Thursday, August 28, 2008

THINK before you speak

Abe Lincoln said, "Nothing is opened more by mistake than the mouth."

Thumper's father had another take on it, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." (yes, I know. The double negative is HIS not mine.)

With four children, spats and fights are bound to happen. We are a "no hitting" household so I'm sure you can imagine how it goes all over me for one to hit another.

While the physical torment of each other is minimal (thank God!), the mouth. Ah, the mouth.

Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.

It is true. Nothing is opened more by mistake than the mouth.

I learned early on that a quick wit and sharp tongue go together all too well. (A friend and I had our astrological charts done - Leo with Gemini rising. He told me that meant I was the world's most quick-witted smart-allec. I'm sure many of my friends agree - regardless of one's belief in astrology.) The real challenge was in thinking and not speaking.

This is the lesson I'm striving to teach my children.

In doing so, we created bracelets. In the faddish world of things on your wrist from "Live Strong" to "BELIEVE" (why does that remind me of George Carlin's skit, "Somewhere between 'Live free or die' and 'famous potatoes' is the meaning of life." ?) I was sure that this fashion statement would make a difference.

I'm a firm believer of The Complaint Free World movement but I needed something more. In all honesty, I needed to be able to point out to them what they were doing without having to move my own bracelet, thank you very much.

Hence, my "THINK" bracelets were born.

These aren't just to remind them to think before they speak (although that is the main purpose). Each of the letters actually stand for something. (Because if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.... or something like that. )

Rather, it's an acronym for what's really going on in your head.

Is what you're about to say:

T- thoughtful
H - helpful
I - intelligent
N- necessary
K - kind


With a house full of smart allecs, it didn't take long for them start being sarcastic. "Is it NECESSARY that I wear this?" chimes in one of them. Another picks up the ball, "Is it HELPFUL for this to hang on my wrist while I'm trying to do stuff?" Another can't be outdone, "Is it KIND to make me have to wear this?"


I am not amused. My stone face and raised eyebrow (think: Spok) silence them immediately. This is also known as the "Mommy Look". You know the one.

I answer, "Is it INTELLIGENT for you to tick me off?" I continue, "Is it NECESSARY for you to be such pains in the..." I'm sure you get the idea.

Keep in mind, I've created this because I'm sick (and tired) of hearing them
bicker. The last thing I wanted to do was give them a unified front against ME. Best laid plans.

But here is the bracelet:

Jake modeling his hemp T.H.I.N.K bracelet.

As you see, you'll need some alphabet letter beads, some hemp or embroidery floss, a bit of glue (waterproof glue works the best) and maybe some other colored beads if you want to go all out.

A good rule of measurement is to do 4 times the circumference of your wrist. Since only the outer strings are used for macrame, they will get shorter faster.

Really, it's just a matter of square knots, half knots, and bead placement. The sky is the limit with regard to your creativity. Put a dab of glue on the end knots to keep them secure. Keep in mind that hemp doesn't do well if it gets wet so you really should make this bracelet removable (as opposed to just tying it on your wrist.)

There you have it - a Mommy/Daddy audiovisual on how peace is SUPPOSED to happen in the home.

As The Complaint Free World website will tell you, it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Be consistent, be firm, and be consciously aware of how you speak to them and expect the same thing in return.

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
- Mark Twain


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Breathing isn't as easy as you think...


Many of us do it wrong. If you're reading this, you may argue since in order to read this you'd need to be alive and to be alive you need to breathe. That almost sounded Schrodinger, didn't it? Light and airy. Light and airy. That's the goal of this blog. I can discuss metaphysics with the best of them, forensic pathology is a specialty of mine, and I'm a shoe-in for most Quantum Physics discussion competitions... but this is not that blog.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. Light and airy.

So, speaking of light and airy, I'm in the process of an OCD purge. "What is that?" you ask? It's really complicated, actually. Not at all how "normal" people think, I'm sure. Most people have pictures in their mind of Monk with his 900 phobias. Truth be known, he's not really as OCD as he'd like to claim. The other end of OCD is the hoarding aspect. You know those people with like 80 cats? That's OCD too.

