just call me grannie.

for some reason that i cannot explain, i have a lot of little old lady tendencies. i generally carry candy in my purse. i drive ridiculously cautiously and often rather slowly. i make quilts. i have a basket on my bicycle. and i have a weird obsession for muumuus.
 vintage muumuus. my dream.

my muumuu infatuation has recently taken over my life. in college i owned a mustard yellow muumuu, but upon graduation i gave it back to the thrift store whence it came. clearly these days i am pining over my loss. i actually experienced a serious case of envy when i crossed paths with my 80-something neighbor and she was wearing a classic muumuu. how come she has one and i don't? not fair. it should come as no surprise that i added "housedress" to my list of sewing projects.  i spent a while searching the internet looking for a muumuu pattern. only problem being that i thought muumuu was spelled "mumu" so all i managed to find was this website that provides information about finding modest clothes. for those of you in the market for pettipants,  culottes, and caftans, this is the site for you!
orange pettipants. yahoo!!

since my pattern quest was unsuccessful i changed direction and decided instead to make a cute drawstring dress, as if a housedress has the potential to be cute. whatever. i can dream. that plan seemed great until i tried it on and realized that i somehow managed to make a hot pink tent. oops. so i made some alterations and the tent now resembles a housedress. sort of. and then i discovered the correct spelling for "muumuu" and found some directions for sewing a proper muumuu. it's back on my "to do" list.


the joy of the flush.

the mister and i live in a cozy one bedroom apartment. well, technically it is a condominium, but using that term makes me feel like i should dye my hair purple, sit in the sun until i am crisp like bacon, and develop an i-used-to-live-in-new-york accent. i am not yet that florida. maybe someday. 
back to our munchkin house. despite its wee size, our home actually has two bathrooms. the master bath and the half bath. as a child i was always suspicious of those half bathrooms, assuming that they only had a half of a toilet. okay, so that childhood assumption was a bit off, but our wee water closet does sometimes feel so teeny that one has to wonder if it was designed to only fit half a person.
seems silly to get all worked up about a little bathroom, but then the toilet started leaking. for three days every five or six weeks. whaaat?! what is this nonsense? either we have a leak or we do not. this is pure craziness, but cross my heart, our toilet only leaked at its discretion. great. kind of hard to diagnose a leak that is not always present. grrrrr. to make matters worse, the stupid porcelain contraption stopped working. is it a coincidence that the mister lost a nail brush around the same time? nope. ummm...super. so now our finicky toilet is choking on a nail brush. i gave up. we turned off the water, closed the lid, attached a sign that said "me no worky" and turned the bathroom into a storage closet. problem solved. and then visitors arrived. suddenly our bathroom turned into the only bathroom. egads. this is so uncool.

clearly we needed a solution fast! so we waited two years. actually, we would still be waiting except that mommy rolled into town. mommy is the world's greatest handywoman, so she can do random plumbing in her sleep. lucky us. she informed me that we were going to remove the toilet and hopefully find the nail brush, solve the problem, and fix the leak all in one fell swoop. uhhh...oooookay? i guess. how do you remove a toilet? you need a toilet ring? what's a toilet ring? uh huh. sure. sure. yup. right-o. we're good. needless to say i was sort of baffled when we were in home depot looking for toilet rings and i found out they are made of WAX, but i am trying to roll with it.

 for those of you who are not in the know...this is a toilet ring.

when we got home we removed the toilet. oh. my. god. the used wax is positively disgusting. gross. yellow beeswax everywhere. gag. glug. yuck. i could not bear to take a picture of the filth that was under our toilet, so instead i am sharing this picture. it does not do justice to the horror we discovered, but at least it gives you an idea of the goo factor.
we found the nail brush. yay. and mommy discovered that our previous ring was not properly installed. we got everything cleaned up and put it all back together. yay yay yay. and it worked. even more yay.
you know that's not the end, right? i mean that would seriously be way to easy. obviously. so naturally when the mums goes to check on the toilet there is water everywhere. arrrrrrrrg. now i am typically an upbeat person, but i was instantly catapulted into a dark and dreary depression. mommy told me all would be well, but i was not to be convinced. the next day i replaced half of the moving parts in a last-ditch effort to make the sun once again shine in my world. shockingly, amazingly, and wondrously, it worked. and it is still working. yes folks...our half bathroom is once again functional and i use it every chance i get.

