Friday, May 27, 2011

Child's Overalls Refashioned into Backpacks

It makes me slightly sad when my kids grow out of their clothes. On one hand, they are so darn cute in some of those outfits! On the other, it just means I have to get them more clothes.

I've been hanging onto a pair of Henry's overalls for quite some time, thinking I was going to turn it into a fab purse. I eventually reconsidered because I like being able to put a purse on my shoulder and the overalls were so small, I'd only be able to hang it on my arm.

In the meantime, Henry grew out of a second pair of overalls. (Actually, he just kept unsnapping the leg closures, effectively turning his pants into a dress.)

So, after some thought, I decided to figure out how to make a backpack out of them. We are going on several road trips this summer and thought that it would be nice for each child to have a bag to carry their own toys, games or stuffed animals in.

There are several examples online of overalls made into backpacks. They didn't quite fit my vision. I wanted a backpack that still looked like a pair of overalls, not just made OUT of a pair of overalls, if that makes sense. (Without the legs of course.)

After cutting off the legs, I used one leg panel to fashion the bottom of the backpack. The second leg panel was sewn into the inside to make a flap that is closed with heavy-duty velcro, making a pouch in the main body. The bib portion of the overalls was left as is, so that a stuffed animal or rolled blanket could sit on the pouch flap and hang out the top.

I acquired some cheap backpacks from DI, cut off the straps and sewed those on. This was much easier and more time effective than making my own straps.

Henry's backpack.

Here, Henry was saying, "Buh-bye! Going to school. See you tomorrow!"

The denim of Audrey's backpack is thin and stretchy, so it was harder to keep it's shape once it was filled.

I may have to put something inside to stiffen the back so that it sits better.

For now, I'm just pleased that they have their own bags to put their own items in.

The best part: They were SO easy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The View from my Window

I'm not overly fond of dandelions. We had them in Albuquerque, but they grew somewhat separately. Here, they seem to grow in crazy clumps that turn into weird brown tangled messes when they lose all their seeds.

My sister uses a dandelion motif in a lot of her artistic endeavors. It's also a part of her signature and the name she goes by online. Because of this, I find dandelions to whimsically remind me of her. In turn, this makes me smile a little when I see them. You can check her out here

I digress...

I have recently discovered a new reason to enjoy dandelions a tiny bit more. 

The view from my window is mostly rocks, ivy, weeds, roses in the summer and a sliver of sky. Since I live in a basement room, I count myself lucky that I have a window at all.

I occasionally have feline visitors in my little window well, but lately, I've had the pleasure of two little finches visiting me. It's all because of the dandelions.

The first group of pictures is of the little female. She always stays in the well longer than her mate.

I wasn't sure what she was doing at first, but soon realized that she was plucking the dandelion seeds, eating them and dropping the fluff.
Here, she looks like a little old lady smoking a cigarette on the end of a holder. Check out the bags around her eyes. That's the look of a true mother. 

I love the neck extension here. It almost looks unreal.

She kept looking up at the window. I think she knew I was watching her.

I wish I could hang off a branch or tree this way. She makes it look so easy!

The little man showed up a few days later and watched over her from a higher perch.

He finally dropped down a bit to get some seeds himself.

The next five pictures I call: A Study in Puff Progress

I think he was trying to impress me.

I didn't edit any of the pictures but two. I couldn't resist this picture of him.

And here is a photo of the carnage they left behind. All those de-seeded dandelion fluffs...  

I can't say I'm too broken up about it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Man

Ben likes thrift shopping. I used to hate it. It took him about eleven years to get me to walk into a thrift store without pulling out my ten gallon bottle of hand sanitizer, slathering it all over my body and following him around morosely while trying to not touch anything.

It helped when we moved to Utah and I had the option of going to DI. For some reason, it feels a little cleaner than your average Salvation Army or Savers. Maybe because it is.

I will go into a Savers, don't get me wrong. However, my time limit in Savers is about thirty minutes and then I have to bolt and scrub off four layers of skin. I can easily spend an hour in DI, more if I make it back to the book section.

Ben really, really likes shopping for clothes at thrift stores. I remember giving him horrified looks when he would grab a pair of corduroy pants off the rack and say, "Wow! These are COOL!"

That, of course, is nothing when compared to his love for "name shirts". You know, the work shirts that have a name patch sewed onto them. You'll usually see them on guys that work at a car repair place, oil and lube shop or a tow truck company... I know that people that DON'T work with cars wear them too. I just can't think of any right now.

Maybe a plummer.

Anyhoo. When people leave those jobs, they seem to like giving their work shirts to thrift stores. That's where Ben comes in. Comes in, scans the racks and leaves with a new name or two.

He gets a kick out of people asking him about the places he works when he wears the shirt.

"Oh, so you work for the Ford Emergency Response Team?" someone might ask with interest.

"Nope," my husband answers with a smirk.

"Oh... uh... is your name Pat?"

"Nope," his grin gets wider.


"I just like the shirt," GRIN!!


He also has a New Mexico State Police Leather Motorcycle Jacket. He REALLY liked wearing that when we were out and about in Albuquerque. The people asking for change on the corners would always get really nervous when we drove by. I seem to recall one guy actually turning around and walking the other way when he saw the jacket.

