Saturday, May 31, 2008

Last Apron?

Just finished 7 & 8 of the Mother's Day aprons. This one is for me (and I made a carbon copy for my Aunt in Texas). Again - this was the Emmeline Apron by Sew Liberated (formally Montesorri by Hand). Loved it and I feel like I've really gotten the hang of it now :). Even decided to post this one on the Sew Along here that I heard about from Monkey Foot Design - (where I bought the pattern).

Honestly, I'm glad to be done with these - though I did order one more yard of fun fabric for the final "Mom" on my list. Not going to say who - but a hint would be she really needs an apron when cooking her famous (infamous) cabin style breakfasts!

Found my camera!

so... you may remember last post when I mentioned that I had lost my camera. I believe I said I thought my kids were playing photographer...though when I asked them where my camera was - no one had every laid eyes on it in their young lives. Well, I found it. It was in one of Rowan's purses (along with a pretend cell phone and Dave's old wallet). She had hauled this along to Famous Dave's for dinner. Not sure why - but maybe she wanted to pay? Should have looked to see if there was money in that wallet.

Anyway.. camera is found. How do I know for sure that they were playing photographer? Hmmm... take a guess.

Friday, May 30, 2008

more dabbling...embroidery this time

So... does it make sense that not two weeks after I receive the sewing machine of my dreams, with embroidery capabilities mind you, I decide to try my hand at learning to hand embroider?

Of course not -but that is what I've done. I found this great site - and got some fantastic patterns shipped to me. There were so many options that I wanted them all, but ended up choosing camping art, woodland creatures, gnomes and fairies and kitchen gadgets. After all, who does not need a gnome/s'more stick/porcupine/blender embroidered on their kitchen towel? Then, decided I needed this book... and needed to spend a bit more on amazon to get super shipper rates, so got this book too. Now I'm set - but need to actually produce something to feel that I've not wasted my start up capital.

And, yes - I do know that have a problem and wholeheartedly, admit to being a compulsive craft dabbler. It is so much fun to learn to do something new and know that I can do it myself. I was able to logically justify the embroidery gear as a family bonding activity. "What?" you say (I'm sure). With all our long car trips to the lake and up north this summer, doing embroidery on the ride instead of reading will encourage me to be more social to husband and monsters, oops, children. See... embroidering is going to improve our quality of life. Ha! Excellent reasoning, right?

So, I spent last night learning the split stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch and a cable stitch. Oh... I think that there is an overcast stitch in there as well. I planned on posting a picture with my handiwork (ha ha ha) but unfortunately it seems my children were playing "Photographer" with my camera and it is missing. I'm sure it will turn up on the Saturday Clean Fest I've decided to hold at our house this weekend (tickets are still available, if you'd like to attend)... but for now I guess no one will get to see my stitching baby steps. Maybe that is a good thing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

sunday best

Here are the monsters all dressed up for Grandma and Papa Thom's 50th Anniversary mass and party last Sunday. Grif's knees look a bit rough - and it is only May! Can't imagine what they'll look like by the end of the summer. They did good in church for the mass - though Rowan thought Grandma and Papa were getting married when their marriage was being blessed and Griffin kept asking if this (church) is where "that little girl baby Jesus" lived. They were a bit wild at the luncheon afterwards - but with over 20 cousins around to play with, I guess that can be expected.

What a huge milestone for Dave's parents... a half century of their lives together. 13 of their 14 kids, and their respective families, were able to attend the gathering. As you can probably imagine, always entertaining and interesting when that many sibs do get together. I have to admit to a guilty pleasure of watching my husband in the role of the youngest brother and #12 of 14 within his family. Quite different than his roles as husband, father, best friend or co-worker that I see more frequently. I also get a kick out of seeing his mannerisms and odd (to me) idiosyncrasies shared by his sisters and brothers (Theresa - can you say Mandarin?). On top of that, I love catching glimpses of my kids in their aunties, uncles and cousins. Makes me feel they are truly part of a bigger picture than just our little corner of Nightingale Street :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend: Ollie and Walleyes

We celebrated our nephew Oliver's (aka our god son) 3rd Birthday this past weekend. We also celebrated that his mom (my sister Brianna) graduated from technical school with an electrician degree - but the party hats below were just for the "O"man.

Oliver loved his party - he was a riot opening his gifts. Here he is enjoying his singing, candles and cake. Maybe he is peeking over his shoulder to make sure big cousin Grif doesn't move in on his cake.

Later, Oliver even condescended to let me push him on the swing for about 4 pushes. He is not really enamored by Auntie yet- but I'm working on him.

As usual, we had way too much food. This is my sister, far left, myself, Grandma "GG", step mom Carole and Dad around the table "grazing". (Dave & Chloe are in the background filling water balloons or squirt guns - I forgot which). Note - Bree is wearing one of her grad gifts from me- an Emmeline apron mentioned in a previous post. It was very cute on her...wishing I had made myself one.

That night - post party - Dave and Rowan fished off the dock and Dave got 2 walleyes. I believe he's fished my mom's lake for the past 8-9 years and never caught one of these elusive fish. We were not sure that they actually lived in the lake. He was thrilled. Rowan and Griffin were ecstatic as well- Griffin kept saying "My dad caught a bit old shark!!".

Hope your holiday weekend was fun!

Friday, May 23, 2008

slugs & samples

After seeing some polymer clay creations my sister bought at a craft show, Rowan wanted to make her own for Auntie Theresa. She wanted them to be the slugs from the movie Flushed Away. Not sure why Auntie Theresa gets slugs... hard to determine what goes on in the mind of a 5 1/2 year old, but I think she did a great job. Unfortunatly, we did not realize that the clay we used was only modeling clay and could not be baked or hardened. I convinced Rowan that there were her practice versions and we'd make the types that can be gifts after I buy the right clay. I was not sure Auntie Theresa would want the soft clay versions - though real slugs are slimy. Disclaimer - I may have made a few slugs too...

When I got home from work and picking the kids up from daycare last night, I could see a big package by the door. Yes, I do my fair share of buying things on eBay, so a package by the door is not foreign to me, but I got a little giddy seeing it on our front porch. Does everyone love receiving packages as much as me, or am I odd? Anyways - it was a box from Texas - Aunt Nancy had found us all sorts of treasures at her friends' sample sale. Here are the kids in their winter gear for next year - Thanks Nance!! They LOVE their boots. Cute, huh?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

flashback...prom party 1999

No - I did not go to a "real" prom in 1999, but Dave, Theresa and I did have a ridiculously fun party that year... with a prom theme. Tonight I was scanning in some pictures of Dave's old band and found this batch. I threw them together in photo shop and sent it out to the participants I had emails for... too funny. Thought I'd post it here too.

Got to love these things:
  • That Dave's rust colored leisure suit matched my peach puffy dress

  • That I made a hair scrunchy out of a sleeve of said puffy dress

  • That Theresa's dress resembles a crumpled pile of beer cans

  • That Jeff and Missy look like chaperone's

  • That I only had to blur out one ex-girlfriend (and did not do it well, I was in a hurry)

  • And finally, last but not least, you gotta love Carrie as the prego prom goer! If I remember correctly, she had skull earrings and combat boots as well
Ah... to be young again. Dave and I decided that we were probably too old to properly enjoy this type of fun again. Someone has to get up with the kids the next morning, and that takes some of the fun away. And even if we were to do it today, we could not recreate the ambiance of a cheap rental duplex with wood paneling in our lovely dining room and a scary basement "dressed up" with stars hanging from the ceiling and come streamers. Oh yeah - and Kleenex corsages and a "Footloose" styled wall hanging for prom pics!

Good times!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

belated mother's day gifts

I'm giving away my belated mother's day gifts by posting this - but hopefully no mother's of mine will be looking at the blog for the next few days. I've got 5 days to finish... I decided that I'd tackle the silverware bracelets and Emmeline apron for my many "mothers" out there. Both were things I planned to make - though not necessarily in the quantity that I require to cover my moms (birth, step, in law, grandmas, god, etc). Obviously these projects did not get done in time for the actual "day", but I'll be seeing them all this next weekend, so I have a new "due date".

Lucky for me, Dave delivered big time on my own Mother's Day gift and brought me home a ridiculously fantastic sewing machine. I've upgraded so much from my "New Home" basic model that I'm fairly certain that if I just ask this new machine to "sew pants" with just the right words and emotion, it will do it on it's own for me. I now am the proud owner of the Huskvarna Scandinavia - and I nearly tear up just looking at it. Dave didn't understand why I would dance around with a large sewing machine box - but he figured out that he did good by bringing it home!

