Apr 27, 2008

Quick sewing projects!

So, I don't actually need a wallet, but I wanted to make one! I had this cute owl fabric I have been wanting to use for a while, plus some leftover gray cotton from my sister's purse. My mom found some linen shirts at the thrift store, which I used for the money pocket lining and the middle card pocket. I used a mother of pearl button from that shirt for the closure. Now I just have to find a good home for my little owly wallet :)

The other one I made for my sister (again!), she wanted a navy blue wallet with a bright sun, so that's what she got! I tried to get all fancy and do a clear license pocket and a magnetic snap. I did my measurements wrong and it turned out really wonky! The second try was better. I used some more of the linen on this wallet too.My sewing machine broke on Friday, and I almost cried! It happened right after I finished a wholesale order, thank goodness. I spent hours trying to fix it, calling my mom for help, and panicking in general. After taking it apart and cleaning out 3 pounds of lint (what, you're supposed to clean sewing machines?!), it started working again! Sigh of relief! I have bunches of other projects that I'm working on that I am depending on that machine for! I will post some pictures in the next few days. Some of the goodies include 4 new sock monkeys and a big overnight tote for Kade :) Fun stuff!

Apr 22, 2008

Lessons Learned

It's amazing how much you can learn (or be reminded of) in one day!
  • Even if the forecast says sun, it looks like sun, and feels like sun, bring an umbrella for the six random 10 second hail storms you will encounter within as little as 30 minutes.
  • Being charged by a big fat squirrel is a LOT scarier than you might think. Seriously. Although he probably only wanted food, I was sure he was going to latch onto my face and scratch out my eyeballs. Luckily, a toddler with a french fry distracted him for me.
  • Don't laugh, don't even crack a smile, if your kid gets lost in the vast, 4 story, intricate play system in McDonalds! That desperate face peering out of the plastic bubble 30 feet above you, crying in a tiny voice that sounds like it's at the bottom of a swimming pool, "I can't get out of here! Heeeelllpppppp!" may seem cute, but the other mothers will shoot you "the look." Directing a dyslexic 4 year old through the maze when you can't even see them is no less difficult than directing a blind monkey through an active mine field. Especially when, "the girrrrls! Are chasing me!!! I don't thiiiink I really liiiike it!!" happens. It all turned out fine, though. Within 2 minutes he was out, without me having to come up there and get him, and as a bonus, he still had all his clothes on! He stumbled over to me, wiped his forehead, collapsed into my lap, and said, "Phew. That was a close one. Those girls were chasing me. I didn't like that. But, I do like girls."
  • This one I knew already, but I have a knack of forgetting until it's too late. It is a never failing Murphey's Law of motherhood that if you even whisper quietly a comment such as, "Wow, I'm surprised he is being so good right now," that child will immediately grab a handful of snack food from the bowl in the waiting room, throw it at the grumpy old man in a nice suit seated across from him, and scream, "MY MOMMY IS A BANANNA! I DON'T LIKE BANANNAS!!" and then proceed to ram his own head repeatedly on the coffee table. My friend just leaned over to me and said quietly, "you know you're not supposed to say that until we leave." And the grumpy old man in the suit? He stood up, dusting the chips (haha) off his shoulder, "harrumphed" dramatically in my direction, and stomped out into the showroom.
  • Even if you spend 2 weeks preparing your child for what should be a simple, quick, easy, painless procedure, that doesn't mean he will be cooperative! In fact, the procedure did not even get done. What should have taken 10 minutes to complete took 3 hours to decide to give up and try again another day.
Although yesterday was quite a challenge for me, this sweet little face can still melt my heart.

I love him more than anything.... temper tantrums, defiance, frustration and all. None of that puts a damper on the happiness he brings me every day.

Apr 15, 2008

Our new little monster friend!

Kade and I got a package in the mail from the wierdbuglady! Thanks Brigette, we love him :)

I won a contest over at her blog, and this cute little guy is my prize! I was going to keep him for myself, but Kade has claimed the little dude already, and even fed him a penny.

