Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's only Thursday?

Oh, this week is dragging! With Daddy working 11 hour days all week , the days just drag on and on and on... He starts school next week and although we don't know what his work schedule will be yet, I know the days will be just as long for the both of us.

We ventured out to town yesterday afternoon to run some errands. It amused and irritated me that if Daniel misplaced my cell phone I had to have Grandma call it for me. The number was long distance from my home phone! So we ran by the phone place to see if they could have it changed. I had been told last time I was in there that they could do it once as a courtesy. She looked at me like it was the hugest inconvenience to stop doing nothing, and acted like she was doing me a huge favor calling the request in. Um, aren't you getting paid to sit there and help people? I was also made aware that I was eligible for an upgrade... if I renewed my contract. I still have a year left, and my phone is fine, thank you very much! We are thinking of canceling our home phone and internet, since the apartment has internet, and going with a family plan. I'll upgrade then if I need to. Amusing how for someone not interested in getting up and helping me with a smile, she really wanted me to upgrade!

The boys did relatively well while we were waiting. Except for the tree that had candy canes. Daniel loves candy canes! He can spot them from across the room and reach them in 4 seconds flat! Plastic wrapping? No fear! He eats right past it! And what color were they? The were red...

By the time we got to Sally's 5 minutes away, we had dealt with "I WANT JACK-IN-THE-BOX!" TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND NOW MOMMY!!!!!" I think they were hungry, and the red food coloring didn't help any. Then at Sally's it was "Why do you need a hairbrush? This one? Can I play with this? Wow! Hair can be different colors! I have to pee!" There was no bathroom. Helpful sales lady- "Jamba juice has one next door." Boys- "I want juice! I'm still hungry! You didn't get me a drink! I'm cold! Why do we have to go back to the hairbrushes!" Funny thing was that we had a late lunch, they ate plenty, and it wasn't dinnertime yet. I managed to get the brushes that I needed without them spilling bottles of dye on the floor and get back out to the car. Having started with the best intentions of feeding them once we got home, the dye in their system needed diluted apparently, so we ended up at McDonalds. Ugh.

Then it was off to Walmart for Despicable Me! Thanks to a gift card we were able to get the double pack, with the 3 extra minion movies. Very exciting! There were a few other things that I needed, and therefore had to deal with the yelling and running around the cart and 2 different potty trips. Daniel trying to fall out of the cart, dirty looks by people who have no idea that even if we buckle him in he wiggles around out of the strap and tries to fall out anyway. I have long since stopped caring about dirty looks... The fun part was trying to make it through the feminine supplies aisle without too many questions from the boys! But we made it home in one piece and they watched their new movie in their pajamas, with a big bowl of popcorn to throw around.

I did try to call Grandma, to see if the boys could play at her house since I got scolded for never asking her to babysit. What do you know? She was out shopping herself. Go figure. :-)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Crafts!

Okay, pictures of the projects I was working on for Christmas! Sorry, I don't have any specific websites for the activity book, but there are several websites around that have great ideas. I've been paying attention to the books I've seen at church too, lots of ideas.

For the words on the cover I found a font I liked and printed off the words in a large size. 130 point, the normal is 12. Traced them backwards on some iron on adhesive, and ironed them onto felt. Once they were cut out I ironed them onto a fabric panel. Easy!

Sometimes little velcro and snap pieces can get lost, so I put a pocket in the front cover to hold them.

What's a home without a Mommy and Daddy?

Or a cat and dog? I drew these on with a marker and then coated over them with matte modge podge so the marker wouldn't smudge or anything.

Time to tell the time! And a texture page. Of course, I'm going to have to take the clock apart and fix it. The brad was too short and I didn't secure it very well, so Daniel pulled it off in about 2 seconds. Pretty impressive actually!

I was having a brain block on what to do for 2 of the pages, so when I found fabric in my stash that had construction stuff I was excited! The car is stuffed with the black and white dotted fabric on the back. I sewed a tube with elastic in it so it was gathered. The tube is sewn to the back of the "garage" so he can drive the car to the dirt pile without it getting lost.

The flowers snap on and the felt stems and leave are simply stitched on. A marker and modge podge fire in a zipper teepee was fun to put together too.

Are your apples falling far from the tree? I hope not! That's what the velcro is for!

The pages of the book are cut from very heavy craft interfacing stuff, not an iron variety. I wanted 8x8 pages, so cut them 9x18. That left a 1/2 inch seam allowance on all side, with 2 "pages" per sheet. 4 sheets gave me 8 "pages". Each half got a design. When I had all the "pages" filled, I stitched them back to back so each set had 2 designs on the front and 2 on the back. A 1/2 seam and trimmed close to the stitching with pinking shears. The construction pages are the middle of the book. I layered them 1- cover, 2- page, 3- page with construction stuff on top. A strait simple seam down the middle, and voila! A book.

