Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Hey all, Lila Tueller is giving away a jelly roll and a layer cake of her newest fabric line. If you are interested, you might want to jaunt on over and leave her a comment here.

Xmas PJs

We have friends (you know who you are!) who used to get new pajamas as their Christmas Eve present -- that way they all looked coordinated and fresh on Christmas Morning. I have always loved this idea and have tried, on occasion, to implement that same strategy. Most often I find myself in my huge alma mater T-shirt and some flannel jamma pants that are ages old. What can I say? I'm attached to tradition.

This year I am treating our family to some new jams for Christmas -- jammies that I make for them. Well, at least the bottoms. I may have mentioned (once or twice, ahem) that I got this new book Weekend Sewing and that it has in it's very pages the pattern for pajama bottoms for the entire family. Yee-ha! So I have started drooling over flannel fabrics that I might choose for said PJs.

I found this fabulous fabric on Etsy (of course I did) and it will soon be wrestled into bottoms for my hubby.

I love it! And I have been mooning over SEVERAL fabrics for myself, including Christmas owls and garden gnomes. The real trick will be coming up with a fabric that my child likes - that's flannel. I'm kinda picky that way. When asked, he said he'd like something with punctuation marks all over it. Yeah, I'll be sure to pick that up right away.

These are the best I have come up with and I am still not thrilled with them:

If you've got any other suggestions, I am certainly open to them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I found a really great pattern for some slouchy bucket hats and I love them! I made two with some left over yarn I had. I'm thinking they will either be showing up on Etsy or stuffed in the gift larder for some Christmas cheer. Although this autumnal one does match my poncho perfectly....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Among The More Ridiculous...

I saw this story on a blog site and couldn't believe it was true. So I tracked it down to an ABC affiliate in Michigan (WZZM). It's true. I CANNOT believe it has come to this. Seriously.

MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors' children.

Lisa Snyder of Middleville says her neighborhood school bus stop is right in front of her home. It arrives after her neighbors need to be at work, so she watches three of their children for 15-40 minutes until the bus comes.

The Department of Human Services received a complaint that Snyder was operating an illegal child care home. DHS contacted Snyder and told her to get licensed, stop watching her neighbors' kids, or face the consequences.

"It's ridiculous." says Snyder. "We are friends helping friends!" She added that she accepts no money for babysitting.

Mindy Rose, who leaves her 5-year-old with Snyder, agrees. "She's a friend... I trust her."

State Representative Brian Calley is drafting legislation that would exempt people who agree to care for non-dependent children from daycare rules as long as they're not engaged in a business.

"We have babysitting police running around this state violating people, threatening to put them in jail or fine them $1,000 for helping their neighbor (that) is truly outrageous" says Rep. Calley.

A DHS spokesperson would not comment on the specifics of the case but says they have no choice but to comply with state law, which is designed to protect Michigan children.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I have, actually, been busy this week...

It's just that I am in the middle of several knitting projects and none of them are "picture worthy" at the moment. I am wondering what I could put in my Etsy shop that would be a big seller. I am considering the following knitted items: hats, mittens, fingerless gloves (wrist warmers), slippers, dog sweaters and baby sweaters. I was also thinking about a buckwheat heating pad, the kind you can warm up in the microwave. Thoughts? I'm a lighting knitter....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Scrap Happy

I think I mentioned before that I was headed to an overnight crop last weekend and although it wasn't my favorite place, it was great to see friends and get a little further ahead on my scrapping. (although, I have to admit, I spent a good deal of time knitting as well.)

We stayed at a place called Crop-A-Doodle-Do. And while I couldn't give it 5 stars (the internet wasn't working in the crop room - after all, I am a digital scrapper - and the food was just so-so, and the cropping space was smallish, and the acoustics in the room made it loud...), it was still a get-away and would have seemed amazing if we hadn't already had the ultimate in scrapbooking weekends at Treasured Memories. (although the owner there is really hard to get in touch with)

Here are a few of my favorite layouts from the weekend:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Canning May Not Be What It Used To Be...

