Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why no pictures?

Sunday evening, my little sister worriedly turned to me and asked "Someone is taking pictures of her, right?" My mom assured her of COURSE Myrnie is taking pictures. Myrnie and LoLo just always have a camera available, and take lots of pictures of their daughters.

Ummm....no. Not these last two weeks! You see, if you want pictures of Mimi, you get shots like this.

And this

And yes, even like this.

You see, the child simply doesn't leave my arms. She eats and sleeps in my arms. Spends her day in the baby wrap. She might nap on a blanket in the family room for an hour, but her crib is nothing more than a changing table. If I lay her down, she kicks and waves and gags and wakes herself up. We did that for 5 1/2 hours the other night, her waking up every 5-20 minutes. I sleep just fine in this chair, she sleeps fabulously in my arms, and I'm not ready to let a 2 week old cry it out. Is this kangaroo care? It will pass, and I'll miss her cuddles when it does, and her milky breath, smooshy lips, and how she pants and mews in her sleep. Yes, I'll miss this.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Here we go!

Well now I've really gone and done it. My family knows I've been hemming and hawing over starting an Etsy shop for the last month or two. It sounds like a lot of fun once you get the logistics worked out -- How much to charge for shipping? What address do I use as the return address? Is it worth it to get a PO box to protect my family's anonymity?

BUT...the chance came up this week to pick up a booth at a local holiday bazaar, and I said yes! I'll be sharing a booth with a gal from church- she'll have her Mary Kay wares set up next to my....?? What am I going to sell? This is where you guys come in. I have a list a mile long of what I could take with me, but what do people want to see at a holiday bazaar? Anything that doesn't sell that day will go into the Etsy shop.

The way I see it, I have a few different "lines."
  • There's baby-- wraps, minky wash cloths, diaper envelopes, hair bows and headbands.
  • Kids- pencil roll-ups, tutus, tiaras, wands, crayon muffins, aprons.
  • Home- grocery sack catcher, laundry soap, dish powder, embroidered tea towels, etched Pyrex and glass.
  • Then just nice things- cards, embossed velvet scarves and Christmas stockings, embroidered hankerchiefs, beaded necklaces and bracelets.

So, leave your comments and help a deluded Momma out! Has anyone done a craft fair before? Any pointers? Anything sell particularly well? It's being held in a green-minded, family friendly, upward-mobile, and semi-affluent community. And I have seven weeks to get ready. (And yes, I'll be poring over all your blogs for display ideas, etc. You've been warned.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Diaper Envelope Tutorial

You know how sometimes you just have to get a certain thing done, no matter that it's unnecessary, could be done later (if at all), and is probably just a silly idea anyway?

I have a one-week-old baby, so of COURSE I got the sewing itch this week. I want to make a skirt that fits. I want to make pencil pouches that don't require hemming. I want to make a diaper envelope.

At least I can check one off the list! (I bought supplies for the other two Saturday afternoon. I'm sorry Mom, this IS how I keep my sanity!)

What is this for?
  • It's so I can take a handy little pouch full of diapers and a little case of wipes to the changing room, without lugging the entire diaper bag and trying to balance it on a too-small counter.
  • It's so my purse can become a diaper bag lite.
  • It's so I can FIND the diapers and wipes with one hand, in one shot.
  • It's so Wonder Daddy can sneak into Relief Society and grab a few diapers and wipes. (Because I'm SURE that Baby Mimi will be a wonderful addition to his Valiant 11 class. She'd never distract all those little boys. Right? Right?)

Diaper and Wipes Envelope
Two 25"x8" pieces of material

1. Sew right sides together, leaving an opening at top of rectangle for turning. Turn and press.
2. Fold up bottom 10 inches, with inside fabric on the inside, and top stitch edges to make pocket. Back stitch top and bottom to reinforce. Press.
3. Fold in open edge of turning hole, and top stitch shut. I used a decorative stitch on my machine, in a contrasting thread. I like contrasting thread a lot.

You could make a closure-- button and hole, velcro dots, button and a string to wrap around it, etc.-- but I left mine as is. I don't anticipate anything falling out, and I want to be able to open this one handed.

