Melancholy Birthday

67270_1667600973928_1354428950_31780469_3925028_nToday is my birthday and I am nauseous, anxious and completely out of sorts, not because I’m concerned about getting older or that life is passing me by, not at all, I LOVE everything about my life. I’m feeling this way because my little girl, who is almost 18 but not quite, is on her first solo trip to New York City to meet with her agents and get this modeling ball-a-rolling. I am so excited for her and I hope fabulous things come from this trip. But when they do then this will just be the first of many solo trips that she will be taking all around the world.

I wanted to be with her, had every intention of dropping all my birthday plans and leaving on very short notice to NY. But after back and forth talks with her agents they said that they really wanted Beth to come alone to show that she’s ready for all this. Sure I could have snuck along, I could have gotten a hotel room and stayed out of the picture. But if this is really what she wants and what we’ve been working towards then how is that going to help her in the long run? She wants to model, she is willing to put college on hold (and she is really excited about college) she is willing to leave her family (OK that’s more like eager) to travel this world and strut her stuff.

She can do this, granted she can’t put air in her tires without having a complete melt down, but she can do this. Flying is no problem, she’s been flying across the country since she was a baby, last year she flew by herself to visit a friend in Chattanooga. So I’m not worried about that, well except I do worry when my kids fly and I track their flights to make sure they are where they are supposed to be. I don’t sleep while they’re flying which is hard if they’re on a red eye flight, but I have to know that they are safe. I tend to be slightly neurotic, I know this.

Once she gets to the airport she’ll have a driver with her name on a sign ready to pick her up, easy enough. She’ll go straight to the model apartment, that has a doorman and she’ll get her key and head on up to her room. Which she will be sharing with 3 other girls, 1 of which will actually be sharing her bedroom, much like a dorm room. All should be well and hopefully I’ll be getting text updates letting me know all is going as planned. (**Beth’s flight was last night and all went just as planned, she safely made it to the apartment and we skyped for quite awhile.)

Now this morning the excitement begins, she needs to get herself to the agency by 10:30. Her apartment is in East Village the agency is in SoHo, they’re not far apart. You could walk if you were up for a bit of a hike. Since NYC recently got 19 inches of snow she’ll probably opt for some mode of transportation. We’ve asked her to take taxi’s she wants to take the subway. As long as there are other people on the platform and she’s not all alone I’m ok with that. Unfortunately, how do you know that until you get down there.

I’m also worried about her eating, she simply doesn’t. Not because she’s trying to lose weight just because food is not important to her. Coffee on the other hand is very important. She’ll find a coffee shop and hopefully she’ll also eat. She doesn’t have a lot of reserves, so if she doesn’t eat eventually she’ll feel sick. When I’m with her I make her eat, at the very least a protein bar. She’ll have to do this on her own. I worry she won’t. She’ll get busy, distracted, nervous all things that make eating not in her consciousness. I threw a couple protein bars in her bag along with some fruit snacks and dark chocolate, all the essentials.

And once she get to the agency, then I don’t know what happens next. They’ll have her days planned and I don’t know what that means. Will they give her a schedule with shoots and meetings and send her on her way? Will they send someone with her take her to get her hair cut (it really needs it) help her pick out the right clothes to wear and just generally hold her hand, probably not. But I wish they would. She’s so very innocent, she’s had a very sheltered life. At this point I’ll only know what’s happening if I get updates from Beth, I better get updates!

Then the whole thing will repeat on Tuesday except for in the evening she will have to get herself to the airport. Will they have that arranged or will she need to call a cab. I don’t know but that she can figure out on her own. She is really good at asking for help when she needs it. She can do this! Then she’ll be back on her way home before the next snow storm comes into NY and threatens to close the airport yet again. But she will be home and I will be able to relax, finally!

Upcycling a sheet for your quilt backing

As I was lamenting how narrow and expensive flannel is from the fabric store, it occurred to me that you could use flannel sheets for the backing instead.

