7.30.2010

tour guide

update: some people have asked...some rudely (lena) and some nicely, where exactly the peach cobbler recipe is. here is the direct link if you couldn't find it under the tutorials tab on MADE.

a blogfriend left a comment recently asking about my favorite sewing blogs that i visit for inspiration and instruction.

well, most of these can be found in the right sidebar under "get your lurk on." but since this is a list of ALL the blogs i follow: friends, funnies, jesus, parenting, crafts, etc. i thought i would pinpoint a few of the blogs that have been blowing my mind of late. this question also impelled me to go find some more awesome crafty and sewing sites.

holy moly, i just found noodleheads this week and i have since added about 4 of her tutorials to my "to be attempted" list. this is my attempt at her diaper pouch. i love it because it's so much more unique and less femmie in construction than those diaper clutches you see everywhere.


hers are way cooler looking, but this was seriously no problem to make following her instructions. a total beginner could do this pretty easily. i want to make these daily! (i had to sharpie our name on it after i was playing around with what it might look like on the strap and used pencil to sketch...but pencil isn't erasable on fabric, dumbhead.)

i didn't get the lining just right so it was a little shallower than intended, but mine can hold about 4 diapers (sz 3), some diaper cream, hand sanitizer and a travel wipes case (well, a shorter square one than my huggies container, because i messed up) it has a velcro closure and is totally useful when you have to just grab and go and only need the essentials. plus it's useful to be able to see home many diapers you are packing at a glance

i also plan to tackle these drool-worthy projects of hers ASAP (why is my fabric so blah and hers are so coooooooooooool?):



i think you can't have possibly missed my obsession with dana at MADE. she is the sewing maven behind the warhol dress, ringer t-shirt, market skirt, hobo bag and summer dress that i have recently been so proud to make myself. she has tons of free tutorials that are so simply explained and well-photographed, so go over and check her out.

well, i had noticed that she also throws a recipe in every now and then, and this week she was featuring peach cobbler. now i am NOT a fan of your typical cafeteria cobbler with the canned fruit gurgling around in gel under a 1/2 centimeter of soggy pastry tectonic plates. but this was a 100% from scratch (scary, i know) cobbler made using only fresh peaches and stuff that everyone already has in their pantries. plus i figured she had never steered me wrong before (and her pictures made me start salivating on my keyboard), so i sprung $1.41 for some extra ripe georgia peaches and $2 for some vanilla ice cream (a must have on top) and headed home to bust this mother out, feeling a little intimidated but cautiously hopeful.

the crown jewel of this dish is the shortcake crust that comes on this. it's not a super sweet pie-crust type deal at all. its just like the biscuit you get in a traditional strawberry shortcake that is savory and crumbly and delicious and goes perfectly with sweet fruit and melting ice cream. i am not even kidding about how easy and amazing this recipe is.

we had this for an appetizer and dessert that night. holy cow you guys, it's straight ridic and so perfect for summer. our platter full didn't survive in our house longer than 24 hours and you better believe i am making another one tonight! we NEED this in our house, and as long as GA peaches are $.88 per lb. there's no stopping me.

i am so serious that this was not staged. i sat there with the camera and waited for the first bite to blast his mouth. this is what he came up looking like. that's severe approval, y'all.

a really cool thing that i came across in my crafty web wanderings was this contest called So You Think You're Crafty (a play off of So You Think You Can Dance, my formerly favorite show...ugh i HATE the new format). this blog hosts "seasons" where 10 crafters participate in a weekly craft-off in which readers vote blindly (we don't know which blogger/crafter made which project until after) and the lowest vote getter gets kicked off every week until it's down to one winner. the cool part is that the bloggers put tutorials up of their submissions on their own blogs after each week, so you have several of projects to choose from every week if you wanted to make something yourself. there is always a theme each week (baby gifts, dollar store crafts, etc.) and this week was water. stop by and vote and grab some inspiration. maybe one day i will try out for a round of sytyc!

some more sites that are basically web design and crafting eye candy for the likes of me and that also feature a bitching amount of free tutorials are:


oh man, i could just sit for hours and marvel and the stuff that goes on here.


sort of like a union station for all the best in crafting from around the internet. she points you in the direction of awesome ideas and tutorials featured on other sites as well as compiling some awesome tutorials herself

if this doesn't fire you up to start creating something, then nothing will. at least make the cobbler. for your own good.

