The Crayola Factory, Easton PA

One more little weekday getaway with the kids before school starts.

We've lived in Pennsylvania for almost three years now and had not yet made it up to the Crayola Factory in Easton.

Much more than a 'factory tour' (in fact the actual factory is located 7 miles north of the Discovery Center), this was a creative experience, a cacophony of color, a history lesson, and a playday.  Not to mention the hand-on Canal Museum occupying the top two floors of the building and also included in admission.  And of course, the on-site McDonald's where my kids experienced their first Happy Meal today.  Oh, the look on O's face when he peeked in the box - Look!  I think there's a toy in here!

Really, a good time was had by all.

When In Doubt, Get Them Out

We are in the home stretch, with two more weeks until the kids go back to school.
Blackberry and Raspberry Picking

It is still hot here.  E is starting to freak out a bit about going to a new school.  She will be attending a local charter school with an Environmental Ed focus this year for first grade - and hopefully staying through until 8th!  She doesn't do well with big transitions and is getting anxious about a new school, new teacher, new kids, and the great unknowns.  I am sure she will love it.  We just have to get her there.
Hopewell Furnace

The kids are starting to get on eachother's nerves, as well as mine.  I love them dearly and am surprised (and a bit sad) at how much I am looking forward to the start of school.

I have learned, though (took me long enough), that when the bickering, whining, fussing, etc. starts, we need to get out.  I have learned that to say "If you can't be nice to each other, we won't go to the zoo/pool/coffee shop..." is tantamount to shooting myself in the foot.  Because if they don't earn an outing, we ALL sit home suffering.  Whereas if we all get out and do something stimulating, adventurous, and or fun, the day passes easily and they are oh-so-much more enjoyable (the days and the kids).
The Mercer Museum

Needless to say, we have been getting out much more the last couple days.  And we are all soooo much better for it.

Have you gone anywhere fun lately?

Kids' Sewing with Liesl's City Weekend

I have to admit that I went to the Vermont Sewing weekend with grand (and knowingly unrealistic) visions of a bit of free fabric involved.  A girl can dream, right?

We did receive, in our little welcome bags, charm pack of Liesl's new fabric line City Weekend.

The kids were fascinated by all these little squares and in a moment of desperation on Monday I sat them down on my studio floor and spread the squares out between them.  Then I let them choose, taking turns, one square at a time until they were all divied up.
O wanted to make a tail.  Attached to a belt that he can wear.  Which he's been fascinated with since seeing If You Give A Mouse a Cookie last Spring.

O lined his up in the order he wanted them and I stitched them together and then stitched them to some webbing for the belt.  One snap later and he was all set.  And beaming.  Oh, if things could always be that easy.

E wanted to make a barbie quilt.  She, who has been asking to sew with my machine for about a year, was determined to piece the squares herself.  After a little guidance in the beginning, she was quick to push my hand away when I tried to help guide the fabric.  "Mom!  I'm six years old.  I know how to do it myself."  And really?  By the end?  She did.

I backed it with some minkee and she was good to go.

Of course, the next time I went to use my machine it was kind of dead...  The result of the 6 year old foot on the pedal?  Or just too long since the last servicing...  Keep your fingers crossed.

O's New Sketchbook Shirt

In planning for the Vermont Sewing Weekend, I really struggled with projects to work on.  I had a couple of new skills I wanted to try out and practice but I couldn't decide on a big project.  I thought, with Heather and Liesl both there, that it would be fun to do an Oliver + S pattern in a Heather Ross print.

I had the Jumprope Dress pattern and had been wanting to make that for E, but I knew I was going to make her a zippered pouch for school while I was away and felt like I should bring something home for O, too.

I'd been eyeing the Sketchbook Shirt pattern since it first came out.  It looked similar to Heather's Kai Shirt pattern from Weekend Sewing that I made O in Spring 2009 and he loved.  Her pattern only went up to a 3T so I needed Liesl's pattern to make O one that would fit him now.

Luckily Liesl had one in her studio and brought it with her for me to purchase in VT.  Combined with some Mendocino fabric I'd had in my cupboard since back here, I was all set.

I love the way it turned out.  I did the inside button placket and the underside of the color in a complementary fabric and love the contrast.  The Oliver + S patterns are so incredibly well-written and detailed that even when I get stuck I can figure it out if I read a little more closely - rereading the last step and previewing the next step usually helps.

Thankfully, he loves it.  And actually wore it two days in a row, which says a lot.  There was a moment, though, where he looked down at it and back up at me and said "Oh mama, you forgot the pocket!"  I see more in the future.  With chest pockets.

Sewing Weekend at Blueberry Hill

I spent three days this past weekend in the mountains of Vermont.  Where it was chilly enough that I actually donned a fleece and slept snuggled under my covers.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the area, surrounded by lush green mountains and blue skies, the bulk of my time was actually spent inside a barn, converted into a sweat shop sewing center.
Wine and Cheese at the Tipi

I joined 14 other women to spend the weekend working with and learning from three fabulous instructors: Heather Ross, Liesl Gibson, and Kelly Wilkinson.  I was surrounded by creativity.  And I have not laughed so much in a long time.
Heather Ross and Ava

But really?  What I think hit home the most?  Being surrounded by so many like-minded people.  It reminded me of the high school summers I spent at music camp, when after the first couple days I was struck by how amazing it felt to be surrounded by strangers who I had so much in common with.  This weekend, people would stop to borrow scissors and ask "Can I borrow your fabric scissors?"  Really?  Other people have fabric scissors and paper scissors!  Really?  Other people hoard fabric!  And are afraid to put in a zipper?!?!  It was great.  Better than great.
My main project - The Sketchbook Shirt by Oliver + S (Liesl) in Mendocino fabric by Heather Ross

I came home motivated, too.  I watched garments being constructed from scratch around me throughout the weekend.  We sewed uninterrupted for hours.  I came home wanting to go fabric shopping and needing to end this summer long studio hiatus I have been on. 

Really?  It was summer camp.  And I can't wait to do it again.