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. 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 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 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'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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