Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And....we're back.

I've been gone over a week. Oops. Sorry. It's been ROUGH ROUGH ROUGH around here lately. House showings, weekend with madness events and small children, etc. etc.

But - here's what I got for ya today.

These are the fabrics I sent to my swap partners for a "Novelty Square Swap" - We were supposed to send 10 6x6 squares of "novelty prints" to 2 different folks, and I'll get two packages of 10 squares from 2 other folks. Fun, right? So I came up with I think 12 from my stash. Most of them are a good bit bigger than the 6x6 (closer to 8x8) because I can't BEAR to cut fabric smaller than I absolutely have to.

And so far, from Adrienne, I have received these beauties! I'm expecting another soon.

Fun, right?

In other news, I'm phoneless. Carson decided to stir up my crystal light with my cell phone this morning. Never, ever, in my life have I been as angry at her as I was this morning. I calmly placed her in her bed, walked out and closed the door. I WAS SO ANGRY I didn't want to yell at her or anything. I was afraid a bad word would come out of my mouth... ;) Anyway, I made an insurance claim and I'll have a new phone tomorrow.

I have more to say - but I'll have to say it tomorrow. Kiddie bedtime awaits.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fabulous Friday, FINALLY

I'm sitting at my kitchen island bar. I'm drinking coffee. The TODAY Show is on the TV in the other room. (i.e. No SpongeBob, no Little Einsteins, no Tigger & Pooh...) There are no short people here. It's quiet.

The children were on Spring Break this week. Our wonderful blessing of a friend, Miss Brittany, came and spent the days here at home with C&C Music Factory. I honestly don't know WHAT I would do without her. She is truly patient, and kind, and generous with her time. Yes, I paid her to "babysit" - but her availability and willingness and love for my children gives me a grateful heart. I feel guilty enough being a full-time professional working mommy. It's even harder when my babies (who are, I recognize, not really babies anymore at almost 4 & 5!!!) are out of their normal "get up go to school come home with Mommy" routine. Thus, when Brittany volunteered to watch the kids for 4 days during their Spring Break, I was relieved and overjoyed. The kids LOVE her, and I LOVE her, and somehow, she manages to spend a good 8 hours at my house, with preschoolers, and when I come home, it's more organized and cleaner than when I left!!! (Which, admittedly, is not that hard to do - but really, it made my life SO MUCH less stressful to come home to a clean(ish) house and be able to focus just on the Cs.) Thank the Lord for people like Brittany Smith!!!

Today is Friday. Last night the children went to Alabama to spend an extra day (today) with their daddy. Ahhh....sweet quiet. I slept like the dead last night (but, unlike the dead, I woke up refreshed and ready to conquer this day...) Luckily, there's not too much to conquer. My jury trials finished up this week already, and I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon at the jail preparing myself and my clients for Monday's hearings. Ahhh, the satisfaction of completing this week.

And here's the best part!!! I am actually, for the first time in AGES AND AGES getting out of town this weekend. Because of my schedule with the children's visitation, I'm just not able to go away...this extra day the kids are spending in AL lets me get out of town a little early this afternoon, without having to drive across the state line to carry the kids. I'm going on a little mini-break vacation. I'm headed to Nashville! And, as a bonus, I get to go with my sweetheart. SWWEEEEEETT!!! I am going to CELEBRATE my successful week in the courtroom, which includes a HUGE Not Guilty verdict on a felony drug possession case (and, for the record, she really was NOT GUILTY...) Updates when I return!!!

So. Going back to the "pretty things" from my last post...I happened across this lovely blog: Tea Rose Home - love what she has to say. GORGEOUS fabrics, wonderful ideas, loved the tutorial on the placemat apron!!! Pretty things make people happy, you know. And I am going to start linking some more "pretty things" here...so keep checking back!!!

