Monday, June 20, 2016

10 Good Things About Pig

On Monday the Pinkham family lost a member. We had to put our precious Pig to sleep. He was a part of my life for 14 years and I feel lost and sad  without him. I know our pets do not live forever- and I thought I had been preparing myself for the end, but the end is always so final. 

After finding out about Pig's passing a friend mailed me a copy of the book "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney". It got me to thinking about the best things about Pig. Most of my favorite parts of  him are memories and not things, but I felt I need to write them down (so I might ramble a bit in this post). 

I was fifteen when I adopted Pig, My cat of ten years passed away out of the blue and I didn't actually think I wanted another cat yet. My sister saw this little skinny gray cat in one of the cages at the adoption place and made me pull him out to take a closer look. Pig put both paws on my shoulder and rubbed his face all over my face. That was it, he had to come home with us. Pig loved everyone, and he greeted most people by rubbing all over their faces- in fact that's how we found out my best friend was allergic to cats... 

For the record, I didn't actually name him Pig, I named him "Tomo". My dad renamed him Pig after we discovered his desire to eat everything- he would even get in your lap and try to steal food out of your mouth. His first Christmas with us he ate the Christmas cookies right off the table- and some of the plastic wrap covering them. He slowed down as he got older, but at the end he would steal McDonald's french fries, and he might just bite your fingers trying to take them. 

I know this isn't totally unique for a cat, but Pig loved laundry baskets. He would attack your fingers through the holes, I hated this particular laundry basket but I held on to it for a long time just because he loved it. 

Pig drank his water by dipping his front paw into the bowl and then licking his paw. He also did this to any waiting water glass. I now don't trust cups that have been left out. 

He humored us in everything, absolutely everything. 

When Cordelia was first born Pig pretty much ignored her- once she started moving around he always wanted to be doing what she was doing. He let her dress him up, he played with her toys, they argued over who really owned the pink princess couch. She would squish him and accidentally yank his fur- but he always kept following her.  

When you pet his cheeks he made this silly face
(We called it skinny Pig)

Pig made the best Pillow. He had the softest fur. 

He was always there. He studied with me, he sat on my sewing desk when I sewed, he greeted us at the door, he would watch me exercise, when I was sad and crying he would find me and purr and kneed me until I calmed down. He was always there. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's Raining Cats...and Fish?

It seems like so many of Cordelia's dresses had been in rotation for about two years or so. Sure they kept getting shorter, but they still fit on her torso, so they stayed in the closet. Well Miss C must have gone through another growth spurt because it seems like all of a sudden none of her old dresses would button. 

Luckily, I love sewing dresses. This is my second Vintage Grace Flutter  Dress- I reviewed the pattern and showed off the pictures of the first one in my last post. 

The second dress went together even smoother than the first, and this is the final length of the size six dress- just for reference.

I only made two changes to the pattern when I made this Dress. First change was that I lined the flutter sleeve because the backside of this fabric was very underwhelming. Lining the piece was super simple, I cut two pieces of black fabric the same size of the flutter sleeve, then I placed them right sides together and sewed along the bottom edge. Then I trimmed the curve, flipped right side out, and sewed like normal. 

My second change was to add side pockets. I personally love having pockets in my skirts and dresses, and Cordelia has become accustomed to them as well- which I guess is a perk of having mommy made clothing. Jess from Craftiness is Not Optional has a great tutorial on how to add side pockets HERE.  Its a really simple addition to any project. 

Normally I avoid letting Cordelia pick fabric for things- that might make me sound terrible, but you can end up spending hours sewing fabric you hate when your five year old picks it out. However, I gave Cordelia full choice in the fabric store on fabric for a new dress and she picked this darling cat fabric. 

The best part was that her choice gave me the perfect opportunity to use these little fish bowl buttons my sister found at a yard sale last year. 

Thanks for stopping by- and do us a favor and cross your fingers for sunshine for us- well yesterday we were lucky enough to see the sun, but we had been hammered with rain for days and we are back to rain again! Rain is beautiful and wonderful but It sure is making for a cranky mamma and a cranky kid. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Vintage Grace Flutter Dress- Pattern Review

Pattern testing has given me the opportunity to get to know the style of some really great PDF pattern designers. One designer I can recommend without even knowing what pattern you are talking about it Melissa from Bella Sunshine Designs. Every pattern I have worked on from her has just been totally top notch- and I am a big fan of how thorough her testing process is.  

The Vintage Grace Flutter Dress is Melissa's latest pattern (and one I had the pleasure to test). This pattern is sized six months to girls size 12, and features a great flutter sleeve with optional lace trim. The bodice has a great wide, flat, simple, front which makes for a great place to feature some super special fabric, or you could decorate it with a heat transfer design or applique. I love that the bodice is also lined so all of the seems are inside and not left where they can be itchy- which would especially be a plus if you appliqued the front!   

This is my first version of the new Vintage Grace Flutter Dress- It is also from one of the early stages of the pattern, so keep in mind that two inches were added to the length of the dress on the final version. I made this dress using my favorite black and white stripe cotton, and super awesome blue octopus fabric from Cotton and Steel.  I have been really obsessed with all things black and white- a trend that Cordelia hates, but the blue in the Cotton and Steel fabric made my fabric choices  five year old approved. Instead of opting for lace on the flutter sleeve I used black bias tape on the edge to repeat the black and white theme. 

The dress went together quickly- probably about an hour and a half not counting the cut out time (I take FOREVER to cut things out). The instructions are very straightforward and great for any confidant beginner. I like that Melissa includes cutting instructions for the skirt so you don't have to print and tape the entire pattern - you can just print the bodice and sleeve and then measure and cut your pattern. She also includes helpful tips on blending sizes and adjusting for length- and her size lines are marked with the size on them which makes it easier if you have to print multiple sizes at once.   

The last dress feature I want to mention is the adorable button back. I love a good button back, and I have such a large stash of buttons! I love buttons because it is such a nice extra touch in a little girl's dress- and Melissa's instructions on the buttons and the skirt placket get an A+.  So now that I am done gushing (for now) I want to mention that the Vintage Grace Flutter dress is on sale until Thursday!  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dear Cordelia

Dear Cordelia,

And just like that you are five. Last night I was thinking about the night before your birth- It is a powerful thing to know that the next day your family of two will become a family of three- to know that you are spending your last night as non parents. It's  hard to imagine parenthood; sure you can make lists of your parenting "dos and don'ts" - many of which drastically change once you are in the thick of things, and you can imagine yourself pushing a stroller or going to the park- but you really cannot imagine being a parent. Once your Papa and I held you in our arms our world changed, its a fuller, more joyess, and at times more sleepless, world. 

In the past five years we have learned just how strong the emotions of love, fear, and pride can be. The first time I held you and marveled at your tiny tiny fingers and your perfect little nose I learned what it is for a mother to love her child. Over the next few days we learned what fear really feels like- and as we have watched you grow we have learned to be truly proud. 

Cordelia, I am amazed, and proud, by your empathy towards others. Your concern for the comforts of your baby dolls, your interest in the feelings of our cats, the time you take to try to understand and help your shy friends, and your deep compassion for me when I am sad or overwhelmed. I will never forget the time that I was overwhelmed and sad and you told me that you would help if I could tell you the instructions because we are family and family helps each other. I am often struck by how grown up your feelings seem to be and as your mother I try my best to help you understand them. You are soo excited by people, you love with all your heart and you enjoy making friends.  I hope you will always confide in me and allow me to help. 

This year we have continued to watch your interests grow! Batman, Barbies, Princesses, bugs, fairies, and space- you love it all. You watch Miss Fischer's Murder Mysteries, Blacksmith shows, How's it Made, and Bones with just as much enthusiasm as you do Doc McStuffins and Berenstain Bears. As I spent hours studying for school you sat with me learning the names of the bones and asking detailed questions about the inner workings of the body. Poor Pig gets check ups on a regular basis because you love to listen to his heart, and often when we eat chicken you ask me to name the bones for you.  

You like to try new foods, your favorite vegetable is asparagus, and you eat tomatoes by the handful. You love sushi, cucumbers, pickles, dried seaweed, shrimp, chicken wings, salmon, and all the fruit. You delighted in every picking adventure you went on with Shauna- you still love the funny shaped strawberries the best. 

This year we made it a priority to visit Museums. We have sat in art galleries drawing our own interpretations of  the art on the walls, we have practiced the poses of the statues, and we have learned about the natural world and it's wonders. 

You started asking to sew- in fact you helped make this skirt. We can only do a little at a time before you get frustrated, but you always ask to do more later. 

I am amazed that you have started building memories- this year you told me all about things we did last year. You wanted to recreate events as traditions and you were soo much more excited for holidays and birthdays because you remembered the ones before. As your Mama I feel soo much more pressure to make sure we build good traditions now! 

