Posted by: Meagan | May 16, 2013

WIP: Ruffled Skirt

skirt 2

(picture from Creative Spaces blog)

I came across a skirt tutorial on Pinterest from Creative Spaces, pinned it and moved on until I was in serious need of a skirt and then I rushed back to my sewing board on Pinterest and breathed a sigh of relieve followed by great feelings of anxiety. I have never sewed a skirt before, I’ve never sewed a zipper on a single thing before – AHHHHHH! I then pulled myself together and e-mailed my wonderful friend Mercy, and asked her if she thought this was a skirt I could sew and she responded with a resounding yes and so I emotionally prepped myself and did the following.

1. Got the rest of my outfit together (this skirt is for a wedding)

2. Decided the color fabric I wanted

3. Double and triple checked the blog for measurements

4. Went to the fabric store where I found linen blended fabric 40% off! Woot! Woot!

I then washed it and began working. Everything was going along swimmingly, waist band, zipper even, until I tried it on and found it to be several inches too big in the waist. So I unpicked the seam and zipper, cut the extra inches off and then sewed the zipper on once again and redid the seam. I then measured and machine sewed the hem only to have it gather in a weird way and I then had to unpick the entire hem of the skirt while watching 3 episodes of PSYCH. I just re-pinned the hem once again. Whew!

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Posted by: Meagan | April 3, 2013

Seat Belt Pillow Tutorial

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen quite a few seat belt pillow pictures on Pinterest  but zero tutorials! So I decided to make one and share my trial run with you. I just used my cell phone to take pictures so please forgive the quality. This was a fairly simple project and it turned out perfectly. It Velcros around the seat belt just how I pictured in my mind, it is a great length, I can get my son in and out of his seat without having to take the pillow off and on each time. Also this doesn’t go inside the belt, so it doesn’t interfere with any seat belt safety issues. AND it doesn’t fall down and leave my son with no head support once he falls asleep! Not to mention, no bulky pillows to keep track of and which ultimately get stepped on or dropped in the parking lot and have to be washed. LOVE this pillow!

I had my son pick from fabric I had in my stash and miraculously I actually had everything else on hand already and I made zero runs to the store.

What you need:

- 16″x 32 1/2″ fabric (give or take depending on how large you would like the pillow to be.)

- 2- 8 1/4″ pieces sof fabric, or 1- 19″x 19 1/2″ piece of fabric of either the same or coordinating/complementary colors/pattern.

- About 15 inches of sew Velcro.

-Polyester fiber fill

-Thread

-Sewing machine

Instructions:

-First you are going to iron your fabric… ALL of it. If you want to sew, you better learn to love ironing, it makes measurements more precise, helps keep your fabric from puckering, and just makes it look awesome in general.

-Take your smaller piece of fabric and fold it in half, and… are you ready to go back to elementary school? Fold it hot-dog style, with the right side on the inside.

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-Sew a line down the seems, turn right-side out and iron again. Lay and pin Velcro on the outside and sew all the way around.

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-Do the same with the other side, make sure you have Velcros where when sandwiched, they will meet.

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-Next I rolled the top and bottom fabric and sew.

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-Yay! Completed piece.

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-Next get your large piece of fabric out. Place small piece (I’m just going to call it brown), a few inches from what will become the seam and pin. Be sure not to pin through to the bottom piece of fabric. I measured 2 1/2″ from the Velcro out and marked with a fabric marker. (I also cut off the white strip with the coloring, etc. off.)

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-Sew along the outside of the Velcro, up to the rolled seam, over and down the fabric marker line, and back over the opposite rolled seam to create a sturdy rectangle.

-Fold brown fabric over so Velcro sticks to itself, and fold large (blue) fabric in half, hot dog style :), right side on the inside.

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-Sew across the top and down the side. I double stitched this since it will be pulled around and it’s better to be safe than sorry later!

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-Turn right-side out and stuff with poly-fill.

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- Fold bottom in and iron. Sew across, again, I double stitched this.

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-Viola! You are done! My son loves his pillow and used it that very night on a late-night air port pick up.

