The Dollhouse

So this year, Christmas came early at our house. We're headed back to Utah for a few days, and knew we couldn't take everything we were giving the girls with us (especially not as a secret from Santa). We also knew that Cory would be working every day up until we left, so we just decided to celebrate this last Sunday. It was pretty great, though now I feel like I'm in this weird lull between fake Christmas and real Christmas, but with no Santa for real Christmas... it's weird. Anyway. This year, I was super excited about the girls' present. I bought a dollhouse for Breanne a couple years ago on an after Christmas sale for some 90% off. This one, actually (again, note the 90% off. Awesome). I didn't give it to her at the time because Janey was in crazy baby stage (1.5 years old), and I was about to have another baby. This year, though, with Breanne and Janey being in the delightfully responsible-ish enough stages that they are, and Cailin in a somewhat calm (for her) stage, I decided it would work.

And boy howdy do they love it. They've been playing with it for the last 4 days almost constantly. It always makes the hours worth it when the kids like what I've worked on like crazy. :) I stayed up many late nights painting and wall-papering and painting and material-ing the floors and painting... did I mention all the painting? It might not have been so bad if I hadn't had to paint the majority of the furniture too... but it ended up great. I love the way it came together, and the girls have really enjoyed playing with it thus far. Because we moved Christmas up a week (it was kind of a last minute decision) I didn't have time to finish the front of the house, so the porch and front wall are yet to be finished, but someday it'll all be done. Besides, this way=no pinched fingers, right?

Want a tour?  Ok.  We'll start at the top, in the attic (it's around on the back side).

Yes, that is a sewing machine.  And a vacuum.  I kind of fell in love with this pack of dollhouse furniture when I saw the sewing machine.  Couldn't resist it.  

Other side of the room, with the laundry, mop and bucket and ironing board.  I love these pieces.  The floor is corduroy (actually the same stuff I used for my diaper bag waaaay back here).  

Then there's the bathroom.  The pieces that came with the dollhouse for the bathroom were really lame.  Super squarish pieces, with drawn on faucets, and no toilet.  So I found this little set to replace it, after searching for nearly a month.  I'm glad the greens match well enough to pull it all together.  The floor is a sheet of 1 inch tiles from Home Depot I found on clearance.  It's my personal favorite part of the room.

This is the bedroom.  Couldn't resist the pinks (the floral on the walls is even sparkly...), and the floor is a furry white fabric.  The bed is not complete, still needs a mattress, pillow, and a finished edges blanket, but it's coming.  And yes, that's a light on the ceiling... you just click it on by pushing it.  It is adhered to the ceiling, but twists off to replace the batteries.  There's also one in the attic, and one in the family room.  The girls love them.  Let's be honest, so do I.  :)

The kitchen.  It came with a fridge, and the table and chairs weren't that scratched before, but... well... children.  And a few days.  You know the rest.  My favorite part of this room is a tie between the flooring, and the faux paneling on the walls.  It's the small things, sometimes.

And the front/family room.  Complete with Christmas tree and lights.  I am a sucker for the details.  I have plans to upholster the couch, but haven't had time yet.  I love the cabinet, though, and the furry carpet. You can tell that I bought this set a few years ago, though, by the tv.  I'm sure the tv's in newer sets are flat screens.  The girls asked me what it was.  :)

So there you have it.  I really love me a good project.  Yes, still plenty to do on this one, but I love it so far. And more importantly... so do the girls.  :)


I'm Still Here

Sorry, I know it's been a long time since I posted last, but I just want you all to know that I'm still here, I promise. Just neck deep in Christmas projects. I'm really excited to show them all to you, but sadly, my daylight hours for taking pictures are filled with children who can't see the finished products. So, you're just going to have to wait, at least until tomorrow when 2/3 kids will be at school. I'm pretty excited about all the stuff I've been working on, and I can't wait to show you.

 In the meantime, here are a few random pictures of Cailin, because she's got style.

She loves this hat.  Seriously, loves.  And for a while there, she couldn't care less what you wanted to put on her, as long as she got to pick out her own socks.  Which were always babylegs, which she could pull on herself (see above picture).  Good thing I've made about a million pairs for her.

Ooh baby, dark socks with the sandals.  Which I swear I put away.

And a big ol' Ta-Da! for climbing on top of the side table.  Kids.  Sheesh.  :)  And yes, those are the bats in the background, this is a slightly old pic.  Christmas decorations are mostly up these days.

Hopefully a more exciting post soon!


New Shirt for Me!

So a few months ago, I bought myself a new shirt, to wear in our family pictures.  

