Saturday, February 27, 2010

hotel room crafting: part 1

spring is in full gear around my house... not the weather but spring cleaning, painting, and wardrobe creating...

so while in little rock i made this shirt for boy using MADE's 90 minute shirt tutorial...

started by making my pattern, also using MADE's pattern tutorial... and a magazine from the conference because i forgot paper...

i used this thrifted (woman's, shhh...don't tell) shirt... i really liked the colors

one thing i would say is the tutorial suggested serging the edges of your binding pieces or leaving them raw... i don't have a serger and i wanted it more finished than just raw edges so i put my own spin on it.
after cutting strips of ribbed knit long enough to go around the neckline, i pinned the edge to the neckline...

sewed around with a straight stitch and pressed the seam up...
(pressing on both the front and back will help it lay)

then i pinned the binding over to the width i wanted... you can see i had plenty of extra width once i pinned it over.

topstitch the binding an eighth of an inch from the seam...

i sewed a second topstitch an eighth of an inch up from the first one to give it a more finished look...

trip the back side of the neckline and repeat for the other side of the shirt...

then continue following the 90 minute shirt tutorial... i didn't think it turned out too bad for a sleep deprived, hotel room, all-nighter craft fest, with no cutting mat and rotary cutter, no measuring tape, and no boy to check size with. i might tweak the neckline/shoulders a little next time. they were a little wide.
oh... you can follow the same steps to add cuffs to your sleeves if you want. i just used the finished the hem from the original shirt...
more hotel room crafting to come... and more spring wardrobe creating/thrifting/refashioning...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

gettin' crafty in a hotel room

my conference dismissed at 4:00pm today and that left several hours of alone time to think about my boys being at home without me... hence the sewing machine coming with me... between it and the dreaded treadmill in the club house i have been busy.

we have very limited fabric shopping options at home so i headed off to find the jo-ann's here in little rock... and ribbed knit was on sale... and cute snugly flannel was on sale... and well it just sorta followed me right out of the store...

there will be some cute stuff coming out of this here hotel room!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

stretching the wardrobe budget

have i been crafting much? no, not lately. oh, because i've been catching up on laundry? no. laundry caught up! it NEVER happens. the minute that last load is folded and put away someone changes clothes... (the main reason i have tried to convince my family we all need to be

what i have been doing is getting ready for two semi-annual children's consignment sales that we have in our area; just between friends and rhea lana.

this is how i obtain the vast majority of boy's wardrobe.

this is my second time to actually consign clothing. i am hoping to bring in enough income to take care of all boy's and my spring/summer wardrobe needs... and maybe even my honey!

it took three evenings to go through stored clothes, press and hang, enter and attach tags. it really isn't too bad. organization is the key and both sales' websites give great tips for this...
i managed to get it all done while packing, organizing things for my boys, and getting things taken care of at school in order to go to AGATE (arkansas's annual gifted education conference). four hours from home, leaving my boys at home to take care of themselves for an extended time (for the first time).
don't worry, i only cried twice before i got out of town... (roughly ten miles)... but i packed my sewing machine and some half finished projects to keep me busy at night. i'm going to start a new club. something like hotel room crafters of america...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

have a new husband: day two

a little more advice from dr. leman...

chapter two: tuesday

men are different physically, emotionally, and psychologically

to understand them you must study them in their natural habitat

observe your male creature in his environment. in what setting does he seem most comfortable?
what were his growing up years like?
how did his mother interact with him? how did his father treat his mother?
in what way(s) does his background contribute to who he is now, and how does he respond to you and life in general?
was he encouraged to share his feelings?

when he was a little boy...

how he was treated when little makes him who he is now

why he acts like a man...

competitive: to get their share
do goofy things: to get attention and boys don't really grow up
(i would say you need to embrace the boy and learn to laugh)

they play rough...

they were one of two: either getting beat on or beating on someone
dr. leman says for a fascinating conversation ask him about his childhood pranks...

how important his mama is/was...

