Monthly Archives: July 2012

Camper tee shirts

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Not much time for craftiness around here the last couple weeks. We’ve had good times with out-of-town guests, not such good times with the appliance repairman, and now we’re dealing with a leaky basement. Life does come in seasons, doesn’t it? But I’ve been enjoying my children in the camper shirts I designed and bought from Cafe Press.

Worth dripped water down the front of his right as I asked to take his photo, so that makes it more realistic, right? Somewhere just beyond the photo is the huge stack of books that has been building every day when the mailman brings more parcels. I’ve been ordering first grade supplies like crazy this last week. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it on the blog, but we decided to continue to homeschool. We applied to and were accepted into a public school program we felt good about, but we decided that homeschooling just works best for our family. We aren’t anti-school and we aren’t really anti-any of the other things that many people try to avoid by homeschooling–we’re just really in favor of our comparatively relaxed, family-centered life and we didn’t want to give it up. I’m looking forward to the start of school like a kid myself, and Dorothy and I play a game where she sneaks off and pours over the new books that are coming in, and I pretend to be mad because she’s not supposed to see them until school starts.

The only crafty thing I’ve done recently is these lamp shades. We just purchased a new fixture for our dining room but weren’t pleased with the shades available for the lights. (Ecru anyone? Or do you prefer off-white? Not in my house…) I sponged watered-down crafts paint onto the bland shades and now they are beautiful and colorful and go with my house. I’m just waiting on my hubby and father-in-law to install the thing so I can pop the shades on and post a picture of the final product.

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Beach outfits for the cousins and a lunch idea

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We’ve been on the move again. My awesome parents flew the whole family with them to Florida for some fun times at the beach. The last time we’d all been to the beach together was to celebrate my Mom’s retirement in 2010. I made Dorothy and her cousins matching dresses to wear on that trip, pictured below. They were so cute running around in their little coordinating beach gear that I knew I had to do the same thing for this trip, plus some shorts for Worth. I bought this fabric and used McCalls MP339 as a basis for the dresses and just improvised Worth’s little shorts. The pattern was simple and adorable and the sizing was right on except for the straps, which had to be shortened considerably from what the pattern called for. I added the ruffles to the top and bottom. The kids collected smiles and coos everywhere we went, and they liked their matching outfits so much they wore them for two days straight.

This was the 2010 picture, with sweet little Maggie just 3 months old and Worth only a dear hope!

I’ve been going through some photographs from the last couple months and I found these two that I’d taken this spring but not yet blogged about. This one above is a picture of our “toothpick lunch.” Dorothy and Worth are not the pickiest eaters I’ve encountered, but they aren’t exactly omnivorous when it comes to food either. One of the strategies I find very useful for feeding them at lunchtime when I know we may not have their favorite foods on hand is to declare that we will have a “surprise lunch,” and that they must play away from the kitchen while I fix it. For some reason the pleasure of having the table set with food laid out on their plates (like a restaurant!) is so compelling to them that they may eat food they would otherwise not have selected. One day I really couldn’t come up with much that looked like lunch in a just-bef0re-grocery-time refrigerator and pantry. I had some cheese sticks the kids rejected because they weren’t the right color (the horror of yellow cheese when one prefers white!), some crackers they didn’t like, some fruit. For some reason the line from the original Fancy Nancy book, about sandwiches tasting better with frilly toothpicks popped into my head. I sliced some fruit, cut up the despised crackers and smeared them with a little hummus, cubed the rejected cheese sticks, located a few other bite-sized goodies and arranged them on a breakable platter I wouldn’t ordinarily use for the kids, then I got down our cocktail toothpicks and set out an assortment of colors. The kids totally bought the “toothpick lunch” idea. They loved the colored toothpick frills, they giggled, and they ate every single thing on the platter. The color of the cheese or the substance of the cracker was never even mentioned. I’m absolutely going to use this idea again.

Finally, Dorothy has been into puppet shows lately. We have a small store-bought puppet theater but the game would be just as fun with a cut-out cardboard box. I’ve printed some scripts for her from a website I use as a resource to our homeschooling. She’s had a blast coloring simple paper doll forms into the characters for each script, gluing them to popsicle sticks, and then putting on performances. She can spend a long time doing this on her own, and I’ve also divvied up characters with her and participated in her performances. I love that she always dresses her narrator characters in black–how did she know? In this photo she’s holding Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.

An attempt at camping and a 4th of July dress

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Well, we tried to go on our first camping trip in the Yellowstone. I’m just going to copy and paste the status I wrote on Facebook about the experience, as I’m not sure how I could sum it up any better here: “This stage of life is really all about making family memories. So some day my kids may recall the time that our travel trailer was not quite ready to camp in yet, but Daddy wanted the family to accompany him on a business trip, so Mom stayed up until midnight trying to figure out how to air condition the thing and then packed in a haze and hurry after church, and we made it to Elizabethtown, but then Mom tried to go inside the trailer at a gas station to get something and the only door key broke. And then how we sat in a blazing hot Lowe’s parking lot while Daddy tried to have a new key made, only they don’t make that shape of key anymore, so we bought grease instead and tried very hard to open the door before the key split the rest of the way but we couldn’t, so we drove back home and the dog practically kissed the ground she was so glad to be back and Mom made a pitcher of margaritas for herself and let the kids eat the junk food we’d packed for the trip. Ahhhh, my kids will say, those were the days.”

The photo is my poor hot, sweet boy asleep on the sofa when we came back. We’ll try again soon and I’m sure things will go better. First I have to find a new doorknob, which I’ve not been all that successful with so far.

I’ve taken a break now from all things trailer-related to do a little sewing for people. Myself, first off. I’d bought this fabric a few weeks ago to make a dress to wear on the 4th of July. I feel like sewing it on Independence Day itself counts, right? It’s mid-afternoon and the dress is done; I was on time with the project. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I cobbled this pattern together myself from a bodice I liked the idea of but had to alter (Butterick B5176) and the skirt pattern I always use (Simplicity 2758). It has a zipper up the side under the arm. It fits comfortably and I love a dress that is wash and wear. The fabric has the very fancy schmancy name Imperial Pheasant Paisley and Butterflies and is from Fabric.com. It is more pink in person than it looks on Fabric.com, but I like it and the pinky shade makes it seem more appropriate to wear on any other old day of July too.

I am cracking up in the second photo, as you can tell. I insisted to Rob (who is not our usual family photographer) that he quit taking my picture from navel-level, which is pretty much the most unflattering possible vantage to have one’s photo taken from, so he climbed our kids’ slide and promised to save my camera if he fell, then snapped the shot. Thanks, sweetie.