Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Raven & Lily

Aren't these products lovely?

They are made from recycled bullet casings and war weapons by women in Ethiopia. Check them out

Monday, November 28, 2011


I love looking at my calendar. I am so excited about so many things coming up in the next days, weeks, months and years. I look at dates and think, "OOOOoooo, it's only two weeks until that event is two weeks away, and when that two weeks is up, all I have do is wait that amount of time once more." I really get into this and will do it for weeks in advanced, "only two more weeks till break, then two weeks of break, after that the semester is half over and we only have 5 weeks left! These first three weeks of class went by so fast, the next two are going to go by just as fast. Just like that half, of the semester is already over and the second half is only going to go faster because all of my students are going to be stressed out. Wow,  February is so close."

This probably came about from my family's trip around Kansas. Now, when I say around, I really mean, around. We went to each corner, and then drove to the middle. "We've already made it to one corner, and that was a really long side we were just on, the second corner is only going to take half as much time as this last one to get to. Then I only have to do that 3 more times. This trip is almost over!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A cow. That is what I want for Christmas. I will also need a small farm to keep my cow on.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Driving down the road the other day I was reminded of our trip back to Missouri two Christmas's ago. We drove my little bmw coupe 1200 miles to Missouri. . . with our two dogs in tow. I took out the back seat (leather), built a wooden platform, and somehow managed to unfold their gigantic metal kennel into the backseat. It was a very cramped drive. Our seats were about as far forward as they could go, and were also as upright as possible. But our dogs? Oh, they were very comfortable.

Though it was snowy I made sure to stop the car frequently to let them out and go to the bathroom, to let them run around. It was a fun trip. One of the things I remember the most was being worried about their sleeping schedules. Alexis stayed up with me through the night. I would look into my rear view window and there she sat, just gazing out in front of her. Oh, I was so worried about how tired she was going to be!

When we got to my parents house, Kyle and I talked about how we were thinking about getting a new car because their just was not enough room for the dogs. This was a real reason why we were thinking about getting a new car. My mom took it as code for, "Kyle and Caitlyn are going to have a baby."

Turns out she was right, and I had been thinking about how impossible it would be to get kids out of a two door car.

With Jonathan almost 15 months old now, I laughed in the car as I remembered this story. I cared about the sleeping schedule of dogs. With a baby it now seems so silly that I should have cared so much about my animals. Obviously they were important to us, and I think it is important to take good care of your pets. . . but, they were grown pets perfectly capable of taking a nap whenever and wherever they wanted (Alexis illustrates this perfectly in the last picture. . . that is my luggage she is curled up in), but I was just so sure that they were going to be so tired!

We now drive a station wagon. I purchased the station wagon because it had a big enough back area to put the kennel in. We no longer have the dogs, but that space is put to good use. . . a stroller, toys and portable crib. . . because, I am still worried about sleeping schedules, and there is nothing worse than a tired baby. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Last Christmas our family was gifted this outfits from Aunt Angi and Uncle Remy. Jonathan's is still a little big, but, today just seemed like the day to finally take "the photo." So we headed outside with the tripod and camera and had a little photo shoot. A woman and her children walked by, we said, "Hi," she almost walked past us without acknowledging us, and then said (to Kyle and Jonathan), "oh, you are wearing matching outfits" and then "Wow, you are all matching."

Jonathan thought it appropriate to make a toy out of a plastic bottle he found lying in the grass.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Children's Stories

I have no words of my own to speak right now, so I share these wonderful words by George McDonald with you. From At the Back of the North Wind;

You see when he forgot his Self, his mother took care of his Self, and loved and praised his Self. Our own praises poison our Selves, and puff and swell them up, till they lose all shape and beauty, and become like great toadstools. But the praises of father or mother do our Selves good, and comfort them and make them beautiful. The never do any harm. If they do any harm, it comes of our mixing some of our own praises with them, and that turns them nasty and slimy and poisonous. 


His father had been very gloomy--so gloomy that he had actually been cross to his wife. It is a strange thing how pain of seeing the suffering of those we love will sometimes make us add to their suffering by being cross with them. This comes of not having faith enough in God, and shows how necessary this faith is, for when we lose it, we lose even the kindness which alone can soothe the suffering. 

and while I'm at it, from another work of his, The Princess and Curdie;

The must be something wrong when a mother catches herself sighing over the time when her boy was in petticoats, or a father looks sad when he thinks how he used to carry him on his shoulder. The boy should enclose and keep, as his life, the old child at the heart of him, and never let it go. He must still, to be a right man, be his mother's darling, and more, his father's pride, and more. The child is not meant to die, but to be forever fresh born.

This is the kind of treasure some of you are missing out on by not reading more "children's stories." Why would you want to have anything other than the true heart of a child in you? May I never grow up,


Monday, October 31, 2011

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Jonathan was going to go as the Fantastic Mr. Fox for Halloween. Then I decided it would be cute for Kyle and I to be Mr. and Mrs. Fox and for him to be Ash. So, I made him an Ash costume instead, and then Mr. and Mrs. Fox costumes didn't happen. . . 

