Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh how embarassing

Well, because it is September sewing month, and Katy over at No Big Dill is has been having a big party (which I was quite late to, but her blog is great,  and her girls - oy, the pictures of her girls, and their names? I swoon. I wanted to name Ivy 'Olive', but Jason hates olives, so he said... no.) and because I can write one hell of a run-on sentence...

Anyway, she wanted people to try something new. And, even though I didn't know that, I did try something new. Remember the free-motion quilt along? Yeah. I have yet to make anything pretty, for sure. But did I try it? Hell, yah. So there you have it. It is still September (by one hour and 47 minutes) and here is a picture of my sad first attempt at free motion quilting. I must say, though, Christina at A Few Scraps is very encouraging.She even showed us pictures of her first free-motion quilt, and I dare say it was almost as bad as mine. Well, nearly almost.

Oh let me make that picture nice and big for you. Did you see the chain o' hearts at the bottom there? Fancy, no? I learned to do that in 5th grade.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jump Roping

Ah, here we are at the end of the jump rope dress sew along. The dress is adorable, but Blue will never be adorable in this dress again. Hm. Actually, she looks ready to hurl - or bolt. Or smack me.

I had to bribe her (with vintage buttons!) to put this dress on for a picture. Yeeeeas, she picked out the fabric. And yes, I hate the fabric. I hated making it. I hated feeling like I was always behind in the sew-along. And now? She hates the dress. My own fault, though. Honestly, I am pretty impressed that she put it on for a picture, even. She's come a long way in the past three years. This child only wears knits. Knits that are just loose enough and not too loose. Knits that are just the right length and not one smidgen longer or, heaven forbid, shorter. Granted, she started flailing around in it when she first put it on, but she did some calming down and managed to do the pictures. Yay! It seemed appropriate to take some jump roping action shots.

The girl gives it her all, doesn't she? You should see her hula-hoop.

And even if she never wears it again, it was completely worth it for this one picture, which is her in a nutshell. My girl.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A busy, busy Sunday

I'm taking part in Badskirt's Jump Rope Dress Sew Along. Although I don't know if intention is enough to be called participating. Finally, though, I have the pattern traced and the pieces cut out. But what's this? I'm not happy with any of my choices for placket fabric? True. What else is there to do but take a trip to the fabric store. I think I've mentioned my fabric store before: it's a surplus store. Not only can I get out-of-date CocoPuffs to keep the kids happy in the cart, I can also drop my entire weekly cash allowance on fabric. Seriously.

It doesn't look all that impressive, does it? But let me show you. Because, in all honesty, I am giddy like it is Christmas, but my husband and kids? Couldn't care less. And I need to share with someone, even virtual you. So even if you have never left a comment before, leave one now. Please do, so I can bask in the glory of my newest finds.

Did I mention I went in for a half yard of white with a touch of red? Found it.

The musical notes was just a goofy indulgence. I'll make a bag for Blue's piano book and use it for the lining. And I picked up a yard of Katie Jump Rope. It's not my favorite shade of brown so only a yard. Not like the three yards of green I got a few weeks ago. And yes, there is the white with red. Nothing particularly special.

I chose this duo for my second jump rope dress - view B for my favorite niece. (Don't get your panties in a bunch - I only have one niece to date.) Two yards of the patterned corduroy and one of the pink.

And then, my brain just went crazy and bought three yards of soft, soft linen, and a yard and a half of that... shirting? The lines are small bumps.

This was an picture to take, but it is three yards each of pearl colored smallish cord and cream baby cord that is incredibly soft.

And lastly, I got two yards of each of these. The black is something velvety and the brown is velveteen, which will become a pair of pants like these from Olive Juice. Cute, no? I have just been introduced to Olive Juice and I have spent many hours over there, sketching and drooling.

At $3/yard for most everything except the velveteen (which was $5), I couldn't leave with any less than that. The thing about my fabric store is - next time you go in, they won't have the same thing you saw this time. They had oodles of garment fabric today, which is not always the case. I had to pass by some interlock knit because I just couldn't pass up the corduroy.

