Wednesday, December 01, 2010


This year was Lawyerguy and my 13th anniversary. Traditional 13th anniversary gift is textiles, so I made him a pair of pants. They are made of undyed 11oz hemp canvas. Hopefully they will be indestructible, because that is not easy fabric to sew through. Hemp is a very durable fiber that is supposed to be stronger when wet, which I totally believe because it was significantly harder to get the needle to pierce the fabric when damp from ironing.
My pattern came from a favorite pair of shorts that disintegrated last summer. I had already used them once as a pattern for shorts that turned out very well but were never mentioned here (it was a very busy time). They have some nifty touches, like cool stitching along the pockets and cargo pockets large enough to hold a hefty paperback.
They look really great, but there are a few things to consider should you choose to work with hemp. Get extra yardage, because it shrinks lots. LOTS. Wash it 4 or 5 times before you cut. Also, it wrinkles like linen but is harder to iron.

All in all I think they look great and I enjoyed the project enough to stay up until 2 to finish them the night before we drove to Orlando. I am also lucky that while pants for a leggy 6'3" takes nearly 3 yards of 58" fabric, there is plenty left over scrap to make a pair for me :)

Happy Anniversary Handsome!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


A few weeks ago Monkey and I met Lawyerguy on base to watch a ROTC Field Training graduation. I was really glad to be there; families are not invited to field training so there are few people attend their parade (military parade, not what you were thinking). I was really inspired after the parade. Too bad the rules just changed and I couldn't enlist (no new dual-military parent families). Instead, I sewed a guidon for our family.
Today Monkey and i went to the bamboo park for a photo shoot/test drive.
Kilo Flight leads the way!

Monday, June 07, 2010

World's Sexiest Cicada

Monkey and I have been working on some furniture for the living room, to replace the plastic bookcase that Lawyerguy loves so much. We are so close to being done! But the edge finishing just drags on and on. Instead of using the iron-on veneer, I am ripping down quarter inch pieces of oak. It looks great, but there are so many raw edges of plywood. Finally all that is left is the top of the cupboard doors.But on to my bizarre title: There is something about the hum of my table saw that brings the cicadas. Not the belt sander, not the miter saw, just the table saw. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but time after time when it spins up the big eyed insects flock to it, landing on the table. It takes IRON SELF CONTROL to not freak out when one of the little buggers lands on my neck while wrestling a sheet of plywood through the spinning blades of terror.After they are done making sweet love to my table saw, I give them to Monkey to play with.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yep, he is wearing crocks with socks.  On the wrong feet too Monkey and I finished our bench! Some stain, a little polyurethane, and more of my favorite blue paint :)
We actually followed the directions very closely, except for leaving off the angled portion of the side apron. Thanks for the plans Ana!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

End of the School Year

Easy end of the year present for Monkey's teachers. While they all deserve something much more grand (like a new car) he has a LOT of different teachers, aids, and therapists, so we need to keep it simple.
Michaels had the cute garden stakes that Monkey personalized with smile faces, and we picked up rosemary and pots at Home Depot. We delivered them today, so nothing would interrupt my last day of freedom tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


More construction with Monkey.
This is how I hope to spend our summer together (our summer that starts NEXT WEEK).
Good thing he has a nice smile, because it has been an extremely rough week.
Finished product tomorrow, hopefully.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Exciting, I know. But a good way to use my favorite fabrics so I see them every day.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Kick awesome new shirt for the little guy, with the lady killer smile. It took me an entire episode of Venture Brothers to cut out all the little pieces of freezer paper. It may also give super powers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Outdoor wreath

I'm uncertain where I saw this idea out there in the big wide internets, but it's not like there are really new ideas anyway. I think it turned out quite cute. Hot glued sheet moss and assorted lumps of moss from my back yard on to a straw wreath form. It looks a little sad when dry, but a quick misting with a squirt bottle and it's beautiful. It is wet enough here that it should grow right to the form.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


This is my cute little workshop. It's hard to use when it rains, but you couldn't ask for better ventilation. It self-adjusts for weather too: now that it is hot the trees have leafed out making it nice and shady. Our ancient wicker couch decomposed to a pile of sticks this winter, so we picked up a few chairs and an umbrella for our patio. I built a table inspired by these plans from Knock off Wood, using only 3 2x4s.
I spaced out the boards on top about a quarter inch since it is an outdoor table, and eliminated the breadboard ends. The 4x4 legs were replaced with a v-shape made from 2x4s and 2x2s (ripped down on my table saw). The apron pieces were eliminated too; the v-shaped legs attached directly to the top of the table and the support square underneath.
The top was stained and sealed with lots of polyurethane. The legs were painted with my favorite blue from my living room walls then polyurethane. The turquoise looks perfect with the blue umbrella.
We now have the perfect place to sit and enjoy the back yard, for the next two weeks until it gets too hot to go outside :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Luvsack, revisited

Monkey is quite fond of his Luvsack.
He just likes to use it in ways that I did not expect.

