This and That

31 08 2008

Life has been busy this week! Jake and I worked really hard on the house getting it ready for the Fantasy Football Draft being held at our house last Tuesday night. It was a success and several of Jake’s co-workers commented that they liked our house, which was nice.

And then I decided to take a break and relax and work on some sewing. I’m making a bag, and I was having the hardest time with the directions. I realized that I sewed the bottom and sides together, instead of just sewing the bottom together. Once I cut it apart and sewed just the bottom edges, the rest of the pattern fell together! I’m almost done with it, and will post some pictures of it as soon as I finish embellishing it!

Jake’s brother Luke came up Thursday night to stay a few days. We emptied the craft room, and Jake and Luke assembled the bunk bed that his mom had brought up for us. Most of the stuff got put into the hallway and front craft room/play room.

Um, yeah, so now it is a disaster. But you can see the tote bag that I’m working on. It’s sitting on my desk, and the purple lining fabric is in a pile next to it. And I hung up the small and scrappy quilt that I received in the swap as inspiration. My blocks of the month are in the bags to the left of the desk. I’m sad to admit that I have quite a few to catch up on. But I’m not planning on doing the block of the month this next year so that I can get caught up on projects. Oh, and you can see the fun kitchen fabric on the floor in the bottom right. Eliana has really enjoyed playing with the aprons I’ve received in swaps and wants me to make her one. I found this fabric and it has stoves, fridges, dishes, gloves and more on it. I thought it would be so cute for her to wear when she plays with her felted fruit we received from our fairy!! This is one of the projects I hope to finish before Eliana comes home Tuesday!

We only have one twin mattress for the bunk bed at this time, but it feels so nice to have a spot for guests to rest their heads! I dashed to Target and splurged on some fun bright striped sheets. And I put the quilt that my Aunt made for me when I was a teen. It was the first quilt ever given to me and I LOVE it! It brought back a flood of memories, as it’s a quilt I had on my bed all through junior high school, high school and college. I bring it out for guests when they stay the night, but then put it back in the trunk. So it’s wonderful for this quilt to be back in use and on display again!

There also is a trundle bed that can pull out, but we haven’t attached those pieces yet. I’m planning to store my fabric stash and misc. craft supplies and projects under the bed for now. This room will become Eliana’s room when we have another kiddo. Down the road, I plan to paint it yellow. For the past year, I’ve been thinking about how I’d like a yellow room. I have some girly rodeo and horse fabric that I’ll use in this room for Eliana, so I’ll have to pull it out and find a good coordinating yellow to match. When we first moved in, we both said that we wouldn’t worry about painting this room right away, as it was in much better condition than the other rooms. But now that almost everything else has been painted, this room really looks dingy and now we see all the scuffs. So I may paint it in the next month or two if I can find the perfect cheery yellow paint.

Since we aren’t replacing my car right away, we can only have four people driving around in Jake’s car. This caused a slight dilema when we realized that we had five people to head down to Jake’s mom’s house for Labor Day weekend. I graciously volunteered to stay home. It’s actually quite selfish of me. For one thing, my left hip started hurting a week or two after the car accident and it’s getting worse. I finally made an appointment to see the doctor, which will happen on Wednesday afternoon. It really bothers me if I get up after sitting down for awhile and if I lay on it while napping or sleeping. It wasn’t affecting me while walking, but now it’s starting to hurt even while walking. Jake’s mom had volunteered to pick David and I up on Saturday and we could go house hunting with her in Athens, TX (about two hours away) and then head to her house to meet Jake, Eliana and Luke for the weekend. Normally I would have jumped for joy because I love exploring and it would have been fun to see these plots of land with her. But I just don’t think my hip would have liked the long car drives. And since I’m staying home, I can get my craft space in the bedroom organized and also organize my craft space in the play room. There’s also a HUGE pile of laundry in our master bedroom that really needs to be folded and put away, and the mess is driving me bonkers. And of course third, I can stay home and sew and get projects done while watching sappy chick flicks and enjoy some “Me” time! David and I are going to hang out at home together and I’m going to have fun snuggling and kissing my little guy while we watch movies together and he helps keep me company while I clean and sew.

