Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A whole new world

I finally had a moment to get the new sewing machine out of the box, and this time I was not disappointed. Between the rotary cutter, the quilting ruler, the self healing mat and the sewing machine, sewing is a whole different experience. I even ironed my seams open.

I started on a small quilt, just so I can get to know the new machine. (Although, looking at the photo I see that some of my blocks are not in the right order. Oh well.)

Sometimes I wonder why I don't do things "right" the first time! For me lazy sewing = difficult sewing = too much frustration!

Monday, February 26, 2007


Well, Jack was up most of the night last night, so I am tired, but things are looking up. I have a brand new sewing machine in the other room waiting for me, and I only need to decide what to make first! I am thinking that since one of the main reasons I wanted a new machine was to do machine quilting, I am going to try and make a mini quilt first. And thank you for all the commiseration/well wishes/etc.

I thought I would share some of our leprechauns in the meantime. I have 2 of these inflatable ones.And a cute cardboard one. (These cardstock things are so hard to photograph, there is always a glare.)
Every house needs some of these. I bought them at a garage sale, and Jack loves them right now. He asks me to "read the pictures" to him. Some of them have the cutest farmhouses and animals on them!

How about a few more new to me blogs?
Little Miss Meshell Her fabric choices are like a little piece of Marie Antionette
Gooseflesh This very talented woman makes AMAZING things with plastic grocery bags. No really. You have to see them.
Picnic by Ellie Look at those birds on her shopping totes!
PixieGenne This blog is not new to me, but she reminded me today how nice it is to sort of pimp each other's blogs once in awhile.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Let's talk about my "issues"

So, I open up the sewing machine this morning and sit down and read the book. I then tried to thread it. No problem so far, once I worked out that fancy needle threader thing. And then came the bobbin. Let's just say I could NOT make the damn thing work. I bundle up a (yet again) sick Jack and haul him over to Joanns. Part of me thinks the machine is broken, part of me thinks the operator is broken.

One solid hour later, my machine is still not fixed. (Obviously this was not operator error.) Nope, now she is tagged and waiting until THURSDAY for the repair person to come in.

I won't really go into how ridiculous that is. It was brand new and fresh out of the box, I either get a new machine, or we have a problem people. And we will be calling the manager first thing in the morning to sort this out properly. I am trying to have faith that this is a fluke and not some sort of "OMG WHAT I HAVE DONE?" thing. It is a fluke right?

This has been a bad week. Squirrel in the couch, sick kid, broken sewing machine, 4 tries to make my stupid debit card work at the gas station, issues with my mother, AND to top it all off, Jack woke up from a nap one afternoon completely covered in blood. I almost died on the spot. (I think it must have been a nosebleed while he was sleeping, but he has never had one of those before.)

All around, it has just been one of "those" weeks. Is it over yet?

I should be sewing you know.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Meet my new baby

Not *that* kind of baby! My new sewing machine.Bye bye torturous old Singer, whose thread tension never worked right (hence that missing piece on the front that I ripped off after hours of frustration), whose little engine couldn't even sew through a piece of paper, whose feed dogs only stayed in one place. We were together for six VERY long years. Say Hello to my new friend:
The Husqvarna Viking "Huskystar" C20. Oh, how I love thee! Your quiet little engine that sews through many layers of denim like butter, your oh-so-easy to use computerized stitch selection, the automatic needle threader, the free motion quilting features, your budget friendly pricetag. It was love at first sight really. You are one sexy machine. (Is it wrong of me to think that?)

(For those who need me to be serious for a moment: I tried an Elna, it was noisy and clunky, and frankly, a lot like the old Singer, plus it was $700. I looked at Bernina's, but no one around here wants to sell me a lower end Bernina, and frankly, I cannot afford a $3,000 one. I have heard good things about the Marie Osmond Bernina from one of my favorite quilt shop owners, but I couldn't find that machine anywhere. Plus, I find the people selling the Berninas to be very, very pushy. It was annoying. I also half tried a Baby Loc, but my heart just wasn't in that machine either. I considered the $189 Brother from Costco, but, I didn't want to take another chance with a machine I wasn't going to REALLY like, and that one feels very light to me. And I really like the Husky. She was $399 at my local Joanns, they let me sit down and do whatever I wanted, they helped if I asked, but they didn't smother me. The Husky was so easy I had it sorted out in a matter of minutes with very little help.)
Ok, onto other things. They are kleenexes. Are they not the cutest Kleenex ever? Wal-Mart. Of course, they are too cute for wiping snotty noses on, but that is another story.
A little bit of new fabric from Joanns. The good news is that the sewing machine left me with $100 of my sewing machine budget to spend on fabric. That awesome local shop with more 1930's prints than I have ever seen in my life is going out of business (which really breaks my heart), but, I now have that $100 to spend when she opens the doors again for the closing sale. (She has been closed for more than 2 months, so I better get my fill while I can, eh?) I am hoping to be able to get 20 1/2 yard pieces of different prints so I can have a little of everything I love. Yea right!

