Friday, October 31, 2008

A Spooky Little Drinky-Poo

Happy Halloween! My completed Black Apple doll (from the kit I bought a few weeks ago) turned out perfectly, I think! She is all set for tonight, with her ghosty fabric and her pumpkin.
I meant to share this with you all yesterday, but I forgot. is the recipe for a nice "adult" Fall beverage. Enjoy!
Apple Pie Drink
1 gallon apple cider
1/2 gallon apple juice
3 -4 cups sugar (I used 4, and it is VERY sweet. If you don't like it so sugary, use 3 or less)
4 or 5 cinnamon sticks
Mix above ingredients in 8 qt pot, and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 15 minutes. Cool down and strain. Mix in 1/5th of Vodka or Everclear. Refrigerate 24 hours (I think 6 hours would suffice if you don't have enough time).
☺This can be served cold or warm. If you want to eliminate the alcohol to make it kid-friendly, I would just mix in an equal amount of water (which would be around 3 cups)☺
My cannibalistic pumpkin from last year!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall in line..

(The spectacular maple outside my kitchen window... try as I might, I couldn't capture the lime greens, oranges, reds, and yellows. It is just too pretty for photos!)


Wow...I sure have been slacking on my blog-thing, huh? I have been busy with mundane tasks. I am trying to get Brianna's Toodee costume situated, and it is pretty cheesy. I will (reluctantly) show it to you after Halloween tomorrow ☺

Last night was pretty nice, so we decided to go for a bike ride to the local park. I guess we take it for granted, but the view from the park across the river is sooo pretty. Can you see the benches lining this raised area. People love to go sit and watch the water. I have also seen people with guitars, singing softly to themselves. If I was an artist, I would definitely fancy this as an inspirational place!

This is the actual view across the river from one of the surprisingly comfy benches. I am sitting in Iowa, but the trees you see on the other side of the Mississippi are in Illinois. A mile or two up the river, you would be able to look across and see the Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, IL.

Earlier in the summer, someone started carving this dead tree, near the benches, into an eagle. I noticed last night that it is done finally, and it looks pretty cool, huh?

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Beggar's Night! Being Friday, you are free to party all night ☺

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Re-Tote!

Happy Saturday, evening! The girls are at my parents tonight, so I have been working on switching the summer/winter clothes out, and I made part of Brianna's Toodee costume (more on that later).
Last week on Inside Edition, there was a segment on free samples, coupons, etc. They interviewed a woman named Heather from . You have got to check out this site! She compiles links to great coupons, freebies, etc. that are legit. I printed out $1 coupons for cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios and Kelloggs), and was able to use them, along with my local sales, to get $28 worth of cereal for $3.50!! That was 8 boxes, and we ♥ cereal in this house.
This site is just jam-packed with good stuff, and I found a link tonight for a really cool thing. I just had to share it with you all. We all ♥♥♥ Target, right? Well, I guess they are recycling used Target shopping bags into reusable totes. If you send in 5 used bags by 11/30, you get a coupon for a free tote ! How cool! If you don't want to buy People magazine, you can just send the bags (and your mailing info) to: TerraCycle, 121 New York Ave., Trenton, NJ 08638

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And the Winner Is...

WOOT! We have a winner ☺ All of the entries were put on slips of paper, mixed up in a bowl, and the random number generator told me that the 9th one to be pulled out was the winner... congrats to Sunnie Fairy! Please email me your shipping info to . I will get your prize package gathered together and sent out to you ☺ Thanks to all of my blog friends, both new and old, for playing along. Seeing your comments on my blog, and reading your blogs, makes me super-happy!
Well, by this point you have obviously met my new little friend. I adapted the pattern from one of the old "Workbasket" magazines I spoke of a while back. The original pattern is over 30 years old! Back in the day, people had to draw a graph of 1 inch blocks and recopy the pattern to scale, by hand! I was able to do some mathematics and use my scanner to do the dirty work for me.

The original pattern is supposed to be a duck, but I think it looks more like a swan. I think of her as the original "Ugly Duckling"... she just doesn't fit in with the ducks, but she is just so very beautiful and charming in her own way.
(Sorry about the junky photos...and the fact that the feet are not yet is getting late and I wanted to get this posted yet today!)
She is made from a heavy-weight black vinyl, with safety eyes and hand sewn/embroidered features. Working with the vinyl was a new experience, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. Although you have to be careful not to poke it too much, it is very easy to cut and obviously doesn't fray. I filled her bottom half with a good measure of rice, so she is weighted quite nicely. She would look sooo great on a bookshelf, desk, etc. She will be ending up in my shop soon, hopefully with a white counterpart.
My goodness, this long day is drawing to a close...and I can hardly believe that tomorrow is Friday again. Off to sleep!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Foam and Vinyl

