Thursday, April 30, 2009

Illustration Friday: Theatre

I couldn't find much inspiration for this one. I am not a Marlon Brando fan but I did have the most hysterical conversation with my husband which went something like this:

Me: so what do you think? (showing him the illustration.)

Head Honcho: Hey, that's good. It actually looks kind of artistic.

Me: What? As opposed to the usual ones?

Head Honcho: Yeah, not like the usual c*^p you usually make. (Laughing.) What are you going to call it.

Me: Marlo

HH: You mean Marlon.

Me: Marlin? Like the fish?

HH: Marlon.

Me: I thought his name was Marlo.

HH: No, not Marlo Thomas. That does not look like Marlo Thomas.

Me: I know that!

HH: Look it up and see.

(After looking it up on the internet) Me: Okay, so it's Marlon.

typing in the labels: Marlon, Brandon

HH: That's Brando. Marlon Brando. You really don't know what this guy's name is, do you?

Me: Well, I know Alan Ladd wasn't tall. * Line from While You Were Sleeping.

HH: What? (Who sleeps through While You Were Sleeping.)

We'll Find Out Tomorrow

I know the question which has been on all our minds is will alllllllll these April Showers indeed bring May Flowers.

Experts believe that if the flowers do not fall ill to Swine Flu nor declare bankruptcy, they are likely to float away. We've had some serious rain up this way. And we're seriously bored by it. Seriously.

So we are doing school work, being sick as dogs (stomach flu on the heals of a cold but no swine like symptoms), watching dvds, watching it rain, drying water out of the basement, crocheting and...mailing this afghan, book and rabbit to Project Night Night. I did make the afghan--one of the unfinished works which is nicely finished now. I did not make the rabbit though.

The UglyDolls in the picture are neither made by me nor headed to a homeless shelter..yet. But, if they don't stop sniveling about this rain, they might be on the next bus....or boat.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bag It!

What have I been doing this weekend? I'm glad you asked. Let me show you.

Isn't it cute? Okay, background: almost 20 years ago a few years ago I embroidered this napkin. It was one of four, part of a pre-printed kit that I suspect I bought at Walmart. I can't remember if I embroidered all four and I have no idea what became of the other three. This one with a pink and yellow flower (which goes with absolutely nothing in my kitchen) has been floating around our house for years. It's been washed and put away five million times only to be pulled out of a drawer or cabinet by my girls.

This week I'm in the laundry room looking at this one poor napkin which I've washed for the five millionth and one time wondering what to do with it. I can't give it to the thrift store. Who wants one napkin? I keep looking....thinking....looking....thinking.

Along came a couple of fantastic blog posts. WildOlive featured a free Earth Day embroidery pattern. I knew I was going to have to try it on something. And then Anja posted about the cute skirt she made from an old shirt and a darling library bag she crafted. And then it hit me. Kazam!

I could make a bag from the napkin. Not just any bag. I could craft a bag for my cotton yarn--the same cotton yarn which I throw in my purse almost every time I head out the door. (More about this in a future post.) So I spent a rainy, stormy Saturday watching Get Smart with my girls, embroidering and then sewing this together. Now I'm using this fab bag "and loving it" to quote Maxwell Smart.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A House Guest

A friend of mine came to town. She's been staying with us for a few days. We have a lot of things to do together. I think we've spent just about every moment since she got here together.

Come here...a little closer...can I tell you secret? I want her to go home! Seriously. Just take a bus gus.

Actually, some of you might know her. Her name is Worry. I don't think she ever stays home. She's always mooching at someone's house. Causing drama. Creating problems.

So what are she and I chatting about? The Economy. Jobs. Loss of jobs. People hurting. Homelessness. Bailing out banks. Hard times.

And health and getting older and losing my mind. Worry favours me moving out some essential stuff in my brain so she can expand with more of her stuff.

And then there's kids. Worry and kids. Worry and kids. Have kids. Will worry.

