Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Party

I'm so excited!  

My kids are finally old enough to introduce them to the wonderful series of Harry Potter books.  Well, maybe only my (almost) eight year old, Bayne.  It might be a little too involved for Aubrey, 5 1/2, who is not at all satisfied with the tiny little drawing at the top of each chapter as pictures.  Books simply MUST have pictures in Aubreyland. She's been a good sport and wanders off and entertains herself durning some of the longer chapters.  Bayne, on the other hand, would have me read the book cover to cover in one night.  If we run late to bed and have to skip a night of reading he gets SO upset.  I secretly find joy in this.

I adore his passion for reading.

So we started and we finished the very first Harry Potter book.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Neither of my kids have ever seen the movies, so I thought if the book was a hit we could have a little Harry Potter Book Finished / Movie Viewing Party!  

I picked out one craft for us to do.  I found this great blog post on how to make your own Harry Potter wand.  It seemed easy enough and I had all the supplies.  They came out really cool!  

I will let you in on a secret the original blog poster did not tell you.  It is a serious labor of love.  You will need SEVERAL glue sticks.  I made a huge dent in my 100 pack, okay!  And my poor hand ... oh man!  I got a blister on my thumb from trigger finger.  If you have carpal tunnel, get some help with this.  It's not something the kids can help you with either, since it's hot glue.  Two wands was the limit for me.  They are pretty cool and sturdy, though.  I added a clear sealant over mine, just to prevent the paint from chipping off, since we used cheap Crayola washable paint.

While our wands dried, we popped on the flick!  
They all look so little, don't they?

I made hot chocolate with marshmallows ...

.... got Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (aka: Jelly Belly Beans) ....

...got Chocolate Covered Frogs (aka: Junior Mints) ...

.... and some Kettle Corn ...

... and we munched and we watched and we enjoyed!

I even had all the tree trimmings ready for us to decorate our tree during the Christmas time part of the movie.  

After the movie, Aubrey seemed to be WAY more interested in reading the next book.  Hopefully it will help for her to have some idea of who the characters are and what they look like.  She's really enjoying her wand.  She is queen of pretend play.  She has been running around shouting "Winguardium Leviosa" and making her stuffed animals fly into the air.  So cute!

Here are the kids trying to turn each other into frogs, no doubt.  

The best part for me about was after watching the movie that night when I put them to bed I asked Bayne which he liked more, the book or the movie.  With no hesitation his response was the book.  

That's my boy!

We started Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tonight.  The second book in the series. 
We are all very excited!  Even though I have read the series before it is even more fun to share the magic and bring it to life with my kids!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Crafts from the Past

I pulled out all the Christmas decorations over the weekend and I had so much fun re-discovering all the different Christmas crafts we made last year.  So many new additions we added to the celebration.  I figured I would share them again briefly, in case you are inspired to create some of these fun holiday decorations for your home, too.  Just click on the link below the picture to take you directly to the original post to find out how to make it yourself!

I also made some really fun Christmas coasters and braided bowls from christmas fabric scraps, but I never did take pictures or do a tutorial.  I will do my best to post those before Christmas.  They are both rather easy ways to use up old scraps of fabric and turn them into something fun and festive.  You can also use regular fabrics to make coasters and bowls that you can use all year long.  It may be more likely that I do a post using some regular fabrics, since I have myself pretty over scheduled at the sewing machine from now until Christmas.  

I've already made several handmade gifts for Christmas this year.  My mom is getting a couple things (I'd say, but she may read it).  I made the kids and I matching pj pants from fabric Coca-Cola fabric their Grammy gave me.  I made Aubrey's piano teacher a really cool fabric folder (I totally need to photograph this because I love it and it was SOOO easy to make).  It looks like a very large envelope, big enough for him to hold his papers in.  Each of the kids teachers will get a set of two of the holiday coasters I mentioned I made last year (I made a bunch - there are several on sale at D'Boutique in downtown Manhattan Beach!).  I have plans to do some applique shirts for the kids.  Aubrey already has two plain shirts in her closet - one black long sleeve we got to go under her halloween costume and a plain green t-shirt we got for a field trip at school.  Those will be transformed.  The black will have a fabric heart with piano music sewn onto it and the green will get a Creeper face (from Minecraft).  I'm going to make one of the Creeper shirts for Bayne, too.  I also want to make him a Creeper stuffed doll.  Bayne also has a birthday coming up and I plan on making all the kids my famous pencil cases for party favors.  I may be in over my head on this one.  Luckily we are keeping it at around 10 kids max, so it shouldn't be too much work and I have all the fabric on hand.  I just had to buy the zippers.  I would also like to make some more felt toys for Aubrey from my cool felt book, but I don't know if I will have the time.  We make gifts for the neighbors every year, too, so I have to make sure to save time to do that, as well.  I think we may make felt coasters for everyone this year.  I was thinking it would be fun to have the kids help me sew them and pick out the colors they want for each neighbor.  We will see .... so much to do!

I don't know how Santa does it?!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Dress

I was digging though my fabric stash the other day and stumbled on this funky fabric and it screamed Thanksgiving dress.  When fabric speaks to me ... I listen :)

It's from my vintage fabric collection.

I had this pattern that I haven't tried out yet and it was the perfect fit. 
Butterick B5030
Here is my Thanksgiving dress all finished!

My silly turkeys and me.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  

Now time to get cooking!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A "Totally Not Me" Dress

I have been slowly working my way through all the vintage fabric I was given by a neighbors friend.  I have posted all my creations along the way.  I had only one dress and a shirt left to sew from this pile of fabric and patterns you see below.

I paired the grey and coral fabric together (upper right hand corner) and chose the pattern below to experiment with.  I used pattern A.  The fabric wasn't exactly the perfect fabric for the pattern, but I went for it anyway.

 Here is how it came out.  It is completely lined with the coral fabric.  The grey is pretty sheer.  I had to add a bow to the front of the midriff because the seams were showing through the coral fabric and the fabric sort of hung limply on the top instead of being bunched up.  Just not a good fabric choice for that type of gathering.  I'm not a huge fan of bows, but it kind of works.

Here is a side view.

And the back.  I haven't pressed it yet ... oops!

It took me forever to get around to doing this dress.  It's not a favorite for me.  I'm not sure if it was the fabric that I wasn't feeling or the pattern.  I doubt I would have ever picked these fabrics to work with if they hadn't been given to me for free.  I was a little hasty in making this dress, too, since I wasn't really feeling it.  I cut it a little short.  I probably could have taken even more time perfecting the midriff.  Sewing takes a lot of time and altering takes forever!  There is a point when you have to assess how many hours of wear a garment is going to get against how many hours you spend constructing it.  I don't really think this dress will get much wear, so it is what it is and here it is on me.

I realized something after I tried this on and that is that I really don't like gathered bodices.  I have another dress I made that I want to like, but every time I wear it it bugs me  ....  and it's the gathered bodice!  I actually went in and tacked down some of the gathers on either side of the bodice on this dress near the midriff.  It was super bubbly on the sides.  I guess I just prefer something a little more fitted.  We will see if this gets any wear.  Not sure what it would be good for, but it most likely be hanging in my closet until spring.  

At least I can check it off my list.  Only one more garment to go from my Fun With Free Vintage Fabric collection.  I fired up the Serger for the first time the other day, which I need in order to finish the final garment.  That thing is crazy!  I'm going to need a little time getting to know my new Brother before I tackle it.  That and a LOT more thread.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'd Rather Be Boarding

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  Foolishly, I thought the kids starting back at school would free up some time for me to sew ... HA!  I've been more busy than ever. Aubrey only goes for 3 1/2 hours, so it doesn't leave me with tons of free time. Between preparing food, taking kids back and forth to school, squeezing in shopping and laundry during school hours,  and all the extra stuff we do after school (hip hop/piano lessons/play dates/homework/etc), the days just fill up and fly by.

