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January 2008

WIP and other stuff

I don't know whether is that I have that much to say or that I am just tired of seeing the image of me in that dress, but I am compelled to post today. The latter is far more likely.  We need to move that one down.



I have been doing other things, I promise.  Like this monogram pillow for my sister.  Intended to be part of her Christmas gift, but wasn't... I traced the K from an enlarged font (lucinda handwriting, maybe?) I printed out onto regular paper, traced it with a fancy ball point pen and then I did thousands of little french knots to fill it in.  It's easy and so, so pretty.  I'm not done with it yet.  The lavender velvet ribbon still needs to be attached, and I need to attach the backside but I'm close.  I promise, sister... it will get done!  XOXO

Speaking of hugs and kisses...


These little hearts are part of a Valentine's Day garland I am making for myself.  MYSELF!  Don't look too close at the stitching, because I haven't yet mastered how to start and stop with blanket stitches without making a mess of things.  These little softies are about 4.5 inches wide and stuffed just enough to make them squishy.  I still have a few more to make, but I'm getting there.  I have grand visions of a really long garland wrapping around the eating nook in our kitchen... but I don't think this will quite make it all the way around. I wish I could say I'm using pricey wool felt.  But I'm not that fancy.

:: There is also a little WIP project for the Hanging Hearts Swap I am doing for my partner Katie through the Goodness Girls.  But that's a secret for now.  Shhhh.  ::


And the ongoing playroom project.  This is a room we added into our basement when we finished it last year.  I was excited to finally receive my Martha Stewart alphabet cards to hang on the wall.  This room.  Egads.  I am not as far along as Kirsten, but I have been busy.  Oh I have plans!!  Fidget's 2nd birthday is coming up, so I've got a deadline in a few weeks.  Stay tuned.  There will be lots of playroom projects!  For now I am happy with the alphabet.  There are a couple more photos of the playroom at flickr.  For you curious types.


Lastly, we finally got off our tushies and found a piano last weekend through craigslist.  Needs a tuning badly, but I am excited to have a piano back in the house after many years of not playing.  We've had this nook of the house ready and waiting for a piano for many months, so my ironing board (that had been 'saving' her space) got packed up and put away... and this is much better! 

Tricky, though, playing with a toddler running around.  Since you can't play without them on your lap when they are awake and can't play while they're sleeping.... hmmm.  Any of you talented ladies have tips here?  Little Fidget isn't very patient.

I've put it under Grammy's brooches.  (Which look so much better over a piano than an ironing board.  I'm sure she approves.)   But now that I see it, methinks the classy linen background of the shadow boxes needs to be replaced with something more fun.  Smoky blue velvet, perhaps?  Whoa.  Another project.  Somebody stop me!!!


I can't believe I'm going to share this


Here is the link to the flickr set.  If my kids see these photos they'll need therapy for sure.


I'm only keeping that guest pass open for a couple days, so peek while you can.  If you are so inclined.  If you are into saying, My eyes!  My eyes!  Yes.  It's that bad.  I feathered my hair. Ha.

And thanks for all the suggestions on the dress wrinkles.  I ended up breaking down and steam ironing it REALLY QUICKLY, and it turned out ok.  (Except for that little crunchy part on the bottom ruffle in the back.)  I was definitely a vision. 

Fidget's still sick, so I best make use of her nap and get some work done that pays the bills.  XO

miss chris 

Miss Cellaneous

The Miss America Party was so fun. We were dressed to the nines (or the 1969's, if you were me). We drank silly little cocktails out of champagne flutes and ate a gorgeous tiffany-blue double layer cake topped with a tiara.   And steamed salmon with soy glaze and a spinach salad... MMMmmm.  Recipes soon, I promise.  They're worth sharing.


There are a lot of pictures to sort through -- and some I still need to get from friends -- so it will be a day or so before I can share with you our real fabulosity in all its glory. As far as the pageant went, it was a little disappointing, as they mixed it up this year and fashioned it after a reality game show... and pretty much took out the glamour and replaced it with everything but a 'phone your friend' option.  Blech.

Miss Alabama did not make the top 15, so we didn't get to see her gown or hear her beautiful singing voice or watch her strut in a bathing suit a la gentleman's club dancers. (If you saw it, you know what I mean. All they were missing was a pole in the middle of the stage. Give me a break!)  Our party host (and former Miss Southern Union) thought Miss 'Bama's mom was probably the slightest bit thankful that her daughter didn't have to tramp around like that.

