A Week of Sewing

My girls wanted to learn to sew. They in fact came to me and said, "teach us to sew"..."please."

Well, of course. Shall we sew by hand or do you lovely children wish to learn on a machine?

We'd like to learn both, please.

Well, alrighty then.

I'll just need to check your thumbprints first to make sure you are indeed my children.

Once that was settled, we gathered our materials, I picked up a few books from the library, taught them a few hand stitches, and well, we sewed...and sewed and sewed and sewed. Actually, they sewed. In fact, once these girls got started they couldn't be stopped. At one point we ran out of material and they looked up at me sort of funny...worried they might send me off in the car to purchase more I told them we could cut up old shirts for fabric and off they went to their closets yanking shirts off hangers.


OLD shirts, shirts that don't fit, shirts you don't want, shirts from your daddy's closet. Oh, we have some of those! And off they went to pillage and cut and sew...and then they sewed and sewed some more.

Really, girls, you must take a break. Have some lunch, watch some TV...how 'bout we make paper? Or learn to scrapbook?


So here's how we got started...we looked thru the project books and discussed what sorts of things they'd like to sew. We agreed on drawing and cutting out images on fabric to be made into pillows, working our way up to buttons and other various embellishments. We also agreed we would work on different stitches by hand before we moved over to the machine. After a few practice runs on felt, the girls drew and colored pictures on plain white cotton fabric (otherwise known as daddy's white shirt) and cut them out.

Then they put on headphones and completely tuned me out. At this point I grabbed a book and a bottle of wine and told them to call me if they need a band aid (or, ahem, ya know, if you have any questions about sewing).

After cutting out their pattens I showed them how to sew buttons for eyes. The liked the whip stitch best so they stitched around, stuffed the pillows with old fabric and other various fluffy recyclables, sewed up the opening and...repeated the project all over again.  

Dogs, ducks, bunnies...

...stars, peace signs, the fronts of old tshirts...after about a week of continuous hand-sewing these girls had quite the pillow collection to display on their beds. Little fluffy stuffed works of art.

We never did make it to the machine lessons. We've been waiting for a rainy day. Which at this point, considering the draught we're in, could be sometime late September. But we did pick out some groovy fabric. I'm also going to show them how to make a picnic blanket out of recycled jeans. Yes, I am. Just as soon as it rains. Until then, we shall continue making pillows out of old tshirts and cartoon drawings. Yes, we will.

A Hair Cut for a Cause

My daughter dislikes getting her hair cut. I think it's more a fear issue than anything else, but it typically results in her hair ending up longer than expected as she continuously postpones the inevitable. This past fall we went to the salon several times and each time she backed out saying she'll get it cut next time. Well, at that point we were in the process of moving and homeschooling and the holidays and well, it just didn't happen. So I suggested, since it was so long already, that perhaps she could just keep growing it a few more inches until it was long enough to donate to cancer patients. I explained to her that red hair was rare and it would make some kiddo really happy to have such a pretty color wig. To my surprise she actually agreed saying it would be really cool to have her hair made into a wig. Stubborn and unpredictable...I like it.

So we let it grow, and grow, and grow. Until it became a long tangly mess. Resembling dreadlocks at times. She's stubborn about many things and hair brushing, washing, even hair touching, are all high on the list. But she wanted to see it through and we had made it this far, and well, we weren't giving up. So it grew and grew (and tangled and tangled) more and more. By the time it warmed up outside, even she was ready for a change. We crossed our fingers and measured and sure enough, if she wasn't at 10 extra inches, it was pretty dern close. 

We picked a pretty spring day and headed into town to our favorite Aveda salon. My little red-haired gypsy knew exactly who she wanted cutting her hair and would accept no substitutes (did I mention she was stubborn?) and there would be no backing out. Not that she would have. She was worn thin by our constant grumbling about her tangled mess, and I think she was tired of brushing it (the few times she actually did). No, she was ready. She sat in the chair with a big ol smile on her face.

And came out looking like a rock star!

We had decided, after doing a little research and talking with friends, that if we didn't have the full 10 inches required for Locks of Love, we would still have the ponytail cut and we would mail it in to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program. For the Pantene program the ponytail only needs to be 8 inches, and the wigs they offer to cancer patients are free of charge.