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Jonathan is going to be a George Clooney character for halloween. Can you guess which one?

Friday, October 28, 2011

My imaginary family

I just went imaginary shopping for my imaginary family that lives in Europe and has money. 

Apparently dad is a gypsy and is going barefoot.http://www.livieandluca.com/shop.html

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover - Joplin

Really glad to see that 7 homes are being build in Joplin for victims of the Tornado.

Scratching my head that they were not built with basements or tornado shelters.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


From the woman who taught me how to sew:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Two Nuns Bike by Ron Arad from Dezeen on Vimeo.

Butternut Squash and Caramel Onion Galette with Toasted Pecan Topping

Made these little lovies for "Appetizers and Dessert" at RC last night. Liked them so much that I had another for breakfast this morning.

I followed this recipe over at smitten kitchen. Well, I changed a few things. I think I used more squash and cheese than the recipe called for and less onion (also, I think twice as much onion really would have overpowered the flavor of the squash) - just because that is what I had. I also used rosemary and marjoram instead of sage, and black pepper instead of cayenne pepper, because I do not have those two things.  I also garnished the top with butter roasted pecans.

As far as technique went, I used an electric blender instead of a pastry blender. Never having been a big fan of the pastry blender and not owning one in my adult life, I opted instead to hack up a bar of already frozen butter (which I also like to call luck. . . without that box of butter in my freezer this recipe would have taken me 3 hours. . . instead of 2) and toss it in my blender, then I added the "course meal" size bits to the flower/salt mixture, and viola! It was the exact same texture as what I used to get with my mom's pastry blender and it only took about 30 seconds.

I also opted to make 11 small galettes, instead of two large ones (I doubled the recipe).

I think I will make this for Thanksgiving this year, being careful to start early so that I can finish on time.

Jonathan also had butternut squash for breakfast, his was accompanied with notes of pear. OOhh, la la.

PS - Friend, in case you are wondering, these do not taste like they have vegetables in them. . . Kyle ate them (2) .

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We just got back from a trip to the San Francisco area. Highlight of the trip? Britex Fabric. . . 

On the left you see a lovely black and brown knit wool and on the right a nice medium weight silk/wool blend. Plans? Shift dress w/ kimono sleeve and some sort of high waist pencil skirt.

Time to get my boots out!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Some people are rolling their eyes, others already shaking their heads in approval.

I know I have friends on both sides of the abortion table. It is safe to say that many of them have arrived at their conclusions by using their brains and putting a lot of thought into it.

For a little while, I thought it was okay if someone other than me wanted to have an abortion, I thought, "Hey, it's their choice. People who commit other heinous crimes also have a choice too do or not to do - and some people get away with it - sometimes the government even lets them get away with it." I'm sure there are plenty of war crimes in our past that are not attractive, and that were "sanctioned" by the government, but, in general, the government does not sanction murder - except when it comes to babies. Edit: I am not comparing a woman who has had an abortion to a war criminal. I am saying that, within reason, the government has the power to keep these things from happening, but they turn a blind eye.

That's pretty sad. Voluntary euthanasia is only legal in 3 U.S. states. Someone is saying, "please, kill me, I want to die," and we aren't even allowed to give them their wish. Yet, it's not a big deal to kill someone who is completely at your mercy, someone who cannot defend themselves yet.

"Caitlyn, you are crazy! Abortions don't kill babies - those aren't babies that are in women's wombs. Those are fetus's or an embryo or a blastocyst or a zygote!"

It has always felt like life to me. And when that life is inside of you it's like your soul has added on a great big huge addition. It's wonderful! (I know not all women feel like this) When that soul is extinguished, it's not just the addition that gets knocked down. . . instead, the entire structure is condemned and torn down.

I watched this film today, and it is really what changed my mind about how to vote when it comes to abortion. Do I think change will ever come to America? Probably not (unless the Mormon's take over, which they are forecasted to do in about 2080 because of sheer population), but, it's possible. If people understood what life really is, than I believe that change would have to happen. Because once you really truly grasp what life is, the thought of extinguishing it for any reason, no matter how extenuating, becomes unbearable.

And just to clear anything up that might be out there. No, I would not kill Hitlers mother to get to Hitler. No, I do not hate people who have gotten an abortion. I understand that the thought of bringing another person into the world can seem unbearable, and that you can feel so overwhelmed and unprepared. I do not think that you are ever outside of the grace of God. Don't murder is just one of the commandments, there are 9 others that get broken just as often. All of which need to be addressed.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Project 29 of many. . .

It makes sense that while walking over to the pool to score some free rosemary sprigs from the apartment complex's landscaping for dinner, that I would pass by a perfectly good piece of trash sitting beside the dumpster. Of course, I had to bring it home with me, it had potential written in dust all over it. 

Three yards of fabric and a stick of staples later, I had myself a new chair.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Project 28 of many / Child 2 of many . . .

Sometimes things crash into one another.

Today is the 2 month anniversary of when we found out about the loss of Benjamin. Sometimes my heart aches so badly that I don't know how I am expected to go on. Then Jonathan wakes up and I regain some perspective, but the ache is still there.

