Wife, Chicken Mommy, eBay Seller and Walking DIY Disaster

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I like to read and I like to sew. Some of my favorite books are sewing books, especially vintage ones. So when I saw that Amy Barickman used themes from one of her favorite sewing influences, Mary Brooks Picken,  in her new book The Magic Pattern Book, I was intrigued.


Part of the reason I love old sewing books is the wealth of knowledge they contain. For some, flipping through an old book is torture. For me it’s another piece of history to absorb and identify with. The Magic Pattern Book takes the enthusiasm of my favorite vintage sewing books and combines modern looks and updated tools.


Hunting for patterns that extend to my size (BIG) that also flatter my shape (lots of curves, some in the wrong places) is often so frustrating that I end up trying to make my own pattern. While I have access to the tools to draft my own patterns, I’m also impatient. Sometimes a girl just wants to find a pattern that doesn’t require much tweaking. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Amy Barickman’s latest offering includes measurements up to XXL. Be still my heart!

While my love for all things vintage is vast, it always nice to have my modern conveniences. I love the CD included with the book for printing pattern pieces. What’s especially great is that I can isolate the size I need without having to ruin pattern pieces of other sizes. This is definitely an improvement over the tissue patterns of the past. It’s much harder for me to destroy a printed page than tissue paper, that’s for sure.


Here’s the part where I admit defeat: I didn’t sew anything from the book yet. A long scheduled vacation took me out of town in the days between receiving my copy of the book and a post-vacation case of the creeping crud has knocked me flat. However, I have read and enjoyed the upbeat and encouraging tone throughout the book.

I absolutely love the fabric swatch ideas posted for each pattern! Sometimes having an extra idea or two can bring me out of a rut. A fabric I may never have considered (a thrifted wool blanket as material for a coat!) took my imagination places it could not have gone on its own. Thrifting is one of my biggest hobbies, so seeing suggestions for upcycling fabric won me over completely.


I really think The Magic Pattern Book is a must have. Each time I go back to a section, I find something I didn’t notice before. The language is easy to understand, the tips and tools explanations are a great refresher for even experienced sewists, and the patterns themselves are classic styles that are easily manipulated for individuality.

Check out the rest of blog tour (links below) and don’t forget to enter to win your very own copy!


October 6            AMYBARICKMAN.COM
October 7            WINDY LOU

October 8            MELLY SEWS

October 9            CRAFT GOSSIP

October 10          SEW MAMA SEW

October 13          ADVENTURES OF A DIY MOM

October 14          LILACS & LACE

October 15          FOUR SQUARE WALLS

October 16          PINK CHALK STUDIO


October 20          CUT OUT & KEEP

October 21          HE SOWED, SHE SEWED

October 22          CHIC STEALS

October 23          THREADS

October 24          INDYGO JUNCTION



<a id=”rc-d2b2ee6e8″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d2b2ee6e8/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Thanks for entering! The winner has been contacted.

This is an sponsored post. I was provided a copy of The Magic Pattern Book to review and keep. All opinions and photographs and mistakes are my own. 

Photographs include fabric by Cotton & Steel, Creative Grids rulers and  Flatter by Soak

It’s summer y’all. That means I’d rather be outside playing in the garden, running around just to be outside or otherwise occupied. That makes me a shittier than normal blogger!

But look! Pictures! of cats! and kids!

I went to Memphis. There were kittens.



There were nieces! and Monkey! The museum wore us out. It also was apparently not exciting enough.


IMG_2793We found the bees at the zoo


We took the requisite posed pictures at the weird holes in the walls at the zoo. Mostly though, we just played with kittens. How could we not?



I’ve been hanging on to this SpareOne emergency phone trying to figure out how to review a product that I hope I never have to use. This week with all the tragedy surrounding the Oklahoma tornado damage is a great time to think about emergency preparedness. I grew up in a household that planned for emergencies. We had backpacks under our beds with clothing, non-perishable food and water and basic first aid kits. We also stored extra food and water in case of hard times (which we ended up using during a time my dad was out of work for a year) and we gardened to have healthy foods to store.

As I think about how my life and technology have changed over the years, I am happy that I have kept the habit of preparing for the future. In my own home, I store extra supplies, water, food and keep a store of first aid supplies. Now, I also keep a SpareOne emergency phone. It’s quite a neat idea – a battery operated phone whose battery lasts for 15 years. The packaging is waterproof, floats and the phone is operable through the bag. Knowing that we are covered for emergency phone calls in the event of a disaster is a great feeling. Although we all have cell phones, having a waterproof, cold temperature proof phone offers more peace of mind.



