Sunday, October 28, 2007

Small Souls

Most of you know I'm a high school teacher in my "day job". I teach computer applications to 9-12 graders. (Thus explaining the occasional looney escapism on the blog.) Sometimes I don't enjoy my job. There I said it. It's a tough job. The pay is lousy, the hours long (how about neverending), and I dream about the things I should have done differently.

Which means I eat, sleep & breathe school.

I'm inspired by really great teachers, though, and sometimes at a conference I'll meet someone who gets me all excited again. That happened this week. This is a shout-out to Misty Freeman in Georgia, who is an amazing teacher and tickled my mojo this week.

Misty believes in the Take One Teach One philosophy, and since I've taken some of her ideas away with me, I'm Teaching One here to all of you (some of you are also teachers!)

This movie makes me cry and inspires me to be a better mother & a better teacher every time I watch it. It will move you to view your students (and your children for those of you who are just moms) in a whole different light...and give you an inkling of the huge weight of responsibility that lies on the shoulders of every teacher in the world.

Grab a hankie.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Greetings from Little Rock!

I'm staying at the home of the Peabody Ducks...

and we're right next door to the beautiful & historic State House Museum.

The ducks are so stinkin' cute marching out on their red carpet to the tune of John Philip Sousa. Then they hop right into the fountain in the lobby.

However, we have had no heat since we got here at the Peabody and the temp is in 40's and low 50's! We also had no water yesterday morning. All in all just your average everyday (National Lampoon-esque) working vacation.

Be back Saturday evening! I'm looking forward to some quality time with my Bernina. :P

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Christmas already?

Well if I don't start early, I'll never get it all done! Here's a tiered twirl skirt I made for Lu on Sunday afternoon. Bought the fabrics on Saturday, made the skirt on Sunday.

Now THAT doesn't happen very often!

No pattern used for the skirt, just math! (And I'm no LisaLaree with pulling out the trig or anything...just your basic This X 2 equals That.)

The leopard ruffles are roll-hemmed in red. Juki, have I mentioned I love thee lately? This serger is SO easy to thread! The Santa's in the middle print have just a bit of leopard on their hats.

I'm thinking a little red slip peeking out from underneath would be awfully cute. I've got red gauze that needs a purpose. I also purchased this ADORABLE reindeer doggie (a'la the Grinch) machine embroidery from Embroidery Garden this weekend for a tee.

Unfortunately any more sewing will have to wait for Sunday. I'm out of town until Saturday night!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

TuTu Tute

I considered calling this one Tie One On. (Because I crack myself up, :P)

The poodle skirt needs some pouf, and since I don't have time to make a pettieskirt with yards and yards of chiffon (the original plan) and I don't have time to run around searching for one ready made...I decided a tutu would work just as well...AND have the bonus of fantasy flitting around the house & yard with wings strapped to my, I mean Lu's, back.

Here's the quick & dirty Tied TuTu!

You need spools of netting (like they sell in the bridal or ribbon section of your crafts store):

For Lu's tutu I picked up a 100 yard spool of baby pink and two 25 yard spools of hot pink sparkle. (Bonus! It was 1/2 off so only $10 for all of it!) Lu is very tall, and we wanted her tutu to be roughly 18-20 inches long. You may not need as much for a shorter tutu (or girl!) We used every bit, but we got a very full tutu, too.

First, measure waist & sew elastic to this measurement in a circle:

Decide on your finished tutu length, and cut your tulle into strips double this amount. For example, for Lu's 20" tutu, we cut 40" strips.

This is easier than it sounds with the spools because I just stuck my thumb in the hole and spooled it off quickly on top of a measuring tape or ruler, then snip snip. Repeat. It went fast. I had all of the tulle cut in less than 20 minutes. You'll end up with piles of strips:

Now the fun part! You basically just tie each strip of tulle onto the circle of elastic in a square knot, leaving even tails:

Continue tying your strips, sliding each one snug up next to the previous one. Don't tie the knot too tightly until you get it in place.

As you work you'll end up with something like this:

When you get all the way around the elastic, take a length of coordinating ribbon, and tie it in the middle of one of your tulle strips as you tie it to the elastic:

This gives you a pretty bow!

Fluff your strips and Voila! Princess Puff! Vacuuming around here will never be the same.

(Just kiddin'. It really is Lu's. Altho I might have tried it on. Just for research purposes.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Grease is the word...

