Tag Archives: crafts

Yay stuff!

This has been SUCH a busy week.  Yesterday I was moving CONSTANTLY from 7am until 10:30pm.  Work work work.


To pick up my saga where I left off (since I know you’d be disappointed if I didn’t :-P), on Tuesday I verified with our landlord that unfortunately a replacement washer is *not* included in our lease (boo), and then got to go washer shopping (whee?).  I found one at a well-reviewed used appliance place for less than $200, the same model of Kenmore that my parents have.  Our last set in St. Louis were Kenmores, too.  I love those.  You can’t kill ’em.


We ran a couple more errands on Tuesday, too, and I canned 4 quarts of the apples from last weekend’s adventure, into unsweetened applesauce.  And I have this little doohicky that makes things go RIDICULOUSLY FAST!

I actually got it on clearance at Target at the end of last season, and I think it’s the best $13 I ever spent.  I was able to core, peel and slice my whole pot full of apples in about 15 minutes.  That usually takes me HOURS.


Our local grocery store also had 20-quart stock pots on sale for $4.99 each this week, so I picked up one of those and did Wednesday’s batch of applesauce in it, instead of my big Le Creuset pot.  I was able to do 5 quarts of applesauce in one batch (cook the apples down in the stock pot, then heat the sauce in the Le Creuset).  So two days work = 9 quarts of applesauce.  And that’s less than half our haul!


Oh I do love canning.


I’ve also been making cinnamon rolls like there’s no tomorrow.  I did one batch for us, and then decided to get on the neighbors’ good side by making a batch for them.

In a marked departure from tradition, I sprinkled just the tiniest hint of nutmeg on with the cinnamon and sugars, and then put some maple flavoring in the icing.  It’s like eating fall.  OM NOM NOM AUTUMN.  (Here’s that recipe again, if you’re interested)


The new washer was delivered on Wednesday morning, and I spent all afternoon and evening chugging through the massive laundry pile that built up over the past two weeks.  I’m *still* not all caught up, but a lot of that is because I’m doing a wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse-wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse on all the diapers (two loads), to try and get out all the built up detergent and ammonia that crappy old washer was (unbeknownst to us) failing to remove.


Don’t tell anybody, but I actually think stripping (and just normal laundering!) diapers is kind of fun.  They’re so fluffy and soft and nice smelling!


Today, though, was the most exciting!  First we got to go to the HYUNDAI DEALERSHIP!  wheeeee!!!  And we got to eat breakfast there (cheese sticks, granola and banana!), and play with A BASKETBALL!  And Mama got her car fixed!  And it was under WARRANTY!

Yeah, it’s not exciting.  No matter how I spin it.


On a completely different (and legitimately exciting) note:  Ohio Mart!


I had been looking forward to this for SO LONG, until Jeff and I actually looked at our calendars and realized that it conflicted with his cousin’s wedding in St. Louis.  And given that Jeff has to go to that silly place called “work” every day to earn “money” so we can “eat” (Ugh.  PRIORITIES, MAN.), he wouldn’t be able to go with us on Thursday or Friday.


Which meant that we had to have a Weekend Adventure in the middle of the week, with only 67% of the usual adventuring team.  But we pressed on.


Ohio Mart!


I present to you the finest photo ever taken at the festival’s interest:

Blurry back of a stranger’s head? Check!

Photographer’s finger in corner? Check!

Lack of discernible subject?  Check-CHECK!


Simon was none too impressed, either.

Actually, that picture was taken about 15 minutes before this happened:

This was the perfect situation to have the stroller, BTW.  No Jeff to help bear the load, a bunch of random crap to haul, and a baby who suddenly finds the wraps to be more exciting than sleep-inducing.  So I wore him about half the time, and strolled him the rest.


I shouldn’t have been surprised about the demographics represented here, since we went on a Thursday morning and all.  It was mostly retirees, “ladies who lunch”, and a handful of other young moms.  All other things being equal, I think I prefer adventuring on weekends.


It was nice strolling on the beautiful grounds and window-shopping in the booths (a lot of the stuff wasn’t really my taste, but was pretty anyway).  And then there was…the rest.  Take the World’s Largest Assemblage of Fun Fur, for example.

