Sunday, June 28, 2015

New family photos!

I wanted a new family photo with Genna in it before Mitch and Micah head off to Ukraine. It is a little tricky to catch everyone at once with my teens running in 3 different directions these days. Today we managed a quick shot after church. And by "quick", I mean lightning quick as far as large family photos go.

 It was a tough choice between these two for my favorite, but I went with the bottom one. Micah's eyes are halfway closed in the top one, and you can't see Genna's face.

And because everyone always requests one silly picture...
This one will be my new border picture for a while. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sewing Bonnets

Last month I used a store-bought bonnet we received as a gift when Eden was born as a pattern to make a bonnet for Genna.

A friend asked for instructions, so I thought it would be fun to write a blog post. The only problem is I don't really have time to make my pictures just perfect. I took them quickly with my cell phone. My writing will be a bit on the rough side too. :)

The bonnet tapers up in the back, and I like that. To achieve this shape, the main body of the bonnet is a trapezoid.

This was my original pattern. Genna has already outgrown it, so I needed to start by making a new one.

She was a very wiggly baby, so I did my best to measure her head. It was a challenge even without my phone/camera in the other hand! I went from the crown of her head where I wanted the ruffle to start to the back where the opening would be. I just went for a rough estimate.
Haha...hindsight is 20/20. I estimated 8", but now looking at this picture below, I can see that 7" is a better approximation. You will see why at the end. The bonnet I made last month was 6" wide.

Next I measured from side to side approximately what I wanted. I wasn't going for exact here. Last month the one I made was 15", I decided to increase this pattern to 16" even though she was measuring about 15" still.

I started by cutting a rectangle with the maximum length:16"x8".

Then to get the taper, I decreased the "back" side of the rectangle by an inch on each end.

Next, I cut two body pieces of fabric. I just cut both layers from the same fabric. But you could do a coordinating fabric for a reversible bonnet. Or you could do a lightweight lining fabric.

The ruffle needs to be longer than the body so you can gather it. My first bonnet was 15", and my ruffle was 22". This bonnet bodice was 16", so I cut the ruffle 3" x 24". I think 4" would have been nicer on this bigger bonnet. 

Ready to sew! First, fold the ruffle in half, wrong sides together, and press.
 Next, flip the ends right sides together, and stitch across. Then turn back out.
 Now stitch two rows of basting stitches down the long side of the ruffle. Be sure not to lock the stitches, and leave long threads to grasp on to when you cut at the end.

 To easily gather the ruffle, pull the bobbin stitches. But don't be like me...
 ...First match up the center of the ruffle to the center of the bonnet! You want to match the raw edge of the ruffle to the raw front edge of the bonnet.
 Then pull the bobbin stitches to fit the ruffle to the bonnet. Tie the threads on each end to prevent the gather from slipping out as you sew.
 Sandwich the bonnet pieces, right sides together, and pin. Sew. It's "just a bonnet" so I used a rough 1/4"-1/2" seam allowance. I wasn't too picky, I just aimed for a straight line.

Next it's time to gather the back opening of the bonnet. Sew two lines of basting stitches along the back raw edges, through both layers of the bonnet (which should still be right sides together).

Mark the center of the bonnet back opening and try to pull up about the same amount on either side of center. 
 Decide how big you want the back opening to be (this may take some trial and error--sorry). I decided on 7", so I pulled up each side of the center to about 3.5". Remember to tie those threads together after you have it gathered up as much as you want! After the threads are tied, you can evenly smooth out the gather. Sew across the gather to hold it in place permanently. Again, the seam allowance wasn't so important to me, but I tried to hit about the same as my basting stitch.
Ok now the front is sewn together, and the back is sewn together, it's time to sew the sides. The ruffle is at the front, and you don't really want to catch it when you sew up the sides. See:
 Fold the ruffle back out of the way of stitching as much as possible, then sew along the side seam on one end.
 When you sew the other end, leave an opening to turn the bonnet right side out.

