I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Alexis and the Horrible, Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Laundry

 Here's a little post to hopefully make YOU feel like a superstar! Because I am not - at least in the laundry department. Stains conquer me on a daily basis. Every time I use bleach I ruin a shirt. And now I realize that I should pay better attention to "dryclean only".

I bought this valance at Goodwill for $2 - I can cut the fabric to make pillows and thought the trim would be fun to add to a different curtain.


 Now I am stuck with a washer and dryer full of little bitty strings that will haunt me until we move.

 And a baby in a box (box entirely unrelated to laundry).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is October National Sewing Month or What?

Whew, it has been awhile!

 The month is speeding by: Gregory has returned, Ayla officially has homework, we made a quick visit to Pittsburgh (look at awesome pictures).....

On top of Eve and Matt's downtown apartment building!
A walk in the park with Gramps and Nano

.....everyone succumbed to horrible colds and I have been crafting like a maniac!

 Crafting and sewing so much, in fact, that I broke my sewing machine. After almost eight years of ownership, it was due for a tune-up. And while I wasn't happy to hear about a repair, it was a relief to find out that the tension was broken and my recent problems were not just user error.

Two weeks without my sewing machine is suddenly feeling like a very long time. It just so happens that someone placed an order from my Etsy shop the day after I took my machine to the Singer warehouse. (Luckily, he is a patient person!) Halloween is looming and giving me nightmares because as of one week until the festivities: Ayla's Strawberry Shortcake costume is still a twin sheet I bought from the thrift store instead of the cute skirt and chef hat that I have dreamed up!

I thought my sewing machine woes were temporarily stayed over the weekend when I got a response on Freecycle to my request for a loaner. If you've never used Freecycle (and can overlook the thirty plus emails you receive in a day), it is worth investigating. People are very generous and give away amazing things. New baby toys, fancy clothes, building supplies, you name it - items that could very well make a pretty penny are just given away. I am sure people are happy to avoid the annoyance of posting pictures to Craigslist and are certainly relieved to not have to transport old furniture to Goodwill. Regardless, it is an interesting network of people that are trying to keep items out of landfills and avoid spending money when it is often completely unnecessary.

So... that's where my Kenmore sewing machine comes in to play. I sent out a "Want" email and got a quick response. A lady was moving out of her apartment, had never used the machine (and had also received it via Freecycle) and was ecstatic that it was one less thing she had to move. And a bonus for me: it is built into a table... which was the entire reason I joined the group in the first place!

Table and functioning sewing machine, check and check.

 Until I broke that one too. I am really not that destructive, I promise! The machine obviously hadn't been used for many, many years and maybe never repaired. You will see from the pictures of attachments and the piece of test fabric, that everything has been left untouched for a long time. The rubber belt that connects to the motor finally snapped after a few days of use. Although it will only cost about $15 to replace it, I am still out of the sewing mode until the end of the week.

The moral of this story? Look into Freecycle and don't trust me with machinery! But do look at these cool pictures of my nifty Kenmore machine.

Mysterious gauges that are fun to turn.
No matter what happens with the machine, I scored the table I needed.
No... it's not a dental tool from Little Shop of Horrors... it makes pleats, or something.
Original fabric scrap
This is a cute tool - it's a little guide for helping keep a straight line while sewing! Very handy, indeed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Art In Motion

 Sending Ayla to school every day is amazing.

 She comes home having learned cute songs, funny exercises (sit-ups are called spaghetti and meatballs... sometimes even spicy meatballs!), new stories and drawings galore.

 If she could, I'm sure Ayla would draw all day long. I find her drawing at the table in the morning and she often sneaks out of bed to finish her day with a little self-expression with crayons and markers. Even in the past few weeks, she has developed her artistry and is adding more details to people's faces and intricate "scenes".

  Last week, Ayla's school hosted an ice cream social. It's a cute yet hectic evening of ice cream sundaes, gift basket raffles, crafts and crazy kids running circles in the gym. What I enjoyed most was seeing all of the artwork hanging in the hallways. I must meet their art teacher - because she has some fantastic ideas! Beautiful watercolors and portraits and copies of modern art.

  I remember all of the unique projects I tried in my own elementary school years. Mrs. Sopp taught us to paper mache and mold clay. I thought it was revolutionary when we drew a picture of space by pressing really really hard with our white crayons to make stars and moons and then drawing over it in black.

 We can only do so much at home to help Ayla discover her artistic ways. I have my own watercolor set and used to be able to create with it. But I'm not the best teacher. That's why I am so happy to send her on the bus every morning so the professionals can handle that!

 I know artwork is meant to be interpreted and not literal, so I keep that in mind with some of Ayla's drawings. Now everyone has big heinies (butts) and many times people are throwing tomatoes at me!

 Here are a few of the latest creations:

No.. it isn't a patient in the psychiatrist's chair: it is a princess on the edge of a cliff.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dancing Machine

Only a few weeks of walking and Elliot is already working the dance floor. He loves all types of music... especially Michael Jackson. What a surprise, right?

I have been trying to capture his moves while watching Yo Gabba Gabba! and stepping in front of me whilst I try to play MJ The Experience on the Wii.

Finally, here is some video!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's Kind of like Darth Vader

What says "back to school" more than catching a cold? First it was Ayla, then it was Jackson, then Elliot got grumpy ... and then Jackson again. Apparently when anyone gets a cold in this house, it settles in the lungs and won't leave!

At least we have our dinosaur nebulizer and the steroids to make everyone temporarily crazy!

Enjoy Jackson's asthma-inspired rendition of Happy Birthday. I know I did.
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