Friday, April 19, 2013

Aida vs Evenweave

Over at my Etsy store I am still playing around with techniques and ideas to create the best work that I can.  For my cross stitch work my preferred choice was 18 count aida. Here is an example of what a flower looks like on 18 count aida for reference (Husband's Note: This shows how much I know about cross stitch. When I first heard about aida, I kept thinking "Like, the musical?") (Husband's Note: In retrospect, that also probably tells you more about myself than I'd like =>.<=).

I have 14 count aida around the house and waste not want not, I have also used that. For beginners the smaller count size is better as you can get neater stitches when they are bigger. I am not a fan because of the size.

Anyway this weekend I learnt about Evenweave and armed with a 50 percent coupon to Joanns picked up some 28 count evenweave.

Now I am very British in some ways (Husband's Note: Don't believe it, she's Very British in LOTS of ways! Except for the fact that she doesn't like Monty Python or Benny Hill. I love her in spite of her failings, though.), especially when it comes to emotion. Unless I am around my husband and kids, I am rarely the first one to cry, laugh, show excitement. I am certainly not a hugger.  However, the results of this Evenweave have made me positively giddy (Husband's Note: It's true. She's spent the last four days sashaying around the house skipping and laughing The kids are disturbed and I'm starting to worry.). Here is another flower example:

 The left side shows the flowers on 14 count aida, the flowers of the right 28 count evenweave.  The size isn't really the only reason I love the evenweave.  Because it is so much smaller it looks a lot more like fabric.  All those holes are more hidden.

My mind is racing with all the things I can do with the evenweave (Husband's Note: Currently, things 1-47 are "Tell my husband about evenweave.").  I have already started playing again with the teapot cards as the design looks better.  Because of the size it will be easier to more text on the cards as I can fit more on.  The possibilities are endless and I cannot wait to get started!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No Sick Days

Everyone that has children knows that there is no such thing as a sick day.  People without kids don't always understand this, they seem to think as I don't have a job, I don't work.

Anyway last week I was sick (right in time for Easter and my daughter's second birthday!) and I had another non-sick day.  I got the worst case of guilt as all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and this was the opposite of what my kids wanted.  They didn't really get it and wanted to go outside or play their current favourite game "monster".  They see an adult lying down and think that their first response should be to jump on them.  Although they have become much better sleepers recently, they both took this night of all nights to wake up in the middle of the night and have to sleep in our bed. (Husband's Note: As you can imagine, this leaves our bed rather crowded. It doesn't help that our kids are restless sleepers and kick.)

Fortunately I have great in-laws and while I was catching up on sleep this morning, my husband arranged for the kids to spend the night at their place so I am now catching up on much needed rest. (Husband's Note: Oh sure, the in laws are great, but does the husband who arranges anything get any credit? Noooo.)

I started this post with the intention of giving tips on how to cope and get through those horrible days we all have, but between being in a haze of exhaustion and realizing I didn't cope- I just spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself I have no real tips. Just that you will get better, your children won't suffer because they have one day where they watch a little extra tv and there is nothing wrong with throwing a pity party.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Husband's Notes

So, unless you've been under a rock for the last four years, (considering you're reading this online...unlikely) you probably know that the Economy is in the crapper. Going by the most jolly of rubrics, nearly one out of every ten adults is unemployed or underemployed, and that's not even counting the people who've given up. People with Masters degrees are fortunate to get a job flipping burgers at McDonalds, and the longer you've been unemployed, the worse off you have it.

So, what are you to do?

Well, fortunately for you, I'm here to tell you stuff you probably have already figured out by now. Over 75% of success revolves around you actually “showing up”.

Now what do I mean by that?

What I mean is that if you want to do something, daydreaming about it gets you nowhere. You have to have the guts to act on it and make things happen for yourself.

A practical example of this is my wife. And all you crafty types out there. If you didn't take a look at your sewing needles and your macrame and your basket weaving and say “You know, I'll bet someone would pay actual money for this”, you'd be right back to where you began.

Put it another way, 100% of the stuff you never show people will never sell.

And this carries over into every part of life. That pretty girl at the laundromat? That cute guy at the office you've been mooning over for the last six months? If you don't tell them that you're infatuated with them, they won't know. That job you've been thinking of applying to? You won't get it if you don't apply.

So, you crafty types, keep on crafting, and keep your chin up! You're doing great! (Wife's notes: I was reading through this post, having no idea what subject matter my husband was going to pick. Since it made me go all gushy reading it I thought I would refrain from snarky comments)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Photo Example

Following this post I thought I would show an example of improving photos.

This was the original photo:

And this was the one I posted at the store:

Pretty dramatic isn't it? (Husband's Note: It's like....night and day!)

Now, I know I still have some work to do with photos, but it took me literally seconds to do those adjustments with picmonkey (Seriously, check them out!).  Slowly but surely by store will get there!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


So I have officially started my Etsy store and putting a lot of effort into it.  I have been spending a lot of time in the forums and reading articles as I want to make sure the store is the best it can be, but I have realized how much work really needs to be done.

I am pretty excited about it, as I want a project (Husband's Note: Her previous projects were telling me I need to get in shape. Now I can loaf in peace!). Of course I would love for it to be a successful project but right now it is nice to have something to do and to talk about that isn't centered around diapers or speech ability. (Husband's Note: Or how her husband could do with less bacon in general.)

I have been doing a lot of reading on how to make a successful store some of it useful, some of it conflicting, and some of it a waste of time.  So bit by bit I will go through some of what I have learnt.  Today's information: Photography!