That hurts my eyes.  And my heart.


I also saw this craft, which falls in the category of “cute idea, crappy execution”:

I could see myself putting together something sort of like that (only better… ;-)), maybe in blue/white, for late winter?  I’d use Lamb’s Pride Bulky or Lion Brand Thick ‘n Quick and do it a little more thicker and rustic looking.  I can see it in my mind.  It looks nice in there.*


But ANYWAY.  The gardens! And the hall!  I wish we could’ve gone inside (but I decided to save that for sometime when Jeff can come :)).


I think I’m going to doctor up this photo and make it my phone wallpaper.

Have I mentioned I love autumn?


I also love food (because duh).  I pretty much gorged myself all day.  With hot spiced cider!


And pumpkin roll!

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m seriously going to have to breastfeed forever so I can gluttonize guilt-free.  Or else take up ultramarathons and/or Zumba once the last Hoopling is weaned.  Probably ultramarathons.  Less silly looking.


I’ll wrap up with a picture from the end of our visit (not coincidentally, about 5 minutes before it started pouring rain):

(My mom showed that to someone at her work, who said “He’s so sweet I could get diabetes just looking at that picture!”  I concur, work lady.  My wonderful sugary babyface!)


TWO SEPARATE groups of old ladies stopped behind me and started cajoling Simon to smile for the camera as he posed in this little setup. 😀


(I also texted that picture to Mona, Miss “Orange County winters are so cold!”, and she started chastising me for not having Simon bundled up enough in the harsh midwestern air.  It was 75*!  Silly California friend.  I miss her :))


Yay for OhioMart!


Kathy, I only wish you could’ve come along 🙂  We’d have had a blast!


This has gotten long enough for tonight.  Tomorrow I’ll show you my most exciting find from the festival.


What’s your favorite autumn activity? (we’re on the lookout for more weekend adventures…)





I could be stitching

But I’m taking the time instead to tell y’all all about the past few days in the Hoops household.  YOU’RE WELCOME. 😛


The funnest (shaddup) thing was on Friday night:  I’d seen signs stuck on various lawns and curbs advertising a Greek festival, and there is literally nothing in the world I love more than eating baklava and watching children dance in ethnic garb, so that evening we loaded up and swung by the courthouse and retrieved Jeff.  I plied him with gyros and spanikopita, yes I did.


We used to go to one in Kansas City every year when I was little, and I always loved it.  Jeff had never been before, so I was excited to share the experience with him too 🙂


This one was PACKED.  Definitely not a secret among Akronites.


We waited in line to sit out in the tent, and Jeff got his gyro and I got my spanikopita (NOM) and we split an order of calimari (meh).


And then there was dancing!  Wee little kiddies dancing in traditional clothing!  My favorite!

See the tiny girl at the end of the chain?  She was so cute I could hardly stand it.


But then something miraculous happened:

That unassuming triangular pastry, my friends, is the most delicious baklava to have ever existed.  EVER.  Something about it…the honey?  The nuts that were finely ground but not paste-like?  The tiny hint of clove?  PERFECTION.  And I should know, I’ve eaten my fair share of baklava.


It has set me on a mission:  I must replicate this baklava!


BTW, here’s how you know that Jeff has become of secondary import in my life:

Sorry, Love. But the baby was being cute! 😛


After the dancing and baklava eating and such, we browsed inside at the silent auction and tag sale, and then I found a little cardboard art print of a girl babywearing ($1!) so that came home with me.


It was an awesome time.  OPA!


On Saturday we just ran some errands.  It was rainy so Simon and I wandered around the mall for a bit while Jeff got his hair cut (I found Simon the cutest little footy pajamas on clearance at The Children’s Place – they have castles and baby dragons!).  Nothing too exciting.  Then on Sunday Jeff and I went on (duh duh DUNNNNNNNNNNN!)…


A date!!!


All by ourselves! Like two grownups!  For the first time since about MAY 2012.  That, in case you’re curious, is about 16 dateless months.  Think on that.


Lucy and her daughter Sarah came over to watch Simes and Roxie (mostly Roxie), and we went to see The World’s End – the new Simon Pegg movie, the final part of the Cornetto trilogy.  The movie was OK (not as good as Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead), but it was SO NICE to have a grownup conversation with Jeff, eat popcorn and Red Vines, and just not be “Mama” for a couple hours.


