Thursday, July 31, 2008

A gaggle of grocery getters

Many, many moons ago I recovered Jack's high chair with a vinyl tablecloth I bought at Target. It was a fairly simple project, so I have been on the lookout for cute vinyl tablecloths for other projects since then.
Sometime this spring I spotted this pink lemon version at Target and knew it had to be mine. (I used to have a pink lemon tree when we lived in Florida. Pink lemons! Yum.)

It sat around here for a few months until I decided to use it to make grocery tote bags.
A whole gaggle of grocery getters to be exact. There is a sixth one still in the sewing room because I actually ran out of serger thread.

They are a simple square bottom tote shape with what is essentially a giant buttonhole for a handle.

The $4 tablecloth makes 6 good size bags. If you want to make them, don't make them huge though without lining them with something, the vinyl will tear. And remember to get the largest rectangular tablecloth they have. They are usually all the same price, but the circle ones are considerably smaller.

P.S. Thank you all so very, very much for your kindness. It really means a lot to me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I think I am over it

I will not be the least bit upset when you choose to skip this post. Do not feel bad! Come back for sewing or crafting or my usual blah blah tomorrow. I have to post this for myself, to get on with life.
Well, things have been quiet around here lately, eh? It isn't because there is nothing going on, that's for sure. There has been swimming and peach picking and movies and trips to the zoo and a computer infected with some sort of virus and plenty of summer fun.

But also trips to the doctor and plenty of tears and internal turmoil.

It's really a long bloody story, and I think it has taken me almost an entire month of tears and sleepless nights to get over it, but here we are, and I think I am over it.
You see about a month ago we took Jack to the ped because his tantrums were becoming increasingly horrific, he was not listening to a single thing anymore, he was cursing constantly and I started to have serious concerns about his social, emotional and behavioral development.

Our ped said, and I quote, "while this is not abnormal, it is definitely extreme." He suggested we take Jack to a psychologist who does play therapy with small children and reassured me that this was only going to offer us ways to cope with this behavior and that he was sure that she would find that "Jack is just a strong willed kid."

So, off we trot to the first appointment with this counselor, who immediately starts throwing about a million scary words about my kid: aspergers, PDD-NOS, bipolar, etc.

Now, I am a biologist and a mother of a child in 2008, when autism is rampant. The doctor and I have had the autism talk more than once. I have read all the checklists, I know the signs. I have been afraid of it. (I am not sure why it seems scary, but it does.) Hyper aware of it.

And even scarier, my mother is bipolar. My totally useless, completely dysfunctional mother.

As you can imagine, I leave there beyond upset. Hysterical is probably more accurate.

I call our ped again, who again reassures me that this is not an autistic child, and he tells me she will make a "differential diagnosis" and that she is just throwing out all the possibilities right now.

In the meantime I go to Jack's school and talk to every teacher and the director, who all reassure me that there is nothing wrong with Jack. (And our ped has said several times that there has never been an autistic child in his office who didn't have a school report some sort of difficulty.)

So, two weeks later I go back to her office with Jack.

And she spends 30 minutes alone with Jack, while he plays trains and I read a book.

And she comes out and declares that he is most definitely PDD-NOS or bipolar.

Why? Because he lined up the trains when he was playing. (Except that he does not line up toys at home unless he is SORTING. And they were new trains to him, and he was seeing which trains were there. If you had a big pile of embroidery floss that was new to you, wouldn't you line it up somehow to sort it out?)

And because he didn't invite her to play with him. A grown woman who he does not know. And furthermore, she told us on the first visit that Jack needed to be forced into playing by himself. She told me I do way too much for him and that he does not need constant guidance. (And I am pretty damn sure that most 3 year olds, if left to their own devices, will get in a shitload of trouble.)

Anyway. Then she starts in on me about the bill. Even though she has not even bothered to bill my insurance company. And I start to freak out again. In fact, I am pretty sure that if I had had the chance I might have thrown something at her.

So. I come home and read more and more and more about PDD-NOS and bipolar children and I am telling you HE IS NOT EITHER OF THOSE THINGS.

I am not just sticking my head in the sand here.

Life keeps rolling on as I fret more and more and more about all of this. And one day I happen to catch an episode of Nanny 911.

