Happy Halloween

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This has been one heck of a week! My routine was completely thrown off since last Friday. Yes, Friday was a great day for our family. I loved every minute of it. But there was no time to catch up on paperwork, cleaning, sewing, blogging etc.

First off, we had to ALL be up and ready to leave the house by 7:30 am to be at the kid’s school for a very special ceremony. That was a challenge on its own!

Both kids got awarded ‘Star Student’ for their great overall attitude & behavior. Butch and I couldn’t have been happier.

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 Afterwards it was hard for me to get back in the groove of things at home. We still had a long afternoon and a very special dinner planned for the kids… Another late night!

Saturday was a typical day on the soccer field. Both kids had games, both kids won their games & the weather was absolutely gorgeous. That evening we had a birthday dinner at a friend’s house with kids and all… It was super nice to have some great food & conversation but of course by the time we got home everyone was EXHAUSTED!! No sleeping in on Sunday either. Kids had early birthday parties to attend. I had to finish doing stuff around the house, feed everyone and jet off to my second quilting class!!! That was a nice 3 hour break – ahhhhh. Finally we started piecing! I made some ‘piano keys’ & ‘bricks’ :-).

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And just like that the weekend was over and Monday was here with a bang! Butch had to be on a plane bright & early, kids had ‘ribbon day’ every single day of the week which meant bring money in to donate to that day’s fundraiser & dress up in the given theme such as cool shades, partner look, crazy hair, story book character etc. etc. Boy, could they have picked a worse week. With the hubby out of town on business, Halloween costumes to finish off, soccer practices & games, German lessons, my third grader had to dress as a pioneer on Friday! This meant a whole new costume to make for me. I hadn’t even started the hoodie transformation yet.

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(My mission: Turn a black hoodie into a Big Bad Wolf! I found a great tutorial here. Thanks Ellie!)

But since I found the idea of sewing ‘boy’s clothes’ so intriguing (usually it’s the girls that benefit from this mom & her sewing machine) I stopped everything else to research this Pioneer look. With pioneer look I mean piles and piles of laundry to fold away, stacks and stacks of papers to go through and file off … I think you get the idea. 🙂

During my research I found this picture on Etsy and got to work. I was actually surprised at how easy this look came together. Even my boy liked it which made me extra excited.

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Today though, finally with daddy back in town!! 🙂 things are looking much better & calmer. Kids were very quick to dress into their costumes bright  & early. I loved how they were in character immediately. Now they are off to school. Hubby is at work. Baby took an early nap 🙂 and I can enjoy this chai while I am in my sunny studio typing away. Ahhhhh. Exhale. I am bracing myself for a sugar overload this evening and another busy & long day tomorrow. Isaiah has a very important end of season game scheduled that his team absolutely has to win to advance to the play-offs. I am keeping my fingers crossed for this hard-working boy.

One thing that got neglected this week is my first homework from quilt class. We are half way through the session and I am still cutting. Oh boy. What a long & meticulous process quilt making is! The book is not really helpful without my patient teacher by my side.

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Oh well. Let’s get to it.

Hope you are making something fun today and I hope you have a safe & happy Halloween!

Boo,

Yasemin

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P.S. This is what Isaiah looked like as a pioneer.

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Update – on a few things

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Progress in learning German! I have written about how my children started learning German with a tutor here. Well, they’ve only had their third lesson and I have to say WOW! what a huge leap they have made! Not only the comprehension but their interest in wanting to learn and the eagerness with which they complete their little homework is just so exciting to me. Now, my crazy idea of wanting to move the family overseas and put them in local schools doesn’t sound so crazy after all! Their language skills & their adaptability has always been my top priority. In fact, it has caused a lot of hesitation and procrastination on my part. Seeing how it all shapes up now I am motivated! Progress!

(On a side note: Someone is determined to remove (by that I mean STEAL) things from the tutor’s front porch. Last week it was little rain boots yesterday this little pumpkin… I think that’s her revenge for not being allowed inside :-).

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Another thing that is really motivating me is the way my blog is taking shape. It’s been almost 8 weeks since I started yasemintea.com. I have had a chance to post 22 times! I uploaded 248 photos! I’ve created a facebook page & a twitter account. I’ve tweeted than 50 times! Progress, progress, progress!

