Monday, December 6, 2010

My little man

Big N tried on the tie and promptly made faces for the camera. He did look very cute in his Christmas bell tie.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Death of a tie

Big N has a violin concert, his first, tomorrow evening. In honor of the upcoming concert, I killed a tie. Sorry, Mom, this was a tie my mom gave to Pete a few years ago. He hasn't been wearing is because it was always a little too short. I put it to a much cuter use.

I planned on using a tutorial I came across on hideousdreadfulstinky's blog. The tutorial is really well written and I finished the tie this evening.

However, you will have to wait for a photo of the final product. My little man looks very sharp in a tie. Watch for tomorrow's post!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A jacket for Little N

I am still playing catch-up on posts, and this one is no exception. The coat was finished on September 13th.

Last spring, I made Big N a fleece coat with Clifford on it. Little N also wanted a coat, with princesses on it. I made the same size for both kids, so I wanted to finish Big N's first, to make sure it was done before it was too small. Little N was very patient, waiting for her princess coat. It also helped that we didn't wear coats for a few months.

The finished product is super soft and I think my sewing skills improved between the two coats.

Little N is in heaven when she is covered in princesses. If I could change one thing, I would have placed a different princess on her left arm to balance out the images a little better, but overall, I'm very happy with the outcome.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Baby K's sweater

I recently had the pleasure of going to a baby shower for my friend M. In honor of her soon-to-be-born baby K, I knit a very fast sweater. This is one of my go-to patterns and it seems to be a hit for all the new moms.

I also knit the buttons into the sweater. It is safer than sewing them on as far as I am concerned. The only way the buttons will come off is if the sweater completely falls apart.

For baby K

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sugar Cookies

Both the Ns and I made cookies on Saturday. The kids had wanted to do a rolled sugar cookie using cutters. I decided to try the recipe on the back of the last bag of sugar. I haven't found a sugar cookie recipe I really like, so this one appeared to be as good as any other.

There was a slight problem in that the dough was a drop cookie dough, not a rolled cookie dough. The kids were having no part of a drop cookie. They both wanted to roll out their dough and use the cookie cutters.

Little N hasn't quite grasped the concept of not overworking the dough, but she had a blast doing so. If it meant we didn't eat (or in this case, bake) half the cookies, she didn't seem to notice. Big N wasn't a fan of the sticky dough, but he was a fan of the edible cookies. As a compromise, we pulled out all the play dough while the cookies baked and all was right with the world.

I was quite happy with the flavor and texture of the cookies, so I will have to share the recipe before I toss out the empty bag.

Old-Time Soft Sugar cookies
Courtesy of the Fred Meyer bag of sugar

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
Cream together shortening and sugars. Mix in egg, followed by the buttermilk and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and stir into the wet mixture. Chill dough for about an hour. Drop by rounded teaspoon 2 inches apart onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar with cinnamon (or colored sugar) on top of the cookie. Bake at 400ºF for 7-9 minutes or until set.

I do not keep buttermilk on hand. The best substitution I've found is to pour your milk into a glass cup measure and add a tablespoon of white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, and you have a great alternative to running to the store for buttermilk.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Love letters

Shhh.... don't tell the office manager where I work, but I gave my son a pad of post-it notes out of my desk.

He is making great use of them, leaving love post-its all over the house.

I didn't know how much I could appreciate a pad of post-it notes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Big N and the violin

Big N has been taking the preparatory strings program at CWU and he's really enjoying it. He seems to find issue with the holding still part, but hopefully he will grow out of that at some point. He really loves listening to violins play, but prefers the music that also has someone singing.

Practice this evening

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great time with all our guests. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It snowed over the weekend and continued through Monday. Tuesday morning, we woke to 4+ inches. It has been an excellent week to take a few days off. While Big N was at school, Little N and I took the opportunity to play in the back yard. Little N is officially an excellent snow angel artist.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I'm slightly behind on this post, considering this is the week of Thanksgiving.

