Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Baby Sketch

This is my son lately.

He's like this little six armed, seven legged baby doll.

Trying to get him into his sleepers are nigh on impossible. It is akin to trying to wrap a sweater knit of jelly onto a Jello Jiggler octopus.

Still, he's pretty darned cute though.

I think I'll go ahead and keep him.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Annual Scarf Sabbatical

Every year, usually around September or October, I start my scarf sabbatical. For a month or so before Christmas present making, and a month or so after Christmas, I crochet. And crochet and crochet and crochet.

Why? I don't know. Maybe it is because it is cold, and crochet always leads to something cozy. Maybe it is because it is like going on craft vacation, since I can crochet while watching Judge Judy or Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern.

I don't know WHY I do it, I just know that I DO do it. Every year. Minus last year, because I was puking my guts out.

But, I am bad at crochet, so unlike my mother, who could build you an entire wardrobe of sweaters, swants and hats in that time frame, I make scarves. And, only scarves. In fact, I probably have several afghans worth of scarves, if I had the time and ambition to sew them all together.

At any rate, this year I decided I wanted to challenge myself a bit and make a cowl. Yes, one of those ridiculous hipster cowls that are all the rage on etsy.

"A cowl? Why is that a challenge? A cowl is easy..." you might be saying to yourself right about now.

But for me, anything past simple back and forth rows is a challenge. When you make a cowl, you are crocheting in a circle. And to make a circle, you have to join the two ends together every time you finish a row, then start a new row on top of the previous, and darn it if that isn't just totally confusing for a free-spirited painter like me!

Now that I'm thinking about it, I guess I could just crochet a short scarf and then sew the ends together for the same effect...NOW I tell myself. *facepalm*

I wanted a cowl. I wanted it wide enough that it would cover my double chins. I wanted it tight enough that I could conceal the body of stuffed owl with it, so that the head replaced my head and I could chase my children around the house as "Crazy Owl Head Monster".

Apparently, not only am I bad at crochet, but bad at math. And I might possibly think that I weigh about 400 pounds more than I do, because this is what I ended up with..

I don't believe I am even legally allowed to call this a cowl. It is actually more of a gigantic infinity scarf. I think. I'm not hip to the latest scarf lingo. I'm just an old lady trapped in a middle aged lady's body, who clearly doesn't know what she is doing.

Or maybe subconsciously I do? Because, let me tell you, this thing is warm! I mean, how could it not be? There's like a medium sized throw's worth of yarn there...

I crocheted it with the big blue plastic hook(see, I don't even know the size or technical term. But if  you crochet, you know what I'm talking about), using three stands of yarn, carrying a yellow all the way through and using variegated oranges, pinks, purples, blues, sands and some black and purple solids as I felt like it.

I really do love the way the colors turned out.

I like Lily Peaches and Cream for most of my crochet projects, because it is a cotton thread, but very affordable. Someday I'll get into hand spun and dyed yarns, but I want my skills to be worthy of my yarn first. Heh.

Of course after I finished up my scarf, The Kid wanted one too. So I let her pick out her colors and whipped one up. I did a better job of guestimating, this time around.

She was pretty pleased with it.

And hey, it fits me too!

And then Nana(The Husband's mom) saw mine and wanted one too. So I made her one out of good ole Red Heart, because P&C did not have the right colors(to match her coat) available.

Hers is made from two shades of Red Heart Camouflage. I don't recall the names, but one is cream/tan/blue variegated and the other is dark chocolate/tan/cream variegated.

I haven't given it to her yet, but hopefully she'll enjoy it.

I know The Husband enjoyed wearing them while he was playing photographer.

His words, "Don't do that. Don't you do that."

"Ha ha. Too late." *snap snap*

So. I'm moving on to Christmas present production now. I'm not sure if the scarf sabbatical is over for the season, or if I will pick it back up following Christmas. Or New Year.

I sort of feel like I'll just go ahead and move on to another long neglected craft, now that the baby is finally napping better and we are figuring out a kinda sorta somewhat regular routine.

If that's the case, then I'll be content with the pile "o" stitching I did this year. At least they are finished projects. My OCD won't be bugging out on me.

And, affter all, there's always next year.

And maybe by then, I'll actually know what the heck I am doing!

My Little Popcorn Pony

The Kid was munching some popcorn when I noticed something hiding in her popcorn.

And I freaked out. Thinking it was a bug.

It wasn't.

It was a pony.

I did not put that pony there.

So why was it there?

I still have no idea.

But she smells like popcorn now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Few Post DMV Visit Salvation Army FInds

Last week, both The Husband and I had to get our drivers licenses renewed.

Good Lord, is there anything so annoying as walking into the dmv and seeing a buttload of people, taking your number and searching for a place to sit, only to realize that half the people taking up seats are just TAGALONGS?! Peas and rice, people, if you aren't there to get your license, and you aren't there with a person who really needs you to be there while they are getting their license, then WHY ARE YOU THERE?

