No, I don’t think I could possibly even begin to jump into the fashion blog world. There are so many really wonderful fashion bloggers out there, I love to see what ideas I can find to use my own wardrobe in new ways. One of the first blogs I found was Outfit Posts, she searches for inspiration online for outfits and creates a similar look with things in her closet. I have found some new ways to use my own clothes from her blog, I think you will, too. One of my favorites is below – jeans tucked into boots has become a “uniform” of sorts for me.

Cute and comfy.

Merricks Art is another fashion blog I love, she is so cute! Although a generation or two separate us (not to mention a few pounds…), I love her approach to mixing and matching texture, color and print. I found a darling long-sleeved casual tee at Target thanks to Merrick, I wear it so often and wonder how I ever got along without it! She also is a sewer and does some amazing re-fashions with things she finds. Check her site out – her two little boys are darling and dressed for success themselves.

Love this combo!

Love this combo!

The third blog I want to share with you is one I just found today. The blogger is a little bit closer to my age…and I have had some fun this afternoon searching through her archives…since she lives in the south seeing the green in the background of her pictures gives me hope that the cold weather in St. Louis will go away soon! s e e r c u c k e r + s a d d l e s is where you want to go. Her clothes have an easy style, ideas I can incorporate using the stuff in my own closet and some inspiration for adding pieces to mix and match without breaking the budget. This is the outfit where she had me (maybe not the heels for school…)

Stripes + stripes!

Stripes + stripes!

All of this brings me back to the title of my blog – Life in the FACS Lane…For those who may not know, FACS is an acronym for Family and Consumer Sciences (old school Home Economics). One of the motivations for me to move from teaching at the middle school to the high school was the opportunity to teach the Fashion Construction classes. This year I have been blessed to have Fashions 1 and 2 both semesters – and am hoping to add Fashions 3 next year. Working with these kids (yes, I do have BOTH sexes in Fashions!) has inspired me to rediscover my sewing machine and the joy it gives me to create and sew AND pass my love of all things fashion/sewing to a new generation…here is what we did Friday:

Burn Test

In Fashions 2 there is a unit on textiles and fibers to be covered;  the content is essential for anyone who is interested in clothing (and who isn’t?) and sewing. To give the students a context to remember the boring notes they had taken, I had them do a burn test with various samples of natural and manufactured fabrics and they LOVED it! Here is a link to one lesson plan in this area you may want to try from the Utah Education Network. It takes a bit of pre-planning to get everything ready and do remember, safety first!!

Can’t wait to get them started on their projects…follow me this semester and see what they are up to!

Posted in FACS, Home Economics, Sewing, Teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

When I Started This Blog…

forEVER ago – I was inspired by cleaning out boxes. Yep, digging through that stuff of mine that has followed me all over the country. We all have them, those childhood memories I need to part with (if I listened more carefully to Peter Walsh) but have decided to leave that task to my children. When I am gone. In a really, really, really long time from now, I hope.


Bellevue WA logo

Back to the boxes and what I found in them. I was a fairly decent journal keeper in my youth, at least for the summers and also during junior high school. My parents gave me a Peanuts Calendar for Christmas every year, and I would dutifully write down what I had done that day, which, when I look back on some of the “entries,” I actually remember the experience. 44+ years later.

peanuts calendar

On January 12, 1969 I was a 7th grader at Chinook Junior High in Bellevue, WA. It was also a Sunday. I didn’t do much on that day, but did walk to Brown’s Rexall Drug store, a distance of just over a mile, for who knows what! Brown’s was the best place to get candy, and was the site of my first (and only) criminal activity. Yes, a couple friends and I stole a small rabbit’s foot chain, which at the time was a very important accessory to our favorite activity – hop scotch. Long story short, someone spilled the beans and we had to return them, and our parents even made us APOLOGIZE to Mr. Brown. Can you imagine? (Imagine kids playing hop scotch first…) My favorite candy at the time was  is anything sour – and Jolly Rancher bars, whole HUGE slabs of sour goodness for 5¢. And, being not quite 13-years-old, I probably walked off the entire calorie count with the 1+ mile walk.

Olsens Thriftway Jolly Rancher Candy Sticks

Today? Spent some time on the internet (glad it wasn’t around back when I was 12…), catching up with a style challenge I stumbled on, while I am fairly happy with my fashion style, it is fun to try and tweak what’s in my closet to keep the winter wardrobe interesting. Then off to the gym to meet with a personal trainer, who showed me the most perfect little 30 minute “I think I can do this” strength training workout to compliment my other New Year efforts.


