Announcing…

I’ve been writing this post in my head for days now.

I wanted it to be special.

And it is… just not clever or cute or anything as it really should be.

Today the good doctor confirmed that come next March we will have a new son or daughter, and Eli will have a sibling!

I love this little statue of an elephant with her little elephant growing inside. (It also reminds me to give thanks for just nine months of gestation!)

In the meantime, at least in the foreseeable future, I will be much less present on this blog and in visiting so many of  the wonderful blogs I follow.

It seems I don’t do pregnancy particularly well. Eli’s was a battle the whole way through, and while I was hoping this time around it would be smoother sailing it seems, thus far at least, to be a bit of a repeat of the first. If only morning sickness was limited to morning hours and didn’t include near constant light-headedness!

Poor Eli is having to adjust to a much less available Mama.

My husband is proving that, as I always expected, he is a superhero in disguise.

I am spending my time hugging mattresses, feeling incredibly hormonal (I’m usually not much of a crier but these days even car commercials seem unbearably touching), watching way too much television because I’m too tired to read, trying not to be insanely jealous of those who glow their way through the 9 months of gestation, dreaming of all things baby, and hoping eventually I’ll be able to become reacquainted with my sewing machine to make a few things before this baby comes.

But, really, if feeling this wretched now means we are in for another child as sweet as our first… BRING IT ON!

So, little one, years from now, when you get around to exploring the archives of your Mama’s blog to see what she wrote about you, please know that while getting you here wasn’t easy, it was worth every bit of torture discomfort and then some. We can’t wait to meet you, but wait we shall for a good long while yet. And while this first post announcing your existence isn’t exactly pin-worthy (will Pinterest still even exist?) it is written full of love and longing.

Grow well, little one!

Advertisements

Homemade Finger Paints

On one of my Pinterest boards I have this recipe from Raising 4 Princesses. Given Eli’s recent interest in painting it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. After being disappointed by the set of natural food colors I went ahead and picked up a pack of conventional food colors for this project. There are other interesting finger paint recipes out there, but I wanted one that while still non-toxic would definitely not taste good as I don’t go to great lengths reading every label known to man only to serve up a heaping dose of artificial coloring to Eli in the tempting form of delicious art supplies.

With no further ado, here we go. You won’t believe how crazy quick and easy this is!

Ingredients:

2 T. sugar

1/3 c cornstarch

2 c. water

Boil until it forms a gel. It doesn’t take long at all. It will look like this (except it will still be in your pan.)

Add 1/4 c. liquid soap

Not only does it now taste bad but it is washable too!

Divide into separate containers. Add a few squirts of food coloring.

After this test I did add a little more dye to the green paint.

Stir, et viola… cheap, easy and washable finger paint!

If you click through on the link to my source for this recipe you will see that she let her kids go crazy with this stuff outdoors all over a bed sheet. Amazingly, she found that it all washed off afterwards with a hose!

Before giving this a go I decided to do a test on the dishtowel I’d already splattered a bit while making the paint. (Adult sounding excuse… but really I couldn’t keep my own fingers out of it. This stuff just begs to be smeared!)

After washing the paint off the towel under the tap I was still left with a pink stain. Perhaps with a stain treatment and a proper laundering this will come out. Even so I added a bit more soap to the container of red paint. Red is the one you’d want to taste particularly bad anyway! (If only I had some essential oil of something Eli would find truly revolting, like lettuce, avocado or cantaloup… but actually I don’t have much of a problem with him putting non-food items in his mouth anymore.)

The first time I let Eli have a go with these paints he didn’t want to touch them at all and practically had a meltdown demanding a brush. I gave him the brush , of course, as I certainly don’t want painting to become some form of chore or torture, but it really did defeat the purpose of it becoming a sensory  activity. I have noticed a growing sensitivity to having messy hands with Eli. To address this I will be bringing more of these gloppy sorts of activities into his sensory diet.

So Mama got to scheming… A few days later I asked Eli if he would like to go outside, and paint, with his FEET! The suggestion was greeted with a “Yay!” by a toddler who had never before been in such a hurry to change his clothes.

I decided to just use a large sheet of paper instead of trying out the bed sheet painting activity. I was just not in the mood to create more laundry today.

