Thursday, March 29, 2012

I came. I sewed. I conquered.

It all started in freshman home-ec. I tried to sew, really I did. But it was no use. Sewing is just not in my blood. It’s too precise. I’m a “measure once, cut twice” kind of crafter, and that doesn’t get one very far when sewing. Also, no one in my family did much sewing. The sewing machine was to me what a bicycle is to a bird…a really fun-looking and useful tool, but impossible for me to operate.

Now I have my MIL’s sewing machine and it has gotten minimal use over the years, with projects never living up to what I hope them to be when I start them. Pretty much every time I pulled out that machine, I would manage to make a big knotted mess of thread underneath and then it wouldn’t run at all. I counted on Dee’s mom to come for a visit and need to borrow my machine and she would always get it running again. I have a few friends that sew and they were always very encouraging to me – telling me again and again that I could do it. They, for a reason unbeknownst to me, believe I can be a seamstress.

I don’t know about a “seamstress”, but I do have a newfound confidence in myself as a person who can operate a sewing machine. I have yet to follow a traditional pattern, but the book slings turned out OK. I gained a little confidence. Then I signed up for Pinterest. “Projects” are pretty prolific on Pinterest and I decided I was in need of a new camera bag, but the $300 price tag for the one I wanted convinced me that I could make my own and Pinterest had no shortage of tutorials. So, I embarked…


Check it out! I picked out fabric, bought foam and sewed some foam inserts for a cute purse with several pockets and viola! My new camera bag!! What’s really fun is that I can remove the inserts and put them into another bag whenever it suits my fancy to change out bags. Which, historically, is fairly often.

Having accomplished that task, I had put my sewing machine away for a little while. Last weekend, when Sarah returned home from her California Math & Science (CAMS) trip, I was, at 3:00 in the morning, faced with a fabric-related dilemma. You see, Sarah had bought herself a sweatshirt in San Francisco without trying it on. When she held up the Large, it seemed very short (and I can feel her pain here…we’re very long-waisted girls) and so she bought an XL. It wasn’t until she got back to the hotel and put it on and looked in the mirror that she realized this sweatshirt was WAY too big, especially in the width. She was rather displeased and frustrated with herself and so, one of the first things she asked when she got home at 3:00 Sunday morning was, “Can you please try to shrink my sweatshirt?”

Ugh. I was exhausted and I knew she was also, so I said we’d figure it out. As I went to bed, I knew that shrinking it was probably not the answer. First of all, it was probably pre-shrunk and second of all, generally things shrink up in length more than they do in width, which was the biggest problem with this sweatshirt.

So there I laid in bed, at 3:30 in the morning trying to figure out what I should do in order to “save” her souvenir from her trip. It dawned on me, in those wee hours of the dawn, that what the sweatshirt needed was less fabric. I decided to try something…I figured, “what could it hurt?” Ed was skeptical, not to mention frustrated that I was bouncing my idea off him at 3:40 in the morning, but once I had a plan, I could sleep. Whew!

Sunday afternoon came and I asked Sarah to bring me the gigantic sweatshirt along with another one that she liked. The green sweatshirt, incidentally, is one of her baggiest.

I laid them out like this:


Then I drew a line with a white fabric pencil (one of many treasures I have discovered in Ed’s mom’s sewing box) on the black around the green sweatshirt. I had some dark blue thread and I put that sweatshirt in my sewing machine and stitched on the lines. And again, Viola!


I had a very happy teenager who can now wear her “I {{heart}} SF” sweatshirt and I felt like I had conquered the world with my sewing machine.

Oh, AAAAANND, while I had my machine out, I stitched up several clothing items that had holes in the seams that I was saving up to fix on my next Accountability Group day. I am amazing. Winking smile

Sunday, March 25, 2012

As usual

It seems I usually have a post about this time of year that documents the signs of spring, and this year will be no different. It’s just so fun to see what pops up when the sun comes out!


This year I’ve got some tulips coming up. Last year I was lamenting once again that my tulip supply was limited, so I planted a bunch more. I’m sure it still won’t be enough, but I am so excited to see them bloom in the next month!






