Friday, June 29, 2012

Birthday Girl

She has the biggest imagination
 the biggest heart 
the biggest smile.

 (and sometimes the biggest attitude.
but we love her anyway.)

She thinks I'm the goofiest mother ever.

I think she's the best girl I've ever met.

She's 15.

Happy birthday, baby.


Thursday, June 28, 2012


hammer time!  break it down...
Just a little Thorsday inspiration to take your mind off 
that pesky other thing going on (at least for my American compadres).

What.  You thought I was going to use that
shirtless pic again, didn't you.

oh all right.  so pushy.

I propose a new drinking game for the remainder of Thorsday. Your key words:

Justice Scalia
obamacare (what. that's too easy?)

I'll be drinking diet A&W.

Proceed with caution.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

RIP: Nora Ephron

I was going to share my favorite scene from You've Got Mail, or Sleepless in Seattle, or When Harry Met Sally, or even, heck, Silkwood (a movie that stirred -in a preteen me- a decided distaste for injustice and a longing to do more, be more, leave my mark). 

Instead, though, I think the lady herself, funny as hell and holding a concert hall in the palm of her hand, is more fitting. 

Rest in peace, Nora.

wednesday wisdom

Monday, June 25, 2012

No excuses.

75 year old Ernestine Shepherd
longer vid here
absolutely NONE.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

lift me up.

A man in Rio de Janeiro gives his shoes to a homeless girl.

21 photos that will restore your faith in humanity via Buzzfeed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Day Trippin'

Yesterday Lu and I trekked up into Missouri to visit the George Washington Carver National Monument. Now she has one more Passport cancellation stamp in her book.  We've been trying to hit those within driving distance for the past couple of summers.  Last year we did Hot Springs National Park and Pea Ridge National Battlefield

This site is home to the birthplace of George Washington Carver.  It's tucked back in Missouri farmland and is one of the prettiest parks we've visited.  It may not have the grandeur of Yellowstone, the Tetons or the Grand Canyon, but for a day trip, it was well worth the visit.

There's a small museum inside the visitor center that details George's childhood and life, and a little one-room schoolhouse replica.  There's also a working science lab! 

The interactive educational exhibits were pretty awesome, maybe the best I've seen in any visitor center, including the "big" ones.  There is a 3/4-1 mile hike outside that takes you past his birth site and around the original homestead.

It's a gorgeous nature walk, and the park ranger gives a 1-hour interpretive walk too.  (We took to the trail on our own though, with the brochure).

A stream runs through the property that is gorgeous, and reminds me of the streams running through the woods here where I grew up.  Actually the entire trail reminded me a lot of my childhood, tramping through the woods and splashing through creeks, sometimes with friends, sometimes with a dog trailing me, sometimes alone.  This is where I grew up and may be the best example of what this part of the country looks like for you foreigners (or as my son calls you, city folk). ;)

the water is beautifully crystal clear
The end of the trail takes you through a field of wildflowers and passes by a small cemetary where Moses and Sarah Carver are buried.  George is buried at Tuskegee, AL.

There's a really pretty picnic area too, where we ate lunch before we hiked. 

Most excellent day trip.  If you're in the area, I recommend visiting!

And in a completely fun "small world" moment, the park ranger on duty when we got to the park graduated from the same college (NSU) as me within the same time frame!  As an education major!  It was a fun coincidence.

I mentioned that I've been saying for the past few years that when I "stop teaching" I'd like to work or volunteer at a NP,  and she told me about the Teacher to Ranger to Teacher program.  I've got to say, it sounds very, very cool.  It will be a few years before I don't have kiddos at home in the summer (sob! my babies!), but I am definitely keeping the program in mind for the future!  Fun!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nested: Bathroom

I was really inspired a couple of weeks ago by Dawn's bathroom redo.  I HATE my bathroom sink/console.  It's oak finish, it's standard "builder's grade".  It's just not me at all, but I've never been able to afford a replacement, so I just ignore it.  Mostly.

After seeing Dawn's refinished cabinet, it hit me that I could PAINT it.  What a concept!  I don't know why I didn't think of it before...I love paint.  So that's what I did yesterday!  I didn't go to the trouble of the 3-step process Dawn uses, simply because my bathroom had a pipe burst issue last year and the cabinet has some bubbling on the sides from water damage.  (I really do need a new one... but at least the sides don't really show!)  I went with straight up primer and paint.

