Friday, August 28, 2009

Nothing is Recession Proof

You may remember this post from last summer. Well, the snake bucket is back, but this year the price has gone up. I wonder if our neighbors realize just how much joy the neighborhood children get from that little bucket of toy snakes...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Onesies

I am in love with my applique foot. My friend Maggie suggested I get one and I am so glad I listened to her. (She is a genus I tell you.) This foot makes satin stitching so much easier! My applique has also improved since I started using a spray adhesive to hold my applique in place as well as to hold stabilizer in place on the back.

These onesies are for one of my son's pre-school teachers. When I saw this fabric I knew it would be perfect for her. Who could resist those cute little owls! I just love the one with the science book. Too cute...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Time

Did you know there are miles of beautiful sandy beach just outside of St. Ignace, Michigan? I didn't either. Pretty scary considering that I've driven right past it on US 2 numerous times. In my defense it was usually in January or February when I wasn't exactly thinking about the beach, and oh yeah, it was covered in about three feet of ice and snow.

My friend Wendy, and her daughter, met us there the other day and it was fantastic. My children often spend time at the shore on the island but it's rocky, so a warm sandy beach was quite a welcome sight. No shoes, no slimy rocks, just warm sand that went on for miles.

The kids loved it! We were only there for a couple of hours, but they loved every minute of it: swimming, investigating the dead sea gull, building sand castles, even the bathing suits full of sand brought smiles to their faces. I know they played hard because within the fifteen minute drive back to St. Ignace, both of them were asleep. When my son falls asleep in the car, you know he's exhausted.

Wendy is good for me. She gets me to places I probably wouldn't get to if left to my own devices. Thank you for turning me on to this little spot Wendy. Somehow I know we'll be spending some time there every summer from now on...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just Say No

To spit-up covered shoulders...

We are having a regular population explosion on Mackinac right now. Julie just had her baby, Jessica might pop any day now, Vanessa is due soon, and Wendy's baby will be here in time for hunting season. Every one of them has or will get a set of these burp cloths from me. (Pattern found here.) I love these burp cloths that much. I love how soft they are and how perfectly they fit the contours of your shoulder.

I've learned not to scrimp on the flannel for these. The first few sets I made using inexpensive JoAnn's flannel which pilled quite badly after just a few washings. (Not very comfy on baby's little cheeks.) Now I make sure to use the more expensive quilt store flannel and get much better results. It's softer and holds up better to repeated washings , which is quite important for something that will be washed a zillion times during its lifetime. I wish I had known about these when my two were infants.

Do you have a baby gift that you always give?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ninety Nine Percent

Finished that is...

Finally, last night I got the curtains and the last of the pictures up. I must admit, at first I hated the blue, and I mean hated it, but it is growing on me. And I love how the things on the wall pop against the color. I think my grandmother's tea cups look especially nice. When the wall was white they didn't really show up very well.

You can't really tell in the photos, but there is a small bit of blue in the floral on the curtains. (Montague Parchment by Waverly.) It doesn't match the wall perfectly, but it "goes" quite well. (Wouldn't Stacy London be proud of me!) In case you're curious the color is "blue denim" from Ace Hardware.

The only thing left to do is to get a piece of trim for the wall to cover up the "seam" where the blue paint meets the cream of the entryway. I just can't decide if I want to finish it to match the woodwork of it it would look better if it matched the creamy wall.

So, what do you think?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Busy Week

Phew. It's been a busy week. On Monday my dad came up and helped me varnish windows. Together he and I did two coats on the downstairs windows from the front of the house (twelve of them!) Thank goodness for a helper - I never would have gotten it done before the rain without help. (I really should say "helpers" since my friend, Miranda, took the kids out on an all day adventure.) Once the windows were done it was back to the dining room.

The china cabinet was too big for me to move on my own so I painted around it. My husband helped me move it and I did coat number two behind the cabinet this morning. It is pouring outside again today so heaven only knows when it will dry. I never realized how much stuff I'd collected over the years until I saw it all out of the cabinet on the table, but I just couldn't bear to part with any of it. Silly things like my grandmother's tea cups and porcelain figurines - but I want my children to have them someday so I'm keeping them. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a family heirloom. (And we do use them occasionally.)

