Monday, October 31, 2011

Mini Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Well, we finally finished the costumes, and they turned out super cute! Ms. Mc and I have been looking forward to getting the boys together in their costumes and yesterday we were able to enjoys the fruits of our labor. Surprisingly, My Little Helper was excited to get into his costume, even before we made it to the party. Here he's showing off the detailing on the back.Things were more chaotic once at the B household. Trying to get a 5, 4, 2 yr, and 10 month old all into costumes simultaneously is exactly like herding cats. But eventually we were successful. Here John and George try out their musical instruments (borrowing these toys from The General's children was instrumental in getting our boys excited about their costumes, pun intended.)When Ms. Mc was in high school her mom bought her these Beatles dolls. She has posed all 3 of her sons with them as babies. She of course had to get some shots with all the Peppers together. The dolls were the only ones who consistently looked at the camera.
Here's George, the only one willing to have a moustache drawn on. Adorable!John minus the glasses and moustache.Tiny Paul!Baby Ringo!Hallowe'en is Ms. Mc's favorite holiday and she puts together a great party. Melted witches puddles desserts. Colorful, mini cupcakes. Caramel apples just for me (I took home a plate of 5 after the party!) And coffin favor boxes. You'll note one has a guinea pig coming out of it. That's mine as a tribute to my deceased high school guinea pig, Bun.
All in all a good time had by all. Tonight we trick or treat!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Costumes are complete!

I'm finished!!!! What a relief! And I have days to spare before Hallowe'en! I ended up making 3 medals for the John costume; the center one is the one Ms. Mc made with left over ribbon from Paul's costume. She made it entirely out of glie dots which wasn't quite holding for me so I top sewed it a bit with the machine. I used hers as a template though for making mine. There was only room for 2 on Ringo's breast, I probably could have scaled them down a bit more from the John sized medals. Good enough though, right?
I tried a few different ways of doing the swag of cord, but in the end decided it was all too bulky for children, especially the baby, so I just safety pinned them near the center. I finished hand sewing the eye-hook closures, we shall see if they will be enough to keep the jackets closed. I also decided to go ahead and make an ascot for Ringo. He wears a blue one so I used some of the left over fabric from the Paul costume.
All the epaulets are attached with several safety pins and the cording is all hot glued on.
This was fun, but I have a feeling I will be buying costumes for the boys next year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We put an offer on the house today!

Ack!!!! We complied all our paperwork over the weekend and drafted a letter to the sellers in addition to selecting some photos of our house, since we aren't on the market yet. Mr. W put a check in the escrow account. I have two children, but nothing has made me feel more like a grown up that putting in this offer for the Mt. Tabor house. It is a lot of money. It's a big deal. I know people do this all the time, but since it is all new to me I am in awe of the process. And I think a little in shock, it seems a bit out of body to me.
I thought I'd post some more photos of the interior after we initially toured the house in May. However, I discovered that we somehow lost all of those. Too bad. Hopefully they will accept our offer at a lower price and I can get in there again to take more photos. Fingers crossed

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall foraging

I signed My Little Helper up for Nature Preschool through PP&R. He absolutely loves it! I loved the idea of it, it's like Outdoor School for little kids. There are lots of time when he doesn't want to go to regular preschool and says, "I want to go to the preschool with no doors and no windows!" They have been learning about mice, birds, spiders, leaves, and this week was mushrooms.
I like to take him on my own fall foliage or foraging walks. The weather has been nice and dry this week so I took both the boys to a pumpkin patch on Tuesday, spur of the moment because it was so sunny, but no one else was available. And yesterday since it was still nice out I decided we'd go foraging for chestnuts. I have tried this before, but I always seem to make it to the trees too late; others have been there before me and picked them clean. First we walked past the chestnut tree closest to our house, but I think it must just be a bad producer, the nuts are malformed and look more like cloves of garlic than a proper nut. I've discovered another close tree on our walk to preschool and there we struck it rich! So many uncollected nuts and they are nice and fat.
I confess that I have never actually eaten a chestnut that I can recall, but I have heard of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and I know one of my season Catholic feast day recipes calls for chestnuts. And foraging food just seems like a PNW thing to do. My guess is that I should wash them first? And then score with an X before roasting?
My Little Helper loved filling up his basket with nuts though! He gathered a few pine cones too along the way from a western white pine tree, we like to use them as kindling. We thought it was going to rain on us, but it didn't so we changed courses and walked over to Laurelhurst Park. The boys enjoyed the playground for awhile and then we walked over to the duck pond. Firwood Lake is looking good now, I especially like these little habitats they made for the ducks to forage naturally. My Little Helper decided that we should race the chestnuts down the big, steep hill. We ended up doing that most of the way home. He always claimed that his nut had won and gone farther than mine. It is so nice to know that there are still some toys you can get for free for little children to enjoy!
It is a little bittersweet walking to Laurelhurst knowing that soon we may move and these will be our lasts walks over there as our neighborhood park.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

