Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lame Preshcooler Phase: Mass Destruction






The boys have been very, very destructive lately. I think it's because we haven't been getting out of the house much. (read: at all)

The other night Moomies went in his room and took a big poop then went to my bathroom, grabbed a very expensive product off the counter and poured the whole bottle on top of the poop before smearing it all over with a wash cloth. I think he thought it was soap and he was trying to clean it up.

S and I were in the kitchen catching up after he got home from work. I knew the boys were in their room but I had no idea all that was going on!

Today I was answering a few work emails (skincare stuff) and I heard a major crash in their room. I went in and could barely enter. It was a complete disaster area.

They pulled everything off their bookshelves and dumped out plastic toys, books and stuffed animals.

They have a small room and it took
a LOT of patience not to freak out as I tripped over toys trying to clean it all up.

The boys came in and said 'My help Mama' but I had to just kick them out. There wasn't room for all of us in there and I just wanted it all cleaned up. It took me quite a while but it looks much better now.

Let's hope it stays that way. I'm not letting them in there without me for a while.

Wordless Wednesday: Works in Progress

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shout Out! (and a giveaway!)

I was pleasantly surprised to see this headline on my Google reader this afternoon:

Working so that Mama (doesn’t) Sing The Blues

What a coincidence, I thought as I clicked on it. And what do you know, it was about me! (well, part of it anyway ;)

If you want one of my Blue Mama Sweet Lips lip balms, go to my Etsy shop and pick one out then got to the Babycenter article and leave a comment with your email address to be entered into the drawing.!

The article got me thinking about a topic I've gone over and over and over in my head: when and how to work. I feel incredibly lucky that I have gotten to stay home with the boys the past three years, but at this point I feel ready to branch out.



The past year or so I've really racked my brained for a solution to the work vs. home dilemma. I need to be near my boys but...if I ignore the other parts of me I start to lose myself and become irritable and short-tempered.

I don't make very much money for our family yet but I am working on it. Most of what I do falls more or less in the "hobby" category which means that I end up feeling guilty and selfish for wanting to dedicate time to it, then I get resentful and then...well, you get the picture. It's a tough one to figure out.

I definitely see myself working closer to full time at some point but for now I am a mama first. Some days (like today) I really want to tear my hair out but other days are so great I want to freeze time and make them last forever.

I'm going to stop there because like I mentioned above, we've had a very rough day and I don't want to turn this entry into an all-out rant.

But go check out the BabyCenter article and enter yourself to win a yummy (if I do say so myself) lip balm.

I'll end with the best compliment I've ever received about my lip balm:
"I have it on right now and I feel totally glamorous even though I'm not wearing a bra..."

My work here is done. ;)

Bazaar Bizarre Vendor List 2008

Here is this year's vendor list for the Maker Faire/Bazaar Bizarre. It's so cool to see my name in print!!! I'm getting really excited! It looks like there are a lot of great vendors.

Finished!



While my friend C was out of town I made a bag for her. We are doing a trade and I wanted to surprise her with it when she got home.

She's officially back now so I can post pictures! I'll take some with her holding it, the shape looks a bit off until you see it with stuff in it on a person.

I took these pictures really quick and they don't really do it justice, but the buttons and handles are vintage and super cute and the bag is a good functional shape!

But I'm done and I'm happy to have finished it fairly quickly. Now I am seriously going to start making stuff for the craft fair.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Food For Thought

I read this post today and it really resonated with me.

S and I decided when we had kids that we were going to focus on spending as much time with them as possible, even though that would mean less career success. It means that we give up a lot of material things in order to just hang out together. It's not something I regret but I admit it's hard to feel like we're barely making ends meet sometimes.

I have learned a lot about stretching a dollar, being creative and just enjoying each others' company, though and for that I am extremely grateful. I may not be a success outside of my own home but I am very proud to be a mother and my crafts have really improved too!

And in other news: I think I'm getting "Blogger Butt"!!!



My lower half has always been a bit bigger than my top half but add to that genetic quirk the fact that ALL of my hobbies involve sitting on my arse and that spells nothing but trouble.

Looks like I'll be having to put in some of my various exercise videos during nap times a few times a week if I want to "keep my girlish figure." (Ha!)

Rediscovered: My Drop Spindles!




I'm so happy to have gotten motivated to pick my spindles back up again. It had been a long time.

*Bought at Stitches West Oakland, CA about five years ago, just figured out how to use!







