Carol’s Craft Cave

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My crafty friend, Judi, loves to tell the story of how I showed up at my first scrapbook crop with all my paper crafting supplies in a grocery bag. I said something about how I wasn’t interested in getting all crazy into paper crafting. I just wanted to make my scrapbook. And now, six or so years later, Andy was forced from a sense of self preservation to turn this storage area…


…into this…



…so I would have some place (slightly bigger than a grocery bag) to keep all my paper crafting stuff. Of course, I don’t just play with paper crafts. There are fiber crafts (knitting, crochet, embroidery, crewel, spinning), and fabric crafts (sewing, quilting), and random crafts (a smidgen of wire work, bead work, clay, painting, carving, and who knows what else).

The room is still in progress. I need to find a day when I can sit up there, alone (HAHAHA), and ponder and contemplate how to organize things and where I want storage things and worky areas. Alas, most of the cool craft rooms I’ve seen online use storage stuff that won’t work here — in the land of Stink Bugs. I can’t use open bins or stack yarn or fabric or paper in open shelves. Everything needs to be closed, so that nests of these blechy beasts don’t contaminate with their smelliness. This is why my yarn is currently in here.


Andy has been a bit hyper about this space, mainly about getting my crafty stuff into it and out of the house. He is the one who put all that yarn away. He also built a set of folding screens to hide the elliptical machine along the back wall. He built the screens and then bid me decorate them “like that person did on pinterest.” (Can you believe ANDY uses pinterest now???)

The pinterest person used fabric scraps to cover her screen. Not having really all that much fabric but having enough patterned paper for the entire county, I finally found a use for a paper pack I bought years ago. (Loved the paper but it never really fit anything I made.) I found that the best way to do this project was to get the papers cut and laid out for one section.


Then I set them in order on the other section. One by one, I glued each piece down by applying mod podge to the back of the paper and smoothing it all down. After all the pieces were attached, I put two or three more coats of mod podge on top.


It’s a bit lumpy, but it’ll do!

Scratch Art Gift Tags

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Some of the folks in my crafty group did a gift tag swap again this last Christmas. I wanted to do something different, and at first I was thinking of crocheting snowflakes to decorate the tags. The idea of making all those leetle things with leetle threads and leetle hooks made me want to cry, though. Then Anya started bugging me about getting her some scratch art cards.

Do you remember scratch art? When I was in elementary school, we’d make our own by coloring with rainbowy colors on the paper and then covering the whole thing with a thick layer of black crayon. Then we’d scratch off the black crayon to make a design in the colors below.

I hunted around pinterest until I found a recipe for DIY scratch art that used paint instead of black crayon. I thought that would make a more finished surface. Using this method, you start the same way as we did as kids: color on paper with rainbowy colors. Then, you mix up a batch of black tempera paint with a few drops of dish soap and slather it on.

When I first tried this project, I cut my cardstock so I would be able to get two tags out of the piece. Then I colored the whole thing. Then I cut the tags using a nestable die cut thingy and my sizzix.


I quickly realized that I was coloring WAY more card than I needed to color. I also found that if I waited to cut the tags until after the painting the black on top, there was a white edge around the tag where the die cutter pushed the paint off. And I got paint on the die. SO, I cut all the tags before doing any coloring or painting.


For the black paint, I tried a foam brush, but it didn’t work so well. In the end, a small roller with a short nap worked best. The first coat of paint didn’t cover much and left neat ripples. Andy really liked this look, and perhaps something could be made with it in the future. Anyhow. I discovered that the easiest way to apply the paint was to roller over this way and that until all the tags were covered. Then I used a pointy tool to lift the tags up from where they were sitting and moved them to a clean/dry area of cardboard. When I left them where they were, they stuck to the cardboard.


It took four or five coats to get the results I wanted. After everything dried, the ripples/texture was gone and the surface was smooth.


To finish the tags, I cut dark red cardstock using a nestable die one or two sizes up, added a few dots with a metallic sharpy for a little details, and then adhesived the pieces together.


