A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

This morning I delivered something dear to me for something special that I want to tell you about in the very near future.  (Don't worry; you really won't have to wait that long.)  While in town, I made a few stops.

I purchased this at Big Lots.  If you don't know of Big Lots, it's a closeout discount store, so most of the time the prices there are much lower than a regular store.  When I saw this piece, I knew I had to have it for my laundry room.  I'm too ashamed to show you the den full, let me repeat F-U-L-L, of clothes.  I spent days washing everything I could put my hands on.  Some of it will be put away in its proper place and much of it will be packed up and sent for donations.  *Sidebar- I'm tired of looking at all these clothes, nothing really matching, some fitting, some not, and wondering what in the world I'm going to wear - everyday.  I'd rather have almost nothing in there than what I see now.  That way at least I'd know I'd just have to get really creative because that's it, or force myself to shop strategically.

After leaving there, I stopped at the thrift store where I bought Gertrude.  I wanted the shop owner to know that the sewing machine was wonderful.  And you know what?  When I walked in, one of her young daughters asked, "Did the sewing machine work for you?"  Impressive.  We (the owner, the daughter, and I) chatted for a bit and then I was offered some of her yummy Amish Cinnamon Bread.  It was delicious and no there isn't a picture.

I stopped by my Mom's before heading home and she had also been thrift shopping and gave me a bag of clothes she picked out.  At this store, you pay $5 per bag for anything you can fit in one bag.  If it doesn't fit or look right, Mom's repacking it and sending it on to another thrift store.  I didn't photograph that either, but what I did photograph is this beautiful fall centerpiece mom found at that store and these pieces of upholstery fabric that my aunt sent down from New York.  She's had them for 5 years and hasn't done anything so she sent them to me.  I already know exactly what I'm going to make, now that I have Gertrude, but I just don't have any time for that right now.

And last but not least, my friend M has also been thrift shopping and then just plain generous.  When she heard about the thrifted wok, she thought I must have these pieces.  Can you imagine a new bamboo steamer for under $2?  M also gave me her other styrofoam head.  She's got a lumpy noggin but everyone's different, right?  Now what shall she be called?  Humm...

The key to thrifting = continue to assess what you have and get rid of the excess so your house doesn't look like a thrift store.

New Year, New Do

Today (Wednesday) was the first day back for the students.  I wore one of my favorite dresses - the brown and white polka dotted one with the brown shrug.  Well, the other day I wanted to see if I could create the cinnabun hairdo with my natural hair.  I used to wear this style a lot in 2009 when I was transitioning from the perm to the natural style, but since I big chopped my hair wasn't long enough to tuck into the bun pieces.

I tried this style for the first day of school and it is actually working, which means, YAY, my hair is actually growing.  The difference is that since it is shorter, I have to create more bun pieces, but that's okay.  Now I have another "go-to" style, especially for work, that doesn't take long to do.  Many thanks to motorcitymoxie on YouTube for this style.

The Cinnabun while Transitioning in 2009:

The Cinnabun with all natural hair in 2010:

Kimono Floral Handbag

My weekend project is complete.  Yesterday I finished the sewing portion after my long stint of rotating between machines, and today I finished a little embellishment to add a little something something to the outside of the bag.  I'm very pleased with the final product.

This handbag is constructed out of a kimono floral 100% cotton print I purchased this summer.  The lining is also made of an 100% cotton fabric, but in a blush pink color.  Even the threads I used were cotton.  Inside the bag is a double pocket; one sized for a cell phone and the other for little odds and ends.  The 6" handles are natural cane.

Although I love the simplistic look of this bag, I thought it needed a little embellishment so I crocheted a two-tone flower and placed a fabric covered button as the center.  The flower is a pin that is detachable.

Despite some setbacks along the way, I enjoyed making this bag and look forward to future projects.

Nearing the Finish Line

Although Gertrude sews just fine, I don't know how all her functions operate and I'm not a sewing-machine guru.  Last night before giving way to the sleepy eye, it seemed like the needle wasn't centered and the bobbin thread kept getting caught.  I think it's probably something I've done to throw it off because I was testing "everything".  But since I don't know what her correct settings should be, I'll give the sewing machine shop a call.  I think I'll also look online to find a machine manual that I can download.

Not wanting to break my stride, I pulled out my first sewing machine and kept on trucking this morning.  I'm on the last steps and feeling pretty good.  Then I can finally do something about this bed head situation.  lol

ETA:  The bobbin on the other machine started skipping a stitch ever so often so I just gave up for now.  I love the actual sewing part, but when I can't fix these type of things, it gets to me.  I only had two stitches left to make the casing.   I had decided to hand-stitch the casing closed but I still wanted to have that pink top stitching on the outside.  That makes it a little prettier.  Oh well.  Moving on to the piles of clothes that I'm washing and to my hair...

