July 5th, 2010 | 3 Comments »


BB lost another tooth yesterday.  He’s seems to be good at losing teeth on memorable days.  He lost his first tooth on his fifth birthday.  And now, his third tooth came out on Independence Day.  Lucky for the tooth fairy, the fireworks and general mayhem were sufficient excuse to postpone for another day the ritual of leaving the tooth under the pillow in the hopes that the tooth fairy would visit.

We didn’t have a proper tooth fairy pillow or pouch, and I had a day off from work, so it was a good opportunity for a family project!

inspiration waiting to burst forth

I have plenty of scraps on hand, and of course the services of a very capable and prolific artist at my beck and call.


He kept telling me it wasn’t going to work, as he watched me cut pieces out.  He needs to work on his visionary skills.

tooth fairy monster pillow

Now that I compare pictures, I can see that I didn’t get it quite right.  I was originally planning to use the sewing machine, and the body would have turned out more circular, but I ended up changing my mind and using hand stitching, and I see that I forgot to gather the base to give it more of a circular look.  The artist, however, is quite pleased.  The tooth is placed safely in the pouch (on the back side), ready for the tooth fairy to visit.

toothless artist

Look at this wide eyed food faced grubby toothless monster boy!  We must now hope that the tooth fairy has cash on hand so she won’t have to leave an IOU note.

December 23rd, 2008 | 2 Comments »

I’ve been a bit hell-bent on home-made this year, to the extent that it sort of dampens the spirit of things.  At least in the realm of  edibles.

I did lasso Gadget into helping with a project, and he did swimmingly.  Behold the espresso knock box(es)!

knockboxesA knock box is a receptacle with a bar against which one whacks the espresso portafilter to remove the used puck.

Gadget was actually impressed that I’d gone to the hardware store on my own and found copper pipe, clear tubing, rubber grommets, and copper end caps.  Yes, Dear… …Women can shop at hardware stores too…

I’d seen these made from plumbing materials, but a piece of drain pipe still looks like a piece of drain pipe, even with a pretty copper bar poked through either end.  Fine for the grunge rocker or starving artist, but a bit too industrial for my taste.  Instead, I found plastic iced tea tumblers to use as the body.  Granted, they’re not nearly as thick and strong as the PVC, but they don’t look half bad, and I think they’ll hold up for at least a little while.

I merely had to ask Gadget to borrow ‘the cutter thing that cuts a 4 inch circle’ and he took over the project from there, cutting the holes, sanding the edges smooth, and assembling the various pieces.  All I had to do was mark where I wanted holes drilled and cuts made, and after that, I took on a supervisory role.  Genius!

We made four because the copper pipe only came in 2ft lengths, and I needed 6in.  I can always sell the extras on eBay.

The other gift project was aromatic bath salts.  I tried to duplicate one of my favorites, a blend of peppermint and eucalyptus, but didn’t get the ratio of essential oils quite right.  It’s nice, though, and hopefully the recipients will like them.  I did remember at the last moment that my SIL has an aversion to mint, so I filled one jar with a blend of grapefruit, dewberry, and something called tropical tango.  It’s different, but not bad.  I ran out of salt, though, so it didn’t quite fill the jar.

bathsaltI think that wraps up my artsy craftsy efforts for 2008.


This, however, is by far the best thing made this year.

December 22nd, 2008 | 5 Comments »

It looks like Mother Nature is granting us a white Christmas (in the Pacific Northwest, anyhow).  Even the trio of miniature trees on my covered front porch are blanketed in snow.

drifttreesThey’re tiny trees and I decorated them with fruits and birds.

drifttreecloseAwww, isn’t that sweet?

Speaking of sweet, my cookie baking failures continue.  Alas!  If I were to put a price on these cookies based on how much time they took and what I get paid for real work, these would probably cost $10 each.  No cookie is worth $10.  Not even a Versace (if there were such a thing).  I’m a terrible cookie maker.


I gave up on shaped cookies and tried drop-smashed instead.  This recipe emulates the Lofthouse cookie.  It’s light and fluffy and the icing is surprisingly good.  They are a far cry from uniform, though.

sugarcookies3To my credit, they all taste good.  The execution, however, leaves much to be desired.  Because I like to beat a dead horse, so to speak, I may make one final attempt at holiday cookies before Christmas.  I’m thinking of a sugar cookie dough that is rolled, refrigerated, and cut with a wire to make uniform circles.  Or, I could try to overcome this ridiculous perfectionism personality disorder, and resist the urge to produce a beautiful, delicious, uniform cookie.  That would be the better road, in many ways.

