Saturday, August 31, 2013

August finish.

I must admit I was feeling rather ambitious when I came up with this month's goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, hosted by Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bitter Sweet Designs.

To start I had six blocks left to make, which isn't too bad. I finished them up in two nights. Then I had to arrange them into the final quilt top design (which took an entire evening) and start quilting (another evening). Oh, and toss in other miscellaneous to-do items to get Miss C. ready to go back to school and August was a rather busy month!

All in all, I'm super excited about how this quilt is shaping up. Laying out all the blocks really made my original idea come to life. The quilting design I chose is a simple one – alternating straight lines – which I think will be perfect for my little boy's room.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fugly Fabric Party

Lucy at Charm About You is hosting another Fugly Fabric Party!

This time I have a nice pile of brown scraps up for grabs (yes, that's a single small piece of Mendocino you see in there!). Some are large, others are long and a few are tiny. A few may have been pre-washed.

I'd like to swap for it, so please leave me a comment if you're interested. I'm open to swapping for scraps or even a single piece of fabric, but would prefer to stay away from batiks, browns, animal prints or civil war prints. I love color and and open to all sorts of possibilities.

Just let me know if you're interested and have something you'd like to swap!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop: Lunch notes at Pen Pals & Picture Books

Today is the last day of the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop!

Hop on over to Pen Pals & Picture Books where Whitney will be dishing up some awesome lunch note ideas. This is such a great way to jazz up your kids' lunches!

Trust me when I say you're sure to fall in love with the awesomeness that is Pen Pals and Picture Books. Whitney and Robyn always crack me up with their posts, and they're book recommendations are spot on.

Want to read the rest of the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop posts? Here's who hosted lunch each day:

Tuesday, Aug. 20 – Michelle at needle and nest (That's me!)
Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Melissa at Julia's Bookbag
Friday, Aug. 23 – Whitney at Pen Pals and Picture Books

Thanks for hopping along with us. I hope you found some great ideas for making a Happy Happy Lunch Box!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Studio Spotlight at Ellison Lane

Have you heard about the Studio Spotlight series that Jennifer was hosting over at Ellison Lane? She rounded up the best of the best studio spaces, giving readers lots of fab ideas for improving our own little sewing areas.

And now she's hosting a link-up for readers to showcase their own sewing spaces for a chance to win some awesome prizes. So here's a peek at mine:

My sewing spaces can be found in our playroom (an unused family room), just off the kitchen. It's small, but I have a space for everything and it's right in the middle of where we spend all of our time as a family. 

As you can see in the photo above, I've commandeered an old microwave cart for current project storage. The drawer is filled with rulers, a cutting mat and a few other quilting goodies. Most everything around here has to do double-duty, so you'll see that my table doubles as a sewing table and after-school backpack storage while that awesome Disneyland attraction poster also serves as a sort of project bulletin board. 

Below, you'll see what Miss C. and were working on this afternoon: her doll quilt. She picked out all of the prints from a scrappy pack of squares that I won from Carpe Lanam's Sew Mama Sew giveaway in May. I love that she loves to sew with me.

Do you have a sewing space, big or small, that you'd like to enter into the link-up? There's still time left! Hop on over to Ellison Lane to enter! 

Happy Happy Lunch Box: Quick and easy lunch goodies at Silver Shoes and Rabbit Holes

We're halfway through the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop and we've already covered a lot of ground!

Today's post can be found over at Silver Shoes and Rabbit Holes, where Danzel is going to be giving us the lowdown on prepping quick and easy lunch goodies. Kids don't seem to have much time for lunch these days, so they can't be slowed down by frustrating packaging. No one wants to miss out on playtime after lunch, right?

And while you're over there, be sure to take a peek around the rest of Danzel's blog. I love how her blog has a decided vintage feel to it, which I absolutely love. You'll find all sorts of cool books, old movies and fun kid stuff in her posts. There are little treasures hidden everywhere!

Want to follow along with the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop? Here's who'll be hosting lunch each day:

Tuesday, Aug. 20 – Michelle at needle and nest (That's me!)
Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Melissa at Julia's Bookbag

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Happy Lunch Box: Bento goodies at Julia's Bookbag

I hope you're enjoying the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop!

Today's post can be found over at Julia's Bookbag, where Melissa is showing us how to incorporate Japanese bento goodies into your lunch-making routine.

