Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's All Fun

A couple of Saturdays ago, Jackson was invited to attend the birthday party of one of his former kindergarten classmates. The mother told me her daughter loved arts and crafts, so I thought a pencil roll would be perfect for her. I made three. Well, not all for the birthday girl. Two for my children and one for "Heather G." These are the first I have made and I was surprised at how easily they came together. There were some kinks along the way (the real reason I made three), but I used what I had -- entirely from my stash.

And I finally finished Spenser's twirly skirt from yore. Actually, it's been done for a couple of weeks, I just kept forgetting to blog about it. Although I think it still took a month to finish. Again, I used what I had. (Are you noticing all the sentences started with "A" in this paragraph? Assuredly it was not done on purpose -- except this sentence.)

Today is the end of the Use What You Have Challenge, so both of these are heading to Flickr.

And now for the fun.

If I were a Simpson, I would look like this:

Karyn would look like this:
And Capello with her new self-feathering 'do would look like this:

I took actual photos of these ladies and Simpsonized them. This is what came out. (You can also change hair, eyes, etc. if you want.) I also Simpsonized my children, which they all loved.

You can also create an avatar from scratch here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I'm Baaaaaaack

Ahhh. That was nice.

We finally decided to come home from "camping." It was a nice little break. Even though we only went to Gettysburg (which is only about a half hour away), it felt like a vacation. I guess we crossed the Mason-Dixon line and were in a different state, so that totally counts. Right?

Joe's parents, sister (and her husband, her two kids and his two kids) and half-sister (and her son) were all there. We rented three cottages and one camping site. We were all in close proximity to each other and shared all meals together. There was some drama (as is always associated with his sister), but not as much as I expected. Sometimes it was fun to just sit back and watch. Free entertainment.

While we were there, we had a birthday celebration for Joe's mother. We decorated the outside of her cottage with balloons and streamers (and hanging flower pots). The children loved it. So did she.

We ate. And then we ate some more. And then ... we ate some more. Yup. Lots of eating going on. And swimming. The campground has two pools. And a miniature golf course. Lots of things to keep us busy.

We were having so much fun, that on Thursday morning (when we were supposed to leave to come home), Joe and I decided to stay an extra night. It was a great decision because we were able to get some more family time with just our little ones.

When we came home Friday, we had to get an estimate on our main floor's central air unit, which went out last weekend. They are here this morning replacing the unit. The unit that is less than seven years old. The unit that just had major work done on it 1 1/2 years ago. The unit that is no longer under warranty (nor was it 1 1/2 years ago). Not fun. But at least we'll have air conditioning again on the first floor.

I stuck photos of our camping trip on Flickr. You can see them here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Day Camp - Family Style

Friday afternoon the boys' Cub Scout Day Camp was coming to an end. It was an afternoon of family picnics;

a.k.a. pizza eating (Pack picnic for 8 or buy a pizza? Buy a pizza!);


blackberry picking;

skits - Taylor the mummy;

more skits - Carter;

sitting around;

and Taylor's "regular" look. Smiles are rare. He's 10 1/2 with an attitude.

We're heading out of town for a few days to go "camping." We're going to a better place than last year. At least it was better 3 years ago when we went there last. (Eww. Remember this story from last year? I can't forget it! I'm checking everything good before we pack it up!)

Updated to add: I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but Taylor received "honorable mention" for BB shooting at Day Camp. He scored 49 out of 50, with the winner scoring 50. When they called his name, they called "Tyler ..." and mispronounced our last name (skipping the middle syllable). Taylor didn't go up at first until someone corrected the emcee. (Two years ago, he won first in the county at Day Camp.) Go, Taylor!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Swing Smock

I ordered the new Bend the Rules Sewing book from Amazon when it first came out and was itching to make something from it. Something. Anything. I decided one night that it would be the swing smock. I tried to enlarge the pattern the best I could on our 3-in-1 printer, but unfortunately it has pre-set enlargement scales and none was quite right, even though I enlarged the enlargements.

It's a little short, but it fits Spenser and that's all that matters. She likes wearing it. She just doesn't like the camera too much. She ran around the house saying (in her most pip-squeaky voice), "No, Mommy. No, Mommy," as she giggled and ran through the house. Once in awhile shooting me a smile in her delight that I was chasing her and giggling with her.

And slid down the steps. Over and over ...

It's reversible, too. And, I made it completely from my stash (as is everything I've made lately) for the challenge. I just need to start adding to the flickr group.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another Birthday Tote

My friend, Christy, had a birthday on Sunday. In true Lera style, I didn't finish her birthday tote in time. It was only one day late, so not too bad. And better late than never, right?

I used Alexander Henry's Diamond Eye fabric for the out exterior and inside pocket. If you remember, I used this fabric before, for Kim's birthday apron. I even used the jumbo red rickrack again.

I lined the bag in solid red and included a divided pocket that is sized for a cell phone on one side and something else on the other.

Christy likes red, black and white together, so this tote came together pretty quickly. I was really "feeling" it. However, there are about four remaining birthday totes that I am late sewing.

They are cut out, but I'm not "feeling" them. So there they sit ... awaiting inspiration.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Day Camp

The boys seem to be loving Day Camp. Each day when they come home they are exhausted, but happy and smiling, too. This is Carter's first year.
This is Taylor's last year to participate. Next year he will probably volunteer as a Den Chief. (Who knows, I may volunteer next year. I'm just sayin'.)
We lingered a little longer today to watch (or hear) the stampede of boys running down the hill for the flag ceremony. I couldn't find my boys in the crowd. Jack, Mason and I searched for them, but we didn't see them. However, after looking at this photo, I think the boy in the bottom left corner in the tan shorts is Carter. It's hard to tell. They all look alike with their tan shirts and hats. Even the leaders start looking alike with their blue shirts and white hats.

The house has been a little more quiet with only four in the house during the day. It's nice. Of course, when one of the four is a little girl, it's really not all that quiet. On days like this, I'm happy to only have one girl.


I have to run the boys to Cub Scout Day Camp, but I'll be back later for a proper post.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Pouch

Last week, before I got sick, I sewed a little. My friend, Nikki's birthday was Tuesday, so I sewed her a little zippered pouch. I realize that this is the "year of the tote," however I made her a tote last year for her birthday.

She told me a few months back that she liked the wristlets I had made for the nursing home because she liked to carry around something small. I stored that information in my brain for the past four months. And then I almost forgot about it. I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago and it was the first thing I thought of. I love when that happens.

I used scraps of the cheery cherry fabric from Diane and lined it with, what else? Why, red gingham, of course! I still have one more project destined for the rest of the cherry fabric. For Spenser.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Weekend Recap

Thank you for all of your get-well wishes. They worked. Well, that and some antibiotics. By Saturday morning I was feeling pretty good. A little sore still, but fever-free, chill-free, and body-ache-free. It was a nice feeling.

We had a busy weekend together.
Carter planted an earth "garden" with weeds and such from around the yard. He took great care in planting them just so and watering them. In fact, he inspired Jack to start one, too. Unfortunately, they are both in the middle of the yard. Fortunately, the grass is beyond dead in that spot so we won't have to worry about mowing them down.

Taylor found fun in an old broomstick. He would jump off the bench toward the other one and then start again.

We found a rooster walking around our neighbor's yard. It was very odd. They don't have a rooster. They have 4 or 5 very large dogs, but no rooster. (I warned my neighbor about the rooster so they wouldn't let their dogs loose. I haven't seen the rooster lately, so I'm hoping he made it home safely.)
Jack had to swing because he wasn't playing nicely with the other children. He's swinging with an attitude.
You know I'm feeling better here, because I'm jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Yes, that's me ... in my pajama bottoms. We had to get a new trampoline on Saturday because our old one dry-rotted.Joe opened a coconut for the kids. They hated the milk. (Can you blame them, though?) And they mostly hated the coconut. It was a novelty and they enjoyed the process.

And I love this picture of Taylor, my oldest. He never wants to have any fun. Ever. Well, at least not around us. He has fun with his friends and cousins, and sometimes with his brothers, but never expresses it around us. This picture was taken by accident. They were watching Joe open the coconut and I was snapping away.

I love weekends like this.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Trash Picking

I'm sick. Again. Yesterday morning I came down with another case of mastitis. I really feel like I am going to die. Still. I'm on antibiotics and ibuprofen, but they aren't working yet.

I have a few WIPs, but I don't feel like taking their pictures, so I'll show you this dollhouse instead:

On Monday afternoon when I went to pick up the boys from sports camp, I spied this dollhouse in a neighbor's trash pile. When we came back from school, I stopped and had my oldest son grab it. He kept thinking he was stealing it, especially as a police car drove by just as he was putting it in the car. The look on my son's face was priceless.

