Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Cookin'

Every summer I graciously allow the boys to share in the pleasure of planning and cooking dinners.  Isn't that generous of me?  Here are a few of their menus so far:
The Caterpillar treated us to bacon-wrapped hot dogs with salsa and sauteed onions and peppers.
D2 slow-cooked red beans and rice.
Scoot baked calzones, after we filled them ourselves.
And this evening, Rollo steamed us some oyako donburi.  Oishii!  They are doing a great job, and, hopefully, learning some useful skills.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Pillow for Pengui

One Saturday, D2 came to me looking for something to do.  He has a short list of standard requests, but that day, he wanted "something I don't usually do."  I suggested a sewing project.  It only took him a minute to remember one he'd planned to do some time ago: a bed for Pengui.
 D2 chose some material, and started with a pillow.
 A very small pillow, even for Pengui.
Then he moved on to the mattress.  He planned, measured, cut, sewed, turned, stuffed, and stitched it all closed with minimal help.
Pengui soon passed the bed onto a smaller member of the menagerie, but it was definitely a sewing success for D2!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Stash to Treasure: Peasant Top

I found this lovely print in Grandma O's stock, and thought it would make a nice top.  The only problem--it was pre-cut into six fat quarters.  I would need to do some piecing for the front and back.  So I decided to decorate the seams with some lace. 
I pressed an edge under, and used a simple hemstitch to create reinforced holes.  Then I used my smallest crochet hook to force the yarn (CoBaSi in Curacao, left over from this sweater) through the holes, and slip-stitched along the edge.  Switching to larger hooks, I single-crocheted in every other slip stitch, then crocheted some decorative lace.
I used two patterns from The Finer Edge, by Kristin Omdahl.  I've returned the book to the library, so I don't remember their names, but I used this big fan for the front, and the smaller pearls for the back and sleeve edges.
After I sewed the decorated edges to the plain cloth, I cut the pieces according to Simplicity 1162, more or less.  I raised the neckline, which is a little complicated with raglan sleeves and  gathers.  And I did some less decorative piecing, since parts of me are a bit wider than a fat quarter.  (What does that make me?  A broad?)  I didn't have a long strip for the neck binding, so I used white bias tape to make an elastic casing inside. 
When I was crocheting the lace, the Caterpillar asked what I was up to.  I explained my ideas, and he was impressed.  "Everything you do is an experiment," he said, or words to that effect.  "You teach yourself five new skills just to make one thing."  Well, maybe not every time.  But this was fun to figure out, and I like my new top!

Friday, May 29, 2015


 Someone has been eating the strawberry leaves.
And the bean leaves.
I think I have a suspect.  I caught him eating the fruit trees.
He hasn't been eating the violets, but then I don't want to eat them, either.
Too bad he's so darned cute.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I Wish . . .

In the parking lot of a Major Discount Retailer, I saw a license plate frame with an interesting message:
 (*Derogative replaced)

What kind of car do you suppose bore that message?  I might have felt more sympathetic if it had looked like this:
or even this:
But, no.  It looked more like this:
That's right.  A shiny red Jaguar.  Maybe it's not Barbie's dream car, but it's pretty close to mine.  What more could a girl want?

(I'm assuming the driver was female.  If there are any guys out there who wish they were Barbie, I'd love to know why.)

What does Barbie have?  Having never owned one of the dolls myself, I'm no expert, but this is what I've observed:
  • Long blonde hair, blue eyes
  • Sculpted body
  • Wide variety of fashion choices
  • Dream house, where everything is pink
  • Various dream cars, also pink
  • Wide variety of jobs, hobbies, and acting roles
  • Boyfriend with plastic hair and commitment issues 
  • Tight calves (it's a painful medical problem--you can tell from her foot position)
  • Regular facelifts
Are those the things Ms. Dissatisfied Driver desires?

While I admire Jaguars, I'm pretty sure I'll never buy one.  I have more important things to spend time and money on:
  • Wonderful, amusing, supportive, loving husband
  • Four brilliant, fun, active, occasionally exasperating but overall good sons who need food, clothes, more food, education, wholesome extracurricular activities, more food . . .
  • Comfortable house that we all like 
  • Vehicles that run (I'd hate to pick up boys from a muddy soccer practice in a Jaguar, but I don't mind if they get in the van)
  • Resources to create my own fashion choices
  • A job that requires a wide variety of skills--homemaking
  • A strong belief that if we do the right things, and raise the boys right, our family can be together forever
If those are the things she lacks, then I do feel sorry for her.  An expensive car is no substitute for love and faith.  What do you wish you had?  I can point you in the direction of faith, at least.  (And if you'd like to trade a nice Jaguar for a mostly-running retired police car, let me know!)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Brights

When I offered to sew Easter shirts for the boys, I wasn't surprised that D2 chose pink and Rollo chose blue.
I thought I'd pick out some subtle fabric for them, but it turned out to be convenient to take them to the fabric store.  And they chose bright pink,
and peacock blue.  What fun!  I used Simplicity 5581, an out-of-print Father/Son pattern.  The Caterpillar used it for his red shorts, but I hadn't used the shirt patterns.  Of course, I ran into the same problem this time as I did then.  Rollo and D2 are thin enough to fit the Boys' sizes, but much too tall.  It was easy to fix, except that Rollo's fabric shrank a lot when I pre-washed.  I added as much length as I could to the outer pieces, then added another fabric to lengthen the facing.  So he has secret penguins inside his shirt.  Shh!  Don't tell!
Not so secret are the rampant dragon and unicorn I added.  They're part of a fun set of patterns from Urban Threads.
Scoot and the Caterpillar wore some shirts they already had, and they all looked handsome on Easter.
Rollo climbed the magnolia tree to get a better perspective on egg hunting.  It didn't work.
Scoot and the Caterpillar found their eggs first.
But all were found eventually, and several were enjoyed for dinner.  It was a beautiful day, made brighter by remembering the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I'm happy every day because of the first Easter.  May you find the same joy.

Sew Your (Pattern) Stash 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Stash to Treasure: Little Gifts

D2 and I had a couple of parties to attend last Saturday.  I enjoy creating, and really don't like shopping, so I made gifts for both occasions.  I was invited to a baby shower, so I sewed up this little outfit.
I started with the Baby Suspender Shorts tutorial from Crafting Zuzzy.  The 0-3 month size was just right to cut out of a pair of navy blue size 8 boy's dress pants.  Luckily, there was only a hole in one knee.  The pants had four buttons, just like the pattern called for--except that one was bigger than the others.  I found some matching buttons in my jar, harvested from some other pair of pants, I guess.  Then I grabbed one of the Onesies from Grandma O's stash, and dressed it up with a necktie appliqué.  I knew those little straps would fall off without some help, so I added matching loops to the shoulders.  
D2 was invited to a birthday party for a girl in his class.  I always ask, "What do they like?"  And the answer is always "I don't know."  But there was a clue--the invitation to the roller-skating party was decorated with a dolphin photo.  I've never seen a dolphin roller skating, but I decided to send one to the party, anyway.
I used the Playful Dolphin pattern.  Unlike in most amigurumi patterns, the pieces are crocheted flat, then stitched together.  I was a little confused about the directions before I figured that out, but things went well after that.
The dolphin is actually a nice medium blue and white, and the turquoise ball has a fluffy pink stripe.  D2 chose the colors from yarn I had on hand.  I enjoyed making these gifts--I hope the recipients enjoy them, too!