Babies in Hats!

Is there anything cuter?

Maybe baby toes. Or baby ears. I’ve always been in awe of their perfect tiny ears. Or how about their precious little fingers?

But anyway, back to hats.

I love a good sunhat on my girls, both for the cute factor and that it protects their faces and eyes from the burning sun.

To backtrack a bit, when I was a kid, I had an obsessing with Little House on the Prairie, and would occasionally wear a prairie bonnet. I made the mistake of wearing it to school once in the second grade. Not cool.

But now, with the popularity of Pinterest and Etsy, everything old is new again, and granny-chic is chic indeed.

So, I felt inspired to look around for some modern takes on the old prairie bonnet idea. I found some good ones…

If you’d like an option that’s already made and ready to go, Urban Baby Bonnets has some absolutely adorable options. Love their fabric choices!

I’m thinking of making my own, since I have some fabric that seems like it was waiting for just such a project. Here are some great pattern options.

Little Betty Designs has a great looking pdf pattern you can purchase through etsy. It looks super super cute and the price for the pattern is quite reasonable.

How cute is this sweet Abigail Baby Bonnet with the ruffle brim from I Think Sew! I’d never seen this site before, but they have several other cute patterns for kids that I’m interested to try.

This free pattern looks so adorable, and I love that there is a photo tutorial walking you through the steps to make one. It only comes in a size up to 24 months, so if I go with this pattern, I’ll need to either make a different style for my older daughter, or see if I can tweak the pattern to fit her size.

I’m hoping to get some sewing time over the next few days, so I’ll be back with an update and some photos after I can make some hats!

DIY Personalized Baseball Caps

Men really get the short end of the stick when it comes to handmade items, am I right?

It’s not that we’re unwilling to make them anything, but the options seem rather slim.

DIY Father's Day Hat

There’s only a few good choices, and with Father’s Day around the corner, I’ve been trying to come up with something I haven’t made before to create for the men in my life. This DIY Personalized Baseball Cap was a fairly simple and (bonus!) inexpensive project that fit the bill. It can be customized to suit the tastes or interests of the person for whom it’s being created.

I went ahead and gave my hubby his hat this week, and he liked it even better than I had hoped he would. His reactions are usually positive, but mild, so I wasn’t expecting a standing ovation or anything like that, but he declared this to be a nice, comfy, simple-looking (a good thing, in his opinion), hat that he plans to wear frequently. I made a second hat for my dad which I’ll save for Father’s Day, so I’m hoping it will be a hit with him as well. No worries that he’ll read this post and find out, he’d have to figure out how to download himself onto the internet, and somehow I don’t see that happening, so we’re good.

Let’s get to the How-To….

First, I went to Michael’s and purchased two baseball caps. They were in the t-shirt section and there were a few colors, but these were the two I thought my husband and dad would prefer. They are a “one-size fits most” and using a 40% off coupon, I was able to get them for about $1.80 each. Not bad!

DSC_0827

I printed off the letters/words I knew I wanted to use to embellish the hats. Since I just used one letter for my husband’s hat, I made it fairly large. For my dad, aka “Papa” to my girls, I made the word a little smaller, so it would fit across the front of the hat more easily. I selected fonts that were very basic, since that makes it easier to stitch around the fabric letters later on in the process.

After I had my letters printed at the size I thought would work best, I flipped my paper over and traced the letter with a sharpie, so that I had an image of the letters in reverse. I know there’s a way to just print the letters in reverse straight from your computer, but I was in a hurry and with my awesome (so kidding) tech skills, I figured it was probably easier to go with my tracing method.

If my husband reads this, he will cringe. “Why didn’t you just ask me?”  I get impatient and like to plunge ahead.

DSC_0830

Once you have a reverse image of your letters traced, grab yourself some Heat-n-Bond and place it over the letters, with the paper side of the Heat-n-Bond facing up.

DSC_0833

Trace your letters onto the paper-side of the Heat-n-Bond.