These embellishments may be the death of us!

Ms. Mc came over on Thursday with her boys. She brought the orange fringe she had purchased for me for the epaulets. She also made me a medal. I think it turned out really cute. She ended up giving me all of the coin fringe she bought because apparently Paul and George have cross shaped medals and John and Ringo have the circle medals. I think I'll only need about 3 per boy though since their chests are so much smaller. I bought blue and red striped ribbon on my last fabric store run and I remembered I have some striped ribbon left over from GapKids gift wrap a few years ago.
Ms. Mc showed me a sample of her epaulets. They looks so great! She is staying much truer to the originals while I have just fashioned clumsy rectangles. She has been working like crazy on her embellishments while her mom has been sewing the costumes. That is a huge relief to me. It is nice to know I only need to worry about my two boys' costumes and packing up our bedroom and office before the end of the month.
With the last of the fringe I'm in the home stretch now. I finished all the machine work, just in the nick of time because I am running very low on thread for both costumes. I'm just down to the hand stitching now. I hand stitched the epaulets closed. Ms. Mc suggested we just attach them to the jackets with safety pins so that is what I have done. I'm sewing the buttons now and cursing the original costume designers for adding so many buttons to these uniforms.And here are photos of how the backs turned out with the cording hot glued on.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The second Beatle is easier

I'm trying to prioritize things since I have too much going on. Sunday I pushed through the Ringo costume for Baby Boy. The second Beatle goes much quicker since I know exactly what did and didn't work the first time I pieced the pattern together. I ended up with just the right amount of gold ribbon to do 4 stripes across the chest, one on the collar, two on the sleeves and one along the hem of the jacket. This is all less that what is on the original Ringo costume, but proportions for a baby are much smaller! And one packet of double fold bias tape was exactly the right amount for the size 4 costume and gave just a little extra for the size 1 costume. (I was so glad I found gold bias tape at Joann's Fabric, they didn't have it at Fabric Depot.)I'm really getting excited! I put him in the costume to measure the length of the pants, this is going to be hysterical!
Mrs. Mc told me that she had found orange fringe on the clearance rack at Fabric Depot so I headed back over there yesterday to find it. Fortunately, I found it and it is just perfect, thank goodness I finally got it! I added it to the hem, which was easy, and the cuffs, which was hard, since the sleeves are finished. I was able to get My Little Helper to try on the jacket briefly, but only through bribery. Adorable, even without pants! I think he expects that there will be antenna by the time I finish the costumes, since they are beetles and he frankly has no idea who The Beatles are. He also keeps asking if I will make him a dinosaur or dragon costume next. I think I am going to have to go buy another costume for him. We'll go trick or treating with the B Boys in the Sgt. Pepper costumes and Mrs. Mc is having a Hallowe'en party that Sunday to which I'll bring the costumes. But if we get invited to a party that Friday or Saturday before I'll let him be a dinosaur. And this will be the absolutely last time I ever make him dress as something about which he has no idea!
So here is the John costume nearly complete, I just have to make epaulets and finish sewing on the stinking buttons.And here is Ringo; I started one epaulet.Tiny baby epaulets crack me up! I used hot glue to attach the blue cording underneath. Here's a closer look:Now I have to figure out how I will attach them! Once I sew the buttons on I will attach and swag more of the blue cording on the costume.
While I had the hot glue gun out I also glued the orange cording on the back of the John costume, but I forgot to take a picture.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A weekend of house hunting

