Sunday, August 31, 2008

Knitting, I've been knitting...and sewing!

Saturday was a mommy day and was sooo needed. The highlight of the event was going to a gathering of Jacksonville knitters from Ravelry. I can't even tell you how refreshing it is to hang out with other crafty women (and a couple men!)

I made some knitting project bags to offer to the group before I listed them on my store. I started with the pattern that I bought, the Wired Up Designs 'Knit and Go Girl Project Bag,' but then I started doing my own thing and creating totally different bags, one of which was a green asymetrical pouch that i can't show because I sold it. It was pretty darn cute!

Here are some of them. There was another batch that was being washed and I didn't get pics of those. I had fun sewing the bags...and using my stash fabric. The more I sew, the more I realize that my current stash does not suit me anymore. I am getting to the fabric that I have had for years and haven't had inspiration to use. I'm going to have to think harder or get rid of it. I have been thinking about the amount of fabric that I have used. I am fairly certain that I have sewn in excess of 10 yards a week for the past 6 weeks. Over 60 yards!! And I still have a lot left. The balance has now swung to where my stash now has more knits that are fairly new vs wovens that I have had forever.

The other exciting news is that I finished a knitting project!!! Wool pants (for cloth diapering) that I had intended for Lily. They actually fall right below the knee so I would call them pedal pushers. I made these blindly without consulting my knitting guru friends. And my stripes are less-then-perfect where they meet. And there were a LOT of loose ends to weave in. The off white is peace fleece and the stripes are from 1 skein of Noro. The crochet extraordinaire guy next to me suggested that I would have been happier if I had knit them flat and joined the seams. DOH! I guess I could have done the main part, stitched the seams and then picked up stitches on the sides to do the legs flat...and then joined them.

It felt quite wonderful to come home with a completed project! I started these pants at a hockey game in February. The one where my children knocked over 2 or 3 cokes and my baby girl was a thrashing wild child because she wanted to run around and not be confined to our seating area. I ended up taking her to the van and letting dh and the other children watch the game in peace. And I got to knit...while she was safely buckled in her seat. So over the months, I have worked on these. They went quickly until I got to the legs. For some reason, the legs gave my hands arthritic pain so I could only handle 2-3 rows at a time. I couldn't just carry the Noro down each leg because I wanted the legs to match. So I had to do a bit on each leg and work my way down. It was a lot of work....which is why the are knee pants instead of full length pants!!

The main think I had to do yesterday was weaving in all those ends and then make the i-cord. This was my first i-cord and it was fun...for the first 3 inches. Then I wanted to poke my eyes out with my knitting needles because I swear it took me 2 hours to get it long enough. Now if only my baby girl didn't hate them. {{sigh}} yep - too itchy for her.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bad, bad mommy

Herein lies my most embarassing moment in my history of being a mommy. Today I took a gamble...and I lost.

I went to Jo-ann's to buy some specific flannel for a customer. Nevermind that tropical storm Fay is knocking on our door. I made my decision based on the fact that she weakened overnight and was still offshore, still pretty far away and Jo-ann's was indeed still open. I opted to avoid taking the bridge to my normal Jo-ann's and I drove the other direction so that if by chance, the weather started churning, I wouldn't be stuck somewhere because the closed the bridges down.

People were on the roads, businesses were open. Everything was fine. I made it to Jo-ann's with no problems.

Not only did I buy the one print I wanted, I got several other really cute ones. I also noticed the husqvarna lady was not busy. Aha, maybe I could do that embroidery machine demo and be entered into the contest for the free $9000 embroidery machine just like the HUGE dislay sign promised! I asked her how long it took...only a few minutes. :) I only had my 2 youngest girls with me so it seemed like the stars where lined up right. I decided to get my fabric cut and then head back her way for the demo. And that's when I noticed that my toddler pooped. And it stunk. Bad. I decided to purchase the fabric and then buy it quickly before heading to the van to change her because of course I didn't bring a diaper bag in.

So far, so good. I made my purchase. The cashier was not happy to be working and mentioned how money hungry the corporate offices were for making them work when a hurricane was on the way. And they had only made $750 so far. I told her I was glad they were opened and I bumped that number up a bit more with my purchase.

And then the sky fell down. The rain was pouring and our van was not close by. We happened to be close to the restrooms so I decided to get her out of the nasty diaper. She could go 5 minutes without a diaper, right? At home, she has just recently started potty training and for the past 2 days, she has been telling me when she had to 'beep' and 'boop.' Then my 5 year old noticed they had one of the diaper dispensing machines right there! Woohoo! Only it turned into a boohoo because it took my money but was empty.

I stood at the entrance to Jo-ann's again and it was still pouring. Hey, I had the sling with me! I decided that I would put Lily in the sling and that she could surely last 5 minutes until I saw the demo and could get my named entered. Right? That sounded better then getting soaking wet and doing the demo in the cold air conditioned building.

And that was my mistake.

She didn't want to be in the sling. The lady was showing me that awesome machine and Lily was flinging herself around trying to get out. I tried to calm her down by crouching down and letting her out of the sling. All the while, pulling her dress down so that she didn't show her hoo ha to the other customers. I told the lady that this was a bad time and that we needed to go but she reassured me that it was OK or something to that effect. So close to the finish. So close!

As promised, the demo was quick. As the lady was wrapping things up, I asked about the contest. She said 'Oh that's over!'

And that was the moment that I noticed that my Lily peed on the the lady's foot. Oh let the earth open up and swallow me whole!! It was suddenly apparently clear that I made the most idiotic decision ever. Who in their right mind would do that? I had no choice but to tell her because her shoe was perilously close to the offending puddle. I cleaned up the mess but I KNOW the lady was just waiting for me to leave so she could tell the whole horrifying story to her co-worker and any customers that she encounters today and well...for the rest of her life! "I remember that time that that toddler almost peed on my shoe at work." Yeah, people just don't forget that kind of thing.

I'm going to flog myself now. Oh thank goodness I didn't go to my regular Jo-ann's. I think I might live through this after all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sewing to Solve Problems

We have 5 kids in the house. I'm mom to 6 kids and I don't ever not include our son Nolan who died but sometimes his position in our family isn't relevant to certain this one. But, I can't just say we have 5 I have to include that little 'in the house' phrase so that I know I'm not excluding him from my overall count of children. It's not so much that I mind what other people think about how I include has everything to do with how it makes me feel if I don't.

So, back to those 5 kids. They each have a toothbrush and we have had the worst time with keeping things separated. I have labeled them and the mark wears off. In the past, I have scoured the web for toothbrush solutions for large families. The cute little toothbrush holders are usually meant to hold 4 small toothbrushes, not 5 jumbo rotating ones that we sometimes get. One of the main things that I just kept coming back to is that there wasn't a good place for the kids to store their toothbrushes when they weren't in use. And, we only have one teeny tiny corner self in that bathroom so I really wanted a wall mountable toothbrush holder.

This was close...

I almost ordered the test tubes but decided to keep looking.

Last night, I was cleaning my sewing studio and I had one of those lightbulb moments. I started pulling out stash fabric and created this...

It involved embroidery, fusible vinyl and clear vinyl fabric. I also inserted a piece of template plastic inside to give it stability. The final product should be waterproof. I'm a little concerned about how the vinyl pockets will handle day to day wear and tear. I consider this one to be my prototype and I can make a new one, in the future, if needed. I'm pleased with the end result. Not what I initially pictured but this one will work nicely!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why I call them my little monkeys

Because they are!!

I can't believe it's even possible for a little boy to climb up a column like this but he does. We also have wide columns (even taller!) inside the fellowship hall of our church and I've caught my boys up near the ceiling on those things, too.

Kendall doesn't quite have the same dexterity so she stays lower to the ground...right where I want her. I'm always worried someone is going to fall and crack their head open. So, no, I don't 'allow' this. I did have to get a couple pictures before I forbid it.

I do remember scaling doorways when I was a kid. And my kids do that now, too.

DH bought the kids new socks last night, short black sport socks. I'm not totally sold on them...seems kind of wrong to not be white. It just reminds me of an old man wearing black socks with sandals. DH thinks they are awesome because they won't stain like white socks do. My kids were THRILLED with their new, soft socks. Greyson invented (his word) a new game called 'Sock Sliding.' He and Kendall were running and sliding on our hard wood floors. Kendall wiped out a couple times. I told them they need to stop because I didn't have any clean clothes to wear to the ER. LOL

So, that brings me to today's monumental task....laundry! Ugg.

I Love Thee, Thread

Today was not a fun sewing day. For the most part, it was a yucky house cleaning day. I did make quite a bit of progress in the dining room. That's where we homeschool and where the kids color, draw and cut things up. Imagine bits of paper under the table and broken crayons and beads under the mule chest. And don't forget to imagine the letter A in sticker form stuck to the wall...because that's what one of my munchkins did when I wasn't watching. So it's a crafting room in addition to being a dining room. And it's a dumping ground. I sorted papers and found that we missed the deadline for our cell phone rebate. (bang head on wall!)

While I was cleaning, I made my 8 year old son come in and work on a math 'game' that we have. He sulked and moaned about it and we had a little talk about priorities...meaning I was going to take away screen priviledges so he'd have plenty of time for math! He had a hard time with multiplication so I brought out some M&Ms and we grouped them so he could see the math problem. It seemed to help and he buckled down and got the work done. When he was done, I gave a different one to my 11 year old and she did it pretty quickly.

So, that was most of the sorting and a bit of homeschooling. DH cleaned out our a 4 hour cleaning job!! It was bad, very bad, and it was loaded with MIL's stuff that has been weighing down the back of our van for a couple weeks. He finally went through it and cleared out our van. It looks new again. :D Once we all got cleaned up, dh took us out to dinner...but first we had to stop at Joann's.

I love thread almost as much as I love fabric. A couple months ago, my handy dh hung pegboard in my sewing studio for my serger, wooly nylon & jean stitch thread. It gives me great pleasure to look at organized and inviting! This picture was before I completely filled the all those empty hooks are full, too.

Jo-ann's is having a 50% off sale on all their thread so I had to stock up on missing colors. I have a new thread addiction....maxi lock swirls, the varigated stuff that I use in my loopers of my serger. It's just so pretty...but who in their right mind would pay $10 a cone??? Even at 50% off, it's a whopping $5 but I just had to add 2 new colors to my collection. Today I got the loveliest orange swirl and a green swirl, too. I also stocked up on Wooly Nylon, another thread addiction. Although my love affair with wooly nylon is waning a bit....since I discovered how easily it MELTS when you iron something with a WN edge. Whoops!

Here's today's booty...

Does it look like $75.44 to you? That's 2 yards of lilac flannel, 2 yards of the lovely brown and rust flannel and a remnant of felt for Mia, in addition to the thread. More then I expected it to be when the cashier rang it up. Cha adds up fast.

The good news is that I don't think I need anymore serger thread...unless a nice soft green comes along. LOL I am lacking in regular sewing machine thread colors but that will have to wait until another 50% off sale.

After our Jo-ann's run, dh took us all out to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. He hates that place but he went because I like it and it was close to Jo-ann's. It's asking a lot of the kids for them to sit and behave for the LONG wait there but they did pretty good, not perfect but not too bad if you overlooked a few minor infractions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Internet Addiction!

Last night a wind storm came through. It didn’t sound too bad from where I was but when I came back to the house, after working in my studio, I did notice that our Rubbermaid garbage shed was blown askew. Earlier in the day, my 3 middles wanted me to let them play with the hose so they volunteered to clean the whole thing…and they did a darn good job, using soap and washcloths in addition to the hose. Anyhow, it was all opened up after their cleaning job so I’m sure that contributed to its little flight in the backyard.

So, although our personal experience from the storm was less then blogworthy, there was another side effect……insanely slow internet service! Like slower then 1993 on dial-up. Yet, I’m so addicted to the net that I kept trying to see if it had been fixed. Nope. I even cleaned the office while waiting for pages to load ever so slowly. And I realized that I just can’t do jack without my internet service.

Here’s my high-level to-do list…

1) List (on Etsy) the new unpaper towels that I have finished over the past couple days. I was able to get all my pictures edited so this should be a relatively quick job.
2) Prepare my packages for mailing…not without paypal shipping.
3) List MIL’s old square dance outfits either on Etsy or eBay. I think most of them are over 20 years old which would meet Etsy vintage definition but there are a couple newer pieces that I’m not sure of. I’m having a hard time with the thought of selling those lovely petticoats…which is why I haven’t listed them already.
4) Download the 2nd part of my latest audiobook. This was the thing that was the most maddening to me. I’ve become accustomed to cleaning and working with listening to an audiobook. It fulfills my inner desire to multi-task during every possible moment. So, the internet being down wouldn’t have been toooo bad if I hadn’t just finished part 1 of ‘The Disappeared” and I was really getting into the story. Next time, I will download all parts at the same time.
5) List the rest of my scrapbook stuff and the remaining MIL stuff in my dining room on eBay.
6) Reply to a couple emails that I’ve been putting off.

