25 January 2013

Stamped Jeggings Tutorial

Hey!  Look at me!  I actually did a tutorial! I'm over at It's Always Autumn, participating in her Share the Love series.  This is a super easy project you can do with your kids (or all by yourself.)  I originally intended this as a project for my skinny jeans (I might still!) but Divine had these jeggings she never wore.  So.  We fixed that!  Go over and say hi!

Also, Drummer's Fox leggings are up on Zulily again if you didn't grab some last time they had some.  Go here if you need an invitation. You can send an invitation to your friends to get the $20 bonus credit, too!  I agree that the shipping time is sometimes sporadic and unpredictable, but I love surprises :)
And don't miss the giveaway from yesterday.  $1,000 (YES ONE THOUSAND) Visa giftcard giveaway!

24 January 2013

On Moving Day & A Huge Giveaway!

Right before we packed up and moved out of our house Drummer got sick.  Sick babies are just miserable because they can't tell you what hurts and what they want except to cry, be fussy, and evade sleep.  They can't throw up neatly in a bowl, or run to the bathroom to avoid carpet at all costs. 
I was hoping that we could all avoid it, the remainder 7 of us, but not only does Drummer have those kissable lips (just take a look!), but he willingly and freely gives kisses, which cannot be turned down by anyone, not even Clover.  He will hold out his hands and the look in his eyes alone just draws you in, sometimes several times.  So, of course it was inevitable.
As we were getting in the car to drive away from our house, saying farewell to a home that was the only home some of them have known, Pearl said she didn't feel well.  The nesting bowls were packed who knows where, so I found a plastic sack and said to use that if she felt like she needed to throw up, and off we went.  15 minutes into the drive it all came up.  Those kisses from Drummer really were infectious.

Over the next couple of days the sickness went on tour at the Dill household.  Divine, Azure, Olive, then it jumped to Ryan and to Gammy.  I was running to the store for ginger ale.  Spicier for the adults, sweeter for the kids.  Saltine crackers all around.  Giving thanks for Gammy's nesting bowls, all in use throughout the house.  It seemed I asked Clover every hour how she felt, and every morning if she threw up in the night.  Nope!  Am I such a good girl that I didn't throw up?  she would respond.  Surely my least germ conscientious child (besides Drummer) would come down with it.  I didn't even enroll her in her new school, thinking she would just be out again with sickness.  Finally, we had several days of wellness  and I deemed it safe to send her off to school and we were finally rid of the nasty flu bug. 

My kids know there are three things they do when they get home from school.  Take their shoes off, wash their hands and put away their backpacks.  They are pretty good at remembering and I'm pretty vigilant in reminding them to wash their hands before any snacking takes place.  But, I went out to get some disinfecting wipes to keep everyone well in addition to the hand washing.  I gave the task to Clover because, well, she was home from school.  Honestly, sometimes I will ask the older girls to do things just because I know they'll actually do it, but Clover had so much fun going around cleaning light switches and doorknobs and she was actually helpful and happy!  She began singing cleaning the house is fun to do, fun to do, and then she started asking if she could clean other things like Gammy's vase and the piano bench knobs and her song went on: cleaning the bench knobs is fun to do, fun to do!  I let her have at it.  And so far we've stayed healthy.

*Use as directed

So, are you a Clorox Disinfectant Wiper?  What other Clorox products do you use to help keep your family healthy?  Answer and you'll be entered in the drawing for a $1,000 visa giftcard giveaway.  No, I didn't accidentally add an extra zero.  You read that right!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
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This sweepstakes runs from 1/24-2/28
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23 January 2013

A Quick Hello!

It's the 23rd.  Technically, that means our house should be 1/3 of the way finished!  I don't think it is, but it's hard to tell when things just keep looking worse and worse.  As long as I see that giant dumpster in the driveway filling up, I will assume progress is being made. 
Meanwhile, I'm just popping in to say hello and share some news I got in my inbox.  I thought I'd let you know about a great sale going on over at Oliver + S!  Yes, just because I'm not getting sewing in like I would prefer, doesn't mean nobody should.  ALL of their paper patterns are 25% off right now!  As convenient as the digital ones are to receive, I don't ever look forward to printing things off and taping a million pieces of paper together.  So treat yourself to the real things. Coupon code Jan2013.  Good through January 31st.  (I'm not compensated, just wanted to share a good deal :)

I'm off to get my eagle eyes on and inspect the work going on at Magnolia Manor.  
They love it when I show up ;)

