Monday, March 29, 2010

Elbows and Daisies

I have been really busy lately. Several of my friends are pregnant so I have gotten on the ball and made a couple of gift sets, a couple more to go. Here's what I've got...

A matching quilt, pillow, and picture frame featuring the little engine that could.

It's for a baby whose gender will be unknown until birth. I thought it was good compromise, locomotives for boys, retro female heroine for a girl.

This started with the frame over a year ago - a way to salvage a book whose binding was falling a part. I cut out pictures and glued them to a craft-store cardboard picture frame.

A few months later I found the big fabric panel on the sale table at Hancocks. Cut in pieces it became the pillow (which I think looks BOUTIQUEFULLY AWESOME!), and the blanket. There were more squares of the story on the panel, but I didn't have enough of my red backing to accomodate it. The best part is that I didn't spend any MORE money on the little engine that could project. Even the batting is two large scraps from another baby quilt. I felt really proud to be so frugal.

And a hooded sweater and matching pink elephant for a baby girl that's due any day. In fact I wouldn't be surprised to drop by their house tomorrow and find a tiny new baby! The sweater was supposed to be newborn size, but my crocheting always comes out a little large. As you can see, Pinky enjoys hiding out in the hood. I love how the hood creates a wee bit of sailor collar in the front.

The pictures of Peter show his last curly-haired day.

We went home and I cut his hair.

It was awful. Peter did not want to be still, and I did not want to cut his hair.

Why, then did you cut it dear Liza dear Liza?

To get rid of the knots, and crying in the bathtub, and hotness dear Henry dear Henry.

At least, that all made sense 'til it was done.

Then I started crying. I cried on and off for the next eight hours. It was worst at night, and slightly better in the morning. Thankfully Peter still ACTS the same (don't laugh people, sometimes they DON'T act the same). I think I've gotten used to it after a week, but seeing these pictures still gives me a pang.

But Peter no longer screams in the bathtub while you pull at his tangles with a comb dear Liza dear Liza

Oh stuff it dear Henry dear Henry dear Henry

Peter gets lots of elbows. Sometimes he falls down and gets an elbow on his knee. Sometimes he and James play a little too roughly and he gets an elbow. Sometimes there is an elbow on his head. A few days ago he was really worried because I had an elbow on my head. It was just a little scab from a pimple, but he went on an on.

"Does your elbow hurt you mom?"

"No Pete, I'm okay."

"Your elbow is bleeding Mom?"

"No it's not."

and back to the beginning...

"Your elbow is hurting you Mom?"

Also there are a lot of oopey daisies. Any time Peter drops something it's "Oopey Daisy!"
If I drop something, "Oopey Daisy!"
If anyone drops anything (it's especially funny with Mark), we hear a tiny "oopey daisy!" issuing up from the floor.

I'm really struggling with James right now. He seems to be constantly arguing with me. Arguing is sort of a harsh term for what he does, but that's really what it boils down to. For everything I tell him, he has a reason why he should do it his way - so I explain why THAT reason won't work, then he has another reason, so I explain why THAT one won't work, and he'll have another reason. Usually by that point I explain why THAT one won't work in an angry voice and then raise my voice to get him to obey already.

That's on a good day. On a bad day I just get mad at the beginning and it saves time.

I hate being mad all the time.

James is also supersensitive and will burst into tears anytime I try to change anything. He was ready to fall apart over spelling homework today before he even started. On top of that he's really emotionally manipulative. I tried to patiently explain that with all his "reasoning" every time we asked him to do something, we were tired of listening to them - because it happens everytime! I tried to explain that if he would just go ahead and obey more often, then, when he had something he really really felt was important, then we could listen.

"You're never going to listen to me AGAIN!"

"No, no, it's just used up tonight, it will build back again - like health in a video game..." I wait for a minute for him to calm down.

"Do you understand James?"


That's when I got really angry. I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. Obviously James was tired too, but we have told him again and again not to say that...

I mean what are we supposed to say back?

It immediately puts us in a position of wrongness...

"no no sweetie you're not a bad kid!"

I refuse to answer that sort of statement from him.

So I'm really sort of at a loss here. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells all the time around him (stop laughing Mom, I didn't think this would happen 'til he was a teenager), and I'm exhausted by his argueing.

So this blog isn't a complete downer, let me tell you about right now.

James has dutifully done spelling homework (tears averted), and is practicing the violin. He is a smart kid and he puts up with a lot from Peter.

I'm praying right now that God provides a way for James to have his own room. Sharing a room with a destructive two-year-old contributes a lot to his stress level. He has wonderful educational toys that he can never play with because there's no room for him to spread out with enough time to accomplish anything.

Now James has finished practicing violin, and Peter exclaims "Great Job James!" He's pretty cute even though he IS destructive.

That's all for now.

It sure is good to have our computer back.

Oh and pray for Mark, he has UIL band on Wednesday.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fancy Skirt goes to a Jazz Concert!

