Monday, May 30, 2016


I'm a quilter.  I've mentioned that, right?

What I'm not is a seamstress.  I know I've mentioned THAT to a few of you.

So why did I let myself get talked into making a costume for my friend, Paula?  Well, I'm still trying to figure that one out.  Maybe it was because it looked really cool.  Here's a pic:

Anyhoo.  I said yes.  Then I started shopping.  I found shiny yellow fabric at Joann's.  Then I found some spidery-like black fabric to drape over it.  I bought tulle in black and lemon.  I bought non-curl elastic for the waistband.

Everything arrived and I figured I'd better try to measure my subject.  Have I mentioned that I haven't the slightest idea what I'm doing?

I measured her shoulders, underarms, waist, length of torso and length of skirt.  For some reason, I never measured her bust.

So I'm at home trying to construct a top with missing measurements.  I freaked out and stopped.  Here's when I thought that I could just bring the material to work and pin it straight to her body.  Yep.  Professional.

She agreed to have a sleeveless top (thank you, Paula!) and so I brought the material back home to make a tube.  When I tried it on her, it fit!  Yippee!  It's a miracle!

So now we are at 4 weeks into constructing the costume.  It's getting down to the wire.  I've now measured the elastic waistband straight on her body and I know I have to finish this pronto.

I get the black spidery-like material sewed onto the yellow stretchy stuff and here's what I have now:

Debating on whether or not to add little droopy sleeves.  Not REAL sleeves, of course.  I don't make clothing.

So when that was finally finished, I sewed the waistband together.  That went pretty smooth.  I mean, I sewed two ends together.  How could it go wrong?  Woo-hoo!  I'm on a roll.  So I pull out my tulle.  I bought a huge roll of both black and yellow.  They were each 6" x 25 yards EACH.  I figured I was gonna have tulle coming out my butt.  I mean, HELLO!  50 yards of tulle.

Here it is cut into strips:

As I'm tying the tulle onto the waistband, the kitties are helping.

Believe me when I say that this was VERY helpful.

So yeah.  I get those boatloads of tulle attached to the waistband and here's where I am:

I'm not even halfway done.  Apparently I'm going to need 150 yards of tulle to finish it.  Holy cow!  I had no idea.  So back to Joann's I went.  And guess what?

Chicken butt.

Just kidding.

They have the black tulle, but no yellow.  So I went to Hobby Lobby.  Hobby Lobby doesn't open on Sundays so that their employees can have time with their family.  Really?  So then I went to Michael's.  Michael's did not have yellow tulle either.  But they did have these great boxes that were 50% off.  Win/win.

I ended up having to order the tulle from Amazon.  So I guess I'm done until Tuesday.  Thank goodness for Prime 2-day shipping.

So in closing for now ... I say again - I DO NOT MAKE CLOTHING.

I am never ever ever going to attempt this again.

Silky fabric ... difficult to work with.

Spidery-like fabric with giant holes in it ... difficult to work with.

Tulle ... difficult to work with (mainly due to it all sticking together and the cut ends getting caught on each other).


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Extrovert Problems

So there's this good friend I left behind in Sydney.  She's in my book club and calls herself an introvert.  I consider her a wonderful writer/blogger and she just posted this:

It spoke to me.

The little voice in the back of my mind told me to steal her idea.  I swear.  It was the little voice.  I didn't mean to do it.

I've always considered myself an extrovert.  To be fair, I do have a tendency lately to be a loner.  Meaning I like to do things by myself.  But when I'm in a group I know that I do things specifically designed to steal the spotlight and I know how annoying that can be.  So I try to tone myself down whenever I can.  I can be a bit much.

In her blog, Cristin mentions that extroverts can be "energy stealers."  Is this the same as stealing the spotlight?  I'd hate to think that I'm squashing someone else's energy in an effort to get attention.  Eek!

Personally, I think the introverts are the lucky ones.  They're not annoying anyone.  People aren't worried that they are going to outshine them or talk over them in an effort to get their idea out first.  They're great listeners.  They make better friends.

I crave the kinds of relationships they have.  I would love to have a friend who I'm really close to.  Who I can tell anything to.  Who I just have to call the instant something significant (or not) happens in my life.  Who feels the same way about me.

But I don't have friendships like that.  And it makes me sad.  Especially because I think it's too late.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bill Cosby To Stand Trial


Norristown, Pennsylvania (CNN)More than a decade after he was first accused of sexual misconduct, Bill Cosby will go to trial.
A Pennsylvania judge found enough evidence during a hearing Tuesday to proceed with a criminal trial. It's not clear when his trial will start. 
    Cosby faces three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at his alma mater, Temple University. She was the first of more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct.If convicted, Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison.
    Cosby's defense attorney slammed the decision to move forward with a trial. 
    "The evidence presented today was evidence of nothing. They had 12 years to bring an accuser to confront Mr. Cosby. They chose not to," defense attorney Brian McMonagle said. 
    "There was no evidence of a crime here. And the inconsistencies that plagued this investigation from the beginning continue to plague it now. This case should end immediately."
    But Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said the prosecution only had to "prove that a crime was committed and the defendant's connected to the crime."
    "It's a preliminary hearing," Steele said. "Hearsay is admissible, and we're just over the next hurdle."