Mostly, I'm worried about Stinkerbell. Okay, here's the serious, heavy stuff. She's three. And she doesn't talk. At all. She babbles. Sometimes she rattles off an entire phrase like yesterday when she said "move, it's my turn." Great! Wahoo! We will never hear that phrase from her again. Or at least we won't hear it for another 12 months. I'm serious. It's like she has a short in her brain. Sometimes, the info gets through but most of the time it's just static. Like an old radio. Last summer she had three words: no, Mummy and bye. She still has Mummy. That's it. Last fall she said "mine." Gone. Into the void.

So Worry and I chat about what will happen to Stinkerbell. Will she ever get a job? Will she ever learn to read? Will she ever talk? Will she be happy? Worry can eat your heart out and leave you destroyed. And Worry rarely travels alone. Sooner or later her pal Fear shows up.

That's why I've invited a couple of other friends over to help me kick Worry out: Hope and Faith. I'll let you know next week how we do packing up Worry. But if she comes to your door, be warned: do not let her in.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Catching Up--in lots of ways

The theme for this week's Words and Pictures is: Catching Up.

And today is World Book Day. So I figured the perfect mix is to highlight the books I am reading or wish I was reading or need to be reading. Here's a collection pulled from beside my bed:

Joan Hess' Malpractice in Maggody (hysterical mystery set in Arkansas),

Valerie Shrader's Pretty Little Potholders (which is strangely enough about how to make some really cute potholders)

And since I do have too much stuff I am reading Kathryn Porter's Too Much Stuff: De-Cluttering Your Heart and Home.

A mum of special needs children is never still. I've got Childhood Speech, Language and Listening Problems; Developmental Speech and Language Disorders; and Communication and Communication Disorders to wade through at my leisure. Oh--and let's not forget Asthma for Dummies. You realize that I am going to get a master's in communication disorders once the kiddos are grown, don't you? With all this practice, I'll be a pro in no time. Or maybe I'll just make more softies.

I'm reading a children's book Culture of the World: Bhutan by Robert Cooper because I'm a huge fan of Cooper's. Kidding. Actually, I'm really interested in Bhutan but there's no way I'm wading through some academic adult text. Kids books are perfect when you want to know a bit fast. I make Spudly check them out for me so no one knows my dirty little secret. Kidding.

And for pure pleasure I've got N.T. Wright's The Crown and the Fire as well as Josephine Tey's The Singing Sands. Both are excellent, both are rereads.

Of course, reading is best when shared with a good friend or two like Josephine and Alex Bear.

Next on the business list: from book worms to cute worms. Here is a picture of my worm pattern sewn up into a little badge-pin. I like him. Hope you did too.

And finally, here is an update on all my granny square work. I'd like to have the freedom to work in every and any colour and then throw it all together in a gorgeous hodge podge. Alas, 1) I am anal. And 2) I'm making this as a gift for a little boy whose parents may or may not want him to be exposed to the more feminine of colours. Perhaps, boys are not allowed to know about pink and yellow until they are older and can more easily resist the temptations to experiment..... Having all girls, I'm not sure.

And there you have it: catching up on reading and crafting and blogging and life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First Free Pattern

In honour of Earth Day here is a free embroidery pattern based on my favourite quote from one of my all time favourite movies:

"When you kill a worm you kill a friend."

Head here to flickr and pick the size you want. Print, transfer and start stitching. Please do not sell items you make with this pattern nor sell the pattern itself.

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!!! And check out "Teahouse of the August Moon". It's really funny.

Illustration Friday: Laundry

The theme for this week's IF: Impossibility. That's certainly the same as trying to keep the laundry caught up.....

Save the Green...Bucks

Let's face it: there are going to be a million and one post like this today. All over the bloglands of the Dakotas, in the blogitudes of the Andes....blogs, blogs and more blogs about Earth Day.

Save a tree. Hug a whale. Recycle, Reuse, Repent.

