Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some Bunny to Love

When I found the pattern for this little guy I knew I had to make one. I actually finished him about two weeks ago, but I just got around to taking pictures the other day. He's made from an old cashmere sweater I found at the thrift shop for a quarter. Even with a hole or two - I couldn't leave it behind for that price. Cashmere for a quarter!

So now that sweater is our (help me out here with a cute name) Tooth Fairy pillow. You can't see it in the photo, but on the other side there is a pocket where teeth can go so the Tooth Fairy can find them easily. (The pocket was already in the sweater, I just lined up the pattern where I wanted it to be on the bunny before I cut him out.) I must admit this one was my second attempt. I followed Betz White's pattern but found it way too small to turn right side out, so I blew it up 200% and was much happier with the result. The kids seem excited about him, especially S, who regularly reminds me, "Mama, when I'm five one tooth will fall out. Just one - not all of them." He doesn't quite get it yet...

In completely unrelated news, Monday was his first ever day of pre-school. So far he is loving it - specifically the "purple pony." I took a ton of photos on that first day (of course) but have yet to get a minute to upload them.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall Decorating

Even with the candle and the acorns, the dining room table still needed something. So I got out this book, dug through my stash, and viola! a quick table top quilt. I suppose it could be a wall hanging too. I love how quickly these go together. The hardest part is arranging the two inch squares into a pleasing arrangement so the wreath flows around the edges. I stippled the black background, quilted in the ditch around the boarders and free motioned the leaves. Not too shabby I must say. Now I'm wondering what I have stashed away in the way of Christmas fabrics...

No no! I must focus on Halloween - gotta' get those costumes done. Yes, the costumes I haven't started yet. Back to the sewing room I go...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome Fall

I've had an odd compulsion to pick up acorns this fall. I can't explain it, but when I see them on the ground I have to fill my pockets. It's odd, I know...

I don't really have much in the way of fall decorations, except for a wreath I get out after Halloween, but I thought the house needed something to celebrate these early days of fall. All those acorns came in handy; a few of them worked perfectly to spruce up the lonely candle atop my dining room table.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mermaid Love

I have one very happy four year-old boy; he loved his party. I'm really happy with how the blue tulle, streamers, and balloons worked to give the dining room an "under the sea" feel.

My favorite thing was my grandmother's giant clam shell filled with glass stones and candles. She use to serve shrimp in it, but it was a perfect center piece for this party. S said his favorite thing was the glass stones that were scattered all over the table. I think K's favorite was the bowls of gummy fish on the table; she ate almost all of them. (I can't believe how those bowls matched perfectly with the stones...)

My Little Mermaid napkins coordinated quite well with the Dollar Store tablecloth, plates and cutlery, and the homemade place cards. We made them using a kit from Wal-Mart - I did the lettering and the kids added the sea life. Grandpa Jack says he is going to put his on the fridge when he gets home.

We toasted the birthday boy with tall glasses of "seaweed juice." (A.K.A. Crystal Light raspberry ice tea dyed dark green with gel food coloring.) Everyone got a little drink umbrella too. Don't ask me what drink umbrellas have to do with mermaids, but when I sew them at Wal-Mart for $2.19, I couldn't refuse. They're just so festive - I use to love playing with them when I was a kid...

The cake was all Papa. He ordered the chocolate molds, mixed the chocolate and dye, made the shapes, dusted them with pearl powder and placed them on the cake - his cake made from scratch! How's that for a great husband?

I hope your weekend was as fun-filled as mine was. On a completely different note - our swap package arrived Friday - just like it was supposed to and it was fantastic. I'll post photos early next week. Thanks Jessica!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sneak Peek

I'm too exhausted to post all the details tonight, but here is a sneak peek at our Under the Sea Extravaganza. I knew things were going to work out well first thing this morning. When S came down the stairs he turned and looked into the dining room and began jumping up and down shouting, "Mama, Mama, come look at my party!" Thank goodness I had the camera out and ready.

More mermaid love soon...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Party Planning

My son turns four on Saturday (can he be that old?) and has requested a mermaid party. OK, he actually asked his Papa, who is the chef in these parts, to make him a mermaid birthday cake, and Mama sort of took the idea and ran. He is a mermaid-loving boy, so tonight I made him a special birthday shirt. (I'd love to credit where I first saw this idea, but for the life of me I can't remember...)

This shirt is one of my first attempts at machine applique using a satin stitch and I think it turned out all right. The four was pretty easy - lots of straight lines, but outlining Ariel was considerably harder, so she 's far from perfect. But I know one little guy who will love it anyway and that's all that matters in the end.

