Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whatcha Doin'?

Ya'll I wrote an essay and sent it off to my friend - the one who has offered to publish my stories in her on-line magazine! I'll give you more details if and when this comes about, but for now, I am giddy and a little bit nauseated with anxiety. What if it's not what she wanted? What if... whatever. No more what-ifs. It's done. I sent it. Now, we wait.

While we wait, let's make some stuff!

Still on the Valentine's Day kick, Lily Ruth and I 'made' chocolates to give to her teachers at Parent's Day Out. These sort of things do not require recipes as you simply melt chocolate and squeeze it into molds. It was big fun, though. We made milk chocolate with pink (vanilla flavor), and dark chocolate with sea salt and caramel:

'Salt in these hearts?!' 
'Miss Briana needs a pencil, Mama!'
Everything's better with stickers.
I think that was the end of the Valentine's Day stuff. Oh, unless you count the hours wasted creating my Pinterest board...

*sigh* Who DOESN'T need a love nest?!

Least I seem like a big whiner, I really do love Pinterest. It has inspired quite a bit around here lately! Let's see... we've made cupcake pictures:

based on this pin from

We made fireflies from pipe cleaners, glow-in-the-dark paint and glitter:

Well, I guess we really made sparkly moths as fireflies don't have round, luminescent wings... (also, my glow-in-the-dark paint sucks. Barely a shine :-/ ) they were based on several crafts that I saw when googling glow-in-the-dark crafts, but didn't 'pin'.

I also went a bit wild at Michael's today. I'm just full of excitement about color and bright things and MAKING STUFFFFFFFFF!

Clockwise from the upper left corner: 1) replacement paints for Lily Ruth - that's what we use to make the giant pictures on freezer paper that usually become full-body art. 2) adhesive foam pages so we can cut out our own stickers :-O! 3) small glass bottles and enamel glass paint - I gotta make THIS!:

4) magnifying lenses - things are growing, time top get a good look! 5) 2 new boxes of crayons so that I can make THIS!:

6) face paints - that's just big fun & 7) nature themed stuff (notebook, notepad, magnets) to continue our thoughts (and document them) of exploring the Great Outdoors.

The colors outside are so new and fresh. It makes my heart sing. Yesterday, it was rainy and gray, but my aloe plant was ORANGE!

I am filled with the impulse to paint everything that will hold still with bright, fresh color. I long to cram my world full of shiny newness. I think my sap is rising. Welcome, Spring!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Felt, Felt, Felt, Pinterest.

O.k., when I decided to call myself a storyteller and try to write more stuff down, I caused an internal panic and shut-down. Typical. The same thing happened when I tried to journal one summer... and it happens every time that I try to diet... *harumpfh* Oh well. I have made a deal with myself that I must write for at least an hour while Lily Ruth is at Parent's Day Out. After all, someone has offered to possibly pay me, therefore it is my job to do it, right?

Good things have continued to happen since I last blogged, I just haven't had the time to tell you about them because (wait for it) I Discovered Pinterest (dun, dun, duuunnnnnn). *sigh* I've heard friends and other bloggers talk about it for a while. I intentionally avoided it because they ALL said that it was a huge, addictive time-suck. They were ALL right. You log in (just for a quick second) to see if anybody has cute ideas for Valentine's Day and the  next thing you know is that it's dinner time and all you have to show for your day are 23 'likes', 16 're-pins' and a bad case of eye-strain. By the way, in case you didn't know, Pinterest is basically an on-line bulletin board system. You create boards then 'pin' images or videos to the board. Much handier than bookmarking everything then scrolling through countless bookmark folders (Also, the pictures are so pretty!). My new Pinterest resolution is that I can only pin things that I find on my own - I am not allowed to troll existing boards except in emergency situations.

Speaking of Valentine's Day (nice segue, right?), did I show you the coffee cup sleeves that Lily Ruth and I made? Well, here they are!

