Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sneaky Mission

"Mom, don't look at me! That's why I'm on my sneaky mission." - Wolfman, Age 4.5
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Make Way for Ducklings

A month or so ago, two ducks came to live in our swimming pool. They stayed for about three days. Every day we would open the arcadia door and spend a joyful 15 or 20 minutes tossing them pieces of bread. We were hoping that they would stay and have some ducklings. They decided to move on though and we figured they must have headed to a cooler place to raise a family.

However, last week our neighbor got irrigation. When we went outside, we saw that "our" ducks were over swimming in his front yard. When Mr. & Mrs. Mallard saw us, they came right over, knowing that we're always good for a free meal. We ran for the bread and had a great time feeding them.

No ducklings in sight though.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Fun Summer Plan

Looking for a great way to get your kids organized for summer? Try Flylady's  Camp Gonna Wanna Fly Control Journal! Very fun! 

My sister is doing drop-in daycare to earn some extra moolah this summer. If you're in Mesa, go check her out at her daycare blog or email me for info. She's AMAZING!

Happy Birthday to my other amazing sister - Julie! You ARE rad! 

Amish Friendship Bread Fiasco

Ever made Amish Friendship Bread? You babysit a bag of sourdough starter for 10 days and then finally get to make the bread and spread the love by giving four friends the joy of a baggy of sourdough starter.

My friends lucked out. Wolfman and BittE were helping me bake. It was going well. I went to get the gallon Ziplocs and a measuring cup. I only turned my back for a second...

But BittE is fast. She dumped about a cup of cinnamon in the batter. Instead of bagging up cinnamon tainted starter, I had to bake a quadruple batch of bread (after scooping out a reasonable amount of cinnamon.

A couple of days later she helped herself to the cinnamon sugar. She dumped the entire container on the kitchen counter, floors, and herself before I discovered what my sweet girl had done. I think this is why they're called "the terrible two's".
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Embroidery Sampler Bears, part 1

Besides Tatting lessons yesterday, we looked through my cousin's piles of Inspirations Magazines. It is the most gorgeous, inspiring magazine from Australia for embroidery enthusiasts. Simply Gorgeous. Filled with so many beautiful things to create. They publish books and A-Z manuals too. Paula brought me the pattern to make this elephant (it's about 7" long x 4" when finished)!

She brought my Mom a book that she loved so much she'd bought two. It's a crazy quilt teddy bear that becomes an embroidery sampler to practice different embroidery stitches. While we were sitting there for hours, drooling over the amazing projects in the magazines, we became inspired to actually start our bears.

We decided to use three muted neutral colors of moire taffeta as the base of our bears. We did all the patchwork and cutting out, but we were too exhausted to sew them up since we'd stayed up 'til two a.m. the night before, by 10:30 we were drooping and had to stash the project until the next time Paula comes, in a month or so.

I may have to go over and finish sewing them up though, so we can do the stuffing and finishing and we'll be ready to embroider next time. I can hardly wait! The fun is going to be seeing how four bears, which start out basically the same, are going to end up so completely different when done by different artists.

It's totally fine that we're not finishing our bears right away. My mom had already bought me an Inspirations Magazine that contained the pattern and instructions for this bear (above). Then she decided to make one too. She has hers cut and sewn already. She's thinking that our sampler bears will be a great place to practice our stitches for this and my elephant.

Family history note on the tatting: Paula's grandma Curtis was famous for her tatting. Spencer W. Kimball spoke at her funeral and said, "If you're lucky enought to have a piece of her tatting, you really have a treasure." She tatted a baby bonnet for each baby in her family.

Wolfman as Captain Kirk

Create Your Own
and Calvin as Spock...

Create Your Own
Wolfman has never seen Star Trek. Not even the old ones. But he is obsessed. All because of the beam up badges in our Rice Krispies. Today he discovered the Trek Yourself Tricks at Cheez-it, so we had to give it a shot. And share. So that we can look at him as Captain Kirk whenever his little heart desires.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tatt's All Folks

My cousin is in town to play for the weekend. Last time she came to play, she taught me how to use a pleater to do English Smocking. I made this dress for Bitt-E.



This weekend she's teaching me how to make tatted lace.

This is what it should look like.

