Posted: July 27, 2012 in Brilliance!, Super Awesome Videos

The Raptor and I are leaving town for a week to go on tour, so it will be radio silence until we return. I leave you with a most amusing video:
Jurassic Park: How it should have ended (minus the raptor getting killed)


I recently viewed this presentation given by Sir Ken Robinson, and I was blown away. I hope you’ll take a moment to view this profoundly observant argument for encouraging creativity in the education of children. I am going to read everything I can on this subject; I may not be able to alter the entire system of education on my own, but no one can stop me from encouraging Kol.

Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity

How Delightful

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Brilliance!

Car organizer

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Projects

Observation A: I am currently living as a single-parent while my husband is deployed.

Observation B: I am the parent of a 1 year-old.

Conclusion: My automobile can turn into a complete disaster very quickly.

Solution: Car organizer!

I used Simplicity 2553 for this project, and I am happy with my results. However, I would like to make several notes about the construction of this organizer.

Firstly, it will not turn out as it looks in the photo unless you use a very thin cotton fabric and either starch it to death or use a thick interfacing. The pattern calls for thicker fabrics, like canvas or denim, and a medium weight fusible interfacing, but the lighter interfacing won’t make it look stiff and box-like as the photo shows. If you use a heavier sew-in interface, you must use a very thin material or there’s no way your needle will get through all the layers. Trust me. I opted for a medium-weight fusible interfacing and a canvas material (with cotton contrast fabric). While it’s not as stiff as the photo on the pattern, it is sturdy and aesthetically pleasing regardless. This is a simple project that comes together very quickly.

I did also opt to leave out the divider in the back pocket. I frankly don’t see the point in it. The organizer is small as it is, and unless you intend to store exclusively paper items, I suggest leaving out the divider. Doing this allows me to store my camera, library books, or water bottle in the large pocket.

Matching aprons

Posted: July 13, 2012 in Projects

I have a dear friend with two young children, a two year-old and a one year-old. Since she does a lot of cooking and baking, and her oldest child, Mr. Vincent, loves imitating her with his toy kitchen set, I thought it would be fun to make them matching aprons. Without explaining what I was doing, I had my friend pick out the fabric for her own apron, then selected two sturdy complementary fabrics for her children. I used Simplicity 2555, but decided against using ribbon. Instead, I mixed up the fabrics somewhat. So for the mother’s apron I used her son’s fabric for the straps and her daughter’s fabric for the pockets. For the children’s aprons I used the mother’s fabric for the pockets and neck strap, and I also switched some of the thread colors–the stitching on part of the red apron is green, and vise versa. I thought this was a nice way to integrate everyone’s colors and fabrics into the aprons while maintaining distinctions.

The adult apron with children’s aprons hanging off the shoulders

The children’s aprons

I realize the two year-old is only just old enough to be interested in this, but the nice thing is that the straps adjust to grow with each child, and the actual apron is wide enough to last for quite a while. The three of them should be able to enjoy cooking up both real and imaginary food in their matching aprons for quite a while!

Personalized Napkins

Posted: July 9, 2012 in Projects

My dear sister, known to the Raptor as Crazy Aunt Kaci, recently moved to a new home. I wanted to make her a housewarming gift, and I was inspired once again by Martha Stewart. I decided to make Kaci a set of cloth napkins (she is a strong advocate of sustainability) with small embroidered touches.

I found a pair of unusually large linen place-mats at a local thrift shop, and I determined that if I cut off the bizarre decorative ends, I could turn them into something wonderful. First I washed them thoroughly, then I cut them into four equal pieces. I hemmed around the edges to prevent fraying, then planned out the decorations.

I ended up making four little fruit images using buttons and embroidery floss. It didn’t take terribly long, but I think they are fairly convincing. With practice, my embroidery skills will improve at some point, but until then I hope my sister will forgive my fledgling attempts.

Happy birthday, little Raptor.

Today was a busy day, and a lot has happened over the past few weeks. We threw a big party for you tonight, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Right now, though, one occasion eclipses all others. As your party came to a close, I took you up to bed. You did not relent easily, and I spent a long while holding and rocking you before you finally relaxed and drifted to sleep. It was a calm moment in the middle of a whirlwind of activity, and although we have experienced numerous similar moments, it occurred to me that exactly one year ago, at that same time of night, I was holding and rocking you to sleep for the very first time. That night I was stunned by your very existence. Tonight I am stunned by how vital your existence is in my life.

Someday you and I will be at odds, and you will think I am many horrible things. Maybe you’ll dislike or hate me, maybe I will disgust or embarrass you. I know and accept that our relationship will have its bad moments. That said, I also know that there will never be a moment when my heart doesn’t swell at the thought of you, that my happiness will be unaffected by your happiness.

With all that I am, I love you.