Happy Windsday!

30 09 2009

Here I am, typing away in my make-your-eyes-roll-into-the-back-of-your-head-it’s-that-soft robe feeling perfectly content with life. Everyone is still sleeping, the cats are fed so they aren’t meowing at me – I’m not in pain and I have a lovely cup of caffeine. This is so rare I really felt I needed to jot it down!

We’ve been so lucky the weather has turned cold lately, and suddenly at that. Last weekend was over 100 degrees. As I write this it’s 52. A decrease of 50%! Um, unless I did my math wrong, which is entirely possible. I hadn’t realized we’re officially in Autumn until this dramatic weather change made me check the calendar (like, 5 seconds ago). And that makes me a bit sad because I love Autumn more than any other season.

This day truly is calling for some sort of celebration. It’s going to have to be a close to home celebration though, as I think my car is completely devoid of gas.

Something else that makes me happy…
Have you seen these pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses? If you like pumpkin pie go get some straight away. These things are like someone created a wonderful machine that took a piece of your mum’s pumpkin pie and smushed it into a tiny bite-sized piece of chocolate that’s only 23 calories each. Of course, it doesn’t help if you eat the entire bag, but who counts calories anyways? S put one in his coffee this morning to excellent results.

We ended up taking two walks to the same place today because G-ma needed something after we got back. Good exercise in good weather but now I need a nap! And after the nap, to finish the last garment in the three piece outfit I’m making E. Oh, who am I kidding, I won’t be lucky enough to get a nap!


A Sneak Peek

29 09 2009

My latest finished project


Ta-da! My first peasant blouse I’m alright with sharing with the world. I used another of Vegbee’s fabulous tutorials. (On a side note: I wish blogspot would let me log in so I could tell her how great I think her tutorials are and how much they’ve helped me. Trust me, go read them! On top of her tutes, she just has the most fantastic outlook on life.)

At any rate, I used a pretty little purple flowered remnant from Walmart and what is probably-supposed-to-be-used-under-a-skirt white material that was also a remnant. That’s why E isn’t wearing it. She has worn it a few times, but there is already a tear in the white (and that wasn’t even her fault – bad mommy!) so there’s no point in her wearing it until I can salvage it.

Total cost of this practice garment: $1.50 … ouch. I shouldn’t have used the purple on a practice shirt, it’s cute. I try to shoot for less than $1 per outfit. Oh well, rack this up to another learning experience. I’m even happy with my failures, what is going on?! :p

I like to make a “practice” garment with material that is cheap before I start my “real” project. Usually I use sheets. But all this has been leading up to an outfit for E I’m pretty excited about. I really hope it turns out! I’ll even give you a sneak peek and a hint.

Just a little sneak peek

Just a little sneak peek

And here’s the hint: Firefly/Serenity.

Upcoming Projects

Because my list is getting huge and I need to get my act together, this should keep me on task. I have quite a few presents and costumes to get together before the end of the year!


finish swing skirt
E’s Halloween skirt Finished 9/29/09


My own circle skirt from S’s shirts, using Vegbee’s tute
B’s birthday tutu Or even better, some sort of criss-cross tutu, these are gorgeous!
hoodie for S
pjs pants for at least 4 for xmas 10/3/09 Finished
S wants me to make him a “Gumby” costume a la Monty Python. I’m not sure much sewing is involved, but I better put it here.


Dishtowel aprons for Xmas
Something pretty for my cousin who is having another girl, a blanket? This itty bitty baby dress? Maybe a baby tutu? Suggestions welcome!
This incredibly cute bag for ME! Or maybe I’ll give it to my mother who loves purses the way I love geek stuff. Very special thanks to Jessi Linn for drawing my attention to it.

I’m sure I’m going to end up adding more, maybe a scarf for my mother in law. Maybe something my brother in law can use in basic training. Maybe I can find some inexpensive Betty Boop fabric and make something for my sister.

Happy Birthday, Jim Henson.

25 09 2009

If you’re my age, Jim Henson is likely your own personal god. He probably shaped the way you learned, how you looked at the world, what you laughed at. He created some of your best friends.

I’m celebrating his life’s work today with the kids, watching The Muppet Show. I’ll leave you with this fun article, In Honor of Jim Henson’s Birthday, Five Things Mindblowing Muppet Revelations.

A’s special day

23 09 2009


I try to give each child some “special time” alone with mommy whenever I can swing it. It takes some intense planning at times but it is so worth it. Especially for A. He was the baby of the family for 6 years and then all of a sudden he had a baby sister. It was a surprise for all of us (most of all me!) but it set him back a bit.

Since Z had a church event and S didn’t have to work, I asked him to have some time with E. Then A and I were off to the park!


There is always at least one person flying a kite or two at this park but we’ve personally never had the opportunity. It was a windy Sunday, a little too windy for lightweight kites, but we took a chance.

A was so excited, he had been wanting to fly his kite for ages. I really feel bad that it took us this long. I packed a blanket, which never got sat on, two kites, water and my camera.

The mighty kite man surveys his handiwork

The mighty kite man surveys his handiwork

At one point, I noticed a 3 year old boy watching A intently. Since A had the kite up in the air so well, we let the little boy fly it for a while. His dad said we made his day; the boy had always wanted to fly a kite!

We spent an hour or so flying two different kites. One, a cheapie Yoda kite, couldn’t stand the wind, so we gave up on it. We hit a yard sale on the way home but didn’t find anything special.


What better way to end a special day than with a game of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit?

Tennis, World Music and terrible sewing

23 09 2009


Z has just a few more tennis lessons left and it’s been amazing to see how much he has improved from just a few weeks ago. He loves it. I’m so happy, I really felt that he needed a sport to participate in since he quit Kung Fu. I love that he’s excited about it and looks forward to it. I am sad that it’s almost over, but he still has piano.

