Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bread, cookies, cookies, muffins, cookies

I've been baking more than usual lately which often either means that a) I'm completely stressed out and I'm trying to get a little closer to calm and to control something, b) someone's sick or hurt or hurting and I don't know how to help or c) my sweet tooth is out of control. I think it's a little of (c) and a lot of (a) lately (thank goodness it's not (b)-- that's terrible when that's happening). So joining in with some of my favorite blogs (check out the yummy eggrolls and trifle-- I'm not a cherry fan but I could modify this recipe... Hmmmm...) here are the easiest, no egg muffins of all time. They're a little different because they don't have those eggs, but you'd be surprised how many times we want a little something yummy around here, don't have eggs, and end up with these amazing muffins. I got the recipe from the Student's Vegetarian Cookbook a long time ago from the library.

Sunday Morning Muffins
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C white flour
1/4 C sugar
2 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
2 C applesauce
1/4 C vegetable oil
(can add 3/4 C raisins but I don't like them so they're never in our recipe!)

1. Add flours, sugar, baking powder & soda & cinnamon. Stir.
2. In a different bowl mix applesauce & oil with a whisk (OK, I never do that because I don't want to wash two bowls!).
3. Add the two mixtures & stir just to moisten. Don't stir too much... Lumps are OK. Put in a lightly oiled pan. I always add sugar to the tops for fun, but I just like sugar and you don't need to do this!

18-20 minutes @ 375 degrees


I actually found myself making them on Sunday morning and T failed to see why I thought it was funny. Okay, it's not. It's good I humor myself.

Oh, the flour. This AMAZING flour is from Canada. I don't know if you can find it in the US? My parents shared a bag from their stash. Whenever they're up north visiting my grandpa they cross the border and buy tons of this flour for bread making. It makes such a difference in your bread. Incredible.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Did you see?

Did you see the beautiful banner my amazing husband created for me? He is so darn talented, that guy, and I'm so lucky. He's just so... supportive. T not only made this banner, but he figured out how to work with Blogger so I could use it, made several others for me to use in the future, and he designed cards for me to pass out/include with shipments/etc. I'm determined to get some ink so I can get these cards DONE! Aren't you impressed with that banner?!

We were so amazingly productive this weekend which is why I'm incredibly sleepy at the moment. I have this:


and this:

up in the shop now, and I've been working on all sorts of other things to add. I just have to find a way to get people to notice my little shop (how many people think that in a given day?-- Isn't that the main problem with small businesses?!).

I've been reticent to post again because I love that little hat and didn't want it to disappear down the page. It found its little girl today, and I heard it fit quite well! I think I ought to knit something else again soon, sore hands and all. It's just so satisfying (and quiet-- the sewing machine is not a nap time or read aloud possibility). I think these little dogs are so darn cute and are way out of my skill-level. One of the comments I read in a post on the site reminded me about this book though, and I put it on reserve at the library again. You never know-- I may try something wild and learn a bit.

Okay, not only did we do all sorts of design and craftiness this weekend, but we got tons of paper for invitations (+ more) for my grandparents' upcoming 60th wedding anniversary. We hiked in the woods with the boy in his new (thrifted) pack and we went to the zoo, zoo, zoo and to both sets of grandparents' houses. We went out to breakfast. Yep, you read that right. We went out to BREAKFAST!

Hmmmm... That's why I'm tired. That's a lot! It's been sunny, sunny out and the boy wants to play with his bike every time we exit the house. I went to a class this morning and the teacher was talking about how you need to have 20 minutes of "No Fail Fun" at least three times a week with your child to build a solid repertoire. I keep thinking about how that seems like such a small amount of time, and then I've realized sitting here that it's because we are so incredibly lucky and we have so much time to incorporate lots of "no fail fun" into each and every day. I think the challenge these days for T and I is to incorporate at least that much personal no fail fun into our weeks and to find a little of that time together too, just the two of us.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A little hat

A little hat for a little girl. She's turning one and needed a wool hat, and we actually had some sunshine for a picture!

