DIY: Big Sister Bag

Our niece is becoming a big sister around Thanksgiving. While my kids were visiting with grandparents over fall break, I had time to sit at my desk with my craft supplies and get lost. It was amazing. I decided to make something that would use up some of my supplies and be a useful gift for our niece. A bag to take to the hospital to visit her new little brother, for her activities and snacks.

I used a bag that I had in my craft stash and made a freezer paper stencil of "Big Sister". I love freezer paper stencils. The font is Century Gothic in 220 size. Simple but still cute. The flowers are the same clip art I used for my little lady's mended pants (some sized smaller) and backed with fusible interfacing to make appliqué so much easier.

After tracing the "Big Sister" letters onto freezer paper, I slowly cut out the letters while listening to a podcast, saving the insides of the B and G. I accidentally cut the inside of the E in "sister" so I free-handed it with my Pilot FriXion pen. Love those things! 

After I traced and cut out the freezer paper stencil, I carefully ironed it onto the bag, making sure the letters were firmly adhered for painting. I ironed on the flowers at the same time. 

I used some Tulip Soft Fabric Paint- Pearl that I had on hand, in Scarlet, to paint the letters. I peeled the stencil away almost immediately because I wanted to see how it looked. Squee! It looked so cute.

I actually followed the directions on the back of the paint bottle and let it dry for four hours before handling it. I did a backstitch around each flower and attached a button to the center of each one with embroidery floss.

I hope our niece loves her bag, and I can't wait to love on her little brother later this fall. 

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Finding Nemo Birthday Party - Preparations

We're getting ready for our little man's 3rd birthday this weekend. 3. How did that happen so quickly?

He finally settled on Finding Nemo for a theme after saying everything from Lego to Wreck-It-Ralph.  Now he just says, "My birthday is coming soon." I'm glad he went with something fairly easy and colorful. Planning the kids' parties is one of the most fun parts of motherhood for me. I like doing their parties and I like doing them big.

Here's what I'm thinking.

We already had the netting from a Little Mermaid party a few years ago. And I have an ever-growing collection of crepe paper and balloons. Yay for party supplies! I found the stickers to hand out as favors on clearance at Meijer last week-- 50 cents each. Useful and cheap.

Before my favorite party store closed last year, I went there and scooped up lots of clearance napkins and invitations, including the Nemo napkins above and the invitations I used this year. I found the scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby today and plan on making a banner with our little man's name. And the balloons and book were purchased from Amazon. We'll use the book as a guest book, asking the attendees to write a message to the birthday boy.

My husband will make the cake, and he found a (discontinued) fish pan on eBay. They were asking $25, he offered $12 and they accepted.

Now to keep the house clean and finalize the menu and decorations. Stay tuned for a picture-laden post of the party.

(*This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)


DIY: Mending Holes in Knees

Our little lady has a problem with scooting around on her knees. Yes, she's 5 but that kid loves to walk around on her knees, crawl around during play, slide into an imaginary home plate for unknown reasons. So her pants all get holes in the knees.

She loves two particular pairs of pajama pants and didn't want to get rid of them when she got holes in the knees, so she asked me to fix them. You know, with my mama magic... My plan was to cut them off into bermuda length shorts. She didn't care for that idea one bit. So I took it as a personal challenge to figure out how to repair them myself, with minimal frustration.

I found this tutorial for reverse appliqué and I am amazed with the results. The first pair of pants I used a flower clip art shape that I found online and printed it large enough to cover the hole. The second pair (not photographed) is a pair of polka dot pants so I did a simple circle in a rose fabric scrap that I had. #makeitwork (One thing I miss about being cable-free-- Project Runway.)

This kid. How is it always her right knee?

Yep, that flower will cover the spot.

So I traced it using my handy Pilot FriXion pen-- which faded away when I ironed on the fabric backed with fusible interfacing.

See the tutorial linked above. And pin the heck out of it. Amazingly handy.

2 hours later. Seriously. This took a ridiculous amount of time. The circle was much faster-- not as many curves and I had the hang of back stitch by then. I do enjoy hand work though.

I've washed them a few times and it's held up well. Most importantly, she still has her comfy pajama pants and we fixed something instead of just throwing it away.


Don't Take It Personally

"I want to tell you something." My husband says, followed by a really long pause.

Wow, this could be anything, my mind says. An unbearably long pause after a phrase like that is bad for a natural pessimist. Illness. Job problems. Marriage issues. Money problems. Cancer, it's always cancer in my mind.

But thankfully it isn't.

"Don't take it personally when the kids make demands you can't meet." He continues. "I watched you go from excited to pick up the kids after they spent four nights with grandparents to deflated and completely defeated within ten minutes of getting them in the car. It's not fair to you. They're kids and they're demanding. It's not an indictment on your ability as a mother."

He knows me too well. Good talk, husband. Good man.

I do quickly feel defeated when I don't anticipate every need, when I feel woefully inadequate compared to other mothers, to other wives, to other women-- in real life and otherwise. I set impossible standards and then when I fail to meet them, I let everything slide. I stamp it with a big, "What's the point?" and try to act like it doesn't bother me as much as it does. I'm fooling no one.

My house is a wreck right now. Why? Mostly because it doesn't look the way I want it to, even when it is moderately clean. And cleaning a house filled with kids' toys and art work and my own hoarded craft supplies and projects and books mostly feels Sisyphean, even on the best of days.

So where do I go from here? I'm not really sure. I've never done this before. Just like what I said to myself on those unbearably long, mostly sleepless nights when our little lady was a screaming, angry baby. And on those nights when she peacefully fell asleep in my arms and it was me and her and some lullabies in a creaky rocking chair. "This moment will only happen once." Good or bad, I only get this day, this moment with these souls that are my family ONE TIME.

You become a mother and the job changes almost daily, until when, forever? These little kids of mine keep growing and changing and, luckily, I get to grow and change along with them.