Monday, October 11, 2010

GIVEAWAY - Ewan the woodland owl

It's that time again! Another GIVEAWAY!!!

This week, I have chosen Ewan the Owl as the prize. Ewan is extremely charming, although a little mischievous. He has a delightful accent and he's a great story-teller. ;) His body is 100% cotton. Most toys with this great "tweed" look are made with wool, but Ewan is purposefully WOOL-FREE, so you don't have to worry about allergies. He is decorated with eco-fi felt and stuffed with poly-fil. He has beautiful earth tones - brown, beige, blue, and gold. He can be a toy or a small throw pillow or he'd even look quite handsome as a nursery decoration. What a great gift for an autumn baby, or as a Christmas gift or even a stocking stuffer for an older child. Find the full listing for him here.

Directions for the giveaway are below. Good luck everyone! Thanks for participating! =)

HOW TO WIN:Your comments on this blog are your entries. **You must leave an emal address in your comments so I can contact you if you're the winner** Invalid entries will be deleted in order to have a fair drawing.

1. Mandatory entry: Become a fan of Lil Hipsters on Facebook, come back and comment, confirming your name!

Extra Entries (must have mandatory entry completed before you can gain extra entries).~~Leave a comment for EACH additional entry!~~

2. Visit Lil Hipsters and tell me your favorite item in the shop.

3. Link this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook

4. Grab my button and leave a link of where I can find it - 3 entries (leave three comments!)

5. Have any Facebook friends who might "like" Lil Hipsters? Refer them! For each friend who likes our FB page and comments below, both you and your friend will get an entry. Be sure they let me know who sent them!

Entries must be received by October 16th, 2010 at 9PM PST. The winner will be announced on the 17th. Open to US residents only. I will select a winner using a random number generator and I will email the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I select a alternate winner.

9.16.10 10:30PM UPDATE:
Congratulations, Maya W - you are the WINNER of Ewan the Owl! He can't wait to fly home to you. ;)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fantastic Cookies!!

So... I'm kind of a Wes Anderson fan, as some of you may have gathered from certain items in the shop. The Fantastic Mr. Fox which came out last year is one of his most creative and artistic movies thus far. I love it. My husband loves it. My baby loves it. If you haven't seen it yet, it comes highly recommended. And you can find some really fun behind-the-scenes stuff here.

The movie refers several times to "Mrs. Bean's Famous Nutmeg Ginger Apple Snaps," which are highly coveted cookies baked by a villainous wife. I admit they sound delicious, and seeing teenage boy foxes risk their lives for a bite or two convinced me they would be. As part of the behind-the-scenes fun on the official website for the movie, an original recipe of sorts was published for the enjoyment of the fans. Mario Batelli (who makes a cameo appearance as chef rabbit) created this recipe, so I was excited to try it. But... I was less than impressed with the results. I mean, maybe I did it wrong... but I remember thinking "If these snaps are famous, then they must have very different tastes on the farm."

After watching the movie again recently, I decided to give it another shot. Maybe someone else had amended the recipe. Made it better. Improved it. A little googling revealed that someone had! The recipe that I used for my second round is found here.

I was so excited when these nostalgic goodies came out of the oven - looking, smelling, and tasting delicious! The coveted cookie had been redeemed! They were quite enjoyable and didn't last long on the plate.

I think they would make a great addition to any recipe box. Fun for Thanksgiving, with a glass of cider. Or maybe just on a rainy day with a good movie - preferably a stop-motion flick about crafty animals looking for adventure... and the meaning of life. :)
Special thanks to A Baker's Doesn't for the delicious recipe!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lovie Giveaway!

This month, I'm happy to announce that I'm celebrating the First Anniversary of opening my Etsy shop! I can hardly believe it's been a whole year. It's such a dream-come-true to be able to craft for living... especially being able to work part-time at it while staying home with my baby. I am so thankful to all the friends and customers who have supported and encouraged me.
To celebrate (cue confetti) I'm hosting another GIVEAWAY! This week, I have chosen one of my new deluxe loveys as the prize. Even if you don't have a baby, I encourage you to enter - they make great baby shower gifts!
It's designed to be an uber-soft beautiful something that your baby or toddler can snuggle with - in the car, stroller, on the couch, anywhere! One side has a designer fabric pattern and the other has a minky fabric, which is so delicious to the touch. And all this is framed with a silky satin binding along the edge. At 18" x 18" it's small enough that they can carry it themselves without tripping too much like they do with those bigger blankies.

You can check out the listing here.

Directions to enter the giveaway are below. Good luck everyone! Thanks for participating! =)

1. Mandatory entry: Become a fan of Lil Hipsters on Facebook, come back and comment, confirming your name!

Extra Entries (must have mandatory entry completed before you can gain extra entries).
~~Leave a comment for EACH additional entry!~~
2. Visit
Lil Hipsters and tell me your favorite item in the shop.
3. Follow my blog.
4. Grab my button and leave a link of where I can find it - 3 entries (leave three comments!)