The cover was a little tricky though. I cut a front and a back from the gray fabric, 10x19 I think so it would be about 9x9 when finished. . On the first piece, the front right side I sewed on the title. On the 2nd piece, the front left side got the pocket. Stack them back- wrong side up, front- wrong side up, and batting. Sew around the sides, leaving an opening to turn it inside out. The batting ends up sandwiched inside, the title on the front cover, and the pocket on the inside of the front cover. I sewed around the outside to close the hole and give it a finished look. Then I stacked the pages on and sewed it together.

Oren got a backrest bed cushion and reading pillow. The tutorial for the cushion is here. I adjusted the dimensions a little to make it smaller, since Oren isn't very big.

The reading pillow has a pocket on the front that can store a book, and elastic straps on the back to hold the book for you while you are reading. Pretty cool! Find directions here.

William's quilt! I love how this turned out, and am very proud to say that there are no puckers in the quilting on the back! It's flannel-backed, so it's nice and warm. I can wait to tuck him in bed tonight, all cozy... The pattern came from a book I checked out at the library, and it's machine stitched "in the ditch".

And the boys' pajamas! Oren, Nathan and William. Williams are huge on him, the green frog ones. I don't think I'll do sleeves like that again on a premade shirt. The tubes were easy to do, but then I had to get them sewn onto the inside of the sleeve, which didn't fit onto the arm of my machine. That's why Nathan has a dog paw and Oren has a stripe on their shirts. Santa came and left them early on pillows, like usual, but resorted to buying a pair for Daniel. (I had no pattern for him that had feet and it's far too cold to go barefoot. Not when he doesn't stay under the blanket yet!)

There are several sites with easy patterns for pajama pants online. I used an actual pattern I had, but they are all pretty similar.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where is it coming from?

I think part of the reason I have procrastinated making these Christmas presents is because I had no real idea of what to do for a couple of them. We knew William needed a twin sized quilt. But the rest were a mystery.

Maybe it's because Christmas is looming, but all of a sudden ideas are hitting me! Oren loves to read, so what better thing for him than one of those back cushions with arms that you use in bed. And of course that calls for a reading pillow as well that will hold the book for him. What do you know? I happen to have 2 extra guest pillows that have batting and the perfect blue and tie-dye fabrics in my stash of random material! It looks way cute with an "O" appliqued to the front, and he'll appreciate the Magic Treehouse book I grabbed at the thrift store.

Daniel loves book lately. He'll pick up a book and bring it to us, although he's a little impatient and flips the pages by himself. That wouldn't be a problem except that the pages are usually paper... I just happened to have several sheets of felt, and some seriously heavy stuff that was in the interfacing/fusing section at Walmart, on bolts, that I bought for a project 2 years ago. Voila, pages and supplies for an activity book! The pages are mostly done, I just have to throw together a cover tomorrow and add some pictures of people or something in the windows and door flaps of the house page. And draw a fire in the zipper teepee.

As for Nathan, Mark and I got to talking about how much Nathan likes to create stuff. A local store has some boxes intended for Christmas that would be easy to decoupage with some neat paper or fabric. A ream of paper, new crayons and pencils, watercolors, and some fun stickers - all just for him! Most of the art stuff I have already from stocking up for homeschooling. :-)

I promise to post pictures of the finished products, along with any websites I used as tutorials. I have just been so busy putting them together, trying to get them done even with the kids around. That's been fun. These are Mommy/Daddy gifts, so it's okay if they see various stages, I just distract them during the final put together. But I can't exactly lay them out afterwords and snap pictures, and then when they are finally in bed I've been working on something else. Or just plain exhausted. In fact, I don't know why I am posting at nearly 2 am, when I decided not to start the book cover tonight but wait until tomorrow...

Good night!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free Patterns

This woman has is giving away free pattern downloads right now! Really cute baby slippers, chef's hat and apron.... I've only skimmed over the website and she's got some great ideas for crafty people. Check it out!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not quite a homespun Christmas...

But mostly handmade. Mark commented the other day, with much exasperation, that we would not ever again make homemade gifts on this scale again. I just had to laugh and give him my best glare. We? What "we"? I don't think he has once touched the sewing machine. :-)

Checked off the list: Steph and family, both sets of parents, and Mark's brother's kids.

I still have so much to do: boxes to mail, a quilt to finish for William, pajamas to get done... and I am having the hardest time making up my mind what to do for my other 3 children! I keep thinking this thing or that thing. But oooh! That would be neat too! So frustrating.

The problem with making the gifts this year, even though it is considerably easier on the pocketbook, is that it takes time. And while I'm sewing I can't be cleaning. Since I didn't get everything done I wanted to, I'm going end up staying up late to finish so they don't see what they're getting, or sending them to Grandma's house to play while Daddy's at work because tomorrow is the last day of school for the year. Ack!

Of course, now that I think about it, I could have taken pictures of my projects to post after Christmas - since some of the recipients read my blog - but I didn't think that far ahead. Ah well, ces la vie!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another Year, Another Birthday!

