Holy Blogroll, Lego Batman!

At last count there are 61 - count them 61 - Blogs of Note in the sidebar. And here I thought I had nothing to read.

Here's the thing: if a blogger doesn't update pretty frequently, they lose readers. It's just the way of the world. So as of January 1st if a blogger in the list hasn't updated in at least 6 months, then I'm dropping them. I know life gets in the way and dealing with things offline takes precedence over online stuff. But throw me a frickin' bone here, people.

So happy new year and hope to see you soon.

Poor Baby

The youngest of my progeny has a baby doll. This doll came from the Dollar Tree, so it's not like we have a whole lot invested in it. Except for the fact that my son LOVES this baby doll. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Poor Baby!
 Except for the fact that Baby was bursting at the seams! In fact, Baby has been bursting at the seams for quite some time. I've tried new zip ties to keep it's head on to no avail since the neck casing basically was disintegrating. So what do you do? You go back to the Dollar Tree to find a replacement Baby. But when you get there, you realize that the Babies there aren't as nice as the one you bought 3 years ago. No indeedy. THIS Baby has sleepy eyes that open and close and a pretty face. The newer Babies have painted on eyes and smushed faces. So you go home, pray that Baby stays together another year or two and then you can put it away in the keepsake box.
Baby has gone to pieces!

HAH. Good luck with that. So eventually Baby starts to really go to pieces. And you, as the Good Mama™ that you are pull out a couple pieces of cardstock, disembowel Baby and make a pattern from the remains of the cloth body. This part is the easiest part. Really. I used fuschia cardstock and a pencil and some spray adhesive which I'm STILL picking off my fingers. Baby was constructed of five vinyl pieces and four fabric sections: body front, body upper back, body lower back and neckband. The pattern pieces were rough outlines drawn on the fold because I'm lazy like that and like to use the fold whenever possible.

Baby got a [new] back!
The How To:

1. Sew the upper back and lower back together with 1/4" seam. This makes Baby's butt-tocks.

2. Sew back to front with 1/4" seam. Match the crotch and armpits and ease everything else to that. It doesn't have to be perfect. <--- Advice to myself. Leave one shoulder unsewn.

3. Fold the neckband in half lengthwise and sew a 1/4" seam. Then attach to neckhole starting from one open shoulder and easing around the opening.

4. Sew across the bottom of the legs. This is important because it's how you're going to attach the feet.

5. PANIC because you're out of the right size zip ties AND hand sewing needles.

6. Breathe in and out a few times slowly and raid your oldest child's sewing box to find hand sewing needles.

7. Put the feet INSIDE the body that is still wrong side out. Attach the feet the old skool way by sewing them in rather than using zip ties. This means that you're going to take a few stitches every so often and then pull that sucker tight and then wrap the thread around the groove about 4 or 5 times then secure with about 10 knots in various places.

Did I mention that I haven't made a doll like this since I was uh... TWELVE????

8. Turn the body right side out except for the arms. Shove the hands inside and then fold the raw edges over so that you can see the vinyl arm opening. Take that hand needle with a nice long piece of thread and sew *through* the vinyl and fabric to attach the arms like they were originally. Bonus points for you if you A) use a thimble to keep from impaling your thumb and B) use the existing holes! Why reinvent the wheel, right?

9. Pull the arms out so the body looks almost normal and stuff that sucker with the original stuffing.

10. Freak out because you don't have the right size zip tie to put the head back on.

11. Put the head on the same way you did the feet. Gather the opening up with thread, making darn sure that it's tight because the LAST thing you want to happen is Baby's head popping off after a session of "loving" play.

Baby's got a new booooody!
12. Take a picture of the final product and post to your blog before handing Baby back to child.

13. Listen to the cherubic "Thank you Mama for fixing Baby!!!" and smile knowing that you're Good Mama™ for at least another 5 minutes until you don't let them eat unlimited fruitcake and cookies.

And there's nothing wrong with that!

New Year, New Leaf

or something like that. I know it's been for almost stinking ever that I've blogged regularly. Mea culpa, dear readers. All two of you. ;-)

To catch you all up on what's been going on, we've had a round robin of sickness including confirmed flu *and* strep over the last three weeks. So I think that buys me a "get out of blogging free" card, right? This is going to be picture light and text heavy, so grab a cup of tea and put your feet up.

We made it through Christmas and the pyjamas/house clothes were a huge hit as always. I've got a couple of sewing contracts coming up in the next two weeks, so I've got to get on that, but before I go there, I really, REALLY want to get my sewing space set. If I could, I'd kick my son out of his room (my old sewing room) and be done with it, but there's no other room in the house that can hold his massive collection of Thomas trains, so there you have it. My dad used to make fun of how many Barbies I had as a girl, but this boy? More Thomas than I ever had Barbies. We counted locomotives last night. There are 17. Each one with at LEAST one coal tender and most have another car after that. And we won't go into how many pieces of track there are. No, we just won't. I promise I'll take pictures once I'm done with the furniture rearranging in there.