*Photographs You need to have good photographs.  If the photo doesn't do your artwork justice, no one will want to buy. This is one area I am still working on and constantly re-taking pictures to see if I can get better light or better angles. I have recently started editing photos on picmonkey and love the site. It is easy to use and you don't need to sign up.

Today I re-took most of my photos and realized I will need to do some of them again...again.  Brightness has been a huge issue I didn't realize how dark my photos were. (Husband's Note: Black as the Ace of Spades, they were.)

Right now my set up is really simple. I have a white board for background and use a white cardboard piece to place the item on.  I photograph right by a window to get as much natural light as possible but I still need to lighten the pictures up after.  Please share any tips you have learnt in your photography adventures.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Potty Training

My eldest child turned three a month ago and I thought he would have been potty trained by now, aren't three year olds supposed to be potty trained?

Jack is stubborn though .  Whether he gets that from his parents or is a by product from his hair colour he stubbornly won't use a potty (Husband's note: He clearly gets it from his mother, don't listen to her!).  He understands the concept, he doesn't want to have accidents (they tend to upset him) yet he doesn't want to sit on a potty and so won't.

I have read the books, the blogs, the advice from other parents.  We have tried the three day method, the charts, the bribery, the long term methods, the stopping for a while to give him a break, the list goes on.

I know he won't be in diapers forever, and have come to accept the fact that when he is ready he will use the potty and there is not point forcing the issue and making everyone more upset but it is just one more thing to add do the list of things you don't want to have to discuss with the other parents at the park. (Husband's note: among those topics are what your toddler is doing with those cigarette butts, and your daughter's affinity for finding all the sharp goods in the house.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

First Sale

Just made my first Etsy sale, so thought this would be a good opportunity to do some self promotion.  Please visit this store:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why Do I Buy My Children Toys?

It is becoming increasingly more obvious that I really shouldn't be buying my children toys.  After the first twenty-four hours most toys have made their way to the bottom of the toy box never to be played with again. The best toys my kids have played with have either been found free or cheaply at places like the dollar store. Here's some of the improvised toys we've come up with.

  • Sticks:  Sticks are Holly's favourite.  The first thing she does when stepping out the front door is to look for a fallen stick.  This stick will not leave her hands for the rest of the day.  Some days she will collect sticks and come home with handfuls, some days she breaks the one she has into smaller pieces but it all boils down to she loves her sticks. [Husband's note: Or the car. There's enough twigs in the back of my car to start a small campfire.]
  • Sponges:  I bought a 10 pack of sponges from the dollar store and cut them up.  Jack in particular loved these.  They were light blocks and he made towers, constructed a train out of them, and threw them around (my favourite part about them being sponges).  His favourite game was making towers on each others heads and seeing how high they got before someone inevitably moved.  The sponges I found were also in primary colours so I snuck in some colour lessons while we were playing.  Yes you could do these games with any blocks but for a dollar the price could not be beaten. [Husband's Note: The more astute of you may have gathered that my wife isn't from around here. She is from England, where they insist on putting "u's" where they don't necessarily belong.]
  • Cardboard boxes: I don't think this one needs any explanation, kids love boxes and I knew this before having children.  What I have learnt though is young children love the toy boxes.  Jack has spent more time admiring the picture of Thomas on the box than the train that came in the box. [Husband's note: For extra fun, toss your cat in the box with your kids! Make sure you have plenty of Neosporin, Bactine, or your other favorite brand of disinfectant.]
  • Balloons: As you saw from the last post Jack just had a birthday and as part of the decorating we bought some balloons and blew them up.  He had the usual fun with the balloons scattered around the room but it wasn't until the next day the real fun was had.  My husband would blow up the balloon and then let it fly around the room.  Both kids went into hysterics ran after the balloon and brought it back. [Husband's Note: Fellow husband's, take note: this activity can be done sitting in your couch drinking beer. I know, I AM a genius.] 
  • Laser Pointer:  We got a laser pointer for the cat but our kids have played with it more.  Holly wanders around holding it and Jack chases the red dot.  [Husband's note: That's not entirely true. While Jack has a similar reaction to the cat upon seeing the offending dot the laser produces, Holly realizes that the doohickey that I'm holding is creating it, and thus, SHE MUST HAVE IT! So far, I have succeeded in keeping it from her grasp. I fear with her persistence, it's only a matter of time.]

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dinosaur Party and Pinterest

Like many people I enjoy browsing on Pinterest.  My husband will say that I need a "pintervention"[Husband: She does. Remember, the first step is admitting you have a problem] but really I don't go on that much nor do I attempt to do many of the projects I do find.  However, when I was a planning a mini dinosaur party for my sons third birthday I had to give some of the ideas a try.
My favourite was the hats:

The kids didn't like wearing them (they don't wear many hats) because of the string underneath their chin but they were so simple to make and so fun I didn't care too much.  A little bit of construction paper slipped into the seams of the hats and voila cheap generic hats are now fun and interesting.

This idea I couldn't take credit mother was in town and saw a picture of this watermelon dinosaur head and was determined to do it.  Unfortunately the watermelon we grabbed was far too ripe and juice got everywhere and made the whole project harder. But it certainly impressed me, as I would have surely cut a finger (or two) off attempting it [Husband's Note: My wife is the single most accident prone woman I know. If she's not careful, she could burn down the apartment making cereal].

 The main part of the theme was the cake. That I didn't find on Pinterest, but in a quick google search. It was based off many cakes of a similar design.   I am definietly not a cake decorator but considering how it could have come out I was happy. The little touches I-again-have to credit my mother.  She roasted coconut for the base and made tree out of long biscuits and parsley.  The look on Jack's face made all the work worthwhile. [Husband's Note: There I am, resplendent in my polo and dinosaur hat. Bask in my magnificence, muahaha!]