Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness is so much more than a Facebook Status

This morning my husband's cousin sent me (and 67) of her closest female friends a message on Facebook stating that there was a new Breast Cancer awareness meme going around. 
I'm all for Breast Cancer awareness, as someone with the BRCA 2 mutation I have an 84% chance of developing Breast Cancer by the time I'm 70.  However the message I got made me want to burn my bra. Women are supposed to put the number of their shoe size, followed by the word inches and a frowny face.  Truthfully I was about to roll my eyes and ignore it until I saw the next part "don't tell the men", yeah, I have some big issues with this practice.

1: Saying you are raising awareness by NOT ACTUALLY saying anything about Breast Cancer isn't raising awareness. Especially when you leave out a key section of the population.  Despite what people think men can get Breast Cancer, they also have mothers, daughters, sisters and friends who are affected by breast cancer.  Men shouldn't be kept in the dark about breast cancer anymore than women should be kept in the dark about testicular cancer. Awareness leads to support.

2: Why does it have to be something sexual.  My shoe size is 7, so my post would be "7 inches :(" 
Even Ben said that comes off as a little insulting of your significant other. My bigger issue is how often we sexual breasts.  Don't get me wrong, Ben is a breast man, but it's still hard when thinking about the mastectomy I plan to have. They are part of our bodies and there are many women (my mother's birth mother) who would rather ignore the problem instead of lose their breasts.  Breast Cancer is NOT sexual and shouldn't be made in to something sexual.

3: what the hell does your shoe size have to do with cancer?  How does writing that help with awareness? I hate the false sense that people are helping when they could have easily done so much more.  Post information on where to get more information about Breast Cancer and where you can donate either money or even time helping people out.  When was their last breast exam? Wouldn't it be better to let people know the importance of getting checked early.

4: Early detection is key for treating any type of cancer. Support of friends and family is so important to those battling cancer.  So why would you make a post that excludes so many people from being able to properly get information?

Cancer awareness is of any type is important. I hope everyone will retweet, reblog and generally share this message with everyone they know and love.
If you want to raise Breast Cancer Awareness here are some sites to check out:
Susan G Komen for the Cure
National Breast Cancer Foundation
For more information on the BRCA 1 and 2 mutation check out:
Bright Pink
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Something for me

Forgive the bad photo, a photographer my spouse is not.  Plus he was using my cell phone to take the picture. 

A couple weeks ago I decided I needed a few dresses for business purposes I didn't think this would be that hard.  I know I'm not a skinny girl, I also know I have some rather large...tracts of land. I did find a lovely dress from Lane Bryant.  
I figured "hey, I can make something like this" and that's just what I did.  I had already seen a tutorial for a tank dress with pockets and decided to make myself a dress. 
I got the belt on clearance so the entire dress only cost $20 (I splurged on some really high end fabric). 

I can wear this with or without the belt and unlike the dress I bought it has pocket for me to fidget with.  I plan on making another one which will probably be better because I know what mistakes not to make.    I don't normally craft clothing for myself and I'm loving this dress.  It will look great in the fall with a cardigan and even in the winter with dark pantyhose. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Klout, social media and why they aren't going to make it work for them

For those of you who follow me on twitter you know I've been having issues with Klout for the last month. was a nifty page that allowed you to see your overall influence online.  Depending on what you tweeted, blogged about and put on Facebook they would give you influences.  You could then give 5 +Ks to people each day who you felt influenced you in certain areas.

I started using Klout a few months ago and realized just how many people I interacted with on a regular basis.  I also got to see how I influenced others.  After a week or so I ended up with an influence, parenting.  Now people could give me a +K on that topic while I worked on getting more influences.  It was at the point several people told me that they were surprised sewing and crafting weren't on my list of influences.

I started asking questions about new influences and finally got a canned response that told me they added new ones every week and to just keep tweeting and posting away. (amusingly I checked my page and this is what it said "You are currently influential about 0 topics:Last Klout topics refresh: Never", wait, didn't you just tell me the topics were refreshed every week?)
The next week my influence was gone. This was 3.5 weeks ago.

For the last 3.5 weeks I've been emailing them and tweeting them almost constantly with no answer.  Today I finally got a response in the form of 2 separate emails and a tweet.  They all said they same canned answer, which didn't answer my question.  I told them this and both emails gave me another canned response telling me that no one had given +Ks to my influence.  Again I told them this was untrue and wanted to know exactly how they decided influences but no one could tell me.

Again they stopped responding.  This is a company that pretty well depends on social media to work and yet they refuse to answer questions or work with their users.  They were generally rude and unhelpful.  Since people are going to them to try Spotify the service has gone downhill.

At this point what I'm wondering is why you would not only be so nasty to your user, but to the people who spread the word on the internet. I've seen all sort of people on Facebook and Twitter expressing that they are having the same problem and many who have left Klout because of it.