As our sidewalk is on a bit of an incline and the paint is somewhat slippery I think doing foot painting on a textured piece of cloth may be a bit safer.

After a while a nervous Mama suggested he squat down and try using his hands. By now he didn’t think twice about not wanting to touch the paint, although he did then keep asking me to wipe his hands off. I just showed him how to try to wipe it off himself using the paper. We made some progress with his tolerating the feeling of the paint on his hands, but he soon decided he was done.

Clean up is always great fun when it involves a hose, especially when there are bubbles involved!

Letter to Eli, 28 Months

Dear Eli,

This month your world here at home expanded as we opened up the kitchen. You were such an energetic baby and young toddler, full of frenetic activity and not seeming to understand much of any rules we tried to make (nor the word “no”, EVER)  that we had the baby gate keeping you out of the kitchen since you could crawl.

Your Mama has been doing a lot of reading and learning lately though.  It has encouraged me to involve you more in household activities and help you toward independence by allowing you to learn new skills by actually doing what may seem a bit dangerous, such as unloading glass dishes or peeling carrots. I also realized you are not the Godzilla baby you once were any longer. You listen, usually understand, try to follow direction, and are much calmer than you were just a few months ago. So, with a lot of guidance and supervision, you have been learning the ways of the kitchen.

Helping to wipe down the refrigerator.

You have been in seventh heaven with the new arrangement. We’ve been seeing a lot of pots, pans and random kitchen items pulled out of cupboards and onto the floor, as you never had the opportunity for such exploration when you were younger. You are good about putting things away when asked though and now we are seeing a lot less of kitchen-floor-as-counter-top than we were at the beginning of the month. The exploration and joy for you has well been worth the inconvenience and added dishwashing for us. In fact you now know how to load and unload a dishwasher! I was amazed to see you already know where everything goes. An added benefit is that meal preparation is no longer a stressful time of you fussing and complaining on the other side of the fence. Instead I try to find jobs you can do to have a part in making the meal. Hopefully this will carry over into a willingness to try more foods.

You love to help with baking projects… especially banana bread. You are a master at banana mashing and at turning on the mixer.

And when there are no “real” cooking experiences to be had you are quite adept at creating your own.

Similarly you have been stepping up your participation in other household chores mind-blowingly exciting household duties. As you are no longer terrified of the monster residing in the vacuum you delight in harnessing his power to your whim. This particular day you cleaned up all of the rice that overflowed while you played in your rice bin, then you went on to chase down every dust bunny daring to set up residence around the washer and dryer. I am now seeing how beneficial your obsession with the vacuum can be. 🙂

A restful moment with Cori.

This past month you have enjoyed spending time with your cousins. Cori watched you for a few hours one evening while your Daddy and I had a date night for our anniversary. You did so well (as did she)! It is fun seeing you grow ever more independent. I expect you will be having many more Cori-Eli Fun Time opportunities from here on out.

We spent the weekend before July 4th with family as Aunt Jenni and Ali came to visit. Cori and Ali watched you a lot while we were all together, giving your Daddy and I time to visit with the adults. I think you had them both fairly well worn out by the time Sunday night rolled around.

Hanging poolside with Daddy, Ben, Cori and Ali.

Cori and Ali, and lots of water… it just doesn’t get much better than that!

In one single day during that weekend you managed to accidentally fall into the deep end of the pool, fall down a flight of stairs, and jump up on a patio chair causing it to fall over backwards sending you hurdling into a plant stand. Amazingly, you emerged from each disaster unscathed though a bit shaken up. I think I sprouted a few white hairs that day. The next morning I was so thankful to wake up with you snuggled up next to me all in one piece.

You still enjoy a good spin!

The ever popular words “Ewww! ‘Ucky!” are now used for anything that could even remotely be considered gross. You seem to relish the particularly messy diaper changes as there is all the more reason to declare the situation “Ewww! ‘Ucky!” over and over again. It’s enough to make me wonder if this factor alone will push off any desire to learn to use the potty even farther into the future. (Just so you know, the yuckiness could still be loudly proclaimed up until that golden moment of the flush.)

