Friday, May 29, 2009

Dress Rehearsal: Where and when all the sewing was deemed totally worth it.

Jump. Shake, shake. Jump. Shake, shake.

My boy's favorite part because he gets to shake his little booty and the crowd goes wild. Dress rehearsal went well. The boy discovered that he likes being on stage. The girl has loved the stage for years now. My silly shy children think dancing in front of a bunch of strangers is fun. The recitals actually are a lot of fun. I love when we get to this part where the parents' few jobs consist of arriving on time and watching. And sitting. It is finally a time we 'have' to sit for a few hours with live entertainment. Nothing wrong with that.

This isn't the best picture ever of the kids, but I like how I accidently caught the silhouette of their dance instructor watching them from in front of the stage. It sort of makes it look like the kids are on a movie screen. Or that one show where the cartoon silhouette guys used to make fun of cheesy movies. What was that show? Uggg... that is going to bug me until I remember.

Yes, my kids' hair could look better. Gone are the days of having one little girl in one little dance. I used to curl her hair and do make-up for every rehearsal. Ha! With two kids and two dances I call it successful if we get there on time with only one costume piece missing. This time it was the girl's hair ribbon thingy for her ballet dance. Who needs hair ribbons, right? Don't worry, I'll girl her up properly tomorrow night. But alas, it will be sans ribbon, I am afraid. I still can't find it.

I forgot to take pictures of my girl's ballet dance. Shhhh... don't tell her. I'll take some tomorrow at the actual show. Her ballet dance was toward the end and I was getting a little spacey by then. Speaking of spacey... I'd better head off to bed. An early rehearsal tomorrow morning, then a short afternoon before the big show. That is a lot of sitting to do. I must rest up!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Normal Thursday

A normal day, thank goodness. Yesterday, was my stepson's 18th birthday and pictures for the dance recital. Tomorrow is dress rehearsal, Saturday the recital. Sunday is the birthday party day for my stepson. Today, we are basking in normal average day-ness. Nothing exciting except a bit of rain outside, so we're keeping cozy inside. And we are enjoying it!

Today, I sewed a little practice dress for my daughter out of an old sheet. I wanted to test out the Miss Madeline pattern I downloaded the other day before I used it on any fancy material. We are both really happy with it. It came together really easily and she loves it. I am trying to convince her to let me turn the practice dress into a summer shirt for her, but so far no luck. I think it would look cute with cropped pants. But I will definitely be using the pattern more for both shirts and dresses. A very fun and quick project for a very fun and relaxed day.

Hope your Thursday was as laid back and enjoyable as ours. I am gathering my energy to get ready for for the weekend ahead of us. It should all be fun, but I'll take the laid back quiet times when I can get them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Good Mail Day!

You know it is a good day when the mailman leaves behind a little box like this one. (I had already opened it here, that is why some of the stuffing is sticking out. )

I've been browsing etsy and artfire quite a bit lately. Just in awe of all the amazing things that people create. I have decided to purchase as many of my gifts for people this year as possible from artists and crafters. I've tried in the past but events tend to sneak up on me and my wallet. Not this year, I am planning ahead!

But this post isn't about what I've bought for other people. Nope. This one is unapologetically all mine. I simply couldn't resist - because look...

Sigh... Gasp... How gorgeous is this tile? I promise you it is even more delicious in real life. I was going to hang it in my art room/office. But I might have to hang it in my kitchen. 'Create' works in a kitchen just as well, I think. And well, it just looks amazing in there. So I guess that means I have to get another one for the art room. Maybe one that says 'joy' or maybe 'balance'. Boy do I need balance... But that is a different kind of post altogether.

Who is the amazing artist behind this tile you ask? Rachel, a potter from central Texas who was born on Howdy Doody's birthday (gleaned that jem from her profile on ArtFire). Tilesmile is the name of her artfire shop, and honestly once you visit it is hard to get those pretty little tiles out of your head!

UPDATED: I just looked closer at the box she sent me and noticed it has an etsy address on it too. So here is a link to her etsy store. And there I discovered the tile I want for my art room. 'Art before housework' seems rather fitting, no?

Take Three... Clown Costume COMPLETE!

Remember me griping about sewing the boy's dance costume a few days back? Well, I finally finished it, with little time to spare. Notice the vest is a totally different color now. Yeah, the pink just wasn't working. Not even with pockets. I am glad I remade it though. The white just works better. By the way, if you click on that link, notice how GIGANTIC my daughter's costume is. It is supposed to fit tight like a leotard and not hang halfway down her back. At this point though, I am just grateful I didn't have to make her costume. I could care less that it is huge. What is really odd, is her other dance costume is too small. Go figure.

Their ties are actually much closer in color than they look in this picture. But I suppose stage lights may lighten it up just as much as a camera flash. However, as the tie was the only part of the costume that didn't get remade three times, I believe it will stay as is. 