The other side of Heat-n-Bond is embossed with the “glue” in either some sort of grid or polka-dot pattern, depending on the brand you use. You can buy it by the yard with the interfacing at your fabric store.

DSC_0832

Now, get the fabric you will be using for your letters, iron it smooth, and place it wrong-side up on your ironing board. Lay your piece of Heat-n-Bond with the reverse-traced letters down on top of it. Follow the instructions for ironing your Heat-n-Bond to the fabric. Mine said to iron on medium heat for ten seconds. Ironing it for too long, or at too high a temperature may overheat the “glue” substance and cause the Heat-n-Bond to not adhere to your fabric securely. I’ve made that mistake plenty of times, so definitely read your instructions.

DSC_0834

DSC_0838

Once your materials have cooled down from the iron, you can cut out your letters on the lines you previously traced, and peel the paper backing off your fabric.

DSC_0841

You will now have a kind of fabric sticker! The back of your fabric should have a shiny texture from the Heat-n-Bond.

Place your fabric letters on a piece of white fabric. Arrange them how you want them to look on the finished product, and again, follow your Heat-n-Bond instructions to iron your fabric letters to the white fabric. If you’re using multiple letters, like I did with the “Papa” hat, I recommend laying all the letters out first and them ironing them all at the same time. If you do iron one letter at a time, it’s easy to keep “re-ironing” the same letters and then you might run into the problem of ironing too long and compromising the adhesion of the Heat-n-Bond. So, just an FYI to be careful of this if you decide to iron on each letter individually.

DSC_0842

After your letters are adhered to the white fabric, you can use your sewing machine to sew around the edges of the letters. This adds a nice finished look, as well as making sure the letter is permanently secured. Heat-n-Bond is awesome stuff, but only sewing the fabric securely in place will guarantee it stays put.

DSC_0843

Next, you want to cut a piece of Heat-n-Bond about the same size as your white fabric, and iron it to the back of your white fabric.

Sidenote:  Now, the reason I used the Heat-n-Bond in this step was for two reasons, but you may not feel the need to do it exactly the way I did. First, I wanted something to stabilize my white fabric a little bit, which the Heat-n-Bond accomplished. Second, I was hoping the Heat-n-Bond would also adhere to the hat itself, making it easier for me to hold my finished letters in place while I stitched them to the hat. This is the part that didn’t really work out as well as I had hoped. It was extremely difficult to iron the letter onto the rounded cap of the hat. The Heat-n-Bond ended up only adhering a little bit on the “R” and did a little better on the “Papa” piece, I think because it was larger. If you decide not to use Heat-n-Bond for this step, I would still recommend using an iron-on interfacing on the back of the white fabric, to make it a little more stiff for when you stitch it to the hat, and to help prevent threads from fraying.

DSC_0847

When your fabric has cooled, trim the white fabric around the fabric letters. For the “R” I chose to trim it pretty close to the letter. For the “Papa” I cut the white fabric a little further out from my letters, and didn’t cut out every small space, making it a larger, but simpler piece. This helped when stitching it to the hat, and made that step a little easier on me.

DSC_0851

Peel the paper backing off the Heat-n-Bond and pin or iron the letter to the hat (I did both).

Next, you want to take some white thread and set yourself up with a hand sewing needle. I grabbed a needle I already had from my pincushion, but if you’re buying one, I would get a needle that is neither large nor small, and appears fairly sharp (no embroidery needles). You’re going to be sewing through several layers of fabric, so you want a needle that will hold up to the job.

I hand-sewed my letter to the hat by coming from the underside of the hat, up through the white fabric area closest to the letter, and them down through the hat, just outside the edge of the white fabric.

DSC_0852

DSC_0854

My mom always called this a “whipstitch” but I’m not sure if that’s the correct term. She tends to make up words… I do think you could finish it off with a blanket stitch, but that sounded like it would take longer, so I went with this method instead. Interestingly, there are people who live here, who prefer eating dinner to watching mommy play with fabric. What is with that?? Every minute of craft time counts.

