Monday, June 29, 2009

celebration giveaway!

***this giveaway is now closed***
This is my 300th post!!
It's hard to believe that I have had so much to say over the past 15 months. Okay, maybe it's not really that far fetched because I have been known to talk a lot sometimes. But 300 posts is a lot! I wanted to celebrate with a giveaway when I hit the 100 and 200 post milestones, but I just wasn't prepared. Well, this time I'm ready! How about you ? Are you ready for a giveaway? Oh goody! So here's what I'm giving apron, a clothespin apron. It's fitting, don't you think? This is Clothesline Chronicles after all and I do possess an unusual delight in hanging my clothes out on the clothesline. Also, if you're going green and want to reduce your electric bill, hang your laundry on a clothesline instead of using your dryer and when you do you can fill this apron with your clothespins. Besides, wearing this cute apron while you work will make it more fun!...or at least you'll look like your having more fun, right?
Okay, so you like the apron but hanging your laundry isn't an option? No problem, you can use it for crafting, cooking, camp outs, block parties, yard sales...the possibilities are endless. Also, I made it reversible so if you want to tone it down, or don't need the big pocket you can flip it around for a more subtle, but still cute, apron.

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Since the 4th of July is coming so soon I was feeling especially patriotic, hence the color choices. Who doesn't love the red,white, and blue?
So to enter my 300th post celebration giveaway just leave a comment on this post. Yep, that's it! Nothing fancy, just say hi or, if you want, leave me your best knock-knock joke. Ours are getting stale and with a 6 year old and 4 year old I'm in need of some new material. :o) Want an extra entry? Post about it on your own blog just be sure to pop back in over here and let me know. Don't have a blog? Don't worry, you can still get your entry by leaving a comment.
I'll accept comments until midnight on July 3rd. The winner will be posted on July4th!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

new to me

Well, I have been making some serious progress on the ol' crocheted stash basket. It's such a great pattern, and it's free...does it get any better than that? Anyway, I ran out of yarn so I had to get one more skein third one.(Lily Sugar n Cream 2.5oz skeins in cornflower blue) I, being quite new to crochet, have found this pattern easy to follow and very helpful when it comes to mastering counting stitches. I must say this project has helped me gain confidence in my crocheting abilities...that's new to me! Yes, it's a simple pattern but it's looking just like the picture...on the first try...without ripping out lots of rows to do them over...seriously! My Grandma is going to be so proud! :o) All I've got left to do at this point are the handles and then it'll be done. Yippee! As you can see from the picture it's already stuffed and ready for my next project. This basket is going on my Christmas project list, for sure.
Saturday morning my street had several yard sales. I've really been practicing restraint lately when it comes to yard sales. Ya know, I don't want to buy something unless I really need it so if I go to yard sales it's with something specific in mind. Well, today was different. With eight yard sales with in sight of my front yard I grabbed my girls and my wallet and we went to each one. I some some fabric at one...cute fabric, but overpriced so I walked away. I've got fabric and I'm really working hard at using what I've got before I spend money on anything new. I also saw a really cool javelin type spear with leather and feathers wrapped around it and a carved stone arrow. Hmmm...small children, long, sharp weapon...not a good combination so I passed on that one. The girls each got a new book for a whopping 25 cents and were absolutely thrilled so we walked back home. Well, a few hours later as our street was alive with activity we saw a good friend at the yard sale across the street. Our friend, Mrs. H., is like another grandma to my girls. When we go for walks in the afternoon we often stop by her house to say hello. She spoils the girls with hugs and ice cream. Well, now was our chance to have her come and sit on our porch for once. So as the girls jumped up and down with excitement I went to our neighbors yard to say hello to her and invite her over. She saw the girls and said she'd be right soon as she finished her shopping. And that's when I saw it. A sewing machine. That wasn't there when the girls and I stopped by a few hours earlier. So I said to my neighbor in my very calm, nonchalant voice "Oh, I see you have a sewing much are you asking?" She said she didn't know how much it was worth, but she was pretty sure it worked, and for me she'd sell it for $10...I could test it and if it didn't work I could bring it back. Deal! By this time Mrs. H was done shopping and walked back across the street with me to shower my girls with hugs and kisses. We chatted for a moment and then she was on her way to the next yard sale. I quickly ran in and got some cash and headed back across the street. I handed her the money and took my machine...and she gave me some change! I only paid $7!! I quickly got out some fabric and gave it a try. It works! It's quiet! It was only $7. Oh, it's a Kenmore..a few years old, but certainly new to me. It's barely been used and it has all of the little tools and extras to go with it. It looked dusty and dingy when I got it, but with a little Mr. Clean and elbow grease it looks brand new! I can hardly wait to get sewing! I think my first project made on this machine will be a cover for it. So there you have it...things that are new to me. I hope you have a wonderfully blessed Sunday. Be sure to stop back in tomorrow for giveaway! xo ANG

Friday, June 26, 2009

one reason

...and it's a good one.
When I take pictures of my girls I usually end up with lots and lots of shots like these.

