Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Letter To My Sons About Prom

Dear Boys,

Someday, I hope that you will go to your senior prom.  Your father and I have been chaperoning them for years, and I think that it's a milestone in a young person's life.  We've seen a lot in the nine proms we've attended together, and there are a few things I want you to know.  I think they'll help you have a successful and enjoyable night.

First:  hygiene.   If you reach 18 years old and I still have to remind you about hygiene, I'm going to feel pretty bad about myself as a mother.  Seriously, the chances of your having a date to prom at all will be significantly decreased if you haven't learned this one by then anyway, but this night, it is especially important.  There will be a lot of bodies in a small space, dancing, and by the time the clock strikes midnight, it smells like a sweat-drenched bowl of cheetos.  A guy's prep for prom is pretty minimal to begin with, so if you can't master this one, you're in a lot of trouble.

Second: Keep your shirt on.  I don't mean this one figuratively.  Since the time I was in high school, and I'll assume ages before, teenage boys have thought it clever and studly to ditch their white button up, wearing just their bow tie and vest.  This is neither clever nor studly, it's a jackass move and to be really honest- it lets the stink out. The two of you are likely to be tall and spindly, not to mention incredibly pasty.  This is not the Thunder Down Under, and even if it was, your pasty chests are not what they're looking for. This is prom, and your date will have gone through a small amount of torture to look nice for it.  Don't prolong the torture by forcing her to pretend you don't look stupid.  Keep your shirt on.

Third:  Let's talk about your date.  Please, for the love of all that's good and holy, don't take the girl with the thousand dollar dress to prom.  Don't take the girl who can't have a good time because she's too worried about the money spent on her looks for that night (or for that matter, not worried at all).  Take the girl who is fun to be around, who is a friend, and who won't make you hate her by the end of the night for being high maintenance.  Take the girl who is as big a nerd as you are.  You'll have a much better time.

Fourth, and finally:  Don't peak in high school.  Don't be too popular.  Be the likeable nerd who gets along.  Be ready for the bigger and better things to come.

And seriously, keep your freaking shirt on.



PS: Oh yeah, we'll see you there.  We'll probably still be chaperoning, and we'll mimic any inappropriate dance moves you try.

Friday, July 12, 2013

52 Projects: Everything Else!

Today's group is a mishmash of what doesn't fit neatly into other categories.  

I'm really excited about these shoes.  Well, I was.  I had a dingy pair of white canvas flats that I wanted to make last through the summer.  Figuring I couldn't make them worse, I took the bows off  the toes,  then painted them.  I get lots of compliments, until the other day when I managed to get a small rip in the toe.  I'm sure it can be mended just enough to get me through the summer, which is more than I was going to get out of the grungy white slippers. 

Earlier this year, I was asked to lead 15 minutes of music for our church's nursery each week.  So the two crafts you see below are song props that we use.  Not pictured are the toilet paper tube maracas, or pom pom 'baby bumble bees' that are very popular, and thankfully, very, very, durable.  There's the "Jesus wants me for Sunbeam" masks, more often worn as crowns by the littles...

...and a felt Flip Flap Jack, which really just makes me feel hungry each week, but we have fun with him. 

Also not pictured are the clay ornaments we made for Mother's Day, as those went out before I could get a picture. 

That's it!  Thanks for reading and checking out what I've been up to.  I've been doing some alterations for a friend this week, but am excited to get back to other creative projects that have been sitting unfinished.  Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

52 Projects: Sewing

This year, sewing has gotten a little selfish (and I kind of like that).  I've been working on learning to make clothes for myself, and I'm really enjoying it.   This first top is one thing I'm really happy with- I wish the fabric were a little more clear, but it's waves and paper sailboats.  Yes, I did get it from the juvenile prints section.  I love it anyway. 

Two sets of bowties also happened this year- one for my sister's wedding, seen here: 

and another set, for Fathers' Day.  Once again, the boys helped choose the fabric.  

For my little sister's birthday this year, I made her a towel-blanket for her swim meets.  It's almost as big as a twin-size blanket, and I hope she'll get lots of use out of it. 

Below is a project I started last year, but never completed.  It was a muslin to try out a circle skirt pattern, later worn in a play, that was very wearable once I finished it.  (I did say finish 52 projects in a year, not start them, so I'll count this one as good). 

Not pictured are the valances I sewed for my mother's living and dining rooms.  They're rectangles of fabric that look nice.  You get the idea.  Also, some pajama pants sewn for my sister's bridal shower, got away before I got a picture,  but I'm sure you get the idea there, too.

Thanks for sticking with me, and indulging me!  Tomorrow I'm wrapping up with the Miscellaneous projects.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

52 projects: Knitting

Knitting has taken a bit of a back seat to other projects since this winter.  I have a sweater cast on right now that I can carry with me and leisurely work on this summer, but am in no rush.  I finished  four projects, but only got pictures of three. 

These mitts (Zombie Vixen on Ravelry) were part of an instagram knit-along. Learning to work the cables on these was an experience, but I really like them and am happy with how they turned out. 

A friend commissioned this set from me.  I love the way the flecks look like hearts, and I love the vintage buttons on the cuffs.  One of my favorite projects. 

I did another knit along, this time with slippers- when I bound them off, they made a little heart.  I made a second pair for Aidan, but didn't take any more pictures.  Honestly, they're as warm as can be, but they're not very interesting to look at.

