About Me

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I am a wife to an amazing guy and a mom to five fantastic kids. I have four boys and one girl. Keeping up with this bunch on a day to day basis makes me feel like a zookeeper, and these are some of my ramblings.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I haven't kept this up in a while because I haven't had any spare crafting time on my hands. Things were hectic with back to school, ex issues, and other such things...

I decided that a blog limited to only sewing and crafting was cool but when I don't have much time to craft then I felt odd about posting random thoughts or whatever on a crafting blog; hence, I decided to start a new blog just for me that will include all of the random things that I encounter in life. :) When I do sewing or crafting projects I will still update them here, but for now, it would be great if those of you that follow me would move on over here:

http://the-zookeeper-ramblings.blogspot.com/

Don't forget to sign up to follow me!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


This has been kind of a stressful week so the creative juices have all but dried up. I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things this week and make a few things.

I did, however, complete the Susan G. Komen walk last weekend after several blisters on my feet (owww) and a mostly uphill course pushing a double stroller (ughhhh) in 90-some odd degree weather (blechhhh).

I've included a few images from the day - thanks to my friend Sherri for taking them since I spaced and walked out the door without the camera. :) Liam is not a breast cancer survivor like the hat says, by the way, he managed to bat the big baby blue eyes at a lady and she handed over her hat. lol
















More blogs to come next week but for now enjoy the pictures!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Winner!!

Michele Z is the winner of the pillowcase dress for making a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation! I will get the dress and a set of spare ribbons packed up today and sent out this weekend. Thanks to a few others that made generous donations also!! I'm really excited to be walking this weekend to support this great cause!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

If you've been following the blog at all, you will know that I hate cancer. This dreaded disease stole my dad from me way too early and definitely stole a fantastic grandpa from my kids. It has also affected my grandmother who was a breast cancer survivor who ultimately ended up passing at the ripe age of 84 from heart disease, an aunt, great-aunts and several others.

Around a year ago I got a phone call from one of my best friends. Sonya is a year younger than me (I'm 36) and to receive the news that she was diagnosed with breast cancer was both horrifying and a huge reality check. This disease does not just strike the elderly or infirm. I am, however, thrilled to report that Sonya has fought cancer like a true champ. She had her ups and her downs but through it all kept on plugging. This past Friday she was admitted to the hospital for her reconstructive surgery (yay for new boobs!!) and I am going to see her this evening. This reaffirms my hopes and prayers that cancer cannot steal away all of those I am close to in my life.

A lady at the church I attend recently emailed me to ask if I would like to join the church team to walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on August 9th and my answer was a resounding, "Absolutely!"

"How does this tie into the sewing blog?" you may ask... Well here's the answer:

In honor of pink, I have this adorable pink and white gingham fabric with daisies on it. I made 2 pillowcase dresses out of it, of course one for Miss Sassypants (she just wouldn't understand if Mommy was making a dress for someone else and not her too) and someone else who has a Miss Sassypants in their life or a niece or grandbaby...doesn't matter, it's all going to a good cause.

I am adding the link to the Southwood UCC Fundraising Page. If you are willing to donate even $10 and put a comment in my blog I will put all of the names in a hat and have Miss Sassypants draw one out and you will have the opportunity to have a dress all in the name of a fantastic cause. Here is a picture of the dress:



And here is Miss Sassypants modeling hers. Here's my infomercial impression: "And for the low, low donation of $10 for a wonderful cause you could put a smile on the face of a little girl too!" LOL

The dress is made out of cotton fabric. I'm a beginner at sewing so I'm not promising perfection but they are very well made and should hold up well to washing (just take the ribbons out before you wash - they slide right out). I will mail the dress to you at my own expense (well, my hubby's expense, lol). Sizing is ambiguous for pillowcase dresses. Miss Sassypants is a 2T and you can see the fit on her. She is kind of a petite little thing so I would estimate the dress would fit anywhere from an 18M to 3T. If your Miss Sassypants is bigger than this, they also make adorable little shirts and should work as a shirt up to a 6.


