The Twenty Minute Plan

The Art of Homemaking: The Twenty Minute Plan

Things around here have been busy lately…well…that may be a fantastic understatement…but for today I will leave it at busy.  Very busy.  And while I feel like I am in over my head and drowning I can guarantee I am not the only one struggling…

I have been frustrated because in my dream world aside from being independently wealthy and stunningly beautiful I would also have a maid.  Or at least have a schedule that would be conducive to a consistent weekly cleaning and errand running schedule.  But the wealth, beauty, maid, and schedule aren’t coming and meanwhile the deadlines and the dirty laundry keep coming.  So I’ve had to come up with a plan.

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vintage patterns for tweens

Using Vintage Patterns for Tweens

I am excited to show you this week (and next) some great fall pieces for my tween.This post was originally part of Sew cool for the Tween Scene talking about some of sewist’s favorite patterns for tweens.  Here is what I said about sewing for older girls….

vintage patterns for tweens

I know that the series is all about a favorite Tween Sewing Pattern—but I just can’t pick one–so I am going to talk about how I approach sewing for my tween ;)  One of the first things you need to know about me is my love for vintage patterns.  I love them dearly.  They are how I first learned to sew and some of the most favorite things I have sewn come from vintage patterns.

Now I know what you are thinking….VINTAGE PATTERNS for TWEENS?  And today I am here to tell you YES!  Vintage patterns can be FANTASTIC for tweens!

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polka dot flannel picture

Orange, flannel and polka dots….

polka dot flannel picture

Today we are taking part in Riley Blake Designs Flannel tour…and it is absolutely perfect timing.  The youngest was in desperate need of some new lounge-wear because his old ones were half-way up the calves (more like capris!) and only 3/4 sleeves.  But he would still insist on putting them on every night.  I even tried to hide the last too-small pair at the top of his closet and he still found them.

But how could I blame him…..I love soft flannel lounging wear too…especially because the more you wash them, the softer they get.  So, a new pair of cuddly jammies it was!

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annie dress 850 pixels

Halloween Costume-opalooza!

annie dress 850 pixels

Every year liZ and I decide that we want to do some simple Halloween costumes for kids that anyone can do.  But it seems every year that time gets away from us, so we set a goal to get started early and really get some costume ideas out there.  Some we have just recently thought of…and others we have been mulling over for quite some time now.

And we are excited to show you over the next couple of weeks exactly what we have been working on!

The first one is a dress done four ways.  The first two ways are up today…and then we have two more that are coming that all use the same pattern.

Here is our modern take on a Little Orphan Annie Dress.   We knew we wanted it to look like Annie, but we also knew that we wanted to create something that could last more than just one day… here it is.

Modern Annie dress2An A-line dress with a  peter pan collar, placket and some puffed sleeves to go with it.  I really love this dress.  I was seriously giddy when we put it on Ruth (and she was even excited to wear it!) and she looked so cute in it.  I think it’s the perfect shape for a toddler girl…or any girl for that matter…it’s the same pattern block I used to make this dress for Hannie’s first day of school.

And here is the same dress made for a Modern Madeline, inspired by the one I made almost 4 years ago….it’s still one of my favorites.

modern madeline costume

And we know you need some boys’ costume inspiration too… we teamed up with the DIY Network to bring you some costumes for all your kiddos ;)  The first one up over there is this little Chimney Sweep Costume.

chimney sweep2_edited-1

You can head over to the DIY Network to see all the details of how we made the chimney sweep broom and put the rest together with clothing and a borrowed hat ;)

And there are a lot more coming in the weeks ahead…..because we just can’t help ourselves….we ADORE making Halloween Costumes.

(Hannie’s costume this year is going to give me  a run for my money, though…..I purchased a whole bolt of fabric for it.  And a ginormica hoop skirt.  And I am going to try draping it…..cross your fingers that it turns out ;)



25 Ways to Ask Your Kid How was School Today Printable

How To Ask Your Kids “So How Was School Today?” Without Asking Them “How Was School Today?” (The Printable Versions)

A few weeks ago I typed up and posted some questions that I was asking my 4th and 1st graders after school….it was something that was on my mind and I decided to share it….I thought maybe someone else might want to try a few of them to…I didn’t realize it would get such a large response…

…I guess we all want to find ways to keep lines of communication with our children open…

I know the questions aren’t perfect.  I realize that you need to gauge when the right time to talk to your children is (and 2 minutes after they get home may not be the right time and everyday may even be too often).  I am aware that these questions will need to be ask in your own voice and with your own word choice and not mine.  And I can tell you that not all their answers will be engaging or lead to conversations…

…but some of them will…and that is why I do it…and will keep doing it…

The other night I ask Simon on his 10th birthday “What are the 10 best/coolest/most favorite things you’ve done in your 10 years?”  And he said “#10:  Video Games   #9: Video Games   #8: Video Games   #7: Video Games….” and so on.

Not really the response I was hoping for.

But then two nights later we were sitting around and he said he had thought of his 10 things…what 10 things?…the 10 things you asked me about the other night…OH!  those 10 things…

And that led to the sweetest conversation about vacations, campouts, and volcanos.

The conversation didn’t come when or how I had planned but it came nonetheless.

I love talking with my kids and so I will keep asking questions.  It works for me and my family…we ask each other questions, we are interested in the answers, we like to talk TO EACH OTHER and I’d want to keep it that way as long as I possibly can.

Communicating with others takes work, it’s not always easy, and I’m not perfect at it.  But I’m trying.  Heaven knows I’m trying…because….these kids of mine they are worth the work.

So, with all of that being said here are the printable versions of my 25 questions for both kids (elementary age) and teens.  And hopefully one or two of them will lead you to a sweet conversation as well.

25 Ways to Ask Your Kid How was School Today Printable

To Be Able To Print Click Here:  25 Ways To Ask Your Kids How Was School Today Printable

28 Ways to Ask Your Teen How Was School Today Printable

To Be Able To Print Click Here:  28 Ways How to Ask Your Teen How Was School Today Printable

****Note:  To print, click on the link.  When it opens go to the top corner of your screen where it says file.  It will open a menu box.  Go down to where it says PRINT and then click on it.*****

stick to it quote

The Art of Homemaking….stick to it!


stick to it quote

I think my art of homemaking post is more for me today than anyone else….but I will share it just in case.

Yesterday, I learned to hang wall paper.  Luckily I had the sense to hire someone who had done it before—because normally I am just the “jump in there and figure it out kind of person.”  But somehow I knew I’d spent good money on wallpaper—and I didn’t want to mess it up.

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On the Horizon….

Oh my goodness….there are so many things that Elizabeth and I want to tell all of you.  We’ve been working so so so SO HARD behind the scenes on some projects that we are very excited about…but can’t share yet.

I know…that is so dumb to tell you we are working on projects but can’t share….what’s the point in that???  Well, the point is that  we are working hard and we are excited and if we don’t seem as present as we usually do we want you to know why.  And the why is because we are over our heads in projects, deadlines, and work, work, work.  (But we aren’t complaining….it is all GOOD things!!!)

Today, however, there is one change we can tell you about….we are going to be starting a newsletter!  HOORAY!  SOOOOOooooooo…watch for more information about that coming soon, like this week soon!

And until then know we are working….and that soon we will A LOT to share.

Have a great Monday!