You know the drill.

This post is different. Sure, sure--I am one of "those" people--the ones who love the earth, celebrate Arbor Day and can name 16 non-native invasive plants which should not, but are found in a garden near you. I am The Granola Queen. Well, maybe not queen but I'm among the finalist.

But, you my readers, do not want to hear all that. What you want to hear is how to Save Yourself Some Money.

Here's the kicker: most of the things which are good for the earth are good for your pocketbook.

Hang your wet laundry on a clothes line and let the sun do the work: less utility bills.

Grow a garden: big savings to your grocery bill and, thus, more money to spend on essentials like chocolate.

Weed your garden and use a push mower on your lawn: save money on that gym membership. No need for tanning sessions either.

Forgo pesticides and weed killers. Let the kids find and destroy: less money needed for toys. My girls will seriously spend hours digging for worms. (Note: worms are your friends and all worms are carefully returned to their homes so they can continue to help our garden. Slugs, however, are dispatched to their eternal reward punishment.)

Got some old worn out t-shirts? Cut them up for wash rags.

I've got millions of other ideas. Head Honcho and the girls are making a rain barrel this summer--it's science, it's useful, it's going to save us on our water bill.

I'm going to make a rag rug out of all the millions of sad, stained t-shirts we can no longer wear. We have wood floors so rugs are necessary but the girls can destroy one faster than you can blink. I'm not totally certain I can pull off a rag rug but I'm going to try; I promise I'll let you know how it goes.

No, I'm not selling the car and walking everywhere. I'm not growing hemp to make my own clothes. But I am thinking outside the plastic box. Try a few ideas too--I think it will make you feel good--and that's less money to spend on therapy.

P.S. The softie featured in these pictures is an amigurumi (crocheted) bear named Alex.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PapaOomMowMow--Easter Island Meets Detroit

Did anyone wonder about that guy at the top of the previous post? If not, you should have. Kidding.

I realized that PapaOoomMowMow is a little different from my usual softies (i.e. stuffed animals). He's more of an art softie. Okay, now you're even more confused.

I have a wonderful friend named Katie. She is an amazing seamstress with a heart of gold. She is constantly making things for others. I think she's tops.

Last year she told me that her sewing group would be providing a display of local talent for Sew America Expo. She invited me to join the fun. In honour of John Murphy appearing as the guest speaker, we were invited to make our own sock creatures. The only rule: it must be made from socks and only socks. They were hoping area artist-crafters would steer away from the traditional sock monkies and explore other "creatures."

When I saw this sock I knew that it needed to be a Moai--one of those mysterious and funky Easter Island Heads. It told me. I could not argue. And sew was born PapaOomMowMow--named from an old Beach Boys song--which was actually a remake by someone else.

You might be even more confused at this point. And that might be because you are missing the key piece of information about softies--plushies--stuffies: they aren't just for kids anymore. I think most handmade softies are now made for adult collectors. True. More than one person offered to buy PapaOomMowMow but my little friend is not for sale. He's entirely too fun and Spudly adores him.

The Heart of the Matter

A five month old tyke named Stellan has been fighting for his life since before he was born. He has had some serious heart problems which are requiring some risky but necessary surgery today.

Friends of the family have organized a Wear Orange for Stellan campaign. Taking that to where I live I figured I'd ask a few of my softie friends to help me get out the news. Please say a little prayer for Stellan and his family today. If you want to read more, there's a link on the side of the page. Thanks!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Who IS in charge around here?

I've gone to the chickens. Is that slightly better or worse than the dogs? I have several announcements:

1) I bought a Webkinz today. (I wanted one for a long time because I wondered what I was missing.)

2) I wasn't missing anything. (Chichibu the Chicken is seriously cute but the online stuff is tiresome.)

3) I will drive myself crazy feeling like I must keep my virtual, online chicken fed, happy and supplied with every single thing she wants from the virtual shop. (Really! I will become neurotic about this.)

