Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: Mysteries of the Diagonal Highway. Also, Priceline RULES!

I had kind of an odd thing happen this morning... I'm driving along Highway 119 into Boulder (aka the Diagonal), minding my own business, when I notice this guy gesturing to me from the van behind me.

No not like that, he was crossing his hands in front of each other, making an "X", and pointing to my bumper.

I'm slightly perplexed by this. My tire isn't flat (I have one of those magic sensors that tells you if your pressure is low or non-existent), so my only guess is that he was either gesturing to my Obama sticker (hello, it's Boulder) or to my Flying Spaghetti Monster plaque. Either way, what did the "X" mean? I mean he wasn't making an angry face, in fact it was kind of beatific and peaceful, and maybe approving... so does he *approve* of my choices of car decor? Is the crossed-hands thing some kind of unbeknownst-to-me symbol of solidarity?

Or did he want to kill me?

Any guesses?

In other news, I effing love Priceline. In realizing that although I *could* drive straight through from Boulder to Chicago, but I'd be a mess after, I decided to get myself a hotel room going to and coming back from Chicago.

I haven't used one of those online-booking places before for this purpose*, so I decided to give it a try. I looked at all the usual places, Travelocity etc., and decided to check out Priceline, since I love William Shatner. They have a feature where you can "name your own price". The way it works is, you take your chances... you designate where you want to go and what dates, then pick some parameters (I chose 2 1/2 stars or above, not only because I'm fancy like that, but because if I'm going to pay $30 for a hotel, I might as well pay $50 and not get lice), and choose a price. In this case, I put $40, and chose the $5 insurance (in case of snowstorms, otherwise you can't get a refund), gave my credit card info, and let it look...

Voila! It was accepted, and after taxes and fees I payed 57.00 for what is apparently at *least* a 100.00 room, *before* taxes. SWEET! It made my cheap little heart fairly burst with glee.

Seriously! Look at this place!

I'm psyched. We're going to leave extra early on Friday just so we can enjoy the spoils of my shopping success. There's a pool!

I haven't booked coming back yet; I tried but I think because it's more than 4 weeks out I wasn't getting the price I wanted. It's fine, they just say "price not accepted" and nothing gets charged. Since I think the closer you get to the date the more likely they are to take your offer, I'll just wait a couple of weeks and try again. Lookit me, all savvy n' shit.

* With the exception of Entertainment Book links when I had one of it turned out I saved approximately $20 over the course of 2 nights stay. Woooo, the excitement is palpable. Really.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Homeownership

You know, I don't regret leaving the world of the renter, never at all, except when I have vastly troubling house issues.

Yesterday I got to call Roto Rooter though, which was kind of fun... I mean, c'mon it's ROTO ROOTER. Haven't you always kind of wanted to call them, just because the name is awesome? I feel the same way about the Concrete Barbers and Empire Carpets (it's a Chicago thing)... I don't necessarily want to spend the money, but I want a reason to call.

Anyway, Roto Rooter, despite the unexpected 300.00 expense, was really kind of fun... They had to pull my toilet off, so I got to learn all sorts of new things about HOW IT ALL WORKS, and then they made a shitload (no pun intended) of noise by cramming this automated drain snake with 3 INCH STEEL CLAWS ON IT into my drains. I feared yet respected it, and the cats were deeply disturbed; Tiggy was army-crawling all over the house with a WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SHIT kind of look on his face, it was pretty funny. The guy was really nice and even gave me a 20.00 discount since (and this was the good news) my pipes are "picture perfect". That's really good to know, I mean I would really have hated to hear "we need to dig up your yard".

So, lesson learned... yearly tree-root de-clogging will get done (costs about 100.00 from what I hear, but we'll see, or I can use the tree-root killer you can get at Wal-Mart... I'm not sure that's great for the environment though).

This all leads me to my Wonder Why of the week... why do you think it is that people line up for this kind of hassle? Wouldn't it be easier just to rent? I know I really loved being able to just call the maintenance folks and say "holy crap, get over here quick!"... it came with the package. Do you think it's worth it to have these unexpected things come up, if it means that you don't have neighbors above/below/beside you, making noise and generally making your life miserable while you pay for the pleasure? Or do you think it' s better to rent, even though you're basically giving your money away for a little box to keep your stuff in, if it means you don't ever have to deal with the hassles?

Personally, I vote BUY NOW, because I really truly do feel that, despite my upset-edness yesterday, 300.00 was a small price to pay for the knowledge that I don't ever have to move again if I don't want to, my monthly bill will never increase more than a few bucks for property taxes (and in fact may very well decrease), and I can call the cops on anyone I damn well please because GIT OFFA MY LAWN! I am such an old coot.

