Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The actions of a desperate woman

After the initial success of Rylee's new black out curtains, which lasted about a week, she's been gradually moving her wake-up time back earlier and earlier so that as of yesterday we were back to 6:15. It doesn't sound that much different from 7:00 but the extra 30-45 minutes really makes a big difference to my sanity.

Yesterday I bought some pushpins and pinned the sides and the bottoms of the curtains to the wall. Light had been seeping in the edges and bottom and with an earlier and earlier Arizona dawn I think it might have made a difference. It's now dark as a tomb in there, not to mention so fashionable and ready for House Beautiful!

This morning she woke up at 5:50 and I put her back down and she slept until just after 7. Then she took a 2.5 hour nap. Her usual is 1.5 - 2 hours. She didn't nap yesterday so that may have contributed. But I'm crossing my fingers again that this time the curtains will work.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our new laundry room cabinets

I think I ordered the wrong kind by mistake.

At least this is what I think I must have ordered based on the quote I got today...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Things I say more than I realize

Everyone should have this handy aid to help determine phrases they say over and over.

Starting with my favorites and working down.

1. Hmmm....let's see (complete with uuuup then dooooown inflection)
2. Mmmm....tasty!
3. Come on, let's go.
4. Look! See?
5. In a minute.
6. In a second
7. Quiet, dogs!
8. Careful.
9. Here you go.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tutorial: Reusable Sandwich Bag

My first ever tutorial! This can be used to create a reusable sandwich bag or snack bag, depending on the chosen dimensions. This tutorial is for a very generous sandwich bag, i.e. usable dimensions of about 6.75 inches wide x 8" high. This bag is washable. I don't recommend drying it if you choose non-cotton lining. It will last longer if you turn it inside out, brush off the crumbs, rinse and stand to dry rather than machine washing.

Shell fabric: 8" wide x 18" high
Lining fabric: 8" wide x 18" high
Velcro: 6.5" loop piece and 6.5" hook piece. I'm using self-sticking because it's what I had. I don't recommend it because it's not sticky enough to hold without stitching and when you stitch through it your needle will get sticky. This will cause your bobbin to become sad and tangle your thread and make you cry. I don't want you to cry. If you're making just one of these you can maybe get away with sewing self-stick. More than one? Forget about it or be willing to change your needle multiple times. (<--- bitter voice of experience)

A note on fabric selection. For the shell fabric cotton works great. I was making this bag to replace Eric's first lunch bag. He's a very good boy and takes his lunch every day and he wore out his first bag after about a year of use. He also loves the Cowboys and since he is such a good boy and they had a piece at the cheapy fabric store he is rewarded. Logo is copyright NFL, please don't report me or sue me.

For the lining you can choose cotton again or something that is a little more waterproof. Some people use organic cotton since you will be packing food in this bag. Others chose PUL (the stuff reusable diapers are made from) because it's so waterproof. I like ripstop nylon because it's a little bit waterproof but doesn't have polyurethane like PUL. You can get ripstop nylon in the fabric store with the sporting/outdoor fabrics. 

Step 1: Attach Lining to Shell
With right sides together, sew lining and shell fabric along shorter side (8" in our example) using a 3/8" seam allowance.,.

Turn right side out. Press to align seams. If you're using something other than a cotton lining, press from the shell side to avoid melting the nylon or PUL. You should now have this. Long edges are still unfinished. If you're using nylon it might slip a little bit. Unless you had a lot of slip, don't worry about it. I put some fudge in the seam allowances to allow for this.

Step 2: Attach Velcro
Align one piece of velcro, hook/loop side out, on the right side of the lining fabric so it is centered on the short edge and with the top edge about 1/4" from the seam you just sewed. The distance from the top is mostly aesthetic, but I found this to be a nice margin. Stitch around all four sides to make sure it's nice and secure. Repeat for the other short edge.

Step 3: French Seam, Part Un
Fold the bag so the lining sides are together (i.e. shell side out). You may want to attach the velcro to make sure everything lines up nice and pretty. We're going to secure this with a french seam because it's pretty and fancy and will keep les crumbs from collecting in the seams.
Lining sides together (shell side out) stitch the sides together using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Notice we still have a raw edge on the right side of the fabric (also notice the ugly tangled stitch from my sad bobbin. I fixed it after this picture :). Trim this to 1/8". If we were making a garment now would be to the time to do some more pressing, but it's not really necessary. If you do press, press the seam to one side not open. Now to finish the french seam.

