Monday, January 31, 2011

Make-it Monday: Felted Wool Ball Tutorial

Today I followed this tutorial to make a felted wool ball.  I've been eyeing wool balls on for a while now, and when our primary president mentioned having made wool balls I was jealous and finally looked up how to do it myself.

Though appears to no longer be in existance, the video at is quite wonderful.  So after successfully creating my core ball, I decided I'd do another and take pictures so I finally post a tutorial!  While the creator of the tutorial used wool batting, I used wool fiber that I purchase on from Dreamcrafter last year.  With the kind I used it did not hold onto itself very well, but it still worked just fine as you will see.
So here is my pile of wool fiber and the ball core that I already felted.
I took about a three foot length and rolled it up.
As you can see in the last picture it doesn't hold together well.  I just held it firmly but gently in my hands to keep it's shape.  I followed the instructions per the video and took photos for you of the stages of felting.  It really took no more than maybe ten minutes of gently rubbing and massaging the wool in a circular motion.  Sorry for the "fancy" lighting, the weather today is rather autumn like actually and the wind blew some clouds to block majority of the sunlight.
When it was rather firm and obviously felted into a ball, I then rinsed it a bit and squeezed out the excess water.  The trouble with the video tutorial is that she gives you no finishing instructions beyond using the washing machine.
Mischief requested a purple ball and Drama Queen wanted a pink one.  Mischief had trouble keeping her hands off the unfinished balls.  
For the colored layer I used some carded fleece I purchased last year from 7 yaks on etsy.  I took a wad and smoothed it out a bit then rolled the fleece around the ball.  I did two layers so it would be fully covered.

Having no other idea on how to finish the balls, I scrounged up a worn out pair of tights from Drama Queen's toddler days.  The purple ball, which I did attempt to hand felt, went into the tights much more easily than the pink did. I slip knotted them into the tights, and threw them in a small load of whites in hot water.  I realized at the beginning of the first cycle that I didn't stick them in a pillowcase, and pulled them out to remedy that.  
That part of the crunchy parent tutorial is in a second video.

When the washer was done I threw the pillowcase alone into the dryer so it'd dry faster.  The purple one, which I slightly wet felted by hand before giving up and stuffing it in the tights, turned out better than the pink.  So I recommend slightly hand felting the colored part before sticking it in the tights/nylons.  As you can see I ended up with bald spots on one side of each ball.  I'll needle felt over them.
Once I locate my felting needles I will felt each girls initial onto their own ball.

And there you have my tutorial on wet felting a ball.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Sabbath

Last week in Relief Society, the lesson was on fasting.  A sister in the ward had an interesting and enlightening idea to add.  Though some people can not fast due to pregnancy or medical condition, you can help yourself get in the right frame of mind by fasting from a specific thing, Kind of like how Catholics give up something they really love for Lent.

Today we are having an extended family fast and I'm fasting from delicious double chocolate cookies.

We'll have to have our own religious lesson later today because Mr. Man worked late last night and I don't have the heart to wake him for Church.  The girls and I are ditching Church as well due to some psycho estrogen things going on.  You'd think we were all PMSing.  Drama Queen is having melt downs when we disagree with her desired dictatorship regime.  Mischief is having melt downs because she does not want to wear clothes and also does not want to do all the things Drama Queen keeps demanding of her.  I feel guilty of course that we're not going to church.  It is ingrained in me that that is what you do on Sunday and if you don't go you're a big sinner.  *sigh*

But really, I'm ready to just sit here and scream.  Infact if Mr. Man were not at home, I would not be resisting this desire.

It really seems that Mischief is over her dairy allergy!  I'll just have to enjoy the almond milk that Namma sent up myself!  Mischief has been having dairy for two days now and amazingly, her rash is almost gone.  Does that mean she was having issues with the almond milk too?  I really don't get this kid's conditions, but if she continues like this it will be a blessing to not have to avoid giving her dairy products and buying special milk for her.

I've started being able to feel the baby, I felt him/her first on Friday, but I thought maybe I just thought it, but then it happened a number of times on Saturday.  This is the one thing I like about pregnancy.

And look at that you get a Sunday ramble.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Special - First Bento!

