Saturday, January 31, 2015

testing and then some

The kids had TKD testing today.
All 5 passed.
And the boys all broke all of their boards in the first try :-)
our good buddy, Pete,
earned his black belt today!!
(he also broke all of his boards on the first try, which was really nice for his momma and me!)
Brandon got to be the one who tied his belt.
it was a good TaeKwonDo day!
(except that another good buddy didn't break all of his board, so that part was sad)

Lily is a green belt now,
and Lexi is yellow,
and, as she said, her "big friend,
is a purple belt."
(I love that my kids considers people of all ages their friends
and I love that Bayley is so sweet to Lexi, that she really is her friend)

After testing,
we were going to go The Yellow Papaya for lunch.
We've been watching it being built,
and have been waiting for several months for them to open
(it looked like they were ready, we couldn't figure out what the hold-up was!)
A week or so ago, Tyler told me they were open,
so we decided we'd try it out today.

We went,
but we didn't end up staying.
After 5 minutes
(and getting up to grab menus for ourselves) 
we still hadn't had anyone come to our table,
or even make eye contact,
it was pretty pricey, with no kid's menu.
We figured Lin's Garden would be considerably less expensive
and its most of the kids' favorite place to eat,
so we left
(as discreetly as seven people can get up and leave a restaurant)
and went there instead.

I confess - I eat wheat when we go there.
It's just too hard for me to say no
to the crab wontons.
(okay, and the lemon chicken...)

After lunch,
Tyler and the gang went home
and I went shopping
and was a brainless idiot
and forgot quite a bit of what I needed to buy.

While I was at Walmart,
I saw two 20-something gals, shopping together, in the produce department.
After I passed them, I heard, "She's one of those."
It's the only thing I heard them say, so I assume it was said looking in my direction.
Now, I don't know for certain they were talking about me,
but it seems likely.
I can't for the life of me figure out what 'those' they pegged me as.
But whatever it was,
I seriously doubt they were correct.

After Walmart,
I came home, unloaded and put away,
and we all hopped in the van to go to A-Z
Tyler and Brandon found a wedding decor solution
to a need that has nagged me for months!
Tyler also figured out a solution to a dilemma that arose just today.
so, yay for both of those!
And he almost stayed home....

After A-Z,
we came home and Tyler Superman fixed dinner
so I wouldn't have to.

And now,
he and Brandon are waiting for me in the living room, 
so we can watch an episode of White Collar
while I sew a diamond or two onto a star,
to make it a hexagon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

what a lot of works

I have been busy.
Not necessarily overly productive, mind you,
but that's not for lack of trying.

First - the flower girl skirts.
The bride wanted tulle skirts to match the bridesmaid's dresses.
The bridesmaids dresses are dark navy.
Not navy, mind you - super dark navy.
The problem with that, 
was that I could not find any dark navy tulle in Fort Smith.
So then, I scoured Hancocks for anything that might work.
I touched every single darkish blue fabric in the store,
excepting denim and quilting cottons.

I didn't feel good about it
(that should have been a clue to me!)
but I ended up going home with 2 yds (all that they had) of a dark navy nylon mesh chiffon, 
and 1 7/8 yds of a slippery dark navy something or other
(again, all that they had).
Because that wasn't going to be flouffy at all,
I stopped by Hobby Lobby and got 4 yds (not nearly enough!) of what they called navy tulle.
I figured between the layers, the off color would be okay...

I'll spare you my horror stories of cutting and handling the mash-up of fabrics. 
We'll leave it at
there were multiple texts sent regarding my supreme distaste for tulle.

My heart just sank, the more I worked on the skirts.
They were just horrible.
School uniform was not the look I was going for,
and yet somehow, 
that's what I had.

After some tears, 
and texts with the bride,
we decided white would be just lovely.
And I was so relieved!!
Never mind that I was going to have to work with damn tulle all over again.
I felt sooo much better about the choice,
and instead of trying for a more elegant circle skirt silhouette
I went all out pouffy.
(used 10 yds per knee-length skirt!)
Pinning the tulle to my cardboard cutting board made it much less annoying to work with
and each skirt only took about an hour.
I still need to add snaps to the waist, but that will only take a few minutes.

