Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Ribbon Rack!!

I am SO excited and happy with how it turned out!! I'm a big fan of the antique-y, sort of primitive look when it comes to things like this. My husband and I used materials he already had (except for the oak dowels) and luckily, he had a piece of luaun-type beadboard for the backer. I wanted 4 dowels so that my ribbon collection would have plenty of room to grow.

First of all, this is my current storage method. I have stick pens pushed down through the spools, but you can see it's still pretty unmanageable. I keep jabbing and scratching myself with pins that are securing neighboring ribbon ends as I reach in there to get what I want.

AND, you can see that the collection has outgrown its container. The whole thing is just beyond aggravating.

Without further ado...TA-DA!!!!!!!!!
I was SO excited to get a pic posted so that I can go and obsessively organize my ribbons over and over again, first by color...no wait, by style...ooooh, how about by width AND color AND that I actually just slapped 2 spools up there to give you the idea.
Like it?? Leave me a comment!
Thanks for stopping by! Off to organize my ribbons!!!!!!

The Best-Dressed List, Part Two

Remember when I had a revelation that I'm NOT on the best-dressed list? If not, go read this post and then come back...I'll wait.

Just so you can picture my attire, the dress I was wearing at school that day is red, sleeveless, knee-length and I was also wearing red sandals. I had actually curled my hair, instead of pulling it back into a straggly ponytail. I'd already been complimented (repeatedly) by my students, so when the mom of a brand-new new student came to my class, I was sure I was looking my best. The mom walked her daughter into the classroom and approached me as I was helping the little girl unpack. Mom introduced herself and asked a few questions. The little girl seemed sweet enough and the mom seemed friendly.

I began to notice, though, that the mother seemed to be looking at me a little oddly. Several times, I caught her gaze drifting upwards to the top of my head before she snapped her eyes back to my face. Thinking my hair must be sticking up or something, I finally reached up to smooth it when my hand encountered this:
only I believe my tiara might be a little bit more grand.

I'm pausing while you take that in...paint yourself a good mental image of me prancing around the classroom in a red dress and a glitzy plastic tiara.

Why the tiara, you may wonder. I wear it when I'm in a reading group. My students know that when I have my "princess crown" on, that means, "I mean business!" They know that they are NOT to disturb the reading group...After all, how is little Jimmy going to learn to read if kids keep coming up during his reading time, complaining that the magnetic letters don't have any of the letter 'd'?! (Uh, turn one of the letter 'p's over!)

Of course, I immediately started to babble to the mom, "Oh my GOSH, I'm still wearing my PRINCESS CROWN!!!!!!! Don't think that I think I'm a princess or anything, I just wear this when I teach reading!!!!!" The mom backed away a step, edging toward the door. I followed her and continued, "Like when I sit with a small reading group, if I'm wearing my crown, they know not to come disturb me." Raising her hand in my direction, the mom muttered, "You're alright.", quickly kissed her daughter goodbye and fled.

I haven't seen her since. Do I know how to make an impression, or what!?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What I Did This Weekend

First, I promised a friend that I'd post the pics of the little Christmas light hair clips that just about drove me NUTS...if I'd let the glue dry before trying to embroider over it, that would have helped.

I made some things this weekend that I don't have pictures of, but I CAN show you the two sets of bibs and burpies my friend Ann asked me to make. After making this first set, I've decided that baby blue has got to be the hardest color to match. There are just so many tiny variations in the amount of green in the blue- which is why the burpie is monogrammed in brown. I just couldn't find an embroidery thread that wasn't either too green or too blue.
And then here is the other set. I just LOVE the monkeys (but if you've read this blog for a while, you knew that already.)
You will probably be seeing a lot more baby blue, and a LOT more cute jungle animals. Check out the Silly Safari bedding that Rachel has picked out for our grandson-to-be, little January. (Not his name...his due date.) I just LOVE that bedding!!

Oh, and one more thing...my husband and I made a ribbon storage rack!! This is possibly not as exciting to you as it is to me. If you saw the state of my ribbon collection right now, you'd understand. As soon as the rack is painted and dry, I'll load up the ribbons and snap a pic for you.

That's it for tonight. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cupcake Cutie

Just a quickie post to show you the little dress that I just finished appliqueing for a friend at school. Her daughter is having her first birthday party on Saturday, and I was honored that she asked me to embroider this cute personalized cupcake on her dress for her big day!

