And then they…

the things we do to live a better life.

Archive for the month “February, 2014”

Friday Gratitudes – 8

And Then They - DoiliesAnd Then They - Music ClassAnd Then They - SwingingAnd They They - SunningAnd Then They - 33And Then They - CurlsAnd Then They - SavorAnd Then They - Irises And Then They - Strolling

Friday the 21st:  Subbing – My first day back at work.  Oh boy do I love middle schoolers!  I missed my babes, but it was great to spend some time with those amazing big kids.

Saturday the 22nd: Music – Incredible music class taught by my talented friend Jodie.

Sunday the 23rd: Puddles

Monday the 24th: Swings

Tuesday the 25th: Friends – Such a great way to celebrate my birthday.

Wednesday the 26th: Frozen – A wonderful movie to see with my dear friends.  It completely satisfied my love of musical theater.

Thursday the 27th: Pandora – My Audra McDonald station is on a roll of my favorite songs right now.  Gotta be grateful for that!

Birthday Sunshine

My birthday is in February.  I’m sure you’re thinking it’s usually dreary and sad outside.  For some reason, most of my birthdays are sunny and warm!  We usually get some really beautiful weather in the end of February, and I’m lucky enough to get to enjoy it on my birthday most years.  I think it snowed a couple years ago, which is also fun. 

The girls and I took advantage of the beautiful day to play in the backyard.  I even got some yard work done.  Alma helped, obviously.

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Rainy Days Don’t Bring Us Down

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And Then They - Happy BirthdayToday I turn 33.  The flowers are starting to poke through the dark dirt.  The sky is brightening.  My early mornings aren’t feeling so early, now that the sun is joining us for more of our days.

Thirty-three is going to be an exciting, life changing year.  I have plans and ideas.  Hopes and dreams.  This is my year, with my family standing with me, cheering me on.


Sewing – How I Got Started, Part 2 (or a love letter to Oliver + S)

And Then They - Sewing - How I got started Part 2, or a love letter to Oliver + SAfter I tackled my first quilt, I felt like I was ready to try something a little more difficult.  I decided that I wanted to make a baptism dress for Alma, but I wanted to make something she could wear for more than just her baptism (ie not a traditional ‘gown’).  My mom and I were at a fabric store in Portland when we saw a sweet pattern for a sweet dress.  It was the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress.  We picked out a fabric that was mostly white (to keep it somewhat traditional) and I was set.

But of course, I got scared.  I decided to sew a rough draft.  I read through the directions and got terrified.  It was so crazy and confusing to me!  There were button holes, pintucks, ruffles, interfacing, hems, collars, lots of scary stuff! I figured the best thing to do was to just jump right in and start sewing.

One of the first steps were doing the pintucks.  These ended up being fun, because I sort of felt like a professional-sewing-super-star after seeing how cute they were turning out!  The instructions were so clear and easy to follow.

I kept on sewing.  Whenever I got to something that seemed confusing, I would take a break (sometimes a few days…).  Once I finally got around to trying it, it was always way easier than I had expected.  Soon, I had a fully constructed dress and I felt silly for doing a rough draft.  The instructions were so great that I totally could have done the baptism dress on the first try!

And Then They - Olive + S Family Reunion Take OneI got started right away on the actual baptism dress.

And Then They - Oliver + S Family Reunion for baptismThen I decided to make three more for Alma and her cousins to wear to their aunt and uncle’s (my brother) wedding.  This time I had to make them in different sizes.  I also decided that since it was a summer wedding, I would make them sleeveless.

And Then They - Oliver + S Family Reunion without slevesI felt like I had learned enough tricks from Oliver + S to alter the pattern a little bit.  I ended up making my own bias tape and just finishing the bodice sleeve openings with it.  The girls looked so sweet in their cheerful dresses!

And Then They - Oliver + S Family Reunion for Three Little Cousins at their aunt and uncle's weddingNext up were winter hats from the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book.  Again, I stretched my comfort zone a little bit and used new fabrics that can be hard to work with – velvet and wool shirting.  The instructions were amazing again, and I had two cute hats for my two little lambs to wear.

And Then They - Oliver + S HatHalloween was coming up, so I thought my freckled-faced-almost-redhead would make a cute Pippi.  The biased trim apron seemed like a perfect costume idea (that we could use as an apron after Halloween!).  This one taught me a lot more about how to use bias tape (and taught me what I had done wrong when I altered the dresses – ha!).  I also learned a cool way to make a pocket!

And Then They - Oliver + S ApronI was on a roll.  For Christmas, I decided Alma needed a doll carrier for the baby doll Harriet brought her from the hospital.  Another way to make a pocket, more practice with curved edges, and a couple button holes later, and Alma had a fun doll carrier!

And Then They - Oliver + S Baby CarrierNow it is time for Harriet’s baptism.  I wanted to try another Oliver + S pattern and finally decided on the Fairy Tale Dress.  Now this one was scary!  Fully lined, petal sleeves, invisible zipper, peter pan collar!  Oh my!

And Then They - Oliver + S Fairy Tale Sleeve Detail

Again, I just took it step by step and it all worked out.  Ohmygosh is it cute!

And Then They - Oliver + S Fairy TaleI love these patterns because they are great for a beginning seamstress.  The steps are clearly explained, with simple, yet complete illustrations.  I love the feeling I get after every step, when the dresses start to look like dresses.  I love that I go from being terrified of messing up, (to messing up), to doing it right, to having an amazing finished project!