I broke her (Rowan named her Severina) in last night sewing the first of 6 aprons - and she sewed like a dream!! I had Rowan take a picture of the first apron - (check out Montessori by hand for this pattern - it is gorgeous) so it is a bit fuzzy, but you can get the idea. My own mother picked out the fabric - and while I did not like it much on the bolt, it looks great as an apron. The reverse side is a funky drum, palm leaf motif - yes, my mom picked this out as well. You can tie in front or back. I like the pattern so much that I hated taking this off - it made me look better than my normal clothes - but I'm guessing they'd look at me oddly at Costco wearing it! You can tie in the front or back - and it truly was something I could do on my own. Still challenging - but worth it!

Second project(s)were the silverware bracelets I saw on all sorts of "Trash to Treasure" sites. Dave again came through with a new dremel tool and enough bits and accessories to stock a small hardware store. Then I made a purchase on eBay - from a guy who sells the perfect tool to use to bend the bracelets correctly. Just to disclaim - I did try to make the bracelets without the amazing spoon bending tool - but they were jagged and crooked - and looked horrible.

I finished this first batch of 3 and then realized that I had not really sized them correctly - as they only seem to fit my 5 year old. I'll be working to find the correct way to make them a bit bigger - and fit those of us who have normal to larger sized wrists. Note - I have no excuses for these blurred pics (Rowan did not take them) - except that maybe it is hard to take pictures of silver - and I need a new camera (though after getting the sewing machine and dremel tool, I think I'll be quiet and lay low for awhile!).

Monday, May 19, 2008

visiting grandma and grandpa's house

I took the kids up to my dad's this past weekend so we could watch my little sister Lauren's dance recital. Little is probably the wrong word, since she is on the verge of getting her license - and is already taller than me as well. I guess "younger" is more appropriate. Lauren did a fantastic job - as usual, though Griffin and my nephew Oliver did their best to disrupt the 1 o'clock show. Tough for a 2 and 3 year old to sit for 2 1/2 hours - though Lauren in her "scary clown" number did draw his attention at the end - as well as Grandma Carole and Grandpa Jeff getting on stage for a surprise dance to "Grease" music. I am guessing it was a once in a lifetime type occassion to see my father on stage doing the hand jive!! Unfortunately, I was without camera - so no pics of that to post :(

The kids spent a lot of time outside while up north- and I snapped a bunch of photos of them having a blast. Trampoline, rope swing and just plain old dirt kept them very occupied!

They came home last night exhausted and filthy - but excitedly telling their dad all about the fun they had. We'll be visiting everyone again this weekend - to celebrate Brianna's graduation (YEAH BREE!) and Oliver's 3rd birthday. Then we will celebrate with the Thom's - Dave's parents just had their 50th wedding anniversary. Busy, busy, busy!

I finished a few crafts this past week and took pics to post - but I'll do that post tomorrow if I get done with a few more projects tonight!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

sewing push weekend

When I first discovered the wide world of sewers and crafters blogging and photographing their projects, I was amazed, excited, overwhelmed, and honestly, felt a bit lazy. What have I done recently? Does folding laundry count as a craft? I frantically began saving "favorites" to my computer - without any plan or organization. The result - I've now got just as many "electronic" ideas as I have on paper and cut out from magazines and books...not necessarily any of which actually get done, nor can be found easily if I decide I really want to do them. A phone call from Brooke on Friday started a big push for me to try some of the ideas I've seen recently- especially since I'm fishing for a new sewing machine for Mother's Day, and want to prove how much I need it.

So, it was the weekend of t-shirt baby yoga pants, capri sun purse, and yes, I started and finished the Amy Butler Lotus Tunic (Dave keeps asking "what the hell is a tunic?"). I believe that I can now officially call myself a true sewer, albeit a "beginner". I've now gone beyond curtains, pillows and jean hems - Hooray. My mom thinks this just means that I'll start to swear more frequently.

Brooke called on Friday -she was making yoga pants out of a t-shirt for her 1 year old, Cash. I think I saw the on the Sew Mama Sew site. I was not sure if Dave's shirt would be large enough for Griffin (3), but it worked perfectly... I ended up making a pair for Rowan out of an even larger t-shirt previously belonging to her Bumpa. Dave wondered who's shirt I could use to make him a pair, cause they sure looked comfy on the kids.

