Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Delphine Skirt - Tilly and the Buttons Pattern

As you know, I've been trying my hand at a bit of sewing.  I took a couple of sewing classes at our local fabric store and since then I've been relying on the tutelage of Tilly Walnes, through her fabulous book, "Love at First Stitch - Demystifying Dressmaking".  Here is a link to the book:

The book is a conversational-style guide that leads you through sewing a few different projects.  Tilly introduces the skills you need for each project as you go through the book and she dishes out a few useful hints along the way.  My favourite section so far is "How to Behave in a Fabric Store."  The patterns are included for most of the projects, but, for a couple she instead provides instructions for making your own pattern.  

I have completed my third project from the book and I love it!  It's an a-line skirt called the "Delphine". I made mine from brown corduroy.  I love how the skirt is fitted perfectly to me and I enjoyed making the project, but I can say - without any hesitation - that I hate brown corduroy.  It wrinkles easily and even the slightest weight makes a compression mark on the fabric.  I thought corduroy was a tough, hardy, easy-wear fabric, but this particular cord is finicky and a bit precious.  You can see the wrinkles in the photos below.....those accumulated when I sat down to slide on my shoes!

I am particularly proud of the invisible zipper.  It was my first invisible zipper insertion and also the first time that I sewed a proper waistband with the zipper set in.  It was a challenge but I like how it turned out and I am now confident that I could do it again and again.  The invisible zipper was not particularly difficult - I bought a zipper foot for my sewing machine along with the zipper itself (the zipper foot was less than a dollar) and it was easy to pop right in.  The waistband required some advanced techniques, including using interfacing and "stitching in the ditch" and the book presented simple instructions for each step along with clarifying photos.   My husband said that the waistband and zipper made the skirt look like it came from a store - that's high praise when you are just learning to sew!

My invisible zip set into the waist band.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


It's thanksgiving week here in the U.S.A. and that means major disruptions to everyone's schedules.  Two of my boys have the whole week off and yesterday was our first day of thanksgiving break fun.

Yesterday morning we went to the Houston Police Museum.  Here is a link if you are interested:

The Police museum is downtown, and that's unfamiliar territory for me.  I am uncomfortable driving and parking there so I used "parkopedia" (the best parking website ever!: to check out my options before we left home.  It turns out there are plenty of lots for parking - both outdoor and indoor - so it was just a matter of finding one near our destination that had an available space.  After a couple of tries I found a nice spot.  The friend that we met downtown chose to park at a meter.  I hate parallel parking, but our lot was very tight for backing out - a parallel spot would probably have been much better.  I paid $12.00.  The two cheaper lots that I tried were $10.00 and completely filled.  There was a lot across the street for $18.00 so I felt lucky I didn't pay that.

Enough about parking!

The museum is in the police station and it had a more thorough security check than the airport.  The kids loved it - they seem to enjoy having all of our things searched and going through the x-ray machines.

The museum itself is very small.  The photo on the link above shows the entire space.  It took nearly as long to pass through security as it did to look at the museum!  There are no interactive displays and it's not particularly child-friendly but the kids enjoyed looking at the models and police vehicles, particularly the helicopter.

After the museum we walked over to Discovery Green.  The moms grabbed coffees and then we took the kids to the playground.  I love the Discovery Green playground.  It's big but it's easy to see all of the play areas.  There are different and fun activities for lots of age and ability levels.  I was so excited to bring the boys for a play.

Unfortunately, there was a daycare group consisting mostly of big kids (I'd estimate around 9-10 years old - older than Big Boy in any event) and they were being extremely rowdy.  Their supervisor was far more interested in supervising her smartphone than her charges.  It was absolute chaos and extremely dangerous.  The kids were pushing other kids off the top of the small slide, stacking themselves inside the covered slides to prevent other kids from sliding, jumping on each other on the netted areas, and aggressively fighting with each other.  I told some of them off a couple of times and they always moved when I asked them to...but then they went right back to what they were doing.  We left shortly after we arrived, it was too dangerous and frustrating.  My boys were upset that they didn't get a long playtime.  Shame on the daycare staff.

We had a picnic on the stage area near the water and then the kids ran up and down the "theatre" hill.  Then it was time to head home for naps.

After naps we collected Big Boy from school and made another playground stop.  When we got home my husband was home early from work!  We had a nice evening.  Big Boy finished a school report and the other kids sorted and cleaned up with Daddy.  Then my husband set up Baby Boy's "big boy bed" and he eagerly ditched his crib for good.  He wanted to sleep in the toddler bed so much that he actually pushed me out of the room when I was trying to read a story.  We tucked him in, he cuddled into his blankets and he was out for the night.  He didn't get up once and he adores the bed.  He is growing up way to quickly for me!

While the littler boys spent part of the evening playing with Baby Boy's birthday presents, Big Boy and I made 3D hand pictures.  It's easy and fun....but requires a bit of patience and perseverance.  I think they look great.  Mine is the top one with the pink, and based on my example Big Boy made the bottom one with no assistance.  He should be very proud!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Party Weekend!

This weekend we partied!

On Saturday night we went to a Thanksgiving dinner party at our friend's house.  We had lots of fun.  Now that the kids are a little older, they can all amuse themselves for a while at a party so the parents can relax a bit.