Step 4: French Seam, Part Deux
Turn your bag inside out so the shell sides are facing and the lining is out. Sew the same sides together again, this time using a 3/8" seam allowance. You will be enclosing the raw edge of the first seam inside this seam.

The inside seam will be sealed now, which will keep things nice and tidy inside the bag. Voila.

Ta-da! Turn bag right side out and admire its generous dimensions.

Get the attention of your favorite football fan (rear-end of dog optional)

Delight him with his new lunch bag. Recall high school genetics and appreciate why your daughter is a bit stoic.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tucson Botanical Gardens

And I of course forgot my camera. So let's hear it for the iPhone.

Iris, my favorite

Sandboxes are ok, but sandboxes + someone else's flip-flop = awesome!

The water wall has the only legitimately touchable water so it was a huge hit.

The biggest hit - the donated horse statues.

The rare Ryl-arch Butterfly

And a quick trip to the arches for Ketchupaloza.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Goody, goody, gumdrops

Why, what's this?

It's three thread boxes
Two notions boxes

And four XL thread boxes

Sewing and organizing! Yeah!  Also, the advance guard for my new sewing cabinet which will be delivered sometime in the next few weeks.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sewing party!

I've been putting off starting Rylee's Easter dress because I've been dreading sewing the yoke. It's a fussy little thing and I knew it would annoy me.

But nothing gets the creative fires lit like having the girls over for a sewing party! The girls in this case were the lovely Stacey, aka Hazelmoonfly and her daughter Bailey, aka the precious miss Boo.

Stacey and I have braved a few craft fairs together and we love to get together to spend too much on fabric shop for sewing essentials or talk and talk and talk and talk and chase the girls around our machines sew if we can.

We did actually get some sewing done while the girls enjoyed some parallel play. And I tried to get a few pictures as part of Getting In Front of the Camera, but the girls weren't that cooperative.

Bailey rocking her birthday dress, made with Kitschy Coo's fun-to-sew Mini Mod Dress Pattern in the most fantastic mod fabric I've ever found at the cheapy fabric store.

Rylee in just plain shorts and a t-shirt 'cause the cobbler's daughter got no shoes.

Whistle while you serge, la la la la la la laaaaa

A sadly blurry picture of Stacey learning that her life will have no meaning until she gets a serger of her own.

Between the small amount of sewing we got done and the momentum that pushed me into nap time, I got the dress almost all the way done. Rylee woke up before I could hem it, but I'm kind of glad. She grew since I measured her (!!) and it's a little snug, so I think I'm going to rip out the (invisible) zipper and use a smaller seam allowance.

But here it is with the hem pinned up.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

American Idol, The Home Game

Life is too short to spend your leisure time doing something boring. So why are Eric and I watching American Idol this year, even though it's the most booooooring seaaaaaason eeeeeveeeeer? Because a few seasons back we spiced it up by creating The Game.

We started betting on American Idol. Loser buys Winner dinner out of their allowance money and - of course  - Winner gets bragging rights all year.

The Rules
1. Starting with the top 12 each player predicts the order the Idols will be booted.

2. After the results each week a player receives a number of points equal to the difference between their prediction and the actual week # of the booted Idol. Example: If player predicts Pitchy Nopipes will go home week 5 and Pitchy actually goes home week 7 player receives 2 points.  Similarly, if Pitchy makes it to week 4 player receives 1 point.

For math geeks that looks like this:

3. Low score wins.

4. BONUS:  Each week after the performance show players select the Idol they think will be going home based on that night's performance. In the case of an accurate guess the opposing player receives a point. Doubling down on an initial pick is permitted. This also presents a strategic opportunity for a player to hedge a bad initial pick. This rule was introduced to keep things interesting when it becomes apparent that one player's victory is mathematically assured very early in the season. Also known as the Katherine-McPhee-is-a-talentless-hack-who-ruined-my day rule.

The Results
We started this four seasons ago and it's Very Serious Business in the auntninn household. The score stands at 2-2. We've decided this year is the last year to watch because it's so boring and because Simon's leaving will render future seasons even MORE boring. So this one is for all the marbles. 

