Thursday, December 13, 2007

My gift to the world...

I'm sewing my own giftbags this year. I've been reading, hearing, and talking with others about how much garbage the holiday gift-giving season generates for our planet, and decided that reusable giftbags were the way to go. Plus it gives me an excuse to keep doing simple sewing projects that I can complete in a short amount of time - I like quick and easy.

Here's my first giftbag, made from fabric I had sitting in my closet:


And it folds up so nice for storage:

I still have some kinks to work out. The assembly process wasn't as smooth as it should have been because I was having trouble visualizing how to place the ribbons so that the bag could be reversible. I'd also like to do a mitered edge on the bottom of the bag, but I can't figure out how I can do that and have it reversible. The examples I found online were for single-sided bags. I have some ideas that I think I'll work through on some scrap material first. Maybe I'll have to whip out a bunch of these over the next 10 months, and then sell them at holiday bazaars next year! ;P

Okay family, friends, and lurking blog readers - I need your help. We're going to order photo greeting cards (should have already done that - thank goodness for Costco), and I can't decide which picture to use.



What do you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm so amazing

LOL - I'm feeling pretty full of myself after completing not just one, but TWO sewing projects in the last three days! This is astounding on many levels, mostly because I have have a long record of starting projects and not quite finishing them. Seriously, I have a pile of outfits that I made when A. was a baby that need nothing more than a button or a snap, and I have crochet projects that are a few granny squares shy of being full blankets. It's a terrible disease to be stricken with, but I know that I'm in good company when it comes to having the inability to see things through to completion.

N. had been after me for a week or two to make her a new robe. Her last one, which she wore up through this last winter, was made by my aunt and given to N. as a Christmas gift four years ago. I looked around the stores we usually frequent, and didn't see anything that struck mine or N's fancy. Finally I decided that this was a job for Sewing Mom! I stumbled upon a fantastic 50% off sale at Joann's over the weekend, and came home with a pile of pretty, pink fleece. From the time I laid out the pattern to the point at which it was ready for my little fashionista to wear was just over 24 hours.

Here she is, singing along to the Plain White Ts.

Digging the sewing machine out of the closet prompted me to dig deeper into my stash of sewing stuff. There are a bunch of patterns that I never got to for N. back when she was A's age. Needless to say I don't have much use for them now (I'll probably freecycle them), but I did find a pattern for a hooded jacket and pants I could make for A. Only problem is, he wants it to look exactly like it's pictured on the cover, right down to the fabric shade and embroidered do-hicky they stuck on there. I'm trying to convince him to think outside the box a bit, but he's not really buying into it. With that project looming over me, I decided to do a quick search of my old friend The Internet. I googled "easy kids pants pattern", and low-and-behold, I found this Handy Home Projects blog! They were totally easy - from the time I started sketching the pattern to the time onto the boy was just over an hour. Granted, they aren't hemmed, so the case could be argued that I didn't actually finish them, but I'm going to ignore you. If I were really doing things right, I wouldn't have just settled for the 1/2inch elastic I had in the drawer either - they really need a wider elastic. But they're totally cute on A! And they make me happy because the fabric was the remnant from a hat a coat I'd made for him when he was an itty bitty baby.

Here he is being a bit surly, and giving me a glimpse of the teen years ahead:

That may be all the sewing I have left in me for right now, though I may be feeling just inspired enough to branch out into something besides fleece! LOL!

Random photo time. Here's N. all bundled up at the Woodinville Light Festival last Friday. Although she's grumpy in this picture (the kids were tired of waiting in line to take the train ride over to the senior center) the kids actually enjoyed themselves. And they got to see Santa land his helicopter in the playfields outside the community center. Santa's really come a long way.

Lastly, a picture hubby took of the kids when he took them out to the Redmond Watershed trails on the weekend. We had a light snow that lasted most of the day on Sunday, but amounted to very little in accumulation. The kids were surprised to see a thin layer of ice covering the whole pond there.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Homeschooler wins Hesiman!

Woohoo! Let's hear it for another stereotype being broken!

Tebow may become an all-time great
Peter Schrager /
Posted: 7 hours ago

When most 20-year-old guys visit New York City for the first time, they leave with a souvenir T-shirt or maybe a basic grasp of the subway system. Tim Tebow's maiden voyage to the Big Apple ended a bit differently Saturday night. Tebow heads back to Gainesville with a slice of college football history and a bronze statue in his hand.
The first college football player to ever run for 20 touchdowns and throw for 20 touchdowns in the same season, Tebow is now also the first sophomore to ever take home the Heisman Trophy. Darren McFadden didn't do it last year. Herschel Walker never did it. Marshall Faulk, fellow Gator Rex Grossman and Larry Fitzgerald all came close but fell shy as well. Even Doak Walker finished third in voting after his sophomore season in 1947.

