Friday, May 30, 2008

Look what came in the mail today!!!

What did Fed Ex bring for me today??? A story in pictures...

Yep, a mondo roll of foam tape!!!

36 yards of 1-inch wide, 1/16 tall double-sided foam tape. I did the math, and that's the equivalent of a jillion (technical term) foam dots from the craft store. Granted, I don't believe this is acid free, but for cards it doesn't matter.

I've been going through the double-sided adhesive foam dots like water lately. Denise was so kind to share some of her foam tape with me the other night, and I quickly realized how much more cost-effective this is. It's the same stuff, I just have to cut it into little squares myself. Big whoop. Based on my rough calculations, this is enough foam tape for me to mount 1748 playing cards down to greeting cards.

To give you an idea of how big the roll is, here it is on top of a dinner plate. I offset it a few inches because the roll is actually slightly bigger than the plate.

By the way, did you get a load of the packaging??? Methinks the over-the-top packaging might have had something to do with the $10 shipping charge. They SERIOUSLY put the foam tape into a huge box and the cushioned it with these huge styrofoam pieces. This isn't electronics, it's FOAM TAPE... I have no idea why they didn't just stick this puppy in a large padded envelope.

Ironically, there were a few dents in the tape from being wedged inside styrofoam. Hehehe....

I finished my granny's purse today, along with a few little extras. I'll post it tomorrow so I can photo it all in good light.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My makeover, and the beginnings of -another- fabric basket

First, my makeover...

Yeah, not what you were expecting, was it?? Nope, I didn't get a day at the spa or a new haircut. I got a makeover a la Olivia. Normally I cringe when she says the word "makeover" while wielding a comb, but tonight she had such a sweet, earnest look on her face that I couldn't deny her the fun. So she combed and fussed, and brushed my hair into my face then back out of my face. She got her little play make-up set out and put a little lip gloss on my lips. When she was done, I went to the mirror and told her how beautiful I felt. She was so proud.
(I'm a bit embarassed by the bad photo. My husband, king of all things mechanical, apparently does not know how to take a picture of me without making my eyes roll or giving me two chins. But shhhh... don't tell him I said that!)
In addition to getting a makeover, I also started making -another- fabric basket tonight. This one is going to be a special project - a purse for my grandmother. When I was picking her up from visiting my grandfather in the hospice, she remarked about my nice, new purse. My nice, new purse being the fabric basket I made the other week. She told me how it looked to be the perfect size for the stuff she needs to carry to church, and how all the other purses she has are too big and too heavy. I told her that it would be my honor to make one for her.

I'm using bright colors for the patchwork, paired with a stark black for the bottom and a printed black for the inside. She told me that most of the clothes she wears to church are fairly drab colors - grays, creams, whites, blacks - so I thought the bright colors would be fun. My goal is to get this finished in time for her to carry it with her to church this Sunday.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The weekend turned out okay after all...

Our Memorial Day weekend was off to a pretty lousy start, what with Liv's continued fever virus and all. Turns out it was a 7-DAY virus. UGH. It would seem like it was going away, and then - bam - there it was back again. We spent much of last week crashed out on the couch and watched waaaaay too much television.

By Sunday, we were showing signs that she was on the mend, and by Monday she was feeling pretty nigh back to normal. The sun was shining, with not a cloud in the sky. Off we went to the park, to try out a little motorized airplane that Daddy had picked up for her at the hardware store. (Sensing the picture-taking opportunities, I lugged my camera with me...)

Daddy helps Liv launch her plane...

...and here it is flying high! We were all surprised at how well this little styrofoam plane flew.

Later, Liv headed for the play equipment in the shade. I snapped this picture of her on one of the older climbing pieces. My father used to take my sister and I to this very park when I was a child, and this climbing piece was one of my favorites. Talk about nostalgia...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another fabric basket

I am SO groovin' on Pink Penguin's fabric basket tutorial. If you sew, even the slightest bit, you need, need, need to go make one of these!! Her design is so stinkin' cute and her instructions so easy to follow - I don't think it's possible to make one that doesn't look good.

I've been using the red and blue one I made last week to carry around my little fabric squares and needle/thread to make the kanzashi fabric flowers. It's just exactly the perfect size for small stitching projects.

