Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Reason for my Absence

My life has been one big all-consuming, tirelessly cleaning, scrubbing, sorting, throwing, organizing frenzied ordeal. In short, I haven't had the time or energy to do much else besides work toward this:
And now that it's done, I have a few days to catch my breath. Until we unpack it all on the other side.

P.S. In case you were wondering where we are moving ...we bought the house with the big play room. Squeeeeeee!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Can't blog now


This is the state of my house. Not just in this room--it looks like this everywhere. I'll be so happy to have all this painting over with. I've got about 2 weeks left of this. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I Need Therapy

Some more simple reversible bags (more detailed pictures on my flickr page). I'm in love with the rich earthy colors of this linen. It's fun playing around with the color combinations, and then getting a hint of something different inside. I feel like I've been on a roll with these, but sadly, this will be it for my sewing for awhile. So much for handmade Christmas presents for everyone! The sewing machine will be having a 1 - 2 month hiatus as we work in earnest to beautify our home. We are having the entire interior painted--with special attention to the trim work which I tried really hard to do myself but kind of gave up because it turns out I'm not very good at it (and am not all that motivated, either...some things ARE best left to professionals, as much as I hate to admit). Our master bathroom is almost done, and we've decided to update another one. So, there's lots going on, and this blog won't have a lot of crafty content unless you're interested in before and after pictures (are you?).


In the meantime, I've been very inspired by this book. And although I don't live in an apartment, I can relate to a lot of the issues and challenges in it, i.e. flow, furniture placement, lighting, creating a feel-good home. I find the last topic especially important because as a stay-at-home-mom I spend much of my time here. Although I love my home, sometimes I don't love being in it. I think the clutter is really getting to me. That and the fact that I have a little guy who thinks it's great fun to un-make the bed and rummage through the just-cleaned pantry to roll aluminum cans across the floor. Did I mention we also have a food-flinging problem? Anyway, the book is good, and so is the blog that goes with it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Topstitchery

I remember when I was little, my mom used to make a big production out of topstitching--emphasizing the importance of making sure every line was perfectly straight because any mistakes would be glaringly obvious. I guess that's always stayed with me, because I find my neck gets tense when I'm topstitching. But last night I had this revelation that my topstitching doesn't have to be perfect. The imperfection is what breathes soul/humanity into handmade objects. Not that I'm going to make things crooked on purpose, but I'm not a machine, and I don't get years of practice sewing the same thing over and over in a factory. I'm a mom who stays up way too late for my own good, sewing because that's what I love to do. And hopefully the things I make reflect that.




Friday, October 12, 2007

Breakfast with Daddy

Our Friday mornings are reserved for breakfast with Daddy at his cafeteria. That is, if he doesn't have any meetings before 9 o'clock. We get up early, get our clothes on and head over to his office. It's been a fun tradition. One that we've enjoyed for a few years now. I'll be sad when Davey has to go to school on Fridays next year, because then our Friday mornings will be a whole lot different. For now, I love that even something simple like breakfast can be an adventure.


Running to the cafeteria:

The view out the window ain't bad either:

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Near Perfect Weekend

Spring is my favorite season, but Fall comes a close second. Especially when apple cider, pumpkin pie and donuts are involved. We spent the weekend on our island for the annual apple squeeze. The boys had a blast trailblazing, beachcombing, caramel apple eating, huckleberry picking..... Here are few pictures of our weekend. And if you made it this far, congrats. You've just read my 200th post! It took me about 2 years to get to 200, and at the rate I'm posting, I should hit 400 in about 4 years from now (ha ha!)I'm doing a little giveaway in celebration. Just leave a comment before midnight Thursday, the 11th, and I will a draw a name to receive a mysterious prize...so much so that it is still a mystery to me. It will involve something handmade by me,though, and most likely fabric. Good luck! :)

eta: Thank you to all who entered the drawing. I loved hearing from all you lurkers and checking out your blogs. I can't believe how many incredible new blogs are popping up out there! Amazing. Anyway, the ever-faithful random number generator picked Lynn from Craftstew! Now the pressure is on to create something nice for you.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Redirect


You know you haven't updated your blog in a while when you check bloglines to see if there's a new post from yourself. OK. It really hasn't gotten that bad.... I have, however, been kind of busy with my new gig and have found that I don't have a lot of time to make stuff for myself. Which, strangely, I don't mind that much, except that it doesn't leave me a whole lot to blog about. So anyway, I'm sending you off to http://www.makingitfun.blogspot.com/ where you'll find two new tutorials from yours truly: burp cloths and splat mats. Enjoy!
p.s. Another thing keeping me busy is that I have to watch Survivor: China because one of my elementary and high school classmates is in it: Jean-Robert. We used to call him Bobby. If I could find my high school yearbook I would post his picture. How often does it happen that I know someone on TV? Like, never. OK, that's not true. Christina Chang used to live down the street from me, and so I watch her when she hosts Globe Trekker. You may touch me now. What, you're not impressed? Who do YOU know on TV, huh, huh?????

