Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tree Cutting Adventure

I guess you could chalk it up to Dave's (unused) Forestry degree, but he does require a "real" Christmas tree each year. I usually appreciate this eccentricity, except when I'm vacuuming up a carpet of pine needles. The pine smell alone makes it worth it though. This morning, after having the easiest holiday we've had in 6 years (since Rowan was born), he brought up going to cut our own tree. We've never done this, but as stated, we were a bit giddy with how good the kids were at Auntie Theresa and Uncle Robb's for Thanksgiving. They honestly played with their cousins for about 6 hours straight with very minimal crying/whining/acting up. It was amazing and liberating. Also a bit sad, since they did not really want much to do with either of us. Big cousins were much cooler than Mom and Dad, for sure.

On this "good kid high", we drove a gazillion miles north listening and singing Christmas music. We passed about 4 other "cut your own tree" places til we found the one Dave had wanted due to their natural growing approach (??) as well as complementary tractor rides. Then we found our perfect tree in a dusty field. We had fun and it was great - except that without snow it was not as pretty as it could have been. Also not as cold as it should have been, so I'm really not complaining!

May have been the start of a new tradition, but Griffin developed hives right before we got to lunch. Not sure what he was reacting to - either the hay we were sitting on in the tractor trailer or possibly the plastic frog he insisted on bringing with that I found in his mouth every other second (latex?). Not sure. He's all good now, but we'll be chatting with his doc this week for sure. (Note: Mom's are still cool when you are not feeling well, so I'm not totally obsolete yet.)

Here are some pics of the tree cutting adventure. Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was great!

Our tree- Griffin named it "Spiderman". Hmmm.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

last solo weekend

This weekend was my last as "solo mama". Dave is done with his hunting extravaganza as of today, so I tried to sneak in as much "girly" stuff as I could while he was still gone. On Friday, my mom, sister and I went to see Twilight. I am very pleased with how faithful to the book it was - but it did take a while to get used to Edward wearing more eye makeup than Bella and the extreme pasty white skin on the vamps. I managed to get over it pretty early on and LOVED it overall. Here's to hoping they'll make the other books into movies as well...

Saturday I hooked up with my 2 oldest/dearest friends for pizza, gabbing and some delicious Raspberry Mojitos. Between us, there are 6 kids, none older than 6 years old. Rowan was the only girl, but she warmed up quickly to all the boys and both my kids had a blast. No one truly knows you as well as old friends- and there is probably not a whole heck of a lot that April or Sarah don't know about me. Love that we can go for long stretches without seeing each other and then seem to pick right up where we left off and gab for hours. Miss them though as well, and it takes a night of fun with them to realize just how much. Then I read Agnes and the Hitman when I got home. I stayed up til around 1:30 this morning reading it 'cause it was so dang good. Literally laughing out loud. Good, quick read...I'd recommend it for some fun, light entertainment.

Today I neglected all the laundry and housework to do some sewing. I hauled my sewing machine and ironing board up from the basement where my sewing room is and took over the dining room so that I could be on the same floor as the kids. They kept busy playing Candy Land, Cootie and Elefun while I finished off a few more projects.

Griffin had picked out some brown corduroy for me to make him "Shaggy" pants on Friday. He is currently into the Scooby Doo movies. We've moved on from the Indiana and Spiderman crazes of yesterday and now he really loves Shaggy. He keeps chasing our dog around the house pretending they are running from "Ronstors?? ROh Oh!!" and begging for Scooby snacks. I took just a normal elastic waist pant pattern, traced it on freezer paper and made them more "belled" at the bottom. He loves 'em.... as you can probably tell from the picture!

I then finished a tote that I had cut out a few months back. These were a bit frustrating when I made the other 3 due to the heavy duty fabric, but I managed to finish this without breaking even one needed today. Yes - I'll pat myself on the back for small victories, thank you very much. Think this will be a easy way to package a gift for Christmas this year. (Just noticed that I took the last picture here on the railing as well, so it looks like I could be lying, but I promise it is newly created today...)