Beth just made a T-shirt quilt (using all of her favorite t-shirts that she doesn’t really wear but didn’t want to get rid of) since she wanted it to be a light summer quilt she is backing it with a jersey knit sheet. The kids don’t use top sheets on their beds so the top sheets always end up in our fabric bin and we just happened to have a big gray one that she could use. These sheets are inexpensive at Target but they would be even cheaper and better for the earth if you were to buy them at the thrift store. I know it’s a little creepy buying sheets at the thrift store but if you just dump them in the wash right when you get home maybe it won’t seem so bad.

The measurements for top sheets (with the hems opened) are approximately:

Twin: 66 x 96 which equals 1.8 yds x 2.6 yds

Full: 81 x 96 which equals 2.25 yds x 2.6 yds

Queen: 90 x 102 which equals 2.5 yds x 2.8 yds

King: 108 x 102 which equals 3 yds x 2.8 yds

Which would make for much less expensive backing than buying new material. Also you can always use RIT dye to change the color of a sheet if it looks to drab, which I plan on doing with a sheet that I just picked up at the thrift store for $.50.

Quilt #3 my nemesis!!

I don’t know what it was about this quilt that gave me such a problem. It should have been the easy one, instead of being all willy-nilly with the size of the squares I actually used a pattern and cut them all the exact same size. I also thought this would be my biggest quilt, when it was laid out it looked bigger than the others. When I started sewing together the rows I realized it wasn’t going to be as big as I thought, so I searched around the house for more sweaters and cut out a few more rows of blocks. Still no matter how perfectly everything lined up some rows were longer than others. So I cut more squares to fill in the shorts. I think this ended up being a mistake somehow it ended up being misshapen in spots, or maybe it was because I decided to wash it after I had sewn it all together and maybe some parts shrunk again. IMG_7685

I didn’t add embellishments to this one but I did cut some smaller squares and pieced them together to make the bigger squares. I liked the simplicity of this one and with the muted colors I thought it would be perfect for Thomas. Even with a few girlie sweaters thrown in.

IMG_7687

My next big mistake was to try and use the serger for the edging without first sewing with my sewing machine. Since the serger cuts off the extra material while it sews this was just too much to try and control all at once. Especially with the stretching  of the sweaters. I gave up on using the serger on my last side of the blanket since it was twisted into a complete mess. Then the blanket was thrown aside for about a week because I was so frustrated with it.

After working on some other projects (like the pouffe) I decided I better finish this so I could quit thinking about it. I cut off two the serged edges and started over with my regular sewing machine. I also had to repair this strange cut through the sweaters, I’m not even sure how that happened.

IMG_7702

I used a piece of flannel that I had bought for the first quilt (but then decided not to use) the problem with flannel from the fabric store is how narrow it is. Unless you want to piece it together its not going to make a very big quilt. Since this quilt ended up being smaller than I expected the flannel piece worked fine.

IMG_7704

As you can see it still didn’t lay flat, but at least its done.

IMG_7709

I tried to sew along the rows like I did with the other 2 but this one is such a mess it just isn’t working. So again I gave up after doing a few rows. These pics show all the twisting & scrunching the quilt was doing.IMG_7710IMG_7711

IMG_7713

And then somehow this one ended up being the smallest quilt yet.

IMG_7715

IMG_7717

Poor Thomas is sick yet again and spending more time lying on the couch. but at least he has lots of blankets around to cuddle up under.

IMG_7720

A trip back to the Columbus Antique Mall

IMG_2132Thomas has started busing tables occasionally at our friends restaurant which means he had some money burning a hole is his pocket. All 3 of my kids are pretty good savers but every now and then they like to actually buy something with their money. Thomas was lying on the couch the other day listening to his iPod when all of a sudden he took off his head phones and said he wanted to go to the antique mall. OK I said, but why? He very excitedly exclaimed he wanted to buy a sword. The last time we went both him and Daniel spent quite a bit of time looking at the swords that were tucked away in one the many cases. Both wanting to buy one but not having enough money with them. So it must have just occurred to Thomas that he finally has enough cash to buy a sword.

So being the good (or is that crazy?) mom that I am, I took Thomas to the Antique store so he could search for a sword. He went directly to the correct room (which is amazing in itself since this building has many levels and many, many rooms) and called on the intercom for someone to come please open up the locked case.