Both children are less than thrilled at having to try on everything, so ignore the cheesy faces and tense poses. I only have to put a button on the vest to hold it closed and I am done. Just in time for pictures tomorrow! Phew... Sewing for dance recitals will forevermore be on my list of things to weasel out of - for now until eternity. Amen. 

Bribery pictures in the making, don't you think? These photos will some day be worth something. Who knows how much my son will be willing to pay to not have his girlfriend know about these pictures. See? My daughter gets her money making brainstorming skillz from somewhere.

Bummer it took so long though. Between graduation stuff and recital stuff, I totally blew the deadline for the Greenleaf Spring Fling Dollhouse Contest . But I love how my dollhouse is coming along, contest or not. It is a cool dollhouse design with the curved roof. Now that I am not feeling deadline pressure, I can slow down and try some of the crazy ideas I had for it, but wasn't going to attempt in the short timeframe. I can't wait to see all the entries. Now that I know how slowly I work on even smallish dollhouses, I will be more ready to pace myself if they do another contest next year.

Well, off to sew on a button. I wonder how many tries that will take me...

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Congratulations to the MCE class of 2009!
I didn't cry until they played a slide show that the seniors created. One that started with a baby picture then senior picture of each graduate. Then I was pretty much a mess after that. But I wasn't alone. The whole place was pretty much in tears after that.

I thought it all flew by when I was the one graduating. I had no idea how much faster it would go as a parent of a graduate. We love you, Josh! No one can ask for a better son. We are so proud of you and your friends!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My baby is starting to read! There is much rejoicing in the land!

See this kiddo? He's learning how to read. He was born to move. He runs, jumps, moves, skitters and flies. Sitting still? Not so much. So the methods used for his sister's reading journey were not working for him. One day we stumbled upon Headsprout and signed up for the free trial. He completed all the free lessons within an hour and asked for more.

I admit that I choked at the price. I got a great deal with a group co-op buy, which helped, but still rather pricey. But I have to admit that this has been one of the best purchases I've made yet, education-wise. Not only is he starting to read, but he is LOVING the whole thing. That is big to me. I don't want the ability to read to be the main objective here. I want kids that love to read.

We've had the program for a couple weeks. After the fifth lesson we printed out a little book that was written with words he learned in lessons 1-5. Basically, enabling him to 'read' the book alone. He was so proud of this accomplishment. It was all sunshine and rainbows. You wouldn't think it could get better than this, right? Wrong.

A few days ago my boy got a package addressed to him. "Look mommy, it is my very first package!" In it were 'real' copies of many of the program books, and a progress chart with stickers to keep track of the lessons he's completed. He sat down right away and put stickers on the eleven lessons he's completed. Today he finished lesson twelve, which meant I got to print him out yet another little book and set of flash cards.

Seriously, we are all just glowing over this program. He used to get so frustrated that he wasn't learning to read fast enough for his energy level. But Headsprouts cute online games (lessons) take that frustration level away AND he experiences success so quickly with the little books created from the learned words. The combination is really powerful for him. (And me.)

Here's a little video of him reading his first two books. The audio is really low because it was taken with my point and shoot camera. But he wanted me to post it to my blog to 'show my friends'. :) He is a proud little guy. And I am a proud mama.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who told me I could sew?

This is not my daughter, it is the online store pic of the costume my daughter will be wearing for her dance recital for her tap dance. Except hers is like five hundred times too large. My son is also in the tap class and this costume is obviously for a girl clown. At first the teacher was going to get me two yards of the polka dot material so I could make him his own costume. But then another little boy joined the class and that boy's mom was going to make the boys a different look altogether. Well, the other little boy left the class. So basically I ended up with four hair ties worth of polka dot material to make into a costume for my boy. Luckily, he's a small kid, but that is still not enough material to do much with.

Unfortunately, what I have come up with so far isn't really working. At first I had a silvery holograph type material that I was going to make the vest and pants out of, but it was really odd looking once together. I was going to make a pink tie with that combo that sort of matches the girl costume tie. So I got creative and used the pink in a vest instead. I liked it until I added the polka dot ruffle. Now we are back to girl costume territory. We are also running out of time as pictures are next Wednesday.

But I am not giving up yet. I am going to try to make a big tie with the polka dot material (If I can combine it with some white to make it big enough.) It might make the vest work. Or I might add pockets to the vest to cover some of the pinkness. I'll try those things first before I tear it apart and start over again. I am so sick of sewing clown costumes. I keep telling myself he will look very Vegas, because I just want to be done. That isn't necessarily a bad thing in show business, right? Yeah, I know, I know - I am that bad mommy who dresses her little boy in holographic fuchsia and puts him on stage in front of the town. Sigh...

But I am not sick of sewing. Actually, I really look forward to playing with the other fabric I bought when I picked up the pink and silvery weirdness.