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Get My Jollies

I was putting some old magazines in the recyclables the other day when I came across this Sunset magazine. Fabulous looking food with even more fabulous looking wooly hand-knit hotpads underneath. Given the recent cold turn the weather has taken around here lately, I had to recreate the whole scenario ASAP.Yeah. Near miss. Whatever. Next time I'll use better looking yarn, a bigger white dish and actually cook real food instead of using those instant crock pot meals from the freezer section. Oh well. It was fun. I have to get my jollies somehow, right?

Here's another fun thing I saw in a magazine:

Eeeeek! It's the Michael Miller ad in the Oct./Nov. issue of Mary Engelbreit Home Companion. I knew there was going to be an ad in there, but I didn't know it was going to be a full-page spread. And I didn't know it was going to be so darn cute. And by the way, Melissa--those are your grandma's buttons!!!! :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Spilling the Beans

Remember the cryptic post from early July--the one where I had a secret I was dying to tell, but I couldn't? Well, finally I can and I'm so excited! A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Kathy Miller from Michael Miller Fabrics. She'd done a search on Dick and Jane fabric to see what people were doing with it and she came across my blog and the little things I was making back in February and March for the baby shower I was helping to coordinate. Here, I'll save you some time and repost the pictures here:Anyway, she'd decided to start her own blog and asked me if I'd like to contribute to it. Well, hello? That was a no-brainer. I've loved MM fabrics since I first started noticing fabric. I made my first nappy bag with it. My first cute skirt with it. And of course all that Dick and Jane stuff. So YES, YES, YES! I was telling my hubby that it feels like high school when you have a crush on someone and then you find out they like you back! Swoon. And here's the most exciting part: she sent me some fabric to play around with. Woo hoo! So I'll be periodically writing tutorials for her blog using all that fun fabric.

Kathy's blog is now up and running. Go take a look and leave her a comment. And while you're there, you'll see a new, improved version of the cloth baby shoes (one with left and right foot specific soles) and a tutorial for appliqued onesies--with more on the way. You thought I was just hanging out all summer making lazy-butt food, but really I was working (like crazy paddling duck feet) on all this stuff I couldn't post. Ahh, I can't tell you how great it feels to finally be able to get this off my chest. Sweet relief.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tweedle dum and tweedle dee

There's nothing I like more than having new playthings in my sewing room. Here are my new bias tape makers--tweedle dum and his little brother tweedle dee. Also, I finally splurged and got myself the large size cutting mat. I've been "making do" with a little one, and when I saw the big one on sale the other day I finally decided that I'd suffered enough. Sigh. And what a joy it is.

p.s. Hope you are surviving the back to school stuff. Frankly, it's killing me! I have 2 in school now, and between all the driving around and piles of paperwork, forms, emergency kits, and family pictures to turn in, it's going to be a little while before I make the adjustment. The boys are doing great, but I miss summer already. Oh, and little guy has developed a distaste for his car seat. Can you blame him? By noon, he's already spent more than 2 hours in the van. Poor kid.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Lazy Butt Cookin'

I'm a bit overdue for another lazy butt food post. Truth be told, I could probably take a picture of every dinner this past week and it would qualify. Here a few that I've posted to the flickr group, but I thought I'd post them here as well. Afterall, doesn't everyone want to be inflicted with pictures of my cooking?
This is fancy rice. Not technically fried rice, because the rice doesn't get fried. Here's the recipe:

Scramble an egg, add frozen veggies and ham. Throw it in a rice cooker full of steamed rice and stir it all around. If it needs flavoring, add a dash or two of Maggi. This is Maggi, in case you were wondering:********

Here's my parmesan chicken--Chicken nuggets, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese on a bed of noodles.
The beauty of this meal is that kids who don't like their food items touching each other can have everything served separately on plates with little dividers. By the way, aren't those yellow carrots the cutest?