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Posted by: Meagan | February 22, 2013

Books to Read With Your Child: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I came across a blog post on Pinterest titled, 10 Books to Read to Your 4-7 Year OldI was surprised at the book list  because these are real books, chapter books and I was a little doubtful they would hold my 5 year old’s attention. My husband, however, started reading Winnie the Pooh with our boys, previous to me finding this post and they love it, so I pressed on and decided to check out one book from the list from my local library with trepidation. (The full list is linked above and a copy of the list is at the bottom of this post.)

It was difficult to choose, I have read many of these books at one point or another in my life and I settled on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I checked out the 100th Anniversary Edition from the library and immediately began reading it with my son. He was excited to have a big book, a chapter book, to read with me. We both really love the illustrations throughout the book, the writing is so fun and imaginative and it makes me wonder what the heck we’ve done to children’s books in the last 50 or so years! The chapters are short, just a few pages so if you only have a few minutes to sit down and read, you can and still satisfy your kid’s need for a “whole chapter.” I have enjoyed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as much or more than my son and have secretly been reading ahead. Whenever he catches me reading it without him, he begs me to read to him out loud. This may not be surprising, but as in most cases, the book is much better than the movie, so don’t let the movie deter you.

Now that I have shared our newest book find, I need to know if any of you have read any good books with your kids recently. I would love some more ideas for when we’ve finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A direct copy of book list from sarahbessey.com:

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This is an ongoing series of gentle mysteries but the inaugural book was a big favourite here. The resourceful children are on their own, and that fascinates other kids. Anne and Joe like to play Boxcar Children.

Adventures of Little Bear by Else Minarik and Maurice Sendak. This is a “learn to read” book, but it’s so wonderful. Compared to the drivel that masquerades as “learn to read” books, the stories are interesting, fun, gentle, and lovely. They are the personification of the word “cozy.” (We are also big fans of the Little Bear television series. I want to be more like Mother Bear when I grow up.) Sendak’s illustrations are charming. The one pictured above is a composite of several Little Bear books from Barnes and Noble in the USA though so you would need three books: Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home, and A Kiss for Little Bear.

Adventures of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel is another B&N composite book. These are two of the most beloved best friends of children’s literature for good reason. We make jokes from these delightful books all the time – Toad croaking “Tomorrow!” about his chores, for instance – and enjoy them immensely. It’s also a “learn to read” book for Anne right now. The three books in our volume above are: Frog and Toad are Friends, Frog and Toad Together, and Days with Frog and Toad.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. A sad but heartwarming tale, this book means I am never allowed to kill a spider ever again. We all love Wilbur. Of course, you want the one with illustrations by Garth Williams. The recent movie of Charlotte’s Web is also quite good, I thought.

Stuart Little by E.B. White. Another classic, this was surprisingly well-received even though some content is rather dated. I had to explain certain customs of the decade to Anne and Joe, but otherwise, they were all in. They were delighted with little Stuart’s adventures.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Without a doubt, this was Anne’s favourite book of her kindergarten year. We read it and the promptly read it two more times, right through. She was absolutely enchanted with it. We have one that is a reproduction of the original 1900 edition, and the illustrations are a delight. I had completely forgotten that the ruby slippers are actually silver.

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. You knew that this one was bound to appear somewhere. Yes, of course, this collection was the inspiration for all of my “In which…” blog post titles. If your sole exposure to Pooh is through Disney, you’re in for a treat. The books are surprisingly funny and intelligent, clever and winsome, tender and imaginative.

The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Anne fell in love with the Little House books, even listening to the books on tape while she coloured for hours during rainy afternoons. The story is interesting, and let me tell you, I resolved to complain a lot less after becoming re-acquainted with Ma and Pa Ingalls.  We nearly included Little House in the Big Woods in this list, too, because it is a close runner-up. (Seriously, go read the last chapter of that book and try not to cry.)

Richard Scarry’s Animal Nursery Tales is out of print, I believe. I found ours at a thrift shop. It’s all the classic nursery tales – Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, Musicians of Bremen, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and so on. I love the old fairy tales, and the classic Scarry illustrations make them fun for the tinies, too.

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Ganett. Pure nonsense and fun, this book is fascinating for the younger set.

