Anarchy Rising

Dear all, sorry to go MIA, but as many of you know I live in the heart of the South, Chattanooga tn and we along with the surrounding areas have been devastated but a massive cluster of tornados that ripped through our area all day Tuesday. My family and myself are safe and sound but without power.

I have finally been able to get out to a wifi hot spot so I could make bigger contact with all of you. For more coverage as I am able please join my Facebook profile since that I can up date by smart phone on that account.

I have so much to say and so little time to do it, and have even resorted to pen and paper to to capture my thoughts so I can share them with you in the coming months. The local devastation is heartbreaking, the courage of many uplifting and the base humanity of others breaks my heart. Think good thoughts for all and I will check in as I can.

Currently they believe that we could be over a week with no power. Leaving our home is not an option due to pets that need care and it breaks my heart to say this but we have already been encountering looters and scam artists.

So for now it is cold showers, making pancakes on the out door grill and living by the light of outdoor solar path torches that have been repurposed into indoor lighting solutions at night and washing our clothes by hand and setting up more clothes lines. Ah the glamour!

Till next time... Maddie, the D.A. Learning lessons,left and right.

I Quilt

I don't talk about it a lot these days but it does not mean I am not doing it, just have so many projects going right now that there is only so much room to talk about quilting.  I am a quilter, a piecer and a longarm lover. I longarm quilt on a Handi Quilter Avante 18. It's a WONDERFUL machine and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about a long arm to give it a look.  Simple to use, very well constructed, one sexy quilting beast :)

I am what is referred to is a Maverick Quilter. I do only freestyle work and I do it the way it pleases me breaking rules left and right along the way. The quilt you see here is from my trip to Utah to hang with the wonderful people from Handi Quilter after they chose my story ( along with others) for their ad campaign this year...  Birds on a Wire oddly enough was only the second quilt I had ever made.. funny that it is the one that went with me so from that point alone it holds a special place in my heart.

You can see a bit more of this quilt on the blog of my favorite quilting/fabric store.. Sew BEE it    and if you are looking for a Maverick Quilter for your next project  click on the tab at the top of the page for more details. I accept quilts by invitation only an have very few spots left for the year but do have a soft spot for baby quilts so if you sweet talk me I might be able to find a time slot  but no promises :)

** edit **   My mention of Handi Quilter and my machine  is done totally with out compensation at this time but I was the former winner of lots-o-swag from them and stil feel all warm and fuzzy about them.. just say'n.

Creativity as a Tool - Summer Nights Necklace- Tools on Tuesday

Nothing makes a week go faster than a topical appointment .. it's Tuesday again so we are talking tools. This time I am putting a spin on it since they "tool" I want to talk about this time is creativity.  I really believe that we are all born creative and that due to time and circumstance some of us loose touch with that part of ourselves. It's not gone, more like buried ( not un-like my missing pinking shears.. I know they are here.. but where is a question I can't seem to answer right now!)

Finding  and tapping into your creative side (should it be lost) can be a baffling challenge for some. I know this because I get a LOT of questions and  comments on the topic both on the blog and in person. The questions comes in many different forms with most being brewed down to some form of " how did you think that up?"

This is at best a difficult question to answer, and not because I don't want to share, more because pulling you into my ADHD brain is one messy piece of work. Not only that, but because it works different for each person so one persons process cannot and should not be judged against another.  Let alone not every one's creativity is focused in the same direction or in the same style. I mean I can personally rock a lot of different forms of creativity but musically I am a total goon. My musical ability extends to tuning in a radio station and singing off key. Totally different for Son17 he lives, eats, breathes music off all sorts. He listens widely and plays like a Hendrix-style wildcat.. it blows me aways and it's his creativity bearing fruit.

His process is just as entailed to talk about and when he talks to me I just nod my head a lot since I dont' get a bunch of it but I can see it lights his fire to talk about it and share it. Of course it's best shared with others who understand his language at least to some degree and when he and music friends sit and talk I see energy rush back and forth between them.. so cool, so creative.

The same can be said for those who find their creative spark in crafting/decorating etc....  When I am with a group of ladies ( and men) who are so inclined the ideas just fly.. they buzz around like fireflies gaining light and energy with each new thought tossed out there. That sort of support of the creative process is so important but just getting to the point where you feel justified in your creativity can be hard and scary for some.

I had this topic in mind when I was inspired to create a  project for a new class that I will be offering locally ( Chattanooga- if you happen to be close!) and I did a bit of mental note taking during the process.

( This is a stream of action  more than a real tutorial but feel free to groove on it that way if it works for you!)

Some time about a week ago I started thinking about classes I wanted to offer in my new studio ( eek! yes, bean spilling time.. it's coming this Summer!) and as I jotted down notes I doodled a small flower..I love me some flowers. but I bet you caught on if you have been reading this blog for any amount  of time.  The flower reminded me of a hair clip I had seen some where out in blog land but they had done it in felt and I have been thinking a lot about leather of late ( no idea why!)

