I was thankful today to finish making two more elements of Eric’s birthday party: the main tablecloth and the cookie mixes to award for winners of the games.

After starting strong on the tablecloth, I felt myself in a design rut for a few days and didn’t make much progress on it. One of the challenges of its design was, as I expected, the fact that I made it out of all scrap pieces of fabric from the pennant bunting. That presented challenges of length and width when trying to make a symmetrical design, as well as challenges of being able to balance color/texture throughout the whole piece. Accounting for seam lines and adding on fabric also worked the ol’ noggin; thank goodness for all of my excellent math teachers, such as my AP Calculus teacher (Hi, Hubby) who made us take tests rampant with fractions and without calculators. A little mental math always clears out the cobwebs, right honey?

Finally, I decided to buckle down and get it done—my last sewing project of the spring/summer. I’ve had my machine in the living room for several months now (Katie’s blanket, Eric’s blanket, the bunting, a present for my best friend’s baby, the tablecloth), and I began to be eager to put it away and take a little break from it before starting some projects I have in mind for the fall. It feels good, now, to have all of my sewing items back in the places they normally live, and it also feels good knowing that the last big prep item for Eric’s birthday is now completed.

It could have done with some ironing and straightening before I took pictures of it, but I was eager to finish up before the kiddos’ bathtime. I tried it out on the dining room table, though we’ll be using a different long table outside for the party. The design is meant to be whimsical and fanciful, and as we all know, I have almost an obsession with surrounding myself in bold and cheerful colors.

I love that it will match the bunting, although I only included seven of the eight bunting fabrics in the tablecloth.

Another view. (Smooth out and straighten your tablecloth, Mrs. M!)

Finally, here are the cookie mixes: oatmeal chocolate chip. My mom came over to help me put these together efficiently. I am always grateful for an extra set of hands—any task goes much faster! I had enough bunting-tablecloth fabric left over to cover the lids of the mason jars.

And in celebration of Mr. Eric, here is a picture my mom took of him sleeping:

One of my little angel-babies.

Katie and I had a great time this morning, too. We started making the “Marauder’s Map” of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series, and we also played “potions” having pretended that Snape gave us a call on the phone to remind us of our potions class homework. We tried staining our map with tea, and so it had to dry before we could burn the edges and place the magical jeweled dots on it indicating the whereabouts of Headmaster Dumbledore and the others. I’ll probably write more about how it turns out in my weekly McGaugh Academy wrap-up. Suffice it to say, we are having so much fun exploring this world together and for the first time, she is really experiencing three dimensional characters in literature. She has so many questions and observations about how some characters seem both good AND bad (Snape, for example), and she really grapples with the difficult decisions many of them face. We talk endlessly at mealtimes about these characters, and it is leading to so many insights about what human nature is really like. I love watching her mind absorb and think about these complexities—one of the reasons that, although I often choose to read non-fiction these days, I will always be a champion of fiction and the novel. Great non-fiction leads to staggering and stunning philosophical insight, too, yet fiction can often create whole new worlds for us, worlds parallel to reality in which we can test ideas about ourselves and others. I love watching her hold that whole beautiful world in her mind’s eye.