Which leads me to my newest project. By way of the Kitchen God. As you may know, my better half is half Chinese. So we pay a little homage to his ancestry by quasi-following some traditions. Most notably is Chinese New Year and angpao. I was explaining to my oldest child the other day about the Kitchen God and Chinese New Year and out with the old, in with the new, etc. For the Chinese, that happens later on, but for us on the whatever it is calendar we use (Julian?) it starts Jan 1. So combining the tradition of clearing out the old to usher in the new (it's like "spring cleaning" except it's Darn Cold) and New Year's Resolutions (or goals as we call them) leads to moving furniture around (getting our chi right), cleaning up the detritus of the holiday and overall clearing the foggy spaces in my head.

I moved the armoire from the front hall to the boy's bedroom. He was starting to need his own closet space anyway and the armoire was too bulky for the front hall. Which led me to have to go through all the c.r.a.p. inside it. Which meant my LPs moved into the office which meant my fabric in space bags moved to the floor and the homeschool stuff in the armoire is ALSO on the floor, but sorted into piles of donate, sell & keep. Despite that, the front hall looks actually CLEANER than it did before. I'll be taking ONE room at a time - thank God for small houses! - and working from front to back in time for New Year's. And if I don't make it by January 1, I can still make it by Chinese New Year. Which is apparently February 3rd and is the Year of the Rabbit. Which according to http://www.theholidayspot.com/chinese_new_year/ is "A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.". You know what? I think they're on to something. Because the Year of the Tiger just about kicked my sorry backside.

Anyways, here I am, almost one "room" done. To remind you of how small our house is, there is from front to back: front hall/office (used to be one space), living room, dining room, kitchen. that's the left half of the house. The right half is long hallway with bathroom at end and three rooms that open off said hallway. From back to front: kids' rooms (2 connecting rooms) and our room. That's it folks, one tiny house. I could count the back porch since it's our laundry "room", but I won't. I only use it when the weather is good.

So today is front hall day. I've got my messes sorted into neat piles. Which for the ADD person is the equivalent of Martha Stewart's best organizational skillz. I'm in the process of clearing the flat surfaces (piano, console, stereo) of c.r.a.p. I've got ADD, so if stuff starts to pile up on a flat surface, I just don't see it until it starts to slide into the floor in a heap. This is why I HATE tchotchkies. And I mean HATE. My mom, on the other hand, has all kinds of that sit-aroundy stuff and is able to keep it neat as a pin. She totally doesn't get that I can't STAND having little bits of stuff because my brain sees ALL of it as c.r.a.p. So the fancy dancy candy dish and the pile of receipts and keys and cell phone all look the same to me. Ergo, nothing sitting out = looks good. I've managed the console and the piano top. And I might finish the stereo, but I'm not sure. But that gives you an idea of what I'm up against.

After all that, the office (pit of despair) should be up next, but I think I might have to save it until next week. The living and dining rooms aren't terrible and will take wayyyyyy less time and give me much more satisfaction. As will the bathroom. It's in great shape considering that 5 people share one tiny bathroom. And one of those 5 is only 4 years old and still working on peeing standing up. We won't talk about the kids' rooms. Part of it is my fault for not putting the shelves and stuff back on the walls after moving the kids around.

But this year? All the Christmas Decor will make it's way to the garage instead of hanging out in the dining room all year. See? An improvement already!

Mom, there's a wormhole in my backpack!

At least that's my assumption these days. And it's a waaaaay better excuse for forgetting homework than the lame-o "the dog ate my homework" cliche.

Due to my oldest child's medical diagnosis of ADHD, she has in place a 504 Plan with her elementary school. Among the accomodations listed are for her math homework to be emailed to ME and I will hand her the relevant pages from her workbook which is now kept at home. Said child is getting BETTER about writing down or at least memorizing the math sheet of the day, but we're still working on her planner.

Ideally, she should be writing her assignments in the planner issued to her by the school. But we don't live in a Utopian society. Or even Lake Wobegon, for that matter.

Today's email exchange:

Dear Awesome Teacher:

Gabriella said they didn't have any math yesterday that she remembered. What is the homework for this week?

Dear Mrs. Sulu:

She should be writing it in her planner everyday as well. Yesterday Ms. Intern verified that she did, but I did not see her planner today.

Dear Awesome Teacher:
The planner "disappeared" but then "reappeared" in her backpack. I'm assuming there's some sort of space/time anomaly regarding her backpack. It's really the ONLY plausible explanation since gremlins are right out.
She'll have 125 AND 127 for class tomorrow. Whether or not the wormhole that exists in her backpack will divulge the papers is another story all together.
Live Long & Prosper,

Mrs. Sulu
Here's the thing, if I didn't laugh about this, I'd cry. And really, any excuse to use the phrase "space/time anomaly" does my little GeekMom™ heart good.