...like running errands, cleaning my kitchen that's a mess from last night's supper, or sorting through the children's toys. But instead, I'm sitting around in Photoshop turning my brother into a zombie.
I got up bright and early this morning to bring my daughter to school, and after dropping her off I got right to work. I spent basically all day sewing! Here's what I made:
Skirt for Teagan, no pattern, just freestyled it!
Beta testing my personalized tags. Rachel "B"
Another freestyle skirt for Teags. The light purple actually IS even, it was just a quick and sloppy photo job.
I had leftover Lady Gaga test prints from making my silk screens, so I decided to use them and and make a "distressed" Bad Romance themed bag (yep, the patchwork is done inside out on purpose). This is the bag sewn up, it's now going through several cycles in the wash to fray the exposed hems. The interior is silky red satin!
Back of the handbag.
I swear, one day, I will use non-blurry images from my digital camera. Lately, my husband has been using it to take pictures for his police academy so it's been hard to get ahold of! (And also I'm lazy and camera phone is so much quicker!)
I love to cook. These days though, with my children running amok and destroying my house, I'm often too tired to make anything that takes longer than 15 minutes.
This afternoon I got a sudden craving for the clam cakes my mother-in-law makes occasionally, but didn't feel like driving half an hour to force/blackmail/bribe her into making them for me. I've never needed a deep fryer...when I fry things I normally do it in a deep set pan. But clam cakes definitely require a real deep frying appliance, so I headed over to Walmart and picked one up for $19. Score!
Then I decided that I couldn't just make clam cakes, I needed something to go with it. So I picked up the ingredients to make New England style (aka the best) clam chowder. And then I decided that I needed to serve it in a bread bowl, so I found some small French boules in the bakery. When my husband came home I was in the kitchen frying up a storm with my new appliance while being abused by stray hot oil splatters. Which made me wonder what you're supposed to do about that. You can't cover the fryer while it's in use, so what do you do? Stand there and take it? You can't step away from it because those suckers brown in seconds and will literally burn black if left in for 5 seconds longer than they need. Next time I deep fry I'll wear some safety gear: goggles, a ski mask, and rubber dishwashing gloves.
The cakes were done way before the chowda, so by the time I had the soup in the bread bowl and ready to go, my husband and I only had enough room in our stomachs to share a bowl. And damn was it good. (Toot toot - that's the sound of my own horn).
I found this fat dancing starfish clam cake. I think it's an omen of what's to come when they're all gone.
If there is one thing that I feel you all must know about me it is this: I am a huge Lady Gaga fan. Say what you will, you either love her too or you hate her (h8rz!). And since I've recently entered the magical world of screen printing, I decided to try out my new skillz and print some custom Lady Gaga themed shirts.
These two prints are based on screenshots taken from her Bad Romance music video. I manipulated the images in Photoshop, printed them out, and made some screens with them, then I printed a few new tank tops and kids clothes with them. Is Lady Gaga completely inappropriate for young children? Yes. Does this mean they cannot wear apparel featuring her likeness? Absolutely not. My 7 year old loves Gaga. Does this make me a bad parent? I don't think so, but then again, I'm not very strict when it comes to censoring the world from my children. She asked if she could have one of the shirts, and she shrieked with glee and put it on right away when I handed it over.
These will be available in my Etsy shop along with a crapload of other things in a week or so.
I had originally planned to have this done by Valentine's Day. I even ordered the tiles on eBay more than a week ahead of time...but I didn't get them in the mail until today.
This little number is made from Scrabble tiles, a Dollar Tree picture frame (it's actually pretty nice!), and a strip of fabric.
I slapped this together using Mod Podge within a few minutes today and set it on my husband's little shelf in our bedroom for him to find when he came home this evening. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I actually saw it on U Create...though I've made some small changes: I spaced the tiles a little bit, and my tiles are inside of the frame glued to the fabric rather than on top of the glass. I went to the dollar store looking for this specific type of frame - one that has the glass an inch or two from the backing. I can't even tell you how excited I was that they did, in fact, carry the frame I had my heart set on. God bless the Dollar Tree.
It was a very appropriate project for me since I'm a Scrabble fanatic. The game is one of the only things that I am freakishly talented at, I have a gift for anagramming. My husband boycotted playing against me years ago because he can't stand being on an infinite losing streak (and recently my brother has joined my husband's union).
When my husband came home from training, he saw it right away and said "Oh this is nice, I like it!" Then after a few minutes he added "This is your way of trying to be sweet when you're really saying 'I love you honey, but remember that you will never beat me at Scrabble'."