7.29.2010

from the carpet

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i'm going to say something here, and it's going to sound like one of those god-squad, cotton candy and sunday school rainbows-for-brains type of sentiments that really narrow-minded christians tend to throw around.

i don't know how any two people can be successfully married without jesus.

are you rolling your eyes? that's cool, because maybe if you get it, you can share the secret with me. no wait, don't, i wanna stick it out with jesus. the fact is, i know some people are healthily married and seemingly without him.

if 50% of marriages end in divorce that means 50% don't. granted there is a vast majority of the still-wed group that is probably in some form of loveless or cold or abusive or distracted and dysfunctional marriage, but the fact is that there are couples out there who are pretty happily married for decades and never really give a thought to jesus. that's kind of amazing to me. these people must just be so naturally inclined to give grace and love and lay down their own desires for one another that the marriage thrives. though, isn't that the heart of christ anyway? even if they don't acknowledge it as such? (Narnia's Last Battle, anyone?). or maybe they're just so incredibly emotionally compatible that conflict never arises.

and evidently loving jesus and caring about what he would like you to do with your life and your marriage isn't always enough to stop you from wondering, "why in the freaking ass hell did i ever get married?" it's not even enough to keep millions of his followers out of that divorced 50%.

so, call your local news station with this late-breaking revelation: marriage is hard.

i know because i found myself on saturday morning ensconced behind a bed and a pak n' play on the floor of my in-laws guest bedroom chemically breaking down a kleenex into its individual molecules with a cocktail of my tears, snot, mascara, rage and frustration.

it was a low point, fa sho. not my finest hour. we had breakfast plans with some of our out-of-town best friends and were meeting up at the dukes' place because it was more convenient as a halfway point since dukes were on vacation and so graciously allowed us to use their kitchen and some of their frozen blueberries. because of this obligation, i couldn't just run back home and hide and cry and rail against the world like i would have preferred. jesse and judah at least had to show up, and since we were riding in the same car and had no time to spare before our friends showed up when this emotional hiroshima occurred, i was resigned to take my blubbering sideshow along and stuff it into the spare room.

it is at this very point in life that everyone should drop what they are doing and go out and find a friend who will come into that room, knowing what is lurking and secreting fluids behind the door, lay her face down on the floor and talk to you around the dust bunnies under the bed while you are at your lowest; while you would rather hide from the entire universe. she will not comment that you only have on one earring (it's partner was poking into my head as i lay there), that you blew a snot bubble, or that your nose has almost doubled in size and turned bright red. she will listen. listen so gracefully and compassionately that her silences start to speak loving truths through the haze of confusion and pain. the electric, buzzing, tightly-cinched knots of your situation as viewed in a post-blowup breakdown start to loosen and untangle become perceivable when she says she understands and doesn't recoil in horror at your behavior. she will gently tell you that it's okay to fight, but she will absolutely not condone or ignore the fact that you let it happen in front of your child. without even touching you (too far to reach under the bed) she will pull you out of the stinking, self-pitying, satan-infested pit that an hour earlier had no escape. thank god i have one of those.

for about 30 minutes i just sobbed to natalie and tried to articulate why it was so hard and what wasn't working with us lately. how we had pretty much become just roommates, and not even close ones at that; just coexisting in peace as long as no real emotion was required. how the littlest things that challenged the fragile detente had us blowing up in record time and were inevitably ending in hate-fests of us screaming at each other "you're not listening to me!" how we have tried not to, but end up screaming at each other in front of judah and the soul-wrenching self- and spouse-loathing that results upon realizing the damage we are causing him. not to mention how all this stress and anger and frustration is undoubtedly manifesting in some biological way and making its way along the umbilical cord to affect layla. what a mess.

after a few minutes of her gentle questions and trying to figure out if it was some specific fight we were in or just symptoms of something else. she asks me, "well, how is your relationship with scott?" and i am like, "huh? who the hell is scott" and then i realize she said "god" and not "scott" and then i remember, like getting struck by lightning all of a sudden, that i am an idiot. the whole time i have been in there, all sackcloth and ashes, crying towards the heavens, asking jesus to please, please help me, telling him, i can't do this anymore and that i need him to take over, it had never occurred to me that i got to this place on the dark green tear-stained carpet precisely because i haven't been asking him those same things every day when it wasn't urgent-defcon -necessary to do so. that i had ever so politely asked him to leave me alone and let me do things my way. crap. i probably would have come off better if she had actually been asking about someone named scott.

i have been trying to strong-arm my way around this marriage through the force of my will, my abilities, my natural propensity for love and grace (re: smurf-esque amounts). i have been waving him off saying, 'i've got this, i've got it." and i am feasting off the fruits of my pitiful own little efforts.

natalie so aptly called marriage the most unnatural union ever. she's totally right. in the same way that it makes not a lot of sense for god to herald the coming of his eternal kingdom by choosing to let himself be killed as a peasant-scholar with barely 100 followers to carry on his message, it almost equally makes no sense that two such fundamentally different species as a man and a woman should try to resolve to totally separate wills by becoming one. it's mind-blowing, turn-the-moon-red and tear open the skies kind of backwards and illogical.

but with the horrifying realization that ignoring god in our marriage recently was the glaringly obvious root of all these problems, came the freedom in understanding, that, HUZZAH! we aren't just enemies who, through some cruel joke of the universe involving of pheromones and canap├ęs, ended up lawfully wedded! we aren't doomed because we are incompatible or incapable of love. it isn't just that we are broken and irreparable and beyond rescue. it isn't hopeless. hooray! we are morons and were never really intended to try to figure it out on our own. freeeeeeeedom!

