It was a very merry Christmas!

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The year is almost at an end. I still can't believe an entire year has just blown by. How did it go by so fast?

We have had a great year, all things considered. And the month of December was especially nice, with all the family gatherings, special photos and good sales for some preliminary items in Sunshine Stars.I could not have asked for more...well, except one thing.

I made this after finding a version on Pinterest but discovered the shop that made them was now closed. I couldn't track down the owner so I am hoping she doesn't mind that I made this just for my husband.

And yes, it does mean we are expecting baby #2! We are super excited! Just like with my son, we had been talking about it and trying to decide when, and suddenly I'm pregnant. We obviously have no choice in the matter! I wasn't sewing when my son was born so I am really excited to make baby clothes. I am already picturing the footie pajamas and onesies in fun colors. We won't find out what we are having for at least three more months.

When we told my family, I made Micah this shirt and walked him into the room and let them all figure it out. Not everyone got it right away, but my mom read it once and yelled, "You're pregnant?!" She's probably more excited than we are.

Only Child, expiring August 2014.

This year, we got a couple of fun photo shoots in for both us and Micah. I actually won a little photoshoot from the talented Hartsock Photography and Micah got some seriously fantastic Santa photos as a result. I am really hoping they do this every year, because the Santa they chose was amazing (a real beard!) and they got me the photos within minutes. I absolutely loved it.

I'm THREE, Santa!

And just for family photos, I asked around to see if any local photographers wanted to do a trade - I get photos of their family, they get photos of mine. It couldn't have worked out better, because one of them is absolutely fantastic. Micah is even wearing two handmade things by me - his hat and duffle coat.

Our wedding anniversary was also on the 14th, so I made my husband this.

My little fledging attempt at Sunshine Stars also made a whopping 30 sales just in December alone, for hats with ears and scoodies with ears and pockets, as well as simple cotton and lace scarves. To say I was busy would be an understatement!

But I did have time to make Micah some fun Christmas pajamas!

December has been busy, fun, and exceptionally wonderful this year. I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store!

How was your Christmas?

DIY Christmas ornaments for kids

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Can you believe that Christmas is 16 days away? I always feel like it sneaks up on me. I had every intention of making an advent calendar this year, and completely spaced it thanks to all the business I've gotten at my shop. (More on that in another post.)

I put up our little tree, which is just a tabletop version. It's white with pre-strung white lights and I wrapped two blue garlands around it. Simple and easy, which is what we wanted when we had a busy baby and cats in the house. Now that all the cats have been rehomed and Micah is going to four in four months (WHAT!?), I should probably make some ornaments for it. I like the idea of making making ornaments to add every year, so I decided to make a little collection of fun ideas from my beloved Pinterest of ornament ideas for kids to make.

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Personalized name mugs

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I'm sure you've seen those Sharpie mugs all over Pinterest. In case you haven't, here is the one that I liked the best.

I kept looking at them, wondering if I should make one for my parents for Christmas. Half of the pins on Pinterest have comments on them about how the Sharpie didn't work though - they would wash them, and the Sharpie would just wipe off. The heat of the oven was often pointed to as a culprit, but also the quality of your mug. Cheap mugs worked better because the glaze was more permeable. Or maybe you should use a certain type of Sharpie, the kind meant for porcelain. Or maybe you should glaze them after, just on the part that's painted so they are still safe to drink from. So many opinions!

So instead of trying the Sharpie at all, I went to Michael's and bought a six pack of paint pens, the kind you shake up like spray paint and then press the tip to get the paint flowing. Then I bought five mugs, also at Michael's, that were meant to be painted and even came with a tiny brush and a few paint pots. At $1.99 for each mug and $5.99 for the pens, a pack of stickers in letter shapes, and a 40% off coupon at the register, I spent less than $16 on the whole lot. Not bad for knocking out five Christmas gifts at once! And they hold up in the wash and the microwave, too.

And they came together super fast. I stuck on a name, tapped around the letters with a different color paint pen, and in less than five minutes they were dry and completed. The stickers I chose were not the best choice - they were 3D, which I thought would make them easier to trace around, but it also kept them from laying flat enough so the paint bled underneath. I just went in with a white paint pen (thankfully already in the pack) and colored over the bleeds a bit. It didn't make the edges sharp and crisp like I wanted, but it did give them a pretty marbled look I had hard time capturing on camera. And best of all? My recipients loved them. We had an early Christmas with my moms family since they were in town from Kansas and wouldn't be back for awhile.

Have you ever tried this particular project? How did it go?

