Thursday, March 25, 2010

it all evens out

-Gracen decided to take an emery board and run it back and forth across the screen of the computer monitor, leaving numerous deep scratches directly across the middle of the screen. Urg.

-I finished reading 'The Half-Blood Prince' again, and he still dies. Did I really think the ending was going to change? Did I really think I wasn't going to cry just as hard the second time around. Because I did. Stupid, sad, horrible ending. Moving on to book #7.

-Haven is having problems at school with two girls that are her friends one minute, and her mortal enemies the next. And I am feeling woefully inadequate as I am trying to her help navigate through this. How can girls be so very mean at only 8 years old?

-I said the opening prayer at the Relief Society Dinner on Wednesday night, and I somehow ended up using the word "sistership" instead of what I really meant to say, which was of course "sisterhood". And even as I type this, they both sound lame and I'm pretty sure my prayer was rambling and garbled. Note to self, I suck at public praying.

-At this same dinner, the cake I brought was the most sought after, and demolished in a matter of minutes. J-ello poke cake may be simplistic, but everyone loves it, so how can you go wrong.

-I finally got my hair done, after neglecting it for several months, and I feel so much better.

-I have three baskets of clean laundry that have been waiting to be folded for 4 days straight. And today will make day number 5...

-My washing machine is out of order until the new part arrives. And I was already behind a few loads, so my laundry room is getting scary. Scented candles will only mask so much.

-I did enough laundry the day before my machine broke so that we are not going to have to go naked, and we won't have to resort to washing anything in the sink. I hope.

-I'm still upset about the way book #6 ends. Why did it have to be that way? Why?

-I still have not scheduled an appointment with the Dr. for Gracen's Kindergarten check-up and to pick up copies of her current vaccination records. She supposed to be getting registered next Monday, and I am supposed to have all of that done by then.

-I received an unexpected and completely hilarious gift in the mail the other day, and I still have not called to thank the incredibly clever, funny, and cool sender. I am such an ingrate. But the gift still has me giggling, even as I type this.

-I finally figured out the exact measurements of salt, onion powder, and garlic powder that I like mixed in to the flaked tuna and mayonnaise when I make a tuna fish sandwich so it comes out just the way I like it every time. It's about time, eh.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

happy st. patrizio’s day

While I do have quite a lot of Irish ancestors, courtesy of my Mother's side of the family (shh, don't tell Granny!), I find the smell of cooking corned beef and cabbage to be totally unbearable. I can eat it with no problem, it's just the smell as it simmers away that drives me away. So, needless to say, I prepared a decidedly different menu for out supper last night. While I kept it all green, it leaned far more to the Italain side than the Irish. Our meal was made up of garlic bread sprinkled with parsley, a fresh green tossed salad, and pesto pasta with potatoes (recipe courtesy of Holly). Dessert was a simple, but very tasty green J-ello poke cake with a lime green tinted whipped cream frosting. What can I say, J-ello poke cakes are easy to throw together, and I have no end of little helpers that can poke the holes all of the cake for me. And my kidlets never cease to be amazed when I set their slice in front of them, and they can see the streaks of J-ello in the cake. I must admit, I still thrill a bit each time I see it too. Lame? Maybe, but it's still a yummy cake, no denying it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

adding some green

I was helping my children lay their clothes out for the next day, and we were making sure there was some kind of green evident in their outfits for St. Patrick's Day. They didn't relish getting pinched. I came to discover that all of my children have green in their wardrobes in some shape or form, except for Haven. I'm not sure how that happened. She does have a lot of blue, purple and brown though. Hmmm. Anyways, Haven asked me if I had any ideas to help remedy her greenless state. I did.

One plain white tee, 3 different green scraps of fabric, various clover templates in different sizes, some time spent at my sewing machine, and it was done.


 I just pinned each clover to the t-shirt, and stitched around each one about 1/8" inside from the edge. Using a straight stitch also makes it easy to unpick, and I can remove the clovers at any time, and return the shirt to it's original plain white tee status.

 This is a bonus since it would mean Haven wouldn't have to be stuck with a holiday tee long after that holiday has passed.

 She is ready for a pinch-free day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

the best sewing machine for a beginner

My daughter Haven has a birthday coming up (she will be 9), and she has been begging me to teach her how to sew for a while now. So I decided that it's time I bought her a sewing machine of her own that she can learn on. As a result, I have been reading, reviewing, and researching as many different options that I could find in order to make the best decision possible. These are the three I am most interested in as they are not toys, but real, honest to goodness sewing machines, all of them with a cord that plugs in so there are no batteries to have to bother with. So, in no particular order...

Janome Sew Mini


Online I found that I could expect to pay around $60 for this, although I might be able to find a lower price on ebay. It's a 1/2 sized machine backed by a reputable name in sewing machines, and the majority of the reviews I read were excellent. It was reviewed by experienced and inexperienced sewers alike, and most of them loved this machine. It seems like it would be the perfect size for a beginning sewer and a great little machine to learn on. Here is a video of this machine in use.