Aren't they lovely!? They're so easy to make that it's a bit silly... The pink felt with hearts and buttons was our first batch. We made two of them:

I absolutely adore the finished product, but let's face facts here, people - felt is flimsy. These single-layered sleeves felt pretty much disposable. Our next batch were double-layered and feel sturdier. We made 3: one for Miss June, one for Mr Anthony and one for Nanny (Lily Ruth chose the recipients!). She also made 'shapes' for her friends Lola & Jett :-P

In case you want to make some sleeves of your own, here's a quick almost-tutorial:

Coffee Cup Sleeve
(or Coffee Cup Cozy, if you prefer :-P)

felt ( I used wool blend and not crafting squares)
fabric marker
decorations (felt stickers, buttons, fabric paint, appliques, anything that tickles you)
hot glue gun
thread and embroidery floss in matching or contrasting colors

My jumping-off point involved two tutorials. This one form The Purl Bee:

And this one from The Cottage Home:

I downloaded a pattern from The Purl Bee (available here) and added 1/2 an inch to the end so that it was the same length (but a slightly different shape) as a Starbucks sleeve:

(I also drew instructions on it in case I wanted to add the elastic/button from The Cottage Home's method).

Trace your pattern onto the felt & cut it out. Adorn your felt. We used felt heart stickers and buttons on the first batch and stickers and fabric paint for our second batch. If you use stickers, glue them in place with the hot glue gun or they will lift. If you use paint, allow it to dry overnight. I would not suggest adorning both sides in hope of creating a double-sided masterpiece - it'll make the sleeve too bulky.

If you are going to use a double layer of felt (which I would suggest), sew a quick line all the way around the edges to bind your two pieces.

Glue the ends together - I found that just barely under an inch of overlap is the perfect amount (you can see it in the first picture). Now add a line of stitching with the embroidery floss (I prefer a contrasting color) to ensure that it stays put:

Hey presto - you're DONE! Now you just need coffee:

And someone to share your coffee experience with. Preferably someone who will look at the camera. If that someone is not available, you may have to settle for this girl:

But you never know - you might get lucky and end up with THIS girl!:

I have more stuff to tell you, but right now it's time to play with my daughter, so you'll just have to be patient. Happy coffee and happy crafting, ya'll!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quintessentially Two... and a half... Almost Three

Lily Ruth has been feeling her age these days. In a good way. She is solidly and comfortably living in the lands of  I Can Do It, Why? and I Need to Help You Do That. It's been a ball - and I don't mean that sarcastically. It really has been fun!

From choosing her own outfits:

A princess skirt over jeans is never a bad choice
Mama's slippers and a felt tiara? Don't mind if I do!
 To demanding her own curlers while getting ready for Grandpa's birthday:

To getting hands-on with a glue/salt/watercolor project (from The Artful Parent):

The Finished Product
It's been a bit hilarious around here :-)

She also takes her own photos:

Makes her own Valentine's Day gifts for her class (with a small amount of help):

And keeps the tiny things that are most interseting to her in a special place:

She insisted on a Valentine's Day bag for herself as well. When it was done, she announced that she was going to 'put this away in my room'. When I went in there later, I found out that 'away' means 'in the middle of the floor'. It really cracked me up!

What with all the I DO IT activity over here, I've hardly had time to do any of my own stuff. I did manage to make a quick garland for Lily Ruth's room. It was time to replace Christmas lights, so we chose dancing hearts:

We also stole Kittyn's recycled crayon idea, and Lily Ruth took them to 'school' today to share them with her friends!

Lordy! When I look at all of this stuff, it makes me tired! No rest for the weary over here, though. I've got to finish up my contribution to the Parent's Day Out bake sale:

Since I don't really (successfully) bake, those are mini pretzel twists with chocolate hearts gently melted over the top and an m&am dotted into the center (based on an idea that I saw on pinterest). My biggest challenge is going to be not eating them all before time to drop them off! THEN I have to finish the laundry and clean up the house because my in-laws are coming - Lily Ruth's Mama and Lily Ruth's Daddy are having their first night away together since she was born! YAAAAAAAAY me!

Everything's coming up Rachel around here folks! My husband is taking me out of town, my mother-in-law wants to enter my dragon mask in a contest AND an old friend is interested in my storytelling skills - as in she wants to possibly publish me in an on-line magazine!!! I freaked out at first, because I don't consider myself to be an actual writer, but Kittyn reminded me that I AM a storyteller - and a pretty good one. When I think of it that way, it doesn't scare me as much, and I may even give it a go!

