Monday, August 31, 2009

To Do List

A few of the things on my To Do List this week:

- Participate in Tea Party Planning Committee conference call
- E-mail speaking guidelines to Tea Party Speakers
- Finalize Tea Party Event Activities
- Write speech for Tea Party
- Decide what to wear to Tea Party
- Blog about Tea Party

Did I mention that there will be a Tax Referral Tea Party this Monday, Labor Day, September 7th at 6pm in Pioneer Courthouse Square
? We are gathering to collect signatures to put the tax increases the legislature passed this session on the ballot as is our right as Oregonians. If you are in the Portland area please come support us!

Petitions will be available for signing at the event, there will be fantastic speakers! We will hear from several of the candidates seeking to replace David Wu as the Representative from District 1.
Samurai Mom will be speaking as well as this guy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Show Off Week -Buttoned Up

Two years ago I found this project over at Craftster. Craftster used to be my #1 website and I lurked over there all day long. Then my computer started not being able to handle the website and I gave up all together. Which is really, a good thing because the thing about Craftster is that you can have a plan for your day and within one single click you find yourself plotting and even halfway through a craft that ends up taking over your day and possessing your life until you have made one. Case in Point this dress made out of a men's button up shirt.
Of course I whipped one up for my little Nutmeg immediately. I scored at Goodwill and found a pink striped shirt and hot pink pleated trim at Joann. (These are the only pictures I can find with her in it.)
This summer I mentioned that Nutmeg didn't have anything to sleep in for the summer and Moose reminded me of this dress so we went together to Goodwill and picked out some shirts, went home and got to work.
First, we have a United Colors of Benetton Blue, purple, and lime striped shirt with periwinkle pleated trim. The colors are a little more vivid in person and we all know Nutmeg usually looks happier for the camera.
Next this white, blue and chocolate striped shirt from Old Navy with chocolate rick-rack trim and hem.
My favorite part of this dress is that I kept the pocket in the Back and trimmed it too! Unfortunately, I didn't finish off the rick-rack well enough and I noticed some fraying after washing which I hope to be able to fix without too much trouble.

The only thing I don't like about these dresses is that one day Nutmeg will be too big to fit into a reconstructed men's dress shirt.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Show Off Week - Teacup Flowers

I needed to make a three year old's birthday present for Margaret's first birthday party invitation. I wanted to make something cute yet fast because funds are tight and tight budgets are the mother of cute crafts.
Somehow I stumbled upon this blog and before I knew it I was making these Tea Cup Flowers. The hard part was finding fabric for the flowers. My stash has some gaping holes in the floral area. Eventually I found some suitable fabric, a toy tea cup and got started.The hard part ended up being sewing the tiny circles. Really, my sewing machine doesn't go slowly and it is hard to sew in a circle at that speed. There was a lot of hand sewing and somewhere something went wrong and my petals had too much space between them. Undaunted, I scrounged up some ribbon scraps and hot glue and glued it all onto a hair clip. I cliped them onto a notecard, wrapped it prettily and had a very cute present.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Show Off Week - Little Kitchen

It started out as a T.V. stand that was passed along through various college residences, our rental home and all three bedrooms in our current home at one time or another. One day I decided to turn it into a kitchen for Boba Fett who was three and in the play kitchen phase. I got out some black paint and painted black circles on the top and screwed in these wooden car wheels for oven knobs. Several months later I found this nightstand, added a shelf and it moved in as a refrigerator.
A couple of years later Boba Fett started begging me ceaselessly to paint his kitchen purple.
A trip to Costco convinced me that I was not interested in that kitchen (it was cute but too small which turns out is a good thing because my friend Sarah bought one and putting it together about drove her crazy.) I liked my recycled kitchen better. So we went to Michael's and bought silver and purple spray paint. I painted the entire thing purple and then taped it off and sprayed on the silver details. Still it wasn't quite right. I had always planned to put in a sink and finally this spring during my trip to the rebuilding center I picked up a faucet as well as some real stove knobs.
Moose cut a circle out of the top and we inserted a stainless steel bowl. Some holes drilled with much cursing into a spray painted 2x4 and we had a finished kitchen. Well almost. We would very much like a door on the top of the fridge for a microwave. Also the real oven knobs have NOT been added. An oven door would be perfect if unlikely.
If any handy people who love us would like to sign up for microwave and oven door duty it would TOTALLY count as a Christmas/Birthday present.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Show Off Week - The Tale of the Margaret Bag

It all started when Elizabeth of Oh Fransson! posted the bag she made for her friend, Margaret.
I waited patiently until she posted the pattern and then I made a bag for La Keira's birthday/baby shower.
Then in the early days of 2009 I made a small version for myself. I simply printed the PDF pattern out at 66% of original size. It is the perfect purse size and fits my scriptures nicely on Sundays. (Those are my furoshiki wrapped scriptures inside.)
Then people started talking. Everyone wanted to know where to get the pattern. I have told about 15 people where to get the pattern and seen several incarnations of the Margaret bag popping up in my family and at church.
This summer I decided I needed a beach bag and the full sized Margaret bag was just the ticket and so I made the red and black version seen above. Then I told my mom I would make one for her birthday so that she wouldn't have to make her own.
She didn't want the small or the full sized bag so I printed out the PDF pattern at 80% of original size and came up with this:
I think this is my favorite size yet. The turquoise button was a complete serendipity. An extra in the bag when I bought huge covered buttons at a thrift store.
Fawn colored rick-rack trim on the pockets. I used the Deer Valley collection of prints using "Antler Damask" in Terracotta for the outer and "Lattice" in Terracotta for the lining. Mom, you can use this bag to remind you of the fawns that have been hanging out in your yard this summer. *wink*
I don't use designer fabrics very often as I lean more to the recycled fabric but I fell in love with "Antler Damask" and expect to make my own medium sized Margaret bag out of "Antler Damask" in Sky very shortly.
Here you see three of my bags. 66%, 80% and full sized. I used the shoulder strap on all bags not the cross body strap. I have become skilled at making the bags and can whip one out in an evening provided I have all the required materials.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Show Off Week

I am still sick. My symptoms abated long enough to accept a new calling yesterday afternoon only to wake up this morning with a screaming sore throat. I honor of my being laid up I thought that this week I will post some of the the things I have been making this month and one thing that I have been in the process of making for 3 years.

We begin with the thing that earned me two huge fights/ breakdowns with my husband and this lovely stress cold. The School Room:

Firstly, I have wanted to get rid of the old red walls in this room for quite a while. The realtor said the red needed to go and I took that as my green light. La Keira and I pick out a soulless color for this room as well as my upstairs bed/bath suite.
While priming the bath I lost my resolve and sent Moose back to the paint store to have them remix what was "Sparkling Spring" into "River Rock." "River Rock" looked like a slightly blue grey on the chip turned out baby blue in the bathroom. It also turned out baby blue on the test wall in the schoolroom. Distraught I went back to the paint store on the advice of La Keira and my sister to see what they could do. The kind lady added an ounce of black to each saying it was the best she could do. I said I would take it. I came home and LOVED the color.
Since the color is of my own design (or rather, the design of fate) I think I will name it "Marital Discord" because just as I was preparing to get the room ready to paint. Moose says to me "Aren't we going to re-texture the wall?"
Here is a bit of advice, when Samurai Mom is on a roll doing projects she does not like to do (i.e. painting and the dishes) do NOT put up obstacles that suggest to impede or slow her down. Enter fight #1.

Two days later I found this painting at GW and took a chance because of its size. It seems to work and surprisingly Moose has said nothing derogatory about it. This painting did not lead to fight #2.

Moose says he likes how the room looks "sparse" (read "uncluttered.") I like it too but I still have 3 huge piles of clutter that usually go in the schoolroom that now need to find a place and that "sparse" room looks pretty likely.

Also, now that the schoolroom looks so sophisticated I think we need to call it something else. "Conservatory" was the first idea but I looked it up and it means greenhouse more or less. Perhaps "The Sitting Room" because the whole point is that I want this room to be used and sat in. I am open to your suggestions.

Also, let us pray that my relationship with my husband makes it through this house selling process somewhat intaact.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Captain Mayhem Makes Good

The stress of getting the house ready to sell has given me a stress cold. I finally succumbed last night after the schoolroom was painted and while I was watching a movie with a bunch of girls at our annual Mother Daughter picnic, pool party and girl's night out.

Today, I could not get out of bed and was attentively cared for by Nutmeg while Commander C took care of his brother and sister and fed us all. He was so quick to help and so cheerful about it. He even told a friend that called to play that he had to stay home to take care of me. I am so proud of him.

To top it off, last night a friend of mine had many glowing reports if Commander C to share with me. Maybe we are doing something right after all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Simple Dream

The idea: Put the 3 year old to bed an hour early because she had a long day at the beach, no nap on the drive home and a breakdown in Target.

The reality: Lying next to the 3 year old, weepy but not sleeping, for an hour before handing her off to the husband for and indeterminate amount of time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Night Cinema

Last night we went to a movie in the park. It was magical, it was The Wizard of Oz. Watching it on a large movie screen with an audience and my children seeing it for the first time was amazing. I have never been crazy about The Wizard of Oz before, I liked it alright but nothing special. But last night was extraordinary. The audience cheered each time Toto escaped the Miss Gulch/the Wicked Witch of the West, clapped at the end of songs and after every performance of the Cowardly Lion. Boba Fett and Nutmeg were entranced.
The Wizard of Oz
Date: 1939
Starring: Judy Garland
Directed by: Victor Flemming

This film won 2 Oscars in 1939 for Original Song and Original Song. It was up for several other things but it was competing with Gone With the Wind. Judy Garland's baby talk is a bit irritating but she is a competent actress at only 16 years, and I thank my luck stars a million times that they didn't choose Shirley Temple for the role as originally planned. I can't think of anyone more annoying than Shirley Temple and her baby talk (except John Malcovich) The role of The Cowardly Lion played by Bert Lahr is outstanding. I think he was my favorite character last night. The costumes are really quite brilliant.

Watch The Wizard of Oz again. Sit still and don't get up and if possible watch it with a child who has never seen it before.

6.5 out of 7 thimbles

Friday, August 14, 2009

Who Got the Pillowcases?

Facebook brings about all sorts of degrees of friendship. There is the extension and deepening of current active friendships. There is the way to keep in touch with those who would still be fast friends if they hadn't moved away and the renewing of such friendships. There is the last attempt to get to know your 60 cousins whom you never knew because you grew up 500 miles way from them friends. There are the too familiar friends that are your siblings and other close relatives. There are the friendships that satisfy the gossip you have heard: "Did she really have quintuplets", " "Is She really now a He", and the ever popular "She is living with the He that was a She!" (Answers: quads, not quints, yes and YES!" There are the keeping up with your social network, the business friends and the friends from High School. There are friends that you met via other friends on Facebook. there are the ex-boyfriends that you want to check up on to make sure that they are happy but not as happy as they would have been if they hadn't dumped you and the people you just want to spy on. Then there are the friends that you have to ask another friend who the heck this person is before you remember that you once sat next to them in Earth Science. And there are the people that you finally friended because they requested you repeatedly for 2 years!

Some of these relationships are as you expected them, sometimes you find your arch nemesis of 13 years ago is still your nemesis. Sometimes the one guy you have little in common with is just as chatty as you are and you find that there is a lot to say. Sometimes you find that your friends are divorced which is disturbing because the last time you saw them they were very happy.

Just such an event happened to me lately. Two friends married each other long ago and now I find that one party is married to someone else. Either the other party died or they are divorced (or there is some secret bigamy scheme) and I can't stop wondering who got to keep to the hand embroidered pillowcases I made for them?

(P.S. the pillowcases pictured above are not the cases in question. The recipients of these pillowcases are still happily married as far as I know.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The National Review

It was cool when Lars Larson read my blog post on his show,

And then when Kevin edited a great video of the Town Hall meeting featuring me,

And then The Oregonian linked to it.

But now I have been quoted in the National Review.
The National Review is big. It is La Keira's number one source of news. She has been in awe of me this week. I'll take it.

I have many thoughts on this. Firstly I love the attention because from the time I could smile I have been a fool for an audience. While I am a bit uncomfortable when people recognize me, I secretly love it.

While what I said took courage, initially I was just proud of the composure with which it was delivered. I fully expected to come out babbling and maybe crying. The words were not that revolutionary. I don't think what I had to say is any different that what people are feeling. Maybe it is just the fact that I said it. I am glad this happened before all the bad press about the town halls, I am glad I didn't have to stand in line or argue with union thugs.

One though on the whole "shouting" idea that the press has latched on to. What they are all neglecting to mention is that the Congressman are either refusing to answer direct questions OR outright lying to constituents. When you are sitting face to face with your paid representative in congress and he does not have the respect to answer your question or he lies to you, it makes you mad, really mad and shouting might be excusable. Frankly, I am impressed that people are not killing their congressmen on the spot. That is how angry people are and I think they are showing incredible restraint.

I have not tried to go to any more of Congressman Wu's town halls because I know I will not be allowed in and I have kids to take care of. I will choose when I protest and It will probably next be at Pioneer Courthouse Square on September 7th.

I regret that I have but one town hall to give to my country. (This summer.)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Stitching in July

I sewed a few things last month. Most of it was sewn from my stash. I did need to buy one zipper, some rickrack and some ribbon. I also needed to buy lining and interfacing for the bag. It was very exciting making a whole wardrobe for next to nothing. I used the book "Sew What Skirts" to help me draft quick patterns. It's nothing I couldn't have found in my pattern making book but it made it SO easy.
Roundup and Little Roundup
I have been holding on to this fabric for ages. I bought it because I was in love with the cowboys. The Little Roundup (not pictured but trust me it looks exactly the same) is much too big for Nutmeg this year but will fit her next year and a few years after that.
The Asian Dream is straight out of the book and a great way to display this fabric that I wanted to use but not cut up the design. I realize yoke skirts aren't the best choice for me, but this fabric needed to be this skirt, yes?
Don't I look...formidable in this photo? Kind of like I am 6' 3" and on the East German Women's swim team? I have been planning to make a skirt out of this fabric for going on 2 years now but I couldn't decide on a style. Finally I decided the pattern is the reason for the fabric so show it off in a simple A-line skirt. A little orange rick rack and a custom, hand finished invisible pocket and we have a skirt. Since I had extra fabric I whipped up a Margaret Bag.
The Margaret Bag
I think the story of this bag deserves its own post so I will be brief and only say that I adore it.
It was as if the lining were made for this bag and I am so tickled with the asymmetrical placement of the rick rack on the pockets.

The Muumuu
In Hawaii I found a little boutique that was remaking vintage Muumuus into skirts, pillows, purses and dresses and selling them at fancy boutique prices. They were, for the most part A-line skirts, a quick 30 minute alteration and selling them for $90! Well that was just a challenge to a frugal seamstress like myself. And we all know how much I like a reconstruction project. So Moose and I went across the street to the Kilua Salvation Army and bought a Muumuu for me to reconstruct. Sadly, it took me a year to make it but that was because the ruffle posed quite a problem. It was the best part of the muumuu but I couldn't figure out how to incorporate it into the skirt, and to be honest the skirt was a bit boring. Then a few weeks ago I said "Hang it!" and I just sewed the ruffle haphazardly across the front. It is a little Rio de Janeiro a little Havana but I love it. The ruffle was the key. Maybe I shall call it Flirting in Rio.
Picnic for Six
Well, you have seen this before but I sewed it in July an so I post it again.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Saturday Night Cinema

Date: 1963
Starring: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and a host of other great actors as well as a marginal to poor little boy actor with a French accent.
Directed by: Stanley Donen
Music by: Henry Mancini

I love this movie when I am in the mood for a spy type thriller with a lighthearted touch. There is mystery and some suspense, many laughs and a whole lot of wonderful Cary Grant.
I am not a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn, I think she is good in some things but in a lot of movies she annoys me. In Charade I like her. Cary Grant was uncomfortable because of the age difference between him and Audrey Hepburn so they made Audrey Hepburn's character chase after him with a lot of jokes fron Grant about his age.
The soundtrack is superb, Henry Mancini you know. Many wonderful lines including but not limited to Audrey Hepburn's character touching Cary Grant's chin and asking him, "How do you shave in there?" My 9 year old likes it too.

6 out of 7 thimbles

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Blessings of Service

I walked into the house with my arms full of plates, in my car was some bedding and used clothing. My friend wasn't kidding when she said this family had nothing, just some borrowed blankets and the clothes thrown in their suitcases when they fled. There was a borrowed toaster and one folding camp chair. They had food (food stamps I assume) but nothing to eat it in or with, not even a can opener. Worst of all there was nothing to do just a few books from the library.
I left the house with a small list of most urgently needed items. 2 hours later I delivered a table, chairs, some kitchen items, a pack 'n play and a car seat for the baby. Later that afternoon I looked at the small list too see what else was needed immediately. There was nothing else, every item had been provided from friends with just two phone calls. What a blessing. It was if the Lord knew just what this family needed and inspired us to think remember all of the extra things we had hiding in the corners of our home.
There is still much to do, a pregnant woman who is supposed to be on bed rest needs a mattress, and how a family can survive with a baby on the way and no washer and dryer is beyond me. And there are so many of the little things that we take for granted the Tupperware, lamps and towels, silverware... the pictures for the wall. We will pray and the Lord will provide.
Most of all, I feel blessed to have been able to serve, somehow each time I am able to give service my heart is brightened, my burdens become light and I feel good.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Moving Sickness

We found a house we want, again. About once a year we stumble upon a house that we want to buy and then throw ourselves into the trauma that is trying to figure out if we can afford it, will the move be good for our family and like concerns. Then we come upon the issue that inevitably shuts down the whole process, how will we sell this house?

It would of course, make sense to sell our house first and then find a home but I have a deep dread of not finding something we love and being forced into a home we don't really like just so that we won't be homeless. I only want to move two more times in my life and I expect one of those times to be when I am in my fifties or older.

Really, we have a great deal in this house. We bought before prices skyrocketed and the mortgage is small and the interest rate low. So, it is difficult to make buying a new house anything less than the most important decision we have ever made.

And so we throw ourselves into the emotional meat grinder that is preparing to sell our house. I try not to cry when I think about how expensive new siding is.

P.S. If anyone would like to make my dreams come true you could buy this house from me as is and you won't expect me to clean it too hard when you do the walk through. We will adjust the price accordingly.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Samurai Mom Pickled a Peck of Cucumbers

Saturday morning Nutmeg and I went to the "market" She was so cute with her tiny basket on her arm full of dill and garlic. Over the last week I collected 20 or so huge cucumbers form the garden and several small ones as well.
A couple of hours and several songs from my Hausfrau Dance Mix later I had 23 pints of pickles. Here's hoping the big cucumbers make good pickles.

I just want to say I am so grateful for the bounty from my garden so far!