Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

We've been busy getting ready for Halloween for the last few weeks!  On Tuesday night, it was finally time to carve the pumpkins that the boys grew from seeds this year.  They were so eager and had been asking ever since we picked them out of the garden (Ok, flower bed, truth be known, but that's where they grow the best for some reason!) when it would be time to carve them, so you can imagine the excitement in the house the day that Daddy brought them in from the breeze way and set them on the counter for carving to begin!

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Carving pumpkins they grew themselves!
I had spent the last two weeks making the requested costumes. I thought I was going to get off easily again this year and be able to pull costumes from the costume bin, especially when, for weeks, Little Man told me he wanted to be a pirate. So simple.  He had his pirate costume from his skating show last spring! Whoot!  And then it all became so much more challenging...

He changed his mind. Only a triceratops would do.  No problem! I was going to alter my much used old Butterick pattern and add a tail and quilt a chest plate, but then I pulled the pattern out set to go and found all the major pieces missing - backs and fronts and sleeves. Gone. Bad words were said.  Then a friend told me about the simplicity pattern that I ended up having (BF)G pick up from the fabric store for me and life was good again.  It was perfect. Pretty much what I wanted. Except for a  few things. I changed up the "dino hands" from mitts to mitten covers. Years of experience tells me those costume mitts cause nothing but frustration when trick or treating. So the covers will slip easily over their mittens tonight.  Also, I made the tails detachable. They have a belt that feeds through slits in the side seams and then velcro around their tummies. Pure brilliance on my behalf I thought. Not only easy for sitting en route in their car seats, but for future use. They can use the hands, hats and tails as costumes for play without me having to put on the jumpsuit, take off the jumpsuit, put on the jumpsuit, take off the jumpsuit, put on... well you get the idea. And bonus to the costume making? They counted for Kids Clothing Week Challenge last week - making it my most successful KCWC ever.  Ha ha!!

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Dinos in our field!
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And a back view!
After the costumes were finished I had some other halloween sewing to do! When Baby Boy turned one I made all the cousins treat bags for his party using the Fishsticks Designs tutorial. All but the two that were still babies.  So I'm catching up! I made my littlest niece her's and am looking forward to giving it to her tonight when we meet up to go trick or treating!

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Yesterday I took a notion into my head to put together a little goodie bag for the two nieces we will be with this evening.  Just a fun, non-purely-sugar type treat of fruit snacks and Halloween playdoh tins. But I didn't think to buy those little plastic goodie bags at the store yesterday. So this afternoon I did this:
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Prepping the goodie bags with freezer paper stencils
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Fun and festive bags! Meow! 

Lastly, this morning we also had to do something with the tonne of pumpkin seeds we removed from our pumpkins.  I looked online for how to roast them because they've never really turned out well in the past for me.  Turns out I didn't really need to.  I had a resident expert.  Little Man made them in preschool on Monday, so he could tell me what to do.

Here's his instructions:

1) boil in a pot in salty water
2) drain
3) use oil
4) then use seasoning salt - make sure it's seasoning salt - IS THAT SEASONING SALT?!?
- what are you doing putting them in the oven. We did NOT put them in the oven at school. Well... Maybe they put them in the oven while me made slime and I didn't see it... I don't think they go in the oven... WHY ARE YOU PUTTING THEM IN THE OVEN???????

My interpretation:

Bring seeds to a boil in salted water, simmer while getting the dog out of mischief, removing cat from counter, picking up aforementioned slime - so maybe five minutes? Drained them, put them back in the pot and mixed with a little oil, and seasoning salt (yes it definitely was seasoning salt! Yikes!), then onion powder, a sprinkle of soya and Worcestershire sauce and in the oven (at 400F) for about ten minutes. Yum, yum. And the head chef approves so phew! ;)

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Very tasty! And four year old chef-approved!

So, I think we are all set for Halloween fun! I hope all of you celebrating have a safe and happy Halloween.

