Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tied to the machine

I feel like I've been running my own sweatshop today! I think I've finished everything for this weekend's birthdays, and not a moment too soon, as Caitlin came home with another party invitation today. That's two more bags to make, by the way--actually three if you add the one I'm going to make for my mom for Mother's Day...

Anyway, here's what we've got:

I decided my mother-in-law needed a tote to put her quilt in...so here it is.
And I'm in love with this bag! It's for my niece. I was lying awake early this morning thinking about how to do the checkerboard design.
Of course, I had to put the matching shirt into the bag!
This is a pajama top for my other niece. She loves horses, so I made this one and one in pink using freezer paper stencils. Then I made these pajama pants (below):
I made some last week for Bobby and Caitlin, and with the leftover fabric I made these for Sarah. I'm a little worried about the fit, since last week I cut some out for Caroline only to discover they were way too small for her (and now they're Caitie's). I still have to make some for Caroline...

Monday, April 28, 2008

What I've been up to...

I've been quiet on the blogging front--weekends are busy, as you know, and I've been trying to finish up birthday projects. Here's some visual goodness:
Or some visually frightening non-goodness. This is the top I made last week. Please note that it was about 9:30 at night--after several hours of frustration with trying to sew this shirt, and any make-up (if I had even put it on that day) had long since slid off my face. Anywhoo, back to the goodies... Here is my Anchor-Hocking Fire King piece that I picked up on Friday! So pretty!
These are still in progress--I need to add more paint to the one on the right. These are for my niece. She's turning nine this week, and since I didn't hear back from my sister-in-law and since I was dying to make this, she's getting some "art" for her walls! I'm making a coordinating bag and t-shirt--it's amazing how a theme emerged from this!
And this is the biggie--I made this for my mother-in-law. The grids don't exactly match up in some places (boy, is that quarter-inch seam allowance so much easier said than done!), and I had to do some wrestling with the quilt, but I'm pretty proud of this. I hope she likes it! I decided at the last minute that I need to make a bag out of leftovers to put it in...she can use the bag as a beach tote. I just love how I'm coming up with all these last-minute projects to do all before Saturday! Like I don' t have anything else I could be doing! Oh well, I'm having fun. I'll post more later in the week!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


It's Thursday morning. I've got my first load of laundry drying outside on the racks in the beautiful pollen-filled sunshine. The second load has just started. Hopefully today I'll get re-acquainted with the vacuum cleaner.

I managed to finish my shirt on Tuesday night and I wore it yesterday! I'll post pictures later. Let me say, it was a learning experience--and by "learning experience," I mean full of frustrating mistakes. But I (probably) won't make those mistakes again next time! Bobby's teacher complimented me on my shirt yesterday and that made it all worthwhile!

After much back-and-forth, I have decided to machine quilt the quilt I'm making for my mother-in-law. I seriously considered trying to hand quilt, and even tried it for, oh, two or three minutes before realizing that hand quilting was just way out of my range of patience. I'll just wait until I finish the binding to achieve that meditative, zen-like state that comes with hand stitching. So I'll probably be wrestling with the quilt today and hoping that my machine doesn't turn on me.

We walked to school this morning. We hadn't done that in months, and it was really nice. Of course, having them all dressed and ready to walk with no major drama was a minor miracle. I think it had been so long since we walked that the novelty made them get ready quicker. Wonder how they'll feel about it next week...seriously, we live in the neighborhood where the school is located. It's behind the houses across the street from us. Unless there's a torrential downpour or four feet of snow, we should be walking every day! But I fell into the bad habit of driving them--they're running late, it's really cold, I'm still in my pajamas--there was always an excuse. But all the Earth Day hoopla this week has me thinking and feeling guilty. We're back to walking. Hopefully we can stick with this through the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Have you ever tried to sew clothing? I tried again today, and after about five hours, I have 90% of a blouse that may actually be worn, provided I can figure out a way to finish the armholes. I am determined to finish it (or figure out a way to finish it) because my last attempt is still sitting in a chair in the dining room, mocking me. So many of my sewing mishaps are because I don't read the back of the envelope carefully to buy enough fabric or I can't figure out the cutting instructions (which are written in sanskrit). Sigh. I am frustrated. And now we're off to the races until 8:00 tonight. Ever have one of those days when the only thing you wanted to get done just wasn't happening?

Maybe on Thursday...

Monday, April 21, 2008


The weekend is over, and I feel like now I can catch my breath from all the running around that is spring. Only that breath will be punctuated by a couple of sneezes...it appears that allergy season is upon me. I can only hope it's not as bad as last year...

This busy weekend included a teeball game (Bobby was awarded the game ball!), a soccer game, a birthday party, a movie rental for the adults (Walk Hard--which was alternately groaning-because-it's-so-bad and laughing-your-ass-off-funny), spreading four yards of mulch and planting the vegetables (three tomatoes, four peppers, two strawberries, nine broccoli, various herbs...and a partridge in a pear tree).

