Tulle & Tutus!

Just wanted to share a couple of cute pics of a few tutus I have recently made.  The first one is a “Shades of Blue” that I made for my daughter for Christmas.  At the time, blue was her favorite color.  I’m not sure what it is this week!  And, I wanted to share the link for the tutorial I used but I can’t find it now.  So sorry to the person I “borrowed” it from.  However, it is a super simple almost no-sew version that I have also found other locations.

This is not really tied so much as looped.  I measured her waist, decreased by 2-3 inches and sewed a 1/2″ wide piece of elastic to this measurement.  I then placed the elastic around a water pitcher (can also use your thigh or anything just slightly larger than your elastic circle) and using 18-24″ x 6″ strips of tulle, I folded them in half and placed the fold/loop end under the elastic and pulled the two ends through the loop until tight.  The tulle strips for this one were 18″.  I made the one below for a birthday party this past weekend and used 26″ strips because I was too lazy to cut the tulle.

I used light pink, shimmery pink and a few strips of shimmery silver.  Super cute.  I want to try one using ribbon instead of elastic for a friend’s 6-month-old daughter.  I’ll post if I venture there.

If you want to try making a tutu, just Google “making a no-sew tutu” and take your pick of tutorials!

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Organiza…what?

I think there is something inherently wrong deep within my soul that keeps me from being organized now that I have three little ones under my feet nearly every waking moment.  I know this isn’t anything new to mom’s out there but it sure is frustrating.  We’ve been living in a rental house for nearly a year and a half and some days that frustration in and of itself is enough to drive me even crazier than I am!

We moved from a four bedroom house with a full attic and two car garage to a three bedroom home with a carport – small bedrooms and closets.  There’s just no storage anywhere.  We were blessed that the house has a formal living room and a den so we have made the formal living room into our storage room and I just recently hung up a curtain so that I can’t see that mess every time I walk down the hall.  (The front door opens into a hallway and not that particular room; however, you do have to walk past it if you enter that way).  Anyway, I’ve gone through that room multiple times, repacking, trashing and trying to organize but within a week it’s usually back to being very difficult to simply walk through.

Then there’s the rest of the house.  There’s just clutter everywhere it seems.  Toys, clothes, books, papers, mail, etc.  I’ve tried purging but it seems that stuff gets replaced with more somehow.  We’re very blessed in that friends give clothes to both me and the children so I’m not complaining that we have an abundance.  Believe me, I praise the Lord constantly for his provision.  I just want to be a better steward of what He has given us.  I know you’re thinking I should get off the computer and get busy!  This is a rare moment being that it’s Saturday and the BEH and BEB #1 are both gone.  Part of me simply wants to rest on this Saturday afternoon but the other part looks around and wants to scream because I know that even if I work until time to crawl into the bed tonight, I still won’t have made much of a difference nor will I have taken a break.

So, I am in search of that happy medium.  Be joyful always and give thanks in all circumstances.  I suppose I will start there and ask God for wisdom in my organization.  You say a little prayer for me, too, please.  I’ll also go back and visit Fly Lady and maybe borrow some of her advice!  And, hey, blogs are great for tracking progress so we’ll see how I do.

Sweet Summer…Oh wait, we’re in the deep South…

Wow, our second summer in the deep south where the gnats and mosquitoes are uninvited to all outdoor activities yet still feel the need to show up with their entire brood in-tow.  They dart into your eyes, crawl up your nose, buzz in your ears and try suicide missions into the mouth.  They are made of steel and can withstand any chemical man has designed to shorten their already too-long lives.  And, yet, as much as I despise their existence in my life at this moment, they remind me of my favorite part of Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place.  I am posting an excerpt.  It is rather long but so worth the read.

“Barracks 8 was in the quarantine compound. Next to us–perhaps as a deliberate warning to newcomers–were located the punishment barracks. From there, all day long and often into the night, came the sounds of hell itself. They were not the sounds of anger, or of any human emotion, but of a cruelty altogether detached: blows landing in regular rhythm, screams keeping pace. We would stand in our ten-deep ranks with our hands trembling at our sides, longing to jam them against our ears, to make the sounds stop.