I thought about baking something but then I would have had to pull out a cookbook and pick a random recipe without user reviews and feedback! LOL

I then thought I should see if I could find an online notice about the outage….not unless I wanted to wait 15 minutes in between each page loading! 15 minutes for google to pop up, 15 minutes for the search results, etc.

It was just maddening and further proof that yes, I am addicted to the world wide web. I rely on it for just about everything…from ordering pizza to checking our account balances.

So, you can see that I posted here. Internet is marginally better…maybe similar to my first days online…browsing bulletin boards on Prodigy on my boyfriend’s (now my dh) new home computer!

Hopefully I’ll be able to get my listings up. I’ve created a basket full of pretty unpaper towels and more are in various stages of completion. On the homefront, I’ve got homemade cinnamon rolls in the works this morning, too, and plans to tackle the massive mountain of clean clothes. . I’ve been busy washing fabric, dyeing fabric and rewashing it so our regular laundry got neglected. {{sigh}} Why did I do that to myself?? It’s so much easier to just fold it as each load completes hot from the dryer so they aren’t too wrinkled. That won’t be the case here. We will have wrinkles a plenty! And I hate ironing…unless it’s fabric or one of my creations.

Here's just a couple photos of what I've been up to lately.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Locked Out!

I headed out to my sewing studio around 9:30 last night. I had a stack of flannel unpaper towels that needed to be serged and I had some already completed ones that I need to take pics of. My oldest child joined me for a while. She played on my laptop while I worked and listened to my newest audiobook, The Disappeared...a free one I got from's got aliens and is set in the future, not my normal type of book. I'm not digging the narrator so it's going to be a slow 'read.'

So I was busy working and taking photos, ironing, carefully folding and then packaging up my newly listed sets. Around 1:30 a.m., my camera battery died so I decided to call it a night. I headed to the house...only to discover that I was locked out! I did have my keys when I went out to my studio. When my oldest child left, she took my keys! Thus, I was locked out.

I banged on the door a little, hoping my dh would be in the office where he could hear it. No answer so I knew he was already in bed. I debated whether I should wake the whole family up by ringing the doorbell and I initially decided not to.

I came back out to my studio and decided to just spend the night out there. I had a sleeping bag stashed in a closet and a pile of fleece fabric as a pallet and a another yard of fleece as my pillow. It wasn't too comfy so I went to the house and rang the doorbell once. No one answered the door so I resigned myself to an uncomfortable night on the floor.

My dh came looking for me around 6:15 a.m. with our toddler in his arms. I'm guessing she woke up first looking for mama. We settled into my bed and I was able to get a glorious 3.5 hour nap so I don't feel too bad.

Today's agenda is to get more photos taken, to finish up my stacks of already cut unpaper towels and to list more on my Etsy store. My first Etsy bill is due already...$12. I'm not rolling in the dough but my 8 sales covered that and then allowed me to make a couple small Etsy purchases. Not bad for using up my stash fabric!

Today I am dyeing more fabric. I really enjoy this part of creating. The results can be so unpredictable. Yesterday I had a perfect brown and my fabric was fully saturated. By the time I used my mordant and then rinsed and rewashed it, I had an amazing mottled multi-colored fabric but not brown in the least. I think this is where my lack of following the formulas exactly comes into play. I'm not heartbroken at all though...even if I didn't get the results I was aiming for.

While I was mixing up a batch of scarlet, my 5 year old daughter climbed onto the table to help me. In the process, she knocked the bucket over spilling red dye everyehere. I grabbed my white dishtowel and sopped it up trying to catch it before it dripped onto our dining room carpet. I saved the carpetbut my hands are now a lovely bright red! My oldest said she was going to call me murderer until it fades away. It does look a bit gruesome!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School's In Session

We have been winding down our summer vacation and I've been trying to wrap my mind around homeschooling 4 kids. It just seems like a monumental task. One 7th grader, one 3rd grader and my 2 newest kindergartners. All while keeping my toddler out of trouble!

Today was one of those days that made me realize that will will get by just fine. We had a rare pajama day. The kids usually get dressed as soon as they get up today was an exception. But it doesn't really matter because we didn't have to go anywhere today.

I pulled my fiber reactive dyes out so that I could mix some brown to use on more flannel for cloth napkins. My 11 year old came over to help. Before I knew it, she had formulated a hands on lesson on primary colors for the younger kids. And she carried it out. I didn't prompt her or ask her. She just wanted to do it and after a bit of cajoling, the other kids wanted to participate. And they enjoyed it. And they learned a little bit, too.