I made Little N's costume this year, perhaps I should use that as the excuse for not posting since August considering I've been sewing since August. Little N wanted to be a purple and pink princess. These are, of course, the only color options she would consider and the brighter the better.

I had a lot of fun sewing this. I had to research how to deal with the thin fabric that is the top of the skirt. The actual pattern called for tulle, but Little N picked out this bright purple and pink sheer fabric with stars on it. She was in love and there was no convincing her otherwise. It took me about a month of sample swatch sewing to finally figure out the best option for the hem and the interior seams. The seams show through, meaning you had to be careful in how you dealt with them. I ended up using a princess seam for the interior seams. The hem was a little harder to deal with. I first marked the 16 feet of fabric with a line to determine the edge. Then sewed just next to the line. After that, I trimmed the edge as close to the seam as possible, trimming off the pen line. Then folded the hem up and into itself, ironing the edge into a rolled hem. Another seam all the way around almost at the fold and the hem was finally done. The rest of the dress followed the pattern. I did have to add seams on the topskirt where the zipper opening was, where the pattern called for no seam on a tulle.

Little N is quite a slave driver, watching me sew and commenting on my progress as the gown came along.

"But, Mommy, you haven't finished my dress," was always the statement after she told me good morning and I had spent the evening before staying up way to late sewing. She was thrilled when it was done, as was I.

All in all, this is the most complex item I've made and I've had to put the sewing machine away for a bit. I'm a little crafted-out for now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mom at work

Some days are harder than others to be a working mom. Its hard to not see your kids all day and to realize how your own impact on what they see and learn is lessening every day.

Did the Feminists of my childhood lie to all of us little girls when they said you truly could have it all? I'm not sure if I have it all. I have a fulfilling job and the student loans to show for it. But, am I missing out on something more fulfilling?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Local Business

I am convinced that local businesses really don't want to do business in town. Stores close at 5PM some even before 4PM. If you work a traditional 40 hour a week desk job, forget being able to do ANY business locally. Unless you are looking for a good bar or restaurant, THEN you are set.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Big N's first day with the violin

Big N is participating in music camp through the local University. He is having a blast!

I love how he moves his knees while he moves.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The kids spent an entire week at Grandpa and Grandma's house. They were able to go to Vacation Bible School at Grandma and Grandpa's church in Everett. Pete and I took advantage of the quiet and went on vacation!

Pete and I drove to Winthrop over the Cascade highway, starting in Everett. We spent a few days at Sun Mountain, horse back riding and hiking. It was gorgeous! I have never seen so many deer in my life. We drove home through Wenatchee.

This was a really nice trip and the view was spectacular. It didn't hurt that the hotel was pretty empty on a Monday night with most of the crowds showing up as we were checking out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


We will miss you, Molly.

2008 with Little N

Hanging out in a sun spot in my office

Her favorite spot to sleep

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Apple Pie Princess

Little N made her first pie!

She rolled out the crust using the scraps from the larger pie we made for the fourth of July dinner. She managed to roll out the crust, and place it into the mini-heart-shaped cake pan. She filled the crust with apples and then rolled the top crust, all by herself. She managed to place the crust neatly on top of the mini-pie. She needed a little help sealing the two together and crimping the edges with a fork, but she got the hang of that very fast.

I will say she handled the hard part of rolling the crust and putting the pie together very well!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Piggies for little N

The second nightie and she loved it! I made the ruffle longer to show the pig print better.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

bye-bye birdie

For Mother's day, the kids picked out a beautiful hanging planter for my front porch. I have been watering it every evening. In the span of one day, the planter went from a flower pot to a bird home! We moved the planter to the ground to discourage its use for a bird's nest and so far the birds have not been back.

Unfortunately for the birds, right next to my front door is not an ideal location for their home. Pete pulled out some of the nest before I got a photo of it. We were amazed at how much was done before we found it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nightie for little N

Little N picked out the fabric for her nightgowns. This is the first nightie of two. I actually made this one in a size six, but shortened the gown considerably. When it does finally fit, it will land near her knees.

She actually sat next to me at my sewing machine while I worked. She wanted to wear it to bed this evening and insisted that I finish it as soon as possible. Little N appears to be quite the slave driver.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pirate Day!

