Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Big 2-9

(I promise another tutorial tomorrow, I have all the pics uploaded and ready to go I swear but since it is my birthday I thought a brief aside would be forgiven) So, do you know why today was an AWSOME birthday? Because I have incredible people in my life thats why. This morning the boys woke me up, at 7:30!! I know some of you may have just spit soda on your computer screen but that is sooo nice and late for me! They wished me happy birthday and asked if I wanted eggs and toast, thank you very much. I got all dressed and Sammy came in and asked where my birthday presents are. (We are definitely going to have to do the presents at breakfast thing I talked about HERE). I told him I was wearing them. He cocked his head and said "I'll go make you some presents mom". Apparently my clothes are not appealing to a four year old :) Lunch out with the hubby completely uninterrupted (fabulous) Then Happy Birthday to me, I received an awesome package from Elizabeth! Talk about stellar timing, only you could pull that off Elizabeth! The boys were THRILLED with the contents of the package, lots of festive fourth of July items and some YUMMY lotion (thank you thank you thank you!)
The boys had so much fun with the hilarious patriotic glasses
Sam kept asking me to take pictures of him. Then he asked if we could go to Atticus's house to show him. I wish bud, I wish.
Getting this package is fantastic on many levels. First of all it is impossible to get ANYTHING Americana here, and secondly I LOVE that my birthday coincides with this wonderful holiday. There are always lots of fun festive activities and it means summer break is in high gear, the beach, watermelon, ice cream, usually fireworks (they are illegal here, the Vice Prime minister apologized for that last night ha!)
The other mail I got was a hand written Thank you card from Lands End Canvas, what the what? I mean how much money do you spend at a store for them to send you a handwritten note? Chris was more than a little concerned haaa!
My friend joked that I should see how long I can keep the correspondence going and keep thanking them for their notes, attention etc. sounds hilarious, but a lot of effort :) Anywho, to celebrate we kept it low key and had friends over for a backyard BBQ. We got the bounce house set up and the kids went wild. Which was great because that meant we got lots of Adult undisturbed conversation, ahhhh sooo rare and so nice! Abby was all gussied up in the pettiskirt that I made Ava. Isn't it so nice when you get hand me downs of things you made? I love it because it means it actually is good quality!
Although I can't say as much for the head bow I made, she ripped that off in the first 2 seconds.
Apparently in a match of hot glue vs. 11 month old, the baby wins easily. She did have fun bossing around the other babies, although honestly I think Owan could take her if he really wanted to.
I tried to get a family picture but could not tear the boys out of the bounce house. Oh except for when Liam decided to pee off the slide, yeah that was a proud moment. I only got Abby and Daddy and I
My friend Dominque suggested we have everyone wear funny hats, well I am lacking in the funny hat department but woo hoo I had the cool sunglasses Elizabeth just sent! Don't worry though she brought enough for most of us!
I felt very Kate Middleton esq.

She said what was so funny is she bought it for a wedding in London, went to the church and sat down and noticed the women directly in front of her was wearing the exact sam thing HAAAAAA! I love it! I can't wait to go somewhere that outrageous hats are a norm. We had yummy burgers from Australia (ooops sorry let me wipe the drool off the screen) and Carrot Cake cupcakes and Too Much Chocolate Cake. I think I gained ten pounds. Then last night the Embassy had their Official July 4th celebration. Chris was workin the room making sure all the dignitaries were being looked after and I was working as the photographer but that didn't mean we didn't get to enjoy the rows upon rows of food... we just had to wait until all the VIP's ate. They died the water in the tea light holders the most vibrant red and blue. I asked Jodi how she did it and all they did was stick a little square of crepe paper in them and the color leaked out! How cool is that!
This morning we wanted to spend some time as a family so we headed down to Caz Bar for pancakes or eggies on the beach. I built another Sand Castle for the boys and this time topped it with a flag from the party last night! Woo hoo America!
Abby was of course scarfing down everyone ESLES food. She literally screams at the boys when they try and touch her food.... I think we may have a bad combination of spoiled and drama queen on our hands, yikes! But she is just so cute!
(That is her shoving a nutella pancake into her mouth while I was distracted.) Okay so now that I have caught up on the wonderful birthday I had I thought this afternoon I could post the Fourth of july tunic I made Abby so if you are like me and find yourself with nothing patriotic for the darling to wear you can whip it up. I literally made it in the half hour I have that Liam and Abby over lap taking naps. Here is a sneak peak

