Thursday, May 28, 2009

School's Out

4 witty remarks
That should be "School's out for summer" but it won't actually BE summer for quite a while. And if the weather is anything to go by (60s and drizzly) it's still going to be spring for a good long while. On the other hand, the kids' first day of school will be August 11th so maybe we just observe a slightly different calendar here in Indiana?

Anyway, it's the kids' last day of school today. I guess technically, the last official day was yesterday. Betsy is having Kindergarten Field Day right now and Porter had his preschool picnic, although we left because of the aforementioned rain (although not until after he had a chance to go on the carousel at the park). Their last day of riding the bus was yesterday. Also, Betsy brought home a bunch of school work - her entire art portfolio (And I'd just like to mention how hilarious it is to hear a six-year-old talking about pointillism. She says it's "little dots.") and her second semester writing journal. The kindergarten journals are always a hoot, especially towards the end of the year when she decided to write all of her letters with flourishes and little hearts on them.

This has been a really crazy week, and it's not over yet. Betsy has her dance recital on Saturday night and a dress rehearsal on Friday (when Matt and Porter are going to an Indians game) and it's ALSO the neighborhood garage sale this weekend. Which I guess guarantees that it's going to be bad weather at least until Sunday. I have a HUGE mound of old baby and maternity clothes to get rid of (but don't worry, there's still plenty left should we decide to havea fourth child) and would desperately like to unload at least SOME of it. Matt has to go to Connorsville, wherever that is, on Sunday (he has a stake calling now and he has to travel. I'm trying really hard not to complain because I did say that I would support him) and then we have to get ready to go out of town. Because the weekend after that is Rob and Laura's wedding!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


6 witty remarks
So, I've been having a run of good luck lately. See, I've been shopping at Goodwill for years and years and YEARS now; I got all of my clothes there when I worked in labs (jeans & tshirts that can be disposed of without regret when they get trashed) and now that I am not working again I go in at least once a week. I never used to find anything vintage - nice stuff, granted, but not vintage - and I never saw any sewing patterns until I bought like 20 of them in a 3 week period. I kind of think that the universe is giving me good thrift-store karma to make up for, you know, the whole repeated-job-loss thing. Here's some of the sweet finds I've scored lately:

  • A green glass jar ($3) that sits on my kitchen counter and holds cookies when we have them, which isn't often (not that I don't make cookies, they just don't stay around very long)

  • Patterns, patterns, patterns, patterns (49 cents apiece).
    This is only a small portion of my huge stash of vintage patterns. I literally tripped over some of them because they were strewn across the floor one of the times I went in. The ones that are my size I will keep and eventually sew (I'm dying to make that Very Easy Vogue wrap dress from the 70s just as soon as I have the right fabric) and the rest I will list in my Etsy store, once I go through all the pieces and everything.

  • What's better than old sewing patterns? Umm, how about the pattern and the fabric to go with it? I found these cool boxes (a steal at $2.50 per) that had apparently been in someone's stash that they never got around to using. I love this cool brocade-y stuff: I think I will see if I can lengthen that pattern into a dress, since I don't have much use for a tunic with Nehru collar and matching bellbottoms. And I found this one with the pattern pieces already cut out AND the notions inside the box: The dress will actually fit me, and I completely love the style, so I think I'll sew it up and wear it this winter and piggyback off someone else's hard work. I'm not crazy about the fabric since dark green isn't really my color, so after I finish I'll probably make it up in something else. Maybe shorten the pointy collar a little because technically it's not the seventies ANYMORE.

  • Polly Flinders smocked dresses ($4 each)! Remember those from the eighties? The funny thing is that we had THESE EXACT ONES in the Blinn household at one point. I have vivid memories of Emily wearing that green one around Christmastime when she had bangs in her hair. They're too small for Betsy (size 6 but Polly Flinderses seem to run small. Amy has one that's a 24m and she wears it now. With pants underneath because it's so short) but Amy will grow into them eventually. And then I will pass them down to my girls when they are grown - one for each of them - and we will pretend that they are family heirlooms and not a miraculous thrift-store find.

  • Speaking of smocked dresses for little girls, how about this beauty ($4)?
    I snatched it right off the rack because it's clearly homesewn. Once I got it home and took a closer look at it I realized what a good job it is - French seams, a seriously deep hem, miles of slipstitching (something I personally loathe, and avoid whenever possible). It's in pretty good condition but not so much so that you would think it's never been worn, and it's just a tad big for Amy at the moment.
  • A huuuge stack of records for my mother ($10 for the lot, or roughly $1 a pound).
    Mom's been listening to records a lot lately and these ones are seriously old - they predate vinyl, and according to Wikipedia the switch to vinyl was around 1940. Cool.
  • A really cool old full slip - my mom swears that her mom had one just like it in the sixties. Only this one is way, way bigger (I could get maybe an arm into Grandma's slip; she was a teeny little thing)
  • A really nice heavy saucepan ($5) - I haven't been able to find out much about the Altiva brand other than that it used to be sold at Sears. But it's the perfect size, bigger than my other saucepans and smaller than the stock pot.

  • A bike for Porter ($13) and helmets for both of the kids ($2 each)
  • A sheet ($3). Why a sheet? Because it's old and cool and I liked the print. It's really soft and not faded in the slightest, and I think I will cut the elastic off the edges and sew it up into a dress.

  • This purple satin dress ($2.50)
    They had these at Target around Christmas and boy, I wanted one BAD but I wasn't about to spend $40 on a dress. Goodwill shoppers know that sometimes if you get lucky, brand new stuff from Target will appear once it's no longer in the stores, and I got lucky.

