Thursday, October 30, 2008

Introducing Manny and Wanda

I'd like you all to meet Manny and Wanda - my new mannequins. Since my child models have been less than helpful lately when asked to model aprons I set out on a quest to find something other than a coat hanger to display items. To make a long story as short as possible - I found Manny and Wanda looking for a new home via craigslist. Gotta love technology.

So, Manny and Wanda have already had their first modeling session and neither of them cried, or ran away, or hit the other one, or whined,

or danced around instead of standing still, or hopped on one foot,

or announced they had to go potty - now - during the photo session.

Of course, neither one could give me hugs or kisses or tell me "Mommy, I love you.", or play Dance, Dance, Revolution with me either.

As models - they're great! As kids - not at all good. I'm just hoping my late night photo shoots will now go a little smoother - now that I no longer need to use myself or my children as models.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Lori Boo'd Me!

Here's the deal - I have left a few notes out in cyber space - if you have received one - you have been Boo'd by me.

Now it's your turn to Boo someone! Let your friends know that they have been boo'd and send them back to your blog to get this fun little "Happy Halloween" picture (below):

Then post the picture on your sidebar so other will know you have boo'ed already! Happy Halloween!

Happy Scrap Swap

The Handmade Quilt-er, Abbie, and Handmade-O-Holic, Katherine, are co-hosting a Happy Scrap Swap. Visit either of their blogs to find out the details. Sign-ups end November 3rd!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm a joiner.

Let's see. I joined another apron swap. Shawnee is hosting the Holiday Hostess Apron Swap. It should be fun!

I also joined The Apronista - an on-line social network for Apron lovers (check out snazzy new button on the right - my page has nothing on it yet but I'm there).

And - I signed-up for four different craft fairs (three in November, one in December). EEK. Must go and sew. Nine days left until the first craft fair.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


This weekend the hamlet of Georgetown had their annual Horrible's Parade. Everyone that wanted to dressed-up in costume and marched from the High School down to the local park. There was then a costume contest, lots of food to buy as well as playing with your friends at the park.

And here is the first family photo we have had taken of the four of us in at least two years. I'm the chief cook on a pirate ship (notice my spiffy apron), Lola is a Blue Princess Fairy Godmother, My husband is Indiana Jones, and of course Lucy is Hermione Granger.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Storybook Hayride

One of the best things about living in this area is getting to visit Applecrest Farm every October for their annual Storybook Hayrides.

First - it's a fundraiser for the local high school's drama trip. Gotta love a unique fundraiser.

Little Red Riding Hood's Granny puts you on the hayride and asks you to keep an eye out for her favorite nightgown - it wasn't on the clothesline this morning. And - off you go. Local High School drama students then give a skit at every stop. Then - you receive a treat from each one. You meet Humpty Dumpty, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Dorothy and the Scarecrow, Peter Pan and Captain Hook as well as others.

Humpty Dumpty - trying to sit on the wall. Fortunately, he does succeed. Unfortunately - he takes both hands off the wall at the same time. Poor Humpty - he falls backwards. He then asks for crazy glue and some tape - very funny.

It is so much fun. This was our seventh year supporting this event. So - if you are in the Hampton Falls, NH area swing by the farm, go on a storybook hayride then you can pick apples or pumpkins or just queue up for some cider donuts or chowder.

There is even a build your own scarecrow station.

Tons of fun for the whole family!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kids, Cookies, and Frosting

Really, could there be a better combination?

One of our holiday traditions here in the van Duzer household is to create a Halloween Gingerbread House. I usually buy a kit at one of the local grocery stores. This year they don't seem to be carrying the kit. I did see one at JoAnn Fabrics (of all places). So, today, I purchased one.

This evening I gave the girls the choice of going to a fundraiser at McDonald's (wear your costume and proceeds from all sales benefit our local preschool) or building their cookie house. The cookie house won hands down. (Now - I should let you know - my children do not like McDonald's food. The only thing they ever ingest from that quick service restaurant are their milk shakes. If the fundraiser had been at Wendy's or Kentucky Fried Chicken though I'm sure I'd be posting photos of them in their costumes.)

This is the first year I was actually able to build the house without them destroying it in some fashion.

Here they are decorating the...wait - why are you eating the frosting and candy? What about the house?

Using the frosting bag. I'm sure this is a great use of her fine motor skills.

Voila! One Halloween Gingerbread House.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Make binding or bias tape - without a bias tape maker

I've been creating a lot of aprons. One of the key ingredients seems to be bias tape. Store bought bias tape is okay but my options seem to be very limited. I decided to try to make some using a Clover Bias Tape Maker.

