Saturday, December 17, 2011

Being thankful

Giveaway week makes me giddy. I think it is amazing that 351 people wanted something that I could give them, which is exciting. I'm a giver at heart. It makes me feel good inside. I love to please people, make them happy. I like to be liked. I like kindness in myself and in others. So I love all those comments, and people just hopping around being friendly.

Now, can you possibly imagine that I was lucky enough to win four different giveaways? Seriously. That makes me think I should not be entering so many of them! But then after I won the third prize, I decided that for each prize I won, I would give out another prize. So a few more winners are in order. Three of them. Maybe not exactly the same prize, but definitely good ones.

First I decided to give a prize to one of my followers. Even though I only post twice a year, I seemed to have gained another 10 followers or so this week. Thanks, people! So Yana, who does not have a blog because her "English is bad" (Excuse me, Yana? I beg to differ!) wins some threads from me.

Then I decided to give a prize to the person who made the best pizza suggestion. That person is Christie, who suggested beets with carmelized onions and feta. My husband likes beets on hamburgers, so chances are he will eat them on pizza, too. Which is good, since he is pretty picky. Christie also writes poetry every day, which is something I once aspired to and yet now it has been 10 years since I wrote any. Hmm.

And the last person I chose was someone I was going to send some threads to anyway, because she is the most generous person I can think of. She cares deeply and gives from the heart. Giving her some tools to do her deeds of goodwill makes me feel like I am doing a little goodwill, too. So Deb will be getting a package in the mail, too.

So there you have it. 3 extra winners. It's almost like the party after the party. You know, when all the regular people leave and it's just you and your friends hanging out at the end amidst the rubble?

I wish I had a picture for you. Because every post needs a picture, right? Oh, wait! Here! I just grabbed this off my phone.

The girls passed their karate test and each have a new belt. I am really proud of them. Not only that? I passed my final algebra exam with an 88. Not too shabby. I might squeak by with an A for the semester. Maybe. If not? I'm pretty proud of myself, anyway. But I am glad I have 4 weeks off before my next algebra class starts!

So I'll try to post some pictures soon of the things I have been making this year. It never seems like I get much accomplished until I look around and see just how many things I have made. Not only that? But the girls now know if they want something they can ask mommy and I will figure out how to make it. I think that is an important lesson that will serve them well. If you want it? Make it.


Wow, that was an overwhelming response to my giveaway! 351 comments! The winner of the prize is Goosegirl. You can check out the beautiful things she makes at one of her blogs Goosegirl Sews. She has a couple other blogs to that I have yet to look at. Makes me feel just a tad bit lazy, I must say. She keeps up three blogs and I have one poor, languishing, orphaned one? Well, more on that later. Now I am off to take the girls to karate where I will try to eek in a little more studying for my algebra final before I have to be at the test at noon. The girls are having a test today, too. A belt test. Blue is a purple belt, Ivy (at just 4 years old!) is an orange belt.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway Day!

My favorite day of the year! I have all but abandoned my blog, but I feel compelled to join giveaway day anyway. It is so much fun! Here is what I have to give away today. Lucky you!

A baker's dozen DMC Pearl cotton floss size 8. Retails for about $2.50 a spool (95 yards) but I just happened to find it in the salvage store yesterday for 25 cents per spool. So I got you one of each color I got myself. (Honestly, I got some of every color they had. I'm no fool!)

Grammie and Grampie Blue with their grandson Dusty.
The inter-racial Browne family.
Mr. and Mrs. Scarlett with their twins Rosie and Rusty.
The Greene's (Mrs. is expecting soon, but not soon enough).
And last but not least, the enigmatic Professor Naranja.

To enter my giveaway, please note: I will not award my prize to anyone who doesn't leave an individualized response. If I read the same comment by you that I see on every other blog, if you are the winner, I will choose another. Got it? Now. For the rest of you: I would like to know what odd yet delicious things you eat on your pizza? We eat a lot of pizza around here, and I'm actually getting a little tired of buffalo chicken and blue cheese, potato and pesto, artichoke hearts with carmelized onions. So - some suggestions. If you don't like pizza, you can tell me why. I can't even begin to imagine. But I have a little girl who does not like pizza. And yes, we force her to eat it. Mean, mean parents. I will choose my winner on December 16th and mail by the 21st. And yes, I will ship internationally. Now stop reading and go check out all those amazing giveaways. Good luck! Hope you win something! 