You know what I mean? As soon as my camera turns on and makes the little chiming sound these cute, sweet, adorable faces begin to contort and twist and...well, you get the idea. Oh sure, it's funny (and I laugh, which isn't so helpful). I especially enjoy the pictures of a big smile with angry eyebrows. Try it, it's funny. Make the meanest, most angry face you freeze your eyes that way and try to smile really big. Funny, right? Okay, so after about a gazillion pictures of funny faces I just want to scream. I try my best to capture the girls in candid shots because posing for the camera obviously doesn't work very well, but every once in a while I'd like a shot of them together, happy,smiling, and yes, looking at the camera. Is that too much to ask? Huh? Is it? Okay, don't answer that!
So after many, many pictures of super silly faces I eventually end up with gems like these.
So it's all worth it in the end. Yes, I download a gazillion pictures from my camera, but I delete the super-ridiculous shots, of course I also keep some. (You never know when you'll need an embarrassing photo.) And yes, when I finally get pictures of my girls like these I think it's my one good reason for carrying my camera with me everywhere I go and taking enough pictures to choke a horse. What's your one good reason? Happy Weekend xo ANG

this post brought to you by Miss O

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

what we've been doing

*a little sewing fun for a giveaway...coming soon! Our new furry friend got cozy while I was measuring.
*peeling, breaking, melting,!

*continuing to be in awe of God's amazing creation...check out the amount of pollen on that bumble bee's legs!
*mastering the hula hoop...a must for summer fun
*discovering new flowers that are tiny and beautiful (crown vetch)
*fishin'...a.k.a. watching Daddy fish between playground fun and picking flowers
*spending time with friends and loving every second of it!
*realizing why lilies are my favorite flower and why orange is my favorite color.
* oh sure, we've been doing work, the house, in the yard, in the garden but who wants to hear about that?! What have you been doing lately? Something fun, I hope. xo ANG

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

i'm just sayin'

Did you realize that June is half gone already?
Where did it go? How can this happen? Oh man, Father's Day is this coming Sunday...then before I even have a chance to think it'll be July. July! ~deep breath~ It's a big month in my family. Lots of birthdays and family gatherings. I love it all...every second of it, but I'm just not prepared. In my mind I have deemed this "the year of handmade gifts" and so far everything has gone really well. I have enjoyed every moment sewing, crocheting, and embroidering. I love taking the time to make special things for the special people in our lives. But now all of a sudden it's almost July. Believe me, I'm not complaining when I say this because my garden is growing like crazy and my water bill is not outrageous, but it's raining again and I can't get my sewing done on the front porch when it rains. I'm just sayin'. Nap time is my uninterrupted sewing/cleaning/exercising/blogging time and when it rains, well, sewing just doesn't happen. I guess I better get cracking and make an actual list of gifts that I want to make so I can use my time more wisely. I won't forget what to make, but having a list to check off works for me...keeps me on task...makes me plan more I can finish everything without stressing out and sewing like a mad woman the day before everything should be done. Not that I would ever act like that...I'm just sayin'Oh, and here's a picture of the girls being brave while they swing... No hands!
Have a great I've gotta go make a list. xo ANG

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

new things

The first NEW thing: I finished my dress! Woot!Woot! It fits, I love it, and yes, I figured out the whole zipper thing! As usual my mom talked me through it. Thanks Mama, you're a genius! I will, however, try the invisible zipper on my next project. Sorry I don't have a clearer full shot of the dress, but miss O was my assistant and I think she did a great job. The dress hits me right below the knee. So....what do you think? I'd still like to know what the writing says. Got any ideas?
The second NEW thing: Because I love the fit of my dress I want to use the skirt pattern part to make just a skirt. It's a simple, but fits me perfectly, A-line skirt. I've got this cute little tulip's quite stretchy (polyester) but with some red trim it'll be just perfect for July 4th!

The third NEW thing: My garden is growing! I've got peppers...lots of tiny little peppers! I've also got lots and lots of tiny little tomatoes. My sweet 100, husky cherry red, and lemon boy all have itty bitty tomatoes growing on them. I've got to stay on top of those suckers though. They grow fast! My radishes are almost ready, the sugar snap peas are reaching for the fence, the squash and zucchini have big blooms, the cucumber vines are growing and there are lots of buds...and my pumpkin plants...well, they are getting huge . I'm gonna try for my first made-from-scratch pumpkin pie this fall.

The fourth NEW thing: I haven't crocheted in a long time, but as soon as I saw this basket I just knew that I had to make it! Do you hear that? I think my yarn stash is calling me...maybe it was all of my pretty hooks:o) Okay, okay, I know, it was the basket! hehe! I've been holding on to some periwinkle Sugar 'n Cream yarn for just the right project...and this is it! I've started the bottom of the basket and it's coming along nicely. The pattern is easy to follow and it's free! Click here to get the pattern for yourself! I sure hope mine turns out as beautiful as this one. Now, if only my basket will fill itself with wonderful yarn when I'm done!

(picture from The Purl Bee )

So there you have it...four new things. What's new with you? xo ANG

Saturday, June 13, 2009

a rose is a rose is a rose

We went for a stroll in the Old City (Confederate) Cemetery last weekend. It's known for it's very, very old heirloom roses. I missed the peak bloom on some of them, but I did manage to capture these beauties.

"A rose is a rose is a rose." Gertrude Stein
"My love is like a rose divided into two, the leaves I give to others, but the rose I give to you." author unknown
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
"It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses we must plant more trees ."
"Truths and roses have thorns about them." Henry David Thoreau
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"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." Abraham Lincoln
"True friendship is like a rose: we don't realize its beauty until it fades." Evelyn Loeb
"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck." Emma Goldman
"The world is a rose; smell it and pass it to your friends." Persian Proverb
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

lollipops and sanity

Today between hanging loads of laundry on the clothesline, changing the litter box for our lovely new pet, filling and refilling cups with ice cold water so we could have some relief from the Virginia heat and humidity , and a little house work... my sanity was alittle fragile. Don't get me wrong,the girls were very good today. They did their school work with no complaints, shared coveted toys with minimal complaining, and enjoyed drawing pictures together. So why so fragile? The fretting, the teasing undertones that always result in whining, the constant loud voices (happy or not...loud is loud), oh, and fretting. Oh, wait, did I mention fretting? Right, I did. It's genetic...I'm not mentioning any names...I'm just saying. :o) So what saved the day? Lollipops. DumDums to be exact. They're tiny, but my beautiful offspring always sit quietly and read while they enjoy their little round sugary treats and there is blessed silence. It doesn't last long...20 minutes or so (sometimes less because I have a cruncher...sometimes longer if there is a contest to see who can make the world smallest lollipop), but it's enough time for my brain to recover from a day full of over stimulation and it's enough time for me to put the clean laundry away and wash the dinner dishes. So as I sit here tonight and ponder over the events of the day I am happy to say that my sanity is still intact and I am thankful for every single second.
On a sewing note::I haven't finished my dress yet, I am still pondering what to do with the zipper. I'm still open to any and all sewing advice.
Good night and sweet dreams...xo ANG

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

so close

Okay, so I've had this pattern for a little over 2 years and I've had this fabric since we lived in Hawaii..ahem, 8 years ago. On one of our trips to Maui from Moloka'i I managed to get myself into a huge fabric store and I just couldn't live without the Asian inspired fabric. If you're wondering...I have no idea what the writing says. If anyone can tell me I'd really appreciate it. With my luck it'll say something like -this fabric makes you look as wide as a barn- or -you're ugly and so is your dress- Sheesh, I'm really hoping that it says something nice. I digress...I've used little bits of this fabric that I love on some small projects over the years but my original intent was to make a dress for myself. So two years ago, when I purchased the pattern I cut out the pattern pieces and pinned it to my fabric. And there it sat...for a long, long time. Then, last summer I cut out the fabric and started working on the bodice. Lining, interfacing, curves, sleeves....all very intimidating. So once again, there it sat for a long, long time. Well, over the past year I have sewn a lot more and gained more and more confidence with each successful project. Oh sure, I have a closer relationship with my seam ripper now, but the relationship with my trusty pink Singer is rock solid. She has her days just like everyone else, but if I use good thread and keep her oiled and clean she hums along very happily. Anyhoo, after making my shirt back in April...and loving it...I've been wanting to finish my dress. So here it is. It's not quite finished though, but so close.

