"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Monday, December 31, 2007


Today SouleMama posted about the fact that her kids are busy making plans to be awake at midnight tonight.

It reminds me of New Year's Eve of 1999 when our kids had the same plan. Well, not so much Joey, but the 3 older kids were determined to see the beginning of 2000. They made us promise to wake them up before midnight if they fell asleep and we agreed.

All 3 of them were crashed on the couch and at about quarter til twelve, Jeff and his brother and I started trying to rouse them. They had only been asleep for an hour or so, but they were out.

Totally conked.

We would get one of them pulled to a sitting position, telling them that it was almost midnight and then start on the next one. I'd turn around and the first one would be sound asleep again, sometimes still sitting, sometimes already horizontal.

It was so funny. The three of us kept sitting the kids up, one by one. Each one would open their eyes, mumble something and then was back out. Jeff, Matt and I were laughing like crazy. It was like dealing with drunks.

This year, if anyone's going to need a wake up call at midnight, it'll be Jeff and I, not the houseful of teenagers that we now have.

(Not that all these people live in our house; this is just the most recent picture I could find with all of our kids in it, just to show how grown up they are. So scary.)

Man, time is just blowin by way too quickly.

My goal for 2008 is to try to slow it down... just a bit.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2007 and good luck in 2008!

PS- The title is for Joey; she loves David Bowie's music.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Few Random Things About Me- 11 thru 15

Happy Solstice to you all!

I probably should have something deeper than 8,452 Things About Me, but I don't.

15- I've seen 4 women give birth (3 of them with a midwife, all of them without an epidural!). And I've actively helped 3 of them during their labor. It is so amazing to watch a woman bring life into the world. And I love to be there telling them what an amazing job they are doing, how strong and beautiful they are. I know how wonderful it was to experience that when I had Joey. To know that I was strong and capable, to look up and see the tears and the smiles that meant they were proud of me and amazed by the whole process. To have faith in myself. After that, I knew I could do just about anything.

This is our friend Cristy in labor with her second daughter. Cristy was in the room with us when Joey was born.

14- I'm Buddhist. Although, I'm open to spiritual wisdom whatever the source. It's funny how similar my morals are to my Baptist Grandpa's; he described returning $50 when he was given too much change and we talked about how it just felt better to do that. I didn't explain to him that we were talking about the concept of Karma, though. I doubt he would have found our spiritual similarities as interesting as I do.

13- I have a rule that you can get peanut butter in the jelly, but not jelly in the peanut butter. It's because the peanut butter doesn't need to live in the fridge, but the jelly does. It irritates me that I had to write up this rule (yes, I did actually write this on a piece of paper and hang it from the pantry shelf); am I the only person that thinks about this sort of thing? I also unload the dishwasher bottom-to-top so that when I pull out things with water in them, they don't dump all over the stuff underneath them.

12- I do a fantastic job of taking out splinters with very little pain. All of my kids agree. I think this is because when I was about 5 years old, my grandfather took a super deep splinter out of my foot using only his pocketknife. I still remember how badly it hurt.

11- When people wave in my direction (and I’m not completely sure if I know them and if they're waving at me or someone else) I always wave back. I would rather wave to someone who's waving to the person behind me than not wave to someone who's waving at me.

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season, whatever you celebrate.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Bit of Randomness

We're watching Kam today. He's learning how to hammer with golf tees and styrofoam (and lots of supervision).

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Also, as I was cleaning up the basement, I found the following...


Joey wrote on this five or so years ago. Originally, it was *From* Herry Pottr, but after I asked her about it, she crossed that out and wrote Mommy.

Can you guess who she had a crush on at the time?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


What is it with me and giant headbands?!

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Joey took the first picture and when I told her I didn't want to put it in the post because it wasn't a very attractive picture of me, she commented that it wasn't like I was trying to get people to fall in love with me. Well put. So, in it goes. (Sometimes we need kids around, if only for reality checks.)

Anyway, here is the post I originally started typing up when I started this project...

When I was in middle school, my best friend and I decided to cook ourselves lunch one day. We didn't know exactly what we wanted and we didn't even think to use a recipe. We got out some ground beef and started browning it in a skillet. Then we opened up her parents' spice cabinet and started adding things.