The day got even better – had a day date with the hubs to see Nebraska – you must see this movie with Bruce Dern and Will Forte – it is so good, a great story and a valuable lesson in being a good adult child with your very adult parents.

nebraska the movie

Now I am off to enjoy dinner at the home of some dear friends. The best part is that her daughter is preparing the entire meal – she graduated from the (Portland) Oregon Culinary Institute! My tummy couldn’t be happier. (that’s our chef, isn’t she cute? AND she can cook!)

Oregon culinary Institute

So, my life in a nutshell. I’m going to try and stick with this, again. IF you happen to make it to the end and want to encourage/motivate me..please feel free to “follow” me (outside of FB). I am trying to figure out my niche in blogland and I love to write…see you next week!

Posted in 1970s, Bellevue, Exercise/Walking | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Back to School…and this blog?

Wow, I knew I was really good at procrastination – but I think I have even impressed myself. The last time I posted it was snowing – today it reached 91 with what seems to be an equal amount of humidity here in the ‘Lou. But I never knew a thing…because I was INSIDE AT THE FIRST DAY FOR TEACHERS to be back at school.

Please don’t misunderstand, I am very grateful to have these days to get ready – it’s just kinda like pulling a band aid off really slooooowly. I’m good at that.

I’ve got lots of news to share – Kate got married (what fun, I suggest everyone have a wedding!), I’ve transferred from the middle to the high school (very excited for the new opportunities, and yes, it was my choice to pursue), and our son is back home (no more empty nest.)

This time around I will focus more on things I’m doing in the classroom – and hope to share some of the fun things my more “mature” high school students are up to and looking for input from all of you out there.  After all, this IS Life in the FACS Lane!

Here is a bit of an idea of where I will be spending my time this year – I’m happy to have landed in a great spot with wonderful teachers and new classes to teach. One of the best things is I get to see some of the kiddos I had in middle school finish and graduate! Here is a picture of the banners in the commons – I’m not the only one who thinks Marquette is great!

Banners Compressed

Posted in FACS, Home Economics, Teaching | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Snow Day(s!!!) 2013

I’m a teacher.

I like snow days.

I haven’t had a snow day in 2 years.

I was like a teenager with a crush on a boy, sitting by the phone (actually refreshing the district website every minute), waiting for the auto-alert call from our superintendent Thursday night hoping he would let us know that due to inclement weather (actually, pretty bad road conditions) there would be NO SCHOOL on Friday!! We had our first snow day on Thursday, after a 12 hour day of classes and parent-teacher conferences. Two days? Awesome.

After a celebratory glass of wine…ok, a 2nd celebratory glass of wine, I started my mental list. I’m not a good sleeper-inner, I knew I would be up early when the hubs left for work (poor guy, Wash U. never closes), so started thinking about everything I would do the next day.

I always create a long list of “things I am going to get accomplished” when  a snow day is announced. I am not a very good relaxer. And, I can say, I did get quite a few things accomplished – but not quite as many as my imaginary superwoman could do. Here, in pictures is how this teacher spent her 4 day weekend

Enjoy the forecast, a cup of coffee and one of my favorite blogs, Talk of the House.


Then, off to work on Project 333. (Read more about it here – I am not making the total 33 plunge, but did make a huge purge.)

Pile from the closet – before.

closet unloaded 2

Closet during.

clean closet

Here is the transformation! (hah, in my dreams…)


Friday brought a dose of reality and a workout provided mother nature…shoveling.


Saturday? I was sore (Thanks, Jillian Michaels and Mother Nature) so I had some real fun and ran errands…Sunday morning included these yummy Cinnamon Roll Pancakes  Sorry, these are “raw,” I ate mine before remembering to take a picture! Thanks for the inspiration (and calories…) Amanda!

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Yet ANOTHER walk with the dogs in the woods – this would have been a perfect day to ski, if the hubs enjoyed skiing and we lived somewhere you could really ski.


We saw a teepee on the trail.


Outhouses covered in snow. I am not an outhouse fan, but feel compelled to take pictures of them for some odd reason.

Outhouses in snow

I’m telling you, it was a BEAUTIFUL day! Bright blue skies, no wind and 38 degrees. Perfect.


