Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What we're making for Christmas, part one

In years past I have not posted about things we've made for Christmas until after the fact, but this year I really want to do it now. Jordan and I are not skilled craftspeople in any area, and we used to say "oh, we'd love to make gifts but we CAN'T." Now I know with a little creativity and patience, that is just not true. Everybody can make something! I wanted to share ideas in case some people still want to do this but are stumped.

This also means that I am running the risk of telling people what they are getting for Christmas. That is why, if you are a friend or family member and we exchange gifts, I want to ask you to STOP READING NOW!!! If you keep going, you might see what you are getting for Christmas.

Just wanted to let you know.

I warned you.

I'm going to start posting pictures now.

Love you and see you at Christmas.

1) First up is the upcycled wool stuffed animal. These are quite popular at the moment and the professionally made ones sell for a lot. The owl on the left is made from pieces of two different sweaters, both purchased at thrift stores. There are all sorts of resources on the internet explaining this, but basically you buy a WOOL sweater (I prefer 100%, but some say 80% will do) and wash it on hot in the washing machine. It becomes felted as the fibers bind and blur together and should not unravel when you cut it. Some sweaters felt up nicer than others. Sometimes you can find them in the thrift store already felted.

The little bluebird is from a boiled wool vest, so I didn't have to do anything to prepare it. I used fabric from a wool blazer for the eyes, and some felt I already had for the beak and feet. It's a good idea to sew a little sack of flax seeds or something similar and place it in the bottom of your animal to weight it. I stuffed the rest of these with polyester stuffing. It's probably obvious how the front and back are cut, and the bottom is a football-shaped piece. If you need more info, I used a lot of the instructions from this Martha Stewart project and then got inspiration from pictures on Etsy.

2) I love using wool sweaters--you can make so many different things from them! Using the same sweater I used to make part of the owl, I made this hat for Suzi.

I literally held the sweater up to her head to measure it, cut straight up in what seemed like a good place, and then held it up to her head again to see how far to sew down on the top. Cutting a little high on the sides, one side being the already-sewn side of the sweater, and then closing with right sides together (inside out) in a u-shape will give you these sassy-looking little ears. There is no hemming necessary because the bottom of the sweater was already finished. Suzi loves her hat and it only took me about five minutes on the sewing machine.

From the same sweater, I made this pair of wrist warmers. I always wanted to make some wrist warmers because they look so cool and cuddly, but I can't knit as of yet. I don't know if I'll ever learn. This sweater felted up perfectly, and didn't give me any trouble when I carefully cut a thumb hole. That was a matter of snipping and pulling at one thread, as I did it on the seam, and then I sewed a little above and below the hole to keep it from going any further. I turned it under at the top and hemmed it. Done! There is still a little sweater left. This one is my favorite. I'm going to be sad when it's gone!

A couple other things I've learned about using upcycled wool: For a great deal, shop the clearance section of Goodwill, preferably year-round. The other day I found a gray cashmere sweater with a hole in it for $1. It's so buttery soft, even after felting, and the hole can easily be worked around to make a yummy pair of wrist warmers for someone with skinny arms (that would be me). I don't pay full price for secondhand sweaters, because that could get pricey, and also because someone might really need that excellent condition $7 sweater to keep themselves warm. That would be the better use for it. The other thing is that these things can get quite pilly after felting, and not only will you have to clean your washer and dryer out, you will also have to remove fuzz from your finished products to give them a more polished look. Right now I use a pair of fabric scissors to snip off excess fuzz, and then I lint roll them.

3) I'm not sure how you'll feel about this one, but at our house we love to avoid using disposable products, including tissues. Regular hankies seem like a good idea, but the storebought ones I've had have been neither soft nor absorbent--not to mention way too large. Small cuts of soft flannel in fun patterns can be found in the remnants section of a fabric store for really cheap. I bought some and sewed these. The corners are mitered, which is really easy with an iron and a little starch. A sewing machine makes short work of the rest. There are not many people on our list getting these. I wouldn't want anyone to faint, so crunchy/frugal family only. I did sew a couple for Suzi and she loves them.

We've still got lots of things to make and I'll try to post about them soon. We're making "man baskets" of edible items for a few of the guys, some polymer clay ornaments, and more. The girls' gifts are going to be almost all handmade this year, because Suzi asked for one expensive thing we can't make. Actually, it should be arriving today. I'm glad we were able to find a good deal on it. I've got to stop leaving the Nova Natural catalog lying around!

