The Wind Beneath My Wings

There’s a reason this blog is called “Confessions of a Craft Addict.” Yes, I’m quite the crafty babe but I’m also the first person to confess my less-than-stellar moments. Like this one:

I typically use my weekday off from work to catch up on household chores and errands. Today, that meant a trip to Home Depot (among other locations) to pick up a rain spout extension. Exciting stuff, right? On my way to the store, I decided I’d pick up a sheet of insulation board so I can make a design wall for my studio. I’m sure you’ve heard of this hack: Cover insulation board with flannel to make a lightweight, portable design wall on the cheap. I’ve been using my floor forever and it’s really not a great system, given that I have pets who think anything on the floor is the only place to sleep.

This is how I found myself walking out of Home Depot with a rain spout extension tucked under my arm and a 4’x8′ sheet of insulation board in my hands. And this is where things went off the rails, thanks to a little thing called “wind.”

Wind isn’t really something I think about most of the time. Sure, I notice it but it’s more of a passing observation than anything else. Wind, however, really gets your attention when your hands are filled with 4′ x 8′ of lightweight foam board, which immediately turns into a sail.

There’s really no easy way to carry 32 square feet of foam board in the wind. It’s either pushing you or dragging you. And maybe six feet out of the door, all I could do was laugh. Until I got to the car.

You see, I drive a Honda Odyssey — a rather stylin’ swagger wagon — that should easily be able to accommodate a piece of foam board this size — if I’d actually cleaned out my car and prepared in some way. But, really, who does that? I’m living on the edge! Flying by the seat of my pants (almost literally)! Why on earth would I have gotten three bags of outgrown clothing out of the car (since I’m clearly never going to donate them), or random pieces of MDF or my toolbox? It’s so much more fun to try to move that stuff and collapse seats when I have to grip a 4’x8′ piece of foam in my hands so it doesn’t take off across the Home Depot parking lot.

Somehow, some way, I managed to shove the foam board into the car, although it meant driving with about 4″ off it on top of my head, and off I went to run the remainder of my errands. I may have given myself a pat on the back for my excellent problem solving skills. I am woman, see me show foam board who’s the boss!


I may have left out another rather critical detail with my last-minute burst of inspiration. It wasn’t until I hauled the board into the house and attempted to prop it against a wall that I learned a valuable lesson:


Yeah, that was a great idea.

Hello, Reality

Oh my gosh, I wrote a book. I wrote a book and people can buy it. Are buying it. And now sewing from it.

I think reality is finally setting in. Until now, my book has pretty much only been seen by my family at Stash Books/C&T Publishing, my actual family, a few friends and about 70 people who received a copy at Market. But now it’s out there. For just anyone. Everyone.

Oh. My. Gosh.

There are times I’ve wondered if I was crazy, even trying to write a book. Worried that no one would want to read it, or like it. Terrified someone would discover a mistake*.

Now, I hold this beautiful thing in my hands and think, “I made this.” No matter what happens from here on out, I have accomplished something I’ve dreamed of since I was 8 years old. And I’m so excited — and nervous — to see where things go next. I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey, because your support has buoyed me along this far.

And I hope you’re interested in a giveaway, because I’ve got one cooking up. A big one. Like, with an autographed copy of the book. Some fabric. Some other cool stuff. I think you’re going to like it.

* I’d love nothing more than to have an error-free book. No one is more apologetic — or embarrassed — than I. Please check the errata before cutting. And I’m sorry. 🙁

White Flag

I was tempted to create a new category for this entry: DIY Fail.

But I didn’t. Not because everything worked out but because I tried — really, truly, blood-and-guts tried — and it didn’t work out, so that’s really not a fail.


My car died the other night. Twice. The first time, we — meaning me, Honey and G — replaced the battery and everything was just peachy. The second time there was no resuscitating the car.

A quick call to my dad followed, who echoed my suspicions: the alternator was kaput. This is where I should have called the towing service and had my minivan taken to a mechanic. Instead, I heard these words from my dad: “You could probably replace the alternator yourself. It would save a ton of money.”

DIY+saving money. This is like the equation to my happy place. (Never mind my ongoing need to seek approval from my dad, which I later realized also factored in.) So, like any 21st century technonut, I promptly went home and settled in for a night of Google research. Replacing the alternator certainly looked easy enough. “I could totally do this!” I told myself and then Honey.

Notice that I have not bounced this idea off any rational human being who is not a man at this point. Instead, I continued to research and bolster my inner can-do spirit.

I spent Tuesday afternoon alternately searching for tools, buying the right tools and reaching my hands into the recesses of my vehicle’s hood in an attempt to extricate the aforementioned alternator. I should point out that one of my first steps was to call my dad and ask where to find the alternator. (Obviously I was continuing to ignore the clues that this might be a Bad Idea.)

After much pushing, pulling, cussing and muttering, G and I finally managed to get the last connection free — approximately five hours after I started — only to discover … we could not get the alternator out. At all. As in, there was no freaking way that big hunk of metal could physically escape the boundaries of its space.

