Saturday, January 31, 2009

Things to Ponder...

1. Why does grass make cats and dogs throw up?

2. Why do kids suddenly have to go to the bathroom as soon as you get on the highway?

3. What is it abou black underwear and bras that make you feel so sexy?

4. Why is it that a bubble bath really does soothe and wash your worries away?

5. How come you end up hitting every red light and get behind every slow drive when you are really really in a hurry??

6. Where do sock gnomes live and what do they do with all the single socks they take?

7. Why do toymakers keep on making toys that DO lots of things but use less and less imagination? Don't they realize that kids favorite toys are cardboard boxes, wooden spoons, and paper towel rolls?

8. Why do makeup companies always discontinue your favorite color of lipstick just as you are running out?

9. How come sumo wrestlers wear such little clothing?

10. Why do kids fight against napping but adults would kill for a nap??

CPSC Grants One Year Stay on Testing Requirements

(taken from Etsy)

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously
(2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger. These requirements are part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which added certification and testing requirements for all products subject to CPSC standards or bans.

Significant to makers of children’s products, the vote by the Commission provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements which go into effect on February 10, 2009 for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among other things. Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.
The decision by the Commission gives the staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.
The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay.

YAY!!!!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meet My Pets- Part 1

So I know I have blogged about our great dog quite a bit, and of course I talk about my kids and hubby. But I have been forgetting to write about another big part of our family- our 4 cats! Yes, I did say 4!! (Someone once said that cats are like potato chips, you can't have just one.)

Introducing- Prince, our 5 year old Siamese mix


Me: Hi Prince, How are you doing this morning?
Prince: I am just feeling FABULOUS today! The sun is shining, it stopped snowing, and my guy is home from work so I can go sit on his lap!
Me: So what is your favorite thing to do during the day?
Prince: In this cold weather I really like to lay in front of whatever heater I can get to and press up against it so all the hot air keeps me warm. In the summer I like to chill in sinks to keep cool, it is a great life!
Me: Who is your favorite person and cat in the house?
Prince: Well of course Klint is my favorite, someday he will appreciate my uber loud purring and tubby belly. And my favorite cat is of course Bo, my long time partner. We cuddle together and yes, I know you have caught us spooning frequently. ;)
Me: With the New Year I know you made some resolutions, would you share some with us?
Prince: 1. Lose a little bit of the tummy and cut back on the kibble. 2. Learn to turn on the faucet for myself. 3. Stop getting jumped by Elmo. 4. Make friends with Spooky, hopefully she will stop trying to turn me into a chew toy!
Me: Well it was great talking with you, last question: What is your best feature?
Prince: Well the baby blue eyes are a show stopper but I think my purr which can be heard anywhere in the house is by far the coolest thing! Thanks to my Siamese ancestors I can share my happiness with everyone!
And that my friends is Prince, our rainbow flag waving fabulously pretty kitty!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Goodbye Handmade, Hello Detroyed Economy

Check out this GREAT post about the ramifications about the new laws that take effect on Feb 10th. Even if you are already well informed it will still shock you!

And while we are talking about handmade here is my newest product: a yoga mat tote!!! (Thank goodness it isn't meant for kids!)



A Russian Invasion!!

I am obsessed with foreign and handmade dolls these days. I have been staring and staring at different templates to make a rag doll for AJ but haven't mustered up the courage to have a go at any of them yet. For now I am content to paint Kokeshi dolls and mini dolls for my girls, but I think my next challenge is going to be Matryoshka dolls- Russian Nesting Dolls! These dolls seem to be a popular theme right now on Etsy so I am going to share some of my favorite works. (Just click on a pic to go to the seller!!








And if you don't want to buy some finished dolls, you can paint your own at Romp!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Well... New Year, New Changes

Last year brought a ton of changes for our family, all for the better. Some were learning experiences and others were just good all the way around. So what better way to start out 2009 than with a big change. (No, I am not pregnant, erase that thought from your sick minds!) No, we decided to downsize and sell our house.

