Saturday, May 29, 2010

berry pickin'

love this sweet little dress! the vintage fabric used for the bodice may just be my favorite part.
just maybe.
reminds me of a vintage tablecloth. aqua. red. berries. vintage.
swoon! Dress by the talented Rebekah of Sunnybrook Farm Designs.

I love her "berry picking" collection! See more of it HERE and HERE.

Friday, May 28, 2010

in need of a makeover...

...a blog makeover.

looking for blog designer suggestions... have any? Photo Credit: nanaCompany


Thursday, May 27, 2010

4 years ago today...

...we embarked on this wonderful adventure together and 1,460 days later here we are with 2 beautiful children, 1 four legged companion, an amazing extended family, and the best friends anyone could ask for! And most importantly with God by our side I pray we'll see many, many more years to come!

Happy 4th Anniversary hon!
I love you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oilcloth Chalk Mat {tutorial}

School's out! Woo hoo! to keep the kids busy on all those fun summer trips??? Well I've got an idea for you! It's super easy to make in just 7 quick steps and easy to pack.
Win-Win in my book!

So what are you waiting for? Grab some oilcloth and chalkcloth on your next trip to the craft store and let's get a-sewing!

Here's what you need:
Oilcloth (18" x 14" piece)
Chalkcloth (18" x 14" piece)
Coordinating oilcloth for chalk pocket (2.5" x 2.5") - you can also use the same oilcloth fabric as your main piece; if so, just get a little bit larger piece of the main one so you'll have enough
Ribbon (26" long piece; a sturdy 3/4"-1" width grosgrain works well)
Coordinating thread (we used white)
Black thread
New, SHARP needle for your sewing machine (we used size 9)
Painter's tape (or masking tape)
Fray check
Chalk (3-5 chalk sticks)

Are you ready? Here it goes!

Step 1: Cut your pieces
If like me, you have an unnatural obsession with oilcloth and buy it by the bolt, then get out your scissors and cut an 18" x 14" rectangle out of both your oilcloth and your chalkcloth. Oilcloth has such a fun vintage feel to it and it doesn't fray. I love that!

Cut the 2.5" square for your chalk pocket out of the coordinating oilcloth or out of the same oilcloth as your main piece.

Cut a piece of ribbon 26" long...or longer (sometimes you just gotta use up what you have!)

Step 2: Thread your sewing machine
My mom helped make these (surprise, surprise). When we made the first one, we used nylon thread like the oilcloth retailer had suggested but when we sewed the mat, the nylon thread pierced the oilcloth and the chalkcloth a bit much for my liking so next we tried it with regular thread and it worked just fine. You have to learn from your mistakes, right? :)

But here's a little hint that will help your finished mat look so much better. Pick a matching thread color based on your oilcloth fabric and use that in your main spool, but use black thread for the bobbin so that when you are sewing the mat, the black thread will be on the chalk side and will almost disappear onto the mat. Genius, mom! Step 3: Put painter's tape to good use
I think the "sewing with oilcloth" recommendations I read (check out Oilcloth Addict - FUN!)called for a roller foot for your sewing machine to help keep the oilcloth from puckering since it has a tendency to crawl and to not want to stay put BUT....I do not have said fancy foot so painter's tape it was. Cut out a tiny piece the same size as your regular all-purpose presser foot and tape it in place with the sticky side to the presser foot so that the smooth side of the tape will help your oilcloth "glide" happily along.

Step 4: Start sewing already!
First, sew the chalk pocket to the chalkcloth and here's how: Position the chalk pocket (polka dot fabric) in the lower right hand corner of the smooth side of the chalkcloth (black side) about 1.5" from the edge on both sides and sew it in place. That painter's tape sure comes in handy for holding the pocket in place to avoid unnecessary pinholes!

If you are sewing the mat for a leftie, then perhaps you may want to sew the chalk pocket on the lower left hand side instead. That's up to you, but it is awful nice, don't you think? :)

And here's another tidbit for you. Instead of sewing just the sides like we did in the pictures, go ahead and sew the sides AND the bottom of your chalk pocket to help keep the chalk in place when you roll your mat. Because we only did each side (live & learn) this is what it looked like when we were done: Next, gently tug at the threads from the underside of the chalkcloth (the grid side) until your white threads come through and then tie each set of threads in a knot twice and cut off the excess. Step 5: Create your oilcloth / chalkcloth sandwich
Yup, either I've been up too late or the effects of having a toddler companion are really starting to show with titles like that one!

But in essence that is what you're doing. Match up the wrong sides of the fabric together and sew both pieces with the right side of the oilcloth on top like this: That painter's tape sure comes in handy once again to hold your pieces together. And in case you're wondering...if say, you accidentally sew over the tape instead of removing it as you would normally do with straight pins holding fabric together, all is not lost. You can easily tear it off afterward by gently holding down the stitches with one finger and pulling downward and away from the stitched edge. Don't ask me how I know this *wink*.