I haven't done any knitting for awhile and so I was slow, slow. It was enjoyable, as always, but my hands hurt so badly-- a bit of arthritis, I'm afraid. This hat is supposed to have a pom-pom on the top but I thought "ears" looked better!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Oh, how I miss reading. I just never seem to do it as much any more. Is it because I'm too tired? Too busy? Too scattered? Sometimes I'm a bit jealous of my husband's bus ride (not usually, but occasionally there's a twinge). The blog has been working in that it is encouraging me to think and be a little craftier in my day to day. So, I thought, what if I put up a list of books I'm reading and got super-embarrassed when the same book was up there too long. Would that encourage me to read more? This morning, when I looked at the list, I just thought it needed some explanation. To whom I don't know, but here's explanation anyways.

Knitting for Baby is a gorgeous book I got back when I so wanted a little guy but didn't have him yet. It has a huge range of projects and easy directions for beginners (I'm still one of those). I have to make a birthday hat by Monday, so I got it back out to be inspired last night.

Harry Potter (??), you wonder? T and I are reading it to each other in the evenings. We've both read them all, but in honor of the last book coming out we're hoping to reread them all as a lead-up to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yes, we're nerdy nerds, but at least we found each other, right?

Nikki McClure is my favorite artist of the moment. Okay, she's been my favorite artist for several years and if I ever met her I wouldn't even know what to say. She has a little boy too and now that we live in the same town I keep thinking I'll be in Book Babies at the library or Baby Gym or something and I'll be talking to some mom and it'll turn out that it's her and I'll really freak out. Her work is just stunning and something about it just fills me up when I look at it, if that makes any sense. It's peaceful, full of joy in nature... T bought both of the Nikki McClure books on my list for me for Christmas. I'm having a little angst about actually using the journal because I feel like I'll be tarnishing such an amazing thing with my notes!

The rest of the books don't really need explaining. I do have the Calvin Trillin one because the real book I want, About Alice, has a huge wait list at the library. I read a short piece in the New Yorker awhile back by him, about Alice, and it was so beautiful. When I finished it felt, more than anything else I think I've ever read, like I knew how much he loved and cared for Alice. It was amazing. When I heard he had a book coming out (I'm certain it includes the New Yorker piece) I was so excited. I told T it would be such an amazing idea for a husband to give his wife for Valentine's Day (we don't really do Valentine's Day, but my birthday isn't 'til September)!

I've GOT TO get an update to the little shop which means I've GOT TO get some work done. Remember that graphic designer I "hired?" He's going to help me with some, um, what's it called in the biz? Collateral? He's going to help me with some cards and such here this weekend. Yippee!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Little one year old packages

This is exactly how presents from a one year old should look, I think. We painted the wrapping paper and some index cards became beautiful birthday cards. Lovely!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Love the sun

There was sun shining in our kitchen and a wee little corner of the living room this morning. C went over to the wee corner and put his head down on a cushion right in the sun and he was so beautiful. I miss that sun! I also miss the snow though, and didn't want to post because I want that amazing bit of Japanese maple to pop up every time I see the blog. I have nothing beautiful to replace it with!

Frustrations abound. Yesterday was a rough, rough day and T was gone 'til midnight. We headed over to the boy's grandparents' for dinner though, and it saved the day really. It was so nice to be around people who think he's as brilliant and fascinating as I do, and it was just so comforting. Their house has never really been my home as they moved there after I was gone and off to college, but it's still like home in a way because my parents are there. It makes me think about the other day when the boy was saying "home, home, home" over and over. He takes new words he learns and repeats them over and over and over... You get the idea. The boys were in the kitchen and T asked C to say "Mama" and he said "home" instead. T said something like, "Mama is our home, isn't she?" and it made me feel so nice and warm inside.

I think the frustrations mostly center on transitions again, which I always struggle with. Change seems especially hard for me and though I'm generally happy with the change once it's settled and not new any more, I dread it coming up and I fight it while it's happening. The boy is hitting his stride in so many ways and is so very capable now. I don't need to "hover" as much as I had to (hardwood floors with a little baby are tough stuff) and when we're off places he runs away to explore just like I want him to. We're at a new place again, in a way, and I haven't found my way to run away and explore yet. It'll happen, I know, but I'm always a person who wants it to have happened yesterday. It's: ideas, ideas, ideas, passion, why isn't it done yet? The moms I know with kids the relatively same age seem to be having similar transitions. Some are heading back to work, others are having Baby #2. I'm so not ready for either of those yet and neither is T. Anyhow, I'll find my way.