The little girls are getting antsy. I'd better go fix them lunch.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

The cornucopia we did for our church

We are at my mom and dad's today, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and helping with the cooking. I love Thanksgiving. No gifts and stuff to worry about, just family and lots of eating. I hope everyone likes the pie I made. Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baby Robin is a...

So he's Robert officially, but I am going to call him Robin at least sometimes. I am so excited to be having a boy! Maybe it's just because he's my baby, but I thought he was very good looking in the ultrasound. Also, his head and face look more the shape of mine and not Jordan's. Am I finally going to have a baby who looks like me? Is that oval head going to be easier to birth than an extremely round one? We shall see!

He seriously might have my nose! And we know he has my head!

We ended up not taking Suzi to the ultrasound after all. It was a tough decision, but I was panicked that they'd make Jordan wait in the waiting room with her. I also asked her if she'd rather go with us or to Grandma's, and she said Grandma's. That made me feel better about it. We had to drive for over an hour and wait an hour and a half past our appointment time, so I'm sort of glad we didn't take her. When we came home, I whispered in her ear that it was a boy and she told Grandma and Grandpa. Then she called Nana and Papa (Jordan's parents). And then we made a little video so she could tell everyone on Facebook. It's really cute when Suzi says Wrobert. I can't wait to see our baby boy in her arms. She's awesome.

Jordan took the whole day off yesterday, but today we were back to our normal routine. We met some friends at the park. I love this particular park because it's totally enclosed in a fence and I can just let Ivey run wild and I don't have to chase her. While we were at the park, Ivey sneezed cookie and grossness onto the side of the face of one of our little friends. Poor boy. And then I wiped the snot off the rest of her cookie and handed it back to her. I'm sure my friends were impressed. But you know, I figured it was her own snot, so why waste half a cookie? Decisions such as this will probably be more commonplace when I have three children.

Can't wait for my little Easter Egg to arrive.

Friday, November 12, 2010

15 months today (and other miscellaneous thoughts)

The girls love Grandpa

I've been meaning to blog but the opportunity hasn't presented itself. Actually, I did blog Tuesday night, but I didn't publish it. It was a horrible day and once Suzi was in bed I wrote a long, irritated post that I knew I'd probably never publish. Here are some excerpts:


I had to drag the girls to Suzi's dance class after nap. The car ride there and back was heaven, because the girls were strapped into their car seats the whole time and there weren't too many shenanigans they could get into. Well, I take that back. I'm pretty sure Ivey ate half a yellow crayon on the way home. We shall see in a day or two.

Upon arriving home from dance I so stupidly thought I could take both the car seats out and adjust them and put them back in before dinner. I unhooked them successfully, and even adjusted them and vacuumed all the nasty crumbs out. Things were going great. Then, while the girls played "airplane!" on the back seat, I tried to hook one back in. But the car seat company must have decided that it would be a real shame for a mom to be able to install a car seat all by herself, so they made the strap that hooks to the latch system too short to hook to both sides without superhuman strength. Now it is really dark outside and both car seats need to be put back in. At least it will
have to get done now. Getting Ivey into her seat has felt like a wrestling match for weeks.

I was once a silly little college student who thought I had
no time to do anything. And now I want to go back in time eight years, run up into my dorm where I didn't have a bathroom or a kitchen to clean and slap myself.


It's funny how things can seem so horrible one minute and then three days later you've almost forgotten about it. It's one reason I blog, so I can remember. Oh, and it turns out I was putting the car seat in wrong. Of course. I'm pretty sure it's Britax's fault somehow.

Today Ivey is 15 months old. She's decided she doesn't like wearing diapers any more than I like changing them, and for the past few days has been going in her potty most of the time. I've tuned in to her signals better, and she's gotten much better at telling me when she has to go. One time yesterday she removed her diaper all by herself, sat down on her potty and peed. Using the potty seems to fascinate her. She sits down and pees or poops (or both) and then stands up, points at it, and says "pu-uh." Right now I am letting her run around diaper-free because she'll usually just go sit on the potty when she needs to use it. It's about lunchtime and she hasn't had a miss yet.

Ivey just before she woke up this morning

I've been meaning to add Ivey's new words on here, too. She says apple and points to the Mac logo on the laptop. Daddy is so proud. She has been saying thank you for a while, but it sounds like deh-duh. So polite. And my favorite is that she's recently taken notice of belly buttons--her own and those belonging to others. She points to her belly button and says "butt-butt!"

