Welcome to my blog!

As a mother of 5, I have seen my share of parenting challenges and successes. Now I would like to share them with you!

Feel free to reach out to me or comment on my posts anytime, I will try to answer ASAP.

And now for my first post, hope you enjoy!

If you are new to my site, I would like to thanks American Craftsmen LLC and Sama Services for setting up my new studio!

i feel like a broken record

but i’m so busy.



with little things.

teaching music 2 mornings a week at miss james’s preschool.

thinking about working 5 mornings a week teaching music elsewhere.


cleaning (well, making sure we aren’t total slobs, but i wouldn’t call it cleaning)

gardening (tomatoes and peaches soon!)

making sure my children don’t starve.

volunteering in school.

writing the elementary school pto newsletter.

the list goes on…

and it’s only going to get worse if i do take that job. at least i get to find a cleaning crew if i do go back to work. there’s also hope that the position can grow, but i’m not really counting on it yet.


and i want to sew more for myself. i made the wiksten dress, but have a ton of other things i’d like to make including a maxi dress, maxi skirt the binding on my first king-sized quilt and ukulele bag.

i just have to figure out where i can fit it all in. at night on the couch, like right now? the last thing i want to do is write. i want to veg out. watch tv, fart around.

i don’t know how other bloggers who sew a ton find the time to photograph and post their tutorials. and clean the house, and feed the children, and and and…

and nothing. i’m just busy. with little motivation to change what’s going on at present. someday, i hope to carry on here with more posts. until then, i’ll pop in when i can. i actually have something in the works for this week after i go get micro-derma-peela-brasion or whatever it’s called. and if i put that out there, i have to update you, right?

peace, dudes. until tomorrowish.

holy hell, he’s 6

my boy is 6 today and it’s been a month since i’ve posted and it’s a saturday, so no one will see this and i’m busy and i’m lazy and and and

i have few words for how blown away i am by my little bug this last year. i’ve had few words here lately.

i find myself busy and with little time to write, much less get the things done at home that i want to do.

but i do have time to love on my babies and revel in their glories.

his are varied and great.

he’s reading at a 4th grade level.

he’s unafraid.

on the rocks

he’s particularly clever about words and language, coming up with a metaphor project wherein he makes a cd of songs with metaphors (THAT HE FINDS. ON HIS OWN.) blows me away. (i can’t help but brag. this blows me away in a kindergartener. i’ll write more later as there are added pieces too this project that will happen in may.)

he bursts with self confidence, wearing uggs with aplomb, shrugging off nay-sayers when they say only girls wear the fuzzy, stinky, toasty boots.


he continues to love building with legos and coming up with his own designs and games.

he is so sugar-sweet.

a flower for mama

he’s sensitive as a splinter of glass in your foot.

he trusts in everyone, so wholly, that he sometimes gets stung.

sweet boy

he can make friends anywhere, with anyone.

his joy is contagious.


he can goof around with the best of them.

he loves his sisters so much.

(and their words about how awesome he is:)

-he did the litterbox this morning without anyone asking him to. on his birthday. ~jilly (litterbox isn’t his job and when he did it, he told me he took a risk in trying it even though it’s not his job and no one even told him how. my heart burst.)

-he’s smart for a kindergartener. he’s creative. ~scout

-he’s poetic. ~jilly

-i love that he plays a game with me every day. that’s cool.” ~miss james

most of all, i’m still so struck by his ability to love so fully that he still glows when i walk in the room. he risks getting chastised by the teacher when he sees me, just to sneak a hug, or a touch, or a full-mouth kiss. he runs across the playground, dropping whatever he’s doing, just to snag some more mama time. his classmates feed off of that and give me love, too. they share hugs and glances when they see me outside of class. his joy exudes from his pores and they love to see it from him. they point me out to him because they know how much there is there between us. he’s that spectacular.


when asked what he thought were the best things about him, he said:

“that i’m 6. my name. that i have lots of legos. that i love my mommy and daddy. that i love my life.”

