Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Projects Part II

While Mark has been keeping busy with some wood working projects I have been sewing away. I have several quilts in the works to show you soon. In the meantime I thought I'd share a few smaller projects as well, especially since they were all made with free online tutorials and / or patterns. The picture above is of a table runner, made using three fat quarters. My friend, Leslie, told me about this pattern and I used it to make this table runner. It was very quick to put the top together, it just took me a few months to finish the quilting and bind it.

I cut the leftover table-runner fabric out to make a wristlet months ago. Then I bought a matching zipper. And I finally put it together a few weeks ago. This was my first attempt at sewing with a zipper and it was surprisingly easy. I'd highly recommend this tutorial from the Pink Penguin blog if you are interested in making your own wristlet or learning how to sew zippers in.

Finally, I made a 'Sprocket Pillow' after seeing a picture of one with a link to this tutorial on the Cluck, Cluck, Sew blog. This pillow was fun to make and I can't wait to make more. Good thing I have plenty of scrap fabric laying around. I also learned how to make a fabric covered button for this pillow. I picked up an inexpensive kit at Jo-Ann Fabrics and I'm sure I'll be making lots of fabric covered buttons in the future. And this concludes this version of my favorite online sewing tutorials. I'll have more soon, I'm sure!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Three Girls and the Fountain Park

Last Friday, while Mark's parents were here to watch Allison, we took a lunch break to head down to our local fountain park. I consider myself very blessed to have a local fountain park especially on hot summer days. It doesn't get better than free water activities! Our good friends, Jodi & Bekah met us there and Sophie joined Allison, Mark's parents and myself. All three of the girls had fun, each in their own way!

Bekah would slowly back into a big fountain and get her hair wet. We don't know why. She did it several times. She looked so lady like!

Sophie (the oldest) would run straight through and had a blast!

Allison loves to run around the outside.

And when she feels devious she tries to take a drink. See, she is getting ready!

The cousins posing together! Allison loves Sophie!

The girls with their grandparents!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Adventures in Washing Clothes

I've been wanting to try drying clothes outside for some time. Our homeowner's association actually doesn't allow clotheslines so I used some Target gift cards I got at work to buy some racks for drying clothes. I tried them out today. I've decided I need a clothesline (and I've checked with some of my immediate neighbors, they don't mind). I was only able to fit one load on my two racks. I still plan to use them but I'll have to figure something more substantial out.

One thing I do not need is more help. I had plenty of it. As you can tell someone had lots of fun helping me. It was really cute to watch her hang clothes and she was so proud of herself. She was also proud of herself when she found her monkey t-shirt and put it on. Along with her tu-tu from my Mom. And her pink shoes that are too small. Two-year-olds are the best!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Projects Part I

Awhile back I mentioned a project Mark was working on for Allison's birthday. Well, here it is! Potterybarn Kids & The Land of Nod both had 'doll house' bookcases in recent years and I loved them but not the price tag. Last December I saw this post on one of my favorite blogs. I bookmarked it and shared it with Mark this spring, telling him he could (and should) make Allison a dollhouse bookcase. Thankfully, he took my idea and ran with it. This is one sturdy bookcase! And the trim is amazingly detailed, I could not figure out a way to take a good picture of the trim work on the windows & doors. Mark decided to take this to a cabinet painter he knows to get it painted so it has a very durable paint job. I had originally planned to paint the roof green and perhaps try to 'decorate' it. I've decided to leave it alone for the time being, though, as I don't want to ruin the paint job. I now have a new assignment for Mark - a platform bed with a house shaped headboard. I can't wait to see how it turns out! I'm already dreaming of the quilt to make to go with it......

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lil' Gymnast

Allison finished another semester at our local 'Little Gym.' She loves going to classes there and she learns so many things. At this point she can pretty much do a forward roll (somersault) on her own using a 'cheese wedge' and she loves to swing on the bars (she has quite the grip and can hang there for quite awhile!). She is a bit on the cautious side, especially when it comes to jumping (unless she is dropping from the bars). She could easily walk the beam without assistance but she always wants to hold our hand regardless. We're taking the summer off from gymnastics but we'll plan to keep working on a few things at our local park.

Little Miss Flopsy Mopsy after a monkey jump!

* You might notice the 'Nemo' sticker on her shirt. She got it that day (Tuesday) from visiting an ear, nose, throat specialist. Nemo stayed with her until Saturday morning, when try as she might he just wouldn't stick anymore. She was devastated! Maybe they'll give her another one when she goes in for ear tubes!

Another Year....

This past weekend I turned another year older. I made sure I made the most of it and declared it my birthday right up until Sunday when I had to let Father's Day take over as the important event to be celebrated. Friday night two of my favorite people (Dan & Natalie) came over for dinner, ice cream cake and a round of games. I chose to play Sequence since my brain was fried from a busy work week. Natalie's brain was tired, too, but we still managed to beat the men, best two out of three! Saturday morning we met up with some more favorite people, the West Coast Wagner family and biked out to a yummy restaurant. The restaurant is located on a large organic farm and they serve brunch, made with food from the farm. Although the words 'organic farm restaurant' may scare you away, the food is actually quite yummy & plentiful. Mark was thoroughly impressed and satisfied. That means something when he biked 20 miles towing a 2-year-old. Jodi & I are pretty sure this is the way to do this activity - bring the men along to tow the kiddos.
Our spring / summer have been very late, cool & wet this year so the flower garden wasn't exactly colorful yet. But we did sit the girls down to take some pictures.