Now, if I could just translate all of this good fortune and hilarity into a J-O-B, that would be great...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ramblings of the Sleepless

"I WILL sleep tonight!" My overly-loud proclamation practically echoes off the bedroom walls. I glare ominously at each of my three bed-mates in turn. Several consecutive nights of broken, restless sleep have left me at the end of my emotional rope.

"Sorry," whispers The Snorer. "I know you are," I sigh.

"I no kick," states The Kicker as she elbows both her father and me in the ribs trying desperately to wiggle down in between us.

The Farter doesn't speak, but her belly rumbles loudly. A portent of ill winds to blow.

"I no wanna kick" states The Kicker again. I'd believe her, but she elbowed me in the boob and stole half of my blankets as she said it. She is burrowing frantically in the belief that if she can establish a beachhead in the next 5 seconds, she'll be allowed to stay. She wants to stay. She has no desire to spend the night in her own bed. The one where she can kick, thrash, moan and burrow with unimpeded impunity. No, she'd much rather be with us... kicking...

I sigh again - the martyr - and grudgingly grant her an inch or two. She smiles and arranges my share of the blankets over herself. I turn off the light and pretend to relax.

The Snorer starts in, and The Kicker sucks energetically on her thumb. I whisper "I'll be back soon" to the one who's awake, and move to stand. Before my feet hit the floor, she has co-opted my pillow. "Is nice for me" she states without apology.

I move into the other room to read. The Farter does a bit of martyr-sighing of her own, heaves herself to her feet and follows me down the hall.

When the noises from the bedroom finally cease, we make our way back in. The Snorer has his back to the door - the reason he has stopped snoring. The Kicker has flung her entire body onto the pillows. Her head is buried under her dad's. Her feet rest where my head belongs. I cover them with another pillow, and slide into what's left of my place. My eyes close and I try to regulate my breathing down to a sleep welcoming rhythm.

The Farter begins to pace. Her toenails click loudly across the room. She whuffles in agitated bursts. Then she makes her move. An exploratory front-feet-only jump onto the bed. And down. I sigh again - an expert now - and whisper "come on up, baby dog." She lands on the foot of the bed with a grunt and begins to pant loudly. We're in for some rain - the Dog Barometer has spoken.

'It's fine, just relax' I instruct myself. It's no use. I can't sleep with an agitated Farter on the bed, When she's scared, she doesn't notice who she steps on. If she hurts my baby in an attempt to hide from the rain, I'll have to kill her... sooooooo...  hyper-vigilance it is. My concern is completely valid. All eighty-five pounds of The Farter begins to creep up between us almost immediately. I hold her back with a stiff-arm to the face, but she shakes me off and lunges forward. In a few quick moves, she has her giant nose buried under the pillows - directly under The Kicker's body. She shakes and shivers in a very 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' fashion. *sigh* Her amateur dramatics are highly believable, but the air outside is still. The night is quiet and calm. The Farter remains unconvinced. Her belly rumbles again, and she burps then licks her lips in a manner which suggests that she may throw up soon.

dammit. Oh well. I'm up. If she's going to barf, she can do it out here instead of on my bed. Of course, now her stomach is silent and she sleeps peacefully at my feet.

I wonder if my spot is still even partly available?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Ya'll, hand to gawd - my dog is trying to kill me.

Where once there was a precious pup, there is now only a foul beast with villainy in her heart.

Don't believe me? I offer proof:

If this isn't true, why is her digestive tract brewing up a mixture so rank as to make the devil himself swoon?

If this isn't true, why is her dog butt parked directly next to my side of the bed with her buns up near my head?

If this isn't true, why are the barrages so close together that my eyes, nose and throat barely have time to clear the last assault before the next cloud rises?

If this isn't true, then why is the air in my bedroom so thick with dog-stink that I was driven from a warm bed to a cold, blue computer screen at 1:30 in the morning?!

Ya'll might think she's just 85 pounds of lovable goofball,

but you're all on notice - if I die 'in my sleep', it's not me, it's her.