6.28.2013

Captain America Pants

I really like the Fourth of July. I love sparklers, fireworks, parades, red, white and blue--ya know.  The whole sha-bang. I realize it's just an American holiday so I apologize if you read this and it just seems like yet another American tooting their horn. We can still be friends even if we don't celebrate the same holidays right? Right.

Moving on.

So I also really like Captain America.  I like the way he's portrayed in the Avenger movies.  Just an all around good, honest guy, ya know?  His personalty sort of reminds me of my Superman....without a shield.

I made these Captain America Shorts for Ezra a while back and he loves them with a capital heart.
I used an existing pair of shorts to draft a pattern of sorts and I used a sporty-ish {look at me making up words} knit and a double needle to try to get a more professional look.
The freezer paper stenciling {original idea from here at I am Momma Hear Me Roar} was not the easiest, but I was very happy with the results. Ezra really does love wearing them {which totally makes it a worthwhile project in my book.}
The difficulty is really just that you have to stencil over one of the circles that you already painted.  Let me 'splain. You basically just have to cut out a few different circles {I eventually changed the star for obvious reasons}.
 I cut the outlines for the red circles first
then let them dry and set completely. {I know. The weirdest residue that came off of the freezer paper. Odd?  I've never had it happen before or since, but it came right off when I washed it, I promise.}
Next do the white circle and star.   Let it dry, iron it, and you're set.
So now we have another pair of shorts for this little guy to enjoy for the summer.
 Happy Independence Day next week!  {or happy summer, if you don't celebrate the Fourth of July}

6.27.2013

On love and why we all need some. {free printable}

I was having one of those days last week. It's funny how motherhood creates such a roller coaster of emotions. I have three kids aged three and under. I love them so much. I genuinely enjoy being a mom. It's a dream come true for me. And it's full of little moments that are perfect.  I just want to save up those moments and remember them always. But some moments {moments that seem to turn into days} are really tough. It could be something small or something huge that will set the kids off.  Whether it's Lila bawling because Ezra won't share his trains or Madelyn fussing because she needs to eat pronto, things just start piling up. I start feeling like everyone has so many needs that I'm supposed to be meeting. And all I'm askin' for is take a shower without interruption!  But it's in those chaotic times where things get really hectic that I'm forced to be humble, slow down, take a deep breath, and say a prayer. And that's when I remember that God can teach me how to be the kind of mom that I need to be.

Being a parent is hard.  I never thought that I could love doing something that was this difficult, but I do. I love the challenge that comes from being a parent and how it helps me evolve and come out stronger.  But that love doesn't decrease the difficulty.

The kids have struggled with some bickering lately. Actually it's probably just kids being kids.  It's totally normal for kids to be a touch selfish with their toys, right? I'm sure lots of toddlers hit every once in a while. I think my kids are very normal. But fighting between my kids is one of those things that discourages me most as a mom. I know my kids aren't always going to be best friends, but I want them to practice being kind here at home. I want them to remember that we're on the same team and that we have to work together. I want them to know and recognize that good feeling that comes from acting in kindness and love.
So I was thinking about all of this on that particularly difficult day; wondering what I could do to help the kids stop fighting and then good old Ingrid Michaelson's "Everybody" played on the computer and I just kept hearing, "Everybody wants to be loved."  And suddenly I realized, it starts with me.  When I show my kids love, they show others love.  Where else will they learn to love if not from me?  Then I had one of those moments where I realized how snippy and cranky I had been with the kids {and with Superman for that matter}.  When I'm sleep deprived, I struggle keeping my emotions in check and since I get an average of like zero hours of sleep per night, I was being cranky a lot more than I wanted to be. How embarrassing!
The truth is that I can always come up with an excuse for me to be cranky.  Their's always a reason why life is tough or why my day didn't go perfectly, but what am I teaching my kids if I always blame my mood on something or someone else?
I decided that for this summer, I'm going to work really hard on showing my family more love. That kind of love and kindness that I like to receive--that I want to see them showing to each other and to me and Superman. I made a little reminder for myself.....actually I made three.  Because I couldn't decide which one I liked best.  And I thought I'd share because maybe you could use a reminder too?


6.25.2013

Summer fun for young kids {Free Printable}

If you're like me and have young kids, you know that they get excited over the tiniest things.  Like I can hand three-year-old Lila a piece of bubble gum and you'd think that it was gold.  She thinks it is awesome.  And my kids get even more excited if we get to go somewhere.  A trip to the grocery store?  Yes, please Mom.  :) {It's really easy to please kids when you've set the bar pretty low--am I right?}  But the trouble with me is I like to be in my home.  I could happily stay inside, like, pretty much always.  And now you know: I am a hermit.  Sad but true.  And my poor babies get pretty stir crazy.

