Originally uploaded by Pranamama.

My sweethearts loves them some granola.

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I’m moving my blog

I have finally figured out how to host my own blog (Because I love wordpress forever and ever!).

I’ve moved to my own site at One Girl Circus

I hope you’ll continue to visit me there, and if you’ve bokmarked me or linked here, please update to reflect my new location.  I’ve migrated all my posts and your comments,so you should feel right at home!

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My niece in her Holiday Dress

Sophia Christmas 2008

Originally uploaded by swingbyhere.

Climbing under the Christmas Tree. Sophia sure is a cutie!

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Furrowing Instructable

When I posted my photo of Ella’s furrowed sleeve on flickr, there was a lot of interest in how I accomplished the finish.  I am so sorry it has taken me nearly a month to complete the tutorial to share.  I hope you’re not too disappointed at how simple the technique is to achieve!

Sleeve Close-up


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Family Day 2009

Since we were married on New Year’s Eve, we celebrate the anniversary of our family on New Year’s Day.  We all love the outdoors and e tend to gravitate toward our local state park for together time outings.

Parents, post-hikePeterHike at MayburyReeds, Cold.brrrr.

18 degrees and beautiful yesterday (BRRRRRRRRRRR). I’m so grateful for my family!


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Decorating the tree.

Decorating the tree.

Originally uploaded by Pranamama.

Why are you surprised that all the ornaments are in the lower 1/4 of the tree? Ella decorated it (and continues to re-decorate daily). We had NO idea she would love the tree this much.

I’m afraid to think of what she’ll say when we have to take it down!


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My Congressman works for me

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the CPSIA or the potential issues this legislation will cause for small businesses, or even the economy as a whole.  I have been writing to my Senators and Representatives ever since I realized that the solution may do as much harm as the problem where this is concerned….and it’s not only small artisan businesses who will be affected….it’s all of us.

It’s not just small Artisans and custom manufacturers who will be forced to close our doors if this Law (enacted before regulations were even written) is implemented in its current form. All of us will be affected by the Law. Not that I feel the need to “defend” corporations…but if we think about the implications on ALL American families, not only the livelihood of each Artisan (though personally, that is my most immediate concern) we have a lot to fight for. Large manufacturers will be affected as well, and we’ll all have to pay more for unnecessary and unrealistic testing requirements.

Affordable toys and clothing may be a thing of the past. Our entire economy will suffer. Our buying power will decrease, and those who purchase our beautifully-made toys and clothing and toys will have less to spend, because the “basics” will cost disproportionally more.

Also, large European manufacturers, whose products would comply with the CPSIA anyway due to their stricter testing, will pull out of our market (some already have!) because the expense to re-test their toys and clothing will make selling in the US cost-prohibitive.

This battle is not just for the small Artisan, but rather the entire industry, and it will behoove us to ensure that the regulations are written so that we can ALL participate in the market space, making safe and wonderful toys and garments for our children.

I received a form letter from my Senator Debbie Stabenow, which not only did NOT address, my concerns, but appeared that she did not even take the time to read my letter.

Conversely, my Representative McCotter has consistently responded to my concerns from water quality in Michigan, to this very important issue.   I am heartened that Rep. McCotter has taken our issues seriously, and will actually represent me (and all of us who share my concerns).  I find the repeated references to “communist China” to be a bit strange, bt other than that, I’m encouraged that someone elected is on our side. Following is his letter:

Dear Ms. Lepage:
Thank you for informing me of your concerns regarding the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.

As you know, in 2007, there was an increased number of recalls on children’s toys and other consumer products. Furthermore, forty nine percent (49%) of the recalled toys included lead hazards. In 1972, Congress created the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products. Thereafter, the CPSC decreased the death and rate of injuries from consumer products by over thirty percent (30%). Importantly, four fifths (4/5) of CPSC recalls involved communist China-made consumer products. In 2007, roughly eighteen million (18 million) communist China-made toys were recalled for excessive lead levels; nine million (9 million) were recalled for loose magnets, and one million (1 million) toy ovens were recalled for finger entrapment and burn hazards.
To improve the safety of consumer products, on November 1, 2007, Representative Bobby Rush (IL) introduced H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  As enacted, this legislation bans lead from children’s products; mandates third party testing of children’s toys; increases funding authorization for the CPSIA to $100 million by Fiscal Year (FY) 2011; and increases the cap on civil awards from $1.83 million to $10 million.  On December 19, 2007, with my support the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4040 by a bi-partisan vote of 407-0. Subsequently, on March 6, 2008, the Senate passed this legislation with an amendment by a bi-partisan vote of 79 – 13.  On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed H.R. 4040 into law (PL 110-314).