On Tuesday, I had a meeting with a designer-friend who is going to help me with my logo. I need this logo especially because I’d like to have some clothing labels printed by end of 2013 … A lot of effort goes into making clothes for my children and little gifts for my friends & family. Having a little ‘yasemin tea’ stamp on them would be the icing on the cake for me. A little progress – more to come soon!

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Oh, one more thing that is making strides is my crochet stroller blanket (29″!!). Talk about progress. This one is growing like a weed! I am super motivated by how easy and fun it is to add a row here and there!  I’m 80% done! Adding the tassels at the end is something I am looking forward to the most! Also, I am already looking into the next crochet blanket and have pinned so many cute things on my crochet board on Pinterest! An afghan would be so nice for the living room. The whole family could enjoy it.

 

Talking about the whole family: I have started my quilt class.

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This is one that involves the whole family because it is the first time I am leaving my hubby with all three kids for over three hours at a time! But the finished product is intended for the beloved corner sofa! 🙂

This class is officially called: Basics of Piecing 101. (I’ll write more about it in detail later!) Last Sunday, I spent 3 hours hunched over a work table at my local quilt shop measuring, aligning, cutting, repeat… Again, progress! I came home with (not one stitched sewn) but a bag full of zip log baggies with the different pieces cut & labeled for next week. Oh, I am so excited. We are going to start sewing then! More progress!

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I think that’s about it on my end of making progress here at home. I love progress! Don’t you?

 

Love,

Yasemin

DIY – Pretty Pouch

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These instructions were a long time coming … It’s one thing to make these pretty pouches but to actually write down each step so that someone else can make one too? That’s a whole ‘nother story… Take it from me, it much harder to write the instructions than it is to actually make one of these cute little things. Oh, let’s not forget the picture taking!!! At some point I forgot I was documenting this process and kept sewing. That’s why you’ll see a different pouch in one of the pictures – ahem … I promise I’ll do better next time. Until then, enjoy!

I cut out one rectangle (9″ x 13 “) from my outer fabric (woodland mushrooms) & one from my lining fabric (polka dots).

I also cut out one batting piece in the same size which I ironed on the back of my outer fabric.  The batting makes the pouch really nice and padded & sturdy!

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OPTIONAL STEP: I added 3 special details to my pouch although it really looks cute plain, too. I wanted Princess En to be able to get a good grip on the zipper. A tassel is perfect for that! I learned to make a tassel in one of my online Creativebug classes. So easy and fun! (I’ll prepare a tutorial for that as well – soon!) I sewed on a red ribbon onto front side of the outer fabric & added a tiny piece of ribbon with a crown and a heart on it onto the side. That makes it look so official! 🙂 Can you see it on the right side?

Oh, and I used a 9″ standard zipper – in hot pink, of course!

(1)    Once you cut out your fabric pieces & batting, go ahead and iron on batting to the left side of outer fabric.

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(2)   Place (outer) fabric right side up onto work surface, open zipper and place right sides together onto your fabric. Now, place lining fabric (mine is the polka dot) on top of the zipper & pin! You are creating a sandwich here with zipper in between!

(3)   Use a zipper foot (optional) to sew the zipper in place (I used my regular foot. Just works better for me…). Then you’ll pin and sew the second side the same way.

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(4)   Pin the rights sides of your outer fabric together and sew along the sides and the bottom. Remember to keep your zipper unzipped so you can turn the pouch later.

(5)  This step is the hardest for me to put into words. Luckily it’s not hard to do and adds so much body to the pouch but to explain it I find quite hard. I took these pictures… Do they make sense?  What we are doing here is creating this nice bottom for the pouch to stand on. This is completely up to you. I just love the body it gives to the pouch. Pinch the corners of the outer fabric together so that you can sew a line at a right angle (at about 1.5”) off. You’ll cut off these ‘peaks’ you have created. And, no need to do this on the lining!