The color is Blue River by Benjamin Moore.  Love love it.  I had plenty of it all over my legs by the time I was finished to admire it well into the evening. heh.  Waiting to replace the door and 2nd drawer until everything has cured for a while longer.

Trusty painter's stool. You get to practice your balancing skills while painting.  Bonus.

I went with a creamy ivory for all of the trim, "Latte Light" by Ace Hardware's Royal paints.

It is very, very light ivory.  Definitely a shade or two lighter  than my paint chip when dry, which is weird.  For paint I mean.  Once I get a window treatment up, it won't be so very...white.

I picked up a few new accessories too.  From Wal-mart and the Dollar General of all places!  I couldn't resist the little owl, he's so cute.  And I had completely forgotten Dawn had an owl too. Dawn, I'm copying you!

The floral print is a shower curtain, but I have a shower stall in that bathroom.  I'll be cutting it up to make my window treatment.  The colors were perfect, and even have the perfect shade of yellow.

You know the biggest issue I have with redecorating?  It's neverending!  Did I mention that before??  Now I want new towels.  Preferably these (Target, but selling out everywhere. Of course.)

And this rug, also Target: 

And then... baskets and a shelf and new trash container and...  See what I mean?  

Off to peruse Pinterest and Anthropologie while I eat my salad! 

Monday, June 18, 2012


It's Monday!

I don't usually know what day it is in the summer, so I feel very accomplished already.

I spent the past several days spiffing things up around the house, mostly tabletops and shelves and walls.  Those paint fumes initiated a whole new level of nesting. 

First up, I made a gallery wall, easily the hardest thing I attempted.  The math alone made my eyes cross.  After I had the photos printed, I had to find frames.  Note to self: Next time find out what frame sizes are readily available first.

Isn't it awesome?  I was inspired by this blog, but no way I'll ever be able to afford all of those canvases.  Still, I did want something sleek that allowed the photos to take center stage.  I ultimately bought archive "Quick Frames" from Hobby Lobby.  They were inexpensive, had real glass, and are reasonably substantial (i.e. they don't look too "cheap").

All of these are my all-time favorite photos of my kiddos, I blubbed like a baby going through all of my photo CD's trying to choose.  OMG.  BUT... the two largest photos are my OF ALL TIME TIMES INFINITY all time favorite photos, and at 18x24 inches, I had to use poster frames.  Cheap and icky, but once they were on the wall with all the rest...they didn't bother me so much.  If I can find the quick frames in 18x24 size, then I'll buy two and replace them eventually.   

I also played with the spray paint.  Basically nothing is safe when I've got a new can of Krylon or Rustoleum.  This weekend, it was mustard (Krylon Bauhaus Gold) and jadeite (Krylon Avocado and Jade). Banner Red and Heirloom White are two other faves.   Dingy old clay pot with a new dried floral arrangement (pieced together from a dingy old dried floral arrangement):
I tore up an old silk hydrangea flower bush and dispersed the pieces around the place.  Some are in a glass bowl on the dresser in front of the gallery wall above.  The scraps I used for this cutie:

 The gravy boat was languishing in a cabinet.  Talk about necessity being the mother of invention.  This might be my favorite thing!

I had a "hole" on top of a surface that needed a photo or some art or something. Had this cute square frame I got in a gift bag at some point that was the right size, so I just slapped some cute scrapbook paper in it.  Instant art.

Other than the gallery wall frames and 2 cans of spray paint, all of the above was accomplished using things I already had.   I did purchase the green print rug (TJ Maxx), the black damask cushion (Gordman's) and hydrangea stems (Hobby Lobby clearance, $2 ea!), all seen below, to spiff up this little seating area.

Now I'm moving on to the bathroom.  Both of our bathrooms need serious updating, and unfortunately I'm about out of ingenuity and "have on hand" supplies.  Rats.  I did cut a piece of vintage feedsack to fit this square frame I already had hanging in my bath:

I think I'm going to paint the frame white though.  The black is just too stark.  LOVE the feedsack.  Not lovin the black frame. 

