Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting Out and Getting Lost (Almost)

I had a free hour today to do whatever I wanted while the Pumpkin napped, so I grabbed the camera and headed for Larpenteur Avenue in St. Paul where I knew there was a nice walking path by the off lease dog park. It was so unbelievably relaxing to wander around and smell the smells and hear the sounds (unfortunately the least "remote" of the whole experience, lots of plane noise and traffic sounds) and look at the tail end of the fall colors changing.

The coolest part of the whole thing was the wooly bear caterpillar I saw on my way back to the car. Predictably, when I picked him up he curled into a tiny, fuzzy bundle and played dead. I stood there long enough to watch him slowly re-emerge and hoof it away from me and my camera. Ah, but that brought back childhood memories.

Hope you got out and enjoyed the weekend. It's supposed to snow here tomorrow. Seriously!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

De-Stash...and I Don't Mean "Dustache"

I don't have nearly as much of a stash as some folks, but I have collected my fair share of fabrics over the years. Most of them are great, but they do seem to take up a lot of space. And I guess what really bothers me is that they are great, and they do deserve a great purpose in life. So tonight I decided to start setting them free by making this onesie.

This is a really easy project to pull off.

1. Take an embroidery hoop and use a fabric pencil to trace it's shape around something cool on a piece of fabric (I used the strawberry)
2. Then, trace the same hoop on a piece of fusible interfacing
3. Cut out the shapes (cut the interfacing a little smaller so that it doesn't hang outside the edges of the fabric at all
4. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric
5. Peel the backing off the interfacing
6. Iron your fabric onto your tee shirt/onesie/whatever you want
7. Use a zigzag stitch to sew right around the outside of your circle
8. You could even add an embellishment over the top of this, like a button or some rick rack if it needed "sprucing" (Just don't use buttons if you're making this for a baby because they can get pulled off, choked on, etc.)

Have fun!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Here's an ode to my friends the McSmithleys, who've had a number of yard mishaps:

Dear Sh#theads Who Stole the Top of My Scarecrow,
Yes the one ripping it's own head off...the one wearing a sweater and with the freakish rubber mask on. When I find you, I am going to rip yours off and stuff it down your neck. You are a Columbia Heights loser just like all of your friends that walk past my house every day on your way to buy Mountain Dew at the gas station. I'm going to take that huge pumpkin you also stole from me, the one with the hockey mask on, and shove it up your @ss. You can stay living in trashy Columbia Heights with your loser friends while the Pumpkin Family moves somewhere nice, like the moon or wherever it takes to not have things stolen out of our yard five days after we put them there. You're lucky my kid is young enough not to notice that his scarecrow is gone, or I'd be driving up and down the streets looking for you.

Anyway, that was Friday. Today is a different story. It's beautiful outside, we played in the yard for a while and aside from the thumping music coming out of our alley, pretended like we lived somewhere nice out in the country.

Little Pumpkin starting to learn about chores

Little Pumpkin ripping all the flowers off my mum

And yesterday was fantastic, too. We had the kid party and many kids (and parents) came and there was lots of toy sharing and hugging and fun to be had. I wisely changed up my planned menu last minute and switched spaghetti and meatballs to Swedish meatballs. Can you imagine, 7 kids running around with spaghetti and meatballs? Be sure to bring your tide pens, folks. Instead everything we ate was beige in color and it worked out okay. I got to meet my blog friend and his lovely family in real life for the first time, and they are as nice in person (nicer?) than they are on the blog. Each kid went home with a little Pumpkin Girl treat, which I finished just in time. Phew! Guess I better go polish off all the leftover Sangria!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting Ready for the Kid Party

I've been busy getting ready for the kid party I'm having this weekend. There are about 7 kids under 5 coming over and I have promised that I'd have a little something ready for each of them. It's been SO fun, but also a bit intimidating. What if the kids hate the stuff I made? What if I can't get it done? It's coming together and it's kept me motivated to make some stuff this week, so I guess that's good! If you didn't RSVP, please do so now!!!!

