My Life, My Obsessions

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day

Earth Day was earlier this week. I have to admit that I haven't done anything for Earth Day in years. I think the only thing I've ever really done for Earth Day was enter an essay contest in Junior High. It was required by my English teacher and I actually got second or third place and won a $25 gift certificate.

Coincidentally, I just made a Reduction Tote Bag. The pattern is from Crochet Me. I had these noble ambitions that I would whip out the bag while shopping and save the Earth from unnecessary plastic bags. So I made it and put it in my purse so that I would be ready. The kids and I went to Petsmart to buy some goldfish to feed to our cichlids and then went next door to the Dollar Tree. We got the dollar version of a Build-A-Bear. We picked out one bear and one outfit per child and then waited forever for a cashier. Finally when there were three more people in line behind us a cashier showed up. My daughter wouldn't give up her bear to the cashier and then my son started digging through the bag for his bear and outfit before I finished paying. I grabbed the bag and tried to lure my children towards the door and away from the balloons and candy machines. Once in the car I had to dress two bears. It was sometime after that when I realized that I was now the proud owner of yet another plastic bag. So much for my noble goal. Maybe while shopping with kids I should stick with the more realistic goals like keeping track of my kids and making sure we actually paid for everything. At least I can still use it on the rare occasions that I shop alone.

I made it with leftovers.

I love that it folds up although not as small as I would like. I might make a smaller one next.

I didn't like the Reduction symbols on the bottom so I made my own design on the bottom.

This year we talked to our kids about it and are trying to do our little bit to make a difference. We made light switch covers to help us remember to turn off the lights. We also started an incentive program to encourage turning off lights. When we fill up the jar with milk caps (more reusing), then we get a reward.

I ran across something in Family Fun magazine and thought it was a great way to recycle. It's an invention box. You save random things in a box along with tape. Then when your kids are bored, you can pull it out and let them create something. I'm going to start one. I haven't told my husband yet. He doesn't always approve of some of the things I save. I think he's a compulsive tosser. He throws things out without even thinking about it.

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Monday, April 21, 2008


I'm not a big fan of commercials. I think that most of us hate the in your face, consumers are idiots sales pitch. This is part of the reason that we rarely watch TV and refuse to get cable or satellite. Luckily the only shows that we watch regularly on available on the internet, which is great since the commercial breaks are shorter and therefore easier to ignore. I realize that commercials are a necessary evil and that they help pay for the shows that I watch. I still don't like them. However there is an occasional exception to the rule, like the Tidy Cats commercials. If you watch shows on, they play commercials from just one sponsor through the entire show. So when we watched Lost, all of the commercial breaks were Tidy Cats commercials. I actually sat and watched the entire commercial and looked forward to the next. So, while I'm not endorsing the product, I highly recommend the commercials.

Since we're on the subject of cats, here's another funny cat video for you. Try to imagine this: two engineers with too much time on their hands + three cats = a very quirky guide to cats.


Thursday, April 17, 2008


Recently I was talking to my five year old about jobs and how when we grow up we get to decide what kind of job we want. Before I had finished, he had already decided what he wanted to be -a pirate. He wants to be a pirate because pirates find treasure. He then proceeded to tell me about all the things he needed so that he could be a pirate. My favorite was that he needed a "talking bird." So like any good crafty parent, I enabled his current obsession.

Here's Squawky, our piratey version of Chaco the Parrot Puppet. It's not the best picture. He's really cuter than that. I had to alter the pattern so that I could fit my hand inside and because my son wanted green on the end of the parrot's tail. I also added a row of sc to the parrot's beak to even out the edge.

We also made a pirate hat and eye patch out of two sheets of black foam. The stencil is one that I got on clearance from Michaels.

I guess the next step is a treasure hunt. A year ago, I made a treasure hunt using laminated cards so that I could reuse it later. I drew pictures of each room on a card and colored a big red 'X' on the back. He starts with one card that shows him which room to look in for his next clue. The cards send him from room to room until he finds the last card which only has a red 'X' to show that he's found the treasure -candy or chocolate chips inside a shiny gold box. He's getting pretty good at it. I have to hide them really well or he can run through it in less time than it took me to set it up. Any parent can tell you the value of a happy child spending a long time in search of a carefully hidden item (and more importantly leaving Mom/Dad alone) -priceless.

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A Daisy Shrug

It's already hot enough here in Arizona that something like this may seem useless. Outside it certainly is. We've already had temperatures in the 90's and have gone swimming twice. However inside our church building it's freezing. Some rooms are worse than others and under the vents or fans is terrible. So I made this for my daughter. I wanted to make a short sleeved one with two flower squares, but I liked having the flower in the middle of the back instead of a seam so I added a third flower and made it long sleeved. It's made with Sugar 'n Cream in white. I plan on making a short sleeved one in variegated pink.

