10K by 40.

Friday, July 29, 2011

When Little Brother was born, I set a goal for myself:  run a 10K before I turn 40.  It was very important to me, and I was determined to do it.  So about a year ago, I started to get serious about running again.  I used to run, before kids, and I was ready to tone up and feel more fit.  More than anything, I was happy to be working toward my goal.  I was doing great, progressing well, and enjoying it.  Mr. Great was committed to my goal too, so he would handle the kids after work while I squeezed in a run before it got dark.  We were in a good groove.

Then everything changed.  I was diagnosed with a medical condition that ended running for me, probably forever (though I have a great physical therapist who thinks a light jog might be possible someday, but certainly not now).  I walk a lot now instead (in my running skirt).  It's been a hard adjustment in many ways, and part of what's made it so difficult has been my 10K-by-40 goal.  I couldn't let it go.

I decided a couple of months ago that I shouldn't be so married to the details of my goal and should be more flexible about how I meet it.  Two 5Ks, walking, would work.  I did the first (with the support of my family) at the end of June.  But it turns out that walking-friendly 5Ks are nearly impossible to find the last two weeks of July when it's 105 degrees.  Go figure.

Last week, Mr. Great gave me an amazing birthday gift.  He took the day off work and gave me my 10K.  We set out in the morning, before it got too hot, and we walked all over town.  We walked through neighborhoods, down trails, through the University campus.  In the end, we covered 7.5 miles on foot (that's way beyond 10K and makes up for walking!). 

So today I'm 40, and I've met my goal.  



Thank you, Mr. Great, for making it possible, and for helping me to see that with the support of this family, many great things will be possible in my 40s.

Peacock Picnic Dress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Since I first laid eyes on this peacock and butterfly fabric, I've imagined photographing this dress at the park where Mr. Great and I got married, where peacocks roam freely.  The kids love going there, and it's a fabulous spot for photos (and for a picnic!).  But it's simply too hot right now.  Maybe we'll head there for a picnic in October, when being outside is a bit more enjoyable.

This is the Picnic Summer Dress by Monkeysbug Patterns, in size 6.


The front is cute, and the contrasting hem band is fun (and really easy to do!), but what really makes this dress special is the back.  That back had me itching to sew this dress from the moment I discovered it on Etsy.


Although this would most certainly be even more fabulous with handmade bias binding, I used the store-bought stuff.  It worked fine, and it made the project super quick.  The back is surprisingly easy to sew.  The instructions are great.  Isn't this back fantastic?


The dress is wonderful for these hot summer days.  Forget the dog days of summer.  These are the peacock days!








Construction Notes:  The pattern itself is very simple, two pieces I think (front bodice and back bodice).  The instructions are well-written, with plenty of detail and helpful photos.  I couldn't find the seam allowance for the side seams, so I emailed the pattern maker, who responded within minutes (a fellow late-night sewster, I suspect!).  So for anyone out there who needs it -- 0.5 inch seam allowance!

Although this dress fits wonderfully when on, getting it over the shoulders is a tight squeeze.  Next time I'll consider sizing up, or modifying somehow to make putting on and taking off easier.  I'm so glad the pattern goes up a few more sizes, so I can use it again next summer!

Based on some photos I found of this dress, I added a little length to the bias binding.  Maybe 1.5 inches on each end?  It worked out perfectly.

I left off the pockets.  Although I love the look of them and Big Sister loves having a place to put her treasures, it would have been a bit busy on this dress.  Next time I'll use a less intense print so I can add pockets.

The instructions call for assembling the front and back entirely, then sewing side seams.  I think next time I might prefer to sew bodice side seams first, then attach bias binding, to avoid these bulky side seams (of course, that will require some careful bias binding sewing).  Then I'd sew skirt side seams before gathering and attach the skirt as one piece.  And I'd do the same for the hem.  Although it probably doesn't matter a bit, I think it would look a little cleaner not to have side seams in the hem band.

Small Town Parade, Part 3 (the end).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Part 1 of our parade story is here, and Part 2 is here.  Now that you know about the truck and the royalty, let me give you a tiny glimpse of small town parade charm.  They say that out-of-towners come to watch the Wimberley parade because all the residents (and their families) are in it.  I think it must be true, because there were lots of people in the parade and lots of spectators.

This was the view out the back of our truck.  Civil war horsemen (and woman):


We passed this "float" along the way.  He wasn't moving very quickly.


We also passed the feed store, where people had staked out shady spots long before the parade began.



Aren't these pretty horsewomen?  You can't see this, but they're standing right at the corner of the town cemetery.


It's just as much fun to watch the spectators as it is to watch the parade.  People dress for the occasion, the kids are cute as can be, and everyone smiles.  What could be better than that?