Fancy Skirt (along with her sidekicks: Vampira Pointy-Toes, and DahPlungah Tizzle) went to a Jazz Concert at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. They noted other members of the Pointy-Toes family. It's a very old family, a member of Hertfordshire branch of Toes. So they felt right at home. Left Knee kept horning in on their fun giving them some trouble but they blew her off and ignored her despite her grumbling.

They were escorted by none other than the elusive and finicky Pin Stripe Suit,(they agree he is toothsome) and Blue Dress Shirt. He is an old friend they have not seen as much of as late and were delighted to greet.

Fancy Skirt recieved a compliment during a visit to the powder room, and was pleased to note that she was neither overdressed, nor underdressed, but like Goldilocks (without the breaking and entering) was "just right." DahPlungah Tizzle (the artist formerly known as My Really Really Low V-neck, but don't we all agree that's no fun at all?) was really the only friend that Fancy Skirt wanted to go with on account of fabric and proportion considerations.

Vampira wants it noted that she didn't stumble or trip ever. Not once. Visions of weak ankles had been keeping her up nights with dreams of broken legs and facial cuts and abrasions. But everything went smoothly despite I. M. Pei's obsession with white marble staircases.

A cameo appearance was made by Blackie the Beaded Clutch. She was not originally slated to be part of the evening. A certain Pearl Clutch from Iowa was on the call list, but couldn't make it out of the Apartment Offices in time. Blackie behaved herself very well, and did not forget herself on table, or under chair.

Everything came to a head for our intrepid girls when they arrived at the green room after the show. Standing around, trying not to embarass themselves with inane small talk, they followed the proverb and keeping silent "appeared wise." They were amply rewarded with a site, nay even a chat and hug from the great Wynton Marsalis himself! Pin Stripe and Blue were beside themselves with awe. They could hardly speak. Fancy Skirt rose to the occasion (but to nothing else) and made small talk mentioning Pin Stripe's profession, and giving the great Marsalis something to chat with them about. (Fancy skirt knows that is a dangling participle, but really dangling is all the fashion this season) Fancy Skirt is sure that Pin Strip will soon give an account of this on his blog here. So if you want to hear a more coherent, but less fashion-conscious account - keep an eye out.

Have a fancy day everyone!
With kisses,
Fancy Skirt

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Finished It!

With great joy I finally finished it! I probably devoted way too much time to it, but time I had, and money I did not.
I did have to buy some fabric, but it was on sale, so I spent $4. I also bought a zipper. AND THAT WAS IT! Everything else I had.
I am not typing very much, since I need to go play with my two year old who has missed me. I look forward to wearing it to the Jazz Concert tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fancy skirt update

On Saturday I must finish making my fancy skirt, yea even by Friday it must be done.

Because I'm baby sitting on Saturday, and going to the concert Saturday night.

It's coming a long well. First I made myself a basic straight skirt from a pattern I had in my archives. I made it of a thick unbleached cotton, a kind of canvas. I fitted to me as exactly as I could myself (yearning for a dressmaker's model like Barbara), then put in a side seam zipper. I forgot to put in a pocket which I usually do even when there's no pocket in the pattern. I cut out 6.5" strips of unbleached muslin (I had a lot) and what I could find of bleached muslin (not so much) and ironed it into a 3.25" ruffle. I liked the length of the raw edge of the skirt so I lined the ruffles up with it (I will hem it under later and I won't have to worry about perfect evenness because it'll be hiding uder the ruffles) and hand pleated them in a random, organic fashion.
I was striving for an orderly randomness.
I got about halfway up before I ran out white.
A slit in the back gave me a little trouble, as it's "two ruffles tall." I didn't want it to be really noticeable. I ended up starting and stopping the ruffle at the very bottom, and at the top having a ruffle cover up the slit. So I now have a 5" slit that looks like a 2" slit.

Today I will be cutting out more white ruffles (and being very careful with my rotary cutter so as not to need to get more stitches) and ironing and pinning. I will be trying to get as much done today as possible because I also still need to make a waist band. Maybe I can work a cell-phone pocket into that?
Although the rest of the skirt is cotton muslin, and therefore, not shiny - I thought I'd make the waist band out of a bit of off-white satin that I have. I plan to make it at least 3" tall (maybe more) and incorporate two cloth-covered buttons of the muslin. Then, if I ever want to tuck in a shirt to be more fancy the satin will show.
I'm excited because I think I'm creating a skirt I can wear for Easter (to our very undressy church) as well as to an evening at the Meyerson Concert Hall in Dallas. No easy feat, it required several phone calls to my Cedar Rapids style pulse-keeper. She keeps me from getting to historical when I sew.I can easily slip into what was stylish in 1780. But when I show up somewhere with pannieres on I feel stupid. I have the heart of Tasha Tudor but not the stamina. Oh well. My man probably prefers it that way!

In other news, Corrie and I have added more content to our website! You can now read the first chapter of each of our novels. Also Corrie has written a tasty essay on humor! Come see us at: !

Oh I almost forgot. I've looked all over McCall's, Butterick, Vogue, Burda (I'm heading for Simplicity next) because I want to make a shirt like this. Does anyone have any ideas where I should look? I have fabric that I haven't known what to do with and this would be perfect! The original blouse is from but it's not in my size.