Friday, October 28, 2016

Crochet projects ✽ Little turtle

I was able to use some of the extra yarn from Noah's baby blanket to make the MLP "Fluttershy" for Abbi last August. That was soooo much fun- I'm not sure if it was because it was a project that finished up quickly or if it was because of the bow, which was just TOO CUTE and TOO FUN (I will be putting that bow on a baby hat sometime soon... perks of having an Etsy shop, y'all. I get to make random things just cause they are fun and I've got the stuff sitting around from other stuff! Haha :)!) I was worried she would be disappointed that it didn't have eyes... but I love crocheted toys without, and she loved it, so I was glad I just went with it :).

I also made Andrew a minion with some of the brighter yellow that was left. Now I've had a request from Josiah and Peter to make them one... I was planning maybe their birthdays, but I think it's gonna have to be Christmas... if Peter can wait that long, haha! The eyeball on the minion was fun to make... every crocheter knows that each project has that one piece that you always remember being fun when you look at it later!

For THIS project, that piece was the wings! I learned a new stitch (FPSC for you fellow crocheters), and it just MADE this dragon I made for Tori, all that ruffly jagged work on the wings, I love so much :D! Mama saw it and was like, "Awww, that's cute! Who knew dragons could hold so much potential?", and I answered, "How to Train Your Dragon changed everything." Haha :). I have heard that the third one is going to be about why there are no dragons left, though, and if that ends up true, I'm not sure I want to see it. I love Toothless so much, I don't want to know he leaves for any reason...

Tori and Daddy went to an art museum for her birthday (they said everything they DIDN'T pay for would have been worth paying for... haha!), and they told us that they had seen a stature of Lafeyette on his horse... with a teeny tiny turtle by the horse's hooves. Apparently, the guy who made it had the mold "finished" in 1900... but it wasn't until seven years that the statue was cast, because it took him that long to finish ironing out the imperfections to his satisfaction. So then he added a turtle in mockery of his own slowness. And I just find that hilarious and highly relatable to my own artsy/crafty projects, hahaha!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Music is Life ✽ Chalkboards

I made this chalkboard for Tori's birthday :). It turned out better than I was expecting- I was planning on using the transfer method I use to make my canvases on it, and, uh, yeah, that didn't work. The printer is low on ink, so I couldn't trace it like I usually do, and I had to use an X-acto knife, instead. It came out neater, I think, but I was also way more uptight doing it, (a friend called while I was working on it, and I was so focused she was like, "Are you okay? You seem kind of out of it...", haha! I was like, sorry, I have less than two hours to finish this thing and help wrap gifts... haha!)

I'm really excited about it, though, and I'm thinking of putting some up in my shop, especially since it's made with MARKER, so it's permanent. I'm never creating one of these with chalk again, haha. I made one for my aunt's wedding last year, and we forgot it at home... Mama remembered it about four hours down the road, and I just cried... haha! (I was already super sick from a new pair of glasses that weren't right, so I don't know that it's fair to blame it on that, but, ya know...) So Daddy bought chalk and a new chalkboard and I made a new one the next morning, and then we tried to seal it... and it all pretty much dissolved. So, I ended up tracing what could still be barely seen in the car driving up the winding mountain roads on the way to the wedding, haha! For a few days I was sure I never wanted to do another chalkboard... but I've made four ;). Haha!

I found out a few months ago that chalk will "dissolve" when it's sealed and come back though. I was curious, but didn't want to undo my aunt's chalkboard to find out. But when her little kitty got to it (her paw prints were too cute... haha!), she asked me to touch it up, and I decided to go ahead and wipe it off... and, sure enough, it was sealed underneath the top layer. Not very bright, but it was. All I could do was laugh! And then I sat down to re-do Mama's Prayer Request board to see if hairspray would seal it better, and that turned out splotchy, so I'm just sticking with the markers. Haha :). They're really fun when they work ;). The whole time I was working on Mama's, the friend we had over for a couple weeks was watching me, and she asked, "Why are you trying to get it so perfect? It's fine. It looks good to me... hey, right here needs done again" ....haha ;).