And there, on the damn television, is my child. Rolling on the floor screaming, refusing to dress himself, refusing to clean up his toys, refusing to ride in the car seat, throwing things, cursing you name it.

I watch at least another 20 episodes and I can see Jack on every single one.

So I actually take notes while watching television. We get together, we make a plan and we start it.

It isn't perfect. Jack is still Jack. But he is sitting in time out. The tantrums are down to 5 minutes or less. He is dressing himself.

And I can breathe. A little.

In the midst of all this my nephew arrives in town for a week. We have not seen him in more than 2 years, and he and Jack are strangers to each other. They are only about 10 weeks apart in age, and we get them together to go swimming.

They are instant friends. Holding amazing conversations. Holding hands. Playing TOGETHER. Asking to see each other again.

We went to the zoo together yesterday.

And really it was a blessing. Because every last bit of worry I had about Jack's social development was gone in about 10 minutes.

Is every single one of my problems solved? Nope. Is there still a chance that down the road something will be wrong? Yeaup.

But for now, I am trusting my gut.

And those British nannies.

(The first photo is where Jack wrote his name on the couch cushion last week. It was hard to be mad when a 3 year old managed to so perfectly write his name on a squishy cushion.)

(And we will not even discuss what I want to do to that so called therapist. She told me that she knew her techniques "would work on my child because they work on dogs." Uh huh. Dogs. She compared my child, who I grew from a tiny little egg, to a dog.)

P.S. I take full responsibility for the crap parenting that got us here. Well, Dave and I both do. The harder it got, the more we gave in. The more we gave in, the more we taught Jack that acting like a wildebeast would get him his way. He even told that woman that he cried to get his way. He had absolutely mastered the game we were playing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A potholder?

Awhile back I picked up this potholder at a neighbor's yard sale. I love the tiny pieces of old fabric all patchworked together like this, but it was getting fragile and I was never going to use it as a potholder.
The back side is a little burned from use.
One day while I was flipping through my address book I thought I should make a cover for the ugly thing. As it turned out the potholder was the same size as the address book.

So I spent forever picking all the seams and stitches out of it so I could very gently wash it. Then I ironed it onto a fusible interfacing to try and stabilize the fabrics a bit.

A little bit of requilting, some pockets, and some binding and voila! a new address book cover. The binding is really messy on the inside, I took the lazy way out and just sewed it with the machine. It never looks nice that way, does it? LOL

Of course I couldn't just leave the dividers as they were with the sweet new cover, so I pasted some old wallpaper over them.

Now if everyone would stop moving so the pages wouldn't always be filled with scribbles!

P.S. Look at what BettyNinja has in her Etsy shop! A groovy bag all of your own.

We are not even going to discuss how much I want that flower garden quilt in her Etsy shop. If only I could win that pesky lottery...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Can you dig it?

While thrifting on Thursday I found this 1973 fad of the month craft kit. It was a dollar, so I snatched it up without even really looking at it, thinking if nothing else I would use the fabric. Once I opened it I discovered that it was complete, with all the parts, the directions and the picture card it was originally mailed with.

Since the Husky is freshly repaired and I have been dying to sew, I set about putting it together right away. The directions were a real beast, and it is lined with 35 year old vinyl, which wasn't easy to work with, but the bag is so fab.
Or maybe I should say the bag is groovy.


P.S. Is anyone else watching (and loving!) Swingtown? All I need now is some of Janet's tupperware and I am good to go. :-)

P.P.S. I have been sewing. A lot. Expect a lot of sewing this week on the old blog.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Accidentally Frugal

Every year in January I do some organizing. This past January I decided to reorganize my magazines. Usually they were just piled up on the shelf in my closet and when I wanted to look at them I had to dig through them.

I am not sure why I didn't think of the new system years ago, it works so much better. I grouped them by months and then used a file folder to divide each month from the next month.
As it turns out, this was quite a frugal reorganization. Now when a new month rolls around and I start to have dreams of going to Barnes & Noble and buying a handful of new magazines, I just open up the closet and pull a stack out from the next month. I have so many for each month that by the time the end of the month rolls around, I am still sorting through the ones in the closet and have managed to not buy a single new magazine that month at the bookstore.

And as an added bonus the magazines I am looking at are appropriate for that time of year (the August ones are full of peach ideas, and we are going peach picking soon) and I can recycle the ones that are no longer interesting to me, which has pared the number I am storing down by about half.

Plus, there is no guilt about buying a ton of back issues of Martha Stewart at yard sales for a dime each instead of buying them on Ebay for $6 each to fill in the missing spots in the collection. (And I can actually see where the missing spots are!)
Just because it is Sunday and we need something to pretty to look, some older yard sale finds. I didn't really do any yard saling or flea marketing this week.

Barbara is making me buy these vases. I swear she is. I have 2 and I nearly bought a third at the thrift last week (it had a crack or I would have). Admit it, when you see this photo it's hard to resist them, isn't it? LOL
I bought this quilt top last year, and I love it. I keep thinking I need to show you all of the quilts in the cabinet. It would be nice to have a photographic record of the collection. Maybe when it cools off.
There are some really gorgeous old prints in the stars. But I suspect the top was cut in half at some point. :-( It's a bit of a weird size.

P.S. I try and subscribe to my favorite magazines instead of buying them by the month. It really is cheaper, and this is my favorite website to find cheap subscriptions. Never use those cards in the magazine! They are often 4 times as much as that website.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Imperfectly Perfect

Linda has asked everyone to share their imperfectly perfect homes this week. Those of you who visit me here often already know that pretty much everything here is imperfect. Really the only way that I can afford the things I love is to buy them previously loved, and rather than fight it, I usually just try and embrace it.

So, it was a challenge to try and find new things to show you. LOL

I bought this doily at a garage sale for a nickel several years ago. It was languishing in a drawer until 2 years ago when I decided I needed Valentine decorations for the house. I put it in an old frame I had kicking around with pink paper behind it, hung it up, and never took it down. I love that the embroidery is actually so amateurish. It says Be My Valentine I Love Yo (and part of the U).
You have seen the entire mirror here before when I have shown you the bedroom mantel, but I never showed you it's imperfection. There is a piece missing from the corner. It is a HUGE heavy old mirror, and I love the floral decoration on it. Because of the missing piece it was left behind at an estate sale that I didn't get to until after noon. $10 and it was mine. I just put a piece of pottery in front of the corner.
(You might have to click to enlarge this photo to see what I mean here, it's dark in our room this morning.) You probably remember that giant armoire I bought on the 127 sale last year. I spent a lot of time redoing it, painting it, putting wallpaper on it. About a week after it was in our bedroom parts of it started to turn pink.

The paint underneath that brown paint is bleeding through the white paint, and of course, I didn't think of priming it first. I thought those pink spots everywhere on it were going to drive me crazy and I would have to prime and repaint it. But you know what? Now I don't mind it. The spots *are* pink after all, why not just let it be?
Ahhhh, my small hallway. We live in a 1969 ranch, so all the bedrooms are off that hallway. It's filled with chippy old picture frames that are getting more chipped by the week. It's narrow and they do fall down when there is a busy three year old in the house.
Here is one of them that I am particularly fond of.

So, there you have it, more imperfectly perfect from our house to yours.

Sorry for the lack of Frugal Friday, I am a day behind, and I will get it up tomorrow.

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Well, there's my sign

Bill Engvall does this comedy routine called "Here's your sign", which I have always found amusing. (Yes, I like redneck humor.) So when I walked into the thrift store, after the longest day of my life with Jack yesterday and found this Mother's Prayer, I couldn't help but thinking it was my sign.

Dave has been out of town, so Jack and I are on our own. Yesterday he was up from 6 am until 11 pm. I started to totally lose my shit around 8 pm when I was trying to watch Project Runway and he would not just go to bed. On and on and on and on and it went. When I dropped him off at school I thought I should go home and go back to bed, but I am having anxiety that is making sleeping impossible right now.

Besides, my little voice kept calling me to the thrift. And there this was, in a spot where it didn't belong, on top of the pillows right next to the tablecloths, which are always my first stop.

