Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tomorrow is moving day, and I don't know if the new house has internet yet, so you may not hear from me for a week or so. Have a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Goodbye, Little Blue Craft Room!

It's moving time for me. In just about 5 days, on Christmas eve no less, I'll be packing up a 26' moving truck and heading on down the road to our family's for Christmas, and then on to our new house. We've been needing a change of pace ever since our kiddo was born about two years ago. I'm not sure why, but as the cliche goes, everything changes when you have a kid. And then again, maybe we just felt like staying put was too easy and needed a bit of an adventure. There are a lot of reasons to find a new space, try a new place on for size.

So, as I eagerly await all the new, I'm also trying to take it slow and remember and appreciate all that's old. All our friends, the house that I bought all on my own (before I was married), all the familiar places. Today I packed up my craft room. I'm still not sure if or where or how the new house craft room will pan out, so as I looked at all the stuff -- the BAGS of fabric and the boxes full of yarn, quilt batting, ribbons, buttons...I couldn't help but wonder what I'll make of it all in the new house. I have high hopes, but also realistic expectations. Getting settled somewhere new while being a working mama -- well, the thought of it makes me tired. That's nothing to say about actually doing it and doing it with enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and creativity! Hopefully inspiration will hit in my new surroundings! Of course as soon as something's set up, I'll post photos!

If you've got any truck packing (or unpacking!) advice, leave a comment. I could use some tips of the trade. It's been seven years or more since I last had to do this!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Easy Peasy Felted Christmas Tree Garland

Okay kids. Here's a holiday decorating idea that couldn't be much easier. In fact, the hardest part is to keep it from getting tangled up after you're done! It's a beautiful felted garland for your Christmas tree. All you need is a sewing machine, thread and some different colors of craft felt (or felted sweaters).

First, use something small and round (bottom of a spool of thread?) to make yourself a circle template. Then, cut out as many little circles out of felt as you think you'll want for your garland. I think I cut out 40 or so for mine. Then, sit down at the sewing machine with a coordinating thread color in your machine. Start sewing with nothing for a few inches, pulling out the top and bobbin threads gently. Then, slowly and carefully feed in your first circle, sewing right through the middle of the circle. Sew for a few inches and then add another circle. Continue in this fashion until you've used up all the circles you cut. Leave yourself a little tail on the end and that's it! You can hang it on the tree!

As a little tip -- if you want to reuse this year to year, make yourself a handy cardboard storage tool by cutting a rectangle out and making some little grooves in the short end to slide the thread into. This will prevent it from being a tangled mess when it comes time to re-hanging it next year!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Activities with the Shorties

This holiday season has been far from restful for our family. We've been packing up to move and working out all those logistical details, we had a short vacation to see the in-laws and virtually every other second of our time has been spent running around like chickens with our heads cut off to fit the holidays (shopping, wrapping, tree decorating) in there so we don't feel like we totally missed out on the fun.

I got to thinking about a few quick, simple things that we could do to slow down and enjoy the season. And, for us at least, it's really added some fun. I'd love to hear what your family's holiday traditions are, and how you slow it down during the rush-bustling.

1. Drive around and ooh and ahh at lights. It gets dark early, so even the little ones can manage going out. Put some hot cider or some cocoa in the sippy cups and head out for a neighborhood with good lights, or like we did, a set-up display at a park. Also helpful is a radio station tuned to the the classic Christmas songs and a little sing-along action.

2. Make cookies. Kids of all ages (well, okay, those over age 1) love to dump ingredients in a bowl. Those that aren't old enough love to play with mixing cups and spoons or bang them on pots and pans. Our friend bought the wee one his own digger-shaped cookie cutter which really inspired us. Rather than shoo the kids from the kitchen, let go of your inner Martha Stewart and allow the messiness to ensue. Allow time for the process -- kids aren't very rushable.

3. Make some wrapping paper. We used a big roll of paper (actually we started months ago, but you could do this impromptu, too) and spread it over the tot's desk. Then, get the whole family seated around the table (yes, you too dad) and start coloring. Fill up the page with whatever you want. When it's "done" use it to wrap your gifts. My wee one particularly enjoyed being the one to pick out and place the bows.