“It grew harder and harder. Even within these four walls there was too much misery, too much seemingly pointless suffering. Every day something else failed to make sense, something else grew too heavy.

“But as the rest of the world grew stranger, one thing became increasingly clear. And that was the reason the two of us were here. Why others should suffer we were not shown. As for us, from morning until lights-out, whenever we were not in ranks for roll call, our Bible was the center of an ever-widening circle of health and hope.

“Like waifs clustered around a blazing fire, we gathered about it, holding out our hearts to its warmth and light. The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the Word of God.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

“I would look about us as Betsie read, watching the light leap from face to face. More than conquerors…It was not a wish. It was a fact.

“We knew it, we experienced it minute by minute–poor, hated, hungry. We are more than conquerors. Not “we shall be.” We are!

“Life in Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels, mutually impossible. One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.

“Sometimes I would slip the Bible from its little (sack) with hands that shook, so mysterious had it become to me. It was new; it had just been written. I marveled sometimes that the ink was dry…I had read a thousand times the story of Jesus’ arrest–how soldiers had slapped Him, laughed at Him, flogged Him. Now such happenings had faces and voices.

“Fridays–the recurrent humiliation of medical inspection. The hospital corridor in which we waited was unheated and a fall chill had settled into the walls. Still we were forbidden even to wrap ourselves in our own arms, but had to maintain our erect, hands-at-sides position as we filed slowly past a phalanx of grinning guards.

“How there could have been any pleasure in the sight of these stick-thin legs and hunger-bloated stomachs I could not imagine. Surely there is no more wretched sight than the human body unloved and uncared for.

“Nor could I see the necessity for the complete undressing: when we finally reached the examining room a doctor looked down each throat, another–a dentist presumably–at our teeth, a third in between each finger. And that was all. We trooped again down the long, cold corridor and picked up our X-marked dresses at the door.

“But it was one of these mornings while we were waiting, shivering in the corridor, that yet another page in the Bible leapt into life for me.

“He hung naked on the cross.

“…The paintings, the carved crucifixes showed at least a scrap of cloth. But this, I suddenly knew, was the respect and reverence of the artist. But oh–at the time itself, on that other Friday morning–there had been no reverence. No more than I saw in the faces around us now.

“‘Betsie, they took His clothes too.’

“‘Ahead of me I heard a little gasp. ‘Oh, Corrie. And I never thanked Him…’

“Every day the sun rose a little later, the bite took longer to leave the air. It will be better, everyone assured everyone else, when we move into permanent barracks. We’ll have a blanket apiece. A bed of our own. Each of us painted into the picture her own greatest need.

“The move to permanent quarters came the second week in October. We were marched, ten abreast, along the wide cinder avenue…Several times the column halted while numbers were read out–names were never used at Ravensbruck. At last Betsie’s and mine were called…We stepped out of line with a dozen or so others and stared at the long gray front of Barracks 28.

“Betsie and I followed a prisoner-guide through the door at the right. Because of the broken windows, the vast room was in semi-twilight. Our noses told us, first, that the place was filthy: somewhere, plumbing had backed up, the bedding was soiled and rancid.

“Then as our eyes adjusted to the gloom we saw that there were no individual beds at all, but great square tiers stacked three high, and wedged side by side and end to end with only an occasional narrow aisle slicing through.

“We followed our guide single file–the aisle was not wide enough for two–fighting back the claustrophobia of these platforms rising everywhere above us…At last she pointed to a second tier in the center of a large block.

“To reach it, we had to stand on the bottom level, haul ourselves up, and then crawl across three other straw-covered platforms to reach the one that we would share with–how many?

“The deck above us was too close to let us sit up. We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw…Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.

‘Fleas!’ I cried. ‘Betsie, the place is swarming with them!’

“We scrambled across the intervening platforms, heads low to avoid another bump, dropped down to the aisle and hedged our way to a patch of light.

“‘Here! And here another one!’ I wailed. ‘Betsie, how can we live in such a place!’

“‘Show us. Show us how.’ It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.

