Thursday, April 30, 2009

Attending Sewing Group

I attended my first sewing group on Monday morning. This was the first chance I'd had since joining the homemakers club for my county. My two year old is a late sleeper (I'm SO not complaining) so we were a little late, but it didn't seem to matter.

The first thing I saw as I walked in was the elderly gentleman who had been in my beginning sewing class in March. Sitting next to him was a stack of six to ten pairs of slacks. Apparently, he bought a sewing machine hoping to save himself the $10 per pair charge to hem his pants. I'm not sure that he cared for my exuberant toddler, but I found his presence to be charming. I hope he decides to expand his interest beyond pants (although I suspect he may be hoping to hoodwink one of the other ladies into doing the hemming herself under the pretense of showing him how - I'm not the only one with this suspicion). I did catch myself before discussing breastfeeding in his presence, although I might have been discreet anyway considering I was the youngest adult in the room by many years.

I had hoped that other stay-at-home moms would come to the meeting so that Abigail wouldn't be the only child, but this group was primarily retirees. The receptionist lent us crayons, and I'd brought toys and snacks. Abigail was excited to hang out with so many "ganmas" (grandmas) and got over her usual shyness quicker than I expected. She usually sticks very close to me and is very calm in this type of situation, but this time she actually started running around the room and singing loudly. Forunately the city park is a 2 minute drive away and we were able to get some wiggles out before returning to sew.

Sewing group seems to consist of members bringing their own machines and working on whatever project they want. Several were working on quilts. One sweet lady (who helped me carry my bags from my car) was trying to finish a project from one of the free sewing classes offered this spring. I was working on a project for my cousin's third baby who is expected to arrive next week. I bought the supplies in December, and kept thinking I had plenty of time to finish.

Sometimes it can be difficult to settle us both for a little sewing at home, so it was nice to have the dedicated time and place (in a novel and interesting place - for a toddler) to work. The homemakers club consists of several groups, including the sewing group, machine embroidery, quilting, basket making, and others, meeting monthly. I've been told that I can bring my sewing machine to any of the sewing groups and enjoy the company (and sewing tips). The embroidery and quilting groups are meeting the first week of May and I was looking forward to attending until I remembered that my husband is taking vacation then (family time). I can't wait to attend again!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Random Thoughts

I left town last Tuesday to visit family and my childhood home, and just returned this Tuesday. I still haven't recovered and have been struggling to come up with anything to write. I have lots of things to say, but can't seem to write it all down. So I thought in the meantime, I'd just share some random thoughts and hope I able to put two thoughts together soon.

About two weeks ago, we noticed a robin attempting to build a nest outside our kitchen door. We believed this to be a poor decision for several reasons: a strong wind is blowing almost constantly in our neighborhood (in fact, I originally noticed a pile of debris on the floor, not a nest); the nest location was between us and our grill - and we USE our grill; my laptop is located on the other side of the kitchen door and the bird does not like me walking by; and my cat likes to sit by the door (which is glass panels) and bark at the bird (yes, I said bark). Really, it's not a good location for a bird nest (neither is our driveway, but the killdeer haven't gotten the memo yet either.) We were very surprised to find 3 beautiful eggs in the nest just before Easter (robin's egg blue - imagine). We were even more surprised, given how often we've startled the bird, to find baby birds in the nest last night. Perhaps it wasn't a stupid place for a nest after all.

Abigail likes to sit in my lap and draw. Or sit anywhere and draw. Lately, though, she just wants me to draw giraffes for her. Today she asked me to draw one on the dry-erease board at my husand's office, and then shook her head and erased it. Then asked her Daddy to draw a giraffe. Perhaps I need to brush up on my animal drawing skills.

I'm listening to Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and finding it not as exciting as The Da Vinci Code. I suspect it's the reader, not the story, as it seemed to pick up after about 40 chapters. This is the second time I've attempted to read it, and I kept falling asleep the first time. I thought the Da Vinci Code movie would have made no sense if I hadn't just finished the book, and I'm a Tom Hanks fan, so I'm continuing along.