About two weeks before we lost Benjamin our pastor preached a really great message on Gods Love. This sermon brought Romans 9:20-23 to my mind and I began to get images in my head of a piece of art work that I just had to do. I went out and bought the paper right away, and then put the project off. I hadn't stopped thinking about it. I thought about it everyday, I just didn't know how it was going to work. The idea was the earth as a broken, clay vessel being worked over in a pair of old hands.

Sometime after the initial idea and before I did preliminary sketches I had a dream that my baby was dead inside of me and that the feelings I had been feeling in my stomach were phantom kicks. I woke up and felt my stomach, but my stomach was flat and I was suppose to be 18 weeks pregnant, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. I eventually fell back asleep.

When I finally sat down to the the preliminary sketches, the concept had changed. The earth was now a womb. But a broken womb/broken vessel. This is the image I wanted to incorporate, only without a hand sticking through. The only hands would be the surgeons, and they would have holes in them. I would say these sketches took place around the end of June.

The womb idea eventually subsided and I went with a pitcher, that was actually a head, but also the surface of the earth with people growing out of it. Two days ago I finally put everything together.

I wish that the circumstances that allowed this piece to be created hadn't been as they were. I do find comfort in the idea that I was being prepared for the trial that I was about to face, and that I now have a picture that reminds me of Gods sovereignty.

The other verses included are Psalm 73, Isaiah 64:8-9 and Isaiah 54: 11-14

Friday, September 2, 2011

Project 27 of many. . .

I had to take a break somewhere in the middle of the project 26 and do something that I could get done quickly to help me cope with the fact that I was only half way through a 500 hour project. . .

I made this apron for the other Mrs. Williams. It had two matching pot holders that went with it, but I don't think I took a picture of them. 

I've been on a bias binding kick lately. . . somebody watch me closely or you may come over someday and notice that I've glued it around my fridge or something crazy like that. 

Just received a photo of the pot holders. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Project 26 of many. . .

I was somewhere on the canned goods isle when my phone rang about six months ago. I'm happy enough when Suzy calls me, I was through the roof when I heard she wanted me to make a dress for her to wear at her wedding reception in August!

The design process began with a series of sketches, which we slowly widdled down to this one:

Silk organza dress with gathered bias cut strips radiating from waist. Sheer organza overlay at shoulder, with keyhole at back neck and cap sleeves. Separate silk organza net crinoline

The dress that was picked was likely the most time intensive of all the sketches, so obviously it was one of my favorites. Having never done anything like this I was very excited about the project.

I think that 9 times out of 10 the fabric that I chose for a project is out of stock. The same was true with this project. The first thing I did was dye 10 yards of silk organza. To do this I used my trusty tamale pot and 6 bags of tea that I let seep for ~3 minutes. I then pre-wet the silk and let it sit in the pot for 45 seconds. The result was the perfect off white.

I cut 60+ 1" bias strips for this dress and then ran two rows of gathering down each side. I think in the future I will see if I can find a company that will do this for me. Keeping organza on a perfect bias is . . . really tough, but mostly really time consuming.

I discovered the wonderful fabric seen above on this project. It is a silk organza net and it is fabulous. I would describe it as a lightweight horsehair canvas. . . but obviously in silk. It was perfect. Without this fabric I would have had to use something nasty like nylon tulle (shudders) to give this dress body. . . no, I would never have done that. . . the dress would have had 30 layers instead of just 5.

Another thing I experimented with on this dress was creating a lapped zipper ending in three separate layers of fabric with french seams. On top of this was added a singular bias cut ruffle. Add to this the fact that I thought I was going to do an invisible zipper, so I only at 1/2" seam allowances to work with, not 3/4" . . . meaning I had to sew on an extra strip of fabric (you can see this on my sample above - there is an organza strip running next to the purple) on somewhere. In the end I think this strip was a good thing as it reduced some bulk at the waist.

I love making buttonholes by hand. These ones were a little tricky because of their very small size and the fact that I only had 1/4" of space to work in. The buttonholes you are looking at right now probably appear twice as large as they actually were.
On a side note, I also love sewing 1/4" bias organza binding around the edges of fabric that loves nothing better than to come unwoven in your hands.

Lapped zipper disappears when zipped up all the way.

Here is the dress almost done. It is missing the cap sleeves, which needed to be draped on the wearer and the uppermost row of gathers.

This is a picture of Sarah modeling the headband that I made out of braided organza strips. I am now completely obsessed with flat 8 cord braids. I love them because you can sit down and watch a movie and get a project done at the same time (this is also why I love hand sewing).

Here comes the bride. . .

These fab photos are taken by Avia Photography out of Columbia, Missouri, who did a wonderful job of capturing Suzy's festive fiesta themed Columbia reception (how appropriate that I dyed the fabric in a tamale pot. . .). Check out their blog.

Do you have a dress in mind that you are just itching to have created for you? Give me a buzz, I'd love to work with you on it! caitlyn.m.williams@gmail.com