Friday, May 24, 2013

Handmade Love

Growing up, we went to my Great Grandparents’ for a visit every Sunday. Towards the end of our visit Grandma would tell my brother and I to pick out a dishcloth or potholder from the dresser she stored her finished knitting projects in.

I still have these knitted creations. I use those beige knitted cloths in my kitchen everyday. Each dish I scrub, my heart is filled with the love Grandma poured into every stitch. I imagine warmth pouring from her heart, to her hands, out through the aluminum needles as she click-clacked out another dishcloth.

The devastation in Oklahoma tears at my heart strings. I hug my boys a little tighter, and wish there was a way I could help. Suzanne of Winter Wanderings and Whatnot collaborated with some other bloggers for a solution. They have put out a request for sewn clothing, bags, and stuffed animals. And you know what? I can sew.

Pattern Revolution

As a mama, seeing my boys wear a garment or carrying a toy made by hand would fill my heart just like washing the dishes with Grandma’s dishcloths does.

This weekend I am dedicating some time to sit at my machine and pour my prayers and love out over the hum of my machine.

Can you find the time to pour some love into just one garment/bag/toy? If you are inclined to pitch in, click the button, or head over to Suzanne’s blog. There is an address posted, a Flicker group, and a few patterns. If you don’t sew, just help spread the word. Thank you!

*I apologize for the rambling of this post. I want to let all of my beautiful creative readers in on how they can help, but God is prodding me to sew. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ten Minute Refashion

The boys and I are sitting here watching the rain pour, one of their favorite cartoons playing in the background.

At their young age they already know the heavy rain means “Mama’s not taking us outside.”

I, on the other hand, feel a little relieved to wake up to a downpour. We get to stay inside today. Our house has been neglected, my sewing machine abandoned, and many projects started but left unfinished. Hopefully I can take full advantage of the precipitation and tackle my to-dos.

Before I start on my list, I need to throw a sweater on. It’s a little chilly.

Thank goodness I refashioned a turtleneck earlier this spring. What!? Are you trying to tell me I forgot to share it with you? Uh-oh…I’m sorry.

Here is one of the easiest refashions ever:

Refashioning a Too Tight Turtleneck

I started out with a ribbed turtleneck sweater. This thing has been sitting in my closet for a few years, never worn. First, I hate turtlenecks. Second, it was too short, (I’m a little old to be baring my midriff). Third, that vertical ribbing was like a vacuum sealer: sucked the air right out, leaving all these crazy lumps, bumps, and rolls.

I still guiltily shuffled it around in my closet, because it had never been worn. Finally I decided to take action! Here’s what became of this hideous textile:

Turtleneck to Cardigan Refashion

This is one of the easiest refashions I have tackled to date! I am sorry I didn’t take process photos, I truly didn’t believe it would work. Here's what I did:

  1. Cut up the middle.
  2. Fold lace in half and pin on each side of cut. (or you could use bias tape)
  3. Sew lace to sweater.
  4. Sew a button on one side.
  5. Sew a loop of ribbon on the other side (for button closure).
  6. Wash the guilt away, because now you have a wearable garment.

Closure close-up:


I love how the suffocating turtleneck became a collar for the cardigan (maybe it is more of a shrug…). It has been nice to throw on over a tank when the sun starts setting and the days turn chilly.

What do you think? As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Getting Dirty…

We are still adapting to this new stage of life. In between our sports schedules we have a yard to take care of, a garden to plant, all of those outdoor to-dos on our list, and two almost two-year olds to wear out.

I am pretty sure that this summer will be one of the most difficult summers for us. The boys are at the stage where they love to run and explore. I absolutely LOVE this part of toddlerhood! The difficult part? They don’t follow direction too well. In order for us to wear them out for the day let them release all of their toddler energy two adults need to be present. As you can imagine, this makes it hard to accomplish much around here.

We are slowly figuring things out though:

Going For A Ride

While Daddy tilled the garden Mama took the boys for a ride.

After Daddy was done, we took a walk….and found mud:

 Zeke in the Puddle Xander in the Mud

Watching our boys stomp in the mud (Zeke decided to sit and play in the mud) filled my mind with childhood memories.

My own Mama would lovingly shove my brother and I out the door saying, “Go outside and play.” We had so many adventures throughout the woods, stomping in every puddle we could find. The car horn told us it was time to head to the house, dad is home from work. He would be standing there, garden hose in hand. He always acted so proud as we showed him ‘how muddy we got today!’ Then he would hose us off before letting us retreat inside.

Standing at the puddle, hubby looked at me and said, “I am so glad I married a woman who is not afraid of dirt.” (thankfully he wasn’t talking about our messy house.) Winking smile

That’s what kind of Mama I want to be. I want to encourage our boys to get dirty. Teach them to climb trees and build forts. Show them how to catch frogs (and beg them to take away the snakes). I want to pass down the skill of ‘worming the hook.’ I was meant to be the Mama of boys.

Back to our walk:

You're Too Slow, Take My Hand

Zeke’s muddy pants were slowing him down. Xander had no patience for the slower pace and grabbed his brother’s hand and helped him down the trail.