After it's all turned, press the seams.
 Stitch your opening shut. You can do a blind stitch, or just a topstitch. You can topstitch all around the bonnet if you'd like.
 Sew a button or snap on the back. I made a simple thread loop to catch the button.
 It isn't safe to put strings on a bonnet and tie them around a baby's neck. The method that I use creates a slip knot that easily pulls out if the bonnet is tugged on. Instead of two strings, there is one string that goes from side to side. To make the "string", I used about 12" of bias tape.
 Fold in half and sew together.
 Sew each end to the sides of the bonnet.
 You can't really see it in this picture, but the string is one continuous piece. In order to "tie" it, I pinch up a loop in each hand, and tie them together as if tying shoes.
 When my little model was finally awake, I tried on the bonnet and discovered the finished bonnet was much bigger than I was expecting.

I used a seam ripper to take out my topstitches so I could turn it back inside out. I ended up cutting off my back gathering stitches, shortening the thickness of the bonnet by about 1". So my initial measurements were off, but this was an easy fix. I gathered the opening and sewed it all up a second time. It fits better, but maybe still a little big. On the positive side, this bonnet ought to last all summer!

 I thought the proportions looked a little "off" and the bonnet needed something. I didn't have any fabric that really coordinated like I wanted. Suddenly I remembered I have gobs of ribbon (Thanks, Bonnie, for the fabric AND the ribbon!!!). So I ran back to my sewing room again. That did the trick.
{What a honey!}

I'd say this project took under 2 hours from start to finish. I was supposed to be making my menu and grocery shopping list...hehe. I love that the possibilities for customization are limitless. All you need are some supplies and creativity!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Returning to Ukraine

Seven years ago Mitch traveled to Ukraine with a team of people from our church here in central Minnesota to visit our "sister church" in Horol, Ukraine. He fell in love with the people there--the pastor, his family, church members, and the translators. He has wanted to go back every year since. This year the opportunity really opened up for him, and he jumped at it. He asked Micah if he wanted to go, and one of Micah's best friends is also going along. The church in Horol is excited to have the "young" people visiting. The team of five will be gone for a couple weeks in July. Micah will be in Europe for his 18th birthday!

Please pray for the team as they raise funds to not only cover travel expenses, but funds to support the work of the church in the community of Horol. Pray for them as they make final preparations. Also pray for mercies in traveling, and that reuniting with our brothers and sisters in Christ will glorify God and be an encouragement to all.

Here are some pictures from seven years ago...I added a "Ukraine" tag (see the Labels section on the right-hand side of the screen, or click on Ukraine at the bottom of this post) if you want to go back and read what they did.

{Fun times in translation!}

{Look at that small family! My big kids--Micah, Eden, and Caleb--are babies!}

In the past, the Horol team has usually had a layover in Amsterdam for the day. Kathi has gotten to travel out to spend the day with them! This year I suggested they stop in Frankfurt. How awesome would that be?!? Alas, it was not meant to be. They are having a brief layover in Paris. I have had several dreams now that I went with Mitch to Ukraine and that I have just "showed up" in Germany. LOL. I can't wait for my turn to visit Europe, obviously!

At the top of my to-do list: get a new family photo before they leave!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Genna is 4 months old!

At 4 months, Genna...

~weighs about 15 lbs 10 oz. Little fatty. Look at her--she thinks it's funny! :)

~is losing some of her baby hair, and doesn't seem to be growing any new stuff

~just loves to giggle and giggle and smile and "talk" to people
~still gets startled easy and doesn't like that (usually)
~is starting to like the game "peek-a-boo"

~FOUND HER THUMB!!! Of course the downside is that she can't really control it, and it often flies away from her at the worst time. This makes her SO MAD. Like MADDER than MAD.
~does not want a pacifier, but oh how I try!

~has really back-slid in the sleep department. We have had a rough past couple weeks here. One night she was up literally every hour. I'd say that most nights she is getting up every two hours. Often she wakes up after I try to put her in her own bed. Even more often I'm too tired to care...but it is not nice sleeping with her.
~daytime naps are not much better. She will usually take one long 2-hour nap, but may only take two other very short (30 min) naps.
~is really too big for the small bassinet that is beside my bed. Summer is here. Time to solve this!

~has fallen asleep twice on the floor while soothing herself by sucking on fingers/thumb. It was pure magic both times.

~looks so awesome in this shirt my friend Heidi sent me. <3 p="">
~seems to have more control over getting her fingers into her mouth if she's grasping something

~looks most like Tirzah, but looks a little like Eden (below) too.

~can roll from tummy to back, and can almost roll to her tummy again
~spits up a lot now. :(
~but I am SO SO happy that she is nursing good finally