And while you're there soaking up all that bento cuteness, I highly recommend taking a few moments to check out the rest of Melissa's blog. This lady is seriously funny. Plus she shares all the best recipes. And she's like a walking librarian when it comes to finding the best children's books.

So go on then. You're going to love it. I promise!

Want to follow along with the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop? Here's who'll be hosting lunch each day:

Tuesday, Aug. 20 – Michelle at needle and nest (That's me!)
Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Melissa at Julia's Bookbag

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy Happy Lunch Box: Packing for picky eaters.

Yesterday I let you in on my geeky little secret: I love packing school lunches.

Today, I'm going to let you in on another one: my sweet little girl is a picky eater. Always has been. And yet I still love making a lunch for her every day.

At this point, you're probably thinking I'm a bit delusional. Either my kid isn't truly a picky eater or I'm crazy. 

Miss C. is a picky eater, though she's come a long way in the last few years. She went from being a toddler who would only eat a handful of foods to a 6-year-old who politely tries everything I ask her to taste, but still doesn't actually "like" most of it. She's still pretty particular, but we've come a long way in our journey to expand her food horizons.

As to the crazy part... well, maybe I am a little crazy. I have three simple rules that I follow when it comes to school lunches, and I swear they take a lot of the stress out of packing lunch for a picky eater:
  1. Pack your child's lunch the night before. I've tried packing Miss C.'s lunch in the morning before school... and with three kids buzzing around me like bees (one of whom is in my arms at all times) I can hardly think straight. This does not lend itself to good lunch choices. Trust me. Putting lunch together the night before gives you some quiet time to hunt through the fridge and pantry for what your little one is most likely to eat.
  2. Never fight food battles at lunch. I always pack things that I know Miss C. will eat, while trying to keep a nice balance of fruit, protein, healthy fats and starches in her lunch. I never, ever pack something that she doesn't like or is even on the fence about because I know it won't get eaten. Does your kid like off-the-wall leftovers, dips, strange fruits or goofy veggies? If it gets them to eat a healthy lunch, pack it!
  3. Make lunchtime fun. You'll be learning more about this later this week in some of our other posts so I won't touch on it too much here. But I do make liberal use of Japanese bento boxes, food cutters and cute little animal picks to make Miss C.'s lunch look more exciting. 
So what exactly do I pack in Miss C.'s lunch? Here's a handy-dandy list of some of the typical things I like to put in her Happy Happy Lunch Box:
  • Apples with peanut butter dip (she's not a huge apple fan, but loves them with peanut butter)
  • Fruit and yogurt
  • Granola and yogurt
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Carrots and peanut butter
  • Cheese and cracker stacks
  • Cheese roll-ups (just melted cheese and a tortilla)
  • PB&J roll-ups (just peanut butter, jelly and a tortilla)
  • Flavored cream cheese cracker sandwiches
  • Sliced fruit (whatever is in season that Miss C. likes)
  • Sandwiches (pb&j, hummus and cheese, salami and cheese, ham and cheese, etc.)
  • Leftover mac-n-cheese
  • Leftover beans and rice
  • Mini burrito (usually left over from dinner)
  • Olives
  • Apple slices covered in peanut butter and raisins
  • Graham cracker and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Homemade granola bars
  • Bagel sandwiches
  • Cheese cubes
  • Ants On a Log (this one is untested in our house, but I'm going to give it a go this year after an after-school snack test run)
A few things to note:

We only use natural (read: unsweetened) peanut butter. I consider it to be a healthy fat and good source of protein, so it makes its way into her lunch several times a week.

Everything is fair game. If she likes what we had for dinner that night, I'll ask her if she'd like to have it in her lunch the next day. Sometimes, I'll have a bit of cream cheese left from morning bagels and I'll put it on her sandwich for a spread. Olives from taco night often make their way into her lunch as well. Does your kid love pizza? Put a slice in his lunch! You get the idea.

Veggies are a huge challenge here. I feel lucky that I can get her to eat carrots. I'd love to feature more veggies in her lunch, but as anyone who has a picky eater knows... it's a journey. One step at a time!

I hope I've given you a few ideas for packing a Happy Happy Lunch Box for your picky eater. Stay tuned tomorrow for Melissa's post on incorporating Japanese bento goodies into your lunchtime routine!

