Back to School Dress

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Today was the first day of school for #1 and #2.  #3 starts tomorrow.  I found myself with a little time while Miss C. napped, so did a sewing project.  I took a hand-me-down bodysuit and a quilting fat quarter and turned them into a little dress with a decorative ribbon.

These pictures show my second attempt.  The first didn’t turn out very well.  I am not a very careful seamstress and my seam ripper got quite a workout today.  I think I have the correct order of steps down now.

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It’s just a little bit big.  Miss C. is in 12 months and it is a size 18 months, but I like it a lot.

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I have a few more bodysuits and t-shirts and plenty of fat quarters.  If I get a chance to make another dress I’ll take some pictures of the process.   This one might be up next.

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Chalk Paint

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Yesterday son #2 asked me whether he could paint.  We used to do a lot of painting.  But with five kids, including a baby who has apparently given up sleeping at night, not so much recently.  I had just gotten the baby down for a nap and was taking a few precious moments to sit down with some tea and a book.  I desperately wanted to tell him “No.”  Painting involves way too much set up, supervision, and clean up.  There’s never anywhere to put the drying paintings and I never know what to do with them once they are dry.  But, he had been asking a lot.  And I really do try to be a good mom.

And then it hit me.  I could let him paint without most of the problems.  And I could use up some mess at the same time.  It did get me out of my chair, but it was worth it.

We took some of the kids’ broken pieces of chalk.  We have a lot of them because son #4 went through a phase of throwing chalk so he could watch it break.  We took 2-4 small piece of similar colors and ground them up with a rock.  We mixed in a little water and… chalk paint!

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It worked surprisingly well, especially on such a hot afternoon.  Grandpa even came by and collaborated with son #2 on a pumpkin.

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I even made a pretty sunset to try blending

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and, of course, a rainbow (no fall stuff for me yet!)

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This is far too easy to be a novel idea, but I did come upon it by myself.  I love that it helped use up the little ends of chalk.  And that any mess will wash away with the next rain.

Unfinished Business

Lately, I can’t seem to finish any projects.  I’m going to blame summer vacation.  Here are most of my unfinished projects.  I seem to have misplaced a few.  My goal this week is to finish two or three of them and, the important bit, not start anything new.

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Spiraling from top left: knit multi texture blanket (needs another 2/3), crochet giraffe (needs neck and head), crochet blanket (needs 10 squares and border), slowly growing afghan, octagon blanket (needs border), crochet blanket (needs 4 squares border), and in the center a corner to corner crochet blanket (needs a lot.)

Garden Problems

This is not my year.  Last year’s garden was so much better.

After 2 weeks of vacation the first thing I did upon arriving home, before even going inside, was check the garden.  My in-laws watered it for us, and harvested while we were away.  Unfortunately, we also had a crew of chipmunks harvesting.  And a groundhog.  The groundhog harvested all the leaves off the cucumber plants.  The chipmunk crew harvested all the tomatoes, often before they had any color.

In the few days since we have been back the cucumbers seem to be recovering, but all they are producing are little golf-ball-sized pickling cukes.  They are delicious, but not very satisfying.  Last year at this time we almost had more cucumbers than we could eat.  I’m planning to fence the less guarded side of the garden with chicken wire this fall.  Hopefully it will be enough of a deterrent for the groundhog.  As for the chipmunks, we got a trap.  Hopefully soon our tomatoes will be able to ripen unmolested.

Sadly, I have pepper problems, too.  The plants are producing well: loads of crisp, shiny, beautiful peppers in five varieties.  Unfortunately, they are so delicious I keep eating them before I take a picture.  You will have to imagine their beauty and deliciousness.

There is time yet for a good harvest.  Hopefully we’ll have some tomatoes soon and some cucumbers before frost (hopefully 2 months away.)