    I cannot believe it's taken this long for Bill Cosby to even face charges.  And I understand that there is a reason that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but I feel deep down that he's guilty.  There are just too many women who have come forward with nothing to gain.  In almost every case, the statute of limitations has passed and he can't be prosecuted anyway.

    The biggest issue for me is that it's not just about rape.  It's obvious that he PLANNED to rape women and drugged them to get his way.  It's just so diabolical and evil.

    What do you think?

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    2016 Summer Sampler: Block #1

    As mentioned before ...  (I did mention it, right?)

    I joined a Summer Sampler that started this past Monday.  I received my first block pattern and I hadn't even chosen my fabric yet.  But no worries.  After changing my mind like 20 times, I finally made my decision.

    I decided on these batiks which I purchased a few years ago in Lafayette, LA while home for a visit.  All I needed was a solid to go with it and I was all set.

    The block took FOREVER!  I had to play Frogger a couple of times (you know ... rip it, rip it), but then finally finished in time for a dinner of pizza.

    I'm still in awe.

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Why Fabric is More Tempting Than a Cinnabon

    I'm in over my head.

    I've signed up for a lot of projects over the summer.  The 2016 Summer Sampler just started on Monday.  I paid $20 to sign up (discounted from $25 for signing up early).  Each Monday participants are given a block pattern with instructions.  We are getting a total of 20 blocks and then we have a few options on how to finish the quilts.  At the end, we all share and then I have no idea what happens after that.  LOL!

    If you are a quilter and you're interested, you can still join by clicking here:  Freshly Pieced

    Just add the sampler to your cart and check out.  Join us!

    Anyhoo.  I still haven't even decided on my fabric yet.  And that's how I get in trouble.  I've been searching all my fav fabric sites for fabric to use.  I've gone to Missouri Star Quilt CompanyShabby FabricsFat Quarter Shop and Craftsy.  I also have a few favorite shops on Etsy.

    I'm thinking about this fabric for my quilt:

    Grow! by Me & My Sister

    What do you think?

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    Why Mom Was Right About Books

    Reading is fundamental.  I've read books for as long as I can remember.  When I was little (imagine that - ME, little!), I would find secret places to read where I wouldn't be interrupted.  I would hide in my closet, lock myself in the bathroom, crawl under my bed.  I would read long into the night and sleep the morning away.  My nose was always buried in a book.

    Fast forward to today and pretty much nothing has changed.  I fall asleep with a book in my hands (although, truth be told, it's now a Kindle).

    My tastes have changed.

    I started out with fairy tales, graduated to age appropriate romances and then to adult romances.  In my early 20s, my favorite authors were Linda Howard, Sandra Brown and Virginia Henley.  The steamier, the better.  My friends and I would pass books back and forth and my shelves were completely packed two deep and high!  Every time Mr. Smith and I moved, the books and shelves were all diligently packed and transported.  Nothing could get me to part with them.

    But then we made the decision to move to Sydney.  I knew that I had to part with my beloved books.  I had whole collections.  Believe it or not, I attempted to sell them at a garage sale.  The remainder were donated to book stores and charities.

    While in Sydney, I joined a book club chock full of American girls!  Yay!  By this time, my tastes were continuing to evolve.  I leaned more toward murder mysteries.

    Joining the club was the best thing I could have done for expanding my diverse reading habits.  While  in the club, I've discovered a love for Young Adult novels.  I've read things I never would have read on my own and that would have been a shame.

    In fact, I am still part of said book club.  They've generously allowed me to remain one of them and I turn in video book reports that they watch while eating pizza and guzzling cider, wine and coffee!

    So books have been essential to me.  I've always had an obsessive love of grammar and punctuation.  I love language.  I love people who love books.  I love books.  PERIOD.

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    I've Caught the Bug Again

    The quilting and creating bug.

    I find myself trolling websites searching for free patterns and signing up for every giveaway I can find ... hoping to win more material (cuz you can never have enough).

    I have all kinds of plans for creating awesome quilts!  And bags!  And totes!

    There are classes to take and gosh!  I wish I could clone myself.

    One of my fav places to get free tutorials is Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Jenny Doan designs their quilts and has tons of You Tube videos.  Here are a couple I really like:

    I have to say ... it was very difficult to pick only three.  I'm a HUGE fan.  She just makes everything seem so easy.  Do you follow Jenny?  Do you have a fav?  Please share!

