Friday, December 26, 2008

Dear Santa, from Jerome

I will provide these two lists for your convenience in hope that I will get everything I want for Christmas!

PLEASE give me these things

  • 1 Wii OR 1 X box 360 WITH Bolt the Video Game  Dear J, Well, I have a policy against giving smart kids video game consoles.  Sorry.
  • 1 Swiss Army Knife – got from parents
  • 500 sheets colored origami paper
  • 1 Multi-geared bike (boyish) 

Things I want, but you don’t have to give me

·     100 sheets 8 ½ x 11

·     1 tank pressurized helium (for chemistry and physics)

·     1 large plastic toboggan

·     1 Nurf gun

·     1 subbuteo soccer field

·     1 notebook (red or blue) 

                                                                        Thank you,

                                                                               Jerome Campbell

P.S. Remember, nobody’s perfect – especially Santa

                                        I hope you like your car track. 


The aprons were received well.  The kids wore them all day.  

Asha with her American Girl doll.  Santa brought the doll and I made the three piece gown shown in the picture.  The sleeves were so small that it was hard.  I should have left the side seams to the end so I could have sewn the details of the sleeves while the fabric was flat.  I have to remember that for next time.      

Doll clothes patterns you can download for free are found here.     

Quinn eating cardamom bread, a Swedish tradition Scott's family enjoys on Christmas morning with hot chocolate.  

Quinn vacuumed all day.   

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's snow time!

The snow, the snow, that is all we talk about around here.  The kids go to school in their snow gear and play outside during recess.  They come home and play more in the back yard until supper.  Some days they play even more until bedtime under the patio lights.   

So much for worrying about keeping the kids physically active during the winter.  I love it! 


Here is Kai taking advantage of the steep hill in our back yard.  We are glad we brought our boogie boards with us.  They make excellent sleds.  


Coming down backwards this time.


And climbing up for more.  

The best part of this is that I can see all the fun while I stay warm in the house with Quinn. All three pictures were taken through the kitchen window.     

I finished Jerome's apron.  I tried my best to refrain from any hint of cuteness.  I hope he will use it.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Doll Quilts and Pillows

Just when I thought I was all finished with my holiday gift prep, I saw this post over at Crazy Mom Quilts.  It is hard to resist such a cute project, especially when Asha tells me that she is going to ask Santa for an Am*rican Girl doll for Christmas.  I didn't follow the measurements on the post.  I made up my own to fit the doll that is coming.    

I made a pillow and case to the doll quilt I made last year.  They match Asha's pink quilt.   

Then I made another quilt for when Asha has a friend over.  I am still working on the pillow case for this one.  

Three more sets for cousins.  

I could spend all day making these little things. The possibility is endless and it comes together  so quickly.  A great way to satisfy your instant gratification.  I am all about that.    

All the above was done pre-sickness.  Asha threw up at church on Sunday, followed by me Monday morning and Kai last night.  It is a terrible bug with stomach pain.  Scott took some time off work, and has been taking good care of us.   

This soup is what I had this afternoon when I finally felt like cooking something for myself. It is my version of the chicken noodle soup. Chinese noodles with lots of cabbage and leek in pork bone broth and Thai red curry paste.  It tasted like home.   

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Report

Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving?  We did... with three straight days of visiting with family and eating yummy food at Scott's parents' house.  Scott's parents have recently built a party room over their over-sized two car garage to accommodate such affair.  There were at least 30 people at any given time, and we counted 44 the last day when Scott's aunts, uncle and some cousins joined in.  

On Thursday, Scott smoked a turkey on his grill after braising it over night.  It was the best turkey he has cooked.  Tender and juicy meat with great flavor.  I made pumpkin pies and yam/apple casserole.  Saturday was pie day.  Tamsin headed the party by baking the most pies.  The rest of us brought a few each.  We counted 18 pies including the quiche I made.  My favorites were Scott's mom's pecan pie and Tamsin's lemon sour cream pie.  
Quinn got a new toy for his birthday... 

which replaced this.  

Kai and I baked 30 loaves of bread today in three batches.  We are hoping they will get us through December.  

Kai operated Magic Mill, the wheat grinder, and the 10 qt. mixer Scott's dad made for us.  

Note his cool t-shirt from the reunion:)

Quinn's new favorite in the kitchen.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two Aprons Done, One to GO

I love doing small projects after dresses and blouses.  They go together quickly.  

So, here are two aprons for Asha and Kai.  
I used my two favorite Alexander Henry fabric from my stash (still sticking to the "use what I have" rule), and they turned out really cute.  

I have gone back to my fabric stash several times trying to finalize the fabric for Jerome's apron.  No success yet.  I came up with many ideas, but none seem to fit a nine year old boy.  I am going to have to do some Flickr research tonight.  


Friday, November 21, 2008

Oven Mitts for Little People

The first and second of several online Christmas shopping orders have come this week.  It is exciting.  I am well on track to finish most of the Christmas prep before December.    