If you're really picky about clean, finished edges, then before you start sewing around all 4 sides of your sandwich, go ahead and get out your ribbon and put it in place (see next Step) so that instead of starting to sew in one of the four corners, like this: you actually start to sew in the middle of one of your short sides to attach the ribbon at the same time as you sew the oilcloth and chalkcloth together, like this: Step 6: Attach the ribbon
Get your piece of ribbon out, fold it in half, and gently pinch it/press it/squeeze it - whatever works - to create a little crease. Go to one of the short sides of your oilcloth rectangle and line up the center of the ribbon (crease) where you want it on the oilcloth. For mine, I attached the ribbon on the right side even though these pictures make it look like it's on the left. It doesn't really matter. The side you attach the ribbon to will just determine the direction you will roll your mat when closing it. If your ribbon has a design, then be sure to tape it in place like this: NOT like this picture below! If you have a solid color ribbon with interchangeable sides, then this step won't matter.So with both the pretty side of the oilcloth and the pretty side of the ribbon staring at you, start sewing right where the ribbon is and then sew around all 4 sides of the oil-chalkcloth sandwich with about a 1/4" seam allowance. You're almost done!

Step 7: Seal the ribbon ends and trim
Pull out your trusty Fray Check...or something similar. And dab a bit on the ends of the ribbon to keep it from unraveling. Take a good look at your chalk mat and see if any sides need a bit of trimming. The wonderful thing about oilcloth and chalkcloth is that it won't fray. You can even out any sides that moved a bit during sewing to make your mat look really good from both sides.

Add a few chalk sticks and you are done!
Your chalk mat is ready for little ones to enjoy!
Aren't they cute all lined up in a row? They make really cute gifts too! I'm making these for party favors for Hudson's birthday next month using the cute red polka dot oilcloth and turquoise ribbon to go with the Dr. Seuss theme. Fun Fun! Kids love these fun little mats! The little pumpkin sure enjoyed hers during our flight to Minnesota! So watcha waiting for?
Sew yours today!

Oilcloth Chalk Mat is featured at Tip Junkie and linked up to parties at these fun sites: Sew Much Ado, Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice-733, Creations by Kara, Blue Cricket Design, Fireflies & Jellybeans, Night Owl Crafting, Somewhat Simple, House of Hepworths, and Fingerprints on the Fridge, and I heart Naptime.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a tad bit better

Hudson's fever finally broke after 4 days. Yippee!!!

My very own hot little wing was able to enjoy some of his favorite books and toys. Now, if only we could get these silly teeth to hurry up and pop through those swollen gums! We may or may not have celebrated with a teeny tiny piece of homemade chocolate cake. I'll let you be the judge. By the way...with this hairdo, Einstein has nothing on me!

The cake had a trance like effect:
"You're getting sleepy. Very, very sleeeeeeepy." But not for long...

Maaaaaaaaaa Maaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! Get this mess off me!!! It's so sticky and itchy! I'm ready for my bath NOW! Of course it was my night to give the chunky monkey a bath ;)

So glad you're finally feeling better, Hudson!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

sick sick sick

Poor little Hudson has been under the weather :( The littles and I usually have lunch with Noonie on Fridays and this past Friday was no exception. We headed out to our lunch spot and everyone was fine. By the time we got there, Hudson's cheeks were bright red and he was HOT.

Noonie said he had fever. I said he was hot from riding in the car. Well, guess who was right?

Poor little fella's had high fever 102-102.8° for the past 4 days. Turns out he's got a really bad sore throat...really, really bad - I took a peek and oh, my I can see why the little guy is in pain. He also has a double ear infection and to top it off it looks like he's teething too!

He's been feeling so crummy and it's just so, so hard to see your baby in pain and not be able to make it better right away. The worst has been seeing him shiver so much during those darn lukewarm baths to try and bring his fever down. Breaks my heart.

So it's been a tough weekend for our family. Our weekend highlight was spending 3 hrs. at the pediatrician's office yesterday, yes on Sunday. But I tell ya, I'm so grateful it was our doc's office and not the ER. And I'm even more grateful for drive thru pharmacies.

On a better note, as the pediatrician on call was saying good bye to him, Hudson not only waved good bye, he said the words too...for the first time!!!!!!! Such a sweet boy even when feeling puny. Maybe 'cause it was a cute girl pediatrician?? He is a big flirt, you know!

His fever was finally down to 99-100° tonight and so I'm praying and hoping that he's turning a corner. He's been sleeping now for a couple of hours and doesn't feel very hot to the touch so hopefully...

Baby Hudson: Mama, Daddy & Grace can't wait to see you get back to your smiley self!
We love you with all our hearts!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

and then it was time to come home...

After 5 fun-filled days (okay - minus my sore throat & no voice) it was time to pack it up and head home.

Day 6
We got up reaaaaally early this time - like 3am to avoid another airport mishap. By 4am we were ready to go. The kiddos were such good sports for such an early wake-up call. Thank you Angel for meeting us so early to get the car seats! You're a trooper! And thank you for letting us borrow all the kid gear. It made our trip so much easier!

