12.29.2014

It's The End of 2014

Thank goodness?? Maybe?? Not really sure...

This past year was pretty great - it really had its ups and downs. Bimmer Man's grandfather died, we  traveled to Colorado, we went to Indiana, we went to one of Bimmer Man's car races at Road America, we went to Bemidji State Park and walked across the Mississippi, I re-connected with old friends.

Lately I haven't been sleeping very well. Mostly I think it's the weather - we had a good 4 - 5 weeks with almost no sunshine, rain, no snow... not really the ideal weather for snow shoeing or getting outside and doing stuff.

I haven't been really inspired to make too many crochet items and I really like to crochet. It seems as if I've hit a roadblock. The last two cowls I've made have had knots in the skeins of yarn (which really sucks if you crochet because you have to cut the knot out and then re-join the yarn and weave in two more ends). I've made a few items and then frogged them (pulled them apart) because they just didn't look right. I need to look at more inspiration photos and get back to the granny square blanket that I'm making for myself. That's on my list of things to do AFTER I finish up with 3 other things. Oy, my to-make list keeps growing.

We've all had some sort of sickness. Colds, mostly. The Monkey got hit with ANOTHER cold just two weeks after the previous one and she's pretty much coughing like mad. Essential oils have helped a bit more with this cold than the last one - I'm sure I'll get it later this week.

The Monster has been, well, a MONSTER. He's learned how to open the organic waste bin with his snout. Cute? Yes. Well, no, especially not when he's pulled out sausages and gotten them stuck under the stove. Or dug holes in the backyard IN DECEMBER. Blerg.

Now it's freezing cold but at least it's sunny. I'll still be taking my extra Vitamin D.

In 2015 I'd really like to do some sort of book challenge. I'll be googling a few later this week - but first I have to get through the Outlander book series. I'm 1/3 finished with the 3rd book (Voyager), and the 2nd book I had started reading in August. It might take me a bit, we shall see.

This morning I took down the Christmas tree and all the Christmas decorations. Christmas is over, I was dreading taking down decorations since August. I normally decorate like mad, but this year I wanted to go back to being simple. I wanted to minimize everything that didn't matter with the decor and this past year I feel like I really succeeded. I downsized all of the decor to one bin plus the tree box. Everything fits, and there's more room for ornaments as The Monkey grows and makes more ornaments each year for the tree.

I also got rid of a lot of shit in our house. Our basement was gone through and I trashed and donated whatever I possibly could. You can step into the storage closet without something falling on you. I think that's awesome considering that most of America keeps an off-site storage locker with shit in it. I donated a ton of clothes - now I have empty hangers in my closet, there's no clothes falling out of drawers, I can happily choose something to wear in the morning without dreading opening a drawer to search for some random shirt that I vaguely remember having two years ago. The linen closet is pretty clean, the bathroom closet in the upstairs bathroom is generally organized (but I still need to toss some old make-up). One downside - I cleaned out my kitchen drawers and cabinets but then somehow I've acquired more kitchen stuff (Christmas cookie cutters, a few small Pyrex bowls, some more utensils, Tupperware, a flour sifter). I would also like a kitchen scale but that's not on any priority list, it's just a "like" that I want to have.

Minimalism is going to be more of a priority in my life this upcoming year - as the Monkey grows, I want to take care of less crap and spend less time doing things I don't want to do. I'd like to spend more time outdoors, less time inside, more time reading, less time cleaning, more time cooking, less time maintaining stuff. And toss some crochet time in there too and that should be my year more or less.

The basement is now on its way to being finished (there was a small electrical shock, a stabbing with a screwdriver, and falling ceiling tiles) but hopefully I'll be able to have some updated basement photos later this year. Bimmer Man is doing a great job with the help of Uncle Beardface (and I get wine time with the Dog Lady).

So... happy end of 2014... and happy 2015!!

12.26.2014

I Went Through My Neighbor's Trash Cans

Seven generations from now, how will this world look?

Will it be dead? Will humans still live? Will atom bombs kill my children's children? Will they be eating some sort of pharmaceutical engineered crap?

Is this how the world will end?

I know this much: honey bees will probably have died; 107 more species of animals will be extinct; organic will probably not be an option thanks to big companies; big pharma will rule our health; plastic will be the death of us.

Last week I went and snooped on my neighbors. I'm totally confessing something that I really shouldn't but I was really curious. They have two (YES, TWO) trash cans (and I mean the LARGE FREAKING TRASH CANS, 90 gallons!!), and one recycle bin.

Their second bin was filled with recyclables. I could have shit a brick.

Me. I. Only me. I moved their recycling to our recycling bins.

We have two recycling bins.

I dumped their trash into my recycle bins.

Holy shit.

I admitted it.

