I am an unfinished work, and so are many of my projects. This blog is just an odd collection of things I make and do.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Money Can't Buy Happiness, But It Can Help Dreams Come True

Christmas for my sons this year is very simple.  I made each of them a bank, similar to the one I made last year for Secret Santa.  Of course, they are in  more masculine designs, like red and black and brown, favorite college logo, cars, etc.  I personalized each one and filled it with treats--nuts, dried fruit, white-chocolate covered cashews--the kind of things they love but most young families can't get on a budget.  

One son and his Sweetie are coming and going by Greyhound bus, so they will have snacks for the return trip. She gets a bank too. Hers is all flowers and stripes and very pretty.

We shopped at a nearby store that carries such items in bulk at a very good price, so there is plenty left over for us to enjoy.

I made up little sayings and stickers to attach to the banks. Each was personalized for the recipient.  On the one with the George Bush quote, I added a Mickey Mouse and Disney logo, since their family is saving for a big trip to Disney World. I thought he'd get a kick out of the quote, since I'm fairly certain he's not a Bush fan.

I also covered them with clear adhesive paper to make them more durable.  They came out pretty nice. This one is the one for the youngest, who is in college, and is also in the military to defend his country and pay his way through school.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Bowl Full of Lemons
I'm going to link up with the New Year's Organizing Revolution.

I'm pretty well organized right now, but I could use some improvement.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

If Superman Was so Super, Why Did He Need a Cape to Fly?

And how can we keep him from getting hung by the neck by his own cape?  

Earlier this year, my daughter-in-law asked  me to make capes for her boys.  I was happy to, but it took me a while to get them done, so I just threw them in with the Christmas box.

My concern with capes is that if they get caught somewhere, they could choke the kid before he can get help.  I considered velcro straps instead of ties, but even that worries me, because if you catch it just right, it might still not come undone.

After researching a bit on the internet, I came up with simple instructions for making a safe cape.  I modified the pattern a little, because it was using felt, and had Batman edges.  I used regular fabric and hemmed the edges, so they are washable, but otherwise it's pretty much the same.

My capes have no designs because my daughter-in-law has some iron-ons she will use for them.  My husband asked a little boy downstairs to model them for me, and here they are.  I made four colors, but we got pictures of two of them. The others are red and green.  Each took about a yard of fabric.

Superman ponders the secrets of the universe.
Or maybe he's just a bit shy.

I have got to print this one for his mom.

Batman is ready to jump, or fly, or whatever Batman does!

On this cape, you can see the elastic on the arms.

Why in the World Did My Momm Stick a Hanger in My Christmas Box?

What an odd thing that she stuck a sturdy coat hanger in the box.  Oh well, nice hanger. I'll put my coat on it.

Well, not quite what Momm had in mind.  Her's the real reason for the hanger:

Merry Christmas to my grandchildren!

Here is their gift:

Oh, how cool is that?  It has Iron Man and Captain America both!  Those are the current favorites.  But, what is it?  Is it a blanket?  Nope, not a blanket.  But what can it be?

 It's a Lego mat. It's 2 yards long and about 45 inches wide.  Just about the right size for two little boys to play with their Legos comfortably.  When they're done, just hook the loops over the sturdy hanger  (No, son, it wasn't for your coat. Sorry.)

We always had a rule in our house that Legos were to be played with on a sheet or blanket. Any that fell off were quickly picked up or confiscated by the adults around.  At the end, we'd gather up the corners, causing the Legos to fall to the middle, and then work together to dump them into a big bin.  My son had mentioned that they were planning on the same rule for their boys.

With this, they don't even need to dump them into the bin; just hang them up for another day.  I hope they like it!

I made long channels for the cords to run through, but I think it might have been easier and better to just sew the cords into the ends.  However, this way they can gather it into more of a sack if they like, and since it in one long cord, there is no danger of it pulling out from the seams.

Now I am worried about the long cords if they gather it down, so I might suggest to the parents that they could put a safety pin through the corners to prevent that until the boys get older.

