Monday, February 27, 2012

Sometimes it's hard being 3.

Poor buddy. All because his mean mommy wanted him to wear a coat outside in February. Don't you just want to squeeze him?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Fat Girl Weighs In

It's been a few weeks since I've updated you all on my ongoing weight loss goals. That's not an accident. I sort of stalled out for a few weeks, for one reason only: LAZINESS. 

My motivation went straight down the drain. I'm still doing great in terms of eating a plant-based diet, but I stumbled onto some plant-based dessert recipes (see Chocolate Covered Katie for lots plant-based desserts) and got excited. Excited to try new recipes, excited that I might stumble onto something "healthy" that my hubby might eat, excited that I might be able to sneak some extra plant foods into Quinn's diet (he's thinks there are three food groups - sugar, chicken, and brownies). I got carried away trying new recipes, and then when they tasted good, I went overboard on eating all my "healthy" treats. Well, guess what? Just because the recipes are made with plant-based food doesn't mean they don't have calories in them! Are they better than conventional desserts? Probably. But truly "healthy"?  Doubtful.

Despite this small detour, I've still managed to lose 17.2 pounds since the beginning of the year. That's almost 20% of my weight loss goal, so I know it's not trivial. I also know it's not as much as I COULD have lost if I'd been working hard and tracking my Weight Watchers points like I should. 

I feel back on track this week, and am closely recording and tracking my food. I'm focusing on this:

One year from now, what WILL I wish I had done today? I'm certain I'll wish that I had made healthy food choices. My mother-in-law is a Weight Watchers lifetimer. She's done the plan many times, and is currently ROCKING it. She's down more than 40 pounds and counting. What a huge inspiration - to see the plan working right in front of my face. I mean, I KNOW it works, but to see it happening in front of my eyes is down right inspiring. She's mentioned to me a few times that, several months ago when she wasn't following the plan, I told her than a year from now, she would wish she had started working the plan that day instead of waiting for some other day, and it helped motivate her to go back to the WW plan. It seems I need to take a bit of my own advice (SOMETIMES I know what I'm talking about!), so that's just what I'm trying to do. 

And it doesn't just apply to food choices. A year from now, I'll probably also wish I had spent more hours working on my dissertation. I'm sure I WON'T wish I'd spent more hours reading, facebooking, or watching TiVoed episodes of Private Practice (most depressing show ever). Looking at the big picture, seeing the overarching goal and how my daily actions support (or don't support) those goals is something I'm working on this week.

Lots of you told me you were working on weight loss as a goal this year. How's it going for you? How do you stay focused on the big picture, and not let the nitty gritty of daily life (like that box of vegan cookies taunting me from the counter) get in your way?

Monday, February 20, 2012

The universe hates me, and a little giveaway

Remember how I bragged about how AWESOME Friday was? Well, apparently the universe didn't like my bragging, because this was how I started my day.

I've got a bruised and swollen knee from slamming up against the steering wheel column, and my beloved van "Goldie" is broken.

So, my husband left work to come help me, and on the way to pick me up, the tire in our OTHER van blew out. 


All I had to say is thank goodness for AAA and helpful in-laws. It was an absurd chain of events for sure.

I spent the rest of the day taking care of this sick little buddy.

 Just when I was starting to feel REALLY sorry for myself , two things happened. First, my lovely mother-in-law swept in with a bazillion groceries, did all the dishes in my sink, and offered to come back with dinner. Her thoughtfulness and generosity is endless, and very much appreciated on days like today! Thanks, Gayle!

The second thing was this:

I looked down at my wrist and took note of the CHOOSE JOY bracelets from Ashley of Lil Blue Boo. If you're not familiar with Ashley or her story, start here. And then here. And take some tissues with you because her story and her spirit will move you to tears. 

Noticing those bracelets on my wrist reminded me that, despite my broken car and banged up knee and sick baby, I could still CHOOSE JOY. So, I'm trying to do just that. 

