Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cheapsake Alert!

Our kids don't play in our own hose... They take advantage of the city sprinklers watering the small patches of grass around the neighborhood instead. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Usually on Sunday evening, I plan out a rough draft of my week ahead. On the schedule for today was sewing So much for that plan. My machine sat idle

Instead I got the 'Burb cleaned out (talk about embarrassing when you pull into a parking lot, open the doors and end up chasing garbage that came flying out of your vech.) and the basement gutted. So refreshing to get two much needed, dreadful chores done!

I'll probably be kicking myself tomorrow that I didn't sew today. I hate going too many days between sewing sessions. Tomorrow is filled with the last day of school activities so it'll be at least Thursday before my machine gets pulled again. Oh joy. ;)

Also on my list for today was to re-take pictures of my burpies. As I was cleaning up the lunch mess, I noticed the memory card for my camera on the front step, full of teeth marks. Oops. Big oops. I had left it in my laptop. My laptop was sitting on the piano bench (left there after my workout) when Dolly happened upon it. Being a curious little girl, she found the memory card, pulled it out of the slot and promptly chewed it to smitherines. Sigh. This is the second time it's happened. You'd think I would have learned after the first time, but no, I didn't. Double sigh. This latest chewed up card was my spare one. Let's hope Target carries the right card, otherwise my camera will be out of commission for a while.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Sunday Hike

I had been craving a good hike. Between icky weather and busy schedules, we've only been out hiking a few times this spring.

On Sunday we took the kids out on a nearby trail.
Hubby had already biked 12 miles on Sunday morning, so he was perfectly content to hang back with our 2 yr old when she wanted to try hiking instead of riding. I went on ahead with the older kids.

Cheater! She takes a shortcut thru the woods. Shame on her. :)
This is also a trail that Hubby bikes at least once a week, most weeks twice. The kids and I kept exclaiming about that fact. Yikes!

By the time we made it to the overlook spur, we were down two kids. We had met some friends who were on their way down. Our 5 yr old jumped at the chance to turn around and hike back down with her friend. It was shortly after that, our 9 yr old decided to go back and meet up with Dad.

Yay! These three made it to the top and enjoyed the gorgeous views!
Baby Doll happily rode on my back and "played" with my hair, saying"oh cute!" the entire time. She doesn't always appreciate hiking and can get pretty antsy. We lucked out this time.

It was so wonderful to get outside, enjoy nature and the fresh air while sweating like a pig!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A boatload of pictures!

My quest for better and better pictures never ends. I've documented that many times.
This morning I sent some sample pictures over to Jessica to get her opinion. She has a great eye for styling, as I mentioned yesterday. (She will also be trying to get a photography business underway once she gets back on her feet after having a baby.)
I spent a few hours taking and retaking pictures today.
Here are some before and afters... Washcloths before.Washcloths afterLovie before. Lovie after. Since I had some new lovies to photograph, I just did the new ones. Still debating if I should go back and redo all of them...sounds like work.Bib before.
Bib after.
One of her suggestions was to use a white background to make the colors pop. I've known that but haven't had anything white hanging around. I ended up taking two pieces of white tagboard and cobbling something together. I ended up with some lines but was able to retouch them in Picasa. I'm going to check out and see if I can find a piece of white fabric. It would be so much easier.
I didn't get very expressive shots of Dolly. She discovered the piece of tagboard hanging over the edge of the table made some cool noise when she banged her feet against it. Sigh. The joys of working with kids. :)

The thought of going back in and updating all my listings is a bit overwhelming. I think I'll do it slowly over the next few days.

I think someone was feeling a little left out, even though she just had her turn.

"Excuse me, do you mind? I'm trying to do something here." Every time I got up to get something, she's toddle over and monkey. This is why I usually take pictures when she's in bed. ;) Sweet Little Pea!

