Remembering Gabriel Liam

11 years ago today an angelic baby boy was born to Doc and myself. His birth was rapid, horrific and to this day we still bare the physical  and emotional scars of his rapid entry to this earth. Some people know about Gabriel Liam and other who have entered into our lives later than his birth and subsequent death do not. It is not that we hide him, not by any means in fact we are quite open about his birth, my then unknown condition and the reason that he died just 48 short hours after his birth.

Some people ask and others just wonder. In fact I was taken aback the other day to find out that multiple people had come to my blog based on the Google Search phrase " how did Maddie Kertay's baby die". To see that right there in Google analytics was shocking but I choose to see it as people caring for me and my family but unable to find the right way to ask what happened.

Gabriel was born after 1 hour of roller coaster wild labor during which  I was having an unknown  Placental Abruption due to the fact that I had an un-diagnosed condition called Protein S Deficiency Factor. Gabriel was very large...really, really large, just a bit under 11 pounds to be exact so very hard to deliver but came he did and he was not breathing. He was resuscitated but his time without oxygen was too long and this meant he had no brain wave function. It was a with great difficulty  that we made the choice to gracefully let Gabriel pass from this world and over the course of 48 we rocked him, read to him and sang to him all while we watched his numbers and heartbeats trend away on the  monitor. On July 2 Gabriel Liam Kertay left this earth strongly held in the arms of his daddy and his soul mixed the the stars in the sky and nestled between each blade of grass to forever to be woven into each molecule of my universe, I take comfort in this. 
 His existence had been created from stardust and to there he returned.

He is missed beyond words and we contiune to life, laugh and love in his honor.

Bloggers of a Certain Age

While totally enjoying my little blog fest today I was smacked in the face with the knowledge that I am an ~ older blogger~.  Of course no one was so rude as to mention it but one rather popular blogger made mention that her husband was celebrating a birthday soon and when mentioning how old he would be it  hit me full force that had I been a more precocious or unprotected young lady in my late teens I could be the mother to this blogger's husband!..  Her husband was only 4 year older than my oldest child!!!

Don't get me wrong.. I am totally enjoying this ride through my mid 40's but it did give me pause and then a reason to poke around and find that many of today's more influential bloggers are young... really young... like way under 30 sort of young.. and this makes me wonder if them being young bloggers makes me an old blogger ?  And does it make any difference?

I can assure you that I am worrying about this way more than I should but not on one of those deep angst filled levels but in a way that has me thinking about where I belong when it comes to things like blogging conferences and such.  My days of diapers, night feeds and potty chairs is long passed and now I have teenagers, estrogen therapy and deciding if I should cover my emerging gray or not.

It is my greatest hope that it will be a trade of sorts, they will share their energy and  enthusiasm for raising a young family and creating a home which I always find very inspiring and I and other bloggers of "a certain age" can share our long term vision and experience as those who have emerged somewhat on the other side of many  experiences with war tales to tell and support to offer.

So tell me.. how do you feel that your age or attitude fits with today's blogging world.. do you feel in stream, fallen to the side or are you paddling for smooth water? Please share......

More Geek T's!

Well the first geek t-shirt was such a hit with son10  that I have a new one to greet my little geek when he comes back from his wonderful trip to Maine that he took with his father,older brother and Uncle.

Of course the graphic is from the ever wonderful Karen at the Graphics Fairy... don't know what I would do without that lady!  I added the word ~ Got Edison~ to this great vintage image of how the iconic Edison Lightbulb is assembled.

Son13 is getting a new shirt also but for the life of me I can't find where I put it so I can iron on the image.. His pays tribute this time to his love of cars.  Did you know that Son13  has his own car already?.. it sits in my side driveway as he rebuilds the engine all by himself as part of a larger homeschool project. If it were not for that fantastic learning experience I would have that thing towed off in a heartbeat since it gives the side of the house a sort of  Sanford and Son feel  that I could live without.... ah the things we do for our children.

This image is also from the Graphics Fairy but I fixed the names making them more readable in a larger font and then adding the header. Soon as I can find the shirt this one will also be done!

So much nicer to make the boys some shirts that celebrate smart... not snarky or crude like so many of the t's available these days.. I mean really what self respecting mother lets her child wear a shirt with an image of Stewie (from The Family Guy) rooting around in his diaper for an undisclosed surprise?...How is that possibly appropriate???

More Chalk Paint

Busy working on the studio this weekend but was TOTALLY inspired by Robyn's use of the Birth of Venus as her muse for the Chalk Paint Re-mix Challenge so that I had to take one of my favorite's and give it a go.... as you can see Robyn is a much classier person than myself :)  I am a HUGE pinup fan so used one I have not worked with yet to bring you the FLIRT Pallet!

