Cousin Craze

I started this post about a week and a half ago at my sister’s house. I never finished it because hours later, Deborah and I were making a midnight trip to the ER to check on some early contractions. Needless to say, the week did not go as we had planned and we spent most of our time after that trying to recover. Deborah more so than me, obviously…

This week I’m staying with my sister Deborah (below), who is very pregnant, and her twins, Ty and Micah, who are equal parts sweet and lively. We’re going to be doing a few baby projects* while I’m here, but in the meantime, we’ve just been wrangling hooligans and trying to keep the avalanche of toys from killing us all.

*The projects were not completed, boo, and as I was leaving we discovered a glitch in one of the pieces. Hopefully Deborah will feel well enough to complete them soon and post some pix!

On the first day, I got to snuggle sweet baby Isaac, my brothers son. He is the most precious baby in all the land, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a child as consistently happy as he is. I rarely get to see him, so I was really excited that our visits overlapped.
Dex was EXTREMELY excited to be with our family!
The colors in the picture below are off, but it was the only time I could get Dexter to look at me for a picture. I’m not really sure he likes to be photographed. He only enjoyed the snapshot above because Uncle Ian was the photographer and allowed him to get within lens-biting distance.
It’s so lovely when the cousins take a break from harassing each other (or Ty and Micah get a break from being harassed by Dexter). Ty and Dex spent a fair amount of time Magna Doodling together…
…while sweet Micah played with animals by himself.
This child has the sweetest, most squishable-kissable cheeks!
Dexter is working with Magna Doodle intensity.
The boys fought over played with a lot of cars.
Below we have Hoarding Action Ty*.
*Hoarding Action Micah and Hoarding Action Dexter sold separately.
Dexter feigns patience while Ty plays. Yeah, save your thumb-sucking and sparkly eyes, buddy, I’m not buying it.
Things got a little crazy when the balloon fight started. But at least they were all laughing at the same time…

I love cousins.

The Chronology of Croup Week

Last week is just a blur. This was the sickest Dexter has ever been, and it was pretty rough. My husband and I talked about how it was like doing the newborn stage all over again, because Dexter would wake up every half hour or so, coughing and panicking until I could comfort him and give him a drink of water. He slept all night with us for the first time ever, because it was easier to just hold him and a sippy cup of water than to fumble around like a zombie in the dark.

I have mental snapshots of events, but not a great recollection of what really happened. As I was going through my phone, I realized I had actual snapshots of events, mostly the nice parts (I don’t need pictures to remember the hard parts, those memories are pretty clear!!), and I was surprised by how much occurred in just a week. (Spoiler: A lot of these pictures involve food.)

Day 1

We had a wonderful family day at the aquarium, followed by supper at Jet’s Pizza. Super yummy pizza, as evidenced in the 3rd picture: Dex was dismayed, nay, horrified that Alex was putting the pizza away.

    IMAG0265  IMAG0267  IMAG0276

Playing with action figures at Jet’s has become a family ritual. In the middle picture you can see Dexter’s guy performing pirouettes on some pizza crust.

At some point Dexty asked for some cupcakes. And so Alex decided to surprise us by taking us to Gigi’s Cupcakes. I seriously am not a fan of cake, but this was amaaaazing. Mine was Wedding Cake. The only reason I took a break from inhaling it is because I had to send a picture to my poor sister, who loves cupcakes. Sorry, Deb!!


Little did we know, in a few hours Dex would wake up barking with croup.

Day 2

This not-too-bad day included making some no bake cookies. They look deceptively good. Trust me, they were weird.

I started some soft pants for Dex using the basic pants pattern from Made. Poor Dex got worse soon after I started these, so they still aren’t finished. (Oh, and also because I start more projects later…)

Day 3

The week included lots of lots of blankets, lots of snuggling, and  LOTS of tv. Poor Dex didn’t even feel like sitting up most of the time. Without pictures, my timeline is a little fuzzy. This may be the same night we took him to an urgent care clinic and were there for 4.5 hours. It was awful, he was feverish and crying to go home almost the entire time.