O.K.. with me so far?...flower + leather, still thinking classes for the new studio ( eek!).. Also wanting a certain amount of green-friendly crafting it the mix so this leads me to think about sources of leather... *ping*.. old purses.  The bain of thrift stores every where.. lots and lots of purses. Most in themselves sort of ugly, but many leather and many in some cool colors.  Ok.. flower+ eco leather.. ideas are brewing and this means I have to drop everything and run to thrift store and dig through a HUGE pile of purses .. thinking.. FLOWER.. thinking...ohhhhh necklace.. lots of options but I promise to only buy 1 and it must be a 70% off (green tag).. this limits my selection but I love a challenge... and I come up with this.

Robin's egg blue, small but super soft leather and at 70% off.. it's $1.05!   SOLD!  ok.. eco leather + flower = necklace. Got the bag, rip it open, get rid of much of it and salvage usable leather parts.  Ok.. flowers, how do I want them to look?..ohhhh think- think.. I have a machine ( Acuquilt Studio) that will cut stacked flowers... so I do that, but know that this could also be done by hand and even try that out.

Ok.. got my flowers and I start messing around with them.. stacking them up.. adding beads, trying out charms, just testing .. playing.. seeing what I like. I think about construction, support and since I want this to be a class in the end, how easy this project will be to replicate for my students.  While I am quite happy how things have gone this time there have been many projects that have died a grizzly craft death before this point so I try to stay open to change.

I glue up the flowers, stitch on the beads and then hunt in my stash for more chain, and grommets. I set the grommets with this wonderful gadget.. The Silent Setter by Provo  ( the reviews are oddly bad for this but I have had mine for years and LOVE IT)

Added some chain and though about how to make this more interesting and borrowed some French General jewelery ideas to come up with a rather fun off center look and front connection with two charm drops for added interest.

So there you go.. that is how I came up with the Summer Nights Necklace. Oddly writing it out has totally exhausted me but the actual process was a creative blast. So if you want to get in touch with your creative side.. and you live in the Chattanooga Area, drop me a note here or at and get on the mail list for this event.  There will be only 20 invitations to this creative event so make sure to get your name on the list if you want to come and dig for your own creative spirit! 

Otherwise dive deep into your own creative pool and see what you find in there. Don't be afraid of a craft fail since it's also part of the process.

Next time I think I will talk about stocking your creative pantry- what makes for spontanioius crafting success.

Marriage on Monday- Feel the Music

Today's post is brought to you by my love of cheesy70's/80's  music which I indulge in on the rare occasions when there are not children in the car to mock my ability to sing. This music is a total embarrassment to my teen children but a wonderful walk down memory lane for me as well as source of subliminal marriage advice it seems.

Earlier this week it was sunny, traffic was light and I was having a great time crooning tunes that made me think back to high school dances ( Prince- When Doves Cry anyone??) or ridiculous pre- teenage angst ( Grease- Hopelessly Devoted to You ) but never did I think that I would find some good marriage advice streaming from my speakers until I found  myself belting out the supremely cheesy anthem of the late 70's and early 80's - The Pina Colada Song!  ( Which is actually entitled ~ Escape~ who knew!)

Yes, the iconic classic of the waning disco era sent me down the rabbit hole of thoughts addressed in the words of the song dealing with a couple who separately find themselves in a rut and both go looking for more excitement  outside their marriage while missing the fact that there was so much that they still did not know about each other.  Do you like pina coladas?, getting caught in the rain?......... / I never knew, you liked pina coladas, getting  caught in the rain, the feel of the ocean, the taste of champagne.....

Cheesy, yes, worth exploring, double yes! How any times do we find ourselves in the same pattern over and over again with our spouse out of little more than habit?  While a certain amount of this can be comfortable ( like a great pair of old jeans that still fit and  look great)  there is a point where it becomes  old and stale ( old jeans that you kept just to keep, not because they flatter your figure any more) and ripe for difficulty.

Being aware of these lazy patterns of  marital behavior makes it easier to hone in on what it might take to add some spark to your marriage in order to inoculate it from boredom and other more serious conditions.  Marital apathy is WAY to easy, you have to fight it  every step of the way.

~5 Spark Notes for Marriage~

Leave Love Notes- I got one from Doc just last week, I found it in our bed when I awoke and he had already left out of town for the week. It made me feel very loved and had me greatly anticipating  his return. I do the same for him by slipping notes ( or yes, once, a pair of black lace thong panties) into his briefcase for him to find later. ( Yes again, I am the "bad girl" his mother warned him about )

Fix His Favorite Dinner, Just Because -  Yeh, maybe you don't eat meat anymore, but that is little reason to make your man feel like less than the king of his castle. Cook what he loves at least once a week, the old saying still holds true - The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. And if you don't cook?... make sure to at least have his favorite snacks around. It shows you care and are thinking about him when  you shop.

