Thursday, January 31, 2008

Odd Injuries

First it was the elbow (bursitis) caused by Lego building with Carter. Then it was the bruised palm (from painting my bedroom). Now it's the bruised side on my left index finger (from cleaning a roasting pan). What's next?

Have you had any odd injuries?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Dig Pendants

I'm a pendant girl. I love to wear pendant necklaces. So, it was no surprise when I saw this photo in this Japanese book, that I was in love. I love the simplicity of the one on the right. Just a simple circle on a ribbon.

I was very surprised when, on a trip to the craft store yesterday for something entirely different, I came across some beautiful glass rings.

I found a three-pack (two frosted and one clear) for $4. I immediately thought about my book and snatched up a pack. I strung two on ribbon (one for me and one for Spenser who "needed" one) and one on leather cording. I used ribbon I had at home, but I'm really thinking I need new ribbon. The one on the right is a brown satin ribbon and a little too wide in my opinion.

I can't stop thinking about velvet ribbon. I think velvet ribbon would rock! Does anyone know where you can find velvet ribbon? (I didn't think to look in the craft store yesterday.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Shirt

... for Spenser. You didn't think it was another one for me, did you? I do sew for other people . Some times.

This shirt is from this Japanese book. It is the second pattern I have used from it. I think all of my recent shirt making helped a lot. This pattern is almost identical to my shirts, with the exception of the long sleeves and embellishments.

It is made from white fabric with hot pink polka dots with a coordinating flower and pocket. I can sense a few more coming ...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Zebra Scarf

After seeing all the cute scarves popping up, I knew I had to make one. And I knew I would use some of my leftover zebra print (that stuff cracks me up!).

Two years ago I made a coat (lined in fuchsia). And a bag (lined in hot pink and black polka dots). And I still had some left. This, too, is lined in fuchsia. I didn't have a piece long enough, so I had to join two shorter pieces. Luckily it is only the lining and not visible to anyone. I have found that the scarf likes to rotate around my neck, which is slightly annoying. I guess the lining is a little slippery.

And Carter's rock tumbler finished this weekend. Peace and quiet has resumed on the street. Well, unless you count my six children.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What I've Been Up To

Monday night (while Joe was crashed out on the sofa) I made soap. "Honey Blossom," which smells like Bit O' Honey candy. It has honey and beeswax in it, with no artificial colorings or scents. The coloring turned out gorgeous. I can't decide if it's going to lighten or not. The little clump of light tan soap in the bottom right corner was from the same batch.

And then yesterday I made a batch of lavender soap. From lard. I know it sounds gross, but I just wanted to try something "new." New to me, that is. Not new to our great-grandmothers and ancestors.

I added some lavender essential oil and some finely ground, dried lavender leaves. I was (and still am) a little concerned about the dried lavender. I've heard that it can make the soap look like it has mouse poop in it. Just like this rosemary soap...

These batches won't be cured and ready to use for four weeks. If I can wait that long.

[Tonight Joe and Taylor (and my brother and nephew) are camping out for the Klondike Derby. The low temp is supposed to be 17 degrees. I am so worried for them!]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Black & White Shirt

I get slightly obsessed sometimes. Like in the instance of shirt-making. And skirt-making. And baby-outfit-making. And other "-makings." It's just how I am. If I find a shirt I like at the store, I buy multiples. In different colors. In the same colors. Whatever. I can't tell you how many short-sleeved white tees I own.

So, this shirt is no exception. I know you know what it is. Simplicity 3835. Again. (Somehow I'm not even embarrassed to admit it either.)

This is my fourth attempt. I used Alexander Henry's Arvika fabric, which was bought for a skirt, when I was in my skirt-making phase. I really love the design on the fabric. In fact, I might need a skirt, too. (Not to wear together though.)

I had some issues with this shirt. You would think after making it three previous times, and it being a very simple pattern, it would be perfect. But it's not. I made it during commercials of a show Joe and I were watching, so I was only working in 3-4 minute increments and I was rushing and distracted. But really, that's no excuse.

