Friday, October 30, 2009

Yay! Something finished!

Okay, so I guess I do have a little bit of fortitude in me. I did finish this batch of cards (some of which had been sitting half completed in my large card craft box for a year!) I was invited to a friend's house last weekend for some card crafting time. And it was needed - in more ways than one.

Recent batch of cards that I finished

I am really into these teeny, tiny cards.....I hate to throw away scraps, so I have been using them for these little cards (some are two inches unfolded). I figured they would be fun to tuck into lunch boxes and lots of other cute little places.
I really, really am into these teeny tiny cards

I also put together another card using copies of old family photos. My grandmother is on the right and my great aunt (and godmother) is on the left. I had used another old family photo on one of the cards I entered in Fair this past summer. I LOVE old family photographs!
Card I made with photo of family

I also stamped a quick present for a friend's birthday...sorry it was late....:-)

Lil' Birthday present for a friend

All in all, I guess there were a few things that I DID finish this week. Phew!

Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

Hmmmm.....half finished crochet projects

Many projects started...not so many finished....and this is just the CROCHET projects. I'd scare you if I showed you the uncompleted embroidery projects, sewing projects, handmade holiday decorations, scrapbooks......yes, it's a problem.

A scarf, a beret, a bowl to be felted, a bag, a headband and another crocheted rock cover. Maybe revealing my problem will spur me to completion. Hmmmm...nice thought anyway. :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Curry

Baby Carrie in her Little House Dress #1

That's another one of your alter egos. Yep, besides Peelu, you also call yourself Baby Curry. Really, it's "Baby Carrie" from Little House on the Prairie. But the way you say it sounds like Baby Curry.

"Baby Carrie" checking out the chicks!

You started calling yourself this after the Little House Tree fort experience with your brother and sister this past summer. And as you kept hearing this name during our nightly family readings of the Little House series, you just seemed to adopt it.

Baby Carrie in her Little House Dress #2

Oh, "Peelu" is still around and you even still call yourself by your real name periodically. But lately it's been "Mama...I'm Baby Curry". Okay, whatever. You've even told a few people lately that that is your name.

These darn leaves....

Of course your brother and sister tease you (because that's what they do) about your name(s) and then you chase them around the house, yelling at the top of your lungs, "I'M BABY CURRRRRRRYYYYYYY".

Stepping through the leaves

We try to tell you that Baby Carrie is sweet and quiet and ALWAYS listens to her parents. You'll look at us and lower your voice and whisper, "I'm Baby Curry", but with a fierce frown on your face. And it's true that "Baby Curry " is a bit nicer than "Peelu". (Peelu still gets blamed for all the naughty things around the house.) But Baby Curry is no slouch in the attitude department.

"Baby Carrie" sitting on a rock wall

Oh our little girl. You are QUITE the character. You are peculiar, and interesting, and curious, and amazing, and fiercely opinionated, and busy, and wacky, and funny and we just LOVE YOU TO PIECES!!!

Oh, Baby Carrie!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Latest Lunches

Really, I am not a true bento box don't really know what I am I guess. :-) But true bento boxes are crazy creative and way more extravagant than I could ever hope to achieve at 8 o'clock in the morning. But hopefully our lunch ideas can inspire somebody. We do a lot of repetitive stuff too, these are just some of the different ideas I've had these past few weeks.

Bento Lunch 10/12/09
Fruit and turkey roll-ups with dried cranberries, neufchatel cheese and turkey, ants on a log (raisins, peanut butter and celery) with almonds, kalamata olives with tomatoes and cucumbers, purple grapes with the BEST ginger cookies (Ginger-o's from Newman's Own organics).

Bento Lunch 10/13/09
Chicken salad "tarts" on whole wheat bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese cubes and whole wheat crackers, dried apples with dried apricots and almonds.

Bento Lunch 10/14/09
Egg, cheese and ham "mcmuffin" sandwich on whole wheat english muffin, banana chocolate chip muffin, wax beans with tomatoes and grapes, trail mix with pretzels, whole grain cereal, peanuts and raisins.

Bento Lunch 10/15/09
Mexican Sushi bites with salsa, hard boiled egg on bed of spinach, corn ships, oranges and grapes.

Bon Apetite!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

He's back!!

Sitting on the porch, enjoying the sun together

I'm a little delayed in posting this, since Ross has been back from hunting for almost a week now. He came back last Tuesday. He went with some family friends and my dad up North for a muzzle loader deer hunt. Ross says he's the only one who got a shot off (because with a muzzle loader - it's not like you can re-load quickly or anything). But this suspiciously sounds like some fishing stories about "the one that got away...". Hmmmmmmm :-)

But they all had a great time and good weather and some smelly bonding (I'm sure). And we survived soccer practices, soccer games, childrens' choir, a brief cold, minor insanity.....the usual....thank goodness for Grandma W and her fabulous dinners and Becky for her Sunday School teaching and carpooling.

