Monday, February 28, 2011

New purse for me

I mentioned it before, but the awesome leather bag I made in August broke past repair. The weight of the leather was just too much for the straps, and one snapped in the worst spot possible. I tried using one of my previous bags, this one, but it has several popped seams I don't feel like fixing and the same problem that I disliked before, which was the inability to expand it.

I've been planning this particular bag in my head for awhile, and when I saw this beautiful blue tweed on clearance at Joanns, I had to get it. So this weekend I cut out the fabric and last night and today I sewed it. It was awesome to see everything come together. My patterns tend to turn out better now than they used to because I can foresee problems and plan for them better than I used to do.

It's a little hard to see but there is a large pocket on the back big enough to carry a normal sheet of paper. I have this extreme dislike of having to fold important pieces of paper, and yet it always seems like I don't have the room in my purse to put them without squishing them. This should solve that problem. I used a button to hold it in place so it wouldn't gape.

Two magnet closures. I like them, but I bought them to use with my small clutches, so I bought the 14 mm, weaker magnets. For this weight of bag, the 18 mm stronger ones would work a tad better. You can also see on the inside where I sewed the handles on the outside, which is a little unfortunate, but that's because I had a hard time decideding whether I would sew the handles to the body of the bag or to the white part at the top.

The inside has a few pockets for holding small toys, underwear, wipes, food, etc.
And of course, the requisite modeling pic. Daniel was taking a nap in my room, so I'm in my pajamas trying to hide behind the purse and the camera.
Here it is with some stuff in it. I can fit plenty more. Yes, it's a large bag, and I hesitated to make one quite this big because I'm getting to the point where I don't always want a large bag. But every time I'm at church or go to New Jersey I have tons of stuff and need a bag this large, so I decided to go with it.
I don't know why, but this little touch with the vertical canvas strips is one of the things I like the most about it.
The sides have elastic on them, and then there are pockets with elastic. It's kind of a lot of elastic, but it works out and the bag can get larger if I need to carry a bunch.
So there you go! I am quite happy with the results. The handles are another thing I'm really proud of, because I've never done handles like this and really just conceived them out of my own head. I'm pretty sure if I looked up directions how to do these particular handles it would tell me to do it the same way, but I'm proud of myself for thinking it up on my own. I think I might make a couple for my Etsy shop. What do you think? I would make a couple of changes (zipper pocket on the inside, make the top part with the magnetic snaps not quite as tall), but it would mostly look the same.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Computer troubles galore

Wow, a whole week has passed. Well, we've been pretty busy this week so I guess I just got caught up in things.

The biggest problem was that on Thursday the laptop got messed up. First I saw the blue screen of death, then it shut down, and then I couldn't get our profile to load back up, which meant that even though all our files were there, they were impossible to access. About a month ago Adam moved everything onto a shared network, so I knew it was all right because of that, but still a bummer to lose a month's worth of photos.

Then Friday the desktop completely died. That was a lot more worrisome because the desktop is the home to the network. We ended up taking the hard drives out of both machines and buying something to let us get the data off of them. However, the power supply on our external drive shorted out, and the local computer store didn't have any of those. So we need to fix that still. We researched our options and finally decided that Adam is going to buy a new motherboard, CPU, and hard drive (and a few more things beyond my computer lingo) to fix up the desktop, and he completely wiped the laptop and we begun from scratch. Yesterday was strange with no access to a computer (except Adam's work laptop that he was using to move all the data around, and that thing is slow as molasses), so I read two books. They were both kind of lame too. But today my laptop is back up and running, whoo-hoo!

I have a new calling as a nursery leader. We will have three of us in the junior nursery and there will be a fun couple with the senior nursery. Today was pretty good with the eleven kids, so I think only having six or seven junior nursery kids will be a piece of cake, especially when we get a more structured routine set in place.