Side note... I confess, they were done by noon yesterday, but I took the afternoon off. It was lovely out, so I left the back door open and let the fresh air flow in, and I sat and pieced the top to the replacement school quilt. Glorious.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Monday Megrims

No this is not a new theme. (You're welcome.)

I'm having troubling plumbing issues (three words: POSSIBLE TREE ROOTS), which are going to require expensive professionals, which means the trip I had planned for The Kid's Spring Break may be off. I do realize that people are out there, jobless, totally destitute, and I have absolutely *no* right bitching because wah wah I can't go on vacation, but I was really looking forward to going home for a bit and if I can't, well...

I won't die, but I'll be sad.

Things to cheer myself up:

* This tshirt.

* I am now halfway through Medium on Guitar Hero. My lovely child had to get me through the challenges, but I ROCKED Black Magic Woman!

* I still have a job, for which I'm entirely grateful.

* I have lots of lovely friends who won't be mad if I can't come, just sad they can't see me... and isn't that nice?

* I lost 5 pounds.

Wish me luck!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Family Friday: Sisters and Brothers

Ah, Friday at last. It's been a long week, and I'm feeling very lucky to have a weekend ahead of me full of quilting (I got the new blocks that replace the ones that twat lost), giving gifts (Le Snugie and a lovely bag to Le Snugie's recipients mom), eating cake at a party and probably cooking something yummy for breakfast on Sunday.

Being that it's Friday, I'm going to attempt Family Friday and see if I can't keep it up!

I'm lucky enough to have had the best of both worlds growing up, because I got to reap the rewards of being an only child (well, the only one in my house - I have sisters from my dad's side - a story for another day) but I also got to enjoy the insanity of a multi-sibling family, since I was the second-oldest cousin of MANY MANY cousins, and my youngest uncle was only 10 years my senior and we lived in the same house as children (well, he was 16, but still).

Most of the siblings were off and gone by the time I was cognizant of their existence, but the younger ones have not only been adults in my life, but also quite a lot like siblings of my own. My two aunts have always been close with me and shared details of their lives that are more sisterly than what you might think of as aunt-ish, and even my mom is more like a sister sometimes! My two older uncles are much more like uncles, given their distance and age difference from the younger siblings, but they're still people I'm glad to know.

Most of all , the afore-mentioned youngest uncle is truly more my brother than my uncle. When we were younger he liked to give me Indian Burns and fart on my head (and would probably still do so if given half a chance), and he was soley responsible for my claustraphobia, but he also drove me around and took me to movies with swear words in them and let me hang around when his friends were there and listen to rock n' roll and he had the cutest friends (Keith - my first crush!), and if there's any more proof he's actually some kind of brother, than I don't know what it is! I missed him a lot in the last 10 years or so, he was married to an unfortunate woman who... well, long story short, he wasn't able to be around much. He has since smartly divorced her and is now married to a wonderful woman who I adore. Because, you know, it's *my* opinion that counts.

The funny thing about multiple sibling families is that there are one of *everything* in that family (unless you're the Osmonds). There's the controller, the spaz, the free spirit, the smartypants, the contrarian, the total wingnut... sometimes one or two of those at the same time... it can be alternately infuriating and hysterical but it's never dull! Not only that, most of them have produced equally interesting children, who I'm lucky enough to speak to on a regular basis.

So today I'm just thankful to have that big family, even if the nature of it has changed over the years from one big unit to several little ones, and even if I only really talk to them by email and Facebook messaging... it'll do.

I'll finish up with a photo of my lovely grandmother, because of course without her none of us would be here!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: I'm Such An Art Hog

The child signed up for a fun project at school; the annual Scholastic Bookfair** is next week (I'm volunteering, as I always do, since it's the one thing I *can* volunteer for that doesn't involve mid-day coffee klatches) and they're looking for a few kids to make posters for the theme, "Lights Camera Bookfair!". There are so many books that have been made into movies from the young adult genre in the past few years that there's an entire section dedicated to it.

So she brought home this big, neat, clean piece of white posterboard, and we started brainstorming. Or rather, I said "I have an idea!" and sketched it out on a piece of scrap paper. She liked it enough that she said "go for it!" and I sketched it on the posterboard. Then I started lining in black permanent marker. Then I started coloring... and then managed to stop *only* because she said "Um I'M supposed to do this poster!" I am an ART HOG.

I reigned it in, and it came out well!

I think I just miss doing art... I used to be pretty good at that drawing stuff, so when I get to flex those almost-forgotten muscles now and again, I get a little carried away.

