Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring Monsters

Nope, not purses. People. Boy people.
We had snow (in parts of this area) on Wednesday and 77 on Friday...that's Buffalo, my friends.
Seventy-seven means the Super Soakers can come off the high shelf in the garage and get soaking. We are still trying to remember the rules all the time, but soaking is so much fun, that those pesky rules get lost in the drips. The rules? No soaking anyone without their own Super Soaker, no squirting inside the garage and no squirting at close range, specifically in the face. Only two time outs yesterday, so they are getting better. And when I say 'they' I really mean just one :). These are the two we have, this is good for the little ones, much easier to hold and squirt, and, this one is better for the olders with longer squirt action, but the trigger is a little tough for the little ones, leaks a lot, and it always needs refilling.
I am working on another monster bag for a gal in Maryland who has declared herself a 'Wash My Cloth Monster Bag Collector'. I am honored and humbled by her kindness and support to this chic up in Buffalo trying to make do in life and have fun. Thanks, Jeri!
And to all you sitting inside reading this...get outside.
I have nothing else.
Really, go.
You are still there. Stop reading.
Head for the mountains.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sneak Peek Snake

After a bout of worms oozing from the skin (mistake I made knowingly), this snake bag went back into the hot water to heal his wounds. Much smaller than I imagined, but still kind of cool.

Tom asked if he was venomous or a constrictor. I say both. It's a new breed.
Once I get a zipper on this bad guy, I'll get him in the shop.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend Progress

Firstly, we made it through the eleven day vacation. Last night was really rough, Sam didn't get to sleep until 10:30 pm, a mere two hours in bed without sleeping. Extremely frustrating.

This was a great weekend for sitting outside, watching the kids bike and scoot and play with chalk and bounce on our neighbors trampoline. All good stuff, including that I can work with yarn and my hook while hanging with them.

This is a secret shot of a work in progress. This is a bag I have been thinking about for some time now. As with all my bags, I wing it. No recipe, no pattern, no counting and absolutely no writing down of what I did. If I wrote it down, then I wouldn't make one of a kinds. And if I repeated, I would be a bored little chick.

So, this one plus a green bag that happens to be the illegitimate bastard cousin of Squatch.

And for those two girls keeping up with this, yes, I cut your fabric pieces last night...well on our way.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Purses, Kind Of

One new, one redux.
I kept thinking Rugby for the striped purse, and my girlfriend's sister just had a baby boy named Rigby. Love it? Available here.
And Circle Tweed, let's try this one again. It used to have a chain strap and a pink gemstone button. I think it is groovy, you?
My current items on the hook:
Winter white purse with a slithery handle
Green monster purse for a cool chick
Two fabric bags for some silly ladies
and plans, plans, and more plans.
Hope you all have an extraordinary weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Catch 22

This is a space free of politics and policy, for the most part.

This post is personal and it is about policy, and probably politics. It is slightly woe is me, so if you aren't into that, don't read on. I just can't move forward in this blog without admitting that my life isn't all yarn and hooks and cupcakes, this is one of those times.

After our health insurance costs doubled per month this year, I started to get nervous. We were barely making it before the increase, so surely after would be no easier.

The reserve is gone, the side jobs no longer exist, and the paycheck is smaller. How did my parents feed, clothe and shelter a family of five on one paycheck?

So, I do what I do best, look on line for help. My state has a great child insurance program which is based on income. It covers children for minimal amounts per month with no co pays. I made a call and spoke to a very friendly lady. Told her that our kids have insurance, but we can't afford it. I gave some specifics and she happily told me that we were eligible to add the kids, therefore dropping our monthly insurance costs by over $200.

I checked with my current carriers and can drop the kids when I get them covered by the state insurance program for kids. Perfect.

Today, I called the state health department with a couple questions about the application, when the bomb dropped. Our application won't be processed without a Termination of Insurance letter from our current carrier.

Here is my catch: I can't terminate existing insurance without new policy. Can't get new policy without termination letter from existing insurance.

The truly upsetting part of this call was that I was told that I am not the only one this happens to. Other people, just like us. Trying to make it all work and digging through a pile only to find the pile has grown with each dig. Even if I could terminate with my current insurance, the kids would be uncovered for at least a month. Then, what if the application is denied? Screwed.

I even thought about the 30 day hiatus for the boys, maybe we could swing it if I get their annual appointments before all this goes down. And then...Sam got hurt today. Not bad, but enough to slap me back to reality and eliminating the hiatus option.

Here is where the politics comes in. I am going to write. Write letters to my representatives and congressmen. Those people I vote for, but don't really know what they do.

They are going to know how this feels, why it is a poor policy and how they can fix it, because if I don't fight, no one is going to do it for me.

And Sam, he is doing okay. The bump is getting smaller and much more colorful.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Dyngus Day

When I was a kid, my grandpa would chase me around his house with a pussy willow branch.

That is what I thought Dyngus Day was, a grown man running around silly with a branch.

This morning I read that it is also known as "Wet Monday". Kind of disturbing, thankfully, they didn't choose to call it "Moist Monday".

Dyngus Day is the secular celebration after Easter, egg rolling, dancing, and soaking people with water. The pussy willow was tapped on girls by boys, showing affection toward them. That is now working both ways, girls tapping boys. But more interesting is the evolution of the "wet" part of this day. It used to be sprinkles. Not anymore, check out this video:

For more history on Buffalo Dyngus Day, check this out.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

He's UP!

Stop by and share a heart with this little monster that doesn't really care about much.

