Monday, May 31, 2010

The last full measure of devotion

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Abraham Lincoln
November 1863

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Austenprose hosts P&P Without Zombies

The lovely Laurel Ann at Austenprose is hosting:

You are most cordially invited to

‘Pride and Prejudice without Zombies’

June 15th – July 17th, 2010 at Austenprose

In honor of reclaiming Jane Austen’s classic novel

Pride and Prejudice back from the living dead

I am really excited about the group read of Pride and Prejudice, plus there are tons of other amazing things happening at Austenprose during the event, make sure to check it out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Birthday Month Giveaway!

Whooo hooo! Happy almost Birthday month to me! At the end of June I will be turning the big 3-1! Last year I pretty much missed the big 3-0 because Mr. James was born three days before my birthday. Grammy brought us dinner and Ed got me flowers and a balloon, but that was it for celebrating. So this year for my birthday, and to celebrate my aforementioned amazing haul from the closing of Tall Mouse, I am going to be having some lovely giveaways here for you all on my blog!


Here is how I think I will do this . . . we will have a giveaway every week in June (what?!?! OMG!??!?!) starting on Tuesday, June 1st . . . . that's in just a few days! Because June starts on a Tuesday we will just keep with the Tuesday theme, so the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th will all be giveaway days! "But Jessica," you say, "you're birthday is on the 30th!" "You are right you," say I, "so let us have one on the 30th as well!"

. . . two days in a row?! Be still my beating heart!

"Wow," you say, "you must have really made out at Tall Mouse." (I think I am enjoying this imaginary conversation a leeeetle bit too much.) "Well, you" I say, "I really, really did. You have no idea, it was a little bit insane. Buying things for 1/10 of their original price is a wee bit heady."

Make sure you come back on Tuesday for giveaway #1!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

YoBaby Cutie

Cheesy Mommy moment alert!

I was entering giveaways yesterday (Surprised? No? Didn't think so.) and came across The Ivy Twines giving away a YoBaby Organic yogurt prize pack . . . cuteness.

So, I went down the rabbit hole of extra entries, "liked" YoBaby on Facebook and somehow ended up entering a picture of James in their YoBaby cutie contest . . .

So, like, um, go vote for him and stuff!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Giveaway Winners! and a sneak peek at another giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway! I am so excited that you all visited my site and entered!

The winner of the zippered ruffle pouch is :

ebethsha who said . . .

The winner of the 3 fat quarters is :

Rachel Locke of Sweet Tea Mom who said . . .

ebethsha and Rachel I've sent you emails to confirm!
Thank you again to everyone who participated!

I mentioned in a previous post that Tall Mouse in Cerritos is closing.
Let's observe a moment of silence for what once was a great craft store
. . .

It's hard to be sad for too long because Tall Mouse's loss is our gain! I got some fabric there at a great discount a few weeks ago, but nothing compares to this last week of 90% discounts. You heard me right! 90%!!!!! Amazing! Thursday they were having an everything you can fit in a bag for $5 sale, but I didn't go (already had been twice this week) because the store at 11 am on Tuesday was nearing empty, so I was happy with my 90%.

I spent $33 (including tax) Monday on patterns and pattern books (and some random other things) and $10 on Tuesday on scrapbook papers, stickers, embellishments etc.

Would you like to see what $33 will buy you at 90% off?

No seriously.

Most of this I am keeping for my little ol' self . . . but I am passing on some of my good fortune to you! I will be having a few giveaways coming up, the first of which will be June 1st . . . and I will be giving away some of these lovelies!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day

Oh! I am so excited to be participating for the first time in the Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day! If you found my blog through Sew, Mama, Sew! then welcome! I am so excited to have you visit!

I have two lovely (well, at least I think they are lovely) giveaways for you today!

The first is this handmade-by-your's-truly, zippered pouch!

The outside is a blue/brown damask print, and the lining is brown with blue polkadots. I love ruffles, so I used the lining material to add a cute little ruffle on the outside of the pouch.

The inside of the pouch includes a small pocket, just big enough to hold an i.d. or some cash. The bag itself measures 6 inches by 7 1/4 inches. I would call this a small makeup bag, but I don't tend to wear a lot of makeup, so take that with a grain of salt. I think it goes without saying that my i.d. and makeup are in the pictures for demonstration purposes and are not included in the giveaway . . . but I will say it anyway.