Who can resist horses in coats?


To cap off a wonderful 4 day weekend, I decided to organize one of the drawers in the bathroom. I’m a girl who knows how to have fun, but I’ll just leave you with a little tease for next time…

all the stuff under the sink ina pile

Snow is in the forecast for Tuesday night, but I don’t think snow lightening will strike twice. This is a picture from a 4 day snow day break when I was in high school…please ignore the date. I’m sure the 1 Hour Photo Mat place got it wrong…

Snow 1972

Posted in 1970s, Bellevue, Exercise/Walking | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A Walk in the Woods

Although the weather in St. Louis is nowhere near to what the Northeast has experienced this weekend, I am sitting at the table in our bay window, listening to howling wind with a blanket over my ankles (maybe getting dressed by noon would help?) looking over a rain-soaked backyard. Seems appropriate to look back to the fall when the leaves were crunchy, the sun was shining, and the dogs could have lots of sniffage and running in the woods.

Our son was home from college last November and introduced us to Greensfelder Park about 10 minutes from our house in suburban St. Louis. It’s an amazing, undeveloped area with lots of trails to follow and sits in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. While we have never run into anyone else while hiking, there is definite evidence of equestrian activity – much to the delight of our dogs…


Here is Brett, with one of our “grand-dogs,” Dabo. Brett is planning on walking the Appalachian Trail this year to raise awareness and money for Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet – I think Dabo should join him, don’t you?


(Dabo is already famous in the dog blog world, he was a favorite of many when this photo of him showed up on Dog Shaming – I should have been suspicious when he was so quiet and “occupied” as I was sewing one evening. My daughter tells me that Kristin Conrad from The Hills even retweeted it…)

Dabo on Dog Shaming

Here is the hubs and I at the top of the “mountain” – hard to believe suburbia is just over those hills, isn’t it?


Mother and son.


Not sure what this means…either is a Black Diamond ski run OR there are birds of prey ahead…


Maybe we SHOULD be checking out for a herd of wild horses?


It’s hard to get a decent picture of two dogs, but I think we’re all smiling.


Wish you could hear the rustling of the leaves as the dogs smelled every inch of the world at their paws. Talk about FUN!

DSC01790 DSC01791 DSC01792

Ready to head home and snooze the afternoon away.

DSC01794 DSC01795

The humans are ready, too.


A beautiful day.


Go out and find some untraveled areas near your home – once you get the snow out of the doorway, that is! (found this on the web…poor guy, but he looks ready to go!)

Dog in Snow

Sunday afternoons are made for naps (with good buddies)

Dabo and Wrigley

Posted in Exercise/Walking | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Ham and Cheese Sliders (a.k.a. Ham Balls)

We are off to our friend’s home to watch the “BIG GAME” this afternoon – and I’m bringing over a long-time favorite of the Hamlin family. We’ve enjoyed this recipe for years, and thanks to the internet (and Pinterest!) lots of you have enjoyed it, too. You may have heard them referred to as Ham and Cheese Sliders – yummy, cheesy, buttery, hammy goodness. I promise, you, it is impossible to eat just one.

We have called them Ham Balls since living in Iowa. I would make them for our friends every Christmas and Randy couldn’t think of their name, so he christened them Ham Balls and the name stuck.  I was very protective of the recipe (yeah, I was one of THOSE people) and didn’t share it until we moved…A girl’s gotta keep a couple of secrets!

The original recipe I have is from A Taste of Old Salem, a community cookbook published by the Junior Women’s Club of Salem, VA in 1989.

I don’t know how to insert a printable document (yet) so you’ll need to copy and paste if you decide to whip some of these babies up before 5:00 central time!

Ham Sliders

Ham Rolls (thanks to Kimberly Preston)

3 pkgs. Pepperidge Farm Party Rolls*

2 sticks butter

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. mustard (I use Dijon style)

3 tbsp. poppy seeds

1 1/2 lb.  shaved deli ham (whatever is on sale!)

1/2 lb. thinly sliced Swiss cheese

1)  Bake  the rolls as directed on the package; remove from the pan and slice in half horizontally. It is much easier to put these together if you don’t separate the individual rolls before serving. (Keep the aluminum pan, you’ll need it to bake them in after they are put together.)