4. Get a little tree for the kiddo's room. Our wee one really loved the tree we set up in his room -- just a simple fiber optic one. Of course you have to be aware of whether your kid is apt to smash it down or yank it off of a shelf, and always have to turn it off at night etc. But, our kiddo was in love!

Next year, I'm going to tackle making bird seed Christmas ornaments with the kiddo. I think he'd love it (as would the birds!).

So, do share -- how are you keeping your sanity and/or holiday spirit this year?

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Yearly Ode to My Own Tree

I'm not shy about pledging and re-pledging my love of my own vintage 60's aluminum pom-pom Christmas tree. I worked hard for that tree. I craftily stalked many an Ebay seller trying to get my paws on that tree. Many auctions were bid on and lost before this little beauty came up as a buy-it-now. And each year when I put it up and get it decorating, I ooooh and aaaah over its coolness. I actually wish I had two.

Did I mention it's silver? And vintage? This year we did have to go parting ways with the revolving light that used to shine on it (itself not vintage, you'd think it'd last more than a few piece of crap), but that's okay. It still shimmers in the light and looks beautiful.

Tell me, do you have a tree you love? Do you cut a fresh one and bring that yummy pine-y smell into your house? If I were a crazy rich person, I think I'd have a different tree in each year. But for now, this one is doing the trick for me.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Another Christmas Gift Done!

Spoiler Alert: If you are my sister, stop reading now. Avert your eyes! If you are her kids, why in the world are you on the internet!?

I took a whole bunch of liberties with the One Yard Wonders pattern for a bunting. Okay, essentially I was just inspired by the photo but really made the whole thing up. This bunting is going to be a gift for my nieces for their new camping land -- I thought it could use a little "sprucing up" around the tents!

This is a fairly simple project to make. If you can find some big, bold typefaces that you can print out and cut around, that's the hardest part. Rather than fabric glue these letters on, I just appliqued them. It takes longer, but I like how it looks. And for a short word or phrase, one package of double fold bias tape should work. In retrospect, I think my fabric choice is too busy and the letters aren't bold enough, but I think the kids will like it anyway. The fabric does have a "woodland" theme, so it really was too perfect to pass up. Thank you, Crafty Planet!

On Christmas Eve we're packing up a 26 foot moving truck and chasing our fortune back in our home state of Wisconsin. So...I have been trying to get the house packed up in between my crafting projects, but it's been tough to really feel like I'm accomplishing much of anything. It may be the end of my holiday crafting...unless I get really inspired in the next week or two!!

What surprises have you been making? Do share!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Secret Keeping and Gift Making

My two-year-old is a genius. It's true. Yes, I know, all us mothers say that about our children. But this time I really mean it. My toddler has learned to pin and iron and sew. Carefully, carefully supervised, of course, but nonetheless, he made his daddy's birthday present, then helped me wrap it up. And the best news -- he loved every minute. In fact, now he sometimes puts down the Thomas the Tank Engine and says he wants to do some "ironuning" and pinning. Here's some suggestions for including your toddler in your crafting projects.

My first word of advice is to choose a project that's small and has lots of short steps -- sitting around pinning for 10 minutes is really just going to end up with someone getting a pin stuck in their foot, or nose, or whatever. Then, get some sort of kid-proof container for the pins. I liked the fact that the pins were not being opened and closed (and landing on the carpet, only to be found again by bare feet) without me controlling it. Again, who wants a pin in their eye? I also recommend not involving the toddler in the cutting at all. Unless you have some child's safety scissors, I just don't think you, your project, or your child's clothes/appendages will survive it.

With the ironing, I suppose it depends on how well your toddler understands hot and don't touch. As I mentioned previously, my son is a genius, so he understands them perfectly. Ahem. Almost. What I did was set the iron on the lowest heat I could to make it work. Then, I explained in as graphic a detail I could that, if he touched the hot part, he would get a really, really bad owie. Here is where you can call on your long-suppressed desire to be an actress and mock-touch the hot part of the iron and recoil in horror. I also adjusted the ironing board so it was at the perfect toddler hight. Then, I showed him how to take the handle and run it up and down the ironing board. He did manage to touch the hot part of the iron for a split second, and more so for dramatic effect than anything else, I then rushed him downstairs to put ice on it. He then definitely got the message that the hot part is hot, and not to touch it!

