Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love that dog

Gideon is growing quite the winter coat, so much so that a trip to the groomer is a once-every-three-weeks appointment. Not a problem for a boy who lives every day like it's spa day. You should see him "own" the salon. I've mentioned before that all I have to say is "Mr. Ron," and he makes a beeline for the car. Loves going to the groomer (and this is a dog who gets car sick, so you know he must really love it if he begs to get in the car!). Once we enter the front door of the salon, it's like Norm entering Cheers. As soon as they take him off the leash, he runs through the salon, saying hi to all the dogs up on the tables. And if there's an empty table, he jumps up on it. Such a freak. And he adores getting blown dry. In fact, when I dry my hair at home, it takes me a good 10 minutes longer because I have to dry him too, even though he's not been near running water.  Gosh, I love that boy.

Here he is sleeping in one of his favorite positions: spread eagle on his side. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Baby Shower Invitations Have Left the House

All the invitations have been distributed or are in the mail. I really didn't want to just drop them on gals' desks at work or stuff them into cardboard envelopes without wrapping them in something. They deserve to be unwrapped like the little gifts that they are. And so I wrapped each one in tissue paper with a sticker closure. So much better!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baby Shower Invitations from Baby Clothes

I'm hosting a baby shower for co-worker Molly and in typical Dawn E. Girl fashion wanted to set the stage for a most heartfelt shower by creating a special crafted-by-hand invitation. When Harleigh was little and had a sleepover birthday party, I made invitations out of fabric that were sleeping bags. Inside the bag was the invitation, and at the top of the invitation was a drawing of a little girl from the shoulders up. That peeked out of the sleeping bag. They were adorable. Even had little flannel pillows. For Ali's bridal shower I made the apron invites. And for Sherry's bridal shower the seersucker pocket invites.  If you can't tell by now, I'm a big fan of using fabric and even sewing on paper (see my business cards here).

And so I entered into this invitation brainstorming with fabric and sewing a gimme. And came up with using actual baby clothes to create the envelope, with a paper invite inside with a sewn-on fabric backing and ribbon trim. What sweeter way to open an invitation than to undo baby buttons or snaps.

I started off buying thrift store baby clothes. Found out that sleepers work super well and that clothes with gathers work OK but don't create quite the same even seams. Once I had amassed the clothes (and I tried to either go on "1/2-off on clothes"days or took advantage of "1/2-day off on a certain colored tag" days), I carefully cut off the tags on the inside neck, then I created an insert for sewing the outfits into "envelopes." I cut a piece of foam core into a 5 1/4" x7 1/4" rectangle, which when inserted into the piece of clothing (and pinned down to hold into place — I just took two or three straight pins and pushed them straight down through the fabric, into the foam core), was easy to sew around. In fact, the lip of the foam core created a super easy guide for the presser foot.

Sewing done, template removed, and fabric turned to its right sides, I now had the "envelope" done. Onto the invitation. I printed them out on a nice velvety matte stock and cut them out to size (5x7). Putting them aside, I turned to the backing of the invitation.

I knew I wanted to back the invites with fabric and have a slight overhang, trimmed with pinking shears. With the overhang a must, the fabric backing had to look good from both sides, so I used fusible web by-the-yard to adhere fabric, creating large pieces of fabric pretty on both sides. Cut those into pieces 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 and sewed the paper invites to the individual sheets (I used double-sided tape, just two small pieces, to hold the invite onto the fabric. The fused fabric proved to be a little on the stiff side, which made it super easy to sew with. Once the invite had its back, trimmed the fabric with the pinking shears.

Glued a ribbon onto the top of each invite and stuffed them into the "envelopes," "sealing" them by buttoning or snapping the outfit closed. Half of the invites will be distributed at work, so an outer envelope is not needed, but for those to be mailed, I'll wrap them in tissue and stuff them into a cardboard mailer.

