Thursday, February 13, 2014

Letters to Sylvie: 19 Months

Dear Sylvie,

Over the last couple of months you have really grown up! You can do so many things and are becoming so independent. It seems you pick up on something new everyday. Your coordination is getting remarkably better.

You can eat very well with a spoon or fork now and you can drink out of a straw. The types of foods you can eat are slowly increasing as you've finally sprouted four molars! Yeah for real teeth! As you get more and more used to eating by yourself, you are wanting more independence and don't like as much help. You'll allow us to cut up your daily pancakes for you, but other foods such as quesadillas and sandwiches have to be to left whole. Cutting things up is for babies! Your daddy and I were a little too proud the other day when you ate a small slice of pizza.

Your favorite food is definitely yogurt!
Along the food lines... you are officially and completely weaned. You were technically done just after Christmas. I was determined to stop getting up with you at night so I used the time over the holidays when your dad was home to make the transition. We went to visit your Grandma and Grandpa Hanson up in Idaho around the New Year and I put you to bed at your normal time of 8:00 pm. Two hours later, just as I got into bed, you woke up and started crying. Not wanting to get up out of my warm bed, I spoke into the baby monitor and said, "Sylvie, go to sleep." I was amazed when you immediately stopped crying and went to sleep. This happened a couple more times during the night and every time I told you to go back to sleep you did. I never had to get up with you again after that and you currently sleep for 12 hours solid during the night. Woohoo! I was very glad the process ended up being much easier than anticipated for both of us.

You have so many cute things you do every day. Lately you are loving the teddy bear your Uncle Scott & Aunt Amanda got you for Christmas. You carry it around and hug it and take it to bed with you. It's super adorable. You generally like to carry things around or move them from place to place, even more so if you can sit on said objects. You'll sit on anything that is just your height. Your very favorite thing is the little wood stool your Great Grandpa Warnes made for you. Second in line is your pink potty chair (which you're still just getting used to and not actually using), followed by 12 packs of soda and stairs. You've started to practice walking backwards and sometimes combine this with sitting on things. You'll squat down and slowly back up until your bum hits your selected chair. Cracks me up! You've also figured out how to use your stool to climb up on things. You're not too crazy yet... just climbing up on the couches, but I'm sure you'll figure out how to get into more trouble soon.

You and your teddy bear

Sitting on your "Coke bench"

You are getting very good at mimicking me & Daddy. If we put our coats on, you have to put your coat on. If I don't wear gloves, you don't want gloves. I've been counting your fingers and toes when I get you undressed and you've started to "count" as well. But you don't actually say numbers, you just copy the intonation of my voice and say "eh, eh, eh, eh, EH!" Ha ha, it's a start I guess!

Daddy said you picked out this outfit yourself
For the longest time you didn't like to be snuggled in blankets. Whenever I'd try to put a blanket over you you'd immediately pull it off. Lately though you've completely changed your mind. Whenever you're in your carseat you have to have a blanket tucked over your bottom half otherwise you'll squawk and fuss the entire ride. You also have to have the fuzzy owl blanket Grandma Denise made you for Christmas covering you when we read books in the rocking chair. It's so fun to snuggle you.

Being consoled by snacks after Mommy cut your hair
One more thing I'll mention is your toys and organization. You love to play with your big Lego blocks and the picnic basket you got for Christmas. You are very good at putting the blocks together and building towers or putting the picnic food onto the plates and pretending to eat. I'm not sure how you know, but you are very aware which toys belong where. You never mix the Legos with your picnic basket stuff and you are very good at putting them away where they go. Daddy said yesterday you built a tower with the Legos then when you were finished, you pulled all the blocks apart and put them away in the Lego bag. Everything has a place and you know right where to put it. This comes in very handy when you help me with the laundry. You really are a great little helper!

Your first time coloring
Sylvie, you are always such a joy to be around. I have so much fun playing with you and being around you. You are constantly smiling and laughing and are just the happiest little girl. You are so smart and full of energy and I can't help but be happy when I'm around you. I sure love being your mommy.

