Thursday, February 04, 2010


My blog is now over here. Hope to see you there!

But WHO?

Tea's world has a lot of homemade toys, art pieces, quilts, etc. These things were made with love by friends and family either for him, or for someone else in the family and eventually passed down to him. He really likes to discuss who made what.

"Granddad made these blocks."
"Grandma Cookie sewed my sheets."
"Nana made my quilt."
"Auntie M and Mama painted those animals."
And so on.
Because he's 2, we repeat these observations over, and over, and over again.

Today's conversation had a new twist.
"Who made my play kitchen?"
"I don't know, sweetie. We bought it in a store."
"But who made it?"
"I don't know. Someone made it and then we bought it from the store. We don't know the person."
"But WHO, Mama?"
"Someone whose job it is to make toys at a toy factory, I guess."
"Like Santa Clause at the North Pole maybe?"

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


T and I made pretzels today.

I measured and he dumped ingredients into the bread maker. After the dough rose ("like the dough the little red hen made") we rolled it into snakes. Some of the shapes we made were more pretzel-like than others.

T brushed on the egg white glaze.

He then meticulously placed pieces of salt and poppy seeds.

I promised T we'd hear the timer, but he refused to budge from the oven while they baked.

The finished pretzels looked more like demented rolls,

but T couldn't have been prouder.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

In a pinch

This morning T woke up feeling unwell.  I woke up with a budding migraine. I had a sinking feeling as we slogged through breakfast that the day had the potential for a lot of Unfun. I needed a plan that was simple and would partly immobilize T for at least an hour while my painkillers kicked in.

We launched the reading raft. We pushed the couches together and piled them high with quilts and pillows. We stocked the nearby table with lots of books and tea (for me). I pitched the idea that we could switch off reading stories to the teddy bear. He took the bait, and the reading raft kept him snuggled up and quiet for the entire morning.


Friday, January 01, 2010

The Most Last Minute and The Best Gift (Christmas Crafting Revealed, Day 6)

Here's the very last gift I made this Christmas. I finished it at nearly midnight, just minutes before Christmas Eve.

Have you ever made a t-shirt with freezer paper stencils? It's so easy!

I traced my design onto freezer paper and cut it out with an exacto knife:

Then I stuck it fast to a t-shirt by ironing it:

Next, I brushed a few coats of paint on:

After the paint dried, I peeled the freezer paper off.

Have you figured out the design yet?

Look again.

Scroll down if you need extra help...

Now go check out our adoption blog, because that has all the details of our REFERRAL!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Because Grandparents Will Hang *Anything* On Their Tree (Christmas Crafting Reveal, Day 5)

Hi.  Mama let me blog if I promise not to get the keyboard sticky.
I want to take this opportunity to say that while she spent a fair amount of time being crafty for Christmas, the project she set me up with was lame, lame, lame.  I don't think it even qualifies as being homemade.  Personally, I think she ran out of steam.  I'm going to have a talk with her. I expect more next year.

I colored a bunch of wooden ornaments that had holes in which to paste my smiling mug.  So obviously, she then tortured me with a photo shoot to get a picture to use.  I formally lodged a complaint that she wouldn't let me chose the winning photograph.  Here was my choice:

Next year, Mama, I'm in charge, and our craft is going to be AWESOME!  We're gonna make fire truck chocolate train bears.  Hurray!

Mama asked me to tell you that she saved the best project to show you for last.  Tomorrow she'll show you, uhhh... freezer paper stencils.  But we don't have paper in our freezer, so I think she's nuts.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sewing for Knitting (Christmas Crafting Reveal, Day 4)

I don't know if all knitters have this problem, but my knitting needles are like a cross between feral cats and socks.  Not only are they never with their mates, but they run off and get lost and get hit by cars and mangle songbirds when I'm not looking.  Invariably I'll start a project that calls for, say, size 4 double pointed needles, and will quickly locate *one* of them.  One.  Out of five.  That doesn't do me much good.  But that *one* needle confirms for me the existence of its siblings, so I can't bring myself to go buy another set.  Because they are somewhere in my house.  Perhaps in the freezer.  Maybe under the floorboards.  But somewhere.  I clearly need a system.

I just assume that my sister, who also knits, has this problem as well.  We are related, after all.  So for Christmas, I designed a simple storage case for her straight needles using a place mat and a napkin.