so i made my bloated, red-faced way back into the kitchen to face a husband that i had and hour before sworn never, ever, ever to be nice to or touch again. i found him in the pantry and kind of just collapsed into him. we put on the temporary band-aid of mutual, blanket "i'm sorries" and had a surprisingly enjoyable pancake breakfast with our beautifully understanding friends.

later that same day, hanging out with another beloved missionary friend and sporting facial remnants of that morning's blubfest

on the way home we took gentle stock of where we had gotten ourselves and why. i came to the sobering realization that i hadn't opened my bible or spent any significant time with god in weeks. hmmm. no wonder. right then and there we shamefacedly took our junk to jesus and said, "okay, we have royally effed this up by trying to push you into the background and do this ourselves. thank you for letting us hit rock bottom and reminding us that you are still there. that you are the foundation (the rock bottom) of anything we are going to do and we need you to be there if any part of it is going to be healthy or thrive."

if marriage is such a strange, unnatural thing to my little brain, but one that i believe it was created by god, shouldn't i be turning back to him like every second and being like, "ummm, okay, what now jesus? this is your show and i am probably just going to mess it up if i try to steer this ship on my own." shouldn't i be spending time by myself and also alongside jesse asking god who he wants me to be as his child and as a wife? ah-doy! and yet it took nuclear snotfest 2010 to bring me back to this reality.

when i try to make a god-ordained union run without god, the result is pretty pathetic. it's painful and raw and damaging and it's a freaking playground for that fuckface satan to come in and mess with whole bunch of other stuff. i picture it as when i have a blowout on one of my tires and i'm driving around on the rim. yeah, i can still operate the car and drive it a fair distance, but i am having to exert so much energy just to keep it limping along the road and not careening off a bridge, and it is still hurting my car really bad. that's why when i get a flat tire, i immediately pull over and put on a new one. the few extra miles that i could go without aren't even close to worth the effort and damage that doing so would cause.

so right now, a week later, we are cruising along on our spare. we aren't ready to go 80 on the highway yet, but we are getting back to basics of letting god's will direct our marriage. doing a devotion together every day, praying on our own and together. and we are also getting our parts of the equation right: that we love each other to freaking pieces and want to be an encouragement in the other's life. that we are on the same team.

that's where the devil really kicks our butts. when we put jesus on the bench and take over on our own, things start snowballing and we end up full-fledged opponents. i start subtly treating jesse as if he's out to get me, to take advantage of me or pull one over one me. he starts to hear and perceive unspoken things in my tone and in my actions. soon, we are these two hyper-sensitive, yet mega-aggressive a-wipes who can't get along for 5 minutes because we are waiting for the knife in the back or the rug to be pulled out from under us. it's an unpleasant combo, sensitive and aggressive and enemies. imagine tom and jerry being married. or, more fittingly, itchy and scratchy...but with fragile hearts that shatter with every blow.

but i am learning that if we were secure in the fact that we are on the same side, with the same goals and the same god to give us the grace to continue, then satan wouldn't have a foothold anywhere. i guess some people can be an awesome spouses for each other without any conscious need for jesus, but i have decided and been handed tons of evidence that we aren't one of those couples. so this blog post is my little ebenezer to the [should be] obvious truth that we can't do this alone. please don't forget this, future keight.


celebrating (28 years and another fresh new chapter of marriage) on jesse's birthday at agave

7.28.2010

what's in the weekly belly

we're chugging along with this pregnancy like a sweaty, doughy locomotive of hormonal unpredictability careening unchecked towards the rocky precipice of childbirth. by this point in judah's gestation i felt like i had earned every one of my twenty-some weeks because the time just crawled by.

funny how inserting a one year old into the mix will really pass the time, banish boredom and have you not even consider where the new baby will sleep until 6 months in. whoops.

at my 24 week appointment last week i found that i have gained 13 lbs thus far. i think that's good, but i also know that obese people aren't supposed to gain much weight during their pregnancies, and, no, i am not saying i am obese, but there definitely was some padded groundwork laid at the onset of preg #2 that saved this little boo from having to pack on much more foundational mass.

here's where some of that 5.9 kilos has come from (recipes to follow if wanted):

spicy shrimp nachos with mango salsa. sweet mercy. fun to look at, more fun to stuff in your gullet

i have never been a lasagna fan. i hate marinara and won't touch ricotta cheese. but postpartum with judah, the sweet music teacher at my parents' school sent us a meal of her homemade recipe and it rocked my bloated, milky socks off. there is no ricotta and there is no marinara sauce. perf. it's meaty and cheesy and wonderful. we've now made it ourselves several times and the leftovers never last longer than a day or 2.

