Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Brief Floral Break - And the Sewing Assistant Jumps Ship Again

Wow.  Haven't gotten to the sewing machine, the knitting needles, the embroidery machine, paints, pencils, needles, thread, beads or anything else even vaguely resembling craftiness in the last two weeks.  At first it was the jet lag, which was really hard on me for some strange reason.  Then there was all the laundry to do, which I am still catching up on.  Then the husband decides that since he is off work until next Thursday, that he needs to tackle the lawn border and a new dividing wall in the back yard, which requires an extra body here along to help with the cement, the brick pavers, the grouting, the sprinklers, etc.  At the same time, he directs me to Ikea to buy new furniture for the family room, to be delivered and set up while he is still home.

There went my week.

My older son and two of his friends have been helping to *pack up tons of stuff (the printer, books, photos, dvds, videos, cds, more books, memorabilia, candles, candle holders, even more books....), take it to the garage, take out the old furniture (good-bye, antique buffet....sniff!....oh, wait - my next door neighbor wants it?  YAY!  I can still visit it from time to time!), separate out the delivered furniture boxes from Ikea, paint the family room walls, assemble the furniture, set it in place*, then start on the entertainment unit across the room (repeating from * to *, except for the antique part).

This should not happen during Holy Week.  My husband, never having attended church in his entire life except for our marriage and infrequently when the boys were small, does not understand why I need time off during this week to take care of things up at church.  So he plans big events like ripping apart the backyard and buying and building new furniture.  Or taking long trips (like to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon).  At least he enlisted the help of my son and his friends this go around, knowing that I've been just about forbidden by my doctor to do these back-wrecking activities.  I'm in charge of the floral ministry up at my church, and have been trying to "retire" from physically doing the large altar arrangements for at least a year now.  Unfortunately we have not been successful in our efforts to find another florist, so when I scheduled for this Easter season I still had to take a couple of arrangement dates myself.  This weekend was one of them.  Right in the middle of everything happening here at home.

Oh, joy.

Oh, well.

I love working with flowers and giving it up was just about as difficult as giving up working on the uniforms.  I just don't love carrying heavy containers of soaking Oasis, bending over to pick up flowers or insert them into the arrangement, and lugging all the buckets and garbage bags out to my car and the dumpster when I'm done.  It hurts a lot.  (Insert sad face here.)  Still, listening to the pastor micromanaging everyone else who was in the church, training them, making constant corrections, & expressing his dissatisfaction with whatever they happened to be doing (he tends to get pretty wound up before high feast days), I couldn't help but be thankful that the ministry that I do is pretty much isolated from everything around me.  I did expect him to hover over my shoulder eventually - he's done it every Easter & Christmas as long as I've been doing the arrangements for them - but was unprepared for his comments today.  He passed by, stopped, looked at what I was doing (here it comes, I thought), and said "Nice arrangement.  Really nice and full."  And continued on to the next group.  I think I was the only person in the church that escaped a verbal correction today, and that was a first.  Must be doing something right, I guess.

The arrangements I do for the altar are huge, cumbersome and time-consuming.  They often stand about as tall as me (a little over 5 feet high), and probably span around 3 to 4 feet in diameter at the base, depending on the style of the arrangement.  I have a couple other trained florists who do arrangements for the church as well (we only work during the Easter season, about 10 weeks total), and they each have their own unique approach.  But neither of them seem to be able to break out of the smaller size mode they typically work in.  The interior of the church is about three stories high above the altar, so it's important to balance the size of the sole arrangement that goes up there.  It usually takes around three hours, start to finish, to make one of these arrangements.  Usually I use the time to sort of meditate or pray while I'm doing it, but today that was impossible.  There were altar servers and lectors practicing for the vigil tonight, people changing out the environment decorations from the Good Friday ones to the Easter ones (this involves climbing up VERY tall ladders, I'm so glad I'm not on that committee), people preparing candles, bulletins, the baptismal font, the altar, and other things.  Busy sanctuary today.  So after listening to the constant micromanagement for about two hours, the pastor's comment to me really made my day.

