Monday, September 12, 2011

so here's the plan.

Amy's Sure-Fire Go Nuts in 4 Easy Steps Fall Plan

-Enroll children in two different schools 30 minutes apart. *check*

-Volunteer at school.  Temporarily lose mind and agree to coach a math strategy club.  (This from a musician that only counts to 8.) *check*

-Connect with some amazing musicians and get asked to join them in some cool gigs.  Rehearse a lot. A lot a lot.  Go on a 10-day international tour.  Pinch self.  No I'm not dreaming, it really is that freaking cool. *check*

-Find one of the most challenging breeds of dog to own and get a puppy version. *check*

*     *     *     *     *

Unfortunately, this fall's plan does not include a sewing business.  In fact, I will be touring during the holiday craft show season, and what I would normally use as sewing time will now be spent rehearsing.

I think if I can get some stuff made, I will re-open the etsy shop in time for Christmas shopping.  But for now, I shall craft as a stress-relieving outlet only.  This seemed to be the most logical area of life in which to cut back.

Not gonna lie, it was a hard decision.  I've put a lot into building HoopDeeDoo The Business over the last two years, and it was a fantastic outlet for my creativity and a haven during the stress of my dad's illness.  But sometimes we have to cut back on The Good in order to keep The Best.

That sounds deceptively mature of me.

Half of me wants to throw a big toddler-style tantrum about it, blame the puppy for taking up all of my free time, and eat my way through a bag of chocolate chips.  I guess that probably wouldn't help anything, and I'd gain back the 8 pounds I've lost this year.

But the other half of me is doing a super mega happy dance!  I'm so thankful!  I may not get another opportunity like this in my life.  Also, my family is sacrificing a lot so I can say yes to the musical stuff.   And they most certainly are The Best and must be given My Best and not My Leftovers.  

Fabric can wait.

(I do have some knitting planned for all of that down time during rehearsals, though!)

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

AWOL - good for what ails ya

yup. I went AWOL over the summer. Sometimes, when life gets overwhelming, I just check out of something without notice. I highly recommend it for every overachiever. Totally reduces the stress-load.

This time blogging won the toss-up. So did my etsy shop (which is still on vacation). The time away gave me a chance to consider with a clearer head what my goals for the coming year are. More on that another time.

So, what was going on, you ask?

1. End of the school year. That's always a busy time, but fun.

2. Not fun. Said goodbye to my sweetheart golden retriever, Baylor. She had cancer and we had to put her to sleep the day after my birthday. I was absolutely heartbroken. I loved this dog so much. She was my first baby. She kissed away my tears after three miscarriages and all of the drama with my dad's illness and so much more. I'll miss her forever.

3. Family trip to Colorado to honor my dad. Stayed at a dude ranch, took a very challenging trail ride with my husband and brother and lived to tell the tale (barely, and I am NOT exaggerating).

4. Helped my mom move out of my childhood home and into a new house and life here in Texas. She is busy, happy, meeting new people, and laughing again like the mom I grew up with. Soooooo good for my heart!

5. We didn't make it long without a dog. Meet Brisco, my 9-week old fuzzy bundle of joy. We've had
him for three days. I'm a little sleep deprived.


6. I also spent loads of fun, special time with my kiddos. Nothing exciting, just being together. I feel like I am finally a whole mom to them. I had half of my brain working the situation with my parents for all of these kids' childhood until the past year. They seemed to have turned out fine, but I am certainly enjoying them more fully now and am so grateful for each little moment.

So ya see, blogging just wasn't that high up on my agenda. I bet you managed just fine without me, blogosphere. ;)

P.S. Still not done with those tops I have been knitting for me and the girls. *sigh*

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

{tip Tuesday}: the sewing tool that's not a sewing tool

Have you ever seen one of these?

cleaning rod

It's not really a sewing tool. It's for cleaning out a musical instrument, namely a flute. Like so:

cleaning rod

Naturally, I had this thing already hanging around, because I use it to clean my flute.  Indispensable.

As a sewing tool, though, it's a luxury I no longer can live without. I abhor using a safety pin to thread something through a casing. Ugh! Takes forever. This takes a few seconds.

Also handy for threading a camera strap through a cover. :)

cleaning rod

Your local music store will stock a metal cleaning rod for a few bucks, or a wooden one like mine for a few more. Metal rods are skinnier. Find one online here.

Trust me on this one. You'll wonder how you lived without it, especially if you make a lot of elastic waistbands or aprons with really long casings!!

linked up:

Tip Junkie handmade projects
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Friday, May 20, 2011

{fave friday}: limes

Limes.  I am in love with limes.  Not lime flavoring, that I can't stand.  Actual, real, fresh, juicy, tart limes.  Summertime in a cute little green package.  The ubiquitous summer fruit.

