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Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Feature -- Made by Railyuh

This week's featured Etsy artist is Made by Railyuh.









She's a fellow Etsyblogger and Etsymom member, and her photographs are really striking!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I grew up in Alaska but we got more rain than snow where I lived. My life long dream is to write a book (and get it published!).

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Right now I sell prints, postcards, and photo cards.


What inspires your creations?

My landscapes are obviously inspired by the beauty of the natural world. I am especially drawn to water, whether that be oceans, rivers, or mountain lakes. I also love striking geography. My black and white images are inspired by viewing ordinary objects from different angles to create something of beauty in what would otherwise be overlooked.



Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

I borrowed my dad's SLR in highschool so that I could take photos for my high school yearbook. At first I didn't know how to use the manual features of the camera, but I realized I had a decent eye for a good shot. From there it was just reading the manual, and intro to photography course in college, and a lot of practice. I loved spending hours and hours in the darkroom and that is one thing I miss now that photography has largely moved into the digital realm.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

The caterpillar image from my playground series:


What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

emotional, thinker, and short (I'm just under 5' tall)

What do you like about Etsy?

I love knowing where the products I buy come from, who made them, etc. And it's so much more interesting and fun to have items that are handmade and unique versus mass produced merchandise.

What makes your shop unique?

Well no one else should be selling the same photos as me for one! I do think that my B&W photography is different from anything else I've seen. I'm not saying my style is amazingly innovative or anything, but I do tend to put a unique spin on things that a lot of people wouldn't even think to photograph.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Don't give up! Don't be intimidated by all the other amazing artists here (I'm working on that myself!).


Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?


http://railyuh.blogspot.com/
http://etsyfind.blogspot.com/


Mama's Magic posts a new Friday Feature interview every week. If you are an Etsy seller and interested in being featured, please feel free to contact me! For more features, please click here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dumb.

In my enthusiasm for the excellent weather, and because I didn't want to squash BJ's unusual request for a walk, I ended up dragging the kids in the wagon all the way to the post office this afternoon. It's only a 15 minute walk each way, which usually wouldn't be any sort of issue at all, but I'd totally blanked on the fact that I've had about zero exercise since the weeks and weeks of illness this winter. Also conveniently neglected to remember the doctor's caution about exhausting myself in my post-pneumonia state. Add in the insufficient lunch, and it's little wonder that I just about passed out while waiting in line to mail a package.

I felt sooooo dumb. As the tunnel vision was hitting, I could have done multiple smacks to the forehead. I know I'm liable to get dizzy if I don't eat well. I know that I've been getting tired easily. And it hasn't been that long ago since I blacked out in December, so it's not like I can use the excuse of not remembering the warning signs. I'd left the cell phone at home (double dumb!) so there was nothing for it but to get my head down (luckily I had the excuse of bending down to wagon level to converse with the kids) and gather my wits as best I could. The full force of motherhood's responsibilities really hit home -- what else could I do, really, other than soldier on?

Luckily, it never got past tunnel vision into static or unconsciousness. If it had, of course I would have called for help. As it was, I recovered and felt decent enough to get us all back home in one piece. I then fed us all a big snack and drank a huge glass of water, which helped enormously. I'm feeling fine now. Just really really dumb.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dress-Up & Dinosaurs & A Playdate (oh my!)

We had a good day today. This morning we played dress-up, which is becoming more and more entertaining. BB especially enjoys it and will go over to the dress-up box and "ask" quite clearly (though without any words beyond "ma! ma!") for it to be opened. She's even been known to push it from the kids' room to the living room, insistent on getting at the contents. This time, she particularly liked the lei and the construction hat, both of which made a very fashionable addition to her "Future Feminist" onesie (which was a gift from the awesome Tia M).




BJ had a great time dressing up his numbers, and even managed to appropriate the construction hat for number 4. By the time he was done, he'd found a hat, scarf, or other item for every puzzle number from 0 to 10. It was very important to position the hats (or whatever) so that at least part of the number was visible. He is still "Ten" and still very much into the number thing at the moment. "Today is a good counting day!" he announced more than once in the course of the day.



