Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The After-Christmas Clean Freak

I am a freak. My family has been saying it for years, and most of the time I just brushed it off. Freak? Me? No. I just like things how I like them. This year, I realized that they are right.

I am not the bearded lady, or the elephant man. I have no serious mental disorders (that we know of :P) and no urges to do things that most people don't have as well. Except for my cleaning binges. Those enable me to proudly let my freak flag fly.

Christmas this year was great. Monkey was enamored with the tree, and the presents, although I'm sure he thought we were crazy when we encouraged him to rip the paper off them. Although breakfast was late, it was good...homemade espresso cinnamon rolls. Then nap...yay for naptime!

Ben and Monkey had a great afternoon of playtime and snuggles. Me? I was in the kitchen. All. Freaking. Afternoon. Ben wanted Boeuf Bourguignon, and I refuse to make that without homemade bread as well. The Bourguignon takes, on average, 4-5 hours to make. The bread takes about 3.5 hours. Both need the oven. Timing is crucial.

So I didn't fully clean that night. All the wrapping paper, ribbons, boxes and bows were either saved or thrown away, needles from the tree swept up (don't need Monkey choking on those!) and dishes were in the sink, if not clean.

Needless to say, the day after Christmas, I went full on freak. The kitchen was cleaned (because it desperately needed it), and then I thought "I'll just do the floors." That turned into me on my hands and knees for an hour, scrubbing all baseboards, moving furniture, sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping. In the process (which needs to be done on a fairly regular basis due to having 2 shedding dogs) one of our speakers fell off it's shelf and hit me square on in the back of the head. What did I do? Said "ow," held frozen veggies to the quickly-forming lump on my head, and then got back to work. Seriously. Who does that?

Did I stop there, even though I felt nauseated for the rest of the day? Nope. Played with Monkey, worked on laundry, and worked some more on the needlepoint for Monkey's quilt (that I meant to have finished before he was born. Oops).

Oh well...it's all worth it. I'll leave you with a few pics from Christmas (that don't show our faces, sorry. I'm paranoid.)

I have to go attack the baseboards in the Master Suite.

Watching Daddy put the
 tree on the car
Before opening presents
Is all this for me?

Monkey's "Haul"

Time to play!
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Although we weren't able to go home to be with the extended family this year, we're having a wonderful time! Our cozy Christmas is involving WAY too many toys, Espresso Cinnamon Rolls, Boeuf Bourguignon, Homemade Garlic Parmesan Bread, playtime, family time, and of course:

Happy Holidays!
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Teething Continues.

Monkey is now cutting his THIRD tooth in two weeks (or so). This one's an upper front, and the poor child got my big chompers. Here I was thinking he had a cold, but it's just congestion from teething (I'm pretty sure).
I'm still not in love with the amount of snot I'm having to deal with. I was kind of hoping it wouldn't hit until he could understand when I asked him to blow into a tissue. He does, however, think his battery operated aspirator (or, as it's more lovingly known in our house, electric snot sucker) is a toy. He walks around holding it, pressing the button to make it run.

And yes, I said WALK...he's WALKING everywhere! It started a week before he turned 10 months. Our lives as we know them are over.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Problem With Couponing

I love a good deal. I love saving us money, especially because finding work has been a challenge for me. But I have a serious problem when it comes to couponing: I refuse to feed my family nothing but processed fat lard chemicals crap food. I insist, for the most part, on making things from wholesome, fresh ingredients, and make things from scratch whenever possible (I just need that dang pasta maker attachment for my Kitchenaid, then we'll really be going strong).

I watch these shows like Extreme Couponing on TLC, and while it's amazing that they can do that well with couponing, I don't see a whole lot of fruits and vegetables going into those carts. What do I see? Microwave dinners. Candy. TONS of cereal (and we're not talking organic granola). Soda, toothpaste, laundry detergent...that's all in there. Fruits? Veggies? Fresh meat? Nah.