When we got home, Simon told us in great detail about all the fun he had with his babysitters:  they gave him cheese!  And played with blocks and the pushwalker and wagon!  He definitely had a good time, and I think Jeff and I will be able to leave him and go on another date before a further 16 months have passed 😉


This week so far has been pretty uneventful:  now that we’re mostly unpacked (everything but the office) we’ve really been ale to settle into a routine.  I need to take pretty pictures of the house to share with you, but I’m sort of procrastinating because I’d like to paint the front porch and buy some furniture for the office first.  And I desperately NEED to get the big ol’ baby gate partition thing installed around the staircase and TV.  Simon has gotten too dang fast at scrambling up and down those stairs.


Yesterday afternoon I decided that we needed some sort of cute seasonal decoration for the front door, so Simon and I headed out to Michaels and JoAnn.  I got a couple autumn leaf garlands and some cinnamon pinecones for the mantle.  Nothing called to me for the front door, though:  it was all either insipid, tacky, expensive, or some combination thereof.  Then while I was browsing the pre-made wreaths in JoAnn (and giving Simon a detailed explanation of why each one was lacking in some vital way) I saw this picture on a display:


Cute, right?  Simple and classy and not all froofy.  No droopy-eyed scarecrows or inexplicably glittery apples.


I wasn’t madly in love with the color scheme though, or the way the raffia was obviously wrapped around an angled foam wreath form – it reads a little “beach wedding in 2006” to me.  So I got a round straw form and some raffia in more autumnal colors, and a a super helpful associate told me how to replicate it.


Suffice it to say that my little project didn’t go as smoothly as I’d planned (do they ever?).  Dinner plans went out the window as I wrestled the glue gun, and Simon spent a good chunk of the late afternoon in his high chair munching on cinnamon apple sticks and watching me curse under my breath.


THREE FUCKING HOURS LATER, covered in innumerable hot glue burns and ankle deep in raffia scraps, I had this:

And there it is, on our front door.  I sort of love it.  I’m glad it turned out well, but I need to remember that this kind of “product” crafting is no fun for anybody, and I should have just bought a damn wreath.  But hey, it was only $20 (including glue sticks), so not a bad way to kill an evening.  If anybody’s madly in love with it I can share some tricks for making your own, but I’ll spare the tutorial if no one cares 😉


Do me a favor?  Next time you even SUSPECT that I might be contemplating a fun fall craft, just shoot me OK?  My family will thank you.


I love ending posts with Simon pics, so here you go.  Playing with his kitty:

(box-filled office in the background, of course).


Macbeth is SO happy in this new house! He has resumed all former scampering activities, including “crazy cat hour” (something he hasn’t done since Othello died).  He’s even started playing with his toys and hopping around like a madcat on the furniture.  His appetite has picked up, too.  I didn’t realize how unhappy he was in that tiny LA apartment, until we noticed the marked difference here :(.


Last one!

It’s kind of ridiculous how much I love him.  That dimple!

Strange Folk 2011

Friends, I mourn.

Because I have just attended what I fear may be my last ever Strange Folk festival.*

So, of course, I appreciated the hell out of it while I still could.

Remember my challenge from late last week?  By Thursday evening I’d finished the largest portion of the calf.  I knitted during the entire Cardinals game – and on the train, both ways – on Friday night.  Then I woke up at 7am on Friday, knitted the foot, and kitchenered-off at about 9:30 while Jeff was in the shower.

I had plenty of time, dudes. No sweat.


(That color is accurate, if a bit overdark).

Further proof (photos taken Saturday evening back at home):

And then I’m all, “Holy shit did I really just knit a pair of knee socks in 5 days?”

There HAS to be a 12-step program for knitting.  Please tell me there is.

I love those knee socks, though.  The yarn is glorious, and made that much more special by the consideration shown in its procurement.  It’s the perfect combination of knitting + love.  Jeff rocks.

Anyway.  Strange Folk.  (My mind is way too scattered lately…)

That banner gives me a happy.  A sight for sore eyes.

