I recently purchased Photoshop Elements 5.0 so that I could start digitally scrapbooking. I’m kind of behind in my scrapbooking and part of the problem is that I’m so perfectionistic and making pages using paper and adhesives and cutting stuff out and all that takes so long to do – I haven’t started any pages recently because it’s just too much of an undertaking. So I decided to go digital and have my pages professionally printed – it’s actually quite cost effective, and is fast and easy to do. Plus, since I’ve been using my digital camera exclusively, I don’t have to print photos out and cut them up – one more step I can skip.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about. I purchased Elements and have been trying to learn how to use it. And the best pictures to start practicing on, I’ve found, have been pet pictures! So here are pictures of Zoe, Jesse, and Teddy – I’ve lightened and warmed them up, increased the contrast, and used a glow filter. Cute, huh?

Fabulous Teddy Wear

I think Teddy Bear is going to benefit the most from my sewing classes. I used the last bit of yellow flowered fabric that I had to make a nice poofy Easter bow for him. Doesn’t he look nice? Awwwww… He can be sure to look forward to many fashionable clothing items in the future: a vest, booties, maybe a tail warmer. What a lucky dog [insert evil laugh here]!!!

Anne, you’re very proud of me, right???

Ok, so I know all these posts are about sewing, but that’s my current kick so you’re just going to have to like it or lump it. About a year ago I bought some fabric from, that’s pink and has tattoo images on it (skulls, hula girls, hearts with knives sticking through them, snakes, etc.), that I had wanted to sew a tote bag with. It was going to be my knitting bag, since I’d found the pattern in a wonderful book called Stitch n’ Bitch. Well, after my first sewing class I decided to break out on my own and do a project all by myself – hence this here fabulous tote bag. It turned out pretty well, the only weird thing about it being that the pattern was rotated 90 degrees from the selvage ends of the fabric. So, in the end, the pattern is sideways on the bag, but I guess every project is a lesson learned, right? I’m going to bring my bag in next week for a little sucking-up teacher’s pet session; the two other girls in the class (ages and 13 and 14) just really have no idea who they’re dealing with!!!

First Class Project: A+

In light of the fact that I was never going to learn how to sew without some serious help, I decided to sign up for a month’s worth of sewing lessons at Baker’s Sewing Center. Baker’s is located in historic downtown Escondido, and like most businesses there, has been around since about the 1940’s. Mrs. Nancy, my instructor, informed me that the class would be sewing pillow cases during the first two classes, so I headed down to JoAnn’s Fabric and Crafts store to pick out fabric for my first project. I chose a nice yellow cotton with small white flowers that would match a quilted bedspread that I have. Let me say that JoAnn’s is completely mind-boggling – there’s so much, too much really, to choose from. Anyway, by the end of my first class, I had completed one of my pillow cases, and was almost done with the second, which I completed about 15 minutes after I got home that afternoon. Yesterday was our second class, and I sewed up a “decorator” pillow to match the pillow cases that I sewed the week before, complete with an envelope back so that it’s easy to pop a pillow form in and out of. So voila! Here is my completed set – all the yellow items are the ones that I did. By the way – the quilt hanging above my bed was made by my sister Tyleen, who is a quilting genius.


Back in February, my Mom gave me a shiny brand new sewing machine. Unfortunately, the last time I even touched one of these crazy contraptions was back in my eighth grade home-ec class. I vaguely remember sewing some sort of shirt, but when I received my gift, I couldn’t have recalled how to even turn the thing on. I took out the book that accompanied the machine and started to read. I found all the parts that were labeled on the sewing machine diagram, but was still pretty clueless – feed dogs? Throat plate? Tension indicator???? The more I read about it, the more my mind began to swim. I referenced a couple of books I bought – Sewing 101 and Sewing for Dummies. Since I’m at the remedial level, neither of these books helped.

You know how when people are afraid to speak in front of an audience, they tell you to imagine your audience naked? Well, I tried the same approach with my sewing machine. I decided that the best way to take away the serious, dangerous, needle-stabbing demeanor of my machine would be to slap a few stickers on it. So I did – and I can tell you that there’s nothing like a small image of Raggedy Ann with an axe stuck in her to lighten the mood. Looks like I’ll be on my way to sewing for Project Runway in no time!

I am a domestic goddess…

Yes, Roseanne would be so proud. Clearly I still need to iron this little treasure, and pop it into a nice little frame to sit on my desk. It’s my first domestic project in a while – I don’t know what’s wrong with me! Last week I even listed a sewing machine on my Amazon wishlist (see link to the right!!!). And this weekend I baked banana bread and jambalaya. This may not be a big deal to most of you, but when you’re the type of person whose cooking skills mostly include being able to preheat a toaster oven to 450 F and open the box that contains your frozen pizza, cooking jambalaya is a bit of a stretch. But I’m not dead yet from food poisoning, so I guess it came out ok.