I also made some sweet and spicy almonds, which turned out okay, but could be improved upon.


The same can be said for the Chex Mix as well.


Again with the dead horse.  I am SO very tempted to try again with all of these concoctions.

The thing is, in the interest of giving home made things to friends and family for Christmas, I can hardly feel good about giving something that looks gross or tastes gross, now, can I?  I think I’ll just put these out for people to nibble on (if they dare, and if they care) and not use them for any sort of gift.  Eventually I’ll get these recipes figured out, and hope for better luck next year.

December 15th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

I’m through with the domperidone, and not sure whether the milk supply has taken a hit yet, but am hoping that having the drug out of my system will improve my hormonal outlook.

Post partum hair loss has set in.  If only weight loss were as easy as hair loss.

I hit the jackpot with this bundle of babyliciousness.  He has the best disposition.  When he’s hungry, he kicks  his legs a certain way –alternating, like running or cycling.  When he’s playing in his bouncy seat, he kicks his legs another way, in unison, to get the seat bouncing.  He can really get it going.  Such a smartie!  When our eyes meet he bursts into a giant radiant slobbery smile that melts me to the core.  When he’s tired he flails and squirms until I give him his pacifier, then he contendedly burrows his face to one side or the other, settles in and goes to sleep.  Lately he’s been studying his hands; he’s figuring out that they’re attached to his arms, and trying to make them do his will.  It’s amazing, really, to watch this learning take place.  He’s discovering his voice, which has the most gorgeous resonance.  I hope he will be interested in music!

It is a winter nightmare wonderland around here.  While the snow is quite pretty, and there is a glorious bite to the crisp crisp air, I simply can’t bring myself to drive on the icy roads if it’s not absolutely necessary.  So I’m holed up in my house, still, and feeling a bit gypped with this so-called vacation.  Whine, whine, whine.  We’re nearly out of milk, so I have to decide whether it’s worth a venture out.  I could get out of the driveway without sliding the van into the truck, but getting the van safely back in the garage is another story.  Our cul-de-sac is very short on actual curb space, so street parking is almost impossible.

Snow is great fun for those who don’t have to drive in it, though!

I’m the world’s worst cookie maker.  I followed the recipes, and instructions, for both gingerbread and sugar cookies, but the dough didn’t roll properly, so I had a heck of a time making shapes.  I used the food processor, as directed by the instructions.  I may make another attempt before Christmas, if I can muster the wherewithall, but will use the stand mixer instead. I’m the only one who likes gingerbread, though, so won’t be making any more of that.

In the interest of home-made Christmas gifts, I made some posters for my 8 going on 12 year old nephew using the raster tool.  I like how they turned out and I think he will be pleased.

For my 12 going on 24 niece, I made an Audrey collection.  These are 8.5×11 glossy photos in 10×13 frameless frames (the photo shows their protective styrofoam), and should fill up quite a bit of her wall space.  She’s very inspired by the beautiful Ms. H, and I think she will be delighted.

Next up, therapeutic bath salts.  That is, if the peppermint oil I bought on eBay arrives in time.

August 24th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

I did a wild and adventurous thing (for me) early this year, and traveled across the globe to Australia, to see dear friends, and meet new ones face to face. All in the first trimester. I’ve spent quite some time in first trimester, and have only gone beyond it twice.

I tried to remain hopeful and positive and not allow stress and worry to take too much hold, and I allowed myself to buy something for the baby. A kit for a beautiful hand-felted rainbow woolen dragon. Months passed, the pregnancy progressed, and all along I intended to make the dragon. I made other dragons. Even one for the baby. But not the dragon. Until now.


And now that it’s finished, I think that it is more for me, than for the baby. It symbolizes this journey, from beginning to end, and that we have made it! That we are ready! I dared to hope and my dreams have come true. I am about to be the mother of two. Two beautiful boys. Two beautiful children. Two amazing people whose mere being adds much joy and love to this earth.


