Friday, August 31, 2007


I have a bunch of WIPs (Works in Progress). In fact, I have so many, it warranted a container purchase to store them all. It's not a giant container, but it is a little overwhelming at times. I don't know why I keep starting new projects when I have older ones waiting to be finished. I even think I've heard, "Lera, finish me, pleeeeeeeeeease," coming from the box.

Some projects are older. Like the brown corduroy pants I started after Sawyer was born. I started them in October. And they didn't fit. So I left them. Unfinished. I think it's high time to finish them. Or I could put it off until the weather is a little cooler ... (It's a slippery slope, I tell ya.)

And the Strawberry Shortcake backpack I started for Spenser during a snow storm. Yep. Still waiting, too.

And the pile of totes (one from leftover fabric of my black and white skirt and bib). And the shirt (I don't think I ever blogged I was making that one. Does it still count?). And the short-sleeved jacket. And the monster trees waiting to me made into something. And the shirts to be appliqued. And all the mending. Or at least some of the mending.

I think the oldest WIP is the pants, although I could be wrong. They've been waiting almost a year. How about you? How old is your oldest WIP?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Scenes from the RennFest

We went to the Renaissance Festival on Saturday. It was hotter than holy heck, with a heat index of 105-110. We stayed for four hours, yet didn't even see the entire festival.
(No special effects on the camera lens, it fogged up
when we got out of our air-conditioned car.)
Spenser volunteering Taylor to be an extra in a skit.
Italian ice to cool us off. It helped ... for about 15 minutes.
Jackson's been a naughty boy.

After four hours, we were done. I felt like we had been baked. We were tired, hot, and cranky. It was time to go.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

From Sheet to ...


Yesterday's sheet has now been repurposed into a skirt. The skirt is the "Breezy Beach Wrap" from the Sew What! Skirts book, which I received for Christmas. This is the first time I've sewn from it and I'm not really sure why I didn't try it sooner. I love it!

It was fun to take my measurements and make a garment just for me. Just for my body. And the length I wanted (just below the knee).

Even if some of the stitches in the ditch aren't in the ditch, I still love it. It just makes me want to make another one.

With the colors in the skirt, I think it's the perfect end-of-summer-almost-autumn skirt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Day Without Boys

Yesterday seemed to fly by. The house was quite and still, but not for long.

So what does a mother of six do when she only has two at home? She goes to the library. The thrift store. The grocery store. And the post office. And she does laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. And dishes. Hmmm ... Now that I think about it, it's not too much different from when I have all six at home.

Ignoring Joe's "advice," I found a brightly colored vintage sheet at the thrift store. I just had to get it. In fact, it was quite convenient that I was doing laundry yesterday because its already been washed and cut.

There was a moment yesterday (or quite a few) that Spenser was crying. She walked through the house and, when things had quieted down, I went to look for her. I found her sleeping in our formal living room. For a few minutes, I enjoyed simultaneous naps for Sawyer and Spenser. This is especially rare because Spenser stopped napping this summer. It was a nice break for me.

So far today the house is quiet. Except Spenser keeps telling me that I'm mean ... she wanted to get on the bus and I wouldn't let her (I'm mean). Then she pouted and wanted to stand in the middle of the road and I wouldn't let her (I'm mean). Then she wanted to stand on the front porch while I came inside with the baby (I'm mean).

She's two. What can I say?

(A funny little story: This morning I was packing lunches for the boys and Carter, age 8 1/2, asked me not to pack the applesauce I had packed for him yesterday. It was cherry applesauce that had an Elmo on the lid. He said the children at lunch were calling him "Elmo lover." I tried not to laugh, especially as I was telling Joe in front of Carter.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day of School

It's the first day of school. At long last. Four in school: Taylor (5th grade), Carter (3rd), Jackson (1st) and Mason (kindergarten ... full day). A birthday boy one day. Kindergartner the next.
I ashamedly admit that when the bus pulled away, I "woo-hoo"ed loudly as I walked back home. Of course with a giant smile plastered on my face.

It was a long summer. With lots of boy energy.

