Friday, October 30, 2009

pieces, part two

Remember the pieces? Now they are quite bewildered indeed. They have been further detangled, and flattened by the heat, steam and pressure of the iron. They seriously have no clue with what crazy experiment they are involved.

Do you? ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

latest craze

I suppose there have been stranger fads. "Silly Bandz" started out as rubber bands, shaped like animals or various other things. They work like ordinary office supplies, but when you remove them from whatever you've 'banded', they return to their original shape.

Then somehow, someone got the bright idea to wear one as a bracelet. And now all the kids are wearing them, to the point that the stores sell out 30 minutes after they restock. Oddly enough, it seems to be a central Alabama thing. (If you don't live here, have you seen them where you are?)

So I suppose we'll be ordering some, as a) I have 2 girls; and b) I very much dislike burnt runs anywhere, especially the mall. Lucky for us, they're not expensive.

If you'd like to join us in being hip and trendy (ha), visit Silly Bandz.

Update: National School Products has all the current styles, offers packs of 12 if you don't need 24, and you can also reserve the new holiday package!! We just placed our order with them - very nice folks. They do have a $25 minimum order, and a service charge if it's less than that; $5 minimum shipping.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

cat nap

At long last, Bilbo the Cat has found a bed worthy of His Royal Feline Majesty. Sure, it's a little girly. And normally occupied by Lydia's baby dolls. But it's just his size.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

our classroom

Last night was the Orionid meteor shower, when the Earth plunges headlong through debris left by Halley's Comet. Even though the peak time to view the "shooting stars" was from 1 am to 6 am, we went out just before bedtime to see if we could perhaps catch a glimpse of one. We bundled up and carried our blankets and sleeping bags out to the trampoline, a very comfortable "classroom" to lie down and watch the sky. Our students were one very intent 12 year old and one very wiggly 4 year old. As we watched, we looked for known constellations, and named a few new ones, thanks to Lydia. We only saw one really good meteor, but it was worth the time spent.

I think that homeschooling leads us to seek out those moments to learn together as a family. Those times have become precious to me, and I feel the girls will always remember them. And yes, I know you don't have to homeschool to have family learning activities. But I think that I would not be so compelled to do those things if I did not feel solely responsible for my children's education.

It just makes me happy when learning and family time are all wrapped up together, snug in a blanket on the trampoline under the stars.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

through the looking glass

Sometimes my best ideas come from my customers. Like today at lunch, I was talking to the waitress at the local Mexican restaurant, who wants to buy one of my hats. She said "Do you have one with a butterfly or something on it?"

I was aghast. I could not believe I had not yet done a hat with a butterfly. Instantly, this butterfly flew into my imagination, and I had to go home and sew it up.
I feel as though I've followed the white rabbit today. It was fun!

The hat is available in my Etsy shop, by the way.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Some ten years ago, a bolt of plain fabric was bought at quite a discount. It was well loved for its softness, and parts of it were cut away to make many things. One part was cut away and washed, then folded and put on a shelf, its original purpose abandoned.

The fabric was shuffled from place to place, house to house, shelf to box to shelf again.

Then one day the fabric was taken from the shelf and cut into pieces. It experienced the effects of dye, hot water and time. It had one more bath, raveled quite a bit, then was untangled and hung to dry.

It likely thinks it will go back to the shelf after this, but at least it got to look out the window for a while.

It has no idea of its next adventure. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

did you hear me screaming?

First of all, if I spoke to you around 3:00 this afternoon, let me apologize for my volume.

If not, let me show you why I was so excited:

I've never been a great success on Etsy. (I've compared it to trying to fit in with the "popular kids" at school, which I did not.) I've only been in a handful of treasuries, and have never been on the front page or anything of that nature. But today - oh, today - my cuff for the October Breast Cancer Awareness challenge on the Etsy SHEteam made it into a Storque article!

Of course, I'd be thrilled with any such exposure on Etsy, and the traffic to my shop that comes with it. But to be included in a breast cancer awareness article, after Mama's battle with cancer, is particularly sweet.

I go to sleep happy, if still a bit bewildered, tonight. The popular kids let me sit at their lunch table, for one day at least. ;)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

what makes an entrepreneur?

In my very short college career, one thing I learned about was the labeling of textiles. So I've been sifting through the Textile and Wool Acts to make sure my labels are in order. Even though I stopped selling children's products because CPSIA made it so complicated, that doesn't mean I'm free from all regulations. Unfortunately.

This has made me think about regulation of businesses in general. Yes, some regulation is necessary. But it seems to me that what we have in America today is two centuries worth of layer upon layer of federal, state and local rules and regulations. When the laws themselves become so long and complicated that the congressmen passing those laws do not even take the time to read them, we're in trouble. This aspect of government is such a bloated monstrosity that it has lost effectiveness.

Yet the regulations remain. And they are daunting to anyone starting a new business. Enough that it makes me want to throw in the towel some days. After all, can't I use my talents to make things for my family and friends, and choose to save what little money we have instead of trying to make more?

But then I think about the kinds of business that will remain if all the "little guys" give up, saying it's too hard. There will be big business, those large enough to hire lobbyists to change the laws, and lawyers to understand the laws. There will be the businesses with no integrity who choose to ignore the laws (see this great post by Wacky Hermit about overregulation). And of course, there will be very small businesses who are either ignorant of the laws, or don't care to learn them. They are of little consequence, because if they grow they will not be able to fly under the radar.

That outcome does not look like a place I'd like to live. So I guess I'll get back to my reading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I turned 40 in August. At this point, old age has left off "creeping up on me"; it has taken to "pouncing and tackling". Lately my finger joints have been achy and snarky, and it seemed to me that keeping them warm would help.

So yesterday I decided to join the trend and knit up some fingerless mitts. I had some Lion Brand "Homespun" yarn left over from another project. I had no pattern on hand for mitts using bulky yarn, and could not find one on the computer as my access was denied (by 4yo playing on the Nick Jr website). So I made up my own pattern. It's basically a square in garter stitch, with a piece for the thumb on one side. It's a neat trick I learned from another mitten pattern.

I'm not one to keep things on my hands, so learning how to do my normal tasks while wearing them has been a challenge. I've discovered a whole new range of typos I never knew existed. But I was proud of myself for making smoothies for breakfast without a drop on them. And it may be all in my head, but they do seem to be helping my fingers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Remember these?

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'm in the process of putting more "love+support cuffs" in my Etsy shop. A portion of the sale of each cuff will be donated to breast cancer research. You'll also find the pattern there, if you would like to make your own.