Saturday, July 30, 2011

Project: Remaking a Doll Stroller

      Well, this post has a limited audience.  I know that for sure.  However, I thought I would show what I did earlier this week - it makes a difference in my life!  I redid Lily's doll stroller.

Picnik collage

This is the day the stroller came into our lives - Lily's first birthday.  Maybe someday I will do a post on her mini-snowflake princess party.  This is Lily walking with it even before she could walk - so cute.  As you can see, it was an immediate hit.

Picnik collage

Since it has been so well-loved, it has had a hard life at our house.  Truly.  And, since my husband broke the rules that are explicitly printed on the side of the stroller and pushed Lily in it, the straps on the top eventually broke, which resulted in Lily asking me to "fix it" all the time when she used it.  And I would re-ghetto rig it to sort of work.  I decided it was time for a makeover, and I went and picked some cute new fabric for it.  I could have reused the fabric on it, but I wanted more of a change.

I laid the old fabric over the new to trace the shape and size of the two pieces I would need to cut.  (1/3 of a yard would be plenty)


Our kitty Francie thought that she would help.


I ended up with a bottom and a back that looked like this.  (I realized as I was rereading this that I didn't mention the piece that folded up under the bottom to hook it to the stroller.  Really, I just copied anything that was on the doll stroller to start with.)


I pinned cream-colored bias tape around the outside edge and sewed it on.


Then I realized that I had forgotten the straps, so I removed some the the stitches and tucked the straps under the bias tape and sewed it to secure them.


I sewed bias tape around the straight half of the bottom piece (not pictured), then I pinned the bias tape over the seam of the back piece and the bottom piece and sewed it all together.


Then I stitched a line straight across part of the bottom to make holes for the stroller bottom to be held up by.  Does that make sense?  Probably not - I basically just copied anything I saw on the original.


I decided to use some of the strapping from the old stroller to hold the new stroller up - so I ripped it off.  Then I looped it and sewed it onto the top of the back, so that it was around the actual stroller.


And, after about 1 1/2 hours (not bad at all), I had a new stroller.  When Lily got out from her "nap," she was delighted.  Lambie and Kiki immediately got a new ride.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Our House: Entry and Organization Station

      I would love to be super organized.  Unfortunately, that is not exactly my strong-suit.  I can force it, but actually, John is much better at organizing than I am.  This can be a frustration when paper-work and life pile up around the house.  We have looked for systems that work for us, and finally, I think we are landing on what keeps us sane and picked up (a little).


Picnik collage

      This is what greets us directly as we come in from the garage.  We found that rounded dresser at an antique store here in the Rock, and it fit the space perfectly, especially since it is rounded.  It means little heads are less likely to get jacked when they come careening around the corner.  Above the dresser are pieces of the organization system from Pottery Barn.  Of course I fell in love with this system and immediately starting looking for ways that I could recreate it or achieve the same effect.  After searching high and low, I eventually caved and just got it, because it really fit perfectly and was exactly what I wanted.
      I love having a calendar to redecorate each month, and it is nice to have a place to put all the birth announcements we receive (it is definitely that stage of life).  I keep a weekly dinner planner on the board by Cary Collins Designs (she goes to my church and is amazing!) (Her stuff is all super cute and mega affordable).  When I am actually on top of things, then I really do use it to plan out meals and know what I need to get, which is really helpful.  Since I sort of gave up cooking for the month of July, it has been a little empty.  The mail and magazine holder is so nice to have, so that it does not accumulate on our kitchen counter anymore.  However, it should be worth noting that you still have to go through the mail.  I made the mistake of sticking it in there for so long that I successfully lost two different water bills - I do all automatic draft now.

These are the other main walls of this space.


We just got those frames of the girls' first year pictures by Main Street Studios hung - I got the frames from this Etsy shop.  I ♥ Etsy.  I also really ♥ seeing those sweet girlies smiling at me as I walk through the hallway.  The key wall is all stuff we have had since we first got married, but I still really like it, and it is nice to have a place to put my keys.

I am still working on getting the inside of the drawers organized.  Here they are.

Picnik collage

Top Drawer: Mailing supplies, extra note cards, label maker, and current coupons
2nd Drawer: Camera supplies (so I can quickly grab them if headed out the door), and head lamps
3rd Drawer: I hope that someday this drawer houses an Information file for our family with medical info and school info - should probably make that soon
4th Drawer: I put Lily's art work that I think I may keep into this drawer.  I am planning on going through this each year and compiling my favorites.
It is all a work in progress.

So you can get an idea of how this hall works - this is the door to our garage with the key wall next to it, and the picture frames in the foreground.


If you look one direction from the space, you see into the kitchen, and the other direction, you can see the front door.

Picnik collage

What are the best ways you have found to organize all the paperwork that comes into your home?  I need all the help I can get, especially since it will just be increasing with little friends.

If you want to see more pictures from our house, you can click here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

When a Wednesday Feels Like the Weekend: BFFs Come to Town

      Well, our friends from college who we got to go visit in March came to stay with us for two nights while embarking on a 3 week trip.  Steph just graduated from medical school and had a baby - yes, she is super woman, and I am amazingly proud of her accomplishments!  Their new baby, Isaiah John Claus is John's little namesake, so we were thrilled to meet him.  We had a great time catching up and hanging out - friendships like this are such a blessing.