I hope Ellie's mom likes it! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Best-Dressed List

Here's a shocker...I'm not on it! Well, anyone who knows me probably is not shocked. I don't give a hoot about fashion, so when I'm at school, I'll be dressed...
well, maybe not quite like this:

but definitely more like this:

than like this!
After all, I teach kindergarten. I'm on the floor with the students a lot, and when I'm not, I'm sitting in kiddie-sized chairs or leading a rousing chorus of Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I've got to wear clothing I can move around in. For me, that translates to comfy pants and a roomy shirt.

So here's my cute kindergarten story for today. My morning meeting ran a little late, so one of the other K teachers got my students started on their journal writing. She told them to write me a note about something they liked about me or something fun they have done with me already this year.

When I got to the room and found out what they were asked to write about, I made some suggestions aloud. I said, "Let's see...maybe you like how I take you to computer lab each week. Or maybe you like how I'm teaching you to use the SmartBoard. Or how I'm teaching you sign language. Or the songs we sing together. Or the books I read to you. Or journal writing." Etc, etc...you get the picture.

Then I started to make my rounds, checking on what they were writing. The first little boy said he'd written, "I like your dress." Hmmm, I WAS wearing a dress for the first time this year. I went to another child at the next table and he also had written that he liked my dress. So did the little girl next to him. And so it went on and on until I finally threw up my hands, got everyone's attention and said that althought I loved how complimentary they were, "let's write about something we do at SCHOOL, not about my DRESS." Things went a little better after that and we moved on with our day.

Until I was putting them on the buses this afternoon. One bright-eyed little girl started to board her bus, then stopped on the first step to tell me goodbye. She wished me a good night and said she'd see me tomorrow. She turned as if to continue up the bus steps, but then stopped and with a happy little wave, she added, "And I SURE HOPE YOU WEAR A DRESS AGAIN TOMORROW!"

Geez. Think maybe I need to go dress shopping?! LOL

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bird is Back!

First things first...no news yet of any changes at school. We all feel like we're waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'll keep you posted.

Now, for the bird:
So I was all excited to make these adorable little Christmas light hair clips as a surprise for Little L and Little C, because their Nana is just such a nice person. It was a brand-new pattern I'd gotten from an embroidery design company that I just love.

Well, the clips are done and they're cute. MAN, were they aggravating, though. They each had a total of TWELVE steps, two of which involved gluing things together before they were embroidered. Ideally, one would wait until the glue dried before trying to embroider them.

Not me! I was a little too impatient to wait for the glue to dry, so things shifted and the ribbon on the back didn't sew in right and I'd love to show you a picture, but apparently Picnik is having issues of its own and the colors are off enough that I'd rather wait till Picnik is over its tantrum. How was that for a run-on sentence?

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with a picture to show you and a better attitude to boot. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not Just For Halloween

Hi, just popping in to show you the cute little tote I made today! Lydia will be using this for dance school, so it was important for it to be washable, since it will be getting a lot of use. I used regular cotton fabric in Lydia's current favorite color (blue) and reinforced it with Decor Bond to make it sturdier.
The little embroidered ballet shoes design was a good bit of work. I flipped it left-to-right so that I could write her name across the toes going uphill instead of downhill. Then I imported the letters for her name and had to resize and rotate each one separately and line them up at an angle over the toes.

I interfaced both pink fabrics before appliqueing them so that the blue background wouldn't shadow through and rob them of their vibrancy. And the design calls for the darker pink to be appliqued on TOP of the pink dot, but I wanted it to look like it was behind the pink dot instead. That took a couple of extra steps on the embroidery machine to accomplish, but I like the result.

I couldn't decide whether to add the rickrack, but my husband liked it, saying it sort of echoed the wavy shoelaces. (And YES, I did almost fall over when he said that, because usually he doesn't have a clue about that kind of stuff. But he was RIGHT! Shhh, don't tell him I said he was right - it will go to his head!)
The colors in the picture above are a bit salmon-y...the top picture is much more accurate. Anyway, after all that pink fanciness, the handles looked a little plain and blue. I found a delicate (WAVY, like the shoelaces and rickrack!!) decorative stitch on my sewing machine and dressed them up a little bit!
Now Lydia can use her brand-new tote tomorrow at dance class.

Back to school tomorrow and I hope we have GREAT news about keeping our kindergarten staff intact! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Boo to You!!