We missed half of the 12 Idol week due to a DVR malfunction. We did our picks this week. Picks are listed from winner down, i.e. first position = first place, and they are as follows:

Lynn's Picks
1.  Aaron
2. Lee
3. Michael
4. Sibohan
5. Crystal ( < ---- Note, I think she has the most talent and therefore no chance of winning)
6. Casey
7. Katie
8. Didi
9. Andrew
10. Tim
11. Paige

Eric's Picks
1. Siobhan 
2. Crystal
3. Michael
4. Lee
5. Aaron
6. Casey
7. Katie
8. Didi
9. Tim
10. Andrew
11. Paige

Because this year's Idols are so bad and picking our order was more difficult than usual we decided to introduce a random pick and see how that did against us. We'll randomly generate a bonus pick each week.

Randomly Generated Pick
1. Aaron
2. Mike
3. Crystal
4. Didi
5. Tim
6. Casey
7. Lee
8. Paige
9. Sibohan
10. Andrew
11. Katie

Game on!

Monday, March 22, 2010

in·san·i·ty /ɪnˈsænɪti/ [in-san-i-tee] –noun,plural-ties.

1. the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind. 
2. Law. such unsoundness of mind as affects legal responsibility or capacity. 
3. the act of dutifully applying hand sanitizer to one's child while said child is licking a window

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunshine finally in Tucson...and hey, here on the blog!

After a very gloomy winter the sun finally returned to Tucson. And to my blog, too, courtesy of Sister, Living La Vida Loca.! How sweet.  Thanks for the sunshine and something to blog about today.

Here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Pass on the award to 12 bloggers and provide a link.
3. Let them know they received the award by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Link to the person who gave you the award.

I've just barely started blogging and following blogs. And she also picked some of the people I just started following via the Cool Girls Club.  So just a little linky love from me.

1. My very dear friend Hazelmoonfly who is actually a Physical Friend In Real Life and loves to obsess with me over dolling up our daughters. She makes the most beautiful hair accessories and girls clothing. Check it out!

2. The Pickled Weasel, fellow cool girl and because she said she needs some sunshine today. Another mommy sewing and blogging.

3. Vegbee at Indietutes because she is so awesomely generous and everyone should read her blog and appreciate her.

That's it. How pathetic, no? Because Sister already linked to Kitschy Coo, who was instrumental in talking me into blogging in the first place and Kid, MD the only other blog I read right now. :-) 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Final Skirt and the Front of the Camera

It's skirt due day! And like a good girl, I was finished ahead of time. And as promised, I got Eric to take some pictures.

So, in the words of my darling daughter....


My final skirt fabric is an Amy Butler twill. I love, love, love the soft colors. When I picked it out I figured I would have to make a top to match, but because I am old and set in my ways and kind of boring and always pick the same things have a unified style aesthetic, it turns out I already had a top to match. Woot!

I used a 9" sweep and finished the waistline with pre-made bias tape. I finished two muslins previously to practice the bias finish and the invisible zipper so of course screwed this one up. But not so badly that I couldn't fix it without re-cutting the darn thing.

I haven't been shopping much since changing from a working wardrobe in a warm/temperate climate to stay-at-home mommy in a hot climate. I'm so pleased to have something pretty, lightweight and in soft spring/summer colors. 

Here I am smoldering in it.

Yeah, baby. I totally do NOT spend my day covered in cracker crumbs and sour milk.

Weirdly sunspotted side view.

And to honor the intention of getting in front of the camera here are some action shots of it. These also reminded me of another reason there aren't a lot of pictures of me. See if you can spot it.

I'm glad to have these pictures of me and Rylee so she can look back and say....

I always knew mommy would have my back in the case of blurry, partial decapitation

And that her legs and hands would be there to encourage me to take risks...

...and catch me if I fall

And just hold me when I'm bored and staring at daddy.

These are a start. I'm going to try to get pictures of myself with Rylee at least once a month. It might sound silly, but it was really hard to take these and put them up. Without makeup or anything. Shreeeeek! 

To whit, this supposed-to-be-casual, easy, breezy front view  picture took about 20 minutes of moving around the backyard and five of hand wringing about how to keep my arms from looking like gingerbread man arms.