I have no idea what we put in the skillet, but as we tasted it after each addition, we eventually realized that instead of getting better with each new spice, our meal was slowly becoming inedible. And the worse it became, the more we were convinced that we just needed to find the one right seasoning and it would turn out fine.

I bet her parents were pissed when they came home to find a pound of ground beef in the trash.

Skip forward 10 years to find me in my college apartment doing essentially the same thing, this time while attempting a meatloaf. Before adding anything, I would smell the meat mixture and then smell the spice and I could tell if the new flavor would work with what I already had. And, although it isn't saying much, I can safely say that it was the best meatloaf I've ever eaten. Too bad I didn't write down all those wonderful things I was adding. The recipe is lost forever.

The main difference between these two events was experience, at least 4 years of regular cooking, more specifically... of cooking from recipes. Of following the instructions of someone who has been there and taken the time to write it down for the next lost person that stumbles onto the path.

That is the sheer and utter brilliance of the internet. Every day people are writing down the paths they've taken, and leaving markers for the rest of us, if we're interested in following.

And when it comes to knitting, the best of these markers is at KnittingHelp. When Jenny and Aurora and I decided that we needed to learn to knit last Christmas, Jenny went to the internet, found knittinghelp and started learning. Amy, the creator of the site, has made a bunch of fantastic videos showing and describing how to knit, in both continental and English methods.

Jenny and Aurora progressed quickly. I sucked. Seriously. Jenny kept telling me I was inventing stitches because somehow I was wrapping the yarn from the wrong side and was doubling the amount of stitches on my needles. Eventually, I sort-of got the hang of it. Though my hands always felt tight and cramped from trying to keep the right tension on the yarn.

When I attempted the headband, seen on my sidebar, I did not do the test gauge like the pattern insisted. No, I just started knitting. And I don't even think I had the right kind of yarn.

So, lesson learned. First thing I did was bring the pattern to a yarn shop and ask them what yarn I needed. It was somewhat expensive and gorgeous, so I knew that I'd take my time with it and, you know, follow the pattern. Then I practiced and practiced with a cheap skein of yarn, so that my gauge was consistent and my hands loosened up. Then, last night, while at Kenzie's orchestra concert, I knit a gauge piece. I haven't yet measured it, but as God is my witness, I will keep reknitting that sucker until it is the exact size it should be.

It has taken me almost a year to get to the point where it actually feels good to knit, sort of relaxing like. And I love it. I think most people go faster than this (Jenny started a turtle about a month in), but, as you might have noticed, I'm somewhat scattered and jump around from project to project. I just wasn't good enough or fast enough to really like knitting at the onset. So, I just didn't do it. But, I'm finally at the point where I'm ready to knit something that I think I will actually wear.

And I will wear my headband every damn day. Because that's the kind of person I am. (Just ask Jeff about my favorite pair of North Face pants.)

Inspiring post, no? Too bad the finished length of the headband is more like 32 inches, instead of the 24 it was supposed to be. Even after I knit that damn gauge swatch 4 different times, using progressively smaller and smaller needles. The swatch was supposed to be 4 inches square when lightly stretched.

I guess it's that subjective word 'lightly' that got me. If something is not stretched enough at 4 inches then over the course of 24 inches, it's going to be 6 times off. Seriously though, it was not 5 inches, so I've come to the conclusion that swatches aren't all that helpful, which goes against the entire premise of my original post. I'm a walking contradiction, I tell ya.

So anyway.

Now I'm going to unravel this and reknit, casting on only 84 stitches instead of the original 120. (And Joey just helped me with the math involved in this calculation, taking into account that since the pattern is Knit 2, Purl 2, it needs to be a multiple of 4. Clever child.)

At this point, it's sheer stubbornness that's going to be responsible for the completion of this headband. And I really will wear it every day.

Wish me luck.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Aurora Mae

I would like to welcome my new favorite blogger to the Internets. Aurora's name pops up here and there during the course of my writing and now I can finally link to her. (Now, if only Jenny would start one.) Aurora's posts consist mostly of the great pictures that she takes of her green, crafty and mama-ish life.