Another cold, dreary day. Brianna's preschool class is supposed to go to the pumpkin patch tomorrow (and I am a driver/chaperone), but it will be canceled if it is rainy. The chance is 70%, so odds are we won't be going :-(
Sunday evening, I decided to let Brianna make a simple, fun little craft with me. I found this cute foam pilgrim kit at Jo-Ann in the $1 Deals. I would put the hot glue on the pieces, and she would stick them on. Then when we finished, I let her draw on his face. I think she did a pretty good job for a 4 year old!
I am pretty excited about a project I started yesterday afternoon. Working on the pattern was a bit nerve-wracking because I was scared it wouldn't work out right. But a huge sigh of is awesome ☺ This particular shiny black softie still needs the finishing touches, but she wanted to peek in and say hello:
Can you guess what she is?
Don't worry, you should see the finished product tomorrow afternoon when I let her announce the winner of the Autumn Amigurumi Give-Away!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tag sale!

So, I have been tagged by miss Sunnie Fairy! I am going to bend the rules a bit, since some of the people that I would have "tagged" have already been. SO... if you are reading this, I am officially tagging YOU! Yes, you ☺ Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, so now for my factoids:

  1. I actually have a mild case of obsessive-complusive disorder. There is a certain order in which I clean the house, and it is very hard for me to alter what I do (or I lose concentration). Whenever I eat a tv dinner (which isn't too often anymore), I have a specific order in which I have to eat the items. I'm a weirdo, yes ☺

  2. I am board-certified in wound care, which is something I always had a fascination with while in school.

  3. I HATE to drive...especially after dark.

  4. I am 28...and would have mostly white hair if I didn't dye it.

  5. I LOVE to cook and make up new recipes... and chopping vegetables is quite fun to me.

  6. I am a closet-geek... if I had had the chance, I would have sooo gotten into Dungeons & Dragons in my younger years.

  7. My freshman year of college, I went to school with David Broom, who ended up being on MTV's Real World a year later. He was quite friendly and we had to work on a speech project together once.... but when I saw him on tv, he was a total jerk it seemed.

Don't Forget! I will be drawing a winner for the Autumn Contest on Thursday, so every comment through Wednesday will get you an entry ☺☺☺

Friday, October 17, 2008

CRAZY cute craftin'!!!

Ah, Friday! What a great day of the week ☺ Not sure what we are doing this weekend, but my daughter's school carnival is going on, as well as a free hotdog roast/kids craft and game day at the local park. We went to both last year (they just happen to be on the same day), and it was great fun. BUT we may end up going to Quincy to return stuff/buy stuff at Lowe's for this silly old house. Plus, an old friend is supposed to be in town with her brand new little baby boy. I guess it will just be played by ear ☺

Oh, by the way... I got my FIRST etsy sale on Wednesday night. I am super-happy about that! I hope this great person loves the girl kitty, which was sent off first thing yesterday morning. I have two more kitties made and in need of clothing, still. I really should get on that!


What a yummy-looking breakfast, huh? I got to tell you, this lady's work is blowing my mind right now. I recently discovered KTBdesigns while searching etsy for amigurumi patterns. Most of the really well-known crochet artists, like Ana Paula (whom I TOTALLY admire), specialize mainly in adorable, kawaii animals/people and the like. On the other hand, KTB designs does inanimate-type objects, like crocheted dishes, pans, food, tools, etc... and does them crazily-good! I like how interactive and imaginative the final product would be with the kids. One way or another, you HAVE to visit her etsy shop.

Hopefully when we make our Lowe's run this weekend, I can go track down some vinyl fabric to do a couple of special projects ☺ AND I need to clean my craft -area, since I can't seem to find anything I need! I always go into the weekend with big plans, but never get anything accomplished. LOL Regardless, it is getting mighty chilly here, so I may just be trying to stay warm.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To relist... or not?

Another rainy day here today...and I love it! I finished up a special something for a trade with one of my e-pals (*hush* don't tell her!), and it is particularly squishy and cute. More about that later ;-)
I have had some etsy listings expire in the past month or so, and I am contemplating whether to relist the items or not. It isn't the 20 cent fee, really... just a little frustrating/disappointing to put a lot into making a special something, and it just sits in the shop. I have asked for critiques on the forum, and everyone tells me my prices are good and my stuff is cute, etc. I guess I just got in on etsy at a crappy economical time, as it seems everyone's sales are down.
So many of my blog's readers and dear e-friends are crafty &/or like crafts, so I want your opinions☺

This tiny little felted-wool bunny, along with the chick, were the first two things I listed on etsy. I had intended for them to be on before Easter, but didn't get them finished in time. I had this little guy listed at $10.