Sorry for the crap photo, but here is what it says:
Dear Lord:
Thank you for this child
That I call mine,
Not my possession
But my sacred charge.
Teach me patience and humility
So that the best I know
May flow into it's being.
Let me always remember -
Mother love is my natural instinct
But my child's love
Must ever be deserved and earned;
That for love, I must give love,
That for understanding, I must give understanding,
That for respect, I must give respect;
That as I was the giver of life,
So must I be the giver always,
With no planned returns.
Help me to share my child with life
And not to clutch at it for my own sake.
Give me courage to do my share
To make this world a better place
For all children, and my own.

Ruth Rochelle

It has to be a sign, right? :-)
And did anyone else see this ad in the new issue of Living? I was wondering how long the gig with Michael's was going to last. It seems like there has been no new stuff of Martha's there for ages, no holiday stuff for the fourth, etc.

In case you can't read the ad the small print at the bottom says Martha Stewart create available at Wal-mart.


P.S. My darling, dear, sweet, beloved child is tooting in my face while I am trying to write. I am going to need a lot of strength Lord. You better send some extra and quick.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Too pretty

I saw these napkins in the thrift store a few weeks ago, and while I admired them, I left them there.

Too pricey? Nope. Too pretty? Yeaup. Huh? Wellllll, I am still trying to keep up with those Earth Day resolutions, and I really need napkins I can use. We have cut WAY back on paper towel use, but only if we don't actually have any paper towels. If we have them, we use them like crazy.

And these napkins with their gorgeous linen and beautiful scalloped edges and lovely little cutwork design? Way too pretty to wipe my filthy hands on.

But after 3 weeks they were still there, so I decided they were meant to be mine. And I am going to use them. Not for BBQ or Doritos, but they are going to be my napkins.
Junking is still as dry as it has been in 5 years or more. It's a little bit weird to look around our house, which we have filled with secondhand treasures and know that this year we are not adding anything to it really.

Sure I have changed out some of the smaller stuff, the accessories, but at least 75% of what we own is secondhand stuff, from the furniture to the lamps to the dishes to clothing.

Oh well, the good times had to end eventually I guess. LOL (And of course I managed to find a piece of pottery.)
Jack choose his clothes today for the first time. I did not say a word when he came out in this get up. Plaid with Hawaiian? Great, it's too pretty!

(He was holding this morning's craft project on his head, it is falling behind him in the photo. He did not give a hoot about the beans in the can, but putting stickers on it? Good times.)

So, what's new with you?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Loved enough

Last month I picked up this sweet duvet cover and while washing it I discovered a tear in the bottom.

I finally got around to doing something about it today, and I decided to just use steam-a-seam and applique a patch over it rather than try and mend it. (I purposely chose a contrasting fabric, I am ok with the imperfection.)
In a moment of funny coincidence, I picked up another vintage duvet cover at the thrift yesterday that has a nearly identical mend in the exact same spot. (I am sure it is from a husband's toenails, lol!)

I love that often old things have been mended or repaired. I like to think of it as them being loved enough to be worth hanging onto for someone. She could have tossed it, or cut it up, but she didn't. She took the time to mend it.

I feel good about taking the time to mend the white one. I love them enough to make them usable.
Yesterday we saw several of these very fuzzy white caterpillars on our big tree. When Jack saw them he said, "Mom, they are covered in cat hair."


(And sometimes I manage to take a picture where a close object is in focus but the things in the distance are fuzzy. I like those pictures, but have no clue how it happens? I don't touch any buttons on the camera unless under duress.)
And it's frugal Friday.

Jack and I went to the grocery store this morning.

It's getting scary. Really. Green onions 89 cents a bunch, red peppers $2 each, apples 75 cents each, green beans $2.49/lb, corn 5 ears $2.49.

Our grocery stores here all are locally owned, and I have never figured out a way to get the really great deals you can get with double coupons (very hard to find a store that does there, and if they do it's only up to 30 cents, so a 50 cent coupon is only 50 cents) or some of the other things I see online.

One thing I do manage to do is buy bulk spices. I cannot believe they want $4 for those tiny jars of spices in the supermarket. I buy mine here , which is local for me, but I still bought them from there when we lived in Florida. His shipping is very reasonable and his prices are cheap, cheap, cheap.