Just once, I would like to see a cart filled with real ingredients for a healthy balanced meal. That won't happen though. Why? Because those things don't have coupons. And they're not exactly cheap people! To eat healthy you get punished in the price. That just plain sucks. America has a weight problem for a reason: we're obsessed with the easy way out. The fast, instantly gratifying way that clogs our arteries and makes our fat cells expand like Violet Beauregard's after eating Willy Wonka's gum that is a three course dinner. No wonder our butts are the size of the death star...all we eat is processed carbs and sugar!

OK, OK, I'll step off my soap box now. But seriously, why can't a couponer's shopping cart look like this:

Instead of the reality, which is this: 

Oh, and can we throw in the 97-120% savings as well? Thanks so much.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Good Deeds

I really want to do more good deeds this holiday season. Having Monkey when I was told I probably wouldn't be able to have children has made me so incredibly grateful, and I really want to do something for others. The problem? Monkey is here, Ben works, and we don't want to pay a babysitter. So I've been looking around online to see if there's anything I can do for others that I am capable of (i.e. not volunteering time, or having to go anywhere crazy to complete it....Monkey is still learning that he can't always be the center of attention).

What have I found? That I can crochet/craft for others. I'm always working on something, but I don't want it all around my house. Plus I can do this while interacting with Monkey, or when he's napping. It's on my time, my way. And the best part? I can do these things year round.

If you haven't seen my craft blog, please check it out. It's called Creations A La Mode and it's just a log of the crafts I make...some I sell, some I'm just plain proud of, and there are some tutorials.

Here are a couple of organizations I have found that I'm going to try to contribute to:

Mitten Commitment: This is a project hoping to help those who do not have warm clothing, specifically mittens, for the winter. It's super easy to become a participant! You make mittens (crochet, knit, sewn, whatever) and send them in. Any style, any size! This is great for me because it gives me a way to try new things (I've only made one pair of mittens for a friend, but I would love to try more!)
Project Linus: This organization accepts blankets for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. They have chapters all over the US that you can donate items to, all you have to do is make a blanket (any style, any size), find a local chapter, and donate!

The Hat Box Foundation: Once again, very easy. This organization accepts knit and crocheted hats of all shapes and sizes for cancer survivors and patients across the country. You make them and send them in...that's it! I love this one especially since my grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.

There are a TON of great craft charities out there, you just have to look!  I look for national ones, or at least organizations that almost always have a chapter in multiple locations in multiple states, since we move so much. I would hate to become attached to a charity and then move somewhere that I couldn't contribute anymore!

I think this would be a great way for me to consistently give back as well...if I could do one or two things a month, I would be happy. It would probably be more if I only did hats, but if I want to do blankets as well then I have to keep it realistic!
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh Surprise Your Name is Tooth

Honestly, I was getting a little frantic insane agitated zonkers concerned that Monkey hadn't started teething yet. I mean, I know it's normal for babies to start teething anywhere from 6-12 months, but to a mom who's baby isn't teething yet, it feels like everyone else's baby gets theirs before yours does.

Now that's a good looking tooth!
Plus, Monkey drools. He has since 3 months, so for him drooling isn't a sign of teething. No excessive fussiness, no fever, no weird poops, nothing. Monkey is just, well, Monkey. Today, on a whim, I ran a finger over his lower gums, and THERE IT WAS! His first tooth, the top of which is just barely breaking through. I wanted to run, jump, and call every member of the family. But I have already talked to them today. For a day that wasn't going great due to the crud that I have (sore throat, coughing, achy, headache) this was the best news ever. Even better news? Monkey doesn't seem to mind at all. He doesn't even seem to notice.

Happiness, your name is "Happily Teething Baby."
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This is How I Sound Lately

I have had a sore throat lately. It's pretty much gone, but my voice has gone with it!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Can you tell which pumpkin Monkey painted?

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Monday, October 24, 2011

How You Know It's Going To Be A Bad Night

I'm suspecting that Monkey is finally starting the teething process. The past few nights he's woken up at least once between bedtime and morning (he's slept for 11-12 hours at night since he was 3 months old), he's got a stuffy/runny nose, chewing on everything, and generally irritable. That's fine...not fun, but fine. Tonight, however, is a completely different animal.