*Also bought at Stitches, still haven't really figured out how to use, but I think this one is so beautiful.













*My very first spindle and still my favorite. Even though I'm still a novice, I have made many little balls of yarn on this one.


Weekend Wrap Up: Paper Yarn Attempt #2






By looking at the pictures on my camera from this weekend you might get the impression that I just made paper yarn the whole time.

I mostly hung out with my family (the boys are getting REALLY GOOD at making Lego towers at their little Lego table!) but the great thing about most of my hobbies is that they are portable. So while the boys played I sat with them and spun my paper yarn.

It is really a lot of fun and I am happy to have tried it. I have no idea if I will ever really knit with it (I'm getting back to Maker Faire prep now) but it was really, really fun and satisfying to spin.

After hanging out around the house all day we decided to go for a family date. We were all stir-crazy and needed some fresh air.

We took the boys to the park downtown and let them run around while we played frisbee. It felt very nice to be out with my little family.

After it got dark we went and grabbed some burgers at our favorite little stand on the way home, then went to another park to eat them.

By the time we got home we were all tired and snuggled in S's room to watch Family Guy and Seinfeld re-runs before bed.

We had a nice day and I felt fulfilled in all areas: crafty stuff, marriage and motherhood.

Waking up today to a dirty, neglected house shattered my serenity a bit..."back to the grind" I thought as I walked into the kitchen this morning.

It's ok, though...I'll get it all back in shape.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday How To: Hand Spinning

*photos from Photobucket--not my spinning wheel (I wish!) or drop spindle.




I am having so much fun making newspaper yarn (scroll down, I'm feeling to lazy to link!)
I saw a lot of comments on the original paper yarn tutorial from people who are intimidated by the idea of learning to hand-spin using a drop spindle.

I've been playing around with spinning (one day I will have a spinning wheel!) for about five years now but I am no expert. I have improved a LOT though these past few days as I make yarn using recycled newspapers. (or rather "stolen" from the free paper section of Whole Foods) Here is a video I found on YouTube that demonstrates the basics for anyone who wants to give it a whirl. (ha! again with the spinning jokes, I'm hilarious! ;)

I even figured out how to use my other two spindles. I find that I am much more confident in my crafting now. I really didn't have the ability to play around with things as much as I do now. With the many, many resources available online there is no reason not to pursue whatever hobby you may desire.

I bought my first spindle from a woman on ebay who now has an Etsy shop. and I bought my other two at Stitches West in Oakland when I still lived in the Bay area. I thought the Annie May spindle was a "beginner" spindle and that the other two must be "real" spindles but now I find that I vastly prefer the Annie May to one of the spindles and the other one is beautiful aesthetically but I haven't quite gotten the hang of using it yet.

I'll post some pictures of my progress tomorrow. The paper yarn I'm making now is so much better than my original attempt. Hope ya'll are all having a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cool Technique I Had Never Heard Of: Nuno Felting

I was looking at the Welcome to Momville blog again and oops...I missed another giveaway. From another Etsy shop called Fullen Star. (I haven't entered yet because I feel greedy entering all these giveaways but wow...everything in the Fullen Star shop is so gorgeous )

She uses a technique I was not at all familiar with: Nuno felting. (Nuno means fabric in Japanese) It is where fibers (wool, mohair, etc.) are felted onto a material like silk chiffon. I was curious so I googled it and found this great how-to video.

Oh, no! First spinning newspaper into yarn and now this! All these interesting new crafts are really sidetracking me! I need to just focus on my "own" stuff and get going for the Maker Faire! But go and enter this contest and maybe try out Nuno felting for yourself, it looks fun!

Giveaway!!!





A mama blog I recently discovered (thankfully I have a Google reader!) is having a really great giveaway right now.

It is for a $25 gift certificate to a fabulous Etsy shop called Om Shanti Handcrafts.

This post
really spoke to me because I really neglect my physical self in order to be a mama and to feed my creative and cerebral self. I feel fulfilled in other ways but it that pleasant feeling seriously fades when I glance in the mirror and see, not myself, but some crazy hagarilla where my face should be.

Anyway, I have my eye on some really cute earrings so I hope I win this contest! So go vote or send me some good luck vibes!!!!

Vote For Your Favorite Family Fun Website!!!!!

Hillbilly Housewife is hosting a web award for the best family fun website! Austin's own Future Craft Collective is a contender, go show some local love!!!

It's a Girl!!!!!

