Speaking of Bean Bag Toss …

The party was a great success. Whew! All the kids had a good time and Son No. 1 really enjoyed the time with his friends.

Just what do you do with a group of eleven- and twelve-year olds? They are at that awkward age where kiddie games are too ‘babyish’ , yet you need to fill the time with something. The gang played soccer for quite awhile. Then we took a break and hit the cooler. Bottled water and lemonade were the two popular choices.

Then it was on to the bean bag toss. Nothing special, but the wife and I felt that it would be a good game to wind down before the pizza arrived. And…it gave the kids a chance to work in teams.

All it takes is a bucket and eight bean bags. I made them up the day of the party and they worked out really well. Here’s a picture:

[Bean bag game toss equipment]

The bean bags were made from some ‘flame’ fabric from the stash. I cut eight pieces 10″ x 5-1’2″. I folded them in half and sewed up the three open sides (but left an opening for the beans). I used a 1/4″ seam. Each bag has approximately 3/4’s of a cup of dry Northern beans. After they are filled, I sewed the opening shut using the sewing machine (no need for hand-sewing — there’s plenty of room for the presser foot.) We already had the galvanized bucket, so the total cost of the game was the cost of the beans — about $3.50. Not bad!

Fabulous Friday — Gearing Up For the Parties

Woo Hoo….it’s Friday! Go do the happy dance and then come back for more.

[Everyone stands up and does the happy dance.]

Okay, welcome back. Yes, it’s the start of another weekend. And it’s gonna be a busy one. My oldest son is having a birthday party on Saturday evening. His official birthday is May 1st so, yes, that makes him a “May Day” baby. He’s invited seven or eight classmates to share in the celebration. There will be food, fun, and (crossing my fingers for good weather) frolicking in the backyard amongst soccer balls, bean bag toss games and other pre-teen-appropriate activities. Assuming I make it through the ordeal, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Then, on Sunday, it’s the official “family birthday party”. More food, fun and outdoor activities. One of his favorite foods is sloppy joe sandwiches. So that’s what we’re having (along with some homemade macaroni and cheese, and other party food). I’m hoping for a sunny day on Sunday too.

Wow. Twelve years old. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12. Where has the time gone? It’s crazy. Okay, I’m going to stop now before I get all weepy and stuff.

Have a Happy Friday!

After the rain …

…come the rainbows. Yes! Two of them. First a single, then a double rainbow. See for yourself:

Thankful Thursday

And yes, it’s been a rainy, windy kind of week so far, but I’m okay with that. I see all the nasty weather that ripped through other areas of the country and I’m thankful that my family is safe.

I’m also very thankful that my two boys are good students. The oldest will be going into middle school next year — that’s a big step (for him and his parents!). He just received an invitation to a recognition banquet. He has maintained a very high grade-point average all year and will be given a certificate for Academic Excellence. Woo Hoo!!!

My little guy just received the April Citizenship Award for his class. He is a very well-mannered six year old and helps out in the classroom. And for a red-head, that is a major accomplishment. (I’m kidding. Not about the red hair, but … you know what I mean.) Keep up the good work, buddy! You’re on the right track. Mom and Dad are very proud of you!

I’m also thankful for a wonderful blogging community. It continues to amaze me that so many people have such wonderful skills. Design skills. Sewing skills. Knitting and crocheting skills. And writing skills. It brightens my day to log on and catch up with all of you.

I appreciate the time you spend here.

Wow…another week almost over. Have a good one.

Marvelous Monday!

It IS a marvelous Monday. The temperature was 65 degrees at 5:30 a.m. Now THAT is marvelous! Perhaps Spring is finally here to stay.

No crafting this weekend (much to my dismay). There were lots of spring clean-up tasks that needed to be completed. We went to the lake on Saturday and raked and raked and raked and cleaned up all the leaves and pine needles that had accumulated since last November. It’s a lot of work, but looks so nice when things are neat and tidy.

Then it was time for the “inside cleaning”. For those of you new to the blog, our family has a park model that we call our ‘summer cottage’. It’s at a campground about 35 minutes for our house. We try very hard to spend as many weekends as we can at the lake each summer. It’s amazing how just a 35 minute trip can be such a get-away. It’s like living in a whole new world. Here’s a picture from last summer:

[Summer of 2006]

Luckily, we have never had mice or other critters get into our park model over the winter. But there is always a good share of dead bugs and bees that make their way in — but don’t make their way out. The boys played outside while my wife and I tackled the cleanup chores. There’s still a slight hint of mothballs [we leave mothballs in and around the unit to keep bugs and mice away], but everything is now sparkly-clean for the new season.

