Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Today is one of those days

when I am extra thankful to have able mabel filling my days.

My husband is an airplane mechanic. He works mostly on business jets. Business jets have this rotten habit of breaking down at every time of the day except during the hours of 8am-4pm. Being that they're business jets they need to be fixed asap, as in yesterday. (They sure are sounding like spoiled brats! ;) ) So when a call comes in, he needs to go. I've learned to be flexible and to "go with the flow". I'm not complaining as it's a fact of life and he loves his job.

Hubby called this morning and said there was a job in Denver that needed to be done so he was headed in that direction with one of his co-workers. He wasn't sure what time he'd be home. It wasn't suppose to be a very long job but we all know how that goes...famous last words!

My first thought was, "Bum deal. I love when he's home in the evenings."
My next thought was, "Oh good. There's work." (It's been pretty slow this month.)
My third thought was, "Sweet this will mean overtime this week." (greedy aren't I? Hey, just trying to look on the bright side.)
My last and best thought was, "Awesome! I'm going to able mabel the whole day away!"

and that is exactly what I did!

Thankfully the kids played nicely together and I sewed to my heart's content. Granted, I'd rather have Hubby home but if he's gotta work then I guess I'm "forced" to able mabel! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I shouldn't be surprised

but I can't help it.

Yesterday morning our 4 year old asked if I'd take the training wheels off his bike. I looked at him with surprise and told him to wait until Dad got home. He had just gotten his bike two weeks ago for his birthday and he was still pretty wobbly on it. I was envisioning many crashes, tears and him wanting the training wheels back on.

Sure enough, when Hubby got home it was the first thing he heard when he walked in the door. "Hey Dad! Will you take the training wheels off my bike?" Hubs, being the nice father that he is, obliged... and he was off to the races! Hubby jogged alongside of him for the first few rounds around the block but soon discovered he could ride without a spotter. I stood on the sidewalk with the youngest two girls and cheered him on. I'm a bit bummed I didn't get a picture of his two little sisters clapping their hands and grinning with delight. I was too absorbed in trying to get a clear shot of him which was nearly impossible since he was moving so fast!

This kid is a hazard on wheels (good thing for helmets) but so far he has managed to stay upright and relatively scratch free.

I shouldn't be surprised. He has always been very stubborned and when he puts his mind to something, it's extremely hard to convince him otherwise. We've had to stand our ground and out-stubborn him on numerous occasions.

This is a prime example of how being stubborned can be a good thing. Once he decided he didn't need his training wheels, he was determined to ride his bike without them. He's a trooper, this one is.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hubby and I had a much needed

weekend away without the kids.

We packed up on Friday morning, dropped the toddlers off at his brother's house and made our way west to Moab. Friday was cold and rainy so we weren't able to do much outdoors. Bummer, but not much a person can do about that.Saturday we biked the Bar M Loop trail. The Bar M itself is an easy trail (yawn) but it has three loops that are intermediate. Just perfect for me. I was on my bike way more than I was off of it! Always a plus! Here is the most handsome man in the whole wide world, looking positively stunning in black! :)

It had been 15 years since I was last mountain biking so it took me a few miles to get back in the groove. Thankfully my wonderful husband was very patient with me while I figured it all out again.
After biking 11 miles, we headed off to Arches to do a bit of hiking. Nothing too strenuous (it was about 5 miles total), but just what we needed after all that biking. I spotted these two mule deer (there ended up being 5 total), snapped a picture, showed Hubby and we kept walking. Mule deer are pretty much an everyday sight around where we live.

These two ladies saw them after we did and one of the squealed with delight, "Look at those donkeys!!" She turned to Hubby and showed him. When he didn't show much excitement, she pointed them out again. This time he mustered up a bit more energetic response and we continued on our way, both of us chuckling.
On Sunday morning, Hubby would have loved to go on another bike ride but I couldn't get back on the bike. My biking muscles were way too sore (actually, it was just the seat of my rump where the seat hit. Padded gel shorts are a must and we didn't have any of those). I suggested a hike and he, being the good sport that he is, agreed. (He later confessed he had an alterior motive. If he did what I wanted to do then he was hoping I'd agree to him biking a couple days this week after work. :) Worked for me!)

