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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas tutu skirt

I had a blast making this skirt for our daughters first Christmas. I followed this tutorial much like I did last time when I made her a skirt out of the adorable polka dot material that her daddy picked out. Instead of sewing the tulle onto a lining though, I cut over four yards of tulle into strips that were maybe 3 inches by 12 inches and tied them slip knot style onto a long strip of ribbon. I then hand sewed that ribbon onto the seam where the waistband meets the skirt. I thought the result was fantastic. She had a fun, super poufy, tutu style Christmas skirt to wear to Church.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Twas the week before Christmas

'Twas the week before Christmas, with so much to do
When mom became sick, caught the very bad flu...
Blessings and prayers were offered with care
In hopes that restored health soon would be there

And that's it for the poem parody.Thank goodness the semester has come to a close and my husband has been home to take care of me and our daughter too. Here they are watching Veggie Tales save Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ward Christmas Party

The thing about this college town is that all "those" college kids go home to their families every time school is out for a break. Some return to finish their semester or start a new term, some don't, and others who haven't been here before move in. We found this disheartening at church and longed for the consistency and friendships that we had been so accustomed to before our move. As a result, we switched from attending the married student ward to attending the family ward. This has been one of the best decisions we've made! After having only met us once, the bishop approached us the next week to greet us by name. The relief society presidency came to our home to get to know me and then introduced me to the relief society by name and shared facts about me that they had picked up on during their little visit. (They moved here so her husband can attend school, they have a nine month old daughter, she is learning how to sew and gets her ideas from pinterest, she decorated her home for Christmas by turning their refrigerator into a snow man...) We have met so many friendly families already, and our little girl has made tons of friends already since she is always pulling herself up into someones lap. Recently we attended the ward Christmas party. What a blessing that my husband ended up having this evening off of work. I love attending events together as a family. We were invited to sit with a super nice family who recommended Yellow Stone and now I am more excited than ever for summer! We had dinner, sang Christmas songs, and watched the large primary since songs before we snuck out to get our daughter in bed almost on time. I'm so grateful for such welcoming people!
Our neighbors snapped this photo in front of their tree

Someone has beautiful teeth!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pleated wrap skirt

I've been sewing a little bit lately. Ok, I've been sewing a lot lately. So much so that I have decided to discipline myself and only allow myself to sew two days a week. This is what kept me busy during nap times on Monday: (Tutorial posted below.)

I had extra material, which brings me to my sewing project on Thursday. All I did was use a neck tie he already had as a pattern. Quick, easy, and now we can be that adorable couple that dresses to match at church. He's such a good sport!

For the skirt, I followed Tanya's tutorial from grand revival design and am going to re-post her instructions below with my insight in purple. This skirt is awesome because it can be made in any size. And, since it is a wrap skirt little girls won't out grow it too fast... I'm keeping it in mind for future pregnancies.

1. Figure the skirt width. Measure the wearers waist using a tape measure or long string and a ruler. Add 8" to the waist measurement and then multiply by 2.66.
example: waist = 28"
28 + 8 = 36  
36 x 2.66 = 95.76

2. Figure the length of the waistband/ties by adding 21 inches to the final skirt width by 2.5" wide. Yes, that length is necessary. The band will end up wrapping around your waist twice and then being tied into a bow. Instead of 2.5" wide, I cut mine 3" wide; it just depends on how thick you want your waist band (keep in mind a seam allowance). When I make this skirt next time though, I will either cut mine 6 inches wide and fold in half instead of hemming, this way there won't be a wrong side of the fabric in the bow. Or, I will buy a length of ribbon to use as the waist band/ ties. That'd be pretty and require less sewing. If you need to, It's fine to piece two fabrics together along the short side to achieve the correct length though I wouldn't piece more then two fabrics because you'll get too many noticeable seams.

3. Figure the skirt length. Measure from waist to where you want the skirt to fall. Add 1.25" for hem and seam allowance. Don't forget that your waist band will add a bit of length too, my skirt ended up a little longer than I planned.