I also made another pants bag recently. This time out of a size-four capris I picked up at the thrift shop for a quarter. A quarter! How could I leave them there? They had "Make me into a bag," written all over them. When I told my friend Miranda about my plans she said, "Oh good, I was worried you were going to actually wear those."

I decided to make longer handles this time so it's more of a tote and I am really happy with how it turned out. (The handles are black fabric and turquoise gros grain ribbon.) I have a zipper to sew into the top, but it is going to have to wait until all the merpeople (A.K.A. grandparents in from out of town) leave early next week. For now the party planning continues. I'm heading upstairs to work on the napkins. Have I mentioned how much I love having a serger???

Monday, September 15, 2008

Time For Some Humble Pie

I owe a number of you an apology. So let me begin with that...

I am very sorry that I have not been sending emails in response to all the wonderful comments you leave for me. I love getting comments and I actually have been writing response emails, some of you just haven't been getting them. Why you ask. Well it is because I am a complete and total dork, dumb-ass, goober, etc. Feel free to insert your favorite less than complimentary adjective here _______. Let me explain...

Sometime back in August, I changed from using comment moderation to email notification to keep track of my comments so I could respond to them. It seemed like a great idea, and it would have been if I wasn't so clueless. I loved the email notification because I could just click "reply" to send an email to the people who commented, but like everything that seems to good to be true, this was too.

When I clicked "reply," often the email address was noreply@blogger.com and I thought that was OK. I thought those emails were being sent all the wonderful people who took the time to leave me a little note. How dumb could I be?

Twice yesterday I noticed that when I clicked "reply" there was an actual email address instead of "noreply." So I fired off second emails to Linn and Susan and asked, "Did you get another message from me today?" Both said no. Yikes! All those messages I had sent were just gone. People must have thought I was quite rude for not responding to their comments, so let me make it up to you...

I was planning on doing a give away for my 100th post (this is post #94,) but I think I want to do it now. I want you all to know how much I value your comments and that I feel bad for seeming to ignore some of you.

Sweet William

I saved all the seeds from my columbine and my sweet william this year, and I have more seeds than I can use. Would you like some? As you can see in the pictures, the sweet williams are a mixture of different colors but the columbine is purple.

If you would like a little packet of seeds, just leave a comment and let me know which one (or both) you would like. I have lots and should be able to send seeds out to everyone who would like some. Plus, as long as your email is available on your profile or blog, I promise I will email a reply to your comment, and you'll get it! Because I do read and appreciate every one...

humble pie image credit:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ready, Set, Go

The seamstress in me has started gearing up for Halloween. Both my husband and I love Halloween, so we tend to go a wee bit overboard. I know it isn't fair (because not everyone knows how or has the time to sew,) but I have a personal problem with store-bought costumes, I just don't like them. Perhaps it is because my mother always made ours; never once did I have a purchased costume. Anyway, I always try to make ours too; last year we were all pirates. (I wasn't blogging last October, so I'll shamelessly share pictures now.)

I took a trip to Traverse City this weekend. In addition to shopping for my son's mermaid-themed birthday (his choice - more details next week) and new clothes for myself (dear God - did I ever need them,) I was able to pick up all the supplies for this year's costume making extravaganza.

This theme this year is The Gingerbread Man. Starring my daughter, K, as the Gingerbread Man (Simplicity #3916,) that quick cookie known for yelling, "Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

My son, S, as the Tricky Fox (Simplicity #2855 though I'll have to wing it on the tail) who tricks the Gingerbread Man and ends up snacking on him in the end,

and my husband and I as the Old Man and the Old Woman who are too slow to catch the Gingerbread Man as he runs away. (Quite fitting I think...) Plus the fox costume will work for one of the kids in next year's horse show Costume Class competition. I have visions of a fox sitting atop the horse with a bugle, "chasing" a boy dressed in a red jacket and black riding helmet helmet, while the fox yells, "Run, run as fast as you can.", "How does it feel?", "Now it's my turn to get you," or something like that. If you've got a clever idea about using the Gingerbread Man costume with a horse let me know - I'm drawing a complete blank.

I'm off to make an Ariel table cloth, and a special shirt for my four year-old birthday boy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Meet the Teacher

Tonight was Meet the Teacher Night at my school, so lots of parents got to know me a little better. Now it is your turn... I'm finally getting to this tag from Muralimanohar, over at Miscellany of Me. Since you don't need to know about my classroom website, student podcasts or homework, I'll stick to my quirks. I am rather quirky so keeping the list to six is going to be difficult for me - I have way more quirks than that!

