Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Year Resolutions

I don't want to be controlled by my emotions anymore.

I'm an emotional person. I do things, generally, because I want to (paint with the kids, go on a walk, sew a dress, research jewelry making, rewrite the Star Wars Prequels) or because I really really have to (swirl diapers in the toilet, get up at 3 am for a crying baby, make dinner, do the laundry, etc) because the alternative is no clean diapers, traumatized child, starvation, nakedness, etc.

Then there is all the good things, that won't obviously stop the flow of my life if I don't do them, but somehow get lost in the crazy flow of life---keep up with my Hebrew, be intentional about teaching the kids and reading to them, even when I don't "feel like it." Keeping up with old friends (whom I miss so its painful to remember/think of/write to when you know you are so far apart), and keeping up with God, spending one on one time with Him.

But that last paragraph really wasn't optional. Being intentional in teaching the kids and intientional in doing things with them (not just relying on spontaneous inspirations) is what most of their memories are going to be made of.
Training my mind, not burying my talents, in Hebrew or writing, or what I feel God is asking me to do, isn't a
Keeping up with friends, even when it hurts to miss them, is so important.
And keeping up with God. It's...not optional. Its the core of everything else.

I say I don't have "emotional energy" to do things, and sometimes its true, I do get emotionally sapped sometimes. But too often it is my excuse not to do hard things.

I've written schedules and regimens since I was 15, and never kept them, because my spontaneous resolve in the moment would melt in the daily lack of "emotional energy."

I'm a mom now. I have kids. I'm closer to 30 than 20. I need to grow up.


#1 God. He's kind of the whole point. The oxygen that keeps our hearts going. The light that keeps our eyes from atrophying. My lack of regular quiet time with Him is probably the root cause of much of my inner turmoil.
Get up early, spend just 20 minutes in Bible and with a notebook, alone with Him.
Spend an hour in adoration every week. Schedule it.

#2 Teaching Kids about God/Reality/Wonder. I love spontaneous moments, but I also have to plan out their education, Holy and mundane.

#3 Set times for things. Hebrew. Writing. Painting icons. Correspondence with friends and family. Even my creative endeavors will be planned, at set times.

#4 Understanding myself. Willpower is not enough. When I am tempted to have an emotional outburst, I will force myself to sit down, and drink 2 cups of chamomile tea and read Isaiah 26:3-4
I am a much better mom when I get 8 hours of sleep. I will go to bed at a set time, no matter how tempted I am to finally finish that craft project. I will always eat eggs in the morning. Protein, Sleep, Chamomile Tea, and Jesus. My sanity.

That's my plan. And when I fail (as I will) it will not be an excuse to revel in my failure. But to pray, get up, and keep at it.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Of Mud Puddles and Pretty Princesses

This is from a couple months ago, I just never got round to publishing it. Here goes.

Isaiah told me "my bewwy huwts."
Not sure if this was an indirect request for the potty, I asked "what do you want me to do?"
He said calmly "can you pway?"
Thank you, Isaiah <3

They love pretending their water spray bottles are bug spray and they "spray duh BAD MUSKEETOS"

I came upon them in a mud puddle, Isaiah looks up at me, makes a big grin, and says in his most overtly cheerful voice "I'm so happy!" and "I put my nice stick in duh nice mud!"

Being cherubically cute, and just daring me to ruin the childhood moment.
So I didn't. So I took a picture instead.

Jenny has a sense of 'fair fight'. She grabbed a forbidden can of pencils and brushes "Mommy, I got dis!" she informed me, before running down the hall with it, ignoring my threats and commands to put it down.

"Idaiah is a handsome supehewo. Jenny is a pretty princess"

"I'm a pretty princess." later "Princess is NOT guwl" She's still working on the whole concept of things being several things at once....

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Monkey Princess Ballerina and the hunk of Cheese

Jenny's really been into dancing lately. When you say "Jenny its time for bed/food/going outside", she says "No! I'm dancing" and proceeds to bounce around the room.
Some of her sleeper jammies have monkey princess ballerinas on them. And now she says "I'm a pwincess bawaweena" and today "I'm a monkey pwincess bawaweena"

She's also been a very good big sister recently, bringing Keziah toys (once, obligingly finding from the trash and bringing her an old apple core, which Keziah very much appreciated until I found out...)

 Isaiah learned how to open the fridge. He sometimes goes after expected things (apples, jam) and sometimes unexpected things (wasabi sauce), but yesterday, on our way out, he filched a chunk of cheese...

 And they had this king-of-the-mountain contest over the top of the slide. They kept shoving eachother down, and then reigning, before being shoved down and replaced, repeat, repeat. I didnt' stop them, as I figured that's what a slide is meant for, after all....

The reigning king is being challenged....

There was a struggle. It looked like they were hugging, so I snapped a picture.
Keziah was loftily above the fray...watching the petty struggles of mankind.