BB is developing clear preferences for certain children's books, which is interesting to see. She adores the pop-up book Dinosaur Danger, and asks repeatedly for us to take it down off the high shelf where it is kept. She's learned the sign for "dinosaur" (bent hand like a dinosaur head, tapped downward) and is now using this to ask for the book. She's also trying to figure out how to climb the drawers to get to the high shelf, so we may have to balance safety against the likelihood of her tearing parts of the book, which is what will inevitably happen if we put it down on a lower shelf.



(Hmmm. Torn paper, or bonked noggin? Not much of a choice, really.)


Today, for some reason, she decided that it's a good idea to give every dinosaur in the book a kiss. It was hard to get a good pic of the smooching, since she's so quick about it, but I did my best.


In the afternoon, we had a playdate with A and C from BB's playgroup. It was lots of fun to hang out with them. C is about a month younger than BB, if I recall correctly, and she has an absolutely charming holler that she shouts out when she's excited. Apparently between the cats and our ridiculous number of toys, there was much to be excited about at our house. I've not done as much with the 2007 playgroup as I'd like, but I really enjoy A's company (and C's too!) and I hope we'll get to see more of them soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nursing the Turtle

BJ has been showing a sudden renewed interest in breastfeeding. He will come and watch while I'm nursing BB and, for the past week or so, he's been nursing his stuffed animals -- I managed to snap this shot of him "breastfeeding" his turtle because he insisted, "Take a picture of I nursing the turtle!"

It's pretty durned adorable how he will deliberately lift his shirt and position his "baby." He understands that mama's milk comes from mama's breast, but when he's nursing his babies he will often inform me that they get milk from his belly, or sometimes from his belly button.

Last night, in a new twist, he wanted me to be the baby and to nurse. He took me by the hand, led me to the rocking chair where I usually breastfeed BB, sat down and lifted his shirt. He giggled wildly as I put my face to his belly. I gave him a big raspberry zurburt right on his bellybutton, which he loved. Much laughter was had by all. Even BB thought it was funny.

I find it interesting that through all this he has shown no inclination to nurse himself, has never asked to breastfeed. He weaned himself at 14 months; we'd gotten down to one feeding a day, first thing in the morning, and he dropped it voluntarily. (Turned out I was pregnant with BB.) Hard to imagine BB stopping nursing in less than 4 weeks. She's showing no signs of slowing down. I'm proud of us for doing so well with nursing and for breastfeeding for so long, but I have to say that now we've hit that 12 month mark I'm beginning to fantasize about what it will be like to not be nursing anymore. Dresses I can wear again! And -- even better -- new bras!!!

Sutura Mendosa

Good news: we just got back from BB's appointment with the craniofacial specialist, and she's fine. She has "sutura mendosa," which the doctor described as an extra or persistent suture at the back of her skull. I really like this doctor. He gave me a nifty handout (copied from the web) so that I could explain things to S. Here's the relevant section:

Sutural bones are usually small, irregularly shaped ossicles, often found in the sutures of the cranium, especially in the parietal bones. When the lateral portions of the transverse occipital sutures persist, the anomaly is termed sutura mendosa. Sutura mendosa, which starts from both lambdoidal sutures, represents the remainder of a transverse occipital suture. This suture forms an interparietal bone (Inca bone or intercalary bone or sutural bone). As many as 172 sutural or wormian bones have been found in one skull. They are rarely found in the sutures of the face.



The lower left diagram shows the suture in question. Apparently this is a normal variation and it causes a bump or ridge along the back of the skull, which explains why her head measurements have been jumping all over the growth chart: if the measurement is taken including this bump/ridge, as it should (since it should measure around the largest part of the head), then she shows "off the charts" in about the 110 percentile; if it is measured above or below this ridge, then there can be a difference in as much as a centimeter in her head size, which would put her "on" the charts, but would be an inaccurate measurement.

As I've mentioned, we saw this doctor for BJ's "familial macrocephaly." Though we didn't get the same initial reaction -- when he saw BJ, his first words were, "I love this head!" -- he was just as reassuring with BB as he was with BJ. He has apparently presented papers at conferences about BB's condition, and he said that when he first started seeing kids with this, he followed through with x-rays to confirm the diagnosis (in fact, he pulled one up on the computer in 3D to show me exactly where the suture was and how the bump manifested itself; technology is so amazing!) but since BB isn't showing any sort of developmental issues or other causes for concern he didn't think that an x-ray would be necessary.

