One year sewiversary!

One year ago I walked into Joann’s, picked out a pattern and some whale fabric and painstakingly sewed a skirt.

Backing up a little…a few days earlier, I posted on Facebook somewhat reluctantly looking for recommendations for an inexpensive sewing machine. I was reluctant because I knew my mom was going to bring up the old machine she had given me years ago. That machine scared me. It was old! It needed oil and stuff. I wanted something shiny and new that would have videos on YouTube and lots on online resources.

But I’m also impatient and cheap so I figured I’d just pull out the machine and give it one more try, and this time with the manual, before ordering something online.

Okay, this story is getting too long and I have a feeling I told it all before. So let me just cut to the chase. On February 18, 2018, I sewed my first item of clothing, and an obsession began. It didn’t turn out all that great. I didn’t know about finishing seams, so after I washed it, they all started fraying. Oops.

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Derp.

I made shirts, more skirts, pajama pants for the boys. I was pretty fearless. I discovered the world of indie sewing patterns and bought a serger off Facebook Marketplace so my seams stopped unraveling. In May, I participated in Me Made May and wore an item of clothing I sewed every day for the whole month. And I kind of never stopped. Even now I try to wear something every day that I sewed. Sometimes I forget, but it’s not a big deal. My wardrobe is probably 80% handmade by now, so it’s almost inevitable.

Back to that old sewing machine – I love it. I now realize that any sewing machine I could have afforded would have been a cheap plastic wobbly thing compared to this tank. Sure, it has its issues – I have to special order bobbins, and it doesn’t do fancy things like automatic buttonholes and it gets cranky when the bobbin thread runs low, but I’ve learned to deal with its quirks.

So what are my favorite things I’ve sewn so far?

 

But those are just the things I’ve made for myself. I’ve also enjoyed sewing for other people.

And I’ve had fun sewing bags and scarves and scrunchies and pillowcases too. Why not?

So what’s next? I have bins and bins of fabric and probably a dozen patterns that are waiting to be used. I’m most excited about the Cashmerette Ellis denim miniskirt – I even have rivets! And a bathing suit pattern that I’ve been sitting on, but definitely want to make it for this summer. And a pretty border pattern fabric that’s probably destined for a skirt, but I kind of want to make something more unexpected with it, but I’m just not sure yet. And that pink art deco sequin fabric that I bought almost a year ago but I’m terrified to mess up, oh and there’s the silk brocade that I bought in Singapore…and on and on.

So yeah, I think I have plenty to keep me busy for another year of sewing at least!

All in all, I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come in a year. I’m not scared of knits or zippers. I have come to embrace my shape instead of being ashamed of it. Instead of dreading trying to find a dress or a skirt, I can just make one! It’s incredibly freeing. I was in Real Simple! I helped bring attention to an amazing online community! It’s been so great, and I can’t wait to see how much I can do in the upcoming year. (Let’s see if I can tackle that bathing suit…)

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11 years, 2 months

Because the fourth fell on a Monday, the boys (especially one in particular) were especially not excited about taking the monthly picture. So they said, “can’t we just keep it real for once and not smile?” In the end I got one with fake smiles and one “real” one. In the afternoon, in better moods, they said we should use the smiley one. So here you go. But of course I will post the “real” one too.

I know! They look so enthused, don’t they? Maybe overly enthused in Linus’s case.

That’s more how Oliver really felt. I can’t really blame him, really. Who wants to force a smile when it’s gray outside and you have to go to school?

Next month it’s on Lundi Gras so they’ll be out of school, so the smiles should be bigger and real!

Mid-sabbatical update

(Is is the middle of my sabbatical? The exact middle? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. If it’s more than halfway done, I’ll be sad. Okay, I don’t think it is. But it’s close. That’s okay! As long as it’s not actually halfway over. It’s not. Whew.)

I want to open with this really exciting work thing – I know, I’m not even working! But I haven’t been able to talk about it until this month. Ages ago, I mentioned to our marketing team that sewists use WordPress.com for blogging about sewing a lot. And they paid attention, particularly my friend Michelle, who is on the editorial team and is one of the most amazing and funny and coolest people I know. We chatted a bunch about it at a lunch at the GM, and then she brought it up at one of their meetings. And things led to things and I told her about The Sewcialists website, and then they created this really amazing list called the Anything is Possible list, and look, I don’t want to take too much credit, but I mean, I want to take a little credit, but who ended up on the list but The Sewcialists! And check out this video, which gets me choked up every.single.time!

 

On the other hand, yesterday was a horrible, terrible, not good, very bad day. The van has been not wanting to start sometimes for a while, but it always would start after a little while with some prodding. (I feel bad now that I never named it.) Yesterday, it just wouldn’t. After some coaxing and sweet talking and banging on some parts, and trying to jumpstart it, I finally gave in and had it towed to the mechanic. Fingers crossed it’s not too expensive. I’d just like one more year out of it. At least. George’s car only has one more payment, and it sure would be nice to have no payments for a while, eh?

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When I came home from bringing the boys to the bus stop (where it died, which was not convenient) I found that Ziggy had snuck into my bedroom and was curled up on my bed, which was cute. But the puddle of pee on my bedskirt, where he has peed a few times now, was most decidedly NOT CUTE. Taking the bedskirt off a king bed to wash is not fun, but I’m looking forward to putting it back on even less. Argh.

One positive part of the day was taking the ferry across the river to the aquarium to see Linus giving a presentation with a group of his classmates on the Gulf of Mexico. Thank goodness we got in for free again. The aquarium costs THIRTY DOLLARS if you don’t have a membership. Ridiculous.

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Anyway, while I was at the aquarium, the school nurse called. Of course. Because Miles’s asthma was flaring up. Of course. Fortunately, she was able to get it under control. But I stressed hard about that for the next several hours.

But that’s enough about yesterday. Today I’m stuck at home so I’m going to tackle the reorganization of the upstairs bathroom. Time to throw out the makeup from my wedding, finally. Ha ha! I kid! Um yeah! For sure, totally kidding!

What else has happened? Well, the Saints game. I’m not even going to talk about that. I made some scarves with pockets and sold them to neighborhood moms and, well, I guess I won’t be selling any more until next fall. But they are super cute. I’m going to try some Mardi Gras prints next. The pockets are super handy!

Also.

Linus had a disgusting bump on his arm and we had to get it…dealt with. (Any other words I could use in conjunction with that are too gross.)

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Soccer started back up for the spring.

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gotta tackle the dining room next. eek

We went to visit Granny and Grandpa, and the boys are very very very close to being as tall as them.img_1803

My kitchen is still clean from Kiki’s visit! And yes, I have cooked!!! (and yes, that is clean!)

I ordered new glasses.

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Okay, no more procrastinating via blog post. Gotta go tackle the bathroom!

Swimming with the fishes (part 1)

Every year at the boys’ school, they spend time outside of the school building doing cool stuff and learning and whatnot. For instance, a month at the zoo in first and third grades,  a couple of weeks at an art museum in second grade, a few weeks at the French Quarter in fourth grade, and now in fifth grade, four weeks (spread throughout the year) at the aquarium. And in the final week, they get to snorkel in the giant tank! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!? I mean, when I went to elementary school, we went to like, the state capitol building. And that’s only because we lived in the state capital. Snooze.

(And yes, they go to public school, so you can’t say it’s because we spend a ton of money on tuition.)

The tank is full of piranha and sharks and other dangerous and deadly creatures, which just adds to the excitement. Naw, just kidding. But it’s got a big coral reef and a tunnel you can walk through, which gave us a good view of the snorkelers from below, and plenty of smiling stingrays (but not the kind that kill you, presumably. And if they do, don’t tell me until the other two have their snorkeling trips later this year.)

Before the kids got in – just what the lower part of the tank looks like. LOOK IT’S MISTER RAY, THE TEACHER!
I love this picture of Linus floating.

Okay, now just a bunch more.

Some video – sadly, I didn’t get anything of Linus and his pal flossing underwater. SORRY.

And yes, you will get two see two more identical posts in the coming months. Complete with unidentifiable children that I will assure you are mine, even though I’m not 100% sure because in wetsuits and masks, all kids basically look the same.

Happy birthday (week) to me!

Last week (on Wednesday), I turned 44 and it was a great birthday week. I’ll try not to make this too wordy, but I mean, a lot of fun stuff happened, so I may fail.

We have to start on Tuesday when the washing machine broke. I know, this birthday week isn’t starting out too promisingly, is it? Particularly since it was the day the boys went back to school, and I had literally been counting down the minutes until I had some peace and quiet and solitude in the house. Instead, I had our friend Chris come over to try to fix the washer (he determined it wasn’t easily fixable, and we’d already fixed this thing a zillion times) so happy early birthday to me, I went to Home Depot and picked out a new washing machine.

I mean, exciting, except for the part where you have to pay for a new washing machine. (It wasn’t delivered until Saturday, but I’ll skip ahead and show you a picture of this beautiful giant that can wash enormous loads of laundry.)

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Aw, our poor lil’ dryer is dwarfed by it.

Okay, so Tuesday night is when the excitement really started. Kiki flew in! I picked her up and we went to Mopho for dinner and had pho and these really delicious chicken wings.

And then Wednesday, it was my birthday! Yay!

I woke up bright ‘n’ early with the boys and got them off to the bus stop, and then Kristina and I went to Orangetheory, where, duh, we wore shirts that I made (kind of like the ones I made for our trip to Harry Potter World.)

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I got so many birthday wishes! This was a great idea she had. Definitely do this on your birthday.

Next, we went home to shower, then hopped on the ferry (it was a gorgeous day) with mimosas and met Teresa for lunch at French Toast. (I’m friends with the owners, and I had been wanting to check it out since it’s pretty new.)

Next, we went in search of a king cake since I knew that it would make the boys happy, and it could also stand in for my birthday cake. After we found it, we got an Uber back to the house so we could meet the boys at the bus stop.

We hit up Ann Frances’s birthday party for a while and took our usual birthday pic together. ❤

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7 and 44!

We rested for a little while and then we went and had pizza for dinner at Tavolino, a restaurant in the neighborhood.

And after dinner, the boys gave me cards (Linus didn’t want me to share his, but here are the ones I got from Oliver and Miles, and of course I cried a bit.)

And then we had king cake!

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And then Kiki and I went to have a nightcap at the pub. But we didn’t last too long, we were exhausted.

Thursday, Kristina spent the morning cleaning the crap out of my kitchen, which is basically her favorite thing to do. Meanwhile, I got a much-needed haircut.

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Awkward, exhausted selfie! But dang my hair looked goooooood.

Later, we went to a fabric store that I love so Kristina could pick out fabric for the skirt I was going to make her. Then we went to get 80 minute massages at a spa. Oh man, that was heavenly! That night, we made a pot of Italian sausage and kale and tortellini soup for the grown ups and sushi rolls for the kids. I also made a cucumber salad for the boys AND THEY ATE IT AND LIKED IT. So obviously the apocalypse is upon us.

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Friday morning, we went back to Orangetheory, and then had a late lunch at Turkey and the Wolf. We split a bologna sandwich and a collard green melt. It was good, for sure, but we were both scratching our head a bit at how a hipster sandwich place got named “Best New Restaurant in America.” (The collard green melt was too spicy for me, sad sad sad.)

Kristina spent every spare moment organizing my pantry and the rest of the kitchen, and it’s pretty amazing right now. She loves to do that stuff. And then she was supposed to leave Saturday evening, but there was snow forecast where she lives for Saturday night, so she changed her flight to Saturday morning. SAD PAM.

I brought her to the airport while the new washer was being delivered, and then spent the rest of the day resting and getting ready for the CAMAN Ball that I was attending that night with friends. It was a speakeasy theme, and it was a lot of fun getting all glammed up. Jen was my date.

Oh wait, so now I have to tell you about the presents I got because it’s kind of funny how excited I am about them. Well, funny if you don’t sew. But George got me a cordless iron! And my mom got me nice scissors (now I really do feel bad for sneaking her nice scissors for cutting paper when I was little) and a new ironing board! I mean, not just ANY ironing board. This thing is TALL and WIDE and NOT WOBBLY and the base for my new iron sits on a holder on the end and it doesn’t squeak and it’s all very very exciting. If you sew, anyway. Also my lovely friends got me Joann gift cards and THE FUN NEVER STOPS.

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2018 in review

It’s time to look back at 2018 before too much of 2019 has gone past and I forget all about it.

It was a busy year! And I definitely didn’t blog enough, especially at the end of the year, where I had to rely too much on Instagram posts for my recaps. I’ll try to fix that for 2019. But my mantra for this year is “stop trying to do everything” which I’m afraid might turn into “turn into a lazy blob” so 2020’s mantra might need to revolve around moderation. We’ll see. Anyhoo, onto the year’s recap:

January

I turned 43. Had a nice day.

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It (sorta, not really, but close enough for the boys) snowed!

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But the best part of January was going with Steph to see My Favorite Murder live. What a fantastic night that was. Eeeek!!! The best part, of course:

 

Meeting and hugging the hosts of the show, Karen and Georgia, and getting a picture. Eeek! So fun.

And then, at the end of January, Linus said something to me that would change the course of the entire year. He said, “Mama, I think I want to play soccer again.”  Continue reading

11 years, 1 month

THE SUN IS OUT! THE SUN IS OUT! I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve seen the sun – a long, long time. Weeks. Way longer than I’m used to. But today it was gloriously cool and cloud-free and desperately needed.

That’s not really related to this month’s picture, which we took when the sun was about to go down, because I wanted to wait until after Oliver and Linus’s haircut. But anyway. YAY FOR THE SUN!

Sabbatical so far (days 1-19)

You know what’s funny? I was going to try to blog every day of my sabbatical.

Ha hahahahha ha ha ha!

Well. You know, when you don’t have to sit in front of your computer every day, you’re really not inclined to sit in front of your computer if you don’t have to.

So, I’ll just update you on what I’ve been up to in my days of leisure since my last real blog post. One pic per day. (ish)

Day 1: Worked out, sewed a ton, joked about eating bon bons on couch, but definitely did eat bon bons on couch.

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Day 2: Sewed a ton. Made a Christmas tree skirt! (I know, I already blogged about that.)

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Day 3: Finished 20 toast-themed scrunchies for a friend who owns a local chain of restaurants called, you guessed it, Toast. (yum)

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Day 4: Stephanie and I wore the Mexican tablecloth skirts I made while we sang a duet of The Christmas Song. Just be glad this isn’t a video.

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Day 5: I went Christmas shopping and got the boys this ornament. Summed up their 2018 nicely.

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Day 6: Finally! Kiki’s annual box of cookies arrived! And the jersey Linus ordered that was almost exactly like the one I had ordered for him for Christmas! (Just a different player on the back, which fortunately makes it EXTREMELY different in his eyes.) This got long so click to read more

2018 Christmas cards

Look at me! I got it together this year to send out Christmas cards! I mean, not as many as I would have liked, but better than last year, anyway. (Which is to say, more than zero.)

It helps that we had a good family picture from the cruise, and when I stumbled upon the most perfect card (because ITMWTOTY is my favorite Christmas song ever) I ordered them immediately.

Well, I am not going to post a picture of the back where I put the boys’ names in the wrong order. MY BAD.

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Sabbatical life

It’s day 2 of my sabbatical. TIME IS FLYING. Just kidding. It’s 10:30 in the morning and I’ve been up for hours and have already gone to Home Depot for some random things, made a tree skirt, trimmed the Christmas tree (I mean literally, the branches at the bottom were too low to allow gifts to fit), trimmed the Christmas tree (I mean, I put a few ornaments on, but outsourcing the rest to the boys), and made a to-do list for stuff I need to sew.

I think it’s time for a Christmas movie on Netflix and hot chocolate.

 

Winner winner poulet dinner!

The boys’ school had their annual winter fair this weekend, and for the first time in 8 years, I won a raffle basket!

See, each class picks a theme and puts together a basket, and each class tries to outdo the others for the best basket. My co-room parent for Linus’s class is Jill, and she’s a real pro at this. Way at the beginning of the year she said, “let’s do scratch-off lottery tickets” and I said OKAY because it’s easy and fun, and well, let me get to the point, I put all three of the raffle tickets I bought in the bucket for our “basket” (really it was a frame) and I WON!

(Probably it took me 8 years to win because I’m cheap and only buy a few raffle tickets.)

Anyway, it was EXTREMELY exciting when they called my name as the winner. I screamed and jumped up and down and generally displayed some glee.

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I texted Jill immediately to tell her I won, and I told her I’d video myself scratching off the tickets so she could see what I won. (I also promised her dinner if I won big. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but let’s just say my winnings would probably cover a nice meal from Popeyes.)