30 Jan

Totally non-Fascinating Stuff

Wanna know how to make even the most recalcitrant kid giggle? Play Go Fish with Hawaiian fish cards.

Skill-wise we are way beyond Go Fish, but I saw this deck as I was killing time while my car got serviced and had to have it. It’s been very fun — you try saying Lauwiliwili’nukunuku’oi’oi (longest Hawaiian fish name)! It’s been a small help in entertaining us as I try to cut the kids’ TV time while expending as little as possible of my own energy.

It’s funny as I go through the day and debate with myself if what we’re doing is blog-worthy. This week, I’ve considered plenty, but nothing really worth the effort of sitting down o write about. We did meet some of the Ace of Cakes crew (Duff, Erica, Sophie, but no Mary Alice :-(), while they are borrowing one of the Dining facilities on Schofield Barracks (where we’re stationed), however weren’t allowed in the kitchen to see them in action. If you’re curious though, tune in to their season finale (I’m guessing a few months from now) where they make a cake for LOST (love that show) and honor an Army pilot with a Blackhawk cake (complete with turning rotors says Duff).

I’ve also considered writing about my current ennui. I’m tired, and tired of being a single parent. We’re only two and a half months into Mr. Incredible’s deployment, so I know I need to, as they say in the Army, “Suck it up and drive on,” but I’m allowing myself a little wallow first. This got me to thinking about whether or not I’d talk deployment on my blog. It’s in no way related to fiber art, but maybe here’s an opportunity for a window into the life of an Army wife. Although all the stereotypes you see on TV are true, at the same time none of them are true either, and unless you live the life, many may not have a clue what makes our lives unique. I told our neighbor/friend today I had just gotten to the “tired of being a single parent” phase and she responded that she’d already been there, done that. We tend to go through similar stages, but everyone does it at a different pace. It used to be that the first week and then month were the hardest, but since we’ve had short (four month) separations just about every year, and the kids and I moved here without Art, maybe it’s taken us a little longer to really miss him. He’s not really been a part of our Hawai’i life, so there’s no gaping hole where he should be. But right now I’m just tired from being “on” all the time. Next week should be good because the kids actually have school all five days! I’m guessing we’ll get our groove back and then by the time we get to the “It’s been four months now, shouldn’t dad be coming home soon” phase, we’ve got summer fun with my MIL all lined up. I can’t say what the second half of the deployment will bring, as we’ve done up to eight months apart, but this is our first 12 monther (I’m so glad the powers that be realized that 15 months is just tooooooooooooooooooo long).

Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible is having a very good day on the other side of the world. :-)

26 Jan

A Quick Makeover

WANT got the best of NEED this last weekend. I’d love to have a more contemporary looking house, but I can’t justify replacing half my belongings. As I was surfing the net the other day, It dawned on me that a simple fabric change could update our oak bench a la the midwest modern look I really like.

Of course, the current fabric was in fine shape, and I didn’t have any appropriate Amy Butler or similar fabric in my stash. But my browsing found me drooling over some very hip Joel Dewberry twill. I debated all day and then finally measured my cushions. It would take less than 1.5 yards for a makeover. What was I worried about? Hubby’s got a steady job — I can afford 1.5 yards of fabric. When it arrived a few days later, I was so glad to see that it not only matched the rug in the adjoining work space as hoped, but it even accentuated the small bit of turquoise in the living room rug in case they are ever in the same room together (another concern for nomads like us).

As I was about to put the fabric away upstairs, I decided that, in accordance with Getting Things Done, this fell under the “if it takes less than two minutes do it now” rule and grabbed the staple gun and got to work. Of course, it took more than two minutes, but not much. I grabbed two pillows from the couch, and Voila!

I’m so happy I did this.

25 Jan

Hey Teach

Do you knit? Then you’ve no doubt contemplated this pattern. I even contemplated it myself, despite my novice knitter status (so it can’t be too intimidating a pattern). Lucky me, my sister jumped in and knit one up for my birthday!

I have got to say that it fits great, looks great (IMHO), and is perfect for those chilly Hawaiian winter mornings and evenings. I love it both fluffy like mine, and lighter like the Knitty one. OK, go now. Knit one for yourself, it’s worth it.

24 Jan

It’s all about the guys

First: I owe a huge thanks to my Technical Support department! That would be my husband who, even though he’s on the other side of the world doing far more important things, is willing to muck around in the html of my blog when I can’t figure it out on my own. I am also amazed that technology allows for him to do this kind of thing remotely and with the worst bandwidth ever. Thanks to TS&WGH (Tech Support & World’s Greatest Husband) I have now been upgraded to the newest WordPress and have a Flickr badge and cute category cloud (I’ve always wanted one of those word cloud things. Not sure why.).