Have a wonderful weekend!

p.s. saw the typo in one of the paint names... sorry about that but no time to fix it now!

Birth of Venus

So yesterday I issued a Chalk Paint Re-mix Challenge and super talented Robyn over at Coffee and Cotton took me up on it!..  To say I am stunned does not really even begin to touch how I feel about what she has done... Birth of Venus, what an inspiring pallet!

Thank you Robyn!

Chalk Paint Pallet Re-Mix Project!

Along with every other lifestyle and DIY blogger out there I am a real fan of Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint. And while expensive the coverage it gives as well as the final outcome of the project make it more than worth the money in my book.
A simple Google search brings back 459,000 hits so you know that it is being talked about and used!
The image search bring up 5,480 images for your inspiration!

What I noticed about many of the images was the use of lots of the Old White and ParisGrey and the Louis Blue  but not so much for the other colors which are DIVINE!

Of course you know I am all about the color and while I can admire a pale room for it's quiet beauty it is color that get my heart to beating!...

With that in mind I played about with my color sample card from my wonderful stockist
and came up with some alternative pallet combinations as well as a challenge!

click on image to see it larger!

Using just the pre-mixed colors available I have grouped them into themes that might inspire some of you and your use of the paint. This is by no means definitive, or approve by Annie Sloan but grouping the colors in new and interesting ways lets you see the colors in a whole new light don't you agree?

So here is the challenge!  If you have the color card or access to it and editing software put together your own re-mix and then link it back here so we can all see it how you see it!  If you don't have access to such tell me what colors you think should be grouped by looking at the samples on any of the Annie Sloan stockist sites.. then let me know and I will create and post your pallet here! ( remember to give it a name and use only 4 colors) This offer is good for the first couple of people who get in touch with me.. since .. I have painting to do! :)

So what do you think.. are you ready to Chalk Paint?

Crazy About Yo-yos!

Everything old is new again and that includes fabric yo-yos in multiple forms and fashions. A quick check of Pinterest shows all sorts of adorable and inventive ways to use this classic embellishment.

Photo credit- me, project credit, me too!

Gads I love doing baby clothes with yo-yos!

Saturday August 6th at 10 am I will be teaching a class on classic and modern yo-yo making at Chattanooga Sewing. We will be covering what it takes to make multiple adorable projects and there will be three in class projects to do as well as handouts, templates and project suggestion sheets to take home. There will be baby projects, projects for the home as well as some creative use of yo-yos as part of some fantastic jewlery!

I am creating the most adroable kits for this class... really swoon worthy if I do say so myself! - have I ever mentioned how much I love putting together my class kits?.. so much fun..really!

This is a great class for anyone new to sewing or handwork since it does not require a sewing machine!

Seating is limited since it is a workshop class and is already partially full so if you want to come hang with me and get your yo-yo on give them a call and get a class reservation!

Chattanooga Sewing

See you there!

Stitchology Progress

As some of you know I am opening up a new private studio for teaching and celebrating all things fun and crafty. Sewing, papercrafts, will all be fair game at Stitchology with classes for both adults and children.

I pondered on a theme and colors for quite a while and decided to go with HAPPY as my theme. Colors that make me smile. I thought I would share my inspiration board with you and see what you think!

So tell me.... does it make you happy?

Coneflower Gardening

Yep, from my garden.. do you like it??

Between the rain and the heat I can tell you that my garden is really getting away from me but the weeds are no match for the beauty of my flowers. These are some of my favorites - purple Coneflowers. There is just something so sturdy and resistant about these that I wait all Spring to see them start their climb and bloom dance when Spring gives over to the heat of Summer.

This year with all the heat and rain things are blooming very early. It is all quite pretty but I suspect come August there will not be a bloom to be had in my gardens. But if any do last it will be these beauties. A member of the daisy family these hardy perennials are know to be good producers June through August in the warmer regions and do especially well if you take the time to deadhead them so that they don't go to seed and stop the blooming process.

This plant is a heat lover so after established a bit of dry soil is not the end of the world but they dont' like clay soils so amend the heck out of your soil if you have heavy clay that would make these otherwise sturdy flowers unhappy.

For more information about this flower I like this site by Doug Green

I started mine three years ago from some very sad end of the year stock at my local nursery but since then they have reseeded themselves and  I have divided them two times and now have three very large plantings for my garden with more to be split for next year!  Nursery stock can be expensive but dont' fear, a $1 envelope of seeds will get you more coneflowers than you will ever know what to do with and they will come back each year without fail.