First of all, he woke up after being in bed for less than an hour...and he's been crying for 45 minutes. While trying to comfort him, nothing was good enough-which is to be expected. During all of that, however, my eldest dog started crying. Well, screaming, actually. She's been limping slightly for a couple of hours, but now any move she makes sends her into a complete meltdown, culminating in her wanting to be cuddled while screaming. The biggest problem with this is that her, um, vocalizations are ear-splitting. They kill my ears...and Monkey really hates them. They hurt his ears, they scare him, and he's already extremely upset. So, at one point, I ended up sitting on my kitchen floor, screaming baby AND screaming dog in my lap, all of us crying.

I finally decided that there was really nothing I was going to be able to do for either of them that would really help. I gave Monkey a little Tylenol and a cold, wet washcloth to suck on, and put him to bed. He's still fussing,  but it seems to be lessening

I forced both dogs to go to bed (which took a good 15 minutes since Ally just wanted to be yelping in my ear pitifully). They are now both asleep (thank you very much).

I just hope this teething thing goes fast. The topper to all of this tonight was that Ben is gone until Friday...so I have no in-home backup. I now plan on going and stuffing my face with as much ice cream as I can. A hot bath and a glass of wine or tea may also be on the agenda tonight.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Jumping Jack Challenge!

I only have a few more pounds to go to meet my goal weight, so I'm really trying to up my exercise so that I can reach that goal. I came across This Challenge and thought I would try it out. However...it's not August. And I want to start today, so I needed to not start on "the first." I wanted to start on "day 1." So I created my own. It's essentially the same thing, with the same rules. I just chose to have it by "days" rather than days of the month, so you can start it whenever. Remember, don't do them all at once. Spread them out throughout the day, doing sets of 50-100 at a time.You can find the downloadable, printable version HERE.

Here's a smaller version:

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's all the little things...

Random thought for the day: a good hair dryer can make or break my day. The hair dryer I had for about 2 years finally bit the dust about a month ago, and since then I have been using my travel dryer, trying to wait to buy a new one until I couldn't stand it anymore! Well, that day came this week. All I smelled when using the travel dryer was burning hair...and it took FOREVER! So yesterday I finally broke down and bought a new dryer...and I'm in heaven! It took less than half the time to dry my hair, and it looks so much better!

Now I feel good again, and instead of looking in the mirror and saying "well, that's as good as it's going to get" I look and say "hey, I look pretty darn good today!

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trials of a Mobile Baby

Monkey has been mobile for about a month and a half now, which is a lot of fun, but a lot of work as well. I am not a parent who believes in baby-proofing everything...rather, we believe in baby-proofing the most dangerous things like chemicals, electrical outlets and cords, and blind strings. Other than that he needs to learn "no" and what he can and cannot touch.
We have known for a while that the baby does not need to be playing with the fireplace poker. That's not the issue. The issue is getting him to learn "no" and to respond accordingly. Ben just doesn't have the constitution to keep at it...or the patience. I'll hear "NO!" for about 5 minutes while he has Monkey, and then it will be "Babe, can you take him for a while? I can't keep him from (insert thing that we don't want him touching here)." Really? REALLY? 

What does this man think I do all day? Does he think that when he's with me Monkey magically knows what he can't play with and stays away from it? OF COURSE NOT! As much as I wish that I were that magical of a parent, and that after I said no the first time Monkey stopped trying to touch the "bad thing," that's not how it works. You have to repeatedly say it, and take the baby away from whatever "bad thing" he's playing with. 

Then you get to where I am now with Monkey. He's limit-testing. I've seen this phase before in the numerous types of child-care I've worked in. This is where subject A (AKA the child) starts going for something they shouldn't have. You then tell the child "Subject A, no." Subject A then looks at you, contemplates his next move for a while, and goes for the object/area anyway. You then get up, remove Subject A from the forbidden fruit, and go back to what you were doing. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

And being mobile (and getting faster by the day) you can't take your eyes off of him. Something that Ben had better learn pretty quickly!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Baby: Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde

Monkey has begun waking up screaming. We're talking the baby Jack Jack from The Incredibles when he finally displays his superpowers. He used to wake up so nicely, smiling and happy and ready for the day. Now...the banshee has returned. Until you feed him, that is. Now, I understand that he's slept for 12 hours and is hungry, and I won't ignore him. I will always feed him when he's hungry, but does the announcement need to be quite so pronounced? The sad thing is that I know where he gets it from: me. My parents have informed me that when I was a baby, I liked food so much that I would scream in between bites if they didn't shovel it in fast enough. Monkey is starting that tendency too. 