It was easy enough but the bias tape was oh so small. I visited a local quilt shop where I asked if they sold bias tape makers. I was told no. With my obvious look of disappointment (I believe I dropped my shoulders, threw my head back and said UGH rather audibly) the woman in the shop told me I could do it with a large needle. My interest was immediately piqued. After she explained the technique I rushed home and wrote down all she had said. I am here to tell you - this method is just as easy if not easier than using a tape maker.

Technically - I think this might just be binding. The example here is cut selvage to selvage - not on the bias. I'll show how to easily cut fabric on the bias another day.

What you'll need:
A large pin or needle (I am using a hat pin I just happened to have)
Iron & Ironing Board
Sewing Machine, Thread, Scissors, Rotary Cutter, Ruler

Step One - I cut my fabric into four inch strips. This will give me one inch double fold bias tape. To make 1/2 inch double fold bias tape you would need your fabric to be two inches wide. (.5 * 4 = 2)

Step Two: Place your fabric right sides together. Make an L with your fabric. You will sew it diagonally (please zoom in on photo if you need to see the stitching line). (When you purchase bias tape you can see it is sewn together in places - that is what you are doing - sewing together your fabric strips to make one continuous piece of bias tape.) Keep adding strips until you have the length you need.

Step Three: Use a ruler and measure about 1/4 inch away from your stitched line.

Step Four: Use a rotary cutter and trim. You will now have some triangles that can be saved for a future project. Repeat until all joined strips are trimmed. Press your seams open with an iron. Iron your entire continuous strip of bias tape.

Step Five: I now need to take my large pin and stick it into my ironing board cover, out again, measure over two inches and stick it back into the ironing cover and out again. The opening is two inches wide. This is where the fabric will be placed.

Step Six: Take your fabric and fold both edged toward the center. Then pull it under the pin.

Step Seven: Take a ruler or guide and measure each fold making sure each is one inch. Pull the fabric out a little more, measure again, and start ironing.

Step Eight: Pull fabric through and iron. Every so often look closely to make sure that each side is still about an inch each. Once you have pulled your whole strip through you can just fold it in half, iron it and voila! You will have made your very own double fold bias tape / binding.

Let me know if you have any questions with the tutorial. Have fun making your own bias tape / bidning. Beth

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm not sewing costumes

I sew. I like to sew. I've made my children costumes in the past. One year, a fellow mother said to me "I know you want to make their outfits - it's your thing." This mother, whom I don't really like, had a good point. It was my thing. Sewing is my thing. It is my outlet. It helps me keep my sanity. And, heck, I might even make a few dollars from it.

Right then and there I decided, if my children ever wanted me to not make a costume I would listen to them.

As Halloween approached I pitched my idea to my children - we could all dress-up as characters from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I wanted the older one to be a tall Alice and to walk around with a container that had a Drink Me label on it. I wanted my little one to be the short Alice and to walk around with a cake that said Eat Me on it. I would be the Queen of Hearts and my husband could be anyone he wanted from the book - most likely the Mad Hatter. The children flat out refused. I said we could buy costumes. Nope. No way. No how.

My older one is going to be Hermione Granger. She has her cloak, tie, a plastic cauldron to collect candy in, a wand, a lantern and Hedwig. As a surprise I ordered her an hourglass necklace to complete her look.
My little one is going to be a Blue Princess. Her dress lights up.

My husband is going to be Indiana Jones. We spent the day purchasing the majority of his costume (a new leather jacket, shirt, khaki pants - all necessary and wearable again on non-Halloween days).

Me - ummmm - do the devil ears I wore last year count? I called myself a MOMster.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Autumn Musings

My daughter's class took a field trip to a local farm. It was a lot of fun. A hayride followed by the children digging up potatoes. Wait - what's this?
Oh - see all the other children (primarily the boys) in the background? They're gathering the potatoes. My daughter. She has a snake. Not one potato was picked by her. And - the majority of the girls were hovering around her. Each asking to take a turn to hold the snake. Yup. Just another day with Lucy.

And, this is for Lori. I do own some Halloween decorations - they're just outdoor decorations. This witch has been around for at least three years.

And this witch - she glows in the dark. I think we've had her for five years.

Ironically, I do own Thanksgiving decorations (well, maybe just one or two). I put the one out on November 1st. I know, you're all going to wait with bated breath to see what it is.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm in the newspaper!

Here's the link to a story that a local reporter wrote about me / aprons!

Online apron club makes connections across the country, The Daily News (Newburyport)

Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Three Columns ARE Better Than Two

So - I'm changing my blog a bit. The layout I mean. I just thought there was an awful lot of wasted space on the window so I searched around for a tutorial (I have tried other tutorials in the past that did not work). The one I found tonight though was easy to follow. Now, I feel my blog looks a little more organized. At least, I feel like I am using the space better. Three cheers to finding what I need on the web!

Sew Craft Blog!