We've all heard the saying, beauty is only skin deep. It occurred to me, while I was peeling tomatoes to be canned, that tomatoes were the perfect metaphor for that. All the oogie spots and blemishes on the tomatoes magically disappeared as the skins came off. Even some of the tomatoes I was going to reject were salvageable once their skins were removed. And it got me thinking that perhaps this and many other lessons were learned while families canned, or gardened, or made things together, generations ago. And I started to feel a little nostalgic and morose that my family never did things like that. We were all about the ease of life and the doing and the getting to the next place. Which, I admit, also has it's virtues.

And then it occurred to me that even though this was Grandmom's canner, but it wasn't my Grandmom's canning, so to speak. After all, I believe that a good drink will make the job go faster. Even surrounded by Great Aunt Ruth's juice glasses, and Grandmom's pot, and canning jars that have come from God knows where, I still give the process my own vibe. And I like that.

To date, this drink seems to go best with canning tomatoes -- it's a sipper, and with a long job of boiling, peeling, dicing, packing and processing tomatoes, a girl could use a long-lasting sippin' drink. You can find the recipe here, if you want.

I've realized (perhaps with the help of another cocktail), although I feel a little sad for what could have been, I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed the process then nearly as much as I do now. And for that, there is no substitute.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I am so in love with the new Fox show Glee. I can't get enough! I am actually a little sad that I discovered it in real time - and not a season or two later when I could gorge myself on an entire season at once. If you haven't seen it yet, you really must. Hulu is my savior, as I can only record so many shows at once on the DVR (yes, I realize what this sounds like).

I always thought I wanted to be in show choir as a high school student; but I convinced myself I was either too lame (really) or too flat, or too selfish to really do it. I mean, you had to audition in front of the rest of the choir - on a stage - and you had to spend in ordinate amounts of time in rehearsal and competition, and I was already in the "real" choir, the top choir other than Encores - our show choir. It was no surprise to learn that the creator of the show himself was a native hoosier and in fact, an alum of Warren Central High. Of course he was.

This show is really all that and more. If I had to go back to high school (and please realize, this would be as dire a ring of hell as I could imagine - I'd rather be a cannibal) I'd hope it was with these people.

I love it when the fall sweeps begin. It's just another reason to love fall.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Farmers Market

I am in love with our local Farm Market. It happens every Friday night (which seems like an inconvenient time, but has really worked well once school started) rain or shine. Last Friday I found the most beautiful produce on a most beautiful day.

I need tomatoes (we just didn't get enough this year). But otherwise I had no idea of what I might find. And then I stumbled upon these gorgeous peppers and chiles:

I was in heaven! I started dreaming of salsas and chile rellenos and green chile omelets. (My dad grew up in Los Alamos - I had no idea that other midwesterners didn't eat these things on a weekly basis.) And when the poblanos were 3 for a dollar...well that sealed the deal.

We made these gorgeous rellenos useing this recipe.

Well, actually, I used a cornbread mix for the batter. It really balanced the heat of the chile with the sweetness of the batter. I don't mind telling you they were the best I've had in years! We will definitely be doing them agian. Sorry you missed it dad! Maybe next time....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Etsy Extravaganza!

Ok, if you haven't actually wandered over to my Etsy shop, you really, really should. I'm having the biggest sale EVER over there and these gorgeous handmade books are ripe for the picking! They would be perfect stocking stuffers (don't tell me you haven't started your Holiday shopping yet; I know some of you are almost done). Or they could be the most thoughtful little baby gift, or wedding gift, or shower gift the recipient has ever received.

So what are you waiting for? Get on over there and check things out. And if the perfect thing isn't there yet, go back in a week or two. I'm adding new items all the time. Really. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Feet

My girlfriends and I are gearing up for a scrapbooking weekend beginning this Friday! Whoop, whoop! As I was looking for digi-supplies, I wound up creating another layout for my All About Me Album:

I love to take photos of my feet. Perhaps it's a strange self portrait thing. I don't know. (But I do know another Amy who likes to do the same thing!) I was inspired to put this together by a challenge over at Scrap Girls. The idea is to do a layout using repetition. I love it!

Need a closer look? Here you go....

I am SO looking forward to a weekend with my girls!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Queen of the Cubits

I love to organize things. I can't help it. It's one of those crazy homebody sorts of things I do. And I have to say, this is one of my finer moments:

My dad has always called me "Queen of the Cubits" for the way I pack. I hate to waste any space. My hubby and I have been known to pack only a carry-on bag to go to Europe for the week (more than once). And my lockers are no different.

And while I didn't get my fibers in the lockers, everything else fit in the way I thought it might. My studio floor is now clear of 9 (yes, 9!) plastic tubs that I had been using to store all this sh-- stuff. And the footprint on the lockers is so much smaller than the beast of an entertainment center I was using, I think I may start thrifting for a great cozy chair I could recover and put in the corner.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Change Is Good

I get bored easily. I'm sure this contributes to my ever-changing need to learn something new, make something new, or refurbish something new. I've been doing a bit of digiscrapping and just changed my desktop so I see these little pumpkins every day.

I love it that something so small makes such a big difference for me. And inspires me to get some more of those ever-increasing photos into a book! Here are a few more I've done. I'm so ready for fall!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So as I looked around my cluttered studio to figure out how to fix the "locker bottom" problem, inspiration hit me. Instead of using materials I didn't have (boards I'd have to cut myself) I decided to use chipboard that was laying around and covered it with scrapbook paper for an instant rust guard. I love it. I also found some great locker shelfs over at Ah, just about finished with this locker project.
(Don't worry, I have many others on the back burners.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Our Newest Toy

Look what we got:

Dad found our first one at a garage sale. And then we liked it so much, he got another one!

I am in love with kayaking. I had no idea how peaceful and meditative taking the kayak out would be. It’s perfect. It’s exactly what I thought we were getting with the canoe. But alas, I am not able to navigate the canoe on my own. I really like to be on the lake alone. It gives me time to think and reflect; something that can be hard to come by in my everyday life.

And the kids seem to love it just as much as I do. All three of them have been enjoying the lake in a whole new way this summer.

It’s fun to watch them grow up and experience the lake. I have such fond memories of doing the same thing at their age. And there have been others who have enjoyed the kayaks too:

Looks like we’ll be enjoying our new toys for a long, long time.

Monday, September 07, 2009

High Sentiment

We’ve spent the most wonderful Labor Day weekend at the lake. There has been a great deal of gathering and laughter and eating and drinking and general merry-making. It’s exactly the sort of weekend I love to have at the lake, the sort of thing I dream about that gets me through the dead of winter.

The most gorgeous moon rose right over the lake as my husband, my father, and I sat watching the last of the campfire burn, resting in the comfort of family and the knowledge that this night, and so many more just like it, would last longer than any of us sitting there could imagine.

We sat in the dark watching the stars come out, dreaming about the future, talking about how delightful our lives were to be there at that moment, how our family wanted to keep coming to the lake for many years to come and simply enjoying one another’s company. The bugs were held at bay. The light was perfect. The wine was heady. The lake was still. The conversation was sentimental. The fire was smoldering. I was in heaven.

The lake is still my sanctuary, as it has always been. It fills me up to have nights like this.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Gentle Ben

I just finished reading one of the best YA novels ever. Seriously. It ranks right up there with Where The Red Fern Grows, Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry, and Leroy And The Old Man. YA is young adult fiction -- for those of you out there who don't have a YA author for a sister. (Love you, Jodes.)

I was afraid that Gentle Ben was going to be one of those dying dog books (although you might guess from the cover that it would actually be a dying bear book). I hate it when I get tricked into reading a dying dog book. I have vowed not to read them anymore. They are like a sucker punch. (I realize the Red Fern is, in fact, a dying dog book. I fell in love with it before I realized how many other dying dog books are out there. Sue me.)

