DIY: A Calendar for the New Year

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Last Christmas Dan’s family decided to do all homemade gifts for 2013. For Dan’s Mom, Lydia (with some help from Mommy) made a “handmade” calendar with finger paint. She had a lot of fun doing it, and (although I wouldn’t recommend doing the whole thing in two days like we did) I would highly recommend this as a fun activity/craft/project for other little toddlers.

My original idea was to print off a homemade calendar and then do the painting and get it all bound at Kinkos for about $5. However, I caught a deal online for a $5 photo calendar. So I ordered a photo calendar but left all the photos off so I had a nice template for our painting.

Once our calendar arrived we took the pages apart and made our handprint paintings for each month. I didn’t take pictures of each month at the time, but I still have the links and pictures where we got our ideas.

Side Note: While you can make all these pictures just like the ones shown below, we had only purchased a finger paint set of four colors: red, yellow, green, and blue. With some adaptation to the colors in the pictures below and some half-hazardous mixing, we made it work. We left out any black or brown and we left the white portions unpainted since everything was on a white background.

Here are the pictures we used:

January – footprint penguin

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For the penguin we just left the belly unpainted. To do so, I cut out a piece of paper in the shape I wanted and taped it to Lydia’s foot. Then, after she had paint on her foot, I removed the paper to leave the belly unpainted. For older kids, it would probably work better to tape the cut out paper to the calendar and remove it after the painting is done. For younger kiddos with less gross motor control, I recommend taping the paper to the foot.

February – handprint hearts

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March – handprint four-leaf clover

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April – handprint bunny

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We did the bunny on the top left.

May – handprint Very Hungry Caterpillar

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For the eyes we cut out two ovals and taped then on Lydia’s hand. Then we removed them once her hand was painted to leave the eyes unpainted. (similar to the penguin painting technique)

June – handprint goldfish

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July – handprint American flag
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We used a white gel pen to draw the stars. Alternatively you could use white paint or stick on some star stickers. If you want to get real fancy you could use the stickers the same way we used the belly cutout for the penguin, but that could get pretty tricky!

August – hand and footprint lobster

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September – handprint apple tree

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October – handprint fall tree

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November – handprint turkey

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December – handprint Christmas tree

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Here’s Grandma’s reaction as she opened her calendar:

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I think she liked it. Happy Painting!

Abby and her Quilt Updates

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Weight: 2 pounds, 7 ounces

Today we said goodbye to my parents who have been helping us out since Saturday. Their visit allowed us to formulate a rough idea of what the coming weeks will look like, rest and recover as they chased around Lydia, and spend time alone with Abigail. They also helped out with cooking, cleaning and laundry. I don’t know what we would have done without them!

Abigail is continuing to do well. Within the past couple of days, she has begun to digest her milk! She is breathing very well on a high flow nasal canula, although she doesn’t like it and often gets caught trying to pull it out, and her feeding tube as well. Until today, Abby was kept in an isolette with humidity, to protect her skin. Today, our nurse informed us that her skin looks great (and has since birth) and they turned off the humidity. The only slightly unhappy news is that Abby was back on the bilirubin light, although we were warned that she would be. Her levels have climbed over the past day and she still has bruises from the labor and delivery. Both the bilirubin and bruises will go away as her liver continues to do its job.

Dan and I are pretty worn out from all the running around. My parents helped us make a massive grocery trip, stocking up on nonperishables for the next month so we won’t have to go out again. Today was also nonstop as Dan and I signed our lease for the apartment we are scheduled to move into this Friday. However, I have been able to hold Abby on three different days and Dan has gotten to hold her once. Those times are very special, although a little scary as she is so tiny and is connected to so many wires.

