Monday, June 30, 2008

Pottery Barn & BTRS Swap

I love Pottery Barn. I wish my house could be decorated by Pottery Barn. Of course, since my kids took a sharpie to our cheap couch I'm kind-of happy it isn't from Pottery Barn.

I saw the Metal Flatware Silhouettes (featured above in my kitchen - the wall color is a prettier yellow than in the picture) in the catalog and was secretly hoping they would go on sale - I only buy items on sale from Pottery Barn. They did! As soon as they arrived I took the kid artwork off the wall, used an entire Magic Eraser to get the wall clean & got out my husband's power tools to hang the art. Please, don't look behind the silhouettes - it's not a pretty picture (no pun intended). If we ever move there will be lots of hole filling to be done.

This is the before I cleaned-up the island and table shot. Not quite as catalog ready.

I have started cutting out the place mats for my BTRS swap. It took me a long time to find fabric I liked - I bought four other patterns before I found this. I love it! My partner said her kitchen was black, blue & yellow and this is the only fabric that I have found that has all three colors (the stems may actually be more chocolate than black but I'm calling it black). I'm hoping this will be okay for her. I actually like this Alexander Henry print so much that I am going to make myself the same set of place mats - minus the napkins. I don't have enough fabric for the napkins for me too.

Recipe For Fun

Two little girls
One trip to the beach

Swim in the ocean
Collect seaweed, driftwood, seashells, krill
Decorate sand fort with collected treasures
Make new friends
Dig hole
Get covered in sand up to neck
Go back into ocean to get sand off of you
Repeat steps as many times as possible before storm drives everyone off beach

Two Tired Little Girls

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ugly Bags

I have this idea. Actually, I've been working on it for a few years. It's for Survival Kits. Specifically Restaurant & Relative Survival Kits. A child would be able to use these kits anywhere they were expected to 'behave' for a certain period of time. I started off with putting Play-Doh in a ziploc bag and adding some potato head parts (about a year after I did this I saw that Play-Doh actually started selling this as a set in stores). Now, with the crayon rolls that I make primarily for birthday presents I thought - why not add a bag and a book of blank paper and call it a survival kit? Add a roll-up easy to sew board game too and take it to the beach? Use shells and rocks as your game pieces? Easy wedding favors for young guests or reception dinner entertainment - (why didn't I think of it before my cousin got married earlier this month)?

Anyway, I have been working on bags with the fabric I purchased at a yard sale. I did base both bags on other tutorials but I wanted to see if I could 'wing it' - create something on my own. I'm thinking - I'm not quite there yet.

The first bag (with the white handles) has elastic as the handles. The elastic was free from freecycle and is really soft but not ideal to sew. And - I didn't line up the elastic between the two pieces so when you look at the bottom of the bag you can see that the two sides are not lined-up.

I decided I like the fabric too much and wanted to move the handles to the inside so they didn't take away from the aesthetic of the bag (as well as show everyone how I cannot center them).

Unfortunately, on bag two, I sewed what I planned on being the two linings wrong and one became a lining and the other became an outside panel. Now, both handles are on one side of the bag. I decided if I added a button a kid wouldn't mind. Especially one of my kids. We'll see if either of them notice my 'oopsie' tomorrow.

I guess this goes to show that I really need to keep better track of what I do (and what I should not do) when sewing. But - if I tell my kids the bags are ugly bags - like there are ugly dolls - they might just believe me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Fabric Store with a Giveaway

There is a new fabric shop on etsy called Fresh Squeezed Fabrics. Actually, the shop has been open for awhile but this is Randi's official grand opening. She is also doing a giveaway in honor of her official grand opening - actually - three. Visit her blog here to find out about the giveaway. I've been a lurker on her blog for awhile - she has lots of great stuff there. Stop by her blog, enter her giveaway & be sure to check out her shop.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Traveling Mamas Anthology

I belong to a Yahoo! Group that sends out Creative Writing Opportunities. The one for Traveling Mamas Anthology sounds like it could be a lot of fun to write as well as to read.