One note- when I sewed mine into a "pocket" I sewed it right sides together and then flipped, but now my pocket is about 1/8th inch narrower than the flap, and the top lies wonky. I think if you top stitched, this issue would be solved.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oatmeal Cookies

This is an astounding oatmeal cookie recipe. You know it has to be- Wonder Daddy is snitching pieces every time he walks through the kitchen, AND I managed to make a batch with a brand-spanking-new baby in the house. To make it even easier, I pressed the mixture into a jelly-roll pan to make granola bars and baked it a few extra minutes. One bowl, one spoon, one measuring cup, one cookie sheet!

I have big plans for this recipe. It's fantastic with raisins or dried cranberries. It's lovely with a smear of peanut butter on top. Wonder Daddy loves chocolate chips- I could press a few handfuls into half the baking sheet, to satisfy his cocoa cravings. What would happen if I replaced some oil with apple sauce? Or threw in some maple syrup? Or toasted pecans? Or melted peanut butter and stirred that in?

Are you interested yet? I found the recipe here, on bloggy-buddy Lera's recent post over at The Sky is Pink. She is a mother to six, wife to one, and totally rocks the thrifted sheets-turned clothing look.

Here's a copy of her recipe, too. I used between 3/4 and 1 cup flour and that seemed to work just fine. Of course, it's more forgiving if you make bars rather than drop cookies. This is basically oats loosely bound with flour and egg.

Home-Style Oatmeal Cookies

  • 4 cups quick oatmeal
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/c cup flour (I did add a little more to hold the cookies together better)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup raisins

Mix oatmeal, sugar and oil. Let stand overnight (or mix during the day and make the cookies at night). Add vanilla, walnuts, eggs, flour, salt and raisins. Drop onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Baby Wrap Tutorial

You can't see me, but I giggled as I titled this post a "tutorial." Kind of like the giggle when I found out how easy it was to make these, rather than pay $50-$80 for one with a tag and a brand.

You can find tying directions online- it's really easy once you do it once or twice. Baby Mimi loves hers- I wore her for hours yesterday. These are really easy on the back, too, and there are lots of ways to carry your child with the one wrapping style.

I ordered 5 yards of 100% cotton jersey from Dharma Trading Company, online. They're a great resource for all kinds of "dyables," from fabric to clothing. The yardage depends on how big your frame is. I would get 6 yards next time, and cut it shorter if it's too long. These make great gifts, or you could order it with a girlfriend or two.

You Will Need:
5-6 yards cotton jersey

Cut your jersey into 20" wide strips. Mine was 60" wide, so the 5 yards made 3 wraps.

That's it! Jersey doesn't really need to be hemmed. You could use other types of fabric, too- I've heard that cotton gauze is nice, especially if your baby is stretching out the jersey too much. Of course, a different type of fabric would need to be finished on the edges. A serger would make quick work of this!

If you want, mark the center spot so it's easy to find when you want to wrap up. You could embroider, sew on a little tag, or even just mark it with a sharpie. I always put ours away folded in half a few times, so I know where the middle is.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Can We Do It?

I now have a handful of posts, in various states of completion- the result of one-handed typing during the wee hours, while nursing our daughter.

I always expected to have children. I am the oldest of five children, just like my husband. We intend to have as many children as God wants us to have, although recently I've been telling people that we're gunning for 12 because we don't know and it's as good a number as any. It's fun to see their faces, and they stop asking questions I don't have answers for. We might be finished, we might not. You don't know until you get there!

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes affectionately (but most times not) referred to as "the Mormon church". We know that bearing and raising children is a sacred responsibility, and an enormous privilege.

In recent years, I have had a handful of women (both in and out of our Church) say "Children are harder and more expensive to raise these days. We just can't have big families anymore."

What do you think? Are kids worse behaved then they used to be? Is it prohibitively expensive to have more than 3 children? I know I have at least 3 women reading this who have 5+ children each. What do you think? If you haven't had children or have a small family, have you considered this? Do you agree?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hi Baby Mimi!

