Thursday, February 25, 2010


Mimi with a borrowed tutu and tiara for her competition dress rehearsal.

Mimi had been working on two dance pieces for an international dance competition in Chicago. She began working on her classical piece in the summer and then in December began her contemporary piece. Her classical piece was the variation of Blue Bird, Princess Florine, from the ballet Sleeping Beauty. Her contemporary piece was choreographed, by her dance teachers, to the music Abracadabra by Steve Miller.

The Blue Bird variation required a Classical Russian Flat Tutu. Her dance teacher was positive I could make this, so I ordered patterns, her teacher ordered the fabric, and we found the netting colors we needed here in town. It turned out to be quite the adventure. I made the bodice, basque, and panty from the blue Lycra fabric her teacher ordered. I had never worked with Lycra prior to this. Her teacher wanted me to use boning in the bodice which I had never used before. Sewing layer after layer of netting was new as well. With multiple fittings throughout the entire process, I ended up with a lovely costume that fit Mimi.

Mimi also needed a tiara. What princess doesn't have a tiara? She has two and claims she has a third one somewhere. Of the two, the perfect one was beginning to fall apart. The rhinestone setting was pulling away from the metal headband. My friend who teaches the other kindergarten class has a very handy and inventive husband so I asked her if her husband would take a look at it and maybe figure out how to repair it. He was able to use an epoxy that worked wonderfully.

I've yet to get a picture of her in the costume but last week while she was at the dance studio I took these pictures. This weekend she is dancing at a community event to promote wellness, dance, and her dance studio. Hopefully I'll get some great photos there.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

T-Man in Costa Rica

T-Man went to Costa Rica the day after Christmas with his zoo group. They returned January fourth. I really thought it would be much easier sending T-Man to Costa Rica then when we sent Dugger there two years ago. With Dugger's, Asperger's Syndrome, I worried about him losing his passport, not eating well, spending all his money in one day, not being social, and not expressing himself well (such as acting disinterested when he really was interested in what was going on). I was pretty sure he would handle changes and be able to go with the flow if things didn't happen as planned. He is a seasoned traveler and has had to adjust to those unforeseen changes that can occur.

Things went really well for Daniel. He brought money back home. Bought some nice mementos and remembered to bring back some brochures for a scrap book. He kept a journal and talked non stop for weeks. Earned the nickname Mr. Harpie Eagle Man and Angus. Evidently Dugger sings ACDC and Guns& Roses songs very well. I know the adults in charge raved about him and would have taken him again. They commented that if T-Man was as good a traveler as Dugger they would be thrilled.

T-Man is another great traveler. Actually all my kids are. They are so use to going on road trips and have traveled by train and plane several times. They know how to live out of a suitcase (not sure if they know how to pack one). For ages I thought that sending T-man off would be a piece of cake, no worries. He is my best eater, most gregarious, somewhat responsible. Yet he is the one that has had an I-pod and a game boy stolen. Although he runs neck and neck with his sister in being the biggest hypochondriac. He is my lotions, elastic bandages, and tums baby. I always say that a band-aid, tissue, and an m&m will cure 98% of what ails a kindergartner. Well an elastic bandage and tums will cure 98% of what ails T-man.

Since the summer we had been buying or sorting out the things T-Man would need on his tropical vacation. We bought swim trucks and sandals on sale at the end of the season. Made sure he had a windbreaker/rain jacket, deet, and sunscreen before winter set in and these items became scarce. In the days leading up to his flight we began gathering his clothes and supplies. We realized that the travel bag he was going to take hadn't been used since Duggger trip. It smelled and still has sand from Costa Rica in it. A wash and an airing out solved that problem. We soon had him packed with room to spare. I tried to get T-man to take a small notepad and pen/pencil to write down important thoughts and keep a record of events. Absolutely not!!

Then came the "little" medical kit I was going to pack for him. I ended up filling a gallon zip-loc bag with aloe for sunburn, an assortment of different sized band-aids, Tylenol, Chlor-Trimeton, Tums, cough drops, anti-bacterial cream, and Benadryl. T-Man then asked for Vick's vapor rub. I ran out and bought him a tiny travel size as we were running out of space and I picked up Dramamine for the boat ride. I jokingly suggested he take his elastic knee bandage and when he headed to his room to get it Doug yelled at him to not take. That was over the top.

I worried about him getting sick or feeling sick. Then I began to worry about his gregarious nature. He was traveling with one very good friend and several other kids that he had become friendly with over the course of social activities related to the trip. I worried that he would exclude others in his friendship with his really good friend. I worried he would be too silly and not be as respectful as he should. I made myself crazy with worry.

It turned out he had a great time, behaved well, was not sick at all, and my fair skinned boy didn't get sunburned. He earned the nickname Mr. Harpie Eagle Man's brother and Timoteo. He took some great pictures with an expensive camera that he had been saving for and he came back with it. He even managed to buy me an ox cart and managed to navigate traveling back with it. Did he talk much about the trip? No. Did he bring money back? Yes. Did he enjoy downloading and editing his pictures? You bet!! We joke that he must have captured every species of lizard they have in Costa Rica. It was a wonderful experience for him (and I). Will I worry the next time he travels without me? Absolutely!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to Writing

I know I haven't blogged in what seems like forever. I have thought but haven't had the desire or right words to put to "ink". I truly am one of those people that the creative spirit moves. I blow hot or cold. I struggle to push through the stagnant time and persevere.

In my defense I have been busy. Monday, we had the day off for President's Day and I did some much needed cleaning. This weekend was the first weekend where Mimi had one dance session at the studio. It was a long session but only at the studio. The boys only had their guitar lessons and they usually take themselves to that. I had no sewing commitments or deadlines. I felt like I had a long leisurely weekend to myself.

What did I do? After a power nap, I took Mimi to the school play Friday night. She has several close friends in the play. Saturday, Doug and I ran some errands and then I worked on sewing the binding onto my Halloween quilt. The binding is something most quilters do by hand. There is a machine sewing technique but I do like the look of the hand sewn binding best. The binding for this quilt is a bit problematic because it is a black binding on the black backing fabric. With the later afternoon winter light and the artificial evening light; I find it very difficult to sew well by hand. Saturday was a great day to sit by the window, cat curled in my lap on part of the quilt, and watch the Olympics while I sewed. Sunday brought more sewing and some school work. I'm now half finished with the binding. Then I can do the binding for T-man's quilt and move on to quilting a new quilt.

Here is the quilt top after I got it back from the lady who does the quilting for me. She has a huge quilting machine that basically stitches the quilt top to the batting and the back fabric. I choose the thread color and the stitching design. For the Halloween quilt she used black thread and a spider spinning a web for the stitching pattern.

The edges are rough and in the pictures you can see the white fluffy batting sticking out. I trim some of the excess batting and fabric and then begin the process of preparing the binding and attaching it to the sides of the quilt.

Stay tuned! Lots more coming up.