10/09/04


As you know, my bff Kelly had her "big ultrasound" yesterday. She and her husband really were hoping for a girl and that is what they are having!

I am so happy for them! (and we've already married off Moomers to her little baby TPP.)

I sent her a ginormous box of girl baby clothes a couple of months ago...thinking of all those tiny dresses and bloomers makes me giddy with excitement! I'll finally get to buy girlie stuff!!

I love having boys, but I'm happy that my friends are having some girls to balance it out!

November Rain: Obama Chooses Running Mate

*I tried so hard not to title this post November Rain, but it popped in my head and stuck!



Obama has chosen his running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden.

Until now I didn't know who he was, but he seems to be a good choice. I can't believe the election is right around the corner.


This is the biggest election of my life so far and I can't wait to vote. I didn't vote until my mid-twenties and I am kicking myself now for my apathy. I know it's easy to become jaded and wary of politics and politicians (as well as being bored by it) but the oppression of the past eight years has been too much for me to bear.


Living in a country that has been at war as long as we have (regardless of whether they officially label it as a war or not) has really worn me down. It matters. All of this matters to us now and for our children later. Regardless of how corrupt politics in Washington are, it's one of the ways to make my voice heard and I am
proud to vote: as a woman and as an American.


Regardless of who you choose, please vote.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Newest Addition to My Tupperware Collection: A Pickle Keeper!


My new friend over at Apron Strings and Other Ties That Bind recently ordered a pair of my earrings for a gift.

With her payment she sent over--a PICKLE KEEPER! I had no idea what to expect when she told me about it, but it was adorable!

I love, love, love Tupperware and I am excited to welcome the newest member to my family!

I have actually dragged an entire jar of pickles with me to a park so my family could have fresh pickles. Never again!!!

Thanks so much, Judy!!!

**Pictures: The pickle keeper chills with the leftover-holders in my cupboard, the pride of my collection: Tupperware lid holders that mount onto the inside of my pantry door, the pickle keeper in all it's glory!!!



No Intuition

*Kelly and I hit Vegas, circa 2003. (yes, we did sit in our room and bleach our eyebrows...so? ;)

Tomorrow my BFF Kelly gets to find out the sex of her little one.

I am SO nervous/excited for her and nowhere in the depths of my soul can I find any sort of glimmer of intuition that will clue me in to the sex of this child!

I can guess away will wild abandon for strangers in the supermarket, but I guess I'm just too close to this one. I have NO IDEA what she's having and I can't wait to find out!

Love you, Aunt Kelly!!!!!

Gwen Stefani has a second boy!


As much as I know I would enjoy having a daughter, I love having two same-sex children and I love having boys!

Gwen Stefani joined the two-boy club today when she had her son, Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale.

I thought Kingston James McGregor Rossdale was a mouthful for the first one, but cute. I'm not sure I can get behind ZNRR. (not that I was on the baby-naming panel!)

Anyway, congrats Gwen & Gavin!

Who Says Feminists Can't Wear Aprons?

*Apron from http://apronstringsandothertiesthatbind.wordpress.com/



I was just enjoying my Thursday morning ritual: reading Savage Love while having my morning cup of tea. There was a letter this week from a college student who had this dilemma:







"I'm a female college student and a feminist
. I expect equal treatment at home and at work. But I have fantasies of domestic discipline. Some days I'd like to rush home to clean and make dinner for my boyfriend in only an apron..."

She goes on to talk about what they would do...um, after the dinner is served and then expresses concern that her boyfriend wouldn't know when she wasn't interested in being "Betty Crocker." I'm bothered by the idea that you can't be domestic and a feminist.

I absolutely identify as a feminist but I love being domestic. I always have. And think about it: even if you are a working woman housework is still something that has to be done by someone. (unless you have the money to have frequent and thorough housekeepers)

Even if your partner does more than their fair share around the house, at some point you will still need to do some laundry and dishes, etc. so why not learn to enjoy it and take pride in taking care of your home? And while you're at it, why not do it with style in a pretty apron?

It worries me that younger women may be conflicted about roles in and out of the home. I am a mostly stay-at-home mom (I do a minimal amount of freelance work outside of the home) but I don't see why that would disqualify me for membership in the club of feminism. I chose to stay home and I am proud to do it. And I guess that's the thing: I am choosing to stay home and am happy that we are able to (barely) manage on one income.

