With this winter’s crazy displacement of the polar vortex nastiness, it was starting to feel like there would never come a time when I would not have to leave the house with 4 hats, 3 scarves, and 8 mittens or gloves each time I needed to run a simple errand. And if it seemed difficult to get three children dressed for errands in sub-freezing temperatures, that was nothing compared to trying to return to the house with the same number of things. Kids shed winter-wear (including coats) in inconvenient places almost constantly, and it seemed that by the end of a shopping trip (or field trip, or dentist visit, or whatever) I started to resemble a coat tree more than a mother. My answer to this was to sew myself the World’s Largest Canvas Tote Bag. It’s the same dimensions as my laundry bags from a previous post, which were modeled after the TJ Maxx reusable shopping bags. It’s big enough to hold everyone’s discarded outerwear, plus one large plastic fire truck. Don’t ask me how I know. It has served its purpose well. I embroidered my initials on it to make it feel more like an accessory and less like Mom’s a Sucker, but the free font I used turned out to be worth about what I paid for it–I don’t love it. The monogram doesn’t diminish the utility, however, and I’m happy to have solved my missing mitten problem.
Here’s Daphne modeling some of her warm winter handmades. The dress is a larger version of this green one from a previous post. It’s such a nice pattern.
We celebrated Fat Tuesday homeschool-style, with homemade pralines, jambalaya in the crock pot, and these craft foam masquerade masks. Now that Dorothy is old enough to be confident with the glue gun it has really opened the realm of crafty possibilities. She’s done a lot with craft foam lately, which has the ease of working with paper but the feeling of permanence you get from working with fabric. We cut out the masks based on an internet template, and Dorothy glued the baubles according to her and her brother’s preferences, then finished them off with soda straws. My older kids wore green hats from Target on St. Patrick’s Day, but Daphne got a homemade crocheted hat. I used a baby cloche pattern from Ravelry. She was the cutest little leprechaun in Kentucky, I’m sure.
The first year that Rob and I were married I collected holiday decorations a little obsessively. It was some combination of nesting in our first home, having two incomes and no kids, and a love affair with eBay that made me do it. Now some years I have not had the time or energy to put out useless tchotchkes for minor holidays. This year, with two kids big enough to avoid catastrophe while I bring a box up from downstairs and a house that is no longer such a project on its own, I have really enjoyed putting out all manner of holiday decorations. The kids take total delight in “decorating” and making a celebration out of days big and small. These green and gold fishing floats were my newlywed eBay purchases–a pot of gold for St. Patrick’s Day. My mother bought the Leprechaun when Dorothy was a baby and this year the girl loved seeing him keep watch over his treasure on our entryway table.
Green candles in my candelabra, more fishing floats, vintage glass goblets that belonged to Rob’s grandfather, and some felt clover from the dollar store made us feel lucky and maybe even a bit Irish in the dining room.
And my very favorite, a set of vintage-inspired plates from that newlywed eBay spree. I didn’t know then how much our children would enjoy them in 2012! We ate off of them for a couple weeks prior to March 17. We rounded out our celebration of the Irish within us (Dad assures me it’s there, and my current red hair situation would lead you to believe it if you weren’t aware that all hints of the hue came from a bottle) by eating this delicious apple and cabbage soup and fried patties of mashed potato, garlic and cheese–probably not authentic, but reminiscent of a favorite Irish pub food in my college town.
On another topic, I’ve been prettying up the insides of closets and things that don’t always show. I spent the first year at this house taking care of big-impact things, but in this second year I get to move on to some crafty projects that might not be noticed when you walk in the front door but definitely improve my quality of life. I was so pleased with the new rag bag of a few weeks ago that I made a similar bag with an inserted hanger to hold plastic bags. While I do use cloth bags frequently at the grocery, I also like to hang on to those good, sturdy Target bags and the bags the newspaper comes in to reuse. I’ve seen patterns for small bag-holders, but we also save paper shopping bags so I felt like I needed something larger. This one is working out very nicely and looks pretty good too. The tote bag in the stairwell holds old batteries until I can drop them off at the recycling center.
This little bag turns an unused bar on the inside of my kitchen under-sink cabinet into a sweet little spot for reusable mop heads and dusters. I don’t think the buttons show very well in the picture but they are very pert make the bag look a little sassy–just what I need to make me feel better about some chores that are not my favorites.