Praise the Lord
We are thanking God for:
-My parents visit and all of their help
-A plan that is starting to come together
-Special times alone with Abigail
-Abby’s improved digestion and that she’s off humidity

Please Pray:
-that Abby will gain weight
-that her bilirubin levels would drop as her liver improves
-for continued healing for me as we are often on the go
-that Abby’s ultrasound tomorrow would show no bleeding in her brain

The rest of this post is actually a post I wrote the day before Abby was born, intending to post on September 11, which turned out to be her birth day. Rather than take the time to change it, I am posting it as written, even though Abby is obviously here now. (Time is a scarce resource around here these days)

Thanks to all who gave feedback on my quilt color dilemma a couple of weeks ago! I so appreciated all of your creative and girly ideas. Now it would only be fair for me to share my revisions and update you all on the quilt’s status. As a refresher, this was my initial design:

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But it was too green and not very girly. I had played around with the colors but was just stuck. My Mom and sister, Christina, sent me these color revision ideas:

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And many others made suggestions as well: make the sheep pink, lighten up the colors, use patterned fabric for the hills…I liked a lot of the ideas, but couldn’t incorporate them all. Here are some of the ideas that I had to give up on:

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1. I actually had this idea from the start, to put Baby’s name right there on the quilt. However, I also thought that maybe Baby would want to use this for her own kids someday (one could only hope), and so I decided to leave her name off of it just in case.

2. I think the quilt could have looked really cool with some patterned fabrics. However, I am new to this whole quilting thing and not extremely artsy myself. Just walking through the aisles of fabrics at the store was overwhelming. On top of that, I think it would have taken me ages to find fabrics that all went well together and I had an impatient toddler and eager-to-leave husband wandering around the store while I made my decisions. In the end, it took long enough just to find solid fabrics that went well together!

3. I think this picture with the bow on the lamb’s ear is very cute, and meets that girly need. But, what I don’t have shown in the picture, is that the sheep and sun are going to have “rag quilt” seams. I’m already nervous about sewing some curves and a friend a church suggested using the frilly external seam to make these curves less bothersome. So, the sheep and sun will have different textures and 3-D-ness already, and I didn’t think I could fit a bow in on top of that without things getting too busy.

4. I love the way this ruffle edge looks on the quilt, and I may still end up using it. However, with all of the embroidery, hand-quilting and stitching, and curves to navigate, I think this project is going to take me ages as is. So, while I may change my mind, for now I’m going to stick to the traditional binding.

So what am I going to do?

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1. First I took the collective advice to lighten up the greens. I’m actually not a fan of pastel colors, and was hoping to keep the blanket bright. However, I realized it didn’t take much adjusting to make the greens look more girly and to make them more compatible with other girly colors.

2. The second thing I did, that made a huge difference, was take out the orange and lighten up the sun. The orange was clashing with almost everything I had tried.

3. Next, I lightened up the black on the sheep to a grey. I had never thought to do this and it also made a big difference. I decided to play around with the colors on the border a little more as well.

4. Once I picked out new colors for the quilt borders, I added in some embroidered flowers using the same colors. This brought the pinks from the border into the quilt and seemed to tie things together.

So, here is:

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On the left you see the original design. On the right is the new and improved color-scheme. (The flowers on the real quilt will not look like a four year old drew them) The writing around the border will match the darker pink, and the writing on the hill will remain a dark green.

After I came up with a design that Dan and I both liked, we took a trip to Jo Ann’s and bought some of the first supplies. However, I realized, in the process, that it’s not always so simple to match fabric colors that are available in the store with a picture on a computer! So, I did my best, wrote down the fabrics I liked, but only bought the light pink and embroidery materials. I know embroidering that passage is going to take a very long time, so I’m going to wait before buying everything else. Only time will tell how the quilt will turn out in the end, but I’ll keep you updated as I make progress.

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AND to go along with an update on the quilt, I thought I might give a Baby update as well. I am now just past 28 weeks!  Reaching 28 weeks is a big deal because 90-95% of babies born after 28 weeks survive. However, a recent prenatal appointment gave us a heads up that Baby just might want to come early after all. So we’re taking extra precautions, making preparations for Baby to come early, and I’m handing over my “standing” responsibilities to Dan and Lydia while I keep off my feet as much as possible. It makes things a bit more chaotic than they were before, but we’re adjusting ok. Dan’s already taking over so much (laundry, dishes, cooking, Lydia’s baths, cleaning…) so I was mentally preparing myself for a slightly messier house, toys always all over the living room, and an unmade bed each day. It was to my own pleasant surprise Monday morning when I walked into our bedroom after Dan left for work and the bed was made. It’s the little things.