Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Raven's Dress

This morning, the first thing I did when Raven woke up was to bring her downstairs and try on her dress.  It's a bit big in the chest, but otherwise I am very happy with how it turned out.  And she seemed perfectly happy to wear it and toddle around in it so, I say, Score!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Dress for Raven

Back when Raven was very, very small... maybe two months old?... I decided that I would knit her a sweater for her first birthday pictures.  Not knowing what size it would be (and neglecting to think about the fact that September is still HOT in Iowa and one-year-olds don't need to be covered from head-to-toe in 80-degree weather), I knitted a rather large sweater.  And... even though my gauge was correct, the sweater ended up being Way. Too. Big.  In fact, I don't doubt Julia could wear it.

Thank goodness I tried the sweater ON Raven a few weeks ago.

That left me wondering WHAT in the world I would put on this child for her pictures.  Julia's pictures were special in that she was sitting in (her) great-great-grandma's rocking chair... I really wanted Raven's pictures to be special too.  Especially considering that there is little doubt that the second child get somewhat less attention than the first child did... i.e., poor Raven often gets the shaft.

I searched online for a dress befitting her beauty, and found a wonderfully cute one and it was ON SALE at crazy8.com, but two days after ordering it, I received an email saying that they were sorry, but the dress was sold out and la-dee-dah.  So, the search began again.  I found these dresses...  Dress #1 and Dress #2, and while neither one truly said "Raven" to me, they gave me an idea and hope.
So, I packed the kids in the car two weekends ago and took them to Des Moines to Joann's, and after some searching, I found fabric and ribbon to make Raven a dress.  I used one of the dresses I know fits her well as the pattern, and went to town.  Part-of-the-way through, I tested it to make sure it would fit her, and I finished it tonight after she went to be.  Voila!  I am VERY happy with the results!  It took everything in me to keep from waking her up just to see if it fit.
Looking forward to having Raven's pictures taken in this dress... yay!

Bucket Fun!

A.k.a... How Daddy "watches" the kids while he is brewing and Mommy is off getting her hair cut.
Julia is in a grain bucket... and apparently it is wild fun to be spun around in this bucket.  (You might recall a picture from almost exactly a year ago when Julia was in the grain bucket... it is much more fun now than it was then...)
And... Raven is in one of those tubs that you buy at the Big Box Store for storing stuff... perfect size for her, I guess, but it's even MORE fun when she has a plastic shower cap on her head, apparently... ha, ha, ha!  This picture had me laughing hard when Adam first showed it to me.  (He uses the shower caps to keep clean kegs... clean.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Heart Hot Glue

I've told two people today that I was going to name this blog post, "I Heart Hot Glue", so there you go.

A few weeks ago I saw this great blog tutorial for a pettiskirt... it is calling my name it and it is definitely on the "to do" list. But, besides the skirt, I was drawn to the satin flower headband... it looked easy and yet pretty and elegant... and I hoped she would write a tutorial for how she did the headband.

Well she did.

Now... I felt I needed a reason to make these headbands for the girls, and Raven's up-and-coming 1-year pictures were the perfect excuse. I had found similarly cute headbands on http://www.etsy.com/, and while I loved many of them, they were all a.) $12 a piece or more and b.) simple looking enough that I KNEW I could make them.

So, while pondering what to have Raven wear for her pictures this last week, I decided a trip to Joann Fabrics in Des Moines was in order and that I would be making these headbands... and yay, here they are!

And, to be honest... I think the total time I have into both of them is an hour... maybe even less? The cost? WAY cheaper than the $12 + tax per headband... and, there is one left over for mom to wear in HER hair too on a bobby pin. Yay!

Picture descriptions:

Picture #1: My "tools"... satin, scissors, a lighter, and a circle-generating object.

Picture #2: Another asset... and the love of my life today... a HOT GLUE GUN!

Picture #3: The "accessories" to my flowers... pretty buttons and beads.

Picture #4: My flowers, completed!

Picture #5: Attaching the flowers to the headbands (I used stretchy lace.)

Picture #6 & 7: Headband Model... JULIA!

