Friday, August 30, 2013

Week Re-Cap and My Busy Book Figurine and Play Mat Storage Envelope

Here's what I've been up to this week:

Tuesday: Daycare Freedom - Costco and reading (only have 1/2 books left in my library stack). Waited for my new Orla Kiely bag to arrive...isn't it awesome? Olive on one side, black on the other.

Wednesday: Naptime - had a lovely phone chat with one of my best friends.

Thursday: Daycare Freedom - craft store hopping, made this cute zipper pouch to match my new bag by altering this tutorial.

Today: Naptime - Busy Book figurines and play mat storage envelopes

Elijah loves My Busy Books. We grab a new one every couple of months for him. We currently have Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (although the play mat is missing), Thomas and Friends, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. We loves carrying the little figurines around and lining them up. I, however, am a little tired of them ending up all over the house. The books they come in are not very good storage options (you pick up the book and they all fall out), so I decided to make some very simple little envelopes to keep everything together.

Want to make your own? Here's how:

fabric - two 21" x 7.5" pieces
Velcro (I used iron-on)

Step 1 - cut your fabric

Step 2 - Put the fabric right sides together, fold in half, and make a diagonal cut about 4" down, and 3/4" in to make the flap.

Step 3 - Sew around the two pieces, leaving an opening on the bottom for turning. Turn, and iron. Fold bottom half up to just below the flap, iron in a crease. Top stitch the bottom to close the opening.

Step 4 - With the bottom folded up, top stitch around the entire envelope.

Step 5 - Iron on the Velcro pieces.

Step 6 - Put the play mat and figurines into the envelope.

Congratulations! You now have easy storage for all those little pieces. As a bonus for us, these envelopes fit perfectly into the little messenger bag I made Elijah ages ago - these are great things to take when we go out.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Naptime: Peacock-Colored Inifinity Scarf

I spent all weekend fighting this "I'm exhausted and congested" summer cold. I laid on the couch, read 7 books (I'm a quick reader and they weren't books that I had to put a little brain power into), and other than running a few quick errands and going to church, it was a stay-at-home weekend.

Now the week has started, and while I'm still feeling pretty exhausted and congested, I've found a little energy to get things done.

First, this morning, I made my Textured Crochet Infinity Scarf (available here) in my impulse buy beautiful variegated yarn. It has lovely shades of purple, teal and green - very peacock-ish. I finished it during lunchtime and am thinking of a peacock feather embellishment that I can pin on to it. That is still clinking around in my brain though.

Now that naptime has officially started, I know better than to pass up an opportunity to take a nap myself when I'm feeling under the weather...right after I finish cleaning up lunch, and do a little bit of banking stuff (yay, payday!), I'm going to head off to bed, to read my Bible and relax.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Daycare Freedom - Germ Sharing

Elijah is learning how to share...unfortunately, this time around, he has been kind enough to share his cold with me. I can feel it coming on - that slightly congested, energy dragging kind of feeling. I'm glad it's Friday, so if this thing really kicks up, my husband will be home to help take care of our little petri dish.

I have spend this Daycare Freedom day running a few errands (picking up a book from the library, buying Elijah some new pants, impulse buying a couple skeins of yarn - you know, the usual), and since I've been home, I've been laying on the couch, drinking tea and reading.

The mere thought of doing something crafty makes me tired - that's how I know I'm getting sick :)

I'll be back when I feel a little less "blah".

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Daycare Freedom - Easy DIY Headbands

I love daycare freedom days - I get so much done!

Today, I dropped Elijah off at school and went and did all the things I meant to do on Monday - grocery store, ATM, library (where I picked up 10 new books to read - a little of this, a little of that),

Then it was back to Elijah's school to drop off his blanket (absent-minded mama), Ross to return some things and Joann's to buy the supplies I needed to make some new head bands.

I love theory. In reality, they give me headaches. So I thought that if I used some ribbon and very little elastic, I might be able to solve that problem, because it wouldn't be as tight around my head. I must say, I'm loving the results (the pic - eh, not so much...has anyone found a good way to take a flattering cell phone selfie? Is escapes me thus far...however, my eye color does look pretty cool in it.)

Want to make your own? Here's how!