Oh, and these little beauties…





Friday, March 23, 2012

A visit to the farm

My Cackleberry Farm friend invited us over for a little field trip. Apparently, even though the weather doesn’t yet know it is spring, the animals on her farm do…she has baby kittens, baby chicks, aaaaannnnnnndddddd……





a baby lamb!!!

Baby Sugar was born about a week ago to beautiful Mama Shirley. When we walked out towards the field to see them, Mama took a protective stance.


She made sure she stood between the predator and her offspring.

Eventually she decided we probably weren’t horrible, so she loosened up a bit, but stayed close to her babe the entire time we were there.



No, the chicken is not on Mama Shirley’s back…just on a log behind her. I was at a bad angle, but I just love Mama and Babe running together.


Shaun the sheep wasn’t getting too much attention, what with all the babies around, but she posed nicely for the photographer. And yes, Shaun is a girl sheep.


Mama Shirley, always protecting Sugar and keeping her eye on the predator with the big black box for an eye.


And what’s a visit to Cackleberry Farm without a chicken photo or three?




When we left Cackleberry Farm, the girls said, “Why can’t WE have a farm like that?” Because my dears, while it’s a lot of fun to have baby animals, it’s also a lot of work. Case in point: my Cackleberry Farm friend butchers chickens. Herself. At that, we all decided it was great to have friends with a fun farm to visit. Thanks, farmers!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


When I chose “underneath” for my next photography challenge, what I had in mind is definitely not what I ended up taking pictures of. I intended to take some pictures of some berries underneath the leaves of a plant in front of the garage. I intended to take pictures underneath of the tables of my garage sale to show the chaos. I intended to take pictures while lying underneath my girls’ beautiful faces and having them look down at me. My intentions were good.

However. I did not get much cooperation. Specifically from the weather. Driving rain, wind, hail, snow, and freezing temperatures just do not bode well for taking pictures of berries underneath leaves, taking pictures of my garage sale (let alone even having the garage sale, which I did not), OR for lying on the ground underneath my girls’ beautiful faces outdoors. So, thanks to the weather, I neither took the pictures I intended to take, nor did I have my garage sale. Sigh.

However. I did get some pictures of something that was underneath. Glass underneath my stove.


I do not have a good story about misbehaving children or sneaky mice to accompany such an event, however. I was in bed on Saturday morning. Ed came in to wake me up, the little girls were watching TV and the big girls were gone at sleepovers. Ed & I were just talking about the day when we heard a CRASH! Ed went out to check and came back completely befuddled.

Spontaneous Combustion. On the part of the outside piece of glass on my oven door.

No, the little girls did not do anything. (I don’t think they even noticed when the glass shattered into a million pieces. They were just still watching TV). No, my oven was not on. No, nothing hit the glass on the oven.

Apparently, when you temper (heat & cool, heat & cool, heat & cool) glass, such as the glass on an oven door, sliding glass door, or automobile windows, those pieces of glass have a lot of energy. And sometimes they spontaneously combust. The shattering into a million pieces thing is actually a safety feature of tempered glass. Those little tiny pieces probably won’t cut you (unless it went flying straight into your eye ball upon combustion) like a large shard of glass could. That’s why “they” temper glass for those types of items. The edges of tempered glass are the vulnerable parts, so it’s possible that the glass shifted and the clamp on the bottom hit the edge and that is what caused it to shatter. Thanks, Dad, for the glass lesson.



Regardless of why it happened, it happened, and it was a mess to clean up. Ed did good. Plus he did good finding that Sears sells replacement glass for $40. Pair it with a year’s worth of refrigerator water filters and you get free shipping! Another week to go until the glass arrives, but I figure between my crockpot, the microwave, and the stove top, it shouldn’t be too hard to continue to provide evening nourishment for my family.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In case you didn't notice...

I had a few "macro" pictures in the last two posts. Cross that one off the Photography Challenge list!! Next up? I'm thinking "underneath." This could be interesting!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A little more Seuss

No, I won’t be writing any more poems…I just have a few more fun pictures to post of our fun Dr. Seuss Wacky Week!!