    Thursday, May 5, 2016

    To Exercise or Not To Exercise ... That is the Question

    I'm diabetic.  I was diagnosed when I was 28 years old.  At one point in my life, I was considered by doctors to be "brittle diabetic."  For me, this meant that I was on several medications, plus I had to inject the maximum allowed dose of insulin twice a day.  It was that bad.  And it wasn't fun.

    It was suggested that I look into gastric bypass surgery as a metabolic "cure" for the disease.  Long story short - I had the surgery in October 2009.  I feel that it saved my life, or certainly bought me time.  I left the hospital requiring NO DIABETIC MEDICATION.  Fast forward to last year and it was discovered that my diabetes was no longer in remission.  I was crushed, but what can I do but continue to fight.  For me this means diet and exercise.

    In February, I made the decision (kicking and screaming all the way) to get back to my bariatric diet because I had gotten off-track big time.  I just hate the term "diet," so I'm trying to make a lifestyle change I can stick with.  I've lost 15 pounds since then.  Yes, that's great, but I find myself slouching off.

    For the past week, I've had a severe case of the "don't wants" when it comes to exercise.

    I've decided to blog about this because this week there has been much talk about how if you want to lose weight, you shouldn't exercise ... or it would at least hinder your efforts.  Or so they say.  Click here to read the Huffington Post article.

    Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think it's a dangerous message to send.  Even if it's true (which, honestly, I simply don't accept), most people who are allergic to exercise don't need much incentive to stop.  

    Almost every single winner of The Biggest Loser has gained the weight back; every single one fights hunger and weight gain.  The New York Times published an article about this on Monday.  And they're not the only ones.  There was a Buzz Feed article and a Mental Floss article where scientists try to explain why fat people are destined to be fat.

    But then I found an article that suggests most of the Biggest Losers are keeping the weight off.

    I still say that everything counts.  You need to burn more calories than you take in to lose the weight. This is a balance of your diet and exercise.  Period.

    So I guess that means I need to listen to myself and get back to my exercise routine!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016

    Monthly Subscription Boxes

    I'm addicted.

    I'm obsessed.

    It all started with the Crazy Cat Lady Box.  Let me explain.  There's the Cat Lady Box, which includes items for cat moms and their cat.  Then there's the Crazy Cat Lady Box, which includes items for cat moms and their multiple cats.  See the difference?

    Here's the video of me (and my multiple cats:  Sami, Smudge and Jellybean) opening our box for May:

    Soon after receiving my first Crazy Cat Lady Box, I decided to subscribe to Quilty Box.  This box includes various quilting material, notions and patterns curated by a different quilt designer each month.  This box is awesome.  I really love it.  Here's me opening my latest Quilty Box:

    And the obsession has just grown from there.  The best part of subscription boxes is that each month is a surprise.  You never know what you are going to get.

    I'm now subscribed to the Sew Sampler (similar to Quilty Box), Birchbox (makeup and hair samples), Ipsy (also makeup samples), Candy Club (three different types of candy each month), Birchbox Man (for Mr. Smith) and Treatsie (this is my latest find and I haven't received the box yet).

    It's funny because most of the time I don't like surprises.  I like to pre-plan most of my life.  I like knowing what's coming next.  But these boxes have been a real pleasure for me.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    So It's Been A While

    What keeps bloggers from blogging?  I can only say that for me ... it's my perception that nothing really exciting happens in my life and certainly nothing that other people particularly enjoy reading about.  I have a need for feedback and I *almost* never get it.  Without substantial comments (down below), I have a hard time finding the motivation.

    But I've decided to TRY to blog for myself and not pay attention to my comments (or lack thereof).  And we'll see how long this lasts.  :)

    So Mr. Smith and I have been back stateside for over a year now.  Over this past year, I've been asked how I like being back.  If I'm happy to be back.

    You know, it's impossible to fairly compare Australia to the USA.  They are so different.  The people are so different.  The attitudes are different.

    Australians tend to see the glass half full; Americans see it half empty.

    Australians value time spent with family and friends; Americans value the almighty dollar.

    Australians are fined if they don't vote in elections; Americans are given the opportunity to vote.

    Australians drive on the left side of the road and the right side of the car; it's opposite from America.

    Australians have a Prime Minister; Americans have a President.

    Australians get 4 weeks of vacation time per year; Americans usually start with 1 week per year and may get 2 weeks per year if they stay at the same company over a year.  But it's rare to get more than 2 weeks.

    Australians also get Long Service Leave.  Depending on the state you work in, an employee is entitled to Long Service Leave after 7-15 years of continuous employment with the same employer.  It is usually two or three months vacation in addition to the 4 weeks standard vacation time.  It goes on from there.

    I know it sounds like I'm knocking America, but it's easy to do when you've experienced both and I'm American.  It's easy for me to see her drawbacks.

    But Australia wasn't a total bed of roses.  I actually did not enjoy working in Sydney.  The only good things that came from working were my friends and my salary.  That's about it.

    So hopefully that answers questions about the differences.  But if it doesn't, feel free to ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.