Well, I'm a blogging mom and I'm going to make my voice heard.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fun without power

As I said in my last entry we had a black out on Friday.  It was in the evening so we had to figure out what we could do.
We are lucky enough to have a gas stove and dinner was mostly cooked when the power was out.  After dinner we had to figure out what to do.  Garrett has plenty of toys but the lack of light made it difficult to play with some of them.

We decided to go visit the upstairs neighbors and their kids.  Garrett had fun playing with them.

It got pretty hot up there so after a while we came back downstairs and got our few flashlights out since it was getting darker out.
  We lit a candle.  Just so we had some basic light just in case our batteries died. And grabbed our emergency radio and battery powered light bulb.

 Garrett was having fun listening to music and dancing.

While Ben double checks to make sure all power switches are in the "OFF" position.
 We went out on the front porch and chatted with neighbors while "the boys" played about and giggled.

We come inside and Ben checks his cell phone while Garrett snuggles and Aloysius looks a little confused.

The boys sat and watched us as we danced for them.
Garrett and I took a bath to help us cool down.

After about 4 hours our power came back on.  But by that point Garrett was tuckered out and asleep.  Our place managed to stay fairly cool until the power came back on.

Black Out

Friday our temperature was 108. It was really hot, so if course we had a black out that evening in my area.  We managed to blow an entire substation.  Power was out for 4 hours.
I managed to get a few pictures before the camera battery went dead (whoops, it's charging now) so I'll be posting that soon.

I was in the middle of sewing when we lost power so I'm a bit behind on projects.  Tomorrow will include pictures and the full story of our black out adventure.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mini things are always cute

I'm in love with the look of these floor cushions.  I really want to make one for the house but there just isn't room right now.  And then I thought "wouldn't those be adorable if they were tiny?" and then "What the hell would I do with a tiny one because we don't have a doll house."

PINCUSHIONS!  They would make the most adorable pin cushions. They'd stand on their own and be large enough so needles wouldn't go through the other side. For an added bonus I purchased some loose emery powder to use to help keep my needles sharp. Emery powder is what is in the little strawberry that dangles from the tomato pincushion. 

What you'll need:
Fabric.  Any weight will work.  This project is great for scraps.
Piping.  Around 18" should do the trick. This is a great use for all those smaller piping pieces.
Loose Emery powder or Polyfil
Muslin (if you are using Emery)

I used the exact same pattern for the floor cushions but just scaled down.  Choose a glass that is a little larger (seams will end up being around 1/2" because of the piping) than the size you want your pincushion.

For the rectangular piece measure the circumference of your circle and cut a rectangle that is an inch longer.  The width of the rectangle depends on how high you want your cushion.  My pins are medium length so I went with 2 1/2" wide.

If you are using Emery Powder cut another 2 circles and rectangle out of your Muslin.  You'll sew those together and put the Emery inside the Muslin. This will prevent the powder from coming out when you put your pins in your pincushion.

Stitch as per the floor cushion instructions.
Leave half the circle open so you can get your Muslin bag in before you hand stitch it shut.  I pretty much hand sewed the entire thing because it's so tiny.
 It's fun and I love the way it looks on my sewing table.  Especially with the bonus of it helping sharpen my needles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Making strides!

In the past 5 months since Garrett started Early Intervention he's come a long way.  It's exciting to see him learning and growing. 
I'll admit, it's been hard to watch sometimes because I see his delays.  Garrett has also started to do more things like stacking and lining up items of the same type.  But then again he's doing so well with all the help he's been getting.

When we started with EI Garrett didn't really have any words, he didn't like being transitioned from one activity to another and didn't play with other children.
Now he has a handful of words but also seem to understand us better.  He transitions easily with the use of a song, even from his favorite activities, without a tantrum.  And now he not only plays around other children, he plays WITH them.  

These may not seem like much to most parents but to us they are big.  Things like imitating our faces or hand movements show that he is catching up in his development.  It's exciting for us when he does something as simple as stick his tongue out at us if we've made the face at him.

Imitating silly faces

He even danced in IKEA. 

Now we've added music therapy to the mix and he loves it. I can't wait to see what new things he does next.  He really surprises us every day and we're very lucky to have such wonderful resources to help him out.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I've done it again

dyed my hair that is.  As much as I loved the blonde the upkeep was too much so now I'm back to brown. 

It looks good and I'm happy with the change in the cut as well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Very Fun Day out with Thomas

Last Friday we drove all the way to Conway, NH (3 hours away) to see Thomas the Tank Engine "in the metal", as Ben says.
The day started off gloomy and rainy in Boston but turned into a gorgeous day.
I took so many pictures it seems to have turned into a DITL post.

We pre-ordered our tickets 2 weeks early so we brought the pamphlet with directions.

