Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family! I hope that today and tomorrow you are all able to experience some joy in the promise of Christ. He is the real reason behind this holiday and I pray that you are able to see Him and praise God for the gift of His son. I know how hard this season is for those of us living without loved ones, especially my friends living without our sweet children. I know that we all had dreams of Christmas outfits and eyes lighting up on Christmas morning and that for some of us that isn't going to happen this year. I'm praying that you are able to find peace this season.

I'm missing my baby boy. It's been 9 months since I held him and kissed his sweet face. I wish he was here with us to celebrate the holidays. I wish our trip this past weekend would have been more complicated because we would have had an infant with us. However, I know that the Christmas celebration in Heaven will be splendid and I love that my baby boy gets to experience it! I'm resting in the promise that one day I will also get to celebrate Christmas at the feet of God with my little boy.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meeting a Blogger Friend

On Sunday I got to meet a blogger friend from The Mueller Family I love reading her family blog and following along with their life. I love that she loves Gr names :) I love that she "get's it" when I am talking about baby loss because she has been there (although I wish she didn't know the pain and hadn't been there). Her and her sweet family were traveling through my area and they stopped to say hi. Her boys were so sweet. Little Grady shared his tank with me and told me all about it. I loved getting to meet them in person!

Thanks Hillary for taking the time to stop by!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Praising The Man I LOVE!

I am so incredibly proud of my hubby. So proud that I'm writing about him here for all the world to see. He has now completed a year and a half of college! He has completed school, and done a great job of it, while still being an amazing husband and great daddy to some foster kids. This semester he made 3 A's and 1 B. One of his A's was in English. Something he had never accomplished before! He worked so hard for those grades and I know he is just as proud of them as I am. I can't wait to see what he can do next semester!

Monday, December 10, 2012


We helped my parents move the weekend after Thanksgiving. During that process I inherited a few pieces of furniture and another high chair. Someone remind me to show a picture of the high chairs that we use (one was my Mom's when she was little). I got an old bookshelf (that used to be a credenza but the glass broke a while ago) that belonged to my Grandmother and a desk. The bookshelf was made in the 50's when veneer products first came out. It has these cool legs on it and is very well made. However, over the years it has sustained quite a bit of damage in the form of scratches and water spots. I really like the size, shape and look of the shelf, it just needed some new life put in to it. I researched how to refinish furniture (since I've never done this before) and then I got started.

Sorry. I forgot a true before picture. This was after it was sanded.
After paint! I used paint left over from one of our walls. It's called Coconut Shell.
In place in the living room. 

With my Mom's Christmas Village on it! 

The paint color I picked is the same as the accent wall in our living room and the shelf is placed on a regular wall that is light tan. However, for some reason the color on the shelf and the color on the accent wall are different shades of the same color. Very strange but looks good none-the-less. After Christmas I will put pictures and nic-nacks on the shelf. I love the way it turned out.

The other piece of furniture I got is a desk that my Grandfather made for my Dad when my Dad was a child. This piece is very special to me because I never got to meet my grandfather. After Christmas I am going to sand and re-stain the desk and place it in one of the kids rooms. I'm also going to repaint the high chairs and maybe recover the seats.

Soon I will show you the finished product of the quilt I am making for my Memaw. It's going to look amazing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot (but not feel like) Christmas!

Can I be completely honest? I don't mind one bit that it is still warm and it's almost Christmas. I love the fact that I can wear my flip flops and t-shirts in December. I love that as I was working in the garage this week on a bookshelf I'm refinishing (more on that later) I was in shorts and a t-shirt and was comfortable. Do I wish it would get cold? Not really! I hate the cold! I hate bulky sweaters and jackets. They make me feel confined. I would never be a good northerner. I do enjoy cold days on occasion. When I don't have anywhere to go and can sit by the fire drinking cocoa, otherwise bring on the lows in the 60s and highs in the upper 70s.

This week I have been refinishing a bookshelf, decorating for Christmas and working on a quilt. Busy busy. We got our Christmas tree on Sunday. I LOVE real Christmas trees. They smell so wonderful and look so pretty. I have allergies but I'm willing to sacrifice myself for a few weeks to enjoy a real tree :) The house is now almost completely decorated and I love it. I love the twinkling lights, Nativity Set, Santa's and Snowmen, and stockings. This year I'm putting up a Christmas village that was my Mom's. I have to wait until the bookshelf I'm refinishing is done first so I have somewhere to put it. Hopefully I can get that done tomorrow and then I will be pretty much done. I have handled decorating without too much sadness. I had a few moments while hanging stockings and putting ornaments on the tree but I am enjoying the true meaning of Christmas this year and am celebrating that.

