Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Final Days

My energy tank is officially on "E". I can honestly say that I am now tired of being pregnant. I never remember feeling this way with my two girls. Maybe it is the impending holidays and all the hustle & bustle that typically accompanies it. Maybe it is the pile of sewing projects that for some reason I just have no passion for. Every time I walk by the sewing table, it's as if the fabric holds its breath, hoping, just hoping, that I will stop to give it some love & turn it into something beautiful. It all collectively *sighs* as I pass on by, as do I, wishing that I could do more. And seeing as I have no energy for the things I love to do, the things I really don't like {cleaning, laundry, dishes} are most definitely doomed. I am barely online anymore, pausing only to check my email & the blogs of my nearest & dearest.

I am trying to be patient, I really am. I want to finish this chapter of pregnancy with grace & continued appreciation for the miracle of life. Not knowing how many, if any, more children we will have, I try to be grateful for all the moments that I have left with my exceedingly enormous belly. I feel especially emotionally drained & just plain worn out. I just feel like our lives {and the lives of some of those I will be relying on} are in a holding pattern, just waiting for the moment when I get to say those two precious words, "It's time." So, if you are of the sort, please pray for me in my final days of pregnancy. It will lift my spirits to know that you are out there praying.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

This post is also known as, "The Ridiculously Extreme Measures I Will Take to Get a Great Deal on Fabric."

I guess I was in denial about how many people would want to get a killer deal on flannel {99 cents a yard}! Is flannel really THAT popular? Apparently it was either denial or ignorance. After a really great night of sleep, I woke up feeling well rested, despite my alarm clock not being set to go off until 7:30 am. Good thing I didn't wait for that alarm or I would still be at JoAnn's waiting to get my fabric cut. I make the 40ish minute hike to the JoAnn Superstore, stopping at Panera beforehand to fuel up my tank. I arrive at JoAnn's about 7:30ish. Parking lot seems pretty full, but plenty of spaces left at the back & no need for excessive circling. I score a spot near the front. YIPPEE! I get my cart & start looking around. Humph. Out of probably 200 or so bolts of flannel, there are about 15 left on the shelf. I notice everyone's cart is filled to overflowing with flannel. Seriously people, what are you doing with 20 bolts of flannel? I start to develop my flannel acquiring strategy. I do some more looking around. Check back for the flannel. Humph. Still nothing. I notice A LOT of people waiting to get fabric cut. I think that I am so smart, but really I turn out not to be that I will take a number NOW, then do more looking while I am waiting for my turn at the cutting counter. My number is 87. I actually check back at the ticket machine because at this point I am in disbelief since they are serving number 23. Here's where the denial really sets in. I look around some more. I pick out some beads for a little gift for my mom. I look at Christmas fabric. I notice there is a bin where they are putting the recently cut fabric {mostly flannel in there} where I can scoop it up before it goes back on the shelf. I score some cute circus flannel & some owl flannel. I keep going back to the bin & the shelf. I acquire several solids and a jungle flannel {destined for a crib sheet}. I decide to "hang out" in the pattern cutting area. It's quiet. Plenty of room & seating. I get thirsty & help myself to a bottled Dasani from the front cooler {of course I paid for it at the end}. I start to panic. I have a 11:15 doctor's appointment in Woodstock. I start weighing the importance of going to the doctor versus getting my good fabric deals. Yes. I am that crazy. It is now 9:20 am and they are only on number 26. Yep. Moved up 3 numbers in one hour. My logical brain now starts timing the number calling. I realize that the likelihood of me delivering this baby BEFORE my fabric gets cut is extremely high. I walk around a little more. I notice another line near one side of the store where they usually cut the upholstery fabric on the really big bolts. I approach the counter. "Are you calling the numbers also orrrr..................???" "Oh, NO. We don't have a ticket machine. You just get in line." I feel a mixture of dumb luck and guilt. Lucky that I figured out this little "secret" line, yet guilty that I will probably get my fabric cut before the some people that have been waiting longer than I have with their tickets at the other counter. I get in line. I am about 8th. I meet a really great lady in her early 60's, who turns out to be my fairy shopping godmother. She gets me a chair from the pattern area so my 45 week pregnant belly I can sit down while waiting. She gets me another water bottle. She pushes my cart. I hope the Lord blesses this lady's pants off today. The way she treated me, a total stranger, almost brought me to tears. Seriously. The kindness of a stranger can be very overwhelming. {Or is it just all the hormones?} I continue to calculate the rate my line is moving. I start to feel relieved as I don't think I will have to abandon my cart after all to make it to the doctor's office on time. After waiting in this line about 1 1/2 hours, I get the fabric cut. I feel badly for the people in the other ticketed area as they are only calling number 70. I would still have been waiting. I wait in line for the checkout. Giddy excitement again, when the line up at the front moves QUICK. Too bad I get the putsy kid who can't read my fabric ticket and has to type in each one by hand, then blaming me, scans my coupon before he has rung up all my items & now I am not getting the discount on that part of my order & he can't fix it so he has to start ALL OVER AGAIN. I would've made it to my appointment on time if it weren't for that checker. I call ahead out of courtesy to let them know I will be late. I arrive at the office & everything is right with the world again. Hey, a girl's gotta get her good fabric deals when she can!