Interesting to have my mother's instinct confirmed, to know that BB's situation was indeed different from BJ's. I've noticed from the beginning that her head, while definitely large, was shaped differently than his. Because of this difference I was a bit anxious about her and didn't just want to assume that because her brother was fine she would be too. So glad to put that worry to rest!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

20 Way

We were in the minivan yesterday afternoon, waiting for the light to change, when I heard the following from BJ in the back seat:

"1 way, 2 way, 3 way, 4 way, 5 way..."

I was rather puzzled, and asked what he was doing, but he ignored me and continued counting like this. He exclaimed "20 way!" with great satisfaction as the light changed.

Then I noticed the "ONE WAY" sign right outside his window.

Mystery solved.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Feature -- Scrap a Dot

This week's featured Etsy shop is fellow Etsymom member Scrap a Dot. Sarah sells scrapbooks and other paper crafts. I like how she is willing to personalize an order -- she says, "None of the books in my store have titles on them. I do this so that when you make an order I can personalize it for you. So if there is anything you want on the over of the books that you order, whether its for a friend or for you, let me know and I'll get it on there before I ship it."

To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong?
I belong to the Etsymoms team and to the AREtsy team and I've just joined Etsypaper.


Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.
I'm a SAHM of two gorgeous little boys! I love to be here with them all I can. I'm originally from Alaska, and have lived in every A state other than Arizona. I love to scrapbook and do other paper crafts. I think they're one of the best ways to preserve something for family members and/or friends in the future. Which I think is important, passing on some of your past, a small part of you.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
I sell scrapbooks, page layouts, cards and other paper crafts. Off and on I'll also have a crochet afghan.


What inspires your creations?
It's just something that I love to do. I'm not going to say it's always easy because it's not. I get stumped or tired of doing the same thing all the time and then I think of something I's make for a family member or friend and that gets me going again.


Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.
My mom actually got me interested in scrapbooking when I was 9. She liked doing scrapping and wanted me to get into doing something with her. She also wanted to get me interested in something that could be productive and something to keep me busy and out of trouble.


What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
Wow, it's hard for me to pick just one. I really like a lot of them. But I guess I'll have to say right now it would be the 2008 calendar, because you can use it for a boy or girl and you can keep track of special little things that your kids do or that goes on in your life. I made one for my son's 1st year and put a new picture in every month and wrote when they walked, smiled, etc. I love it!!


What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Happy, creative, personable


What do you like about Etsy?
I love that fact that they've made it easy enough for anyone to use and they give you the chance to put your stuff out there in a friendly environment.


What makes your shop unique?
I think that my shop's unique because I put a lot of thought into what I do and the fact that if it's not something that I would use or give as a present to a friend or family member then it's not going in my store!


What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
Join groups, get to know others on etsy and get yourself out there. Go to the forums, watch what's going on and always be nice.


Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
My blog is a good place to go. I post little sneak peeks on new things I'm going to list, things I'm involved in and more.


For more Mama's Magic interviews with featured Etsy sellers, click
here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, S!

Today we celebrated S's birthday. BJ helped me make an angel food cake, which was served with fresh strawberries. BJ predictably announced, "Mommy, look! I'm eating angels!" I asked him what they tasted like. "Delicious!" he replied.

BJ made his dad a card and insisted on signing it from "Ten." February is a big month for birthdays in our circle -- it was Pop-Pop's birthday yesterday (Many happy returns of the day to ya, Dad!) and today we had a morning birthday playdate for two of the boys in BJ's playgroup. BJ made cards for each of the boys, which he also wanted me to sign from "Ten." I have to say, this numerical alter ego has really had some staying power.

It's been nice to emerge from our quarantine and return to something like our usual social schedule. This week we've had several playdates, and I even had a mom's night out last night -- the book group for BB's playgroup was hosting a movie party to watch Emma. Great book, great flick, and I couldn't resist. I hadn't had a night out in months and months, and it felt really good to be in my own head for a few hours. Nice of S to give me the night off the night before his own birthday, too!