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baby Tuxedo dress tutorial

I originally wanted to make this dress for myself as a birthday dress, but I don't have enough of any cute fabric for me, so Abby gets a cute dress for moms birthday! It may look daunting but is SOOOOOO easy I promise. Just be patient and remember you are working with fabric so a little stretching or pulling goes a long way. Also a lot of this tutorial is arbitrary, if you would like defined measurements etc. you should probably pass on it and stick to patterns. (ew that sounded brattier then I meant it...sorry)
The Materials you need:
A onsie or, for a bigger girl, a plain colored shirt that match's your fabric. Either long or short sleeve works fine.
1/2 yard of cute fabric
2 coordinating fabrics with 1/3 yard of each (just long strips of whatever fabric you think complements the main fabric.)
Fabric for the center tuxedo portion or the button section cut from some other outfit you decided is so far gone you might as well cut it up
Coordinating buttons
light weight fusible interfacing (just a little square)
Sewing machine
OPTIONAL: Ribbon or string for drawstring waist
Not optional: Some good tunes to listen to while sewing.
(I am a visual learner so pictures will come first in my tutorials. If you get what is happening you can probably skip the explanation)
Cut off Snaps from onsie to make a long shirt. I also want 3/4 sleeves so I cute some of the arm off.
Cut your strips keeping in mind that you will need less fabric for the inside ruffles. How much fabric should you cut? That depends how ruffled you want your tuxedo top to be. To be completely honest I think I went a little over board on Abby's ruffles. The strips are super wide (2inchs) and were really long so the ruffles would be thick. They sometimes stick so far up she can suck on them and makes this face when they tickle her:
It is up to you and how funky you want it to be. I probably will scale it back for the shirt I am going to make her tonight. ANYWAY,
This next step is optional since the ends will be hidden when they are sewn onto the shirt but I am a bit neurotic about unfinished edges so I hemmed up the ends of my strips.
Now using your shirring setting gather up those bad boys leaving a long tail of thread at the end. (If you need to learn to shirr you can read THIS, it is a very useful thing to know how to do) If you want the ruffles to be bigger just grab one piece of thread at the end and tug on it. Push along the gather and repeat until you have it as ruffly as you want.
There you have it a lovely pile of ruffles. At this point I decided that I should probably use some interfacing since my ruffles were MASSIVE and a onsie is pretty flimsy material. I only have heavy interfacing which is a bummer because it makes the shirt really stiff. I didn't snap a pick because i was so side tracked thinking of all the sewing stuff I totally forgot to bring to timbuck too. I just cut bib shape piece of interfacing that would cover where my ruffles are going to be placed. Then you can follow the instructions on your particular interfacing to attach it on the wrong side of the shirt right where you will be attaching your ruffles.
Now the fun part Take which ever ruffle you would like to be seen the least and starting at the top of the left side pin it to the shirt. Proceed to make a "U" shape, pinning where you feel necessary.
I pinned at the "corners". Make sure at the top, the fabric goes up and over the neck so it is hidden. Sew the ruffle on. I chose the selvage part of my brown fabric because I thought it added a fun texture. (because this outfit isn't busy enough right?)
Follow the same steps with your second length of ruffle. Laying it just slightly inside your first ruffle. Then repeat again with your third ruffles until your shirt looks something like this:
Step 9:
(I finally got the pic to upload ha! I have defeated you again cruddy internet!)
Now grab the material you set aside for the "tuxedo" section. Out of it you will cut 2 rectangles. Both need to be the length from the neck line to the bottom of the "u" of ruffles you created. One needs to be wider then the gap from inside ruffle to inside ruffle. Essentially you are cutting a rectangle that will fill in the gap. The second piece needs to be less wide as the first but the same length. Hem up the sides of both rectangles. Now this is optional but I decided on the second smaller piece to use the side that the seam was on to make it look more tuxedoey. That is totally your choice. I then attached the smaller rectangle to the larger making sure it was nice and centered. Then you can attach the number of buttons you think looks good, I know the picture shows 5 but in the end I went with 3, I just thought it looked better.
Before you attach the tuxedo to the shirt I would hem up the bottom edge. You could do this while attaching it if you are super sewer and don't like lots of lines of thread, but who really notices right and it makes attaching it easier. Which, when you are dealing with a mountain of ruffles, is a nice thing.
That is how your dress should not look! Woo hoo You are done with the hard part! Now for the skirt. This again depends on how long you want it to be on your bubs and how fluffy. I wanted mine to go just to Abby's knees so I cut a long rectangle with enough length to hem and it would be to her knee. I cut it to be 2 and a half the lengths of the front of the onsie. Once I hemmed it up I shirred the top again leaving a tail so I could adjust.
I laid it on the bottom of the onsie to make sure it it fit and made any necessary adjustments. This is where you can do one of two things. I will first go over if you want a gathered waist.
Place the "skirt" and "top" right sides together, leaving about a half an inch of onsie fabric hanging blow the skirt. Pin the skirt and then sew around. Once you have done this turn the entire dress inside out and sew the edge of the little "lip" of onsie to the wrong side of your skirt. Now when you flip in right side out you will have a little pocket to feed a ribbon or string or whatever you like through. Just make a a little hole in the seam you just sewed and feed through the ribbon attached to a safety pin. If you think that is to much (which I did AFTER making the pocket) then you simply line up right sides together and sew around. I would highly recommend zig zag stitching or surging this portion so it doesn't fall apart in the wash.
TADDAH! Woo hoo you are done! (you can see my little pocket if you look closely) I like using a onsie because it makes getting it on and off her head so easy :) Which is good because this little chica is on the move! She took six steps yesterday wow!
If you end up making one I would LOVE to see it so send me some pics or your link. Have fun and get creative, guaranteed if you live anywhere near a fabric store you will end up making a cuter one then mine, but you gotta use what you have right?
P.S. My friend Elizabeth found the website We Love Colors where I purchased Abby's leggings. I love them because they are nylonish so she isn't sweating bullets but is protected from the mosquitoes. They are nice and stretchy and she has been wearing them for 6 months now! The only draw back is the Velcro on her cloth diapers has made them snag a few times, bummers. Have I sold you on them yet ha! Happy sewing, hope your daughter looks dapper!

