Ever After
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  • July31st

    Guess what I’ve been doing while on vacation at Heidi’s house?

    Besides indulging on Claire’s delicious cooking (I’m enjoying a gourmet omelet as I type) and trying to potty train Tad (more on that later), I’ve become obsessed with sewing dresses for Vivian.

    I picked up three awesome Oliver+S patterns at a quilt fair my second day here and then proceeded to crank out three dresses in as many days. I’m currently working on dress #4, a cute sun dress from Izzy and Ivy pattern “Little Vicki” which I hope to finish by tonight, and I have fabric washed and ready for three more dresses.

    I can’t say enough good about the professional techniques and polished instructions of Oliver and S patterns. And I don’t want to be rude, but despite Izzy and Ivy’s darling designs and their eye for picking fabulous fabric combos, some of their patterns are lacking on clear, error-free instructions and quality techniques.

    Here’s the Oliver and S “Family Reunion Dress” Vivi wore to church today.

    (She got a little shy during the photo shoot when Brent stopped by with his kids).

  • July31st


    Posted in: Uncategorized

    The kids have had non-stop fun playing with Brent and Jessica’s kids the past few days, but one of my favorite memories of this trip will be finding Tad and Everly at their make-shift “Skip-Bo gaming table” in Heidi’s linen closet.

    Did I mention that these cousins are from Las Vegas? 🙂

  • July29th

    Because BT is home alone while the kids and I are on vacation in Utah, here are some pictures to help him remember what they look like. 🙂

    We miss you, BT!

  • July5th

    After reading rave reviews about Sew What Skirts!, a book that teaches you how to draft simple skirt patterns based on your own unique measurements, I decided to give it a try.

    I’m am definitely not the kind of person that likes to do anything without a pattern, and I haven’t installed a zipper for twenty years.

    I like details, diagrams, and descriptions. There’s no such thing as too many instructions, so I was definitely going outside my comfort zone on this one. But I also wanted to make some cute, modest skirts for Ariana. She’s in that hard-to-fit ‘tween stage . . . not quite a young adult, not quite a child.

    Although I definitely need to branch out and try some darts next time (had to make a casing and insert a bit of elastic in the back to make it fit right), and my zipper insertion skills could use some work, Ariana and I are quite pleased with the first skirt–fully lined gentle A-line with side invisible zipper, contrasting yolk, and double ruffles. (And if she hadn’t been practicing piano when I was in my picture-taking mood, I’d actually have a photo with her wearing the skirt.)


  • July5th

    Sounding like bombs bursting in air, the rockets launched from BT’s homemade contraption were the hit of our Independence Day celebration.

    The instructions for this cool toy came from Make Magazine. The air chamber is pressurized using a $6 bicycle pump.
    The launch button wired to a sprinkler valve triggers the forceful, sudden release of air and propels the paper and tape rocket to exciting heights.

    Tad and Vivi had a blast chasing after the rockets; and I can’t believe that I didn’t end up with a single picture of Ariana. Sorry, Gups! (But I had to use such a high ISO that the grainy pictures wouldn’t do justice to your beauty, anyway.)

    I’m really proud of Bryan tackling this project. It was outside his comfort zone and he confessed it to be a bit intimidating at times, but he finished what he started, and the kids think he’s a hero.

  • July5th

    Okay. Will the witch that twitched her little nose and cast a curse upon me please undo her mischievous spell. You know what I’m talking about! The bibbidi bobbidi boo that causes my air conditioning to quit working at least once per summer.

    Or, judging by the icky THREE foot snake skin out by my AC units, maybe something or someone more sinister is at work. Voldemort, Avada Kedavra!

    My heart sank, tears welled in my eyes, and a few stray curses bounced around in my head when we came home last night and I realized that our downstairs’ AC wasn’t working.

    At first I had a pity party. Why me?

    And then I got mad! . . . ARE! YOU! KIDDING! ME! Why every year!!!

    And then I got scared. . . . Why now, when it is pitch black outside and I know that the concrete pads supporting the AC units hide a chamber of secrets that I, the rats, and the snake would rather not have opened.

    And then I got mad again! . . . Why am I the one in our household that always has to deal with this stuff?

    And then, still angry, I got brave. . . . If not me, then who? If not now, then when?

    Armed with this anger and a dogged determination to do battle with snake, rodent, and our blasted air conditioner, I headed around the side of the house.

    Fan spinning, can’t hear compressor running.

    It’s a sad, sad thing that I know the sound of a compressor. Oh, what a sweet song it sings to me, audible through the wall even as I lay in bed at night, humming me to sleep like a lullaby. Yeah, I’m sick, sick, sick.

    As I flip the breaker, Bryan gallantly comes to my rescue, bravely straddles the snake skin, and removes the side panel of the AC unit for me, all the while meekly asking, “can’t this wait until morning?”

    At morning’s first light, I crept out of bed and fired up the computer to Google how to test a capacitor with a digital multimeter. Easy answer, I couldn’t with the one I have.

    Still suspecting (and hoping) that it was the capacitor but not wanting to make the drive to McKinney to have it tested, I called an AC tech that lives in the neighborhood. I hadn’t used him before but he recently came highly recommended by a couple of my neighbors. And let me tell you, he was AWESOME!

    I told him everything I had tried. He said that he was already on another call in Plano but that he’d head over when he was done to test my capacitor for me at no charge. When he got here, he said that it was really his curiosity that made him come; he wanted to meet the lady was that had torn into her AC unit and was attacking it head on with an ohm meter. Thankfully he confirmed my suspicion–blown capacitor. Whew! A $32 part vs. a $5,000 new unit.

    Diel Rojas, owner of Big Bear Air Conditioning and Heating, is officially my new BFF.

    Tad and I trekked to McKinney and got our new capacitor. Because it was skinnier than our old ones have been, I was faced with altering the metal strap contraption that holds the capacitor in place. I needed to drill a new hole in the strap and the drill wasn’t charged enough to do the trick, so I grabbed my “Crop-a-Dile” scrapbooking tool. On the label, it showed pictures of someone punching a hole in a tin can. Tin can? Metal capacitor strap? Just let me tell you that it cut through that strap like butter. And I’d be willing to bet that that’s the first time anyone has ever used the Crop-a-Dile to fix her AC. Slick!

    Capacitor installed, I fired everything back up again. The harmonious hum of the compressor and drone of the fan brought a smile to my sweaty face.

    And one second later, everything came to a screeching halt.

    Oh, crap.

    I checked the breaker box. Everything fine.

    I checked my capacitor connections. All correct.

    I went inside to check the thermostat. DEAD!

    I climbed up in the attic and didn’t even know where to start.

    Another call to Diel who quickly helped diagnose the problem–low voltage wires that help the thermostat communicate with the outside unit may have shorted out and blown a fuse. Sure enough. Like the nasty snake, the old skinny wires had long since shed their skin and had become pinned against the copper “liquid” line. This caused a fuse to blow in the system up in the attic. He clearly described where to find the fuse and said that I’d know if it was “blown” when I saw it. I didn’t tell him that I had never seen a fuse before.

    Thank you, Google, for once again showing me the way.

    $3 in parts from O’Reilly Auto Parts and a few minutes in the suffocating attic, and we were back in business.

    Although I was temporarily devastated by the blown fuse problem, I am now super excited that I know how to fix something new on my AC units. And Bryan has pretty much agreed to let me buy my very own capacitor tester and a stubby screwdriver.  SWEET!