I keep mine in jars I bought at the flea market (a whole box of them for a dollar), but I see spice jars at yard sales all the time too. And look at what Breanna did her to spice jars, so cute!

My cabinet is totally full, maybe 30 or more spices for about $35.

If you want to try and find bulk spices locally, try an ethnic food store. They usually carry them too, just not as wide a variety as a spice shop.

If anyone would like to join in on frugal Fridays, give me a holler, I will post links to you next week on Friday. (And grocery ideas on that day are most welcome!)

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A bit of luck?

I have a little thing for horseshoes. A horseshoe above our front door for luck, a vintage pair of rhinestone horseshoe earrings, maybe a postcard or two. So I thought that while I am waiting on the sewing machine (yes, nearly a month now for them to make a VERY small repair) I would make some horseshoe ornaments to hang on my wire tree.
I made a dozen of them, but now I think I might make them into a garland. They were time consuming, but so fun. I could have gone on and on, covering each one in a different material.

It was a good excuse to use up some bits and bobs that have been collecting too.

This one doesn't photograph very well, but it's my favorite, covered in an old velvet ribbon from a cheesy floral arrangement.
This one is covered with some old paper ribbon that is printed with a florist's name and address. I have a giant spool of the stuff and never know what to use it for.
Soft fuzzy yarn on this one, with a special old button.
I love this one a lot too, tiny old lace, with some velvet millinery leaves and velvet flower from an old hat. I love how the edge of the lace made a delicate ripple as I wrapped it around the mat board form.
And this one is what I thought I would do with them all at first, glass glitter.

Maybe they will bring me a spot of luck? I could use it right now.

I will try and get the rest of them onto Flickr.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Oooooh, Ahhhhhhhh

We sat on the front porch last night and watched the neighbors shoot off fireworks while Jack slept. Usually I am not a big fireworks fan, but it was a good opportunity to try something new with my trusty old camera.
They aren't fantastic, but, hey! I actually managed to get photos of fireworks.

That's worth an ooooooh and an ahhhhhhh.
The Queen Anne's lace is blooming everywhere right now. I pulled over to pick some while we were out and about this morning.
When I was a small child I used to love picking flowers for my grandmother, and these definitely earned more appreciation from her than dandelions or clover flowers.
I never noticed before how much they resemble a firework, but they do, don't they?

I could have taken pictures of them all day. More of the photos are on Flickr, and I changed the blog banner too.

Maybe if I am really lucky I can get Jack to clutch a fistful of them for a photo shoot. :-)

P.S. Some really amazing photos of Queen Anne's Lace can be seen here .

Friday, July 04, 2008

Hapde Burfday America

"Mommy, can we go to the toy store tomorrow?"

"No Jack, it's a holiday tomorrow."

"What holiday?"
"It's Independence Day, the day we celebrate America's birthday."

"Well, a long, long time ago the people who lived in America were colonists of Great Britain. They had to follow the rules of the British king.
When they decided they didn't want to be British colonists anymore, there was a big war. And when the fighting was over, the colonists had won the war, and they were free from the rule of the British King.
So they weren't colonists anymore. They were Americans now. The fourth of July is when we celebrate our freedom and independence. The birthday of America."
"Oh. And then she will have a birthday cake?"

Hapde Burfday America.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In lieu of

In lieu of all the sewing I am dying to do, I have had to find other ways to occupy myself. Yesterday we took Jack to the magic house, the children's museum here in St Louis. When I saw this sign I knew why I feel so exhausted right now! (Some days I think Jack can ask 437 questions before breakfast.)
And I have been forced to get out the spray paint again. This time it's a sap style can that we use as a trash can.
Dave says he is almost afraid to fall asleep around here because he is certain he will wake up painted.

I think color is an improvement on the can, but I am not sure it will stay this way. I like it, but I don't love it.
It's Wednesday, and even though I have sworn off garage sales, we had to do something today right? LOL

Other than stuff that Jack wanted, this is all that I bought. I've been wanting one to go with the canisters and the cake carriers, and the price was unbeatable.

The real question is, when did I develop this affinity for red? (And green for that matter, I am seriously crushing on green right now.)

Ok, I actually have a crafting idea burning in my head a little. It's taken 3 days to get to where I want to go with it, but now that it's there I am off to create!