WE had a great time, though. A bunch of moms dressed up in gowns, complete with boas and sashes and hair and makeup that would make the drag queens of Hollywood Boulevard proud.   As my father is found of saying, We were somethin'.  Photos soon... I promise.

:::::: SCREECH!  That's the sound of me completely derailing this post and losing any focus it might have had. But this has to be done. :::::

Before the party, I ran some errands, which included dropping into the hardware store right next to Goodwill... so I had to run in. And THIS is what I found:


Holy cow, have I had good thrifting luck lately! This actually came with two smaller, matching oval mirrors. The set was 4.98. It looks like knobbed milk glass, but it's a heavy plastic.  And they are going in the new playroom... details on that later!

Poor Fidget is sick today, too... so I'm off to care for her.  The doctor's office has probably paid their gas bill with our co-pays from the last two months.  Sheesh. 

Anyway, have a happy Monday, my bloggy friends!  And if you live in the KC area, try not to get blown away!  XO

Sash-hey! & Thursday Thrifting Haul.

So the Miss America Party sash project plugs along:

Sashes WIP

It's like high school all over again, with the lettering.  Remember making signs and kind of seizing up when you had to make an 'S'?  You don't?  Well, I did.  I don't have the steadiest hand, as you can tell from the photo.   Actually, judging by that photo, I shouldn't worry so much about those 'S's as much as those straight lines...

But I've got glitter!  And paint!  And REALLY long sashes stretching across my kitchen table, hanging off the ends.  Pretty fun.

serving platter
[ Serving platter, 1.98.]

Wednesday night I had a totally impromptu dinner with two of my best girlfriends.  If we had tried to plan it, it never would have happened.  There are so many kids, babies, husbands, dinners, projects, activities and stuff that we never do this.  But a last minute phone call and 15 minutes later, we were all sitting at Houlihan's, enjoying some yummy food.  Perfect.

Did you know they (like this week!) changed their famous 1.99 mini dessert menu to $2.49?  Doesn't nearly have the ring to it, but is still a great deal, I suppose.  Dinner with girlfriends?  Really should be more of a priority, I think.

vintage crystal lamp
[ crystal lamp base (must get rid of the ruffle and have fun with new shade), $9.98 ]

So Thursday meant stopping into one of my favorite thrift stores for 20 minutes.  And there is no handbag to gush over this time (I KNOW!! I KNOW!! That was awesome and may be my favorite ever.), but I did pick up a few things for the house.

vintage cake stand, 1.98
[ cake stand, 1.98 ]

My dear friend, K, will laugh at this last one because I have been looking for a vintage cake stand forever, and she was sweet enough to buy me a new one for Christmas. So of course, five weeks later, I walk right into my Goodwill and find this one!  Ha.  I'm thinking two are better than one, though... I can't wait to stack them with valentine goodies!  :) 

Happy Friday, bloggy friends! What are you up to this weekend?


Details, Schmetails...

So I bought some reeeaaallly wide ribbon today.  And paint.  And glitter.  For the sashes, of course.  We'll see how that goes.  I'm so-so on that project.  It seems a little ambitious for me with 3 days left, a lot of long words to hand-letter and not a whole lot of time...

I have to agree with Rachel on this morning sun thing.  I love it.  I tried to capture it the other day in my bedroom:


"Mom, WHY are you taking a picture of your bed?"

"Because the light is so pretty right now."

"On your bed?"

"No, just in here."

"Can I get in it?"

"Not now."

"Why not?"

"GAH - I'm losing my light!"

"Um, ok.  Yeah, you're losing your light."  *snicker snicker*  "You know, your pillowcase is really wrinkled.  I don't even know why you want a photo of that." 

Ack.  She's right.  Eleven-year-olds. 

Nevertheless, I can't help but run around my house and take pictures of the gorgeous light streaming in these days as the sun heads back north and plays tricks with the nooks and crannies of my house.  I don't take fancy pictures, though, like Rachel.  Or those Noticing girls, Alica and Heather.  Wow.  I'm gonna have to get me a fancy camera one of these days.  And a really big book for dummies.

