Thursday, February 17, 2011

Look Who's Learning The Ropes

The girls and I have been doing a bit of cleaning up around here.  You know, your average toy decluttering, closet ambushing, and cupboard sweeping.  Just look at all those stuffed animals.  Most of them are now enjoying life at the Goodwill.  It's not exactly spring weather, but since it is Chinese New Year and 1/2 of this family is Chinese American...we do try our very best to honor the old traditions and one is certainly sweeping out the old while the new year comes in.  Xin Nian Kaui Le, and sweep up a dust bunny on your way out kids. 
While we, and by that I mean ME were on a recent cleaning out frenzy, Liv stopped me in my tracks and started asking to use the mini sewing machine that I bought for Ava last year.  Ava is somewhat interested in the sewing machine usually for about 10 whole minutes at a time, until she makes a mistake gets frustrated and then ups and leaves. The, Yea, Mommy has been sewing for years and STILL can't make properly complete a pleat DON'T worry about being perfect speech hasn't taken hold yet.

I figure if Ava isn't exactly burning up the midnight oil on the Sew Mini, let Liv have at it.  She loves the thing.  She goes to preschool and then asks if she can sew right away when she comes home. She likes to do her own thing.  She tells me to go over to my machine and leave her alone. Nice.  Other than her idea to make a pencil holder (as seen in the photo in pink paisley) and a sleeping bag for the preschool room teddy bear (completely her idea, and made of purple fake fur I might add) she hasn't really expressed any interest in any rule following or patterns or project runway designs.  All in due time right?  So, here she is doing her own thing, me leaving her alone.  And her proclaiming to anyone who will listen, "Look at me, I didn't even cut off any fingers today."

I too am of the school of "no cut off fingers today = good times".

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Baby Set

I've been working on this baby sling and diaper bag set for the last day and a half or so. When I say day and a half or so I mean in between preschool pick up and drop off, chauffeuring to and from Brownie meetings,  working my way through a rhino sized mound of laundry, girl scout cookie pick up (if you know me in real life and ordered cookies, they will be delivered this weekend) and bathing the dog.  Oh, how she needed a bath.  Oh, and tooteling around in town in my "new to me" car.  It's 16 degrees outside and I have butt warmers and a fabulous sound system.  Ahhh, happy face.

My client chose these fabrics, very pretty, I thought.  You can see them here if you are in the slightest interested in these sort of things.

 Here, Ling is modeling for me sitting happily in a new baby sling.  Gosh, why didn't I make one of these when we brought Liv home?  Is is so lightweight and easy to take on and off.  Wouldn't one made of super soft minky fabric be so wonderful for winter months?  This one is 100% lightweight cotton and will be perfect for the person making a person who will deliver the little babe soon in the spring.  Spring, yes it will come right?  Please tell me it will come...someday. 

 I was also asked to create a diaper bag out of the same fabric line.  The decorator weight (a little bit heavier) fabric was so easy to work with.  It should be good for carrying the 25 lbs. of baby equipment that each little 8 lb. one seems to come with.  Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why one little 16lb. person quickly accumulates about 3000 sq. of stuff to make life bearable? 

Weird.  And clutterish.  I admit I'm glad we are all done with cribs, high chairs, booster seats, exer-saucers, changing tables, high chairs and very small people who through apple sauce against windows.  Although, I admit making diaper bags for them is oddly satisfying.

Monday, February 07, 2011

For Me, It Was About The Snacks

The Super Bowl, that is.  The Super Bowl marks a momentous occasion in our household.  The end of weekly football for a whole 8 months until football season starts right up again.  Over the past 20 years or so being married to the Muffin Man, a lover of all things football, I've gotten used to every television being turned to all football all the time for a good 7 months a year.  I've learned not to fight it and just roll with the blood sport of watching sports. To mark the beginning of my few months being football free the Super Bowl is a happy occasion.  We invite friends, I clean the house and cook up a storm. The friends bring way too many fabulous snacks and I top the evening off with a few glasses of brightly colored adult punch or my favorite box of wine.  Yes, box of wine.  I run a classy show around here.  This year I made Packer Punch, even though I was secretly cheering for the Steelers.  I'm nothing if not a generous hostess.
I got pulled in by the color, I'll admit.  The taste, not so much.  It's how you look though right? The cheddar cheese encrusted large olives baked in the oven? Now that was something to cheer for.  I ate too many.  My kids ate too many, and then stayed up too late.  Which is why Ava is now napping after a momentous screaming melt down while doing math homework this afternoon.  I love it when she pulls a great screamer, it keeps me humble.