Here is my test tag. I found a pointy toothpick worked well to scratch out the design, but the tip needed to stay pointy. If it squished, the toothpick didn’t work very well. The weird squiggle thing was me trying to draw a pine tree. I think my scratch art penmenship may need a little practice.

Halloween Gridlock

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Have you seen the episode of Doctor Who called Gridlock? Here’s a quick summary from, “In the episode, alien time traveller the Doctor takes his new companion Martha Jones to New New York in the far future, where they discover the remainder of humanity on the planet live in perpetual gridlock within the Motorway, an underground highway system.” The thing is, the folks stuck in the traffic jam don’t know that there is no way out. No exits or off ramps. The only time the cars move is when someone’s vehicle gets devoured by the giant monsters that live in the HOV lane. Everyone just keeps going along, full of faith that if they are patient they will get to the promised land beyond the highway.

Let me present the current day, Halloween version of Gridlock:

In this story, the citizens of the region crowd into the mall for an attempt at Trick o’ Treating when Halloween night is plagued with really cold rain. Everyone enters into the queue that wraps around the entire mall and waits patiently while the line plods along past store-after-store with signs saying, “Sorry, out of candy!”

I find myself wondering, what if we are all full of faith that the elusive “Store with Candy” is just around the next bend, and we’ll just keep going and going and going, walking around and around the mall, not really noticing we’ve passed the same store three times because all the stores look the same, and we won’t leave because surely if there was no candy left anywhere in the mall, the line would break up and the people in front of us would go home, right?
IMG_6798(Look, Daddy! She gave me a COUPON!)

Lucky You, It’s Month Seven!

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During his seventh month on planet Earth, Kostya:

  • Ate some banana, avocado, yogurt, and sweet potato.
  • IMG_4327

  • Stole his Daddy’s bagel and slurped the cream cheese off of it, and he eyed us intently when we ate.
  • IMG_4606

  • Started making fart sounds and smacky sounds.
  • Enjoyed hanging out in his high chair to play the “throw things on the floor and watch Mommy pick them up” game.
  • Sat without falling over! Anya likes to tell this story. We were outside, and I was in the garden, and Kostya was under a tree on his blanket, and Anya was with him, and Kostya was sitting there, and he sat and sat and sat for 20 minutes and then Anya got bored and pushed him over.
  • IMG_4624

  • Hosted a tick on his head for a brief time.
  • Went to his first community yard sale.
  • Said, “bububububub,” which, according to Anya, means “Bubba.”

Anya finished first grade,
and had her first sleepover with a friend. (It wasn’t planned, and I hadn’t had time to prepare myself, and I was all with the freaking out, “Mah baybee!” After I got over the freaking, Andy and I took Hardee’s food home and watched violent television we can’t watch around Anya.) Anya also created her own tree house. There were separate rooms and a doorbell and she sat in it and read a book.

Carol bought a gallon-sized bag of buttons for $5, planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and flowers, and got a weed eater for her 16th anniversary.

Andy gave his wife a weed eater for their 16th anniversary and survived to tell the tale, and he planted a LOT of grape vines.

Month Six — We’re on a roll!

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Kostya’s sixth month was a busy one for us.
IMG_4322 We went to the National Science Festival in DC, all the grandparents visited, Anya turned 7, Carol got her first tick bite, and Andy went to Florida on business. Meanwhile, Kostya….

  • Learned how to turn pages in board books.
  • Listened intently when read to.
  • Celebrated Easter for the first time. The Easter Bunny brought him socks with sea creatures on them because what says Easter better than an octopus?
  • IMG_3756

  • Produced a giant poo of doom. (Since this time, there have been many giant and doomy poos, so I can’t really say if the one from month six was really note worthy. However, since I didn’t measure and have nothing to compare it with, I will have to give this poo the benefit of the doubt.)
  • Took his first trip to DC, where he road his first escalator, took his first shower, saw his first dinosaur, IMG_3903and went to his first concert.
  • IMG_3890

  • Met Grandma Diane.
  • Started working on sitting up on his own.
  • Went swimming for the first time. He loved it.
  • IMG_4202

  • Began making zerberty farty noises.
  • Pooed 4 times in one day. (I can state with total confidence that this has not happened since and is therefor deserving mention.)
  • Gardened with Mama by hanging out on a blanket and eating grass and leaves.

