Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sprouting!



 There are some promising things sprouting!  I hope you're having a great day in your part of the world!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Etsy Shop and Bluffton Village Fest

Good afternoon, friends!

My etsy shop is (FINALLY!) up and running again.  I love making things, but truth be told, I have a really hard time getting my act together to take pictures, write descriptions and post it all in my etsy store.  I'd much rather spend my time creating!  But, after weeks of making, I finally did get said act together, and here are the results (if you're so inclined to check them out).
One of my little owls
I am super excited about a new project I've been working on - creating felted objects out of children's drawings (namely Jesse's drawings, for the time being).  I love taking 2-D art and turning it into a special keepsake.  They're perfect for parents, grandparents, or boosting a kid's artistic self esteem!  (Available here in my etsy shop.)
Jesse's rendition of "Plants vs. Zomies" in felt 
Wool felt butterfly, original drawing also by Jesse
"A Scary Alligator on a Leash" by Jesse Plew, made into a felted figure

I have also been sewing quite a bit, and there are some fun sewn things coming up in my shop (HOPEFULLY by next week.)  Please stop by and take a look.

Also.....We have this adorable street in the historic part of Bluffton called Calhoun Street.  There are a bunch of galleries that sell local artists' work, antique and eclectic shops, restaurants, new and vintage clothing stores.... The street hosts a weekly farmers' market, as well as a number of festivals and special events.  By far, my favorite event is the Bluffton Village Festival.  Thousands of people roam the streets sampling the area's best local foods and wares from a number of talented artists.  I have wanted to set up a table here for years!  Something has always stopped me.... not enough inventory, being on bed rest with Micah, fear of failure (I know that sounds silly, since I've been selling my crafty things since I was little, but I'm really nervous about going out there on my own!).... But this year, I'm just going to do it!  Wish me luck and come out and visit - Saturday, May 12th from 10:00-4:00, Calhoun Street in Bluffton, SC!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

gardening with the boys, part 3 (seed-starting pot tutorial)

In order to start our plethora of tomato seeds, I needed little pots or seed starting trays.  Everything around here is so ridiculously expensive (and I'm cheap) so I started looking for alternatives.  I saw this adorable little gadget that helps you make pots out of newspaper.  But you don't need that little gadget!  You can make your own newspaper pots!  They're biodegradable and free.  You can't get much better than that!  Here's how....

1.  Put a shoe on the good foot, a slipper on the casted foot, and park on the step so you can play with mulch.
2.  Continue to play with mulch.
3.  Try to wrestle the jar away from Mommy when she's trying to use it.

4.  Use really cute face to try to get my way, but eventually give up and go back to mulch.
OK....really....back to business.  All you need is newspaper and a pint mason jar.

Tear newspaper into a single, half sheet, and fold in half lengthwise.  
Lay the jar on the folded edge, and roll up.
Flip the jar so the jar sticks out of the bottom.
Fold in the excess paper where the paper ends first.
Fold down another third. 
Fold down the last third.  (Notice the boy has lost interest in mulch again.)
Tuck the last fold under the other folds.

Turn the cup over and remove the jar.
Fold in upper edge so the top doesn't unravel.
Ta-da!  Seed-starting cup!  Add your potting mix and plant seeds as directed on the seed package.
I put all my seed cups in a heavy-duty cardboard box so I can bring them inside if they get cold.  
I hope this helps other frugal gardeners out there!  Happy planting, y'all!

Monday, March 19, 2012

gardening with the boys, part 2

The sun has been very busy warming our corner of the world.  Temperatures are slowly climbing, and with the warmer weather, come hopes of a fruitful growing season.  Oh!  I have big plans for this little garden of ours this year!!!  This year we're trying some square-foot gardening, to pack in enough veggies to eat, share, and can for later on in the year when a garden-fresh tomato is a sweet, distant memory.

