Thursday, December 29, 2011

Miscellaneous Things

This is my MIL's potato salad. It's always a work of art - one year she cut a radish into the shape of a rosebud for the centerpiece. She's Japanese and can also do origami...without a book of instructions.

And I was delayed driving to work yesterday. I dropped Lucas off at my mom's and had to go by Municipal Park with the big lake.

The ducks (or geese or whatever they are) were crossing VERY SLOWLY to the golf course, but then they froze for some reason and wouldn't move. It took somebody honking their horn to get them to turn around and SLOWLY walk back to the lake. (Cool fog on the water, too!)

When I passed the golf course, there were about fifty geese already there. The ones in the street were grumbling about not reserving a tee time or something.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back From Costa Rica!

Well, Merry Christmas everybody! We went to Costa Rica the week before Christmas, and I'm back with pictures. So to jump right in - this is Playa Potrero on the Pacific side of Costa Rica - Guanacaste for those familiar. These can speak for themselves.

Now the rest of these are from the Arenal volcano area of La Fortuna - see the toucan on that branch? (Yes, they nailed bananas to the tree to attract birds.)

This last one has a little story. Our hotel had an animal rescue operation and they gave us a tour of the jungle cats they've rescued - that's a puma above. Below is an ocelot. As soon as Lucas stepped up for a picture, this cat stuck his paw out and grabbed Lucas's shirt, then looked at us like, "Can I keep him?" Luckily there were no scratches, but the lesson here is: just because the guy in charge reaches in and scratches their ears doesn't mean your kid should get next to one!

And here are some videos of zip-lining, mainly for my family to see how brave we were. This first one is me coming in hot with legs a-flailing - watch out now!

Next is Drew in a much more controlled fashion.

And Lucas was so light they started him out with a guide to be sure he'd make it all the way across.

But at the end they let him try one by himself. This one was a half-mile long and went through a tunnel of trees where a monkey was sitting - too cool!

Okay, wasn't I working on some skinny jeans a few weeks ago? Back to work!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Colorful Pictures (Jacket and a Tree)

Thank you ladies for the nice comments on the jacket! Lucas is practicing his sad face for this one, but probably because I made him put the Nerf gun down. (And I learned my lesson about being lazy with zippers. I didn't want to cut one off so I used a shorter one - won't do that again.)

He wants something like "Make mine decaf" embroidered on it. Don't know where that came from.

And God waved at me today while I was going in the house. Very stormy-looking sky, but a ray of sunshine came out and found this tree - cool! More striking than the iPhone suggests - even the boys thought it was something.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Got Lucas's Jacket Going...

I have actually almost accomplished something. Almost...

Remember that Lucas picked out the fabric and color combinations himself. I tried to force a blue or green zipper on him, but relented and let him have red. It is very colorful. But one problem - that 22" sport zipper said in very small print "non-separating." Bastards!

I had to go rip this one out and go to the store, where I read every word written on the package to be sure I had the right one, but that put me behind schedule so I didn't get it totally finished last night. Just have to fix one cuff and topstitch. He still wanted to wear it to Scouts last night.

In fact, he asked if he could brag a little and tell people how cool his jacket was and that his mom made it. I said not to brag, and he said if anybody commented on his jacket, could he THEN come out and tell them I made it. God bless that child!

He also has the Elf on the Shelf going (I bowed to pressure after 2 years). After I put every stuffed animal in his room into a big box and staged it like Billy the Elf is reading to them, Lucas wondered if Billy dragged them there or if they all came alive at night like Billy. He's thinking about leaving a note for them and asking.

My child still believes in his mommy and magic stuffed animals! Pre-teen years are so awesome!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Christmas Card...and a Look Back

Some of you may be getting one in the mail, but here's a preview. The caption is "Drew got his learner's permit, so watch out for the Mobile Hillbillies!" Get it? Drew is Jethro. Well, I forget how Dean made that connection when we were brainstorming for ideas, but there was obviously beer involved. (There're a couple of smaller better pictures too, so maybe Mimi will put this one on the refrigerator this year - DOH!)

The photoshoppage provided by Drew was a little rougher than last year - maybe we should've worked a little harder on head sizes. Here's a reminder of last year's card wishing you a tarball-free Christmas.

Oh heck, let's see all of them, so when the hard drive crashes I can still come here to see some pictures.

Oh jeez, maybe I should get a Kleenex. They grow up fast - even the dog!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Where Has All the Mojo Gone?

I have no idea what's happened to it. I had to pack up my sewing room for Drew's overnighter, and then my brother and SIL slept over at Thanksgiving, so I have just now unpacked some stuff. And wouldn't ya' know it - I can't find my tracing wheel! Anyway, Lucas wants a fleece jacket like everybody else in the family, so that takes priority over skinny jeans and cloning a top. Plus I've made this thing 4 times already so there's no futzing around with the pattern. That's a relief, because the last thing I did on the jeans was add to CF after a tissue fitting, and then I was beset by doubts about whether the fly will turn out or not, so I just quit.

So I actually worked for about 2 hours on this jacket - woohoo! But look what fun the "rip-stop flag material" is - it came out of the washer like this. Needless to say, I began by serging all raw edges.

I tried to talk him out of this blue overlay, because the fleece is green. (Doesn't that make you think of 1983 when all the cool girls wore blue and green together? Except this isn't 1983.) And when he wanted a red zipper down the front, I put my foot down till he chose blue. Then he told me later that isn't this supposed to be is HIS special jacket, and I realized he's right and it can't get any worse, so I got a red zipper for that baby yesterday.

Now this is more exciting - Drew got his driver's permit Thursday!

Okay, off to watch a movie with the kids. And speaking of movies, has anybody seen Horrible Bosses? Now if you can overlook the language and most of Jennifer Anniston's lines, that is one hilarious movie, but what were they thinking giving it a PG-13?! How many F-bombs does it take to get an R, not to mention the other words and scenarios described by said words.

Okay, I got that off my chest.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Birthday Paintball and Creme Brulee

So 15-year-old boys love paintball. And one girl joined us for Drew's birthday paintball party too!

Here's a little of the action. Drew didn't pass out this year like he did last time, but we almost had another one pass out afterwards - paintball is hot, even in November!

And his French class had a little party yesterday before the holiday break. Everyone had to sign up for a French dish, cook it themselves, and discuss the history of it while sharing it with the class. Drew knew that Dean has made creme brulee before, so of course he signed up for that. They spent all afternoon cooking (think 27 eggs and a run to Old Time Pottery for ramekins, not to mention the butane refill from Lowe's for torching).

Drew was very proud that everybody like his dish, and I was happy we got to use this nifty ice pack again (it's to wrap around your face after wisdom teeth removal...or to keep creme brulee cold, you know, whatever).

Oh, and did you come here to see what I was sewing? Well the paintball party was preceded by a spend-the-night, and of course my sewing room is the guest room, so I had to pack EVERYTHING up. You don't even want to leave a dressmaker's form in the room alone with teenage boys - yeesh.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Who Loves the Blues?!

This is what we did Saturday. Man, forget watching them at the beach - this was up close and personal! We were given VIP tickets by Dean's best friend and the view was insane. Well, this first pic was taken from the stairs up to a cargo plane we got to walk through. Do not be distracted by the corn dogs.

This last one is terrible camera work, but maybe you can hear how loud they are - they snuck up on us.

Awesome weekend. And no, I did not do any sewing this weekend. Plus I've started reading Steve Jobs, and now I want to quit work and start my own company....making jackets! (Drew said a friend told him his fleece jacket was cool and would I make one for him....a business is born.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Second funny story - Ladies Only

I was driving the boys to school and I asked Lucas to look in my purse and hand me my lipstick. He's rifling around and says, "Oh, I didn't know you had these poppers in here.". I don't know what he's talking about. He says, "You know, these things you pull and they pop. You have green, yellow, and purple.". Then I realize he went in the zippered compartment where the Tampax are. Doh!

Okay back to watch Vietnam in HD on the History Channel. And next they're starting Big Shrimping which was filmed in Bayou la Batre - cool! (I think textbooks may need to be replaced by documentaries from the History Channel - much more personal and impactful.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Did I Come in Here For?

Geez, that last post was supposed to be 2 funny stories, and I even started with "the first story." But then I got carried away and didn't have time to finish, and now I can't remember what the second story was. Aaaargh! I think it was something Lucas did. Who knows. Hey, here's a picture of cotton (sorry it's not bigger)!

Random, yes, but many of you people may not have seen a crop of cotton. I grew up near it and my dad pulled over one time and let us grab some (aiding and abetting, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, trespassing, theft, so much criminal activity). Anyway, I think it's so pretty and much more interesting than a crop of corn, for instance.