I made another one earlier this week, but changed up the dimensions to make it large enough to work as a purse. (I also changed the orientation of the handles so they're on the long sides now.) The result is this little puppy:

I am SO in love with my new little summer purse! It's just big enough for my wallet, my phone, a pair of sunglasses, my keys, and my Etsy business cards.
It's 6" tall x 8" long x 4" deep. To get this size, I patched together 2.5" squares (instead of 2" in the tutorial), and the large solid rectangle connecting the pieced portions is 12.5" x 8". I also doubled the length of the handles and put them on the longer sides so it carries more like a purse.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Teacher gifts and an Etsy word

I've got two things to post today. First, the Etsy word for the week:

cadge \KAJ\,
transitive verb: 1. To beg or obtain by begging; to sponge.
intransitive verb: 1. To beg; to sponge.

There are so many different ways to go with this one! I can't wait to see what people find. (If you want to play along, just find a listing on Etsy that you feel fits this definition in some way, and post the link as a comment to this post.)

And now for the teacher's gifts. Today was Liv's last day of school. I was afraid that she might have to miss her last day of school because of being sick, but thankfully we went the full day yesterday without fever. Given that little girl has been sick nearly ALL WEEK, I didn't exactly have time to get out and go shopping for little teacher gifts. But luckily...

...while I was stuck on the couch with a sick child all week, my hands were busy stitching little fabric flowers. So last night while watching the American Idol finale, I pulled out two little fabric flowers and made brooches out of them.

These were actually really easy to make. The only difficult part was putting the pin on the back, but I have a feeling I made it more difficult than it needed to be. I'm anal retentive like that. If one stitch will hold something, I feel like it needs ten to be sure.

Ah well, even with the extra super-duper pin back stitching, it still took way less time than driving to the store AND I didn't spend $30 on meaningless junk AND I was able to give a handmade gift to each of her two teachers. Yay for crafting!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vomitus Eruptus

Okay, so you can probably tell this already by the title, but this post is not for the squeamish....

If you've been wondering where I've been the last few days, my daughter has been sick. It's mainly been fever, but with a little stomach upset thrown in here and there for good measure. Which leads me to the subject of this post.

Night before last, we were all up at about 3:00 am. Liv had woken up earlier with her fever and was having a hard time getting settled back in. In the bed, out of bed, calling for us, crying, etc. It was in the middle of all of this that we hear her hacking and coughing, and then crying. Tony goes in her room to check on her, and a few seconds later he calls to me, "Mama, we need some help in here!"

I get up and head down the hallway, only to see my husband running across the hall to the bathroom with his hands cupped. I pop my head in to see him dumping the contents of his hands into the toilet. Guessing what had just happened (and amazed at the resourcefulness of my husband), I grab a wet wipe and go into Liv's room to clean her up. I dab at her cheek with the wipe, only to see her heaving again. This time it's my turn to assume the position. I cup my hands in front of her, and she fills them up. Now I'm running to the bathroom, while my husband is going in to check on her.

We did this bizarre little relay race a few times before her stomach was completely emptied. I'm proud to say that the sheets and the stuffed animals surrounding her all came through the ordeal unscathed.

I don't know that there is any book that could have prepared me for think-on-your-feet, suck-it-up moments like this. I'm the girl who can't pick up a bug carcass to throw it away, even with all the wads of toilet paper in the world. (That's what vacuums are for...) I'm the girl whose stomach gets weak at the thought of another child's dirty diaper. But with my own child, that's not an issue. Especially when she's sick and feeling so vulnerable, and needing the comfort of someone bigger and more in control than she is. And so we cup our hands in front of her and tell her it's okay, to do what she needs to do. It's not the cuddle-on-the-couch, Hallmark greeting style tenderness that one thinks about when they think of parenting. But it's tenderness nonetheless.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It's like porn for me...

...the Uline catalog, that is.

A whole catalog of paper & packaging products - in bulk. 415 pages of it. Corrugated boxes in a jillion shapes and sizes. Gift boxes. Computer labels. Shipping Tags. Chipboard. Mailer tubes. Gawd, they even sell those little silica gel packs, in containers of 6,000 of course.

Sensory overload.