The good news  is that after he's been fed, he turns into Jack Jack when he's happy. You know: he's smiling, playing with his toys. Playing with the dogs' toys and dad's shoes. And he's generally getting into all sorts of mischief with a smile on his face. Well, until you tell him no. Then he turns into the other Jack Jack again (his own personal Mr. Hyde).                                                                                                That's OK though. I love him no matter what, but is it so much to ask that he doesn't split my ear drums when he's hungry? LOL.
In other news: I only have to lose 7 more lbs. I have NOT been trying. Which sucks, because had I been trying I would already be down to my goal weight and Ben would have forked over my incentive: Money for clothes. Here's the catch: that money has to cover alterations. And since none of us really have that model body that fits perfectly into clothes as we buy them, I'm going to have to alter a lot. Luckily, I can usually get by until I have the money/time to get the alterations done. And I don't have to leave the comfort of my home to find cute clothes (since I always get frustrated shopping). I have found a site that I absolutely adore. It's called ModCloth and it specializes (for the most part) in vintage and vintage-inspired clothing. You should check it out. 

Any suggestions on workout routines that A) I can do at home with Monkey here and B) won't absolutely kill me? I'm planning on starting to jog with him, but I need something more, something a little more fun (something to get my abs back!).

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My son, the *ahem* genius

So, like all parents, I'm incredibly proud of Monkey. At 7.5 months old, he has already been mobile for a month, pulls up on everything (including our sliding glass door), is starting to understand the word "no," and is, in general, a wonderful child. We love him.

I would even take him holding it like this!
So, why oh why can't he figure out that you have to tilt the bottle UP to get the milk/juice/water out? He knows what a bottle is (obviously, he's gone from looking like a spider monkey to having his very own buddah belly), he knows that the fluid comes out through the nipple, and he knows that he wants whatever is inside of it. I tell you what, that's major improvement from the kid who tried to suck milk out through the side of the bottle.

But the whole "tilt up for food" thing just hasn't hit. I know that I held the bottle for him too long, he wants me to hold it for him (OK, that's understandable, it's easier for him to have me do it). But seriously, I'm trying to make this convenient for him. I bought a sippy cup that has a bottle nipple on it, as well as having handles. I leave said sippy cup with him at all times...filled with water, because I don't need every fabric surface in the house smelling like old rotten formula. So please, monkey, tilt the d@mn furcking sweet cup mommy got you up!

Anyone have suggestions on how to help him learn this particular life skill?
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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Coffee Fueled Take on "Child-Star" Reality Shows

I'll admit it. I'm addicted to SOME reality TV. I'm not immune to watching almost any reality show on Bravo or Lifetime. The two that seem to be the biggest train wrecks are shows like Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras. It seems inevitable that on one (or both) of these shows any given week you will see a small child dressed like a two cent hooker lady of the night.                                                      Like last week,when a mom on T & T thought it would be a good idea to dress her 3 year old as Julia Roberts in her role as "Pretty Woman." While I love the movie, and LOVE Julia Roberts, I'm not so sure that dressing my toddler as a prostitute would make my list of "funny things to do to my child."
Somehow, somewhere, I can't help feel as though some appropriateness alarm is going off whenever a parent does this. There is some cosmic file for each and every parent where all of these inappropriate decisions regarding a child are logged, and (like Jeff Lewis does on Flipping Out with his employees) when the page is full, you're fired!                                  Dance Moms is another can of worms. I get it, dance costumes are tight, and that's fine.  But in this case, it's the instructor, not the moms, who can't seem to grasp that these are little kids and there is still such a thing as TOO LITTLE FABRIC. I swear, I don't even want to think about how many pedophiles sit in the audience at these kinds of dance recitals, with the acrobatic tricks and suggestive dances, and then the skimpy costumes as the icing on the cake. EEEEEEWWW.
At the end of the day, though I'll still watch. I can't help it. It's like a train wreck (and not the RHONJ type...those are adults, that makes it better....wait, what?)
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm a guest blogger!

