Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something Ate My Package

Or at least it looks that way.

I finally received my book order from Barnes and Noble after they were incorrectly shipped to California instead of Massachusetts.

On a happier note I now have a few new books.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Not Your Mom's Jack-O-Lantern

Last night we had a pumpkin carving party with some of our friends. We each carved a pumpkin and then I roasted all our seeds. These roasted pumpkin seeds may have been the best ones I've made yet.

I find that roasting pumpkin seeds makes me feel nostalgic. They were one of my Dad's favorite things. This batch would've made him proud.

Our pumpkins didn't come out too shabby either.

I was impressed with the pumpkins our friends carved because it was the first time for one of them and the first time using an intricate stencil for the other. Our first timer even got brave enough to put her initials backwards on the back so the light shines through and her initials show on the wall.

Papa Bear and I are realizing that Sprout has taken over our lives. I'm coming to grips with the fact that I love Thomas as much as my cubs do.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sewing Syllabus

I am a researcher. I have to study up on whatever it is that I am going to tackle. When I began to learn to sew my ultimate goal was to be able to sew adorable clothes for my children. I had fantasies about my children playing in garments that were made by their Mama Bear with love. After much research and reading I have discovered Oliver + S.

Oliver + S is a pattern company created by Liesl Gibson. These adorable patterns she creates are very classic and I instantly fell in love with them. Recently there was a post on the Oliver + S blog about using the patterns as sewing lessons.

The post inspired me to come up with my own O + S sewing lesson plan.

Here it is:

1. Music Box Jumper
2. Sunday Brunch Jacket and A-line Skirt
3. 2 + 2 Blouse and Pleated Skirt
4. Tea Party Sundress, Bloomers and Playsuit
5. Swing Set Tunic and Skirt
6. Jump Rope Dress
7. School Days Jacket and Coat

I also read Liesl's Principles of Fabric Selection series and will be keeping it in mind when choosing my fabrics for these patterns.

For inspiration I've been checking out the O + S pattern flickr group. Some of the clothes on there are amazing.

I'm anxious to see for myself how great these patterns are and can't wait to get going on them. I've already read over the pattern for my first lesson and can clearly see that all of the hype is totally deserved. The instructions are clear and Liesl has constructed each one like a tutorial.

Each pattern comes with a paper doll and a paper version of each pattern to dress the doll in. I will be holding on to these for when the girl cubs are old enough for them. Judging from my stash of patterns I'll have quite a few of these.

I have a sneaky suspscion that Oliver + S is going to be a favorite for years to come.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bahgain Huntah (That's How It's Pronounced in Massachusetts)

Today I was a super stellar bargain hunter. My first stop was Joann they are having a huge Columbus Day Sale this weekend. I scored a bunch of polka dot fabric from the clearance section that ended up being $1.50 a yard! I also found a print in the clearance bin that is kind of a knock off of Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks cathedral print. All notions were buy one get one free so I stocked up on machine needles. Buttons were also BOGO so I got a bunch of those too. I also came home with a stack of patterns because Simplicity Patterns are $0.99 this weekend! I picked up the fabrics for the inner yolks on the Music Box Jumpers. After all the sales and my coupons I saved over a hundred dollars!!!

My next stop was Kohl's because Papa Bear needed some work clothes. Now thanks to Kohl's Columbus Day Sale he has nice new threads and our bank account is happy too. All Carter's pjs were half off, I took advantage and got all three cubs their Christmas Eve jammies. At check out Kohl's always has Kohl's For Kids items. This time had copies of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas along with Max and Grinch stuffed toys; all for only $5 each. I got one of each for Christmas (my plan is to shop early so that I can sit at home sewing while everyone else fights crowds and mall traffic). My total savings there was almost a hundred bucks!

Today I saved a grand total of $202.88 and am a self proclaimed "Bargainista"!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Powers of Rationalization

As you know I am supposed to be on a fabric ban unless it is for the wedding quilt. Thanks to the wonderful powers of rationalization and logical thinking I found a loop hole.

I recently bought Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones. There are so many cute things made from this book on flickr that I couldn't pass it up. Also, after making all those sweet little dresses I discovered that there is something so satisfactory in know your child is wearing a hand-made outfit. When people ask where I got it, I can say with pride that it is one of a kind. I guess you could say that it sparked a passion for making my children clothing.