Now I'm just twiddling my thumbs waiting for the washing machine to finish its act so I can get crackin'.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm not a very good -alonger. For the most part, my intentions and desires are good, and my follow-through is poor. I'm proud if occasionally I can link up to something on time. But I'm determined to -along with this free-motion-quilt-along. I've always been curious about free motion quilting. When I made Ivy's quilt, I just used my walking foot which was a pain in the kishka. And then I bought a free motion foot, but I have never really done anything worthwhile with it. So to prove my - what... intent? desire? Heck, I always have those. Anyway, I actually went and made the quilt top so I could free-motion-along. And here it is.

It is intentionally simple - I followed the instructions provided. (Amazing, I know.) But since I didn't have an entire bolt width of a third fabric I liked, I pieced those two brown fat quarters. And I really, really like it. It's crib size, and I do happen to know someone having a baby boy in December. So it if turns out well, it will be a gift. If not, it will just be.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Christmas crafting

For weeks now, I've had the best of intentions to start working on my Christmas projects for Deb's Present-a-Week {till Christmas}-along. Seeing as how she is now in week 5, and I have finally gotten off my duff to get something done, I am feeling rather smug. After all - isn't that just one gift I don't have to worry about later? I also read something on Indie House that struck a chord within me. She said (and I hope she doesn't mind I'm quoting her here, but I'll link it for you)

I think Christmas has become to much about impressing people and less about giving gifts people would use and oh say actually need.

Impressing people. Yeah that. It is a battle I wage with myself every year. I either feel too cheap, or I feel ostentatious. But if I somehow managed to make something that someone would love - well that is neither cheap nor ostentatious. So I'm all about the handmade holidays this year. Seriously. So here is present #1:

I had a hard time with this pattern. It wasn't difficult, or complicated, but somehow I managed to knit the two halves (that I then grafted together in the center) so that no matter what I did, the points did not align in the center. It was also kind of a panic fest because I was left with approximately 4 inches of yarn after all was said and done. Talk about cutting it close. And while I am griping, I will also say that I don't like how floppy the cowl is. I added one repeat to make up for my smaller-than-called-for yarn, but to me it is just too floppy. That said, I will also add that some people like floppy, no one will ever notice the issue with the points, the color is absolutely gorgeous, and it is smooshy as all get-out. So while not a personal triumph, I give it an A giftwise. Here is it Raveled.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Little House by the Seaside

What's this? Two posts this month? Craziness, I know. I have 6 minutes before the timer goes off and I have to take the pickle, hot dog, pineapple, black olive pizza out of the oven. I kid you not. One of them doesn't even have cheese. You wouldn't catch me near that with a 10 foot pole. Mine is straight up cheese. Oh, but why are you here?

Bonnets. I won this lovely Baby Jane pattern awhile ago, and I have made several of them. They are so stinkin' cute, I just have to share.

I think it's hysterical that they fit my almost-7 year old as well as they fit the 3 year old. I added an inch to the pattern, since it is supposed to be for babies, and it fits fine.

There. This posting thing isn't as hard as I make it out to be, is it? The timer just beeped. Saved by the bell.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back on the wagon

I feel like this summer has just been whizzing past me with barely time to catch my breath. Have we done anything fun? No. Have we gone on vacation? No. Our yearly trip to the seasonal aquarium? Nup. And yet we haven't managed to do any homeschooling either. It lasted a decent 2 days, but by the third day, Mommy screamed and threw something across the room. Bad, bad mommy. I really want to homeschool. I really, really do. But not this year. I'm glad we tried it this summer, because I would be in big trouble if we had waited till fall and then I had to try to get her into a classroom. Just the thought is frightening. But actually, I guess we would have muddled through the year rather than face that. I am happy, though, with her teacher. I got to meet her before school ended, and she seems spectacular. She told me to E-mail her this summer so we could come up with a plan that will help Blue be successful. She has worked with special ed kids and gifted kids, and has been teaching for many years, so I'm incredibly relieved.

My biggest goal for the summer has been to get Ivy into her own bedroom. Our house only has two bedrooms, so she has been in our room for the past three years. But a week ago, she moved into here:

Why yes, that is the former sewing room/office, former nursery, former workshop. Did I never tell you that? Oh yes, when we first moved here it was thrilling to have a place big enough that the drill press no longer lived in our bedroom. Yes, I'm completely serious. Here's a picture of Blue sitting in the workshop. Jason got to choose the color. Ack. Can you even believe this is the same room?

Darn she was a cute little baby, too. She was two months old in that picture.