Monday, June 28, 2010

That is sooo Anthro-- baby

I have been extremely disappointed with the clothes online for Abby lately. Nothin I like at the GAP, Old Navy, Children's Place, Target and since H&M won't let you order online (so totally lame) I was left with nothing. Since all of Abby's clothes above 12 months were sent to storage (we have got to do this moving thing better next time) I was in dire straights. Since most patterns are not in PDF file (a gap that need to be remedied by someone) I decided to set out and make Abby a bunch of dresses from my own little mind. I thought maybe some where out there someone else would need the same thing so in the next few days I will be posting in depth detailed tutorials on the dresses I made. The first being my version of what Anthropology might make if they had a baby line... and I was crazy enough to spend that sort of money on baby clothes: Here is a sneak peak at it (made from a onsie) on the table. (There will be cuter ones of Abby modeling them with each). Let me know if you think this is a good idea or not because honestly I don't want to go to do all this and end up with ZERO comments ha! Okay enjoy the sneak peak (do you think I had enough parentheses in this post?)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A circle in the sand

** Waxing philosophical blog to follow please try not to barf from sappiness**
Last weekend we headed to explore back beach. The waves were sooo big (for Timor) that it would have been a perfect boogie board day but we have been living without our beach stuff for so long that I forgot that we actually HAD it now. The water was a little too rough for the kids so Sammy and I ended up heading to shore to build a sand castle. I got down on my hands and knees and drew a circle in the sand with the edge of the shovel. I was immediately washed over with a deja vu type feeling. How many times had I seen my Mom do the exact same thing as a child. The memory was so fresh it felt almost tangible. She would draw a circle in the sand and then proceed to build a moat, then she would use the sand from the moat to build castles in layers. Each castle would then receive some sort of ornament for the top, be it a shell, straw or cool piece of trash. As I followed these EXACT steps I was overwhelmed by how close I felt to my Mom even though she was hundreds of thousands of miles away. The rest of the day I walked around the house thinking how similar to my mother I have become. Here I am about to turn 29 and I have 3 cuties 4 and under, just like my mom. I live far far away from my family, just like my mom. I can't relax in a messy house, I feel like watching a movie (unless it is really funny) is a waste of time because I could be doing something more productive. I cry in the shower when I am overwhelmed but don't want the kids to see, because I know tomorrow I will wake up totally revitalized. I give the last of MY ice cream to my little beggar boys after they have polished off theirs even though I really want it. I make two dinners often because someone would prefer toast sandwich's to whatever I initially made. I am really good at saying sorry to my kiddos after I get more mad then I should have at something silly. All these things and soooo much more I get from my mom. I know it was just fathers day and I do have two AMAZING father figures in my life, but these past few weeks I feel like there is no way I could ever thank my mom for what she has done for me. I know it is because I am on the flip side now and can see the hundred of thousands of little sacrifices she made for me, and I hope that this little "circle in the sand" will continue and some day Abby will realize she is just like me, and be as happy about it as I am.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How long has it been since you ate?