This week brings a mid-week teeball game--of course it's at the same time as Caroline's special brownie activity..., a regular Brownie meeting, a preschool conference, an appearance as mystery reader, teeball pictures, and, oh yeah--a birthday party!

Here is some of what I've been up to:

This bag was for yesterday's birthday party.
And this one is for a party in late May--not sure why I did this one so soon--there are about two parties in between, but I think I just liked how her name looked in the font, and then I tried making the yo-yos, and I just had to finish it to see how it would look! Heather Bailey's site has a tutorial on how to make yo-yos. It's not hard, but her tutorial is nice because it has step-by-step pictures.
I made this last week--it's a salsa that I put on grilled salmon. So very tasty! The store didn't have any yellow peppers, so I used an orange one--it is very pretty with the yellow pepper (for those of you who are into pretty food!).
This recipe is from a cookbook put out by the people who publish Cook's Illustrated. In my head right now, I'm searching for a "swimsuit issue" joke to make here, but they're all pretty lame. Let's be thankful it's staying in my head!

Anyway, this week, I hope to finish the quilt top I've been working on--it's almost done, but then I discovered that the seams were not lining up, and my quilt top wasn't making the nice grid pattern it's supposed to. I rolled it up and put it away last week because I was getting frustrated and I knew that if I kept working on it then I would talk myself out of ripping the stitching out to fix it. Now that I've had a long break, I'm pretty sure I'll get to fixing it...I need to finish that so I can get on to making something for my other niece...whee!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I had pictures to post, and Blogger won't let me upload right now. Oh well. I've been making bags. And trying to make scrunchies. And trying to make a quilt. And neglecting housework. Maybe over the weekend I'll get to post pictures. And maybe by then I'll have straightened my dining room--it has been overtaken by crafty madness!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Better...but so smelly!

Those words would describe my Wednesday so far. I can tell it's going to be a better day...and my dog stinks to high Heaven! I mean, it's like he rolled in his own poo, and every so often the odor wafts over to wherever I am. And right now, he's sleeping next to the desk and not-so-quietly passing gas. It's so awful! And because it's Wednesday and I'll be running around like a crazy woman all day, I will not get to bathe him until tomorrow. Ugh! I'm going to have to lock him up during meals because I don't think I can eat with that stink in the air! Would it be wrong to Febreze the dog? Hmmm? Just thought I'd ask--I wouldn't do it, really...unless one of you said it would be okay...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One of those days

*apologies to those who may find this TMI, but it has to be discussed*

How can I be PMSing already? I just finished my period!! And yet, the last couple of days, I have had NO patience with the children. My irritability is palpable--I can feel the stress hormones coursing through my veins. After having three kids, I chose a non-hormonal method of birth control because I had had enough of hormonal fun. I figured three pregnancies and several years on the pill was enough hormonal surging and manipulation to last me until menopause. And yet, I never considered what my own natural monthly hormonal swings would be like. They're not all that fun. I'm not having fun today. I'm grouchy. Where are Ben and Jerry when I need them?

I can promise you that by Thursday I'll have some pictures of creations to post. And hopefully I'll be in a better place.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


It's finally warm here! Yesterday and today have been awesome--the windows are thrown open, the ceiling fan is on. We turned on the water pump today, so we can hear lovely waterfall sounds out in the pond. It has been nice--the kids have been playing outside and coming in for dinner absolutely filthy!

Now for the pictures: This is going to be something good...as soon as I find the time.

And today was Bobby's first teeball game. It was about the cutest and funniest thing I've ever seen. He looks like a bobblehead with his batting helmet on, and after he hit the ball off the tee, he'd take off for third base. Or second. Or wherever the wind took him. It was just too cute.

Happy spring, everyone!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Yesterday I got a lot done (crafty-wise, not housework!) in spite of the call from the nurse's office at the elementary school. It seems that Caroline ran into part of the playground equipment and banged her head. (Boy, that apple didn't fall far from the tree.) The nurse temporarily confused her with two other girls who ran into each other and banged their heads. And as I was leaving the nurse's office with her, two boys came in--they had collided and had split lips. What the hell goes on during recess? Caroline used to come home banged up last year too! I worry about next year when Caitlin gets into the fray--she's the one who has spectacular nosebleeds...

Anywhoo, I finished this bag for a party that Bobby is going to on Sunday. This is the first bag I've made for a boy...of course that didn't stop me from adding rick-rack and using a little bit of glitter fabric paint (even boys like to sparkle a little bit). I hope to find the book Casey at the Bat to put in the bag. Now all I have to do is RSVP that Bobby is coming--don't you hate how little details like that slip by?
And I finally did some t-shirt applique for the kids. I felt bad because they've been watching me make all sorts of things for other kids and nothing for them! The puppy comes from Anna Maria's site; the butterfly is from Sandi Henderson.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More Vintage (non-Pyrex) Love

Yesterday Caitlin and I hit a couple of thrift shops. I got my thrifted item for my Paris in the springtime swap, and I found another piece of "shmyrex." Actually, it's Fire-King, which is made by Anchor Hocking, and this is the company that makes Jadeite, which I love. I'm not sure if there's any bad blood between the Pyrex love people and the Fire-King people...is this a Montague and Capulet situation? Have I just committed a major faux-pas? Is it okay to love both? It's all vintage goodness, people! Share the love!

A brief trip to eBay proves my suspicions--there's a ton of beautiful vintage pyrex and Jadeite to be had--for a price. I had best stay far, far away. I could totally see myself getting sucked into auction wonderland...and ending up in credit card statement hell!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday fun!

On Saturday, we went to New Jersey to celebrate our niece's twelfth birthday. Everyone had a nice time. The weather was actually warm-ish, so the kids spent more time playing outside than they're used to. Lexie loved her shirts, so that was gratifying for me. The only downside to our day trip was that we stayed a little longer than we usually do, and by the time we got home, the dog had lost bowel control and pooped in his crate. Thank God we still crate him when we leave the house! But then, his delicate constitution was still so disrupted that he threw up three times over the course of the night. So I've been having extra fun with clean-up duty!

Yesterday was just cold--45 degrees and windy--and this was Caroline's first soccer game of the season. I had to go find all the winter hats (because I had put them away for the season a week ago) and take some blankets. Caroline did well. The field is so much larger this year!

We never had any of this promised rain over the weekend. Rob put down fertilizer on Friday because it was supposed to rain all day Friday and half of Saturday. Each day...nothing! Oh well. Here are some pictures of random items:

Yet another bag--this for a birthday party at the end of the month. I could write a chapter called, "when you're using too little fabric to make a ruffle."
This is a fat head! Lexie now has a life-size Miley Cyrus on her wall in her room.
And this was a thrifting find I made on Friday. I've been swooning over vintage Pyrex--not this particular pattern or color, mind you, but I figured I had to start somewhere. This bowl is small, and it cost $3. It was nesting inside a medium bowl, but I didn't want to pay another $5 for that one too. (See, I have about 12 mixing bowls, and I just don't want to get into explanations to hubby about why I needed more mixing bowls...you understand, right?) Especially since it's not a pattern or color that I love. If it had been that pretty turquoise color, you'd be looking at as many as I could grab!

So there you have it! I'm going to be working on more bags this week--I have to finish one for a party Bobby is going to on Sunday. I'm also racking my brain for this April in Paris swap! It's keeping me up at night. I may clean out the toy room more. Amanda's book is inspiring me to get rid of more stuff. She's full of great ideas that I'd like to slowly implement. Of course, Bobby came home with a sack full of handed down Power Rangers on Saturday, so I'm kinda swimming upstream on this one!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

This Just In!

How excited am I! My mailman came back around to my house because he had to drop off my shipment from Amazon--it's Amanda's new book, the creative family. (!!!!) I was so bummed yesterday when the email from Amazon said I'd be getting it on Saturday--I didn't want to wait. And now I have it!

Happy reading!


It's Wednesday morning, and this is my only down-time for the day. Fortunately for me, teeball practice has been moved to Friday evenings, so Daddy can go!

My quilt is finished, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. The pattern came from Heather Bailey. It was pretty simple, just a lot of cutting and stitching. And, this being my first "real" quilt, I have plenty of mistakes (or "learning experiences," as I prefer to think of them). I decided to use the backing for the binding, so I just pressed it and stitched it to the front. It seemed like a huge waste of fabric to cut off all the excess and then make binding. And there are many places where the fabric bunched up. This quilt is 48" by 48", and I went with simple straight lines for the quilting. And getting that done was probably the most physically challenging because I had to roll/bunch/wrestle with all the fabric that was to the right of the needle and try to sew a straight line at the same time. As a result of all that fun, I'm having serious reservations about making a bed-sized quilt. How on earth would I be able to quilt it? There's only so much I can roll up! I have a feeling that I'll just plunge in and do it eventually, especially since now all the little people in the house are requesting quilts made just for them.

And for an easier project, I made the bag for the birthday party Caroline will be attending in a couple of weeks. I'm going to put a couple of books in it and call it done. After trying to organize the toy room (again--what's the point of buying all those bins if they won't actually put the toys back in them?), I'm on a big "no plastic" kick, so bags and books will be this year's birthday gifts. This bag was fun to make, and Caitlin just got an invitation yesterday, so I'll get to make another one soon!

Yesterday was warm, so we threw open the windows, broke out the capri pants, and went outside to count the frogs sunning themselves around the pond. I think we're up to about twelve--and it's just a little creepy. Every few feet or so, I'd see three more...and three more...I think next week we're going to start up the pump, so I'll get that soothing waterfall sound again. Sometimes it is nice to have a pond...(although sometimes it would be nice to have some grass so the kids could run around...)

So that's a wrap for around here! I'll be back soon with more goodies to show!