I know I'm a day late in announcing the winner of my contest, but you have to understand that we just got our tax return and I have been very busy shopping.
Without further ado, the winner is:
My contest post had 153 comments, so I left the job to Randomizer.org to pick the comment number of the winner:
kdkdkd, you failed to leave an email address and it appears as though you don't have a blog! Please contact me to claim your prize within the next two days. If I do not hear from you, I will hold a second chance drawing and give the prize to somebody else!
As I've mentioned before, my daughter Teagan is allergic to many, many things. So not only do I make everything for her from scratch at home, but I get to come up with some custom recipes that are safe for her to eat. By far, my favorite recipes to create are for desserts. The girl has got a crazy sweet tooth...it's a good thing that junk food is an occasional treat for her or I am certain that she would be suffering from childhood obesity.
There are no boogers on these cookies. There aren't even any green sprinkles, so I'm not so sure why there's a green splotch in this photo. Just ignore it and realize that when you eat these cookies, it's just like eating a unicorn's droppings...because everything that has to do with unicorns is magical and delicious. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm sure the green splotch is a fairy nibbling on the side of that cookie.
Rachel's (Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free) Chocolate Brownie Cookies
3/4 cup + 3 tbsp corn oil (really, you can use any oil of your choice...except olive oil...don't do that.) 2 cups white granulated sugar 3 tsp Ener-G egg replacer (+ 4 tbsp warm water to mix it with) 2 tsp vanilla extract 2 cups multi purpose flour* 1 tsp baking soda 3/4 cup dairy-free cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Unsweetened) 1/2 tsp salt
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream oil and sugar in a large bowl or mixer. Mix together the egg replacer and water for it WELL, then add into the sugar/oil mix. Add in vanilla extract.
2) Mix together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Slowly incorporate into sugar mixture.
3) Roll into balls (about 2 tbsp worth for each ball) and space out on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, then remove from baking sheet to cool.
This recipe yields about 2 dozen cookies. Which means they last about an hour in my house between the five of us. You can't even tell that they're "allergy cookies" as Teagan calls them, so they're great for any occasion, special dietary needs or not. And the name? The first time my husband bit into one he said "Mmm, it tastes like a brownie!"
Let me know what you think if you use my recipe!
*Bonus factiod: You can use gluten-free flour for those with gluten allergies/celiac's disease.
I live in Tornado Alley. Not the one my brother Kyle from Oklahoma lives in, but a whole separate tornado alley that exists in my house. If there is one thing my boys love the most in this world, it's making a mess any chance they can get. They love to empty out their 3 large toyboxes and fling the toys around their bedrooms (and down the stairway, and into the livingroom where I have a strict no toy policy). They love to fill up cups and pots in the sink and then dump them out on the floor. They love to smash cartons of eggs when they get an unsupervised minute...and they LOVE tossing their food onto the floor.
Here is a picture of today's "food on the ground" (food on the ground, food on the ground, lookin' like a fool with your food on the ground...) The can of Spaghettios was found on the floor unopened thankfully, but I've placed it there to add perspective to the size of my pile. The day is only half over, so I can expect more later on. But just what we have here is enough to feed a couple children in Africa for a day. It's difficult to explain the concept of waste to 2 and 3 year olds.
Just a quick post to share with everybody some crappy pictures I've taken of projects that I've been working on! I know, I really need to get my act together and start taking some real pictures with a digital camera vs my cell phone cam...but it's just so much more convenient.
Here is a bag I made in a couple hours today.
I love the fabric inside.
I made this piranha plant awhile ago, but yesterday I made a fireball for it and slapped it on a blue background then put it in a frame. This guy will go on Etsy soon as a set with a bunch of other cool stuff when I get around to taking proper pictures.
This is a mini quilt I started today. Props if you can already guess what it is! I wanted to keep working on it but I ran out of thread and dark purple, so it's going to have to wait until tomorrow. The bottom 3 rows are unattached, and also it needs some serious thread trimming but you can shut your yap because I was only taking a quick picture of it. :)
My 7 year old daughter, Teagan, saw me blogging one day and asked if she could have her own "website" too! She already has an email address on Gmail (and a Facebook, that I moderate of course. She's quite the tech savvy kid), so I helped her set up her very own Blogger blog. She's named it "I love Super Mario Bros". Yea, remember how I told you about the Mario mania that's spread like the swine flu in our home?
The spelling and grammatical errors make the "grammar nazi" part of me twitch, but I guess you can't hold kids to some ridiculous standard. Or maybe you can...hmmm. I'm just thrilled that she's taken such an interest in writing! If you'd like to check out Teagan's blog, go here!