The outside of our house. No lights on the top this year. Saving money for the ones I really want for next year. This is the first year you can see the columns because we are re-landscaping. Those 2 trees are kids tress in the kid rooms.

Front Door Wreath I made this year :)

Grant's ornament on the tree. Love how he is represented there.
Grant's other ornament
Our Family Ornament from last year. I miss those 2 kiddos.
Stockings on the mantel with Grant's urn in the middle. The 2 stockings on the ends are for our dogs.
My Willow Tree Nativity Set. I love this set and plan on getting a few more of the pieces in the future. 

So, there you have it. Christmas decorations a-la-Bybee. I'll show the bookshelf and Christmas village when I get it up. The bookshelf is done but looks empty (cause it is) so I don't want to share just yet. My Christmas Card will be posted soon too :)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Happy Thanksgiving With Some Sadness Mixed In

We did have a good Thanksgiving. We spent time with both of our families. I loved being with my nieces and nephews. Seeing their smiles and hearing them playing. I even got to go fishing with my brother, Dad, niece McKenzie and a friend of my brother's. It was a nice afternoon spent on the lake enjoying being together. I enjoyed helping my mom make Thanksgiving and snacking as we went. It was a nice few days spent with family enjoying each other. I love my large family and the crazy that goes with it. We helped my parents move a little closer to my siblings. Moving is always an adventure with my family and this time was no different. We had a very busy few days going here and there, seeing friends and family and I enjoyed it. We have some of the greatest friends and family. 

Thanksgiving was a little bittersweet. I've been told by my friends who have gone before me on this path that the first milestones are the hardest. I fully expected it to be true and it has been. As with the other milestones we have passed Thanksgiving wasn't much different. It seems the time leading up to a milestone is harder than the actual milestone. I've been doing my best this month to be thankful. It always helps me with my grief to be thankful. I've even continued to be thankful for my baby boy. He is one of our biggest blessings and greatest miracles and I'm glad he is mine. However, being thankful for him doesn't take away the sting that he isn't with us. I couldn't help but think how cute he would have looked in a thanksgiving outfit and how our family would have been passing him around oohing and ahhing over him. Some tears fell on a few different occasions and I just let them fall. I needed to feel it. I've learned that my journey is easier if I allow myself to feel the sadness when it comes instead of suppressing it. One of the times that it hit me the hardest was when I was Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister. A time I least expected it. Walking through the store and seeing tiny Christmas outfits and toys for infants. I had to walk away with tears in my eyes.

I'm sure that as Christmas approaches it will be similar. Days and moments that are wonderful and those that are sad. I will continue to thank God for my family, my son, my amazing husband, and for His love. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

1 year- Since One of the Happiest Days of My Life

It has been 1 year to the day that I found out I was pregnant with Grant. I suspected before that day but on the morning of November 21, 2011 I had a positive pregnancy test. I went to the doctor and they confirmed that yep, I was indeed pregnant. Jonathan and I were so so so excited. So excited we had a really hard time keeping it to ourselves. It had been 3 long years of waiting for that positive test. I am so thankful for that day. It was literally one of the happiest days of my life.

I never imagined that as I approached the 1 year date of finding out we were expecting I would be grieving the child that I only had for a little while. I am so very glad that I got to carry him for that short time though. I'm glad that I got to hold him, bathe him, dress him, sing to him and take pictures of his sweet face. If I could go back to 1 year ago I wouldn't change a single thing. He is one of my greatest blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


MMMMM food. I have had an adventurous spirit lately when it comes to cooking. I have been making things that I haven't made before. Mostly in my Crock-pot. I love my Crock-pot. Definitely need to find more recipes for that bad boy.