ETA:  As I do not like being defeated, I purchased an online download of this old machine's (Gertrude's) manual.  I have discovered the problem and fixed it!  Partly it was the tension for sewing on the pocket.  The material was only one layer so I needed to adjust the tension.  The other factor was that the settings that the sewing machine shop left me with were not the right settings for the basic stitching.  When I looked at the test fabric they always leave under the needles, I assumed that the settings were ready to be used as so.  As my former geometry teacher used to say, "Assume Nothing!"  I have now set the straight stitching settings correctly and look forward to finishing this project maybe later on today.  :-D

The Versatile Blogger Award


Many thanks to Neen for presenting me with this award.  :-)

Per the requirements of this award, I must post 7 things about myself.  Most of you know a lot about me so let me see about some new things:
  1. Libby is my nickname that I've had since kindergarten.  I picked it myself from a list my mom gave me because I was taking too long writing my name - Elisabeth.  Yeah, I was that perfectionist kindergartner.  
  2. I would love to take a real train trip; not just taking a train from one part of the city to the other (err, I've even only done that once in NY).
  3. When I was a kid I wanted glasses (because they made you look smarter, someone said) and braces (because they were soooo cool).  I used to want braces so badly that I put aluminum foil on my teeth and would pretend.  Then one magical day I actually had glasses and braces and wondered what the hype was all about.  Awkward!!!
  4. I took flute lessons for one year some years ago.
  5. When I type in the word verification on blog posts, in my head I'm pretending that they are foreign words that I must speak with some kind of accent.  *Am I revealing too much here? LOL*
  6. I don't wear jewelry.
  7. I'd love to know what it feels like to be able to buy fresh breads and produce in street markets everyday instead of grocery stores.
Now, the rules of this award say that I must send this award to 15 people, but I'm going to be a rule breaker.  I'm sending this award to these people (in no particular order) because I want to introduce you to some new(er) folks.  Perhaps you'll want to check out their blogs:

Elisabeth S.
Stof Enzo

She Sews Just Fine

Remember that Sears Kenmore sewing machine I purchased at the thrift store this summer?  Well, it turns out that it was a score!  All it needed was to be cleaned and a new bobbin case.  I got it out the shop on Monday and started a project tonight.  I hope to finish this weekend, but as I have not been sewing much lately, I've got to get back in the groove of it and plus I reinforce every seam.  It peeves me to purchase bags (like the very colorful one I bought in Charleston that's already raveling and now I'm going to have to fix- uggghh!) and have the seams separate when you haven't had them that long.  Until I one day purchase a Serger I'm satisfied to just reinforce the seams, even if I'm a slow poke.  :-)

I think she needs a name that's not so "teeny bop".  I think I'll name her Gertrude.

Vegetarian Chile Rellenos

After watching the movie "Julie & Julia" I was inspired to cook my way through a cookbook.  No, no.  Not a Julia Child cookbook, but one a little less complex that doesn't involve learning how to debone a duck.  I decided to cook my way through a very small vegetarian cookbook.  Very small.  I'm opting for vegetarian dinners these days and so far have been doing just fine.  I guess I should mention that I just started it this week.  lol

Anyways, I started with dishes that I had most of the ingredients for and that appealed to me at the moment.  Prior to this meal I made a vegetable paella.  I will admit that the flavor was good, but I must rework their vegetable timing because I prefer a crisper vegetable with a firmer rice.

Tonight's meal was very light - vegetarian chile rellenos (or stuffed peppers).  These are stuffed poblano peppers.  The filling is a mixture of cream cheese, crumbled queso fresco, and black beans seasoned with garlic, oregano, and a little jalapeƱo peppers.  Don't worry I seeded both peppers.  lol

This dish was pretty good for a fast version of a chile relleno.  But I do admit, I miss that charred taste on the pepper's skin that you typically get with this dish.  Maybe I'll tweak this recipe too.  Until then, I'll see what the next dish will be.....

This is a quick snapshot as I was pretty hungry.


This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being able to photograph Nina.  It was a very impromptu fashion shoot, as she is getting ready to leave for fashion design school in just a few days.  Here you will see her modeling a dress that she designed and made as her sister's wedding reception gown.  Nina, I wish you all the best in your second career as fashion designer!  I think you're off to a really great start.

Williams' Biannual Family Reunion 2010

This weekend I attended the Williams' Biannual Family Reunion in Scotland Neck, NC and Garysburg, NC.  Most of Friday was spent at the homeplace - the land that belonged to my great grandparents on my mother's father's side.  In one of my great aunt's houses out there family members cleaned lots of fish and over 100 lbs. chicken!  I spent part of my time doing hair (I can't believe my aunt let me give her her 1st BC - Big Chop!  Now her hair is 100% natural.)  I crocheted some while chatting up with family I didn't really know.  But that night was spent organizing the groceries and peeling and cutting 20 lbs of potatoes.

As is tradition with this side of my family, the Saturday morning breakfast is a fish fry at the homeplace.  Fresh fish is fried outdoors, there's cornbread, grits, potatoes, hot coffee, you name it.  Everyone just sits outdoors and chats up with family over food.

Some hours later, we had the actual family reunion program in Garysburg, NC.  It was located at this home that has been partially turned into a recreation site.  It was very tropical.  I felt like I was in a little cabana which was nice because this year we decided to wear Hawaiian themed outfits and leis in honor of my cousin who passed about 3 weeks ago.  He always wore those Hawaiian-styled shirts - always.  So much so that even at his memorial service the Air Force men (my cousin was retired from the Air Force) wore those shirts instead of the normal uniform.

At the family reunion, there was spoken word, a family reunion tape from 1990 played, lots of food was served - of course, kids played in the pool, prizes were given...it was so much fun and a pleasure to photograph. 

It's Here!!!

I've been going to the post office everyday to check the mail, secretly wondering if that day would be the day that my package from India arrived.  Well, today was the day.  As soon as I saw the registered mail slip with my swap partner's last name at the top, I literally ran into the inside office to sign and pick it up.  The post office people are always just as curious as I am and I often open the package inside.  Today was one of those days.

Post Office Guy Steve and I were thrilled to see the contents of my package.  Hand-dyed batiks and sari silk yarn.  The yarn is so soft and luxurious.  I just keep touching it.  The batiks are a dream.  I can feel the dye so I know I have to prewash them separately (thanks for the note Sanhita!).  I've never had anything sent from India before, but now it just makes me more curious about the yarns and fabrics there.  Is it really like those Bollywood movies?

Vibrant batik prints
Luxurious sari silk yarns
I mean, check out those fibers!

Interestingly enough, even though we sent our packages a few days apart, we both received them on today!  How cool is that?

Protective Styling

Ok, so this blog is not going to be about my hair/hair care regimen/natural hair, etc.  There are too many great blogs about that.  But I love to share with you the little things that make me smile and what's going on, so hence this post.

I've been reading up on protective styling and making some decisions about what kinds of styles I love and feel comfortable rocking.  This summer, in a sense, has been perfect for that.  Styles that work, styles that don't, styles that are easy, styles that are pretty but time consuming, etc.  One thing that I'm learning is that my hair, just like my skin, needs lots of moisture.  I've long since embraced the fact that getting that much-needed moisture, for my hair type, means that I wear styles that make my hair seem shorter than it is.  It's actually quite fascinating though.  I know I shouldn't admit this, but sometimes I take a little twist and play with it, going "boing, boing" in my head - like a little spring, and get excited to see it stretch out and spring back into place.  hehe

Since I've found my favorite product of the moment - Shea Moisture's Curl Smoothie - I've been doing a lot of twists and twistouts this summer.  I've noticed that I have very little, if any breakage.  I haven't been using much heat on my hair this summer so I'm sure that helps.

At this past weekend's family reunion, I rocked this twistout.  It was so humid that literally everytime I stepped outside, my hair shrank.  LOL  I call this photo, "the twistout that the humidity almost took out!"  But this style lasted 2 weeks so I can't complain.

After the family reunion, I quit twisting my hair at night because I was supposed to wash it.  I got lazy and just slapped some of that moisturizer up there for a few days, threw on a headband and left.  This is what that style looked like.

Finally I washed my hair.  I blow dried it, for the sake of time, and here you see how thick and how much my hair has grown since last September.  Y'all it's almost been a year since I big chopped!  I can't believe it.  I took this photo on yesterday.

Well, that blow out isn't lasting for long.  I'm getting ready to twist it back up today.  Got another family reunion coming this weekend and I'm not feeling the afro puff.  I'm loving the twists way too much.  :-)

Mission (Craft) Organization - Phase I

I'm on a true mission to be organized.  As you know, I've been working on organizing my business officially.  So, if you hadn't been able to tell, I've actually done less crafting during this organizational period.  Slowly, but surely, things are coming together though.

In the meantime, I'm on a mission to organize my home too.  I love having clean closets and that's what I have, with the exception of two - so they have become priority.  In the room that I have now designated as my craft space, I have just finished cleaning out the entire closet.  Everything in there has been taken out, the closet has been swept, disinfected, and walls have been washed.  Now I'm rethinking how I will reorganize it with some of my craft things.  I want everything related to what I do to be in that room and not spread all over the place.

I just feel that when I return to work (which is next week, btw), I will feel much better knowing there is a place for everything, even in my home and workspace.  Makes for an easier life.  :-)


I filled the closet with what I want at this time.  The rest of the room looks ragged, but it will come back together so that it's not a total embarrassment.

So did I pass the Mission (Craft) Organization test?  If so, I'll move on to phase II.

Rewind: My Brother's Wedding

The summer is almost over and I'm still anxious to see the wedding cd for my brother's June wedding.  BUT, at this weekend's family reunion, I was able to finally get my hands on my aunt's camera.  She let me download the photos taken with her camera and now I can finally share some with you.  :-)

We met my SIL's family for the first time the day before the wedding.  Here are our two family units.

Our two families went out for brunch.  There was food.  My aunt had her camera.  I couldn't resist.  You know me.  lol


My parents and me.

Check out the groomsmen!  (L to R:  my brother, bf from childhood, friend from recent stay in MI, brother of bride, bf from hs, cousin who escorted two ladies)

Bride and her father

Mona and Kenneth

Wedding Party

So now I've fulfilled my promise.  Soon I will upload family reunion pictures...as I prepare for the other family reunion next weekend.  :-D