Attack of the Swamp Monster

I guess Zeke felt they were walking too fast.

Boys will be boys!

Do you have any tricks to wearing out toddler boys? I have no clue where all of their energy comes from!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Being a Mama to Twins

It has been a while since my last twin post. In lieu of Mother’s Day, I thought I would share how my life has changed since being a mama of twins.

Prior to my pregnancy I was a planner and researcher. I spent so much time analyzing the best way to do things. Then I set to getting them done; in a perfectly productive manner (much to my “go with the flow” husband’s annoyance). I always had a plan in place; and had to follow that plan to the letter. Spontaneous to me would be letting my husband choose a restaurant….from a carefully chosen list.

Then this happened:

Two Lines

Since I had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy months earlier, an emergency ultrasound was ordered. We had our first photography session at eight weeks:

Twin Ultrasound

Needless to say, we were a bit surprised.

I had an awesome pregnancy. So awesome that if I could guarantee every pregnancy would be as good as this one, I might do it over. *Maybe we’ll talk twin pregnancy in the future.

Back to mothering twins. It seemed that the moment I found out about Thing 1 and Thing 2 (we didn’t find out the sex, so these were the names of our growing fetuses) I let out a huge breath of air. It was as though God was reminding me that he is in charge, so stop planning.

Like most pregnant women, I was not myself. I was more relaxed, nicer, more understanding. I went with the flow (it may have been that I was just too big to fight the current). Winking smile

Then after forty weeks (actually 39 weeks, and four days), these little buggers decided it was time to make their appearance. The day before their scheduled arrival (cesarean).

Twins Are Here

After a few short days, the hospital decided it was time for us to go home.

That is when my whole world turned upside down!

Before I go any further I want to say this first; I love being the mama to these wonderful boys. I feel so blessed each and every day, and I would not change a single thing.

Back to the upside-down-world… I had visions about what kind of mom I would be. I had concrete determination about how we were going to parent these little blessings. But God had other plans.

Motherhood is nothing like I had imagined it. In the beginning it was almost unbearable. Of course, I looked put-together. It seemed like I was adjusting. I appeared to be handling this new role. But I was an absolute mess!

Things didn’t get easier until I gave up. I didn’t give up on the family, I gave up trying to force my plans. Once I threw in the towel, and started ‘going with the flow’ things sort of fell into place.

Mama and The Boys

It is still so very hard for me to adjust to each new obstacle mothering brings, but I finally feel like I can handle change. We are well into the toddler stage, and EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. presents something new and albeit challenging, but now I just cope.

Twin Bunnies and Mama

I can comfortably tell people that motherhood is the most awesome and rewarding thing I have ever done.

There will be steep hills you have to battle to climb. But please don’t keep your focus at reaching the top. Instead, soak in each and every experience on the way.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dealing With Routine Changes…Again

Looking back at past blog posts, I am amazed at how quickly seasons change. I’m not talking about the weather, but the seasons of life. Quietness in my little space of the internet tend to signify these changes.

These season changes tend to frustrate me to no end. You may have noticed that I have grown to LOVE routines. It seems that once I get a productive and comfortable routine established, life changes once again. Keeping me on my toes, I guess.

I have a few more things around here to catch up on; some cleaning, major freezer cooking, pricing stuff for our garage sale, and a whole mess of other things. This all needs to be squeezed in-between our baseball/softball season (7 games a week!).

So things will still be quiet around here for a few more days while I re-establish a new routine. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Want some egg-free chocolate chip cookies while you wait?

Eating Egg-Free Cookie Dough

The boys recommend this recipe.

Egg-Free Baking

Happy belated Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

DIY Muscle Shirt How-To

I have two more completed Free Summer Sewing projects to show you.
The Muscle Shirt:
Free Summer Sewing Toddler Muscle Shirts
These were so easy to whip up. (Even easier than the t-shirts.)
I put together a quick how-to for you.
You need:
  • T-shirt
  • Ribbing
  • Pattern*
  • Sewing supplies (either machine, or needle and thread if you are a hand sewer)