For dinner tonight Mr. Man requested what we call "asian" rice.  It's just short grain rice, but it's what we use to make onigiri and sushi, so to make it easier to explain what kind of rice is being talked about we say Asian rice.  This inspired me to finally use the bento boxes I picked up at the local Oriental Market last year.  I also followed Just Bento's recipe for egg tamagoyaki.
Drama Queen's first bento: rice sprinkled with furikake, egg tamagoyaki, apple bunny and heart, sliced cucumber and underneath those are a few baby carrots (thanks Aunt Mary!).

My bento is just in a rubbermaid bowl, same thing as DQ but celery sticks instead of carrots (oh ya, DQ has a celery stick too) and I seasoned my rice like sushi rice. 
Drama Queen was thrilled with her bento and despite my worries she thought the tamagoyaki was delicious.   She thought the apple bunny was fantastic and used her chopsticks to eat everything.  
Mischief was not quite so impressed.  She ate her apple bunny and rice.  She thought that tamagoyaki was inedible.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Truth is. . .Thursday

Truth is. . .anytime we can't find something, I feel like it's my fault because I'm the "housekeeper" so if the house isn't clean, it's my fault.

Truth is. . .I love seafood.  I have a sister-in-law who thinks it's just plain gross and I don't get that!  Love her anyway!

Truth is. . .When we're driving down the street, I sometimes try to catch people in the act of nose picking.  It totally grosses me out, though I'm guilty of doing it myself at times.

Truth is. . . I haven't showered since Sunday.  I can smell myself.  I'm waiting for Mischief's nap time to remedy this otherwise I'll have her in there with me and lately she just wants to be held the entire time, which is not so fun for me, or productive.

Truth is. . .I broke the dog's outside water bowl today.   It was iced over, as it has been every morning for the last month, but when I flipped it over and dropped it on the ground, not only did the ice in it shatter but the bowl did too.  Oops.

Truth is. . .I'm sitting her online watching Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, while Drama Queen cleans the living room.  I give her a task, she does it then comes and asks for another.  And we wonder why my house is a disaster?  Nope, actually no wondering goes on.  We all know it's me.

Truth is. . .on one hand I can count the number of times Mischief has slept through the night.  Tuesday night was one of those nights though.  Last night was completely opposite, yet I feel more rested and energetic today than I did yesterday.

Truth is. . .I really want some Tom Ga Kai soup.  We only have one can of coconut milk though, I'd been saving it for a curry, but hmmm. . . .of course I don't have any cilantro, so there goes that.  I'm out of Nori too so I can't make sushi either.  I could make plain onigiri, but I like mine with nori.  We really like Asian food in our house.

Truth is. . .I did have breakfast.  The baby is just always hungry for savory food.  To the point that I even want some kimchi.  Which as a rule I don't particularly like.  Though I want to make some myself.

Truth is. . .I'm a prime rib kind of girl with a pinto bean budget.  hahahaha.  I came up with that at about 1 am last night.  I know caviar is usually the expensive item used for an example, but I'm not a big fan of caviar.  It's not bad or anything, I just though it was pretty bland.  But I'm still pleased that I have had the experience.  Thanks sister!  (The Hobbit in O.C. - D&B manager dinner thing)

Truth is. . . I've never been fishing.  I really want to though.  I've told Mr. Man that yearly since we got married and he always says he'll take me.  Maybe I'll insist this year.  Idaho has fishing yes?  We're going camping there this summer.

Truth is. . .I'm jealous that Mr. Man is going to school.  I want to go to school and take math, science, dance, and photography!  I hope to some day learn to use a fancy camera. . . .and photoshop.

Truth is. . .I totally just use today's post to ramble!

Truth is. . .I'm emotionally imbalanced today.  On the verge of tears for no reason. Ah, pregnancy hormones.

Truth is. .  .I'm pondering doing a Asian style garden.  Lemon grass, bok choy, napa cabbage, daikon radishes, cilantro, thai chiles, etc.

Truth is. . .I think it's hilarious that Drama Queen's response to my "You talk alot" is "Well, that's just what happens when I open my mouth!"

