Thursday, January 24, 2013

ABC's of Me!

A little fun for you today! I found this on Tangled Up In Sticks and Strings blog, and had to borrow the idea. Feel free to play along if you like! :)

ABC's of Me!
A - Age: 36

B - Bed Size: Queen

C - Chore You Hate: I don't actually "hate" chores, I just never have time to do them all. I guess cleaning toilets is my least favorite chore...especially with a young boy in the house. :)

D - Dogs Name: We don't have one at the moment. Down the road, when our schedules are a little more settled. Plus the two cats wouldn't like a dog in the house. The last dog I had was named Toby, a yellow Lab that I miss dearly.

E - Essential Start of the Day Item: Hairbrush...seriously, you don't want to see my hair in the morning if it hasn't been brushed.

F - Favorite Colour: I'd say red, but followed VERY closely by blue. They are really interchangable to me.

G - Gold or Silver: Both

H - Height: 5' 6"

I - Instruments you play: Cello, though I haven't played in years. I can get a sound out of my didgeridoo, but I doubt anyone would call it music. :)

J - Job: My tax paying job is at a museum, which I love. My other full time job is as a mom & wife.

K - Kids: 1 son and 1 daughter (I usually count my husband too, but for this purpose I won't)

L - Living Arrangements: A quirky 1920's bungalow. We're only the 2nd owners of the house, which is interesting when it comes to updates. Friends say our house has "Character"...hmmmm. :)

M - Music You Love: Its easier to say what I dislike (Hard rock & Metal, Rap, Jazz are top of the list). It really depends on the song I guess.

N - Nicknames: Mel is most mom used to call me Mimi, and mean kids called me Melmack for a while in grade school.

O - Overnight Hospital Stay: Four - obviously when I had each of my children, and then I stayed with my son for a week when he had a stomach virus and nearly a week with my daughter when she had surgery a year ago to correct a defect with her bladder causing urine to reflux to her kidney. Hospital stays are're more exhausted when you leave than when you first went in.

P - Pet Peeve: Chewing with your mouth open. Ugh, that literally makes my skin crawl, especially when the food is sloshing aroung in the mouth like a washing machine on the heavy duty cycle.

Q - Quote from a Movie: Hmmm...pretty much anything from "The Princess Bride". Inconcievable!

R - Right handed or Left: Right handed

S - Siblings: 1 brother

T - Time you wake up: Usually between 7 and 8am...for some reason, I usually can't function before 7am.

U - Underwear: Yes, please.

V - Vegetables you dislike: Brussel sprouts and cabbage. ick.

W - Workout Style: Swimming, pilates. Gotta get back into it.

X - X-Rays You've Had: A few on my back. I have continuing problems with my back and probably always will.

Y - Yummy Food You Make: I' d like to think it's all good! But my family usually lights up when I make salmon or pot roast.

Z - The Best Place to Visit - Berlin, Germany. My grandmother lives there, and though I haven't been there in far too long, it will always be one of my favorite places on earth.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr Day project

Hi everyone!
Just wanted to share a little project that the kids and I did in honor of Martin Luther King Day. We actually did this on Sunday rather than on Monday, since I had to work and wouldn't be home with them on Monday.

I didn't want it to just be an extra day off for the's an important day, and I want my kids to be aware of the reason why we celebrate these days as holidays. I had originally planned to have books and videos and lots of other history materials tied in with this, but practically speaking, I just didn't have time. Weekends always seem to go so much faster than other days of the week, don't you think? :)

My husband had some of "the guys" over to watch football, including my brother in law, so he brought our niece with him. While they were playing, I grabbed some construction paper in "skin tone" colors (albeit rather cliche colors, but I worked with what I had and the kids understood the point anyway), white, yellow, orange, red, brown and black. I cut them into 1" strips and pulled out our trusty glue sticks.

I then had the kids create paper chains, first individually, and then we joined them all together.

While we worked, we talked about Dr. King, and why he was important to American history. We talked about why we are all linked together as Americans, despite what we may look like on the outside. The kids were very insightful, in their innocent way. My daughter, who is 5, was surprised that some people had to use different drinking fountains and attend different schools and other forms of segregation. My son, who is 7, was able to add what he has learned in school, about bus boycotts and marches. We also talked about how lucky we are to have access to the bus that Rosa Parks was riding on the day she refused to give up her seat. By the way, for more information on that bus, and events surrounding her 100th birthday on February 4th, go to And if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Dearborn, MI on that day, stop by the Henry Ford Museum to see the bus in person. It's a very humbling experience, especially because you can actually board the bus and sit in her seat. If you can't come on that day, make it a point to visit's such an amazing museum, and tells amazing stories.

It was fascinating to see the smaller world differences that impressed Abby, while the grander scale events have now impressed Davin. My niece, who is 11 and is quieter in general, didn't have a lot to say...I think she was more intrigued by the project as a whole. I think sometimes she isn't sure what to make of us, and the random projects that we might be working on when she comes over. :) She had fun regardless, and was really interested in making her chain follow a pattern and helping Davin & Abby with theirs.

