I ramble

{ sewing refashion } Crew Redux, but not until after the rambling

When I had my first Aha! Moment about 3 years ago online upon discovering the World of Craft Bloggers... (it went something like, omygoodness there are people like me out there who make stuff and buy things at thrift stores and like to buy fabric just because and make more stuff.  I could spend hours just reading all these blogs.  I need a blog.  I  need to sew.  Wait, I want to make THAT.  Ohmygoodness I never thought of THAT.  I have never seen THAT before.  Where is my sewing machine?  I need to get to the fabric store STAT.  I can buy FABRIC ONLINE??  I don't really need sleep, do I?  If you are reading this blog, I'm pretty sure you had that moment, too.  I remember laying in bed that first night, with my head swimming with ideas.  It was crazy. Like the Mothership calling me home.)

...anyway, I knew I had discovered a wealth of talent and resources like nothing I had ever experienced before.  I did not know that I would

a) ever venture out of the safe zone of quilters cottons
b) experiment with stretch fabrics
c) get addicted to ripping fabric
d) start up an etsy shop
e) make the bestest friends
f) use my crafting obsession to help others
g) want or use a schmancy camera
h) looove my schmnacy camera
i) gain confidence I didn't know was missing.
j) and the friend thing again.  It bears repeating.

That is a long way of saying that although sometimes I feel totally overwhelmed and inadequate when I surf around the interwebz and see what all is going on OUT THERE, I still get that ohmygoodness this is so awesome feeling, too.  It makes we want to try things I wouldn't have before.  (And send things in the mail to people I've never met in person.  It is a small world after all!)

For Example (rejoice! this post has a point!):  This Plain Jane light blue Gap stretch crew sweater I picked up two weeks ago, thrifting.  $2.50.  

crew redux - before

It got turned inside out, and introduced to quite a bit of iron-on tear-away stabilizer.

crew redux

And it got marked up.

crew redux

And stay-stitched.  And cut into.

crew redux

crew redux

And then I guess I stopped taking photos.  Because I decided to cut 1.75" strips from an old green t-shirt, overstitch the stretched the edges to make them ruffle, and apply it somewhat like binding to the now raw edges of the sweater.   Then I tore off the extra stabilizer which left no residue or marks.  Done.

I made a little flower pin from a hankie and stuck it on for good measure. It's going to get lots of play this Spring because I like how it looks with denim.  (Not sure how I'm really going to finish this cardi -- with a giant button or a tie or not at all.  For now, this is good.)

I threw it on with a tee and jeans and went about my business.

after - cardi-cu

I think I'm going to shorten the sleeves, too.  I'm liking the way they look with longer shirts poking out from underneath. 

after - cardi

And that's it.  Not quite a tutorial, but I think you get it.  By the way, cutting up old tees is now my favorite thing to do. Favorite.  No serging or hem rolling or whatever required.  Makes everything faster.  Which is spectacular, in my book.

Now go!  Go find a old sweater you don't use very much and chop it up!  xoxo

{ stuff } And you thought I had a lot of chocolate chips

Houston, we have a problem.

not my fault!!!

And it's Not My Fault.

not my fault!!!

I have almost 22 POUNDS of gift bags.  TWENTY TWO POUNDS.

(I guess I like to weigh things around here.)

The pink bag has Halloween and Valentine bags in it.  The green bag is Baby gift bags only.

not my fault!!!

And this last one, weighing in at 14 lbs on its own, is Birthday. 

not my fault!!!

I'm sorry.  I know this sounds like I'm being all "oh, POOR me, SO MANY PEOPLE give us presents, WAAAH,"  Really, we are a family of five with generous extended family and friends.  We are!  Yay for Us!  They all love to give gifts in bags.  In nice bags.  Fancy bags. Themed bags. 

And I am a Wrapper.  So unless I donate them or remember to give the bags themselves as gifts to other people, THE BAGS NEVER LEAVE MY HOUSE.  It's like a special gift bag museum.  And I am the reluctant curator.