This nap time for Ava is giving Liv and I time to put the final touches on an outfit I promised I would make her best friend from preschool.  Her friend saw Liv dressed in this outfit and asked for one of her very own.
So here it is,  All done.  I couldn't find the pony fabric and had to go the cow route this time.  Liv is modeling for me.  Makes you want to Moo doesn't it?   

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Have Gadget Will Go

I was recently asked to create a zipper pouch in wristlet form to carry an IPod Touch for the daughter of a friend of mine.  Her birthday is coming up and this gal takes her ITouch with her everywhere she goes.  When I saw her daughter last weekend she was teaching me a thing or two about apps.  Nothing makes you feel older than learning technology tricks from an eleven year old.  Wink. 

My friend said, "She likes greens and blues, use your creativity."  Ahh, my favorite kind of job. 

Here is what I came up with.  It's a simple zipper pouch with heavy interfacing to help protect the gadget that will live inside.  The best part though, in my opinion is the fabric flower.  You knew I'd be excited about the flower right?  

I saw this tutorial and immediately fell in love with these.  Go see the tutorial, great instructions.  They might be addictive. I have a few more cut out and ready to be made up!  Don't toss those scraps, cutting little circles out of leftovers can make darling flowers.  Who knew?   

I'm off to plan making a few more of these to sell soon. 

Thursday, February 03, 2011


I bought this book today at Borders.  I had a gift card.  I wasn't planning on buying this book, but it jumped out at me from the shelf.  And so I bought it.  Mostly because my dog Chloe has become so much a part of me.  Her eyes look like this dog on the cover.  Sweet.  She follows me around the house.  She always wants to sit with me.  Why would anyone want to follow me around the house?  Why would anyone sit outside of a shower waiting for me to appear from behind the glass, wet.  This happens everyday.  Then she sits on a bath mat and waits patiently while I dry my hair and dress.  

And yet, why won't she listen to me when I yell at her everyday about climbing in the dishwasher?  Why will she not stop jumping up on the kitchen table when she thinks no one is looking?   

Mostly she is simple unconditional love, and that is why I am fascinated by her.  I've never had a dog like Chloe.  Her head is on my pillow here.  This is another thing she regularly illegally engages in.  Clearly she is very stressed out here and seems panic stricken that I might yell at her for sleeping on my pillow. 

She is modeling the new dog collar and scarf set I made for her.  She looks quite fetching don't you think?  This new dog collar with matching little scarf will be debuting in my etsy shop soon.  I'll let you know when we have a few sets done, canine tested and ready to sell! 

I will report back when I learn more about the Inside Of A Dog.  Or what it takes to be a better pack leader, whichever comes first. 

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I'm Here

I'm here, I've been spending time making absolutely sure my couch doesn't fly away.  See, when you sit on it with your big old butt face down, it won't fly away.  Just so you know. 

I'm kidding. Sort of.  Not as much as I would like to think.  No really, in January I decided to tackle some projects here at casa o' de cul-de sac. I decided to put Pink Evita as a little business on hold for 4-6 weeks to attend to shall we say some overdue DIY home projects.   It's time.  Dust Rhino's were starting a calgary stampede.  It was keeping the Muffin Man awake at night.  Having a higher tolerance for domestic indifference, I was merely dreaming of a dusty safari, in an air conditioned villa...with that lovely mosquito netting over my bed...and a large African Native man as my private tour guide of Kenya.

I digress.  Here is a list of things I have accomplished in January 2011.  (I always feel better about myself with a healthy list at hand.)

1.  Clean and organize all Christmas decorations.  This took surprisingly less time than I expected. Goodwill is 4 boxes happier.  We no longer own string lights that don't light up when plugged in.  It's the small things in life, right? 

2.   Buy and have installed new lighting for entry way, staircase and hearth room.  This took surprisingly MORE time than expected.  As in 4 years longer.  My father gave me a Christmas present check to put towards this DIY home project 4 years ago.  2011 had to be the year.  The gold toned builder grade 1995 install had run its course. 
 The Muffin Man simply could not understand why I HAD to have these taken down.  Please direct your comments my way and I will make sure he sees them.  This does not need explaining right?  That gold was SHINY. 

Enter and queue the happy music. 

3.  Paint Ava's room.  It had been purple for 5 years.  As in minimizing and smallish purple.  I admit, that was my idea.  Not every idea I have is super fabulous wonderful.  There I said it.  Now it is sunshiny yellow.  Happy yellow.  She loves it.  It was her birthday present.  My mom helped me and we did the whole room in 6 hours.  We rock.  I think we are already saving about $6.00 a month on lighting her room, it is that happy and bright and did I already say sunshiny yellow?  Ummm, I also dumped 1/2 a gallon of that happy yellow on her hardwoods?  Yeah, that was fun to clean up.  Good times.  The muffin man did not even yell at me.  He simply shook his head and scurried off to the grocery.  He's learning. After almost 20 years of marriage, he's learning. 