An update...He's Gone! Thanks, Jill. Due to popular demand, Squatch's sisters and brothers and cousins twice removed with which they bore children are in the works. Keep posted on the births through this blog!

Calm in Chaos

Friday, April 10, 2009

8:00 AM Friday is a great time for WMC

WashMyCloth's Lisa Bag made the front page this morning...I'll have to check, but I think last Friday at the same time, was good for WMC, too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gluten or Gluten Free?

Tuesday night is Pizza Night. When I was a kid, it was Thursday, which was payday for my Dad. Tuesday is just a day that deserves pizza.

Our pizza night used to be Wednesday night. We would get a gluten free pizza from Pizza Plant on Transit (gluten free Wednesday night only). That pizza started to get more and more expensive. The last time I went, with tax, a medium pizza with pepperoni was $15.82. Every bite the non-gluten freers took, I could hear the cash register dinging.

I made a couple crusts myself from mixes which were fine, but I had to get out the stand mixer, dust it off, find the right paddle, roll it out with saran wrap - all just too much for a Wednesday night.

We moved on to Amy's Rice Crust Cheese Pizza. This was comparable in taste and size to the Pizza Plant pizza, yet $4.99. That was a deal. I'd decorate it with what ever was left in the refrigerator. That price slowly climbed to $5.99, then $6.49, then $6.99. When I next paid attention to the price, last week, it was $8.99. For a cheese pizza on a rice crust. Rice.

I went back to a mix, this time Chebe Pizza mix. The first time I made it, the crust was a little too chewy for my taste. Then, I tried it thinner, and am in love. It is fairly easy to make with oil, egg and milk. Mixed with my pastry blender and hands, rolled out and baked. No extra flour to roll it with, no saran wrap, just good old rolling pin. It made two pies the same size as the Amy's for $2.39. Yes, I added egg, oil, milk, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, but I was adding extra cheese and pepperoni to Amy's anyway.

If you are still reading...why? This is a really boring post.

Can you guess which is the pizzeria gluten vs. the gluten free?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Craft: Eric Carle is Awesome!

I really try to rotate craft, art, food, funny, music, shameless self promotion. But I really wanted to share this kid craft with you. Sam was learning about Eric Carle, technique and stories. He saw a video in art class on how Eric Carle creates his illustrations. And Sam said, "I really want to do Eric Carle craft". So, we did. This is simple and fun.

What you need:

10-12 sheets of heavy weight paper/card stock. We did a couple on regular bond paper and they curled, but still worked fine.

Assorted Acrylic paints

Assorted paint brushes or tools for adding texture to paint. We had sponge brushes and bristle brushes. You could use forks, crumpled tissue paper, or Q-tips, anything to bring a cool pattern to the paper.

Scissors, tape or glue dots.

We looked at Brown Bear for inspiration. Each boy drew a little outline of the animal we were going to create. I cut out the shapes for them, and they attached them with scrapbook tape. After the giraffe, Sam cut out the butterfly wings and some of the design by himself. He loved it.

This is such an easy craft and so much fun. Gets their little minds working differently. How to cut a shape out, instead of drawing it flat.

And yes, I loved every minute of it.

Well, except for the cleaning paint off the rug and picking up schniffles of paper.

If you try it, please send me pictures or links to your pictures. (yeah, I'm talking to all of you, even those without kids). Do it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Music Monday: With or Without You

Feeling numb this morning. This is a nice rendition for a rainy, snowy Monday in April.

And another...perhaps I am becoming a country music fan?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Garage Living

Yup, we will create anywhere. It is amazing how the same tools and activity becomes new and exciting with a simple change of venue.

The weather is becoming more friendly to little fingers and cheeks, the sun stays awake longer and I don't fight with the basket of gloves and hats and scarves every time we want to go outside.

Spring is good. The boys still ask, "Is that it? Am I all set to go?" with this confused tone while only wearing shoes and a light jacket.

Before our new neighbors moved in, the house across the street was occupied by an elderly couple that had transformed their garage into a living room. Complete with artwork, carpeting, television (very loud) and a screen door to replace the garage door.

When we first moved in, I thought it was a little odd and disruptive with the television. Why hang out in the garage, when you have a backyard or a family room? My family never parked a car in the garage. It was a storage shed. Not a living space.

But now I know. The garage is a gathering place for creativity, friends and a shelter from the rain in between puddle jumping.

It's okay to spend time in there, a change of scenery. Just don't disturb the neighbors with blasting the Wheel of Fortune. I'll help you get a Miracle Ear.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Out Out Damn Pastels!

My photos of late have been very pink and pretty. Time to shake it up.

Meet my newest Monster Squatch. I have realized that I tend to choose yarns that are difficult to photograph. It was much to sunny this day, but I tried nonetheless.

He needs a little trimming and some pupil reflection and a zipper. What do you think? I am pretty excited with the nose, it was a roll of the dice. I don't have any patterns and am just working through the trial and error. It is so exciting to see what comes out of the washer.

I may be in love with this hairy beast.

Dishwasher vs. Ice Cream

There are some things that I find ruined and not worth consumption if not right. Soggy bread encasing a wad of turkey and cheese, a salad with bad dressing and no raisins, and soupy ice cream.

We got a new refrigerator a while back and I am still figuring it out. Well, figuring out the best place to put the ice cream so that it is really hard, but still scoopable. That is a very fine line, folks.
This was a little soft for my taste. Soft from the freezer and the fact that I stupidly placed it on the counter to scoop.
The counter that is directly above our dishwasher.
The dishwasher that had just finished drying.