A Modest Proposal

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This weekend I went to a scrapbook convention with some fellow crafters. The whole weekend, I couldn’t help myself from pondering ideas to make the convention better. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Buy one pass, get one free. Bring an enabler friend! It’s a proven fact (based on my two days of uber-scientific research) that crafters buy more when they are with a friend. “Oooo! Look at these turtle stickers, Jane! Haven’t you always wanted a turtle? Maybe you’ll get one someday, and then you can scrap it and use these great stickers!” I personally recommend if you bring a friend, you bring a friend who has more spending money than you do. Then you can live vicariously through that person and then borrow that friend’s neato dealieboppers later.
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  • Free bra sizings. I’m not sure what it is, but there seem to be a large number of scrapbook ladies in need of a bosom boosting bra. (I blame this observation on being forced to watch “What Not to Wear” in the hotel room.)
  • Better concessions. There was not one single place in that convention hall selling Krispy Kreme donuts OR cotton candy. What the heck? You want me to stick around on the vendor floor longer? I need better snacks. Or better yet, how about a bunch of hot, topless dudes walking around with free drinks, M&Ms, and Stickles?
  • Wider selection of classes. I’m not interested in sitting with a bunch of other people and putting together a page kit. What about “101 Ways to Distract Your Kids So You Can Scrap,” or “Scrapbook Yoga (so you are limber enough to reach waaaaaaaaay back into your craft closet for that gadget you REALLY need to finish your project),” or “What the Bleep Do I Do With All These Chipboard Mini-Albums?”
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  • Support groups. Scrapping is not all Jolies and glitter. It’s time we join together and let ourselves be free from the guilt of being ten years behind on our books! It’s time we shout out to the world that these are OUR books, and we don’t have to put photos of mean relatives in them anymore! It’s time that we shrug off the weight of struggling for color-coordinated, camera friendly outfits on family vacations! Together, we can break these shackles and head out onto the vendor floor unburdened by all but the ten pounds of patterned paper we couldn’t live without!
  • I’m still working on the list. When I’m done, I’ll send it off to the event organizers and report back to you.


Ready to Fly?

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After finishing the sock and Anya’s sweater, I had sad hands. I hadn’t brought any other knitty projects! What was I thinking? Luckily, my mom has yarn and needles and hooks and wee tiny little scissors that fold up all cute and tidy. With tools in hand, I picked an easy hat pattern I’d found on pinterest and got started.

I haven’t crocheted many things, so when the hat started to look like an upside down basket instead, I began to have doubts about my skill. My Dad showed me I was wrong; it wasn’t a basket…it was a puppet! (Not that this made me more confident in my crochet skills, but it did make me feel better because, hey, PUPPET!)


The puppet really needed some facial features. Alas, we were out of the house and I’d cleaned my purse recently and I didn’t have any other yarn or buttons or puffballs or tiny bits of crayon or shiny bug carcasses. Still, we are a resourceful group and managed to scrounge up a few things. My Dad tapped into his creative side.


And TADA! Mr. Hat Puppet Dude!


The puppet started talking some smack about my crafty skills, though, and I pulled out his eyes, mouth, and antennae. I sure showed him! Then to make sure Mr. Hat Puppet Dude could not be resurrected, I finished the hat. Once all the parts were assembled, all basketyness and puppetyness went away, so the hatness could shine through. Yay!


On a hat-related note, I thought of a really excellent idea today. I am going to make a whole bunch of baby hats and keep at least a few on me at all times. When I am at the grocery store or wherever and see a baby in a shopping cart whose parent has wandered off, I will put a hat on the baby! When the parent returns they’ll be all, “WHA? Why is my baby wearing a hat?” The parent might get a little miffed at first, but when they see how awesome that hat is, they’ll get over it. On the other hand, I suppose this could have a negative side effect by encouraging more parents to leave their babies in shopping carts in the store for a few minutes in hopes they will get hatted. I guess I’ll have to think this through a bit more before implementing.

The 7 Year Sock

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It only took me seven years, but I finally did it. I knit a sock! (I can’t knit the other until I get home because I left the other ball of yarn there. Oops.)