This is the second time this has happened (the first being a painted poster of the Amazon rain forest that I totally took over and painted myself - it wasn't for a grade, but still), and I don't know whether the kid *likes* that I seem to take over, or secretly hates it and will require therapy later. Hm.

** Oh I loved those so much when I was a kid - the sight of all those unopened boxes packed full of new books would set my heart aflutter. Even the little slip they'd send home once a month where you could pick books would thrill me; it was one of my favorite things about the kid's grade school years, I got to play with that again! I mean, come ON! Books! For you! Delivered TO YOUR CLASSROOM! *swoon* I think that's why I spend so much damn money at Amazon...for the thrill of that clean, neat Amazon box waiting for me at home, filled with plastic-wrapped books, brand new and just for me! NERD!

Wonder Why Wednesday - Late-Night Edition

Well, yes it *is* Thursday. I didn't forget, I just got distracted! It happens. Sometimes I think that in a past life I may... oooh! Look! Shiny!

Anyway, looks like that fabulous addition to my blog will have to wait until next week. In the meantime, please enjoy the new link my friend Annette sent me. You can see the current headlines from all over the world by mousing over the area, and then clicking to see it full-size.

Look at these and you will wonder no more! Well, for an hour or two.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Totally Random Tuesday: Le Snuggie

Et voila! I posted yesterday about the Snuggie knockoff for my nephew, and promised pictures of my radical french seams. I love them, I feel so proud of them when they're done! :) And now, photos, because I'm terribly terribly needy.

The front... it's short because so is my nephew! Thank you to my fine daughter for modeling at 7 in the morning.

The french seams of glory.

The edging. I love polar fleece!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Catchup

No, not ketchup, catch-up. Although a weekend full of ketchup would be fun too... Lucille's makes their own and it kicks ass. Next time you're in Colorado, and maybe find yourself over in Boulder somewhere, you should go and have breakfast. It's pricey, but worth it. In fact, let me know if you're going and I'll come with, because I can *always* stand to eat there.

Oh, sorry, inner dialogue...

I spent the weekend doing a whole lot of nothing, which was enjoyable. I watched some movies (Eagle Eye, which was fun, Ghost Town, which was cute, and Merlin's Apprentice, which made no sense), and I made my nephew's birthday present (pictures soon), a knockoff Snuggie (you know those things on the infomercials). His mom said he really really wanted one, so Aunt Mimi provided.

The one that's being marketed is only available in red, blue and light blue, which is boring, and I figured spending $20 plus freight on one of these suckers would make me feel swindled, seeing as how it's not exactly a complex pattern (just a blanket with sleeves). I was able to find a great pattern online (apparently it's also not a *new* pattern, it's just that someone decided to market it - more power to them!). Now I can make my own in colors that don't suck! I'm all for supporting businesses and stuff, but I couldn't do it with this one.

I did make it about a yard shorter than mentioned in the pattern, since the intended recipient is 4. I can see adding that other yard, and maybe even a yard and a half for the tall folks, so it can cover your feet without having to scrunch up under it.

Pictures soon (forgot my camera today), which will include lovingly rendered closeups of the french seams I pulled off, which are glorious.

Two other things:

Thing 1:

Eric Violette (the Free Credit Report Dot Com guy), who is one of my imaginary boyfriends. He speaks French! Thanks for the link, Mom!

Thing 2:

I have really been wanting to make lavender wreaths for awhile now, or at least one for me. I just love the scent of dried lavender, even more so if it's mixed with dried eucalyptus. It reminds me of my grandmother, who I miss. The only lavender I had been finding was at the local craft stores, and it's all falling apart and gross. I thought, hey, maybe there's a place in Colorado! I could grab the kid and take a weekend road trip for lavendery goodness!

Lo and behold.

And it's about 3 miles from my house. How did I not know that was there?! We're so going once they open.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Family Friday: The Best Teenager In The World

Because I really enjoy the blogging a great deal, but can't craft enough (and suck at cooking too much) to post something I've done daily, Friday will now be Family Friday. I have a fun (and often bizarre) extended family, and an awesome bunch of adopted family-members, so I think every Friday I will report on one of their exploits, or perhaps an amusing memory or two. Call it my memoirs in training.

So! Family Friday The First.

My daughter is awesome. Her friends are also awesome. I (vainly) would like to take some credit for this, as I obviously raised her right enough to have her want to be friends with fun, interesting people, and not go chasing the plastic girls trying to be their lap dog/door mat.


This past weekend (whilst I was ailing), we had her 13th birthday party. I'd be going "wah, wah, I have a teenager, I'm old", except that she's awesome. Did I mention that?