Off we went to Negro Bills Canyon (I think that's what it was called.) It was a 2.2 mile (had to get that .2 in there) to a natural rock bridge, criss crossing streams and scrambling up rocks. We'll definitely have to take the kids on this hike when we go back camping there this Spring. They would love it!
Now we're back to reality. Hubby off to work this morning (with his bike attached to the back of his car so he can get a ride in after work) and me with a mess to clean up and kids on Spring Break to entertain. Oh joy. ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Location, location, location

I walked into my bedroom this afternoon to gather all necessary props for photographing light switch covers. I looked at the lighting coming in thru the windows and thought that I could take pictures right there in my bedroom. Less hauling I'd have to do. I gave it a whirl. Ah. Maybe not. It's always hard to know until I get them loaded onto my computer. So back downstairs to my usual location. An east facing window in the early afternoon.
Truer colors, less glare, brighter light, etc. Much better.
Both of these pics have the same amount of editing. The more I monkeyed with the top one, the worse it got. Guess I better keep taking pictures where it works and not get lazy about hauling all the jazz downstairs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today was all about the

visual progress. Sewing in the morning.
Light switch covers in the afternoon.
Ain't a bad turnout considering I had to do all the "mothering things" in between!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brain Purge #4546811

  • Life has been beyond busy lately. I find myself racing the clock
  • Not that I'm complaining. It's good to stay busy.
  • Thankfully the weather hasn't been all that great, so I'm not very tempted to hang out outside.I spent part of the day on Sat working on three of these babies.
  • As I was trying to get this shot, Baby Doll waddled over to the blanket, plopped down, put her feet together and said "cheese!".
  • Who can resist baby feet? :)
  • Especially when they're accompanied by sparkling blue eyes and dimple cheeks??!

  • Sunday found us with only a few kids left at home.
  • We treated those left behind to lunch at a sit down restaurant. They were beyond thrilled.
  • After lunch we hit the great outdoors.
  • Hubby tried out his newest toy, (a mountain bike) while the kids and I played at a nearby park.
  • The swings were a huge hit!
    She giggled and giggled as she swung.
    I tried to get pictures of the other kids playing but I wasn't quick enough. None of them turned out. (Blogger is not cooperating with me and my bullets today. Maybe I've filled my quota.)
    At least I tried! ;)

  • Today I went over to a friend's house and helped her finish a skirt for her little girl.
  • Along with helping her, I managed to get a little R&D done. (That would be research and development.)
  • I had been wanting to fine tune a kids apron design and a bib design but haven't found the time to do them.
  • I found that time today. Mission accomplished.

  • Left hanging over my head are 4 orders of light switch covers.
  • Tonight will be the night for those, I hope.
  • I, at least, want to get them most of the way done.
  • I am thrilled that tomorrow my schedule is clear.
  • I want to have a full day for sewing.
  • I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Anyone up for a scarf?

These gorgeous babies can be found in amberkane's shop.
I love the flirty ruffle on this one called pink flair.

Spring fever hits big time with waves of spring.

Okay, so you knew the green one would catch my eye.
amberkane has a lovely write up in her profile. Blogger, however, is being a turd and not letting me copy and paste it. Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our baby boy turns 4

It's hard to believe our baby boy is 4 years old today! Happy Birthday Big Guy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Our Lucky Day!

I have declared the second Friday in March to be able mabel's lucky day. For the second year in a row, able mabel made it into Etsy's daily e-newsletter on that day. (Now I just jinxed us for next year.)

A few weeks ago a saw a posting by Admin on the forum boards looking for quilted items. I submitted this blanket, knowing full well there was no way it would be chosen. Doesn't hurt to try though, right?! Lo and behold, it was. Lo and behold, it sold. Lo and behold, I have three more to make. Lo and behold, we have sold numerous other items since then. Wonders never cease.
It's hard to know if all our traffic has come from the newsletter since we're also featured on at least two different high traffic blogs at this time. I suppose Google Analytics would tell me that. Maybe I should head on over there and check it out.
Regardless, it's been a whirlwind of a weekend. This week doesn't seem to be looking any slower since I'll be working on orders. No complaints from me! :)
I'll enjoy the ride since I know it can, and probably will, end as quickly as it started. In the meantime, I'll continue to gladly hunch over my sewing machine!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It was all about hanging onto a thread of sanity today

A shirt soaked with drool.
A nose that never stops running.
A cry that never stops crying.
Mom's sanity hanging on by a thread.
It most likely means one thing.
A quick check in the mouth confirms it.
Double ugh.
Armed with a pacifier.
A dose of Motrin.
A bib.
A darling hat that was a bit too small.

We set about the morning, trying to hang onto that last little thread of sanity.

She refused to snuggle.
She refused to sit on my lap.
She refused to push her trike around.
She refused to ride her trike around.
She refused to sit on the steps.
She refused to walk down the sidewalk.

She was willing to sit in the stroller.

We spent a good part of the morning strolling the neighborhood.

Thank goodness for nap time.
Thank goodness for Motrin.
Thank goodness for bibs.
Thank goodness for pacifiers.
Thank goodness for older siblings willing to take her for another walk while I make dinner.

No one ever said a teething baby was a walk in the park. I can confirm that, but I'll still keep her.

Poor Baby.
Poor Mom. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Broading horizons

Anyone who owns any sort of shop, whether it be online or brick and mortar, knows the key to sales is to draw people in. B & M shops rely on their window display, Etsy sellers rely on their pictures.

Lately I've been brainstorming how to get more baby blankets/lovies to sell. Moms with babies is the obvious answer but I needed to think outside the box.

Taking advantage of the "endless supply" of babies in my life, I've been able to make able mabel's pictures somewhat unique.

That being said, I knew I needed to go further. Moms with babies can't be the only ones looking for blankets. I know I need to show my buyers what these blankets can be used for. Enter the girls who still play with dolls. I know this little Princess is still very much a toddler but she was all I had available today. I would love to work in both her and my 5 year old playing with "blanketed" dolls into the same photo. With only 5 photo slots available, I need to be somewhat selective.

Another option is the security blanket for toddlers. Let's face it, despite what the "experts" say, most toddlers/little kids still have some sort of comfort toy or whatever. I'll admit, my 5 year old still sleeps with a well worn pillowcase. (How she latched onto that is beyond me. At least it's easy to wash!)

My next idea is to research how hot Reborn Dolls still are. I may have missed the boat on that one. I quick search on Etsy doesn't bring up very many listings, but I'm still willing to try it.

After getting the first "new" blanket listed, we sold 3 other blankets within the first hour. Coincidence? Possibly. There is really no way to know. I'll keep working on changing up the listings though.

My next dilemma?! The first picture in a listing is the most important. How do I go about deciding just which picture to use? A variety? All the same? Help!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sometimes you do what you gotta do

Disclaimer: I am fully aware that this blog post will quite possibly make me look and/or sound desperate. However, it won't faze me in the least if you scratch your head in puzzlement over my actions. Sometimes a gal has to do what a gal has to do...:)

Last night was a late one in the able mabel household. Our weekend guests arrived late and we stayed up to visit them. This morning saw a whirlwind of activity at 6:30 am as the guests awoke to get ready for their day of skiing. As they were pulling on their ski pants, our school kids stumbled out of the sack to get ready for their day. The toddlers soon followed (minus our almost 4 year old. Shockingly enough, he slept in. Thankgoodness!).

I was leisurely sipping my java at 8 bells trying to decide what I should accomplish for the day. After cleaning for two days straight, the thought of wielding a wash rag and scrub bucket about made me want to hurl. I decided I was going to sew, fully aware I would be treading on thin ice later in the day when the kids got home from school. We have a full evening of activities planned and while I always have good intentions of cleaning up at a "reasonable hour", it's more likely that I work way longer than I should and end up doing a mad scramble at suppertime.