First, the neck elastic is too big and it is a little gapy around my neck. It's like a boatneck. (More than I like. It will need to be fixed before warmer weather approaches.)

At one point around the neckline, I sewed the casing a little too narrow. While the elastic fit through, it doesn't gather as much at that spot. (An easy fix.)

And, along the bottom hem, I guess part of the double-rolled hem didn't double. Still an easy fix. But it will make me nuts until it is fixed.

I'm not making any promises, but I'm really going to try to stop making this shirt soon ... Well, at least until spring or summer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mail Goodies

On Friday I received a package from Capello. Many months ago (ha ha, just kidding, Laura) she hosted a 500th post giveaway and I won.

The box was so heavy. It was filled with fabric scraps, both vintage and new. Inside the massive fabric stash, tucked away nice and safe, were two "beverage holders" (mugs? teacups? whatever you call them, they are way cool), a zippered pouch, three adorable button magnets, and a Crush lip balm (which I have a hard time finding because Spenser keeps taking possession of it).

Thanks, again, Laura. I love it. And, since you're going to peek at her blog anyway, why don't you wish her a happy birthday today, too! Her birthday is easy to remember 1-2-3 !

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Soccer and Baby Lounge Pants

Almost everyone has been sick in our family some way this weekend. We had some belly aches, lots of runny noses, coughs, fevers, bloody noses, body aches, chills, and a pinkeye scare. I think we've covered it.

Thankfully Taylor and I (and Carter and Jack now) are fine. Joe is sick. Mason is still coughing. Spenser and Sawyer's fevers have broken, and we are now left with runny noses and the occasional cough. It's the cough and runny nose that are lingering forever.

Yesterday Taylor played at an indoor soccer tournament. It was his first time playing indoor soccer. In fact, it was the first time this "team" has ever played together. There were no practices beforehand. Even though they lost all four games, they played great. The teams they played against are traveling teams. Teams who have been playing and practicing together.

Indoor soccer is fierce and fast. 24-minute games. No half-times. Balls bounce off the walls and nets and the game doesn't pause. It was fun to watch. In the last five minutes of the last game, a ball ricocheted off the wall and hit Taylor in the side of the face. Ultimately he was fine, but it hurt. When the ball is bouncing off the walls, it's so unpredictable where it's going to go.

I'm just happy he had this opportunity to play. I think there might be another one on President's Day.On Saturday night I cut out a few things to sew. Some flannel "lounge pants" for Sawyer. With matching tops. Last night I sewed them up after the kids were in bed (and as Joe crashed on the sofa).
Appliqueing flannel is not an easy task. The flannel was peeling off the Wonder Under as I tried to stitch it on. The result was some bunchiness around one edge. The rectangle was worse than the circle. I always use a ballpoint/jersey sewing needle when appliqueing on onesies.

Friday, January 18, 2008

24 Hours - What a Difference



The kids came home from school two hours early yesterday and went in two hours late this morning. The sun is up. The sky is blue. It's beautiful. Such a difference from yesterday.

Mason, who went back to school on Thursday and was fine, was sent home today after only being in school for a half hour because he was coughing and they were afraid he was going to throw up. He's coughed a little since he's been home, but he is fine. He has not thrown up. Maybe I'm desensitized to the whole situation. I don't know. (And he never did have pinkeye either.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

8 Random Things

Kirsten tagged me for this meme about a month ago. I had forgotten about it, but here it is:

I received the above wonderful goodies before Christmas. Ruffled rickrack and bias tape from Making it Fun. Cadbury Popping Elves from Karyn. A handmade felt brooch from Beki.

I have plans for the trims. We've eaten the elves. The brooch is on my jean jacket.

Carter has been dying for a rock tumbler/polisher. The boy is obsessed with rocks.

Santa brought him a rock tumbler. It. Is. The. Loudest. Thing. On. Earth. Ever.

It sits on our front porch. It is so loud. And it has to run for nearly a month! A month!! Did I mention it is loud? Obviously Santa did not know this about the rock tumbler.

I found this vintage, rhinestone reindeer brooch at the Swap Shop. Free. I love it. It was after Christmas when I got it. I can't wait until next Christmas to wear it. It rocks. And all the rhinestones are intact.

