Thursday, January 29, 2009

Finishing up the Pixie Hat

I finished knitting the pixie hat -- tiny little yarn on tiny little needles so it took me LOTS of hours. All good times, though, spent in front of the television. And I still cant't decide if it's in fact pink, or not. Ho hum. Well, my kid does not need another winter hat, so I think I might either donate it or sell it and donate the money. As much as I'd love to slap some nipples on it (suggestion compliments of my favorite nipple-crafter, thanks!) I think it's got to go to some good cause. I gotta get my karma juiced up this year so my whole new life plan comes to fruition for me. That's how that stuff works, right??

Well, new life plan or not, lately I'm just feeling really darn lucky to have a job at all. And really lucky I have one that's good enough to support all three of us. Yikes, it's ugly out there. I'm taking the approach of not turning on the TV or opening the newspaper. I just don't want to know sometimes. I am "cautiously optimistic" which seems to be a phrase I hear quite a bit lately.

Anyway, I started knitting a new baby blanket for charity, which is really just my lame excuse for sitting and watching loads of bad TV. And drinking wine. No harm in that really, right??

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reform the CPSIA

Hi everyone...I wanted to pass along some information about a proposed set of laws called the Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) that will basically close my Etsy shop, or at least the part of it that contains clothes for kids. Take a minute to read the law as it's been proposed if you are so inspired. Although we all want our kids to be protected from what can be harmful to their health (duh), this law has some serious flaws.

Now, I'm no lawyer, but from what I hear, even libraries will be affected by the law, which wil require them to test all of the books on their shelves or ban kids from their libraries. I won't be able to sell my tiesies or kid's clothes as of February 10 unless I have each item independently tested. Quoting the below-linked Forbes op-ed: "As of Feb. 10, it will become unlawful to make or sell anything intended for use by children under 12 without a program to test the goods for lead--even if no items of their kind have ever been found to pose a lead risk, even if you make and sell only a few inexpensive items a year, even if you've sourced their materials from the most conscientious local suppliers and even if they're items toddlers seldom convey into their mouths, such as dartboards or bicycle tires."

Here are some articles on the topic:
Forbes, part 1
Forbes, part 2
National Bankruptcy Day

Please call your congressperson or senator to give your feedback. I appreciate it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Giving Him a Complex

Picture this. I'm sitting on my couch, night after night, for about 3 nights. I'm knitting and watching TV. The knitting project is going great. A pixie hat for my son. Then, my routine changes. I take the knitting out during a Saturday naptime. In the light of day, I realize something is wrong. The hat, which I thought was orange, is pink. Now, I am not that opposed to putting something pink on my son's head. Well, I guess I sort of am. But my husband really is. So this hat is almost done (and it took quite a while using this sock weight yarn) and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. But damn it's looking cute, wouldn't you agree? I even thought about donating it to my newfound awesome local crafty charity, Bundles of Love, but they don't need any hats! Bah!


Friday, January 23, 2009

If I had unlimited time in a day, I might try yarnbombing. I did a quick Google search for "Yarnbombing" and I got 139,000 results. I am imagining my cubicle getting yarnbombed as I speak, and it is a wonderful thought. Down with tan mystery fabric, up with yarn!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seeing Green

Don't know about you, but I've had about enough of winter. My skin itches. My hands are always cold. The snow isn't white anymore, it's gray. It matches the sky. Indoors is starting to feel like an ever-shrinking cage. What's left to do but start coaxing spring by bringing the gardening indoors.

Last weekend we went to our local garden shop and picked up a little "pick me up" that I think is working. It was really inspired by our wee one's desire to help water all of our plants. I showed him how to do this last week by putting just a bit of water into the watering can and setting the plant on the floor. He does a pretty good job of carrying the can all the way across the house from the sink to the pot on the floor, but at that point he pretty much ends up watering the floor. It could be worse, though. And it's only water.

The first purchase at the garden store was a microgreen planter and some arugula microgreens. Totally fun and totally edible. Yum! I'm hoping wee one gets a kick out of eating what we planted together. Currently he's getting a kick out of using the sprayer to water them each day. I just learned that you can also just throw microgreens in a mason jar with a cup of water and rubber band some cheesecloth on top. After 24 hours, pour out all the water and the little things grow (I guess!). If you try that method, please share results! I paid for the little grower but I'm sure there's a DIY method.

Then, we bought rosemary and basil to plant in pots. Tonight wee one "helped" me repot them. Strangely, he was afraid of the paper bag I tore up to put under the pots. It wasn't until I threw that away that he would come and water the plants. He also wanted nothing to do with the replanting, but that may have been due to the "paper bag monster" that crinkled and made weird noises.