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Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Bevy of Bags

Happy thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!  I hope you are having a wonderful weekend full of all good things - food, family, friends. (BF)G and I are certainly enjoying the time with our little men folk (too bad the older kids couldn't be here, but they all had other plans - I'll have to get my invite in sooner next year!).

We have so much to be thankful for. Life is good.

So while I sit back and relax after a rather huge feast of turkey and all the fixings I thought I'd stop by and talk about some of my latest crafty pursuits.

I'm aspiring to be a bag lady these days. No, not the kind that you see pushing shopping carts with all their worldly possessions contained within shopping bags, but the kind that can't stop making bags. I've become quite smitten with making bags. You may have noticed evidence of this obsession withmaking bags  through my posts about my Rose Petal Bag,  Leibling's Bag and then my Working Girl Laptop Bag. I haven't stopped there... Oh no. Not even close to slowing down. So today I want to show you my bevy of bags that I've been madly working on in the last few weeks.

The first ones were out of necessity. Well, not really, I suppose. I could've gone to Walmart and bought a cheap backpack (or as Little Man called it Snackpack), but where's the fun in that? Little Man started preschool last month and he needed a backpack to carry his snack and supplies in (thus the name snackpack) so I picked out a few tutorials and a pattern I had and let him choose the design he wanted.  He chose Birchfabric's Little Hitchhiker's Backpack. I modified a few things to work with the fabrics I had as well as modified the straps to a style I preferred, using the Fishsticks Designs Playdate pattern as a guide, but other than that it was a great little tutorial.  I even made my own piping for it! He was thrilled with it, as was I!

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Little Man on his first day of preschool
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The Little Hitchhiker's Backpack
Then suddenly the night before preschool I realized he should probably have a little lunch bag for his snack so it didn't get scattered throughout his snackpack. Again, I modified to fit the fabric I had on hand and made it much smaller since it's only to carry a snack, albeit a big snack - that boy can eat I tell you! I used a tutorial (from Lemon Squeezy Home) that I've used before and whipped in up in about half an hour.

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The perfect size for a snack
Baby Boy, who is already feeling woefully left out because he can't go to preschool too, was feeling even worse that he didn't have a "knapsnack" as he calls them, of his own, so of course I made him one as well, following the same mods as Little Man's. I think I goofed on the amount of elastic at the top of the bag though and cut too short. I'll probably unpick it and redo it so it sits a little better. Also I placed the snaps a little differently and wish I hadn't, but he was really happy to have it made. He carted it around town with him the other day while we ran errands, with a juice box and a little baggie of goldfish type crackers in it, and felt quite grown up. He is so proud of his big boy knapsnack.

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The Little Hitchhiker's Backpack - Take 2
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Going a wandering with his knapsnack on his back
While I was waiting for my magnetic snaps for Baby Boy's bag to arrive in the mail - would you believe that even with shipping it's more economical (and far superior quality) to order from Emmaline Bags than buy locally?? - I made yet another knapsack. This one is for a friend's little fellow who is turning three. Rumor has it the little guy like cars and trucks (hmmmm... I seem to know a few other preschoolers that have a similar fondness for all thing transport or construction...) so I used some left over fabric and some contrast I picked out specially to make Fishstick Designs Playdate Bag.  I also made a car wallet (pattern of my own design) to go inside the play date bag. I really hope he likes his present. I know my guys sure liked it! (I'm definitely putting car wallets on my "make for Christmas" list!)