That is what Ernie first said to her new sister. Hi Baby Mimi! Couldn't agree more.

In true Wonder Woman fashion, that is not really the name of our daughter. And in true Ernie fashion, she couldn't care less what the rest of the world says!

Mimi arrived early Saturday morning, just 2 1/2 hours after labor started. I was 5 cm when they got around to checking. 20 minutes later the anesthesiologist came to give the epidural, the nurse went to check me and started yelling that she saw a head. Get a doctor here NOW!

I can now proudly say that I've given birth to an 8 pound 2 ounce baby, naturally. Whimper.

She's the sweetest baby, and sleeps all day so she can party all night!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We've Got Mail!

Now see...y'all made me blush! I think pregnant ladies get more compliments than anyone else on this earth. So...thanks!

In other news, we received a wonderful package this week from Wonder Daddy's mother. Ernie loves it- she keeps pointing and saying "a baby a amal!" ("Those are the baby's animal blankets." Come on, where's your gift of translation to match her gift of tongues!) At any rate, the Fantastic MIL found an adorable animal print, and then proceeded to make something out of every piece of fabric in the store that matched the set! There are flannel burp cloths and a blanket, a quilted-panel crib blanket, and a crazy-soft fleece blanket, along with jersey sheets. Of course, she picked the animal print because it's gender neutral...and then backed everything in pink. Her thinking? "It's easy to switch out the pink pieces for blue!" Only for you, Fantastic MIL :) It's all amazingly adorable.

Then, to top it off, I got a link to this picture today.

Can you see what that is?! Wonder Daddy's sister, the amazing Aunt B, sketched these from the animals on the fabric. And painted them. And I am in absolute awe.

I can't wait to get the nursery all put together. Yes, we're kind on borrowed time seeing how I'm almost a week overdue. All the painting is done, we just need to put put up the chair rail and molding, vacuum, and move the crib and furniture back in. But it's OK, because this baby is NEVER GOING TO COME. I'm fairly certain of that fact now :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

40 Weeks

My official due has come and gone. Actually, it's come and gone twice since my doctor gave me till last Saturday, and the ultrasound technician gave me till Monday (the 6th and the 8th.) Moot point in the end.

Here's the photo, and they've promised to induce me before the 20th. Ernie was born 30 minutes before her scheduled induction, so...I'm guessing things will get moving middle of next week. How's that for a guess?

But....does anyone else think I look a little small for being due? Is it just because I'm expecting to be the WHALE that I was last time?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Homemade Dishwashing Powder

Since a few people have asked about it, I thought I'd post the recipe I use for our dishwashing machine powder. Just like making your own laundry powder, the recipe is variable depending on where you live and what your water is like. So even though I don't have the powder exactly the way I want, doesn't mean you can't give it a shot!

First off, I found the base recipe on this blog. Go over and look around- it's a great blog!

Dishwasher Powder

1 cup Borax
1 cup baking soda
1 packet lemon Kool-Aid

Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.

Now, I just realized that I threw in WASHING soda, not baking soda. Preggo brain strikes again. We'll see how it does. Also, I intend to start filling my "rinse aid" cup with vinegar. My recipe doubles the Kool-Aid called for, and I'm hoping that the double citric acid combined with the vinegar will be enough to stop the film that's formed on my dishes. Also, this doesn't cut grease especially well. But for right now, the lack of harsh detergents and great price is trumping out the work involved in rinsing the peanut butter off my knives.

And finally, a house-keeping note. No, I am not feverishly posting every day. On Friday I wrote up a few posts as I worked on last-minute projects before the baby's imminent arrival. It may be a while before I get back to these household chores and crafting moments!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Embellished Burp Cloths

I managed to snag a pile of white tri-fold diapers off of Freecycle a few months back. These make FANTSTIC burp cloths, because they're so absorbent, but at $1-$2 each new I'm glad I could get them used! (If you're not Freecycling yet, google it and find your local chapter.)

Three of the cloths were a bit stained in the middle, even after I washed them with bleach and the "sanitizer" setting on our washing machine so I cut out pieces of my favorite flannel, folded in the edges, and top-stitched them to the center sections.