From my garden to yours .. happy weeding!

Do you have a favorite flower growing in your garden??

The Logical Child - Just my Opinion

Lessons in Logic are a regular part of our homeschooling day and I am a huge fan of the resources from Prufrock Press.    Many schools have all but abandoned the concept of teaching Rhetoric and Logic but I think there is little better for those growing brains then to stretch them with these logic puzzlers which make what can be complex thinking easier to understand!

Years ago we started with the Primarily Logic (above) and we have moved through most of their books  but still revisit some of the puzzles just for fun and to keep on top of those deductive reasoning skills!

Ahem, I admit there were a couple in the upper books that totally stumped me and I had to even call the publisher about one, but boy did it get the old brain moving!

If you are new to Logic Puzzles  this is an example of one  from the 2-4th grade books. Of course the topics and content get more complex at each stage but this format is somewhat typical.

click and print!

For the older logic seeker I like-
The Private Eye School  as well as many other offering from Prufrock. Actually I have yet to find anything I did not like from them so feel confident checking out their new offerings on a regular basis.

I leave you with a bit of hot weather inspiration for your new found logic!

Try these books as a daily Summer challenge. Post a new puzzle up on the fridge and offer a small prize to each person who figures it out by the end of the day. If you are a grandparent, think of getting one of these books and doing it with the special little person in your life. Creating a little learner is one of the best gifts you could ever give, but as always..that's just my opinion

p.s. Prufrock does not compensate me in any form to pump their product, it's just that good that I want to share them with you.

Rockin' My Artist Transfer Paper

My youngest two guys are getting ready to leave town with their daddy and uncle on their yearly adventure.. a boys only event. They only part I play is making sure everyone has enough underwear and socks for the trip as well as making the event shirt or hat. Last year it was an embroidered hat.. so this year a t-shirt!

This year the guys are gong to Maine so  I created this shirt with the help of a great image from Graphics Fairy.  I was thrilled to find this vintage ad of 4 fine gentleman since it would be 4 fine gentlemen who would be going on this adventure Maine adventure!

I added the clever (ahem) wording and then flipped the image and printed it onto my of so favorite Transfer Artist Paper.. then just a quick pass with the iron x 4 and the guys are set with custom t-shirts to celebrate yet another year of family/guy bonding.

While the guys are gone I personally have a list that is about a mile long of things to accomplish.. wish me luck!.. I will be posting my progress on FB so if you would like to keep up please join me over there!

Hello Creative Machine Embroidery Readers!

Hello everyone! I am thrilled to have another CME project to share with you. Of course cupcakes are still hot and in the world of embroidery it is no different. In this issue I  am excited to share with everyone a Fast Forward project that creates a quick and  cute cupcake shaped coasters that also double as  sweet dangles that can be used to make a cupcake garland.
(How's that for double duty!?)

 For those who have not seen the project yet...
The design is available on the Creative Machine Embroidery site and the instructions are in the current issue of the the magazine.

If you make some of these please send me a photo and I will feature it here on Domestic Anarchy!

If you are looking for more embroidery inspiration please click on the Machine Embroidery link at the top of the page. Also make sure to sign up on the Domestic Anarchy Facebook page and for the newsletter  ( left hand side of the page) since that is the main way I send out free designs!

Do you do machine embroidery or are you thinking about getting a machine?... if so make sure to leave a comment!

More Photoshop Love

Good morning everyone!..  It is the weekend here at the Anarchy Estate and that means there is a ton to be done but I did not want to miss the chance to say thanks for all the blog love you have been showing me of late. You all really rock!  ( Every time I say that phrase son17 gets a small pain in his side.. I suffer from terminal uncoolness it seems)... aywhoooooooooo

I have received quite a few questions lately about the photos on my blog and how I achieve the dreamy romantic look so thought I would share just a tiny bit about that. First of all I am flattered beyond words that you like my photography and photo editing and second I am more than willing to share where I learned to do what I know so far. I think of my work as a journey and really I am on the very early part of the path so feel free to join me!

The image above is from a site that I just LOVE and have learned so much from.  Kim Klassen knows her stuff when it come to the whole world of photos and Photoshop, it's her passion and her business.  She does not know me from Eve but I would be thrilled to meet her some day and thank her for all I have learned from her.