Poodle skirt update! I have had few spare minutes the past 2 weeks with our block changing at school and my kids on fall break. But I did manage to get the poodle applique on Lu's cheer performance costume this past week! Here's a sneak peek:

I did something different for the curly bits. My Hobby Lobby didn't have any black fur, so Lu & I picked up a few packages of black pom poms instead. After drawing the dog shape (copied right off of my "vintage" poodle skirt) onto glitter felt, I used fabric glue to attach it to the pink felt circle skirt.

Then I used my blue washaway pen to lightly sketch out the "full" parts of the poodle fur. We used a glue gun to attach the pompoms tightly packed into all of the curly areas. Voila! Curly fur! The huge pom tail is one giant pompom. We had to trim it a bit, as we were a tad overzealous in our pompom size choice.

Cute, no?

Finished skirt pic coming later this weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


There are too few left among us,
and we are one fewer still today.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Road Less Traveled

I've noticed a trend in blogworld of late. I like to call it the "Look at me Look at me" blog.

Now, blogging in general is a "look at me" kind of activity. But there are blogs out there where the blogger is Queen of the Barn and the sheep flock around her. It doesn't matter what craft, project, or personal crisis Barn Queen blogs about, the sheep can't get enough. Even if its obviously ugly. Or poorly made. Or just boring.

It's like a quasi-high school popularity contest, which, by the way...I thought we all outgrew a couple of decades ago. The more things change the more they stay the same...

And you know what? When I'm directed to those blogs by friends or fellow bloggers, I come away feeling deflated. Because that's not how I blog, or how I write. Or how I AM. And I don't want to change.

I like to think my blog is me. My personality comes through in the way I write, and the things I write about (no matter how off the wall...or cuff...they may be.)

Which IS the point.

So I refuse to apologize, dear lurkers, for being whole-ly un-Queenlike and completely irreverent and often off-topic. I DO eventually get back around to the topic at hand (sewing.)

And, besides, isn't the journey half the fun?

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I have joined the 21st Century and have HIGH SPEED INTERNET!!! Woohoo!

The afternoon they installed the DSL lines up the road...I got my tail on the phone and ordered. :P

In other geek news...Elizabeth Weir is EVERYWHERE. My favorite character has been kicked off of Stargate Atlantis. Now, I was never a Stargate fan...but the kids & I have watched Atlantis since the pilot. And we LOVE Elizabeth!

Her character (and another much loved character) were rather unceremoniously dumped at the end of last season due to the original Stargate being one of their old cast members was being added to Atlantis. Bah.

While I understand that television is fickle, and a tough business to boot...this whole mess has been a widely unpopular decision. You would think that producers, advisors, executives would pay more attention to fans (especially when you're selling a genre series). Meanwhile, in an odd turn of events, every major Stargate covering website (offiicial and non) have carried a picture of Dr. Weir as their page header since the new (blah) season began. Odd, no?

We'll miss Elizabeth (& Dr. Beckett) at our house. Those of you who remember my kitty adventure last year, remember we named all the kitties after the SGA cast. JohnShepherd & Rodney are still here with us! Here are a couple of favorite Weir moments in homage (not because you want to see em, but because its my blog and I can.)

boss lady.


In sewing little Lu needs a pink poodle skirt for a cheerleading event, and I nostalgically dragged out my pink poodle skirt my mom made me when I was 13. How time flies (and wow, my waist was so tiny!)

More lator, gators!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Who else is starting to panic because it's almost Christmas!?!? Is anyone shopping yet?? Because geez I need to get my rear in gear if you know what I mean. There are several things I'd like to stitch as gifts, and especially little teacher gifts are nice & always seem to find me scrambling at the last minute. I should do those now.

First up tho is Halloween...I got in the bewitching spirit today by watching this:

...and reading my fall issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, which included all of these spectacularly spookful decorations!

I really do have an almost unhealthy love of this magazine. Even the ads were spectacular eye candy in this issue!

This adorable spider toy was posted over on Sew Forum using a free machine embroidery design...similar to the t@ggy toys that are so popular (with parents of babies AND the copyright police.) Isn't it the cutest thing? There are stops all around the circular body to tack down your ribbon or in this case rickrack. I've forgotten who adapted the design & posted this pic, but the design is a freebie for download in the free section!

Finally I have to leave you with this hallowed kitty shot...