Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Pumpkin Picking

Over the past six years we haven't created much of a tradition about where we buy pumpkins- we have picked them up at the grocery store, farm stands on the way home from Granddad's, pumpkin patches- all over the place, but we do have a tradition of buying pumpkins. 

Pumpkins are one of the more labor intensive traditions I have forced on my family- mostly labor intensive for me because I do 90% of the pumpkin carving and gutting (except Cordelia actually carved her own this year!). However, I really love the non permanent art that is pumpkin carving, and I find pumpkins just as fun to carve as it is to watch the squirrels eat them.  

This year my sister Shauna took the girls and I out to Larriland Farm to pick our pumpkins, and while we were there we picked apples and broccoli. 

Of course I took this opportunity to dress the girls in the matching shirts my mom gave them! 

Adeline enjoyed crawling in the dirt, putting everything in her mouth, and being dubious about the pumpkin cart.

Cordelia enjoyed picking everyone else's pumpkins, huffing,  

squishing her sister, 

and playing with the slugs. She has always really enjoyed slugs. 

Adeline was perplexed by the fact that we wanted her to take the apples off the trees when she could just as easily pick the apples up off the ground (this is a tree apple not a rotten ground apple, for the record).

Cordelia is concerned that there will be more pictures of Adeline than there are of her- so she really likes to jump in Adeline's pictures. 

By the end of our trip both girls were perplexed that we didn't just pick apples out of these buckets! Fruit and veggie picking is hard work! 

Does your family have a pumpkin picking tradition? If you are curious about how we carved our pumpkins (this year and in years past) check out the hashtag #tocknellpumpkins on instagram. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Going Batty

Throughout Cordelia's life it has become apparent that I believe all children should wear clothing with animal ears on them- I honestly think it is the cutest thing ever. I was particularity excited when Hayley of Mouse House Creations released a sneak peak of her latest pattern- The Dress Up Hoodie, and put out a tester call.

I knew that even if I didn't get accepted to test this was a pattern I needed to have because there were soo many options! And I absolutely love giving novelty hoodies to kids for birthday gifts.  

The Dress Up Hoodie comes in sizes 6 months to 12 years and gives you the options of making a plain raglan hoodie, or making a dinosaur, horse, unicorn, bunny, cat, mouse, shark, bat, owl, or a butterfly. You can also mix and match any of the pieces to create whatever animal your imagination comes up with. 

I made Cordelia a size 7 bat. The pattern goes together in a very straight forward way, the instructions make sense and all of the pieces fit together well. The fit of the base hoodie is really great too, it's the perfect length for Cordelia, and the hood is nice and large. However, if I were to make this hoodie out of a bulkier fabric I might grade out the forearms a bit more so she could still fit layers underneath. That said, they are the perfect size in this material- which is actually a cut up unisex sweatshirt (size xl, and the pink is a second sweatshirt).

This pattern gives you the base of every animal, but it is up to you to embellish it the way you want. For example, the butterfly markings are for you to put your mark on, and fabrics are suggested for the animal accessories, but there is a lot of leeway for personal interpretation- for the horse mane you could use fake fur, or yarn, or cut fleece. If you aren't sure what materials you want to use, take a look at all the tester photos- it was fun and inspiring to see all the different combinations. I think the pattern is written well for this and I think it really lets your creativity run wild, which I love. 

 I differed from the regular wing construction by lining my wings (so you could get the flash of pink) and I used the split back piece so the wings were attached in the center. I also choose to add pink stitching to mimic the bone structure in a bat's wing. 

I used the same pink stitching on the arms, hood, and pocket. 

The inside of her ears I used the inside of the sweatshirt fabric so they would be fuzzy, and I used very stiff interfacing to help them stand up well. 

Cordelia is so dramatic she was all about this project- and when she wore it to school I was so happy I made a black animal because it didn't show as much dirt as all of her pink and blue sweatshirts! 

This was a fun make, and a good pattern- and I even have three more cut out on my desk now that Halloween sewing is done! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween

Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday- and for me, Halloween with kids is the best. I'm not big on parties, or drinking, so I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself on Halloween before we had Cordelia. I was always dressed up with no where to go. 

Now it's almost like we have too many places to go! This year we attended: a new friend's Halloween party, trunk or treat at church, a Girl Scouts Haunted house, The school Halloween party, and we will be trick or treating tonight! And I'm not complaining, I absolutely love it- and it forced me to finish the girl's Halloween Costumes early! 

This is Adeline's first Halloween and Cordelia and I agreed that coordinating sister costumes were a must- so Cordelia is a lion tamer, and Adeline is her lion! 

One of the nice mom's at the bus stop suggested that perhaps it should have worked the other way around- Cordelia should have been the lion, and Adeline the tamer since Adeline is so much more mellow than Cordelia! I had to laugh, because that's the total truth from someone who hasn't even known them very long. 

Adeline's hood was lovingly made by my sister Shauna, and I went simple and just dressed her in "lion" colored clothing she already had.  

It was Shauna's idea to add a tail- and I think it adds to the cuteness! 