They were taking up way too much space in my craft studio, so they were evicted this weekend... and now they are homeless, per se.  Sitting in my laundry room.  Dreaming of living in the Spelling's Gift Wrap Room.

( Oh, and these photos does not represent the Christmas stash, most of which I donated this year.  I cannot justify the amount of square footage that it takes to store all of these bags!)

What to do, what to do.

not my fault!!!

I think I'm going to bring an extra 22 pounds to Friday Morning Coffee this week and give each of my girlfriends special gift-free gift bags.  Yay for them!!! 

What would YOU do with 22lbs of pretty gift bags???  Really, because I'd like to know. 

Thanks bunches.  xoxo

{ random } popping in

(This post is all over the place.  Just warning you.  Turn away if you want.  I won't even know. )

1. Wow!  Thanks for the feedback on the shipping.  I had already decided to run out and get a postal scale when the deluge of confirmation came in.  Sticking with Priority Mail should make it easier, too.  Whew.  Am I ever glad I asked.  The blog world is great for that, isn't it? 


2. I still can't believe the flowers I got for Valentine's Day are looking good.  I was playing with my camera yesterday and took this photo.  No lie.  That's 10 days.  I love love love fresh flowers.  Such an indulgence, but love them all the same.  I'm so glad he knows that. 

3. I'm working on a fun pillow for the shop that makes use of an embroidered pillowcase.


Toying with adding in a zipper -- although I'm not sure the design of this one lends itself to laundering.  I do like trying new things though. I have several new sewing projects lined up for the shop, which makes me so very excited.  

4.  I've been ripping my fabric lately, to cut it.  It does make a nice, straight line.  Also, there is a cathartic exercise about the acting of ripping something.  Which is an added bonus, in my book.

5.  Fidget's FOURTH birthday is this weekend.  It's all princess, which means there will be lots of commercially designed stuff everywhere.  But I'm not going to beat myself up over that.  You only turn four and want a princess party once.  And I'm still making the cake, so that counts.

6.  Seriously, she's turning FOUR.  How the heck did that happen?

7.  In other news, babygirl is EIGHT MONTHS OLD now.  I know.  I spend the majority of her waking moments biting her cheeks.


8.  Not really biting.  But snorfgrfring. 

9. Also: I may be terribly late to the game, but how cool is this stuff?  I had to buy a little in the aqua stripe.

10.  We're having out of town family stay with us this weekend, for Fidget's birthday.  I love that I have company often enough that the house gets the extra attention it deserves every 8 weeks or so.  Anyone else feel that way??  I mean, no one else will notice whether or not I dusted the living room blinds (hopefully), but it feels good to get it done.  Maybe that's nuts.  If it is, don't tell me.  Otherwise my house may never get clean. 

11.  I'm only partly kidding.

12.  Sort of.

waiting for baby

Hello there.  We're ok around here, I promise.  Thank you for the sweet emails of concern, checking in on me.   I know it's been quiet a la Fence; I miss being able to blog with the energy and gusto that I had even just a few weeks ago. 

waiting to play

As much as I hate to admit it, the physical limitations of being 9 months along are taking their toll on this mama.  I'm still working, although I'll be leaving my job of 12 years for full-time-stay-at-home-mom status after baby.  (Hooray!  This is something wonderful and deserves a whole post unto itself, so I'll save that for later.)  In making this decision, though, I have over a decade of information and instructions to leave for whomever they decide will replace me.  I'm being a good girl, and trying to make this transition easy for them.  It's been a lot of work, and it hasn't left me much time or energy for the fun stuff. 

It will all be worth it in the end.  I know it will.

the comfy-est chair in the world

It's funny not knowing the baby's gender.  In the past, I've had the nursery all ready to go.  I thought this time I would be ok keeping the tan walls and using white linens and going with plain white curtains. But I think the tan walls (which cannot be easily repainted because of a particularly ginormous dresser that cannot be moved without enlisting a lot of help) and the dark nursery furniture have made this tricky. 