Thursday, May 20, 2010



I've been debating what to do with my scraps of minky that are too small for bibs or burpies. Washcloths seemed liked a natural thing to make. :) Who wouldn't want to wash up with something as soft and cozy as minky?

I've spent a bit of the past two days trying to get some sets made up. I was struggling at first to come up with the "perfect" size. Why bother? I'm just going to use whatever size scraps I have. Much easier on the ol' brain.

My next issue was trying think of a creative way to photograph them. Complete mind blank. I asked Jessica to search for ideas for me.

In the meantime, I wanted to get them listed so I just laid them out and shot. Boring.

Next struggle was the description. I got it, kind of. I may tweak it over the next few days.

I got my first set listed this afternoon. (shown in this pic) When I checked back an hour later, it had already sold! Sweetness!

I know well enough it was a fluke, but still, I'm not complaining.

I think I just had an "aha moment" on staging! I better run try it out and see if it'll work! Let's hope my camera battery has enough juice left in it!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hey, It's Me!

Yahoo! My nose is healed up and I'm ready to pose. I just have a little scar but you can't really see it in pictures.
As my mom was smothering my face with kisses this morning, she noticed my nose too and decided to see if I'd behave for a photo shoot. She only had about 1 million and 1 bibs to photograph.
Sigh. I suppose I could cooperate. I wonder what I'll get out of this deal...Whatdoya think of this one? Looks good with my long, luscious, curly locks? Darn, that's right, I don't have those. How about my eyelashes then? Mom is always commenting how she wishes hers were have the length of mine.

Hmmm...I wonder what is behind this blanket? Maybe I'll slouch back and see. Oops, Mom just about had a bird. Guess that wasn't a good thing to do. That was pretty funny though. I should try it again sometime.

It's been a while since I've tasted toe jam. Want some? I'm really good at sharing, especially when it comes to boogers and drool. I thought you're suppose to share but when I try give those to Mom, she shrieks. Shrug. Guess a gal just can't win, can she?
I suppose I should get back to the rough life of a being a baby. Eat, sleep, load my drawers, show off for my older siblings, throw Dad's tennis shoes in the garbage can and all that good stuff. I'll catch you later!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My virtual scrapbook

or that's what I'm beginning to think of this blog. Pre-able mabel days I was a diligent scrapbooker, recording our events and happenings. Not so much anymore. I have pictures but not the stories to go along with them.

On that note.... We braved the rain and drizzle on Saturday and paraded into a park in town for a Bike Rodeo. Our mission was to try win a free bike or two.
She started out chipper enough but soon tired of the cold and rain (I don't blame her one bit) and ended up sitting in the 'Burb most of the time. Can someone please remind me which state we live in? It's starting to feel like Seattle around here!
In order to be registered for a free bike, the kids had to go thru a "training" course with one of the local police.

Scoping out the course. 2 ready to go, 2 about to chicken out.

He passes with flying colors (I sure hope he would. ;) )!

Upon seeing their older siblings go thru the course, the two younger ones decided they wanted to try it after all. We don't call this kid "Nutso Boy" when he's on his bike for nothing. He took off flying thru the course, not caring about traffic signs, bike lanes, etc. :) He still "passed".

We got another house project underway. Our house has a decent sized slope in the front yard and has retaining walls boarding the sidewalk. Slight issue. It looks like Big Bertha has perched in several spots, causing the wall to sag. Also whoever built it had the bright idea to put mortar between the blocks. Ugh, what a mess and an eyesore.
We weren't sure if we'd be able to take down the walls and save the blocks.Thanks to hubby's careful sledgehammering, we got one wall down without too many wrecked blocks.
Now I get to take over and clean up all the blocks.
With the right tools, it's a pretty easy task. The mortar comes off quite easily. Just a pound or two of the hammer and voila!, it's off. I worked on them for a bit on Saturday afternoon until I got rained out.
I have a hunch this project will last a bit longer than the deck demo as there is no deadline for the wall. Not that I'm complaining...
I was so busy on Sunday turning myself into a lobster that I forgot to take pictures. It was a beautiful day! We had friends over and basked in the sun as the kids splashed in their makeshift pool. Someday I'll learn that I can't sit in the sun all day without suffering the consequences. My poor legs are quite tender.

