Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Entertaining Friends

Almost a year ago we met in person for the first time friends we'd followed via our blogs for years after meeting online during our adoption of Lauren and their adoption of Teresa.  We followed as the kids progressed in their adjustments to their new families and all the trials and triumphs that go with this.  We were particularly concerned as the Bartlinski's sought to bring health and wholeness to their youngest treasure who was challenged from the beginning of life with heart and lung problems.  We celebrated her milestones, prayed along with SO MANY others as she faced her greatest challenge of a heart transplant that would ultimately take Teresa out of this world and into the arms of her savior to wait for her loving family to join her in heaven.  While reeling from this incredible loss, a group that helps grieving families made arrangements for their return to Teresa's favorite place with all the princesses that she so loved - Disney.  It was there we met them in person for the first time.  I wrote about that in this blog post: New Friends and Celebrating Life. We met for lunch on a couple other occasions after this initial meeting and have continued to follow and dialog via the Internet and emails.

At Disney, we're all sporting our Got Love T shirts that are part of a fundraiser for the Love You More Heart Home in Teresa's honor.  And of course we all have our princess tiaras on that were a favorite part of Teresa's fashion style.

Yesterday, we were thrilled to be able to visit again as they spend time in Florida with their girls. While Grace, their 15 year old had to stay and babysit the new puppy at the condo, the rest of the girls along with Ann and Ed joined us for lunch.  It was so much fun visiting with them.  Hannah and Lauren absolutely loved having so many playmates to share their time and toys with.

Mary visiting with Bear, who loved all the extra attention he got!

Ann with Mary and Gemma

Ed, Mary, Ann and Gemma

Playing Wii, with Lauren and Lucy "boxing", while Hannah, Emilia, and Gemma cheer them on.

I was so busy talking and visiting I almost forgot to take photos, but I did manage to get some to share by the time we had desert and the kids were playing with the Wii or visiting with the dogs, just before the Bartlinski's had to leave.

Bear and Bea quite happy with all the extra attention.

Gemma giving Hannah a hug good bye

Gemma seeing who's taller between she and Lauren- so cute.

As they all head back to their van it was time to say goodbye and bring an end to a wonderful visit.

We will make a trip down near Orlando to visit with them again, before they need to leave for home. The time always flies when we get together.  Absolutely agree with Ann that I wished we lived closer to each other!!

If you haven't met this wonderful family, I invite you to check out their Blog here: Our Place Called Home

Looking forward to seeing them again soon, and hopefully I'll remember my camera sooner!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Crafty Barbie Details

Hannah is like a crafting machine with her love of being  creative and always looking for a means of expressing this passion.  In addition to her store bought craft kits, she regularly borrows from our recycling materials to use for her latest craft project.  She goes online for ideas and how to videos and then tries them out for herself.  Her Barbie house has been redecorated with many of these creative pieces.  Hannah has been drawing Lauren into her activities and has an enthusiastic partner in this as well.  I was taking some laundry into Hannah's room when I noticed her redecorated and rather cluttered Barbie house, and as I looked at the detail in the vignettes she created, I thought I needed to show off her creations.

This is an ad for the basic "modern" Barbie house and the pieces it comes with.

This is Hannah's decorated house and the additions she's made with boxes she's grabbed from the recycling bin.

Though a bit more cluttered, the special details are intriguing. There is a box on the left I didn't get in this photo that serves as a bedroom addition I'll show in the following photo.

It's the tiny details that fascinate me.

The bedroom addition with bed, side table and clothes hanger

Mulan doll with her Hannah created reading materials
Love his tablet!
This is the side table with a report card next to the mirror, the pencil holder on the right with individual pencils and the Barbie shopping bag near the front.
Barbie teen room with an additional bed added and the dolls teen posters and skateboards with bead wheels
The box turned refrigerator on left with "Kids artwork and shopping lists" on door,  the counter table and cloth. The food and unique TV.  Love the details!!