But anyway, after I got off the phone with my friend while working on Tori's, Abbi asked me, "How did you know who that was?"
*keeps working on chalkboard* *so shaky because I'm trying so hard to keep my hand steady* *ends up making Abbi repeat herself 3 times 90 seconds later*
"Ummmm.... my phone told me..."
"Why does your phone tell you?"
*cricket chirps* "Huh? Oh. Uh.  So I know if I want to answer it I guess."
Abbi: "Why wouldn't you answer it?! What do you want to do? BREAK their HEARTS?"
Me: *finishes a letter* *realizes what she said* *laughs* "If I don't know who it is, I don't think I'll break their hearts if I don't answer."
Abbi: "But what" *attitude pause* "if it only say their LAST name" *more Abbitude* "and you don't KNOW their last name, just their first name?" *pointed answer to her own question* "THEN you will break their hearts!"
Oh, Abbi...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Told by the little ones ✽ We went to the fair

We went to the fair on opening day, and everybody had so much fun :)!!! We looked at crafts and art, enjoyed some food, and rode a few games (an older guy Daddy knows saw us and handed Mama some money to further treat everyone. He's always sooooo excited to see Daddy, it's sweet :) ). I was helping the little ones write some letters to dear friends of ours last week, and they all mentioned the fair at some point. I got to thinking that, I hadn't been able to post about it yet, and their perspectives were just too cute... so, I'm going to share those snippets of the letters here (with my comments in italics), and some pictures :)

 The bunnies and ducks were sooooo cute, especially the 
miniature ones. I did want to bring a few home, haha :).

 Josiah LOVED the turkey :).

Peter: We went to the fair. We went on the puppies. The ride "puppy roll" that told you to stay in the "bears" at all times?. We went around and around and it tipped that way and this way. Abbi and Emmi went on the caterpillar (ride) (at this point Tori told me that all my little comments remind her of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Letters from Father Christmas"). We got cotton candy. We looked at pictures. Daddy let me ride on the stroller. Tori and I laughed so hard at that comment. We went to the fair to ride the stroller ;). 

 Funnel cakes!!! Everybody tried a bite of the strawberry funnel
cake, and it was okay, but I'm not a fan of most strawberry
syrups or sauces, so I let those who liked it better enjoy it ;). 
Haha! I just like the powdered sugar kind :).

 This was Josiah's first funnel cake, and, though he was really tired
at first, once he had tasted it he perked up and loved it :).

Emmi: Bri, Tori, Daddy, Andrew and Bethi went on the ferris wheel. "Hey, Bri," she said cackling, "*I* know why they called it the FEARis wheel... it goes so fast, some people have fear on it!!!!" And we got ice cream and funnel cake. She called the funnel cake "pie" at first, and I was so confused. And we got pizza. And we had breakfast burritos and lunchmeat rollups and chips. She seems to love food. (Tori reading this wants you to know this was all at different times, not the same sitting at the fair ;).)

And I found a caterpillar. It got lost in the car. She held it in her open palm, and when Mama drove over a bump, it flew. Peter was already scared of sitting beside it; when he no longer even knew where it was, he spent the rest of the drive telling us that he was sure that he could feel something "tugging at his pants." He "thought it was the caterpillar". And Tori somehow missed those comments from Peter, and she about died laughing when she just found them here, haha! And then when we got to Daddy's store we found it under my seat. (It was alive!) We had to leave it at Daddy's store, and it was so sad. But good thing we left it at Daddy's store, because we went to the fair (they didn't know we were going beforehand) and the caterpillar was so fast, I might have dropped it. (The fast caterpillar was the caterpillar ride, not her "pet" that she might have dropped... that confused me a minute, haha.)

Matching cuties :)!!!!

(Speaking of matching shirts, there was a boy there who was wearing a shirt Andrew wears all the time, and I almost asked him why he was sitting so far from the rest of us... haha!)

Abbi: We had fun at the fair. The funnest part of the caterpillar was when we turned to the side and our hair flapped in the wind. She asked Mama before they got on, "can I please take my hair things out so I can feel my hair flowing in the breeze!?"

 When we got home, we were tired...

and happy :).

Emmi told Mama at the end of the day, "Thank you for taking us to the fair! It was so much fun it was like a dream. It started with my caterpillar and just kept getting better!"

Origami dolls ✽ Totally (don't) know what I'm doing

While our friend was here last month, Mama thought it would be fun for her and Bethi to make origami dolls together. I was going to help them, and Andrew decided to join us.

Before I proceed, let me tell you, that I tried origami when I was ten. I made half of two things. I can't remember, but I think I was trying to make an elephant and a duck? I wouldn't know for sure, because they were never finished. And I have never had a desire to do it again. I did start some flowers one time, because I thought they were quilled and Tori wanted them. But I still haven't finished those ( :P ), and what I did do on them took forever.

So I started in on these knowing to expect some bumps.

My first mistake was that I didn't realize we needed two sheets of the SAME paper for each doll, so I let Bethi and Johanna make matching dolls- two sheets of two different prints. I didn't realize what I'd done until halfway through. At first I was blissfully unaware that things weren't going well. The first few steps were a breeze. This was so easy! I shouldn't have dreaded it!