overprotective mama: not good, feels he either has to lie or control
no room to fail mama: won't take criticism well, brag about him to his face
driven mama: kept him busy, they were never home, may not have bonded with family
disciplining mama: the way to go, he respected his mother and will respect you

he longs for the same things he did as a boy...


if you show him you're too busy to include him in your life, he'll find other things to do...
he wants to feel needed and that he can be trusted to do things, so don't ask for help then micromanage what he's doing... trust him to get it done.

if you wait for him to notice you need something, you'll be waiting a long time...
men focus on one thing at a time and what often seems so obvious to a woman is overlooked by a man because that's not where his focus is (like the empty toilet paper roll that has been laying on the bathroom floor for two weeks and he still hasn't picked it up.)

sometimes they need to experience consequences...
if they leave their dirty clothes laying everywhere and you don't pick them up so they get in the wash, who's fault is it he doesn't have any clean clothes? let him see the consequences of his actions (dr. leman says they can be trained like, and yes dr. leman is a man)

cut him some slack...
instead of wanting your husband to read your mind be specific about what you want him to do, clue him in on what's important to you. do this with kindness and respect and you'll be amazed.

"If you want to have a new husband by Friday:
Talk to him with gentleness, kindness, and respect.
Show him in both words and actions that you accept him,
that he belongs to your family, and that you believe he's
Honor him in your home. Ask him what he thinks.
Be efficient and independent, but not too much; he needs to
be needed.
Tell him what's going on in the family; he likes to know what's
going on, even if he can't be there all the time. Every man
hates finding out information about his family thirdhand.
Show an interest in what he likes to do.
Listen to him (when he does talk)."

Monday, February 15, 2010

treadmills are not my friend

i don't like them and i don't think they like me either, but the weather just isn't cooperating so i had to give in and run inside. it was the longest five miles of my life! blinking lights, thump, thump, thump... and on and on it goes...i personally think they are a medieval torture device not a training apparatus.

(this is a completely random picture of my boys bowling the other night because my post needed a picture.)

i suppose they do have their good points:

i can choose to run with no hills

i can maintain a more consistent pace throughout my run

it has to help the "mind" aspect of racing because it takes every ounce of my willpower to keep running on it

i didn't have to run with a windchill in the 20s

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy day of love

boy is a little heart breaker... and needed a valentine's shirt to show it. when thinking about what i wanted to do for his shirt (because i have this thing about making him shirts for special's kinda like you get to make a costume and what's better than that?) i wasn't sure what i wanted to do. then i found this pattern from little blue boo, then i saw this: Little Blue Boo/Dharma Trading Design Challenge
i decided that boy's valentine's shirt couldn't just be another long sleeved tee, it needed to be a cute hoodie with a little bit of rocker baby edge... an old black tee and some black and white striped jersey from the local thrift store... i used scrap jersey for the heart and banner applique and hand painted heart breaker. i think it gives a little more of a prison tat cost 15 cents and one hour...
(not counting the pattern cost $9 which has provided several shirts already and goes up to size 7 so i can use it it doesn't count.)

this was the first little blue boo pattern i have used. it was very easy to read, had great step by step pictures, and tips for sewing jersey... i was really impressed. ashley has so many super cute patterns for little girls and i love that they all reuse old t-shirts.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

my new running buddy

oooh... look at that! what is it? it's a Nike+ SportBand. a watch and a chip that track time, distance, pace, and calories burned on a run.
i like it better than the old method
i like it better than the free sites i've tried that let you map your runs
it was affordable ($59)
it is much simpler and less intimidating than crazy runner watches that do 100 different things and really scare me...
i can use it with any running shoe
all my run data uploads to a free site where i can track my training, set goals, join challenges, get training tips...
it's a cute watch when your not running, sleek
it's not 100% accurate
(i've read that is partly because i'm not using the nike+ shoes and partly because it takes several tries to calibrate right)
overall: i like! it is easy and lets me see with reasonable accuracy how i'm doing... they also have chips that are compatible with new ipods and iphones.
tried it out on my first 10k race this morning... the freezing 10k at the UofA. so cold, so many crazy long and crazy steep hills. 6 miles, 6 hills, the first 1/2 mile of the race was straight up and since the course looped around i got to run it twice... finished at 1:05 and some change... right now i'm feeling pretty good about my 1/2 in april.