Please, people, if you are not sure your e-mail account is tied to your profile, either write your e-mail address in your comments, or check out this tutorial I just pulled up off the web and fix it. If no one has your address, you can't win! It's not just me - you might be winning lots of prizes and you will never, ever know about it. About 1/4 of the replies I have gotten are No-Reply, which means if they are picked, I will have to choose another winner. Now go fix it, so you win!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Elizabeth from Button and Bean? C'Mon DOWN!

Okay, so yeah, I think I'm in the wrong game show. But forgive me, it is almost 10pm and my eyes are swimming from trying to look at every single giveaway. I didn't manage. Not even close.

The winner of my personal giveaway is Elizabeth from Button and Bean. I see she has a blog and does some very cool stuff (plus look how cute her little one is!). Go check it out if you want to see what the heck she makes with all this crap I'm going to dump on her. Um, I mean all these treasures that I scrounged up. I mean. This Fantastic Prize Package worth over $4.73.

My goodness. I am so punchy. I'm off to ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, May 23, 2011

Giveaway Day!

Hello there and welcome to my giveaway. I have something extra special for you, today. Not just regular crafty goodness, but what I think is a top notch prize. I admit,though, I do have an ulterior motive. Do you want the check out the prize first? Okay. Me, too. To enter to win, all you have to do is leave me a comment. If you have run out of things to say, you could tell me what your favorite quick summer dinner is. Or if you are one of those southern hemisphere types, what your favorite winter dinner is. Now, I'm not the type to offer second entries, but today I am. You don't have to be a follower, you just have to read all the way to the end to find out how to get your second entry. Ready? Here comes the good stuff:

Imagine you see before you one of those Price is Right models. Got it? Okay. I don't look a thing like that. You could imagine that Sarah Jessica Parker and Marty Feldman had a baby girl and it grew up to be me, but that's a little scary, no? Better you stick with the Price is Right model.

You have made it to the showcase showdown and the model pushes a cart before you. Upon it at are three mid century acrylic canisters. Ah, here they are.

You notice they are made by Kartell in Italy. While they are probably not valuable, they are pretty and nice to look at, and they would look fabulous on your sewing table. You pick one up and open it.

Inside, you see a stack of trim. What's this? chenille ric rac and some real-100% cotton-made-by-hand bias tape? Woohoo! You love bias tape. Even if you know you'll never use it because it is so pretty, you most definitely need this bias tape. Some crazy whale ribbon that must be vintage by now and 3 yards of  hemmed ruffled trim. Um... Ruffles? "What in the world is she thinking?" you wonder.  But upon more careful thought, you realize that you don't use ruffles because you don't have a ruffle foot, and honestly  isn't it just a pain in the rear to do all that ruffling? So really there are any number of things you could do with ruffles, but you never have because you can't be bothered to make it. Inspiration hits! smashes you in the brain! like a fancy fast sporty bulldozer! "Of course! I'll make a  _________ !" What a good plan that is. And by golly here are four spools of Pearl 8 and some rainbow thread for good measure. Yum!

You open the next canister, and it is full of scraps. Small-but-not-too-tiny scraps.

 You decide you will make a bunch of hexagons with them, and wonder if hexagons are passé. Finally, you decide that even if hexagons are passé, you will make them anyway, unless the scraps are too pretty to use in which case they will just sit there looking pretty. Which is, you know in your heart of hearts, quite likely.

Wondering what more could possibly  be in store, you carefully open the last canister.  Inside...

felted cord and felted balls, and some vintage linens. You could surely think of something to do with those things, right? And lastly, you see that  there is a little hand sewn pouch you hadn't noticed initially. Made of recycled wool and sewn entirely with a needle, thread, and two hands. It isn't perfect, but you note that there is something quite charming about it. As you feel it, you note that there is a card inside. It feels like a... yes, it surely must be... a gift card. What store is it for? How much is on it? There is no way of knowing until you open the pouch. You reach for the zipper and...

you wake up.

Mean, I know.

So here's the thing. You get one entry for free. If you would like a second entry, you can follow this link to see what my darling daughter is up to, and post about it on your blog. Go ahead and borrow one picture if you like, and of course please link back as well. That will get you your second entry.And this year? Winner will be chosen by my friend Random Number Generator. I learned my lesson last year.

And lastly, Happy Giveaway Day to all!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blue's Quilt

This is my daughter Blue. She is seven and a half.

One day we saw an ad in a magazine for Smile Train, which is a program that repairs cleft lips and palates for children in developing countries who could otherwise not afford the surgery. Blue was horrified by the pictures. To show her how Smile Train helps kids, we went to their website and looked at before and after pictures. We found out it only costs $250 to provide surgery for one child, and her question for me was "Do we have $250 to send them?" I told her that we did have $250, but that it was more money than I could just send off on a moments notice. So we brainstormed ways we could get $250 to send, and came up with a plan.