First I made beef stew in the crock-pot. I made it on a cold fall night and it was delicious. I based my recipe off of this one Beef Stew.  I made a few changes because I didn't have everything listed and I didn't want to go back to the store (my phone with the list online wouldn't work while at the store so I had to wing it). Here are the changes I made. I put the beef stew meat in the crock pot frozen. I just poured the flour mixture in (no stirring to coat) and I didn't use a bay leaf or celery. I also used baby carrots (about 1/2 a small bag) instead of slicing whole carrots. I added a little more beef broth than the recipe calls for (maybe 2 cups total). We had some fresh yeast rolls to go with it and yum, it was good. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture, I was busy eating the deliciousness :)

Last night I made Homemade Beef Stroganoff. I got the recipe from my friend Hillary here Easy Homemade Beef Stroganoff. It was also super delicious. I didn't alter her recipe at all and once again threw the beef stew meat in the crock pot frozen. Since it was just the 2 of us there are plenty of leftovers that are now in the freezer waiting for us to return from our holiday travels. Here is a picture of the finished product on top of some egg noodles. Sorry about the quality of the photo. I took it with my phone and didn't pay attention if it was focused, oops.

Last night I also made my chocolate chip cookies. I basically follow the Nestle recipe. However, I do things a little differently. Here is my version of their recipe.

2 sticks butter                                    3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup white sugar                           2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda                              1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla                                      2 eggs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large glass bowl place the 2 sticks of butter in the microwave and microwave on high for about 1 min 30 seconds. You want the butter to be almost completely melted. Then add brown sugar, sugar, salt, baking soda and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Then add 2 eggs and stir to combine. Next add the flour and stir until it is all incorporated. Then add the chocolate chips and stir. I then use a tea spoon (like you would eat with) to scoop the dough out and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes until top is just beginning to be golden. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to counter on paper towels to cool completely.
Now I am ready for all of the Thanksgiving fare over the next few days!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holidays Are Approaching

This time of year is my favorite. I absolutely LOVE Christmas! I love what it stands for. My savior's birth. I love seeing kids get excited and the joy on their faces. I love Christmas music, lights, trees, and even Santa. I would decorate for Christmas as early as October if my hubby would allow it. However, he thinks we should celebrate Thanksgiving before starting to celebrate the Christmas season. Something about not forgetting what we are thankful for. I say "why can't we be thankful for Christmas?" :) Thinking about the holidays this year has brought some serious twinges of pain for me. I am still excited to buy lights to hang on the house and to pick out a Christmas tree to decorate. I can't wait to get out our nativity scene. However, I'm also a little sad. There will be no stocking for Grant. I won't get to pick out a "my first Christmas" outfit. We do have two ornaments for Grant. One was sent to us by a friend with his birth stats on it and the other is a sweet angel that my sister bought for us with Grant's name on it. They will both hang proudly on the tree. My little sister took our Christmas card pictures last week, another bittersweet moment. We were able to incorporate Grant into some of the photos but oh how I missed picking out his outfit and dealing with a squirming baby. I really miss that sweet boy. 

Here are some photo previews. I'll post our Christmas card after it is in the mail.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Micro-Preemie/Preemie Gown and Sleeper Tutorial

This tutorial is mainly for bereavement purposes. I don't think these would work well in the NICU because they wouldn't allow for all of the wires, IV's, etc. I'm sure they could be modified for that purpose but my purpose was so that these sweet babies who die too soon would have something to wear. No parent should have to be sad because their baby is too small for clothes and therefore will go naked.

We will start with the Gown tutorial first. Some of the steps for the gown and sleeper are the same. If you want the pattern please see this website Teeny Tears. They will be uploaded there in the near future. A soft knit fabric works best for the gown, hat and sleeper.
Gown Instructions
1. Cut out 1 front piece, 2 back pieces and 2 sleeves from your fabric.

2. With right sides together sew center back seam up to wear the facing begins.

3. With right sides together sew sleeves to front and back pieces at the four shoulder seams.

4. Hem or add ribbing to the neck line. (I recommend adding ribbing because they are so tiny, making hemming difficult. You can make your own out of the same fabric by cutting a 1 1/2 inch wide strip of fabric. Fold each side in 1/4 inch and then fold in half. Place neck edge into the fold of the strip and topstitch down.) Fold the facings in while hemming or ribbing.

5. Hem sleeves.

6. With right sides together sew underarm/side seams. Clip at pivot. On one side leave a small 1/2 inch opening in the side seam about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of the gown. (This is where the ribbon will go later)
Example of opening left for the ribbon.

Sew side seams where pins are.
7. Fold facings under and apply velcro closures. You could use snaps or buttons also but velcro seems to work well.
Note: When applying velcro make sure the "rough" side of the velcro is facing out away from the body. These babies have skin that is very fragile and we don't want anything "scratchy" touching them.