4) I must kill the chicken. (Just the online version. The plushie and I will hang out.)

On to crafting news announcements:

1) I have way way way too many unfinished projects.

2) I have got to get organized.

2.5) I have never been organized in my life and the odds of accomplishing that at this late date are about the same as my five year old giving up candy. Yep.

3) I am tempted to run away and join my chicken in a virtual world which does not include 340 unfinished afghans, 6012 incomplete softies and 234,000 various other half-finished projects.

4) Whaaaaa....

Some of the things waiting for my attention:

Cookies to bake, eggs to fry, a dog, a monkey, an afghan........

Some of the things which are completed:

Mother Bear Project Bears

Six Granny squares for the A Granny A Day Project (Oy! What would my grandmother think about all this disorganization. Oh wait! She was disorganized too. Never mind.)

More Joy Monsters which will soon be in my etsy shop.

Sorry the quality of the pictures is chicken waste. It's rainy here--no good sunlight and my camera has yet to turn into the Nikon D300 that I've been wishing for. (Ha!)

So may your projects be completed, your camera snazzy, your days sunny and your chickens undemanding.....

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Monsters

Today is supposed to be Handmade Friday and it is in a way. The two softie monsters pictured here are indeed handmade--although not recently. I made Sprout around Christmas time--an amigurumi. And Rage is one of my early monsters from a couple of years ago. We were in the middle of an adoption when I made him--can you tell?

But today, instead of looking at what I've been making this week--granny squares and Joy Monsters and Mother Bear Project bears (almost finished with #3) I want to tell you the story of two monsters. In this story, monsters are good. Humans are bad.

Once upon a time there was a little monster, born in a far off kingdom. The monster's birth family could not raise her so they took her to Monster Care. Poor sweet monster. The care was positive humanous. She was hurt very badly. One day this little monster got on a flying tin can and came to a new kingdom. There she received lots of monsterous care. Alas, all the earlier hurt made her a little human at times.

As time went on, she came to love her monsterous home and new family but, the more she loved them, the more scared she was that they would leave her. And so she became even more human. Sometimes, she would spit and yell and rage and try to hurt herself or try to hurt her mother.

Her parents knew that they needed to get her some help so they took her to an attachment therapist. And they all learned to be less human and much more monsterous. Her parents learned ways to help her know they would always love her, no matter what. They would never leave her. Repeat 1000 times per day and mean it more every time: we will never leave you. We will always love you.

And, with the help of a very monsterous therapist who has a terrific skill with attachment monsters, the little monster became less and less human. She learned to trust and believe and hope and love and even grieve all that she had lost. Sometimes, she was a sad little monster. Don't think that's bad. A sad monster is much better than a raging monster. Who wouldn't grieve all that could have been? A monsterous home in her first kingdom, love at Monster Care....

Sometimes, she was still a bit human. She didn't know what to do when she got mad at her mother so...she thought of the meanest, most human thing she could think of and she called her a "peacock." Her mother kept telling her: I love you. I will always love you. Sometimes, Little Monster would say "I don't love you. You never loved me. I'll never love you." And Mummy would say, "I've always loved you. I will always love you." And each time Little Monster heard it she believed it a little more.

I cannot end this story with the beloved words "they all lived happily ever after" because the story is still being written. But, it's a good story and I think it will have a truly monsterous ending.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Illustration Friday: Fleeting

The theme for this week's Illustration Friday is "Fleeting". I love this picture because that dog is seriously not fleeting. I was working on another idea but the dog "wanted to be" and thus, it is. If you check out IF, you'll notice my interpretation isn't any more of a stretch than many.

Go Granny Go

My friend and her husband are adopting a little boy from Korea. In this day and age there's nothing unusual about that, right? Well, this little boy has down syndrome. And he is their first child. First child. Down syndrome. Now how cool is that?

Don't worry. The mum-to-be has lots of experience with special needs kiddos and down syndrome in particular.!