Boom.  Big flowers.  The pastor told me once, "If it ain't big, don't bother doing it!"

Spider poms.  

Callas at the top.  I had to order these; we usually cut and use the ones on the church property, as the pastor had them planted for that purpose.  This year's crop was terribly thin and short, though, so I had to spend the extra money on these for the height.

Lilies and China Mums.  Wish they'd had more of them, but I got the last bunch of ten.  
So even though I couldn't get to any of my own craftiness, it was nice to be able to put these together and have them so well received.

Not looking forward to pulling them out later in the week, though...I wish we had some kind of wagon to tow the finished bouquet to the dumpster (it really is incredibly heavy with all the water in the oasis).

On the homefront, the Sewing Assistant has decided to become the Building Inspector. seem to have missed one of the screws, here.

Whaddya mean, this isn't going to be a kitteh condo?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Came All This Way....To Sew Uniforms?

LOL!  It's the job that never ends!  REALLY!

I'll bet you missed me, didn't ya?  I've been on the road since Wednesday with my son and the Fountain Valley High School percussion unit, in Dayton, Ohio for the WGI Percussion World Championships.  We just got home about five hours ago and boy, what a ride!  Our students won the bronze medal in their division and brought home a humorously large and heavy wooden trophy (don't pay any attention to me whatsoever - it was actually a stunning trophy) to show off a little.

Okay, a lot.

I don't know how much I've mentioned this in the blog before, but I've been working on the uniforms for FVRR (the Fountain Valley Royal Regiment) for years, and it is one of the most rewarding volunteer sewing jobs I've ever done.  The kids are awesome, and no matter their personal differences or difficulties, they always seem to pull together and get the job done as a team.  It's been a real honor to have worked with them all this time and I have no regrets.  My doctor does, however, since I've developed arthritis in my spine.  She put her foot down recently and told me NO MORE UNIFORMS.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. 

I've gotten to work up some really fun goodies over the years, in addition to fitting, hemming, cleaning and repairing approximately 125+ uniforms a year.  (Oh, don't look so shocked.  You could do it too, if you had as handy a squad of volunteers as I've had.)

Fancy drum major cuffs I worked up for Fall 2009's Silk Road show.  Incidentally, that's my older son playing the flute solo there.  

Extreme close-up of the hand-painted drum major cuffs I designed and painted for the 2009 Silk Road show.  I was originally going to do cutting and piecing of all that black, there.  I even bought the laminated black fabric.  I just wimped out, thinking of all the ways that piecing could go horribly wrong in a short amount of time.

The Fantastic Color-Change Baldrics for the Fall 2007 Fusion show.  Some day remind me to tell you about all the work that went into planning, designing, engineering, and production of 110 of these presto-change-o beauties.

Preferably after I've had about three glasses of good wine.

Fast-forward to this spring, when the percussion unit goes into gear for their spring season (culminating in the aforementioned Dayton trip).  Here I am, sad that I'm not going to be working on band uniforms for too much longer...but since he's in spring percussion, I can still do measurements for them, right?  Uniforms sight unseen?  You betcha.  I measure.  They order.  We wait.  And wait.  And they perform the first two competitions in t-shirts and jeans.

Sigh.  What can you do?

The uniforms arrive.  They are snazzy.  They are edgy.  They are dark.  They fit the theme of the show.  THEY ALL FIT.  (That was a first -  score!)  The kids are totally stoked.  They start planning how they are going to up the ante.  The girls start doing wild hairstyles and striking make-up.  Eventually, at least three other percussion groups on the circuit copy the new hairstyle.  (Bet our girls didn't know they were such trend-setters.)  The makeup & wild hair overflows to the boys as well, though not quite so prominent.  Confidence and scores go up.  Audience reaction improves.