I use a wide zig zag stitch to attach the velcro.
8. Sew a 1 inch bottom hem. Thread the ribbon through using a safety pin and tie to gather the bottom of the gown.

Sorry the pictures are sideways. I couldn't get them to rotate.
Sleeper Instructions
1. Cut out 2 back pieces, 2 front pieces and 2 sleeves.

2. Sew center back and center front crotch with right sides together. Leave opening open (where facings start).
For center back sew from neck line and stop where the upslope stops.
For center front all you sew is where the curve is in the crotch area.
3. Sew sleeves to the front and back pieces at 4 shoulder seams with right sides together. 

4. Hem or add ribbing to the neck. (see the note above about ribbing) Fold the front facings in as you are hemming or adding ribbing.

5. Hem sleeves. 

6. With right sides together sew underarm, side seam, inseam, side seam and underarm. Clip at curves. Turn right side out. While sewing these seams fold up the back of the foot at the fold to line to create the heel. Pin in place and sew side seams to secure. 

7. Apply velcro closure to the facings. You could use buttons or snaps also but the velcro seems to work well. See Note above for tip on applying velcro.

Added Disclaimer: The patterns that will be posted on the Teeny Tears websites I designed by looking at and then altering common sleeper/gown patterns. The facing on most of the patterns I could find is perfect for a full size baby but when you make them smaller and smaller it became almost non-existent, therefore I made it larger on my patterns. I tried to make the opening large enough that dressing these tiny little ones would be feasible but that the clothes would still look like traditional baby clothes. The gown is probably easier to put on a tiny baby and could even be altered to where the facing extends to the bottom of the gown on the back with velcro closures all the way down (instead of a seam part way down with opening only half way) so that there is no pulling it over their legs or head. I purposefully placed the gown closure in the back to allow it to look more like traditional baby clothing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Case of the "Should Have Beens"

I have had a case of the should have beens lately. It's been a while since I have had this happen on almost a daily occurrence. I don't like it. I don't like the way it leaves me feeling. This past weekend was homecoming at my alma mater. We haven't been back there in a few years and I really wanted to go. I enjoyed seeing the campus and how things have changed. I even got to see a few friends while there. Most of my friends that I graduated with or that I was close to in college weren't there this weekend though. I did get to see a girl I knew in college but we weren't in the same "circle". We have become much better friends over the last few months as we now share something, the loss of a son. I got to see her, her husband and her sweet rainbow baby Silas. It was great to see them and talk about the good ole days. However, it was also very bittersweet. I had imagined taking Grant to my school's homecoming and now I will never get to. I won't get to put him in a cute onesie and take pictures of him at a place that was so very special to me. See...a should have been... He should be almost 3 months old now if he was born on time. Instead he has been gone for just over 7 months. How is that even possible? This week I have also been helping one of my my very best friends move into her new house. They have been building this house the last few months and move in day was Monday and Tuesday of this week. This is my friend who had a baby girl in August. I love her, her husband and her sweet baby girl. Holding and snuggling her baby is so healing for me. It makes me feel closer to Grant, like they have a special connection. I'm sure if he were here they would have been the best of friends. However, seeing that sweet almost 2 month old baby girl makes me think of what I should be doing with Grant right now. Another should have been moment.

I'm going to whine for a moment. I hate this. I hate that I don't get to see my baby boy grow and change. I hate that I didn't get sleepless nights because I was up feeding him. Instead I got sleepless nights because I miss my little boy. I hate that I can't snuggle him every day and kiss his sweet face. I hate that I have "should have been" moments. I hate that I am once again taking fertility meds in order to give him a sibling and waiting once again. I hate that if I get pregnant soon and get to bring home a baby I will have been waiting to bring home a baby for almost 2 years (not counting the time before we got pregnant with Grant- that would be about 5 years) when they arrive.

I know that Grant is in Heaven. In a place that is perfect, without pain or sadness, and for that I am grateful. I am grateful that I get to see him again, and then it will be forever. I am grateful that God loves me enough to allow me to go to Heaven and to love my baby boy more than I do.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Empty Nest.....Again

LT, LN and M left today. They went to live with a family member who was already very involved in their lives. They were very excited to go and I know they will do well. It is so good for them to be with a family member who will love them and take care of them while their mom heals.