I want to make something to encourage the mum and welcome Little Boy to his new home. Hmmmm....And then I saw the Granny A Day challenge over at Meet Me At Mike's. One granny square per day through May. That would be just the right number for a blanket for this little tyke. Goodness knows blankets are useful up here in the frozen North.

I've got too many irons in the fire to get too creative or experimental with this project. I'm doing regular granny squares just like I've been making for the past 30 15 years. I'm going to try to post an update once a week with a little tidbit of info either about adoption or down syndrome. Just a little FYI. (I personally know almost nothing about Down Syndrome.)

If you love your grannies, pop over to Meet Me At Mike's and join the group too.
(P.S. I did not make Puppy Dog--he's a gift from a friend.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


One of my favourite blogs is Meet Me At Mike's, which also happens to be the name of an ace (using the native Australian lingo here) shop in Australia. Pip, the owner of both the shop and the blog, started this cool challenge called Words and Pictures. Each week there is a new theme. I've looked at it with awe and wistfulness, hanging back, reading the other blogs, not quite ready to try it myself. But this week I'm going to give it a go.

The theme for this week is "Collecting." There have been some awesome blog entries on it already--my favourite has to be this one: It's a Beautiful Life

What do I collect: sometimes it seems like children--I've got four. Or dust bunnies--but that isn't intentional. The entire family seems to collect colds like there's no tomorrow. We all collect clutter and bills and paper--good grief! Where does all this paper come from?! I did think I could share pictures of my yarn or fabric stash but that would probably horrify any readers who happened over this way. Also, I use that stuff and it leaves the house so that's not really collecting, right? Right! Please repeat after me: Tracy does not have a yarn hording problem. Exactly.

But what I really collect is softies...plushies...stuffies...stuffed animals. I love them. I have ones made by famous and skilled artisans like kittypinkstars and tiddlywinks. I've got ones I received in swaps. And then there's my favourite: the ones I've made for myself. Isn't that the most narcissistic thing you've heard? But I love them all like the wonderful, giving friends that they are---all 5 thousand of them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Take a bite out of Monday

I was overcome with the unshakable urge to create a shark. A quick look through my stash (fabric) unearthed this pretty pink patterned piece (isn't that alliteration amazing?) perfect for a shark. I started it last night, finished it this afternoon--probably took 20 minutes total--and voila! a shark friend. I think she's after our Easter candy stash. Be afraid, very afraid.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Signs of Sisterhood

If you are looking for the Gloria Monster pattern, I had planned to post it today and I will post it very soon. I promise. But I had to share these pictures right now.

Explanation: two of my daughters are hearing impaired. Seven year old Sparkle has a profound hearing loss and received a cochlear implant two years ago. Stinkerbelle is three; she has a mild-moderate severe loss. To those uninitiated in the world of hearing loss: Sparkle hears absolutely nothing without her implant while Stinkerbelle has some hearing; she's merely considered hard of hearing, not deaf.

There's a lot of debate in this country as to how deaf-hoh children should be raised: only using their surviving hearing and voice, only using sign language, a bit of both. We are of the "whatever helps this child communicate, learn to read and accomplish everything they want to in life" school of thought. We use voice, we use sign.

Last night I happened upon my two daughters looking at a book together--just one of those board books for babies. You know the kind. On each page is a photo of something that a baby might want to know the word for: milk, sleep, teddy bear. (I'm positive that BAP (Babies Against Parents) puts out additional training manuals for words like fingernail polish remover, paint stripper, $100 a drop perfume--all the things that Baby really wants to know the name for.)

This board book, however, happens to feature American Sign Language signs for each picture. Sparkle was demonstrating the sign and then quizing Stinkerbelle. It was....soooooo.....darling.

