Friday, October 26, 2007

Sometimes things merit two posts in one day...

This is for my friend Yaz...and every other mom, who has well-intentioned friends/relative/co-worker that are currently without little kids.
***Happy note***
I am not sure if my kids were just X-tra "special" this week, or if I looked X-tra "special", but I had at least 4 instances where someone was a good Samaritan to me and helped me out, or let me ahead of them in line.
I was just thinking again, and maybe we didn't look "special" this week....maybe my theory of putting good stuff out into the world in small ways is coming back to us....on a week when we needed a little extra love.
That is it, I am sure of it.

Do you need an international pick-me-up? Try taj tunes...

Sometimes I think that I just regurgitate every cool thing that I hear on a podcast... Oh well, so be it...
Somethings are just too cool not to share. I listened to a story yesterday about a new out-sourced business, Taj tunes. (This link is to my favorite song)

Outsourcing you say?? EVIL...Un-American (all too American if you ask me). But I digress....

This is a business idea thought up by this guy whose friend teased him about all of the business that his company was outsourcing to India (I think. Well, then she told him that he just better not outsource their friendship...ha ha...

Well, he thought that it would be funny to call one of the admin. people in India and get them to call his friend with a birthday greeting....the employee in India came up with a Jazzy song and sang it over the telephone. The friend was so charmed....and thus began a new business, Taj tunes. The tunes are simple and fun and who wouldn't enjoy an unexpected greeting on an otherwise boring day??

Thursday, October 25, 2007

what am I doing??? I tried, but I could not stop listening...

I am out of control...who needs sleep right?? I am almost finished with something special...FINISHED, COMPLETED... Get it? This doesn't happen everyday, but by Friday, I am thinking....YES!

This is a little frog that I wanted to share. It was one of five, that friends and I made for a quilt for the 2nd born of a dear friend, the hipster ALITHA. It has been finished, completed if you will, and I was so proud of myself. The applique pieces were small (for me) and odd shaped. I like it, I think that it looks kinda arty.

The real reason for the post is this Frito story. I was sewing this evening, nay, morning and it was so funny to me. Not funny-mocking, but funny-charming. I loved to hear how Fritos were born. (and sometimes the lady saying Frito reminded me of the tour guide at the Alamo on Pee-wee's Big Adventure.)(which I just learned was directed by Tim Burton...I love that movie and now it seems a bit more clear to me why I love it so.)(WATCH IT.)

Buea-nas DEe-ASS... can you say that? have to see the movie...and learn about Fritos.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just when you think you are almost done...

I really want to share my quilting knowledge. So, I thought that I would post a tutorial (these samples were made purely for this "tutorial", wink-wink). Above is an example of what can happen when you are quilting late at night, maybe after a crazy day, maybe you are just trying to pound out the stitches....what-have-you....

I am going to continue in a step by step format, because I feel that it will be more obvious to beginners about how these problems can and do happen... and how if you are "experienced", such as myself, how to AVOID them.

1)When free-motion quilting, make sure to sew faster than your eyes can see. This enables you to sew through any number of layers of fabric and not even feel it.
2)Make sure that you have lots of floppy extra fabric so that when you are sewing at top speed, it can fold over and create neat pseudo-reverse applique effect.

3)Make sure that you do this to at least 2 corners of your project, and don't notice it all at once. This way you can use your seam ripper on the first corner. You will release all of your pent up swear words. Then when you see the second, much worse corner you will be able to expand your technique to little scissors and thread pulling.

4)Make sure that you are listening to a podcast while you are perfecting your fabric destroying technique. (Something crafty is preferable.)
5)Laugh at your mistakes....ALOT. It helps also to remember that, it will happen again, maybe not today, or tomorrow....but most likely on a project that you are trying to finish on a deadline.
Everyone needs to just try free-motion quilting, you might like it!

***Helpful hints***
At the quilting stores they have these "fancy" gloves with traction fingers and super-grip and stuff. DON'T BUY THEM! They are like $12.99, and they are the EXACT same things as the ones sold for the "dudes" at the home building store (Like Home Depot...) I think that I paid between $2.50-$4.00 for mine. (OK, I know that mine are black and the ones at the fancy quilting store are is far more slimming!) This incarnation of the "dexterity" gloves is the best so far. They are thin, non-smelly and have GREAT traction. I have tried just about everything else...the little finger condoms, baggy knit gloves with the dots...they all are simply trash as far as I am concerned.
Don't get ripped off because you don't know, go to the tool section and get yourself a pair of sticky gloves.
My kids were so cute this husband has been off hunting this week and I am not a morning person... but the oldest one smiled for the camera and the youngest had on a "ducky-Moses" headscarf... How could I stay grumpy when faced with these mugs?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I can't look away!