I have been meaning to make the Wide leg Lounge Pants from Amy Butler's In Stitches for a while. (yes - I start lots of blogs with this, there are a lot of things to make on my "to do" craft list) I had cut out a pair from some funky 70's thrifted sheets about a month or so back and had just not had time/energy/motivation to finish them. Today I finished them - and then kicked myself for not doing them sooner. The pattern was really easy - I had read other blogs about these that really stressed double sewing a few strategic places and to add elastic to the waist band. I did both on the pants and I love how they turned out. Well, loved how this pair turned out that is.

After drinking a mug of coffee with my dinner I decided to cut out 8 more pair for Christmas gifts. I have been picking up sheets at garage sales and thrift stores all summer and had washed the hell out of them last weekend, so why not? (Let me clarify what "wash the hell out of them means" in case the idea of pants from thrifted sheets give you the heebie jeebies - I washed them with a bit of bleach and soap on the hot water setting not once or twice, but 3 times. I then dried them on the hottest possible settings as well. These babies are clean as they can possible be!) Now that I realized how quick the pants actually go together, I then even opted to sew another one. I should know better than to push it. Notice anything wrong with this pair?

Look closer - maybe this will help...

Yep, the birdies are upside down. Arg. What lucky person will get this pair as a Christmas gift? Maybe I'll have to draw names. Fortunately, these were the only sheets with a real "up" side, so there should not be many other of these types of errors for the other 7 pair. I'm leaving the sewing machine on the dining room table until they are ALL done, since it stresses me a bit to see it there. Good motivation to get 'em done...

Friday, November 21, 2008


I've finally gotten around to finishing some things around here - namely getting Rowan a new pair of glasses, a few embroidery projects and A NEW CAMERA for ME! Hooray! Dave came through due to intense separation and parental guilt from going off hunting the past 2 weekends while I was suffering a cold and sever (says me) sinus congestion. He may have also come through because I've been talking about one for the past 6 months or so. He probably wanted me to just shut up. I offered to forgo a Christmas present - which was awfully nice of me, I thought - so I got this now instead of a month from now. Yes - I feel very spoiled today. If I thought Dave actually read this, I'd say "Thanks" to him here, but I'm fairly certain a crafty blog is not his cup of tea. All the pictures from this post were taken with my new camera! Bear with me while I discover how to work all the bells and whistles!

Here are my overdue embroidery projects finally finished. A couple tea towels with Sublime Stitching patterns and my own cheesy captions. Probably a gift for my mom's birthday - also a bit overdue. I saw a cute towel here with the ribbon edge, so I copied the idea. They were a bit tougher than I thought they'd be. Flour sack towels are not as forgiving as I'd like and I may have to put stabilizer on any tea towels in my future.

I am not sure what to do with this - may be part of a quilt. That is if I can figure out how to make a quilt. I had oval embroidery hoops that led to the design. We'll see what it ends up being.

Here is Miss Rowan with her new specs. She chose them herself and seems to be excited about wearing them for that specific reason. Whatever works! I'm slowly learning to pick my battles carefully.
Just because I don't have enough unfinished projects, I've decided to learn a new craft. Here is a hint. Wish me luck...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I've been wanting to do silhouettes of my kids forever. I've been seeing them all over blog land -and think they are a good combo of old fashion and modern crafty-cool (?? is that a "genre"? Well, for me it is). Alas, I could not figure out how to play with my photo shop to do it- and could not even fathom doing the whole light bulb and shadow tracing plan. For those of you who know me personally, or have one of your own - can you honestly imagine my 4 year old boy sitting long enough for that??? I do not think so. Then I read on one of the crafty blogs I peruse (long list on right) how one of the smart woman blogger (yes - a redundant phrase, but very true none the less) just printed out her profile pictures and then colored them in with a black sharpie. HOW COOL AND EASY. I wish I could remember which blog I read this on - so I could give credit where it is due - but it was a while back and I did a quick search and could not find it again.