Yet here was Tebow — a quarterback who threw a grand total of 33 passes his freshman season — walking through the Nokia Theater on Saturday night as a pioneer, the first of his kind.

It makes sense that Tebow would be the first to break through the Heisman's long-standing "sophomore wall." He's unlike any college football player we've ever seen. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Tebow's a freakish physical specimen. He possesses an arm from the heavens, the legs of a horse and the brain of a high school math wiz. In short, he's the prototype. Or as South Carolina head coach and fellow Gators Heisman winner Steve Spurrier put it earlier this year, "He's the quarterback of the future. Actually, he's the quarterback of today. He's really the type of quarterback that almost everyone is looking for."

Radio personality Chris "Mad Dog" Russo describes Tebow as a "linebacker playing quarterback." CBS Sports writer Dennis Dodd labels him "Herschel Walker with a rocket left arm." The accolades are endless. Amazingly, it's not hyperbole. The guy's that special.

The lingering talk in the media room following Saturday night's proceedings circulated around whether or not Tebow could join Archie Griffin as one of just two men to win multiple Heisman Trophy awards. Realistically, there's the potential for more than that.

Yes, Tebow has the opportunity to finish his career in Gainesville as not only the best Gator quarterback of all-time, but quite possibly the most accomplished and decorated player in college football history.

Tebow already has a national title and a Heisman under his belt. With two years of eligibility left, the possibilities for additional records and resume bullet points are endless.

Two more national titles? Why not? Outside of receiver Andre Caldwell and safety Tony Joiner, the Gators return just about every significant playmaker on their 2007 roster next season. Florida's got yet another top-5 recruiting class. The future's more than bright for Urban Meyer's squad — it's glowing.

The SEC career touchdown record? It's do-able. Running and passing for an average of 4.25 touchdowns per game, he's on pace to shatter it.

Two more Heismans? Though I hate to sound like Beano Cook promoting Ron Powlus, there's no reason to believe anything otherwise.

Of course, the kid is not just unique for his on-the-field accolades.

First off, he was home-schooled. On the stigma that goes along with that, Tebow jokes, "I've heard it all. Home schoolers aren't supposed to be athletic. It's like, 'Go win a spelling bee or something.'"

Tebow also happens to be the kind of guy you wouldn't lose sleep over your daughter dating. He's humble and respectful, and strong in the classroom. He didn't spend the night before the Heisman ceremony in Manhattan nightclubs and seedy bars until 3 a.m. He went on a double-decker bus tour around New York instead.

He has a good head on his shoulders and possesses an even greater heart. While most know him as the super-human one-man wrecking crew terrorizing SEC defensive lines each weekend, there are thousands of men, women and children in the Philippines that know him as a familiar face and a friend.

Tebow's spent the majority of his summers in the Philippines — living with his parents and assisting with his father's ministry — the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association ( Where most other nationally recognized high school athletes spent their teenage summers at camps sponsored by shoe companies and enjoying nights out with the prom queen (and more than likely, her friend, too), Tebow — or "Timmy" as his mother Pam still calls him — was in the Philippines each year for two months tending to the underserved.

On top of the ministry work, Tebow's also a regular visitor to the BTEA orphanage located in Mindanao in the Philippines that is home to 49 orphans and 13 staff members. He holds these experiences as close to his heart as the ones on the gridiron.

Too good to be true? Well, there is one negative: He's indecisive. Yes, when asked whether he'd rather throw a 30-yard touchdown or run one in from 30 yards out, Tebow insists he can't decide.

"Whatever coach calls is fine with me."

Other than that, you'll be hard-pressed finding something wrong with the guy.

There are "haters" out there, though. While he's already got a Heisman and a number of school, conference and NCAA records to his name, critics point to Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen's spread system as the real reason for such unbridled success.

Meyer shudders at such a suggestion. The Florida coach explained Saturday night, "I've heard the word 'system' tossed around this week. But let me tell you something — personnel is all that matters. Tim Tebow is a great player. And that has nothing to do with the offensive style he plays in."

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, also a quarterback in a spread offense, finished fourth in the Heisman voting. Speaking with the media following the ceremony, he gave his thoughts on the "system" label.