She currently hates it and refuses to wear it, but she's two and may change her mind next week.

The shrug is based on this pattern.

The daisy square comes from Crochet Me.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where Does it All Go?

Have you ever noticed how quickly money can disappear? It disappears even faster when you only have a meager income to begin with. I have a cycle that I tend to follow with the proceeds from the patterns I sell on etsy. I usually ignore it for a while. It starts out small and you can't buy much with just a few dollars. So it sits there and slowly accumulates. Then suddenly I'm surprised that it's more than $10. Yes, for me that's a lot. Add a Michaels' or Joann's coupon for 40-50% off and I'm a happy camper. That happens to be where most of my pattern proceeds go -towards more craft stuff. That way I don't have to justify the expense to my darling husband who happens to do all of our finances. So I spend a little on me and a little on my son (my daughter's too young to feel left out yet) and then we start all over again -ignoring the few cents left over.

So on Wednesday (that's the day that I get the car since we only have one) I loaded up my two kids and we went to Michaels. It wasn't for me this time. We bought t-shirts for my five year old since they were on sale for $2. The catch is that he can't wear them until the fall when he starts school. I picked up a pink one for my daughter, but it's currently way too big for her (they don't carry toddler sizes) so I'll either save it or turn it into a t-shirt dress. We made it through the store with only one major crying spell (my two year old wanted the red shopping cart and my five year old chose the brown one).

On to the next store. Target. We were in search of basil. My aunt gave us a pesto recipe that we are hopelessly addicted to now. We put it in spaghetti sauce and also make a creamy pesto with it. Mmmm, yummy. Since we're running low, we decided to plant basil. But when you live in a second story apartment, you don't just plant basil. You have to buy a pot, dirt, something to keep it away from little fingers, the basil plant, plus seeds for the older child because he hates to be left out of big messy and potentially expensive projects. Back to Target. They didn't have basil.

So we went to K-Mart. This may sound like a lot of wasted gas, but they were all in the same complex. So instead of driving, we walked back and forth. My daughter decided that she was unsure about the experience and needed to cling to me like a koala bear the entire time. She's around 25 pounds so carrying her can wear you out after the first store. I'm getting really good at pushing shopping carts one-handed now thanks to her.

So at K-Mart we found the basil, some hang the pot over the balcony things and some Ipomopsis seeds (a humming bird mix) for my son. Thinking that I wasn't buying much, I didn't grab a cart on the way in. Silly me. So I'm carrying my 25 pound koala bear, an awkward metal hanger thing, and two wet gooey biodegradable pots containing basil. My son carried yet another metal thing and his beloved seeds. So we made it to the check out counter, leaving a trail of water from the dripping pots. Why do I always get behind the lady that has a problem with her purchase? At least my daughter offered me her used tissue so that I could clean the dirt off my hands while we waited. Eventually I got to make my purchase and before I left I noticed a mistake on the receipt. They didn't take the advertised 20% off of my metal things, but of course I have to wait to tell the cashier because someone else had a mistake that needed to be taken care of first. Then she tells me that I have to take it to the customer service desk. I did. It was awkward, but we made it and I got my $3.41 back.

We made it back to the car. That was a feat as well since we didn't park in front of K-Mart, we parked in front of Circuit City. At this point I'm grateful that my kids were fairly good through the entire process even though it's almost lunch time. So home, lunch, and the two year old goes down for a nap. Everyone loves that time of day. So my son and I head out to the balcony to plant his precious seeds. I pull out the left over potting soil that I already had and dump it into the pot that I already had. See, there's a reason we keep things. However, there's not enough soil. Not even close. So I waited until after dinner when I could leave the kids with my husband and pick up dirt while running his errands.

Finally we got to plant my son's seeds. He was very excited. Now let's hope he's patient. The seed envelope said it takes 2-3 weeks for the seeds to sprout. I have no doubt that he'll be checking on them everyday until then. He already checked on them three times today.

If you were keeping track throughout this rambling narrative, you may have caught that I didn't mention planting my basil. That's because I didn't. My two little basil plants are still sitting in their soggy biodegradable pots because I ran out of dirt. I have a nice pot, which won't fit the second metal hanging thing that I bought, but it doesn't matter since I don't have enough dirt anyway. Not only that, but my funds have run dry. Yep, I'm poor again. So that is where my money went this month. Into the ground more or less. At least my son is happy and I'm half a step closer to my pesto.

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More Monkey Fun

I have wanted to make a regular body for some of the slinky animals, but just haven't gotten around to it until now. Here's the first conversion -a little monkey. I think he needs bigger eyes though. He has pipe cleaners in his arms so he's poseable. He's now in my etsy store.

My daughter ran off with him before I'd even finished making him.

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