If you would like your own little monster friend, click *here*!! Wierdbuglady also has some other amazing things in her etsy shop! Here are some of my favorites:

Patrick the Platypus (platypuses are one of my favorite animals!)

(photos by wierdbuglady)

She pays great attention to detail and accuracy, and is extremely talented! I never thought ticks, mealybugs, and daphnia's were cute until I saw the ones in her shop, and I just want to squeeze them all. They are so adorable! So, go check it out, you'll be glad you did! :)

Apr 13, 2008


Grandma: Kade, we're going to go on a board walk now,
won't that be fun?

Kade: Umm, I don't like bored walks.

I'm sure you will like this one, we'll have a great time!

No. No! I really don't like bored walks! I don't like being bored!
I don't want to go on a boring walk!
Boring isn't fun, and I don't ever like to be bored!

Needless to say, when he found out the difference between "board" and "bored", he was pleasantly surprised. On the same note, the other morning I woke up to Kade yelling, quite dramatically,
"MOMMY, you're boring me! Stop being so boring!
NOOO, you're boring me mom, I'm bored, I'm BORED!
I suppose I am pretty boring when I sleep, can't argue that....

On the other hand, Kade is the opposite of boring when he sleeps.
In fact, he's no less than fascinating.

Apr 12, 2008

20th post!!

Today, I'm posting my 20th post since I started my blog, over a month ago! I'd love it if you left me a comment today, and let me know that you stopped by!!

First, I just have to show you my newest addition: Pink Dino, the sister of Green Dino! Now little girls can have their prehistoric leaf eaters and their favorite color at the same time :)

Today feels like the "real" first day of spring here - almost 75 degrees, blue sky, shorts! We went to the park right next to my house and walked along the river. Kade blew bubbles, we washed the car, got iced coffee, and rode bikes. What a great day!
A couple of not-so-great things happened, including a really bad accident that we passed, and driving one hour to get a huge box of packing peanuts from freecycle that ended up not being there after all. However, I'm not going to let that get me down! It's too warm and sunny to be upset.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures today, but I took some a few days ago of a project I made for Kade. I had been wanting to make one of these crayon rolls for a long time, and I found some scraps of froggy fabric that were the perfect size.

I used this tutorial: On a Roll - Skip to My Lou

The picture doesn't show it, but I left a pocket on the end wide enough for a small notebook.

I didn't have any ricrac to sew around the edge, so I did a blanket stitch (my first time) - holy cow, it took forever. By the way, futuregirl did a great tutorial showing everything you will ever need to know about the blanket stitch! It is really easy to understand, and has great pictures.

Kade used it for intended purpose for about 5 minutes (he does not take after me - he doesn't like to paint, color, draw, anything...). Now, he likes to pretend that it is a burrito, and he unwraps it, fills it full of imaginary lettuce and cheese, rolls it back up, and tries to stuff it in my mouth. At least he's got a great imagination! :)

Apr 10, 2008

Listen to some music!

Here are a couple of my favorite mellow, relaxing Indie songs.
I hope you like them!

Apr 8, 2008

Elephant Art

I was amazed when I saw this video on Youtube:
(please watch the whole thing to the end, it is really quite incredible!!)

As I was looking through the comments on that video, there were a lot of people who were very concerned about the elephant. Was it being forced to paint for crowds of people? Did it get beaten if it did not paint? Do the elephants even like to paint? I was curious too, so I did a little searching and found this website:

The Elephant Art Gallery -Authentic and Inspiring Paintings by Elephants

These elephants live at the National Elephant Institute in Thailand. I'm not sure if the elephant in the video above lives here, or somewhere else. Apparently there are other places that have taken teaching elephants how to paint as well. The paintings on this website are mostly abstract, rather than lifelike, but I don't see how the video could be a fake.

Here are some interesting quotes from the website about the art, how the elephants learn to paint, and more:

"I am certain that our elephant artists know what they are doing when they paint. After I have handed the loaded paintbrush to them, they proceed to paint in their own distinctive style, with delicate strokes or broad ones, gently dabbing the bristles on the paper or with a sweeping flourish, vertical lines or arcs and loops, ponderously or rapidly and so on. No two artists have the same style."