"The spread offense works. It's now the staple in college football. Tim's a special player."

To be certain, Tebow's a passer first, running threat second. Spread system or not, the guy can toss a football. In 2007, Tebow finished with the highest single-season passing efficiency rating (178.8) of any Heisman-winning quarterback ever. He also threw for 3,132 yards and hurled 29 touchdown passes. You put him in that Hawaii offense, he's going to do just fine. The Wildhog formation down in Arkansas? He'd manage. The Pistol in Nevada? That'd be OK, too.

Tebow's not some interchangeable part. This was known by the Florida coaching staff even before he came to Gainesville. On Saturday night, Meyer recalled a conversation he had with Greg Mattison, the Florida recruiting guru most responsible for bringing the quarterback to Gainesville, two years ago. Mattison and Meyer were on a flight back from a recruiting trip in Pennsylvania. Tebow was going back and forth on Alabama and Florida at the time. Meyer, seriously considering the possibility of Tebow in crimson and white over the next four years, suggested that even if Tebow went to 'Bama, the Gators would be fine. Mattison, a longtime veteran of the recruiting game, quickly and sternly assured Meyer otherwise.

"If we don't get him," Mattison said, "it will set [Florida football] back 10-15 years."

Luckily for Meyer, Mattison and the hundreds of thousands of Florida football fans across the country, Tebow chose be a Gator. In two years, he's proven to be all Madison and Meyer hoped for and more.

And amazingly enough, it's safe to suggest the best is yet to come. >> Feedback | Press | Jobs | Tickets | Join Our Opinion Panel | Subscribe
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USA Daily wrote up an article on Tebow earlier in the week as well -
"If the strapping 6’3” 235 lb. lad wins the Heisman, he’ll be making history on several counts. First, he’s only a sophomore. Second, he is the only player in NCAA history to run and pass for at least twenty touchdowns each in one season. Third, this son of missionaries to the Philippines was homeschooled in grades K through12. The last fact, no doubt, prompted Sports Illustrated to opine that Tebow is “hardly the typical college athlete.” "

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stupid comment of the day

Things are returning to normal around here, as far as the weather goes, and evidence of the flooding is gradually being cleaned up. There are areas north that were very hard hit and are still without power. Not to downplay what they are going through after 3 or 4 days without power (we were there ourselves last December when a windstorm knocked out our power for 9 days), but I had to roll my eyes when I heard the news anchor (in his very somber, serious news anchor voice) say:

"... families still without power. Some are even having to eat a cold breakfast this morning."

Huh? Could they not have come up with a better line than that to express the hardship the lack of electricity is causing? Just "they are having to eat a cold breakfast"? If that's the case, than I want all of you to know just how bad we have it hear at our house where I will be going upstairs and eating *gasp* COLD cereal and milk once I get off the computer. I know, I know... it's tragic really. Leave a comment for me so that I can provide an address where you can send me donations so that I can have a good hot meal of eggs, sausage, and hashbrowns and not suffer through another cold breakfast again.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Glub, glub...

Well, the snow was fun. We ended up with about 5 inches of fluffy white stuff by the time all was said and done... and then the rain came. The snow turned into rain yesterday, and the temperature has gone up over 25 degrees from where it was just two days ago. We're all familiar with the freezing point of water, so you know what happened to all that snow. Then add 5 inches of rain in a single day, (and it's still falling). Our neighborhood is fine (though the seasonal stream in our backyard has returned), but here is a video from the downtown area that gives you an idea of the volume of water we've got around here right now.

My dad asked me today if I had started the kids on their next backyard homeschool project: building an ark. Hardy, har, har.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

First snow of the year!

Welcome to December! The weather people have been talking about the snow that's coming today for most of the past week, and the kids and I have been looking forward to it with eager anticipation (hubby seems to lack our enthusiasm). A Saturday snow is perfect, especially since it's all supposed to melt away on Sunday - no commuting nightmares on Monday morning (at least not snow-related).

The kids had really wanted to decorate the tree last night, but I was also supposed to go to bookclub. I managed to hold them off another day by digging out all the outdoor lights, etc. and decorating the front yard instead. We now have some mini-trees with twinkling lights, a row of candycanes, a light-up deer, and a blow-up penguin wearing earmuffs out in front, along with lights on some of the bushes near the front door. Maybe today we'll get the rest of the lights up! We'll also get the Christmas tree up (in between trips outdoors to build snowmen and have a snowball fight or two).