Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Review




It has truly been a magnificent year!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dolls For Downs

I bought the bear cub a doll from Dolls for Downs.  It's a doll that is similar to the American Girl doll line, but the doll is supposed to have the features of Down syndrome.  I chose Hannah because of the brown hair and eyes.
 Here she is in the box.

 I placed the box as is in front of the bear cub.

She figured out that we needed to undo the laces to get her coll out before I did.

 "No, Darth Baby, she is mine!"

 "And I am going to love her."

 Maybe we'll be safer here.

 Did you see her cute shoes, Mom?

Here comes Darth Baby.  We need to move again. 

 You can't tell but she is kissing her here as she looks around.

Behind this ottoman looks safer. 

  I'll brush your hair.

 Let me get you safe in the stroller.

 And we'll go for a walk.

We'll scoot around Darth Baby and her doll.

The bear cub and her doll are currently in my bed playing under my covers.  She is the only one of my girls that plays with dolls and stuffed animals like babies and I wasn't sure that Hannah would be so well received, but she obviously took right to her.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ottobre 6-2011-3 Version 7 (The Dress)

I made another version of Ottobre 6-2011-3.  This one is a dress.  There were quite a few changes for this one.  It started out as a 92, but I have added 9 inches in length (originally 12, but I lopped 3 off despite the nerdlet wanting to keep them), 3 inches to the sleeve length, and 1 inch to the sleeve width and to the front and back).  This knit is from a quilting store that had it clearanced and it is quite thick so I didn't line it.

I don't know if you can tell, but the nerdlet loves it.  She says it is super comfortable; and she was only supposed to try it on, but now she is refusing to take it off.

Today, I am especially grateful for kids that are grateful that I sew for them.  All three of the girls love when I make them something and I only hope that they don't outgrow that any time soon.  Their enthusiasm for the clothing I make really fills me with happiness.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!

Another list of the massive amount of things I have to be grateful for.

I am grateful for kids that get being grateful.  They have always been good with the words, but we did a Thanksgiving gratitude tree and they were eager to offer the things they were thankful for to put on the tree and came up with a lot of ideas and quickly.

I am grateful for the new traditions that Q and I have added to our little family.  We didn't have many traditions growing up and I love that we will have our own to share with our kids.  Some of the ones we have added are a separate non-Thanksgiving day Thanksgiving meal with just the immediate family and a few invites with no pressure.  Another is wrapping the books to open along with the advent calendar each day in December up until Christmas.  We have done both of these for three or four years now and they make the holidays more enjoyable.

I am grateful for crockpots and pressure cookers.  I am especially grateful that when my mother bought me a new crockpot because my older one required me to jiggle the cord to get it to work that the two crocks from the prior one fit not perfectly, but well enough, to work in the newer one.

I am grateful for customers that ooze enthusiasm over the quilts I make, especially when it is unexpected or a customer that is normally difficult.

I am grateful once again for the emergency 24-7 clinic near my home and this time I am grateful for shots of antibiotics, pain killers, and steroids because I ended up there once again with strep again, this time seemingly much worse and they took care of me right away and I felt better within 30 minutes.

I am grateful for all the good and kind people in my life that remind me that life is not as bad as it seems to be getting on the news and Internet.

I am grateful for all the people that adopt older children and children with disabilities here and abroad and especially those that continue to allow us to view their lives after the adoption as I feel like I'm missing out when some of them disappear after they bring the child home.  I am also grateful for those parents that love their children so much that after realizing that the adopted child would be better off somewhere else make sure that those children go to a home that is better and don't just try to dump them somewhere.

I am grateful for those not in the disability community that accept and welcome our children that do have disabilities and am especially grateful for the parents that bring up their typically developing children with the same attitude.

I am grateful that my daughters all show a love of reading and being read to.  I was worried about the nerdlet because she was really resisting learning sight words and to sound words out, but when I go to change her bed sheets, I am still finding a massive amount of books in her bed that I need to remove before I can do so.

I am grateful for a full pantry and refrigerator.

I am grateful that my girls are full of energy.  I love to watch them enjoy running and moving.  I love that we have regular dancing together and that they really get into it (though mostly the bear cub and Q and I dance while Darth Baby and the nerdlet run and spin).  The fact that none of them really stop are probably the reason that I am not 300 pounds or more.  I have a low metabolism and am within 10 pounds of what I weighed my first pregnancy and while I am still a big girl, I have never been this close to having a stable weight.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quick(ish) Sweater

Today when it is cold and all of the bear cub's sweaters are either in the wash or drying, I am grateful for being able to sew a sweater in a few hours so that she can wear one to school.

Yes, it is another Ottobre 6-2011-3.  It's actually a little big for the bear cub as I cut it out to fit the nerdlet.  This is actually version 7.

Here is version 6.  Version 6 was another one that was made from another sweater so I didn't bother to add cuffs to the arms.

I actually still need to make quite a few as I gave away the smaller 3 that I made last year since they outgrew them.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I am grateful that GMO tomatoes did not do well and are no longer around.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Smart Kids

I am grateful for kids that are clever enough to try to drive me nuts.

Case 1:  The nerdlet doesn't like the forced reading of library books so she checks out books with very few to no words when checking books out at school.

Case 2:  The bear cub wants to sit in the chair that the nerdlet is currently occupying.  She knows that the nerdlet always helps her.  She then takes her bouncy horse and shoves its head under the ottoman and then starts complaining about it.  When the nerdlet jumps out of the chair to help her, the bear cub jumps in and starts laughing.

Case 3:  Darth Baby has gotten very good about quietly opening packages of food in the pantry since she has figured out that noise is usually what gives her away.

There antics never fail to make me smile even when I have to correct their behavior.  I love these girls.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


There are so many things that I am grateful for:

I am grateful that the bear cub is not only accepted at school, but welcomed and celebrated (at least so far).  When we go, everyone knows her.  She is in the pre-K class and yet everyone, teachers and students all the way up to 5th grade know her and greet her as we go through the halls.  It's great to me to hear teachers making 'sh' sounds at their kids as they yell out to her.

I am grateful that Target and Toys R Us price match amazon.com.  I don't have a smart phone so it makes it a little more difficult for me, but it's great nonetheless.

I am grateful for having such a huge and wonderful family.

I am grateful for old photographs.  I can't tell you how it thrills me to see pictures of my grandmother and her brother when they were younger or all of my mom's many brothers and sisters.

I'm grateful for having developed self-acceptance.  I'm glad to not be too conscious of how I much intrude or stick out and just go with things without worrying so much.  I only hope that my nerdletl comes to this sooner and I am glad that the bear cub and Darth Baby do not struggle with this.

I am grateful that while Q is most definitely a cat person that he accepts my desire for dogs and even helps me care for them - even if it is the middle of the night and requires a trudge downstairs to let them out and in again.

I am grateful for so many beginning reading books that rhyme.  I had a really hard time giving up picture books and moving on to chapter books when I was in elementary school (well after I was reading at a 12th grade level) and I constantly remember why this was as I read to my girls.

I am grateful that my younger sister is moving closer, although I know she is not.  I miss her terribly sometimes, and I imagine that I will drive the 10 hours each way a number of times a year to see her and her family.

I am grateful that we have a huge bookstore within walking distance.  I hear/read that many places not only do not have this but also are lacking a bookstore anywhere in their community.

I am grateful for my minivan.  I love our dinged up eyesore.  (I never claimed to be cool).

I am grateful for all the people that refuse to shop on Thanksgiving.  If everyone were to refuse, they wouldn't try it again.  I know that this is unrealistic in what seems like a culture of consumerism, but I am hopeful anyway.

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Beloved Aunt Connie

So I haven't been keeping up with my grateful posts this November like I have in the past.  This is because my mom's younger sister, my aunt who lived here in the area, passed away very unexpectedly. She went into the emergency room with abdominal pains and a cough, she was admitted and transferred to a larger hospital, and three weeks later she is gone.  She was a wonderful aunt and I am very grateful to have had her in my life.  I have so many wonderful memories of her and she is definitely a huge reason why I felt loved when I was younger.  I was very needing of affection when I was smaller and she was willing to hug and cuddle with me constantly while other relatives would get tired and push me away quickly.  While she was quick to offer her advice and criticism of everything, she meant it only to help and she was full of compassion and acceptance of the choices that people made.  She was constantly trying to be a better person and even took college courses into her senior years.  She was a truly beautiful person inside and out. She was smart and creative and never gave herself enough credit.  She was so loving and so loved and will be missed immensely by so many people.  I'm grateful for all the time I had with her and I'm especially grateful that she settled so close to where I ended up so that I got to spend so much time with her over the last decade and that she and my girls got to enjoy each other.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Superhero Movies

I am grateful that superhero movies are so popular and being made so often right now.  We watched the new Thor movie last night and I enjoyed it a lot.  It's not as engaging to me as the Iron Man series, but definitely watchable, though it could have used more Loki, in my opinion.  Q and I really like superhero movies and there definitely seems to be more being made well lately than in the past, or is that because time is moving so much faster now that I have three children?  Either way, I'm grateful for the opportunity to watch them.

I am also grateful that other people let me know when recipes they try are failures so that I don't have to try them myself.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pattern Sales

I'm so grateful that Jo-Ann's offers to price match Hancock's sales and that both stores offer pattern to us American's so cheaply.  Today Jo-Anne's had McCall's patterns 5 for $7 and Hancock's had Butterick 5 for $7 and Vogue $4.99 each.  At first the cashier got my patterns without the discounts (or at least some of them) and it rang up $128+.  After finally getting it worked out, it was less than $25 with tax.  I certainly couldn't achieve the pattern hoarding collection without these sorts of sales.

My Sisters

I have listed in previous years about being grateful for who my sisters are and specifics about them, and I am still grateful for them, but today I am particularly grateful for all the work they have done to become those people.  I know so many people who are likely the same person they were in high school or even middle school with just slightly more education and the ability to now drive and vote and I also know some of their siblings.  Both of my sisters are definitely not who they were when they were younger.  They are wiser and have overcome some of their vices and they continue to improve all the time.  I'm so very grateful that not only do I not cringe at the thought of spending time with them, but that I'm super excited at each time we get to see each other.  I'm lucky that not only are they good friends but also worthwhile ones.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


For as long as I can remember, I have been able to remember multiple dreams a night.  My dreams are almost always wild and different, and I am very prone to having nightmares, but I am grateful for them anyway.  I feel like the ability to remember my dreams and actually influence them is a wonderful gift.  I have my own unique symbols in my dreams that I recognize and say a lot about my subconscious feelings about people, like my ex-step-mother always shows up in my dreams when I am particularly frustrated with someone's stupidity in my life, as one example.  I have written term papers (and not just ones in English) in my dreams.  I have solved work problems, written poems, and come up with all kinds of ideas.  When I did Nanowrimo a few years ago, I would work through scenes in my dreams and it made the writing of them much easier when I came to it.  I really do feel fortunate that I have so many vivid dreams and that I get to remember them so often.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Where we are in technology

I'm actually not just grateful for all the technology currently in our lives, I'm also grateful to live in a place in time where we are not further along.  I'm glad to be able to turn off texting on my phone and not have to worry about the difference it makes in my lives as I suspect my children will.  I'm glad I can read books on my kindle, but I can also still go into a giant bookstore like Barnes & Noble and purchase actual books to read or check them out in the library.  I like having access to the computer in the house in multiple areas, but I also like that it's a room away when we eat as a family or read together in a bedroom.  Technology is a wonderful thing, but I love that I have had an opportunity to live in a world where it wasn't so ubiquitous as it is becoming.

I'm going to add another thing I am grateful for today.  I am grateful for really good reviewers on Goodreads, especially my friend Shannon who has never steered me wrong (though I haven't read any of her romance or erotica suggestions).  She writes wonderful reviews that really give me an idea if I'm going to like a book or not and some of her hits have been phenomenal.  In a day where self publishing electronic books is becoming more and more common as is publishing lesser works by popular authors because they can, it's great to read honest reviews by prolific readers who also happen to be intelligent and expressive.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I'm grateful for Sonic.  I love their drinks and I love that they have half-priced drinks from 2-4.  I also love that we can buy bags of ice from them, which we do often (though you can't in Austin, which makes me sad).

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Still on the medical theme

Today I'm especially grateful for clinics that are open at 5:00 am on Saturday morning.  I've managed to pick up the bear cub's strep (and possibly flu viruses, but I didn't have them check for flu).  I'm pretty miserable still and am tempted to take my last antibiotic for the day early and then crash.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Modern Medicine

Yesterday, I was called to pick up the bear cub from school.  I took her straight to the clinic were she tested positive for both the flu and strep throat. My amazing girl is a trooper and you would never know that yesterday she was so miserable.  So on this first day of November I am expressing my gratitude for the science and medicine available right now.  It's great that they can determine what is wrong in less than 10 minutes and that we can get her started on antibiotics right away.  It's super that in her short life that so much has been done to help her medically so that she can come so much closer to reaching her potential in other areas than she ever has.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

BurdaStyle Magazine

A while back I ended my subscription to the German edition of BurdaStyle magazine in English.  I was at B&N this past Monday and saw this in the magazine section:

It's a completely different magazine in English for the US.  I picked it up because it's kind of interesting and I wanted to give it a really good perusal.  I'm not a huge fan of burdastyle.com though I did buy their book and read it fairly thoroughly before passing it on since I deemed it a decent skill building sewing book.

As you can read from the cover, there are 20 patterns in the magazine and another 20 available for download (something I'm not likely to do).  I did like the 20 that they put in the inserts more than the 20 available for download.  I don't know the decision making process that went into the choices, but if it's consistent I can see myself subscribing.  It's four times a year instead of once a month and a subscription is not unreasonable (though I lost the card so I don't have the exact amount).  This was the winter edition and if I like the spring, I'll probably sign up for the next year.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review of Sewing Kit HD

I had been debating over buying a pattern keeping app for some time when I received an email from McCall's indicating that they had partnered up with Vesta Software and put their name on the iPad app 'Sewing Kit Hd'.   I know a lot of people use Evernote to keep their patterns and I tried to put a few patterns in there before I decided that that wasn't going to work for me: too much work to put all the info in and too much info that I would like to be able to sort by.

I read through the negative reviews and the only real complaint that I could see was that there wasn't a way to keep your info from the previous version 'Sewing Kit', but they had a fix for that right on the info page and the link is here.  I was still a little put off by the $9 app as I hadn't even purchased an app for me on the iPad, which was purchased for learning apps for the bear cub and I haven't even paid that much for any of hers yet.

I finally bit the bullet yesterday and started inputting patterns.  I probably have a couple of hundred patterns in there already and figured that was enough to give my review so that others could get a good idea of what they might be purchasing.

There are a lot of good things about this program.  You can input so much information and for the most part current McCall's, Butterick, Vogue, and Kwik Sew patterns will pull up all the pattern info.  For Simplicity and Burda Style, it will often pull up the picture or line drawings from the pattern name and number, but you will still have to enter sizing.  You can also enter indie pattern companies or the like, but I suggest that you enter all your Simplicity patterns before doing so that you don't have to scroll to enter them later.  I absolutely love that there is a place to store the location.  I have a lot of stray pattern pieces and after I'm done inventorying, I'll be able to locate the pattern to reunite the pieces to the pattern.  There is also a way to add extra pictures and notes about the pattern.  It really is a very solid database for keeping your pattern info, and it also allows for tracking fabric, books, machines, notions, threads, and the like - though I have not used any of those other features as of yet.

There are also a lot of drawbacks to it.  I've already sent three separate emails to the company with at least 10 suggestions, and my first qualm is that there is no way to know if they were received or pull the suggestion back up to know exactly what you said.  Another issue is that if you have a vintage pattern that has a duplicate number for a current pattern, you will sometimes have some issues.  For a lot of mine, I could simply delete the older pictures and replace it with pictures taken as I put the pattern in, but there is no way to delete the yardage info and if the current pattern has locked sizes that differ from your vintage pattern, there is no way to enter the new sizes.  You could make a pattern number alteration, but you shouldn't have to do this.  If you try to enter the pattern number with the letter instead of selecting the company first, it will crash every single time.  It will also often crash after taking a picture, especially if you are removing a picture there before.  You will have to enter sizes each time as it will not pull up any pre-given sizes to select from.  Also, when you sort, it is going to sort 10-14 as a different category than 10, 12, 14 which means that even if you are super careful about your own consistency, the pre-filled ones for McCall's and their affiliates will still sort differently when they were inconsistent.  The categories for types of patterns were clearly decided by one person with no input from anyone else and are not consistent with any company out there, though it is easy enough to enter your own, I do wish I could delete some of their choices.  There doesn't seem any way to change the order of photos which is okay normally, but if they have pre-filled line drawings and you want to add your picture, sometimes it adds it in front and sometimes it adds it behind and I haven't been able to figure out the possible coding logic for this.  While I love the location feature, you cannot search by location, which is kind of a drag.  There is also no way to compile statistics from your info.

Most of the things I've listed here aren't even the things I emailed them about so there are a lot of issues.  I really think that the app is way overpriced for the number of flaws that are still in it.  It was clearly thrown together without proper software design or any sort of verification or validation of the app or consideration of the human factor.  I don't, however, regret purchasing it, as I really did need some way to track my patterns and this program is much better than any of the alternatives that I've looked into or seen available.  There is so much potential here and I sure hope they get on the ball to clean up all the issues.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments about features I might have missed.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ottobre 6-2011-3 Take 5 and tutorial

Yesterday, I posted about this sweater and told you I would do a tutorial.  This morning Darth Baby woke at 3:30 am and decided that she was done sleeping so I decided to work on another version of the sweater that I already had cut out.

This sweater is made out of an old sweater of my mom's.  The tag was ripped out so I'm not sure of the content.  The ribbing and the jersey lining is cotton.

 First, cut out all the pieces as directed and also the clear elastic tape according to size.

Next, sew the clear elastic tape to the wrong side of the cuffs and collar pieces.  I used a two step elastic stitch with a length of 3.

Sew the front to back right sides together for the outer sweater (the shell) and lining.  For the lining I always use the softer side, if there is one, for the 'right' side.

Sew the  underarms of the sleeves right sides together (this is different from the Ottobre instructions).

Turn the sleeves right side out.

Sew the sleeves into the arm openings of the shell and lining right sides together.

Hem the shell according to pattern and the lining 3 cm.  I didn't hem the shell because I cut the pattern pieces at the bottom of the sweater I cut the pieces out of so that it was already hemmed.  I'd love to tell you that I used purple so that you could see the stitches, but really I only have 4 off white spools of thread and I didn't want to switch it back and forth from the serger to the coverstitch machine and back to the serger, so I used the lavender from the previous sweater.

For the cuffs and collar, stitch side edges together forming a circle, right sides together.

Fold the collar and cuffs with the clear elastic tape on the inside.

 Place the cuffs and collar on the shell, right sides together.

Pin and stitch.

From the outside the sweater will look complete at this point.  Now to add the lining.

Turn the shell so that the right side is in and turn the lining so that the soft side is out.

Slip the lining in the shell with the collar sandwiched between the two pieces.

Pin and stitch.  Again, I used the two step zigzag stitch.

After checking the collar from the outside to make sure that I did it right and there are no showing seams, I flipped it back and then serged over the stitching.

Here is the complicated part of the piece that I have to think about each time I do it.  You want to slip the sleeve lining around the cuff to meet with the seam of the shell sleeve edge.  I took two pictures to try to make it clear.

Then pin and stitch.

Again, I flip it right side out to check to make sure I did it correctly and that no seams will rub against the wearer.

I flipped it back inside again and serged it.

The completed lined sweater, where you can glimpse the lining and see that the seams are all sandwiched between the shell and the lining.  This is a great way to make a lined sweater for kids with SPD.