now that i am constantly visiting our little bathroom, i have officially concluded that it needs to be revamped. i have always known that the lavender is sadly lacking in saturation. i mean seriously, it is practically white, which is the color of the toilet. and the sink. and the cabinet. and the hardware. and the frame of the mirror. blah blah blah. but not to worry....my current plan is to reinvent my grandma's hot pink powder room.

a$$-kicking hot pink.

of course painting the entire bathroom hot pink might be a little much for the mister. do not fret. the lovely miss K wrote about fancy pants stenciling, so before she has a chance to boss me into stenciling the bathroom, i am going to choose to stencil the bathroom. clearly this will be a small nightmare with lots of misery, but i am sure there will be plenty of joyful cursing.

 a dizzying design that might just be perfect.

anyhow, i am thinking i will paint the walls hot pink and then stencil a design in either silver, dark gray, or black all over. or maybe i will paint the walls white and stencil hot pink over them. that might look better with the bah humbug white accessories. obviously now that the toilet is working the bathroom project has entered a new phase, which means a new saga. just what i needed, because you know, i don't already have enough projects planned. obviously this will not be the last you hear of these 7.2 square feet of our home.


the quilting saga.

i am not exactly sure what originally caused my quilt obsession, but some time in my childhood i came up with the notion that i wanted to make a quilt and that idea never left me. i started many a quilt during the years, but at some point in the process i always stopped. it was not until i joined the peace corps that i actually managed to piece together enough little bits of fabric to get past the inevitable hump that tries to block you from finishing a quilt. i have always been fascinated by crazy quilts. "crazy" meaning that instead of a structured repeating design, every square is a mish-mash of fabric. sounds simple. no problem. i thought "crazy" was just the design. oh no. crazy is how you feel when you are putting one of these together. every single little piece of fabric is stitched onto a backing fabric and then every edge of these itty-bitty pieces is embroidered, so it will not unravel. and that is just making the squares. right.

anyhow, my stint in the peace corps exposed me to lots of gorgeous fabric. i sewed and sewed and resewed. and i saved every single scrap, no matter how small. being enamored with quilts, i of course was once again planning a quilt. i started the quilt in 2004, sewing by hand in my little hut. then in 2005 i moved to a "modern" house with electricity for a few months and used an electric sewing machine. wahoo! after relentless periods of sewing like mad, i returned from africa with one hundred pieced together squares. although these still needed a LOT of work, somehow that hurdle of creating 100 squares was enough motivation to get me through the entire quilting process. and it was a HUGE process. holy bananas.  after i moved back to the states, i settled in seattle, where i diligently embroidered edges with a hand-me-down sewing machine. the sewing machine did not fit in my little car when i moved across the country, so i bought a new machine in 2006 and continued the mammoth task of embroidering edges. 2007 was the year of cutting all the squares to size and piecing them together. finally in 2008 i put together all the layers, quilted them together, and finished off the quilt. 4 homes, 3 sewing machines, 2 continents, 1 quilt. the finished product is large enough to comfortably cover a queen-size mattress. 

 the african crazy quilt.

so, having cut my quilting teeth on such a massive project, i have since found smaller quilts to be a "simple" process. okay fine, they are not exactly simple, but they are sure a whole bunch easier than monster-sized bedspreads. plus i now know what i am doing, which helps.

wowsa, wowsa, wedding quilts.

after the peace corps quilt, i came up with the brilliant plan to create a quilt for each of my best friends' wedding gifts. three quilts. fantastic. and then they all got married within 12 months of each other. gasp. let us just say that i did a whole bunch of quilting in a short amount of time. naturally when my brother informed me that he was going to be a daddy, my brain went into instant hyper-drive planning the perfect baby quilt.

the baby quilt bonanza.

and then i opened an etsy shop and realized that maybe, just maybe, i could convince people to BUY my quilts. this added a whole new dimension to my quilting, because i discovered that perhaps i could feed my quilting habit without sending the mister and i into financial ruin. fancy. i have not actually yet sold one to someone outside of my family, but i am hopeful. the only thing i did not calculate was how much this quilting obsession would take over my life. let us just say that i am putting together fabric combinations in my sleep. two years ago i had never before finished a quilt and now i have completed seven and have more in production. egads!!!