Flirt With Him - If you don't do it someone else will!

Initiate Sex-  Chase that man of yours down and jump his bones, at least sometimes. Make him feel desired! Show off, strut your stuff. If you are quiet as a tomb  in the sack  get vocal, rock his world between the sheets since little else makes a man feel better or more loved.  Want to be able to rock it and talk it to the point that he drops to his knees?.. here is my favorite book by Carol Queen

Find and Support his Secret Passion - Did he always want to learn to juggle, fly fish, Tango?  Whatever it is make it happen for him or at least give him the time and nudge to make it happen for himself. ( I made Doc buy a new boat- cash only please)  Some guys are so family centered that they ignore their own personal growth, its up to you to give them the time and space to help make that happen for them.

I wonder what Doc will have to say......

Ok, she had me fooled. Earlier today I heard the strains of "Escape" coming from Maddie's computer, I heard the first line which is about being bored with a relationship, and she's telling me this is about Marriage on Monday. Hmmmm, I think to myself - is she trying to tell me something? She told me to have faith; "You'll see," she said. Silly me. Leave it to Maddie to turn "Pina Colada" into something wonderful about being married!

Maddie has pretty much said it all, and quite frankly she's better at this than I am. Still, there are a few things I've learned over time, and perhaps they are worth sharing.

Before I get to my list, though, maybe the most important thing to remember is, as Maddie said at the outset, you have to make a conscious decision to fight the apathy. Bored with your marriage? Ask yourself what you're going to do about it. When the kids used to say "I'm bored," my response (when I was being clear-headed, mind you) was, "That's quite a problem you have. What are you going to do about it?" My point is that being bored is a state of mind that you can afford for short periods when you need a break from thinking, but it's death to relationships if you let yourself stay there. And let's be clear, boredom is an internal state, not a flaw in someone else or in your circumstances. It isn't that your spouse is boring - it's that you are bored. Even if you don't believe me, act as if you do and I promise you'll be rewarded. At the very least you'll feel creative, which is more fun.

Leave love notes - oh, yeah, she said that. She's right. And by the way, the panties just about gave me a heart attack, but I would have died a very happy man.

Say thank you, like you mean it - more importantly, notice what your spouse does for you. Enough said.

Buy her (or him) anything you can afford - if you can pay cash for it, and she wants it, just do it. I don't care if you think it's a waste of time to by her a thread spooler, or him a new fly rod. It's enough that it makes your spouse smile. But do not, I repeat do not, buy what you cannot afford because you think that will show the extent of your love. Debt creates pressure, and going into debt to buy something your spouse wants means it comes with strings. Just trust me on this. If it's more than you can afford right now but you really want to get it for her, skip your Starbucks twice a week for as long as it takes to save up the cash. At Starbucks' prices, it won't take you all that long.

Go on a date - no, I mean a real date. Guys, call ahead and make the reservations, let her know you'll be by to pick her up at 7:00, and you make the arrangements to make sure the kids are cared for. Ladies, let him order dinner for you (once you've told him what you want of course!) And yes, I'm serious. Watch what happens.

Shut up and listen - don't try to fix it, don't give advice, and for heaven's sake don't say "I told you so" even when it's true. Just listen. If you're lips are moving, your ears are closed. And this works both ways, by the way. I don't care if they won't admit it, guys want to be heard too.

As usual, I said too much, no doubt!

Maddie here, Nope... just right Doc, as always. And you better watch out since you know how much I love a good sporting game of ~hide the naughty undies~... which brings me to my number 6 spark note-

Do the unexpected!  It's my challange to you out there.  What can you do to spark your marriage?

Have fun, be naughty, rock your marriage!

Maddie and Les are a long term married couple with lots of kids and a passion for their marriage and family They write together for Marraige on Mondays her at Domestic Anarchy
 You can find more of Doc's writing at

Go-To Gifts- Graphics Fairy Style

In the blink of an eye, two charming burps for a sweet new baby. For this project I used Transfer Artist Paper and a graphic I downloaded from the ever wonderful Graphics Fairy.(See sidebar for links.)

I know,  why I ever try to take any photos at night I will ever know.
I guess I live with the hope that some day it will work out...
it never does.

I  used PhotoShop to change the colors from blues to pinks and then added the wording. I then flipped the image and printed it out on Transfer paper.  Cut out the images, and then ironed them to the pre washed cotton diapers.  On the one diaper I added a ruffle with some scrap fabric from my stash, the other I left more simple.  From print to done, 20 minutes!

If you think you would like this file let me know and I will get a PDF uploaded asap!

Self Care Sunday - Take Time to Putter About

Last week found me taking time to add bits of beauty to my life with flowers from my garden ( or even the store in a pinch). Today is all about ~the time~ in fact it might be about the purposeful wasting of time which in fact I do not believe is actually a waste at all. My dad called it "puttering about",  and in his honor I call it the same thing. It's time with no specific purpose but always a direction or a location.

