Thursday, December 30, 2010

Operation clean-up-that-mouth

Me: Titus, if you say poo-poo again you are going to have a time out. Do you understand?

Titus (with a big grin): Uh-huh.

(several minutes later) Titus: Moses eats poo-poo!

Me: Titus! Do you remember what I said will happen to you if you say poo-poo again?

Titus: Uh-huh.

Me: What is going to happen to you?

Titus (with a gleam of hope in his eyes): I get a razor scooter?

Another discipline attempt dead in the water. Sheesh.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Teacher Gifts

Sorry for being an absentee blogger - making Christmas gifts and baking cookies for various holiday functions and planning a 5 year old birthday party have gotten the better of me. Today I finished Moses' teacher's gifts and I am just thrilled with how they turned out. The inspiration for these came from the little plastic embroidery hoops I found at the craft store - aren't they cute? These were fast to make and just plain fun - I think I might be taking another trip to buy all the rest of those little red hoops.

All I have left to do is string them with a bit of vintage lace for hanging and affixing them to the requisite jar of goodies. What are you giving for teacher gifts this year?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quote of the Day

Moses (after shrieking in fear): Mom! Titus is pretending to throw his fork at me and he has that IN-TROUBLE LOOK on his face!

Funny how I didn't need to ask him what he meant...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Popcorn, and a failed kid's project

We have had popcorn on the brain around here lately, because my dad just harvested his popcorn. Isn't it beautiful? Popcorn is a very low-stress crop because you basically grow it until it dies, then you let it sit and dry out in the field for a while, then hack down the stalks and bring it in. He grew about 8 different varieties, each one a different shape and color. There is black popcorn, pink popcorn, deep red, brown, silvery grey, and light yellow. I love it and so do my boys.SO, yesterday I decided to do a Christmas project I've been wanting to do for a long time: make popcorn garlands. Very old-timey and economical, given how much popcorn we have laying around. I figured Moses is old enough now to wield a needle on his own, and my friend Jen gave me some lovely red and white twine, so I popped us up some popcorn (after burning the first batch, of course), and we set to work.

It is very hard to make a popcorn garland. I think one out of every ten piece went onto the string without exploding into a million tiny pieces of white fluff. Moses jabbed himself in the hand more times than I care to remember, and the whole project turned into a huge frustrating mess. After telling him I would finish the garland on my own, I managed to save the moment with a little butter and cinnamon sugar:

I think popcorn is much better eaten than strung on something and my boys seemed to agree - I think they each ate their weight in it. In summary: do not make a popcorn garland, either on your own or with your children. Now I know. :) (Thanks for the twine Jen!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meet Cristofferson:

That's what Moses named this little guy, getting the name from his current favorite movie. This is my first attempt at making anything plush - I got the pattern from Bit of Whimsy Prims on etsy. I think he turned out pretty great for a first try, but since I am a perfectionist, we will be keeping this guy rather than gifting him as first intended. I wanted to try using this minky fabric for the body, and even though it was really slippery, it worked fine. However, I think he might look cuter if his head and body fabric match. I've already cut out the fabric for attempt #2 and hope to sew him up soon.

This is a seriously fun project - another great way to use up scrap fabric. I have so many Christmas projects going on right now that I can hardly decide what to work on. I'm finishing up two knitted gifts, need to baste the quilt I'm making for Titus, hope to make two of these foxes as well as a couple of dinosaurs... and then there are teacher gifts to figure out and BAKING. Sounds totally hectic, but I love it. Christmas is such a wonderful excuse to make things. How about you - are you making any gifts this year?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kicking off the Holiday Season