For now I'm going to sit with my ribbons and glitter and get my fancy on.  (When I'm not priming the bathroom.) Thanks for all the encouragement yesterday, about the party.  We are so looking forward to it.  And I totally recommend having one of your own!  XO

Lemon Tart

What are *you* doing Saturday night?   I ask, because your answer should be, "Watching the Miss America pageant. Duh!"   

No, really!  That's what I'll be doing. 

With my girlfriends. In thrift store evening gowns. Wearing lots of makeup. And high heels. And jewels.  My goodness, the jewels!  And Tiaras!  Drinking champagne and eating cucumber sandwiches, dip, and chocolate eclairs.  Off the good china.


What am I wearing?  Are you ready?  Why, this lovely off the shoulder ruffle-layered lemon yellow summer bridesmaid's dress, circa 1969.  And maybe some Farrah hair.   Although this dress channels serious Kathy Lee Gifford, during her Name that Tune days.


I'm pretty sure this one was wadded up in a ball and stuffed in a bag for the last 38 years before it was carted off to Goodwill.  I'm a little scared to press or steam it, as it is 100% synthetic poly-nylon will probably melt if I leave it in the same room with my iron. 

But it was a steal and it fits like a glove, dahling.


And I can go as Lemon Meringue Barbie for Halloween later this year.

We do have a good reason to watch, though.  One of my best girlfriends was Miss Southern Union, back in the day.  The title earned her a trip to the Miss Alabama pageant and some of the best home movies ever.  Ever.  She has always followed the pageant religiously (wholeheartedly acknowledging it's a spectacle, but loving it all the same) and decided last year to host an official watch party. We started planning a little late, so some of the details got rushed.  But this year we are in full swing, baby.

So I am thinking about making sashes.  Alas, we are not the 'Miss Congeniality type of girls.  Miss Behaved, yes.  Miss Chief, yes.  Miss Taken, definitely.  Miss Leading.  Miss Conduct.  Miss Cellaneous? That might be stretching it.  { Additional sash ideas welcome. }   I started a prototype last night and I think it will work, although I question whether I have enough time to personalize all those sashes before Saturday. Is this a job for... freezer paper??? 

I am also thankful that this is a party and not a competition, because I have some very talented friends.  I don't think I'll ever win over judges with my intermediate sewing skills. 

Oh, and go Miss Alabama!  (Your childhood babysitter and her silly friends are pulling for you.)

It's not all about the pretty.


I have some totally unsexy things to take care of before I log on today. 

  1. Laundry
  2. Change sheets
  3. Mop bathroom floor
  4. Work that pays the bills

Totally unexciting chores and I am quite ready to get them done.  I look forward to Mondays so I can attack these and get on with my week.  And new projects.

Like this, for instance:


This is reality, folks. It's my powder room.  We've lived here for 4 years and it's the smallest room in the house.  And I have yet to paint it.  For a number of reasons.

  1. The walls have roller lint stuck into the paint all over them.  Previous Owners did not like to use decent rollers.  So we need to sand.
  2. The walls are really really dark.  So we need goooood primer.
  3. The walls have, like, 40 nail holes in them and need serious patchwork.  So we need to sand.  Again.
  4. The trim (including the crown molding, see below) is all a dark stain, that also needs to be primed and painted.  Doesn't match any other room in our house.  Or its own doorjam. I guess this was the fancy room.  Whatever!
  5. The light switches and other 'bathroom jewlery', like faucets, light, towel bar and flusher handle(!), are all brass.  Just not my thing.


So for a little room, there is a lot to do.  The good points?  Nice pedistal sink.  Nice tile floor.  And, um -- no, that's about it.

Stay tuned.  Things are gonna get all kinds of messy up in there.

Happy Monday. 

Thrifting Thursday

Popped into one of my favorite little thrift stores yesterday morning.  It's part of a senior community here in town and a treasure trove of embroidery, linens and vintage kitchen stuff. And it happens to be on my way home.

I found a this pretty pink striped flat sheet and two matching pillowcases... soft and nicely aged.


Do I cut it up into curtains for a faux window in the playroom?  Use it on a bed?  Make summer nightgowns or pj pants?  I'm not sure yet.  I love the two soft shades of pink though.

Also stumbled upon this awesome little italian leather bag.


Too good to pass up.