We did lots of fun things this year. She got to go shopping for cool shirts, got to play princess on her actual birthday (a Saturday this year, how cool was that) by going out with our friend Melissa for a new dress and shoes, and she even went to a salon to get her hair and nails and makeup done. She looked so pretty! (Pictures should be forthcoming, my camera phone wouldn't take anything of quality in the low light of the restaurant we were at, but luckily my alterna-dad's girlfriend had her super-fancy camera with her.) We also surprised her with a trip to her favorite restaurant, Melting Pot. Well, it *was* anyway... 3 hours and bad services seems to have broken the spell.

She also got to have a sleepover...I would have loved to give her a proper party, but what with being broke and saving up for our trip to Chicago in March and all, it had to be a bit low-key this year. She invited 3 friends over for tacos, cupcake decorating, movies and Wii madness. They were up until 3AM, so I'd call that a success. They were also incredibly well-behaved, for which I thanked them profusely the next morning.

The best part was her new Guitar Hero game and guitar. I got it used on Craigslist, which I adore, for 30 bucks. 30 bucks!!! So I figured, yeah it's an ugly guitar, but it was essentially free, so she can decorate it or what have you. She ended up pulling out her vast hoard of stickers, and proceeded to have her and her friends cover it. She also gave them each a section on the back to sign their names and such, and each girl wrote her first & middle name along the edge. Talk about custom! (It looked like this before.)

By the way, those are footie pajamas she's wearing. I told you, she's awesome!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: Let's Talk About Me For A Change

Finny posted an interview about herself, with custom questions posed by a fellow blogger, and offered to interview any who would not be embarrassed to answer questions about themselves that she decided to ask. Having almost no sense of shame whatsoever, and also being rather fond of doling out personal information, I bit and she sent me some fun questions. (Her original post is here.)

If you would like me to interview *you*, just leave me a comment! Then you can post the questions and answers on your very own blog (no editing the questions!) and pass it along if you like.

What's the stupidest/lamest/worst gift you've ever received?

I truly do try to appreciate gifts, even bad ones, if they're given with thought and love. However, if the gift is clearly an afterthought, an "oh shit" gift if you will, it irks me. Vexes me, even. I'd be much happier not getting anything.

So, worst gift... my engagement ring. Shocking! Happily, I'm not married to him anymore, although I really did try to make it work. I knew, though, knew right from the moment he popped that ring box open, that it was probably going to end in some sort of trainwreck or other.

I wasn't ungrateful (to his face), and I wasn't even necessarily displeased, but it was ugly, and didn't fit, and GOLD. First of all, I don't wear gold. Ever. I own no gold of any kind, I don't even think I own anything yellow! But it was thoughtless not because of my gold-hating ways, but because he put no thought into what I might have liked. I would have been happy with a nice sterling silver ring, maybe with an amethyst set in somewhere. Maybe a little celtic engraving or something.

When we split up, I pawned that thing so fast I think I set off a sonic boom.

If you could undo one shitty thing you've done in your life, what would it be?

Oh there are so many. Honestly, I've been a pretty good person most of my life, but I've also been an asshole many, many times as well. I am also, it should be said, a bit of a pleaser, so my definition of shitty may be a bit different than the next person. I feel badly being late for dinner, ya know?

I think I would really like to undo all the many times I have yelled at my daughter for no reason whatsoever. She has often borne the brunt of my exhaustion and frustration in life, as many children of single parents have done before her, and it's never been something I would think of as fair. She's made of pretty tough stuff, I've always made sure to apologize and explain myself, and I don't think my bitchiness and uncalled-for freakouts have scarred her (too much), but it doesn't make me feel any better about it. I wish she hadn't ever had to witness my unhingedness.

If you could be The Best at anything - ANYTHING - what would it be?

Wow, this is a tough one... One thing only? I'm such an overachiever, if I could be The Best, I'd want to be The Best cook, quilter, sewer, car mechanic, American French-Speaker and so on and so forth...

I think I'll have to play this like I would the 3 wishes I'd get from a genie... they're tricky, but it can be done right with you word it just so!

And so, I would like to be The Best at poker. I want to be able to win every time, make buttloads of money, squirrel it all away and then go to school and classes for ever (in my life of leisure) to become The Best at everything else.

Sneaky! And Greedy! I'm a double-threat.

Would you rather be hotter or smarter?

Well if the question is would I like to be hotter or smarter than I am *right now*, I'd say hotter. I'll be honest! I'm pretty smart as it is (a braggart! A greedy, sneaky braggart! How can you stand me), but I'd like to have my 20 year old skin back. And the boobs, too.

However, if I had to choose whether to be hot or smart in general? Smart, every time.