I think I'm glowing a little.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Etsy word results: Paean

Here they are - the results from our latest round of the Etsy word game!
The word was:
paean \PEE-uhn\ noun
1. A joyous song of praise, triumph, or thanksgiving.
2. An expression of praise or joy.
And here are the results:

Joy Overload by Kittybutt, suggested by Denise. (I LOVE that shop name!!)

Prayer Rock for your Joyous Day by Elizabear Designs, suggested by Julie Anne of DiamondMeenah Creations

Sunny Singing Peace original painting by Brownington Forest, suggested by This Old Henhouse

Release The Night by Primped Paperie, suggested by yours truly.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's Etsy challenge! I'll post another Etsy word challenge next week.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Notice anything different?

Like, oh... maybe a new color scheme and a blog banner? It's only taken me 6 months to get it all together. Who says I'm a procrastinator?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Etsy word returns: paean

After a loooong absence, Etsy word is back!!!

It's been a while since I've posted a word, so here's how it goes.

--Each week, I'll post a word and definition (the Word of the Day from

--If you want to play along, find one item listed on Etsy that fits that description in some way or another, and leave me the link as a comment to the post. (I used to ask for several items from each person, but that got to be overwhelming, so let's just leave it at one.)

--After a few days pass, I'll compile those links into one post that shows various Etsy items that match this word.

Today's word is:

paean \PEE-uhn\ noun
1. A joyous song of praise, triumph, or thanksgiving.
2. An expression of praise or joy.

To join in this week, just leave a comment to this post with a link to an item that somehow matches the word "paean". I hope you want to play along. It's always fun to see how different people interpret the same word!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My take on the fabric basket

Yesterday I had the luxury of Liv being at school all day, and having no schoolwork of my own to do! This only happens about two or three weeks a year, when my school has let out before hers has.

So what did I do with my time? No cleaning, nothing productive. Instead, I made this.

I'm a bit ashamed to say that it took me nearly the entire day (minus my trip to Hancock's and my lunch run to Taco Bell). I followed Pink Penguin's fabric basket tutorial. Her instructions are easy to follow, but I was more than a little braindead after the end of the semester so I had to make friends with my seam ripper some.

My straps are roughly twice as long as they needed to be. I misread the instructions and prepared two long straps, instead of preparing one strip of fabric and then cutting it in half to make two straps. DOH. At first I thought they looked ridiculous, like a pair of bunny ears or something. But then I took it to the park with me and realized that those long straps fit perfectly around my wrist. Fabric basket meets wristlet! Woohoo!! Uh, I MEANT to do that, yeah....

After I made the basket I thought I'd try a little fabric flower for an embellishment. I don't have the link to the tutorial I followed, but it's one of those Japanese folded fabric flowers. Google "Japanese folded fabric flower tutorial" and I'm sure you can find plenty of tutorials to show you how to make them.

I made it as a brooch so I can take it on or off as I see fit. I actually finished it up this morning during storytime at the library. I think I'll start bringing a small needlework project with me every week. Lots more fun that listening to, "Rum pum pum, this is my drum" for each kid.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day projects

We're always kind of last minute at our house, and Mother's Day was no exception. We spent the Saturday before Mother's Day making some little gifts for the grandmothers in our family. We're very blessed to have so many grandmothers around . Liv has a grandmother and a maternal great-grandmother on each side of her family, and most of them live in our neighborhood.

So when Mother's Day comes around, we have to think of something that she can do to honor each of these women. I like the project to be meaningful, but also something that can be accomplished pretty quick, given that we'll be making multiples.

This is what we ended up making this year:

I got some plain wooden frames from the craft store, along with a stack of colored tissue paper. I put a base coat of white paint and then helped Liv decoupage on some tissue paper squares.

I hadn't planned ahead, of course, so I didn't have pictures to put in the frame. Instead, I borrowed (ahem, stole) and idea from Denise. I created some fill-in-the-blank sentences about the grandmothers and then asked Liv to supply the answers. I printed them out on pretty paper, framed them up, and was good to go.

Finished with my grading!

I finished grading all my papers this weekend, and then took care of some tying up a few loose ends yesterday. Now, all I have to do is enter the grades into the university's system and I am done, baby, done.