Frog

BB's signing vocabulary is growing, and she's using signs more and more frequently. One of her very favorite signs at the moment is "frog," which has definite Gene Simmons overtones to the tongue display. (That's a nifty wooden frog noisemaker that she's holding; it makes a croaking percussion sound.)


She still gets a lot of mileage out of "dog" (a panting noise) by using it both for anything canine and to express enthusiasm in general. I'm pretty sure she's been trying to do "butterfly," (hands linked and fluttering) but it's a bit complicated for her fine motor skills. She pats her own chest to refer to herself, and she pats at my chest to indicate that she wants to nurse. Other signs that she uses on a regular basis include: book, fish, bath, milk, drink/eat (context driven; her finger in mouth can mean either), more, all done, hat (patting her head, which also sometimes means "daddy"), bird, bunny, moon, light, stars, flower, bubbles, wind, and rain.

She'll often use "wind" or "rain" to mean "outside" in general -- in fact, as I've mentioned, she has a particular trick of going to the front door and signing "wind" and "rain" while looking my way. She's been known to pound on the door while doing this, and she sometimes combines it with going to get her jacket and/or shoes. Even BJ knows what she is trying to tell us at that point!

It's such fun to see BB learning new signs, and I'd love to participate in a baby signs class with her. We didn't with BJ, because he was so verbal so early. He used a fair number of signs, but they were pretty quickly superseded by talking. BB understands an enormous amount, as she gives us daily proof, but she's not speaking many words yet. The signing really seems to be working well for her, and it would be nice to encourage it more than we do, which makes a class sound useful. But we have neither the funds nor the BJ-free time to permit such indulgence right now. Luckily, S and I have taught ourselves a fair amount about baby signing from books and videos. We do pretty well on our own, and that will just have to do.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ten

For the past three or four days, BJ has been insisting that he is "Ten." No, this is not vainglory; he's not a 10, and he has no idea, yet, about the typical decimal rating scale. He simply is the number 10, in the same way that he is sometimes the letter "D." He's quite emphatic about it -- today, he informed me that he is not a brother or a son. "I am a number!" he insisted. "I am Ten!"

A few days ago, when I called to make an appointment at the kids' haircut place, he heard me give his name over the phone and ran over in a tizzy. "No, Mommy! I'm Ten!" When we got to the barber's, he introduced himself to the stylist as "Ten." The stylist took it in stride, once she understood. (English isn't her first language, and it took some explaining on my part for her to comprehend that my son was pretending to be a number.) She told him that she would be 9, "So that I can be close to you." BJ was quite taken by this idea, and extrapolated thus: "Allie is 8, Jenny is 7, Mommy is 6, Daddy is 5, BB is 4, Butchie is 3, Socksie is 2, Chrysanthemum is 1, and Sharkie is zero." (Allie and Jenny are the two young women who will be babysitting for us on Friday night so that we can have our first date night in ages. They came for a visit yesterday afternoon, so they were on his mind. I guess at least the family rates above the cats, huh?)

Naming is a big deal for BJ these days. Not only is he taking on new identities himself, but he is also bestowing names on many of his toy animals. Daisy the Dog (his chocolate lab) has been with us for some time, as has Chrysanthemum (the purple mouse). For a while, he was content with just adding an "ie" sound to whatever creature was in question (as in "Sharkie") but he's been getting more adventurous with the names. Recent additions include: Mickey Doodle (a purple frog), Comet (a yellow fish), Tremble (a white dog), and Stuxey (a rubber snake). "Combiner" was the moniker given to one of his toys last week, though for the life of me I can't remember what animal was named thus. His toys seem to be more "alive" then they used to be, and this naming seems to be part of that. Used to be that only the letters and numbers had that kind of vitality for his imagination.

