Friday, July 31, 2009

Family Reunion Theme Night: Hawaiian

Night Three: Hawaiian Night

Here are a few pics from that night--first the boys doing their best Mauri warrior moves....or something like that. We made them pareos (or sarongs) out of pieces of fabric. Little Mr. P. originally told his mom, Emily, that he "wasn't wearing a skirt", but as you can see, he got into it and had a fun time. (***For adult sizes you need a 1 yd. by 2 yd. piece.)

For both my M. (not shown) and B.'s dresses (on the right) I used Simplicity 8488. Although this wasn't the original site where I saw the idea you can click here for a nice tutorial on how to attach rick rack to the bottom of a hem. I put it on the sleeve hem of B.'s dress. I really like how it turned out. The bigger girls all just had a piece of fabric to use as a pareo wrap. Mom found nice authentic Hawaiian shirts for all the men at one of her thrift stores. They live near a military base and so all the transfer guys from Hawaii must give their shirts away once they realize they "aren't in Kansas in anymore".

Emily had made little pillowcase dresses for some of the nieces so that they could match everyone else in their Hawaiian garb. (2nd and 4th from the left and the 2 little ones being held by their older cousins.)
For dinner we had Hawaiian haystacks! We didn't end up doing our limbo contest, but still had a great time with our family!

Check out our whole Fam during our day trip to The Park.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Family Reunion Theme Night: Fiesta

NIGHT Two: Fiesta Night

Gotta have a pinata for Fiesta Night--we had 4 of them. We wanted to make sure that all who wanted the opportunity to whack the pinata, could. The kids thought they were awesome!

We started from youngest to oldest. The really little ones got to take a whack at it without blindfolds, but the bigger ones had to do it with.

At the end the uncles had a go at it. The kids really loved watching them swing and miss--more than once.

Here is our tip for pinatas--if you can, find the star type shown below. And instead of hanging them by the one little loop that is provided, wrap your twine, or whatever you use, around the actually body of the pinata and it will last through a lot more hits.

For food we ate super nachos (the man name for taco salad), soft tacos, refried beans, and spanish rice. And check out Leslie's creativity for our other Fiesta Night activity!

We also went here on this day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Family Reunion Theme Night: 70's Tie Dye

(Here is the first of three theme night related posts.)

Shauna had originally suggested doing theme nights each night of our family reunion. How it worked: All family members were asked to dress up for each night in theme related attire. When the dress up idea was first thrown out, our brothers/brother-in-laws were not exactly loving the idea, but in the end even they participated and had a great time! We also had food and games that were in keeping with the nightly theme.

Night One: 70's Tie Dye

If you'll remember L. had knitted herself some legwarmers. She has worn them a couple times already, but pulled them out for the 70's night--think late 70's. We all got a kick out of her.

Our Mom thought that hula hoops would be fun to have for the 70's night. Who knew that it would seriously be such a HUGE hit with all the kids. Once they figured it out--and almost all of them did--they would just go out on the cabin patio and hula hoop for hours.

M. & S., brother and sister, each won the girl and boy division of the family hula hoop contest. We had to distract the finalists a bit in the girls division otherwise they would've been like the Energizer Bunny and kept on going and going and going and going..... Renae won the over 18 division, just barely, keeping her hula hoop at her ankles just long enough before the next hula hoop hit the ground. That contest was a much shorter lived one.

Food for 70's night was pretty basic: Hamburgers and Hot Dogs on the grill. We also did a Family Bingo game, where each square was a fact about a family member.

Here is where you can see how Emily made her tie-dye shirts. Or Here for Renae's family shirts.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I've been living in these skirts for most of the summer. Wearing them pretty much everywhere. So much cuter than my current wardrobe of ill-fitting shorts!

Ye old standby skirt pattern

Hawaiian Fabric from JoAnn's ~ pink shirt from Old Navy
White Eyelet from my mother-in-law ~ blue ruffle shirt from Antilia Femme
Paisley is Anna Griffin's Paisley in Blue ~ green ruffle shirt from JCPenney

Monday, July 20, 2009


Our neighbors have 9 kids, the oldest of which got married on Saturday. I volunteered myself awhile back to sew dresses for all 5 of the bride's little sisters. It became more of a project than I cared for simply because we decided to buy a house, move, and be in charge of a family reunion during that same time frame. It came down to the wire, there were some tense moments, but I got them all finished!