I'm out for the weekend. Wish me luck and fun on my long-awaited, well-deserved, weekend away. Thank you, friends!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009


This^ makes me happy.
Let me just list the reasons why this makes me happy:
1) I made it from scraps already laying on my table from Carson's dress.
2) It took me less than half an hour to make TWO identical little wallets.
3) It was exactly what I NEEDED. I have a Vera Bradley wallet that I've literally had for about 6 years, and USED HEAVILY for 6 years. It's embarrassing. On it's last leg, etc. I keep TOO MUCH junk in there (old receipts, random cards I never ever could use, expired insurance cards, etc.)
4) It's just PRETTY. LOOK AT IT. Isn't it pretty? Pretty things make me happy.
5)Most of all, what I loved about this 15 minute project was that while I was in the sewing room, Cole was watching a specific requested show on the TV in my room, being still & quiet. Carsie, though, was in the sewing room puttering with me. She was first "making a book" for me, and talking to herself all the while. Things like "Let's see now, if I put this part here, then the next picture should be on *this* page, but that doesn't really look exactly like I imagined it..." (giggle) and then she decided that she was going to "open a store" For what? For drawings, paintings, and anything anyone could want that was pretty. (Be still my heart, I think what we have on our hands is a young artist) - then "someone" (as in an imaginary someone) came into her store and she asked "someone" "What can I do for you today, sir? I can draw anything or paint anything you want. A drawing or painting will make you happy."....pause...."It will make you happy because it's just pretty. And pretty things make people happy."
This little observation of my youngest child, my only girl, made my heart burst with pride and love. Sometimes I miss stuff like this. When I say I "miss" it - it's not like I'm pining for it when I don't get to participate in it, I mean - I just flat out don't take the time to notice. But today I did. And I'm so glad...because "Pretty things make people happy."
(In other news, I got a "not guilty" verdict in the felony drug possession jury trial today. I had spent the better part of yesterday afternoon/evening reading the witness statements, investigative summaries, etc., and - it paid off. My client went home scott free. And I went home TIRED to the bone, but...Happy. And, to top it all off, I looked pretty today. Everyone said so - and you know what? (Repeat it with me...) "Pretty things make people happy."
So, tell me, what made YOU happy today?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Banana Dogs, a pinafore and pre-Monday anxiety

This ^ is a "banana dog" - Cole saw a "do it yourself" little spot on how to make them this morning on Saturday morning TV. He has been BEGGING all morning for me to help him make one. It's a banana on a hot dog bun with peanut butter & jelly... yum. THEY INHALED THEM..giggle giggle.
This ^ is a pinafore. Random made-up-by-JJ pattern based (loosely) on Carson's measurements and a few simple dresses I'd seen online...but was too cheap to buy patterns for them. I'm pretty pleased. It basically took me one hour to make my bodice pattern/cut out the other pieces, and this morning from about 10-12:00 (with breaks for things like banana dogs ;) ) - to sew it together.
Pretty cute. But - the problem is - Carson refuses to try it on, even. *sigh* Luckily I found this little munchkin hanging around.

And HE wanted to try it on - but "just for ONE second, Mommy..."

FUN!!! It's a little big/long for Carson - but should fit her well into next year, and even the summer after that...

So - I have three jury trials this week, starting at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Thus, I have a lot of anxiety about it. And, I am trying to prepare myself (since I didn't get to during the week - I was in court with other matters) - but keeping toddler/preschoolers from mauling each other all day, and making banana dogs and pinafores, has been distracting. My neighbor Steve and his son Patrick (Cole's VERY best friend...apparently today anyway) are going to come down for an hour and let me run to the office to get the last few things done. Thank you, universe & God, for good neighbors in the nick of time.
I'm out. I won't post much this week. I'll be in trial. But I'll be around!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wow. It's almost FRIDAY!!!

It's been a crazy week. I could tell you ALL ABOUT IT - I mean, that IS what blogs are for, no? However, this crazy week I've had has led to complete and utter exhaustion and an overwhelming need for a foot rub (heels all week and in the courtroom on my feet....*sigh*) - so I'll tell you the highlights of my week at some point this weekend. In my free time - ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - wait, I don't HAVE free time! That's why that is so funny.

Anyway - I will leave you - in lieu of the cute boyfriend picture and the placemat tutorial which, if you DON'T sew, which most of you don't...is not all that enlightening, or exciting...with some photos of the short people. Oh MY !!! Wait - these aren't my babies - these are little KIDS. I don't have kids. I have babies...wait - these babies grow up?!?!? Apparently so - look how B...I...G they are!!! And gorgeous, despite (or maybe because of) the dirty faces. This was at St. Mary's - we had a mission week last week - with church supper every night - so this was after Mexican night (mmmm, mmmm, good!)

Have a good Friday folks. I'll see you Sunday, maybe ;) Love, and sunshine, and all that good warm fuzzy stuff to each and every one of you from the bottom of my very big (very tired) heart!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Funky Placemat How-To

I'm so excited to share my *first* (very amateur) tutorial on how I made some totally cool placemats (which I need to get final pictures of - because I already gave them to their recipient...) But before I get to that - -just a quick comment about how I have a cute boyfriend. See? (OK, I get it, I'm cute, too...but I really like this self-made photo...)