2)  Saute onion in butter until translucent, add the Worcestershire, mustard and poppy seeds to the onion/butter mixture. Divide evenly between the 3 pans of rolls, don’t worry about it soaking in…that’s what makes them so delicious!

3) Top with the ham, then the cheese and put the tops back on. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts – about 20 – 30 minutes. These may be put assembled and frozen and heated without defrosting – just may take a little longer.

*(These are NOT available any longer – the best substitute I have found are Sister Schubert’s Frozen Parker House Rolls, others have used the Hawaiian style sweet rolls, but the Parker House are my pick, they are a perfect bite size) Also, this picture shows some of the butter mixture brushed onto the top of the rolls before baking – you could easily make more and do this.

If you haven’t caught it yet – Puppy Bowl IX  is on Animal Planet this afternoon – the commercials might not be the same as the big game , but do you get to see any NFL players get penalized for excessive tail biting or pooping on the field? Hmm…maybe during the off-season?

At any rate – enjoy your day. I think there’s enough time to get to the store and make yourself some Ham Rolls!

Posted in Appetizers | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Two Christmas Projects are DONE!!

How exciting!!

This week I finished TWO, yes TWO Christmas projects. Please ignore they were for Christmas 2012 – as many accountants and those who work for the government will attest, numbers are often irrelevant and can be manipulated as the situation dictates.

Last year I made pillows for family members and friends using some favorite photos and transferring them to special heat transfer fabric. This VERY easy to do – and worked great on my home printer. Here is a tutorial on eHow. The response from everyone waas great, so this year I decided to do it again – but make them more individual this time.

My daughter, Kate (a.k.a. Bride-to-Be or BtB) gave the hubs and I these framed maps for our anniversary last year. Here they are – the one on the left is where we were each born and where we got married (Go VOLS!) and the one on the right is where our family has lived since BtB made us a threesome.

Hamlin Family Framed Fotos

So, with this as my inspiration I turned to etsy – quick search for “state maps” and I found Saturated Color. Her customer service is great – a couple of the maps I ordered were digital and the others are actual pages from old social studies books. Sad to say, I think some of them looked a little familiar, does that make ME vintage? The digital images arrived immediately, the actual pages were in my mailbox within a week – protected from any sort of impact they might have been exposed to.  All I needed to do was download or scan, transfer to the fabric, buy some fabric and pillow forms, decide how I would put them together, clean the house, prepare food for all of our guests/visitors, clean the house, go to the grocery store, teach school, wrap gifts, clean the house…well, you get the idea. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What ended up being completed by Christmas Eve were the downloaded images, wrapped up in a tube an inserted into stockings with a promise!

Following are the VERY basic steps I took to make 2 of the pillows – one for BtB and another for FSIL (Future Son-in-Law). Yes, you are correct – the rest are still just a figment of your imagination – but are in a REAL pile on my pile of UFOs (unfinished objects).

1) I decided to save myself a bit of math work and use a Log Cabin type piecing system. After transferring the photos to the fabric, I cut two pieces of fabric the length of the shortest end of the picture. I used a 1/4″ seam because there was not a lot of fabric to work with on the sides of the picture.

Piecing Map

Here is what it looks like from the right side.

Map Pieced Right Side

I used the design and the edge of my presser foot to sew the pieces together. Apologies to eastern Pennsylvania, I hope there were no injuries resulting from a giant sewing machine needle sewing through you.

Line up cut edge with presser foot

All 4 sides attached – but it looked a little plain, so after searching through my ribbon box, I found some pretty gray grosgrain that matched the drawings on the maps perfectly.

All 4 Sides Added

It needed a little something

I purchased 14 X 14″ pillow forms, so trimmed the fronts to 15 X 15″ (allowing 1/2″ seam allowances on all 4 sides) and cut a 15 X 15″ piece for the back of each pillow. If I have the gumption, sometimes I will insert a zipper in the pillow back – but lacking the zippers and said gumption – these two were made without.

Fold under raw edges

All sewn together and ready for the newlywed’s home! I had some heart-shaped buttons in my stash and put one on the city where each of them were born.

Kate was born in State College He was born in Springfield IL

Hearts showing where they were born

Just a few more to tackle before Christmas 2013 creeps up on me.

Weather around here is chilly – freezing drizzle turning to rain then 68 degrees forecast for Monday. As a teacher, I must protest – what happened to SNOW in the winter????

Image | Posted on by | 3 Comments