Monday, June 30, 2008

Ten Things

Thank to my friend Miss McSmithley for reminding me about 10 great things I love right now. Here are mine!

1. My favorite (and one of the best in the nation, no doubt) craft stores, Crafty Planet, moved within walking distance.

2. Paid Time Off -- I'm taking Fridays off this summer and it's absolutely the most fabulous thing ever.

3. Secret No Coast Craft-o-rama web redesign planning meetings (we've hired a pro and it's looking amazing).

4. Gourmet magazine quick recipes, like this Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes and Dill recipe -- always easy, always delicious!

5. Spoonflower custom fabric design.

6. Jim Lupient Swimming Pool in Northeast Minneapolis -- Baby Pumpkin LOVES water more than anything, and this pool is tops (And cheap! It's only $5!).

7. To go to the pool, the awesome new swimsuit I ordered on Etsy!

8. Revoluzzza's adorable kitty dolls and more!

9. The new store I discovered in my hometown -- Fromagination where I can buy all my favorite stinky Wisconsin cheeses, like Limburger.

10. To go with my beer, I've been loving drinking this particular Lambic beer that is plum or prune flavored whose name escapes me; it's what I call EASY DRINKIN!

What are your top ten?

Latest Project: Prairie Girl Top

I just finished my THIRD Favorite Things Prairie Girl top and it's pretty cute. I chose Amy Butler's Wallflower Lotus fabric in Cherry. I tried it on and it fits pretty well, although the fabric doesn't drape as nicely as I'd like. I think it's really too heavy for this type of shirt, but it worked out okay anyway. I just love the color, so I had to pick it!

I also ordered some of my fabrics from Spoonflower and I'm so excited to get them! The one I'm most excited about is the fabric I'm making for my six-year-soon-to-be-seven year old niece. She's getting fabric with some of her own artwork, which I'm hoping to make into some cool twirly skirt or something for her birthday. That is if it arrives in time! There are just oodles of things I can think to do with custom designed fabric. Just can't stop my head from spinning!

In other news, baby Pumpkin FINALLY has a tooth coming in. Looks like he won't be toothless for life, like I suspected. Phew. And we are totally the luckiest parents in the world -- the tooth came without much to-do whatsovever. In fact, it's like a blessing because he just needs more cuddling than usual. I think I can manage that!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Looking Back

My son was born 11 months ago, just a day after the 35W bridge over the Mississippi river collapsed here in Minneapolis. He was about a week late, but he was kind enough to start the process until after I had arrived home from work. I was out watering the garden when, all of the sudden, the hose was not the only thing gushing water!

On August 1, 2007, at around 6 PM, as my husband and I began our drive to the hospital, it became pretty clear that something out of the ordinary (besides my labor) was going on. The bridge we were set to take across the Mississippi to get to the hospital was swarmed with ambulances and helicopters circled overhead. Stuck in the gridlock, me in labor, we even joked that we might have to hail an ambulance in order to get me to the hospital. Sadly, just as we crossed the river on 10th Avenue, we heard on the radio the tragic news that the 35W bridge had gone down not 10 minutes before. We looked out the window and we could see the smoke rising up, about a mile away. To say the least, we were sad and terrified and completely shocked.

We made it to the hospital and made all the necessary phone calls to let friends and family know that we were safe. At the hospital as I labored, we watched the story unfold on TV from our room, and talked to the doctors about how our hospital was being prepped to receive any patients affected by the event. Eventually, we turned off the TV so I could focus on the job at hand. It was a bit nuts, to say the least.

The next day, around two in the afternoon, our little pumpkin came into the world via c-section. What a whirlwind couple of days it had been! The ups! The downs! The waiting! The anticipation! My husband was a champ and held my hand during the surgery without so much as a quiver or comment about it (and I know it’s not pretty).

11 months have passed, and we’re already getting ready for the pumpkin’s first birthday. I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on 11 little things I’ve learned, some practical, some “philosophical”, since that day back in August when the adventure began.

1. A sense of humor and not taking things for granted goes a long way
2. Don't interview pediatricians before you have the kid; how will you know in an interview that they are nuts until they diagnose your kid with 17 different conditions and prescribe a bunch of unnecessary medications?
3. Swim diapers are used in place of (not in addition to) disposable diaper
4. Try, try, try again, but if you fail a third time, or if blood comes spurting out, give up (my breastfeeding lesson learned)
5. Remember to love your spouse
6. Sleep when the baby sleeps is a myth; face the fact that you’re going to be a zombie for a while and go to bed at a regular (if early) time at night
7. Take pictures; my favorites are: kid screaming, kid in bathtub, kid in car seat (great for doing a month-by-month growth comparison), kid sleeping
8. Toys are overrated with a few exceptions (excer-saucer, soft ball, chewies); get some wine corks, put them securely in a plastic container, instant rattle
9. Everyone's an expert except you; just accept the fact that you're going to get bossed around and that you are an idiot
10. Keep track of the milestones: first 3 hour stretch of sleep, back to taking daily showers, first day putting on "real" clothes, etc.
11. There are a million ways to do anything; do it your way and be happy about it

Monday, June 23, 2008

Add it to the List...

of things I cannot do that well but try: pattern design for fabrics! I just found out about Spoonflower's beta site, in which one *theoretically* can design one's own fabric. That is if you have talent. And if you know Photoshop, that probably helps. And if you can draw. I have none of these, really, so I am cobbling together some patterns using old greeting cards I have laying around that were my grandma's. I took the graphics and tweaked them in my old Microsoft software program from 100 years ago that was long ago discontinued (it's like Paint, only with a few more bells and whistles) and then added some doodads and whatnots (the technical terms) to "spice it up" a bit. I ordered myself a swatch just to see how it works. Next I think I'm going to design some fabric just with my son's name so I can make him a new hat with it.

In other "new parent" news, I recently had the brilliant realization that a swim diaper is intended to be used INSTEAD of a regular disposable diaper, not WITH one. It didn't occur to me until yesterday when I was hoisting my little pumpkin out of the baby pool in the yard and he weighed about 400 pounds. Oh, crap! That's why they make the swim diaper -- so the poor kid doesn't have a gallon of water in his shorts. That would really impede swimming ability, I bet! Oh, parents, what can ya say?!

I did discover that Etsy has quite a few cool swim diapers. Much cooler than the one we got at Target for our guy. Here are a couple of cute ones:

Hawaiian Sharks
Punk Rock
Grass Green

Creativity 350 Craft Contest

There's not much I like better than a craft contest. I usually don't enter, but I enjoy thinking about what I would enter or judging other's entries. I'm like the Lazy Man's Contest Lover. But since you all are not lazy, I thought I'd pass along a really cool opportunity to spread the word about global warming and potentially win some really great swag from a whole host of amazing sponsors. I think there are separate contests for tee design and a regular craft dealie, but you need to incorporate "350" into the design. Contest runs July 15 - August 15. Check out the Creativity 350 web site for contest details.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not Just for Boys: Another Bucket Hat

I ran into someone recently who said, "I can tell by your Etsy shop that you just had a boy." I thought about that for a second, and then came to the conclusion that it was partly true. I have been making a lot of boy clothes and things primarily because I have a little boy. BUT, the fact that it's hard to find good handmade stuff for little boys (IMO) has driven me to make my own many times. And, once I'm making one, what the heck I may as well make 25, right?

But to avoid looking single-mindedly boyish, I made a hat for a girl. I have two nieces, so it's not like I'm totally unfamiliar with making things for girls. It's just that now I have a little guy at home who needs stuff like a hat to wear that isn't pink or sports-themed. He needs a tie to wear to a wedding. You know, cool stuff. Necessities.

Anyway, it's finally hot here. My upstairs is currently 89 degrees. I know this thanks to the Land's End or Eddie Bauer or some damn thermometer we got for Christmas. Thanks to that, I'm on the computer instead of upstairs sewing, which is what I had hoped to do tonight. Oh well, time to leisurely read my new issue of Gourmet and drool over all the food I don't have time to make!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Doll for My Son

I know, that sounds weird! Believe me, my husband was skeptical about a doll for a boy. But it's a doll that (in theory, although the execution is less than top notch) looks like him! Even with a tiny version of the bucket hat I made for him! I think the part that could have been most improved is the face (he looks a little bug-eyed) and the arms (they really stick straight out).