That's where I tend to lay - at the hoarding end of the spectrum. Not in an 80 cats kind of way. That's just creepy (and smelly! Do these people just not have any olfactory functions at ALL???) But I do like to have stuff... just not how you may picture it.

So combine this hoarding with Shiny Object Syndrome and Houston, we have a problem. Now, I don't consider it a problem. Well, let me explain. Walk with me as I talk.

You see, when I find a new craft to try, I like to have all the equipment that comes with it. Let me retype that. When I find a new craft to try, I like to have ALL the equipment that comes with it.

I knit. I have every knitting needle size (straight, circular, and double pointed) there is. My justification is, at 3am when I just HAVE to knit something, I'll be prepared. You can imagine what my yarn stash is like too. Odds are, I have one of each type of popular yarn in every fashion color.

I crochet. I have every hook too.

I paint (watercolors). Yep, you guessed it. Every brush and color of paint.

I also do "folk painting" (also known as tole painting or even One-Stroke). I have every acrylic and brush for that too.

Are you starting to get the idea?

Magazines are a particular problem with me. I am a magazine addict so I have to pick my magazine addiction wisely. Family Fun is a no-brainer. With children in Scouts and all of the children's activities I lead, it's a valued resource. Pack-O-Fun is another magazine like that.

Other magazines?

Knit Simple
Knit1
Interweave Knits
Simply Knitting
Vogue Knitting
Knitter's
Cast On
Sew Beautiful (that one just takes my breath away)
Living Crafts (OMG! I just love this magazine!)
Craft
Taste of Home

and a few others I can't place right now. I store them in a bin for future use and I do go back and use them.

Unfortunately, it doesn't stop at magazines. I have 6 sewing machines, 2 sergers, and an embroidery machine. (Have to have a back-up!) I have a knitting machine, weaving loom, quilting stand, and many knitting looms. I have spindles for spinning and hubby is making me a spinning wheel.

The bigger problem is, I have a 3 bedroom ranch and there are 6 of us. Space is VERY limited.

This brings us full circle to the purge part.

If you don't know about Freecycle.org, you should. I don't like to throw away things but I'm great about giving them away.

When the six month rule hits our house ("If you haven't touched it in 6 months, it's outta' here!"), it often hits hard. Patterns that my children have outgrown are often the first to go. I Freecyle them quite often. Clothing? Gone. Children? Oh, I have to keep those. Damned rules of civilized society! (kidding, obviously)

Books... those are harder. I love books. They are like little square people. (I made myself laugh on that one.) I *have* managed to get that one under control. Libraries don't work well for me because I'm so busy, I seldom get to one and when I do, I seldom get back to one so I rack up huge fines. The new library here is probably built on my fines alone. You're welcome.

The good news is, I hate shoes. I really do. I can't think of any use for those damned things aside from keeping my feet warm in the event it actually gets cold here. Foul things. I'm sure one of Dante's levels is nothing but shoes. You don't have to worry about closets of shoes at this house, that's for sure. I'm also of the same mind with purses. My mother and sister love them. They have dozens (and have the nerve to complain about my crafting supplies!). I have tote bags to carry my crafting stuff but I maybe have 3 purses and none of them I bought. They were all gifts. I assume from people feeling sorry for me that I didn't have a purse.

OH!!! But, I should clarify that I LOVE flip flops. If I have to wear shoes, they will be flip flops. My mother bought me these for my birthday (In addition to the second serger.)

Are those not the coolest things you've ever seen? My ribbon collection will love this new craft! See? Now I can get rid of my ribbon AND my beads and buttons! Good move, Mom!

All of this to say, that I've spent the last 16 hours (because OCD's are nothing if not diligent and relentless LOL) cleaning out the garage. Once cleaned, I was able to move book shelves down there and bins of crafting supplies - both of which were living in my dining room/school room. AND the garage is clean! I actually am ABLE to put things down there and they are organized in bins (the other end of the OCD spectrum so I "swing both ways" so to speak. Ahem.)

And you'll never guess what happened. I could BREATHE better! Hubby (being a staunch BuddaChrist) nodded to my Chi comment. A minimalist, he's thrilled to get things out of the house. I often remind him that crack houses are very minimalist - a mattress on the floor and a table, usually. He's not amused. Not everyone appreciates my comic genius, I've found. :oD

Back to the point - as silly as it sounds, I could actually breathe more deeply and think. The clutter was gone - well, almost gone. I still have to work on my bedroom. But, in the immortal words of the "Fly Lady", my sink is clean and I have no hot spots in the living room, dining room, or kitchen now.

