Friday, September 30, 2011

DIY t-shirt pillows

This year, all my sister got for her birthday this year was a bunch of old t-shirts! Practically devastating for a girl who starts counting down her birthday from 364 days away.

Never fear, I know better than to let her down on her day! I got so excited about this project months ahead of time and look how cute they look after being re-purposed into pillows!

There's one pillow for each of her schools-- high school, freshman year of college, and the school she just transferred to {which happens to be *my* college and how this whole idea came into play!}. In a major closet cleaning I realized I needed to part with a well loved shirt from my college days, but instead of tossing it, I decided it'd be fun to transform it and give it Laura when she moved down to Springfield. And then I came upon the other shirts and knew I needed to make a trio.

I'm new to crafting and sewing, so I googled ways to make pillows and I decided I wanted to try out a few different methods so each pillow will have a different look. I'll explain a little about how I made them-- I promise it is *so* easy because if I can do it, you can too!

First, the no-sew method. I watched this video for a general idea. Basically, you just need to make two boxes. One that will be the actual pillow perimeter and the next is a larger rectangle {about an inch bigger on each side}. Cut around the the larger rectangle and then cut strips stopping at the inner rectangle. The lady in the video used 2 inch strips, but I used about half-inch strips just because it was a small pillow and I liked the look better.

Lastly, just tie all but a few knots. Stuff and finish tying and  you're ready to go! It took me about an hour or so total. I could have used the same grey shirt for the back, but I thought purple backing would be cute {and it is} and it was around $1 at JoAnn's.  I did use some hot glue some of the seams where stuffing was poking out, but you can't tell. Tip: the longer the strips, the easier it is to tie. You can always go back and trim them down.

This is a t-shirt that was Julie's. Super cute shirt, but it had a hole in the back. It was destined to be a pillow! This was actually a very thin shirt, so before I did anything with it, I sprayed it {inside out} with starch spray a million times, or like six or seven. Made a huge difference. This pillow is just a basic pillow. I cut around the design, had it sewn inside out {I outsourced this job to Mom due to my lack of sewing machine}, turned it right side out, stuff, and then finished sewing it together. I did a pretty miserable job doing the closing stitching... but it's a cute pillow nonetheless!

Lastly, my labor of love pillow. This was a charcoal grey t-shirt, size small {from ya know, back when I actually wore size small t-shirts}. The trouble with small shirts is that the design goes right up to the sleeve, which didn't leave any room for the seam. And the location of the Missouri State and the bear would have made for such an awkward shaped pillow. So with this pillow, I cut out the design and hand-stitched it to a black fabric and then, with inspiration from this blog {a baby bib tutorial, no less!}, I decided to cut little slits along the outline so that it would make frayed edge. I did the lettering first. 

As I started to do the bear, I decided I wanted to add a layer of the maroon behind it to add to the fraying part. I wish I would have done it to the lettering as well, but like I mentioned I hand-stitched and it took forever. I couldn't undo all that work only to do it again!

And then lastly, this pillow was sewn together right side out so that I could make the edges frayed. The key with getting the edges frayed after cutting the slits is to wash it. Also, make sure to purchase flannel material- it frays the best. I picked out a fleece material because it was soft, not thinking how it would fray and it turns out-- it doesn't fray at all. I did add strips of the original shirt to give an extra fluff to the edge.

So anyway, this was a super fun project and the pillows look cool in her apartment. I spent about $5 on fabric, but that's because I chose for the backs to be a different color. I easily could have used the back of the shirt. The black I used for the front of the Missouri State pillow is left over from what I bought for the back of the Mizzou pillow. I cut up one of our old {flat and frumpy} pillows and used it as the filling and it fit the three pillows perfectly.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm NEVER playing again!

A Sonic frisbee made itself into our yard this week-- the kind that's worth a free Route 44 drink and 10% off your order. Cool, eh? Before we trade our frisbee in for the goodies, we had lots of fun tossing it back and forth in the backyard. 

Derek showed Jackson how to throw it and we all took turns throwing it to each other. Of course, when Jackson threw, it didn't get very far, but we were always saying "good throw" and other sentiments because he was doing a pretty good job for being two.

But apparently, Jackson was just getting frustrated that he couldn't throw it as far as we were. One time, after tossing the frisbee just a short distance, he stomped his feet and did the Johne-Chapman-grunt and screamed "I AM NEVER PLAYING AGAIN!" and he stormed off. I tried to tell him it was a good throw and he continued shouted back, "It was NOT a good throw and I'm NOT playing again!" 