DSC_0859

Your stitches don’t need to be perfect. If you’re using white thread and only sewing over the white fabric, they should be mostly unnoticeable. My hand sewing leaves much to be desired, but I think the finished products turned out pretty great.

DSC_0926

DSC_0903

 

DSC_0921

There’s no reason this hat needs to be a project you only make for dad. My oldest has already requested a hat like Daddy’s, and with plenty of graduation parties happening this time, of year, a personalized hat would be a fun little gift for various occasions. What would you put on your hat?

DIY Father's Day Hat

For even more DIY ideas for Father’s Day, check out my post from last year.

 

 

Linking up to:

Elizabeth & Co

The Shabby Nest

Living Well Spending Less

Home Stories A to Z

Remodelaholic

I Heart Naptime

 

Easy 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Eggs

peanut butter eggs

Every year at Easter, I make these rich peanut butter eggs that are so easy, they only have five ingredients! Well, five plus the chocolate, so I guess that actually makes six.

Still, they are very quick and painless to make. Peanut butter eggs have always been my favorite Easter candy, but for the longest time, I was too intimidated to make them myself. This recipe is so simple and the tricks I’ve figured out over the years makes them so quick and easy to complete.

Ingredients:

 DSC_0546

You’ll need margarine, brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate melting wafers. For the peanut butter, I’ve often used my regular, creamy grocery store variety, but a few years ago I switched to a natural version with no added sugar or salt. In a shocking candy dichotomy, the natural peanut butter (without added sugar!) actually seems to make sweeter peanut butter eggs. I have no explanation for why this might be, but it’s completely true. Yum!

First, grab a microwave-safe bowl and add your margarine and brown sugar.

DSC_0548

Put this in your microwave for 30 seconds, stop and mix, and put back in for another 30 seconds until the brown sugar is melted and no longer gritty. I have a small, low-powered microwave and this took about 2 minutes total.

When you’re finished, it should look something like this.

DSC_0554

 Now, stir in the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix with a rubber spatula until all the ingredients are combined.

DSC_0566

 If your peanut butter mixture is looking too runny, let it cool for a few minutes. It seems to thicken a bit as it cools. If it’s still not thick enough, add a little more powdered sugar until you get the desired consistancy.

Next, scoop about a tablespoon-full of the peanut butter mixture into your hand and roll it around until you have a ball.

DSC_0575

Now, you want to turn the ball into more of an egg shape. I do this by pinching one end between the crook of my thumb and index finger.

DSC_0576

 Then you can flatten it a bit with your fingers until you get the desired shape. After that, place it on a cookie sheet or tray that’s been lined with parchment paper.

DSC_0581

 Once you have all your peanut butter mixture shaped into eggs, put them in the refrigerator to chill for about half an hour. I was able to get 13 eggs out of one batch.

DSC_0586

While the eggs are chilling, wash up your bowl and spatula, and get to the really good part: melting the chocolate!

Place your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. It will come out looking slightly melted, but if you stir and stir, it will continue to melt. You may need to microwave it for another 30 seconds, but it won’t take much to get the chocolate completely melted and free of lumps. If your chocolate doesn’t seem thin enough, add a tablespoon of shortening and stir until the shortening has dissolved into the chocolate.

DSC_0596

Once your chocolate is melted and the eggs have chilled, you can start coating the eggs in the chocolate!

I’m sure there are a million different ways to do this, but here’s what works for me. Grab two large dinner spoons. Dip one into the chocolate.

DSC_0604

Now place a peanut butter egg smack in the middle.

DSC_0606

Next, use the second spoon to pour chocolate over the egg until it is completely covered.

DSC_0612

Now you can slide your chocolate covered egg back onto the parchment paper.

DSC_0615

When all your eggs are covered in chocolate, put your tray back in the fridge and let them chill for another hour or two.

DSC_0626

These will keep for about a week and should be stored in the fridge in a tupperware container.

DSC_0670

 That is, if you can keep your hands off of them. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a batch last that long!