Around here we make Christmas lists. We are certainly not hung up on the "stuff" aspect of Christmas - I think everyone in my family would be just fine if we didn't receive any gifts at all. But since we do exchange gifts, and only one of us has small children, and only 2 of us are girls, my dad has begun requesting that we put together wish lists, and the whole thing has become a sort of Christmas tradition. It is actually becoming one of the parts of Christmas that I look forward to most, mainly because of how funny the lists are. My brothers, in particular, are very, um, honest about the things they want, and it is alway entertaining. After years of asking for nun-chuks for Christmas, Daniel has now branched out to wanting "waterproof pants that can be worn to class over pajamas," telescoping batons, and "shoe goo so I can patch the hole in my boot." Never mind asking for a new pair of boots... His wife, who he recently dragged to Illinois with him, has requested "anything that causes warmth." As I type this I am realizing that I might be the only person on earth who thinks this is funny, so I'm sorry if you are reading this waiting for the punch-line. Perhaps my other two brothers will submit their lists soon and there will be more things for me to laugh at... Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Little More Bunting in the shop...

I really like making bunting - such a fun way to use up some of the millions of scraps that are taking over my sewing cabinet. This garland just got listed in the shop. It is a tad shorter than the other bunting banners in my shop because on the way from the ironing board to the sewing machine, I dropped one of the triangular penants into the sink. ew. and arg. It is still super cute, though, and a few dollars cheaper, which is always a good thing! I'm picturing this hanging in a little girl's room over her bed or across her doorway - so fun! I'm hoping to make more of these in the near future - or risk being buried alive in fabric scraps!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Picture

Well, it's that time of year when I go through the last 11 months of pictures and realize that we don't have a single family picture suitable for the front of a Christmas card. So I make a spur-of-the-moment decision to take a family picture RIGHT NOW, herd everyone outside, set up my camera on the rickety old fence, and hope for the best.

After about 20 shots of Moses grabbing his brother by the right eyeball, we decided to change locations (and I began to wonder why I hadn't done my hair or even thought about what I was wearing).

The change of location necessitated the grabbing of at least one chicken to add interest to the photo, which, of course, took long enough that Titus became hungry and cold, and the sun started to go down.

Chickens, it turns out, are slippery.

Perhaps a better idea would be to put the chickens in the background of the shot and get two much less annoying and unpredictable animals to add interest to the picture . We quickly scrapped that idea when we realized that dogs have no idea what "look at the camera" means (or apparently, "sit" or "stay,") and that Bentley looks like a terrifying underworld beast on film.

So, the Christmas card is still in the works. Maybe we'll try again this afternoon...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

SALE in the shop!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Now through Monday everything at Junie None is 15% off. All you need to do is enter coupon code Thankful at checkout. Now is your chance to stock up on baby gifts, stocking stuffers, and holiday decorations. Have fun shopping!

P.S. I just put lots of items on sale to clear things out for a new year... check them out and remember to type in your coupon code to get an additional 15% off the sale price!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Midweek business

Happy day-before-Thanksgiving everybody! I'm excited to start cooking, how about you? Yesterday I listed a few new sachet sets in the shop (think stocking stuffers, teacher gifts...) and tried my hand at a festive new banner (let me know what you think). I also bought two doll patterns, one knitting pattern, and some yarn in preparation for making Christmas gifts. I think I might have gotten in over my head, but what the heck. I'll keep you posted on how those projects go (except for the ones that are for people who read this blog... those ones I'll have to save for after Christmas). And in case I get too wrapped up in cooking brussels sprouts, chatting with family, drinking cider and figuring out where on earth to put our Christmas tree, I'll wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Treasure Hunt

Trapped inside by the rain this morning, my oldest son, with a wistful twinkle in his eye, said, "Mom, I just want to have an inside adventure with you." How could I say no? I threw together a hasty treasure map (of the bedroom), stuffed it into a bottle (old artichoke jar), and we found it in the sea (kitchen floor). Off we went into the jungle (bedroom again), where we overcame numerous obstacles (mainly unfolded clean laundry) to discover the buried treasure (bags of marbles). It was pretty fun - mostly great to see a smile on his previously bored face. If a mommy isn't careful, these rainy days can make a fellow miss his best friend.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yep, it actually works

Let's just say you are going for a run and take your pepper spray along with you to ward off any potential wild boar or neighborhood dog attacks, and since you have never had a chance to use it, you decide to give it a little test spray. If, hypothetically, you found yourself in this situation, I don't suggest firing the test shot directly in front of yourself. While you are running. Into the wind. Just a suggestion. And, hypothetically, if you did do such a stupid thing, you might want to check out this link to figure out how to ease the endless burning FIRE that is now raging on your legs, arms, nose, and right ear lobe. Hypothetically.