Willing to face that music, I went upstairs to dig thru my bucket of fabrics. I was soon sidetracked organizing it and putting together combos for future patchwork blankets. Once those were done, I attacked my pile of paperwork, managing to spread it all over our bed. There it sat for a few hours. (Typical) I was quite pleased with myself though that I managed to avoid my sewing machine and actually accomplished things I've been meaning to get to forever. (Note to self: Just because paperwork is stacked neatly, doesn't mean it'll go away by itself.)

After lunch, I had an extremely hard time motivating myself to get up off the couch. Apparently, our late night last night was more draining than I realized.

Soon the clock was pushing 2:00 and I had dishes to do, a house to straighten, a load of clothes to fold, supper to start, plus I still wanted to exercise. Knowing full well I wouldn't be able to get it all done, I resorted to desperate measures. (Insert one of my favorite quotes here: "If it weren't for the last minute, how would I ever get anything done?" I take that one to heart too seriously sometimes!)

I exercised while I did the rest of my chores. Huh?, you say? Yep, it's true. Laugh all you want. I knew for the sake of my sanity and those around me, I needed to do both but didn't have the time to do them separately.

Here's what I did:
  • Jogged in place while rinsing the dishes.
  • Jogged in place (or back and forth from pantry and fridge) while putting food away.
  • Lunges with pulses while washing the counters, alternating legs and counter tops.
  • Jump squats while picking big pieces of food and various other items off the floor.
  • Jogged in place while vacuuming the floors. In areas that were highly populated with grub, I did lunges.
  • Jump squats while picking up toys, books and other goodies in the living room, "frog hopping" between items if they were close enough together.
  • Leg lifts while on my hands and knees when straightening the newspaper.
  • Running up the stairs two at a time while putting "various treasures" away.
  • Lunges while making beds.
  • Jogging in place while filing paperwork.
  • Jump squats to pick up items on floor in bedroom and hallway.
  • Jogging in place while folding large towels.
  • Wall squats with alternating heel lifts while folding washcloths.
  • Sprinting up the stairs when putting laundry away.
  • Threw in a few sets of push ups (10 with knees up or 20 with knees down) and a few sets of dips.
  • Jogged a few laps around the house when my heart rate started to fall.

After 50 minutes I was; sweating buckets, my pulse was racing, my thighs were burning, my house was spotless and I was grinning!

Did I get as good of a workout had I focused only on working out? Of course not.

Could I have gotten my chores done more quickly had I not been prancing around like my bladder was about to burst? Naturally.

Do I care? Absolutely not. It was a win/win situation for me. While I don't like to do this too often, it definitely does the trick when I'm in a pinch.

I can now enjoy the rest of the afternoon without the usual madness and chaos. :) Bring on the busy weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This weekend calls for easy suppers!

This weekend our church has it's annual Ski Days. It means good times, fun visits, late nights, skiing all day and easy suppers.

The easy suppers start tonight.

This morning my mind was totally blank when it came to meal ideas. My kids had already left for school so they were of no help in that department.

I ended up wandering the grocery store for a bit before I decided on soft chicken tacos for tonight. I remembered a recipe I had gotten from JB.

1 lb chicken
2 cups chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning

Put all in the crock pot (on low for all day, high for half day). Shred chicken. Place in soft shells and add desired fixings.

Tonight's fixings are: lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, black bean and corn salsa and fresh guacamole.

Quick, easy and delicious! Totally up my alley!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blast of Photos

Because I don't have a ton of time today and I'm not feeling very wordy, how about a blast of pictures?! Minky "scraps" are the perfect size for burpies. I whipped out a few of them yesterday.
Opened a box full of eye candy from JB on Saturday. Love this wood plaque,

and this apron. I submitted this picture to craftgawker which they rejected for "dull and flat lighting" Whatever. I still love the apron.Easter candy season is upon us. Anyone want a Robin Egg? How about a hug from this dolly, as is? :)