My younger son.  You gotta picture him looking up like this with all kinds of black kohl eyeliner underneath and black streaks all over his face.  The whites of his eyes stood out and a few parents were a little freaked out by it during warm-ups.  It was awesome.

I would be one of those parents, by the way. 

And then, the darn uniforms start to have problems.  We'd already repaired at least six of them before we left town last week.  Buckles in awkward spots.  Exposed zipper teeth that were cutting the arm of one of the lead cymbal players.  Hems that were too long.  And one pair of pants for a snare player that had paper "fabric" over the knee, that kept ripping through the stitches as he did his lunges & squats in the program.  If it weren't ridiculous enough to have PAPER FABRIC on uniforms (this rendered them pretty much unwashable), it was utterly ludicrous to put it over a major stress joint.  I think altogether I sewed that patch back on about six times.  And here we are in Dayton, and after hand-tacking the blasted thing right before prelims, he comes up to me again after the show with the fabric dangling around his knee.

So I pulled out my secret weapon.

My phone.

My brother and his wife & family live in the Dayton area, so after prelims are done and the instructors take the students to a local laser tag place to burn off some extra energy, I call my brother.  "Hey, does your wife have a sewing machine?  Can you come pick me up & take me to your house so I can do some repairs on some uniforms?"  Talk about intrusive.  My brother, however, was more than willing to make the extra half-mile trip (the laser place was right down the street from his house, as it turns out), and soon I was winging my way to his house to tend to things.  I also brought two jackets that were sadly in need of a haircut.  Apparently someone at the design house thought it would be a gas to put cheaply "embroidered" stretch fabric  on the long sleeves of every member who leaned on or rubbed against anything.  The thread "beards" were about two inches long.  I'd already done two jackets at the arena, and here were two more.  Ever the welcoming hosts in spite of the late hour, my brother and his wife looked bemusedly on and kept me company as I repaired the pants knee for what I insisted on being the last time.  I wish I'd taken a photo of the stitching, because it made all the parents laugh when I brought it back later on.  I zigged up and down, up and down, up and down until the whole stupid thing was like some weird fabric incarnation of Frankenstein's monster.  And then I got to the shearing of the black lambs.  At about 11 pm I needed to get back to the group - I said my thanks and my good-byes to my brother & family, wishing that we could have spent better quality time together.  And then it hit me.  I couldn't believe I'd traveled all that way only to end up doing the very same thing that I've been doing for years here at home.

Some things were just meant to be, I guess.  And it was totally worth every moment of it.  I can't help wondering, though....what would it have been like if they had arrived before the season started?

Our World Championship bronze medal winners!  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Last Minute Sewing and The Sewing Assistant Turns One

It's been a wild ride - Son #2 performs and competes with his high school's percussion ensemble.  This weekend they competed in the finals of the SCPA and placed second in their division.  A couple of weeks ago they competed in the Western Regionals for WGI and also placed second in their division.  It's an exciting show to watch, and ALL of the performers from every group gave it their all - and now it's time to go to the World Championships in Dayton Ohio!

I know, I know.  Everyone's saying the same thing.  You'd figure the WORLD championships would be located in some place more......well, to quote the Mad Hatter from the recent Alice In Wonderland movie...."much more....MUCH-IER."
"You've lost your much-ness!"

No offense to the good people from Dayton.  It's just that you'd expect it to be held in a more cosmopolitan area (like New York or Los Angeles or San Fransisco), or an exotic locale (let's say, Hawaii).  But no, Dayton Ohio it is.  (No complaints.  I have family there I'm looking very much forward to seeing.)  And we are leaving tomorrow morning at 7 am.  So the past week has been a whirlwind of uniform repair work, loading, driving, pushing equipment around, competition, packing the semi (the drivers left right after the show on Saturday - they've already had to face highway closures and snow), shopping for last minute items and a carry-on bag for me (I can't lift much anymore and needed a decent overhead compartment size rolling bag).  One that matches the new backpack.

