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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crocheting in November...

As I stated in an earlier post, crocheting is my new hobby when I need a break from sewing. It started with the shoes from a pattern I got from Etsy (http://sylver.etsy.com), and snowballed.

So, here's what I made starting with the first things, to the most recent creation, a dreidel, available in my Etsy shop (http://mamamade.etsy.com)

The cat:


The hippo:

Then I started to get brave and make something a little "out there" - a sock monkey cupcake:

The cutest little mug of cocoa ever:


And finally, the dreidel - something I wanted to make for Small Fry, since he'd likely eat a real dreidel:

When I'm not sewing...

I have what I call "craft ADD", that is, I can't focus on one craft medium for too long. My mind starts to wander, and I ponder the possibilities of other things I want to be making. That is why I've got supplies for scrapbooking, cardmaking, photography, painting, soap making, beading, punch needle, embroidery, knitting, and more. It's fun, and I'm never bored (thanks, Mom, for teaching me that!)

A few weeks ago, I was browsing Etsy and came upon the cutest shoes, that turned out to be a pattern for crocheting shoes. I happened to have a "Learn how to Crochet" book, but hadn't tried it because they patterns in the instruction book were from the mid-70's and just didn't pique my interest. But this pattern, marked as "easy" was something I knew I could tackle. I quickly bought the pattern, anxiously awaited for its arrival via email and learned how to crochet. I did some research on the internet, found videos that showed me how to do stitches and after some trial and error, I made a pair of shoes. For some reason, I still haven't taken a picture of them.

These are the shoes I saw that made me have to learn to crochet! Check them (and lots of other cute designs out at http://sylver.etsy.com)



Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago. Hubby and I took the kids to the bookstore (our oldest, the Monkey, is a book FANATIC), and I took out youngest (Small Fry) to browse the craft books. What I happened to find led to a list of "things I want for Christmas", but some were too good to pass up. I found some cool books on "amigurumi", a Japanese word for "knitted/crocheted stuffed toy". I'd read a little about it on Etsy, because it is a big craze, but since I previously didn't know how to crochet, I really hadn't paid that much attention.


This was one of the books I found - she sells the finished products on Etsy too!

Another of the books I found - I love it! (See how the cute photos make you want to check out the book?)

Well, being a true marketer's dream, the beautiful photos on the front of the two books, pointing right at me, were just what I needed to spend $40 and a subsequent trip to the yarn store to stock up on dozens of colors.

And now when I'm not busy sewing dozens of sock monkey shirts (that's coming in another post), I'm crocheting. I love it because I can make projects quickly and easily, and can crochet when my boys are awake. Small Fry can't come in the studio, since he just likes to eat the glue and get into other trouble. And the Monkey thinks that every time he's in my studio, he gets to watch "Curious George".

So, I'm going to sign off this post, and get my photos ready so you can see what I've made!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm here.

Every night, about 1:30 am, I sit down to write a blog post. Then I get distracted. It's been a long couple of months, the Monkey and Small Fry are growing by leaps and bounds and I have loads of pictures to share.

But to anyone out there that reads this - hi. I'm here, just busy, and will post soon. I promise.

I went missing!

I think my real life got the better of me the past few months! I've been busy with family obligations, two increasingly demanding kiddos and by the time I think about the blog, the day is gone. I said the other day to a co-worker, that I make myself shut down the computer, stop knitting/crocheting, etc., by 2am...sometimes I'll watch a show (like Grey's Anatomy) that I've recorded, but it is time for my brain to wind down.

I get up with the boys about 7:30 every morning, so I guess it's good I'm still young...I can continue to burn my candle at both ends.

Anyway, I'm working on a photo essay of "the creation of my monkeys", which will be up soon, but in the meantime, I just had to post a few photos of "Santa Sock Monkey" that I've recently listed in my shop. He looks SO cute, all dressed up as Santa, and I'm hoping that others like him as much as I do.



Friday, September 26, 2008

Overheard today...

The Monkey is talking more and more and more and more these days. He's amazing, and he's started to ask questions about everything. "What's that mommy?" "What's happening?" "What's he doing?" Etc.

