Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

The temps have dropped right down to 29 degrees here (F), and we were running out of time to take our Holiday card photo, so what is a rushed Mama to do??

I dragged my family out to the dock near our home, and froze them good, of course. You can see how thrilled they were in that photo above. The sun actually made an appearance, but it was right in our eyes. And that wind was doing terrible things to our hair (those of us with longer hair, that is). Red noses all around. I do question my sanity when doing this every single year.

But in the end, we got a decent photo (2 out of 4 people are not making weird faces).

  Holiday Photo Outtakes

See past years: here, here, here, and here

Happy Holidays!

Holiday gift guide for Teen drivers

The holidays are approaching FAST, and I am starting to think about who we buy gifts for. Since my oldest is turning 17 soon, a lot of her friends (and our friends’ children) are driving now. One of my daughter’s friends came over our house a few weeks ago, and while they were sitting in her car, chatting, the two lovely young ladies drained the battery. Well, it was 9 pm, and she didn’t have any jumper cables. Luckily, we do. BUT out of my entire 28 years driving, I had NEVER jumped a car.

I know.

Luckily we were home, and since my husband was working a wedding that night, I called him up, and learned how to do it from him. And more importantly, I taught the two teens.

Since that night, I have been thinking about how a lot of our friends’ kids are driving around, unprepared for emergencies. So I came up with this gift guide for Teen Drivers for this Holiday season, based on the reviews for each product (and price). Click on the titles under the images to be taken to the individual listing. *this post contains affiliate links*

Holiday Gift Guide for Teen Drivers

emergency kit

Stalwart 75-EMG1053 Red Emergency Roadside Kit with Travel Bag, 55 Piece: This one has a little bit of everything, and most importantly, jumper cables. It also comes in pink.

first aid kit

Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece: Car, Home, Survival:

This is their best seller, and I can see why. It has all the basics covered and is small enough for any size car.


holiday gift guide for teen drivers

Car Safety Tool – Window Breaker Seatbelt Cutter with LED Flashlight and Credit Card Tool – Auto Emergency Car Escape Tool (Red): This is one of those all in one tools that I think every car should have. Be aware, though, from the reviews it says it is VERY SHARP. Keep away from little hands.

holiday gift guide for teen drivers

Horizons Tec HT-747 Emergency NOAA Weather Radio. Solar & Hand Crank Powered, Mobile Cell Phone Charger & Led Flashlight. Paracord Survival Kit Bracelet Magnesium Flint Fire Starter Compass Whistle:

Oh this one makes my Mama heart happy. It is slightly pricier, but it has a cell phone charger (uh because I know my daughter is famous for leaving the house without hers charged) and other great supplies you would need in an emergency. Not only for a car, but great for power outages too. And it is solar powered. This one is definitely going in my cart for Christmas.

holiday gift guide for teen drivers

Hopkins 532 Mallory 26″ Snow Brush with Foam Grip (Colors may vary):

We don’t need one on this side of the mountains, but I know a lot of you may. Simple, inexpensive way to ensure you teen can get the visibility they need after it snows.


holiday gift guide for teen drivers

Torin T10152 Scissor Jack – 1.5 Ton: Most cars are equipped with a jack, but some people consider having a spare, especially in older used cars. Essential.

holiday gift guide for teen drivers

Roadside Survival: Low-Tech Solutions to Automobile Breakdowns: This book is also going on my list. There are, sadly, a lot of things I don’t know, even as an experienced driver. I want our girl and her friends to be prepared.

holiday gift guide for teen drivers

Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival:
Basic First Aid book. Always good to have around.

holiday gift guide for teen drivers

Show Me How to Survive (Outdoor Life): The Handbook for the Modern Hero:
This one we have read, and I did a review here. I plan to get this for my daughter who took a liking to these books when we checked them out from our local library. Warning, though for younger readers, it does have some graphic images in it. Not just for drivers, but definitely an interesting book, cause you never know.


I hope you found my list helpful. I know you are now thinking of all the eye rolling and disappointed groans, and maybe even an unenthusiastic “thanks” when the teen in your life unwraps their own set of jumper cables. But they will appreciate it when they need it, and that is what counts. Besides, if I know one thing is that teens tend to surprise us when we least expect it. When I was compiling this list, The Bee was looking over my shoulder and exclaimed “Oooh can we get one for Christmas??” as she pointed to the car safety tool. She said that she has thought about how we would escape a car that has fallen in the water. Go figure.

There is another option, of course, of doing your own DIY kit with all the important supplies you want your teen to have. What I liked about these kits is, I don’t have to. Leaves more time to sew. Ha!

What is on YOUR gift list this year?

Happy Halloween: Giant Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

Every year my husband carves a 300+ pound pumpkin, and this year is no exception!

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

He actually carved two! This giant is the 375 pound pumpkin.

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

and this was the 235 pound pumpkin:

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

He calls this one “Space Cat”.

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

It lights up!

Halloween Bat

 In addition to seeing what he carved, we saw a tiny live bat. I love where he works, especially this time of year.

Halloween Bat

I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween, whatever you chose to do!

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

 This past week, I celebrated turning 44! Every year I have a themed birthday party to ring in another fabulous year, surrounded by good friends, all dressed up. I love it. Truly, it is the most fun way to age. To prepare, I ususally make myself something to wear (see 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015). For this year’s theme, I was inspired by Bollywood. The colors, the music, the fashion. I turned to Pinterest for some design inspiration, since I knew I didn’t want to make a sari (although it was tempting! Knowing me, it would untuck in the middle of the party, and the whole thing would fall to the ground, and NO ONE wants to see that.). The party would be more of a nod to the genre, and culture. This particluar pin caught my eye. So began my Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I turned to a pattern I have used before in the book Sew Many Dresses (affiliate link). The bodice has princess seams, and made a good base. First, I started by taping the front and side panels of my paper pattern together, and then cutting the center piece out. This was done by holding it up where it would roughly sit on my chest, and drawing a line around the place I wanted it. The center panel was created by freehanding a sweatheart neckline, and marking where it would be, once it was connected to the (now cut) front and side panels.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I did muslin this first, and that was a  very good thing. There was a bit of tweaking to be done, because the fit wasn’t quite right, and I ended up with a gap near the armscyes. Of course, I turned to the fabulous ladies over at the Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong FB group for help. And they did! They are some good peeps (I don’t really think I can pull off using that word, but I have made it my goal to work it into my daily vernacular, much to my family’s embarassment). I ended up adding a dart on the side panels near the armscyes and it fixed the problem.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

That skirt was self-drafted. It was just as challenging as the bodice to figure out. I could not think of a way to get the side pieces to look good in the back, so I cut them into two seperate free-hanging panels, and let them cup my sides. I love the effect.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

The outer fabric is brocade from Cali Fabrics, and the gold is silk from the huge rummage sale I attend every year. It is a bit stained, but you can barely see it because of the way I placed the fabric. I hand stamped the pattern on my shawl, with acrylic paint (which you can’t really see from these photos).

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

A realization hit me when I was about to tackle this project. About 75% of my creative process is in my head. I think about sewing something for weeks before I even touch a pattern. I go to sleep thinking about how to tackle any problems, and how I would alter existing patterns to fit my design. I think about it when doing household chores, while driving, and showering. Borderline obsession, really. Then one day, it has gestated enough to the point that it is time for labor, so to speak. I have no idea if this is unique to me, or if others work this way too, but find that if I have enough time to let it marinate (as my chef husband would say), the final result is closest to my vision.

Bollywood Birthday Party

photo credit for above photo: Dawn Weber

Bollywood Birthday Party

The party was a lot of fun, but seriously the strangest weather we have had so far.

Bollywood Birthday Party

It rained, then the sun came out, then it poured, then it stopped. All the guests were very good sports about the whole thing.

Bollywood Birthday Party


Bollywood Birthday party

You may recognize this outfit from here.

Bollywood party

My husband wins the year with this outfit, in my book. He is wearing our daughter’s (the Bee’s) pants!