Anyway, I have been kicked out of my space. Jason now has his computer set up in our bedroom, which leave me... at loose ends. I have a plan, I do, for a space downstairs. But because everything in this house means shuffling things around like a puzzle, I can't execute my plan until I put the new flooring into Ivy's room. It's complicated. But the good news is this:

This is my new fabric storage area. It's not all of it, just the quilting weight cotton. I have everything else in a closet: knits, corduroy, flannel, clothes waiting to be upcycled. I'm kind of aghast at how much fabric I have.

It's nice to have everything above knee level. I was pretty tired of crawling under my table to look for fabric. And I have put a hold on any fabric shopping I might wish to do. That's right. Those new oliver & s patterns I just got in the mail? They're all being made from stash.

Though my sewing has no place to call home, I did manage to finally get a puppet show tunic and shorts done. It was the one I most wanted to do when it first came out, and I have had the pattern for years, but my skills were lacking. So even though it was difficult for me, I am really pleased with the results.

I might have mentioned before that one of the few perks of moving into our ramshackle old house was the large jar of buttons I found downstairs. All used, all ripped off clothes worn in a day when things were reused. I love them, and I use them on virtually everything. There is something so endearing about the history of them. And though each of these is different, they are the same size.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It just makes apples more fun.

A Boy and his Blob: a sculpture - one of Blue's favorite Wii games lately.

My pottery is getting better. Sort of.

Butterfly mobile I made for Blue. I hung it up over her bed while she was sleeping so she saw it when she woke up. Jason happened to be sleeping in there (we play a lot of musical beds in this house) and said she gasped when she saw it.

It is summer. Ivy inherited her dad's strawberry blond curls, but she inherited my humidity inspired curls, too. Curls upon curls lately.

Blue is growing out her bangs. When she wears her black Mario shirt and her hair down, she looks like a stoner. But if I make a rainbow in her hair, she'll let me put it up sometimes. She's playing Boy and his Blog. Backpack? Check. Jellybeans? Check. Ivy is always relegated to the roll of Blog. "Gulp!"

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cricket, oh, Cricket

Oh our darling Cricket (you must be asking yourselves) where on the earth have you been? With what have you been entertaining yourself since last we saw you? We pine for your presence, especially us of the new following persuasion. Please, return to us and enlighten us with your snarkiness.

Okay, you  asked for it. We have had a busy few weeks around here. Topping the list is shopping for a homeschool curriculum. Blue is not doing all that well in school. She is coping, but she is certainly not thriving. Her creativity and sense of wonder are taking a fast ride down the toilet. I had hoped it would be different, and I can see that perhaps each year we would have a sometimes better/sometimes worse experience, but I just can't leave it to chance. So we are soon to be embarking on the Great Homeschool Experiment in which I teach art, Jason teaches chemistry, and my mother teaches piano. Rosetta Stone will be teaching Spanish to us all at the same time. I was thinking Latin American Spanish - anyone have thoughts about that? We live in Maine, so there are relatively few Spanish speakers. If anything, we find more French in our area, but I don't think that would be most useful in the long term.

I think our plan is a good one, and I think all of us are looking forward to starting. We will be doing art every day, piano once a week, chemistry once or twice per week, and if she likes it as much as I think she will, Rosetta stone the rest of her waking hours. She is very much a visual learner, and she loves any kind of computer/video games. And she likes knowing things her parents don't know. I played with the trial version over Christmas and it is big fun. In fact, the grownups (erm - grown up siblings) all got a little pushy about having a turn.

Do you think I'm a mean mom for making my kid do school over the summer? I think we'll have a decent payoff later when we can take vacations on a whim.

And okay - in crafting news - some pictures for you, because there are way too many words up there. Please indulge me. I know this is excessive - but she is seriously cute.

The pattern is from Lil Blue Boo. I hemmed and hawed about buying a pattern for something I could probably whip up without, but sometimes the payoff for spending money on a pattern is that the shirt actually gets made. And the results? Really cute. The cap sleeves were my own idea - puffed them just a little to make it more girlie. Ivy gave me the best compliment - she wore this shirt for three days straight. Score one for mom.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Giveaway Craziness (and the winners are...)

