Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tutorial: Hand-stitched dinner napkins

I've been itching to put together a tutorial for a while, but my problem is that I make up almost none of the projects that I do. Mostly I just steal other people's ideas.

This idea I at least came up with independently, though it's simple enough I'm sure it's been done many times before. I've decided it's time to step into grown-up land with some real napkins. Setting a wash cloth at each place setting gets me weird looks from dinner guests, and I refuse to buy anything paper napkin/towel-like. I was able to finish 20 of these before my interest waned, which should see us through even our larger BBQs this summer.

So here is my first (ridiculously common sense) tutorial:


~ 1 thrifted cotton bedsheet
~ Needle
~ Cotton thread
~ Pins
~ Pizza box lid (approximately 12" x 12")
~ Scissors

1. Using the pizza box lid as a template, cut out as many squares from the sheet as you'd like napkins.

2. Fold each napkin edge over twice, pinning the hem in place.

3. Hand stitch around the hem in a simple running stitch. Don't back-stitch (that makes it ugly), just make your stitches as tiny as possible to keep the hem strong. I put extra stitches in each corner to reinforce them.

4. Admire your handiwork. Then read this article and congratulate yourself for being all Continental.

My grandmother hassled me a bit for doing these by hand, and said she couldn't see why anyone would prefer hand-stitching to whipping them out on the machine. It's true the machine is definitely faster, and the hems it makes are crazy-durable. But if you're willing to take the extra time, I think there's something very sweet about the look of a hand-stitched hem. And I like that the project is portable this way - a nice little something to work on while you watch The Daily Show or visit with friends.

Love, J

Friday, February 26, 2010


Tonight I made a big fancy dinner. And cake.

The occasion?

Having the time/energy/inclination to make a big fancy dinner. And cake.

And it gave me an excuse to play with my new thrifted cake decorating kit.

Which, I learned, is SO FUN.


Love, J

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Something I've never thought about before:


Let's talk about me

1.) I am done with the test, and I don't want to talk about it. I've learned my lesson about predicting the results of this particular beast. (Plus it was hard and stupid and I'm trying to push my not-very-hopeful feelings about it out of mind.)

2.) I've got THE greatest people in my life, period. Aunt Micky, who skipped work to travel across the state to deal with the black cloudiness of me this week just so I'd have company. My hunky husband, who cleaned the house (including the TUB-I can now take a BATH when I want to! Joy of joys!) while I was away. My friend Callie, who ensured there would be the sweetest card of encouragement waiting in my mailbox on my return today. Wow.

3.) Melissa Etheridge is making my day. She rocks.

4.) Happy part of the trip: the crapload of thrift shopping aunty and I did. I scored 2 cutting boards, a tart dish, cake decorating supplies, a couple smoke detectors, and 7 dresses, including the one I wore to a job interview this morning:

And the interview went well enough that I start training on Saturday morning, so that's cool. I'm quite ready for real life to get started already ; )

Love, J

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hey, hey here I go now

The house looks like a bomb went off in it.

Since I sleep nights and he sleeps days, the hubs and I have both been just shoving that laundry to the opposite side of the bed whenever we need to lay down. It's moved back and forth about 6 times now.

The oven hasn't been used in ages, except to heat frozen pizzas.

My normally uber-rigid (says husband) household budget has been on hiatus for months, and our credit card is being used WAY more than usual.

And I've been ignoring almost all my friends and family for so long that I'm a little fuzzy about what you all look like.

But it will all be worth it when I earn a perfect score on this God-forsaken exam. Expect to see interviews of me in all manner of boring legal publications, explaining my secret to success. (But you'll hear it here first: before succeeding, fail. Your new insecurity will spawn a work ethic you never knew you had in you.)

And accompanying the articles will be photographs of me looking very relieved. And in those photos, my hair will be freshly washed, because by then I'll be making time for stuff like that again.

I'm off!

Love, J

PS ~ When I get back, I'll introduce you to Vinny, Lily's new buddy. Assuming she doesn't devour him whole by then.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

To you. Sorry I forgot it was today. Lucky for me, you're the ultimate good sport about these things.

So handsome. Are you wondering what's weird about that last picture? Thinking that something seems a little bit off, but you can't put your finger on it? I'll tell you: it's light outside. Yeah, that's what it looks like when the sun is up, remember?

Thanks for making me smile every day. You're just the best person I know.

I love you!!!

Love, J

Friday, February 12, 2010

I'd show you today's to-do list but I'm too ashamed

5:50 am ~ Up before my alarm goes off. Take this as a good sign.

6 am - 1 pm ~ Alternate between staring at my constitutional law outline without anything sinking in, napping, and berating myself for my lousy work ethic.

1 pm ~ After a good long nap, I read through the outline start to finish 3 times and feel like I'm starting to understand it.

4 pm ~ Hubs wakes up and we watch 'The Hangover' while we eat. You know how people joke around and say 'I feel dumber just for having watched that,' after they see a really lame movie? In this case that is literally true, because that was 2 hours I should have spent studying. And that movie SUCKS. I'm sad for Ed Helms and Rob Riggle, that they would be in something so terrible. I hope they got paid a lot for it.

7 pm ~ Hubs leaves for work. I haven't accomplished 1/10 of what's on my to-do list. Time to focus.

7:30 pm ~ Can't focus.

8 pm~ I wonder if I can braid my hair into a circle?

8:15 pm ~ Cool, it worked.

8:30 pm ~ So I guess I'm really not going to get anything done today.

BUT, then I saw my inbox had a new graded essay I'd sent in a few days ago.

The grader says:

BRAVA, Jessica!!!!!!!
This was excellent! [some boring stuff here with a few tips] Go celebrate for 10 minutes!

And I got a 9.5 on it. Out of 10. Yippee. Almost makes me feel less uneasy about taking off the past 10 hours, rather than minutes... eeshk.

Love, J

PS: Don't let all these I-didn't-get-any-good-studying-done-today posts fool you. I've been working my butt off and feel pretty ready for the exam. I just happen to write on here when I'm having less productive days, so you're not getting a very representative sample ; )

Monday, February 8, 2010

3 posts and I'm out

One last thing and then back to work, I promise. I sort-of killed myself studying yesterday and the hubs has promised me an afternoon matinee date if I can focus and accomplish any little thing today (I think I'll memorize the criminal code - about as *fun* as this stuff gets ; )

I found this highly shareable web site this morning and can't believe I've never seen it before. It's basically perfect, with link after link to tutorials all over to crafty projects, yarn patterns, gift ideas and recipes. I'm mostly staying off it for now, but I will be logging some major time surfing it in just over two weeks.

Until then, enjoy it for me:

Love, J

Black fingerless gloves

Each glove took about 2 days to knit. The pair took about 2 months. Does anyone else knit pairs of things that way? When I start doing socks, I'm going to have to learn the two-at-a-time method, or I probably will lose interest after finishing the first one.

Next time (and there will be a next time, because I love these) I will use finer yarn. These hold my fingers apart like those little foam rows you wear when you're getting a pedicure.

Love, J

Free therapy for you

Dear Natalie,

I'm sorry a rabbit bit you when you were small. Lily gives me bunny kisses all over my face every day.
She doesn't nip very often at all, and it doesn't hurt, it just startles me. (I have the lowest pain threshold in the history of the planet, so you can trust me on that.)

She told me to tell you that if you come visit us when you're in Spokane next, she will help you get over your childhood trauma.

Love, J & L

PS ~ Thanks for the luck wishing!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Life 'round here today

She knows when I need some encouragement.

17 days left.

Love, J

Saturday, February 6, 2010