1/2 yard of a pretty trim
5" of 1/4" elastic (just enough so that it holds to your head snugly, but not tightly)
small amount of coordinating ribbon (not pictured)

At Joann's, I picked up  three different trims - a pretty ribbon, an orange braid, and a woven-burlap-ish thing. The first thing I did was sew a zig-zag stitch at the ends of each trim to help avoid fraying (optional). I used invisible thread, mostly because that's what was already in my sewing machine. Then I cut about 5" of the elastic, pinned the elastic to the trim and folded the sides of the trim over the elastic to make a little trim/elastic taco, and sewed them together.

I then hot glued a small piece of coordinating ribbon around each end to finish it off. Viola! Three non-headache inducing headbands in about 15 minutes. Not bad! Happy headband making!

We're having company over tonight, so with my last half hour of freedom, I have to go tidy up a bit downstairs and get dinner (Brazilian Chicken Curry - new recipe, I'll let you know how it turns out) into the crockpot.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Change of Plans

Today was supposed to be a daycare freedom day...

I had it all planned out - drop Elijah off at school, run to the ATM to deposit a check, check out some books at the library, return some things to Ross, stop by Joann's (of course), get crafty at home...

But when we pulled up to his school, his teacher was walking out on her break. She opened the back car door to say "hi", and asked what was all over Elijah's legs. I turned around to see that my little boy had sprouted a nice rash on his legs, arms and tummy in the fifteen minutes it took to drive from our house to his school. We turned around and headed daycare freedom for me today...but I have spent naptime getting a lot of things done around the house, so it's turned out alright.

During lunch, I wrote out this list:

After writing it, I worked on the things I could do downstairs while Elijah was eating playing with his yogurt. Things like - unload the dishwasher, dust and declutter the living room, clean butter dish (weird, I know), and finish cleaning downstairs bathroom.

Once I put him down for a nap, I worked on the things I could do upstairs while he was falling asleep. Things like - unpack LA bag, make bed, tidy studio and update Elijah's memory book (on Shutterfly) with his 2 1/2 year measurements.

As soon as I was sure he was asleep, I tackled the things that need to be done outside - take Lillie out, check sprinkler, and check garden - we've got lots of cherry tomatoes ready to be picked.

Once all my chores were done, I was free to get my crafty on. I've been working on some crochet lace camera strap covers. I had one that had been mocking me from the top of the piano to finish, so I sat down and got 'er done - took all of 10 minutes. Here it is finished:

I updated my etsy shop with one of the camera strap covers I've made recently, and sent the link to some friends who asked me to make them camera straps but had yet to pay me/pick them up - major pet peeve. Note - if you ask me to make you something, please mean it and act like you care about the item. I work hard on them, and am always excited to give them, but it drags me down when you don't seem to really care or bother to follow up with payment and delivery.

All of the things on my list will have been checked off once I hit publish on this blog post, and I will be off to finished the last thing on my list - RELAX...ahh, summer!

Check back on Wednesday (fingers crossed) for the craftiness I had originally planned for today.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Los Angeles - August 2013

My husband and I took a quick trip down to LA this past week. We left early Thursday morning, and came back late Friday night. It was our first time leaving Elijah overnight, and we were a little nervous about it, but we had a great time. It was so nice to be able to be able to relax and shop without chasing a 2 1/2 year old around all the time.

We landed at LAX around 10:30, waiting in line for a LONG time to get our rental car, and headed out to Azusa to see my best friend, her husband and their new baby, Elladie. We had lunch there and then headed out to Pasadena to do a little shopping. We found Chucks for all three of us.

 Then we headed into Hollywood, to our hotel, The Dixie, and to meet up with my friend Gaelle, her brother, Guillaume and her fiancĂ©, Adrien. They had been road tripping around the U.S., and LA was their last stop. We decided to head up to the Griffith Observatory, which I have been trying to go to for almost 10 years, but every time I have been in LA, it has been closed. I'm happy to say, I finally made it.

Then we drove past all the Hollywood sights and on to a Korean restaurant, where we spent WAY too much for dinner at an all you can eat buffet that really wasn't all that good. The next morning, we got all packed up, and headed back to the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater. We did a little sightseeing, some shopping, and got some so-so crepes for lunch. After lunch, we drove down to Rodeo Drive, and got stuck in traffic on Sunset Blvd on the way home, so we took a detour up a mountain, past ridiculously huge, expensive houses and cars, and back to our hotel.