15 January 2013

What's Really Going On

Well, hello there!  I thought it was high time I let you in on what's going on around here.
 I've been sparse here, not by desire.  
 Truth is, the Dills are moving, which is a very BIG dill! ;)  Not too far, but still.  Every single thing has to be packed whether it's across the world or around the corner. I didn't think we had that much stuff, but I described it to my mom like our house had vomited.  The more we packed the more there seemed to be.  But, we finally did it.
The thing is, we're in a temporary, undisclosed location (aka bunkin' with gammy ;) until renovations are done on the new place.
 The kids have started their new schools, which has been a huge, difficult adjustment for some, and a sea breeze for others.  Olive came home from her first day and said she talked to every single person in her class.  Ryan and I just looked at each other and smiled.  That kid can ride any wave with grace and natural skill.
 I've walked our big middle schooler into her school every single day, until today.  I told her one day she wouldn't want her mom walking into school with her.  She looked skeptical.
 I've been spending every solitary (rare!) hour at the old house painting, painting, painting.  Isn't it funny how you're able to look past the dirt, grime, and wall smudges until you realize there can't be any proof of you living there?
 And it would be a whole lot easier if I had painted everything the same shade of white.  No, that would be too simple.  Every single room is a different shade, so it's not just touching up.  It's a 3 coat painting job.  
 I told Ryan that maybe it's a tender mercy that I will be so sick of the house by the time I'm finished painting that there will be no sadness about leaving a home we have grown to love, but just outgrown.  
 My green countertops, the stockings hung by the fireplace tiles, the light fixtures, the garden we have lovingly tended, the floors on which half our kids have learned to walk, the countless meals prepared in the kitchen, the birthdays celebrated in the blue dining room, the treehouse, the teacher appreciation dinners, the Christmas trees decorated in the living room.  So many memories in our little house.
 I am torn.  But, as I was explaining to one baby dill who was struggling with the change, change is good for us. Sometimes it's hard and it hurts and it seems that it will always be uncomfortable, but we don't grow and learn like we should without it.  We gain compassion, we discover more strengths and weaknesses about ourselves through change.
Changes to schools also means changes to my sewing schedule.  Clover's new school is not only doing letters of the week out of order, but she has to wear the school t-shirt and solid color pants.  That is one giant wrench thrown in my alphabet week sewing! 
 Ryan asked if we needed to switch schools.  He's a good man.  But she's staying where she is, and I will just have to work something else out.  Thoughts?  Maybe I should rotate through all the girls to more evenly distribute my sewing projects.
 Most of my fabric is boxed up anyway, but it's like I'm missing a body part, not being able to sew freely. 
 The projected date for finishing everything in the house is March 2nd.  There.  It's in print, so it has to happen, right?
 It has been an absolute delight to choose things for the house.  It was built in the 50's and has so many layers of additions and changes.  In fact, it has 2 roofs!  I love talking to the contractor about how things were built.
 He took down some drywall to see what we were dealing with in one room and said, pointing to some really big boards (I don't even remember what he called them) but he was as excited about them as I would get about elbow darts.  Those are like old OLD school!
 We've discovered layers of flooring that is proof of the floor fads through the decades.
I'm having a hard time convincing everyone of my vision as far as changes go.
Even the contractor.  He's asked me half a dozen times if I'm sure about my flooring choice for the entrance.  
 YES! YES! YES!  So. What does this all mean for the short term blog outlook?  You can follow along our renovation journey, and I'm going to try to unearth some fabric to sneak in some sewing as well (gammy does have her Bernina for my usage, and I brought my drawers 'o buttons with me like it's my 7th child.)
Oh.  Did you want to see the state of the new house?  Why, yes, those are trenches dug in my floor with mounds of dirt on my kitchen floor.  That's Divine in the corner.  It's progress, which is beautiful to me!
ps I can't seem to stay away from instagram, so you're welcome to follow our day-by-day journey (all the above photos) there (@nobigdillkaty)
pps if any of you have tips to survive and thrive through renovations, please share!  