I went through my neighbor's trash and recycled the shit that they should have.

Blerg.

This is the shit that I worry about.

People not doing their due diligence by recycling what they can.

I'm only one person trying to save the world.

Imagine if there were hundreds of "me" going through other people's trash and recycling what could be recycled.

So, this next year I'm going to write to Target (probably a few times!) trying to get rid of their plastic bags. And then I'm going to write to Cub Foods to get rid of plastic bags.

Plastic will be the death of us (and also cancer, probably atomic bombs, maybe missiles, I'm not quite sure which yet, we'll have to see which country hates America the most...).

However; if you're reading this and have two trash cans... get rid of a trash can and get another recycling bin. Please. Do the WORLD a favor along with your descendants and GET ONE MORE RECYCLING BIN.

I'm not going to judge you (I'm just going to go through your trash, probably toss some into my compost and into my recycling bins...).

It's time to think of the world seven generations from now, not tomorrow... but seven generations from now.

12.22.2014

A 2 Year Old With A Camera

The MONKEY got a little V-Tech kiddie camera for Christmas (which unfortunately she FOUND. EARLY. So we just opened it up and gave it to her. I guess this doesn't set a great precedent for future Christmases but whatever).

Below are the only photos that I saved from 257 photos that she took. Most of them were black or blurry. Hopefully she will pay more attention to focus and framing in the future. 

Enjoy!
















12.19.2014

Uncluttering My Jackets

I don't think I can do it.

I seriously don't think I can get rid of any coats or jackets.

This is Minnesota.

This is the Land of 10,000 Jackets.

I need a light jacket for summer, a little heavier jacket for spring, a light jacket for spring, a heavy coat for winter (ok, a down blanket jacket, a dress coat, a winter coat that I can use for snowshoeing, playing outside, etc...), at least two different types of fleece for winter, spring, and fall, some type of sweatshirt jacket for spring, summer, and fall.

I already donated two jackets (a really nice down jacket that was too short, and a VERY NICE Banana Republic dress coat that the arms were too short).

I set aside two fleece jackets but I ended up using both of them this past fall.

So that plan failed (putting the two coats in a very different room to distract myself from the fact that I had those two jackets).

But I did hang up a sweater two weeks ago and I haven't used that yet... so that will be donated next week. Not only did I decide that I mostly wear 3/4 sleeve shirts but I end up stretching out the arms of all my long sleeve sweaters because I end up pushing my sleeves up for most of the day so most of my long sleeve sweaters will likely be donated. Or sold. I'm not sure - I don't really like keeping stuff around to sell that I've decided I'm done with. With dress clothes I need to put together a bag for Dress for Success.

I think in the end, I WILL just donate one of my fleece jackets. I'm just going to do it. It was from Old Navy quite a few years ago. I haven't used it enough to wear any of it out. There's no holes in the pockets. I just need to donate it and use my purple fleece. I don't need two fleece jackets.

There.

My mind is made up.

Get rid of it. Make more space in the front closet.

First world problem, right?

(Ok, I just set it aside in my donate pile)

Does my one item inspire you to donate one item? More items?

I sure hope so! Happy Friday!

Merry Minimalist Non-Consumerist Christmas


All these ads for Christmas and Holiday crap really irritate me.

I know that parents want to give their children EVERYTHING they want for Christmas. But when you have to put hundreds of dollars of toys on layaway because you can't pay for them... that's not Christmas. That's going into debt.

If you want to buy your mother a tv for Christmas but have to put it on a credit card, that's not Christmas, that's going into debt.

You have to make Christmas and holidays a time for the spirit of giving - but giving doesn't have to be a gift. Giving doesn't have to make you stress about money.

Of course there are going to be the parents that give their children the newest toys, the latest and greatest gadgets, the $100 sweaters, the $150 jeans, new iPods, new iPhones... But if you can't afford those things, you don't have to buy them just to "keep up with the Jones'" because Christmas consumerism shouldn't work like that.

And unfortunately (or fortunately), we live in America where it seems to be that if you don't have the latest and greatest, you don't fit in.

In the past few months I've been reading a lot of non-consumerism blogs and the meaning behind them really speaks to me. I don't think I can be a non-consumer simply because there are just things that we need (new or used, it doesn't matter) - and I think that when people are inundated with all these ads for Christmas toys and new gadgets and the lines become blurred between WANT and NEED.

Do you NEED a new television? NO

Do you WANT a new television? YES

Do you NEED new underwear? YES

Do you WANT new underwear? NO

I hate seeing people blur the lines between NEEDING to pay rent and WANTING to give gifts. There is no need to put yourself into a spot between a rock and hard place when purchasing gifts. 

