Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Just a quick post here to show the bag I made for Teacher Appreciation Week. Its a door prize.... so I don't know which teacher it will go home with. My daughter likes this apple fabric so much she wants me to make one for her teacher as an end of the year gift. This one I whipped up the night before I had to deliver it to school, and I don't even know if who ever gets it will like it.... so I sweetened the deal by adding a Starbucks gift card!

I would love to stay and chat- but my to do list is getting longer by the minute:
• gift for the baby I watch- she's having her baptism this weekend
• gift for one of the little ones that I watch- she'll be 3 this weekend (we are double booked for parties on Saturday)
• I am deep in costume-mode for the kids' dance recital- I'll post pictures soon
• I do name paintings and donated a certificate for one....and it was called in this week
• have to finish the teacher appreciation poster for Ethan's kindergarten teacher by Friday
• Ethan is Student of the week next week and we have a packet of pages to do before Monday (mostly for him to do but he needs guidance)
• Hudson has a big project on Italy that is due on Tuesday- again, mostly things he needs to do on his own, but he still needs help and guidance
• I need to bring some sort of baked good to the library sale on either Thursday or Friday
• and just all the regular "life" stuff like taking the kids to dance class tonight, Thursday and Friday (yes, we are at the dance studio every night because at least one of my kids has a dance class every night- and I take my niece on Thursdays too!) laundry, cleaning, etc.
• Unfortunately my husband is "closing" for most oft his week, meaning he works from about noon to 11pm. Fortunately my husband has Friday off. Unfortunately (well, not really) he's going on a field trip with my daughter and won't be home all day.

And the baby I watch is MISERABLE today- so I've done nothing but hold her. (In fact I am typing this one handed.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Remember the little Frederick bag I made? I ended up sending it off to one of my college friend's daughter for her birthday. She sent a nice thank you note. It read, "Thanks for the cute bag, little mouse, books, pencils, stickers and rocks." Wait a minute.....Rocks???? I didn't put rocks in there. Well, I didn't put rocks in there on purpose anyway. My niece was playing with the bag before I told her that it was a gift for someone else and maybe we should leave it alone. I guess she added the extra little gift.

My friend probably thinks I am so weird!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Money Talk

This is a craft blog. I do have a family blog, where I document the kids lives for my family and friends who don't see them often. I try to keep them separate, but obviously there will be some overlap, as a lot of my "crafting" revolves around the kids. And sometimes I feel like this space may be a better place to talk about some things about the kids that just won't fit in the family blog.... my parents and sisters and far flung aunts and uncles don't want to read about my insecurities in raising the kids... they want to see cute pictures! So today I'm going to share a story about my daughter that, after the fact, I realized was a terrible lesson for her.

She was playing Webkinz yesterday. As she frantically played games to earn "money" she told me "I need to raise 1000 kinzcash really quickly because I want to buy (some random thing I can't remember)." Oh, I said, "You have more than $1000 in your account. Why don't you just buy it first, then raise the money later." She smiled a huge smile and said, "Great idea Mom! Thanks!!"

It wasn't until later that day that I realized what terrible advice I gave her. It was like holding up a mirror to my own financial pit-falls..... buy now, pay later. I went through a terribly irresponsible stretch in college where I nearly maxed out my brand new credit card on a shopping spree. It literally took years and years to pay that off. My husband and I will sometimes count the over draft protection on our checking account as actual money. The good thing is that we don't bounce checks... the bad thing is that they keep upping our overdraft amount, so it continues to be harder and harder to pay off. We'll do through really great stretches of paying things off and feeling really great about ourselves, followed by lean months where we are using our credit cards to get us over humps. It usually follows some sort of unexpected hardship- needing a new roof, new fridge, new car.... that kind of stuff.

I try to keep my money worries to myself, and not burden the kids with them, but there are times when I have to say "Sorry buddy, you can't get that right now." That's ok- they need to learn that you can't always get what you want, right? And my kids, especially the boys, think that there is a magic money machine that just spits $20s at you at the touch of a button (I'm sure your kids think the same thing, right?) But I didn't realize how twisted my relationship to money was until I gave my daughter that terrible advice.

How do you teach your kids about money??

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pleated Beauty

A few weeks ago I was so excited to find that there was a Bend the Rules Swap going on. I have never done a swap before, but always read with great interest about other seems like everyone was having so much fun sending off and receiving goodies in the mail. So after finding out about the BTR swap I bit the bullet and signed up. I only received this book at Christmas time, and have only made a handful of projects from it, but I thought, "What the heck?" The worst that can happen is that my project will be a complete failure and the poor recipient will politely email the lovely lady in charge and ask to never be paired with me again, right???
So I sign up and am paired up with my partner. How fun! The first swap is the Pleated Beauty Handbag.... not a project I have made before. And the reason I hadn't made it is that it looked to complicated! But I read all the corrections that were posted at the BTR flickr site and all the suggestions from folks who have made one before, and headed off to Joann Fabrics with my partner's likes and dislikes in mind. And here it is.....
I didn't realize until I just put this picture up how similar the photo is to the one in the book.... this bag must have a "hanging from branch" vibe going. Honestly I hung it there because it happened to be a sunny spot.
I have never ever used interfacing before, but it wasn't too scary once I got going. I also took someones suggestion and put in a magnetic closure...also something I have never done. I'm glad I did though, because this bag is so big and it seems like it would gape open if it didn't have something to help keep it closed. I also took a few liberties with the pattern- just little things, like for the handle I sewed the fabric right sides facing (and added a layer of flannel lining as well to make it sturdier) then turned my tube inside out and top stitched the edges. It seemed easier to me to do that than try to iron 1/4" because I know I would burn myself doing that! I also lined and backed the pocket as well.
So, all in all, I am pretty pleased with the outcome. It was fun and not as hard as I thought it would be, although I really took my time (about 4 hours!) and carefully read the directions... normally I am not so conscientious about things like that! I wish I had done something more to embellish it. I wanted to try to do some free motion quilting (I think that is what its is called) around the flowers, but I chickened out, and instead all I did was add a few buttons. I sure hope my partner likes it!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New Projects