What celebs are on your "Free Sex List"? You know, the list of celebrities with whom, given the unlikely opportunity, you could engage intimately without any negative relationship consequences. Like, you can get with them and your husband/BF/SO can't get pissed.

First, I would like to give a virtual hug to Finny for her use of "with whom", because I'm a slut for grammar.

Okay, this is an easy one (and thanks for saving it for last!)... I've included links for your viewing pleasure.

Yeah, alright, they're for *my* viewing pleasure, but I'll share! Not so greedy *now* am I!

Clive Owen (because OMFG)
Johnny Depp (now, not then - too pretty then)
John Cusack (hello Lloyd Dobbler!)
Hugh Jackman (but only if he dresses up like Wolverine... don't judge!)
Nathan Fillon (Captain Tightpants, oh I mean Mal on Firefly)
Adam Baldwin (as Jayne Cobb on Firefly - I am such a nerd for that show!)
Jay (Jason) Hawes (the guy from Ghost Hunters... no really!)
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (shut up, you would too)

And finally (avert your eyes mom), I'd like to request a Supernatural Sammich - Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki, in the back of that sweet, sweet car.

(I would have included Joaquin Phoneix, but he's kind scaring me right now.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Destined For The Desert?

I *used* to love Winter unconditionally... Sweaters! Christmas! Snow days! I mean, really what wasn't loveable? Then I started driving and owning a house that involved a sidewalk and being told that "it snowed" wasn't a good enough excuse to stay home from work, and now I kind of love it a little less. I also used to hate Summer... well, okay I still hate Summer. I can't function in 100+ degree weather, it's just not for me.

But having said that, I'm finding as I get older that I tolerate the cold less as well, and so that makes me wonder...

Am I destined for the desert? I know lots of old folks who have never left the colder climates, but is that just because they can't afford to retire to Tucson or Boca Raton? Do *you* find yourself longing for dryer, warmer locales? Am I bound to join the ranks of the people who turn on their heat and put on a warm coat when the weather hits 55 degrees?**

Luckily, I live in the Front Range in Colorado, where the sun works harder... it can snow a foot here, and it'll be gone (except in the mountains) by the next morning (usually). It generally stays up in the high country, and that is fine by me. I'll probably stay put... but still.

Sometimes, though, I'm reminded that I really do love snow, especially when it snows just how I like it... decoratively. We woke up this morning to a perfect coating on all the trees and's gone now.

**Side note: In describing herself this way, my mother referred to herself as a desert dwelling pussy. After choking on my coffee, I declared that I would put that on a sampler, a-la Subversive Cross Stitch. It's now in her office.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Yuck

Well, I guess the beauty part of a brand new blog that nobody's reading regularly yet is that when you're sick, nobody misses ya!

I got a killer cold over the weekend...just in time for my daughter's 13th birthday, hooray! We did everything as scheduled, to wild success, and I just medicated the bejesus out of myself. Hooray for Robitussin.

Managed to make it to my neice's 1st bday party (I wasn't contagious by then, and anyway I got it from their family so the point was moot), and the dress I made was a success! It's such a vain thing, crafting for others...I really do enjoy the accolades. Is it wrong to feel that way, if 90% of the intent is the joy of the recipient, and 10% is pride of product? Hm.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oh We're So Having These Tonight

Whilst browsing Finny today, I followed along to Pioneer Woman. While most of her recipes are way too involved for me (I'm really lazy), I did find this.

We're stopping at the store for red potatoes tonight, because if we don't I'll just dream about these. Holy crap do they look good! Pretty, drooly picture is from Pioneer Woman's blog. Not so pretty, yet still equally drooly because I remember how they taste, picture from my very own table:

They didn't last long, let's just put it that way. Yum!!

Wonder Why Wednesday - Parenthood

A few people are actually reading this thing! Hi guys!

While I'm sure that people can only take so much of my goofy craft addictions, I'm also *fairly* certain that nobody wants to read my op-ed pieces all the time either... I have many opinions on things (I know those of you who know me are shocked. SHOCKED!) and love to share, but I don't want to over-do it. These posts are long enough!

To obtain a happy medium, I'll try taking a page from quite a few blogs I've seen with a specialty day (like Wordless Wednesday) and institute Wonder Why Wednesdays. Why is the sky blue? Why aren't there more cupcake shops? Why is that guy staring at me? Why do birds suddenly appear... every time... you are near? (You're welcome for the earworm.)

Today's subject: To Breed or Not to Breed.

