Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Birthday Princess & Clothes for 18 Inch Dolls

This past week we celebrated (minus daddy who was dealing with a major catastrophe at work but with Nana) the 4th birthday of my princess Ali!  What a little bundle of sweetness she is (with a whole bunch of attitude thrown in!).  Ali is my snuggler.  She LOVES to snuggle and cannot get enough.  If she is upset, snuggle with her and her baby, read her a book and she relaxes immediately.  She loves music and dance and is absorbed with watching herself in the mirror!  It is hilarious to watch her watch herself sing and dance!  She is the least adventurous of the bunch preferring to stay close to mom and dad.  She is a momma's girl, that is for sure!  She has learned lately the art of crossing her arms when upset and pouting a big pout.  Though it is very cute, it is certainly not appropriate.  She wants so much to be a big girl but is still a little girl at heart.  She loves to be a helper and will often accompany me (at least for a little while) to do just about anything - baking, weeding, laundry, etc.  She is my fashionista, being particularily opionated about her clothes, my clothes and the clothes of her dolls.  I will often hear her say she likes my shirt but doesn't like my pants or some such thing.  At the core of her heart, she wants to know that she is beautiful.  She is sensitive girl who is learning how to respond to a "no" with something other than crying, a sure sign she is learning to handle her emotions.  I see a lot of myself in her so, with that in mind, I try to assure her that, yes, she is beautiful, yes, I do love her, and, yes, I love to spend time with her.  She has asked numerous times when she will be a mom and I can see her thriving at just that someday far off in the future - taking on the awesome responsibility of being a wife and a mother.  I look forward to seeing her continue to grow in confidence and the assurance that she truly is a princess, daughter of a King.  Happy Birthday, my sweet Ali, I sure do love you!
When I asked what she wanted for her birthday, she said a baby.  Now, you must realize this girl has many babies.  With 3 girls in the house, the last thing we really need is another baby doll - we have plenty!  So, I thought maybe some clothes for Kara, her 18 inch doll she received at Christmas, would be a good idea.  So, I got sewing!  Oh, what a lot of fun that was.  I stayed up way too late way too many nights but I am thrilled with the results.  With the numerous patterns I have accumulated (some free, some bought) I can tell I will be sewing again soon.  Especially since older sister RJ is exceedingly jealous of the new clothes Kara received.  Her girl Candy needs some, too!  I told her to wait for Christmas!  Without any further ado, here is what I made, using only fabric and notions I already had (except for a couple of zippers I found at the thrift store)!
This is Ali's favorite dress for Kara!  It is called the Katie dress and the free pattern can be found here
Ali does not like this dress at all!  Remember, she is opionated when it comes to fashion!  I am trying not to be offended!   The pattern is found here.

Another really cute dress!   I love the polka dots!  Free pattern is from here.

This is my favorite outfit so far on Kara!  Ali is learning to like it!  I think the fabric is perfect for this style of tunic, especially with the slight shimmer it has.  I love the ruffles and the turned up cuffs.  It can be made shorter or without the ruffles so I will have to try that eventually.  Also, the jeans have front and back pockets!  So stinkin' cute!!  Tunic pattern is here and jeans pattern is here.

Lest you think all I did was sew clothes, I also crocheted Ali a hat and a headband, both of which she loves.  With that girl, you just never know!  Whatever the case, I had a blast making all those clothes and I look forward to the next 3 complete outfits I get to make for Christmas!  As for now, I am heading to bed!

Linking up to these parties:

Fantabulous Friday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

This Week . . .

1.  The patterns I won in a blog giveaway arrived and what fun it was to peruse the box full!  24 brand new women's clothing patterns all in my size!  Some I will probably not use, like the hospital scrubs, but some I am really excited about - numerous skirt patterns, a cute Asian-inspired top (I love Asian tops!), some coats, lots of dresses, too many to mention!  Now to figure out which one to pick first!

2.  I paid $12.44 for a $199.99 light fixture!  For the longest time, I have pictured a light in my head.  Not sure if I saw one somewhere on-line or on TV but I had this vision of a light fixture in my head that would be perfect for the powder room in the new house.  I wanted something rectangular, with a sheer black shade and lots of crystal drops.  I have looked in many big box stores over and over but never found exactly what I wanted.  I found others that would work okay but not the EXACT one.  Then, the other week, I wandered through Canadian Tire when I saw it!  The exact fixture I wanted.  I was ecstatic!  When I got close enough to see the price was $200, I said out loud, "No way!  I refuse to pay $200 for a light fixture.  I will wait for it to come on sale."  So, wait I did.  Then, yesterday, I looked in the flyer and my light was on sale.  40% off.  That brought it to, with taxes, $134.39 (regular $223.99).  Then, to sweeten the matter even more, I have been stocking up my Canadian Tire money for such a moment sometime in the future when I would find that perfect item for the new house.  I didn't know what it was but I have been saving for quite a while.  (For those of you unaware of what Canadian Tire money is, it is a reward system earning you money based on your purchases.  Jay figured out that Canadian Tire has one of the better points systems out there.)  Well, that moment had come.  I had $121.95 in Canadian Tire money bringing the total price of the light fixture to $12.44!  Woo hoo!  That is patience and persistence paying off!

3.  The 3 oldest kids have been attending a 5 day camp (well, they only found out about it on Wednesday so for them it is a 3 day camp) at a friend's house.  They are singing songs, learning Bible verses, spending time in prayer and learning how to tell others about Jesus.  I firmly believe that it is the parent's responsibility to teach their children about the Lord and about life, not leaving it up to the Sunday School teachers or DVBS leaders or whatever.  And I do.  I take that aspect of life seriously.  But when they have the opportunity to spend 1 hour with others that are confirming what we are teaching, teaching in the same spirit and manner, then I encourage them to go and learn.  And we talk all about it when they get home.