Now that the finals comp and all the shopping is done, I'm just doing some last minute things like laundry, mending, and - finally - finishing those pajama pants so Son #2 isn't wearing floodwater pj's in front of his roommates.  So Son #1 got wind of this and is asking for his at the same time.  My fault, actually; they've been waiting patiently for these since Christmas so I need to get off my duff and finish them off.

The pj's, not the boys.

I'd post an "after" shot, except I doubt seriously if either of the boys would submit to being photographed in their pajamas.  I believe that ship sailed long ago.

So in lieu of posting a photo of today's sewing work, I invite you instead to help celebrate the first birthday of the Sewing Assistant.  He is the first pet I've had that I actually have a birth date for (April 10th), so we wanted to celebrate in style.  Only, the weekend was taken up with all the competition hubbub.  Sorry, Neko!  We gave him lots of kitty treats and there was a rumor about putting a candle into a can of tuna (with cheese sprinkles on top), but we figured he's fat enough without adding that much more food to his diet.

You can see why we're concerned about the impact of the can of tuna.  With cheese on top.

Still, he's usually a pretty capable assistant, and I'm very grateful for his company and his incredible sense of comic timing, so to celebrate I thought I'd post a shot of the Birthday Boy:

Happy First Birthday, Neko-Basu!
Yikes - I think he needs a new collar for his birthday, don't you?

I'm leaving him in charge while we're away in Dayton.  If you have any sewing work that needs to be done or need to schedule some embroidery projects, please contact the Assistant and he'll be happy to sleep on it.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Mom Must Be Crazy

It's after midnight.  I have to drive nearly 100 miles tomorrow morning to the competition, stay until after 9:30 pm, then drive nearly 100 miles home again.  And here I am blogging about the backpack/purse I just finished.

Working with the upholstery/home dec fabrics was harder than I thought - once you get to the back of the backpack and are working through the lining, the outer fabric, the straps (which are upholstery weight and interfaced, doubled, then topstitched), the flap (doubled & interfaced as well), and the casing, you're talking about at least eleven layers of fabric & interfacing that you have to top stitch through.  My Viking, it doth protest.     But it managed it all, somehow.  Even though I had to stitch, then rip out, then stitch....and repeat.

Working on the flap, with all of its trims & tassels.  I thought this was going to be the hardest part.  I was wrong.

The most difficult part?  Stitching the straps for the back.  Between the instructions on the internet (see previous post), the MUCH thicker fabric I decided to use, and the different set of sliders that was all I could find at Joann's, things got so confusing that I just about needed to be committed.  Heck, I was going to volunteer at one point.  Turning those straps took TWO HOURS.

My "MOM" tattoo.  Just in case someone forgets who I am.  

A close-up of the flap.  I'm not entirely convinced that this fringe belongs here, but since it's sewn in pretty kind of obscures the pocket below it, and that has a really nice trim on it that is almost invisible now.  

Love the casing idea, even though it means the cord (THE cord, for those of you who read my post yesterday) hangs out.  This was far easier than trying to set grommets through upholstery fabric, I'm sure.  

A simple inside pocket.  Don't ask why the lining is sitting in this weird way.
After sewing the lining and attaching it to the bag, you were supposed to turn the entire thing right-side out through a four inch opening in the lining.  

L.     O.     L.     It was roughly akin to giving birth. 

Strangely enough, I'd like to make another one.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Can It Get Any Better Than This?

Wow.  Just.......WOW.

Combination of machine embroidery and hand-painted, inked, stitched, dyed, woven and framed artwork.  

Simply stunning.  Now, where are my art supplies?

Another Jacket - and More Delays

I must have an invisible sign around my neck.  One that can only be read by desperate people wanting information just when I'm in my biggest hurry.  Yesterday I was laughing because I went to two (two!) fabric stores, and yet forgot to get the drawstring I needed to put in the top of my backpack-in-progress.  So this morning I decided that since I needed to get up early to take Son #2 to his progress meeting with the independent study teacher, I would use my time wisely and start sewing early, after stopping on the way home to get the drawstring.