Pros: Drop-in bobbin, very lightweight and portable weighing in at 5 lbs., numerous excellent reviews online, reverse lever in convenient spot, low price, small machine for small hands, and a medium-slow sewing speed that stays the same no matter how much she presses on the pedal.

Cons: No light, no snap-on presser foot so you cannot change the presser foot, no markings for seam allowance on the needle plate, small and cheap looking foot pedal, no carrying handle, there is only one stitch speed so there is no going slower or faster as you stitch, no stitch length or stitch width choices, and no buttonhole function.


Janome Hello Kitty


This is a 3/4 size machine that also got excellent reviews from both experienced and inexperienced sewers alike, but it's also close to twice the price of the other two machines, the lowest being around $110. This puts it over the top of my price range, but after the trillion or so glowing reviews I have read all over the web, it really has to be considered. I know Haven would love that it's Hello Kitty, but that fact doesn't sway me one way of the other. My only interest lies in whether it's a good sewing machine, not what character has been plastered all over it. Although you would not believe the amount of grown women reviewing it that raved about the over-the-top cute factor and about how much they love and adore Hello Kitty. I guess I must have underestimated the enormous draw of Hello Kitty across all ages. Here is a video of this machine in use.

Pros: Has the most reviews online and almost all were excellent, snap-on presser feet allows for changing out the presser foot, markings on the needle plate for seam allowance, has a light, variable sewing speed so you can go faster or slower, a decent sized foot pedal, buttonhole function, a handle for easy carrying, it's portable and lightweight at 12 lbs.

Cons: The most expensive of the machines I am interested in, some reviews said threading is not the easiest, variable sewing speed by pressing the pedal which could be hard to coordinate for a beginner while also trying to deal with stitching the fabric, reverse lever in an odd spot (odd to me anyways), no stitch length or width choices, and it has a bobbin case instead of drop-in.


Brother LS2000

This is a full size sewing machine, and the price is $60, so it's well within my budget. I have owned two Brother machines in the past and they are well known for their ease in use, so I know it would not be a hard machine for Haven to learn to operate. I am however concerned that it will be to fast for her. One of the criteria I am looking for is a slow stitch speed that will allow Haven to gain confidence and experience without sewing her fingers by accident. And I couldn't find any video of this machine in use, sorry.

Pros: The low price is well within my budget, variable sewing speed so you can go faster or slower, stitch length and stitch width controls, full size foot pedal, markings on the needle plate for seam allowance, reverse lever in convenient spot, easy to use and thread, it has a light.

Cons: Has a bobbin case instead of a drop-in, a full size machine and the heaviest at 15 lbs., no buttonhole function on this model, a faster sewing speed than the other two machines, and variable sewing speed by pressing the pedal which could be hard to coordinate for a beginner while also trying to deal with stitching the fabric.

Whichever machine I buy for Haven, my biggest concern is that it be the best one for her to learn on, I am not as concerned as to whether or not it will grow with her, since there are several excellent full size sewing machines that are well under $100 that she could move on to in a few years time when she is ready. I will be able to give her another one for a present come Christmas or her birthday if that ends up being the case, and the beginner machine can be passed down to Gracen by then, in addition to the numerous other nieces in my family that are also eager to learn. So basically, I'm not worried about getting my moneys worth. And can I also add that being able to watch a video of two of the sewing machines in action was a huge help. Seriously, you would think some of these companies would realize this. So anyways, there you have it.

So, what do you think? Have any opinions on this subject or your own experience learning to sew? I would love to hear it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

for a new baby boy

A friend of mine had a new baby a few weeks ago, and I had some fun making a few things for her new arrival.

The onesies worked up really fast as soon as I decided on the placement, and as you can see, they're pretty self explanatory. And the carseat cover/tent (the neatly folded item under the onesies) was so easy it was criminal. Seriously, it was so simple to make, and something I myself would have loved to have had for my own babies.

The nursing apron/cover was also easier to make than I thought, and came together with no trouble at all. And you know that this must be 'THE' hot mommy item to have since Pam Beasley-Halpert on 'The Office' used one. So there.

I am working on the tutorials for the nursing cover and the car seat tent, but I have to tell you that I haven't even been near my sewing machine all week, so I still have some planning and pics to take. And some sewing too. It's just been a weird week and it's been a bit crazy around here, so hopefully soon.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

years of obssessive dressing, wasted

I have always been overly picky about what my children wear. Meticulous attention is paid in making sure everything matches and they look presentable.


Even now, all these years later and seven children in to being a mother, I am still fairly compulsive about these kinds of things.

I have even been known to plan their outfits weeks in advance for family gatherings, parties and such. I can't seem to help myself.

 And as evidenced by the above pictures of my youngest child, all of my compulsory habits have been in vain. What's an OCD mother to do.