Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Puccini's Halloween Adventures

Poor Puppy. She doesn't quite know what to make of all the Halloween festivities.

It's her second Halloween, but last year, I took the easy way out and bought the girls their costumes. I'm fairly certain I have not had the sewing machine out even once since we got Puccini 18 months ago.

When I started cutting out Sophia's Alice costume, she thought we were playing a fun game where she gets to sit on top of the pattern pieces and try to get my pincushion, which does look an awful lot like one of her balls.

Needless to say, I had to have the Maestro come collect her more than once!

When I actually started sewing, Puccini was perched in her favorite spot on the back of the couch to get the best vantage point of the window.  As soon as the machine started making noise, this is what I saw:

Too curious to let it go, she had to come check out the source of the loud noise.  And then she rediscovered my pincushion and tried to steal it again. 

Worse, she refused to get off the table!  Just look at that stubborn little face of hers.

It's really a miracle I ever finished that costume since little Puccini tried to thwart me at every turn.

She also tried to destroy Bria's Cheshire Cat costume.  I'm pretty sure she thought the feather boa was a small animal to be killed, and she did her best to oblige.  I caught her more than once with pink and purple feathers sticking out of her mouth.

And if you think all that is naughty, you should see what she did the morning after our Halloween party!  Our last guests left around 11 pm, so I spent the next hour cleaning up.  I tied the garbage up, but I didn't bother taking it down to the garage because I was too exhausted.

I won't be making that mistake again.  It was just tooooo tempting for the puppy.

Naughty, naughty, naughty!

But cute as heck.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Adventures in Wonderland

Never fear, my children did not attend church today in their Halloween costumes.

Last night was my second opportunity to take photos of my offspring in their Halloween costumes, and it was a bust.  Bria didn't want to go to Safehouse Trick-or-treating because it was too "little kid-ish" and none of her friends were going to be there, and Chloe was invited to another thing and made the decision to attend that instead.  In the end, the Maestro and I only took our little Alice to the dorms for trick-or-treating, but we went with friends so she wasn't at all lonely.  And, she got to hug our university mascot, too!
Blizzard T. Husky with Alice and Merida
Alice and her best friend who is dressed as Merida from Brave.  And Blizzard T. Husky.

As far as good photos of all the children go, I realized Halloween night was probably not going to be any better with the craziness of school and homework thrown into the mix.  So I had the brilliant idea to stage some fun Halloween photos instead of doing our typical Sunday photo today.

And we had so much fun!

Meet Alice in Wonderland...
IMG_8136 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8123 Halloween 13 webIMG_8042 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8018 Halloween 2013 web

She's not really sure how she landed here, but she did find a lovely tea party.  That is, if you can call taking tea with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare "lovely."

Meet the Seven of Hearts...

IMG_8119 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8100 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8093 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8083 Halloween 2013 web

She's been busy painting the roses red, hoping the Queen of Hearts won't notice all of the paint she splattered on herself in her rush to hide the white roses.

Meet the Cheshire Cat...
IMG_8064 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8148 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8062 Halloween 2013 webIMG_8165 Halloween 13 web

She is quite fond of sitting in trees giving lost little girls strange advice.  And disappearing.

Cheshire Cat and Alice

Maybe her advice isn't so very strange.  May we all know where we are going and find the right roads to get us there.  And may we all have a lovely week in the process!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trick-or-treating in Wonderland

Last night we had the beginning of our Halloween celebrations for the year:  Trick-or-treating downtown at Treat Street.

I always say that I get crappy pictures from Treat Street, but this year took the cake.  It was dark and ominous weather, and we got there a lot later than we usually do, so the light was bad.  But that's all right because I have several more chances to take some great pictures of them in their costumes!

The girls wanted to do a theme this year, so we made Alice in Wonderland costumes.  I stayed up way past my bedtime three nights in a row to get Sophia's costume sewn (which is really saying something since my bedtime tends to be after midnight anyway), but Chloe and Bria pretty much did theirs by themselves with minimal help from me.  I suppose there is some good in having your kids get older!

IMG_6980 Treat Street 2013 web

Bria's Cheshire Cat costume amazed me—love the smile on a stick!  And Chloe's paint splatters are purposefully placed—she's been busy painting the roses red.

Related: DIY Cheshire Cat Costume

We throw a party every year after Treat Street, and I totally intended to share my decorations...but, no time. So, just imagine how cute they were, and enjoy this picture of the invitations I sent instead:

Halloween Party invitation

I made the invitations with Stampin' Up! Toxic Treats stamp set and Spider Web Embossing Folder.  I also totally scraplifted from the Stampin' Up! Catalog.

Full disclosure:  I made the invitations in August before the school craziness started so I could avoid having to send an email invite like I have the past few years.  They sat on my shelf until October 1 when we started passing them out.  Now, if I could only have such foresight in other areas of my life, I would be a much calmer girl.

Alice in Wonderland after a long night if Halloween fun.

Alice in Wonderland turned into a pumpkin before the party was even over!

Happy Halloween Week!

Some Overstuffed Halloweens from years past:
A Little Bit of Hallowe'en
A Very Hogwartsy Halloween
Treat Street

Monday, October 21, 2013

The More Things Change...