I could have gone to bed tonight at would have been great.
but then I wouldn't have had the opportunity, nay, the PRIVILEGE of reading SouleMama and seeing this wicked awesome video Wingsuit flying.
Maybe someday my old eyes will be able to rest, but not with Youtube around....somebody stop me!
(No one was hurt in the making of this post.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Finding beauty...some times you miss it the first time around...

I know with the title written the way that it is... it sounds like I am being all braggy about my own personal beauty. I won't be braggy, that is not what this post is about. It is about having a "hard" couple of days, maybe feeling REALLY uncomfortable in certain situations, about really wanting to bag every single thought of the weekend and just have a clean slate.

But then I went through my pictures and seeing the fall leaves and my sweet oldest son pick me a bouquet of dandelions... well, it almost makes it OK. It almost makes it OK that I was sad and uncomfortable and that most likely no one can really understand it but me. It almost makes my fake smile OK, because his was so real. His was so full, and he was so overflowing with genuine love when he said to me in his gentle small voice,
"Here are some flowers for your birthday Mom."

Then he picked me flowers as we walked down the path, handing them each gently and with a sweet smile. He was just happy to be with me and happy that he could give me something to make me smile.

That makes everything else seem so pale and inconsequential.

Truly it does.

Take pictures, even if you feel silly, or it doesn't seem right at the time. I think later, when you look at them again, maybe you can see them with fresh eyes. Maybe remember a something that did not seem significant at the time, but in retrospect was the best thing that happened all day.
Love your kids, love your family.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Birthday XXXIII...

My first birthday cakes that I have made for me...

I have made others for others, but this year it seemed right for me to make my own cake with my most favorite 4 year-old. He thought that 2 round cakes would be the best. And yes, those are the two round cakes with "3's" made out of raisins. I think that we purged all of the technicolor sprinkles with our last ant invasion, so I decorated with the humble raisin. I have to say that chilled, the raisin is a lovely accompaniment to cream cheese frosting and carrot cake. My kids love them and I have to hold them in higher esteem because they really came through for me this year.

I thought a lot about how I wanted to celebrate my birthday this year. I had a small party last night (not my real birthday) so that I could go to my Quilter's guild meeting tonight. I really wanted to share the quilt that I am making for another special October birthday. I want to keep up my sewing momentum and enjoy a creative start to my 33rd year.

My thirties are really shaping up to be different than those twenties were. I do feel like I am looking older, and a bit mom-ish, but I am a mom. So that is ok. My twenties I feel, I spent living some sort of "idea" of a life. I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I thought that is I just kept on some kind of productive path that eventually I would become "happy".

Well, productive is good and all, but it doesn't bring a contented or satisfied feeling. I don't feel like I am totally there yet, but there are somethings that I have learned about who I am:

1)I am a tall woman, not averaged sized or petite AT ALL. I have struggled with my self image for a long time. I appreciate my body now for giving me mobility, life, and 2 wonderful boys. This is the body that I have and I need to honor it in my actions and thoughts.

2)I am creative and I need to be creative everyday. I need to "craft-sanity", because when I don't, I get stuck in other areas of my life. My creativity does not need to be relegated to my craft room, it needs to be in everything that I do.

3)I need to do things that are uncomfortable and "scary" to me. I was thinking today that the "scariest" thing that I did in college was apply to do a term of school at a marine biology station. I didn't know anyone who was going and really didn't know what it was going to be like--SO SCARY. Today, my closest friends are women that I met there and I feel so lucky to know them. To think of the last decade without them... don't want to. So here is to doing some scary things this year.

This year I also want to take pictures if myself with the people that I love... I have left myself out of years of pictures with people because I didn't like the way that I looked...

Utter silliness on my part.

So to start off...the most instrumental person on my first birthday...

My mom...
And the person who has made the last 14 birthdays so nice...

My Husband...
Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

New pictures, new fence, new gloves...


They were just so cute in their orange shirts and their work-boots and new gloves. The gloving process was a long one. The eldest trying to help his little brother, the little brother looking at the too-big gloves and saying "Here...HERE!"

The issue resolved when the eldest handed me the glove and went off to find his tool box. The little brother decided that one glove was just fine with him.

They love to work with their Dad in the yard.

In the background is our new rocks, no holes and the boards are ALL ATTACHED.