While wasting time and money buying the dark navy fabrics,
I also grabbed some fabric for a dress for me.
All that fabulous fabric from LA, and I had nothing that would work.
That's not entirely true.
I have a few fabrics that would work splendidly,
but what I have in mind for them 
wouldn't necessarily work for a dress for the wedding.

I cut out a trusty Lady Skater dress on Monday,
(love that pattern! 
I can't believe the only thing I've posted that used it was this shirt.
Oh, and this top, too.)
and sewed it up yesterday evening 
after the gang left for TKD.
I lined it
(using black swimsuit fabric I bought in LA :-)
 and made the skirt a little more twirly by measuring out 2 inches from the hem
and drawing a line from the waist to my mark.
Without my mentioning it,
when I tried it on for him, Tyler said it swirled nicely,
so I guess it worked.

I'm hand-sewing rayon seam binding to the hem.
The fabric is a 2 layer stretch 
and the outer layer is kind of netting-ish and is therefore a little 'grabby'.
I'm hoping that by enclosing all of the raw edges in the seam binding
I'll eliminate the the velcro-like grabbiness 
and not end up flashing anybody.

see what I mean? velcro like grabbiness!

(I have a way with sewing terminology, huh? ;-)

Let's see what else?
Ties That Bind.
(previously known as the black and white quilt).

please excuse the horrible photo - it was only taken to confirm my suspicions.
This thing is huge and heavy!
I thought I had a finished quilt top.
According to my design, when I finished sewing all of my background pieces together,
I should have had a finished quilt top.
What looks fine on paper
doesn't always work out so great queen-sized....

I think I need to add about 4 smaller dresden plates.
So - maybe 10 more hours.
Then I'll have a finished quilt top.


It's been awhile since I've mentioned my EPP project.
I still quietly work away at it when we watch a Netflix show
when I have no other hand-sewing
and I've got 7 more hexagons completed.

I've not improved my time any.
I actually think I may even take a little longer per side
than I used to.

Bill said, "You think you should improve in both speed and quality?!"
I had hoped to.
I guess I will have to settle for improved quality (for now).

The next thing I have to work on is finding shoes.
Shoes (that aren't sandals, it's winter after all) that will make my legs look good,
- okay, decent, at least -
but also be comfortable enough to run around in most of the day,
and dance in.
With my twirly dress. 

Linking up with Lee
and Amanda Jean, although, what I have are a bunch of almost finishes....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

from my phone

I don't take a bunch of pictures with my phone
(or my real camera...)
and I'm definitely not on instagram
(nor do I want to be)
but I do take a few here and there,
and they help tell the stories of our days.

That is the gift I made for the dirty Santa gift exchange we do at my Dad's.
We often have a theme, and a fairly low price limit.
This year's theme was 'creative'
but at the very last minute he switched it to 'unique'
which threw me a little - because the two are not the same, in my opinion.

I felt like what I ended up with was both creative and unique,
so I was pleased.

The multi-medium art picture
(made with fabric scraps glued onto a piece of leftover painter's canvas
then thread-painted with black aurifil 50 wt thread
and chicken feed (aka seed beads) sewn on by hand
then mounted onto a  piece of board, 
broken by one of my TKD black belted boys)
went along
with the gift of a Harvest of Hope hen.

See? creative and unique....
(I didn't win the competition, but I did end up bringing home the 2nd place gift :-)
and my gift was one of only two to be stolen so many times it was frozen.)

The aforementioned gift, made by my brother Matt.
I wasn't sure where we were going to put it, it's pretty monstrous,
but we cleared off the top of the bookshelves and put it there :-)

taken Dec 27th ~ the 28th anniversary of our engagement.
I'm pretty smitten with that man!


I sent that picture to T
and he had to send it back to me several months later,
because we lost our card for Golf.
I saved it to my pictures this time.

My niece, Jordan, said that everything she's read by this author was good.
I knew I'd never remember,
so I took a picture of her library book.
Jordan also used the last of her eyeliner to give me cat eyes - but I didn't take a picture of that...