Anya tore a hundred or so pages out of coloring books, rolled them into cylinders, and tied or taped them – Easter Presents. She preformed in the local old time radio show with some classmates,
IMG_4110celebrated her birthday at the pool, IMG_4240 finally (FINALLY!) got to watch dvds in the minivan, drove an underwater robot at the National Science Festival, earned her white ribbon in gymnastics, and gave her brother a bath (notice the strategically placed Barbie doll).

Carol reminisced while listening to They Might Be Giants, stood about ten feet away from Bill Nye, and turned a dozen people into zombies – all at the National Science Festival.

And some mice moved into Andy’s car and munched on all the fun stuff left behind from Carol’s and Anya’s and Kostya’s road trip a few months before. And then the mice pooped in Andy’s car. (Thankfully not giant poops of doom.) Andy needs to clean his car.

Five Months (Let’s play catch up!)

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In honor of K’s 11 month birthday, I bring you his 5th month update!

In his fifth month, Kostya…

  • Rolled over. I’m not sure what he rolled over or where he rolled over or if there were any circumstances of note beyond the actual movement. Rolling. Over.
  • Experienced his first ice storm. (Not impressed.)
  • Sat in his bumbo chair. Like three times. Anya LOVED her bumbo, so Santa gave K one for Christmas. (In fact, Anya was so excited about the chair that she would pull it out every few days to see if K was ready for it yet.) Santa even got the little table that goes with it. Santa did not give K the teeny thighs that the designers apparently think all babies have.
  • Directed the planting of some fruit trees. (“The apple tree goes over there… No, to the right! The right!”)
  • IMG_3648

  • Decided he wanted to sleep in the big bed and to wake up every two hours. (I’m not sure “big” is the right word for the bed anymore.)
  • Started out-peeing two diaper inserts at night. We call this a PeePlosion.
  • Demanded bigger bottles. (Perhaps related to the prior statement?)
  • Weighed in at 14 lbs and was 25 inches tall.
  • Dreamed of bananas.
  • IMG_3479

  • Bewitched all who met him.
  • Asked Mama, “What is this hard, sharp, white bump that appeared in my mouth?”
  • 100_4488

  • Had bestowed upon him his first super hero name: Super Snotty Baby with the power of drooling and flying! (Mama is Super Tree Girl, and Anya is Super Fairy Girl with the power to do ANYTHING!)
  • Realized he loves to be read to. Luckily he has a big sister who loves to read to him.
  • Ate Anya’s laundry.
  • IMG_3572

  • Pulled All The Things off the table. Every table. Neither water glass nor hamburger nor pretty flower arrangement is safe from Super Snotty Baby!.

Meanwhile, Anya changed a diaper (good thing I wrote this down because I have no memory of it and have a hard time believing it), planted some fruit trees, found she loves cursive writing, started learning about fractions, and did math with bunny gummies.

Carol jumped for joy when the school FINALLY got its 501(c)3 status approved, growled when How I Met Your Mother ended, and hid in fear from the Washing Machine Monster.

And Andy started juicing. I do not recommend the celery, cucumber, kale concoction.

So ends the tale of when Kostya was 5 months old. Or at least that’s what my notes say. I remember very little of it. (There was an ice storm!?) It is possible someone cracked my super-secure password and rewrote those notes. Or I could have gotten the months transposed. Or maybe I’m lying and I just copied stuff from Anya’s fifth month post. If I can’t tell, I’m figuring you can’t, either.