Eight DIY snowflake tutorials

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In the last two years at my desk job, someone has organized a day at the beginning of December when we get to make some kind of decoration for our cube land. When you are in a tiny box for so many hours a day, you're kind of limited when it comes to decoration. And this year, we are moving to a new building at the very end of December, so no one is really feeling the holiday magic this time around. So I decided I would look for something small, easy and pretty that I could make for each desk that no one would feel bad about tossing when we move.

Enter, paper snowflakes! I have collected a mix of the some of the best paper snowflake tutorials out there, ranging from easy enough to do with your kids to true works of art.

This is what I did last year, in a previous department. I think this year I may do it in a fun paper. So easy!

A twist on the previous snowflake, but still in the realm of possibility for kids, maybe just a little older.

A little fancier, but still do-able for kids.

I like that this one is not the typical 8-point star.

Out of toilet paper!

Using pipe cleaners. So fun, and double sided wrapping paper would be gorgeous.

For the inner nerd - Star Wars snowflakes! I'm thinking you need an Exacto blade for these. But I won't lie - I plan on trying them!

And for the truly talented - a quilled snowflake! I can't imagine how long this took.

Are you making any snowflakes this year?

Easy DIY boy gifts

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Every year for Christmas and his birthday, I try to come up with some fun ideas for Micah that I can make myself. Last year I made him a play mat with roads he could drive his little cars around on. I expected it to be a big hit and it sort of wasn't. Thankfully it was a cheap dud, but still, kind of disappointing.

So this year, I have been showing Micah the things I come across that I thought he would like, to get kid approval. I know how hard it is to make things for boys, when it is so easy for girls (or maybe it's just that there are more DIY options out there for girls), so I thought I would pick out the things Micah showed the most interest and excitement for and share a list!

This is something I was looking at for ages. The pediatrician I take Micah to has a HUGE white board that is magnetic, covered with fun letter and shape magnets, at a lower height from the floor so the kids can play with it. He absolutely adores that wall. I think for this project, the most expensive part would be the magnets you add to the board. Maybe thrift shops or Craigslist could help there!

This one is best if you know you will reliably get snow at some point this winter. Since we live in the desert, I don't think this will be a gift, but just something I make one day if it snows.

This is a big favorite, and I am definitely making Micah some of these. Little stuffed fish with a magnet in the "nose" area (do fish have a nose?), and a corresponding magnet on a string attached to a stick. Tons of fun, plus a bonus way to get rid of scraps!

What kid doesn't like play dough? And this is an easy way to color them exactly how you want, without the mess of food coloring dying things you didn't intend on dying. Plus, it smells pretty good.

This would be fantastic for cold days when you make living room forts! Added bonus - if your kid goes to daycare, perfect for naptime. Micah hasn't napped in almost two years, but I know other lucky moms get the occasional nap!

For the truly adventurous - a marshmallow shooter! Maybe just add the caveat that it has to be used outdoors.

Micah really liked this idea. I was thinking I could start working on money with him. He gets a quarter every time someone says a bad word, and loses a quarter if he says a bad word. Thankfully there isn't much money passing back and forth, but it was a good way for him to see money. Maybe we can start talking about how four quarters equals a dollar this way.

What do you plan to make for gifts for Christmas this year?

November 30th - Small Business Saturday

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I have made a huge leap of faith today. I am offering up a few select items for sale on my Facebook (my personal one) to celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 30th.

If you haven't heard of it, Small Business Saturday is a day devoted to buying from your small local businesses. It's a great way to help support the local economy, and make a lot of extra smiles. As you probably know, Sunshine Stars has had a very hard time getting off the ground because I have a day job and not enough spare cash to start building a stock or even supplies. I could probably start a piggy bank, but I admit to being a bit discouraged, so I haven't made much effort yet. I'm hoping in March when I get my bonus from work I can use it to get started. But I digress.

In an effort to give it a shot again, I am offering fleece ear hats and scarves, plus scoodies (hooded scarves). These are all things I am familiar with making and comfortable to do quickly and without much expense. It's also a good way to cut my teeth on the business side of owning a handmade business. I admit that numbers and such are not my forte, but it's something I need to learn if I ever want to do this for real. And I really, really do.

Fleece Fun's version and pattern.

My version I made for Micah. He wears it all the time to play pretend that he's a cat.

I won't lie. I am scared half to death that I am going to fall flat on my face. But the only way to learn is by doing! I have one sale already in progress, and the best part is that it is out of state. So I can learn the best way to ship, too!

A Simplicity pattern I picked up in both adult and kid sizes just before Halloween when they had patterns 5 for $5.

I think I'm going to pass out now. Please excuse me.