At any rate, we waited for two hours. The Husband actually got up, walked across the street to the Salvation Army, bought a book, came back and read his book for awhile. WHILE WE WERE WAITING.

There was no way I was gonna leave town without stopping by the Salvation Army too, since I don't get back to that town very often anymore. So after we both finally acquired our temporary paper copies, we dropped by.

Good thing we did, because we found a few sweet finds.

Yeah, that tag says three bucks. For a swanky piece of key lime pie colored pyrex.

And then there's this one too...

This was an especially good find because I already had a matching bowl in a smaller size. Whoopee!

Some people collect Pyrex for preservation purposes. That's good news for future generations, I suppose, but I actually use mine.

Here's proof.

Dirty dishes. How fun!

Or not.

I also found this adorable little ceramic vintage box.

Some body's granny probably made this at a ceramics class. Why would they not keep it?
I am so sentimental that I just don't understand why people don't keep things like this. I couldn't just leave it there in the store. It was so cheap that it was just asking for some body's kid to want it as a treasure chest.

No offense kid, but Dorothy probably didn't invest so much time in this little box just to have you break it.

We also added another piece to our copper mold collection.

The fireplace display is getting pretty close to being complete!
As I was leaving the store, I noticed a display of pins. This cat reminded me of a cat that wandered into my parents' lives a few years ago. I gave it to my mama, to remind her of Puddin'(who has passed on).

Although, I have to say, Puddin's eyes were not so creepy. This kitty's eyes? A little creepy.

Just a little.

Still cute though.

Kinda like me!

*Sad trombone*

Monday, November 25, 2013

Patchwork Quilts For Baby Cakes

There are a bunch of things I made during my pregnancy that I never did post about(I think), that I am going to try and catch up during the next month or so. Hopefully none of these end up being repeats. I've scoured my past posts to make sure I'm not re-posting, but it is very much possible for one to hide from me.

 Better late than never, right?

Just nod and smile.

This first post I'm going to use as an opportunity to show you the quilts I made for the baby, before he arrived. They were my first attempts at quilting anything, ever, so I was pretty proud of them, imperfections and all. They've been very useful, these past months, as everything from burp cloths, to nursing covers, to changing pads to, of course, blankies.

The backs are made from thrifted sheets, and most of the fabric squares are vintage. I suppose there are probably "right" and "wrong" ways to quilt, but I didn't bother with either or. I just did it.

Kind of a theme in this blog, right?



If you've been thinking about quilting, but you're scared you won't be "good enough", I suggest you go ahead and try anyway. Even if you don't end up with a "perfect" product, odds are good that you'll still end up with a useful one.
And I'd rather have something useful, even if imperfect, than something too perfect to be useful.
Know what I mean?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Cupcake Kid Paints A Bird House

I took The Kid for some "Mommy And Me" time, and we purchased a few wooden craft items for her to paint. Plus some new paint brushes with grippies. Plus a crap ton of those Plaid craft paints.

Did you know that those paints are made here in the good ole U.S. of A.?

Anywho, here is the first in her series of mini bird houses.

I just love it. The neon colors she picked out, the glitter, the randomness. I love it!

And I find it terribly inspiring.

Children just paint what they like. They don't worry about rules or what's popular or provocative. They just know what they like, so that's what they paint.

I strive to be more like that in everything I craft. The older I get, the more I succeed at it, but still. It is always good to get a reminder.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Bear's Story

I have always loved the story of Corduroy, the little bear who lived in a big department store and was continually passed over by children because of his missing button and less than perfect appearance. I always loved when my grade school teachers would chose that book for story time readings. And I still love it now that I am the reader and my children are the audience. The book holds an even more special place in my heart now that I'm an adult, as it was the last gift The Husband gave to The Kid before he left for a year long deployment when she was just a little bitty sprout. Whenever we read that book now, I always think of that difficult time in our lives and how we made it through.

So having said that, it is really no surprise that when I spotted a completely torn and stained, rag tag stuffed bear while wandering an antique store one day, that I would feel compelled to bring him home and "fix" him.

I don't have any before photos, as this actually happened this past spring. We were wandering a local antique store browsing furniture in hopes that we might find something for our "new" old house. I did end up receiving some furniture we found on that day, for Mother's Day, but that's a different story for a different day.

Our little patchwork bear was flopped over a table in one of the booths at the store, his right ear almost completely torn off, rips and holes all over the place, with stuffing spilling forth, and permanent stains from years of obvious loving. He was priced at a sad little five dollars. I looked at The Husband and he smiled at me. He knew I needed to give the little creature a home.

There was no way to bring the little guy back to his original glory, so I just did my best to close up all the holes and reattach the ear. I had to use obvious stitching, but I actually think it only adds to his charm.

What do you think?

I'm not sure how old he is exactly, but judging by the jointing and fabric, he is old. Like, OLD old.

I imagine he has lived a very full life, and been loved almost to death.

And now, thanks to me(toot toot! That's my own horn...), he'll gets to live and be loved a little longer!