In my water.


On a tree in my backyard.  (the cutest, tiniest limes you've ever seen!)

lime tree

I didn't consider iced tea to be drinkable until I discovered the magic potion that is a Sonic large unsweet tea with EXTRA lime.  Maybe one packet of truvia, maybe not.

iced tea

In a Corona.  And in some guac, of course.


Best margarita in the world, made by my hubby.


Tex-mex just isn't quite right without a squeeze.

tex mex

Can't live without 'em!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a new look!

Hooray!  The blog finally has a new look, designed by someone who knows what they are doing!!

...the fabulous Jeannette from Crafty Hippo Designs!

Jeannette is fabulous not only because her name is Jeannette, which is my middle name with an extra "N", but also because she is so easy to work with.

We met on Twitter via the Ultimate Blog Party, which has been a fabulous opportunity to connect with other bloggers and crafters. 

I was going for something pretty and practical, which should come as no surprise.  That's my motto.

I really wanted something simple that wouldn't compete with pictures and stuff in the sidebars.  It seems that I am so easily visually overwhelmed these days when I read blogs that are full of blinkies and videos and swirlies and flourishes and doodads, so much so that I can't concentrate on the posts.  Didn't want that to happen on my own blog!
Do you like the font choice?  That would be "Socially Awkward" from, where you can find a staggering amount of free scrapbook fonts.  I think the name is quite appropriate, of course...

In other news, I have been super focused on family stuff the last few weeks, as we wrap up school, and as I am helping my mom hunt for a house.  I like to blog, and I like to craft, but social media is absolutely the first thing to take a backseat to family stuff, and the blog was being renovated anyways.  Looking forward to summer and all of the downtime!
And, I have updated the Etsy shop lately with a few things I really like and am not entirely sure I want to sell, but what the heck:

kindle cover

I lurrrrrrve this Kindle cover.  I almost kept it for myself...It was upcycled from a sweater the girls had that they just loved.  The sweater got a big, unfixable, frogging hole in the front.  (Frogging is actually a knitting term, seriously!!  You know, when you're ripping something out - rip it, rip it - it's so corny you know I didn't make this one up!) 

I may keep if for myself if it does not sell, but somehow I think it will.  Just too cute.

camera strap cover

This camera strap cover has the happiest summery colors. I could spend all day playing in these fabrics.  These were all from a big Lily Bella Fabrics scrap bag, which is almost better than chocolate, and certainly lower calorie.  An hour in that scrap bag will cure what ails ya, believe me.

So...what do you think of the new blog look?
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

summer is coming...moms, are you ready?

Hey, friends!  The days are flying by, aren't they?  I have been trying so hard to get things done around here, because it is only a few weeks until school is out!

16 more days of kindergarten.

6 more days of preschool.


The summer looms before me...what on earth am I going to do to keep my excessively bright, creative, and energetic children engaged all summer?

Sure, we've got camps scheduled, a family vacation, Backyard Bible Clubs, and there's always the pool.

But it's those days here and there when you hear...


Now, my mom's favorite answer to this problem was to hand my brother and me a mop or a toilet brush, once we were old enough to use them properly.  Oh, I firmly believe in lots of chores, yes I do.  But my kids are merely 6 and 4, so there are only so many chores they can be expected to do.

A couple of years ago, I started doing themed weeks or days during the summer.  For example, "Princess Day" required costumes, pink pancakes (made with beets instead of food coloring, of course), and we used royal titles for each other all day long.  (I really liked being called "Queen Mother.")

This year, I've got an awesome idea in my "Summer Box," thanks again to my mom, the Retired Teacher Extraordinaire.


(I don't have any pictures of us actually doing the activities yet, because I am keeping it a surprise from the kids for now.)

We've got bones!! These are those very cool wooden dino skeleton puzzles. I'm gonna hide them in the sandbox and have the kids dig them up and attempt to put them back together.  Some of these are incomplete skeletons, which actually makes it more realistic when you think about it.   


Activity books - how to draw, word search, etc.  I also expect that my girls will need to make dinosaur models out of pipe cleaners, their current favorite sculpture medium.

My 6 year old probably knows all of these guys by sight already, but maybe these flash cards will help me keep up with her.


Let's not forget a bunch of random fossil pictures, labels, etc.  Perhaps we will use the labels to organize our drawings, or create "learning centers."

So, if you are wondering what to do with your kids this summer, send them to my house for Dino Week, or hit up your favorite retired teacher for some cool stuff.  And check out the Save Our Summer series on the Brassy Apple blog, one of my favorite bloggy haunts - just click this big button!

Do you have any theme ideas to share? 