I still need to get my craft table arranged and I'll share pictures of it too, hopefully this week.  It's pretty sweet, I have to say.  SO. Much. Room.

Here's to a great new week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Colette Sorbetto: Ruffles and Vines

This is my favorite.  FAVORITE.

I added little self-fabric ruffley bits to the arm bindings this time.  The edges of the ruffles are roll-hemmed and gathered with my gathering foot. Then I just topstitched them in place, about 1/2 an inch from the edge of the binding.

I probably should have matched my bobbin thread, huh.

The neckline was a simple gather sense competing with those ruffles with anything else, amiright?

It does pull just every so slightly across the shoulders which baffled me until I realized... when I stitched on the self-fabric ruffles near the armhole edge, I drew up the bodice a bit on each side.  Oops.  Something to remember for next time...

Bright, juicy, summery green.

And now I have 15 little dresses to hem. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

My heart.

There is no need for temples, 
no need for complicated philosophies.
 My brain and my heart are my temples; 
my philosophy is kindness. 
                                         --Dalai Lama

Friday, June 08, 2012

I Just Can't Get Enough

of this...

I'm such a sap. It's perfect.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Little Dresses 1 thru 5

So I built a craft table this weekend.

I am woman, hear me roar.

Ok, it was a knockoff of this Pin:

Ivy Cottage Blog
I only  made half though (2 bookcases and 1 door).  My costs were pretty close to hers.  No pictures of that yet, I'll snap some this week though so you can see.  It's huge!

This weekend I made my first five Little Dresses for Africa.

Aren't they sweet all color-coordinated?  That was sort of intentional.  When I started digging into the stash, I discovered I had many small pieces of fabric left over from when my Lu was a baby.  Two of these dresses are from those fabrics, the two that are identical I had a bit more yardage of (and is a newer print), and the pink dress is a sweet 30's reproduction print I only had 1 yard of.

Here they are individually:

gingham ribbonties

bias binding ties

grosgrain ribbon ties

twill ribbon ties (from an old drawstring)

fabric ties

I'm trying to streamline the production process, so I don't get too bored with the process of sewing the same thing over and over.  Although, boredom is expected.   That's part of the challenge for me: remembering there are much worse things in the world than to suffer boredom while doing service for others.

Here are a few discoveries I have made so far:
1.  It's easier to cut a bunch of bias for armholes all at once, from scraps.  (I added these to a basket and then just grabbed two whenever I needed to bind an armhole.

armhole binding
 2.  Ripping the fabric is soooo much faster than cutting.

3.  Use a tailor's chalk or fabric marker to trace the armhole pattern onto one side seam, match side seams and cut along chalk line.  Voila 2 armholes. (and no pinning!)

4.  If you're serging (saves a ton of time!) then serge all necklines and hems at one time.  I did it in 2 trips (all hems, then back for all necklines), which was just a waste of a few precious minutes.

5.  Ribbon ties are my favorite. I'm out of ribbon now though (I don't keep a lot now that Lu is a teenager).  I'll have to stock up on cute 3/8-1/2" grosgrain in a variety of colors.  After that, the premade bias binding is my favorite, except you still have to stitch it together (ribbon is just super fast and easy, cut and insert).

For hems, I did a simple turned up hem.

Maybe I'll get fancier as I go (ruffles, bows, pockets, etc.) but for now I'm concentrating on cute fabrics and gaining momentum.

995 to go!

On that note I'd like to thank you for the encouragement on my last post.  I don't know what I expected, but I was really touched by your kindness and thoughtfulness.  I know it really does seem like an impossible, unreachable goal.  Don't worry, I feel that way too.  Panic attack city after that post went live.  And then I saw a wonderful quote this morning on my Twitter feed:

Which is a completely fitting sentiment.

I've also tickled myself numerous times this weekend by humming, singing, and ultimately downloading Andy Williams (which I share with you in the form of my all-time favorite commercial.  ALL. TIME. people):

But really...thank you!

ps:   I will still be sewing for me and doing my normal assortment of randomness (in case you were wondering).  The 1000 dresses project is a side venture; I really need something to ground me and give me purpose.  I'll probably keep the dress posts to a show & tell format or even just direct you over to the Flickr album.  (Which you can find here!)