Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Great Candy Exchange

The Great Candy Exchange, you ask?  What is it?  It is what my husband and I dubbed Halloween quite a few years back.

We were following our very eager tykes (at the time) around our neighborhood in their Star Wars costumes.  They were racing from house to house to "trick or treat" our neighbors.   We thought a much better name for it was the Great Candy Exchange.  We buy bags of candy that is given away and we return with bags of candy from others!   

The other reason we have redubbed the holiday is because, for the life of us, we don't understand what has happened to our children.  What has happened, you ask?  Apathy.  Our boys hit a few houses and then want to just go home in play.  We cannot fathom why they don't have the "stick-to-itiveness" that children used to have.

My husband and I recall the days when children left their homes for ours and didn't stop until curfew.  There was a race to hit as many houses in one night and see how many pillowcases you could fill.  Am I dating myself with the pillowcase reference? 

I don't have complete personal experience with Trick or Treating as a child.  My mom did not believe in the day.  We did carve a pumpkin and my mom would concoct a horrible costume (sorry Mom, for the confession time).  I would either be a hobo or a ghost.  We were the house with the light off on Halloween night.  My mom did not want us out asking for candy...or in her own words....begging for food.

But I sure do remember going to my friend's house the next day and seeing them dump their piles of candy. Of course, because they had so much, they were always very generous in sharing their booty.

Now, my middle son says before we head out.  "Mom, I hate trick or treating.  I don't like to go to other people's house and ask for candy.  Why can't we just eat the candy we have".  He is so right.  Why do we spend all this time shopping or making costumes and decorating just for ONE night?  Why do we encourage our children to go up to strangers house.  And better yet, accept food from strangers.  What a paradox!

My husband's answer....because it is just fun!

So I guess you have it.  We head out the door with our bags in hand, our bucket out at the front door, and camera hanging from my shoulder.  We are off to participate in the Great Candy Exchange to see if we come back with more candy than we started off in our bucket at home!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bottle Cozy

I think almost anyone would love to keep their drinks as cool as when they took it out of the refrigerator.  My personal problem is that I don't like when the outside of my can or bottle is wet.  It gets all over my hand and I want to keep them dry while at work...or at play!!!  So here is my very FIRST tutorial!

Of course, you can always find one of these:

But can I say……uuuuugly!!
So I decided to take the one I had and cover it.  I also wanted to make it a little taller so that I could fit a water bottle in it.  I wanted mine for work, so I hunted through my scrap material so it could match my walkie talkie holder at work:

 -One rectangle of fabric 5x10 in. (Fabric is based on the length and circumference of the original cozy.  The cozy I had had a circumference of 9 in, and length of 3 in.)
-Coordinating wide ribbon by 20 in. (based on the circumference of 9 in.)

 Step One:
Cut off the bottom so the cozy doesn’t limit the size of the bottle/can you want to use it for.

Step Two:
If you have an embroidery machine, now would be the time to put one on the rectangle of fabric.  I used an initial since I don’t want anyone to mistake my water for their qwn at work.  No sharing of germs in my clinic!

Step Three:
-Sew the rectangle together right sides facing each other  to make a cylinder.  I used a ½ in. seam allowance and a zig-zag stitch to ensure there were no problems with pulling or tearing.

-Turn original cozy inside out.  Slip cylinder over cozy with right side facing the cozy.  I have to admit, it was a bit tricky sewing the two together because the circumference was much smaller than my sewing machine arm.  I had to be careful not to catch both sides of the cozy.  I used a zig-zag stitch again to ensure that there would be no tearing.

-Turn the cozy right side out. 

Step Four:
Time to add the ribbon!
-Sew the ribbon ends together (again I had a ½ in. seam allowance). 

-Place the ribbon at the end of the fabric and stitch together.  Again, I was worried about the amount of tugging the ends were going to get so I used a zig-zag stitch.

-Fold the ribbon over and hand tack the ribbon on the inside. 
-Topstitch the top edge of the ribbon.  On this one I topstitched about ¼ in. from the edge.
-Then I added the second ribbon to the other end of the fabric in the same manner.

I realized after I finished that you could approach this step in two different ways.  After doing it the way I did, I realized that it would also work well to treat the ribbon as a bias tape also.
 And here is the final result:

Some final notes/thoughts:  I think this could definitely use a bit more work...there is definitely a gap at the inside bottom because the material isn't directly connected to the original cozy.  I might try this again and  forgo the original cozy altogether and use a different insulating fabric or I would just make the cozy shorter so the bottom could be sewn directly to the original cozy.   I forsee a lot of gifts for friends and family with their favorite team/theme with a coordinating fabric in the future!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


"A Bug's Life" desktop wallpaper (1024 x 768 pixels)
Bugs in my computer!!!  UGH!!!  Of course, Murphy's Law was the order of the day since Friday. 

It started with my husband butting in line at our home coffee machine.  I had just finished running the "rinse" mode and was dumping the dregs in the sink.  I turned around to put my coffee cup under the spout, and what do I see....My husband filling his cup with what I would claim as M-I-N-E.  I tried not to be annoyed.  I patiently waited him to fill his "to go" cup and anticipated in finally having my cup of java.  Then the machine mockingly told me the water tank was empty and needed to be filled.....


A rundown of that spectacular day?  My computer blinked that I had a few viruses that my computer was quarantining for further review.  Good news, that it was saavy enough to catch the evil doings, right?  Wrong...the computer took it upon itself to shut down my access to the internet.  No internet shenanigans for me.  Humph. 

Then, our dog, Prancer, decided that I needed a 30min exercise in the game of chase.  She felt it was a much better activity to bark at the lawn guys, then come in so I could shower. 

Suprisingly, I made it to the doctor's office early for my appt.  Little did I know, I was to wait an hour in the waiting room.  Then after calling my co-worker to say I would be late for work...I was told that she would be missing the appointment she was planning to go after we did our shift change.  Who felt like a big heel? ME!  Especially when she had covered my shifts for a sick kid last week!

Finally my name is called and I get in the office to step on and stare at the scale.  10lbs gain since the beginning of my pregancy.  Too bad it was all gained over the past 5 weeks.  According to the doctor, not good. 

We hear the baby well on the doppler.  Hip, hip horray to baby cooperating!

Doctor comes in and I ask if I could get the flu shot.  That would be a no-go.  They gave the last one a few minutes ago!

I won't bore you with anymore details.  I just can promise you that Murphy's Law was wreaking havoc on my life that day and it continued to haunt me through the weekend.

What is Murphy's Law, you say?  "If anything can go wrong, it will."

But I have to say...without having my nose in the computer, I was able to get a lot of chores AND sewing done.  Hopefully, my computer "guy" can hook me up again so I can post a few pictures!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bean Boy

My darling boy, Jelly Bean, has a birthday today.  It is hard to believe that 11 years ago he entered into this world with quite an audience (the whole L&D floor) and still steals the show in our house.  He is funny and full of life.  He is a worrier like his father. He is ever Mr. Host to all his neighborhood friends.  He has the craziest laugh you have ever heard.  The kind that makes eveyone around him laugh.  Even the slightest giggle can get a whole room laughing hysterically.  I confess...he has made my pants a wee bit wet from laughing too hard.

I am ever amazed by him.  He had to face a very adult decision this year, and handled it with ease.  He was diagnosed with Dyslexia in 3rd grade, and his struggles over the years finally caught up with him.  He was not failing 4th grade, but we were concerned with his ability to handle the middle school.  Class clown was not what we wanted for his future.  He looked us in the eye, calmly and collectively and told us, "I need a breathe".  So we agreed to let him catch it. 

Since the school year started, we have seen an amazing amount of confidence exude from him.  He has shown us such maturity.  Never have we seen such eagerness to be an organized student!  He turns in projects early.  He takes ownership of good and bad grades.  He has made wonderful friends very easily.  Last year, he was terrified to run for Student council representative and avoided being a member of the safety patrol.  This year, he checks the schedule and often "subs" for the other safety patrol members.  He ran for Student Council.  His campaign....Vote for Jacob...He's Da Man!

And you know what?  He is DA MAN!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jamie's First Birthday

Her pink roses from Daddy. 

Cupcakes made by Mommy.

 Notes written.

 Tied to pink balloons.

 And released to the skies

 And a special delivery.

 Of a Dozen Butterflies for us to release at the base of her tree.

Happy Birthday sung.

 Cupcakes eaten

And a few butterflies came back to visit us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Breast Cancer

The dreaded word!  I always knew about it.  I grew up hearing about it.  But it never directly affected my own life.  Until my good friend from college, wrote in her Christmas letter that this scary thing was happening to her.  We were just in our early 30s.  I couldn't believe it!

Since then, I have met more and more women facing the same diagnosis.  Can you believe the odds!  So high!

Recently a co-worker was given the diagnosis.  She had begun her chemotherapy treatment and I had wanted to do something extra-special for her.

All I came to mind was comfort.

So I pulled out my stash of fabrics.  Did a search on my online embrodiery sites and found a FREE pattern.  It is called the Butterfly of Hope (coincidence?).  The words inside the wings are Love, Faith, Courage, and Hope.  Ran out to the store for some pink embroidery thread and made her a tote to carry magazines, meditaion book, and journal to keep track of her thoughts.  I also made a fleece throw to keep her warm.  And I got a GREAT idea from my Crafty Sewing Mama's online group to make a rice hot/cold wrap.  Genius!

The best part....her favorite scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:13  So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


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