Thursday, November 22, 2012

Living with My Own Lewis Carroll

BuggaBoo has been really getting into onomatopoeias.  For examples:

-He likes the yolks of his fried eggs to be "jubily".
        "Please cook my eggs so the yolk is jubily!"
-If something takes a rounded form he refers to is as "plumpy". 
        "Mom, your bottom is really plumpy!"
        "Why is my pillow all plumpy?"
-Today he asked me to cook his Brussels sprouts "slimy".
        "I like it when you cook my Brussels sprouts all slimy.  Slimy and chewy."

It sometimes seems I'm in the middle of the Jabberwocky (where is my vorpal sword when I need it?), and it always brings a smile to my face.

So, quick.  Brighten your day and use an incredibly, if possibly made-up, descriptive word.  I'm sure you won't regret it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flippin' Furniture

I've been having some fun flipping furniture lately.  I buy 'em cheap, paint 'em up, sand 'em down, and sell 'em.  Well, I've sold one so far, but I'm hoping for another sale today (just listed it).

Here's pics to make up for my blogging absence.  Enjoy!

Before, green and falling apart.  Purchased for $3 at a yard sale.  I was test-driving the yellow, but I didn't like it.  Oh, I was also testing a brown, but didn't go with that, either.

After, creamy loveliness.  Sold for $50 the first day.

Second project, simple oak dresser.  Sorry, that picture is in a different camera.  Just imagine a plain dresser.  After, distressed denim, complete with rivet-colored handles.

I have this one listed for $350, we'll see if it sells for that.

I leave you with Doozer, pulling a face.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Apology and An Explanation

I am sorry I haven't posted the update about my meeting with Tim Gunn.

The reason is once I showed him my dress and how it worked for breastfeeding he became very adamant that I protect my intellectual property through patent.  In his words, "This idea is so good people will steal it from you."

I'm not sure which route I want to choose yet, but until I make a decision I don't want to limit my options by posting the finished dress.  I hope you understand and are willing to be patient with me.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just a quick note because I'm exhausted.

I met Tim Gunn today.  He is as amazing in person as he is as a TV personality.


He LOVED my dress.  Exuberantly loved my dress.

That is all, because now I'm going to faint dead away.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mock-up Done, Tweaking Needed

Alright everyone, here's a mock-up of my design.  It's not perfect, so you will get a glimpse of my beige bra against a beige dress and panty lines.  I'm sorry for any offense that may be stirred.  I found this heavy knit in the discount section of JoAnn's and it's working well for the mock-up.  The color is horrid for me, the final dress will be a rich jewel tone.

I'm very happy with the concept and the seaming work went together like a dream.  I was playing around with the idea of piping the seams, so I serged the seams on the outside and then top stitched them down.  I'm thinking of just sticking with understated normal seams, letting the subtleness carry the design.  Also, less work.  The final dress will have an all-in-one facing for the armholes and neckline.

I'm too tired to smile in this picture.  I think the dress is too tight.  I'm wearing borrowed Spanx but there are wrinkles around my tummy indicating that it needs more room.  The nursing overlays are a mess, but hopefully easily fixed.

Hmm.  Odd twisting is going on here.  Also, the upper overlay isn't long enough to cup under my bust.  The lower overlay needs a dart taken out of it to cup under.  And what is up with the neckline?

This is with the upper overlay cut away from the top three seams and repositioned to take out the twisting.  Much better.  I took out the excess from center front at the neck.I still need more length to the overlay to cup the bust but it's better than before.  Here's a picture of the shoulder showing how much I need to add to the overlay.

Now for the back.

I had a lapse of awesomeness and flipped the midriff inlay.  I think it's contributing to the fit problems in the bodice.  My next step in fixing the muslin is to cut out the midriff, flip it back to its correct orientation, abut the seams and do a zig zag stitch.  I can't properly analyze the fit until that's done.  I'm not looking forward to the work.  Also, too tight in across the hips and rear.

Things I love about this:

The seaming details make me feel so feminine.
The sleeves are perfect.
And, after I hem it 1 14/" it will be the perfect length.
I patterned all the pieces correctly except the nursing overlays, and I knew that would be trial-and-error.

Alright, I'm awaiting your comments and criticisms.

Edited to add:  I've flipped the back midriff area and then pined out a 2" tuck on the back bodice at the armpit level.  It's fitting much better now, but still needs 2-3" of ease around the hips.  Or more?  Do I need more than 3"?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

About that $100...