My little gal felt so good knowing her hair was going to a good cause she's decided to do it again. In fact, my older gal is joining in the fun. They're going to start growing their hair out now with the hopes of having 8 inches sometime early spring. My older gal has longer hair so I imagine hers will be ready sooner. Either way, we're doing this to support our friends over at Christina's Breast Friends, a non-profit organization put together by our friend Christina, who's a breast cancer survivor. She's an inspiration to many people, ourselves included, and we are happy to do this with her in mind. You can find out more about her organization on Facebook or thru her blog. If you'd like to participate in the Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program thru Christina's breast cancer group, you can email her and let her know and she'll give you all the details. Her email is: Christina, uniboobclub@gmail.com. Otherwise, just go to the Pantene website and you'll find an address to mail your ponytail off to!

What We Read in May

Must. Catch. Up. It's JUNE. How did that happen? I'm still stuck in May, people. Well, here's a sampling of what we picked up from the library for May.

The kiddos listened to a wonderful book on CD called the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I have a feeling we'll be seeing it in theaters in the next year or so. It's definitely a keeper. Really lovely.

I blew thru several David Sedaris books. They're fairly quick reads, and fairly funny. OK, some are really funny. I'd like to keep one or two on the shelf, in fact. He's slowly becoming a favorite of mine. I also read I Love You, Ronnie, which is a sweet tribute by Nancy Reagan regarding all the love letters she received from her husband during the course of their 50+ years together. Following that book, however, with The Handmaid's Tale was unsettling at best. And completely on the other side, I found the man pouring thru Vince Neil and Ozzy Osborne books. You'd think this would give us interesting things to talk about over dinner. You'd think.

 A few books we weren't able to finish: She Flies Without Wings (about women and their love of horses). I love horses and all, and hope to have a few some day, but I couldn't get thru the first few chapters without nodding off. And George Washington's Sacred Fire...ha. That was one the man picked out. Yowza. It's taken years just to get him to go to the library; a book that size will scare him off permanently. What's the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian? Well, what can I say, I'm spiritually searching...and apparently lazy. I actually learned some interesting things reading that one though, and might even consider buying it if I come across it, ya know, at a thrift store.

The girls and I finished Anne of Green Gables (an abridged version) and have now moved on to Little House on the Prairie. We also read, Roald Dahl's The BFG while we were on vacation (on CD in the car), which has now become an all-time favorite in our house. It's worth buying and listening to over and over. Natasha Richardson's reading of it is wonderful.

We attempted to get thru A Wrinkle in Time, but the CD version left us all slapping our faces after a few hours. I think the book is lovely and I hope to have the girls read it some time soon, but we just couldn't manage the monotone reading by the author. It's hit and miss with books on CD, depending on who is reading the material. Superfudge, for example, was a reading that made me want to jump out of the car at high speeds, and yet, I've been a Judy Blume fan since childhood. I think the book is funny, it just didn't translate well on CD.

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen stayed with me for a while. I shed a few tears and related way too much to the setting and characters. Completely unexpected. Sometimes those are the best books. I can see that one as a movie as well (can you tell I have a background in screen-writing?). Speaking of The Handmaid's Tale...when I first finished the book I thought, movie? No, there's no way that can translate on screen. And even if you could, who would watch something so disturbing? It's one thing to read it, but to see it? But sure enough, there it is. I've been told by some not to watch it; I've been told by others it's awesome. I'm thinking a few glasses of wine and a pillow over my face and I'm good to at least see the opening credits. 

Moving on...we signed up for a summer reading program at our local library. They are giving away 10 bikes as prizes to various age group winners. My girls don't have bikes, but want bikes, so they're ready and willing to do what must be done to win one. We stocked up with library books this past week, and books on CD and books to read together, and well, I might have gone a bit overboard but by golly we're gonna read till our eyes bleed. To make it fair, I picked up about a dozen or so novels for myself to read. Well, I need something to do while relaxing by the lake watching the monkeys swim all summer, right?

That update coming soon!