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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Move Over, Interplanet Janet

There's a new obsession taking hold -- and she doesn't even have a proper name.

BJ is making noises about changing his idea for his Halloween costume. Today he said he wants to be "the camping girl from Unpack Your Adjectives."

Granted, I'm still stymied by the middle part of the Interplanet Janet costume he requested earlier (rocket fins on a t-shirt is my best thought so far). So "camping girl" would be a much easier costume to achieve. We have boots, shorts, and hat. Easy peasy to get a backpack and put inside some words on paper: "frustrating, worst, foggy, soggy...." he's all but memorized the list of adjectives used in the song. But I have to say, on the coolness factor alone, I'm tempted to try convincing him to go back to Janet.

We shall see. He was drawing a picture of IPJ when I picked him up from preschool today, so he's not forsaken her entirely.

In related news, BB has amped up her interest in "The Shot Heard 'Round The World." I admit I'm still rather puzzled by how much she adores this song. Happily, after many vehement objections every time she asked to hear it, BJ has suddenly decided to like the song -- "I changed my mind, Mommy!" (If only every alteration of opinion was so easily achieved!) I think the appeal has much to do with the fact that the song mentions "Delaware," which is where my folks live and where I grew up. So, unlike many other California kids, my own children actually have some connection to the second-smallest state!

It's pretty danged cute to hear BB shrieking, "One night they crossed the Delaware! And surprised the Hessians in their lair!"

And even cuter to hear her playing with the song thus, as she teased her father: "One night they crossed the Delaware, and poked the Daddy in the hair!!!" (With accompanying poke, naturally.)

Yep, it doesn't take a genius to figure out we've been listening to (and watching) a fair amount of Schoolhouse Rock ....

And as a result, we've been talking about:
  • parts of speech (adjectives, adverbs, pronouns)
  • the Revolutionary War (with sub-discussions on guns and gun safety, military tactics, and the Hessians -- try explaining that one to a two-year-old!)
  • infinity
  • Newton and the law of gravity
  • electricity and conservation
  • multiculturalism, liberty, and the legislative process

Have to hand it to them: the songs really do have a knack for getting the kids excited about stuff! And even if my 2 and 4 year olds don't fully understand everything (and they don't) I can't help but think that they are laying a good foundation. Plus, they are fun and have a good shot of nostalgic appeal for me and S. It's always a plus when the parents enjoy listening to the kids' music!

In my opinion, the purely factual songs (Grammar Rock, Multiplication Rock, and Science Rock) have held up a bit better than the ones infused with ideology -- patriotic or otherwise. There's no doubt that "America Rock" takes a heckuvalot more explaining than the other sections! And, like S, I admit that I get a little choked up when I hear the song "Suffering 'til Sufferage," both because of the content and because I get to thinking about how hard it will be to explain (truly explain) what's going on in this song. I think I'd rather try explaining the Hessians again to my daughter than face the question of why women, less than 100 years ago, weren't allowed to vote!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Busy Week! Best Friends, Playtime, and More!

This week was definitely a full one. S had his first week of the fall quarter classes, and since Sunday we've done the following:

  • had a playdate with E, BJ's preschool "best friend." She's now going to school on a different schedule, so BJ doesn't get to see her anymore. He's really been missing her, and she's been missing him, so it was great for them to get some time together.
  • went to see BB's "best friend" C for a lovely little playdate in honor of the first day of fall. Her mom A had set up a felting project, so we made darling little felt balls. It was my first time doing felting, a craft I've long been interested in, and of course since BB didn't have enough interest to see it through to the end, I got to do most of the work. It was fun, but I fear I don't have a future as a felt artist -- the palms of my hands got really itchy and red from working with the wool!
  • got together at the park with E, BJ's "very best friend." E's mom A and I are co-directors of their playgroup and as a result we have known each other since very early on in our parenting journeys, so the kids have known each other almost their entire lives. BB is also smitten with E, which is just adorable to see. After some fun at the park, we went to a local pizza place with an indoor play area for lunch. Tons of fun!
  • went to the Children's Discovery Museum with BB while BJ was at preschool and had a really good time with my girl.
  • got ice cream at our favorite local ice cream place TWICE: once when I picked up BJ by myself from preschool, and yesterday with both kids. You know that you're becoming a fixture at a place when you show up with only one kid and the owner asks you, "Have you lost your other one?"
  • reminded S that he'd volunteered to take BB in for her blood draw this month, a followup on the lead level checks required by her recent paint ingestion. I'm very pleased to say that she was really cooperative for him! And even more pleased to report that her lead levels are back down from the slight uptick in the last test (which was still in the normal range, but higher than it had been at her one-year check). I have yet to hear from the doctor with the official word that we don't need to worry anymore, but I'm hopeful that will be the end of the story. That particular story, anyway.
  • made progress on BJ's Halloween costume, purchasing a purple curly wig and a black skirt at the thrift store -- though don't you dare call it a skirt. It's an ENGINE that goes all the way down to the floor to cover his feet and legs, because Interplanet Janet does NOT have legs.
  • made progress on BB's Halloween costume, tracking down a pair of child-sized light blue dress gloves (more difficult than you might think, but apparently required, since BB informed me a week ago, "Cinderella has blue hands and fingers, Mommy!") and scoring a pair of glittery shoes on sale at our favorite shoe store.
  • bought both kids two pairs of shoes at our favorite shoes store (see above) including a pair each that should be really great for the winter season and a pair each on sale.
  • visited the farmer's market, our first visit in months!
  • had our friend D over for a craft playdate suggested by his mom J: I set up D, BB, and BJ with an array of large holed beads and jingle bells so they could make their own necklaces. D's little sister K was too small for the fun, so we had to be really careful about the inevitable beads dropping on the floor, but other than chasing beads I thought it went really well.
Whew! Is it any wonder that I'm feeling more tired than usual on this Friday night?

Friday Feature -- LoveUBabe

This week'sfeatured Etsy artist is fellow CCCOE team member, LoveUBabe. Her frames are really pretty. I love the simple elegance of this paisley design!

She's a relatively new seller, and as of today, she is still at zero sales -- you could be her first one! Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How
did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

Right now, the items in my Etsy shop are hand painted and decorated picture frames. I use a lovely wooden picture frame, hand paint it with white acrylic paint, embellish it with various materials (mosaic tiles, decorative paper, fabric, etc.), and finish it with a non-toxic matte varnish for long lasting quality.

