Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Sage!

A lot has happened in Sage's world in just the last two weeks. Today he turned 5:

Yesterday he started kindergarten:

The week before he got a baby sister:

And the week before that his cat died.

We made this stone for Leo's grave. When we we're thinking about what to do for the eyeballs on the kitty, Sage said, "You have a box of eyeballs in your sewing room for when you make your monsters. We could use those." So we did.

Hopefully we're through with all the major life changes for a while and we can start settling into the groove of things again. He's been quite the trooper through it all. Happy Birthday Sagey Babe!

Friday, August 24, 2007

My latest creation - McKenna Rae!

Long time, no blog. I've been busy! McKenna Rae VanHorn was born on Sunday, August 19th at 3:51 p.m. in the "Walt Disney Labor and Delivery" wing (Ha!) at Providence St. Joseph's Memorial Hospital in Burbank. She was 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 20.75 inches (not 30 inches like Erik told his family).

The labor was long (30 hours!) and strange and kinda scary (supposedly my womb is a medical anomaly) but the end result made it all worthwhile. I have a newfound respect for nurses who calmly tend to people in their most vulnerable situations.

Here she is with Sage and my parents:

and here she is yawning. . .

sneezing. . .

and sleeping. . .

We're home now and settling in nicely. I'm so glad she's on the outside now instead of trapped in my belly. It was nice of her to come 10 days early. Sage loves being a big brother. He especially loves having a Firebaby:

and Pirate Baby:

to play with him.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Getting personal. . .

The final countdown is near. I have a week and a half left until my due date and a million things to do before then. Luckily I've finished up all my commissions for now and have done a little updating to my web site. I had to raise the prices for banners and pillows by a few dollars - my first price increase in two years. However, I've also upgraded the way in which I produce the personalized pieces and added some new options and products like pillowcases and printed shirts. Since I launched the website in January 2005, I've done over 115 personalized pillows, banners, shirts, etc. Wow! That's a whole lotta letters.

Here are my latest pillows:

My friend Steph in New York ordered this pillow for her friend Jennifer's little girl. A month later, Jennifer ordered this pillow for her friend's little girl. . .

I'm now making the pillows with removable covers and custom-made pillow inserts. I realize most of the recipients of these pillows are little kids, and little kids are known for spills and tough love when it comes to things that are stuffed.

But, for those who would rather supply their own pillow - pillowcases! A return customer proposed this idea and I wondered why I hadn't thought of it before. It allows customers to get a big personalized piece at a discounted price and it allows me to save on packaging. Win-win! Here are a few I've made this month:

And finally, if you see a name you recognize among the personalizations I've made, you now have the option of getting it printed on a shirt (or tote, or whatever else you dream up) for only $20. Lucky for all the Tenzins and Adowyns and Vaniers and Avenelles out there. . .

Friday, August 10, 2007

How to make a maternity skirt

I posted this easy tutorial on Craftster today to hopefully help other pregnant crafty ladies out there. Finding maternity clothes that fit right sucks, especially toward the end when you don't want to invest a bunch of money in something you won't even be able to wear in a few weeks. Sick of being stuck in Mumus, I made myself a fancy fitted skirt last night from a nice GUESS? skirt and generic T-shirt I found at a thrift store. Stretchy shirts would work even better. Here's how to do it:

First, find a skirt you like in your pre-pregnancy size and a T-shirt that matches.

Then, cut out a space for your big 'ole belly. Take that piece and line it up with the hem of the T-shirt and cut around it about an inch extra. (Only cut one side of the shirt in case you mess up and need more.)

Now, pin your panel to your skirt making sure to line up your hem and waistband. I suggest inserting elastic into the hem at this step (not shown). Adjust for comfort. Sew.

Then sew a straight topstitch to finish it off and make it sturdy.

You can wear it two ways - across the belly or under it. I recommend wearing a shirt with it though. I added an anchor embellishment at the bottom with some leftover T-shirt material. I like this style because it maintains the fit and look of a regular skirt, yet has a compartment for your belly.

Now, please don't leave comments about my pregnant belly is "the most disgusting picture" you have ever seen or wonder why I would "subject myself to such a tasteless display" like readers of the Martinsburg Journal did when a story about how to make a belly cast was published in the newspaper when I was pregnant with Sage. Silly prudes.

If you're pregnant and want to purchase this skirt, check out Etsy in a few weeks. I won't need it anymore!

Monday, August 06, 2007

R.I.P. Leo

Last night around 11:30, Erik was in the kitchen and Kali came in acting strange. Erik followed her into the living room where he found Leo laying in his usual spot but moaning and gasping. Erik called for me and I came running in from the sewing room. We both stood there panicking and in less than a minute we watched Leo take his last breath. Later, I held the flashlight as Erik dug a grave and we buried him in our backyard.

And that was it. No warning. No long , sad, drawn out illness like with Koko. That day, we'd seen him around the house just like normal. The night before, he sat on Erik's lap while we watched a movie and slept at my feet in bed all night.

I'm still in shock. I can't imagine our lives without Leo. He's lived with us in every house Erik and I have inhabited since we've been together - the "Dam" house by the river in West Virginia, on Drayton St. in midtown Savannah, then back in West Virginia on Shoe Lane, At the "Funny Farm", and in Bedington, then across the country to our house in Glendale and then here in North Hollywood.

He watched Sage come into our lives. . .

saw him grow. . .

and grow. . .

and has been a patient, tolerant, loyal friend to him.

He outlived Koko. . .

a few fish. . .

and accepted Kali into our family.

He's been a fixture of our lives for the past 11 years. Erik and I often remarked how lucky we were that we had a cool cat, not one of those cranky, aloof, hide-under-the-bed-when-company comes-around kinda kitties. He was spunky and adventurous and tolerant of little boys and big dogs and he would even shake your hand if you asked him. He was independent but also very loving, especially when we were eating ice cream or cereal. During both of my pregnancies he would sit on my lap, curl around my belly, and purr.

Now both namesakes of (my business) kokoleo are gone. I like to think Koko was waiting for him when he left this world and they ran off together, Koko nipping at his tail as he hopped like a bunny across a big green field. Is that cheesy? That's how I remember them. I think it's fitting I named my business after them. They were both fun, independent, silly, unique, and loyal and they taught me a lot about what's important in life.

Rest in Peace
Leopold Kornelius Van Price

Friday, August 03, 2007

Out and about with the VanHornz

If you're in the San Diego area, even if you don't have kids, I highly recommend LegoLand. Erik and I enjoyed seeing miniature versions of places we've been together over the years, like. . .

New York. . .

New Orleans. . .

San Francisco. . .

Las Vegas. . .

Mount Rushmore. . .

and Hollywood. . .

Sage enjoyed playing in the water. . .

and seeing his favorite characters and creatures all done up in Legos.

Plus, there were rides galore and good food too (deep fried apple slices anyone?). It was enough to tucker out an almost-5-year-old on the drive home.

We're trying to make the most of the time we have left with Sage as our only child. This is the month when everything changes. Not only will he get a sister this month, but he's also turning 5 and starting kindergarten. Sheesh. Time flies.

Fast forward three days and here we are at our annual Dodgers game:

Now, pardon my baseball ignorance, but I don't know Barry Bonds from Babe Ruth. All I know is that people in L.A. don't like Barry Bonds (it has something to do with steroids and the fact that he's going to break a home run record soon). Sage enjoyed chanting, "Bury Your Socks!" with the rest of the crowd (they were really yelling "Barry You Suck!" but we won't tell him that.)

I can't help it, I just love these end-of-the-excursion photos:


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