Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Non-Sewer Sews

Few things can make me bring out my needle like my love of autumn. This year I'm trying my hand at fabric pumpkins. Here's my first try:
Green velvet pumpkin

Want to make your own? Here's an awesome tutorial, based on Martha Stewart's instructions.

Monday, September 19, 2011

HPV and Vaccination

The current debate on the HPV vaccine is driving me crazy. The mandated vaccines, the cost, the lack of insurance coverage, but that isn't why I'm writing about it. What irritates me is that once again the burden of protection is placed on women and girls, with no treatment for men -- the carriers.
I keep remembering an Ann Lander column from 1987 or so, when someone wrote in and excitedly described a new method of birth control: a robot IUD that could zap sperm coming into a woman's uterus! Amazing! Space-age technology inside our bodies! Ann Landers's reply? She'll be more excited when they come up with something similar for men.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crazy Cat Lady

Halloween decorating is fun, but why stop with the house? My cats should benefit, too. So when I dropped by a local yarn store that's going out of business, I bought some "eyelash" yarn to make into cat leis. Not collars, mind you, because cats should only wear collars with break-away fasteners and I don't have any around.

Pickle shows off his new necklace.
Taco just wants to know where his dinner is.

Oh yeah. I definitely need to try this in new colors.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I hate to say it, but I think that summer is over. It's past Labor Day, the leaves are turning here in SE Wisconsin and school has begun. The calendar says that autumn doesn't begin for another 10 days, but I don't think that the upcoming equinox has much to say about the matter. Don't get me wrong, I love fall. I just wish the sun didn't set so early.

With that in mind, I love autumn. For many reasons, including the Weird Pumpkin season. Here are a few gourds I picked at the grocery store and farmer's market. I don't know all of the varieties because none of them were labeled, so comment if you can identify any of these!

Decorative gourd

Delicata, perhaps?

Hubbard squash

Sweet dumpling
Baby pumpkin

Kabocha squash, I think.

Taco in a basket, just because he's cute.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Homesick 3

Today Aaron made hotel reservations for his trip to San Diego. Let me re-emphasize: HIS trip to San Diego. This breaks my heart so much I can't even talk about it on Facebook. I've lived in Milwaukee for nearly 3 years now. I have not been "home" in that entire time and I am homesick. There. I said it.

Before I rant, let me emphasize that I love, love, love it here in MKE. The population is diverse, the restaurants are good, there are tons of things to do year-round. The winters aren't really that bad as long as you know your limits, and you still get 3 other seasons that more than make up for the cold and inclement weather. Having said that, I've found myself saying, "In California, we ... " and "Back in San Diego we used to ... " a lot lately. Way to make people grow tired of your conversation. So I'm just going to get it all out here.

1. I miss my family. I want to go to Oregon and see my sister and her family more than anything. My parents and in-laws are in South/Central California, my closest friends are in Seattle and San Diego, but my cousin/best friend is near San Francisco. It's almost not worth going unless I get to see everyone.

2. Winter sucks with a toddler. I know this will improve in two months, especially once we move into a better place. I could really use some shorts and Birks weather.

In general, I don't miss San Diego's monotonous weather. I like that we're exposing LG to all four seasons. But dressing him for San Diego would be soooo much easier. There, if I underestimated the temperature by ten degrees it wouldn't be a big deal -- oh dear, I have to keep a pair of pants or a sweater in the diaper bag in case it's 59 degrees instead of 69. But if it's 15 instead of 25? We like to walk instead of drive so we're pretty adventurous and, I like to think, well-suited to this climate. But it would be nice if I didn't have to worry about his baby-soft cheeks getting chapped from sub-zero winds.

3. Food. I want In n Out, fish tacos, a California Burrito, Thai food, and my favorite sushi restaurant. There's also a deep-dish pizza place in San Diego that's way better than any of the famous places in Chicago.

4. The beach. I want to show my son the Pacific Ocean. I want to jump waves with him, prowl the tide pools, and dig for sand crabs. OK, he's probably too young for most of that, but it'd be fun to introduce him to everything.

5. The zoo. There's a reason the San Diego Zoo is world-famous. 'Nuff said.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh What a Difference A Day Makes

I just noticed this picture the other day. It's one of the few we haven't posted on Facebook or otherwise shared, but it's so sweet. This is the day we brought LG home from the hospital at three days old:
And here he is at one year old, having masticated his first piece of cake:
God, I love that boy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Adventures with Crafts

I am not a crafty person. When it comes to working with my hands, I don't have much patience or attention to detail. My Dad taught me how to crochet when I was 12, but I've only finished two crocheted projects. Because I get bored easily I'll put it away and then, when I return to it, I have to relearn how to work with the needles. I recently finished knitting a scarf that I began 3 years ago and the width grew by 30% by the time I finished because I didn't bother counting the stitches. Oops!

But I think that craftiness comes with being a stay-at-home mom, or maybe I've been inspired because many of my new friends are so creative. My friend Jillian showed me this book on making toys for your baby. It's based on Waldorf School ideas about creative development. I don't know much about the Waldorf School, but I do know they believe simple toys with fewer details help children develop their imagination. So their patterns are perfect for me because they're not very complicated and if I mess up it just stimulates my son's imagination even more, right?

With that in mind, here are my first attempts: chicks made from yarn fashioned into puff balls.

The one on the left is my first attempt. I think it looks the most like a chick. Aaron says the middle one looks like a Tribble from Star Trek:

The trouble with these is that I haven't figured out how to make them baby-proof because little ones can actually pull out the bits of yarn. Oops. At least I know my son has a developed pincer grasp.

I was most excited about making a knitted sheep. Except I can't remember how to knit, so I crocheted it.

Since I don't really know how to sew, I had trouble following the pattern for making the head shape. I think the neck isn't supposed to be that long. But it turned out pretty cute anyway, kind of like Eeyore. I just didn't expect it to be so big! But see how it doesn't have any markings for the eyes or mouth? That's the sort of plainness that the Waldorf School advocates. Less work for me!

Here are some felt chickens I made. These were a lot of fun -- my clumsy, wide stitches will only promote my son's creative development!

And finally, here's a felt horse. I made up the pattern myself, basing it on the same pattern of the felt chickens. Looks like my imagination is being developed as well!

I should add that LG isn't very interested in any of these toys yet. I tell myself that he's too young for imaginative play. After all, I don't think he really understands what horses or chickens are just yet. He enjoys his plastic blocks more than anything else right now. I'm sure that's developing his imagination just fine. In the mean time, I think I'm going to make him some felt food next. He doesn't know what eggs or carrots really look like, either, but it's fun for me.

Here's the tutorial for the felt food if you're interested: