Bits and Bobs: Celebrating Ten Years Married- I highly recommend cheesecake.

Friday was my tenth anniversary.  My daughter had her first overnighter at Memaw’s while my husband and I celebrated.  As the ten-year is the tin/aluminum anniversary our original plan was to revisit a restaurant from our honeymoon, The Tin Goose on Pelee Island, Canada.   (Now it is called the Wandering Pheasant I believe, but other than cake pans, what else would be so appropriate for the tin anniversary?)  The best laid plans as they say – my husband was still game, but my unexpected pregnancy and its subsequent discomforts made me veto such a long drive.

We went to The Cheesecake Factory instead.   Their menu is so large that I knew I could find something that would please my touchy stomach.  And, of course, the cheesecake is divine!

I asked the waitress to recommend a chocolate-y one.  She pointed out the Godiva cheesecake.  I told her that I had seen a picture of that one, and laying a hand upon my belly, I said, “It’s too small.  I want a big one.  Where on this menu is there a REALLY big piece of cheesecake?” 

Yes, ladies.  I should have more pride.  Sadly, I don’t.

Most women try to be demure about appetite when eating out, but I am six months along and hungry!  All the time.  You might think with my stomach so easily getting the queasies that my appetite would be that of a bird.  Not so.  I am more like those giant ravenous predators you see on nature documentaries.  Or like the hobbits in the Tolkien novels, who begin the day with first breakfast, then go on to second breakfast, next a mid-morning snack before first lunch, then second lunch . . .

This baby is already bigger than average and I am past worrying about being seen as a glutton as I try to keep both he and I sustained.  My mind is never very far from where my next meal is and what it is to be.

Thrilled to be seated someplace where the cooking was not on me, I mowed through the bread plate, a full appetizer and a large meal-size salad.  And several glasses of iced tea were imbibed, a beverage I crave endlessly for some reason. 

Having already had dished up for me what must have been pounds of food and liquid, the server’s eyes widened at my question, but to her credit she womanfully looked at the menu and recommended the 30th Anniversary Cheesecake as chocolate-y and “generous” in its portions. 

She was right.  Quite nice it was.  I do recommend it.  Finally, I felt just full enough as I scraped the last smear of whipped cream from my plate.

My husband made a jesting reference to my being an inverse Oliver Twist.  Only able to get halfway through his dessert, we boxed the rest.  It made a nice snack, for me, early the next morning. 

Nesting and Just a Bit of Sewing

The thrift store was low on crafts this week but they did have half-off on shoes.  Now that I know it is a boy I am beginning to gather a small wardrobe.

Blogger Renee Cidell of Miss Celie’s Pants has written several posts on making American Girl dollclothes.  Whenever a photo comes on the screen my daughter reminds me that I am remiss in not making her AG doll a new outfit.  Found this book at the library and I am hoping that it has some super easy and quick patterns.

I found this at the library by Joan Hinds it has several American Girl doll outfits.

Still working on my stash bash and I have a few more quilt blocks completed.  Additionally, I dug around in my knitting bag and found a ball of dishcloth cotton that I could quickly use up.   The quilt block with stars and points, I hated.  It has 25 small blocks within it and I didn’t do very well.  Live and learn.  The circular pattern is called wagon wheel and I enjoyed that one though my wheel centers leave something to be desired in roundness.  Even though their fate is rather a murky one, I enjoy knitting dishcloths because I get a little rush of accomplishment with such a small time investment. 

The blocks with the star points are called Carpenter’s Wheel and I wish I had done a better job with them, though it was my first try at that pattern. The round ones are called Wagon Wheel, a pattern I really like for its scrappiness. The small knitted pieces are dishcloths.

P.S.  I am going to be in an internet-free cabin over the next few days.  Comment moderation should work on its own, but if your comment does not immediately appear, I will be online again at the end of the week to approve comments and check the site.  Thank you for your patience. 🙂


Senseless Sewing While Watching the Casey Anthony Trial

This is what my sewing table has come to look like over the last few months.

A disheartening mess.  So I started on the easiest things first; the cleaning cloths.

For some reason I often have a cat sitting behind my machine as I sew. Cashmere will watch for a time, then when I am lulled into a sense of security, reach up and sink her not inconsiderable claws into the moving fabric.

I grew up with a rag bag.   Old tees make fine cleaning rags and they are headed for the landfill anyway.  But the uneven edges are sometimes floppy or just a nuisance.  Years ago I read a Don Aslett book where he advised using terry cleaning cloths that were cut into proper rectangles, then sewn and overcast.   So now when towels or old tees/turtlenecks are hopelessly stained I cut them into cleaning cloths.  Since I have started making practice muslins of cheap knits I have added those scraps to the pile also.   I “eyeball cut” a square or rectangle out of the shirt body, sew down the horizontal and vertical axes, then serge the edges.  They are easier to use with even edges and I get full use from the material before consigning into the trash heap.

So far 37 cleaning cloths are complete.