A friend of mine (the same friend who gave me the idea of starting a blog dedicated to my crafting, which you can find at Crafty Capable) asked me to write a guest post on her blog. It's a tutorial about personalizing your own wine glasses. Please check it out...You can find it at Colorado Mama Chic. Thanks!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

It's time to play our favorite game....What's That Smell!!!

With 2 dogs and a baby, this game is played almost daily in our house. My favorite version involves the poop smell. In this version I sniff monkey's butt, and then systematically wander around the house like a rabid werewolf sniffing each and every room to try to find the source of the poop smell. When I don't find anything, I admit to myself that either a) I'm crazy or b) the baby farted.

Then, just as I settle in to read Monkey a book or work on a crafting project while he's sleeping or playing on the floor, I smell it again. Then I realize that no, Monkey didn't pass the lovely baby gas that he's so good at. Nonono...it was one of the dogs. How do I determine this? Well...they are scared of their own farts. Yes, my dogs, who oh so bravely bark at shadows, leaves, random birds or other critters in the yard, run in terror with their tails between their legs whenever they pass gas.

And then they get put outside, because Mama can't handle the stench anymore.
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Expanding the Empire!

Last night, after Monkey had gone to sleep, I was browsing Facebook and saw that a friend of mine had started a blog dedicated to her handiwork (aka crafting). She's amazing, and you should really check her out at Colorado Mama Chic. Not only does she crochet like a champion, but she's an amazing photographer (a skill I sorely lack).

This blog got me thinking. I tend to put a lot of the projects I do on here, because I have no dedicated place to show them off other than on etsy (which is great, but it's hard to get traffic on there that is specifically for my shop). I wanted to have a place to brag about my work that wouldn't interfere with what I like to think of as my "family" blog!

So, I copied her idea. Well, I copied the general spirit of her idea....although My new blog is a place to show off what I've done as well as to get some interest in things I have for sale in my Etsy Shop.


Creations A La Mode is now up and running. For the first bit I'm sure there will be repeats of things I have already bragged about on here, but after that I'll be posting each new thing I create (both what I will be selling and what I will not) as well as information on sites for crafting ideas, talented people I find, and generally anything crafty that I love. 

I'm so excited about this, and I hope that it becomes a great showcase for my handiwork, and that others enjoy it!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oh Silly People, How You Make Me Laugh!

Lately Ben and I have been purging ourselves of unneeded/unused items in our house, including his motorcycle. While he was sad to see it go, he never rode it, so it was just depreciating in our garage, and that doesn't do anyone any good.

Seriously, all I can do is laugh
at that ridiculous offer.
With the bike gone, there is no reason for us to keep the gear (mine and his), so we're trying to sell that stuff too. We understand that (since the gear is a bit pricey) it may take some time, but that's OK. Today I got an offer on my helmet (YAY!). I was SUPER excited to get some interest in something...until I saw what the person was offering. Then I just laughed.

We are asking $115 OBO on my helmet. It retails at $165, and I barely wore the thing. We agreed on a bottom line that we would come down to, and that's that. If we don't at least get the bottom line on the gear, we don't sell it. This woman offered me $65...HUH? Since when is it OK to offer just over 50% for something? I mean, I understand negotiations (I do it all the time when buying used items). It's how you get the best deal. But 56% is the most ludicrous, air headed, asinine thing I have ever heard just insulting, not to mention absurd!

Needless to say, that offer was rejected. I gave her another option, which is not our bottom line, and maybe I'll hear back. If not, that's fine too.

What do people think? Is it ever acceptable to offer around 50% of an asking price? Are the people who do that serious, or do they think that by offering so little the seller will come down more than they want to?