It's time to think about NEEDS, not WANTS when it comes to giving to children for Christmas. I think the lovely advertising folks have really done a great job advertising and making it seem as if WANTS are NEEDS (because that is their job, right?). ALL KIDS NEED A NEW TABLET. ALL KIDS NEED NEW LEGOS. ALL KIDS NEED NEW EVERYTHING!!! 

Did we go overboard this year on gifts? Probably.

The Monkey is getting an easel for artwork, an Anna dress up dress, new clothes, art supplies, probably some Matchbox cars. 

Is she getting her own tablet? No, she's only 2. I don't see the need for a tablet for her. I see the need for her to be creative, to share my love of art with her and Bimmer Man's love of cars, to make sure that she knows that creativity will always be a part of her life - especially when educational funding is cut for the arts in schools when she is older. 

Gifts don't have to be expensive and gifts don't have to break the bank.

Christmas advertising just irritates me.

It doesn't have to be a pile of gifts. It doesn't have to be a season of debt. 

Christmas isn't perfect for everyone, and that's ok.


12.18.2014

The Dog Monster Strikes Again


This sweet lovable dog is the best.


He gets himself into boxes.


Refuses to go out at 8:00 at night to potty.


Takes up over half of the couch.


Lets squirrels rule his life. Eats rabbit poop.


Tries to eat pumpkins.


Looks pretty handsome after getting groomed.


And sometimes only takes out one toy.

But he also decided to dig a muddy freaking hole in my garden bed two days ago.

It's December. In Minnesota. It rained. 

He saw an opportunity and took it.

And wound up in the back porch because he's too big for me to carry into the bathroom to give him a bath. Yes, folks, this dog was covered in mud. In December. In Minnesota. 

I WAS SO MAD. 

I HAD TO BRING HIM BACK OUTSIDE AND DOUSE HIM WITH WARM WATER JUST SO HE COULD DRY OFF IN OUR BACK PORCH.

And just where did he dig a hole? 

Right next to the flipping thorniest bush I could find to deter him from digging this past summer. Seriously.

THE DOG MONSTER STRIKES AGAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER.

To those that want a dog: BEWARE. YOU MAY HAVE TO DO THINGS YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. Like, say, dumping water on your dog with the biggest pots and pans that you can find because you've already unhooked the hose and turned the water off to the outside faucets. IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. 

At least he hasn't been "skunked" yet. 

I'm close to 1,000 posts

I can't actually believe it. I've been blogging for years.

Years.

YEARS.

YOU PEOPLE HAVE KNOWN ME FOR YEARS.

It's a little bit crazy because I started this not really knowing anything about anything, myself included.

And here I am. YEARS LATER. I now have a child and a dog (second dog since the blog).

We've moved from a teeny tiny apartment to an old (100+ year old house...) to another old house. My gardens have flourished in the few years that we've been here (and I've killed some too... this Spring I'm really hoping my Bleeding Heart comes back!). You've seen my cooking mistakes and my really good recipes - crappy photos and all.

Oy, I've really grown up a bit, huh?

Well, thank you lovely readers for sticking with me - for my actual 1000th post, I'm going to be doing a crochet give-away. I've been thinking about it for awhile and I know just the perfect item to sort of celebrate? I guess??

Meh, stick with me a few more weeks! Happy almost-1,000th post to me!

11.21.2014

And How Old Is This Unopened Packing Box?? 5 Years Old

Just not an hour ago I found a box that was still packed from our move... 5 years ago...

It's all wine glasses.

Seriously.

5 red wine glasses and 5 white wine glasses. 

I suppose when I registered for our wedding I just thought we needed 8 white wine glasses and 8 red wine glasses because that's what Americans need, right???

Actually, here in the McTatty-Bimmer household we don't drink that much wine. We like beer. When I buy wine though, I do drink it but I just use a regular drinking glass (well, in our house we use old canning jars for drinking glasses...). 

And in 5 years we've never used more than 3 red wine glasses or 3 white wine glasses at a time. My wine glass holder under the counter only holds 6 wine glasses anyway. I'm pretty sure I can donate or sell the wine glasses that I'm not using. Er, haven't used ever in 5 years. 

Oh man, I'm pretty sure that sums up a whole lot of people - the-I-have-too-much-stuff-for-the-two-people-that-live-here-to-use. 

And I also found three storage tubs that aren't being used - two of which I will keep for my crochet stuff and the last one I'm donating. It's one of those stupid under the bed organizers which doesn't fit under our bed at all. I don't even remember buying it. I don't even know if I did buy it, but if I did I'm positive that I probably tossed it down the basement stairs in disgust after I realized that it wouldn't fit under the bed. 

Isn't that awful? I mean really, if it didn't fit I should have returned it and instead it got shoved into the storage closet. THE UNUSED STORAGE BIN GOT SHOVED INTO THE STORAGE CLOSET. 

