January 16, 2012

Up UP and aWAY


For Christmas I made Micah's & My neices and nephews capes. (My amazing SIL Meghan & MIL helped with costs and with finishing them minutes before the kids arrived)
They went over well :)
(side Capital C Cape note: if you want to add seam allowance to a neck hole, you make it SMALLER not bigger.)

I was very proud of myself, but they were a LOT of work. If Karen hadn't been willing to iron they would have not been anywhere near as nice. My sewing machine died in the middle of the project and I had to borrow one and that was while our car was still on probation and not to be trusted with me driving it in case it left me stranded in the middle of nowhere (my darling is so sweet and protective of me :))

I was inspired to make these capes by mom who went on a cape kick a few years ago. After Christmas I realized that My sisters little boy was not yet born when his grandmother was on a cape kick. I felt like He NEEDED a Cape. I did not feel like I had it in me to do another Capital C Cape so I made him a lower case c cape.  It was MUCH simpler. And while it is maybe less impressive, his sister will no longer be able to tell him that he can't fly with her because he doesn't have a cape.

So here's how I made a cape in like an hour and a half (including a break to make a cup of hot chocolate) with half of 2 t-shirts and no ironing.

1. Cut the sleeves and collar off of two Large or XL t-shirts, Slice up the sides and along the shoulders so that you have sleeveless collarless front and back pieces. Choose one and fold it in half.

2. Use a bowl or imposibly large mug to trace half a circle at the top of the fold
(please ignore what appears to be a magical color changing carpet.  In real life it stays black all the time)

3.With a sharpie, mark a cut line that curves up from under the arm hole of the shirt and makes a tab above the neck hole. Pin the two halves together to make it easier to cut.

4.Cut on the line. We will hide any remaining evidence that you drew on the cape with permanent marker in the next step

5. Unfold and pin the cut out cape(red) to another t-shirt with the marked side in. Using t-shirt material means that you can leave raw edges not have to turn it inside out or iron it and it looks intentional and charming instead of lazy.
The fact that I had a large and an XL shirt made pinning this easier but it could be done with two shirts of the same size and you'd have less trimming.

6. Sew along the cut-out cape shape to attach the two pieces. (Feel free to use matching thread instead of white.) Trim the edges so they match.

7. Decide which side will be the front. Slice open one of the contrasting sleeves and pin it to the cape for the "logo" (I got carried away with the first batch of logos. Poor Nick is just getting an N)

8. Sew the outline of whatever letter or symbol you would like to add to make the cape super. Since N is an easy letter,  I just eyeballed it. (Makes up for the cursive K I had to sew on his stocking)
Then just cut around your lines. I think this looks cool. If the bobbin on my borrowed machine was not giving me fits I may have tried to do two graduated layers.

9. Add velcro or stings to tie it around your little hero's neck and Voila!

I may or may not have worn this cape around the rest of the day and seriously considered making myself one.

January 14, 2012

Menu Planning (Jan 13-23)

The fact that I plan a menu is apparently impressive to some people. I think it may be because Menu is such a fancy word. The fact of the matter is that I am simply too scattered to shop and cook without one.

Here's the secret to my "impressiveness" so you too can awe friends and strangers by mentioning your menu plan:

Side note: I usually only plan for weekday dinners and add lunch on weekends. Micah and I are not big breakfast eaters he has coffee, I eat oatmeal or cereal or left over brownies - whatever I feel like. Weekday lunches I eat leftovers (or apple crisp) and Micah has the same packed lunch every day (because I get up before the sun to make it and i don't think clearly for the first 45 minutes that I'm awake):
A sandwich,
something salty, something sweet,
a fruit, some veggies and a treat.
(it rhymes or else I'd forget things)

I write the days of the week down the side of an index card. (If I feel fancy, I sometimes add the date too!) and mark any days we'll be out of town or have guests. i.e. - Monday through Friday next week we are adding 2 pre-schoolers to our house (noted by the vertical line) necessitating the planning of breakfasts and lunches in addition to dinner.

Then I look at last week's card and transfer the dinners that we didn't eat because I was lazy and improvised, or we ate out while we were running errands or having date night. I should already have everything I need to make these meals and they go early in the week so that any fresh ingredients don't rot.

Next I fill in the blank spaces. 
Micah will cook Sunday Lunch if I provide a recipe and ingredients, so I pick something he can do for Sunday. I choose meals from recipes I found and want to try, old standards or recipes that use stuff that was on too good a sale to pass up last week and/or needs used up from my freezer or pantry. LO stands for left-overs.


Ta Da!  15 (or less) minutes later - This week's Menu Plan.

Another few minutes and I make the grocery list which is as simple as writing down what staples I need (milk bread butter spices stuff for packed lunches) and what I'll need for each recipe listed. Usually I just list it on this same card down the right hand side so that when I'm in the store I have my list of what I'll be making right in front of me. This week since I planned breakfasts and lunches the grocery list is on the back of this card.

I hang it on the fridge and cross off the meals as we eat them. If I do not feel like baking potatoes on Monday, it's OK we'll have corn chowder or pizza and when we get to Wednesday, I'll make the potatoes or improvise.  "Do you have a plan? Ever think about Changin' it?"

P.S. I have edited this since taking the picture. We will have ravioli (it coming with the pre-schoolers) instead of baked potatoes on Tuesday and maybe mac & cheese instead of Pizza or if we end up being home Friday night. I may make the potatoes tonight instead of leftovers. See how simple and flexible it is.

January 13, 2012

Not really flattering

So I'll get to posting my list of things to do in 2012 eventually. Ironically, one of them is blog.

Another 2012 thing is that I joined a group of women from our church in an accountability roundtable.  We each read a certain number of chapters form the old and new testaments and report to the next person in the chain that we did so. I made it through Job last year (pretty good considering I usually get bogged down somewhere in Chronicles) so I'm doing a Psalm, a chapter of Proverbs, two old testament chapters and two new testament chapters.

All that to say I spent the last few days in Song of Solomon. There's some reall weird sweet talk in there. I wouldn't mind being told that my feet look good in sandals or that my thighs are like jewels the work of a master hand. But I'm pretty sure I would not swoon if someone, even a king, told me that my belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies or that my nose looks like the tower of Lebanon.

But I was willing to read the spirit of the book and ignore some "compliments" that were hopefully more meaningful to an ancient Israelite woman. And anyway, modern sweet talk is jsut as weird (hunny-bunny snuggle bottom poopsie snookums...gag!). Then I got to verse 5 in chapter 7 and I was stopped cold.... Your head crowns you like a Camel.  I imagined the claymation camels from Wil Vinton's Christmas special (Star of wonder star of light doobie do....) and was unable to imagine tha being a compliment that you'd want recorded for future generations.
Man, Solomon, that could NOT have been what you meant!

So I re-read it. Oh, not "a camel" Caramel....sounds sticky (and vegetables start singing..."we're goin' to the promised land!") WAIT. Carmel. Like Mount Carmel.

How is that any better? Apparently, "Biblically, Mt. Carmel is referenced most often as a symbol of beauty and fertility.  To be given the "splendor of Carmel" was to be blessed indeed (Isa 35:2)
 I don't see it.

Anyway, I have had We Three Kings stuck in my head all day. And you will not win any points by comparing my head to a rock.