I love gardening all kinds of vegetables, but tomatoes are by far my favorite!  There's nothing quite like the taste of fresh-picked tomato, ripe and sun-warmed.  YUM!  I knew I wanted to plant a bunch of the little darlings this year, but after checking the cost of plants, I almost choked!  Six bucks for one tomato plant?!   Really?!  No thank you.  So, we decided to start from seeds.  Jesse and I picked out all of the veggie seeds we wanted to try and a brick of condensed seed-starter soil, and got to work.  We started by digging out the herbs (particularly the oregano) that had taken over the box during the winter.  We had to add a little dirt and manure to the box since the soil depletes a bit every year.  Jared took some pictures for us while we prepared the bed and planted our row of peas.
Micah getting in on the pea-planting action


Besides the veggie patch, Jared also dug out a small bed next to the garage for Jesse.  Jesse wants to plant his own flower garden.  He picked out one yellow snapdragon, a package of giant sunflower seeds, and a seed mix for butterflies.  He's so excited to have a little patch of garden that is all his own!  I love seeing how happy this makes him.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

gardening with the boys, part 1

A couple of years ago we decided to start a raised-bed vegetable garden in our backyard.  Jared and I found some plans here, bought some non-treated wood at a hardware store, and got to work.  We had to change the dimensions a bit to accommodate the wood we found.
Our neighbors helped us measure, dig, and haul dirt.  (Thanks, Mike and Meagan!)
Jesse wanted to help too. 
Jesse wanted to build his own vegetable box....just like his Daddy.  (He was almost 3when we started gardening together!)


We've had some great success gardening in the box.  

Jesse (3 years-old) liked to checking out his beans, peas, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.





Some of our lovely cucumbers

I know this is a picture of Jesse (4) squirting his cousin in the face with the sprinkler, but it also shows how pretty our garden is in the background.
Planting with Jesse (5) last year.
We've learned some things along the way... 

*  It's really not worth it for us to plant green beans, lima beans, or peas since they take up a lot of room, but don't produce very much food.  (This year we are planing just one row of peas in the back of the garden because Jesse REALLY wanted them, and they are totally fun to watch climbing up the lattice.)

*  You actually have to water the garden if you don't want all of your plants to die.  :)

*  We have some finches that call our back porch their home, and they insist on taking a bite out of every ripe tomato.  (I don't mind sharing some of them, but come on, birds!  We want some too!)  Bird netting helps to save some of the tomatoes for my family.

*  I've moved our herbs out of the box.  They take up so much room, and overwhelm the other plants.

Next post will be our plans for this year's garden!  I can't wait!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

"The Pig Bald Grandpa Wouldn't Let me Buy"

Last summer we went to the Bargersville Flea Market while we were visiting my husband's family in Indiana.  They have lots of fun booths full of junk and treasures to comb through, but by far, our favorite booths are the ones selling animals.  They usually have chickens, rabbits, and kittens, but this particular time someone was selling piglets!  Jesse and I were equally smitten. 

Sweet little piglets!

Jesse asked if he could buy a piglet and Gigi told him to ask Bald Grandpa.  Bald Grandpa was a few booths behind us, so Jesse ran full-speed to ask for the money to buy his new pet.
"Bald Grandpa, can I have fifty bucks?" asked Jesse.
Bald Grandpa reached into his wallet and gave Jesse the money then asked, "What are you going to buy?"
"A BABY PIG!!!!" he called out over his shoulder as he ran off, money in hand, back towards the pigs.

We all got a good laugh, but Jesse was a bit disappointed when he found out he really couldn't buy his piglet.  We did get to pet one for a while, though and that made Jesse happy.  He never mentioned the pig again, until one day, months later, he drew a picture of Bald Grandpa with the piglet he had wanted so badly.  I loved it so much, and I knew the Grandparents would love it too, so I turned his drawing into an embroidery project, framed it, and gave it to Bald Grandpa for Christmas.
(Please forgive the quality of this photo. My computer wouldn't let me adjust it.)
 And I wrote this on the back (in Jesse's own words), so we can all remember the pet that almost was....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lessons

Sometimes it's hard to be a Mommy.