As soon as I can get everything back in place I will post pictures and you can let me know what you think. Hopefully, before school starts, I'll get my bedroom and bathroom painted - but I'm not holding my breath...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sewing for Boys

Sewing for my son is a challenge because he doesn't like "shirts with buttons." I think it is a texture thing - I think he prefers the way knits feel on his skin. So aside from appliqued T-shirts and pajamas, I haven't made much for him. (Note to self - get over your unreasonable fear of sewing with knits.) The appliqued shirts have always been satin stitched, like this one, but the thought of satin stitching around Bob here scared me to death- all those corners and curves - yikes! That's when I came up with this idea - raw edge applique on a shirt. I can't believe I didn't think of it earlier.

I starched Mr. Squarepants quite heavily and then cut him out - leaving about 1/4 inch around the outside. Then I slowly stitched around him as tightly as I could. After he was attached to the shirt I went back and and clipped the edges to help them fray. A quick trip through the washer and dryer did the rest.

We don't usually watch Sponge Bob in our house. We tried it, but S started trying to incorporate some some of the sarcasm the characters use in the show into his vocabulary. Mama was not happy and needless to say we don't watch it any more. I'm also not usually big on giving my children clothing with characters / advertising on them, but I often sew for my daughter and I've been feeling bad that I haven't made more for my son. So the partial ban (partial because, of course, hand-me-downs are allowed) may have to be lifted as I make my son more fun shirts. Perhaps he needs a pair of matching shorts next.

The dining room is coming along. Today's project is coat number two. Let me tell you, - it's blue! Really really blue. I'll post photos when it's done and the furniture, curtains, etc. are all back in place.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mackinac Island Horse Show

Or should I say, My Children's Small Portion of the Mackinac Horse Show...

The Annual Mackinac Horsemen's Association Horse Show is open to all horses stabled on the island as long as they are ridden by someone who lives on the island, is here working for the summer, or a relative of an island family. S and K, since they are so young, only enter in two events - Lead Line and Costume Class.

Lead Line is for only children under seven. It is quite simple; the riders (whether English or Western) are lead around the ring. For some reason (wink wink) the competition is always so fierce, all the competitors tie for first place. It's really a great way to get kids excited about entering the show and nothing beats taking home a blue ribbon.

S rode his riding teacher's pony, Blaze, in the show.

Costume Class is my favorite (I just love an excuse to dress up.) Do those costumes look familiar?

S entered in Costume Class as a fox chasing an English fox hunter.

As you can see, he really isn't riding a horse - he's on a hunting dog! He got quite a few laughs from the English riders at the show. One of his biggest fans was an island lady who has actually gone fox hunting in England. S was really happy when he won a red second place ribbon for his costume.

K entered as a gingerbread cookie poking out of Santa's bag atop Booker T. Prancer, her "reindeer."Only her papa was willing to brave the 85 degree heat (about 29 C) in a furry Santa suit, beard and hat. The friend who loaned us the Santa suit said, "Oh the things we do for our children. No... it's the things our wives make us do for our children."

But it paid off because K won the first place trophy and a blue ribbon for her costume. Now that the Horse Show is over I can start concentrating on my next project - which is painting the dining room. I'm going from a creamy white to kind of a denim blue, and being a colorphob it has me a bit nervous. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Homemade Headbands

Nothing too fancy, just good old-fashioned cloth headbands. Well, I suppose they are kind of fancy because they are adjustable (just like a bra strap) and reversible so they'll match lots of my daughter's outfits. The bra hardware comes six sets to a package so I made these using the black hardware first. That way, if my pattern didn't quite work and needed refinement, I wouldn't waste the prettier fabrics I bought. (They'll look better with white or clear hardware.) But now that I see these two, even with the black they turned out well.