...is because I can buy things that I don't really need, but have desperately wanted, without that whole guilt thing as a side effect (and without fear of my husband confiscating my bank card).
Every week, I earn enough credits with SwagBucks to cash out for Amazon.com gift certificates. Sometimes I save them, sometimes I use them towards an order as I get them. I always tell myself that I'm going to keep saving them to go towards more expensive things that I want, but that never happens. I can't resist the temptation of ordering smaller things and having at them my door in a couple days thanks to free 2 day shipping with my Amazon Prime Membership (which you can now have a free 3 month trial of, I highly recommend it).
Last night I used some of my gift vouchers towards the purchase of a Gorilla Pod, a small, portable and VERY handy universal tripod. I've been wanting one forever, and to be honest, they're really not that expensive. And when I went to the website to purchase mine, they just so happened to be on sale for a little over $17. It will be in my hands tomorrow!
It seems like everybody and their dead great-grandfathers are already members of SwagBucks, but if you're not and want to join, I would love you a lot if you use my referral link to sign up. So I can get more awesome stuff, and earn more gift certificates that I will in turn have contests for here, so you can get more awesome stuff! Yea! (PS, have you signed up for my contest yet? There's a little link for it on the top of the page if you haven't!) Sign up for SwagBucks!
Three little things I am thankful for today 1) The Nor'easter storm that's coming in and canceling my daughter's school tomorrow. Hello, Sleeping In. I've missed you since Sunday. And also I just plain love snow. They're saying that my town will be the hardest hit with up to 18 inches of snow. Heck yes! 2) LOST is on tonight. You wouldn't understand my excitement unless you are also fan. 3) Cheesy. Gordita. Crunch. I love you, Taco Bell.
I don't go to the dollar store often. Not because I'm too sophisticated for it, I have absolutely no shame in soliciting shopping venues with cheap goods: the thrift store, yard sales, swap meets. In fact, I'm not sure why I don't go to the Dollar Tree more often...when I do, it's mostly to buy small toys for the kids to use as incentives or stocking stuffers. Little did I know that somewhere between the aisle with the $1 feminine douche kits and the row with party favors there were mountains of crafty goodness waiting to be discovered by me.
Today I spent an hour and a half at my local shop, with all three kids in tow of course. That in itself is an experience, I find myself saying things like "no, we don't need 7 flashlights" and "get that glass moose off of your head and put it back on the shelf!". Originally, I was stopping by to pick up some picture frames to frame some of the felt art projects I've been working on, but I was in for a surprise when I visited the craft sections. I turned into the first craft supply aisle and found shelves full of pens, packs of Sharpies (Sharpies! For $1!), markers, paints, stamp pads and stamps, and oh...so much more. My kids already have a decent amount of art supplies, but something came over me, and I felt as if I were possessed as I started tossing a pack of everything into the cart.
Next, I found the section filled with decorative paper, stickers, rub-ons, and other assorted scrapbooking supplies. I don't actually do a whole lot of scrapbooking (though I always feel like I should be doing it, and want to), but I figured I could use the pretty paper for other projects. The next aisle over was filled with silk flowers and leaves, picture frames, wire, beads, and buttons. The only thing that could have made the selection even more orgasmic was if they had fabric.
As I waited in the checkout line, my two year old son, Hayden, opened a bottle of kids body wash and poured it all over his hands and my jacket. I grabbed my other son's Spiderman winter hat off of his head and wiped up the mess the best I could. Then I nonchalantly began weeding out things from my cart and into a basket under the counter that I could live without...the panic of realizing I was about to drastically overspend had suddenly hit me full force. The checkout employee finished scanning my items, and she didn't say the total out loud (nor could I see it on the old register), probably because she knew if she did I would run away screaming.
When I opened my pocketbook to find my debit card, I quickly discovered that it was missing. And I immediately remembered that I had left it in my wool coat that I was wearing yesterday. I asked the woman if she would hold my cart as I ran home to grab the card, and she agreed. By the time I got everybody into the car and enjoyed the harmonious sounds of screaming all of the way home, I knew I wasn't going to go back. Not today, at least. It's probably for the best, I had to have had at least 70 items in my cart.
Last night, I enjoyed the movie Wall-E three times in a row with my two year old son. I've already seen it a good 50 times before then. It's a cute movie, and attempts to send a good moral lesson to our youngest generation (take care of the Earth and yourself). But every time that I watch it, I simply can't ignore these serious plot malfunctions.