Now it's just me, Spenser and Sawyer at home. Only two! And it's quiet. And peaceful. Ahhhhh. I could get used to this. Do I have plans ...

(Of course, every morning that starts with school ends with an afternoon of tired, grumpy, full-of-pent-up-energy boys. The hard part of the day will be around 3:45 p.m. Wish me luck.)

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Happy birthday, Mason! You're finally 5 !

Thank you for wishing Mason a good birthday party. I think I've unofficially been blacklisted for holding birthday parties.

First, Spenser (who has been coughing off and on for a week or so) coughed so much she threw up ... during lunch. I think most of the kids had left the table by then. If not, there was probably a quick exodus. (I was too busy closing my eyes and turning my head. Seriously.)

Then, the children went outside to play and two of the children were stung by a crazed bee. One poor little boy was stung on the tip of his nose and on his temple. One sweet little girl was stung on her cheek. I felt terrible for the terrified children. When I screamed for them to come inside, they nearly trampled one another to get inside. There were a lot of tears. Of course, I don't keep calm in such incidents, so I'm sure an adult yelling at the top of her lungs in a shrill voice did not help the situation.

Other than that, the party was great!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Yesterday I took the boys to school so they could meet their teachers and find their classroom. School starts bright and early Monday morning, you know. And I'm trying really hard not to smile.

So we met the teachers. One teacher looks to be about 18 years old. Nice and friendly. But young. One teacher we've had before and we like her. However, she misspelled our last name on everything. One teacher barely acknowledged we (especially my son) were in the room. (I'm going to have to keep my eye on her this year.) She did not seem friendly and I was not impressed. One teacher was very friendly. There are other teachers that the boys will have for different subjects. All three of them are ones we've had before, so I'm happy about that.

One teacher was my third-grade teacher. And I loved her. I'm so happy that Carter will have her for one subject this year because the rest of the time he will be with Ms. Unfriendly-Unacknowledging teacher, who worked on the bulletin board the entire time we were in her classroom.

Two of Taylor's teachers are teachers who moved up from lower grade levels and he's had them both before. So I'm pleased.

Not only do you get to meet the teachers, the kids can play "games" and get free snacks. We all enjoyed a snowball, even Sawyer (in his clear, vinyl bib that folds up perfectly in my tote).

And most of the children ate hot dogs and/or chips and drank lemonade.
I guess the boys couldn't get enough of school yesterday because last night they were playing school. I found this note on a bedroom door last night before bedtime.
And, I finished 15 of the 16 pencil rolls. I ran out of flannel for the middle layer. That's okay though because my sister never RSVP'ed, so I'm assuming she's not coming. I have more time to finish the last one now.

Mason's birthday party is 11:00 this morning. I still have muffins to make...

(And for those inquiring about the fabric, it came from Ikea.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

He Betrayed Me

Last night, Joe said something to me that I never thought he'd say. I don't know really where to start other than to say that what he said is unforgivable. I really thought things were going well. I was blindsided.

I was sweeping the kitchen floor when he accosted me. That is when my world started to fall apart. He said the words no woman wants to hear. Ever. He didn't tell me that my butt was fat. He didn't tell me that he was leaving me. He told me that I had too much fabric. ::gasp::


Who is this person that I married? I don't recognize him anymore. He's the one who wants to spend eternity with me and he thinks these horrible things about me?

I won't even show you my fabric. I am embarrassed to think that there is a very slight possibility that Joe might be right ... this time. Right now I just need your support and sympathy while I try to sort out this mess that has become my life.

My overflowing scrap pile.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Taking Time to Craft

For the past two days (during baby's nap times), I've been cleaning a little here and there. With Mason's birthday party fast approaching, I thought I'd tidy some.

In the middle of cleaning yesterday, I stopped and took some time to craft. I have a to-do list as long as my arm and this is just one of the things I hoped to have finished for his birthday. Beki did it and Kirsten did it. It was time I did it.

Mason has always been obsessed with his age (starting since he was 3) and the letter "M." These shirts are just perfect for him. I found the t-shirts on clearance at Target -- the set of two for less than $2. They were with the boys undershirts in a bag. (The one on the left is actually bright orange. The picture doesn't do it justice.)