We were all happy he was back, safe and sound and rejuvenated.
We missed him.
We love him.
A lot.

(Pumpkins from our garden in the photo above. They were sitting next to each other on the front porch. I thought they kinda looked like Ross and I.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spreading a little love at the park

Autumn love - hugs and kisses

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, while the maniacs were playing at the park on Friday, I was doing a little playing of my own......

Ahh...materials to play with at the park

maple leaves, acrons, twings....what could I make?

Gotta LOVE those lil' acorn "hats"

Could I spread a little love with some art?

Cupid's Autumn Love 1
Cupid's Autumn Love 2

Could I make somebody's day with a few maple leaves, some locust tree twigs, acorns?

Cupid's Red Hot Autumn Love 1

Could I spend a few minutes making myself smile while the kids were laughing and playing in the background?

Fall Leaf Love

Could I love up close and from afar?

Love from afar

Could I inspire somebody else.....

I look like a squirrel play with Mother Nature too?

Very organized looking


P.S. I hope that some of my art "installations" survived and made somebody else smile.

Kool-Aid Dyeing: Our results on silk and wool

The Kool-aid packets ready...

Yep, it's true. You can dye with Kool-aid. And it's fun, non-toxic and smells kinda yummy. We spent a fun afternoon of dyeing and it was way easier than we thought. There are tons of hints and tutorials on the web. We looked at a few here and here and also used a handout our local yarn shop had and this is what we came up with.

Materials Needed:
Dyeable materials (must be 100% animal fiber or made from 100% animal fiber, we used silk scarves, wool yarn and wool roving)
Kool-aid packets (at least two packets of each color, possibly three)
White Vinegar
Glass containers (I believe metal containers will react with the dye and that could be bad)
Stirring utensil
Old shirts
Old towels
Gloves (optional, we didn't use them and we came out with only minor splotches!)

Step 1
Get your materials to be dyed all ready.

Wool roving, wool yarn, play silks

We used some virgin wool roving from local sources, silk scarves I had picked up years ago from Dharma Trading and some store bought Lion Brand wool yarn in white. I was told that you needed to be careful with the wool yarns, as some yarns are treated with chemicals to get them white and that may inhibit the dye. We were very lucky with the Lion Brand yarn as it dyed beautifully and it was pretty inexpensive. Also keep in mind that it needs to be an animal produced fiber to take the dye. Cotton or anything with acrylic or other manufactured materials will not work.

Step 2
Soak your fibers in hot tap water with a splash of white vinegar mixed in. I was a little worried that the roving might start felting. But just be careful not to agitate it and it should turn out just fine. I took the skein of wool yarn and I split it up into 5 small bundles so I could try it out with a few different colors.

A play silk, some wool yarn and some wool roving.....

Step 3
After they soaked for about 15 minutes we started mixing the dyes. I used various amounts of Kool-aid packets and water. Below is a list of what I did for each color. But really, I discovered that you just kind of go with instinct and be willing to experiment and that is part of the fun. I usually freak out if I don't have specific measurements and instructions but here is where I deviated because I only had so many packets and very little vinegar. It's some cool chemistry.

Of course he HAD to taste the kool-aid
Going lemon-lime on us!

Basically I used 2-3 packets of a color, added a splash of vinegar, mixed with 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of warm tap water. I stirred until the granules were dissolved and then we poured over the dyeables.

Hot Rod pouring on his cherry dye

Step 4
Then we carefully stirred the dyeables, being especially careful not to agitate the wool roving. My glass containers were not very large, so the silk scarves did get a bit of a tie dyed look because they were harder to stir. But we really like that look. The yarn and the roving took the colors pretty evenly.

Stirring the lemon lime...
Stirring the orange kool-aid dye

And yes, I mixed up my dyeable materials. In some containers I had just a scarf and in others I had all three materials - silk scarf, wool yarn and wool roving. It all worked out fine. I just made sure I had enough room to gently stir the dye and that I had enough to almost cover all the dyeable materials.

Step 5
I put saran wrap over the glass containers and microwaved them on high for 3 minutes. Then I stirred them once and microwaved them again for 3 more minutes. On most of the colors, the dye completely absorbed and the water was almost clear.

Dyeing done

Step 6
Wash the dyed materials in cold water in the sink. Then rinse out the glass container in preparation for another dye color.

Lil' M rinsing out the berry blue play silks

Step 7
Hang the play silks out to dry. You can lightly press them later with a warm iron if you want - but I never break out my iron unless I absolutely have to! (I think the slightly wrinkled scarves looked good with the tie-dye effect).