Then we hit the Kimano flaps.

In about fifteen minutes I was sending these messages to Mama where she was taking care of Noah upstairs:
"WHY AM I IN CHARGE OF THESE ORIGAMI DOLLS. I am making an utter fool of myself. Help. This is why I gave up when I was ten.
We're using pencils to draw where to fold at. It's helping. Maybe.
Johanna is laughing at how proud I am.
We're now re-confused."

Haha :). As if origami isn't bad enough at "fold here, unfold", Johanna was trying to copy my every move, and I was confusing her so bad, because I was just trying to figure out what I was doing, not actually *doing* what I was supposed to be doing ;)! Drawing the lines where we were supposed to fold at may have been the smartest thing I did the whole time. I'm not capable... I'm a cheater ;). I took about forty minutes to make that decision, and by that time all the children were so bored, lol! But after that it was a breeze... until we finished the base, that is the same for all dolls, and then ran into japenese words for the outer clothing. I had to pull out my computer again to look up what each one was so everybody could decide what they wanted to dress their dolls in. Andrew decided his would just stay in his kimano. He was so fed up with "Fold here. Now... unfold that." About the third time I told them to undo it, he howled "Ahhhhhrgh!!!! Why are you even making us fold it?!?!??!?!?!"
"I don't know, it just says to!"

I was literally so happy when I made it work that they wouldn't stop laughing at me, haha. Then Andrew made me finish his, while Bethi and Johanna followed along.
Then came the outer layers, and I discovered my mistake about the papers, but oh well. "Fold, again fold, turn, fold, fold, unfold... RIGHT SIDE FIRST, MAKE SUUUUUURE IT'S THE RIGHT SIDE"... apparently kimonos are folded with the left side under the right, unless connected with a funeral, and I didn't want a bunch of funeral dolls around the house... ha! I was so hyped on making one that looked like it was supposed to, that I decided to make another one while the girls finished up theirs, so that I had one where the outfit match the sleeves. I told Mama "well, they do get easier." The second one took me maybe 15 minutes. But I did draw the crazy folds before I did them again.

My favorite part about these things is their faces- those are Johanna's doing, haha :). We did their hair direction-free (we were so fed up at that point, haha!), and then I asked, "Soooooo, anybody else wanna make another one before I put the paper away?"
"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" "I'm good." "I'm bored." "Not now." "I'm ready to do something else."

I think I've made very certain that none of them will take up origami...

Andrew's un-finished Pig Pen like one, Johanna's, my second, 
my first shepherd like one,, and Bethi's....

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Give Thanks ✽ All sorts of randomness

KBR's Give Thanks x7 challenge opens again in just a couple weeks :)!!! If you are interested in joining and praising God together during the month of November, the details are here :). These challenges have been a wonderful blessing in my life the past few years, and I'm greatly looking forward to it's beginning :)!!!

Tacos are kind of a big deal in our house, in case you didn't now. So when Mama and Dadddy found that big old tub, they knew we'd be able to finish it off before it went bad, haha... Abbi is like the sour cream queen, so she was especially impressed ;). (She used to eat sour cream by the spoonful when she was a baby, right out of the container- if she couldn't get a spoon, she'd use her fingers. So gross. She did, on a number of occasions, have a tub dedicated to her ;).)

We went to the park and the boys had fun racing (I raced, too, because a certain person has been begging me for month, and that ended badly, and not just because I lost once...I did what I am told looked like a Charlie-Brown-kicking-the-football flip in the wooden mulch. Yeah.). It's still weird sometimes to have so many boys around for stuff like this, haha :).

Our friend Johanna with Noah :). When she didn't have him, she took lots of pictures for us, like this one of Noah :)...

I couldn't help but call these two ketchup and mustard all day, haha :)! They were constantly together, and just the right shades :)!

That mushroom looks like it has the cutest face, haha!

I volunteered at my first special needs church respite last month! The respites are where families will drop their special needs children and their siblings off for a few hours every month, and my hope is that by working with these programs, I'll be able to get to know the families and see if there is a way that I could help them. I've considered assistant teaching in a special ed. class for a couple years now, but I'm keeping my options open for a while longer- if there is another more personal and tangible way to work with the families, that is really where I would want to be, and I figure nobody will know that more than the families :). The respite kind of came together last minute, and there weren't many families able to come, so I kind of felt unneeded because there were so many of us volunteers to so few children. And I was kind of nervous going alone to something I wasn't sure what to expect from, haha. (But Daddy made sure I got where I was supposed to be before he left, so that helped :).) But I'm excited to take a small step towards what I've been hoping to do for several years now! I would love to adopt someday, and I would definitely be open to special needs children, so I want to be able to gain experience while helping others in the meantime :). I'm trying to contact another church as well, and we'll see where that goes.