It is pirate day at Big N's kindergarten and he put a lot of thought into his outfit. He was a little disappointed that I couldn't sew him a striped shirt this morning. The boy has high regard for my limited skill-set with a sewing machine. He was ok with a plain white t-shirt, but only after reading his teacher's letter twice on the detailed description of what a pirate wears. He did insist that pirates would roll up their pants. He mentioned that all pirates had pet birds and we discussed why the poop deck might be called the poop deck.

His kindergarten teacher will have a BUSY morning.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to make your man happy

Apparently, the easiest way to make your man happy is to suggest he cooks a chicken on top of a beer can on the grill.

Chicken + beer + flames out of the side of the grill = A very happy Pete

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A spiny dress

Little N loves dresses. I've sewed at least 4 for her recently, but she complained they didn't spin. I have made simply A-line tank style dresses so far. I decided to get creative and go off the pattern, or off the reservation.

I visualized it with a large skirt and thought I could simply make a series of ruffles. I guessed at the amount of fabric, assuming 1/4 yard per tier. Then 1/2 yard for the bodice. I based the top off of the bodice of the A-line tank dress I have made for her in the past, but cut it so the top would be about 14 inches. I used the pattern bottom to trace a curve. Then I made the skirt. I approximated that I wanted each level to be about 6 inches and to have a short, 3 inch ruffle at the bottom.

Step 1 was to sew the top. I completed that without finishing the bottom edge. When that was done, I measured the circumference of the unfinished bottom and used that as the base calculation for the skirt. For Little N, the top came out to 16 inches across, or 32 inches around. Using 16 as my base number, I approximated that each level could be 1.5 times larger. This placed the first tier at 24 inches per piece of fabric, the second tier at 32 and the last at 44 (my fabric was 45 inches across). Then I cut. I made 3 tubes and started to join them. I first added a rolled hem to the bottom, the largest tube. Then I gathered and pined. I attached this to the second tier. I added a zigzag stitch to strengthen the seam and pressed the seam upwards. I top-stitched the seam on the next tier to further lock it in and force it to lay flat. I repeated this step for the next tier.

Finally, the moment of truth. I followed the same steps to attach this to the bodice. The best part about the project is since I started with the hem, once I attached the skirt to the bodice and trimmed off the strings, the finish work was done.

Little N was in love!

The spin-ability of the dress was a hit with Little N. She did not hold still long enough for me to take a photo. Granted, it doesn't take a spiny dress to have this effect on her, but the spiny dress sure sped her up.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A picnic and a day at the park

The kids and I had a picnic the other day. It was 70 degrees out and the wind was mild. We drove over to the west Ellensburg park and sat down next to the play structure. Both kids had a blast. We watched the kites, played on the play structure and blew bubbles. It was a great day. By the time we got Little N home, she took a 2 hour nap.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Recycling and Sewing

I had a bright idea as I looked at one of Pete's shirts destined for the rag bag. The front was stained beyond what I would allow him to wear in public, but I thought that the shirt had a better future if I could re-purpose it.

I cut off the sleeves and modified an existing pattern for a little boy's shirt to work around the stains and pen marks.

The last photo is Big N in the finished product prior to adding buttons and button holes. All that is left is to cut the threads from the button holes and wash and press the shirt. I've added the buttons, but have not had a chance to take a photo of Big N in it. For some reasons, clothes really do not excite him as much as his sister.

Big N has mentioned that he finds zippers much easier to work than buttons, but I'm not ready to send him out to join the bowling league, yet. I have promised that he can pick out the shirt from the rag bag so I can make one with a zipper for him on my next project for him. There are plenty.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Looking for Dinosaurs

We spent a day and a half in New York City and we were able to take the kids, my parents and my sister Jenny to the Natural History Museum. Little N was looking for the dinosaurs and she had a blast. Big N wanted to find the space ship. I think we were all completely worn out by the end of the day.

Little N's dinosaur teeth

Big N and Pete

Trying to find the space ship