If you would like to play around with photo editing you will need to get a copy of Photoshop Elements.. 9 is the newest edition ( Elements is the little sister to full blown Photoshop but it's WAY powerful and I actually like it better) and then  start with watching some of the great PS Elements tutorials that are out there. Kim's tut's are wonderful and over time I will be posting up other resources I have used for learning the tips and tricks to Elements. I try to spend at least 1 hour per week taking online classes, but you could do far less than that and still have so much more fun with your photos.. you will be amazed.

As we part today I leave you with an image that I really like and did a couple of weeks ago.  I took the original photo at a small traveling fair that came to town at the same time we were locally batted by terrible storms. .. I posted up another shot from this series a bit ago.. and I hope you like this one. The editing gives it a surreal quality that I found fun to work with ending in a very interesting image to say the least.

If  you have enjoyed this posts and others you have read here at Domestic Anarchy I would love for you to become a follower or to subscribe to my newsletter. Those options can all be found down the left hand side of the screen.
Thank You!

Tricks to working with Red Paint - 4 Fast Hints

If you happen to be looking for me you will find me deep in a can of Emperors Silk Red paint from Annie Solan.  I am painting the cabinets of the new studio this week.  This is the  first coat of red.. looking SO much better already.. totally amazing.

When it comes to paint red is a serious color  commitment since no matter how wonderful the paint, red pigment is hard to work with  by it's very nature. The Annie Sloan paint does go on much better than some and a little bird even told me that they are working to making is as opaque as the other wonderful chalk paint colors but until then these tips can help.

1) Expect 1-2 extra coats

2) Tinted primer is your friend. I used the Pamloma gray in the Annie Sloan line as my primer

3) Best quality paint brushes and rollers- don't cheap out!  I use top of the line Purdy brushes

4) If possible do your first coat with a sponge roller and maybe even the second, then use that good quality
brush for the last coat to avoid that slightly orange peel texture you can get from the foam roller

Are you bold enough to go red??

Vintage Pyrex - Thrift Store Score!

Ummmmm, yes I did squeel, and yes I might have knocked over a little old lady in order to get to it.   I have no shame when it comes to vintage Pyrex and for this bowl I might have... well let's just not think about that m'kay?

While it is a bit scratched to me it is beautiful and I have been looking long and hard for her for many years!.. I have no desire for a whole set in this color, but to have her in all of her big vintage blue glory makes my heart happy each time I see her in the kitchen.. all bright and shiny up there!

And to answer the question before it's asked.. she it will get used every day. I know there is a chance she could get broken and if she does I will cry.. but I am not one to collect as to have it collect dust. So tonght she holds my famous potato salad,and maybe tomorrow she will help me whip up brownies and in all cases she makes me smile.

* note - I just noticed that we never put a cover on that outlet.... that would be like 4 years now... go going Maddie!

Do you love Vintatage Pyrex.. if so which pattern?.. personally I am sort of equal opportunity with the exception of the blue corn flower pattern, that one can rest in peace as far as I am concerned.

Thrifting Increases Your Brain Power!

Hi everyone!...  I  was just back from the thrift shop where I scored yet another  Professor Noggin  educational game. That put me in the mood to share about them since I happen to think they are  one of the best things for keeping little ( and big) minds  bright and active. Better yet so many people don't even crack open educational games that they get ( or are given) that I am often able to find them in pristine condition for less than 50 cents each- score!  Sad sorry folk.. they don't know what they are missing when they are missing out on  Prof. Noggin!

I first picked up P.N. cards games a couple of years ago at my local homeschooling fair and each year we add a couple more while we are there since I find them more than well worth the money. But in the mean time I keep an eagle eye out for them at my local thrift and garage sales. Suburban neighborhood garage sales ( the type I usually avoid) are often a bounty for educational games that have never seen the light of day. I scored 6 P.N. games last year for 25cents each! 

With subjects covering everything for Invertebrates to the Great Depression these games have something to challenge each of my children and we can all play on a leveled playing field since each game card has two levels of play for older and younger kids and adults.

This means that the youngest kid in the family has just as much chance of winning as the oldest... got to love that!  We often choose to play a fast round after dinner while eating dessert.. it's a nice way to close out our meal together before each of us goes off into our own evening pursuits which tend to be more solitary ( read this as.. Mommy goes and sews.. leave her alone or she will growl at you)

Given the amazing number of topics covered in the different versions of this card game it is one other first resources I pull out when introducing a new topic to our schooling.  Studying plants.. got that covered.. how about rocks.. got something for that too! How's about Baseball or Mythology?.. that professor has these covered as well.  Of course these are not just for homeschoolers and I can see a million ways to tie in all sorts of educational game fun with learning no matter where it occurs.. check back in for more on that tomorrow!