The dethroned king, and the current reigning monarch.

She was happy.

Me and Keziah. Keziah making the most horrified face at this selfie...

Isaiah had his cheese, Jenny had her oranges....

I stopped documenting the saga to photograph this cutie....

The just-dethroned queen....
 But she had another "turn" and Isaiah had another "turn" and so it went....

R2D2 Toddler Dress Tutorial

Here (finally) is the tutorial for how I made Jenny's R2D2 Toddler Dress (More pictures here).

Step 1: I got a bunch of pictures of R2D2 and just eyeballed a design to print out on regular 8x11 paper.
The front is a little larger than an 8x11, so I have a second sheet with 2 strips on it, that you are supposed to cut out and tape to the sides of the front page.
R2D2 CENTER FRONT Just copy this into word, and stretch it out to fit an 8x11 sheet of paper.
 And the side strips. Cut the 2 strips, the one on the left is actually for the right side, and the one on the right is for the left side.  Because I'm awesome like that.
Side strips for front. (left strip tape to right side, right strip tape to left side, of R2D2 CENTER FRONT)

See how I taped it together?

STEP 2. And then draft a simple A-line style dress/tunic. You can literally just lay down an existing dress, or even a shirt, and just fan out the sides as desired.
I made mine from a cotton sheet, flat lined with the same sheet so it wouldn't be see through. If I did it all over again I would do it from a cotton poly sheet, flat lined with cotton. (because cotton poly doesn't wrinkle as much, and you can't iron it once you put the fabric paint on it.)

Step 3: Take the front dress piece (not with the lining! you want it to be see through for this step), and slide the template beneath it, then trace it off with graphite pencil. You don't have to worry about the pencil lead coming out, since this part is going to be all covered up anyway. You can use a ruler to help with the straight lines.
putting the template under the white fabric front...


Step 4: Now that you've got the lines that are going to be silver, cut out the parts of your template that you want to be colored. (See R2D2 above)

Now use them as pattern pieces and cut out of blue or grey fabric, depending on the piece. Felt is the easiest option, but I wanted to do something that I could run many times through the wash without worrying about it getting fuzzy over time. (she's worn this to the zoo, gotten mud and chocolate and ketchup on it, and I just run it through the wash. I like things being practical)

So I bought a blue T shirt from the thrift store, and used like half of one short sleeve. I wish I did the same with the grey parts, but I had some grey canvas on hand, so I used that. Bad idea, it frayed a bit and I ended up going over it with fabric paint on the edges.

Use the cut out template bits as pattern pieces. I like tracing stuff on dark material with soap.

NOTE FOR NEXT TIME: USE HEAT N BOND!!! Or a heavy duty interfacing! If you iron this onto your (jersey fabric) pieces BEFORE cutting them out, then they will be SOOO much easier to work with. My non-interfaced bits of jersey fabric stretched as I sewed them, changing shape and making it much harder to try not to stretch them when sewing them on.

Now, if you are using interfacing, you would have just ironed the interfacing onto the fabric. THEN cut out the pattern pieces, then laid them on the places on the dress, and just ironed them on, ready for sewing.
I just sort of laid my cut out pieces on and tried to hold them in place with my fingers...

Blue parts laid on. You see the template pieces still there still need to be cut out of grey material.

 STEP 5 Sewing it on!
You see my pieces began to stretch in weird ways, and I had to cut off the excess when I was done. If you are using heat n bond or a fusible interfacing, this isn't going to happen. And sewing it on will be easier.
Do the same for the grey pieces.

Here is a picture of the inside of the R2D2 dress after I had sewn the blue strips on. I went over it a few times because it was being wiggly. Again, if you are using a fusible interfacing you could get much cleaner lines.

Now its all ready for the fabric paint! This you will trace out the silver lines on most of R2D2, and do the detail work. I used dimensional silver paint.
If I could do this all over again, I think I would use regular flat fabric paint.

All ready for painting. Note the pencilled lines we are now going to do with paint.

All done. On second thought, next time I would paint the patch pieces BEFORE sewing them on, and paint the R2 lines BEFORE sewing the blue on. Because that way its easier not to mess everything else up...

Next time I do this, I'm going to do the back too...

Step 7: Photograph your cutie. I made the hat out of a simple 4 panel design, and just sewed the patches onto it after I  sewed it together....there isn't a template for that, but I might make one at some point....
(I'll link it here when I do)

I think I'm going to make another of these, and also an R2D2 inspired dress, where I take R2's head detail and put it on a grey bodice of the dress. I saw something on etsy like that once, but it has been delisted, alas.

I just love R2, he's so wholesome and good...and he's just perfect for a 2 year old costume, 2 year olds that empathize with getting into trouble and trying to communicate with the larger world that has such a hard time understanding what you are trying to say...