Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ask your Pharmacist


Congratulations, Tom, on being accepted to Pharmacy School.

We are very proud of you.

...
Thanks for the support on the whole Etsy deal. Was that all I had to do? Write down my intentions and suddenly feel revived? I am excited to see what I come up with. Thanks for all your comments, on and off the blog.
...
Update on the "Weirdo Lives Next Door" neighbors: Nothing. They didn't make the Amherst Bee Police Blotter. If you have some time to kill, browse through some of these archived Police Blotters.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I'd Like to Do


When I get in a creative slump, I go here, Etsy.com. My cousin Jill suggested I check it out, and I am so glad she did. She thought I could sell some of my work on this site, more of that below.

Etsy is like eBay, but with creative people. Think of it as a really cool artsy craft show where you never have to linger at a table you aren't interested in just to make the artist feel good. There are some really talented people out there, with some really cool amazing stuff. Love This and These. You can also get supplies, buttons, fabric, patterns, jewelry findings, etc. I would encourage you all to go here to look for a gift for that person that doesn't really fit the department store mold. You will also find some interesting blogs in here by clicking on the seller information.

On to the part about selling my work on Etsy. I want to. I even set up a username and password. But that is as far as I have gotten. I think time is the number one reason. As soon as I think I have time to make fun stuff for the etsy shop, I get sidetracked. I am reluctant to state it here, but I fully intend to have at least 10 items for sale by October 1st, 2008. There, I said it. October is a good time, mainly for the holiday shopping folks and it gives me a decent amount of time to figure out what I think I could sell. Since I have set up the account with our company, Wash My Cloth, soaps and wash towels will certainly be available, but I think for my own development as an artist, I need something a little more creative. There isn't all that much weaving on Etsy, and the little weaving they have is lovely, but pricey.

One of my 'hats' at work is to sell our services and one of our main points is to set goals, perform tasks then revisit those goals to see that we have accomplished, and if not, how do we change our plans and process to meet those goals.

Etsy is my goal.

And I will revisit this.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Slumping

My camera and I aren't getting along.


I am sure it has nothing to do with the camera, it is all user.


I believe I did something to my color adjustments. The green in the sweater really is a lovely shade. Every picture comes out this mossy - gray green. Please know that although I tend to lean away from the standard pink and blue, my color choices are quite pleasant.


Until these photos. Concept was great, styling is okay, and embellishments are fair.

It is just the camera. It might be time to click that button that restores to factory settings and start all over.


So, in a slump am I.

Our flu seems to have passed and left behind a nasty cough and some crouchy heads. And Little O either has another, or still has the last, ear infection.

C'mon sun. We all need your brightness and healing effects. And my camera needs you, too!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sickness

Need a little cheering up.
The flu just won't leave our house.
Coughing, crying, aching, crying.

What are you all doing out there?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Warm and Free

February is a rough month. Nothing really happens in February. Even though it is a short month, it seems longer than January and March put together.

President's Day marks the opening of the 'Summer in the Sun' event at the local mall. They set up 15 or so sandboxes and let the kids have Free-free play. So nice to have free events.

Although we couldn't play until they stopped with the 'Summer in the Sun Free Music', due to the volume level, we had a pleasant time. Oscar wandered around, seemingly confused.

Perhaps he couldn't understand why there were 60 kids playing in dirt with their socks on.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Neighborhood Signage

This was too funny not to share with you all. Our neighborhood is typical suburban folk. Some older folks, some young families and the people across the street.

The boys and I went for a walk this morning and as we were returning to our house, I noticed this sign across the street.

The guy that "lives next door!" is a friend of ours. A very nice family that happened to call the police (again) last night after their 6 yr old daughter woke up for the third time because of this guys loud pounding music. Police across the street are not rare. This morning, our friends called to check on Town ordinances against residential lawn signage, so the cops made another visit.

Seriously. Weirdo? And, this looks like female handwriting, which throws me because I thought the wife was the normal(ish) one. They must have some decent time on their hands to make this.

We are hoping that this makes the Amherst Bee Police Blotter next week! Stay tuned.

Another Bag?

I love bags.

Many women love shoes. Shoes are nice, but I really only wear sneakers, flip flops and simple black shoes. That is all I need. But bags, I can never have enough bags. And bags are cheaper than shoes and a lot easier to make. Back when Tom and I were 'a courtin', I made him some suede high leg moccasins. It was a fun project, but not a very practical shoe.

