Sunday, December 6, 2009

to my friend

I am so, so sorry for the loss of your daughter. She was a beautiful girl who was clearly full of love and laughter. I didn't know her, but I mourn for you.

The service yesterday was an emotional tribute, one that touched my heart and the hearts of all the people in attendance. Your lovely daughter obviously affected many people while alive and even more in her passing.

It is so unfair... to her, to you, your family, and the world. She would have made an impact on countless people.

You, my friend, are a wonderful woman. You are strong, caring, kind, generous, and selfless. I watched as you gave hug after hug following the service, trying to hold things together, knowing you were struggling but you knew that people needed to express their sorrow, too.

She's in heaven. She's by God's side, He's with her, and I'm praying for her, for you, for your family.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

christmas craftiness

I started making Christmas gifts today. Most bloggers out there started long ago... but I have this inner block that won't let me start until after Thanksgiving. Luckily, I've planned small projects that are do-able.

I started with a couple of coffee cozies. The first picture shows my first attempt, where I wasn't paying attention to how I laid out the fabric and ended up sewing the interfacing on the outside instead of the inside. Oops... but that was just a test one, anyway.

coffee cozy oops

Below, the cozy on the left is the one I made for my sister. We went to NYC in October and fell in love with this bakery near our hotel with the most. awesome. cupcakes. EVER! Hence, a cozy with yummy cupcakes on it.

The cozy on the right is for one of my teaching partners. She's a coffee freak and regularly sports a Starbucks cup or to-go mug.

coffee cozies

Saturday, November 21, 2009

the one where carmen rambles

Ah, dear blog, how I've missed you! I sort of lost my crafty mojo... I looked at lots of projects online but didn't have the motivation to actually make anything. Plus, life has been happening.

Anyhow, here's an idea that I love! UK Lass in US has an awesome tutorial for a fabric dollhouse. There's a little girl I know who would love to get one of these for Christmas!

I'm trying to convince Hubby to go see New Moon this weekend... have you seen it? Did you like it? I'm not a screaming teenager, but I did like the books and the first movie.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

new banner

I've been trying to design a banner for the top of this page... help! I can't get it right. I don't have Photoshop or anything like that... I've been editing things in Photobucket and testing them out. They end up looking like... well, looking like I edited them in Photobucket, haha. If you have an idea, please let me know!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

yummy sunday dinner

I was tooling around the internets yesterday, looking at blogs I hadn't visited before. I came across this post and decided to try the soup and biscuits. I am so glad I did! Hubby and I had an awesome dinner tonight. The only change I'd make is to reduce the salt I put in the soup a little. The pan biscuits were AY- MAY- ZING... crispy on the outside and soft and tasty in the middle. Yum!



Saturday, October 10, 2009

it's snowing! part deux

It's still snowing... more pictures from outside my home!




Friday, October 9, 2009

it's snowing!

Um... somebody needs to tell whoever decides the weather that it's only October 9th. It's SNOWING here at my house! And sticking to the ground! (I actually don't mind... I think snow is beautiful, plus I don't have to be anywhere tonight or tomorrow.) Isn't it pretty?

I love how the camera flash reflects the light from the snowflakes. Above and below are views in front of my house.



Above is the view of the deck behind the house. Below is the railing and you can see the snow accumulating.


I love feeling warm and snug in my own house with the fireplace lit and snow falling outside!

Friday, September 18, 2009

i really don't have to do it myself?

Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. My mom and stepdad are coming for a short visit tomorrow. My in-laws are coming next weekend. And I've been so busy at school that the house is a wreck: cluttered, messy, dirty, gross, disgusting... you get the picture.

That's the problem. The solution? A cleaning service! I've never had someone clean my house for me before... it's a very novel idea. Hubby was not happy about it because it means spending money. But for me, it's definitely money well spent. I don't have to clean tubs or toilets? I don't have to vacuum floors? I don't have to mop the kitchen? LOVE IT!

I called a local cleaning service. The nice man on the other end asked me what kind of cleaning I wanted. A general clean? A spring-clean type of deep clean? I told him I wanted a My-Mother-is-coming-this-weekend-and-my-Mother-in-law-is-coming-next-weekend type clean. He laughed. I wasn't kidding.

Luckily, he correctly deduced I just need a general clean. There's really no time for a deep clean, anyway. So a cleaning team is coming this morning and all I'll need to do is declutter. Which is a massive job in and of itself. Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

project list update

Two posts in one day after several weeks of nothing? Fabulous. :)

In the wake of my Christmas happies from the last post, I've decided to revisit my project list, originally posted about here and here. Before I add lots of Christmas projects to my plate I want to make sure I've done enough justice to the last list. Here's the updated version:

•use cute brown fabric to make a skirt (I realized I didn't have enough of the brown fabric, so this is being deleted.)
•turn plaid dress into skirt (I cut the skirt part off the dress and lost my nerve. I'll get it back eventually and finish this project.)
•chair cover for classroom with owl print flannel (DONE)
•finish my large size Starling bag (Still in progress.)
•punch needle owl kit (Put away for now. It's not high priority for me, although I'm looking forward to eventually completing it!)
•messenger bag (DONE)
•recycle an old pair of jeans into an apron (DONE)
•Make a fabric basket for my teammates to hold back-to-school goodies. (DONE. Although I didn't make the baskets; I made different things for each teammate to enjoy.)
•Make a fabric cover for my planner/to do list for the school year. (DONE)

So... justice done! I still need to finish the Starling bag but other than that I'm going to put the other things away. Christmas, here I come!

sleigh bells ring, are you listenin'...

Ahhhh... I love the holidays! I know it's only September, but every year I swear I'm going to start my holiday crafting early so that I'll actually have the chance to make all the things I want to make.

I've been so busy with school that I haven't had time to think about anything else, and I really don't have the time now! But, the other day in the mail I got one of those monthly book club offers and the first book they want to send me is a Christmas book with crafts, recipes, and gifts to make. I actually already have one so I (probably) won't buy this one, but I went digging for mine (it's made by this company) and bookmarked all the things I love in there.

I cut out a few of the pictures from the catalog I got on this new Christmas book to use as an inspiration board of sorts. You've been looking at three of my favorites! I plan to wrap presents in simple white paper and embellish with ribbons and such. The advent calendar is simply beautiful; I've been looking for a pattern for a couple of years now. Plus, who wouldn't love Chocolate Chip Cheesecake squares?? Yum.

Monday, August 24, 2009

busy busy busy

Three days of school down, a depressingly huge number to go until summer comes back around.

Crafting time has been cut to nil and lesson planning time has increased exponentially.

No time for more than this right now.

Garage sale scheduled for Saturday to make some money to spend at crafty stores to replace the crap I'm selling. Hubby is thrilled. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

simple cookies

I've had these cookies from Skip to my Lou on my Favorites list for several months and finally got around to making them. I used Betty Crocker's French Vanilla Cake Mix and added milk chocolate chips to them. They're pretty good! Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

Hubby and I have already had a few... each. :) We're supposed to take them to a friend's for dinner tonight; I hope they last!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

fix it!

This is one of my most favorite SNL skits. I just love the Fix It guy. You have to wait until the last two minutes of the sketch, but it's well worth the wait, in my opinion.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

a new year begins

I always have mixed feelings this time of year... sad that my summer is ending but excited to start a new school year. Unfortunately, this also means my crafting time will be substantially reduced... I'm hoping to keep working on my project list but the next few weeks will probably have sporadic posting. In the meantime, here are a couple of neat links. :)

iPod Nano Pouch


I'm also pleased to note that my chair covers are being admired at school and a colleague asked me to make her some. Yay for handmade!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

most. awesome. sewing. project. ever!

Words cannot describe how much I love this project! I made a cover for the planner I use to keep track of stuff at school. You might recognize the lining fabric... I fell in love with it at Hobby Lobby and have used it in my denim apron, messenger bag, and a fabric basket that was too messy to bother writing a post about.

I added a cute owl iron-on transfer that I bought at JoAnn's a while back. I love that store. I love all craft stores. I love to make stuff!

Ahem. I got a little carried away, sorry. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

messenger bag redo

I ended up deconstructing the original messenger bag and sewing it back together a different way. What a pain in the behind it was to rip out all those stitches! I don't want to see my seam ripper for a while.

I also had originally used a really thick, heavy interfacing. I replaced that with a medium weight that works a lot better.

I added a snap, too. I'm really sick of the whole project and am VERY glad I can cross it off my list! Hopefully that won't stop me from using it. :)

Let's revisit the original list and see how I'm doing!

•use cute brown fabric to make a skirt
•turn plaid dress into skirt
•chair cover for classroom with owl print flannel (DONE)
•finish my large size Starling bag
•punch needle owl kit
•messenger bag (DONE)
•recycle an old pair of jeans into an apron (DONE)

Three down, four to go!

Well, not really...

I added a few new projects to the list. :)

  • Make a fabric basket for my teammates to hold back-to-school goodies.
  • Make a fabric cover for my planner/to do list for the school year.

That's not so bad, although I do need to make three baskets. Still, I'm going to use Pink Penguin's tutorial and they are really small.

Friday, July 31, 2009

denim apron

It's done! I really like how my denim apron turned out. I cut up an old pair of jeans and used stash fabric for this. I also have enough denim left over for another idea I have in mind.

Here's to another project crossed off my list, yay!

Please ignore my pajama pants peeking out from the bottom of the apron... :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

uh oh...

Oh boy, I am in trouble! I have a huge project list and I just found this. I want to drop everything and make three now for my Kindergarten team! Must... practice... restraint...

Monday, July 27, 2009


Yesterday's post with my project list was excellent motivation to get started! I made a chair cover with this cute owl flannel. I think I might use it as a special motivator or for a star student... not sure yet.

Here's a close-up of the fabric... I think it's so cute! Hubby asked me if I was "going to make one for the boys" but I think (at least I hope) that all of my five year old Kindergartners will love it.

I also started my denim apron. I got the idea from several sites (My Byrd House has several, and this one is my favorite), but ultimately I decided to use a pattern from Sew Simple, a magazine I bought a while back. Can I post a picture of the picture in the magazine? Not sure if that's legal.

Anyway, I cut the legs off an old pair of jeans and opened them up, then sewed them together like this:

Next I'll use this fabric to make the waistband and ties, and sew the pockets to the front. The old belt loops will make a holster for scissors.

Pretty good progress on my list!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

project list

Soooo.... I need to make a list. I have a gazillion projects floating around in my head and I figured if I put them here for all the world to see that I might actually hold myself accountable to starting AND finishing them.

*Deep breath*... here goes:

  • use cute brown fabric to make a skirt
  • turn plaid dress into skirt
  • chair cover for classroom with owl print flannel
  • finish my large size Starling bag
  • punch needle owl kit
  • messenger bag (I still haven't decided if I want to start all over or try to rescue the one I've already started)
  • recycle an old pair of jeans into a cute apron I can wear in my classroom to hold all the things I'm constantly looking for (pen, sticky note, scissors, etc.)

Ahhh, that feels much better... now instead of these ideas floating in my head, I can actually work on them.

And, not that I want to add anymore things to my list yet, but this is so cool!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

learning a new craft

I bought this kit from a long time ago because I thought the owls were cute. I promptly put it in the very bottom (in the back, no less) of my craft cabinet and forgot about it. I didn't know anything about punch needle embroidery but figured I'd look at it again sometime.

That time is now! I've run across several mentions in craft blogs about Planet June's new eBook about Punch Needle. Reading about it made me remember the little kit I bought, so I dug it out and dusted it off.

Included in the kit are cotton embroidery floss, printed fabric, embroidery needle, carbon paper, and instructions. (I bought a punch needle tool and a 10 inch embroidery hoop separately.) I was completely confused as to why I needed carbon paper until I read the directions and realized it was to transfer the words to the front of the piece. I did an eye roll, labeled myself a rookie, and moved on. :)

I haven't actually been brave enough to do anything besides take pictures and write a post. I'm excited to get started, though. I think it will be fun to make and I'll get to practice some embroidery, too!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

instant gratification

I wanted a small project, something I could finish in one evening. I'd been contemplating making a pin cushion and then remembered the pattern I saw over at Heather Bailey's blog. I love the fact that the pin cushion is square! So cute. I love her fabrics, too.

I left the ribbon off the cushion because I didn't want to cover up the fabric... this is one of my favorite fabrics ever and I'm almost out of it! I've used it to make a roll for my crochet hooks and a handbag so far. I've had it forever- I think I bought it as a remnant at JoAnn.

The best thing about making this pin cushion is that I learned a new skill! I had never learned how to do the slip stitch (aka blind stitch) before. I promptly Googled it and jumped around to a few sites before finding this tutorial... it was by far the most clear and concise for me. Yay for pin cushions and learning something new!

Pink Button Side:

Green Button Side:

Complete with pins!

My apologies for the bad lighting... it's quarter of ten and I couldn't wait to post!

scary stuff, good trips, and crafty fun

Have you seen this? Eek. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Hubby and I went to Colorado Springs last weekend to celebrate his birthday. We played golf and went to Garden of the Gods... it was absolutely beautiful! This is a view of southwest Colorado Springs from the top of a nearby hill. The big building directly in the center of the photo is the resort we stayed at.

This is one of the gargantuan rocks in Garden of the Gods.

These are the huge storm clouds that chased us out of Garden of the Gods... complete with thunder and lightning that was THIS CLOSE. The number of fools who stayed to hike and move closer to get a better look at lightning strikes amazed me. Fools.

Despite the weather, we had a great time. I played a full golf course for the first time... I completely sucked, but it was fun. I got hubby a set of irons for his b-day (he picked them out) and he really seems to like them.

And now for crafty fun! I think I've said before that I go through crafty phases... I'll work hard on different projects for a period of time and then have a dry spell that could last anywhere from days to weeks to months. Luckily, I am currently in the "on" portion of my on again- off again life as a crafter. I've been sewing a lot lately and recently finished these:

Give up yet? They are chair covers for birthday boys and girls! I plan to use them in my classroom. If you need a visual, go here. I like mine much better. :)

I'm also working on the bag you see below. It may look done but I am SO not happy with it. I used an interfacing that was too heavy on the lining and the bag itself feels too big and bulky. I may just put the whole thing aside and make a new one or I might rip out the lining and redo it.

My next project is to turn this dress into a skirt. I really like the idea of wearing a mid century style plaid skirt with a twinset in the classroom. :)

All photos are courtesy of my brand new Kodak EasyShare M320. Comes complete with 9.2 megapixels for your viewing pleasure. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

spotty internet, concerts, and rafting... oh my!

Ack! My internet provider was down for almost two days and I thought I'd go crazy! Hubby resorted to reading tiny websites on his Blueberry last night, and he gets internet at work! Thank goodness it came back up.

Tonight is the big concert! I am so excited... I love Keith Urban and Sugarland, and seeing them together is a double bonus! Plus, I think I'm going to see Brad Paisley in September! I can't stop using exclamation points today!

I went white water rafting with some family on Monday afternoon. It was the same trip I did with my sister in June but WAY more bumpy. I saw our guide fall (hard) off the bus and I think he was so mad/embarrassed about that he decided to take it out on our raft and put us through some major bumps... like, people went flying across the raft bumps. Nobody went into the water except the poor guy our guide actually pushed in. I think I'm done rafting for a while. A good LONG while.

Here is a picture of my newly finished Starling bag in use and a sneak peek of my next one.

Ha! So my sneak peek is not very interesting... but the color is really beautiful. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I finally finished (and lined!) my newest handbag. This is futuregirl's Starling Handbag in the medium size. I also added pockets inside as well as a snap. I think this one may get some good use! It's a good size for me and I really needed some sort of closure for security.

I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Charcoal for the main color. For the white band and pink variegated, I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream. I've used Lily for lots of things and it's a good yarn, but I REALLY LOVED the Cotton Ease! No splitting to deal with and it was fairly soft for a cotton yarn.

While I was in FL last week I went to a couple of yarn shops in town and found quite a variety of swanky cotton yarns. And of course, like other yarn/fiber addicts, I bought just a few skeins. I found the softest cotton yarn ever but am finding it splits pretty badly. I plan to use it anyway for a new handbag. More details on that later.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

life happens

I always feel bad when I let so much time pass between posts... but I guess in the meantime life is what's happening to me. The last few weeks have been super busy! I've done lots of stuff, including:
  • Finished up the school year, packed up my classroom for the summer.
  • Took a two-day class on our new math curriculum implementation for next year.
  • Had two golf lessons. (I'm not terrible, it turns out!)
  • Had a pedicure (I only do this a couple times a year so it's a big deal for me!)
  • Went to a writing curriculum planning meeting.
  • Read several books (fluffy chick lit that requires little thought :) )
  • Hosted my sister from Florida for a week.
  • Went whitewater rafting with my sister (two half-days, so much fun!).
  • Had my hair cut very differently from "the usual"... I love my new cut and I think this will be my new "usual"!
  • Went to a friends' wedding (beautiful!)

It might be summer, but I'm still working... all next week I have meetings to go to for planning stuff. The week after that I'm taking another class.

One thing I haven't been doing so much of is crafting. :( I haven't worked on my black and white Futuregirl bag in several weeks and I have two sewing projects that have been sidelined. That's not actually all my fault; my sewing machine has been on the fritz and I finally bit the bullet and had it tuned and timed by a sewing machine repair pro. It was $65 that I wasn't thrilled about spending but I caved because that's still cheaper than buying a new one. I haven't had the chance to get back into the groove yet.

Off to have lunch and see Land of the Lost with Mr. Seaschell!

Friday, May 15, 2009

finished- pattern testing for futuregirl

This is the handbag I made to test Alice's handbag pattern. I love the pattern! It's very uncomplicated, which is great for crocheter like me who doesn't like complicated. :)

This is the small size- it measures (laying flat) 7 inches high (from the bottom of the bag to the bottom of the handles), 9 inches wide, and 2.5 inches deep. I used Lily Sugar n Cream... I like the structure that the cotton yarn gives the bag- it stands up well on its own.

The lining went in so easily, I thought I was surely doing something wrong... I didn't believe I could make a lining that would fit this bag so perfectly on the first try! But I did, and it looks great.

Right now I'm making the medium size, which currently measures 10.5 inches wide and 2.75 inches deep (I'll measure the height when it's finished). I'm using Lion Brand CottonEase on this bag... this is the first time I've used this yarn and I really love it! No splitting at all and it comes in lots of great colors (solids, which I tend to like better than Sugar n Cream's colorways).

Many thanks to Alice for letting me test this pattern! It's an easy pattern to get the hang of and (as evidenced by all the different bags on her blog) offers tons of flexibility for personalization.

Monday, May 11, 2009

charity bag

I have been reading Sew What! Bags by Lexie Barnes... what a great book! I used the information in the book to design my own bag. This is going to a friend who's running a silent auction to benefit AA. I've also started a fun messenger bag for myself (pics coming soon!)