Friday, February 23, 2007

All in a day's work

This week has been crazy. I feel like I have been going, going, going, and yet, making no forward progress. Hopefully next week will go more smoothly. A few days ago Jack declared "I wanna watch Arfur all day!" So, today during naptime, I made him some Arthur magnetic paper dolls. The pictures are so dark! The light is wierd here today.
And, I finished the next monthly installment of the napping pillow. I really loved that scrappy bag that Molly Chicken made, so I made a scrappy shamrock. I was totally unsure about how it was going to look while it was happening, but, I am pleased with the final product. Well, the shamrock anyway. I hate the white fabric I sewed it too. It is too transparent (you can see my wrinkled up old feather pillow in there!) and it was too flimsy for my taste.

I think I need a scrappy shamrock tee shirt. So does Jack. And the neighbor, and, and, and...

I am going shopping for a new sewing machine tomorrow. I am terrified. There are too many choices. When I bought the junky old Singer I am using now it was more of a "hey, a sewing machine would be fun" kind of thing. Now that I am sewing on a near daily basis, it feels like the decision is so much bigger. Wish me plenty of luck!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A little thrifting to soothe the soul

Thank you for all of your wild animal stories/commiserations/and yes, even the laughter about the squirrel situation. I am a biologist, you would think a squirrel wouldn't bother me, but oh they do! Jack and I did a little thrifting before we went to the park today. Aren't these glasses sweet? I think I am going to get rid of our "set" of Ikea glasses and just use a mish mash of glasses that make me happy.
There is a HUGE roll of this wallpaper. (The photo is crooked because I was fighting off the darn cats!) As you start to unroll it, it smells a bit like mothballs, so I think I am going to go ahead and cut it into smaller pieces so I can let it air out better. I have no idea what I am going to do with 9 million feet of old wallpaper though...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wherein we reenact scenes from a National Lampoon Movie

I fear this is going to be a long post, but it is necessary! LOL Yesterday at about 3 in the afternoon I was emailing my husband to say I wanted to get out of the house a little bit. While doing so, I hear a noise in the chimney that sounds like an animal is in there.Because our fireplace is in the basement, the chimney is right in the middle of the living room, it's that part of the wall with the ladder on it. My husband emails back and says there are probably some birds up around the top of the flue. I forget about it. He comes home and we go to the mall. I am over the moon excited because I finally have a decent stroller! Isn't she beautiful? Nothing like an aluminum chassis to turn a girl on. So, we get home pretty late, and I notice the lamps are knocked over. Oh well, we have bad cats, it happens. I sit down to turn on the computer. Dave goes to put Jack's pajamas on. We have a dual reclining sofa, and I kick up the footrest and turn on the laptop. Suddenly I hear this wierd noise. My first thought "Oh my god, the cat is somehow stuck in the sofa and is dying or something."

I kick the footrest back down. Noise again. By now I am getting nervous and upset. I start calling the cat. He comes around the side of the sofa, he is filthy and still there is that wierd noise. I start calling my husband to "come right now because I am scared!" At this point I am thinking the noise is the cat's hunting call and that he is making it around whatever the prey *was,* as I am imagining it is alive and is stuck in his throat.

My husband fiddles around some more before coming to my aid, and by this point I am on top of another piece of furniture and not going anywhere near the sofa. I scoop up Jack, because surely whatever is going on is going to have to come out sooner or later. At this point my husband decides there is a SQUIRREL IN OUR SOFA. In our sofa. Inside of it.