4.  I made 19 half pint jars of Raspberry Red Pepper Jelly, thanks to the recipe from here.  I picked the raspberries from the plants here on my yard and bought the remaining ingredients from the store.  Maybe someday in the future I will grow all the peppers, too, but that didn't happen this year.  I love the gorgeous red color and the taste is a wonderful sweet/spicy combination that would be perfect with crackers and cream cheese.  Just a small reminder - don't walk away from your stove for any reason when you are trying to bring your fruit to a boil.  It will most likely boil over the moment you step back into the room but just before you are actually able to stop it.  Not that I have any experience with that! :)

5.  Harvest has started.  This is a wonderful time of the year full of busy schedules and running here and there.  Every day involves numerous trips back and forth from one field or another dropping off a couple kids and picking up a couple more while delivering food to their hard-working dad.  I know that MIL would gladly feed her son but I see it as my joy and my privilege to bring my husband supper, even if it means packing up all the kids and sitting and waiting at the end of the field for him to arrive.  There is something to be said for being a part of the harvest.  We truly see how the Lord is the only one who can give the increase - all we can do is plant.  The rain and the sun come from the Lord, the plants grow only at his command, and we are honored to be able to reap a harvest of plenty. 

6.  I bought a few more crochet patterns and sewing patterns on Etsy.  A certain little lady turns 4 next week so I best get busy making some gifts.  I guess that is what sitting and waiting at the field is good for - crocheting!  I will be sure to show you what I make next week.  Anything fun happen for you this past week?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bloomin' Daylilies

During the summer, I tend to take a quick daily walk around the house to see what flowers decided to bloom.  I have numerous perennials planted all around the house but my very favorite flower to photograph has to be the daylily or hemerocallis.  There is just something about the way the stamens protrude, the petals curl back and the ruffles bunch up on the edges that draws me.  They are SO easy to grow, requiring next to no assistance, and though each individual flower only lasts one day, giving them their name, there are so many blooms bursting forth each day that the blooming season lives on.  They come in a huge variety of color and their green grass-like leaves add great texture to the perennial bed.  Daylilies are a must-have for the flower garden, especially when you see flowers like this:

"Canadian Border Patrol" daylily

"Canadian Border Patrol" daylily

"Daring Deception" daylily

"Daring Deception" daylily

"Edge of Darkness" daylily

"Strawberry Candy" daylily

"Strawberry Candy" daylily

"Blackeyed Stella" daylily

"Blackeyed Stella" daylily

"Moonlit Madness" daylily

The very best part is that each of these plants has grown large enough to divide into 5 or 6 more plants giving me plenty of plants to move to the country while still leaving one to grow here.  Now I just have to wait until they stop blooming.  Do you have a favorite flower growing in your garden?  Do tell!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A New Driveway

Is anyone else in awe that it is August already?  Time keeps slipping away so very quickly!  With a week like last, it is no wonder.  We were so busy, going somewhere every day, which is not the norm for us.  One major event of last week was the building of a new driveway out at the country property.  This is something we had been debating since last year.  The reason we wanted to move it is this:  the original driveway is narrow and if we want to not have to shovel the snow in the winter and would like instead for dad's large tractor mounted snow blower or blade to move it, we needed a wider driveway.   That could have been as simple as adding on.  But the other, greater issue, was where we wanted the house to go.  We have plans for it to be in a certain spot and weaving the old driveway through the yard to get there just didn't really make that much sense.  It made more sense to make a completely new, wider driveway farther down the road.  So last fall, all the trees that would be in the way were cut down.  Then this spring, Jay doubted the wisdom of moving the driveway.  After we cut all the trees.  They were already growing back but still, we cut them all down, moved all the branches, hauled all the wood away.  It was a lot of work.  Then we stopped.   And Jay thought.  And thought.  And thought.  Jason is a thinker, in case you didn't know.  At times it drives me batty and at times I am very thankful for his thought process.  When he makes a choice, he doesn't usually change his mind.  I know that I really wanted the driveway to move even if it meant more work but I thought it would work best for the yard.  I had to give up that desire to allow Jay the freedom to make the best choice all around.  If we left the driveway, I could live with it.  There are many more important things in life to wonder about then a driveway!  If we moved it, that would be fantastic.  So, on his own last week, he came to me and said we are moving the driveway and getting an excavating company to build a new one - we had planned to do this ourselves!  I was so EXCITED! 
Spot for new driveway before cutting trees.

Trees are cut and stumps are being removed

Old driveway

Digging up old driveway

Moving dirt to new driveway location

Watching the action

New driveway crosses the ditch

Old driveway removed

So, that all happened on Thursday morning.  Then Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, they hauled clay to form the long driveway to the house.  First they removed the topsoil because a driveway built on topsoil is bound to be a mushy mess once the frost leaves the ground in spring.  Forming a driveway on the clay out of clay ensures a hard driveway unaffected by frost.  So, truck after truck hauled clay.  (The clay was free since we were taking it from the same hole they were making to fix the lagoon at Jay's hog barns.)  The dozer packed it between every load.  It is a good foot higher than the ground around it, 350' long and about 25' wide!  Lots of room to get large equipment in!  Lots of room to drive!  Now, we just need to let it dry out and harden then before winter we will bring in the rocks and the driveway will be done, for now!  What a thrill!

Hauling and packing clay

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