Posted by: Meagan | December 17, 2012

Prevention

There has been quite a bit of talk since the latest school shooting about what is causing these attacks on innocent people and I have done quite a bit of thinking, talking, and reading. People have exploded and un-friended people on facebook because of their opinions and so I will share here on my blog where I hope people will think through what I and others have to say more thoroughly. I ask that comments be tasteful and respectful.

Three things, three things are causing these shootings in my opinion. Media coverage, gun laws and most of all, the state of mental health in the United States. I will address them in that order and briefly because I don’t believe in being long-winded.

Media Coverage

Here is a link to a video that was done about a shooting in Germany.

In this video the Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Park Dietz talks directly to the media:

1. Don’t start the broadcast with sirens blaring.

2. Don’t have photographs of the killer.

3. Don’t make this 24/7 coverage.

4. Do not make the body count the lead story.

5. Don’t make out the killer to be an anti-hero.

6. Do localize this story to the affected area and make it as boring as possible to the rest of the country.

The consequence of doing those things? “When we see saturated coverage of a mass shooting we expect to see 1-2 more within a week.”

All news organizations have broken each of those tips. It seems to me that news organizations are so unwilling to pass up a story that they then are planting the seed within more mentally ill minds that this is okay, you will be remembered for something, people will know who you are and study you and some may even idolize you. It makes me sick that the media is so unwilling to help break this cycle, they just exacerbate it.

Gun Laws

This section isn’t going to go as many of you may have envisioned, I think that gun-free zones need to be abolished. Since schools became gun-free zones in 1994 they have been targeted by mentally ill people as easy targets because it is known that nobody can fight back! In many of the mass shooting, including the recent shooting in that Oregon mall, a private, armed citizen stopped the shooter. See this post entitled Gun Free Zones: An Article by Tom Givens, he gives a breakdown of shootings in his post.

In Israel there was a massacre, the Ma’alot massacre in 1974 and Israel instituted a policy in which volunteer school personnel, parents, and grandparents received special training from the civil guard, and were placed throughout the schools armed with discreetly concealed 9mm semiautomatic pistols.  Since then, there have been no successful mass murder at an Israeli school, and every attempt at such has been quickly stopped by the those armed teachers/parents/grandparents who stand watch over those children. I was surprised to learn that there are similar programs are in place in Peru and the Phillippines. Massad Ayood, a renown security expert encourages programs like these. You can read the full article here. We cannot continue to entice mentally ill people to take advantage of our schools, government buildings, zoos, offices or what have you.

Mental Health in the United States

I read this posted entitled I am Adam Lanza’s Mother, and although I really do hate the title because I don’t believe we should know the names of or care what the names of murderers are, the post was a perfect example of the state of the mental health care system in the US. And she points out that there practically is no heath care for the mentally ill in the US. It is disturbing to me to know that mentally ill people have nowhere to go to get help, that their families live in fear of them, waiting for them to snap and bracing themselves for that moment when parents stand in the way and the younger siblings have “safety plans” they know by heart and no long have to be told to do them. Read her post, it is written much better than I could and you will see why I think that it is the mental healthcare in the US that needs the most change, the most time and conversation.

Posted by: Meagan | November 19, 2012

WIP: Heritage Quilt Update

Some of you may remember that I have been talking to and working with my aunts and other female relatives on making a heritage quilt. I have forever been surrounded by guys and I really wanted something to help represent the women in my family even though I don’t live by any of them. So almost all of my aunts, my grandma, mom, and sister in law are all making one quilt block and sending it to me, I will then put them all together in one big quilt.

When I get one in the mail I get so excited, it’s like Christmas! So far I’ve received three quilt blocks and I wanted to share them with ya’ll since they bring me so much joy! I am so impressed with these women, their talent, and willingness to do this project, I had no idea that so many of them would be willing to participate. Thank you ladies!

My Grandma’s block represents a flower since she loves gardening and her flowers:

My Aunt Mary’s block, the small hearts represent her and the daughters who helped her sew it. The big heart in the middle represents their love for me, which I think is really sweet.

My sister in law Tammy’s block represents the US flag, which makes sense because my brother is in the Marine CORPS and we are a very patriotic family.

