This has been a mind-expanding week for me on multiple fronts. Some of it has to do with what I am learning to teach the class on online marketing next week, and some of it has to do with what I am learning as I work through my grief (referenced in my last post.)

It has been good. And busy. And tiring. My head feels bigger. My heart feels softer... and much bigger.

It is early spring, after all--the season for things to grow.

In anticipation of spring, and because my old ones are in sad, sad, shape indeed, I covered some pillow forms with some cheerful fabric a couple of weeks ago to brighten up my living room. I had had the pillow forms in storage for at least four years.

Every time I see the bold yellow and black and red and white prints covered in dandelions, owls, polka dots, and stripes, I smile. They are all just so darn cheerful! (Now if only I could make my couch look as good as my throw pillows!)

(The red stripes are on the back of the "owls pillow," which was actually a much-loved pillow I just recovered.)

So no matter how long one has been stagnant, new things can be learned. New horizons can be seen. And little things can help make life better.

Happy Thursday, friends. What small (or big) things brought you joy today?

Using the Force

Remember how Jude had a Star Wars party in November?

Remember how I was making Jedi robes for all my boys? (Except Levi, who gets to be an Ewok?)

Well, three of the planned robes are complete, for Jude, Noah, and Jabin. Other than the foam-and-duct-tape light sabres we made for the party, though, they do not have any other part of the costume as yet.

That's okay. The robes look great. And yesterday, I took advantage of all my boys being home for Easter break to get an impromptu photo shoot in.

The robes were patterned after the one that Obi-Wan Kenobe wears in the second trilogy (episodes I-III--it took the boys a while to figure out how that confusing order worked. :-D)

The design of these was aided greatly by a tutorial found at I altered the design to have a rounded bottom edge so that it would be the same length all around, and also drafted each robe to the corresponding boy's measurements.

I did quite a bit of math to figure out the formula for making each robe perfect, as I hate waste, and didn't want to be cutting off and throwing away the great deal of fabric that the linked-to tutorial suggests. Perhaps I will get my own version of the tutorial and how to draft a Jedi Robe to fit posted on my blog someday.

These turned out awesome, and my boys love them.

Star Wars Jedi and Sith robes on boys
Star Wars boy Sith

"Give me a Sith Snarl!" I said. And he did... kinda. What IS that, anyway?!!

Star Wars Jedi robe

Jason and Jude made the Light Sabres out of foam plumbing pipe insulation and coloured duct tape. They get daily use around here.

Jedi boy, blue light sabre
Jedi boy with light sabre

Young Obi-Wan. :-)

Noah got a double-ended Light Sabre.

Jedi boy using the Force

He is also proficient in using The Force. :-)

While I was at it yesterday, I also photographed the costumes I made for their Christmas plays, neither of which they got to use. (Jude and Noah both got sick and missed their plays. Jabin was in his, but his costume was supplied by the school. Oh, well, there is always this year.)

I wanted Noah's angel costume to look a little more masculine and modern than the traditional "robe and sash and wings" look. So I bought an oversized white T-shirt, cream knit carf, and women's size small military-inspired jacket in cream from the thrift store, then made the felt top hat and bought the gold cord. Presto! Boy angel!

Modern boy angel
Boy angel costume

Noah wanted a "jumping shot"--so he could look like he was flying, I think.

Jude was supposed to be a shepherd. I had some tweedy-looking striped fabric and some nubbly-looking polyester "linen" fabric in my stash that I had intended to turn into a shepherd costume for years, so he got the whole shebang--right down to the kippah. For design inspiration, I looked at the costumes from the movie "The Nativity Story", from which I copied details like the reversed seams whip-stitched down, and yarn whip-stitched onto the sleeves for a piping detail.

Shepherd costume

Jude had the robe inside-out for this photo, unfortunately. The wind is whipping the hood over his right shoulder, which makes it look even more wonky.

Kippah detail

While most of the kippah was machine-stitched, I added hand-stitching details by top-stitching in contrasting thread. I am really happy with how this turned out.

