Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day... a little late!

Valentine's Day is, although very commercial, very cute. It's fun. It's a nice excuse to get a box of chocolates. :-) Goodness knows I'm a chocoholic! DH did well this year, and got me a box of Ghiradelli chocolates. Yum!

It's also cute because of the kidlets and their Valentines. I remember being in grade school, and trading cards. I could give the boy on whom I had a secret crush a valentine, and he'd never know that I had a crush on him because everyone else got one too. Sounds weird, but it was just the fact that I could express my "love" to him without him knowing it that was great.

Thing One and Thing Two were very excited about Valentine's Day this year. And I have to say, I was excited for them! I bought super cool (by my standards) Valentines last year for them to give out this year. I got them on an after season clearance sale for about fifty cents a box. Yay me! Thing one had cool leggo sticker puzzle cards, and Thing Two had cute 3-D cards. (The ones that are wavy plastic on top. When you hold them one way you see one thing, and if you hold them the other, you see something else.) Both were very cool. Each kiddo was going to get a lollipop taped to their card. (In MY day's it would have been a lollipop taped to their ENVELOPE. When did Valentine's stop coming with envelopes? What a PIA.)

Well, theeen I found that Chuck E. Cheese had FREE printable Valentines online. The side of the Valentine was a coupon for five FREE tokens. How fun would that be for the kids, I thought. My kids go NUTS over CEC.

Unfortunately, I later realized that the coupon was only good with a food purchase. DRAT! They were already printed and cut. They were going out anyway. They could sit in other parents homes like the Wendy's or Friendly's coupons that we get.

But THHHEEEENNN I found a cute tutorial on making heart shaped lollipops out of mini candy canes. Actually, I found this shortly after Christmas, stocked up on mini candy canes, and forgot about them. Well, that is, until one box fell face down on the floor, and almost off of the candy canes inside broke. And then I forgot again until another box fell and broke. That's when I decided to move the boxes off the sewing table. :-P

So the night before the big Valentine's Day party I, with house guests, remembered to make my lollipops. After all, how hard could they be, right? Five minutes in a 300 degree oven, insert lollipop stick, pinch closed, cool, wrap. Easy as pie.... Well, I'm not very good at cooking pie... Ask my family who, ever so nicely, attempted to eat my Shoo Fly pie that I made for Thanksgiving last year. That's a mistake I won't make again. Same with these lollipops.

Really, they're a very simple idea. Bake until they just start to melt. This is supposed to take around five minutes. Well, it didn't. First batch, not six minutes either. So up I went to read the kids a QUICK story. Came back down, and they were a meltly, unrecognizable mess on the tray. Good thing I still had six boxes of good candy canes!

Next batch went in the oven. Next batch still was not melted at five minutes or six minutes. At approx six minutes and 22 seconds, they were a melty mess, but still resembled candy cane hearts. They were going to preschoolers and kindergartners, so they were good enough for me!

Time to put the sticks in place. Well, that was a whole other ball game. The tutorial mentioned to be careful because the pan would still be HOT, but failed to say, "Hey, Stupid! You just melted hard candy. While it's still pliable, it's going to be scorching hot!" I found this out the hard way. I also realized that the candy cools down VERY fast. Too fast, as a matter of fact, to get all of my lollipop sticks situated, so I had to put them back in the oven to remelt them, and hope that I didn't OVER melt them.

Batch number three was in the oven, and D asked me if I had any good ones yet. She saw the yukky mess of the first batch. I gave her a curt "NO," but didn't mean it snippy towards her, but just because I was frustrated in general. She laughed, and told me that she was only joking when she asked. Her laughing lightened me for a few. A laugh with D will always do this. :-)

I finally started putting the lollipop sticks in the oven as I was melting the candy. It saved a few precious seconds, and seemed to work better. The lollipops started working and looking better, and as I said, they were going to 3/4/5/6 year olds who wouldn't/couldn't appreciate all the time and effort I was putting into them anyway.

Then came time for wrapping them. This is where I found out just how fragile they are! As I told D, be careful how hard you put them down. Be careful of how you even look at them because if you look at them wrong they'll break! Let's just hope that some of the school kids got ones that weren't broken. Too bad if they didn't. At least the teachers got to see them before the kids got to them.

They looked cuter when they were all wrapped up, but the whole ordeal was just very stressful to me. If I had to do it again, I would have about five more boxes of candy canes, and I'd start making them before 8:30-9 PM the night before they're due. But I think that next year I'll just buy the red heart lollipops again. :-P

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Posting Pictures

Can anyone PUH-LEASE tell me how I can post pictures in the middle of my blog? Thanks so much!!

Uh oh! We need a tooth pillow!

What do you do when your first born looses his first tooth, and you don't yet have a tooth pillow? Do you:
A.) Run to the store (the day after a blizzard) and hope that they have tooth pillows there?
B.) Go to Etsy, find the closest makers of tooth pillows there, and drive an hour to get one (the day after a blizzard)?
C.) Tell them to forget about a tooth pillow, just put the tooth under the pillow? No, I don't care how much you wanted a tooth pillow, just put the dang tooth under the pillow!
D.) Say you've been bad, and the Tooth Fairy isn't going to come tonight anyway? or
E.) Search your house to see what kind of craft/sewing materials you have on hand.
I thought about "C", but went with option "E" instead.
Thing One lost his first tooth today. I didn't think it would come out for another week or so. He came to me this morning, and told me that he was playing with it, and look what happened! (He broke the front part of the tooth loose, so it was only holding on with the back.) I still thought it would be there for a while.
As he was eating his PopTart (yeah, great breakfast, I know...) he told me that he was chewing with his front tooth. I told him that he's supposed to only BITE with his front teeth, and if he's having a problem with that then to break apart his PopTart. He asked me to do it for him because apparently (I'm so much better at it), he was breaking the pieces too large, and if he made them smaller he got filling all over his hands.
As I was breaking it apart, he started shouting, "MOM! LOOK!" He spit out his tooth in his hand, and triumphantly held it up for me to see. No blood. No mess. No pain. No crying. He was so proud!

Thing Two, on the other hand, was not so proud. She looked at his tooth, at his mouth, and back at his tooth and turned a shade of green/gray. I thought she was going to pass out! She exclaimed that she DID NOT like it, and she wanted it back in his mouth. I told her that a new BIG tooth was growing there, and that's why the little one fell out. I told her that she could see the new tooth coming up where the other one was. (It was actually just part of his gum that was whitish where the tooth was attached just moments before.) She was happy with that, and her normal color returned to her face. THANK GOODNESS!
So instead of getting worrying about a tooth pillow then, I did some work, played on FaceBook, played with the kids, talked on the phone, went outside and played in the snow, played on FaceBook some more, talked on the phone more, had dinner, read some blogs, played with the kids, and then I realized that it was time for bed. And Thing One was adamant about NOT going to bed without a tooth pillow.
So I searched my house for acceptable materials for a tooth pillow. Actually, several times during the day I looked for fabric that I had purchased to use as a nap mat cover last year, but never made the cover. It's some kind of blue Hulk material. Blue is Thing One's favorite color. Perfect! Use blue Hulk material, a piece of white felt, and some stuffing. Uh oh. No stuffing... Doesn't matter anyway, I can't find the blue material...
I DID find, however, black felt, white felt, and red felt. You know what colors they are, don't you? PIRATE!! So I made a pirate tooth pillow.
Step one - Draw a rough skull outline on a piece of paper.

Step 2 - pin rough skull skull shape to white felt. Cut out skull shape. (I have two here because I was going to make the pillow just the skull. I wasn't going to put it on an actual pillow.)

Step three - Cut out eye shape and eye patch shape from black felt. Using scraps, cut four (or so) strips for the space between the teeth, a strip for the eye patch strap, and a rounded upside down heart for the nose.