in the tradition of 1+1 =2, here is week 23 of the belly. layla embry is weighing about as much as a mango right now though she is far less dense and taking up more room. she loses her mind every night when i lay down to sleep and gets super fired up and kicky. it's awesome to once again feel and see a tiny baby sliding and swooping around in my stomach. one of those things you can't really remember after the baby's out and that just takes your breath away with the miracle of it all while it's still in there.

mangoing strong (it's cool if you;d rather ignore that pun i just made) with another mercifully easy pregnancy. (and yes we only made the shrimp nachos because i knew we'd never use the mango otherwise)


as usual, judah loves his sister. or maybe it's the produce. we'll find out soon enough.

commence climbing phase

judah has started climbing on/up things. for instance jesse took him golfing the other day and he climbed from the ground into the cart. from standing in the cart he then climbed up onto the seat. unsatisfied, he proceeded to climb onto the top of the back of the seat. he then perched up there and lusted after the beverage cart across the way once he caught a glimpse it's even higher additional level: the cooler on the back.

also, we left the attic pull-down ladder hanging in the hall one day and found him about 3 rungs up. yikes.

it's pretty amazing how far above sea level the kid can get with legs that are only like a foot long. here is a sequence of pics from last sunday morning. i prefer him to play on this chair instead of the couches because the cushions of this don't detach. his favorite thing is to climb up the couch, get behind the back cushions, push them all onto the floor and then nosedive off the couch aiming (debatable) for the pillows. or the floor.

looking a little rabid about that sippy cup. no, he didn't lose his pj shirt, this was the entirety of the outfit jesse put him to bed in. he looks like a cirque performer.

A+ parenting in effect right here. window blinds...arg. though i think we are good, i have put all of my adult brainpower to use trying to strangle myself with our blinds and i can't. so we're either good to go with a normal kid or living dangerously if he's actually some kind of genius

checking out another favorite play area while getting a salty mouthful of the arm: the garbage! he loves trashcans and pulling things out of them and then getting inside of them and trying to sit down. our little oscar the croucher.

we recently moved this chair to the corner and he just discovered that there is actually a free space behind the back of the chair. he tried to climb back there but i stopped him. maybe one day if i'm really stressed i'll let him go back there and see how he likes it while mommy takes a nap


so pleased to find himself 2 feet off the ground. should i even bother mentioning how in love with this little marmot i am?

7.27.2010

don't judge a book by it's cover

...because you might end up thinking that lukas and i are the expectant parents posing with our midwife rather than lukas and danielle posing with their future goddaughter for the last time in-utero (they won't be home again until crimus and she'll already be out)

...because you might be tempted to think that lena really cares about judah's comfort and safety, when in fact, seconds after this picture was taken, when i told her, "that was a really good picture of you, lena," she said, "awesome!" as she threw judah on the floor like a discarded prop

...because you might end up mistaking an awesome, loving godfather for a creepy abductor

7.26.2010

for my gander

...because you know, what's good for the goose...

today is jesse's 28th birthday. so if you hadn't gathered from the title, i am doing a post answering all the same questions i made him answer for me last year on my birthday. i let him ask one bonus question to make it an even 28 (since he's so much older than me), the rest are the exact same ones i posed to him, but now flopped around as if he is asking me.

one of my favorite pics of him EVER. this is not the first pic like this. he's a happy salamander and loves to be under running water.

1. please list 28 things/traits/facts you love about me on this my 28th bday. (feel free to hyphenate): your mega-watt smile, fashion-sense, servant's heart, and navajo tan. i love that you never want to stop learning how to be more like jesus. i love your taste in movies, books, music and food, and that you won poetry recitations in grade school.
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i love that you went to tech on a full academic scholarship and only got one C in all of college (in the one class that i always made you skip to hang out with me) and graduated with a double major and highest honors. i love your super-hot singing voice, how freaking talented you are at the guitar and the songwriting ability you've just begun to tap into. i love how much scripture you know by heart, and that you know all the words to that beastie boys song that you rap with such gusto.
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i love how you are instantly really good at any new athletic endeavor that you try and how you dance at weddings (re: INSANELY HILARIOUS ABANDON). i love how you twitch when you're falling asleep and how you get all bashful and indignant and furrowed about it when i ask if you're okay. i love what an awesome cook you are (especially breakfasts!) and how you can fix or put together any handyman project that you attempt. i love your handwriting (forceful signature especially), the way you smell and how much you respect and love your parents. i love how you put your hand over your heart when you laugh really hard and the doberman face you make when you smell something funny. i adore the way you parent our son and the way that you never give up on us.

ok, so this athletic endeavor he mastered....just later

2. what is the best meal i have ever cooked us?: the sexual-favors porkchops are probably my alltime favorite because i was not expecting them to taste anything like what they did and definitely not to be so amazing. plus the fact that you made that recipe up.

3. the worst? ew, that chickpea pasta recipe from Real Simple magazine was heinous mushy blandsville.

don't be fooled by the awesome foodtography, it's nast

4. what is your first memory of me? i remember hearing your name for the first time weeks before i met you and thinking, "jesse dukes, wow, that guy must be some kind of badass cowboy, with a name like that." little did i know i'd get to be the Mrs. Badass Name 2.5 years later. the first time i remember seeing you i thought, "wow that's a dorky big watch he's wearing" and then a few days later when you wore corduroys and a long sleeve shirt to marisa's pool party in may and thinking, "wtf is he wearing? it's a million degrees out here"


more points off for it being a gift from an ex-girlfriend too

5. when was the first time you knew you liked me? when i suddenly realized that we had spent about 15 straight days together hanging out and started wondering why that was. though looking back, i will say when we saw harry potter 3 together during this span and mercilessly mocked it during the entire movie (and i can't even believe we went to movies together just the 2 of us and still didn't catch on that we needed to be dating until way later) i knew something was clicking.

same taste in food. aka 4 scoops of dairy

6. ...loved me? oh geez, i can't believe i made you answer this about me. this is hard. i mean i said it to you after just a few weeks and really felt it then, but now that we are married and know what love is really all about, that was probably just infatuation or being "in love." the loving you for real part came along with the hard stuff, after we were married and i first was able to be jesus to you and die to myself in an argument to show you that you meant more to me than my pride. real love turned out to be way harder and way better than the other stuff. sorry it took me so long.

7. ...were going to marry me? golly, i WOULD have married you about month 2 of dating. but i didn't know i was going to marry you until you asked me (even after you had bought the ring and i snuck into your room, with courtney guarding my tail, to try it on and peep at it). i kept waiting for you to come to your senses and realize that i had somehow tricked you into all this and that you were way to good for me. hahaha, you never did, sucker, and it's forever now!


save yourself!

8. what would you change about me if you could? not a lot. mostly the things that being with me has caused. you didn't used to be a yeller, and now you are because you had to start screaming to make yourself heard because i'm such a yeller. sorry. also your toenails grow way too fast and you tap ALL the time and it drives me insane. you aren't even a drummer!!!

9. what are your top 5 favorite things to do with me? play games (same team only: volleyball, board games, crossword puzzles), go out to exciting new restaurants and stay and talk forever (and make you order something just so i can try it with no commitment), travel (with great attitudes and teammate mindsets firmly in place), marvel at judah (do pretty much anything from sleeping to dancing), and be jesus when we're in a fight or a marriage slump. i love how as soon as one person lays down the weapons, the other one is instantly on board.

that's a favorite activity too. and we look so hot doing it
10. if you had to describe the way you feel about me using one song what would it be?

11. what's the hardest you can remember laughing with me? ok this one is recent. when we were jokingly talking about the fact that you have gained a little weight in the car and then we realized that "your body is a wonderland" was playing on the radio and i told you, "see i don't care how much you weigh, it's still a beautiful wonderland." and then you changed that channel with a disbelieving harrumph the song play was "what it's like" (a song about you don't know how it feels to walk in my shoes) which was also kind of weird, and then i said, ok, the next song is really going to be about this issue, and i turned it and it was "chicken fried" by zac brown and we lost our minds and were crying from laughing so hard. i love that you're such a great sport.

12. if you had to marry one of my friends who would it be? (if everyone was single) i think you know this one, but i love randy arrowood, and think y'alls personalities are hilariously similar. plus he is an outrageous cook.

randy: front left. love him. and his wife even more. their kids were in our wedding

13. if you had to let me marry one of your friends, who would you pick? (if everyone was single) i would want someone who is enough like me to make you happy, but way sweeter and less crazy so that you don't have to put up with the crap that i drag you through. probably natalie (who was your choice when you answered these for me!) and yes, this is the creepiest question ever. sorry, nat.

yeah, look which section jesse is holding. hmmmm, at least he doesn't seem exacted about it

14. best way you think we've grown since knowing each other? ugh. lately we've been backsliding, so that's tough. but overall, i would say that no matter how bad we eff up a conflict, we almost always find a way to resolve it and finish it up the right way by honoring each other and jesus instead of just "getting over it" and moving on. the scars heal way faster that way.

this is just warmup wedding dancing moves/facial expressions for him

15. thing we still need to work on the most? not being assholes to each other in the first place. getting to our jesus mind frames a lot sooner, before the anger takes over.

16. what are my best parenting skills? um, everything you do every day. waking up with judah, playing with him in such rough, boyish ways that always make him so happy, the funny voices you use to make him laugh while changing his diaper, the way you don't shy away from being stern with him, how you pray for him every time you put him to bed, the fact that you've probably changed more poopy diapers than me, the totally mushy yet totally manly way that you love him with 3000% of your heart and it's so evident to everyone, most importantly, him.

first wardrobe change.