Picture #8: Headband Model... RAVEN!

Picture #9: Julia and Raven together -- Mom, we LOVE our headbands!

Picture #10: Complete!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Birthday

Can you tell which member of our family picked out my birthday cake this year? 
Adam and I have slight affinity for Hyvee cake so it is fun to buy the cake AND eat it too.  Last year we shared the cake with church friends and the doctor's office; this year we'll be sharing it with members of our church small group and anyone else who requests it.  Fun, fun!
Adam and Julia sang Happy Birthday to me at lunch today, and I blew out the obligatory imaginary candles.  We are pretty certain that Julia would sing Happy Birthday to me a thousand times if it meant she would receive a piece of cake each time.  My, how that gal loves cake!  Takes after Mommy, that one!  Heh!

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

(Thanks, Rodgers and Hammerstein!)
Yesterday Adam and I left the kids at daycare and hiked it to the State Fair in Des Moines for the morning.  Adam was playing in the Amy Steenhoek and Rising Son band at 11 am, and we thought it would be fun to check out the fair in the morning.
We entered the gates at 9 am and it was a flash of checking out the fair.  We...
... bought a breakfast sandwich.
... went to the Cultural Center to find a friend's pictures on display.
... went to the Ag Building to see the butter cow and seed art.
... bought corndogs (oh, yah, 9:30 am!!!! HA!).
... talked to friends we saw.
... went through the Heritage Village.
... saw a Living History/Rendezvous set-up and talked to a guy who sold tribal flutes.
Then... Adam hiked it back to his truck so that he could get set up for his gig.
This is when things get REALLY interesting (for me, anyway)!  I...
... walked through the exhibits in the Varied Industries Building.
... bought cookies.
... walked through the quilt show (both floors).
... walked through the sheep barn.
... walked through the 4-H exhibit building.
... walked through the sheep barn AGAIN.
... walked through the Hall of Breeds in the big barn.
... saw the big pig.
... walked through the horse barn.
And yes, only 1.5 hours later, at 11:30, I made my way to Adam's gig to watch the rest of the show.  I did more in 2.5 hours at the State Fair yesterday than I have done in the last 4 years!  It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my Dad, today!  He turns 58!
Dad, I hope you have a FANTASTIC day!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rendezvous: Getting Started

Yet another topic I haven't yet touched....
Here is our new "lodge"!
Nope, we're not moving into our backyard, despite the water troubles in the basement.  (Update: Our basement is drying nicely and eventually we'll move back downstairs.)

How to even start this post... though I suppose technically I've already started.
Last weekend, Adam and I took the girls to the Dog Hollow Rendezvous and we were in the paper!  (Oskaloosa, Iowa)  From reading the article, you can probably tell that our plan is to get started in Rendezvous.

It's hard to explain exactly what this is... I would say, it's a mix of living history and reenactment.  Yes, we'll dress up and live in our lodge (see pictures above) as we "camp" in the 1840s for various weekends throughout spring, summer, and fall.
Adam became interested in Rendezvous while he was in high school, and last summer he took me to my first one (actually, it was the Dog Hollow 2009 Rendezvous, and I was VERY VERY PREGNANT).  Despite the heat and the pregnancy, I feel in love... I had a really great time!  We discussed through the fall and winter and thought it might be a fun family project and past time, and this spring (over Memorial Weekend), we went to a Rendezvous in Cantril, Iowa.
Since, we've gone to the Rendezvous in Bentonsport and Oskaloosa.  Through one of Adam's work buddies, we met a couple who was selling much of their equipment.  This included a lodge, at a price that couldn't be beat.  Though we weren't sure WHEN we would be able to start Rendezvous, we knew we couldn't pass up this purchase.  Today we thought it would be a good idea to try and set it up in the backyard.  We still have a few things to learn about setting up our lodge, but here she is, in all her glory!
Basically, we have approximately 15' x 15' inside the lodge, and another substantial bit of space under the fly outside the lodge.  The inner lodge will be our sleeping and storage space, whereas the outside will be the kitchen/dining/living rooms.  You get the idea... much like camping, but in a nice, large canvas tent.  Big grin.
I have patterns and fabric purchased to sew our clothing, Adam is planning furniture to build for our lodge, and we are working out details over the winter to purchase and construct a trailer to transfer our goods about.  We hope to do our first overnight experience next (late) spring.  Until then, we have at least two more Rendezvous planned for the fall. 
We are planning to set up a blog specifically for our Rendezvous past time, and at that time, I'll port over any posts that I write here.  We'll let you know the address when we have it up!

