Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu: What You Need to Know

There have been multiple cases of swine flu reported in our area, and it has caused quite a bit of alarm. One local school district even closed all 14 of its schools for the week. Friends are Facebooking and Tweeting, seeking advice about keeping their kiddos home.

So, dear readers, I've put together this handy fact sheet about swine flu.

Can I get swine flu after holding one of those cute little animals at the Northgate Country Club Easter Brunch?
Luckily, no. swine flu is transmitted just like the regular flu - mostly through being sneezed on or coughed at.

A kid at a recent birthday party squealed like a pig when it was time to leave. Am I at risk?
Probably. You never know if that kid didn't want to leave or was part pig.

A guy at the grocery store smelled pretty bad. Was I exposed?
Probably. He could be part pig and, thus, a carrier.

We had some delicious pork sandwiches the other day. Should I be worried?
I may have sneezed and/or coughed while slicing the meat, so I'd see a doctor ASAP.

Is it OK to still eat pork?
Yes. Swine flu is transmitted through particulates in the air. As long as no one nearby is chewing with his/her mouth open, you're not at risk.

What is the best way to prevent spreading swine flu?
Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. You should cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm (then, don't rub the crook of your arm onto someone's face, unless of course you really don't like the person). Wash your hands often for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Recite "This Little Piggy" several times to ensure a thorough wash. Don't kiss any pigs, unless, of course, it looks like this. How could you resist?

In all seriousness, swine flu might mean I have to spend a few extra days with my kids at home because the powers that be might decide to cancel preschool. Or Kindermusik. Or MOPS. As long as HEB continues to sell wine, this too shall pass.

(For real info on swine flu, click here, here, here and here.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gina's Apron

I just completed my latest sewing order - an apron for Gina. Years ago, she and I worked together and reconnected via Facebook. She asked if I'd sell her an apron.

Her requests were that it be brown and pink and that it have pockets.

I tried some new things with this one. I used D-rings at the neck so it can be easily adjusted for a comfortable fit. The waist tie is super long so it can be tied to the front - but it's still short enough that it didn't hang down too far when I tied it to the back.

Notice that kicky little ruffle at the bottom hem. Yep, that was a new technique as well. And, that little loop thingy at the waist is to hold your dish towel while you're cooking. (Paul pointed out that it could also holster a pair of tongs and asked if I'd make him a Man-Pron for when he's barbecuing. He said he'd let me know where to place things so his tools are handy.)

I also did some rousching on the waist band to give it some shape - and it goes up in the middle for definition.

All in all, I'm very, very, VERY pleased with this project. It was - hands down - the best binding job I've ever done, and I like all the extras.

Gina has already said she loves it based on the photos. Guess there's no chance of her changing her mind so I can keep it!

P.S., thanks to my fantastic photographer, Paul. Poor guy probably rolls his eyes when I ask him to take the photo of the finished item. Then again, wasn't that one of the vows? You know - in sickness and in health, in lameness and in coolness. I think I remember that one.

Next up is a mother-daughter hostess apron set - also an order via Facebook. This one is for my high school friend Mika to give to one of her college friends for her birthday in June. I can't wait - It will feature Alexander Henry's Spotted Owl in Green Tea. How cute is that?! I might try a new hostess apron pattern.

My Handsome Fellas

The other morning, Mitchell woke up before Paul left for work and realized he, too, had a blue shirt. And so did Noah. So he asked if they could all wear the same color shirts, which they've dubbed the Strong Brothers Uniform. Aren't they handsome?

Black Widow

Mitchell's class has been studying spiders, bugs and insects this month. The other day, they all made spiders. Mitchell's is a black widow. I am impressed (and a little creeped out by!) with his creativity!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mitchell Likes to Move It Move It

Warning: The music might be really loud - I think our windows were rattling!

Sometimes, ya just gotta dance! (Best of all, I don't think he had any clue I was recording him!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ale Has Landed

Meet Ale, our new alien.

This afternoon, Mitchell asked me to make him an alien. I searched online for some alien graphics and then let Mitchell decide which he wanted. Then we hit my fabric stash, where I had this sort-of planet-y fabric. Mitchell picked out buttons for his eyes while I cut the fabric.

Mitchell hasn't put him down yet! Not bad for a few minutes and scraps of fabric! He's pretty wonky, but I couldn't imagine him crisp and perfect!!!

This was the alien clip art that was my inspiration for Ale.
BTW: Mitchell named him Ale. I think because it sounds like the first syllable of alien.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bohemian Bag: Finished!

After much cursing, several broken needles and probably too much stress, I finished my Bohemian Bag!

Drum roll please ...

I made Lila Tueller's Bohemian bag pattern with her Soiree fabric - my favorite!