Naturally after browsing through the book and deciding to make the kimono baby pants I wanted some super cute fabrics to make them. I've cut out three pairs from my Castle Peeps stash, but that wasn't enough. I wanted to make more than just three pairs so I got on and while browsing I came across Ann Kelle's Remix line. I just couldn't pass up that nerdy argyle print or those whales.

In order to get the free shipping (and since I had a coupon) I added on the Oliver + S Music Box Jumper Pattern. I think these dresses are just darling. They remind me of the jumpers I used to wear when I was in elementary school.

I took a trip to the local fabric store to get fabric for the dresses since they require more yardage than I have (my stash consists of half yard and one yard cuts). I decided on two prints, one to make an any day jumper for Big Sister Bear and another to make Christmas dresses for both the girlies. I will be taking a trip this weekend to get the remaining supplies and the inner yoke fabrics.

It is pretty obvious that thanks to the super powers that are rationalization and logical thinking I was able to justify a little fabric spree. I also went on a book spree that same week because I am a total nerd and have a penchant for learning about sewing.

More about those books and the trip they took across the country on my next post.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Love Carbs

I didn't do any sewing all week. Big Sister Bear was not feeling well and was permanently attached to me both day and night. It was the first time in a long time that she preferred Mama to Papa. This made me kind of sad because she was sick so I couldn't really take pleasure in her being so clingy and quiet.

Little Sister Bear was introduced to the sippy cup this week. She's been showing interest and taking the older cubs' cups. We took advantage of her interest since Big Sister Bear wasn't into them until she was fifteen months old.

It seems that the bigger cubs motivate Little Sister Bear. I feel as if she'll always be trying to keep up with them. This saddens me because it means that she'll grow up that much faster.

This weekend I used my bread machine for the first time. I've only had it for three years! When it was given to me I didn't have room for it in my teeny kitchen. Pepere Bear (my Dad) was a sucker for homemade bread so Memere Bear used it until we moved to a bigger apartment.

I used a boxed bread mix. I couldn't believe how easy it was. I especially liked that I didn't have to worry about timing the rising. The machine did it all. I put in the ingredients, pushed a few buttons and three hours later there was a fresh baked country white bread cooling on my table.

I can't wait to make one from scratch. I want to try honey wheat since that is my ultimate favorite. My hope is that there will be no need to buy bread at the store anymore. In our opinion REAL fresh baked bread is WAY better. I have a sneaking suspicion this machine will be running quite often.

In the photo above that pumpkin looking thing on the right is actually an ambercup squash. I didn't know what it was when I bought it, just that it was squash. And that it was grown at a local farm.

I cooked it the same way I cook other winter squashes. I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds and pierced the skin. Then I put it in a baking pan, flesh side down with about an inch of water. After baking it for forty-five minutes at 350 degrees it was nice and tender.

Ambercup squash tastes like a cross between a chestnut and a butternut squash. It has a consistency that is slightly creamier than a chestnut. I mashed it up with butter, brown sugar and nutmeg. It was delicious.

Sunday morning Big Sister Bear tested out her newest dress up item...a tutu. I made it last weekend and it hung in my kitchen all week while I waited for a nice day to take some pictures. I decided to just let her rock it and take some action shots.

I love how poufy it is. And I love that she thinks she's a princess when she wears it.

She was dancing around and fluffing it. I think it looks great with her jammies too.

She was ecstatic.

She also discovered that it is suitable attire for cooking.

It's the perfect thing to wear for teatime.

Nephew Bear was all about the tutu photo session.  He posed (willingly) for a photo shoot too.

He's such a handsome, happy little goober. He insisted on trying the tutu. We let him so that he could get it out of his system. I did not take pictures if him in the tutu because I don't want him to hate me when he's a teenager.

He looked like Ace Ventura in the scene when they visit the mental institution. All he was missing was the boots.

Little Sister Bear just hung out in her jumper observing my paparazzi behavior. She patiently waited until it was her turn.

I love how she has the fattest legs that end with itty bitty feet and ankles. She is the sweetest little thing.

I have a bunch of things waiting in the wings to be sewn up. I'm also waiting on a package that should have been here on the 2nd! What's more frustrating is that it was missent and I can't get an actual person on the telephone over at old reliable USPS. I've sent an email to them via their online customer service department. Keep an eye out for my next post about how the books I ordered from Barnes and Nobel toured the country.