Image "borrowed" from this amazing woman (who really knows what she's doing.)

Mine looks like three funky, mismatched loops. But I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

Essentially you fill a bobbin on the shuttle (pictured above) with thread, and tie a bunch of knots, then connect them into loops, and connect the loops into elaborate patterns to make lace for edgings, collars, doily's, etc.

My goal is to do enough of one edging to go around a handkerchief. Anything more elaborate will probably never get finished.

Even if I never have a big finished product though, it is so fun to learn a traditional handcraft.

I LOVE learning new things!

Friday, May 22, 2009

First Day of Summer Vacation

We rocked it!

People were cleaning left and right.

We are all on board for TV FREE summer! (One movie a day - don't call between 3 and 4:30, no one will leave the screen.)

We had a complete, nutritious (all food groups represented) breakfast, lunch, & dinner!

We even had "silent reading time" after lunch.

I'm hoping I can maintain this level of responsibility for at least a couple more weeks.

What's your plan?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gilligan's Island, in my dreams

I had a strange dream last night. Very strange.

First, I met The Skipper from Gilligan's Island. I was at a restaurant and asked him for his autograph. Then I turned around and there was Ginger... and MaryAnn... and Donny Osmond! I ran to find some scrap paper to get their autographs and all I could find was the back of some school fliers that had come home with the kids.

While I was getting their signatures, I had to tell them about when I was a child. My older sister used to make me be the lesser character from any sitcom we watched. She was always Marcia, while I had to be Jan. She was Ginger and made me be MaryAnn, and to top it off, she got to have a crush on Donny, and made me like Jimmy. They looked at me like I was any other nutty fan.

Soon our five kittens were swarming around their ankles and I was trying to convince them that they should all take home a kitten, but Donny had some kittens too. His were slightly cuter than mine, but almost looked like they could have come from the same blood lines. (Like every other cat in our neighborhood which have all come from the same house of idiots that keep every stray and breed tons of feral cats.) One of Donny's was a really cool cartoon cat, kind of like Garfield, only with a far out psychedelic coat. Another had gorgeous eyes that were graduated in color from green at the bottom to ultramarine at the top.

The Gilligan's Island people soon left and Donny and I were trying to sort out the kittens and figure out whose were whose. I have the impression that I was going rock climbing as the next part of my dream, but a small child came and woke me up with a pair of (clean) underwear in my face which he needed help putting on.


Analyze that.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Yesterday five of us had the flu. Diarrhea, headache, fever, chills, throwing up. Fun stuff. By last night BittE was showing symptoms too. I expect it will take down the others by this afternoon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just in time for prom - Corsage or Boutonneire Tutorial

Around $23.00. That's what a simple wrist corsage with two roses, some greenery, and a bow goes for at a local florist. Save yourself some money and make it yourself. A bunch of roses and baby's breath should cost around $10.

Besides that, you'll need: A bow (another tutorial for another day), scissors, needlenose pliers, wire cutters, chenille stems or floral wire, florist tape, silk leaves, corsage pins, and a wristlet (if desired - and all the high school girls desire them. No one wants to pin one to their dress anymore.) Almost all of the stuff is available at Walmart - although I have to buy the wristlet's at a local ribbon outlet.

Begin by cutting your flower with about a 1 inch stem. Remove any ugly outer petals and sepals if you wish.

Poke a three inch long wire or chenille stem up into the hypanthiam (base of the flower) - you can just poke it in, or thread it through, it will depend on your wire and your flower.

Then begin to wrap a piece (about 10 inches long) of floral tape around the base of the flower, as close to the petals as possible, completely covering the wire.

**The trick is to twist the flower with one hand, while pulling the tape to stretch it (without breaking it) in the other. It gets sticky and will adhere to the stem as you stretch and pull it in a diagonal direction twisting it down the stem.**
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When you have the top covered, then attach a silk leaf with the tape, and add some greenery before taping down the entire stem.

Continue to cover all stems and the entire wire with the floral tape.
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When you get to the end of the wire, tape back up the stem for a half inch or an inch then pull the tape to break it off and press down the end.

To finish a Boutonniere, take the end of the wire in your pliers and curl it up.

Add a pin and your boutonneire is finished.