Some of my favorite projects I've ever done are the ones that were started by somebody else. I don't know why, exactly. Maybe because they require love, but not much thought.

That sounds bad.

 What I mean is, a lot of times these projects don't require much more than simple stitching that I can almost do with my eyes closed. It is loving, but almost methodical stitching, which for an anxiety ridden person like me, is relaxing. And I get the satisfaction of "closing up" an "open" project that's been hanging out and creating a hole in the craft universe, which is also important to a person with OCD. Like me.

That sounds better.

I don't know if it makes sense. But, I have a four year old and a baby. I'm used to not making sense.

In case you are wondering, I did indeed throw this guy into the washing machine before I attempted any fixing. He survived the washer beautifully! I had actually feared that he would fall apart, but I have a strict decontamination policy when it comes to any pre-loved items that enter my home.

Though he is still a little bit fragile, he definitely holds up to gentle hugs and snuggles.

And he definitely receives plenty of them.

I think he's probably a much happier bear now than he was when I found him. In fact, I am sure of it.

So that's my little bear's story.

I actually have plans to turn his story into a little book, in a nod to my beloved Corduroy, but Lord knows when I'll have time to complete the illustrations.

So many things on the horizon...

Friday, November 22, 2013

An Embroidery Story

The Husband and I were grocery shopping with the baby one day, when he decided to pop into Salvation Army. I decided to wait with the sleeping baby in the car.

He ran inside then ran back out a few minutes later, to excitedly describe an embroidery he had seen in the display case.

"It's really old. It has a little saying about a mother and is dated in the eighteen hundreds. And it is only five bucks!" he gushed.

"Well, why didn't you get it?" I questioned.

So he went back in to retrieve it.

Only, something didn't sound right to me. Valuable things sometimes get by the little old ladies pricing things at the SalArmy, but surely not something that old would.

He returned to the car with this

"It's really cute," I said. "But, the floss looks too new and the fabric way too perfect," I noted in a skeptical tone as I examined it. "I'm no expert though. Let's turn it over, take it out of the frame and see-"

That's when I started laughing uncontrollably.

Because I saw this on the back.

"Why are you laughing?" he asked me, a bewildered look on his face,

I handed the piece over.

Luckily The Husband is a good sport and laughed along with me, despite his obvious mild embarrassment.

"Well, it is still a really cute little piece. And it suits our house. And, it probably IS handmade, just not by a little girl in 1805." I said, in an attempt to repair his craft knowledge's pride.

So we brought it home and on one of the mantles it currently sits.

And I probably cherish the darn thing more than I would have cherished an actual antique.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Chocolate Pineapple Doilies

When we bought our house earlier this year, we were so excited to have an actual dining room, because it meant that we could have an actual dining room table, with actual dining room chairs, which meant we could have actual dinners. Swanky!

It doesn't take much to excite us.

The plan had been to build ourselves a neat table from reclaimed wood, or order a beautiful Amish built heirloom table, but time(children) and money(house) ended up pushing both of those ideas off into the future. The very, very, very distant future.

But, we still needed a table and chairs.

So we started scouring our local thrift stores and yard sales, fully prepared to do some refinishing. After several month we still had not found anything that suited our needs(seated at least 6 people, had six chairs and was around two hundred bucks or less). We were about to throw in the towel when I came across a cute little vintage drop leaf table set listed in one of the local swap/yard sale pages on facebook.

This is a terrible photo of it, but you get the idea.

One of the things that I love about old furniture(these pieces are circa 30's/40's, best I can tell) is that it always has a story. Sometimes you know the story, and sometimes you are left to wonder/figure it out. I cannot tell you about the early life of this furniture, but I can tell you that the gentleman I bought it from had suddenly lost his wife only three weeks before, and he was selling everything, including his house, so that he and his teen aged daughter could relocate to be with his son and grandbabies in another state.

I do not know how his wife died, but I do know that this table and chairs was witness to such sorrow and heartache in the last days of it's former life, that it hopefully will feel a sense of hopefulness and new life in our young, growing, crazy household.

Or maybe it is just furniture, and I'm just crazy.

Either way, we also purchased this beautiful buffet from the same nice gentleman.

So, what does any of this have to do with doilies? Personally, I feel like a house is not a home unless there are a few doilies spread about.

Unfortunately, I do not make doilies.

Fortunately, my mama does!

So I asked for a doily for my table, and I received this one-

Oh, it is so lovely! I just love it. So much so that I decided that I needed another for the buffet.

Lucky me, Mama obliged!

And so I received this one too-

Is this gorgeous or what?!

As you may have noticed in the photos above, I ended up deciding to use the long doily for the buffet and the round one for the table, instead of my original plan.

Pay no attention to how off center the doily is. It doesn't make it any less pretty. It just means that my homemaking skills are not at peak performance right now.

Oh who am I trying to kid?!

A wonkily placed doily is pretty par for the course in this zoo of a house. I'm just trying to survive each new day's adventure. Magazine perfection is not compatible with our lifestyle.

And I'm pretty sure we aren't the only ones.