This material is all double sided. Gorgeous stuff. I am thinking about using the light/dark green stuff for this pattern I bought the other day. The Miss Madeline downloadable pattern. I like the idea of using elegant royal type material on a peasant type dress. We'll see if it works. It is my reward for myself when I get the crazy clown issues behind me. Wish me (him) luck!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Long time, no see...

Hello grass.

Hello leaves.

Hello, Flowers.

Hello, Spring. We are so happy you are here!


This is a girl with a mission. We didn't rake our yard before the snow covered it last winter, so I've spent recent days raking all the old sticks and mulch from our grass before it got too long to do so. 

Unfortunately, the lawn didn't get mowed before a windstorm knocked a whole new army of sticks into the yard. Not as bad as the pressed in muck left over from winter. But not so fun to mow over.

I was so over raking, and the grass was crazy long rendering raking impossible anyway. The kids and I were playing outside much of this weekend and when I looked at the sticks I felt totally unmotivated. I looked at the abundance of energy in my kids and heard myself say... "I'll pay you 10¢ per stick you pick up." Immediately, I felt sort of worried, but looked around the yard and felt reassured that there probably less than three dollars worth. Combine that with kid-length attention spans, I wasn't that nervous about my wallet.

Enter this child. This is the child that will be rich before she's twelve. She emptied her piggy bank to count up her money the other day and it was filled with green. Only three were ones. She's been coming up with get rich quick schemes since she was three. She's not really materially oriented, don't get me wrong. She's just industrious by nature.

Which is good, since she will be able to support him. :) For him, 10¢ per stick... Why bother?

In fact, this crazy stick scheme was cutting into some serious dig in the dirt with sister time.

Here he is, trying to stop the madness. By this time, I was secretly rooting for him to lure her away. I was going out of town with my mom the next day and wanted as much mad money as possible. But she is driven. 

Off he goes, ready to dig up the yard himself if need be.

Not this one. Still working.

And working.


Finally... no more sticks to be seen. Perfect timing, since big brother got home soon after and mowed the whole thing. Don't you love children?

123 sticks hauled, and she let me know quickly that meant I owed her $12.30. Like pay up. She takes cash and cash and well, cash. I am poking fun, but seriously, I am happy in the way she takes pride in hard work. It isn't like she wouldn't have done it for free, I just opened my mouth without thinking it through. And well, this was really a win/win situation. She knows she won't always make that much money on a chore. She knew quicker than I did, the slip up in the amount. But she did a task my back dreaded and learned that hard work pays off, sometimes crazily well.

And playing is even more fun after a job well done. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No garden outside... yet.

But with a little determination...

Spring comes anyway.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Critter!

My midlife crisis

Midlife crisis is overhyped, don't you think? When a teenager or young adult changes a behavior dramatically, we blame it on youth and trying on roles, assuming at some point our personalities become fixed. I suppose that is when we know we are all grown up, when we become predictable. But then inevitably people change again, don't they? However, for some reason, simply due to the passage of time, it is now a 'crisis'. Maybe what I am objecting to here is the word 'mid-life' more than crisis. I don't know. But I shun the term. Shun, I say.

Just because I have never been a makeup girl doesn't mean that can't change now. I still hate if I feel like I am wearing makeup. I don't want people to look at me and see makeup. But at 35 I am beginning to see the advantage of some well placed concealer. Does 35 make me mid-life if I intend to live to be 120? I think not!

So I've been browsing, learning, mostly via youtube, I think I've mentioned this before. I've discovered in my search a wonderful product called Everyday Minerals. You've heard of Bare Minerals, I am sure. These are like those, but different. Different as in cheaper, and they don't have some of of the ingredients from Bare Minerals that irritate my skin. Not to mention a million fun colors. I've ordered from them twice now and each time was able to do a free trial of 5 of their foundation/concealer products. They have such a large variety of colors, you can literally find your exact shade, so I love their free trial program. I also picked up sample sized eyeshadows and blushes, because you know... self control is for people not having a mid-life crisis.

They come in these sweet little shaker containers and a tiny amount goes a long way. Being the organizational freak that I am, I was frustrated with sorting through a million little jars every time I wanted to make an attempt at beauty. The beauty part is hard enough. So I came up with this. I had a magnetic board that wasn't in current use so I put little adhesive magnets on the tops of each jar. Voila! Makes reading those little tiny labels easier for my middle aged eyes. I plan to hang it on the wall and get a mirror to hang above it. But so far I've just been propping it up against the wall and carrying it to the mirrors on hand.

Here is an example of the makeup in use. Beautiful, no?

If you are a someone hankering after some fun, light makeup then I highly recommend Everyday Minerals. For all ages. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blog? Huh?

Have you heard about ?

If you haven't, and you enjoy music at all...

DON'T go there.
Trust me. It eats lives.

Eats them.