I would also like to yell out a great big Congratulations to Aurora's daughter Jaden.

During a recent kids' art show, Jaden sold her first painting. For $65.00, no less! It is titled "A Violin and a Bowl of Fruit at Sunset."

Seriously, how fantastic is that?!

Aurora said she almost scared off the couple that bought it because she was so excited.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Paper Forest

When I made my necklace tree this summer, Jenny helped with the construction by creating various prototypes, first in paper and then in cardboard. (That's usually how we collaborate- I have an idea and she helps me make it look in the real world like what it looks like in my head.) I saved the paper prototype because it's just so adorable.

It wasn't until Joey and Randa started creating a winter scene that it occurred to me to make a whole forest of cardstock trees. I told the girls that they could use the big table in the living room, but had to save one corner for me.

And, thanks so much, Jenny, for taking such gorgeous photographs of this. I love how it feels like you're right down in there.

(If you're curious, that's a big sledding hill in the right foreground. There will be more pictures of the full table next week after the girls work on it this weekend.)

So, after some fiddling about, I created the following template for downloading from Flickr. (Click on the picture, choose 'All Sizes' and download the original size. This will print out on a regular 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper. Thick cardstock works best.)


I'm also trying out a new service called Scribd.
Paper Tree Template Copy
Get your own at Scribd or explore others: template trees

Or go here to download.

Cut just inside the lines so they don't show on the finished piece. Also, when you cut the straight lines in the middle of the trunk, cut out a very thin sliver, on either side of the line, like in the next picture, and remove it so that the cardstock fits properly when you slide the two pieces together. The thicker the paper you use, the thicker this sliver needs to be.

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These are fairly easy, if a bit time consuming, to cut out. You could easily create much simpler versions, though. Just make sure that the vertical cuts are perpendicular to the bottom of the tree. Also, make sure that the bottom of the tree is completely straight and fairly wide, which will create a sturdy base.

This table is near a window and the light creates some really interesting shadows on the various planes of the tree. They really are lovelier than I expected. I am so happy with them that I'm having to restrain myself from covering the entire table with them.

And just because I love the original wooden necklace tree stand, here's a picture of it again. This makes a nice winter decoration in and of itself... if I could only find the right home for it.



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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Drawing and a Christmas Sale

Seeing that my real-world, face-to-face (non internet) sales are much slower than they usually are this time of year (probably because I've spent way more time on said internet than at craft shows), I've decided to hold a Christmas Sale at my Etsy shop.

Black Spiral Aromatherapy Necklace Gift Wrap

**From now thru the 15th, all items are $5.00 off.**

In case you haven't stopped in to visit, I make and sell aromatherapy pendant necklaces. The front of each pendant is porous, allowing you to directly apply essential oils (or even perfume) to it. I paint the back and sides of each pendant with three layers of glaze. When fired, this creates an impermeable layer that protects your skin and clothing from the oils.


And, for any of you interested in my Moon Goddesses, I've also added one of my finished girls to the shop.

As always, my aromatherapy necklaces come in a whole range of colors and several styles. Just be sure to note what color you'd like during checkout.

Pamphlet- Colors & Styles

Oh, and one last thing... because I want to know what you think, I'm holding a drawing.

If you do order something from my shop, send me an email or leave a comment here letting me know how your purchasing experience was with Etsy. Sometime after Christmas, I'll do a drawing as thanks for your feedback and I'll send one winner a set of 3 fabric grocery bags, which I promise to do a full-on tutorial for after the beginning of the year.

I promise.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some Christmas Peace

I've been watching You Tube this morning. Originally, I was looking for one of my favorite Christmas songs, When the River Meets the Sea sung by John Denver and the Muppets.

I think this is such a deep and beautiful song. It has always resonated with my own personal spirituality. As kids, we played this record till we ruined it.

When the mountain touches the valley,
All the clouds are taught to fly,
As our souls will leave this land, most peacefully.
Though our minds be filled with questions,
In our hearts we'll understand,
When the river meets the sea.

Like a flower that is blossomed,
In a dry and barren sand,
We are born and born again,
Most gracefully.
Plus the winds of time will take us,
With a sure and steady hand,
When the river meets the sea.