Derek and I totally cracked up {in the quiet way as to not hurt his feelings}. But seriously, it was hilarious.

He really didn't play with it again and he actually got mad that Derek and I continued to play. Temper much?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Today's Trip to Target

Today we went to Target. This is Jackson's outfit of choice-- tiny shorts, cowboy boots, and a helmet. 

His new favorite thing is to watch himself on the security cameras. He squirms all around just to make sure it's him on the screen.

The alternate way of using the little kid part on the cart-- and she can feed herself this way. Why didn't I ever think of this before?

Jackson's new way of riding around on the cart... and I'm totally cool with it because it means he's not climbing on shelves or running the aisles. 

Belle tried on a headband and it was so cute, we just had to buy it!

We splurged and got a snack on our way out. Eating pizza is kind of tricky when you have the facemask and chin guard in your way. 

Belle enjoyed a little bit of a breadstick!

and of course, this happened....

We did actually go to Target for purposes other than taking pictures and creating blog posts. I saw a rug awhile back and I wanted to check it out for Jackson's room. The greatest part-- it was on clearance! It's the kind with the road on it so he can drive his cars around. Super excited about it! I also got a blanket for his bed {he only has sheets right now} for only $10 from the college clearance. Successful trip I must say!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Operation Keep-Busy-While-Derek's-Gone

When I planned to keep busy while Derek spent his two weeks at annual training {National Guard}, I didn't imagine myself being so pooped! Today we got home after being out and around the state for seven days. Whew! 
First stop: I went down to visit my sister who transferred to Missouri State in Springfield, which is also where Derek and I went to school {*cough* nine years ago.} Mom and Dad kept the kids for a few days and it was super fun hanging out with Laura and totally nostalgic to be back on campus and around town: eating at the student union, Thursday night ministries, late night at the coffee house.... parking tickets. Totally a flashback college experience. I also got to catch up with several college friends-- shopping, Starbucks, McAllisters {yum!}. It was super fun.

Second stop: I drove up from Springfield to stop by and see my other sister who is at Mizzou. My parents met up with us there and Ashley walked us all around campus and showed us around. It was fun because she was just so excited about it all. It was a definite reminder of how much walking I did in college. Geez. But I guess I wasn't carrying around a whiney, napless two year old then either. But at least we got to eat some Shakespheare Pizza. Delish.

Third stop: I spent a few days up with my parents next. Mom cooked fried chicken on Sunday {more yum!}, we took the kiddos to see The Lion King, which was cool in 3D. I taught Dad how to use Craigslist {again}. Jackson and I also made applesauce!

Pit stop: I drove the kids over to Derek's hotel {fancy army training, right!?} so that we could see him for a quick minute after he got back from the post, Fort Leavenworth. Derek's been working 12 hour days for nearly a week and he has over a week left-- no weekend! He's even more pooped than me and seeing the kids for a little bit really boosted his spirit!

Fourth stop: Mom, the kids, and I traveled up to Trenton to visit my Grandma's on Monday. Both grandma's were happy to see the kids {me and mom too, I think} and Grandma Trickel made homemade noodles for lunch today {even MORE yum!}. The kids and I did make a quick pit stop to visit a high school friend and her kiddos.

We made it home from Trenton at 3:30 this afternoon-- just in time for me to change and get ready to head to YoungLives club at 4ish and then off to book club at Panera {need I mention another yum?!}. Tomorrow morning is MOPS, which I'm super excited about. And tomorrow evening we have the Wednesday night meal and church. Thursday is Belle's 6 month doctor visit {yes, she just turned seven months... we're a little behind, okay?!} and then Friday we are headed to get Jackson's allergy shots and possibly meeting my mother-in-law for lunch.

Operation Keep-Busy-While-Derek's-Gone complete. Maybe a little overboard, but I've had a great time catching up with SO many friends and family even if we have spent way too many hours in the car this week!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Seven Months

Wowzers... it's that time again! Belle is seven months old today! I was so caught up on her being six months that this one really crept up on me! With every passing month, we just love her more and more! She's a keeper.
{click the picture to make it larger-- worth it!}
Dear Belle,
As always, you are just so darn cute... and you know it too. Of course, I love it that people think you are just oh-so-adorable, but it really makes my outings take longer. Sometimes it seems that every single person we come across has to ooh and aah over you! I guess it's just the price I pay for procreating cute babies. 