I remember the first gift I ever made was for my best friend in elementary school was a decorated picture frame...I took (without asking of course....I was 7 or 8 and thought everything was mine) one of my mom's picture frames and cut out designs, pictures and words from a magazine and pasted them on the frame. The best part is that to this day my best friend still has that picture frame!

2. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I heard about Etsy through a friend. "You mean there is a site like Ebay minus the auctions that sells handmade items?" I signed up the next day!

3. What inspires your creations?

I really just have always loved art and making crafts. I see designs everywhere that I want to try and bring to life on a frame. The other day, I saw a peacock with its long beautiful feathers and decided that my next frame must have a peacock feather design! (Coming soon!) I am also inspired by the feeling of making something wonderful that is handmade.

And I can't forget to mention that It is a great stress reliever (I just get into the craft zone and I immediately feel better).

4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
My biggest challenge is capturing (through pictures, descriptions, and price) the hard-work and time that goes into making my frames.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite item is the Colorful Mosaic Tile Picture Frame. I love how the tiles surround the opening for the photo and the way they pop against the white background!

But, the wonderful people on Etsy forums seem drawn to the Vintage Flower Picture Frame (which I also love!)

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

My advice would be to have fun with it! Sellers, don't forget why you decided to start making crafts! And buyers, it doesn't get much better than handmade...enjoy!

7. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

Let's see...I am currently in my last semester of Grad School (woo hoo!). I am getting my Elementary Education Teaching Credential and can't wait to have my own classroom. :)

I love yoga and working out on the beach!

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

Follow me on Twitter:

And I just started a blog:

11. Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your shop or your

I welcome custom orders, critiques, comments or just a hello! :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Potty Training Tips

BB continues to do really well with the last phase of potty training! She's wearing underwear almost all the time, except during nap and at night -- which means we're heading out in the world without the diapers. Which means we are having our share of accidents, because it's harder to get to the potty in time when you are not at home.

Though yesterday, when we were at our friends' house, BB stopped her play, announced her need to go to the bathroom, walked herself to their potty, pulled down her pants, and sat down to do her business before I could even help! You go, girl!

It's a daunting business to face the possibility of being away from home and dealing with an accident. It's easier in our case, because BB's accidents are with pee. But even urine makes a fair amount of mess. I have three tips to share for making those messes easier:

1. Put a puddle pad in the carseat -- yes, the ones that are used to house train puppies!

Until I read about this (can't remember where now to give proper credit) I dreaded hearing "Mommy! I need to pee..." while we were driving. It's impossible to pull over in time. And who wants to deal with a soaked carseat? Much less have their child sit there for the rest of the trip! The puddle pads are big enough to tuck around all the seat area, and while we've not had to use it yet (knock wood) I'm confident that they will soak up all or at least most of the mess. Score one for less stress while driving!

2. Always have a full change of clothes on hand.

OK, this is obvious. But it took me one incident of urine-soaked sneakers to realize that shirt, pants, and undies would not be sufficient. Always keep a spare pair of shoes on hand, even if it's just in the car! You and your child will be much happier if/when the need arises. We now keep an extra set of everything in the car: shirt, pants, undies, socks AND shoes!

3. Dr. Bronner's Magic Peppermint Castille Soap!

Works wonders to de-stinkify urine soaked sneakers (see #2 above). Hand wash in the sink with some Dr. Bronner's, and voila! Enzyme cleaners are good for clean up as well -- pick up some extra Kids & Pets when you get those puppy puddle pads!

Above all, approach any accidents that happen with patience and humor, as best you can!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Etsyblogger Carnival -- Mama's Studio and Mama's Face!

This month's Etsyblogger Carnival asks us to either share a picture of ourselves or a picture of our studios. Why not do both, I thought?
So here's the face of the Mama in Mama's Magic Studio -- along with her kids, of course! This is my favorite recent picture of us, being silly, because that's part of where the magic comes from isn't it?

And here's the "studio." For all the grandeur suggested by my shop name, "Mama's Magic Studio" is not, in fact, a studio. It's a small purple table in the bedroom, which looks like this on a good day!

Every once in a while, I get so tired of all the clutter that I pile up all the boxes and give myself a clear workspace:
I store most of my beads in clear jars (mostly repurposed baby food jars). I dream of someday having tons of open shelf space where I can arrange the jars by color, size, etc..... now that would be truly magical!
Thanks to Memories for Life for hosting the carnival!

First Day of Fall

In honor of the first day of fall, here's an oldie-but-goodie. The Autumnal Equinox always makes me think of this poem, which I wrote several years ago to perform at the wonderful (but no longer running) local women's open mic.


Autumn is the girl without an overcoat
who blows into her hands while she waits for the bus.
The weather waits for her to leave. For weeks
she’s overstayed her welcome, and finally her knapsack
full of jeans and socks and sweaters is no longer enough
to keep her warm. The sky is low and grey;
it smells like snow, clean and metallic,
a smell like a sharp knife of knowledge against her skin.

The driver helps her hoist her bag beneath the bus
and grunts a greeting in reply to her hello. It seems he’s lived
forever, and will never die. She knows his name
and he knows hers, but they rarely say more than hi
and goodbye. Cold coins jingle as she pays her fare.

The floor is sticky from somebody’s spilled soda pop,
and the air inside the bus smells the way that honeysuckle tastes —
a too-sweet bead of summer on her tongue. Two giggling girls
are in the back seat. They look like sisters.
The younger one wears a yellow hooded raincoat,
and the older one is making clover chains. They look up
and stop laughing for a moment. The only other passenger
is a man in a corduroy coat. Autumn smiles at him,
smiles the way she smiled at Randy Lazarus, a lifetime ago,
in a high school gymnasium in Providence, Rhode Island,
because Randy was that cute for a sophomore.

Well, Randy wasn’t that cute for a sophomore,
but when the trees themselves are naked, sometimes a girl will take
whatever warmth she can get, shivering in the backseat
of a Pontiac. The dark boughs of winter
wagged their fingers in the wind as she started to walk home.

That was the first time Joe insisted on picking her up.
She’d tried to hitch a ride for hours, but there’s no traffic
on a dirt road in the boonies. Joe never explained
why he’d taken a detour that night — it was as though
he knew where she would be. He stopped the bus,
refused the fare because she was too young to pay,
because she had a yellow maple leaf in her hair,
stuck behind her ear like a hyacinth blossom.

Autumn settles into her seat, ignoring the giggling girls
at the back of the bus. In a few hours, they’ll
all be braiding each other’s hair and begging Joe
to stop for snacks, but at the moment she’s
about as sociable as a skittish stray kitten,
and as energetic as a yellowed field of grass.

She closes her eyes for a moment, but she never sleeps.
Don’t bother warning the man in the corduroy coat;
he’s already in love with her, but this is his stop, it’s where
he gets off, every time. He has to leave her in order to stay.
She opens her eyes as he stands up, and her level gaze says
everything. Even as the bus sings Christmas carols in the rain,
even as the windshield wipers beat the pulse
of time’s own heart, Joe watches in the rear view mirror,
as the man in the corduroy coat puts on his gloves
and picks up his suitcase. The doors close with a sigh,
and as the bus pulls away, he stands beside the road,
beneath the blessed dome of his own umbrella cathedral,
turning up the collar on his coat and watching
as Autumn waves her handkerchief out the window,
smiling like a woman who knows she will always be alone.

© 2004-2009 Jennifer Johnson

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cinderella vs Interplanet Janet

So the smackdown started at bedtime tonight (as reported by S):

BJ: "Interplanet Janet is speedy!"
BB: "...Cinderella runs really fast....."
BJ: "But Interplanet Janet is very very very very very very very very very very very very VERY fast!"
BB: "Cinderella is very pretty."
BJ: "But Interplanet Janet is the speediest!"

Who do you think would win?
(Regular readers will recall that BB is going to be Cinderella for Halloween and BJ is going to be Interplanet Janet.)


Other sweets from the day:

Another bedtime moment, from BB. She interrupted me as I was singing lullabies. (Something that she does rather frequently, usually with annoying results.) But tonight she said, "Mommy? Let me tell you something. You are a lovely girl!" And she gave me a big kiss.

And lastly -- BJ, to S this morning as S was leaving for work and giving BJ a kiss before he left: "Daddy, I am eating your kisses!"
S: "Oh, really?" (Thinking he was being a stinker about it; the kids have lately taken to wiping off kisses and such.)
BJ: "Yes, they are going to my heart!"
At which point, S reports, his heart squoze that special parental squeeze. Ain't nothin' quite like it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Galaxy Girl (That's My Guy)

BJ's obsession with Interplanet Janet continues unabated. If anything, it is getting stronger by the day. He definitely wants to be her for Halloween, which has me brainstorming ways to create the costume. So long as it fits his very exact parameters, I should be OK. According to him, it should look like this:

Actually, that's a pretty good representation, for a four-year-old. He's captured the purple hair, the purple fins, the red chest, the "wheel" necklace, and the engine. "She doesn't have any legs or feet, Mommy," he reminds me frequently. So I plan to make a long skirt for the bottom half of the costume. The most challenging part is thinking of how to achieve the look while also making the outfit fairly comfortable, since he'll be wearing it to preschool for the day in addition to Trick-or-Treating.

And then, while I was in the midst of planning out the costume yesterday, he informed me, "And you know what, Mom? You could also make me an Interplanet Janet doll!"

Ah, the absolute faith my child has that I can make almost anything. (No pressure, right?) Let's get the costume done first, and then I'll worry about the doll. (If he's lucky, I might be able to pull something together by Christmas!)

The whole thing is very sweet, actually. He has now memorized the song and is apt to burst out without warning: "Interplanet Janet! She's a Galaxy Girl!" This is often accompanied by manic running around. He's nothing if not excited.

My favorite Interplanet Janet moment to date occurred last night, right before dinner. The day before, he'd asked at bedtime if he could make a wish on a star, so we stood together on the front porch while he found a star (probably a planet, actually) to wish on. "I wish Interplanet Janet would become real! And visit me at my house!" Well, yesterday he decided to write a story based on that premise. He did the illustrations and then asked me to write out the story as he dictated it. Here's a clip of him explaining the first page:

I have now officially requested a working scanner for times like this -- I went to start taking pictures of his pictures and thought, "No. That's ridiculous!" His story is 24 pages long, with 12 pages of illustration and 12 of story . (And get this: we started together, but then it was time for me to make dinner, so I told him to finish up the illustrations and I'd fill in the story pages with him after we'd eaten. He was fine with that, went on making his pictures, and took it upon himself to number each of the picture pages. In order. With even numbers. Entirely on his own. Not to brag about my kid, but it blows me away that he figured that out on his own.)

Here's the narrative for the story, verbatim as he dictated it to me (aside from replacing kids' names with their initials). Each "paragraph" is a page in his story. I'll fill in the rest of the pictures if/when I get that scanner. It's called (aptly enough) "I Wish For Interplanet Janet To Come To Earth":

"One night, [BJ] wished on a star. And his wish was to have Interplanet Janet to visit our house. So I wished. And then I went to my bed and in the morning when I woke up, I saw Interplanet Janet on the rug. (This corresponds to the picture in the video above.)

We built a rocket ship and we blasted off! And we went past the sun and to Mercury, Interplanet Janet, Mommy, Daddy, [BB], and I.

We went to the second planet. Interplanet Janet went to it. We followed her. When she got there, it was filled with clouds and we couldn't see out our windows cause all of the stuff we could see out our windows was yellowish blobs.

We were at Earth and Janet went to it. And when Janet went back up off the planet, she told us it was weird. And she said the creatures were weird.

We are going off Mars and we are about to go through a ring of asteroids. We had dust on us. And we zoomed to the asteroid belt, and from all the asteroids the dust went off us.

We went to Jupiter. We saw a great red spot. Janet said it was redder than the other parts of Jupiter. We went to the sixth planet.

Saturn! It had wind. A hurricane on the North Pole and the South Pole.

At this point, I paused in making dinner to check on him. He was working on the Saturn page. It cracks me up how he drew our rocket ship and Janet's head going off the page. Here's his explanation:


Now back to his story:

Then Janet saw a planet that was all tipped over on its side. Uranus! A planet that had been knocked over by a collision in the early future and got pieces of it off and those made its rings, and the rings were sideways.

We went to Neptune. It had storms and clouds and winds and rain. We were going fast, so fast that we almost missed seeing its rings and we went straight to Neptune and Janet said, "Don't land! Cause the rocket ship would get ice on it."

We went to Pluto, surrounded by comets, and a comet almost hit us when the rocket ship was about to land, and we went out and Janet said, "Don't take off your helmet, cause just like in the Magic Schoolbus you'll get ice on your face like Arnold and purple eyes!"