Concerning the Appeal of Axiom Life(when Earth is supposed to be preferable) I realize the creators of the movie were trying to emphasize how lazy people became over hundreds of years on the spaceship, but why didn't they make it seem a lot less awesome if they were trying to be cautionary? They've got hoverchairs that travel along hoverhighways wherever they want to go. They have sweet, transparent video chat screens that pop up right in front of their faces! They can change their wardrobe color with the press of a button, and milkshakes pop up on demand. What's not to love about this lazy world? Sure, they're obese, but since people in their world have been for hundreds of years they don't know any better.
Concerning Reproduction Which brings me to my next quesiton: if these people are too big to be able to get on/off their hoverchairs by themselves...how are they mating and producing children? HOW? I guess the most logical answer is that they've got little "pollinating" robots with turkey baster-like tools to transport sperm to womb? But then there's the problem of giving birth...so at this point I'm just going to satisfy my own curiousity and tell myself that all babies in this obese space colony are grown in artifical wombs and raised by robots until they are grown enough for their own hoverchair.
Concerning Necessities Where is their food coming from on this mothership? They've been living in it for 700+ years. Where are the slaughterhouses? Does PETA have a branch on the Axiom? How do they get water? How do they pay for things? Do they pay for things? If so, what's their economy like? If not, how are supplies rationed out?
Concerning the Return to Earth I feel that these are the most irritating questions of them all. Why does the captain want to go to Earth so badly? Because he learned about hoedowns and holidays via the computerized voice dictionary? He's never been there, nor has he ever known anybody who has. Can't he just organize a hoverhoedown and call it a day? Why isn't he the least bit hesitant after seeing the warning video, and then when the robots try to stop him from landing the ship on Earth? That's a pretty big choice, buddy. You might want to mull that over a bit more. But no, instead, he makes the rash decision to head back to Earth (while scaring the living sheebies out of his entire population in the process and possibly nearly killing them all).
So then they land. And the captain plants the little plant, and everybody's happy. Then the screen pans out and you see the silhouette of the cubes of trash the robots were stacking up high, high into the sky....... What in the hell are they going to do with all of the mountains of crap left behind on the planet (see image at right)? Just because the robots scooped things up and packed them into neat little rubbish squares and stacked them thousands of feet in the air doesn't mean the problem is solved. If the designers of those robots were smart, they would have had different robots collect different recyclable materials that would deliver their recyclable squares to other specialty robots who would then melt the materials down. Gosh! Isn't this movie supposed to be about sustainability? How could the writers miss such an obvious answer to the film's biggest problem? Come on!
Pixar: if you want in a do-over, I'm available for hire. I liked the romance between Wall-E and EVE...we can keep that.
I've been super busy today. I woke up bright and early, around 10AM. I laid around and did some reading (Eats, Shoots and Leaves)...then I went and bought milk at the gas station around the corner (it's cheapest there!). I made my daughter some of her favorite special pizza, and then I spent several hours on the Internet while drinking wine. I also stole a couple of my husband's Samuel Adams...I can get away with it since he's away for the weekend for his Air Force Reserve drills. And I didn't clean a thing. Because I don't have to today.
I have some websites to share with you all, but first I'm going to talk a little bit about this pizza. It doesn't look like much, hell, it doesn't even look appetizing whatsoever. It reminds me of those videos I saw when I was 6 of brains splattered on highways. My mom used to own a driving school, and before graduation there was the traditional viewing of Red Asphalt for the teenaged drivers ed students. This pizza reminds me of those videos...except these brains are rectangular. And baked. And delicious. Anyway.
My seven year old daughter Teagan is allergic to EVERYTHING. She's got a life-threatening peanut allergy. She's allergic to all other nuts too. Oh, and also: eggs, soy, dairy, oranges, rice...and so on. Which, if you're not accustomed to routinely reading the list of ingredients on food labels, you probably don't realize that those substances are in 99% of things that "normal" people eat. And so I make everything that she shoves down her throat from scratch at home. Which I don't mind, since I LOVE to cook.
This pizza is one her favorites. I made the dough with flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, & sugar, and topped it off with freshly made sauce, tomatoes, and turkey burger. Then I popped the sucker in the oven for 20 minutes. My daughter and I managed to eat all but one piece! It was that good.