Four Months

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Does it appear to anyone else that I merely photoshopped a yellow diaper that weird green color? I promise I did not. I took this photo yesterday.


In month four, Kostya

– Quit his day job at the school, so he can spend more time with his Auntie M.,
– Finally experienced the joy that is nakey-butt time (it’s been too cold!),
– During said time in the aforementioned item, rolled over with a little bit of assistance,
– Went on his first road trip to visit his Grandparents down South,
– Stayed in a hotel for the first time, IMG_3078
– Made Grandma laugh so hard she almost peed her pants due to his insane chortling when she zerberted his feet,
– Talks…a lot, drools…a lot, and giggles…a lot…especially when you tickle (or zerbert) him,
– Had his first yoga lesson,
– Rode in his snazy stroller, IMG_3081
– Continued the tradition of being photographed with stuff on his head,
– Got his first cold, gained half a pound, and outgrew some of his 3-6 month clothes and the first level of his bed,
– Slept through the night a few times,
– Went to his first grown-up party,
– Discovered those things at the end of his legs are FUN,
– Finally got his Superman outfit back from the tailor (where is that picture??)
– Tried to pull my cheek off my face with his superhuman strength (see above), and
– Got Mama a little payback by twisting his fingers into Anya’s hair and pulling!

Anya visited the Great Wall of China, IMG_3142 said “something” a lot less when reading, flew a helicopter, IMG_3148 took her first voluntary shower, read to Kostya, taught Gramma and Kostya some yoga, IMG_3100 learned to play poker, IMG_3118 and added to her vocabulary great sayings and words like: “What the huh?,” “Sheeeeeesh,” “Uh—yuh!,” and “Morlon” (as in Mama, you are a morlon!).

Carol knitted half a sock, stared longingly at craft books (and really books in general), tried to do some scrapbooking at home when she wasn’t able to make a crop and realized it just wasn’t much fun alone, and was reunited with her Little People toys.


Andy got a hair cut, watched the baby alone for three whole hours, and went to a LOT of meetings.

Third Month is the Charm

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I checked and double checked, and this is indeed Kostya’s three month picture. I promise I didn’t just re-use his two month picture. From now on, I will try to put him in a different colored diaper each month to avoid suspicion.


It’s a bit hard to write this third month list of tricks since his fourth month just wrapped up. What a bad scrapbook-type I am for getting a month behind. (On the other hand, being behind is pretty typical of the scrapbook type, so perhaps I am merely sticking true to form?)

In month three, Kostya

– Became the master of his own noggin,
– Spoke his first words (according to Anya): hi, Carol, and I,
– Broke all our family diaper records with a score of five poo diapers in one day,
– Performed in his first musical, appearing as the Giggling Penquin,
– Celebrated every occasion with the bubbly (drool that is),
– Expanded up to 11.5 pounds,
– Began waking up less during the night,
– Became indoctrinated into the scrapbook cult (is baby snot an archival-quality adhesive?),
– Got his first job as the office pet as his sister’s school,
– Discovered the joy that is sucking on his hand and fingers,
– Began grabbing things like his blanket and pink kitty and my clothes and hair (ow),
– Found the perfect hair style: the cupie doll hair curl, and
– Performed in his second theatrical production: Monster Baby Is Going to Eat You.

Anya saw Frozen, learned finger how to finger knit, forgot how to finger knit, started reading chapter books (filling in words she couldn’t read with “something” — “Jack and Annie something the something and something something cat!”), decided her favorite thing to say to her parents was “No Excuses!,” and finally got enough snow to use her Christmas sled.


Carol went back to work, got a minivan, knitted and crocheted a wee bit, went to a crafty day, played in the snow, and late one night dumped a bowl of water in the middle of the bathroom floor because her brain didn’t think it was necessary to tell her hand to move the bowl over the sink first.


Andy still needs a hair cut, said goodbye to his VW, raked gravel, shoveled snow, and turned our driveway into a luge run.


Up next… Four — It’s just like three, but bigger!

Stuff I Made You Maybe Didn’t See

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Because, if you make something, and you don’t post it on the internet, what’s the point?

Though, I did post this on the internet, but it was on Ravelry, and not all of you three people who read this are Ravelry-ers, and I don’t want you to miss out on the awesomeness of these awesome things I made.

Awesome Thing Number 1: Baby Bear Sleepy Cocoon and Hat

Buying the yarn and pattern book for these was my only real act of nesting. I started working on the project the day before Kostya was born. I even took it to the hospital to work on because I thought maybe there would be some boredom while I waited for him to be born. Helpful tip: although knitting or crocheting are great distractions when in the car with a crazy driver, these crafts are not the best at distracting one from contractions. I was able to get back to work on this project in those early weeks when I was baby furniture, but by the time I finished it, the outfit did not fit. (Watch out ye who next procreates. You may be seeing this again.)


Awesome Thing Number 2: Squid Baby Booties

This was my last project before I popped. I saw these and just had to make them even though I knew the kid would probably never or hardly ever wear them what with babies and their joy in kicking off footwear. These booties were fun, fast, and pretty darn cute. I did have to go through several different yarns before I found one that seemed appropriately aquatic, but on the up side I now have some freaky green and white shag yarn. (Anyone know what to make with freaky green and white shag yarn?)


Awesome Thing Number 3: Hat

When my Mom was staying with us back in November, she was talking about wanting a light-weight hat to wear what with her being an old fart with hardly any hair. (I can say that because genetically speaking, it is quite likely one day I, too, will be an old fart with hardly any hair.) I found this pattern and poked around in my yarn stash and actually did swatches, which was good because the first two yarns were not right. The yarn I did end up using was purchased for me by my Mom at a yarn store in Tempe, Arizona, probably 8 years ago. At first I was worried about this hat because it looked very much like a bland sombrero, but in the end it got its act together. Mom says she likes it, but I haven’t seen her wear it yet. (Hint Hint!) I took this photo before I sent the hat out, and I was tired and cranky. (In other words, this is how I look most of the time right now.)


I haven’t made anything since the hat. I did start a pair of socks, but after about a month and a half I still haven’t even reached the heel of the first. I also began a market bag that currently resembles a slightly (slightly) over-sized coaster. Perhaps you’ll see these projects in finished format before summer?

Two Months with Two Kids

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Kostya’s birthday present to me: Daddy is at work, Sister is at school, Baby is asleep, and Mommy has an hour or so of stillness. After over three weeks of us all being squished together, this is probably the best present I’ve had in a long time. (At least since Saturday, when I got to sleep for three hours in my own bed. Alone. All. By. My. Self.)


Here’s the report on Kostya’s new tricks. At two months he…

– imitates horses in addition to turtles and pterydactls
– out wetted his tiniest diapers
– slept for three hours in his own bed
– had his first Christmas
– outgrew several of his 0-3 month footed jammies
– got a new sling for his mom
– was stepped on by a dog (Don’t ask; he’s fine.)
– tasted a french fry (I need to wear a bib.)
– smiled and giggled and chortled
– almost has a buff enough neck to sit in his bumbo chair
– likes to practice grabbing stuff stuck into his hands
– received his first immunization

I think it’s a bit sad to only write about what Kostya has done in this last month. What about the rest of us? Are we not cute and snuggly, too?

Anya has been: writing and reading, creating “tickets” and making notes, cutting up paper into tiny bits to spread about the house, using sidewalk chalk as make up, going to gymnastics class, doing origami, playing the harmonica, and providing enthusiastic commentary during diaper changes.


Carol has been sleeping/not sleeping, watching, pondering, doing a wee bit of crocheting, dreaming about using her new quilling tools, taking care of Kostya, and getting ready to go back to work.

Andy has been cooking, fetching, playing with Anya, chauffering, organizing craft/yarn stuff, and keeping things running in general. He needs a hair cut.