For the three youngest girls aged 5, 3, and 1.

There was another green one for the 8 year old--but no picture.

I used the old standby pattern for the big dresses, and this one for the little green!

The bride chose bright orange, yellow, and lime green as her wedding colors. I have to admit that I was a wee bit sceptical that they would even look nice at the reception, but I was wrong. The colors worked great for her outdoor party.

The little girls were so cute. When they saw me at the reception they all came up to me to show me how they looked in their new dresses. They were quite smitten with themselves in them!

(For these skirts I used this pattern again)

At the last minute I also made these 2 skirts for the teenage sister and a sister in-law. You can't see the fabric detail, but it has tiny orange dots on the white. Again, the two big girls loved their skirts, also. It made all the hard work and late nights worth it. But, remind me the next time I volunteer myself for something like this...maybe I should think twice!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cowboy Salsa

I was introduced to this salsa by my cousin Tricia on the 4th of July. I could've eaten an entire bowl full of the stuff all by myself. Instead I just embarrassed myself by going back for a second helping, then a third, and a fourth...before the chips finally ran out! Good stuff, I tell you!! And it must be sorta healthy since the only "bad" ingredient is Italian Dressing. (Never mind the bag of chips you eat along with it!)


Cowboy Salsa

1 can Black Beans, rinsed & drained
2 cans Whole Kernel Corn, drained
2-3 Tomatoes, chopped
2 large Avocados, chopped
1/2 a Red Onion, diced
1 c. Cilantro, chopped
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix

Prepare Italian Dressing as instructed on package. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over top and gently stir until mixed through. Chill and serve with tortilla chips or as a salad.

There's also a version of this recipe that adds: (I added these to mine!)
1 t. Season Salt
1 t. Garlic Powder
the juice from one lime (about 2-3 T.)
1 can Green Chilies

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Family Reunion Quilt

Here is a variation to my kids' handprint quilt that we did last week at our family reunion. Its nothing special or extrodinary other than it includes all 33 members of our family on it.

I wanted something fun and easy that everyone could do regardless of their age. It was a last minute project. Now that it's done, I'm brimming with ideas on how it could've been improved... Maybe next reunion!

My squares are 10" (25.4 cm) and the sashing is 2.5" wide (6.4 cm) before sewing. We have 33 people in our family including our parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces, and nephews. I made the quilt 5 squares by 7 squares.

Here is what Renae embroidered on the two "extra" squares.

I used this lodge-looking print for the sashing since we spent 4 days at a cabin in the mountains. I think it works perfectly.

I brought paints in different colors so everyone could take turns adding their hands and writing their names on the quilt. I made everyone go in birth/family order so that it wouldn't be completely random. (I like order! :)

Everyone was good sports about adding their hands.

I have a really great lodge-looking print for the back. I'll post a picture of the finished quilt...whenever I get it done.

Anyone else have other ideas for a "Reunion"or "Anniversary" style quilt? My in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary is next spring and I'm trying to come up with something for them. That side of the family doesn't do crafty, so it needs to be something I can do on my own or easy (like this quilt) for everyone to be involved in. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Great-grandma Cooper's Quilt

This quilt top was originally put together by our Great-grandma Cooper.

The story of this quilt, as best as we can all remember, is that Grandma Cooper (she is our dad's grandmother) asked our mom if she would want it and finish it, as her eyes weren't good anymore. So our mom took it, and then she decided that she wouldn't ever finish it either. I don't know how long our mom had it before it came to me. Great-Grandma Cooper died in 1979. So the quilt top is OLD! And we think that I've had it since then as the first little alphabet patchwork quilt I had done I made in 1979 (when I was 13 years old--I don't know if I really want to admit my age, but oh well.) Mom and I think that because I had made that patchwork quilt, I was all gung-ho about tackling this one.

Here are a couple pics of my 1979 alphabet quilt made when I was 13. My daughter had been using it on her bed during the Winter.

Well, I have been hauling Grandma Cooper's quilt top around and storing it for all these years. (30 yrs!!)

It was intended to be a bedspread for a full or queen size bed. However, I have already removed the excess border as I knew that no one would ever use it for that purpose.

This may be my favorite lady on the quilt, with her feather print dress. We talked about splitting the quilt up into 4 smaller quilts, or pillows, as there are 16 ladies, but our mom didn't really think we should do that.