Changed my mind.  One hundred dollars to meet Tim Gunn?  I'll pay it!  I did pay it!  I'm going to meet Tim Gunn on Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!



Now, back to work for me.  I want the pattern finished tonight so I can sew a mock-up tomorrow.  Thank heavens for knits and sergers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm All A-Flutter

Guess what big celebrity is coming to my neck of the woods?

Tim Gunn.

So, do you guys think I could whip up a fabulous outfit in time?

I need to get cracking if I want to be there wearing a Krista original.

Oh my heavens, my pulse is racing...

The only thing bothering me is if I want to meet him in person I need to spend $100+ at Lucky Brand jeans and I am NOT doing that.  Guess that means I need such a fabulous dress I'll stand out in the crowd!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012



Conquering My Home, One Room at a Time

Hmm, maybe "conquering" is too strong of a word.  How about "taming"?  "Domesticating"? 

Anyway, I've always been a clutter bug.  My school desk or locker was often alarming.  My family witnessed me sleeping on a bed half covered with possessions.  Doesn't everyone sleep with old school assignments, binders, rocks, stuffed animals, books, and dirty clothes?  Just my ten-year-old self?  Right...

I've been coming to terms with my near-hoarding tendencies.  And, yeah, that's a self-diagnosed term, but I read a book on hoarding, and while I don't have a home filled to the brim with everything I do have a lot of anxiety when it comes to chucking, well, anything.  And reading one book makes me an expert.

Besides, I believe I come from a short (maybe longer, but I only observed two generations) line of hoarders.  My paternal grandparents lived through the Great Depression and could never face going without again.  Therefore they saved everything.  I remember as a child going to help the entire extended family clear out my grandparents home and property because they had to move.  It was...disturbing.  You name it, they probably had it.  Piles stacked near the ceiling, trails to reach their rooms.  Their home was a fire trap and I'm grateful that things didn't end up that way.  They even kept their clutter with them, in any car they used or in bags hanging from my grandmother's wheelchair.  My grandmother was diabetic and they re-used her needles until they were blunt, and sometimes (if memory serves me right) sharpened them.  And (again, hopefully my memory is correct) they didn't really have a shortage of needles.  But there was always the pervasiveness of "not-having" due to their, well, not having during the Depression.

My father grew up in this "Must not waste!" environment.  Everything had it's uses and value.  What if he needed it someday and the store had run out?  What if he had no money?  Safer to save than to go without something important.  So my father collects every usable thing.  Multiple coffee cans filled with nuts, bolts, and other fasteners?  Check.  Car parts?  Check.  Fifty sets of skis?  Check.  An enormous garage filled with stuff?  Yup.  A vast amount of property with possessions strewn about?  You betcha.  So much saving and hoarding, anxiety and fear.  Fear of wasting.  Fear of not-having.

This angst over tossing things was passed onto me.  My dad would sometimes not even allows us to throw out something of ours.  To illustrate the point here is a pretty typical experience.  It was spring and the family decided to clear out some unneeded things.  Among all the objects that landed in the garbage bin was a little woven basket.  When my father came home from work he looked in the bin and pulled out this basket.  He came in the house and admonished us for throwing out something so useful.  "Who threw this away, this little basket?  I can't remember how many times I've heard someone needing a little basket, and here someone threw this away."  The basket was returned to the offender and is probably still packed away in their junk.

As a side note, if The Hubby or I are having a hard time deciding on our belongings, all one of us has to do is mention the little basket and it helps us get out of the rut of, "What if I need this someday!!??"  Useful phrase to have around.

My mother has a different kind of stockpiling situation.  She does hold onto things that have usefulness, but they are usually purchased items destined for a particular project or event.  However, my mother does seem to have issues with sentimentalism.  It's like she fears forgetting memories if she doesn't have a physical object to trace them.  After my wedding my mom gave me box after box of school work, art, notes, toys, and other items that were once in my ownership or created by me.  A lot of it was stored by me, but it was encouraged by my mother's questions, "Are you sure you want to get rid of that?  What if your kids would enjoy looking at it?  What if you want to remember *insert event here*?"  A different kind of fear, the fear of loss.  The fear of letting go of the past, of forgetting.  Of giving yourself permission to forget.

So, two different hoarding heritages, uniting in one person:  me.  I have a very hard time letting go of anything useful or sentimental.  Scraps of fabric?  I could use those!  Objects that bring back painful memories?  What if I forget the lessons involved?  Anything connected to my children?  What if they resent me for disposing of it?  Something of monetary value that I do not value?  I could sell that...someday.  Gifts given to me that aren't a good fit?  But they thought of me!  Tangible evidence!

Right.  I have so much stuff.  Junk.  Trash.  And it's kind of ironic that I own so much clutter, because when I think of my ideal home I imagine houses like these:

Warm.  Airy.  Light.  Minimalistic to a large extent.  Uncluttered.  Roomy.  Only the necessary and beautiful things.  Only the things that elicit happy memories.  An embodiment of who I am, not who I was.  Focusing more on quality than quantity, and only keeping enough.  Being happy with less, realizing that having more actually makes me feel more stressed and anxious.

So I've been de-cluttering.  Many things make it to the local charity thrift shop.  Many things get tossed.  Some things were sold.  Many vital but currently unused items are being systematically stored.

I've found the process to be similar to a fever.  I have to contemplate a specific area, recently the coat closet.  I peek in it, assess the belongings, and ruminate.  I methodically examine each item in my mind, asking the pertinent questions:  Is this vital?  Is it beautiful?  Does it evoke happiness?  Do I already have one?  The internal agitation grows, roiling energy and anticipation through me until the fever breaks.  Instead of shivering and sweating I'm purging and organizing.  Ruthlessly.  I immediately take the trash out to the bin or recycling, the donate-able goods out to our bike trailer to drop off, and the items for deep storage into the garage.  Then I stand back and soak in the loveliness.  Space.  Breathing room.  Positive energy only.  I'm well again.  Until I find another spot that's ready for cleansing, and then I start all over.

I've done well.  And I'll be posting more about it in the future.  But for now I will tell you of my simple but astounding success.  And, again, those that know me best will understand why I consider this amazing.

With the help of BuggaBoo and Doozer we have cleaned BuggaBoo's room every night for a month.  A month.  It helped that we have partially gone through what we store in his room, throwing out or moving what doesn't belong and giving homes to the things that do.  I have been calmer knowing we will wake up to a cleaner space.  BuggaBoo and Doozer are happier knowing they'll have a place to play or escape as they need.  And I'm finding as these nightly cleanings become ritual I'm able to progress to other parts of the household.  It is too soon to proclaim it a habit yet, but the sink has been empty of dishes two nights in a row.  And those who really know me know how much I hate dishes.

The most amazing part to me was what ignited the transformation.  For years I've felt guilty for being a poor housekeeper.  I thought I was lazy, too distracted, not motherly enough.  I had felt judged and found wanting.  I had never grown up from my young self sleeping with my hoard.

It took me getting away from that to change.  The guilt didn't make me keep my house clean, it made me feel like a horrible person.  It was reenforcing my worthlessness.  It reminded me that I was lacking, not complete, not a person.  I had to realize that I am complete, exactly how I am today.  How clean my home is will not be a reflection on my worth.  My achievements are not me.  I am already whole. 

At the same time, for me to be able to let go of the object weighing me down, I have to give myself permission.  Permission to throw away useless things.  Permission to pass on useful things to others.  Permission to have faith in the availability of things.  Permission to forget.  Permission to give up potential.  Permission to appreciate people as they are now, not as they were.  Permission to enjoy moments instead of cataloging them.  Permission to grow and change.

Giving up my hoard is allowing me to change, to become a different person, because it will not anchor me in the past anymore.  Instead, I will fly.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chickens Lay the Best Surprises

Do you think eggs are boring?  You know, identical white ovoids lined up by sixes in cardboard cartons.  Not so!  Our little backyard flock is always coming up with surprises; it really makes collecting eggs fun.  Our collection of seven is a mix of one- and two-year-old hens.  Last summer when the chicks finally started laying we got a few pee-wee eggs.  The pee-wees were so tiny compared to the eggs from our older hens, the kids (and parents) got a kick out of it.

Once all the girls were laying the same sized eggs we were amazed by the variety in their shapes.  Check these out.  The long skinny ones are the most grin-inducing, but they do make it hard to close the egg carton.

About a week ago one of our poor hens laid a honkin' huge egg.  Here is the shell compared with a normal egg.  The size discrepancy makes the normal egg look like a pee-wee!

Out of those two eggs came this deliciousness:

Yup, that's right.  That ginormous one housed two yolks, twice the best part (in my opinion).  When I was growing up we just called them "double yolkers".  The kids were very excited.  I cooked them sunny-side up and served them to the kiddos, the double yolker to BuggaBoo and the singleton to Doozer.  And, as usual, they both ate their favorite parts.

Doozer's egg.  Notice missing yolk.

BuggaBoo's egg.  Notice missing white.

They're always like this.  This morning I had a saute of bacon ends, mushrooms, onion, sweet potatoes, and chard for breakfast.  Like birds the kids picked from my plate;  BuggaBoo sticking to the veggies and Doozer consuming the bacon (the fattier the better).

How did that ditty go again?

Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His sister could eat no lean...

Anyways, get some chickens.  They always give you something to look forward to.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Everyone Deserves Fresh Flowers

What to do with this lovely explosion of flowers?

Why, cut a little bouquet, stick them in a baby food jar, and give them to your sister.

Here they are on her end table with my mommy in the background.

How do you accomplish such an amazing feat? Doozer has put together a simple tutorial. First select the perfect flower.

Find an appropriate place on the stem to cut.


Plunk!  You're done!

Of course, filling jars for flowers creates spunky puddles to slash in. 

Aren't those the cutest little footprints ever? 

I hope you are all having a fabulous spring day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Hair

Remember a while back when I did this to my hair?

Some people asked for a look at it in an updo, so here that is, in the bathroom mirror:

And then I did this, but with blue tips and chunks and I don't have a picture of that:

After a bit I wanted something new so I did this, captured by MySpace photography:

Well, forget all that. Because I changed my hair up again. Because I wanted to.

And squinty pictures, due to intense sunlight:


"What's that over there? Oh, just my pear tree."

Random thoughts:

I keep forgetting I don't have hair.

I keep getting caught on things like Velcro.
Your head can get very cold.
I keep getting kindly smiles, and I think people think I'm going through chemo.
I like not having to think about styling my hair.
It's easier to wear a bike helmet.

Cute conversation with my kid:

BuggaBoo: (crawls into my bed the morning after The Buzz, starts whimpering.)

Me: What's up, sweetie?

BuggaBoo: All your hair is gone.

Me: It'll grow back.

BuggaBoo: But how will I tell you and Daddy apart?

Annnd, how 'bout some silly photos to wrap things up?

Thanks for reading. And, dang, I'm going to have a lot of pears to thin this summer.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Eggs

This year we (I) decided using natural dyes would be fun. Searching the internet brought up so many different recipes it was difficult for me to choose. But I persevered and narrowed it down to just eight different colors. So being the mad scientist I am I whipped up the dyes, put them in jars, and commenced the dying. The kids got to choose which colors to do and I put the eggs in with a spoon. We left them to dye for hours as we ran errands all day.

From left to right: beets, red onion skins, chili powder, paprika,
turmeric, turmeric plus red cabbage, red cabbage, yellow onion skins

The hoped for colors would be, from left to right again: pink, deep red, red-orange, orange, yellow, green, blue, and mahogany brown. Results were not as expected but lovely nonetheless. The beet solution was the biggest disappointment, ending up as a murky brown rather than a vibrant pink. Tip: Do no boil the beet solution. Try blending the beet in a blender, straining it, then adding the vinegar to set the dye.

The beet dye results. Boo! Not the pink I was going for.

Everything from beets to paprika resulted in brown.

Red onion skins

Chili powder

Paprika (the egg in the foreground had the dye rubbed off by moi)

The rest of the colors, however, dyed beautifully.

Red cabbage

Yellow onion skins

Turmeric mixed with red cabbage

The Hubby and I decided to buy another dozen eggs and just focus on the yellow, green, blue, and mahogany. So that's what we did. We put them in and let them dye for about seven hours. This was the result of the second dying.

This next one is my favorite. Remember the paprika egg that I wiped the dye from? It still had an undercoating of brown, very similar to a regular brown chicken egg. I tossed it in the blue dye and this is what happened:


Oh, and the blue eggs match our chicken coop, like so:

Never mind the flopped over greenhouse. We had a windstorm and, well, it just died. We're going to try to revive it.

I'm sure this will have to become a family traditions. In the coming years I'll even let the kids mix up their own secret potions to dye their eggs. We'll be like alchemists.

I hope you enjoyed your Easter celebration and enjoy the spring to come!