Finally, I uploaded a bunch of videos onto our computer and picked one of Daniel to share. He's in a kind of funny mood here. I was cooking, which always makes him needy, and he was having fun yelling at me. If you want to see a video of him screaming at me like a Nazgul, and a corresponding video of a Nazgul (from Lord of the Rings), check out my facebook page.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend roundup

So here is how our closet finally ended up. Adam and I decided to move the stairstep cubbies into the closet and use them as toy storage. This means that we are out of a dresser in our room, so that will need to be rectified. But for now, Katrina has more organization.
However, her room still ended up looking like this on Friday during nap:
Adam roped her closet shut and we created a rule that she can only play with one tub of toys at once. We gave her a serious talk about not taking clothes out of her dresser. Who knows how well it will stick, but yesterday's nap and today's nap went very well and she happily has been playing with one tub at a time and leaving the clothes put. I can definitely tell that she is almost 3 years old because she is much easier to reason with.
On Friday Adam cycled to work for the first time in several months. However, the trail wasn't completely clear of snow and ice. He was getting off his bike to clear the patch but it started quicker than he expected and Adam bit the dust. He was pretty shaken up and skinned up.

However, the worst part is that he messed up his tailbone. Whenever he sits down he gasps in agony. We both hope he gets better quickly because he's so excited to start the cycling season.

So tonight I decided to do a short and easy project that I had been planning for awhile. I used this tutorial to make the dress and used some fabric I bought awhile back on clearance. The dress turned out pretty well. The pattern doesn't specify a few things that could have been helpful, and the neckline ended up really tight. Katrina has always had a big head, and I could barely squeeze it over her head. I'm not sure if that was why, but she asked me to take it off pretty quickly. :[ Oh well, it took me less than an hour total to make, while taking care of the kids, and I used clearance fabric.
The only change I made was to use elastic thread and sewed around the waist twice with that instead of using a casing and elastic. It worked out just fine.
Hope everyone has a great President's Day tomorrow! We spent our Saturday cleaning and so tomorrow Adam will be studying pretty much all day. But we also got to go on a date on Saturday night, so that was great. Oh, and I got a new calling in addition to my calling as Relief Society activities board member: Nursery Worker! We have three leaders and 14 kids. They haven't decided yet if they want to split the kids up or not. Today was my first day, and thankfully Katrina was much better behaved than last time I was in there. Last time she wanted me to play with only her, this time she just did her own thing. Adam had to drop Daniel off so that he could teach his lesson, so Daniel got his first taste of nursery. He was fine as long as I never moved more than half a step away from him! I sure hope that that doesn't last long, because it's hard to take care of other kids when your own is screaming. He has four molars starting to poke through and is doing remarkably well (he's wearing his amber necklace constantly), but he always is super tired during the third hour of church and cranky too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kids Closet Organization

Last night I needed to get out of the house so I went grocery shopping at Walmart and scouted out their storage bins. I almost bought five 34 qt storage bins for $8 each. But then I went to the other end of the aisle and found some 18 gal storage bins for $5. Easy decision! I went ahead and got five. Here is my initial setup this morning. I forgot to take before pictures, so at this point I had already removed Adam's tux and temple suit (inside treehouse), my formals (on top of changing pad), and started the Goodwill pile (on pink dresser that we moved out of our room last night).
This is the right side of the closet, after we had removed some adult clothes. You can't see the bottom of that pile of clothes, but trust me, it was taller than Katrina.
Here is the left side which is about twice as tall as Daniel with piles of clothes we were given that are too big for either kid.

And a brief glimpse at the top of the closet. That bathtub was on top of the stack of too-big clothes, but now it is perched extremely precariously up there. That was pretty much the best I could do for now because I am so short and somehow didn't think about getting the stool out.

K, then I went through the whole left side of the closet and split the clothes into two bins for each kids. There were just so many clothes for Daniel, so I decided to only keep the 2T clothes, and I got rid of anything scratchy, stiff, possibly uncomfortable, stained, or just not to my taste. With Katrina I only kept sizes 4T or below.