Want to follow along with the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop? Here's who'll be hosting lunch each day:

Tuesday, Aug. 20 – Michelle at needle and nest (That's me!)
Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Melissa at Julia's Bookbag

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop

It's nearly the end of August so it's time to raise my geek flag and proclaim with a mighty yell...

School lunches ROCK!


You don't love making school lunches too? You don't spend your evenings mentally going through the fridge, planning out tomorrow's lunch? 

Um, maybe that's just me. 

Ahem. Okay, moving on.

Maybe a school lunch blog hop will help bring you to the dark side? Or at least take some of the daily torture out of the lunch-making process. Baby steps, right?

Enter the Happy Happy Lunch Box Blog Hop. I've lined up three of my best bloggy buddies for a week of dishing out our favorite tips and tricks for making your very own Happy Happy Lunch Box.
Want to follow along? Here's who'll be hosting lunch each day:

Tuesday, Aug. 20 – Michelle at needle and nest (That's me! Come back tomorrow for tips on packing for the picky eater.)
Wednesday, Aug. 21 – Melissa at Julia's Bookbag

Seriously you guys, Melissa, Danzel and Whitney are awesome. Not only did they agree to join in on this hair-brained lunch blog hop scheme I cooked up, but they each host AMAZING blogs! I hope you take a moment to check them out – I promise you'll love them too!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Braving the browns.

I've got a problem.

There's a little bag of brown scraps sitting in my sewing cupboard, that's been begging to be made into something. Anything. 

Actually it's not such a little bag, which makes it a big problem. I think they've been multiplying at night, because what started out as just a few scraps has somehow grown to a bursting ziplock bag of menacing muddiness. 

And I don't even buy brown fabrics. Ever! So I really can't explain where they're coming from.

I finally pulled the bag out this week with new determination. But then all of my old doubts crept forward...

I can't ever find colors that coordinate with brown!

Doesn't brown make everything look out of date?

What if I hate it?

I almost put it back. But then I saw something... a little strip of brown with colorful raindrops. Hmmm...

Maybe I can do this brown thing after all.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Taking time.

There hasn't been much action at my sewing machine these last few weeks. Summer is coming to a close and school is rapidly approaching.

With just one week left of summer vacation, I've got big plans for my sweeties:
  • Play outside
  • Make French toast
  • Watch lots of movies
  • Play games
  • Read stories
  • Hug, giggle and relax
Oh, and enjoy more of these chubby little baby legs. 

How are you enjoying these last days of summer? Or are your children already back to school?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: August goal

Last month's goal was to start Master W.'s bed quilt. Not only did I start it, but as of today I'm 14 blocks shy of finishing up all of the blocks for the quilt! So with that in mind, my August goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes over at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bitter Sweet Designs is to start quilting the blocks using a new-to-me technique: QAYG (quilt as you go). That means I have to finish up the last few blocks, settle on a quilting design and finish quilting at least one block before the month is over. This should be fun!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

We made a pillowcase together.

Actually, Miss C. made it. I just supervised.

My sweetie picked out the fabric, ironed, pinned, cut and sewed until she had a finished pillowcase. I was there to guide her through the process and do the serging (moving knives and six-year-olds don't mix), but she truly did it all herself.

The first day of sewing was done at my table with the foot petal propped up on a small step stool. That worked well enough, but I quickly realized that she couldn't see the needle too well so the following day we set my machine up at our kid-sized table. VoilĂ ! Guiding the fabric under the needle was much easier for her this way.

We used a simple pillowcase tutorial from Made, but did have to make a few changes due to mama-error. I quickly discovered that we didn't have enough fabric since she chose that cute kitty directional print and I forgot to add yardage. Oops! We ended up making the cuff about twice as wide as the pattern called for to compensate for the loss in yardage. In the end, I think it worked out just fine and I'm glad we took the extra time to do it right.

I loved seeing the look on her face when we slipped it over her pillow. She was bursting with pride at doing it all herself and has been dragging it around the house ever since. I can't even begin to describe the emotions I felt when she finished it. I'm simply amazed by the wonderful girl my daughter is becoming. And there's something so special – almost vital, even – about passing a true skill on to the next generation the way my mother and grandmother did to me.
I'm thinking we'll have to make this mother-daughter sewing session a summer tradition in the coming years.

Do you sew with your kids? I'd love to see what you've made together!