And in the spirit of spreading a little joy, I'm going to give away three of my bracelets. Just leave me a comment on this post, and I'll choose winners Friday night.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A day in the life

Yesterday I had a fantastic mommy & Riley day with my biggest kid. He had the day off school, so we sent the little kids off to preschool and spent the day together. After breakfast, we headed out to paint some pottery. We both made Harry Potter themed plates. This kid is super into Harry Potter right now, so I made the plate in the foreground with Riley's intials (RP) with Gryffindor colors, while he painted a plate about the outcome of a Quidditch match.

(Warning - cell phone pics ahead)

After that, we headed out to Buckeye Bounce Club, which is basically a room full of trampolines. 

They've also got a "cheese pit" - one of those huge foam filled pits. I jumped in, and let me tell you, getting OUT of that pit as an adult damn near impossible. Seriously, took me several minutes to wade my way out of there.

I adore spending one on one time with Riley. He's a totally different kid when he gets one on one attention - the whining and complaining stops, and is replaced with lovely, adult-like conversation. He's such a cool kid. He loves sports and Phineas and Ferb, but prefers NPR and classical music to pop or rock. He's learning both acoustic and electric guitar, but so that he can play classical tunes. His big goal last week - to read 1,000 minutes, which he reached with no problem. It's clear that a few girls in his grade have crushes on him, but he doesn't let that get in the way of his friendships with them. I just adore the young man he's turning in to. I'm so very proud to know him.

When we picked up the littles from "school" (yes, I call child care "school"), Quinn presented me with this family portrait. I especially like that he included "cousin", and "other cousin". Since he has 4 cousins, it's probably good to not be too specific. :) Also, love the rockin' beard Quinn drew on Daddy.

I took the boys out for some Shamrock Shakes from McDonalds. There can't be anything healthy in fluorescent green food.

We went BACK to the pottery place to let Quinn paint an angry bird.

Later, Bryan and I went out on our Valentine's date to our favorite Asian fusion restaurant. I had some delicious vegetarian sushi. Those are peanut avocado rolls - YUM.

You know it's date night when the hubby busts out the John Legend Pandora Station. :)

Ever have one of those days that is just REALLY good from start to finish? Well, yesterday was it. Perfect from sun up to sun down. I'm a lucky mama.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nerd Love Valentine's Shirt

I finished one last Valentine's project - this nerd love shirt for Quinn. I made him step out in the snow (FINALLY! A tiny bit of snow!) to take a few pictures before he was off to preschool this morning.

 I used my Silhouette to cut the text. The numbers on the front spell out LOVE in binary code. We're big time nerds over here. As usual, shoot me an email if you'd like the Silhouette file.

 This kid has more spunk in his pinky finger than I have in my entire body.

He cracks me up with those big blue eyes and those silly faces. 

And, this kid is the only one who will smile and willingly have his photo taken these days. You know what that means? He's only one who gets handmade goodies from now. :) 

I'm kidding.

Sort of. ;)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Turning the Flashback Tee into a Flashback Hoodie

You had to know I was going to put a hood on it eventually, right?

This weekend, I got a little experimental with the Flashback Tee pattern. I added a hood and layered sleeve. It was a pretty easy adjustment, and didn't add much time onto the project.

Basically, I cut two sleeves - one long sleeve and one short sleeve. I cut my short sleeve from a thrifted shirt, so it had existing hems, but if you don't have existing hems, you'll want to hem the short sleeves before attaching them to the shirt. Then, I simply treated the long and shirt sleeves as one unit - I attached them at the same time, and sewed the arm seam as one, just being sure to catch all four layer (each side of the short sleeve and each side of the long sleeve) as I sewed. You could also use this method for adding the layered sleeve.

For the hood, I took the same approach. I drafted and sewed a hood based on the measurement for the neck band. Then, when it was time to attach the neck band to the shirt, I simply added the hood at the same time, all in one seam. You sandwich the neck band between the hood and shirt body, with the right side of the neckband and hood facing the right side of the shirt. Stitch that seam, and VIOLA! Your tee is now a hoodie.

Alternatively, you could skip the neck band all together, and just add a hood. That would work too. Lots of versatility in this pattern!