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Halloween this year was both awesome and messy...mostly because I am incapable of starting a project far enough in advance that I have proper time to finish it sooner than the day of the event. Arg.

So originally, I wanted all three of us to dress as characters from Assassin's Creed - Micah and Antonio could be different versions of the main character, and I could be the female "love interest" from one of the more recent games. I have never played any version of these, I just knew of the characters and how awesome their get-ups were. I had a pattern already that would work well for mine and I could wing it for the boys. I got Micah's finished and was really proud of it. He wore it to visit my coworkers and the high school my mom works at, and everyone thought he was a pirate instead. Since he has no idea what Assassin's Creed is, that's ok. I was still pleased with the outcome.

I think it really came together!

My husband and I were invited to a Halloween party of epic proportions. He has a friend from high school that is known for his parties because he spares no expense and goes all out. He works in the film industry and so he hadn't had a Halloween gathering since I met my husband eight years ago, so I was really looking forward to my first one. It was worth the time and effort we put into our costumes, too.

And then my husband saw an episode of Mythbusters where they talk zombies and Jamie dresses in this rather impressive zombie-hunter outfit. And so our costumes changed, even though I had spent something like 24 hours on my dress. A little hacking to my hem and forgoing the pretty finished edges and mine worked out.

Then we added details. I found a tutorial to make a duct tape top hat that looked like leather, and using a cheap $1 base hat, I cranked one out for both of us. I spray painted a pair of hiking boots I scored at Savers for $5 to look metallic, then we both took a pair of welding goggles and added a few details and painted them to look brown and black. My husband tore up an old leather jacket that no longer fit him and he hadn't been able to pawn off on anybody via Craigslist. And instant steampunk? Maybe. I have no idea what we are, but we got tons of compliments, so I guess we look put-together!

What did you do for Halloween? Did you dress up?

Must we talk about Maria Kang?

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In case you aren't as much of an internet fiend as I am, go take a look at this article about Maria Kang.

I had never heard of her before the recent explosion over a photograph of her posing with her three (adorable) children while dressed in a sports bra and running shorts appeared all over the place. She is rather beautiful, and her body definitely shows the amount of work she has put into it to look the way she does. Flat abs, strong arms and legs.

I think the problem begins with the caption she added to the photo. Without the caption, the photo is not only lovely, but inspirational. My first thought was, "WOW, that's dedication!" It's hard enough for me to find time to workout with one child, much less THREE. That's brilliant.

However, she also added text to it. "What's your excuse?"

The text soured it a bit for me. I don't think she is taking a stab at heavy people, or lazy people, or even people in general. The phrase is popular and common in the fitness world. Many photos are out there with the same caption, and they are meant to inspire. For the type of people that like having drills shouted into their faces by their trainers during workouts, this phrase does what it is intended to do - it makes them get up and work, and work hard.

For those of us that prefer a different approach - softer, if you will - the phrase is jarring and borderline rude. A trainer shouting in my face about how fat I am and to work harder would succeed only in making me cry and leave. I would never pay anyone to berate me, I do enough of that to myself, thank you very much. And that, I think, is where the problem lies. Many people took the message personally when it wasn't intended to be as such. They took it as a personal stab at women, mothers in particular, as if it said, "What's your excuse for not working out and looking as amazing as I do?"

I honestly don't know anything about Maria Kang. I know she has an online following and she is fairly popular in fitness circles, with many Likes on her Facebook page. And the only reason I know any of that is because of the sudden explosion of interest in her due to this one photo.

So I am certainly not an expert on Maria Kang. I don't know if she is normally a nice person, or rude, or conceited. All I know is that she is in fantastic shape for having had three children. (Though I am bit jealous of her lack of stretch marks. I have ONE child, and enough stretch marks to reach around the Earth if I lined them all up. So unfair.) I suppose my opinion is that I really wish she had no captioned her photo. I think it took something away from it that would have otherwise been wonderful for those that wanted to see it. I have no doubts that people still would have ripped her a new one simply for having the photo taken, and that is likely because they are cruising for an argument. Trolls, if you will. Whiners, certainly. And lots and lots of jealous ladies.

But had she not...I would have posted it on my Instagram in amazement and used her as a goal. Not necessarily to look like her, but as a way to tell myself, "Hey, if she can do it, so can I!"

But otherwise, I have no opinion either way. Go, Maria Kang. Do your thing.

The disappointments of being healthy

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This is my last week of what Google Image calls the 30 Day Challenge.

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I am one day behind because I went into it full-tilt, and my thigh muscles were in such agony for two days that I could barely walk, much less squat. I caught up by doubling up my workouts for a bit at the beginning, and again in Week 3 because I was so down on myself I missed a day.

