Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Potty Training: A Day of Success!

Panties in the photo were made using the panties pattern I've got in the works.  Hooray!
She finally did it!


I just want to shout it from the rooftops.  I am so happy.

I'm definitely no kind of expert on the subject, but I'll tell you how it all went down in the hopes that it might be of help to some poor soul out there getting peed on and feeling desperate.  Haha.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Potty Training: Impromptu Lessons From Bear

Some of you may remember that we attempted to try and potty train Olivia several months ago, a month or two after that, and a month or two after that.  Our last major attempt was over the summer, which failed spectacularly with Olivia having a major meltdown any (and every) time we mentioned trying to use the potty, let alone get near one.

We've tried (not in this order) using the regular toilet, those insert things that make the toilet toddler-sized, and stand-alone toddler potty seats.  But to no avail.  This kid hates the potty.  Yes, I used the H word.

Diapers: LOVE
Potty: HATE

Then something funny happened.  Olivia's friend Ellie came over for preschool yesterday... wearing panties.  (Can you see where this is going?)  Ellie held it like a pro and after we finished preschool her mom rushed Ellie upstairs to use the potty.

Being the nosy, desperate parent I am, I rushed Olivia upstairs to watch.  Which, by the way, Ellie wasn't too keen on (I don't blame her), so we left her in peace. But I had accomplished my goal anyway: Olivia saw Ellie sit on the potty.  Victory.

Well, once Olivia saw Ellie on the potty, naturally what followed was,

Olivia: "I want a turn on the potty!"
Me: "You want to sit on the potty?"
Olivia: "No!"
Me: "Okay."
Olivia: "I want to sit on the potty!"
Me: "You want to sit on the potty and wear panties like Ellie?"
Olivia: "Yeah."

So once Ellie was done I helped Olivia into some panties and onto the potty.

Did she go?  No.
Did I still consider it a success? Yes.
Even though she only wore the panties for about five minutes and then insisted on putting her diaper back on.

Mostly I was just relieved that she didn't scream and cry when she got near the potty.  She actually sat on it, which--for her--is a big deal.

Baby steps, guys.  Baby steps.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"It's Raining Love" Mobile Pattern Review

photo used with permission from Michael Ann Made

Michael Ann of the charming and Portland-y Michael Ann Made shared a review of my "It's Raining Love" Plush Mobile pattern.  I love love love the way her mobile turned out.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

DIY Ancient Scrolls Tutorial

Ancient scrolls.  So hard to find when you need them.  Sigh...
Well, now with a bit of craft paper and some wooden dowels, you can make your own!

No more waiting around for mummies to be discovered or archives to be dug up.
These handy little scrolls can be made right at home.  Finally!

Okay, okay.  So we don't usually have a great need for ancient scrolls around here.  I made this one for our primary class at church this week to go along with the lesson.  But now that I've made one--and now that I know it's so quick and easy and the results are so fun--I've been thinking up lots of great uses for them.

  • Weddings - These would make such fun, pretty signs for an unexpected, beautiful touch in natural tones.
  • Invitations - Mini versions of these scrolls would be so fun for wedding or party invitations!
  • Pirates - Ahoy mateys!  Now you can make your own treasure map!
  • Princesses - Anybody getting invited to a royal ball?  I know I am.
  • School Projects - Studying ancient civilizations?  Show off your know-how on your very own ancient scroll!
  • Scripture Study - Now you can study the scriptures just like they did in the old days.  Don't forget--Hebrew reads from right to left!  
  • Wall Art - Print or write a pretty quote or paint a scene on your scroll.  Add a string to the top dowel and hang for one-of-a-kind wall art.

The 6 and 7 year-old primary kids in our class loved the scroll.  It was easily the most fascinating part of the lesson.  Haha.  The kids were a little squirrely, but when we passed around the scroll so each of them could have a chance to hold it and roll it open and closed, they quieted down right away.  They were all so excited to get a turn.  Each of them was so careful with the scroll.  For all the care and awe they gave it, it might as well have really been an ancient scroll.

Want to make your own?
Get the quick and easy tutorial after the jump!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Line Dry

For more info on our cloth diapers, see HERE.

