Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Castle Toys

One of my girls' favorite pastimes is playing with their "castle toys" or Schleich toys.  I highly recommend these to any parent.  They are so durable and imaginative, and if the kids take one or two to church, they're quiet.  They're my kids' favorites toys to take with them in the car too.  
Elena spent the other day making whole ecosystems for her toys.  So cute!  The polar bear cub on ice.

The alligators in their river.

The whales and sharks in the ocean.

The hippo in his pond with fish for eating.

Bamboo forest for the panda cub.

A corral for all the farm animals, and a pond for the geese.

The dinosaur is where the melt-down happened.  She didn't know where a dinosaur would live, and even after several suggestions from me and looking through our Childcraft dinosaur book, there was much tears and wailing about not knowing how to draw palm trees, etc.  

She eventually recovered though.  

And was all smiles again by the time I took the photos.

 Here's Isabel and her prince and princess kissing!  Shocking, I know.  :)  She only cares about princesses.
 And Elena another day with the castle toys.

 Her fairy prince was tied up because he wanted to marry the wicked dragon fairy.
The dragon fairy is tied up too--to keep her away from the fairy prince.  Oh, the drama.   Anyway, good times, and hours of fun.  Best investment ever.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

So much to catch up on.

Last week we made meringue cookies for Isabel's Family Home Evening treat.  They were supposed to look like baby chicks.  Yeah, that didn't really work.  I eventually convinced her to stick with "flowers" instead, which I just made the regular meringues with a star shaped nozzle.  Anyway, good times.  Sebastian was especially helpful washing dishes afterwards.
 He's a funny kid, he'll sit and want to help me cook longer than either of the two girls do, (or ever did).
 Wearing Mom and Dad's shoes.  Notice Ana in the background holding up my $25 dress form.  Yeah, that dress form isn't much in the way of a dress form, but it is better than stuffing pillows in a sewing project which is what I used to do.
 Isabel loves the dress form by the way, she said she wants one for her birthday, so she can dance with it.
 Last Friday, Elena asked me in the most sad voice, "When am I EVER going to have pajamas again that don't have pants? What are they called?'  To which I responded, "A nightgown."  Anyway, I let her choose a nightgown pattern that night, pulled out some fabric from my stash which she loved (all she wanted was fabric with flowers), and made her a nightgown the next day.
It has a definite '70's vibe because of the jumbo orange rick-rack, (I got that at the DI last summer) but Elena LOVES it and has worn it every night since.  Leo gets super kudo points for keeping the kids on task doing their Saturday's chores while I sewed all morning.  He's so sweet.  But I did make waffles for breakfast, and lunch and dinner and cleaned the kitchen and did the ironing, so it wasn't like I was totally useless sewing right?  My only problem was that it was supposed to be a floor length nightgown, but Elena wanted it shorter, and I cut it too short and now she'll grow out of it quicker. I wanted it kind of mid-calf and it's exactly to her knees.   Errr.   Otherwise, it turned out great.  I love sewing simple things. So relaxing and non-stressfull.  Which, in other news, I started the kids' Halloween costumes and finished pieces of both Elena's and Sebastian's.  Love them!!!  I can't wait for Halloween!
Isabel and her silky dress.  Remember I just made this for Isabel?  She hasn't taken it off since.  Practically anyway.  She sleeps in it, wears it all day, insists on wearing a bib at meal time so she won't spill on it and have to put it in the wash.  Yeah, kudo points to me for making that one.  :)  I'm seriously never going to try to make actual clothing again, it's so much more rewarding sewing fun and easy stuff for my kids.

And what do you think?  Should we go for the blue beast?

Oh, and this weekend was so fun, after working and sewing on Saturday, we went Monday morning to a splash pad for a couple of hours and then ate lunch, and then we took the kids to a mall.  We started this new thing with Ana--we gave her $300 to buy her own clothes for the year, (I got the idea from a book) and then she has to be responsible to shop sales, match her wardrobe, budget and make the money last till next year.  I told her we would just buy her two outfits for church and new church shoes when she needed them, and that's it.  She's responsible for everything else.  Anyway, she was really excited, and while Leo played with the little kids at the play area, we went to Aeropostale and Target and Lands End, where she bought shorts and shirts and a new swimsuit.  She loved it!  Apparently all she's ever wanted in life is a couple Aero t-shirts.  :)  It was a good time, Leo was happy not shopping, the kids were happy playing, and Ana was super happy buying her own clothes.

Oh and Leo got a new calling as YM's secretary.  And Ana goes to girl's camp in one week!!!  Oh my goodness, I can't believe I have a daughter going to girl's camp already.  So exciting for her.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Question about what to sew next.

I feel like sewing.  My question is, what to sew next?    Please tell me your opinion, everyone that knows me, knows I'm completely indecisive, so I really do appreciate comments. Keep in mind for almost all of these projects, I already have the fabric--if it's enough.
  Here's the options

This vintage maternity pattern.  I already have it cut out and the cutest fabric I bought just for this in specific.  I think it will be easy except for my typical pattern alterations.  

This Burda maternity dress.  I think I have enough fabric for it in a really cute blue, but it's really complex, and might be really hard.  However, it probably has the best chance of turning out wearable of any of my maternity dress attempts so far because it actually is a recent maternity pattern.

Actual dresses (the view on the left with the aprons) for my girls to wear as regular clothes.  Not costumes!  Imagine that.  I bought the fabric for it over a year ago!

This sweet costume for my girls (bottom right dress).  Again, I have gold curtains and whatnot from DI for the fabric of this one--if it's enough to make it.  Or some blue tablecloths.  Plus I have already cut out a  crinoline slip to make the skirt really poof out that I could finish too.

Or I could start working on Halloween.  We're going pirate this year.  Ana's choice.  Isabel is getting the same costume as Ruthie last year (see here).  She actually wants to be a princess, but I told her she could be a pirate princess.  I don't think I've completely convinced her yet.  And maybe baby Nicolas could be the bottom left?  

Elena declared herself captain, demands to have a telescope and wants the full coat one here. And I think I'm just going to try to do the vest for Sebastian.

And Ana, for her last year of trick-or-treating, just wants the vest, boots, and shirt, and not the coat, because she doesn't want to be too hot.

If you're wondering about Leo and I, he actually agreed to dress up this year, if there's a ward party.  But that's a last priority.  I'm NOT making him the same coat as Sterling's.  Not this year anyway.  And for me, I'm going to take apart my Renaissance dress (remember this way back when) and take off the top--it's torn anyway--and make the bottom into a skirt. Then I'll make myself a pirate wench shirt, and I'm seriously considering making another corset.  It was quite fun to make Lindsay's.  See why I need to start early on this?


 Anybody remember this dress?  I started it last year while I was taking sewing lessons in the spring.  It was practically finished, and that's when I realized that it made me look horribly pregnant.  NOT what I wanted when I definitely was not pregnant.  Anyway, I pulled it out again, because now I am pregnant and I figured I could finish and it wouldn't matter that it made me look pregnant because I am pregnant.
So here it is, mostly finished (I still have to hand sew some of the lining on the inside.)  
Here's the pattern, McCalls M5805.  So what do I think of the finished project?  Umm, ambivalent.  I think the fit is wrong.  And I lost the waistband pieces, because I unpicked that part, but then I have no idea where that or the pattern pieces disappeared too.  Anyway, I made my own waistband, but it ended up too big, or it needed to be trapezoidal instead of rectangular or something, because it was really weird and I had to add tucks in on the side.  I think that might be that due to pregnancy--my bust is no longer the same size as when I started it.  And the sleeves are two tight in one area only, I don't really know how to describe it, because they're loose and poofy, (I like your sleeves, they're really poofy.) but somehow they still manage to be tight when I am moving my arms.  

