Thursday, August 30, 2012

Disney recap. For now.

So my computer seems to be busted.  Not in a "I saw it go up in a cloud of smoke" kind of way, but in a "I'm so spoiled by technology that I whine when something doesn't work perfectly" kind of way.  I can't get photos to upload from our card readers.  Sometimes it works- sometimes it just deletes them ALL instead.  We've tried three readers with the same issue, so I'm now convinced the problem lies somewhere within our fancy-shmancy Mac.  Grr.

(Anyone know about computers?  I'd love some help!)

In the meantime, I can't really share pictures of new projects. I've had two different tutorial pictures vanish on me, and I'm scared to upload any more before we get this figured out.  Mr. was able to upload the recent Disney pictures, though, before the latest card reader stopped working (thank goodness!).  So, I'll toss a few of those up to tide you guys over...

We went for three days, on a park hopper pass.  Here in California, there are two parks included in Disneyland- in Florida there are...four?  five?  I don't remember.  For us, two parks in three days was perfect.  If you can only do one day, I'd pick one area and try to stay there.  The kids just get too crazy pushed to run from ride to ride, trying to get it all in.  We were super relaxed- in fact, we never even went to one area of the park- the newly opened Cars Land- because we just didn't want to face the crowds.  We never waited in long lines, we used fast passes for the popular rides, and we went back to the hotel every afternoon for naps.  I highly recommend this!  The kids were up at 7, and we left the park around 11pm at night- yet they didn't melt down and never got overtired because of the afternoon break.

They were giddy and smiling and loving every minute of the trip.

Here is Asher mid-giggle on the Ferris Wheel....

And everyone who goes to Disney must try to get a picture in front of the castle...

I also highly recommend watching the parades and the evening shows.  Mr. was dreading this trip (I only convinced him to go because we got sucha good deal on the tickets/lodging) but he was won over by the evening shows.  I kept looking at him, to find the biggest grin plastered on his face.  He said "wow!" a lot, too.  
Watch your kids' faces during the parade.  They will look like this:

There wasn't a ride that the kids didn't love.  We got an ap for our iphones that showed the wait times for different rides.  There were so many that we just walked right on.  Asher wasn't a fan of waiting in lines, even when plied with treats, so this really helped keep everyone sane.  
We didn't get any pictures of their expressions on the rides, so we faked it....

Another thing I recommend is turning on the auto focus when asking someone to take a family picture for you....

Because in the next opportunity, your husband may look a bit deranged, spoiling the effect ;)

Let your kids meet some characters.  There's usually a bit of a wait, but it's not too bad if you target some favorites early in the morning.  

I think Mr. enjoyed Princess Jasmin as well....

And of course we had to take the girl to meet Merida.  She was thrilled.  Asher was not as impressed.
There!  Finally, a decent family picture.  I know those sunglasses are driving my FIL batty, though...

It's not just about the kids though.  Mr. and I really enjoyed ourselves, too.  

We were struck by how well everything worked.  The entire park, I mean.  People were just... happy.  I didn't see any major tantrums, no fighting parents, no dirty bathrooms or surly workers.  We even had tasty food (veggie jambalaya in a bread bowl at an amusement park!?).  For us, Disneyland worked.  For anyone with doubts, check this out:

And this picture was NOT followed by hitting, screaming, grabbing, or name calling.  Just by more.... happiness.  

(ok, you can gag a little.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

little man's birthday outfit, pt 2

Ok, sorry I skipped a day guys.  I had a bit of a stomach bug or food poisoning or something similarly awful yesterday, and didn't feel up to computer-ing.  
So today is Asher's official big day.  He's had a nice time so far, I believe.  He played with his new bike and ran wild at the playground for some time this morning while sissy had soccer practice, and then celebrated with pizza and a sundae at California Pizza Kitchen.  He's now sleeping off the sugar high, so I have a chance to hang with you guys.
So, as promised, a brief tutorial on how to make the dapper 'lil man vest.

The nice thing about this vest is the back is made from a t shirt.  That removes about five steps involving hemming, and makes it super comfy and stretchy.  My daughter, in fact, can wear this vest as well.  So, start with a tee that fits well, and turn it inside out, tucking the sleeves into the shirt body, like so:

Line it up against the collar of the white tee shirt's back and trace around.  
 (I shoulda used a darker marker- but you can see it, right?)

Cut out your pattern piece, and mark center bottom and center top:

Lay this on top of your front fabric and trace the shoulders and sides.  Make a v line down the front, and angle the bottom hem down slightly to get the vest shape.  Cut this out, and then flip it, and place it on the linen, tracing again to get the other side of the front of your vest.  

Repeat this with your lining fabric, until you have two sets of mirror-image front pieces:

Iron the tee shirt armhole and hem and then topstitch down.  Knit won't fray so you can leave the edges raw.  I sewed once on the arms and two lines on the hem...

Line your front pieces rights sides facing in, and sew around the edges, leaving a couple inch gap in the future button portion for turning right side out again:

Iron flat, folding in the gap you left for turning.  Topstitch the neck, button panel,  and bottom.  

 Pin, then sew, the sides to the t-shirt back, and then do the same with the shoulders.  If you'd like, you can do a french seam here, but I just did a single straight seam, again leaving the knit edges raw.

Lay the vest flat and mark where you'd like your buttons to go.  You can then either do buttonholes on one side, and buttons on the other, or use snaps or hook-and-eyes and just put faux buttons on the top.  I had just sewn umpteen buttonholes in a jacket, so I went with hook-and-eyes.  