We went to the planetarium. Its top had a mobile of the solar system. We went inside to see a planetarium show. And it was Schoolhouse Rock and the person who was going to do the movie turned it to Interplanet Janet. And we watched it.

And we went to a gas station and we found something that said, "Life for Gas." It was a gas box. And I stuck out a gas tube to Interplanet Janet and put it to her engine and pumped gas into it.


Now that last part merits a bit of explication, I think: the night before, on our way home from Sweet Tomatoes, BJ saw a big billboard that said "WIN GAS FOR LIFE!" It was an ad for a contest for some gas station. He was very intrigued by this and asked what it meant. After I explained it to him, he said excitedly, "That's how I can end my story!" So apparently he was planning out this story a full 24 hours in advance before illustrating it and asking me to write it down last night.

That's my guy. (Or should I say, my Galaxy Girl.) He amazes me!

Friday Feature -- Designs by Vanessa

This week's featured Etsy artist is a fellow Etsyblogger -- in fact, she is the Etsyblogger of the month for September! Congratulations and a special thank you to Designs by Vanessa for agreeing to do an interview as part of her month-long feature.

I love all the birdies in her shop, especially this one:

And isn't this cupcake card sweet? It's one of a set of three!

Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I come from a long line of artists and crafters. My dad is an amazing tin artist in New Mexico who taught me how to paint and draw. My grandmother is a talented seamstress who never throws anything away because it can always be used to make something new. I enjoy designing jewelry and paper goods but I have recently started doing mixed media art and bringing out my sewing machine more often. Once an idea pops in my head I usually become obsessed and can often be found in my studio in the wee hours of night completing a project.

2. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I probably first heard of Etsy through a friend a few years ago and I have been a long time shopper ever since. I started selling after friends encouraged me to sell my designs. I love being part of this fabulous handmade community!

3. What inspires your creations?

I can't say that one things inspires me because everything inspires me- nature, movies, songs, fashion, people, everything.

4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

I think my greatest challenge is finding the time to do everything (advertising, creating, photographing, listing, etc.). I just do as much as I can and I don't stress about the rest.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop? Why is it your favorite?

Right now my favorite item in my shop is my Darling Swallow Necklace. It is definitely something that I would wear and could see in my own jewelry box. I love its simplicity and sweetness.

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

For sellers: Get out there and meet other artists. I have learned so much from the handmade community and have met some of the most wonderful people here.

For buyers: Buy Handmade! I love when someone asks me where I got my unique one of a kind piece and I can point them to Etsy!

7. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

Let's see, I'm a 20-something year old who just moved to Arizona from Texas with my husband (Mr. Designs by Vanessa) and 2 furbabies. I have a thing for 80's movies (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles) and I'm a self confessed shoe-a-holic. I'm a family counselor by day and use my Etsy shop as a way to de-stress at night. I'm a wanna-be writer/photographer and hope to someday pen the great (I will even take mediocre) American novel. If you couldn't tell from my shop, I have a tiny obsession with birds (Mr. Designs by Vanessa wants me to seek help).

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





9. Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your shop or your work?

I'm excited that I can now be found on Craftzine:

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Well, that'll learn me. What was that I was saying yesterday about things being easier? Hoping I hadn't jinxed anything by saying as much?

Funny how this parenting thing smacks ya upside the head just when you get to feeling comfortable, huh? Today turned out to be just awful.

About a month ago, well before my new resolution about quality time with BB, I'd made plans with a friend to go to the San Mateo Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Festival. I'd scored some tickets, hoping to check it out to see if it might be a good fit for a future vending opportunity with my knitting needles. So even though it was an ambitious plan -- I didn't expect I'd get to spend a lot of time there with BB in tow -- I figured it would be worth the attempt. My friend P is a dear woman whom I don't see all that often anymore -- but when we first moved here, she was a godsend. She's the wife of one of S's colleagues, an accomplished quilter, and she taught me almost everything I know about quilting. So naturally she was the person who came to mind when I wondered who might appreciate the free tickets.

It was a 45 minute drive to the fair, and then it turned out to cost $8 just to park the car -- I was already having misgivings when BB filled the entire ride there with questions like, "Will there be rides there, Mommy? Will there be animals?" My mistake: I'd called it a Quilt Fair. For her, the most vivid meaning of fair is the County Fair we attended recently with Nana J. Which had animals. And rides. She's still talking about how next year, when we go to the fair, she'll want to ride the pony. (Not that there are any definite plans to go next year.... but we'll deal with that one when we get there.)

We met up with P shortly after the event opened, and BB started off pretty well. She was interested in looking at all the pretty patterns on fabric and interesting images on quilts. She got a kick out of the way flannel felt different from cotton, and she was fascinated by the bins of beautiful yarn in one of the booths. But we hadn't been there half an hour before she started whining. "I want to go hooooooome, Mommmmmeeeeee!"

Whining soon escalated into weeping. I picked her up out of the stroller, which P kindly took over pushing, and tried to get at what was really bothering my little girl. Finally, she sobbed, "Too many people, Mommy! Too many people!"

It wasn't really that crowded, but I suppose when you're 2 1/2 and surrounded by lots of strangers, it can feel pretty intense. That's my sensitive little girl.

It was apparent that nothing would soothe her, in spite of my many attempts to distract and amuse. So we said our goodbyes to P and headed home. (And I'm not much the wiser as to whether or not it would be worth my while to try a booth there next year. Oh well.)

Of course, she fell asleep in the car and snoozed for half an hour. She woke up cranky when we got home and refused to eat much for lunch. And of course all this meant that when her actual naptime came around, she was set up for anything but success. She whined and fussed in her bed for more than an hour without ever napping. She was quiet for maybe 15 minutes but never fell asleep.

Finally, I gave up. Got her out of bed and tried to salvage something pleasant from the afternoon. In such moments, in spite of my generally strict rules about TV use, I find that a video can be very useful. We watched a few songs from Schoolhouse Rock (The Shot Heard Round The World is BB's current favorite, with Interjections! a close second. She also loves The Great American Melting Pot, Conjunction Junction, and Lolly Lolly Lolly (about adverbs) -- which she calls "Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Apples Here.") I admit that some downtime on the couch together helped quite a bit.

BJ got home from preschool (he was apparently wearing crankypants of his own this afternoon; he pitched a fit with S picked him up, because he'd wanted MOMMY to pick him up today) and once those tears were dealt with, S headed back to campus. It was a solo night with me and the kids, and I knew I needed to suck it up and make the best of it. Which I did, mostly. While BJ and I worked on a story he wanted to write and illustrate (very cool -- more on that tomorrow!) I let BB run around making "houses" (her name for random collections and piles of toys) and set up a birthday party for her stuffed animals.

I did draw the line, however, when she started stuffing the stuffed animals into the washing machine, along with several sheets of construction paper and a pair of kids' binoculars. This was, apparently, the culmination of the birthday party -- as I discovered shen I told her it was not acceptable. "Mommy! You ruined the party!" she fussed as I took them out and scolded her. I'd like to note for the record that I resisted the urge to reply with some sort of comment about how she'd basically ruined my party that day.

Naturally, predictably, BB was completely overtired by bedtime. She was amped up and refusing to sleep. Somehow, I kept some measure of patience and managed to get both kids to settle down. They were still awake when S got home from work, which was later than their usual bedtime, but at least they were in bed. And I wasn't yelling my head off. Given how today went, that itself was an accomplishment.

Let's just hope that today paid in full for my hubris yesterday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blue Alive

BB and I had a great day yesterday while BJ was at preschool. In addition to our success on the potty-training front, we got some much-needed house cleaning done. Mostly I did the cleaning while she worked on puzzles, an activity that she's getting more and more adept at completing on her own, but she also "helped" by using her popcorn popper toy as a vacuum. (Talk about your classic, multi-use toys!)

Right before lunch, BB asked for another painting session. I was happy to oblige. This time, she made a painting of Pop-Pop and Giki -- and she asked me to take a video of her talking about the picture! So here it is -- I thought my folks would get a kick out of it. Unfortunately, I had to trim the video to get it to upload, so it cuts off in the middle. Sorry about that. But the best part is the beginning, which is here:
I admit that I'm still puzzling over what she means by "blue alive...." It makes me think of "sakes alive," though I don't think that's at all what she's after. (And as someone who has been known by the nickname "blue," I admit I find it a comforting phrase. Much better than blue dead, for sure!) Perhaps I've found another toned-down bleep replacement for those four letter words -- which are, after all, blue!

Granted, I've come along way with cleaning up my potty mouth. (I mused about it previously here.) But a good substitution is always welcome.

"Blue alive!"

Maybe not. A little too light sounding to make for satisfying pseudo-cussing. (Needs more fricatives or something! But speaking of Mommies Cursing, if you've not yet read the recent New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs, check it out for a good laugh.)

In the afternoon, after we'd picked up BJ from preschool, our friends A, C and O came over for a playdate. C and BB did really well playing together, setting up an entire Little People medieval village with our castle and farm sets and accessories. I was delighted to finally get a chance to hold O for a little bit -- he's 6 months old and I've only held him once or twice! Gotta get in those baby cuddles! BJ was mostly interested in sitting between me and A on the futon, holding forth about the solar system and weather facts to whomever he could get to listen. Happily, A was very patient with him.

It was a long day, since S didn't get home from campus until 7:30, just as I was singing the kids their lullabies. But the evening went smoothly through dinner, bath, and bedtime. Can't ask for more than that! It's such a relief that the worst time of the day has gotten easier (most of the time). I well remember dreading having to do evening duty by myself all last year. This fall will have more solo evenings than last year, but I'm much less worried about it. Everyone kept assuring me that it would get easier to have two kids so close in age. I think we're finally starting to see that consistently. Whew.

(And may I not have jinxed it by writing that out!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To be filed under "News Likely To Be Appreciated Best By Parents, Especially Those With Young Children"

The rest of you may want to skip this post. I Will Be Writing About Poop And Pee. You Have Been Warned.

So here's the news: BB was in "big girl" underwear all day long today (with the exception of the hour and a half when she was napping) and didn't have a single accident! We even left the house for the first time in undies: went on a walk around the neighborhood in the morning and a car ride in the afternoon to pick up BJ from preschool.

I'm so proud! Truth is, we've been really laid back about the whole potty training process with her. I can't remember the last time I changed a poopy diaper; she's been doing her BM's in the potty consistently for a good six months (or longer!) -- and right here is exhibit A for second child syndrome. I didn't even make note of when exactly this happened! Nor did I do anything other than just encourage her when she said she wanted to sit on the potty. We were simply spending so much time in the bathroom while we were working with BJ on potty training, she came along for the ride.

Then, last January, she discovered underwear. Though soon after buying her first pairs, she promptly rejected all thought of actually wearing them. "No underwear, Mommy! No panties!!!" So much for the idea she'd be toilet trained by the age of two.... (By age three is looking likely, however!) Even so, she was making things so easy for us, we didn't worry about it. Yes she did it "backwards" (considering that most kids urinate in the toilet consistently first) but was I going to complain? Heck no! We put her in Pull-Ups so she could do what she needed to do more easily. I tell ya, changing wet Pull-Ups is a walk in the park compared to dealing with soiled ones. So we just let it go.

Last week she was digging around in her clothes and found her panties and asked to try them on. She'd outgrown them! So we bought her some new ones -- princess ones. Disney princesses. After all, her Pull-Ups have princesses on them; I'm not a big princess fan, and I think it's kind of odd to adorn panties, much less diapers, with their ubiquitous images, but heck, if it makes her more likely to wear them, I'll take it.

She's been wearing them for a week now, with accidents here and there (all pee) but we've been putting her in Pull-Ups every time we leave the house. Until today. Guess I was just feeling brave!

The neatest thing was that she was very aware of her own success and excited about it. As she was undressing for bath tonight, she looked at me with a big grin and said, "Mommy! I've been in underwear All Day Long! And I didn't have a single accident!" And then she gave me a big hug. Is that cool or what?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Feature -- Candace Rose

This week's featured Etsy artist is Candi of Candace Rose (Previously called Dolce Chic). In her shop you'll find beautiful photographs -- I especially like this luminous shot of a Purple Passion Anemone.

Her work has also been featured on the Front Page of Etsy. (Congrats, Candi!) Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I sell unique photos in various size prints and note cards. Most of the photos are of my mom's garden. She is has the most unique and gorgeous flowers I've ever seen!

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong ? I belong to CCCOE, Sac Etsy, Poe team, and Women Photographers of Etsy.

3. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I actually had a knit shop on etsy, learned the ropes, closed it, and started my photography shop at the end of Dec. 2008...and haven't looked back :)

4. What inspires your creations?

Anything and everything. I love nature, and I am constantly inspired by my rural life. All I have to do is walk outside and see beautiful English roses, dahlias, sweet peas (in the spring) and more. I recently started photographing a vineyard I am so inspired by it.

5. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

Getting my work out to the public. You can't just list an item, and expect it to sell. There's a lot of promoting that goes along with it.

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

My favorite item would have to be "Turquoise Sunflower".

When I saw the sunflowers in my mom's garden, I thought they'd look gorgeous in this turquoise vase. The rest is history. It's a personal favorite as well as others in the blogosphere!

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

Promote online, offline, get business cards, browse the forums, join teams, get your name out there any way you can. My blog has been very helpful to my shop.

8. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

I am a caregiver for my elderly grandmother who has dementia. I am honored to have been featured on the Etsy front page 4 times. :)

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



I'm currently working on a facebook fan page, and website.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two for Two

BJ's had a great second day in the new room at preschool: "fantastic!" was the way his new teacher described it. I'm so very proud of him! When I picked him up this afternoon, she also gave me the news that he was sharing his reading skills with her. This was the first time she'd had a chance to see that he's such a good reader (after all, he's only been in class with her for two days!) and apparently, he read her some books. He started with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! which he memorized long ago -- and the way he reads it shows as much. But then he moved on to ones from the library, ones he'd never seen before. She was astonished! Pretty cool, this kid of mine. It's clear that she's fond of him already. (The additional picture he had to give her this morning, one of a shooting star, brought to five the number that he has presented to her. In two days! I'm sure that doesn't hurt.) So he's two for two on the preschool front. Wahoo!

In related happy news, BB and I had another great morning together. I asked her what she'd like to do, and she announced "the museeeem!" Meaning the Children's Discovery Museum, of course. (Because, to her mind, there is only One Museum.) We got there shortly after they opened, and we almost had the place to ourselves. I don't know that I'd ever seen it so uncrowded. ScoreDouble bonus! We made bubbles, visited Curious George, built block towers, played in the water, experimented with pulleys, painted in the Wonder Cabinet, had a tea party, and finished off a lovely morning with lunch in the cafe.

So it's two for two: two happy kids, for two happy days. Which makes me twice as happy, too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

From Facebook, For the Record

Two Facebook posts that I wanted to record for posterity.

Mine from today:

Jen Johnson just showed the kids what happens when you reflect a mirror into another mirror. You'd think I'd revealed the secret of the universe!

(And I admit, I'm still fascinated by that endless reflection effect. I vividly remember walking into a public bathroom when I was about 10 years old and seeing the huge mirrors reflecting into each other. I stood there for several minutes, mesmerized by the images of myself getting smaller and smaller and smaller.)

S's from today:

S's kid cracks him up. Memorable conversation of the day: "I love you, daddy." "I love you, too!" "I love you verrrrrrrry much." "I love you very much too!" "I love you infinity!" "I love you infinity too." "I love mommy just a liiiiiitle bit more, though." "I can understand that." "Will we all still love each other if the earth explodes?" Got to stay on your toes around this one.

Have to say, this whole Facebook thing has proved to be interesting. Particularly now that S is on as well -- took some time for that to happen. I'm still not 100% comfortable with social networking and this whole brave new world of communication tools. I keep thinking back to the 90's when I would post and lurk on text-based message boards. (Welcome to the 21st century, Jen.... but remember, before you get to thinking you're all tech-savvy and cool: you have yet to actually send a text message). But it's fun. And so far, I've managed to keep things in check. All sorts of folks warned me about the addictive nature of things like Facebook and Twitter. (Gotta say, like Facebook better than Twitter. But maybe that's precisely because I've not become addicted!) Though even I can see: if you're posting on your blog about what you wrote on Facebook, that may be an early warning sign that things aren't as under control as you might think!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School

Not that we ever really were away from school over here, because S had summer classes to teach, and BJ stayed in preschool throughout the summer. But the academic year calendar does have its impact: S will start his new fall classes in a few weeks, and today BJ moved up to the 'big kid' room at preschool.

What a difference from the first day of preschool last year! Today, he was jumping around with excitement, exclaiming, "School! School! Schoooooool!!!" He had made not one but FOUR drawings for his new teacher (there would have been even more, but we had to tell him four was enough!) and he was thrilled to be wearing his new shirt with the planets on it (all nine of them, which delights him to no end). I wanted to get a picture of him before he left, but that proved to be challenging because he was so keyed up he could not stand still.
I snapped this one before he crouched down to the all-important work of inspecting the dew on the grass. (And with the overgrown state of our lawn, there is plenty of grass to inspect!)

As soon as S was ready, BJ dashed for the car, eager to get going. I think if he'd been allowed to start running in the general direction of his school as soon as he woke up, he would have done so! And I'm so proud to share the news that he had a great first day! It seems he had absolutely no trouble adjusting to the new room and new teacher. It helps, of course, that almost all his classmates are old friends from his previous room. But given where he was a year ago -- full of anxiety, sometimes even crying at the prospect of going to school -- this easy transition has been astonishing. Yay BJ!

While it will be some time yet before BB follows in her brother's steps to preschool, I've decided that she will have a sort of "back to school" as well. We won't start her at the preschool until at least January, after she's 3 years old, and probably not until the following September. But (inspired at least in part by some of my mommy friends who are homeschooling or considering it) I realized there's no reason we can't do more with the time we have here at the house.

She's been in a very fun stage for the past week or so: her interest in the alphabet and in numbers is starting to intensify. She's been bringing me and S alphabet books and wanting to point out the letters she knows! She knows almost all of the letters by sight and also knows most of the numbers from 0-10, though some of them are still giving her trouble (confusing C and G or 2 and 5, for example). I think it's very important for me not to compare her with her brother -- I didn't want to push her to feel like she had to meet or beat his astonishingly early acquisition of literacy skills. But I think that perhaps I've been overcompensating in the other direction. The fact that I wasn't really aware how far she'd come with recognizing letters is proof of that.

Naturally, simply by being the second child in such a short span, her experience has been very different from Benji's. I sometimes feel guilty about all the hours I was able to spend with him curled up on the couch together reading everything he wanted, whenever he wanted. I recognized and rejoiced in each little step he took along the path towards learning to read. That's just not possible for her! (Neither is it possible for him any longer.) But such guilt is useless -- worse than useless; it's damaging -- so I really try not to go there. Of course we still read to the kids; both of them get lots of books read every day. But it's true that BJ picks many of the books, with her along for the ride. Yes, time just for her is scarce. But it isn't nonexistent. So I'm taking a new resolve not to fritter away the precious time that I do have to focus solely on my little girl.

Last year, when BJ finally settled into his preschool routine and I no longer had to worry whether or not I'd get a call to come pick him up, I had all sorts of elaborate plans for what I'd do with BB during those two mornings a week. Playgroups! Outings! Special Mommy Time! The truth is, most days I was scrambling to get things done around the house, working on my crafts, or running errands -- because all are just SO much easier with only one child to worry about. That remains true, but it's also true that as they have both grown during the past year it has become easier to be out and about and to accomplish things with both of them around. Not easy, mind you. But easier. So it no longer feels like a do-or-die situation if, for example, I don't make it to the grocery store on Tuesday or Thursday mornings.

I've also had a bit of a boot-to-the-head realization about my handcraft business. After working so intensely hard to prepare for Renegade during the summer, I've really slacked off. I haven't created anything new in more than a month. (!!!) I certainly needed the break -- my fingertips were getting calloused and peeling from so much wire work -- but more than that, I saw that the family (especially the kids) needed me to ease up. I'd hoped at one point that I could take the momentum from Renegade and turn that into preparation for a bunch of holiday fairs. I'd opened up my Artfire shop and started to stock it. Then I looked around and saw how stressed-out my husband was getting about his own work obligations. I saw how much better the kids were doing when I was sitting down to play with them instead of always having handwork in my lap. I thought about what I really wanted and needed right now.

And, I admit, I looked at the calendar and realized that in one short year, BJ will be in kindergarten every morning and BB will be starting preschool (or already going) for two days a week.

You don't get this time back. My work can wait, but the kids cannot. That's one of the biggest lessons I've faced so far as a mom. I'm still learning that lesson -- and doing so, truly understanding that this time is precious and will not come again, is my own back-to-school challenge this year.

So, in the light of all that, I am making a conscious decision to scale back my expectations for my business right now. I'm not applying to any craft fairs for the holiday season. I'll keep my Etsy shop stocked and continue putting a few things over at Artfire to see what happens. (I currently have lots of unlisted inventory that needs pictures, so it's not like not making new things means I won't have new things to list!) Next year, so much will change. I'll start to have the time I need to focus on my own work -- instead of feeling like I'm taking that time away from the family. Two mornings a week will definitely make a huge difference!

For now, I'm taking those two mornings a week and dedicating them to time with BB. Sure, we'll end up running to the store for milk now and again, and I'm not ready to create an official homeschool preschool situation. But I'm going to focus on what I think she'd like to do and enjoy the time we have together. Today was a promising start on that resolution -- as S was buckling BJ into the car to leave for preschool, I asked BB what she wanted to do. "I want to PAINT!" she said without hesitation. So, paint we did!

I knew immediately I was making the right decision. She loves to paint, and I don't do this nearly enough for her. Watercolors are OK, and the Crayola magic paintbrush stuff will suffice in a pinch (both are alternatives that I usually suggest when she asks to paint, just because they are less messy) but going at it with tempera, paintbrush, and easel is an entirely different experience for her. It's physical, totally engrossing, and thoroughly fun.

Fun to watch, too -- and giving myself permission to just sit and watch and enjoy watching is a bonus of this new arrangement. (And no small bonus, either. Such things are the overtime pay for a mom, especially one home full-time with the kids. There's another lesson that I'm learning!) I was so tickled by her enthusiasm, punching the brush against the paper and getting up on her tippy-toes so she could reach as high as possible.

Of course I had the camera in hand. Here's a really cute video of her painting and explaining her paintings.


We worked on painting for almost an hour, which is huge for a 2 1/2 year old's attention span! Then we had snack, read 5 books (most of them were Winnie The Pooh knock-offs, which she loves and which I confess are not my favorites, but still -- she got to pick!) and then just played around with Legos and toys before lunch. We also worked a bit on potty training: she's been in underwear for the past two days, most of the time. Yay, BB! A few accidents here and there, but she's definitely making progress.

Here's hoping that our back-to-school beginning continues to go as smoothly as today did!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Mash-up

Culmination of a rambling conversation with the kids (really, is there any other kind?) as we discussed fruit trees, flavorings (especially lemon and apple), yucky vs. unyucky, What Things Are Made Of, and Where Things Come From:

BJ: "So what is water made of? Where does it come from?
me: "It's made of hydrogen and oxygen...."
BB (interrupting): "The sink!"

And thus the day's chemistry lesson was cut short by the kids' laughter. (There are worse things, huh?)

Happy Labor Day, by the way! Ours isn't going to be much different from any other Monday -- S is headed off to work in a little bit, and I'll have the kids for the day. Might go to a park, might well just stay home for some backyard fun. So hard to believe the summer is coming to a close. Wasn't it just April?

BJ moves up to the "big kid" room at preschool tomorrow, and he's really looking forward to it. He's already made 3 drawings for his new preschool teacher and announced, "I love her!" This bodes well, I think!

In other updates from the weekend: we spent a very nice Sunday at the Tapestry Arts Festival downtown.

It was much smaller than in years past, but still a fun time. Bought myself an adorable tunic from Wenifnotnow, got BB a new hat from Sunday Afternoons, and also did a little Christmas shopping. Kids had a bunch of fun with the free art booths.

Of course BJ wanted to turn everything from the spin art to the creature craft into something having to do with planets and the solar system. Here's the "alien" he made.

Of course we were out past BB's naptime, and of course just as we were getting ready to leave she caught her second wind (or at least did a fine show of chasing it down).


Naturally, while BB danced and ran around, BJ practiced his blast-offs.

Have I mentioned what he wants to be for Halloween?

First, he asked to be an astronaut. (Hardly surprising). A day later, he changed his mind. For more than a week now, he has been planning out how he is going to be Interplanet Janet. Yes, the "galaxy girl" from Schoolhouse Rock.

Seems his preference for unique Halloween costumes continues (readers will recall that last year he was a "friendly vampire bat") as does his challenge to me to come up with something creative. (And he's following in his father's footsteps for gender-bending, too -- when he was about BJ's age, S was Wonder Woman!)

BJ is already offering ideas for how we can use playsilks to make the costume and has outlined the requirements: curly hair, an engine skirt that hides his feet (because Janet doesn't have any legs or feet), and bubbles coming out of the bottom of the engine.

Mom, let me just say at this point that I have a whole new appreciation for your handmade Halloween efforts over the years... (especially the year that I was Mary Poppins!)

Meanwhile, BB has consistently said she wants to be Cinderella. (She hasn't seen the movie, just read the Little Golden Book version.) And I'm OK with that. It's perhaps given us a boost in the potty-training department (we bought princess undies this weekend, and she's worn them for the last two days!) and even though I rather dread what appears to be the beginning of The Princess Phase, if it means finally getting her out of diapers, I'll take it. I'm also OK with purchasing a pre-made costume -- even if it does make me a less than perfect mommy for making one costume but not the other. Know thy limits, right?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Puzzle, A Rebus, A Map -- Oh My!

Two neat things from BJ this week: a rebus and a map!

The rebus came from a puzzle: one of his favorite books is Puzzle Island, a fairly complicated book that includes various word and picture puzzles to solve. S first helped BJ work through the book several months ago, and since then BJ has returned to it several times himself. The book's narrative follows the clues left in the diary by a scientist who has made an important discovery on the island. Ultimately, you put everything together to solve the book's mystery:

"Puzzle Island is the Home of the World's Last Female Dodo!"

(As you can imagine, this has led to some interesting conversations with my four-year-old, with questions like, "What's a Dodo? What does it mean for something to be extinct? Why would that happen?")

Yesterday, BJ took it upon himself to create a rebus version of the book's final sentence. I was so impressed that I grabbed the camera. Aside from "last," which had him stumped for a while (until he announced, "Mommy! This will be the last maraca that we have!") he moved quite methodically from one word to the next until he was done.

"Puzzle Island Is" (US puzzle, plastic toy island for the bathtub, spelled out "is" with laces)

"the home of the" (spelled out in various forms, with the exception of a little house bead for "home")

"world's last female dodo." (Shown from reverse angle, since he was running around with excitement -- globe for "world," maraca for "last," Daisy the stuffed dog for "female," and on the rug is the tiny red parrot representing the "dodo" herself! Yes, even our extensive animal toy collection does not include a dodo. Clearly we have been remiss.)

And here is the video of him reading it to me:


Pretty cool, huh?

In other "yes, I think my kid is amazing" news -- this afternoon, BJ got to talking about how much he misses my folks. A few months ago, we'd raised the possibility of going to visit them in Delaware for Thanksgiving. Well, that's not going to happen after all. (Happily, my folks are now planning to come out next month so it won't be too long between visits. Yay!)

The kids have been fairly understanding about it, though of course they are disappointed. We explained that hopefully we'll be able to go visit over the summer. BJ decided that he'd make a map for us, so that we'd know where to go when the time comes. So he finds a book with a USA map, grabs markers and pencils, and proceeds to copy out the route we should take, being sure to use the same color in his drawing as the one represented in the map: California is yellow, Nevada purple and so on.

I asked if he wanted to send it to Pop-Pop and Giki, along with some coloring pages that BB made for them recently. "No, Mommy!" he replied. "We can't do that! We need the map so we can get there. We'll show it to them when we see them in October." Duh, Mom!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Feature -- Boodybabies

This week's featured Etsy artist is Jamie from boodybabies, a fellow Etsymom who was kind enough to interview me last month on the Etsymom blog. Her shop is simply charming -- I especially like this bag, which she calls "Diaper Bag... What Diaper Bag?"

And I love, love, love this apron! (And I'm not really an apron-wearin' kind of gal!)

Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How
did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I taught myself how to sew about 7 years ago when my husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas. My store has an eclectic collection of items...I pretty much create whatever strikes my fancy...but mostly I make items for babies, children and women (blankets, applique onesies, dresses, tote bags, aprons). I have a terrible fabric addiction, so many of my creations are born of a love of a great fabric that I feel needs to become something; although, occasionally, I will want to make something specific and then find just the right fabric for the job. I also do a little graphic design work as well when requested.

2. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I am a stay at home mom with easy kids and I needed something to fill the void of not working. I have worked pretty much full time since I was 16 and the adjustment to not having gainful employment was difficult. I had made a gift set for a friend (about a year and a half ago) and really enjoyed the time I spent doing that and had so many complements along the lines of "You should be selling these" or "I know so many people that would want that". So I started to give it some thought and look around on line for a venue. I tried the dreaded Ebay for a short time before I found Etsy and fell in love.

3. What inspires your creations?

My creations are inspired by my everyday life and sometimes a desire to escape a little. (Like my aprons...I haven't made one for myself, but I love the romance of bringing back something that was a staple in every kitchen way back when). My children are the main "everyday life" inspiration. All the dresses that I have listed or sold were made after first creating one for my daughter.

4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

My biggest challenge is tearing myself away from the computer and avoiding the "watched pot" syndrome. Also, "closing" for the day. I have had to set a time that the computer gets shut off.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously
sold)? Why is it your favorite? (Please provide a link)

I have always had a hard time picking favorites, but if I had to pick, my favorite current listing is this little sundress:

And my favorite sold listing is this crib set:

This crib set was a custom order for a customer who sent me a duvet cover that she wanted turned into a crib set. I love the color combination and can envision several different ways this could be used in a nursery.

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

Love what you do and make show in every stitch, stroke, knot or whatever your craft is. And, always, always, go above and beyond to provide the best customer service you can.

7. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

I have 2 amazing children and have been married almost 10 years. I don't really think of myself as interesting and the only recent achievements (although they are the most rewarding) have been the birth and then raising of my children.

However, a while back I was "tagged" in a blog game and had to write six random things about myself that I can share with you and you can pick and chose how much you want to include: I am over thirty and grossly overweight, but much to my husband's surprise, I can still do a cartwheel (my four-year-old, however, was unimpressed when she saw me do it)

I can install vinyl siding on a house (actually cut it and put it up), as well as plywood sheathing(on the exterior walls, I DON'T go on the roof), and drywall.

I used to be a natural blond, but then I had kids who turned it dark, and now I am a slightly unnatural blond.

I am pathologically honest. (Literally!)

After much resistance, I relented to friends several years ago and read a little children's book called "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and fell hopelessly in love(with the series, not Harry).

Extreme Makeover Home Edition is my favorite show, with Grey's Anatomy running a close second...Desperate Housewives is my guilty pleasure.

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

I have a blog at I have a Twitter account (@boodybabies) but have not tweeted in quite a while. I also have a facebook account that is the same situation as Twitter. My facebook id is also boodybabies.