It's looking so green around here, now! If only it wasn't going to be a good three months before we see any green OUTside. Boo hoo!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Future's So Bright

We watched a new president take office today, and it was so bright the little dude had to bust out the sunglasses. Actually, in reality the little dude was totally annoyed that I spent 15 minutes watching the replay on TV when I got home from work today, so he went through my purse and took off up the stairs. Perfect way to get mom's attention, right?

But wow, the inauguration was all anyone could talk about today. That and the continuing scary saga of the stock market. But I avoided it all by eating leftover quiche and sewing. Oh, and working. Unending conference calls don't allow for much quiet contemplation, and that's probably a good thing.

What happened in your world today? Are you ready for spring yet?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quiche Me!

Okay ladies, try not to hate on me, but my husband is the absolute best there is. He does the grocery shopping. He cleans. I never do laundry. He takes care of our son five days a week (and he sticks around for nights and weekends!). But the best thing is, he's a super good cook. His pizzas are the best I've had. The quiche he made tonight...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Here's how:

Greek Quiche
--4 eggs
--1 C heavy cream
--1 C milk
--a bit of bread crumbs
--handful of fresh spinach, steamed
--handful of kalamata olives, chopped
--handful of feta cheese, cut up or broken up with your hands

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter or Pam a 9" pie pan. Spread bread crumbs around the buttered pan to coat it. Whisk together the eggs, cream and milk. Throw the spinach, olives and cheese into the bottom of the pie pan. Pour the egg/cream/milk mixture over the top. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees. EAT!

While he did that, I filed my nails, talked on the phone and watched TV. JUST KIDDING! I chased our toddler around the house. He has been really into helping out lately so we went around looking for chores, like letting the dogs out, watering the plants and throwing things in the garbage. Geez, it's like I'm a princess around here!

I've been crafting just a bit lately, mostly knitting. But, I did try out the yoyo tutorial I found here. Whatcha think? Should I make some more and sew them on a pillow?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Staying Inside, Reading Books

We have been cooped up in the house during the cold snap, but it hasn't kept us down. Tonight, feeling the need for a little comfort food, I made "the boys" a dinner of wa-chos. It's waffle fries, covered in a bag of frozen "tex mex" mix like black beans, corn, and peppers and then slathered in melted cheddar jack cheese. O.MY.GOD. You must try it. It takes 20 minutes to make, it's cheap, and it warms you up!

After dinner, wee one made himself a bed out of his books. He's really into moving things from one place to another and then moving them back. Repeat. For example, he could entertain himself for a good 15 minutes taking his crayons out of the baggie they're in and putting them back. Of course, it helps that I say "KA BOOM!!!" every times he drops one in the bag. It elicits lots of giggles.

I've got a new volunteer opportunity in the works. I'll be knitting up a storm for Bundles of Love. Turns out they make bundles of stuff for babies in need in Minnesota. They have a group that meets near me, so I'm hoping to crank out a few things for their next meeting. If you're interested in joining me for a little knit along, let me know. I'm trying to gauge interest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh Snap! It's a Cold Snap!

Like much of the Midwest, we've been freezing our asses off for the last week. I woke up Tuesday and the indoor thermometer was at a cool 66 degrees. But it was the outside temperature that made me curse my chosen homeland even more. 17 degrees below is uninhabitable to me. Like, bring on the polar bears, this might as well be Anchorage, for crissakes.

But, what do Minnesotans like more than hotdishes, pierogies and their smug assertion that they're Minnesota Nice? Complaining about the cold! It must be our state passtime. I heard someone say at work on Tuesday "The high today was -4, and we're damn proud of it!" That about sums it up.

Anyway, when we're cold, we think of weird things to do to entertain ourselves, like crank the heat and put on our shorts and dance around. Or, build a pillow fort in the living room. Or, make clothespin dolls that look like Brittany Spears. Really. After our trip to the local indoor waterpark it was the perfect way to mellow out.

My nieces made some really great ones, and wanted to list them on Etsy. They've been sitting there for a couple weeks, so if you know anyone that might have a spare couple of bucks, these two girls would be thrilled to death. You can think of it as your charitable act for 2009. Cross it off the list and you can be greedy the whole rest of the year. Just take a look at Betsy Winterfresh and Turtle, wouldja? The girls even made up little stories to go with them. Precious!

What are you doing to keep busy?

Cribs Recalled

Take a look at the news item about Stork Cribs being recalled. Yikes! These were sold all over the place -- BabiesRUs, Amazon, Wal Mart, etc. Please pass the word!

