Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Crocheted Dragon Scarf

My last completed project of 2014 was a crocheted dragon scarf that I finished earlier today for the nerdlet.  I found the pattern earlier this week. I changed the pattern a bit, but the overall look is mostly the same.  I also went with one horn instead of two based on the nerdlets preference.  I actually was considering making one in red, too, but after having made one, I have decided that a second one really doesn't need to be made, though I might change my mind as the bear cub has shown some affection for this one.

Besides the spike, I changed the shape of the head very slightly, the way that the spikes were done down the back and the wings are completely different.  I made one of the wings the same way as the pattern, but really didn't like the shape so I undid it and winged the wings.  I also went with crocheted eyes instead of pre-made eyes.  This second color is more accurate.  The color is called peacock.

I wanted to do a post of 2014 pictures of the girls, but I am not at home and so that post will have to be done in 2015.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

McCall's 6875 Version 9, 10, and 11

I finished the other three versions.  I really liked how they came out and can hardly wait until the girls wear them, though I am going to wait until school starts back up.  

Now, I need to decide which of my stack of UFOs is next.

McCall's 6875 Version 8 and Teacher Bags

I thought before I revealed the first finished dress of the sewcation that I would share so more reversible bags that I'm giving to the teachers for Christmas.  They already know what they are getting and when.  I had ARD meetings for both the nerdlet and the bear cub the last week of school and I took a stack of fabrics for them to choose from for their own bags.  These are not all the bags that I made, but I have already given away a handful.  The five on the right are the ones for the teachers and speech language pathologist.

Here is the finished dress, McCall's 6875 version 8.  This was supposed to be the bear cub's first day of Kindergarten dress dress.  It is a size 4 dress and is the smallest of the four.  It makes me kind of sad that I'm probably not going to be making size 4s anymore.

The two fabrics that I bought are so gorgeous.  I bought them from the sale area at the local quilt store.  I always go through the sale fabrics, and while I often buy from them, I hardly ever find quality fabrics like these two.  I had a hard time even believing they were there.  Here is a close up because you can't really see the beauty in the large picture of the dress.

Anyway, I'm back to sewing now as I have three left to finish.

And if anyone cares, here are the links to the other bags I have made and the tutorial and the other versions of this dress.
Other bags 1, 2, 3

Friday, December 26, 2014

Last Sewcation of the the Year

Q took the girls to visit my mom this morning so that I could get a sewcation.  Today I have been working on the girls first day of school dresses (yes, I may have missed it by a few days) which will now be first day of 2015 dresses or something.

The top two are the bodices for the first day of school dresses.  The bottom two are fabrics that Darth Monkey and the bear cub picked out recently.  The pattern is McCall's 6875, which is a favorite to see on the girls.  For these, I am leaving off the straps because both the nerdlet and the bear cub have taken to chewing on their straps constantly.

I should have them all finished tomorrow.  I'll try to remember to post pictures.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Tube Tutorials

I am grateful for living in the age of youtube.  I love being able to find a how to on just about anything along with a video.  Need a giant rock hauled out of your yard?  Check youtube.  (BTW, the rock is still there because of cost and water pipe complications.)  Want to know how to thread your sewing machine?  Youtube to the rescue.  There are so many times that I am surprised at how much I can find a helpful video tutorial on.  It seems like nowadays everyone is trying to make money on something free and while I know that people have to make a living, I am grateful that so many people post their free tutorials that teach the same things.

I am also grateful for having three little girls that are wanting to be creative, artistic, and crafty.  I started watching this video the other night and the nerdlet quickly usurped me from my seat so that she could watch it instead.  After attentively watching the whole thing, she told me that I needed to start it over so that I would know if I needed to buy anything the next day while she was at school so she could make them.

Here she is diligently working on it.  She replayed the video while she assembled it.

And her finished product, which is now hanging on the tree.

She picked this green foresty fabric after looking first through pink and blue fabrics.  It really hides in the tree and you probably won't find it if you don't know where it is so I probably should have encouraged her to pick a different fabric, but overall, I think it came out great.

She did lose interest after the first one.  She immediately wanted to make another one, but she didn't want to do all the work.  She started trying to use shortcuts and ended up trying to wrap the egg in the fabric and tie it on with the ribbon.  So I guess no one is getting them as gifts from her like she was thinking before we made one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The nerdlet's birthday party

I think this is the first year where I could just go on and on about how thankful I am for my FIL.  Besides the photography, he fixed my computer and retrieved most of the pictures from the last two years and managed to salvage the computer in the process.  He also took beautiful pictures of the nerdlet's birthday party this Saturday.  Yesterday, I was diagnosed with strep throat and today was a big running event that the nerdlet and the bear cub were going to run in and he went and took pictures of the girls for us.  I haven't yet seen his pictures, but I know they are going to be amazing.

I am also grateful for my MIL throwing birthday parties for my girls.  Neither Q nor I would throw parties for the girls without her pitching in to do this for them so often.  It is even harder on her because it seems there are some difficult family dynamics that come into play with every gathering.  Here are some of the wonderful pics from the party.

The nerdlet

The bear cub and Darth Monkey

The bear cub

 The nerdlet swinging a balloon in a contraption she made.

 The altered birthday cake.  They made a super boring cake and we had to spice it up.

My oh-so-cute mom and me.

I didn't post pics that included anyone not family because I didn't ask anyone's permission.  It was a great day and there are too many things to be thankful for about it to list.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I didn't get around to making a grateful post yesterday, so I would just like to say that I am thankful that I am not under any contractual obligation to do this.  I do think it is good for me to do it and I actually would do it all year if it wouldn't grate on people's nerves.

For today, I will express my gratitude for this man.  Of the many reasons I have to be thankful for him is letting me practice taking in the dark shots of him when he would much rather be doing something else.
Q and I have been best friends since 1993 and married since 2006.  Today, I mentioned how perfect he was for me and that it was a shame it took me so long to figure that out.  His response was that it took him that long to get there.  It is true and works both ways for both of us.  I definitely love this man and while we might not be anywhere near right for anyone else, we most assuredly fit each other.

This is from Q's work phone.  I call it "When You Fit Together, You Just Know".

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Today had beautiful clouds.  It was supposed to rain but it only started at my house a short while ago.  I love the rain and am grateful whenever it comes to San Antonio.

I have been taking pictures of clouds for my mom because as an artist she is trying to paint more realistic clouds. Here are some from today.

I have a whole facebook album I am keeping for her.

And for those that would like to see, here is a picture my mom did for my sister, that in my opinion, has fantastic clouds.

Monday, November 3, 2014


This is my 500th post.  So, yeah.

Since I was very little I have had a hard time sleeping.  I woke up multiple times a night and am prone to nightmares and unique and vibrant dreams.  I had a sleep study done in December 2012 and the doctor told me that he would call me if it turned out to be anything and I never heard from him and so assumed I was fine.  It turned out that he passed away shortly after the sleep study and the study was never reviewed.  I found out about this this past spring, and my GP sent me to another sleep doctor.  At the first visit, the new doctor told me that he suspected nothing was physiologically wrong with me and that it was behavioral.  After the second sleep study showed nothing other than extreme insomnia (2-3 hours), he gave me a long list of suggestions to change my sleep behaviors and help me sleep.  I'm going to share these with you.

Do not try to try to modify your sleep patterns if you have a big project or event coming in the next two days.

1. Get up at the same time every day - weekdays, weekends, holidays.
2. If you take a nap, it cannot be within four hours of getting up and must end four hours before you go to bed.
3. Go to bed at the same time every day - weekdays, weekends, holidays.
4. Do not use the bed for any non-sleep activities, specifically reading, watching tv, checking cell phone, etc.
5. Cover or hide all night time lights in sleeping room, especially blue and green lights.  
6. Use a comfortable sleep mask.
7. Stop all backlit activities 1 hour before bed - tv, tablets, computers, cell phone.
8. Get a sleep friendly bulb and use that for light at least one hour before bed. (like
9. Get up to see the sun rise.
10. Nice early to mid morning exercise at the same time each day.
11.  Hot shower, bath, or hot tub every night right before bed.
12. Socks if tolerated, if not at least use a blanket.
13. Write a list of things you need to do next day or think about the next day before you start your bed time routine.  Leave it outside the bedroom.
14. If you wake up and must do something do not turn on any lights that are not sleep friendly.  Do any activities outside of the bed and preferably completely out of the bedroom.
15. Do not eat closer than 2 hours before sleep.
16. Try to eat breakfast close to the same time every day.  
17. When losing weight do it slowly, but do lose weight.
18. 5 mg melatonin daily one hour before bed.
19. Daily multivitamin.
20. Take allergy medicine every day when you get up and consistently every day (because I usually just take it when I'm having issues).
21.  Sleep on your side.
22. No caffeine after noon.
23.  Do not sleep with someone that snores or makes other noises in their sleep.

Other non-doctor suggestions, I have gotten from friends:
1. Add magnesium to your daily list.
2. Warm drink before bed.

I have been following these as closely as I can and they have been immensely helpful.  I still usually get up once per night, but I am able to fall asleep fairly quickly (within 30 minutes) and so overall I am getting a lot more sleep and the sleep I am getting is much better.  I am also not having anywhere near as many nightmares.

So today I would like to express my gratitude for sleep doctors and friends with good sleep suggestions and for better sleep.

An added thing I would like to say is that if you are cold all the time, check out the symptoms for magnesium deficiency.  I had no idea that so many of my issues could be fixed with a little magnesium.

And because it is sort of sleep related, I will share the picture across from my bed that the nerdlet made at the end of Kindergarten.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Kindle and Library

Today, I would like to share my gratitude for electronic books and e-readers.  I'm especially grateful for my Kindle and the fact that I can check out library books for it.

This is a carefully chosen picture of a corner of our master bedroom, which is covered in wall-to-wall books.  My 12-year-old niece, Little Miss, actually gasped upon walking into our bedroom and seeing all the books.
A number of years ago, after Q and I combined households I tried to catalog our books so as to prevent our buying extra copies of books that the other one had purchased and I stopped when the count hit 5000.  We have gotten to the point where we have no more shelves for books and while we can replace the shelves we have with taller shelves (and I do plan to), I am glad to be able to conserve space by purchasing the books in Kindle format and still mostly get the book reading experience.  Q and I both still read and buy books in the traditional format, but this is definitely curbing the growth rate of the physical library in our house.

I also really appreciate not having to pack and unpack  my three girls four times for extra library trips (going there, arrival, leaving, getting home) when I'm waiting on a book that is in high demand or when I have finished it.  I put myself on the waiting list and it is delivered to my Kindle when it becomes available and it is deleted when I finish it.

If you haven't heard of Wowbrary, I can't recommend it enough. You sign up and it sends you emails weekly that tell you which books (physical and electronic), movies, and music are coming to your library.  You can then put yourself on the list to receive them or pick them up at the library when they become available.  It will let you browse all the way back for the past year and if you have saved the email from them that is longer than a year, it will at the very least the top 20 predicted choices for that week.  You can't get easier than this to feed your reading addiction for free.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


It's November and my normal Thankful month.  It's been a long time since I've written here and while I have been very busy I have missed this and I have a backlog of pictures I took for tutorials and showing off but I did not get around to posting on.  I may or may not catch up, but at the very least I plan to start posting again.

Today, I am feeling particularly grateful for having a father-in-law that is a master of photography and has shared so much of that with me.  I know a lot of people that take good pictures, but when it comes to the ins and outs of equipment, setting, and other technical knowledge, he is there to help me and answer my questions.  Because of him I can take beautiful pictures completely using manual settings, all the way down to manual focus, that come out wonderfully.  I'm loving this new hobby of mine at which I am slowly, but diligently, increasing my skill.

Here is an example of a picture I took this past week that I love of the nerdlet, the bear cub, and Darth Monkey.
It's not perfect, but what is nice is that I know what I needed to do to make it even better (decrease the aperture opening).  Besides being there to answer my questions and offering me suggestions, he has also provided me with back issues of photography magazines to peruse.  I'm hoping that there will be a noticeable improvement in the pictures that I take here and elsewhere, but even if there isn't, I sure am enjoying the learning of a new skill.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Matching Threads

How much do you stress about picking a thread to sew or quilt with?  Do you preview what you are going to use?

If you click on the picture to blow it up, you will see the gold works the best for blending.  This is a shirt for Q, and I was going to do the blue until I previewed it and have since decided on the red.  When I first started sewing, I chose the closest blending color, but now I often choose a color to show off the topstitching.  For piecing a quilt top, I don't really care what color I use as long as it doesn't call attention to itself and will often choose gray.  For quilting the top, it depends on whether or not I want the quilting to disappear into the top to show off the quilt or to call attention to itself.  Sometimes I will chose a color that pulls the whole quilt together if it needs that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Broken Lone Star Quilt - Part 5

I finished the main part of the broken lone star top and am now considering borders.  Don't ask me if I'm tired of Y seams.  If you consider making this quilt, be aware that after the diamonds are together, pretty much all that is left is Y seams.
I'm leaning towards the one on the right.  I wanted to do the inner border in the light sea green, but I didn't have enough myself and the quilt store didn't have a match (though they did have one darker).

After I add the border, I still have to clean around my quilting machine as I have stashed a number of boxes in my studio that will need to be removed before I can work in there.

This is as much of a preview as I'm willing to give you. I sewed the star in the middle and then each of the eight squares around the center.  I sewed the remaining diamond blocks into leaves of threes and then these leaves to two of the squares.  After that all that is left is the remaining blocks and triangles around the outside and the borders, which is where I am currently.

I thought that I would give you a couple of hints on putting the diamond strips together.

First, pay attention to which way you are sewing on the strips.  Luckily, I only had to undo 3 of these.

Secondly, I match up points by dragging my fingernail over the seam of the bottom layer so that it shows a small dent on the top layer.  Then I sew through that point to make sure the tips meet.

You see here that I don't always line up perfectly.  If that happens, it is fixable.
 I turn it back over and sew another seam line just over the last.
 Then when I open it, it is a perfect point again.  One thing to note is sometimes the direction you press the seam allowances on the bottom will make a difference in how perfect the point is.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Another Pile of my MIL's UFOs

So not too long ago (maybe two months) my MIL brought me another bag of unfinished dresses for me to complete.  I suspect that these were actually intended once upon a time for my niece, the drama princess, but now they are much too small for her and possibly even too small for my smallest, which is now the bear cub and not Darth Monkey.  I know the first one was meant for my niece because we have one similar and when I bought the fabric for the nerdlet, my MIL went back later for some more when my SIL decided she liked it.  

It does have a lighter piece on the bodice which is clearly a dying irregularity, but looks like a bleach stain in the picture.  I may take a red permanent marker (or light purple) and fill it in so that it looks more like the rest.  This one will fit the nerdlet right now and is probably a size 5.

My confession is that when finishing these dresses I was too lazy to change off the yellow thread from my serger so all the insides have yellow seams.  I was actually surprised that the seams weren't finished because my MIL is normally was better than I am about finishing the seams as she goes.

This orange one is going to be too small for any of my girls except the bear cub, and maybe too small for her.  I will be sad if it goes straight to donation.

This one will fit the bear cub now.  I think it's a size 3 too, but it's an inch or so longer than the orange.

This one should fit both the bear cub and Darth Monkey.  This fabric is loud and busy and I didn't really care for it when it was bought, but my girls love it.

One of my facebook friends, owner of SavyGirl Design Studio, recently created a paper pieces wonky block and then a quilt out of that block that I just love.  She titled it Interlace Nuance.  After you go check it out, come back and see what seeing her work and working on my lone star inspired me to make.  While it isn't what I had in my head and I didn't finish but the bottom two points, I like it.  I'll draw up another with wonky strips instead of points, but I may end up enlarging this one and using it as is.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ottobre 01/2004 25 and 28 (Funny Faces and Neon Stripes)

Q took the girls to visit my mom so that I could work on my broken lone star quilt but as I have to wait to buy the background and backing tomorrow, I had some time to work on some Ottobre patterns I had planned.

The first is Ottobre 01/2004-25, Funny Faces, which I made to be a little bumblebee dress.  This was the first time that I worked with ruffled knit fabric.  Working with the ruffled knit, rayon knit, and clear elastic turned out to be a bit much for me so I ditched the clear elastic.
It's a straight size 104 and I think that was a mistake as it looks like it will likely be really wide on any of my girls and a little short on the nerdlet.  I'll take pics when I have the girls back to try it on them.  I know regardless of the fit that Darth Child is going to love it.  The other thing about this is that they will have to wear shorts under it as that black is very see through so I'll be making shorts in yellow and black in the very near future (or maybe just short leggings).

The other Ottobre pattern that I finished is Ottobre 01/2014-28, Neon Stripes.  I used a favorite knit of the nerdlet.  This is a straight size 110 which is the smallest size of the pattern.
I really don't have any idea of how this will fit her, but it is an easy t-shirt to make so if she likes it, I can see making a bunch.

And because I'm not quite off the quilting idea, this is another broken lone star quilt that I'm planning.

The top seven would be the diamonds in the star with my replacing the solid yellow with a tone on tone yellow batik and the black on the bottom would be the background.  I'm going to see if I can find an orange I like better to replace the third fabric from the left, too, but I'm okay with using that one, if nothing suits me better.

Broken Lone Star Quilt - Part 4

I finished the 32 blocks of my lone star quilt.  Tomorrow I will go buy the fabric for the background and backing (and possibly a border and binding, too).

Before I show you the pics, I'm going to list the fabric requirements for just the lone star.  This star is a 58" square as I've laid it out. For my colors, I'll list them a to g going from the center outward.
a (medium purple) - 2 3/4" (so buy 1/8 yard)
b (purple and blue) -  5 1/2" (so buy 1/4 yard)
c (lavender and blue) - 8 1/4" (so buy 1/4 yard)
d (light blue on dark blue) - 11" (so buy 3/8 yard)
e (light sea green) - 8 1/4" (so buy 1/4 yard)
f (dark lavender and light blue swirl) - 5 1/2" (so buy 1/4 yard)
g (dark purple) - 2 3/4" (so buy 1/8 yard)

For the broken lone star that I plan on making, the fabric requirements are quite a bit higher. I have my camera at the ceiling and this is as much as I could get in the picture.  Once it's all together on a background, I'll take it outside for a pic.
You're going from 8 blocks to 32 so really it's just 4 times the fabric
a (medium purple) - 11" (so buy 1/3 yard)
b (purple and blue) -  22" (so buy 5/8 yard)
c (lavender and blue) - 33" (so buy 1 yard)
d (light blue on dark blue) - 44" (so buy 1 3/8 yard)
e (light sea green) - 33" (so buy 1 yard)
f (dark lavender and light blue swirl) - 22" (so buy 5/8 yard)
g (dark purple) - 11" (so buy 1/3 yard)
background - 2 7/8 yard (Six 12.5 inch strips and Two 13 inch strips for the 20 squares and 4 triangles.  One of the 13 inch strips will be for two of the triangles and two of the 12.5" squares).

These amounts assume precision cuts by you and the employee cutting your fabric at the store and no mistakes. You will also need more for whatever border or binding you need.

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking about all the ways I could arrange my diamonds.  I thought I would share some of them.

 First just make the star bigger.  This is all 32 blocks just turning each diamond into a bigger diamond.

 This is only 16 blocks and I think would work better for blocks that used the same fabrics for a & g, b & f, and c & e.

This is with the blocks overlapped, so to do this I would have to take out one each of the blocks to join them.

This one uses 24 blocks and I think I meant to have the dark purple in the center of all the half stars.

This could be really interesting depending on what fabric was used to separate the diamonds.

I ran out of diamonds for this but I think it would be super cool with another 5 blocks.

I this was just one corner of a square it could lead to some really interesting quilting coming out of it.

You could also make a quilt of the four smaller lone stars just as big blocks to make the quilt, but I didn't lay that one out.  I had other ideas last night in bed, but I got tired of laying them out and really these were the most fun.