The summer break is always such a relief for me. For the next 12 weeks or so, I get to be nothing else but a mama. My teaching gig only takes up about 10-15 hours a week, but with a little girl at home with me most days, those 10-15 hours are a bit harder to work in than one might think. But when summers come, I don't have to plan little pockets of time to take care of school business, or have to plug into the computer while my husband is getting some quality time with Liv.

Speaking of the little girl, it's 3:00 and I've got to go pick her up at school.

I'll post later tonight with the mother's day project for this year. It turned out awfully cute.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My daughter, the stripper

Totally not craft related but too funny not to share....

Earlier tonight my mother was over. Liv had been trying on some new clothes, and was now stripped naked. She reaches into the bag for another outfit to put on, but the only one left was one that I had bought ahead for next fall. So I tell her that's enough.

Liv: But I want to play pretend ballerina!
Me: So play pretend ballerina in your panties.
Liv: But all my friends would see my pretend 'noobs' [That's "boobs" in Livspeak.]
Me: So go to your room and find a T-shirt, or some pajamas cause it's almost time for bed.

Little girl gets up and walks into the other room, and emerges a few minutes later wearing her tutu. No shirt, just the tutu.

Me: Won't your friends see your pretend 'noobs' in that?
Liv: No, cause my teacher has little patches I can put here... and here....
Me: Oh, so she has a class set of them?
Liv: Yep, she's got a class set of little patches.

Yep, my child has discovered the concept of pasties at the ripe old age of 4. Ahhh, but it gets better. She twirls around a bit and then disappears for a few seconds, coming back with pieces of scotch tape over her 'noobs.' She looks down at them, and then at me.

Liv (pointing at her scotch tape pasties): Pretend these are blue.

She proceeds to then twirl around the room in her tutu and pretend blue pasties, and when she's done, she peels both of them off at the same time with an almost flourish and walks out of the room.

Poor Daddy witnessed the whole thing.

Play date

We had a play date at our house - for the kids and the grown-ups. My friend Kimberly was off work this week and suggested that we get goether with our friend Janna for some crafting time. I was the world's worst hostess, with a messy house (thank you, strange-weather-front-and-resulting-sinus-headache the night before), a non childproofed house, and nothing but Little Caesar's for lunch due to the lack of any clean counter space to cook.

Luckily, good friends don't care so much what your house looks like, and we all had a great time despite the cluttered backdrop. Janna and I pretty much sat and talked and corralled children. But as always, Kimberly accomplished some serious crafting. Today she was making some handmade 4th of July cards to donate to the troops overseas.

Her energy is inspiring to me. If it were me, I'd fiddle around and consider myself productive to have made three, maybe four. Not Kimberly. She sets to work and she makes easily 15-20 cards. I love watching her work because she's so free with it. She's in the moment and she just lets her hands follow what her mind thinks, and trusts that it will all come together in the end. And it always does, so obviously she's doing something right. Whenever I feel myself getting wound up too tight with my design, working and reworking the life out of a project, I just try to channel a little Kimberly. A little of her energy and her confidence and her fresh perspective, and I'm good to go.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Casserole is M.I.A.....

...for just a few more days, I hope. It's the end of the semester and my "real job" calls. I've been knee-deep in final papers the last few days, and will be so for at least a few more.

Grading papers always takes a long time for me. I always hated it when I spent hours on a paper only to have an instructor glance over it and assign a blanket grade without letting me know how they arrived there. So now that I'm the one doing the grading, I try to give explanations for all the points I deduct and point out places where students have done well. After all, the point of school is to learn, and you can't learn without knowing what you did right and what you could improve.

Anyways, I promise that as soon as I'm done grading papers I'll start blogging again, and crafting again, and blogging about my crafting again. Surely it will be soon!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who won???

So, wanna know who won my blog giveaway???

It was....

....okay, just to refresh your memory, the giveaway is in recognition of my 1000th unique view on my blog. And up for grabs was this:

This is a greeting card, a tagbook, a paisley brooch, and a selection of some of my favorite fibers.

There were 8 comments on the post. To figure out the winner, my husband pulled out his trusty 8-sided die he uses for Dungeons & Dragons. That's a D8 in geekspeak. (Gawd, I can't believe I'm admitting this out on the internet. )

Anyways, I rolled a 3 on the die, which means that the prize goes to the third commenter - IDYLLHANDS!!!! Just send me your address, and I'll pop it all out in the mail to you.