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Friday, February 26, 2010

New Blog Button For CUTEure

Hey everyone! Just a quick post tonight since I've been asked a few times about this.

I finally created a button that links to CUTEure!

So, here is what the button looks like:


And here is the code, for any of you who want to support me for free:)...not that I'm asking you to, of course, I've just had inquiries!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Blanket for Linus

I recently finished my most in-depth, time consuming crochet project and thought I would share it here for all of you to enjoy.

A month and a half ago I was at a loss as to what to get my friend for a "welcome baby" gift for the imminent arrival of number 2.  I'm a stay-at-home-mom married to a college student. We don't have a lot of disposable income, and since this was her second in less than 3 years, it's not like she needed anything.

Suddenly, the thought came to me that I should make her something special-something he would get a lot of use out of-but what?  At that moment, Addie walked by holding her blankie-her lovey.  Perfect!

So, here it is, a blanket for Linus.  And yes, that's his name.  She did make it too perfect!!

I love this blanket.  I wanted colors that are perfect for a little boy, but something other than just a basic blue and white baby blanket.  I decided to use colors found in nature for this blanket, and I think they look great together.

I used Lion's Brand Wool-Ease yarn in Caramel, Avocado, Fisherman, and Blue Heather.

With these colors, I made 9 granny squares for each color-totaling 36 granny squares.  Since this was a much bigger project than most everything I make, I decided to work on it little by little in between other projects which is why it ended up taking as long as it did.  Every night after I was done making a hat or hair bows, I would make a granny square, or many granny squares depending on the night.


Once I was finished making all of the Granny Squares, it was time to sew them all together.  To do this, I just held two Granny Squares together and used a darning needle to sew them together and weaved in each end.  That's a lot of ends!

Finally, to give the blanket a finished look, I decided to do a shell stitching* around each edge. This helps hide the imperfections such as slightly different squares.  The finished product...

...Is the perfect little blankie for a new little boy.

I hope he enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to give him his gift yet.  He went back into the hospital before I got to meet him due to a bacterial infection he picked up during birth.  All is well though, according to his mom, he is improving quickly and will be out of there as soon as he finishes his antibiotics!

So, here is a big, giant "Get Well Soon!" for baby Linus, and a big, giant hug for his momma-if she happens to read my blog.

I hope you enjoyed my reading about the process! 


* Shell Stitch: 2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc in same stitch, skip next 2 sts and repeat

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's Cookin'? Wednesday!

Surprised? Two blog posts within two days?  And it's a WCW post? Something I haven't done in ages?!

Yep! That's right! I'm on a roll this week!

This week I'm here to share a fun, kid-friendly recipe I found in the September 2009 edition of Parent's magazine.  I tore it out of the magazine and put it with the recipes I'd like to try someday.  Well, a week ago we tried it for the first time, and let me tell you.  Not only did Addie scarf down a plate full, Willie also said he wanted it again! It was delicious and nutritious. So here it is:

Pork Chops with a Cherry Cranberry glaze, Broccoli, and mashed sweet potatoes!

What you'll need:
1 tbs canola oil
4 pork chops (I used 6 thin-cut ones for quicker cooking)
1 pkg Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash frozen Sweet Potatoes (You know me, I prefer fresh)
1 pkg frozen broccoli
1 cup frozen pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp coarse mustard

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium.  Add the pork chops and cook until done-about 10 minutes.  Remove chops from skillet and cover with foil.  Meanwhile, put your skinned, chopped sweet potatoes on to boil (or put the frozen potatoes in the microwave).  Microwave broccoli according to package directions, and combine cherries, cranberry juice, cornstarch, and mustard in the skillet. Cook and stir for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce is thickened and bubbly.

Pour sauce over pork and serve with sweet potatoes and broccoli.  Serves 4.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I've got the FEVER

Yikes.  I've got to come out and say it! I've caught the fever...the baby fever!

I don't know how it happened, or who I caught it from.  It snuck up very quickly and knocked me off my feet. 

Me-the mom who blogged about the possibility of waiting years for another baby just a few months ago-now has the fever.

Does this mean I actually think I'm ready for another baby? Not so much.  I think I'm just finally to the point of liking babies again.  I'm still not emotionally ready to have one around all the time.  Sadly, I think I had issues with PPD that I didn't even admit to myself until recently.  That first year was rough on me, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  I didn't even know myself how rough it was until I "snapped out of it" as they say.

Hindsight's twenty-twenty. 

Still, until this week, I was no where near even thinking of having another baby.  Then, I looked at pictures.  I looked at them all.  Somehow, looking back on the happy pictures makes the bad memories seem a bit fuzzier.  The picture of her first smile.  The pictures of her playing and laughing with me.  Pictures from this time last year, with sun streaming in through the vertical blinds.  Her bald little head reflecting such bright light. 

So many pictures.  What happened? Why don't I take as many pictures anymore? I seem to have just stopped.  I guess we just got too busy, and with Addie moving around so much, even our Nikon D40 has trouble getting her in focus sometimes.

I've got the fever alright.  Something I didn't think I'd catch for a long time.  Is it here to stay?  We'll see.  For now, I plan to ignore it.  I'll get my snuggles in and that new baby smell from our newest play group addition. 

We agreed to re-assess how we felt each year and go from there.  I still have a few months to decide how I even feel about having another baby.  At least one obstacle is out of the way now.  I can see myself wanting another baby...sometime.  Just not quite yet.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Waking up Before the Kids

I hear people talk about this concept over and over, and yet, after 15 months, I still can't grasp it.