Okay, my fingers are exhausted and my eyes are burning. I'm not sure I should have set out to look at every single giveaway, but I made it through the lists. And it's funny. I found that sometimes I subscribed to blogs but didn't enter the giveaway, and sometimes I entered the giveaway, but didn't follow the blog, but only a few times did I do both. Maybe it is my rebellious nature that makes me resist following just for an extra chance to win something. I also found that I entered many more giveaways for supplies than finished items. That must go hand in hand with my resistance to buy things I could possibly make, which is why, for example, I have not had a pair of slippers in four years (well, until my lovely sister-in-law gave me some for Christmas, anyway.)

Oh, wait a minute. You wanted to know who won my giveaway? Sheesh. Of course. I can be a little slow sometimes.

There were several entries that made me laugh. I'll try to get back a little later and show some of them to you. But the kids are running around crazy and I just need to get this done. This last sentence, between the phone and the kids and getting dressed and breakfast - almost an hour. Serious. The rest I wrote last night. See the difference?

So the big winners are...

Lindsay  who said...
 I'm not sure how old your kids are but here it goes,
An ion walked into a bar and said "bartender, I think I left and electron here" the bartender say "Are you positive?"
Erin who said...
Whew, the pressure's on. This one has been a favorite in our house for a while.
Knock, knock
Who's there
Interrupting cow
Interrupti - -
Haha! Happy laughing and thanks for the chance to win!

Lindsay, you made my husband snort, which is no small feat. And Erin was the first (but not only) person who posted the interrupting cow joke that is the all around family favorite.  I'll send an e-mail out to you guys.
And hopefully I'll be back with a few more doozies later. Thanks everyone for taking part. I have to tell you, I can't believe there were SO many responses. And I actually tripled my followers, which I was certainly not expecting. Talk about the pressure being on, now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Giveaway Day!

Hello there, peeps from Sew, Mama, Sew! Welcome to my blog and my little giveaway. Let me introduce myself. My name is Cricket. I live in Maine, I have two adorable feisty daughters and a really fantastic husband. He is not feisty at all, so they must get it all from me. I am a knitter, a sewer and a general crafting type. Right now, I have a barn full of old furniture I am thinking of restoring/upgrading. And I'm pretty sure I will be homeschooling both kids next year for preschool and first grade. Let me tell you, my house is a disaster and there are piles of laundry everywhere. Which is why it is a good time for a giveaway.

So on with the giveaway! Last year was so cool, I really wished I had been on my game and hosted a giveaway. So while haphazard, I am putting something together this year - 10 pm on Sunday evening. Please don't hold it against me that these pictures are crap.Imagine everything a little brighter, a little prettier. Yeah, that's it.

First, I have a sewing giveaway. Because I could not think of a better theme, this prize package is a rainbow of fat quarters. Here they are. Some of them you may recognize, all are quality quilting cotton and some of them were even bought from Sew, Mama, Sew. Apropos, I know.

Oh man will I ever be glad to get rid of those clowns. I hope someone out there likes clowns, because I can't stand them. That purchase was a momentary lapse of reason.

The second item I have to offer is also a rainbow of sorts, but, well, not. I'm pretty sure all of these are Frog Tree Alpaca, probably sport weight. I had a growing problem with all my yarn getting in a major tangle, and I got in a snit and wound all the skeins into cakes with the help of Ivy, who is 3. When we were done, there were labels fluttering about the room, some with drawings of princesses on the back. So - while I am pretty sure this is Frog Tree, I can't be positive. I'm also pretty sure my mother-in-law had a first and last knitting lesson with the maroon. Yeah. TMI?

So you can enter one or both. Leave me a comment that will make me laugh. Tell me a good story or a joke. Or a joke my kids will like because it will in fact be my kids will choose a name for each prize. Why? Because, well, it seems more fun than the random generator. So clean jokes and stories, I guess. We can all read them aloud and whoever makes us pee our pants (not hard for a certain little judge I know) wins.

And also, while I have you all here. I want to show you something I'm working on.

Suddenly I'm all addicted to hand sewing these tiny little hexagons. They're paper pieced, and I want there to be not more than a couple pieces of each pattern.  So if there is any other cracked soul out there who wants to do a scrap swap of pieces at least 4"x4", give me a holler. I thought my scrap bin was big. Heck, I thought my stash was huge. But really? Not so much. I need some help here.

By the way, please feel free to look around my disjointed blog. I would be thrilled if you want to follow, but it won't get you a better chance to win, so only do it if you enjoy my lopsided view of life and my cantankerous ways. And hey - I hope you win something!