4. Cut your fabric according to these measurements.

5. Make the pleats. First, hem the short edges of the skirt. (The sides.) Fold the raw edges to the wrong side by 1/2", press, repeat and topstitch. Then, along the top raw edge of your fabric use a pencil to make marks 1.5" apart. Use an iron to press pleats in alternating directions at every 1.5" mark and pin in place. I basted the pleats too. 

5.5. This is where I hemmed the top and sides of the skirt band. I also hemmed the skirt bottom. 

6. Attach the skirt band/tie.  With right sides facing place the band/tie, off center so that it will be about 8" longer on one side then the other, on top of the top (pleated) edge of the skirt aligning raw edges. Pin and sew the band/tie to the skirt. (I skipped the rest of these instructions, except for the last sentence. Iron, iron, iron! I did need to hem the bottom of the waist band that didn't end up attached to the skirt.) Press the raw edge of the band/tie to the wrong side by 1/4" down the entire length. Press the raw edges of the short sides of the ties to the wrong side by 1/2". Fold the band over so that the 1/4" pressed fold covers the raw edges of the seam on the wrong side of the skirt and pin. You are essentially using the band as you would seam binding. Starting in the middle of the skirt, topstitch very close to the folded edge of the the band on the wrong side of the skirt to the end of one tie. Repeat. Press the raw edge of the bottom of the skirt to the wrong side by 1/2". Repeat. Pin and sew to hem. Press the entire skirt to emphasize pleats and get a crisp edge on the top edge of the band.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Decorations

I love the holiday season! Had no desire to mess with a tree though. Our apartment is just too small, and our little girl is just too ornery! Here is what we did instead, inspired of course by pinterest.
Wrapping paper tree and Snowman refrigerator

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dress to Skirt

I love clearance racks. We went out shopping on Black Friday and I bought a 45 dollar dress from old navy on sale for $6.97 I thought it was rather ugly and it was a couple sizes too big, but it had potential. As it turned out, it was a super easy project and I LOVE the end result.

All I did was cut off the top of the dress and sew a strip from the top into a waist band. I could have made this into a casing for elastic, but I didn't end up having to because the back of this dress was made out of this cool stretchy fabric.

I took in the sides, trimmed my seams...

Voila! A cute, warm, incredibly comfortable skirt with a matching bracelet from the dress straps.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meeting Santa

Santa Clause made a special trip to our local Wal-Mart yesterday; our daughter got to meet him for the very first time! At first, she didn't mind. She was mostly just curious. But then she became super concerned by the fact that his very jolly voice sounded exactly like her daddy's, but he certainly didn't look like himself! And then, oh- the tears! My husband had a lot of fun being Santa! Always nice to change up the routine at work a bit.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and her first word!

Happy Thanksgiving! I received a call from my grandpa today reminding me to ponder my blessings. Gratitude is what today is all about. We all have so much to be grateful for; the list is really rather overwhelming! I'm grateful for an abundance of food on our table. I made my first ever turkey on Tuesday and am happy to report that it turned out delicious and we have lots of wonderful left overs! 
I got my husband to eat turkey by serving it with fat free honey mustard. We served our potatoes with minced garlic and onion sour cream, we like our green beans best with bacon, and we enjoyed baked apples stuffed with brown sugar and spiced oats for dessert.

I'm grateful to have a family to cook for and eat with. 

I'm grateful to have spent an evening full of laughter with our neighbors and friends. They were even so kind as to prepare ALL gluten free dishes including amazing stuffing and to- die- for mac and cheese. Seriously, I've been cooking gluten free for over a year now and they out did me tonight.

