wonky windows #15.

a collection of random photos from the past week.

this is a picture of my inner elbow. i had to go through a three hour glucose tolerance test, which included four, yes FOUR blood draws. not cool. now i know that my veins are challenging, but typically after some whining and griping, the nurses do hit their target and there is no problem. ummm..not this time around. this is the chronology of my arm. on the left is the day after the test. in the middle is about five days after the test. and on the right is seven days after the test. it is now nine days after the test and it is still the same. i am starting to wonder if this is permanent.

this picture was taken through my windshield. i was stuck behind this behemoth the other day and i could not help but chuckle. i always find it amusing to see gigantic gas guzzlers making claims towards environmental friendliness. now i realize that this company deals with liquid waste cleanup (i.e. sewage spills), so that is probably a good thing for the environment, but it still made me laugh.

i am overly fond of buying large bags of oranges, clementines, tangerines, etc. unfortunately they often sit on the counter until they rot and then we throw them away. terribly wasteful, i know. but last week i bought a bag and promptly devoured them. deliciouso!!! holy cow they were so perfect easy to peel and super duper juicy. so i bought another bag. and another. the mister and i have consumed approximately nine pounds of these mandarin oranges in a mere ten days. and the stickers? could they be any cuter?? i mean, seriously, could they?

this is the cutie that got away. it rolled behind the tv stand and bikes. the mister declared it out of reach for mrs. prego. i grumbled that he was being ridiculous. and then i saw the location and realized that he was right. grrrrrrr.

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shirr impossible.

last week was my spring break and i have a tradition of sewing my way through spring breaks. of course, this time around i am awfully pregnant, so 23 hours straight at the sewing machine was out of the question, but i did spend at least a few hours a day working the pedals. most of the time i was fussing over pringle's quilt, but once i was on a roll sewing circles, i had some spare time. i decided that it was imperative to make a long sundress. i hopped on the internet to search for an easy sundress pattern and well, the results were a bit less than fruitful. i mean, there were a LOT of dresses, but they all seemed to be for little girls.

the dress in my imagination.

soooo...i figured that since i like to act like a five-year-old, i might as well dress like one. i used this shirred dress tutorial, which is of course modeled by a little girl. no surprise there. now i do not know about you, but i have never shirred fabric. a few months ago i discovered a shirring tutorial and bought some elastic thread. i never actually sat down to do any shirring, so the elastic thread was still hanging around in my sewing bins. i dug out a gigantic piece of cloth i bought in lesotho in 2004. clearly it was time to use this gorgeous fabric. 

i have hoarded 5 meters of this fabric for 7 years. i like it. lots.

i cut out my pieces and sewed the sides together. and then i shirred. and shirred. and shirred. and shirred. ten inches of shirring later and i had the bodice of the dress complete.


the shirred bodice.

unfortunately when i tried on the "dress" it looked about as awesome as a potato sack. not cute. so i cut off the bottom, added more material to make it ruffly, and then reattached it. now, when viewed from the front, it is definitely a dress, but then i turn to the side and well....it does not exactly show things off in grand style. rather it makes me look like a big-bellied whale with a gigantic arse. still not cute.

lovely dress that i cannot yet wear.

of course i convinced myself that if i washed the dress, the fabric would relax and it would all be golden. sadly, no. the dress is lovely, but it is decidedly NOT maternity wear. so i will be the cutest post-prego ever, but i still gots no long dress for wearing with the little pringle ensconced in my belly. but i have grand plans. i am going to make this dress again with floppy fabric that will drop straight down below the belly, rather than using the belly as a ramp to flip out an additional three feet. it is gonna be awesome. you'll see.


THE quilt day 3, 4, & 5.

fabric has been coming in a few pieces at a time, so i have been making a few circles each day. here is where i should note that the "day" in the title represents the days that i actually work on the quilt. i take pictures after each set of circles, but somehow i got a bit sidetracked with who knows what and i neglected to post the pictures from the weekend. my deepest apologies to mrs. s.s., who expressed her desire to see the latest contributions (which include hers) by telling me to "get to it missy!" i cannot argue with enthusiasm, so all i have to say is "yes ma'am."

day three. representing new york, illinois, arizona, and florida.

day four. representing colorado and germany...added another continent!!! yahoo!!

day five. the most recent contributions. representing virgina and ME! for reasons unknown, when i finished sewing my wedding dress, i left all the scraps at my parent's house, so i have been waiting for the arrival of that fabric. in case you are not sure, it's the white circles.