Now I’ve changed my idea for the extra blocks to make this a large quilt, I think I want to do this quilt block around the outside of the quilt, signifying how we are all linked together.

I found the chain block in this book Shape Workshop for Quilters, and I am really loving how the book breaks down the patterns.

Unfortunately I have no idea what I am going to do for my quilt block. Hmmm. I asked that my awesome relatives just send me their blocks by March 2013, so I will be updating periodically and hopefully by March I’ll also have my quilt block finished!

Posted by: Meagan | October 17, 2012

New Mom Helps

As I was cruising Pinterest I found this blog post: How to Help a New Mom, and I thought it had some really awesome ideas.

(Updated: I was asked to take off the ones I wanted to point out and have you go directly to the original post, so please go to the link there are great ideas there!)

I want to add some that I have found that helps.

- Bring a Treat: and I don’t mean junk food. A friend of mine brought homemade strawberry freezer jam and WHOA it was so delicious and gave me the motivation to get up in the morning with my older boys, get them breakfast and dressed so I could have strawberry jam on toast.

- Stop By: I only recommend this if you are good enough friends that she is willing to let you in the house when it is 2pm and everyone is still in pjs and the dishes aren’t done. While you are there, fold some laundry, wash the dishes, give the older kids a bath, watch the kids so she can nap or let her vent or ask questions or whatever. Having a new baby is emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting no matter how many times you have done it, so just be her friend and don’t judge.

- Surprise Her: With a date night in, take her older kids so she and her husband can have a date night in or just get some sleep. Bring her favorite smoothie, Sonic drink, offer to go shopping for her. Acts of service are really appreciated.

- Don’t Forget About Her! I say this because lots of people always want to help right after a new baby arrives, but it takes months for babies to start sleeping through the night, so don’t forget to do the above things in the months following a new baby’s arrival.

Posted by: Meagan | October 4, 2012

He’s Here

Baby boy #3 has made his appearance!

Posted by: Meagan | September 5, 2012

Finish it Friday: The Plant That Wouldn’t Die

So quite a while ago, you may recall, I posted about a dumb aloe plant that refused to either thrive or die and I vowed come spring I would toss it out in the trash. I put it off for YEARS! I cared for that plant, gave it a lot of water, not a lot of water. I would keep it in the sunny window only to see it shrivel, then I would neglect it and it would thrive, and then it would stop thriving. Then I learned that real aloe plants stink. And it made me feel nauseous using it on my sunburn that one time. And I felt guilty, you shouldn’t throw away a living thing, but eventually I began to hate that aloe in its ugly orange pot and so I decided to throw it away. However, it just so happened that it was cold and I didn’t want to walk across the entire backyard all the way to the compost pile so I figured I’d toss it when it warmed up. Well, enter morning sickness and then terrible ligament pain and I kept putting it off, which is great for a local lady that I gave a shoot of the aloe to (unless it is like it’s mother plant and is kind of horrible in the way of aloes). Today, finally, there were indoor plants at Walmart and so I tossed out the aloe and the pot it was in, and replaced it with a (lined) basket and three plants. I’m kind of loving the change myself.

The Aloe

At least I put it in the compost instead of the trash! It will go back to mother earth and be useful for once!

The Replacements

For those interested, there is Ivy, Marginata Bush and a Bromeliad.

Not quite what I had in mind, but there wasn’t exactly a wonderful selection.

The ivy should spill over the front of the basket at it grows, I wont lie, I am really excited for that. And yes, I know, we have a tiny TV. Our five year old keeps telling us how small it is and how he wants a big TV. Maybe someday. So yes! I can cross that ugly aloe off my to-do list!

Posted by: Meagan | August 22, 2012

Gift Giving

My mother pointed out to me that Christmas is 19 weeks away, which can seem pretty far but if you are a crafter or like to be done shopping before the crowds enter the shopping scene, or if you are going to have a new baby, *ahem* then now is the time to start shopping or crafting! My mother in law and I are usually in competition for who starts Christmas gift buying first and this is quite possibly the first year she beat me! So I’ve been perusing Amazon.com looking for gifts for my boys, checked our *Christmas fund to see how much was in our budget and divided it up among those receiving gifts and cards, etc.