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(6)  Now, it’s time to sew the lining. You are pretty much doing the same as in step before except for: You’ll need to leave a small opening along the bottom (about 2.5”). This is where we will turn the pouch right sides out when are done. The opening can be slipstitched or simple top stitched with coordinating thread afterwards. No big deal since it’s on the inside of the pouch anyway.

Tip: If you’d like to decorate your outer fabric with trim you can do so after you sewed the zipper in place (after step 3). That’ll give you a better measurement on where you’d like your trim to be exactly.

Oh, I really hope that this instruction makes sense to you. This project is so much fun to sew and super useful too! Once you make one I am sure you’ll want to make several more. They make the PERFECT! gift!

I gave this one to my friend Elizabeth who is working on a logo for me.

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I made this one for my friend Laurie – a perfect birthday gift!

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This fabric by Oliver + S reminded me of my friend Alev so I made her one too!

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One for mini-me, of course!!

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And this one is all MINE! 🙂

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Crochet – A déjà vu

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It’s been a long time, a very very long time since I had a crochet hook in my hands… It’s like with riding a bike – once you hop on you start paddling. I picked up a few red/white/blue balls of cotton and a medium size hook and went for it! What a rewarding little thing to do here and there and end up with something pretty & useful at the same time. Again, my little girl served as my inspiration. As I wrote here before I was looking for some fun needlework that was doable for a six-year old and discovered crocheting for myself.

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This has got to be the easiest project with the least materials needed and therefore very affordable & portable as well!

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You can get yarn & needle together for $3!

I’ve been adding a row or tow whenever possible. At the park, in carpool lane, and in front of the TV! This is such a rewarding activity.

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I’ve already made a blanket and a scarf for my daughter’s doll Ciara.

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Now I am working on a red/white/blue stroller blanket for my baby girl. I found this super creative blogger on Pinterest and learned how to crochet little stars. I am planning on adding those to the finished blanket. It’s perfect for my STELLA!

This is how far I’ve gotten in less than a week: 16 ” by 24 “!

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It takes about a ball of yarn to crochet 5″.

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I think I am about half way there with this blanket. Its heavy and warm. I can’t wait to wrap Stella up in it on Saturday mornings when we go to watch the kids play soccer.

What will you be starting today! 🙂

Whatever it is – enjoy!

Love,

Yasemin

 

Pretty (Pink!) Pouch, DIY

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This week, I had a very special little girl on my mind. No, not my two. I made a little surprise for my friend MP’s little princess. A pretty pink zippered pouch!  Princess En, was hospitalized last week. It was such a chock for everyone but thankfully she is home healthy & happy now! I wanted to make something special for her to celebrate her resilience. A pretty pink pouch!  I picked this playful hot pink fabric because it reminded me of her sunny spirit & endless energy. I hope she’ll like it. I can imagine her putting all her little treasures in it and dragging it around the house by the tassel!

Here is how I made this pretty little thing: (detailed instructions coming soon!)

I cut one rectangle (9″ x 13 “) from my outer fabric (woodland mushrooms) & one from my lining fabric (polka dots). I also cut out a rectangle in the same size of batting which I ironed onto the left side of the outer fabric. This makes the pouch really nice and padded & sturdy! In addition, I added 3 special details to my pouch although it really looks cute plain, too. But I wanted Princess En to be able to get a good grip on the zipper. A tassel is perfect for that!

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I learned to make a tassel in one of my online creativebug classes. So easy and fun! (I’ll prepare a tutorial for that as well – soon!) I sewed on a red ribbon onto front side of the outer fabric & added a tiny piece of ribbon with a crown and a heart on it onto the side. That makes it look so official! 🙂 (Can you spy the tiny little crown on the right side?)

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Oh, and I used a 9″ standard zipper – in hot pink, of course!

Here are some of the pictures I stopped to take in between sewing & ironing:

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And here are the pictures I took once I was done! It took me about 30 – 45 minutes to cut & sew everything. The hardest part was to write up the step-by-step instructions. It’ll take me another day or two but I promise I’ll post soon. 

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Yasemin

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Skirts Galore

Bubble Skirts, Denim Skirts, Layered Skirts, Maxi Skirts, Mini Skirts, Tiered Skirts, Ruffled Skirts, Corduroy Skirts, Circle Skirts, Pencil Skirts, Wrap Skirts, Flamenco Skirts, A-Line Skirts, Flared Skirts, Gypsy Skirts, Paneled Skirts, Tube Skirts, Mermaid Skirts, Pleated Skirts, … Skirts Skirts Skirts!

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In the beginning there was a skirt – this skirt.

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It sparked a real passion in my life. I stumbled upon this book: Making Children’s Clothes (by Emma Hardy)

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as I was browsing through random books at my local bookstore. It was love at first sight! I bought the book that night (usually I’ll go home and order it online!)  and the next day I went fabric shopping. This was going to be the first garment I ever made! It looked easy enough but most importantly it was so darned cute! I wanted my little girl to wear one of these. Since it was made using three different fabrics plus ribbon I thought of all the different options that this skirt could be made of.

The fabric shopping wasn’t as successful. I was looking for small floral prints but couldn’t find 3 coordinating ones. After all, this was my first time shopping for fabric for an actual garment! The lines were filled with fabric but nothing looked like the skirt in my book. I was lost in fabric land! I ended up with 2 floral prints and one with yellow polka dot! Again, this was my first time… What was I thinking! Not until the skirt was done did I realize that it didn’t look anything like the skirt in the picture.

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I wanted to just shred it. I even tried the same kind of green gingham ribbon between the tiers and ripped that off quickly.

After I got over the initial disappointment I let me daughter wear this skirt to the park just for fun.  And then it happened. As she was climbing up and down the play structure I realized something. Paired with a simple t-shirt and some cute leggings she looked adorable! I just loved the way she moved in it. It wasn’t the perfect skirt by any means but I felt so proud that I made it for her. No one else in the world would have the same exact skirt. Unlike all the Gap & Old Navy outfits she usually wore this skirt was unique! And that’s when I decided I was going to keep making skirts for her until I got it just right! I knew I could do it! With the right fabric, and the detailing I knew these skirts had something.

I love little girls in skirts. Skirts are versatile and comfortable; they can be dressed up or down. You can wear them over leggings or play shorts. You can wear them short, long, above the knee or just below. There is no shape or length that doesn’t ‘flatter’ a little girl. Skirts can be made out of any material: Silk, linen, cotton, knit, corduroy, denim with flip-flop, over sandals, boots, and loafers etc. etc. You get my point.

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(some of the skirts I’ve made after reading Emma Hardy’s book.)

Ever since that first skirt that summer of 2009 I made every single skirt that my daughter has in her closet. There might be one or two hand-me-downs (after all who can turn down a gift!), a skirt we found on sale at the store but 90% of them are made by mommy! The absolute bonus is that my daughter loves it when I make her a skirt (or any other garment). She sometimes helps pick the fabric or the trim and of course does the ‘twirl test’ for me! 🙂

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(First two corduroy skirts in 2010.)

My latest creation is the circle skirt. I wrote about it in my Little Red costume post.

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When I first started this journey in making children’s clothes I had no idea that there were (free!) tutorials & videos!!! online. My only references were books I found at the store.  Today, I make all kinds of clothes & costumes for my children. (Pictured below a nightdress and toddler dress which are the other patterns from Emma Hardy’s book that I’ve made several of. )

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I even made 2 skirts for myself! Never ever did I imagine that I could sew for myself. Actually, I get more compliments on the things I make myself than the store bought ones. That makes me so happy! Enjoying the process of making and then being able to wear or use whatever I make is the best feeling of all. It sort of justifies my fabric shopping habit. 🙂 Oh, how I love shopping for fabric! That’s where the joy starts, then cutting the fabric, then sewing it up, then wearing it!!! So much fun & joy!

Ever since I discovered that Joann’s wasn’t my only option for fabrics I feel like a kid in a candy store! The local fabric shops & online options in addition to tutorials on how to turn old garments into new clothes is like a eureka moment for me.  In the future I am planning on slowing down on making skirts for my daughters. Instead I’d love to redo some of my t-shirts into interesting Anthropologie-inspired tops.