I am wanting to sew, but haven't had the opportunity lately. I finished the Easter dress at 2am on Easter, and then left town two days later. My mom and I got out my grandma's sewing machine, but I don't think it's ever been used and the tension was impossible to get right. I have a half dozen or more projects lined up, and am just waiting for a certain toddler to decide that she can play quietly for a little while.

The week before Easter we discovered that two year molars ARE the worst thing ever. We seem to be in a holding pattern right now, waiting for them to rear their VERY ugly head again. I dread the day.

I'm getting spring fever, especially after spending a week soaking up spring in Georgia. Georgia spring seems to arrive two months before Kentucky spring, which is a sore point with me. This weekend is supposed to be in the 80s, though. We're making plans to have outdoor fun with just our family of three and I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sewing Class at the County Extension Office

I've been asked how long I've been sewing and how I learned, and the answer really isn't easy. I got my sewing machine for Christmas in 1996, and my Mama started teaching me by making a pajama pants and then starting a quilt. I started another quilt in fall 1997 (note: neither of these quilts is finished).

I don't think I touched the sewing machine again until this past Christmas. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm really enjoying the process. I was very excited to find the yearly newsletter from my county extension office detailing free classes. This year's offerings included a basic sewing machine class on March 31st. It took some finagling to get me out of mommy-duty by class-time, but was so worth it.

We were given a homemade manual including handwritten directions and instructions pulled from various websites I would not have thought to read. Much of the class was spent learning to thread the bobbin which I had just barely figured out before class. We made a cover for an upright Kleenex box, but I haven't used it yet since we don't keep that size around the house.

The best/strangest part (depending on your point of view) is that I joined the Homemakers organization for the county. (Hubby definitely thought it was strange.) I'm excited because there is a sewing group, a quilt guild and a general crafty group and I can go to all of the meetings, tugging my two year old behind me! That means that people who actually know what they're doing will be sitting next to me to answer my questions when I realize that I've been winding my bobbin incorrectly for six months (or whatever the day's disaster might be).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

purse organizer

http://www.thegivingflower.de/patterns/Purse_Organizer_Recipe18_11.pdf

Easter Ideas

I've seen a lot of fun Easter tradition and craft ideas lately. We're experiencing second year molars, so not only is this post later than I intended but we're also not doing many Easter related preparations. This includes dying Easter eggs. I wasn't sure if two was a good age for the activity anyway, but I know I don't want to attempt it with a teething toddler! Anyway, these are ideas I'd like to shelve for next year. I hope you find them helpful!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CKC Louisville

I have been scrapbooking for nine years, and talked my sister-in-law (husband's sister) into joining me after about a year. We have taken a couple of trips to Nashville together to attend scrapbooking conventions and take classes, but we've been waiting for an event to come to Louisville.

Finally, during the third weekend of March 2009, Creating Keepsakes brought one of their conventions (CKC) to Louisville. The thing is, as much as I love scrapbooking I'm really into sewing right now. I'm saving for a nice machine, and the little money I am spending is going toward fabric. So even though I've waited for years to go to a CKC (not to be confused with CKU - Creating Keepsakes University), I didn't really care to take any classes this year. Also, with Simple Scrapbooks folding and so many of my favorite teachers quitting or getting laid off, I wasn't really sure I wanted to attend at all.

After considering it, I decided that it would be worth it to attend and see the floor show at least (the floor show is the shopping area usually featuring products that can't be purchased locally). I managed to find a few things I really wanted. I bought a Fancy Pants gated album that was used in the Have More Fun class I took last summer with Stacy Julian at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I did the project (page a day for September), but never purchased the $40 album that was suggested. I know it's tacky to talk about money, but I don't care. It was too exciting to find this album for $10!!