Friday, May 14, 2010


This week I've been trying to accomplish a few things for the shop that I've been putting off for ages.
The biggest thing was determining how much I should charge for lovies, blankets and burpies and how to go about doing it.I had no set price, it was just a big guessing game. I had someone e-mail me on Wednesday night asking how much I'd charge for a bigger lovie. I decided it was time to get a system in place. With the help of dear hubby, I figured out how much to charge per square inch. It was quite the process, but now that I have a figure in mind it's so much easier. I went thru every listing this morning and changed all the prices. Some were way too high, some too low.

I wanted to expand my descriptions on burpies to include the fact that they can be used as a changing pad and also to wipe runny noses. Sounds yucky, the boogers part, I know but it's the only thing I'll use on my kids' noses and also mine. Way softer than a Kleenex the roughness of tree bark. No more red, raw noses for us!

I've been using the same fabrics to make multiple items. When it comes to bibs and burpies, I've tried to add the link to the coordinating product into the listing. Hassle factor of 6 when one item sells without the other. Solution? Add a search link into each listing that uses that fabric line. In theory, it should update each time something sells or new gets added to the shop. We'll see how it works in reality.

Now that these changes are made, I can relax and hope it makes the able mabel shopping experience so much better!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food Snob Central

Food snob, that's me. I'll freely admit it. Remember this lunch from last week? I wanted a repeat but I haven't made another batch of granola since lovely Miss Ky spilled the last batch. The sandwhich I had for lunch today was wonderful but something was missing. It's hard for me to eat fruit and yogurt now without granola. Snobbish, I know.

So I quickly mixed up a batch and am waiting for my oven to heat up so I can bake it.

Here's what I did (thanks to my sister in law):
4 cups oats
2 cups coconut
2 cups nuts (I used sliced almonds)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed (I used whole seeds but is there something about your body not processing them correctly if they're not ground? Maybe someone will enlighten us.)

Mix it all together and add 1/2 cup oil. Mix well and add 3/4 cup honey.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Feel free to add in any extras you'd like. I added craisins once but my kids didn't like it.

Yum. By the time it's done baking, I'll have the kids down for their naps and be able to enjoy this bliss in silence! Double bliss!! I'm spoiled and I know it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cheap Labor

When my two yr old heard me ask my 5 yr old this morning to "thrown down your bedspread", she asked, "Are you going to take pictures of me?" When I nodded, she informed me, "I'm not going to let you." I gave her a non committal "hmmmm" and continued cutting threads off the blankets, my brain scrambling to think of a bribe for her. She sauntered off to play upstairs.

Before too long she was back with a question. "Do you have any gum?" Yep. After a few beats, "Do you have any Starbursts?" Yep, again. "Ok", she said, "I'll let you take pictures of me if you give me 5 Starbursts." At my raised eyebrow she quickly changed her mind, "Two. How about two starbursts?" Sold!!

Before she could change her mind, I quickly got her changed and up on the table.

It was her lucky day as I only had two blankets and one lovie done.
I also have about three sets of bibs and burpie to photograph. I reached for Baby to get her ready to pose when I took a look at her nose.Not good. I had forgotten she had bumped it on the concrete steps outside while she was climbing up them on Sunday. Her nose is scraped and brusied. I have a hunch that potential customers would not like to see her in that condition. :) (Her nose doesn't look so bad in this pic but it's actually a pretty dark bruise)I settled for some feet shots instead. Sweet little toes! The bibs will have to wait a week or two until her face clears up unless I find another cherub to use.
My original plan was to work on a few aprons this afternoon. Plans have now changed as I got an order for a larger size of the Red Birdie Blanket. No complaints from me. If' they'll buy, I'll sew! ;)

Monday, May 10, 2010

A brain purge

a-la bullet points!
  • We had a lovely weekend surrounded by friends.
  • Hubby turned down an invite to climb Mt Sopris on Saturday and instead strapped on his tool belt and worked around the house. What a guy! (for the record, I had nothing to do with his decision. Honest.)
  • I put my baking hat on on Saturday and baked the day away. Part of my efforts were wasted as my lovely 2 yr old spilled the entire container of granola this morning while she was snitching.
  • She's lucky granola is so cheap and easy to make. (I'll blog a recipe later this week.)
  • I had a lovely Mother's Day. I had meant to take pictures all day long but only managed to take one of breakfast.
  • We had a few other families over for the day. The dads took over; made dinner, tended to the kids, served us coffee and dessert....we sure were spoiled!!
  • Something must be wrong with me. I'm always glad to see the end of Mother's Day. I always feel bad for Hubby for having to do it all (although he says he doesn't mind) because I know how much work it is to do it alone.
  • He won't let me lift a finger on Mother's Day. I'm lucky and I know it! :)
  • I've started a new routine in the mornings. Wake up early, eat breakfast and exercise before my baby wakes up.
  • It's wonderful to have my exercising done first thing in the morning. One less thing hanging over my head in the afternoon.
  • We had a sale today. Our first in a week. It was the longest sales drought we had in a long time.
  • Just goes to show if you don't work it, sales mostly likely don't happen.
  • I took last week "off" for the most part, catching up on house stuff.
  • The week off was much needed but now I'm ready to get back at it!!
  • I spent most of the afternoon today sewing.
  • It was all about Anna Marie Horner's Garden Party!!
  • I'm hoping to get pictures taken tomorrow morning and get some new products listed.
  • But for now, I need to get back to dinner prep. Loaded chicken fettuccine is on the menu. Everyone's fav!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kids are the best!

My 7 yr old (1st grade) son gave me my Mother's Day gift early.

I can't get what he wrote on camera because he colored over the words and they don't show up, but here are the highlights.

"My mother loves me best when I do the dishes."
"My mother looks prettiest when she weres dresses."
"My favorite thing about my mother is when she lets me go to my friend's house."
"Facts about my mom: Height: 5 ft 2 in, Weight: 80lbs (ain't he the best?!?!), Hobbies: Working, Occupation: Sewing"

Included were two coupons for cleaning his room. I intend to cash one in tomorrow. :)

I love these types of Mother's Day gifts! It's always so funny to see what they write! This one is a keeper! (Both the kid and his writings.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What a fun day!

Playing Suzie Homemaker is necessary but at times greatly frustrating. I've spent the last week scrubbing, organizing, cleaning, washing, baking, etc. As of 8:00 pm last night, it looked like I had been MIA for a month. Nothing that I had slaved over was as I had left it. Grrr...Don't get me wrong, I love my family and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world, but I sometimes think we're raising Little Pigs instead of Little Kids. Take the bad with the good, I guess.

As I found my blood pressure rising last night over the state of my little girls' bedroom, I realized I needed a distraction from "normal life". Something to make me forget about it and help me "escape". I refused to slave over my house today. I was craving a day of sewing, it had been more than a week since I last pulled my machine out.

One little problem. The guy who bought our deck off of craigslist was coming today to pick it up. I did not want to be home by myself. (I did not envy him and his piles he had to load up. I offered to help but he turned me down. Shucks anyway ;) ! )

Solution: I called up one of my good friends. She had a baby a few weeks ago so I knew she'd be tired of staring at her four walls and would love a change of scenery. I bribed her with a free lunch if she'd come visit me while I sewed. (Nice friend, aren't I?)