The pleather diaper bag I made last month was made with a pattern. The pattern shape for the base of the bag is the simplest idea, yet works great, even if you don't really like to measure, or follow directions (like me). I have a real problem with following recipes, crochet patterns, sewing patterns, really any type of direction - except for electronics, you shouldn't mess with that stuff. I don't know why I alter, omit or edit. Maybe to be just a little different and feel like I have a bit of control.

The first year Sam was in Pre-K, I saw all the other kids give teacher gifts. On Valentines Day! In fact, every holiday, it seemed that other kids (moms) were sending in something for the teacher. So, we found some simple glass votive holder with pretty embossing at Michael's and decided that would be better appreciated than the silk rose or the wooden heart wall hanging. I forgot to buy little bags to put them in, so thought about the pile of felt I had.

The basic bag pattern for this is two slices of felt, folded in half (4X8 ish). On both bottom corners, I cut out squares, approximately the size of one blue four button Lego. Sewing the bottom and sides, leaving the cut out Lego space unsewn. Then open up the Lego space and match the two seams in the middle, this will form an angular shape to the bottom of the bag. Do this on the other Lego space and your bag shape is formed. Since I used felt, and wanted the sewn edges to show, I just trimmed the hems to be consistant with each other. I slipped a piece of ribbon in between the two layers of felt and stitched.

It didn't take too long, unless you ask Tom.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ham, Dimmer Switch and Flowers

All, from my Valentine.


Thanks, Tom. I love you.

Details?


Ham steaks for dinner. Dimmer switch for our terribly bright dining room chandelier that I am not so fond of. And flowers, because he knows I adore the peachy yellow ones with dark edges. I couldn't decide on one pic, so you get three.


As kind and thoughtful as the ham steaks were, Sam really wanted pancakes and since it is Valentine's Day, we made them pink. And added some chocolate chips. If you know my two boys, you will know which one ate the chocolate chipped cakes and the one that went plain with a fork.


Any one out there looking for Gluten Free Pancake mix, Maple Grove Farms has a nice one available at that giant megastore that starts with a W and ends in mart. Only problem is the size, it comes in a small amount making 3 batches per box (6-8 cakes per serving).


God Bless those kids at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. Why is all this happening? And who is going to do something about it? What will high schools and colleges be like when my boys get there? Scary thoughts.
No more thoughts like that today. It is valentines day, and I am going to watch "(Finding)Nemooooooo" for the 9th time this week with my special little valentines.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Crown Time

My kids will soon figure out that I will buy them any craft item whenever they ask. As long as it is a craft item or something to use in order to make another object.

So, when Sam said he wanted to make a crown, I was all over it. I had first planned on reusing items in the house, but knew I didn't have any 'crown' base, and since I needed some of that, I might as well let him pick out some sparkles and pom poms and pipe cleaners. I did have to say no again for the fifth time to the foam hand stating: "Number #1"

I am a kid crafter at heart. Pipe cleaners remind me of summer youth programs at the town parks. One year I volunteered over 300 hours in a summer alone. I didn't know there were that many hours in a summer! Anyway, I became a master boondoggler. Any one remember boondoggle? The plastic linguine used to knot and weave boondoggled keychains. I don't think they really worked for anything else...

Back to present. Sam, and eventually Oscar, made some pretty cool crowns.
You should see the jeweled ring I now own. Pretty fancy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cars, Ramblings and The Hep


-We are a house of cars. Little cars, big cars, metal cars, plastic cars, rubber cars. You name it, we have it. Some of them I really dig. Like this one. But all those cars, times two little boys, leaves many cars on the floor. I have learned to step over them and haven't stepped on one in a while, however, when cars are on the kitchen floor they get kicked. The sound for me, compares to screeching chalk on a chalkboard. I really don't know how to share the sound with you. I guess you will just have to imagine or not.
-Writing a blog is odd. Here I am sitting at the computer and just letting the words come out. I really have no idea who my readers are, if any. I am not sure if I should be writing like a diary or a letter to friends. And when I miss multiple days, I feel a little guilty. Odd.

-Oh, The Hep. A produce worker at our grocery store was diagnosed with Hepatitis A. Our pediatrician is out of the vaccine and the line at the free clinic averages 3 hours. Am I a bad mom to risk this one, since there is only a chance that worker touched my banana peel and when I peeled it for my kids I touched the banana in the same place where that worker touched the peel, then touched the banana itself with the hand in the exact place where the workers germs were???