Hopefully after Saturday I'll have some fun pictures of all the mayhem! I am really looking forward to all the cute kid goodness! After the crafting, gotta come up with some eats and drinks. Yipes!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coffee Table Death Trap Redo

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had quite the death trap of a coffee table until a week ago. It was solid marble, taken right out of an old butcher shop. It perched precariously on top of plywood. Waiting for a forehead smacked on the corner, or a tot squashed under a collapse. No more! Now we have a TOTALLY kid friendy table, thanks to the thrift store, a little paint, and an Etsy seller.

The thrift store table was wood-like, but it at least had rounded edges so we slapped down our $10 and took it home. Then, Mr. Pumpkin suggested painting it and giving it a nice shiny clear coat over top. So I went at it with a paint leftover I like to think is "orange sherbet" color. And then I couldn't leave well enough alone so I took to the bottom tier with some decorative 80s style splatter paint and punked it up a bit. Then, I ordered a lime green monkey decal from ThoughtsThatStick on Etsy for $12. So, the $10 now actually cost $30, but it's worth it to save some poor toddler (maybe my own!) from certain doom. And it's over the top kid-friendly, which I like.

Speaking of doom, I'm feeling it lately. Are you? I support my hubby and son with my income, so I guess I just carry a bigger burden than I ever have before. It's a lot of responsibility and I'm not sure I'm mature enough to handle it. Too late!! I'm handling it! Anyway, I haven't been booted out of my job yet, so I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope. If I were young and single again, maybe I'd hope I WOULD get laid off so I could dink around on Etsy all day...or not. Who knows.

Anyway, hope you and your families are well and secure and happy tonight. Sending good financial karma your way!

Caught the Halloween Decorating Bug

This weekend the bug hit me. I drove by a house in our neighborhood that was so ridiculously scary that I ran home and immediately started decorating. This house is totally hidden from view -- it's got two painted facades out front, with a graveyard and all kinds of creepy tubs of legs and arms and eyeballs and stuff all around the yard.

I started with setting up the mantle over our fireplace. I cut out a house shape from a food box I had laying around and spraypainted it black. Then I found this skull we had laying around and added that. Top that with a little cheesecloth and some glow-in-the-dark zombies someone gave Little Pumpkin and it was looking pretty scary. But it was perfect until I made this cheesecloth ghost from Martha's website and we found some skeleton lights to hang above it.

Today, after a trip to the pumpkin patch, the whole family got involved in decorating the yard. It's pretty scary. Not like the neighbors, but good enough for a first try. It didn't hurt that Mr. Pumpkin had boxes of scary heads and limbs in our basement. Most of it got used.

Then, the final piece that I'm excited about is my Skeletons and Spiders wreath. I took a styrofoam wreath and hot glued these skeleton lapel clips to it. The skeletons came in a 144 piece bag and I only used about half. In Mr. Pumpkins stash I also found eyeballs, fingers and spiders, so I glued a few of the spiders on for extra creepiness. I think it turned out fabulous. I like that it looks sort of benign until you walk up to the door. Then it hits you that it's bodies on top of bodies, topped with spiders. AWESOME!

Got any more suggestions for good Halloween crafts? I'm interested, and now motivated! After all, I AM Pumpkin Girl!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Eco-Friendly Etsy at All Prices

Recycled Firestarters by Crayon Bin: $3

Reusable Silk Food Bags by kootsac: $10.50

Recyled Red Stripe beer glasses by bodhicitta: $18

Ecospun Felt Stocking by rikrak: $18

Recycled Coffee Table by SeguinWoodWorks: $750

I've been thinking a lot lately about how our family can be more environmentally responsible. It's not always natural for me even though I think it's really important. I haven't converted our car to biofuel, or installed that green rooftop I've been wanting, or even gotten a rain barrel. Shame on me. But what is easy for me is shopping on Etsy. I discovered today that there are lots of really awesome recycled and environmentally friendly products being sold there (no surprise).

I thought I'd share some of my favorites at every price range. How I would love that beautiful coffee table instead of the painted monstrosity that I created this week (photos to come). But at least I bought a thrifted one instead of new, right?? And that felt Totally cute.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Food on the Brain

I wanted to share a couple of new creations I made for my Etsy shop. I was inspired by my recent cravings for the lowliest of cuisine, "fast" food. What's next for me? French fries, of course! There have been a lot of layoffs at work lately, so maybe I'm also wondering if I might soon be flipping these.