The second giveaway is this lovely fabric:

The first is a fat quarter from the Mary Rose Collection for Robert Kaufman. I love this fabric. Seriously, I coveted it forever, and then was so excited to snag some for a really good price. When I went back a few weeks later there was only a yard left on the bolt so I snagged that too . . . I almost don't want to use it because it's so pretty!

The second is a fat quarter of a really pretty cream, green, and rust pattern that I bought a few weeks ago, I don't know the designer.

Third, is a fat quarter from Sandi Hederson's gorgeous Meadow Sweet Line for Michael Miller. The lighting is not doing this fq any justice, the green is such a beautiful vibrant light green.

So what do you need to do to enter? Just leave me a comment! If you want to only say "Pick me! Pick me!" that's up to you. Or you can tell me how awesome you are, or how awesome I am . . . No, I'm not fishing ;)

If you would like a second entry follow my blog and leave me a separate comment telling me that you did (or that you already follow).

Thanks and good luck!
Make sure you check out all of the other great giveaways listed at Sew, Mama, Sew!

The technical stuff:

This giveaway is open to international entries . . . I like sending stuff all over the globe, it makes me feel like we should all hold hands and sing It's a Small World.

The giveaway will start at 6 a.m. PST on March 17th, and run through 11:59 PST on March 20th. I will pick two winning comments by random selection. The winners have 48 hours to contact me with their mailing information. I will send out the prize items by May 24th. If the winers do not contact me within the allotted time, new winners will be selected.

Edited 12:00 AM 5/21/10
This giveaway is now over. Thank you all so much for your entries!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I made out like a bandit

I love, love, love, love online giveaways. Honestly, I am not sure that four "loves" expresses it adequately. I am totally that girl, you know - the one that does all of the extra entries. The crazy thing is I am insanely lucky at winning bloggy giveaways! I prefer to think of it as me putting in the work (all that tweeting and following and blogging) and therefore stacking the odds in my favor, but others would just call it dumb luck. Whatever it is, I'll take it!

So, I thought I'd show you a little bit of the loot I've been snagging, I swear these are just some of the things I've won in the last two months, don't hate me!

Clips from Sweet Harper. Yes and yes! I wanted these for Maddie like nobody's business. I will definitely chalk this one up to doing the work. I can't tell you how many Sweet Harper giveaways I entered, so many that Tracy at Sweet Harper (also very sweet herself) commented on me always popping up on giveaways. I refuse to be ashamed ;) So, um, are these gorgeous or what? Seriously, folks buy 'em for your little girl, buy them for yourself, buy them for me (*cough* birthday in June *cough*).

Birthday shirt for James from Mimi's Babies. Adorable! He is going to have an Angels baseball first birthday and is this not the cutest thing for him to wear? And look at that, it's only May and I already know what my kid is wearing for his June birthday - I don't think I can handle being this prepared. Mimi's Babies has personalized birthday shirts and adorable crocheted hats.

Vintage Sheet FQ's. Gorgeous! Won them on The Vintage Sheet Blog grand opening. They are from April at Jane Says. They are beautiful, they are gorgeous . . . Grammy looks at them and says about one "Oh I have this sheet." I nearly died. Grammy won't let me cut it up though so yay for me snagging a piece of it anyway! As it turns out something is getting made from these this week! Stay tuned!

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I am such an Austen nerd . . . when we went to the JASNA 2008 AGM, Ed looks around the main shopping/poster presentation room and says "Oh, I get it! It's like Comic-Con for Austen." And oh my lord it really is. I digress! I'm a nerd, I love Austen, I love Austen paraliterature, I love that I won this book, and I love that it is signed by the author. And there it is, on top of my vintage sheet FQs just waiting to be read . . .

7th Generation Cleaning Products. Is it wrong that I am this excited about cleaning items? But look at this! I won this! Melissa at Getting All My Ducks in a Row was having the giveaway, I kept meaning to enter it but was without a computer and on my phone, and seriously what a lot of work on an iphone . . . but I entered at the last minute, I think I was like the third from last comment, and I won! This is literally a super amazing win. Super amazing.

So, these are all great right? I mean, better than great, like killer awesomesauce great. But you are not going to believe this! The lovely Kelly at I Have a Notion was doing this insane month long daily giveaway for her shop anniversary. I won a very cool quilt pattern. I also entered to win an Accuquilt Go! Fabric cutter. I even blogged about it for extra entries.




You could have knocked me over with a feather, and not even a big ostrich feather, like a teeny tiny hummingbird feather would have done the trick.

Here it is in it's box . . . James is doing his best Vanna White.

Omg, you are not going to believe this, it is almost shameful, but it is still in that box! I didn't want to open it when we had to move right away, I was afraid it would get injured somehow! But now that we are moved I am going to open it right up and go crazy . . . well, I do have one more thing to do before I can start cutting to my little heart's content . . .

Get ready for:

That's right! The Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway day! I am participating this year by giving something away! Last November I won a kick butt book on patchwork from Sew, Mama, Sew! on giveaway day! This year I hope to win from some lovely fellow bloggers, and I am excited to be able to share the giveaway wealth!

What am I giving away you ask?
I can't tell you!
It is a secret!
Stop by Monday, May 17th to find out!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fabric lovelies and a super secret

Tragically, Tall Mouse in Cerritos, California is closing . . . but every cloud has a silver lining (or so I am told),
and my silver lining was 50% off discounts!

Look at some of these lovelies I picked up.
Bad iphone photos I know, but let's not be critical.

Why yes, that is a Joel Dewberry print there on the right side.
And yes, I did pay $2.50 for a yard of it.
You heard me. Jealous?

Hmmm, more prettiness. Ok, to be honest I got the green and brown Robert Kaufman polkadots and the blue damask and brown/blue polkadots at M&L the same day, but why be technical?

The point is I got tons of fabric yardage, some fat quarters, some zippers, and some thread, and this really weird easter egg on a stick that Maddie insisted upon getting and then promptly threw out of the car window at South and Carmenita - all for $48! Hello!

So what ever could I be doing with fabric and zippers and thread?
It's a big stinkin' secret!

You'll find out soon enough peeps!
Ok, probably already some of you know,
but let's pretend you don't so we can enjoy the mystery shall we?

A big 'ol pot of dirt- otherwise entitled "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better"

For some unknown reason my Grammy has a big ol' pot of dirt in her backyard. Ok, the reason isn't really unknown, there is a story behind it . . . a "Grammy" story, which means a long, involved explanation that I hear every time the big ol' pot of dirt comes up in conversation, which is actually quite often because every single time we visit my kids insist on playing in the dirt . . . seriously . . .

Look at all of those interesting toys in the background and what is James playing in? The big ol' pot of dirt! For those of you interested in the Grammy story I will hit the highlights for you: dwarf lemon tree, dwarf lemon tree goes to the great citrus orchard in the sky, huge crack down side of pot renders it useless as a home for a new plant.

So the big ol' pot of dirt sits there, and tempts my rock loving, dirt-grubbing, cat poop and leaf eating toddlers.

My favorite thing in the world is when James tries to eat the dirt Maddie runs up to him shouting "No! Don't! Stop! Wait!" As if she wasn't just putting something equally nasty in her mouth five minutes before, as if he didn't get the dirt eating idea from her in the first place.

Then she poses with him for a picture, you know, for dirt eating posterity.

Would you trust that face? No? Good, you probably shouldn't.

James trusts that face though, and he follows his big sister everywhere!
And I do mean everywhere . . .

Look Ma! Danger!

He wants to do everything she does, and he tries so hard to keep up with her, which is a feat in and of itself as this is Maddie's typical speed :

But he gives it the good old college try.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bloggy voice

I'm actually a pretty chatty kind of gal, and under normal circumstances this comes out in my writing style. I was an English major in college and my writing voice tended to be described as "breezy," "chatty," and "natural." And then a weird thing happened . . . I started a blog. Mostly I was interested in keeping my family (who up and abandoned me by moving all the way across the country) up-to-date on my daughter and all of our activities. The I started sewing, and getting into the crafty online community and entering giveaways and my blog started changing . . . and so did my writing style. I have the stiffest, most formal, annoyingly factual and uninteresting blogging voice. Honestly, I have no idea how this occurred. Maybe in my head I have an idea that blogs are supposed to be a certain way, but the driest newsprint flows better sometimes than my blog writing.