Just a couple of quick pics. These are totes that were ordered by staff at my school. The first one is just like Zoey's tote...except for the Lana part, of course. I just HAD to post it because I can't get enough of that witch hat font!
The second one was really fun to make! I was really happy that I was able to "stack" Addison's name across the ghost's arms.
Check out the little happy ghost - isn't he just the cutest thing? I made him with fleece, so he's fuzzy and kind of puffy. Between the 'crunchy' tulle and the fuzzy fleece, this bag will be a tactile delight for Addison! Oh, and she's a little bit of a Pink Princess, so I subbed in pink tulle in place of the red tulle I used in the orange bag. Hard to tell in the picture, though.
That's it for tonight. I've got another tote in the works, but this one is not a Halloween one. I'll try to post a picture of it tomorrow, if it's finished. Check back tomorrow night if you'd like to see it, and thanks for visiting!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fingers Crossed

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

or in this case, just when WE thought we were safely past the 8-day count at school...

What I'm rambling on about is that we found out late today that admin may be cutting a kindergarten teacher from our school, because our enrollment is too low. It won't be me, but I'm just sick over the possibility of losing a teammate. It will definitely end in tears.

And then they will divide up her students amongst the remaining 4 classes. So instead of classes of 19 students, we will all have 24-25 students. That's a lot of 4-and-5-year-olds. Especially when you consider that we only have our assistants for half the day, since we share assistants. And ESPECIALLY since our program is so academic - 24 or 25 wouldn't be all that bad if you were just making sure they didn't kill each other. But when you're trying to teach them to read, write, do math, do inquiry science, learn about our country, learn how to be a good citizen...it's a LOT.

Plus, those kids have already bonded with their teacher and with each other as a class. This will be upsetting all the way around.

So anyway, it's not definite. Please keep your fingers crossed and send good vibes our way. As for me...I'll be trying to enjoy my weekend. I have Halloween bag orders to get on with!

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but thanks for listening to me whine about work anyway!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Before You Even Say It...

First of all, HI! Sorry I missed posting yesterday - I'm tired from early morning meetings every day, I guess. Anyway, I'm back. And I MADE something.
It's a happy smiling Tooth Fairy Pillow!!

Would you expect anything else, LOL?

So now before you even say it...I KNOW. I just made a Tooth Fairy Pillow for a child who has not even GOTTEN a tooth yet, let alone had a tooth FALL OUT. But it was just too cute and I couldn't wait to make it! I was so delighted that I didn't even trim that stray mouth thread before I snapped the pic!

Lots of stuffing and the fuzzy fabric combine to keep the tooth snug in its pocket and the little ribbon allows it to be pinned to the child's bed pillow, for when the Tooth Fairy is fumbling around in the dark. I'll be putting these into my Etsy store soon, for all those kiddos who'll be singing, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I am one. Or at least I feel like one. Look at this.
It's not what you think, or at least I don't think it is. First of all, it's not red. It's hot pink, but I don't have enough energy to Picnik it to adjust the colors. But the color is not what I was referring to. You probably think it's a monogrammed lunch bag. It is not. It's a lunch bag with a monogram GLUED ON. Here, look closer:
Okay, I can explain. The lunch bag was a gift from a student to the same teacher friend (we all call her Martha, as in Stewart) that I did the stylish laundry bags for. The student also gave the teacher's assistant the exact same type of bag, so "Martha" asked me to monogram hers to distinguish it from the assistant's lunch bag.

The issue is...the bag is THICK. I told her I thought it was too thick, but Martha looked so dejected that I suggested making a monogram applique and gluing it on. That seems kind of like cheating to me, but she was thrilled with the idea! Anything to keep Martha happy, right?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Keeping Things Fair

My husband and I are huge believers in keeping things fair - in fact, that's the reason we're stuck here in the middle, geographically speaking. We're 10 hours south of our younger son's little family and 8 hours north of our older son's little family...stuck in the middle.Stuck in the middle with you. And I'm wondering what it is I should do. Now that 70's song is going to be stuck in my head. Click the link, then click the little speaker thingie next to the song title to hear it. Is anyone else old enough to remember that song?

Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself, I was thinking the other day that I should make a list or something so I can be sure I'm keeping it fair between the grandkids. I'll want to make an equal number of boy-ish embroidered items for little "January" as I've made girly things for Zoey. However, my latest creation is NOT anything January will be needing. At least I hope not, unless he has hair like this:

That's Troy Polamalu, in case you don't know. He's a Steeler. And speaking of the Steelers, did I tell you that Little January's daddy is lobbying hard for the name Hines as his middle name? Hines, as in Ward.
He's a Steeler, too. I guess you figured that part out...

I seem to be rambling a bit, so I'll post the pic of my latest girly thing:
It's a Hair Bow Holder! It would look better with some genuine hair bows clipped to it. Trust me when I tell you that in real life, it's an awesome lime green and with rich royal purple embroidery. And how perfect is that font?! It's Tinkerbell, which I know Zoey's momma will love!
I think I need to get some sleep and maybe I'll be less loopy tomorrow. Or maybe not.

Thanks for coming to visit!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stop the Presses! I Made Hair Bows!!!

That might not be earth-shattering news to anyone but me.
See, I was the mom of two boys who were usually dressed like this
but without the glasses.
So little frilly hair bows are as foreign to me as they would be to that muddy baseball kid.

Here's a peek at the hair bows:

Not awful for a first attempt, right? I hope Little C likes them! I owe her!!
A while back, I made her sister this.
And then I also hand-sewed this for her.
I don't see Little C very often and somewhere along the way, she grew from a tiny infant to a little girl who wondered where HER purse and hair clip were! Maybe she'll accept two monogrammed button bows instead.

I also monogrammed this lunch bag for myself. It occurred to me just now that with all the embroidering I've done since I got my machine, this is the first thing I've embroidered for ME!

I LOVE that font! You'll be seeing more of it in a few days...something for Zoey that's not finished yet.

I hope you enjoyed the pics and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Over-the-Top Halloween Tote!

I just finished this cute little tote for Zoey and I'm SO pleased with it! (YES, I realize the child is one day shy of ONE MONTH old, so she won't be carrying it this Halloween! Come to think of it, Zoey's mom can probably carry HER in the tote.) Can you tell it has strips of purple, red, orange, black and lime tulle sewn between the lining and the outer bag?
Check out the cute witch hat design! The lime green is much prettier in person than in the picture. The handles and the lining are both made with the fabric I used for the witch hat.

At least I have one big finish to show for my weekend, because I'm not sure how much sewing will get done tomorrow. Unfortunately, the Steelers game will not be on regular TV around here, so Mr. Rabid Steelers Fan and I will be heading to a sports bar to watch it. (We both hate going to sports bars. We're considering switching to Direct TV eventually so that we can get the NFL Sunday Ticket...)
Hope you like the little tote and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two in a Row!

In other words, I have another cute K story for you!! These are the moments I should have been writing down during the past 22 years so that I could finally write my book!

When I was working on my national board certification, I was looking for a way to 1) get to know each year's new students' personalities, likes and dislikes and 2) screen them for language difficulties, handedness, possible color blindness, etc.

I started doing a little Interview Assessment: within the first week or so of school each year, I take a few minutes to talk one-on-one with each student. I have them hold a pencil and pretend to write (to determine which hand is dominant), have them name colors and then ask them a few simple questions.

One question is, "Tell me about your family." Sometimes that draws a blank look, so I rephrase it as, "Tell me who's in your family." That's what I asked Elena (not her name) today. She mentioned her mother, her father and grandparents. I was moving on to the next question when she added in a tone of disgust, "Oh yeah, and there's a little baby brother, too, but he's real young and he can't do ANYTHING." I laughed and said, "Well, he's part of your family, though." Elena repeated in a dismissive way that the baby was tiny and really couldn't do ANYTHING. She added, "He's so young, he can't even TALK!"

By then I was picturing Zoey's little face. She can't talk, either, but she's definitely part of our family and she definitely should count as part of it. So I repeated, "Well, Elena, I know he's little but he's still part of your family!" She arched an eyebrow and said nothing. I pressed on..."He still counts, Elena!"

Elena looked at me like I was a total idiot and she said, "He can't COUNT. I just told you, he can't even TALK yet!!"

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cute K Comment of the Year (So Far)

Okay, so picture this: it's the first day of kindergarten. The assistants collect the brand-new kindergartners from the buses and bring them into the gym so we can meet up as a group to make the looooong walk to the kindergarten pod. (It's really not that far, but when you're four years old, your legs are pretty short.) We kindergarten teachers are smiling our welcoming-est smiles for our new students and our reassuring-est smiles for the nervous parents who are dropping their kids off.

It's hectic...kids aren't sure they remember which teacher they met at Open House...parents are handing us bags jammed full of heavy school supplies (hand sanitizer, liquid soap, copy paper, Clorox wipes for the tables...) In another teacher's line, someone is crying...thankfully, it sounds like a kindergartner and not a nervous parent, LOL. Some of the early arrivals have been sitting for pretty long - it probably seems to them like they've been sitting there forever.

In the midst of all this, I walk back to the head of my line. The kindergarten teacher next to me is also standing at the head of her line. My first little boy is waving his hand in the air kind of frantically, looking like he desperately needs to tell us something. So I lean down, glance at his name tag and say, "Yes, Jimmy?" (Not his real name.)

He looks up plaintively, kind of sighing, and says, "Can you guys teach me how to READ?"

That boy made my morning! I'm sure the child thought he'd been sitting there plenty long enough and wondered what the holdup was on the reading! I was laughing so hard that it took a while to answer, "I'll get right on it, honey!"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chugging Along

Today I decided that no matter what, I was AT LEAST going to take a few minutes to cut out my next project...and I DID! Here's a preview pic

Guess maybe you could tell it's for Halloween?? So while I'm in this slow period of chugging along, I'd show you something I made MANY years ago. It's a little project bag.
It closes with a zipper and it has Ziploc bags sewn into it. It holds a little bit of handwork really well...some piecing or applique (it has both in it right now). I made it so long ago I have no idea where the pattern is.
I do have to say that I'm fairly impressed with the little blocks I put on the front. I had my old sewing machine back then and was not using a rotary cutter or any fast piecing methods for working with tiny pieces (like paper piecing) or anything. The piecing is not perfect, but it's not bad, considering the blocks are only THREE INCHES big.
Thanks for checking in. I'll keep pecking away at my project. My great friend Linda once told me to sew a few minutes every day and pretty soon, I'd have a quilt to show for it. That's good advice...steal a few minutes a day for creativity!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drumroll, Please!!!!

Wooo hoooo, I'm gonna be the Nannie of a BOY baby, too!!!!! We are SOOOOOO excited and are the most excited that everything looks good - strong heartbeat, etc!

And my new class seems...pretty awesome, so far! Wow, I'm almost scared that I might wake up and it's all a dream.

I have nothing sewn to show you. By the time I get home from school and walk the dog, it's time to start dinner and the evening seems to just slip away. I'll hopefully get into a routine soon...and I'll start embroidering BOY stuff as soon as the proud parents settle on a name!

That's all for now - I just wanted to check in and give you the exciting news! Thanks for coming by to visit!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pre-Game Jitters

I have them. Not that I'm playing in any sort of game or anything. It's just that tomorrow is the first day of school and I'm really nervous about a lot of things. I have a new assistant and I'm hoping things flow smoothly. I'm also hoping my class "jells" and everyone is able to work well together. That never happened last year.

So I guess I'm hoping for students that behave more like this

than like this
I have little paper 'buttons' that say 'I Survived My First Day of Kindergarten'. Hope I get to wear one!

Tomorrow will be exciting for another reason! It's the day our older son and his wife find out if their baby will be a boy or a girl!! (We're all thinking it's a boy, but really there is no reason for that.)

So wish me luck tomorrow! Oh, and one more thing I wanted to add: your comments make my day. So leave me one if you get a minute.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Life

I guess I need to get one because I think I must not have one. Otherwise, would I be SO EXCITED about storage?? I'm referring to the storage cabinet that's now in my 'studio'. It's actually a repurposed TV armoire and, as such, it needed some modifications in order to meet my embroidery storage needs. We added a shelf and closed the opening in the back of the cabinet (the cutout for the TV.)

Yes, it took all day (and then some, because I'm not done with it.) No, I don't have pics, because actually, it's not that exciting to look at. Maybe once the paint is cured and my fabric is all neatly stacked in it...but in the meantime, I found these interesting visuals to give you a feel for my excitement.

BEFORE organizing, my embroidery stuff looked kind of like this:
except without the clothes and shoes.

Or maybe like this bottom shelf:
except without the food.

Now it looks a lot like this:
except with no books, couch or strange naked baby doll.

Leave a comment if you think I may have inhaled too many paint fumes. Thanks for stopping by and come back tomorrow when hopefully my head will have cleared!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Monogrammed Backpack and Tag

Today was not too productive, since I spent most of the day running all over the place. I did manage to embroider a C on a backpack and I created a little monogrammed tag for a lunch box. And that's it.
Here they are. They're for the daughter of a friend:

I seem to have some sort of lethargy going. I think it's related to going back to school - it's just draining and leaves me feeling unfocused. I must not be the only one...check out Karen at Merry Little Quilter. She's also a teacher and is echoing my sentiments when she asks, "Is it summer yet?!" LOL

Check back tomorrow, when I will hopefully have more to share. I don't know, though...my husband and I are going to swap storage pieces from one room to another so that I have more storage in the "studio". The one that's moving into the studio will have to be modified a little. Hope that doesn't take all day!