For sewing, I set the little guy on my lap while I sewed. I also explained that he must not put his fingers by the needle or move any buttons (which, of course, was not a direction that was completely followed). I did give him two "jobs," which seemed to be enough to keep his interest. As a side note, if you have not yet started giving your tot jobs, try it. Our kid thinks it's the coolest thing ever if it's called a job. His jobs were to remove the pins as I sewed and put them back in the box and, upon command, push the reverse button to double back on the stiches.

When the project was done, I let him wrap it and choose a bow. He's been carrying the present around from room to room since yesterday when we finished it. Obviously he's extremely proud of his work, and cannot possibly wait two weeks until daddy's birthday.

Next up: toddlers learn needle felting. AHhhhhhhh...maybe I'll hold off on that.

Know any other great projects for kids?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Get Your Shopping Done in a Day

It's true. You can totally get all your holiday shopping done in one day. If you'd like, you could also spend every last penny of money you have, and happily so. Where and when is such a opportunity presenting itself? Why, the No Coast Craft-o-rama, of course!

Let me tell you the story of the No Coast Craft-o-rama. Oh, the year was 2005, I think. Right around the same time Crafty Planet opened it's doors. I had started crafting things to sell and was having very little success at the local craft sales. Around the same time my mom was retiring, and bugging me about what she was going to do with all this newfound time. So, I set about to recruit forces to help me plan a wee little sale in our fair city. And that is what I did.

To get things started, I dropped in on Trish at Crafty Planet. "Trish," I said, " can I get some hip crafty peeps together to help me plan this thing?" To which Trish said, "I'll help you!" And so it was. I created some flyers and hung them about town. Trish passed the word through the store and her wide network of crafty hipsters. The night of the first planning meeting arrived...and some people showed up! Real, live people! Who also liked the idea of a cool, indie craft sale! It was a thrill. To this day only one or two of the people who were at that meeting are still involved with the planning, but believe me, every one of them made a difference in how things came to be!

Fast forward past all of the agonizing hard work of putting together that first sale, trying to find vendors, a location, determine advertising needs, establish an identity and get organized to the morning of the sale. We all arrived at Columbia Manor in northeast Minneapolis with butterflies. Would anyone come? Would the tables all fit? Would everything run smoothly? As people trickled in, then crowds amassed, then hoards of made shoppers practically stormed the place, it became clear that we would far exceed our expected attendance of 500. In fact, I think I recall we had around 2,500 attendees! It was amazing, and one of the most exciting and rewarding feelings I've ever had to see all that hard work pay off. Our vendors said that shoppers were crazed, throwing money and snatching up crafts like it was their last ever opportunity to get a piece of the craft action. My husband dressed as Santa and dj'ed all day, and my mom had a banner day of sales. All of my friends came, and I made new friends and discovered some unbelievably talented local crafters and generally just had an awesome day. It whet my appetite for more.

As I said, the whole story is a long one, but I've helped plan this sale for the last four years -- everything from writing press releases to setting up and tearing down tables to helping design shirts and web sites and choose vendors and appear on media interviews. It's been a labor of love but also extremely consuming. This year I stepped away from it all to focus on (selfishly) me, my family, and lots of other things. But I can rest easy knowing that it's now in Trish and the Crafty Planet gang's capable hands. I feel like I set out to accomplish something really great, and I did -- and now it's got momentum of it's own! I can finally just show up and shop...with no responsibilities! It's a great feeling, and I plan to completely blow every penny I have there. So if you're expecting a gift from me this year, you can't come shopping with me. Or you've got to get lost...which won't be hard to do at this event!

Come check it out and support local handmakers. They deserve your business!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Let the Christmas Crafting Begin! The Not Ugly Trash Bag

Wednesday (a day off!!! woot!) marked the first day of the Christmas shopping season for me. I loaded up wee Pumpkin and headed out to K-Mart to pick up a few of the Martha Stewart ornaments, first. I also picked up some towels to use for a One Yard Wonders towel embellishment project. This took all of about 7 minutes. The bulk of our time was spent looking at the animatronic lighted reindeer and Christmas trees on display and sitting on the firetruck ride outside the door (darn, mommy doesn't have any quarters...).

Of course when I have these very rare opportunities to spend time alone with my kiddo, I use it as a "teaching time" to learn something new. So what's to learn at K-Mart, you ask? Plenty of things, such as "never wear your pants that tight if you look like that" but that's a lesson for another day. I took on the task of teaching my two-year-old about giving gifts (versus receiving them). [As an aside, he calls them "pressets" and "supuprises" and every time I hear it I smile.] I let him select some ornaments for his cousins and he did really well until later in the day when we were at the sporting goods store. He found a nice, little, orange shovel "for his cousins" that he has taken to bed with him every night since. Hmm, guess he's not quite ready to fully appreciate gift giving. But we tried.

But, anyway. On to the crafting! I spent a few hours working on the Not Ugly Trash Bag from One Yard Wonders for a certain someone on my Christmas list. I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, so I'm safe in sharing with you. It was an absolute cinch to put together and it just made me want to try more projects from the book. So very soon I'll be getting started on another one. And maybe this year I'll actually reach my goals for Christmas crafting.

What's on your agenda for this year? Thinking big? Scaling down?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

101 One Yard Wonders: WONDERFUL!

It happened! I was published! In a real book! One that a real publisher put out, not like a photocopied or "self published" type deal! It was very exciting to be involved and I am just happy no one called and made fun of me for poorly written instructions or changed their minds after they received the finished product. Phew!

Saturday was the book release party down at Crafty Planet, and it was so balmy here I rode my bike. It was packed! People were lining up to buy copies of the book -- I even heard they were out the door for a while! I hadn't yet received my own book yet, so I bum-rushed the front counter with the rest of them and quickly verified that they did, indeed, publish my project -- a kid's growth chart.

The most fun was that I got to meet a bunch of other contributors, all equally stoked about their appearance in print. We all signed each other's books (I ended up just buying one there...never can have too many) and joked about how we planned to write things like "have a great summer" and "don't do anything I wouldn't do" but instead just signed our names and talked about our projects.

I raced home with the book and sticky-noted each project that I plan to make for Christmas gifts. So far they include:
--Obi-inspired hot & cold pack
--Not Ugly Car Trash Bag (more on that another day...already done!!!)
--Checkers to go
--Fabric Dollhouse (will be a barn)
--Festive Flag Banners
--Oven Mitt and Hot Pads

I'm sure I'll try to sneak some more in there, but with moving and all the stuff going on, I'm not sure I'll have time. But, geez, I sure don't have an abundance of money, either, so maybe a desired reduction in fabric stash + money savings will cause me to "find" extra time...hmmm.

This book has a ton of great ideas in it. They range from really easy (the trash bag took me less than 2 hours) to semi-difficult. If you're a beginner sewer, or just pressed for time like me, I think you'll enjoy the book. The ideas are not run-of-the-mill, and there really is a little something in there for everyone. The only thing I noticed is that the kid's clothes section is all for wee girls...sadly little Mr. Pumpkin will just have to make due with a non-clothing wonder. Oh, well!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Wool Quilt Scarf

Here in Minnesota, it's already been cold enough to pull all the winter jackets, hats, scarves, and mittens out of their summer storage places and put them into regular rotation. Through the summertime, I've been a bit of a "late adopter" of the scarf as accessory (not as necessity) trend. I know, shock and awe that I'm not on the cutting edge of a trend. And, shock and awe again that I'm too cheap to actually go purchase one of these trendy wardrobe pieces that has -- for the most part -- absolutely no purpose. I mean, seriously. $60 for a scarf?

It was not to be. Usually when I say to myself "I'll just make one" I'm completely full of crap and never get around to it. But, given the relative ease of putting this project together, I went for it. I basically cut one big rectangle of wool for the back and then some various sizes of coordinating fabric (including a bit of vintage kimono fabric...yay!) for the front side. I added a button and a couple of fabric yo yo's here and there and called it my $6 vs. $60 accessory that actually serves a purpose, too! Not too shabby, right?

I'm just coming around now on my month-long head cold, so perhaps I can start staying up later than 9 p.m. for a bit now. I've got holiday gift making to get a jump on now! Yikes!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Firsts: Trick-or-Treating for Halloween!

This year, a friend saved me from having to scrap Halloween altogether. I've been so overwhelmed with all the change going on in my life, exacerbated by the lingering creeping crud, that I left Halloween costume planning until 9:15 last night. At which point I grabbed this great green jumpsuit out of my "to finish" pile and whipped some snaps on it and called it done.

You see, my friend works for a pattern company and they had apparently sewn up one of their patterns as a sample. My friend snatched it up and gave it to me. It fit our guy perfectly, and he looked exactly like a mechanic (dontcha think?). The only thing missing is a little patch with his name on it. Unfortunately, at 9:15 last night, that added detail was not in the cards. And given that tonight it was 30 degrees out for Trick-or-Treating, the patch would have unfortunately been hidden under his heavy winter coat, anyway.

We started the evening at a friend's place with pizza and tricked up and down their block a bit. Wee one got the gist of the candy right away, although the houses with the scary stuff out front were not his cup of tea. We headed back to our friend's place pretty quickly and helped them hand out candy to other kids. The best quote of the night was when one mom asked her 2 or 3 year old son, "Now what do you say?" to which he replied, with hand outstretched "I want more!" It was a really great parenting first for me, and the cold weather didn't seem to be keeping people home. Next year I hope I have more time to prepare (mentally and literally)!

So here's to friend's thoughtfulness making my life so much easier this year! Cheers, and happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Whiny Whinerson

Fair warning: this post is a big whiney-whinefest. I am just getting a bit of complaining out of my system at your expense. But you can just click away onto some other blog, something more uplifting, positive and interesting. Because right now I'm self-obsessed. I've been sick with a cold for two weeks, and frankly, I'm done with it. Today I went into a place, we'll call it Speedy Clinic, to see if I could get to the bottom of the mess. Here's how it went:
Doc: "So, what seems to be the problem?"
Me: "Um, my face hurts, I can't bend over without feeling like I'm going to die, I am exhausted and as you can tell, I sound like Elmer Fudd on 6 packs of cigarettes"
Doc: "Hmm. Let's check your temp."
[Doc checks temp and blood pressure. Exclaims "Beautiful blood pressure!"]
Doc: "Do you take any medications, vitamins?"
Me: "You mean aside from the 6 beers I drink per night? No. Just a multi-vitamin"
Doc: "Do you have allergies?"
Me: "Sure, in August I get hayfever."
[Doc checks inside nose and ears.]
Doc: "Well, you have allergies. I see classic 'allergy shiners' under your eyes.
Me: "Are you sure those aren't just bags under my eyes because there's 10 tons of snot in my sinuses?"
Doc: "Just take some Claritin and some Afrin and you'll clear up nicely."
Me: "But I haven't had allergies since August. That makes no sense."

But, in the doctor's infinite wisdom, she continued to assure me that the allergy meds and Afrin would solve world hunger, bring peace to the Middle East and make me look 10 pounds slimmer. So I tried it. And it failed miserably. That's my whine. And now off to bed! Ha-choooo!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I know it's wordless Wednesday, but I feel as though my absence needs an explanation. Here are a few:
--Getting a new job
--Wrapping up an old job
--A cold lasting 2 weeks (sniff sniff)
--Trying to sell a house
--Trying to buy a house in a different state (we did it! we're moving!)
--Trying to rent a house because no one is buying the house I'm trying to sell
--Trying to keep up with a toddler
--Trying to "stage" and pack a house
--Trying to fit sleep in, occasionally

Happy Wednesday! Hopefully I'll be back to regular blogging soon!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My Parents Were Awesome (Still Are)

I'm newly addicted to My Parents Were Awesome, the blog that features photos sent in by readers of their parents looking their awesomest. A few years ago, my mom supplied me with some totally awesome photos of she and my dad back in their youth. Today I submitted a few to the good people at My Parents Were Awesome. I hope they make it on!!

Were your parents awesome? I would love to see some photos!!! Blog them, or send them to

Monday, October 05, 2009

Choo Choo Applique

I have been having so much fun using clip art to make craft projects lately. A month or so ago I printed out a horse and embroidered it on a shirt for my niece. Now, I printed out a train and used it to create an applique for a cute little red hooded sweatshirt for my Wee Pumpkin. I'm really not that great at applique, so this one looks a little "fuzzy" around the edges, but hopefully with some more practice, I'll perfect the technique. I think my big fault with this one was that the pieces are a bit too small to applique with a machine. I really should have done it by hand.

I can't wait to try this on the Wee One and see how it looks. I was happy that when I showed him the work in progress, he at least knew it was supposed to be a train.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Get Your Buns in Here

Have you ever visited somewhere and felt like it called out to you? Or have you ever wanted to have a place call out to you and it didn't? This weekend I took a little road trip to a place I wanted to have overwhelm me with an intense feeling of "you should stay" or "this is your place" but I have to say, I was a little underwhelmed. I'm not sure what I was exactly expecting. Geesh, no welcoming committee? No parade? No red carpet?

It was a chilly, gray weekend, and after our road trip, we snuggled up at home and made some excellent vegetarian chili and corn bread. It was the perfect day for it, too. Now, back to the grind! Ugh!

I've been doing a little crafting lately. Photos to come!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In a Seated Position I Fall Asleep

Have you ever felt like your simple existence is tiring? Just sitting is too much, and you nod off? I'm at that point today. It's not yet 9 p.m. and I'm heading to bed, like the elderly woman I've always felt was trapped inside (ever since I realized at age 7 that I was and would always be the first to fall asleep at the slumber party).

We've been so busy the last month + that I'm ready for a vacation from my summer. Fall days that I'm inclined to throw a meal in the crock pot and play leggos all day actually sounds pretty appealing. However, it'll have to wait until another business trip is wrapped up, another weekend out of town is happily had, and preparations for Halloween (pumpkin trains, trick or treating and more!) are all entered into with vim and vigor! Oy, October is shaping up to be another duzy!

What have I got to complain about? Nothing! I'm just sayin'...if anyone figures out how to squeeze two more hours out of every day or get 8 hours of sleep into six, let me know.

I hope you had a wonderful, restful weekend! Per normal, we packed a lot in -- dinner out, a girl's outing, apple picking, some thrift stores, and more!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Workin' for the Weekend

My hubby is a stay-at-home dad by day, wedding DJ by night. But he's so different than most wedding DJs, I actually LOVE to tag along with him when he DJs because he plays the best music. The motto on his business card says "No chicken dance. No macarena. No B*lls&^t" And it's true. And the coolest thing is that he still plays much of it right off the vinyl records.

This weekend we were asked to repay a favor from the chef at our own wedding and head "up north" do DJ his wedding. We took the opportunity to spend lots of time soaking up the sun and tooling around on the boats at the neighboring resort. It was unseasonably warm here -- like 20 degrees warmer than what I would expect. So warm, that we all were contemplating swimming in the lake. Pretty unheard of for September in Minnesota.

It was so nice to get away, but after a long, busy summer, I can honestly say I am really starting to look forward to not getting away. We've got one more cabin weekend away in early October, and then Halloween weekend we'll be spending time with family but otherwise I think we're tucking in for the winter and finding lots of at-home kinds of fun. A vacation from our vacation, so to speak!

I hope you had a happy weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oct. 24 Save the Date for Bundles of Love

If you're in the Twin Cities, please consider coming out to a fun fundraising event for Bundles of Love. It's for a great cause -- babies!!!

What: Bundles of Love Fundraiser Dinner & Silent Auction
When : Saturday, October 24th 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: TriCity American Legion
400 Old Highway # 8 N.W.
New Brighton, MN 55112
What: Dinner, silent auction and a night of fun.
Why: Because with your assistance Bundles of Love Charity can help more Minnesota babies receive the basics they

We are delighted to invite you to join us in celebrating our tenth anniversary at our Annual Fall Fundraiser. It will be held at the Tricity American Legion (400 Old Highway 8 NW, New Brighton, MN 55112 • (651) 631‐1124) on October 24th from 6-pm. The tickets will be $15 a person for a delicious dinner of marinated chicken breast, whipped potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables and tossed salad or Fettuccine with broccoli (our vegetarian choice). Amazing desserts will be provided by our volunteers. In addition to dinner we will be having a silent auction of items that were donated by local organizations and a raffle with first place being a Toro snow thrower and second place being a Llyod Security system. Kindly RSVP to Deb Persing by sending $15 per ticket to

Deb Persing
1352 155th Ave NW
Andover, MN 55304
Hope to see you there!!

The raffle tickets will be sold for a $5 donation.