*For the pattern, I self-drafted a pattern from one of the boys’ muscle shirts. You could use a t-shirt pattern, sans sleeves. You want to make the shoulder about an inch shorter at the armhole.
Muscle Shirt Before 2
Cut front and back from t-shirt.
Muscle Shirt Before1
*Be creative about ribbing. You can buy ribbing at the fabric store, but since I didn’t want to spend money, I took a look around. Ribbed tank tops work great!
Muscle Shirt, Ribbing
Cut ribbing into strips. I think I cut mine into 2 inch strips. Next time I will go three inches, its completely up to you.
Fold the strips in half and iron.
Muscle Shirt, Sew Shoulder Seam and Neck Ribbing
Match shoulders, right sides together. Only sew one side.
Match up edges of neckline and ribbing, right sides together. Sew.
Muscle Shirt Sew other Shoulder Seam
Sew the other shoulder.
Muscle Shirt Adding Ribbing to Armholes
Sew ribbing to armholes the same way as the neck.
Muscle Shirt Sew Side Seams
With shirt right sides together, match bottom hem and arm seams. Pin and sew up each side seam.
Muscle Shirt Bind With Ribbing
Fold ribbing to inside, making sure to catch the stitching on the inside.
*If dad may be dressing the kids, put in a tag. I just used a little piece of ribbon.
Pin and sew. *I like to sew right next to were the shirt and ribbing meet, on the shirt.
Sewing a Free Summer Wardrobe For Boys
That’s it, you’re done….unless you have twins; then repeat. Winking smile
Oops, I almost forgot the last step: Bribe your boys with Cupcake Goldfish and Matchbox cars and try your hardest to get a decent picture.
Summer Boy Refashions
And number two:
Boy Summer Refashions
Wait, we need a twin shot!
Two Completed Summer Outfits
These shirts are very easy to whip up. If my instructions were not very clear, let me know. I am happy to answer any questions you have!
Have you been working on summer clothes? What’s on your list?

Check out the parties:
Creative Sewing Blog

Monday, May 6, 2013

Muscle Tee Sneak Peak, Menu, and Goals

It’s official. Baseball/softball season is in full swing. My stepson had a game Wednesday night, and a double header Saturday. Hubby had a double header yesterday. And my stepdaughter decided she wanted to play softball this year. We are so glad she had changed her mind and decided to play, but in another week we will have two more games a week added to our schedule.

Whew… does reading this make you as tired as it does me? Needless to say, things may be a little slower around here until I figure out another routine.

Here’s a peak at the boys’ summer shirts (finally, right):

Muscle Shirts For The Twins

This weeks menu:

  • Sunday- Hot Dogs
  • Monday- Pork Steak
  • Tuesday- Leftovers
  • Wednesday- Meatloaf
  • Thursday- Turkey
  • Friday- Turkey/rice casserole
  • Saturday- Birthday Dinner!

My goals for this week:

  • Go through kitchen
  • Go through my clothes
  • Try to find time to put fence around garden (may not get done this week)
  • Finish Listings (take pictures)
  • Post Muscle Shirt How-to
  • Sew: 2 muscle shirts, 2 pair of shorts, 2 pair of p.j. shorts
  • Stencil game shirts for boys
  • Type up 31 by 31 list
  • Clean out freezer
  • Make dishwasher soap and laundry soap

What are your dinner plans this week? I have been in a rut lately. We need quick, easy, and sometimes portable meal ideas.

Have you set any weekly goals? My list looks a little daunting this week, but I know the majority of things won’t take too long.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

30 Day Recap, and Goals for May

Yesterday was the last day of the 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge. Project 30 was to clean electronics. I had cleaned all of our electronics this past weekend (something we have to do quite often due to 20 sticky little fingers).

Since our electronics were clean, I had decided my sewing machine deserved some love. Sorry no pictures, but it is done!

Today I wanted to share the lessons I have learned from participating in the 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge.

  1. Surface cleaning is something that must be done every day around here. It is amazing how fast cluttered chaos occurs by going to bed with dirty dishes.
  2. I need to spend some time developing my nightly routines. Doing things like picking up the living room, doing dishes, folding the last bit of laundry before bed takes under an hour total. Spending under an hour helps us start off the next day on a positive note.
  3. I need lists. I always knew this, but this last month has solidified that concept. Having the cleaning list helped me stay on track. Keeping a running to-do list on the back guaranteed that I wouldn’t forget those little things I wanted to do.
  4. We have too much stuff. This undertaking has made me realize that household purging will more than likely be a never-ending process around here. *As an added bonus to this challenge; I have become a hater of STUFF.
  5. I am able to overcome unexpected bumps in the road. When the basement started filling with water, I didn’t panic or give up (I may have in the past). I just did what I could and kept plugging on.

I’m going to stop there.

I have a few more things I would like to cover today.

First off, Crystal is doing another challenge. May is the Clutter Busting Challenge. The challenge is to get rid of 7 things everyday in May.

This one is right up my alley. We have a huge garage sale with the neighbors every June, so the timing is perfect.

This past month I have been very tempted to pack everything up and take it to a donation center. Then I remind myself that every year our family usually makes $300 or more. For two days. I guess I can deal with this stuff for one more month. For the month of May I am focusing on ruthlessly going through our house.

Are you in? Can you commit to finding 7 things to get rid of for 31 days? As a side note, I think I will only post updates once or twice a week.

Here’s today’s purge:

Clutter Busting Challenge Day 1

Lastly, I’ll leave you with my goals for May:

May's To-Do List

  • Go through the house top to bottom.
  • Price everything for garage sale.
  • Clean out garage.
  • Plant garden.
  • Open that darned etsy shop.
  • Build up inventory, and decide what venues to try selling at this summer.
  • Finish boys’ summer wardrobe.
  • Get back on track with menu planning.
  • Finish/post 31 by 31 list.

That’s not a complete list, but I’m heading in the right direction.

What are your goals for May?