The Maestro in all his conducting glory.  Photo credit Brockit, Inc.
Aaron Copland's El Salon Mexico came on the radio the other day and I found myself immediately transported to another time and place.  Music has that power--to bring up feelings and memories that would be otherwise forgotten if they weren't connected to a particular melody.

In my case, I found myself back in the tiny apartment Joel and I had when we were first married.  I was sitting in the living room holding a newborn Bria and watching my husband conduct the CD Player as it played Copland.  He was in his last semester of his Master's Degree in orchestral conducting at BYU and was preparing the piece to rehearse with the BYU Philharmonic.

I had to smile as this memory overcame me because not much has changed in the 13 years that have passed.  Sure, we've moved four times since then, we've added two more children--none of which is a newborn anymore, and Joel is now the professor instead of the student.  But no matter what is different in our lives, he will always be found conducting in the evenings as he prepares for rehearsals with the real live orchestra.  These days he conducts YouTube videos on his computer while sitting at the dining room table--as I type this he is in there listening to (and probably conducting) Faure's Requiem.
The More Things Change

I have never really understood that quote, but I think I am finally starting to get it.

The newborn baby I held as I watched Joel conduct in that almost-forgotten memory is now a teenager.  But my love for her is a constant.  She has changed a lot in these thirteen years, but she is still my daughter and always will be.  I don't know what's in store for her in the future, but it doesn't really matter, because some things never change.  I will always be her mother, and she will always be my baby girl.

It snowed for the first time this season today.  And just like Joel can be found conducting the orchestra in his head every evening, just like I will be the mother to my children for eternity, the snow will come in winter. The changing of the seasons is a given and though it may happen differently each year, it will still happen.

But no matter how long the winter, the spring is sure to follow.

First snow: October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

On the Road Again!

The big excitement of this past week is that our street was finally paved!  After nearly two months of not being able to park in our own driveway, trekking up and down the hill multiple times a day through all the mud and gunk of the construction chaos, doing this even while Sophia was still on crutches, and never being sure just what route we would be able to take to get back home from work every day--it is (almost) over with!  We still don't have an actual driveway because they dug that up to connect the sewer lines, but we can at least park at our own house now.

My children were so excited about this beautiful new pavement that they danced in the streets.  And, also, my children are crazy.
Sunday photo October 20 CRAZY GIRLS web

The street also seemed a pretty cool place to do our Sunday photo today.  I must admit, we do have a lovely view of the ski hill which is currently in its fall splendor.  Probably the last day of its fall splendor, too, since there is a "special weather statement" out right now telling us we will have several inches of snow by tomorrow morning.  Before we know it, our view of the ski hill will include little people skiing down to the bottom.


Time to break out the winter gear.
Sunday photo October 20
Bria set this photo up--they're supposed to be making a heart.  Aww.

The rest of this past week has been a blur.  I admit, I've been more than a little overwhelmed and quickly careening towards a total shutdown.  All the things on my plate sort of culminated and I barely had time to breathe.  The only time I could carve out for myself was around 1:00 in the morning, which I admit, wasn't very wise.  Because then I would just wake up when my alarm went off and start crying (I'm really not kidding).  It's just been that sort of a week.

But I made it through alive.  And this coming week seems a little less stressful, though I had better get my butt on the piano bench and start practicing the Mahler piece I'm supposed to be singing with the wind symphony in a couple weeks.  My first rehearsal with them is tomorrow night and I practiced all of once this week.  BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY.

I'm always saying I've got to learn to say no better.  And just when I think I was doing pretty good at it, I have a week like this one that proves I have a lot more to learn in that department. (And thank goodness I've said no to several things, because I would certainly be dead now if I hadn't.)

At least I have three beautiful girls around to make me smile, and to do the dishes for me when I've left them sitting too long (thanks Sophia!).  And to keep me super busy, but hey--that's what I'm here for.
Sunday photo October 20
Bria was in the house and in her sweats before I was even out of the car after church.  What can I say--she likes to be comfy.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Make a Tulle Halloween Wreath

I love Halloween. And I love decorating for Halloween almost more than I love the holiday itself! I especially love to have a fun Halloween wreath on the front door, but I haven't had a good one in a while.

How to make a beautiful orange and black Halloween wreath out of tulle. This Halloween wreath is simple and inexpensive to make. #overstuffedlife

I have become so bored of my Halloween decorations this year. I even left a few of them in the bins because I have no desire to look at them! I especially didn't like anything that I had for the front door. In years past, I have used a straw wreath on the door, and I didn't want to put it up again this year.  It was fall-ish, but I wanted something Halloween-ish this time.

So I decided to make my own wreath.  The decision magically came to me while I was at WalMart perusing the Halloween aisle because I saw spools of orange and black tulle.  And it was even SPARKLY!  Who can resist sparkly orange tulle?  Certainly not me.

orange sparkly tulle

When I first made tutus for my girls I had NO idea that tulle came in spools.  It is infinitely easier than trying to cut strips of tulle off the bolt.  Trust me.