I just ♥ this little guy... maybe I should just keep him. He is tiny like the bunny, but his legs and wings are movable. I had him listed at $8.

This is one of my Boo-Boo Baby creations. They are like a pillow doll, but I made them with special velcro pockets in the back to hold tissues, thermometer, ice pack, etc. They each have a matching blanket, as well.

I searched etsy for a similar type of toy/design for my own daughters before I realized I could just make my own!

The faces are painted with fabric paint, since at some time these little guys will need a gentle washing (germs!).

The backside shows the pockets and tissue opening. I had these listed at $16 each.

Sooo... what do you think? Worth relisting? Do I need to change anything, prices, etc.?
I totally value your important input

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crafty Bits

Hello! I am just now recovering from the weekend. First of all, Friday night's ribs were quite tasty (and messy!). After the 2 hours in the oven, they looked a bit anemic. Therefore, I decided to send them to the grill-sauna for that last 30 minutes of cooking to perk them up a bit. I bathed them in a good amount of delicious K.C. Masterpiece, and tossed them on over indirect heat. I remember Martha once describing the perfect ribs as having a "beautiful rich mahogany color." I know what she means!

And for dessert, ooey-gooey carmel apples ♥

On Saturday morning, hubby/FIL/BIL worked on putting the new windows in our living room. While they were doing that, MIL duped me into helping make pies for the church's bazaar. The making wasn't so bad, but I had to take the girls with me. They were good for a while, but then Bella got totally restless and I had to have Daddy come get her and take her home for a nap. We worked almost 5 hours on the pies, and made 40 apple and 20 rhubarb. We didn't finish though! There are still peach, blueberry, and cherry to make.

Of course, the guys didn't think to cover anything in the living room when doing the window stuff. So Sunday was spent on my hands and knees cleaning the plaster-dust off of every square inch of the living room... woodwork, floors, furniture. EVERYTHING! Not a happy girl. But, having the new windows in is a very good thing!

This would be the amigurumi frog I am working on for Bella's stocking. I started his final arm last night as I watch DVR-ed Martha episodes and listened to the wonderful rain through my new window. It was quite relaxing. Once I finish him up and give him a mouth, I can start on the "toad frog" for Brianna. Same pattern, just brown yarn ☺

Does this fellow look familiar to anyone? Over on the Gabba Friends board, I half-jokingly mentioned a petition for a DJ Lance Rock doll (similar to the Pee-Wee Herman doll of my youth), and now there is an actual petition up and running! How cool is that? Parker Jacobs seems down with the idea, it is just getting one of the licensers to pick it up. Still, how can you exclude such an important, pivotal character such as DJ Lance from your merchandise line-up??

Anyway... there was talk of making a Gooble doll, and I am totally up for that challenge! Gooble is sort of a depressed, cameo-character on YGG. I suppose he looks like the albino love-child of Muno and Brobee, and he cries a lot. So yesterday, I went looking for white vinyl to attempt a Gooble. None was found, but I did find some funky white remnant fabric for less than $1. It reminds me of stuff that someone's grandma's pants might be made from. In the long-run it was too thin/stretchy, making the stuffing look too lumpy. He also appears to have huge pectoral muscles, which is just disturbing. Anyway, I think I got the jist of him down. A tweak here and there of the pattern, and a change of the fabric, and I think he should be Christmas-worthy!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy x ☺☺☺ (part 3)

My mind is in a much better place this past week... possibly due to the face that my MIL hasn't talked to me since Sunday. LOL But seriously, thanks for all of your kind thoughts and prayers. You will never know how much that has really lifted my spirits!

By request, I will share with you a photo of the great dolls I had the inexplicable luck in purchasing during the last Black Apple update. Don't worry, I will not be a "Greedy Gus"... although I would love to have a Sophie someday, I will not be attempting to get another doll for some time. But I am sure I will be tempted at the next update...grrr!
Here they are, taking advantage of the antique chair that I recently recovered the seat. Looking at them makes me so happy. I didn't expect the Sleepy Sam to be sooo much bigger than the little doll!
And I received the VERY special Christmas present that I pre-ordered way back at the beginning of August! Here is Dance Time Brobee, still hiding away in the Toys R Us box. I want to push his button SOOOOOOO bad, but I must not...
I found some Yo Gabba shirts and sweatshirts at Wal-Mart today. Yippee! Those will help in making the girls into their favorite characters (Toodee and Brobee) for Halloween. Speaking of Halloween, two of my favorite soft-sculpting artists sent out emails today of their impending updates! These fine ladies would be Jennifer Murphy and Jenn Docherty . How I covet their cute little works of art! Check them out.
Tonight I will make a rack'o'ribs for the first time ever. Not sure why I haven't made them before, but I received some in a meat parcel I what the heck! I rubbed them down with a mixture of salt, sugar, paprika, and a little cajun seasoning and steak seasoning. I plan to cook them low and slow in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or so, turning up the heat and putting barbeque sauce on during the last 30 minutes or so. We shall see how they turn out!
Hope everyone has a great weekend! My husband will be working on replacing the living room windows, and I would like to get started on a few crafty ventures!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Metallic Taste (Happy Things, part 2)