We fed the kids mac n cheese and then feasted on a loaded sandwich and fruit, yogurt and homemade granola. Delicious!!
I didn't get much sewing done but I did manage to get two blanket tops and two key fobs done.

Blanket top #2. I love bouncing ideas off this friend. She has an awesome eye for design and color and she feels free to give her opinions when I ask for them.
I don't even care that I didn't get a lot of sewing done. I had the best of all worlds: good friend, good food, good visiting, good times while the kids played nicely together. What more could a gal ask for?
(Honestly though, the next time she comes over she'll have my undivided attention. I promise I won't sew!! I realize how selfish that sounds. This was a one time deal.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's no lie

Running to Target with four kids is more exhausting than taking apart the deck. Or maybe it's just a different type of exhausting.

Obviously I was slightly off my rocker to even attempt such a feat but that's beside the point.

I pulled into the Target parking lot, unbuckled, turned around and found four dirty faces grinning back at me. Shoot. I forgot the wipes. I scrounge around looking for something, anything to wipe off some of the mess. I refuse to resort to the lick-my-fingers-then-wipe-their-faces routine when it comes to boogers. I swiped at their faces, not making much of a difference and then lead my ducklings into the store.

They, of course, want the "limo cart". Not wanting to have to worry about crowd control and keeping four little bodies all in one place, I agree. Problem: Where to put Baby? There is no buckle or leg openings in the seat in the cart. Not wanting to start off our shopping session with a fight by making one of the toddlers walk, I decide to put her in the back where all the goods go. (Pushover, aren't I?)

We make our way to the shoes. Mission? Church sandals for the girls. My 2 yr old is perfectly content with the sandals I picked out for her ("Just like Addy's.", she says pleased as punch). Not so with my 5 yr old.

"Mom, I really really want these ones." pointing to a pair of 3 inch heels covered with bling and no toe catcher.
"Sorry Sweets. You can't even stay upright with your bare feet. How do you expect to be able to wear those?"
"Who cares? I'll just walk slowly. Look at them! They're so pretty!"
"Yes, they are. But no, I refuse to buy them for you." (Mean, but practical Mom here. Now if they had been cheaper, I may have been talked into them..but I know she won't wear them.)

She flops down on the floor with her arms crossed, her bottom lip sticking out far enough to perch 3 blackbirds. Meanwhile, I catch of glimpse of Baby tossing her own shoes overboard. (Darn velcro!) I swoop down to rescue her shoes while giving my 5 year old the ultimatum. Upon realizing my threat is a real one, she "settles" for another pair. (By the time we left the store, she had forgotten all about the bling.)

We head to the toddler clothes to see if there are any cheap clothes. My baby helps me "shop", pulling clothes off hangers left and right while saying "Oh cute!" and "Here.". I frantically try to put her mess back together while trying to appear calm, cool and collected. We are so outta this section.

Making our way to the girls's section to look for shirts for the 5 yr old, I spy one with a price of less than $2. Perfect. I show it to her only to have her shake her head at it. "It has a lion on it," she says, "girls don't wear lions." It's pointless to try talk her into it because I know it'll just end up going into the dirty clothes and being washed all summer long without being worn once. This is exactly why I don't shop for her clothes when she's along. If I bring something home for her, she'll wear it no problem. If she's with and I buy something she doesn't like...nope, she'll refuse to wear it. Sigh. That trait must come from her father's side. ;)

At this point Baby decides she's had enough shopping and makes her presence known by letting loose several ear splitting screeches. As all the other shoppers race for the ear plugs section, I frantically search for her pacifier before realizing she had sent it overboard without any of us catching it. (Of course, the only pacifier I could find on my way out the door that morning was the one without the string attached.) Making a wide, really wide, right turn with the limo, we make our way back to the baby section to get a new pack of pacifiers. Ahhh. Silence is golden.