So in an effort to be a better Mom, I sat down with Lila and Ezra and had them list some activities they wanted to do this summer.  I came up with some of the ideas, Lila came up with others, and Ezra nodded in agreement and sort of babbled in his two-year-old boy lingo.  I had to set some limits since Madelyn is just 8 months and Ezra still takes afternoon naps, so I picked ten fun toddler-ish things for us to do this summer and I thought I'd share. 

These activities are geared towards things that I know my kids will enjoy that also cost little to no money.  {yay!} I plan to do one or two per week.  I'm sure we'll do some of these things more than once this summer, but with a list, I'll know that we'll do them at least once.
You might notice that some of the activities are specified to where I live. If you'd like to change things up and make a list of your own, feel free.
Now our list hangs on the fridge and my minions are getting pretty excited.  Nothing like a fridge list to get me out of the house.
Hope your summer is happy!

6.18.2013

Peek-a-Boo Patterns: Skinny Jeans

Look.  I know it's not the season for pants.  I get it.  It's summer.  I'm no dumb dumb.  I just wanted to post this before I grow old. 
I made these pants a few months ago and it was one of the first patterns I've sewn with for a long time.  {Ya, my son rocks crocs.  They're the only shoes he keeps on.}
The directions were clear and I liked how they fit Ezra.  I made it in a 3T size {he's almost 2 1/2 ish} because I wanted him to grow into them for the fall. But as a result they look a little baggy on him {he isn't super tall}.  I'd like to shorten them a bit and make them into some shorts for the summer.  
So even though looking at this picture makes me feel warm, I like the pants and I'll definitely be using the pattern again.  {I especially love that it's for boys or girls and that the pattern goes up to size 10.  I'm almost embarrassingly all about getting the biggest bang for your buck around here.}
Sometimes I wonder if I think Ezra is so handsome because I'm his mom.  But really, I can't help it, I think he's so blasted cute!
But I'll stop gushing.  Have a happy day!

6.17.2013

Easy Mustache Beanie

Remember that couple that I mentioned a few weeks ago?  They had their little baby boy and I'm so happy for them.  It's always so exciting when a new baby comes into the world.  One serious miracle.  Here's the little beanie I made for them. {I didn't sew the actual beanie, by the way}
It was the exact same process as last time.  Print image, trace it onto freezer paper, cut, iron, paint,
let dry, peel off, and iron.  
Easy as that. 
Goes well with a cool little man onesie.
Happy Monday!

6.16.2013

Some thoughts on Dads

I'm sure it's no secret that I'm a big fan of my husband.  I mean, the entire basis of my blog revolves around him and the fact that he's Superman for crying out loud. 

So obviously, I didn't really marry Superman.  At least not the guy who walks around in spandex and wears a red cape. {Although we're getting pretty excited to watch the new Superman movie sometime soon.} 

Anyway.....my husband is my superman.  He's a hard working, smart, normal guy and I love him to pieces.  He is also a wonderful Dad.  Which is a huge reason I'm posting this today, on Father's Day.  
You see, I'm not one to throw my opinion out there for all to see unless it's important to me.  But Dads and what they stand for are hugely important to me.  Because I think Dads get put down in our society today.  I think they're often portrayed in movies and sitcoms as dumb men who act like animals and just care about drinking beer, watching TV, and hot women. I truly can't think of one man that I know who is really like that.  Just like it's easy to stereo-type a woman as an over-emotional, shopaholic, who loves to gossip, men can easily be stereotyped as shallow, unhelpful pigs who must have their wives make any or all life decisions for them.  But is that who they really are?  No. They are intelligent human beings who think for themselves.  If husbands are nice to their wives or if they're good fathers, it doesn't mean that they've been "whipped" and that their wife is in control.  It probably just means that they are considerate, kind men who need to be valued as such.  
When I'm at the store, I often see a sweet Dad who is helping his wife get through the line.  I see thoughtful men who let their kids ride on their shoulders and who quietly help out asking for little in return.  Their are so many good men and fathers out there who work hard to provide for their families.  This is the kind of man I married.  He's the kind of man I want my son to be like.  
I get tired of hearing some women talk about their husbands like they don't have a clue.  Talking about men like they are carnal animals who are thoughtless--almost excusing inappropriate behavior  simply because they are male.  It's wrong.  Men can be held to a high standard because most men are good men who need to be respected.  Men are as valuable as women, they're just different.  Equal, but different.
Now don't get me wrong, I realize that their are jerks out there.  I know that some men and fathers can be hurtful, unkind, and abusive.  I also know that women work very hard too.  I'm not trying to diminish that fact.  It's just that sometimes, I just wanna cut dads some slack, ya know?  
I know I've thrown out some opinions here and I hope it doesn't offend anyone.  I also hope it doesn't come across like I have this perfect life with a rockin' husband who never makes mistakes.  My husband is not perfect, but neither am I.  Together, we work together to make things work.  I've simply been amazed over the last five years that I've been married at how depreciated so many husbands and fathers are.  Sometimes I've been tempted to do the same thing to my husband and then I try to remember all the things that my sweet husband patiently does to support me.  I try to value my husband for being who he is.  Because the world needs men like him.  The world needs fathers who are committed, who have integrity, who work hard and teach their children how to love and respect others.  And the only way we'll have men like this is if we respect and value the ones we have.  