IMG_2098

The worker that was kind enough to show Thomas all the swords and told us about 1 other case in the store that had civil war swords. We did go look at those but they were about $600-$800, just a little out of our budget. After doing a quick once through of the building and finding a scythe (how amazing is that?) we went back to the first cabinet so Thomas could get his sword. Again the same worker really tried to point us towards the civil war swords because real swords have more value than a replica. Yeah well the replicas are $50 and Thomas is 13, I think we can live with them not actually having been used to kill someone in the past. Although the one Thomas chose could be real, we really don’t know. As Thomas said it could have been stuck in an arm pit before (because in medieval times that was where there was an opening in the armor.)

IMG_2125

All alone I ventured into the attic of the building, while the building is rumored to be haunted the attic isn’t a spot that the ghosts are normally spotted (but it still feels a little creepy.) During the summer this area is miserably hot but since it is winter it was very chilly instead. Which added to the feeling that a spirit was following me around.

IMG_2100

I think Beth would really appreciate all the vintage clothes and very sexy mannequins.

IMG_2108IMG_2110IMG_2121IMG_2122

Both Thomas and I thought these hands were a bit creepy, it made me think of souls trying to escape hell.

IMG_2112

I love this wall hanging it is so bright and festive and so out of place in the antique mall.

IMG_2127

This room also seems out of place, the rest of the rooms are kind of dark and dreary than there’s this Floridian room.

IMG_2129

Back at home Thomas decided to take care of those troublesome snowmen that have been plaguing the city.

IMG_7739IMG_7740IMG_7744IMG_7747

IMG_7762

We will not have to fear snowmen ever again.

And just in case you’re reading this and thinking that you will never let your children over here to play with Thomas, don’t worry we do actually have rules regarding the weapons. They are to hang on the wall and be looked at only, they are NOT for sword fighting in the back yard unless he is alone.

Thomas says the funniest things…

Dan was talking to Thomas about investing some of his money in stocks. Thomas who used to watch the financial networks with Dan and used to make daily predictions on where the DOW was closing, stated, “No, they’re too unpredictable.” Dan told him not too worry he’d make money in the long run and Thomas said, “I don’t want to get hit with an early withdrawal fee.”

That is the funniest thing I’ve heard in forever!

Felted Wool Quilt #2

I finished this quilt awhile ago but never got around to blogging about it. This one I kept for myself since it has all my favorite colors.

IMG_7147IMG_7150IMG_7151

I especially love the round embellishments

IMG_7154

and I super- duper LOVE this metallic thread. It is so fun!!

IMG_7156IMG_7163

I backed this quilt with some super soft fleece that was purchased at JoAnne’s back in Dec. I sewed along all the edges of each square to give it the quilted effect. That gets to be pretty difficult with how thick and bulky these quilts are.

IMG_7692

Ta-Da the finished quiltIMG_7695IMG_7700

I also got to use my new serger for the edging. Look at those lovely serged edges.

IMG_7722IMG_7725

The completely finished Pouffe

Here it is completely finished, I hand sewed the opening last night then added the button to the center (boy that was a pain, literally I poked myself a couple times.) I was glad I saw the idea to first sew a metal washer in the center than add the button over top of it. That made it much easier to pull in both centers, I didn’t want to lose my needle in the cushion (ouch!) and it was hard enough to push it all the way through and find the center of the washer, finding a hole on a button before it was all cinched together would have been impossible.

IMG_7733

A cool art project for the spring

This is a project that I’m going to start saving supplies for. God knows I can collect plenty of wine bottles between now and then! The rest of the supplies I’ll keep an eye out for at thrift stores, eventually garage sales and maybe even free cycle.

http://almosteveryword.blogspot.com/

This is the work of : Darla Murray and Bridget Smith. Recycled glass garden sculptures. photo from Life: Verbatin

Sewing a pouffe

pouffe:a large firm kind of cushion used as a seat.

Daniel is really into his Hookah, so much so that he was decorating his bedroom in an Indian/ Turkish kinda vibe. When we were out shopping on Black Friday he really wanted me to buy him some floor cushions at World Market, but I reminded him that I had 2 big couch pillows at home that I could recover and make him 2 pillows. We had bought a cheap black sheet back in September for that very purpose but it and the cushions just sat. Finally today I could take them lying on the office floor no more.