You have got a *ton* of personality these days. You like to play with toys, crawl around the house, and play with Jackson. You are capable of expressing your mood, and you do- whether its a delightful squeals or I'm-just-not-happy-about-this cries. When you do make your super upset cry, you make the most pitiful little face and it's hard not to chuckle.

You're still sleeping through the nights most of the time. We really appreciate that! You sleep on your stomach and always with a stuffed animal {two major no no's, but we do it anyway}. You have a definite preference to sleeping in your crib. When we are at home, you'll take three naps a day. If not, you just take several short cat naps and you're kind of cranky. 

You're wearing size 2 diapers these days and mostly 6 months clothes, but really, it's basically whatever we have that fits the temperature outside. You wear a little Mizzou onesie that's a three month size and since it's been cold, you've been wearing nine month clothes. Whatever it is though, you always look cute. 

You can be kind of finicky with eating. Some days, you won't hardly eat anything and other days you can't stop eating. Sometimes you want only baby food and nothing to do with the bottle and other days you refuse to eat baby food. I am the only person who can really get you to eat baby food-- you're kind of a pickle when other people try to feed you! You make it very obvious when you don't want to eat-- you wait until the spoon is at your face and then you spit. And it leaves me covered in green beans, mango, or whatever. Not cool. You like to eat the little biter biscuits and it's so cool to see your little hands pick it up and get it in your mouth! 

You've become an expert crawler. You get yourself through the entire house. It's still an army crawl, but that's not slowing you down at all. You've started to get up on all fours, but when you try to move your legs, it sends your face right to the ground. Kinda funny. You can almost get yourself to the sitting position from being on the ground. And your favorite position is what we call the playboy pose {but that is in NO way, shape, or form approving of a similar future}. You like to pause in the midst of rolling from front to back, and you just chill out, leaning back on one elbow. I tried to get a picture today, but was unsuccessful. Clearly it's something you only like to do when it's your idea. I will capture that shot soon.

I really think that Jackson is your favorite toy. You just love it when he will pay attention to you. It's been really fun watching you two "play" together. He will crawl really slow and you will take off after him and he likes to get down and make funny faces at you while you squeal happily. Jackson likes to hold you and when you wave your arms every-which-way, he thinks you're "getting" him and he cracks up. I can't wait for you guys to grow up and be great friends. No fighting. Ever. Mkay?

You've got that daddy guy wrapped around you're little chubby fingers. He loves coming home to your happy welcome and you get all excited to see him come home! Daddy is an expert at getting you to laugh and it's the sweetest sound ever. We are just so thrilled to have you {even your super wiggly, eager to move tenancies!} and we love you bunches and bunches. Love, Mommy and Daddy.

You started playing on the big kid tunnels at the park. Notice that little tongue sticking out-- it is *always* out.

Aunt Laura gave you a little pedicure this month. You loved it! Pink toes are the best.

And here are some outtakes-- these monthly pictures are getting harder and harder to take! She's wiggly, she's crawling, and she's tired because I have to take so many stinkin' pictures becuase she just WON'T HOLD STILL!

When you turn eight months next month, Julie will be here to visit and she is hardly going believe how much you've grown!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Daddy Fun

My kids are so blessed to have such a good daddy! Derek is so good about playing with the kids when he gets home- like gets down on the floor and rolls around and gets all silly, even though he's put in a long day at work. Jackson will say, "You came back for me!?" when Derek walks in the door at night and Belle gets all happy when she sees him too {which, if I am holding her, it means she gets wiggly and flails her arms about and I am collateral damage}. It's all just so sweet. 

Derek is off for his two weeks of annual training, but he got in some good Daddy Fun before heading out.

Belle was cracking up at Derek making some sort of silly noise at dinner tonight. I love me some baby giggles!

Lately, Derek has been so good at getting down and playing all sorts of silly games with Jackson. Like, I will leave for just a little bit and when I come home, the two have some sort of play secrets. It includes watching Spiderman cartoons and wrestling/running/throwing on the couch. Super cute. 

I thought Jackson was just climbing on for a typical horsey ride...

 ... but apparently, it includes Derek running around the house with Jackson giggling hysterically the entire time. And Jackson insists that he say, "ye ha" while running. 

Not only is Derek Super-fun Dad, but he pulled out his great husband card the other night when he watched both kids while I went out for a girls' night and he cleaned the entire house after the kids went to bed.