Spring through middle Summer each evening you can find me out puttering about in the my flower gardens. And while you might find me with clippers in my hand you can rest assured that I am not really gardening since true 'gardening" is work for early morning when you are rested and ready to greet the day as well as thorny vines and the occasional snake(eek!).  Evenings are different. Often during the Spring and Summer we dine at  a charming little table on our amazing front porch that Doc built with his very own hands. Ceiling fans whipping the air and the sound or crickets instead of a CD on the player.  It is heaven.

When dinner is over, Doc pulls out his laptop or his Nook, the boys get their scooters or maybe like tonight they practice their fly-fishing casts. I grab my garden gloves and my snips and start my very lazy putter around the front yard inspecting my flower beds and  rose bushes.

The puppies frolic about the front yard on their leads ( we live on a very busy street, nothing else would be safe) and I make my way around planning, dreaming and snipping  ( dead heading) if I feel so inclined.  Evening light is gracious and it's easier to over look the parts  that need still to be weeded, the Crepe Myrtles that need pruning and the  multiple wheel barrows full of mulch that I need to move into the  beds. 

Puttering is not a time to think about such real work things. It is for dreaming bigger dreams about herb gardens  and watching  for the first fire fly ( and bat) of the night. It's time for me to be in my own head and to relax in a more holistic way than sitting in front of a computer or watching tv since rarely after either of those pursuits do I feel rested and yet alive and aware and that is indeed what self care is about.

Of course you don't need a garden to enjoy puttering around. In fact in the deep heat of Summer and in the Winter you will find me poking around my studio, fussing with ribbon, doing a lazy organization of thread or just looking at my glorious range of supplies and dreaming up new projects.  It's all fair game.  I know a scrapbooker who likes nothing better than to fondle and putter with her amazing stash of paper, stickers and stamps. And a photographer who spends their puttering time playing with Photoshop with no goal in mind but to explore. It all heals the soul, and calms the mind, what more can you ask?

How do you putter about?

It's Never Easy

Son17 was in a serious bike wreck today and while he will recover I once again dance with my own demons about losing another child and my connection to each of my children.

 Like an invisible thread that ties each of them to me at the same time while  I teach them all the skills they need so that they may soar on their own, the biggest of ironies  

It's the thinnest of threads that snags me from my sleep in flash and sits me bolt upright in bed at almost the exact second my child laid in agony, crying out, tangled in his bike, bleeding but thankfully protected by his helmet.
 All while callous drivers absorbed in their own world passed him by. Not one person stopped.

I will be damned if I am going to lose another child and every part of me wants to wrap them all up and never let them leave my side and yet I must let them try, stretch, and  encounter danger in order for them to grow and become strong.  I do it, but it does not mean it's easy

Sharing the Love- Makeup Style!

One of the best parts about being a blogger is getting to share the love. Passing on great finds, hints,  tips and resources. I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I found Jen's site after running into it over on Blue Cricket.
I mean really, how beautiful is she?????.. and to boot she is funny and oh so real when it comes to her HIGHLY helpful videos about makeup and how to REALLY use it to make the most of your best features an play down those that we would rather keep under wraps.   Her site is Classy Cosmetics   so pop over there and give her lots of love since she is so open about sharing the secrets to looking fantabulaious!

I know that as motherhood has taken over the lives of many of us that the fun of makeup has taken a back seat to dirty diapers and floor mopping but think back, remember when it was fun and it made you feel great. Jen makes it totally that way again and I love her for it!!!.. ~Mwawahs~ to her!


Well!.. How exciting is this!  Just got son13 dosed with pain medication and sat down at the computer and of course if I sat down I totally had to check out what was going on today at the Graphics fairy's sites.  A quick clink and then an even quicker intake of breath and a squeel that sent the puppies running from the room.

  My little chick towel project was featured today at Graphics Fairy DIY!!!!

Thank you Karen, I could not be more honored!

Maddie, posting from cloud 9

Pardon the Quiet

Caring for son13 - big oral surgery date, right in time for this birthday weekend.

 Major parent fail when I booked this appointment!

Think good thoughts for him, this one is a doozey!

A Pretty Cool Knock off with a Side Dose of CRAFT FAIL

Inspiration fabric, $46 a yard

The fabric was great, in fact I almost bought some since I was really drawn to it's graphic nature despite the price. In the end it was not the price that kept me back but the actual words. These words while totally eye catching in themselves meant nothing to me, in fact they meant less than nothing since I am not a traveler or a nut for all things European, it's just not my passion so in the end it seemed silly to have the fabric in my home no matter how striking.

And yet the idea of words on fabric kept spinning in my head, with my thoughts drifting to  words that mean something to me in the thought that it would make the item ( in this case some pillows) more meaningful to me.  Of course they are not putting a lot of design time into Domestic Anarchy fabric that I know of so I knew I was going to have to make some if my vision was going to be a go.