Despite my crazy face in the picture, I love the shirt.  Except for the sleeves.  It has these weird flutter sleeves that do nothing for me.  Nothing.  So, I always cover them up with a jacket.  I've been thinking lately that I should just replace the sleeves, but I haven't found a fabric that matches well enough to do it. And to be honest, I didn't want to mess up the shirt.  Anyway.  So yesterday, during my restful Sabbath, I decided to just attempt to make a new version of the shirt, with a sleeve I like.  I did my best at creating pattern pieces based on the original shirt.  My result:

Have to be honest, I'm kind of in love with the result.  I feel like it's the little details that totally make the shirt--the cuffs on the sleeves, the buttons, the gathers, and the neckline.

My first ever (faux!) button placket.  

I feel I must have you note, though, that the bottom has yet to be hemmed.  Not by my choice, but by the choice of my machine.  (We're in a serious power struggle these days.  She thinks it's ok to skip 5 stitches in a row, I tend to disagree.  The sewing machine repair shop seems to think it's basically unfixable.  Truly a sad day).  So, if I ever get a machine that works again, I'll be hemming this baby up.  The vast majority of this shirt was actually done on my serger.  The neckline and button placket are the only pieces sewn on by my machine, and had to be redone a number of times to make them look reasonable and hide all the skipped stitches.  :(

Anyway, enough sob story from me, here it is on:

Yeah, I kind of love it.  Next time I'll make the sleeves slightly looser, but other than that, seriously, I'm so happy with how it came out. 


Growing Up

So guess who is big enough for a big-girl bed?

Yeah, it surprised me too, but she has handled it like a champ.  We had one rough night, where she didn't want to stay in so we put her back in the crib, but since then--it's all been great.  No locks on the door or anything.  This kid is awesome.  So is this picture.

And no, I did not stage it.  This is how I found them on the first morning they both slept in the bunk beds.

I'm a little sad to be putting away the crib, not knowing when we'll pull it back out again (it hasn't been put away for more than a couple months at a time for years now), but it'll be nice to have the extra space.  I believe Santa will be utilizing it next month.  :)


Felt Dress-Up Dolls

A while back, we were in birthday-party-mode. We'd been invited to two birthday parties within two days of each other.  I was tired of spending money on gifts, and thus trying to figure out what to give to our 4- and 2-year old friends, when I remembered seeing these adorable felt dolls as part of a quiet book.  Now, I still want to make quiet books for the girls at some point, but when they realized what I was making for their friends, they begged me to make some for them, too.  And so, of course, I did.  Yeah, I'm pretty much crazy.

Meet Cailin, Janey, and Alisha, our friend.

And yes, I did make one for Breanne, too.  I don't remember why I didn't take pictures of it.  Also one for a friend, Willow.  I made 5 of these in an afternoon-evening.  A fun, reasonably easy project.  :)  My girls loved figuring out outfits to put together.

Each girl comes in a little book, with two pockets--one for big pieces of clothing, one for small pieces, like shoes and necklaces.

Everyday clothes--jeans and t-shirt

Dress and ballet flats

With the crown and necklace.  Because every girl is a princess and needs some bling.

More casual, some brown pants and loafers.

Red pj's.

Jacket, jeans, and cowgirl boots.  I wish I had boots like those.

Dancer.  My personal favorite.

More casual dresses, and you can't really tell in this pic, but pink maryjanes.  

Want to go swimming?  She does.

And since there are a couple people around here who refuse to wear anything but skirts...

So as you can see, nothing fancy, at all, but still a fun little project.  The exterior of the book matches the pockets, nothing fancy, but the girls loved picking out their own fabrics out of my stash.  You could easily make this a much more awesome and fun project by making more detailed clothing for the dolls, and fancying up the case, but I was going for quick and simple, so this is what we came up with.  I hope you like it.  My girls sure do... I was planning on taking these to church with us, but the one time I did, they spent the entire meeting "talking" to each other and playing back and forth, yelling about whose clothes are whose, instead of quietly changing their outfits.  Seriously, all I remember ever doing with barbies is changing their clothes.  These dolls aren't even 3D but they are fully animated.  Ahh, the joys of having multiple girls.  Sheesh.  :)


We're Thankful For...

I've been seeing "gratitude trees" all over the internet, and after seeing my friend Holly's yesterday, I finally decided to make one for us.  The girls and I spent this afternoon during Cailin's nap cutting, cutting, cutting, and then taping, taping, taping, and finally writing and taping some more.  :)

And thus was born, our Thankful Tree:

Yeah, a whole wall of gratitude tree... this house has huge walls, I never feel like I can do anything on a small scale.

Perhaps a little shy on leaves so far, but we have a whole bunch more to fill out over the next couple weeks.

Yep, I'm thankful for my sewing machine and serger.  And clean laundry.  Janey prefers flowers and school.

Breanne was certain to add an owl in a hole in the tree.

And then she wanted me to take a picture of her by the tree.  :)

She's thankful for red, mom, Hazel, dad, Janey...