THE quilt. day 2.

i have to admit that it does not seem that i made much progress on the quilt yesterday. but i did. i made twenty of the fill-in-the-gap circles, which are awfully itty bitty, but totally adorable. and i received two more pieces of fabric in the mail, so i made two more big circles. plus i did some brain organization to figure out how on earth i am going to put all of these fabrics together, especially since there are still twenty one fabrics en route. yikes. apparently the world is just as excited as me about procrastinating and being fashionably late.

day two circles.

since i want to keep up the progress of sewing, i had to come up with a plan to handle the additional fabrics which are expected to arrive sometime in the next two (or three....eeek!) weeks. i started trying to draw the design on paper, but the scale is awfully important and without some sort of mini-template, there was no way for me to do this by hand. so i switched to digital designing. seems a bit like overkill for a "simple" quilt, but my pops is an engineer and that half of me does not do carefree designing. when i moved to the computer my goal was to make sure that i can actually fit all of the circles onto the size quilt i had planned.

the digital quilt.

good news...it is all sorted. until someone else informs me that they are sending fabric. then things could get a bit hairy. i suppose i will just cross that bridge when i get to it. for now the purple, green, dark blue, orange, and yellow circles are all sewn. the light blue circles are the placeholders for the fabrics i have not yet received and i expect to add more of the mini circles (yellow, orange, and dark blue). just looking at this makes me smile, because the quilt is coming to life. yahoo!!!


THE quilt. day 1.

for the past month we have been receiving fabric and wishes in our mailbox. i was expecting this project to be fun, i had no idea that it would be totally amazing. i have been blown away by the spirit and generosity of each person who has sent fabric. thus far we have 32 fabrics from 23 different people...we have gotten old, new, used, and blue...they have come from 8 states, and three continents...

32 fabrics.

this week is my spring break, and for my entire five years of teaching, i have always sewed my way through spring break. i did not see any reason why this week should be any different. but i spent yesterday morning at the doctor's office suffering through a glucose tolerance test and yesterday afternoon moping around hoping against hope that the tests would come back normal. last night i organized and ironed all of the quilt fabric and today i was determined to get to sewing. but then the doctor's office called to tell me my results were normal, which made me so happy it took me thirty minutes to come back down to earth.

circle templates.

back to the quilt. i had planned on cutting a square from each fabric and sewing them all together. and then mrs. nipper knapp found this gem of a quilt at purl bee. neither one of us can imagine why anyone would make a mini quilt, so we both opted for baby quilts. she has already finished hers, which makes me feel like a slow slow dodo-bird, but i digress. this quilt calls for circles. lots and lots of circles. and i LOVE circles. my plan is to make a big circle with each of the fabrics and then make little fill-in-the-gaps circles with all of the scraps. today i made a circle with each of the 32 fabrics that are in my possession. and if i may say so myself, this quilt is gonna be stupendous.

next step...start making fill-in-the-gaps circles with the 32 scraps and wait for the other fabrics that are en route. luckily this pattern is perfect for all of my procrastinating pals. since the circles are attached to a large background fabric, i can just leave spaces for the twenty or so fabrics that have not yet arrived. fantastic-O!


easy peasy burp cloths tutorial.

i do not want my little pringle to suffer the fate of the cobbler's children, so i am getting a head start on sewing for my baby. the other day as i wandered through the fabric store, i came across some lovely flannel on super sale. i decided to buy some to make some burp cloths. i chose four different fabrics and bought a half yard of each. not sure about the general sizing of burp cloths, i turned to the internet. i quickly discovered that "basic burp cloth patterns" are overly complicated, because they are always in the shape of a peanut. now i have not ever raised a child, so maybe i am missing something, but for the life of me, i cannot figure out why a rectangular-shaped burp cloth is undesirable. i have a feeling that all of you moms out there are snickering and thinking, "ha! she will learn soon enough that the only way to properly handle spit-up is with a peanut-shaped cloth," but just in case there are other folks out there like me, i have created this tutorial for the world's easiest rectangular burp cloths. if you can sew a straight line, you can make these.

materials (for five burp cloths about 8" x 18"): 1/2 yard of each of two different complimentary flannels and thread.

step 1. cut your fabric into 8" strips (don't worry about cutting the length - it is already 18"). you should have ten of these strips - five in each color. cutting perfection is not of the essence, because we will clean it up in step 3. 

cut 2 pieces of flannel about 8" x 18"

step 2. put one strip of each fabric right sides together. i did not use pins, but if you are a uncomfortable sewing without pins, then now would be your moment of pinning. when you are ready to sew, start in the middle of one end and sew around the edges with a 1/4" seam allowance. leave a 2" opening to turn the cloth right-side out.

step 3. clean up the edges and cut off the corners, making sure you do not cut through any stitches.

cleaning up the seam allowance and cutting off the corners.

step 4. use the gap to turn the cloths right side out. if you have a bone tool, now would be the time to put it to use. if you do not have one, use a chopstick or some other small pointy-ish thing to push out the corners.

a bone tool.
the cloth turned right-side out.

step 5. iron the cloth flat, making sure the seams are pulled out as far as possible. tuck under the edges of the gap and iron flat.