Did I give up? That’d be NO. (Again, ignoring the very obvious that this is a BAD Idea.)

No, I woke up at 5 a.m. today, plotting my trip to buy yet another tool that might let me dismantle the piece o’ carp and get it out. You know how daylight savings time just started? It’s pretty darned dark at 6 a.m., and even 7, since the sun doesn’t rise until about 7:30. Obviously, I’d wait until the sun came up to get started.

Have you not been reading along? Because I appear to have zero common sense during the entire escapade and that’s not going to end now.

The point at which I finally realized “This is a BAD IDEA” was around 7 a.m., when I’ve been standing in the dark, with a flashlight held in my teeth, trying to get the ever-loving, stupid freaking alternator out of my car for AN HOUR. An hour, in the dark, with a flashlight in my mouth and my hands all greasy and cut up from rooting around under the hood of my car for about six hours. This is my breaking point.

I slapped one bolt through the alternator to hold it in place, wrapped up the rest of the hardware in a towel and plopped it in the car. Then I called the mechanic and the towing service. Which is probably what I should have done in the first place.

Oh, but wait. I haven’t gotten to the best part yet! When I told the mechanic what had happened and that I thought it was the alternator he said, “I doubt it’s the alternator. We never have Odysseys come in here with alternator problems.”

The moral of the story: Call a girlfriend the next time I entertain one of these Big, BAD Ideas so she can talk some sense into me, preferably while we get mani-pedis (it’s going to take weeks for my poor hands to heal).

Cupcakes to Share

Hungry yet? LOL!

So much fun to make and package up these cupcakes for the bake sale. I found these cute individual cupcake boxes at Party City; they’re made by Wilton and I’m sure can be found other places, too. I tend to have tulle on hand (wonder why? ha ha ), so I used some to pretty up the boxes a bit. The labels I made on the computer and cut out with my favorite ginormous circle punch, then hole punched them and tied them on the tulle with some embroidery floss.

The recipes for the cupcakes and frosting came from the book Little Cakes From the Whimsical Bakehouse, one of my favorite, favorite books. I have the original Whimsical Bakehouse book, as well as the Christmas cookie book, and all three are much loved and used. They would get the Craft Addict Seal of Approval, if there were such a thing. LOL!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know about the calamity that struck in the whole cupcake-making process. For those who don’t … I baked the cupcakes and put each into a box, then put all the boxes in a larger cardboard box that I planned to use for transporting them Friday morning. I left the box on the kitchen counter and intended to decorate them before we left for school. While I was waiting to grab an Etsy Treasury on Thursday night, I heard a sound in the kitchen and made the brilliant decision to ignore it. After a few minutes, I decided to investigate.

One of our very helpful cats — and I do know who it is but will spare him the humiliation of being called out online (but his name rhymes with Froccoli) — knocked the big cardboard box of cupcakes off the kitchen counter. Our dog, always the opportunist, decided the perfect chaser to a meal of crunchy dog food was a cupcake. Or three.

Have you ever caught a dog in the the act of doing something s/he knows s/he’s not supposed to be doing? If my dog could talk, I’m pretty sure she would have said, “It wasn’t me!” Which is ridiculous because she had cupcake crumbs all over her face and evidence to the contrary strewn about her feet. I have a sneaking suspicion the cat may have had an ulterior motive in all of this, since he’s not a huge fan of the dog and would like the peace and quiet that goes with having a dog-free home.

All told, I ended up losing three cupcakes and boxes (out of 12) to the furry fiasco. It isn’t that bad but still a bit of a bummer. And I relocated the remainder lest any of the furry troublemakers decide to make my blood pressure rise even higher.

No idea how much the preschool sold them for because they were all gone by the time I got there (not surprising since it started at 9 a.m., I taught until 4 and didn’t get to the Oktoberfest until almost 6 p.m.). But some of my friends bought them and said they were fabulous.

Farbenmix & Fledge Fashion Show

As much fun as I’ve had with the red plaid Cardiff pants, I was itching to do a less conservative pair. I think I accomplished that with these pants.

Both fabrics are from Joann’s and part of the fall juvenile apparel line. They are a heavier weight cotton, more of a twill than a quilting cotton but not quite that heavy. They’re just the right weight, though, to hold those pleats nice and crisp.

I made these before my minor sewing meltdown, although they’re not without problems. I’d wanted them a little longer than the red plaid pair, so I added a squint to the seam allowances here and there. Silly me added the length in the wrong place! For some crazy reason, I added to the yoke/saddle, which makes the rise longer. I should have added to the upper pants leg where it meets the pleated leg panels (and probably a touch of length to those panels, too). *sigh* They’re still cute and they fit, even if I know they’re not quite right.

I’ve got quite a few ideas in mind for this pattern and can’t wait to make some more. I think I’ll even make a pair for one of my nieces, who’s a bit of a rock-and-roll princess.

