30 June 2008

Frozen bananas

I've never made them before, but I'll certainly make them again! I remember that as a child, I would pick off the chocolate and nuts to that I could get to the banana. I still think the banana center is the best part!

frozen bananas

28 June 2008

Jars of salt

We brightened up regular table salt with food coloring and then A1 layered them in an old applesauce jar. I have a slight preference for the second one because of the yellow strata.

salt jar

27 June 2008

Orange crab

James asked for a crab. So I sewed one...with a big J on the back. Not my best work, but it's far better than the plush bacon I made some time ago. He's got an army of strange soldiers in his office and now this crab is in the ranks.

crab

26 June 2008

Summer eatin'

Life is good when breakfast consists of 4 different fruits, 3 of which come from your own yard. Our favorites right now the Saturn peaches. The skin peels away beautifully (easy for gummy babies to eat!) to reveal crazy sweet, drip down your chin juicy, white flesh with barely any pit at all. This photo shows their flattened shape and why they're understandably called doughnut peaches.

white peaches

25 June 2008

Concert in the park

The Finians played their Irish music for the City's first concert in the park this summer. The A's are exactly 1/4 Irish, you know!

We got to use the picnic rollaway blanket for the first time and had cupcakes for dessert.

24 June 2008

Plussing up on the sidebar!

<-- Check out the third column over there! Okay, I copied the code from elsewhere. Still, I'm pretty proud. I know, it doesn't take much to get me excited.

08 June 2008

Such a comedian

I have discovered that when faced with "either/or" questions, the answers is usually a little of both. In the case of why A1 is so linguistically adept, there is the nature of having parents who are both verbally-inclined. And supporting the nurture argument is the fact that we do not have a television in the house (okay, it's in the garage, which is technically part of the house--but it's unplugged and we wouldn't get decent reception without cable or satellite anyhow) nor do we have ambient radio. Just a lot of talking, talking and more talking.

story telling

So A1 has become not just a great storyteller but he's one heck of a comedian as well!

joke telling

07 June 2008

Water resistant blanket with handles


I'm so happy to have discovered sewing but I've rarely had the time lately (reattaching a button, sewing up a torn seam, and patching a hole don't count!). I'm really going to make an effort to complete at least 1 project per week from now on. And maybe, if I get my act together, I can photograph along the way for quick tutes too.

The City is once again putting on their summer series of concerts in the park and I wanted something upon which we could sit to eat dinner and listen to fabulous music. It was finally an excuse to use the neat oilcloth I'd gotten when Denver Fabrics clearanced out all their merchandise (yay!) prior to changing hands (boo!). For the top side, I picked a fuzzy chenille, which I didn't want touching wet grass so I made self borders by cutting the oilcloth larger than the chenille. Have a gander at my awesomely bad MS Paint skills:

Step 1
rollaway blanket 1

Step 2
rollaway blanket 2

Step 3
rollaway blanket 3

At this point, I top stitched the 2 long sides to keep things neat. Then I dog-eared the oilcloth corners and double folded the entire distance between the dog ears (right side of the diagram above). Once tacked down, it looks like this:

rollaway-blanket-corner

Here is the completed project after attaching the end cap with handles. The entire blanket, which is actually quite large, is folded in half lengthwise and then rolled up so that the longer handle wraps around the roll and slips through the shorter handle.

rollaway-blanket-hanging

This entire project was made with my new vintage White machine and while she handled it beautifully (not a single skipped stitch over multiple layers), I probably shouldn't have started with a project that's so big and bulky and slippery too. Still, I very much look forward to using this great thrift store find in the future.

06 June 2008

Pouch and wristlet


First off, here is an action shot of the soft structured carrier from this post. Photo courtesy of A1.















And here is a double layered pouch and matching wristlet made of stretch sateen (the zipper was given to me in a batch of notions that came with the 15-91 machine head).

Poor squinty little thing! We were standing in direct sunlight!

05 June 2008

Terrarium

The fan on my laptop is busted and I have to let it hibernate after 20 minutes or so or else it does it itself--the hard way. I haven't been able to get it to the shop until today (phew, still under warranty) but I discovered that the forced time limits on the computer have meant that A LOT gets done around here! I really need to spend more time off the computer...to do things like this. It still needs some decorative rocks and some cool mini desert creatures, like a coyote or two. (It's about 18" tall.)

The top layer is potting soil. I used my usual potting mix, which is very light and made of soil, Perlite, Vermiculite, and peat moss. But I also added some sand to the mix. The next layer is sphagnum moss as a physical barrier to keep the potting soil on top. Next is activated charcoal to trap the organics. Finally, the bottommost gravel layer is for drainage.

I've already made 3 additional terrariums (terraria?) and am now totally addicted so I keep picking up large glass containers at garage sales.


04 June 2008

SAHM

I am a stay-at-home mom. That's what I do; that's who I am. I often tell people that my degree, the jobs, everything--it will always be there, but my children's early years will not. This time will fly away quickly and NEVER come back.

Having just turned 3, A1 is exercising so much independence. And it makes me profoundly grateful that I spent 23 hours a day with him, allowing him to nurse on demand, nap on my chest, and sleep every night right next to me. And I use the term "sleep" oh so lightly. Sleep has always been that boy's arch nemesis and there were many a night when he easily triumphed over slumber. But even then, I knew that there would come a time when I would no longer sit awake for hours in the dark with my firstborn. At 2.5 yrs, he started sleeping in his room, on his big boy bed--probably more to my dismay than his. Bedtime has never been a struggle for us. We sing and read and talk about the current day's events and our plans for the one to follow, and then we say good night. He is secure in his absolute knowledge that I am there if he needs me...that I am his mother during daylight hours and in the dark of night as well. I have never let him cry it out and it shows.

A2 benefits from the his big brother's years of hard work to break me in but this poor fella is so humbled by his birth order. So much of his life caters to his brother's schedule. A2 is taken to his brother's classes and playdates; he observes our conversations instead of being conversed with. Often (far too often!), I am asked if we will try again for a girl and I usually cringe a bit and say that it is unlikely. The automatic response from others is usually about how much hard work is it to raise children and how it's understandable why I wouldn't want to burden myself with yet another child. How I truly resent these statements! It is not hard work; it is not a burden! The reason I cringe is that I see the different childhood A2 has compared to his brother. I am able to devote so much less of myself to him as I did to his brother at the same age. The reason that having a third child is unlikely is because I would end up neglecting my precious second born son far more than my liking. And yet, he has never held it against me. In fact, he is an amazing joy with the kind of true affect that's startling given his brother's quiet demeanor. Whereas having A1 was made us a couple with a baby, having A2 made us a family. The boys are so much greater than the sum of their parts--there is just so much MORE of everything. Especially laughter.

But there are times I am so curious about what other SAHMs did prior to having their children. Mostly I'm interested in their professional experiences and the road that has led them to their current place in life, but I have to admit that I not-so-secretly love to talk about my professional experiences.

03 June 2008

Fighting with nature

It's a race to see whether I can get to the figs before the birds. This time, I won.

fig

02 June 2008

Vase and trivet (and a chair too)

$1.50 buys the following:

vase and trivet
kneeling chair

The vase is embossed INARCO and USA under the foot. A little web surfing revealed that the International Artware Corporation was founded by Irwin Garber in 1960 of Cleveland, Ohio to import ceramic and glass floral containers and giftware. Garber was no stranger to vases. In the mid-forties, he spearheaded the National Potteries Corporation's development of head vases, many of which were said to have been modeled after his wife.

The trivet is actually a very 70s-looking tile encased in an iron footed frame. The eagle is facing his left, at the 13 arrows. Did you know that it's pure myth that the eagle's head on the Seal of the President changes depending on whether we're in times of peace or war? Woodrow Wilson ordered the eagle to face the viewer's right in 1916. But in 1945, Harry Truman ordered that the eagle face the viewer's left to match the great seal of the United States. So, because Woodrow Wilson's executive order came down a little before we entered WWI and Harry Truman's executive order came down right after Japan's formal surrender in WWII, many falsely surmised the connection.

The kneeling chair speaks for itself! (It's solid black but the light through the tree makes it look mottled.)

01 June 2008

SSC tute, sort of

Okay, this isn't a full blown tute because there are others out there. But I took some photos along the way, so I might as well just describe them, eh? It looks poorly planned...because it is! I changed my mind so many times that a few of the design features were tacked on as an afterthought.

Here are the guts of it with four layers: Fleece for padding, flannel back side to be soft against A2, decorative quilting cotton for the pretty front side, and a sturdy canvas layer to which the shoulder straps are anchored with triple stitched x-boxes. The top is snipped to make for a cleaner curve when turned right side out. And nevermind that double row of stitching along the sides. It turned out bigger than I expected so I went back and made a wider seam the second time around to taper the body in a bit.

ssc1

And here is the body, after turning right side out and a little topstitching to neaten things up, all ready to be stuffed and sewn into the waist belt. For padding, I used what was available in the sewing room (fleece for the shoulder straps, 2 layers of cut up yoga mat for the waist belt), but next time I'm definitely going to try memory foam instead. I tried to keep things simple looking by doing all the triple stitching on the inside or reverse. You can almost see the x-boxes that secure the webbing to the body in this shot. But the webbing for the waist belt buckles are x-boxed to the reverse so they're not visible from the front.
ssc2

The body was secured to the back side of the of the waist belt so that the line of stitching that closes the top opening doesn't have to bear the weight alone.

SSC3

ETA: The two layers of yoga mat in the waist belt were sewn to each other to avoid shift while won.