Easy sewing.  Gets me back in the swing of things.  And accuracy is inconsequential.  Good thing.  Since I am addicted to the court TV coverage of the Casey Anthony murder trial. 

Murder victim Caylee Anthony the trial for whom is currently ongoing.

I didn’t know much about the case at first, just having a general idea from the pretrial newscast.  But one broadcast showed this photo of the little girl Caylee as a baby.  She has a nuk in her mouth and is wearing a dress similar to the one my own daughter, not much older than Caylee, wore for her first Easter.  The image struck me, and I thought, “By the time a child is two and a half, do you know how many times a mother has replaced that nuk?!  How could a mother do that to her child especially since a mother invests so much of herself into her children?”

Now I am hooked and always trying to find ways to work in the living room so I can multi-task my chore with Court TV.   For some reason I am fascinated with this case and hearing all of the evidence firsthand.

I keep my machines in the living room and one consequence of my recent fixation is that the sewing table is looking better already. I hope by the time prosecution closes on June 17th that I will have cleared these old projects and have new ones to show you.  Only four more months left to my pregnancy, but my figure is growing past the larger RTW sizes I purchased at first, and I need specialized clothes more and more now.  That means a few more blouses and bottoms which I am sure to wear frequently.  At least that is what I am telling myself as I contemplate cutting more deeply into my stash for garments that have such a short shelf life.

Domestic Disruptions Cause a Giant Blogging Break


That is what I have been doing during this protacted online silence.

Cincinnati has endured two and a half straight months of rain which I guess depressed all of my appliances since they all went on strike at once.

The stove:  I smelled my cake burning and a quick check of the oven thermometer showed the oven at 600 degrees!  I turned it off and it never worked again.  The gas stovetop burners still lit meaning it wasn’t a total loss.  Buying a fresh heating coil for a 1993 oven wasn’t worth it.  So new oven. 

The dishwasher: Would not start.  The racks made for a giant dish drainer which came in handy, but with a baby on the way I wanted it fixed.  The repairman got the machine to kick on but then we heard a terrible squealing.  He said the heat compressor had overheated and then lost its mind.  Replacing it would cost nearly what a new dishwasher was worth.  Got a fresh dishwasher. (And got the warranty on this one!)

The dryer: The dryer hasn’t heated for a long time.  Once the cat came running out from behind it, her coat covered in dust bunnies, and the machine mysteriously worked for one day.  Then quit again.  I have a clothesline which works out fine most of the time, but this year we are experiencing a monsoon instead of a proper Midwestern spring.  With a baby on the way, and oodles of yarped upon garments in my future, I wanted it fixed.  The repairman stood over it for two minutes and pronounced it dead.  New dryer now whirling away in the laundry room.

The refrigerator: Sensing a savior was about to appear, the weekend before the repairman was to arrive, the fridge started spilling water out of the bottom.  The repairman looked at me incredulously and asked, “Do you want me to fix it!?” “Yes, I want you to fix it!  Do you think I can afford another appliance!”  Turned out to be an easy repair and I watched him like a hawk the whole time so I can replicate his steps if this happens again.

Amidst all of the hubbub of a typical school year end, doubled for our household since my husband teaches and we have a school-age daughter, I have been pricing/researching/repairing/buying a whole kit of fresh appliances.   The one new appliance I didn’t get that I really want is a new sewing machine, but I couldn’t stomach such self-indulgence in the face of looting our savings account.

Life should be calmer with all of my new appliances whirring away assisting me in the course of my day.  I am looking forward to the time freeing up so I can spend some time at my sewing table.

A Dog Bed Made From Leggings, a Pillowcase, and a Zipper

Ya’ll remember these?

This is a photo of my practice muslin sewn when I reviewed McCall’s 6173 Leggings pattern.

The fabric was from an old knit sheet set I scavenged at my local thrift shop.  It came with a pillowcase.  About the time I was sewing leggings I was seeing other sewing bloggers making dog beds.  I admired theirs very much, but knew that the expense wasn’t worth it.  My dogs chew.

They also stink.  I love’em.  But they stink.

I have to be able to wash the bed frequently.

My dogs’ previous bed was oval with a rounded stuffed cylinder all the way around.  They liked it very much.  And it was washable.  I wanted to recreate that idea in a dog bed using scraps.

This is what I came up with.

The pillowcase, a separating zipper, and a pair of leggings.

1) I sewed the zipper into the pillowcase opening.  I didn’t want the zipper sticking out.  I laid one edge of the pillowcase on top of the zipper and sewed down.  They I reversed by laying the zipper on top of the other edge and sewing down.  That way the hemmed edge of the pillow is completely hiding the zipper.  If the dogs don’t notice it, maybe they won’t chew it.

2) Next I took the legs of the leggings and sewed them around the edge of the pillowcase from the topside.  Didn’t worry too much about precision.  If this thing lasts a year in this house it will be lucky.

3) Then I made another stitch line making a rectangular area out of the torso area of the leggings.  That could be stuffed into a tiny pillow.

4) Back to the thrift store.  I bought some cheap throw pillows and used the stuffing to fill the legs.  My daughter liked handing me the white fluffy stuff. 