Apparently, while we were at the mall, the cats pawed at the glass door on the fireplace until the squirrel was loose in here (seeing visions of Christmas Vacation yet?) Somehow the 3 cats and one frightened squirrel made it up out of the basement and into the living room, where said squirrel is now cowering INSIDE my sofa.
At this point, I literally peed in my pants. Then I did what any good daughter would do and I called my father. He says to call an exteriminator. I start looking in the phone book. The ads for exterminators say "FINANCING AVAILABLE". I say, "we are going to need financing to get this thing out of my house?" My dad says, "Honey, it isn't a predator, it's FOOD." Gee, thanks Dad. LOL

We decide that Jack and I and the cats should be locked in our bedroom. My husband closes all the bedroom doors, opens the outside doors, and attempts to scare the thing out of the sofa. Jack and I are lying in our bed and Jack keeps saying "mama, you need to wash your pants." (LOL, that kid cracks me up.) Then he says, "Is Dada cleaning up the cats? Is Dada gonna sleep on the sofa because his blanket is in the wash?" (Where does he come up with this stuff?)

Meanwhile, I am yelling out, "is it gone yet?" In the end, my husband scooted the couch until it was in front of the front door, and then pushed this pet trainer thing we have (it emits some horrible only heard to animals loud noise) until the damn squirrel ran out the front door.

And the moral of this very long story is "when your wife says at 3 pm that there is an animal in the chimney, someone better do something about it, and that doesn't mean go to the mall." LOL

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mountains of everything.

It's been one of those days.
Mountains of laundry? Check.
Mountains of dishes? Check.
Mountains of "trying to be sorted fabric" that make for hours of "rolling down the mountain" fun? Check. Climb up.
Roll down.
Do it again! And again! And again!

BTW, I recently saw this post on another blog about checking the "show email address" on your blogger profile. It would be wonderful to be able to reply directly to your comments instead of having to go back and answer your questions in the comment section. How about it? Will you check the box?

EDIT: I should have been a little more clear, I think. This problem is really only with people who use Blogger, and not Typepad. Generally, if you are a Typepad user, the link by your comment takes me directly to your blog (but still not to an email address unless I visit your blog.) Erin, I think the "other" problem (where you are only allowed to choose other) is only solved by having a google account. Blogger has recently changed all of this when they forced us old school folks out of old blogger and into the "new blogger." (And for your comment, there was no indication of who you are!)

Monday, February 19, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

Ha ha! Just kidding, I wish it were summer vacation. It is warm enough here today, but there is still so much snow that we can't even go to the playground. Boo hiss to that. This weekend I followed these directions and made a light box for taking macro photos. I still haven't worked out all the kinks (I need a brighter light source), but it did help me make a new banner.
And I sorta finished my knitted cord shamrock. I can't really work out how to put it together in a great way, so the stem still looks a bit funny. And, looking at the photo, I think some of my stitches on the one leaf have come loose. Oy. I adore that fabric it is on, too bad I only have a smallish piece from a thrift store.
This is one huge project. I am trying to catalog all of my fabric, so I slip a little swatch into one of those baseball card sleeves that fit in a 3 ring binder. I figure that way I will always have at least a tiny piece of those great vintage fabrics, long after they have been used up. (Of course, I put swatches of the new fabrics in there also.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007


We set off bright and early this morning, in the midst of snow and wind for a rummage sale and train show. The rummage sale had been canceled, but the thrift stores are never canceled! Jack loved the train show, he was able to sit on the stage and watch the engineers run several O scale trains at once. How funny it was to see all the little boys lined up watching the trains, with one pair of Thomas tennis shoes after another.Lucky for me, there were 3 Goodwills, 2 Salvation Army's and 1 random thrift store along the route. Look at all that yummy fabric I found in one store! That never happens. (Although, they made me pay for it by the yard, which is no big deal, but it took forever to figure out the yardage on each piece in the middle of a Goodwill. That is a silly system. At my local GW, I just pay by the piece.)
When I saw the quilt, I had that urge to flee! quick! before anyone sees what I found. The ladies working there said they have had to "rescue" the quilt many a time, since other workers kept trying to take it off the floor, assuming it was just trash. Trash! Can you believe it! It has a 12 inch tear, but it certainly is not trash. They were so happy it was finding a home. I also found 2 little linens with those Dutch people that I am loving right now, another tablecloth and few California napkins. You might have to enlarge the photo to see the cuteness of those Dutch people.
And woohooo! Lookie there, a Fireking Jadeite mug. My first.