Initially, I thought this design would make the case *easier* to make, as I would only have to attach pockets to a nice sturdy piece of fabric ready to just be folded in half to close.  But, ahem.  I quickly realized that in order for the outside of the case to be pretty, I couldn't just use the sewing machine to sew the pockets on.  I had to backstitch them on by hand....through only the top layer of place mat fabric.  UGH!  I had no thimble so I improvised with a child safety electrical outlet plug  (I highly recommend them for this use).  I was cursing my design by the end, but it turned out cute, and hopefully they'll tame Meredith's needles.  Maybe it's time to learn how to read patterns.

Tomorrow: guest blogger T cheats at being crafty

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gourmet Chef (Christmas Crafting Reveal, Day 3)

I never formally learned how to sew beyond a sweatshirt I made in 7th grade home-ec.  I remember wearing the finished product, so it must have turned out with at least the correct number of arms and a neck-opening, but I haven't sewed much of anything since, and certainly nothing with formal help.

Still, I have an old sewing machine from my grandmother and I've always really loved the *idea* of sewing.  I just don't know what I'm doing beyond threading the needle.  I wing it.  Sometimes this works well, and sometimes I bury the result in the backyard while no one is watching.

One of T's favorite activities is playing with his kitchen, so I really wanted him to have an apron of his own.  I made a pattern by having him hold a piece of newspaper under his chin while I drew the rough outline of a T-sized apron on it.  He didn't ask why he was holding newspaper under his chin, so no surprises were ruined.

I cut it out, traced it onto fabric, and sewed all the edges over.  I added a pocket across the bottom and sewed on some straps.  If you inspect the wonky lines of stitches, you wouldn't award me any prizes, but T gives it a stamp of approval.  Once he gets it on, he doesn't want to take it off.

The other kitchen-related item I made was noodles to put in a mini colander that I just wanted an excuse to buy.  This was the easiest thing in the whole world to make:  Hold felt in left hand, cut in strips with right.  The end.  Now we've been eating lots of spaghetti around here lately.

Stick around - tomorrow I talk sticks.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Baby Sweater (Christmas Crafting Reveal, Day 2)

Have I mentioned I'm going to be an aunt?
My sister and her husband are expecting a Little One in April and I'm so excited for them!

I sort of cheated and knit this baby sweater with yarn she gave me when she cleaned out her stash, but I figured that she must have liked it enough to acquire it at one point in time, so it would be OK.

Courtney one friend who will remain nameless might have exclaimed, "What a cute boy sweater!", but I'm hoping the color and pattern are neutral, since the parents-in-waiting want to be gender-amazed.

Next up: Critter apron and fake noodles

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fabric Gift Bags (Christmas Crafting Reveal, Day 1)

This year, I spent a little bit of time making crafty things for Christmas.  This was partially enabled by T's new opinion that I should "help" him play by watching him from the couch, and certainly not touching anything.  Any project that was portable to the living room was a possibility so I made the best of my time.
I didn't want to spoil anyone's surprise by blogging about them ahead of time, so now that the recipients have their gifts, I can show you what I've been up to.

For the next 6 days I'll show one project a day, but I'll save the best project for last (it's a show stopper you won't want to miss!).  Some took more time that others.  All were lots of fun.

For starters, I really liked the idea of having fabric bags to put our presents in each Christmas.  I don't terribly enjoy wrapping, I hate the waste, and fabric is fun!

I let T pick out 6 different Christmas fabrics and sewed about 20 bags of varying shapes and sizes.  All tie shut with a ribbon.  I embroidered a few felt tags to use as well, but ran out of time to make enough to label all of the presents.  Christmas morning I was resorting to squishing and smelling and peeking into a few bags to determine who I should give them to...  Next year I'm going to make a bunch of these tags from the purl bee, because they are more versatile than just a tag with a name.  My family likes to write hints on their gift tags, so giving a present with just the recipient's name on it spoils the fun.  I started to make one the day before Christmas Eve, but then the phone rang and that was the end of that.  Nothing like leaving things to the last minute!

"Wrapping" presents on Christmas Eve was a breeze.  It's really too bad Santa can't use fabric bags, too!

Stay tuned tomorrow when I'll announce I'm going to be an aunt! Oh wait....oops...