Two things: First, I clearly don’t like to change my thread colors, and just sew everything in off-white. Oh well. Second, what is up with the little girl clothes in stores? We’ve had this conversation before- the hoochie mama clothes and sizing for girls’ clothing is absurd. Perhaps if you have a daughter who is a whisp, some of the clothes available will look cute on her. But whispy girls tend to look cute in everything anyway. No offense to the whisps of the world. All I wanted was a simple sundress for Abby, made from cotton and not synthetic, and without spaghetti straps. Shouldn’t be so hard, huh? Well, I suppose if I wanted to shop high-end I could have more options, but instead I found this one-yard sundress pattern:

Okay, it actually calls for more than a yard, but if you are willing to put a seam up the back and not have a second fold, you can totally jimmy it out of one yard. Once I made the first one, I started to add details, ruffles, trim and what not. Fueled by an Excedrin headache one night, I made all six sundresses for Abby. Stacked ’em, whacked ’em and sewed ’em up. They came out really cute, I think, and they are big, loose and airy- with not buttons or zippers, and are perfect for my girl. And probably for yours too.

Letter Pancakes

You wanna know the secret to getting your picky eater to scarf his whole-wheat flax pancakes? Put the batter in a squeezie bottle (from the cake decorating aisle at the craft store) and spell his name. You would be AMAZED at what a kid will eat when it’s made of their name. Just remember to spell it backwards. Jeffrey’s looked pretty funny since it was the first one I did. That’s your tip for the day, from an otherwise totally overwhelmed and complete slacker blogger.

A Moment of Silence: D*S Travesty

This! This is exactly what I was talking about. Go and behold.  And it’s even got the requisite nod to Anthropologie! Ha! I’m a genius. I’m also going to wear black today in mourning for the 110 year-old quarter-sawn old-growth oak.

My favorite line? “… applied a coat of yellow paint and distressed the finish to give it a more aged feel.” Because 110 year-old wood looks “more aged” enrobed in yellow latex that’s been sanded and then covered with contact paper? Holy hell. Norm Abrams is weeping somewhere.

A Christmas Bath

I have accidentally stumbled upon a Christmas Miracle. Tonight, I had an extra string of lights that had no home, and on a whim, I strung them in the kids bathroom. The boys came tumbling in and exclaimed with great joy. I turned off the overheads and the vanity, and left on just the colored Christmas lights draped over the top of the vanity mirror. They raced to see who could have their “Christmas Bath” first. It was quiet and peaceful, and everyone had a bath with no fighting, and everyone was happy and smelled good and went to bed with ease, kisses and sugarplums. I’m so not kidding.

Drape some lights around your bathroom ceiling and see! It’s the coolest, cheapest sedative I’ve ever stumbled upon. Christmas Baths for everyone!

(and, um… yeah, clearly keep them away from the tub. okay?)

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Houston Market Photos


This picture was taken the night before the show opened. You would not believe some booths- I mean, shipping crates after shipping crates arriving with furniture, props and beautiful things. I felt like such the ugly duckling- me and my two Southwest-allowable suitcases. That’s it. All I had. I even had to borrow pins from my neighbor to hang my quilts. How sad is that? A quilter who didn’t bring pins. All of my booth shots are from before the convention center laid down the screaming-red aisle carpet that night.  I was shaking in my boots. Little fish, big sea. Yeah.


Here’s the other angle- you might recognize the birthday banners- it was the one frivolous thing I was able to stuff in the suitcases. The night before, I had the bathroom scale in the kitchen, and was repacking the bags at midnight because they were over- I got them to 49.8 pounds… by the skin of my teeth.


The table skirt and drapery were borrowed, and my scary midnight run to scary Houston Voldemart netted the hand sanitizer and candy. I forgot a bowl though, and used my roll of stickers to hold treats. Classy. Oh yeah. Have I mentioned how nervous and scared I was?  Terrified doesn’t even come close to how I felt. But you know what? I can do scary things.  I can do things which make me shake in my boots, and come out better than before.

I have a million ideas for next time. The learning curve was steep, but I had a folder full of sketches before the show even opened. It was a very good experience.

And then here, for comparison, is Heather Bailey’s booth:


Oh yeah. And that IS Heather herself standing there. Her booth is literally four times the size of mine. And it wasn’t even close to the biggest or fanciest- Now can you see why I felt like the country mouse?  Like I was totally in over my head?And yet I did it. It’s done. I lived.

And maybe- no, certainly- something good will come of it. People liked my stuff. People were kind to me, and an awful lot of folks had good feedback and even kudos me… Me, the tiny fish in the big scary sea.  Exhaling now…

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Snow Abby

IMG_0489Because in the middle of getting ready for Houston, I really needed to stay up til’2 a.m. making Abby’s Halloween costume? Yes, I did. If you had seen her face this morning when she woke up and it was hanging in her room, you would have too. The boys are next- somehow making ObiWan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker costumes just isn’t going to be as much fun…

This was such an easy, fun pattern- and it went together beautifully. The collar detaches and it also has a red and blue satin cape- which I made, but she opted out of for this picture, and which Beanie is currently wearing. I suspect that may be the continuing trend. (JoAnn has all their satin at 40% off right now!)

Houston, Ready or Not

America the BeautifulRoaring along the road to Houston. It’s coming up quick, and miracle of miracles, I think it’s coming together. I’m fighting wanting to share my plans with being afraid of jinxing myself.

Yesterday my vendor packet arrived, and my booth assignment is great- I’m at the end of a walkway, slightly to the right, and only one block in from the escalators. At least from the floor plan (hellloooo- huge!) it looks like a good draw. Now I just have to figure out what to order for drapes and rigging, and if I want electricity in the booth. Leaning towards yes, but I need to find an Ikea to pick up cheap-o spotlights for the quilts.

I’ve found a local printer with good rates, and the price includes some in-house design for the brochure. Of course I could do it myself, and I will give her a mock-up of what I have in mind, but honestly, I’m happy to hand some things off to other people. I’ll die if I try and do everything myself, and I’m finally smart/experienced enough to know that.

Next week, all my quilts are being re-photographed, and the pattern cover is being redesigned. I’ve got some ideas.

My airline tickets are purchased, the hotel is reserved, the rental car is on hold… Now all I need is for people to love me… (isn’t that everyones problem?)

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Overheard at the M’s

Scene: The kids are lounging in my bedroom, a tangle of tan and freckled arms and legs, and I’ve put on a disk of old Bugs Bunny cartoons. In one cartoon, a log is in danger of going over a waterfall, and the characters paddle like mad to push the log UP the waterfall and back to the safety of the river. I am sitting in my wing chair, working on some embroidery.

Beanie, guffawing at the scene, “That’s so funny!”

Jeffrey, rolling his eyes, “Bean, that goes against all the known laws of physics. The people who made this cartoon must have been dumb.”

I look up from the flour-sack towel I’m embroidering and roll my eyes.

Heathen’s Wedding

IMG_0234The dress is done. And from here on out, Tracy’s Dressmaking is closed.  At this point in my life, I have too many irons in the fire, and I cannot be a functional parent and wife, while still rasslin’ with piles of silk and tulle. It did come out nice, if I do say so myself.

David picked up a can of spray air, and he says next time I offer to take on a sewing project for someone, he’s going to spray the air in my ear. Like squirting a cat with water. Or something. I’ll probably not think it’s funny when he does it, but it was funny today.

So there. Stay tuned tomorrow for a recipe on how to use your paneer cheese. I’m going to actually go to sleep tonight. Bed, sweet sweet bed.