Summer goals

22 06 2011

Prompted by The Artful Parent’s great list, I thought I would put together a list of things I’d like to accomplish this summer.  Somehow, committing them to “paper” makes them more likely to actually get done!  BB has been out of school for just over a week and already I feel like I’m falling behind.  (Isn’t that so typical, to see all these great ideas and totally fail to live up to that standard?)  I read this idea of having a daily schedule, which I thought was so great and immediately made one for us.  Well, tell it to LB that he is supposed to nap at 1:00 pm.  Ha!  He has his own ideas and I have already more or less scrapped the whole idea because he remains frustratingly unpredictable in his sleep habits.  I was going to “lesson plan” our weeks so that BB could do something mildly educational or vaguely enriching but so far the best I have managed is using Common Sense Media to choose the least bad TV shows on Netflix.  So here goes nothing, a list of things that I will make a real effort to do this summer, both for me and with the boys, so our summer does not slip away unintentionally. 

The easy stuff: My goals:

  • Make a real garment, not a muslin, for each of the patterns I bought a few weeks ago when they were crazy cheap on sale.  I especially want to try some variations on Simplicity 2599, like this one on presserfoot
  • Make some rompers/overalls for LB.  It only took me a year to realize that this is the way to keep him from sticking his hand in his diaper.  Eureka!
  • Carve at least one new rubber stamp. 

Outdoor goals:

  • Grow a bean pole teepee.  We have already started on this and I’m hopeful it will work out. 
  • Transition BB to a bike with training wheels… he is getting too big for a tricycle, although he loves it!
  • Go swimming with the boys.
  • Do a nature scavenger hunt. 
  • Try to find a few more letterboxes.  We found our first one the other day and it was fun!
  • Go camping!  It’s been 2 years since we last tried it, but once upon a time we were big into camping, maybe this year we can swing it!

Artsy-craftsy goals:

  • Try our very best to do an index card a day, inspired by daisy yellow.  We have started on this but been inconsistent.  I figured this is something BB and I can do while LB naps; it’s a nice way for him to focus on fine motor skills.  He has been doing really well making smaller designs and really enjoying the project.  I got him his own watercolors and oil pastels so we can experiment with lots of different media. 
  • Make some pie plate scarecrows for the garden, a craft I saw in a children’s gardening book. 
  • Continue with some “real” art lessons, color theory, line, shape, texture… a basic look at some things that were presented on pineapple paintbrush not that long ago.  BB was not that into it, a little too advanced for him, but he’s older every day, so we’ll try some more this summer. 


  • Go to the library once a week to find new books
  • Have a playdate once a week at least (I am terrible about this) so the kids see someone besides me. 
  • Go to the science museum.
  • Take BB to the art museum after looking at some books of famous painters.
  • Put together at least a few of the activities on the various montessori blogs I follow; they are so full of good ideas and I never do any of them!  Am I the only one whose kids would rather run in circles screaming like banshees than tweeze pom-poms into an ice cube tray?  Well, I am going to try again to get them interested in these motor skills/language/math activities. 
  • Make ice cream and popsicles.  That’s educational, right?  Cultural?  Hmmm, well, it’s something we’ll do for sure, at any rate. 


And a final goal for me is to go to bed earlier so I’m not so tired!  Which means less of this and more ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZ!  So here’s a quick look at a recent project now that I have my camera back (yay!), a pair of shorts I made for LB (a mere days before I decided he should spend all summer in overalls).  I went to a garage sale up the street and bought a hideous pink chair with the goal of learning to reupholster and/or make a slipcover, both incredibly practical things I don’t know how to do.  I was looking at some women’s shirts and the lady threw them in with the chair, so hey, free shorts!


I used the sleeves, which was great, men’s shirts always have cuffs but this shirt, being a women’s shirt and unfettered by such rules, did not.  I cut two legs (remembering to make a right AND a left, not two lefts like in my most recent pants project), sewed them up at the crotch, decided to add pockets, put in an elastic waist and voila!  Shorts!  Without the pockets it would take less than half an hour but those were a little time consuming.  They really make the shorts look a lot nicer though so it was time well spent.  I am currently (slooowwwwlllyy) trying to eke out a pair for BB of the remaining fabric, which is full of darts and whatnot that lazy me didn’t pick out. 