While madly sucking on a pacifier, she still lets us know she's ready to be done by tossing anything she can get her hands on onto the floor. I'm sure we made quite the scene....Speed walking Mom driving limo, Baby tossing items on floor, 5 yr old following behind bent over in half picking things up off the floor while trying to keep up with limo and still hold onto her sandals. Thankfully the other two sitting in the cart were still occupied admiring the 2 yr old's new sandals.

What was I going to get from this side of the store? I no longer have my list. It was a victim of Baby. (Whoever finds it, will you please purchase the rest of the items and bring them to my house? Thanks.)

We pause to change seating assignments with the 2 yr old and Baby switching spots as my cell phone rang. Hubby on his lunch break. I breathlessly answer the phone and he asks how my day is going. I give the rundown and he gets a good chuckle. Thanks. Glad I made someone's day. I do feel better though after talking to him. Not so frazzled.

Enough is enough. Baby is done. Mom is done. List is gone. Time to throw the towel in.

Thankfully the new sandals are a distraction when we get to the checkout line. Not one of them begged for candy or gum. Phew. Now there's a plus!

I make it thru the exit doors without smashing the limo into any security posts or doors, (another plus) and the wind sweeps us out to the 'Burb. I unload the ducklings and bags of goods, buckle everyone up and collapse into my seat. Whew! I'm getting too old for this! (heehee. Just kidding. I couldn't resist adding that.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Under destruction

We purchased our house in August. It was a foreclosure that sat empty for a few years or so. It needs a few cosmetic fix-ups but nothing major. One of the "selling points" of the house was the four tier deck in the back. I use the term loosely because whoever built it did a crummy job. We're talking;
  • "boards not quite cut to the right length but oh well we'll use them anyway" kind of workmanship
  • "not enough support so it's springier than a trampoline" kind of building (on the bright side, we didn't need to buy a tramp)
  • "let's not get a permit so the city slapped a stop work order on the project so we'll leave it not quite done" kind of progress
  • "let's make everyone coming in the back door step down to a little piece of concrete before stepping up to the back step" kind of design

You know it's bad when the tax assessor comes to add the deck onto the value of the house but after looking at it decides not to put it as an asset. :) (Okay, so I had to talk her into it, showing her it's flaws but she did agree not to add it to the tax value of our house.)

This winter the deck stayed snow covered most of the winter, the perfect place for an ice rink, so I decided I'd rather take the deck down and put a patio back there. Thankfully Hubby agreed.

I snapped some pictures of it on Saturday and we listed it on craigslist. By the end of the evening we had 9 people interested in it. Pretty impressive considering the area we live in.

Supposedly there is a guy coming on Wednesday to pick it up. Keeping our fingers crossed he'll actually show up. One of the "joys" of craigslist.

Being that Hubby's plate is so full, once again, this week, I offered to help him take it down. I mean, how hard can it be to take out a bunch of screws?

At 8:30 this morning, taking advantage of two kids still sleeping, I headed out armed with

a cordless drill, a bucket (not so I could puke at the job ahead of me but to put all the deck screws in), and my ever-trusty water bottle (complete with the mismatched cover).

I had a little helper who was quite pleased to hold my bucket for me.

I unscrewed and unscrewed, switching to my left hand when my right hand got tired. I wonder how the line "able to operate cordless drill with both right hand and left hand" would look on any future job resumes? ;) I'd bet the potential employer would be very impressed and I'd be hired on the spot!

There was a pause in the progress when I heard a sleepy "Mom?" from the door. My 4 yr old needed someone to make him some oatmeal.
All the fun and games ended when the drill ran out of battery. I got most of the screws out of the first two tiers. Sweet. It was so awesome to be out in the morning sunshine and fresh mountain air first thing this morning while actually accomplishing something.
The battery for the drill is now recharging. My plan is to get back out there for a bit while the kids are napping. In the meantime, it's the perfect temp for chasing my 4 yr old on his bike while pushing the girls in the stroller! In fact, he's just about biting my elbow off waiting for me to finish up here.