Monday, December 24, 2012

Grandpa's Quilt

Every year I make one person a big gift.  This year was the year of Q's great grandpa.  I felt like I had a great idea and last year I asked everyone to send me profile pictures that I could turn into silhouettes and have all his kids, grandkids, and great grandchildren on a quilt.  I gave them three months so that I would have time to turn them into silhouette's and applique them all on.  Unfortunately, only my SIL and myself could be bothered to snap a couple of shots in three months time, so I did something that I really hated to do and bought a quilt kit.

I think the end quilt came out beautiful and I feel like I succeeded in making something that he will really like (based on the fact that my FIL really likes it).  I spent a lot of time making sure everything was perfect and the top was so neat and flat that the quilt top looked like cheater's cloth. The center is a panel and the borders are pieced onto the panel.

Here is a closeup of the quilting.

And the back.  I used to be afraid of doing a huge contrast in thread to the fabric because any flaw shows, but my quilting has gotten good enough that I don't feel that I need to worry about it anymore.

And the final quilt (74" x 52").

I just finished it and Q is currently wrapping it.  I'm so happy to have it done in time.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Irresponsible Parenting

Dear Mother at Six Flags,

Today, your budding psychopath attempted to push my two-year-old off of the Six Flags playset.  We are all very lucky that my husband was right there to stop him.  This was actually the third time your son attempted to push her and we are also very lucky that a) my husband did not witness the first two attempts and b) that I wasn't the one that was right beside my daughter when the third push happened as he is one of the most gentle persons on the planet and grew up in a loving, stable, non-violent home, and my instincts would have resulted in my likely incarceration after my response. We are also all very lucky that I wasn't present for your follow-up conversation with my husband because no, we don't have to understand that he is the eighth child.  Not only do I not have to understand it, I can't even comprehend how that is supposed to explain or excuse what happened.  So at which child did you give up responsible parenting and decide to let your children do whatever to other kids without any parent around to supervise?  I'm guessing it wasn't with number eight.  Please take a parenting class and also read up on how to teach your children the things that you have clearly neglected to date.

Thanks so much,
Mother of Darth Baby.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Beginner French Seam Pillowcase Tutorial

I'm making pillowcases for Christmas for the travel pillows my daughters and nieces have (Don't worry, they all get plenty of 'real' gifts and even some of those from me) and I thought I'd give a simple tutorial.  I've given measurements before, but these are a really simple way of making a high quality pillowcase.  After Christmas, I plan on making myself some body pillow cases since my body pillow that is actually supportive and good for my back doesn't actually fit in pillow cases that you can buy for body pillows (though they fit the cheapo $10 body pillows fine).

First, cut and iron your main fabric.
Travel case:  18 inches x 28 inches.
Standard case:  27 inches x 45 inches (or as close as you can get it width-wise).
Body pillow case:  50 inches x 45 inches (I wouldn't choose a fabric that is much less than 44 inch in width).

If adding trim, cut and iron the trim

Travel case:  3 inches x 28 inches.
Standard case:  3 inches x 45 inches.
Body pillow case:  3 inches by 45 inches.

Cut and iron the flange.

Travel case:  7 inches x 28 inches.
Standard case:  12 inches x 45 inches.
Body pillow case:  20 inches by 45 inches.

Next, fold the trim piece in half with wrong sides together and iron.

Place the flange fabric face up.  Place the main fabric face up on top of it lining up the edge.  Place the folded trim piece face up on that and again line up the edge.

Roll up the main fabric to where there is plenty of room to fold the flange in two.

Fold the flange over and line up all the edges.

Sew across the top (I use 1/4 inch seam here).

Pull all the fabric out of the tube.

Unroll the tube.


Now for the French seams.  This gives both sides a nicer and stronger finish.  Fold the fabric in two with wrong sides together.

Sew around using a seam 1/8-1/4 inch smaller than your usual seam.  (If you are a precision sewing, use 1/8 inch seam like I do.  A beginner should use 1/4 inch seam.)  On this pillow I actually turned my trim up which is why the flange looks smaller than the previous pictures.  Trim the seam to 1/8 of an inch or if it is frayed.

Turn inside out and press.

Sew again.  (I use 1/4 inch seam here.  Beginners should probably use 1/2 inch).

Turn back right side out and press.  In the even that there are threads or part of the earlier seam sticking out, you can simply turn back inside out and sew the seam a little further out at that point.

Here is a view of the final pillow case on the pillow.

Edited 12/19 to add trimming suggestions for stray threads or showing seams.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hot Tubs

I'm thankful for hot tubs.  I'm also rather grateful for heated pools.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What a Day at Disney with My Girls Looks Like

These pictures are only from a couple of moments from today, but the whole day yesterday and today was pretty much like this.  I love the stamina my girls have.  After all day yesterday at Magic Kingdom, the bear cub had no problem dancing in the street with the parade until they marched right out of there.