I have no pictures of my birthday. But being that I'm all grow-ed up now, that's permissible. But it was nice. Mark's mom got me a new shirt, with fabric that draped off to the side and held by a belt buckle looking thing. I like it, and it's always fun to get new clothes. Mark had asked me what I would like and my off-handed reply was slippers, because my feet were freezing at that moment. Sweetheart that he is, he got me some warm and fuzzy slippers! Daniel likes them as much as I do but for different reasons.... :-) And my family sent me a cute card with a gift card! It's so hard to decide what to use it on, which is half the fun. A book? A necklace? A non-stick skillet? Decisions, decisions.

Mark had to work on my birthday, so we celebrated yesterday with his parents coming for dinner. The Christmas tree was pulled out and put together, very sparsely decorated because of Daniel and his high reach. (The lights make the tree anyway!) One should celebrate special occasions with special foods, so I braved the unknown and made Chicken Kiev. It's chicken breast wrapped around parsley, green onions and garlic... and butter. The butter melts as the chicken cooks and sits in the chicken if you sealed it well enough, when you cut it the butter squirts out. We had problems with the chicken breasts size wise and I could use some practice with the rolling, but it was still really yummy!

And yes, I know that I decorate cakes, but I do not do my own birthday cake. I can't quite duplicate bakery whipped icing, although my buttercream comes pretty close! And I also just didn't have the energy to do one with the idea of a fancy dinner too. So I had an Oreo cake, chocolate cake with whipped icing, oreo's and chocolate shavings. It's so hard not to snack on it all the time.

Tonight is the ward Christmas party. I'm not sure if I'll manage to get pictures of the kids with Santa, Mark is working so I have to keep a hold of all 4 boys on my own. I'm thinking the stroller is getting busted out for this one! (getting a headache just thinking about the noise, and the running, and the line for Santa and dinner...)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What? An update? :-)

I've been in sort of a blog-y funk I guess. I've been checking everyone's often and commenting occasionally. And it's not as if we just have nothing going on worth writing about. I just haven't done it. *shrug*

Just a little of what we've been up to, I guess. Almost all of Mark's family came up for Thanksgiving week. The boys had a blast with all their cousins for sure! I was exhausted and my house was a wreck because we were home long enough to trash it during the day and then headed to Grandma's every day that week. I had originally wanted to drive down and hand out with Stephanie that weekend since her sweetie was working and it was highly likely that Mark was going to be working as well. But travel expenses were an issue and then there was some extreme weather that would have prevented me from making the drive with the kids to Utah by myself had money worked out. Mark's brother and family couldn't make it up to Montana because the roads were all closed! Kind of a bummer, but perhaps we'll look at Spring Break. When the weather is warmer and there's more to see besides white. :-)

I was sitting here last night thinking about the fact that I haven't taken any pictures in ages, when I looked over at the table. This is currently Daniel's favorite place to hang out if we don't make sure all the chairs are pushed in all the way. Some one had left the tape dispenser out and he was having a heyday. I'd love to know how he got it wrapped around himself so thoroughly!

He was getting so mad at the tape, it was so cute!

We made the difficult decision to put Oren back into public school. This was something I'd been battling for a while now, trying not to feel like I was just giving up easily. But it struck me on Monday how much I was not looking forward to the day, anticipating the arguments (which of course made them happen), and feeling yet another headache come on from thinking about how far behind we had gotten in hours and lessons. When a lesson takes twice as long as it's supposed to, you don't get nearly as much done in a day, and it just snowballs from there. He hated the work, I hated fighting him on it.

So I talked with him about going back to public school. He was so excited about a classroom, new teacher, riding the bus! His face just lit up. Tuesday morning we went in and enrolled him in the local elementary. As we were driving to the school it was like a huge weight was lifted. I felt nothing but relief, none of the guilt that I thought would be there.

This evening we got a phone call from his teacher. She took the time to call on her own time, call me personally, and tell me how much she was enjoying Oren being in her class. That he was a joy, and so sweet, and fun. This is the kind of phone call we never get, not from a teacher anyway. Nothing about "but....." . Just simple praise. I was so proud of him, he's trying really hard to use the common courtesies we've been working on, and he has grown since last year. Mark and my fingers are crossed that this love for school continues. Not to mention that I now look forward to seeing him in the evening and getting to hear all about his day. He gets to spend more time with Nathan, which they are both enjoying.

As sad as it sounds, that's really all I can think of as far as updates go. Just normal ups and downs, house cleaning and house trashing. Snow, snow, and more snow. Curtain planning, Christmas present sewing, Christmas present wrapping (I love wrapping!)... Sick kids, sick mommy, no sick daddy. Smiles and laughs. Temper tantrums. New words from Daniel, realizing that William is no longer a toddler. Nathan reading and writing his letter to Santa.

Happy Decembering!