I picked up three spools—sparkly orange, sparkly brown, and not sparkly black.  Then I headed over the the crafty section to pick up a styrofoam wreath form. For just a few dollars, I was going to have an awesome new Halloween wreath.

Materials needed:

(affiliate links)
Black tulle 
Orange glitter tulle 
Brown glitter tulle
Styrofoam wreath form
Black grosgrain ribbon
Metal Halloween sign or other decoration.

This sign is really similar to the one I used, but this one and this one would also work really well! (The best thing is probably to raid your own decorations and see what you have that will work, that's what I did.)


The tulle wreath was super easy to make—if you've ever made a tutu where you tie the tulle onto the elastic, this is just like that. I've also used this technique to make valances on the windows in Sophia's room.

All it took was an hour or so of sitting down with a good TV show to first cut the tulle into similar size strips and then to tie the tulle around the wreath form. Some people prefer to loop the tulle instead of tie it, but I have found that tying it in double knots is the only way to go for wreaths. The pattern I used was one black, one brown, one black, two orange.  I have enough black leftover (since it was non-sparkly, it was double the size of the other spools) that I am thinking of making an all black wreath for above my fireplace.  But that involves going to buy another wreath form, and I haven't had a chance for that.

When it was finished, I could have trimmed it down so all the strips were a bit more even, but I kind of like the look of the uneven tulle, so I kept it like that. I added a black ribbon for hanging purposes, and tied the metal Halloween sign on it with the same ribbon.  I have had that sign for a good 8 years or so, and I am never sure where to hang it, so this was a good compromise.

And I'm super pleased with the end result!

See my other tulle Halloween wreaths:

Black tulle Halloween wreath
Witchy tulle Halloween wreath
Candy corn tulle Halloween wreath

post signature
This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

See the linky parties I link up to here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ode to My New Teenage Daughter

IMG_5106 Bria web
Yesterday (well, since it's now past midnight, two days ago), Bria turned the big one three. Thirteen. What has my life come to?  I am not old enough to have my own teenager!  I feel like I just finished teenage-hood myself!

But this post isn't about me and the way I like to freak out a little whenever my children get older (ESPECIALLY if they insist on becoming teenagers), it's about my Bria.

She's gorgeous.  Don't you think? Seriously, though, the teenager thing shouldn't come as all that much of a surprise, since she's been acting like one already for quite a while.
IMG_5118 Bria web

Her iPod is pretty much permanently attached to her.  Her Instagram account is maybe not as full of selfies as other teen girls' feeds, but she's got a few in there.  She texts her friends, finds out how to do her hair and nails on Pinterest, and keeps up with our extended family on Instagram.

She worries about how she looks.  We were a bit late getting started on this photo shoot because she thought ALL of her clothes were stupid, and her hair was totally STUPID, and EVERYTHING WAS STUPID!  (When she was finally in the car, she mentioned that if her third-grade-self could hear how much she uses that word, she would be appalled!)
IMG_5072 Bria web speech bubble

She sometimes thinks she is the Queen of the World.
IMG_5077 Bria web

She's obsessed by clothes.  Basically, she's a perfectly normal thirteen-year-old girl.
IMG_5092 Bria web

But she's also super sweet and kind when she wants to be.  She's very responsible and willing to help me when I ask.  She is creative and artistic and super smart.  She loves to read and she loves to tell me all about the books she loves.
IMG_5058 Bria web

She loves her family more than anything (just don't tell her sisters that--she'll never admit it), and she loves her friends almost as much.  She'd do just about anything for all these people that she loves so much.  She's already thinking about Christmas gifts for her sisters and friends, and has been planning them since August.
IMG_5103 Bria web

She's super funny.  She LOVES to make people laugh.  The other day my brother found out he passed the bar and when we mentioned that to Bria, she said, "What does that mean?  Does he have a drinking problem?  And he walked past a bar without going in for a drink?"  We laughed and laughed at this, and she was just tickled that she made us giggle so much.
IMG_5125 Bria web

She won't ever say it right out, but she loves her violin.  And she loves music.  She lets just enough out that I know this is true.  She diligently gets up every morning at 6:00 to practice, and even though she complains about going to lessons and orchestra, she enjoys herself.  The other day she said that music makes her feel magical (and she was referring to Dvorak's Cello Concerto and not whatever her favorite pop song du jour is, too) and right during this very photo shoot she told me to be careful with her violin, because it was her baby.  Yeah, she loves it.
IMG_5305 Bria web

And I love her!  Happy Birthday, Bria!  You'll always be my baby girl no matter how old you get, so I guess I can live with the idea of you being a teenager now.  Maybe.

(The rest of this post is more from our photo shoot.  I've been wanting to try to recreate this picture with her, and she was really excited about it, too.  I don't know how successful I was with it, but Bria really enjoyed herself! She had a lot of ideas for photos with her violin and we had tons of fun even though the light was running out.  Enjoy!)
IMG_5352 Bria webIMG_5376 Bria webIMG_5311 Bria webIMG_5300 Bria webIMG_5400 Bria webIMG_5292 Bria webIMG_5404 Bria webIMG_5274 Bria web