I've been on a fabric buying kick lately. I justordered a bunch of stuff on eBay, and since my thirst is insatiable I went on a search for more. I remembered that awhile back I had read about fabric co-ops, and decided this evening that I needed to find and join some. As a result, I ended up finding many craft related co-ops (I even shared a monster list at CraftForum.com) and I ordered several ridiculously cute prints for great prices. Some Things I Recommend That You Check Out I found this adorable Etsy store tonight that makes delicious looking jewelry. Literally. This brownie ring made my stomach growl. Fab Fanatic is a co-op with a hip looking website and ridiculously cute fabrics. I ordered a couple yards from here tonight, including "Hedgehogs" by Michael Miller (pictured to the right). Would you be able to say no to that print? I didn't think so. I also picked up a yard of the mushrooms...and briefly considered grabbing a yard of each of the owl prints, but considering I just "bought" (okay, reserved via co-op) a jelly roll and a charm pack of owls elsewhere tonight, I'm thinking I'm all owled out for now. Plus I suspect if I buy any more fabric in the immediate future my husband really might kill me. Can any of you tell me how to launder fabric supply money??? I just need to know how to hide where it goes...
The co-op is open until February 22nd, so if you want to grab some of these guys head on over!
My talented new blog friend and fellow CraftForum member Elizabeth Gwen Originals sews very beautiful clothing as well as bright, colorful handbags and more! She also has an Etsy store HERE, check it out!
Another new friend and CF member, Lanie, runs a blog called Life in the Pitts that is really a hoot (curse you, owl fabric!). I've added her to my regular blog roll in Google Reader. She's talented and funny! Make sure you stop by!
My sewing machine was recently assaulted by one of my boys, I'm not sure who the exact culprit was. I had made the mistake of leaving it out in the livingroom the next day after working on a quilting project the previous night. While I had the foresight to put the fabric and scissors away in the moderately safe hall closet, I made a fatal miscalculation in assuming the machine would be left alone. I awoke the next morning to discover my spool holder snapped off and wailing on the floor next to the machine.
So I did what any reasonable crafter in the middle of a big project would do: I set off to make a quick fix until I can repair it properly. I used Krazy Glue in a weak attempt to reattach the spool holder to the machine, which ended up failing miserably, since just a slight amount of pressure would snap the stick right off again. So I took it to the next level and applied a fresh squirt of Krazy Glue, and then wrapped the sucker with electrical tape I found in my husband's toolbox. It's a tad wobbly, but it works.
Oh, the horror!
Now, my major problem is that the children also were kind enough to adjust my settings for me, and in my approx 10 years of sewing experience, I have no idea what many of these nifty knobs mean. I've never really used the machine for anything fancy. I know how to change the stitch size and spacing, and the different types of stitches. I know how to change presser feet. But I have no idea what the wheel on the top is, nor the wheel on the side-top-left.
So now when I attempt to sew, I've got tiny holes being stabbed into fabric and not much else. The bobbin thread is not attaching all of the time...it will sew correctly for a good 2 inches and then quit. I'm assuming this is a bobbin problem only. But I can't be sure. I've rethreaded over and over again with the same results. I've tested the bobbin tension and it seems to be okay. I've checked for jams and don't see anything (though I haven't opened the machine's case up at all).
As you know, my husband gave me strep throat. So I packed up the children for a visit to their favorite place: the doctor's office. I had nothing better to do during our 45 minute wait than to document of the fun that we had using my phone.
Our leisurely visit begins immediately after I check in with the receptionist, when the littlest flops himself onto the waiting room floor, making himself at home.
We make our way into the exam room aka "waiting room b" aka "longer wait room". Johnny finds cool spinning chair.
Hayden wants cool spinning chair too. They fight over cool spinning chair.
Hayden loses the fight.
Oblivious to his brother's torment, Johnny spins in the cool spinning chair.
Johnny confronts Teagan about something that's probably very important.
Yep, still crying.
Teagan takes over the cool spinning chair.
Johnny begins shoving Teagan off of the cool spinning chair.
"OKAY THAT'S IT!!!!!!! NOBODY GETS THE CHAIR! GET OFF!"
Teagan goes back to doing what she does best, ignoring the agonized cries of her brothers.
My husband gave me an early Valentine's Day gift this year. Isn't it adorable?
I've decided to keep it close to me, in my throat. I feel the love radiating from the inside of my neck every time I swallow.
There should really be more public awareness about KTIs: Kiss Transmitted Infections. Mono and oral herpes can also be "sent with a kiss", but how often do we actually think about these things? Are you aware that possible danger lurks behind every kiss?
Tomorrow I will be bringing the children with me to their favorite place in the world: the doctor's office. Although we seem to be there for me more often than for them, my boys really act up whenever we go, especially my 2 year old.
This is a place where both Stop, Drop, and Pout and Captain Noodlelegs tactics are used right up until we exit out the front door (after of course, he thows himself dramatically onto the filthy carpet the minute we step into the waiting room, where we need to walk through to leave...in front of about 20 people, who take no shame in staring at me pushing one kid, pulling another, and juggling the smallest in my arms).