I was pleasantly surprised. I won't give away the ending or anything, but if you have a child who is as empathetic as mine, you try and monitor the amount of sadness he reads. Especially when his reading at school this year will include Where The Red Fern Grows. Ironic, no? The moment I finished it, I put in on Hayes's pillow. I can only hope he'll feel compelled to read it. I know he'll love it. It's hard to find boy books, and this one is super. Oh, and if your kid is an animal lover, this is definitely the book to get.

Friday, September 04, 2009


As you may have guessed from yesterday's post, I have added some decorative labels to our jars this year. I thought they would lend a "gifty" touch to the jars. And they make me happy to look at. And it makes it easier to see what we have in the door of the 'fridge. It has also served to remind me of all the things that did get put up this year, so far. (After all, we still have relish and salsa and apple season ahead of us.) Here's a little peak:

I love my digital scrapbooking supplies, for oh so many reasons. And naturally I have found another way to use them. I used Avery Sticker Project Paper and my collection of digital supplies to create these cuties. If you are looking for some products to get you started, I would recommend checking out the freebies at: Scrap Girls, Scrapping with Ikea Goddess, and Atomic Cupcake. All have free products and enough to get you on your way. You'll also need a program like Photoshop or Elements to work in. I love the way these look and plan to make "how to care for this item" tags for my knitted gifts as well. Christmas is going to be so fun!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Blessed Pickles

I love Kosher Dills. And I have had the worst luck with cucumbers the last two years. Last summer we just went without pickles. Tragic. So I trudged out to the farmers market in the rain last week and purchased a basket-full of cucumbers from the brave farmers who came out. (I use an old picnic basket I found at a thrift store for harvesting in our garden and farmers-marketing.)

And finally, dear reader, I have pickles! I used one of those spice packets this year, instead of making my own pickling spice. In truth, my brain has been jello lately and I didn't trust myself to do it without missing a step. And this just had to be right.

Thirteen jars of pickles later and I am smiling like a Cheshire cat! We even had the "misfortune" of one jar not sealing properly, so we had to open it up right away and start eating those pickles. Slowly but surely I am putting things by this year. I suppose we will have some summer goodness stored away after all.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I finally got to the point of painting the lockers - and they looked really good too - until we put them in the sunny studio and the splotchy finish was revealed. Oh bother! I suppose that's what I get for painting them in the garage. Even with the door open I didn't see the unevenness (nor did my hubby). Check it out:

So now that they are in the studio, I have to figure out what to do. Paint another coat? If I can manage it in the house, I'd totally do it. That beast is NOT coming back down those steps. Or put my decoupaging hat on and see how altered I can make them? Could be cool - could be a disaster. Or just stick a whole bunch of "stuff" on the outsides with magnets? I think this is going to be my short term solution. I still have to fix the bottoms of the insides as they are a bit worse for wear and I don't want to put my fabric and fibers on that

I think I am going to have boards cut to the dimensions of the "floors" and then cover those with fabric scraps. It should do the trick and I think it'll be better than contact paper. I've also thought about adhering the fabric directly to the bottom, but the chance of rust seeping through makes me a little squeamish about doing that.

Oh, and because I always forget about taking a "before" photo, this is the monstrosity that came out of the studio; realize there hasn't been a TV in it for years. It started as the family entertainment center, morphed into a toy cabinet when we need one for the 2-3 year old, and finally found a home as a catch-all in my studio. We've laid it to rest. The garbage men begrudgingly picked up the dismantled pieces this morning.

And so it goes. I'll be sure to take photos of the lockers once they are stocked. I see a trip to in my near future. Those lockers are prime real estate. I'll need to use every cubit of space.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Working the Needles

I've been working on a little project around here that's a bit hush-hush. But I'll tell you I've been using Berroco Comfort for it and I LOVE this fiber! I acquired it on a recent trip to Chelsea, MI to visit my sister. I had to check out the local yarn shop and when I did, I found exactly what I needed for my little project. I even found some adorable buttons. I was tempted to stay all day and go through that "Odd Buttons" box, but reason set in and I restrained myself.

Curious to see? I'll give you a sneak peak:

Don't you just love the heathering in that yarn? I'm totally psyched with how it turned out. I'll show you more when the secret's out.