In the mean time... do you know Professor Noggin???

Hello 733 readers!!

Holy cats I have been sitting on my hands so that I did not post a photo of this apron since I knew it was being featured this week over at Seven Thirty Three . This is one of the new aprons being developed for Apron Inovations workshops  that I will be hosting this Fall.  If you want to see some more of this beauty and even have a chance to win it... pop over to 733 and get yourself signed up!

If you want to sign up for information about  Apron Inovations workshop  in the Fall sign up over on the right side of the page using the newsletter function so you can keep up to date. You can also join the Domestic Anarchy FaceBook page to keep in the know!

Heavens, I can be such a dork! _ time to talk about winners!

How it got to be Tuesday I will never know. In my defense I have been working at a feverish pitch on the new studio and time is just whipping by! Here is a little peek at some chalk paint work I have been doing..

It is not looking like much yet, but the green chalk paint has been SO much fun to work with and when it's done... she is going to be one stylin' girl I can tell you that!

Now... to the winners!... and once again..sorrryyy I am not sure where my head is or was!...

The winner of the the Cranium Game is ......  The Ellis Crew!!!!...  Guess you can play after go bowling huh?.. Please get in touch with me at to claim your prize

And for the winners of the awesome cute paper flower for doing some flip flip embellishment....

Mel the Crafty Scientist and  Sallie who came over from Sewcal's you are the winners!!!  Please also leave a note here and then contact me at so I can get your flowers in the mail to you!!!

Got to run... more news later!

The Well Read Child - Advice from a Homeschool Parent


When I was a child Summer was the magic of endless days filled with possibility and reading. Reading for as long as I wanted and whatever I could get my hands on. One particular Summer is something of legend to my own children and they have me tell the story again and again.
In a simple version it goes like this.
One Summer when I was about 10 I and the kids of my street decided that we would live in the trees (why I don't know.. guess is sounded fun). We were blessed with properties that all touched and were filled with large Black Jack oaks that were in their prime. These trees had the added bonus of being gnarled together with some sort of thick woody vine that went from tree to tree crisscrossing and meshing many of the trees together under their leafy canopy.

Each morning we would rise, eat hasty breakfasts, pack lunches and books and meet together  to head into the trees. One by one we would climb into the branches passing up sacks and pillows and red plaid thermoses until each of us had settled into a comfortable tree nook supported by those thick woody vines. Out would then come the books and as the sun rose and streamed in through the dappled canopy we would read.
We each had our own book all on different topics, but talking and sharing what we were reading in a relaxed way of children who were more like siblings than neighbors. As the Summer wore on each time we were able you would find us in those trees but more than that you would find us lost in books. 

 To this day I remember that Summer with a fondness that is hard to describe but brought to mind each time I hand my child a new book and watch as they fall in love with words all over again each time.

Summer is here and with it the opportunity to share with your child some of the best reading out there. The dog days of Summer are a low pressure reading time that helps kids come to love the world of literature not dread it and think of a million things they would rather be doing. The key is creating a reading friendly environment - more on that later!

Sadly school reading lists are not what they once were. If not dumbed down and stripped for political correctness or the errant chance at a juicy curse word ( Hello, Catcher in the Rye!) they are limited by time and resources given to even well funded programs.  Gone are the days of mind expanding reads, only to be replaced with  a reading list selection that includes "The Babysitter's Club and the Capt'n Underpants series. I will not even dip my toe in the water of the idea that three books is considered a full season of reading... ~shaking head in disappointment~

My number one plan was to raise readers and in that I have succeeded to the extent that you rarely see my brood without a book or Nook tucked under their arm, I could not be more proud.  Reading widely as well and deeply  is always my goal so exposing them to books on all topics and levels is a given but does take a bit of research. ( More on that tomorrow)

I am often asked how I cultivated my mighty readers ...  My views on this  are sometime unpopular/controversial  to say the least so.. take and use any ideas that speak to you and feel free to ignore the rest.

Maddie's slightly unpopular guide to the well read child-

Turn off (get rid of, remove,  don't buy)  TV and the video games or limit them in a serious way before the age of 10. As a rule, the more often the TV and video games are on in a house the less often books are picked up. That means as a parent you are the one responsible for creating a reader. In our house we have never allowed handheld video games, while not a popular thought I suspect that  Games Boys are a significant  reason why today's literary rates are dropping. The proof will be in the pudding but  I think that time will show that  parents who have slapped these little games into the hands of children as opposed to handing them a book will have raised children with significantly lower reading skills and verbal scores than those who avoided such things in the early years.
Create nooks of reading bliss. Piles of pillows in a corner, a special reading swing, or a hammock in a tree with a soft pad and pillows.  Fun reading places make for fun reading. At the very least make sure your child has good light and a good place to keep books.
Currently shopping for one of these!

