Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Spring!

It has been a tradition since our first year in our current home to have the kids color eggs and have an Egg Hunt in the front yard on Easter Sunday.  Even as they continue to grow up and begin to doubt the existence of Fabled Beings, they still love hunting eggs.

This year, Cousin Banana Bear was hobbling on crutches, thanks to a broken foot.  But, with a bit of help from the boys, she managed to collect some eggs.

William, Banana Bear, Thomas & Michael: Ready for The Hunt

And, of course, the Egg Hunt presents a wonderful opportunity for noticing and capturing the usual signs of spring.


Hydrangia unfurling

Ornaments still in the Dogwood...okay, not exactly Spring-Like


Just a few drops

And, what is Spring without Spring Rain?  We had a brief, but impressive downpour before all of the eggs were found.

Hunting in the rain

Rain and trees on windshield

Monday, March 25, 2013

Salad Boy

Michael is the one kid in our family who eats salads, and he actually enjoys them.  He also enjoys making them.

He ate just about every bite!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Costuming Six

This is what I did today.  I sewed a lot of fabric together.  Again.  A lot of fabric.  And gathering.

A lot of fabric.  Really.

This is what I listened to while I gathered and sewed.

And also, this...

And this is what I had at the end of the day.

Done!  Almost!
So, I just need to do a fitting and sew up the hems.  And figure out how to make the sleeve cuffs removable.  Velcro should do the trick.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Costuming Five

I started the green costume today.  It didn't start well. 

I was told by the person who purchased all of the materials that the store was half a yard short of what was called for in the pattern.  Now, usually you end up with some left-overs when you cut a pattern.  Not this time.  We really needed that short half yard.

This is what it looks like when you don't have enough material for your patterns.  You tend to also get a little dropping sensation in your gut.  And  mumble something like, "Damn."

Oops.  Not enough material
Thankfully, I was able to find another bolt of the exact same fabric.

What it looks like when you do have enough material

So, I was able to get it all cut out and start sewing.

Pile to be sewn.  And yardwork that needs to be done, just outside the window.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Good Day

Today William had his quarterly and annual endocrinology appointment.  Pediatric Endocrinology has a nice, new office serving Gwinnett, with all of the same lovely people we have come to know and appreciate.

Outside the new office

It was a good appointment, despite the dreaded blood draw.  William is now 5'1" and just a tad over 100 lb.  And, his A1c is the same as last quarter...7.7.  A good number for his age, though we'd like to get it just a bit lower.

Dr. Schultz was not able to recommend any changes to William's insulin dosing, since there didn't seem to be any pattern to his BG's.

No pattern

However, after a second gander, I was able to identify a subtle pattern, and went rogue with my own adjustment while we were waiting for lunch.  William has been participating in Pizza Hut's "Book It" reading program, and has reached his reading goal every month except one (December).  So, we went to lunch at Pizza Hut to redeem his prize.

Personal Pizza Coupon :)

Overall, a nice day....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Costuming Four

Yeah, I know, you're thinking, "I already saw this dress."  Well, this isn't that dress, this is a difference dress that looks just like that dress.

Not the same dress
So, why did I make two dresses that look the same for the same actress?  Well, because one of the dresses is going to look pretty much like this dress.  The other dress is going to get "distressed".  Pretty much trashed, to make it seem it has spent three months in a prison along with its sad wearer.

It will be interesting to see costumes I sewed up on stage.  When I see the one that has been to prison, I may cry just a little bit...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Costuming Three

Lots and lots of gathering

 This is likely the densest piece of gathering I’ve ever undertaken. Sixty inches of fabric condensed to a 30” waist.  Using a heavy fabric.  The gathering alone took almost two hours.  My hands and fingers ached by the time I was finished.  I cannot imagine how seamstresses managed all of those flouncy gathers before sewing machines were invented and became accessible to the average sewer.

Sitting there patiently gathering this waistband reminded me of my Mom.  When I was in grade school, living in the little four-bedroom house in (what was then) Sunnymead, California, my parents and two other couples – friends from the neighborhood – took up square dancing.  The ladies, of course, had to wear those ultra-poofy skirts that you see ladies wearing while square dancing, and my mom and her friends made their own poofy skirts.  This required an insane amount of gathering, and I remember these long, long lengths of fabric stretched across the living room (it wasn’t that large of a room) while the ladies gathered, and gathered, and gathered, until they were able to sew the poofieness to a waist.

And, in the middle of my remembrances, I snapped my gathering threads.  This is my biggest fear in gathering, snapping my gathering threads.  Because, once that happens, you kind of have to start again.  I didn’t cry, but I did let out a “Son-of-a-bitch” loudly enough that Thomas heard it upstairs and came down to see if I was injured or under attack.  I was still sitting there, stock still, staring at the rupture in my universe when he came down.  “Are you all right?”.  “I just snapped my gathering thread.”  “Oh.  That sounds bad.”  Bless him.

As it turns out, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  I already had one half of the skirt gathered and pinned in place, so I basted it onto the bodice to avoid losing it.  As I prepared to rip the whimpy threads from the other half, I realized they had snapped pretty close to the end of the line, so I was able fasten the broken pieces in place, and continue gathering up to that point, which turned out to be about 2/3rds of that side of the waist.  Gather, baste, secure.  So, just about 1/3 of the remaining side needed to be re-basted, gathered and secured.

The treasonous bit of skirt

I did manage to get it fixed and all basted together in time for Joycelin to come by in the evening for a fitting.  Thankfully, it fit nicely, and no major nipping or tucking was required.