On Thursday Chris and I were invited to attend the USS Pelelui reception (the ship with the marines and sailors that I had been photographing all week). Since I would be taking pictures I got to once again fly out to the ship on a helicopter so I could be there to snap away at the VIP's as they arrived on their helicopters. Chris teased me because he came in on a boat with the majority of guests, and I joked with him that some hobbies just really pay off :) We got to mingle with lots of amazing soldiers and eat a TON of American food. I think the guy in front of the amazing meatballs must have thought I hadn't eaten in months. I think I ate at least a dozen and some where around five macadamia nut cookies. After I took some pictures of a group of Marines they joked that if they didn't receive a copy they would come back here and get me. I told them that would be fabulous, as long as they brought the food with them! The reception took place in the hanger bay so there were beautiful views of Dili and of the ocean
Chris hadn't taken an extensive tour so a chaplain was kind enough to take us all over the ship. It made me think maybe I should spend some time on the stair master because man were my legs killing me from the stairs! After our tour they made a last call for those who had come in on helicopters to head back. We had to book it up to the flight deck and were able to sneak Chris on so he got a ride!
The next day I flew out to a village at the opposite end of the island, but more on that later. I got back covered head to toe in mud (literally to toes, one of my shoes was lost to the mud) and had just enough time to rinse myself off before heading to the MTV Exit concert. Chris has been working with MTV and USAID setting up a concert to raise awareness about Human Trafficking. They do them all over the world (In Cambodia Placebo performed at Angkor Watt, how cool would THAT have been!) and the bands perform for free and the concert is free to locals. We got there at 5:30 so Chris could get everything in order and so I could take some pre performance pics.
When they say all access they really mean it. I got to be up on stage snapping away at the performers. Although eventually I thought my ear drums would burst and decided the three feet in front of the stage that was protected by Portuguese guards was close enough. They estimated that 15, 000 Timorese attended or 2% of the entire population ha! We had fun hanging out with friends and watching the moving video clips they showed in between performances.
But I was sooooo tired that after I got what I deemed enough pictures of the final (and main band, Superman is Dead) we headed home. I had to stay up and get the pics organized since the ship was leaving in the morning and Chris and Jan stayed up to watch the Brasil V Portugal game. I literally fell asleep at the computer and poor chris watched the entire game to have it end in a zero zero tie ughhh. Needless to say this weekend will involve LOTS of napping!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You'll be strapped in

This week has be INSANE!!! I am still working out the details of which pictures I am allowed post on my personal blog but lets just say I spent most of the week with a four thousand dollar lens (excessive government spending? I think not ha!) on my camera, donning awesome head gear and taking hundreds of pictures of our AMAZING men and women in the military visiting here in Timor, I basically have looked like this:
A large part of my week also included seeing this reflection below me.
(I tried to get my toes in the shot but the lens was as long as my arm and I was soooo afraid I would drop it)
When they told me I would be half hanging out of a helicopter taking pictures I must have turned green because Major Johnson added "Don't worry, you'll be strapped in" oh, well then lets do this thing!!! It was also fathers day on sunday, the same day as the Dili Marathon (lots of pics from that to follow). I asked a group of the wives what they were doing for fathers day and all of them looked a time with panicked expressions "Today is fathers day? Aw crap" was the general response. You really have NO concept of time here since the weather NEVER changes. Chris enjoyed an hour and a half massage and homemade rocky road ice cream on top of Chocolate lava cake yum! When Chris proposed one of the promises he made was to give me an amazing life. Throughout this week it has been hammered into me what an amazing life he has provided for me and the bubs. He worked soooo hard for sooo long. I distinctly remember during law school thinking "Come on when does he get a break, he is such a good guy he deserves a break" Of course as always Heavenly Father knew better then I did and walah massive huge phenomenal break. I mean who gets their dream job at this age right? What I love about this job is that while we get to live abroad it is EXPECTED of us to remain VERY American. Any other time people would think you were an annoying foreigner and not "embracing the culture" if you dressed your kids in Red WHite and Blue for a marathon, talked constantly about how great the states are and shipped in the majority of your food :) Not in the state department, that is all fully supported (and in the case of the mail heavily subsidized). I am rambling. As soon as I am allowed there will be lots of fun pics from this amazing week. There is still two more days and the MTV concert Chris has been organizing so I am trying desperately to pace myself... and spend some time with the chubs a bubs so they don't forget who I am ha!
Okay one last pic I can sneak in I think without getting in trouble:
Cristo Rey

