My Life, My Obsessions

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dress Alterations

I showed up to drop my son off at preschool Thursday morning not knowing what I was getting myself into. Almost as soon as I entered the room, my son's teacher said she had heard that I can sew. This is because my husband works at the same school (he teaches Spanish and social studies). From experience, I know that people only bring up things like that when they need a favor.

After much searching, her daughter had finally found a dress for the upcoming school dance. So she tried to explain the dress to me and the type of alterations she was hoping for. The alterations I could understand, but I had no idea what she was talking about with the dress. Somehow it was assumed that I had volunteered for the job and it was too late to back out.

Did I mention that this was Thursday and the dance was Friday? With my husband in charge of the dance, as well as being the DJ for it, our household was already busy enough. So at 7:00 pm, I met my son's teacher at Joann's for my first peek at the dress and to buy the fabric needed for the alterations. I was home in time to put my kids to bed and start sewing at 8:00 pm.

At this point I've never seen the dress on the girl and my only chance will be at noon on Friday when she's coming for a fitting. So, I started with the most difficult part -bringing up the neckline. I had to match aqua fabric with a gathered black chiffon overlay. Sounds fun, doesn't it? The other part was too bad, just adding an extra three inches of the same black chiffon to the skirt. That part didn't take too long.

I am not a seamstress and have never sewn for anyone outside my own family. I can follow a pattern and make it look decent on the outside. The piece I added to the neckline ended up looking better than I had hoped on the outside, but was pretty ugly on the inside. I decided that if had a week's notice, I might care a little more about the inside of the dress. I had to do a little hand stitching to finish it up and declared it done at midnight. I had been in bed for all of 20 minutes when my little girl woke up. She has this amazing ability to wake up right as I'm trying to fall asleep.

I gave the dress to El Guapo to take to work so that my son's teacher didn't have to take her daughter out of school and drive up here on her lunch break for a fitting. She could try it on at school and still return it to me in time for any last-last minute alterations. Luckily it fit perfectly, because the sleepless night left me with a tension headache that lasted well into the afternoon.

She called to say thank you and that her daughter loved the dress. I was going to take before and after pictures, but I was more concerned with just getting it done. I was promised pictures since I still have not seen the dress being worn. Unfortunately, I probably won't be posting the pictures here unless I get permission from the mom.

So, the moral of the story... It may have been a hassle, but I remember being a teenager. In her place, I would have been eternally grateful to have the perfect dress to wear to the dance. Adolescence is difficult enough.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Finally some pictures!

I had to wait until I could make it to the store to get the button, but I finally have pictures of my felted bag! I do really like how it turned out. Sorry if I went picture happy.

The inside. The flash makes it look gray, but it really is a dark black.

The button closure.

And a close up on the button.

Although I love the finished product, I've decided to sell it in my etsy store. That way I can make more. Besides, making the bag is the fun part!

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For My New Nephew!

Another baby and another sweater. My sister-in-law is getting induced at the end of the month. She's having a boy. So I better get this one in the mail soon!

It's from the Crochet Me pattern Baby, It's Cold Outside.

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Felted Bag

I just finished my first felting project. My kids gave me Patons Classic Merino Wool for Christmas. I wanted to make a decent sized purse that could hold everything that a diaper bag would. I've had too many years of diaper bags and refuse to carry them now even though I still have a little one in diapers. (Hmm, I should have added potty training her to my New Year's resolutions). So I made a black bag that can hold wallet, diapers, snacks, sippy cups, and more.

For my first time felting, I probably should have followed a pattern, but I couldn't find any that I liked. So, I improvised and it turned out pretty good. There are a few things that I would change if I did it again, which I just might do. The sides puckered and the strap didn't shrink like I hoped it would. Other than that, I like it. I just need to find the perfect button and then I'll post a picture.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My Book List

As one of my New Year's resolutions I am trying to read 25 books this year. That's just over 2 a month. It's not really a hard goal for me, but I had gotten out of the habit. I grew up with a book constantly in my hand and I've missed it. My mom jokes that when I was home sick from school, she knew I would feel good enough to go back to school when my book was finished. I also spent most of my Sophomore Geometry class reading and only occasionally glancing at what the teacher was doing on the board. Of course he was a basketball coach first and then a math teacher, plus he spent the first half of class giving us the answers to the previous day's homework.

So here is the list of what I have read so far this year. I will update it periodically.