Tuesday we are going for our ultrasound! I called earlier to see if they would record it and to find out what to bring (DVD-RW) and found out they don't really want us to bring our kids. We are bringing Suzi anyway. There is no way I'm letting her miss this. She already loves Baby Robin so much and I want her to be there when we find out if it's a boy or a girl. Ivey probably wouldn't be interested anyway, and at least we'll have the DVD to show her later. We don't have a DVD for Ivey's ultrasound.

I have to mention the new supplement I am taking. I called my midwife Carey the other day as I was walking through the vitamin section of Earth Fare and she told me to pick up some ChlorOxygen. You add 20 or so drops of it to a glass of water. The extremely dark green color scared me at first but it wasn't bad at all. I've never had much energy, especially not while pregnant, but these past few days I've felt great. I've started to crave a dark green glass of ChlorOxygen instead of a hot cup of coffee. It's actually better than coffee. Seriously, you've got to try this stuff. It also reminds me to take my prenatal vitamin and helps me drink more water.

Because I have been feeling so great, I've had the energy to do things I wouldn't normally do, like bake pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie all in one morning. I'm currently trying to figure out the perfect recipe for cute 6-inch pumpkin bread loaves. You know what I mean--dense, moist, the perfect pumpkin-to-flour ratio, with absolutely no regard to what would be healthier. We are making nearly all of our Christmas gifts (I'm getting scared) and edible gifts are part of this! I need to get to work on some of the things I'm planning to make but have never actually made before. Waiting until the last minute won't work this year!

I can't wait to find out if we're having a boy or a girl, but most of all just to see that little Robin is doing okay. I should have some pictures of him or her to share next week!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What all my babies are up to

Robin: 18 weeks, 4 days in utero
Ivey: Coming up on 15 months
Suzi: Almost three and a half

This pregnancy is flying by! Our ultrasound should be in a couple of weeks. Hopefully everything will be fine and I hope to find out if it's a boy or a girl. We haven't decided for sure on middle names yet, but it'll be Robin for a girl and Robert has really grown on me for a boy.

We will be tandem nursing this April. Ivey is not going to give it up. She comes up to me and says "mummah?" and gives me a sad face. I used to think she was talking to me, but then I figured out this is how she asks to breastfeed. We know this for sure because she asks one of our friends the same thing at church if she sees her nursing her little baby. Anyway, If I don't give her what she wants she'll start whining and pulling at my shirt. It's like an emergency when she wants to nurse. She gets panicked over it. When she can see I'm getting ready to pick her up and nurse her she giggles and jumps up and down.

Suzi is so theatrical. She puts on "shows" for everyone, singing and dancing like she's in a Broadway musical with a bowl or something on her head for a costume. I'd love for her to be in some plays if she's still into that in a few years. Jordan mentioned, and now we have this silly little fantasy, that someday she might play Toby in a local production of Sweeney Todd. It's the perfect part for her. ("Ladies and gentlemen may I have your attention puh-leeeaase!") But not until she's grown up, of course. It's a dark, dark play. She always wants to play boy parts. My little Suzi, the triple-threat performer.

This was Suzi's idea.

Robin is moving around more now. I felt it for the first time at 16 weeks and 5 days, and now there are usually a couple of episodes a day in which I feel movement for several minutes. The other day I was holding Ivey during her nap and Robin was kicking her.

Ivey is talking some now. Her words so far: Hewwo! Bye-bye! Puh-pie! (That's her version of peekaboo.) Ball, more, "gie dat back!" I'm sure there are others she doesn't use as much that I'll remember later, and there are lots of unintelligible sentences spoken. She still uses her pterodactyl screech to communicate frustration for just about any reason. She climbs the stairs and can come back down safely by herself, although we still stay right there with her.

Suzi's drawings are getting really fun now. She loves to draw people. One day she drew me getting angry in the van on our way to church because my cup of water tipped out of the cup holder and got my pants all wet and we had to go home for me to change. Then the other day she drew a picture of our family, and she drew each of us in our favorite color. She even drew a smiling little Baby Robin, who she insists is a girl. Maybe she's right. It wouldn't surprise me too much, considering she knew I was pregnant before anyone else.

It's quite busy around here, and it's about to get even busier yet, but I love it. I love them all. Not sure what we did before we had them.