i love his life, too. been glad to have him for 6 years now & hope i get 106 more.

happy birthday, mr. bug.

sew & tell: the wiksten dress

so amy inspired me to start and more importantly finish the wiksten dress i bought a few weeks ago.

i’ve seen a lot of people make these in the last month or so & it is a fantastic pattern.

i cut into some of my vintage fabric on monday. i wanted to start with something i loved, but didn’t spend more than a couple of bucks on for my first go-around.

by wednesday, i was here:

beginnings of the wiksten dress

and just in time to wear it for preschool drop off this morning:

how i wore my new dress today
purple boots chosen by miss james.

you can see that i changed my mind about how i was going to make it on wednesday. i originally cut the top as long as the pattern & added the orange print to lengthen it. while i really like that length, i didn’t like how the piecing was at my hips. i got out my trusty seam ripper & moved the skirt up to the waist. i like a belted dress, so i slapped on a mustard woven belt from anthro.

i love this pattern & will be making more as shirts and more dresses. i’ve never done french seams before & they are superb. i’ve heard of some neck-gaping & it does gape just a bit in the back.

although it does gape at the back

nothing i can’t fix if i decide to do it. i also had no fun with the curved hem. i should look up how to fix that.

until then, link up here for sew & tell friday. thanks, amy!

where’s waldo?

my ragnar del sol 2012 experience has now been over for 24 hours, and it was an adventure, yet again, with unforeseeable twists and turns. my shoulders are sunburned, my abs ache, my quads are killing me, but i’m still looking forward to my next ragnar relay. and i don’t want to wait another year!

if you aren’t familiar with ragnar, it’s an overnight relay with 12 people to a team, split between 2 vans. we started an hour and a half northwest of phoenix, leapfrogged each other around the north side of the valley and ended up 200.5 miles later in tempe. every member runs 3 legs, and we get e little bit of rest in between.

i was supposed to run 6.7 miles, 6.7 miles and 4.8 miles.

BUT (there’s always a but)

we got a text at 4:40 am friday morning that one of our runners wasn’t coming. (cue the googly eyes)

and i couldn’t find one of the costumes, so my van had to come and pick me up. good thing, too, since i found the costume in my clean laundry pile (don’t ask, i don’t know the answer.)

at least i didn’t have strep throat, right? that was not fun.

we headed out to wickenburg for the start and, just like last year, i didn’t know anyone in my van. by the end of the race, that never matters, though. we bonded over the race and the fact that we had to figure out how to split up all those extra miles. and fretting over whether or not gordy would make it to his friend’s wedding at 10am on saturday. he was runner 1 and hoped to be done in time to have a buddy pick him up and take him to the hitchin’.

my first leg was 6.7 miles and i ended up running in the middle of the day. it was 80º and H.O.T. HOT. i usually run a 9:30 mile, but had to walk a lot so i wouldn’t overheat. i could feel my body starting to shut down and know i would have, if i hadn’t listened and taken it easy. a couple of other teams stopped and poured water on me, which was a huge help and my van stopped twice for me. i felt bad about slowing the team down, but knew they would rather have a slow teammate than another 3 legs to split between them because i dropped out.

an hour and 12 minutes after i headed out, i tagged aaron in for the first one we were splitting from our delinquent runner. halfway in, he said he needed relief. scott came in and finished the last 2 miles. aaron stopping at 2 miles was testament to just how hot it was out there. he ran 9 miles on saturday morning and said the 2 miles in the heat was worse.

where's Waldo?
(both vans, at the first exchange. missing scott, who was running)

after some food, that i forced myself to eat, we ended up at the next van exchange. van 2 was running & we just had to wait for them. it was loud at the exchange and there was music. through the beauty of social media, i asked ragnar when it was shutting down and they were kind enough to do just that about 7pm. i caught about an hour of sleep before we started hearing that van 2 was getting closer.

