Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I'm home :D Well, I've been home. I returned late Sunday night, but I've been playing catch-up on all the things that piled up while I was gone.

I broke my fabric fast this morning. It felt really strange to do. I found that I was more careful about my fabric choices, and really weighed my impulses against what I *really* needed. I even--for the first time in nearly a year--used part of my monthly 'allowance' to buy something that wasn't fabric. Shocking, I know ;D

I ended up buying the backing (Kona Stone for 3.50 a yard) for my gift quilt to Car and Tom and a little West Hill that was on clearance for 4.50 a yard (the floral stripe coordinate in that dusky pink/peach background). Amazingly, I still have 20 to spend, but I'm not sure what I should get. I have so many collections going right now, that I'm not sure what I need. I think I'm going to go through the stash this weekend and make a swap folder on my Flickr. Maybe that way I'll get more bang for my buck, so to speak.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I've been here in Alabama for the last week and Temptation abounds. My mom has taken me to THREE quiltshops plus JoAnn's and Hancock's. It's not enough that I'm eating like I'm on vacation, but ZOMG I've been so tempted to break my fabric diet! ;D I've seen so many nice prints. I don't know how I will survive, LOL!

The funny thing is that when I go home, the very next day is the end of my fabric diet. I can't wait. Gluttony has always been my favorite sin ;D

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Entertaining Children 2

Yes, we are still in make-believe land with these pictures :P

Lace-Up CardsMaterials:
Yarn (assorted colors)
hole punch (single works best)
heavy card stock or other rigid paper
glue stick
thin cardboard (like cereal box or insert cardboard)
rolling pin or something else to burnish the images

I thought Dulcie would enjoy this since she's always up in my fabric and sewing work space. I went online and found some basic shape coloring pages (I used a star, butterfly, apple, and flower from here). I copied them and put them into Word to make a printing template. I set the page orientation to landscape, and sized the images to what I felt would be a good size for Dulcie's hands. I didn't use colored images because I wanted to give her a chance to color these images herself on the plane. If you want them to last longer, you could use a colored illustration and laminate them before you attack it with the hole punch. Anyway, I then printed the images onto the cardstock (and allowed the ink to dry). I then cut a rough shape around the images leaving a good margin before gluing them down to the thin cardboard and rolled over them a couple of times to get good contact between the cardstock and the cardboard. After everything was all set, I then cut out the images along the picture lines. I then attacked my images with the hole punch at either key points in the image (in the case of the star) or at even intervals (about 1-2 inches depending on image size or what feels comfortable).

If you are taking this on an airplane like I am, I recommend carding some yarn on some cardstock scraps. You can either put tape around one end or lace it through a needle. I am using a large-eye plastic needle that I use to sew up ends when I knit.

Other Suggestions for Entertainment:

make your own coloring book - I did a modification of this to match the pad I made to insert into the crayon/coloring pencil book thing I made during NaSewMo.

Anyhow, I hope these inspire/help other parents traveling with little ones :D I'll be off on my trip tomorrow until the 24th of October. Bye everyone!

Entertaining Children 1

Okay, child since Dulcie is just one person, but I'm sure multiple children might enjoy these things ;D I had a bunch of awesome pictures but my camera is not cooperating. You will all have to suspend reality with me.

Colored Pasta (good for color sorting or stringing)

Pasta (e.g. penne, macaroni, ditalini--it just needs a hole if you want to string it)
Empty clean yogurt cup
plastic wrap
food coloring
1 scant tsp vinegar
stirring stick
baking sheet
paper towels
news print (to control messes, hopefully!)

notes: I've seen this done with rubbing alcohol, but I didn't trust that with such a little baby. I also recommend pre-measuring how much pasta you want to use for each color (this would be neat with a variety of types like ditalini=red penne=purple for color and shape sorting) because then it goes faster and you don't end up making a whole bunch of one color on accident. If you want little fingers to help you, I recommend ziploc bags. If you are going to string the pasta, check to make sure that your needle (if you are using one, I'm using a plastic one I use for knitting) fits easily through the hole.

First, spread out your newspaper in case you have spills or splatters. Then to a clean yogurt cup add the vinegar and food coloring, mix well with stirring stick (I used wooden coffee stirring things). Add your pasta, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and shake vigorously for a minute or so until well coated or color has developed. Using fork, rake the damp pasta onto the paper towel and roll around to remove excess moisture. In my experience, don't let the pasta dry on the towels, since it can stick to the paper. Instead, with the fork, roll the pasta on to the baking sheet and allow to dry completely.