Now, don't get me wrong, our house is perfect for us. It is huge, our neighbors are fabulous, and and it has a ton of good points. But.... it is also a hefty mortgage, one that I think is a stretch for us to manage and still retain some semblense of having any type of extra monies or savings. Plus trying to heat a house this size is almost another mortgage payment, again, something we just can't afford. Then there is the fact that things keep happening that also hinder the whole "saving for the future" goals that we have- like gutters falling off and tearing down awnings, the car breaking, salaries being frozen, etc. So it is goodbye homeownership and hello renting again.

And this is where things get interesting because where on earth would we find a 3-4 bedroom apartment that is cool with large dogs and cats, has affordable heat, and is in a cool part of town? Well lo and behold we have found such a place that has that and so much more. (More about the potential future Krebs pad later!)

So that is what is going on... it was a hard decision, we love having our house and a lot of work went into painting it and such, but we want to have a good financial outlook for this year and for the future. I will miss most of all our great neighbors who have been beyond awesome, anyone would be so lucky to have them in their lives!!!

Surf's Up- Happy Chinese New Year

Hi there! I was waiting to do my usual Surf's Up for this special holiday. We love celebrating different customs and holidays in my house, especially if there is food involved, so I wanted to share some cool things to do, make, and eat to celebrate the Chinese New Year- the year of the Ox!!

Today my lil ones made some really cool felt and fabric fortune cookies made from this tutorial (these are sooooooo easy!!). The only part that the kids needed me to do was the sewing part.


Then we made some pretty paper lanterns to hang up in the playroom, you can get great directions here! (Kaboose is a great site for activities and other things for kids, reminds me of Wondertime!)



And our last activity before lunch was "reading" tea leaves with Chinese tea. Combine the imagination of a 4 year old and a bunch of soppy tea leaves and you have a good time for sure. (I was told that I will be taking Gabby to the toy store where AJ will make a mess and I will buy Gabby a dino!)
Here is some interesting information about Chinese customs regarding New Year's Day:
House Cleaning
The entire house should be cleaned before New Year's Day. On New Year's Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. After New Year's Day, the floors may be swept. Beginning at the door, the dust and rubbish are swept to the middle of the parlor, then placed in the corners and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day. At no time should the rubbish in the corners be trampled upon. In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold, you will sweep one of the family away. Also, to sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door.

Personal Appearance and Cleanliness
On New Year's Day, we are not suppose to wash our hair because it would mean we would have washed away good luck for the New Year. Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is believed that appearance and attitude during New Year's sets the tone for the rest of the year. Children and unmarried friends, as well as close relatives are given lai see, little red envelopes with crisp one dollar bills inserted, for good fortune.


And no Surf's Up would be complete without an Etsy creation!


I saw this lovely fortune cookie necklace and fell in love! The creator, Mynta, is offering free shipping fo it so someone please go get it before I do!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We Have A Winner!!!


Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway and for all the nice comments from my Etsy friends! I love handmade toys and am so thankful to be able to share something I made with a child!


Our winner is:

OneMoreHound said...
My favorite toy growing up was Buckey
the Horse from Fisher Price- not only could I store stuff in the saddle seat but
I could take him all over the house, yard and driveway... good times, good
times.I would love to give this house to Aadien (2 years old) who would love a
farmhouse or a gas station for his cars. This is such a precious idea- great
stuff!

YAY!!!!

(please email me at mrs.conniekrebs@hotmail.com to get your prize!!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

January Giveaway!

Every parent knows how hard it is to keep a child entertained in the doctor's office, at church, while taking a long trip in the car. And nothing is worse than toys low on batteries or loud enough to drown out the radio. That is why I am going to give away one reader's choice of a soft dollhouse or farmhouse, made with love by yours truly. The house will be personalized and custom made, a one of a kind toy that will be good for both child and parent!!

Here is what you have to do to win:
1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite toy as a child and who the farmhouse or dollhouse would be for.
2. Make sure you leave your name.
3. The giveaway is open until Friday (Jan 23) at midnight and the winner will be announced on Sat, Jan 24.

These are some pics of some of the other houses I have made for my girls so you can see what some look like.





Sunday, January 18, 2009

Surf's Up Saturday- Soon to be Illegal Toys

For this addition of Surf's Up Sunday I decided to feature toys made by fellow Etsians. With the Feb 10th deadline approaching faster and faster the atmosphere on Etsy is very mixed. Some sellers are resigned to getting rid of all their beautiful creations as quickly as possible while others are giving the government the big F*U and sticking to their guns, ready to fight. I have heard a lot of sellers becoming very depressed as selling handmade toys is their passion and income and I am sorry that I cannot feature them all. No matter what there will always be parents who appreciate and look for beautfully made handmade toys and other items for their kids.

Just click on a pick to be directed to each shop!

**Make sure to come back tomorrow for this month's giveaway!!**






Friday, January 16, 2009

Ok Ok I Get It

I take back my post from last night.... when I was complaining about 1 degree weather... can I have my 12 degrees back please? It is -11 here and that is WITHOUT the windchill. For any of you who have no clue what windchill is, it is what it REALLY feels like outside with the wind blowing... usually windchills are about 10 degrees lower than the actual temp. Like here where the windchill is currently -35! YIKES!!!!

I think that I am going to play "Will it freeze?" with the kids, just for fun. It is where you take a whole bunch of random things from Spam to beer, pour it in cups, and leave it outside to see how long it takes to freeze it. =)

Here are some pics of our recent outdoor fun.... when the temps were still in the positives!
The video is our first time getting Spooky to pull the sled, she is strong enough to even pull me!














video

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside!!


Ok, not just cold- FREEEEZING!!!!
It is all of 1 degree outside and my poor hubby has to be out in this, keeping the federal banks safe. Yikes! Even my kitty doesn't want to go out, the same cat who insisted on spending Christmas Eve outside hunting last year. I am all for ice, snow, and cold... but I expect it in Alaska, not here in Ohio! Now I have to go hide in my heated bed under my heated blankets with a cup of tea!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Lil Zen for the Kids


We are all about being "peaceful piggies" in my house and I really enjoy finding children's books that help demonstrate those qualities that make up a peaceful mindset. One book that I found at the library was Zen Shorts by John J. Muth.

This book is one of those books that is going to be read over and over by both my girls and me. It is both charming and wise, attention grabbing and very....well Zen-like. The story is about Stillwater, a giant panda who moves into the neighborhood, bringing companionship and wisdom to two brothers and a sister. Their friendship grows while Stillwater retells three ancient Zen tales about materialism, good and bad, and what it means to hang on to anger.

What I love most is that the illustrations are gentle and soft and the stories are just as tender. Highly recomend it!

Another lil Printable for the kids

Well since I had such a great response to the print and color calendar for the kids and the print and give bookplates I decided to combine to two into a print and color set of bookplates.
My girls love love love to read and sometimes we lend out books to our friends so these funky bookplates are perfect.

Just print them out onto either label paper (the same as the previous bookplate post) or onto plain paper, color, and then attach to books! Simple and fun on a snowy, cold day like today!!



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More fun Projects to try

Here are some more really fun and simple projects to try, I can't wait to do some of them once I am done with my current slew of things! =)

Cute Japanese Coin Purse
Party Garland
Dresser Makeover
Fabric House- this one is making a plush house that is filled with stuffing, more suitable for a baby than the other house which is more for a preschooler and up. Very cute!!!
Child's Tent
Fabric Fortune Cookie
Fabric Bucket
Japanese Knot Bag

Considering that the high tomorrow is supposed to be 8 degrees the Children's Tent might be a good idea to try! Happy Crafting everyone!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Home Sweet Home

So as many of you know I have the patience of a 2 yr old, especially when it come to crafts and new projects. After staring and staring at the tutorial of the plush doll houses I decided to drag up our ancient sewing machine and see if I could make a house for the girls.