First the rules:
  1. Link back to the person who tagged you
  2. Mention the rules on your blog
  3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
  4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them
  5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

So, here they are in no particular order:

1. I like things to by symmetrical, lined up, etc. I sometimes have to purposely make things really off kilter, because if they are close but not perfect, it will bug me. Like my bulletin boards at school. My writing is usually purposely not centered and not parallel to the top of the board. Remember my welcome back bulletin board? Torn paper is a great way to make things look completely imperfect yet nice. And have you noticed how I like things justified to both the left and right?

2. Buying pants is hard for me because I have huge calves and a big waist. In fact, often my pants are too big on me everywhere else. It is all that walking and biking since cars are illegal here, (oh yeah and having children.) All that exercise is good for the heart but frustrating when you just want a pair of pants to fit well. My friends tease me and say that they want to put me on TLC’s What Not to Wear. I say that’s fine, but Stacy and Clinton have to work in my rules too:

I have to be able to ride a bike, ride a snowmobile, or walk a mile in every outfit. I have arch supports that have to fit inside the shoes. I can not go without them. Nothing can be “dry clean only” since there is no dry cleaner on the island.

I wonder if Stacy and Clinton are up for the challenge...

3. I notice people’s teeth. Not whether or not they are straight, but whether or not they are clean and well maintained. You can tell a lot about a person by how they take care of their teeth…

4. I’m deathly afraid of being stung by a bee, wasp, or whatever. Pretty funny considering that my husband has thousands of bees in the back yard.

5. Commitment is hard for me. Not commitment to people, but to decorating. What if I change my mind – or get new furniture? Why paint now when I’ll just have to redo it later. We’ve been in our house almost four years and I just painted my first room a color (other than off white) this summer. My living room still doesn’t have window treatments since all my furniture is hand-me-downs (thanks Mom) and I don’t want to match curtains to it since it will be replaced. I know – it’s kind of pathetic. I’m working on it…

6. I read really fast. I read each of the last three Harry Potter books in one evening (one evening per book.) I think I often average about 100 pages an hour when I am really into something. Drives my students crazy…

There. Six of my many oddities. Let me see… who is next?

I tag:

Maggie – Maybe this time she’ll play along (hint hint)



Amy Jo



Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fun is...

Fun is spending a wonderfully relaxing weekend at a dear friend's cabin...

and lounging all day soaking in the atmosphere with no plans or schedules.

Fun is going out fishing for the very first time...

and catching more than everyone else in the boat... combined.

It's knowing your little boy is in good hands and having a marvelous time even though you aren't with him.

Not-so-much-fun is being left behind because there are no life jackets small enough to fit you.

The best part is just sitting on the shore listening to the loons as the sun sets and enjoying the company of friends you don't see often enough.

Thanks Kelaine (and Dan & Frank) for the wonderful weekend. Let's not wait five years to do it again this time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Off to a Good Start

Sorry I've been missing for a while - Tuesday was my first day back to school. So this is probably my busiest time of the year. This year I have fourteen 6th - 7th graders in the morning and seven 4th - 5th graders in the afternoon. I've got some great kids and I am looking forward to a wonderful year...

Our first day of school is always a half day with a community picnic in the afternoon. This year we all headed up to the old fort on the island. (It was built in 1780.) The fort interprets the 1880s - the time when the island was a national park and the garrison of soldiers maintained the park.

The fort guides enlisted all the kids and drilled them in some of the finer points of soldiering. This was rather challenging for the little ones didn't know their left from their right, but the crowd up at the fort sure enjoyed it.

Another reason my year is off to a great start is this wonderful lady - Marcia. We've been reading each other's blogs for about six months now and were able to meet over Labor Day weekend. Let me tell you, she is an absolute peach of a gal! We had a great time chatting all afternoon. We're even going to try to get together again later in the month...

And she brought presents! A cute little bag she made (complete with the pattern,) adorable fabric, wonderful handmade soap wrapped in a knit flower, and growing towels for the kids. She brought four, but S and K opened three of them yesterday and loved them! K loved the fabric so much she stuffed it all in her backpack and took it to the babysitter's house yesterday. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered it. So I'm going to have to use it to make something for her.

I may be missing in action until sometime next week. I've got a "To Do" list a mile long and we are heading to a friend's cabin for a relaxing weekend. I can hear that rowboat calling to me already... Have a super weekend.