Next best thing to getting actual Legos!  Oh yeah, got them too.  And so did the other grandparents!  So they are all set for some building fun.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Frosty the Snowman melted away and all the kids got for Christmas was a corncob pipe...

I really don't know the song/story of Frosty.  To me a Frosty is an ice cream at Wendy's!  

The Chocolate Frosty™ ShakeI was going to remake a very cute polka-dotted dress that didn't fit any of us into a tote bag for my polka-dot loving daughter-in-law for Christmas.  I had the lining of a purse I bought but ended up not liking, with the pockets all sewn in already, for a lining.  As I started to cut apart the dress I realized it was gored and all the pieces were narrow.  I then decided a makeup bag for her Disney World trip would be a nice gift.

I cut out the lining and some fusible interfacing, turned on my iron and went to work.  The first thing I did was melt one of the pockets.  Apparently this purse lining was made of a cheap synthetic fabric. So now the pocket was all scrunched up, basically unusable.

Having no scraps to use as a lining, or time to remake all the pockets and everything, I tossed the entire thing in the trash and went shopping.

Merry Christmas, dear daughter!  I'm afraid your gift is a little generic, and no polka-dots, but it comes with warm thoughts and lots of love!  

Wendy's has a special deal on with ToysRUs;  I don't know much about it but if you want to find out how to buy a kids' meal and get a Toys gift card, click here. It might be "maybe" get a gift card.  I'm not sure.  They didn't pay me to post this, either; I just found it when I went looking for a picture of a Frosty.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And Lady Mondegreen sang: Oh little tiny butt of lamb, how still we see thee lie...

That was the  translation I heard from my 4-year-old granddaughter one year after she sang at the church Christmas program.  I think I will hold it over her head as blackmail in a few years.

For more fun Mondegreens, and the origin of the word, check out this link:

For maximum fun, sing them aloud.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Caps for Kids

I bought some gorgeous soft teal yarn (Caron Soft) for a sweater, but I didn't like the way it was knitting up for it.  I took most of it back, but what to do with the remaining skein, which I had opened?

I found this cute pattern for caps, knitted in 3 patterns, and it looked like fun to try, so I started in on a cap. 

It's acrylic, washable yarn, so it would be pretty good for kids' caps. The pattern is supposed to be for baby caps, but with bigger yarn and needles it was perfect for kids.

After I got the teal one done, I used leftover purple Caron Soft for a second one. I got the two of them done in time to donate to Coats for Kids, along with a scarf my daughter-in-law started last year.  It didn't come out all that well, but it'll be warm for someone, and the caps are darling.

For the pompoms on top of the caps, I used pompom yarn.  I knitted it in with the yarn for the last row, so that when I pulled it tight at the top, it pulled all the little balls together, leaving a cute, tight pompom that children cannot easily pull yarn bits out of.

For a third one, I switched to a heavier pink yarn and even larger needles and made this one for my daughter-in-law.  I wasn't thrilled with the yarn--I think it fits the definition of "crap yarn"--it's kind of rough and doesn't show the pattern well, and it turned out too big for her.  However, she said she likes it and wore it all weekend at least.  It is big enough to fit over a tighter cap, and roll down her neck, so when we get those freezing winter days she can bundle up and stay plenty warm. 

And the yarn was free--a friend gave me a whole bunch of yarn she was weeding out.  I think the rest of it might be better for tying a quilt or something, but I did at least finish the cap just for the practice of it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Economics Graphing

This is what I am doing for fun this morning.  I love my job!  Working with a great student today who cares about his work and tries hard to do a good job.
My ChartGo Graph

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I love LDS General Conference.  This quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf inspires me, since I am always trying to do better, starting over again and again.  So I had to make a poster. 

Since the quote is copyrighted, please do not use this for any commercial use, but feel free to copy it for your own use.