I made some oven mitts for the kids.  Jerome and Asha have been taking turns helping as the chef's assistance during dinner prep.  They have both wished at one point or another that we had oven mitts their size that were also long and covered their fore arms.  

So these are what I came up with.  (Don't tell them if you are going to see them before Christmas.  The mitts are safely hidden now.)  You can see the size against my mitts.  I quilted it with my darning foot.  I still made a few jerky points, but I think I am getting better at it.  I just have to work up the courage to quilt my Christmas quilt before Christmas.       

Now I am working on aprons for them.  Jerome and Asha never wished they had aprons.   That is just me.  I hate it when their clothes get dirty.  I am a little on the obsessed side.  Someday I will post about my laundry routine.       

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Two Tops

I made two tops from the book Stylish Clothes for Girls.  Thanks, Alison, for loaning this fabulous book to me!    

I had never sewn a blouse before, so this one was extra fun to try.  Attaching the callor was the new part and it was not bad at all.  I made size 120.  The overall fit is very flattering on Asha.  I did add an inch to the length to keep the tummy from showing when she wears it with her low-rise pants.  I love the design details in the front, but it is somewhat lost in the busy pattern.  If you look at the pictures in the book, you will know what I mean.  The cover picture shows the short sleeve version, and view n is what I made.  I have plans to make a few more, and will definitely stick to solid fabric for the bib.    

The batik-like fabric came from Walmart in Hawaii.  Cotton/polly blend.    

Comfy turtle neck shirt, view r in size 130.  Again, a great pattern.  The fit is perfect on Asha.  This one is long enough to cover her low rise Gap pants.  

Cotton lycra fabric from here.  I am impressed with the quality of the fabric and ease of sewing.  


Asha has always hated turtle neck shirts, but didn't complain about this one.   Did she grow out of it, or was it because we left some buttons open?      

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Shimmery pink

Same pattern, different fabric.  This pink came from a yard sale in San Diego.  It is a shimmery satin with some nice weight to it.  We are looking for something dressy for the top, like this.  I still have two yards of this fabric.  Do you have any ideas for projects?  I was originally thinking of making a dress, but now I am not sure if I can pull it off without ending up with something that resembles a cheep princess dress-up.  

Next I am moving on to some tops.    


I gave Asha a new haircut.  She loves it.  It took some time to get the back somewhat straight because she has thick hair.    

Quinn had his first birthday.    

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pleated balloon skirt

This is a fun and versatile skirt.  It can be dressed down with a t-shirt for school, or dressed up with a pair of sparkly flats, blouse and a nice cardigan.  

I used a pattern from Everyday Bottoms, view Y, but made several changes to make it into a balloon skirt.  

1) I cut out the skirt 3/4 inch longer than the pattern

2) I sewed a lining of thin cotton in and sewed the bottom hem to the bottom of the lining to make the balloon effect.  The lining was cut about four inches shorter than the skirt.  (Thank you for the tutoring, Alison!)    

3) To keep the front tummy part flat, I only put elastic in the back.  The two top pieces were adjusted accordingly by making the front smaller towards the top and the back bigger.   

The fabric came from the RS closet.  Thin wale corduroy.  I am getting into the more obscure colors now.    

back view

front view  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Village Frock Dress

It is wet and too dark for nice pictures, but I am happy I can see Asha in the dress.  

The pattern came from Sugar City Journal, and it is called Village Frock.  I fell in love with the dress when I first saw it in their blog, and then I was very excited to see the pattern become available later.  At $16, it is far more than I have ever spent on a pattern, but I decided it was worth every penny after seeing the dress on Asha.  The instructions are detailed with many illustrations.  Very easy to follow.  The sizes only go up to a 6, but they suggest you make one size smaller for a more fitted look, so I went ahead and did that.  

No luck with the boots yet.  


Possibly the cutest dress I have ever sewn

Looking for tights and boots to complete the look.  
Can't wait for Asha to get home.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Burda 9867

After Trick-or-Treating, we let the kids pick their favorite few candy, and pretty much threw the rest away.  

Here is Kai on Saturday morning, hiding out behind the leather chair in the living room with his lollypops.  He must have hid them before Scott and I gathered all the candy.      

Another warm pants.  They turned out great. I think this is the fifth pair I made with this pattern.  The pattern only goes up to size 6, so I cut everything out a little bigger.  It worked.  I added mock pockets in the front.  Made with fine wale corduroy, again from the RS closet. 

There are two more yards of this fabric, so I started making a dress.  Hopefully it will be ready for the primary presentation in a week and a half.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Burda 9769

Back to Asha's winter wardrobe now.  

I made view C of Burda 9769 in size 7, which the pattern says is for 122.  Asha is 48 inches (120 cm), average size for her age.  The pants fit her well with just a little bit of room to grow into.  I am pleased with the overall shape.  Just like the pattern says, they are "semi-fitted".  Not too baggy in the waist area like some children's elastic pants patterns could be.  Yet, they are jumps, splits, and flips proof.

