Friday, October 17, 2014

School Spirit

The kids' school decided to make the last Friday of every month school spirit day. Neat. The PTO had some super cute kid shirts that you could purchase to show your school spirit, or just to wear any old day of the week. 

I ordered some for the kids and they came in time for the first school spirit day. I loved the red version of the shirts, so that is what I ordered them. They also came in black, and white.

They look adorable.

My girl was excited for spirit day even though her class hadn't started yet at this point. 

I made her a matching pleated cheer skirt for school, like the one I made her for football. I only did the elastic band this time, no zipper, and she can easily take it off and put it on. 

For September spirit day I had made the girl a chevron peasant dress. I also made her a couple of matching hair bows. I chose the funky one this time.

All I have to say is.....adorable.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Soap Box Race: 2014

This is the first ever soap box race put on by the local 4-H club. 

I will be doing some rambling to go along with the photos. :)

As part of the summer reading series that the public library did, a representative from the 4-H club did a little talk and activity with the kids. We happened to be at the library that day when she began talking about holding a soap box race. My ears perked up at that.

I had seen some soap box races on t.v. I think there is even a derby that comes through SC, but I hadn't heard about it in years. I don't know if they still do it here. Those soap box races are pretty competitive, and look like so much fun! I definitely wanted my kids to participate, if they wanted to of course.

They wouldn't let my girl participate because they thought she would be too young to help with the power tools and what not.We got our kit after paying the $25 fee. $25! Yep, that is cheap, and we got a t-shirt, and the wood was semi-pre-cut for us. We just had to follow the instructions to put the kit together, and measure the pieces and cut them from wood. Easy peasy, right? wrong.

The basic soap box kit is from Canada. I have determined that either Canadians are extremely good at putting things together with minimal instructions, or Americans have been spoiled with numbered, simple instructions with photos to go along with the step-by-step directions. No one online had anything posted about how this was supposed to go together either. I thought about writing a post about it, but didn't have time to take the photos needed for the explanations. Maybe another time.

My husband cut out the pieces I had measured and drawn on the plywood, according to the pictured instructions with measurements. I put the car together. I also realized that maybe Canadians aren't that good at algebra either. It's "a squared + b squared = c squared" Canada! 

Some of the pieces were too short for the steering column so I used some extra wood pieces and cut what I needed, if needed, to make it work. It turned out pretty good. I engineered a breaking system using a lever and some old flip flops for friction. I couldn't locate a go kart steering wheel anywhere in my area so I resorted to cutting it out of wood with the template provided in the kit. It works.

Then, we got to the painting of the car. I decided to use whatever we had on hand, which meant leftover paint from my studio floor painting project. The white and the blue were fine. I was going to add some gray to it as well, but that paint had gone bad and the smell of it was just awful. :(

Once it was all done, we got in a little practice in the driveway to make sure everything worked like it was supposed to work. The kids enjoyed it. So far so good. The girl almost took out the decorative windmill, and at one point bumped into the car. Help me when she starts driving if her skills don't improve.

Then, it was....

Race day!

Ready to race! Man that looks like so much fun. As part of the requirements for the race the drivers had to find a business to sponsor them and either donate canned food or money to the Harvest Hope food bank. The boy asked his daycare to be his sponsor. I was so glad they agreed. I printed out a sticker to place on his soap box like a real race car.

After a minor repair to a rear wheel we got in some practice runs.


The speeding avenger! That is the name of his car. He didn't win the award for the most creative name, but I was told he was in the top three. Yea!

Also, like a real race, they held a drivers meeting. You can see my son off to the left side of the photo with his bike helmet on.

 He's waiting on me to help get the car up the ramp. I was having some technical issues with his roll bar. The screws weren't holding it together very well. Ugh.

Ready at the top, belted in, ready to race!

And they're off!

We were told that we could push them across the finish line because they wanted all of the cars to finish. Even though there was a little slope to the parking lot, it wasn't enough to get most of the cars to cross the finish line without help. Friction slowed them down. Didn't even need the brakes after all.

So once he stopped I jumped over and pushed him the rest of the way in his first heat. He won that one. He lost the next two and was eliminated. There was no need to jump over and quickly push him, he was losing by a long shot.

Right beside the ramp was a speed limit sign, which I thought was hilarious. I love the contrast to the back of the kids' shirts. There was a local police officer there to help with security, and he got out his radar device and clocked some of the cars going 12 mph. Ha! Speeders!

 Time for the awards ceremony. He got his participant ribbon and certificate. He sort of really wanted one of the trophies, but we just weren't fast enough. Also, he may have been the lightest and youngest that day. The heavier kids/cars got more momentum going downhill.

At the end of the races, the drivers took a group photo in their cars. There were some pretty neat designs, and a lot of hard work went in to making those cars. The kid in the orange car, on the right, with the checkered flag, won the whole shebang! I think he also got the award for the best paint job.

