Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New skirt

A new skirt for Omi. I don't know what it is about Fall and corduroy. It just makes me want to make little corduroy skirts. Here's this year's edition, worn at Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff

In this season of a birthday for every weekend, it has been a real trial coming up with different gifts for each child, especially given my limited sewing capabilities. But this tote was quite simple to make and was sized just right for carrying around copies of The House at Pooh Corner and Winnie-the-Pooh. I used Lotta Jansdotter's instructions from Simple Sewing, but made up my own dimensions and added a lining. I definitely see more tote bags in my future.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lighthouse Tee

My second attempt at appliqué. I really like these little sewing projects that we give as gifts to Little Omi's friends. It's a fun way to use bits of fabric from my stash and to create things for different kids' personalities. Plus, it's really fun to include Little Omi in the making of the project, and it's easier for her to understand that the item is for someone else, unlike going shopping for a toy, which I think can be a bit confusing and bring up some hurt and jealous feelings.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trees & squirrels

Little Omi is learning about fall. The leaves are changing and starting to fall off the trees, which inspired the artwork above. It was our first family art project, something we plan to do lots more of now that we've been reading and enjoying Amanda Blake Soule's The Creative Family. The other day, Omi was admiring the large silver maple tree in our front yard, and said, "I want to climb it! I need to be a squirrel." So, we made a little squirrel tail. Needless to say, the disappointment was apparent when she approached the tree wearing the tail and realized she hadn't gained any new tree-climbing abilities.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we can

I'm too excited to sleep, but sleep I must, especially if I'm going to wake up in the morning to the happy realization that this amazing evening wasn't all just a dream.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I have always taken my right to vote very seriously, and exercised it in as many elections as I could. Today I cast my vote in what I believe to be the most important election in my lifetime. This was not Little Omi's first time to visit our polling place (I bring her every time I vote), but this was her first presidential election, and the first time we ever had to stand in line. Our wait was relatively brief—20 minutes or so—especially compared with that of voters in the tossup states like Florida or Virginia. Still, it made my heart swell with pride to see all my neighbors who were willing to stand in line and wait their turn to make their voices heard in this Democracy, and to see our good friend from across the street, who has now moved into a nursing home, coming in by wheelchair to cast her vote.

Will Little Omi remember all this later on? I can't say. But I do wonder what kind of nation we can become if the very first President my daughter remembers, and the first President a whole generation of children knows, is Barack Obama. Behold, the possibility!

Monday, October 27, 2008

For friends

We are very lucky to be a part of a fantastic play group, with lots of really wonderful kids and their interesting, thoughtful, and often hilarious moms and dads. Over the next month we will be celebrating the birthdays of five of the kids, so I wanted to make some of their gifts myself instead of completely breaking the bank on plastic stuff from China. So there's Little Omi modeling a sweet panda bear scarf, from Aranzi Aronzo's Cute Stuff. Next we (yes, Omi helped!) made these little bean bags. I used double-sided fusible interfacing to make the letters and numbers and then just stitched around them onto the circles to reinforce the glue. The actual bags are circles (I used an old cd to trace onto the fabric) cut with pinking shears, then sewn with wrong sides together. I left a small opening so we could fit a funnel in and fill them with rice (this is the part where Omi helped), then stitched the opening up by machine. Hope our friends will like them!

(Sorry for the awful pics. It was dark outside when I finally finished the bean bags and I couldn't wait for the photo shoot.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

O Pumpkin, My Pumpkin

It's a good thing we got out the camera(s) for these pics:

(my turn with the camera)

(Little Omi's turn)

Because the very next morning, I found all three of our pumpkins smashed in the street:

Wah! We went out and picked up two new pumpkins, which have been rolling around in the back of my car for several days now because I'm afraid to put them out on the porch in case they become the victims of neighborhood ne'er-do-wells.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rites of passage

So today we had the worst trip ever to Super Target. We were tired, cranky, hungry, and the whole world seemed out to get us. I of course bought some M&Ms for the trip home just to make it all better (for me and for Little Omi) and we had to stop at Sonic for ice (for Omi) and a root beer (for me). Omi ate a few M&Ms, and then suddenly got a look of concern on her face and started reaching into her mouth like something hurt in there. Suddenly, a river of chocolate straight out of Willy Wonka came shooting from her mouth, all over her perfect little white shirt (that we discovered in the closet today that had only been worn once all summer) and the car seat. All I could do for about 10 seconds was stare in horror and think, "Well, now my day is complete."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

First joke

Little Omi told her very first joke today, and it went a little something like this:

Omi: I want to see a cow.
Mommy: Why?
Omi: So I can hear some moo-sic!