We treated ourselves to Applebee’s for dinner, then came back and roasted marshmallows on the campfire. Then it was inside for some late night TV and then off to bed. We were t-i-r-e-d.

I hope you had a great weekend too!

Days of the Week

Okay, this may sound a little hokey, but here’s a little mind-trick I use on my six year old son to pry his sleepy little butt (and the rest of him) out of bed most mornings. My wife and I really don’t like to threaten the little man so we try (oh we try big time) to use positive reinforcement to get him (and his brother) to do things. That’s what all of us good parents do, right? Okay….moving right along!

So here are the days of the week:

  • Marvelous Monday
  • Terrific Tuesday
  • Wonderful Wednesday
  • Thankful Thursday
  • Fantastic Friday

Tuesday is also the day he has music class at school so sometimes that helps his feet hit the floor too. And Thursday is “library day” and that is a big help most weeks too. Like his Crafty Dad, he is very fond of books and is an avid reader. Not to brag, but the kid is reading at the highest level for first grade — in fact I’m guessing it’s quite a few levels beyond first grade. I’m sure it’s old news to you folks with kids, but let me just tell you that first grade is way different than it was when I was in school.

So…how do you get your kids out of bed in the morning? Or are we the only set of parents with this daily problem?

Please….leave a message. And have a fantastic weekend.

Crafty Dad Tip – Organize Your Linen Closet

Here’s one that just sort of ‘happened’ the other day. The flannel sheet set on Son No. 2’s bed was exchanged for some lighter-weight sheets. After the flannel set came out of the dryer, I got the idea of stacking up the set [fitted sheet on bottom, flat sheet next, then the two pillowcases].

Then…to keep things neat in the linen closet, I cut off a 2″ strip of fabric from a sheet I found at the thrift shop and tied the bundle up. Now all the pieces will be together in the closet. When it’s time to put them back on the bed, we can just grab the bundle and go.

I’m sure this is not a new idea, but I’m feeling pretty good about it. So, please leave a nice comment, okay?

MSL "Color Issue" is a Good One

The newest issue of Martha Stewart Living is a good one. Once you get through all the advertisements, the articles on color are all very well done. As always, the photography is stunning. Make sure you get a copy (if you don’t already have one).

Way to go Martha!

[Martha Stewart Living - May 2007 Issue]

Proud of the Boys’ Artwork – Cubicle Gallery

I promised the boys I would hang their Easter bunny pictures in my cubicle. Okay guys: here’s proof that I made good on my promise:

Since Easter was two weeks ago…I suppose I need some new artwork. I’ll have to see what my artists in residence can create next. (Love you guys!)

By the way: the “M” and “H” (on the green paper) in the lower right-hand corner of my cube are courtesy of Allsorts, the blog site of Jenny B. You can download the letter templates here.

On My Wish List: Islander Sewing Videos

[Industrial Shortcuts for Home Sewing (left) and Shirts, Etc. on VHS]

My birthday isn’t until October, but … if you’re a “plan ahead” shopper, then you’ll want to start looking for these. (HINT: You can usually find them on eBay.)

The videos pictured above belong to my local library. I’ve been watching the Industrial Shortcuts (Parts One and Two on a single VHS cassette) for the past few nights. There are TONS of tips on this video and if you sew at all, I highly recommend that you grab a copy and watch it. It’s one of those videos that you watch over and over again, and then say, “I want that. I need that.” Surfing eBay I’ve come across these gems a few times. But, I’m a tight-wad and don’t want to spend much for them. That’s why I think they would make a perfect gift — for me.

Assuming that you make your own shirts, The Shirts, etc. video (two VHS cassettes) is also great. I made matching shirts for the boys a few years ago for a trip to Disney World. (I’ll have to dig up a picture.) I knew there would be lots of photo opportunities and while it’s a tad bit trite (I know, I know) I wanted some pictures of the boys in their matching shirts.

Making shirts was a bit daunting at first. There are several pattern pieces, interfacings, button holes and buttons. And some of the techniques are WAY different than your run-of-the-mill sewing. And, since I seem to always be in a hurry (so many things to do, so little time to get them done) I goofed and had to rip and re-do a few times. And, (once I find the photo) if you look really close, you’ll see that one of shirts has the pocket sewn on upside down. I mean, the opening is at the top, but the pattern of the fabric is running the wrong way. Oh well.

So…go online to your library’s website and reserve these videos. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s the link to the official Islander Sewing website.

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