More Notes: I don't recommend drying the pasta in the oven, even a cooling one (tried this with one batch). My noodles got real funky in color and texture.

Successful Colors: Since pasta is naturally a kind of yellow color to begin with, warm colors are more successful.
  • Red - Very successful as long as enough red coloring is added to the vinegar. Even though color deepens over time, if you start with a weak looking red you shouldn't have high hopes for a rich crimson.
  • Orange - Since it's a secondary color of yellow, this is also successful. Start with a yellow base and add a little red (only 1-2 drops). I used a 4:1 ratio for a nice medium orange when dry. My first attempt was a red base with yellow added. The end color was a dark orange but too close to red for my taste (Dulcie also called it red, so a definite no go).
  • Yellow - Complete win for obvious reasons.
  • Green - Secondary color of yellow, so bright yellow based greens work great. I had a nice kelley green that edged on christmas green.
  • Blue - Not so good. Blue + Yellow = Green, so it takes a lot of blue coloring to overpower the yellow pasta base. End color for me was a cross between royal and navy.
  • Purple - Not so good, either. It takes a while for the color to develop and has similar problems to blue. End color for me was dark purple.
In the end, what mattered most to me was that Dulcie could identify the color with little effort. She called the purple pasta purple, so I was happy. :D She loves the colored pasta and has been playing with them since they finished drying. Right now I am storing the pasta in a small plastic container with a lid.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ohh, Lookie!

It's a Fandango giveaway! Not by me, but from Talk About Fabric. This is totally cool. Admittedly, I joined the site for a different give away, but I've been lurking around on the boards. I've been enjoying it so far :D I'm always interested in a place where I can talk about fabric ;D Even if I can't buy any of my own just yet (just three more weeks and the fast is over!).

I know I was going to post about my trip but my camera died. Tomorrow :D Promise.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

3-2-1 Lift Off!

My trip to Alabama is rapidly approaching. Wednesday will be here before I know it, and I still have so much to do. Yesterday, I cleaned my work table/station because it is in a common area, and I didn't think it would be polite to leave a disaster for my guy to live with for almost three weeks. Hopefully, it will encourage him to keep the rest of the common areas clean while I'm gone ;D Today, I started with laundry (which reminds me, it needs to go into the dryer). Today I also need to pack a box for my sister so it can be mailed tomorrow (hand-me-downs for Lyra). Which reminds me that I need to get our clothing donations ready for their Wednesday pick-up (benefits big brother big sister).

Monday, I need to pack. This way I know what I still need to buy before we leave. I think I should also make a skirt for Dulcie to wear. All the ones she has have an attached diaper cover, and I want to be able to change her diaper without undressing her. I have fabric I can use for this. I think.

Tuesday, I need to buy everything I'm lacking PLUS a wreath form and spray paint. I found a fun tutorial the other day for an acorn wreath. We have oak trees out front that have been rather abundant this season. I baked them for 45 minutes at 275 because I was afraid of them exploding (they have a lot of moisture inside them). They still split open, and I had one...casualty. The lil guy was like the turkey thermometer, and I decided all the critters were probably dead after that.

I did a few crafts to occupy her on the plane. I'll post about those tomorrow. Right now, Dulcie calls!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reflection On NaSewMo

Now that it's over, I thought I'd take a moment to think about my accomplishments (kind of vain, I know ;D). I was pretty disappointed that I got so little done--until I thought about what I did. I made:

Week One: A Dora the Explorer tote
Week Two: A quilt top plus a needle book
Week Three: A fabric map plus and a tissue pack cover
Week Four: A money wallet, a tea/coffee wallet, and a DS pouch
Week Five: Binding plus a Crayon/Colored pencil book thing

That's actually not too shabby (even if they were all pretty much small projects)! I think that might be my *most* productive month. Ever. So I am actually proud of myself. The only thing that makes me feel like I failed is this:

I didn't finish any UFOs nor did I finish any Christmas presents (outside of the quilt top/binding for my sis-in-law).

I will have a better plan for next year. I know now that I can do it. I know that I *can* find the time in my hectic mommy schedule. I think to be totally G.I.Joe about it--knowing is half the battle ;D