So, our dryer broke a few weeks ago.  We bought our washer and dryer (used) as a mismatched set from a really nice burly old guy on Craigslist when we moved in last June.  The guy we bought them from brought them here and set them up for us, which was really nice.  We're total cheapskates and we never tip people if we can help it, but we tipped him.  We were just so grateful that we didn't have to haul the washer and dryer down to the basement by ourselves and we had (still have) no idea how to hook them up.  So we were kind of eternally grateful.  I still think back on that and feel warm and fuzzy remembering how kind he was to us.

Anyway, our dryer died.  I don't think it was the guy's fault.  It's just an older used dryer and, ya know, it's gotta die sometime.  Bry called a repair guy (on Craigslist) and the guy said it sounded like a problem with the motor.  At first I thought maybe he was trying to scam us into a nice expensive repair job, but instead he suggested we just buy another used dryer; he said it would be cheaper.

But we haven't bought another dryer yet.  I think if we had kept the phone number for the nice guy we bought the first one from, we'd call him and buy another one.  He kind of seemed to be in the used washer and dryer business.  I think he fixed them up and sold them as kind of a side job.  But, unfortunately, we didn't keep his contact information.  And so we've been lazy about replacing our broken dryer.

Partly it's the cost--we just don't feel like paying for one with our grad student "income."  (I'm using that word as joke, by the way.)  But more than that it's the hassle of having to get rid of the old one, buy a new one, and get the new one downstairs & hooked up.  Not to mention sifting through used dryers on Craigslist so we can find one to buy.  I did so much sifting on Craigslist when we first moved in that I got pretty sick of it and haven't been excited about doing it since.  Lazy and dumb, I know, but true.

In the mean time, we obviously still need to keep having clean clothes.  At first Bryan (the usual household laundry-doer) took to hanging things all over the stuff we have stored in our utility room in the basement (where the washer and dryer are).  But since there aren't very many optimal clothes-hanging places and since a lot of the stuff in there is kind of dusty, I picked up a clothesline ($1) and a couple of packs of clothespins ($1 per pack) at--you guessed it--the dollar store.  Bry hammered some nails into the support beams that run across the ceiling and hung the clothesline.  And that's how we've been drying our clothes ever since.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hair Ties Of The Future (Great for thick hair!)

Guys.  Seriously.  I'm kind of in awe about this.  Are you ready to see the hair ties of the future?

Okay, first a little back story.  So, I have thick hair.  Ultra thick hair.  Like, twice the thickness of one of my sisters' pony tails--that kind of thick hair.  So I tend to burn through hair ties.  Forget the skinny kind.  Those things are trash when your hair weighs as much as an elephant.  I usually use the thick ones (like these), but even those stretch out pretty quickly for me.  So lately I have been using 2 thick hair ties together, but they're still all stretched out.  So this morning before we went to the park my friend and I made a stop at the grocery store and I decided it was time to finally cave and buy some new hair ties.

There we were, standing in the hair stuff isle, when something strange caught my eye.  

Is that what I think it is?

Something that will softly grip my hair, but not pull it out and make me go bald?

It seemed too good to be true.  How could it not be?  But I pulled it down from the rack for a closer look.
Are you ready for a closer look yourself?

Try not to be too jealous of my rad hair-styling skills.  Or the empty milk jug on the counter.

Guys, these little babies are SWEET!  For a whopping $2.98 (at Walmart), I am now the proud new owner of some hair ties of the future.  (That's not their slogan, but it should be.)

They're stretchy, but not too stretchy.  Grippy, but not too grippy.  And the best part?  One hair tie actually holds up my massive head of hair!  Hooray hurrah!  Who knew this day would come?  Not me.

Needless to say, so far I am in love.  Anybody else out there tried these intergalactic hair ties?  If so, let's start a club.

Spring is on the way

This morning our good friends invited us on a trip to the park.  Olivia and I have both been dying to get outside lately, so we loaded up the kids in the back seat and headed out.  As soon as we got out of the car and onto the grass, the girls took off running.  They were so happy to be out!  Truth be told, so was I.

When I was visiting with another friend this morning, we were talking about how Olivia is 2 1/2 now and she asked me if Olivia is still the same girl I've always known or if she's--how did she put it?--"showing a different personality."  Ha.  I told my friend that Olivia's still mostly the same sweet, chill girl I've always known.  At the time when we were talking, Olivia was quietly playing with toys in my lap and sharing with my friend's baby.