Jake, Eliana and Luke were going to head out Saturday, but decided to postpone until Sunday so that they could swing by and see Amanda and her new house. (Jake’s sister) I’ve already watched one movie (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) with another one currently running (Love Actually). Did you know that there are a ton of the same actors in both movies? I love Marvin the depressed robot! He cracks me up! I’ve borrowed quite a few movies from my walking neighbor buddy, Tara, so it’ll be fun to have mix of chick flick and sci fi this weekend!

Oh, and this week’s photo challenge theme is “Feminine”. The first thing I thought of was a statue of a mother and child that is at the McKinney Public library. I actually took a picture of it the week before, but I can only enter a photo that I take this week.

So while Luke, David, Eliana and I were running errands on Saturday, we stopped by so that I could take another photo. Sadly, the library was closed for the Labor Day Holiday. It works out, as someone else entered a photo of a statue of a brooding woman. There’s no rule that only one photo of a statue can be entered, but there’s kind of an unwritten policy that we don’t copy each other’s work. So if someone enters a photo of an idea that you have, then you come up with something different. I have found that it actually helps me think out of the box and I come up with a more creative photo as a result, which is fun!

I’ve been walking with a neighbor at night several times a week. I’ve been using my tennis shoes that I had when I was still working full time before I had Eliana. So I bought them sometime in 2002. Um, yeah. It’s time for some new shoes! I actually wonder if this might be one of the reasons my hip hurts. I decided to take advantage of the extra time Jake and Luke were here and see if I could find some good Labor Day sales. But first I went to Half-Price Book store. I didn’t need any books, but had an idea for my Feminine photo.

I found the Women’s Studies section and took a few shots.

And then I saw this book and got a great idea, but I had to go to a different section of the bookshop to complete the image. I was a little embarrassed to be in the romance section, and people were giving me some strange looks, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.


The next stop was the shoe store to pick out some new tennis shoes. I still had some time to spare, and then got a few more ideas for the challenge.

“Now That’s My Kind of Sale!”

“Fashionable Pain”

When talking with my mom last night, she gave me a good idea. Here was the first attempt. I still have time to play around with it tonight.

“My Monthly Companions”

I have until midnight on Monday to make a decision and enter something, so I’ll play around with these ideas and decide which one to enter.

Here is another sneak peak of the craft/play room. This is the bookcase that used to be in Eliana and David’s bedroom in the old house. These dot boxes originally were filled with baby wipes. I saw them at Walmart and thought they’d be perfect to store toys in their bedroom and playroom, so I stocked up and they are now in a big stack in our garage! I won’t be needing to buy baby wipes ANY time soon, LOL!! And Eliana picked out three of the plants below when we were at a recent trip to Home Depot. I saw the pots and thought it’d be fun to have these on display. She helped me put them into pots and loved playing with the dirt! She helps me water them, too, which is fun!

Here is the kitchen. I used to have a lot more of these colored glass vases, but I’ve picked out my favorites. I bought the Ivy at a local grocery store. And you can see that the shelves above the sink are finished! I think that Jake did a great job building them! I put a few things on them for decoration for the Fantasy Football draft, but I’ll go through and find some things that will live there more permanently. I know that I am going to put several tea cups on them, along with some photos in pretty frames. And Jake and my dad installed the ceiling fan! There is a matching one in the living room.

And here is a glimpse of the living room. I really need to sew the couch cover so that it will stay in place. I also want to make new comfy couch cushions. I sewed the curtain on the back door and Jake installed the hardware so that we could hang it up to block the light. The cross stitch was giving to me by Janet and I framed it. It was a gift for Eliana for her first Christmas, as it is of the nativity, and says, “Behold, A Child Is Born” which was very fitting for us. I had it hanging in Eliana’s room in the old house, but took it down once she was able to stand up in her crib. So I moved it to the dining room, but now that I have a mantle, I thought it would be a perfect place for it. I have some Willow Tree figurines on the mantle as well. The cross hanging up next to the back door is one of my favorites. I got it at a church Woman’s Retreat the month after I was married. They gave everyone one of these crosses on the last day, and it is made up of branches. I love decorating with nature, and am thrilled to have this on display in my living room! I want to paint the fireplace or do something with it, but haven’t figured out what yet. I’ll keep looking in decorating books to get some ideas. You can see our wooden trays and the treadmill tucked away into a nook to the right of the fireplace. I plan to hang something up, like a curtain or wooden photo stand or something to hide them from sight. So I feel like we’ve made great progress in fixing up our home, but I still have a lot of decorating still to do!

