Saturday, June 30, 2007

I Heart Little Dresses

My latest creation....

This summer frock is for our lovely little friend India, for her 3rd Birthday. I might add...her Birthday was in May, so this gift is quite late, "better late than never"...I say ! (Note to other friends with little girls..dresses may come later than the expected celebratory day, categorized as "Amy Time".

I used the leftover fabric Chloe picked out for her matching frocks, our most treasured Flea Market Fancy by, Denyse Schmidt. This time, I got a little more creative and added my favorite brown and white gingham to the bottom with some decorative my rick rack as trim.

The best part about creating this dress is, I learned how to make bias tape out of fabric. I used the bias around the arm holes, and I must say, making your own (if you have the time) is so much better quality then the solid color pre-made stuff. I used this tutorial from Super Naturale, and it was the best instructions I have found on the subject. I really need good visuals when it comes to learning a new technique.

Thanks, Amanda J, I am going to be making my own bias for a long time to come !!!

Now we are off today, to deliver it to our friend...hope she loves it as much as we do !

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Ocean

In the summertime we like to take a trip to the Beach just around dinner time. We pack up some food, wine, and of course the littles, and head off to South Mission Bay to catch the sunset, waves for Alan and the kids, and some fresh ocean air.

It seems easier to make the trip during this time of the day. The sun is not so harsh, so no need for tons of sunscreen, and it's great for Chloe and Blake to get their Ya Ya's out just before bed time
(they have lots of Ya Ya's !!).

The best part for me, is getting away from the dinner routine, especially the dirty dishes part ! For Alan it's a nice release from, a stressful day at the office.

Chloe's Sea Turtle impression

Their was no spectacular sunset to photograph this trip, to many clouds, so you'll have to settle for my shadow shot. Summer has just begun, so I see many more evening sunset's in our future. Happy Belated Summer Solstice !!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Little Tee Pee

We have spent quite a bit of time outside this past weekend, mostly in the Garden. While I was weeding, pruning and replanting in the front flower bed, Chloe decided to make a structure out of my cuttings, and whatever else she found throughout the yard.

It went through phases over several hours. She called it her Tee Pee. Notice all the objects that ended up inside...looks like an altar for the plum....only a flower child could put this one together.

Check out its metamorphosis....

More Garden treasures...

Apricot's are ripe...we have been eating handfuls, daily....

Plums are almost ready...there's nothing like eating fruit straight from the tree.

The veggie garden is coming are the weeds...more work for the Gardner.

Look at Chloe and Blake watering...those flowers are thirsty !!!

My little helpers... :)

Just loving our days of summer...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Kindergarten Graduate

Little Miss Chloe graduated from Kindergarten this week.

There was a nice little ceremony conducted by our beloved, Miss Morgan.

There were photo ops...

proud parents and family...

and a table full of goodies to eat...

Yes, I shed a few tears...but not as much as I did the first month of Kindergarten.

I especially loved the graduation caps the kids made, so creative !!

If you would like to see a very sweet video that our "class historian" has made, click here, it's titled "Miss Morgan's Super Stars", you will enjoy it.

There was also a special graduation dress I whipped up the night before. My New Bernina made my last minute attempts at making this dress very smooth. For the first time, I used the gathering foot to attach the ruffle. I think the sewing Gods were looking after me, because I guessed on how much fabric to use for the ruffle, and about how much to gather it.. it was the last think I did before heading to bed late, and I was so pleased that I didn't have to rip out the seams and start over... Luckily, the Graduate was pleased with the outcome to.

Now, we are off to enjoy some summer fun...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Daddy's Day !!!

For me, this picture says it all !! One of my favorites !!! Alan is reading to Chloe and Blake in there tent...

What I Love about my "Babies Daddy".......

He is always able to provide all the fun that Momma can't muster up the energy for. Running, playing soccer, building Lego ships, Break Dance parties, Monster Truck shows, and more running!

He has not forgotten how cool the world is when you are a kid, because he still has a lot of little kid left inside him. Makes for alot of laughs and giggles around our house. I know Chloe and Blake will remember when they are older, how much fun there Daddy was...

Here's to you Alan !