OK - moving right along before I start blushing. For fun placemats (and 6 matching napkins, if you desire), you'll need the following:
1/2 yard each of SIX (6) coordinating/contrasting prints
(Mine are from Heather Bailey's Pop Garden line for Free Spirit Fabrics. Yum-o.)
About 3 yards of heavy weight interfacing (I used sew in, but fuseable would be great, too.)
(A note about the interfacing, I had intended to use canvas as interlining until I found the stiff stuff in my stash, so canvas would probably work, too - just depends on how "stiff" you like your placemats - I like mine fairly stiff. If you like 'em soft you could even use quilt batting.)
Coordinating thread and sewing supplies, especially a rotary cutter, quilter's ruler & mat.

1. iron all your pieces - I don't prewash. I'm not a prewasher. If you like to prewash, please do. I won't hold it against you if you don't hold my non-prewashing against me. Then, from each print, cut a 15 x 18 rectangle. (I wanted my placemats to be square-ish, so that's the reason they are this size. Any size from this up to 18 x 22ish will be fine if you like them more rectangular.)

2. Stack all 6 rectangles, aligning edges carefully with each other and with the lines on the cutting mat. Take your ruler and make "slices" how ever you choose. Since you have 6 fabrics, you'll need to make 5 "slices" (cutting the rectangle stack into 6 generally equal pieces...but not necessarily on a straight edge...see this picture) - I like to make a center cut FIRST, so that the side pieces will be close to even, while still looking slightly askew. I like askew. If you like 'em straight, cut 'em straight :)

3. This step is the fun part. "Shuffle" the pieces, (see above photo) so that you have one of each print on each of the 6 layers. Be careful - you MAY even want to label the pieces 1-6 on the back or with a water soluble marker. I risked it, but I had one (out of 6) that I didn't sew together in the right order (1 to 2, 2 to 3, etc.)...and I had to rip out and start over.

4. Carefully sew the pieces in order, as you have them laid out. The edges should match up fine, but they will look like this when sewn...press seams flat, and then to one side.

When you are done sewing the seams of the shuffled pieces, it should look like this:

5. Measure your placemat tops across the middle lengthwise and crosswise. (Mine are 15 x 16ish.) From the remaining fabric, cut ONE rectangle of that size from each of the prints. Also cut SIX rectangles of that size from the interfacing/canvas/batting - whatever you are using:

6. Make a sandwich. Put the solid panel down, right side up. Layer the pieced placemat top, right sides together, on top of the solid panel. Place a rectangle of interfacing on top. Pin all the way around, leaving about a 4 inch opening along one edge for turning.

7. With a 3/8" seam (you could use a 1/4" if you wanted...I just like that 3/8" gives me more wiggle room if my big rectangles don't match. I hate cutting...have I mentioned this?) - sew all the way around, turning at the corners with the needle down, leaving the 4" open for turning.

8. Clip the corners, and grade/trim the seams.

9. Turn placemat right side out through the hole.

Use a turning tool (or a fat knitting needle) to make the corners sharp.

11. Press edges well...

12. While pressing the edges, turn under the flap where you left the opening for turning & press well. Use a pin or two to hold it closed.

13. Edge stitch all the way around the placemats, closing the opening, and turning at the corners. I did a second row of stitching just inside the first row of edge stitching, purely because I like how two rows looks.

14. Then, I stitched "in the ditch" along the seams where the top is pieced. (This is optional - and would be fun if you decided to stitch in a different pattern, or in a zig-zag stitch or blanket stitch along those seams...) VOILA! Placemat divine.

Here's the back - you can see the stitching (you have to look hard...)

Oh, and I made matching napkins out of the leftovers from the 1/2 yards...I just turned under 1/8 inch on the edges, twice, pressed, and stitched.

If you try this, or some version of this, PLEASE let me know!!! I heart comments and pictures.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sick Day

I'm sick. I'm not dying or anything, but I have a killer cold, and this is day 4 or 5 (I can't remember) and I just need to rest. I stayed home from work, though I'll probably go in after lunch. Because I'm like that. But, in the meantime, it's 9:15, and me & the kids are still in our PJs. Oops. I have to get them to school, but that would require certain acts on my part, namely, putting on a bra, socks & shoes, and getting in the car.