I’ve had the Farbenmix Kim pants pattern forever but never got around to sewing it. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a ridiculous number of patterns and a “to sew” list that grows by the hour. Part of it may also had to do with the fact that I get twitchy about sewing pants with lots of parts. No particular reason why; I just do. And there are quite a few pieces to this pattern. Oh, but look how fabulous they are! The fabric is again from Joann’s (seriously, there is such cuteness there, I can’t stand it) and definitely a pants-appropriate weight. I don’t mind using quilting cotton for pants but I think it really is better to use a heavier weight fabric, especially for fall and winter.

These pants run slim, which is great for my girl. I do think I need to trim the rise just a touch. It’s a little full for my potty trained Miss L. But other than that, they’re awesome.

The shirt, on the other hand, is a mess and a half. It’s the Zoe raglan tee, also from Farbenmix, and I really should have trusted my instincts when I was working on it. I did lengthen the shirt about an inch and a half, which was the right decision. So why I didn’t cut the ribbing for the neckline differently is beyond me. (For the record, I sewed this top around the time when all of my sewing disasters were happening.) I followed the pattern instructions for the ribbing size and sewing, in spite of the fact that I *knew* the ribbing was too long for the neckline and that I always get better results serging the neckline in the round than in the flat. And that’s how I ended up with a strange funnel neck look to the shirt. Kind of makes you wonder why I didn’t rip it off, cut a new one and fix it, doesn’t it? I’ve got no answer. What I do know is that I’m going to remake the shirt before the weather changes so my daughter doesn’t have to wear that hot mess out of the house. (I think I’ll repurpose this one for a pair — or three — of the That Darn Kat panties. She can wear them under the pants.)

Please Pardon My Dust

I am attempting to fix the design issues with my blog. At any moment, I may give up and throw the old, messed up one back on. Thanks for your patience.

ETA: I’m done tinkering for the moment. If someone with IE could leave a comment or email me (mac at flourishes dot com) to let me know if thinks look OK or still look wonky, I’d appreciate it. 🙂

ETAA: Apparently the IE issue remains unsolved. Short of begging everyone to switch to a compatible browser (cough*cough*Firefox*cough*Safari), I’m at a loss. Any WordPress design experts wanna chime in? I changed all my pngs to jpgs and that’s still not changing things.

Signs Everywhere

The first part of my Independence Day was again spent in the middle of Atlanta, watching my son and 54,999 others take part in the annual Peachtree Road Race 10K. It’s really a great race to run, as well as watch. I have only participated twice; the distance and course are just a little more than my left knee can handle, so I’ve become a cheerleader instead.

That’s my boy up there on the left, after we met up at the post-race family area. He’s holding this year’s motivational sign. Yeah, we have kinda messed up senses of humor around here. The first year’s sign was “Run fast, Josh! Don’t embarrass your parents!” Last year’s read “Go, Josh! Run fast or walk home!” It’s quite entertaining to see his expression as he reads the sign while running past.

A sign of another kind really moved me. I read it and walked past, then walked back to ask if I could take her picture. Truly a priceless moment for me, the quiet inspiration of a total stranger.

* * * * * * *

We’ve been working on a tradition the past couple of years and spending July 4th with another family. It actually worked out this year that we did the race together (my friend T ran her first Peachtree while her hubby cheered on) before heading to their house for a cookout. It just so happens that T’s birthday falls around this time, so we also were able to celebrate the big day (31 — wooohoooo!). We got home from the race and I whipped up some potato salad and a cake to take with us.

T loves my cakes and I love making them. Unfortunately, I didn’t get started on her cake until about 90 minutes before we had to leave. And the results were … well, see for yourself:

My family has affectionately begun referring to this as “the earthquake cake.” I really made so many mistakes along the way that there’s not one single cause for what happened. If you’d like to avoid something similar, consider these points:

• It is possible for a cake to be too moist.

• Icing a slightly warm cake is never a good idea.

• Halving a ganache recipe only works if you actually measure all your ingredients instead of eyeballing them.

• A cake board underneath your assembled cake is a must when using ganache.

• Sticking a warm cake, freshly coated in warm ganache, in the freezer to harden a bit for transporting is not always the best idea — especially if there’s not a cake board underneath, because your ganache will harden and cling to your wire rack like concrete.

At some point in the not-so-distant past, a cooking disaster like this would have sent my OCD into overdrive and necessitated the disposal of said cake into the trash, never to be seen again. But I really didn’t want to disappoint my friend and I was pretty sure that, in spite of its appearance, it was going to taste just fine. Awesome, in fact.

After a good laugh and many jokes at my expense (especially after one whole section of the top layer stuck to the cake dome), everyone dug in to what turned out to be one of the best tasting cakes I’ve ever made. Not even crumbs were left.

Hot Mess

I’m on Honey’s laptop tonight and finally got a chance to see what my blog looks like in IE.

Oh. My. Bob. “Hot mess” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Y’all, I’m sooooooo sorry. As soon as I can get the last of these customs sewn and out the door, I’ll get this messed up. In the meantime, if you download Firefox, it will look much, much better in the interim.

And, of course, there’s always this: