No cushions were completed

Could we just quietly forget that I made any mention of those cushions? I decided to knit a Christmas present and, given my snail-like knitting pace, everything else was put on to the backburner. Still managed to find the time to make some more decorations, mind. Actually, the poor tree can barely be seen under all the handmade decorations...My daughter and I made 27 of these stars, after seeing these ornaments. It was my first time using Crayola's Model Magic. It does roll out fairly smoothly, but the thing that surprised me most was how it dried. I had been expecting something similar to clay, but it dries more like solid rubber. It is a little flexible, gives to the touch, then returns to the shape that it dried in.Next up, some clothespins, a bit of paint and a pom pom were put to use to make a squad of these guard peg dolls. I had seen some similar Civil War peg dolls, but it was the British soldiers that won me over. Like I said, the tree is covered.That was the wee artificial tree that I put up at Thankgiving, covered in handmade decorations (since moving to California I need a little constant visual reminder that it is actually supposed to be winter). This is the 'proper' tree we picked out this week. This picture was taken after I had taken some of the handmade decorations off. You would have thought that that would be enough decorations, but I'm itching to make some Borax snowflakes with the kids, too...
Well, I had better get going. My parents arrive tomorrow (yay!) and I've got tidying to do (boo). I've been ill all week and have no energy (ugh), but I'm going to have to try to find some space in my son's room for his sister to sleep. I seem to remember that his carpet might be blue, but I have a few layers of his stuff to clear to be certain...

At least the Christmas shopping and -almost- all of the Christmas making is done. I do hope that you enjoy the holiday break. I'll be back some time in the New Year, I expect. Take care all,

Motivation needed

You would be forgiven for thinking that I had given up blogging. Goodness, my posts have been few and far between lately. I have been busy, but that's not much of excuse when the reality is that I have 4 cushion covers that only need about an hour's work in total to be finished and they have been that way for over a week now. So, I'm telling you that in the hope that public accountabilty will shame me into finishing the bloomin' things by Sunday. This Sunday.

For some reason Christmas decorating seems to be exempt from my procrastinations skills. I'm chomping at the bit to put up the decorations. My husband (aka Scrooge...) does not share my enthusiasm, so I'm having to wait until Thanksgiving is passed. Luckily he has yet to notice the yarn trees and snow globes have already been snuck out...... and that I've already started putting the kids to work on adding to our homemade ornament collection. Here's our little button trees inspired by these, to go with our button wreaths and button garlands.
October 11th was the tenth anniversary of my moving to the USA. I think that I might have lived in the US too long: I almost called the cushions 'pillows', even though they are not going on a bed. It seems that I've now lived here so long that I have to stop and pause to remember which is American English and which is British English. I will never call trousers pants, mind.

A bit late for a KCWC post?

I never did round up the end of KCWC, did I? Like I said, we needed the Halloween costumes ready earlier than expected: my in-laws had invited us to a ranch place and there were going to be some early Halloween festivities going on. Little Red Riding Hood was pretty much finished when I last blogged, but the Big Bad Wolf was just a mask.I improvised the pattern. To be honest, I don't want to sew 'fur' ever again: it sheds everywhere. I still keep coming across the odd tumbleweed of fake fur gently roaming across the hardwood floors...The poor kid roasted at his school's Fall Festival last week with all that fur on. Still it should be good for trick or treating on Monday, going by the cool evenings we've been having lately.That's the tail. Hopefully people will be able to tell what animal he is supposed to be when he's next to his sister.As for the KCWC round up, I did end up attempting a pattern for once.The pattern is Sailboat Pants by oliver + s. It is a well-designed pattern and I liked the little details, but I did have to alter it to fit my slim-hipped lass. Still, I managed to squeak these trousers out of a half yard of twill that I had in the stash.As for the trip away, it was nice. My kids didn't win the pumpkin carving contests (possibly because they didn't get much in the way of help from their parents) BUT my daughter did win $60 at bingo...

KCWC catch up

Well, it ended up taking a week or so for my sewing machine to come out of its summer hibernation: I hurt my back. I suffered several days of walking around looking like I was trying to do the robot. This, of course, had to coincide with our new hamster making a bid for freedom in the middle of the night. Luckily she chose my bedroom, as I was the only one still awake. Still, I'm sure that you can imagine that someone with a rigid back trying to catch a small lively rodent that is under the bed rates pretty highly on the ridiculous-looking scale...

Luckily I regained my mobility in time for the Kids Clothes Week Challenge. Unluckily my mother-in-law decided that she was going to stay at the start of the challenge week, scuppering my plans for the first couple of days. Plus I found out that my kids would need their Halloween costumes earlier than planned. So, plans scrapped, here's day one's effort: a hand sewn felt wolf mask. My theory is that sewing while entertaining a guest is not anti-social if it is hand sewing...

Not strictly an item of kids' clothing, but oh well. I might as well confess now: the next couple of days were filled with Halloween costume making, too. A late evening sewing session after soccer practices produced a little red hooded cloak for a Little Red Riding Hood:She then needed something to go under the cloak, though, so I came up with this little dress:Please do not look too closely. I do not believe in spending too much time on costumes that will only get a couple of wears, so I've been sewing these with the pedal to the floor...
I've just been making up the patterns for all these as I go along, but I do plan on attempting a proper pattern tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Translation of the Day:
UK English: scupper = to defeat, ruin or thwart in US English
As in, the lack of discipline displayed really scuppered England's hopes in the Rugby World Cup. Oh England, I had such high hopes for you...

I'm a failure

Thank you ever so much for the advice on which frock to wear to the wedding. I did wear the patterned dress - and felt much more comfy wearing it thanks to your lovely comments. There are no pictures, sorry: my husband never thinks to record the historic occasion of my wearing a dress. I am in several of the official photographs, mind... pulling some awful expressions... Oh well.

Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that I am a failure. No, not because I haven't blogged in weeks (months?). I pretty much always do that each summer. Partly because my days are filled with creating memories for the kids, and partly because they start to wind each other up something awful by the end of the long break and need supervision if we are to avoid things coming to blows...

No, I think that I am a failure at being a girl.

The facts:

1. Someone suggested that I wear my hair up at the wedding and I realised that I would have no clue how to do that. A ponytail is about my limit.

2. I only wear make up on occasions where I feel that it will be more noticeble that I am not wearing make up - such as a wedding.

3. I am convinced that I look like a racoon when I apply make up, but photos of the event make it look like I am not wearing any.

4. Oh, and the make up that I have is so old that the applicator sponge / brush things started to disintegrate on me when I tried to use them.

5. By make up, I pretty much just mean eye shadow.

6. I wear jeans and t-shirts almost daily, unless it is summer. In summer I switch the jeans for shorts.

7. I know how many times I have worn a dress in the almost 10 years that I have been married (8 times).

8. 'Styling' my hair consists of my straightening it every morning... and that's it.

9. My beauty routine is: wash face with soap and water.

10. I have no idea how to conceal the dark circles under my eyes caused by staying up for online rugby games with a 1.30am kick-off (who on earth chose New Zealand to be the hosts for the World Cup, anyway??)

That all seems pretty pathetic for a woman in her mid-thirties.

Now, I don't plan on wearing make up daily or anything like that, but I have been thinking that it might be time for things to be a little bit more girly over here. So far progress has been limited to buying a denim skirt (ok, it has attached shorts underneath, but that's just practical when you have kids) and wearing it several times this summer - with wedge sandals! Ooh, I also bought a dress... that I, um, chopped the bottom off to make it into a top... but it's quite a feminine knotted top... That counts, right?

Still, I have a few ideas (ah, Pinterest... for sewing a few shirts and maybe dresses for myself. I just hope that you don't mind if I'm asking you lot for styling tips every now and then.

It's time for my sewing machine to come out of its summer hibernation.

Now something that I am far too excited about is that I have finally got a craft space. Don't go envisioning one of those beautifully styled craft rooms. I live in a Californian home with no basement or spare room and kids that are best kept in separate bedrooms. My craft space is a secretary desk from Ikea (I wonder if I would love their furniture so much if I didn't get to put it together?):
Open the top and I have a sewing surface - much better than the corner of the dining table, methinks!The notions and whatnot have their space, too:
All that was left was to find a spot for the fabric that was stuck on the shelves in my bedroom. Out came two low boxes to go under the window and my fabric hoarding habit is helpfully hidden from general view... I'm a happy girl.

Translation of the day:

UK English: rugger (informal) = rugby in US English.

If you have never watched rugby, it is a form of football, played with an oval ball, but is a much better version than what Americans call football: not so much stopping and starting for starters. There's a World Cup going on right now and America are fielding a team, but TV coverage in this country is pitiful. So go on, check out the American team on cable. Maybe if the ratings are good enough they might want to screen some of the games of the other teams, like, oh, England, next World Cup...

Advice needed

I'm going to a wedding tomorrow and I don't know what to wear. Most of the friends that I have made here were already married with kids when I met them, so I have only been to a couple of weddings since living here. I have noticed that the dress code seems a little different from back home. Back home there are lots of pastel suits, floral dresses and hats. I've seen more cocktail style dresses here. I've also seen way too much cleavage and leg on a couple of guests, but I'm thinking they were probably the exception to the rule and that prostitute style attire is not usually acceptable, even in California...

So, here's the dilemma: I own two dresses, both bought when I was a few pounds lighter, but I haven't had much luck finding anything else. The wedding is at 6pm, so it's an evening wedding. The invite was in the style of a carnival poster, though, so I have no idea what to expect. The groom has full-sleeve tattoos and judging by his facebook pics, his bride looks fun-loving, so I don't think they will worry much.

Which do you think? Which is better for a wedding? Actually, I'd probably settle for whichever makes me look better. The black / cream dress feels more formal and wedding-like, but I feel a little bosomy in it. On a related note, I'm also wishing that I hadn't eaten like a pig on my visit home, but restraint goes out the window when faced with good British food that I've been missing...

My parents' internet connection is REALLY slow...

This time I did disappear off to foreign climes - I went home to England for a visit. All internet stuff got put on hold, mainly because my parents have a ridiculously slow connection (it reminded me of my uni days, when loading a page would take 10 minutes or more). Still, I'd have probably not been replying to e-mails, anyway. I was too busy having a great time: seeing family and school friends, sightseeing to keep the American husband happy and enjoying feeling completely at home. Plus I loved seeing all the wildflowers that were along the hedgerows - presumably a result of less spraying? I've never seen so many poppies.I'm back in the States now, though. Jet-lagged and homesick. I'll try to answer e-mails etc. soon, but there's a mountain of laundry to climb and work being done on the house, so bear with me. Meanwhile, hopefully your connection is faster than my parents, as I'm about to bore you with holiday pics:
Take care all.