I decided to give it a go. I can handle this - or so I thought. Turns out, we are not a household of permanent ink. And note to self: Dry erase markers and photo paper do not mix well. It makes for very messy hands and tables and towels and jeans.... you get the idea. I ended up painting their profiles with black acrylic paint after cutting them out from normal old photos. The paint worked well enough and I love them to pieces. And I really love how I can see my babies in them.

This is while they were drying. You can see the brush strokes and what not here, but not in a bad way when they were actually framed and hung up.

Rowan and I also made some beads from rolled up magazine paper and white glue and strung them to make a necklace. Similar to this method. She wore her necklace to school and can't wait to make more for Christmas gifts.

And yes -just because I made jokes that Dave does not normally "catch" a deer (he laughs at me when I say "catch" but I have an Elmer Fudd vision of hunting in my head) - he did get a big old buck this year. yippe. yeah us. OK - I'm trying hard to find the good things in this (Thanks Martha). I know that they are overpopulated and what not, so the "thinning of the herd" is a good thing. Dave is also donating the hide and some of the meat - which is also a good thing. Finally, I myself will not have to eat it - which is the best good thing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

skirts and castles and evil laundry

Rowan was home from school yesterday for yet another preparatory day... not sure what is being prepared for, but they sure will be ready for it. Brooke came over for a bit, bearing Caribou coffee, kids and a cute skirt for Rowie. The kiddies played while we drank coffee and caught up. I got to hold Miss Vada and I'm starting to wonder if I would ever not want to have a baby after holding one? Especially a sweet, adorable and cuddly one? Will I be 90 years old and thinking "Maybe just one more??". That is a bit creepy and gross, but you probably get the idea. Anyway, here is Rowan in the skirt - she loves it!

Yes- fortunately our snow of yesterday did not last. It melted almost immediately! Hooray!

Later in the day I pulled (dragged and pushed) the castle into the house that my friend Rayna and I built at work for our department "Candy Land" display on Halloween. I love when you spend dollar after dollar on electronic, trendy or popular toys for kids and when it comes down to it, they are thrilled to be playing in a large cardboard box. (Yes- yet another "Aha!" moment for me as I get more and more into handmade toys and gifts and begin truly contemplating why we own so much "STUFF"). Griffin, as usual, had to dress the part. He quickly found his knight helmet, breastplate and sword. You'll notice he is trying on his snow boots as well. He is now calling them his knight boots!

Hands on mom that I am (hee hee), I volunteered to be G's damsel in distress, since I thought this could save me from the menacing, evil enemy of unwashed laundry, my personal nemesis. Alas, he wanted Rowan to be a real princess for him. Not me. Oh well. I'm off now to fight some more battles, armed with laundry soap and some Oxy Clean. Wish me luck :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hot Mama Apron

Got my Hot Drinks for Hot Mamas Apron yesterday. Love seeing packages at my door :)
Sue Ann did a great job on my coffee lovin' apron! I really like it - and she sent along coffee, a mug and a creme brulee mix - can't wait to use them all! Thanks Sue Ann - love it! I wanted to take pictures of the apron outside, but it is snowing today - boo. So, I had Rowan (she is only 6 mind you) take a picture for me. Well, I posted it, but don't like my crabby face. (I guess I can't blame her age for my crabby face- or can I? I don't remember being crabby as much pre-children. I guess I don't remember being quite as happy or satisified as much either... though it was easier to get to the bar for cocktails) So I put the apron on Miss Rowan and got you all in blog land a sunnier face wearing the apron as well.

We are going to begin our winter hibernation today by making some caramel corn and chili... and not leave the house for the whole weekend after stocking up at the grocery store. (OK, I exaggerate, but that is what the cold weather does to me at its onset). Dave is soon off to begin deer hunting, or as I truly think, to begin drinking beer with his brothers, dad and nephews. I often wonder why he never brings home an animal from these annual adventures. Is he a terrible shot? Does he secretly love the little Bambi? Has he become too urban and city-like since getting a job requiring tie-wearing rather frequently? Or is he really just playing cards, drinking beer and shooting the breeze? I don't mind regardless- since I don't really like the idea of killing deer (though I get the whole overpopulation thing... blah blah) and will not personally be eating a Venison steak any time soon. Yuck! It is probably better for my marriage for him to think that he is attempting to provide for us... and maybe he will not have to realize that we won't be partaking of his Venison stew!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Girls day in...

Rowan and I spent today together while the boys went to "the land" to cut wood and do other manly things. I'm not sure what that entailed, but Griffin had to bring his Indiana Jones whip, a large Tonka dump truck and a baggy of cereal with. Miss Row and I did a bit of shopping, a bit of crafting and a some snuggling.

First - we ran to Half Priced Books to get rid of some of the books that are overtaking my house. Dave is not of the opinion that kids should be reared on books, books and more books. Well, that sounds harsh... he likes them, he just does not think that the house should overflow with them. He is the one to read to them nightly and enjoys a good Civil War book himself from time to time. His comment/complaint last week that there are baskets of books in every room of the house pushed me to make my rookie attempt to sell some of them today. While I love having them all over the house - it makes me smile to see them and think of the characters and plots....AND I do actually re-read things quite frequently (between library trips or when I am trying hard to not buy as many new ones)...I could not escape the fact that things were probably getting a bit out of control. I did not do too bad selling them- made enough to buy a few new ones (hee hee... defeats the purpose I know) and had cash in my pocket when we left the store. Rowan got a very cool book about kids crafting (100 Things for Kids to Make and Do), and we got Griffin one titled Dog Heaven. It is by Cynthia Rylant and after 2 readings tonight, he has a new favorite. It is a great book and is already helping him with losing Shiloh a few weeks back.

We then ran to Kinko's to print out some new pictures in large, legal paper size for my re-purposed window frame - a great garage sale find from Brooke a few years back. I had not updated the shots in the window frames in a few years - so I am excited to finally have it a bit more timely. I left the two bottom corner shots - and updated all the rest today.

Then we got home and "built" a Dalmatian for our great nephew's First Birthday (which was last weekend, and yes, I said "Great Nephew". I feel so old when I say that). Rowan had found the Dalmatian print fabric at Joann's yesterday, so I used the Hedgehog softie as a guide and came up with this guy. Landon will probably love to pull on the ears, tail and tongue - hopefully it holds up and doesn't pose a choking threat. Rowan cut out the tongue, paws and sat on my lap during a portion of the sewing.... quite the little crafter :)

Last, we cuddled up and watched the newest Netflix arrival - The Game Plan. Cute and a bit mushy - we both cried a smidge. Great girly day!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween..

My kids were undecided and wishy washy this Halloween. Neither had a big urge to be any specific person/character, but both were pretty excited to dress up and get candy. Last week we went to "Boo at the Zoo" up in Duluth and they dressed as Hermione and Spiderman. I assumed that we'd do the same on Halloween. Was I wrong. On Friday, Rowan went to school bringing a Ballerina costume - a last minute change but lucky we had the outfit as a birthday gift from her Nana. She was pretty adorable, if I do say so myself. I sent her to school in some fun tights and black dress, and a bag of Chex cereal to make her Jack O Lantern jumble with the rest of the kindergartners. They did the entire authentic Halloween - parade through all the classrooms...spooky costumes and treats galore. I had heard from some of my friends' with kids that schools often have "Fall Festivals" or "Harvest Celebrations". Turns out we have the real deal.

Griffin came with me to visit my co-workers on Friday and he opted for Indiana Jones instead of Spidey. A few weeks back that was all he was interested in, so we had the full ensemble, whip, hat and all. He did ask for some gray hair, cause he wanted to be the "old" Indy, from the last movie. Hee hee. Like his 5 o'clock shadow?

At night, Rowan remained the Ballerina, while Griffin went back to Spidey. We had great weather, so the plan was to do some serious trick or treating. After visiting 3 houses and asking if they had any other candy to pick from, Griffin was brought home by Dad to help me hand out candy and work on his manners a bit. Rowan went til her bucket was full - and had a great time! Hope you all had a great Halloween!