He also loves playing with his Thomas trains, and is totally in love with Thomas. This morning, I overheard (as he was pushing his trains on the kitchen table), "Choo choo said Thomas as he puffed away. The next day..." He was narrating his story. Too cute.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things I love.

There are a lot of message boards I'm on, and I always seem to be trying something new or excited about some new item. As someone wrote on one of these boards today, "I'm a shiny and new junkie".

I'm also on the computer a lot, and I've found a few things that make my computer life SO much easier. Thought I'd do a procrastinating sort of post to mention these things (I've got about 1300 photos to edit and upload).

1) Firefox. Hands down, one of my favorite browsers around. I can't stand Internet Explorer (IE), and downloaded Firefox about a year ago. I won't change. Tabbed navigation panes (instead of a bunch of open windows), as well as easy to install features and lots less tendency to virus or crash. Download it for free at http://mozilla.com I promise you won't regret it.

2) Google Reader. I'm a blog junkie. I love reading about others' lives, seeing what's new and featured in Etsy, seeing the latest custom order requests on Etsy, etc. And Google Reader lets you easily combine everything into one neat and easy to read window. Basically you go to http://google.com/reader and it's like email divided into folders. Your blogs are the folders and those with new posts (like a new email) are bold. Click on each "folder" and you get to read the new posts. You can easily click directly to the blog or page you're reading too. I have at least 20 blogs/pages subscribed on there right now and it lets me get all my reading done in one day.

3) TwitterFox. A plug-in for Firefox that easily allows you to update Twitter. I'm gonna thank my lady cupcake_ninja for this one ;)

4) Picasa. Google's picture application. Download this and easily import, simple edits and organize all your pictures. Gives me easy access to the literally 5000+ pictures on my computer.

Okay, today that's it. I need to get pics from June uploaded. Then it's just July, August and September (and Father's Day and the DNC) - thanks to Picasa, everything is nicely organized ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Making Diapers!

I've been so busy with stuff for my shop lately, but trying to take a brain break to do some other projects. Sooo, I decided to make some cloth diapers for the boys. A while back I made some AIOs (All-in-ones). I liked them, but they take so long to dry and I decided they just wouldn't be practical for us.

I adapted a bunch of patterns, used diapers I had on hand and made up my own pocket diaper! I love, love, love how they're turning out. I found some colored fleece, so the inside isn't boring white anymore, and I've been able to create some cute combos with the fleece, PUL, and threads. I may venture into using snaps soon, but for now, they're all velcro closures.

I can't wait to make more when I get back from vacation. I've even got some ideas on some new versions of a sock monkey diaper cover.

The first pocket diaper I made (there are flaws, trust me ;))
It's a sage green color with a butter colored fleece lining.

The pocket opening.

The inside of the diaper. I even stitched around the leg elastic to create gussets.

Summer Diaper - A teal-ish, sky blue outer with a green grass fleece inside:

A peek inside:

A view of the green fleece
(green is by far my favorite color - I even made Small Fry a pair of fleece pants out of this color)

And my favorite - a teal-ish sky blue outer with a chocolate brown fleece inside:

A peek inside:
A full-view of the outside:

Close-up of contrasting stitching:

And I couldn't leave out my little model (this size also fits my 2 1/2 year old!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yearbook Photos

This is a FUNNY site I was referred to today. Check out http://yearbookyourself.com

I put together a photo compilation of me and hubby if we were a couple way back when:

1950:

1952:
1960:

1968:

1990:

Dude, we are a seriously hot couple ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Teething Cookie Aftermath

Who me? I'm not messy! That's not cookie above my eyebrow, I swear!

We're in trouble now!


As if it wasn't stressful enough that Small Fry started crawling at a mere five months old, lately he's been pulling up to a stand. Today, he pulled up on the couch to a full-on stand up straight kind of stand. The kid isn't even 7 1/2 months old! I don't remember the Monkey doing that until he was at least 9 or 10 months.

I've got plans to go out tomorrow and get some more baby gates. Today, Small Fry flipped over the cats' water dish for the 3rd time in three days. Maybe I should pick up a sedative while I'm out too - I'm going to need something to keep me from going crazy!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What happens when you leave the boys alone...