step 6. sew around the edges with a tiny seam allowance (i did about 1/8"). this will close the gap and make the cloths look pretty.

sewing along the edges will close the gap. the closer the better.

and that is it!! you are done. enjoy your stack of easy peasy burp cloths.

two of my finished burp cloths.

wonky windows #14.

thursday afternoon rain clouds. i know people come to florida to enjoy the sunshine, which i like, but i love the rain. it is amazing. one minute we have sunshine, the next a torrential downpour, and five minutes later it is sunny again. sometimes it pours on one street and not on the next. this picture captures it perfectly....sunshine on the playground with black clouds rolling in. since there was no thunder or lightning, we stayed outside until we felt the rain, when one of my space cadet kids said to me "ummm...teacher, i do not like the look of those clouds over there." my response? "my name is not teacher and if you had listened, you would know that we are going inside right now." hmmm...not exactly gonna win any awards for being sugary sweet, but the entire class made it inside 7 seconds before the clouds burst.

this week's art project. i never intended my blog to be a stream of all of my students' artwork, but i cannot help it. i LOVE kindergarten art. it is so whimsical, so perfect, and well....so wonky! and it is a huge point of pride for me that unlike many of the other teachers at my school, when it comes to art i do not stop at drawing with crayons. not me. no sir. when it is art time, we take out all kinds of goodies and the kids are 100% responsible for the creation of their project. in my classroom the wonkiness is not a mistake, it is cherished. to that end, i limit my assistance to demonstrations, explanations, and unclogging glue bottles. and the results make me smile every time.

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going postal.

i may have mentioned this before, but just in case you do not know about it, i love the united states postal service. i mean seriously, you can send five sheets of paper across the country for a mere 44 cents. and be honest...when you get mail, and i am talking about good mail, not bills and junk, you always get a bit of a thrill. am i right? and stamps..oh the joy of stamps.  i have gads and gads of stamps, some dating back fifteen years, just waiting for the perfect envelope. they can make or break the beauty of a mailing. truly folks, ditch the liberty bells and check out some of the other philatelic offerings!!! hello, awesome love stamps.
the current love stamp.

comics...so nifty.

even the "humdrum" stamps are delectable.

these stamps are small change, but are some of my favorites.
all images of stamps are from the united states postal service website.

sometimes i suspect that my love of everything postal has led me to know more about the postal service than many of their employees. in fact, twice in my past i considered applying for a job with the postal service, but i was thwarted by the application FEE(?!?!) and the fact that many postal employees are downright pissy (mom, my apologies if that word offends you....ooops). i do not know if this is a unique qualification for the job or a not-so-glamorous result. either way, i am definitely waaaaay to cheerful to qualify for a shift in any urban post office. obviously i adore the postal service, but they do have one big BIG flaw. it is virtually impossible to make a quick run to the post office. in fact i would not be surprised if i learned that post offices hold the world record for longest average wait time. which makes it all the more amusing/frustrating to see a sign like the one below...a new addition to my local post office.


wonky windows #13.

wondering what i do with my time? you are probably thinking i spend all of my time looking for things to photograph and feature as wonky windows. you might be right. but i have to admit, i find it seriously amusing to share my world via a few select pictures each week.

this is actually a picture i took about a year ago. it was a demonstration of my ridiculous fondness for green. i always knew green was my favorite color, but i did not fully appreciate how much it had infiltrated my life until i gathered just a few things to include in this "green" picture. if only you knew how many things were left out. clearly i love the color green. in the course of the year a lot has changed...my phone is now in a pink case, my purse is a lovely brown, my favorite sweater is too small for my belly, and my toes are natural because i read somewhere that nail polish leeches through your nails, so i am scared to wear it while i am pregnant. regardless of these facts, my favorite color is still green, right? ummm...well, i think so. although lately i have noticed that my color preference seems to have shifted over the course of my pregnancy.  i now find myself ridiculously drawn to orange. 

when it came to select an exercise ball, i picked orange. just the other day i bought a yoga mat. color? why, orange of course. now i am starting to get concerned, because pringle will be residing in our bedroom and we seemed headed for a huge clash between the pre-pregnancy and pregnancy decor. but green and orange go great together, right?

my wonderful mister. he has always been wonderful, but since we found out about the existence of pringle, his awesomeness has known no bounds. during the first trimester, when i wanted nothing to do with food, he took over making my lunch. and he has not ceased this production. he follows a list and makes me the same exact lunch every day. you might think this is boring, but let's face it...the lunch is working and when you are feeding a pregnant lady, you do NOT get creative. but there are often little quirks that make me chuckle. yesterday amongst my lovely strawberries, i found a miniature, unripe strawberry, with its little leaves painstakingly sliced off, just like all the big, ripe strawberries. kind of like a mini-me strawberry. the adorableness was not enough to overcome the knowledge that it would be a bitter bite, but i did struggle to throw the cute little berry in the garbage.

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