Friday, November 19, 2010

DIY Friday

It seems that I get the crafting itch even more than usual near the holidays - of course, I am also so busy with the normal activities of being mommy and running Junie None that I seldom get beyond the gathering ideas phase. So I thought I'd share some of my I-wish-I had-time to-do-it crafting plans - maybe you are better organized than me! (and if you make any of these things you must send me pictures...)

This succulent wreath was in the Better Homes & Gardens magazine that my friend Jess passed on to me - isn't it beautiful? I love succulents; very hard to kill, and believe me I've tried. Plus this could be used indoors or out.

Then there are these darling dinosaurs I'm thinking of making for a certain dino-obsessed two-year-old I know. You can order the instructions from Bit of Whimsy Prims on etsy, as well as tons of other darling patterns. A definite must-see for you crafty gift-givers.

I've promised myself that I will make these velvet flowers for my house some day - the instructions are in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living (thanks again Jess!) Aren't they so cool?! And they look really easy to make, too.

Then there is this adorable notebook pattern I found on Sew Mama Sew. The tutorial is put together by Jennifer from J Casa, another of my favorite etsy shops. This would make such a great gift, and she shows a bunch of cute ways to personalize it with embroidery.

OK, that's it for now. I'm sure I'll come across lots more things I want to do but wish you would do instead. I'm crossing my fingers to get at least one of these projects done by Christmas (though I also have 2 quilts in mind to make as gifts...). Happy crafting!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Because I know you have some empty wall space...

My sister-in-law's etsy shop is open! Hooray for everybody who can now buy her beautiful paintings! Go check her out...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sick Day

Today Moses was coughing enough to make me feel too guilty to take him to school. With nothing else on the schedule besides laundry, we ended up with a rare morning at home. And what a gorgeous morning to spend on the farm!

I think all three of us were feeling low on energy this morning, so it was nice to putter around outside doing nothing in particular other than watch the leaves blow around and enjoy the beauty.

Of course, there were bikes to ride...

And plenty of rose hips to throw at the geese (don't judge us, those guys ended up mean and we still have pretty bad aim).

Hopefully we're feeling better soon, but this ended up being a pretty great sick day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Titus is 2!

Somebody turned 2 yesterday, and all he wanted was a blue cake and a jumbo jet.

I managed the blue cake (complete with lots of bowl and beater licking):

... but we're still working on that jumbo jet. Maybe for Christmas, Titus. :)

(Oh, and now if you ask him how old he is, he will respond "I'm a wild boar." Hmm... I wonder why...)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Just for laughs

I just found this at my dad's house and couldn't resist posting it here for you all to enjoy. My brother David made this for himself when he was probably 10 or so (He is now a famous scientist - you can read more about him here and some of his work here). I don't know what cracks me up more, the bit about "un called for" or the fact that my mom signed it. Classic!


Do your kids like capes? Man, my boys have spent the whole week running around the house wearing nothing but underwear (or a diaper) and a cape. I'm always afraid they will accidentally strangle themselves, so I've started attaching the capes with clothespins rather than tying them in a big knot. I remember doing the same thing as a kid - I loved the feeling of the blanket billowing out behind me. I felt so fast! Here Titus is modeling the latest "cape" (aka quilt) in my shop - don't worry, I didn't let him actually fly in it. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holiday Bunting in the shop

I've listed some Christmas bunting in my shop - isn't it cute? I love using thin strips of fabric for patchwork, and it was fun making something for the holidays - I'm already excited for Christmas and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet!

