Thursday, March 31, 2011

A cake decorator, I am not

I am sooooo not a cake decorator, I'm more of a 'Frost By Numbers' kinda gal, you know stick a star shaped nozzle on a piping bag and fill in the indents on the cake left from the pan, so when I read the directions on what to do I take them quite literal, I may question in my mind but then will go on to shrug my shoulders and think to myself "Well Mr Wilton said to do it this way".
Tuesday was Reagan's turn to take snack into school, I remembered mid morning on Monday, I had already done my grocery shop for the week and did not want to venture out again so I started blog surfing for some inspiration and came upon these little darlings, cute huh ? First off I couldn't figure out why only 16 cupcakes when a box mix states it will make 24 on the box and I've always gotten 24 out of it, and I needed 22 and I wasn't going to start on another box of mix just for 6 more cakes. Well I don't know what happens to batter when you divide it into 6 bowls and add food coloring but the amount decreases, it's true, crazy but true, yet if you divide it into 3 bowls you're good to go, if you don't believe me try it, it's weird. So my cupcakes only ended up with 3 colors, but the kids didn't know and what you don't know won't kill you (usually). Then I got creative, I hate the taste of cake mix from a box it's just kind of 'icky' so once the cakes cooled all the way I poked holes in the top and poured orange jello onto them and let it soak in, creative huh ? Then I put them in the fridge AND FORGOT ABOUT THEM until 1hr before they were due to school Tuesday morning, "S%^& " Open up the pantry no canned frosting, look for powdered sugar, didn't have enough. Panic set in and so I started blog surfing again and I found this blog where Supermom had made these same cakes ... though she'd only made 16 so they had the perfect 6 colors, WHATEVER !!! She gave all the directions and then 'frosted' CoolWhip on top, oh they looked so cute and guess what ? I had Cool Whip, So I took it from my freezer, waited for it to thaw a bit and then started 'frosting' , OMG, what a disaster, 'SuperMom' failed to add that she had to have added something to her CoolWhip to make it stay or she cheated and used Cool Whip from a can to get the perfect swirl because let me tell you, CoolWhip from a tub is not the consistency to frost with, even if you get a perfect swirl it will quickly drip and become a gloopy mess even if you put them in the refrigerator immediately... don't believe me ? Take a peek at this gloopy mess and yes the pic sucks I was rushing like a mad woman, freaking as to what to do as 22 kidlets were waiting on Ms Penny's snack and no all the cakes aren't there because after too many attempts I realised this was a big time FAIL
So I snapped a quick pic and hauled some serious butt to the 'Mart, where I sprinted down the aisles like a crazy woman and snatched up a much coveted can of Redi Whip and ran to the school where I entered the classroom and exclaimed " Who wants  messy cup cakes ?" and up shot a dozen hands eager to please Ms Penny. I LOVE those sweet 6 and 7 year olds, they're so forgiving, so around I went handing out 'Messy cupcakes' with the teacher on my tail prettying them up with the Redi whip and Reagan adding a shower of sprinkles and all was well in the world again. So take it from me, if you want to frost something w/ Cool Whip and keep it looking pretty BUY A CAN and squirt those swirls, they won't let you down.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grandad's words

Growing up just down the street from my Grandparents meant spending many many hours with them. Some of my fondest memories are sweeping Grandad's garden path, watering the gardens by dunking the watering can into the water butt and filling it up with rain water, trimming his hedges with scissors, really anything that had to do with gardening. I vividly remember him shaking his head when he would see neighbors going crazy planting gardens in early spring and saying "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" He would just click his tongue and continue with his pottering and once again I am reminded of him and his ways and his sayings as we experience a crazy, crazy Spring here.
Last week it hit 80 degrees, it was warm and sunny, fingers were getting itchy and thoughts of fresh produce growing in the garden came to mind, the desire to run out and plant vegetable seeds and flowers was at the fore front of my mind, but I refrained, Grandad's words echoing around and around in my head and boy am I glad I did, look what we woke up to today. Yep, I think I'll heed Grandad's words and won't start planting "'Til May be out"

Friday, March 25, 2011

This is what happens...

 When I tell Reagan I want to take pictures of her new haircut. Love this girl, she cracks us up on a daily basis.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dress #2 and a thankyou

Many thanks to those of you who have both donated money and fabric. As of right now 14 little girls will blessed with new dresses.
If there are still some of you out there who would like to help then please either leave a comment here or send me an email.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In Like A Lion

We were awoken on this first full day of Spring to an early morning thunderstorm, doesn't get a whole lot more lion'esque' than that.
I used to think I was a Summer girl and don't get me wrong, I love the Summer, but I think that maybe, just maybe my favorite season is Spring afterall. After all the dark cold days of Winter we awaken one day to the sound of song birds once again, the cold bare branches on the trees start to come back to life with small green buds of leaves that will one day soon shade us from the hot summer sun. The dead grass suddenly springs back to life with it's hues of green, the sun shares it's presence with us for longer periods of time bringing with it a welcoming warmth and the promise that one day soon we can trade shoes and socks for flips flops and bare feet.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a hater of Winter, to sit inside and watch the quiet snowflakes fall, or to go for a brisk walk and come home to hot chocolate and marshmallows is wonderful too, but spring brings with it a feeling of renewal and promise and makes the heart a little lighter and happier.

Spring Pools by Robert Frost

                                     These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
                                     The total sky almost without defect,
                                     And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
                                     Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
                                     And yet not out by any brook or river,
                                     But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
                                     The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
                                     To darken nature and be summer woods --
                                      Let them think twice before they use their powers
                                      To blot out and drink up and sweep away
                                      These flowery waters and these watery flowers
                                      From snow that melted only yesterday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whole Wide World

I can't listen or watch this video without finding my eyes brimming with tears by the end of it. Maybe it's because I am a mom of 2 wonderful daughters who are getting ready to explore the world in ways only they can. Victoria is 19 and is looking at a life in the Marines, she's dedicated and more determined to do this than anything else she's  ever   set her sights on.
Reagan is 7 and wants to be a rockstar, a gymnast, an artist, a cook and a teacher. She's full of spunk and loves life like no other child I've known.
If you're a follower of NieNie you'll see some familiar people.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dress #1

If you have ever thought about making these pillowcase dresses but then shy away because it's dressmaking, don't do it again. These things are so easy to whip up. This dress took me a total of 30 mins and that included cutting it out. These can be made by the most novice of sewers, PROMISE.
This dress really is even, I just tied the shoulder a little off and so it's sitting wonky, hard to tie a shoulder strap when it's not actually on a shoulder.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dress A Girl Around The World Sewing Marathon

Are you like me and have lots of extra fabric sitting around your house filling up bins and taking up space waiting for that perfect project to come along ? Are you someone that doesn't sew but likes to get involved in projects that help others ? If so then this post is for you.   'Dress A Girl Around The World' is a campaign that distributes pillowcase dresses to girls all around the world. Click on the link and you can learn all about it.
This campaign has particularly touched my heart and maybe it's because I'm the mother of a dress loving 7 y/o. She loves to dress up and look pretty as do many of her friends and she is lucky that she is able to. There are thousands of other little girls around the world who will never get to experience the feel of something soft and pretty against their skin, they will never know what it's like to have a pretty dress made just for them and that hurts my heart. I know how I feel when I've being in grungy sweats all day and then I get to go and change into something pretty, my mood lightens, I feel better about myself and for whatever reason everything around me seems so much better, little girls no matter who or where they are deserve to feel the same way once in a while.

So won't you join me in this sewing marathon between now and March 31st in blessing these little girls ?

Here's how you can.

1) Spread the word, lets get as many people involved as humanly possible

2) Sew a dress and mail it to :   Rachel Eggum CinaderHope 4 Women International
                                                   P.O Box 74010
                                                   Phoenix, AZ 85087
3) You don't sew but still want to help ? No worries. You can mail me a new pillowcase or a yard of fabric, I'll sew it for you and mail it in in your name. I'll also take a pic of the finished product so you can see what you sent.
4) Don't live near a fabric store, live over seas or don't have time to shop for fabric and supplies ? Not a problem, you can PayPal me $10 and I'll buy the fabric and supplies, take a pic and mail it for you in your name.
5) Don't have a PayPal acct but want to donate ? I'll take cold hard cash or a personal check and do all of the above.
A couple of people have raised questions about religious materials being sent along with the dresses, that is entirely up to you. The organization themselves do not, I will not be sending any type of literature religious or otherwise, if you are wanting me to make the dress for you and want something added you will have to send that to me and I will be happy to add it for you.
In return for your generosity I am going to host a Giveaway.. A matching wristlet, key fob and sunglass case (Pictures coming later) All you have to do is enter a comment here committing to donate at least one dress, when you have sewn your dress I ask that you take a picture and send it to me, (I'll be doing a big post on April 4th showcasing all the dresses made and mailed, along with the winner of the giveaway) If you are donating, once your donation is made come back and comment and you'll be automatically entered into the drawing. The more dresses you donate the more entries you get. ( 1 entry per dress)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I knew it

Though there are times that Ben and Reagan fight like cats and dogs and you can hear Reagan yell loud and clear "Ben I hate you" and then see Ben run in the opposite direction after he's just done something to annoy the living daylights out of her... took her last piece of gum, shot her with a Nerf dart as she rounded the corner,  they have always had a really special relationship, it's so sweet and everything I imagined a relationship would be if I had an older brother (I was always so jealous of my friends who had big brothers)
Today they spent the morning up in his room together, Ben was cleaning, Reagan was sat on his bed keeping him company, talking his ear off, drawing and writing. She took a little break from him and came to show me what she had written for him, it was the sweetest list EVER of the top things she liked about her brother and because I think it's so sweet and need to have a way to always remember it I decided to post it and share it over here.

Things I like about Ben
1. Nice
3. Loving
4.Best brother
6.Fun to hang out with
7. Awesome
9.Lots of cool friends
10.Includes me when friends are over
12.Loves to be nice
16.Fun way annoying

Sweet huh ? :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Finding Balance

Yes, it's been over a month since my last blog post, so much for my good intentions of blogging daily or at least bi daily, ah well C'est La Vie.

This week I have come to the huge breakthrough realisation that what I lack the most of in my life is balance and what I deal with the most is perfectionism. If I were to tell my husband that I'm a perfectionist he would most likely laugh his butt off, but no I am a perfectionist and my perfectionism has paralysed me and in short I've lost balance to my life.

Perfect examples.. I now not only sew and sell in my Etsy store I also sell to a boutique. I had a crazy busy holiday season with my Etsy store (very good thing) but the B&M (Bricks and mortar) store was also busy, both shops were left almost empty so I had to work my butt off to fill them both again. My priority was my etsy shop, Etsy doesn't rely on foot traffic, the B&M store is outside in a quaint shopping area  that's not very heavily populated in the cold Winter months. So for almost a solid week I frantically stitched, took pics and listed  for my shop, during that time the house started to look a little neglected, but I managed and managed pretty well as long as I ignored the upstairs of my house, I also started preparing for things in the B&M store, ordering supplies, picking out fabrics etc. Then my dishwasher broke down and one day while washing dishes a glass broke and sliced open my right thumb right on the joint, it required 4 stitches. Suddenly I was out of commission, orders for my etsy were pouring in, I was well stocked in that arena and it felt great, but then I got a call from the owner of the B&M store, the weather was getting warmer, people were venturing out again, though I'd had a great month there things were going to rapidly go down hill if I didn't send her some more inventory. She in particular needed more key fobs, I had the supplies and had had them for a while I had just put off making them because I was too focused on my etsy and now here I was unable to make them because I needed my right thumb in order to do the fabric folding while making them.
The week after my stitches came out I did nothing but cut, iron and sew fabric making oven mitt sets, key fobs, zippered pouches, kitchen towels and clothespin bags, during that time guess what ? My Etsy sales slowed down because I was lower on inventory and I hadn't spent any time on that shop, my house became cluttered and dirty, laundry piled up, dinners went from delicious and nutritious well balanced meals to mac and cheese, burgers, hot dogs and the only vegetable served was French Fries. At the end of the week and once everything was boxed up and sent off I just sat and took inventory of what had just happened. I was totally burnt out. I looked around me and nothing was pleasing and yet I'd spent the last week looking at and making gorgeous items that people were going to purchase and those items were things to make people happy and here I was the creator of those things feeling anything but gorgeous and happy.
I gave myself a full day to really take stock of my feelings and regroup and it's within that time I realised that lack of balance and too much perfectionism were what had got me into that mess. I'm all or nothing. When I'm sewing I spend a full week sewing just for Etsy or the B&M store, when I'm cleaning house I'm not just doing one room at a time I'm doing the whole house. If I can't fill up my Etsy or the B&M shop I freeze and wait until I can take a full week to do so, if I can't clean my whole house in one day then I don't clean any of it. If I want to make a gift for someone I have to make sure I can get it all done in one day or I'm stressing that it won't get done, the other week my youngest needed jeans and sneakers, I waited until Saturday (even though we go near stores every day that sell those items) because I knew I had nothing else planned for that day so we could hit every single store if we had to (which incidentally we did).  By the end of that day we were exhausted, it was an enjoyable day but it would have been even more enjoyable had we checked out a couple of stores during the week while we were driving by so we didn't have to go every single store that day, we'd have already known they didn't have what we wanted.

So this week I have practiced being less of a perfectionist and bringing a better balance to my day and here's what's happened. I have added something new to my shop every day, I sent off another box of stuff to the B&M store (it was just a small box, but it's excess inventory for her to put out instead of calling me in a panic that stock is low) I made a dress for my niece (enter back sewing just because and not to pay the bills) baked bread from scratch, made jello cups for after school snacks, have cooked a well balanced dinner every night, laundry is caught up ( though not all of it is put away) the house is picked up, some rooms have only had the vacuum run over them, others have been vacuumed and dusted, others have been vacuumed, dusted, polished and windows cleaned. all the bathrooms are clean.
Gone are the days (I hope) of not washing clothes because I know I don't have time to fold and put them all away later, not cleaning house today because I can't get the whole thing done, or I'm not going to vacuum the living room because I don't have time to dust and polish too.
No more not sewing that cute dress or cool shirt because I don't have time to do it tonight.

And the reason I haven't been blogging ? Because I haven't been able to sit down and complete a full blog post in one sitting or I don't have pictures to go with it, oh and I don't like my blog background so I can't blog until I have a new blog look.... it's not going to be perfect so I just won't do it.

So goodbye perfectionism, it's going to be hard to let you go, but oh, it's going to feel so liberating and welcome balance my new found friend, I hope we have a long and happy friendship

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