Donations/comments accepted up through Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm CST and then I will put the names in a hat and let Miss Sassypants draw one before she goes to bed. Winner will be notified either that night or the next morning via email and I will send hubby to the post office no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, August 7th.

Ready?? Set... Go!! Here's the link:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Miss Sassypants was quite excited the next morning when she got up and had a new Dora dress. As predicted she sat down in front of the TV with her little brother and watched Dora. Of course the "dolling up" couldn't just stop at the dress. She accessorized with beads and Mom's sunglasses. Here she is in all her divalicious glory:


Of course we couldn't just be satisfied with the dress... A little while later she said, "Mommy, you make me a purse to go with it?" (Big sigh inserted here)

I'd never made a purse before. I looked around online and there were several purse patterns but I just wanted a little purse for a little girl. Nothing fancy, no zippers or buttons or anything beyond my beginning sewing skill level. I couldn't find anything to suit my taste (or skill level - maybe lack thereof is a better description) so I grabbed a piece of printer paper, folded it in half and fashioned my own.


Every purse needs a liner at least so I cut my pattern a little smaller and made a liner to go inside also. Plus, I know how Miss Sassypants is and Purse+No Liner = Bits of thread strung everywhere to get caught in the vacuum. Not a good plan.

Here it is before the final sewing after I put the lining inside.

It was kind of small to fit around the sewing machine base to sew around the top edges but I made it work.
Here's the finished purse...now on to a strap. I considered making one but naptime was getting shorter and I wanted to have it done by the time she woke up so I figured a simple ribbon would suffice.
This is kind of a crummy picture but you get the general idea.

When she woke up from naptime, we went out to the porch and her immediate reaction was "Oh Mommy, you made me a purse!!" I managed to catch the look of happy surprise on her face. Pardon the messy hair, naptime is rough on 2-year-olds. :)
Here she is posing with the final product.
I think I may have done myself a huge disservice, however. After playing with the purse for a bit she said, "Now Mommy you make purses for ALL my dresses." (Insert bigger sigh here)

Happy sewing!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I love the quiet of the evening especially when a thunderstorm is rolling in.

The oldest is spending the night with a friend and the rest tucked in and snoozing for the night. Before they went to bed I started pulling out the sewing equipment and immediately Miss Sassypants interest was piqued.

"Oh Mommy, are you going to make my Dora dress?" OK, Dora dress coming right up. Just call me the Mom of Short Order Sewing...

After everyone was tucked in nice and snug, the thunder started...As long as the electricity stays intact from the storm, it's going to be a fantastic evening. Just the sounds of thunder, raindrops and the hum of the sewing machine to break the silence.




I am going to have one happy 2-year-old in the morning. She can sit and have her snack with her little brother and watch Dora the Explorer in her Dora dress.

I think next I'm going to attempt a matching purse for the dress; however, tonight I'm going to go snuggle in with the husband and listen to the rain before falling asleep.

Happy stitching, everyone!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

OK this is a subject off the beaten seams of sewing.


I hate cancer. Did you get that? I hate, hate, hate cancer! I lost my dad to cancer a little over a year ago and various other family members throughout the years to this dreaded disease. Thankfully cancer does not win out every time and I'm happy to say that I have a great friend, Sonya, who is a breast cancer survivor and doing wonderfully! She is getting ready to go through her reconstructive surgery process this week, so everyone keep her in your thoughts and prayers during this survival achievement.


My neighbor across the street is truly an inspiration to me. She is a single mother of four young children who had been ill for a couple of years before finally being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She began her treatment shortly after we bought the house across the street from her and became friends and our children are great friends also. Unfortunately, her treatment has not been very successful to this point (her cancer is now stage 4) and she came out the other night for one of many of our "sidewalk chats" to let me know that soon she will be admitted to the hospital for a month to undergo a more intensive type of treatment. During the course of our discussion she said that she has been upset over the fact that she has no recent pictures of her and the kids to take with her to the hospital. I said, "Well, then let's just take some."

Let's take a look at a few pictures that define family love and a strong single mother:

What a beautiful family...I love black and white shots too.







Of course we had to do a couple of fun ones. Getting the kids situated for this one was WORK. :)





Trying to get some of the sillies out so we could get some good smiles.














This was one of the "better smiles" I got out of this little guy.





















Mom and middle son after persuading him to take his glasses off...they kept giving a glare.



Check out these two beauties...




The oldest is so proud and protective of his mom and it really shines through in this picture:


I love how the littlest one is snuggled up tight to his mom's shoulder here:


What a beautiful family...


Didn't they turn out great?? What a beautiful mom and great kids! Thanks to them for letting me take these and share in the love. I'm by no means a pro but as photogenic as these guys were, there wasn't much I could have done to mess them up. :)

Now everyone now take a minute and say a small prayer to whatever power you say your prayers to or at least take time out for a positive thought for my neighbor and her kids as they continue to go through this fight.

And let me just say one more time.....I HATE CANCER!!



As I said in a previous post, the first project idea that I had in mind was for a pillowcase dress for Miss Sassypants. I got the idea from a posting on another internet board I'm on with some great ladies, a few of which have small girls of their own.

First step, read the instruction manual for the sewing machine. I read the instructions and proceed to try to thread the infernal thing. An hour and a half and many bad words I probably shouldn't put on here, I had the machine threaded and ready to sew.

I wish now I had gotten better pictures of my first stitching attempts on scraps of fabric because you could have gotten some humor out of the knots, snarls and mess that I managed to achieve.

However, after practice I managed to achieve the end result:

As you can see, Miss Sassypants is totally thrilled with the end result. It's not perfect but it's not too darned bad for a first attempt.

However, note to self: Decide how much fabric you need ahead of time when attempting such a project...I bought a yard and a half of each type of fabric and had enough to make two more dresses after hers. Waste not, want not, right??




Who else has little girls that we know?? Oh wait, Miss Sassypants has a BFF and we had scheduled a trip to the zoo with them. The BFF has a new baby sister...





















Here they are during our trip to the zoo in their matching dresses. Adorable huh?? The bib was kind of obscuring the dress in the baby's picture but you get the idea...She was sleeping so soundly I didn't want to bother her.

Now Miss Sassypants is on my case that she and her "bestest friend" need Dora dresses...guess that will be next on the project list.

Supplies...CHECK!


So I think I mentioned in my introduction post how great my husband is...

After getting the sewing machine, I was immediately on the hunt for sewing supplies and fabric. A couple of mornings later after a long night of an overnight shift, my hubby came in and woke me up and told me to get up and get everyone ready because we were headed out to breakfast and some errands.

After some great blueberry pancakes from Hy-Vee deli (hey, don't knock it till you've tried it - they were fresh, hot, delicious and CHEAP) we ran a couple of mundane errands and then he said, "OK so do you want to go to Joanns for sewing supplies?" I truly adore this man...

We head out to Joanns in Independence because it is the closest to us and I'm in search of a few basic sewing supplies to get started, thread and some fabric to add to the adorable daisy/gingham fabric that my friend Susi generously donated to the cause because she decided that sewing was not worth the effort after she bought it. Hey her loss is my gain, right?

Here is what we came home with:
















This was the sewing/thread kit that my husband picked out for me. It has all kinds of thread, spools, pincushion, measuring tape...everything I needed to get a start. He found this while I was elbow deep in the fabric department.

My original project idea was for a pillowcase dress for Miss Sassypants. I bought two types of fabric to start out with:















Guess which one Miss Sassypants chose?? Add a spool of hot pink grosgrain ribbon and we're good to go.














Next stop....trials, errors and the first finished project.


Over the years I have randomly thought that I would like to sew. I have my grandmother's old treadle sewing machine, which is theoretically operational, but had no desire to try to figure it out. I would take a picture of this gorgeous piece of antique craftsmanship but alas it's buried under stacks of books and craft supplies in my bedroom and no one wants to see that mess...maybe another time.