Traveling Mamas Anthology

TravelingMamas. com is in search of true uplifting, funny, inspirational, and touching stories with a travel theme for an upcoming anthology series. Possible themes may include family travel, romantic escapes, girlfriend getaways, and solo trips.

We’re looking for stories that inspire us, force us to laugh out loud or make us reach for the tissue box. Bring us into your story by using the five senses. Every story must have a beginning, middle, and end.

We are requesting one-time rights. Reprints are acceptable as long as you own the rights. If your work has been published before we ask that you please send the name of the publication the story appeared and the date it was published with your submission. We will have the right to edit your work.

Word count: 300-1000 words.
More than one story may be submitted.
The story can be told in first or third person.
You don’t have to be a mom to tell the story.
Deadline is midnight September 1, 2008.
In the body of your email please include your
name, address, phone number, and preferred email
address. At the bottom of your story please
include a brief author bio (no more than 100
words) to be included in the back of the book. If
your story is chosen you will be able to revise
your bio before publication.

Please send your submissions in the body of an email to anthology(at)

(replace (at) with @)

(no attachments will be opened).


$50 (Payment upon publication)
A Traveling Mamas travel pack that includes one copy of the book your story appears in. Please be patient. This is a long process. We will let you know as soon we know if your story has been selected. If you don’t hear from us, we may be holding your story for upcoming books.

Thank you for joining our journey. We look forward to reading your stories.

I Heart My Dishwasher

As of July 13 we will have lived in our current house seven years. When we purchased our house all the appliances were three years old. This winter our dishwasher kicked the bucket. It actually started to make the dishes dirtier when used. Being that it was 9 1/2 years old it was not worth repairing. My problem - I didn't want a dishwasher delivered in winter. The steps in the front of our house never see the sun. Therefore, after a snowfall or a freeze / thaw the steps are treacherous. We only ever enter and exit our house via the garage during the winter so for us it's not a problem. For delivery folk I thought they might take issue with it. Being that snowstorms are scarce in New England in June our new dishwasher was delivered on Friday.

Only Delivered.

Not Installed.

Home Depot only has their people deliver and take away - they don't install. I guess we could have asked about installing it but my husband said he could take care of it. Between Saturday and Sunday we were at two different Home Depot's and a Lowe's. We had one piece we needed - to attach the hose to the water pipe - and none of the pieces that came with the installation kit ($19.95 extra) worked. In the end, my husband went back out alone on Sunday afternoon and found the one piece he needed.

Now, listen - do you hear that? No. Good. That's the dishwasher. Do you hear how quiet it is. So nice. So nice to not stand in front of the sink after dinner washing dishes. Instead, I did laundry.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Soule Mama, as well as other books and blogs, currently tout teaching kids embroidery. For the child that is just learning handwork a good fabric to start with is burlap, according to Amanda Blake Soule's book the creative family. Of course, burlap makes sense. There are already holes in it. I drove down to my local hardware store, conveniently located next to the liquor / wine shop, and purchased the last bag of burlap they had and then a bottle of wine.

I also looked at a few craft stores to see if I wanted to buy my daughter her own embroidery hoop but the price was atrocious. I found one of mine and let her use it. Here is what she created:


Today, whilst driving around the North Shore, I found a quaint shop I had passed dozens of times but had never stopped in before. Today seemed like the perfect day since the children and I were banished from the house for two hours (had the inside sprayed for carpenter ants).

The two wood and one metal embroidery hoops cost me $5 at Another Look Antiques & Interiors over in Salisbury, MA. I actually might go back tomorrow. They are really close to the Sewing & Vacuum Repair shop - I really should take in at least one of the sewing machines for a tune-up & there was one table where everything was $1. The more I think about a few of the items the more I think I might need them!

Craft Book Review

And - a little bit more about the creative family - great book. A lot of easy things to do with your kids that you can actually do - such as:
  1. Using items in the pantry or nature as alternative art materials (if I had known pouring beans into a pail was going to be such a hit I think I could have saved a lot of money on toys),
  2. The Endless Story (a fun game to play at dinner - my husband has been known to start this game off - for some reason monsters eating couscous seem to always appear when my three-year-old has a turn to speak),
  3. and the Joy Jar - can't talk about it - making it for a gift for someone.