My second favorite Christmas song, again because of the words, is It's In Every One Of Us.

It's in every one of us to be wise.

Find your heart, open up both your eyes.
We can all know everything, without ever knowing why.
It's in every one of us, by and by.

Before she passed away, my mom belonged to a church that sang this song at the end of every service. It was wonderful to hear it coming from several hundred voices. To this day, I can't hear this song without singing out loud to it.

As much as I love these songs, I feel we need to branch out beyond John Denver & the Muppets (as well as the Charlie Brown Christmas) around here. SouleMama mentioned a great album that we've now added to our Christmas playlist.

What are your favorite Christmas tunes?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Surface Freshener

In our kitchen, we've got a freestanding cupboard with a butcher block on top. We rarely cut things directly on it (besides bread), but it still gathers a lot of kitchen smells.

Every so often, after I've cleaned it thoroughly and it still smells like onions, I spray it down with my essential oil Fresh & Clean spray. I mix this stuff up in a little bottle that I bought at Vitamin Cottage. The essential oils in this mix are relatively cheap and great to have around for other stuff too (like burns- the tea tree and lavender, not the citrus).

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And since I was making up a new batch of it today, I thought I'd share the recipe.

Just make sure you get real essential oils, not the synthetic crap. Over time, the synthetic stuff will actually start to smell funky itself. And the fake oils don't have any of the great properties of the real essential oils (Tea Tree and Lavender are both antiseptic).

Fresh & Clean Spray
3-6 drops Tea Tree Essentail Oil
3-6 drops Lavender Essential Oil
6-9 drops Orange, Lemon or Grapefruit Essential Oil (or a combination of these)
Water (enough to fill bottle)

-Mix all of the ingredients in clean bottle with spray top. Shake well before using and keep out of the reach of children.

I also use this stuff on the counters, in the sink, in trash cans and on my yoga mats. Everything just smells nice and fresh after this. And as for applying it to food prep surfaces… tea tree oil is in mouthwash and toothpaste and people cook with lavender, so I'm really not that worried about it. I'd rather use this than that scary antibacterial stuff out there. I suggest wiping the surface with a damp cloth after spraying if it worries you.

PRECAUTIONARY NOTE- Although our kids' pediatrician recommends tea tree oil for just about every scrape and scratch the kids have, I've heard that tea tree oil and lavender should be used sparingly (or not at all) on prepubescent boys because it may cause them to grow boobs (although not permanently). This caution is only for applying the oils directly to the body, but still, I thought I should mention it.


ADDED NOTE- If you're interested in the fun label, I made it myself using PhotoShop brushes downloaded from Designfruit. Wow, I had no idea that you could do that. I was up way too late last night playing with them. So, so fun.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday Funnies- Eddie Izzard and Technology

There's quite a few f-bombs in this one, but so funny.
(Just thought I'd warn you.)

He cracks me up. He's got downloadable ring tones on his site, but you can only get them if you're in England.

Lucky you, Elora.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Margarita Jell-O Shots

When I was in college, I came up with the following recipes. We once made so many of these for a party that we had to empty our entire fridge in order to store them. Most everyone who drinks loves these things. Just keep em away from the kiddies.

The Margarita Gelatine recipe has the consistency of regular jell-o shots; you can either pour these into real shot glasses (if you happen to have a large enough collection- Thanks Aurora for lending me these!) or into little disposable cups.

The Margarita Knox Blox are much firmer; you can pour them into one pan, cut them and eat with your fingers.

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The limes and salt pictured above are completely optional. I added the lime slices to the shot glasses and the salt to the knox blox, cause I was trying to class them up a bit. :)

(Because I am nothing if not classy, as evidenced by the fact that I'm posting a recipe for jell-o shots.)