I'm grateful for a daughter who... wait for it... wait for it... said her first word!!!! And, the word was... Mama! Yay!! A couple of nights ago, she was crying out at night and I was laying there listening; clinging to the Ferber Method promise of self soothing babies, when I heard her cry Mama. I was so surprised that I went to her right away, but as I soothed her I convinced myself that I had made it up. However, when she awoke in the morning she again cried out, Mama! And then that was it. No more Mamas in the night. No Mamas during the day, not even with all my coaxing. Surely, I had heard something in her baby babble that simply wasn't. Until today when my husband went to fetch her from her afternoon nap. She didn't stop crying when he picked her up and then she called out Mama! And, she reached her little arms out to me when he came into the room where I was waiting.
We snapped this photo today to show off her pearly whites.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

I got creative in the kitchen today! 
Strawberry cupcake with whipped cream nutella frosting
I made a dozen strawberry cupcakes from scratch using gluten free flour and pureed fresh strawberries as directed by Silvana Nardone. And then, I brainstormed a frosting. I'm over butter cream. Getting the consistency right for decorating is a nightmare and the taste generally over powers the cake, at least when I make it. I wanted something light. This is what I came up with:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup nutella

In a chilled mixing bowl, whisk the whipping cream, cocoa and sugar on medium speed until peaks form. Fold in the nutella. Resist licking the entire bowl before you frost the cupcakes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Little personalities

Do you remember the fantastic dress that I mentioned in my post: Little Dresses? Well, I finally took some pictures of our daughter wearing it!

 Adorable, right?
She is 8 1/2 months old now. She's been crawling for three months, and only gets faster every day. I'm convinced that her main goal in life thus far is to join the bishop on the stand in Church. She squirms and whines and pushes against us when we try to have her sit on our laps. She nose dives off the bench when we try to sit her between us. And, she throws her toys in disgust if we try to keep her occupied. Then, when we're distracted fetching toys or apologizing to those sitting near us, she takes off! She books it down the aisle and up the stairs to the pulpit. Needless to say, one of us always goes after her and spends the rest of the service out in the halls. 8 1/2 months old and we haven't sat through a whole sacrament meeting yet! She is just so determined and stubborn and so very strong willed!

Her favorite food is quinoa and her favorite baby food is squash. She is currently getting her second bottom tooth in. She loves noisy toys and walking along side furniture. Recently, she has begun to share; she tries to stick her pacifier in our mouths. She claps and smiles and giggles when we tickle her. She isn't shy at all. In fact, she will push against me and cry to be let down and then crawl into the laps of visiting neighbors and friends. I have one friend who has a baby boy, and my little girl gets so jealous when she holds her son.

She keeps us so busy! And we wouldn't have it any other way! Love that little girl so much.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What a great guy!

I am surprised by how quickly Thanksgiving is approaching. I have enjoyed the grateful themed blog posts and facebook statuses, the holiday pins on pinterest and the cheerful how- to- cook- this and how- to- decorate- thats on the news stations. This morning I am especially grateful for my husband; I am so proud of him and so happy to be his wife!

He is an incredible father. Our little girl cries when he has to leave, lights up when he comes home, and laughs the big belly laughs when he stretches out on the floor to play. He’s helpful too; takes his turn at spooning baby food into her moving target of a mouth. He changes diapers, and responds to my elbows and nudges by waking up in the night to comfort her cries. 

The morning of her baby blessing back in April.
She's Daddy's little helper!
He is enjoying school very much and really applies himself. I am so grateful that he moved our family here because I can see what an inspired program BYU – I is. Last week, he went prepared to a mock interview. He looked so handsome; I would have hired him on the spot just for that! According to the interviewer who staged himself as an HR rep for corporate Wal-Mart, my husband did really well in his responses. The interviewer  gave him some really good feed back; complimented him for being “real” and even sent him home with a video recording of the interview! What an awesome resource to have! It can be reviewed and his responses improved upon before future interviews for actual jobs.