********


This one is Thai Green Curry--Sautee chicken, onion and celery. Pour in a jar of Trader Joe's Thai Green Curry sauce and simmer. Serve over brown rice. Throw in some cherry tomatoes from the garden for color (and nutrition, even though the kids won't touch them. When will this phase end? Come to think of it, they don't touch the curry either! I could do a series of blog posts called "What WE ate, what THEY ate" or "What WE ate, what THEY didn't eat.")


********
And lately, when I don't have a decent side of veggies to serve, I send the boys out to the garden to pick some of these yellow cucumbers. They're yummy! EVERYONE eats these.

What lazy-butt meals are in YOUR repertoire?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sewing 101: The French Seam

I just learned a new-to-me trick: The French Seam. This is used most often when sewing clothes if you don't have a serger. The raw edges of the fabric are encased so that there is no fraying. Grab some scrap fabric and try it out (it's fun!) Here goes:
We are going to sew these two pieces of fabric together:


This is the part that feels strange. Line up your fabric with WRONG sides together and sew a 3/8" seam:
Measuring 1/8" out from the sewn line, trim off the seam allowance.

Fold the fabric on the seam so that right sides are together and iron it down.

Stitch another seam at 1/4" (this part feels normal again, because right sides are together--whew!).

When you open it up, it looks like this:
And from the back, it looks like this--see, no raw edges!!! Why all the precise measurements? To get a perfect 5/8" seam, of course!
If you can think of any ways that you would use or have used the French seam, PLEASE leave a comment.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Home

A few weeks ago we came about this close to putting an offer down on a house nearby. When we bought the one we're in, we were a one-kid family. Now we've got two more kids and sometimes it feels like were bursting at the seams. When I'm trying to get from the family room to the kitchen, I'm always walking around toys or tripping over little bodies. I find myself muttering a dozen times a day, "this is no way to live." There are a couple of issues, I think, going on. First of all, we have lots of stuff--kids' stuff, sewing stuff, computer-related stuff. We have lots of hobbies, so we have lots of stuff. Secondly, I'm an introvert. I need my space and I need my quiet time, and if I don't get these two things in small quantities during the day, I get stressed out. As a mom of three louder-than-average boys, it's probably quite apparent that I don't get much of either, which explains why I'm pulling my hair out at the end of the day. As much as I love my kids, I think a vacation from them would be a marvelous thing. Unfortunately, we live far from either side of the family, so sending them off to grandma's is not going to happen.

Anyway, oops, got sidetracked there for a second, where was I???? Oh yes, the house. What a house. It had 4 bedrooms, a craft room (yippee), a huge kitchen, and here's the kicker:

Look at this HUMONGOUS playroom. Actually, the sellers are ballroom dancers and they had this room built especially with that in mind. Dancing schmancing. Can you picture my kids riding bikes in here during rainy Seattle winters? Yeah, me too.

Anyway, in the end, we decided not to do it. We still have some living to do here yet. My dining room is in transition, we're undergoing a master bathroom remodel...we picked out our tiles and fixtures for pity's sake. Don't make me leave here until I get to break it all in. This is where we have all our memories. So even though I like/dislike my home--it's still home.

So now my focus is to make it work for us. We CAN live happily in this space, even though it's a smidge too tight. Streamline, streamline. I'm not sure I know where to start, but I'm going to do my best to try.

I did find a blog that totally inspires me. Check out her flickr pictures. I love the way she decorates and is able to make a small space beautiful and functional. And I love this post on "stuff"--getting rid of it, not accumulating it, not being attached to it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Camping (not Glamping)*

We spent the weekend camping on our land. We looove our land. But have I mentioned that it's very jungly and full of prickly blackberry bushes? My hubby has spent a few of his days off the past few weeks with a huge brush mower to make a clearing for a campsite and create some trails so that the boys can walk around freely without tripping on roots or being stung by nettles. Ahh. Much better. We've been planning this camping trip for awhile, and wouldn't you know, the week before our trip, Sunset magazine came out with a day tripping article on "our" island. A good omen, I think.

And the cool thing is that we did practically everything it said to do. We went to the general store, went to the marine park, ate at the restaurant. We didn't swim at the swimming hole, though, because we already have a favorite swimming spot.