DSC_0656

Here’s the recipe in short form, with all the measurements and basic instructions.

peanut butter eggs

Peanut Butter Eggs

Makes about 1 dozen eggs

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 package (about two cups) or more, semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate melting wafers

Microwave margarine and brown sugar on high, stirring every 30 seconds until brown sugar is dissolved. Stir in powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Shape by tablespoon-full into egg-shaped balls. Chill. Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip peanut butter eggs in chocolate. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment. Chill and store in refrigerator.

 

Linking up to: House of Rose Inspire Me Please

Our Simple, Less is More Christmas Decor, 2013

I think I put up fewer Christmas decorations every year. Since Elsie is still keeping me very busy with her needs, our Christmas decorations are super simple this year, and mostly things we already had. Going with a “less is more” mentality has really helped me zero in on what I truly love. There may be fewer Christmas decorations sitting out this year, but I find myself liking my house better, and not dreading putting everything away! I’m also realizing that since our house is small (just over 1000 sq. ft.) and has an open floor plan, it really does not take much to make it feel decorated. So, with all that said, let’s get on to the fun part, the pictures!

Our Christmas tree sits in the corner of the living room and is decorated with white bulbs (one thing I actually purchased this year), some homemade ornaments from years past, as well as a few favorite store-bought ornaments. For a garland, I cut up strips of burlap. When Christmas is over, I roll up the burlap into little bundles for next year. I think this is our third year with the burlap garland. The more tattered it gets, the more I love it! Instead of a tree skirt, I have a wooden crate we found on the side of the road a few years ago. Fitting the tree into our living room required a bit of furniture rearranging, so for now, the loveseat is in front of the french doors.

The red afghan and pillows are always in our living room, but next to the tree, they look so Christmasy! To see how I made the “home” pillow (the sewing part, not the stenciling) check out my tutorial.

I have several nativities, but only put out the Little People one this year. I love that it’s not something I have to keep little hands from breaking. As we try to teach Violet about Jesus’ birth this Christmas, I love how this nativity set allows her to get hand-on with the story. Her red Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn got a fun little muslin and ruffly pillow to dress it up for Christmas, but I may just leave it out all year.

Some of my favorite ornaments… On the left is one my sister crocheted for me several years ago, and on the right is my Christmas craft from last year. I took paper-mache ornaments from A.C. Moore and painted them with chalkboard paint. Last year, I wrote different Christmasy words on each one. This year, I wrote the name of a family member on each ornament.

This ornament is made from another paper-mache craft store ornament, with Violet’s baby silhouette printed off the computer and mod-podged on top. I need to make one for Elsie this year!

There’s not much decoration happening in the dining room. But this white bowl from Pier 1 gives a wintery feel when filled with pine cones. It will probably stay out all winter too.

The kitchen received a little decoration with a burlap JOY banner over the sink. It’s hard to see in this picture because of the light coming through the window.

Pom-pom fringe on this towel almost makes drying dishes a joy. Get it? Joy? ;)

The bay window has it’s usual decor, with the addition of the Let It Snow sign from Target’s dollar section, as well as these sweater trees, from last year’s Target Christmas decor.

The “R” wall became our Christmas stocking spot this year, since we are mantel-less.

I didn’t want to have the hooks up all year, so instead of drilling holes, we loaded up the back of the wooden piece with 3M Command Strips!

Violet and Daddy are the only ones with stockings. I made my husband a Christmas stocking the first year we were dating, and I finally made one for Violet last Christmas. I have fabric for Elsie’s, so hopefully I will have time to get to that project before Christmas. Unfortunately, it will involve quilting, definitely not my forte. After finishing Elsie’s baby quilt this summer, I thought I was done quilting for a while, but I’m hoping to fit in this smaller project without too much stressing. Someday I’ll make one for me!

I think I am too obsessive about finding the perfect Christmas fabric and that is why these stockings are taking  me way too long to make. Last year I found the coolest Christmas fabric to make Vi’s stocking: the characters of the nativity as matryoshka dolls!

Last year, I bought a small white artificial tree for the girls’ room. I have big plans to make it all fancy someday, but for now, it’s only decoration is a couple yards of bright pink pom-pom fringe.