Entries must be received by August 13th, 2010 at 9PM PST. The winner will be announced on the 14th. Open to US residents only. I will select a winner using a random number generator and I will email the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I select a alternate winner.

Your comments on this blog are your entries
**You must leave an email address in your comments so I can contact you if you're the winner!**

August 14th update:
The WINNER is Justine M! Thanks to everyone for participating. Stay tuned for future giveaways and fun! =)

Friday, June 18, 2010


If you love to knit, but have a rebellious streak, then the new trend of Yarnbombing might be for you.

Yarnbombing is defined as "a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk." So I guess since it's less permanent, it's considered more artful and less... "illegal" than graffiti.
I'm intrigued by two recent news articles on the subject. This one, about a particular Knitter At Large known as the Midnight Knitter, who sneaks out under the cover of night to yarnbomb the street signs, light poles and trees of Cape May, PA. And (on the other end of the spectrum) this story about a woman named Magda Sayeg who cooperated with the city of Austin, TX to install an art project similar to yarn bombing. Obviously the former example is more prevalent.

I wouldn't choose to do it myself. But I don't think I would mind seeing it on the streets - as long as it doesn't interfere with public works or safety, it's easy to remove, it's kept off of trees (it can lead to tree fungus) and off of private property (of course). I really don't understand why people feel the need to do it, but I find it kind of amusing in a weird way. On the other hand... if I had that much spare time, I would probably try to be knitting for preemie babies or the local shelters. It seems a little more worthwhile to me and less... "illegal." :)

What are your thoughts?
You can see more photos here and here

Monday, June 14, 2010

Media Monday: Harry Nilsson

"The Point" is an animated movie made in the 70s. But it made a small comeback during the late 80s when I was a young impressionable girl. It's a really great story about a boy named Oblio, who is different then everyone else in his village, and gets banned to the Pointless Forest where he looks for the Point of it all. He ends up meeting several interesting characters in the forest who offer him their perspective on life... and what the point might be. Come to think of it, it seems pretty philosophical for a kid's movie. And it was a little psychedelic too. Haha. Maybe it wasn't exactly a kids' movie. But a good movie nonetheless and a great soundtrack.

So it was here, as a 7 or 8 year old girl, that I was introduced to the music of Harry Nilsson. His folksy voice and catchy tunes really got a hold of me. He died in 1994, and shortly after his death, the movie You've Got Mail featured 2 or 3 of his songs in their soundtrack. Watching the movie in my teens, I was reminded of him again, and came to love his music. He had an amazing vocal range, and he often did his own harmonies, which helps keep them really tight. Some of his albums are a little more... hardcore. I think there was a time he was experimenting with some heavy drugs and his music really turned to crap later in life. So... I usually pick and choose which songs I listen too. This is definitely a situation where buying songs separately, rather than albums would be better (in my opinion).

Sample here (The Puppy Song, Everybody's Talkin, Me and My Arrow)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I learned from being HACKED!

(This is my full story. For the important bullets, you can scroll down to the bottom ;)

About a week ago, while I was actually in the middle of a large order for the shop, my husband phoned me from work. I know you’re busy, he said, but I thought you might want to know that I just received an email from “you,” saying you are in London and need money. I think your email has been hacked!

I immediately got online to check the situation. Panic set in as I realized that not only could I not log into my email, but I couldn’t retrieve my password through any of the security protocols either. Later, I would learn that the hacker had changed the password, the security question, the profile DOB and location, and the alternative email. I was locked out of my own inbox.

My mind was spinning. What do I do? Who do I go to? What kind of personal information does this stranger now have access to? I felt helpless. My heart started racing as thought of all 350 emails that I had been meaning to sort through for the last few months. Letters from old friends, photos from the family - now possibly lost forever. Almost worse yet - what kind of financial information did I leave in there? Order confirmations that might have had my account numbers or even usernames and passwords to online retailers that might have my credit cards saved. Oh, I felt sick to my stomach. This could be very bad…

The first thing I did was go to every online retailer I could remember ever going to. For me this was relatively easy, because I don’t shop online a whole lot. Basically, it was places like Target, Amazon, Old Navy and Joanns. I logged in to each account, changed the login info. This sounds easy, but it was actually a lot of work. Especially when I got to places like Ebay. I haven’t shopped there in years and couldn’t remember my password, and I didn’t want them to email me a reset link, because I couldn’t access my inbox! Luckily at Ebay they have a live help chat now and a very nice real-live man named Mark was able to assist me through IM. This step (changing my online profiles) probably took me about 2-3 hours, but I did it so that if any of my login info was in my inbox and if the hacker happened to go through looking for that kind of stuff, none of them would work because I would have changed them all.