Silly silly people, how you make me laugh.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Managing the "Stash"

While I don't have nearly as much yarn as some people (I try to use what I have before buying more, unless I have no choice, like when someone asks for a specific color that I don't have) I am finally to the point where the giant shopping bag I was using to store my yarn was no longer sufficient. A solution had to be found, especially when some of my upcoming projects will require me to buy a substantial amount of yarn. I am a bit of an organizational freak, and everything must have it's place. Seriously, I'm so bad that I labeled the laundry hamper so that  Ben would put his dirty clothes in the right place, and I am constantly re-organizing things to try to make them more efficient. A pile of yarn overtaking my craft area with no rhyme or reason is a thought that is like torture for me.

This isn't mine, but you get the idea
So, I had to think about this. Another tote bin? No, that would mean that every time I went looking for a color I would have to dig through the bin, most likely to the bottom. Then I just end up with a pile of yarn again. Fabric bag? That I could make, but I would end up needing multiple bags as the stash grows.  Then it came to me. When we had Monkey we got him a new dresser, but never got around to getting rid of the old one that was in the guest room (which became Monkey's room). Those drawers are all now half full of, well, crap. Nothing we actually need, but that I (shockingly) have not had time to go through and organize. When I went in there to investigate the situation, it turns out that not only will I be able to find other homes for or get rid of everything in there, but the drawers are the perfect size! I can organize my yarn by brand and color, and only have to lift one skein to see what's under it, since the drawers are only deep enough for two skeins on top of one another.
I would love something like this...

Problem solved!

Ultimately I would love to have an entire cupboard dedicated to my crafting, but until then I have to make due with what I have. In the next house we get (rental or otherwise) I'm hoping that the office will not be in the same room as the guest room. That way, the guest room could be the craft room, and I won't be bouncing from room to room to collect all the materials I need each time I want to start a new project!
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

And...My Back Hurts

Well, a few more projects done. My back hurts. And, worst of all (in the land of pretty pretty princess) I broke more than one nail. (We'll just ignore the fact that it was part of the section that was damaged by the acrylic nails I had on a month ago and that they were going to get cut off soon anyway because of the damage). It was a tragedy.

That being said, I'm fairly impressed with the amount of work I have accomplished in the past couple of weeks. Between sewing and crocheting, I'm sure Ben thinks I'm completely batshit crazy nuts (if he didn't think so before, that is). So, without further ado, the medly of projects I've completed in addition to the shopping cart cover and Everything Bag that were featured in the last post:

This blanket was made for a friend who is being induced TONIGHT! So excited for her to have her little boy. This one was the first blanket I have ever crocheted that kept 3 skeins of yarn going at the same time, continuously. It's not as difficult as I thought it would be, but definitely not super fun either!

I'm to the point now where I have a lot of crochet hooks, markers, and yarn needles just floundering about. Being as organizationally obsessed as I am, this just wouldn't do. But (as with so many other things) I couldn't find a crochet hook case that a) met all of my needs and b) looked good enough for me to actually use. Then I found the Crochet Clutch at the Moda Bake Shop and fell in love. It's perfect! With a pin and needle keeper, pockets for all my hooks to be stored individually, and a clear zippered pocket for my odds and ends, it has everything I need! Not to mention that I like the look of it since I got to pick the fabric for myself instead of just going with the hideously, heinously ugly fabrics that someone else chose that contradict every bit of style sense I have just aren't my taste. Plus it comes with a handy dandy handle, which is just an added bonus!

Yay, the football beanie! Monkey had one that my cousin bought for him, but he outgrew it. I loved that thing so much that I had to make another!

Spiral blanket I made for a friend due with a little boy this winter. This thing was threatening to tangle me up and leave me for dead. My mother even compared it to a spider web. 4 skeins of yarn going simultaneously was not good for my anger management. It was me or the blanket. I won, biotch!

Owlie beanie. Made for the friend who is in labor right now. She saw one similar to this online, but didn't want to pay whatever exorbitant, outrageous price they were asking. So she sent me a picture and asked if I could recreate it. For the price of supplies, here you go!
*on a side note, I also made the wall letters for her little boy's nursery, because she didn't trust herself to do it well. I'm flattered that she thinks I'm talented enough to be trusted with all of these tasks!