I just found this little blog, celebrating its first birthday. It's almost our boy's blog's birthday too but I don't think I'll craft an amazing banner to celebrate! Her sentiment about being inspired to craft and being appreciated for what she puts out there in the world is what I yearn for! It's always fun to visit my favorites and to sit down for a moment in the sun to write, coffee in hand.

The most creative thing I did yesterday was to save some cute little Pumas from their scuff; they were passed on to us and look new and darling yet again. The secret without the right color of shoe polish? Rub permanent marker in a darker color than the shoe on your finger, then rub the finger on the scuffed area. It works every time. We must have done this when I was little-- Where would I have come up with that one?

Tepid Response Factor

You know how you find someone or something that says exactly what you've been feeling/thinking (and yet you haven't been able to articulate it?). I was looking back on this post to find this beautiful, little kitchen and I reread her thoughts about the importance of homemade and the dreaded "tepid response factor." I've been mired in that lately and it felt so good to rethink it once again. Aaahhh... It is important. Yes.

Isn't that kitchen darling? At playgroup we were in a beautiful, gigantic home and the little girl has a new, amazing little kitchen with 80 million accessories. The boy found it right off the bat and never strayed too far from it for the two hours we were there. He loved it and I had a bit of "Mama guilt" when I thought about how much he loves kitchens and how teeny-tiny our house is. There's just no way. He has an amazing kitchen to play with at the Children's Museum, but he'll never have one like the one we visited yesterday. As I thought about it throughout the day though I remembered this little one and I think I'm going to do it. I'm going to make our own little darling kitchen. I have lots of duktig from my teaching days, and I'm going to design a little space to store toys inside (space saving, oh yeah!). But see, like in the last post, it's IDEA then, uh, why isn't it already done?!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Getting away

Yesterday I went shopping with my sister. I always say I hate to shop but I think, when it comes right down to it, I just hate to spend money. I'm so stingy (I hope not when it comes to others but definitely when it comes to spending money on myself) and I agonize over purchases before, during and after. It was fun though, and I really enjoyed hanging out with B. We hit the mall for several things but it didn't open until 11 a.m. on Sunday (go figure?) so we went to a nearby thrift store first and found so many, many wonderful things. I didn't buy them all (back to the stingy thing) but did find a great backpack for the boy (to carry him, not for him to wear!) and we've been looking for one for ages and ages. I've resolved to go back there often as it's really a thrift store with prices like a thrift store. Here where we live you can't find anything "reasonable," and most things I always see and think, "I could buy that at Target on sale for less, NEW!"

It was the longest I've been away from the boy aside from the day I had the flu. He's 15 months old, for goodness sakes, and it was so strange to be away from him. I saw babies and little boys EVERYwhere and wondered what he and T were up to. They had a great time together, of course, and C didn't seem to miss me a bit. This is how I want him to feel if I've been away. I want him to be secure in us, his mom and dad, and to not see an absence as anything to fret about. I want him to know we'll always be right back. I did also want a little hug or kiss or "Mama" too, but I got that from T and all is good.

I've been having fun with a little free-form embroidery. The bunnies (more, with cats too, on the way!) inspired me to pick up the thread and needle and it's very peaceful. T and I have been reading out loud to each other from a series of books and it's so relaxing to sit, listen, sew a bit and have some wine or tea. Maybe I'll end up putting some things in the shop, which desperately needs an update. I think it'll take a few months for me to find a niche with the shop and to know how I want to focus my making time with what I want to put out there to sell.

Isn't this little fluff of moss beautiful? It was sitting with its little hat of snow in a nook on a Japanese maple in our yard last week. I miss the snow and am dreading all of the rain again, but it was nice to take a long walk into town with T and the boy on Saturday. It was sunny and not too cold. T and I shared an Americano (a big-time treat in our budget these days) and we stopped by the toy store for a little fun for the boy. We saw lots of these little baby toys there and the prices were god-awful. I respect the process, the history, and the beautiful fabrics, but I get a little mad about the prohibitive prices on toys. I can do better for less!

Getting away, even for a few hours, made me appreciate home even more.

Now, off to playgroup!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Two little bunnies

Here is a bunny I made the other night.