This is Sawyer in a tree in Gettysburg. He loved being in the tree. He was upset when we took him out. (All the kids sat in the tree. Joe was close by so there were no accidents.) The tree is where the Gettysburg Address was delivered.

We have gone geocaching every weekend since Christmas. We went a lot over Christmas break, too. It's a great family activity, which I highly recommend. (Thanks, Karyn and your Joe.)

I've been teaching Spenser how to curl her tongue.

I found this fat quarter at a non-fabric store on our way to Gettysburg. Very cheap.

This was Mason's project from his sick day yesterday. We filled out most of his book. I had the same book when I was a kid and I loved it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I have some sick children. The school nurse hunted me down yesterday while I was in town to inform me that Mason was coughing, had runny/watery eyes, and looked sick. He had no fever and his lungs sounded clear, but she worried he might have pink eye.

I went to pick him up and he looked so sick. He was completely fine before school. I have not heard him cough at all. At all. But whatever. Last night he started to run a fever. He has to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school. He is fever-free today, so tomorrow he can go back. I don't mind him being home. I have some plans for him.

This morning Spenser and Sawyer awoke croupy-ish. Yippee. They seem fine now. No fever.

Last night, Mason couldn't go to karate, so the four of us sat down to watch Planet Earth. (We bought ours on eBay for much cheaper.) That is the best series ever. We have watched them several times each. And we've only had them since Christmas.

Anyway, while we were watching Planet Earth, I did a little embroidery. A little bear holding a fork and spoon. You can totally see the fork and spoon ... can't you? (They're a bit wonky.)

Note: This is the book I used. I bought mine from Superbuzzy months ago. ISBN 4-8347-2421-2.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Toy Bag

Sawyer has a growing collection of wooden toys. Little puzzles and animals and stuff like that. We like to take them with us to church to keep him quiet, but they keep spilling out of my tote bag onto the wooden floor. It is always very loud when it happens.

So, I decided I needed a way that we can transport them, without losing valuable pieces and without extra noise. I knew I had enough white fleece leftover from the snowballs and thought the fleece would be nice and cushioned, therefore muffling the sound of wooden toys on a wooden floor. Then, being a busy and forgetful mom, I thought I might need a window in the front to remind me what's inside. I can't tell you how many times I've put toys in a bag and forgot about them, only to find them months later when the baby has outgrown them. With a vinyl window on the front, I can see right in and I won't forget about any toys. It's kind of like an "eye spy" bag. I can spy in the bag to see its contents.

And, of course, I got to use that walking foot again. I think I forgot I owned it, it's been so long since I've used it. Hmmm. Maybe I need to sew a vinyl-windowed bag for the walking foot, too!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Slow Saturday Morning

Saturday morning, Taylor was upset that the only cereal in the house was Cheerios and Life. I found my secret, small box of granola that was in the pantry and told him he could eat it. I used to make granola quite a bit. But it's been years since I've made it. So I decided that it was the perfect chance to make some.

The only recipe for granola I've ever used is from this book, which I picked up at a second-hand bookstore about nine years ago, when Carter was a baby. The book is filled with child-friendly recipes. I really should use it more than I do.

And, since the oven was already hot, I decided to make some ranch pretzels. The children devoured them.

Sometimes it's nice to have a quiet Saturday morning that is not filled with soccer games and karate tournaments and birthday parties. And it was a nice way for Joe to end his month of convalescent leave. He had to return to work today after having been home for his shoulder surgery.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not a Baby

Sawyer's not a baby anymore. It's sad, but true.

He had his first haircut yesterday at the tiny one-chair barber shop in our little town. (Joe's grandmother forbids us to have a baby's hair cut before the first birthday. Not that our kids have much hair before they are one anyway.)

He didn't cry. He just kept trying to push the barber's hand away.

And then our camera battery died before he was finished.

Look at him! He looks so grown up. He's not a baby anymore.