I painted this “photo booth” after seeing the idea on Pinterest. It was a total hoot to make and to take pictures of the kids “being” Thing 1 & Thing 2. Maybe next week I’ll get some photos of us teachers…



We also created these self-portraits and used Cat in the Hat stickers a mom donated to put their names on the bows. These turned out so cute! Next year the teacher plans to do these and put them on the bulletin board in the hall with the “Today you are You, that is truer than True. There is no one alive that is You-er than You” Dr. Seuss quote. Since this was the first year making them, we weren’t sure how it would go, but we LOVE them!!



I absolutely ADORE this one! It reminds me of a little old lady…drawn by a six-year old boy!



These Thing 1 & Thing 2 cupcakes started out super cute…but melted overnight. Note to self…cotton candy does not last…


No problem, we just added more cotton candy later…though it didn’t work as well because the frosting was no longer very sticky…but you know what? Kindergarteners don’t care. They all think it was amazing and one even remarked, “This is the best day ever!”



It was green eggs and ham day! And we had actual green eggs! From green chickens!

No, not really. I was just checking to see if you were reading the words or just looking at the pictures.

Thanks, Cackleberry Farm, for loaning us green eggs! The kids loved it!!



And we had green jello eggs. These were a huge hit!



And of course we made green scrambled eggs. And thankfully we remembered before adding food coloring that scrambled eggs are yellow and therefore we should add blue food coloring! Blue & yellow make green. Aha!



We ended our day cheering on the two local high school basketball teams who both won the state championship last weekend. Our school in 1A and the other in 2A. Whenever there’s a state championship in town, the fire trucks give the winning team a ride through town. This was a great community building event – to have both schools win and celebrate together!



We’re Number One!

I don’t know about those kids, but I’m exhausted after such a day, and I’m just the aide! (I worked extra hours to help out with all these fun events). Good thing I have tomorrow off – the poor teacher better get to bed on time tonight.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Seussism Tribute

It’s Wacky Week and it seems
That wackiness has entered my dreams!
From there to here, from here to there
My wacky dreams are everywhere.

But then, in real life, well, you won’t believe it!
That Cat in the Hat is back, he’s a genius!
He came in the rain, but he’d come in the snow,
Only because he had books to show!_MG_4703


The Children “ooohhed!” and the Children “aaaahhhed!”
And wondered aloud if this Cat had claws.
Alas he does not, as he is gentle.
But what’s under his hat? Well, that’s just subtle.
Is it the Little Cats A & B? Maybe a Voom? Or a Fish in a Pot?
Perhaps if the teachers leave he’ll tell. Perhaps not.





That Cat then left with his books in hand,
But that is not all the fun to be had.
The week of wacky stories has just begun
And so I’ll tell you another one…



Friday, March 2, 2012


I chose wisely for my photography challenge for this week. I chose “Cold.” And it was. Cold. In fact, it snowed on Wednesday!


I was actually too cold to go outside to take the pictures, so I took them from inside, through the windows. I had had recess duty in the bitter cold (with northeastern winds) on Tuesday, and I had never quite warmed up! Yes, I’m a wimp when it comes to cold weather. We plan to be snow birds in Hawaii when Ed retires someday.


That road back there behind our house ended up being very slippery when I left to head to town later on in the day. It had recently been resurfaced and is extremely smooth. That, with water, hail, slush, and fresh snow, made for some slippery corners! We ended up with about an inch of snow that was very pretty, however.

Even though I stayed inside I was cold that whole day. I turned on the fire. Hush, don’t tell Ed. I wore my fuzzy warm slippers and sat by the fire.


I was still cold. Elise on the other hand…


She & her friend were warm. Elise wore her dress-up leotard. Brrr. Makes me cold just to look at her!

Next Photography Challenge: I’m choosing Macro. I don’t have a macro lens, so it won’t be true macro, but I’m going to try some close-ups of some things that are happening at school next week…