Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not to be taken lightly

Last night was rather exciting around our house. The weather was nice so we decided to grill for dinner. As Mike was coming and going, in and out of the house, Jonah and I started hearing sirens. This is not unusual. In fact what would be unusual is if we didn't hear any sirens during the day or night. They have become something that I rarely hear anymore. Jonah, on the other hand, will race to the kitchen window to see what kind of vehicle is driving by...every single time we hear a siren. He gets so excited to see them. It's almost a game to him I think. It's hard for him to think that there might be somebody who is hurt inside the ambulance, or that there is a fire that the firetruck is going to. He just sees lights and a fast truck and he's giddy. So last night was really quite extraordinary to say the least. And I say that with all respect to those who keep us safe here in Baltimore. I was cutting up some veggies to put on the grill when it began. Jonah raced into the kitchen when he heard the first siren. Then he ran back out to the living room where he was watching a baseball game. Not a minute later, there was a group of sirens headed our way. In this grouping were several cop cars. Another minute passed and still more sirens were heard. Jonah was in and out of the kitchen just as fast as these cars raced by our house. This spectacular show lasted for nearly ten minutes...and it seemed that with each minute, there were more cop cars, more ambulances, firetrucks, helicopters, armor trucks, you name it, and they passed by our house. I decided that I would try to count the trucks that passed by after the first ten minutes went by. Of course we had no idea what was going on, where it was happening, and the rest of the logistics. I could tell from the beginning that it was probably something very serious. I had never seen that many rescue, cop, and firetrucks zoom by as I did last night. After a slight pause in the action, it began again. This time the trucks were all moving in the opposite direction (towards the hospital.) At that point I realized that someone was hurt and I figured it was somebody in uniform, given all the activity that took place (we probably saw nearly 40-50 cars, vans, armored vehicles, firetrucks, ambulances...all within this time period). We were itching to learn what was going on because the helicopters were right above our house, hovering. I finally was able to see what happened online. Two female police officers were driving in a car, only blocks from our house, when someone opened fire on them. The driver was shot in the arm and the other officer was shot through the abdomen. From what I hear they are both fine but will be needing more surgery. (To see the complete story, click here and check out the video footage.) Pretty crazy, right? I was really starting to feel more comfortable in the city, especially the place where we live but this brings things back into perspective. I can not allow myself at any point to feel safe in my city, my neighborhood, and my home, because this is part of city life. No wonder why I've been keeping my kids inside lately. It's not the humidity, it's not that I'm lazy, it's because I fear for their safety - and mine. As I was trying to figure out what happened last night I came across something else quite scary. This truly makes me afraid. I will be more than happy to walk away from this part of life without any hesitation in less than a year.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It. Is. Done.

The repair place called on Tuesday and told me my machine was ready to be picked up. I picked up the two boys and together we drove out to get it. I was glad to have it back. It wasn't until yesterday that I was able to jump back into my tote project. It wasn't easy mind you. Both of the boys were in a state of mental anguish yesterday and so there were many tears and a lot of screaming throughout the day. But I persisted. I. Had. To. Finish. My. Tote. So, without further delay...here it is (in all of it's not so perfect glory!)!!!

This is the front of the tote, otherwise known as the side I goofed up on. If you look closely at the bottom white band you'll see that it's not exactly sewn onto the black part of the bag. I decided to just make this part up. On the back side of this front are the inside pockets...so I couldn't destroy those by sewing across them. So I turned this white band into two very small, very useless pockets, unless you call a pocket specifically for two pieces of gum useful. Oh well. Sometimes gum gets lost at the bottom of a purse too...so why not have a pocket just for that purpose...to keep the gum from getting lost? I'm actually pretty brilliant.
This is the back of the tote, otherwise known as the way the front of the tote should look. I actually altered the top white band on both the front and back sides. I wanted the inside of the tote to look a bit more finished so I turned over the white band.
A picture of inside the tote. If you look closely you can see the two pockets (on the left hand side).
Another view of inside the tote- because it deserves another angle!
And lastly, a side view. So all in all I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's not exactly the Vera Bradley bag that I had envisioned it being, but it's a good start. The overall size of the bag was a bit larger than I had intended it to be, but it's decent. Now if I could only find some cheap and funky already quilted fabric, I'd be making a bunch more.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My tote

So, the sewing project has been put on hold. I am quite upset about this, seeing as how I was smack dab in the middle of the project! For some reason unknown to me my sewing machine stopped sewing. I've checked the manual and double checked the threading...I can't figure out what happened! I had my hopes that I would have been able to finish it this evening. I guess that won't happen after all...

Anyway, I'm having quite the time making out the directions and adding a few things of my own to the bag. I think I must have stared at the first instruction for about 45 minutes...reading it normally then slowly as to make it soak into my tiny brain better...then I would think about what I read then decide that I didn't really understand it. I'm one confusing person. I fully admit that. So once I got past that first part, I thought I was on a roll! I cut out all the pieces for the pattern and couldn't wait to start putting them together. As I was assembling all the pieces I realized that this bag didn't have any pockets inside the bag. I would have to remedy that problem. So last night I thought it would be easy enough to just "put" in a pocket. Sounded easy. Looked easy. Except my thought process was probably ahead of itself, and I failed to read the instructions for putting that side of the bag together...I'm such a doofus. So, without reading the instructions, I went ahead and sewed in the pocket where I wanted it. I even divided it in half so that I would end up having two pockets. I thought I was pretty good. It was sewed in place. It wouldn't move or budge. It was a sturdy pocket. And then I hit my forehead with the palm of my head because as I was reading the instructions this morning I realized that I had a serious problem on my hands! You see, I had to sew the handles on the sides of the bags and if I were to do that, it would ruin my inside pocket people! I was sweating bullets. Plus, I forgot about the "bottom band" that needed to be sewn in as well. My entire plan of making a cute and cheap purse was starting to just vanish into thin air. Augh! I think I figured out a way to get around the pocket while sewing the handles and bottom band in...but then my sewing machine just quite working, so it seems I've lost some momentum with the whole project. It's all rather frustrating.

I have taken a few pictures of the bag in progress. I think if I can ever finish it, it will be a nice bag. Not entirely perfect by any means but it will look nice. If only I could just chill out and try to bring my blood pressure down a few notches...

This is a rough idea of what the front of the bag will look like. The main "band" is the black middle section, with two white bands on either side of it. The bag has black handles. Supposedly if I do this correctly, the inside of the bag will pretty much be in reverse of what you see. (Except for the side with the pockets)

Ok...so this is the inside of the bag, the side with the pockets. The black strip you see towards the bottom are the pockets already sewn in. (Go me!) I found a way to sew half of the handle on, but then the machine broke down so the rest of the handle is just hanging on for dear life.

Side by side view. Outside/Inside...

All in all I think this bag might turn out to be a bit larger than I would have liked. Oh well. At least I'm trying to use and improve my brain and thinking skills a little bit. I can feel it expanding as I type this post. The pressure is killing me!

Oh Look! I can grow a tomato!

Or two, or three...Oh yes I can! After three failed attempts at growing a beautiful tomato, we have a success story. This evening I picked three tomatoes from my kitchen windowsill. Included in this bountiful harvest was one roma tomato, and two yellow heirloom tomatoes. There are quite a few others that are still green...but I just had to try these three out. They didn't get very big, as you can tell in the photo, but both Mike and I thought that they had a nice taste. The best part? They didn't taste one iota like a cars exhaust or downtown...and the birds didn't even try to eat them! Yay! So we split them between the two of us (woowee! what a lot of tomatoes to split!) and had them in our salad this evening.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Apparently Blogger is having issues with me posting a title. Both in this and the other blog of mine I can't publish a title! Anyway...

On to something new!

Lately I have been feeling quite run down and pretty much blah. I haven't had much stimulation in any area and my mind has felt quite numb so I decided that the thing to snap me out of this...whatever it is...is a project. I'm really not so great at sewing but I thought I'd better give it a try. I have had my eye on some very gorgeous Vera Bradley quilted totes, especially the Java Blue, Capri Melon, and Petal Pink fabrics. These bags are so cute and stylish...and that says a lot coming from me because I normally don't like bags of any kind. I hate carrying around diaper bags, and purses...I hate all the stuff that goes inside of the totes...but these bags are just quite simply delicious. The only problem is the price of these great bags! So I thought that maybe I could just make one myself. I went so far as to find the exact fabric on ebay...but even that would have been a bit much. I would love to have that fabric...in fact, I had a very difficult time falling asleep last night just because I was debating in my head on how I was going to make it possible to have and make this purse! So I decided to head over to Joann fabrics and find a pattern (that was easy to follow) and some fabric. I had high hopes in finding something as cute and colorful as the Vera Bradley bags. I had no such luck. The only other option I came across was actually quite nice. Simple and elegant...black and white toile (or at least I think that's what they call it!) The pattern I found was a simplicity pattern, titled "Sewing Patterns for Dummies" and I'm sure I"ll even get some of the directions wrong here and there, but I have to at least try! I'm planning on making the smaller tote, and we'll see how it goes. Here's the fabric that I purchased for it. It's already quilted!

I also found some other scraps that I thought were really pretty, and I"m sure I"ll be able to find a good use for them, I just have to figure out what exactly. Maybe I"ll try making smaller purses with these. Not quite sure yet. But they are nice!

So, that's what's happening with me. Who knows how long it will take me to finish these projects. It seems that I can't get much done during the day, with the kids needing my attention. But I'll be sure to post updates!