The downside of all the custom made bounty of skirts & dresses for my kids is that my older daughter who is picky to begin with is calling pants “ugly clothes”. Like this morning when she cried because I wanted her to wear store-bought Capri pants! It’s been raining here for 2 days so I thought perfect time to use these pants with sneakers. But noooo! She wanted to look ‘cute’. Needless to say I was pretty mad. It didn’t help that my youngest has a cold and didn’t sleep AT ALL last night!!! Discussing outfits with a six-year old early in the morning is not really a good start into the day for me… But that’s all settled now and she is off to school wearing jeans – her only other clothing she’ll wear if it’s not mommy-made…

Like my husband always says: You never know who she’s going to be. It’ll all make sense later… I’m thinking she’d better be Coco Chanel or somebody with that sense of style! Anyway, my baby is napping now and these dishes won’t do themselves.

Gotta go! Is it Thursday yet?

Love,

Yasemin

 

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(Once I fest confident following a pattern I just went for it! Seda’s holiday skirt made from inexpensive flannel and ‘pimped’ up with velvet ribbon, heart button and my favorite pompom ribbon!)

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(Easy breezy summer skirts: Can’t go wrong with nautical seersucker, stripes, red, white & blue!)

 

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(Our fall favorites: corduroy!)

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‘Cause I loved the print so much I had to have both colors! 🙂

Day 1 on a 9 month project

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Today marks the day of conception! I know what you are thinking. Baby #4 in the making? No! Nooooooooo!!!

Today, my children start their weekly German tutoring!  They have until mid June 2014 to get a head start! That’s roughly 9 months! I have searched hi & low, tried different techniques involving games, apps, bribery etc. etc. I even contacted the local German Language School without any immediate success. Now finally, things seem to fall into place.

When we returned from visiting family in Germany in July I was DETERMINED!!! to have Isaiah & Seda learn enough German until the next summer to be able to communicate with my mother, my aunts, my friends, well with anybody! My initial plan was to create a curriculum and spend 2 or 3 afternoon – one hour each – playing games with my kids, learning basic sentence structure, reading books about Germany and thus igniting a fire in them. It only seemed to spark an interest in my daughter. My son, who is now nine, had absolutely no interest whatsoever. I was mostly concerned about him picking it up rather quickly because he’ll be going to 4th grade next year. That’s when he really needed to be mastering any language. The whole basic sight word method doesn’t fly there anymore. I remember fourth grade back in 1985 or 1986… It was getting touch. No more child’s play. I am sure it’s truer today where all schools are putting more pressure on children’s academic success.

In the back of my mind I always thought that the International School in Hamburg would be our refuge but after researching it and looking at the cost structure I got a pretty harsh reality check. Over 10,000 Euro in tuition each year in addition to other costs!! Also, how could I send one and not the other to this fancy school? That would double the cost which made it nearly impossible to even consider. Back to square one.

So I did what I usually do when I don’t know what to do – I googled it! It never even crossed my mind that there would be German schools here in Dallas/Fort Worth. I found the Dallas Goethe Center. Strike! That gave me hope. They had tailor made classes for each age group but … only on Saturdays! Dang it! Saturday is dedicated to soccer around here. It’s almost religious to us. I couldn’t possibly take that away from them could I? Next best option was to see if anyone at that school would be willing to privately tutor these two. Knowing that this would be an expensive undertaking but very convenient (they’d come to us!) and also more efficient (since time was ticking!!) we went for it! We met with the director, Barbara, and one of her teachers. After agreeing to all the contract terms and the pricing unfortunately the teacher she had in mind for us couldn’t commit to driving almost an hour each way in rush hour traffic to our house twice a week. What a bummer! I couldn’t believe it! Again weeks and weeks passed without any progress. No teacher’s available to teach at that rate! Dang, did they check the minimum wage in the US lately? This was quadruple the price that any Target employee would get.