Things started out easy enough, I used Photo Shop to create a document that was loaded with words of where I live and Summer. There is little like a Chattanooga Summer, thick, hot, lush, and languid, pretty much exactly what a Southern Summer should be and I wanted to celebrate that with this project.  So I used words around me and then set the document to print out mirrored.

I printed it out on TAP and was ready to roll! I selected some really nice  pre-hemmed linen toweling from my stash to make these pillows quick and easy.  I had packed the words tight on the document with the thought that I would then cut them apart and space them over the pillow thus saving on TAP which is about $3 a sheet. (At this point  you can feel free to add in the tragic sounding music building to a dramatic climax since in retrospect this is when things started to go wrong).

I took the cut words and placed the randomly over the fabric thinking that I was being so cool and free spirited (listen.. the music is getting louder) and then I started to iron and things were going ok but the little pieces of paper were rather fiddly since I was trying to iron them one at a time.

Really, things were going pretty well, moving from bottom to ( cue the earth shaking music!) ....uhhh top... yes folks that is the word Chattanooga UPSIDE DOWN... ARG!  Ok I think.. there is nothing I can do about it.. I guess it will just be a quirky bit ( I am the MASTER of the mind game, even with myself!)  People will think it's whimsical and charming.. yeh.. that's the ticket!  Of course this was great until it happened again. LESSON - do not let a dyslexic  check your typography orientation!

What I ended up with was this.....

On the upside the pups really liked the pillow, so much in fact getting a photo of it was quite difficult. Even from this shot you can see my other fail in the word HOT. Molly does not seem to mind  so maybe this pillow will go in her cage since I don't think it's going to see the prime time.

Overall I am quite happy with the technique and will give this another go since I really like the over all look but lessons have been learned!

Next time I will spring for multiple sheets of TAP and pre-space my words so I do not have to deal with little slips of paper. This will automatically solve issue number two, my inability to read backwards in the correct orientation.  Craft fail- maybe, learning experience- Always!  I wonder if there is a craft-fail linky going on..that isjust what I need!

HA.. linking this up at Seven Thirty Three  hope they enjoy a  worthy try as well as a fail :)

The Inconvenient Crafter- Tools on Tuesday

Oh the places you will go, the projects you will do,
 with a good extension cord  you can do what ever you choose!
( Sorry Dr. Suess)

I think we have totally established that I am a tool girl, and while many of these tools run under no more than arm strength the real powerhouses of my tool box need electricity to get the job done.  Yes there are cordless models and I do even happen to own a really sexy compressed gas trim nailer that I might flash at you some time but overall for the work I do around here at the Anarchy Estate cordless models* are not up to the task, thus I need.. MORE POWER!

Power means an outlet, and I seem doomed never to have one close to where I am working. That is why this weeks pick for my favorite tool is the Bayco Extension Cord Reel!

Not exactly eye candy, but to me it is beautiful!  This compact easy to store bundle hold 25 feet of power cord and the front panel works as 4 grounded receptacles so I can keep multiple tools plugged in at one time making it easy to flow through a project in no time without having to keep stopping to unplug and replug tools.

Super easy to use.. pull out the amount of cord you need and plug it in.. then plug your tool into one of the 4 available spots and  you are in power!  When you are done, just unplug everything and use the handy handle to reel up the cord. No more winding cord around your arm or twisting it up macrame style. So simple, so easy ~sigh~, it's extension cord love.

I got mine at Lowes and I own about 4 of them. One for in my tool kit, one in a cabinet on the front porch so I can get the vac out to the car, and 2 others as back up in the basement. The price is right at under $20 and so far mine have lasted way past their 1 year warranty.  Crross my heart.. it's a simple thing but each time you use it I know you will thank me.   What is your favorite Tool???

**  Un-named cordless tool company- feel free to send me your best to review, but be warned.. I am painfully honest!

*** This was a totally uncompensated review,  I just like passing on products that really work and make my life in Anarchy that much easier :)

Romancing the Bedroom- Marriage On Monday

Better Homes and Gardens

Bedrooms are important. I ask you,  is your bedroom honoring and reflective of your marriage or has it become the dumping ground for all of the left overs and undone projects? {eeek}With this post I am launching the renovation of mine and Doc's bedroom which is in sore need of up-dating!

Bedrooms are highly personal  and the topic is fraught with multiple opinions most of which are held by people with very strong feelings about them.  So with that said I am wading into the deep end as I have chosen to talk about  bedrooms as our personal sanctuaries and havens of our marriages . How we create them and how we make it right for both people who have to sleep there.