BAH.

I've now seen how wasteful life can be in my own house. And I never thought I was all that wasteful to begin with but as it turns out, well, I have definitely been wasteful.

And there's nothing like admitting your faults to the internetz, right?

So friends, if you're my friend on Facebook you may see an obscene amount of stuff that I will post for free. Or cheap. Or whatever. Because at this point I'm just mad at myself over the wasted space, wasted money, and wasted time spent on taking care of STUFF. 

Next week is Thanksgiving. 

I'm going to be thankful for the time that I'm spending on getting rid of my stuff because the process of it is really eye-opening. I've seen how much time I want to spend doing the things that I want to do but can't because there's too much stuff to do (take care of) at home. 

11.20.2014

11.19.2014

The Latest Crochet

I'm getting ready to send a bunch of stuff to Finch's Boutique for their annual Holiday sale. This year it's in a warehouse in Northeast Minneapolis - which I'm super excited about because I actually want to shop. There is a vendor that will be there with hand dyed yarn and I want to get my hands on some! There's a ton of other stuff too, but below is what I'm planning on sending, well, if it hasn't sold already!


I've already sold 7 of these short cowls. I only have 5 to send to Finch's and I held back 3 for friends that want one. If you crochet and want the pattern, you can find it at The Velvet Acorn on Etsy. It's a paid pattern so I cannot share it, but you can purchase it. 


Children's owl hats - I know they were extremely popular last year but I decided to make some anyway - all the kids that walked by my booth at the craft fair were really drawn to my colors of hats and they really liked them (though parents thought they were too expensive, but seriously, they're priced at $20 each and I can't go any lower on my price for these because then I would be PAYING to sell them, and I'm not going to just give stuff away, that's not fair to me as a crafter!). I'm sending 8 hats - 2 pink, 2 blue, 2 green, 2 purple.



I'm sending some garlands/bunting - $15 each. I've got a variety of shapes, lengths and colors - there's stars, squares, flowers, etc...


I also made some earwarmers with button closures so they are adjustable for each person's head. I used simple double crochet stitches with 1 inch coconut shell buttons. There's a few wool blends and a few acrylics (I think the wool blends are softer, but I know people are allergic to wool so I tried to have a variety!). The only bad thing about these is that I was going to attach some minky material or some fleece to the inside so they would be a bit warmer, but I sell them for $10 each without the material and with the material I would have to price them at $25 to make up for the added material. I'm not sure that many people would pay $25 for one earwarmer. 


I also finished an order of slippers. These are more like the Ugg boots that people have - tall, with a button closure and double thickness for the bottoms with non-slip paint on the bottoms. I hate being able to "skate" in my slippers so I've been adding non-slip paint to what I make. I want a pair for myself in gray or brown, I may have to wait to make those because I'm working on a few other items right now for other people. These are $40 per pair - I use a wool blend chunky yarn along with toggles for the buttons on the sides. (If you want a pair, I will be happy to make them!)


I made The Monkey a new hat for winter - she even picked out the yarn herself, it's the Vicki Howell Sheep-ish yarn. I modified an adult pattern to fit her head with back post double crochet stitches.


A teal chunky cowl - these are super simple and just slip right over your head, You can then pull it up to block the wind. I've used more lace-y stitches for this, but I think for the future I'm going to use stitches that are closer together. I like this look though. This cowl will be at Finch's Boutique, along with the same cowl below - 


I HATED the coloring of the yarn above while it was still balled up - but I LOVE the look of it when I finally finished this cowl. Super soft!


A new hat for me - I found the Isaac Mizrahi yarn at Michael's and I couldn't resist. I bought 2 balls of it and now I want a cowl with the same yarn. 


This cream scarf and gray cowl will also be at Finch's. I've discovered the "third" loop when making a half double crochet and now I can't stop. Oy, I have to learn how to make a hat with the same stitch as the gray cowl - I love how it looks knit!!

I Got Rid Of My Dining Room Chairs

I posted a little ad on my Facebook page for free chairs. They were scooped up in seconds. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I really, really LOVED these chairs. Like, loved them (ok, I didn't really need to add that second "loved" but I need to emphasize the fact that I really did love these chairs). They were somewhere around $50 each from Ikea - really well put together, really sturdy, and great chairs. 

BUT.

I had a problem with them. With a 2 year old and a husband and a dog, they got really dirty. I scrubbed them weekly to get off all the food, crayons, markers, dot stampers, glue and everything else that happened to fall on them. Simple answer: recover the seats.

My answer: BUT I DON'T WANT TO CLEAN THEM ANYMORE.

So this post is my so-long-to-my-favorite-dining-room-chairs post.