So it's somewhat reassuring to see him branching out a bit beyond letter and number play, but his alphabetical and numerical scenarios are still A Big Deal as far as BJ is concerned. Along with being "Ten" himself, he has been wanting to carry around the number 10 with him wherever he goes. We have one wooden puzzle which includes a 10 (actually, it was a custom set that we ordered for Christmas, because BJ kept asking for a puzzle that went from 0 to 10, and none was to be found). He wanted to take this ten along on errands and to get his hair cut, but we have a rule that says puzzle pieces can't leave the house, so I made him a felt replica of the piece. This delighted him quite a bit. And in typical BJ fashion, he now keeps the wooden 10 and the felt 10 together whenever possible.

He's even made a little bed for the two of them out of playsilks, and he has taken to tucking them in for the night, complete with a lullaby. The lullaby goes like this: "Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goooooooodniiiiiiiight!" He then gives the numbers a kiss, turns to us, and announces, "That was a very long tune." He's done this for the last three nights. It will be interesting to see how long it continues, and how long he remains "Ten."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Climber

It's official: BB is a climber. For some time now, she's been clambering into the kids' chairs. She hoists herself into BJ's toddler bed and can hop onto the train table without any trouble at all. She scales the ladder into the play fort, which is about 4 1/2 feet off the ground. (Of course, for this last feat, we are right behind her, spotting her.) Heaven help us, but she's also been trying to take on the climbing wall section of the play fort. I've heard tell of kids who are found standing on the kitchen counter the moment you turn your back on them -- and I fear that my daughter is well on her way to becoming one of those kinds of kids.

She's also discovered the joy of being chased, and she's getting durned fast for such a short person. She cackles and looks over her shoulder expectantly, hoping we'll make a dramatic pursuit. S has taken to calling her "Miss Mischief," and with reason.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Feature -- Scrumdidlyump

This week's featured Etsy artist is Katie at scrumdidlyump, where you will find "FunKtional Goodies Galore!" I really admire her talent with ceramics, and I have to say that as an ex-biology major, I absolutely love her Paramecium Dish. I keep telling my friends that you can find ANYTHING on Etsy, and this whimsical dish is yet one more piece of evidence to support that claim. Enjoy the interview!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I was the first person under the age of 38 and first female in the Birmingham Bagpipe Society at age 14. I have over 300 Pez dispensers. I speak German fluently and Japanese like a three year old.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

I sell handbuilt ceramics, clothes and vintage sewing machinery.


What inspires your creations? Microscopic life forms. Robots. Small children.

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

I fell in love with ceramics in Japan, while I was studying abroad for a semester. I had worked with clay before, but something just clicked over there. My sensei kicked me out of the studio at one point because he said I needed to see what Japan looked like outside of the building, I was spending so much time working. I learned the methods I use to make my slab bowls while I was working for the lovely people at Turtle Island Pottery (see http://maggiejones.etsy.com/) and expounded on the basics until I have what I do now.

As for sewing and vintage machines, my grandad was a mechanic and machine oil is one of my favorite smells (along with marigolds and stout beer.) I taught myself to sew at age five and my mom taught me to use a machine at age 8. A few years ago I was given an old godzilla redeye Singer and fell in love with it while I was cleaning it and troubleshooting its ailments. After it was ressurected, I was hooked. I now have seven vintage machines that have come to me through various routes.

To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong? EtsyMoms and MudTeam

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

I really love "not Yo Mama's Fruitbowl" My mom said that she thinks my grandmother, who passed away a few years ago, would be proud.



What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

Scrumdidlyumptious Artist Extraordinaire.

What do you like about Etsy? I don't think that I could ever get bored here, there are so many different kinds of work and fun people. I also love the Storque with a passion.

What makes your shop unique? I have never see any other pottery like mine. And I know for a fact that noone else on Etsy has a Singer Featherweight Portable Sewing Machine listed.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Frolic. Take advantage of this wonderful community and the wonderful people involved. And buy handmade!


Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

My website is coming soon, so keep an eye on my Etsy profile for information about that.


For more Mama's Magic Friday Feature interviews, click
here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Hearts Day!

We have had a very nice Valentine's Day over here. Low key, but full of love. S hung around with us this morning, and I managed to snap a few cute shots of the kids -- including this one of BB giving BJ a Valentine's kiss. BB is quite delighted with herself that she can give kisses now, and as you can see BJ thinks it's pretty special as well.

BB has given us a much-appreciated valentine of her own, in that she has now gone to sleep all by herself all but once in the last two days. Only bedtime last night was a problem. All four naps for the last two days, and at bedtime tonight, I've done her usual ritual (nursing-rocking-lullaby singing), and then she has allowed me to tuck her into her crib and walk away. She'll play or roll around for a bit, but there's no crying -- and when I go in to check about 10 minutes later, she's fast asleep, curled on her tummy with her little butt in the air.

I am utterly amazed. She's still not "sleeping through the night," but she's moving closer to a 3 (or even 4) hour stretch, which is a huge improvement over her waking every 2 hours. Someday -- dare I even say, perhaps even someday soon -- we'll be sleeping somewhat normally again!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It Can't Be This Easy. Can It?

For the past few weeks, BB's sleep issues have been coming to a crisis point. On top of the night nursing stuff, she's been skipping naps, pushing back her entire sleep schedule by an hour some days, and taking much longer to fall asleep than is reasonable -- some nights, it takes over an hour of rocking and/or patting down in the crib for her to fall asleep. Some nights she'll cry no matter what. Both S and I have been extremely frustrated with it all.

This morning, for her nap, it turned out that BJ needed me just as I was putting her down in the crib. She was sleepy and pliant, so I put her down with a kiss and told her it was time to sleep and I'd be back in a minute. That minute turned to five, because BJ was having issues of his own, but I didn't hear any fussing from the nursery. When I went to check on her, she was slumped over, soundly snoozing. I could hardly believe it. Not counting naps in the car, she'd fallen asleep on her own perhaps three times to date, including this time!

So this afternoon, when naptime hit, I nursed her like usual and rocked for a few minutes, then put her in the crib and said it was time to sleep. I patted her, smiled, and left. She didn't protest a bit. I heard her playing for a while in her crib, and then about 10 minutes later she was asleep.

I'm absolutely stunned. I have no idea what has changed to permit this, but I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that it continues!

(Of course having announced it to the world, I fully expect that tonight at bedtime she'll be a total wreck. Time will tell.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

So Much Better

Major improvements both physical and emotional. Talked to BB's pediatrician today and got the good news that all her bloodwork came back absolutely normal. Whew. And though I still tire easily, the chest pain and coughing are gone so I think the antibiotics have done their job. (Still can't quite believe I actually had pneumonia!!) Both the kids are healthy again, and somehow S has managed to remain so. Life is so much better this week!

Had a really nice Sunday afternoon. BB seems to be shifting her nap schedule from two to one per day, so we took advantage of the change and the lovely weather to head over to Happy Hollow Park and Zoo. BJ always loves it there, and for the first time BB was old enough to do more than just be carted around in stroller or carrier. She was initially hesitant in the petting zoo area, but soon she was as enthusiastic about the goats as her older brother.

IMNSHO, there's something really sexy about a man who pushes a stroller with a smile. (I love you, S, and I'm so glad you suggested the outing!)


And can I just say that I adore our Joovy Caboose! It makes being out and about so much easier. The Joovy handles really well and is comfy both for me and for S to push, unlike so many strollers that seem designed solely for folks 5' tall. Granted, it was a tight squeeze for BJ in the back when we were using the carseat carrier for BB, but now that she's sitting up normally both the kids are very comfortable. My only complaint is the scanty storage space. Luckily BJ doesn't mind the diaper bag dangling in front of him.

The construction is gearing up for the Happy Hollow renovations, so it will be interesting to see how things change. It could definitely use the updating, but I hope they don't steal the spirit of the place in the process.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A New Etsy Listing -- At Last!!!

I have been trying for MONTHS now to find the time to take pictures so that I can list some new items in my Baby Friendly Beads Etsy shop, where I sell nursing necklaces and reminder bracelets. Finally, today, I was able to list this Uniquely Unakite Necklace and Bracelet Set.

Pictures are always the most difficult part of the Etsy experience for me. (Listing generally would be next in line, since computer time is hard to come by.) I can usually squeeze in beading time here and there. But pictures require a sizeable block of kid-free time. And because I take them outside, that time needs to be during the day, with cooperative weather. (Even with the lightbox setup I have rigged up, I get better results with natural light.) For the past few months, it has been nearly impossible to get all of those things lined up at the same time, so I have been making jewelry without the chance to post anything, and now I have quite the backlog.

Pictures are also challenging because I still have so much to learn about photographing jewelry (and using this digital camera). While I'm very pleased with my abilities as a jewelry designer and beader, I am usually much less happy with my photography skills. I have come a long way since the first pics I posted, but I still have a long way to go. I like the way this one turned out today, though:


It's hard to believe that this week will mark my two year anniversary since opening my Etsy shop. In honor of that anniversary -- and to celebrate the other new listings that I will be putting up as soon as I can get the computer time to do so! -- I will be offering free shipping all week. Make a purchase during this time (today 2/9/08 through 2/16/08) and just mention "Happy Anniversary" in the notes to seller, and I'll refund the cost of shipping to your Paypal account.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Dizzy

BB has a new game -- she has discovered the fun of getting dizzy. First it was spinning around in the computer chair. Today, she figured out how to walk herself in a circle. BJ joined in as well, and soon all three of us were in the kitchen, getting dizzy.

Now, if you ask her, "Do you want to get dizzy?" she will give you this huge grin and start turning around as fast as she can. (Still pretty slow, but she's toddling at a pretty respectable rate for somebody who has only been walking for two months or so.) But she will only do it in the kitchen -- probably because this is the one spot in the house with enough uncluttered floor space to turn around without the likelihood of tripping.

I'm feeling better today. Not 100%, but better. Good enough to get a little dizzy with the kids and laugh about it instead of it making me want to toss my cookies. I'm far from becoming a whirling dervish. But these days, I'll take whatever improvement I can get.

Friday Feature -- Jill's Fabric Designs

This week's featured Etsy artist is Jill's Fabric Designs . She's a fellow EtsyMom and EtsyKids member, as well as belonging to IowaEtsy. I fondly remember the handmade doll's clothes I had when I was a little girl. I will be keeping an eye on Jill's shop because someday BB (or BJ, who knows?) might actually start caring about doll fashion!


What do you sell in your Etsy shop? I sell dolls clothes made for 18 inch dolls such as the American Girl Dolls and Baby doll clothes for 15 inch dolls such as Bitty Baby and Bitty Twins.


Interesting things about me: I am the proud mother of 3, 15 year old dd, 14 year old dd and 11 year old ds. My dh and I will celebrate our 20 year anniversary this year. I am fortunate enough to be a SAHM (though I never thought I would want to do that) and do some sewing along the way. I also have the distinction of being from a family of 10 children.

How I learned to do what I do: I have been sewing since I was in 4H about 30 year ago, I continued with classes in high school and have been sewing every since, including making my wedding dress, several bridesmaids dresses, several prom dresses and a lot of household things such as curtains, pillows, placemats, napkins, etc.

Favorite item: This is a tough one but I really enjoy the princesses and Snow White is very colorful. Though I like Tinkerbelle as well.

Three words to describe myself: creative, organized, Mom

What I like about Etsy: I really like being able to interact with a wide variety of artisans and getting the oppotunity to share ideas on projects, crafting, selling, supplies and so much more.

How is my shop unique? Quality workmanship and a wide varity of doll clothes. Did I mention that I love fabric??

Advice for sellers: Renew often and talk up Etsy every chance you get
for Buyers: Enjoy the opportunity to find so many quality handmade goods on one site

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pneumonia

I guess that explains why I've been coughing so hard that I throw up.

The 24 hour bug seems to have come and gone, no more nausea (thank goodness for that) but I was still feeling lousy enough to go to the doctor this afternoon. She said it was a good thing I came in. The fluid is only in the right lung and antibiotics should take care of it in short order, but it might be "weeks" before I'm feeling fully myself again, before I'm not feeling tired all the time.

I had to laugh at that. I've felt tired all the time for more than a year now! Apparently it is taking its toll. I've never had a winter when I've been this sick for this long. One thing and another since December, and now pneumonia.

Okay, okay. Rest and fluids it is. As much as I can. Promise. Mama can't be mama if she's sick all the time!!!

Fact of Life

BJ, on the potty: "BB doesn't have a penis. She's a girl."