I have to close with one of the few pictures I have been able to take of my little one sleeping. It seems like I have so many of his brother. It is true that he doesn't sleep nearly as much as his older brother did, but I think that it is only because it seems like there is so much interesting stuff going on all the time. To me it seems like dishes and laundry but to him it is the joy of helping and being a "big boy".

Perspective, isn't it?
There's a thought.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

I can't help it, it is a birthday month...

Now the secret is really out...

I have been cutting some of my secret favorite pieces of fabric...the ones that I get out every year or so, refold and mutter "Precious, my precious..."

Maybe that is the secret, or maybe the secret is my most precious are cowgirl and horse fabrics...yikes, I think that I feel more exposed now than when I first posted one of my self-portraits.

So, there it is...before God and all of the internet. I am actually not so cool and into super mod prints (well, I really like those too.) BUT I LIKE HORSE FABRIC!

Now that I have come clean, I feel good. I feel really free about these smaller projects I have been making this week. I feel really jazzed.

Maybe the cowgirl/horse fabric is not so "me" now. Thinking more about it, working with it is allowing me to indulge the eleven year-old girl, that I was, that misses her horses. I miss spending the afternoon brushing and decorating my horse for a pretend horse show with my brother. What a great use of a Saturday...

It feels like "extra".
It feels creative.
It feels real, real good.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've been a-workin...

I have reclaimed my craft room, it has been swept, "arranged", and is ready for some craftsanity (it works for me too)! I have decided to open it up to the boys and WOW, has that ever been good for MY creative process... My eldest and I have had TWO "crafternoon" dates. (my words, not his, but he likes that I am sharing my space and sharing my stuff.)
We put together this GREAT dragonfly, he picked out the colors and cut the eyes and I just sewed it together. I don't know which of us was happier.
He had to stop for a costume change and a reading break...

After his brother woke up they played so nicely in the living room. Then it sounded like they had a bit too much fun...

and they were...
You know, getting my camera out and taking turns snapping pictures and laughing.

I am not sure if I have admitted it yet, but this is my third digital camera in 3 years...I can't have this one break for at least a few months, or I will never hear the end of it.

Finally, a picture of the last of the squashes. I usually wait for them to get a bit bigger, but who knows when the plants will get all slimy. These little guys were very good and I think that I look like I am a giant...
oooo, scary.


The piece at the top is my first machine sewing quilt project in about 6 months. I usually make a pattern and then agonize over every cut into my fabric. This time I was emboldened by super quilter Tonya and I cut and cut and cut...the cowgirl fabric I have been holding on to for about 5 years...I am excited about this new way of quilting and am excited to see what this becomes.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Small thought from Story Corps...

From only my own memory:

'My father told me to be such a Man and live such a Life, so that if everyone lived like me this,
would be God's Paradise.'

So, maybe not verbatim...but the thought is there. It spoke to me last night, driving home, after dropping my sister off at her dorm.

Hey, I want that to be me...

Not the man part, but I think that Woman fits nicely in there as well.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Scan this...

So, yes ANOTHER exciting day for me....

1) I saw this X-cellent comic. Some people may not read the funnies, but I consider them a essential part of my day. I like Bizarro, because it is weird and I like weird.

2) I used my scanner for the first time!! Woohoo! I thought that it was going to be really hard so I have put off figuring it out since last Christmas... Well, my nice husband told me that there is this "magical" button, called "SCAN" and you simply press it and Voila!!! A scan!
So, excited about the possibilities... which is why I asked for this in the first place...

3) I am getting back in to my mommy groove...the kids have been getting colds, the daddy has been traveling, the sister has gone off to college... It is not seeming too overwhelming any more.

4)There was a really great podcast the other day, the Creative Mom Podcast #63 about being gentle with yourself. You should check this one out. (and others too, she has great music, inspiration, ideas about crafting with kids, and just accepting that you, yourself are an artist)

5)Speaking of podcasts I LOVE, LOVED the interview that Jennifer A-H did with SouleMama the other day on CraftSanity. Listen to it...
That SouleMama is really inspiring and after listening to her story I am feeling a bit sheepish about being critical (no, I think it is really envy or jealousy)because she is such a WONDERFUL blogger/Mother/Human...

She was just really honest about how she views her blog, and how it is really just a snapshot of a day and how she chooses to focus on those wonderful moments and let the rushing and crabbing parts of the day be left off.

Here, I thought that she was in denial of those moments and was feeling grumpy about it. I do need to take myself down a notch every now and then... yes, I do...need to keep it real.

6) Getting the craft back on...finished a HIDEOUS (i.e. Lovely) pink scarf...just need to figure out how to make it uncurl...also started my Estonian autumny shawl/scarf, very excited.

7)Be back with more trip pics soon...