Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby Steps

Procrastination. Fear. Reluctance.Caution. It could be any of these that is slowing me down. You see I have this project. It's a Halloween costume. Sure, yeah, who isn't making a Halloween costume this week? Yes, but I started this costume back in August. I should be done by now. Actually I should have been finished a while ago.

There are three parts to the costume - a dress, a skirt and a corset. You guessed it - a pirate. I'm not going to be a pirate. This is the costume my daughter has been eyeing for months. Granted, she's not four years old, so I can't just slap it together. No...it has to "authentic," which means it takes a lot more work.

I've been sewing most of my life and have tackled many of the challenges of garment construction. Along with the successful completion of many garments I've also done my fair share of "un-sewing," otherwise known as ripping out - a disgusting term. But in this costume, I've stumbled on a job that must be done well the first time. I'll have ten opportunities for success here. Ten cute little brass grommets. How hard can it be, right?

Well, all it takes is one slip and the corset is a goner. These things aren't forgiving. So, I'm going at it very methodically. First - make a small sample with the same fabrics as the original item. Next - buy the grommets (lots of grommets - extras for all the testing). Going on - try out the tools. Moving along - make various test placements, try various threading materials, call the mother-in-law for advice, pray, deep breathing exercises.

You get the idea. This is stall time. Or is it? I like to think of it as baby steps. As I progress on this path I'm learning and gaining confidence, so that I can make my final approach with a reasonable assurance of success. I'm taking baby steps.

I'm thankful for the ability to sew - first learned in Jr. High with Mrs. Smith oh so many years ago. I'm also thankful that I can show love to my daughter in a tangible way that any teenage girl can appreciate - a Halloween costume.

What r u thankful 4?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Starry Nights

At least I think that's the name of this quilt -

Since I started this quilt about 6 or 7 years ago, I'm not really sure. I can remember the class I took through my local guild to get this started. It was with Sharyn Craig, who was an excellent, no-nonense teacher.

It took a long time to get this quilt finished because I took a quilting hiatus of sorts - not so much on purpose, but quite by accident. I just sort of let quilting fade into the background of my life to the extent that I just forgot about it, except for the times I lamented that I didn't have time to get to it. A cunundrum to be sure. At the beginning to the year I determined to make (not find) the time to pursue one of things I enjoy most. And this quilt is the result of that effort.

No one I showed it to really liked it or thought it was all that attractive, except for one of my daughter's friends. She complimented me on the colors and thought it was pretty. This was great news since I had no idea what I was going to do with it once it was finished. I surely couldn't display a quilt in my home that everyone in the family thought disgusting. It became apparent who the recipient would be. And I dont' think it's a coincidence that I finished it in her birthday month.

I'm thankful for time to quilt. What r u thankful 4?

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Good Book

Recently I finished reading The Frugal Duchess by Sharon Harvey Rosenberg.

Since I've been a reader of Sharon's Blog, The Frugal Duchess of South Beach, for quite a while I was excited to hear that she came out with a book. Sharon has a down-to-earth approach to saving money. But she's not just another penny-pinching mama.

This gal has style and tells some great stories. I especially liked reading about her personal life and growing up years. It was fun to see how those things shaped her and helped make her into the person she is today.

Sharon also tells of her dream home in Miami Beach, Florida. She doesn't actually own the home, but she just might some day. Since she practices what she preaches I'm betting her savings account is steadily gr owning into the down payment she needs.

This book is chock full of great tips and strategies for saving money. This is practical frugality at it's best. I didn't get the sense that Sharon feels deprived at all. Quite the contrary. This is a gal who appreciates luxury and knows quality when she sees it. She's found ways to have those things and save a few bucks too - hence the subtitle How to Live Well and Save Money.

I'm thankful for good books that are also great resources.

What r u thankful 4?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Need a fast, tasty snack?

Enter Cake Mix Cookies.

I first heard about these cookies from Mary Hunt in her Everyday Cheapskate column. These are simply the easiest, tastiest, fastest cookies you can make. There are only 4 ingredients needed.

I recently stocked up on cake mix when it was on sale for .50 a box. The chocolate chips in this photo were purchased during a recent sale. I usually keep the supersize bag of chips from Costco on hand, but had recently run out. So not only are these cookies quick, they are relatively inexpensive as well.

When the kids signed up for goodies and I didn't know until an hour before the event, I (or they) can just whip up a batch of these cookies and they're good to go. Click here for the recipe.

What am I thankful for? Hmmm...I wonder!:-)

What r u thankful 4?

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Mortgage Lifter

Now that's an interesting name for a tomato!

I couldn't help but wonder about the story behind the name. Enter Google The story goes like this...

Back in the 40's a man named Radiator Charlie decided to do some fancy cross pollinating of his favorite tomato plants using a baby syringe. He came up with a pretty snazzy tomato - big and tasty.

Okay - so there's something to be said for ingenuity and the farmer's spirit. But the story doesn't end there. What makes it the Mortgage Lifter is that ol' Charlie is a heck of a salesperson and peddled the seedlings to other eager gardeners for a tidy little sum, allowing him to pay off his mortgage of about $6,000.

This is what my plant is supposed to yield -

I'm looking forward to some pretty tasty BLTs in a few weeks.