Handmade Arcade

Come out this weekend and see me and my Lumpkins at the
DL Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.
This Saturday April 16th, 2011

I'll be at booth #98.
Hope to see you there!



I was hoping to be done with this update last night but it's taking forever! I still have a few more dolls to list, lots of Lumpys and tons of knit produce! Check back in the shop soon. It's been so long since I've blogged- I actually forgot how to post a picture for a second- that's bad.


Creative Ventures

Summer cooking has been a challenge. I hate cooking in the heat. But my new favorite thing to do for a quick easy meal is the giant family sandwich. It's basically a whole foods focaccia bread cut in half and filled with whatever I have on hand. Avocados, hummus, greens, tomatoes, broiled tofu. I just like to make sure the bread gets toasted first and there needs to be some kind or dressing- either hummus or Goddess dressing (our favorite) because I really pile on the greens.
In unrelated cooking news- the pink batter was yet another failed attempt to make a pink strawberry cake. An entire cup of fresh beet juice didn't do the trick. I'm at a loss. But the cake tasted great anyway.

M2's Summer sweater is finished. Its made with Lorna's Laces sock yarn. I did a little wave pattern on the bottom and a little ruffly hem and short sleeves. I happened to find a matching cotton ribbon in my vintage stash so I forwent any buttons. I love the way it turned out. I'm not very experienced with skinny yarns so it's always fun to get some practice.

New curtains for the front window. I actually went out and bought new fabric for this project. It was really nice to go out and buy some brand new fabric for once. Not something that someone else discarded in a salvation army pile. Not having to choose from the relatively limited selection of sustainable fabrics available. Just perusing the endless bolts at a huge fabric store is very therapeutic. I miss that sometimes. And I guess it's ok to indulge every once in a while. Like Icelandic dark chocolate- maybe it's not organic or fairly-traded but it's so pretty and it tastes so good!

It's been a little while since I have spun anything so I decided to spin some yarn up for C3's Summer sweater. I haven't chosen a spinning wheel yet (still welcome any advice on that matter) so I broke out the ole' kick spindle for the occasion.

I got 10 oz. of fiber (also Lorna's) on sale at my local yarn shop. I'm trying to spin it pretty thin so it creates a sweater suitable for Summer.

And last but not least- I've cut out my fabric (also bought for this specific purpose) for another Frock by Friday. It's a really cheap homespun cotton. It's very light and almost gauzy but not sheer. I think it's will be great for the dress which calls for flowy materials. I can't bring myself to buy synthetic fibers ( I don't know- they feel so weird on my finger tips). I was so happy to find this airy cotton in such a nice woven color combination. This is what I'll be working on over the weekend.
I'll post recap from our first official week of Summer this weekend too.
See you then!


Summer Parenting

We are officially on Summer vacation here people! I am equal parts relieved and terrified. We spent this morning (the girls and I) vegging out for a bit and then we buckled down and planned our Summer routine. (I think I just felt me readership drop off slightly- wait it gets worse- there's a schedule).
Most Summers I would just go with the flow and take it easy but since my two oldest daughters are having some minor difficulties getting along with one another, I think it best to keep them as busy as possible- for as long as possible. Otherwise the Summer 2010 was slated to be remembered as the one when M1 annihilated M2 (or visa versa).

Don't let the smiles fool you

Hey! Don't look at me- Grandma is the one dressing them like triplets!

I had each girl make a list of things they wanted to do this Summer. Luckily there were a lot of overlapping activities on their lists despite their apparent hatred for each other. We decided on a loose routine for our semi-structured Summer days.

6-8:00 am. wake up (kids first, parents last)
8:00 am. eat, brush, dress
9:30 am. leave the house for one of the
following activities:
- museums (mostly the ones we are members of)
- library (once a week)
- exploring Pittsburgh (I want to see all the different neighborhoods!)
- parks
- or stay in for crafts on some rainy days
12:00 pm. swim team practice? (we're going to try it out- not sure they'll be into it?)
1-3:00 pm. lunch, nap, rest, MAMA TIME
3:00 pm. back outside- walk, bike, farmer's market, park
5:00 pm. start dinner
6:30 pm. dinner
7:00 pm. pawn kids off on the other parent until bedtime.

You know, the baby years were great- having all the kids so spread out in age was easy- I laughed at people who had their kids one year apart- thinking they were insane. But now as I'm trying to think of ways to simultaneously occupy a 10, 6 and 2 year old I'm not so sure I had it right after all.