I am thrilled to embrace motherhood and everything that comes along with it. Sometimes it gets boring or gross or frustrating but at this point in my life I wouldn't trade it for anything. I know that one day I will again be a working woman and I do enjoy my career. But I do know that I will still have to come home, take off my work clothes and pick up a toilet brush.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Park Update








I didn't feel all that comfortable posting pics of the boys in my "lurker post" (scroll down!) but now I'm feeling a bit more calm so here are my boys enjoying some time at the playground.

I talked to the police department and they made me feel like less of a paranoid whack job. The woman I spoke with said I should have absolutely called 911 when I noticed the truck following me.

She said I could have even called them when they were sitting in the parking lot. She said that most people don't have business at an elementary school and if they did they would have no problems explaining it to the police.

I also mentioned the fact that my friends and I have all seen "creepy guys" staring at the kids at various parks and she said again, if it feels weird call 911.

So I guess that's what I'll do next time--safety first!

Paper Yarn Update







When I checked my mail today I found a big newpaper-ish circular. I took that as a sign to try and spin paper yarn.

It turned out pretty well. I had almost forgotten how to spin since it had been so long but once I re-acquainted myself with the basics it began to come back to me.

I had forgotten how much fun it is to spin. I have to say, though the feel of dry newspaper isn't as nice as feeling soft wooly fiber gliding through your fingers. I am now the proud owner of a plum-sized ball of paper yarn. Parn...I guess. ;)

I just knitted a bit with it and it did feel dry and...um, papery against my hands. As with all yarn I've spun, it's clunky and hard to work with. Once my technique firms up it should fun to make small things with. (ipod cozy?)

I practiced knitting with the only needles I had on hand (the rest are in the room that the boys are napping in) which are really too big. I ended up breaking a stitch with them.

But, it was a fun experiment. I probably will practice a bit with it again at some point. I am in the beginnings of Maker Faire prep hysteria so I may shelve it until later, but I'm glad I gave it a spin. Ha-ha.
;)

**I think it just may inspire me to pick spinning back up as well. I have two drop spindles that I have no idea how to use so I'm still using the very first one I bought years ago.

Creepy Creepers



Today I took the boys to a playground at a nearby elementary school. We were totally getting on each others' nerves at home and we all needed some fresh air and exercise.

The parking lot was half full, I assume because the teachers are prepping their classrooms for the start of school next week. I was watching the boys climb and play when I noticed a big, new-ish Suburban pull up.

I glanced over because I thought someone was coming to play on the playground too. The windows were so dark I couldn't see in, which always makes me a touch nervous. I waited discreetly to see who was going to get out, but no one ever did. Then a few minutes later a black truck with big shiny rims pulled up and parked a few spots away from the other truck. I thought 'ok, they were meeting here.' But no one ever got out of that truck either.

S called from work to tell me he was on lunch and was going to come home. I told him we were at the playground so he met us there. I felt better having him there and forgot about the two trucks. When we were through playing we put the boys in the car and I glanced towards the two trucks. I didn't see anyone so I felt silly for being paranoid.

But then I got in the car and I heard an engine start up behind me: the black truck. I waited a few minutes for them to leave first but they didn't so I reluctantly pulled out. Heart pounding I made a right turn with no signal.

The truck pulled out and turned too, a couple of cars behind me. I turned quickly onto my street and the truck turned too.

I made the first left, not a street I needed to turn down, and held my breath. The truck turned too, and was one car behind me. I sped up and made the next right. I saw the truck keep going in my rear view mirror.

I raced home and got everyone/everything in the house and locked the doors. Maybe I'm being crazy. Maybe by some weird coincidence this truck that sat and watched me and my boys play at the park lives very close by me and legitimately needed to make each turn that I did.

I recently read an article that mentioned this sex offender website. I have seen similar websites but this is the first one I have seen that shows so much detail: pictures, addresses, convictions. I don't seek these out because I don't want to be paranoid but I also don't want to ignore my own intuition when something doesn't feel right. I only looked at this website twice: once alone and once to show S.

I've been to parks before where there are creepy men sitting on a bench outright staring at the children. I always feel helpless, disgusted and afraid. I have NO IDEA how to handle something like that, once the man was actually taking pictures of the children surreptitiously.

I love parks and went to them alone a lot before I had kids. But I feel like you can tell if someone is there to meet friends or to relax in nature. I always brought a book or my knitting and some snacks but to look over and see a sketchy-looking trembling man staring and smiling at the children just doesn't sit right with me.

What do you think? Am I being crazy? What would you do in that situation?

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Birthday, Becka!