To make a corsage, simply make several of these (without the curled bottom), then tape them together, (or onto a wristlet), adding a bow on the bottom or in the center.
Also keep in mind the size of the girl you are making it for. Young girls don't want huge corsages on their tiny wrists. Guys don't want bows and giant flowers on their lapels either - keep it small and tasteful.
The entire process is the same if you're using silk flowers.
You can often purchase corsage boxes from your local florist. I bought a box of clear bags, and some opalescent easter grass for a professional presentation.
Place your flowers in a box or bag, spritz them with water, and store them in the fridge. I usually don't make fresh flower corsages until the day of an event to ensure freshness.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ribbon Rose Tutorial, Part 2 - The Leaf

Ribbon Rose Tutorial Part 1 is here. To make a leaf, you'll need:

about 12" of 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon (doesn't have to have wire edges, we'll be removing them)
needle and thread (preferrably to match your ribbon)
crappy scissors that you don't mind cutting wire with, but that will still cut the ribbon neatly

Tip: You need 6-9 ribbon widths of ribbon for each leaf, soooo, if you're using 1 inch ribbon, you will need 6 - 9 inches of ribbon - your leaf will not be wider, but longer if you use more ribbon.

Weedle the ends of the wire out, then grip them and slowly pull them from the ribbon. Discard the wires.

Fold the ribbon in half.

Fold each end up diagonally away from you, and pin to make a "boat".

Beginning at top right, sew down the diagonal side in a basting stitch, about 2/3 of the way down the diagonal edge, back stitch once, then continue on around the edge of the "boat" to the upper left corner (do not knot or tie off) - and yes, ideally you're doing this by hand, but it worked pretty great on my machine, soooo...

You have just sewn all along the bottom of your "boat", leaving the top open.

Gather the ribbon by pulling on one side of your basting thread and scooting the gathers gently up the ribbon. Your back stitch will keep the very end from gathering (that's the long pointy tip of your rose leaf).

Now, open the top edge of your leaf.
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(Back view of your finished leaf.)

Tuck your leaf under your rose and stitch it to your base of tulle.
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Rose tutorial is previous post.

(I'm not really back to blogging. I'm just able to post, but not able to visit and comment. Sorry. Make some lovely ribbon roses, then you won't miss me so much ;D HUGS!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ribbon Rose Tutorial, Part 1 - The rose

To make one ribbon rose, you'll need:
1 to 1 1/2 yards of 1 1/2 inch wide wire edge ribbon (you can use ribbon that is not wired, but you'll be doing a lot more stitching for the gathering.) Tip: measure in ribon widths - you need about 36 ribbon widths to make one rose. If your ribbon is one inch wide, use 36 inches of ribbon. You'll need 6 - 9 ribbon widths per leaf.
needle & thread (preferrably matching your ribbon)
crappy scissors that you don't mind cutting wire with, but that will still cut the ribbon neatly
3" square of tulle or buckram
ribbon for leaves

Leaving the wire in, turn the ribbon, folding down diagonally towards you. Make a 1/2 inch tail.

Fold it over in half (close the book)

Begin rolling by turning over 1/8" on edge

Then roll loosely to the left to begin making the center of the rose.

After a few rolls, begin to make a couple of small (1/4") tucks so that the "petals" begin to flare out a bit.

Pin the rose center to your 3" square of tulle (pin from underneath)

Gather the rest of the ribbon gripping the tail end of the lower wire and by gently sliding the ribbon along it. Scoot the gathers carefully along the wire so you don't break the wire, until you have gathered the entire length of the ribbon (only on the lower edge - the upper edge is left full.)

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Continue to wrap the ribbon around the center, pinning as needed to the tulle/buckram from underneath.

When you get to the end, tuck the unfinished end in under the "rose" so it won't show or unravel.

Sew the rose to the tulle from the back, tacking it down as needed (you don't need to stitch the entire length of the ribbon, just make sure it won't come unrolled anywhere.)

Cut the excess tulle away, so that it won't show. I pinned these to the dress, but you could sew them on, or hot glue them to a barette or headband.

In the first picture, I used the last 4 or 5 inches of ribbon to end in a bud to the side of the rose. Leaf tutorial found here.

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