‘Corrie!’ she said excitedly. ‘He’s given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!’

“I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ‘It was in First Thessalonians,’ I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen.

“In the feeble light I turned the pages. ‘Here it is: “Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all…'” It seemed written expressly to Ravensbruck.

“‘Go on,’ said Betsie. ‘That wasn’t all.’

“‘Oh yes:’…“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.'”

“‘That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’ I stared at her; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.

“‘Such as?’ I said.

“‘Such as being assigned here together.’

“I bit my lip. ‘Oh yes, Lord Jesus!’

“‘Such as what you’re holding in your hands.’ I looked down at the Bible.

“‘Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all these women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.’

“‘Yes,’ said Betsie, ‘Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!’ She looked at me expectantly. ‘Corrie!’ she prodded.

“‘Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed suffocating crowds.’

“‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for–‘

“The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’

“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.

“And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.”

“They started arriving soon after 6:00 o’clock, the women of Barracks 28, tired, sweat-stained, and dirty from the long forced-labor details. The building, we learned from one of our platform mates, had been designed to hold four hundred. There were now fourteen hundred quartered here with more arriving weekly as concentration camps in Poland, France, Belgium, Austria, as well as Holland were evacuated toward the center of Germany.

“There were nine of us sharing our particular square, designed for four, and some grumbling as the others discovered they would have to make room for Betsie and me. Eight acrid and overflowing toilets served the entire room; to reach them we had to crawl not only over our own bedmates but over those on the other platforms between us and the closest aisle, always at the risk of adding too much weight to the already sagging slats and crashing down on the people beneath.

“Even when the slats held, the least movement on the upper platforms sent a shower of dust and straw over the sleepers below–followed by a volley of curses. In Barracks 8 most of us had been Dutch. Here there was not even a common language and among exhausted, ill-fed people quarrels erupted constantly.

“There was one raging now as the women sleeping nearest the windows slammed them shut against the cold. At once scores of voices demanded that they be raised again. Brawls were starting all up and down that side of the room; we heard scuffling, slaps, sobs.

“In the dark, I felt Betsie’s hand clasp mine. ‘Lord Jesus,’ she said aloud, ‘send Your peace into this room. There has been too little praying here. The very walls know it. But where You come, Lord, the spirit of strife cannot exist…’

“The change was gradual, but distinct. One by one the angry sounds let up.

“‘I’ll make you a deal!’ The voice spoke German with a strong Scandinavian accent. ‘You can sleep in here where its warmer and I’ll take your place by the window!’

“‘And add your lice to my own!’ But there was a chuckle in the answer. ‘No thanks.’

“‘I’ll tell you what!’ The third voice had a French burr. ‘We’ll open them halfway. That way we’ll be only half-frozen and you’ll be only half-smothered.’

“A ripple of laughter widened around the room at this. I lay back on the sour straw and knew there was one more circumstance for which I could give thanks. Betsie had come to Barracks 28.

“Roll call came at 4:40 a.m. here as it had in quarantine. A whistle roused us at 4:00 when, without even shaking the straw from clothes and hair, the stampede began for the ration of bread and coffee in the center room. Lastcomers found none.

“After roll call, work crews were called out. For weeks Betsie and I were assigned to the Siemens factory. This huge complex of mills and railroad terminals was a mile and a half from the camp. The “Siemens Brigade,” several thousand of us, marched out the iron gate beneath the charged wires into a world of trees and grass and horizons. The sun rose as we skirted the little lake; the gold of the late fall fields lifted our hearts.

“The work at Siemens, however, was sheer misery. Betsie and I had to push a heavy handcart to a railroad siding where we unloaded large metal plates from a boxcar and wheeled them to a receiving gate at the factory. The grueling workday lasted eleven hours. At least, at noontime we were given a boiled potato and some thin soup; those who worked inside the camp had no midday meal.

“Returning to camp we could barely lift our swollen and aching legs. The soldiers patrolling us bellowed and cursed, but we could only shuffle forward inches at a step.

