Monday, March 30

Spring Break

It’s spring break in our town this week, so I’ve decided to take a blogging break this week too – well, really an all-around computer break – while we focus on some other projects around here…

…including maybe making something like this (photo from here)…

tooth pillow group cropped

…for someone who as of today looks like this…


So, here’s to getting lots done this week – and having some fun while we’re at it. ‘Til next week then…

Tuesday, March 24

How to Hide a Hole (with an Appliqué)

A while back, Sophie entered an “I only want to wear dresses” stage so I went to a local thrift store to stock up. Found some great deals, including an adorable rainbow plaid dress. But I didn’t notice the HOLE until she was wearing it for the first time. IMG_1509
So what do you do? You slap on a big appliqué right over the hole.
Before and After
I did take pictures along the way, so here are my steps…
1. I drew a flower shape on some fusible web and cut it out. Then I should have first fused the web onto some fabric and then cut out the fabric, staying about 1/4” away from the edge of the fusible web where possible. But no. Instead I cut out the fabric first while merely holding the fusible web against it, which is why—in the photo—the white flower and yellow flower don’t fit right at the corners…) IMG_1512
2. I fused the flower onto the dress, over the hole of course. Then I drew a line as a guide for my stitching, using a colored pencil because it was handy and happened to be the same color as my thread. I tried to draw where the edge of the fusible web was, as best as I could tell through the fabric. IMG_1513
3. I stitched on the line I just drew… or at least, I tried to! (I thought it would be easier and faster to lower my feed dogs and stitch it freehand. Not so easy. Not so fast. And definitely not so pretty. Maybe a darning foot would have helped. And some experience stitching freehand! Good thing I’m an experienced ripper-outer…) IMG_1516
4. I stitched over the line a second time, to make the stitching stand out more. I took my time around the curves, sometimes stopping with the needle in the down position so I could lift the presser foot, turn the fabric, then lower foot and keep sewing. Using a small stitch length also helped me sew smooth curves. IMG_1522
5. I repeated step 1 for a small circle fused onto a red scrap of fabric. Note: in this case, I liked the color but not the pattern of my red scrap, so I ironed the fusible web onto the manufacturer’s “right” side of the fabric so the “wrong” side would be face-up. I’m allowed to do that… IMG_1514
6. After I fused the circle onto the flower (see my iron outline?), I drew another line to be my stitching guide again. IMG_1524
7. I sewed around the teensy circle twice, but my lines were so messy and looked more liked square-cles than circles, so I sewed around a few more times. IMG_1526
And that’s it. Here’s what it looked like after I roughed it up a bit; it’ll fray even more after being washed and dried a few times.       IMG_1530
On to the rest of the mending pile… Too bad darning tights isn’t this much fun!

Edited 3/30: Wow, what a fun surprise this morning, to find a post linking to here... 

Saturday, March 21

Al’s Quilt Update, Part Deux

Hey, thanks for humoring me in the comments yesterday/today that you were at the edge of your seats. But now the “solution” will be pretty anti-climactic.

I just spread the quilt out on the floor, laid out the medium and small squares in their Lucy-designated order on top of the large squares, then started shuffling them around into a more pleasing-to-Karin pattern.

Tried to think less “Aargh, I already did this once before” and more “Ooh, I love puzzles, and now I get to do one again.” (There’s that “attitude” thing again.)

So here are the squares left to sew on. 60 pairs of them. Now safely out of reach of almost-2-year-olds. AND firmly fastened together with large safety pins. Just in case.


Actually, the hardest part was finding a spot large enough to spread the quilt. See those brown strips? Those are the border strips!!! That’s going to be one big quilt.


Oh, was I supposed to show a picture of the quilt itself? Of it laying spread out with all the colorful squares? Or of the other side, in all it’s wrinkly-puffy-glory where I’ve already added the quilting lines?

Well, I could, but then what would I have to show when’s it actually done? (Deadline: early June when my mom flies out to visit Al, tho’ I hope we have it done long before then.)

P.S. Was going to say something about my “merry little adventure” from yesterday, but she did it much better.  And check out the cuties she made for me: Cottontail the Bunny, Flypaper the Frog (with an adorable little fly at the end of his extendable tongue!!!), Sting the Little Bee and Bandit the Raccoon! LiEr/Lorraine/Friend Extraordinaire, you rock!

Friday, March 20

Al’s Quilt Update

Been working on the quilt in bits and pieces, but hit a snag.

Remember this photo from the end of this post?


While I had use of the open expanse in the basement of my parents’ place in December, I laid out all the squares in a pleasingly “random” fashion. Not too many oranges in one spot, or too many browns. Made sure same fabrics weren’t too close to each other. So, appearing random, but not really random. Then carefully put them in labeled, pinned-together stacks in the order they needed to be sewn on.