No, this is not Joycelin


I am reading “You Are Not a Gadget” by Jaron Lanier, a tech philosopher, which asks questions about how technology influences human thought and behavior.  I just finished reading "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, which made me think more deeply about design and how it impacts an individual’s experience of a product.  I have also been sewing costumes for about a week.

Reading Jobs led me to take more time and care in creating these costumes than, perhaps, I would have otherwise.  I have chosen to turn it into an exercise in being more engaged in the act of creation (or in this case production), allowing myself as much time as needed to complete something, and allowing myself to stop when I was “finished” for that session rather than pushing to reach a particular stage of completion.

Today, now, I am thinking about Lanier’s assertion that the majority of internet and device users (people) have turned into “gadets”; parts of the internet that consume and repeat content, rather than create or produce new content.  That is basically what FaceBook is; a platform where a few random bits of stuff are recombined into a funny picture or saying, and everyone who sees it “consumes” it and repeats it.  Personal content is limited to what one is doing or something someone else said or pictures taken of an event, but this does not seem to be the majority of posts coming up in my newsfeed.

Which brings me back to “FaceBook killed my Blog”, something I have heard from a number of people, including myself.  It is far simpler, faster, and more convenient to post a few lines or pictures on FB than it is to sit down and compose and post to our family blog.  I woe of this fact, and promise myself I will get back into the habit of blogging our family history as it unfolds.  I even take pictures that could contribute to a blog entry. But I never get around to writing any of these posts, and it has been months since I posted anything.  I have become a consumer, rather than a producer, of the internet.

Which then brings me to this idea of a continuum:

Where on this continuum do I fall each day?

“Create something every day”.  Or, at the very least, “Produce something every day”.  Is that so hard?  And, do my tech tools and devices support that?

My laptop certainly is not a seamless tool, as two of the keys are missing, it is infested with viruses and browser hacks that bog it down, and the battery life is that of a gnat.  My digital camera (which I paid a lot for) is cumbersome, as I have to plug it into my inefficient laptop to download photos.  I can now use my iPhone to take photos and post them directly to my blog, but then I still need to get on my laptop to type up written content.  (I know, "bitch, bitch, bitch.").  I think Steve Jobs was right in his insistence that tech products should support creativity for the user.  But for now I’ll just have to fumble along with the inefficient tech stuff I have, and remain determined to revive our blog and create/produce new content on a regular basis.

Wish me luck ;)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


William has been taking a fabulous art class at one of our lovely local art centers, The Hudgen's Center for the Arts.  He has been taking a course in illustrating and cartooning with Mr. Bill, a professional illustrator who William has taken a seminar with before.

Today was the final class in the semester, and this is the end product of William's efforts.

Original cartoon by William

After designing and drawing out the cartoon scenes, he used water color to paint, changing background color to lend to the "feel" of each scene. 

Mr. Bill says William is ready for the advanced illustrating class, but we're going to try the basic drawing class this semester.  Next semester, we'll probably be back with Mr. Bill.

Costuming Two

Time to get sewing

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


You know that thing where you, personally, are an intense introvert, and you are living with one or more (okay, three) extroverts?  And, you do your best to support your extroverts in their extroverted activities, because, you know, you love and adore them, and you want them to be happy? 

Well, that's how I got involved in our local community theatre. After a few years of Thomas repeatedly asking to get involved in acting, we finally got him down to New London Theatre in Snelville for an audition, and he got the part of Tim in their modernized production of A Christmas Carol.  Thomas then got a part in their next production, Mad: The History of The Hatter, a fusion of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.  Then, at the next audition, David got talked into trying out, and ended up getting the part of Judge Danforth in The Crucible (Thomas will be apprenticing in lighting).

And that's how I ended up sewing costumes.  Three Puritan dresses with accessories.  Thank you, honey, for mentioning to the director that I can sew ;)

So, I started with the accessories ... caps, cuffs, aprons, and a collar.

Dining Room turned Sewing Room

Gathering an apron

All the pretty pins lined up in a row

Nice, crisp, white Puritan Accessories
Next up, an actual dress....


Michael, as you all probably already know, is the mechanical/engineering genius of the family.  He takes a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) class once a week at a local homeschooling co-op, taught by one of the moms in our homeschool group.  Usually Michael runs off to his class while I hang out with Grace with the other moms, but today I was the Parent Assistant, so I got to take some pictures.  And, lovely, it was an outside activity.

Today's activity was all about bubbles.  Actually, something to do with surface tension and light refraction and stuff like that.  But, it ended up with blowing bubbles, and that's what really counts ;)

Part one: using a variety of devices to determine which device could make the largest bubble.

Bubbles from straws (small)

Bubbles from bottles (rocked)

Tag this technique for next party

Next, what happens when you blow bubbles through a sock?

Sock bubbles???

Finally, the best part.  Trying to freeze a bubble with dry ice.

Please do NOT freeze your face off!!!

This was the trickiest trick to do, but when it worked it was really, really cool.

There is actually a frozen bubble in there

Monday, March 4, 2013

Another First Part Four

At last!  The end of The Saga of The Broken Arm!  Today the second cast came off.

The arm looked good, inside and out, and Doc gently wiggled those wires out of Thomas' bone (ick).

The arm will need to be stretched and worked a bit to get it back to its former strength, but no pysical therapy should be needed at this point.  Thomas, as you can imagine, is happy to have his arm back.