As I said, tacos get frequent recognition here ;). Emmi was proud of her tortilla mask :).

The little girls got their own bibles this year, and they chose ones with personizable covers :). They have been enjoying coloring in the designs and making them their own :). (While eating apple sauce. Because. Apples. Lots of them. Haha :).)

So, this Thursday Mama and Daddy and Noah and I went out so I could drive around in a church parking lot some more (and, among other things, to pick up brackets to hang up the last shelves in our room, and I'm so happy to have that done! Emmi saw them all finally hanging up, and she kind of just stood there looking around and asked, "Bri.... why is our room so... white?..." Haha!). Driving is still... interesting... haha, but I think it's eventually going to get somewhere ;)? I did (finally) park successfully right before we left! But then, I also (accidentally) sped up so fast one time that I panicked and slammed the brake, and Daddy accused me of doing it on purpose to scare them. Lol! As I'm driving across the parking lot, Daddy was telling me, "Turn left, turn left, turn left...".
"TURN LEFT TURN LEFT TURN LEFT!!!" I heard shrieked shrilly out from the back seat.
They'd snuck Walter the snowgie into the car and Mama turned him on for my lesson. 
It was terrifying. 
Haha :).

A few nights ago, I was brushing Emmi's teeth. I happened to look away because someone was talking to me, and when I looked back, her tooth was literally laying across her tongue -not lost, but barely holding on. That was a shock, and I told her she needed to get Daddy to get it out (basically because I'm a chicken, and Daddy and Emmi thought that was too funny..).
Forward to last night: *brushing teeth, tralala, nightly routine* 
Emmi: "Ouch!!!"
Tooth: Jumps four inches into the air and then falls again into her mouth.
Me: "DON'T SWALLOW!!!!!!!"
She's got five missing or barely grown in right now!

The incident itself was very deja vu, because Andrew also lost a tooth while I was brushing his teeth one time. The excited five year old then went to church the next day and let everybody know that he had lost I think it was three teeth in the past 24 hours. "Daddy pulled one, I lost one while I was eating the banana bread Bri made for us, and then Bri knocked the other one out last night", he sweetly told everyone. 
Why nobody ever asked me about that, I'm not sure, but I wanted to hide in embarrassment. 

And before I sign off, I just want to explain the huge amount of posts lately/coming next week; they've all been written for a while, but I'm finally adding pictures to them and just posting them all at once when they've been written here and there over a month... haha. That's why most of it has been "old" news. But I figured, why waste them when they are done, even if they end up late, right ;)? Haha :). I have one coming next week that the little ones had a part in that I think is too fun, and I can't wait to share it with you :)!

Apple picking ✽ Fall is here

Fall is here! I do miss the colors we would have had in VA by this time... VA autumns were gorgeous! For colors here, we have brown and yellow... acorns and dandelions :). But the temperatures are great right now! Andrew went out recently to play with his new baseball pitching machine (because he needed something more reliable than Bethi and I... ha!), and since I had Noah I went outside to watch :). Within a few rounds, Andrew was hitting a majority of the balls :)! He's really excited about that gift :). But it was so nice out that I've been trying to step out for a few minutes here and there to enjoy it while it lasts (because by Christmas we could be burning up again... haha :).) We've made pumpkin muffins a couple of times, and I'm looking forward to making gingersnaps today. My favorite thing to do in fall is to sit down with gingersnaps and coffee and read a book :).

The acorns here are falling with a vengeance though! I was spray painting our shelves the other day and one fell on the plastic slide surface, scared me so bad! (But then, I've been called "frail of heart" and told I have "the bravery of a chicken nugget" before, so that could explain that). I was talking to Daddy while he was grilling hamburgers the other day, and he was mentioning how hard they were falling. Right afterward, a plane passed over us, and at the same time an acorn hit the porch right behind us, and Daddy looked around and told me, "I think we were just bombed". Haha!

So this picture isn't fallish, but I had to take it when I saw 
them at the apple orchard, because like three days before we went, 
I was telling the little people about our old 
Cleome plant while reading a Winnie-the-Pooh book, when we 
were talking about different flowers having different names, because
 I read "snap dragon", and Peter hollered, "What?! You said dragon,
and there is not a dragon on that page!!!" :) 

While we had our friend over last month, we went apple picking with my Grandparents and aunts and uncle :)! Our family alone picked 85 lbs. of apples in 17 minutes, and then my aunts and Grandparents each had a bag... many hands make light work ;)!