This is the Goodwill pile at this point. I also will likely have my sister-in-law look through them because there are a lot of cute clothes here, I just couldn't keep them all.
And here are the two tubs. I was able to squish Daniel's tub down so all the clothes can fit. I still need to go back and take out some of the clothes on the bottom that I kept before I decided to only keep 2T stuff. It's from Adam's co-worker and it's all size 5 or 6. I really don't want to haul it around for four more years.
Then I went through the right side of the closet. I split up the clothes into Katrina's clothes sizes Newborn-12 months, another bin for sizes 18 months-2T, and one bin for all of Daniel's clothes from his first year.
I found more clothes on the left side and so it looked even better at this point.
The Goodwill pile.
These three bins came from that side on the right. I got rid of any clothes that were ugly (we had a surprising amount of ugly clothes for Katrina that we had gotten used on Craigslist or Ebay), stained (anything white was horribly stained; they must have gotten a lot worse in storage because I wouldn't have kept them if they had been that stained originally), or that my kids just never wore. Katrina apparently had twice as many clothes as Daniel in her first year. Oh, and this picture doesn't include the size Newborn and 0-3 months and the bag of shoes and socks. Somehow I squished them all in.
So at this point, this is how the closet looks. I had hopes of organizing it so well that we could move the cubbies back inside here from our room and use them for toy storage (and then I guess get another dresser for our stuff), but there's definitely not enough room. I like how there is room still for more tubs or more likely, for some toy bins. I also have room in the hanging organizer for stuff.
I moved the organizer over and the extra paint, bouncer, and bassinet are squished nicely in the back.
And the top has a few more things thrown up there.
The kids were so excited about the bouncer, which plays music. Luckily that's pretty much the only interesting thing within their reach.
Annnd, here's the damage. I definitely need to clear this out of here before Katrina takes a nap, or else this will all be strewn all over the floor.
And this is a pile of bags and trash and other things that were also in the closet and now I will need to fit them in our closet in our room.
So there you go! One closet organized. I like how there is potential for putting some toys in here. Everything is already looking a bit better in my mind, except the cubbies in our room. I really hate using them for my clothes, and so does Adam. We are thinking of moving it into our closet, which will definitely make things squishy in there, but then they will be out of reach of Katrina completely. She already has been opening them and taking things out and dumped a drawer in Daniel's crib when he woke up. Oh, and now we can't tell her to go get a dress or other item of clothing from her room, because she can't get the drawers open in her dresser. But it's a small price to pay for fewer messes!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Need help with a storage dilemma

K, I'm turning to the blogosphere to help me with my storage problem. Our apartment is fairly large but it feels like we are bursting out of the seams.

But first some cute pictures.
Sometimes Katrina doesn't want to wake up from her nap.

We let her lay there and just do our normal tasks around her until she decides to get up.

She normally sleeps on the bed, but occasionally sleeps on the floor. She only naps a couple times a week, but when she does, she sleeps for hours.

She is obsessed with her daddy's bike. We took her to the bike store on Monday and let her ride a bike around. We're definitely planning on getting one for her birthday. I drew a bike for her yesterday and then she erased it and drew this:
Definitely a bike!
K, here's the storage problem. Adam and I have embarked on a quest to organize our apartment better and make better use of space. As a part of that, we moved the large bookcase into our room to free up space for his bike, moved a bunch of books into our closet, and I moved some of my fabric and craft storage into those free shelves.
Our biggest issues are toys and closets. We have a storage closet bursting to the seams. We organize it regularly and it gets messy again. It could definitely use another go-through, but we can't put much more in there, so that's not really an option for storing.
The kids' closet is a huge problem. Inside there is a hanging organizer thing that holds mostly just cloth diapers that are too small. On the right side of this organizer are several garbage bags and a big pile of clothes that are too small for the kids. We can't just toss them or give them away because we'd like more kids someday and I'd rather not start over. It is conceivable I could go through and get rid of some of these clothes, but that still leaves a lot. We have considered vaccum pack storage, but I heard mixed reviews about those. Another option is a bunch of storage tubs with the sizes of clothes. Either option could get pricey. I should probably mention that we can't afford to buy much. But I am willing to put some money towards this project.
On the left side of the closet are the bassinet, the bouncer, and bags and bags of clothes for the kids to grow into that we've been given by friends. These clothes are basically inaccessible at this point and in a bunch of random bags and boxes, so there's no organization. The top of the closet has the carseat, some extra blankets, and stuffed animals we're not willing to get rid of yet but aren't played with. We already got rid of a bunch of stuff in the top of that closet.
The living room always has random toys in it. I occasionally go through it with a big plastic bucket and pick up all the random things and try to organize them better. Basically extra toys just get stuffed in the storage ottoman. We've done a couple of toy purges. I'm sure we could get rid of a little bit more, but mostly we just need better storage.
Another issue is that Katrina is currently in a fun phase where she likes to empty out her cubbies (like this) onto the floor so that she can put them all in a circle and pretend she's driving a car, or sit in them and pretend they are boats, or various other things that are super cute and a wonderful use of imagination, but very messy. She also likes to pile up her clothes and pretend they are a snowman, or a sand castle. Also cute, also messy. We have one other dresser, a pale pink, small thing that we use in our room. I have proposed to Adam that we give her the dresser (drawers are harder to open and not as much fun to play in) and take the cubbies. They are unsightly in a grown-up room, so I think we could squish them into our closet. But they wouldn't hold as much. If her closet were organized better maybe we could stick them in her closet. But she can open closets, so that's not a perfect solution. At this point, I'd rather not make it a battle between us and her about whether she's allowed to play with that stuff, because it will be full of tears and fights and I'm of the opinion that if you can removed the temptation you'll be happier than just trying to stop the kid from playing with it. Also, whether I clean it up or make her help me, I still end up doing all the work (if you have a toddler, you know how you have to direct every single move).
Sorry for the mammoth post, I just need some suggestions. Adam is too stressed out with work and studying to brainstorm with me. I really wish I had somebody to physically be here to help me organize things, but maybe you guys can still have ideas that I can use. Thanks so much!

(Oh, and under our bed we have our coffee table, and under the crib we have food storage, and under Katrina's bed we have the packnplay, so there is limited under-bed space. And Craigslist is definitely an option for buying stuff, but remember that we own a jetta and don't have any friends with trucks for picking up furniture).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kid update

I tried to put up a blog post with video the other day but for some reason the video wouldn't upload. Maybe because it was a video from my camera instead of my video camera.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few of Katrina's drawings and talk a little about the kids.
These are two people, one of them is the baby. You can definitely make out mouths and eyes and noses.
She wrote on her fingers accidentally and then proceeded to mark them all pink. When I got her the markers I allowed her to have three at once. She requested pink, red, and more red (so I gave her maroon). Pink is definitely her favorite color and she always requests pink straws and often will only wear pink clothes. Or dresses. She spent half of today in a pink shirt and skirt, and then changed partway through to a dress. As I'm writing this she is requesting her dress off, which either means she needs to pee or wants to run around naked and we'll have to wrangle her into clothes at dinnertime.

Daniel is growing leaps and bounds. He is taking little steps everywhere and is just so proud of himself. Katrina was about this age when she started walking fluently, so he's not too much behind her. As for speech, he's doing great. His vocabulary includes "Hi!!!!", "hello" (sometimes), "uh-oh," "ee-ii-ee-ii-oo," "Dada," signing "all done," "happy," and maybe a couple other words. His favorite syllable is "yiyiyiyi!" He loves to imitate and sometimes I can get him to imitate new words. The other day I got him to say "Howdy."
Daniel is still a yeller, but seems to have calmed a bit this past week. I just strive to keep him full and not hungry, because that seems to be a huge catalyst. He nurses once or twice during the day and usually twice at night. Believe me, I'm not happy about the night nursings, but he screams like a banshee and the one time we left him there for more than a few minutes he literally yelled for an hour. My current strategy is to only nurse him for 2-3 minutes and then put him back. Unfortunately, I usually fall asleep!

You can see the bike in the background. That is where our tall bookshelf was, but it's now in our room, and I like how it opens up our cluttered living room a bit. Conversely, it makes our room look better to have a piece of taller furniture.

Oh, here's another picture. I was just struck with this one by her use of patterns. I think these are all people too, one in each color.
So that is the kids for now. We have lots of fun and watch too much tv and the days go by pretty quickly. Goals include watching less tv, getting outside more even though the snow is still a couple feet deep by our balcony, going to playgroup more often, and getting Daniel to sleep through the night again!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just a couple of projects

Just sharing a bit of what I've been working on.
Baby shower gift.
Wet bag for the kitchen. It's for baby bibs, handtowels, and the "unpaper towels" I'm making from a bunch of old t-shirts. I have about 24 that are cut out, and they just take a while to sew because of the stitch I'm using around the edges to keep them from raveling. Though now that I think about it, they are made from t-shirts, so they won't unravel. Hm. Maybe I'll just use a straight stitch and save myself some time. I'm making them because Daniel is just so messy lately while eating and instead of using a half sheet each time to clean him, I have to use about ten! Cloth works better for getting messes off of him. So I'm making these unpaper towels which will be used for cleaning him and cleaning kitchen messes too.

And I whipped out a bunch of business card holders for my shop, because they are fun and pretty quick. I have fourteen purses cut out too and will start putting those together next.