I just love them - especially that dog one! But the best part is how they are adjustable. At their tightest the headbands fit my three year-old daughter, but at their loosest they'll fit me. So I know they will grow with her and fit for quite a while.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. Today I'm going to work on putting the finishing touches on the kid's costumes for the 39th Annual Mackinac Island Horse Show - which is tomorrow. I'll be back in a day or two with pictures!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Brotherly Love

Last week my brother and his family came up to Northern Michigan for a visit. He had hoped to find a few petoskey stones while he was on Mackinac, but had no luck. So later in the week while we were all down at my parent's house near Petoskey, Michigan, he searched again. This time he was much more successful. Most of them were small, but that second one from the top will polish up nicely.

We had such a nice visit, although it was too short. He and I drifted apart for a long time and I just love that we are close again. It's too bad they are so darn far away.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giddy-Up and Go

Each week, when we are on the island, my son takes riding lessons through 4-H. (My daughter isn't old enough yet.)

He loves to ride Ginger Snap - a little pony just his size.

Often, papa's bees come check out the lessons, too.

I just love it when he's finished - he usually rubs the horse's head and says, "Thank you." It makes me smile every time.

When you live on Mackinac, learning to ride is a must. While he may not learn to love riding, I'm hoping he'll develop a healthy respect for these animals who are such an important part of our lives.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Giving Back

When my daughter spent some time in the hospital this summer she was given a wonderful quilt to snuggle with while she was there. I thought I should make two quilts to give back to the hospital since they had been so good to us. Now I can cross one of those off of my list thanks to my good friend Maggie.

She is constantly (and I mean constantly,) making quilts to donate to Project Linus. Usually she gives them to her mother who donates them to a chapter in Grand Rapids, Michigan. but when she came up to the island for a long weekend a couple of weeks ago she brought this little beauty for us to donate to our hospital.

(Photo courtesy of

How cool is that. The lady at the hospital gushed over it! She just went on and on about how beautiful the quilt was and how they are always running out of them. Thanks to Maggie there is one more little girl who will have something to snuggle with while she is stuck in the hospital.

Thank you Maggie. You are a fantastic friend!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Police Baby

One of our local police officers and his wife are having a baby this fall; a little boy. So when I saw fabric with all different kinds of police patches at the store, it just screamed onesies to me. I whipped up two of them the other day. (So easy with my applique foot. Thank you Maggie!) The mounted patrol one is my favorite - even though we don't usually have mounted officers on the island.

I wondered if our local police department would give me a patch to use on another one. They did since it's for one of their own. The arm patch was way too big, but the one they use on their hats fit perfectly.

Then three onesies just didn't seem like enough so I also made a couple bibs for the little guy. Calico on one side and flannel on the other. I like how the flannel gives the bib a bit more body and a bit more absorbency.

What have you been making lately?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Headgear

You should have seen my son giggle when he got fitted for this...

his new riding helmet.

I'm don't remember exactly how the Mackinac Horseman's Association funded it, but each island child taking riding lessons this summer through 4H got a riding helmet; a brand new professionally-fitted riding helmet. It took S a few minutes to get use to how tight it was, but in the end decided he loved it. Again this was due to our wonderful Recreation Director - she arranged the whole thing. The best part is when S is done with it, it belongs to our 4H club, so another little one will be able to use it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Snack Time

Do you have any thoughts on what happened to the butter I left out on the dining room table last night?

Apparently our cat, Sushi, likes butter. Mmmmmm, nothing like a few tablespoons of sweet creamery butter to cure those midnight munchies. She likes to eat and weighs 18 pounds (about 8 kg.) We've been working on helping her slim down for a couple of years now, but really gotten serious this summer. Perhaps the special diet cat food we got from the vet isn't her favorite. Guess I'm going to have to remember not to leave the butter out - otherwise I think we'll have a 20 pound cat!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hand-Me-Down Bliss

Check out what came home with us from Indiana. My cousin had been hoping to find a new home for her sons' (both now college students) trains, and we were lucky enough to have just enough room to cram them into our van for the drive home. Now I have two little conductors who have played with the giant-tub-o-trains every day since we got home. K loves them so much she's actually been sleeping with one of the train cars. Too funny.