1. All Through the Night by Mary Higgins Clark (I actually started this on Dec 31, 2007 but since I had only read the first 2 chapters before 2008 started I'm still counting it.)
2. Pretend You Don't See Her by Mary Higgins Clark
3. My Gal Sunday by Mary Higgins Clark (The characters were annoyingly perfect)
4. Dancing in the Dark by Mary Jane Clark
5. Do You Want to Know a Secret? by Mary Jane Clark
6. M is For Malice by Sue Grafton
7. O is For Outlaw by Sue Grafton
8. The Bureau of Resurrection by D. Kim Burnham
9. Against the Grain by Mary Margaret Jensen
10. Still Watch by Mary Higgins Clark
11. A Stranger is Watching by Mary Higgins Clark
12. Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
13. Murder at Hazelmoor by Agatha Christie
14. They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie
15. The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side by Agatha Christie
16. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
17. A Cry in The Night by Mary Higgins Clark
18. Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark
19. Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark
20. The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories by Mary Higgins Clark
21. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
22. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
23. Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
24. Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull
25. Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
26. Unlikely Assassins by M. E. Cooper
27. Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
28. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
29. The Mad, the Bad, and the Innocent: The Criminal Mind on Trial -Tales of a Forensic Psychologist by Barbara R. Kirwin, Ph.D.
30. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
31. Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
32. Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark
33. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
34. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
35. For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
36. Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
37. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
38. Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
39. Games for Reading byPeggy Kaye
40. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
41. Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke
42. An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan
43. Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan
44. These Three Remain: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan
45. Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Currently reading
Editing a book (The Mobile Conscience: Immunity and the Laws of Sinai)
The Book of Mormon

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Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a great 2007 and will have a wonderful 2008! I had mixed feelings looking back over the past year. A lot of good things have happened and a few things that I wasn't really thrilled about as well. My baby has gone from crawling to walking and talking. My little boy isn't so little anymore and is in 1/2 day preschool twice a week. He uses words like distract, disgusting, panic, and filthy that make him seem too big for having just turned 5. So while I'm thrilled to see how far they've come over the past year, I'm not ready for them to grow up so fast.

Other highlights over the past year... I picked up crocheting again and started making my own patterns. We moved. El Guapo started a new job. I went from working with the kids ages 3-11 at church to teaching a Sunday school class with my husband for 14 and 15 year olds. I found out my sister and sister-in-law were expecting (both due in February 2008). I visited Mexico for the first time on our Mexican Riviera cruise. I got to visit my 91 year old Grandma introduce her to my daughter who shares her name and take a 4 generation of girls picture with my mom there as well. We bid farewell to my brother-in-law who will be serving a church mission in Germany for the next 2 years. My son got ear tubes put in and his adenoids taken out. It's been eventful. We've done a lot, survived a lot, and learned a lot. I have mixed feelings on it's passing, but I'm looking forward to the New Year and all that it might bring.

To welcome in the New Year we had a party. It was over by 7:00 PM since since half the party (our kids) had to be in bed by 8:00 PM. We started with a yummy dinner of homemade sushi. It was our first attempt, so they weren't as pretty as you get in a restaurant. We had a great time and improved as we went. My 5 year old even made some with a little help from Dad.

After dinner we had a mini carnival. It's a tradition from my in-law's that we've adopted. It's great for young kids and doesn't involve staying up 'til midnight. We each were in charge of a game and handed out prizes. My son did a penny toss. You try to throw the penny as close as you can to the line without touching it. The closest wins. My daughter tampered with the results (she kept picking up the pennies) so we're not sure who won. Then we did a bean bag toss, a fishing game, and a shooting gallery (with a toy gun that shoots foam discs). Then we toasted in the New Year (I'm sure it was midnight somewhere) and did confetti poppers. The kids were thrilled and no one lost any more sleep than normal. I have "chronic insomnia with acute episodes." That's what the doctor said. By the way never take Ambien.

I have to admit that in the past I have skipped the New Year's resolution tradition. I figured why make a resolution that rarely makes it past the middle of January. But since there were a few things that I've been wanting to do anyway, I decided to make them into resolutions for 2008. I'm going to list them here, not because I expect you to care, but to help me remember and for a little accountability.

