on his tool bench next to me.
When I called Jeff at 5pm wondering when he might be home from work (glancing at the mess all over the living room!) I left him a message letting him know that the couch was not usable anymore. (When he called back after getting the message he thought perhaps the boys had launched themselves onto it and broken it as we've warned them over and over might happen if they weren't more human with it. HA!)
When I came clean, that no, it was ME ripping it apart ... I don't know if he was relieved or worried.
The boys then were kind enough to tell him when he walked in the door that night that I'd be done with it in like a month. (they came to that conclusion on their own ... and it was not music to Jeff's ears most likely.)

It's now been two weeks ... the stitching repair on the base is done, Jeff has reinforced the springs with a board on the bottom, the covering across the foundation is finished. I now wait to do the cushions ... not sure if I can come up with some new stuffing/cushioning that would be more firm or just to keep what we have. (suggestions welcome by the way)
And Jeff is pretty impressed with my choice of fabric and how it's coming together ...
I'm tempted to give you a sneak peek ... but ... then I'd lose motivation to finish it. Now I'm accountable to at least a few more people, heh heh!

So, for now we have a two-toned couch with a cool new eggplant floral base upholstery ... and Grandma Jean's cushions. Looking forward to getting it completed!

Oh, and if you have some sewing on order with me, fear not, I'm doing that first during my better hours of the day! honest! I'm currently in a stand-still-stage with the couch for the last week as I consider what to do with the cushions. So really, it's it's only been a week of working on it, right? :-)

The family

The family