Our tent is the size of a carport. The week before our trip, our other tent got wrecked when some friends we had over for a playdate decided that it would be fun to take jumping leaps into the side of it. You know, like a vertical trampoline. That was all the excuse Dave needed to get this one. Our old tent was a smidge too small for us anyway. This one held us and all our junk just fine.
Yes, the little one is blond. No, he didn't get switched with some other baby at the hospital.


*Glamping is glamorous camping. I learned about it from Ali in this post. Maybe we glamped just a little. We did go to a restaurant. And we ate our donuts in the van because it was so cold in the morning. But we cooked hotdogs and made smores--for reals.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Nate? Nate?

First of all, yay--the IKEA catalog arrived! Just in time for my craft room. I'm thinking shelving. Lots and lots of it. I've finally peeled off the last of the wallpaper. Unfortunately, whoever put it up was very paste-happy, so I still have lots of scrubbing to do before I paint. But that's OK. I'm going to need lots of time to deliberate my new wall color. Whatever it is will have to coordinate with this green (Martha Stewart/Arbor Green) of my kitchen and this brownish gray (Martha Stewart/Twine) of the living room, both of which are visible from the dining room/craft room.

Any suggestions? I guess ideally I would go find some fabric I love that incorporates these colors and make some drapes for my new craft room to pull it all together. Some people have the knack...I'm afraid I'm not one of them. Nate, where are you when I need you? Do you read my blog, Nate? Feel free to leave me a comment. Ha ha ha!!! (Wow, if he did I would totally pee my pants.)

Secondly--thanks for all the lazy-butt recipes. I LOVE them all. My mom was big into canned beans on toast. I'd forgotten all about that one. I also love the ones that involve throwing ingredients into the rice cooker. Paella, anyone? Veggies and beef pilaf? Yum. I'm going to try some of them out and feature them here on my 'lil blog. Also, I've started a flickr group called lazy-butt cookin'. If you have any meals to share, get out the food cam and share the recipe. The only rule is that you can't include measurements, because lazy-butt cooks don't measure. They just dump. Right? If I ever get off my lazy-butt, I might even come up with a button for the flickr group. Right now there are no pictures there, but I think I'm going to have to tag some people to get it going. For now, I'm going to have to tag these "lucky" people: Angelika, Jessicah,
Rachael
, KitKatKnit, and Heide. Oh, you poor people. You don't have to play if you don't feel like it.

Now I have to show you the monster zucchini that came from our garden. The boys have been carrying it around the house for 2 days, using it to show off how strong they are. It's almost like a part of our family. I don't know why we are growing zucchini. I'm the only one in our family who eats it. I made it into chocolate zucchini bread using this recipe, which made two loaves. Look at how much of the zucchini is left!

See? Whenever I actually follow a recipe, I have to blog about it, so rarely does it occur.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The lazy-butt food post

I was scoping out Michael's the other day with the kids, and of course when they saw these they just had to have them. Who am I to stand in the way of footed cupcake holders? Nevermind that we had absolutely no cake mix in the house or frosting. (Um, did I just out myself? Yeah, well, I hardly ever cook from scratch anymore). So almond poppyseed muffin mix, some nutella and sprinkles, and there you go kids. Eat up.

By the way, speaking of lazy-butt (or frazzled-butt) meals...tonight's dinner was left over pot roast, a few cups of water, some onion soup mix and instant potatoes. Voila. Beefy potato soup. It was actually pretty good if I do say so myself. It rivals the lazy-butt meal of last week which was throw two cups of rice in the rice cooker and when the button pops up, dump a can of beef vegetable soup and stir it around. I crack myself up.

My sister's lazy-butt meal (hi Linda!) is ground beef with a can of cream of mushroom soup served over rice--beef stroganoff. Yum.

What's your lazy-butt meal? Share your secrets...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hobo bag

Here's a hobo bag I made for a friend of mine who needs some cheering up this week.


There's a lot I like about this bag. The shape, the applique, the fabric, the fall-ishness of it. I also like the rings.


But this part is my favorite--the zippered pocket in the lining. Thanks to that genius Autum and her tutorial . I even made a special trip to the store just to buy invisible thread. It was so hard to see I could barely make out if the machine was even sewing.

As I was working on this, I was thinking back to just a couple of years ago when I was starting to sew in earnest. I'd made this camouflage tote bag for Davey and didn't think to put a pocket on it until after it was all done. And then I was all frustrated because I couldn't fit the bulky bag through the machine to sew the pocket on. Duh! I've come a long way, baby. It's a good feeling.

Thanks for the tut, Autum!