Ok, time to get cleaning and sewing! I have a lot more family photos to post, so hopefully I’ll get to that tomorrow or Tuesday!



23 08 2008

This week’s photo challenge is “Darkness”. It’s been fun to ponder and think about. My first idea involved taking a photo of a candle that had just been blown out. The next day, someone posted a photo of the same idea! Luckily, I had already thought of something else that I thought was more unique, but it involved a trip to the library (already mentioned below.) I was able to take a few shots there, and then realized that I could check the item out and play some more at home.

Things have been busy and I haven’t had a chance to take any more photos, so I might go ahead and submit one of these. I posted them in the discussion thread and have already received a lot of positive feedback, which is nice! I can’t decide if I like the vertical or the horizontal shot better.


I’d love to try to snag some time today or tomorrow to get a sharper image, although some people replied that they like the softer look. I had snapped them real quickly by a window in the library while Eliana was running around. I didn’t want her to disturb other readers, which is why I decided to check the book out. It’s actually the Constitution of the United States, completely in Braille!

I haven’t spent a lot of time looking at Braille, and both Eliana and I have really enjoyed looking at all the dots and feeling them raised under our fingertips. Eliana was asking why there weren’t any pictures or words and I was trying to explain blindness to her. I don’t think she quite got the concept. I was trying to get her to close her eyes tight, but she kept peeking. Plus, you can still see some light filtering through the eye lids. She kept asking if the eyes were broken. When I said yes, then she’d ask, “Then they should fix their eyes! They can be fixed tomorrow!” Awww! Last night, I got the idea that I could tie a piece of fabric around her eyes so that she’ll understand. It was interesting to realize that her concept of the world is so sheltered and luckily she hasn’t experienced much loss or pain. My prayer is that she’ll continue to be protected, but also have compassion and empathy for those around her.

“That looks like my Grandma’s curtain!”

21 08 2008
With really quick trips, I’ll bring David inside in the infant carrier car seat, esp. if he’s asleep. But for longer stops, like grocery shopping, I like to have him in a baby carrier. This way he’s snuggled up close to me and I still have both hands free, and it also tends to keep strangers from coming up and touching him without asking, as they have to invade my personal space to do it. If they ask, I don’t mind, but at least this way I can say “You can rub his head” instead of them touching his hands, which he puts in his mouth. I don’t mind him gnawing on my finger, but I guess I don’t like him eating other people’s germs. Which is kind of strange, because it wouldn’t bother me if he ate dirt. Moms are weird that way.
I was at the thrift store today looking for vintage books, when I saw some really pretty white curtain panels. I bought them with the intention of upcycling them into skirts or dresses for DD and I.

Our next errand stop was the library. And then I realized that I didn’t have any baby carriers with me!

But then… inspiration… I wondered if the curtains would be wide or long enough? And sure enough… It worked! I was surprised by how comfortable and light and cool it was! I really haven’t mastered pouches or ring slings, but this sure will make me rethink them! The curtain was folded in half width wide and I just tied it near one shoulder to make a pouch. I tried spreading it out on the back and shoulder before I tied the knot and put DS in it, and I think this is the step I was missing with other pouches and ring slings I’ve tried. I sat in the car so that he could be in my lap so that I could get him close to me and get the knot really tight and secure. I don’t know if there is an official carry position name for this, as I just made it up on the spot, which I’m pretty pleased about. (I’m mainly a MT gal, with a few FWCC or BWCC tossed in occasionally. )

We were at the library quite awhile, and I got several really nice comments about “that cute baby in the pouch…. thing.”

My favorite comment was from a girl and her mom. She asked if she could touch the baby’s head, so I squatted down so she could rub his fuzzy head. And then she said “I like your white fabric. That looks like my Grandma’s curtain!” I cracked up and said, “Well, it actually might be just like your Grandma’s curtain, because it is a curtain!” The little girl’s mom didn’t believe me at first, until I showed her the little fabric hook thingies dangling off one end. She started laughing and then we had a great conversation about babywearing.

Here are some pictures. Eliana took this first one, and she actually did a pretty decent job!

Snuggled close to mama

David must have liked it because he conked right out in it!

And just for fun… our reflection in the car window. You can also see Eliana peeking out.


