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Monday, March 28, 2011


Various plagues have beset our home and it seems like someone has been sick, to some degree, for almost two months. It's made our schedule extra hectic and meant we had to miss out on some fun with other kids. The only upside to the sickness is that I'm finally updating this blog again, as I snuggle in bed with a sleeping boy who has a horrible cough. I'd rather update my blog and catch up on my blog reading than risk waking him up to get some other things done. I'm debating trying to get up and grab a crochet hook or knitting needles and yarn. 
It's still cold in Ohio so maybe I should finish off some of the partially-made hats I've crocheted. Many are variations on the Inner Hooker owl hat pictured at left. It took several attempts to follow the directions well enough to not make the hats come out huge, and they are still pretty roomy. The one at left was a gift, made in Ohio State colors, and after my second attempt was too large I decided it'd just be a baby gift he could wear next winter. 

My crochet stash includes several completed and partially-completed hat bases, eyes that need sewn on, and a few beaks. I've found that the eyes and beak are tedious at times but perfect for the rare times when I sit down to watch TV and don't have something else to work on. I usually do much better with repeating rows of double crochet. Not quite as relaxing as knitting a fairly basic hat pattern, but close. 

There are many sewing projects waiting for me to sit down at my machine, including some simple character pillows for my children. Gator is getting this Buzz Lightyear and Violet has a similar Cinderella waiting for her. I picked them up at Joann Fabrics when they were half price and really thought I'd have them done before Valentine's Day. Then her birthday. Now it's almost April. The few times when I think I would have time to sit and sew or craft, there are so many more pressing things to work on. Cleaning the house for Violet's birthday party. Compiling receipts and expenses for our taxes. Cleaning the house again because it doesn't take long to get it trashed. Organizing. Decluttering. And so on. The goal is to have a play space adjacent to the room where my sewing machine and photo editing/designing desktop mac are, so I can work while the kids play. I think it's time to put other things on the backburner so that playspace is completed and I can work or play while the kids play.

I keep discovering crafty blogs with tutorials for cool projects like this roll-up car caddy. What a wonderful way to tame clutter and package things up for a trip out. I have some ideas to use this for other favorite toys that are small. It will be a perfect use for some of the fabric I kept from worn out clothing that seemed to have good potential for future sewing projects. How wonderful it would be to combine the goals of recycling, creating, and organizing!

Monday, March 14, 2011


It's been a little over four years since I embarked on this journey of motherhood. Sure, the journey started during that uncomfortable, complicated pregnancy, but the baby in my belly went to concerts, work, etc. with me when baby on the outside required much more consideration.

Last year was the first year we did more than a family party for a child, and we took advantage of a room that could be reserved for free. My house didn't have to get cleaned and didn't have the craziness descend upon it. This year, I decided we would have a smaller party at home. Violet loves helping people bake and decorating cookies and cupcakes is a real treat. So we planned a cupcake-decorating birthday party.

This was the first time I baked a cake, and while it wasn't as fancy and polished as store-bought cakes, the recipient was happy with it and it tasted good too! I can't believe how inexpensive it was to bake my own cake instead of buying one, and it wasn't that hard. Putting it together and decorating it was like a fun craft project.

the only picture that shows the layers
The cake featured one layer of chocolate and one layer of strawberry cake, baked from a mix. Ariel figurines purchased on clearance at Target months ago (because someone's been requesting an Ariel cake this year since her birthday last year) made the cake go with the requested theme without requiring great expense or artistry. Wilton does make an Ariel Cake Pan but the plastic figurines worked well and provided the birthday girl with playthings for later. I would have preferred  to write more on the top, but I figured a simple "4" was better than novice writing.

For cupcake decorating, I had a variety of sprinkles, icing, chocolate chips, nuts, and three kinds of frosting. I decorated some of the leftovers (at left) before packing them up for later. I'm looking forward to playing with the Wilton Make a Face Animal Icing Decorations some more later. We also had Wilton Hello Kitty Icing Decorations and Wilton Toy Story Icing Decorations, ordered from Amazon, and we have a lot of fun decorations to use in future cupcake and cookie decorating projects! I think we'll be doing a lot more "edible crafts" with the children.

My son, the cat, part 2

Many times, I've found a cat playing inside a paper bag. I don't recall finding a child in one until very recently...but here is further proof that simple, inexpensive or free toys can provide little ones with much enjoyment.