Yesterday, I was contacted with a special offer in relation to SpareOne and the Oklahoma disaster. Right now at SpareOne.com you can buy a SpareOne emergency phone at a discount and an additional phone will be donated to people in tornado stricken areas. Anyone using the code BUYGIVE04 will receive a $20 discount on each phone purchased, a SpareOne phone will be donated and SpareOne will track buyers coming from WindyLou.com!

This is a small way to help the recent Oklahoma tornado victims and first responders, and at the same time, prepare your own family.


DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a SpareOne phone for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review/article and all opinions are my own and honest. This review is provided as part of my relationship with itsaglamthing.com

A while back I reviewed and gave away an awesome household cleaner: J.A.W.S. The Just Add Water System is cool because the products are environmentally friendly AND the packaging is minimal. The best part is the little refill holder attached to the bottle – it doesn’t get lost in the dark corners of a drawer or cabinet.

Since we tried the sprays indoors this time I tried the degreaser/cleaner on a REALLY grubby project. I’m renting a booth space in a boutique mall, which has sent me hither an yon trying to find all sorts of displays and shelving. I found a darling chippy old cabinet, but man o man was it dirty. Armed with my JAWS I decided to see if it would work on the crusty cabinet.

I’ll let the picture give my answer:

IMG_1894 IMG_1895

Y’all that is years of who know what all caked on. I didn’t photograph the whole cleaning sesh, but needless to say I’m an even bigger fan of my JAWS now.

Here’s the skinny on a few sales at a couple of stores: BOGO sale on JAWS cleaners April 14-27 at Busch’s and April 8-21 at Hiller’s (www.Jawscleans.com). It’s normally $4.99 a bottle at each store (with one refill included). The sale is a BOGO at each store, so it’s $2.49 a bottle with the included refill. The sale is on the JAWS Glass and Hard Surface Cleaner; JAWS Multi-Purpose Cleaner/Degreaser; Bathroom Cleaner/Deodorizer; and Disinfectant Cleaner Degreaser.


I’m also giving away another full line of cleaners valued at $20!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*HAPPY HAPPY UPDATE: The Germantown has changed their membership policies effective immediately!  All families are now included! *


I’m really angry this morning. I’ve been angry all night actually. A high school friend that I keep up with on facebook has been denied a GYM MEMBERSHIP because he, his partner and their children are not a “family” as defined by the membership application at Germantown Athletic Club (at least partially funded by taxpayer money.) Is this REALLY happening in 2013? I know lots of people who are not on board with gay marriage and legal status. Whatever. But a GYM MEMBERSHIP? Does. Not. Compute.

The worst of it is that the personnel informed my friend that they didn’t qualify for a family membership IN FRONT OF HIS CHILDREN. What a disgrace.

Last night Adam posted his frustration, offense and sadness on facebook. Many people have begun to cause a fuss on Germantown Athletic Club’s facebook page. Now the club wants to keep this quiet. What the WHAT?!?

Talk about a stupid move. Now I feel like shouting it from the rooftops that discrimination is alive and well in Germantown, TN. In addition, when I shared this information on my own facebook page, a different friend informed me that Bartlett Rec HAS THE SAME POLICY. What is wrong with people?

Please let the Germantown Athletic Club know how offensive and discriminatory their PRINTED policy on family is.

From the website
Family memberships are defined as husband, wife and children 18 years or younger for which they have custody. Additionally, full-time college students who are 24 years of age and younger may be added to a family or a couple membership at $25 per child. Verification of full-time college enrollment is required.

Samantha Boyd, Membership Sales Advisor at 901-757-7372 or sboyd@germantown-tn.gov.


Twitter: @GtownAthClub 



I’ve all but given up my music photography since moving to Michigan. Luckily, I find shows here and there where I can drag my big camera (Canon Rebel) along. Most often lately, I only use my phone camera (iPhone 4S) because it’s so damn handy. When we were on vacation in November I took my big camera to the Norton Records wash- a -thon, but I chickened out at the last minute what with all the water and cleanser and fragile vinyl lying around.

In a fun turn of events my friend Twinkle needed some photos for a story she was doing on Norton and I was able to send her a few! It’s been a good while since I’ve had a photo published so I was happy to help!

Check out her story

You can find Twinkle here

and Norton Records here. Norton still needs lots of help. If any of you record lovers feel so inclined, I’m sure they can use some monetary help in addition to the volunteers needed for clean up efforts.


I’ve been sitting here staring at this empty text window for oh, about 10 minutes now. Nothing is coming to me. Is that writer’s block? Can you get writer’s block if you don’t feel qualified to call yourself a writer?

There are a million things I should be doing right now and none appeal. We have no Christmas tree up, no lights, my desk clutter is threatening to swallow me whole. Our DIY flooring project is on hold until payday. My brain wants us to do a pre-holiday clean up and organization of the house, but I can’t bring myself to get started. All I really want to do is go get my next tattoo, but that is on hold until payday as well. Does this happen to everyone? Do you get stuck in a thinking rut of all the stuff you have to accomplish but focus on the most inappropriate thing because everything else seems so out of reach?

I need a jump start. Some kind of kick in the pants to get me moving in the right direction. Maybe I just need my tattoo.


Congratulations to Candace!

Ok, admit it. When you see the word JAWS you think of the shark movie and you immediately hear the dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun music in your head, right? No need to fear, this awesome cleaning system is not gonna bite. I had the opportunity to test out the full JAWS (Just Add Water System) line of non-toxic cleaners in my home over the last few weeks.

First off, I love the minimal packaging. It’s a thing with me. I hate to make extra garbage if I can help it. Now I can finally feel better about buying household cleaners. The Just Add Water System is pretty cool. Each spray bottle can easily be reused because JAWS utilizes a cartridge system. And, when I say easy, I mean I handed the kids each a bottle and cartridge and said “See if you can figure out how this works.” Within a few seconds they read the instructions on the bottle and popped in the cleaning solution cartridge with no help or prompting for me. If they hadn’t been headed to their mom’s house, I would have had them test out cleaning the bathroom! Bwahahahahaha.

The bottles I tried out had an awesome cartridge holder attached to the side of the bottle. Can I get an amen? My OCD loves that the refills are stored ON THE BOTTLE! You always know how many you have. No excuses of “I can’t find the refill!” Having the refill on the bottle also means I don’t have to come up with extra space to store the refill cartridges.

And the best thing? JAWS cleaner actually works. It’s all well and good to have a fun new gadget to try, but if it doesn’t work it ends up as a dust catcher. The degreaser degreases, the bathroom cleaner de-grimes, the all purpose cleaner removed kitty paw prints from my windows. I’m sold.

Now for the good news: JAWS is BOGO at all area Hiller’s stores, from Nov. 12-25. (www.Jawscleans.com).The cleaner line is regularly $4.99 a bottle (with one refill included).

Wanna try before you buy? Enter to win a set of JAWS cleaning products

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find JAWS online, on Twitter and Facebook and in local stores like Hiller’s, Busch’s and BedBathandBeyond

It must be said: JAWS graciously provided me with a full line and refills of their awesome cleaning system. I was not paid for my opinion. Giveaway prize is provided by JAWS. All honest opinions and corny jokes are my own.

For the last several years the Millionaire has traveled on company business over the Thanksgiving holiday. He has been asked to be on-site on Black Friday and Cyber Monday at a client near Philadelphia. This means that he travels on Thanksgiving Day. His company has been flexible enough to allow him to drive on the years the kids are with us so that we can spend the holiday together without having to pay for airfare for 3 extra people. Our traditions are pretty low-key in general and as long as we are all together, it’s actually fun for us to travel. We love that we can eat our Thanksgiving meal at a nice restaurant. The kids especially love that they don’t have to clean up! We ALL love seeing a bigger city and experiencing new adventures in a far away place.

While the Millionaire works on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the rest of the family gets to have a mini vacation! For some time now the Millionaire and I have had those grown-up, serious money talks about how and if we would be able to swing the trip this year. We worried and stewed, cussed and discussed, and planned how we would make it work out. Our budget is going to be a lot smaller than we are used to on vacations, but every penny we have to spend this year came from eBay sales. Money has been pretty tight this year and I am so very thankful to be able to say that my eBay sales will enable the kids and I to have spending money for our trip.

And that makes me happy cry. eBay has saved our bacon on so many occasions I have lost count. Knowing that we have a back-up funding source, sporadic though it can be at times, gives me immeasurable peace of mind. As a woman who wants to help provide for our little family but who also values being available to the kids, I feel like finding eBay as an income stream was a wonderful gift. The fact that I don’t have to choose between staying at home and working lifts an incredible burden off my shoulders. So, as silly as it might sound to some people, one of the things I’m most thankful for this year is eBay.

My Chicken Babies with artist Isaiah Zagar at his Philadelphia  Magic Gardens, Nov 2010


This post was written as part of my relationship with eBay, however my  gratitude is real and immense.

 eBay has been a life-saver for our family.

Being at home all day every day sometimes I forget what day it is. It’s one of the best and worst things about working from home. The chilly weather is really setting in and that means all I want to do is stay snuggled under the covers with kitty cats piled all around me. Is that bad? I don’t think so. I meet my deadlines. The house is clean, the litter gets scooped, the laundry gets done. Dinner gets on the table and the kids are straight A students.

Really though, what day is it?

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