I also love that I can use the skills I learned in the patterns for other projects.  I have so many skills in my back pocket now!  I even have enough confidence with the aspects in these projects that I am toying with designing my own dresses for the girls.

(I should note that Oliver + S has no idea that I’m writing this.  They don’t know who I am at all, though they did once comment on one of my instagram photos and made me feel like I had a brush with fame.)

(I also want to note that I got most of my fabrics from Piece by Piece and if you’re in Eugene, it’s my absolute favorite fabric store in town.)

Friday Gratitudes 7


I can’t believe I’m just getting to posting my ‘Friday’ gratitudes today.  On Friday, I was only home for about an hour the whole day.  It was my first day back to work subbing, so it was the first time leaving Harriet for more than a couple hours.  Then we had a dinner event on Friday night.  Such a fun time.  Such a full life.

Friday the 14th – Ballerinas.  Awesome ballet time at the public library.  Oh. My. Gosh. Am I grateful for the story times at our libraries.

Saturday the 15th – Friends.  I seem to be grateful for our friends quite often.

Sunday the 16th – Family.  Our nephew’s baptism meant that Alma and Harriet got to be with all seven of their cousins.  Wow.

Monday the 17th – Rach.  Alma’s BFF.

Tuesday the 18th – Fullness.  Busy, full, beautiful day.

Wednesday the 19th – Home.  All day at home, but so grateful for such a great place to spend so much time.

Thursday the 20th – Music.  Fun music time at a toy store (The Dancing Weasel).

Sewing – How I Got Started, Part 1

If you are thinking about starting a project, perhaps your first one, here’s a piece of advice.  You won’t be able to screw it up as much as you think you will.  Before my first project, I was terrified that if I mess it up, it would be utterly ruined and a waste of money and time.  I quickly learned that, yes, I would screw up.  Again and again, but it is actually very easy to fix mistakes when sewing.  Just tear about the seams, and start again.

Before I was pregnant with Alma, I had never really sewn anything.  As a child, I played around and made a few little thingies, then in home-ec in middle school I made and awesome lip shaped pillow.  Other than that, I had never used a sewing machine.

The summer before I had Alma, the nesting kicked in and I wanted to make her a quilt.  I didn’t really know how to start, but I wanted to do something easy.  I came up with the idea of doing a gradient rainbow quilt, so I went to the fabric store and bought 16 pieces of fabric in a rainbow of colors.

Then I did some math and figured out how big I wanted the quilt to be.  I wanted the sizes of each strip to vary, so I just cut out 1, 2, and 3 inch pieces of each color.  Once I had all the pieces cut out, I lined them up on my floor and arranged it so the colors would overlap horizontally through the quilt.

I then sewed 12 vertical strips with one piece of each color in each strip. This seemed pretty easy, because the pieces were only 4 inches wide, leaving not a lot of room to mess up.

Then I got scared.  I had to attach each strip to the next, which meant I would be sewing two long strips together using a continuous stitch.  This felt like a lot of ways I could mess up.  As a beginning sew-er I felt like something would go wrong for sure and everything would be ruined.  I didn’t think I’d be able to sew a straight line for such a long distance.  I probably left the strips sitting for a couple weeks before I built up the courage to attempt my long lines.

I finally got brave and sewed two strips together.  It was quick, and easy!  I was amazed!  I kept going, and soon I had a complete quilt top, and I was really happy!

Then came the next scary part – the actual quilting.  I got my backing, my batting and my quilt, sandwiched it all together and found some good tutorials online.  I thought I would do a straight line down the middle of each strip, but quickly found that a wavy line would be much easier, and actually kind of cute.  I did 12 wavy lines and all of a sudden, I had a quilt!

Then the scary task of adding a binding!  I found this wonderful tutorial and basically did what it said.  The only thing I did differently was machine sewing it on, instead of hand binding the front.  Since it was for a baby, I knew it would be washed a lot, so I wanted it to be really secure.

Holy cow, I had just made a quilt!  I was basically a super hero in my mind.  I had come up with an idea, done math, sewn a bunch (192!) of pieces of fabric together, and – poof! – heirloom!

And Then They - My first quilt - a great beginner pattern and tutorialI basically took it (and still take all my sewing projects) one step at a time.  I gave myself permission to make mistakes.  I took breaks, short and long, along the way.

What are some projects you’ve been wanting to try, but have been too scared to take the first step?

A Little Moment 5


Alma and Harriet are at home asleep.

I am grateful to be able to help out a friend who is a very special mama. 

She just came home from Africa where she spent 8 months with her son adopting two daughters.

Boots all lined up are a beautiful thing because they represent a whole family finally at home, together. 

Friday Gratitudes 6

Friday the 7th –  Health.  After dealing with two days of throwing up, I was so happy to have a healthy Alma again.

Saturday the 8th – Power.  Much of our town was without electricity for quite a while.  I was so grateful that our power stayed on.  I didn’t know what I would do with my two little ones if it got super cold in our house.

Sunday the 9th – Club.  I got to get out of the house to go to a baby shower for a sweet friend who’s in a sort of club of moms with me.  I also got out again to go to book club.  I love all my lady-friends!

Monday the 10th – Grandparents.

Tuesday the 11th – Phone-calls.  I got some good ones today.

Wednesday the 12th –  Alone.  I got some amazing alone time getting coffee and an allergy shot.  Hey!  I take what I can get!

Thursday the 13th – Date.  Drinks and appetizers with my Valentine.

And Then They - Candles Make Light

A Little Moment 4


Alma eats her tooost, appleboss, and O’s.
Harriet sits at the table and plays.
I get to enjoy my Girltribe.

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