And here is his friend:

I've become quite attached to these two and knew right away that one would have to go to the boy. They were both meant as birthday gifts but I think one will have to speed its way over to Germany to spend some time with our little cousin. That means two more must be made! What a wonderful pattern, for free no less. I thought it would take very little to turn one of these into a kitty so we'll have to see about that. While making them I looked in some of my books about pom poms (it's been so very long since I've made one!). I wasn't happy with any of the ways mentioned so I found this wonderful site and sat down to make some easy bunny tails. I then had to look up french knots...

Not only have I relearned pom poms and made some french knots, but I just learned how to hyperlink within a post as I did above. Woo hoo! Thank goodness for small victories. I've been blogging for a year with the boy's site, and never did know how to do this!

We are pom pom crazy around here lately. C's immediate reaction to pom poms in the house yesterday (pre-bunny tail) was to tuck them under his chin, run around the house, and squeal a bit!

And, as bunnies are wont to do...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Snow day

It's been so cozy around here lately with the snow. I love snow, and when there's enough on the ground I still get this school kid thrill and think: "Snow Day!" I suppose that's because it was always so exciting as a teacher too... Of course with the boy around he and I still did the things we normally do, but snow adds a magical element all the same. We had such a good time making this snowman and C just ran around, patting snow and looking excitedly serious the whole time. When his adrenaline kicks in and he's super-excited about something he purses his lips a little and looks extra serious! He also helped me take all of the fabric out of a gigantic basket we have in the bedroom, looking for something calling out to be made into bunnies (a picture tomorrow?!).

We had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner (the boy drinking his in a sippy cup, startled each time he realized it wasn't milk) and it was perfect. In the evening T read the book I just finished and really enjoyed (Black Swan Green) and I made two little friendly bunnies while listening to podcasts. Our iPod gave us the sad Mac face and moaned until we gave up right before Christmas, so it's podcasts on the laptop from here on out. It was awfully cozy, and quiet too.

A few more crafty things

I forgot to put these up here. I have been making some more aprons for gifts and for the shop, and I also have a few more splat mats done (and need to post them to the shop). I want to keep this chalk cloth mat (lousy picture), but also want to sell!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Refreshing break

A little break can do wonders for your perspective. We all hopped in the car and headed up north where there's tons of snow and even beautiful icicles. We visited the boy's great grandparents and he enchanted everyone with his busy, busy ways. T pulled us in a sled up at the farm and the boy was a little concerned about what his crazy parents were up to! We had lots of time to visit and had some good food too. I had lots of quiet time in the car while T drove and the boy slept; I looked out the window at the snow-covered fields and barns, with the mountains off in the distance. I thought about people we were missing. The little petty things that seem to be filling too much of my days lately just melted away and I spent time enjoying the moments, as they happened. T pulling me and the boy in the sled through the fields in the only place that's always been the "same" from the time I have memories... It was wonderful and joyous and sad too.

The light is beautiful this morning, and misty ice covered all of the trees in the night. As it melts off from the sun it looks like delicate snow falling once again. I'm going to try to take more pictures sans flash, as I've read I should, but it'll take some time to get better at it. I never, ever took photos before the boy, and since I don't want those sixteen hundred photos plus up on this site I have to take some non-boy photos. What a challenge for the new year!!

Something sold on Etsy. Woo hoo... Time to create. Instead of worry I'm trying to fill pockets of my thoughts with ideas for little quilts, more aprons, etc. It's good for me!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Oh the joys of having a graphic designer husband. He's much, much more than that of course, but the thrill of good design so close and so attainable is a wondrous thing! T took too much of his time last night, sick and all, to "whip out" a little shop header for the new Etsy store and I LOVE it! He's going to do cards too and with the new blog up and going it feels so full of... possibility. I can't remember how T put it last night, something about how I need a small success like that header every day, just for me. He's so right!

More snow today and the boy and I headed out for a morning walk, Radio Flyer bumping along with it's cushion of a fluffy old quilt to enhance the snuggle factor. With two pairs of pants, two coats, a heavy shirt, hat & giganto mittens I'm sure the boy was A-OK. If we lived in the mid-west I'd probably give the poor kid a heat stroke in the winter!

My goal is to do a big shop update next week and to see where we go from there. Very fun!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

In the dumps

I've been in the dumps lately and don't quite know why. The new year hasn't been a refreshing start yet, but I'm still holding out hope. Today there was snow and I love the fresh, new look it gives to everything. I knew it had snowed before even opening the curtains because it was so bright!-- Love that reflected light! Both boys (big & small) were home sick yesterday so I sort-of worked around what they needed. Both are improved today and T is back at work while the boy is back to play. We had lots of fun running around in the snow and I had this moment of thinking: Oh, my gosh. He's RUNNING. In the SNOW! The boy is getting so, so big lately and seems so old and capable. He's growing up by the minute.