I used light blue chino I got from the RS in Pittsburgh.  They were cleaning out the closet and wanted to get rid of the overwhelming stack of donated fabric.  Anything that could not be used for making quilts were free for grabs.       

Friday, October 31, 2008

Haloween - the little boys

This year I had everybody choose their costume from the costume box.  Jerome and Asha's came from the Petersens in San Diego.  Kai's Robinhood was Jerome's first costume in Philly, and Quinn's was marked down to $4.75 at Costco on Halloween day back in Pittsburgh.     


Happy Halloween

This is Tamsin, Scott's sister.  Isn't she a dazzling witch? 

Tamsin asked me to sew her costume, and I did.  She chose Simplicity 0517, view D.  The pattern was pretty simple and easy to follow.  It is made to flatter a curvy figure like hers, with darts in the front and back.  If you ever try this pattern though, keep in mind that attaching 10 yards of boa by hand takes some time.  Two and a half hours for me.  That is nothing in the scheme of sewing a whole dress.  But it is a killer if you are thinking the dress is mostly done, and there is JUST the trimming left to do.           

Tamsin and I followed the tutorial from this video clip to make the hat.  Again, a great tutorial and we loved the result.  

With extra long purple lashes and a long silver wig, she is ready to scare some nieces and nephews.  Actually, they just burst into laughter.    

Jerome is Luke Sky Walker and Asha, Dorothy. 

I will add a picture of Kai and Quinn later.  Quinn fell asleep and Kai was a big mess of dribbles by the time I remembered to pull out my camera. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

7 - I got tagged

This is the little house we lived in one summer.  We were in Evanston, IL for Scott's internship.  It was nice to be there  after the busy first year of Scott's business school and my church obligations.  Jerome was four and Asha, almost two.   
A few "firsts" happened here.

-First pre-school for Jerome
-First tomato garden
-First charcoal BBQ ribs 
-First front tooth knock-out for Asha

and the most significant,

-First living close to Vogue Fabrics, an amazing textile store.  If only I could go back and look around that store.


I got tagged by Vicky, one of my favorite friends from San Diego.  I really enjoyed reading her "7" post because it reminded me of what an incredible person she is.  Thanks, Vicky!   

7 things that I can do:

1. make Scott tell me six things I can do

2. organize

3. multi-task

4. lift heavy things 

5. shovel snow

6. draw

7. pack, move, and unpack REALLY fast


7 things I cannot do:

1. lie

2. needles or blood

3. focus when the house is messy 

4. go to bed at a reasonable time when Scott is gone 

5. make witty comments

6. take Advil when I have a headache

7. stare at bumpy textures    


7 things I say often:

1. Turn off the water.

2. Turn off the lights.  

3. I already said no.

4. Do you need to use the bathroom?

5. Put the socks in the laundry basket.  

6. Put that book down!

7. I - just - loooove you. (Kai said this when he was really little, and now we all say it to each other.) 


7 things I plan to do before I die:

1. help my kids develop faith in God

2. help my kids learn to eat good food

3. help my kids learn Japanese

4. help my kids learn to play a musical instrument

5. serve a mission with Scott

6. go on an Alaskan cruise

7. travel all over Japan with Scott and kids


7 things that attract me to Scott:

1. his faith

2. his confidence

3. his willpower

4. his humor

5. his cooking

6. his passion for fun family vacations

7. he makes me want to be a better person


7 Favorite Foods:

1. Japanese noodles

2. strawberries

3. flourless dark chocolate cake  

4. paella

5. coconut curry

6. squash

7.  seafood pasta 


7 people who I would like to do this (only if you want to):

1. Yurika

2. Yuko

3. Alison

4. Kim

5. Allison

6. Kersten 

7. Jacquie 



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tracing patterns

Here is Quinn with his new 'do.  I was all sad, as usual, to see the fine baby hair go.  The kids, on the other hand, love it and called him "handsome" all day.  

Asha is in need of winter clothes.  I have been busy tracing patterns from Japanese sewing books of Alison's and mine.  Unlike the individually printed and packaged American patterns, all the patterns from the book are drawn on top of each other on a couple big sheets of paper.  You find what you want, trace it on your blank sheet of paper, cut it out, pin it on the fabric, add the inseam, make the markings, and cut your fabric out.  It is a lot of work.  But it is SO worth it.  The clothes turn out really cute, and they always fit Asha well.  I used to tape the pattern sheet to the window during the day to trace it.  I would have complained about my sore triceps by now, but a roll of Swedish tracing paper changed that.  This material is durable enough for the sharp pencil led, yet very transparent.  In fact, it is durable enough to be sewn up for a fitting.  I did all the tracing at night on my table.  How quickly it goes when you don't have little helpers to distract you.  And thank you, Alison for leaving me with a roll of the wonderful stuff.        

Next comes choosing the fabric.  My goal is to only use what I have, two bins of fabric and clothes Scott and I don't wear anymore.  Stay tuned!