April 30, 2009

Unfinished business

I am 27 and it's probably time I become independent from my parents. With that in mind (and many, many reminders from my mom), I've been trying to clear the remainder of my things out of their house. After all, they have all their own stuff, plus a lot of my grandma's stuff, and even some of my great-grandma's stuff. Probably some of my sister's stuff. Can't wait for the day my whole family's crap will rain down on me to store, completing the true circle of life.

Anyways, I took a few boxes the other week and found some pretty awesome relics from my childhood. 1) A button claiming "I can jump 18 ways!" from my stint in my elementary school's Rope Power (18? are you kidding? Now I'm lucky if I could jump rope backwards). 2) This letter:

I had a whole binder devoted to correspondence, with the names of my likely recipients labeling the dividers and a stack of wide-rule paper in each section. Cica was my penpal from Brasil - the daughter of a friend of my mom's. I did actually write several letters to her, but seeing that this sad composition was the only thing in the binder made me laugh out loud. Was it a victim of the rise of computers and the death of hand-written correspondence? No, I'm sure I was just lazy.

April 29, 2009

My free giveaway prize!

After entering a drawing a while back with Danger Kitty Designs, my handmade, one-of-a-kind prize was brought to me the other day. I love him! His colors are so awesome and he has joined a small group of stuffed animals that watch over my craft room.

Here he is with his new friend Raoul:

I'll have to think of a name for him, and I'm open to suggestions. Since he is a sleepy monkey, it will probably be something alliterated like Sleepy Sam, because for some reason I can't get enough of alliteration.

April 28, 2009

A looooooong time coming

Woo hoo! I finally finished this gift of play food for our friend's two-year-old. I've been feeling guilty because I met them right after Seb was born, and I never had a chance to make him my usual bear. So maybe he's a little young for play food yet, but it was fun to do something different. Plus, I can continue to make food from the same skeins because each piece takes so little yarn. Yay efficiency! The canvas tote was probably the most expensive thing at a couple bucks, and instead of buying a fabric marker or fabric paint I just used a Sharpie. Hopefully it won't bleed if they wash it and he can use it to help at the grocery store.

Included in my play food set is:
An ice cream cone
A strawberry
A carrot
A pea pod
A cupcake
A lemon and lime
An apple
A banana
A ham sandwich
A pretzel

Thanks to all the designers of these patterns! The ham sandwich and pretzel I just made up. The pretzel is just some brown in i-cord twisted and tacked with a few stitches.

Making play food is an awesome way to feel productive - you can get a result in just a few hours. I pretty much ignored the yarn used in the patterns and just bought a bunch of colors in the same weight - then used size six needles for all. I also modified some of the patterns a little - because I'm just like that. The yarn is all acrylic so they can be tossed in the washer when enough child drool has crusted them over, but I think a fruit basket made with some nicer cotton or bamboo or silk yarns would make a nice table centerpiece.

April 21, 2009


I'm watching Patti LaBelle on the Tyra show. She is looking for a chef and I LOVE that she notices things like loose ponytails, hand washing habits, and double dipping. I HATE that they pulled a woman out of the audience to taste some stuff and they (Patti, Tyra, and some other woman) couldn't shut up about how skinny she was.

"Are you hungry?" "You need to get something on those bones." "Do you like eating?" They were TOUCHING HER STOMACH and saying how it was jumping every time she took a bite. Then they sent her back into the audience with a huge dish of food. Every imaginable condescending comment was made. What a great example of how judgmental women can be of each other. No big deal? These kinds of interactions are never meant to be complimentary - they are meant to 1) get a few laughs and the expense of someone's appearance, or 2) pit woman against woman, body part against body part, in order to boost someone's confidence by making a spectacle of someone else.

It's not ok to make fun of someone for being "fat," and it's not ok to make fun of someone for being "skinny."

April 20, 2009

Mischief Managed: Oops

Penny just sneezed and fell off the couch. Hilarious.

April 17, 2009

Sweet Stuff: Bird on a wire

I love everything having to do with birds AND I like wire art - so here you have it. I imagine the door of the cage is open.

The artist is from Plymouth and they have many other bird/wire items for sale - check out Bird from a Wire's Etsy site. This piece was also highlighted by HandmadeMN along with some other local artists' bird and leafy-themed wares. It is $30 plus shipping and is about 13"x9".

April 16, 2009

Fail: A sad new category that starts with a tree

It pains me to say it, but sometimes I fail. In the interest of humbling myself and hoping for some cathartic experiences I'm going to share my fails. Do not laugh! Ok, laugh a little. I've laughed many times at my own foibles - but only after crying inside for the exact number of hours it took me to make the piece of crap in the first place.

This was supposed to be a felted tree on which I was going to put interchangeable accents for various seasons. Red i-cord garlands and a star topper for Christmas, a tiny bird's nest for spring, etc. etc. Well, the felting didn't go as planned and now - if you have that sort of mind - it just resembles a green you-know-what.