Bollywood party

Another notch in the old aging belt, done with style.

I would love to hear from you…what is YOUR creative process?

Fourth Recap

Brace yourselves for another year of a crazy amount of Fourth of July parade photos.


































I made another skipper top for my youngest (like here, here, and here) so she would have something festive to wear to this year’s parade. She paired her stripey shirt with her Wonder Woman skirt, and she was good to go.

After the parade, we actually watched fireworks! In the 19 years we have been out in WA state, we have never seen a fireworks show. Our Falafel came up to us and said it was her dream to see “actual fireworks”, you know, not just the animated ones, and we realized we needed to make this happen.

We are all exhausted, but had a fantastic day, all together. AND it didn’t rain! WOOHOO!

How was your fourth?

Recycled Plastic Bag Christmas Wreath dressed up for the Fourth of July

Recycled Plastic bag wreath dressed up for the Fourth of July

Remember this wreath I made from recycled plastic bags? Well, my Falafel wanted to turn it into a Fourth of July wreath. She took one of her ripped up fuzzy blue socks, and cut it into strips, and tied it on the wreath.


Pretty clever 10 year old, huh?

I think we should use this one for Valentine’s Day  too. Just add some hearts. I like this reuse business. Makes decorating a little easier.

Do you decorate for the Fourth?

Happy Independence Day!

Make Dad a Tie: Happy Father’s Day!

Make Dad a Tie with a Free pattern

Make Dad a Tie

I must start by telling you that my husband generally doesn’t wear ties. He doesn’t need one for work, and we rarely go to events that require them. BUT I couldn’t resist making him one this year after seeing all the brilliant ties out there being made. Ha!  Plus, it is tradition, right? Give Dad a tie. Or in this case, Make Dad a Tie.

Make Dad a Tie with a Free pattern

I found a FREE pattern over on Craftsy by Sweet Shop Sewing.  I made the feather print tie first, using this pattern. Only, it came out too small. It would definitely fit a little boy.

Make Dad a Tie with a Free pattern

So I gave it another try. This time I used Four Corners Circles Fabric and stripe gray sparkle fabric by liZ and Elizabeth from Simple Simon. I lurve this fabric.

Make Dad a Tie with a Free pattern

I used the same pattern, only I lengthened the back piece to match the front piece. It worked out to be 58 inches long, which is perfect for my 5’11” guy.

Make Dad a Tie with a Free pattern

Insert your favorite Dad, and you are done!

Make Dad a Tie with a Free pattern

Now he is prepared for any occasion that requires a bit of fancying up.

Make Dad a Tie with a Free pattern

Happy Father’s Day to all you fantastic Dad’s out there! You are so needed in this world, and you are loved.

Happy Mother’s Day

The reason I am a Mother. My husband and our girls.

My husband and our girls are the reason I am a Mother, and I am grateful and thankful every day for all three of them.


My weekend is off to a good start. I took our youngest to a Tibetan Monk Mandala Ceremony yesterday.


It was a pretty incredible experience for both of us.

Tibetan Monks at the Mandala ceremony

Falafel was entranced. She loved the chanting. She said it brought her peace.

sand mandala

A highlight for me was when they swept it up. They actually gave out bags of it to the huge crowd that was there, so that we could place them wherever we thought needed the most help, or blessings. We have both decided to think about it, before placing them.


I have always been facinated with this ritual. I love the symbolism. It is a great reminder to appreciate what you have now, because the world is ever changing, and nothing lives forever. Life is so incredibly beautiful because of it’s impermanence.


On the walk back to our car, I took photos of all the beauty I saw. Nature that may not be around in a week or even another day. I captured their images so that I can remember the delicate intricacy that made up these blooms.

Lone iris

To celebrate Mother’s Day, I look forward to us all being fully present with eachother. Well, that AND not doing any dishes. The kids always stress about what to get me, and really if I don’t have to do dishes, it is a good day.


I wish all of you a thoughtful, peaceful, beautiful Mother’s day with those you love.