Truth is. . .I finally got brave and set up our WIC appt.  They'll put Mischief on it for 30 days without "proof of identity".  So now to get an application filled out, notarized and mailed in with a cashier's check.  Thank goodness tomorrow is "payday" and maybe we'll get enough to do that and get a few things paid!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tutu Tuesday - Reading and Sunbonnets

One day last week I discovered Mischief just lying on this chair.  Looking at the world from a new persepective perhaps?
 Drama Queen is getting better with the camera.  Mischief is holding DQ's camera here, while DQ uses my camera to take a picture of us.  Her camera needs new batteries.
 And a rare picture with two happy little girls!  Last week they enjoyed having their friends over more frequently than usual because their friends dad was out of town and their mom needed some sanity/adult interaction.
Like my dad did with me, I've begun working on reading Dick and Jane with Drama Queen.  Here she is, memorization at it's best!  She really wants to move on to the fourth story, but I told her she can't until she remembers "and" since the next story has at least one more new word.

My mom pointed out to me that Mischief has quite the cat who ate the canary look here.  This is why I chose to call her Mischief on the blog.  She's quite the sneaky child.

 Drama Queen loves dressing up in mine and Mr. Man's winter gear lately.  Here she is being mommy.

 Mischief picked this bonnet out of the six pictured options on Simplicity 3840.  Though it wasn't a frilly fancy one like I wanted her to pick, it was actually really easy, the easiest in this pattern!  My interfacing was obviously not as stiff as the kind used on the example one.
Drama Queen's bonnet is a bit large.  I used McCall's pattern 4547.  The bonnet is size 3-6.  I ran out of the purple butterfly material and couldn't find a solid purple, so I used a complimentary print for the ties.  I also cheated and instead of ties across the back of the neck (I didn't feel like doing button holes) I just ran elastic through the casing. I like that the hat has a part to keep her neck covered.  I also left off the lace.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Make-it Monday

I started hand sewing a doll of mine a little shirt.

We'll be cutting out sunhats/bonnets this week.  I'm thinking two for each of us girls.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Family Friday - Cleaning Day

Mr. Man decided that Fridays should be chores day since he only has one class that day.  So this morning he cleaned the kitchen while the girls and I cleaned up the living room.  He also started on some more laundry while I played a game called Word Spot with my friend.  It's not a game I'd ever want to play against my genius brother and sister-in-law.  I'd lose within the first five rounds I'm sure!  Mischief and Drama Queen were so good at helping out.  They need micromanaging to keep them going, but they are more than happy to keep cleaning if they've been giving chores that way.
So pictures today are of our two clean rooms.  Mr. Man even mopped the kitchen floor.  The mess on the table is a craft that Drama Queen and I were working on.  The crockpot has our potato corn chowder that will be for dinner tonight.  I chopped the potatoes, but then Mr. Man gave me some homework to do for his English class, he had to have a family member fill out a survey about learning literacy skills.  While I did that, I let him chop the carrots and onion.  I am proud of myself for keeping my mouth shut when we ended up with massive pieces of onion in there.  He quartered it then sliced in 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices.  And yes, I did tell him at the beginning I wanted everything around half an inch square.  I'm totally going to quietly eat around the onion.
 Pardon the clean laundry pile and the dirty laundry hampers.  Drama Queen was having a pretend picnic while watching Muppets from Space.  I provided her with cucumber slices and apple wedges a bit after this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Truth is. . .Thursday

Truth is. . .I haven't sewn in about a month because I broke the needle and I don't know if I have anymore.  Will buy some in bulk next month and will going!

Truth is. . .I am having trouble being patient and waiting 4 weeks to know if this baby is a boy or a girl.  Granted they did peek yesterday and by current signs, it's another girl, but the gal doing the ultrasound said she wouldn't call it yet.

Truth is. . . I was disappointed twice yesterday, first when they said no VBACs and second when they said it was another girl.  I got over the VBAC thing within a minute or two.  It took looking up cute girly thing tutorials for me to get closer to accepting the gender possibility.

Truth is. . .I want to go all out with this last baby (not that we can get too crazy what with the budget we're on), but there's not much fun in that if it's another girl.  We already have everything we'd need. . .though our carseat will probably be expired.

Truth is. . .today I just want to crawl back into bed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I'll do Truth is on Thursdays, cause it sounds like fun, but we'll make Wednesdays Wordless Wednesdays when I'll just share a picture, since ya'll seem to like my pictures anyway.  Here is a picture, I didn't take it, nor was I the one who scanned it into the computer, but by golly do I claim it!