I made him go through all this because I can now share stuff I have in my Flickr account since the two gifts posted there for my sister (who reads my blog) are now at her house. I’ve already shared the Wee Kitties Bowling Rainbow, and now I can share the quilt I made for my new nephew, born just last week.

His name is Tanner, which is an Anglicization of the German, Tanne, meaning Pine. Obviously, a tree quilt was in order.

This was the hint back in November, and pretty tree-like, but I REALLY wanted to make a zig zag quilt. I’m very pleased with the plain chocolate linen background paired with the bright string-pieced scraps (I chose linen because it was the only plain fabric in my stash that I had enough of).

Tanner’s Treeline ©2008 Kristin La Flamme

The linen was a little fussy to work with since it moves around a lot more than more tightly woven cotton, and I was being a bit too cavalier with it, so the finished product is a bit wonky, but I don’t think Tanner cares.

22 Jan

We Like Skirts

I’ve made lots of simple little girls skirts now. The tiered one originally posted by 3 Peas, now by Kuky Ideas, is a regular here, Chez La Flamme. I don’t think I ever posted this fairy one, which was probably the first:

You may recognize this one as one of three for a birthday party (I like the addition of a little woven ribbon trim):

Of course, being in Hawaii, we branched out to a hula skirt as well, with a very tedious three rows of elastic (NOT the celophane grass and coconut bra type):

(You’re ignoring the wrinkles on all these, right?)

Recently, I found that I had amassed large enough pieces of fabric to actually make clothes. I had bought a pretty yellow Alexander Henry print to make a blouse for me, but it was the wrong color (fodder for another post), and then Tia sent me a bunch of Kaffe Fasset prints. It was a perfect combination to try another ruffle skirt tutorial, this time from Grand Revival:

Again, with some extra trim. If I do this one again (and I probably will). I will add a few inches to the length of all the strips. As it was, I did not use the measurements from the tutorial, but larger ones for a size 7 from the magazine article she posted to her Flickr account. Still, unless your girl is stick thin, I’d add a little more room for twirling.

20 Jan

A Gift

Two days ago, Neighbor Girl brought me a gift. Actually, she said it was for all of us — I just get to be the keeper. She found a chrysalis in her yard!

I am unclear as to whether or not she plucked it off a plant or not. She made it sound like it was just sitting there. Regardless, I am apparently the keeper of the all things caterpillar and she brought it to our house on a Styrofoam “platter.” It is smaller than our caterpillar who went missing in the wind storm, so I’m not sure if this is the same caterpillar, relocated, or if it’s a caterpillar previously unknown to us. I have been sworn to watch over the chrysalis and to alert all neighbor kids to the butterfly as soon as it emerges. For lack of any better spur-of-the-moment ideas, it has been ensconced under a protective dome and our collective fingers are crossed that we’ll see a butterfly in about 10 days.

This is my little contribution to hope and change on this auspicious day.

17 Jan

Sigh…

It is a sad day here Chez La Flamme. The smaller of our two caterpillars died last Monday, presumably due to manhandling by one of the many children who were playing in our yard, and now the larger caterpillar has disappeared in our recent wind storms. Next time, we’re investing in a caterpillar cage/container thingie.

Also, I made chocolate chip muffins this morning. Really tasty ones with banana too. As they were cooking, my daughter asked, “Did you put chocolate chips in the muffins?” Ummmmmmm…. No.

12 Jan

Metamorphosis

One of the reasons we wanted to post about our caterpillars is because we were inspired to make a softie version of the metamorphosis. We’ve taken quite a few creative liberties, but it’s essentially the life cycle of a Chinese Yellow, or Citrus, Swallowtail.

We started with our “baby,” the first through third stages (instars) of the swallowtail: the bird poop caterpillar. This stuffed version features a brown and white fabric, ruched to accentuate the caterpillar’s texture.

The quick-change artist then gets zipped into a lined pouch…

…to become the fourth instar: the chunky green version. I added the osmeterium (yellow-orange scent glands) later as it seemed like it could use a little jazzing up. I love how the functional zipper mimics the actual patterning on the real caterpillar. I really love that it was my daughter’s idea and not mine.

Next, the caterpillar(s) get put into the chrysalis purse and…

…out comes a beautiful butterfly! The butterfly has a pouch on her underbelly for a pom-pom egg so that the cycle can begin again.

The chrysalis purse isn’t quite as graceful or poofy on top as I was hoping for, but I do really like it’s quilted bottom section. Poopy should have a bigger head and Instar Four could be a little more detailed on his back, but really, we’ve been having great fun playing with this — and that’s what matters most!