Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is it spring yet?


Despite a continuous battle with this cold, I brought a little bit of spring home today to cheer myself up. A lovely contrast to the brown grass, brittle trees, and snow run-off. Spring...when you're ready, I'm right here waiting!
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Display sneak peek.

A display I've been working on for hair bands and barrettes, made from a smallish chalkboard I had sitting in the basement for ages. The frame may get painted - we'll see how ambitious I feel as the days progress!
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Blah.

Feeling kinda lousy around here lately, thanks to the four year-old passing her cold on to me. Unfortunately it's been one laced with a bit of a fever too...not so much to completely sideline me, but enough that I've been hot-cold-hot-cold-hot for a few days. Nothing like clothing layers and Tylenol to help combat the chills!

On the upside, the fever part is gone but I do still have the cold. It makes me feel like doing nothing! Yet I realized the other day that I have a mid-March craft show looming and I really do need to get some things done. Last night I did some major production work and I totally credit my iPod with having enough uplifting and motivating tunes to keep me going.

Side note - the other day, when watching the Oscars, Lauren stated one of the movies titles as "The Curious Case of Benjamin's Belly Button." Now that movie would be interesting I'm sure!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Coincidence? I think not.

So, guess what I saw when I was out shopping this afternoon?

A t-shirt that said, "Run, Forrest, run!"

Seriously, I'm not joking. Yet it did not come home with me, because unfortunately it was quite ugly! I really might have considered it if it was cool, funky, and/or actually showed Forrest and Jenny. Instead, it had the text in huge letters, with trees (on little legs, and I think they had eyeballs too) ... and the trees were running. Get it? The "forest" was running. Bad, bad, bad!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jenny needs.

And now on a lighthearted note...

Thanks to Robyn for the laughs, I decided to play along to this little Google game. If you feel like playing yourself, just Google your first name followed by the word needs, in quotes (ex. "Joe needs") and see what comes up!

Here are the top 15 things that "Jenny needs" according to Google (my comments are in italics)

1. Jenny needs to find a mellon baller. Awesome.
2. Jenny needs a Wee Video by Mr. Jingles. Sounds like a psychotic workout video.
3. Jenny needs space! Yes, gladly!
4. Jenny needs a Doctor Dolly.
5. Jenny needs a road bike t-shirt. Hmmm...not so much.
6. Jenny needs to step it up. Ouch!
7. Jenny needs me again! That's great, but who are you?
8. Jenny needs your help, Forrest Gump! I love this! Mainly because sometimes when Kirk calls me by name (which isn't often, usually it's "Babe") he uses the Forrest pronounciation of Jen-nay. At which point I usually turn to him and say, "Run, Forrest, run!"
9. Jenny needs help.
10. Jenny needs to leave her bag with me. Not if there is money in it, my friend!
11. Jenny needs a boyfriend! See above. I have claimed Forrest Gump.
12. Jenny needs to be fed. Chocolate, please!
13. Jenny needs you.
14. Jenny needs information on Daniel. Who?
15. Jenny needs some sleep! And lots of it!

Again, if you want to play along just consider yourself tagged. And for the record, I did edit out a few selections! Now, what does Google say you need?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

iCraft.

So, I'm ready to divulge a little more about the business side of things as of late, considering some recent developments. I have taken a big leap forward and things, although not much different at the moment, are starting to feel different. I like that.

My business is now officially called "iCraft." Yes, the same name as this blog in fact! I actually had the name in mind for a business when I established the blog, and named it so just in case I took the aforementioned leap and created something around the name. I love the name. I love that it is a noun and a verb, which indicates doing. Crafting. Creating. Making good things. Take a peek at my sidebar and you'll get a good feel for the i + Words = a cool statement.

OK, so the biz is iCraft and now you're wondering, what about this shop and this shop? Well, for now they are still going strong and are to be considered my "brands" under the new company. I will continue to make items for both Etsy shops and when I do shows, I will sell my merchandise under those names. Am I starting to sound like a juggler, with many balls up in the air?

The last piece I'd like to explain (at least for tonight, lest this get too long) is that iCraft is the title of my newest shop on Etsy (yes, it's official, I am crazy!) which will be devoted to selling fabric and craft supplies. You don't even know how much I loved sitting with a fabric sales rep this morning, while she covered my dining room table in swatches. And art books. And colorways. And we chatted about designers and manufacturers and Quilt Market. It was so fun looking, and buying! Things will be starting slowly and then build, with more offerings as I am able. And I have to share that last night, as I was working on my business plan, I thought that if I can have fun writing a business plan then I must be on the right track!