As per your specific concern, it has become apparent there are several issues with components of this law, primarily with regards to lead regulations and third party testing.  On February 10, 2009, the new ban on lead in children’s products will come into effect; however, the CPSC has ruled this requirement will include both goods made on or after this date and any goods in inventory.  Thus, this regulation will be applied retroactively.  Furthermore, the CPSC has delayed in providing guidelines as to how new lead regulations will apply to garments and footwear, making it difficult for those in this industry to begin compliance.  In regards to the new third party testing requirements, there are concerns the fees charged by third party testers will be a considerable financial burden on many small toymaker businesses.  At present, no legislation has been introduced in the 110th Congress to address these issues within the CPSIA.

Rest assured, I will well remember your thoughts on this important issue during the remainder of the 110th Congress as well as the 111th Congress.

Again, thank you for contacting me; and for all you do for our community and our country. Should you have any further comments or questions on this or any other issue, please contact me at the Livonia or Milford district or Washington
I work for you.

Thaddeus G. McCotter
Member of Congress

If you wish to contact your representatives, you can write to them all at once here:

Find out more about how this law will affect us here
or here.

If you are on Facebook, you can support the cause by joining here

Also, you can go to, and put this issue on Mr. Obama’s plate.

Thanks, on behalf of all of us who create for children.


Filed under activism, community, sewing, work

An incredibly wearable muslin!

An incredibly wearable muslin!

Originally uploaded by Pranamama.

Okay, so this is why I’ve been so late in producing the technique tutorial for Furrowing. Firstly, I have not had any decent light to photograph the fabric for the tutorial.

Secondly, I’ve been working on a prototype for a custom tunic.

I used something I knew would look good on Ella, and made all my mistakes on this version, so she can use it. Boy does she! She wouldn’t take it off for photographs so I had to catch her while she was spinning for joy!

There’s a contrast band around the hem, too. More pictures tomorrow, I promise!


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Make a 1000markets mini!


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Birthday Report and Holiday Dress Update!

Didn’t start off great, but when I arrived at my friend Jennifer’s for a play date, she had made me BROWNIES (which I had for breakfast.  I sure needed them after hydroplaning and being on the receiving end of a sloppy now slide from a truck onto my windshield.)

They were the best brownies I have ever had in my life.  Ever. In my life.

The recipe is here.

Ells didn’t nap, even while I was at the salon covering my greys…I’m sure there are only the 4 I saw, but still…


I came home to a pile of presents and gorgeous flowers!  We all went (inlaws too) to eat Ethiopian food at The Blue Nile in Ferndale and it was magnificent.  I love that my children eat exotic, spicy, vegetarian food.  Even the non-veg kids ate only vegetarian food.  It was fantastic!

I finished my niece’s holiday dress.  Ella is wearing it above, in the photo with my flowers.  She wasn’t really in the mood to model yesterday, so I didn’t get a lot of great shots.  I’ll try again tomorrow when she’s in a better mood, before I ship it off to Memphis.

I used my Party Dress pattern along with the Teatime Pinafore, with some modifications.  (You may remember, I made this for Ella’s Birthday, too, in a beautiful Magenta color.)

I used a simple rolled hem on the sparkly organza pinafore :


And trimmed it with ribbons and bows:


I used our great aunt’s buttons on the front of the dress and the back of the pinafore:



I made a puff sleeve and puffed hem out of cotton batiste:


Of course I finished the inside so that Sophia’s skin is caressed with super-soft fabric, and no annoying threads or scratchies!

Waistline – flat-fell seams


Shoulder – turned and stitched seams:


Skirt – French seams:

Sophias_HolidayDress 019

Ella didn’t want to take it off….but hers is next.

Sophias_HolidayDress 006

I’m working on a tutorial to share with all of you who commented on my flickr photostream about the Furrowed Cuff on Ella’s holiday dress.  I’ll have instructions and a photo follow-along tutorial for this technique tomorrow!


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