Anyway, my plan for the day is hot tea, the couch, and to run the laundry. The kids go to Alabama tomorrow for a Dad-weekend, so I would like to feel better (and bonus if the laundry and dishes are done on my sick day!) to be able to enjoy my weekend.

So, I promised sewing news and here it is. I got this half-yard set of FreeSpirit Fabric (Heather Bailey's POP GARDEN) from FabricWorm - I got it from her etsy shop - and there's a link from her main webshop to the etsy site. Gorgeous, isn't it!!! I love the big bright florals, I've really been drawn to that lately.

The ribbons are just from my crazy stash of ribbons & trims. I got like a 1/2 pound bag of ribbons - it was LOTS of ribbon, each 2 yards. So, these I thought would be good for embellishment, maybe, at the end I'll decide...

So, anyway, I wanted to do something fun with this, that incorporated BIG hunks, since cutting it up into tiny pieces would make you lose the pattern. I have some friends that are moving in together soon, and the one friend already lives in the house - but they plan to have a housewarming (and I'm ALL FOR any excuse to party) - so I wanted to do something fun and pretty (and useful) for them, so I decided on placemats. I actually used the stack/slice/switch method of "crazy quilting" - and I'll post my *first* (amateur) tutorial on that in the next couple days, when I finish them. Preview:

Fun, eh? I wish I had the time or the energy today to just sit and sew. I'm in the mood. But, I'm sick, and my house is a wreck. (Maybe after lunch. ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maybe Tuesday will be OK...

TUESDAYS SUCK - have you heard? Well, if you ever read my blog on a Tuesday, you would've heard!!! (Or if you ever read my friend Liam's blog, you'd get a weekly installment of "Which sucks more...Tuesday, or...???)

OK - so anyway, I'm sorry I've been gone. It's been kind of wild around here - I had a busy weekend with the children, etc. And work has been strange - I've been in court and working, but rarely in my office in front of the computer.
I went out Friday night with some high school friends. SCARY!!! We literally haven't seen each other in years and years - especially not all together. There was beer and cheeseburger consumption involved...and after it was all said and done, it looked like this:

In that top picture, that's my "first" friend from high school, Tricia. Tricia's one of those people that I laughed so hard I spit Coke out my nose as a teenager. Of course that's me in the middle. Doesn't it seem that I have more teeth than a normal person? And that handsome guy is Ryan. Ryan was a year ahead of us girls, and Tricia just happened to be chatting with him on Facebook the night before our get-together and I'm SO glad he decided to jump into the madness with us!
The second picture (which does no justice to the amount of alcohol consumed) is, from the left Heather, Ryan (again, lucky guy with all us gals) and Amy. Fun times.

Our waiter was crazy, and Tricia drove me home well after midnight, where we sat in the driveway and talked until 1 something...so when my chicklets were bouncing out of the bed (at my mom's - I stayed there) early the next morning, I was very proud that I was fully functional!

Since Tuesdays suck, I'm trying a little preventative experiment. I was SUPER productive last night and did a number of things that I've been procrastinating on - for example, I picked up the trash that had blown across the yard. My sweet dog, Bella, had gotten into the trash (trash situation is that A) I live in the country and have to take it to the dump myself and B) my 30 gallon cans got trashed a few months ago, and I haven't gotten more so C) the trash just sits on the back porch...ick.). And it rained for the following 4 days, so I couldn't get out there and pick it up in the freezing rain, so yesterday (even though it was still freezing) I was able to get it all picked up. My neighbor Steve (thank GOD for good neighbors) is coming to take it to the dump for me today, and I plan to go to Home Depot at lunch and get new cans.

Also, I cleaned out one whole side of the garage. I haven't been parking in the garage because the door was on "manual" (i.e. the button wasn't working) since the power went out a few weeks ago. Well, I was tired of that, so I cleaned up, trashed a bunch of junk, and swept out the whole right side of the garage (and actually straightened up the other side) and found a stool and fixed the opener mechanism (though I almost fell and broke my neck...) - oh, and did I mention I was doing this at midnight last night? Because THAT'S when I felt inspired to do this. Strange.

And, I got 3 loads of laundry done last night - well, washed, but not "done!" - I haven't folded it OR put it away - but at least it's clean.

Alas - Tuesday still sucks, but at least I got a few things done. Even the ballet things are clean and ready for tonight!!!

Keep up tomorrow for some sewing pictures.