When you leave a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 month old alone to play (while I was photographing things for my Etsy site), this is what happens.


The Monkey was very proud of how he'd dressed up Small Fry.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

We were on television!

Well, since we got to attend the DNC (see post below), we were actually repeating history from a century ago. My great-grandfather was a reporter for a small newspaper in Kansas (actually, he owned it), and he traveled about 400 miles by train with my great-grandmother and then 1-year-old grandfather to attend the DNC that was held in Denver in 1908.

My dad wrote a short article about this, and sent it off to some newspaper reporters he knew. My mom took the story and sent it to some television reporters. I was contacted on Tuesday morning before the convention by a local reporter for Channel 7 News (local ABC affiliate). The reporter asked if he could come to our house Tuesday afternoon and interview hubby and me. Miraculously BOTH boys napped at the same time, so that we could do the interview, and then the Monkey woke up right at the end of the interview, so he's on the piece eating snacks (with his bed head ;))

It was super cool, and the piece has aired twice on Channel 7 and once on PBS. Cool!

**To view the story, you need to go to 1:50 in the piece (I couldn't edit out the commercials before the piece)**


2008 Democratic National Convention

Wow. When I found out the DNC was coming to Denver in 2008, I knew I'd figure out SOME way to go. Wasn't looking promising until about a month ago when the DNCC announced that they were moving Obama's acceptance speech to Invesco Field so that more people could attend. I signed up to get tickets within a few minutes of that announcement.

Alas, hubby and I were waitlisted for tickets. But 2 weeks ago, I got an email letting me know that in fact we DID get tickets! We were very excited and our parents offered to watch the Monkey and Small Fry so that we could spend the day going.

On Thursday, we packed up overnight bags for the boys, and dropped them off with their respective babysitters. (I forgot Small Fry's milk at home, so I need to publicly thank my dad for driving 30 minutes each way to get his food!!).

We knew we weren't going to drive to the stadium, since the parking would have been insane, and we thought taking the Light Rail (our local public train system) would be the best option. We hopped on the train at the very start of the line, and waited for our historic journey to begin. About 3 stops from the stadium, we started hearing whispering...apparently the stadium stop was too busy, so they closed it!

Yup - we got to the stop before the stadium and were told if we weren't handicapped, we had to get off. So, we did, along with about 200 or so other people and we started walking. There were two "lines", and we guessed wrong. Apparently if we'd stayed in the line that looked SO long to us (it was actually tiny compared to what we ended up in), we'd have only been about 45 minutes from getting into the stadium. Instead, the wait was over 4 hours.

I included a little map of where we had to walk from (I circled the station we should have gotten off if it hadn't been closed - only about a 5 minute walk to the stadium). Instead we walked up on to a major street (thankfully it was closed already by the secret service), we walked down a few more streets, behind a bar, in an alley, into a HUGE parking lot filled with people. The line spiraled from the center outwards in another long line waiting to get through security into the stadium. (Click on the picture below to see a larger image).

We followed hundreds of people into CHAOS, disorganization and complete craziness. Eventually the line got worked out, but I took some photos of what was the "line" in the parking lot.
So, we got into line and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. We arrived at the light rail station at 3pm. We were inside security and into the stadium at 7pm. Yes, we waited for FOUR hours. It was not fun, but people were in surprisingly good moods, everyone knowing they were fortunate just to be able to attend, and so many of us thought if we at least got in in time to hear Obama speak, we would be great. It just about worked out that way.

The parking lot where the "end" of the line was - took us quite a while to find the end in the sea of people!!

Finally, a distinct set of lines started to develop!

We got a truck full of free water once we'd waited in line for about 2 hours.

Once we finally got in, we headed up to our seats in the nosebleed section. We missed a lot of speakers, like Al Gore, but we were honestly super happy just to be in the stadium. It was an a amazing set up, with all the delegates on the field level, along with dozens of news stations and their tents and set ups.
Our view of the center stage.

The media tents. MSNBC (my favorite), is on the far right.

