Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Trees and Cheese Sandwiches

As we have so many years before, we headed out to a farm to cut down our own Christmas tree. Penny took the surveying very seriously, and ultimately chose the perfect tree for our house. We stopped at the diner for cheese sandwiches, burgers, and milkshakes. Everyone talked and talked. I'll tell you what 2017 will be about: conversation! With Lulu's language really ramping up, and Penny talking almost constantly, it's pretty hard to get a word in. Naturally, everyone has had a lot to talk about with the Christmas season in full swing.  I really love what they have to say.
















PS. Previous Christmas tree chops include last year, 2014, 2013, and 2012. Time….whew! Time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Thanksgiving Getaway

After a relaxing Thanksgiving dinner, we got away for the long weekend, to a hotel in the Columbia River Gorge.  We swam in the pool and hot tub and sat by the fire eating apples and playing games. We ate s'mores (the first time for Mr. Jones and the girls) and played on the playground and took a day trip to see a 70 year old sturgeon. It was just what we needed for a recharge, and all of us really enjoyed it. 


















I especially loved seeing how the girls enjoyed their giant Christmas tree, and the Christmas stories told beneath it. This holiday season is going to be a great one, I just know it.

PS. The last time we went to this hotel (when Penny was just a few months old)!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Things Made Recently

Whew! It's been an interesting week, hasn't it? I feel like this country has really been through something. It feels kind of like a road trip, where at the end you are so spent you have trouble mustering up any energy for your actual vacation. Though this isn't really a vacation, it's life, I get it.  It's just that the joy and  continued optimism I was feeling seems compromised. I find myself trying to give pep talks to those around me (as well as myself) but I'm been at a loss. Maybe it'll come in time. I still believe that we have more in common than what divides us, and I hate to feel so divided.  In the meantime, we keep creating. The things in our hands are what we have control of most, right?


I made Lulu some party hats, from a kit I've had for quite a while: Alicia Paulson's Prettiest Party Hats. They were an absolute joy to make. They taught me new techniques with simple wool blend felt, and now I'm completely inspired to make more things, not only from her patterns, but from felt. I had some of it left over in the kit, so used it to make flowers on her birthday jumper (made from Simplicity 1075, vintage and in reprint). This jumper is destined to be worn only once, being wool and worn by a girl who embraces mess, but I've stopped caring. I relish it, in fact. That's what special occasions are for and you're only age 3 once ;)


I made Penny a fancy dress from Vogue 9042, in fabric from Rifle Paper Company, lined with a peachy pink linen. The sweater pattern is Lottie (Ravelry link), made with a bulky yarn in size 2 instead of 4, so it would all work out to gauge.


I made a Toasty Blanket from a free pattern that I altered greatly. I made it exactly to the pattern, but had lots of yarn left over, so ripped it out, started again with 40 something stitches, and improvised the rest. It's a lap or baby blanket. I haven't yet decided its recipient. I've ceased working at a yarn company, so my crafting budget is very limited, though I was pretty pleased with this yarn I picked up on a whim, at Joann. All of the details are on my Ravelry page for this project, if you'd like to see.


Finally, I made Lulu a winter coat from Pendleton Wool I bought a while ago at the outlet here in Portland. I used Vogue 9219, but when it was time to put on the collar, I just didn't want to cover up the yoke pattern. So I drafted a hood for it, and it worked out great. I also used magnetic snaps for the closure. The jury (being a jury of one person, age almost 3) is out on how that will work, but I'm very anxious for the result.

I hope you've spent some time doing things you love this week. I hope it brings you as much respite as crafting brings to me.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Halloween 2016

Like last year, the girls had many ideas for Halloween that got narrowed down to two costumes each. Penny wanted to be a princess, or princesses. We had come back from England with an Anna (from Frozen) dress that she has worn almost every single day. She was happy to wear that, for Halloween. 

We tinker with princesses fearfully around here, borrowing the DVDs from the library and skipping through large sections with mean mommies and terrible witches. Still, the girls love Cinderella and Snow White and Penny assigned herself Cinderella, "since I have yellow hair" and Lulu would be Snow White. Lulu happily agreed.

I realize it seems odd to sew princess costumes that can easily be bought at the mall or grocery store, but with the frequency these girls wear costumes everyday, I wanted them to be in softer fabrics, and fit well, which the store bought kind never seem to. Simplicity 2817 had both princesses in one pattern. Done and done. We wore them to a dear friend's Halloween birthday party, the day before trick-or-treating.








Back in September, I had asked Lulu what she wanted to be for Halloween while we were driving home from preschool one day. "The Pumpkin with the Purple Eyes", she shouted at me. I had no idea what she was talking about, and attempts to clarify were futile. So I just asked for details: "Does the pumpkin face have purple eyes or do you, Lulu?" She seemed exasperated with me. "I DO." When I made her the costume (Simplicity 2788), and showed her the mask, she smiled slightly, nodded slowly, and took the costume and hung it in her closet. Job done. She wore it (for a while) on Halloween night for trick-or-treating, and for the preschool party. Penny wore face paint from her school day, and her beloved Anna dress, changing back into Cinderella for trick-or-treat.







This year, Halloween was kind of a dream come true. Mostly, I just wanted no rain, which I got. The energy on the street was magical. It was so great to see our neighbors: on the sidewalks, answering their doors, or on our doorstep. The girls loved running from house to house and I'll never forget Lulu looking into her treat bag and shouting, "I got a lot of CANDY. I want MORE CANDY," while Penny would call over her shoulder, "Thank you! And I hope you have a Very Good Halloween!" as the doors with smiling people closed behind her. Mr. Jones held his chest looking at them, admitting he was almost in tears. I don't even like princesses, but I'll sew them anything that makes them this happy, and remember their joy for years. It's starting to feel like we have kids now, instead of babies. It's so different, and I love it…almost as much as Penny and Lulu loved Halloween.

PS. Halloween 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pumpkin Places

We decided to try a new Pumpkin Patch this year. A bit further afield (so to speak), this farm had a boat to ride, a pumpkin patch, horsey rides, a hay maze, a slide, free face painting, and a train ride with a spooky tunnel. You could not think of more things to please a two and a half and four year old if you tried. With so much excitement, it was almost possible to ignore that the pumpkin patch was a true mud pit. I'm just glad we were able to fit in a visit to this place between days and weeks of rain. 


























The girls wore homemade dresses. The details on Penny's is in this post. I can't remember the name of the fabric from Lulu's dress, though I used Simplicity 1208 (without all the fancy parts) for a basic gathered waist dress. I bought it a yard and a half of the fabric off a clearance table at the craft store, as it reminded me of vintage sheets in both it's pattern and softness. I think it's by Michael Miller? I wish I had more, though I have no idea what I'd make with it.

Previous trips to the pumpkin patch include 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. Wow, we've come a long way.