Roasted veggies.
They looked better than they tasted.
For some reason, even after 2 hours in the oven (with 2 chickens) they weren't done.
There were tears over these veggies.
But still, I think they were pretty.

My mom took pictures of the sunset the same night I did :-)
As beautiful as the sky was this night
(and my phone didn't come close to accurately capturing it)
it didn't hold a candle to the sky the night of my quilt delivery

A year and a half ago,
What I really really wanted, was for him to make the pressing board.
He didn't do it for my birthday that year, 
but he bought the wood for Mother's Day.
He worked on it off and on,
(mostly off ;-)
and by my next birthday,
he still hadn't finished it.
For some reason, I don't think he was all that inspired with my project...

I try hard to not be a nag
but dang it, I really wanted that pressing board
and there were quite a few times that I would have used it
if I'd have had it,
and I was finding myself a little irritated that it was sitting in the closet mostly done,
but not yet usable.
I decided that my lack of nagging wasn't doing anyone any favors,
and told Tyler as sweetly as I knew how
that I was past ready for my gift.
And he finished it up in just a few days :-)

It's so pretty!
and useful!!
(thanks, Love)

Now - that one is self-explanatory ;-)
Less than $25 to fill up my tank when it was about 1/4 full!!

I found that scene the day after Lexi's birthday.
I told Tyler I don't know if we have a teenager,
or a little girl! 
But then I saw her doll:

They put the diapers on the outside, because it makes them easier to change
and looks cuter.
Too bad you can't do that in real life.

and remembered - we have a little girl 
who loves make-up :-)

Monday, January 26, 2015

super sale

When I saw this e-book bundle, I wasn't overly interested.
$35 is a lot of money for a bunch of electronic books I'll likely never get around to reading.

But then, today, I saw a post about it again,
ans noticed that one of the books I've had pinned
and looked at numerous times,
but just couldn't quite talk myself into buying because of the $25 price tag
was included in the bundle

Mail Downloads-002

And so is this book, which I've eyed off and on over the years.

Then, when I saw that a bonus gift
of a free Craftsy class (up to $71!!)
was part of the bundle, 
and I remembered I haven't yet spent my birthday money from my mom,
well, it was a no-brainer.
I bought it.

I share it here today, 
because if there are some books in the DIY bundle that you've been wanting,
and you have $35 to spend, too,
well, you might just want to buy a bundle for yourself.
The sale ends at midnight, though.

(please, please, please, don't buy the bundle just because I mentioned it!
I almost didn't, 
because I'd hate for somebody to spend money that they really didn't have to spend
at my suggestion,
at the same time, 
if you've had a few of these books and a craftsy class (or three or four...) on your wish list,
and money in the budget for it,
well, you might just be tickled pink to know about the bundle.
So now you know.....)

Happy Birthday to me!
Thanks, Mom and Bill and Gramma :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

look Ma, no carseat

Lex's first (legal) ride without a carseat

For over 27 years,
with the exception of a few months before Tony was born
nine days before Brandon was born,
we have had at least one child in a carseat.

Over 27 years.



(Happy birthday, Lexi ~ you are so loved!!)

a dress and dresdens

I didn't get the flower girl skirts made yet.
Had a bit of trouble at the fabric store.
I have stuff now, 
that I hope will work
and hey, 
- look -
I made a dress.

I did it exactly like this one,
except we skipped the whole maxi-dress-attempt part
(the 'birthday girl' was already on the shirt :-)
and I did the fancy ribbon hem treatment.
Which was supposed to be super fast.
Except that when I saw the sprinkles on the ribbon I thought,
'oooh - hand stitching would look so cute on that!'

Why do I do this to myself?!
Both girls squealed at the cuteness, so I guess it was worth it.
And really, it was still a fast make.


The B&W (which is in desperate need of a real name) is progressing
at a decent clip.
I actually only have one more plate to make
that is,
 I decide I need a few smaller plates to go in the center of some of the larger ones;
I miscalculated the size of my inner circles,
and some are huge.
We'll see...

do not adjust your eyes - this is a color photo :-) 

I am nearly positive that my 18 degree wedge ruler is not exactly 18 degrees,
Which sounds crazy, I know, but here's the thing:

sewn with an exact (not scant) 1/4 in seam, 
the outer circle of my plates lay nice and flat,
while the center is ripply

and only lies flat after I've added angled seams on the lower portions of several of the blades.

I thought maybe it was because of the double points,
but no - same thing when I left the narrow portion of the blades un-sewn.
So all I can figure
is - the angle is off.
Unless anybody has another idea??

I'm linking up with Lee. again :-)
and this week, 
I'm definitely getting those skirts made up!

eta: I'm also linking up with Amanda Jean :-)
and I've got that final dresden plate finished!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

out with the old, on with the new

some of my points are fabulous. Some - not so much  : /

I finished the orange and blue chevron baby quilt
and it is now with its new owner (who deemed it 'perfect' :-)

This was a commissioned project
and I earned enough to buy 80% of a sewing machine!

those tumbling elephants are so fun!

I underestimated my costs
underestimated my time, as well.
(I thought I could get it done in 12 hours, but it took me over 14 hours,
not counting the row of hand-quilting
or sewing down the binding - which I did by hand and it took an embarrassing amount of time. 
I think I over-pressed it (who knew?!) and it made it hard to catch the fold just right.
It does look awfully nice, though, if I do say so myself ;-)

I only charged what I'd estimated,
and chalked it up to a learning experience.
I'll eat the underbid materials cost, so I can put all $120 in labor that I charged towards a machine for Rahab's Rope.
I'm hoping to buy them so many machines that they tell me
Wouldn't that be so awesome?!?

For the quilt, I followed Nettie's tutorial exactly exactly
(Really, I did!)
It would have been better to press the seams open, I think, though,
as there was a lot of bulk at the points.
Of course, that would have added a considerable amount of pressing time.
(It takes me 3 times as long to press open as it does to press to the side - what about you??)

Speaking of pressing, my iron died. dead as a doornail dead.
It put the kibosh on last' night's sewing plans,
but worse, 
I couldn't iron Tyler's shirt last night :-(

A friend is giving me a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon
and I'm going to buy a new one today) 
I bought the same one I had before.

I love the Laurie Wisburn birds :-)

Fortunately, my iron didn't die on Monday, instead of yesterday
(one too many falls of the ironing board)
about 2 hours after I pulled the zigzags out of the dryer (on Monday...)
I was spraying my beloved sizing all over the 35 fabrics for my next project :-)

This project is super special to me;
it's for my baby brother and his fiancee!
Yep, Matt and Marin are finally getting married and we are just as tickled as can be.

She 'ordered' a black and white quilt - any design I choose.
ahhh, the pressure ;-)
I said, "And what other color??"
Marin cocked her head the right, smiled her beautiful dimpled smile
and said, "None. Just black and white."
"Lots of black and white prints."

After searching black and white quilts on Pinterest for a few hours, 
and not being inspired by anything I found,
I remembered this quilt I'd pinned, and thought it would look rather smashing in B&W,
over the course of a few days,
I designed my own (much larger!) version.
We'll see how it works....

The wedding is in May, so I best get cracking.

Speaking of weddings,
the girls are going to be flower girls in just a few weeks,
so tulle skirts climbed to the tip top of my sewing  list.
I'd be okay putting it off another week ;-)
but I'm afraid it might make the bride a little nervous...

I think the colors are most accurately represented in this picture.

Friday, January 9, 2015

dinner fail

I see now where I went wrong.

For starters,
attempting two new 'recipes' in the same meal is pure foolishness,
and yet, that's what I did.

I guess the dinner wasn't exactly a total fail,
I mean, it was eaten.
I didn't have to throw it out.
So that's something.
But I was hoping for not one, but two winners....

I actually liked both dishes okay,
but neither ended up like I intended them to,
And really, I'm not sure what I was thinking,
because orange chicken, and buffalo anything together,
is probably not the best idea.

I did not achieve the 'crispy outside' that others speak of in their buffalo cauliflower

Brandon summed it up best,
"Orange Chicken should be fried,
and buffalo
 should be chicken."

(Orange chicken should also be orangenot yellow. ahem.)

I guess I should just forget the outcome
and focus on the fact that I tried to be creative in the kitchen.
That's gotta be worth somethin'....