There are many reasons it failed: I made it in a way that I had to stuff if before felting, my washing machine won't run a hot cycle on anything other than "delicate," and I was making up the pattern as I went. The undersides of the tiers need to be flatter and the top needs to be sharper. Since it didn't felt down as much as I had wanted, it just ended up looking lumpy and it won't stand up straight.


April 15, 2009

They're alive!

This is the future garden site, although it is now totally un-sodded (about 96 square feet maybe? I don't know) and there is chicken wire around half of it. Classy.

And here are the seedlings:

The peppers have not come up yet, which is a little worrisome. Everything else is doing GREAT. And there's two or three ladybugs that have taken up residence amid the sprouting greens.

Hopefully I'll get myself together and start a slew of marigolds today because apparently they help keep pests (like rabbits, cats, squirrels, and cute-but-naughty terriers) from digging under the fence to feast on my veggies. I realize the squirrels will just climb over the fence, but I can only do so much.

April 14, 2009

Hold the mayo

I'm working on a set of play food, which has been fun because all the pieces take a relatively short time to make. Most of the patterns I found for free (yay!), but there just wasn't a sandwich that I liked out there. So I fumbled through making my own.

I love things that are ridiculously easy - like making a pink rectangle and calling it ham. I'm still toying with the idea of making smaller orange rectangles and calling them cheese.

I'm a little disappointed with the lettuce because I wanted the colors to intertwine more. But since it's not closed at the back (you can see both sides), I couldn't have long strands of yarn stretching all over the place or tons of little knots and woven-in ends. Thus, the end result is stripy. Oh, well. I'm guessing the kid playing with it won't be a "food critic."

April 8, 2009

Random thoughts

It turns out that knitting a dog collar is a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. But I will prevail; after I take a long, long break from thinking about how to put a closure, cables, and letters in it - all while building in a sleeve for the real collar and/or a slot for the leash to connect through.

In the mean time, I'll be working on the FREE GIFT that was won by AnnaBelle in my giveaway drawing. It's a surprise everyone will have to wait to see...

AND I'll be working on a bolero for myself. I so hope it works out, because I can always use more layering clothes. Even in the summer - especially in the grocery store or movie theaters.

Speaking of dog collars... my friend Jenny is involved in rescue operations for animals who are on track to being euthanized :( mostly because they were lost, left, or mistreated. She usually works with Australian Cattle Dogs and there's a super cute one currently in need of home who I would totally take if I didn't already have a dog who would not do well with the addition. Anyways, Jenny is walking in the MN Valley Humane Society's Woofer and Hoofer fundraising event on May 2nd. I'd like to walk if anyone wants to walk with me.

Here he is. He's from IL and Jenny just got MVHS to take him. Woo hoo! We don't know what will happen to him from there, though.

April 4, 2009

Mischief Managed: Penny has a new friend!

My sister got a black lab puppy and named it Maddie. She is the bitiest (she bites a lot) dog I've ever known, but I guess I haven't known that many puppies. She is very social and wants to be a lap dog even though she's really too big for that now. Despite her bitiness, she's obviously much more trainable than my own dog - she just needs to grow up a little (mature, not get bigger). She already knows how to sit, shake, and come. She REALLY wants to play with their cat, Jones, but Jones is having none of that - he hisses, swats, and puffs himself up when Maddie gets within four feet of him. Yet Maddie keeps on trying.

We've been talking about introducing Penny to Maddie since they got her, at which time she was still smaller than Penny. That didn't last long. So the other day when they met Penny had a bit of a freak-out at first because this crazy dog who's bigger than her was jumping and barking and snapping. But after five minutes of careful collar holding while sniffing could still be done, she put aside her defensive growls and, I'm sure recognizing this as a puppy, they were perfectly fine. Maddie must have recognized Penny as her elder because I don't think she even tried nibbling at her, which for Maddie must have been a real struggle. Penny played with her but also wanted to sit on our laps and observe while Maddie bounded around trying to get more play.

This is unfortunately the only photo I have of the meeting. What I love most about Maddie is that her puppiness makes Penny seem calm and behaved in comparison, and the kids now think Penny is just the greatest!

April 3, 2009

Laura's Greatful Dead Teddy

Laura wanted a pink bear with a rainbow, which is easy enough. But I made the mistake of asking her too many questions and showing her the progress too many times. Her fantastic four-year-old imagination could not rest. I let her tell me what order to put the rainbow colors in, but she also - on different days - wanted different colors to be represented all over the bear. Like white on the feet and green on the back, and so on. I was never really sure what she was envisioning so I was relieved one day when she suggested the bear have rainbow hair that we could agree on foregoing the various colored anatomy if I did the hair. She also specifically chose the colors for the facial features. I was worried that white eyes would look empty and scary, but they're not bad. She enjoys the bear so I'm happy.