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The super fun Playdate Backpack -
 it even has slots for crayons on the inside!
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Vroom - cars to go
Last, but certainly not least, I've wanted one of those zipped, boxy styled bags for a Work In Progress small knitting bag, so after much perusing of the internet I finally decided on the one for me. I used  Truly Myrtle's tutorial - I love that her's, unlike so many, have no exposed seams. I loathe exposed seams in a bag. They just look so... Exposed. The tutorial is straightforward and simple. Its just that I seemed to suffer from, well, I don't  exactly know what, that made what should have been an easy project into one that refused to co-operate. The brown one - for a friend none the less, was my first attempt. I felt something looked just the tiniest bit off. So I made the second one... And realized as I was sewing the corners that something had gone wrong. I had cut out and sewn the whole thing the wrong way. So much for boxy - it's so streamlined that it barely fits a 50g skein of sock yarn. Sigh.  I decided that hopefully my friend would love the slightly off kilter brown one regardless of it's quirks and I kept the long skinny almost pointless one for myself. Some day I may try this whole thing again. Maybe I'll even get it right.  But in actual fact it's going to be a while before I venture down this particular boxy bag path once more. Twice bitten and all that...

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WIP Bags
So as you can see I'm all about bags lately. Next up I plan on making myself that Necessary Clutch I've been obsessing about from Emmaline Bags! I have one all cut out and ready to sew, but then I started thinking I liked a different set of fabric in my stash much better so... We'll see which gets made. I'd also like to sew a bag for Purse Palooza 2013 before the end of the month.  Before any of that happens, though, I have to get cracking on some Halloween Costumes and a trick or treat bag I promised to a special little lady - our niece - who missed out on the treat bags that I made for everyone for Baby Boy's first birthday party (she was a baby - she got a hat instead).  I've got all the details hammered out in my head for these upcoming projects... Now just to execute them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Busy Days and a Birthday!

I feel like I haven't even looked at my blog in days. Or has it been a couple weeks already?  Things have been cruising along at a rapid pace here chez Prairie Girl.

With a new schedule of preschool and skating lessons, and all the usual things like running into the city for doctor appointments, trying to keep on top of day to day housework, and the like things have been hectic to say the least.

Part of that hectic last week was preparing for a very special day! Baby Boy turned three this past Monday.  How?!?! How is it even possible that this wee little baby is now already three years old?

Baby Boy - A few hours old!
Giving his very biggest three year old smile
wearing this year's birthday crown, perfect for a Rescue Bots fan

Yes sir. Time flies! It was in a blink of the eye that he went from teeny tiny newborn to big boy!

We had a party last Saturday with the family for him.  He was very excited that all his brothers and his sister were able to come to his party, as well as Grandma, a few aunties and uncles and some of his cousins too. He had lots of fun, and quite liked his cake that I made to look like the Rescue Bot emblem that he has on his crown.

Cake with sparklers! What more could a boy ask for ?

Cake and fun. Really what more could a boy ask for? Well... presents of course are always nice! He hit the jackpot in new toys - Oh My Word!!!! It was like Christmas in our house that evening!

Fun opening presents with cousins!

What a day!!!

On Monday, it was his actual birthday. Daddy was on a vacation day from work, so we dropped Little Man off at preschool for the morning, then did some errands with Baby Boy. We met up with Little Man at the library - he was on his very first ever field trip! - and had fun choosing some books then went for Birthday Lunch at McDonalds. When we got home I made yet another cake. Baby Boy was quite insistent that he needed a volcano cake too, just like his brother had for his birthday, so I made a mini version. Needless to say, I don't think I want to make or eat cake for quite some time now...

The mini volcano cake
More sparklers and candles too!!
It was also N's 19th birthday the week before. And because he was home for the party I had made some pumpkin spice cupcakes for him and planned to put a candle in and sing him happy birthday too. Unfortunately, after almost everyone had left except J, N and N's girlfriend, I suddenly remembered the cupcakes that were in the freezer. So then I figured I'd just send them home with him to enjoy whenever he wanted. Except, I just found them still in the freezer the other day. Ooops! N - if you're reading this I hope you'll forgive your old mama. I promise I will make you pumpkin pie or pumpkin cupcakes - your choice - the very next time you're home. (and look at that... I'll wager that as good a bribe as any to get my kid to come home to visit! ha ha!)