Ingredients for Margarita Gelatine Shots
2 envelopes Unflavored Gelatine
1 cup cold tequila (you can also make these less strong by decreasing the tequila somewhat and making up the difference with cold water)
3 cups margarita mix (or 2 1/2 cups mix plus 1/2 cup water- depending on desired sweetness)
Lime wedges for garnish

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Ingredients for Margarita Knox Blox Shots
4 envelopes Unflavored Gelatine
1 cup cold tequila (you can also make these less strong by decreasing the tequila somewhat and making up the difference with cold water)
3 cups margarita mix (or 2 1/2 cups mix plus 1/2 cup water- depending on desired sweetness)
Margarita salt for dipping once solidified and cut.
(You'll notice that these are basically the same recipe, except for the amount of gelatine.)

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The Directions are the same for both recipes
-A few hours before you begin, put the bottle of tequila in the fridge (if it isn't already cold).
-Heat up the margarita mix (or mix and water) in a pan.
-While mix is heating, put tequila in a large bowl and sprinkle gelatine over it. Let this stand for 1 minute.
-Add the hot mix and stir until the gelatine is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.
-Either pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan or into individual cups (depending on whether you're making knox blox or shots).
-Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
-If using pan, cut into 1-inch squares and eat with your fingers.
-If using individual cups, run finger around it to loosen and use your tongue and a sucking maneuver to get jell-o into your mouth. Like I said... Cla-Say!

(Note- you can adjust the amount of tequila and margarita mix with water as needed- the recipes here are fairly strong, but the following ratio should be maintained… 1 cup of cold to 3 cups of boiling. It's fairly simple if you remember that.)

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Grommeted Ribbon Ties

Using grommets is the one of the best things ever. I own an entire box of them (I buy them whenever notions are on sale) because they are so satisfying to use. So quick. And easy. And you get to hit them with a hammer.

I attached them to some sturdy ribbon, creating little loops to hang up garlands...

Wendy's Christmas garland

and wreaths.

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(As usual, clicking the pics will take you to larger ones in Flickr.)
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PS- Sorry for those of you that came by when all that consisted of this post was "Gromm." Apparently, hitting Enter publishes the post. Who knew?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


This promises to be a good game.

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We also just made up the rule that each player is allowed to invent one word per game as long as they give a definition and can use it in a sentence. And they have to be able to pronounce it.

Added Note- Joey took the picture of the finished game. You can see it here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Heifer International

I'm sure that many of you have already started your Christmas shopping, and before you get too far into it, I would like to let you know about the a great place to shop, especially for the person who has everything.

Heifer International is a fantastic non-profit organization. The idea behind the foundation is to give impoverished people training along with 'starter' animals. These animals can provide eggs, milk, wool, meat and even honey and help these people lift themselves from poverty. And, in the end, because of their principle of 'passing on the gift', the recipients eventually become donors themselves, raising the standard of living in their entire community as they share the offspring of their original animals.

If you make a donation in someone's name, that person will receive a card describing the gift in detail and a family in need will receive the animals. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can either do an entire donation or a share of one. They even have some shares starting at $10.00. (Note- clicking on any of the pictures below will take you to the printable gift inserts, which provide more info for that particular gift.)

A couple of the many things they provide are…

-Flocks of chicks, ducks and geese. I think one of these would be perfect for a teacher to represent her flock of young minds. I mean really, how many World's Greatest Teacher mugs can one person have?

-The knitting basket includes 2 llamas and 2 sheep. A share of this would be a fantastic gift for your favorite knitter, maybe along with a few skeins of some fair trade yarn to bring the whole thing full circle.

-You could even give a bunch of tree seedlings (for controlling erosion) to all of your coworkers that can't see the forest for the trees. All for only $10 each. And I'm sure you can find a more inspirational quote to go along with them. Myself, I like this one found here...

The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!' -- John F. Kennedy

If you decide you want to give a bunch of different donations, you can go to this link here to do them all at once.

And if you would like these as gifts for yourself, you can always give a hint to your loved ones by emailing a link to this post. ;)

It's fairly simple to create a registry for weddings, baby showers, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations and holidays. This little guy set up one for his birthday.

Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Saturday Funnies

Just stopped in to share the following headline from The Onion with you...

Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense from Language Programs

"At first I think the decision to drop the past tense from class is ridiculous, and I feel very upset by it," said David Keller, a seventh-grade student at Hampstead School in Fort Meyers, FL. "But now, it's almost like it never happens."

Hope you have a great weekend!