07 January 2013

Pearl's First True Christmas

I try not to lament things that haven't happened yet.  Like having nobody in diapers, which means self-sufficiency is creeping closer.  Like when "mommy" becomes "mom" or when they no longer want to give me a kiss good-bye.  Instead, I try to remember to appreciate the now and soak up the moments I know will be fleeting much more quickly than I could imagine.
I'm not sure when Divine stopped believing in Santa Claus.  I think she has secretly known for sometime now, but hasn't said anything.  She doesn't like confrontation like her momma.  And maybe she was trying to cling to any last threads of hope that were tying her childhood to the close and new world of youth.
But, Pearl is a different matter.  She wants to know.  Real or not.  Fact or fiction.  True or false.  She was 5 when we took all the baby Dills to New York to make Christmas memories in that fantastic city. We went to Mary Poppins on Broadway and not only does she constantly lean over (and this is true for any type of production, so beware if she happens to be sitting by you) and ask questions about everything, but she wants to know: Is that real!? Are they really walking up the wall?  Is she really flying?  It's both endearing and annoying.
Quite honestly I'm surprised that she has believed this long.  In today's world that pushes little children to grow up too fast anyway, wearing things that shouldn't even be on teenagers, having their own phones, and highly priced electronic gadgets, belief is cut short too soon, in my opinion.
While I have mixed emotions about perpetuating something as Santa Claus, I still believe that allowing little children to enjoy the enchantment of the north pole and reindeer is part of childhood that adds to being a child. 
Pearl came to us Christmas Eve with her serious eyes and straight mouth, and concern in her voice.  "Is Santa Real."  It wasn't a question, more of a demand to know once and for all.  She came to us, knowing we will tell her the truth if she asks us, that she can trust the words that we tell her.
Ryan and I both took her aside, away from the chaos of newly opened gifts and sat down with all of our arms intertwined and bodies close, making a Pearl sandwich.  She asked us again with that look of all the seriousness a 9-year-old can summon, pleading to know the real truth.  In all gentleness, we told her that we filled her stockings and there was no climbing down chimneys by anyone.
There was a look of relief on her face and we squeezed her hands.  She wanted to know why people thought there was a Santa and we related the story of St. Nicholas and that it's an enchanting tale to believe and makes Christmas morning a bit more magical for little kids. We talked about how even though the real meaning of Christmas is the birth of our Savior, the tale of Santa also promotes giving to one another and reminds us that being good and obedient is important, and what Christ would want us to be.  She seemed to be taking it all in, processing all the past years of gifts in her mind.
Then, she went through every single holiday and we gave it to her straight.  No, there is no such thing as a leprachaun, or Easter bunny (although we never did have the Easter bunny visit our house), the toothfairy, everything she could possibly imagine.  We spilled every last darn bean in the pot.  She hugged us and said "Thank you for telling me the real truth."
The next morning, Christmas morning, after stockings were emptied, she held a small antique horse in her hand, looked at me from across the room and gave me a knowing smile.  Bittersweet, but beautiful.

04 January 2013

The Eve of Christmas

Magical is more cliché than I'd like, but happens to be the perfect adjective, so magical it will be.
I decided to keep it simple since life has given us a few more waves than usual, that we are navigating.
I was planning to make everyone a new Christmas outfit.  Coordinating, of course.  
I just had to let that one sink.
I don't think anyone even really noticed, except that we didn't get a decent photo together.
I stuck to the traditions that flavor our Christmas the flavor I know to be Christmas.  The Danish pastry.  A given.  I even tried another recipe which was not to my liking, so I went back to Julia Child's.  Don't mess with the master.
The pork and sauerkraut that I hated as a little girl are now what I make.
We had no snow except of the plastic variety, and Ryan brought home one of my favorite floral features: Stock.  Azure requested artichokes, Olive requested Brussels sprouts.
Always grateful for those who foot the electric bill to entertain our baby dills.
Even keeping it simple, it really did seem magical.  No grand gifts were given, except those made with the hands and from the heart.
Peace abounded, even if for one night, as we celebrated the birth of our Savior.
Drummer received...
a drum.  
The nightgowns I made for my 5 girlies were done.  Except Clover's seemed a bit too short, so I told Ryan to hold the eggnog, I would be right back, because a ruffle needed to be added on the bottom of hers.
He came in to laugh at the sight of me sewing in my heels and sparkles and I just explained as I ruffled, that this is who he married.  I like the details.  I may not be very good at planning ahead, but the details are important to me.  Then on top of that, I suddenly announced that we needed to do a string maze hunt to lead them to their new nightgowns and sent him on his way with my mammoth spool of string, in and out of the house, around, through and under until it reached... 
the treehouse, which rather looked like it was filled with ghosts :)
This will definitely be a new tradition, the girls might have dubbed it the best part of the night.

They went up in Christmas apparel, 
and came down, ready for Santa's arrival, and with broader smiles and brighter twinkles in their eyes.

Drummer didn't care that there was no new nightwear for him nor even a stocking hung with care by the fireplace.
He has plenty of fuss made over him already, I guess.
And if you think that's it, you forgot that there's Christmas morning, too.