Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mama Chocolate Bunny


Mama Chocolate Bunny
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
This is Mama Chocolate Bunny. She's looking kind of tired today. Despite looking kicky in her new apron, her curvy parts are not as curvy as they once were and she's also kind of lumpy.

She's also a little frustrated, since she went in to make something yummy for dessert and realized that it's hard to stir when you have no arms.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Easter goodies

In an effort to stay away from candy, I made these finger puppets yesterday for the kids' Easter baskets.

I can't take any credit for their adorable design, however. That would belong to the extremely talented (and gracious) cherylasmith, who sells finger puppets on etsy. Here's her shop. You should definitely check out what she's offering. The octopus is unbelievable!

While these are pretty much direct copies of hers (although maybe not executed quite as well), my plan is to branch out into people.

We'll have to see how that works out.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Weekend Treasures

What a productive day! So far I've worked at the elementary school rummage sale (with limited success -- I only got a booster seat for the car) and we've gone to the local high school garage sale (400+ families! Who could resist that??). At that sale, which was much bigger, I got a book for Nate, this red fabric for a quarter, and a great craft book for kids!

We also ate at Chick-fil-A last night for dinner, and the kids got these great books in their kids' meals: the "Crafts from the Past" series!! CRAFTS from the PAST! Two of my favorite interests! So far we've only gotten the Aztec crafts and the one for the Greeks. I told Tim it's his personal responsibility to eat enough chicken sandwiches to get me the remaining two books in the series -- the Egyptians and the VIKINGS! As the great-granddaughter of Norwegians, I am dying for that last one.

I've also made a batch of cookies, visited with my sister, and finished a little friend for Hattie's favorite pal, "Bunny Baby," aka the bunny from Goodnight Moon. Here Bunny Baby is with his book, his little friend, and another friend who can't resist being in the picture.

Lots of treasures at our house!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Not sure about this Party

This is the book Nate and I are reading right now. It was mine when I was about his age, and I vaguely remembered it being a story about pioneers.

A reviewer on Amazon had this to say about it:

Bread and Butter Journey, by Anne Colver, is a masterpiece in children's literature. It is perfect for any age. Bread and Butter Journey is a great story that illustrates the hardships early pioneers experienced on the pioneer trail. It is a story of one girl's struggles as she leaves her home, deep in the Philadelphia Mountains because her father feels it is his duty to help expand the borders of the newly formed United States by settling the West. She, her friends Tess and Trudy, and their mothers must travel hundreds of miles, with her fifteen year old brother to lead them, to the houses their fathers have already built on the frontier. On the trail she and her friends experience fear, illness, and sadness due to loss. Their emotions are extremely clear. There are few other books that are as clear, realistic, and well-written as Bread and Butter Journey. It is one of my favorites.

When I read it in the mid-70's, I didn't attach any special significance to the fact that the last name of 2 of those 3 little girls you see on the cover is Donner.

Yikes! But surely I would have remembered if it was those Donners!

(No comments please about how this is a book about girls. Pioneer stories are not "girly.")

________________________________________________________________________________________

Edited to add: Fortunately these Donners all made it to their destination safe and sound. I have to question, however, the author's selection of names for this fictional family!



Monday, March 20, 2006

Introducing Geranium

This is Geranium. She's the third bunny to join our crew. As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew this fabric would be perfect, but I wanted to practice a couple of times before I used it. Sure enough, I think this is the best bunny yet.

I figured out a new trick to use when embroidering her face. On the other ones I'd been using a chain stitch to do their mouths, but today I finally realized that I could put the needle all the way through to the other side of her mouth and go back and forth that way, instead of having a bunch of hitchy-looking stitches all on one side and then the other. No doubt this is an old trick that many people already know, but I had to figure it out by myself. I think it turned out to be much easier with a better result.

Her front is a napkin I bought in a stack of linens at a flea market last fall. I got the print fabric at a quilting shop a long time ago. It's not vintage, but it's from a retro line. You can see from this close-up why I HAD to use it on one of these bunnies!

Please ignore all the junk behind the sewing machine. Sadly, this is what our dining room table has looked like for the last 6 months. Well, except for on Thanksgiving, when I jammed everything into a laundry basket and stashed it all on top of the washing machine.

It all came out again a few days later. Now this table is kind of like an archaeological dig of every project I've touched since then. Good thing we really only ever eat at the kitchen table.

If you want to see all the bunnies together, they're here on flickr. There may be more to come.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pearl meets Henry

This is Pearl. She's bunny #2 from Hillary's pattern. Right now she's hanging out with Henry, who is not working today because it's Saturday.