17. best date we've ever been on? hopefully tonight! but in our past, i have to agree with you that it was when we went to ted's when we were just friends and afterward both said, "wow, if that had been a date, it would have been a 100 out of 100." and both of us were completely honestly not dropping any hints or trying to be anything more. idiots! also this past father's day at red lobster wasn't flashy, but it was awesome conversation.

18. best gift i've ever given you? i was so floored and touched when you gave me a huge "morning sickness survival kit for my 26th birthday when i was just a few weeks pregnant with judah and that you had dragged it all the way from atlanta on our trip to CA.

19. what do i do that makes you laugh the hardest? when you talk in our stupid baby voice or when you make gentle fun of me to call me out on being ridiculous. also when you tell stories.

serenading becky with his musical gifts.

20. what do i do that makes you the maddest? mmmm, when i feel like you aren't listening to me.

the eyes have it. and by "it" i mean "me melting on the floor"

21. what do you think i'm the best in the world at? you make grilled cheese sammies better than any human on earth.

22. ...the worst in the world? you SUCK at turning of the closet light.

23. most surprising thing you've learned about me? that you were both a druggie-skater douchebag and a jesus-loving, student body president science olympian in high school (at different points).

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24. name 3 things i've made you try/love that you never would have on you own: the wheel of time nerdy fantasy books (all 12 of them, and counting), throwing a frisbee for fun, and cats.
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25. name your top 4 of my physical characteristics, your wild curly head of hair (even including the gray one you found today), your amazing butt, your shoulders (despite the fact that they are only semi-functional), and every nanometer of your perfect face.

the shoulders, people, those freaking shoulders.

26. name something i'll never be better than you at and something you'll never be better than me at: like you said, i will never beat you in fantasy football (though you give up hours of time listening to NFL radio to accomplish that), i will never cook eggs, sing, play tennis, make videos, cook meat or pack a car as well as you can. i will never have your unreal sense of direction or laid back attitude. however, you will never be better than me at volleyball, having clean ears, driving, the operation arcade game, excel, or overreacting.

thumbs up for perfect eggs

27. would you do it all over again? 99% of it without a doubt. only minus the parts where i forget to appreciate exactly the caliber of man i somehow managed to land.

28. (bonus question that jesse made up): when am i in my element? you in your element = jesus crossed with a calvin klein model renaissance man genius/superhero who is a confident take-on- the-world daddy, husband, disciple and friend. and you are in that zone when you feel secure that your wife loves and respects you and when you have been spending time with your savior. p.s.: that guy is a real panty-dropper.

a random piece of graffitti some friends spotted on a building in chile. does that guy look famliar?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSE!

7.23.2010

it's taboo

one of our fave things to do on vacation is play board games with the harpers. we like cranium, but can't play every night because i jesse and i are ALWAYS on separate teams (because as a pair, we are literally unbeatable...that's both a fact and a challenge to any takers) and being opponents with him makes me sweaty and enraged when there's a rules infraction or a close game (i am wretchedly competitive and if you've ever seen me lose civilly, it's because i was faking because i am ugly when i cry bitter tears and didn't want you to see). well, as unstoppable as jesse and i are as teammates, we are twice as horrible as opponents (hmmmm, i am sensing a nugget of marriage wisdom somewhere in there).

so taboo is another more low-key favorite. this round saw me and donovan (middle harper) teamed up against jesse and grayson. the point of taboo is to get your partner to say the key word on the card. the catch is that, as the clue giver, there are 5 words that are taboo and that you cannot use while trying to describe the key word.
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triple scoop of harperinos

one turn, one of my cards was "bladder." the taboo words were something like: pee, gall, organ, kidney and something else, maybe. something like those. they are usually the most obvious words you would want to use to describe the key word.

so being the lateral-thinking wordsmith that i am, this was no sweat and i went with this line of clues, "ok, mine is getting smaller and smaller because i am pregnant and the baby is on it all the time and that's why i have to use the bathroom like a million times a day."

easy, right? oh no, not for our sweet, sweet donovan.
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here's where you should know that he is like the coolest 17 year old ever, and he is really smart, but he is not exactly street smart. this is FINE with everyone involved with rearing him. i want him to be 100% surprised by every single thing that may go on, show up, or pop out on his wedding night. but, that being the case, anatomy is not don's strong suit right now. and female anatomy scares the pants firmly ONTO him (and damn well better keep doing so for a long time).

so i am giving my clues and don gets this sheepish look on his face like he wants to say something but knows it's bad, like a child asked to repeat a cuss word. i am confused because it's just "bladder;" spit it out already! i am not trying to get you to say some racial epithet or curse your mother.

he gets a little red, and starts stifling laughter as he barely audibly chuckles, "is it 'vagina?'" and he has this look on his face like just saying that word might conjure a 7-foot tall one into existence to demolish us all like some gynecological voldemort on a rampage.

i promptly i lost all control of my not-vagina.

no honey, it isn't vagina. unfortunately, that is not on the list of things that get smaller and smaller due to pregnancy. i am not sure any body parts besides bladder are on that list. definitely none of my parts at least.