I'm hoping to create even more this week. (Create art, I mean) Once I create, I can get rid of things. I use yarn to make a scarf to give away. See how easy that is? I'm putting together a pile of books now that we just aren't going to use for homeschooling. My choice is to Freecycle it, trade it in at our local homeschooling store, or find a friend in need. Truth is, it will be whichever is faster to get it out of my house.

Maybe one day I'll have the house I dream about.

If I can just figure out how to live in Ikea... There's lots of room there to breathe, I'm sure.

Friday, August 22, 2008

If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey...

Even if it has a monkey kind of shape.
If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey.
If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey, it's an ape.

Easily understood in theory... but as Bob is quick to point out, "A comet has a tail."



Not that anything in this blog is cohesive but just so you don't think I've gone COMPLETELY random, I crocheted a monkey this week. :o)


Isn't that adorable? (And notice the tail. That's important in monkeyhood.)

I have to admit I have a weakness for the "strange and unusual" because I, myself, am "strange and unusual." to quote Winona Ryder in Beetlegeuse.

Crocheted zombies. It's so funny and weird. I love it. You know, I'm pro-zombie and I vote.

I like crocheting and knitting weird things. I like to make food, internal organs, and even breasts (even though these are for charitable purposes for women who have had mastectomies).

OH!! Check THIS out!

Hyperbolic Mathematical Coral Reefs in Crochet!

Okay, okay. I get it. I may be one of the only people in the world to think that this is sheer brilliance but to take mathematical equations and apply them to art in such a soft and compelling texture is amazing to me.

I know the marriage of math and art isn't anything new. I'm quite aware of the Golden Ratio and even went so far as to be vain enough (or maybe insecure enough?) to match my face to see if I was mathematically "beautiful". You can do it too. Here.

There is science behind "beauty", it seems. (Of course the science of Clairol and Max Factor help a lot too.) :o)

But sometimes "ugly" is cute too! Crocheted skeletons or knitted monsters have their appeal as well.

Flying Spaghetti Monsters are VERY cute! (May you be blessed by His Noodly Appendage!) This is from Alltoomuch's flickr page, btw. Very talented.

So I guess the addage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure" really is true.

You can think this is beautiful:


And this rose is made entirely of sugar, by the way.

Or you can think THIS is beautiful:



And both be right... although many would look at you as if you were odd if you picked the latter, I'm sure. :o)

Friday, August 15, 2008

4 cakes in one day

Wouldn't it be nice if they were birthday cakes? Well, no, actually I don't think that'd be nice either. I'm not big on cakes since I decorate them as part of my living.

Today, though, I made 4 dummy cakes. What's a dummy cake? It's a cake you give idiots. Not really. :o) It's a Styrofoam cake that you decorate for display. I needed 4 of them to show different techniques. Those cakes you see in bakery windows aren't real so you know. They're nothing but foam and royal icing. Sometimes not even icing. Sometimes it's plaster.

It really cut into my knitting time, though. I'm currently working on a ballet sweater for Katy.

Before you start thinking that I only knit for Katy, that's just not true. I've just been working on things for her as of late. I've actually had this sweater in "storage" for a while because I didn't like the eyelet pattern changes and got tired of it and put it away. It was hibernating. Now it's out, though, and I'm working on the second sleeve now and all I have to do is put it together.

I've spent the day not sewing, as I had hoped, but still getting things done. Little by little my finished projects are finding their way off of the floor or off the baker's rack in the garage and getting done and really, I think it's the blogging that has made me do that. It helps me be accountable to someone (or many someones) that read my blog and in turn, I work harder on my projects.

Hubby is thrilled that little by little things are leaving the house. He is very patient with my SOS and dare I say sometimes enabling!

But I'm getting geared up for the fall - new homeschool year (curriculums are all ordered and ready to go), new Girl Scout year (all designed and ready for action!), and new Little Ladies Book Club year (Latin, creative writing, and books - all taught by me). To that mix, I'm throwing my hat in the ring to try to lead an American Heritage Girl Troop. I've been colaborating with someone I admire greatly who is encouraging me to do this.

Lots of time and not enough to do ... scratch that. Reverse it. Thank you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A present to myself



Today is my 40th birthday. I've received many well-wishes and some of those were rather apologetic.

Truth is, I'm okay with 40. I consider it having a certain amount of clout. I now feel I can tell many a twenty-something to get bent and feel confident in doing so. I've been around twice as long as they have and around the block dozens more times. 40 has the ambiance of a well-seasoned and knowledgeable woman of experience. I like the fit.

Many wonderful things happened today. Lots of fun experiences.

My father showed up at my door (albeit the house was a mess) to deliver about 2 dozen red roses. AW! The note attached wondered how I could be 40 if they (my mother and father) were only 49. I concur. I have very young acting and active parents.

One of my best friends came by with a card and the wonderful gift of sweeping my children away so I could enjoy some solitude... well, almost. Connor at 25 months still isn't ready for outings with people he doesn't know well (i.e. anyone that's not my parents) so Connor and I spent the afternoon making Tollhouse Cookies. Mmmm.

When hubby got home, he took Connor and me out for sushi and to a great chocolate supplier called "The Royal Chocolate" where our waitress was another homeschooler. Nice touch! We sat at the table by the window and enjoyed chocolate fondue. In case you didn't catch that Connor was a new two, we sat at the table by the window and enjoyed chocolate fondue with a TWO YEAR OLD!

It was one of the funniest things I've ever done. There was chocolate all over his face and fingers. Alan and I were laughing so hard we couldn't breathe. Connor sang praises to his "choc" (what he calls chocolate) and then we realized we had drawn a crowd from the passersby on the street.

People walking by in crowds stopped in their tracks, walked ahead to gather the friends who had left them to pull them back to the window, and they laughed at Connor's chocolaty face. It was glorious.

They laughed. Connor laughed. We laughed.

One gentleman stopped with his wife and pretended to lick chocolate through the window. Connor was tickled and fell into a belly laugh that only toddlers seem to be capable of producing.

I couldn't have paid for better birthday entertainment.

To top off the evening, I finished Katy's sweater. I was very proud of myself. No frogging. No mistakes. It's the first non-Amish knitting I've ever done (Amish women intentionally have mistakes in their work because only God is perfect. I PRETEND mine were intentional.)

Katy's New Sweater

This pattern was super easy and uber quick. I'm ready to cast on another one! This was that "Drive Thru" sweater I mentioned before in one of my last posts.

I'll be working on some sewing next, though. I'm going to make a business card holder and a wallet. Maybe even a couple of totes.

... now off to enjoy some Key Lime Pie (my other favorite dessert!)

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear knowledgeable/experienced/wise woman of fortyyyyyyyyyyyyy, happy birthday to me!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shelley's Road Trip Activities and Creative Prompts for Road Travel Entertainment

I spent the Friday, yesterday, and today knitting Katy's sweater. One sleeve done. One sleeve half done. The body done. I just need to finish the sleeve and do the yoke.

While driving to Kerr Dam yesterday, my goal was to knit, knit, knit. To keep the children occupied, I made activity books for them.

This may sound ordinary. I mean, who doesn't have tic-tac-toe, battleship, or car bingo ready to go on a road trip? I don't do those kinds of activity books - lest you've forgotten who you're reading.

Welcome to Shelley's Road Trip Activities and Creative Prompts for Road Travel Entertainment. Yeah, they'll never fit that on a cereal box. Let's just call it the "Roadside Creativity Book".

Each child gets a sketch book and a composition book. Keep in mind my children (that write) are 7, 11, and 14. I need to make sure that the assignments can be done on many age levels.

I must admit that the assignments are spontaneous but I will try to recall some of them for you.


Assignments start with the announcement, "Pencils at the ready?" or "Colored pencils at the ready?" or whatever writing implement or craft item they will be using. I don't tell them ahead of time because half the fun is searching through their bags for the correct implement.

Well, I guess that means I need to back up and tell you what's in the bag, huh?