All day my two little sweeties play together. Sparkles is the ring leader, teacher, one with "a plan." Stinkerbelle is the follower, imitator, trusty sidekick. It's wonderful. They have something special to offer to each other that no one else in this family does. They understand what it's like not to hear, not to speak, not to always understand what's going on, not to always be in on the joke, not to always know where we are going, what we are doing, what is happening next. They can communicate across a room, without a sound--although many times they are the loudest of the family. And what I love is that neither one of them is going through life alone--without the help of a sister who really understands. And that makes me happy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Monsterously Joyful

Today is Homemade Friday.

Well, first and foremost, today is Good Friday. Easter has a very important and deep meaning for me because I am a Jesus Follower. Today is the day which we remember the ultimate price that Jesus paid for us and that's very troubling and humbling and sobering.

However, Easter Morning is a-comin' and that's all about joy, happiness, rebirth, celebration. In honour of Easter I made a Gloria Monster today. This may seem like a weird combo: monster and Easter but, if you know me, it's just par for the course. The Good Book says" let everything with breath praise the Lord" and I figure that includes monsters as well.

This is a really fast and easy project. Tomorrow I will post pictures, pattern and instructions just in case you too feel the need for a little celebritory monster in your life.

In the meantime, enjoy your Easter weekend and may there be Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy deep in your heart.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Egg Haul

Grand Trunk (Trunko) plays by different rules.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tools of the Trade--Late

I thought I'd post this on Tuesday for maximum alliteration value. Alas, the trade winds were blowing a little slow while the west wind was blowing us out of house and home.

Okay, guess what this is:Medical device? Tools on the Space Shuttle? Torture probe? Creature from the Black Lagoon?

No, it's my newest find: the light up crochet hook. Okay, it sounds totally cheesy and stupid and a complete waste of money. But something compelled me that I just had to get one and try it. I crochet a lot in the car on those looooooong, frequent trips across the state for medical appointments. (Got one next week for Sparkle.) I figured this would help for the early morning and late night hours when the light is less than optimal.

I was ready for it to be a total failure but.....drum roll please....I love it! It's awesome. It's particularly perfect (alliteration is everything to me) when working with dark yarns--browns, blacks.

I rate this crochet hook (purchased at Hobby Lobby for less than $6) a Totally Terrific.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Illustration Friday on a Monday

I'm a bit early on my Illustration Friday challenge this week. The topic is Talisman. The caption is:

Muffy Bunny found having four feet to be very lucky.

Illustrating "talisman" didn't inspire me--I'm not a talisman kind of person at all. But I did get to thinking about rabbit feet and that led to this creation which features one of my all time favourite colour combinations--what I like to call Howard Johnsons. If you remember your 1970s-ish cultural pop history you will remember that the chain featured orange and a sort of turquise blue--a colour combo which has had a profound and lasting effect on me....just as the sorbet I ate at HJ on rare occassions when we were traveling. These two colours make me happy and that certainly is something quite lucky.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Homemade Friday--a day late

Obviously, I've got a conflict. I've got Illustration Friday and Homemade Friday. An illustration is homemade but then when do I feature new softies I'm making? And do I sound a bit like Abby on NCIS right now? Cause I LOVE Abby on NCIS and sometimes I think I might be channeling her...maybe. Or maybe I just want to hang around Gibbs, aka Mark "Boy Can I Smile" Harmon, so I wish I was Abby. I digress. I'll save NCIS for another post...or posts.

I'm going to have to change this to Handmade sometime After Friday. Today, I would like to introduce you to not one, not two, but three new friends. And people say there are no bargains.

Okay, first (Tracy, stop thinking about Mark Harmon and get back on track)...uhm first, I have Pink Bear who was made for a Swap Bot swap. Did I mention that I'm on Swap Bot? Probably not because that's sort of like a secret because really...a mum with four kids to homeschool...what business does she have on Swap Bot? Exactly. But there you go.