Yard Sales

The boys cannot wait to go yard sale shopping on weekends. I didn’t find much for me this weekend (a few pieces of cheap yet cute jewelery) but the boys did well. They spent about $4 total.

But they definitely have different approaches: A buys things he finds exciting or different or fun. He “backwards bargains”. It goes something like this:
A: How much is this?
Seller: X.
A: *sad tone* ohhhh… I don’t have that much.
S: Oh? Well… how much do you have?
A: half of X.
S: OK, you can have it for that. And while you’re at it, why don’t you pick out a free rug for your room?

(Yeah, the boys both got free – and super cool – rugs for their rooms but I didn’t get photos of them)

Z is more cautious, he thinks through his purchases. He weighs his options. He decides if he can do without. And then he bargains. And can he ever bargain! He talks people down so well I have him do it for my purchases as well.

Yard sales are a great opportunity for kids to learn so many things. They get to learn the value of a dollar, how to take something old and reuse it, how to bargain, how to check merchandise before you buy and how to shrug it off if it’s broken, how to count out money, how to navigate streets and maps, how to deal with people and best of all, how to decide it it’s really worth it. If you don’t already, I really encourage you to take your (appropriately aged) children to yard sales.

World Music Festial


On Saturday we were lucky enough to attend the yearly world music festival. We’d missed the last few years so I was excited to go this year. S’s mom gave us some money to try different foods.

When we arrived the band that was on stage was playing heavy metal. Don’t get me wrong, I love heavy metal, but it wasn’t what I was expecting at a “world music” festival. S teased me that heavy metal is played in the world!


Beside that one “sour note” (ouch!), the festival was quite fun. Lots of booths selling African art and drums, flowy “hippie-ish” clothes, amazing handmade jewelery, purses, all sorts of crafty type booths.


E was instantly drawn to the purses. What a girly girl. I am not kidding when I say she already has more purses than I do.

One booth featured a woman doing henna. I so wanted to have some done but A) There was a huge huge line, B) The kids were restless and wanted to eat and C) I didn’t have the money to waste on it.

We had a delicious Indian sampler (the kids got to pick and they chose Indian over burgers, so proud!) with curries and coconut sauce and lentils and … yum!


We had a blast, I love when we are able to get to events like this. My health doesn’t always allow for family adventures and it was so nice sitting on the lawn, eating curry, listening to drummers and watching a spontaneous display of hula-hooping.

As for sewing, I’ve been doing a lot with very little to show for it. I finished a prototype hoodie for E that I’m fairly pleased with. I need to figure out an enclosure and shorten the length, otherwise it’s pretty alright for a first try.

I made myself a t-shirt based on one I love, but the fabric is terrible, all ravely, and I tried to do an interesting shoulder tie so it turned into a mess.

I decided to create some bloomers with ruffles. The ruffles didn’t make it on the bloomers and they were too small for E anyway.

Even through all this I feel undaunted – a strange sensation. Usually I would be filled with loathing and self doubt. But I know I can only improve from here!

Look for another post soon, I only had time and/or room to post about half the weekend.

Sharpie to rocket in 10 minutes

18 09 2009

I did promise to share some of my husband’s crafty projects too, so here is one of my favorites.


Here it is up close, and yes, most of S’s non-work shirts look like that.


The boys were so excited to try it out, so we went to the least populated and least surrounded by trees and wires to celebrate it’s test flight.


I have to admit, it was pretty exciting. True, I was NASA’s live feed of launches, but I haven’t seen anything in person since our 6th grade rocketry section in science class. Even little E thought it was great.

The rocket completed three missions until it went missing.


Total cost of this craft if you were to buy the materials in stores: $8ish? I don’t know how much that air costs.

Men’s workshirts into toddler swing skirt

17 09 2009


She seems happy eh?

I used a great tutorial from Vegbee and 8ish hours later (hard to judge between driving kids to functions and classes and having a toddler at your legs) this was the end result!


For my first real project of any magnitude, I’m alright with it. I know I can do better. I know the bottom seam is crooked, but I opted to forgo the bias tape or anything that would weigh it down more, so I folded it over. Maybe not the best choice for someone with my sewing skills.


Also, the butt is shorter than the front, even though she hardly has a butt, even with a diaper! I should shorten the front next time. (I know this photo looks like the exact opposite, it’s just the way she’s standing)


E makes Tyra Banks proud with her crazy angles. She probably needs to work on smiling with her eyes though.

This was quite a fun and frugal sewing project. I used 3 of S’s work shirts that didn’t quite fit him, cut them into strips and sewed those together, then cut them out using a template.


I could have actually done this with 2 shirts, but I liked the tricolor pattern and I had plenty of shirts to work with.

I was really moving right along, proud of myself for getting it mostly right and all the seams the right direction, etc, when this happened.


It took me forever to realize that anything was wrong, I wasted so so so much thread doing this. Don’t even ask me how long it took to figure out what was happening. I’m a self taught noob, remember? S knows more about sewing than I do!


Total cost: FREE, however, I know my husband’s shirt supply won’t last, so thrift store bought this would be about $12 on a bad day. Yard sale bought? $3ish. I’m definitely going to make another one, but this time in my size. S has 4 or 5 green greyish shirts that will make a very lovely skirt!

(Oh, BTW, I was telling my mom about this and she freaked out, thinking I was using all of S’s good work shirts lol)

Sale at Joanns
Joann’s has all their fat quarters on sale for $0.99. I bought a few really gorgeous patterns and felt spoiled. I should keep better track of how much I’m spending on this crafting I started to save money 🙂

That’s it for now. I’m going out with my mom to buy notions and velcro for her belly dance costume. Now that’s another great story…