Friday, September 17, 2010

Fabric Fancy & Fleece

It's never a good thing when I just happen to wander into a fabric store. Mainly because I get so inspired by the colors, textures, and patterns, but really have no clue where to begin. Earlier this week I happened into Hancock Fabrics and began instantly drooling. See the problem here though, is that I am not a master seamstress. I am extremely limited in my sewing ability. So you can understand my creativity pangs when I see all of those gorgeous fabrics, but don't know how to physically manipulate them. It's not that I don't have ideas for oodles of things involving fabric, it's just that I don't have the time to sit down and learn sewing with a cute toddler around. I know, I know, that's such a convenient excuse for, well...everything.

In my mind, I would love to be Amy Butler... a girl can dream, can't she? So here's a very short list of a couple of things that I have been able to sew: pillow cover/case, knitting needle roll-up case, wipes, dog bed, dog poncho, annnnnd I think that's all. Well for a complete novice like me, I really appreciate no-sew projects. You get the best of both worlds (thanks Hannah Montana) by using fun fabrics, with none of the expertise required! :-D

Which brings me back to standing in Hancock Fabrics on Tuesday, eyeing all of the whimsical fleece prints. I love fleece for a plethora of reasons, but mostly because it's extremely easy to make stuff with. I saw this print in the clearance section called "Bugs & Worms," and knew instantly that this was perfect for my little Bubster. He loves all types of creepy-crawlies, alive or dead. I envisioned a cute reversible blanket for him, a larger size for the big boy he is becoming. I then grabbed a solid turquoise bolt to pair with the print. Folks, I gotta tell you, one of the only drawbacks to fleece is the price at times. But right now at Hancock, they're having an anniversary sale where most of their store is 53% off. It runs through the end of the month, so stock up now for Christmas projects :)

After 1.5 yards each of the fabrics and roughly $12 later, I had a cozy blanket to create. Instead of retyping directions for this, I'm posting the link that will give you the lowdown. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I kid you not, all you need is a pair of scissors to do this. I'm seriously considering making two more for my niece and nephew with other fabrics. Have fun, y'all.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Consignment Sale Debriefing & Tips

It's been a busy and fun weekend so far. Hubs and the DS went to go visit his family, and therefore I'm getting some fun girly stuff done! I've been waiting for today, for several weeks now, knowing that two major consignment sales would be open for business. I couldn't sleep, I tell you. It was like Christmas Eve or something. Plus, I had to get up before the sun to be ready for the first sale.

6:50 am: roll up to a church parking lot and see small line of frugalistas waiting for the gym doors to open.
7:00 am: mad dash inside. people falling down. screaming. something caught fire. well, not really, but you get the idea.
7:01 am: overwhelmed.
7:02 am: My confidence increasing, I weasel my way over to the 18-24 month boys' rack and begin quickly skimming. Hello, stripes. Hello, Ralph Lauren. shopping bag.
8:00 am: Checking out and glory Hallelujah, I only spent $22 for several nice pants and shirts. Not to mention a cute puzzle depicting how to set the table. Gotta start 'em young.
8:20 am: roll up to a church parking lot and see a cop directing parking traffic. oy.
8:22 am: overwhelmed. again.
8:24 am: go straight to shoes and see lots of cute styles, but not in his size. shimmy my way over to the 18-24 month boys' rack and begin skimming: Nothing...nothing...nothing...ehhh....hmm...maybe?... I wasn't as impressed with the selection at this particular sale, saw several stained items. Ventured out to the books/puzzle area and toys.
9:15 am: Checking out in the "express" lane, and my total was $18.75.
9:30 am: Visiting the final sale of the weekend, and the one I hadn't planned to visit. After combing the racks, found a pair of jeans for $2.
10:30 am: Leaving with my sanity in tact, and only a minor dent in the budget DH and I had agreed upon after 3 sales!

And here is the final stash of clothes bought for Fall/Winter:

Not too shabby for roughly $44, tax-free too! I love all of the pieces, and they average $2 a piece.

So here are some of my tips that I've heard from others, and that I've learned through experience:
  • Try to leave your kids and DH at home. I don't say this to be mean, but simply that space is extremely limited at this type of sale, and most shoppers are on a mission. Plus, you won't have to worry about someone getting bored or whiny.

  • Go first thing at opening if you can. The early bird gets the worm, or rather the early shopper gets the best selection.

  • Bring a bag or laundry basket, something. I am constantly amazed at how many people have nowhere to place their items. The IKEA bag was made for this.

  • If there are windows available, take your clothes over there and inspect them for stains, tears, missing buttons, broken zippers, grease stains in natural light.

  • Take cash or check with you. Most sales are not debit/credit equipped.

  • To stretch your dollar further, visit sales hosted by non-profits since there will be no tax included!

  • Volunteer at your favorite sale and shop the preview sale for even better selection (before the public gets their grubby hands all over it).

  • Take some measurements of clothing that currently fit your child well. I used a string of yarn to measure some jeans from waist to bottom cuff. Holding it up against other pants will show you how it compares. For shoes, I simply trace a foot, then take out the insole of a prospective shoe to compare for size and width.