Day 4

I tried out my Grandma Ona’s tuna fish patty recipe. They were so good, and one of the few things, besides croutons and dried berries, that I could get Dexter to eat. Of course, it was during a rare period of playfulness, so he had to be a sting ray and I had to feed him pieces of tuna fish patty like raw shrimp. (This is not completely random, we get to do this at the aquarium.)


Day 5

By this point, Dexter and I were pretty much joined at the hip. We slept together, we ate together (or I ate and begged him to try), and we watched Scared Shrekless 30 times together.

We were settling down for a nap and he asked me to take a picture of us napping together.

Day 6

The child still felt awful. Here he is with his bowl of croutons and 2 of his 5 or more cups. I offered him all sorts of drinks out of different types of cups to see what would entice him. He really appreciated getting to drink from mugs from my collection.

A little while later, he was feeling ok, and asked for some play-doh. And I absolutely made him some play-doh.  I was so exhausted I just looked online for a no-cook recipe, and I actually really like the one we made. I’ll link that another day, because I made some changes. It was so easy that this is probably the play-doh I’ll make from now on!

I stayed awake during one of his naps to get just a little bit of time to myself, where I could do something enjoyable and watch something besides Scared Shrekless. So I worked on matching up some squares for my postage stamp quilt.

Day 7

I didn’t take any pictures on Friday, and I honestly could not account for anything that happened. Like I said, everything is a blur. I’m sure it involved a lot of blankets, a lot of snuggling, and A LOT of tv.

Day 8

Alex was finally off work. Through the week, Alex had to work, while I took care of Dex. Then Alex would get a short break, and then usually had to go back for conference calls. Then we were both up all night with Dex. But this wonderful Saturday, he took over completely, and he gave me the ENTIRE day to craft.

I worked on  a dress for myself until I realized I didn’t have all the fabric I needed. Boo. After that I started a quilt. There is a reason I decided to push all my other projects to the side and work on this. I’ll write about that another time.

I thought it was kind of neat that I used up a bunch of nearly empty spools of thread. But that’s probably only neat to me. 

Day 9

Dex was finally acting like himself!! He ate, he played!! I am one of those people who loses perspective and starts to believe that whatever is happening at the time is what my life will be like forever. So, I was certain that the cloud of sickness would never lift. But it did!

At this point, Alex and I looked around, and realized that our entire house was trashed. I’m not kidding, it looked like a family of hoarders invited a punk rock band to come and destroy their home.

So this was Get-It-Together day. Not just basic cleaning, we went all out and started decluttering as well.


 Day 10

Today is pretty great. Dexter is playing and eating and drinking. He lost over 5lbs, which I obsessed over for days. But he is doing quite well now. Our biggest problem is that he is kind of a punk right now from getting his way for days. He definitely milked it, telling us, “I have a sickness!!”

He’s still enjoying that play-doh. And while he was working with it, he told me, in his stuffy little voice, “It’s impordant to make sings!!” I couldn’t agree more, baby :).



So I didn’t quite make last year’s goals. But I still think I did great!

1. Lose 20 lbs: I lost 6.8. I am not mad about this! I lost almost 7 lbs, that’s awesome!

2. Read 52 books: I read 26, unless I forgot to write any down. I intentionally let myself slide on this because I realized early on that sometimes reading that much caused me to ignore other things. So I feel really good about the choice to ease up.

3. Make a dress or shirt for each woman in my family: I knew this was a big one, and I actually did not make a single garment for any of them. But I did manage to make several things for myself and Dexter, do those count???

Other things I accomplished this year:

I made TONS of crafts. TONS. I wanted to do a special photo post where I showed off everything I made. However, that turned out to be a nearly impossible task. You will not be seeing that post.

My sister and I participated in Santa’s Workshop. That was such a great experience! We got to share our crafts with the public, we bonded over common interests, and we got paid to do it. Sweet!