If baby number three is, in fact, another girl, I'm going to want to infuse this room with some femininity.   (whoop!  hello there, little one.  *kick kick kick* are you telling me you are not a girl?  hmmm.  We'll see.)  And a boy, aside from giving my husband the best surprise ever, would be deserving of a special boy-ness all of his own.  Especially since this room is sandwiched between the girls'.

thrifted baby blanket, on the crib

So for now, the windows are bare.  The walls are bare.  The linens are white (and will probably stay that way).  The clothes are pretty white, too.   The dresser is packed with tiny clothes for either gender; I'm lucky to have tons of hand me downs and little need for more.   It's just barely a nursery for now, but that's ok.  Baby will be in our room for a few months anyhow.

no pinks or blues yet

And we'll know soon enough what to do with this room... in less than two weeks.

lovely time.

Hello.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend. We did.

Sunday picnic

It was full of

  • visiting with friends
  • catching up on some reading
  • a picnic at the park
  • watercolors
  • a little nesting
  • some all-day pj time
  • freshly grilled burgers and strawberry spinach salad
  • naps
  • pink shoulders from the pool
  • more reading, napping
  • snuggles and giggles (and only a tantrum or two)
  • JiggleJam with daddy

It was good.  Really good.  Summer is here.  I can feel it.

keeping it simple

So it's mid-May, and that means we're pretty much in the clear in Kansas City to plant outside and not worry too much about too-cold nights.

keeping it simple.

Last weekend I ran to the local nursery and picked up some beautiful geraniums for my back deck.  Our deck gets zero shade and it's elevated and I swear it gets to 115 degrees out there in the summer.  Clearly, we're fairly limited as to what we can put out there.  Usually I try to mix it up, but this year I am going all-red-geraniums in every pot and calling it done.  I'm fairly certain we can remember to water these easy-to-please plants nightly before bringing in the dog.


I have to be honest; I'm pretty tired and achy these days.  We've got about 4 weeks left until baby is here and I'm feeling every bit that far along.  My normal 200 mph daily speed has slipped considerably.  I'm still keeping up with housework and laundry and cooking and the kids, but at the end of the day there isn't much left. 

And this slower pace is oh-so-frustrating.  I'm in a funky mood because of it.  I'm frustrated with my inability to tackle everything and get stuff done.  And then I'm mad because the funk is obvious, and you know what happens when momma isn't feeling as happy as she should.  Everyone picks up on it and then it's just a household pandemic.  Crankiness abounds. 

Maybe this is a long way of saying I need to step back and readjust my expectations from here on in.  Maybe I shouldn't let my list stare at me the way it seems to.  Maybe I should exhale, put my feet up and read a little more.   Maybe I should accept that, yes, for a long while after this sweet baby is born, I won't be able to tackle all the projects that are swimming in my head.  But, no, that doesn't mean I have to get them all done now.

Yes, maybe that is it.  Maybe what I need is to simplify my lists, my expectations, and my attitude, just like the pots on my deck. 

So random, I can't come up with a title.

leftover temptation 

I can't seem to put these away.  The candy canes are the only thing left from Christmas around here; major cleaning is still in process. 

Today the sofa slipcover is in the wash, which is a necessity when you can see shoeprints on its kick pleats and bookclub is here next Monday.  I have to say, having an off-white slipcover shows me exactly how dirty things can get.  It makes me look at my other furniture and think, hmmmm...  It doesn't help that we have a golden retriever who likes to snooze with her back to the couch in the same spot every day.  A lot of that dirt is from her.  But I'm pretty sure the pen marks and smudges on the cushions are not.  Anyway, I don't mind washing it.  I really like knowing it's clean. 

Speaking of bookclub, has anyone else read "The Double Bind" by Chris Bohjalian?  I really enjoyed it, but it is the kind of book that you can easily ruin for someone just by talking about it.  Just imagine The Great Gatsby + photography + mental illness.  I'm sure that cleared it up for you.  Ha.  The end did catch me by surprise, so I can't wait to discuss this with my fellow bookclubbers.  Now I just have to figure out what to serve for dinner and we'll be ready.