Friday night we met our realtor at the Victorian townhouse in Buckman. I knew going in that I probably wouldn't want it based upon the white painted woodwork and the location on a busy street. But it did have a beautiful, unpainted fireplace mantel and a sizeable corner lot with a garage. I've been admiring the restoration the owners have been doing over the last few years since we pass this house all the time. The interior woodwork is mostly intact and the floor plan hasn't been muddled much. It had an eat in kitchen which we like and need. However because it is a town house the rooms are small, compared to the Mt. Tabor house, the front parlor wouldn't accommodate our sofa and chair well. And like the Mt. Tabor house the only fireplace is in the dining room, which the current owners use as a living room. The upper bedrooms were well sized but only 3 with the 4th being on the dormered 3rd story which is a guest suite and not appropriate or safe for small children. The clincher for Mr. W was a replacement, metal casement window which opened right at floor level at the top of the stairs. He had horrible visions of Eric Clapton's son. :( It did have an awesome wine cellar in the basement though to inspire him.And a view of downtown from the balcony.
The next day we met at a Tudor Revival on Alameda Ridge. I knew the woodwork was still stained and the kitchen looked like it might be original. It also had an awesome jazz age bathroom. I was initially surprised at the asking price since it is on Alameda, but it isn't on the view side of the street, so that is probably why. We came in through the back door and the first thing I noticed was the original patterned linoleum, which I followed down the hall into the kitchen. I looked up and saw the great metal drawer pulls when it hit me: these were metal kitchen cabinets! So awesome! And the plastic laminate counter top was likely original too! The jazz age yellow back splash certainly was. The kitchen is modest, but to find such an intact kitchen is a rare find. Most of the ones I have seen in the photos online seem to be very nice, brand new dated kitchens. That is to say, they look great and impressive now, but in 15 years they won't. It has the sweetest little adjoining breakfast room too. The dining room and living rooms are well sized. It reminded Mr. W and me a lot of the house Mrs. H grew up in, and since I spent half my childhood there, it was very nostalgic for me. I was really beginning to fall for this house, much more than I thought I would. There were some photographs of the owners in the house as far back as the 50s. A wonderful wrought iron banister lead me upstairs to the awesome peach jazz age bathroom. I forgot it had a built in dressing table! It also has a tiled shower stall in addition to the bathtub. Oh how I love this bathroom. I could easily find a period appropriate pedestal sink to replace the existing 50s one. The bedrooms were huge, compared to our bungalow. The master is nice, the largest room I'd have the boys share and the third could be the playroom/guest room for now until we have baby #3.
Down in the basement is a finished family room with a raised hardwood floor and a brick fireplace! This would make a great Lloyd Yoder Memorial Theatre! So the Mt. Tabor house is still my first choice, but this one would make a wonderful consolation prize if we can't get it.

The next house in Irvington I knew was too small, but wanted to see simply for the lavender Jazz Age bathroom. OMG! I was so in love and had to remind myself how dumb it would be to move to a same size house just for a bathroom. But damn! It is awesome!
The next house was a Foursquare in Sullivan's Gultch, but I didn't read the map carefully and didn't realize it was on a busy street with an ugly, infill apartment building behind it so we didn't even go in.
The final house we looked at had a dining room ceiling that literally made me gasp when I was looking at photos in the listing. The exterior though made we worried that there had been a fire or something in its past because the overhangs are missing from the upper stories. Situated right on Vista Ave on an extreme slope, the house seems to be settling and shifting downhill. It is a total money pit and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I know I'm not a West Side girl, I just didn't realize how busy Vista is.
The lesson I learned this weekend is how to comprehend the listing so that I can eliminate houses from our search to save our time and energy. I also think we should focus on packing rather than house hunting to avoid getting our hearts set on something that we aren't ready to make an offer on and then we get disappointed.