I think the problem was I really didn’t want to mess with making piping and for the pillows to look good they would need more definition than just sewing 2 pieces of material together. So I looked for ideas on-line and finally decided to turn them into round pillows and do a parachute type of cover.

I VERY crudely sewed the corners on the square cushions into a roundish shape.

IMG_2091

Next I needed to make a pattern. So I searched the house for a tape measure, finally giving up and just folding a piece of paper until I had a pie shape that I thought would work, I then drew it out right on the pillow. I had picked 3 colors to use and my pattern made 10 pie pieces, which meant 1 color would end up butting up against itself. So I made my pattern an inch bigger and hoped for the best. Without a tape measure it was done rather haphazard.

IMG_2059

Then I just started piecing it all together. The black material is from the sheet, the brown is a suede-like material that I’ve had in a bin for about 10 years, and the purple is a velvet that was part of my bedroom curtains (also for about 10 years) that I recently cut shorter so they would hang better.

IMG_2071

IMG_2068

I very carefully followed the same pattern so the colors would match up when I sewed the 2 sides together, and yet look what happened. Oh well I decided I like how the black segments come together and the colors reverse. Its almost like I meant to do that (I didn’t on the first pillow, but I did on the second.)

IMG_2082

This is how the cushion started and what I turned it into. I love how it turned out!

IMG_2084

I still need to add the zippers and I want to put a button in the center that will squish the centers together. Ahh… it just occurred to me that if I sew a button in the center I wont be able to take the cover off so there is no need for the zipper. Maybe I’ll just hand sew the opening together add the buttons and be done.

IMG_2094

I think they both turned out really cool, although not really big enough to use as floor pillows, unless you have a tiny rump. Hopefully, Daniel will like them and if he doesn’t he’s got a brother, sister and mom that would all like to keep them.

no spending and the lead free crock pot…

21 days into the new year and I think my no spending has gone according to plan. I have missed just running into Caribou for a coffee on the go, but I’m sticking to the rule that it has to be a social event, so I only get coffee when with others. I got 2 Caribou gift cards for Xmas that may last me forever at this rate!

My biggest dilemma so far has been over buying a lead free crockpot. Last year when I started clearing all the toxic substances out of my kitchen (which includes anything made in China) I had read about lead being in the glaze of crock pots, but I think it was just too much for me to think about at that time so it was pushed back to the far recesses of my mind. It has recently started popping up again in the blogosphere and this time I couldn’t ignore it. So I decided to get rid of my 2 crockpots but what to replace them with. My friend Kristen did the research and found a couple of lead free options but I’m not buying anything new. So I planned on waiting until next year to buy one and in the mean time use my cast iron pots and oven to slow cook. Which I did yesterday and it worked just fine. However, my birthday is coming up and mother in law asked what she could get me, and even though it does feel like cheating I asked for that crockpot.

Also I’ve decided that the thrift store shopping still needs limits, while my goal of this experiment is not to live as a pauper I can get carried away with even thrift store shopping. So in an effort to live within my new saving requirements I am going to put aside only $20 a month for thrift store purchases. Which means only shopping on 1/2 price day to maximize my money. I’m mostly buying wool sweaters for my sewing creations so I will be sad if I run out. But I can venture on to other art stuff (or maybe working on that renovation!)

I’ve got all our regular bills set up so I can have them all paid automatically each month, by putting the gas and electric on budget plans I don’t have to think about the bill I can just set it up for auto pay. We had a tiny pay cut which left my budget off by about $100 a month so I’ve had to drop my savings to about 18% instead of the 20%. I think that’s still an admirable goal so I’m ok with that. A note about the savings, this is just a short term savings acct. Since our debt is limited to our house and 1 car we are using the money to cover any big expenses that come up such as Beth’s modeling trips, my scrapbooking weekend, summer vacations and any renovation costs we start to incur. I don’t expect to have a huge amount of savings at the end of the year but I do expect to be able to pay for all of our vacations and renovations without going into debt!