So Happy Father's Day!  I hope that we all appreciate the many great men in our lives.  

And now I'm off my soapbox.  :)  All done.  Sorry.  Thanks for reading!

6.13.2013

Take Me Out to the Ballgame Skirt

I actually made this skirt last year and it still gets a lot of love.  I started out making a dress {much like this one} but then I got lazy.  We started with Superman's old white dress shirt.  I kept the existing hem, sewed elastic into a casing, and switched out the buttons. Then we put a little paint on and it became the:
A white skirt is fun because it's a blank canvas.  I used a toilet paper role and fabric paint to make a design.  I actually let Lila help at this point.  I wanted it to look a little messy and that just happens to be my three year old forte and she likes to be able to "help" me with projects.  
The little circles reminded me of baseballs, so we headed to the field one morning and snapped a few quick pics.  
Lila looks so little to me back then!  It's weird to think how much they grow.  
When I look back at these pictures, it reminds me of where I was then.  We were on the threshold of some big changes {we were just getting ready to move and I was extra large pregnant}.  I'm glad I took these pictures when I had the chance too since they ripped this baseball field up.
 So there you go.  Another easy way to spruce up one of Superman's old shirts.  Thanks for reading!

6.12.2013

T-shirt Shorts

I got this idea from I am Momma Hear Me Roar {who I'll really miss for the next few months since Cheri's taking the summer off from blogging.  Not that anyone can blame her.  She just had a new baby after all.}  Anyway, I love the idea of getting some use out of Dad's old t-shirts and making them into comfy shorts.
Ezra really loves these.
Hard to believe?
Wait. Ok. That's more like it.  {This boy is so blasted moody sometimes.} 
These shorts really are perfect for a little toddler boy on the go.  With shoes.
Or without.  I just used a pair of shorts that he had as a pattern.
Seriously, he wears these all the time.  Which means he isn't running around in just a diaper.  Which makes me a happy Mom.
Win. Win. Win.  Have a great day!

6.11.2013

Dad's Shirt ---> Daughter's Dress

I don't know if there is a person in the sewing world who hasn't seen or been inspired by something on Dana's blog.  {Isn't it funny how when we read someone else's blog and we address them by their first name as if we know them? :)}  Sometimes I really wonder if Dana is human.  She has some amazing sewing abilities and seems to be such a rockin' Mom.  I dunno how she does it, but I'm sure glad she does--it's inspiring!  When I first came across her blog, I sewed tons of these little shirt dresses.  It's fun and relatively easy.  I made this one last year and now it fits.
I'll be honest.  I didn't love it.  Mostly, I didn't love the material on Lila.  And I messed up in so many places.  It's just a little sloppy. I didn't want to do a waist band or buttons, so I sewed a ruffle down the front and it's a little crazy town.  
But guess what?  It's made out of Superman's shirt, which means that Lila loves it. Typical. This girl is so like her Superman dad in personality, it's disturbing.  But maybe that's what makes me love her so much.  :)
I tried putting a cardigan over it and I liked it more.  Listen to me sounding so shallow and negative about a silly dress?!  My goodness.  I don't mean to sound so picky.  It's just if I'm going to actually take time to make something for my kids, I want to really like it. But either way, it doesn't matter and if Lila's happy, I'm happy.
 Again, Dana's tutorial is here if you wanna give it a try!
Have a happy day!
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