P.S. a new look for the blog is on the way, keep your eyes peeled!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

{tip Tuesday} : flower headbands

I love all of the cute flower headbands for little girls these days, and my girls look great in them.

But headbands are notoriously cheapo. And little girls are not always gentle.

"mommy! I broke my headband!" (weeping and gnashing of teeth)

"not again!!! I just paid x dollars for that!!" (weeping and gnashing of teeth)

Here's my solution:

The flowers slide on and off! I made these flowers myself (see tutorial here) and added a small tube to the underside. Presto!

"mommy! I broke my headband!" (weeping and gnashing of teeth)

"no problem, honey!" (supermom grabs new headband from stash, slides flowers on it, and tosses the busted one)

Incidentally, the hem of an old t-shirt just happens to be the perfect size for these 1/2" wide headbands...

Another bonus is that this makes the flowers interchangeable, repositionable, etc. Let me know if you try it!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

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Friday, April 15, 2011

she thinks she's crafty...and she's right!

Happy Friday!  I just wanted to brag a little on my friend Beckymae.

She's in the running over at So You Think You're Crafty, where 10 crafters duke it out over 10 weeks to see who comes out on top!

If you aren't following this competition, you really should.  Vote here for your favorite projects! 
This week's theme is Knock Offs. 

(Becky's project is an Anthropologie knockoff. 
It's something you can really rest your head on...hint hint...)

And if she didn't have enough to do right now, she has a booth in the Georgetown Red Poppy Festival this weekend.  If you're local, you MUST check it out!  Fun family stuff, and all free!  The girls and I are going on Saturday in between yardwork and taxes.  :)

She kindly offered to put some of my camera strap covers and Kindle covers in her booth.  See what I mean about crafters being some of the most generous people in the world?  How they tend to see others as colleagues rather than competition?

So please head over to SYTYC and vote!!  And check out her previous projects here:

Go Becky!!

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Friday, April 8, 2011

I SHINE - a donation challenge!

Hey hoopdeedoodles!  It's been a wild week of Ultimate Blog Partyin'!  I have visited so many cool blogs, participated in several whirlwind Twitter chats, and met lots of new people.  If you haven't seen the full list of participants, brace yourself and click here.

I've also been feeling totally overwhelmed by the amount of clutter in my house.  I suspect that it's breeding at night while I am sleeping.
So when I saw The SHINE Project blog's weekly challenge, I was already feeling highly motivated.

Y'all know what a big fan of Goodwill I am.

I had a major Goodwill pile going in the closet already, but it was the hardest kind of stuff to part with.

Stuff I like.

Stuff I just don't fit in anymore (because I lost weight: now don't get all jealous and stuff, I had to break up with sugar to lose that weight.  We barely speak anymore.  It's too painful.)

Stuff that's really nice (say like Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).

A Talbot's silk dress.  Michael Kors blouse.  Two Ann Taylor cashmere twinsets.  Etc. etc. etc. ad luxuriam.

I could give these things to friends, or consign them, but decided against it.

Some woman out there, looking for a job, or struggling to make ends meet, is going to find these gems amidst the Goodwill racks, and it will give her a much needed thrill.  And on Easter Sunday, or at her next job interview, she is going to look radiant and proud.

Now, to be sure, there were also some real stinkers in that pile.  Like the sweater on top - one of my first knitted projects - a shrug that made me looked like a frilled lizard.  No I will not model it for you.

 I also....

(That *gasp-thud* sound is the simultanous cross-country reaction of my BFF, mother, and husband, who did not think it was possible for me to let go of this failure.)

This had a less noble motivation.  I just needed the storage for fabric so I could clean my office!! :)

I did keep back a few things to refashion, and will share the process with you when I do, of course!

So, head over to The SHINE Project and get motivated to bless someone with your clutter!


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Friday, April 1, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011!

Hey all!  I'm in a party mood, so I'm joining in the Ultimate Blog Party over at 5 Minutes for Mom

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

It's just a way for bloggers to get to know each other, share a little bit about themselves, and make friends!  So here's a little bit about why I started blogging:

I needed someone to talk crafty to, other than my poor husband, who only speaks engineer.

I like to share my harebrained ideas with the world.

I needed an occasional soapbox.

I have an etsy shop for my creative overflow and wanted a blog to go along with it.

I like show-and-tell.

I wanted to make new friends online!!  (It is hard for me to make friends in person.)


Here's what blogging is teaching me:

I don't have to be perfect to be liked.  (There is no chance I will be perfect, so this is a very good thing.)

Bloggers are overwhelmingly supportive of one another, even their direct competition.  I love that!!

Twitter isn't just for 14 year olds.

I really really need to take pictures and write things down when I'm creating things from scratch.

I don't have to blog every day or even every week to be a "success." 

There are so many cool people out there that I can't wait to get to know!