I want to make more of these and put them across all the doors in our house (there aren't many doors, so it shouldn't take too long). Just a little splash of holiday color. :)

Doesn't Titus look sweet under the bunting? I love this shot, and it was actually an accident. Sweet little guy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The bats and the bees

You know how when you get stung twice by a wasp while rescuing the cat from your dad's raccoon trap, and have to call your husband outside to rescue you and the kids from an impending swarm you try to act all tough about it? Like, this is no big deal, I'm a country girl and enormous venom-injecting bugs totally don't bother me at all, and I totally wouldn't have needed your help if it wasn't for all these tall weeds? And then you go down to the basement to wash your comforter and a bat flies into your head and you drop into a fetal position on the floor, throw the comforter over your head, and scream like a little girl for your dad to come rescue you? And you realize that no matter how long you live here you are still a girl and there is no reason to ever get used to airborne rats slapping against your face. And it's a darn good thing there are a bunch of big hulking men around here to save you from them. And then you go home and give your husband a kiss and thank him for the earlier wasp rescue... but you don't tell him about the bat incident. Some things are better off kept secret. (shh, don't tell!) :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oeuf Happy Day!

Today we got our first egg! I am completely thrilled - no more watery odd-colored things from the store that my children refuse to eat. I was beginning to think that we would have to wait until spring to get eggs, since the days are getting shorter, and a chicken's egg production depends on how much sunlight she comes into contact with. But this little brownie is a very good sign - and I definitely feel like I've earned it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pieced Off

Here is a quilt that I helped make, which just moved to Arizona. Along with my best friend. And my kids' best friends.

And now my moment of public self-pity is over.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stockton Halloween Fest

This year we were invited to my sister-in-law's mom's famous Halloween party - and boy, it is famous for a reason! Their house is gorgeous to begin with, and every square inch of the inside was decorated to fit the theme, complete with two 10-foot black Halloween trees and giant stuffed tarantulas all over the place. (One of the things I really appreciated about the party was that none of the decorations or activities were scary or gross at all - everything was silly and in good taste for a kids' party.)

After driving the outdoor race cars, jumping in the bouncy houses, getting temporary air-brush tattoos, and sitting in the photo booth, it was time for the candy hunt. The boys were pretty excited:
Across their expansive lawn, they had scattered hundreds of tiny plastic pumpkins, each of which had candy inside. There were lots of kids there, and it was so cute seeing them in their costumes picking up candy like it was the greatest treasure on earth (which, of course, it is to a 2 year old).
Dinner was pizza and ribs, dessert was cupcakes. I mean - how much more perfect can a party get? It was a wonderful time with wonderful people.

Oh, and yes, Moses is a scarecrow this year, by his own request. I spent an entire morning sewing real hay into a pair of overalls and flannel shirt that I bought at the thrift store. Of course, this meant neglecting Titus, who was happy to throw the extra hay all throughout the house while I sewed. Titus is a cowboy - I made him a pair of chaps from some cords (also from the thrift store) but we forgot to bring them to the party. Hopefully I'll have a better picture of them after "real Halloween," because I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. This was my first year making costumes, an activity that has never appealed much to me. But I actually had fun doing this and am proud of the results. How about you - do you make your kids' costumes?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just call me Paparazzi

A few weeks ago I volunteered to take pictures at my mother-in-law's high school reunion. It was really fun, aside from the fact that I am definitely not a photographer and am way too shy to ask complete strangers to pose for pictures. I got to lug around my dad's awesome camera with the huge lens that lets you take pictures of something from about a mile away - you are so far away that people don't even know their picture is being taken, so I was able to get a lot of great shots. I was also able to spy on this woman as she did whatever it is that she is doing. Does anybody know - is this "tatting lace?" I was so intrigued by it that I stared at her through my enormous lens long enough to realize I was acting pretty weird and that a normal person would just go over to her and ask her what she was doing. Of course, I didn't do that - instead I took pictures of it. Beautiful, isn't it? Equally impressive was that she was doing this (really quickly) while having a conversation with two other people, who she was looking at. This is actually my favorite picture that I took that whole evening, even though there in a blurry plastic cup in the foreground. Next time I hope to be brave enough to actually talk to her. Silly me.