First place is a Power Clear Toro Snow Thrower, Model 38583

Second place is a GE Concord 4.0 basic system- 2 doors, a keypad, 3 window contact and a motion Installed. A $395 value!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thank You, Lucky Stars

My little niece got kicked by a horse named Tinker (from now on known as "The Stinker") over Labor Day weekend. She was pretty beat up, with head and abdominal injuries. But through some special miracles granted for our family, she's now safe and sound at home with her family. After a week spent away from home, the whole family is getting back to normal life.

So, we did a little celebrating this weekend -- celebrating the warm weather, the fresh, vine-ripened cantaloupe grown by a special 6-year-old, and the return home of a healing 8-year-old. We all were counting our blessings and marveling at how lucky we all are -- lucky to be with family, lucky to be healthy, lucky for all the things we have and the people we love and who love us. And lucky that there are people in this world who don't get woozy at the sight of blood or think spending 27 years in school is way too much.

My little niece was quite a trooper, though, and her biggest concern was falling behind on her homework. Kiss those babies every night, and keep them away from horses!!!! (kidding...I know some horses are safe...but here I go a city girl again).

I hope you and yours are happy and healthy today and every day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

If This Post Were a Library Card...

...Here's what it might say:

I discovered this handy library catalog card generator in my internet travels today and thought it was pretty handy. You never know when we might go back to the old card catalog system, right? I myself really enjoyed those little cards tucked in the sleeve in the back of the book that got stamped when you checked the book out at the library. I kinda miss all that stuff.

Anyway, I really do need your book advice. I'm craving some new crafty books to page through. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

From Curb to Cute

Mr. Pumpkin and I, being "retired" punks, have traded in our dumpster-diving ways for thrift shopping and garage-saling. We even hit an occasional flea market if we want to really class it up. However, we went back to our roots a few months ago when driving around my hometown (a HUGE college town, and thus a hot-bed for dumpster-diving activity). When we saw this great little kid's play kitchen sitting out on the curb, I made hubby whip the car into reverse so I could throw the cabinet into the back.

When we got it home, it had little handwritten signs taped on and was pretty scratched up. Nails were sticking out in needed a good cleaning and sprucing. We left it sitting in my parent's garage for a few months until they could deliver it -- it never seemed to fit in our vehicle with all the junk we typically haul around. This weekend, they brought it up and we took hammer, nails, sandpaper, and spray paint to it. We painted the front doors with chalkboard spray paint and I love how it turned out. We've already started to collect some little food containers for it (indicative of what we eat around here: popcorn, brownies, coffee, creamer...yikes).

I love things that came from the garbage. It's got character, it was free, and it's been saved from a landfill. Oh, and our kid thinks it's the greatest thing ever. So, thanks anonymous daycare for throwing out your slightly used and stickered-up cabinet. It's now a super cute addition to our boy's room!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

Here in Minnesota, where casseroles are "hot dishes" and the curious knack for passive-aggressivity (is that a word??) is called "Minnesota Nice," the annual Minnesota State Fair has been dubbed The Great Minnesota Get-Together. Maybe that's because Minnesotans, if I might stereotype for a moment, don't like crowds over about five people and therefore need to entice one-another to an event that annually draws over 1.6 million people and on the day we attended, over 200,000. Now how many of you would call that a get-together? A raging party? The population of the city you live in (or more)? I guess that answer depends on whether or not you're a Minnesotan. We Minnesotans like it better if we can think of it as just a little get-together among friends. Just poppin' in for a sit-down with some old chums.

Mr. Pumpkin, Wee Pumpkin and I stopped in for a spell at the get-together on Saturday. We got a real early start so as to avoid the crowds (in keeping with the attitudes of our state-of-residency). Even with a small crowd, though, we had a fantastic time people watching. Having just been introduced to People of Wal-Mart, we quickly drew correlations to the fair-goers. At an event where deep-fried candy bars and chocolate-covered bacon are easier to come by than a pizza joint in New York City, and where the muffin top still reigns supreme in women's fashion, it wasn't hard to find examples that could have easily found themselves in a "People of the State Fair" photo gallery. Mullets, mom jeans and Fair Do's, oh my! However, we restrained ourselves from too much mockery or stealth photography and just enjoyed looking at the animals and trying some new foods. I know, how boring, right?