I tell you all this because I usually just roll my eyes when Ben brings his latest "treasure" to me. It's hard for me to take him seriously when he presents me with a shirt that bears the name "Keg".

When we recently went to DI, he came up to me excitedly, holding something behind his back. He professed the awesomeness of his find, and pulled out a pair of dress shoes.

I cringe inwardly at the prospect of wearing something that a stranger had on their feet. How do you know they didn't have athlete's foot? Eww... This is what I was thinking while Ben tried to explain his excitement.

"They're $5!"

Well, that's okay, I thought.

"You've always wanted me to have these square-toed shoes!"

Yeah. I think they make men's feet look sexy... an impressive accomplishment.

"They were made in Italy!"

"Cool," I can always appreciate fine Italian workmanship.

"They're KENNETH COLE," I could hear, ever so slightly, the sound of Angels' singing in Ben's head.


I think Ben's eyes popped a little bit. I suppose to him, that would be like me saying, "Who's Vivienne Westwood?"

"They're really good shoes!"


"They need shoelaces though."

"Okay," I shrugged.

Several hours after we got home, Ben was still feeling really good about the shoes and put them on so that I could see what they looked like on his feet. The effect was somewhat diminished by the fact that he was wearing white ankle socks and khaki shorts. Ben said that I should look up Kenneth Cole sometime so that I could get an idea of what kind of shoes they were.

So, I did.

With Ben looking over my shoulder, I loudly proclaimed, "Holy Poop on a Stick!"

Similar shoes, brand new from Kenneth Cole were anywhere from just under a hundred dollars to over three hundred.

Granted, these aren't Berluti shoes which fetch a mere $1,830 a pair. But to find a pair of nice dress shoes for five bucks at DI is a rare thing.

A little research and the closest I can figure is that Ben's new shoes are Oxford style Town Hall Moc Toe lace up shoes.

Fancy Dancey!

Now, if I could just find myself a pair of Jimmy Choo's at DI.....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Furry Eyefull

I love going to DI. It's a new habit of mine. Probably a bad one too. I always save the kids books for last and look through as many of them as I can. I've found some really great books there and not spent the fabulous amounts of money as if I had bought them new. Granted, they are sometimes a little worn around the edges and need some tender loving care, but I also know that when my kids get their hands on them, no one would know the difference anyway.

I have also found that I can occasionally find the treasure of a Serendipity book. If you never read a Serendipity book as a little girl, either A) You were not a little girl, or B) You were a sadly deprived little girl. The stories are cute (though sometimes agenda-charged) but the illustrations fall into the category of diabetic-coma-inducing sugary cuteness.

The first one I found was Bangalee, which I had never heard of. The story was about keeping your house clean so that the garbage-eating monster doesn't come and eat your house.

I just went again the other day and found three *SCREAM!* Serendipity books. I had to pass one over because the previous owner decided to add to the illustrations in green pen. The other two were soft-cover, but I got them anyway. I'll just have to make sure that those books are no-touch books for my kids until they learn respect for books (grumble, grumble).

One is called Maui-Maui and is about a whale who teaches a lesson to a bunch of little critters called Amomonies who over-fished their ocean until there were no fish left. (After they learned their lesson, the author just HAD to add in a little note about how the Amomonies had been bad, but who they had to really watch out for was MAN..... see previous reference to agenda-charging.)

The other one is called Kartusch and is about some cute little critters called Furry Eyefulls. They learned a lesson from a blind snake about enjoying the world around them with more than just their eyes. (They wanted to look at everything so much that they refused to sleep and got super cranky and mean.)
While casually glancing over Kartusch, I noticed that the little Furry Eyefulls were vaguely familiar to me. It took me a few moments to realize (and I did with a chortle) that I LIVED with a Furry Eyefull all growing up. Of course, she was a blonde Furry Eyefull.

Am I right??

Sorry, Dara.... :)

I love you!

Really, I just thought it was a super cute book with even super-er-er... cute pictures. I couldn't resist sharing with you all!

I shall continue my hunt for Serendipity books. I'm still looking for Leo the Lop, Morgan Mine, Flutterby and *be still my heart!* DRAGOLIN!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Discovery Gateway

I'm sure I've mentioned before that there is a really cool hands-on children's learning museum up in Salt Lake. My kids love it and I've promised pictures.

I attempted to fix Hank's hair before we left.

Curly boy!

It ended up afro-puffing out fifteen minutes later.

There is a whole house that is just Audrey's size. She LOVES it! She loves to pretend to cook, especially. 

She's driving to the store. :)

Someone needs to talk to the store owners about the unsanitary lack of packaging for most of the foods!

Checking out... note the single lettuce leaf next to the bread.

Henry loves the water table. He looks for all the ducks and hoards them.

This is a little room attached to the outside of the play house. I think it's meant to be a tree house.

 The only problem with things being kid sized is that we can't join them in quite a few places. (This fact is likely more than fine with my children.)

When you go upstairs, there are a lot of areas set aside for constructing. The kids hardly know which way to go when we go up there. 

There is a little machine that has a program similar to Mad Libs. I did a couple. :)

As you can imagine, I did a lot of giggling when I made these.

We have a membership to Discovery Gateway and plan on going up at least once a month. It's great for the kids and a lot of fun for everyone.


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