My first goal is one that I talked El Guapo (see previous entry for explanation of Hubby's new name) into doing as well. We plan on reading 25 books this year. We have a few already specified as part of the goal. We are both reading the Book of Mormon and El Guapo also wants to read Crucial Conversations as one of his 25. I have to admit after sitting in on my father-in-law's lecture based on the book, I am tempted add it to my book list as well. I'll be adding completed books to my list as I finish them.

Another goal El Guapo and I have in common is exercising. El Guapo has a specific goal of so many pounds by a specific date. I don't. I just want to be more active and maybe loose 5-10 pounds. I just like how I feel when I've exercised. I have more energy and a more positive outlook. So I'm not looking at a strict exercise schedule, but I plan on having a few dance parties with my kids. And I love that my son likes to do pilates with me. He thinks they're fun, which makes me laugh.

Next goal is to have a better morning routine. I admit that I'm kind of lazy. There are days when we don't get dressed until almost lunch time. Although some of my most productive days have been spent entirely in pajamas. I like to clean in my pajamas. So the goal is to get up, have breakfast with the kids, get all three of us dressed and properly groomed, and read stories. Then we can get on with whatever the day has in store for us. I may have to skip the stories on preschool days though. I hate waking the kids up, so we're often in a rush on those days.

I am also continuing the goal of making one toy a month for Kristie's Toy Drive. So that's a minimum of 12 toys by June 2008.

I am also joining in on El Guapo's goal of not moving this year. It may seem like an easy goal, but we've never had a year without a move. We're worse than the military. We've moved 9 times in 7 1/2 years. Alone I'm even worse. I haven't lived in one place for more than a year since I graduated from high school in 1996. So we're hoping to avoid the hassle of moving and save the cost of a move this year.

There may have been more goals that I was considering, but I can't remember them. Now you see why I'm listing them here. And I used to make fun of my mom for making lists all the time. Now I wish I was in the habit of doing it more often. Sorry this post went on so long. Thanks for humoring me and reading to the end. Have a wonderful New Year!

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My Christmas

I had a great Christmas. The best part is that I got presents that will fuel my crafty obsessions. It actually started with my birthday a month earlier. My mom gave me a needle felting kit. It came with a felted purse, wool roving, felting needles, and beads. The idea is that you can use the felting needles (which have barbed tips like a fish hook) to attach the wool roving (wool that hasn't been spun) to the felted purse. It came with a design and easy step by step instructions. My mom also sent extra needles and roving in other colors. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to try it even though I'm really excited about it. However, it has also gotten me excited about the whole felting process.

So for Christmas my kids were ever so thoughtful and bought me Patons Classic Merino Wool in black. OK, I picked it out, but I did take my son to the store with me. So I have now started a black purse/diaper bag that will be my first adventure in felting. I have spent too many years carrying ugly diaper bags and now just buy big purses instead. I couldn't find a pattern I like and have started my own. I have started and restarted a few times. I'm trying to keep it fairly simple since I'm not sure how felting will alter the final results.

This year El Guapo (aka my cute hubby) actually surprised me. He tries really hard each year, but it's very hard to surprise me. This year he succeeded. He got me a jewelry box. The kind I've wanted for quite a while. The other gift was Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker book. Which just goes to show that he really does pay attention when I talk about crochet stuff. I've read parts and like it so far, but it's not a book for everyone. If you're offended by the term "butt load" this book is not for you. I haven't really looked at the stitch diagrams and instructions, so I'm not sure how this book would be for a beginner. Hopefully I'll be able to get to a couple projects from it soon. When I get a few other projects finished up first.

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Small Christmas Presents

I meant to get these posted before Christmas, but life tends to get so busy around the holidays. So, here they are and a belated Happy Holidays to all of you. I hope it wasn't overly stressful and that you were able to enjoy some time with your friends and family.

These were filled with candy and given to my son's preschool teachers. I let him write on the tags. He wrote his name and drew a picture of a back bone. It was a really good drawing of a spinal column for a 5 year old. Maybe he'll grow up to be a doctor... We can always hope.

The pattern is one that I posted earlier in December.

My husband (who teased me about calling him "my cute hubby" and shall be referred to as "El Guapo" from now on) needed some small gifts for coworkers. We had originally decided on beaded bookmarks, but altered the plan slightly. Instead we made beaded crocheted book thongs. It doesn't sound like a big difference, but price wise it did make a difference. I made eight total, but I'd like to make another to go with one of my New Year's resolutions. When I get a chance I'll share my resolutions.

Here's a close up of one. I used the pattern from Crochet Me, although I altered the length.

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