Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Me and My Shadow

Flat Stanley is visiting us this week! Today he has been busy helping me wrap up some Christmas sewing.

Flat Stanley is the story of a boy who was flattened when his bulletin board falls on him. He takes advantage of his new thin physique and mails himself to his friend's house. Teachers all over the world have taken hold of this story. Now Flat Stanleys travel the world! There is even a terrific web site which chronicles his travels.

This striking Flat Stanley was sent here by my young cousin Riley. I will show him the town and then send him back to Florida to teach her Kindergarten class all about life in LA.

So far I took him to the dentist and to my substitute job today. Tomorrow my parents come for a visit and then the serious sight seeing will begin.

When my cousin Josh sent me his Flat Stanley over five years ago, I went nuts and made him a whole book. Expect nothing less my dear Riley! I have a Flat Stanley reputation to uphold!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I have written a few times about my love for the Hollywood United Methodist Church. As a new member, I am always surprised and impressed by the ways this church reaches out into the community.

Last week we were each given a teddy to love on, pray with and personalize for someone suffering from AIDS. Then on December 1, (World AIDS Day) we will return the bear to church where it will be distributed to an AIDS patient.

In addition, I was asked to write for this year's Advent Devotional Book. My verse is from Isaiah Verse 40:1-2:

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. 2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.

So, comfort has been on my mind lately.

Of course, my faith, family and friends are my real source of comfort... but I do love my woobie!

Naturally, I had to make my little bear a woobie of his own. I made it an I Spy quilt because that's just the mode I have been in lately. I tried to put symbols of good luck and health into it: a clover and ladybug, horse shoes,"apple a day..."

Vacation is so fun!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pets Are Hard or When Good Ideas Go Bad

Sara is hosting a "What the Hell Was I Thinking?!!!" Craft Mishaps thing. When I read about it I thought, "Oh I know what I was thinking!"

I was thinking I could paint!

I happened upon an *easy* watercolor portrait technique when I couldn't get all the supplies for a magazine portrait project. Sometimes limited supplies, time or money is quite good at stretching our creativity! Anyway, boosted by this success, I thought I had hit the jackpot this Christmas for frugal, thoughtful and homemade presents.

This is my cousin's pup, Cloud. This is Cloud after Picnik's "Pencil Sketch" treatment.

Watercolor Pup

And, this is Cloud on Crack.

Clearly, I am not a water colorist. If you click on the picture you can see the "scrubbed" look of the paper. It's just not pretty.

It's not much of a loss though. Just some paper really. There have been many other bigger failures on my craft table. Thankfully, a small apartment makes me toss them pretty quick!

Actually, none of my things come out *just* the way I want. When I look at this doll, I can't believe I never fixed her smile.

A Friend In Kneed

I thought patching my jeans with this pretty little scrap would be so cute. I wore them on our first day in Santa Fe and wouldn't you know that was the only day we took pictures of each other. So yeah, I have ripped jeans in the only picture of the two of us.
Santa Fe Trip 059
I made this Japanese Knot Bag (from this tutorial) and messed the handle up because I was too lazy to do hand stitching. It was supposed to be a favor for my sister-in-law-to-be's shower, but up close, in real life, it's a hot mess. So I never sent it. Ironically, it's one of the only pictures on my flickr account that she has bookmarked.

Bend the Rules Charming Tablecloth Bag

I loved the idea of this bag, but the handle drives me crazy. I have saved this to re-do one day.

My sewing machine cover needs a clip to hold all the bunchy-ness in back. It so rarely is on that it doesn't matter.

These seat covers are as wonky as the day is long! But, they are functional. They do keep Cliff from burning his buns and that's when he can feel the love!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sentimental Journey

On my first day of vacation I did laundry with a fever. Load after load, I was relentless! If it could fit in the machine it got washed. I even made a run for quarters around noon. Truly, I was only limited by the space for drying. Both shower rods and every chair had laundry hanging from it. Here is a picture of my balcony. Thankfully, what was once tacky is now "green."

I had intended to take big bags of clothes to Good Will. So far that hasn't happened. It's hard for me to part with certain articles of clothing.

These shorts are one of the few items of clothing that have seen me through the years. I bought them while working at the Dress Barn during my senior year of high school. I wore them to back yard graduation parties. I wore them on my first day of college. As they faded and wore out, they got softer and more beloved. They became relegated to the gym. Now, it's been many years since I would wear them in public. The elastic gave up a while ago- which makes them even more comfy! Sigh.

Recently, I was reading about Soule Mama's new charitable venture Mama to Mama. She's organizing The Caps to Cap-Haitien Project: A partnership with Konbit Sante. The women in this partnership will receive a safe birthing kit.
These kits - consisting of plastic sheeting, hand sanitizer, a sterile piece of string and razor blade, and these newborn baby caps - have the potential to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and give babies a safer, healthier start. "

In light of budget cuts my health plan just changed. I have spent some time researching my new insurance providers maternity policies. Let's just say, this project has given me a new found gratitude for my HMO.