We heard some personal stories about people who were affected by the Bush administration, and republicans who were going to vote for Obama. We also heard Dwight Eisenhower's daughter speak, which was neat.

There was some time to check out the stadium, and I thought the security stuff was SO cool. There were snipers on the top of the stadium all the way around, and a helicopter patrolling the skies (actually I believe there were two). Also, they closed the highway near the stadium from 5:30 pm to just after 9 pm. We could see the highway from the stadium, and it was blocked off with dozens of snowplows and police cars - amazing!

There were snipers all around the top of the stadium, even in the scaffolding where the lights were!

In the distance, you can see orange snowplows blocking the highway. Also, you can see snipers standing on the stadium next to the bucking Bronco.

Then, Joe Biden came out to speak, which was so cool to hear. And then, after a short video, Obama came out. It was an amazing and inspirational speech and my hands hurt from clapping so much.

Obama speaking.

Watching him on the bigscreen.

After the fireworks went off.Barack and Michellle Obama and Jill and Joe Biden.

Barack Obama and his family.

After the speech, we decided to head out right away to avoid the crowds (hah!), and just as we were standing up in our seats, the fireworks started to go off and they were RIGHT over our head! It was all so neat to see though, and even though it was 90 minutes getting out of the stadium back on to the train, hubby and I agreed we'd do it all over again.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What a week!

I'll be making some more posts about these events, but in the past seven days, the following has occurred in our family:

Saturday - moved out our queen sized bed (like a headboard, footboard, etc.) to our guestroom, loaded up and drove down a new four-poster bed and mattress from my parents' house, put together the bed, etc.

Sunday - pretty lazy day until we left the grocery store and saw a tornado touching down about 7 miles north of our house!

Monday - The Monkey's pre-school orientation

Tuesday - Channel 7 news came to our house to film a video clip about our upcoming DNC attendance.

Wednesday - The Monkey's first day of pre-school (for the fall).

Thursday - Got a speeding ticket (my first ever). Waited in line for 4 hours to get into Invesco field to hear Barack Obama speak. Then waited 90 minutes to get out and get on the train to go home.

Friday - Spent the day being exhausted, made lots of little errors in everything, was running late all day. Found out the contacts I have specially made for my eyes (read: takes 4-6 weeks to make), we're mis-ordered so it wasn't my fault I can't see out my left eye. Guess I'll have a headache until they get the new ones.

I'm tired.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And the winner is....

...Sheralyn!!

I know she just got in to cloth diapering and has two adorable kiddos - so I'm sure this bag will come in handy.

Congrats Sheralyn!

And to all those that entered but didn't win - be sure to add this blog to your reader or keep an eye on it...I plan on doing lots more of these contests!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Win a Free Wet Bag!


I've been MIA for a while...life is just B-U-S-Y these days! But I'm thick in the excitement of my new found obsession - cloth diapering! And to celebrate a new addition of cloth-diapering related items to my Etsy shop, I'm giving away a wet bag!

This bag measures 8" x 9.5", and has a zippered closure. Fits one or two diapers perfectly! (See below for more details.)




How to Enter Contest (and rules):
Leave a comment on this post anytime from now until August 16th at midnight (MST). I'll pick one winner at random and post the winner's name on my blog on August 17th (so be sure to check the blog!). Only one entry per person please!

What is a "Wet Bag"?
For those who don't know, a wet bag is a stylish, yet water-proof bag that is ideal for carrying those "used" cloth diapers. Though it can also be used for swimsuits, other soiled baby clothes or just about anything you can think of.

My bags are made with the following specifications:

- Inner lining made with color-coordinating PUL (waterproof laminated knit), keeps wet items contained).

- Inner and outer layers are sewn separately to prevent wicking of moisture onto the outside of the bag. Each seam is straight stitched and zigzaged to ensure durability.

- Zippered closure keeps items secure and keeps the smell contained! Both layers are topstitched to the zipper to keep everything in its place.

- Convenient carrying handle makes it easy to hang the bag on a stroller, on a doorknob, or around your wrist.

This bag can be washed and dried with all of your other diaper laundry. All items are pre-washed to minimize shrinkage.