I guess I'll leave bored super model posing to the lovely next generation.

And yes. I took that last one...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Getting in front of the camera

If you took a look at our family photos and used them to try to construct the story of our lives I abandoned Rylee when she was about four months old. And visited her about two times prior to that. This in spite of the fact that she was with me almost literally 24 hours a day for her first nine months and then with me (24 hours - nighttime in her crib) after that and pretty much since.

This is partly because I'm the one who is usually behind the camera. But it's also because I think pictures of me look like this.

Time to get over it. My daughter deserves more pictures documenting our history.  My skirt is done and I'm going to have Eric take pictures of it tomorrow. And when Rylee's little matching dress is finished we'll have some mommy daughter pictures together.


Pinky swear out in the open so now I have to.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stupid Lunar Calendar

This is Rylee last Easter.

She was wearing something else and spilled on it so I changed her into this. A hand-me-down pinafore over a cotton one piece.

I'm so glad she spilled because this outfit just screamed Easter and springtime. You can better see the one-piece, and her buddy Finn gathering information on the wisdom of putting your finger in someone else's mouth, here.

Now that the skirt for the sew-along is complete (pictures soon) I thought I should make something for her for Easter. I wasn't sewing last year at this time.  I was getting excited, doing some shopping on etsy, drooling over fabrics. I even made a little crayon sketch on her kids' menu at lunch the other day. And then I looked at the calendar. Crap.  No time to order new fabric AND come up with a new design. Probably no time to order fabric even for an existing design. Next year I have until April 24th, but not this year.

That means fabric on hand. I'm thinking a jumper and a hat from my final skirt fabric . It's cute, has a spring feel, and she can get more wear out of it.  So here goes nothing.

Because I'd love to have another picture that I love as much as this one.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Time: 6:58 AM
Number of minutes I've been awake: 96
Number of hours I slept: 5.5
Number of minutes Rylee's been awake: 57
Number of hours Rylee slept: 9
Number of hours she needs: 10.5
Number of wardrobe changes in those 57 minutes: 2
Ounces of water dumped on floor and chair: 12
Number of times Rylee has hit me: 4
Number of times I've hit Rylee: 0 (just to be clear)
Number of times I've said: "You're driving me crazy!": 1 
Hours left in the day: 8475923874329871298347

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You may have seen this on the news

Because I'm pretty sure reporters were shadowing me at the Botanical Gardens today.

I finished my second "muslin" for the sew-along and liked it well enough to officially declare it a Skirt In My Wardrobe. Because it's black twill it's still suuuuuuuper boooooooring. I've still to decide whether to embellish with some applique or keep it boring and just wear it with jazzy tops.

Heady with the success of finally getting the fit right (*) by shaving 1/4" off the side seams (for an inch total at the waist) I decide to wear it out in public today. Rylee and I had a hot lunch date with daddy so I also got to play with my birthday present to myself and I was fully decked out with makeup and everything.

It was pretty comfortable for walking around the gardens, but I immediately remembered a reason why I don't wear skirts when I went to put my keys in my pocket.

I debated having Eric take a picture on the phone in the pretty courtyard where we ate lunch, but decided against it.  So here it is with the same trouble with lighting and warpy, dirty mirrors. And my super fancy croc Mary Janes that I lived in when I was pregnant because a) my feet were ballooning up in a lovely pre-eclamptic way and b) I still needed to look somewhat professional and faux suede was the best I could do. Here an attempt to be semi-fashionable but still able to chase after a toddler.

(*) I think I got the fit right but I don't know that I'm happy with it. I think this might be a function of the weird way I got fat after having a baby. When I stand up straight the skirt is too big but when I'm all relaxed and rounded it pretty much fits. Sigh. The side still sticks out a little "squarely" at the zipper, but I think that might be a function of the fabric having no stretch.

Monday, March 15, 2010


This is a reconstruction of what happened at my house today. No ground squirrels were harmed in the creation of this post. Or in reality either.

I spy with my hawky eye...

...a potentially tasty snack


Me thinking "What was that?" and opening the door (photo not available)

Ooops....dropped it.

Dude, I am FREAKED the heck out.

Thanks for letting me hide on your porch. Is he gone?

You guys will never believe what happened to me!