21 08 2008

I’m in the process of painting all the trim in the house.  Let me just say that I’m tired of painting.  By the time I’m done, I’ll have painted almost every room in the house.  It really needed it and already looks so much better.  But it’s hard keeping a toddler away from wet paint.  We’ve had some mishaps as a result.  And every time I hear her say, “I’m painting!” you can be sure that I panic!  Luckily, she’s never actually gotten into the cans of paint.  But I have a feeling that day is coming.

While painting the trim around the back door, I had a fun conversation with Eliana.  She was talking about all that she was going to do when she got bigger and all growed up.  And she was going to be all growed up tomorrow.  She was going to drive a purple car.  She was going to use a knife.  She was going to cook food on the stove.  She was going to have three babies.

I asked her what she would name her babies.  She said, “Um, one baby is named Shoes, ‘nother baby is named Shoesies, and the lastest baby is named Shoeded.”  LOLOL!  Can you tell this girl likes shoes?!

I asked her if she was going to work to provide clothes and food for her baby. And she said, “No.  Their daddy will go to work!”  I said, “Smart woman!  You will need to marry a smart husband who can make lots of money for you and your babies.  Where is your husband now?” And she said, “He’s in my tummy.  I ated him.”  LOL!  She really is starting to play with her dolls, dress them up, and take them on walks in the stroller around the house.  She’s also begun to do imaginative play.  My favorite was last week when we had pizza for dinner.  Eliana then said that she made a purple pizza and wanted to bring us pieces.  She would run down the hallway to the closet door, hold her hand up to the door, and then run back and hand us the slice.  She’d stand there until we’d take the slice and pretend to eat it and say, “Yum!”  And then she’d smile real big and say, “I made it all by myself!”

We’ve been working on manners and I’m beginning to notice the payoff.  She’s saying “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome” without prompts.  We’re still working on “Please” and sometimes she gets demanding and bossy.  So we ask her to wait a few minutes and ask again politely, which is helping.

She’s been a little mama lately.  Every time David wakes up from a nap and starts crying, she runs in and tells me that David is hungry and I need to feed him.  She loves holding him.  Last night she held him and “read” a book to him.  Basically, she just told him everything that was on the page.  It was so cute to see them together.  David adores his sister and watches everything she does.

It’s fun to have these conversations with Eliana and get a glimpse into her world!

It’s fun being a fairy!

18 08 2008

I was recently in a DIY swap on TBW forums. I had a ton of fun trying out new tutorials and patterns as I made things for my fairyee. (Or whatever you call it!)

I’ve been wanting to try this upcycling jean skirt for awhile and finally had the perfect opportunity! You take a pair of jeans and turn them into an A-line skirt. My recipient really likes Amy Butler fabrics, so I appliquéd on two of the flowers from the Midwest poppy fabric. I took pictures as I made this skirt, so I’ll add more photos of the process.

Close up on the flowers…. um, I’m not very good at appliqué and this is only the second time I’ve tried it. I definitely need more practice!

Eliana helped me make bean bags. It was a really fun project for us to work on together, although it was a little messy! Next time, I’ll leave a larger opening to make it easier to fill the bags. I used lentils as the filler, as they were small and light and made the bean bag easy to squish. They were fast and easy, and I look forward to making more for Eliana and David to play with, as well as making them for gifts!

Eliana concentrating on filling the bags with lentils.

Bean Bags ready to be sewn shut!

The bags were made out of six-inch squares of bright primary colored fabrics. I just mix and matched them and each bag is made of two different squares. Here is side one of the bean bags.

Side Two

Lined up so that you can see both sides of the bean bags.

Thank goodness for USPS Flat Rate boxes, or else these would have been heavy to ship, esp. since they were going across the border to Canada!

You saw a sneak peek of this last month, and here is the finished product…. an Elephant!

I used Simplicy #2921. I originally got the pattern to make Eliana a horse, but hadn’t gotten around to it. I found the pattern while unpacking things and thought I’d try making the elephant. I was a little daunted, but actually it was clear and precise and easy to follow! I used too small of a seam allowance though, as I’m used to 1/4″ for quilting. The next time I make a stuffed animal, I will use a 5/8″, as the seams around the trunks began to fray. So poor Mr. Elephant had to have surgery while I did a blind stitch to fix him up before sending him to the new home.