My husband also attended a meeting with two BYU – I alumni that are currently employed by corporate Wal-Mart. One has been employed for seven years, the other about six months. Their presentation was very encouraging; they spoke highly of the community in which their jobs require them to live in and also of the company they work for. Wal – Mart’s motto respect for the individual is apparently upheld consistently. I was encouraged to know that the company pays for the expensive move when you relocated to work for them. Graduation is a little more than a year away, but I am so glad that my husband is being proactive now in setting his sights on good jobs.

My husband doesn’t only go to school full time, he also works 30 hours a week. My friends, who find themselves in similar situations, and I joke that we are married single moms because our men have to be away from the home so much. Not that we are resentful in the slightest, we’re all proud of their accomplishments and grateful for their hard work and financial support. Work is going really well for my husband. He changed departments and left jewelry/ apparel behind (good riddance) to work in the electronics department- just in time for the HUGE black Friday sales! He has been assigned the very important, over night job, of keeping the line for televisions orderly. His annual review went incredibly well, it is so nice to know that he is appreciated for his good work ethic, and starting in January he will be receiving a fifty cent an hour raise! We know that this is a direct blessing to paying our tithing and we are humbled and grateful to know that our loving Heavenly Father hears our prayers and takes care of us financially.  

Last week, my husband came home feeling very inspired by a lesson he learned in his History class. The topic had been the Law of Consecration and how we can apply it in our lives today. He has taken on a fresh outlook toward our life and all of our many blessing. This isn't our car, it is the Lord's car, where would he have us drive? This isn't our home, it is the Lord's home, what would he have us do with it? These aren't our clothes, they're the Lord's clothes, we should give our excess to who needs them more. He is such a good example to me! I am keeping that in mind today since going to church with a baby is such a dreadful chore, I will be saying in my mind: This isn't my day, it is the Lord's day, and He would have me attend my Church meetings.

I am grateful that my husband is inspired by good things. Grateful that he is humble enough to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Recently, we were watching Extreme Makeover: Home edition on tv. In this particular episode, a new home was built for a single dad raising his three teenage sons. They had gone without so much, because they gave away so much. The dad is very involved in the impoverished community. He tries to bring reading and education, even paying out of pocket to take kids, whom would otherwise be involved in drugs and crime on the street, on field trips to museums. This man is the only male role model and father figure to the majority of the kids in their neighborhood! It was one of those episodes that I couldn't get through without a few tears. And, even though it has been a few weeks now since we watched it, it comes up frequently in conversation. My husband often says that he hopes we live our life like that. He hopes we too can have a positive impact on the lives of others and especially kids. We look at our daughter, and it breaks our hearts to think of other children who are just as innocent and perfect as her, trying to survive in poverty or love-less homes.

I'm going to wrap this up since it's getting quite long! (But not before I add some more daddy/ daughter pictures that I just found on my computer; taken around 8 weeks old.) Thank you dear for being so good to us. I love you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

GumGum visits!

GumGum (Grandma was a tough word for me to say when I was a kid, ok?) flew in for a visit this week. We were so excited to show her our little home and around our town! We made sure to take her on a campus tour and to take her to Kiwi Loco for some amazing frozen yogurt. She made sure to spoil us all rotten; our little girl is especially grateful for the new toys! Here are a ton of pictures!
Buckled up to go fetch GumGum

High Fives at the air port

Still waiting

Here she is!

Hmmm, are we going to be friends?

New, noisy, toys!

GumGum can sure make her laugh!

Smiles all around

Gumgum bought her that shirt: No More Silent Nights

Sharing pizza

We love our frozen treats

Thanks for spending time with us, GumGum!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DIY Flower Pillow

I wanted to re purpose a jean skirt and send my grandma home with some sunshine, so I followed cluck cluck sew's tutorial and made a pillow. I thought her tutorial was very easy to understand, and this flower was a lot of fun to make!

Little skirt; big time cute!


Here is my little sweet heart wearing the cute skirt that I made for her! I had so much fun making it and I posted a tutorial here. She just isn't quite sure what to think about the snow!