Just for you, Heidi! I did decorate for St. Patty's Day, I just don't do the big feather tree for it. We have leapin' leprechauns all over the place right now. (They are a bit hard to photograph though, due to flash problems and the constant snow.) Ignore that messy mantel, I can't figure out what to do with it lately.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Moving Right Along

Yesterday, after Jack went to bed, I took down the Valentine decorations. I always take them down when he is in bed, because I love the look of surprise when he gets up in the morning to see the next round of decorations. When he saw the pink feather tree sitting there he empty he asked, "Mama, where are the strawberries?" I told him it was time to take them down, and we would put up a tree for Easter next. He says, "Ok! I will go get the eggs!" and off he went into the kitchen. (I am not sure how he knew there would be eggs, that kid has a mind like a steel trap.) He loved hanging up the eggs on the new tree, finally a holiday helper for me!

Other cute conversations with Jack right now. "Jack, give mama a kiss please." "No thanks, I don't need a kiss right now mama."

And conversations with my husband, after hearing a glass break in the bedroom. Him, "why do the cats have to break things?" Me, "They were thirsty." Him, "I put water in their downstairs bowl." Me, "They don't drink out of that bowl, they only will drink in the kitchen bowl." Him, "Just when did we lose control of this house to kids and cats???"

LOL. I never knew we had control over the cats to begin with!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


A few weeks ago, I posted about Ofray felt rick rack. I discovered yesterday that you can make your own felt rick rack with a handy dandy Olfa rotary cutter. The blue one is purchased, the white and pink were made by me.
I am totally NOT a knitter, but I can use things like the Knifty Knitter . This spool knitter is even better, because it was free! I am making some knitted cord for a St. Patrick's day project I saw in the latest issue of Cutting Edge magazine . You can find directions for making and using your own spool knitter here.

And a very sweet Valentine from More Rice Please. Thank you Maresi and Henry!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Will you be my Valentine?

Jack had his first snow day today, so we have had a change in Valentine plans over here. When I told him to put his shoes on so we could go outside for a little bit, his answer was "No going outside, the snow is too scary." LOL
Some gifts from my husband. A vintage candy box (look at the big velvet flower!), inspired by Amy at Inspire Company . (Edited to add: He bought the box himself on Ebay, and then sourced out things he thought I would like/use for the inside. It is not one of Amy's boxes.)
He also bought me Marie Antoinette. Pure, gorgeous eye candy here folks. Too bad I missed it in the theater.
And just what I wanted! No more hand scalloping for me. I think Laura asked how I did the felt one, so here's the skinny. I used those scalloped paper scissors to cut a template out of card stock. I traced the template onto the felt with one of those disappearing ink pens, then cut it all out by hand.
My huge (insert tongue in cheek here) vintage Valentine decoration collection. The little pixie is a knee hugger on a heart cushion.
And last, but certainly not least, a gorgeous Valentine from Heidi at Spiritual Knitter . Thank you Heidi! It is perfect on my pie safe.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, may your day be filled with love (or at least peace and quiet! LOL).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In the nick of time

The snow arrived fast and furious. I think we got about 6 inches in the last 3 hours. For the record, Jack still hates it. I tried to go outside, and he just cries to be held. No sledding fun for us!

I made him a pilot's cap with some "race car" fabric he wanted from the fabric store. The silly thing looks more like an Amish bonnet than a Pilot's cap, but oh well. This is the Misadventures of mama and Jack, after all, isn't it?

I finished my last little Valentine project. After hand scalloping that edge, I am dreaming of a Fiskar's rotary cutter with a scallop and pinking blade. I used a regular old hole punch to get that lacy look after I cut the scallops. I really must show you that upper left fabric sometime, it is so cute. I think of it as my "Strawberry Girl" fabric. Hmmm, there I go with the strawberries again.

Contest winner boxes went in the mail yesterday! Look for them in 2-3 days.

Monday, February 12, 2007


While we are waiting on the next round of snow, Jack and I are trying to keep busy. I have never been so ready for spring in my entire life as I am this year! Please let it be warm soon, we miss the sandbox, we miss the backyard.

Wooden ornaments thrifted this morning. I bought 2 sets. They look brand new, but I don't remember seeing them in the stores this Christmas anywhere. Their little smiles kill me with cuteness.

A wool felt WIP. Hopefully it will be finished before Valentine's day!

Another gorgeous Valentine, this one is from Heidi of Vacuuming in high heels & pearls . Thank you Heidi!