They were lovingly used by The Monkey to help me with crafting.


They made the BEST forts. The BEST. Because with draping a blanket over them I could actually SIT UP in a fort. Imagine that, an adult sitting up in a fort!

So what am I going to do?

Well, right now we've got two mismatched chairs (an old antique one and a chair that's similar to the old Ikea ones without a chair pad, the one without the chair pad doesn't work for The Monkey, she kneels to eat so her little legs slip through the bottom rung of the chair). When Bimmer Man eats with us I haul up the old piano bench that I spray painted red. It works for right now but I need to find something better.

I'm looking at going a little more modern - maybe some colored chairs. I don't know. We'll have to go to the Scratch & Dent place off of Highway 7, Ikea, West Elm, etc... I've looked on Craigslist but people have overpriced their crappy chairs and I can't find anything that I'm absolutely in love with that I would re-finish or paint. We shall see. I'm planning on only spending less than $150 on dining room chairs - if I see mismatched chairs that look good in antique shops, I may just go that route instead. I've seen a few pins on Pinterest with that look and a few articles in Better Homes & Gardens, and also in Midwest Living where I really liked the mismatched look. 

Whatever... I am determined to find some chairs that are easy to clean, comfy to sit on, and can fit a booster seat with ease (no, I am not pregnant, just looking to the future!). 


And lastly, a little dining room update - I found a vintage mirror at a little shop were I went with a good friend that I've known since I was ZERO years old - my friend Erin and I re-connected through Facebook and it's like we were never apart. Seriously, she still knows me so well, it's a little uncanny at what old friends can do for your heart. I'm so glad we re-connected, it's been wonderful!

And now I'm going to donate the old card holder that I had hanging up - last year I taped all the Christmas cards to the door frame between the dining room and living room anyway - I didn't even use the card holder. Getting rid of another unused item is fun!

11.10.2014

Craft Fair 11/8 Update

This past Saturday was a fantastic experience for me - though it was slow - I did sell quite a few items and I also learned quite a lot.

The booth behind me sold soap, which smelled AMAZING... and was also all handmade. The couple that sold it was great and I learned so much from them. This was their first fair in the Twin Cities - they normally did fairs in northern Minnesota (Bemidji area) which they said were always busy because craft fairs were where people go to buy gifts, their soaps, their supplies and the people wanted to support their local economy, which is unlike the Twin Cities area where people are more likely to shop at stores instead of craft fairs.

But I also learned that not all people who sell things at craft fairs handmade their goods. For example - there was a booth that sold knitted items AND crocheted items but as they were setting up I saw them ripping open each item out of plastic bags (which means that they bought the items in bulk for crazy cheap and are selling them upcharged and the items are probably NOT handmade).

There were also two other crocheters (ok, two other happy hookers!) at the fair and we all made completely different items. There was a woman that made all baby items, and another woman that made all scarves, infinity scarves, cowls and hats out of one type of yarn.

Then there was me - I rarely make the same item twice unless it's super popular so I had several boot cuffs, ear warmers, and about 10 short cowls. I had a few kids hats, mens hats, scarves, and wrist warmers. I brought 8 owl hats and got compliments like crazy but was told my price was high compared to others, I guess it wasn't the right market for those.

I also learned that even though I prefer to work with natural fibers like cotton and wool, most people really enjoy the feel of acrylic yarn (and that's fine, acrylic yarn is cheaper to buy anyway).

What I sold:

5 pairs of boot cuffs
4 short cowls
1 ear warmer
1 hat (which was my favorite - it was gray and pink striped!)
1 chunky cowl

For the amount of items that I brought, I did really well because I ended up hauling out only 1 bag of items instead of 3. I was happy with my sales because I made my money back from the show entrance fee plus a little extra so I can now go back to Michael's to purchase yarn to update my stock of items again - so I can make 3 more short cowls, and 4 more pairs of boot cuffs to send to Finch's Boutique.

I also want to go to JoAnn Fabrics to see if I can find some sort of minky fabric or super soft flannel that I can line my ear warmers with (and charge more than $10 each, I think with the fabric I can charge $15).

Why am I telling all of you about this?

Well, because I'm sure you're curious about the behind-the-scenes of the selling handmade goods.

Honestly - I don't make much money off of my craft, instead I make enough money to purchase yarn for my next items and that's pretty much it. I have some extremely nice yarn (at $15 per skein!) that I would love to make items and sell those but I don't think people would pay those prices at certain craft fairs. I think people in the Twin Cities go to craft fairs for discount prices not knowing how long it takes to make items and how much materials cost. That's fine - it's not really my job to educate people on that and talk people's heads off trying to defend my prices, instead what I do is let my quality show.