Is there a better use for my beloved shorts? I think not.

Just to show how ignorant I am about the suffering in this world... I made the first hat with a doggy patch. Boyish I thought. The second hat got my favorite Hello Kitty patch.

Then it occurred to me a bit too late, that these women do not get the gender detecting ultra sounds we take for granted here. Their birthing kits include razors and hand sanitizer for goodness sakes!

No matter how bad we think we have it here... we are so very fortunate. I am so very fortunate to have a days worth of laundry to do. So fortunate, so very, very fortunate.

Note: Seriously, these hats reuse old tees and took 10 minutes each to make! Won't you join in?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Privileged -Me & the Show

Cliff has a new job!

He's been working on the show Privileged for two weeks now! So far he is really enjoying it. He works with an amazing producer and crew. The days are long. He works between 12-14 hours a day. But, before you feel too sorry for him- please know he is eating like a king! It's called "craft service" and it's a full breakfast buffet each day and a catered dinner. Really, the first thing I ask him each day is "What did you eat today?"

As for me? I like the show. It's cute. Teenage drama without the Gossip Girl "issues." Oh yeah, I miss Cliff, but now that I am on vacation, I am loving all the time to sew and blog and cook fun things (not full meals). It's good. In these times of economic uncertainty we both feel privileged.

Unfortunately, the show hasn't been picked up for next season. I bet a People's Choice Award would help. So, let's keep the good times rolling!
Please vote for Privileged! Thanks!

People's Choice Awards
Go to PCAVote.com

Down with Wasteful Packaging!

For the past few years I have made the majority of my Christmas gifts. I have had my "summer" in October or November and have had the luxury of time. But it wasn't always like that.

A few years ago I got my cousin two doll house sized Cabbage Patch dolls. I was excited to get one that looked like Riley and one that looked like her newly adopted sister Amanda. I imagined them playing sisters with the dolls. Visions of sweetness were dancing in my head.

I was flying to Florida that Christmas and taking the gifts with me. To save space in my suitcase, I decided to take the dolls out of their packaging and wrap them in smaller gift bags.

Thank Goodness! Have you tried opening a toy lately? Homeland Security has nothing on toy packaging!

My Christmas fantasy was tarnished by an hour long battle with wire ties and stitched up hair. I thought I was going to loose my mind teasing through the tiny stitches that held the hair perfectly in place on a plastic card. And, I was only opening two gifts! Imagine what Santa has to go through! I was so thankful the rug rats weren't hovering while I tried to free the dolls from their plastic prisons.

Today good news came across my Google Reader!

Consumer Reports to the rescue! This year they have launched a campaign along with Amazon.com to reduce the packaging in all things gifty. Down with those nasty (and sharp) clamshell packages! Down with wire ties and sewn doll hair! Down with unnecessary packaging clogging our landfills!

You can read Amazon's open letter to manufacturers here and can turn in the worst offenders of packaging abuse by nominating them for the CR Packaging Hall of Shame here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fall Freedom

After much celebrating we are done for this half of the year! Our vacation starts now!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Oh Happy Night

I was nervous while watching the polls and speculation earlier tonight. Since nothing calms my nerves like a little crafting I decided to get a cutting and a gluing.

I told the Crayons that we would have a "Planned Academic Experience" no matter how the election went. I worried that I would jinx myself by getting started too soon, but when PA went for Obama... I thought "think positive." I was sure it was going to be a long night.

Still, noting could have prepared me for the surprise. They declared the election 4 minutes after the polls closed here.

And hours before the cupcakes were done!

It's a new day!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Win this Table Runner

I just recently set up a Google Reader account to keep track of all the blogs I read. For better or for worse, I have added tons of new blogs to my daily reads too.

Simply This That and The Other is a new (to me) blog that I am now reading. Imagine my delight when I saw this red and white table runner. Peppermint perfection!

It's a giveaway too!

Just pop on over and leave a comment for your chance to win.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sick or Treat

Dancing Ghost

"Sick or Treat"

by Charles Ghigna

From Halloween Night Twenty-One Spooktacular Poems

I got a lot of treats tonight
And I just ate them all.
From candy bars to bubble gum,
My taste buds had a ball.

But now my stomach's doing flips.
Oh what a Halloween.
The biggest trick from all those treats?
I'm slowly turning green.

This is the last Halloween poem I will share with my students Monday morning and I think it sums up a month where I ate (ahem) more than one bag of candy corn. Yikes! Scary!

This delightful book is on sale now for just over $5. It's worth getting and putting aside for next year. As for me, I am thrilled to be past the Halloween milestone. I now have only *5* days until my "summer" vacation!!