In place of a tree skirt, I wrapped the base in a yard of Christmas fabric from Michael Miller.

It feels decorated, yet there’s room for me or the girls to make some special ornaments to add to it in the coming years. The rocker has long since been moved to our room, and the bookcase had been where the tree is now, so we just moved it to the other side of the room and put the tree here at the foot of the Farmhouse Toddler Bed my husband made for Violet last year.

Honestly, I’m just thrilled that we were able to fit their tree in the room this year since taking this room from being just Violet’s nursery, to now a shared nursery and toddler room. It fits pretty well!

You can also check out our Christmas Decorations from two years ago, when I was feeling a bit more ambitious with the amount of decorations I put out. I’m enjoying our simple decor this year. It definitely fits where we are in life right now.

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

Linking up to:

The Nesting Place’s 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes
Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop with House of Rose

DIY Owl Costume

Today I’m sharing pics from Violet’s costume from last year’s trick or treat.

She went as the cutest little toddler owl! Her costume was fun and and pretty easy to make. I promise I didn’t make it purple because of her name! I had planned to make her a pink owl, but then I found the hat at Target and decided that switching to a purple owl was worth not having to sew a hat.

I read lots of tutorials about how to make my own owl costume. Most are pretty similar: cut a large circle out of felt, cut a slit up one side into the center, and then cut a hole in the center to accommodate your child’s neck. After that, glue or sew (I used hot glue) feather-shaped pieces of felt allover your felt circle, sew some ribbon to the edges of the neckline to create ties, and you’re done!

I went through this process in about two short evenings, and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s not a project where everything has to be perfect, so there’s no pressure. Chances are, it will turn out pretty cute for you too.

But then, I came to the unexpected obstacle: my child! She did not want to wear the costume, and as soon as I put it on her, she promptly flipped her wings back and started tugging at the ties around her neck.

Honestly, I can’t blame her. The weight of all that heavy felt was probably pretty uncomfortable when held in place by just two little strips of fabric tied at her neck.

But mommy was not to be so easily conquered. Haha. I knew she would make an adorable little purple owl, and I wasn’t giving up!

I found an old hoodie sweatshirt that had some stains and so she wasn’t likely to wear it again. Using my fabric scissors, I cut off the hood. Then I spread out my owl cape with the feather-side down and the plain felt part facing up. I spread out the hoodie on top of the cape so that the neckline of the cape and the neckline of the hoodie matched. Then I hotglued the hoodie across the back of the shoulders and down the top of each sleeve to my cape. Make sure the arms are spread out. If you’re concerned about proper placement, I recommend trying the hoodie on your child, lay the cape overtop, and then safety-pin the cape to the hoodie (hopefully your child holds still better than mine does) to determine where you will need to apply the hot glue.

Once the glue had dried and I put the costume back on her, she didn’t mind it at all. I think it was just the very unusual feeling of wearing a cape that had really put her off to wearing it in the first place. Once she felt like she was just wearing a jacket, she didn’t mind at all.

A little practice trick-or-treating didn’t hurt either. Once she realized that looking cute in her costume and knocking on doors got her candy, she was all in.

Hopefully this year’s costume will be a similar success. It’s partially complete, but needs some tweaking to get a better fit. I hope to blog about it sometime in the next week.

Little Girl DIY Kitty Cat Costume

Here’s a simple costume I put together two years ago for Violet’s first Trick or Treat.

She went as a little black cat.

This costume was so comfy for her to wear and easy for me to put together. Almost everything was able to be used again as part of her regular wardrobe, which is something I try to do as much as possible when planning a costume.

The main part of the costume was a black turtleneck shirt, black stretchy pants, and black socks. These all became part of her regular wardrobe after Trick or Treat was over.

Then I found a black headband and made two little cat ears out of black felt which I then hot-glued to the top of the headband. The headband is now part of our dress-up supplies for everyday play.