Note to Self: When you are 37 weeks pregnant, do NOT drink TWO water bottles & then expect to be able to hold it for 2 hours. If you try this you will be very uncomfortable & will barely be able to walk because of all the pressure.

P.S. I am one centimeter. I was praying for more, but I guess it's better than 0.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Crafting Method

Thanks for all the nice words, ya'll! I feel like I am nesting already. The cleaning & organizing has begun to set-in ;>)

In the last post Saralyn asked one (very serious) question: how do you find the time to craft--from deciding what you want to make, to finding a pattern, to actually completing the project--and homeschool? I'm having a horrible time keeping my house in order while homeschooling and simply gaze longingly at the stash of material in my sewing corner! Any tips would be much appreciated.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to make before I actually do it. Planning how I will assemble something or what type of fabric I will use or even making sketches and approximate dimensions of the finished product. It was the same way when I worked as a pastry chef: I would review & review in my mind what I wanted to do first, like how to assemble 500 pastries or how I was going to decorate a cake, etc. so that way when it came time to do it, it was like I already had rehearsed it. This sounds kinda silly, but then I spend less time hemming and hawing and trying to figure out what to do next.
{This works for other areas of my life as well!}

I keep a folder under my bookmarks called "tutorials". That way when I come across something {during my morning blog/computer time} I want to make, I just file it away for when the mood strikes. Less time searching around for the needed instructions and all my ideas are neatly tucked in one place.

I do a lot of my pattern cutting at night after the kids are in bed, while I am unwinding or watching TV.

I have a dedicated sewing area, which is my "formal dining room/playroom". I can't tell you how much this affects things. It is in the main part of my house so I am always near the kids, either with them right in the same room or just an earshot away. I can do a little at a time as the kids {!} allow like a few minutes of ironing or organizing my next pattern, etc. It is connected to the kitchen as well where we homeschool so occasionally when dd is working on something self-directed, like a workbook or craft project, I can sit for 10 minutes or so and sew. When I was an avid scrapbooker, my workspace was in the basement & I really had to make an effort to go down there to use it. This one thing has made a huge difference.

We only homeschool for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours a day. This is formal school, not including gametime or reading or other learning activities.

I don't have the cleanest house on the block. I'm sure this may seem "wrong" to some people. I consider my house to be in decent shape most of the time, but you wouldn't want to eat off the floor and there is a small layer of dust on the edges of my fan blades. I really find that, since I am a creative person, I need some sort of outlet for that energy. It makes me a more fun, more relaxed, more emotionally healthy mom. I think all moms {dads too!} should do a little something for themselves, whatever it is they enjoy, whether it be exercising or reading or going for walks or bubble baths or cleaning/organizing {!}, on an almost daily basis. Our families will all be better for it.

And last but not least, I have a wonderful husband who supports my hobby & has hobbies of his own which I support. We both understand how these outlets benefit us personally & the how those benefits carry over to our family.
There is many an occasion {about once a month, especially during the warmer months} that he will take both of the children for the entire day to his parents so that I can do whatever it is I wish. Prime crafting time! We also have 3 other sets of grandparents {my kids basically have 4 grandparent houses} that like to take the kids for the day or even overnight. More time to myself! This is actually happening today, when my mom is taking the girls to the movie theatre & then overnight for a sleepover. I'm sure I'll get some sewing done, then hubster & I are going to take off to Janesville, just to see what's there.

So that's how I do it. Hope that isn't more than what you wanted to know, but it is a question I get asked from time to time. Maybe today you will carve out a little time for yourself to do something you enjoy. Cheers!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sew and Sew

Since the completion of my bag making fiasco extravaganza, I feel like a new woman. I am keenly aware that my personality is just not suited to projects that required an extended amount of focus. I like shorter projects that I can finish in a day or two, otherwise I lose my interest and motivation. Here are some of the things that I have been working on. I *love, love, love* that most of these were finished in less than a day, in one case, only 20 minutes!!