It was a dreary day when we started out.

Since we left while Garrett was still sleeping we had to stop somewhere in NH for breakfast.  The only thing we found was Burger King.

Finally we got to the event grounds.

And there was Thomas in all his glory.

I splurged and bought Garrett a shirt.  Once he outgrows it I can always make it in to a bag or something else for him.

He loved watching the new Thomas DVD (while chewing on his new Percy train)

Stealing some of our lemonade.  

Watching the trains on the track come in

And going through the misting tent with daddy to cool down because....

Now we got on Thomas to take our ride.

 I had to check my email.  I guess Garrett gets the lip thing from me.

Snuggling with Daddy

Then with Mommy

And playing with some of the toys they had.  He shared very well.

Off to meet Sir Topham Hattand give him a big hug.

Time to go.  We had a full day.

And now we have full bellies.

What a fun day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A special place for my new machine.

Since we originally thought we were moving so much of our home has been in boxes.  It was only recently I let Ben convince me to take my sewing machine out of the box so I could craft and not go nuts.  We don't know if we're going to move so we're both reluctant to unpack but I got tired of look at my embroidery machine on the floor in its box.
Such a cool table

It was taking up space in between my fabric and our printer so I figure why not get a table for it and actually be able to use it.  We went to Savers (great store) and I found a vintage telephone table.
Can't beat the price

It was missing the drawers, the price was certainly right, but the color was all wrong.  The dark wood just didn't have the look I wanted and made the room more dingy.

Lucky me, I've got a ton of paint. Every time I see an offer for a free pint I snap it up.  I have about 6 small cans just waiting for projects like this.
I was looking for an excuse to use this color

Before I painted I sanded down some of the rougher spots and gouges that were in the wood.  Ben helped paint and then seal the table.  He used a clear spray sealer.
Ben is a faster painter than I am so he helped out

I found some clear contact paper in the closet and Ben put that on the top so I wouldn't scratch up the table.
Gratuitous butt shot
But since we had put a clear coating on the table the contact paper wouldn't stick.  I decided to coat the top with Mod Podge to help protect again scrapes.

I bought a basket at the craft store that came with a pattern to make your own basket liner.
I love things that come with patterns

I used one of the fabrics I bought recently at the Portsmouth Fabric company to make a liner that matched the table.
Fabric went perfectly with the paint color I chose

I found a simple basket pattern so I can utilize the spaces for the drawers (I hate wasting space). I matched the fabric to the lining I made for the large basket and used some solid blue for the inside of the basket.  The batting I used didn't provide enough stiffness for the baskets so I took a box top, cut it to size and put it on the inside of the baskets. I added some Velcro spots to make sure the box stayed put. It doesn't show from the outside and provides the stiffness the basket needs so it doesn't collapse.
Oh man I've had this box for a while

It provides a great spot for all my piping, bias tape and other notions. 

It's all done and I love it.  What a big change!  Now I'm itching to do more furniture finishing projects.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finding the time

We've been so busy lately.  Today we're meeting with the local economic development group to get a loan for Granola Strolla.  Ben and I are both pretty much exhausted from working non-stop on the company.

And while I have gotten some crafting in I haven't taken too many pictures.  I do have plans to refinish furniture to use in our office (we're already looking for commercial space) as well as making myself some new dresses.

So I hope everyone out there will forgive me for letting the blog fall by the wayside.  I'll do my best to post a couple times a week but it's the last thing on my mind right now.  Once we secure some funding we'll have a break and I will have more crafting time.

Tonight I should be able to upload our pictures from the Day Out With Thomas even we went to on Friday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Yo Gabba Gabba drinking game

Don't get me wrong, it's a great show. But after having to watch it so many times it does get a bit tedious. Ben and I have often joked about making a Yo Gabba Gabba drinking game for after Garrett has gone to bed. 

Here it is, the Yo Gabba Gabba Drinking Game.  Take a drink when:

DJ Lance says "Awesome"
Plex beams someone up or down.
Brobee changes from a smile to a frown or vice versa
Muno does something clumsy
Toodee does something mean
Foofa says she loves something
Someone doesn't want to try something new  "Try it, you'll like it"
Gooble shows up.
An animated character is in Gabba Land.
They do a dancey dance or cool trick.

It doesn't sound like much but I swear you'll be toasted within 10 minutes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Guest Blog- Laura Jane helps keep us focused on finishing our projects

 I met Laura at an Entrepreneur Meetup a few weeks ago and fell in love with her crafts.  I'm a crafter who can start and finish a ton of projects but I realized that not everyone can multitask the way I do.  So I asked Laura to do a guest post about how she keeps herself focused.

I love a good challenge. I'm always looking for new crafting projects, new skills I can learn. But that's the thing: I'm always looking. The next great project is always somewhere up ahead, never right in front of me.