OK, I really think this joke was unintentional, because she always pronounces music "moosic", but still, it tickled my funny bone.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Always call the police/sweet little bunnies

We were rear-ended last week. At a stop light. With my mother-in-law in the car. And my friend's 2-year-old. And Little Omi. Luckily, no one was hurt. We just got this nice little smack on the rear bumper. The woman said she was on her way to pick up her husband at the hospital. I jotted down her insurance info and we went on our merry way. Now it looks like that insurance info was bogus, and any repairs to my car are subject to my insurance deductible, $500. We went to the claims office today. Guess what the estimate was? $524.48. I now have a check for $24.48 and a nice dent in my car to remind me to ALWAYS get a police report.

While I wasn't posting, I was still managing to squeeze in a few sewing/craft/homemaking projects. Like this cute little bunny hair band from the Aranzi Aronzo book Cute Stuff:

And these Miffy wheat thins, inspired by angry chicken's post (recipe here):

Little Omi likes to eat the ears off the Miffy ones and say, "Where did Miffy's ears go? In my tummy!"

Baking with Omi has been a real hoot. She is quite talented at adding ingredients and mixing stuff up. She really, really wanted to be in charge of rolling out the cracker dough, and even though I had her help I think she knew she wasn't doing it all by herself. But when we finished she told Big Omi, "I love cooking with Mommy!" And that's about all I'll need for about another month or so.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where the sidewalk ends

Oh dear. It's been so long since I wrote an entry that everyone has stopped checking in. What a terrible thing to happen! Much has been going on, and really my only explanation as to why I haven't posted anything new is that we have a Wii, and summer TV* got really good this year. So my usual posting time (at night, after Little Omi has gone to bed) has been filled with Mario Galaxy and TiVo catch-ups. Well, I hope to lure you all back with the promise of bigger, better, new and improved posts, starting today.

We are getting a new sidewalk at the park by our house. We are fascinated by it. So much so that we build sidewalks wherever we go. It is taking such a long time that Little Omi is starting to be able to conceptualize large chunks of time. The other day, after Grandma took Omi to the park to see the progress, the kid came home and announced that it would "probably be finished in six months." Probably. That's Little Omi's new word, along with actually. I made her some felt food recently, and one pea pod was dubbed a leaf. When Big Omi tried to explain that it was a pea pod, she replied, "It looks like a pea pod, but actually it's a leaf."

*By the way, my friend Streak recently wrote about who he looks like. I happen to think he bears a strong resemblance to this guy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Before I go to bed, I'm going to run around

Oh, dear. Ever since the Wii came into our house there has been a very sharp decrease in my attention to the blog. Actually, I've been trying to write one of those sweet letters to Little Omi that everyone seems to be able to craft when their child passes a milestone (like, say, turning 2) and I've been having a lot of trouble making it coherent and less stream-of-consciousness. That, and my craftiness had all but dissipated in the heat of summer. But, I promise to write more than one paltry new entry per month from here on, starting now:

Little Omi, like her mother, loves Miffy, the sweet little bunny created by Dick Bruna. For some reason, Miffy is not a big deal here in the states, but she's quite popular abroad, where one can buy all sorts of fun Miffy merch or completely deck out your baby's nursery with a Miffy theme. As I said, not so here. So, I thought it might be fun to make a completely unlicensed Miffy bed for Little Omi. Up to now, she has been sleeping on her crib mattress on the floor, which was working out okay until my mom found a brown recluse spider in her house and I started to worry about little critters crawling into bed with her at night. The bed itself was fairly easy to construct. I bought a piece of plywood and some 2x4's at our local hardware megastore and had them cut it down to the size I needed, then put it all together with screws. I covered the sides and the headboard with 2" foam and some batting before covering that with soft navy decorator-weight fabric, and, finally, the little Miffy head on the headboard. If you look at the foot end of the mattress, you can tell that I forgot to add in the 2 inches of length on the platform that would be displaced by the headboard foam, so the mattress overhangs by a bit, but when I finally discovered that, the bed was in place and Little Omi was ready to sleep in it, so, live and learn!

Also, don't you just wish you had a spare $9,560 to drop on this little Wilber?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bread and Board

Little Omi received a cook book from Aunt Sassy and it is already coming in handy. We made these cheesy bread rolls and it was so much fun. Omi really enjoyed putting flour on our work surface and spreading it around, but she was good at kneading the dough as well. She also loved sprinkling the sunflower seeds and poppy seeds on the rolls just before they went into the oven. While they were baking, they made the house smell so wonderful; it reminded me of my own childhood and the times my mom baked bread.

The recipe, in case you'd like to give it a try, is from The Toddler Cookbook by Annabel Karmel.

We also have a new board game for our collection, the very first for Little Omi, called Cranium Cariboo. She absolutely loves this game, mostly because there's a key that unlocks doors and bouncy treasure balls. The other day at dinner she kept saying "Omi play Cariboo" but it sounded to us like, "Omi Kabul." Finally, exasperated by our inablity to understand her simple request, she said, "Treasure-ball game!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

For mothers and children of mothers alike, I submit for your enjoyment: Billy Collins reading his poem, The Lanyard.

I can't wait to get my lanyard.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rock Chalk

OK, so we're a little late with our congratulations to our fellow Big 12 basketball team, the Kansas Jayhawks on their amazing win over Memphis in the NCAA Tournament. But for Jayhawks fans, and especially Aunt Sassy, I hope this will be worth the wait:

*"Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Library love

Today our local public library held a special baby storytime parade, which all the kids who regularly come to storytime got to march in. The parade route was through the library, out onto the sidewalk, then through city hall and back again. Little Omi was very serious about marching and stomping her feet as much as possible. After the parade, we went to the regular storytime. Miss Susan knows what kids love: bubbles, and lots of them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

For the love of pockets

After sewing all these bonnets for fun and profit (17 so far, with 8 sold!), I decided to get back to work on a spring dress for Little Omi. The fabric is from Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope collection, and the pattern is McCall's 5370. Her favorite part of the dress? The pockets, of course. I can't wait to dig half-eaten fig newtons out of there.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Nothing ventured...

Tomorrow I am starting out on a new venture. I will be selling my sunbonnets at our local Farmers' Market. A friend of mine has been kind enough to offer me some space in her booth so I can avoid rental fees while I see if this is for me. I have to say, after sewing 12 bonnets to sell, I'm not really sure if it is for me. I made 6 in one day, and I was beginning to feel like I was losing focus on why I was sewing to begin with. In other words, it felt a lot like work. And with the market opening at 8 am, I'm afraid going in will feel a lot like going to work, too. We'll see. I'm mostly worried about Little Omi and how she will hold up for the 4 hours we'll be there. But, she'll have a playmate, and so will I, so perhaps it will be fun after all...

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'll deal with my procrastination problem later

This week I had a lot of chores to do, like taking all our income tax information to the accountant, making an appointment for a haircut, calling a tree trimmer to remove a branch left over from the ice storm, and packing for our upcoming trip to visit Aunt Sassy. So of course I decided it would be a good week to build Little Omi a cardboard kitchen. Needless to say, the kitchen was completed long before the chores (in fact right now I'm still not packed and we're leaving tomorrow).

I used these instructions, which cost a very reasonable $7, although I see the price has gone up to $8 recently. We were lucky enough to find a really huge double-walled box behind the new Circuit City and all of the pieces came from it. I had to make some minor adjustments so that we could fit Little Omi's new stove top on the stove side, but it worked out pretty well. I'm waiting to add the sink. Right now the counter space seems too valuable; Little Omi likes to make omelets and bake muffins and she needs room to crack eggs and fill muffin tins.

Of course no new kitchen would be complete without a nice oven mitt. This photo shows the sweet Amy Butler fabric that was also used for the curtain above. (Thanks so much to L for introducing me to Quiltworks, my new favorite local fabric shop!)

While we were at it, we may as well make some little napkins to go with the tea set. Grandma had the bright idea of fringing the edges, which gave them that little something extra, I think.

Monday, March 10, 2008

eBay + imagination = LOVE

I've been on the hunt for a nice tea set for Little Omi for quite some time now, ever since she started to bring Big Omi and I imaginary bits of food she had plucked off the furniture or walls. I didn't think my criteria would be too difficult to meet; after all, I just wanted something simple, that adhered to the basic principles of good design, didn't require batteries, wouldn't break if mishandled by an almost 2-year-old, and, if possible, wasn't pink. It turns out that most tea sets on the market these days fail to meet any of my standards. The tin set at Magic Cabin is passable, but the design is a little busy... and pink. There's also a Curious George set, but Little Omi doesn't even know who Curious George is yet. has a couple of nice wooden tea sets, but neither one comes with more than 2 cups, and while you'd have to check with Martha on this one, in my opinion one cannot hold a proper tea party with only 2 cups.

Eventually I realized I was searching for the tea set of my own childhood: a Fisher-Price white plastic set with yellow flowers on the tea pot, yellow lids for the tea pot and sugar cup, 4 tea cups and saucers, and 4 fat little yellow spoons, all nestled in their own little divided sections of a sky blue tray. Enter Grandma and eBay, and today we held our very first little tea party with the newly-procured tea set of my childhood (sans tray, but perhaps that will show up some time, too). Little Omi was ready for it. She seemed completely stunned and excited by the idea that we could all pretend to be drinking tea, stirring in sugar and cream and refilling our cups frequently.