We moved to a new city. This is not my favorite accomplishment of 2010, and I’m still adjusting, but it was great that my husband found a new job after being laid-off.

2011 goals:

1. Lose 15 lbs.

If I make this goal, I will have completed the 20 I wanted to lose. But even if I only lose 5 by the end of the year, I’m going to be pumped! I am actively working toward this goal already, so I have a bit of a head start.

2. Work out at least 10 min everyday (except if I’m sick).

I’ve already been doing this for over 2 weeks! I actually started the day of my 30th birthday, and I’m trying to keep up that commitment. I know 10 min sounds really wimpy, but it means I don’t cut myself any slack. I *can* move with purpose for 10 minutes. Most days it’s 20 or 30 min of activity.

3. Read 24 books.

I’m certain I can match 2010’s progress. 2 books a month isn’t unreasonable, and if I really want to read more I can!

4. Commit to 2 weeks of my Secret 2011 Goal:

I’ll blog about this attempt later. It’s one of those things that I will not talk about until I either do it and succeed or fail and try to be the first to make fun of myself.

5. Unofficial Goal: Blog more frequently.

I’m not going to set a timeline, but I do want to blog more. It was hard this winter because I was too busy to really document everything.

I don’t plan to make any crafty goals this year. I already have a backlog of orders I’m trying to get through, so there is no way I intend to put more things on my plate. I’m really pleased with my progress last year, so I’m basically just going to try to keep up that pace!

Break and Sneak Peek

My precious nephew Ty is in a children’s hospital right now. He’d been having fevers, and when his temp spiked to over 106 he started having seizures. Long story short, he is in the hospital and they’re still trying to figure out what’s going on. He does seem to be doing better overall, but it’s still going to take time. Any prayers for him, my sister and brother-in-law, and Ty’s twin brother, Micah, would be greatly appreciated. Deborah and Ian are so stressed out and worried about Ty and missing Micah very badly 😦 Please pray that little Ty will recover very soon and that they will all be reunited 🙂

That being said, I’ve been devoting much of my attention to keeping people updated on what’s going on, so I am doing zero crafting or blogging… well, with this exception 🙂 So a temporary break is in order. I hope that by the end of the week things will normalize!

But last week I had a LOT going on, craftwise. I’ve put together a few tutorials for hoodies, worked on lots of dolls, reworked my training pants… Here are a few things you have to look forward to:

hoodie 1


bib 1

Darling Dexter


This kid has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this time! I wasn’t sure what it would be like to be alone with him for 24 hours everyday for whole a whole week. But it’s been great. He keeps me entertained and he’s been giving me lots of snuggles. It’s been easier not to think about the negative aspects of moving because I’ve been so caught up in all the new things he’s learning.

His favorite thing this week? These hand-me-down flip-flops! I put them on him one day when he was trying to wear my flip-flops, and he’s been totally attached since. He just stares at them and chuckles 🙂 Of course, I do too, look at those chubby feet 🙂



                  IMG_5549  IMG_5558


I love his face 🙂 Even when it’s dirty. And I love how focused he gets on things.

I was also really excited to find some blocks in our storage unit. I’d bought them for a little boy I used to babysit. Dex loves them. He calls them “Bah!”… but then again, he calls most things “Bah!”


Dexter, Art Vandal

In the process of moving, we’ve decided to let go of a lot of our possessions. Tonight I was going through my paintings, deciding what I could price to sell, and taking pictures. My 14 month old, Dexter, was being quite rambunctious. Why didn’t I just wait til he was in bed, you may say. Why, indeed.

To distract him, I gave him crayons. I thought to myself, “What a clever mommy I am! This will keep him from grabbing my paintings!”

A specific painting I photographed was one everyone seemed to love. It’s an appropriation of American Gothic I did in college. I call it American Urban.

Not five minutes after taking this picture:IMG_5413

I turn to discover that my dear Dexter is enthusiastically adding his own touch to the painting:IMG_5429

I gasped and exclaimed a long “Nooooooooooooooooo!”, with wide-eyed disbelief.