So Pink Bear is going off to England to a wonderful amigurumi maker. Her work is amazing! Amygurumi Check out her stuff: Yep, like sending coal to newcastle or pork to Washington. Exactly. But the swap was for one bear and one bear she shall get. I actually like this little bear. She's made from chenille and fun fur yarn, four way jointed, designed in the kawaii style. And she's pink which is her recepient's fave colour.

Next, we have Little Lamb who I am pretty sure I will name Mary. Mary is the first ami ever created by OnyxLight. She seriously needs to make more because she does a great job! Isn't the lamb cute???? I adore her. She came to me as part of an Easter ami swap.

And finally I have Alex Bear who has nothing to do with Swap Bot because I created him and I plan to keep him. He's four way jointed with weighted body and legs, made from Yarn Bee--I think it was Dream Girl but maybe one of the other fun fur varieties.

Alex is named after the Scotland Yard Detective Alan Grant from the Josephine Tey novels, Scotland Yard Detective Alec Fletcher from the Carola Dunn novels and Alexander the Great. I do not think there is an NCIS connection but I'm working on it. That means this little cute guy is named: Alan Alec Alex Bear. Do you think I could make Mark Harmon his godfather thus requiring Mr Blue Eyes to meet Alex and, of course, me? Somebody has probably already tryed that, eh?

Okay, so that concludes Homemade Sometime After Friday for this week. Next week I'm going to start Tuesday Tools of the Trade so don't miss that--it has something to do with seeing the light.....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Poise--no, not the underpants

This week's Illustration Friday theme is poised. First, I read some definitions of the word. I've deleted any of the many of which featured adult diapers.

1. a state of balance or equilibrium, as from equality or equal distribution of weight; equipoise.
2. a dignified, self-confident manner or bearing; composure; self-possession: to show poise in company.
3. steadiness; stability: intellectual poise.
4. suspense or wavering, as between rest and motion or two phases of motion: the poise of the tides.
5. the way of being poised, held, or carried.
6. the state or position of hovering: the poise of a bird in the air.
–verb (used with object)
7. to adjust, hold, or carry in equilibrium; balance evenly.
8. to hold supported or raised, as in position for casting, using, etc.: to poise a spear.
9. to hold or carry in a particular manner: She walked, carefully poising a water jug on her head.
10. Obsolete. to weigh
(From Dictionary. Com)

And from there I came up with this:

Because sometimes you think you've got your life all planned: pursing the Career, racking up the degrees, doing further training, specializing, collecting accomplishments.

And then Life takes a big old u-turn and you're a stay-at-home mum, picking up toys, dishing out dinner, correcting math problems and potty training--sometimes even at the same time. And, in my book, that takes a lot of poise.

So hats off to all you mums out there. May your dinner be delicious, your explanation of fractions be clear, your laundry be folded and may you still have a few moments each day to remember and celebrate your "pre-children" life and skills.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Worry about know?

There are lots of interesting, real problems going on at our house: Spudly is trying out defiance and giving us a glimpse of teen tudes. Sparkle does not use verbs in most of her sentences. T-Rex--wow! My heart breaks over the things she has endured, the things she still endures. I'm going to need to get some help myself about that one. Seriously, how does a mum deal with the fact that her baby was hurt by other people? A mum should protect her baby--even if she was half way around the world in an orphanage. And then there's Stinkerbell who has more health issues by the day, practically: cleft lip, cleft palate, Stroke before birth (probably although not everyone agrees), neurological damage, partial facial paralysis, a severe communication disorder, hearing impairment, an unrepaired hernia and now asthma. My hair is turning greyer and I have lots to worry about at night.

In light of all that, I choose to worry about other--well--more mundane things. For instance, when you make a softie for a swap, gift or a toy drop, do you worry about if it will be okay? Do you hope it finds a good home where it is loved and cared for? Do you worry that some thoughtless lout will let a pet play with it? I do. Seriously. Well, not as seriously as I worry about all the stuff in the first paragraph but I do worry.

Wouldn't you worry about sending these guys out into the world without protection, without knowing where they will live?