Notepad Holder
I made this as a birthday gift for Erin. It is loosely based on this pattern for the Notetaker, but is made for a 5x8" pad of paper & has just a simple paper & pen holder on the inside. {Be sure to check out this other super cute pattern from Pink Chalk Studio!} I have two more assembled that are waiting for interfacing {and new owners around Christmastime}! It's a great way to use up little pieces of fabric & so practical too ;>)

Baby Burp Cloths
It's about time that I made something for myself, or in this case, the wee one. Both of my other babies were pukers excessive spitters, so I made these burpies extra absorbent just in case. I *love* blue and orange together! All the patterns have both of those colors in them, so I made one of each pattern with a blue backing and the other with an orange backing. Each burpie is topstitched with a zig-zag stitch for sturdiness and style ;>) This would be a great project for a beginning sewer & also would make a nice baby shower gift, dontcha think? It's also relatively inexpensive when you get the flannel on sale like I did. I have plenty of fabric left over for coordinating bibs or other baby accessories.

Criss-cross Coasters
I think these are pretty neat, but maybe you are not a coaster person. I really don't use coasters, but I would just because these look so pretty. I am planning on using them in my Christmas gift baskets, along with some homemade pumpkin butter and strawberry preserves and other handmade goodies. I followed the super-easy tutorial here. This is another great beginner project and also so inexpensive {great hostess gifts, girls}! All it requires is cutting & sewing in a square. No need for top-stitching or hand-finishing! Instead of using just another piece of fabric in the middle, I used sew-in fleece, which I believe has some sort of thermal properties for extra protection of your surface. Since I am using a rotary cutter, all the cutting went really quickly. Whenever I do a project like this {and the burp cloths as well}, I always work production style. I do all my cutting first, then all my sewing, then all the trimming & turning, then all the topstitching {if necessary}, then all the pressing. It makes everything go so much smoother.

Fall Napkins
I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it on a tablecloth at Alicia's & knew right away that I wanted to make napkins out of it. I am trying to build up my napkin stash, not only for special occasions, but for everyday use. I plan on making some kiddie napkins to use for breakfasts & lunches, instead of paper towels all the time. I think it'll be more frugal in the long run, not to mention prettier! Hubster must've really liked them because he said, "Whoa! You should make those as gifts!" Usually he just says something like, "Nice."

Easy Toddler Belt
I have been loving the Sew, Mama, Sew blog this month as they are doing 30 days of handmade projects, complete with tutorials. {Sorry, no picture of this one!} I found this idea there & made it the very next day! I already had the metal rings & just used up some stash fabric for the belt. I added a layer of sew-in interfacing for extra sturdiness. Another simple project for the beginning sewer and is perfect for a boy or a girl.

That concludes this edition of Sew and Sew. Hope maybe you were inspired, by these {mostly} simple projects, to create something of your own!

Monday, November 12, 2007


I was tagged by Erin to expose share eight random things about myself. So here they are:

1. I was born with one crossed eye. It couldn't move anywhere & was permanently looking inward until I had corrective surgery at 15 months. I had to wear an adhesive patch {kinda like a round band-aid} on the opposite eye {AARGH Mateys!} for several hours a day for years. The patches even came with little stickers so I could decorate them. Now the eye has overcorrected itself & I have a hard time looking people in the eye with
both eyes at the same time. People don't realize that I'm talking to them or turn around to see who I am speaking to. It is actually very frustrating & kinda embarrassing. So, yeah, I'm talkin' to YOU!

2. I have been sleeping with a body pillow for the last 6 years, since I was preggo with my first child. I can't sleep well without it. I take it with me whenever I spend the night somewhere.

3. I have NEVER tried a brussel sprout or an oyster...or a cigarette for that matter. NEVER.

4. I have been out of the country 6 times: four times to Mexico, once to Jamaica, and once to Guatemala.

5. I didn't receive my first speeding ticket until last year. I was more upset about the fact that my record was no longer "perfect" than I was about the expense and hassle.

6. At the moment, I am addicted to ice. No. Seriously. I think it has to do with the pregnancy hormones. I'm sure this can't be good for my teeth. I fill up my glass 3/4 full with ice & just add a little of my beverage. The ice is best when it has been sitting out for a bit & softens up some. I like smallish slightly crushed ice best. I have even asked for it as a separate cupful in the drive-through. Yep. I'm weird.