And then I started laughing. What can you do? Dexter knew I wasn’t happy, he had a concerned look. He probably figured the laughing was a precursor to a complete mental breakdown. So I squatted down to get a better look and he leaned in and kissed me lol.

All is forgiven, but he’s been relocated to the highchair to complete the rest of his studio time. IMG_5444




Hopefully the crayon will come off my painting. If not, anyone wanna buy and Rebekah-Dexter collaboration??

When Life Interferes With My Crafting…

Things have been crazy for us lately. My husband was recently laid off. Then he, fortunately, found a job. Unfortunately, it’s 3 hours away. So we’re moving in less than a month. He’s actually going without me at first and I’m staying here to take care of things while he works.

Then, this week he ended up in the ER for mystery stomach pains. Two potential diagnoses were toss out, so he will have to go to a specialist, when he can find time between moving and starting a new job.

This has not let me much time to consider crafting. I did get to sew today on my sister’s quilt. I also made two dresses for one of Dexter’s little buddies, but I can’t post pictures until after I give them to her.

I suppose I just wanted to post an update 🙂

The end.

Sew, Mama, Sew! Show Us Your Stash Questionnaire

For a lot of you, this may be a really boring blog post. It’s about thread 🙂 You’re welcome to just look at the pretty pictures and then move on. Unless, of course, you are truly interested in info about my thread 🙂

If you’d like to answer the questionnaire on your own blog for a chance to win Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett thread, then jog on over to Sew, Mama, Sew!,  one of my absolute favorite sewing sites.

  • How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?

I’m always drawn to bright colors. In the past, I had tons of red thread, because most of my projects were in red tones. Just recently I’ve started branching out to some gorgeous blues and greens.IMG_5264


  • Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?

Not always. I try to get close on certain projects, because I feel like the piece should stand on it’s own merit, without any distractions.

  • Do you ever use contrasting thread?

I use contrasting thread more recently. I used to be really afraid to, but I especially like the contrast in my baby items. I guess I feel the freedom to play a little when it comes to those things.IMG_5275

  • Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?

I usually do, because I hate when some of the bobbin thread is visible on top in a different color. That’s a machine issue, and until I know how to always make things run better, I’d prefer not to risk it. If it’s something I’m just throwing together for myself, I don’t always worry about it.

  • What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?

I still stick with the same color. I’d probably match the most dominate color, or use something deliberately contrasting, like black or white.

  • Do you have any tips or suggestions about choosing thread?

I don’t experiment with thread brands. I’ve never had problems with basic, inexpensive Coats & Clark. So I’m not sure my suggestions mean much 🙂 But have fun with it, and take risks sometimes. Build a small stash of basics, but add a few colors when you can!IMG_5265

  • Can you show us a picture(s) of your thread collection?

Certainly! I normally keep my thread in a photo box. I’m hoping to one day get a nice rack to keep it from tangling. IMG_5243 



  • Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?

Rarely, because I waste enough money on fabric 🙂

  • Do you “invest” in thread?

No, I go cheap. There were 2 times I bought special thread: I bought some “fancy” thread in college for a project. The brand is Mettler and I got it in pink, green, and blue. The second time I bought special thread was when I made mei tais. I bought heavy-duty thread to support the weight.IMG_5252

  • What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)

Pretty much all-purpose, and a little of my heavy-duty is left.

Mapping Out My Quilting Plan

It occurred to me last night that I have 5 months to finish my 3 Christmas quilts. I can be a bit of a procrastinator. 5 months sounds like forever, right??

But when I divide that by 3 quilts, that’s roughly 1.67 months per quilt! Um… time to panic!

So, I have to make myself start putting some quality time into those quilts. Not only have I taken on a gargantuan task, but I also chose to venture into unknown and potentially complicated pattern territory.

It’s so hard for me to focus on just one project. I get bored, or I get super excited about something else! But I have to harness my energy, because I don’t want to give my sisters IOU’s for Christmas. That would be jerky.