I made an apple crumble to take to the party.  When will I learn that I don't like baked apple desserts?  I don't love apple pie and this was really no better.  We had some lovely vanilla ice cream with it, and that made up for the baked apples.  My husband said it was good.  I also made dad's cookies with chocolate chips.   They were a hit, I think Baby Boy ate about 5.

When we were driving home a dramatic lightening storm lit up the sky.  It was amazing to watch but I'm glad I wasn't driving.  There was water spray coming off all of the tyres onto our windshield.  It was really hard to see.

We got the kids to bed after 10:00 p.m. (basically midnight for kids) and a few hours later Baby Boy woke up my husband...he was throwing up.  Maybe it was all the cookies.  Besides eating a pile of dad's cookies he also had a bunch of Christmas Oreos, mac n' cheese (the gooey rich stuff from Costco), and parma ham rolled with cheese.  I was lucky, he didn't wake me up!

The next morning we got up and prepared our house for Baby Boy's birthday party.  We had 4 families come over at 10:00 a.m.  The kids played with toys, ate lunch, played party games, and had cake.  I'm always surprised that party games are such a hit.  The party was Batman themed and we played a Batman version of "pin the tail on the donkey".  The kids loved it.  They actually kept playing after the game was over.

The party broke up around nap time and we had a pretty easy clean up.  It certainly helped that my husband did most of the cleaning as well as cooking the pizza for the party.

After the party Baby Boy opened his gifts.  I am so embarrassed...I have been chronically under-gifting. Baby Boy received spectacular (and expensive) gifts.  One thoughtful guest actually wrapped a whole bag of unlabelled packages for the boys to share.  She must have known Little Boy would be jealous of Baby Boy!  I definitely need to raise my game in the gifting department.

Friday, November 21, 2014


This week we celebrated Baby Boy's second birthday.   Little Boy felt nothing but jealousy.  He was jealous of the birthday banner I put up and green with envy over the presents and special attention.  He cried virtually all day....he didn't even want to go to school.  I am so thankful for his amazing teacher - she did a special project with him and they made a birthday card with stickers for Baby Boy.

We gave Baby Boy three gifts and two of them are toys that all of the boys will play with.  Little Boy recognized this, but he was still sick with jealousy.  He didn't even finish his slice of birthday cake.  

We had this problem with Big Boy when he was younger as well.  I'm not sure what the solution is.  I can see that they grow out of it, but it is heartbreaking to watch Little Boy feeling so unhappy but also acting so unreasonably.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Baby Boy is obsessed with Batman.   He loves everything to do with Batman - comics, pictures, toys, books, and clothes.   He even insisted on saving the tag on the Batman shirt I got him for his birthday.  

I find this obsession troubling.  Batman is a very dark character with a troubled past and violent backstory.  It's entirely inappropriate for kids - especially as young as Baby Boy.   Even Big Boy just learned what "orphan" meant when he was reading Harry Potter. 

Baby Boy, of course, doesn't understand any of this.  He thinks Batman is a hero and he likes is voice, cape, and mask.  The tiny snippets he's seen of Batman on T.V. were all age-appropriate and they scared him anyway.  

I don't think this Batman obsession is doing Baby Boy any harm, but I am surprised that manufacturers of children's products are marketing such a dark character to small children.   But I suppose they will produce whatever sells.  

Second Date Update

Here in Houston I have a new guilty pleasure in the mornings.  If I have the radio on, I love listening to "Second Date Update."  Second Date Update is a feature on 93Q, a local country radio station.  On the show they have a caller who had a first date but was rejected when proposing a second date (or ignored completely).  The show calls up the person that they dated to talk about why the second date was denied.  The person explains what the issue was and then the radio hosts try to fix the issues and offer the couple an all-expense-paid second date.

This bit can be funny, interesting, and sometimes just downright sad.  But I love listening no matter what....I think it's compelling in the same way that reality television is - you get a peek into someone else's life for your own entertainment.  Maybe I'm a bit pathetic but I do find it entertaining.

If you want to give it a listen, here is a link:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!!!

Baby Boy turns 2 today!  I can't believe how time has flown.  He is such a little man....he follows his big brothers everywhere and there isn't much that he can't do (or at least try....).

To celebrate his birthday I decided to do things that he enjoys (what a concept!).  So, we started off the day by having a treat - he picked a donut.  Then we visited the big, new playground at the mall and met a friend, one of his favourite people.  

Once he was all played out, we wandered over to the food court, where he picked his favourite lunch - teriyaki shrimp with noodles and dumplings.  He shovelled in a few mouthfuls of shrimp and broccoli and then we went on the carousel.  I bought a token, but when the lady operating the carousel saw that it was his birthday (he wore a birthday shirt today), she gave it get a free ride on your birthday!  He loves the carousel in theory but he is a bit hesitant in person.  We had a nice ride, but he really started to enjoy it at the end.

He finished his lunch and then we went on the carousel again for a birthday treat.  He had a blast on the second ride.

We picked up Big Boy early from school and Baby Boy is napping now.  We are planning a small celebration for him this evening...he loves Batman so I tried my hand at a "batcake."  What do you think of it?   (I hate to be horrible, but the crumbs in the icing are not my fault.  Big Boy helped me ice the cake and he had a few crumb issues.  Instead of stomping on his confidence I decided to leave it and pretend it's all good.  Unfortunately I'm obsessed with detail and it drives me nuts!)