Good golly. I can't believe more than two weeks have passed since I last posted something here. I think that's a record. Not a Michael Phelps sort of record (as in, yea! good for him!). A Takeru Kobayashi sort of record (as in, UGH!).
We got back to town last night after two weeks of laughing and eating waaaaay too much food with the Italian side of the family across the state. It was a great trip, but we all were happy to sleep in our own beds last night.
Before I had kids, I had a healthy case of wanderlust. I wasn't a frequent flier by any means, but I've been to Costa Rica and Italy and I tended to move every couple of years. If I wasn't hopping cities (Portland, Ore., Boston, Mass., Spokane), I was moving to a different apartment across town. I loved change.
I still do, but ever since the babies came along I've had little desire to travel far and wide. Now I crave routine and simplicity and it might be to a fault.
The kids do great when we travel. Even on the six-hour drive home yesterday, they were fantastic, with Bo making up stories about princesses and her dead dog Cronkite (r.i.p., sweet doggie) in my car and Magpie reciting every word she knows in J's car (J had to work so he couldn't stay as long as we did).
The first couple of nights in a new bed are always a bit rocky, but any battles at bedtime are usually more my fault than theirs (i.e., trying to get them down at our regular times rather than easing up a bit).
Going away is always worth it, but our itinerary here at home today reinforced my love of our quiet little lifestyle in Spokane.
On our agenda today:
-Run through the sprinkler (I felt a bit guilty after just visiting a town with watering restrictions, but it's super hot here right now so it was either crank up the A/C and stay inside or hose off the kids on the lawn).
-Hang wet clothes on the clothesline. The girls can't get enough of this.
-Do "magic" tricks, i.e., put a wine cork under a cup, shuffle the cup around with two other cups, make the kids guess which cup holds the cork. More endless fun.
-Make edible play dough (1 part honey, two parts peanut butter, 3 parts powdered sugar), cut out cookie shapes, bake it at 200 for a long time. This last one is doing nothing for my attempts at weight loss (I'm eyeing the leftover "cookies" across the kitchen right now), but as you can see the girls were captivated:
I didn't get a good shot of this, but is there anything better than seeing your child wearing your Nana's old aprons?
The day wasn't perfect. At one point, I had to put Bo's toys in time out. ALL of her toys. Seriously. But setting boundaries is just part of our routine, too. Besides, it took her all of 30 seconds to turn a washcloth, a baby blanket and her little sister into toys that weren't off limits. I don't know what that says about my attempt at discipline, but by that point I sort of forgot why she was in trouble.
Lots of crafting is on the horizon. I've sold a couple more book slings, so I'll be putting those together this week. And more inquiries are coming in!
Meg McElwee over at Sew Liberatedhas approved me to make and sell her Emmeline aprons, so I'm going to fill my Etsy shop with those as soon as I get through some other deadlines. Thanks again for everyone's encouragement on that!
And later in August I'm running a "make-and-take" craft booth at a local county fair (it's part of my role with the newspaper's Down to Earth blog). I'll be sure to share the four projects I'm doing with folks here.
A few random thoughts on this unseasonably crisp (but beautiful and perfect) summer evening.
-I sold another book sling in my Etsy shop! Yea-hoo! The buyer told me she wanted me to use the solid colors of brown and banana (read: yellow) as the main fabrics, and then gave me the creative freedom to add a bit of flair to it. Gotta love that. So this is what I created for her son, Nolan.
It looks a little wobbly there because the books are only on one end.
I made it reversible, so she can use either the lower case or uppercase side, or she can just go with plain brown or banana by flipping the whole thing inside out.
For you newcomers, this is what a whole book sling looks like (Bo's room was a mess today, so I didn't get a good wide shot):
Someone must have a put up a new link to my Etsy shop, because I'm getting a lot of book sling inquiries lately. You never know if a conversation with a potential customer will really pan out, though, so you might see more examples here in the near future. Or you might not.
Selling on Etsy is way less profitable than my other life as a freelance journalist, but boy is it fun when someone honors you by wanting to buy something you made.
-Cherries for sale! Cherries for sale! Organically grown, ripe cherries for sale!
And hopefully you don't get a cup with some of Magpie's half-eaten ones inside.
Good to see the ballet recital costume is getting good use, especially since it never made it on stage during the actual recital. A repeat of her mom's (lack of) performance back in 1977.
Bo kept telling people a cup of cherries cost $5 instead of 5 cents.
I'd like to build the girls a sturdy wooden stand like this one.
-My friend Joe alerted me to this. (WARNING! BAD WORDS.) I told him I need something along those lines for my front door warning people not to knock when the girls are napping. It's not quite as neighborly as what I had in mind, but it sure would get the message across, don't you think?
Update: Bo is sitting with me and just shouted "Mr. Obama!" when I clicked on that link. Cute.
-I'm in love with this nursery. Do you think it would translate well into a master bedroom? Hmmm ...
I know that everybody and their brother has an Etsy shop now, but it still makes me nervous to list my stuff. I can handle 100,000 people reading what I wrote in the newspaper, but knowing that a few people might happen to click on my sewing projects there makes me both excited and squirmy.
It's the pricing, no doubt. When I came out of the craft room last night and presented J with this dress ...
... he suggested I charge about half of what I had planned to for it.
It's so hard to walk away from a project after putting time and care into it and think, hmmm, I could make more per hour running a lemonade stand outside my house. That is, if the dress even sells. I hope it does, though. It has a really nice weight to it. Substantial enough that I could tell Bo felt kind of special when she put it on. But not so heavy that a kid wouldn't want to wear it to the 4th of July parade.