7.22.2010

sew totally

hi, my name is keight and i'm a sewer.

i think to avoid confusion, i should be typing that as sew-er, but anything that combines potty humor with crafting is right up my alley.

looking back, i could kill morning sickness for robbing me of 2 months worth of energy and brainpower when i could have been sewing. maybe it was finding out we're having a girl, or discovering some awesome sewing blogs, but i am officially obsessed and can't get enough. i have driven a needle through my fingernail, snipped the meat of my birdie finger right in two, andimpaled my palm on a seam ripper, and, you know what? i didn't feel a thing because of the adrenaline. sewing adrenaline.

i am trying to clump my sewing adventures into consolidated posts so that this little corner of the webbernets doesn't become one-note, but it's hard because i am kind of one-note right now myself.

when i'm not in the craft nook, i am thinking about being in the craft nook. when i am at home, i am most likely in the nook. i am probably cursing its tininess and the fact that nothing is laid out right and dreaming of the crafting palace i will undoubtedly insert into the blueprints (with a crayon) of our new house if we can ever trick someone into paying more than $7 for our current one, but don't let the constant stream of nook-condemning profanity fool you, i am right where i want to be.

i am proudly embarrassed to admit that i have been carrying around several of these latest creations with me wherever i go and not-so-adroitly ("hey, your wearing clothes, obviously that means you want to see some baby clothes i've made. what? can't hear you! it's too late to stop me, here check it out! RUFFLES!") finding ways to whip them out and wave in unsuspecting friends' and family members' faces so that they can (aka: are forced to by my pathetically expectant face) do a verbal and the occasional literal back flip over my crafts. i'm so needy.

jesse's a great cheerleader and all, but smocking and ruffles just doesn't get it up for him like you might expect. at least not on baby clothes.

here's my dirty little secret. i am not good at this. seriously, y'all, i am really bad at following directions, i rush things and have to go back and do them over again and i get really frustrated over the easiest little steps. i make really dumb mistakes and take project to the brink of utter destruction. but i have only ever had to completely give up on and trash one project. i never watched anyone sew before or took a class. i just decided one day that i wanted to be creating something other than ass indentations on the sofa and went for it. it's just really easy.

my biggest help and inspiration is finding tutorials from other bloggers. if i could think up a project of my own that wasn't just ripped off, i would do a tutorial for y'all so that i could be the wind beneath your wings like these other blogs have been for me (that was what i quasi tried to do yesterday, but so far, no takers). as much as i like the applause, i want to show people this stuff because i enjoy it so much and because anyone can do it. you can find cheapo decent starter sewing machines on craigslist for like 25 bucks. or you can have the one that i first started out on. it's in my attic, please come and take it and maybe find a new passion.

(seriously, does anyone around atlanta want it? would anyone enter if i made it giveaway #85?)

are you so totally inspired yet? or just looking forward to tomorrow when i won't write anything about crafting (that's probably a lie)?

here we go with some lately.

i need something in this pic to show scale. it looks like a gypsy's little bag of herb(s) in this shot, but it's really the hobo bag from MADE. i got a little hyper with making mine out of quilted other fabrics and used a tad too many for taste, but the construction was some of my best. it's actually about a foot tall and 10 inches wide. the tentacles are drawstrings

holy shit, i smocked a dress. this is by far the biggest payoff for the littlest effort of any sewing i have ever done. it looks so hard and impressive and is just the easiest technique ever.


pretty much the exact same picture. i just really like this thing


this is a picture of a $1 thrift store t-shirt i bought to use as knit fabric (way cheaper than buying new by the yard...especially if you're making kid-sized things). also pictured: layla in my lumpy asymmetrical stomach. hahahaha

here's what i made with it:





oh baby. so preppy i cant even stand it. it the warhol dress that i made before (and made judah model) but i added a freezer paper stencilled applique anchor. ahoy

i won't be forcing sewing stuff down your throat every day, i promise. i am going to add some tabs to the blog and hopefully sequester away all things crafty there so that if they repulse you, you can easily avoid them. this is just all over my radar right now.

i hope to write some posts soon about hilarious instances of the game taboo gone wrong, marriage fights that you wage over and over again for years upon years with no resolution, do some more giveaways to catch up to our now 93 followers (hi annie!), start cooking again, and then save the planet using my new found supercharged sense of smell, thimble-sized bladder and lack of balance. onward!