Now we will sort through clothes, organizing them back into tubs, so that when we get new kids we will possibly have things on hand for them. We have a few things that we need to get up to date before we take any more kids (as they will expire soon), so we will be working on that and then be open for new children once again.

Thank you for the prayers for LT, LN and M. Please continue to pray for their mom and for them as they adjust to living in another new home.

Favorite Charities/Non-profits

Once again I'm linking up to Kelly's Korner for her Friday Show Us Your Life Day. Today is favorite charities/non-profits. I have a few that are my favorites, so I shall share more than one :)

1. Teeny Tears- this organization is not yet a non-profit but Boy oh Boy are they wonderful! I LOVE this group of women across the country and even extending into other countries! They provide free patterns to sew tiny (I'm talking itty bitty) diapers to be donated to hospitals for the tinniest babies to wear when they are stillborn or die shortly after birth. It allows these little ones to be clothed in something made just for them. Each family is given 2 diapers. One for the baby to wear and one for the family to keep. They also have tutorials on how to make the diapers and other ways to help out if you can't sew!
Diapers I made for a Teeny Tears Donation

A whole stack of diapers ready to be donated.
2. Threads of Love- this organization is a non-profit and they do something similar to Teeny Tears. They provide clothes (such as burial gowns and clothes for NICU babies) as well as hats and blankets to hospitals for bereavement needs as well as NICU needs. I work with my local chapter providing bereavement items of hats, blankets and of course Teeny Tears diapers.

Hats, Blankets and Diapers to be donated. 

A selection of some of the hats, blankets and diapers. 
3. Raindrop Memories- this organization is working to become a Non-profit and has been started by my wonderful friend Elizabeth. Her son passed away at 19 weeks only 2 weeks before my son did and they were due only a few days apart. The goal of Raindrop Memories is to provide items to hospitals for the parents who have lost a child to pregnancy loss. They would like to include books, mementos, blankets, clothes, and Teeny Tears diapers to help soothe a parents hurting soul during this most difficult time.

4. Molly Bears- This non-profit organization provides bears to bereaved families that weight the exact weight of the infant that has died. They provide these bears free of charge to each family that requests one. Each bear is made with that specific child in mind and includes things that the family says reminds them of their baby.

As you can tell most of my organizations are associated with baby loss. I can't help it. Now that I am a member of that "club" it's something that is near and dear to my heart. I love these groups and what they do for hurting families.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I'm linking up to Kelly's Korner for her Crockpotalooza 2! If you are here from her link up, welcome!

Oh my crockpot. I wish I didn't abandon you so much. However, there are a few things that I love to make in my crockpot.

1: I love to cook a whole chicken in the crockpot to use in soups, Chicken and Dumplings (yum), flautas, tacos, etc. Then the broth is super delicious also!

I usually buy a whole cut up chicken (with the skin on) because it fits in the crockpot better. Then I place the whole chicken, a whole onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper and fill it up with water. Turn it on low and let it cook for 6 hours. When you get home it will be super easy to debone and shred or cut up. Strain the broth and use it for dinner or freeze it for later.

2: Crockpot meatballs are my other favorite.

Ingrediants: 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
                    1 1/4 cups italian seasoned bread crumbs
                    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
                    2 cloves garlic, minced
                    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
                    1 egg, beaten
                    1 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
                    1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
                    1 14.25 oz can tomato puree

1-In large bowl mix ground meat, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and onion. Shape into 1- 1 1/2 inch balls.
2- In crockpot mix spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes and tomato puree.
3- Place meatballs in sauce, cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
4- serve over spaghetti noodles.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Starting Round 2 of Treatments

If you don't want to read the details of my fertility treatments skip this post :) I record them so I can look back and remember what I have done and hopefully one day celebrate success.

Well, the last round made me ovulate but we aren't pregnant. I actually ovulated without the shot of hCG and my progesterone level was 32.7 (which they want it over 20 so it was good). So here we go again. We are doing the same exact thing as last time. Clomid + Femara + Metformin and likely + a shot of hCG after an ultrasound to confirm I will ovulate. For those who are curious they draw the progesterone level about a week after I ovulate to make sure that the corpus luteum (the remnant of where the egg was) is healthy and will sustain a pregnancy until the egg implants into the uterus and starts producing it's own hormones. I'm really bummed that I'm not pregnant this month. I was hoping that this time around would be easier. Oh well. We will keep trying. We know this combination of medications works to make me ovulate, now we just need to get pregnant with a healthy baby.

Next week should be interesting as I will be on all of these hormones, working nights, and caring for 2 toddlers during the day since we don't have them in daycare yet. Please pray that with God's help I won't be overly emotional and will be able to still be a good wife and mom. We desperately want to add to our family and make Grant a big brother.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

5 Days In

LT, LN and M have been with us for 5 days now. Tonight was actually the 6th night but since they came Friday night they have really only been here 5 days. A large amount of paperwork has to be done in foster care. Most of which has to be done in the first few days after a placement occurs. The children also have to see a doctor, dentist and therapist within a certain amount of time. All three of ours have now seen the doctor, had their shots updated and had TB tests done. We will set up dental appointments in the next few weeks and go to the therapist next week. I think the children are adjusting.  Bedtime is becoming slightly better, although all 3 still cry every night. All of them are in bed and asleep as I am typing this. They are tired little ones.

Obviously I can't share details of their case with you but here is a little more about our new three.

LT is a loving, vibrant, hyper, very talkative 5 year old girl. She has started kindergarten at her new school this week and I think she is enjoying it. We are having to work on her being able to tell us about her day. Right now when we ask her what she learned she isn't able to tell us anything about her day, including what she ate for lunch, so we are working on it. We are also working on learning to sit still and not sing while we are eating. She sings or chants constantly. If this behavior continues in the next few weeks we will have her tested for ADHD. I'm am pretty sure she has it based on how she behaves but I don't think it is fair to label her with this immediately after a huge life changing event has happened to her. I think we need to give her time to adjust to our home, her new school, and new rules before we have her tested. I also don't believe in medicating children unless absolutely necessary. ADHD should be treated with therapy, behavior modification and sometimes medicine.

LN is a sweet, playful, 2 year old girl with beautiful eyes who loves to be a mama to her babies. She calls me Mommy and Jonathan Daddy. In the last few days she has decided that she likes to sit in my lap and cuddle during the day, which I don't mind one bit. She is a normal 2 year old who has trouble sharing and is LOUD most of the day but is usually sweet to her little brother (unless he's trying to take her toys). She looks up to LT and tries to do everything she does.

M is a chunky, cuddly, sweet little 14 month old boy who hates to sleep and loves milk. When he is happy he has the most infectious laugh. He loves to mimic the sounds we make. He loves to eat and hates to be hungry. He wakes up anywhere from 2-5 times a night and gets very angry when his cup only has water in it.

I can't wait to watch these little ones flourish and grow. I don't know how long they will be here, maybe only 2 weeks, maybe 2 months, maybe a year, but we will love and take care of them until it is their time to leave.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back in The Saddle Again

As of last night at about 6:30pm we have noise in our home again. Lots of noise. So let me introduce you to our new little ones. LT is a 5 year old girl, LN is a 2 yr old girl and M is a 14 month old boy. They are adorable. These 3 have been a challenge. I don't know if it's because we haven't had a new placement in a while or if they are just more unruly than the others. I do know that with time, love and some structure things will get better. It breaks my heart to hear LT screaming at bed time because she is scared. Tonight we tried to ask her what she was scared of and she said the dark and having the door closed. She had 2 night lights in her room and the door was open. She finally stopped crying about 30 minutes later. M is the best about going to bed out of the 3. LN cries but only for a few minutes. I hate to imagine what has happened to LT in the dark with her door closed. I hate to imagine what these 3 little ones have seen and how they have been treated. I pray that we are able to love them the way that they need to be loved and to provide for them the way they need to be provided for. I pray that God works on healing their family and their little hearts. We've done this before and I know we can do it again. I know that things will get easier as time goes by and that everyone will become more comfortable here. Please join me in praying for these little ones and for us as we parent them.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tote Tutorial (Repurposing Men's Dress Shirt)

I'm seriously pleased with how this tote turned out. I had seen a tutorial over at Make It-Love It Boys Church Tote Tutorial for a little boy church bag made from a mens shirt and tie and I fell in love. How adorable to use one of Dad's shirts and ties to make a bag for a little guy? Well, as things usually go for me I had to figure out how to make one for a little girl! I can't do things the easy way and just follow the tutorial given! I actually didn't follow her tutorial. I had made a tote before and really liked the way I had done it so I decided to do it that way. You can make the tote whatever size you would like and that your shirt will allow. 

1 Men's long sleeve dress shirt
Duck Cloth for lining (about 2/3 of a yard)
Jersey knit for ruffles (perfect time to use an old t-shirt) You could use a cotton but you would have to hem the bottom and sides of the ruffles to prevent fraying. 
1 yard of fusible medium weight interfacing 
Coordinating thread, pins, scissors, etc.

This tutorial uses a 1/2 inch seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Step 1: Iron your shirt and duck cloth

Step 2: Cut out 2 lining pieces, 2 outer pieces and 2 pieces of interfacing 17"wide x 12"tall making sure the buttons on the shirt go down the middle of the rectangle. Try to cut it out so that the pocket of the shirt is about 2 inches below the top. Sew down the front of the shirt to keep it from opening. 

Step 3: Cut a square out of the bottom corners of all pieces 2" x 2"

Step 4: Cut 2 strap pieces from the shirt and 2 from the duck cloth 2.5" x 17"

Step 5: If you want pockets cut them now. I chose to use one pocket and cut 1 rectangle 8.5"x10" from the lining and the shirt
Step 6: Cut 2 strips of your jersey knit 2" wide by double the width of the tote. So my strips were 2" x 35".  I was using a t-shirt I bought at Goodwill so I had to cut 4 strips 2"x17" and sew them together to get the length I wanted. 

Step 7: Gather your knit strips. For a tutorial on gathering go here: Make It-Love It Ruffle Tutorial I am in love with her blog and her tutorials. I chose to only put ruffles on the front but you could easily put them on the front and back of the tote. She has a great tutorial on making a tote with ruffles. Check it out here: Make It-Love It Ruffle Tote Tutorial

Step 8: Attach the ruffles to the bottom of the front of the tote. I chose to add the bottom ruffle about 2 inches from the top of the notched out corners. Add the top ruffle so that it overlaps the bottom one. 

Step 9: Add the ric-rack to cover the stitching across the top of the ruffles. You can use ribbon instead. 

Step 10: Iron on the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the outer (shirt) fabric.

Step 11: Make dots on the back side of the lining and outer sides of the tote 1/2 inch in at each corner. 

Step 12: Sew your pocket right sides together leaving about a 2-3 inch opening on the long side for turning. Flip it, poke out corners and press flat. 

Step 13: If you want to add a closure  (like velcro or a magnetic closure) center them on the right side of the lining fabric about 1 inch from the top and sew them on.

Step 14: Sew pocket to center of back piece of lining. I don't close the hole left from flipping until this stage when I stitch it to the lining piece. 

Step 15: Sew strap pieces right sides together down the long sides, flip and press flat. 

Step 16: Sew sides and bottom of the outer pieces (right sides together) stopping at the dots you drew. 

Step 17: Sew sides and bottom of the lining pieces (right sides together) stopping at dots. Make sure to leave about a 4 inch opening down one side. This is so that you can turn it right side out in the end. 

Step 18: Make the squared off corners. Fold the corners so that the side and bottom seams line up. Sew across using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Do this for the lining and outer shell. 

Step 19: Iron seams open. 

Step 20: Turn outer shell right side out. 

Step 21: Pin straps to the right sides of the outer shell about 3 inches from the seam and baste stitch in place about 1/4 inch from top. Make sure they aren't twisted. (I forgot to take a picture, sorry)

Step 21: Place outer shell into the lining (right sides together). Make sure the straps are tucked safely between the lining and outer shell. 

Step 22: Sew across the top using a 1/2 inch seam allowance back stitching across the straps to re-inforce. You can finish your edges at the top now to prevent fraying. I chose to use pinking shears instead of serging or zig-zag stitching. 

Step 23: Turn the bag right side out by pulling the outer shell through the hole left in the inner lining. Press flat. 

Step 24: Close the hole in the lining. You could choose to hand stitch but I just top-stitch about 1/8" seam allowance to close this opening. 

Step 25: Topstitch around the top of the bag about 1/2 inch from top to hold the lining and outer shell together. 

Ta-da your bag is done! 
I chose to add a flower to the base of one of the straps. I made the flower based off of this tutorial: Make It-Love It Shirred Fabric Flower Tutorial. I machine stitched it to the bag at the base of one of the handles.