Make sure your kids see you read!  If your kids know more about how you feel about who got booted off Dancing with the Stars than what book you are currently reading  you are doing something wrong -nuff'said.

Let them have lots of good quality books- Shower your children in books, not video games, not toys, not clothes, make a trip to Barnes and Nobel the thing they want more than a trip to Toys R Us.  And reemmber,without even a penny to your name you can walk into any library and give you child more than most will ever have. No money is no excuse.

Tomorrow  I till tackle  reading lists for the well read child.

So what do you think?.. have you raised a reader? If you have made a misstep in your family road to reading what are you doing to get back on track?

So What's With the Hat? - Self care Sunday

Summer is here and with it has come some of the most intense sun that I have seen in along time. Even under normal circumstances I am one to seek the shade but these days the sun calls for even more shade protection than normal. This means high spf lotion in the morning along with spf  make-up and even hair spray!

Add to that some really freakin big hats and you round out my Summer look. As I am able I will be doing my parade of sunhats for your amusement! Today's hat of choice is a very wide brimmed model that helps keep my neck and shoulder in the shade since obviously I have already picked up some unwanted sun on my chest.

When sitting where it's a bit shadier I flip up the front  for ease of vision. But when out in the sun that 7 inches of brim are divine for keeping me well under wraps.

It's also quite the conversation starter since it's a wee-bit like wearing your own umbrella hat, but hopefully much more stylish!

Do you have a favorite hat??... How are you keeping safe and out of the harmful effects of the sun this year?

Wishing you...

Miss Molly Weasley and her pal "Shmuppy"  along with myself hope that all of you have a most wonderful and relaxing weekend.

See you Monday when I will announce the winners of the  Cranium Game drawing and for the craft stash enhansing supply of paper flowers  There is still time to enter so feel free to do so!

I think I will be going to get my hair trimmed... looks like I need it!

Soulful Summer - Flipping for my Flops

Summer means cute pedicures and even cuter footwear to show them off. What is does not have to mean is sandals that cost a fortune. At about $2 a pair you can make a different pair for every day of the week and still not use up a $20 bill!

Make them bright and tropical like above or go sweet and understated like these....

These are so  fast and easy to make that it would be a super fun party for little girls and big girls alike! I think I might just do this for my next Mother's Night Out!

So here we go....

1) You will need paper flowers from the scrap booking section of your local craft place. I purchased an assorted container and used my 40% off coupon. I have made 3 pairs so far and I could make at least 7-10 more pairs based on what I have left.

2) Quick dry glue. Of course you could use hot glue but .. I don't know.. sometimes I just don't feel the "hot-glue love"..  This glue was great and was dry to the touch in about 30 minutes. It was a bit stinky but worked great!

3) Flips- I got mine at the craft store - $1 a pair! Nobody is going to write home about the quality of these but  I plan on pitching them at the end of Summer so $1 is the right price.

Pick your flower colors and divide them up sort of evenly for each flip. I did not go nuts with this.. since I am sort of that way.. but get as twisted up or as loose as you want... it is up to you :)

Start with the center flower and build your way out using just a bit of glue on the back of each.  You could also add a small bead to the center of each flower when you are done.. or maybe a button.  Let them dry for at least 30 minutes but over night is best.  Since the flowers are paper I plan on spraying them with a bit of clear coat in hopes of getting a bit of extra wear out of them... but otherwise that is it!

See... easy! Now.... want some of my extra paper flowers?... I have two packages but you are going to have to get your own flips.... if so leave your name and a way to contact you should you be the lucky winner and I will draw names on Sunday!

IPad Pattern Round Up

It may be that I have a bit of IPad cozy A.D.D. since as I count it I now own three of them and yet only 1 IPad. But like different clothes in my closet or  purses on the shelf different cozies fit my mood or the season - yeh...that's the ticket!  This one is made from a piece of Owl and Pussy Cat linen, but for the life of me I don't know where I got it! 

I made mine without a pattern since I am just that sort of ~seat of the pants~ stitcher that drives other more tidy seamsters into an early grave.  This project came out perfect but that is not always the case so I thought I would troll around the net a bit and see what was out there in the way of patterns and tutorials saving you are bit of time and frustration.