Me: "That's right."

BJ: "She has a venus."

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sick. Again.

Well, at least I had about a week there when I felt pretty good. Kids and I have had colds since last week, and then last night my coughing and snorking was joined by what feels like flu.

I'm too tired to even do much in the way of ranting about it. That's how bad things are.

On the plus side, I'm spending most of the day in the bathroom anyway, since we've stepped up the potty training for BJ. We're doing a reward system, and he gets one every time he uses the toilet. I've decorated a big box to say "Potty Prizes" and put inside some sets of alphabet stickers, number stickers, some candy (he only gets one piece of candy a day), some big-boy underwear, a few other toys, and a set of letter magnets for the fridge.

The magnets are being awarded one at a time, so (as anybody who knows my son might guess) he latched on to those at once and is REALLY motivated to try to go. Yesterday we made 18 successful trips to the potty. Granted, many of those were only minutes apart and had less than a teaspoon of pee in the potty. He'd get one letter, slap it on the fridge, and announce, "I have to go potty!" And somehow he'd usually manage to produce a little something more. Tedious, but he was enthusiastic -- and really, that's the point.

As S put it, our boy is going to earn that alphabet "one cc of pee-pee at a time."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

February Already?!?

I don't see how it's possible, but 2008 seems to be flying by even more quickly than 2007 did. Maybe it's the reality of a mother's life spent running after two mobile short people. BB truly is on the cusp of running, and it appears that she likes being chased. This does not bode well, I fear.

So it's Imbolc, and I'll light a candle of course, but yet again that's about all that will happen around here. I'm itching to get things going in the garden -- even BJ has been asking, repeatedly, if he could plant some sunflowers. Granted, any time that BJ inquires about gardening, there's a very good chance that he just wants to visit the worms in the vermicomposting bin. But I do think he has strong memories of planting the sunflowers last year and watching them grow. A good thing, this. Once the rain breaks for a bit, I hope to spend some time in the yard with our hands in the dirt.

Not that BB minds the rain. Quite the opposite: when it's blustery outside, she goes and gets her shoes and brings them to me, or toddles to the door, where she will stand and do the signs for "wind" and "rain" while looking at me pointedly. This little girl is really getting good at communicating!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Feature -- TP Design

This week's featured Etsy artist is TP Design. Her shop has some lovely art, housewares, and paper goods. I especially like her note cards.

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.
Let's see...something interesting about me. I had 2 of the greatest internships during college, the first was for a small company I am sure you have never heard of, Disney World. LOL I am a HUGE Disney fan! So this was a dream come true...of course I still plan on running the company someday. The second was at Fossil. I had a great boss and wonderful co-workers who taught me more then I ever imagined. Plus what a great place to learn about business and fashion.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
I sell a little bit of everything. Home Decor, paper goods, paintings and soon photography and handmade journals


To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong?
EtsyMoms, Etsy Texas Crafters, Etsy Dallas and Cafe'mom Etsy Moms

What inspires your creations?
What doesn't. Everything around me gives me ideas for something.
Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.
I went to college for graphic design and took classes in just about every medium. Why? I love to create things by hand and I love to mix medias, so the more I know about each the better when I am experimenting. A lot of what I do is trial and error and not listening to someone when they say it can't be done.
What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
Right now my favorite items are the Faith, Hope and Love Block Art. I actually have 10 different ones done but only a few in my shop right now, including this one
But I have several new things that I have been working on that I can't wait to show off!
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Determined, artistic, and usually exhausted
What do you like about Etsy?
I love the feeling of community. It has made me realize just how small the world really is!
What makes your shop unique?
It's me, it's about my life and who I am. I am the only one who can look at the world the way I do. That's what makes art so great!
What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
For selling, take advantage of the Etsy community. There are some great resources and great support out there if you just reach out. For buying, look around. Use the different tools that Etsy provides to shop outside of the box...like Pounce, shop local, colors.
Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
I am on myspace (http://www.myspace.com/tpdesign01) but the best way is to check out my blog (http://tpdesign01.blogspot.com/) I always give you exclusive first looks at my new creations and marketing tips and tricks.
For more Friday Feature interviews, click here.