Wimberley parade, we had a blast.  Thanks for the experience!





Thanks for reading along, and for indulging me and my photo overload!

Small Town Parade, Part 2.

When we left off, I was telling you about our flag-waving and candy throwing.  I had not gotten around to telling you about our princess.  Every float must have a princess, you know.  Behold, our princess:








She's even got the princess wave down.  Can you tell she's been studying Princess Kate?






Where there's a princess, there's usually a duke.  Our float had a duke.







Last part to come...

Small Town Parade, Part 1.

I'm late in posting this, but there's never a bad time for red, white, and blue, right?  I'll warn you now that there are lots of photos coming.  This was great fun, and there are many great shots.

Remember the perfect 1952 red truck?  For July 4, we decorated it and put it in the Wimberley parade.  The theme this year was "A Texas Classic" -- what a perfect description of both the truck and this small-town Texas parade. 




Did you know that this truck is a movie star now?  It is!  It can be seen in an upcoming short film called Ruth's Locket.  I'm not sure when it will be released, or where, but if you happen to see the movie, watch for the pretty red truck.

For July 4, we put on our patriotic best, loaded up the pickup bed with flags and bags full of candy, and lined up to join lots of other Wimberley folks in the parade.  There was music, provided by Little Brother.  And there were homemade crowns.


Homemade necklaces, too.



There was lots to see as we waited for the parade to begin, including the Wimberley high school band, horses, other old cars and trucks, and floats.



Of course, the best view of all was from the truck.





Finally, the parade began and off we went with flags in hand and festive headwear on heads.







To be continued...

Sew what?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Remember when I actually posted sewing projects here, and not just pictures of cute kids?  Summer's been busy, and there hasn't been a lot of sewing going on.  Sewing machines got serviced, Little Brother had a half birthday, we were in a parade (cute kid photos on the way), we took a vacation to the mountains (more cute kid photos waiting to be loaded), Big Sister's birthday is just around the corner.  Lots of fun stuff, but oh how I've missed my sewing space.  I can't wait to fire up my sewing machines and tackle my growing to-do list -- kindergarten is coming, baby nephew is coming, football season is coming, someday cooler weather will come -- so please stay tuned.  I've got a sewing post or two in the works.  Hang on, and I'll get there, okay?




Photos courtesy of Melissa Glynn Photography.

Happy Half Birthday!

Monday, July 18, 2011

When your birthday is on Christmas Day, you don't get the celebration you deserve.  Friends and family are traveling and otherwise occupied, your own parents are already maxxed out with holiday goings-on, and you have to compete with Jesus and Santa.  Sure, you may get a few extra gifts, and maybe even a cake and singing of "Happy Birthday," but the reality is that your birthday doesn't get the attention it should. 

We didn't even attempt to throw a Christmas birthday party for Little Brother this year.  I thought a lot about it, but I just couldn't make it work.  So we made up for it in June with a spectacularly wet half-birthday celebration.  We invited Little Brother's classmates over to play in the sprinklers and eat cake.  The little man was thrilled to have his friends around, and we were thrilled to have a backyard full of two-year-olds (they're not in the pictures, but I promise they were here).  Look at the happy little guy:







His sister was there, too.  Despite her great concern about the fairness of Little Brother having two birthdays when she only has one, Big Sister was a wonderful hostess to all the little friends.


She even taught them how to play water Whack-a-Mole.


My sister, who made the incredible Easter Bunny cake, outdid herself with a Spiderman/Batman masterpiece.  I've painted over the name on the top because I get a little nervous about putting my kids' names on the Internet, but trust me when I say that it was a work of art.  Can you believe that she's basically self-taught and has only been doing this for about a year?  (If anyone local wants a cake baked, I'll be happy to connect you.)





It was delicious too.  I wish I had a big piece right now!


I sure do love this boy.  I love the sound effects, the crashes, the fascination with garbage men and construction men and workers, his equal interest in being Spiderman/Batman/Cinderella/Ms. Rachel (Big Sister's dance teacher), his sweet little voice, the way he sings, his chubby hands, the freckles that have started to appear on his nose and cheeks.  I had no idea how much fun I'd have being mama to a boy.  This boy.



Hey, whose birthday is next?








Okra Art.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What do you do when your garden has started to produce okra, but there's nowhere near enough to eat?  You make art!

I cannot take credit for this idea.  I discovered okra printing on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try it.  Big Sister, who is always up for an art project, was even more excited than I was.

Have you ever looked closely at the inside of okra?  It's beautiful.  A lovely flower shape.


And it makes a wonderful stamp.  Just grab your okra flower stamps, put paint on sponges, and off you go.






It's fun for all ages.







Okra art.  It's good, and good for you.