Barbara knew how important and time-sensitive this was for us so she generously gave me the name of their competitor here in DFW. I had no idea that there was another school in the area. How exciting! I immediately contacted the German School of Dallas. I got a response the same day. Someone would actually tutor my children – but – at their house – not ours! Aaaand … she lived 45 minute car ride away – on toll roads!! Nevertheless, we met her last Wednesday and agreed to start our weekly (not bi-weekly!) classes today – Friday, October 11!!! She’ll be teaching both kids together at her home. Sabrina, our new German tutor, teaches on Saturdays at the German School of Dallas and is a certified in Germany as an Elementary School teacher.  A match made in heaven I’d say minus the distance of course. It’s all going to be worth it I am sure. My children get to taste the sweetness of being bilingual. Heck, they get to communicate with their ‘Oma’ for the first time. That alone justifies the expense!

I think that speaking more than your mother-tongue is – next to reading and writing – one of the biggest things I can give my children. I should know. I speak five different languages. It helped me in every area of my life from making friends, applying for jobs, traveling etc. etc. Hey, my English got me a husband after all! 🙂

I keep my fingers crossed that my children already have a seed planted in them from when they were babies and I exclusively spoke German to them. Until they started making American friends. Today, I am even more determined to keep it up with Stella, my one year old. This is going to benefit her and us in the long run. For one, we wouldn’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars for it! Instead, she could be taking piano lessons or something with that money!

I am going to post progress reports (every nine-weeks maybe :-)). I hope that you’ll be inspired to teach your children a second (or third!) language, too.

Auf Wiedersehen!! (Excuse me while I head over to the couch to watch last night’s episode of Project Runway!) 🙂

P.S. Pictures are from our Berlin visit back in 2009. (1) Our favorite German snack. (2)  Reichtagsgebaeude. (3) Brandenburger Tor

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Red Riding Hood Costume, Part 2

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Ahhh, it feels good to complete a project!

Yesterday morning I dedicated another hour and a half to the rest of red riding hood’s outfit. She is eager to go visit grandma who isn’t doing so well they say. All I have left to do is pack a basket of organic goodies and off I’ll send my little red…

So yesterday I tackled that cape-thingy. It wasn’t all that hard I have to say and interestingly the cutting out part was similar to the cutting of the circle skirt. Except for I only folded my fleece once.

But let’s start from the top! On Monday ,I purchased a yard of a pretty standard fleece (on sale!) at JoAnn’s. Since the fleece came in a really generous width I cut the fabric in half right down where it is folded on the bolt. That left me with a 38 ” x 31 ” piece which I folded in half and did my compass trick! (Read: Tape a string to a fabric marker and draw a line as if you are making a circle using a compass!) Oh boy, I am giving away all the trick’s of the trade…

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Anyway, I cut out a small neck piece on top and used my fabric to the max to get some length. I think the cape should have been longer but I don’t thing Little Red minds. It’s pretty hot in Texas on Halloween. So she should be alright with this cropped version.

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The benefits of using fleece apart from it’s softness, price and warmth is that I didn’t have to hem at all. What a time saver! I only hemmed the neckline where I attached the hood since I needed strings as ties anyway and also because I wanted to put the left-over polka dot fabric from the skirt to good use. I made my own bias tape! Yeah! So easy with this handy little thing!

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This made me really happy. Every time I can use up left-over scraps I do a little happy dance. It also looks good and was the first thing my husband noticed. His comment:” Oh, cool. You matched the trim to the skirt!” I couldn’t have hoped for a better input! It’s the little things that count. 🙂

Back to sewing: I used up what-ever was left of my fleece after I cut the cape for the hood.  It wasn’t much and looked like it was going to be too small but I went for it anyway. After all, it’s a costume. If I planned on Seda wearing this thing as a cape after Halloween I would have had to cut into the 2nd half of my fleece. But I was  being kind of stingy here. Sorry!

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Oh, talking ’bout stingy. I ‘upcycled’ this old night gown my mother gave me to use in my projects and turned it into a lacy-apron! I also used up the lace ribbon I would have loved to trim the skirt with on Monday but didn’t have enough of. It makes the perfect apron strings! This all came together nicely. Making use of things I have laying around. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Triple smile!

Now, all I have left to do is dress my baby girl in this and go to the ‘woods’ for a real photo shoot. They have these really creepy looking creeks here in the suburbs that I think would make a perfect backdrop!!

So long my friends, I have some organizing to do today. My craft folders are OVERFLOWING!

Talk to y’all later,

Yasemin

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