These sort of workouts make it seem so easy. They have the obligatory photo of a woman with crazy cut abs as the background, they build up "only" a few reps a day, and when you first start, you feel awesome. I'm productive! I'm burning fat! I'm building muscle!

And some of that is true. I startled myself in Week 2 when I crossed my arms and felt my right inner bicep and it was hard as rock, even though I was at rest watching tv with my husband. I was so excited, I made everyone I saw feel it for two days. I made muscle!
Here's the thing though. The entire ordeal is almost not worth it when you see what it is costing you in groceries, in time, and in ego when you realize that all your hard work has done absolutely nothing on the scale or in your clothes. I went from spending only $50 or so on groceries for a week to spending over $100. I was doing my absolute best to "eat clean" and not eat anything processed or packaged. That's great in theory, not very realistic in practice. I haven't had much of a problem actually doing it - I love veggies, chicken and fruit, so it isn't like I'm eating things I hate - but it's so expensive that each week I find myself doing it less and less. I just can't afford it, and that makes me angry. Packaged junk is cheap, and for someone with bills and a child (someone with the average life), it is just not feasible. Not to mention it makes eating with my family an absolute chore and nearly impossible.

I give myself one "treat" meal a week when I can have french fries, Dr Pepper, and a burger. My mom calls them Hamburger Wednesdays and we started doing them years ago. It's her meal to break up her stressful work week. The rest of the week isn't nearly as bad for her and french fries are her one vice, much like me. One meal will not set anyone back for life so I don't worry about it, and it hasn't stressed me out at all. Even the most dedicated body builder has the occasional pizza (The Rock even posts about it on instagram with a certain level of glee).

I am in Week 4 of my 30 day challenge. I've built endurance so that I can do a ton of squats and barely break a sweat (I'm doing 200 tonight). Crunches, pushups and lunges, I haven't built as much endurance for, but I am doing them and getting better every day. My calorie tracker I got for free through work tells me I burn at least 100 calories each time, though that was disappointing at first because I expected it to be more. I have a great support system that really helps me keep going - my husband cheers me on as I nearly kill myself doing crunches, a friend on Facebook sends me inspirational photos and quotes all the time, and I follow a few people on Instagram that make fantastic cheerleaders. I have all the things I need, and I'm working hard.

But guess what? I have lost only a total of two pounds. My clothes fit almost exactly the same as they did when I started. I see only the most minute differences in my body, and in odd places - my inner knee, my inner arm, my hips. My belly looks exactly the same. My thighs, identical. I haven't even lost anything in my face, which is usually where you can see weight loss first. And I have been BUSTING MY BUTT, watching other people doing almost exactly the same thing see dramatic results. It's discouraging, it's disappointing, and worst of all, I want to quit. I feel like I'm wasting my time. Everyone says, "eat better, exercise for 15 minutes a day, and you'll see results!" And it's true...for everyone but me, I guess. I actually count every calorie I intake, and never eat more than 1500 a day, which is actually less than most programs tell you to eat.

And nothing. This is why people quit, or give up. I honestly don't know how people lose weight doing things like Weight Watchers, and not working out. Or paleo. Or this stupid "eating clean" bull. I'VE BEEN DOING IT. And NOTHING.

At this point, my frustration knows no bounds. I want to quit. I'm tired, I'm sore, and I'm so disappointed that thinking about it makes me tear up. It's so unfair to work so hard for nothing.

But I won't. Micah gets bigger and faster every day, and when I break into a disgusting, heavy sweat just carrying him across the house, or fail to catch him when he runs from me, it means I am a failure already. And I can't let this beat me.

But sometimes I want to.

Baby Nadia in her handmade bedding

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Remember this post where I showed off some handmade bedding I made for a friend who was expecting? Well, that little baby was born just over two weeks ago, so I stopped by to see her and take some photos of her cuteness in the bedding I made. And seriously, Nadia is just the sweetest little baby.

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She's exactly the way Micah was as a newborn, wide awake and moving and shaking up a storm. I'm glad I had my new 85mm F1.8 because she was so busy I had to shoot fast to catch her without blur. And the best part? Her mom dressed her up in outfits that matched her bedding, though we did have to take an obligatory bottle break halfway through to keep the princess happy. It was worth it.

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I remember when I first started with photography, I would be so excited to see people using the photos I took of them on their social media profiles. It was ego-boosting to see everyone comment on the pictures, saying how nice they came out. But I gotta say, seeing the things I handmade for someone being used is even better. My time and energy is taken so much more literally when I sew, and seeing a sweet newborn laying on her brand new blankets and sheets I made? Incredibly gratifying. I appreciate every opportunity, and I hope I have many more.