Tomorrow:  Sewing!  Yay!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

52 Projects: Embroidery

This seems to be the year of embroidery for me, and I can tell you why:  It's cheap, and it's fast.  You can embroider almost any image, and so it's great for personalizing gifts.

This was my big January Project, and I should tell you that I'm ridiculously proud of it.  I love how it represents all my hobbies, but in a sort of rock-star way.  

I drew this one up myself, which is kind of a big deal.  I'm not very confident in my drawing skills at all. This was my favorite quote from April's general conference. 

My son's kindergarten teacher is off to france this summer, so I put this bag together for her.  

This was Aidan's gift to his ballet teacher at the end of the school's season as well.  It's based off of a photo of the company dancers from his school, and was also hand-drawn. 

This one might compete for one of my favorites of the year.  Not only is this quote something we often live by in our house, but if you've seen the episode of Parks and Recreation that this quote came from, please understand that this scene had my jeweler husband cringing and laughing hysterically at the same time.   This was his father's day gift, and will be hanging in his classroom this fall.  Here's that scene.

Oh, Joan.  Oh, Mad Men.  You kill me every year when I realize that the season finale is upon us, surprising me even though I knew it was coming.  To deal with the loss, I stitched Joan up with a quote of hers as well.  She's headed to our upstairs bath to remind me not to limit my goals. 

I've got another project in a hoop right now- Aidan and I are writing a story that I'm illustrating with embroidery.  We'll see how that turns out. 

Tomorrow:  Knitting! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

52 Projects: Introduction

Just out of curiosity, I started scanning my instagram feed, counting the number of completed projects I'd done since the beginning of the year.  This was in mid-june, and when the number reached 20, I wondered to myself if I could manage to finish 52 projects, all in one year.  Sure, it would be crazy, and busy, but it could also be really fun.  I've made it to project 22, putting me just 4 behind for the year- so I'm closing in on the goal, matching my creative skills with the same goal I made for myself with books.  I'll be sharing the 22 things, divided by the type of making they involve this week, then I'll add what I make as I complete the projects.   I hope you'll come by and check them out!

Friday, May 24, 2013

What I Read: Jan-April.

Our library shelf at home.   

At the start of the year, I set a goal to read 52 books by the end- one per week.  I had intentions for monthly updates, but as you know, I'm super great at regular posting here lately.   If you're on Goodreads, you can follow me here.   And if you get through this novel of a post, I feel like you deserve a prize. 


Steady Days:  This is one of my go-to parenting books.  Its idea of maintaining rhythm and consistency in parenting is a goal of mine.  I like to check in with it when I'm feeling frazzled. 

The Great Gatsby:  With the movie coming, I wanted to read the book first.  I didn't find a single character likable (except for MAYBE Gatsby's father), and it made me angry that Christina Hendricks wasn't cast as Myrtle Wilson.  I really didn't enjoy it. Just not my thing.


Warhorse:  A favorite.  I cry every time.  We went to see the play, and I wanted to re-read it. Easy read, beautiful story.  I tried reading this to Aidan, but it's not really age appropriate and I kept crying, so we switched to Dinosaur Cove instead. 

Farm Boy:  I was excited to hear there was a sequel to Warhorse.  I was sorely disappointed in it.  Not worth the time, pass on this one. 

Wake: An interesting take on supernatural YA lit, as I hadn't seen the sirens thing done before.  It wasn't bad, but didn't inspire me to read the rest of the series.  I might later.

Mark of Athena:  I know I'm not the only adult who nerds out over the Percy Jackson books.  They're great.  I can't wait until Aidan is old enough for me to read them to him. 

Perks of Being a Wallflower:   I have some very mixed feelings about this book.  It is incredibly well written.  It made me really sad, and while I felt compelled to read it and finish it, I didn't enjoy it.


This Cake if For the Party:  Much like with Perks, I know that this was well written, but I didn't really enjoy it.  To be fair, I don't usually enjoy short story collections.  I like to start a relationship with my book. 

Wonder:  I loved this book.  Seriously, please go read it.  It is so good, and very meaningful.  One of my favorites this year.  I kept reading parts of it to Chris, but finally had to stop, because as soon as I finished, I handed it to him and said "You should just read it."  Then I told every other member of my family to read it.   Fast read that will make you feel a lot of things.  

Dinner:  A Love Story : Memoirs are my favorite.  Food memoirs with recipes are even better.  I love how this book is part parenting, part memoir, and part cookbook.  Recommended.


Remarkable Creatures:  Given that I have a budding paleontologist at home, this was a fun read.  I took this on our beach trip and really enjoyed it.  It's a peaceful read, but never boring. 

Gold:  An intense read.  Good plot twists and character depth.  I enjoyed it, but language warning if you're sensitive to it.

The Silver Linings Playbook:  Another favorite.  Also intense, also language warning, but this is an excellent book.  

Size 12 and Ready to Rock:  Because sometimes, like how we eat, you can enjoy books that are like candy.  Not good for you, but okay in moderation.  This series is like that. 

The Tragedy Paper:  YA lit, interesting story.  Worth a look, but not one I'm super passionate about. 

I'll try to make this a monthly thing now that I'm caught up, so you don't have to spend your whole afternoon reading it.  And if you're still with me- high five!