Today had other plans for me, though.

The morning went something like this:
The Sewing Assistant figured since I was getting an early start, that he would get an even EARLIER start.  Just so, you know, he wouldn't starve to death somewhere along the line.  Which meant pouncing around the room and grumbling and complaining and crying and jumping and scratching and OK, I'M GETTING UP TO FEED YOU NOW.  Then back to bed, since it was still o'dark-thirty.  Then Son #2 surprised me by getting up before I did (the second time, anyway) - and he had another headache.  Sigh.  He hadn't gotten any sleep last night at all, which almost always is a recipe for a migraine.  Only we'll be traveling to Ohio next week, then the week after will be spring break, so he couldn't miss his appointment with his teacher this morning.  I felt lousy making him go through the motions, knowing he wasn't really in good enough shape should he need to take a test or something, but I had to make him go.  I dropped him off, figuring that he'd be taking at least two tests since he is working on two subjects now - so I headed toward home and the fabric store.  Halfway to the house I get a phone call from Son #2, saying he was ready to come home now and could I come pick him up?


U-Turn.  Back to the high school.  Pick him up.  He's still feeling lousy so I need to get him settled and let him sleep at least a little bit before his rehearsal at 2 pm.  Son #1 comes in from walking Girlfriend to school and asks for a wake-up call at around 10:30 or 11:00.  (Do I LOOK like an alarm clock?)  Husband announces that we can't go to Home Depot to get vegetables to put into the garden before I leave for Ohio, since he needs to tear out all the sprinklers he just installed in said garden, as the water pressure isn't working right and he needs to re-pipe everything.


Then husband announces that we need to go to Ikea to get something he wants to put together while I'm gone.  He can't face that warehouse alone, and I don't want the hassle of having to return confused parts, so I go with him.  We get the Ikea stuff, then head home.  I go give Son #1 his first wake-up call and check on Son #2.  He's still miserable so I get him something to drink and let him go back to sleep.  Then give Son #1 another wake-up call.  Then I go to the fabric store.  I wander through the aisles and pick up a trim that I think will look perfect on the pocket of my backpack and am about to look for the cording, when suddenly a woman standing next to me asks me if she can ask me a question about some fabric she's looking at.  She was Asian with a strong accent, so the conversation was a bit like a ping-pong match.  We look at the fabric and I tell her my opinion about whether it matches the trim she's picked out, yada-yada-yada...then she's showing me photos on her phone of the qipao/ (cheongsam) / ao dai dresses she wants to make - similar to these:
A little more "wow" than what she sews, but you get the picture.

Now, what the heck do I know about traditional Buddhist Temple wear?  Nothing.  She explains that she makes her own and wears them to the temple, and other women want to know if she can make something similar to it for them, but she's overwhelmed trying to make decisions about fabric & trims for someone else.  I'm impressed, so I walk through the store with her while she is showing me fabrics and trims that she has already gotten, and is asking would this go with this?  Or this?  Or should I do this instead?  And asking me what types of clothing that I make (which makes me want to crawl into a hole, really).  As we're making our way through the aisles, she gets her cart stuck and we have to back out of that one aisle and take the next one.  After about 10 more minutes of fabric comparison, she suddenly realizes that the 5 yards of white brocade she was showing me is now missing from her cart.  We're in a discount fabric store, where piles of fabric tend to wander about while people are trying to make up their minds (they have a lot of flat-fold fabrics) - so she starts to panic and thinks maybe someone found it and might want to try to buy it from the store.  After some frantic searching (and what would have been a humorous and confusing verbal exchange between the Vietnamese customer and the Czech women who work in the store, had 5 yards of expensive brocade not been the subject in question) and several retracings of our paths through the store, a few other customers start looking around as well.  Everyone there is feeling her distress, since she'd already purchased the fabric and it seemingly went "poof."  Some of us are on our hands and knees at this point, looking underneath the fabric bolt tables, and hunting between bolts in case it had slipped behind a few of them.  Searching, searching, searching, and she's getting more distressed by the minute.  Suddenly I got a mental image of her getting stuck in that aisle, and had an "a-ha" moment.  I went to the aisle where she'd had to do the five-point turn with her cart, and sure enough, there was the fabric - the wall of velvet had yanked it out of her bag and it was in a heap on the floor under the bolts.  I return it to her, everyone is happy, I pay for my trim and give her my business card (she wanted to take me to her favorite garment district store next time she goes), she pays for her buttons & notions, and we leave.

