Sunday, October 26, 2008

Being a part of something bigger

This weekend, I got to be a part of one incredible event on the most beautiful fall day ever. President Clinton along with several other of Arkansas' present and past political leaders (and Mary Steenburgen) were in town for a "Painting Arkansas Blue" rally. The event originally started out as a Get Out the Vote rally where we were going to meet, march down to the early voting location, and then have a cookout.  Well, just a few days before the event was scheduled it grew exponentially and I got to be involved.  Jason got to play grillmaster and I helped serve up the food.... not glamorous jobs, but boy people love some free food!  
Anyway, the speeches were all excellent.  It was really something to see so many people here of all places gathering to show support for Obama!  I would love so much to see our state be something other than solid red on the electoral map... I'd even be ok with baby blue.  I just hate that we're considered in the bag for the Republican party.  I'd really like to think that we could show the country that we're more progressive than that, particularly since we seem to be A-Ok with electing Democrats on the state level.
Afterward, I hung around and got to shake Clinton's hand and tell him thanks for also talking about Initiated Act 1 because it is so under-covered here, but is really very important. For those of you not in Arkansas (or those here who don't yet know) it's an act on the ballot that would prohibit so so many people from potentially becoming foster parents.  It would ban anyone who is unmarried (gay or straight) from serving as a foster or adoptive parent and take away the ability for judges to make decisions on a case by case basis.  It was really good to hear him and Ms. Steenburgen speak out against the act and I'm happy that I got to thank him for that in person.  I tried to get a picture with him, but it was nuts and I only managed to get a blur, oh well.  I did get lots of good pictures throughout the day.  You can check them all out on flickr.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Finally... A Crafting Day!

I have a serious thing for online crafty tutorials.  I've been eyeing this one for cushions from Sew Mama Sew for quite some time and decided today to give it a try.  I'm not finished yet, because I just had to make it more complicated by adding some quilting to it.  I thought, though, that I'd share the progress with you fine people.  Here is the top of one of three cushions.  I pieced the top out of some new and some vintage cottons and sort of quilted it to a piece of nice flannel to make it a little more durable.  They are 19" square and 4" deep.  They'll be floor cushions for the living room.  I'll be using the brown linen I used on my little houses pillows for the sides and bottom.

One of the things about this tutorial that just knocked my socks off is the part where she shows you how to magically make tons of bias tape out of a small square of fabric and then turn it into some super fab custom piping!  It's worth checking out just for that little gem.
Now, hopefully it will not be months and months before I can show you a cute stack of finished floor pillows!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back From Wherever

I've been avoiding my blog like the plague lately.  I've been fighting the urge to make political posts.  I struggle with the idea that it could turn some people off, but at the same time it is my blog, right... my platform so to speak?  And, I don't want to be Miss Negative Nelly Crankypants, not that it's all negative.  Far from it.  So, I'm going to do a split post starting with the non-political stuff and if you don't want to read the rest then that's A-OK.
The best stuff first:
We had our first parent-teacher conference yesterday and I am just the proudest mama ever!  I already knew that Taylor is a smart cookie, but her teacher told us a story that just makes me beam.
Little bit is always very quiet and well-behaved and has never had to change her color (they use the stop-light system for behavior).  Well, one day at nap-time the teacher got onto a girl who was near Taylor for making noise and made the girl change her color.  Before the kids go home, the ones who stayed on green for the day get to get a piece of candy or a sticker.  When the teacher got to Taylor, her color was on yellow and Taylor told her with tears in her eyes that she couldn't have any candy because she had to change her color.  Without being told, she had changed it on her own because she was the one who made the noise at nap-time.  Her teacher was so moved that she had been so honest that she told her to change it back to green so she could get a piece of candy.  My sweet little one's moral compass is pointing in the right direction! ... did I mention I'm really proud of her?!  
In etsy news, I really haven't had tons of time to sew.  I did manage to get a few things made last week, and this week I got a custom wallet out the door.  I also have some sewing to look forward to for a repeat customer who is sending me some fabric to use.  She's always super fun to work with so I'm looking forward to that.

OK, the political stuff.... starting with the positive.
The posts I've been avoiding are really about how I'm really tired of the Republican campaign taking ownership of patriotism.  That somehow I'm not as American or that I'm not as proud of my country because I don't buy into the neo-con ideology.  It is ludicrous and it pisses me off! I'm tired of and saddened by reading hateful, fearful letters to the editors of my local paper about how Obama is going to be the end of us all because he's Muslim, the anti-christ, going to kill babies and on and on and on.... all lies fueled (or at the very least not repudiated) by the McCain campaign.  
I've chosen my candidate because I care about our country and want someone in the White House who will inspire us, bring us together, and restore our standing in the world as "the shining beacon on the hill".  I admire his "intellectual vigor" as Colin Powell so eloquently put it and I'm proud of the campaign he's running.  I feel like Obama gets what it's like to be in my shoes... lower middle class (stuck in a no-man's land of not making enough, but making too much for assistance), having to make hard decisions about money, health-care, etc.  I want the war in Iraq to be over and I want our military to be able to focus on the real threats.   I want real change from the last 8 years!
You know, I also think it's perfectly fine if someone doesn't agree with Obama's policies and wants to vote for McCain, and I'll never ever call them unpatriotic or somehow less American. I will not wish harm on their candidate or on them because that's the beauty of this country, we all have the right to decide for ourselves.  
Ok, there.  I really do feel better now.... 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cute Houses

I have a thing for cute, colorful houses.. in real life and in art.  Last night I got to test out a new embroidery pattern by Jessica Rose of Vol 25.  She emailed me the set of patterns yesterday, and I just fell in love!  They are so cute and fun.  I immediately thought "row houses" and "pillow".I used bright colors and kept the stitching really simple and artfully imperfect to keep it feeling whimsical.  The border around the pillow is by Amy Butler (Wall Flowers in Mustard). The back and background fabric is chocolate brown linen.
Jessica has a couple of free patterns in her flickr group as well as pictures from other testers.  I can't wait to see what else she turns into embroidery patterns.  You should check out her other work.. fantastic it is!  She has a very lovely etsy shop.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


We are up to our necks in birthdays around here!  Thursday was my birthday.  On the great birthday scale, I would rate the day as "eh.".  It had some great moments, like my Dad coming up to visit, Jason and Taylor singing me "Happy Birthday" in the morning, and the most delicious cake ever that I made for myself.  It is my very very very favorite cake... and it looks just like the picture.  (Or, it did before we devoured it!)  There was other stuff that made the day, well, not so stellar, but that's all water under the bridge now.  I went out for a little retail therapy yesterday and that really did make me feel better.  Besides finding a cute pair of jeans that fit On Sale, I found these super ridiculously cute shoes at Target (I heart Target!).
It is also Taylor's very best buddy's birthday tomorrow.  The kid freakin' loves to dress up!  So, I made him his very own super hero cape.  I used the tutorial found on puking pastilles.  I was a little unsure of the how to draw out that shape exactly, so I made one out of paper first.  It's really like making a giant bib that you wear backwards.  I made my own applique from felt and the fabric of the cape is costume nylon that has a satin finish.  I wanted to do satin, but that stuff is so ravel-y and this sucker is going to get put through its paces, I'm sure.  Since you can't use a hot iron on this stuff I just glued the applique to the cape with fabric glue and then stitched it down by hand with embroidery thread for a cool border.
Next stop for today is a bowling party for some kid in Taylor's class.