I have to say THANK YOU to whoever designed these "kid spots" at the airport - heaven sent! I think every terminal should have them - great way for the kids to burn off some energy before boarding a plane :) Both kids slept a bunch on the flights which made them go by really fast. Before we knew it we were home! And so this marks the 18th year - I think - that we've been making this annual trip. It officially got its name, Mother-Daughter weekend, when I left for college but I think it first started around the time I was 15. We always have the best time and it's fun to see how our activities have changed since adding "Granddaughter" to the name and now "Grandkids".

Thank you mom for making our trip possible all these years! I love spending time with you and going on so many adventures. Here's to another 18+ years!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

so much more than just a dress...

When we arrived in Minnesota, Angel surprised me with this gorgeous dress for the little pumpkin!!!
I knew she was making her a dress but I had no idea what it was going to look like. When I first saw it I was speechless. Not only does it incorporate 3 of my favorite things:

1. Moda Swell in blue - perhaps my favorite fabric ever! 2. That sweet three little pigs Japanese import fabric. I heart Japanese imports. 3. Hand embroidery! It also has a special sweet something that truly makes it one of a kind. Wanna know what it is???

Knowing what an impact my grandpa had in my life and how much I love him and miss him dearly (see HERE), Angel hand embroidered this sweet sentiment to the inside of the bodice: In spanish no less! Sneaky Sneaky! I think she had a little help from Noonie :)

That sweet sentiment for Grace reads:
In loving memory of my great grandpa

I can tell you this is one dress that will stay in our family FOREVER!

THANK YOU ANGEL! I really have no words to tell you how much that dress means to me. Every time I see the little pumpkin wearing it I will think of my sweet grandpa, Mi Abuelito.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pancakes, Antiques, & Backyard Fun!

Our last full day in Minnesota we really crammed it all in!

Day 5
We started out the day by meeting Angel and her three beautiful kiddos atThe Original Pancake House and what a treat that was!

The girls had a blast outside as we waited for our table. By today, Grace was calling Allison & Emily "her sisters" and those three were like peas in a pod! We even had some restaurant goers ask if they were triplets - too funny! My mom took some great photos of the girls playing but she can't find her camera cord right now so I'll have to update once she finds it and I can transfer her photos.

And while the girls were playing, Angel was giving me a mini camera lesson. I had not been able to use my 50mm lens to its full potential and I was so glad she could give me some pointers so that I could learn to take photos like this one she took. Isn't Miss Emily gorgeous? I sure think so! And this little guy is such a sweetheart! As wild & crazy as they were outside, all the kids were so well behaved once inside - it was amazing! ...or maybe they had run all their energy off by then? ;) Hmmm...which pancakes do I want? Oh, my! I have to tell you - the pumpkin pancakes were DIVINE! The Original Pancake House really puts IHOP to shame.

After breakfast Angel took us to some fun antiques shop downtown for a little shopping. The second shop we stopped at was like a mini antiques mall and we found so many wonderful treasures! Here are some of mine: I don't know why but the little sock monkey-like doll reminds me of "the elf on the shelf" and so I think I'll call him my elf ;) I couldn't believe Angel found that vintage Strawberry Shortcake alarm clock for me - love the pink & red!!

When I stumbled upon this pink polka dot box of straws I knew I had to get it - so cute with my other vintage party stuff. But I think my favorite is this vintage addition box!!! It works too! You just turn the little wooden dowels on the side and voila! I know the little pumpkin and I are going to have fun with it! The only good picture I have from our shopping is this one of my mom in front of the "jackpot store" as we nicknamed it. Isn't she beautiful? And even more, she's beautiful inside and out. I love this picture of her! It makes me think of an author's picture in a book so now I think she needs to write something and get it published so she can use this picture! Later that day Angel had us over for dinner once again - yummy spaghetti in case you're wondering ;)...told you she was a great hostess! After dinner we had the most wonderful time in the backyard. Gorgeous sunset, amazing setting and beautiful, giggly little children. Ahhh - it was the perfect ending to a fun weekend.

Here are some shots from all that fun in her backyard...

Beautiful Sisters Silly girlies Best buddies Wait for me, Sam! Pure Joy. Daddy's Girl. I'll always be here for you. Weeee! Yup! That's my little pumpkin! Gentle soul. On the go! Angel was kind enough to take some photos for us. These are some of my favorites!

My little guy!!! Noonie and Grace My two little munchkins! Mother - Daughter - Grandkids Trip 2010 Virginia-59, Jessica-32, Grace-3, Hudson-10 mo. - May, 2010.

You know how sometimes you have an image in your mind of what someone is like even before you meet them...the Eagen family is that and more.
They are Beautiful. Loving. Sincere.
And she may have felt a Mary & Martha moment, but what I felt when we were there was simply this: Love lives here.

Ah, the little pumpkin's dress! Oh my, the dress! It needs a post all its own - you'll see why. Stay tuned - it's coming soon...