For me details are everything when it comes to a finished project. Covered buttons, top stitching, trim and decoration are what kick a project up from homemade to HANDMADE. While I do like my details more simple and at times even in the naive style I want to know that the item I have made suits it's purpose and will stay together and in this case protect my Ipad!  So with no further ado a couple of my favorite Ipad patterns and tutorials for your selection:

First off for those who have some wool hanging around ready to recycle or upcycle.. this cover is all about warm and fuzzy!  Check of this from My Poppet  These colors make my heart sing!

Polkadot Chair has it all going on when you are talking about a pretty case!

Craft Sanity has bright and cheery going on with this cover. This one is not for a sewing newbie but it sure it cute!

Low impact and perfect for a new stitcher.. plus it's very cutting edge looking. This one I think might be a Father's Day Winner if you just happen to be giving dad an IPad for his big day! Check out Biscuit's take on the cozy.

Zippers, extra support.. this one has it all going on but be ready to really sew! Bride's Diary made one beautiful cover for her Ipad that is for sure!

Do you have an Ipad?..if so have you made a cover yet?

or..Do you have a pattern or tutorial that you would like to me add?... if so just leave the link in the comments and I will post it up!

The Good Dog - My Chattanooga

Holy cats folks, I am thrilled that so many of you are coming to Chattanooga this Summer and I am even going to get to meet some of you!.. squeeeeee!...  and all of you want to know where to go to eat when you are here!    Maddie, we are coming to Chattanooga, where should we eat?   ..  and I say.... 
Eat at the GOOD DOG!

The very best Hot Dogs and Frites ( French Fries) on the planet.
Honestly I am not sure how many wonderful words I can pile on when I am talking about this place. Susan and her crew have created a rock'n dog experience. No matter if you are a meat eater deluxe or like your dog to be an all veggie experience she and her uber cool staff have something for you. 

If you are with me I will be having a BLT Dog with a side order of their frites with the most amazing frite sauce ever, or maybe the curry ketchup.... oh decisions.

It's the place to see and be seen on the  North Shone of Chattanooga. Did I mention that they are also doing live music of some of the best bands in the area?... oh.. and cold beer, really good beer.
Need I say more?
Oh.. I do...they even have gluten free options!


34 Frazier Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(on North Shore at Coolidge Park)

*I was not compensated for this post in any way, but do eat there all the time since I have a slight obsession with the place.. they might think I am stalking them.. no matter.. please pass the curry ketchup!

My Class Has Class!

photo credit Martha Steele

How awsome is this bag???  It was made by Judy M. who was one of the fantastic students in my class on mastering the ruffling foot for the sewing machine.  We upcycled burlap bags from a local grocery store to make these ever so stylish totes.   Good job Judy!

Reading is Sexy - Just My Opinion

Dear incredibly obnoxious lady at Barnes & Nobel,

Yes you! You who complained loudly and bitterly to the long suffering B&N sales person that you had to buy books for your teen daughter to read over Summer as an obligation for her next school year. You who complained about how much it was going to cost to buy those two trade print paperbacks while you shifted your mall bags from arm to arm to redistribute your "Hot Topic" haul of tube tops and short-shorts.

You who rubbed your brain cells into a frenzy at the idea that your daughter had to read  TWO WHOLE BOOKS this Summer and bemoaned that  there as no way she would have time. Not only that, you  then popped off with your sage and obviously well researched opinion that " boys don't like smart girls"  followed by the life qualifier "I don't read ~nothin~ and I have had three husbands - so far"  At which point I barked out a spontaneous laugh so loud and so wrong that you looked around, glared at me and my stack of books and magazines, turned on your bedazzled flip-flop and left.

If I could say one thing to you ( I promise I would do it slow and clear)  I would say that reading is the sexiest thing a person can do. To load your brain with new ideas, places, characters is the ultimate in brain candy. It makes your conversations sparkle and it makes you interesting. It means that smart well read men will find you  attractive and good for more than just a roll in the hay with no call the next day.  Being well read is still the best way to better yourself that can actually be free. The library is open to everyone, heck even Barnes and Nobel will let you sit your butt there all day every day and read each and every book they have without paying a dime.  Maybe, just maybe with enough good books your daughter will swim against the tide and work her way to the other end of the gene-pool since right now lady you are totally wadding in the shallow end and that is not good for anyone!  But that is just my opinion.

p.s. This woman reminded me SOOOOO much of the "mother" character from the movie Matilda that it was almost to good to be true..  do you know the character I mean??

So tell me... what are you reading this Summer? Like a Gift of Time - and a Giveaway!