Next year what I would rather do is open up my house to those that are interested in handmade goods - serve some adult beverages, a few appetizers and let people come to my house to shop for what they want. This way I can enjoy the people that shop from me and I can have an absolute variety of goods for people to buy - I can put everything out without being limited to a certain space. I even talked to my neighbor about doing this (she is a potter and makes GORGEOUS things!!!), so if we do it together, hopefully we can get some new clients from each other and actually show everything that we make - from the low end items to the high end items and let our quality of work speak for itself.

So next year, be on the look out for that! I'm going to re-vamp how I sell (not that I'll ever be a millionaire selling my goods, but just to make sure that people know the range of items that I can make).

Happy Monday everyone!

11.02.2014

De-Cluttering The "Craft Room"

UGH.

GOOD LORD WHAT AM I DOING.

Next week is my craft fair at the Brooklyn Park Armory (from 9:30 - 4:00 in Brooklyn Park, MN if you're interested in coming!!!). This week I need to organize all of my crochet into bags (I use Ikea bags or extra bins lying around the house) into their own categories, which then gets stuff out of my office so that I can actually see the yarn and unfinished projects that I have. This week I need to be scrupulous and extra careful to pare down the projects that I just can't do.

So here are my rules. I made them up myself. I didn't take them from any other yarnaholic, or crochet addict because if I did then I wouldn't be getting rid of yarn or declaring a project unfit to work on.

Ok, I know, someone needs to shake some sense into me. I MIGHT BE DE-STASHING MY YARN.

No,  I AM DE-STASHING MY YARN. 

I need to. 

Back to my rules:

1. Is this a project that I can complete in one month? If the answer is no, then the project and yarn need to go into a pile designated "I CANNOT COMPLETE THIS PROJECT"

2. Is this a project that I can complete in one week? If so, put it into the "DO THIS WEEK" project to have it COMPLETED.

3. Is this yarn leftover from another project that I will never do again? If it's a whole skein, then I need to list it on Etsy for de-stashing or on Craigslist. 

4. With the "I CANNOT COMPLETE THIS PROJECT" pile: frog the project for the yarn and list the yarn on Etsy for de-stashing or on Craigslist.

Bah. With craft stuff my little artist heart bleeds a little bit onto my sleeve when I think of giving away or selling yarn. But I know that I can't do everything and I know that I just don't have the time that I used to have or the patience for long projects.

I have learned with simplifying my crap that I need to admit what I can and cannot do. I have also learned that there are things that I plain just don't want to do and that I don't have to do those things if I don't want to (like cleaning rugs. Why do I want to do that? I'll just get rid of them instead). 

I knew that this week would come. I knew that eventually I would have to get to my yarn and craft items. I knew it. The week is here.

On a random note, I hate raking leaves. Absolutely hate it. When the tree in our backyard needs to be cut down or it falls down, I probably won't cry about it. And then I can plant more veggies. 

11.01.2014

Super Easy Brown Sugar Sage Squash

Let me start this by saying I LOVE SQUASH. I really think that Fall is so great just because of squash. When I'm seriously tired of chopping tomatoes and eating cucumbers, the weather turns and suddenly there's loads and loads of delicious squash.

And unfortunately for me The Monkey has decided not to eat it. It might leave more for me, but it definitely disappoints me that she doesn't like it. I don't think she's even really tasted it but whatever... she'll eat it when she's ready.


Super easy ingredients: (for each half of squash)
2 fresh leaves of sage
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. 
Put each ingredient into your squash half. 
Wrap squash half in tinfoil.
Bake for 1 hour. 


I scoop the squash out and mash it all together in a bowl so it looks like mashed potatoes. It's easier for me to serve that way, but I think as the Monkey grows I'll just plop the squash half on plates. I feel like that's the best way to eat it.

Simplifying The Bath Towels

We have too many bath towels. Somehow we acquire them and then they just get shoved into our useless shelving and somewhat used before they end up in the laundry room or the garage or wherever in this house we need towels.

I need a change. So that's coming this week. 

I'm absolutely positive that I want Turkish bath towels. I'm not sure if Bimmer Man would be on board, but I certainly am.


The above images are from Amazon, priced at $22.99 each.

Everywhere else Turkish bath towels can be upwards of $50+ because they are SUPPOSED to be AMAZING. They are supposed to dry faster, exfoliate your skin better, and also get your skin drier faster than regular towels. An added bonus - they are also supposed to be easier to clean and according to Europeans are supposed to be fabulous for taking to the beach - I guess because they dry fast, sand isn't able to get stuck in the fabric.

Well, to me, the above sounds quite remarkable. 

My minimalist mind is thinking this: GET THESE TOWELS. GET RID OF ALL YOUR OTHER TOWELS AND JUST USE THESE.