Keri, over at Quaint and Quirky, is starting a side blog for the sewing and crafting community. She was inspired by a blog her mother-in-law joined - Sisterhood of the Stamping Bloggers.

In a nutshell - this will hopefully be a large central list of creative blogs.

Your blog does not need to be solely focused on a craft or sewing. You do need to have some posts on craftiness or sewing or something along that line though in your blog.

Check out her blog (fyi - the picture of her is so adorable! I love her use of a tomato can as a vase!) as well as the Sew Craft Blog and join me!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hot Drinks for Hot Mama's Apron

The apron is done!

I used the Lorelei pattern from A is for Apron. I was trying to figure out if I should visit Staples or Kinko's to have the pattern enlarged when I saw a post on the Sew Mama Sew forum about a software program called Rapid Resizer. All I have to say is this product rocks. There is a two week free trial. I scanned in my image and had to adjust it a few times before it was just about spot-on. The only negative I can say about Rapid Resizer is that it asks in inches how tall or wide you want your final product to be. This particular apron needed to be made 400% larger. Thankfully, a few pieces were small and listed measurements. All I had to do was print out a page with a piece that measured a certain amount, check to make sure it was more or less correct (6 7/8 is 7 inches to me) and voila - I could print out a whole pattern.

And, I made bias tape for the first time. The making of it was actually very easy. It was only after I made it that I realized that it was smaller than 1/4 inch bias tape (what is smaller - 1/8?). Soooooooo - live and learn and buy a new larger bias tape maker tomorrow. After I do I'll post a how-to. Really, if I can do it late at night anyone can do it.

But, I really like that it is small and doesn't take away from the apron. I was kind-of afraid of the large coffee cups but I think it turned out alright. I can ship it off tomorrow as I already have all the extras just waiting here in my sewing room to go in a box for my partner!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


November is National Novel Writing Month. Here is a story I published last year in my local paper with slight adjustments to include some of this year's info.

My November Checklist:
1. Order a turkey
2. Visit Plymouth Plantation
3. Write a novel
4. Clean the baseboards

Wait. You mean you don’t have writing a novel on your list?

November, in addition to being a month where we celebrate family and eating large birds, is National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo). Back in July of 1999 a group of 21 individuals embarked on the first NaNoWriMo. Six of them crossed the finish line – writing a 175 page (50,000 word) novel in 30 days. In 2006, over 79,000 people took part in the annual non-profit literary mission. Almost 13,000 of them reached the goal. While the event stresses fun and creative exploration over publication, sixteen NaNoWriMo novelists have had their NaNo-novels published, including Sarah Gruen, author of New York Times #1 Best Seller, Water for Elephants>.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, why on earth would anyone write a novel in thirty days and in November of all months? As we all learned from Issac Newton – objects in motion tend to stay in motion. You say you have one million things to do already? Perfect. Adding one more item to your list won’t seem all that daunting. Having other obligations forces you to carve out dedicated time to write. By setting aside specific hours to your novel you can finish it in one month. Do you commute? Try voice recognition software (writing and driving I don’t recommend). A SAHM? Wake-up earlier or stay-up later to get the novel done. Do your children have homework time? Guess what, you can too. Sit down at the table next to them and write. Writing 1,667 words at a time seems an impossible task? Break down your day into three 600 word sessions.

Are you a student? Good news. To reach the NaNoWriMo Young Writers goal you set your own word count. Have a favorite series? Think you can write another Lord of the Rings or Sweet Valley High? Prove it.

In 2006 I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I started out strong. The first 14,000 words came easily; then, I hit a wall. My Great American Novel, an homage to road trips of the 1970’s, went from being a joy to being an albatross around my neck. After a fortnight of staring at a notepad, creating errands to run, and playing on-line scrabble the words finally started coming again. Even though I did not reach the 50,000 word mark I had a great time participating in NaNoWriMo and found a new respect for authors, words, and novels in general.

2007’s novel? A young adult novel in the vein of The Magic Treehouse series as well as Beast Quest and the Sister's Grimm. Two sisters are transported to different time periods. The difference - they were each literary characters and siblings. An example - one was Emily Dickinson and another her sister. One was Louisa May Alcott the other her sister. Etc. It was a good attempt - I think.

This year's novel? I'm going to work Aprons into the story. Perhaps the beginning will have a woman running out to the front lawn wringing her hands on an apron asking a neighbor, child, someone for help. "I need help. It's Herman." And then she'll start running back with whomever on the front lawn following her.

According to Chris Baty, NaNoWriMo founder, “The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not lack of talent. It’s lack of a deadline.” There is no better deadline than writing 50,000 words in 720 hours. The only prize for winner’s---bragging rights.

Because writing 50,000 words is a great way to exercise your imagination. When writing quantity over quality you actually wind up with both. And really, what better excuse to get out of Thanksgiving clean-up than “Sorry, I’m writing a novel.”