Here's the rest of the happy gathering. While Miffy and Baby Doll were perfect guests, Paddington Bear was quite rude, demanding spoonful after spoonful of sugar in his cup, and making very loud slurping noises when he drank. Perhaps it was because he wanted a cookie; he was never offered one and eventually they were all eaten by Okasan and Grandma.

Little sprouts

Little Omi's pea plants have sprouted and are growing fast. The other day I pulled 2 of the 3 plants to make room for the biggest one to grow, and we studied the different parts of the plant. Eric Carle's book The Tiny Seed helped out a lot, too.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Artsy smock

Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing is the just the gift that just keeps on giving.* This week I made the Swing Swing Smock, however I used a vinyl tablecloth and made it a nice waterproof apron for Little Omi to wear while she does water play. I just love Amy's zigzag method for applying bias binding. What a snap!

*I just found out that Amy is working on a SECOND book! Hooray!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Is it Spring yet?

Little Omi was feeling much better today, so we ventured out of the house for the first time in days. We went to Sonic (of course) to see Omi-chan's friend Angel, who has taught her to blow kisses, something she finally started to do after months of Angel blowing unreciprocated kisses to Little Omi. Sadly, the flu must have sidetracked Little Omi's kiss-blowing skills, and today she just flashed her usual coy smile.

Feeling bold, I decided we could check out the hardware store to research a possible DIY water table project I've been mulling over, and we stopped in the new seed display to shake packets for quite some time. Little Omi finally picked out a nice packet of peas, and we brought them home and planted a few.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


This day has been a bit of a trial. Little Omi has the flu. She started on Tamiflu yesterday and also said "all done" for the first time—when we tried to give her the dose of yucky, bitter liquid. This morning, we tried to sign up for a swim class at the YMCA. Most of our playgroup is signed up already, so we really wanted to get in this particular class. It's full, of course. Wah. Then while I was online finding this out, Little Omi was climbing up on the sofa where I had stupidly left a full glass of Coca-Cola balanced precariously on the back of the sofa and against the wall. This got knocked over, of course. Nap time was a disaster.

But, things are looking up. When I went out to check the mail, this was waiting for me on the front porch:
A sweet basket full of heart-shaped cranberry muffins, and two sweet tea towels. Did I mention Little Omi loves crocodiles? Or that I love muffins? And tea towels? What a sweet mama I have. This is definitely one of the benefits to living right down the block from your mother.

Chocolate and flowers to all

Big Omi just got over the flu. Now Little Omi has it. Keep your fingers crossed for me and my immune system...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Simple pleasures

Little Omi loves to play with dry rice, dry beans, and water (not together—yet!). She also loves to play in the big box we picked up to make her a cardboard kitchen. We're not sure when the kitchen will get made, since the box is currently so beloved.

If you're looking for your own simple pleasure, try this.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You light up my life

Hooray for estate sales! And, hooray for my sharp-eyed mom who pointed out this $5 lamp after I had completely walked past without seeing it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

At and coke

I finally came across the perfect fabric and ribbon to match Little Omi's coat and sewed this sweet Amy Karol bonnet, which I bought way back when. The pattern is just right—not too fancy, but with just enough little details, like the slightest of gathers on the back and the lovely ribbon, to make this a real stand-out project. I was afraid spring would come before I would get a chance to make this, but as luck would have it, the weather's been very cold the past few days so Little Omi has already had a chance to wear it out of the house.

"At" and "coke" are what Little Omi calls her hat and coat. When we are getting bundled up to leave the house, she chants "at and coke, at and coke, at and coke" until we are ready to go.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Big man on campus

A couple of months ago Big Omi got to speak at the groundbreaking of a new science building at the university. It was a very big deal, and we had to find him a new suit and have it tailored with just a couple of days notice. He wrote and delivered a magnificent speech, and we were all on hand to give him a good round of applause at his achievement. It was nice to have something so ceremonial happen, so suddenly, in the middle of all this graduate school slogging. I think it made us both realize that there will be life after graduate school, and that life is not as far away as it used to be.

A friend of his shot this little movie of the actual (ceremonial) groundbreaking, which was pretty neat:

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I've been trying to write this post for some time now. It's #100, you see, and I just love milestones like that. I meant to have it up for New Year's Day, but that didn't work out, mostly due to the fact that we stayed up way, way, way too late on New Year's Eve playing this game.

Then, we finally got the Wii set up, so that's taking up most of my free time these days. Big Omi is currently editing his Mii, a little avatar that looks like you that you use to play in Wii Sports. Mine looks like me if I were drawn by Cathy Guisewite, i.e., eerily dead-on, but not very flattering, either.

But, today Little Omi and I baked these neat apple-currant-oatmeal muffins using the recipe on the back of the currant box and they came out pretty yummy, so I snapped a photo and knew I could squeeze a quick post in before resuming my new life as a Wii addict...

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