Little shepherd boy--with glasses?

Detail of cuff with yarn "piping". I miscalculated the neck size on the tunic an had to correct my error by deepening the gash and stitching the edges under--but it turned out okay, for the most part.

Love this face!

You see that snow that is just hanging around in the shadows of the trees in these photos I took yesterday? You see those dark clouds behind Jude's head in that last photo?

Yeah. They proceeded to turn into rain clouds, then snow clouds. It's been snowing since some time last night, and hasn't stopped since. Today, there has to be at least four inches sitting on the ground. Grr.

Not so bad in November... but it ain't November.


The Superhero in the Family

I know I have referenced these before, but I don't think I have actually posted photos. Jabin doesn't usually wear pyjamas to bed, being a little hot-body--even in the dead of winter, undies usually do the trick. However, for his birthday, he requested that I make him some pyjamas that double as a costume of "The Flash".

So, of course, I did.

I soon discovered that The Flash's own mom must have loved him a lot to agree to put all those lightning bolts on his costume. Because the only way to do them is to stitch them by hand.

Jabin's uncharacteristic seriousness in these photos is because he was trying to look all heroic. :-)

Transformation Complete!

This was a fairly busy weekend for the Winters' household, but a very good one, full of visiting and tea and making memories.

Once a year around this time, I host a party. Well, I admit to taking a few years off while we lived in our previous trailer, due to lack of a good home for entertaining. This house is actually fairly well set up for entertaining, due to the large open kitchen/living room/dining room space--as long as there aren't children trying to rough-house in the middle of it.

So on Friday, I sent all the male Winters' to a friend's for the night (where they suffered through playing video games for 4 hours) and had around fifteen wonderful, beautiful ladies to my house to drink tea, visit, eat, and enjoy an evening without children. (Well, one Momma had to bring her little guy, but he was pretty well-behaved, and sweet to have around.)

Saturday, my dad made the trek up through the snow (which was no concern, thanks to his new Blizzaks--"It's like somebody gave me four-wheel drive!") to visit with this branch of his lineage.

Last Thanksgiving (2011) when he came up with my brother, he had brought me a Husky Oil golf club cover with a simple request: that I make him look like Harvey the Hound, beloved mascot of the Calgary Flames NHL hockey team. It seemed a simple request, and I knew it wouldn't take me long, so I said, "yes." However, it never really seemed to be top priority, only rising to the top five of my "to-do" list in the last few weeks as I knew his visit was approaching. I managed to do the necessary research during that time, but only actually did the project on Saturday while we were visiting and drinking caffeinated, hot beverages. ('Cause, BABY, it's getting cold outside!)

So, in a few short hours, I managed to take this:

And turn it into this:

A pretty good match for this:

Meanwhile, Dad set up the new "Game of Life" he had brought us with his grandsons, and we had a rousing, 3 1/2-hour game. (The first one always takes longer, doesn't it?)

It was so fun watching my boys spend some quality time with their Papa.

Now, already 1 day into the "weekday" section of the week, I sincerely hope the rest of it doesn't fly by like the first two-sevenths, because I hardly know what happened to them.

Upcoming events:

The boys start karate lessons tomorrow. It will be the first time since we were in Mena in 2008 that they have taken karate. At the time, Jude was the only one old enough. They are so excited, even Jabin has been counting down "days to karate", almost completely forgetting what happens the day after, which is his birthday!

My baby will be SEVEN!

Costume Diary: Captain Jack, part Two

Well, the pants are done. They turned out okay, if strangely saggy in the backside. The only problem is, as Jason said, "I don't feel very piratey."

I have to agree with him. So, our costume titles may be reduced to "18th-century gentleman and lady going to a masquerade ball." :-D

Of course, that is making the major assumption that my gown will be done by then. Which is not looking extremely likely at the moment, since I am still working out the kinks in the first and simplest part of my costume--the chemise.

To be Continued again...

Captain Jack, Part One