Out for a Family Trip

One of the things I haven't even blogged about yet... my gosh... is Adam's canoe...!  Quickly, I'll say that after two years, he finished his canoe and we launched it for the first time on June 15, 2010.  (Exactly two years after he physically started the project.)
In July, Adam and I took the canoe on an overnight trip on the Wisconsin River... I hope to blog about that yet.
Since, Adam has taken the canoe out with his friend, Roger, and we thought yesterday would be an excellent time to take it out again.
We take the canoe out to the water off of Robert's Creek (park off of G-28 near Pella), where there is a "no wake" rule and boats aren't allowed to motor faster than 3 mph.  Thank goodness!
We have taken the whole family (Adam, me, and the girls) one other time before, and we weren't out very long... it was really hard to get the girls to "share" space in the middle of the canoe, and sadly the front person was of no help to the back person in taking care of their needs.  So, yesterday we split the girls up... Raven in the front with mom, Julia in the back with dad. 
From what I could tell, Julia did really well listening to dad... but... well, Raven... she sounded as though she were a thousand geese descending upon the canoe and attempting to wreck havoc.  Our trip yesterday was truly a workout of the body (it took a lot out of both of us to keep the boat balanced due to the weight distribution and Raven's continued attempts to stand up and flop around and and and... yah, she was wild) and the nerves (imagine a flock of geese descending on you... the sound is... well... Raven emulates the sound very well).  Raven's main gripe was that she wasn't allowed to stand up.

We were out for about an hour before we gave up and got out of the water... the second Raven was out, she was happy as a clam.  Oh, well!  I think next time we'll go out for a long lunch, just the two of us.
But, Julia had a blast, and she threw rocks in at the waters edge (yes, while wearing her life vest) while Adam investigated a leak in our "dry port"... yah, it ain't so dry.  (Due to the "dry port" leak in late July, Adam's iPhone 3 DIED, and now he is the proud owner of an iPhone 4.  Another story afoot......)
All in all we had a good time despite the noise.  We hope you enjoy the pictures!
Pic #1: Adam and the girls; getting ready to launch!
Pics #2 & 3: Raven's hair after her massive cry fest... the tears gave her hair a bit of a wave
Pic #4: Julia throwing rocks
Pics #5, 6, 7, & 8: Adam filling his canoe with water; showing how it still "floats" when water is in it


Friday, August 13, 2010

11 Months!

Raven is 11 months old today!  Wow!

Updates on Raven...

... she still only has two teeth... the two (middle) bottom ones.  But, one would think with the amount of fussing, snotting, and drooling she is doing, more have to be coming soon!
... Raven is standing!  Raven can either stand by letting go after pulling herself up... OR... she can get to the upright position on her own and then stand for a bitty.  It is super fun and she LOVES to do it!
... she can crawl up the stairs!  She has already fallen down them once already as well.  Fun!  (Not really fun.)
... she full-on says "mamamamamamama babababababababa dadadadadadada", but no real words yet.
... she has mimicked waving a few times.
... she still loves to dance (full body wiggle).
... she absolutely loves her big sister, but I think she loves getting in her big sister's business even more.
... she loves to eat crayons, paper, stickers, string, paper, crayons, markers, crayons, paper, and pretty much ANYTHING that finds its way to the floor.
Unfortunately the poor kid has a wicked summer cold right now and it is making sleep for all of us (well, except Julia) difficult the last few days.  We are hoping it is over soon!

First year pictures are September 2nd... can't believe how fast that is coming up and I am excited to share them with you.

We are having a birthday party for her on September 12th... if you are in the area and would like to come or have received an invitation and plan to be there, please let me know!  We are so excited to celebrate her first year of life with family and friends!
Blessings!  Happy 11 months, Ravie!