I don’t know about you but I am tired of giving gifts that I don’t know are liked or wanted or functional. It can be especially hard to buy for relatives that live far away, what is the decor in their home like? You aren’t there to hear daily conversations of what they like or dislike, you can’t just make them their favorite dessert or know what movies they have in their collection. So I’ve been perusing the internets and found some crafty items that I think most people can use and make.

Insulated Casserole Carriers

~The link doesn’t take you directly to the directions, however I like how she changed the original directions to add the canvass belting to the carrier. She does have the link to the original directions in her post.

Great for taking hot dishes to potlucks, holiday parties, to a sick friend, etc.

Simple Apron

Cute and simple, who doesn’t like to have a cute apron?

Rice Owls

Awesome for keeping little feet and hands warm in the winter, and added awesome of also being a toy and not just an eye-sore!

Tote Bags

Who doesn’t need tote bags? It seems like we always are needing and changing out tote bags around here.

Lunch Bag

For all those in school or working, a cute bag to stash your money-saving, homemade lunch in. And not to leave you SAHMs out these are also perfect for picnics and trips to the park, zoo, museum, gymnastics or road trips!

Fabric Bookmarks

For the “old school” reader in your life!

Sleep Mask

Great for traveling or just sleeping in!

The thing I love about sewing gifts is that I can make them as simple or complicated as I like. And if you want to do a sewing project for Christmas you better step on it! I went to the fabric store yesterday and had to leave my name and number for them to let me know when some vital materials for my projects get in… in about 3 weeks! Ahh! Start early so you don’t get left out in the cold.

*Christmas fund: at the beginning of the year my husband and I decide how much money we want to spend on Christmas and we set up an automatic withdraw from our checking account into our Christmas saving account. That way we don’t have to worry about coming up with several hundred dollars out of nowhere, leaving money to collect interest on our credit card, worrying about lay-away programs, etc.

Posted by: Meagan | August 16, 2012

Over This & What Not to Say to Pregnant Women

I am so over pregnancy. I want this little guy out so I can snuggle his face and count his fingers and toes. I’m so very tired of painful ligaments, and being swollen, not being able to sleep on my back for crying out loud! I am so exhausted because my hips and shoulders are killing me when I sleep so I’m constantly rolling over, which is super painful and wakes me up. I actually put off sleeping because it hurts so bad. I also feel like I am almost to the newborn-exhaustion stage already so I might as well have a cute baby to hold and snuggle and smell! I don’t think I’ve ever had a more demanding/painful/exhausting pregnancy. It may be because this is my third, but everything I read about “this week” on babycenter.com is coming 2-3 weeks late. “At 34 weeks you might begin having braxton hicks contractions…” well, I’ve been having them for weeks people, weeks! I just hope that means I’m dilating. I also hope that this baby comes 1-2 weeks early, but at this point being pregnant for even another month is so not appealing and I can’t really think about it or I might be reduced to tears.

Because I like you all, I thought I would also include a list of what not to say to pregnant women you see, even if you know them really well. I think the most rude comments people have made have been by older women who are now grandmas, and married men with teenage or older children. Be warned that because of the above mentioned fatigue and pain pregnant woman are in, if you say any of the following you may at some point get slapped or more likely, get something thrown at your face. Some people, especially older men, will say these things in jest, thinking they are really funny, it just makes me want to hit you harder or watch you trip and fall on the sidewalk. Sometimes I just have the imagine them doing something really stupid and hurting themselves so I don’t say a rude comment back. On to real comments people have said to me. Feel free to add things people have said to you in the comments.

-You look miserable!

-When were you due?

-Is there one or two in there?

-Oh my gosh you are so huge!

-Could you get any bigger?

-I think you’re having twins!

-Are you sure you aren’t having twins?

-So you’re due any day?

-When are you going to drop that?

-Wow! You’ve exploded!

-How much weight have you gained?!

-I am in pain just looking at you!

-Do you have to buy special clothes?

-You’re swollen!

-You’ve only gained 10 pounds? But you’re so big!

-You can’t see your feet!

-You look like you’re going to pop!

-You look like you could of had that baby last week!

-I think your nose has gotten bigger!

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