Step four - Cut a boat shape, and a tail shape from red felt.

(Assemble pieces on white skull cut out several times to see if they fit properly. Cut smaller to fix if they do not. :-P )

Step five - Using coordinating thread, stitch on face pieces. I used a straight stitch. One stitch up/down for the teeth (in the middle of the strip of felt), Out line of the patch, patch strap, eye, and nose. Stitch along the top edge of your skull to stitch on the red bandanna. Don't stitch on your "knot" yet. (I made this mistake.)
DON'T stitch the top of your eye patch closed. This will be where your tooth/reward goes.

Step six - Stitch your skull face onto your black felt. Which, in my directions, I have omitted as a step b/c I wasn't going to do this... So let's back up a minute....

Step SIX - Cut a two pieces of black felt just bigger than your skull.

Step SEVEN - Stitch your skull face onto your black felt. I used black thread on the white skull because I like the contrasting look. You can use white if you'd like.

Step eight - Stitch your knot/tail onto your bandanna and your front of your pillow. Make sure you stitch down the tails as well. I didn't do this, and I'm afraid Thing Two might pull it off.

Step nine - Lay your front and back pieces of felt together, wrong sides facing. (I wanted a rough edge. It's a pirate skull after all.) Stitch around right side, top, and left side. Leave the bottom open for stuffing.

Step ten - Using Polyfill (which I didn't have. Luckily I had some batting.) or other stuffing material you have on hand, stuff that baby good!

Step eleven - Stitch the bottom of your pillow closed. When your tension gets all messed up on your final stitches, yell and and bang stuff because you're so close to being done, and now your machine is messing up.

Step twelve - Decide that you don't care to unstitch the messy, loopy stitches that came from your bobbin. You're just going to cut them off and sew over them. It's black thread on black felt on your son's tooth pillow. No one's going to notice.

Step thirteen - (I had to make this one up because I don't want to end on Thirteen!) Squish your pillow to flatten out the inside filling. (Okay, I didn't really make this up. I really did this. It made the pillow look nicer to have the filling a little more even.)

Step fourteen - Give to the toothless one, place tooth inside, place under pillow and hope the Tooth Fairy remembers!

I made this in about an hour. The ONLY reason it took so long is because I didn't have a plan for it, and I kept changing things up. Now that I know what I'm doing, it should only take about 30 minutes. I might go to the store Tuesday and get more felt to make one for Thing Two... Not that she's anywhere near loosing her teeth, but I'd rather not be so pressed for time next time!

Monday, February 8, 2010

99 leggies...

"99 pairs of leggies are done. 99 pairs all done. If one of those pairs should happen to sell, 98 pairs of leggies all done..."

Yup. Finally getting around to the bulk of it. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna succeed at this. *I* have to do it. No one else is going to do it for me. No one else is going to make me succeed, and no one is going to hold me back. I hold my future success (or lack thereof) in my hands.

Not so much a blog, but some positive reinforcement to myself...

I have a "vendor fair" next month. I was up in the air about it for a little while, and then spoke about it with a friend. She jumped right on it, and I was amazed. Although, her fire for it was contagious, and soon I was VERY excited about attending. It was a nice feeling to be excited about this business again. I've been down in the dumps about it for about 2 weeks now. You see, I've found that another person has finally come up the the same idea as I have come up with in regard to the leggies. They've also decided to market their leggies. I've been very sad, mad, whatever because I didn't follow through with the patent process, and now he was this new person with *my* idea, and they were (selling them for a lot more) getting all kinds of exposure -everywhere.

They're not going to hold me down though. There are all kinds of different manufacturers of the same products. Most of them all do well. Look at Baby Legs leg warmers, and look at all of the work-at-home-mammas who make them, and make a nice living off of them.

I can do this. I BELIEVE in this. I BELIEVE in MYSELF (most times). I'm out of my slump. I'm going to get all of my inventory back on track, and I'm going to kick patootie at the vendor fair.

Thanks *M* for helping to get me back on track! <3