Blue is making a quilt. She is cutting it by herself,

ironing it by herself

and sewing it by herself.

And yes, I do stand there hovering over her practically jumping out of my skin. But she is 7 1/2, after all. See that evil glint in her eye? That is her reveling in the fact that it is taking all my willpower to let her do her thing while I am forced to stand and watch.

Just how does making a quilt get us money for Smile Train? We thought we would raffle it, but we found out that it is illegal. Yup. Because we aren't a non profit agency, we can't have a raffle without jumping through lots of hoops. So we decided that what we would do is find people to sponsor the quilt squares. We asked a few friends and grandparents and such if they would give her $10 to make a square to add to the quilt. Several of them did, and she got to work.

The squares are sponsored but she makes all the design choices. Mama chose the type of square, because there is no real way to goof it up crosses and it gives her a lot more control over the process. Believe me, crosses are hard enough. What a sewist can churn out in 5 minutes, it takes Blue about an hour to create.

I am amazed at the patience she has for this project, and the pure enthusiasm. She plans to send the $250 and the finished quilt together, so the child who has the surgery can have the quilt to snuggle, too. Tonight she told me "I think the child will really like this rainbow one. They won't mind if it's not perfect." I am amazed that she is thinking of the child at every step of the process. While I encouraged the genesis of this project, she has really made it her own. My selfish goal for her was to know that she can change the world. She can make a difference in people's lives, even as a child. She has power that she can channel to good or to evil, and it feels wonderful to choose good. But I think she has already learned a lot more than that.

If you would like to sponsor a quilt square, please e-mail me at wisecricket (at) gmail (dot) com and I will give you our address. We will also e-mail you a picture of your finished square if you like. And know that you will have helped not only a child far away, but also my daughter, Blue, of whom I am so incredibly proud.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Make it Work

Sabra from Sew a Straight Line issued the kind of challenge I like best: take something old and unfashionable and make it wearable. Or, if you are feeling really adventurous, take an old, ugly pattern and use it to make something wearable. The trick is, in both cases, you have to keep elements of the original. Fun! She has a Flickr group so you can see what everyone else is making, and there are super excellent prizes!

Here is what I started with. This was my dress when I was 4 and yes, I use the term 'dress' loosely. I know every toddler girl was flaunting her booty that year, but the thought makes me shudder.

Here is the finished product.  It is now a tunic rather than a dress. I didn't actually take anything off the length, I just hemmed it where the hem had fallen out. I know. Can you believe my mother let me walk around in that?

It had some redeeming qualities, though. I really love the smocking. It's real smocking, not elasticized. And while I am not crazy about those ruffle wings, ruffles are back in style.

I cut off the ghastly polyester sleeves, collar and bow, then squared and bound the neckline, which was nowhere as easy as I thought it should be. When I cut off the sleeves, I left an inch or so of the red dots, turned them up twice and hand stitched it in place. It's not perfect, but no one will notice. Oh, I also folded over and blind stitched about 2 inches of the ruffle wings so they won't whack her in the face when she's running.

When it was all done, I thought it looked a little plain, so I made this little gossamer ribbon dragonfly from this tutorial and tacked it on. It instantly bounded up the popularity scale.

The only thing I am unhappy with is the fact that I should have gathered the neck just a little bit when I bound it. Can you tell that it gapes a little? It's not so bothersome that I'll rip out the binding from hell that took me 3 hours to sew, though. Besides, the kids has so many clothes I wouldn't be surprised if she only wears it on Independence Day. Because I make her.

I wasn't going to do any more, but I got this pattern at the thrift store today. Something for me. Maybe I can eeek it out before the deadline. We'll see.

I'll leave you with a picture in which my older sister says Ivy looks just like I did when I was a kid. Honestly? I still have that expression on my face quite a bit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

KCWC Day 1

I'm trying to figure out mobile blogging, and managed to lose most of
my last post. I hope I can figure it out. I love the idea of blogging
but the effort it requires is more than I have to give. Downloading,
uploading, writing. I feel like it shouldn't be so convoluted, and
maybe this will be my answer.

Now. Kids Clothing Week Challenge. I still haven't figured out how to
embed a link. I'm sure you all know elsie marley anyway, so I'll just
push on.

Here is my first creation. I've had the pieces cut out for about a
year. Finally assembled last night, and the girl is quite happy with
it. The hoodie pattern is from Lil Blue Boo. What makes me happy about
this shirt is the fact that the sleeves are made from her favorite
pants from when she was four years old.