Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good parenting

This morning I reached a point where I just couldn't take my kids' incessant fussing any more. But, instead of exploding or even yelling, I managed to hold it together until lunch, then calmly and lovingly force them to take naps (Olivia was surprisingly, and most gratefully, receptive). Then I took a nice, childless shower.

I feel good, my kids are happy (and asleep), and I'm proud of myself. Gold star! (JM, that's for you.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Half right

The other day Olivia asked, "Is Carmen sweetly scented?"

Heh. I should say not.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Part of our morning ritual is spraying and combing out Olivia's bedhead. Lately Carmen, a typical little sister, has wanted me to do the same thing with her tangle-less baby hair. This morning I had squirted and combed and was giving Carmen drinks of water out of the squirt bottle (another favorite) when Olivia observed (or advised?), "You don't comb Carmen's mouth too."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nerds in training

Good job, girls. You're still too physically attractive and we'll need to work on the social awkwardness, but that will come, I'm sure.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Watching the kid

Remember my couple crush?

Well, they've since become a venn diagram, and today they posted this:

Is it any wonder I love these people?

(And yes, I am aware that he looks kind of like Steven. They even went to the same high school, where they oddly did not know each other. I guess that's why we're friends.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hungry Caterpillar Tutorial

Probably my biggest recent project was Olivia's 3rd birthday party! The theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and I got massively geeked out about it. I made cute invitations, my SIL made an AMAZING birthday cake, and we ate all the foods the caterpillar ate through (although, plums not being in season, the kids got prunes. It was not the most popular item on the table).

Anyway, Steven is a much better blogger than I am, and you can read and see more about the party here. (You're even welcome to comment - I promise that Steven is much nicer than me). However, one thing you WON'T get on his blog is a tutorial on how to make the central point of the party: my Very Hungry Caterpillar party favors!

These were totally my favorite part of the party - I dreamed them up one night and was just giddy about giving them out.


Sewing machine and thread (I used green)
Paper to make patterns
Glue gun
3 colors of knit (old t-shirts work great!) - 6" x 9" each. (I tried it first with cotton. Knit is MUCH better.)
cotton fabric for butterfly wings - about 6" x 9"
2 pieces grosgrain ribbon, each about 3" and beveled at the ends
4 eyes (I used google eyes, you can use buttons or even draw them on)

Step 1: Wings

Fold your paper in half to cut out a pair of butterfly wings that are about 6" wide and 4" tall - you can see how mine look. (I was going to upload it for you to print, but figured if you can't make your own paper butterfly wings, sewing them is totally out.)

Then fold your cotton in half with right sides facing, and trace your pattern onto one wrong side.

Sew right on the line all around the wings.

Make sure that you have a big enough corner, so when you trim the seam and turn it out the fabric won't unravel.

Trim about a 1/8" seam all around, making sure to clip all the way in to the corners (as shown).

Then, pulling the fabric away from each other on the inside, make a vertical cut in one side of the wings, big enough so you can turn them outside out.

Then turn it right side out.

Now set the wings aside for the moment.

Step 2: The body

Layer your knits like so:
Caterpillar fabric: right side up
Butterfly fabric: WRONG side up
Cocoon fabric: right side up

Line them up, then sew them all together across one long end.

(Note - when I made a bunch of caterpillars, I just sewed long 6" high strips of these, then cut them into 9" lengths afterward.)

Next, separate the butterfly layer from the rest, and use your marker to put a line 1/4 of the way in (in the middle of what will be one side of the body).

Now pin your wings there with the cut side down...

And sew them on, then trim your strings.

Now take the ribbon and pin it on in an X right above the center of your wings. Fold them up and pin them shut as well (so they won't accidentally get sewn into the body). Then bring up the green layer again so it's behind the butterfly body layer.

Fold all layers in half (your wings are inside). Pay no attention to the gnarled looking toes. (I've heard it's a Danish thing.)

Now, on the folded side, start at the base of the green (where your long seam is) and sew a 1/4" seam all the way up the side...

Curving around the top, stitching over the antennae...(Note: if you're not confident with your curving skills, make a rounded body pattern out of paper and trace it onto the knit, then sew over it, just like with the wings.)

And then all the way down the side, so it looks like this.

Trim your seam to about 1/8", being careful not to cut the antennae.

Now, starting from the open end of the cocoon, turn the whole thing butterfly side out, being careful not to stab yourself on the pins. Then take them out of the antennae...

And the wings...

And unfold the wings!

Use the glue gun to put eyes on the front of the caterpillar and the butterfly, and you're done! (I didn't put on a mouth because the kids can kind of make one with their fingers and the caterpillar eats things.)

So, here's the caterpillar (with the cocoon tucked inside)...

You take out the cocoon and wrap it around the body...

Then turn it inside out, and it's a butterfly!

Hooray! Let me know if you have any questions.