For perspective. It’s a wee little dragon, this. BB is snuggled next to me as I write, and says, “That’s my dragon, and that’s your dragon!” He’s been such a love lately, and I’ve been trying to snuggle and nuzzle and spend time with him as much as possible, hoping to fill him with security in knowing how important he is to me, and that even though priorities will soon change with LB’s arrival, there is enough Mommy and enough LOVE to share all around (even though it may seem that LB will be getting most of the attention for a while).

I may yet write a letter to LB, before he’s born. I want to tell him about our journey. His journey. I want him to know how much he is wanted, and how blessed we are to have him, how our family is that much more beautiful, because of him.

August 16th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

That’s one of BB’s favorite phrases, spoken with much drama and inflection. Hey, wait a second, you forgot to make me my dragon! Spoken less than a day after making it known that he’d like a dragon, too, just like LB’s. (Which I hadn’t actually made, yet.)


Silly goose, I didn’t forget. I just haven’t had time yet! As if I could whip one up with a wave of my magical wand. I did manage to produce it that day, though, and BB was quite pleased. I followed up last night with LB’s, which didn’t turn out as well, in some respects, but turned out better in others. It’s all a learning experience. I used the serger on LB’s and the seams, when turned, aren’t as pretty. But I also used it to connect as many of the pieces as possible prior to stuffing, so it came out much stronger. LB’s has the white belly, and BB’s is all blue cloud. They’re sweet. I enlarged the pattern as much as I could with my printer, and this is the result.


All in a day’s work. Well, an afternoon and evening. I also made a hedgehog pincussion from a pattern I got while visiting Suse earlier this year, and using some of that scrumptious hand dyed wool felt from Winterwood Toys.


I think it’s adorable!


I do enjoy the hand stitching and small feltwork much more than the machine work. I also think I’m finished sewing for a while. I’ve been on a maniacal roll with it of late. I think it’s a form of nesting. I’ve taken all the sewing and craft doodads that have been cluttering my office and organized them and filed them away neatly. My office is looking a bit tidier, and this gives me comfort.

Now. On the agenda for today: prune the front yard shrubbery, pull the weeds, and trim the grass (all very long overdue – the approach to our house is frankly embarrassing). Set up the baby hammock. Retrieve the infant sized car seat and base from storage. Get groceries and fuel the car. Wash sheets and towels. Pack my hospital bag. Give BB lots of opportunities to earn Good Boy Stars so that he can possibly get a ‘prize’ today (Gadget happened upon the coveted Batman costume and it’s hidden away for the next Good Boy milestone). Not a bad list for a Saturday. Maybe tomorrow I’ll update my blog software. Or not. I keep getting these notices of important security updates. BORING. No more sewing, though.

August 9th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

Babes in arms. Soon.


There has been a marked silence in blogland lately, particularly amongst the ladies in waiting. I’ve been hoping that we are all just going through the frantic and harried late third trimester nesting times in which all is well with the babes, and we are just too busy with wrapping together the pieces of our lives that need to be taken care of before our bundles of joy arrive. It can be so stressful, these last few weeks, when the doctors say to heed the movements and make sure you feel at least 10 movements every two hours, and if not, CALL. I’m finding myself looking at the clock, wondering why LB hasn’t moved, gently prodding my belly to see if I can get him to squirm, and either feeling panic or joy when I don’t or do get a response. And then there’s the fear that I’ll go into labor at any time, and even though he’s a big robust boy already, it’s still too early, so please, please don’t come yet. And then there’s the office. The loads and loads of loose ends to tie up. All the things to get in order for an extended absence. Finding all the things that must be delegated and delegating them properly so that all will be well. Finishing things that have been in work for ages. Anticipating what might come up whilst away, just in case. The management tends to get a bit nervous when they know you are single thread and there’s nobody else who can fill in for task X, should the need arise. And even though I am single thread on many things I do, the chances are that no emergencies will arise in my absence. And the company will go on. My single threadedness remains only the smallest drop in a very large bucket. So I won’t actually let that bother me. Much. I have much more important things on the horizon with which to prioritize my emotions, thoughts, and energy.

Today I’ve caught up on several posts and projects that have been rattling around. I made some bibs for our bloggy babes. My hand painting is crude – the pencil sketches turned out much nicer than the actual product, once rendered in paint. And even though it’s not much, and they didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped and imagined, it’s something that I wanted to do.

Now, to send them off!

August 9th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

I’ve been on a roll.


I’ve had some sewing projects on my mind for some time, and have finally tackled them. This dragon pattern is from Winterwood Toys in Australia, and I fell in love with it when I first saw it. I bought the kit, which is a divine rainbow hand dyed wool felt, but I wanted to try it with plain fabric as well. Also, I only get one chance with that wonderful wool, so I wanted to do a practice run anyway. When I do the wool, it will be for my new little one. But big brother has announced that he wants one too. My fingers will be quite sore from stitching!

I had visions of using fun fabrics and the rolled edge serger stitch to make all sorts of fast and fabulous toys, but learned quickly, during my recent foray into the land of piggies, that that wasn’t to be. I didn’t even attempt to use the serger on this dragon. The pattern, when I opened it, seemed so small. The display that I thought I remembered in the store was much larger. My memory is probably off. I enlarged the pattern by quite a bit, and the end product is still smaller than I’d imagined it would be, but I think it’s delightful. I made some modifications, in that I stuffed the wings and didn’t quilt them, and I made my own mane pattern, since the original pattern was missing that detail. Also, I stuffed it. It looks like a pompadour in the photo!

I was planning on making two, but all this detail work is more than I imagined, so I’m not ready to take on another. Except the wool versions. And then I’ll be hand-stitching. I’m finding that I enjoy the wool and the hand-stitching.

All in all, I love the look of these small toys, but the execution is excrutiating. My fingers are sore from stitching and turning and stuffing such tiny pieces. I don’t know how toy makers do it. It’s a fun project to tackle once in a blue moon though!

Posted in Artsy Craftsy, sewing
August 9th, 2008 | 1 Comment »


I’ve been meaning to make these for quite some time. I had the pattern squirreled away for over twenty years, but couldn’t find it. Then my grandmother relinquished the coveted heirloom set to my mother, who passed it to me, and I was able to make a new pattern from them.

The beginnings.


I also wanted to try toy making with my serger, using the rolled edge stitch, which I LOVE. Sadly, I’m learning that sergers don’t do well with small things or curves. They work great for long straight things. It could very well be me, though. I’m new to sergers.


I used the serger on the mother, but went back to the old fashioned tried and true sewing machine for the piglets. Even so, I find that making such small things is quite difficult with a machine. It would have helped if I’d chosen friendlier fabrics, but I had my heart set on these fun prints.


Some of the piglets are a bit wonky, but isn’t that the way siblings are? Some have different characteristics than others, but they all have their finer points (siblings, not stuffed piglets). All in all, I think they exhibit personality. Not the best workmanship, but they’re cute, and I’m not displeased.

Posted in Artsy Craftsy, sewing
August 9th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Spurred by a recent visit to Target in which we found it impossible to steer past the toy aisle without the young lad going berserk, I devised a plan. No, you can’t have everything you see and everything you want. These things are privileges, and you must earn them.

Okay, so I tried to put it in terms of 3-1/2 year old language skills. The Good Boy Chart. I made a set of magnets with happy pictures and a chart with ten spaces to fill. Good boy deeds earn magnets. But they can also be forfeited. So it’s one step forward, two steps back. But he gets it! So all week he’s been working on earning stars, and he is now very close to earning a reward. He wants a Batman mask.


Last night he opted to continue with his bad behavior, and have a star removed. It was quite amazing to me, that he weighed the cost of the transgression, and decided he’d rather go on doing what he was doing, which was something he wasn’t supposed to be doing, but which was FUN! …and forfeit a star.

I can see we’re going to have our work cut out for us.

We did remove the star, then he decided he’d go ahead and stop doing what he wasn’t supposed to be doing. He wanted the star back, because he’d stopped, but I explained that he had had his chance, and now he has to earn it back again.

I’m a tough mamma-jamma.


My 8 year old nephew is spending the weekend, and my little guy’s behavior slides drastically during such times. He (my nephew) is the sweetest boy, but I think my son just gets too wound up and excited to have him here. Consequently, there were meltdowns and a significant loss of stars. This morning we worked hard doing jobs to earn them back. Sadly, Target was freshly out of the coveted Batman mask, but happily, they had a bazillion other things to choose from, and my little one was tickled pink to get to choose… …a Transformer -Barricade- which also, as luck would have it, was marked down to $5 from $20. Woot.