  • Because I'm my mother's daughter, a Liz Claiborne purse ($3). I like that it's capacious enough to hold my keys, cell phone, camera, anti-swine-flu hand sanitizer, some snacks, and all of my coupons without making me look like the kind of woman who carries all that stuff around in her purse. (Sorry, I guess it's not 'swine flu' any more - it's now H1N1, which I believe is pronounced "heinie.")

  • The outfit I am wearing THIS VERY MOMENT ($6 total).

    Because if there's one thing I love, it's a cotton print A-line skirt. The polo was rather unappealingly baggy so I took in the sides with my sewing machine, and discovered that the knit stitch makes an interesting rhythm as it sews.

    So, who else has been thrift-store-hunting? Any great finds lately?

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    So You Think You Can Walk

    1 witty remarks
    Amy's been able to walk for a while now. She can even stand up without having to pull up on the furniture, which is a pretty impressive feat on its own. However, she still preferred crawling as a means of locomotion... maybe it was easier? Anyway, we figured that one of these days she'd realize she could walk and she'd just take off. Last night, when the missionaries were over, Amy rose gracefully to her feet and just started toddling all over.

    I guess this means she's a toddler now and not a baby anymore. SO not ready for that distinction. (And if you're wondering what I'm motivating her with, it's those Gerber freeze dried yogurt bites... which apparently are so addicting for 1-year-olds that they ought to come with a warning label.)

    Thursday, May 14, 2009


    2 witty remarks
    I told you I'd update for real, and here it is. In no particular order, here's a handy bullet-pointed list of what I've been up to lately. Oh, and with no photos because Blogger is evil.
    • Mom, Dad, and the little girls were here last weekend because Mike was graduating from law school (INSERT LAWYER JOKE HERE) down in Bloomington and I guess they thought it would be a lark to see us as well. Whatever.
    • We took the girls down to the Childrens Museum on Saturday and had a great time. Betsy got to meet Barbie because they will be opening a Barbie exhibit soon (and by "soon" I mean seven months from now) in honor of the doll's 5oth. Amy got to ride on the carousel and I could have DIED from the cuteness. This is one of those times when the whole Blogger-is-evil thing gets kind of inconvenient, because pictures would have been nice.
    • And oh yes, there was Steak 'n' Shake. Guess what? The Frisco Melt is STILL delicious.
    • We went to three different Goodwill stores in one day. Mom got some awesome old records (as in really old, pre-vinyl, I think you have to use a pterodactyl's beak to play them) and we saw the single most interesting set of living room furniture I have EVER seen. Oh, how I wish I'd taken a picture. And it sort of led to my developing an alter ego but the less said about THAT, the better.
    • I cooked a lot of stuff in the Crock Pot. It seems to be the easiest way of doing stuff for a crown and my mom LOVES the Moroccan Chicken. But on Sunday Matt made a grilled pork tenderloin and that was delicious too.
    • Betsy's flower girl dress is done! Mom did the invisible zipper for me because I am NOT GOOD at zippers. I also used her serger for some parts because the serger fairy just keeps missing my house. Maybe I need to leave a tooth under my pillow, or something. AND I learned how to use the blindhem on my machine so guess who won't be hemming by hand anymore?
    • Porter and his Graypa are like best friends forever now. After my family went home Porter just sat forlornly on the swing with no one to push him. *sniffle*
    • It's official: I want a Wii.
    • It was fun to have Mom here for Mothers Day. I made her a mini chipboard album/brag book with pictures of all the grandkids. She acted like she liked it even though I know she secretly hates it. Porter gave me a potted flower and Betsy painted a picture for me in her kindergarten class (and KEPT IT A SECRET which is pretty impressive in itself). I got chocolate at church and a Hobby Lobby gift card from a husband who knows me all too well. (So far I've used it for some Stickles and a magnetic pincushion. I can only use one 40% coupon at a time and my legendary cheapness is not suspended even when it's a gift.)
    • Mom and I went antiquing, something I've been dying to do for the longest time. While she was drooling over the Fire King dishes and gingham aprons, I found a book I've been hunting for ages: The Little Brown Jug At Kildare, by forgotten Hoosier author Meredith Nicholson. I read a bunch of his books while I was in college (they had a whole shelf at the Butler library) and that one was my favorite. It's a really nice edition with a full color front and it only set me back ten bucks... probably because the dealer didn't realize that it was written by an Indiana native.
    • Amy learned how to say hi. Her first word! While we were out she was keeping up a stream of HI HI HI HI HI HI to everyone around us, which was really cute. She can also say Bye Bye and wave her hand, which is darling. And she walks. WHICH IS NOT FAIR.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    still here

    3 witty remarks
    I haven't died, I've been very busy making Betsy's flower girl dress and having an awesome time with my parents and sisters. Will type all of it up soon (the dress is 95% done. Yay!) with pictures and everything, promise!

    Sunday, May 3, 2009


    1 witty remarks
    My plans for yesterday's National Scrapbook Day were thus:

    1. Scrapbook until my fingers fall off;

    2. Get prosthetics;

    3. Scrap some more.

    And other than a brief trip to Meijer for tomato plants, that's pretty much what I did. Here is a brief glimpse of the fruits of my labors:

    That's actually several days' worth, since I got into the swing of it sometime on Thursday and kept scrapping up to today while Matt was at stake conference. I'm getting a lot faster at my craft - it used to be I could complete one, maybe two layouts in a day and sometimes I can do four or five. But I really need a chair with some decent back support down there. I've been perched on an El Cheepo Folding Chair for the better part of four days and man, am I feeling it now. The good news is we've got a better chair up here at the computer desk - lucky thing, because it's going to take the rest of the night to get all of those pages scanned.

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