5) I cut into the ankle of each leg to tie off the ends.  I also stuffed the pillow portion at the waist portion of the leggings.  Sewed the opening closed on the machine.  Again neither precision nor finishing seam edges was all that important.

6) Next was to stuff the main body.  The question was; buy a new pillow or use one of my own?  I could buy a new pillow for the dog.  Or use one my husband’s old pillows and buy HIM the new pillow as a replacement.  As my husband gets up at 5:45 each morning to keep us in food and shelter, and the dog’s main contribution is to bark and sneak out of the yard – the husband won!

7) I stuffed my husband’s old head pillow into the dog bed and


It is a funny shape laid flat.

But it fits into the corner by our bed very well.

Zoe, our jack russell/german shepherd mix, giving the new bed a trial run. She had a good time pulling the stuffing out of the legs before I tied off the ends. The loosely stuffed pillow-edges squish into the corner making it a draft-free and soft on her getting-old doggy bones.

Next Post: Saturday, February 5, 2011:Finishing up the T-Shirt Category and Moving on to the Blouses

Sewing Withdrawal

I’m having sewing withdrawal.

Yesterday I woke up with an overwhelming desire to buy sewing patterns.  I was sure that one of the major fabric chains would be having a sale.  A long browse through a pattern catalog and then picking over my choices – sounded like a wonderful morning.

But then there was news of a snowstorm coming.  Both my husband, a schoolteacher, and my daughter will be home with me from this Friday onward during Christmas break.   Yep, that’s two full weeks of family togetherness!  All of us packed into our little house.  (I’m already planning what great activities might be available locally – and I am going to suggest some father/daughter time.)  🙂

I have to work hard in December to finish things before the school break begins.  But this year has laid a kink in my plans.  Two snowstorms.  One this Monday, and now one today, Thursday. The snowstorm meant they will be home with me during the week I rely on to finish up holiday shopping and most importantly, wrapping without the recipients around to sneak a peek. 

That meant forget the pattern catalog browsing.  Finish the holiday shopping.  Aarrgh!  Let me tell you.  After picking up gifts stashed at the Memaw’s and then going from store to store finishing up – it is like eating too many holiday sweets – you are just done.  More than done.  A bit sick. 

It certainly cured my impulsive desire to buy tons of new patterns.

Probably for the best.

I have been pushing hard to finish Christmas and haven’t been able to sew anything.  I can’t wait to be back at my machine.  Tomorrow was to be the final day for my Stash Bash but I still have a half-basket full of things I promised myself to finish.  Can’t decide if I need to cut my losses and release the Stash Bash or to extend it and push to finish that basket. 

What do you think?  Finish up the remaining projects, or just release them and move on?

Next Post: Saturday, December 18, 2010: If I Haven’t Gone Crazy!

For Steph from Down Under:Enjoy the Winter Pics!

Fellow Sewist Steph from 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World  left a comment on my last post that she was suffocating from heat in Australia and would love to see some pics of winter weather.

We had quite a bit of snow Monday morning though much of that has melted off.  But we are expecting another storm tomorrow evening. 

Still it is colder than a witch’s titty outside.

Took these getting my daughter from her school bus this afternoon.

Jeans hanging on the line.

Why are my jeans hanging on the line?  The heating coil on the dryer went out.  It can churn tons of air, all of it room temp.  Lightweight items can dry but I let the heavier weight garments spend some time freeze drying – and yes, it is true – things can freeze dry.  No, don’t feel sorry for me.  If this were the worst problem I ever have in life I would have it made. 🙂

My herb garden. The roses lasted until early November. I hope the rosemary in the back survives the cold weather.


City Street. Cincinnati, Ohio. The sky is already getting that cold overcast look at 2:45 p.m. when I pick my daughter up at the bus stop.


My daughter walking home from school carrying the sun she made in art class. I miss the sun and liked so much seeing the fiery colors she used that reminded me of a warm summer day.

Most of the time you hope that “this takes off the chill” but in this case I hope that these photos add a bit of coolness in the corners to allay some of that Down Under mid-December sultriness.

Enjoy some sunshine for me, Steph!


Santa Has Only Four Days Left to Shop! At Least at my House.

School delays, buses that don’t show up, cars and walks that must be cleared and Christmas to complete.

My sewing and blogging have become quite thin recently.  Aarrghh!

I started my blog January 2010 and this is my first experience with sewing, blogging, Christmas and winter all rolled into one. 

I appreciate my readers who check in regularly and I am sorry that I am behind the eight ball this month and have nothing fun or exciting to report.

As everyone left the house on time today, (Yaah!),  I thought I would tackle a small project.  But then another thought appeared. Though it is over ten days until Christmas it has just occurred to me today that my daughter has only this week left of school.  That means I have just the next four days to shop and wrap her gifts! 

So I better get on that.  🙂

Next Post: Thursday, December 16, 2010:Whatever meager bit of sewing I have done I will show you – Whew, December has just not been a sewing month!

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