Pins & Needles

I have somewhat successfully completed the construction of a giant pincushion. I knew it would be large, but I was still surprised. In the picture below, I set a pen beside it so you can see the sheer enormity.


It’s not anywhere near as cute as the original, but at least you can tell what it is!


What did I learn this time?

1. Sewing in a circle is hard. I’m not sure how they got the top of the one pictured to be so flat. However, I do think photography skills can help.

2. I have a terrible problem with not thinking through things before I do them…seam ripper anyone?

3. I learned how to hand-sew. Well, I at least hand-sewed. Peta satelit dunia . I’m not sure if I even approached a proper method.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll come up with a new project soon. If you want to make your own giant pincushion, see

Today is the day

Today is the day that the Consumer Product Safety Act goes into effect. I meant to update a while ago, but I got a response from Congresswoman Blackburn after writing (I’m sure she wrote it up herself just for me!).

“Though Congress enacted this legislation to prohibit unsafe consumer products from entering the stream of commerce, the bill has also introduced a string of unintended consequences that may impact small law-abiding businesses. After hearing your concerns I contacted the CPSC on your behalf [my behalf??!] and demanded further clarification on how this law will be enforced. What I learned from the CPSC is encouraging for small business owners in the consignment or second-hand goods retail business. According to the CPSC, Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.”

So, it looks like there are no breaks for the cute grandads and their trains, but I bet the enforcers of this law (whoever they may be) will not be too worried about them. We’ll see…

Swoop Be Gone…well sort of

For the last couple of months, Joel has been working on quite the swoop. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it, but it was bothering him big time. Since Martha was having her baby, he didn’t schedule his next hair cut, which for Joel means, it will be a very long time until he gets around to it. If you’ve known me for a while, you may know about a tragedy involving me cutting Joel’s hair several years ago, but I won’t go into that. Suffice it to say, it is surprising I’m wiling to go near him with scissors. I’ve only given a few full cuts, but the occasional swoop trim is necessary. Getting ready to trim…




Happy Joel. He can see without hair in his eyes! Yes, I understand that it still looks like a bit of a swoop to the untrained eye, but trust me…it’s way better. It will at least hold him over for a while.


Bye Bye Quality Toys

If you haven’t heard of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, this could possibly induce weeping. It goes into effect on February 10, and it is sad. We all know about the recent scares with lead in toys from China. One would think that would make consumers more aware of what they’re buying; perhaps they would move to purchasing hand-made, higher quality toys instead of cheap plastic ones. If you were interested in this, you will have to forget it on February 10th.

I haven’t read the text of the law (it’s 63 pages long), but from what I gather, it essentially means that anyone who makes any kind of toy would have to invest thousands and thousands of dollars in 3rd party testing if they want to sell the toys. So, that cute grandpa that makes wooden trains and blocks? No mas. cute grandpaYour friend who sews those beautiful dolls? She’s done. All of this was of course to strengthen the policies for mass-produced toys, but there are going to be a lot of casualties in the wake. It’s frustrating because it’s so sad for small businesses and individuals.

So what can you do? You can write your congressman! If you want to read about the law, I suggest googling it, but the technical info is here.

Lauren Takes a Stab at Crafts

Don’t rub your eyes; it’s true. I got one of these puppies for Christmas:

Janome tb-30It’s the Janome Threadbanger 30, and I’m really liking it so far. I definitely didn’t think I’d want a sewing machine…maybe ever…but here I am. I found out after we got it that there is a website called Threadbanger where they have all these videos, etc. about sewing, and that’s what this machine is named after.  Here’s the interesting part – you don’t have to use the pedal! if you can see that button that is kind of green near the needle, you just press it to start or stop sewing. I have a long way to go, but it’s good so far.

I got a remnant of a gorgeous (ha) pink stripe at Textile, and a few ripped seams later, I have two brand new grocery bags. By the way, reusable grocery bags are the only way to go! Anyway, here are pictures. I laid our cordless phone on them so you could see that they’re pretty spacious.

Bag #1:

Bag 1

I bought the pattern, and it was very detailed for beginners. It’s unlined but has a facing and a sweet pocket. It actually went pretty well!

Bag #2:

Bag 2I got this pattern free from a site called The directions were not amazing, but I made it through (liberal use of seam ripper). It is supposed to fold into a pouch on the inside, but it doesn’t fit. It’s also unlined, but the pattern has you leave the overcast edges raw…not pretty! I found more directions to add a bias tape all around, so it looks a lot better.

Tips for next time:

1. Work on posture – it’s so easy to slump over!

2. Work on making seams with 5/8″ seam allowance straight…I am ok at the small seam allowances, but super crooked on the big ones.

If this totally bores you (as it would have me a few months ago), you probably didn’t read this far. However, if you were interested or somehow read this far for any other reason, I’m sure I’ll have some super exciting posts about future projects…in the future.

Nashville is friendly!

Yay! The English only amendment was defeated. We are known as a friendly city, and I’m glad we can remain that way. Besides, Nashville would have been the largest city by far to have passed such a bill… Peta satelit dunia Check out this article if you want to read more (sorry I can’t make it a link).

This Blog

I have clicked everything I can, and I cannot figure out how to change that place on the right where it says “This is an example of a WordPress blog…” I may see how long it takes Joel to read this and figure out how!

Other blog related notes: I may try to change the theme at some point, but that could also be disastrous, even considering my extensive html knowledge. hmm. Peta satelit dunia

Lovely Day

I’m a little late posting, but Justin and Lacy’s lovely wedding was January 10. They were so generous to invite us to the rehearsal dinner, and we had a wonderful time! Unfortunately, this is the only picture we took – the friends at our table.


On Saturday, the ceremony was beautiful. Clearly they have no lack of people who love them, as it was standing room only!

Ceremony - Michael Howard photo

(picture from

Finally, the reception was perfect. It was a large crowd, so the Country Music Hall of Fame was a great space.

Reception - Michael Howard photo

(picture from

We had a lot of fun dancing, and then we sent them off from freezing Nashville to sunny FL! Here’s a super cute picture of their exit that I stole from someone I don’t know on facebook…

The Exit!

As you can see, it was a bit windy, but I don’t think they noticed! Tenopardgyse . Peta satelit dunia .

An “English Only” Nashville?

Nashville is currently holding a special election to decide if all metro government business should be conducted only in English (even though English is currently the official language of Tennessee). The second item to be voted upon is whether these (expensive) special elections could be held with only 1% of registered voters’ signatures (currently it’s 10%).

Lauren and I usually don’t get involved with politics, but we felt as Christians, it was important to vote against this referendum. When we read about Jesus, we believe he included everyone. This referendum promotes exclusivity.

Thankfully other people are against it. A few weeks ago several heads of local universities spoke out against it.  In addition, our mayor, Karl Dean is against the referendum.

If you live in Davidson County and are registered to vote, you can early vote at Howard School downtown through January 17th. Regular voting takes place at your specified location on January 22nd.

We know a lot of people would like to exclude those from other countries from having access to public services, but we encourage you to base your decision on your faith. Passing this will not solve any immigration issues.

Lauren’s First Post – Who Knew?

I never dreamed I would be willing to use words to express myself on the internet (pictures are different). But…here I am. I guess I wanted an outlet to share things with people in a manner that doesn’t require anyone to respond if they aren’t interested. I do not consider myself to be creative, nor do I aspire to write creatively. My grammar is respectable, but I don’t generally think or write with cute things like metaphors (that was a simile, ok?). Because of my sarcasm, I may occasionally use the dreaded smiley face. I am also fond of the ellipsis and the dash.

Potential FAQs about this blog:

  • Will Joel ever write? Yes! (or so my busy husband says)
  • Does this indicate that you are pregnant and/or thinking about becoming so? Not at all (maybe I should say not in the slightest?).
  • Will you update more than this one post? That is the plan. You may know that Joel and I are internet masters, so it seems likely.
  • What will you write about? Hmm…common topics will probably include things like traveling, faith, ideas, deals, life changes. Those will probably change as well over time.