-It has been a really busy week at work, finally finishing reports that should have gone out on the 5th, not much I could do to make it faster. I spent all day today, reconciling a list of 70 some locations and their square footage and square meters and headcounts. Ugh. That is enough to make anyone want cupcakes. Unfortunately, I ate them all. Well, all but five or so.

-We had a fun time at little Sammy's first birthday party. The birthday girl was charming and the fellowship was enjoyable (that is my church-girl comments coming through). Oh, and super cool gift bags for the boys - Webkinz. Sam was in heaven. He felt so much better after watching Sammy open all the presents with SAM or SAMMY or SAMANTHA written on them and wondering when he would get to open one. We (I) love Webkinz. It gives me that shopping feel, without spending real money.
Here is the little bag I made for Sammy:


I need to work on my photographing skills when it comes to bags.

Well, Chelsea Lately is on - hysterical - everyone should watch on E! at 11:30 pm EST

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cupcake Cravings

I appreciate gluten free mixes. It removes the disappointment of messing up the ratio of tapioca flour to rice flour and xantham gum to guar gum. When you have a cupcake craving, a disappointment can turn tragic.

I have had this mix in my cupboard since before Christmas, with all intentions of making a GingerSpice cookie. Best laid plans...


Today, after two nights of restless-baby-in-the-bed sleep, a trip to the doctor, a trip to the pharmacy for another round of antibiotic for another ear infection, and a spooned portion of leftover frosting in the fridge, I decided today was the day to satisfy my craving.



Only tragedy here, is that other people in this house love them as much as me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Giving Handmade Gifts

Sometimes it is to save a little money.

Sometimes it is because I don't have a project going.

Sometimes it is because I have a skein or two of yarn.

Most times, it is because I think the recipient would appreciate it.

Sometimes, they wish I would have gotten the Diaper Champ off the registry.

But this time, it is because he just loves it.


This is Myles - forgive us for the picture, it was taken moments ago by Myles' mom, Gretchen, via cell phone. Gretchen asked me to make a new bed for this awesome dog. This took 48 minutes to make, plus a little extra for the cool dog bone pillow that I really didn't think would be used as an actual pillow.

Sweet dreams, Myles! I'll make you anything.

Interested in a crocheted dog sweater and matching booties?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Account Services

I have been getting a recorded message on my home phone approximately once per week, sometimes more. It tells me that I have the opportunity to drop my interest payment on MY credit card to 6.9%. Then, it says that this is the "final time" they will call me. I can also press '2' to stop these calls. Or, I can press '1' and talk to a live representative to lower my rate.
When I say I have been getting these calls, I remember getting the last one this past summer. They stopped for a while, then returned, now back to weekly calls. Once the 'live representative' hung up on me when I asked what the name of the credit card is. So, the final time isn't quite final, maybe they mean final of the day. And the '2' doesn't really do anything but indicate to Account Services that they have a live one.

Today...I spewed a long sentence ending with, "What can I do to make you guys stop calling me?".

Tina (name changed to protect the idiot) said, "I'll put your number on the do not call list".

I said, "Will that work because that was done last month and I am still getting the calls?"

Tina abruptly said, "I don't have time for this."

Hmmm. I thought she called me...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Drive By

I was returning from the baby shower (she thought the lining was pretty cool) and saw these trees. I drive by them all the time, but today I thought they deserved a picture. I snapped this at 13 miles per hour.

Starting to think about the yarn on the loom. Needing a little inspiration, I cropped the pic of the trees and came up with this. Broken down into grayscale, it could definitely be a weave pattern, a crochet stitch, or any embellishment on a cute little brown purse.
I never know what will inspire me, but these trees certainly have me thinking.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Fall of Procrasti Nation


I Finished.
A full day and a half prior to the giving of this gift.
Could this possibly be the start of a new "Me"? This may seem odd, but there is a thrill to leaving project completions to the bitter end.
.
Photographing bags, specifically shiny black ones, isn't the easiest subject.
What I have learned:
1. Interfacing doesn't really like pleather.
2. Vinyl doesn't like to be machine sewn. And hand sewing isn't all that fun.
3. Zippers are hard.
4. Go basic. Figure out the basics, then step back and start the creative juices.
5. Zippers stink.
Aside from a couple sidelined steps, I think it came out pretty good. There is also a changing pad! I hope to get the expression captured on film once the flap is lifted and the lining is revealed.
Congratulations to Marie, Tanya, Deana, Julie and new Mom of two, Gena. We love babies!