Better Homes and Gardens
When it comes to the re-doing of bedrooms there is an amazing amount of martial conflict out there with most of it centered on the feminine~vs~ masculine idea of what a bedroom should look like.  Not even a week ago I was in line behind a lady returning the most beautiful sheets ever and her reason?.. Her husband refused to sleep on sheets with flowers. As if floral sheets would have some how drained away his testosterone during the night.  This woman was so sad ( they really were beautiful sheets, I would have grabbed them in a second except they were queen not king) and I can bet you any amount of money that her sadness will translate negatively to how much " lovin" that floral-fobic-husband of hers is going to see in that bed of theirs any time too soon! ( how's that for a run-on sentance!) 

 In the end a bedroom should be reflection of the couple who sleeps there with both having as much say as they feel they need to but with neither overshadowing the other if there are strong feelings involved. This obviously is a delicate balancing act for some couples. This room should celebrate your romance!

I am lucky, Doc is a man of superior intellect and a great desire to rock the bed-sheets as often as possible so he knows that how I feel in this room is WAY important to me. He is totally down with his guyhood and a set of floral percales will not change that ( I mean really.. how do you think we got all those kids?) So as I work on our bedroom I suspect that it will come down more on the floral end of the spectrum since such a bedroom makes me feel feminine and sexy which is greatly to his advantage. ( The man is no fool)

On my part I do my best to think of Doc when I am planning and designing so that he has what he needs in our room so that it is  functional for him. This includes easy places to charge his every growing list of computer gadgets, a place for his books, his running gear and anything else that is important to him. Not to mention comfortable places to sit that don't feel too delicate or inaccesiable and yet are lovely and really make the most of our space.

Doc is super busy tonight doing his Doc-work  but I hope he finds some time to comment when things calm down for him a bit work wise!  ( Love you honey!)

I expect this to be one of my longer projects but hope to keep a steady stream of updates going through the project. You can find these updates buy clicking on the ~Romancing the Bedroom~ link at the upper right of the page.

Getting my Craft On!

It was a most glorious Sunday here at the Anarchy Estate. A front came through bringing bright blue skies, a cool breeze and a  warm sun, it could not have been more beautiful so I took the chance to work outside a bit on a project that I have wanted to finish for a couple of weeks!

Of course I am going to have to play the lame card since I cannot for the world find the before picture of this  little cabinet.  But let me just say... when was a deep orange-brown varnished finish ever popular on anything?  Whenever that was this is piece is of that vintage.  What it did have going for it was a cute shape and SUPER solid construction. Couple that with a $3 price tag and I snapped it up in a thrift store heartbeat.

After purchasing it I primed it right away and then painted it blue.... then it sat ( see below)... and sat some more, in fact it sat for well over a month. I then found some super cute trim and added that. Exhausted from that effort I obviously needed another rest and it sat again until today.

Today I decided that I wanted to be outside in the sweet sunshine and fresh air not to mention I wanted to try out my new Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!

The paint was interesting to use, thicker and a bit stickier than I am used to but such a nice finish and it needs no priming. I look forward to using it on more projects and getting a better handle on how to best use it since it really is wonderful for decorative painting since it dries without a finish.. so when you sand you get a power residue not little curls of latex. A much more realistic aged look if you ask me. 

I left the inside blue which is a nice contrast to the cream and brown wax finish I put on the outside of the piece. But my favorite part by far is the image I added to the front of the cabinet after it was painted and sanded a bit but before I waxed it.

Here I am going to have to cop to the happy accident of finding out that my very favorite transfer medium TAP does not do well when applied to fresh paint. I suspect if I had not been so impatient and let the paint dry/cure long enough I would have gotten a perfect transfer but honestly I am THRILLED with how this took to the surface in a very random fashion and the paint even bubbled up off the surface in places due to the heat of the iron.   To me it gives it the look of an old handbill that had been glued up and then has given up slowly to the ravages of time, rather  The images are from the ever wonderful Graphics Fairy ( link to the left)   I merged them in Photoshop so the image I started off with looked like this. I used the waxes to help blend everything in and add age and a protective finish.  I could not be happier with how it all came out!

What do you think???

Take Time For Beauty - Self Care Sunday

In my effort to take better care of myself I have tried to tune in a bit more to exactly what it is that makes me feel cared for, excited and alive. I have gone so far to make a list ( yeh, I am easily distracted that way.. lists are my saving grace) for when something deeply resonates with me so I can make sure to do it. One of those things is having fresh flowers around for the sheer joy of just having them. Fresh flowers make me smile.

No special occasion needed, and they don't have to be fancy. A bunch of daisies works just as well as a bunch of roses. Lucky for me I have a rather large  flower garden from which to pull from but in the lean times most any grocery store can provide me with a small bunch of flowers to brighten my day no matter the season.
Flowers from the store, lilac from my garden

To keep  flowers around longer I can offer you these suggestions based on my experience with wanting to get the most bang for my buck flower wise.
  • Change the water every day.
  • Don't let any leaves sit below the water level, with will cause scum.
  • Pick up a couple packets of the flower fresh stuff, and use it. If you don't have any a bit of sugar and a wee bit of bleach can help.
  • Keep them out of direct sunlight.
  • Re cut the flower stems on the angle on the first day and again on the 3 and 5th days. By cutting and changing the water I can get most flowers to last a week.
  • Choose more hardy flowers for longer life. Orchids, Mums, Gladiolas Carnations, Peonies, roses and lilies:
What do you do to make yourself happy and feel good each day?



