For my youngest daughter’s 14th birthday 🙂Pin It
In celebration of my daughter Isabella’s 13th birthday:
And this photo was taken right before the banner caught on fire 🙂
To celebrate, Bella chose to take her posse of girlfriends to the Portland Art Museum, then out to dinner downtown and drop-in at St. Cupcake to get sugared up before returning home for a (no-sleep) sleepover.
My youngest turns 10 years old today 🙂
We continued with our tradition of a homemade and decorated birthday cake that represents an interest of the birthday girl/boy – Alia’s lifelong love of bunny rabbits remains strong, so I’ve come up with many versions of a bunny cake over the years!
Because age ten is the first age in our household when sleepovers are allowed, this birthday was met with much excitement, and as gifts, Alia’s grandmother sewed her a bunny pillow:
And I sewed her a quick and easy sleeping bag:
I found these wonderful Cotton + Steel bunny-themed fabrics at Bolt (bunnies and moons, how perfect for a sleeping bag!) and sewed the bag and a matching pillow without a set pattern, as follows:
Exterior and interior fabrics – 3 1/3 yards each – for both the outside and the inside, cut the fabric in half lengthwise (so you have two pieces that are 60″ long), then cut each piece to 36″ wide. Sew these two pieces together, so you have one piece that is 72″ wide x 60″ long.
To sew the ties, cut 18 pieces 3″ x 12.5″ (you’ll have enough fabric left over to do this), fold lengthwise, sew one short edge and one long edge, leaving one short edge open. Then turn right side out and press.
Next, create a “quilt sandwich” by laying the exterior fabric right side up, then the interior fabric on top of it (right side down), and then the batting on top of both (I bought the highest loft batting I could find, and then used a double layer). Cut around all sides to get all of the fabrics and battings the same dimensions, then pin together along the edges, tucking the ties inside (unfinished edge lining up with the edge of the fabrics/batting, and the length of the tie tucked in between the two fabrics).
Sew along all four edges with a 6/8″ seam, leaving an 18″ wide hole in the middle of the top edge. Clip the corners and turn right side out through the top edge hole. Then, stay stitch around all four sides again (this will help to give the bag a defined edge, and will close up the top side hole, as well). Finally, I used a bar tack stitch approx every 10″ to give the bag “puffiness” and to hold the batting in place and keep it from shifting around.
My ties along the bottom didn’t line up as nicely as I had hoped – I’m not sure what went wrong, I measured (but apparently not accurately enough!), but my side ties line up nicely. The ties are a nice alternative to having to sew in a zipper, and they allow you to open up the bag and lay it flat, if you choose to do so.
This was a rush job and I could have done it more neatly – it was a little difficult stitching through so many layers, especially two layers of thick batting, and my sewing machine wasn’t thrilled to do it, but it came out all right in the end.
One of our more original birthday cake designs – a bunny and a beaver, racing to the finish line. Note that the beaver is the safer driver, wearing a helmet (I guess the bunny couldn’t get one over her ears) but of course, his tail is sticking out the back, acting as a wind shear . . .
A photo essay of Bella’s 10th birthday:
Her cake, decorated by my mom in our family tradition of choosing a theme that reflects the birthday girl’s interests that year – so of course, Bella’s theme is books!
The tissue pom flowers I made as decoration – they didn’t turn out as well as the ones on the directions, but I like them well enough.
Per Bella’s request, we served Voodoo doughnuts (a Portland icon) at her Sunday morning party with her friends.
Check out the ones topped with Captain Crunch, Oreos, Coco Puffs, and bubble gum!
And finally, because it’s just too amazing not to document, Bella’s birthday list – this is only a partial list mind you, she added so many sheets that it ran on to the next wall.
She has thoughtfully categorized her wish list, and in many places, lists the catalog or website where the item can be found 🙂
Each of my daughters insists that every birthday have a “theme” – a trend a started when they were babies that I am now stuck with! This year’s theme for my oldest daughter’s 11th birthday was puppies, both in recognition of her love for dogs, and in celebration of her birthday present: A nine-week-old Great Pyrenees puppy. Through attrition we’ve moved from three dogs down to just one, a 13-year-old golden retriever who doesn’t move around a lot anymore. We wanted a family dog who would be good with kids, cats, chickens, and other small animals, but who would also function well as an outdoor dog and help keep the coyotes away from the alpacas and chickens, and hopefully at least scare away (if not actually catch) the roughly one million ground squirrels and rabbits that eat everything I try to plant.
After a lot of research, I determined that Great Pyrenees was the perfect breed for what we needed – kind and gentle with kids and smaller animals, loving but more independent than retrievers or labs, a true working dog that would love living and working on a farm.
My daughter named her Maizy and she’s very mellow for a puppy, anxious to please and so smart that she’s already leash-trained, all without much effort or expertise on our part. My daughter has slept on the kitchen floor next to her crate for the past week – we’re hoping she’s acclimated enough now that she can sleep on her own (since my daughter is getting really tired of her sleeping bag!)
You forget how much work a puppy is, but an outdoors puppy is a much better way to go – no stress with housebreaking, not as many worries about what’s being chewed, and she sleeps in her dog bed on our back porch, by the kitchen sliding door, so that she’s there waiting for us when we come out to play, or garden, or take her for a walk. Now if the sun would ever shine here, we might be more inclined to spend time outdoors . . .