(The friendly barber, whom we have never met before, didn't charge us for the haircut. He said he never does for a baby's first. He even gave us a certificate.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Are you sick of my shirts yet? I'm sorry if you are, but I'm not. In fact, I'm itching to make more. I'm just awaiting the "fabric inspiration fairy" to visit me.

I made this shirt (Simplicity 3835, did you really need to ask?) on Saturday night so I could wear it to church on Sunday morning. Joe was busy working on some school work and the kids were in bed. The shirt takes less than an hour to sew. It's very simple. I used some white fabric with small red polka dots. My new favorite. My new favorite that is almost gone. (I've used it on two baby kimonos recently.)

Thanks to Karyn, we make the shirt a little different. The pattern calls for the back to be two pieces because it's the same pattern piece as the dress (which I think has a zipper, I can't find the pattern right now). Karyn decided the back should be one piece of fabric, like the front. It works out great. In fact, that's how I've made all three shirts so far. And, another hint from Karyn, is to iron a label on the inside of the back so you can tell the back from the front (you know, for when you're in a hurry to get dressed and you have six little ones running around the house acting wild and crazy).

Simplicity 3835: It's a keeper!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Moms & Muffins

This morning the boys' school held its annual Moms & Muffins breakfast. Moms were invited to eat breakfast with their children before school. I'm positive I was the luckiest mom there. I had four handsome dates.

We ate blueberry and apple blossom muffins, apples and bananas and drank orange juice. We had fun. I even have some photos of Taylor smiling. (Or trying not to smile.)

I don't often eat breakfast. Food in the morning is not my thing. Especially sweet food. So this was an extra "special" treat. One that I can reserve for once a year. (I usually eat an early lunch.)

Next month is Dads & Donuts.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Dress and Some Winners

Wow! I don't know what to say. I guess I should start by saying Thank You. Thank you for the shirt love and thank you for all the blogiversary wishes. I really wish I had enough goodies to give away to everyone who commented yesterday. Now that I know that you are out there, please stop by again.

I have randomly picked two names from yesterday's comments. I will share them with you in just a sec. First I've been dying to show you Spenser's Christmas dress.

The Saturday night before Christmas, I sewed Spenser's Christmas dress. I wanted it to be finished for church the next morning. It's the same pattern as her last dress (which was from a shirt pattern). Except ...

it has long sleeves. I planned to make the sleeves 3/4 length with elastic. She was sleeping when I was sewing and when I showed the unfinished dress to Joe (for his sleeve-length opinion), he said he liked them how they were.

I wasn't sure at first, but then I realized that she will probably be able to fit into this dress/shirt for a few years. It's a dress now, but it may be a shirt later. I may need to put a longer piece of elastic in the neck down the road, but it's roomy enough now to be a Christmas shirt in a few years. That is so cool. And so unplanned. And it makes me so happy.

Okay. I think I've stalled long enough. Now ... onto the winners. I wrote down all the names of the commenters, closed my eyes and looked up towards the ceiling, and picked two names. The first name I picked, and the winner of the first giveaway, is Amanda Jean. The second winner is Cindyforeyes aka Cindyiscrafty. Congratulations Amanda Jean and Cindy. [Amanda Jean, I might need your address again. I know you've moved and I don't remember if the address I have is current. Cindy, please me your address. My email is on my sidebar.]

Thanks for playing along and, remember, come back and visit again!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Today is my second blogiversary. I have been jabbing my jaws for two years now. Two years. Time has flown by. I've had my blog longer than I've had Sawyer in my life, which seems totally weird because it feels like he's always been a part of my life.

I have enjoyed documenting my thoughts and crafts, but, most of all, my family. It's amazing how much I have forgotten until I read some of my older posts.

I have also loved meeting bloggers and seeking inspiration from their work. This crafty community is where it's at. You're a kind and generous bunch.

As a token of my appreciation to my readers, I am offering a giveaway. I will be giving away not one, but two, things in honor of my second blogiversary. Two commenters will win a zippered pouch made from My Folklore fabric and a bar of my handmade chocolate-mint soap.

This is what you need to do. Comment on this post and either:

1 - Tell me which post of mine was most memorable to you. (It can be a craft, a story, or anything.) Or ...