Play dough birthday party… Great for blowing practice! Soon you’ll be blowing your own bubbles. 🙂

The “Happy Birthday to You” song is getting heavy rotation at our house. I’m not sure why you are so fascinated right now as your birthday is neither very recent nor soon to come. You’ve managed to fish a pack of candles out of the baking cupboard to play with. (Sorry, but the matches will remain locked away!) When you aren’t playing with actual birthday candles, toothbrushes, sticks, or wooden peg people will do. You sing (again and again) “‘Appy ew you! ‘Appy ew you!” It’s the first recognizable song you’ve ever sung independently, although before this there have been a few songs of your own creation.

Happy Birthday, Thomas!

Little Eli,  you continue to delight us. Thank you for adding such an incredible layer of joy to our lives.

I love you so very, very, very much!

Mama

DIY Leather Journal Cover

My husband and I recently celebrated our 8th anniversary. If you want a refresher on why I have every reason to celebrate this relationship feel free to visit my gushing Father’s Day post. The thing is though, in the gift-giving department my husband makes life fairly difficult. At least he was kind enough to specifically tell me what he wanted for Father’s Day this year, but generally he is hard to get for as he is quite the minimalist, non-materialistic type. He gets more excited about not spending money than about buying something for himself! But lucky for me, he tends to always appreciate a handmade gift.

My husband is a writer, both by profession and in his free time. He isn’t currently in need of a new journal, but he is constantly jotting down ideas, so his current one will have to fill up eventually. When it does, he’ll be ready!

This gift also fits the glorious “no money was spent” criteria for my husband’s optimal enjoyment. Well, almost. I think the blank book ran $1.50 at Michael’s.

The leather came from this jacket that a neighbor no longer wanted. With all of the advertisement embroidery on the back (and front as well) it wasn’t a good candidate for thrift store donation. It worked great for this project though, and I get excited thinking about how many baby shoes I can get out of it as well!

So here is the journal that is really about the last sort of cover most people would think of gifting their husband! I cut the piece of leather from the jacket sleeve.

To create the extra length to wrap around the journal, I cut an additional piece and attached it with a zigzag stitch. I flipped it to create a contrast of textures.

I cut a thin strip of leather and attached it to the inner side, cut a small slit near the edge of the flap and threaded the strap through. The leather strip should be long enough to wrap around the book twice and have a little extra tail besides.

Now to make the inside panels to hold the cover onto the book. I had a bit of this fabric left over from a previous project. It had originally been one of his favorite shirts from Urban Outfitters in Chicago. A lot of good times were had wearing that shirt! I cut two rectangles to fit the inside of the journal cover, turned in the edges and stitched them down.

I figure I’d attach the fabric to the leather with elastic to grip the book.  Here is where I made a series of incredibly stupid  educational mistakes which I will spare you. Let’s just say the gift wasn’t ready for our anniversary celebration which took place a few days after the actual anniversary. Now on to the steps that were actually helpful and don’t require repeated use of a seam ripper.

I slightly melted the edges of my elastic strips to prevent fraying. It gave me another chance to put these really cool matches I got in my Christmas stocking last year to use.

I then sewed a short piece to each corner of both panels of fabric.

The inner fabric panels were then sewn to the inside of the journal cover.

The smooth side of the leather wouldn’t advance through the machine, so I put a piece of paper underneath.

When finished I flipped it over and tore away the paper.

At this point I put the journal into the cover so I could figure how much of the elastic to fold under for a good fit. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t given any measurements. It all depends on the journal. Other journals from Michael’s that I have aren’t even the same size as this one so the measurements would most likely not apply to the next attempt. Actually I did almost no measuring but cut most of the pieces just by using the journal as a guide.

I underexposed this photo hoping you can see the black elastic against the black leather. I couldn’t pin the elastic to the leather before sewing without leaving holes in the leather. Instead I folded under the elastic to the previously determined place and secured it with a couple of drops of glue. I then put a book on each fabric panel to hold everything in place until the glue dried. This held the elastic in place long enough for me to sew it down, again using a piece of paper underneath to be able to slide the leather through the machine.

Insert book and there you have it… a handmade leather journal cover!

Thanks for stopping by!

Karen

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sundayjembellish clothes upcycling page

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little BirdsEtcetorizeC.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful RisingSarahndipities ,

Everything Under the MoonThe Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableThe Shady PorchLil’ Luna,

Someday CraftsPassionately ArtisticWhatever WednesdayTrendy Tots,

Whimsy Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal