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Living in S. Minneapolis (and reading a lot of craft blogs) can having a normalizing effect on some of the not-so-normal standards by which we live. We do the vast majority of our grocery shopping at one or the other of several local co-ops. We line dry our clothes when we can. We compost. We make our own bread and granola. Our kids don’t watch much t.v. and we have worked hard to get rid of toys that require batteries. Even the impulse to raise chickens in our little backyard isn’t that crazy among the folks we know (in fact, at least 3 families I’ve talked to lately are contemplating the same).

Even with these nutty notions as our norm, we can still be caught off guard by the strange and simple things that will entertain our children. Before the weekend’s run to the co-op, Brad and I were trying to finish the grocery list and pack up the necessary containers and returnables (did I mention we buy in bulk, filling our own containers and get local milk in glass bottles?). Those containers are Sarah’s favorite “toys”, so in a blind attempt to distract her I grabbed an empty egg carton and a handful of dried pinto beans. These were the things in the kitchen that were plentiful and handy.

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No sooner had I set these things on the chair for Sarah, then both Lizzie and Joshua had to get in on the fun. Brad and I just stared at each other in amazement.

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Over an hour later, when Brad returned from shopping, they were still at it. Lizzie had developed a complex game with several rules and some logic. Joshua had done everything from counting and grouping in various ways, to filling a small container to make a shaker, to starting his own complex game (yes rules, no logic). Sarah spent most of the time bringing them to me one at a time or taking them out of and putting them back in the egg carton. A study in child development – no batteries required.

I feel a toy purge coming on…

I’m sure you have all done it.  Gotten bored and started “googling” people.  Friends, relatives, yourself, people you haven’t talked to or even thought of in years.  I’m on a roll.  Found a few former boyfriends and lurked through their blogs, getting “caught up”.  It’s interesting to see what they are up to and how they are doing.  It is also fascinating and a little creepy to realize how easy it is to find people via the internet.

Here’s what I learned in my most recent time wasted spent on Google:

  • My maiden name yields someone who plays Lacrosse.
  • My married name yields someone who plays field hockey.  (Sadly, I played neither)
  • The only results from searching my married name that are actually me are related to my current job (blah, blah, blah, church, blah, blah).
  • A couple of my former boyfriends are married.
  • One of those has two super cute kids.
  • One former boyfriend seems to be perpetually stuck at age 21.  (yikes)

Tracking down people with whom you have had little to no contact with for years is pretty surreal.  My mental images of some of these people are frozen in time, circa 1991.  To see photos of their families, read about their careers, creative and academic pursuits is almost jarring.  Frankly, it is a bit jarring to think of myself circa 1991.

One thing is for sure, I like now a lot better than 1991.  (Especially now that the other 4 members of the household have stopped vomiting.)

Love is…

  • knitting socks for someone who wears a size 13 (must be the same psychological process of selective memory that allows people to have more than one child)
  • the willingness to share one of these with the would-be sock recipient
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  • what I feel for the Gocco (too bad it isn’t mine and the rightful owner may want it back someday)
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Sometime in January, I made a list of things I want to make. I often have the craft equivalent of “eyes bigger than my stomach” so writing it all down seemed like a way to reign in my impulses. The good news: my list wasn’t nearly as long as I thought it would be. The bad news: I’m still adding to it. It is a give and take, really. For every one thing I accomplish, 2 or 3 more ideas are added. The most problematic part, at least according to my husband, is that I tend to be a bit too impulsive about buying supplies.  Are you saying that my craft budget shouldn’t be as big as our food budget? (That is a rhetorical question!)

A couple of items that have been crossed off the list are the all day tote, felt fairies and this table runner for my mom.

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Once again, I used the Rubblework scarf pattern for the center and added a border. I used some of the fabric I had leftover from the runner I made my sister for Christmas. I got the border fabric on sale at a local quilt store. I really like the textural element it adds. I used the same fabric for the backing to make it reversible, at least in theory.

My sister’s birthday is coming up, soon after my mom’s. I haven’t quite finished her socks, but I hope to be able to get them in the mail on Monday. Fortunately, she has extremely small feet.

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I would probably be finished with the socks it not for the siren song of my lap quilt, another item on The List. I have been wanting to make a quilt for myself for a while. I have made a small handful of quilts before, all crib size. The lap quilt is a step up for me, especially since I will be quilting by hand. Originally, I was going to try to use fabrics from my stash. I went to the quilt store to get the Yellow Brick Road pattern. That’s all. Just the pattern. Then a stack of sale fabrics found their way into my arms. Okay, that’s fine. A pattern and some sale fabrics, no problem. Then I was bewitched by the salesperson’s suggestion of making the YBR from this fabric line. It’s just 12 fat quarters! Rut roh. What did I say about problems with craft impulse control?

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What kind of mood are you in when you pick up a copy of The Bell Jar and think, “maybe this will cheer me up”?  Let’s just say, not good.  The writing of a woman who puts her head in the oven can kind of be a downer.