Here are a few new projects I've made recently....
A "Busy Bag"- my new name for the kidlet style bags I've been making. They follow the kidlet pattern, but I add a second handle (to make it a true tote) and add an inside pocket with tiny pockets for pencils to slip into. This one, all purple and girly, was for my niece's 5th birthday. I filled it with a few colored pencils (they have a different color on each end, so it was like giving her six colors!), a blank notepad, some stickers, a snow globe and a new book.
A second girly Busy Bag... I was so happy when I found this remnant of ballerina fabric in the sale bin at JoAnn's because I used the same material in my daughter's quilt and now I can make her a matching pillow or something!

This one is for my husband's friend's son Fritz. Working on a similar, yet different, bag for his brother.

Now this I LOVE! A Bend the Rules bib with a matching burp cloth. I just think it is pretty cute.

Here's a second bib/burp cloth set. Not as cute or funny as the other set, but o-well.
Hope your weekend is going well!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Space

Inspired by the entry over at All Buttoned Up I decided to post about my craft space. Although I would love to have a room dedicated just to crafts (with a door that I could shut on all the mess and chaos and not have to look at or think about until I was ready to!) I am lucky to have this space. My husband made me this table using the top of an old desk that his mother had lying around. (The picture above was taken last year when he first made the table- the one below is from today.) What I love is that my machine is always out. If I had to put it away then I know I wouldn't do even half of what I do get accomplished- which isn't much to begin with! I find little snipettes of time here and there and that's how I work... and I stand up when I sew! Which makes my MIL crazy. She just can't imagine it. But it works for me. Seriously, I can just walk away when I'm done without even having to make the extra effort of standing up first! Yes, I am that lazy. (The table space is limited, so I cut out fabric on the floor and do my ironing in the kitchen.)

The table is in the corner of the former dining room. We still call it the dining room, and I think it confuses my kids. They'll ask where something is and I'll say, "On the buffet table in the dining room." The what??? We don't have a dining room! Well, actually for a time this was a real dining room, with a real dining room table, eight chairs, china hutch and a buffet table. The set was the first set of "real" furniture my parents owned. My mom spent a lot of time refinishing the pieces, and they were always in own homes when we were growing up. In our home (which by the way was my great grandma's home and four generations of my family have lived init) we never utilized the dining room. Our kitchen has a large table and we just have always eaten there. Also, the table was really wobbly and it made me crazy, AND it was basically a dumping ground for all the piles of crap that you can never seem to find a good home for. So when my cousin was looking for a dinning room set I told her to stop by and take mine. I wasn't home when she and her dad arrived with his truck, but I guess they could only fit the table and not the hutch or buffet table. The hutch is on my back porch waiting for them to return (it's been 2 years) and the buffet table is where it has always been, and now I like it and it can stay. So our table-free dining room became our computer/craft/dancing/play room. We spend most of our time in here. All of our music is on our computer, we don't even have a stereo system, so lots of listening and dancing happens here. We'll roll up the carpet sometimes so the kids can tap dance. Daddy wrestling matches take place in here. There are bins of toys under the buffet table for the kiddos I babysit for (this also keeps them out of my daughter's room- she is ten and is starting to have some privacy issues). This is also the only room in our house besides the kitchen that has a southern exposure- so sometimes we just enjoy the sun in here.

I found the awesome sturdy Danish designed oak table at an estate sale for $50 to use as a computer desk. You can see my niece playing on the computer, my fabric stash spilling out from under the sewing table, the new printer that we need to hook up still, the edge of the buffet table and the little kids table that was recently taken out of my daughter's room and I am trying to give away (I am in a paring down mood).
This is the shelf/ ribbon holder that my husband made for me. I found a picture somewhere (I think a Martha Stewart magazine) and he sort-of copied it. It hangs above the buffet table. I love it and I love that he made it for me. In this picture you can also see my kids' school pictures, two giraffes (can you see themboth?) and the kidlet-in-process that nearly killed my sewing machine. Um, I need to put that snowman away, don't I? This is a picture of the antique cabinet in the kitchen that holds all the kids crafty stuff... paper, markers, pencils, paint, feathers, beads, glue, plastic tubs from butter, toilet paper rolls, and more and more paper. This piece of furniture was found in my great grandma's "carriage house" (a different great grandma than the one who used to live in this house) and I think it may once have been a home to rabbits or something equally disgusting. I scrubbed the bejesus out of it and replaced all the screening. I love the funky paint job.