If you are interested in taking part in a non-profit literary adventure visit the NaNoWriMo website,, where you can read more about the event as well as sign-up (it’s free). Become a November Novelist. At least be nice to the novelist’s you meet or else you may wind up in a novel.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hot Drinks for Hot Mama's Apron Swap Fabric

My Hot Drinks for Hot Mama's swap partner said she liked turquoise.

Could there possibly be turquoise coffee fabric?

By George - there is. And - it just arrived from an on-line shop out of Orchard Park, NY. The coffee cups are larger than I thought they would be! I had one pattern in mind but seeing the size of the cups - I now must reevaluate that choice....what apron pattern would look best? Must look through apron book once I get back from the beach.

Been busy...

...making these.

for my etsy shop.

Yeah, that August opening got delayed, just a bit. I listed a whopping two items.

And - I'll be doing a craft fair in November. I see lots of sewing in my future! I just hope I sell enough to make back the money I have to pay for the table and the donated raffle item. Think happy thoughts!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

get lost?

We did.
At the Kimball Farm Corn Maze.
This year's maze was bigger and better.
Eight Acres.
Five miles of paths - if you actually walked all of the maze.

32 questions direct visitors through the maze. Answer the question correctly and you find the next question. Answer it incorrectly and hit dead ends, paths that loop back to the question, etc.

It was so much fun! It took us about an hour to walk through the maze.

We have been taking an annual pilgrimage to corn mazes for a few years. My children know, because I'm sure I repeat myself ad nauseum before we enter, about respecting the corn. No pulling on the corn. No forcing your way through the corn to another part of the maze. That sort of thing. When my children encountered a young boy that was not respecting the corn they immediately told us. Then, they told the boy "You shouldn't pull the corn."

His parents were not really doing a good job of watching him. And - we caught him tugging on some of the signs that have the questions on them. Some of them were on the ground.

The father of the boy complained to his wife about us following them. Ummmmm - it's a corn maze. Not like there are that many ways to go if you answer the question correctly.

I truly believe my husband had to have been a tracker in a former life. He knew the correct paths to take to leave this family in the dust. Once we exited I let the staff know that signs were down in the maze that would need retaping. When they inquired further I simply stated there was a boy that wasn't being very respectful in the corn maze.

Children of the Corn

And - the scary thing - I frequently say "Children of the Corn" to my kids. Wait until they find out about the movie...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vintage Halloween Swap and Some Cake

Heidi organized a Vintage Halloween Swap. My partner, Carla, sent me some fabulous stuff.

Pumpkin girl, as I am calling her until my children give her a better name, is the absolute, hands-down favorite. My three-year-old took her down from where I perched her and sat her in many locations in my home before deciding that this step was the perfect place for her. (Ignore the dust on the stairs - I do.)

I also now have a cool picture to hang on the wall and the best smelling candle ever. It is a Trick or Treat scented Yankee Candle . Every time I smell it my teeth hurt - it smells just like candy corn. I haven't had candy corn in years...

To switch gears - Today my mom left to go back to New Jersey. Each child picked out a cake and decorated it last night. Each with a smile face. The three-year-old's creation is the yellow face, the six-year-old's is the blue face. They were so proud of decorating a cake for their Mema by themselves. Who needs a bakery to write We'll miss you when you have tubes of icing and an operatic serenade good-bye before the cake made up by your grandchildren? (I had suggested singing happy un-birthday but the un-rehearsed version of the opera We will miss you Mema in a soprano voice won.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The location of the secret rebel base

Well, not really. But, I will tell you the location of the vacation apron I created for Marcel over at Aunt Pitty Pat's.


I read Marcel's info to my mom. Marcel described herself as a short, round Granny and my mom said that was what she was. So - I had the perfect model for the apron (thanks mom!). And - my mom picked out the fabric. I took her with me (to multiple fabric shops while she was visiting) and asked her to find something that screamed Ireland. My mom said the cottages and landscape made her think of the Irish Countryside. Perhaps, where the little people lived.

I used a store bought pattern for this one. And - I must say - there are some things I'd change if I made it again. Like - the waistband.

What you can't tell about this apron from the picture is that the pockets are huge! Like - you could fit a few small dogs - or a lot of gold - in each one. I'm thinking about modifying the pattern to create kangaroo pouches for my daughters. They are constantly pretending to be different animals and like to carry dolls around in their skivvies. A pouch would do wonders for... Oh - I digress...Back to the apron...

To complete this vacation to Ireland package I sent some rainbow ric rac. And - what do we hope to find at the end of the rainbow? Gold of course. A very nice leprechaun included a pot of gold at the end of Marcel's rainbow as well as a worry stone from Ireland.


Related Posts with Thumbnails