And a stack of aqua melamine saucer-size plates.  35 cents each. IMG_6915

Perfect for little Fidget-sized portions.  They might end up in her playroom with the play kitchen we are planning for her 2nd birthday... Maybe. I kind of love them for myself.


'Crochet' is a lovely word

It sounds pretty and feminine.  And since women have been crocheting things for centuries, and I consider myself fair-to-middlin' in the 'making' department, I thought it was natural for me to step out of my comfort zone and take on a new handicraft this year.

yarn in a basket

I really, really, really want to be able to sit and have warm fuzzy blankets materialize on my lap while I watch shows we have DVR'ed that we finally get to enjoy on Saturday nights.  I realize afghans don't just happen.  They take some doing -- and counting and paying attention and time -- and I'm willing to learn!  Willing to try!  I'm a do-er!  Yes, yes I can!   

So my lovely mother in law --

:: And I mean it, she's wonderful.  She has legendary, mad chocolate-chip-cookie-baking skills.  She bakes a dozen 30 minutes before she is expecting you over, so her house smells good and you can eat the cookies while they're still warm.  She always cooks for 10, even if there are just four of us there.  And always, dessert.  Gets up super early every day and walks a couple miles before heading to the gym for spinning class.  And crochets.  Beautiful sweet afghans.  I mean it.  She's great.  A lot to live up to, but she's really terrific.  And she is, evidently, very patient. ::

-- agreed to take pity on my repeated cries for help.  She sat down with me for quite some time on December 30, before we left for our Cotton Bowl road trip, and showed me how.  We searched online for a good little afghan to keep my hands busy during our 6 hour trip south.  And she showed me the special stitches and how to work them, repeating, finishing, turning and all...


This is the pattern I'm using.  It got good reviews.  People said it was easy and the picture was close to what I wanted. I am using a good-quality medium weight yarn... It's just that MINE DOESN'T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THE PICTURE.  My stitches aren't lining up.  There are no peaks and valleys.  There are pebbly-looking blobby things popping up randomly and it's starting to turn in on itself -- or ruffle outward, depending on how you look at it.



It's keeping my hands busy fun, but I'm torn between forging ahead to discover what I'm actually making (is it a skirt?  A ruffle?  A scarf?) and ripping it out and starting again.   I'm pretty sure my first chain was too tight and there is no going back to change that.  Or it could be ...there is ...definitely something really wrong with my (gulp) technique.  I hope that is not the case, because I've mastered this particular technique.  Anyone want a lesson???

Mr Pink is impressed that I haven't given up yet.  I'm not sure how to take that.   

A little bit organized

Well, it wasn't, to start.  This is pretty much what my recipe bin/folder/cookbook stack in my desk cubby looked like before yesterday morning's burst of energy.


See that manila folder under everything?  That housed it all.  And boy was it ever handy hard to sort through.  Actually, it wasn't that bad. Things that I tend to make more than others had floated to the top, and other things (like a group of dishes I make for a holiday) ended up stacked together.  Maybe that was a good thing.

So.  I finally remembered to buy a 3-hole punch worth it's salt on one of my daily weekly trips to Target. And now...


Wow.  I don't have my dividers going yet -- and honestly, I can't decide how I want to break them up.  By meals?  Occasions?  Food groups???  I need to think on that some more.  Obviously, putting all my food prep stuff into a 3 ring binder isn't an earth shattering, original idea.   But it's something that I have PUT OFF for how long?  And it took what, 15 minutes???

It's funny how I prioritize.  Because my Home Ideas binder has been put to steady use since we bought this place 4 years ago.

See?  I have everything, and I mean EVERYTHING (inspiration, ideas, receipts, whatever) in this binder, organized by room.


(Like the tattered kitchen towel on the right?  Who's in charge of this photo shoot???)Paint

Original paint chips and other random things are in sleeves.

And other stuff gets thrown in there, too:


Which really works.  I even used that mounted butterfly pin idea on the left for my Grammy's brooches

We throw all sorts of stuff in it -- fabric swatches, room and furniture dimensions, etc  -- and take it shopping.  Or I flip through it on occasion, when my scattered brain cannot focus on what part of my home needs attention next -- or where to go with it.  It's getting time, though, to go through my stack of beloved magazines for a good rip-and-toss.

How do you keep it -- whatever It is -- together?