Playsilks dancing in the wind on the laundry line
More fun stuff on the laundry line

For the yarn and roving, I just squeezed out as much water as I could and then I placed them on a layer of paper towels over a pile of newspapers to dry.

Kool-aid dyed wool yarn and wool roving
Brightly dyed wool roving and wool yarn


Again, I would say not to stress out about exact quantities of dye, vinegar and water. I made do with what we ended up having on hand and we were very happy with the results.

For instance, our lemonade was pretty wimpy, next time I would maybe add two more packets, but this time we decided to sprinkle some dry cherry kool-aid on top.
The lemonade was wimpyToo boring?  Put a little cherry on top

We let the dry crystals settle into the wet fibers and then we microwaved it. It turned out pretty darn cool if we do say so ourselves! :-)
And doesn't cherry lemonade sound yummy?

We also had only one packet of pink lemonade and one packet of black cherry. So we combined them together for one of the play silks.
Tie-dyed play silks blowing in the breeze
It's the skinny one in the middle and it turned out slightly darker than the cherry play silk and has a kind of mauve tint to it. Just be adventurous. I can't wait to try some more combinations now!

Here were our dye combinations:

Berry Blue: 2 packets, 1 and 1/2 C water, dash of vinegar
Orange: 3 packets, 3 C water, no vinegar
Lemonade: 2 packets, 1 C water, dash of vinegar
Cherry: 3 packets, 2 C water, dash of vinegar
Lemon Lime: 3 packets, 2 amd 1/2 C water, dash of vinegar
Black cherry/Pink Lemonade: 1 packet of each, 2 C water, no vinegar

And there you have it! Your very own Kool-aid dyed playsilks and yarn and roving.


Clockwise from upper left: black cherry/pink lemonade play silk,cherry play silk, orange play silks, roving and yarn, grape roving and yarn, lemonade with cherry sprinkles roving and yarn, berry blue play silks, roving and yarn, lemon lime play silk, roving and yarn.

Our playsilks are already "being played with" and the yarn is being eyed for a possible scarf project. And the roving will probably make some more cool felt pictures, although we've recently discovered needle felting...hmmmm...

Her father designed this outfit


Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Little House

Peelu aka "Baby Carrie Ingalls"

Okay, if your read our last Little House post, then you know about our current obsession with the series. Lil' Mermaid is probably the only one (surprisingly) that is NOT completely absorbed with the Ingalls family. But she is absorbing the magic from the series as much as any of us. Above is a photo from this past summer when a freak storm toppled our largest tree. The maniacs thought it was fun to play around it the next day before their father cut it into firewood. The game that they played (for several hours) was "Little House".

Unfortunately I didn't get good photos of the whole thing. But this photo is "Baby Carrie" in their house that they built on the prairie. Hot Rod was "Pa" of course and Lil' Mermaid was "Ma". That left "Laura" and "Mary" unaccounted for.....until I was informed that Jack and Scully (our dogs) were the older daughters.

As the morning progressed and I brought laundry out and in from the line, scooped dog poop, weeded a bit...I was able to catch glimpses of their "Little House" world. It was so darn sweet to hear them calling each other "Pa" and "Ma" and to hear them acting out the stories they had listened to, and to see them all together, enjoying each others' company. I should have brought out the video camera, but that might have disturbed their story.

It was a perfect summer afternoon and a joy to watch how this magical book series has affected our lives. And it truly has. The kids are picking up some great stories and are entranced by life in the late 1800s. But on a deeper level (and yes, we do go there sometimes) Ross and I have had some interesting discussions about where we want to be as a family and what we want our kids to learn from us.

So here's some bits of what we've picked up from Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura and Baby Carrie (and though these ideals are nothing new, wouldn't it be nice if we all took a few of them to heart and just tried):

-Don't complain
-Family is most important
-You are entitled to nothing but life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and love
-Do not be beholden to people (pay back generosity with more generosity)
-Be neighborly but mind your own business
-Don't talk badly about others
-Live life simply
-Don't have more than you need
-Work hard and be appreciative of what you earn, things are not given to you
-Keep a good attitude

Now, mind you, I don't want to sound like I am preaching here. HAhahahahah...sorry, that made me laugh for a moment. Because personally, I have to work on EVERY SINGLE one of those ideals above. EVERY DAY. I take a lot for granted and I am not always as nice or as peaceful as I would like to be. But reading Little House together has caused us all to think a lot harder on these subjects than we had been. And it has given us an inspiring time together as a family.

So, if you haven't already - GO READ THE LITTLE HOUSE SERIES! 'Cause Baby Carrie says so!

Peelu in their one day tree fort