After I brought it home, Spenser and Mason just laid on the deck and studied it. It was dirty, so it stayed there until I had a chance to wipe it down.

All of the children have loved playing with it. Spenser, of course, loves it most of all. Every day when Joe comes home from work, she shows him the dollhouse.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shorts & Summer Days

This week (while the boys are at sports camp and the baby is napping) I've gotten some sewing time in. I finished five more pairs of shorts for the baby to match all the onesies I appliqued for his "spring" outfits. These really whip up so quickly and take so little fabric.

I don't use a real pattern. I trace existing pairs of his pants, add seam allowances, and draw my template onto poster board. I then just pull out my template, trace, cut, and sew. Simple. And for shorts, I just cut the legs shorter. I also make reminder notes on the template with elastic size, Sawyer's age, etc.

I have used this tutorial in the past, which explains it better, but I use my own method.

For the past two days, my five oldest children have been playing with water, sidewalk chalk, and the kitchen set.
They are mixing the water with the chalk, which is tinting the water. They say they are making smoothies. I think they were giving them Star Wars names, like "Jedi Juice." It has kept them completely entertained for hours. Hours. Very nice. And if they are fighting, I can't hear them. Have I said how nice it's been?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Rock !

Apparently, I rock!

Kirsten nominated me (me!) for a Rockin' Girl Blogger Award. I feel like I should stand up and give a big pageant-wave to everyone. Instead, though, I think I'll just say "Thank you. Thank you very much" in my best/worst Elvis impersonation and nominate five more rockin' girls.

Only five? This is a hard one. Let's see:

Sarah - This girl is the ultimate thrift finder.

Amanda Jean - She is an amazing quilter.

Beki - She works full-time and has three children and is a wonderful seamstress. She can do it all and makes it all look easy.

Jessica - Oh my, Jessica. If you want a good laugh, this is the blog to read. Get your tissues ready. She is hilarious.

Laura - Laura is another one. She is hysterical. Over-the-top hysterical. She's also the nicest person ever. Ever.

I would also nominate Karyn, but she's vacationing and isn't reading blogs this week. But she's a great gal. She sews, geocaches (and is usually a good sport about it), she's very generous and kind, and she cracks me up.

If you don't know these Rockin' Girl Bloggers, go check them out.

Keeping Cool

My three oldest boys (Taylor, Carter and Jackson) are going sports camp every afternoon this week. It's just like the $5 art camp they went to a couple of weeks ago. With temperatures reaching the upper 90's plus humidity, I've been worried for them. So over the weekend I sewed a few neck coolers (a.k.a. "cooler ties") for them to wear to stay cool.

They are sewn with "pockets" and the pockets are filled with watering crystals (I used Schultz Moisture Plus, found at Home Depot for $8), which after soaking in water, absorbs the water and turns into a gel, like a disposable diaper.

I made one at first to test the amount of watering crystals. I used too much the first time (1/2 tsp. per pocket). It kind of looked like fat sausage links. This is Mason modeling the first neck cooler:

And then I made three more (Mason wanted one of his own) with about 1/4 tsp. per pocket.

This is the "Mom-I-have-to-go-to-the-bathroom" look.

I made these just in time, too, because all of next week Taylor and Carter are attending an all-day cub scout day camp. Last year it was the hottest week of the summer.

(A few notes: The neck coolers retain the water very well. They are still cold and wet after several days. And they are re-usable. Just dry them out and dehydrate to store. You just soak them to rejuvenate them, even if they are still moist and haven't dried out completely. If you use the watering crystals they suggest in the tutorial, they say you can also heat the neck cooler in the microwave after it's been soaked. I haven't tried it yet with my brand.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Yay for "Long" Weekends

Baby in his outfit.

A new toilet tank. (Now, if only it will flush better!)
Sippy-cup drinking and hair twirling.
Jack's "bubble butt." (Yes, that pillow is in his pajama bottoms. And he's sleeping.)

Sprinkler fun.

Pool fun.S'mores for some.
Graham crackers for others.
A very familiar scene in our house: Sawyer trying to steal Spenser's sippy cup.
Another familiar scene: Sawyer upset because Spenser grabbed it before him.
We had a great weekend. It seemed extra long. I guess it may be because Joe came home around noon on Friday, after being out of town. It gave us a jump start to a fabulous, family-fun-filled weekend.