Friday, February 12, 2010

have a new husand: day one

chapter one: monday

here is what dr. leman had to say about the first day of your journey to a new man:

men are fundamentally different.
way less verbal
problem solvers

he wants to be a good husband, wants to please you, but doesn't know how... he needs your help.

what he wants from you:

(i once heard it explained like this: a woman needs to feel loved more than anything. a man needs to feel respected. you telling your husband in words or actions, "honey, i love you but i just don't respect you." registers to him like if he said to you, "honey, i respect you but i just don't love you." i don't know about you but that would pretty much crush the life out of me. so instead of saying "i love you" 4,985 times a day to my honey, i say it 4,980 times and 5 times i try to communicate respect.)

when you show him you need him you trigger his God-given drive to provide, help, and solve problems. here is what you do: step one-let him know your glad to see him, step two-ask for help with a specific thing, step three-promise a reward later (you know what kind of reward ladies...) (apparently men can feel useless when confronted with women's multi-tasking, make-it-work-with-what-we-got, keep the world on track for everyone, abilities... he needs to know you can't do it without him.)

he needs a willing sexual partner
you need to pursue him (and dr. leman says we will talk more about this later)
affirm his masculinity

so does it work?... two days after i read chapter one my honey came home from work, i greeted him with a smile and a good mood, he relaxed for a little while and i started dinner. i mentioned that it would be a big help if he entertained stinky while i finished dinner... usually that would have lasted five minutes but that night he took boy back to his room and they played for half an hour... later that night he even fixed the dish washer, which he had been saying he would do for almost a year now, without being asked! and ladies, i let him know i appreciated it...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

valentine's gifts for boy

i got boy some color wonder markers and paper for valentine's day, because he thinks markers are way cooler than crayons...then i saw this really cute idea for a homemade fishing game here. paw-paw wants boy to fish so bad he can hardly stand it. he tried all summer (even though boy had just turned one) to get him to fish... well paw-paw, this one's for you... maybe it will help boy get the concept.

i made my fish by cutting out fishy shapes from fun foam. i used a low temp glue gun to attach googly eyes.

the mouth is a paper clip... a dop of glue was placed at the end of the paper clips to help them survive boy.

it's a whole school of googly-eyed fishies...

took a short dowel rod, painted it orange, attached a string... tied a nut to the end of the string and glued a strong little round magnet to the nut... used liquid fuse.

and now boy will be all set to fish...

i just need to find a little metal bucket at the dollar tree for boy to carry his fish in...
*ATTENTION: this little fishie game has little parts, so make sure your little one is well supervised, especially if he likes to put little things where they don't belong... i went to school with a boy who got a magnet stuck in his ear. they had to take him to the hospital to have it removed. the next week he got a dry bean stuck up his nose...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

THE world's best blueberry muffins

little baby muffins make a great breakfast on the go... freeze em and take em out as you need em...boy likes em.

these are my extra-super favorite...

ingredients for muffins:

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

what makes them extra-special:

a good 2 cups of blueberries
(mine were big ripe berries we froze from this summer)

2 tbs flax seed
(for extra fiber and omega-3)

and of course the cinnamon-y sweet topping:

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup butter softened

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup brown sugar

pre-heat your oven to 375. line your muffin tins... i use foil liners cause they hold up to the ooey-gooeyness of these muffins. mix flour, white and brown sugars, salt and baking powder. stir oil, eggs and milk until the lumps are gone. gently fold in blueberries. fill muffin tins, i like mine nice and full for a good muffin top.

for topping, mix flour, butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. sprinkle a little on top (or a lot).
bake for about 12 to 15 minutes if using small muffin tin (20 to 30 minutes for larger muffins).

the extra berries make these muffins almost like a tart. a little crunchy sweet muffin wrapped around a yummy blueberry filling... mmm...