All done!  Pretty easy, no?  Lots of room for variation, as well.  You can make it single-breasted, or a rounded V neck, or cropped, for instance...  

And leave it unbuttoned for the afterparty ;)

Mr. was a sweet boy and got me some pictures of Asher playing during Kenzie's practice this morning.  
Does he look 2 now?
(say no!)

This is his Blue Steel look..  Or Magnum?  What is it when you go left?

This is typical Asher Vaughn.  A crazy monkey boy that makes mommy's heart stop every few minutes.  

On his new balance bike sent to him from his PaPaw.   It's a pretty sweet ride. 

That's all for now.  I may revisit this evening if the blowing-out-the-candles pictures prove too cute to wait....  :) 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Little man's birthday outfit, pt. 1

In two days, my baby turns two.
It's so interesting the perspective that you get as a second-time-around mom.  I remember thinking of my daughter as a big girl at this age.  I expected much more from her than I do from my son.  And she almost aways gave it to me.  But with Ash, I still see him as a baby boy.  I carry him everywhere.  I shadow him and help him and coddle him... because I just can't see him as a big boy.  He's the last of my babies (officially) and I want to keep him little for a long long time.
But I want to dress him like a man ;)

For Asher's first birthday, we went all out.  First birthdays in Hawaii are a big deal, and we knew we only had so many shindigs left to throw with our friends there, anyway, so we really had fun with it.  But this time around, his day will be a "small kine party".  We leave the day after to travel down to Disney, which is his real celebration, and honestly, I haven't really helped score him any little buddies here to invite over to celebrate.  Bad mom.
But we'll do a little somethin' somethin'.  Cake and a fun day at the playground maybe?  Whatever the plans, he'll look good doing it.

This post will be in three parts- or four if you count the obligatory blowing-out-the-candles birthday post.  
Today I'll share how to use turmeric to dye fabric, tomorrow I'll share the vest tutorial, and Saturday I'll add on the bow tutorial.  And the obligatory blowing-out-the-candles post, too, I'm sure. 

Start out with some light colored natural fabric.  I used a cream linen, pictured on the left, and a darker muslin with a fair amount of fabric variation.

Bring a pot of water to almost boil, and stir in a couple spoonfuls of turmeric.  I used two heaping spoons worth, and had a medium sized saucepan.  If you use a big chili pot (which is best if you've got larger fabric pieces) toss in a couple more spoonfuls.  

Stir it all up...

And lower in your fabric.  You want to "agitate" the fabric, stirring and mixing and turning it so that it dyes evenly.  Keep the heat on, but it doesn't need to boil or anything.  Keep it in there, monitoring for uneven spots, for five minutes or so.  

Then rinse it in cold water.  Be careful to avoid splashing on your clothing.  Turmeric...dyes.  

Also be aware that the utility sink in your rental house may not be actually attached to the plumbing.  
Here's the requisite "mess" for this project....

Once it's all rinsed (water runs clear) do another rinse in a cold water and white vinegar.  This will help lock in the color. Let it hang dry. 

What an awesome color, huh!?!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

shirting the issue

Apparently shirts are not my thing.  Dresses and pants work well enough for me- but shirts throw me every time.  
I present two recent examples...

The knit mock sailor shirt. 

I found this awesome sailboat print knit in the clearance bin of the local fabric store.  It's got a kind of nubby texture on the outside, and is slightly brushed on the inside.  It has a lot of one-way stretch.  And it picks apart if you seam rip it with anything less than utmost precision.  All this I found to be terribly unfortunate when sewing.

But it doesn't explain this:

I'm still pretty shocked that I managed to sew the sleeve into the neck hole.  Remarkably, it fit perfectly, too.  

I finally got it together (the right way) and it was brilliant.  Fit was great, it was soft and comfy and oh-so-cute.  I added a thin ribbon trim to give it a mock sailor collar, hoping to pair it with his mock sailor pants, and threw it in the wash.

Grumble grumble.  The shirt shrank, and the ribbon did not.  It got all wavy and wonky and no longer the crisp white piping-like detail I had sewn.  It's ironic, too, as the original trim I had picked out was a small yellow ric-rac.  Mr. vetoed that choice, though, claiming the wavy-ness was too girly.

He's still gonna wear the shirt.  I worked too hard on that darn ribbon trim (I'm terrible at sewing with precision) to give up on it, and the material would fall apart if I tried to use the seam ripper to remove the trim. 

It's not too too bad, right?  

The long-sleeved tunic.

Maybe you can already figure out where this went wrong.  I have a gorgeous piece of linen I purchased recently- bright colors and a bit of a Moroccan print.  It's gorgeous.  I want to turn it into one of those long tunics with the split collar.  Something like this:

I was too scared to cut into my linen without a trial run, so I drafted a pattern and used a thin shirting material I had in my grandmother's stash.  
It was originally so so bad.  The sleeves were so tight I couldn't bend my elbows.  And the shoulders poufed up like a Disney Princess dress on crack.  Kenzie thought it was wonderful.  Mr.  just laughed.

So I cut the sleeves off and tried for a peasant top.  But the material was so white and thin that it just looked like a hospital orderly's shirt. 
Finally, I added a cobalt lining to the neckline, and used a stamp and paint to add the anchors around the neck, and it was wearable.  But nothing like the shirt I set out to make. 

I'm wondering if I should just buy a shirt pattern to learn from.  I hate using patterns- but I hate wasting fabric even more.
And I realllly want that linen tunic!