I think Bekah might be one of Allison's all-time favorite friends. She was so excited to hold her hand! Allison had a huge smile in every picture I took!

We rounded out my birthday celebration by calling in some babysitters (who decided to brave Red Robin with a wound up 2-year-old) and going to an adult restaurant ourselves. We rarely go out to nice places so it was a treat to visit The Vault in downtown Albany. Both Mark & I ate Alaskan seafood (that is the best seafood, after all!) and then spent some time in Borders browsing through books and magazines. And that was the end of my birthday celebration. It was a fun one!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lil' Helper

Allison's ability to mimic our actions has been improving. It will still be awhile before her assistance can truly be considered 'help' so for now we'll just call it extra entertainment. Here are some of her latest and greatest 'helping' activities..... My friends Melissa & Natalie came over on Saturday to work on a quilting project. I left the project spread out on the floor. Early Sunday morning Allison got very quiet. So I went looking for her. She had pulled my quilting safety pins down from the table and dumped them on the quilt. She was arranging them on the quilt just like she had seen Natalie do the day before. The extra bonus to all of this? Seeing these pictures just makes me love my current quilt project even more, it is so bright & cheerful!

Our strawberries are finally ripening. They have started to produce a lot of berries. I see a lot of berry processing work in my future but I'm not going to complain. On Saturday Allison helped me pick berries and we made strawberry waffles. She loved them. We went out and picked again today. This time I had enough to make a batch of freezer jam and 1/2 quart of strawberry puree (for making strawberry lemonade). If anyone has some good strawberry recipes please send them my way. Or if anyone wants to trade some strawberries for rhubarb please let me know - I still haven't convinced Mark to let me plant rhubarb yet!

Finally, Mark's work is really picking up for the next few weeks. So we spent some time on Sunday afternoon prepping food (cutting fruit & veggies and cooking brown rice). Allison cleaned & tore up lettuce and peeled carrots. I take that back. She attempted to peel a carrot. I'm not sure how far she got before she decided she would rather eat it. So she ran off with it, lounged with her favorite new giraffe and chomped away! We certainly were not going to complain about her eating a carrot!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just One More Reason to Love Playmobil!

When Mark & I were first discussing potential birthday presents for Allison we checked current Playmobil offerings online. We noticed a new 'Noah's Ark' set in the Playmobil 1,2,3 style but we became distracted with other ideas and the idea was put on the back burner. Then we visited our local toy shop just before Allison's birthday and saw it in stock in the store. I went back later and in looking at it a bit closer realized it was designed to be used in water. I decided right then & there it was going to be one of Allison's birthday presents.
Both Mark & I have decided it was a very good move. Our little Alli-girl, for all her normal sweetness, has been anything but sweet about bath time for a few months now. We have no idea why as it seems most toddlers like bath time. However, ever since we demonstrated how her new Noah's Ark could go in the tub the girl has loved bath time. What a relief! Now she has a little ritual after bath time where she pulls each animal out and dries them off with a towel and then packs them all away. And we sing endless renditions of 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' while she is in the tub rocking the ark around. Someday I'm sure she'll learn the actual 'Noah's Ark' story, for now we're just thankful bath time has become a pleasure again!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Balance Bike Babe

Last summer, while my Dad was in town we first saw balance bikes at our favorite local bike shop. Since then we've gone back several times to see if Allison was big enough to ride one. Gradually she got taller and finally, when my Dad was in town, it was time to go get one!I still remember my first trip to a bike store to buy my very first bike, a silver Schwinn dirt bike! It was a special day. As I was growing up every bike that was purchased for me meant a trip to Anchorage with Dad to try out bikes. It was pretty fun to have my Dad along to go get Allison's first bike (even though she probably won't remember the day!). My parents also bought the bike - Allison's birthday present! Pretty special!
She rode the bike out of the store and to the car but once we got home she wasn't particularly excited about it. She would have rather gone for a ride in her Chariot. But we didn't give up.

We took the bike with us pretty much everywhere we went for a whole week. Some days, like the one above, she wasn't particularly thrilled to be riding. She'd rather be looking for ducks!

But she loved 'working' on her bike! Just like Grr (my Dad) did in the garage. On this morning (above) Dad & Mom were getting ready for a ride into town and Allison was sure she was going along. She got her helmet on and pumped up her tires. She was disappointed when they rode off without her. Perhaps that is what she needed, though, because later that day, when we met up with my parents at the park she had her first 'good' ride. Just her and Grr hanging out in the park with no agenda and she gradually got on and started taking longer steps.

By the time her birthday party rolled around she was riding with confidence. She was quite the show off for Nana and Papa. There is nothing quite like a 2-year-old with a tu-tu on a spiffy balance bike!

And by the time my parents left Allison was quite the pro. She still hasn't learned to pull her feet up and just 'ride' but she sits back, puts her weight on the seat and takes long strides. It is only a matter of time before she'll be flying. Until she stops to wave. Or drops down to investigate a troop of ants. In the meantime we should get better at putting her helmet on her!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Busy Week

I'm hoping to get back into blogging soon. We're still recovering from a crazy fun week with my parents & a fabulous 2-year-old birthday party. I did attempt a photo-shoot of the special 2-year-old. She was not particularly cooperative for her mother. Despite her lack of cooperation I did manage one decent shot (although it isn't as sharp as I would like!). I have lots more to share so stay tuned!