Rae released the pattern today, so for those of you who've been waiting, it's out!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Stefon Shirt

 Yet another skinny tee. This one I made with some random houndstooth fabric I had lying (laying? Where are the grammar police?) around. You can't tell so much in the pictures, but the material is a super light weight, sort of burn out texture. You can almost see through it.

I'm not quite sure why, but every single time I look at this shirt, it reminds me of Stefon. Yes, THAT Stefon. I know Stefon wears Ed Hardy, but still...

You're welcome for that video. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

I want my MTV.

 I have a problem. I'm addicted to making skinny tees.

But if making 380420394820482348029 skinny tees is wrong, then I don't wanna be right.


 I made this one from a thrifted t-shirt, and added the MTV logo using my Silhouette and some heat transfer material. 

If you use the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern with regular/thrifted t-shirts as your fabric, I suggest going up a size. T-shirts don't have a ton of stretch, and this pattern has a slim cut, so going up a size will ensure that you can get them on and off easily.

Unrelated side note: See that kid up there? Remember when he looked like this?

Sigh. Where did my baby go?!?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Flashback Skinny Tee

I had the pleasure of testing Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee pattern last week. The verdict: Me likey. Me likey A LOT. Like, so much that I made four in two days. This is the first version I made. I'll share the others next week.

I used a green interlock for the body and sleeves, and a purple rib nit for the cuffs and neck. The applique is a scrap of orange french terry.

I just drew the star freehand, cut it out, and stitched it to the front with purple thread.

This is a great pattern. It's well written and easy to follow, like all of Rae's patterns. It's sure to be my new go-to shirt pattern. The Flashback Skinny Tee has everything going for it - it comes together so quickly (like, WELL under an hour - I think I got it down to about 20ish minutes of actual sewing on the last one I made), and I love the style. I serged all of my seams - never even turned my regular machine on - but this pattern can absolutely be sewn with your regular machine.

I might have cleaned our Goodwill out of cool shirts to cut up and use with this pattern (since I'm not buying fabric - old shirts don't count, right? It's recycling!). If you use existing hems from old or thrifted shirts, it comes together even quicker. I love instant gratification.

I think the pattern will be released next week. I highly recommend it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

"You're Super" Valentines

More Lego valentines! These are the same style as the Harry Potter ones I posted earlier this week, but with Superman and Wonder Woman!

We don't want the girls to feel left out, do we? In all honesty, the Wonder Woman minifig is the whole reason I bought this Lego set.  

Just download the images below to your computer, and print them at home or wherever you have photos printed. If you want to add a name to yours, I used the font Bladerunner, and added the text using Google Picasa.

I've seen lots of great boy valentines this year, including this great roundup over at All for the Boys. Char at Crap I've Made has been posting great valentines all week as well. Don't miss her NKOTB one. I died laughing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rawr means "I love you" in dinosaur.

This shirt was inspired by a poster I saw on Etsy that I can no longer locate (it was totally adorable though). I made it with my Silhoette, but you could totally do it as a freezer paper stencil.

Unfortunately, the blue heat transfer doesn't show up as well as I would like it to on the gray shirt. If I were doing it again, I'd choose either a different color shirt or a different color heat transfer. 

Want the Silhouette file? I bought the dino from the Silhouette download store, but I'd be happy to send you my text file. Email me and I'll send it over.

Side note: Several of you have asked recently if I'm a Silhouette affiliate, and the answer is no. My hubby bought mine for me as a gift, and I get no compensation or anything from them.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lego Harry Potter Valentines

I'm sure you've seen the sucker-holding valentines that took the internet by storm for the last three years (find the originals here).  Well, this is the same concept, only with Lego minifigs. We're huge Harry Potter fans around here (there's a Lego Harry Potter birthday party in the planning stages over here), so we went with a Potter theme this year.

You could do this yourself with any minifig or other poseable action figure. Just pose them with their arm outstretched, snap a picture, and add text.

Or you could just use mine.

Free Harry Potter font found here. The Lego backdrop for these is just Lego scrapbooking paper, found at Joann's. I had these printed as 4x6 photos for nine cents a piece.
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