Monday, November 22, 2010

Santa's headquarters may be at the North Pole...

Today in the mail there was a letter addressed to Santa Claus, at my address!

And inside, Poppy's Christmas list.

Ten out of twelve items begin with either "Barbie" or "Pony" as the descriptor. I'm guessing there's going to be a great amount of pinkness under the Christmas tree this year. Pink is fine! When Bethany was her age, she wanted everything Strawberry Shortcake for Christmas, and everything Strawberry Shortcake then was scented! My entire home smelled like strawberry jello, and I felt sticky just breathing the sweetness!

Shopping for this list isn't as easy as you might think. There are a lot of little girls who want the same things, and websites tell me the items are not available in stores. If I commit to buying online, I pay for S&H; is it worth it to look around town first? Of course, I need to check with Bethany and Max first, and see how serious this list is. 

Mrs. Santa had better get some sleep. Ho ho ho!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I get a week off!

I made two of these for my two intervention groups at school.
photo by Nicole Gerulat

The tutorial is found here, at One Charming Party.
After reading a Thanksgiving story to the kids, I brought in the turkey on a platter, and I cut it open, to reveal this:
photo by Nicole Gerulat
The kids were so cute, so enthusiastic about the popcorn-filled turkey! I chose two students in each of my two groups to get the drumsticks. They looked so cute eating popcorn out of the drumsticks! Of course, I was too involved to remember to take pictures until it was all over. Besides, I can't put pictures of the kids online, and I didn't want to just take pictures of their hands and the backs of their heads. Here is my picture of what it looked like when we were all done!
One of the kids brought me flowers today!
And another brought me a present!
Yesterday one of the kinder teachers and I had an impromptu talk with the school principal about the intervention class. We told her the kids are doing really well, and she was very supportive of the whole concept. This morning she took me aside and said she'd looked over the assessments, and the kids in my class have not only made great progress, they've progressed at a greater rate than the kids in the regular class, and they are all approaching, at, or above their target scores.
The affirmation of my work felt so great to hear! I know the teachers have been really supportive and enthusiastic about the class, but the objective data sealed it. And today the kids were all hugging me, and telling me they'll miss me (even though I'll still see them every day at lunch!), because after the Thanksgiving break I'll be starting with a new group of kids! This next group of kids will be more of a challenge. The first group was mostly bright, ready to learn kids who were intimidated or uninitiated. This next group just doesn't get it. Bring it on! But I'm really going to enjoy a week off work, first!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

she's an official grown-up, now

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what have they done with my hair?

My baby-lamb turns 21. Lamby, Lamby-girl, Lambelina. When she was born, we lived across the street from dear friends who also had school-age kids and a new baby girl. Their Sophie was an unhappy, crying baby, and mom, S, would sigh, and laughingly exclaim, "Oh, there's my sweet, gentle lamb, calling to me." Somehow, the irony of her comments made me see my own easy baby as truly a sweet, gentle lamb. The description became a name, and evolved into many variations of the same. Before Kathryn introduced us to her boyfriend, she told him we'd call her Lamb, and they gave each other a sweet and noticeable glance when we did.
Hello, can we set up a play date?

Cali girl does Canada
We also call her Catalina, Katerina, Katwin. 

Junior High style!
High School hipster

Love you, Lovey. Happy Birthday, Kathryn.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What's in a costume?

When I was a kid, planning a Halloween costume and putting it together and going out in it was really the best part of the season. One year I was a frog, wearing green tights and turtleneck, and spats over my shoes and a 3D mask I made of cardboard and paint. Another year I wove skeins of green yarn into a wig for a witch costume, and I sewed a black dress with long, bell sleeves. I helped one of my sisters make a robot costume from cardboard boxes with moving buttons and levers, and we made countless hats with varieties of animal ears.
When I had my own kids, I didn't allow them to choose costumes that were gory or evil, and I didn't make outstanding costumes, but I encouraged them to have fun and to be creative. 
Often, their costumes were based on pajamas or sweats or something that could be used in everyday wear, or added to our permanent costume collection for ongoing play. Our costumes reflected who we were, and who we wanted to pretend to be.


End of sweet, creative, wholesome costumes!
Now for the costumes that are 

Not Appropriate for Fall, or anytime.

I really like costumes and dress-ups, but I've been distressed by all the gory, gruesome, truly scary costumes worn by younger and younger trick-or-treaters. Still, I was appalled at some of the skanky costumes I saw online for little kids!
No little girl should be dressed as a French maid.
Or a saloon girl.

Cowgirls are cute, and rodeo is big where I love.
 This little girl's outfit is sure to appeal to someone
with a rodeo fetish. 

"Mack Daddy Pimp" costume.
In sizes 4-6, 8-10.
That's disgusting.

"Major Flirt"
Women in the military deserve more respect.

Ew, ew, ew. Little Bo Peep
These "Bratz" Costumes are just right for parents
who want to turn their daughters into jailbait.

Why is Little Miss Muffect
wearing leopard print? Icky.

Adult costumes are getting more raunchy. There are many variations of this fella's: the petting zoo, the one-eyed monster, the "treats" dispenser. Funny? Kinda. But I wouldn't want to see it on anyone I know!! Tasteless and gross.

But there are some things that just shouldn't be sexualized.

A sexy cookie monster?
Big Bird? 

How could anyone think of Sponge Bob
and sexy costume?

Finding Nemo? Really?

And please...
How could they do this to Strawberry Shortcake?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Appropriate for Fall

I haven't been here for a while. That post about Emmy and Sadie was out of desperation, even though I tell myself this is an obligation-free zone. Still, I want to keep you coming back for more, and you might give up on me if I don't show up. This post might end up being a doozy, if I manage to fit in all I want to!

I've been busy making things. The creativity is rejuvenating to me, but the isolation of staying in my sewing space is a little depressing. Hmmm, I need to figure out how to exploit the former and diminish the latter... actually, I know I should stop watching old British detective shows on tv while I work. I am really enjoying Netflix streaming through John's wii! I've already gone through a lot of funny old British shows.

Last weekend, I had lunch with two of my sisters-in-law. Here we are at Big Sky Cafe in SLO, where R's paintings are on display!

And here we are at Gopher Glen in See Canyon, after buying apples:

The weather is rainy, very unusual for this time of year! But it makes for a very nice fall atmosphere. It was conducive to making a fall leaves quilt I've had in my head for some time. I had some complicated patterns in mind, but decided I wanted to finish it this season, not a year from now, so I went with a simple idea. I'd hoped to finish it in time to give as a gift during M's visit, but Ralph can take it to her later this month.

I've also been busy making Poppy a Strawberry Shortcake costume for Halloween. She and I looked at some online over the summer. We found this one:
Which is pretty cute, but the reviews said it runs small, and that it's poorly made. About what you'd expect for a costume.

The next size costume was this one:

Again, cheap manufacturing, and what's with the sassy pose in this picture? I couldn't see paying $40 for the dress and tights alone.

When I offered to make it, Bethany and I agreed it would be a dress Poppy could wear normally, not just as a costume. Bethany also asked me to model it after the original Strawberry Shortcake doll.

It's hard to sew for someone who isn't here to try it on, but I put a couple patterns together and made this sweet little dress out of cotton sweatshirt fleece. The eyelet pinafore is made from fabric that was once curtains in Bethany's room when she was an infant. *aww*
I modified the embellishments on the pinafore to take advantage of the eyelet, and made pockets and a massive hat, and this is what I'll be mailing to PA this week:

I already sent Poppy green-striped tights to wear with it, along with a sparkly pink pair. You can see here how much she loves them already!   *goofy girl*

I can't wait to see pictures of girl+dress+hat+ tights (on legs)! (Hint, hint, Bethany!)
I hope it all fits!

I titled this post "Appropriate for Fall," and I planned to segue into a bunch of costumes online that are Not Appropriate for Fall. I think I'll save them for a separate post. I don't want to pollute this one!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


EmmyLou is visiting for the weekend. At first, Sadie was very bossy and insecure about sharing her space, and poor Emmy cried by the front door, missing her family. Sadie pooped on the carpet to let us know how she felt about having Emmy here. Now, they're getting along just fine. They'll never be best friends, though, they're just too different. Sadie is a cat in disguise; she is independent and usually can be found observing life from a cozy spot on the couch or in the sun. She has no inclination to play with toys or chase a ball. Emmy is the dog John wishes Sadie was; devoted to her people, untiring when at play, and she loves to play ball!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eerie Alley, finished

It's a gray, gloomy day, and the cobwebs are gathering on the shed, making it a perfect place to show you this cute little quilt!
I pieced some of those hearses into the back:
And here it is looking extra-creepy, with teenager included! 

And here's the finished wall hanging. Well, I think it's finished. I might take it apart again and add some batting and quilt it. Or I might add some embroidery. But I like it the way it is, too.

Some of the details include ribbons and stickers that were included in the package I won from Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

Well, that was a lot of fun. Now I'm going to make a Strawberry Shortcake dress for a certain 4-year-old to wear for Halloween!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eerie Alley Quilt

This summer, while I was in Pittsburgh, I got notice that I'd won something! I read a number of craft and/or quilting blogs --oh dang, it's been too long and I can't remember which blog I found the give-away on! That's terrible. Well, I'm pretty sure it was Jaybird Quilts! I won this package of fabric and scrapbook items from the Robert Kaufman Fabrics blog. Here's the photo Ralph sent to me of the items in the package.

That bundle in the back is this roll-up of 40 21/2" strips of fabric in various Eerie Alley prints.

I've always wanted to try using a "jellyroll" of fabric like this, when you get a sampler of a whole collection of fabric in coordinating colors and designs, but they're too expensive for me. It's funny to me that the one I won is in Halloween designs!
You see I've spent years decades conflicted about Halloween. I love planning and making and dressing up in costumes, and carving jack-o-lanterns, and I love kids trick-or-treating, and I even like playing around with scary-creepy stuff like spiders and mummies. I don't like gruesome and horrifying and demonic stuff.  I want to be sensitive to people whose enthusiasm for their faith makes them consider Halloween festivities a compromise of their devotion, or worse. But I refuse to consider any day of the year as belonging to the devil, and to consider playful fun as part of satanic ritual, any more than any other cultural customs. And there's candy, too! (I bought this season's first bag of candy corn today!)

So, back to the fabric: I hardly wanted to untie that sweet bundle, it was so cute all rolled up like that! Finally I did, and I laid all the strips out on the floor.

They're so colorful and cheerful, and a little weird because of the spiders and hilarious hearses with coffins falling out of them! (I took out the white strips, because they seemed to stand out too much, and to break up the intensely bright colors. I have other ideas for them...) I played around with different block designs, but I liked the linear and directional quality of the strips, so I decided to just shake it up a bit. I used AmandaJean's zig zag pattern that doesn't use triangles; what a great idea!

Cutting into fabric is a commitment, but it is a sensual pleasure to re-create designs! As the little scraps pile up, other ideas for compositions come to mind...
Hmmm, how about a wall hanging?
Something like this?

Here we go...

Wait, what about all those embellishments that came with the fabric? Now I have to take it apart again...

I'm working on both of these projects, and I'll let you see them soon. I hope.