When Ernie was a baby her Nana-Great sent three huge flannel blankets, that we used every day. (At least when they weren't in the wash.) Because they were so big, they made great floor blankets. And because Ernie was a champion spitter-upper, they made fantastic burp cloths. Seriously, I don't know how that child managed to put on SO MUCH WEIGHT. She hardly kept anything down! At any rate, my point is: the flannel is absorbent.

Here's Ernie, in all of her 4-month-old, 8-month-clothes, glory. Good gracious, look at those thighs! (Look at that- she's laying on a Nana-Great blanket.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Felt-Covered Barrettes

I love making these little felt barrette covers- they're cute, and the barrettes stay in place.

They're really easy- make a pattern by tracing a snap barrette onto a piece of cardstock, then cut a little bit outside the line. Cut out, and trace THAT pattern piece again to make the bottom pattern piece. Cut out the bottom piece, and cut in half.

Now cut around both pieces on a piece of felt, decorate the top, and sew around the edges! You can either just slide the barrette in and use as is, or find a good place to stitch the felt to the barrette. My barrettes had a little tiny hole in the top, so I used that. If you look closely at the picture, you'll see some extra stitches securing the top "lazy daisy" petal, and on the other barrette you'll see a green bead that looks a little closer to its neighbors.

You can search on etsy.com for lots of great examples of felt barrettes. People are really creative!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Crayon Muffins

I saw an idea for "crayon nibbles" here months and months ago (November 2007, actually.) Funny how some ideas just won't quit! We never had enough "trashed" crayons around our house to try this project, but I remembered a few days ago that my mother had saved all the crayons since I was in kindergarten, over 20 years ago. (I should have taken a picture for proof, but I definitely found the stub of a pencil I was awarded in 1st grade.) She obligingly brought the bucket of crayons to Sunday's family dinner here, and all the women (me, Mom, Aunt A and her friend, and Ernie) maniacally and methodically started unwrapping them. We're a bit...OCD? At any rate, we enjoyed ourselves immensely and Ernie was quite upset when the pile was exhausted. Yesterday, Ernie and I separated them into color piles, and tonight I broke them into little bits and baked them in muffin liners (265 degrees, for 6-8 minutes.) I imagined them coming out looking like technicolor peanut butter cups. Om nom nom.

I have enough crayons here to make a LOT of these wax muffins, and I wondered to myself on Sunday if the nursery at church would let me turn their abused crayons into sturdy little nuggets as well, for all 45 of those sturdy little hands! (Let me tell you, if I was called to teach Sunbeams right now...I think I'd be very scared. I'm not sure how many kids move up in January, but it's probably not less than 10!)

A note about the blog I linked to- she's a fabulous mommy in Utah, ex-kindergarten teacher. She posts about wonderful little crafts to do with your kids- all kinds of things, with all kinds of art supplies I normally try to keep hidden. The woman has guts! Guts and class, that's what she has.

On another note, it can be dangerous doing projects like this after Ernie's bed time. She saw these in the morning and was CONVINCED that the pink one was her breakfast. Seriously.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone had a nice "extra weekend" day yesterday!

Ernie, Uncle Bear, and I spent the morning at my grandparents' house. One last visit before Bear reports to the MTC next week, in Provo.

Wonder Daddy spent his morning being Wonderful. He's really gotten into biking and running recently, getting ready for next year's local triathlon. He went around the local lake (25 miles?) twice on Saturday, and once again this morning with a friend from church. Afterward, he continued our current painting project: The Nursery. It's not finished yet, but I can't believe the difference. Just putting the primer coat up made it a much happier room!

On the preggo front: 39 weeks and all is...still. No contractions, no nothing :o) Ernie was 2 weeks late, so we're expecting this one to be late too. My doctor had said that she induces after 1 weeks overdue...but recanted this morning, and said "before two weeks overdue." So I guess it's almost the same thing, but...geez! So we're looking at 18th or 19th at the latest. Kind of makes my plan to start teaching 13 piano students the week of October 6th a little more ambitious! Whey do pregnant women always plan around their "due date"?