In other news, I attended my first class chat last week at PR. It says that your comment will be hidden from view until the teacher is ready to address it, but it just flies onto the screen, typos and all. It was fun, though, and I do think I've learned something. I don't KNOW for sure yet, though, because all I've done is thread trace my seams. Haven't even pulled the silk organza out of the bag yet. I missed the second chat last night, and the third one is Wednesday. Apparently these classes are aimed at women who don't work or have children in the Scouts!

Oh, and Paranormal Activity 3 was a hit. We had a great time, especially because the ticket seller asked me if the tickets were for me or not (odd), then I saw that lots of teenagers were getting carded and turned away. THEN there was an actual POLICEMAN at the door of the theater, and the ushers came in halfway through to raise a ruckus with some theater-goer. So exciting!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dating in the 21st Century

The first story is about kids these days and how different they are from when I was a kid. When I was in the 5th grade, the love of my life to that point (Scott Kenny for any locals) asked me to go with him. I told my mom in the car after school, and she was so excited that when we got home she told my grandmother.

Mom: "Guess what, Mother? Scott asked Lynn to go with him!"
Mamaw: "Well how nice! Where are they going?"

If you grew up in Sylacauga in the 70's, you knew what "going with" meant. And in 1977 it meant you swapped bracelets....leather bracelets that you stamped and painted with your name and design of your choosing. When you broke up, you had to give their bracelet back.

Flash to this past weekend. Dean notices that Drew has changed his Facebook status to "In a relationship." It doesn't say with whom, but one of Drew's very clever acquaintances has typed, "Congratulations! Who's the lucky fella?" Funny guy. We assume it's with his recent date to Homecoming, but I've asked him every day if he's talked to her and the answer is no, they don't have any classes together. So we ask him if she's aware of the new relationship. No, she's not! (This reminds me of when he was in the 3rd grade and said a girl was his girlfriend. I, being very clever, asked him if he was her boyfriend, and he said no.)

Anyway, we tell him that he should talk to the girl before posting stuff like that. But this being 2011 and not 1977, he texts her to see if it's okay if he changes his relationship status on FB. She texts back yes. He texts back that he already did it but wanted to make sure she was okay with it. She texts back that yes, it's fine with her.

Now what just happened here - does she know that he thinks they're going together? And she turned him down to go to the movies tonight (all by text of course), so apparently she's not changing HER relationship status!

(I'm fine with it, by the way. We're going to see Paranormal Activity 3 and I didn't want to have to sit by myself.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Online Class

Okay, I am kicking my mojo in the butt by signing up for a sewing class at PR. It's Clone Your Own Garment by Kenneth King, and it! So thankful for Ely's, because I went to Hancock Sunday night and they don't carry silk organza, which you need to do the class. I went by Ely's Fabric Warehouse today and snagged some. Did you know that stuff is $14 a yard?! Good thing this doesn't take much.

I was checking out when I noticed another room I've never seen before kind of behind the area where they all sit. Well, it's 3 rooms, in addition to the other 3 or 4 off to the side. You have to go through the breakroom, where rick-rack is next to snacks...

And this is the cutest home decor fabric back here - why don't they put this up front?

Did you say you needed toile?

So anyway, off to a potluck dinner and Court of Honor for the Boy Scouts, but I'll post more later about my baby-stepping jeans and the class. Hey, by the way, have you ever cooked something at 450 degrees for 45 minutes...that was supposed to be at 350 degrees? Was it still edible? This corn casserole has a nicely browned top, but the sides and bottom are toast, I'm afraid. Dang Mad Cow!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sisters with Hats

Oh, Junior, you didn't expect me to post this, did you?! My sister sent my boys a Halloween card with these pictures in it. These are from about 12 years ago, and we were trying to be very sophisticated with our new hats.

But you know that saying, "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl?" There's a reason that sayings are sayings.

We Arnolds'll turn redneck in a minute when nobody's watching.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Fabric Site!

Okay, I don't know if I'll find a lot there to wear to work, but I found TJ's Fabrics, which is a store in Opp, Alabama, or online here for your shopping pleasure. I immediately thought of KID and Kitschy Coo, although I don't know if Amanda could get it shipped to the UK.

Isn't this too cute?!

And for you sewists with kids, check out this site for awesome appliques and embroidery machine discussions.