7. While babysitting the girl next door, when I was about 12 or 13 years old, she was hit by a car. We went for a little bike ride down our street. Literally only about 2 houses down from where we lived. There was a car coming, so we all pulled over to the side of the street. I, with her little sister on one side, and she had pulled over to the opposite side. I said, "Stay there." Of course, at the last minute, she decides to cross to my side of the street. Thankfully the car wasn't going that fast, but still. The ambulance was called & she checked out fine. Let me know if you need someone to watch your kids next time you and husband go out ;>)

8. I enjoy memorizing and reciting lines to movies. Mostly my favorites like "While You Were Sleeping", "Sweet Home Alabama", "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "You've Got Mail". I'm sure this really annoys some people, but that's me. I especially love all the witty banter in You've Got Mail. Although lately, when something goes wrong at home, hubster and I say to each other, "Why, oh why, didn't I take the blue pill?" {from one of his faves}

Most everyone I know has already been tagged. So I guess all that's left to say is... don't you love Illinois in the fall? "I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if only I knew your name and address."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just for fun

I took a quiz here to find out what color I would be if I was one. Here are the results:

you are plum

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You're confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is low - You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

If you take the quiz & post the results on your blog, leave a comment so I can check out your "color". Happy Thursday!

P.S. 35 days left to go.......

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

To market, to market.....

I mentioned a few posts ago that my mother-in-law has been trying to persuade me to make some bags for her to sell at her work {a public school of all places, ha}! So I finally did it. I planned. I cut. I sewed. I re~planned. I tried to use as much fabric from my stash as possible, throwing in some newly purchased stuff to keep things exciting. Here are my fruits:

{just big enough to fit a cell phone, ar key, debit card, some cash & chapstick. kinda like the modern girl's answer to a fanny-pack.}

sling tote bags
{I have one of these myself & it is the perfect size for my Bible, notebook & a couple extras to carry to church.}

lil Ballerina bag
{It's quilted on the outside & has a zippered pocket on the inside.}

simple large totes
{a nice sized fully lined bag}

quilted messenger bag {front & back}
{this is my favorite! I *love* the fabric & the style & had so much fun with different quilting patterns. I should've gotten a picture of the inside. The underside of the front flap is a chocolate brown & pink polka dot corduroy. It has a patch pocket and a zippered pocket inside as well as a magnetic snap closure. }

Even if I don't sell very many items, it was still a great learning experience & definitely helped to hone my skills. I got a little carried away with all the fabric yo-yos, but they make such a cute little embellishment & are great for using up scraps! And last but not least, I wanted to come up with a business name & logo {ya know, to make me seem all professional}, so this is what I picked:
Pink is very me & the canary is a nod to my maiden name, Canary. I drew the bird free hand on a piece of paper, then scanned & tweaked it in Photoshop. I printed the name of each item & selling price on the back of each tag. Maybe all this professionalism will help sell more bags. Hope you've enjoyed hearing about my "market" experience!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Soft Pretzels

The girls and I made our own kind of fun last week by trying a recipe for homemade soft pretzels. We've enjoyed getting them as a snack at Sam's Club, where we occasionally shop. Sienna was particularly interested & focused on mixing & rolling & waiting for the dough to rise. We used this recipe from a back issue of Family Fun magazine and made three traditional and three cinnamon sugar pretzels. Mine turned out a little bit chunkier as I had a hard time rolling the dough to be 1/2" thick. Take a whiff ~ er, gander:

"A dough divided can not stand...."

Shaped and waiting

Fresh from the oven & topped with cinnamon sugar

Kid tested: Approved!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Patient Update

Thanks to everyone for your prayers. My patient is doing well. He is in moderate discomfort and has basically just been sitting in the same place since we returned home this afternoon. And for the record: NO, this was not a vasectomy! He should be feeling much better by tomorrow & I will continue to help him regain his health over the next few days. Praise God that everything went smoothly & that there were not any complications. Please pray for my own strength and patience as we all know how difficult it can be {sometimes} to care for un-well husbands!

A Prayer Request

Pray to me and I will answer you.
Jeremiah 33:3

If it comes to mind, please pray for my husband Rick today as he is having surgery this morning at 11 am. It is nothing serious, but he will be under general anesthesia. Please pray specifically for no complications and a relatively painless recovery. It also just so happens that today is hubbster's 32nd birthday. You can join me in praying that he would still feel content and blessed despite his circumstances. Thanks in advance!