Great job kids! Hope to see you all again next year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Going to the State Fair 2014

One day in the recent past I was looking on the state fair website to see what I could sew for which categories. Yeah, that was a bad idea. I found 7-8 categories, and there was no way I was about to make 7-8 things. Maybe one year, but not this year.

I am happy to say that I was able to make four things to enter into the competitive exhibits for the SC State Fair. This will be my third year entering things into the fair. The first year I entered one item, a hat. The second year I entered two items, a hat and a peasant dress. This year I am entering a dress, a hat, a baby bonnet, and some baby shoes. I guess I got a little ambitious for my third year. 

Wanna see what I made? :)

Of course you do, that is why you are here. 

The bonnet is not pictured because I had already put this montage together before deciding to make one.

Here is a photo of all four items ready to go!

I made this bright flowered seersucker First Day dress in a size 5. 

It's so bright and pretty and beautiful. I love it.

For the hat I used a free pattern from Martha Stewart to make some berets. I added the brim to make it more like a floppy newsie cap for the girl. I used some extra gray corduroy from her pea coat I made her last year.

For the lining I used some gray with little light gray polka dots. This hat is adorable, and adorable on her.

*squeal* Soooo cute! I love that it goes with her french bubble skirt.

I also decided to try to make a bonnet. I used a free pattern and instructions from Delia Creates. I love the fabric combo I chose and the end result was pretty good. There are some sewing errors in the finished product, but overall, not too shabby for me.

Excuse the bear for the photo shoot, I don't have infants in my house any more and I finished it after the girl was in bed. She wasn't asleep so I did try it on her head, but I wasn't about the get her out of bed for a photo shoot. And since she is 4 years old and this bonnet is made for kids under 2, it works better on the bear.

I also made some little baby shoes from a book I got from the library a while back. I copied the patterns and instructions I needed, and this one has been sitting around for a bit. I figured now was as good a time as any to try it out.

Tiny shoes are hard to sew. I have got to work on getting the lining right for stuff like this. I always end up with a wave making it seem that the lining is too big. But they are super cute booties.

So that is what is going to state fair this year. Stay tuned to see how they do.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer Recap: 2014 Edition

I am writing this post to keep track of the things we are doing this summer. (Re-read in past tense, I'm not changing it.)

*We went to play at gymnastics. The boy's cartwheel got some major improvement and the girl actually jumped on the big trampoline. We continued our work on pullovers on the bar and handstands. We all had a great time.

*We joined the summer reading program through the public library. And finished the reading program. The kids got medals, certificates of completion, and other little goodies.

*On Thursdays our little library has a summer series of visitors who come to entertain the children. Our first show we saw was by Roger Day. He is a singer/songwriter who takes science and nature and turns them into fun, quirky, educational songs for kids. He was really good. All of the kids had a great time. Check out his website if you have elementary age kids (though I think middle schoolers would enjoy him as well), and see if his show is coming to a town near you. You won't be disappointed. If you are familiar with Hap Palmer and love his work, you will definitely enjoy Roger Day's show.

*I drove the kids to NC for a summer visit. My twin drove in from TX for a visit as well and this will be the only chance I get to see her before she drives back. The kids stayed there while I came back to work my short work week and then the hubs and I will drive back for the weekend. There is a comic book convention in Charlotte that he is planning on attending so it kind of worked out well for us.

* Took the kids back to NC for a visit since my parents were off work and they could spend time together. The hubs' grandmother wanted to have a cookout for the fourth of July, and since it is my short work week and that day is an off day for me, we decided to join her and the rest of the family at her request. She doesn't ask us to do things very often, and great grandparents like to spend time with their great grandkids. My son lost his front teeth: one of the 4th and the other one the next day. He already lost the two on the bottom, one is starting to grow in though. 

                                                             Family photo. So cute.

* Took an impromptu July trip to the beach with a good friend. Her family rents a couple of condos for about two weeks every summer. They had some extra room toward the end of their stay when my friend was going to go down. I happened to be at her house when she mentioned that she asked a couple of her friends if they would like to join her, but they hadn't gotten back to her. I causally mentioned that I wanted to take the kids to the beach again, they had only ever been once, and that I had the whole next week off work. Everything worked out beautifully. Everyone was able to go. So happy that it coincided with my scheduled week off. The kids were wonderful and had such a great time. We really enjoyed ourselves.

We had a fairly good summer. It went by quickly. Looking forward to next summer as well. Hopefully we can pack more fun into that one as well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

She started school, too

My girl has started her school career with 4 year old kindergarten. She only goes for a few hours every afternoon, but she feels like one of the big kids and is enjoying the whole experience so far.

We were excited for her first day. She wore a First Day dress with her mommy-made back pack. She's a happy girl.