I have to tell a little story on my husband. He came in from work, in a hurry to get a bite to eat before a meeting.  I asked him to look at this, and he gave me a casual, uh-huh, looks good, response.  "Did you even read it?"  I demanded.  He came over, read it, and immediately asked me to print several copies for the meeting he was about to attend.  Love you, Hon!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Missing Missy L

I just looked over and realized that one of my favorite kids in the whole world has gone missing from my sidebar.  I wonder what happened!  I think the poll took her place.  Who cares about polls anyway.  I've got to restore Missy!

Now she's back! And I didn't do a thing.  Don't we love computers?  My dad used to talk about "the innate animosity of an inanimate object."  I think he would have found classic examples in the computer age.  I also think he would have been fascinated by them.

After all, we had Atari, playing Pong, right away. Which is really amazing, because we weren't the rich kids on the block.  I think it just fascinated Dad.  Along with the talking doll and Voice of the Mummy.  Yes, he would have loved the computer age.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wedding Chaos....er, Reception

Helen and her Mom before the wedding

About a month before my son's wedding, it dawned on me that his bride, Helen, needed some help! Her mom, who lives in another state, found out she had to move, and didn't have much wedding planning done yet.  The bride had great ideas but needed some help to execute them. It was really fun to get to be involved with the planning and decorating!  I have all sons, so I don't get the opportunity to be mother of the bride, who usually does all those things.

I've never been so grateful for the internet! We had a fairly small budget, as weddings go, but that didn't stop us! We passed ideas back and forth, met a couple of times for shopping, and came out with a very pretty reception.  Her dad is a chef, so the meal was planned and taken care of by him, even the cake.  It was delicious and beautiful.

Theme: Flying Into Eternity

Our church building, where the reception was held, has kind of inset side panels in the walls.  We decided to focus on them.  This was the planned idea.

This is what we ended up with.  It's hard to see, but at the top of each scallop there is a pretty tulle bow.  It was more noticeable in reality. My husband made the airplanes out of paper, sprayed with glitter paint.  I love that stuff!  We used a whole can of it and wished for a second by the time we had the decorating complete. I think if I was doing it again, I would get pink tulle for the bows, but this was pretty too.  It could have used a little more color.

Inspiration for the head table.

Inspiration for the backdrop

What it looked like:  The ribbons drape along the front of the tables, for a very pretty draped effect.  After looking at fancy bows, Helen decided she wanted a very simple tied bow.  I glued the satin ribbon to a shimmery white wire tulle ribbon, which gave it enough stiffness to hold its shape beautifully.  The backdrop is shimmery tulle with added glitter spray, backed by a white paper.  The whole thing is mounted on a frame made of PVC pipe.  We just taped the paper and tulle on, then added bows like the ones on the side panels of the rooms. The bridesmaids' kissing balls were made ahead out of crepe paper roses by the groom's sister-in-law.  She also made the beautiful paper rose bouquet for Helen, which you can see in the top picture. 
Head Table Place Setting.  Helen had received two goblets as shower gifts so we used them for their places at the head table.  We set it with nice china, but the meal for the guests was served on "fine styrofoam," so you see here a foam plate set on the fine china.
She originally wanted to hang the clouds from the ceiling, but there was no way to do that, so we used the ones she had as centerpieces. There were enough for about half the tables.
For the rest of the tables, we used the pictures, a couple of airplanes, and these tulip vases which a neighbor gave Helen's mom, "just in case."  Helen ordered the table runners from Smarty Had a Party.  We sprinkled them with plastic "diamonds" for a sparkly effect.

Food table, decorated by Helen's dad.  We set it up banquet style, with the beautiful salads pre-made and served on the plates. 

Guest book sign-in.  We decided to forgo the usual guest book, and have a guest list on a clipboard instead, so the happy couple can simply put the pages into their wedding scrapbook.  The pink ink is a bonus.  I took a plain brown clipboard, glued on pink construction paper, sprayed it lightly with glitter paint, and tied on a sparkly tulle bow.  Bonus:  I now have a pretty clipboard!

We put a couple of tables in the foyer to assure guests they had walked into the right place.  Helen's mom provided picture and the couple statue for the tables.