Happy summer to all 2 of you that read this!


11 08 2010

Once again, I am behind in blogging my projects… all that pesky sleeping and whatnot gets in the way sometimes.  Anyway, in the midst of feeling frustrated about the lack of good patterns for boys, I bought the Lil Blue Boo Hoodie pattern, since it was the only one on You Can Make This that actually caught my eye.  It’s made using old shirts!  That’s perfect because I have a million old shirts that are embarrassing to wear!  And yet… I made my first draft out of fleece just to see if the sizing was good, you know, before I cut into my old t-shirts.  They are full of memories, in addition to stains and holes, after all.  And thanks to the generosity of a friend, I have a bolt of nice microfleece.  Here it is:


I modified it a whole lot, but left the size unaltered and was happy to find that 4T was very true to size.  Since I was not using old shirts, I had to solve my raw edge dilemma, and I hate hemming with a passion so I used cuffs of ribbing (a la 90 minute shirt, which I still have not made).  I also did a lined hood, working on using up those pajama-esque prints.  I’m pretty happy with it, but when I make the matching one for LB (matching outfits are always on my to-do list), I am going to try making a placket for the first time.  I didn’t even know what it was called, but Google has helped me out, and I’ll be giving it a try soon…

But still, I couldn’t quite cut into my shirts.  I actually went out and bought old t-shirts to try it again.  (Yes, my husband gave me a hard time about this.  Plus somehow I didn’t think a Girl Scouts or polymer science club shirt would be that great for a little boy.)  I bought 3 shirts and barely eked out 2 hoodies, one in 18 month and one 4T.


You almost can’t tell, but the orange one is the smaller one.  I had plans to dress it up a little, maybe some freezer paper stenciling, but I haven’t decided yet.  In the meantime I like it how it is.  I even broke out my double needle for the topstitching!  Fancy, eh?  I thought the Sesame street shirt would be fun for BB, but in the end I’m not crazy about it.  Ah well, it fits.  And it might look better if it wasn’t totally wrinkled…unfortunately I only iron while sewing.  🙂

One final unrelated thought.  The only thing I am growing with any success this year (besides crabgrass) is an upside down grape tomato plant.  It’s looking great!  Sadly, we are going out of town in a few days and I suspect our tomatoes will ripen while we are gone.  If the plant doesn’t die, that is.  What poor timing!


Spring has sprouted…

8 04 2010

We live in upstate New York, and every year I have dutifully waited until the last frost date to start planting the garden.  Well, our last frost date is May 20th.  May 20th!  Can you believe it?  In the 3 years we’ve lived here, there has never been a frost that late though, so I’m always kicking myself for not getting an earlier start.  If I’m lucky, I get tomatoes by September and they keep coming till the first frost, which is usually in late September/early October.

Well, not this year.  This year I have an eager garden helper and we have already started broccoli and tomatoes indoors, in the hopes of getting a head start on the growing season.  Cute, aren’t they?  BB would give them kisses all day long if I didn’t move them out of reach.  He’s a very sweet boy.  He helped me with the planting.

We were having such fun with sprouts that I decided to get a sprouting jar and grow sprouts for eating, since BB had expressed interest in eating the little sprouts.  It worked wonderfully!

so many sprouts!

I love sprouts on sandwiches and salads, so this was a fun and economical way to get them.  We watched them grow from just 1.5 tablespoons of seeds into a whole quart of sprouts!  I told BB they were for dessert and he happily ate them.  Hahaha!  (I did too, by the way, lest you think I’m mean.)  I have to say, a quart was a little too much.  I felt like I was eating sprouts non-stop for days, so next time I will probably sprout less.  I guess I didn’t really believe that such a small amount of seed would fill the whole jar!

Mmmmm.... sprouty sandwich...

I can’t wait to get out and start planting the garden.  I will probably throw caution to the wind and get started before May 20th!  However, given our less than stellar garden production in years past (it’s heavily shaded, in addition to being started late), I have joined a CSA this year and I’m super excited to get fresh veggies all summer, and try new ones too.  Plus I think it will be really fun for the boys to go and see the farm where their food is growing… heck, it will be fun for me too!