I thought a First Day dress was most appropriate for the occasion. She got to pick out which one she wanted to wear. Then, after some photos she was off to school just like her brother.

Her homework was ready, and so was she! Looking good. 
Go get 'em baby girl.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back to School Back Packs

Last year I got the boy a store bought book bag. I was displeased with how well it did not hold up. Before the year was half over the shoulder strap was separating from the bag. He brings home a folder and a few small books, and takes his lunch box, how heavy can all of that be for a former kindergartner? 

So I decided that for the first grade I would make him a back pack for school, and that he could pick out the fabric he wanted. I also make one for the girl as well, because she was going to go to school one day.

I found some free full size back pack patterns online. This is a free pattern here from Pellon. This pattern is a good place to start. It has a materials list and instructions. This pattern is also free and has a simpler design, as well as a materials list and instructions.

I used both patterns as a guide for making my own version. I made the girl's back pack first because I had that fabric first. I picked it up at Hancock's last year when I went to visit my sister in Texas. It's duck cloth so it should be fairly sturdy and last during her early school years.

It's a bit wider than I would have liked it to be, but since it was my first I learned from that and made some more changes for the next one. Also, my shoulder straps are a littler farther away than I had anticipated, but they stay on her shoulders when she wears it, sort of. She's not quite that wide either, but hey, she'll have some growing room, I guess.

This was one of the items that I had Granny monogram for the girl. It came out centered, even, and looks amazing. I added on a front pocket and must say that I am pretty proud of it.

I took the boy fabric shopping and he picked out some camouflage twill fabric. Twill is not as sturdy as I was hoping it was going to be, but it is what he wanted so I made him his own back pack as well.

 I adjusted the size of my pattern to make his back pack taller and slimmer. I think it has more of a traditional back pack shape now. His front pocket could use some improvement. I couldn't find the right size zipper in my stash so I had to go to the store, and they didn't have the right size either so I picked up the closest I could find. It turned out to be a bit smaller than I had wanted. After I finished the back pack I found the shopping bag that had the zipper I was going to use to begin with. Go figure.

Granny also put his initials on his back pack. I put the fabric in the hoop for embroidery, but didn't get it straight so his initials were crooked. I fixed it as best I could by cutting and reshaping the back pack to get the letters to be even. No one will really notice anyway.

Now he has a full sized Mommy made back pack for school. I made sure it was big enough to hold his agenda folder, a few books, and his lunch box. It has survived his first several weeks of school so far. Yea!

I'm glad that my kids like their one of a kind back packs, and I hope that they last a while so I don't have to make another one for them any time soon. 

Now, if I could just make myself one as well. My book bag I have been using since junior year of high school is starting to fall apart on me. And my $4 purse is failing as well. So much to do! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Who's ready for some football?

I'm still not ready to let go of summer, but man I love football season. And I mean the professional football season, not so much college football. I've never really viewed college football as important as people who grew up in the great state of SC. They love their college football, which in this case means Clemson and USC. It's like no other colleges in this state exist except those two. It's fascinating. And they have all but shunned the NFL home team for the area: the Carolina Panthers. Apparently 20 years (!) ago when the NFL expanded the teams, SC got upset that the team would not actually be placed in SC. The stadium was going to be built in Charlotte, and they got unhappy, but the team does summer camp in SC. I guess that is just not good enough for SC folks. You hardly ever see anything Panther related in this state and it's sad. Charlotte is not that far away people.

Alright, enough about that.

Since I love football, the kids get excited about it sometimes as well. Especially the boy. So I made them some football attire.

I made the girl a box pleated cheer skirt. I found some instructions online about how to do a box pleat. It's not really that difficult and I do love how it turned out for her. I do need to work on my math a little. It's a little bit big in the waist, but that just means she will have some growing room, right?

I used some panther fabric (obvs) for the exterior pieces of the skirt. Then, I used three matching white and blue panels for the interior pieces. The waist band is just two inch black elastic. I even installed a white invisible zipper. I have never done an invisible zipper before, and it is not exactly invisible. Once I had her try it on, I'm not even sure I needed the zipper with the elastic, but it is there just in case.

She is extremely excited about football! Or pony's. Or snack. I didn't make the skirt super short, because she's four, and I think cheer skirts are already too short to begin with and I just wasn't going to do that for her. She looks ready to join any cheer squad.

We got the boy involved as well with his Panther helmet and a matching outfit. I hadn't made his Panther pants at this point. They are cute together...sometimes.

Now the boy is ready for football season with his Panther lounge pants. I made sure they were long enough for him to grow into since he grows up more than out in any given year.

I used Dana's KID shorts pattern to make the pants. I just extended the legs down enough to make them a good fit for the boy.

We are definitely ready for football season. Not so much Fall itself, but football is welcome.