Peter L.o.v.e.d. this "teeny apple". He was too cute, because he thought it was soooooo cute, haha :). He got a couple like that and just carried them around admiring them, heehee :).

 Bethi and our friend.

Johanna insisted on dragging alllll the buckets and the cart, etc. down to the trees at first, and my Grandma was just laughing at the company doing all the work. But once we actually had apples, she sat down and asked if we'd pull her instead, haha!

Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Amber and Uncle Jason treated all of us to apple slushies :). (I think ordering the slushies and paying for the apples might have taken longer than picking the apples, haha.) They are just apple juice and ice, so even Noah go to join in the fun by finishing off Mama's :). He loved it, it was cute :). Mama made apple pie and dried apples and apple crisp and apple butter with the apples we picked, and we where still eating fresh apples for weeks!

Johanna has five kitties at home, and she was really missing them, so when we got to my grandparents I had to find Rissa and show her off, heehee :). This kitty is 17 years old! Daddy found her as a tiny kitten under his car, and we kind of "grew up" together until Daddy became allergic to cats and he gave her to Aunt Tessa. Aunt Tessa is renting and can't have cats in her house, so Rissa is stayed with Grandpa and Grandma. She used to be a really shy kitty, but over the past few years she's really been mellowing out, and she actually laid on the dinning room floor the whole time we ate supper, instead of running under the bed as soon as we set her down. She's a sweetie <3. She was really sick a couple years ago, but she's doing amazingly well for her age now! As Tori loves to point out, she's so dainty, haha :).

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bumblebee blanket ✽ Six months old

IIIIIIII... finished Noah's baby blanket set last month :)!!!!

I figure it took about 4 & 1/2 balls of yarn and 40+ hours. Still, it seems ridiculous that it took seven and a half months. But considering we had a new baby in the house during that time, took a house hunting trip, moved, and had out-of-state company a couple times, I guess that it wasn't as bad as it felt... haha :). I loved making it, but there were times I just wanted to be looking BACK on making it ;). But I think it turned out really cute, and I'm so excited to have it completed :)!

The blanket is made using hexagon motifs made in two yellows and white. Then I had to slip stitch crochet alllll of those together... and THEN, the ends.

This doesn't do it justice. There where more than you see in this picture. Not to mention I'd already done some. Believe me. It took me three days to weave them in. Then I single crocheted 3 rows around the edge, making a 3sc increase in all the points in rows 1&3.

Then I used this pattern for the bees, in between freestyling the hat (because I was too lazy to look up standard baby hat sizes. Ehem. I've made enough, I just eyeball it at this point for hats, because I can't remember which number goes with which size, but I know that it's all 6 increases per row, so, whatever... haha...). I worked the hat along with the bees, because once you have the right number of stitches for circumference, it gets monotonous as you keep going for length ;). I also freestyled the bumblebee, because I didn't want to pay for the pattern, haha! Not being able to find what we want free AND cute at the same time is the main reason we crocheters create any pattern ;).

And speaking of blankets, Mama gave me one of those plush ones. You know, the soft and warm but still light blankets that make everything fuzzy and poetic feeling. I love soft textures. Socks, blankets, extra soft carpet. I search it out and bask in it. I've been stealing Mama's blanket (nicknamed "The Pooh Skin" for it's color and softness) and the one off of Andrew's bed for a couple years now, so I was excited. Haha... back on track

We took Noah's six month pictures with his blanket.... isn't he darling :D?!?!??!!

Noah crawls "right", and Tori was so delighted, because he's the first one to ever really do that. Daddy and I think Abbi did, but she didn't crawl for long. The other babies have all had a very unique crawl- Emmi's was HILARIOUS, because she wore skirts a lot, and got into the habit of hitching one foot forward and dragging the other behind her, haha :).

Mama thinks he's teething, and he's pulling up on EVERYTHING... I mean, he's starting to cruise, y'all. He is six (seven in a couple of days... How?!!!!) months old, and beginning to cruise. Just, stop Noah! Abbi was the youngest of us to walk at 8 1/2 months, but Peter was 11 months, so, we'll see where Noah falls. He's also learned what the word "flop" means, heehee :).

That puppy is the same one we took his pictures with when he was first born. Just look at how much he's grown!!!!

He tried some pumpkin pie on Andrew's birthday, and he really seemed to like it :). Much more than the ice last week ;). We're joking that he is "growing into" his hair... He still has as much of it, but as his head has grown, the amount is less startling, haha :). He's too sweet <3.