I think, aside from her quiet voice (a voice I seem to lose at times after spending an entire day with my kids - especially after one pees on the floor and the other one steps in it) I like that the arts and crafts listed don't have to be perfect. You are working with children. Helping them learn about nature, about arts and crafts and anything you do together is special.

I have some arts & crafts books that have only been used by my children when they took a sharpie to the pages. This is one I am actually going to buy and use. Must see if she still has autographed copies in her store. AND - the best part - the local librarians think I'm totally cool for requesting a lot of really neat books. I'm not going to tell them that the majority have come from the resource guide of the creative family.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Book Club Book Suggestion?

I have to bring books to the next book club meeting. Each member takes a turn bringing three books to the meeting. Then, whatever members happen to be at the meeting vote on the three books and the book with the most votes becomes a book club read.

I found two great picks on Thriftin' And Craftin' -

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

and The Queen of the Big Time by Adrianna Trigiani.

I need to bring one other selection.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Life is short. Don't forget to stop and smell the roses every chance you get.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On A Roll

Today is backyard fun day for my daughter's kindergarten class. I decided I wanted to make each child their own crayon roll as a parting gift. I asked the room mothers and they were all for it. Then, I thought, why not double the number and sew one for each of the children in the other half-day classroom (the two classrooms will be having their 'fun day' together).

As I started my project I cut many, many, many pieces for the crayon rolls. I had 8 Scooby-Doo, 5 Woody, and 4 each of Buzz & Nemo. Well, that wasn't going to be good is all I could think to myself. Each class has 10 boys. I didn't have 10 of one character and, even if I did, who's to say that they would all like these characters. I thought briefly of making SpongeBob crayon rolls, but, I have been making a SpongeBob Quilt for over a year and I am not willing to give up any fabric that hasn't been cut into squares yet.

I rummaged around a bit and found some alphabet material. I cut out enough for 18 crayon rolls. The exact number of children in Lucy's kindergarten class. Of course, by only working late at night on the third floor with no air conditioning I was bound to eventually make a mistake or two. (no - I'm not making excuses) I put the fusible on the wrong piece of fabric. I stuck some of the fusible onto my iron. I sewed a few of them not so straight. I also used a new fray check that I am not sure I like. But, I finished 17 crayon rolls and have an experimental pad / crayon roll for my daughter to have in lieu of a crayon roll.

The crayon roll is only one ingredient in a Summer Survival Kit. Here is the tag that accompanies each roll:

Last night I thought about making each child a bag too. To create a bigger better Summer Survival Kit. But, I sooooooooooooo ran out of time. I love the idea and will get a headstart on next year 's survival kits real soon. As soon as I finish my SpongeBob Quilt. The boy I am making it for is having a birthday party on Friday. Must go out and buy coffee so I can stay up and finish it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Lennon Sisters

Yesterday I spent $38 on haircuts for both of my kids. While there, I asked my oldest if she wanted bangs or if she wanted to let them grow out. She said let them grow. So, the hairdresser just left them to grow out. Once home she began to cry and between sobs stated she didn't know they weren't going to be cut and that she wanted bangs.

A while later she announced she had to go to the bathroom (my children like to announce that multiple times a day). She was in there quite a while. I thought nothing of it. Later on, I went in the bathroom and noticed there was hair on the floor. I bellowed for her. She appeared with extremely short bangs in the center of her head. I decided to make all the bangs very short - symmetry is important. She was pleased as punch with her super short bangs. I keep telling her she looks like the girl from The Lennon Sisters.

Next haircut - she isn't getting a choice as to whether she wants bangs or not.

Monday, June 16, 2008


A Short Play

3 - year -old
Mother - not telling her age

6-y.-o.: Mommy, I ran out of thread in this. (hold up empty bobbin) Can you give me more?

Mother: No. We're leaving for the library in a few minutes. I thought you wanted to go and meet the alligator. Could you please put that back?