It does however confuse Cordelia when people ask about our baby boy...but then again, boy lions have manes- not girl lions! But girl lions in baby costume form kind of just look like cats, so I'm ok with the gender confusion. 

My feisty Cordelia asked to wear eyeliner, and I think I should have said no- she looks too grown up!

Cordelia's jacket is actually the pirate jacket Shauna made our nephew about 15 years ago when he wanted to be a pirate for Halloween! I added the gold trim and epaulettes to make it look more showy like a circus performer. I also made her red dress, which is her favorite part of the costume! Her hat is from Michael's Arts & Crafts, and her socks are from Target.  

I had big plans for Mime and Magician (or maybe even a strong man or clown) costumes for us parents- but I was working on a pattern test, and some commissions, and honestly I decided I'd rather sleep! And I'm ok with that! I think Halloween stressed me out less this year, I've been able to enjoy the season more, and I really love that.  I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sitting in the grass

I have two favorite seasons, spring and fall. I prefer light layers to shorts and tank tops, or winter coats and scarfs. August, not a month I normally love, was particularly kind to us this year and had some wonderful cool days. 

The cool weather, and the light breeze, made for picturesque afternoons sitting in the yard- and learning that Adeline likes to eat grass (if you let her) 

I love being the mother of a baby. Their complaints are easy to resolve, and there is magic in watching them discover the world around them. 

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't love being Cordelia's mom, its just so much harder- I often feel like I am failing by the end of each day. Every day Cordelia's concerns seem to get more complex, more grown up.

If only the concerns of children stayed simple, if only we could always be content playing in the grass. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The First Day of First Grade

It is safe to say that Cordelia was more scared to start first grade than she was to start Kindergarten. Kindergarten she was thrilled for and annoyed that we hadn't left her side yet when we walked her to her classroom. 

However, leading up to the first day of first grade were days of tears, indecision about what to wear, and a couple instances of flat out refusal to go at all. Nothing could convince her that her new school wouldn't be terrible. 

To top it all off this would also be her first time riding a bus to school. I desperately told Brendon I needed him to go into work late just in case she refused to get on the bus. 

Brendon had the wonderful idea to make her a bravery necklace- so she could hold onto it whenever she was feeling unsure at school. When it came time to hop on the bus she gave my hand one last squeeze, charged forward, and didn't look back. 

I felt kind of lost all day as I wondered how she was doing. But at the end of the day she skipped down the bus stairs, yanked off her necklace, and said "Mama I don't need this anymore". 

And every day of first grade has gone that amazingly. Thank goodness. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A once in a lifetime event

One of the things that used to frustrate me about blogging was the delay- It seemed that all of these wonderful mommy bloggers had their posts up the day something happened! However, I think I have come to terms with the fact that as long as my pictures and stories make it to the blog eventually, I'm ok with it. This blog post I actually almost had finished and my computer restarted and deleted it! So to start again- This picture above, is not a cool filter, it is, in fact, the humidity of the south. 

As you might have heard, the United States had the opportunity to witness a once in a lifetime event- a total solar eclipse, with the path of totality stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Originally I figured we wouldn't make a big deal out of it we thought about it because my best friend lives a long the path of totality, but I honestly couldn't fathom what witnessing an eclipse would be like (having never seen one before) and I didn't see much of a reason to spend hours in the car driving to a spot in the path of totality to see something I couldn't fathom. 

Except, as I was sitting through my Uncle's Funeral, one of his friends said something that resonated with me. He said "go see your friends, spend time with people, because often times a lifetime isn't as long as you think". Hearing that changed my mind in an instant, and I walked out of there planning car activities for the girls and making a grocery list of enough car snacks to keep us fed in case the drive took us four times as long as it should have. 

It was a very, very long car ride, but we made it, and I was so happy to visit with my best friend, and to give our girls the opportunity to play together. Through a series of events, some sad, and some lucky, we have gotten to see each other an incredible about of time this year despite living with several states between us.   

On Eclipse day we sat out in the drizzle with our fancy special glasses and were able to watch in awe as the moon started to cover the sun, but we were slightly disappointed to loose totality to clouds. 

That disappointment didn't overshadow just how cool it was to watch the world go dark as night in the middle of the day, and to hear the night bugs come out, and watch the birds fly home, or how much fun it was to be with friends. 

Although it did make this little girl a tad cranky. 

I'm hoping Cordelia remembers this trip, but I figured at least the girls will be able to look at these pictures and be told about the one time they were driven ten hours to sit in the front yard of Mama's best friend's house wearing coordinating outfits! 

It was fun to make a mini eclipse collection, much more fun than making them all the same dress I think. I used some beautiful Rae Ritchie moon phases fabric that I have been hording in my stash, along with a blue and grey galaxy print fabric, and a silver polka dot print from Joanns. The white trim on the little girl's outfits is vintage, and Cordelia's is ball fringe- it made me think of moons!  

I am grateful that this sweet family could host us! 

And I am grateful that my wiggly bunch survived the car trip!