16 weeks

One more note.  I promise I am not going to turn this into a pregnancy blog.  But I did go to the doctor today and we have a strong heartbeat, which is such a relief.  Also, since I am considered 'high risk' due to my 'advanced age' (ahem), I automatically qualify for a Level II ultrasound for my next appointment in February.  There will be lots of detailed measuring to confirm healthy growth and normal development.  I'm hoping not to be so paranoid after that session.  

Oh, another thing.   We really don't want to find out the gender, so hopefully they can keep that under wraps, too. Fingers crossed.  I found out with the other two, and since this is my last chance at experiencing this miracle, I want to look at my husband and have him tell me in his own words whether we'll need the blue or pink going home outfit.  I can't even imagine how awesome that would be :)

Have a happy weekend!

oh, how my mind wanders.

Looks like I've taken a bit of a blog break.  Unintentional, but I haven't had much to post about. Lots of things floating about in my mind, though.  For instance: 

The upcoming holidays.

Little giftish projects.  Things I can't post here, unfortunately.  Peekers.

New recipes -- I'm cooking a lot more lately.  Not a bad thing.  Not so great for the waistline, though.  Most of my recipes have involved heavy cream lately.  Yu-Um.

My November block for Twelve Square.  I'm not sure what direction to take it.

Friends.  I am so lucky to have good ones.


Paying 1.69 for gas.  I know it will be short lived, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Socks.  I need some more.   Last year's all seem to have holes in them.  Did I never cut my toenails?  What's up with that?  I am loving funky patterned knee highs.

Knock off Uggs.  I want some.  Every year I treat myself to new slippers because I work at home, and every year I trash them completely.   Slippers, evidently, are not meant to be worn 12 hours a day.  I think KOU's would fit the comfy-but-durable bill just fine.

My hair.  I loved it short this summer, but now that the wintry cold is kissing the back of my neck (even indoors!) I wonder if it is time to grow it out a bit.  Better make up my mind before my appt on Saturday.

The Twilight movie.  What's the deal?  Should I read the books?  Is it something so culturally significant that I am handicapping myself socially by not getting sucked in? 

See?  It's all random and strange.  But there you go.

What's on your mind?


fall branches

Still savoring the golden light of fall.

Branches from our crabapple? cherry? berry? tree in a pitcher on the kitchen table.  Love.  Although the leaves are very droppy.

Managing (with little success) fall allergies that cause my eyelids to turn to sandpaper.  Ouch.

Catching up on work, which is tricky when the monitor hurts my eyes.

Looking superbly cool in my glasses with a pair of large round sunglasses OVER them while driving.  Because it is very awesome to enter a restaurant to meet your friend for lunch, remove your oversized cheapo target sunglasses, only to reveal your real specs underneath.  It's like I'm still dressed up for Halloween, only as a total dorkwad.

{ finding comfort }

What a strange feeling day.

thursday morning, starring my cup of joe.

My dear friend Katie lost her grandfather last night. ( hugs, hugs, hugs, honey. ) I went over as soon as her husband called and met the third member of our little trio at her door.  We stayed up late, sitting on her deck, under a near full moon. It had risen huge and heavy, kind of orangey and fake-looking, like out of a movie.  It hung there in the sky for a bit before moving higher, growing brighter and brighter until we felt like we were sitting under a spotlight. 

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, churchbells began to sound.  We have spent many, many late nights sitting on her deck, talking about life, kids, marriage, whatever, and we have never once heard churchbells.  Ever.  It was strange, but comforting.  We decided it was a sign everything was ok. 

Doesn't make it any easier though.

{ thrifted }

I stopped by a thrift store on my way home from errands this morning.  I was looking for an old something with big buttons I can re-use on Fidget's new dress.  Instead I found this sweet vintage sweater that reminded me of the grandmother I lost long ago before Fidget was born.  She often wore a blue cardigan.  Not like this one, but it was blue; I do remember that.  This one is too big and I don't know if I will be able to wear it. Perhaps I was just feeling sentimental, but I couldn't pass it by.