2 - If you haven't been around too long, tell me how you found my blog and how long you've been visiting.

I will randomly pick two names from the comment section on or about Tuesday.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Yay? or Nay?

I decided I needed a new shirt. And that only means one thing: Simplicity 3835. I had bought this Alexander Henry (Kleo in chocolate) print a year or more ago, thinking I would make a skirt or some pillows with it. But my friend warned me that the large print might not look so good on a butt, so I reconsidered the skirt idea. I never did make the pillows and there it sat in my stash. Until Tuesday night when it became this shirt.

As much as I love the short-sleeved version of this pattern, I wanted to make half-sleeves on this one to experiment. At first I wasn't sure about them. They seemed a little snug (I don't like snug) and I was afraid they would annoy me. I promised myself if they annoyed me, I'd cut them down to short sleeves. Well, guess what? They did not annoy me and did not seem snug once I wore it. I think they will stay half-sleeves.

So, the thing is, I worry that the print is a little wild for a shirt. I wore it to the doctors the other day and the two nurses loved it. I wore it to Young Women's at church the other night and the young women loved it. I am still on the fence. Is it a Yay? or a Nay?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Christmas Crafting

Every year at Christmas, the boys' elementary school has a "Holiday Shoppe." They sell some craft items (which were made by some of the students) and other little trinkets. Each year I fork out money for the kids to "shop" for each other. After many painted-tongue-depressors-with-foam-cut-out magnets, I decided that I just couldn't do it again this year. After all, with four in the same school this year, how many painted-tongue-depressors-with-foam-cut-out magnets can one refrigerator handle? (Especially since my kids weren't the creator of most of these items, just the customer. There's a big difference.)

This year I decided they would pick names and get a gift for only one person. Handmade or store-bought. I was really pushing for handmade, but I knew the bulk would fall upon me, and I was afraid I wouldn't have time for all of their grand schemes (t-shirts, pillows, etc.).

A few days before Christmas, I was in Michaels and raided their dollar section for kid-friendly items. I found a small paint-by-number kit, a velvet drawing (with markers to color), a puzzle, a felt key chain maker, pompom animals, etc. I bought enough that the kids could "shop" from my bag of goodies for their gift.

So the boys "shopped" secretly and we wrapped. One by one. And then I had the idea to make some ornament blanks for the kids to decorate as part of their gift. I sewed several Christmas trees, stars, round ornaments, poinsettias, etc., and let the kids loose with sparkly pom-poms, rick rack, and buttons.

Here is a sampling:

It kept them occupied on Christmas Eve for a bit after we decorated the gingerbread house.

And because I didn't think any of the dollar items were appropriate for Sawyer, I decided to sew him a couple of fabric snowballs from some white fleece I had hanging around. Mason helped to make them as part of his gift. Mason loved the idea of snowballs so much, he asked for a green one. (Green is his favorite color and everything is always green for him.) I joked that a yellow snowball is gross and he should never, ever make a snowball from yellow snow. He laughed so hard and begged for a yellow snowball.

Christmas morning, Mason got his yellow snowball.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Handmade Christmas

Eight zippered pouches for the teachers. With chocolate candy and handmade chocolate mint soap. I used some fairytale fabric from Superbuzzy and lined them in navy and white gingham.

Four more fairytale zippered pouches for friends and sixteen My Folklore (by Lecien) zippered pouches for friends and family. Each with a bar of soap.

Some were lined in unbleached muslin and some in light blue and white gingham.

And six light blue, linen zippered pouches with an embroidered snowflake for my sisters, sister-in-law, mother, and a good friend. Of course, each with a bar of soap.

They are lined in light blue and white gingham.

I really like sewing one project for all of my gifts. Last year I made 38 tissue pouches and I gave every single one away. For some reason this year, I have a few zippered pouches left over. I think it's because I didn't see most of Joe's family at Christmas and I'm not sure when I will.

* * * * * * **

And I wanted to wish everyone a belated "Happy New Year." I've been struck down with a terrible cold since Friday afternoon and have had no energy. I'm feeling a ton better than before. (Especially since I lost all of my holiday weight in one day!)