I have an almost-13-year-old (3 days to go!) and it is wonderful. Having a baby was the hardest work I ever did, and I am glad that I did it. I love her and would be lost without her, and thoroughly enjoyed being her Girl Scout leader and making cupcakes for school birthdays and helping her with Valentines for the whole class every year. I gladly sacrificed my nice apartment and nice car to keep her in a good daycare when I split up with her stupid father, and she makes it worth it (almost) to have been married to him, because otherwise I would never have had her.

Having said that, I have to say that parenthood isn't for everyone! My friend Christine (a confirmed bachelorette with no plans to have children) sent me a link to a small article that really put a fine point on it:

"My Biological Clock Is Broken"

This made me laugh (particularly the last bit... Run! Zombies!), and it got me thinking that I wish *more* women would consider how they really feel about having children.

Here's what I'm wondering, though... why do you think it is that lots of people seem to think there's something actively *wrong* with women who don't want to have kids or even get married? Is it a sense of habit? A feeling of obligation to gender and society? A need for repeating the traditions of our own youth?

Is there really anything wrong with living your adult life just for you or maybe you and a partner?

Personally, despite my love for my daughter, and as much as I'll miss her when she heads to college in 5 (gasp) years, I'm looking forward to the freedom that will accompany that new life of mine. My friend Melissa's son is a senior in high school, and though she loves him, she is also looking forward to the time when he's out living his own life. There's nothing wrong with us feeling like that, it's that 'empty nester' thing, so what exactly is the problem with choosing to *skip* the whole child-rearing part in the first place if it's not what you want?


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teeny Tiny Baskets

These are really small. They exactly fit a box of 48 crayons and a beanie baby, which was the intended filling so no complaints there, but if you, like me, have no sense of perceived size from photos, you might think they're meant to be bigger. Lovely pattern here.

I think if I do these again I'll try upsizing by about an inch on all fronts.

These were made for the afore-mentioned grand-daughter of alterna-dad's girlfriend (that's a mouthful!), and my friend Nova's son KJ, for holiday gifts.

I have nothing else clever to say about them, other than the creator of the pattern loved what I did! I think I'm blogged out for the day. I know, right?!

Unappreciated but Adorable

My alterna-dad (my ex-husband's father, who is my Colorado Dad - he's awesome!) has a girlfriend, who has a 2 year old grand-daughter who is adorable. For her second birthday, I was invited to attend the party (I thought the invite was very sweet) and did so happily! Alas, 2-year-olds aren't known for their ooing and ahing over one's sewing efforts... but her mom liked it!

This pattern came, as so many do, from my trolling the craft: blog. It took an evening, and I got to glean all kinds of new knowledge about how needles break! I've since acquired even *more* information about swapping out the right needle for the job. Live and learn.

The Love Bag

I love this bag pattern. I have made so many of these it's not even funny, and the more I make the faster they go. The hardest part, honestly, is the handle (all that ironing and folding). I have altered the bags a little, sometimes making the handles longer or shorter depending on the need, sometimes boxing the bottom, sometimes adding a pocket. Really, these are so easy. Go make one!

For Halloween this year, for my daughter and her best buddy and her best buddy's 2 little sisters, I used up some old yards of Halloween fabric (bought for a stuffed cat project that ended up being too goofy looking to exist) and made trick or treat bags! They came out very cute, and the girls all loved them. I (of course) made my girl's extra-special, because I love her so. (She got a pocket).

Speaking of Quilting... This Sucked.

Time for a little rant. I've had this problem over the last few months, since just before Thanksgiving.

Remember how I learned to quilt? I decided to use this knowledge to help my daughter's Social Studies class, who had been doing a project on Africa. They had decided to do quilts, wherein each student would do a drawing with fabric paints on a square of muslin, and then these squares would be put together into a quilt. Pretty simple, just squares and rectangles.

Armed with my new-found binding knowledge, I figured this would be pretty simple, and truly it was. Time-consuming, but straightforward. Time consuming, I have to note here, because although I truly do appreciate the efforts of whatever other parent decided to help by cutting the fabric, I think they may have cut it with their teeth. Piecing these suckers (there were 3) took a day and a half, and these were not complicated things. Oy.

Anyway, here comes the issue. And tell me, what would you do? I'd really like to know.

The plan was that I take the stuff home, do the quilts, and have them back in a week or two at most. Sounds simple enough; it was over Thanksgiving Break so I knew I'd have time. Enter the Twilight movie. What the heck does Edward Cullen have to do with it? Nothing, except that my daughter of course wanted to see the movie in a most desperate way. So did her friend from class, and her friend's mom. Well fine, sounds like a hoot, so we all went and enjoyed the very swoony Robert Pattinson and rolled our eyes at the squeaking horde of teens behind us in the theatre. I got to talking with the friends' mom, and lo and behold, she's a quilter! I told her about the project, and she very excitedly offered to help. Thank goodness, right? Don't have to piece and quilt and bind 3 quilts alone, right? Right.