6-y.o.: Oh yeah! I forgot. (run upstairs to put the bobbin back & to turn off the sewing machine)

Five Minutes Later

Mother: (standing at the bottom of the staircase) Girls, we're going to leave. Are you still coming?

3.-y.-o.: (standing on the stair landing) It's not working. It's not working. (saying it through gritted teeth by the end)

Mother: What's not working?

6.-y.-.: (appears next to her sister) Oh. I made my sister a yo-yo.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nature Walk

This past weekend we went fishing and on a nature walk. I live half a mile from the Parker River and all the properties on our street abut conservation land. We haven't gone on a hike in a while so it was good to see how the area has changed since our last outing.

While on the trail we found this structure. My older daughter was so happy to see a Fairy House. My husband noticed that according to some containers that were inside the structure it looked like it belonged to the 'Budweiser Fairy.'

Pinecones found on the trail.

And the girls walking home. You will notice that the one has a plastic flower pot on her head. We found it in the woods. Perfectly clean. Not broken. Just hanging out on the floor of the forest. We cannot stand littering and usually carry a plastic bag along with us to pick-up debris. There was too much broken glass (from the Budweiser Fairies friends) for us to pick-up litter today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sewing and Swapping

My daughter decided to make some bags to hold teeth for the tooth fairy. She wants to give one to the tooth fairy and give one to each of her friends. The 'shirt' she is wearing is an unfinished shirt that I have been sewing on and off for months. It's the JJ shirt from Burdastyle. I had a terrible time with the collar so the shirt is going to become a smock and not have a collar - seriously I cut out three different ones and found three different ways to screw the collar up. And it probably will not have sleeves either - simply because I want it to be marked done on my list. I'll just use bias tape to finish the neck and arm holes.

In other news - I just joined two swaps. The first is the Bend The Rules Sewing Swap. I will be making placemats and napkins for a secret partner. Need to find fabric - tomorrow. Or Friday.

I also just joined a Kid's Summer Swap. Lori posted on her blog that her girls were getting pretty jealous of all the fun packages arriving with their mother's name on them! She created a swap where we will make and / or buy a few items that we think the child's partner would enjoy during the summer. Perhaps a good book, a fun recipe, cute flip flops, bubbles, a bug catcher, etc. The ideas are endless! There is a spending limit on it. I have so many ideas...this is going to be fun.

Skirt Number Two

I made myself another skirt from sew what! SKiRTS. This time I made Nature's Child. It said to use the directions for an A line skirt. I looked through the book and bingo! The wrap skirt was made following those directions. I could just use the pattern I already created. Ummmm - wrap skirts have extra fabric, because they wrap around you - so you don't suffer a wardrobe malfunction like being unwrapped by a strong wind. I realized this after I cut my pieces out, sewed them together and tried on the skirt tube. I had to pin the sides down and resew it. But - it came out fabulous if I do say so myself. The ruffle makes the skirt heavier - wasn't prepared for that. I will guess it is because it is a linen fabric and not a cotton and I used a lot of material because I wanted a really full ruffle. I don't have a ruffle foot so I had to do the machine basting - and then I broke the one thread and had to do it a second time. I put a zipper in on the side using a tutorial with real photos (real photos make all the difference to me when learning how-to do something). Can't wait to make another one - this time I will actually make a pattern.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Of Toads and Air Conditioners

I went out earlier today to wait for my daughter's bus and what was sitting on my driveway sunning itself but a large toad. I walked to the backyard, drained the water out of the kiddie pool (okay - I stepped on the side of the pool until all the water was out), walked back to the driveway and the toad was still sitting there. I knew I couldn't tell my daughter there had been a toad in the yard without her wondering why I didn't catch it for her. I promptly found a flower pot and ran around the driveway chasing the toad, who was very happy to jump away from me, until he jumped into the flower pot. As my daughter exited the bus I showed her the toad. She was overjoyed.

We don't have central air. Who thinks when they move to New England that it will really get this hot - and in June no less. We have one room that we affectionately refer to as Sanctuary during the summer. During the rest of the year it is just the T.V. room. It has a window unit in it. We also have one other window unit for one of the girl's bedrooms. I was waiting for my husband to put it in since my daughter's and I have spent the past two nights sleeping in the T.V. room. He doesn't mind the heat. This afternoon, after checking the indoor temperature, I put the air conditioner in the window.