When a Regular Chair Just Won't Do.......

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No Rain

No rain last night... woohoo!  Thought I'd send updates that are through yesterday of the "official" rain measurements, though folks around town have measured quite a bit more than shown here in their gauges.

Our carpet is starting to dry out a bit and thankfully a friend of Adam's at work lent us a dehumidifier so we have two running now.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big Day for Raven!

Yesterday was one of those Monumental Baby Days for Raven... she showed us two new 'tricks'...

1. She can climb the stairs now.

2. She is able to let go and stand for a period of time on her own.

Adam was behind her the entire time she went up the stairs, and I witnessed periods up to 30 seconds yesterday when she would let go of something and just hang out.

Yay, Raven!


ps. We have a video, but it was taken with Adam's iPhone, and I have no idea how to turn it from a *.MOV file into something usable and postable... Windows doesn't recognize it as a movie format... of course. bah.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

(Images from weather.com.)
This is why we have more water in our basement this morning.

It appears that we will have a few "dry" days, though they will be fairly hot and humid.

I don't have much more to say than that.  I'm pretty tired this morning (combo of storm and Raven)...


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Deja Vu

It seemed like only yesterday that we woke up to water squishing up through our toes as we stepped into the basement.  That was June 12th.

And, this morning.

Thankfully Adam found the water issue this morning before he left for work.  See, we've gotten 8 inches of rain in about 30 hours.  We're expecting more rain tonight.  While we were hoping that the water in June was a one-time fluke caused by crowded gutters, it appears as though we were wrong, and we spent the morning packing away all of the basement stuff again, moving the furniture to the garage, and vacuuming up water. 

Seems like only yesterday that Adam put the finishing touches on the basement after our first bout with water.  Oh, wait, it WAS only yesterday.

This time was much worse than last time, too, or so it seems, as we no longer have padding under our carpet to soak up water.  The water all tries to run to the drain, which mean that the laundry room was flooded this time.  That was a treat.  Thank goodness I only keep DIRTY laundry on the floor.

We did have an excellent sermon from the book of Ruth on God's divine providence this last Sunday, though, and that sermon helps me to remember to look at the bigger picture in life to keep myself from being torn down by this.  God IS good and DOES work good and in the end, while the journey may be a bit rocky, all will be well and as it should be.

Though, I will still say that I will definitely be glad when our seemingly streak of 'bad luck" that we've experienced finally comes to an end... at the very least, even a full week of not having to deal with crazy would be nice.  Heh.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Carpet

The carpet has actually been installed for about 5 weeks, but I still wanted to post about the new carpet in the basement.

We settled on buying remnants from Menards, and we did not put pad underneath it.  A little harder, yes, and we'll see how it is in the winter, but the price was right, and in the event that we have water in the future, it will be super easy to replace.

And, hey, new carpet leads to new fun things.  While the kids' play area will remain as such, we are adding elements of space (as in, outer) to it with constellations, glow in the dark paint, and planets.  The blue carpet was a bit of a wild choice, but again... the price was right and so was the size... so, we are choosing to work with it!  Fun!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Furnace Update

Well... what can I say, other than that God is Good?

Adam left a message last night for the heating & cooling business who installed our furnace (thankfully, the previous owners or installers had written it inside the furnace cover).  Come to find, we KNOW the guy who owns the business now.  Yay!

He called Adam back bright and early this morning...

... he was here at 8:20 am...

... and, he left five minutes ago with a functioning furnace. 

Yay!  So... the air is back on again, and thankfully our house only went up about 5 degrees in the last 12 hours. 

And, I was also informed that we should get at least another 10 years out of our furnace, so I that puts any "replacement" possibility to rest in my mind.  Whew. 

Now, let's hope the air conditioning unit holds up.  ;)


The Result

Here is Julia in the dress this morning... yay!

It fit!  It does!  There are a few things I will change, though...

1.  Since it isn't knit, the bodice part needs to be a bit more fitted.

2.  I need to be better with my "edges"... I didn't care so much because it was a prototype, but the arm holes aren't as clean as they could be.