I forgot to post yesterday and so I'm posting another thankful post today.  I'm thankful that I don't have a smart phone or texting.  We're having so much fun at Disney and I can't help but notice the unhappy faces on all the people that are having to check their phones.  I already feel like a phone is basically an electronic leash and I'm glad that it doesn't have any power over me or my hubby or my mom.

The Sitter

I'm thankful for having such a conscientious baby and pet sitter.  I'm glad that she calls when she has any questions or I forgot to put something in my note that I told her verbally.  I know my puppies are being taken care of and aren't in a kennel and that makes me very happy.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I'm grateful that my family all just stays out of the way and lets me pack anything and everything.  I love not having to convince people that I'm not refusing out of politeness.  I also am thankful that my mom and Q, both somewhat controlling people, have enough faith in my ability to do a good job that they even brag about my packing ability.  It makes traveling so much less stressful for me.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rest Stops

I'm thankful for Texas rest stops.  They are always clean and well-kept and have decent parking separate for cars and trucks.  When we traveled through Arkansas, this was NOT true, and half the ones in Arkansas weren't even open.

There are two kinds of rest stops:  Texas Travel Information Centers and Safety Rest Areas. The Travel Information Centers have maps and local info, restrooms, picnic areas, water fountains, vending machines, and wireless internet (though I've not yet had an opportunity to use that).

The Safety Rest Areas are even better.  While they don't have wireless internet, they do have a myriad of other things:

  Air-conditioned and heated restrooms, as well as an assisted-use restroom
  Larger parking areas, with separated areas for cars and commercial trucks
  Information areas for weather and road conditions, maps, traffic-safety and upcoming regional events
  Office space for law-enforcement personnel
  Enhanced security, including surveillance cameras
  Tornado shelters
  Walking and interpretive trails
  Play areas for kids

It's just another reason that I love Texas.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I'm grateful for having a big kitchen.  Because I had to clean all the counter tops for Thanksgiving I had room to put all my laundry.  I usually do my laundry and fold and organize it on my bed.  I do this because it forces me to put it away before I go to bed and otherwise it will sit around for a long time before I get to it.  All that counter space was particularly useful yesterday.

This is 1 1/2 weeks worth of clothing, and these pictures were taken after Q took almost all of his clothing upstairs.

Friday, November 23, 2012


I'm grateful that I don't have to go shopping today.  I'm thankful that so many companies are moving are moving to Internet sales, especially on Black Friday.  I'm grateful that so many people that I know don't plan on spending the day shopping.  While I don't believe that a day dedicated to shopping is the evil that I'm seeing some people post, I'm so very glad that I don't feel a need to be a part of it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm grateful for a holiday that centers around being thankful, friends and family, and food.

I'm also very thankful for those that have chosen to come celebrate with us over doing something else.  I'm hoping that no one regrets that decision.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Home Sleep Study

I'm having to do a sleep study.  I'm so very grateful that they now have a take home version and that I do not have to go to a clinic and sleep there while having a bunch of people watching me.  I hope that when my bear cub has to have hers that they give her the pediatric version.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sewing Bloggers

I'm grateful for sewing bloggers.  I'm so glad especially for those who spend the time to post their projects, tips, and tutorials.  I know that the people in my life think that I'm a really good seamstress, but in reality I'm constantly improving and the rate of improvement has escalated so much since I have discovered the world of sewing bloggers.  I have learned new techniques for doing full bust adjustments (FBAs), shirring, collars, and a myriad of other things.  I get so much inspiration from seeing their projects.  I've also discovered that I'm more willing to accept and wear my garments (and dress my girls in them) that aren't perfect and this is an enormous boost to all our wardrobes.  I discovered sewing magazines from reading their blogs, which is huge.  I really think that if I lost access to the Internet, there would be two things I really missed, one is the community of parents of children with Down syndrome and the other would be sewing bloggers.

Also, a note on Ally.  She is doing much better.  She had some sort of stomach flu and the beginnings of heart issues.  She is now on an ace inhibitor and her appetite has gotten much better.  I really appreciate all the support my friends and family have given me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Bear Cub's Teacher

Those that know me in real life know that I have a *few* grudges against doctors and teachers.  I've had a lot of bad experiences with them both and very few good ones.  My MIL is always telling me that I need to give them the benefit of the doubt and that there are more good ones than bad ones and that my experiences were not indicative of what is out there.  While I try to give individual teachers a chance, it is harder for me than most, I think.

I am, however, incredibly grateful for the bear cub's current teacher.  She is wonderful and I can only hope that the bear cub gets her next year, too (the bear cub will have preschool until she turns five so she has another year after this one).  This teacher majored in deaf communication and signs with the bear cub and the rest of the class.  She has kept the bear cub on her potty training schedule and we have had fairly few accidents while she is at school.  She is extremely communicative with me and shows genuine concern about what is going on at home and letting me know not only what they are doing at school but also what the bear cub is interested and how she is interacting with her classmates and teachers.  I'm so pleased that she has such a wonderful educator this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Beloved Ally

If you've been reading a while, you know a little about my puppies.  My Ally is fifteen and struggling right now, so I'm having a hard time coming up with my grateful today.  I normally have enough that come to mind that I could post multiples and today they are all Ally-based and I don't want to post about any of them because it feels like good-bye.

I'm just grateful that most of my days are filled with feeling of thankfulness and things to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Visiting Family

I'm very grateful that I'm going to get to see my younger sister and my other niece, Little Miss, soon.  I miss them so much and since they live 2 days drive away I very rarely get to see them.  I'm really looking forward to it and am so glad that we have the ability to make the trip this year and have not had to delay it as we have had to so many times in the past.  I miss them so much.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Simplicity 4463 Take 3 - Eeyore

I just had to make Eeyore.  This one was made for the bear cub, but is being modeled by Darth Baby because the bear cub is a bit under the weather right now.  I love Eeyore.  I had a purple donkey that I called Eeyore when I was little.  He wasn't even close to looking like the real one and his purple wasn't a lavender, but closer to fushia, but I loved him all the same.  I couldn't find a lavender minky and decided to do this Eeyore in all blue instead of putting fleece on the belly.

 While she was more than happy to wear the Eeyore costume, she refused to hold the stuffed Eeyore and grabbed her Pooh.

I added a little view of the back because the tail is so stinking cute.  I had to shorten it because the pattern made it much longer than the leg and I didn't want her tripping over it.

The Drama Princess

My beautiful niece, front and center, doing something she definitely has a talent for, though unfortunately, I didn't get to see her performance last night.  I know she did fantastic because I've seen her perform before and she is eloquent and poised and thrives on the attention.

I am thankful for my niece and the time I get to spend with her.  I've loved this little girl since before she was my niece or I even thought she would be.  I am grateful that my girls have at least one cousin that they are growing up with and I'm so glad to see their relationship grow and thrive, especially for the nerdlet, who is personality-wise almost the exact opposite.

The Drama Princess doesn't have the easy relationship with my girls that they have with each other.  She is an only child and often struggles with things like sharing and taking turns, but she is getting better at these things all the time.

All three of my girls love her and look forward to her weekly visits and are not happy when I have to cancel them, which happens way more than I would like.  The Drama Princess definitely adds so much to our lives with her vibrancy and unique style.

I'll leave you with a picture of her dance moves.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

The nerdlet loves cloth napkins and has been asking for some for over a year.  I finally decided to makes some in no small part due to wanting to buy and use photo quality fruit and veggie fabric that I've seen at my local fabric store, The Creative Sewing Center.  You can order most of the fabrics that I used there.  I don't get anything if you do, and I've never used their online ordering, but I figured that anyone reading this might want to have some of the same fabric.

Anyway, I figured I might as well do a tutorial.  It's a pretty simple project and great for a beginning sewer.  I googled napkin sizes and there doesn't seem to be a standard size.  They range from 15 inches squared to 21 inches squared.  I made mine 16 inches squared because I bought a yard of each fabric and you can get four napkins to a yard.  You'll want to buy two inches longer (and make sure you don't get shorted even a little bit) for each two you wish to make.

Cut your fabric into perfect squares two inches larger than your desired napkin size.  For mine this was 18 inches.  Then fold over the corners two inches from the end.

Unfold and cut off the corner, leaving about 1/2 inch from the fold.

Then fold back up and press.  Do this on all four sides.

Then fold up 1/2 inch the length of the square and press.  I'll let you in on my secret press method here.  I use the finger nail press system here.

Then fold up 1/2 inch of fabric again so that the cut edge is inside the second fold and press.

Do this on all four sides.

Here's another secret.  I don't bother to pin these at all.  Here is the corner with both sides folded over twice.

I start on the corner and stitch a few stitches and then backstitch and forward again.  I'm sewing 1/16 of an inch from the fold.

When I get to the corner, I stop the needle exactly between the two sides in the corner crease.

Lift the foot, turn, and sew on, again 1/16 inch from the edge.

Sew this way all the way around, backstitch at the end and cut the fabric.

Then I sew again 1/16 an inch from the edge.  At the corners, I'm actually 1/8 inch from the edge.  This is to keep my corner from getting sucked into the machine.  I also angle the fabric slightly like you see in the picture for 2-3 stitches for the same reason.  Then I turn the fabric back to straight and 1/16 inch from the edge.

This is what you see after it is stitched, in case you are worried about what the weird turning will make it look like.  You have to strain to even see what I did.

Again I sew all the way around this way.  Moving to the 1/8 inch mark at each corner and back out to 1/16 inch at the sides.  Another way to prevent the machine from taking the corners in is to put tissue paper (or medical table paper, which is what I use for this sort of thing and also pattern tracing) under the corners while you sew.

And a picture of the other side.  The reason for the difference in color is lack of flash.

A fuzzy picture of all the napkins I made, washed and ironed. I'm considering going back for one of these fabrics and making placemats, potholders, and curtains to match.