 Also, it still feels kind of frumpy, albeit wearable.  This whole sewing for myself is a pain.  I think I'll have to forgo the other two maternity dresses I want to sew, and sew some costumes instead.  That's much more fun!  :)  And satisfying.  Oh, but on a good note, I sewed in the invisible zipper perfectly!!!!  Yeah!!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Backyard Daydreaming

I love flowers, and one exciting thing about planning to live in this house for the next 4 yrs or so, is that Leo thinks our backyard needs some work.  Yeah!  This year all we could manage was to replace my houseplants (one I had since before Elena was born), sniff, sniff.  The movers wouldn't take them. And then I planted some flowers, because really, every house needs some flowers.   So here's my Lobelia and drooping Vinca (poor neglected plant) and some Scotch moss, all outside our dining room window where we can see it at every meal.  :)

 I bought this plant (the name is escaping me at the moment--cane plant?  corn plant?) for our living room, to brighten it up.  However it wasn't doing so hot, so I went back and read the instructions which said it needed FULL SUN--it wasn't even getting any direct sunlight in our gloomy living room, so I moved it outside.
Petunias and vinca and such,  I love the planters and hanger but I need to move it to the other side of the door.  

Because my gorgeous hibiscus needs to be moved to the other side of the door, so we can see it from the dining room too.  Really if you live in a climate where you can grow hibiscuses, you should grow one.  It's criminal not to.  

And a mandevilla to cover up the trash.

And a gardenia--again it should be criminal not to grow gardenias when you can.  I love gardenias.  

And my few herbs (the basil died--what's with that???  The bugs ate my basil in Utah so it died there too.)  And actually one of my favorite planters, begonias (I usually don't like begonias, but the real estate agent gave it to us), and coleus and whatever else that is.  

And a hanging basket because I needed something to hang on my hook, right?  Sadly, the hummingbird feeder is only feeding ants, and suddenly one day the pink stuff just turned clear again.  Weird.  

So this is our patio off of our kitchen and dining room.  The curtains are kind of cool, but sort of pointless.  They're so close together that the area they enclose would never fit a table, and even if you put two chairs inside, it would feel claustrophobic.  Just my opinion.  

 See, I need to change the hibiscus and the hanging plants, and then stick the bikes in the corner.
Other angle.

And another angle.  I think I need to put a huge planter of elephant ears or something in that corner.  It's kind of dull. The Lobelia is pretty, but doesn't fill it enough.  What do you all think?
Someday if I had the money I'd have furniture like this there. 

And then here on this part I'd have a table with an umbrella.
This is daydreaming, remember?  

 Anyway this is how our yard looks now.  In the space behind the garage that's fenced off separately (someone must have had a dog once) we're planning on putting a playground and some raised garden beds, because it gets the most sun.

 And a black currant bush by the garage too but by the other corner, if I can find one that will do well in Texas.  
Then I plan on planting a Rose of Sharon back there in the corner by the garage and the chain link fence.

And then I would plant these day lilies in the beds in front of the entire chain link fence.

So this part is almost always in the shade.  I would fill it in with these beauties:  

Those would be along that entire back wall, only with some bamboo thrown in.  I love bamboo.  

And then this last wall, it's the sunniest spot in this part of the backyard, and well, lets just say, that once I start looking at flowers, it's hard to pick my favorites, but here's my ideas so far.  


 Irises--oodles of them.  I love irises.

Roses, because I also like roses.  
Lisianthus, because you guessed it, I love LisanthusSweet peas, because I love sweet peas.
 And various other types of lilies.  

Okay, I was a bit carried away. And I won't be able to fit all that.  I know.  And I'm kind of torn between more traditional flowers (sweet peas, roses, irises, poppies) and all the other lilies that have a much more exotic, tropical feel.  So what's your opinion?  Do you think I could successful blend the two?  And the colors, I tried to stick with a common color scheme, (I know it doesn't look that way--but I did).  Leo wanted blues, so it was: blues and purples contrasted with yellows/oranges and maroons.  Is that too wide a palette?  Ha, ha, I just realized that pretty much covered every color.  Yeah.  Well, we wanted a colorful backyard.  I tried to pick plants of varying heights and bloom times too, but I would have to plan it out much better before I bought anything.  Anyway, I don't really know that much about gardening.  I just like to plant things.  And I like flowers.  And this more than likely will just stay daydreams for the most part, although, I think this fall, I will buy some day lilies at least to cover that chain link fence.  And then in the spring a few more perennial plants and little by little each season, try to build it up some more. Anyway, it's really late, I got sucked in looking at irises and I really need to go to bed.  Goodnight all.