Next, I took some black jersey knit fabric I had on hand and sewed a long skinny tube which I then filled with fiber-fill and safety-pinned to her pants just below the waistband. Pinning it above her bottom allowed her to still sit down comfortably. She wasn’t yet walking at this time, so it was so cute to see her little kitty cat tail bouncing around as she crawled. You could also take a pair of black little girl stockings and cut the leg off one to use for a tail, but it might not have as much curve to it as mine did. The seam up the one side of the tail I sewed caused the fabric to stretch unevenly and gave the tail a perfect cat-like curve. I didn’t plan that, it was just a happy coincidence!

It would be very easy to do a similar costume as a mouse or a dog, just changing the color of the outfit and the style of the ears.

Welcome Elsie Rose!

I know it’s been quiet here on the blog the last few weeks, but I have a really good excuse…

This is our newest blessing, Elsie Rose, who arrived almost three weeks ago. She’s such a sweet girl, and we are all completely in love with her.

I’ll get back to posting regularly as soon as I can, but please excuse me if things are a bit sporadic for a while while we adjust to new schedules, routines, etc.

We’re trying to get as much baby-snuggling in as we can. We know they grow up much too fast!

Adjustable Crib Skirt DIY

Crib skirts are cute, but can be a real pain. If they’re the right length when your crib mattress is at it’s highest height (usually when baby is not yet sitting), it will be dragging on the floor once baby is standing and the crib mattress has to be lowered. On the other hand, if you find one that just brushes the floor on the crib’s lowest height, your crib skirt will have high-waters when the mattress is raised.

There’s just no winning.

Until this method.

I would like to introduce you to my diy crib skirt, which- wait for it, can be adjusted in length to accommodate every height setting on your crib!!! Here’s how it works. (And forgive me for not having step-by-step pictures, but this was made in my pre-bloggy days.)

Basically, you are making a giant ruffle. I made mine out of about 7 yards of white eyelet lace fabric. Because this is a thin fabric, I folded the fabric in half lengthwise, and let the plainer part of the fabric act as a lining to the edge that was scalloped and more decorative. Once I had ironed and gathered all seven yards with my sewing machine, I sewed a thick piece of double-fold bias tape along the top of the ruffle. You don’t have to be very neat about sewing on the bias tape, which is good because this is a lot of fabric to wrangle through your machine. Just try to keep your bias tape fairly straight as you sew and you should be fine.

Then, I cut two splits in my crib skirt to accommodate the legs of my crib, and made a narrow hem on the raw edges of those slits.

So, now you are ready to put your crib skirt onto your crib.

First, I will explain the duct tape method. This is best if you have a solid wood base for your mattress support.

First, spread out your crib skirt around the edges of your wooden crib support, with the splits in the correct place to accommodate the legs of the crib. Make sure the crib skirt comes around the edge of the wooden base, and through the proper space on the crib (this will be a little different for every style of crib), and hangs down just a little above the floor.

Hopefully, this will be a pretty tight fit and your crib skirt will be semi-stuck in place just from being pinched between the wooden parts of your crib.

Now you can tug on the top or bottom edge of your crib skirt, all the way around, until it just graces the top of the floor.

Now, get out some duct tape, and tape the bias-tape edge down onto the wooden crib support. Don’t worry about it leaving some tape residue on the fabric. This part is never going to be seen.

Put your mattress in place on top of the wooden crib support, and you’re good to go! Now, when you go to lower your mattress as baby gets older and more adventurous, just move the bias-tape edge of your crib skirt further into the wooden support area and re-tape it in place to adjust for the change in height of your crib mattress.

As a side note, if you have a wire crib support base, you can achieve a very similar set up by sewing long pieces of ribbon every few inches to the top of your bias tape. Then, instead of taping your crib skirt in place, tie it to the wire grid of your crib support. You’ll still be able to adjust the length of your crib skirt by how far into the crib support you place your ties. Lindsay did a great job of demonstrating this version. Definitely check out her how-to.