The one side never really fit quite right. I found some bright pink duct tape and taped it over so I'm hopeful more cool air will stay in the room this way. And the washcloth is there for the same reason. A slight gap. Hmmm - bet I could put duct tape there too. At least the girls can sleep on a bed tonight and maybe me too. I'm sure they won't mind sharing.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Poison Ivy - Day 10

I joined a CSA this year. My first time doing so. The farm had a twilight walk around the farm for CSA members where you could meet the farmer, see what crops were being planted, meet the animals, etc. At the last minutes I decided to go with my two kids. They had a great time running around in the tall grass - right where there was poison ivy. Only one child wound up with a tiny spot of poison ivy on her leg. My husband & I thought it would go away on its own. Really, a typical case of poison ivy can last for two weeks.

Over the past 10 days I have spend $30 on band-aids. We kept putting them on her before school. I didn't want her blisters to 'pop' while at school. Don't want her giving this to anybody else. The one day she came home and told me her band-aids all came off in the shower. I looked at her and reminded her that I was the one that gave her a shower and that I was also the one that put new band-aids on her after her shower so unless she showered at school that was not quite correct. She then told me her teacher said the best thing for poison ivy was for it to be uncovered - so she went to the bathroom and took off all of her band-aids. Then she went to the nurse to have some cream put on her spots. She's in half-day kindergarten. She is literally in the school for less than three hours. And at least part of the day she spent in the nurse's office? What is up with that? Is this how a teenager learns to go to the nurse - by starting in kindergarten?

Anyway, we wouldn't have taken her except that after 10 days both of her legs had many spots of poison ivy and it was migrating to her face (near her eye) as well as her netherregions. And, that on Friday night - she was like a woman possesed. She announced she was going to sleep in her sister's closet - I'll have to post about closet sleeping another day, does anyone else have kids that like to sleep in closets? Seriously - most people are afraid of their kids coming out of the closet - all mine want to do is go into the closet - and while checking on her sister I could hear her scratching her legs - poor thing. I made her get up to go to the bathroom but she was still half asleep and just threw herself on the floor writhing with itchiness. I finally had to get my husband. His solution - wake her up completely and then put her in front of the television. Well, at least it kept her mind off of her poison ivy.

Sarah, a dear friend of mine who just happened to launch a magazine this year, had recommended her doctor's office to us when our original doctor's had left her practice. Let me tell you - I love this new practice. I love the office staff. I love the doctors. Love, Love, Love. My daughter was in and out in no time on a Saturday morning. I had just given her crayons and a coloring book when the doctor walked in the door. The doctor looked my daughter over, agreed that it was poison ivy and needed some prescription meds to clear it up and said you're done. My daughter looked up at her and said "That's it? That was a short visit. But I want to color some more" Okay, when a six-year-old notices how long you have been at a doctor's office that says something about how a practice is run, right? I think I'm going to send them a gift basket.

Of course - it should be easy. A thirty minute drive home. I drive-by the pharmacy first to see if the prescription is filled and it turns out so many kids in our town have poison ivy that they are out of the one prescription. They had to call another pharmacy to borrow a bottle and can I come back. Well, of course I can. What else would I do? So I literally spent my entire day driving around for things. Doctor's appoinments, prescriptions, and finally the grocery store for dinner. But, the good news is her rash is looking oh so much better and that she is in much better spirits. Maybe tomorrow we can do something during this 90+ degree weather - like shopping for mommy instead.

The Sunday Paper

We do not receive a Sunday Paper. There was an unfortunate accident one winter. Our snow-thrower met the Sunday Paper in the driveway. The paper won. We had to drive down to an Ariens dealer in Middleton, MA (after borrowing our neighbor's snow-thrower so we could get out of the driveway) to pick up a few replacement bolts. Paper delivery was canceled the next day. Now, the girls create papers for us to read. Their news is much better than anything found on t.v.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

An activity for sick kids

While home for two weeks with two girls (not both at once for both weeks - just for about ten out of the fourteen days) we watched a lot of t.v. Actually, the t.v. was on a lot (they learned about ancient Egypt and Queen Nefertiti one day - gotta love the History Channel); however, the girls spent a lot of time just lying on the couches zoning, napping, complaining about their stomach's having growing pains, etc. On the occasions when they were feeling well enough to venture off of the couches we made paper dolls.