I would like to say that on my first try I made a perfect house, however, the sad reality is that the first house was only suitable for AJ who wouldn't care that it was lopsided, the handles were an afterthought, and you couldn't tell that it had a roof! The second house though, was much much better. Actually I am very proud of it since my sewing skills are pretty basic and the only reason I was able to work the machine was thanks to my hubby who knew how to thread the needle properly, lol!

Here is the house I made for Gabby's Kokeshi dolls:



*The tutorial for this is here! Don't forget to check out the link to the Flickr group here to get some great ideas for your own house!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Something to Aspire To

I have been getting more and more interested in sewing since my curiosity led me to Spool Sewing and got me hand sewing little birdies galore. I think I may be getting a sew machine for my birthday this month and am already looking for fun projects to do. Here is my list of projects and talent to aspire to, especially this first one. Enjoy and please send me some more project ideas, how-to's, etc.... I have serious crafter ADD so I need a lot of ideas to keep me occupied!

Fabic Dollhouse - This is THE project that I want to master first! I am going to try to make two little pagoda's for the girls for Valentine's Day to house all their little Kokeshi dolls.
Pencil Roll and Art Bag - Perfect for car rides to Ashland!
Lunchbag- I would love to make a manly one for Klint so he stops using the blue shopping bags
Pillowcase Dresses- I have visions of AJ and Gabby wearing these all summer
10 Minute Headband- It is taking all my willpower not to try to do this one by hand, I really need to get some more patience....
Reversible Shoulder Bag- oh the possibilities... I am a serious bag junkie!
Ruby Doll- Because AJ will never have too many handmade dollies
Go Fish- What kid doesn't want to pretend to fish with cute fabric fishies?

So what are your favorite tutorials and projects? (Just don't make it too hard!)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Lil Bit of Zumba Does a Body Good


OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am just now catching my breathe from my Zumba class that was from 6-7 and I feel like my butt was kicked by a pro. I promised myself that I was going to take it as much as I can since I get to take it free at the dance studio where I teach and it is ultra convenient that two out of the three classes offered follow two of the classes I teach so I don't have any excuses not to go. I have never felt as energetic and worn out at the same time, this is no comparison to taking a class instead of "working" out at home. I can never push myself the way a class can!

I heavily suggest to anyone who hates working out, loves shaking their butt to latin beats, and wants to just have fun to come to a Zumba class, especially the ones offered at Rock City Dance in Middlburg Heights. Aside from having great teachers (*wink*) Rock City's fitness package is awesome- for just $45 a month you get unlimited fitness classes which range from Cardio Boot Camp to Yoga. And you can try out a class for free to see if it is for you... with an offer like that what do you have to lose except for those pesky holiday pounds???

I can't wait to see everyone there!!!! (Be sure to bring a lot of water and a small towel, you will need it!)

Photo Meme

I was tagged by Prasti from Here to There for this easy photo meme:
  • open the 4th picture folder in your computer.
  • open the 4th picture folder in that folder and post it on your blog.
  • explain the picture.
  • tag 4 other bloggers to do the same (you can notify them in their comments section).
Photo Explanation: AJ and I were playing in the kitchen area and AJ thought it would be funny to put a mixing bowl on her head. So for about 25 minutes we took turns wearing the bowl... very stylish!!

Here are the 4 bloggers I am tagging:
1. Leah
2. Jen
3. Jessica
4. Bethany

Monday, January 5, 2009

Print and Give

I love giving books as gifts, if you do as well then feel free to print these bookplates for your next gift! They are suited for Avery label style 5168 or you can just print some out on paper and attach them with some glue. Let me know what you think!!!


My New Craft Space!

Da dada DA!!!!!!!! My Christmas present from Klint was finished this weekend and looks just like I pictured it. I am sure that there will be more additions to it, but I am loving having my own area to work and craft!





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