Have a New Husband by Friday

let me start by saying i have a WONDERFUL husband and we have a good marriage, but even the best things can be improved... i am always working on how i can be a better wife, because he deserves the best...

now that my disclaimer is out of the way... i heard this radio program with Dr. Kevin Leman, who was talking about his book Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior, and Communication in 5 Days and i was intrigued by what he had to say... so i went and got the book and decided to conduct a very scientific and secret experiment to see if Dr. Leman was right.

he claims that in five days you can change your man for the better by implementing some simple (though not easy) ideas... changes in you as the wife that will improve your relationship with your husband...

stay tuned, for we shall see...

Monday, February 8, 2010

signs of the times

it has become quite apparent that boy is fast approaching "the twos". this weekend i kept finding things in strange places...(fortunately we are no longer using the potty for a potty, just a step stool.)
i found boy with things he shouldn't have... (right now he is really in to lotion. i'm pretty sure it's because he can open the bottles and make a mess.)
boy confused green acrylic paint with lotion...

ten minutes later he confused whiteout with paint... (that stuff does not come off, even with fingernail polish remover.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

gettin' crafty: sticker book

boy is getting to the age that he needs something to keep him entertained when we are out and about. the grocery store cart and high chair at restraunts are not places he particulary enjoys sitting for long. something about thinking he needs down to explore...

i'm always looking for things that will keep him happy sitting without buying a new toy or cookies...
so when i saw this tutorial from samster mommy for a sticker book i thought i'd give it a try. after all, boy likes to take the stickers off the produce while we are shopping...

he was pretty impressed. and if you get tired of sticking the stickers on the book then taking them off to stick on again you can always stick them to your foot...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

redneck sledding: don't try this at home!

the redneck impulses could no longer be suppressed...

yes, that is a ski tube and tow rope tied to the back of a four-wheeler...

yes, the motorcycle helmet ended up being a really good idea for several reasons...

yes, the children's sled was probably more dangerous than the tube...

yes, those silly boys ended the day with a snowball fight...
it's true, they never grow up...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

gettin' crafty: matching game

while boy was taking a nap today i made him a little something to entertain... a really cute, non-destructible, take-along-anywhere, matching game (he can play memory with it when he's a little older)...

basic supplies:

wooden tiles
(i couldn't find any the size i wanted so i cut slats)
mod podge
paint and brush
craft paper
animal stickers- two of each animal
(you can use any stickers, clip art images, etc..)

to cut my slats i laid one over the other and traced a line to make squares...

then i snuck out to my honey's shop and used the big scary saw...

brought them in, cut craft paper to fit over one side, painted a layer of mod podge, laid paper over, smoothed down, and let dry...

painted sides and back of tiles. added cute animal stickers...

mod podge over animals, making sure to press out air bubbles as they dry...

it takes several coats of mod podge and while tiles were drying between coats i made a little pouch to hold our pieces...
what you need:
fabric scrap
(mine was about 18"x11")
sewing machine

cut fabric in half and pin right sides together...

sew a straight stitch down each side with about an inch seam allowance. start seam about 1 1/2 inches down...

press seams down...

fold each seam allowance under and press... the top 1 1/2 inches should be open...

sew a straight stitch down each side of the folded over seam...

fold the top of the pouch over, pin well. each end of your fold will be open, creating a casing for your cord...
sew a straight stitch across the bottom of your fold...

sew a straight stitch across the bottom of the bag. i sewed a double seam for reinforcement...

turn the pouch right side out. use a safety pin to thread the cord through the casing at the top of the pouch...

cut your cording, leaving enough to tie off...

tie off the end and melt with a lighter to keep from unraveling... and done...

can't wait for boy to wake up and play...
i think this would be really cute with pictures of family members, pictures of boy's favorite things, toys, satch, horses, boots... the possiblities are endless...