I don't understand it.

It's been bothering me for awhile.

I used to love to write - I've written a pretty darn good children's book manuscript if I do say so myself . . . I'd love to post it here to prove I don't always sound as boring as I come across on this blog. But then someone might steal my clever little idea before a publisher gets around to noticing that my idea is, in fact, clever. Not that I am saying any of you are thieves . . . but you never know who is lurking around in cyberspace - a children's picture book idea thief just waiting for the brilliance that is Fitz and Lizzie! Ahem. Or not.

So I will attempt to regain my voice. The voice that runs through Fitz and Lizzie, the voice that told a pretty little story in my senior Literary Journal about Paris and a yellow sundress and a relationship between a mother and daughter, the voice that has written lyrics for songs that have been sung by the most angelic voices in my church.

I want to regain my voice.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bring the Rain


These are all things I could say about our job/financial and living situation right now. I feel like we have been living with uncertainty and struggle for so very long. It is frustrating to feel like we tried for so long to have children just to suddenly not be able to provide everything we wish we could for them. It isn't easy, I cry, I ask why, I get angry, but I have always known that God will bring us through it somehow. He has been so faithful before, I know He won't stop now. The other day our pastor mentioned to Ed that he admired our faith through this situation and my first thought was, well, we are just poor, we are still children of an Almighty God. And I was reminded of this song by Mercy Me.

Child of God.
Daughter of the King.
Saved, transformed, and renewed by the power of Christ.

The rest of it isn't really worth much. So the next time I am up in the middle of the night worrying, I hope this song comes back to my mind.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Maddie's birthday party - Pooh Bear extravaganza

Event of the season . . . that is what everyone is saying about Maddie's 2nd birthday party . . . ok, not really. But it was the event of my season at least (Jamie's birthday is technically in Summer by a few days, so that will be the event of next season), so I thought I'd show you a few pictures of Maddie's Super Sleuth / My Friend's Tigger and Pooh Extravaganza.
We had a bean bag toss, except the bean bags were these bees:

Cute, yes?

And you had to toss them into these bee hives (bee hives designed by Daddy, and bean bag toss provided by Grandma Ruby) :

My aren't we clever!

We had honey Teddy Grahams in Pooh and Friends cups . . .
And Pooh Bear giving Piglet a hug. Pooh and Piglet were tragically popped in a wrestling match featuring Maddie and Danny . . . luckily Maddie found it hilarious.

I was so excited to be able to find Winnie the Pooh tablewear at Big Lots!

And Party City had matching balloons!

Present tables are always pretty! Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Joe had tickets to a hockey game, so they came early to help decorate. Uncle Joe turned out to be quite handy with the crepe paper!
Maddie was very excited by all the Pooh decorations!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Maddie's birthday party - let them eat cake!

Cake?! Decorating a cake?!?! So not my forte!

Maddie's cake is my first real attempt, I got the idea for a green cake with flowers and Winnie the Pooh characters online. I found a "grass" decorating tip at Michaels along with frosting colorant. The flowers I found at a party store. The Super Sleuth figures Maddie got as a Christmas present from Grammy, which is why a few of them looked a bit loved. Darby proved too heavy for the cake and had to be propped up with tooth picks.

Any time, any place, the Super Sleuths are on the case!

Maddie took a bite out of the candle while I was
getting ready to put it on. I guess it looked tasty!

It took me a few minutes to get the hang of the grass, and it was a warm day (I frosted the day before the party) so I had to keep putting the piping bag into the freezer to cool. After about minutes it would get warm again and the grass strands would come out all smushy looking. I also tried to "grow" the grass in different directions so it looked more like real grass and less uniform.

Mmmmmm . . . cake.

And I did about a dozen matching cupcakes.

Maddie was a fan of the cupackes, she ate the frosting off of two. Check out her shirt, all those strawberry stains! And after the cupcakes she had green frosting stains. I spot treated and it all came out in the wash! Amazing!

Super Sleuth Pooh in his Hundred Acre Wood of cupcakes.