I also got a 24"x36" cutting mat from Fiskars. I've been wanting a large one to use with my rotary cutter and this one folds in thirds, which I thought was a good idea. Now I'm not so sure because it's not like the folds lie completely flat. Isn't this going to be an issue when using the rotary cutter?

My sister-in-law made the coolest purchase, and now I'm kicking myself for not getting one too. Have you seen the Clip It Up? If you go to the site and click through the photos, you can see that it can be used for scrapbooking embellishments (which I really need it for), jewelry, baby accessories, fat quarters (a quilting term that I've learned is WAY to hard to explain to a non-quilter or at least to my husband). So if I'm a good girl and use up all my embellishments because I can see them, then I can use it for my other crafts. Or since most crafts overlap very well, I can just use it for everything at once. I've already cleared a space in my craft room for it, even though I don't have one. It is so very cool. It's 28 inches tall, and roughly 18 inches wide, depending on what you hang from it.

Other highlights from our day: 
  • Abigail was excited to be allowed to get ice cream for breakfast (Skinny Cow was giving away ice cream sticks)
  • We discovered a wonderful Mexican restaurant downtown. I was impressed with the taco portion of the menu - both American and Mexican tacos with different meats including fish
  • I had my first fish taco - not what I expected and not sure I'll do it again
  • Abigail rode in the Maya Wrap in a back-carry for the first time - but she'd really rather that her aunt carry her
  • We really loved the "Scrapbook Hero" shirt (in the Guitar Hero font)
  • The Bind-it-All demo - this is definitely going on my want list (after the Clip It Up)
  • My sister-in-law not only won a door prize while we were at the convention, she also received a prize from Skinny Cow via Fed-Ex a week later!
There were not as many vendors or make-n-takes as I expected. Hopefully, CK had a better turn-out than expected and will come back next year. Maybe then I'll be ready and back from my scrapbooking hiatus.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter dessert ideas

We decided over the weekend that we would host Easter this year. Originally we planned to have family and some friends, and expected ten adults and five kids. Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to make it and now we're looking forward to six adults and three kids. Regardless, my favorite aspect of preparing a gathering is deciding on and making the dessert. The past few years pistachio cake has been requested for Easter dessert. While I love eating it, pistachio cake is not as satisfying to make as other desserts (I'm just not a semi-homemade kind of girl).

So this year, I'm looking for something different. So far, I'm considering a no-bake coconut cream pie (wonderful recipe from Southern Living) or (possibly and) strawberry shortcake with sour cream pound cake. I've never made the pound cake before, even though I grew up eating it. I'm looking forward to giving it a shot. I'm wondering if those ideas are sufficiently springy - and do I need to include some chocolate?

Does your family have a traditional Easter dessert? Do you have any good ideas for me? Please share!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Potty training and jellybeans

We have been working on potty training for a couple of months. We had one moment of success on our first morning, and then weeks of refusal to even sit on the potty chair. I'm in no hurry (she just turned two in January) but I still asked around for ideas on getting Abigail to agree to sit on the potty.

I heard several ideas, like giving stickers for sitting and for success (but we play with stickers just for fun, so I don't think that would work). One friend mentioned to me that her boys got jellybeans for sitting on the potty, and more jellybeans for having success. I really didn't think this was an option for me, but then I bought a huge container of Jelly Bellies at Costco. I bought them for me, but Abigail quickly learned that jellybeans were yummy.

When she started asking for jellybeans several times a day, I decided it was time to use them as a treat for potty time. So for the past few weeks, each time Abigail has asked for jellybeans, I ask her what we do to get jellybeans. She makes a beeline for the potty. She gets one for sitting down, and then one every few minutes after that until she's "done." When we're done, she gets three as a treat. When she has success, she gets a few more.

I know there are theories about rewards and intrinsic value and kids doing things because they're supposed to (or want to) rather than because we give them treats. However, I can tell that she's excited call Daddy to give him her news, and she was excited for herself when she has success. The jellybeans are a "booty in the chair" enticement, and I don't believe that's such a bad thing.

What have you used to help with potty training?