And squirrels.  Still working on getting the s to face the right way.  :)

 Have I mentioned how much I love this wall in our house?  It's one of my favorite things about this house.  In case you don't remember (or I didn't tell you?), it also housed Cory's birthday wall,

and our colony of bats.

No, really, that's what a group of bats is called.  Also, I know some children who would be disappointed if I didn't ask if you see the sole upside-down bat.  He's a rebel.  :)

  I'm picturing snowflakes, hearts, birthday banners... I love it.  


An Abbey Jacket

A while back, I responded to a request over on Shwin and Shwin, when she was looking for some pattern testers. I was lucky, and she asked me to help her test out her Abbey Jacket pattern.

  (The popped collar still makes me laugh.  So fun on such a little person.)

SO cute! My first choice was to make a jacket for Janey.  Of course I let her pick out her own fabric, which may have been a mistake, but I think it came out ok.

 Unfortunately, because we were still in the testing stages, the sleeves were quite a bit short, but I still love it.  And you can be assured, if you're thinking about buying it, the sleeves are fixed in the pattern now.  :)

 And it actually fits Cailin perfectly. I still need to make a new one that fits Janey, but in the meantime, Cailin will enjoy this little beauty. As soon as it's cold enough to justify a jacket, rather than just a long sleeved shirt, that is. :)


Showing Off

Alright, so you got to see Breanne's latest trick yesterday. Here are Janey and Cailin's tricks today. Janey is loving preschool, and comes home with new songs to teach me regularly. I present to you the Duck Song:

Also, don't you love the abc's? We're working on learning all those pesky middle letters, haha.

And Cailin, well, she likes to tell jokes.

You just have to know the middle line, as she won't feed it to you. She's pretty good at the punchline though, right?

In short, I love my children. Even on days like today, where I do like 10 loads of laundry (1.5 pinks, .5 yellows, 2 whites, 3 blues (one three times, thanks to someone (me?) putting a (just wet, thankfully) diaper in with the laundry... UGH) and 1 towels and linens). And Cailin runs away at Breanne's school.



This is absolutely a boastful mom post. Just a warning. :) I don't feel like I do this that often, but I'm so excited about my girl, I just want to share it. And it's my blog so I'll do what I want to. :)

So people regularly ask me how kindergarten is going for Breanne. Short answer--she loves it! Long answer--she is thriving, and knows nearly every student in the three classes (so close to 90 kids) by name. Oh, and she's reading. Yes, she could read a bit before school started, but recently it's just taken off. By the end of the school year, the goal for the teachers is to have every child in the class reading at a level "e" (they start with a, then b, then c, etc.). Breanne is already reading at level "f". I was super proud about this, but then Breanne started telling me about how reading works at her school. I guess the kids are divided into groups (she can only remember snails and pandas and rabbits), based on how well the read. (I feel that I should insert here that the kids don't seem to correlate their speed with their group... though I think that's how it's done). Breanne is a rabbit. She hasn't received a new book to read (they have guided reading books they're supposed to bring home every day) in 4 days, so I asked her today why not. She told me that the teacher that she usually practices reading with (not her actual teacher) has been absent the last few days, and her group hasn't been called on to go read. This was the first I'd heard of groups, so I asked her who else was in her group. She replied "no one." So wait, what? Breanne is the *only* rabbit in the kindergarten? She's the best reader they have? I. am. so. proud.

It later came out that there is one other kid in her class who is in her group, but he's been sick or out of town lately. I'm happy for that little boy, too. And I'm happy she's not in a group totally by herself. But seriously, I'm just so proud of Breanne. I love her desire to learn, and the way she doesn't throw her intelligence in others' faces (like I'm totally doing right now). She is the friendliest girl I've seen on the playground, and is such a wonderful sister and helper besides. Cory and I have talked a lot about how much she desires to help others feel included, and wants to know and love everyone. We're pretty lucky to have such a special girl.

And for your enjoyment, here is Breanne reading the last part of her book (that she's had for 4 days now, ha).

PS. Her back is mostly fine, just a minor rug burn. :)


Happy Halloween!

Pretty perfect holiday here. Matching shirts (made at the last minute, of course... remind me to make them weeks in advance next year so they can be worn for, well, weeks), perfect weather for a trip to the playground, pizza with friends for dinner, and trick-or-treating with the same friends. And then, of course, consuming large amounts of sugar, and Cailin *finally* giving us a robot dance in costume. Not on camera, of course. :)

A few glimpses of our day:

(I thought it was funny that she was standing like this... until I caught a glimpse of my own shadow at that exact same moment...)

And from this evening... our jack o'lanterns, which we carved yesterday--

Cory's and Janey's (I'll leave you to decide which is which, ha):
And Breanne's:
Trick-or-treating... at home:
Sugar crash!
Happy Halloween, everyone!