I think this was the largest I’d ever seen the festival:

In a way, approaching that field was like coming home.  I knew exactly what to expect, but at the same time I had no idea what I’d find.  I love that feeling.

I also love how they have the adoptable animals strategically located near the entrance/exit, and these awesome directional signs scattered about:

Kitten cheeks = universal navigation.

I really wanted to take these babies home with me:

I bet you can guess how THAT turned out, though.  ::sigh::

(Tenth Life, y’all.  Great organization.  Give them money, or take a cat.)

After Jeff dragged me away from the kittens, I started yarn bomb stalking:

I love it.

So cool:

You know Jeff and I can never resist a cupcake:

It provided the vital energy required to go forth and shop.

Speaking of shopping (and people-watching :-)):

We also nommed gyros (Jeff) and chicken sausage in dubious casing (me, and I won’t be doing that again.), and caught up a bit with Kara, Deborah, Sharon and Mindy.  Allegedly Kim was there, too, but I didn’t see her.

All this went down with a background of great music – every singer/group I heard was fantastic, especially the harpist: who knew that “Space Oddity” lent itself so well to the harp?

The booths were all amazing this year: great variety, and very little duplication of genre.  All my favorites were there, as well as some newcomers.  Everyone I spoke with was super nice,  and my only problem – as usual – was that I was unable to purchase something from everyone.

(I’m also, apparently, too shy to ask people to take photos of their booths:  I didn’t get a single one, even of Dyeabolical and their primo location.)

I was good.  As good as I could be.

This was my favorite: Lets Be Friends had a whole bunch of super adorable furry stuffed”Woodland Friends” monsters, and I wanted to take them all home with me.  Until I saw that she also had mystery Woodland Friends: you buy a little felt bag…

And open the top stitching, to reveal your mini Woodland Friend inside!

That’s about the cleverest thing I’ve ever seen, and I love my tiny new Woodland Friend.  (He’s destined to live on a shelf in an eventual Hoopling nursery, I’m thinking.)  I hope the shop owner puts some of her other Friends online soon, for you to see!  They’re all just so adorable.

(Update 9/27 – I just found some great photos on Flickr, from another festival attendee.  Here are the full-size Woodland Friends!)

This apron was my “big” find, a half-apron from Thimblism:

Check out that print:

Is it not absolutely fantastic?  And I love a half apron with a pocket.  So useful.

I also found a yarn (of course):

That’s my first dose of Dyeabolical Bling sock, and I think it’s destined to be some pimpin’ winter socks.  I may invent a pattern and call it “Pimpin’ in a winter wonderland” and it’ll have mountains and snowflakes and swirling drifts.  And bling.

I also got some more Candle Kitty tart melts and a little tealight:

These are seriously the best-smelling soy candles ever.  Love it!  (I got the melts in “Amish Harvest”, and it’s amazing and complex and wonderful.)

And from Rar Rar Press, a “Knitta Please” button:

My life is now complete.

Bonus Woodland Friend goodness:

My face looks happy, but my heart is sad: because now there’s no more Strange Folk.

Thank you, Strange Folk, for all the memories.  And music.  And food.  And stuff.

PS>For a fun sense of deja vu, check out previous posts here and here!

PPS>Upon reflection, it turns out I incorrectly attributed the source of my awesome necklace in last year’s post – must’ve gotten my business cards mixed up.  That necklace was from Anna Ourth Jewelry, and this year I had to go by her table and tell her how much I love that necklace.  And wish to purchase all the rest of her inventory.


*Unless the winds of fate change and for some reason we’re still living in St. Louis this time next year.  Which is highly unlikely – pending some clerkship-related anomaly – given that Jeff has received a lovely job offer in Washington DC.

St. Louis RenFest 2009

Honestly, I’m not in the wittiest mood ever right now, but I know I promised a post today so I’ll just get this out there and over with (way to entice the readers, eh? )

I’ll spare y’all the long, drawn-out retelling of our adventures at the St. Louis Renaissance Festival last Saturday.  Been there, done that, y’know?

But it was Roxie’s first time!

She did so good!  She carried her own water bottles, folding dish and extra collar in her packpack.  People kept asking if she was a service dog, though.  Or a service dog in training.

