“I want to look like my cake” Birthday Dress

Five years! How has it been five years since this little princess joined our family!

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Actually, five years and almost two months, because we were in the middle of moving cross country during her birthday and I’m only now getting around to posting pictures of her birthday dress. It was done on time – early actually, as we held a joint birthday party for the kids before we moved.

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This year, I  took Grace to the fabric store to pick her own fabric. We’d already decided that the party would be “rainbow themed” in a very loose way. Simple, colorful decorations. She fell for this immediately then demanded that her brother and the cake match!

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“Choose Happy” is a good message for this season of our lives. There’s a lot going on; we have a lot we’ve left behind and a lot we’re trying to reestablish on the other side of the country. But while we’re honoring those feelings, we’re also trying to “choose happy” at the end.

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The dress is the Fairy Tale Dress from Oliver + S, my reliable favorite pattern company for classic designs and well drafted patterns. I’ve been waiting to buy this one until Grace was in the higher size range – I knew as soon as I bought the small one she’d hit a growth spurt! So, this is a size 5 with a 6 length, which has a little extra space in it. I’ve got years more opportunities to get my money’s worth on this pattern. I made View B with the View A waist detail. I love some of the techniques – the waist seam method was new to me – but be warned that there is a lot of handwork. This allows a very professional finish but I hadn’t budgeted my time correctly.

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Reid matched, too, but I was so displeased with his shirt pattern (Peekaboo Classic Oxford) that I haven’t bothered to photograph it or write a review. Though I probably should so others don’t waste their money…

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All in all, I’m grateful for every day I get to “choose happy” this sweet girl is in my life!

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Autumn Friends

Grace has hit the collecting stage. No matter where we go, she picks up little found objects to carry home as treasures. So it wasn’t surprising yesterday after spending two hours at the park that the stroller was completely full of bits and pieces that just HAD to come home with us:

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And as I was looking at this collection overrunning my counter, I decided to get crafty! For at least a year now, I’ve had my eyes on Waldorf-inspired toys on Pinterest. I’ve read a good bit of the philosophy and decided that Waldorf isn’t the right fit for our family. However, some of their perspective on toys is right up my alley! Simple and natural with a big emphasis on open-ended play. Open-ended toys can be played with in many ways and hope to inspire imagination. One of my favorite Waldorf-inspired toys is peg people. And so finally, Grace has her very own set:.

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It’s surprising how expressive 2 little dot eyes can be!

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This are ridiculously easy. I picked up some doll pins and doll pin stands at my local craft store. The paint I already had. The eyes are black permanent marker. And the acorn caps are collected! I forgot my coupons so I had to pay full price, but even still, the dolls cost about $0.40 each. If you remember your coupons they’re even cheaper.

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Grace painted one herself while I made the rainbow set:

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And I couldn’t leave the perfect acorns alone. They became little friends to join the party 🙂 (paint pen and permanent marker)

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I may have gotten carried away a little bit. But since everything was already in my house, why not? I turned a tray from a Melissa and Doug set into a doll house by slipping scrapbook paper in each side. It isn’t attached, just tucked in, so that the paper can be changed on a whim. The flowers are the garden of course!

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I have at least one or two more ideas for the collected bits, like an acorn cap matching game. There’s 23 doll pins left and I have already designed 4 more based on the characters from Grace’s favorite book series. I’m really loving these nearly-instant gratification craft projects! It’s a nice change from the weeks-long, hours of work, sewing projects I’ve been doing lately.

What are you crafting this fall? I’d love to see!

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Rainbow Rice Sensory Play

For years now, I keep seeing rainbow themed sensory bins pop up on Pinterest and the creative play blogs I follow. And while I have colored rice for Grace to play with, I’ve never gone all out to make several colors for a true rainbow.

Until now!

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Awww… pretty colors! If you haven’t done it before, coloring rice is super easy. I put two cups rice in each of six ziplock bags (sorry indigo… not going to even try). Add roughly 6 drops of regular liquid food coloring and a small squirt of rubbing alcohol. The alcohol helps spread the dye and evaporates quickly. Toss and shake your rice and color until you get what you’re looking for – I know I had to add extra color to the yellow. Then let dry before playing. I just opened the bags to let air flow; some people spread on a cookie sheet. If you use only a tiny bit of alcohol opening the bags worked quite well enough.

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To add to the exploring, I found colored tooth picks that have been sitting around for a couple years. I didn’t have purple so I used a regular marker to color a plain wooden pick. Then I pulled a tool basket from my stash of sensory bin items. I have a shelf in our basement filled clear plastic containers, scoops, spoons, shovels, forks, plus items from previous bins and various odds and ends I’ve discovered. Here’s what they get this time:

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The kids had a total blast! At first they just stared:

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But then their caution evaporated into curiosity:

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Which led to an extravaganza of scooping and stirring:

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Even the littlest guy got in on this one, though I did have to watch him closely – apparently rainbow rice looks a lot like candy!

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I’m glad I finally got around to making rainbow rice. It only took a few minutes – maybe 10? – to color all the rice. Rice is super cheap and everything else I had around the house. It obviously didn’t stay sorted by color very long but I actually love the way it looks combined. We’ll keep playing with it as is for now then store it as a base for a future bin down the road.

Happy playing!