Love, Mama

Saturday, February 1, 2014

DIY Crafty Crap: Personalized Roasting Sticks with Carrying Bag

For a long time I've labeled myself as not crafty. But looking back at my blog this year, I don't know that I can claim that title any longer. I've actually made a handful of things that turned out pretty good! And *gasp* most of the time I kind of enjoyed it. I guess maybe I should now say that I enjoy doing a select few crafts. There. Now that we have that cleared up, I can show you what I made as Christmas gifts for my family members this year.

Now I saw this while doing a homemade gift search on the Pinterest and I was immediately drawn to the idea. Just about everyone I can think of loves to roast stuff over a fire, whether it's in the backyard or out camping. But how many people have good quality roasting sticks that are easily portable, safe, and personalized? NO ONE. That's who. Which is what makes this so perfect.

Here's what I did:

First you find some kick-ass roasting sticks. If you can forge your own metal and whittle your own handles, more power to you. If you're not the ambitious type (like moi) you can purchase some very nice roasting sticks such as these ones from Camp Chef.

Now you need to figure out exactly how you would like to mark them. The example I saw just used a monogrammed initial. I liked the idea of using full names (or Mom and Dad) for families. You could also do a simple line drawing of an animal or a pattern of some sort if you want them to be more generic. Once you decide what you want to do, print out the pattern or name and make sure it's the correct size for your sticks. You want to make sure they won't be so small they're difficult to trace but not so big that the largest name won't fit. Then tape the pattern on the stick (I used a small piece on either end).

In the post I followed, they traced the letters directly on the paper with the pointy tip of their wood burner. I thought this allowed too much room for error (seeing as how I'm still new to the wood burning technique), so I used a ball-point pen to trace the outline of the letters to make an indentation on the wood. I found that tracing over the letters a couple times (pressing fairly hard) gave a great template and provided a nice track for the wood burning tip to sit in. After the name is traced in place, remove the paper and tape.

If you're doing block letters you'll want to trace the outline with your pointed tip first, then fill it in with the blunt tip. If you choose a simple font like I have, you'll only need to use the pointed tip or blunt tip. Adjust the heat of the wood burning tool to your liking, then trace your design. Now your sticks are finished!

Now to make the carrying bag:

Find whatever material you like. I'm not sure how much you would need to buy since I just found some square tablecloths I liked and used those. Just use some amount that seems good (hey, I'm not a sewer). I'm pretty sure it wasn't more than 2 yards, probably more like 1 1/2, but you'll want to measure your sticks to see how big it needs to be. I made all different sizes depending on how many sticks I was using for each bag. I also used about 1 yard of handle material (I don't know what it's called... nylon stuff?).

So first measure out your material. I figured enough width to fit the sticks plus 6" to fold over on each side for a pocket and an additional inch on each side for edging. So basically the length of your sticks plus 14". Then for my sticks I made 4" wide slots to hold them. Which means your length will need to be 4" for each stick (or however wide they are) and 2" for edging. Plus I tacked on a couple extra inches just in case I screwed up. Or if you want extra material on the ends.

Once you have your square piece of material measured out, put a half inch rolled edge around the outside (fold over 1/2", iron down, fold over another 1/2" iron down then sew). Then fold down 6" on either side of your fabric for your pockets and sew it down on one side only. You want to be able to stagger your pockets so the weight of the sticks is evenly distributed. The open flap will allow you to easily remove and replace the sticks. Then, starting at each sewn edge, measure every 4" inches (or however much space you allowed for the fattest part of the sticks) and sew a pocket. I believe on the case shown below I had 3 pockets on either end.

Don't mind my feet. I was too lazy to crop.
Now put all your sticks in the bag, alternating their direction, and roll up. You'll want to pin your handle material to the center spot then unroll the bag and take the sticks out again.

Sew the ends of your strap together then sew to the center point of your bag. I used white thread because dammit it took me a long time to get my sewing machine threaded and I wasn't going to risk trying to re-thread it after all that swearing on purpose so you could see where I sewed.

So that's basically it. They are pretty rustic... at least the way I sew, but I figured people usually just use these for outdoorsy stuff so it would fit in with the rough atmosphere. Now I just gotta wait for the weather to warm up so I can test them out! But no matter how crappy I sew, these have to be better than driving hours on end with long pointy hot dog sticks floating around in the car ready to fly out and stab me in the eye. And let's not forget that I can now cross off a successful handmade Christmas gift from my bucket list. It's a win/win.