Friday, October 25, 2013

Into the Fall

TongJie's birthday was September 1 and he turned three.  We had a little party with a fun "cake" made out of fruit to look like a bridge with a train.  He loves bridges and trains, and he loves the song "London Bridge is Falling Down."

TongJie made a "long train" out of leftover watermelon rinds from his birthday cake

The day after his birthday, we went to Smallwood's to celebrate the last of summer before the starting of school the following day.

We did a 5k later on in September:

We went to a hoedown in early October, put on by the Grace Covenant Church in Wenatchee.  It was tons of fun, and TongJie surprised us by wanting to participate in the huge line dance taking place in the street.

TongJie and I went to Lincoln Rock State Park one morning to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather and all the fall leaves.  TongJie collected a whole bag full of acorns from the ground, and enjoyed throwing some into the water and taking most of them home.

We've been doing a lot of yard work and TongJie always loves to make use of his wagon.

My parents gave us a very large apple from their tree and TongJie just couldn't wait to eat it.  He got such a kick out of eating the apple "like Daddy."  I guess TongJie is pretty impressed with how Jeff can eat an apple without even cutting it.  He says the same thing about bananas and hard-boiled eggs.  Except TongJie only managed to take 5 or 6 bites of the big apple before he gave up and I ended up cutting it like a regular apple.

Since TongJie loves bridges so much, we took a walk on the pedestrian bridge and then had a picnic dinner one evening.

The weather has been so nice for the last few weeks, it's hard to believe it's already the end of October!  We're definitely having a much more enjoyable fall season than last year.  Last year, we couldn't go outside for most of September and the first part of October because of the wildfire smoke, and right about the time the smoke cleared was when TongJie had his cleft palate surgery and of course the recovery from that was a bit rough.  By the time everything was all said and done, it was November and the weather was cold and grey, and we felt like we missed out on our whole fall!  Speaking of TongJie's surgery, we were talking the other day about how it's been a year since then, and we decided to get TongJie's arm restraints out to see what he would think.  He didn't mind them too much when he had to wear them last year, but he was ready to be done with them by the end.  Anyway, he saw me get them out last week, and he immediately and gleefully held his arms out for me to put the arm restraints on.  Then he proceeded to make a big show of pretending that his nose itched and he couldn't scratch it.  He ran around the room laughing and looking for things to rub his nose on.  I wonder if that's one of the things that he remembers from last year, not being able to scratch his nose.  He even wanted to wear his arm restraints to bed, but we wouldn't let him.  I should have gotten a picture, but I didn't.  Maybe I'll try to get one soon - now the arm restraints are in his toy box, since he seems to enjoy them so much!

Here's a final photo of Jeff and TongJie listening to some music together.  Actually, I think it may have been a sermon, but TongJie was still mesmerized.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer sewing projects

Here are some of the things that I've sewn this summer.

"Daddy shorts," as TongJie calls them, upcycled from an old pair of Jeff's shorts, using my trusty shorts pattern mentioned in an earlier blog post.  And a raglan shirt (pattern from "Sewing for Boys" that I checked out of the library) that says "it's green ahead" inspired by the book "Go Dog Go"

Jammies, using the raglan pattern from "Sewing for Boys" mentioned above, as well as the leggings pattern from the book "Growing Up Sew Liberated" that I also checked out from the library:

Two raglan shirts (using the same pattern mentioned above) upcycled from yard sale tee shirt finds, a pair of pinkish-orange shorts (using the same trusty shorts pattern mentioned above) upcycled from an ugly pair of yard sale men's shorts, and the "Basic Pocket Pants" from the above-mentioned book "Growing Up Sew Liberated"

A couple of ties from this free tutorial online, using some scraps of fabric that I had:

The "BBC Vest," a pattern that I actually bought online (but it was definitely worth it, and I'm sure I'll get lots of good use out of it, since it goes up to size 8).  The sweatshirt fabric is from an old homemade vest of mine that I tried to make when I was still not very good at reading patterns and it turned out really bad so I never wore it, and the green lining is leftover from my fabric stash.

And, finally, the "Small Fry Skinny Jean" pattern that is available online for free here in size 2T only.  I like anything free, so I wanted to try this pattern, but I was pretty sure that 2T would be huge on TongJie, since the other pants/shorts patterns that I sew for him are more equivalent to 12 month, even though he turns three next week.  So I used some rather ugly fabric that I really didn't care about as a test - it's from a once-black sweatshirt from a thrift store that I bleached and then tried to dye a dark bluish green color, but it didn't take the dye.  Anyway, I followed the pattern pretty closely except used 1/2" seam allowances instead of 3/8" like the pattern said.  The pattern is supposed to be for something like quilting cotton or stretch denim, so using the knit fabric that I did was already a "stretch" (no pun intended, ha ha!), but the pants actually turned out really good, except way too big.  The knit sweatshirt fabric looks really comfortable, and TongJie enjoys wearing them if I roll the waist over so they stay up better.  This was my first time making a half fly, though it was totally unnecessary in this case.  I wanted to practice the technique though, and I'm glad I know how to do it now because it makes it a lot easier than having to deal with a zipper fly, especially for little kids, but very functional to get over their hips if it's made with a woven material or for slim-fitting pants.  Another thing I like about these pants is that they include a back yoke, which I've never done before, and I think it makes them look much more professional.  These pants will fit him for a very long time.  They are also way too long and as you can see in the photos below, they're rolled up at the bottom.  I think the rolled-up look goes well with this style of pants.
As you can see, the pants are pretty big on him
You can especially tell how big they are in the back
He likes the pockets

Here's a picture of the back with the waistband rolled over

So, there are some of the fun things that I've made this summer.  Almost no cost involved (except for the vest pattern that I purchased, and 50 cents here and there at yard sales for fabric to use) but a lot of enjoyment sewing, and many new techniques learned!    

The rest of the summer

It's hard to believe the summer is just about over.  After Jeff officially finished all the work for his master's degree in late July (now he's completely done - yay!), our little family got to spend some quality time together.  Here are some of the things we did.

Working in the garden:

Camping out in the back yard:

Making trains and "long trucks" in the house:

Camping at Alta Lake with our friends Damon and Lauren:

Going for lots of walks and bike rides:


Going camping at Fox Creek Campground with my parents:

And now we're getting ready for school to start up again.  Jeff and I have teachers' meetings all next week, then it is Labor Day weekend (and TongJie's 3rd birthday!), and school starts right after that.  It's always a little sad when the summer comes to an end, but it's neat to look back at all the fun things we got to do.