I love how it came out, except next time I will start making my panels with the boring fabrics so the super cute ones don't end up on the sides. (I didn't even think about this when I was laying out the fabrics. As a result, my cute green and yellow floral fabrics are on the sides instead of the front.) I'll also make the pockets shorter on the inside - they were a little too close to the top so I kinda stitched them by accident when attaching the handles.

This was my first attempt to quilt and to use clear thread. I think my quilting came out pretty good, and the clear thread was a pain the you-know-what.

But, I was so proud when people commented on my bag yesterday, and I'd say "Thanks. I made it." (There were several who said it looked like a Vera Bradley! Yeah!!!)

And, on a somewhat related note: I commented on Lila Tueller's blog that I was frustrated with sewing the bag, and she so kindly responded with some tips and advice. How cool is that?! (Okay, I don't know that many people would think that's cool, but I did!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eggstra Fun Easter

We enjoyed a fantastic Easter Brunch with Paul's parents and brother at the Northgate Country Club this morning. Of course the Easter Bunny was there, and there was also a petting zoo and egg hunt. The pouring rain moved everything indoors (and all the big animals went home but they kept the small, cuddly cute ones!), but no one seemed to mind!

This baby goat was so sweet. I held him forever and didn't want to give him back! (Mitchell liked him too. Noah only wanted a little fuzzy chick.)

I was amazed at how much Noah liked the Easter Bunny, especially since we were operating on no nap.

The Chef was nice enough to bring Mitchell out his own chef's hat.

Mitchell pet the Easter Bunny while at brunch. (Mitchell chowed down on shrimp cocktail, blue crab claws, lamb, tenderloin, green beans, roasted potatoes, two balls of butter, scrambled eggs, bacon and, of course, plenty of desserts!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eggstra Cute!

Yesterday, Mitchell's preschool teacher presented each child with an adorable egg critter for Easter.

These "Eggimals" are super easy, and the patterns are all available for free over at

Mitchell received a blue puppy, his friend G got a mouse and K got a pink piggie. (We took K with us to run errands yesterday after school, and she carried her piggie all over Target. It was really cute!) Inside were some stickers and a mini container of Play Dough.

I love the extra care that Mitchell's teachers put into making each child feel special. We are so lucky to have him at such a wonderful preschool (and so lucky that Noah will start there in the fall!).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just Hatched!

Meet Chickie - the new member of my creative family!

I was getting a little frustrated with my Bohemian Bag, so I decided to take a little break. Those great gals at Sew, Mama, Sew! offered this mental vacation just at the right time. Yesterday evening, I started sewing up Chickie. I finished her up today and added a few touches of my own (notice her pink bows with the pearl centers?). I wanted to add some eyelashes, but I didn't have any black embroidery thread.

This is a great way to use up some scraps. For the comb and feet, I used some scraps from Lila Tueller's Soiree. Her body and wings are some fabrics I picked up to make the hostess aprons for Mitchell's school, and her beak is a scrap from Sandy Gervias's Celebrate Spring.

Mitchell named her Chickie, and we're debating whether she's a girl or a boy. I say Girl. I mean, hello - look at her! Mitchell keeps insisting that it's a boy.

Anyhoo, I think I'll use her as a pin cushion on my sewing table. She's so cheery and sort of matches my Chic Chick Boutique logo.

If you want to make your own spring chick, click here for the oh-so-easy instructions. Thanks Sew, Mama, Sew!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Now Working: Bohemian Bag

I just started a new bag, this one from a pattern. I've chosen Lila Tueller's Bohemian Bag with her gorgeous Soiree fabrics.

Here's the bag in Lila's Woodland Bloom fabric (not the fabric I'm using).

I'm using these fabrics (from Lila's Soiree collection), plus the coordinating polka dots to transition between the pattern.

I'm really excited about this bag. It's too cute, and it uses some techniques I've not attempted before. Just today, in fact, I did a little freehand machine quilting using the walking foot and clear thread. I think it's coming along quite nice. Oh, and the seams are sewn to the top, and the fabrics are backed with fleece so you get a soft, shaggy edge between each piece. Cute!

I ran out of clear thread when I was half-finished with the quilting, so I'll need to pick up more before I can do anything else. As soon as I'm finished, I'll bore you all with photos!

(BTW: I'm sewing this bag as a "prototype" for a diaper bag for my little sister, Kimberly. If she'll ever choose some fabrics, I can get working on hers! Her little boy will be here mid August - I'd like to be able to give it to her as a shower gift. I thought it was best to try out the pattern once or twice before doing her bag, just in case I couldn't do it! Oh, and I bought some iron-on vinyl to coat the interior, because we all know how messy baby bags can get!)