So, rather than feeling like I'm accomplishing nothing I'm going to take two minutes to think about what's been done in the last few days:
1. successful 80th birthday dinner for 7
2. haircut for T
3. massive amounts of cookie dough prepared for late Christmas gift
4. dinner for the grandparents
5. six splat mats
6. TONS of fudge and caramel, finishing off another late gift
7. child's apron
8. lots of fun time with the boy

Check, check, check... Okay, so it's not so bad. I'm getting stuff done. That's just the last five days, and the thank yous will get done, etc. Maybe the whole problem is that I need to slow down?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Crafty apron

And this was fun! It's about 3000 miles away from Perfect, but it turned out super-cute (especially on my little guy though it's in someone else's home now!).


Oh so pretty!

Bread disaster and sewing... success?

It was a long day in a LONG (or is that short?-- I guess I mean it was hard) weekend. For over an hour and a half last night I smelled the delicious Hawaiian Sweet Bread baking in the bread machine, and I dreamed about taking a break with a huge slice or two or three covered in butter. It was going to be so good! When it beeped I ran over and deflated right along with the bread. The whole center of the "loaf" had deflated and only the outer parts looked bready at all. I decided I could still salvage the edges and tried to get the thing out of the pan. It EXPLODED! So much for fresh-baked yummy goodness! Oh, and I braved a taste of the edge after the explosion still hoping, hoping... It was disgusting.

On the bright side I was able, thanks to the wonderful extra help from my guy with the little guy, to accomplish lots in the sewing department this weekend. After putting it off for weeks and weeks I was finally able to deliver six sweet little packages today, fulfilling the playgroup orders for splat mats. It seems to be feast or famine around here lately when it comes to having time for creativity. This was too much, with time pressure and a trickster of a machine to boot. I need more regular doses and I think it'd make for a happier mama.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

In the works

I need to make two little aprons like these for birthday gifts. Soon. How will I even begin?

I've also had a yearning to make this chicken for about a month now. Time to get started!

Not the best pictures

But I'm putting them up anyway: My first project posted on the blog! This weekend I have to whip out six more of these oilcloth mats as they're a hopelessly overdue "order" for our playgroup high chairs.

I looked and looked and couldn't find a reasonably priced version anywhere that seemed nice enough, aside from the Land of Nod (http://www.landofnod.com/-- keyword: reversible mats) ones. Someone in playgroup has the woodgrain one and doesn't like how thick it is (reversible is a good idea but evidently very "bunchy"). So I bought some oilcloth and used double-sided bias tape to trim the edges. Ta da!

New year, new start?

Months pass by in the blink of an eye! I don't think I feel quite as alone and, what's the word?-- Snarky?-- as the last post reads to me now. By luck I happened upon one blog the other week and it made me think and think, and then it led me to all of these other blogs... I'll stick a bunch of them up on the sidebar eventually, but for now just wanted to note that it's a new year and I'm going in a new direction. I think I've just been stuck. I'm getting the mommy stuff down, slowly but surely, and I can run our house pretty effectively now. I need inspiration and creation. That's what came to me as I thought and thought and perused these other crafty blogs.

Originally I wanted to have this additional blog (the first, focused on our little guy, has an audience of family members and friends who adore him and news and pictures about him-- the house/me stuff isn't as interesting to any of them so, for the most part, I leave it out) to inspire me to write. I want to be more of a writer and the way to become a writer is to write. It's really the only way. It just doesn't work though, and still feels too public even if I hide this blog away in the universe of the internet. That part, then, should be an early morning (oh, dear... I'm not an "early morninger") effort. This spot, then, should help fill that other part of me that's yearning for a connection to others like me. There MUST be other moms out there, working to create happy childhoods and baked goods too, sewing away when time allows and sneaking off while the little one's engaged for two minutes to reheat some coffee. Maybe by having this here I'll feel the urge to post pictures of what I create (implying, you'll surely note, that I have to make time to create!). Maybe by having this here I'll feel more like those other moms in the other blogs I found? Maybe, maybe. The only way to know is to try.