Yes, be jealous.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We will never forget

While we were eating dinner at church last Wednesday night, I overheard a friend talking with her third-grade daughter about her school day.
Mom: What did you learn in school today?
Daughter: We talked about when two planes crashed into twin towers.
Mom: Oh yeah? What did you learn about it?
Daughter: We learned that 3,000 people died and another plane crashed in a field. 
The conversation when continues, but it hit me like a ton of bricks-- Realizing that to Katie {and her generation and every generation that follows} the attacks on 9/11 will merely be something they learn about in textbooks at school. And it really just hit me like a ton of bricks.

Now my sisters are quite a bit younger than me. They were in elementary school in 2001 {and Laura was actually celebrating her 10th  birthday the day of the terrorist attacks!} and while they were too young to really know what happened, they can both express how things were different that day. They knew *something* happened.

But when Katie mentioned learning about the planes crashing into the towers, it reminded me of the times when my mom would ask me about my day at school. Like, when Kennedy was shot, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, when Nazi Germany surrendered and people celebrated Victory across the word. The subjects I learned about in History class.


I can imagine this is just how the people of generations of that time feel about me. I am sure that when December 7th passes by each year, that they remember that very day when Pearl Harbor was bombed-- where they were, how they felt, how the world changed.

I still remember that day in September.

I was a senior in high school, sitting in first hour when Mr. Ockenfels came in the room and said, "remember what you're doing right now. You will remember it for the rest of your life." The news websites were down from all of the traffic, so we listened to the news events of that day by radio. It was so confusing. What happened?! Why?? Another plane. Why?? After school, I waited in a line that went all the way down the street just to fill up with gasoline. I watched the news all night that evening after our scheduled volleyball game was cancelled.

But the thing that really matters, is that the next day- life went on. I went to school, my parents went to work. As did the rest of the world. We weren't going to let this horrific tragedy keep us down. Our nation joined together to pray for more people to be found, for the safety of the rescue workers, for our armed forces. Teams from all over the country went to the city to help piece back together the disaster area the terrorists left for us. We overcame. We stood united.

Life went on. I graduated, went to college. I married my college sweetheart. And now we have two children. Ten years has passed, but I will never forget.

We will never forget. 

I write this now. I want my children to know what it was like to celebrate this unfortunate anniversary. I want them to understand why we honor the lives lost on this day. I want them to be so proud of that pilot who crashed his plane into the field, the first responders who lost their lives helping others, the young men and women who lined up to enlist in the service. I want them to understand what happened that day- that it wasn't an accident, but planned and intentional.

Not to scare them or to taint their childlike view of our world, but to teach them that we have something worth fighting for. To teach them of our great freedoms in this country and what it means to do the right thing. To stick up for people. To understand that freedom comes at a cost and it is our responsibility to stick together and support each other. And lastly, to understand why Daddy decided to enlist to serve our country- that sometimes we must serve a greater purpose than our own. And even though it means that sometimes he has to be gone, it is because he is doing his part to keep us safe. To keep us all safe.

I love what Lara at Less Cake {More Frosting} created as a FREE printable. Just check out her site and read her touching posts as well. 

{Lastly, happy 20th birthday Laura!}


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Are you ready for some football??

We sure are! 

Not only has Jackson been socializing with the Chiefs cheerleaders, he's been practicing his skills with daddy in the backyard. He loves to throw the football around. And he really wants a helmet, but I fear that once he gets one, he'll never take it off and he'll end up wearing it to bed {kind of like his Daddy Boots}.

Derek is super excited about football too as he is determined to make up for missing the season last year while being at army training. And I can't deny that I enjoy it too. We had Derek's parents over the other night to watch the season opener-- good game! My fantasy team is up and ready to go and I am going to dominate over my father-in-law this week.

I only wish that we could go to a game this season, but tickets are expensive and parking alone costs more than going out to dinner. At least at home, I can watch on a comfy couch and take a nap.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

LOL Pictures

Whenever I upload photos from my camera to my computer, I like to take an inventory and decide what ones are keepers and which ones to use for blog posts. These pictures all made my keepers, but they haven't found a space on my blog until now. The only thing they all have in common is that they make me chuckle. And I hope you get a smile out of it too!

When my friend came to stay, I found Caleb "shaving" his legs with sunscreen and a house key. Hilarious.

Geez Mom, get that camera OUT OF MY FACE.

Me: Jackson, what ARE you doing?!?
Jackson: I'm just licking my knee, Mom. 
Me: Oh, okay. That's normal.
Why do you make me wear these dumb bows anyway?

"No one feeds me anything yummy in this house. I guess I'll eat my toes."

And my favorite:



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