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote how I was signing up with in an effort to to gain some more time in my week. ( You can read about that HERE) Well it's been about 3 weeks now so I thought I would report back in about how my Alice adventure was going. ... in a word   LOVE.

If I could I would doodle my and Alice's name together with tiny little hearts and curls floating around it, I might even carve her name on a tree or better yet write it on my arm in Sharpie marker just like in highschool! Alice is my new BFF!

Seriously, I have been quite impressed so far with  Alice-shopping for my sundry items. No more quick (eh, not so quick) runs through Target or stops at my local pharmacy, thus saving me quite a bit of time and might I also mention money since I am not doing my normal Target impulse shopping that really piles the $$$ onto the final bill when you only stopped in for toothpaste and leave with a new CD, some blush and a 12 pack of gum.... just sayn'.  Did I also mention they always have free shipping?

Using Alice has meant that my time in the grocery is just for food, thus cutting out my need to go down over 1/2 the aisles at the store..woot!

I will mention that my first order with Alice did come in damaged. UPS had not been at all kind to my Alice boxes and the contents of a couple of my items was damaged and 1 was leaking.  This did not make me smile as I dialed the ALICE customer service number. But you know what?... a very nice guy answered the phone after just 1 phone-tree button push and he got my problem sorted out in under 3 minutes with a resolution that was totally fair and hassle free on my part. Since in the end the damage to the box was not the fault of  its self I was more than pleased and am happy to say that the orders since that point have come in just fine.

There is something so freeing about knowing that all the little bits are taken care of!   I am using those extra 2-4 hours a week for things I of them being spending time with my boys playing games and swimming.

To celebrate my new found time I have for you  a way to spend some quality time with your kids or Grandkids!  I am going to be giving away a copy of the Cranium's fun family game Wacky Words. Since when mama is happy...everyone is happy!

 All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what YOU would do with 2-4 extra hours per week! You may enter 1 time per day until  Friday the 10th at Midnight. I will draw for a winner next Saturday!

*The Cranium game was bought with my own money while loitering around Barnes and Nobel using some of that new free time I have, but do let it be known I would pimp their games in a heart beat given the chance since they are way fun for both grown-ups as well as kids!   Also.. has no idea that I am blogger so they were just nice to me because they are swell that way!

The Day the Carnival Came to Town

How I see it

Yep it's me goofing around with Photoshop again. This photo is from a couple of weeks ago when one of those cheesy traveling carnivals came to town. We did not go but I caught these photos from the parking lot. There was a huge storm brewing making for a wonderful play between the bright and flashy nature of the rides and the dark and heavy skies.  I might get this one printed up into cards or postacards.. still thinking.

Do you have a photo that you have tweaked in PS and would like to share?.. send it on and I will find some time to get it posted!  Or do you have a photo that you think could use some PS  magic?   drop me and note and I will see what I can do!

Soulful Summer - Old Fashioned Lemonade

Love the morning light in my kitchen

Well if I did not  feel it was Summer last week all my doubts are now gone with multiple deep South days in the high 90's and it's just the first of June!  With all that hot weather there is little that is more refreshing  than Old Fashioned Lemonade.

Of course you can grab a container of the powered drink mix that many who were children of the 70's grew up on  or you can reach a little further back and make a real treat for sipping on the front porch during these sweltering days.

The kid's refer to this as Mama's Old-School Lemonade and while not quick it does reward you with a depth of mellow flavor that you will not get from the powdered mix.

You will need:
White Sugar - 2 cups
Water- 2 cups
4-6 lemons, juiced, + 1 extra
Lemon extract
Worlds smallest pinch of salt
Ice- lots of it!

To begin you are going to make a simple syrup. This step is not optional in this version... so carry can do this!  In a medium sauce pan add the sugar and the water and cook on low till all the crystals are dissolved 3-5 minutes. Let this cool till it's at least touchable, 15- 30 minutes.  After the syrup is cool add the juice of 4-6 lemons.  Also add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract and a 1/2 of a pinch of salt. Mix it up and make sure that the salt dissolves.

Now fill a pitcher will ice, lots of ice, like 3/4 of the way full and pour in the 3/4 of the syrup  mixture.  Stir it up and then fill the rest with water leaving it about  1inch low.  Now taste.. too sweet?.. add a bit more lemon juice, not sweet enough?.. add more syrup and a tiny bit more salt. ( Salt brings out the sweet when used in small amounts and it blends well with sweet, that is why Salted Caramels are so goooooood!)

Serve this up in tall glasses and enjoy on a front porch or back deck near you!

What are you dong to enjoy a Soulful Summer?  Want to share?