Oh, and Mr. Elephant did have a small unfortunate accident after he was almost finished. Originally, I was going to put a rattle inside him, so I left him sitting in the middle of our kitchen table. Eliana was sitting in her booster seat eating pizza. Jake hollered at me that I should come and look at the elephant, and I panicked! She had pulled the table cloth so that she could get to the elephant, and was feeding him pizza!!! Luckily, I was able to spot treat the trunk and explained to her that Mr. Elephant and the stuffed animal kingdom don’t like pizza, and it can make them sick. At the time, I was pretty upset, but I can laugh about it now!

I had so much fun doing the Amy Butler flower appliqué that I decided to try it again! Originally, I was going to use the same poppy flowers, but realized that it was too large to use on toddler size clothing. So I looked through my stash and found this flower fabric and decided to echo the shape of the flower to make an appliqué to put on overalls.

I really liked how they turned out and want to make some for Eliana!

This next thing is called a Gratitude Wrap. You can put a journal or small address book in the left pocket, cards with envelopes in the middle pocket, and pens and stamps in the right pocket. It all ties up nice and neat and is easy to transport, so you can write notes and thank you cards wherever you are at! I saw the tutorial on the Soule Mama website and was thrilled when she posted a free pattern for one! I’m looking forward to making more of these as gifts!

I didn’t find a small address book, so I included a small journal instead. Also, since she lives in Canada, I didn’t include stamps, but left her a note to let her know that stamps would fit inside that pocket.

Close up of the cards. I got them at Walmart and I really like them! I think I’m going to make a wrap for myself and buy some more of these cards to tuck inside!

Lastly, I upcycled a dress by taking off the straps and turned it into a skirt. It is light-weight and also has a thin lining fabric. It still could be worn as a strapless dress, too, if the mama wanted. Since she’s pregnant and due with a wee babe in February, I thought this would be a fun dress that would grow with her pregnancy and also still be useful after the baby is in her arms. I made myself a skirt out of a similar teal dress, and it is sooooo comfy!

So, I went a little crazy sewing stuff for this swap, but I had so much fun trying new things!

The New ERV Bible

18 08 2008
I recently went to a baby shower for Jake’s co-worker. The night before the shower, I made a card for her. I stashed all the supplies in my desk, as I didn’t want Eliana to find them and get into them, as she’s a sticker monster.

Well, the sticker monster struck again…..

Yup, that’s my Bible with stickers in it! I’ve dubbed it the New Eliana Revised Version Bible.

Oh, and notice the liquid stain marks on the side? That’s when she spilled milk all over my Bible. And somewhere there is also a page that she scribbled on. I really should leave my Bible someplace safe, but then I forget to read it. And also she needs to learn to respect mama’s things, esp. things like a Bible. I want her to see her mama reading the Bible.

This is the Bible that Jake gave me our first Christmas after we were married, so I really don’t want to get another one, but may have to if I can’t get the stickers off.

I do have to admit that I’m excited that the ERV Bible mentions “Naptime”!

When it rains, it pours….

16 08 2008

So Jake took the car to work Friday, since it was raining and I was feeling sore and didn’t plan to go anywhere. He got off early. When he came home, he came into the bedroom and told me, “Well, I just got some great news…” I realized he was being really sarcastic, and braced myself.

He said that when he went to get into his car, he realized the driver’s side window was completely spider-webbed with cracks, and was buldging out!! At first he thought someone tried to break into it, until he saw the buldging. It looks almost like someone cranked up a window way too high and started buldging out, so he wonders if there was a mechanical failure to the window.

Anyways, he wanted me to take pictures, in case the window shattered on the way to the repair shop. And I got a crazy thought…. “How many letters can I find in the broken glass?”

Here’s what I found in the short time I had…

“B” is for Broken Glass – This is the one I’m submitting in the challenge.

“I” Don’t Know What Happened to the Window

“V”ery Broken Window (This one also looks like a broken heart to me.)

Just to give you an idea of what the window now looks like….

The good news is that we can still get a rental car, as the insurance company hasn’t made an offer on my car yet. So we picked that up today and Jake drove it to work, while I drove his car home. Every time the door closes, you can hear shards of glass falling down into the door. Jake called the dealership and they told him they actually recommend a place near us in McKinney, since they can repair the window faster and cheaper than the dealership. We’ll take it in Monday morning. It’s supposed to only take 1 1/2 hours to fix, but I’m not going to count on it.