My desire for a sewing machine increased after having a daughter and buying our first home (just think of all the household projects alone!) but let's face it, we have five kids to feed and I am a stay at home mom. There's not a ton of cash lying around to spare for a new sewing machine.

A while back my mother called. My father passed away last year and she has already decided to take the plunge and get married again (but that's a story for another day and not a happy one from my perspective) and called to inquire if I would like anything from the house because apparently when you combine households it requires getting rid of things. Of course I requested things of sentimentality from my father and grandparents, and she asked if there was anything household-wise that I would like. Hmm, not that I can think of but thanks. She asked if I would like to have her old dishes. Thanks Mother, but definitely NOT. Check out these bad boys:

I felt obliged to include a picture so that everyone else could partake of the humor. Geese and ribbons with a big old peach or some type of fruit in the middle...and pastels to boot. And she doesn't just have the dishes...she has the whole dang set. Not my style but to each his/her own I suppose. We ate many a dinner off of these crazy looking things when I was a kid.


She asked again if there were any household type items that I would like to have and suddenly a bell went off in my head and I said "Welllll, if you're getting rid of your sewing machine, I'll take that off your hands. I'd love to make some dresses and things for Little Miss Sassypants."

Let the backpedaling begin at this point from the woman that I have never seen use the sewing machine in my life. She thinks she may make a few quilts (the pieces she started at the quilting class she took before I had my 13 year old are probably sitting in a box somewhere) and she thinks she is going to keep it because they are nice to have around the house if you need to repair something, coming from the woman who can't make it to the store fast enough to buy a replacement for anything if she decides she needs or wants it. However, she will think about it (which is "no" in mom code from those of us that are moms) and let me know.

A few days later there was a knock at the door and the big brown truck parked outside and the delivery driver handed me a large box. This is what was inside:

I picked up the phone and called to thank my mother and told her that I was not expecting a new sewing machine. She said, "Well, I decided I would like to keep mine and I think they are useful to have so I just got you one." Thanks again to my mother. The sewing machine was A+ and much, much better than the goose dishes.


Sewing machine, CHECK! Next stop, supplies...


Beginnings

Writing a first blog is more difficult than I thought it was going to be, so I'm going to ask for a pardon in advance for some initial rambling. I'm remembering the words of one of my high school English teachers, Ms. Smallridge, who always said that if you're having writer's block to just start writing about anything, so that's what I'm doing.


I named the blog "Sassypants Stitches" because I'm planning on doing quite a bit of sewing; however, that won't be limited to what this blog includes. Sewing is rather new to me and I have other hobbies I enjoy too such as taking photos, scrapbooking those photos, reading, knitting and I also saw this really cool jewelry idea that I'd like to try...but I digress. I have crafting ADD to a point, just ask my handsome hubby how much he loves trekking to the craft store with me when there is a sale that I just can't miss. He is also wonderfully patient with all of the totes of supplies that I "just might need" all around our house. He even makes trips to the craft store on his own when it comes to Christmas, Mother's Day and my birthday. Yes, ladies (and any gentlemen that might be reading), I found a good one - go ahead, you can admit you're jealous.


I also enjoy craft projects with the kids when the 13-year-old decides he isn't too cool to hang out with us lesser people and can manage to put the video game controller down. The 8-year-old and the 7-year old are still game for whatever Mom thinks up and the 1-year-old can make a mess in a minute flat when I put out craft supplies - have I mentioned that they are all boys? Which leads me to the 2-year-old - my only girl - and the reason the sewing and blog got started in the first place. Even though she is being raised in a family mired in male dominance, she manages to stay a girly-girl and insists that all brothers and Daddy participate in the girliness of tea parties, playing in her little cottage house, finding her other dress up high heel when she's misplaced it and reading "Fancy Nancy" books for every naptime and at bedtime too. Yep, she rules the roost around here. It's the curls and the dimples, no one can resist the power of the dimples...
















She brought the idea of sewing about when I thought, "Little girls clothes would be so much fun to make..." And guess what? They are. And who better to model Mommy's creations than Little Miss Sassypants??

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