Friday, April 09, 2010


Horror!Confession: we have an entire spare bedroom in this house that is a disaster. I am showing you these horrible pictures to help shame me into fixing this problem. In our last house the extra room was larger, and we had a locking storage/garage area. Lots of things have been dumped in that room, and many of those things we really don't need.Shame! I was delighted to replace my hideous and uncomfortable couch last fall, but Marc said I couldn't light it on fire so it had just been demoted to the spare room. While living on the beach in Florida we really needed the king-sized guest bed, but people aren't beating down the door to visit us in Alabama so the 12 year old mattress that was run over by a truck (true story!) was just taking up valuable real estate.
Pretty!The couch was listed on Craigslist one afternoon and was gone by dinner time. The mattress was more difficult, but where I lack a truck to haul it away I make up for in creativity. The box springs were stripped down and the wood cut, so it could be rolled up for transport in the Cruiser. The mattress was stripped down to the wire frame, then cut apart quite awesomely with the my Dremel so we could roll it up in a dangerous parody of a cinnamon roll. All pieces of a king mattress set were disposed of our regular trash can, or recycled.

Yes, that is a toy recycling bin.Left over from all this shredding and cutting were two sheets of eggcrate foam. Using this Instructable, I sewed Monkey a great big beanbag (easy) and shredded two huge sheets of foam to fill it (hard). Did you know you can buy pre-chopped foam? If undertaking this project, I would recommend that; I have very sad blisters from hours of scissor use. The resulting beanbag is amazingly comfy though. Monkey seems thrilled with his big blue "volcano," and our 3rd bedroom is that much closer to being tolerable.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Monkey's knee went through yet another pair of pants, so I sewed him a pair of cargos. This time constructed from poplin found in an actual fabric store, instead of recycled from mystery clothing. I lined the hip pockets with a bright striped fabric that matched the blue perfectly. This seemed like such a great idea I started using it everywhere: all the pockets, pocket flaps, decorative hammer loop thing. I believe the the phrase used when finished was "holy crap." They seem rather bright; maybe it was too much.

Somehow, he makes it work thought.

He wore them to school (with a vest that I failed to write about earlier) on what probably was the very last cold day this year. Excellent timing.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Finally Monkey and I got around to taking down our valentine decorations from the wreath on the front door, upgrading to something more spring-y.
Gallery Glass paint also made the window pretty and more private.
Dog is not at all fat, just a humorously bad picture of her Our back door got some love too, and we installed a screen door. How does a house in the South not have screen doors?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Viking garden

I have seen a few really cute fairy gardens online in the past few weeks, so I assembled some tiny plants with the hope of putting one together with Monkey. He was happy to help me drill lots of holes in the bottom of the pot, but that was really as far as he was interested. Even the addition of Vikings did nothing to capture his interest. That is ok, he happily drilled hundreds of holes in a scrap piece of lumber next to me while I played in the dirt.
Mondo Grass, Creeping Phlox, Golden Scotch Moss, and a nameless houseplant were added to the bowl along with tiny rocks and a large shell water feature.

I'm certain the Viking will be on his best behavior in such a lovey little spot.

Friday, March 05, 2010


The winter here has outlasted Monkey's wardrobe: he split huge holes in the knees of two pair pants last week, one completely un-repairable. Early March should have high temperatures in the low 70s here, not the 40s. If he were better with a zipper fly I'd have replaced them easily, but it seems this is not the time of year for elastic waist pants.

Lucky for his cold naked butt I'm crafty.

I dug around in my stash and was a little embarrassed to find a huge baggy pair of khaki overalls. Where did they come from? I'm not the overall-wearing type. How long have I been dragging them around? I've moved 3 times in the last 3 1/2 years, did I move these too?

Whatever, they had great pockets and plenty of fabric. A big cargo pocket was ripped off and relocated to cover a stain on the left leg.
A pocket which you could see if he would ever hold still...
Playing in the backyard today has already made the stain-covering job seem a little unnecessary.

I was able to cut them out using the existing outer seams, preserving the nifty little side pocket too. So thank you, mysterious contributor of ancient overalls!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


For my birthday, my lovely parents bought me a table saw. And last weekend a gift card from the inlaws completed my tool collection with a radial arm saw. Plans have been underway for a new tv cabinet, but I needed practice, so Monkey and I built the incredibly awesome Rocket bookshelf from Knock Off Wood. I cut everything out and drilled pilot holes, but Monkey put in all the screws.
After a false start or two...he even helped paint. Because we bought cheap paint and didn't prime, the orange ended up taking about nine billion coats. You'd think I would have learned after last time.
I wanted the peak to be tall enough that Buzz could stand on top, so I changed the angle and length of the top boards. This required math, which sound scary but really is just high school geometry (did you know I took calculus, once long ago? Guess how many times I've used it since then). At the peak, the boards needed to be cut at 60 degrees-a problem because my radial arm saw only bends over to 45 degrees. So I cut it at 45 degrees and then used a belt sander to grind it down to the angle it needed to be. I also added a couple inches of height and width to the main shelves, to pack in a few more books.
I used plywood to make it as sturdy as possible (we move around a lot). I also set each shelf on a 1"x1" brace, instead of screwing it in through the sides-a bookshelf this cool with certainly be climbed some day. A small i-bolt helped attach it to the wall, to keep Monkey from pulling it over on his head.
The construction only took about 3 1/2 hours, even letting Monkey drill holes and put in screws. We used cabinet grade plywood ($23.97), a box of screws ($5.37), orange paint (~$7.00, but I should have spent more), as well as glue and white paint that I already had, bringing our total to around $40. We loved Knock off Wood's great plans and look forward to building more!