I have 4 children. 3 participate. Those of you with multiples know that while the idea of sharing is important, it's really a good idea for them to each have a bag. That way we're not all fighting over the black marker. (That's ALWAYS the one they seem to be fighting over.) Trust me when I say that life goes easier when everyone has their own black marker. Feel free to quote me on that.


Bag Contents:

  • Pipsqueak markers
  • Crayola 64 count colored pencils (the tiny ones)
  • Mechanical pencils (no sharpeners or shavings in the car)
  • Twistables crayons (YES, TWISTABLES!!! This keeps you from having broken crayons)
  • Aluminum foil (a cheap roll) one for each child
  • Colored pipe cleaners
  • Small sandwich bag of beads
  • Hemp cording (I originally just had "hemp" down there but I know how some of you are LOL)
  • 4 skeins of embroidery floss
  • Scissors
  • Clip board (I like the ones that are like a box that opens)
So where are we going to go? Because that's an important question in the scheme of the "Roadside Creativity Book". Let's say we're taking a 3 hour trip to a working farm. That'll be easy (especially since I've done it.)

Pencils at the ready?

Name 10 people that live in the town of "Sourville". (Or whatever small town name that strikes you as funny.)

The thought is that this will take about 10 - 20 minutes. We want first and last names. Since I'm from the South, it is of particular importance for me to point out to the children that many names are really two FIRST names, "Sally June", "Billy Ray", "Ida Claire", etc. (Don't laugh about the last one. I really have known women...)

This sets up the characters of their story that they don't know they're writing yet. Aha! Tricky AND educational. Don't you just love it?!?

I have each of them read them aloud to me (and hubby) when they're done.

"Great job! I feel like I know the town's folk already! Pencils at the ready?!?!"

"Pick one of the names on your list and tell me a bit about him or her."

Another 15 - 20 minutes will go by. They then read them aloud again.

"Jake? Meet "Sally Fay". Caleb? Meet "Johnny Earl". Katy? Meet "Bubba Jenkins". " I announce.

"Jake? Sally Fay just baked you the sweetest sweet potato pie you ever did have." said in my best Southern drawl. "Describe that pie so I feel like I'm eating every bite right along with you." and I bat my eyelashes.

"Caleb? Bubba Jenkins just stole the pie that Sally Fay REALLY baked for YOU. Tell me about how you're gonna' git in your pickup truck and drive down yonder a piece and give him a piece of yer mind." I tell him.

"Katy? Johnny Earl's gonna' ask you to marry him but you can't stand that he smells like pigs. I mean, he IS a pig farmer and all. Let him know that you can't marry a man who smells like a dead skunk on a hot summer day by thinking up things he smells like." I smile.

Katy is giggling so hard she can't breathe. "You smell like a dirty diaper that's been left in the sun next to a fish factory." I hear her saying.

This takes them a bit longer - maybe 30 minutes or so. This gives me time to look around at the scenery and notice things about the landscape for our next "assignment".

I'VE GOT IT! There are signs all over the place that you just don't see in the city. Yellow caution signs with tractors on them, deer crossing signs, those types of things.

When they are finished and have read their hilarious scenarios, I let them know that the Mayor of Sourville just called me and they need some help in city planning. No one will come to work in the middle of a feud between Sally Fay, Bubba Jenkins, and Johnny Ray so they're asking for outside help.

They need a sign to warn people of the dangers of being out in a rural area. Can they help?

"Crayons at the ready?!?!" Sketch pads open furiously. They can't draw fast enough. They are laughing, hiding their pictures from each other, and asking me questions like, "Do they have armadillos here?" (No, they don't, btw.) I think if I were going to draw a sign it would be a yellow caution sign with a dead skunk and those wavy lines coming off of it. THAT'S a smell that lingers, let me tell you! Whew! It smells like a stinky sneaker left in a pile of rotting cabbage near a sulfur spring. (Tell me *I* couldn't have helped Sally Fay along!)

The other items in the bag are for friendship bracelets (that they usually end up giving each other, aw!) and pipe cleaner animals.

The writing prompts are usually a favorite, though.

"Pencils at the ready?!?!" They eagerly look for their mechanical pencils, rummaging through the back seat.

"A haiku about an outhouse."

Roars of laughter and I see them immediately start counting syllables on their fingers.