What fun to make these!!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Balancing Act

The past three weeks have been about as unbalanced as you can get when it comes to work/life balance. There's no splashy photo with this post. In fact, I'm luck to find the time to populate this space with words. My personal commitments have been too numerous to count, but they're also what brings me such joy. The work commitments have kept me from seeing and feeling the light of day for entire work weeks at a time. I experience a great deal of camaraderie at my job, and laughter often accompanies the late nights. But after a while, it gets rather stale. It's what I've got to do in these busy times (and, to be frank, I'm lucky to have a good job), but I, the gal who can juggle more than most — and do it with a smile on her face — am raising a little white flag. I'm not all emotional and dramatic in this declaration, merely stating the truth and resigned to get it all back on kilter.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Catching up from the holiday

Harleigh is back at school. She returned a little early to start her job, every Saturday, from 9AM to whenever, working in a gown shop in little downtown Statesboro. She happened to be in the store one day poking around, killing some time, and the manager approached her about applying for one of 26 positions needing to be filled for prom season. She started today (after an afternoon training session yesterday), and I can't wait to hear how it all went. I'm sure she'll be pooped from being on her feet all day. How fun to channel "Say Yes to the Dress" while helping high school girls find their special gown for the big dance!!!

I'd been eyeing these ceramic berry baskets online 
and I'll be darned if Molly didn't get me one from Anthropologie. Love it!
Am just getting around to putting all my Christmas decorations up in the attic. Ugh. One of the things I look forward to when pulling everything down from the attic come holiday time is looking at Christmas cards I received the year before. Every year I tie up the cards in ribbon and a little perty thing, and then unwrap them the following year, a little gift unto themselves. This year they'll be packed away wearing a little knitted mitten and twirled candy cane.
Was super excited to get this book from co-worker Julie. Any gal who has a blog or reads blogs knows of Liz Owen from Mabel's House. We cherish her posts. She's like a neighbor, a gal pal. She bares her soul, and I can't imagine blogland without her presence. Her book was a tonic to the end of my holiday vacation. I expected to smile a lot, even laugh out loud, both of which I did. Get yourself a copy and you'll find out that there's much much more to it than her witty storytelling . . . the tears will come, and you'll love and respect her even more.
 Found these Matryoshka (Russian nesting doll) manicure kits at, of all places, Party City. They came in many colors, but I picked up the black and purple ones to keep for gifts. How cute is one of these for a stocking stuffer!?!

And then there's this new addition to my craft table from Ali! She and Matt are building a home in Serenbe, a 900-acre sustainable community in Palmetto, GA. She got this big spool (almost 6" tall) of jute with hand-forged scissors at one of the local shops. Think it's just about the best part of my craft table!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Love Fest

Harleigh and I agreed that this visit home has been, by far, the best in all the time she's been away at college. It's been a mix of holiday-related busyness and idle vacation-time relaxing. She has matured a great bit since going off to school, and I've gone from loving a little girl to admiring a woman.

While the routine of home (me) and school (girlie) get lost in the straddling of one year and the next, we've come to appreciate what this time should capture for us . . . building our relationship with each other and with God, encouraging each other to be the best we can be. While both of us will welcome routine back into our embrace with familiar fondness, there will be much to miss about two girls and a big hairy dog living under one roof (and all the spontaneity, laughter, talking and loving it entails). As we approach the day to hug and once again say goodbye, each of us knows that a huge part of our hearts go with the other. In reality, we really won't be leaving each other at all.

Gideon and his best gal givin' each other a smooch. (His head is the size of a hydrangea bush. Lots to love.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Shoot and Some Christmas Pix!

I did a family photo shoot for the Klein's right after Christmas. 
The weather, alas, was miserable, and so no outdoor photos were captured 
(with the exception of me going outside and shooting some of the kids through a picture window). 
Here are some of what I captured.

For some of the images where the indoor lighting, even with a flash, 
resulted in mediocre exposure, I did some photoshop techniques just for fun.

At our own family Christmas it was all about Grayson! And we loved every minute of it. 
We plopped him front and center in the middle of my parents' living room. 
His Dad holds one of those recordable books — Poppy reading The Night Before Christmas. 
What a treasure and tradition it will be.

Harleigh's boyfriend, Kasey, joined us and had no trouble fitting into our family holiday rituals including poppers at dinner (complete with paper hats) and the singing of Christmas carols. 
He even did a requested solo without blinking an eye. Our kind of guy.

Grayson arrived for the day's festivities all decked out in a Santa hat and sporting 
a just-woke-up-from-a-car-ride look on his face.

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