And here's a back view:

For Henry I used some gray fleece, which is a breeze to work with. For Pearl I used some old fleece I'd bought years ago to make someone a sheep costume. It is very fuzzy fabric. And much harder to sew with. The fuzz kept getting in my way. And embroidering was a nightmare. I finally used some felt for her nose. And I had to trim the fuzz around her eyes because they kept getting buried.

I'm going to use a flea market napkin for the next bunny. With luck that will work better. And I have fleece in more fun colors, so I can make more bunnies. If I actually get around to making those other bunnies, it looks like the neighbor kids might be getting bunnies for Easter too!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bird in the what??

Yesterday morning I left Nate inside with Hattie, who was finishing her breakfast, while I went outside to put Charlotte on the schoolbus.

When I came back in, Nate said, "Mom, guess what? There's a bird in the house!"

Thinking he was playing a game, I didn't believe him, but then he pointed into the living room, where a BIRD was indeed flying around the living room and sitting on the back of my couch.

GAAAK!!!!

That's right, there was a BIRD. IN MY HOUSE.

Now, I know lots of people like birds. I like birds okay. But I'm not what you might call a bird lover. I like them all right, when they're in their proper places, like the tops of trees. I like to hear them sing in the morning. And I like stylistic pictures of them. As decoration.

I don't really like to SEE them. Especially IN MY HOUSE.

I have always thought birds were kind of yucky up close. Besides being disease carriers (I'm not even talking about bird flu), they have beady little eyes, sharp little beaks and sharp little feet. And they are indiscriminate about where they relieve themselves. Too frequently the only birds I see up close are dead ones. NO THANK YOU.

Don't even get me started on baby birds. I know they're necessary, yak, yak, yak, but I just think they're gross. Although I may have been traumatized for life a decade or so ago when I stepped on one that had fallen out of its nest. The Ick Factor of that one continues to haunt me.

Anyway, we get along very well when they keep to their area (the sky and treetops outside) and when I stay in mine (like my HOUSE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD).

Plus I had bread and an open jar of peanut butter out on the counter. The house was in its usual state of before-school disaster. A bird flying frantically around, terrified, was the last thing I needed.

Oh yes, and this was Crazy Wednesday, when I have to get everyone out of the house as fast as humanly possible so I can go to work. A bird was NOT what I ordered this morning, of all mornings.

The bird flew around, bouncing off windows. I had horrible visions of it stunning itself and falling senseless on our carpet so our 80-lb dog could snatch it up. Or maybe it would hide itself away somewhere, where we wouldn't find it until it was way too late, if we were lucky enough to find it at all before the cat did.

So I opened the door to the patio as wide as I could, told Nate to be sure not to get between the bird and the door, and asked Nate to chase it towards the door I was holding open. After a few more futile efforts to bash itself against the closed windows, and after hanging out for a while on the cord holding up our light fixture over the kitchen table where Hattie continued to polish off her breakfast (again, YUCK!), it finally guessed right and flew out the open door.

The entire episode took maybe five minutes. It really could have been much worse, considering the alternative.

We think maybe it got into the garage yesterday when the door was malfunctioning and stayed up for several hours. And then maybe we managed to close the garage door with the bird still inside, and when we opened the door into the house, it flew in. But I didn't see it fly in. And you would think you would notice something like that. Our ceilings are only 8 feet high, after all.

WAY too much excitement for 7:45 a.m.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Leprechaun Trap

Nate's school project this week was to build a Leprechaun Trap. Every kindergartener had to design and make one before Friday. They sent home a note that said that leprechauns like to disobey signs and they also like glittery things.

So here's Nate with the finished product, two days early:

The sign on the side says, "Bank of Ireland - Extra Money Storage." And that's a ladder up the side because the door's in the top.

View of the door in the top and another sign, saying, "Top Secret, Keep Out, Money Inside."

The door opens to reveal a ladder leading down. The sign on the back wall says "Do Not Go Down Ladder - Money 1 Floor Below."

So then the leprechaun should want to go through the hole down another ladder to the next level, where he sees lots of money lying against the far wall. The plan is for the leprechaun to be so excited about getting the money that he neglects to look down at the floor. In so doing, he misses seeing the camouflaged hole in the floorboards.

So he steps in the wrong place, goes through the floor, and into a bag where he will be trapped!

And in case anyone is thinking why doesn't the leprechaun just go in through the front to get the money because it's all open, you will be glad to know that the top of the shoebox goes on when the trap is set; it's just off right now for illustration.