And, last but not least, the sunhat for Monkey! It's reversible! It's washable! It even blocks the sun! I love the fact that I bought this pattern for all of about $3 on Etsy and then (once I had chosen fabrics, which always takes me FOREVER) I just had to print it out and put the pieces together! I may or may not add a tie onto it next time, but for how he doesn't really need a tie and that step was more than I wanted to do at the time!

Next up: another baby blanket for a friend due soon as well. That one's going a little slower, I think because I've done so many projects in a short amount of time that I'm needing to slow down. After that I may try to design a blanket for Monkey and the upcoming college football season.

And since I'm completely insane, I'm also teaching myself how to knit.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sew busy...and I keep adding projects!

It doesn't matter how many projects I have going on, I just seem to add more and more, even though the others aren't finished! It's like books for me, where I routinely have at least 2-3 that I'm reading at the same time.

This week I finished monkey's Shopping Cart Cover. I used a McCall's 3-In-1 Shopping Cart Cover Pattern that I bought on Etsy.com. I will say that, while the pattern is fairly easy to follow, there were times that I was a bit confused, and as a result the finished product is SLIGHTLY messier than I would have liked. 

I disappointed myself in a couple areas. I cut the leg holes too early...therefore they were a bit too big and the space between them narrower than I would have liked. 

I misunderstood the instructions for the casing for the elastic, and made the space too narrow. As a result I had to rip out sections of my casing seam and re-sew it so that there was enough room for the elastic to slip through...not fun.

I would also suggest a couple of modifications to this pattern:

  • When cutting the material for the binding, I would suggest making it slightly wider (by about 3 inches total...prior to cutting it would be 9 inches wide, and when you cut it down it would be a 3 inch wide strip). That would make the finished binding about 3/4 inch wide, which is easier to work with, especially if you cut the leg holes too early like I did and they are uneven. I would also add about 3-4 inches in length to the binding, just in case.
  • I would wait to cut the leg holes until all the layers are sewn together and right side out, that way you can be sure the placement and size will be where you want it on the finished product.
  • Make the casing for the elastic about 3/4 inch wide instead of 1/2 inch wide...it makes it easier to thread the elastic through, especially because you will be fighting with batting. 
  • If you choose to cut the holes and make the strap, note that the pattern doesn't tell you when to do this, so you just have to know to do it yourself. I did that step last. Also, I would suggest NOT sewing the male end of the buckle onto the strap, that way you can tighten it around baby and keep him/her more secure. I'm going to rip out that part of sewing so that I know Monkey is REALLY in there.
I do love that this comes complete with an attached stuff bag, 2 interior pockets to place a wallet or bottle, and loops to hook toys to...It REALLY helps to keep baby entertained! I'll try to post a picture of it in action when we use it and I remember the camera.

The next project I tackled is Amy Butler's Everything Bag from her book Little Stitches for Little Ones. I wanted a second diaper bag that was a little more neutral in print than the Modern Diaper Bag I made last year. I love that bag, but sometimes it's either not big enough or the print just isn't really what I'm wanting that day. Plus, there's a slight, minuscule, infinitesimal chance that Ben might be willing to hold it for me, which would be a huge bonus!

I had a MUCH easier time with this one than I did with the Modern Diaper Bag.For one, I think that since I had already worked with a pattern from this book I was much more prepared for how it is written, and I knew to pay specific attention to every detail in each step. I also knew to get heavy duty needles, so I didn't have to deal with nearly as many breaking. I love that this bag has both exterior and interior pockets, and that the interior pockets have elastic at the top...nothing's going to fall out of those easily!

The only difficulty I really had was in attaching the lining sides to the bottom. That's because the dang murtherf*rking stupid a$$ very stiff center divider makes manipulating the ends of the fabric difficult...I just couldn't get it to lay flat enough to get a nice, straight seam. At least it was only the lining!

Suggestions for this? Not many. 
  • I would consider making the divider slightly shorter. That way not only is it easier to do the edge and top stitching at the top of the bag, but it just seems like aesthetically it's more pleasing.
  • I would also make the straps longer...easier to get over your shoulder. Although it's very functional this way...I just think that, with how large the bag is, it will be on my shoulder more than just in my hand or over my lower arm.

Now I just have to finish a couple crochet projects. Oh, and the sunhat for Monkey (since his is too small). and a Crochet Clutch to hold my crochet hooks and notions. And then a few more crochet projects...

I'm doomed. My list of projects keeps getting longer...For every one that I finish 2 pop up in it's place!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why my arm and leg are missing...

The dang dentist charges an arm and a leg. We're doing so well with paying off the credit card, putting money in savings...etc. Then I get this damn bill. And because I don't want to charge more on the credit card, I have to spend our "actual" money...which throws my budget for a loop. At least we're doing well with budgeting so that we can allow for some surprises!

Doesn't mean that seeing that bill doesn't choke me up a bit, though. I really need to get more diligent about oral care. I never had a single cavity until I was 24...and since then I've had 4 fillings. Ugh. Am I really that bad about my teeth, and up until now I was just lucky? Or have I gotten worse about it, thinking that my teeth were invincible? I know. It's got to be my own personal mouth troll. He didn't move in until a few years ago, and now he's trying to make up for lost time. He's going around, finding spots that I'm likely to miss, and setting up residence. Maybe my dentist is in cahoots with him, and for every filling I have to have he gets a cut of the proceeds.

He's an evil one. I'm thinking his name must be Harvey. No idea why, but it just feels right. On the other hand, maybe I am just lazy and I need to buck up and take better care of my mouth...it's a heck of a lot cheaper than having to pay for emergency brain surgery the next time I see a dentist bill and have a stroke!
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The "Ugh" Days

You know those days when you really just don't want to get out of bed? For no other reason than you feel like "ugh?" When we were childless, I had the option to do just that. Stay in bed, get up when I needed something, and call it good. Of course, if I was working it had to wait for a day off, but I always knew that in the not so distant future the opportunity would arise and I would be able to take a day "off."

Let me just turn this down a bit...
Once we had Monkey, that all changed. I no longer have any day when I can just say "I'm off" and it is understood that my butt will not be leaving the comfort zone. Because there is a tiny person who, regardless of whether or not Ben is home, who will need attention. Not to mention the fact that Ben has a finite amount of time that he can handle Monkey before a spark plug malfunctions in his head and he can't take it anymore.

It doesn't matter that it's Sunday, that he had his day to sleep in, and that I want my turn. It doesn't matter that I only got to be in bed 30 more minutes than normal...the baby needs the slave that is me MOMMY (or as Ben calls me, the professional), so I have to get up.

Hi Mom!
I'm not in love with this part of parenting. I tend to be a night owl, and regardless of how early I have to get up, I still can't fall asleep before 11pm. So most mornings I lie there listening to Monkey talk to himself over the monitor and think about how nice it would be to just go back to sleep.

But I get up anyway. Because that's my job. And then as soon as he sees me he gives me the world's biggest smile, and I know that any complaints I may have are well worth it, because all I have to do is
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So I'm making this blanket....

I'm so happy to get back to project land. Now that Monkey is taking consistent naps and sleeping well through the night (OK, so he's been doing that for a while now, but it's still amazing) I have time to crochet and possibly sew again! I just finished a baby blanket for a friend, and have 2 more to go (for 2 other people). Then I have one to make for Monkey just because it looks so fun!

Of course, the picture to the right is the sample picture of what the finished product *should* look like, but I'm sure going to try! I'm thinking of doing the birds in my Alma Mater's colors and Ben's Alma Mater's colors, since they go together. Where I'm going to find extra soft yellow, dark green, maroon, and black yarn I don't know. Time to do some research!

I will post pics of the other baby blankets as the people who they are for receive them, but I don't want to spoil the surprise, so it may take a while. I'm really excited about the one I'm working on now as well as the next one...they are by far the most difficult I've attempted so far, but I think I hate myself enough I have it in me to do a great job. Of course, I could be completely wrong and they could turn out horribly, but if I don't post the pictures then the people they are for will never know the difference, right?
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