So stay tuned, there will be plenty more to come! I'm waiting on some logo graphics and will also update when the bolts of newly-purchased fabric arrives, because I'll probably start listing it sooner than later. Thanks friends, again! You all rock in your support!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nice.

A little detective work this morning revealed I was on Etsy's front page yesterday. I don't know what makes me happier - the thought that I was on the front page again, or the fact that my featured item (the striped apron, second row far left) is next to Elvis. TCB, baby!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another excerpt.

It's been a long day here today. Snow resulting in 6 or 7 inches, a house full of three rambunctious kids, a husband working from home, and me on my third day of pretty much being housebound. I got a little work done this morning, then as the kids' energy mounted I curled up in a chair with By the Shores of Silver Lake. I pretty much ignored the crazies around me and slipped back into the late 1800's. It was a nice diversion.

So, before I get totally through these books I want to make a concerted effort to continue sharing a passage from each. It has been fun reading them and mentally taking notes about what I want to share, yet it is difficult because so many things are beautifully written!

Farmer Boy is the third one I read, and is the story of Laura's husband Almanzo growing up in New York State. What I find interesting is that as an author, she places a lot of emphasis on the food that surrounds Almanzo on a daily basis. She grew up in often remote areas with little money; many meals were scraped together and of course this book details her family nearly starving. So talking about the myriad of food choices at the dinner table actually makes the reader hungry! There are too many fantastic descriptions of the food to pick just one, so please pick up a copy for yourself sometime and see what I mean.

Here are a few paragraphes describing the goings-on of Christmas morning (keeping in mind the children woke at 3:30 am to open their presents!) ...

The sun rushed up in the sky. Mother was everywhere, talking all the time. "Almanzo, wash your ears! Royal, don't stand around underfoot! Eliza Jane, remember you're paring those potatoes, not slicing them, and don't leave so many eyes they can see to jump out of the pot. Count the silver, Alice, and piece it out with the steel knives and forks. The best bleached tablecloths are on the bottom shelf. Mercy on us, look at that clock!"

Sleigh bells came jingling up the road, and Mother slammed the oven door and ran to change her apron and pin on her brooch; Alice ran downstairs and Eliza Jane ran upstairs, both of them told Almanzo to straighten his collar. Father was calling Mother to fold his cravat. Then Uncle Wesley's sleigh stopped with a last clash of bells.

Almanzo ran out, whooping, and Father and Mother came behind him, as calm as if they had never hurried in their lives.

This is so real-life to me! Haven't we all done this? We don't wear cravats and brooches and our visits are not announced by sleigh bells, but the gist is the same nonetheless.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guilty.

What's that? You say I am naughty for sleeping on the leather chair when I know I am not supposed to? Fine. You're right, I am guilty. The carpet is just not as comfortable to these old bones. And now, I choose to ignore you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Control, or lack thereof.

I admit, I like to control things.

So upon wakening at 2:30 am to the sound of a child (Lauren) vomiting in the bathroom, I have to toss my need to control right out the window. It was hard, but I had to do it. Harder still to see her in pain and obviously not well.

In letting go of control over my day, I am now home with her rather than running around town doing errands. I have let go of my responsibilities in coordinating her class Valentines Day party (which is this afternoon). I even let go of my duty to get Grace to preschool this morning - one friend accepted my request to take her to school; another friend graciously called me and offered to bring her home. I am not one to like to ask for help!

I decided to be a mom who stayed home with her kids, in some ways because of days like this. I wanted to be able to be with them when they are sick, to be able to drop everything and just be there. I am grateful I am not juggling an employer or negotiating childcare with someone else. The choice to be home is not always easy. But for me, it is the absolute right choice and it is a big driving force in my motivation to build my own business and work from home.

I'll get a little control back at some point. But for now, I need to check on my little pumpkin. She needs her mommy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh, and...

check it out! I'm in the Etsy Gift Guide for Moms. I'm flattered to be included!

Shoe notes.

Firstly, the shoes are from Target, as seen here. My photo (seen below) is more true-to-life than the Target shot (they are not bright yellow, nor are they shiny irl). The past few years I have had to skip past most of their shoes because they are wide and floppy - not the best combo for a narrow heel and feet that are two different sizes. Because of this, I ended up buying a 1/2 size smaller than my normal size - for whatever reason they fit better. The clearance price online is $13.99, but mine were $4.98. Score.

And yes, they are actually comfortable. I wore them all morning with nary a blister or sore spot. Hooray, they passed the test!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hello, pretty feet.


I think I just found my favorite shoes ever! Not too bad for $5, eh?
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spring tunes.

