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Tuesday
Jul232013

summer so far: vacationing.

Every summer we take at least one week-long family vacation, and, I swear, each year it gets better and better.  I am so in love with where my family "is" right now:  the kids are still little enough, but awesomely self-sufficient, too.  I no longer have any nurslings, or babies in diapers, or those who constantly need to eat/sleep/allthethings.  It's so cool to me that all of us can now pretty much function on the same schedule- makes outings and vacations so. much. easier.

photo by rye

Both Rye and Piper expressed quite an interest in photography during our trip, and they got some cool shots!  Rye, especially, was really driven to take "nature walks" and snap pics of all things desert life.

photo by rye

He even got a shot of me when I wasn't looking!  (Look kids!  I do exist!)

Piper was obsessed with the geese that came right up to our patio:

photo by piper

She watched them, and called them, sang to them, and fed them.  Truth be told, I'm not really into geese.  When Rye was about 3 and Apple was just walking I took them to a local park to feed the ducks, and we were surrounded and stalked by hundreds of bloodthirsty cheerio-hungry geese.  They literally chased us around the whole park, lake, and into the parking lot. It was terrifying for the kids, and I wasn't happy, either.  But Piper- oh, she's my little Birdie!  She pretty much died and went to heaven to have geese on her own patio every morning.

We also played a lot of cards:

Did some art and journaling:

Rye took his journal everywhere!  I think he especially liked that there were no lines.  He's really into graphic novels right now a la Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and he loves to write and draw.  His writer's "voice" amazes me every  day.  This kid is funny.  His writing slays me.

There was a shuttle that would cart people back and forth around the resort we stayed at.  It was seriously one of the kids most fun adventures, just waiting for, running after (yup!  we chased the shuttle once or twice!), and riding on.

Walking to the shuttle stop:

Sidenote:  love how the fam are all so themselves in this pic!  Rye is reading his journal, Jack stealithy marching along, Apple twirling (in a skirt I made her 2 years ago!  for Kids Clothes Week!  And it still fits her and looks better than ever- SCORE!), Richard leading, and Piper flying like a bird.  Classic Jensen style!

Waiting for the shuttle:

Riding the shuttle:

There are probably a few more things I'd like to share from our vacation, but at this point I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!


Monday
Jul152013

kcwc day one: dotty blouse.

I did it!  I made something!  I haven't sewn since Valentines Day (made a couple of skirts for the girls per their request) and, boy!, are my sewing skills rusty.

Since I knew I'd be working a full week already, on top of sailing lessons and soccer camps and the usual, I kept my goals for the week very simple.

 

I made a little tunic blouse "b" from this japanese sewing book.  I adore this book.  As my girls (and boys) get older, I find it much more difficult to find stylish patterns to fit their size.  Their tastes, and mine, have changed, too.  I tend to prefer simpler lines more and more, clean cuts, something timeless that I can mix and match and hand down to the next kid. 

Anyway- I love this book. The patterns go up to size 140 cm, which I guess would be something like maybe a size 10 years?  I made the tunic here in a size 130 cm, although Apple, at 8 years old, is more like a 125cm.  To compensate, instead of adding the seam allowances I just cut the pattern out "as is" with the exception of the hem, to which I added a couple inches.

The fit is... ok.  Nothing to write home about.  I was excited about the sleeves- they are just incorporated into the front and back pattern pieces, no extra cutting.  The armpit-ease-area is kinda wacky, though.  Maybe I should have added seam allowances like a normal person. 

The opening at the front is also kind of low and wide.  I do find that japanese patterns tend to run wide and short on my long and lean kids.  Sometimes I make up for this by altering the pattern, but I wanted, for once, to just sew the pattern in front of me and not have to think about it too much.

I styled it here with a navy stripe dress from H&M.  Thinking about adding a sort of across-placket-button thing to keep the top opening closed so she can wear it without something underneath and still be decent. 

The pattern was super simple, but I still had problems.  Probably from aforementioned rusty sewing skills.  I messed up the binding.  Messed up the hem (seriously? how hard is hemming??!  had to pick out the stitching and start over).  I also, for the life of me, couldn't remember what direction to sew the simple facing on.  But I figured it out.  Basically, tracing the pattern and cutting took longer than the sewing, even including quality seam ripper time.

The fabric is a basic quilting cotton, from MODA, I believe the line was called Happy Campers.  I also have some matching plaid that I'm dying to make shorts with, but the girl wants a skirt, so we'll see.  I'll probably make her the skirt.

I really, really like the little teeny dots of red, yellow, and blue.  The background is cream, and there's just something old-fashioned and whimsical about it, but it's not at all in-yo'-face!! like a lot of "whimsical" prints out there. 

That's a wrap for Day One!  I honestly have no idea if/when/what else I'll be able to do this week, but this day... this one day... I feel quite accomplished.  I had so hoped KCW would get me motivated to sew again, and I believe it did!

PS: Sorry the photos suck!  I raced home from work and raced the light to capture something before the sun went down!

Saturday
Jul132013

summer so far: beach-ing (part two).

 

Friday
Jul122013

summer so far: beach-ing.

Just dropping in to say a quick "hello" and document the summer so far- which would not be complete without obligatory beach photos!

Love love love the pic above.  Any parent out there with multiple kiddos knows how hard it is to get a picture where everyone is together and looks somewhat normal/decent/smiling/authentic/not-hitting (spitting on, sticking tonue out at) -their-brother-sister-pet/etc.  Seriously thinking I should just use this for the Christmas Card this year, as the photo gods will surely not smile upon me twice in one year.  I especially love how Jack Jack is not looking directly AT the camera, but off to the side, with the smirk and mischief in his eyes that is so him.

In sewing news, I signed up for the Summer Kids Clothes Week Challenge!  (By the way, the site looks AMAZING!  Truly.  Go check it out!)

With working full time, and the kids in various classes and activities, I don't know how much I'll actually get to sew- I doubt I'll be able to participate every day- but am looking forward to creating a few things to add to the back-to-school wardrobes for the girls.  My original plan was to sew mainly from my stash, but as I look around the internets I'm constantly inspired by this-or-that project which, conveniently, would require fabric/notions/all the things that, of course, are not in my stash.  So we'll see how it goes.

Who else is sewing along?

 

Monday
Jun172013

friendship finds.

My husband's mom recently brought us some friendship bracelets- and the kids (and I) are totally hooked.  Apple loves bracelets of any kind (she's going to help me share her handmade upcycled bracelet DIY here on the blog soon), so these little floss bracelets were no exceptions.

The problem:  Grandma had only 5 bracelets, and there are 6 of us.  Which got me searching online for a "manly" friendship bracelet for my husband.  (If it even existed).  We started with Etsy: 

Love these chevron striped bracelets from Brandii's Boutique.  Lots of color choices, and seeing them all together reminds me of candy or lollipops.  Too "girly" for my husband, though.

If the chevron stripes were a little feminine, then I highly doubt I could talk my husband into wearing this rainbow inspired bracelet.  But I did fall a little bit in love with Craftie Anne's shop.  

I like that she brought the handmade element into something I would typically not equate it with, like Minecraft.  How cool is this:

Seriously.

For the trendy, Craftie Anne also sells this one:

At the end of the search, we decided on this one from J. Crew, in the "bright surf" color:

If none of the above appeal to you, you can always make your own.  We are going on vacation soon and I have the feeling the kids will be making a lot of these:

in their downtime.  The Purl Bee has a fabulous step-by-step tutorial here.