So this is like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, or whatever that saying is. I subscribe to Lake Martin Voice, which is written by John Coley, a hilarious realtor up there, and I left a comment for the first time on his site. Then he came to my site. (Funny how that works, seems like this is a new area of in Japan, you present your business card and they investigate it thoroughly, then they give you their's, and you're supposed to read it carefully - see? Okay, I digress.)

Anyway, he mentioned a friend who embroiders and has a site, so I go check out her site and find a post about TJ's Fabrics, then click her link and voila: fabulous fabric!

You're welcome!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another Football Weekend

Well Friday night Drew had his first date to the Homecoming dance. He's a very brave and outgoing person because he wore his fedora and walked into the football game by himself to find his date, who was already there. I would've begged somebody to go with me and couldn't have made eye contact with anybody in the stands. (I still get intimidated in a movie theater looking for empty seats with all those eyes staring back at me.)

Then it was off to Auburn for the Florida-Auburn game (thanks to my mom and Jim for hosting). It was more of a mess than the Florida-Alabama game, if you can believe it (thanks to my mom and Jim for providing post-loss cocktails). This one was exciting because we were on row 7 really close to the field, so in lieu of fabulous plays to describe, I'll show you what I was watching. Here's the War Eagle; I guess he has a name but I'm not sure. He flew right over our heads before the game started - very cool.

Gators take the field after half-time.

Aubie (the Auburn mascot) does lots of entertaining things, although I noticed the only law enforcement personnel who would dance with him was a woman. The men were too busy looking professional.

Lucas takes a break from complaining about how the guys in front of us won't sit down and fakes a sleepy face.

And I DID cut out the pattern pieces for those skinny jeans, but I'm taking my time watching the Pant Fitting DVD from Palmer-Pletsch again and trying it their way. I've drawn the stitching lines in marker so far. Next up is pin-fitting. And I saw that Erica got her version completed - don't they look great? There was only one other woman making these according to Google, so I need to get busy...

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Date for Homecoming

Well Drew put himself out there and asked a girl to the Homecoming dance. He obviously takes after Dean, because I certainly never had a date in high school. (Well, we can't forget the nice guy who graciously accompanied me to a required club dance....he was the 5th person I asked.)

Anyway, it turns out that Lucas's best friend, we'll call him John, is this girl's little brother. We'll call her Marsha. So in carpool, Lucas goes and tells John that Drew is going on a date with his sister. John exclaims and runs toward his car to tell his mother. Lucas thinks this is supposed to be a secret, so he grabs John and says, "Wait, is your sister's name Hannah?"

So Lucas tells me this in carpool like he has saved the day. I point out that now John will get in the car and report that Drew is taking a girl named Hannah to the dance. (Am I the only one who thinks this sounds like a good sitcom?)

The plot thickens. I tell Lucas he needs to straighten this out, so the next day he tells John the truth. John says they already figured it out....and that his mom and dad talked about how the date would work. His mom would take Drew and Marsha to a restaurant and drop them off, but John and his dad would be hiding out at a table in the corner to keep an eye on them. Now the funny thing is that Marsha's parents haven't even returned my call about transportation arrangements, but they're obviously discussing it at home. Odd.

Proves that you have to be careful what you say around little brothers....and that they can be excellent sources of information!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Impulse Buying

I realize I'm quite good at showing you new patterns I've acquired, but not so good at showing new clothes I've sewn up, because there seems to be a very long delay between the two! My mojo is still MIA, but I'm taking baby steps to get it back. The first of which was to throw the stretch denim in the washer on hot for the first of 4 cycles....because I'm going to try THIS! (This being the Vogue 8774 jeans, which have not even been reviewed on PR yet!)

Q: But you said you needed dress pants to wear to work, and you spent all that time on the fabulous wearable muslin! Why not whip up another pair and just tweak the rear crotch like you said?
A: Because I have Mad Cow, and apparently ADHD.

Plus, these patterns were $3.50 at Vogue/McCalls/Butterick! I love the collar of this dress...till I read the directions - sounds very complicated. Also not reviewed yet at PR....maybe I should've waited.

And I've had this Butterick 5314 on my wishlist for a while till I found out it was out of print. Enter Ebay - I got it for $6.94 with free shipping - woohoo! I also love this collar. (You'd think I wear dresses a lot, huh? You'd be wrong.)

And speaking of impulse buying, Lucas pointed out that Toys'R'Us was having a sale on Just Dance 3 for the Wii. It was $5 off and you could get Michael Jackson's dance game for 50% off. Guess who's having a dance party this afternoon? Anybody else have an impulse-buying weekend?