At this point, I felt like maybe my financial info was somewhat covered. Now to try to get my email back.

After racing through a Google search for help, I was able to locate the Account Recovery form for hotmail. I was saved! All I had to do was fill out this survey, which cleverly asked me several questions about myself, and my inbox (to help them verify that it was mine), and they would reply to me right away with my password reset link. Right?

WRONG. To my surprise, finishing the survey merely opened up a forum - a private one between me and Microsoft Help. Theoretically, I guess they are just supposed to somehow notice that this obscure forum exists before they even try to resolve the issue? I was hoping for something a little more direct. But I decided to have faith. I waited for a day. Nothing. I left another comment in the forum with more details I remembered about my inbox. Nothing. I left another comment, basically saying how anxious I was to resolve the issue. Nothing. The whole experience was not unlike being told, “Oh, you need help? We can help you. Tell us about yourself. Now sit in this room alone while we ignore you.”

Getting frustrated I did more research and found a man who had gone through a similar situation, except that he was able to contact MS customer service directly! Ooo da laly! This email address is surprisingly hard to find in forums or searches, but, if you ever need it, here it is. I was able to use this email to pester them until they finally resolved the issue. Five days after being hacked, I finally got a password reset link and was able to recover my inbox. HURRAY!!

So what did I learn from this experience? How can you learn from my mistakes? Here are some of my suggestions on how to keep your inbox more secure. Be advised: I am not an expert on the subject, these are merely some pointers from my personal experience.

To help prevent hacks:
A password with more than one word - A lot of people know that you should pick a good password with numbers or a hard-to-guess phrase. I had shortened mine to one word because it was fast and easier to type. This was a mistake (and probably how he eventually got me). Did you know that hackers have devised programs that run your password field through the dictionary? Their computers can be trying the same email for days or weeks at a time, running one word after another until they hack in! Never use any one word that can be found in the dictionary as your password.

You get what you pay for - If your email is associated with your business, or is constantly receiving sensitive emails that you wouldn’t want others to see, you might want to switch to the email provided with your ISP over a free host like hotmail or gmail. If anything ever does happen, you’ll have much more support on your side, since they don’t want to lose your business. But places like hotmail have little motivation to help you.
Keep your anti-virus up to date - I was lucky my hacker wasn’t trying to infect my computer, he just wanted to get money from my friends. But some hackers have more villainous plans. Getting an anti-virus and keeping it up-to-date will help protect you.

Other well-known security practices:
Never stay signed in at a public place, like a library, or even your unattended desk at work.
Never sign in with the “remember me” box checked while in a public place.
Always make sure that the lock symbol is visible whenever you sign in. This ensures a secure internet connection. If you don’t see it, look for a link that might provide a secure line. On the hotmail homepage, a link saying “Sign in using enhanced security” may be just under the password field.

As a precaution:
Purge your inbox - Every month or so, go through your inbox and get rid of as many emails as you can. Save photos to your computer. Print precious emails from old friends or important papers so you’ll have a hard copy. Theoretically, you should be ready to leave your inbox behind without notice and not have to worry about what you left in there.

No important papers - I actually had a folder in my inbox labeled “Important papers” In retrospect, this was a mistake. It might be safer to print your important papers or save them to your hard drive and delete them from the inbox.

If all else fails, and you get hacked anyway:
Change your email password - I was unlucky enough to get a pretty aggressive hacker who locked me out. Most of the time, the hacker just wants your contact list to be able to con your friends and they usually don’t even bother to change the password, they just use the one you created. In this case, changing the password and security question right away is usually enough to solve the problem.

Change your profiles - if you did/might have sensitive information in your inbox at the time of the hack, go to those places and change your info. Maybe your user-id but definitely your passwords, so that the hacker can’t get in if he tries.

Make some phone calls - If you’re concerned that your identity is in danger of being stolen, don’t hesitate to call! The bank, credit cards, utilities, anything with online bill pay - just explain the situation and ask them for advice on what you should do.

If you have hotmail, and your password was changed, like mine was, you might want to fill out the Account Recovery form to get help. Then email MS customer service right away, let them know you were hacked, that you have a reset in progress and keep bugging them until they resolve the issue. Be a squeaky wheel!

Hopefully, none of you will ever need this information, but I wanted to try to offer it all in one place in case anyone does.