"...we have truly discovered an activity which the elephants thoroughly enjoy.”

"Although elephants are very intelligent and naturally creative, painting with their trunks is not an activity that any have been found to perform in the wild. Therefore all the artists first have to go to school to learn how to paint... It takes only one day to discover if the elephant has real interest in the activity and any aptitude at art. Once the most promising students have been selected, they then continue to be taught for up to a week before they are considered ready to make a living from it...

They are taught by first showing them how to hold the paintbrush. While some curl the trunk around the brush instinctively, the preferred method at the Center is to hold the brush in the ‘nostril’ at the end of the trunk, which gives the artist greater range of movement for the brushstrokes. For this purpose the paintbrush is modified so as to be the right length and thickness to hold easily.

Next they are introduced to the easel and taught how close to stand to it so that they can extend their trunk comfortably. Finally they are guided by the mahout to apply the brush to the paper. Some artists take to this quicker than others, but all of them need time and encouragement to learn how to apply the paint within the confines of the paper, to know when the paint has dried up and to develop a style of brushstroke that suits them.

During the training the artist’s natural instinctive style becomes evident. No two elephant artists have the same style and just like human artists, their style develops and matures over time.

It is quite unnecessary to force the elephant to learn how to paint. Those that do not seem to enjoy the activity are introduced to other activities. Today there are 14 elephant artists at the Center and all of them thoroughly enjoy painting."

I, for one, would LOVE to own a piece of art by an elephant! They have always been one of my favorite animals. They are so intelligent, they have feelings, and I think they are amazing! I have also seen dolphins and horses painting. What I wouldn't do for a whole collection of paintings done by animals :)

Apr 5, 2008

Need some color?

This guy makes me think of Popsicles and sunshine!

One of my favorite things: Cherry blossoms

Custom sock monkey! It makes me happy to think that a little baby will be cuddling this guy soon!

BusyFingers BabyBuddies newest member, the bluebird!

Rainbow Twizzlers make everything better, especially icky medicine!

All aboard!

Apr 2, 2008

The last snow of the..spring? Maybe? Hopefully?

Last year, it snowed on April Fool's day, and I thought J was playing a joke on me when he came and woke me up at 5 AM to tell me. This year was a little better, the last snow (I hope!!) was on March 29th. Sunday morning, K got to play in it a little bit before church. He would have liked to have a snowball fight, build a snowman, make angels, and the whole shebang... sorry kid. Running in circles will have to do this time. Luckily, I think he had just as much fun anyway.

OH! Look what I made! I had to snap this picture secretly, before I announced they were done, because they promptly disappeared afterwards.

You *have* to try this recipe. If you like Reeces peanut butter cups, you will love these! Maybe I am the only person who has never heard of these before. That wouldn't surprise me, I guess. Sometimes I am so excited to tell J the latest news on whatever, and he just finishes my sentence and says, "yeah yeah, I heard about that 2 weeks ago." Why does he always know everything first? What inside contact does he have, who is his source? He even knew about these Buckeye Balls, and when I made them, he said, "finally!! I have been wanting you to make these for like the past 10 years!!" Well, there's nothing like asking!!

On with the recipe! It is so easy, you can't go wrong with these. I have a very hard time with anything fancy, like fudge, candy, even frosting (yes, I consider frosting fancy... that's how bad I am). However, these were simple and look great too!

*Buckeye Balls*

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough. Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate.

3. Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. (Or in the microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time.) Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.

4. Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. You can smooth over the toothpick hole with your finger, and you can't see it anymore. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

Yum yum! That recipe made enough to cover 2 dinner plates - maybe 40? They are already gone! I think K has been sneaking them in the middle of the night, because I only let him have one or two a day. He thinks he deserves one every time he does something right -

"Can I have chocolate ball? I slept last night!"
"I want my chocolate now, I went potty!"
"Where is my chocolate? I didn't eat my buggers!!"
"I'm going to get my chocolate now, I drew a circle!"

And when I say, "sorry kiddo, no more," apparently it is the end of the world. So many disappointments, life is hard when you're 4 years old!