What's the hold up? Well, uh, the zipper. Zippers are scary, man! I'm using a dark blue thread because I like the little contrasting details. However, when I tried to put in the zipper it was all pucker-y and ugly. Enter-seam ripper. I tried a couple of times but it just wasn't working. I did try on the dress with the ugly zipper stitching and it fits perfectly! Seriously...I love it! I can hardly wait to wear it. Oh, you want to see it on me? I'd like to wait until it's done before I show it to you. Do you mind? Can you wait? I promise I'll try to finish it really soon...all I have left is the zipper and the hem. For the sole purpose of remaining sane, I hand stitched the zipper in place with the hope that it will look absolutely perfect when I machine-sew it in. But it's a 22" zipper and it's putting up a fight. So I have an idea....and your opinions and sewing knowledge would be greatly appreciated. I have seen a Japanese embroidery style called Sashiko...ever heard of it? Well, anyway, it's pretty much a running stitch that was used to reinforce clothing, but now it's used for quilting and for decorative details on clothing. So my idea is to use the sashiko style running stitch around the hem, around the sleeve edging, and around the zipper, neckline, and v-neck front and maybe, even possibly around the empire waist. Remember, I'd be using embroidery floss unless I'm lucky enough to find sashiko thread which is just a little thicker. The running stitch would be small so it wouldn't be really obnoxious or anything. I'm feeling like it would help with my zipper insecurities and add to the oriental-ness of the fabric. So? What do you think? Should I try it? If you want to see a few sashiko projects to get a better sense of what I'm aiming for you can go here and take a look. You can also click over to The Purl Bee for a wonderful explanation of the tools and techniques used to get the desired effect, as well as a fabulous tutorial.
And because I can't have a post without a picture of the they are on our Saturday outing to the local urban farming co-op checking out the wonderfully vocal hens and the very stylish rooster. I love me some chickens! I love me some sweet little girls, too!
Happy Tuesday! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the dress. xo-ANG

Saturday, June 6, 2009

progress, updates, and pictures, oh my!

Note to reader::pictures are from our trip to Brookgreen Gardens. There was a low country zoo, a petting zoo, and an aviary. All very small, but loads of wonderful creatures.
Today was a great, warm, sunny day. After I did my early morning grocery shopping we all went down to our local urban garden co-op. Most of the veggies for sale were down at the community market, which we also went to, but while at the co-op we saw some beautiful roses, some stylish chickens, and a very cantankerous turkey. We also ran into Adrienne of Some of a Kind. We talked kids, blogs, and sewing. Good times! I also had some very beneficial time with my sewing machine today. I've had a dress pattern cut out for a couple of years and just never got around to it. I'd worked on the bodice part and was intimidated by the lining and the interfacing. Well, it really wasn't that bad so I finished that up, added the cap sleeves, attached the cute band for the middle and sewed on the skirt! Yeah baby...that's progress! Now all I need to do is hem it and put in the zipper...yikes!
(snake in swampy water::fancy chicken-girls called them zebra chickens::young bull::cute, resting sheep with loads of wool::a fox squirrel..we thought raccoon squirrel would have made more sense, but oh well::cute, quick lizard::napping horse, huh?)
I also have for you an update on my PopPop. It's good news. He's doing quite well. He's still at home working on physical therapy and lots of other stuff. He's getting stronger...a farmer to the bone. I do still covet your prayers for him and my Grandma who is his primary care taker. Patience, perseverance, and protection.
(rescued injured bald eagles..beautiful and amazing::gator out in the open about 20 feet from the path we were following::tiny turtle in a pond on the overflow pipe::slick, cute, river otters::a little red fox catching some rays)
Well, our new cat, Shadow, is adjusting very well to his new home. He can be very sweet, purring and curling up beside us on the couch. He is also very playful but not rough with his claws. He is great with the girls...even in the midst of toys and loud playing and constant jumping he usually curls up right in the middle of the chaos to watch and nap. Now if he would not want me to get up at the crack of dawn he'd be perfect.
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(obviously all owls-I didn't write down all of the different kinds-I need to do a little owl research- but miss O absolutely loved seeing them all. The far right is the great horned owl who was gracious enough to hoot for us! The bottom left is a barn owl. Fascinating birds, really!)
We just finished up another couple of days of rain and I tell you what, my garden is growing like crazy! The peppers are covered in blooms, some tomatoes have blooms already, the sugar snap peas have sprouted, so have the radishes and beets! The sunflowers are growing a little more, the squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and pumpkins are growing quickly and will spread out soon. It's so exciting! I can hardly wait to harvest some fresh veggies from my own garden. When I went grocery shopping today I picked up more seeds...catnip-for Shadow :o) lettuce and spinach for mid to late summer planting.
So there you have it, a mish-mash of info and photos at the end of a wonderful day. I hope your was just as good. xo-ANG

Friday, June 5, 2009

the dress

Every year I make my girls a dress for their birthday. The fabric goes along with the theme, naturally. Now, we don't do big shindigs, but they do get to choose the cake design and then everything else just follows suit. Well, for miss E's birthday she wanted a princess crown cake with jewels and sprinkles. Done. Not my best cake decorating job. Totally avoidable, but I didn't make my own icing this time...big mistake. Thank goodness I had lots and lots of sprinkles. And the jewels? Those are fruit gusher gummies. She was thrilled with the outcome...and that's all that matters. The cake, by the way, was my first gluten free birthday cake...prepackaged mix made by 'Cause You're Special. The best gluten free cake I have ever tasted. Seriously. The texture, moisture, and taste were just like a regular cake!

Then as she was with me in the fabric store one day she saw the elastic smocked princess fabric and my decision had been made for me. I usually like to peruse the fabric store alone and find just the right fabric for THE dress, but not this time.

Now, for the trim at the hem, I didn't just sew on a strip of fabric. I used a quilt binding technique I learned from Dear Fii. It makes for a beautiful finish with no exposed seams. Yes, I know it was intended for quilts, but it works perfectly for dresses and skirts, too.
Now I can relax and finish sewing a dress for myself that I started 2 summers ago. Maybe I'll get that done in time for my birthday so I can have a new birthday dress, too. Also, on a birthday note, miss O is already in the thinking process for her next birthday cake. Now that she's a whopping six going on seven, she has decided to ponder upon it for a while before committing to a cake design. I mean , for heaven's sake, she's only got until January to make a decision. My guess? I think she'll go with something cat-ish OR something owl-ish. Either way, I can totally do that. Although, for the sake of uniqueness I'm hoping for owls. I'll let you know when she makes a decision.
Have a lovely Thursday....xo ANG

Thursday, June 4, 2009

time flies....

The warm weather takes me outside...away from my computer, away from my sewing machine, away from, well, inside. There's nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass, the aroma of garden dirt, and the wonderful scent of tomato plants. It. is. time. Summer is almost here. The cloudless sky after what seemed like a month of rain has allowed us to be very productive. My little garden in the city has been planted.

The plant markers have been made.

My mother's day gifts, which looked like this...

now look like this.

From left to right I have a Peanut Cactus, Old Man of the Andes, and Crazy Bunny. The Peanut Cactus is the only one struggling with the transplanting...she was covered in beautiful fuchsia colored blooms but they have withered. I'm hoping she'll revive in the wonderful summer heat. The girls enjoyed hunting for all the rocks in the garden, washing them off, and then painting them. I originally intended for all of the cactus rocks to be white, but that just wasn't fancy enough. The purpose, of course, besides being fancy, is to absorb the sun's heat so my lovely trio of cacti will be warm and happy.

We also acquired a new hammock for some serious relaxing time during the warm summer evenings. They look relaxed, right? And just so you can smile....miss E calls it a ham hock! hehe! That's what I called her chubby legs when she was a little more plump.(o:

The girls and I also did some cleaning of this...

in preparation for our new family member...Shadow.

We got the litter box ready, too. Okay, so this is the girls' first pet and all of the details were revealed to them. Can I just say that cleaning the litter box is not something they look forward to doing. However, miss E calls it a GLITTER box. I know, cute, right? I can't make myself correct her....but it does make me want to fancy up the kitty loo a bit.

So, the month of May vanished before my eyes and now I'm knee deep in June. I'm having lots of fun with my family and friends and I'm trying to soak it up before June evaporates. As I sit here this morning the girls are enjoying playing with their dolls while they watch Shadow play in a bag. Suddenly it clicks and miss O gets it when people say let the cat out of the bag! He purrs loudly in the midst of dolls and doll clothes and in the distance I hear my sewing machine sigh with loneliness. It looks like a rainy day is on it's way...maybe I'll work on some sewing during naptime since we'll be housebound. How's your day shaping up?