Friday, June 18, 2010

Schools out for Summer

Sammy had his last day of school on Tuesday. Woo hoo! summer, or more accurately, dang it, summer. To celebrate the end of the year there was a musical performance for the whole school at a local reception center. The kids were really excited to see each other outside of school (even if it had only been an hour and a half since they were IN school). Sam's teacher Ms. Naomi tried to entertain the preschoolers while everyone got settled by walking around the garden with them.
Of course Liam HAD to be involved and followed the class on their tour
They were asked to bring a stuffed animal for their performance. Sammy chose his bear. His great Aunt Beverly gave it to him when he was one and he still sleeps with it.
They were very patient and waited quietly for their turn.
even when I had to drag Liam kicking and screaming away from them. Once they got up on stage they sang "Going on a bear hunt" It was hilarious! Sam was so hyper (I can see now why on his end of the year report it said he was wonderful etc etc but needs to learn to not flail when excited ha!)
(Don't you love his friend Salaman's tie and Noah's tiger face paint, ears and tail? We take ourselves VERY seriously here) I am not going to lie it was a LONG evening and rather hard to keep Liam and Abby happy. I was suddenly acutely aware of what it would be like to actually attend church anywhere besides our living room-- wow. When the finale rolled around all the children got up and sang "Thats what friends are for" Sam totally belted it out, I was so impressed.
(Bianca really got into it too, she is two to the right in the black dress and is AWSOME!) Lots of the older kids were crying. Since Timor is a hardship post for just about every organization the stints here are only 2 years so lots of people were saying their final goodbyes. On the last day of school both the morning and afternoon class met for a party. The kids were allowed dress up if they liked and bring their swim trunks. Sam wanted to go as Superman and showed Ms. Naomi how tough he was
Liam tagged a long and of course was Batman
He usually wears the cool, cape hood mask thingy but it impairs his vision to much when actually playing so he took the mask from the Robyn costume instead. All the other kids were intrigued by his built in muscles and he was stopped often so they could look at them
I loved that the boys were all fun super heros and the girls were all princesses. Bianca was Ariel
Katie was Snow White
and Sylvia.... well Sylvia was an awesome pirate with a flowery hat :)
Sam got a kick out of Noah also being superman. Although he had no idea what Noah meant when he kept saying up up and away. We need to find the boys some actual cartoons of these superheros.
Each child was asked to bring something to eat. When Sam brought me the paper with his request it said "Hot Chips" I asked him why he wanted spicey Chips, that he didn't like spicey chips. He said "No mom hot chips." Ms. Naomi had to let me know that these were in fact French Fries. Oh my gosh Sam is picking up local lingo! It is funny because he is also getting a little accent. No not the cute Australian one I had been hoping for, oddly enough he is speaking like someone from Boston. He says Cahh (Car) and Dowah (door) etc. it is really funny. So I brought the "hot chips" and the kids enjoyed the smargasbord of random foods that preschoolers request. Liam tried a fried banana and was NOT a fan, he thought it was a chicken nugget and was not pleased with the surprise.
Thankfully the embassy is putting on an amazing summer camp for those diplomates who's children are still on the island for the next 8 weeks! They have fun days planned like Dino day and Mad scientist day etc. I think if it weren't for that the boys would probably end up having fight clubs in our garage :)