I'm looking for some good tunes to include in a new playlist - anything great for spring! So far I have two versions of "Here Comes the Sun," "Walking on Sunshine," and "Sunny Skies." I am really inept when it comes to knowledge of rock/pop artists and music. I played these four songs over and over and over this afternoon while cleaning the house - amazing what that did to help lift the winter funk. I need help coming up with more selections - if you have a great suggestion, please leave a comment...then I'll share the finished list!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Courage.

Certainly, we have heard of Captain "Sully" and his amazing water-landing in the Hudson River. I can't imagine the level of courage it takes to fly an airplane once, much less daily, and even then to have to land one in a river. What's interesting is that he says he is not a hero - he was just doing his job.

What do you consider to be courageous?

I think most often courageous acts are not on the news. No interviews, no Nightline or Today Show, no key to the city or invitation to the Super Bowl. Regular people, extraordinary choices.

This afternoon I witnessed courage such as this. I was in the library (in the self-help section no less, probably surrounded by dozens of books on courage), when I heard talking. Kind of loud talking, which got my attention. I looked around the end of the stack to see what was going on, and what I saw and heard gave me goosebumps. Seated at a table was a woman, probably in her mid-50's, and she was learning to read. Word after word she read aloud from her workbook, "R-an-ch. P-in-ch. R-ash. L-ash. M-ash. S-ash." Her instructor was at least half her age, and he was totally cheering her on, "You're on a roll! Keep going!"

I wonder, what encouraged this woman to take this amazingly courageous step? Does she know that she deserves accolades as much as Captain Sully? Does she know that her decision to learn to read, after obviously struggling for a long time, is a truly extraordinary choice?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bibs x 3.

A custom request. I am not a master of applique, but I am always up for a challenge and I like the results! And yes, they are for triplets.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Someday.

Someday, somehow, I would love to be on this show. Ideally I would be with Kirk, and we would have the perfect childcare situation for the 30+ days required. We would be sharp and focused. We would not bicker, at least not much. We would run fast and learn to say please and thank you in any language required. We would wear matching t-shirts. We would make it to the finish line.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Circle.

An excerpt from Little House on the Prairie...

Kansas was an endless flat land covered with tall grass blowing in the wind. Day after day they traveled in Kansas, and saw nothing but the rippling grass and enormous sky. In a perfect circle the sky curved down to the level land, and the wagon was in the circle's exact middle.

All day long Pet and Patty went forward, trotting and walking and trotting again, but they couldn't get out of the middle of that circle. When the sun went down, the circle was still around them and the edge of the sky was pink. Then slowly the land became black. The wind made a lonely sound in the grass. The camp fire was small and lost in so much space. But large stars hung from the sky, glittering so near that Laura felt she could almost touch them.

I love the imagery of this. The endless land, the blowing wind, and especially the unchanging circle.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cats.

Do you remember the first musical you ever saw?

For me, it was Cats. Fall, 1987. I was twelve, and I got tickets to the show for my birthday. We were lucky enough to score front row seats (long story...involving missing the ticketed performance, my guilt-ridden mom in tears, and therefore her paying for a second set of tickets). I'll never forget the cat/person coming off stage, standing right in front of us, literally between us and the orchestra pit, and hissing/snarling/pawing at our legs. I was totally blown away!

When Kirk and I started dating, the show came to town and we went together. It was his first musical as well...kinda cool that we can both claim that. We sat on the end of a row (intentional on my part) and he was completely freaked when a cat/person hissed against the back of his neck as they crept through the theater at the beginning of the show.

Where am I going with this? Well, today, I took Lauren to see the show. At age 6.5 I realize she's a bit young, but for the last 6 months or so she has been enthralled with all things feline. And, being the middle child, she rarely gets to do cool things solo with mom or dad!

It was a magical afternoon! She held my hand (rare, let me tell you) and with wide eyes took in the theater and all of the goings-on before the show. Then, the lights went down and I can only describe the look on her face as childlike wonder. It really was. She totally got it. And loved it. I must admit, I get emotional when I share special moments like this with my kids. Knowing that she was seeing and experiencing something that was so new, so surreal, so out-of-this-world to her was amazing! I will treasure the memory (oh, no pun intended!) forever.

Good times.

p.s. She declared Rum Tum Tugger is her favorite. Should I be worried that she most loves the hip-shaking ladies man?
p.p.s. We will be purchasing the soundtrack. I had it (I think an album! wow that dates me!) - and I can't tell you how many times I "performed" pretty much the whole thing in front of my bedroom mirror. It is no wonder that I easily could have sung along to each and every song today.