I go home.  I pull up in my driveway, and realize that in all the commotion, I forgot to get the drawstring cord I went to the store to get in the first place.


The rest of the day:  I wake up Son #2 at about 12:30.  He eats lunch (a little).  I drop him off around 2 pm at percussion rehearsal.  I go in to pick up the four uniforms that have sewing issues and run into another percussion mom.  We get to chatting.  An hour later, I get home.  And realize that I forgot to stop by the fabric store to get the cord again.


Back I go.  This time, I get the cord and the clerk is looking very strangely at me, knowing I'd just been there a couple of hours earlier and in the middle of the fabric search.  I figure it's more trouble to explain it all than to just smile and buy the cord.

4 pm.  Back home.  Son #2 really, really wants his new jacket embroidered before we go to Dayton, so I decide to set that up first, then start the backpack after that.  I hoop the jacket.  I send the embroidery file to the machine.  I wind the bobbin and thread the machine with the grey he picked out.  I insert the hoop and oddly enough, the needle isn't centered where the design template shows it should be.  URGH.  I realize that I've hooped the jacket incorrectly and take it apart again.  Hoop it again.  Bring it to the machine.  FINALLY sit down to sew and the phone rings.  Practice is done early, can I come get him?


6:00 pm, I'm on my way back to the school.  I get a text that says someone brought pizza, so Son #2 will be out after awhile.  I'm sitting in the car in the parking lot, cleaning the inside of the windows, because I'll be darned if I'm going to go home again.  6:30, he finally shows up and we go home.  He's already eaten, so I stuff something in my mouth and get started working on the project again.  Only it's another hour and a half before I actually get it started, and I have NO idea where all the time went.  It finally starts stitching out at 9 pm.  Finishes at about 10 pm.  I take it out and clip the basting stitches, cut the excess stabilizer, shake it out, and realize that I'd.  Hooped.  It.  Too.  Low.

Looks great in this shot.  Once he put it on, though,  the hood rises up and the embroidery looks really misplaced.


He says it's okay for now, but maybe we can fill in at the top with some more embroidery when we get back from Dayton.

At this point, I may just hide somewhere while I'm there, and start a new identity.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Backpack Bee - Part 2

Someone needs to stop me before I go to the fabric store, go through my fabric stash, and go through my reference books & magazines.  I think I must have changed my design for my backpack at least four or five times during the day.  Sometimes I asked son #2 for his input (which he is really reluctant to give, probably for fear of my design defensiveness, LOL); sometimes the Sewing Assistant put his two cents (and paws) in, whether I asked him to or not.  My biggest problem was that last night I had set aside the fabrics that I had planned to use, and started embroidering the flap.

The lurvely tattoo embroidery from Urban Threads, up on my machine's onboard computer screen.  Yes, that's right.  My sewing machine is smarter than me.

The embroidery starting to stitch out.  At Warp Speed. 

The Sewing Assistant decided he didn't particularly like having the embroidery thread  lined up in stitching order and set about stuffing it underneath the machine bed and launching some off the worktable.  Also at Warp Speed. 