So basically my plan is to exhaust these kids so they don't have enough energy left to drive me crazy. The only flaw I see in the schedule is the "rest" period for M1,the oldest, while the other two are napping. Hopefully a couple hours of quiet reading time will be welcomed by her after a morning of activities. But if she's bored I might have to incorporate some larger ongoing projects/crafts for her.

Of course, if you know me at all, then you know that this entire schedule will actually be pushed back by about one hour due to my "having no concept of time".

And I reserve the right to cancel any or all plans based on observances of the
-tantrums thrown by children at any point in the day,
- inclement weather, acts of god,
- traffic jams, inconvenient construction zones, making wrong turns,

and of course cancellations may be made as a result of my
-caffeine depravity
-or general shift of mood (hormonal or otherwise).

I'd say theses kids are all set to have a great Summer-
at least 75% of the time.

And here's to us surviving the other 25%!
glug glug glug...

Good luck to you on your Summer parenting adventures too.


New Old Pittsburgh No.2

Here's another installment of my new favorite hobby.
This view shows a corner just a few blocks down from my house. I love the old photo so much. Look at all that open space back in Friendship. I love the dapper looking gentleman walking in front of the long since vanished row homes on the left. And of course the tiny sliver on the right showing a woman holding a basket dressed head to toe in dark folds of fabric in August of course! But my very favorite part are the two little girls captured in time right in the middle of it all.

I really want to recreate this photo with my little lumpkins someday soon.

Old photo: Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection,
1901-2002, AIS.1971.05, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh
New photo: Google Maps Street View 2010

Wait a minute! There are new apartments on that corner now!
That Google view must be from 2008? Whoa. I definitely need to take a current shot of that corner.
To Be Continued...


New Work

I've been working on a couple things lately. I decided to make the girls each a Summer/Spring sweater. Here is M2's...

It's Malabrigo Organic Cotton. I was going to follow a pattern for the sweater but that ended up being too much of a pain. I'm still not sure I like the collar. I might have to redo that one.

Also I shipped my Monster#2 sweater off to it's new home in Australia. I made a cute little storage bag for it with my serger. I've been wanting to make these little bags for quite awhile. My sweaters are such an investment/ heirloom I want to make them even more special.

More soon I hope...


A little Quiet time

Is the weekend over yet? I'm dealing with some very irritable little people here lately. I'm not sure if it's the weather changing or the end-of-school-year-restlessness, or maybe I just miss having a babysitter for these little monsters once in awhile. Whatever it is- I am going insane.

My favorite time of day is bedtime lately- unfortunately now one of my kids (ahem, M2) is an insomniac? So, she's sleeping upstairs in our room with us and the other kid who is literally draining the life out of me one swig of milk at a time.

The later the kids get to bed- and believe me it's impossible to get them to bed lately between the insomnia and that pesky sunset- the later I have to push MY bedtime back. That makes for a cranky mama.

So in the late night hours I sewed my frock. That was fun. I took the opportunity to try out ways to use my serger in the construction of a garment. Very professional looking, I must say. I tried and failed once again to use my buttonhole foot- unsuccessfully as ever. So I opted for some temporary sew-on snaps until I figure that out. I also decided to just gather the entire front of the bodice at the yoke instead of the pleats the pattern called for- since I chose a plaid with such obvious lines. The gathers also do a better job of disguising what I like to call my "modern mama one-sided nursing"- meaning the fact that I only nurse from the left side anymore because I need my right hand to do other things- so yeah, that's a little odd looking. Anyway, here it is- oh yeah I went with a shorter tunic length too.

As you can see I chose to do a contrasting yoke too. I like the little sleeve flap folded rather than not. All the fabrics were vintage scores from the Salvation Army Sale last month. I like the was it turned out. And most of all it way really fun following a pattern again and stretching my brain a little to figure out what was going on with the instructions. I will definitely do it again in the future and YOU should too!

Well, someone is yelling at me about flip-flops right now so I guess my quiet time has expired. I'll just leave you with this happy shot of the birthday boy from yesterday. If you ever tell him you saw this picture here, there or anywhere for that matter- it will surely mean the end of both YOU and I- so bite you're tongue!

I sometimes wish I hadn't grown up thinking he was sooo cool. But alas, I did. Even in a pink birthday crown.
Aw man, cracks me up!