We went to the pool.


The girls (Corrie and Lily) made treats together.  (I learned that if you are going to try to dip Oreos in candy coating, it is probably better not to use Double Stuffed, because they fall off of the sticks.  This did not deter us from eating any of them.)


We went to the Wonder Place here in the Rock - a great place with tons of air-conditioning that is necessary if you are living in the heat-dome that is middle America right now.  Oh, and it has great stuff to do as well.

(The water table was a giant hit!)


We had over some more JBU friends that live in Little Rock, who have also been blessed with many little friends.  Here are most of them watching Veggie Tales.


We got to talk and talk and talk, which is great when you have shared so much of life and so many experiences.  It is crazy when you look around and realize that you have doubled the number of people, and that you never could have imagined how good it could be (and how hard it could be at the same time).  We actually talked about what it would have been like if 11 years ago someone would have given us all a glimpse of our future.  What would we have thought?  What I do know now is that we are blessed beyond measure, and I am thankful for the Claus family to be part of this journey together.

Embracing my friends with

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Swallowing My Toads

      Yesterday, I spent a lot of time swallowing toads.  My dad used to tell me that any time you had to do something you really didn't feel like doing, it was "swallowing a toad."  Not sure why.  He would say, "Every day you have to swallow some toads, and it is better to get it over with."  Still makes me laugh, and I now realize what sage advice this really is.  I like having fun.  I mean, really, who doesn't?  But I really like it and being an adult has meant that I have to pick real life over fun more often than I would like.
      Case in point: yesterday.  I made myself just do the stuff that I needed to do instead of the stuff I really wanted to do.


Toad Swallowing: Paper Work.  Being an adult requires far too much paperwork - even with most of our bills paid online.  I was behind, and in fact, this toad still needs to get down the rest of my throat, because I have not quite finished with this mess I left in John's office.


Toad Swallowing: Really Cleaning My House.  Our house is pretty large, which is such a blessing.  Until it is time to clean, that is.  And we have people coming, so it needed a real cleaning.  Which it got yesterday.


Bella is Learning to Swallow Toads Too.  Okay, I wish I could teach her that teething is just a part of her life that she should learn to deal with.  Unfortunately, she cries like a baby about it, and I have to remind myself that she is a baby, and I am the one who just has to deal with it.  And love on her.  An extra lot right now.  Poor girl.


Toad Swallowing: Doing the Dishes.  As you can clearly see, nothing on this list is that hard or should be outside the norm.  I do the dishes regularly, but I certainly don't always feel like doing them.

Picnik collage

Toad Swallowing: Laundry.  There is always more of it.  And where is that other pink shoe/sock?  In my purse?  In the diaper bag?  Stuffed into a bird house in my living room?  I still don't know.


This is what I wanted to be doing.  Working on a crafty project with these buttons that I just got in the mail from eBay.  They were just sitting there, mocking me.  Have you noticed how buttons are all over Pinterest?  Because I have, and I want them for myself.  But yesterday was not meant for button fun.  It was meant for swallowing toads.
      I had a lot of time to think during all my menial tasks, and it was an exercise in finding joy in all things.  Just because I may not love catching up on paperwork and housework, I am glad to be able to serve my family in this way.  I am privileged that my toads are really quite small and mundane right now - they go down pretty easily, and I know that in doing these things well, I bring glory to the Lord, who sees my heart.  And, it feels pretty good to be caught up.  (sort of.  for now.  not for long.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend: Reunited and It Feels So Good

      Well, you may or may not have noticed that John has not been lurking much around the John and Carol Show in the past week.  He spent most of it in Atlanta, and we were sure glad to have him home.  This past weekend we tried to catch up on sleep and life a bit.  Not really much to blog about - here are the highlights.
      Saturday we went on a double date sans little friends with our best buds here in Little Rock.  We met Matt and Jenn at our Chick-fil-A's Grand Opening over 4 years ago, when we were brand new to the city.  They camped out at the First 100 - you just never know where you will pick up great friends.  Matt and John started doing breakfast, and soon enough, the four of us started hanging out.  Since then, we have come to love them dearly.  We have walked some hard roads together in the time we have known each other, and I can't imagine life here without them.


We did a "Progressive Dinner" and had an appetizer one place, dinner at another place and rounded out the evening with dessert at another place.  Three hours flew by faster than we ever could have imagined. Good thing our kiddos have fun together.


Also on Saturday, we had a rather alarming experience.  I went in to get Lily after her "nap" to find her shirt covered in blood.  I could not locate anything on her that was bleeding, and though she had fussed for a moment at one point, we could not recall hearing her hurt herself.  It was only after glancing around her room a bit more that I realized there were bloody handprints on the wall.  Gasp.  She had gotten a thumbtack down from a bulletin board above her desk and managed to poke her hand with it, which I discovered once realizing that the blood must have started on her hands.  There is a little puncture there, and it must have bled a lot.  We realized all over again that we are raising one tough cookie with an enormously high pain tolerance.


Sunday evening some of our CFA team members were playing football together at a park, and we crashed the party for a while.  John got in on the fun, though he hadn't been planning on it, and the girls and I enjoyed playing on the side lines.

Picnik collage
Picnik collage
Picnik collage
Picnik collage

It sure is nice to be reunited as a family.  ♥