I read on another blog (now, this was during the sick period so I have no idea which one - sorry) about doing them. We had paper and scissors on hand so I went to town. I made paper girls and tried to make a paper octopus at the request of my three-year-old but it came out more like a paper alien or insect - only six legs, not eight.

We borrowed a book from the library, before the sickness set in, titled May I Have a Cookie? In the story a young alligator and his mother are making cookies. Alfie, the young alligator, tries demanding a cookie once they are cooked and then tries to sneak cookies but his mother keeps asking him if he can think of a different way to get a cookie. He decides to go to his room and make his own cookies out of paper. The girls wanted to do this and since I had the paper out, and thought, how much of a mess can two sick girls make, and really, we were not going to make edible cookies together until they got better since I did not want to be sick as well - so the pretend cookies were made and were beautiful.

The issue was that I didn't hide the glue well enough. Once they were well they tried gluing many, many things together, for example - nesting dolls. How are they going to nest if they don't come apart? Then, after they notice they don't come apart or that the glue really didn't stick well they want to wash the dolls to clean up their mess.

Overall, the paper activity was a nice break for all of us during our latest bout of sickness. I highly recommend it - but if you choose to make paper cookies I suggest using glue sticks instead of liquid school glue, just in case it doesn't make it back in its cabinet.

Monday, June 2, 2008


This past Sunday, our first outing since the two weeks of tummy aches, was to meet Mary Poppins. The salon I normally frequent and have my hair cut (maybe this month?) sent an e-mail out about The Wingate Street Art District's 5th Annual Chalk Walk. It was kind-of subdued. Not a mob scene but the girls got to meet Mary Poppins, had their faces painted,

Madame Butterfly

And Dr Seuss - One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish,

Blue Fish
and each received a free book from a new bookstore that recently opened up that helps out the local high school by employing them (I think it might be run by the school) as well as all proceeds of sales going to the school. A good day was had by all and mommy finally made it out of the house - yeah for me!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


During the past two weeks I've had two sick kids. Each one taking their turn being sick. (Daughter #1 - who is no longer sick now has poison ivy and was lying on the couch after I applied cortizone cream to her bumps and bandaged them so she wouldn't itch them - hence the askew photo of me and the ceiling.)

I was beginning to think that I would not be able to sew along with the Sew Mama Sew Women's Clothing Month. I finally hunkered down last night and made my smock. I like it better now. At midnight, when I tried on the finished smock, I was not happy with it. Could be that it was midnight and I was wearing a knit, long-sleeved top under the smock. Not a good combo.

I made the smock to use while volunteering in my daughter's classroom - hence the print on the fabric. It was my first time using a fabric where I had to match up the fabric - make sure the crayons for the front piece would match up with crayons in the back piece and the pocket. I had to shorten the pocket a bit to make that work but overall it came out nice.

And the back of the smock.

I have a long torso and have never made myself a top before (I know, it's a smock but it is like a top). I think next time I might make it an inch or two longer. I have a bunch of pictures my daughter took with my arms hanging by my sides and I look like a very long-armed headless model (cropping of the head was mostly mandatory in the other photos - haven't had a haircut in about six months soooooo - the hair is pretty wild right now). But it feels okay wearing it so I guess the length might be okay.

I had never sewn a dart before last night. They weren't so bad but I do think the one turned out better than the other. Next time I will also make the arm holes a tad larger.

My older daughter does not want a smock but the younger one does. I figure - if I make one for one child the other is going to want one. So - now - I just need to figure out how to resize the pattern & I'll be good to go, as soon as I sew a skirt or two for me, then a dress for one of the girls, and a skort for another one...


Related Posts with Thumbnails