Do you have any other suggestions or hints? Please share them in a comment below!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Media Monday: Nick Drake

I don't remember the first time I heard Nick Drake's haunting voice. Maybe it was watching Serendipity or Garden State. Maybe it was in a mall or in the background of some mod-feeling tech commercial on TV. But somewhere along the way, I took notice. I probably googled the lyrics just to find out his name. His voice had so much depth and character. He draws you in with his melancholy songs in minor key. I got lost in the sound of his smooth smoky voice. It's perfect rainy day stuff... you know what I mean. A few months ago, I found myself watching a documentary about his life, A Skin Too Few. I think it was during the movie that I realized what a tragic life he led, and how it tragically ended. Unfortunately, Nick never got to enjoy his success. It's almost completely posthumous. But that almost adds to the depth of his sad songs. He didn't have time to release much music, but that makes each song more of a gem. Sample here: (Northern Sky, Day is Done, Time has told Me, One of these Things)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Heart for Tanzania

Carlyn Kerney first visited Africa in 2008, when she worked at the Good Hope Orphanage in Tanzania for four months. “The land, culture, and people of Africa have truly captured my heart and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity and ability to help within Tanzania,” she said. That summer her church helped raise money to buy a water cistern for the district of Karagwe, Tanzania. It provides enough water to support a health clinic in the area, serving thousands of people. 1

In 2009, Carlyn went back to Tanzania: "... I spent time in an incredibly rural village of 6,000 people. About half of that population is children. As I talked with villagers, mainly women and children, I soon learned that the children do not have the opportunity of education because they don't have a school. The level of poverty the village is living in is unbelievable and the lack of education is entirely to blame. It has restricted the population from nearly everything. 99% of Kitwe's population are farmers who must sell their crops locally (because they don't have the resources to travel out) resulting in a price that is less than half what the could get at a larger market. Women spend long days gathering firewood and fetching water, children begin bearing children at 12 and 13, and men work on their plots. When I heard and saw of the great need for a school, I made a promise to the community that I would build them a school with the help of my friends and family here. I am currently building a school that will eventually have 6 classroom and 4 latrines..."2

I heard about Carlyn's efforts through Facebook. I emailed her immediately and asked how I could help. In her emails, she shares heartwarming stories of how she has raised money for the village so far. Like using the money she gets back from her recycling every month! Or sending friends home with red cups to collect their loose change. Needless to say, I found her attitude quite refreshing. In a world mostly bent on cynicism and hopelessness, Carlyn sees the impact that little things can make - like an old can or a handful of coins.

And this upbeat, go-to attitude has paid off. She is already making good on her promise to build a school in the small village of Kitwe. "The budget needed is $45,000 and so far, we've raised about $5,000." It seems like there’s still a long way to go, but it's encouraging to see photos of the schoolhouse already under construction and knowing that it is the humble efforts of Carlyn and her friends that are making this dream a reality.

A schoolhouse is a fantastic accomplishment, but I was curious about how it would be put to good use. So I asked Carlyn what will happen when construction is complete? Will a teacher be brought in? What resources are there to support ongoing education? To my surprise, she has a detailed plan for that too. "We will hire teachers from Tanzania and also open up international volunteer opportunities. I hope to get a grant that will cover the cost of salary for hired teachers for 2+ years. All government schools... have tuition fees. But by getting salary covered for the teachers through a grant, we can escape tuition for a while." She also has ideas for implementing student sponsorship programs.

As far as funds go, Carlyn has been thinking a little bigger than a red cup lately. A benefit concert was held last Wednesday at LaSalles in Chico. Four bands (The Kevin Reid Project, Bear Hunter, Magdalena, Surrogate) lent their talents to help Carlyn raise money. Over $400 was raised for the Kitwe Schoolhouse that night!

Obviously, support is needed to help her complete the task. I'm sure your prayers and good wishes are much appreciated. A website will be up and running soon with information on her projects and how people can get involved. In the meantime, if you'd like to contribute financially to this amazing project, you can send a check to:

Cross and Crown Lutheran Church
5475 Snyder Lane
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(payable to "Cross and Crown Lutheran Church" with "Africa School" written in the memo area)

As Carlyn shares,
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela

1. info taken from the Press Democrat
2. from Bricks for Tanzania Benefit concert (Facebook)
    please also see Chico Enterprise Record

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


One of the more appealing features of is the treasury application, which is "an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery of handpicked items," and basically allows you to arrange some of your favorite Etsy finds into one neatly-packaged little webpage that will be posted on Etsy and last for about 3 days.

Originally, there were alot of limits to the treasury. The biggest in my opinion was that Etsy only allowed a certain number at any given time, so for every one treasury that was expiring, there were several people trying to get theirs uploaded. If you didn't time it just right, you lost your chance. Needless to say, it's a pretty nail-biting, clock-watching, button-pouncing hobby to get into and that's why I used to avoid it.

Until now...

Enter Treasury East. This is a "testing ground for the future of the Treasury." It is different in that you can make as many as you like, whenever you like, and they will never expire. No more watching the clock! You can make them at your leasure, and once they're posted, they will be on the web to be enjoyed indefinitely.