So it goes that I did the tops, pinned and prepared them for quilting, and got everything together to do a marathon session on Thanksgiving Saturday at the mom's house. It got to be pretty late, and we were very close to finishing, so she offered to finish them up. More to the point she said:

"I can knock out a baby quilt in a day, I can bind 3 little quilts by next week, no problem!"


Now, it's my fault really. I assumed that a fellow parent at our mutual school would have the same values and level of responsibility that I do. Well, we all know what happens when we assume.

She finally deliviered TWO of the quilts after Winter Break. Two. Not three, but two. Where's the third, you ask?

Hell if she knows.

SHE LOST IT. Well, to be clear, she claims to have dropped it off, completed, at school, however nobody seems to remember her dropping a rather sizable quilt off to anyone, nor is it in evidence anywhere in the school. Might be an honest mistake right? Except for one thing...

She returned my bag of supplies, which originally had contained 3 each of coordinating pre-packaged binding (we were going for fast, not arty) for each quilt, just enough to have maybe a yard left over. What was returned to me included 2 unopened packages of blue binding, and guess which quilt is missing?

I don't know what happened, I honestly don't. Did she lose it and then craft an elaborate lie to cover it? Did she screw it up and in a fit of rage burn it in her backyard fire pit? Did she eat it? Nobody knows. What I *do* know is that there are 30 very disappointed kids in a first-period social studies class whose hard work is gone.

The woman's daughter & my daughter are pretty good friends, so I've decided to just let it go since clearly it's never going to be resolved. I spoke with the teacher (who incidentally doesn't blame me, though I blame myself) and I will be working with the kids to recreate as best we can. I don't, however, plan on having much to do with the mom anymore. I mean, would you?

Oh, one last thing, which I don't know whether to laugh or cry about... upon informing the woman that I would now have to recreate the quilt for the kids, who would have to re-do their work too, she said "Oh and of course I can help!" HAHAHAHAHAHA... *sob*.

I Finally Learned To Quilt

I always wanted to learn to quilt, but as I've said before, I have problems learning stuff that I can't understand from the start. It's a thing I have. Quilting always seemed to be fairly straightforward, but it was the *binding* that threw me!

One night walking along Main Street in lovely downtown Longmont, CO, my daughter & I stumbled across The Quilters Studio, a lovely shop that has classes. They happened to be having something called the Witches Workshop, wherein for 50 bucks and fabric they would teach us paper piecing (which just soothes my OCD heart in so many ways) as well as show us some basics like how to do binding and not have it be crappy.

We signed up, and had lots of fun shopping for fall and Halloween themed quilt fabric in little bits as we waited for the day to arrive. The day itself proved to be rainy and cold (perfect for an 8 hour sewing marathon), and the owner of the shop had lunch all made and ready for us at noon, which rocked. I was able to do most of mine that day, The Kid's took a little longer (I'm a fast learner), and we ended up coming back a week or so later for one of their "sweat shops" (once a month from 5 til midnight) to learn binding and finish up.

All in all it was a fun thing to learn, and I feel very accomplished now that I get binding (although I still can't get that neat little diagonal join down... I've been winging it), and most of all it was a really nice thing for the kid and me to do together. I really love the shop itself, too, it's very welcoming and I hope to go again!

Fairy Girl

My daughter is adorable, I have to brag. She's tall and gorgeous and about to be 13 this Saturday, which makes me sad and proud at the same time.

Being that I raised her right, this past Halloween she chose not to dress like a hoor, but still wanted to be cute, so we opted for a fairy costume. Green was her favorite color at the time (ah, fickle youth), so we thought a forest fairy would be cute!

Happily, she was able to use this twice, for Halloween (natch) and also for Mile Hi Con 40. She looked very cute and got many compliments.

The pattern used was by Simplicity (here it is!), and I learned a lot, like how slippery fabrics are slippery, and how netting is a pain in the ass. But it looked cute when it was done!

Dragons and Green Men

While traveling with her mother, my friend Nova found these wonderful patterns for a dragon and a green man. There were completed versions for sale for $100 or so, but the patterns were only $10.

Nova has a, how shall I put this, over-inflated view of my skills. As in, she thinks I can do *anything*, and occasionally will put forth a project idea that almost melts my brain. This time however, I went for the challenge and did something I had never done before... sculpted cloth dolls.

These patterns were created by the extremely talented DeRue Johnson, who undercharges for her completed creations. Seriously.