I got the awesome opportunity to go Jesse's class for "Bring Your Parents to School Day."  I loved watching all of the awesome things his teacher, Ms. Gump, does with him and the rest of the class, and was thoroughly impressed with the amount of things a Kindergartener can do. Jesse, however, is always 2 steps behind most of his peers.  I know it's not fair to compare him to other kids, because that boy is one in a billion, but I was really concerned with his lack of attention.  No one wants to see their kid struggle!  My initial reaction is almost always an over-reaction when it comes to Jesse.  I guess it's because I'm super protective of him.  I know his history, and I want to make his future amazing.  So, I did what any crazy concerned parent would do, I emailed his teacher to ask what I can do to help Jesse along.  And then his teacher called me.  I just love her (a million times over).  And after a bit of discussion, she reassured me that, for a boy in Kindergarten, he is super smart and not behind his peers.  She admitted that he might have some problems processing, but it's really too soon to tell, and since he doesn't seem to even notice he's distracted, it's not like his self esteem is taking a hit.

Deep breath.

Any way you slice it, I just love that boy!  So, if nothing else, really watching Jesse at school sparked a conversation with Jared, and we've decided that we really need to be proactive with playing up Jesse's strengths, namely music.  So last night at dinner, we asked Jesse what instrument he'd like to play, and the conversation went like this....

Me - Jesse, Daddy and I were talking and we'd like to know if you'd like to take lessons for an instrument.
Jesse - Mommy, I already play the microphone.
Me - You're right, but how about another instrument, like the piano, or drums, or guitar....
Jesse - The guitar!  (Leans over towards his Daddy, and whispers....) Do girls like that?
Me - Why do you care if girls like that?!
Jesse - I don't know, but they do like that, don't they Daddy?

He is my hilarious little boy!
HILARIOUS!

And sometimes it's great to be a Mommy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's hear it for my boys! (More on crafting for Christmas....late!)

Last Wednesday I was on my way to Charleston for what was (HOPEFULLY) Micah's final surgery on his little club foot. The doctor told us that our surgery would be scheduled for mid-morning since we live 2 hour away...but...we had to be there at 6:30.  That's 6:30 AM.  I don't know about you, but for me, 6:30 isn't mid-morning, and getting up at 3:30 am is definitely not mid-morning either!  We both survived though, and Micah is doing so well.  He's such a little trooper.  Here he is in his new, stream-lined cast.  He is determined to walk in it, since he's been forced to crawl for the last 6 weeks.


Now on to the reason for this post....
Most of the reason why I was late on every other Christmas present this year, is that I was busy making some Christmas surprises for my little guys.  I make a lot of crafty goodies for our friends and family, but I usually run out of time when it comes to my boys.  This year, I scoured my craft books for ideas and decided on these.

Fist up was a pattern from Amy Karol's super adorable book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing.  Jesse and Micah love puppets and performing, so I made the cute puppet theater.  There weren't a lot of pictures, but the instructions were clear.  The fabric and adorable fringe were thrifted finds, and I had the tension rod, so really the only things I purchased were the dowels.
Go ahead...you can ooooh and ahhhhhh if you want.
TA DA!


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
My little character!
Even puppets need to stop performing for a snack break.

I also made each boy a little house using this awesome tutorial.  I made Jesse a little woodland house for trolls and gnomes.  I found this cute set of critters on amazon (which isn't for sale any more), and added a couple of felt leaves for those little guys to sleep on and under.  I changed the closure a bit, by adding a small flap and velcro, rather than the buttons and bands.




 And for the Bean, he got a barn complete with little pond for his animals to take "dinks" (a.k.a. drinks).  By the way, I LOVE these Plan Toys farm animals!  They are the perfect size for toddler hands, the wood is sustainable, the dyes are non-toxic, and the sheep can be shorn by removing his cute little wool sweater.

Besides drinking, Micah's animals like jumping in and out of the barn.
I also made the boys stockings.
Merry Christmas!

And, I helped Jesse make a lion puppet for Micah, which he loved!  I made up the pattern as we made it and hot-glued the face and hands.  Jesse was so proud of it!
ROAR!