I love how this crib skirt worked out when I used it for Violet. I was able to have a perfect looking crib skirt despite the various heights we used for her crib mattress. Also, making your own can be sooo much cheaper. I think I spent about $35 to make this crib skirt myself, when buying a brand new eyelet lace crib skirt would have cost me around $100. Definitely worth an afternoon at my sewing machine to save that kind of money! I’m excited to get some more use out of this crib skirt with our newest girl’s arrival.

Baby Quilt = COMPLETE!!!

I feel like I should title this post, It. Is. Finished. Or maybe, I did it! I did it! (Violet’s favorite phrase when celebrating one of her accomplishments.) This quilt is my magnum opus. My gift of love for my new baby. I like to think of it as giving birth… with fabric. Tired of the dramatics? Ok, I’ll wrap it up.

I’m soooo glad to have this project completed and no longer hanging over my head.

I’ve had the quilt top done for about two weeks, but kept putting off the next step: laying out the quilt backing, cotton batting, and quilt top, smoothing and straightening everything (ugh!), pinning the layers together, and then sewing through everything on my machine.

Saturday, I told myself that whatever hadn’t been finished by the end of the weekend was not going to be finished because I was packing it all away until well after baby is born. Sometimes, I have to be stern with myself and set boundaries. :)

My husband keeps trying to convince me that the baby quilt being unfinished is the whole reason little E hasn’t already come out yet. I was having such strong contractions after two hours hunched over my sewing machine, stitching the bias tape around the edges, that I was starting to believe him. Wishful thinking? Probably, but a small part of me fully expected my water to break with the final stitch. Alas, still nothing. I have tons of contractions every evening, but according to my doctor’s office last week, absolutely no progress. :(  I’d love to meet this baby girl as soon as possible, but am mostly content to wait, so long as she doesn’t have to be evicted like her big sister was. That’s an experience I hope never to repeat.

So, we wait. And I sew. And my mom actually keeps her cell phone charged and handy. This is a lesson I’ve been trying to get through to her for years, so it’s good to know there’s some positive side-affects to baby not rushing to have a birthday.

Poor Violet was feeling a little jealous over all the time I spent on the baby quilt, so this morning I whipped up a miniature baby doll quilt for her Bitty Baby doll. It’s super simple, and nothing fancy, but I think it turned out pretty cute.

It was one of those projects I didn’t really feel like doing at the time, but as I looked at our fabric-covered dining room table, I knew if I didn’t tackle it now when everything is sitting out and ready to go, it would probably never get done. Miss V was super interested in the sewing process and wanted to sit beside me and watch everything, but was then unimpressed by the final results.

That’s ok. Mama had fun covering up Bitty Baby with her little bitty blanket. You’re never too old to play with dolls. That’s true. Right?

Now to go make some baby headbands. Because you can never have too many accessories, even if you’re brand new to the world. :)

Family Day Trip to the American Girl Store

We’ve been trying to do special things with Violet when we can, before the baby comes. Our goal is one special family outing a month. I don’t think we managed that in June, but for July, we decided to have a special big sister-to-be day to the American Girl Store.

We’re within a day trip’s drive to the one in New York City, or the one in Washington, DC. Having recently done NYC with the toddler, we decided we didn’t want to repeat that experience in a hurry. Though having now been to both stores (the NYC one with my sister last year), I can say the one in NYC is a little fancier and more special feeling, but the one in DC is pretty nice too, and easier to get to!

Violet and mommy were both pretty excited about our trip. We told her the night before that we were going to a special store to get a baby doll so she could practice being a big sister. I had to go into her room several times after laying her down to shush her because she was so wound up! At one point, I asked her what was keeping her awake, and she answered, “a baby doll!” I could hardly sleep either. I have wanted to go to the store for years, and finally have a daughter old enough to justify the trip! Though after I saw how excited she got about going to the store the next day, I laid in bed for several hours worrying I would go into labor and have to disappoint her. Thankfully that did not happen!

It looks so cozy and fun in the backseat. We only get out the travel dvd player for long trips, so Violet enjoyed getting to watch a princess movie while enjoying her breakfast on the go!

A word about navigating your way to the D.C. American Girl Store. There are two addresses listed on the website. This makes no sense to me, but whatever. One said it was the physical location and the other was supposedly the gps location, so I wrote down the gps location, got in the car and… my gps could not find it! Had to run back inside, find the physical address, entered that in the gps, and we were good to go. The trip to get there was no big deal, though I am so not a city girl, so all those layers and layers of roads reaching into the sky makes me feel like I’m on The Jetsons! However, once we arrived, we realized that the store is not really a free-standing location like it looked in the picture on the AG website, but a part of a much much larger mall, though it does have an exterior entrance. We drove and drove around this massive mall and could not find the American Girl Store!!! We finally located the food court and promised ourselves that if this loop around the mall didn’t lead us to the store, we were going to go in at the food court, eat an early lunch, and ask someone for help. Finally, on our last time around the mall, we found the store! So, moral of the story: look up the mall where this store is located and know that you are headed for a very big mall with several parking areas and parking garages. We parked in the garage called The Terraces, which was free, and it was very close to the entrance of the AG store, but I so wish I had thought to check this out ahead of time. Lesson learned!

The store is very nice inside, clean, well-kept, and well-stocked. Though I was following an overwhelmed two-year-old around, they didn’t seem to be out of anything. Every shelf was completely full.

There are several different “looks” for the Bitty Baby doll, based on skin tone, hair color, eye color, and ethnicity. I wasn’t sure which one Violet would choose, but when we looked online the day before, she kept pointing to the one with brown hair and blue eyes, which I thought was fun, since it’s the one that reminded me the most of how she looked as an infant. So when we got to the store, we found the “brown baby doll” (the one with brown hair) and it was instant love!

The store is two levels and the Bitty Baby section was in the lower level. There weren’t a lot of things sitting out for the children to play with, but Violet did find a doll in a stroller and really enjoyed pushing it around. We had to do some clever distracting maneuvers to get her to walk away from it without a fight. The stroller was cute, but in my opinion, over-priced. I’m sure we can find something very similar at a local store for less money.

She was so excited about her baby doll, she had to carry the box to the register, even though it was almost as big as her!

The girl at the register was so sweet and asked if we wanted her to take it out of the box. Violet instantly cradled her baby and gave it hugs and kisses. She’s usually more of a stuffed animal kind of girl, and doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the dolls she has. My husband and I had joked (ok, we were kind of serious), that we could see her tossing the doll on the floor and carrying around the small teddy bear that came with it, but she totally surprised us. “Baby Doll” as she has been called so far, got lots of love and attention right from the first.

All these cute baby doll cuddles are enough to make the pregnant lady cry! What a little sweetheart we’ve been blessed with!

Other than the Bitty Baby area of the store, the rest of the place is dedicated to the “big girl dolls.” Some are the historical past-time dolls (which was my thing back in my American Girl Doll days), but there was also quite a bit of space devoted to the Girl of the Year doll and movie. This year’s girl is Saige, and her story apparently involves a hot air balloon. We had fun in this little photo-opp area, but I definitely think it was designed with older (and taller!) girls in mind, what do you think? :)

This is definitely a store where you will see lots of girls carrying around their American Girl dolls and having a special day out with moms, grandmas, etc. Violet always watches older girls so carefully, and imitates their play. She sat on the floor in front of a tv showing the newest AG Girl movie and copied everything the bigger girls did with their dolls. *heart melts!*

I would have loved to have taken more time to browse the historical dolls, especially since they’re all different from when I was a kid, but this was not interesting to the two-year-old. They also had a nice book section that would have been fun to check out, but oh well. Maybe next time. :)

We no sooner got in the car to head home, than I turned around to see this sweet site…

She fell asleep holding Baby Doll’s hand, and slept that way for over an hour. Again, heart melts, and pregnant lady tears up! It’s been almost a week since our trip and Baby Doll is still getting lots of hugs, kisses, naps, diaper changes, and occasional boo-boos. I can’t wait to make another trip again sometime!