Once at the hotel, my French friends got messages saying that their flight home had been delayed until the next day. We headed to the local Jamba Juice for smoothies and some Wi-Fi, thanks to James' phone.

They decided that they needed to head to the airport right away to get everything figured out (they ended up getting on a different flight, and ended up getting home earlier than originally planned), so our visit was cut short. James and I headed out to Manhattan Beach, which we really enjoyed. We picked it because it was close to LAX, so we wouldn't have to be terribly worried about getting stuck in traffic before our flight. We got some awesome ice cream at the Manhattan Beach Creamery, and enjoyed our last few child-free hours.

All in all, it was a good trip, and I'm looking forward to Gaelle and Adrien's wedding in October, when I can see my friends again, this time in France.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Last Minute Hat Making

Two of my students, a married couple, are having a baby. They told me on Monday that it is a boy. I had until Wednesday morning, the last day of class, to make them a hat (because, well, that's what I do when people have babies).

Monday afternoon, I got a message from my friend, Susan, who is traveling back to her home state of North Carolina, to visit some friends who are in the process of adopting a little boy from Korea. She wanted to bring them something special, and wondered if I could make a hat. Of course I can! We decided on a Pororo hat, a cute little Korean cartoon about a penguin and his friends. Since we are going to be traveling on Thursday and Friday, I had until Wednesday morning to make it, so she could pick it up on her way to work.

I worked furiously on these two hats, and got them both done on time! Susan picked up her hat this morning, and I have the one for my students all ready to be handed to them as they leave class today.
Here is the Pororo hat. So many color changes! Super cute, if I do say so myself.

The hat I made for my students is a simple ear flap hat with a pompom on top, but I made it in the colors of the dad's favorite soccer team. Excuse the poor quality of the photo, it was taken on my phone, on top of the essays my students just turned in, next to the computer I am currently typing on.

I love making hats for people! They're relatively quick, but they show a lot of effort and love. I hope both parties enjoy their hats, and their new little boys to come!

On a side note - it's the last day of Summer Quarter! I'm watching as my students finish writing their final exam (and silently hurrying them on). Now, I just have to grade them, calculate final grades, enter the grades, and send an e-mail to my department chair and I am FREE!

I'm not excited or anything...Hello, Summer! And to all you people who are starting to talk about "back to school" - shut it! :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Daycare Freedom: Boutiques and Dahlias

I spent some time alone today out and about. I went and explored the Proctor area of Tacoma - cute store, fun vibe. I enjoyed myself and picked up a couple of treats just for me. Then I headed down to the Rose Garden in Pt. Defiance Park and played with my camera. I'm trying to figure out manual mode. I clicked and adjusted, clicked and adjusted and I came away with this shot of a beautiful dahlia, which I love! Not bad for a preset kind of girl!

I've got about an hour left before I have to leave for daycare pick-up, so I think I'll go make myself a cup of tea and relax with some yarn and a hook!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

End of Ramadan - Happy Eid!

Today, at sundown, it will officially be the end of Ramadan.  I'm looking forward to getting my normal, happy, engaged, not hungry Saudi students back for the last four days of class. Of course, two of those days we are just taking tests, and the other two we are working on writing the last essay, but still, it will be nice to hopefully have all six on them in one place at the same time.

I am a little disappointed that the one time I was asked to go with my students for "breakfast" (as they all call their meal after sundown), I was unable to go, and now my chance is over for this year. They are an interesting people and come from a fascinating culture, and I have been so honored to learn more about it and them this past year. I have been surprised (in mostly good ways) by them at nearly every turn. I'm so thankful they all choose to come to this school, and were placed in my class.

So, to my students and any other Muslims reading - Eid Mubarak! May your holiday be blessed!

In other news, as Summer Quarter dwindles down to the last day, I am looking forward to all the crafty things I'm going to get up to until the end of September, when Fall Quarters kicks off. I've got lots of things brewing - mostly involving crocheted lace which has become a new favorite thing to make. Check back often to see what I'm up to!