Some of the applique was coming loose, even though it has never been used. So I worked on doing that. All of it was appliqued in black which I didn't like. However, picking it out wasn't really an option. I did a small section and the fabric had bunched a bit under the zigzag and so I just went over top of the black, with whatever other color I had chosen for the ladies. That may not have been the wisest choice, but I really didn't want this quilt to fall apart the first time it was washed, or used, or whatever.

I guess I'll keep plugging away at it until I really decide what to do with it. I'd like to get it finished completely so that we can enjoy it, or if nothing else, at least honor her memory by having it complete.

If any of you quilting diehards have any other ideas or suggestions I'd certainly be open to them. Although none of us are really into having quilts for display only, I would like to have it out and used if possible.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


A is For Apron, by Nathalie Mornu.

I originally saw the book while I was browsing one day at Jo-Ann's earlier this year, and then went home and reserved it at my local library. I waited for a couple months to get the book, because apparently it has been a popular book, and only one or two copies were available in my library area.

I decided to go ahead and buy the book because it did have some fun styles. I've made a few of them in the past weeks or so. This is my review somewhat of the book and a few hints for the patterns.

First of all, none of the patterns say to interface the waistbands. I did on all of mine because I think that they lay nicer and stand up better. That would be a personal preference.

Waldorf, pg. 58-59
I just love the pretty scalloped hem. As an FYI, you use just over 2 yds. of the bias tape (I had 1 & 7/8 yd. leftover from my 4 yd. package). Therefore, if you preferred to use the 1/2" double fold bias tape, which only comes in 3 yd. packages, you could go ahead and buy just one package.

I added 2" to the length of the apron. For the most part I don't think you would need to lengthen it unless you are making if for someone quite tall. (I am 6'2".)

I also added a pocket with a little folded over scalloped edge. The pattern did not call for a pocket, but you can easily add one if you prefer it--which I always want a pocket on my own personal aprons. I cut 2 and edged them together in the bias tape along the scallop and then attached it to the apron itself.
Version #2--for Fall

Only difference was I messed around with the pocket a bit and gathered it before attaching it. I think that what I would do next is sandwich a little piece of elastic in between the 2 pockets so that the pocket "gives" a bit as you stick your hand in it.

Amoeba, pg. 34-36
First of all, my kids loved the fact that this pattern appears to be a large set of lips as it is laid out flat. So they call is the "kiss apron".

The biggest problem with this pattern in my opinion is the ties are TOO short. The pattern called for 16" long ties. This was BARELY long enough to tie a bow around the waist of my 9 yr. old. For me I was only able to tie it in a knot. Dumb look, if you ask me.
16" long ties view on both my daugher and me---Too Short!!

I ended up taking the ties off, recutting them to 31" long and then attaching them. I can now tie my apron with a bow, and not just an overhand knot. This is much better to look at (the ties, that is...not necessarily my backside).I also decided to cut 4 of the ties so that there wasn't a wrong or right side to them. You probably don't need to do this if your fabric is printed decent enough. I just laid out 2 per tie, wrong sides together, and then bound them together with the bias tape.
I also found that attaching the bias tape to the vee'd top and bottom was a little tricky. Mine probably isn't as sharp as it could be. Oh well...this was practice.I did a topstitch on the pocket on both the inner and outer edges of the bias tape. The book suggested just topstitching on the inner edge, which is where it encases the pocket. You can decide which look you like best.

Twirl, Girl, pg. 101-103
This a very easy pattern to make, but oh so cute. I did not lengthen anything on this pattern, but you could easily enough if you prefer it longer. I love the contrasting piece. I used up the last of the fabric that I had used for this top for L. Now she has a matching apron to use if she wants.

The finished ties were about 28" long. Finished length of apron is about 18" from top of waistband to hem.
I also had to improvise slightly as I snipped a hole in the fabric as I was clipping threads. ARGH!!! I couldn't figure out any other way to fix it and make it look decent except for adding some pretty ribbon to the hem edge to cover up the hole. Luckily it worked and I had some that matched so that I didn't have to go buy anything. Plus, L. does like it and so life is good.
Once again for the little girl version I only enlarged the pattern 300% not 400%. The ties for the little girl ended up being about 1 3/4" wide (finished) and about 20" long (finished). The apron itself measured 13" finished length from top of waistband to hem.


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