  • Know prices of brands. This will help you in the long run. For instance, I really don't like the idea of paying more than $3.50 for a shirt because I know I can buy a new one for the same price at Walmart (Garanimals brand) or Kohl's (Jumping Beans). Some consignors price items too high for the brand, i.e. GenuineKids by Oshkosh for Target, $8 sweater...not a deal.

  • Keep a towel with you in case you need to sit on the floor and sort your clothes before buying. I did this at a sale and many buyers wished they had one too. A lot of the venues that sell do not have seating or a table to do this. Plus, this will keep your clothes clean too.

  • Some buyers/sellers frown upon this ("stockpiling"), but I call it smart shopping. If you even think for a second that you like a particular item, shove it in your bag. I may start with a bag overflowing with clothes, but after sorting, pondering, etc. I may decide it's not worth it. Please put the items back where you found them. I have 'lost' several items to other shoppers because I hesitated.

  • This should be an obvious one: know what you need to buy. I'm sure lots of poor souls fall prey to impulse buying at these sales since everything is so cheap. But it's not much of a deal if your kid already has more of the same.

  • Have fun :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Adventures in Parenting: It's the little things

Before I became a parent, I never knew:

  • I'd spend so much time chopping/dicing/mashing/tearing food bits.
  • That the moment my husband's key would unlock our door around 5:20 pm, I would have immediate relief wash over me.
  • how important changing tables are when you're out in public.
  • I would end up consuming just as many Cheerios as my child does.
  • how glorious naps were; for both of us.
  • that God could use a little child to teach me the hardest lessons.
  • how wonderful and sanity-saving, grandparents could be.
  • the slight differences between Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs. Not to mention, the beauty of pop-up wipes.
  • what a challenging calling that motherhood truly is.
  • that "snack traps" don't really trap all of the snack!
  • that cloth bibs work best for bottles and liquidy stuff, but slick pelican bibs are better for table food.
  • how pitiful your child looks when he's sick.
  • the beauty and fun of consignment sales.
  • that some days, your child will get on your last nerve.
  • that other days, you can't get enough of him.
  • how much I would desperately need God's forgivness and grace in raising a child.

I have learned so much in this small little space of time that my son has been around. And I can't imagine my life without him now. He grew in me a little over a year ago, and now he's grown on me. God give me the grace that despite all of my failings and quirks, he will ultimately see You.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"La-LA-La-LA....Bubster's World"

....sung to the tune of, none other than "Elmo's World!"

It's been awhile since I've posted some about Bub's current world. And man, do I love his little piece of the world.


Ever since he took his first steps almost two months ago, he is amazing us with his speed all of a sudden. I usedtacould open a door and quickly grab something, and shut the door all without him noticing or being able to intervene. Nowadays, that no longer happens, and he is quick as a whip, right there at your feet, ready and all too willing to get involved with whatever I am doing. Right now, his most favorite activities are opening and shutting doors, dancing, reading, chasing Cubbie, and getting into the fridge or dishwasher. The latter have become problems of their own...basically when I shut either door, he throws a fit. Screaming at the top of his lungs, all because I shut the fridge door. Bless his heart.

The dancing bit is so cute to watch. He'll do it to about anything, whether it's a song on his favorite show, Raggs, or a song in one of his musical books. He bobs up and down with the most serious of looks on his little face. It really looks as if he's thinking, " down." :) We've gotten it on video quite a few times, so hopefully (fingers crossed), I'll remember to post one.

Bub's vocab is growing as well. He can now say: Mama, Dada, ball, Bobo (his fave monkey), bye bye, uh-oh, and light. I know "light" is a strange first word, but he is obsessed with lights. It all started when I began pointing to any and every light in a room. Soon, his arm and finger began imitating mine, and he would smile and say "_igh_."

Another cute thing he does (and there are too many to count!) is raise his arms above his head. We taught him to raise them when we say, "Praise God!" He did it at our church one day, much to everyone's delight. And just the other day, as we were riding down in an elevator, it made a weird clunking noise with a small bounce. Bub said, "Uh-Oh!" :-D I have no idea how or why he knew to say that in context! But I told him, "Please don't say 'uh-oh' in an elevator!" Ironically, as we were waiting for the same elevator awhile later, a maintenace man told us it was acting up. ::blushing:: My son is already getting smarter than his old mom!

He is still very much in love with his precious blankie, and now enjoys dragging it around the house with him. He strews everything around the house nowadays. I find the most random things in the most random of places. I do love finding a wooden block or puzzle piece intermingled with his dirty clothes. Truly his presence makes itself known.

He is such a gift. I am so thankful to God for such an energetic and wild little boy. (These words may come to bite me in the future, but for now, they're all true).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy 4th Anniversary!

To my sweet husband,

I love you more than the day you asked me to marry you....

I love you more than the day we said, "I do."

I love you more than the day we found out we were pregnant.

I love you more than the day we met our firstborn son.

I love you more than you will ever know...