How are you feeling about the "financial crisis"? I'm starting to worry, but I feel lucky that I'm employed. If I wasn't, well, I guess Baby Pumpkin and Mr. Pumpkin and I would be up sh*t crick as they say back in 'Sconi. So let's just stay calm and keep on keepin' on.

Anyway, stay tuned for more "good eats" as Alton Brown says.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

If the Shoes Fits...

It's coming into fall here in the Midwest and my little Pumpkin is just starting to show signs that someday he might walk. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "You're not going to have to carry him to college" but I still long for this next milestone in his achievement. Mostly, it's my husband's longing so that he doesn't have to carry him anymore. But, I do think it will be a thrill to walk down the sidewalk holding his hand rather than pushing him in the stroller.

Recently he outgrew the gifted Robeez he had -- both the pair with the little fish and the pair that said "MOM" (my favorite). He also outgrew the pair he had that matched dad's Addidas soccer shoes...bummer! I went searching Etsy for some new leather-type shoes and found lots of great handmade and even recycled options. My criteria was that they had to be safe and non-skid, under $25, and also needed to have boy options.

Here are my favorites:
--Piddies shop (okay, kind of cheating since these are slippers, but they have mommy/toddler sets!!!)
--Chicksandeggs has some great monkey shoes!
--Softbabyshoes has some really cute penguin ones
--Plateauproducts has some fleece lined ones that look super cozy
--BellaTaylor has some absolutely adorable products all around, including shoes
--The winner was...StarryKnightDesign who makes recycled leather shoes with cars on them -- a must have for my kid who says 'vroom vroom' all day long!!

Now if price were no issue, I may have splurged for these ridiculously cool elf shoes by Randyandclaudia. For Halloween, anyway.

Got any more recommendations?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lazy, Lazy Days in the Neighborhood

Little Pumpkin spotting an airplane

The bridge that didn't collapse

The fruits of my labor
Why does motivation go in fits and starts for me? One week I'm churning out 1000 baby hats and the next I'm glued to Project Runway and flipping through magazines? I can't explain it, but it's a pain in the ass. Last week I swear I could have out-Marthaed just about anyone and this week, I don't even want to get out of pajamas. Ah, well, I'm trying to coax back my energy with some long walks around our neighborhood, camera in hand and a fall bouquet for the table on my mind to inspire me just a little.

Today, after my walk and some prodding from Mr. Pumpkin, I did find a wee bit of inspiration to repaint this $10 table we found at a thrift store. It was part of a baby-proofing effort stemming from our need to replace the "babysmasher" of a coffee table we used to have. It was a slab of solid marble precariously perched on top of a rickety old base made out of plywood. Practically begged for a toddler to crawl underneath before it crushed them. The new $10 table has rounded corners, too, which is the perfect type of table to have with a kid just about to start walking. Anyway, when the paint dries I'll take a picture. Still haven't decided what color (of the many spare paint cans in the basement) I'll choose.

Whatchoo upto this weekend? Motivated, or not?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The New Earflap Hat: ManFlap!

My husband has always wanted a matching outfit with our son. So, after I had perfected my earflap hat pattern he asked if I could make matching ones for he and Little Pumpkin. Sure, right? No problem!

I "eyeballed" the pattern and whadda ya know, it doesn't quite fit him. It's about an inch too small. Oh well, it's perfect for Elmer Fudd. Or, whomever is so lucky as to purchase it from my Etsy shop. Since I eyeballed it, I'm not really sure how to make another, bigger one. Guess I'll eat some carrots and eyeball it a little better with my fresh beta-carotened eyes or something. Maybe this time I'll actually make a pattern so the results can be reliably repeated. Genius!

I looked around Etsy to see who else was making flannel or fabric earflap hats and I really didn't see too many. I guess I should step up production or expand the line a bit. Maybe my next hat will be a ladies hat. Pink flannel, anyone? I think I can come up with a whole family of earplappers.

It's hard to believe we're already thinking winter...yikes. Well, we do live in Minnesota, after all.