I bought the yarn seven years ago during a bad day at work. I escaped to the yarn store for an extended lunch break. I’m not sure how many times I started the sock before it began to look like a sock, but it was many. Unfortunately, my measurements were quite a bit off, and I was ending up with a sock that would fit Andre the Giant. I ripped it back and began again. Things were going well until it all screeched to a halt when a cat munched one of my needles. The yarn languished in the craft cabinet until last Christmas. My parents gave me an awesome set of nickel-plated dpn needles.

Since last December, I have been through several more versions of the sock. One fell off the needles and unraveled in my purse; one switched from knit to purl right in the middle of the leg for a few rows for no good reason; one had a gauge change mid-sock and made me rip it all the way back.

Finally, finally, I seem to have this sock thing figured out.


Buttons, buttons, whose got the buttons?

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It’s done! Almost! It still needs buttons, but that doesn’t count, does it?


The pattern is from a story book called Phoebe’s Sweater. I started knitting on it last summer, and it’s only needed the hood finished for a few months. It’s more like a coat than a sweater, and I made the biggest size ’cause I had no idea how long it would take me to finish it. Plus, now she can wear it for a while. There’s a pretty pattern around the edges, which you can’t see in the picture.

Summer Solstice Festival

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Q: What do you get for $40 and an hour in the sun?


A: A giant, squeaky Tweety Bird and a bag full of advertising junk.

Seriously though, you also get to have a good amount of fun. At least until the kid has a meltdown and cries away her Flower Fairy face painting, which her dad somehow managed to not get any pictures of even though he took about a dozen while the face painting was in progress. (How does that happen?)


Before the crying, though, there was the acquiring of the Tweety…


and the posing with the Tweety…


and the mother holding the Tweety while the kid poured some very expensive colored sand into a plastic dolphin bottle…


and a spin-y ride, during which no Tweetys were harmed.



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When I was a kid, I was a pack rat. (I’m not that way now, oooooh no. Erm.) I kept so, so, so many of my old toys and knick knacks and random doodads. Boxes and boxes of this stuff has been living in our “workshop” building for the the last seven years. When Anya fell in love with My Little Pony this spring, I decided it was past time we went through those boxes of my childhood because I was sure I had at least one MLP in there somewhere.

It’s amazing to me how I can look at these things now and most of them mean nothing to me anymore. I remember them and know they did mean a lot to me when I packed them up oh-so-long ago. These were things I could not bear to let go. These were things I had to keep and treasure and lug around for 15 years. On that day when I was going through those boxes, though, most of those things had become just things. Phew. What a feeling of relief I could let this stuff go!

But then there is the other stuff that still means a lot. It’s probably still too much. Too many boxes. But it’s nice to see these toys of mine being loved again.


And not just by me…


(Yes, I did find the pony.)

With the Power of Shapes….

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She is Super Shape Girl!!!

I love the library, and I love summer. I really love the library in the summer. I love the library so much, we go to TWO libraries. Oh yes we do. We can’t get enough library goodness from just one library. Sometimes, I’m afraid to admit this. I don’t want our local library to feel left out or to think it’s not good enough or to be sad. Our local library is great. Our second library, though, it’s great, too! Why should we limit the amount of library greatness we get?

The first summer program we went to this year was at our “other” library. SHHHHHH! But how could we resist? It was a SUPERHERO party. Dude.

First, the superhero-in-training decided her super power and made a shield or chest plate with their symbol on it. Anya had the power of shapes. So like, if someone needed to cross a river, she could make a giant rectangle across the river to be a bridge.


Next, the superheroes tested their strength and skills to determine what areas they needed to work on a bit more. Even superheroes can improve! They tested their super-breath….


Their super hand-eye coordination…


And their lava puddle jumping techniques.


Then everyone ate mini-cupcakes and fruit snacks and went home and drove their parents nuts with their sugar-induced invincibleness.

(Note of Disclosure: In the spirit of truthful advertising/blogging/whatever, in the first picture, Anya is wearing her Super Shape Girl mask she made at a friend’s birthday party and not at the superhero library event. So, if your child went to the library event and did not get an awesome mask, please do not call the library and complain. Instead you should call Anya’s friend’s mom because why didn’t she invite you to the birthday party?)

Last Day of School

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At the end of May, Anya celebrated her third Last Day of School. It was, in my opinion, the best last day of school yet. This year, when parents arrived they were asked to wait just a wee bit while things got finished up, and then their kids came and escorted the parents across the field to the entryway to the celebration area. Before they passed through the entryway (two tiki torches holding rhododendron blossoms), each family was given a magnet with a kindness quote. Then the kids seated their parents under a tent/canopy thingy that the students had decorated. It was fun, festive, and organized, and we didn’t have to sit in the blazing hot sun for an hour. (That last part was pretty much my favorite.)

After the director did her opening stuff, each class took a turn “crossing over” to the next year. This is a Montessori tradition that we decided to adopt because it is cool. (Although every time I heard someone talk about the kids crossing over, I kept wondering if we needed a bright, shiny light at the end. And maybe a ouija board.) Each child said (or had read by their teacher) three things they had learned that year that helped them cross over to the next level of their education.


On the other side of the bridge, their teacher gave them a gift to thank them for being awesome students.


And no, my kid is not wearing pants. It was another swimsuit day, and I decided that the long shirt was in reality a “t-shirt dress.” We are trend setters here at Loafkeeper. (Also, no, I am not picking my nose. I don’t think.)

When the ceremony was over, there was the traditional potluck, and Anya’s class had a book fair of all the books they made during the year,


and then the music and the sprinklers and the running and the shrieking,


and finally a last minute picture of the Chess Club (this is them all being very, very serious).


I know I wrote an entire post about Chess Club, but I’d like to take a minute here to say how happy it makes me to see my kid in her pink tutu swimsuit in this picture with a bunch of boys. I love that she doesn’t care everyone else in the club is a boy, and I love that all the boys in the club don’t care that she’s a girl. (There were a few other girls in the club, but they didn’t become regulars.) [I totally acknowledge that if there were a Pretty Pink Princess Glittery Tiara Club, she’d be in that, too. It’s good to be well rounded.]

Happy Anniversary!

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Andy and I haven’t had a trip away on our own since before the kid came along. I think that is breaking some cardinal rule of coupleness, but hey, we’re still married so it must not be too cardinal! (Maybe more like robin or bluejay?) When my folks came out for spring break, Andy and I somehow convinced them to watch Anya for two days while we went to D.C. for an early anniversary vacation.

During our trip we ate yummy food,


and went to monuments,


and ate more yummy food (nary a chicken nugget nor mac and cheese plate to be seen),


and went to museums (not once having to leave due to a temper tantrum),


and ate more yummy food (never being interrupted to take someone to the potty),


and visited even more museums (where we were able to read the stuff about the exhibits),


and then ate some more yummy food,


and finally ended up sitting in Union Station for several hours waiting for our bus back home. (I could have done without that last part.)

Swap Update

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I had a difficult time coming up with an idea for my next swap item. I felt like it needed to be something new — something I’d never tried before. I’d set the bar too high for myself trying all sorts of new stuff with my first two, and I was just hitting a wall made of crafter’s block and The Busy. So, I did what any self-respecting procrastinator would do, and I didn’t do my cards for two months.

Thankfully, a recent crafty weekend gave me a chance to get caught up and to let that guilty weight of card IOUs go. I stared at the “something new — something I’d never tried before” cards I had started back when I wasn’t behind on the swap, and then I got cranky and glared at them and stuck out my tongue and said “NERFLEBLUFFLER!” (I did these things in my head because there were other people there, and I want them to keep inviting me to crafty events.) In the end, I made cards that were “something new — something I’d never tried before.” They weren’t, however, super complicated or time consuming. They aren’t novel for most folks. They aren’t cards I felt any need to take step-by-step photos of. But, I like them, and almost everything I used to make them, except the card base, came from my swap packet. That was pretty awesome.


This “Thank You” card was made using a (mostly) simple weaving technique. I admit I put the glue on the wrong sides of the strips a few times. Luckily I had lots of extra paper. Next, I did a birthday card.


I took the photo of the card with the best bow. I don’t tie very good ribbon bows at the best of times, but at 1am…well. Sorry to all my fellow swappers whose bows were less than awesome. I tried.

I have two more weeks to get my June swap items done before I am once again tardy. Maybe I can have Anya make them?