Then we headed off to the park with our friends and Olivia played quite happily outside for a good long while.  Even cold fingers and runny noses didn't make these girls want to turn in.  Good weather brings freedom that kids just don't get when they're cooped up inside.

Back at home, tired, and ready for lunch, Olivia made me re-think all the nice things I had said about her this morning.  She was in total two year-old tantrum mode like I rarely see her.  Tears streaming down her face, immovably stubborn, and totally ridiculous.

She did the same thing a couple of nights ago at dinner and was so upset that Bryan finally took her upstairs and put her in for some "quiet time" in her bed.  When she calmed down after a few minutes he went back up to get her and she was entirely different--happy and chatty and calm.  I couldn't help wondering if she had been abducted by aliens while she was upstairs, her behavior was like night and day.  Yikes.

When it happened today at lunch I was on my own and feeling totally frustrated.  We got through lunch and got her down for a nap (still screaming) and I sat down for some cool-down time.  She cooled down too and now she's sleeping.  Or being abducted by aliens again.  It's hard to say which.

Simple Braided Friendship Bracelet -- A Tutorial In 5 Easy Steps

Note: This is a re-post of a guest blog I wrote for my good friend Lauren.
(Originally posted HERE.)

Continue on for the full tutorial...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spotted: "It's Raining Love!" Plush Mobile

images via
My sweet friend Emily posted some nursery pictures on her adoption blog a couple of days ago and I was so delighted to spot the little rain mobile I made for her!

Do you see it?

I made the mobile using the "It's Raining Love" Plush Mobile pattern (available in the shop).  It's made from a couple of old t-shirts... and lots and lots of love.  :)

The mobile in Emily's pictures here is actually the same mobile in all of the pattern/listing pictures too.  I made the mobile specifically for Emily and sent it to her in a little surprise package a while back.  I love the way it looks in the bright, cozy nursery Emily and her husband are getting ready for the baby that will join their family someday.  They've been approved for adoption, but are still waiting to have a baby placed with them.  We're all waiting anxiously.

Soon.  A sweet baby will join their family soon.  I can just feel it.

Guest Post at U Create Kids: Classic Play Wand Pattern & Tutorial

I'm spreading a little magic over at Ucreate Kids today!

Come on over for the free pattern and tutorial for these Classic Play Wands.  It's a quick, easy project and so fun to play with.  Olivia already stole this one.

See you there!

Disclaimer: I tried using it on the dirty dishes in our sink and either the wand doesn't have magical capabilities or I'm just not doing it right.  Tips?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feb 2012 Brown Bag -- TONIGHT!

February Brown Bag is tonight!

Woot woot!

A huge part of what makes Brown Bag fun and great are all of the fabulous sponsors!

Below are the sponsors for this month's Brown Bag.  Each one is fabulous and the people behind each of these shops and businesses are just the sweetest people and so much fun to work with.

Be sure to stop by and check out their little corners of the online world!

Avon (via Maloree Peterson)
From Wonderland (no link)

My sample button cards -- see them featured here, read more about my business cards here.

Everything is all set up and ready to go for tonight.  I am so excited.


Monday, February 20, 2012

First Time for Everything

Would you believe me if I told you that a couple days ago I used spray paint for the first time?

I'm perfectly aware that spray painting everything under the sun has been a fad for years.  But I just never really had a reason to try it before.  People make it out to be this super cheap quick-fix.  While I'll agree it's quick and easy, it's really only cheap if you already have spray paint on hand.  And we never did before.

But over the summer we bought a hefty supply of spray paint in white and red so we could paint our mismatched table and chairs.  Umm... but we never got around to doing that.  Something about having to stand out in the heat and humidity for more than ten seconds made us lose our nerve.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Will they "get" it?

Bryan and I teach the class of 6 and 7 year-olds at church.  They are sweet, smart, funny kids and we can't help but love them.

Each week in our little class before we say the opening prayer or start the lesson we go around and ask each of the kids what happened in their lives the previous week or if there's anything else random that they want to tell us.  They readily tell us about which tooth is currently wiggly, their trip to the pool (one little girl seems to go weekly), how their baby sister peed on their dad while they were changing the baby's diaper, or about how they went to each others' houses during the week.

Bryan and I laugh each week not only at the things they think to tell us, but the fact that they have some random little thing about their lives that they think of to tell us right away.  How many grown-ups could or would want to do that?  These kids are so uninhibited.  They're so open and loving toward us and toward each other.