Happy Daddy's Day...
We Love You !!!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Play Dough

We love play dough in our house. Especially the homemade stuff. Store bought play dough has a yucky smell and feel to me. There is something so .... well, comforting and wholesome about making it from scratch with my children. Plus, they get the experience of being a part of making it come to life, much like cooking and gardening.

Blake and I spent a morning last week doing this. He was so eager to pull up his chair and mix up the flour, salt and cream of tarter, and lets not forget, picking out the food coloring, he choose blue. Chloe even commented on how yummy it smelled, she even wanted to eat it. Something you cannot do with the store bought stuff..

Rolling, molding and sculpting, makes for hours of fun for the Little's...

I have been experimenting with different ways of making play dough for about 4 years now, and I finally found the perfect recipe, thanks to Miss Olivia, Blake's wonderful preschool teacher. She makes play dough with the kids at her school on a regular basis. She even has a small table in the kitchen for the kids.. They all get on there aprons, with wooden spoons in hand and mix up all the dry ingredients, while she boils the water.

Here is the recipe...what you will find, is how much quicker and easier it is to make. The key is to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, then you don't have to stand over the stove to make it.

Dry Ingredients;

2 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Salt
1 tsp Cream of Tarter
Optional ( Sparkles )

Wet Ingredients;

2 cups of Boiling Water ( use your tea kettle )
4 TBS of Inexpensive Oil ( I use Canola)
Food Coloring

Let the kids combine the dry ingredients on the table or counter. Then, you pour the hot water into another bowl, add the oil, then have your little one's add the food coloring , as many drops as you like. Mix it up. Then pour your wet ingredients into your dry, mix and then knead it till it is cooled down. You can even separate your dough into two balls, flatten one out, and have the kids put there fingers in, to test how it feels. Of course make sure the dough is not to hot before they do this.

I must say I really enjoy the feeling of freshly made, warm play dough in my hands, and I know Chloe and Blake love it to...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pattern Drafting 101

I just finished my last class this past week in Pattern Drafting. It was a 19 week class ( 1 night a week) in which we learned how to measure our bodies... (30 measurements in all, yikes !), and then draft a bodice, sleeve, skirt and pant pattern. After drafting the patterns, we then cut muslin copy's, sewed them together, then did a fitting, to make adjustment's to draft into what the fashion industry calls, slopers, which was my final project.

The most enjoyable classes, were all the weeks we spent learning how to take these basic sloper's and manipulate them into different styles. For example how to make a circle skirt, or a flared petal sleeve. We learned to do this on quarter sized patterns, basically a bit larger than a doll size. I am really quite excited about what I have learned. This class has taken me to a whole different level of sewing. I now can draft almost anything I want to make...which means I can bring some of my sketches to life, essentially create my very own clothing designs, not just aprons, very exciting for me. I have already used my newly aquired skills to draft a version of a circle skirt with a fitted waistline. Once I get it constructed I will post some pictures...

We used Lori Knowles, Pattern Making for Fashion Designers. This book is extremely technical so I was so glad to have a teacher to transcribe what I didn't understand. I also had to become one with fractions, decimal points and rulers, although that was a bit challenging at first, it has been good to use my mind that way. I actually had to really think about the way I learn math, and use it practically. Luckily, I have a nice conversion chart.

The best part about this class, is that it was free, minus what I had to pay for supplies. This kind of class is usually only offered in Fashion Design programs, but was offered through the Community College Adult Education Program. This also made for somewhat laid back class, and very strange, yet interesting student mix. In the fall I will take the Computer Pattern Making class...should be fun. I have been working on the final project for the past week, and am now eager to get back to creating something with fabric, not just paper.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me !

Well, it really is not my Birthday, that was back in April.

Back on that cold rainy day, when I awoke, Alan told me he wanted to buy me a new sewing machine, not just any old machine, but the "machine of my dreams". Alright, he didn't use those exact words, but I am, because this New Bernina Aurora 430 is just that !!!! It's the "Mac Daddy of Sewing Machines" as my friend Tammy says. After test driving about 4 different top of the line machines, and consulting some sewing experts on line, I finally decided on The Bernina. It's a great machine, has tons and tons of decorative stitches, free motion quilting and an option to upgrade to an embroidery system in the future. Having this machine at my hands is like going from, driving a Used Ford to a Brand New BMW...although I have yet to drive a brand new BMW...well, you get the idea at least.