7.21.2010

the boo and her bum. plus a tutorial

so, you now know the name. maybe you're a naughty scroller and skipped jesse's talmudian dissertation on the origin and meaning of our little girl's name, or maybe i am an idiot and put it up in the sidebar so that you didn't have to read anything!

either way, there you have it. layla embry. i am 90% sure we will call her layla, but i also adore embry and would totally be cool with making a gametime decision to have her go by that if she came out looking more like an embry than like a layla. i am also down with calling her walter if she comes out looking like one of those.
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just like when we settled on judah and immediately started cutesy-fying his name by calling him judah-bug, we've done the same with layla. she is now referred to lovingly as layla-boo.
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once upon a time jesse and i were in a bookstore and heard a teenager on her cellphone say, "oh my god, she's like totally his gangsta-boo." well that was the greatest thing i had ever heard and i begged him to call me his gangsta-boo as a pet name. it sort of stuck, but is most often just "boo" (which is funny enough on its own). maybe that's where it came for as a suffix for layla, but here we are with layla boo. it just seemed to fit with judah's too: the boo and the bug. it would be even more fitting if she had been a surprise baby, but alas. now we can sing innumerable R&B and rap songs to her without changing the words.

so with her name all set, i was ready to brainstorm her coming home outfit. is it cliche to have a personalized/monogrammed outfit to bring the baby home from the hospital in? probs. but i don't care. i love it. label that baby!

when i had judah, it was way back years and eons ago when i didn't know how to make my own clothing for my kids (OMG how did i ever look at myself in the mirror?!!?) so i just had a design printed on a onesie for him by some online company. he wore it ALL the time and i just loved it; first outfit out of the dryer and onto him until the day he outgrew it. it was made up of all the colors of his room (because babies MUST match room decor at all times, y'all. don't front now) and his name and that's about it. Snores McGores, right? but he's a boy so it was apropos and i somehow didn't get beat up by maternity ward bullies for not dressing my baby cute enough.

yikes. one month olds ain't got nothing on the cuteness of a toddler.


but with layla, i knew i HAD to actually make her coming home outfit myself. and the fact that she's a chick has just given me so much more latitude for straight up going out of control. triple layered applique? check. ruffs? check. 3 different fabrics? ch-to the momo fofo-eck, y'all.


on a white gerber long sleeved newborn onesie with fold over cuffs for little mittens. my fave ($3)

the best part of this was when i butchered the little white onesie into near oblivion. i was trying to applique just the gold oval with the L initial directly onto the onesie, but it was a new stitch i had never done before and it kept getting totally stuck in one place as the needle (which was the totally wrong kind of needle for a delicate little knit baby romper) pummelled the fabric repeatedly into swiss, nay, harvarti cheese. i ended up having to pick out about a million stitches while crying and sweating and pouting like it was my party and judy and johnny had just walked in the door, like a queen with her king. and when the dust and thread fibers settled, i had this lovely bit of artistry and about a kiloton of self-loathing on my hands:


like a moth's nascar track

i would have straight given up 100% at this point and just grabbed another onesie and salvaged this one later with a big applique, but i couldn't because a little something i had already committed hours to on the back of this onesie meant i had to stay the course.

so i measured out a brown rectangle and re-positioned everything on top of it and then appliqued it all on the onesie over the oval scars of destruction.

i actually really love how it turned out with the 3 different fabrics and the rectangle.

so about that little surprise on the backside that i had already invested in? well, it truly is on the backside and it's proof positive that i am fully sold out to the idea of a little girl:

those are ruffles! on the bum! of a baby onesie. (this is the part where you squeal)


little profile view of the rufflebumbum. can you even stand it?

wanna make your own ruffle bum onesie? if not, stop reading because here's where we get sewie.

here's the tutorial i used for the ruffles. though i went rogue, per my usual m.o., and did it way faster and with less fabric by just cutting rectangle strips and then ironing and sewing the edges under. i also didn't measure for the placement of the ruffles after they were gathered, i just eyeballed and pinned down and i think they still came out great.

and for the stencilled fabric applique details? i just used two techniques i have found before and combined them to do what i need for this project:

1. print off your design: letters, shapes, graphics etc. i would suggest something simple without too many details or shapes within shapes to keep track of.

2. trace them BACKWARDS onto the back (non-rough) side of a square of wonder under that is a little bigger than your whole design. (this is a type of fusible interfacing, ask an employee at joann). if you're artsy-talented, you could draw the design directly only the back of the interfacing rather than printing it off. just remember to put it on there in the mirror image of what your finished design should be since this will be the back of the applique.

3. iron the square of wonder under onto the back of a matching square of the fabric you want to use.

4. use an x-acto knife to cut around the backwards design that is drawn on the interfacing. make sure you cut through both the interfacing and the fabric so you don't have any danglers.

5. peel the paper off the interfacing of the part you cut out and then iron your design onto the fabric it's destined for (for instance, i would have applied my L directly onto the onsie if i hadn't wanted/needed the other layers of fabric shapes)

6. topstitch around the whole thing (apparently you don't have to do this and wonder under will keep the design on there even if you wash it, but i am untrusting and the sewn edge makes me feel safer and looks sharper and more homemade)

these two little tutorials are all i used to make layla her first real outfit! so easy, and such a huge payoff. please give it a whirl and let me know if anything is unclear or stupidly explained. this is my first time with a sewing tutorial and perhaps the last.