we started back out at about 10:30pm and i slept a bit more, hydrated, and ate enough that i wouldn’t fall over. my second leg was also 6.7 miles, but i was running at 3am. the lack of sun was glorious. i was pumped to make up some time, but remembered i had a 6 mile uphill climb. add to that a heavy headwind, and my time was exactly the same as it was for my earlier run/walk. i didn’t, however have to walk at all, so that was good. i felt better about it and didn’t feel my body shutting down at all. this leg happened to be a no van support leg, which meant that my team couldn’t stop and give me water or make sure i was ok. i had my phone on me, though, so i sent them a few texts to let them know i was feeling good.

i had about 40 minutes to rest this time, instead of 6 hours, since i was going to pick up a couple of miles from the drop out. i still felt good and this last leg was flat, so i booked it in at 8 minute miles. my van wasn’t even there yet, since they never expected me to run that fast. frankly, i didn’t either, but i was pumped and feeling it.

we drove to the next van exchange, all took naps, gordy ran his last 2 miles, we got him to a drop off spot, looking like waldo and he made it to the wedding on time.

my last run was 4.8 miles, northeast of the valley. i was the bringing us back down south. it was hot again, i had hills to climb, i had no van support, and no water station. was i elated to see a table with the ragnar symbol halfway in. a surprise water station is a beautiful thing, but not as beautiful as this:

1 mile to go
(a thing of beauty)

when you see that sign on any leg it’s a great feeling. when you see it after running 19.5 miles in under 24 hours, it feels amazing.

i hustled in to hand off to aaron’s girlfriend, who came in to save the day and run our last missing-runner leg. not having to split up that last 6 miles was a game-changer for us. there’s no way we could have done it without her.

after her run, we dropped her off at her car & headed to in-n-out burger to scarf down some calories. i’d burned through over a days worth and hadn’t eaten enough to keep me moving. we cleaned out the van, headed to the finish line & ran in the last few hundred yards with andi. gordy even came back between the wedding and reception to finish with us!

full team shot at the finish. #ragnardelsol @ragnarrelay
(full team)

i had a blast, i can’t believe it’s over, and i wish i could run the socal race in april. if i could only run one race a year, this would be it. hands down. ragnar is a very well put together race and is a ton of fun.

where i’m from

i'm so chic

i am from green and yellow striped linoleum floor, from hostess ding dongs wrapped in aluminum foil and sharp’s food.

i am from a 1970s colonial with a double front door facade and knobs in the middle. climbing on the roof to steal away for an illicit smoke. let it roll, baby, roll.

i am from the dogwood, unceremoniously chopped down and replaced with a planter, the delicious mimosa that scents the summer air.

i am from sunday dinner followed by a snooze and big, bright eyes, from lola belle and marsh and justice.

i am from the frugal penny pinchers and invisible money trees.

from the land of yes and winning one for the gipper.

i am from the baptists of the south. the choir loft where any god there may be knew my heart and doubts.

i’m from the fertile soil of southern illinois, where grandad grew prize-winning watermelons and sweet corn on the cob while we baited our hooks.

from the glass eye and the b.b. gun, the ribbon dresses, and a life in france.

i am from the moldy, fire-tinged photos found in the basement on viola, pored over and hugged by manila, hoping i can squeeze the stories out of the last one who knows their tale. links to the past, uncovered by my eye, as seen through the lens of 84 years. where my baby’s smiles are found in her great great great grandma’s from long, long ago. where precious memories flood my soul with the sight of brown boxes and report cards and swimming ribbons, still missing that 5th grade school photo.

*seen many places, but schmutzie was the first person who unearthed the origins for me. template found here.

sometimes i lose my cool, so i bring in the sillies.

while i’m quite an even-tempered gal, i, of course, have my moments. moments when i lose my cool. like today. i had just cleaned up 6 eggs that miss james dropped to the floor, only to have a glass of kool-aid spilled by the boy. the mess of 6 eggs (my precious backyard chicken eggs!) and the cherry-flavored stain spreading across the table got me & i snapped.

well, snapped isn’t the word, really.


as soon as i started in, i could see jilly recoil a bit & knew i had to chill. so i followed up my high decibel yell with one of these:

they all immediately laughed and being goofy helped take the tension out of the situation. i was fed up with the messes. plain and simple. 2 big messes put this mommy over the edge and i had to bring in a little levity to make sure the kids knew while i was still quite upset that they make such messes, i didn’t love them any less and that sometimes mommy gets loud.

the 4th, in photos

red, white & blue

crab legs




a boy & his lizard

lizard on a tree

lookin' up

My creation

louie’s quilt, and the story it tells

deb, at whipstitch fabrics is moving this week.

with 4 kids.

all while still running a successful fabric and sewing empire.

sounds familiar, except for the empire part, and i don’t envy her and michael a bit, as we’ve done this twice with our 4 kiddos in the last 2 years, including a cross-country move while the 3 older kids had mono. i hope to stay put for awhile.

anyhoo, a few weeks ago she blogged about an heirloom quilt from her grandmother and asked if anyone had any quilts with stories to tell. i threw my hat in the ring before i truly knew this story, but knew i had a special quilt anyway since it is so very gorgeous. she’s had two guest posts so far and i’m up next! go on over to read the other stories.

louie's quilt

my grandma betty, otherwise known as maw maw betty, gave me this quilt, but i can’t be certain if i got it before we got married or after. i do know that it’s been mine for 10 years or more and that my great great grandma, louie b. davis made it. it is, of course, a beautiful double wedding ring pattern that showcases a variety of vintage fabrics, but i didn’t know any more. a call to grandma betty was essential in finding out the origins of my beauty.

louie was diagnosed with breast cancer when grandma betty was 4 or 5. this would have been in the early 1930s, in the beginning years of the great depression. the davises lived in southern illinois and were not a well-to-do family to begin with. they had to travel (by today’s traveling clock) 5 hours to peoria, il, to get treatment. in those days, the treatment for breast cancer was simply a mastectomy, but louis was a large-breasted woman and it wasn’t that easy for her. she had to go in for numerous treatments where her doctor would remove just portions of her breast, one layer at a time, and smother her in salve.*

during and after the treatment, louie would wear simple, shapeless house dresses, made of cotton with nothing more than a muslin slip and underpants. grandma betty remembers the dresses well, as she was in to everything. she said she could tell you where anything was in the house, she was so nosy. when those dresses would wear out, louie would use them in her sewing like so many others did and like i still do.

marsh & louie, framed
just to the right of the photograph, you can see 2 sections of blue and white striped material. that’s the dress she’s wearing in the photo. my mind was officially blown when i noticed. it’s wild to think someone i never met, whose life and blood course through me, is tied to me with this simple frock-turned-quilt and our love of creating with needle and thread.

i assumed the bits were feed sacks or clothing scraps, but i had no idea there was such a tale to tell from the warp and weft. these dresses enveloped her as she slowly died for 14 years of cancer that multiplied and never gave up on her. and here these dresses lie, in pieces on a chair in arizona, too fragile to use as they were meant, but far too precious to keep hidden in my cedar chest where they do nothing more than soak in that vintage woody smell.

grandma betty was one of louie’s primary caregivers in the last few months of her life, in the year she married my grandpa. 35 years later she would keep stead at his bedside watching as cancer ravaged his body as well. i like to think louie had this quilt on her lap as a comfort to her. if i ever need the love of my family in dire times, i might just give it a good soak and use it in the exact way great great grandma louie intended. until then, i’ll pack it away and dream of a way to clean the stains without shredding the story.

quilting detail
(hand-quilting detail, where you can see a bit of thread popping out of the solid pink backing.)

*grandma said louie kept those slices of breast tissue in formaldehyde in her closet and after she died, they went to her aunt ruby’s. could you imagine rifling through grandma’s to find boobs in a jar?!?.

how ’bout that half marathon?

so i never did tell anyone how the half marathon went and if i even did it.

i did. and it was great.

of course, my right hip is now telling me it wasn’t soooooo great, but i went to vegas to run a half and i did just that.

functionally weak hips ftw!

highlights of the 36 hours i was in vegas include:

-flying in since the bestie ended up not being able to run (she has now changed her flight to the twins’ birthday weekend with her rosie poe!)
-sitting next to a guy on the plane who was on his way to vegas to get his costume sized for the cirque du soleil show ‘O.’ starting in january, he’ll be the high diver and russian swinger.
-hanging out with jenna, jon & the kids
-all-you-can-eat sushi for carbo-loading on saturday
-cher singing the national anthem. well, part of it, anyway. she couldn’t hear the music and kept asking the sound guy to start it over. he didn’t, so she came in half-way through. i thought it was pretty funny.
-running the entire race. no walking!
-time of 2:07, which i was pretty excited about.
-the second place woman in the marathon was barfing down her front as she crossed the finish line. (gross.)
-checking out red rock after the race. it is seriously beautiful out there.
-flying home instead of driving
-seeing my family when i got home

i made my goals in the race (not walking and making my $1900)

to make it sweeter, i won rebecca’s final good wear days giveaway of $100 to the charity of my choice. i asked her to donate to ccfa.

the outfit i posted
dress: estate sale
boots: nine west
belt: anthro
jacket: gift from my mom

interestingly, this makes my legs look really short. i’ll have to work on that look, but i will start wearing this dress with regularity, as it’s too damn cute.

off to make a quilt for miss james! have a fabulous weekend!

brain dump

-i’m sooooo close to finishing my brand-spanking new baby nephew’s quilt. only 11 more wavy lines to quilt, then on to binding. i love the design of this one and will show it off later. it’s simple. lovely. and i used some erin michael lush that i won from nettie last spring.

-i need to figure out a name for the new nephew. i love his name & would love to share it, but i won’t. i may call him w2 since his initials are w.w.

-i sent neil a video for his fifth annual blogger christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah online holiday concert! the three big kids did a lovely chanukah number with me. go check out the whole show! i have no idea why, but i’ve uploaded my video to youtube twice and it’s not showing up, so here is the file.


-i’m having laser hair removal done this afternoon. for a person who doesn’t have much noticeable hair on my legs and rarely shaves, i got the short end when it came to facial hair. i haven’t been able to wax for three weeks and i have a full-on moustache. ben even noticed it this weekend and i could really see it in my video for neil. i got a groupon deal for 6 sessions at $99. 94% savings when the full price is $1700. i’ll let you know what i think after i’m done.

-baby girl spent 10 minutes putting on 4 shirts and 3 pair of pants yesterday. she’ like a full-grown woman (me) with her outfit changes. big difference, though: one of us doesn’t throw a tantrum and scream about how her clothes are “too fits!” she ended up going to pick up her brother in leggings only. good thing it was 80 degrees, right?

-speaking of the littlest short one, i have to put her quilt together.

-and we’re getting 2 cats.

-if we can find some we like.

-i forgot to put a diaper on the baby (okay, 2 year old) last night & she woke up at 7:41 am. i’m amazed she didn’t wake sooner since she was a tidge wet, but i’ll take it.

– winter concert at the boy’s preschool, where i am the music teacher, starts in an hour and 13 minutes, so i should go.

scrappy headband tutorial

are you in need of a last-minute gift for a girl (or a boy who likes headbands,) young or old? something that won’t cost a lot, but looks as cute as the button you sew in the middle of it? well, you need a scrappy headband!!

headband tutorial
(no button on this one yet, and i love how the babe accessorized with 6 other headbands!)

i made the scrappy flower as a barrette last april when we had pictures taken, but my sister asked me to make headbands for her girls for christmas. i found some stretchy headbands on sale at target and saved them for this project.

here’s what you need:

headband tutorial - ingredients
a pile of scraps, a self-tattooed helper, buttons, headbands.

you’ll also need felt scraps (not pictured,) needle and thread (also not pictured,) iron (again, not pictured,) and hot glue gun (aaaannnnnddd not pictured.)

plug in and turn on your iron and hot glue gun.

first, pick out your scraps. anything goes, just pick a combo you like.

then, start cutting all of your scraps to the same width. i’ve done 2.5″, but did 2.25″ for this one. you can play around with your width all you like.

headband tutorial

once you have enough scraps, sew them together, end to end.

headband tutorial

i always iron my seams. i did these to one side, since i don’t need to worry about any seams matching or measurements. when i piece quilts, i always iron open.

headband tutorial

you should have a long strip of scraps now.

headband tutorial
(mine was about 20 inches long)

fold over one edge,

headband tutorial

insert your threaded string from the back of that hem,

headband tutorial

and start a basting stitch along one edge of your scrappy strip.

headband tutorial
(i didn’t get a good picture of this. i apologize)

once you’ve basted one side, pull the thread so you create a spiral bringing in whichever end you want in the middle on top.

headband tutorial

here’s another place where you can get creative and do what you like. sew the flower layers together to secure the shape. i folded the inside edge over to create some layers and then stitched the flower together in about 5 spots so it would hold its shape.

headband tutorial

i ended up bringing in some of the other edges to create the look of a bow on this one.

(i didn’t get pictures here, but you just pick and choose where you want some dimension and grab those edges in a stitch. i also didn’t get a picture of button sewing or attaching it to the headband. {great tutorial, jenny})

headband tutorial

once you’ve finished your flower, sew the button to the middle with the same thread so you cover any messy stuff in the middle and attach it to the stretchy headband, again, with the same thread, in a few places. i sewed it over the elastic seam and tacked it down in 8 spots to keep it really secure.

using any old scrap of felt, cut a circle, square, oval, squoval, rectangle, or whatever other shape you feel like.

headband tutorial

grab your hot glue gun and glue the felt under the flower, covering the elastic and all the stitches on the inside of the headband. this will cover any ugly stuff and make that part of the headband soft so it doesn’t bother any pretty little heads.

and voila!

you’re done!

headband tutorial
(now imagine this on my 2 or 5 year old niece. perfect, right?)

i’m sure this tutorial could use some more love, but it’s the first one i’ve ever done and i have to go make more presents! and feed the kids! and fold laundry! and do the dishes! and buy our yearly hallmark ornaments! and put the lights outside! and…and…!

you get the point, right?


show me if you made one. it was easy peasy and truly takes about 10-15 minutes and uses up bits and bobs that might not otherwise have a purpose. and feel free to give me some tips about tutorial writing! but be nice. ;)

november 30

and tomorrow begins the craziest month for me.

i have to buy polarized sunglasses for my race since i lost mine at the beach in october. i have some things to pick up while i’m at the mall, too. i really don’t like to go there all that often, but when i do, i like to hit up all the things i might need in the foreseeable future. i want to see if i can find some boots for the baby as a gift from my mom & dad. i’d love some crocs sugar boots, but can’t find them anywhere.

and some other small gifts. the kids get lush bubble bars every year as stocking stuffers (ruby red slippers is a winner.) i’ll hit them up, too. and who can resist a run through anthropologie?

this weekend i have to figure out how i am getting to las vegas. my best friend wrenched her back and isn’t running, so we thought it was better if she didn’t come. she’ll bring her daughter (who is the same age as the twins) in february for their birthday. we had planned on driving the almost 6 hours together, but i’m not sure i want to drive by myself. not sure i have much of a choice since a plane ticket is $300, but i’m tempted to go for the plane ride so i don’t have to drive 12 hours alone in 2 days time.

my birthday is in 9 days.

and i have all those presents to make. and while i’m tempted to buy stuff, i don’t want to spend the money. i have almost everything i need for presents already, so it makes sense to suck it up and sew, sew, sew.

and life won’t stop after that, either. i have 9 birthdays between now and march 3. all family. cousins, sisters, and my own kids, including the birth of my brother’s first baby.

off to finish glee.

and think about how i’m going to do it all. i’ll manage, but it’ll take a lot of work.

posts will be slower as i lock up nablopomo and work on life.