“Back at the barracks we formed yet another line–would there never be an end to columns and waits?–to receive our ladle of turnip soup in the center room. Then, as quickly as we could for the press of people, Betsie and I made our way to the rear of the dormitory room where we held our worship “service.” Around our own platform area there was not enough light to read the Bible, but back here a small light bulb cast a wan yellow circle on the wall, and here an ever larger group of women gathered.

“They were services like no others, these times in Barracks 28.

“At first Betsie and I called these meetings with great timidity. But as night after night went by and no guard ever came near us, we grew bolder. So many now wanted to join us that we held a second service after evening roll call. There on the Lagerstrasse we were under rigid surveillance, guards in their warm wool capes marching constantly up and down. It was the same in the center room of the barracks: half a dozen guards or camp police always present. Yet in the large dormitory room there was almost no supervision at all. We did not understand it.

“One evening I got back to the barracks late from a wood-gathering foray outside the walls. A light snow lay on the ground and it was hard to find the sticks and twigs with which a small stove was kept going in each room. Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling.

“‘You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,’ I told her.

“‘You know, we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well–I’ve found out.’

“That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.

“But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”

“Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, “That place is crawling with fleas!'”

“My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.”


During the services, the Bible was read in Dutch, but translations were passed on in German, French, Polish, Russian, Czech, etc.

After a while, the yelling, slapping, crying, and words of anger changed to “Sorry!”, “Excuse me” and “No harm done.”

Delayed, Overwhelmed, etc….

I figured that a blog would not fit into my life very well right now and it seems I was right!  Constant chaos, chores, babies, trips and stuff galore has kept me from finding the time to truly sit down and open myself up as I would like.  I also wanted to update the birthday party and doll.  So, here goes…

The birthday party went well but I did allow myself to get stressed out over small details.  It had been a week of small things not quite working out so on that particular day I simply reached a point of being overwhelmed by the time it started.  Of course, it ended up being a good time despite my own dip into the depths of crazy mom world.  The kids enjoyed their bikes and other gifts and just playing.  I know that God is in the details and should have simply let Him take care of those for me!  Live and learn, mess up, repeat!

The doll.  The hair.  The latter did not arrived until the Monday following the party.  However, I was completely okay with this somehow.  Probably because she received a bike from us and I had enough other stuff to hold onto to for the day.  So, I finished the doll that week (after the party) and the next week was Spring Break so the kids and I went to Virginia to visit family.  BEG lost BOTH her top front teeth in one day while there so I let her have the doll as her “tooth fairy” gift.  (We don’t really do the tooth fairy and she knows the truth about said issue but is smart enough to know that she wants to play the game anyway)!  She was promptly named Rose.

Waldorfian DollShe was initially wearing one of BEG’s baby dresses.  However, just a few weeks ago I made her a mermaid outfit.  (Template found here.

Mermaid outfit

The Monday Before the Saturday

Today is the Monday that begins the week before the Saturday…the birthday Saturday…not just for one brown-eyed child, but for two of them.  And, I must confess, I’m not a big birthday party fan.  I actually don’t mind them once they start but the planning, preparing,  comparing and my OCDness all just wear me out.  A huge part of my dislike is the expectation and how detailed parties have gotten over the years.  I remember having just my closest friends over for lots of playtime, lots of cake and ice cream and then more playtime.  It was simple and fun…and I still remember them!

BEG and BEB have shared parties because their birthdays are two weeks apart and one of these days we’ll have to separate but for now we’re still sharing.  We have decided to have a simple cookout with burgers, dogs, chips, cake and ice cream.  My Type A personality wants to add sides and lots of little extras but that defeats my purpose and plan of keeping it simple and not wearing myself out.