And one oh-so-cute free tutorial for a heart shaped yo-yo. If only I had seen that before the great quilted Valentine debaucle. LOL That "To make" list never does get smaller, does it?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

No longer just sitting here.

I am back to feeling like my crafty self, woohoo! I made these gift tags for a gift tag swap. I love how they turned out. Sewing the little felt wings on the birdies was loads of fun. My machine, however, really does not appreciate sewing through paper. At all.

I finished (maybe) that quilted Valentine. I am happy with everything except that dang wonky bottom edge. Maybe I need to add a binding around the outside. Or, maybe I will just never touch the thing again, since things around here are often less than perfect anyway!

I used a vintage ribbon for the flower stem, the big old vintage button for the flower center, and some glass glitter on the heart. You might have to click on the photo to enlarge it to see the glitter. Speaking of glitter, I buy it on Ebay.

Time to go get Jack up, "up mama, up!".

Friday, February 09, 2007


I think I must be in a blogging dry spell. There hasn't been much crafting around here, keeping Jack busy is taking 24 hours of my day right now! Maybe this weekend...

Thrifted clip on earrings. They have such beautiful flowers on them, I figure I can take the earring part off and make something? with them.

Early Valentine present, pink and blue glass glitter. (Must pick up some jars to store it in this weekend.)

One of the Valentines from my little Valentine exchange. Such a sweet little piece of art! I hope to be able to show you all of them. This one is from The Laughing Duck , thank you Carolyn!

Ok, I really should go finish that annoying quilted Valentine, now shouldn't I?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Confessions of a crazy woman

Why is it always more stressful the day Dada returns than when he is away? Jack was up last night at 1 30 am. I went in to give him medicine. "tub mama?" He says. "No Jack, it is night night time." "But mama, you need tub!" "No Jack." "Ok, you need glasses mama." LOL, I wasn't wearing my glasses it being 1 30 am and all. Then I was awake until 5 am! 5 am! Insane.

The photo above is Jack playing with a Little Tree Wooden Farm I thrifted that was new in the box still. It is an awesome toy.

And, another tablecloth! I know, put on your shocked faces. This one is actually pink. I don't have any others that seem vintage but are a color. I need to do a little research methinks.

And this project is driving me insane. I did take off that ruffle, but I still have issues. At first I was going to do a scalloped edge. Too hard I decide after 2 sides are scalloped. Fine, no scallop. Do a ruffle. Bleh, hate the ruffle. Fine, take the ruffle off. Put the iron on transfer in the center. Nah, put it to the side. Burn iron on transfer. Redo iron on transfer. Decide burnt one is better since it looks aged. Add flowers. Use vintage millinery flowers. Nah, too precious. Use new flowers. Add a bouquet of yo yo flowers. Wait, maybe use yo yo's as one flower. Use yo yo as flower center.

No, maybe use button as center. Use ribbon as stem. No use rick rack. No use satin stitch. Argh! Help me out here. Bouquet? One flower? Button center? Yo yo center? Ribbon stem? Rick rack stem? Satin stitch stem? Throw project in trash and curse the day I ever thought of it?

Thanks. I am going to go and put on my tiara now.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Thank you

Thank you for all of the get better wishes. We are still here, still sick, and still missing Dada, but we will survive!

My pink and brown swap package arrived yesterday from Tiff. I had just been admiring the bird aprons in her Etsy shop, and lookie there! One of my very own. Plus yummy pink velvet strawberries, which Jack has been hanging on trees, fabric, the cutest Christmas ornament, some lovely ribbons, 2 really sweet pink glass pieces, and so much more! It would have taken 20 photos to do it all justice really, thank you so much Tiff!

She also included a package of this stationary. This is so cute it made me literally squeal with delight. Just what I needed on a sick Monday afternoon.

And, a current WIP. And it really is a WIP. I think I hate the trim and am going to take it off. I have visions of a sort of 3D fabric art Valentine, with maybe button flowers or yo-yo flowers to the right of the Valentine. (Which is another vintage valentine on iron-on transfer paper. This one is from Hipster Cards .) I quilted the rose fabric on the back, although it is hard to see in the photo. And I added some silk flowers where there were flowers on the Valentine.

I was going crazy having not made anything in several days, but clearly being sick as affected my work, as I keep changing my mind about this silly little thing!