Waking up before your toddler.  It's a novel concept.  Can you imagine? Checking your email in silence, drinking a cup (or 2) of coffee.  Maybe even a shower! I mean really,  can you imagine the endless possibilities?

Normally, my morning goes something like this:

6:30-7 a.m.: Willie walks in the door from night shift.  I roll over and go back to sleep.
7:30-8 a.m.: Addie wakes up, usually laughing and talking to her "friends". I enjoy the sound and doze in and out for the next 10-30 minutes depending on what time she woke up and how happy she is.  Some moms can't wait to see that first smile in the morning.  Me? I'm just content knowing she does smile in the morning.
8:15-8:30 a.m.: Milk for Addie, coffee for me.  Breakfast, which  is randomly rotated between cold cereal, oatmeal, whole-wheat blueberry pancakes with yogurt, omlets, or whole-grain french toast.
8:45-11 a.m.: Addie plays, I check my email, blog occasionally, and do any miscellaneous CUTEure work which ranges from creating, taking photos, editing photos, listing new items, buying supplies, going to the post office, etc, etc. 
Lately this part has been pretty stressful. You see, from the very beginning, I made sure Addie could play alone. Sure, I love playing with her and teaching her things, but I also need her to entertain herself with her toys sometimes.  This last month though, it's like her toys don't exist unless I'm playing with them!
11 a.m.: NAP TIME!! The time for me to focus, re-group, and actually get something done-despite all the time I allot to work in the morning, let's face it, that usually doesn't happen with a toddler!

In light of this schedule, and the fact that I'm not being nearly as productive as I'd like to be, I decided last night that today would be the day once again, that I attempt to wake up before Addie, get coffee started, and get a shower in.  Just getting those small things out of the way on my own will make my whole day go more smoothly,  I just know it!!

Unfortunately, while this concept sounds easy enough, it just hasn't happened.  Trust me, this isn't my first attempt.  It appears that Addie knows when I plan on waking up before her.  She must have an alarm clock in her crib that goes off 5 minutes before mine does, because man. Every single time I attempt to wake up before her by an hour, she wakes up 5 minutes before me and stays awake. 

I just don't get it.  You would not think waking up in the morning would be a complicated task until you have kids.  What's a mom to do?  After 15 months of lounging in my pajamas until noon when I finally get some alone time, I'm kind of ready to lead a real life again, with a schedule of my own, a daily shower in the morning, maybe even some mascara now and then.

So, tomorrow I will try again!  Perserverance is the key! One day-maybe 18 years from now, but one day-I will have a shower every morning and a quiet cup of coffee while I check my emails. 

Until then...I will wear my jammies until noon, hide my hair under a hat if I have to get out of the house, and drink cold coffee while trying to distract a toddler so I can get some work done. 

Is it nap time yet??


Monday, February 1, 2010

My Plea Was Answered!

Remember this post? You know, the one where I begged, pleaded, and got down on my knees in front of the organizational gods asking for help reining in my mess?

Well, I am here to tell you that my plea was answered!  While staying in the model home, I realized how well Addie played by herself when her toys were in the living room vs. the play room.  It really got me thinking about how I'm constantly sitting on the floor in the play room (gee, I wonder why I have a bad back?) watching her play while I crocheted or tried to hide my laptop from her lest she maul it.

Suddenly, it hit me.  Why don't I just trade with her?! She can play in the dining room where my "craft area" used to be, and I can take over her play room and have my own room dedicated to ribbon, yarn, glue, felt, and clay!

I must say, it's worked out beautifully.  I spent the entire day today in my new craft room, finally.  It's been ready for a little over a week but sometimes life happens, and sometimes death happens. There's always something keeping me out of my new space, but today I spent most of the day relishing in the semi-organized craft supplies, and making hair bows.  I think this room will help keep me productive. There are much fewer distractions in a room dedicated to crafting.

So, without further adieu, I present you with...my craft room!

The obligatory "before" picture. Post play room, pre- craft room.  As you can see, it's not a very large space, but I've done what I can with it.


This is where the majority of my crafting will happen.  Eventually I plan on getting a bigger table, but this is a freebie that has come in handy!  At one point in my bachelorette days it even served as my kitchen table.


Close up of some of my ribbon. Again, a free, innovative way to keep my ribbon organized. There is another dowel on the other side.  The table originally had thick handles here on the sides to move it easily. All I did was unscrew those and slide them out, then I slipped a thin wooden dowel into it's place and filled it with ribbon spools.  Easy, free, and organized!

Here is my yarn! It is no longer tossed into the ottoman in our living room.  I have a crochet-bag that has the yarn needed for my current projects, and the rest is getting stored in these two baskets and slid into the bottom shelf of a small book case to protect them from Addie. 
 Here's my works-in-progress shelf.  Now I know I won't lose projects I set aside.

These are fabulous, so I had to include a picture.  At some point in the near future they will be chopped up and made into hair accessories...but until then they can brighten up my new workspace...and my blog! 
I do have more organization than this. The majority of my supplies are now stored in one of those tall white plastic drawer container things.  And yes, that's the accurate terminology!  I thought I would spare you a photo of a tall white and clear cabinet with drawers. I mean...unless you want to see it, of course.

I still have a lot of work I would love to do. I mean, it's still a pretty far cry from the photos I fantasize about while browsing the internet, but it's a start.  One day, I'll have the workspace of my dreams. Until then, I'll settle for having it all in one room!