Okay, now let me explain my current predicament.  Our original plan was to purchase our son a Spiderman bicycle and I’m making our daughter a Waldorf-inspired doll.  I found lots of examples, kits, etc. online and finally decided that the most economical route would be to make one from a kit.  I do like to sew and be crafty but this would definitely be a new “craft” for me.  BEH was most concerned because he knows I tend to be a perfectionist and would most probably freak out that it wasn’t turning out as I had perfectly envisioned in my head.  Go figure.  Anyway, moving us back to today…the Monday before the Saturday.  The doll is completely sewn together and only lacks the embroidering of a mouth and hair and to be my first, I am quite pleased.  However, the yarn for the hair still hasn’t arrived.  I ordered it from Etsy and did not notice that it would be coming from, um, Israel.  So, we are about 3 1/2 weeks out from purchase date with no yarn in site and the order is not showing up on the USPS site.  I also must still make or find some clothes for this lovely dolly.  Based on this predicament, BEH bought BEB and BEG bicycles last night, you know, just in case!

Waiting on my hair!

So, despite my rush to finish the doll, I must press on as we have dance tonight, a visit to the assisted living home for the boys tomorrow, church on Wednesday, my new Photoshop Elements class on Thursday and a Bible study on Friday morning.  Just so you know, I’m not a big fan of being this overly booked with our family but it has, of course, worked out this way for no other reason than to make the Monday before the Saturday that much more interesting.

Enjoy your Monday before your Saturday.  I’m off to chase a newly crawling, teething, pulling up to stand infant and a playful sweet ole nearly-four-year-old…and maybe find time to work on a doll.  Blessings from the South, ya’ll.

Hello world!

So, here I sit, full of words, yet oddly at a loss for what to write on this blog that I have created in my mind for the last two years.  I’m sure it will take me a while to get the hang of blogging so for now I’ll just chat a bit about me and why I’m entering this public world of blogging.

My brown-eyed brood is a family of five (all varying shades of brown eyes but mostly we have some seriously dark eyes) living in the deep south via Virginia and North Carolina.  The brown-eyed hubby (hereafter BEH) has been the love of my life since entering adulthood – yes, we were all of 18 when we began this ride.  We dated for five years and have now been married for 10 1/2.  We have three adorable brown-eyed children – a daughter who is about to be six going on 21 (she is our brown-eyed girl, BEG), a son who is four in one week and so stinking cute (BEB), and the newest addition is also a son of seven months and I’m sure his face will one day crack from all the smiling (LBEB).

I wanted to blog to share my typical chaotic days with those in similar walks, share my projects and maybe even share some helps and tips and gain some in return.

We are in many ways the typical American family but in many ways we are not.  We believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and sit in awe of Him on a daily basis.  My BEH and I are in a constant state of chaos that we love (most days) with our little ones and the craziness of every day life.  I have been a stay-at-home-mom for nearly a year and a half now, and prior to that I was a WAHM beginning when our BEG was 8-months-old.  We are pretty sure we are going to homeschool beginning this fall (I plan to be in a constant state of prayer over this decision!).  Our daughter is currently in public school and has been learning wonderfully but for many reasons we want to give homeschooling a try.  Most will read this and assume it is because we are Christians but there are several reasons.  Those include the fact that I hate that most of my time with my daughter (who just so happens to be the most hyper, least organized and least motivated of the three at the moment) revolves around us stressing to get ready for school, get your homework done, study your sight words, eat your supper, take your bath, etc. with very little time left for playing, snuggling and just being silly with the family.  The current state of government funding and changes in the education system is also playing a part.  We have several friends who are teachers and most of them are not happy with the changes, class sizes, etc.  We have a few friends who are former teachers planning to homeschool as well.  And, of course, we want to protect their little minds and bodies while they are little and arm them with strength and knowledge they will need as they get older and face all life’s trials.  My six-year-old doesn’t need to know who the top pop stars are just yet, that it matters to others whether her shoes have “an N or a check”, that “shid” is a cuss word that so-and-so told her about and so on.  Right now she just needs to enjoy her princess dresses and Barbies and feel safe and secure.  There’s plenty of time to find out all about the bad things this world has to offer.

Anyway, I have a dirty kitchen waiting for me, a husband who’s making a 45-minute detour to find the right bike for a certain little boy’s birthday party next weekend and a bed awaiting me to pass out very soon I hope.  It was nice meeting you.  Stop by again soon and we’ll sit on the porch and rock and chat a while.  (Told you I was in the deep south).  🙂

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