So, I finally checked it out today - made my very first treasuries. And I have to say it was delicious fun. I don't pretend to be the most hip cat in the ally, but it really brings out the designer in me.  It's like planning a party or picking a new color scheme for your bedroom or (more similarly) like arranging a store front window. All of which I thoroughly enjoy. =)

Anyway. Here are my First Treasuries. Tell me what you think! Try one for yourself and post the link in the comments so we can all check it out. The elite that was the Treasurers have fallen. Lets have some fun!

Check out: Earth Day Celebration and Chocolate and Ice

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Media Monday: Swell Season

Well it's Tuesday again. Must be time for another Media Monday. Haha.

I first heard Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova sing their beautiful song "Falling Slowly" while watching the Oscars a couple of years ago. The song was so haunting I remember stopping whatever I was doing to just listen. And thinking, "Wow, these kids are good." Later that night they won an Academy Award for Best Original Song! Well, I'm pretty sure we added the movie ~ Once ~ to our Netflix que almost immediately. It's a cute movie, but the soundtrack is what's really entertaining. I think they actually made the movie around the soundtrack! Anyway... these days the couple have joined forces with Glen's old band The Frames and the accumulation equals The Swell Season. We saw them in concert last year in Oakland, which was terribly exciting. They are very charming and gifted people. Very down-to-earth. Being partly Irish doesn't hurt either. =0)

You can sample their current CD on their website, but don't miss sampling the soundtrack of Once (Falling Slowly, Lies, When Your Mind's Made Up).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reusable Grocery Bag / Tote

I am so excited to be releasing my new line of reusable grocery bags! This is something I've been wanting to do for quite awhile. I had such fun picking out the fabrics and designing them. I wanted to offer something eco-friendly in a style that anyone would be proud to carry to the grocery store or farmers market. These bags would even be great as an everyday tote or a book bag at the library! ;)

Each bag is totally reversible, with a patterned fabric on one side and a solid on the other. I've used a heavier weight, so it's durable, and the fact that it is two-layered really adds to its strength. It's also top-stitched around the edges to help keep the seams from wearing out. These are designed to last!

So (just in time for Earth Day!) I am hosting another GIVEAWAY!!
One lucky winner will receive one of my new stylish reusable bags in this bright summer~loving orange bohemian print with a brown reversible side. You can check out the listing here.
Directions to enter the giveaway are below. Good luck everyone! Thanks for participating! =)

Your comments on this blog are your entries
**You must leave an email address in your comments so I can contact you if you're the winner!**
1. Mandatory Entry (this must be done before other entries) - Become a fan of Lil Hipsters on Facebook, come back and comment, confirming your name!

Extra Entries (must have mandatory entry completed before you can gain extra entries).
~~Leave a comment for EACH additional entry!~~
2. Visit Lil Hipsters and tell me your favorite item in the shop.
3. Follow my blog publicly - confirm your name in comment.
4. Grab my button and leave a link of where I can find it - 3 entries (leave three comments!)
5. Email 3 friends telling them about this giveaway and sending the link  (I'm trusting you on this one) - 3 entries (leave three comments!)

This giveaway will end on April 24, 2010 and is open to US residents only. I will select a winner using a random number generator and I will email the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I select a new winner.

4/20 UPDATE: I will be drawing the winner at 9PM PST on April 24th. Any entries after that will not count. Thanks

Just for fun...

A friend of mine just submitted a video to the Aflac 10 second challenge. I have to say, it's quite brilliant. If you are interested in quirky unique art, or in stop-motion video, or in ice-dancing badgers, you should probably check it out.

You should probably check it out anyway. Don't forget to vote! Today's the last day to do so...

Thanks for supporting indie film artists. Hehe.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Inauguration of Awesomeness

OK. It's time for my first installment of a little something I like to call

*Media Monday*

I know what you're thinking - "Charity - How can you start something called Media Monday today. It's a Tuesday."

Well, I was gonna start it yesterday, but the epiphany came to me a little late in the day. I usually can only guarantee same-day service on epiphanies if they happen in the morning... and I don't want to wait til next week... because I'm too excited.

Back to the matter at hand.

Media Monday was originally gonna be Music Monday, a place where I took the opportunity to share with you some of my favorite albums or songs, usually by little-known up and coming or indie bands. Mostly because mainstream just gives me a headache and I like to share art - even the musical kind.

But then I thought - I like movies too. What if one Monday, I'm all like "Man, I wish it was called Movie Monday instead of Music Monday, so I could share this awesome flic I just saw."

That is how Media Monday was born. The best of both worlds...

Anyhoo. If you're my FB friend, you've already got this link from me. But I just really heart this music and kinda want to share it with the entire world.

Always been a Zooey Deschanel fan. Have you seen Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yet? DOH. I'll have to save that for another week. ;)

Anyway... I bring you:


You can sample some somgs here

Saturday, April 3, 2010

You know you're a mommy when...

