Saturday, October 31, 2009

Late nights

If you stay up into the night making wigs and things, you can expect a few photos like this to turn up.

To get a propper view of this you also need to understand that at this point in my life 11:30 counts as "into the night."

Happy Halloween. I'll be back tomorrow and every day after that through to December. It's that time of year again.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hey friends!

Anybody want to go to The Pioneer Woman's book signing on Thursday? Here's the info

Thursday, November 5, 2009
7:00 PM
6428 S McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ

Birthday wishes

For my baby brothers. Their birthday was actually yesterday but I don't have to apologize for my tardiness here since neither of them read my blog

Can you guess how old they are?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Practice post edit #2

NaBloPoMo is fast approaching. I need to remind myself how to write a post with only a days worth of fodder.
I went into Enzo's room this morning and found him shivering and naked curled up in a ball in the middle of the floor.
Not only was his bed wet, the waterproof pad had slipped out of position leaving the mattress to soak up the puddle. Awesome.
There was also a fairly substantial pool of liquid in front of the toilet. I'm a little confused about this one. If that was pee, the child who left it there was remarkably well hydrated. It looked like someone poured a glass of water on the floor. It's not as though that hasn't happened before but it still seems unlikely to me. I guess I should just congratulate myself on having well hydrated children. Doubly well hydrated if Enzo was the floor culprit. To leave such a clear puddle after already soaking one's bed is really something!

Post edit number one
While I was writing the above I heard Enz come out of his room and go into the bathroom. This caused me no alarm as up until our trip last weekend (by the way, we went to Disney Land. More to come) he routinely took himself to the bathroom during quiet time for an afternoon poo. I was actually glad to hear him getting back to normal after the trip.
I found him shivering and naked again. He had not taken himself to the potty. He had pooped his pants and cleaned it up himself. The entire bathroom was soaked. His soiled underpants had been well rinsed and shoved in the dryer with the bedding that had been newly clean and dry after this morning's adventure. His shirt was on the floor, damp, and his pants, along with an inch of water, were in the bucket where we deposit such unsavory things.
It's no wonder he was freezing. I'd left the window in his room open so the heavy scent of lysol would dissipate more quickly. If he'd stayed in bed tucked under a fluffy quilt the cool breeze from the window would have made for ideal napping conditions. Wet and naked however, it left him goose bumped and shivering.

Post edit number two
We were invited to "Spooky Hour" with cousins tonight. It was all kinds of fun. Then Enzo had diarrhea in his pants followed by his third bath of the day.
I should have called this post something like "The day the sewage flowed" or "And the sluice gate stands open" or "Meet pee and poo, my two best friends"
Here's hoping I don't have to deal with any more incidents until morning.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Did you know...

if your best friend is a mermaid she has to sit in the tub when she comes to visit?
It's true.

Zizza's friend has what we call a healthy appreciation for Ariel. I offered to make her Halloween costume on the premise that it would make a fantastic tutorial.
A mermaid costume can be an intimidating project. I was determined to make it more approachable. I pared down my ideas of grandeur, the shell bra is not padded, the tail doesn't have a single quilted scale. Still, I think it's a pretty cool costume. Best of all, I did it all excepting the waist ruffle within a single afternoon nap.
Now, you might be thinking "That's all great Ev, but where's the tut?" I set out to write it but in my haste to prove that the project truly did fit in the "quick and easy" category, I failed to document all of the steps. I uploaded something like 40 photos but I was still missing shots for so many key elements, I couldn't make the tutorial come together.
If you ever need email advice on how to make a mermaid costume though, I'm your girl!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


We went on a walk. A walk/bike ride. I was walking with The New One in the Stroller. Zizza and Enzo were on their bikes.
Zizza loves her bike and she's getting to be a pretty reliable rider. If her training wheels end up on either side of the gutter leaving the back wheel of her bike low-centered and spinning freely as she peddles with all her might, stationary. She puts her feet down and pushes out of the gutter.
She sees fit to ride ahead of me rather than at my side.
She manages to pedal and steer both at the same time. She's also pedaling without looking at her feet. Those last three things work together to save me from being repeatedly side swiped every three feet as I was last bike season.
For all Ziz is doing so well on her bike, Enzo just isn't there yet. He hasn't learned how to pedal, that's a stumbling block, and as much as he loves the idea of riding the actual act (minus pedaling) gets old for him really fast.
His tricycle is so tall he can only just reach the ground on either side as he sits (or stands) astride it and his feet meet interference from the pedals in front and the wheels in back as he tries to push along, walking his feet.
So we were making our way home. Zizza was way out in front and Enzo was trailing behind. I was in the middle alternately yelling for her not to get too far ahead and for him to hurry up and trying (if failing) to keep the angry out of my voice as I did all that yelling.
I gathered them all for a street crossing, no small feat, and noted that there was an observer at hand to see my frazzled herding of children. Then, in clear view of the observer Enzo drove his tricycle into the drive way of the house we were in front of, climbed off and refused to continue.
"Perfect," I thought "Not only am I in a tight spot, the tight spot is being observed by whomever is in that car over there."
I picked up the boy in one arm and the tricycle in the other and started pushing the stroller with my stomach. (Or something, I honestly don't remember how I did it) "Zizza, we're walking NOW!" I barked and charged across the street with my load.
Half way across a crash sounded along with a cry. Zizza had fallen off her bike. In the middle of the road.
I sighed "Aw crap" turned, and asked if she was ok. All the while consious of the fact that I was being observed.
Would you like to know the saving grace of this situation? The saving grace is the observer herself. Turns out, she was a freind. She walked over with the words "Eva, do you need help?" all I could say was "Yes, I think I do."
She tossed the cumbersome tricycle into her car and dropped it off at my house. Without the tricycle to lug home I was able to carry my boy and push the stroller without much trouble. I've long since mastered that art.
As we made our lessencumbered way down the street Enzo hugged me in his pattented choke hold, his warm cheek pinked with excercise pressed firmly against mine as he repeated "Mama I like yeeww, I love yeeww." All the way home.
Summation? Being observed in your frazzled moments is not always a bad thing. Chances are your observer will understand, and help. Also, fierce hugs from thick armed little boys are well worth the price.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Goodness gracious sakes alive,

Is she really, truly five?

Yes, yes she is. And she loves posing so much that she got out of the pool to plan and practice poses for her "the minute she was born" picture.
You know what? You can take a lot more than just one picture in sixty seconds.
Even when the shoot is punctuated with the subject loosing her balance and falling out of the challenging pose she selected for herself.
What she was aiming for was essentially what you yogis would call "Half moon pose" That's a tricky one. I can only accomplish it with the utmost calm and focus.
A minute really is a long time though. Long enough that she even moved into the kiddie pool to give half moon one more try.

And that is how we spent the minute in which Baby Girl, my Zizza, was officially and exactly five years old.
Happy Birthday Zizza, I adore you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Dress

I've had that pattern waiting to be used for quite a while now. I had it in mind to find a plaid like the one pictured on the front. I found one that was close once but I didn't buy it so the pattern continued to wait until I dropped the plaid idea entirely and made it up in the swirled dots you see above.

You know what I really love about this dress? The cuffs close with cuff links which lend the whole thing versatility. I've got red links in the cuffs right now, I'm looking forward to wearing it in the future with yellow, olive and I think pink would be fun too.
I thought about some different ways to make the big button on the front interchangeable as well but I haven't come up with a method I'm satisfied with yet, so for now the dress is minus the Big center button.
What I don't love is that a narrowly fitting cuff just below the elbow is not really suited to wrestling a solid two and a half year old during church. The right sleeve of my dress ripped yesterday as Enzo lunged in an attempt to gain freedom and run screaming through the chapel as he wished to do. I'm going to have to go back in and make vents above the cuff opening.
Most cuffed sleeves have a vent already, but these don't.

By the way, if you think I didn't consider a petticoat in a contrasting color then you must not know me very well.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dressing The New One

I was trying to keep things relatively simple on the whole as I dressed my family for our recent portraits. I made my dress for pictures and that was a bigish project so sewing for everyone else had to be kept to a minimum.
Lucky for me Old Navy had a jumper in just the style I was wanting for The New One. It was only wanting a little embellishment which I could easily provide. That embellishment being this little birdy.

I had planned on making the whole of the bird yellow, but I had some blue scraps laying by as I worked on it and before I knew it I had a yellow bird with blue wings.
I'm really happy with the bird in and of it's self. I'm happy with the jumper as a whole.
I'm not happy about the shirt I had under it.

I did my Old Navy shopping on-line. On my computer screen the pattern on the turtle neck looked less pink and more subtle. I thought it would lend some general texture to the ensemble.
When I put the whole thing together it seemed like all I could see were those darn little pink hearts that in no way compliment my yellow and blue bird. If I'd stuck with plain yellow it would have been fine, but I had to go and throw that blue in there. At that point though, we were on our way out the door so what was I to do?
I wished to high heaven that I had a navy turtle neck in the bin of outgrowns that could swoop in and save the day. I didn't though so I just had to pretend to love the outfit.
I'm going to buy a navy turtle neck before I put the jumper on her again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Enzo style

I planned from the conception of this family portrait scheme to dress Enz in his current Sunday Best. Here he is in the ensemble at the wedding we attended in June.

As portrait day approached however, I began to suspect that he would look a good deal summery-er than the rest of us in his linen pants and breezy short sleeved shirt.
A dig in the box of out grown and off season clothes solved the problem by way of a long sleeved, brown shirt of Zizza's. We turned that baby inside out to hide the girly emblem on the front, layered it under his white shirt and he was set to go.
I adore the final look. Can't wait to show you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Zizza

I fell in love with this skirt ages ago when I saw it on Sugar City Journal. I've been planning a blatant copy cat effort ever since. You'll have to excuse me for not linking to the direct sugar city post, it was quite a while a go and it would take ages for me sifting through their archives to find it.

You might notice that I haven't stitched around the appliqués. I started the project the morning of our photo engagement so after fusing them to the skirt I called it good enough and left it. That will be my first order of business when I get back to my machine.

With the bird skirt I wanted a nice, neutral sweater. I wasn't picky. It could be gray, brown, tan, cream, I wasn't sold on pure white but my mind was pretty open.
Friends, I could not find one. I did finally find a nice pink sweater which I was happy with. Pink works fine as a neutral in Zizza's wardrobe. She was thrilled with it and put it on at the first mention of dressing for pictures. Then, after all that trouble, she ditched it after the first click of the shutter.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Mr's clothes

We had family portraits taken last evening. During the next few days while I wait to get them back so I can show them off, I'm going to out line what each of us wore. Today we'll discuss the Mr.

Last month I bought a shirt which I intended to use for the long promised (sorry) romper tutorial. When I started thinking about what to dress everybody in for our pictures that shirt came to mind and what do you know? It's his size! Thus, the romper tutorial was delayed yet again and my Mr had a shirt to wear for our photos.
The shirt is in the laundry right now, but when it's clean I'll take a picture and add it to the post. I could wait until my laundry's done to post about the shirt at all, but I'm afraid it would never happen if I took that route.

It's clean now, here's the picture

Along with the pilfered shirt, he wore the first pair of properly fitting jeans I've ever known him to don, and brown Vans.

Here's where things get interesting. Yesterday morning I woke up having just dreamed of the final needed touch to his ensemble. Something that would buoy up his casual attire to meet the formality of mine while simultaneously reigning my outfit into a more relate-able sphere.
The missing piece of his ensemble was a tie. A casual solid navy blue tie worn loosely with jeans and rolled shirtsleeves would work like magic in this outfit.
Still in my pajamas with two and a half hours wanting from picture time I set out to make the tie, and I botched it.
Today I realized that while the navy blue silk tie in his closet would strike an odd touch to that outfit in person, it would have read fine in a photograph.
I'm going to fix my tie mistake and make him wear it on a date sometime. It will always be missing from our photos, but seeing the completed outfit will help soothe the pain.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Halloween Decor

Last week as I was thinking about Halloween decorations I read this Design Mom post. I love the plates but I couldn't think of a place to hang them in my house so I filed the idea away in my head to review sometime in the future.
Later, as I looked at the collage of empty frames on my wall waiting to be filled with family photos, I was struck with brilliance. Why not make some Halloween pictures and put them in those frames? 99 cents for a piece of black poster board and some white crayloa kid's paint from our art supply box later, my dream became a reality.

I'm loving the results. I may even come up with another place to display family photos and rotate seasonal art work here. Ok, probably not but I like the idea.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shirt skirt

I saw a picture of a skirt like this a few months ago in conjunction with this project. I loved it right off. The sleeves as a belt really tickled my fancy. I recently got around to making one for myself
The length was a bit tricky with the shirt tail hem and all. If it was long enough to suit me on the sides, the front and back would hit at an awkward, unflattering, clownish length. So I chose and ideal length for the front and back, made it a little shorter still and wear it with leggings.
I love leggings. I think it has to do with my childhood in the eighties when leggings ruled supreme and yet, I owned not a pair.
Those brown leggings are truly my first. The little girl in me smiles really big every time I put them on. True, they are not pink on one leg and purple on the other like the leggings I dreamed of in my tender years, but they fill the void nicely just the same.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hot and not

This turned out to be the perfect posting premise for me today, well yesterday but I didn't get around to typing it out until today.


Halloween: I hostessed a costume exchange last night so I spent Tuesday digging out my Halloween decor. I have a few little projects to do still. Cut out bats to hang from the light fixtures, foot prints on the ceiling, that kind of thing. I haven't decorated for Halloween in the past few years (too focused on the costumes) and I've missed it.

I was at the Gap on Tuesday and admired these pants from afar. I thought they were fabulous but I didn't take the time to even walk over to the display.
Yesterday there was a yellow crayon on the landing of my stairs. Every time I walked up or down and saw that crayon my heart's desire for yellow cropped cords with shiny brass buttons grew a little stronger.
I picked up the crayon before things got so out of hand as to send me running back to the Gap.

My teeth are smokin hot, it's a shame ever to close my lips.


I spent my childhood watching my mother arrange flowers.
I had some silk sunflowers hanging around left over from The New One's birthday party and I decided to make them into an autumnal arrangement as part of my decorating extravaganza.
Turns out, arranging flowers is harder than it looks. My attempt looks like a clumpy Christmas tree done in shades of yellow and orange.
Good news though, my childhood observations left me armed with the knowledge of how to rewire flowers that have been left with unfortunately short stems. I just need to find some wire strong enough to support those heavy sunflowers and I think I can fix my sad little clump of autumn.

Retainers. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, they're better than braces and I only have to wear them full time for a week, then it will be strictly nighttime wear. In the mean time though, dang! These things are annoying!

The Las Vegas Ragnar starts tomorrow and I wish I was running it. I wimped out because I didn't want to train in the heat and or organize a team.
I hate when I wimp out!
We drive along part of the course on our way to and from Utah. That would be an awesome run. Sigh, ...maybe next year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Guess what?

No more braces!

Monday, October 5, 2009

under where?

These are some under drawers I made for Enzo.
We've also got some of these. They're fruit of the loom from Wal-mart. I used them as reference when I drafted my pattern. I was planning to just copy them but they required a few improvements. Well, really just one improvement. Or to be more precise, one change that improved the finished product in multiple ways.
The change is that center back seam. A seam straight up the back of the item worn closest to the body is just a bad idea. If you were planning to put a tighty under the boxer then sure, take the easy route and make them with a center back seam. If, however, you plan to use the boxers as actual underwear that center back seam is going to have a tendency to wedge and that's no good. For this reason I added a gusset to the seat. Any self respecting boxer short has a gusseted seat.
If you make this photo bigger, you'll easily see the gusset seam lines. I made these assembly line style and didn't bother myself with matching thread.
A good boxer short needs to have some fullness in the seat to allow for comfort and ease of movement. It also needs a comparatively narrow leg opening. If the leg is too wide it wont tuck easily into a pair of pants and if your underwear doesn't fit inside your pants you're going to have trouble. I can't think of a better way to simultaneously achieve a full seat and narrow leg. Now,I know the leg on these doesn't look narrow, but believe me in comparison with the volume in the seat it's down right skinny.
The third benefit of the gusseted seat was a surprise to me. It is the "poop hammock" effect I mentioned here. And what a pleasant surprise it was! Lucky for me we haven't had anymore incidents where that benefit was illustrated.
Here's the front of that pair
and the inside front as well.

I could have skipped the step of making flys in these, they don't really serve any purpose. He noticed the fly once and thought that pair was ripped. After my first fly experience though, I was happy to do it again. I really dig technical sewing like that. It's rather exhilarating. Don't even get me started on welt pockets. Those things are the stuff my sewing dreams are made of.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

'Uper E-yo

It recently came to my attention that my boy was in need of a super hero cape. I was mulling over ideas and the Mr suggested that I use his old firework flower shirt. (yes it was as a tacky shirt as the title implies, and we both adored it)
I believe it's standard procedure to use the least flattering photo you can find as the before picture. With that in mind I selected this image of Zizza, washed out with her hair on the fly because she'd just finished wresting the shirt away from her brother. You may also notice the bored silly look on her face. She was actually having a good time. The blank expression is thanks to her imitation of a sleeping flamingo which I've mentioned before. She had been balancing there, one legged, face completely void of expression as if in sleep, and I took the picture just as she opened her eyes to see if I was indeed taking a picture. It was the one time she'd been able to keep a straight face too, darn it.
Enzo tried modeling for the before picture as well. I only caught this one shot of him still enough to hold a solid form.
However, I did have my choice of a number of images like this one.
The good news is, it's October now so It's cool enough to go outside in the evenings and take pictures of things like 'Uper E-yo capes. So that's what we did.
Zizza, of course couldn't be left out of the fun and donned her own cape
For decoration on the red side of the cape I painstakingly cut out and appliquéd three of the firework flowers. I also nearly chopped off my own fingers and poked out my own eyeballs just to ensure that I'd never have to do such a thing again. It was a very tedious task. The red side is his favorite though, so I guess that makes it a little more worth it.

Hurrah for a well timed breeze lifting one's cape into flight for a photo!

Sigh, capes are a good time.