A while ago, little Lu got found my stacks. And started pulling out the pins keeping these stacks labeled and in order. I thought I’d caught her early enough to minimize the damage. I thought I’d figured out which stack was which. And which lonely squares went in which stack.

And the next two rows I sewed on worked out just fine.

But when getting ready to quilt the latest row this week, I found this:


A medium square of monkeys right next to a large square of the same? How did that happen? And farther down the row, the same thing, except with one of the tan fabrics. And a dark green medium squares right on top of another dark green large square – no contrast at all.

Little Lu, what did you do?!?

And now I’m out of time. (Heidi has no school today, so we’re heading on a merry little adventure very soon.) So will have to continue this tomorrow.

[Insert melodramatic announcer man’s voice here].
What happened next? 
What did Karin do?
And where did the monkeys go?
Tune in next time…

Maybe there will be a real “update” then…   : )

Wednesday, March 18

Before & After: Blog Design

I am SO in the mood for spring and have LOVED the past few days of weather in the 60s. So why in the world did my blog banner still say “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”?!? (Well, other than I’m calendar challenged and easily lose track of time…)

So before:

MBK let it snow template with red stripes background

And after:

red title red flower background

Funny, when I first found the stripes for my last background, I really loved them. Now I really don't. I’m sure the same will happen to my current background – I think the grey will get to me after a while. I wish the grey were green. But oh well, I found it fast and it was free (at So that’s good enough for now.

And just to check that this new template shows bullets accurately, here’s what else I’m up to today:

And that’s as far ahead as I want to think for now…

P.S. Here are the grid pictures we did yesterday:

CAR for Sophie to copy


ROBOT for Heidi (shown in middle; oh, she was SO careful to get it just “perfect”) but then Sophie wanted to try it too (shown at right; a little more free form; she got really frustrated with the knees—more complex shape than squares and triangles?—so I finally drew some dots for her to follow).


Tuesday, March 17

St. Patrick’s Day Word Art

Here’s another word art shape thing I drew back in high school. Are you wearing green today?


P.S. See my little initials there? Two random facts that makes me happy: my initials didn’t change when I got married and took husband’s last name AND his initials are the exact same as mine!

Saturday, March 14

Pillowcases for March

My very structured, time-conscious oldest asked me the other day how long they’re going to keep using their Valentines pillowcases. As calendar-challenged as I am, it hadn’t really occur to me that it might be time to retire them for the year. She on the other hand realizes that March is already almost halfway over!

So while the older two were out with Daddy this afternoon (glory be – it was warm enough to go to the park!!!), I pulled out the St. Patrick’s Day fabric remnant I’d found last month and made some new pillowcases. I wonder what they’ll say (esp. Heidi) when they see them tonight…


IMG_1377 IMG_1380 IMG_1378

(When Sophie asked us today when St. Patrick’s Day is, Ken thought it might be Sunday, but I said “No, it’s Monday, the 17th.” Heidi pipes up, “No, Mom, it’s Tuesday.” Sure enough, I realized I was off by a day and asked Heidi how she’d known that. “I looked at my calendar.” When? “Last night.” Oh, I’m so glad she got Ken’s time genes, not mine!)

Friday, March 13

A Lesson in Perseverance…

Guess what I did this morning… well, other than doing dishes and breaking up a few catfights and procrastinating on baking a birthday cake…


Made a few more cardboard boomerangs. The one I hurriedly made last night after being inspired by LiEr’s video (and prose) in this post did not fly at all. So this morning I was more careful. Used a pattern for one, used a ruler and all my rusty protractor skills for the other.

Still no graceful arcs to be found, but better than last night. (My boomerangs returned to me about as often as my one-year-old does when I say “Lucy, please come here.”) And every so often, they’d sort of kind of fly the way they’re supposed to.

Well, like so many other things in my life, I will just have to keep trying at this… I have hope that one day, the little flyer will indeed return to me.

Wednesday, March 11


Hmm, I was all set to start spouting off about today. Between the nosebleeds (two) and the milk spills (two) and all the other “unpleasantries” (too many to count), this day has not been my favorite.

But then it occurred to me that I’m being a self-absorbed moron who, comparatively speaking, had a great day! So much of life is about attitude. Perspective. So I’m turning this day around…

Things That Made Me Happy
(based on various random pictures I took today)

Finally finishing up Sophie’s thank you cards with her. Trying to take dictation from a four year old (about anything, much less about something that happened a month ago) is ridiculously frustrating... or ridiculously funny, depending on your perspective. 


Five little softies--that were ordered over a month ago! I stuffed them last week, tagged them last night, and will bring them to their new owners tomorrow.


My youngest’s hairdo. Why did it take me all day before I thought to hide her gunk-filled shaggy mess in a cute little ponytail? (A reminder to “be part of the solution” instead of just living with the problem...)


My middle-est’s shenanigans. “Take a picture of me, Mommy! Take a picture of me!” Her refusing to eat almost any food placed in front of her: not funny. But her shoving half of Daddy’s Simpson chess set into her mouth for no apparent reason: very funny.


A quick portrait of my oldest that’s neither washed out from using the flash nor blurry from not using the flash; and shows her beautiful (un-photoshopped) blue eyes, and all her baby teeth, four of which are really really wiggly.


To finish, how can I not mention:

my darling husband who lovingly shoulders the burden of these kinds of days with me. Sadly, I did not aim the camera at him today.

But then remembered another photo (don’t even ask why I took this today) cropped to show what he brought home last night after his business dinner: No, that is not a rotisserie chicken in there; it is a piece of chocolate cake that is so ridiculously large the swanky restaurant he ate at sent in home in a container built for a chicken.


I ate some of the cake last night and hardly made a dent. I shall go eat more cake now. And surely, there will still be some left, in case tomorrow is as horrible wonderful as today!

Monday, March 9

I love Samoas!

Got hooked on the stuff way back when I wore a green sash myself and sold them door-to-door. Now at $3.50 a box, I limit myself to one box a year, then carefully ration out the 15 little coconut-covered, caramel-filled, chocolate-drizzled cookies.


Figured there must be some "copycat recipes" out on the Web somewhere. Sure enough -- lots of them! Was won over by the pretty pictures of these cookies (click to go to recipe)


…and then was even more delighted to see another version (click to go to recipe) posted recently, making bars instead of cookies. Same great taste, much faster execution! So last week, I went over to a friend’s and (mostly watched as she) made Homemade Samoa Bars.


The Verdict? YUM! So so good! Looked great. Tasted great. And how did they compare to the "real" factory-made ones? Well, truth be told, I still like the Girl Scout ones better. But I think that’s because of the chocolate. We used semi-sweet for the homemade ones, so they had a strong cocoa-y taste that almost over-powered the caramel and coconut, whereas the chocolate on the factory ones tasted much more sugar-y. (I gnawed some off the bottom to try to isolate its flavor contribution.)

So next time, I think I’ll try milk chocolate. Experienced cookie makers (Jenny et al.), do you think that would be enough to change it from cocoa-y to sugar-y?

And, just for looks, since the factory cookies have dry-looking non-caramel-covered coconut on top, I might try leaving out a small portion of the toasted coconut and then squishing that on top of the still-warm caramel filling.

All in all, it was a success. And a fun afternoon with a friend. Wonder if she’d like to try the "Thin Minties" knock-off next? 'Cause that’s my man’s addiction. And his annual box is already gone!

(Updated 3/11 to fix photo links and make recipe links more obvious)

Tuesday, March 3

A Non-Productive Side of Me…

One of the comments after the last post mentioned how productive I’ve been. Let’s just keep it real for a moment. My house looks like this way too often:


And like this:


Sure, it often only takes a quick clean-up, maybe even just 15 minutes, to get it looking like this:


And then it’s that much more depressing when, less than 24 hours later, it looks like this again:


But that’s just ONE room. 15 minutes x ONE room = 15 minutes total. No big deal to do that daily.

However, 15 min x SIX (or more) rooms = 1 1/2 hours (or more) total! Suddenly, it’s not so “quick.”

Having a weekly cooking/cleaning exchange with Suzanne helps a lot!

So does having messes that clean themselves up.

Case in point, a while back I saw this mess: IMG_0013

...which grew legs and turned into this!


Yeah, that would be my teeny-tiny middle kid stuffed in there! IMG_0015 cropped

: )


P.S. In other news that makes me laugh: Last night, while The Man and I were watching TV, we saw a commercial for the new Glade plug-ins that expel fragrance only when someone is in the room, using some sort of motion sensors. His response: Wouldn’t tooty detectors be better?

Sunday, March 1

More Softies: We got cows!

Ha, almost forgot about this photo. One last part of the gift for the mom on Saturday, actually for the cute baby boy, was a set of little softies: a chick, a penguin, a beaver, and one of these three cows. 


I think the cow was the favorite of the four among shower guests. Essentially I copied LiEr’s Divine Bovine, just used the black-n-white check for the cow’s underside. (All my other softies have distinguishable bottoms; wanted these to “match.”)

By the way, isn’t that a great title for a post about cows? Divine Bovine? I was not quite as creative; pulled my title from a movie quote. Bonus points for the person who can name the movie. The full bit is “I gotta go, Julia. We got cows.


Related Posts with Thumbnails