We rode the Skyride, which wee one called "car up high" and looked at all the boats and tractors and plows on Machinery Hill. We tried a Spam breakfast sandwich (delicious) and washed it down with a shake from the dairy barn (at 9:30 a.m.). The honey lemonade was a hit with me and the family friendly magic show was a hit with the wee one. We saw the 1900 pound pumpkin and checked out all the seed art. We took a free trolley ride. It was a beautiful, perfectly sunny but not hot, not too crowded, pleasant day. I still regret that we didn't document the People of the State Fair. Maybe next year. Maybe if you go, you can do it. You won't have to work very hard at it. And now with the new-fangled camera-phones, no one will ever know what you're doing.

I love the fair. We go every year. Every time I go, I see something new, and I always miss seeing something, too -- because it's just so darn big and there's just one or two too many people at the great-big super massive gosh darn overwhelmingly gigantic Great Minnesota Get Together.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

New Pants

My little guy is growing like a weed. He doesn't seem to ever grow wider, just taller. Which makes it hard to find anything to fit him. Every pair of long-enough pants have him running around, looking like the teenagers I see hanging around my neighborhood. Which meant I hit the sewing machine last night and finally got around to using some awesome fabric I added to my stash after a trip to Crafty Planet this summer. It's reversible, and although I admit I didn't really make good use of that quality, I did add the cuff at the bottom using the inside of the fabric.

I ran across several really easy patterns online, which I'll share below. I also think the key to a nice pair of handmade toddler pants is to take a pair that fits well and give them a rough eyeball. I always add more to the top part that will get folded over and elastic threaded through -- the rise of the pants seems like it can always be more generous on a diaper-butted child, am I right?

Here are some references for making infant or toddler pants:

--Rookie Moms directions for using an old t-shirt
--Sew Mama Sew instructions for modifying a pattern to fit better
--Handy Home Projects instructions for pants with a cuff detail (this isn't the way I did mine, but it's another option)
--Julie K's instructions for making kid's shorts
--Balancing Everything's instructions using a pair of pants that fit (as I mentioned above, this works well)

I love making kid pants. It's easier and quicker than a drive to the store to buy pants. Really! And so much cuter. Mr. Pumpkin and Wee Pumpkin met me at the bus stop after work today, and when I saw Wee One in his new little pants, I let out a squeal. They are just as cute as can be and fit perfectly. Ah...I guess that means I need to make some more!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I decided to follow the lead of the super-talented Lisa of Lil Fish Studios who I am so admiring lately and institute "Wordless Wednesdays" week will be more wordless...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Animal Therapy

Last week sucked. There's no two ways about it. The day before we left for vacation, I stepped in my kid's poop, worked all day, worked until 10:30 that night and I was not happy about any of it. I was thinking, "Either I need a vacation, or I just need to run away and not tell anyone where I went." My mood was sour, I was lippy and all I really wanted to do was have a beer, make a list and pack up my stuff.

But what a difference a day makes. In the morning, I felt ready to leave town. I taught the little Pumpkin to say "hit the road" and we did just that. Of course without my handy list getting made, many things were forgotten, but in the end it really didn't matter. We headed out Highway 169 with a few hours to kill and a destination of "up north" Minnesota to eventually arrive at. Spontaneously, we made a pit stop at Kelley Farm in Elk River, Minnesota, and it was such an awesome way to start our trip. If you're local, you MUST check it out. They have animals, buildings, gardens and equipment true to the era (late 1850s). The costumed workers still work the farm as they did in the 1850s, too. I love costumed guides! It's like the Renaissance Festival, but inexpensive, and not irritating!

We pet all the animals with the exception of the pigs, which the Wee One did not want to get too close to. Oh, and the sheep somehow did not interest him. But the barn cats became his best friend and even tried to follow him out of the farm. And those cows loved him up a bit, too.

We thought about what it would be like to live on a little farm. It seems so peaceful and the animals are so cool -- except the big, fat pig that slurped around in the mud. However, I think if I lived on a farm I'd want screens on my windows. The flies! Oh, and I'd want to have plumbing. And thank God for Claritin. Geez, I was a sneezing, wheezing mess. Hmmm, guess I'm back to the realization that I'm a city slicker.

Anyway, more to share about the weekend in a bit -- I've got lots of photos to sort through. I just wanted to let anyone local know about Kelley Farm because I think it closes this coming weekend. It's so worth your time to drive up there. Plan to take a picnic, spend a few hours. Even though it's small, it's so nice to soak in the sun and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.