3.  I think it could be a tad longer.

4.  I think I would like to try satin or lace something to edge the neck instead of the stiff bias tape from Wal-Mart, but I worked with what I had.

But, overall, I think it turned out so cute!  Yay!  And she was so excited to show it off at daycare today.  Fun!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Pillowcase Dress

(I apologize for the bad picture... ha, I walked all the way upstairs to get my phone to take the picture, even though the camera was sitting about one foot away from me, simply because I could email myself the picture instead of having to hook the camera up to the USB.  Physically capable... mentally lazy.) 

My darling friend Racheal and I are good at fueling each other's crafty nature... it seems that every week or so, one of us as a new idea that we Must. Try. Today. and even though we rarely have the time to actually do so, we have a great time talking about it!

Back in March we experienced one such time and that time we discussed making Pillowcase Dresses for our daughters.  We went thrift store shopping when she was 36 weeks or so pregnant and bought out the lot of cute pillowcases we could find.  And then we came home.  And she had a baby and we both have lives and now it is August.

There are a bunch of wonderful sites out there that talk about the history of pillowcase dresses and also a number of patterns, and I want to prototype a number of them.  After staring at a few pillowcases I found when unearthing my sewing stuff from the multitude of tubs that had overtaken the basement, I decided it was finally time to give it a go.  Using one of Julia's dresses as a pattern, I drafted up a butcher paper pattern for a dress and went to town tonight.

Yes.  Tonight.  It only took two hours to make this dress.  How cool is that!?!?

So... a few notes...

1.  It is a prototype for a few reasons... a.) I'm not sure 100% that it will actually fit Julia or... I think it will fit her, but getting it on might be tough as it isn't knit... b.) there are a few obvious mistakes but THAT is okay... and c.) no matter how hard I tried and all of the tricks I tested out, the pillowcase refuses to be white.  I even used ecru thread to stitch it.

2.  I finally learned a fabulous, fast, and EASY way to gather... I learned it here... and Oh. My. Gosh., I must NOW make one of the fabulous Fluffy Pettiskirts.  Seriously.  But, really.  I have been afraid of gathering for a long time, but this was SO easy and it worked well and honestly took about two minutes.  Crazy easy.  Love it!

3.  Pillowcases dresses are Oh. So. Very. Cheap.  Pillowcase?  $0.75.  Button?  $0.33  Bias Tape?  $0.60.  Yah.  THAT cheap.  All it took was TIME.  And even though that isn't always easy to come by, it's so worth finding the time in the end!

I have a few more pillowcases that are MUSTS as dresses... especially a beautiful yellow one with pink crocheted flowers on it... Racheal loves yellow and I think it would look so precious on her daughter.  And, I have a few more patterns that I am stoked to try out.  Yay!

ps.  This doesn't necessarily belong in this post... and there are a lot of things that I haven't blogged about this summer... but if you are of the praying variety, please send up a prayer for us... we have had a number of unfortunate mishaps this summer... and just when it looked like things were taking a positive turn, tonight some part in our furnace took a dump.  So... that means, no air conditioning until it is fixed.  Adam and I are not big "hot" people.  And it is supposed to be 92 tomorrow (Tuesday).  Fun.  Fun, fun, fun.  I am on the brink, I tell you what.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Fun!

I am finally digging through the latest download of pictures from the camera (spanning about six weeks) and came across these cuties from mid-June.  It seems this was soon after the rains receded and before the humidity took its hold.  I love how much our girls seem to enjoy and love each other... even this morning, Julia begged to be put in Raven's crib with her while I showered so they could play, and 90% of what I heard was sweetness and laughter.  What a blessing that, for now, they find so much happiness with each other.

Random notes on the subject...

... Raven being exuberant when Julia comes downstairs in the morning (she starts her little body wiggle and has a big grin)...

... Julia asking where Raven is the second she wakes up and saying, "Hi, Ravie!  Hi, Ravie!  Hi, Ravie!" over and over again in a sweet tone...

... hugs and kisses and Julia protecting her little sister.

Love my girlies!!!  :)