This shirt used to say "I heart hot moms". If I had to do over, I would have used smaller elastic and tried to save more of the writing for a fun decoration. I plan to use the same pattern for tons of other pants for both kids- how easy and fun! I did have to tell Griffin that they were Spider man pants to get him to put them on originally, but he loves them now, and they are great for our potty training escapades!

Next up was the Amy Butler Lotus Tunic... this took me a good two days - with most of the time spent pinning, cutting and ironing seams. I swore a lot, but only had to do 2 seam rips (guess most of us do need the arm holes open...) Thank God for my mother's sewing machine... mine would never have handled it, as it seems to not handle much. (hint hint, Dave).

I'm happy with how it turned out - though I see all the flaws when I look at in this picture. Regardless - I made it all by myself, and am damn proud of myself for not begging my mother to finish it. My mother and sister were both quick to point out that I was not very original, choosing the exact fabric that is on the pattern pic, but I did change up the accent material. Why mess with genius (amy's that is)? And I have to give Amy Butler props - her material is fantastic - and the pattern was pretty user-friendly and easy to understand. Side note, I asked Dave to take this picture, cause I'm not sure where the timer is on my digital, and since it is 10 pm, I had him cut out my head (no make up and bad hair). Sorry about the kooky pose - I didn't know he was actually pushing the button this time, but I looked the least hefty in this one, so I used it anyway.

Last up, I bumped into the Capri Sun purse on a few different sites a few nights back - I think I was looking for tote patterns and found it. I thought it would be a fun one for Rowan - so I threw it together tonight. Well, that is after draining an entire case of Capri Suns into a pitcher on Friday and letting the containers dry all weekend. I definitely know what to do different if I were to do this again, but can't imagine the need for too many of these. Still, it was fun and she'll love it when she sees it! Just kinda makes me thirsty to look at.

On a side note, we did get up to my mom's lake this weekend, as well as stopping in our cabin. For those that don't know, Dave and I bought a "cabin" (and I use the term loosely) last year with his brother Joe. The land is great, and it is only a couple houses down from my mom and step dad. The plan is to fix it up, but we have to work with the county to find out what we can and can't do. There seems to be a lot of rules and regs around it, but for now, we visit the lot and stay at my mom's. It was very cold on Saturday, the ice only went out of the lake on Wednesday, but today was gorgeous. The kids and I (when I was not sewing) spent a ton of time outside - Grif and I took an hour and a half walk where he jumped into every puddle. Rowan was busy collecting worms and rocks with her cousin Chloe, getting very muddy and messy. We came home to a beautiful day in the cities too - maybe we'll really have summer now...

Friday, May 2, 2008


Dave had buddies over for "old school" band practice last night - it was fun to see and hear them all together again, though I suspect it is just as much a social event as a "practice". I say "old school" since this is a much earlier edition of the band...not much is better than Eric belting out a little AC DC, James on drums, and Dave and Brian on guitars. A bit like old times... They sounded good - I'm constantly amazed at the musical abilities they all have. My french horn playing days are a bit behind me now - and I was never able to do anything musically without sheet music and a conductor. One can only hope our kids inherit Dave's incredible musical talent oh, and my striking good looks!

Brian brought his 4 month old Turner, since his wife was at work. The kids and I had a blast with Turner - he is extremely cuddly and curious. He seemed to love the loud ruckus being made in the house -which is NOT a testament to the quality of music being made - more the result of the sound escaping through the basement ceiling below to the floor and rug above, combined with G beating his Batman and pirate swords on a box to play "drums" and Rowie "strumming" her Hannah Montana guitar, which plays pre-recorded bits of teeny bopper pop.

I did witness a dimple or two from Turner as he smiled watching the kids dance to the music. Caragh and Brian did good with their little man!

I promise that he did smile... but he was more interested in looking at everything that was going on... and there was a lot going on!

Rowan kept asking to hold him, and she did a great job! I was very impressed that Griffin actually was inclined to share a Spider man guy or two with Turner as well...

All three in jammies - watching a bit of Baby Einstein as we waited for practice to wrap up... Griffin hasn't watched these in over a year and he was fascinated all over again. Dave has called the movies "baby crack" - as they seem a bit addicting to the young mind.