Hi. My name is Laura, and I have a commitment problem. I start a project, but once I have a handle on how it works, I’m no longer interested. The thrill of the chase is gone and I set it aside, finished or not (usually not). It was like that when I was taught myself to knit cables. I went with a small project, thinking it would be easier for me to get through: one of those headband-type ear warmers. I had a stray ball of earthy orange yarn from a remnant bin -- cashmerino, I think -- that was perfect.
So I started. I got 3 or 4 repeats into the cable pattern, and the concept of cables finally clicked. All of a sudden I was bored with the project. The mystery was gone. Next! Meanwhile, I was stuck with something only big enough to warm one of my long as I held it in place. (I guess I could have pretended it was a cool new knitted spy phone?!)

Sound familiar? How many of us are afraid to let anyone else know how many UFOs (UnFinished Objects) are lying around our houses? I can justify mine by saying that I prefer the learning process, the discovery of how something works. I want to discover, then move on to discovering the next thing, whether that is a new knitting technique or a completely different craft, like crochet, origami, sewing or woodworking. Switching it up also keeps me from getting bored. It keeps my leisure time fun, and isn't that the point? Never mind that finishing a project provides a sense of accomplishment and clears up space in the closet. It is often easier in the short term to put something aside than to work toward finishing it, especially when the shiny new project that you Just Have to Make flashes across your computer screen. (It’s like they know, isn’t it?!)

There’s one thing I find at the crux of my inability to finish what I’ve started: choices. The overabundance of them, to be specific. Don’t get me wrong -- I like being able to choose, but when the options are seemingly unlimited, it’s scary to choose just one to the exclusion of all the others. Even choosing a few still means there are a bazillion others you’ll never be able to do. So for me, I start -- but don't finish -- as many as possible, to get a taste for them, figuring I’ll go back to those I really like. At least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.

What to do? Here are some ideas:

1. Find a reason to finish. Does one of your projects have a firm deadline (birthday, wedding, holiday, commission)? If so, work on that one. Is someone depending on you to finish a specific project? Or maybe it’s enough to simply realize how good it will feel to finally get something done.

2. Cross off (or postpone) projects that are not practical. Do you have the right tools? Enough space? Is it the right time of year? (If you’ve ever knitted a wool afghan when it’s 90 degrees and humid out, you know about that last one!)
3. Start small, or break large projects into smaller tasks. Sometimes we abandon a project not because we’re bored, but because the project is just too overwhelming for us to imagine finishing. Want to make an entire coordinated outfit? Irene’s headband tutorial is a great place to start. Then move on to the next item.

4. Take breaks. Don’t be afraid to set it aside if you’re not enjoying it. Sometimes it's the right project, but not for right now, and you need to find something else to work on. If it’s a gift, find something else to make in its place. If it’s not time sensitive, put it away for a few months (or years!) until you’re ready to face it again. But don’t beat yourself up about it. Remember: You are NOT a failure just because you didn’t finish something. (Would you rather be miserable while you slog your way through it?) If it’s a project you come to realize you’ll never finish, find a new home for it. A recent yarn swap I participated in included projects in progress.

5. Find an accountability partner, someone you check in with periodically to keep you on track. My friend and I have done this for each other, and while I originally told her she’d have to be on my back constantly, I found that just knowing I needed to report in to her gave me the motivation to get started (and once I got started, I could often work for long stretches, ultimately completing what I needed to). Alternatively, starting a blog can be helpful for some because you need to be accountable to your readers.

6. Choose not to choose. There’s a reason the quote “Variety is the spice of life” has stuck around for so long. Doing too much of one thing gets monotonous. So pick a whole pile of projects and work on one project one day and another the next. You may find that you’re more likely to get things done (and feel better moving on to the next project as a result) if you keep yourself from getting bored.
Ultimately you need to find a process that fits your style. I envy people who can work single-mindedly on a task, but I find that I function better if I let one project percolate while I work on something else, so I always have several projects in progress. That said, it does feel really good to reach the finish line! When I finally finished the ear warmer (yes, really!), I had one less thing hanging over my head. (I mean, I wanted it on my head, just not....oh, you get it!)

So keep stretching your mind by trying new things, and don't feel bad about setting things aside periodically. Instead of committing to a specific project, commit to committing in general. This will help you to keep moving forward on something, anything, and eventually it’ll all get done.

Laura works with her hands to get herself out of her head. Three years after starting to replace the baseboard in her bedroom, she's finally getting better at finishing what she starts. (Thank goodness for helpful, encouraging friends!) Check her out at, like her page on Facebook and follow her on twitter (@laurajanehm).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Enjoy the holiday weekend

The Crafting Hobbit is off to see family.  But don't worry, we'll start the week with a guest post.
I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday weekend.