After removing the Sewing Assistant and hunting down all the spools of thread, the embroidering could resume.
I finished up the embroidery last night and packed everything together to work on cutting out the backpack parts in the morning.  Only when I picked up where I left off.....I realized I needed the little sliders for the straps so I headed to Joanns Fabrics.  In the daylight I had decided that I didn't like the fabric I'd picked for the main body, so while I was at Joanns, I poked my way through the red tag clearance stuff, looking for home dec weight fabric that would go with the colors of the embroidery a bit better.  (Note to self:  in the future, choose the fabric FIRST.  Then choose the embroidery thread to match the fabric.  Duh.)  Not seeing any that would fit the bill, I bought the sliders, some cord stops, and Stampington's Haute Handbags:

Too many ideas!   Too little time!   AAAUUUUGGGHHHHHH!

I then came home and decided to go through my fabric stash - again - to see if I had something that would pick up the embroidery colors better.

Three hours later......

This is about the fourteenth incarnation!
So now I have cut out all the parts except for the interfacing and the lining.  I have to do a bit of finessing on the upper flap portion; that embroidery is so small in comparison to the rest of the bag it would have gotten lost.  I'm planning to frame it up with that home dec trim you can see in the upper part of the photo - that will all have to be done prior to working on the rest of the bag.  

Good thing I took a photo of how I wanted to put this all together, because - no big surprise -

But I kan helpz!  I kan press out all the wrinklees!  See?

Kitteh don' like dis trimz!  You shud pick anudder one!

Is too long?  I iz helping cutz off this end!  

At this rate, I should get the backpack done by about the year 2014.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Current Bee in My Bonnet

Every once in awhile, I get the proverbial bee in my bonnet.  There's something I need.  There's something I broke or lost.  There's something I want to try.

I've been shlepping around for the last five years while doing various band projects and assisting at games & competitions (you'd be amazed at how many sewing issues come up at these things), and the entire time I've wished I had a small-ish backpack to take during games, comps and night rehearsals.  You see, I end up pushing around a lot of equipment while I'm there, since son #2 is in the percussion section - the front ensemble, to be exact.  He plays mallet instruments and has been known to play as many as five of them during a show: xylophone, glock (they call them "bells"), crotales, djembe drum and the sampler.  Which means that when he pushes onto the field or floor during a timed competition, he needs some "handlers" - parents who are designated to get some of his instruments there in a timely, orderly fashion.

Well, we usually get it right.  They've only been given one penalty so far this spring season for taking too long to set up.

What I really hate is pushing in something large, like the crotales.  Not because it's large, not because it's unwieldy.  Because my stupid purse keeps sliding off my shoulder and dangling off my wrist and banging around when I'm supposed to be concentrating on getting his instrument to the right spot in the right order ON TIME.   We often have to traverse parking lots, football fields, sidewalks, streets, gymnasiums and arenas, and sometimes have to do it in an awful hurry.

So ask me why I haven't corrected this problem sooner.  I kept meaning to, but I couldn't bring myself to buy one when I knew I could make one, and there was always something more important to worry about so I figured I'd get to it "later."  Only "later" never got here.  Until now.

We're gearing up for SCPA championships this Saturday in San Bernardino, CA and will be leaving shortly afterwards (Tuesday) to go to WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.  Which means two things:  I will have to fly with a more compact set of carry-ons (we're loading the semi on Saturday with any suitcases we might need for the trip), and I really need a small backpack type bag so that it goes over both shoulders AND STOPS SLIPPING OFF MY SHOULDER AND BANGING AROUND MY KNEES while I'm pushing an instrument.  Not to mention one that gets me through airport security.

So with that in mind, here we go- I went hunting around the internet for easy instructions on making a simple, small sized backpack and I found this:

Looks simple enough.  Lord knows I have enough spare material around.  I could make it in a snap, I'm sure. But, no - I have to have a discussion with my creative muse and decide that I need to make it a bit more outstanding.



Craft-a-licious embroidery from

Half the kids in the band call me "mom" anyway.  Might as well brand myself.  

So today's part of the backpack?  The embroidery, and selecting and combining interesting fabrics from my stash to coordinate.  

Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh......

Let the crafting begin!