Patterns released!

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In the last month, I have tested two patterns for two fabulous bloggers/designers. Let me tell you, sitting on the pictures after I test a pattern is hard! I always want to show off something that turns out especially cute, but I was a good girl and I waited. Turns out that one pattern was a part of the newest Pattern Anthology colllection, the Alphabet Collection. And really, I could not have been more pleased to be a part of it.

The first was a pattern from Shwin&Shwin, The BBC Vest.

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I asked him to make muscles for me. Eh, close enough.

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Micah is a pretty true 4T, though he tends to be on the slim side. I cut a 4T and I guess Micah grew, because it was a little short/narrow. That's what pattern testing is for! It still turned out really cute, and he loved it, so I will be making him more of these in the future.

The second was a pattern from Melly Sews, the Tee x 3.

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This was fantastic! My mom bought some cute jersey with an elephant pattern from Joann's about a week before I volunteered to pattern test, so it could not have been better timing. I drafted the pants myself from a pair of Micah's existing pajamas, and I chose the long sleeved version of the Tee pattern for the top. My dad thought I bought them at the store. That's always a flattering thing to hear, but the pattern could not have made it more easy. I'm still learning to work with jersey, but it's a very forgiving fabric. I knew not to pull it through the feed dogs, but it still gave me some wavey seams. Once on, you couldn't really tell, and I am pretty proud of these.

Go buy them! You won't regret it.

Selfish Sewing Week

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I entered a contest awhile back (I forget what it was even for - it's been awhile), and one of the entries included Liking a page on Facebook. That is how I found imagine gnats. Is that not the cutest blog name ever?

imagine gnats is about to start Selfish Sewing Week.

I think it's really easy to get stuck in a rut sewing for your children instead of yourself, because they are smaller, quicker, easier to fit, and so cute you can't stand it. I know that's pretty much what always happens to me. Plus it's more expensive to sew for myself because I need three times as much material for even the simplest of items because I am just bigger and taller. (Not for long - when I hold Micah his feet touch my knees. Seriously. He's enormous.)

A little over a week ago I bought a couple yards of some truly beautiful satin though. Literally the most gorgeous fabric I have ever owned. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it...but it's currently sitting in a puddle on my dining room table because I haven't had the time to get to it. This week has been full of pattern testing and pajamas for Micah, both of which take precedence because I have no restraint when it comes to stuff for him.

Thanks to Selfish Sewing Week, I now have a good excuse to set other things aside, and have some fun for myself. I will be back after the weekend with a completed outfit unless something crazy happens. Fingers crossed.

Come and join the fun!

Flickr group
Selfish Sewing Week Flickr group

Wedding sashes (and how much I hate this fabric)

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A co-worker of mine got married the 1st of June. Her wedding was really beautiful (judging by the photos - I had a paid photography gig that night so I had to miss it), and the best part was that her entire female wedding party wore sashes I had made for her. My first big paid custom work, actually. I was SO super proud of the way they turned out!

They look pink in this picture, but they were a really vibrant, true red. And I was rather proud of my work when I saw the first pictures of her wedding party (and herself) in them. Photography by Genesa Richards.

Looking at the finished product, they look so simple and pretty, nothing but straight lines.

But oh, you would be SO wrong.

They are all FOUR YARDS LONG. And I made SEVEN. The flower girl had one that was only three yards long, but the bride had two different widths to be sure she had what she liked, and they were a whopping FIVE yards long.

And this material, while beautiful and satiny soft, frays like mad. In long strings. Everywhere. It also slips and slides all over the place as you sew, and cutting such a long piece presented problems I had never come across before. Thankfully, she bought it by the bolts, so I just unrolled it as I cut, which helped tremendously. But still...SO LONG.

In the end, it was worth all the curse words I spat at my machine. And the Ibuprofen after turning seven sash tubes right side out. Really, it was.

It's weird being the one in front of the camera

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I don't think I have ever really mentioned this here, but I am also a photographer in my (little) free time. It's mostly a hobby, but to keep my skills sharp I take little paid photo gigs on occasion. I like to shoot family portraits, especially children.



A few weeks ago, a photographer friend of mine got an idea to do a photo series of people she knows, called Overexposed/Underexposed. The point was to take one photo of something special that everyone knows about you, and one that not everyone knows but is important. After some thought, I chose to use photography/sewing. I have been a photographer since 2007 (holy cow, I just realized how long that is), but I have only been sewing since 2011, and mostly for myself and Micah. So when people think about needing a photographer, they would likely think of me, but if they needed pants hemmed, they likely wouldn't. In my social circle, that is.

The final photos of me will not be public until the whole set has been shown in a gallery somewhere here in Albuquerque, but in exchange for my (rather lacking) model skills, Minie took some pictures of me at my machine that I could use as a headshot/profile image online in places where I talk about my sewing. Like here!

I haven't changed my pictures everywhere yet, but my Pinteresting Mommy Facebook page is using it, as well as my Kids Clothing Week profile.

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And you guys? I have never liked a photo of me as much as I like this one. I am used to being the one holding the camera, not the one posing, and I felt super awkward. But Minie makes me look thoughtful and awesome, so she gets a ton of kudos. In fact, you should go hire her if you are local! She will work her magic for you.

Did you get photos taken for your online presence?

Sewing up a storm!

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I may not have posted in awhile (nor had the time), but I have been trying to sew as much as possible on my weekends. It still takes me ages to finish stuff that is more complicated than a paid of sleep shorts or a crib sheet, but even if it takes me three weeks to get a blanket done, at least I finished it!

I cannot tell you how often I wish I could work from home. Seriously. I daydream about winning the lottery and being able to sew as much as I wanted all the time. But I digress.

My two biggest undertakings in the past few months were paid custom work. A classmate of mine from high school is having a baby in August. She posted a picture of a really pretty crib set on Facebook, lamenting the price ($300). I looked at it carefully and then offered to make her a similar set if she bought the fabric, and then charged a small price per piece since it was the first set I had ever made, and I didn't want to completely jip myself. She brought me the material and ribbon to make two complete sets (one mini-crib, one standard crib), and I went to work.

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Mini-crib blanket.

It. Took. FOREVER. Mostly because I was uncertain of myself because I hadn't sewn a crib set before. The sheets went quick and easy, but I had some serious issues with the minky for the blankets, and then the skirts ended up being too short so I had to add material to both. One of the crib sheets I had to "side" with the blanket material because the piece she bought was too narrow.

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Full size crib blanket.

In the end, they turned out so cute. And I offered to take newborn photos for free so I could have some shots of the cribs all made up with a sweet little baby in them. Those will be forthcoming, as she is still baking that baby girl. I can hardly wait to see her in her fancy new cribs.

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Schedule not conducive to fun

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Once again, slacking on the blogging front. I will always wonder how earth other people update multiple times each week, especially with projects. When do they find the time??? I'm pretty sure my goal to be like Dana of MADE is never going to happen. I know I have a day job and many mommy bloggers are blessed with the option to stay home with their kids, but even with a nap time I wouldn't get nearly as much accomplished as they do. Every day is a fight to be productive, without completely burning myself out. A regular day in the life of me goes something like this:

4:15am - Wake up, take a few minutes to stretch and feel alert, then force myself into the shower to wake up fully.
4:45am - After dressing, doing my hair and brushing my teeth, plus getting my lunch together, I go pry Micah out of bed. Poor guy has a hard time waking up some days, but he's an early riser by nature so this hour is not terrible for him. I get him dressed and we go to my mom's.
5:40am - After eating breakfast at my parents house, I kiss Micah goodbye and head to work.
6:02am - Clock in at work. (Yes, the the 2 minutes is always the same. They don't let the doors open until 6am on the dot, it takes two minutes to get up to the 3rd floor and log on.)
6:02am-2:32pm - Work at the day job.
2:45pm - Get to my mom's for dinner and to pick up Micah. I usually eat with them since my husbands schedule is all over the place and he fends for himself for dinner. I would be angry ALL THE TIME if I cooked and he didn't get home until hours later, since he doesn't like reheated food usually.
5:30pm - Get Micah to sleep. He goes pretty early so he can rise as early as we do, plus by this time he is starting to get cranky and rubbing his eyes. He usually falls asleep on the way home from my moms. He stays up later on the days I don't work, usually until 7pm.
5:30pm - 8:30pm - This is my only free time of the day. I know it's three hours, but this is when housework/cleaning/exercising has to happen or nothing gets done. This is also my only chance to just sit and unwind, even if it includes watching My Cat From Hell (I love this show SO much). I am usually so wrung out by this time, that the thought of sitting and sewing makes me feel even more tired, even though it's my most fun hobby.

So you can kind of see where I literally have no time during the work week to get anything done. I can, sometimes, but it's rare. I am also not one of those people that can run on very little sleep. I will be absolutely miserable the next day, especially since I have a desk job that means I sit still a lot, so I can't even keep moving to keep my eyes open if I overdo it. Weekends are a little better if my husband isn't on call, but Micah is a pretty demanding kid and he won't play by himself for big chunks of time, so if I need to do something, I send him off with my husband to go play somewhere out of the house. If they stay at home, Micah will come see what I am doing multiple times. He's my baby, and I love him so, but he doesn't let me do much!

One of my favorite shop mommy's, Amber of RockerByeBaby, often posts about being awake at 4am sewing and packing up her shop items. Two of her kids are older so I'm sure they entertain themselves well, and they go to school most of the year too, but her youngest is small enough that she needs more attention. How does she function?! I would be dead after less than a week of a schedule like that. Seriously, I would probably fall into a coma.

So, you super-productive mamas? Yeah, you are my hero.

Mother's Day and other adventures

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The last few weeks have been a constange barrage of activity it seems. Mother's Day, then the Celtic Festival, and tons of sewing projects. I feel like I haven't properly relaxed in months. At least it's all been fun, or I would be one very cranky mama.

On Mother's Day, I didn't have anything special planned other than spending time with my little family. Micah has been wanting to stay with my mom and dad every single night (it's a fight of tears and screeching almost every evening when it's time to come home, and sometimes he wins), so he stayed with them the night before. I went to pick him up fairly early on Mother's Day morning and spent some time playing with him and visiting with my parents. Then this happened.

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As always, it was so sudden. He was playing with me, running around my legs in circles when his toe caught on the edge of the rug and he went down. It was an abrupt fall, but it wasn't the worst spill I've ever seen him take, so I didn't get too excited. "Oh no, did you kai?" (Kai is fall in spanish, at least according to my mom. Many spanish-speaking people look at me oddly when I saw it though, so it might be slang. Micah has used that word for falling down since he learned to talk, and I've started using it, too.)

He didn't respond, just laid there for a second, then started that awful crying where he's yelling so hard, nothing comes out. I scooped him up and noticed a rather excessive amount of blood from his lower lip. My mom started flapping her hands right away, but I just did my best to stay calm and dabbed at it with a napkin to try and see what was going on. I still don't know because he didn't let me look very close, and the blood was copious, but I think he scraped his upper against his lip and then cut the inside with his lower teeth. It puffed up like lightening and he was holding himself very still, afraid to move or touch it. My dad gave him a wet, cold washcloth and told him to hold it against his owie. That stopped the tears and he refused to move the washcloth for hours, even holding it in place when he fell asleep.

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Poor guy. I took him home and let him relax for awhile, but when I asked if he wanted to go see Little Grandma and Grandpa(my father-in-laws parents, though I'm not sure where the little part came into play), he forgot about his boo-boo instantly. He likes visiting and playing with his little cousin.

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Antonio even convinced me to drive the four-wheeler, though I was freaked the whole time. I felt like I was going super fast, but the video clip my husband took shows me going MAYBE 5 mph, hah.

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Then this last weekend we had the Celtic Festival. We go to this every year, as our best friend Emmet gets us tickets because his mom runs the British car show section. It's always fun, there's a lot of fancy cars (the boys favorite part), and it also hosts the Highland Games. We didn't see much of that this year.

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My main draw was The Wicked Tinkers. They are a fun band full of bagpipes and drums, and one particular photogenic Aussie that plays a number of different instruments. I'm pretty sure he could easily be a one-man-band with everything he does, and he was pretty easy on the eyes, too. (What?!)

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Also, an enormous Clydesdale that scared the crap out of me. Horses freak me out anyway, but this one was seriously huge. The biggest horse I have ever seen. Antonio tried to convince me to touch it, but when the horse turned and stared at me, it was over. I fled. Yes, I'm a wuss.

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Super fun month of May so far! And we have fun things planned this Memorial Day weekend, too. What are you and your family up to?

Mail for Micah

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In my (rather constant) internet browsing, I came across a true gem of a website. Her posts are consistently funny, sarcastic, and witty, and I sort of wish I was her. After all, I do have the right hair for it, since she often claims she only has one strand. I feel that pain, I really do.

You can find it at Parenting - Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. All of her family members go by nicknames associated with the website name - Crappy Papa, Crappy Mama, Crappy Boy, and Crappy Baby. I cannot tell you how ridiculously fun it is to read, not least of all because of the nicknames. Her kids regularly do the most hilarious things, and she was smart enough to immortalize them in Paint. She also has a million purple dresses, of which I also approve. Purple is the color of royalty, after all. (She also has a book. You should go buy it, as I plan to do when I have more than 50 cents to my name. You can find it at many places, but Amazon is always good.)

Back in August of last year, her oldest, Crappy Boy, decided on a whim to create his own business. I really cannot tell the story the way she can, so go read it here, then come back. Don't worry, I'll wait.