In the basket


In the basket
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
This is Henry. He says he isn't an 'Easter Bunny', he's a RABBIT, although he does realize that he's sitting in an Easter basket. He's also very straight-laced, so if I'm done with all this photo-taking nonsense, he'd like to get back to WORK now.

Made from Hillary's free wee bunny pattern.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Raincoat


Raincoat
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
Here's Hattie wearing her new double-breasted raincoat from the consignment sale yesterday. I thought it was so cute that I violated one of my basic tenets of purchasing items at consignment sales: never buy something priced in double digits!

But it's already been worth it.

Spring has sprung!

Today is a good day. The weather is beyond beautiful -- it's the first day I've worn short sleeves outside. Grandma is here. And I found a bunch of great kids' clothes at a consignment sale yesterday, and then went out for dinner with 4 other moms from Charlotte's class at school. We talked for 3 and a half hours straight, no breaths taken, often more than one of us talking at a time, despite the fact that it was Trivia Night at this particular restaurant. We would probably still be there if they hadn't closed the restaurant on us and kicked us out.

And Charlotte can climb all the way to the top of the rope ladder!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A fun party with sad, sad documentation

The birthday party that the kids went to yesterday was held at the same gym as the one Charlotte went to last Friday. I took my camera, but unfortunately my batteries were in bad shape.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, here are the "good" ones --

Hattie on the obstacle course, going over the box --

an action shot of Nate on the obstacle course doing a 'trick' on the mat --

and of Hattie doing her trick --

running down the long trampoline --

and in the pit full of foam blocks. She was the youngest of about 16 kids doing all the stuff.

If you want to see some astoundingly bad pictures, you can check them out here. If I had tried to take pictures this bad, there's no way I could have taken any that were this craptastic.

Photos from the party

Found it! I found the image viewer/editor I had been using! My desktop is starting to look like its old self.

As promised, here are pictures of Charlotte at a dear friend's 5th birthday party last week. His parents had it at a fun sort-of-gymnastics place equipped with trampolines built into the floor and tumble mats of every conceivable size and shape. The kids had a ball running obstacle courses, jumping on the trampolines and generally running amok.

In this shot, Charlotte is lying on a super-bouncy trampoline. The helper would then bounce each child up into the air and catch them. They all got a big kick out of it.

These are some of the trampolines built into the floor. There were two that were regular rectangular size (one super-bouncy, see above) and then there were two long, skinny ones that you could run along. This is one of the latter.

And crawling through the tunnel on the obstacle course. You can see from her expression how much fun they were having.

Then, as it turned out, all three of our kids got to go to another birthday party at the same place yesterday. I took my camera, but the batteries were not cooperating, so I have a bunch of pictures that are remarkable only for how horrible they are.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Time Travel

Last Friday our hard drive crashed. A couple of days earlier it had started to act up, and in a moment of lucidity (both the computer's and mine), I backed up the critical data files -- pictures, Word Documents, Excel spreadsheets, and Quicken. Then our computer choked again, coughed up the Blue Screen of Death (not once but twice!) and died.

And that was it.

The diagnosing Geek Squad technician said, as he shook our newly-removed hard drive like a maraca, "Your hard drive is toast."

I have to say, though, that although I spent hours on the phone with questionably competent Dell tech support, they were very speedy once the diagnosis had been made (note that it was not made by THEM), and they sent out a new hard drive, new software, and a technician to install the hardware, the very next day.

We were down and completely without a computer for 4-5 days. We felt so out of touch that you would think we had been sent straight to Siberia, do not pass GO.

But now, after reloading most of our software and various drivers and other seemingly imaginary and invisible but critical components, we are back. Partially. I am still having trouble recreating the set-up I used to work with photos.

I did, however, manage to get this one shot loaded. This is what I did during our hiatus from the 21st century: I reverted to the 18th century and knitted like a fiend.

This is a scarf, made of fancy Italian yarn that I have been schlepping around from house to house for the last 20 (yes, you read that right) years. The pattern is a 2x2 rib, with a cable every other rib, at least on the front side. Done again, I would have reversed the pattern so that there was also a cable every other rib on the back side, but live and learn. Also the cable would be more discernible in a solid yarn.

I found that the red in this yarn goes beautifully with my winter coat. But I have Tim and Nate both thinking it is for them. I may have to make more than one........



If I can get my photo set-up right, I may be able to post some shots of Charlotte at a birthday party last week.