Anyhoo, I have a history of being a bad dollmaker, so I'm glad this one at least turned out passable. The last time I made a "rag doll" I was inspired by some show on African dolls. I thought it looked easy enough, but oh was I wrong. It was so hideous, it became the butt of many a family joke, and even enjoyed a brief stint as my parent's cat's toy. Now it sits on my parents mantel, yarn hair all askew, as a constant reminder of my poor dollmaking skills.

This time it wasn't African dolls that inspired me, it was the beautiful dolls of Wee Wonderfuls. Although my doll worked out okay, next time I'll definitely just buy the pattern for Olive and Archie, and go from there! It's a lot harder than it looks to make these things look like anything other than a freak of nature! So I'm glad I finished it, and in just about three nights. Yay! Now my little boy can go play with himself. Ahem. I mean the doll that looks like himself.

Besides a lot of dollmaking, the weekend was really busy with fun things to do, like visiting Schell's Brewery, going to a Deutsche Tag (German Fest) and hitting the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts. I also stepped in poop in my own house, got a pin stuck in my toe and had an incident involving my son (the real one, not the doll) standing in a pool of his own peepee. Oi vey, I need a vacation from my weekend! I hope yours was full of fun and happiness, too!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dads Rule

My dad and my husband probably couldn't be more dissimilar. One likes country, the other punk. One is a republican, the other a democrat. One likes to fish and hunt, the other, well, doesn't.

But in reality, they do share some qualities. They're both funny. They both like cheese. They both dislike spiders. They were both raised in Wisconsin (hence, liking cheese). They both call Handy Wrap "Handy Sh*t" (okay, that one came from my dad and just stuck). Most of all, they share the quality of being exceptionally good dads, and in my dad's case, a good "grampy" too.

Happy Father's Day to you both. And to all the loving, dedicated, sweet daddies out there. You are truly appreciated!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hello, Jack

I found this beautiful flower growing in my parents back yard. Isn't it lovely and green and peacefulquiet looking? Ahh...

I just wanted to share that with you, because I don't see too many of these little guys around. I thought about transplanting one to my house, but jeez he just looks darn at home here in his little woodland paridise. This is a Jack in the Pulpit flower, which according to wikipedia has some interesting medicinal uses, and may also make you very sick or die. So DON'T EAT IT! And DON'T LET YOUR DOG EAT IT!

Trendy Tots Featured Us!

Yay! Trendy Tots featured Baby Pumpkin and his awesome bicycle bucket hat! Check it out!

It's a great blog -- today they're featuring Dad's Day gift (which, if you haven't gotten yet, you need to). They also clued me in to a great shop selling Mr. T shirts for babies, great baby shoes, so many cool things! I'm honored to have been featured!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

New Parent Moment

My hubby and I coined this little saying 10 months ago when we first became parents to let ourselves off the hook a little during times when we got overly worried about nothing and dragged the baby to the doctor, or forgot to pack the diaper bag when headed out, or fed the baby some food he wasn't supposed to have. It's simply the phrase "new parents" but it's said with a kind of upward shrug of the shoulders, hands out at your sides palm facing up, and music plays in the background when you say it (it sounds like "wah-wah-waaaaaah").

So last weekend, I did something that led me to say "new parents" to myself. We took little Pumpkin out on a several-hour excursion in the stroller, equipped with his cute (and often complimented!) new hat, handmade by mama. We were out so long that the nasty sun still managed to sneak through. Hence, in the photo above, you can see his Rudolph-style red nose and ultra-rosy cheeks. He's since recovered, and I've since started to use sunscreen pretty regularly. In fact I had the sunscreen with me all along, but didn't really see the need to put it on him. Boy that tender baby skin burns easily! Wah-wah-waaaaah!

Today finally felt like summer here. It hit about 85 and I soaked it in. I bought some veggies to plant in the garden and we sat on a blanket on the lawn for quite some time, just tasting grass (new parents!) and watching the clouds. I hope you had a refreshing weekend, too!