...every little thing you eat becomes a meal for two.

I had this delicious streusel blueberry muffin that I got at the Starbuck's drive thru . I had pretty high hopes for this muffin. I purposefully did not devour it in the car, even though I was really hungry, because I wanted to save it for later, when I could take A Moment and savor it... alone... without those blue puppy-dog eyes staring up at me and that syrupy sweet "please" sign.

No no no. He was in the car. Awake. I couldn't let him know what treasure I had in my possession.

So...(surprisingly) everything went according to plan. I took the loooooong way home, he fell asleep in the car listening to Swell Season, I carried him upstairs to his crib, and ever-so-quietly unloaded the car-load of groceries. Then, on the other side of all this glorious accomplishment, I pulled up a kitchen chair to Sit and Eat. Muffin - check. Iced americano perfectly sweetened - check. Peace and quiet - double check.

Then, as I began to unwrap the beautiful pastry paper from the moist delicious muffin, with the gooeyish (but not too gooey!)  blueberries, a funny thought came to me. "My son would love this muffin. What a treat it would be for him. Which part should I save to give him later." I struggled with whether to save the muffin top or the muffin bottom. I ate the bottom first, deciding to be nice and save him some of the top. But then I started eating the top. And it was so yummy and so strueselly... that it became quite apparent half-way through the muffin - my son was not. getting. any.

How funny it is that everything I eat, I assume I'll be sharing. Well, momma's gotta have something all to herself sometimes... and that's ok. =)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We made the Front Page!

Special thanks to Cowlickcutie for including me in her treasury!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sock Monkey GIVEAWAY!

Hello all!

A quick update from the sewing room:

I'm hosting a giveaway this weekend on Facebook! The first 100 fans of my FB page will be eligible to receive a FREE Sock Monkey! These little guys are probably the most popular item in my Etsy shop - totally funky cute and a great gift idea for any of the kids, or kids at heart in your life. Embroidered eyes even make him safe for babies! OR you could just keep him all to yourself. Haha.

So - become a fan, suggest your friends... and good luck!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sticks and Stones

Well, here is the sweater so far. What do you think?

I hope you can't see my mistakes in the cables. Haha. I thought about going back and redoing it, but... I think it would be too depressing. It took too long to get here! Good thing they tell you to do the "back" first. I'll never see this side - and hopefully I'll be better at the pattern by the time I get to the front. As some of the Ravelry ladies say, those little mistakes will just be proof that it was knit by a human instead of a machine. =)

Progress is slow not only because of the complexity of the cable pattern, but also because I got sidetracked by a few other things. I decided at one point that I wanted to finish one of my many other undone projects before I really started this new one. So I put the sweater down and spent some time on the baby quilt for my son. If you count the time I spent thinking about it, it's been about 2 years in the making. But I didn't start sewing it until about 8 months ago. The hand-quilting is really what took so long...

Here is a full-length shot. He got excited that the camera was out and wanted to be included. Awwww! ;)

Here is a close up of the blocks. The tan and grey were the original colors. I added the rest to compliment.  

I asked God for a theme or a special blessing I could put into it. He gave the image of Rock and Stone. The colors in the quilt are very earth-toned, the same as stone, sand and rocks. I arranged the blocks in a simple "brick pattern," and used a grey thread to do the quilting, symbolic of the mortor that would hold bricks together. I know the copper satin binding kinda throws the earthtone mood off a bit. Well, it looks brighter in the photos than in real life. And I thought it kinda added some... pizzaz to it.
 I looked up several verses that describe the Lord as our Rock and also His people as rocks or stones. I plan to hide these references within the quilt. I might use a fine-point pen and tiny letters to write them on a few of the dark blocks where you wouldn't really see it right away unless you were looking... maybe I'll just tuck them inside where no one will see.. like a secret prayer. =)  

"Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house... " 1Peter 2:4,5

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer..." Psalm 18:2

"...And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." Revelation 2:17

Monday, February 1, 2010

Inishturk sweater started...

Finally got the yarn on the needles baby. Wasn't as easy as it sounds though.

First the crazy gauge. This is my first Knit-along, so I've been pretty excited about the sense of community and connection with other knitters. And one thing they've all been saying is that this gauge is a joke.

It's suggested that a size 8 needle and 16 sts across will produce 4" in a Double Seed stitch.
With 8s, I got 3" and with 9s, I got 3.5" (Here is the rest of the math, for my fellow Inishturkers)
I thought about going to 10s or even 11s, as some people have, but wanted to keep the definition in the cables. Some people have opted to use the 8s, but make a larger size to compensate. I was looking for the Size Small (40 in chest), but at the gauge I was knitting, I would have to knit what Lion calls a 1x in order to get a size small sweater... really?? Sounds like alot of stitches to me... I made a compromise. I decided to use size 9 needles and knit a "medium," which would give me close to a small size.