For my oldest daughter’s tenth birthday, we put some of our acreage to use, put up a fence and a simple lean-to shelter, and purchased two alpacas. Capella, the solid brown one, is a two-year-old female, and Mira, with the white face, is an eight-month-old female. We first met them on our visit to Sylvan Skies Alpaca Farm, where my daughter held her birthday party – an alpaca theme, complete with matching birthday cake.
They’ve recently been sheared, so they don’t look as fuzzy as usual – except for their heads, it makes them look like they’ve got furry mops over their eyes! The next step is to get the pasture cleared – because they’re brush-clearers, we thought we could make a go of it without first clearing the land, but it turns out that they don’t like thistles, which is about all we’re growing out there right now . . .
Now if we could just get the alpacas to quit running away from us . . . it’s going to be hard for my daughter to use them as her project for 4H if she can’t catch them!
My oldest daughter turned ten this week – a milestone birthday for many reasons, but to her, a milestone because she is now allowed to go to sleepovers. To celebrate, I bought her a lime green sleeping bag with her name embroidered, and made her this overnight bag.
The pattern is called Sleepover and, although it took a lot longer than I thought it would, I found it to be a very easy-to-follow pattern until the very end, when I was making it up and I discovered that the directions had left out attaching one of the lining pieces. So, it was MY mom to the rescue, when I ran out of patience and ideas for compensating for missing this step without tearing out a whole bunch of work and starting over again. Aside from that problem, I like the pattern – all of the pieces are stabilized with batting, making the bag feel soft, cushy, and substantial, and the bottom piece is lined with a plastic support and metal feet on the bottom of the bag.
The top closes by zipper and the pockets have buttons “for show” but really close with magnetic closures. I embroidered her name on the bag of the bag and lined it with bright blue fabric – all in all, I’m very happy with the finished product, but I don’t know that I’d sew another one – at least, not right away! The fabrics are all from Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe in Willamette.Pin It
We celebrated my youngest daughter’s fifth birthday last week at Tryon Creek State Park, where a volunteer naturalist did a fabulous job leading the small group of kids in craft projects, a nature walk, and games. It was a mild, beautiful day, and the trilliums were just beginning to bloom – which made our spare cake (or the “annex” cake, as I like to think of it) perfectly themed. My mom is the most talented cake decorator I know – she makes beautiful designs, AND they taste fabulous and are made with real butter (instead of fondant, or lard, or all the other disgusting things that bakeries do to frosting in order to make it easy to decorate with!)
I purchased this quick and easy quilting kit (with Moda fabrics) from Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe, then machine embroidered each of my daughters’ names on pieces of felt – on each of their birthdays, we hang the wall hanging in the birthday girl’s honor and attach the birthday girl’s name to the quilt. I also continued the tradition of a birthday “cupcake” – Alia’s is made out of fabric this time, in “her” colors. I like the idea that, by the time they leave home, each girl will have a collection of cupcakes to remember their birthdays by . . .
This week was my middle daughter’s seventh birthday. I used to paint birthday plates for each of the girls, but we started to rack up so many plates that I decided to switch to cupcakes. I knitted this one from the free pattern on the Spud & Chloe website.
My daughter wanted an eskimo theme (this stems from the stories I told her about when she was born – she had such a shock of dark hair and olive skin (as opposed to my blonde, fair looks) that people were always asking me if she was adopted, and one even asked me if she was an eskimo baby. Apparently my daughter likes the idea that people believed her to have such exotic origins . . . In any case, we weren’t able to travel to the Arctic for our celebration, but did manage an eskimo-themed cake and party favors.
My mom made the cake – she has made my brother and me, and now my girls, themed-birthday cakes as far back as I can remember, and it’s always part of the celebration to see what this year’s cake will look like. The igloo cookie party favors were inspired by this website; we also had a scavenger hunt at the zoo (where we held the party – a good place to let over a dozen first graders and their siblings run around and expend all their energy!) and I made the magnets from my earlier blog, this time with each child’s initial.
It was pretty risky, planning for a party at the zoo (where you’re mostly outdoors) in November, and I had real regrets the morning of the party, when there was a non-stop torrential downpour and high winds, but the party gods smiled on us – it didn’t rain a drop during the entire party that afternoon, and there was even a bit of blue skies and sunshine by the end. Our scavenger hunt couldn’t have been accomplished without all of the wonderful moms who came along – most of the friends my daughter invited are from her school and because it’s a small, close-knit community, one of the many benefits is that the parents know each other well and support each other, each other’s children, and all of our related endeavors.
I think back to the birthday parties I had for my daughters when they were just babies, or very little, and marvel at how much things change . . . how the parties used to be more for me, and my friends, and what I thought would be a cute party theme, etc. – now, it’s a serious negotiation between me and my daughters and a challenge for me to brainstorm party ideas that they will like that don’t involve Chuck E. Cheese, JJ Jump, and other places that encapsulate my idea of what hell must look like . . . I think the zoo was very successful, we may be back for another birthday. Now if I can just keep from eating all of the leftover birthday cake . . .Pin It