When I finally ordered the Aurora 430, it was Mother's Day, and it took about 3 weeks before the dealer got it shipped to their store. So it arrived here last week, and today is the first time I could take my New Baby out of the Box... I can't wait to sew away...on my new Dream Machine !!! Thanks again Alan...Your the BEST !!!

Here is an article that a very cool woman named Katye Terry wrote recently on an online Craft Column called "Get Crafty". She was kind enough to email me to ask if she could use a photo of one of my aprons. Check it out...maybe it will inspire you !!!!

Along the lines of the article above, I am really excited about the mail order I just received from Amy over at Angry Chicken. It is instructions for making foundation block squares. This is usually a square used in a quilt, but you can do almost anything with them. I am excited to see what unfolds from this... Oh, and it came with an adorable recipe card and some cardboard stick puppets for the kids to make. This is so well put together and very crafty I might say !!! Sorry, I don't have a picture but you could click on the Angry Chicken Link in my list of Inspiring Crafty Blogs to the right, scroll down and read about Mail Order #7. I will post some pictures when I finish my project...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


This past weekend, we went on a great camping trip with Chloe's Kindergarten class, to Mt. Laguna. Miss Morgan, Chloe's teacher is an avid camper, and picked the most perfect group campsite, in one of the most beautiful mountains. To top it off, it was only 50 miles from our front door.

Our Resident Class photographer Emil, took some great photographs of the group, please click here and take a look. His pictures will tell you the story....

We had not camped with the kids until now. So, it took alot of work to get equipped with all the necessary things one needs to camp. I have to admit, I was worried about not being able to sleep well, and all the dirt that was going to engulf myself and my family, but, in the end, I think I did a good job of becoming one with the ruggedness of camping. I was fortunate enough as a child to take lots of camping trips with my family, and it was a delight to reconnect with those childhood memories as I sat by the fire with friends and family. I am happy to be able to be a part of making new memories of the outdoors with my children...

We did some hiking through a beautiful meadow, saw an amazing view of neighboring mountains, sang by the campfire, ate great food, and just hung out sharing stories and with each other. One of my favorite parts was sitting by the fire with Matt playing his guitar and leading us in song, and Emil playing his harmonica behind him. I think it was the first time I belted out with song...not caring that I was totally out of tune. Later, I found out that Matt has never sang in front of anyone but his family, and I was blown away...because at one point, it felt like the Real Neil Young was singing... He also was serenading us with his beautiful steel guitar as we set up our tents. The next evening, as the stars shined down on us, Travis...played some great tunes on his guitar, it was great. I just kept thinking to myself, what cool people I am surrounded by...

The kids had so much fun...they set the butterly's they had in their classroom free, got to hold a toad, played endlessly on a formation of rocks in the campground, had smores, (Chloe and Blake's first) had a water fight, sang songs, you name it, they did it !! It was fun to watch them...

Some of the simple pleasures for me during this trip still stick in my mind...

Sitting outside my tent after breakfast, in the warm sun, with a bowl of cool water and a wash cloth to cleanse my face with...I can't tell you how satisfying that moment was for me.

The smell of coffee in the morning, and the first taste of my Earl Grey tea...

All the fresh fruit that was so abundant on our picnic tables

The smell of the Lemon/Eucalyptus Bug spray we used

The "Bottle of Irony" one of the best tasting Pinot Noir's I've had in a while..

The warmth and glow of the fire

The brilliantly bright stars in the sky at night

The Jello shots

Watching the kids play and play and play

I could go on and on...

Here are some of my photo's...I wish I had more...but I was to busy having can check out the rest on my flickr page..

The trail..

Daddy with Blake on his shoulders during the hike..

Polly Pocket's gettin' dirty

In the end, we came back dirty, and exhausted, but excited about all the camping trips to come...

Thanks Morgan, for getting us all together...I hope we will do it again...