They never write. I never hear from them. I don't know if they are healthy, happy, wiseguys...nothing...and that weighs on a softie maker's heart, you know? So I'm asking you today--something simple. First, treat your softies well. Second, let the person who gave them to you know, 'kay? Okay.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How Crafting Can Save Your Life

Let's just say, for argument's sake, that Monday evening all your girls were happily playing--well, okay, not killing each other....yet. Let's say they were sitting at the dining table playing with play-doh. And let's get really crazy and say that your oldest daughter Spudly just happened to think it was a good idea to push the table very hard...and the table moved....and it knocked over a chair.

And let's pretend for a moment that your youngest daughter Stinkerbell was sitting in said chair and it flipped over backwards and she hit her head. And there was much shrieking and frantic parents and intense wailing and crying--although we did manage to get Head Honcho to hush after a few minutes. And then Stinkerbell went into her worst asthma attack yet. So there was more shrieking--okay, and just maybe it was me who was doing the shrieking because I was holding the baby who was in full asthma attack and Head Honcho was taking as long as humanly possible to get the nebulizer and meds. And then finally the attack stopped, the baby slept and life looked sort of normal again.

So the next morning you got up early and took T-Rex to therapy, leaving Stinkerbell sleeping. And you came home with a heavy heart and one Biggby Teddy Bear Steamer (coffee drink without the coffee) after learning T-Rex is still struggling deeply over issues of abandonment. And you found Stinkerbell crying and clutching her foot and you examined set foot and determined that her big toe was big and blue and swollen and she was in a lot of pain. And let's say, for argument sake, you freaked out, screamed at your husband who had completely missed the symptoms, called the doctor, rushed her to the doctor to learn that said toe was indeed broken and that the complicated, cost you $20 to learn it, involved treatment was to give her motrin and tylenol cause there's nothing they can do for a broken toe. You politely thanked the doctor while thinking "I have got to go to med school and get me some of this easy cash."

You rush home because it's your father's birthday and you are supposed to call him at noon. You allow all the children to screech out a very enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday. Then you zip into the kitchen, make a quick lunch, feed the kids, check your emails, and then rush out the door with Stinkerbell because...mind you this is all just a hypothetical situation...she's got a doctor's appointment across town.

Now, if you are still following this, you are wondering when the crafting part comes in, right? I'm getting there. I arrive at the audiologist's office with zero minutes to spare. I get Tinkerbell out of her coat and then realize that her hair is a mess. I mean a mess. And I've got no hair brush or hair "things" with me. Nothing to help. And she's getting impressions of her ear canals. This involves goop--the technical and very accurate medical term--being squirted in her ears, allowed to harden and then pulled out. From this the cool ear mold people will make a plastic set of ear molds (out of green plastic this time) to fit in her ears when she wears her purple hearing aids. Purple, green with red and orange fabric covers.

But let us not be distracted by colour combinations. Imagine you sit in the waiting room looking at your daughter's crazy, messy, curly hair and you wonder how they will get the goop in the ears and not the hair.

And then it hits you: in your purse you have your handmade softie. On Sunday you swapped out your Domo doll for your Amigurumi Panda Bear Pearl. And seeing as it was cold Sunday morning you took the time--yes, you really did---while you were already late for church to get her red, hand crocheted scarf. Because you do not want your softie to be cold. I'm serious.

And so you are sitting in the waiting room two days later and you notice the scarf and how it would make a great headband. You ask and are assured by said softie that she does not mind if Stinkerbell borrows said scarf seeing as it is for a very good cause. So, using your hands, you smooth back daughter's hair and tie the scarf around and voila! You are in business. And no one ever says a word. Everyone thinks this is perfectly normal. And the molds are made. The scarf is taken from said daughter before she stuffed it under her car seat, you drive home and life is good...except that your house is trashed and you still have to school your kiddos.

BUT! But...your life has been saved because you craft! And that's the moral of the story.