 I should be honest, though.  Now that school is in,  I do use many of my 3 1/2 hours of freedom to do something for ME.  As much as I do love to sew, one of my other passions is working out.  I love to exercise and stay fit.  My most favorite way to do this aside from lifting weights and walking is to body board.  I just love it!  Unfortunately, I did not get to do much of it this summer, when you would expect me to.  With school out, I have the kids all but a few days for those 2 1/2 months, which means no body boarding for Mama.  The kids aren't old enough for me to be able to leave them on the sand and paddle out just yet, so I spend most of my time in the sand or shallow water jumping the waves.  Which I also love to do.

Since school has started, my body board, wax, and fins have a permanent spot in the back of my truck and the surf report is my morning news.  If there are waves, I try to get myself down there at least two to three times a week or more if possible.  I probably should be sewing, or cleaning, or doing something around the house, but I NEED the break.  More importantly, I DESERVE it.  I work really hard and even Mom's need to do something for themselves, to fill their cup, to make their heart happy. For me ... that is body boarding.  Something about a morning spent in the water catching waves makes a tremendous difference on my attitude, my day, my life!  I always feel fantastic when I get out of the water.  Best natural high there is.  I've been in love with it since I was a child.  I tried surfing for a while when I was in Jr High and again as an adult, but my true love is body boarding.  I got my first body board when I was 5 years old.  My mom kept us at the beach all summer long.  I spent the entire time in the water.  After the Painted Cave fire that took our home when I was 13, the first thing my mom replaced was my Mach 7.7 body board and Church Hill fins.  As long as I had those, I was going to survive.  Here is a picture of me, probably 6 years old or so, on the way to the beach with my first body board.  Impatiently waiting for my mom to hurry up and get me there, so I could get in the water.

Who knew that 30 years later I would still be as passionate and as anxious to get in the water and board as I was at 6 years old.  I still love it!  People always ask me why I don't surf instead.  It's not that I don't like surfing, but I never got very good at it and never really cared to.  I just prefer to sponge.  That is what surfers always call body boarders ... Spongers ... because the board is ... well, like a sponge!  They also like to call us speed bumps .... I prefer sponger for obvious reasons :).

Recently, a neighbor gave me a bunch of new, blank t-shirts and I have been finding fun ways to re-fashion them.  I have had a silly idea for a body boarding shirt design for a long time.  It's hard to find body boarding shirts, since most brands cater to the surfer population.  I still haven't gotten all the supplies I need in order to do real screen printing, so I just did a ghetto version using modge podge, sheer fabric, and a quilting hoop.  Here is my vision come to life:

I had an idea of using the image of the women on the back of the truck flaps that you always see, but having her sitting on top of a body board with fins.  I don't know if anyone else in the world would get a kick out of this, but I do!  Probably only other "spongers" will get this, but that's ok!  I'm just happy to have the idea out of my head and onto my shirt.  Now I have the perfect shirt to slip my salty self into after getting out of the water.  I know it's a little silly, but I'm entertained and that's all that matters :)

Today, I'm dreaming of the beach.  The waves are up and although we have reports of Great Whites in the area I am still dying to get out into the water.  We had no surf for a week and then Bayne was sick all last week, so I haven't been out in two weeks.  Aubrey was sick all weekend and even though I wanted to keep her home an extra day, she was well enough to go back to school.  The thought of waves and the warm sun we have shining down on us today were helping me motivate myself to turn off the over protective parent and push her back to school.  Unfortunately, the over protective parent was right .... my little girl threw up just before we left for school.  I'm a little sad I can't get in the water today, but I'm secretly happy she gets to rest at home another day and very grateful she got sick before we left home or I ended up in the water and unable to be reached by the school.  

With Aubrey and all her medical issues it is very hard for me to turn off the "Mom" and let myself be "Erinn".  I get worried every time I paddle out. 

"What if the nurse calls?"
"What if Aubrey passes out at school and I'm boarding?"
"What if they get sick and is stuck waiting for an hour or more while I'm in the water?"
"What if Bayne gets hurt and I miss the call?"

I have a lot of worries that bounce around in my head and it's hard to turn them all off, but "Mom" does deserve a break and a chance to be "Erinn" and I have to allow myself some time to enjoy and relax and trust that they both will be ok and are safe while at school.  The ocean keeps me sane.  A sane Mom is a good Mom. :)

Tomorrow, it's on, though...

Let's Sponge Bitch!