Something Nifty Wednesday

I have yet to come up with a creative idea for Wednesdays.  Today before my doctor appointment I was thinking of calling it Wentworth Wednesday and doing baby updates, but the ultrasound, though it really is too early to tell for sure, made it look a whole lot like this one is going to be a girl as well.  Feel free to help come up with a nifty idea for Wednesdays.

Due date: July 16 (well a week before).  Baby will be another C-section due to my water rupturing habit.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tutu Tuesday

One of the things the girls love doing together is brushing teeth.  It's one of the few times that Drama Queen shares without complaint.  She scoots over on the stool so Mischief can join her on it.

They're both at a stage right now where they think the spitting into the sink part of teeth brushing is hilarious.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Social Saturday - Fondue Party

Every year, it seems, this family at our church hosts a fondue party for a number of their friends.  We were lucky enough to be included in that number this year!  So on Friday night, one of Mr. Man's sisters came over and watched the girls while we went out for a fun adults only night!

There was a pot of seasoned broth in which to cook meat - beef and chicken - as well as two cheese fondue pots.  To dip in the deliciousness we had french bread, toasted baguette slices, sourdough bread, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets and baby carrots.

I really liked that I could cook my beef to just the way I like it!  Everyone left theirs in for a long time, but mine was more like 45 seconds, I like my beef to melt in my mouth.  It was also very delicious to throw some broccoli and cauliflower into the broth to cook it.

Once the cheese was gone our host brought out the chocolate fondue!  There was one dish of dark chocolate and the other dish was semi sweet chocolate with marshmellow and graham crackers.  To dip in the chocolate we had bananas, orange slices, apple slices, marshmallows, graham crackers, pound cake, strawberries, Nilla Wafers, and pretzels.

The dark chocolate ended up going back to the kitchen because someone realized the alcohol hadn't all gotten cooked out.  I didn't notice it, so I'm glad someone else did.  I just thought it was the best, and most bitter, dark chocolate I'd ever had.

Besides eating lots of delicious food it was great to have a chance to be with a large group of adults just to chat and laugh and overall rediscover what it is to have a life beyond children!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Family Friday - The Man Cave

Mr. Man decided that he wanted his own space.  He and I put in the labor to clear out the crap. . .I mean craft room, into which he then moved his treasures.  It is his Man Cave, complete with baby gate to keep the kids out and the dog in.  His legos are prominately displayed, of course, though my fabric boxes are still stored in there for the time being.

He picked up a banana chair from Target clearance.  He can hook it up to his Ipod and it will play his music out of speakers built into the chair.

The dog's kennel has been moved into the Man Cave, as well as Mr. Man's bike, set up on his wind trainer.

Though he was inside his kennel when I took the picture, the dog actually hangs out in the room for half the day.  After about lunch time he'll stand with his front paws on the baby gate and that's when he gets put into his kennel.  Mr. Man got fed up with the girls fighting over their little armchair, and he put it in the Man Cave so they could not get to it, oh was the dog ever happy!  Even if he doesn't look it in the picture.
The other thing the dog loves about having "his own room"  is that he can now do this without us grabbing the girls and ushering them to another room so they don't get whacked.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to spiff up your blog

I love 3-column blogs, but I also love the free backgrounds you can find at places like The Cutest Blog on the Block.  And to use those backgrounds you have to have your blog template set to Minima.  With the new Template Designer feature on Blogger, Minima isn't an obvious option.  Thank goodness for Google!  First I searched for how to get Minima back.   The easiest to understand answer I found was in the UK Blogger Help Forum.  After that I hunted to see if there was a way to make Minima into 3 column and found this fantastic tutorial from  I loved how it turned out then, except, as always, the border around the header drives me nuts.  So I googled how to remove it.  It's so super easy, I don't know why I didn't look it up before!  Next, since I plan this to be a more organized and fantastical blog, I found instructions to make a search engine for my blog.  This way it will be easy for any visitors to look up tutorials or recipes, etc, quickly.    Now I just discovered that The Cutest Blog on the Block also has a tutorial for turning Minima to 3 column, also easy to use.