In the end we had a HUGE chain! It ended up nearly spanning the entire dining room...the kids wanted to hang it in the family room, but I didn't think the guys would appreciate the interruption as we climbed across the furniture and blocked their views of the game as we draped it across windows and the like. :)

Now, Abby has paper chains on the brain, so I predict a red, white and pink chain in time for Valentine's Day or a pastel chain in time for Easter. Looks like I need to pick up some more construction paper. :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

A few yarn projects

One of the "resolutions" I mentioned in my last post was to do something creative every day. It gives me a chance to learn new skills and techniques, as well as find a little relief and "me time" in the course of a busy day.
Lately, my focus has been on knitting & crochet. It's much easier to put a yarn project in a Ziploc bag and pop it into my work bag than to gather all of the paper crafting supplies I typically need to make a card. And once I start making a card, its much harder to stop midway. With knitting or crochet, I can just finish one line of a pattern and wrap it up. That's not to say that I won't be making cards but it's been nice to take a break.

So on to a few of my yarn projects:

I made a hat & tried cable knitting for the first time! A cable needle could be useful down the road, but I just used an extra dpn here.

I'm working on my first baby cardigan as a gift for a friend. I love this yarn, which is some of the beautiful yarn my grandmother passed on to me!
Abby turned my ghetto yarn bowl into an impromptu swimming pool for her Monster High dolls. :) I should get a proper yarn bowl some time...I truly hate when my yarn rolls off my lap! This little box is working for now, though I wonder how it will look in the middle of the summer with snowflakes all over it. Etsy has some beautiful bowls, like this one or this one.

Here's a closeup of the chevron pattern on the bottom half. Pretty, no?

A view of the back of the cardigan. A few more repeats of the chevron pattern, sleeves and some finish work and it will be done!

Decided to try out another cable pattern, this time a pair of mittens! Still no cable needle, and yes, it would have been even more helpful this time since I was knitting in a smaller round than my hat. But I managed!

These bad boys are long! No worries that a draft will give me goosebumps! :)

I love them - they are so thick and warm thanks to the bulky weight yarn I used. I didn't have enough of the same colorway in my stash so I had to go to the store and pick up new yarn for these. I finished these on Saturday, when it suddenly went up to 50 degrees! In Michigan, 50 degrees in January is not glove weather! But in true Michigan weather yo yo tradition, we have a high of 25 degrees today, so they were perfect for the drive to work this morning!
Another thing that I like about them? They prevent me from checking my phone at a red light on the drive. I don't text and drive - no way! But it's become super tempting to take a peek at Facebook or Instagram while I'm waiting at a light. Not a habit I want to get into!

I made these on Sunday. My last attempt at baby booties was a disaster so I was a little gun shy about trying again, but one of the things I love about crochet is that I can rip it out to the point I need and start again. Which I had to do a couple times with these, but in the end they turned out very cute! As you can see on the right bootie, they have button holes and the flap wraps around the ankle. They are destined for a baby girl, and mom isn't a huge fan of traditional pinks (I can sympathise, I felt the same way when Abby was born. She came home from the hospital in a lovely blue outfit. But pink is her favorite color now, so that didn't last long! lol). But I have to make these a little girlie, so I'm hoping to find some sparkly buttons for the cuff. I honestly think pink rhinestone would be really cute with this soft gray, but we'll see what I can find.

I'm thinking of making a pair of baby mitts to go with these booties and perhaps a little hat too. I have plenty of this gray yarn from my stash to work with so it wouldn't be a problem to add that to the gift. Maybe add a bit of pink ribbon to the mitt cuffs or a tiny pink bow on the hat? Just a touch so they all tie in together? I guess it all depends on what I find for the booties.

All of these pics came from my Instagram account, so if you're interested in following along with the progress of these and other random bits & pieces, feel free to follow me!

Peeking into 2013

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope it has been a joyous one for you thus far!

We are fully 14 days into 2013 and it has flown as quickly as I expected and as I dreaded. I've been thinking a lot about the start of the new year and reflecting on how fast 2012 went. But I look back and can't remember most of the year! It feels like 2012 was something I survived, not lived. How sad is that? How many of the small moments have I missed this past year because I was trying to hang on by my fingertips?

So now it's 2013. And 14 days have gone by and I barely blinked.

That has to stop. Now.

My big goal for 2013?  I don't want to miss it. I don't want to fly through the year like I did last year. I want to take time to smell the roses, so to speak. Though actually smelling roses is good too. :)

(Image via Rounds)
I haven't quite figured out the best way to accomplish that yet. I started to realize last year that I was carrying too much on my plate at times. So I  need to figure out ways to cut back a little. I need to stop spending energy on things that suck my time and take me away from my family. They are my priority, and I shouldn't apologize for that.

I also need to stop trying to do it all. When I do that, part of that is control, part of it is not wanting to burden others, part of it is pride. But I get resentful about it and toward others, which isn't fair. If I ask my husband to do something for me, for example, and he doesn't do it, then I could be a little resentful or frustrated. But it isn't fair to him to be resentful that he didn't read my mind and then not do what I didn't ask him to do in the first place. The "but he should have known to do this" mentality hasn't worked up till now, so how could I expect it to suddenly happen? If the shoe were on the other foot, I wouldn't appreciate Andy expecting the same of me.

I don't really make seems silly that someone should wait until January 1 to do something that is just as important to do at any other time of the year, especially if its something to better oneself. But there is some truth to the fact that the start of a new year gives you a reason to pause, to look back, and to look forward with new energy. There are a few other things that I want to work on this year, some obvious things like be more healthy, or be better at keeping my house clean and less cluttered, check off a few home improvement projects, etc. And a few more personal things, like blog more regularly, try to do something creative everyday, hug my family more. All of these things can be accomplished if I remember the big goal: Slow down, and actually take time to enjoy 2013.

And hopefully by keeping that in mind I will look back on the year and find it full of joys and adventures, of challenges met and conquered, and see that it was a year that was fully lived, rather than survived.