The cake.  It was a single layer for them to cut, with slices set out for the guests as well.  I like how the strawberries almost look like hearts.  It was covered with white chocolate, which turned out to be fun as it made it hard for them to cut it in preparation for that first bite.

I was very pleased that, in keeping with older tradition, they kindly fed each other a bite of cake.  It symbolizes nourishment and trust.  I don't like it when people stuff each other with cake all over their faces. It's good fun, but I love the way these two just gently fed each other a little bite--like a promise of sweetness for each other and more to come.

We made the placemats, guest list, photo centerpieces, and little email cards all in matching color and style to tie it all together.

Placemat--printed on 8.5x14-inch paper.  It's a little narrow but it was pretty.  We had already searched high and low for pink paper place mats, and these were easy and we could print them at home.

Photo backgrounds. We used a full sheet plus half sheet (cardstock) glued together to make the photo triangles for the centerpieces.  I will forever be indebted to Helen's sister for spending hours cutting, pasting, and gluing them all together for me the day of the reception.

We placed little tent cards with this information, 2 to each table.  I have not heard yet whether we received any pictures, but I do hope some of the guests have taken some and sent them to Mel.

Somewhere in all this, I managed to find an outfit to wear. It's not perfectly her color scheme of pink and silver, but it did meet her approval.

The picture doesn't quite do justice to the sparkles on the shirt--or sparkles anywhere in the decorations for that matter.  I wore a flowing black skirt and felt quite beautiful and comfortable with myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Poof Ball Sweater

When I finished Missy L's sweater at Christmas time, Missy M asked if I'd make her one too.  I said I would, but probably not get it done until about the time she starts the new school year.  She accepted that, and when I finished another project I had started, I started in on her sweater.  I had seen a picture of one finished, but I wanted a little brighter colors. 

The cutest picture of Missy M in her new outfit. 
She was wearing a bright-colored swimsuit, which happened 
to be just the right colors to wear with the sweater.  
The sweater is a little big, but she'll grow.  
My granddaughters are tiny.
I love this puffball yarn, which comes pre-made. No, you don't have to spend hours making pompoms that fall apart...this is already done and it's fairly sturdy.

This one shows off the whole sweater a little better.

When I got done, I had leftover yarn, some time, and a cute hat pattern, so I made her the cap to match.  I love it!  I got it done just in time to take it to her when we made a trip for her uncle's wedding--just a week or two before school started!

One of my little church gals loved the hat as I was making it, so I am whipping up a second one for her. I don't know if she'll like the puffballs on the top though; I might leave them off as in the original pattern.

Quick and bulky...and so cute!  I have Miss M in mind, though I know she wants one like her sister's.  @Tammy White, what do you think?
The original pattern. 

Hers is proportionally shorter than the one I made for Missy M; I'm guessing a slight variation in gauge or type of yarn used. I used a softer type of yarn, just because I liked the color and texture of that brand better.  It's still Red Heart, but it's the soft kind.

The hat is from "The Art of Knitted Lace"  which has several other darling patterns I want to try.  I learned how to do "Magic Loop" which took lots of practice, but is so worth it for knitting in the round on an item too small for cable needles.  I have yet to learn how to do knitting on three needles.  I will probably need to take a class and quit being self-taught for that one.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Temple Photography

My husband is creating a wall of pictures of temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that he has visited and photographed. He is truly talented at it.

When he was going through his photos, he realized he doesn't have any full pictures of the Dallas Texas temple.  When we were there a few years ago, he was so focused on my niece's wedding that he didn't really get a good temple picture.

There is a brand new temple in Kansas City, Missouri, which I had a chance to see on a recent trip to Texas.  I tried to get good pictures of both temples to add to our wall.  I don't think they are as good as his, but they're pretty good, so I decided to share them here.
1.  Dallas temple from out by the fence.
2.  Dallas with sign in the foreground
3. Dallas Temple

4.  Closer-in side view.

5. Kansas City Temple from the parking lot.

6.  Kansas City Temple

7.  Kansas City Temple, angled view

8.  Kansas City Temple, at a little distance.