Much To-Do About A Dress

I never fail to be amazed at the things that ignite passionate responses in people ( including myself!). Some subjects are a  given, religion, race, sex,  politics, loud dresses on big girls... you know.. the hot button topics of our time. 

Yes, loud dresses on big girls.. you read that one right and I am totally guilty of wading into the fray on this topic.

The dress in question-

This is a Modkids adaption of a  regular Modkids pattern by the very talented Patty Young.  And while I am thrilled to see her putting out plus-sized patterns this one is a total fail for me personally and obviously for a lot of other people. Given the rather lengthily but over-all polite tone of the conversation on FB via the Sew Mama Sew page there are some very strong feelings about designers who wade into the world of pattern making for the plus sized figure, and I am one of them.

I am plus sized ( yep.. scroll back up and look at my photo, I''ll wait). Size 14-16-18 depending on the brand, the cut and the time of the month (sigh)*  I have been ~plus~ for 21 years and previous a 12ish given the fact that I have the shoulders of a line backer and the muscled legs of a sumo. All to say I have never been tiny so the world of ~big girl~ fashion has been mine for a long time so I feel pretty centered in speaking about it, sewing for it  and pattern critique when it comes to designs for the larger figure.

First let me say... the model wearing this dress is one hot mama! That smile.. that hair.. and under that dress I suspect there is one sexy curvy body -  GORGEEEOUUUUSS!  But this dress does it's best to outshine her in fabric choice and swallow her when it comes to the fit and flatter function of the dress.  Given the print on the dress I can't see the patten details very well so I can't see if there are  bust darts, and there seems to be no waist shaping  which is a critial factor when it comes to plus size design.  I would also point out that the neckline is way too high given the style of the dress and it makes hot-mama  look like she has a much broaderer chest, thus adding weight to her figure. Some pointed out that this dress was nice due to the modesty factor of the higher neck and while I can groove on that I think a better solution would be a lower and more open neck and a sweet cami underneath to break up the visual line at chest level.

There is no doubt that dressing the more zoftig figure can be a challenge. More curves on the body means a pattern needs to generally be more complicated to deal with those issues even when made from a knit. This means, darts, shaping and attention to balance and proportion in greater degree than is sometimes needed in design for the slimmer figure.   These techniques are part of the skill set of the more experienced seamstress and this pattern is quite clear that it's geared for the newer sewer and thus I suspect has avoided these more complicated details in favor of quick knit construction. In many cases this would be a good thing and very doable when it comes to kids clothing, just way harder if not impossible when it comes to dressing the larger woman.

Don't get me wrong.. I think as plus sized women should wear what they want when they want and that includes this dress.  I think we have the right to choose, reject and modify anything and everything that is out there is pursuit of feeling good about how we look. My reasons to jumping into the fray are simple and complex at the same time. As a plus sized person I applaud any and all designers who are working towards a broader range of of pattern sizes but also as a plus sized person I think it's right that we need to use our personal knowledge and discrimination about what actually looks good on our figures before we jump on just any pattern that is out there just because it's produced in a larger size than a 12.  I think we all have the right to look and feel our best and if I are going to invest of time and money into sewing a  dress I want the best outcome. That comes from knowing how to look at pattern and  really see the lines for what they are and know if it's right for me or any larger figure

So.. if this pattern is not good.. what is?... let's look at that next time. Until then if you are a plus size.. what are your frustrations with patterns and the currently available designs?


* I have in the past been as big as a size 22, so while I personally don't think of size 14 as ~plus~ that is a market definition not mine :)

Something for my Peeps - Thrifty Thursday

The countdown to Easter is on and all over the blogosphere you can see some really creative projects that never fail to knock my socks off.     I love this stuff so was taken aback when someone I know lamented that you had to be so very crafty  and rich to do all of these projects. This startled me since  while I am crafty I don't think of any of the projects I have seen out there are costing all that much but after closer inspection I concede that if you are new to the world of crafts you might not have a huge mammoth overwhelming tidy stack of supplies at hand for your of the moment crafting whims.

I took this as a call to arms and  came back with this project that I think fits the bill as an easy project that just about any skill level crafter can do. Not to mention it's pretty thrifty since I have listed easy to find substitutions for all the  supplies I list.  So join me now is making some ~Peep love~ to share with all of your "peeps"! ( Office mates, hair dressers or maybe your sweet neighbor who puts up with your crazy dogs barking at her crazy dogs.. just sayn' if you find Peeps on your door step you will know who they are from!)

You will need:
  • Computer paper or better yet light weight white card stock
  • Printer with color ink - sorry no substitutions for this one
  • Medium sized  food safe cello bags or Quart sized zippy sandwich bags
  • Scalloped craft scissors- or just the straight kind
  • Stapler  - with staples, they work oh so much better that way!
  • PEEPS!

Step 1 - download and print the file.  Each sheet of paper will make 2 toppers. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Use the light blue cutting guides to help in cutting everything straight.

If you have them, use your  fancy scissors, if not.... move along to folding the card exactly in half. If you want to sign the back of your topper now is the time and SOOOO much easier than after they are on the bag.

If using a zippy bag cut the bag so you remove the zip... about 6 inches tall for the bag is good. Insert five Peeps, no more no less. Five Peeps fit just right in the quart size bag.  Try to keep the peeps connected as you put in them in.  Fold down the plastic top of the bag and add the topper. Staple to close!

Tada!.. you did it!  Now go do another one you crafty goddess you!

Does this project pass the crafty/thrifty test?.. what thinks you??

Ruffle me up!

So now that I have given you  a couple of different ways to make ruffles lets flex those craft muscles with a  project!  Even better it's a Glue-Gun-Gal project since once you have the ruffles done there is no more sewing to make this adorable bag.  Even better?.. the base bag is from the Dollar $pot at Target so a thrifty find at $2!

You will need:
1 straw bag
A bunch of ruffles, mine are 2.5 by about 6 yards total.
Glue gun and lots of glue sticks
Rick rack or other trim enough to go around the bag.

Start in about the middle of the bag, of course  you can do the whole bag but honestly it gets pretty heavy so I go with just the upper 1/2. I used the spiral pattern construction of the bag to follow as I glued the ruffles around the bag.
Glue- wrap - glue wrap, wash, rinse, repeat as you make your way UP the bag.  You are going from the bottom row of ruffles to the top.

I did not join my strips and just over-lapped them and glued them since I am lazy like that and wanted a quick win when it came to this project. As you will notice I did serge the bottoms of the strips before I ruffled them but think it's just as cute with a pinked edge ( made easier by a pinking edge rotary cutter!)

I kept wrapping all the way to the top of the bag when I then  ended the ruffle and  topped the whole thing off with some freaky green color rick rack. You can feel free to use some sort of normal color since I have some serious doubts that they are making this shade anymore!

That's it!.. you have mastered the ruffle and now have a project to show for it.. go  you!

Like my bag?... Got a question?..   Feel free to leave a comment.

Totally linking this up to the most awsome Today's Creative Blog

What's for Lunch - a Homeschool Rant

Oh why for the sake of all that is holy do schools serve corn with pizza?

Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard all the uproar about public schools which have taken it upon themselves to force children into eating what is served as part of the daily meal service at their school (If you have not, take a look here) Yes folks, the sack lunch is being banned in favor of the oh so wonderful meals served by your local elementary school. Those fine folks who bring you greasy pizza and corn on Friday ( Remember that??)

I could bitch on all day long about this and list the crap-tastic school food as yet another reason why we don't send our kids to school but in fact I want to walk you in another direction when it comes to this topic. So far I have not seen it really covered from this angle so let's look at it as yet another erosion of parental choice by the school system. This is ticklish at best since honestly I don't have a lot of desire to come off as one of those shot-gun toting types in a long denim skirt and tennis shoes( Since I would NEVER  wear that!) but all the same it has me worried when parents lay down their rights to an organization that makes a profit off of their children at every turn. Yes at it's heart they are forcing you to pay for  substandard food* that they make a profit on!

As a parent I choose what my children eat to the greatest degree since I control the grocery shopping (bwhahahahaha) so as a rule lunch time around here means leftovers or make something yourself since quite frankly they are old enough ( Let's just call that home-ec ok?). After reading the school lunch article I went to see what my darlings had for lunch. Son -12.99 ( let's just call him son-13 from now on OK.. his birthday is next week)... anywhooo son- 13 was having left over smoked chicken ravioli and a spinach salad and some juice. Son 9.75 opted for a cheese and fruit plate and some whole grain crackers since son-13 did not leave another for him ( yes they fought) Over all good choices, made on their own based on a life time of good eating habits and what they could find in the kitchen.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not above a bit of fast food at times an I am even known for letting my kids have ice cream for breakfast on their birthday after all life should be fun and food should be enjoyed. For me providing good food for my family is one of my joys and responsibilities so for someone- anyone to say that they are going to take that right away from me, that really hacks me off and for the life of me I don't understand why parents put up with such a retraction of their  rights. But I guess that is yet another reason why we homeschool since if we didn't I would be all over this.. like brown on rice!

** Please note that I know there a LOT of parents who have also dropped the ball and let their kids take utter and total crap to school and call it lunch and that makes this subject difficult at best but stripping away another layer of rights from parents is not the answer.. at least in my world.