The dragon was made for my daughter, who loves it to this day. I made a second which I sold in an art auction at Mile Hi Con in Denver, in October 2008 (per the ok on her pattern).

The Green Man was a favorite, and while he took forever to make and I swore NEVER AGAIN pretty much the whole time, I would make him again just to have the end result. He currently lives in Streator, IL with Nova's parents.

Cute and Not At All Ugly

I stumbled across this pattern about 6 or 7 months back on Finny Knits, and swore I would create it immediately, but true to form it didn't happen. (Aries, I told you!)

Finny's goal was to replace the cloth shopping bag that was serving as a car trash bag with something more attractive. Having also been rocking a Safeway bag hanging off the back of the passenger seat, this was an ideal project. I decided to go off-norm and pick some exciting fabric colors (I usually tend toward the forest green and rust red spectrum), and armed with my recent knowledge of binding (I felt like a crafting genius) I at LAST tackled this last week.

Et Voila!

Why *Not* Skulls and Penguins?

I saw this and knew my almost-13-year-old would want it, probably with skulls on.

I was right, but she also wanted penguin fabric inside. She's a complex girl.

Can I brag and say I did this in ONE night (insert applause here)?

I found the pattern while doing my daily troll through the craft: blog, and I got *so* excited that I forgot to print the pattern. I did find the link again, however the clever creator had gotten so many hits that she (smartly) decided to sell the pattern on Etsy. (She ended up refunding my 2.75 since I already had the tutorial, and was very helpful in assisting me with my mental moment - I couldn't figure out how to blow up the pattern for actual use. Don't judge me!) As with all things, I had to hold on to my fiery determination and do it RIGHT AWAY or it would never happen (yay, I'm an Aries), and so having obtained the pattern yesterday, this is what I did last night:

The pattern was really well written... not being an expert sewer, I was slightly fearful of the zipper portion, but I put my faith in the pattern and took it a step at a time, even when I couldn't quite wrap my head around what I was doing, which was hard for me, and the zipper came out PERFECTLY. (It took me until 2 years ago to learn to use a sewing machine because I couldn't figure out the mechanics, if that explains me at all.)

Let's delve deeper, shall we? I veered from the written pattern a little bit, opting to sew both ends of the strap to the D-rings instead of using an adjustable ring, and using black plastic D-rings instead of the usual metal ones. In retrospect, I wouldn't do that again because while the plastic ones are the right width, they're a hell of a lot thicker, and as a result I had to fold over more fabric than I might have, resulting in an remarkably small opening... good thing she's got thin hands. (Please note beheaded penguin.)

I also added pockets inside...the pictures of them are impossible, since of course the opening is SO DAMN SMALL I couldn't even open it enough to take a photo inside without it being cave-like. Suffice it to say they fit her phone and Zune well, so mission accomplished.

I was particularly proud that the strap ended up being the accent I'd hoped for (the penguins weren't that densely populated on the fabric), with one single penguin hanging out on the side. (The skull key chain was a nice touch, don't you think?)

Thank you Ms. Wilson!


You know I read all these blogs, and I always see people on the more popular ones screeching FIRST! at the top of their virtual lungs. Yes I realize this is probably not a new thing, but nobody will read this anyway, so I can be as behind the times as I want and YOU CAN'T STOP ME.

Anyway, in obtaining a pattern for my latest obsession, I asked if the creator of the pattern might like to see what it looked like when it was done, and lo she said "Sure, send me a link to your blog." And it occurred to me that not only didn't I have one, I could see no reason not to.

So here it is! Hope you enjoy. It's basically a vanity project to show off my sewing and other crafty projects, and probably to bitch about stuff, because I'm a big whiner.

Things of note:

A) The name. Mimi Rickets is *not* proof I stalk Mimi Smartypants, though I love her so, but rather a nickname my mom gave me when I was little. I'm still not sure why, but there it is... my usual moniker seemed to be taken, probably by me at some point and now I can't get in and change. Oh well!

B) This is mostly for vanity. I like to take pictures of the stuff I make, and since Ravelry is just for knitting and crochet, rather than having them just languish out there on Webshots I'll use some space to detail and post photos of stuff I do. Ya know, for posterity.

C) You'll probably see a whole mess of posts dated within a couple of days... I'm going to be converging things from elsewhere on the web into here. Just in case you were wondering.

PS, if you *are* checking this out, please do check out the links! There is some very funny stuff, including the ridiculously funny Mimi Smartypants and the enviably skilled Finny Knits, as well as some of my favorite online comics and blogs, all of which (and now including this) keep me from doing other, probably more productive, things. I'll add more as I think of them, so you can procrastinate too!