My children love to write and they love to perform for us. This keeps them (and us) occupied and entertained with something new all of the time.

"Children? There's a new species of fern just discovered. It's properties are known to kill bacteria and foul odors. Perfect for growing around outhouses. I need you to describe it, name it, draw it, and yes, plant it. Trust me. COLORED PENCILS AT THE READY?!?!" And they're off! Drawing pictures, cross sections, seeds, root systems, and descriptions that would make any Victorian botanist proud.

Some "assignments" are more serious than others. Once, when taking a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, they drew pictures of the mountains in the distance and wrote poems about God. If you've ever been there, you'd have to admit you feel very close to the Creator while atop the mountains in the middle of a cloud.

I'll have them look just at the tree tops and describe what they see (since we typically only look straight ahead as humans.) I'll have them draw the forest floors.

This is usually only interrupted by me yelling, "SASQUATCH! QUICK! WRITE AN ARTICLE ON HOW TO GET AWAY!"

..... "Pencils at the ready?"

P.S. If you put a comment in the comment box, I'll let you know what the aluminum foil is for. ;o)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thing a Day

I should start by saying ,"It's my birthday month!" because Leos don't have birthDAYS, they have birthMONTHS! :oD

For my birthmonth, I'm trying to do something creative every day.

Drive Thru Sweater Pattern (picture from pattern)

I cast on a sweater today that I just love and I love it for several reasons.

It's made with worsted so it's fast
It's on size 8 needles so it's fast
It's based on EZ's math so it will make sense
The pattern comes with sizes from toddler to teen
It's only FIVE BUCKS!

You can find the pattern here.

The designer is SUPER nice and I got my pattern so quickly that I'm embarrassed to say that after my impatience of getting the pattern, I only cast on today.

Regardless, in less than 1/2 hour, I had already done the ribbing for a size 8 sweater. YAY!

I'll take a break at sometime today to do a quick craft that I can post here but the sweater is my ongoing project for a while (along with the Noah's Ark pattern).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Meatless Meat Loaf - a delicious oxymoron


A few days ago, I teased a friend of mine that instead of taking payment for something, she could find a meatless meatloaf recipe for me. I first made this about 20 years ago and lost the recipe. Through the bolean searches of which I am Queen of Bolean LOL, I happened to find it.

However, I like mine a little more "meaty" tasting so I added a little bit to the recipe here and there. I will put the additions and changes in asterisks so you can omit them if you wish.

Veggie Meatloaf
(or as we call it, "Mushloaf" for the mushrooms not the consistency) :o)

This is a variation of the recipe from Vegetarian Nights by Bonnie Mandoe

1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cups grated **extra sharp** Cheddar cheese (the original recipe calls for regular Cheddar Cheese)
1/2 cup wheat germ or seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup FINELY chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped mushrooms (**portabellos are the best in this, I think**)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup minced green pepper
6 beaten eggs (the original recipe calls for 5 but it falls apart with so few)
2 Tbsp. Shoyu (soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. sage
** 1 tsp. minced garlic**
** 1/4 A-1 sauce**
** 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce**
** 1/2 cup ketchup to coat the top of veggie loaf**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients and press into buttered 9-inch loaf pan. Coat top with ketchup. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until firm. Serves 6.

I tell you, this is DELICIOUS! The consistency and appearance are spot on! You will never know you're not eating hamburger, I promise.

My friend that I told you about, Shez, has never eaten meat. If she makes this, she'll know exactly what hamburgers and meatloaf taste like. :o)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Two-fer

Today you get a two-fer-one of my blog posts plus a little extra thrown in for fun.

This is the cake I made for our pastor's retirement. Yes, I know, you've never seen chocolate praying hands before. I know. I heard it about 7,000 times that day. :o)

Anyway, I don't usually do fancy cakes in chocolate like that except for groom's cakes because believe it or not - there are people in the world that don't like chocolate. I know. I gasped too. Now, I'm not one for eugenics but wow, anti-chocolate eaters? Wait a minute. If THEY don't eat it, it means more for US! Nevermind.

Anyway, my pastor and his wife LOVE chocolate and I was only too happy to oblige.

I can't tell you how it tasted even though others raved. You see, I don't like berries with the exception of grapes. (Yes, they are a berry. Look it up.)

Feel free to comment. I've noticed I have a few hundred hits on my blog and no one ever comments. Well, a few do but it's grossly disproportionate to the people who view it.

Now for the fun (as if chocolate cakes weren't enough fun, I mean.)

A Meme.

Name six things that people don't know about you. Then feel free to tag 6 people. I'm tagging my friends Shez, Tina, Alan, Jake, Yvonne, and AD.

1) I eat M&Ms one color at a time and in pairs. Odd M&Ms have to be split or given away.

2) I am an expert at picking up things with my feet.

3) When I was younger, my secret wish was to sing like Olivia Newton John (I'm so embarrassed I admitted that!)

4) I love crochety old people. I swear I do. They are funny and at 90, they DESERVE to be crochety! The meaner they are, the more I like them.

5) I used to be able to drink a Navy chief under the table. Really. I don't do it anymore (since having children) but I used to be able to do that whole scene from Indiana Jones.

6) I don't have a gag reflex unless I'm holding a writing pen in my mouth like how people would hold an arrow in their mouth in the old Westerns.

Esne Elephantus?

Elephant Pieces Before

If you're not familiar with Alan Dart's knitting patterns, you're surely missing out on a treat. They are fun, whimsical, detailed, and so much more than normal toy patterns.

I'm working on the Noah's Ark pattern and I must say - this is *NOT* a project for someone suffering from SOS. I say this because those of us who suffer from SOS also suffer from SSS (second sock syndrome). The first sock is fun and new and is quick to knit up. Then there's that dreaded second sock. You've btdt but you HAVE to finish - unless you're a pirate and only need one sock.

It's that MANDATE of making another that bums you out and makes the project less enticing and dare I say, I get a little resentful of it.

Well, it doesn't take a biblical scholar to know that Noah's animals came two by two and this is the rub.

While I've finished ONE elephant, I now know that I have to do another one... emphasis on the "have to".

Still, I want to make this. I'm torn between it being a gift for Connor (but he has so many stuffed animals already) and it being an item for my church to sell at our Christmas Bazaar (where it won't fetch NEARLY the amount it will be worth upon completion.) Sigh. A conundrum.
Elephant Pieces After

So, a little bit of trivia. Did you know that a Noah's Ark toy was the ONLY toy with which Colonial and Victorian children were allowed to play? As you can imagine, it became very popular very fast.

And by the way, if you're wondering what "Esne Elephantus" means, it's asking, "Are you an elephant?" Who says Latin isn't useful? :o)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Crafting for God


In a round about way, anyway.

I realized I'd spent too much time the last few blog posts ranting and not enough positive energy was being sent out. I'm hoping to fix that. I don't really want this to be a ranting blog although you'll have to indulge me and my moods every now and then.

This week's crafting took on a more holy flair. :o) I had to make a skirt for Katy's worship dance. At first, I was told I needed to have a skirt for her. After I bought the fabric and made one, they told me they had them if I needed one. I love when people are organized. LOL Actually, I don't want to take anything away from this camp. It was wonderful, the people were great, and I'm sure I misunderstood the skirt directions. The volunteers put together a spectacular performance of nothing but CHILDREN in FOUR days. I was blown away.

So I had to make a circle panel skirt. This was easy enough in theory but I can't work on theory (ask my Geometry teacher from days of yore. She'll tell you.) I have to have a pattern to do things. I just do. My girlfriend teases me that I had to have a pattern for a scrunchie. Sad but true.

I measure her waist to ankle - 27 inches. I measure her waist - 21 inches. This is a semi circle cut on the fold with a smaller semi circle cut out for the opening (the opening is half of the waist measurement and about 2 inches deep at the center). All I need is a waistband, right? Well, yes, but it was more difficult for me than that. I will say that I didn't have to buy more fabric, the waistband fit perfectly, and I only cut once. It was a success! (Perhaps a little Divine Intervention in there?)

A quick serge around the waist to secure the waistband and it was good to go. I was rather proud of myself.

I was also asked to help next year. I think I will. I was very impressed with the whole thing and look forward to being a part of it.

Here's the whole ensemble in her class:Katy as the "Holy Spirit"