This morning baby was awake early to nurse and after he went back to sleep, I decided to get to work on the pencil rolls. The most tedious step has been done: all the pencil dividers have been sewn. Now I just need to finish assembling them. I'm feeling a little more optimistic now. And I might just be able to work on another idea I've been brewing. A "Happy Birthday" bunting. We'll see...

(Kim, if you want to email me I'll give you more information on making the pencil rolls. My email is on my sidebar.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Tuesday WIP

Sunday is Mason's 5th birthday. With everything going on (back-to-school stuff, soccer, trips, etc.) I had almost forgotten about his party. I made a few phone calls and sent a few emails and his party is now happening on Friday. (I really shouldn't use the term "planned," because I'm still planning it.)

Last year I made drawstring bags for his party favors, as you may recall. This year I decided to make pencil rolls for his party favors. They are fun and practical. Two very important features. (And isn't that fabric cute?)

So last night, as soon as the children were in bed, I sat down on the floor to cut some fabric. Enough fabric for 16 pencil rolls (including my five oldest). Almost two hours later, I could barely stand up. My back has been bothering me (and my neck) for a few days and I think sitting on the floor just did me in. It stinks to be old.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Long Weekend

We had a fun long weekend together as a family. Our last family trip of the summer before school starts next week.

Joe had a "briefing" on Friday morning at Fort Dix (New Jersey). I had mistakenly said he had to "teach a class," which is what he did, but the more technical military term is "briefing." My bad. (He still taught a class ... in my terminology.)

In the afternoon we took the kids swimming on post.
After only two hours, it started to thunder, so they closed the pool.
Fort Dix is right next to an Air Force base, so we drove through to see the planes.

On Saturday we visited the Howell Living History Farm. What a beautiful farm and a beautiful day. We had perfect weather.

The children excitedly pumped water (and fought to take turns).
If only taking out the trash stirred up the same enthusiasm.

They walked a log balance beam.

Participated in a tomato-canning demonstration.

And walked over the footbridge over and over.

Except Spenser. She was afraid of the gaps between the planks of the footbridge. After halfway across, she would go no further.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Road Trip - Fabric Answers

We're on a road trip. To New Jersey. (We left yesterday because Joe has to teach a class this morning.)

The kids are loving it. Another mini-getaway.

(Kathy, can you name that hotel?)

I received a lot of questions in yesterday's post about my Japanese fabrics. I will try my best to answer them.

  • The fairy tale/storybook fabrics came from Superbuzzy and Reprodepot. They sell out quickly so you need to check often and buy them as soon as you see them.
  • The Wizard of Oz came from Superbuzzy. It looks like they are sold out now. It's a light-weight canvas and kind of pricey. I had a credit with them, so when I bought it, it didn't seem quite as expensive. (Do you like my rationalization??) I think Reprodepot carried it, too. They both have Jack and the Beanstalk, which is similar to the Wizard of Oz.
  • The red fabric with the letters came from Superbuzzy, I think. Although both stores may have carried it at some point.
  • The bird fabric is by Lecien and is called "My Folklore." It took me forever to track it down in the US. By the time I saw it on someone else's blog, it was nearly impossible to find here. I just found a source last week (when I was on my buying spree): Monkey Foot Designs. She sells beautiful handmade goodies and fabric. The best of both worlds. I ordered it late, late Thursday night and I received it Monday. Quick service.
  • I have seen other colorways of the "My Folklore" at both Superbuzzy and Reprodepot. They are pretty, too, but not as colorful.
  • How much do I buy at a time? I usually buy one yard. At Reprodepot, the minimum is one yard. At Superbuzzy, I think the minimum is 1/2 yard. The Three Bears fabric is only 1/2 yard. I think I ordered a yard, but they didn't have that much in stock. (Maybe how I got my credit?)
  • Helpful Hint: When Superbuzzy restocks a previously sold-out fabric, it is not listed as a new product. You have to find it on your own via a search. I just missed out on some fairy tale fabric last week because I had forgotten that tidbit. By the time I saw it and was ready to order some, it was sold out. It can happen that quickly.
  • What am I planning to make? I'm not sure. The "My Folklore" was bought to make new curtains for my room, but I'm not sure now about the white trim and the off-white fabric. My friend, Kim, has offered to help repaint my trim to match the fabric. What a friend!

All of the fabrics I bought were bought two at a time, maybe three. And it has been over the period of a few months. The fabric that I want most (and have for over a year) is the Little Red Riding Hood in the same style. I keep waiting to be able to find it again, somewhat affordably, in the US.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I {Heart} Fabric

Especially Japanese fabrics. And more specifically, Japanese fairy tale/storybook fabric. This is my collection thus far:

These were bought over a period of time. Probably spanning a few months. I splurged. I couldn't resist them any longer.

From the bottom: Snow White & Rose Red, The Three Bears, Golden Goose, Monkey in the Persimmon Tree, something with a wolf and a goat dressed in clothes (??), and Hansel & Gretel. I haven't cut them yet. I'm afraid to. What's new?

And a few more prints, including the Wizard of Oz, one of my all-time favorite movies. I really {heart} fabric.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hotel Fun

It's hard to keep little ones entertained in a hotel room. Joe has a hotel room that is 25 minutes from home while he is "out of town" this week, although he is coming home at night. Yesterday (spur of the moment) we decided to go spend the night, to let the kids feel like they are getting a vacation.

So, what is there to do in a small, cramped hotel room?

Lots of walking practice.
Jumping from bed to bed.
Over and ...
over again.

(Joe took the boys to the movies last night, while I stayed in the hotel with the two littles. And sorry again, Nikki, that Carter missed soccer practice.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Swing Swing Smock: Take Two

One smock is simply not enough. At least in Spenser's wardrobe. After my first attempt, I knew there would be more in our future. Especially since I had the pattern appropriately enlarged at the copy shop. So this smock is Take Two.

I found the fabric at the thrift store back in the spring (?) when the kids were still in school. It was being disguised as a tablecloth, but it was really just two strips of fabric sewn together. It was a challenge to find a spot that was large enough that wasn't stained.

I used "apricot" bias tape. I would have used a brighter orange, but that was the only shade available.

I sewed it Friday. She likes to wear it. She wore it some on Friday. Then on Saturday. And Sunday after church. And then again on Monday. And she's such a ham, isn't she?

Stay tuned for Take Three.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Something for Everyone

We had a great weekend. We did a lot of different things. Like a Smorgasbord: there was something for everyone.

Duckpin bowling (Jackson won with 98 points!
He had one strike and two spares. Go Jack!)
A wienie roast in our backyard.
Homemade strawberry cheesecake ice cream (from a mix).
Sewing. And, hey! I used my walking foot again!

Friday, August 10, 2007

A New Gadget

Joe's been traveling a lot. He was away all of last week, returning for the weekend and then left again Monday morning. He'll be coming home today and "going out of town" again Monday morning. The best part about his trip next week? He's only going to be 25 minutes from home. Heck! That's closer than his 60+ mile one-way commute to work. I might even see him at dinnertime, but I'm not holding my breath.

When Joe's away, I get lonely and bored. In the evenings I can be dangerous. One night last week I bought some fabric. Then a few minutes later I bought a walking foot for my machine. I have several ideas using my walking foot. The first being:

An "eye spy" or "I spy" bag. It's kind of like a bean bag with some trinkets inside and a clear vinyl window. I found some small choking hazards on the mantel of our family room (that keep finding their way into this room, where baby spends all of his exploratory playtime) and gathered up a few other things (i.e., penny, BB, jingle bell, buttons, etc.) to put inside. It is definitely not a toy for babies and other little ones. Especially babies with a mouthful of sharp teeth.

Baby book entry: Yesterday Sawyer was sitting on the floor playing with his ball and some Mr. Potato Head eyes. He got into this position and (right after I snapped this picture, of course) he stood up. On his own. Without using his hands for any support! Just right in the middle of the floor. Using only his leg muscles! I am so sure that I cannot do that! Amazing little guy.