So I think I'm going to buy two to start - one for me, one for Bimmer Man. Then eventually I'll buy one for the Monkey once she's grown out of her "Owl Towel" phase and a few extras. 

I'm hoping this helps with the linen towel laundry loads.

By the way, since the weather started turning and I've been drying our towels in the dryer with dryer sheets, I can totally tell a difference with the amount of chemicals in dryer sheets - after folding towel laundry or taking a shower, I get super itchy and I can just feel stuff on the towels. Super weird, I know. I may have to air dry towels for me inside while I wait on my Amazon order. 

10.31.2014

Happy Halloween!

And... that's all.

My little Monkey is too busy for pictures. She's out Trick Or Treating with Bimmer Man right now while I man the door.

Pirate's Booty is this year's hand out for candy... I was too disgusted by the amount of candy that was going into other people's carts so I picked something out of the non-candy aisle (where I was the only person...). Hopefully all the kids will enjoy it as much as we do!

Happy Halloween!

10.30.2014

Overheard In Our House This Morning

Me to the dog: Hey, Monster!! Stop! Stop licking your butt! I don't need to see or hear that!!!

The Monster Dog:::: Slowly looks at me and licks his asshole one last time::::

The Monkey: Mommy, I don't lick my butt.

10.28.2014

Blerg. Wrist Pain. What To Do???

After making a pair of slippers my right wrist decided to rebel against me.

It hurts.

And I know EXACTLY why... but I just can't do what I'm supposed to until the middle of November.

It's because I'm using a small crochet hook to make slippers with bulky yarn. Does your wrist hurt just thinking about it? Because mine sure does...

My only problem is that I LIKE the pattern, I could totally use a different, less bulky yarn (which I think I will do in the future!), but I don't want to. So I'm rebelling against my wrist which in turn, is rebelling against me.

I'm not a huge fan of taking pain killers (ok, that's not true all of the time because I got Oxy when I had my C-section and that shit was AMAZING...), I don't like taking painkillers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen daily - it's a huge hit to your liver and I KNOW there are other better-for-me alternatives.

Last night I layered lavender oil over peppermint oil which felt really good for about an hour and a half while I finished a slipper, but then once it wore off, well, the pain was there.

I should also mention - this isn't about bones, it's just about using muscles in my wrist, hand, lower forearm, and fingers that I don't normally use this much and the repetitive motion of crochet.

I'M JUST SO EXCITED TO FINISH THESE THINGS BECAUSE THEY ARE FREAKING AWESOME. I'm the one causing myself this pain - this doesn't usually happen.

Overnight I used Tiger Balm (I found a recipe that I can make myself, but I have to order Camphor and Menthol, which I'm hoping I won't end up on a no-fly list for because they're really hard to find...). Tiger Balm worked really well - no pain this morning, just a little muscle-soreness.

Which brings me to the next thing - strong wrists. My wrists are so much better after I exercise them (I know, super weird!), but if you google "wrist exercises" a whole bunch of them will come up - I also stretch my wrists every few minutes of crocheting, make sure I get a break, etc...

But I still have three slippers left. So I need to resort to forcing myself to rest.

But I probably won't do that.

Do you do any repetitive motions like crochet that cause you pain or discomfort? What works for you?

2014 Homemade Christmas Gifts

I'm struggling with this.

I absolutely LOVE the idea of homemade gifts, but I HATE the idea of CHEAP homemade gifts.

Cheap, frugal, handmade... those three words can all sound alike to those that have no idea how much TIME goes into homemade gifts.

Now do you see why I struggle?

Today I made, ok, attempted to make a foot/hand cream. I need it to cool in fridge so that I can use a hand mixer and whip it. That should be interesting... It's for a birthday so we shall see what happens...

This year for gifts I'm going to attempt to make homemade body creams and salves and I'm going to try to make my own Burt's Bees lip balm. It may or may not work. I won't know until I try.

I also have a TON of leftover fresh Sage from my garden so I think I can infuse olive oil with it. My family does a "white elephant" gift party every year so I can bring a bottle of sage oil, balsamic vinegar, a bottle of wine, and a good cheese with delicious crackers from the co-op.

Or just bring a case of beer and 3 bottles of windshield washer fluid.

I'll still attempt the olive oil.

SO. After my holiday craft fair season, I will attempt to make:

Hand and foot cream with essential oils
Infused olive oil with sage
Lip balm

Maybe something else.

At this point, who knows??? I can only do so much with a toddler around...

10.15.2014

Sad? No... HAPPY!!!

I was a little sad when I got a fun email from Etsy today telling me that someone bought this scarf


I know, it must be weird reading this (You're totally thinking "BITCH, TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN!!! BUY MORE YARN!!!" Ok, if you're not thinking that, I totally would), especially if you view selling "stuff" in business terms, but let me tell you about this scarf.