I'm excited about it, though. Looky here. It's reversible:
It evolved from the McCalls pattern I followed the other day. But I changed the shape of the bodice, changed the sizing, did the bias tape hem thing again, and took a lot of bulk and length out of the skirt. And made it reversible, which was tricky but fun.
I'm calling it the "Dena Dress" because it reminds me of Newport, Rhode Island, a classic, nautical American city and the hometown of my dear cousin Dena.
I'm estimating the size you see here to be a 5, since it's a bit big on Bo, who is almost 4 and small for her age.
So ... drumroll please ... $37 is what I'm asking. Yikes. Too much? It's more than what J suggested and a little less than what I thought at first. There are a few spots where the stitching is a bit wobbly, as it usually is for me when I'm tackling something new. I explain that in the Etsy description. It's the kind of stuff I would point out to my friends who would then say they would have never even noticed if I hadn't said something. Once I really get this design down I'll feel comfortable asking a bit more for it. Or, maybe I'll get good enough at it that I won't mind charging less.
And if there are no takers at $37, well, I know one little girl who wants it.
I'm late in wishing you all a happy summer solstice and Father's Day. Are there any dads out there? I recall getting comments on here once or twice from some men, but I just don't know if we have any regulars. If you're here, xoxo. I hope your yesterday was full of love and joy.
I was too busy enjoying Father's Day with my dad and my husband yesterday to pour out my heart here, but my feelings about the two dads in my life haven't changed since last year. Thank you both for ... everything.
As for summer ... what summer? It's a stinkin' 60 degrees here today. Please put a reminder on your calendars for six months from now so you can smack me for complaining about 60 degrees. But c'mon. We want to go swimming! Bo keeps asking when it's going to get "hot, hot, hot." I need to remind myself that last June, it snowed.
Our family has been in such a lovely rhythm lately. I can't explain what or why. Life is just ... nice. And simple. Hardly any TV. Lots of running, being outside, gardening and arts and crafting.
One thing I did to make art happen more spontaneously was to move the girls' easel and paints outside.
The other day I encouraged them to paint objects they saw in nature, and Bo came up with this:
An airplane, in case you can't tell. Our local airport recently started using its backup runway, so the air space above our backyard is getting lots of low-flying action. I'm sure some neighbors aren't thrilled, but I honestly love it. And Magpie definitely knows how to say "a-pane" now.
Another nice thing about painting outside is that you don't have to worry about this:
Paint away, Baby. I'll blast you with the hose when you're done.
We took part in a parks and rec art class this morning, where Bo created this beach:
Instructions: paint a paper plate blue. Paint an empty toilet-paper tube brown. Brush glue onto one portion of the blue-covered plate (or the whole dang thing, if you're like Bo). Dust the gluey part with sand and seashells. Glue the brown tube down so it stands up like a tree. Add some green leaves to the tree. Viola! Puerta Vallarta on a plate.
They also made butterflies by painting coffee filters with watercolors then cinching them in the middle with short pipe cleaners, leaving the two ends of the pipe cleaners pointing up like antennae (or "antlers," as my niece Em calls them). They're cute. I'll add a photo later. I think our butterflies are trapped in the car right now.
Lastly today, an Etsy product endorsement. The prize money I won from Ohdeedoh a few months back for my book sling has been burning a hole in my PayPal account. I finally chipped away at it by buying a return-address stamp from a shop calledRubberStampPress.
Mine looks just like this, but with my name and address--obviously.
It arrived so quickly, I didn't even have a chance to respond to my last e-mail from Kim, the talent behind the stamp. Isn't it great?! It is inspiring me to write some letters. Real letters. And maybe I should buy a bike, too.
Happy summer, everyone. Despite the chill here, my heart is warm and life is aglow with goodness. I hope yours is too.
First of all, thank you, Runs With Scissors, for the great book suggestion the other day. We checked out "The Princess and the Pea" by Lauren Child, and I love it as much as Bo does. I want to live in the pages. I want to wear the princess' tiny dresses and attend a miniature ball.
And then Amanda Soule blogged about the P & P, too, and about how her 3-year-old daughter Adelaide apparently loves Child's book, too. Amanda and Adelaide made a princess and mattress set inspired by Tree Fall's set, and Bo caught me looking at it online.
(By the way, Bo has recently discovered the power of the Internet. "Show me crafts, Mommy." "Show me princess cakes." It's cute and scary at the same time.)
So, of course, she wanted to make a princess and the pea set like Adelaide's and Manda's. (FYI--Manda sells her version in her Etsy shop, if you're interested). We whipped up our own version today while Magpie napped, and somewhere along the way Bo decided it would be a gift for her little sister when she woke up (aw sweet, right? That's the yin to the yang that normally happens between these two sisters).
The mattresses were sewn with Bo on my lap. They're a little iffy in spots because of that, but they were a hit with both girls all the same. The pea is a green pom pom, the bed is an empty mandarin orange box, and the princess is a little fairy finger puppet we've had for a while.
I have to admit it. This princess thing is turning out to be pretty magical. Somebody pass me some crow.
Between computer problems, sick kids and a sick me, I've been M.I.A. for the last few days. I thought we were all on the mend, but I just cleaned up from a barf-o-rama session with Magpie. Poor thing. She's finally sleeping now, so a little Internet vegging out was in order.
No deep thoughts here. Just links to some fabulous stuff.