Do, do, doo doo. Oh, welcome back! (Jeez, I hope you came back.)

If you were too lazy to go look, then I will give you the summarized version. Crappy Boy made greeting cards, put them in an online shop, and sold them. Rapidly, actually. He made enough to go buy a Star Wars Lego set with the worlds smallest gun. He also had a fantastic time, helping package them up and mail them out. The best part - to me, anyway - is that he would look on the map and see where his cards were being sent.

I will take this moment to tell you my son is obsessed with several things. Bowling and volcanos are high on that list. But also up there is the solar system, Earth, and especially, globes. He loves to spin it, stop on a random spot, and ask me what is there. Thankfully we have a globe at home because it occupies a decent chunk of his time. You might recall his birthday post and how excited he was about the big planets, especially the Earth one he could touch. I even bought him a little spongy Earth ball for a grand total of $3. My kid is easy to please.

Anyway, I was browsing through Crappy Pictures and came across that post. Back when she originally wrote it, Micah was seriously bent on bowling everything everywhere, and not as into the planets yet. Now that he is, and her post refreshed my memory, all I can think is that Micah would LOVE to do this. I'm thinking we probably wouldn't have to sell them (though he would be explosive with joy if we were able), but he would really like sending off some fun things all over the US. Maybe not even cards, but drawings or paintings. I can see the hot air balloons being drawn already. Maybe even some tic tac toe. We could even send stickers. The possibilities are endless, people.

Check him out getting excited about GETTING mail, and it wasn't even for him.

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I haven't decided how to go about this yet. As a fun project for my three year old, I don't know what way would produce the biggest impact for him, since this blog is not exactly popular yet. But if you are interested in letting my son send you something fun, let me know by commenting here! If we drum up enough interest, I will see what way will work best for us. I will say that if we somehow end up with 80 people wanting Micah Art, I probably can't send out that much without setting up a shop for him someplace.

And just to pull your heart strings a bit, when I asked him if he wanted to send some mail to someplace far away (his point at the globe was Africa, but you know, anywhere will do), his response was, "I want to do it now!" We talked about stamps and envelopes and going to the post office and I cannot even tell you the level of excitement. This kid is bursting with it. We may have to send some things to my family just to appease him for the time being or I may never hear the end of it.

Micah's 3rd birthday

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I still cannot believe that Micah is already three. It seems like just yesterday that he was born. He's so big, he knows so much and constantly amazes with the things that he says. It's new every day and he is the center of my universe more and more every day.

We haven't thrown him a huge party for any of his birthdays, since he is the only child in my family. So my parents, my brother and his wife, his great-grandparents (my husbands grandparents) and our best friend Brie and Emmet. This year it was pizza and salad, and the fruit kabobs I have made for a couple years now, and cupcakes.

I made his shirt the morning of his party, too. Slacker extraordinaire, I am!

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We Skyped with my aunts and grandmother, and with Antonio's parents. Micah loves Skype, and I love that the family we have that lives far away can still see him...even though he was acting silly and was so wound up he had a hard time sitting.

Opening our present from Grandma and Grandpa Tinez while skyping with Hauntie, Shirley and Memo. photo 543708_10152720260255417_654050351_n.jpg

Skyping with Grandma Belle and Grandpa Mark. photo 529086_10152720260430417_682006333_n.jpg

Uncle Emmet always buys him the toys HE would like to have (at Christmas he got a full-size light saber, for goodness sake). So his choice of remote control car this year totally won Micah over. He had it mastered in about ten minutes, too.

Oh, thanks, Uncle Emmet. It's our new favorite toy. photo 13907_10152720260650417_108346331_n.jpg

Then the party inevitably moved outside, like it does every year, because we thankfully have had nice weather. It was downright hot! 70 degrees in April is a painful reminder of how hot summer will be. But it meant we got to have a lot of fun. He was christened with the leftover confetti eggs from Easter, then he played in the water, his favorite.

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Making a mess with daddy. photo 306050_10152720261180417_2112556747_n.jpg

Then since his birthday landed on a weekday, Antonio and I took the day off from work to spend with Micah doing something fun just for him. The weather is the absolute opposite of what we had over the weekend- freezing, windy and rainy - so we opted for the Museum of Natural History to go look at volcanos and dinosaurs. And he loved it! The volcano room freaked him out a bit because it's dark, and the floor is thick glass with red lights and fog under it to look like lava. I had to carry him through it until we convinced him to try touching it, and then he ran through it at top speed, haha.

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Water floor! photo 534768_10152720261790417_1900872801_n.jpg

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Happy birthday to my sweet little monkey, I love you!