It's made of the softest freaking yarn. 

I bought baby yarn for a friend when I found out she was pregnant. Only I incorrectly assumed she was having a girl. So I bought pink yarn. I pretty much screwed myself over because I went out and bought new yarn when I found out she was having a boy. I made her an awesome blanket. 

But then was suddenly stuck with yarn. 

And from the bottom of my disappointment in myself for getting too excited, I hunted for a stitch for a super soft scarf and came up with this. 

I still have half a skein left, but two full skeins in white and one full skein in pink. 

White is just too stark of a color for a scarf unless it's incredibly lace-y, and pink, well, is pink. 

So. Someone is getting a ridiculously soft scarf. I'm a little jealous. 

***************************

Also, in a week I will be putting my Etsy shop on "vacation" mode so that I don't have to run around hunting in various locations (er, packed up boxes for craft fairs) for items that might be sold. 

2014 Craft Fair Items

I'm planning on doing 3 craft events this year - the Brooklyn Park Armory, Finch's Boutique in NE Minneapolis, and possibly (if they will do another market this year) the Lakewinds Co-op Winter Solstice event. We shall see about the last one, I haven't heard anything yet, so that one may or may not happen. 

The items below will be sent to Finch's Boutique - I'll send 5-6 cowls, 6-7 children's owl hats, and several strands of bunting/garland, and possibly 5-8 pairs of boot cuffs/toppers. 

I'm getting nervous but excited, I'm not sure how I'm going to do set-up yet for Nov.8 at the Armory because I'll be sharing a booth - I want to bring a lot of stuff, but I don't want to set it all out at the same time (but at the same time I do because I really only make a limited number of each item). 

I dunno. We'll have to get together with all of our stuff and do a trial run to see what works.





10.14.2014

De-Cluttering Children's Books

I'm really happy that there are a bunch of "Little Libraries" in our neighborhood. I've been able to dump a bunch of children's books and my old unread novels into the Little Libraries and not feel bad about anything - we also come home with books too.

Children's books can be hard to de-clutter. I have a ton of my own favorites that I like to read, Bimmer Man has his own favorites, and The Monkey has her own favorites. 

First, I de-cluttered the books that I can't stand to read anymore (unless it was an absolute Monkey favorite), next were the books that didn't really have a good lesson, and finally ripped and torn and un-usable books went into the recycling.

Next was to organize - I pulled out all the books that weren't season or holiday appropriate (Easter, 4th of July, etc...), but I set aside the Christmas books. I will wrap up 24 books for 24 days of Christmas - all books that we already have, nothing new. 

I then shoved all the books back into the bookcase - The Monkey has no idea how to alphabetize or whatnot so we'll deal with that later. 

After all of this, 75% of her books were still on the bookshelves, but I just went through all of her books in May for a garage sale so I'm not surprised that I didn't de-clutter much. As she grows, I can de-clutter more and more. Wahoo!


10.12.2014

Need Meal Ideas?

Some days I feel like we eat the same repeats of the same meals. But then I also plan around freezer meals and I make 2+ portioned bags of whatever we actually like and eat. All of the meals below are from my freezer planning.

The Monkey will eat EVERYTHING below - I know a lot of kids are picky eaters and I don't put up with that crap - the rule in our house is: EAT OR STARVE. I DON'T CARE WHICH YOU CHOOSE BUT YOU WILL SIT AT THE TABLE DURING MEALTIMES. 

And so far it has worked. If lunch isn't eaten then dinner definitely is - if dinner isn't eaten, then we have a really big breakfast. 


Super simple crockpot pork with root vegetables. Just put it all into a crockpot with a beer, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, and then top with whatever fresh herbs you have. 


Italian sausages simmered in homemade tomato sauce. I serve this over pasta, or on a bun, with a salad and a steamed veggie.


This was the leftover picture, so you can't see the chicken - but I usually make a Mediterranean seasoned chicken breasts with curried cous cous and steamed or frozen veggies. The Monkey asks for cous cous now (and curried cous cous, not plain cous cous).


Super simple chicken marinated with teriyaki sauce and steamed cauliflower. 


Sesame chicken with steamed green beans and white rice. 

We eat a lot of steamed veggies. A lot.

My goal for the next month is to branch out from steamed veggies and try some new recipes - like sauteed greens maybe, more roasted veggies, and more sauteed veggies. I'll be perusing Pinterest and drooling I'm sure. 

Tonight's dinner will be chicken pot pies - The Monkey has been asking for "pot pies" for dinner for the last week and I have no idea if they are what she thinks they are or not. We shall see tonight, but at least she's asking for something different than mac and cheese.

Happy Sunday!