Even though she was excited by all the other dogs and people, she didn’t pull too badly – I don’t know how much of that was the extra weight of the packpack and how much was her fancy new Gentle Leader harness, but we were really proud of her.

That is, until she started hanging out under the bleachers…

Yeah, she’s *that* kind of girl!

The only problem we really had with Roxie was that she would NOT settle down for shows or anything – we had to leave the joust (Jeff’s favorite, next to map-reading) about 10 minutes in because she kept pulling and making a nuisance of herself.  Hopefully by next year she’ll have calmed down a bit (or at least we’ll have trained her to sit and stay) so this won’t be as much of an issue.

There are a couple photos of us, but in one of them my our teeth look *really* yellow (they’re not), and in the other I look horrendously fat, so you don’t get to see those.

Here’s a mime instead!

“Moonie the Mime”, he was called, and made me LOL a bunch.  Very bawdy mime humor.

I was also really happy, because when we went last year there was a booth selling faerie houses, and I really wanted one, and Jeff wouldn’t get me one because he’s mean.

So this year I got one.  Because now Jeff is nice.

It lives in our hallway niche and makes me so very happy.

And I even picked out a faerie to live in it!

Isn’t she sweet?  She looks like she could be a Hoopling!

(BTW – wish I had an explanation for the blurry pictures.  But I don’t.  Suck it up.)

My faerie house is seriously the cutest thing ever – look at the roof!

And the grasses in front of the doorway!

And the plants potted alongside!

LOVE my fairie house!

(All Saturday evening I kept hopping up and running into the hallway niche to look at it some more…I’m so glad it’s finally *mine* )

Jeff and I also have a tradition where every RenFest we go to, he buys me a rose.  This is what he picked out for me this year:

It’s LEATHER!  And GREEN!  How awesome is that?

All my rosies together:

(From left to right:  metal, wood, leather, wax, wax)

Oh and of course…KETTLE CORN!

(I’ve been so good – would you believe I still have some left?  Not much, but some.  A bit.)

I know this wasn’t the most exciting or interesting post ever, but we did have a lot of fun – save the lack of joust-watching .  It’s surprisingly hard to wrangle a dog and a camera at the same time!


PS>I can’t HANDLE those awful pictures!  Srsly…will re-take at home tonight, for my own sanity.  Blurgh.

Since when?

I know everybody gets off on bitching about how early the stores start putting out next season’s stuff.  In fact, I’m usually more irritated by the bitching than by the store displays.

So I wasn’t all that surprised when I made a quick stop in Hobby Lobby the other day and saw this:

(Hey, what else am I supposed to do when I’m waiting in a 25-minute line?).

Fall stuff.  In July.  Sorta ridiculous, but not ridiculous enough to blog about.

Until I saw the display in the next lane over:

A variety of bath products in convenient pre-packaged sets….with gingerbread people and snowmen and santas?!?! Are you FUCKING me?

Now that, my friends, is blog-worthy ridiculous. Here we are, not even two weeks into summer, and at least one store is already parading around the Christmas nonsense.

Maybe I’m not giving Hobby Lobby enough credit, though.  Maybe this display was strategically placed at the back of a massive check-out line to serve as entertainment for the customers waiting in said line…give us something to bitch ‘n’ blog about.

PS>I also saw this display as I was headed back to the needlework section (the whole reason for my trip, of course):

It took me a good 2 or 3 minutes of standing and staring to figure out what’s going on here:  were the tusks strapped onto the elephants’ legs as a commentary on the disposable nature of the animals themselves when compared to the value of ivory?  Perhaps it’s a PETA-esque defiant statement:  “Real elephants can’t survive without their tusks, but these knick-knacks feel no pain.”  Maybe the tusks’ position on the elephants’ feet is to symbolize the burden–metaphorical ball and chain– that these animals carry by their mere existance: a nod to Harrison Bergeron. Or maybe it’s meant to convey the idea that the elephants have strapped their tusks prominently to their forelegs in a resigned act of self-preservation (“take the tusks if you must, but leave me be!”)

Or maybe the Hobby Lobby people were just afraid the tusks would get broken off in shipping.  But still…fucking Christmas in July?!