4.  Clean out kitchen cabinets and drawers and organize into neat and pretty rows of kitchen stuff. This has been about 50% successful.  And apparently is not enough to keep me interested and mentally stimulated.  Thus the 50% success rate. I won't share photos.  There were food bits involved.  Old food bits. 

5.  Learn to sew clothes that fit my 6' tall self.  I know this sounds lofty.  But seriously I've turned a corner. After 10 years of sewing things, various things and many failed attempts at sewing anything that would fit my 6' tall self.  I've actually made progress.  Real progress.  I now own a skirt and a dress that I will actually wear this spring.  I am demolishing bona fide Vogue Pattens and splicing them to fit my overly amazon self at an alarming rate.  Go me.
Navy Blue jersey knit fitted dress looks better on than on the hanger.  Except when you've eaten too many Christmas cookies. Promise to model the new dress when effects of cookie eating have been reversed.  It will be at the top of next month's list. 

6.  Send cool baby gift to best friend from middle school. My best friend from middle school just adopted Number 2.  A baby girl named Anna. Life works in mysterious ways.  Martha was my very best friend from 4-8th grade, in a town that I was completely foreign to.  A small town in Iowa, she had 12 brothers and sisters, I was only there for a short few years while my dad did a corporate stint at a paint plant in town. Her family was like family to us when we lived there.   Then I moved away in 8th grade, and we lost touch.  Jump ahead 22 years and her sister moves 2 miles away from me.  We live in another mid-western state. Weird right? Only getting started.  I can't have bio children and adopt 2 little kids.  Martha and her husband adopt 2 children too.   I cry every time I really think about it all.  I want Martha to be happy, she is an amazing person.  So, I had to make some fun baby flannel items.  They are waiting for a card, and then will be mailed this week.

7.  Update kid's passports.  I'm taking them to Toronto for spring break, with my mother.  I love Toronto.  It is an uber cool town.  I'm 1/2 Canadian, did I ever mention that?  And they have a fabulous Chinatown.  Bring on the staring onlookers in Chinatown.  Me, with my mom and two little Chinese kids, eating dim sum, for maybe 3 meals a day.  Last time I went it was well, authentic, which I love.  Should be interesting though navigating with my 9 and 5 year olds.  Getting a passport updated for minors now is a pain in the ass, and expensive.  Did I mention pain in the ass?  Shame on you US gov't.  Why do I have to provide 18 documents proving I legally adopted these kids when you already collected these documents 5 short years ago?  Should the existing passport count for something?  I'm just asking as nicely as I know how.  

8.  Ohh, I bought a car.  It's used.  I've always wanted this car.  My friends roll their eyes at me.  I don't care.  Ever since my grandmother owned a similar car in the 1980's I've wanted a Volvo station wagon.  Yes, I am the only human being alive that aspires to own the car their grandmother owned.  All kidding aside, this is sort of my dream car.  I know this may reveal a lot will a lot about me.  But seriously I'm as happy as a clam in this car.  I heart my new (slightly used 2008) car. 

I will rock the preschool pick up line in this car.  You watch and see.  (For the record mine is a slightly sexier graphite gray. In case you were wondering.)  Go ahead tell me how jealous you are that I scored this car!

9.  Number 9.  Well, number 9 wasn't on the original list.  It was sort of unexpected.  I won't share a ton about number 9 here since it involves my daughter's personal story and all that we still don't know about her  story but let's just say Number 9 has involved lots of searching on the internet about her orphanage, emails and calls to other adoptive families, and well...more thinking and ruminating about Chinese adoption.  It has at times his month had me sending silent prayers of peace to those ever elusive birth parents somewhere in China letting them know that their children, now my children are happy and healthy and loved, with a capitol L.  And I hope this is what they wanted for them, this life on the cul-de-sac.  Perhaps we weren't told everything about adoption from China.  Maybe human right abuses that we have all read about have touched some in the adoption community.  I pray with all my heart that my children were relinquished of their parent's own volition and that they made a conscious decision to do what they did.  Yes, I hope that one day if my kids ever want to know more about their beginnings in life that some official in China will find it in their heart to open files, regardless of what is in them.  It's ok, nothing very dramatic was found, but enough to get me searching again to make sure I am telling them the truth. 

So, that was a productive month.  It's one of my 2011 goals to post more on the blog.  Maybe publish one of those bloggy books for us to keep.   Join more creative online groups.  Be inspired.  Be creative.