THEN, after I finally figured that out, I got to deal with this whopper of a pattern. Whew! Of all the projects I could've picked for my first knit-along, my first sweater, my first real cables... it had to be this one. Nothing like baptism by fire.

The whole process is much more complicated by the fact that for some reason, the instructions are basically given in an UP DOWN pattern, when everyone knows we knit SIDE to SIDE. Who wrote this thing???

So I basically burned 2 or 3 hours of my life on earth converting each cable pattern into its row sequence one by one. I really hope I am not the only one who will ever benefit from this, so I uploaded it to share with the world:
Lion Brand Knit Along Inishturk Stitch pattern Conversion -

Hopefully I'll have more progress to show soon. o_0

Friday, January 29, 2010

What the fiber?

I've been thinking about and shopping for yarn for the last two weeks. It's tough to shop in craft stores lately, because my little boy is usually with me and he really loves them. I made the mistake ONCE of putting him down in JoAnn's while I tried to grab something from a tall shelf. Of course he took off for the Frames and All Things Delicate, so I pulled out my mommy voice and told him to come back. He just stood there smiling... until I picked him up and then he made sure that I (and everyone else there) knew that he really wanted to go frame shopping, and mommy was being unreasonable. I've tried to go back a few times since, but the boy is too bright for me - he remembers things. I'm not sure what it is in his mind he thinks he needs a frame for - perhaps he wants to decorate his room with original photography....

Anyway. I'm trying to find a yarn for this sweater project I'm working on (the Lion Brand KAL). It calls for Fisherman's Wool, which looks good and seems very quaint and folksy. I dig it. Really. But wool is always so scratchy, and my skin can be sensitive to things like that. So I thought about doing an acrylic, but I really have never liked the feeling of most matte-finished acrylics at ALL - they just feel so cheap and yucky. The Simply Soft is one of my favorite yarns, but it really just seems too "sheeny" (might have just made that up). I definitely wanted something more natural looking, with natural fibers.

I thought about cotton. The Lion Cotton was OK looking but a little too... dishtowelly. Yeah, that's right. So I got myself pretty hooked on the idea of using Lion Cotton-Ease. It's 50% cotton / 50% acrylic, another one of my favorite yarns and it feels totally YUMMY.

Problem #1 Cotton Ease is expensive - about $6 for 3.5 oz AND I was gonna need about 6 or 7 skeins of this stuff.

Problem #2 Can't seem to match dye lots, especially with the amount of yarn I need to buy.

Problem #3 The color I really had my heart set on was Hazelnut, which of course they don't carry anywhere in Chico.

 Soooo... after a week of thinking and debating and trying to shop for yarn while the baby fussed, and sifting through yarns that were too yucky, too sheeny, or too dishtowelly... guess what? I finally deceided just to get the Fisherman's Wool, which was the yarn the pattern originally called for in the first place. HA! Oh the vanity!

I chose this wool because (A) it comes in nice large balls of 8 oz. (B) the less I have to purchase, the easier it is to use coupons and match dye lots, (C) it's a nice natural fiber that I'm hoping will make the cables in the sweater really come through, and (D) the clencher was when I found it in Nature's Brown, which is a beautiful color that I hadn't seen anywhere else.
I ended up paying about $10 for $18 worth of yarn (coupons), which is way better than $42 for cotton-ease. YAY! They only had two in stock, so I still have one more ball to buy. I can already tell it's going to be a lovely yarn to work with...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Recycled yarns (Have I heard that story before?)

My mom taught me from a very young age to separate my recycling from the trash. And being eco-conscious is something that I've proudly carried over to my own household as an adult. Besides the typical recycling bin and being conscious of my carbon footprint, I'm always looking for ways to (a) use something more than once, (b) repair it so I don't have to throw it away or (c) use scraps from one thing for something else. I usually count myself fairly resourceful and clever if I can succeed at any of these. =0)

Several examples of (a) are so ingrained in my everyday routine, I really don't even think about it anymore. But the other day I was wondering what people would think of me if they saw my funny little habits. For instance, although I tend to wipe my son's mouth and hands with a wet wipe after meals, which isn't the most eco-friendly, I also sometimes save the gently-used wipe to be used again at the next meal. I also have a funny habit of cutting things in half so they go twice as far. I cut my cotton balls in half, my dryer sheets, and even after buying the "select-a-size" paper towels, which are already half the size of a regular ones, I rip those in half to make them even smaller. I try not to use any more than I need.

Of course ideally I wouldn't be using these products so much at all. That's been sort of a resolution for me this year - I'm going to look into those reusable dryer ball softeners and I also try to remind myself to use a dishtowel or sponge instead of a paper towel. Honestly, I think it's just the Germ-a-phobe in me that is so attracted to wet wipes. The idea of What might be living on that sponge or dishtowel after a day's use really creeps me out - so that might be a hard one to break... =]

Anyway, all this is coming to a point... really. In light of habit (c) above, I was very excited to do some research today on eco-friendly recycled yarns for use in my merchandise. So far, I've only found Eco-Ways at my local JoAnn's, which I have used in several of my newborn hats.

Today, I was pleased to learn about Lion Recycled Cotton which is made from cotton fabric pieces that would otherwise be discarded when fabric is cut to produce tee-shirts. Brilliant! I love that somebody saw little scraps of cotton going into the trash and thought to themselves "how can we use this?" When most people just see rubbish, someone here saw potential! Red Heart also has a similar item on the market.

Of course there are also plenty of crafty people on Etsy who are actually making recycled yarn themselves by either unraveling old second hand sweaters or even spinning their own reused fibers into a "new" yarn! The ladder is very intriguing to me, but I admit I don't know very much about it. I suppose the former is perfectly feasible for me to do for myself. I'm just kind of apprehensive about destroying a perfectly good sweater to use the yarn for something else (i.e. a sweater). That doesn't seem to have the same impact as redeeming something that was actually going to be thrown away...

Therefore, the yarn I think I might be most excited about is Simply Soft Eco by Caron. Even though it is only 20% recycled material (as opposed to 30% in the EcoWays or about 75% in the recycled cottons), I like the fact that it is Post-Consumer - made from recycled, cleaned and processed plastic bottles. How cool is that?

So I'm looking forward to trying these new yarns out. And I encourage all my knitting and crocheting friends to do the same. I've heard mostly good reviews - some people say you can't tell the difference in texture. Some people say (about the recycled cotton) that it might feel even softer than the virgin fiber cotton!

I believe a trip to the yarn store is in order...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where did she go??

Well, I know it's been awhile! It seems to me that somewhere along the way, I promised to blog more often. Why did I promise me that? I knew the minute i made that promise I wasn't going to keep it.

But the holidays were quite a whirlwind - besides being The Usual Busy trying to find gifts and making travel plans, I also finished a last minute quilt for my mom, and decided somewhere in there that I wanted to get in touch with my "roots" by studying Swedish Christmas traditions. That was kind of a joke. Oh yeah, and I filled about 15 orders on my Etsy page! Lots of Sock Monkeys. =)

The Swedish thing was a joke because I didn't really think of it until a week before Christmas. That's really not enough time to create straw ornaments or find a good gingerbread recipe and about three weeks too late to observe Advent (which is kind of a big deal there I guess). It was frustrating trying to find an authentic Swedish recipe for anything, and if I did, it was in Swedish! I think you lose something in the translation, and of course they use things there that we don't really have here. Lucky for me, a friend on Facebook 'fessed up to being Swedish herself. She kind of took me under her wing a bit, emailed me some of her family recipes and told me alot of ingredients that you usually wouldn't find in the states can be purchased at IKEA. Ikea!! Why didn't I think of that?? I love that place. We take special trips to Sacramento sometimes, just to go to Ikea! Brilliant.

With the holidays upon me, I was not driving to Ikea. But my friend was sweet enough to stop by my house on the morning of Christmas Eve, just to give me a box of Pearl Sugar and one of Swedish Vanilla. Mmmmm. My mouth is watering all over the keyboard just thinking of it.

All that to say: in an effort to squeeze tradition into a ridiculously busy holiday, I have a distinct memory of sitting with my son on the floor of our kitchen on Christmas morning, eating Risgrynsgrot (Rice Pudding) which I had made quite at the last minute, even as Joel was packing our car for a 3 hour drive to my mom's house. We certainly didn't have time to sit around the table and make it A Thing, but I'm proud of myself for making it happen at all.

Here is the recipe if anyone is interested:

3/4c long grain rice
1 1/2c water
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2c milk
1 piece whole cinnamon
Bring rice, water and salt to a boil. Stir, cover, and boil for about 10 minutes over low heat. Add milk and cinnamon and simmer for 30-40 minutes more, until it is nice and thick and the ricec is soft.
I definitely add a little sugar to it. Other toppings options include butter, ground cinnamon, or a little extra milk.
It's a Christmas Eve tradition all over Sweden. They like to put one whole almond in the pot, and whoever finds the almond in their bowl will have good luck next year... or get married... or win a special prize (whichever you prefer). =>

Well, I'm off for now. I have SO many ideas for the Etsy shop, it really isn't funny. New designs are on the horizon! For some reason (probably the fact that I can't say no), I've also signed myself up for this knit-a-long. It's a sweater with a weird name. I like to call it the Crazy Difficult Cable sweater that Charity will weep over.

One last note, if you haven't already, please visit this Etsy shop: 100% of the proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders for Haitian Relief. I donated my Sleek Black ipod Cozy for the cause. <3
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