They're not at the age yet where it's not cool for boys to be friends with girls and stuff and it's sweet to watch them share crayons (there could not be enough flesh-toned crayons in the world to satisfy these kids) and help each other pick up things they drop.  It's all just little things, but it pricks me right at the heart every time I see them serve each other in these little ways.  They love at the drop of a hat (or, as, the case may be, at the drop of a set of scriptures or piece of candy).  I spend most of the class each week reminding them to be quiet ...and thinking about how much I want to be more like them.

Last night Bryan and I were preparing the lesson for today's class.  Our entire class loves coloring, so we always make sure to include any extra activities that involve coloring.  One of the activities in the lesson for today included making a little yarn necklace for each child and attaching a circle (like the one in the photo above) that said, "Heavenly Father watches over me."  Then the kids were supposed to draw a picture of their face on the other side of the circle.

The lesson was all about how Heavenly Father watches over each of us.  As I read the lesson I kept thinking, "I hope the kids get this."

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Business Cards

What!  What!

My funky little handmade business cards are being featured on The Farm Chicks today!  Serena--head honcho of all things Farm Chicks--is bursting with classic style and I'm really honored to be included among the business cards being featured there.

You'll also get a sneak peek there of my full business card/branding selection including my business cards, hang tags, sample button cards, and thank you card.

So head on over to The Farm Chicks to browse through a fine collection of business cards from lots of fun businesses!

Be sure to take a quick minute to vote for your favorites while you're there!  :)

Details on my business cards after the jump!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Waiting For Daddy

Today was a long one.  Olivia had been feeling sick and a little on the cranky side all morning, took a really short nap, and then later threw up.  She seemed to be feeling marginally better after that, but still wanted her daddy.

Not that I was surprised.  On the days when Bryan has to be at school early, the first thing Olivia says to me when she wakes up is, "I want my daddy."

Yeah.  I know.  I wish he were here to get up with you too.  Then I could keep sleeping.  :)

But after a sicky, cranky day, we were both looking forward to Daddy coming home even more than usual.

Following is a little picture time capsule of the 20 minutes we spent waiting for Daddy to come home today. In the inexplicable categories of my brain, this is a story much like this one, but instead of changing scenery, it's the whims of a 2 1/2 year old that change.  And oh, how quickly this girl changes.

Join us after the jump while we Wait for Daddy...

Rainy Day Special

It's raining here today, so I thought I'd offer a little something to brighten the mood*.  :)

*Something other than Olivia's fly being down in this picture.  Whoops!  :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Easy Cranberry Granola -- Recipe, Printable, & Packaging

Get this simple, yummy recipe and easy printable packaging after the jump!

Our Valentines

Want to see what's hiding under our valentines?  :)

For the Love of Learning: 1/2 Price Printable Flashcards

Heart Felt Garland Tutorial -- find it HERE

Looking for a little LOVE this Valentine's Day?
Well, well, you've come to the right place!

For the love of learning...

...TODAY ONLY all of the flashcard printables in the shop are half price!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Big Plans Tend to Get Bigger

Doughnuts also make things better.  :)

Last September I wrote this post.

I'm still not ready to say entirely what it was about and what those big plans were, but I'll tell you that a lot of that anxiety I was feeling was over starting Brown Bag.  I had never done it before.  It was a jumble to get things started since even I didn't really know how it would go.  But I knew what I wanted it to be.  And I knew that Heavenly Father wanted me to do it.

Now, five months later, I'm getting a better handle on things.  I have a general schedule for how the Brown Bag nights run.  People know what to expect.  And every so often I hear people mention it off hand--"Oh, yeah, you know so-and-so.  She was at Brown Bag."--and I can't help but giggle inwardly.  I hear people talk about it like it's this real thing.  Don't they know I just made this thing up in my head?

But then, what is anything, if not something someone just made up in their head?

Coming to grips with the fact that I am a real person and that I make real things and have real plans is something I'm still working on.  It's a daily mental battle for me.

Valentine's Mail

On Saturday I trimmed some of the postcard size Valentine's (free printable here) down with pinking shears to give them kind of an old timey postcard look.

Olivia colored them, wrote her name on each of them*, and then we sent them off to some grandparents and aunts and uncles.

Hooray for good, cheap fun!  And hooray for mail!