So head on over to the party at 5 Minutes for Mom and meet some other new bloggers!  And please leave a comment for me and for them - we bloggers LIVE for comments!!


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Friday, March 25, 2011

Current projects, crafty and otherwise

Yikes! Has it really been two weeks since my last post? doh!

I haven't exactly been twiddling my thumbs. There was spring break (out of state trip, helping my mom prepare for moving, celebrating mom-in-law's birthday).

Then there was this week (back to school, college roommate and her kids visiting for 3 days, patio under construction). get the idea, things have been wild. No boredom here!

I have squeezed in a little knitting time. Finished my 3yo's top, now working on 6yo's.

I made a few modifications on the second one here: omitted the keyhole neckline and added some body shaping. My kids have really narrow shoulders, and the 3yo's top gapes on her. I may rip hers back and leave out the keyhole on hers, too.

And here's what the patio looks like:

I foresee many contented hours knitting out here!!

Hopefully next week will be a little calmer and allow for more crafting time...see ya then!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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Friday, March 11, 2011

hoodie upcycle part trois: camera strap cover!

I've been making camera strap covers for a while now.  I didn't invent them, I just put my own spin on them based on recommendations from my fabulous friend Jen, and adding my love of strip piecing.

Anyhoo, the camera strap covers have been a popular item, and I've sold the one off my camera 5 times.

Time to make another, one which I will NOT sell.

Beloved hoodie, thou hast new life. 

I think I may have stumbled onto greatness here.  There is NOTHING cushier on a neck than an old sweatshirt.

I added some cute raw-edge appliques and lined it with fusible fleece for even more padding.

Pardon the picture quality, but I had to use my phone for the pics.  Because I totally put this on my real camera as soon as it was done.  And it isn't coming off.
Well, unless someone wants to pay me $200 for it or something.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Guest Tutorial: No-Sew Pillow Cover by {rindercella}

hi there! i am skye {or rindercella} from neathering our fest. i am so excited to be guesting here today at amy's blog. amy and i met on twitter and she is such a sweetie! she also has some really cute stuff in her etsy shop... i definitely think you should check it out!

today i am going to show you how to make a simple no-sew cover for a pillow!

here is what i used:

table cloth (or any piece of fabric you like or have leftover for another project!)
iron/ironing board
damp washcloth

i found this tablecloth at a resale store a few months ago. like any crafter i knew i would need it one day so i bought it! it was $1. yippy!

i laid it out face down on my crafting dining room table and placed the pillow on top of it with it situated towards the bottom right corner of the fabric. i left about four inches of extra fabric around the perimeter because this is an extra floofy pillow and i wanted to make sure i had ample to work with.

then i simply folded the pillow and fabric over. i made sure the edges lined up and then gave myself four more inches of slack before i cut around the pillow.

next, i took the fabric and folded it with the wrong side facing out. i laid it on my ironing board and unrolled the stitch -witchery to measure for each side. i only needed two strips for this part because the bottom seam will come from where i have folded it!

after that, i pinned the stitch witchery to the fabric and the ironing board so that it wouldn't move around on me. (i stole gleaned this genius idea from kim over at sand and sisal).

then you place a damp washcloth over one section at a time and then place an iron, set on the "wool" setting (otherwise known as "melt your fingers and face off with the steam produced") on the damp cloth. do not "iron" with it. just let it sit there for about 10-15 seconds. then pick up the iron and the cloth and move it to the next section, repeating until you have the two side seams "hemmed" together.

{note: remember that the washcloth is super steaming hot. don't be me and sustain eleventy billion burn marks from the washcloth. mmk. thanks}

now comes the fun part! stuff the pillow into the pillowcase! you will have an open seam that you will have to "sew" shut. in my case, i knew i wanted to leave this edge raw so-to-speak. i liked the ruffled edge of the tablecloth and wanted that on one edge. so i pinned the bottom of the fabric and the stitch witchery to the ironing board again and repeated the process.

{pretend here that i took a picture. i would have one but i left my third arm at the gym pumping weights in preparation for all the painting in it's future...}

if you want a clean seam all around, simply fold the edges in, pin stitch-witchery in between them and continue on! it is a little tricky, and it helps to leave a little more fabric than you think you need, but if you are patient it will work!

here is my bright, cheerful new pillow cover in it's new {temporary} home! :)

thanks again so much amy for having me! :)

(amy takes the wheel again here)

Thank you, Skye!!  Isn't this SO CUTE?  Can I please have what is left of that tablecloth?  I love the yellow!!

Y'all be sure to go over to Skye's blog and show her some love!  I have a tutorial over there too, just for today.  On a normal day, though, you'll find details of her hilarious adventures as a newlywed and tons of cute decorating ideas!

Linking up:

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