 You are the funniest kid I know. You have started telling bad knock knock jokes, your favorite number is 1800 (and there are always "like 1800" of anything). You enjoy saying words like "actually" and you say them all the time. Sentences like "Ah, I got you" come out of your mouth, and sometimes your stuffed animals really like to swear- but I am not allowed to laugh at that.

I hope that you always know how important creativity is. You put together costumes, and  tell me wild and detailed stories, you sing (you have even started remembering the words to songs on the radio- especially this one) and dance- I hope that is always you, and that you never change. 

Watching you grow is my greatest adventure. I am learning just as much about myself- my own strengths and weaknesses- as I am learning about you, but I have to say it's more fun to learn about you then it is to learn about me! 

I have no doubt that this upcoming year will be just as big as the last five, that we will grow and change as a family in ways we cannot imagine- just like we could't imagine what it would be like to be your parents. I love you and I look forward to this adventure with you and your Papa. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Twirly Space Dress

The other day in Cordelia's preschool group the kids were supposed to talk about family traditions. One of the traditions Cordelia identified was that every year for her birthday she gets to pick a party theme and Mommy makes her a special dress. I really enjoy making these dresses- it can be stressful because I often leave things until the last moment, but I always love how happy she is with them. 

I picked up this planet fabric awhile ago from the thrift store- I don't think I paid more than $4 for 3 yards of it so even though I didn't have a plan for it, it was too good of a deal to leave it there. Turns out I got it just for this. I kept the bodice simple, no decorations or details on the front- but I added a super full, three tier, twirly skirt,  - perfect for my super dramatic 5 year old.  We picked up a crinoline from our local mom's swap which added even more poof and drama- and because it was her birthday her daddy okay-ed some super sparkly make up. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Cordelia Rockets to Five!

I have lots of thoughts about the fact my daughter is turning five- many of which I am sure I will talk about in another post- but right now I am a little amazed that (with the help of my amazing family) I have successfully thrown five themed birthday parties! Every year my husband says "no more" and every year in my exhaustion I agree....but I just love a good theme! 

This year Cordelia requested an outer space party- and with the help of pinterest (check out our board here)  my sister Shauna and I set to work.  I always figure parties break down into five categories: Invite, food, games, decorations, and the favor.  The invite (the first picture in the post) I made and included Cordelia's favorite planet Pluto (a dwarf planet is still a planet.....)

The Food! 

Shauna came up with most of the food ideas- she is becoming excellent at coming up with themed party foods! We had:

Rocket Dogs served with optional sun spots and mars magma
 (pigs in a blanket on sticks with mustard or ketchup) 
Asteroids (crock pot meat balls)
Space Crunch (veggie tray)
 A watermelon carved like a rocket (with added fruit)
Space shaped Goldfish
Saturn's Rings (Funyuns)
Meteors (orange cheese puff balls)
Yogurt dipped star cookies from Trader Joe's
Moon Rocks (Rice crispy treats shaped like rocks)
Alien Marshmallow Pops 
Galaxy Cupcakes (mini and regular size, with a star shaped one for the birthday girl)
Rocket Fuel (Water- because we gave the kids enough sugar to ruin the rest of the day) 

The Games

I am not big on directing kids at parties- I mostly want to let them run around and act crazy, so our games are pretty unstructured. We had a meteor toss.   

A coloring book- which seems to work well for the kids who want to scope out the activity before they dive in. 

"Pin" the rocket on Pluto. 


Brendon made a cardboard rocket ship that really was the main event! 

We finished off the party with a Pinata- which turned out to be indestructible. After the kids beat at it for awhile Brendon had to cut it open and make it rain candy- which turned out less than ideal because Cordelia got hit in the head with a piece of candy and it hurt pretty bad (she recovered ok with the help of a piece of candy) 

The Decorations 

Behind the food table we hung black table cloths and decorated them with tons of silver stars and a solar system that Cordelia painted.  On the table we added purple table cloths with multi tone purple tulle (to kinda look like a nebula).

Cordelia, Shauna, and I made paper rockets to put up on one of the walls, we hung tons of paper balls from the ceiling, and my mom bought Cordelia lots of star balloons. 

One of my favorite decorations was the future space travel posters- designed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and given to the public for free download here. I am in love with these and I was thrilled that my sister made us super fancy quality prints - I kept them to hang up at home when the party was over. 

The Favor

Our favor was much more simple than in years past but this blue sparkly galaxy play dough was still a huge hit!