Friday, January 09, 2009

New New New Year...Happier and Happier and Happier

I started the new year in a pretty ho-hum, parental sort of way: knitting whilst watching TV with the hubby, in bed by 10 PM. Not quite the party animal days of yore, in which I think each year involved dancing like a maniac, certain years involved whole bottles of champagne consumed entirely by me, and not always gracefully like an adult, but maybe more like straight from the bottle. Which probably cost $12 and caused a painful hangover.

This year, however, is a good year, started exactly the way I wanted it to. Quietly, but peacefully. Contentedly. With resolve. And hell, there was wine so it was fine.

At work a few years ago I was asked to take this "personality assessment" like many of us are asked by our employers, called Strenthfinders. First you answer a bunch of questions about yourself; annoyingly, it's timed so you have to think fast about whether you prefer to coach people or teach people, etc. At the end it churns out this report that sums up your inner workings in frighteningly accurate ways, in some cases. Well, my results shed light on the part of me Strengthfinders calls "Acheiver" which basically means that if I'm not constantly acheiving something--could be anything: dishes, a knitting project, folding clothes--I'm discontented. But it's also combined with another of my personality traits called Focus. This one-two punch means I'm never content and I'm always looking to the future. Essentially I sit around and fret about what's going to happen, and how I can get to where I want to be. Sometimes it's like motivation, sometimes exasperation. Strange that a little survey could be so insightful. I suppose I could have just asked my mother or my husband and they'd say the same.

So in 2009 I've made a commitment to move some things forward. We're going to move out of our house, whether it's to another part of town or another part of the country we don't know for sure, but we're moving outta this dumpy suburb f'shizzle. That's the big one. And, I'm going to start spending more time pursuing goals, instead of checking tasks off my to-do list. We'll see how it all works out, but I have the vision in my head, and now I'm ready to get it going. No more whisper of discontent, I'm moving and shaking. On day five of our new year, I got a promotion at work: a sure sign that things are looking up!

In other news, I'm downsizing. It's a hard thing to do, but the right thing to do if one wants to move and one doesn't want 29 PODS parked outside ones house. My mom and I opened a new Etsy shop called I Love Vintage Stuff just for, you guessed it, vintage stuff. Check us out, we've already made some sales which means more space in the moving truck for all my fabric (not being downsized)! Yay!

How are your new year's resolutions coming along?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Super G

I love giving and getting handmade stuff, don't you? I especially loved that Wee Pumpkin got a few handmade gifts this year, and not just from mama. He got this awesome Super G cape from our good friends in Iowa. I've seen a few of these on Etsy and thought they were so cute! Now the wee one can cruise around thinking he's the coolest superhero ever (which I'm pretty sure he is). He immediately went into our bathroom to check himself out in it.

His other new favorite tricks include writing on the couch with the crayons and going up to the oven and going "hah!" (translation: hot!) and retracting his hand in mock pain. I must have taught him that, right?

He does speak in sentences now, too. Pretty advanced for 17 months! Except that the sentences are "eh tata?" which, loosely translated, means "Where's that cool ceramic house that used to be on the mantle. You know, the one that lit up and had Santa coming out the chimney?" or more simply "Where's Santa?" Unfortunately many sentences are basically the same. "Eh dada?" is "Where's Dada?" and "Eh Papa?" is "Where's Grampy?" The only reason I even know it's a question is that his little hands go palm up and he shrugs his shoulders. It's pretty funny, but I guess you'd have to be there.

Anyway, I'll post more awesome handmade Christmas gifts as soon as I sort through all the photos!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Banana Republic is For Suckers

I really never shop at Banana Republic. I do own a pair or two of pants from there, bought at the thrift store where I can say that they cost me an amount of money that was pretty reasonable to pay. It's not that I don't like the clothes they sell. They're okay. But geez. Expensive! Ridiculously so, in my humble opinion. I feel the same way (sort of) about Anthropologie. I like the clothes, but would never buy them at full price. Even the sale rack is too overpriced. What can I say, I'm a tightwad.

But, like I said, I do think the clothes they sell are okay. I've seen people around wearing this cute hat that apparently came from there. Much to my delight, the good folks at Ravelry had several knock-off options to choose from, so I knit myself one in about 3 hours with a couple of (SALE) yarn skeins I got at Michael's. It's Lion Wool-Ease Thick and Quick -- a super bulky yarn that makes knitting something like this both super fast and super warm! The final is a bit short for my liking, so I might have to knit another and give this one away to a friend with a short head. Know anyone?

I'm all rested up from my nice, long vacation. Tomorrow it's back to the grind. Yuck. I plan to make an awesome vegetarian lasagna with artichokes and spinach tonight. Good food always drowns my sorrows!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a happy new year, too!