Lately, the weather has been turning quite fall-ish! We have been working on replacing windows in the house, and now I finally have some that can actually open (as opposed to the ones that are painted shut). What a nice treat to have fresh, cool air circulating around the home. This MIGHT have spurred Brianna's and my recent obsession with popcorn and hot chocolate ☺

I have realized that some of my favorite, most memory-laden objects are in my kitchen. When I was a very small girl, I remember eating popcorn with my grandma from a large, red anodized aluminum bowl. It was THE popcorn bowl. Just the right size, and the metal absorbed just enough heat to make it a very toasty thing to have on your lap. When she passed away last year, that was the thing I wanted most. Now, Brianna immediately gets this bowl from it's place as soon as she hears the popcorn going!

I have a fond memory of my other grandma, who passed away in 2005. When I was probably 8 or so, she had a box of "junk" that she had bought somewhere (garage sale, auction, or the like). She told me she was giving the stuff away. Immediately, I saw this set of little bright, colorful metallic bowls and cups. I made it clear that these were to be mine! Well, everyone who saw these little treasures wanted them, but she laughingly said that I had already spoken for them!

Although mismatched pieces of this set are stung around my parents house, I did buy a beautiful vintage set of these colorful, anodized aluminum glasses with caddy on eBay several years ago.

They are heavenly and frosty on the scorching Summer days! You can buy a non-vintage set of these here .

Since the trend in the last few days has been toward hot chocolate (or in Brianna's case, "cold hot chocolate), I will show you my favorite mug...which also happens to be metal. I bought a set of these from Old Navy when I was in college because I thought they were cute. But now I ♥ them because one of these enameled mugs will hold twice as much hot chocolate as my Fiestaware mugs! Mmmm...try mixing a packet of dark chocolate mix with a packet of milk chocolate with marshmallows. YUM! I enjoyed a nice, big mug as I worked on mending my husband's work jeans today.


I know I haven't talked much about lately about my crafty ventures. I did get my project finished, with Brianna's help, for Bunzi's Monthly Makings the nick of time! I have put the amigurumi aside (temporarily) to work on a scarflet. We made a point to finish watching "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" before the debate tonight, and I worked on it then.

Only a few more inches to go, then I will be done! More pictures to follow. (By the way, "Zohan" was highly funny).

ps...I have received a couple of packages this week that have made me VERY HAPPY, indeed. Maybe I will post some photos tomorrow to elaborate on this ☺

Good night!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Things that Make Me Happy ☺ part 1

First off, thanks to all of you that let me vent and gave me some feedback/moral support on my little "issue" from last post. Just an update on that scenario... while Monday was bad, Wednesday was even worse. I will spare you the details, but Miss Brianna will not have to suffer the stress of swimming class any least until she is older and is READY for it. My philosophy is that a birthday gift should not cause you undue stress or anxiety... agreed?

Besides all of the ruckus related to the aforementioned swimming nightmare, the rest of my week was pretty crappy also. I have finally acknowledged and accepted that my (unwanted) return to the working-world will be a coming reality. With the economy, rises in the cost of EVERYTHING, and a dwindling savings account (thanks to our fixer-upper house), it is just going to have to happen. Too bad I can't find an at-home job... but they all seem to be scams. In my field (nursing), the hours tend to be long and unpredictable, which sucks while caring for a family. I have been praying like crazy for guidance, or even a MIRACLE, to help me cope. Any thoughts/prayers from my cyber-buddies would be much appreciated

So, enough with the depressing, boo-hoo talk! Now that I have that off my chest, I am going to choose to be as happy as I can be. In doing so, I want to share a few things that make me happy:

I love the smell of freshly-chopped herbs, and the crisp sound as my knife glides through them.

Mmmm... and I love sneaking a piece of delicious pepperoni when no one is looking!

Mostly, I ♥ the smell of a fresh-from-the-oven, homemade pizza...and eating it is pretty special, too!
I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier.... but I moved my favorite Black Apple print into the kitchen, where I can enjoy it all of the time. I know, all of us BA fans say we have a new favorite with each new batch of paintings (myself included). However, this really is my all-time favorite because it moves me sooo much! I think I saw this print on etsy before I ever saw Emily on Martha or knew anything about her. This would be the lovely Terrarium print , and the inscription on it reads:
"If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world & give it heavy walls."
What a wonderful sentiment! I hope God gives me the grace to start living my life this way ☺