So, here’s the plan:

Quilt #1- Deborah’s Owl Quilt

IMG_4941 IMG_5215

The front of the quilt will have 12 pink and blue blocks, shashed with dark brown. At least one block will have an owl. My sister wanted to think about how many owls she wanted 🙂

IMG_5217 The back will have a pink and brown striped fabric, with a strip of pieces from the front along the bottom. Then I’m going to attempt to do a tree in brown, via ohfrannson!. I probably will not do patchwork on this tree, because I really don’t think it’s necessary. And then I’ll have 3 little owls peeking out of holes in the tree.

I have 6 blocks completed. So if I could do 1 block per day I’d be done in a week.

Week 1: Complete blocks.

Week 2: Cut sashing and piece blocks together.

Week 3: Work on the back. (I’m going to call this one week’s worth of work, but I don’t actually know how long this will take.

Week 4: Sandwich quilt and start quilting!

Week 5: Quilt.

Week 6: Bind the edges and clip threads.

Quilt #2- Alisha’s Bird Quilt

I have all the fabric for this quilt, and a general idea, but it’s still mostly in my head. It will consist of some combination of the following fabrics:

IMG_5233 And it will have a design similar to this:IMG_5224 I sketched this out without really paying attention to the quantities of fabric I have on hand. Most likely I will have to play around with color combinations. So, Alisha, don’t get attached to it 🙂 Also, I’m not sure about how to put this together, so I sure hope ohfrannson! has a pattern!!

Week 1: Work on planning. Which color do I have enough of for the background, trees, etc?

Week 2: Cut fabric.

Week 3: Piece back ground.

Week 4: Piece tree 1.

Week 5: Piece tree 2.

Week 6: Piece tree 3.

Week 7: Cut back pieces.

Week 8: Piece back. Appliqué birds on front and back.

Week 9: Sandwich and quilt.

Week 10: Bind the edges and clip threads.

(Uh-oh. This plan is 4 weeks over time-budget.)

Quilt #3- Michelle’s Bird Quilt

Sigh. Now that I’ve mapped out Alisha’s quilt, I know Michelle’s is essentially the same except in different colors. So, it, too, is slated for 4 extra weeks. I can’t let this happen! I just need to remember this is just an estimate and kick it into high gear!

Michelle’s fabrics:IMG_5241 This batch is a little messy because I’m currently using some of the fabrics for another project 🙂

And for some reason, I thought it would be faster to revamp the same picture in Paint. It was *not* faster, but it was fun 🙂final painted bird quilt IMG_5224

Week 1: Work on planning. Which color do I have enough of for the background, trees, etc?

Week 2: Cut fabric.

Week 3: Piece back ground.

Week 4: Piece tree 1.

Week 5: Piece tree 2.

Week 6: Piece tree 3.

Week 7: Cut back pieces.

Week 8: Piece back. Appliqué birds on front and back.

Week 9: Sandwich and quilt.

Week 10: Bind the edges and clip threads.

Wish me luck! And the ability to focus. I’ll need it.


I’m bummed. Every craft I’ve started lately has failed. Well, “failed” is a little harsh. Every craft I’ve started lately has been glitchy. So I have all these unfinished projects: the puppy with a lazy eye, the night mask with the holes in it, the skirt with the wavy seams… When did I get so bad at this??

Part of the problem has been scheduling. I’ve been insanely busy for a few weeks, travelling on weekends. So when I work on a project, I think I’m trying to rush through it so I’ll have the rewarding experience of a completed project.

Another problem is THIS BLOG! I feel like every project now needs to be blog-worthy. And I’m trying to get things done faster so I can post more frequently. For example, I’ve been working on that puppy for ages, and I plan to put up a tutorial. But I wanted to put it up in one post. I should really do multiple posts because it will be long. That would take some of the pressure off. Especially when pressure=sloppiness=screw-ups=no blog posts.

One thing that will also help is getting together a list of all my unfinished and future projects. That way I can see what I’m up against and tackle it one item at a time. I get overwhelmed and I have a hard time staying on track. Maybe this will help!