This is her kitchen television, bowls (bottle lids) with food (beads and cut foam pieces), her cookbook and a card left of the green "fruit" basket.  Then there's the framed artwork for the wall.

Love this note over the sink by the window
Living room. with her shelf on the left, TV console and her iTouch acts as their TV.

Shelf closeup with magazine cutouts of old phono style radio, several video game boxes, framed picture on top of shelf and kids toys and artwork at the base of the shelf. 

Family TV night.  Books and game on top of console.  "Candles" made of beads and red dyed Q tips on right  side of console.  Then the "trash" container made from an old vitamin bottle.  Hannah will turn on her iTouch and let them "watch" the television.
Teen music room, the white "bongos" Hannah made on the floor
Dog by the stairs and Hannah's photo collage on wall behind stairs

Picture on wall, and the "phone machine" she created to cover the weird wall lamp pictured on the house.
Bathroom rugs added, wall art and storage trunks

Just had to share, as I found the attention to detail fascinating as well as her willingness to spend the time making all of this.

As an aside, we were able to "visit" with Amber and Eddie using Facetime on Saturday as they have now settled into their new apartment in Oregon.  Loved our time with them, though we really miss our visits and meals that we used to be able to share together when we all lived in California.  Love technology that allows us to see each other as we talked.

Have a great day!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Girls First Sewing Class

Girls heading in to store for their class

Yesterday the girls headed to Joann's Fabrics for their first machine sewing class.  Both were so excited and had their fabrics ready, sewing kits and the stuffing needed for their bear projects.  I was determined to let the girls really learn on their own, so my friend Meredith met me and we went for coffee next once I had the girls settled in their class.

With both set to start I snapped a quick picture and headed off leaving my camera for them to document their time.

The project was a bear that they would have to learn to pin, sew on the machine and cut out, then stuff and do finishing work.

Hannah had stitched her bear, then went to the cutting table to trim the edges and pull of the paper pattern.

Lauren at her machine.  They had to use her sewing box to lift up the peddle so she could reach it to sew.

The class was an hour long, but with 4 first time sewers and a few machine glitches the projects did not get finished in the time allotted.   I arrived back to find Hannah cutting her stitched bear pattern.

While Lauren was still struggling at the machine.  The instructor was busily trying to get the other two girls in the class to a point of completion where they could just do the hand work at home since neither of their mothers sewed they didn't have the machines to complete the stitching.  I jumped in to help Lauren finish her machine stitching having her use the presser foot while I guided the remaining bear pattern under the needle.

We gathered our things and headed home where this morning Hannah and Lauren finished their bears. Here is the process and results.

Lauren's bear needed to be restitched and then we used the seam ripper to remove some unnecessary stitching, before we trimmed the edges.  This class had the girls stitch the pattern to the fabric in order to more easily follow the stitching lines.  Once done it's trimmed then the paper is removed. 
Lauren ripping the paper pattern off, then turning the bear right side out.

Once it was turned and shaped (bottom right) it was time to stuff.
Next the opening was stitched closed and the buttons for it's eyes were sewn on.

Hannah having to learn to seam rip some extra stitches before turning the bear.
Turning right sides out, so it's ready to stuff.
After stuffing her bear (left), it was time to stitch the leg opening closed
Once the leg was stitched closed, she sewed on the buttons for eyes.  We then added ribbons to both bears and to the delight of both girls they were done!!

The smiles say it all

They were both so pleased with themselves and loved accomplishing a whole new learning experience.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Morning Still Life Photos

Went out early this morning to capture some shots of the Super Moon that can be seen now, and after taking a few pictures of this I walked around the yard and took some other photos I thought turned out pretty well, so am going to share.

Tried taking a photo early morning  3am, but this didn't come out. So had to make do with daylight photos.

Trees at the end of the property

Love the clouds in the distance

Still some fog over the lake 

Despite the fact that cat tails need to be thinned down, I do love the color contrasts- probably needed to enhance this photo to really see this.

Lily pads on lake

Lizard who peaks in my front window showing off

Pagoda flower blooming in among the trees again this year.

Have a great day.