Archive for the 'to-do' Category

Jul 26 2009

home sweet home and a 1-a-day challenge

We are back from vacation. It was wonderful. My brother is now married. We partied hard with my side of the family. And then we drove from southern Oregon up to Portland, which is right on the border with Washington state. We saw a bit more family, as my aunt is in Vancouver, WA, but mostly, the rest of the trip was our own little family vacation. James and I both got to do our own geeky things – his were comic book shops and beer — LOTS OF BEER. Mine was bead & craft & fabric stores — LOTS OF BEADS AND FABRIC. It’s a good thing we don’t live there or Fabric Depot, The Bead Source, and Umawajirasanakanukiwa alone would bankrupt us.

I REALLY didn’t worry about food while we were there. And so it was no surprise when I was up 5 pounds at weight watchers today. But one thing vacation has done for me, is it has given me lots of MOTIVATION! I am buckling down for an awesome week to get back to where I was. I usually buy breakfast AND lunch, mostly because of lack of preparation, so this week I am going to try to get everything ready to go before hand.

I also am feeling all gung-ho about getting this house clean and decluttered! Our problem is when we clean up we shuttle crap from one surface to another, and so it gets messy again easily. Time to get RID of all the crap, find permanent homes for everything we own, and keep it clean! This will be a long-term project, but as I said, GUNG-HO!

I’ve also kind of been hunting for a new purse for the last few months. I even bought one at JC Penney’s and tried it out at home before I decided it really just wasn’t me. So after buying a big pile of gorgeous fabric in Portland (Fabric Depot is awesome) I think I need to clear off my sewing table in the next month or so and make me a new purse.

I took some rings with me on vacation, but didn’t really do much with them. It was a nice jewelry vacation, really. And I bought a lot of beads while I was there. I tried to envision what I would do with each bead before I bought them, so I am now FULL of ideas.

One reason why I gravitate to chain maille is that there is a pattern to follow and even with no modifications at all, it looks incredible. Sometimes I sit with beads and get the beader’s equivalent of writer’s block. So many different combinations possible! Too stiffling! What if I get it wrong! So being full of ideas is a lovely feeling. On the flip side though, doing ONLY chain maille is stifling too. Some pieces are VERY time consuming, and also it puts all the pieces (except earrings!) in my shop at a fairly high price point.

I want to jump-start all these visions and quell the beader’s block before it begins, so I thought I would do a little challenge for myself. A piece of jewelry a day for a week. This will also help me build up some inventory, which I need, and help build in a better variety of price points on pieces in my shop. I have lots of ideas for earrings, which will make it a fun and easy challenge, not to mention if it will probably get me to actually FINISH a few of the things that are 3/4 of the way to complete! If any jewelry designers out there want to join me, please comment, I’d be just tickled!

I’m also working on another challenge, though this one is not self imposed. I am a member of a wire wrapping group on yahoo, and right now there is a “Big & Gaudy” Earring challenge. The only criteria is that they should be at LEAST 2 inches long. I am having a blast sketching out different possibilities, but the deadline has started to loom, so it’s time to stop sketching and start MAKING! I’ll show those off when the deadline comes as well.

I’m telling you, all this motivation feels AWESOME!

That’s it for now — so nice to be home — so nice to be filled with ENERGY! Hopefully it’ll last!

-amy wonders where the hell ‘gung-ho’ came from. let’s blame canada.

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Aug 14 2007

basement decorating #1

Published by under amy's head,daily,house,kids,to-do

You thought I was kidding about turning this spot into a design blog.

Well I wasn’t! I’m all a-flurry with ideas and I must get them out somewhere!

Here is the basic dimensions of our big room in the basement. I’ve dropped some furniture in there too, but it’s all up for grabs at this point.

Created with EQ3’s Room Planner:


There are 3 basic areas this room will have. TV viewing/seating area, kids play/toy area, and my sewing area. Right now I think I want 2 to be the toy area, and 3 to be the sewing area.

I’ve been collecting ideas on all three of these areas, but I’m going to try to consolidate all those thoughts right here over the next few weeks.

Starting with the kids’ play area! First off, I’ll be so glad to get their toy/play area out of our front room and downstairs. Of course, after that happens, I’ll need some furniture to GO in that front room, but let’s take this one step at a time, shall we? 🙂

So.. take a look at the #2 area. The door goes into what will someday be the bathroom, but is now just part of the concrete-floored utility room. We also plan on moving that door to the other wall at some point.. but that is in the distant future and I’m not figuring it into our current plans.
The kids need to good bit of toy storage, and what we currently have going is assorted plastic bins of various sizes and colors filled, and sitting on the lower shelves of a normal sized bookshelf. It works, but the bins stick out a bit and it’s just generally not pretty.

I’d like to get a white expedite bookcase, 2×4 cube size, laid on it’s side, with white or colored boxes/bins in each cube for toy storage.

I’d love to do something like this for the surface of the bookcase for the kids to draw and play:

Need to make sure the bookcase on it’s side would be tall enough for them. Could I attach some short legs to it? Interesting idea.

Above the bookcase, I’d like to hang some of the ikea kitchen caddy’s for storing smaller items (crayons, markers, miscelaneous lego dudes, etc.)

And then further up on the wall, some floating white shelves that would be parent-only reachable.

I love these two chairs from Ikea and know the kids would LOVE them:

2 svinga ikea chairs $60/each


2 egg chairs, blue $70/each

I’m not sure how these will work. I would love to incorporate them, but I’m not sure it’s possible in that space… the door is problematic and I wouldn’t want to hang them in front of the back wall.. If you look at the floor plan, you can see how I tried to place them (i used the dimensions for the hanging chairs) on either side of the door. Of course, if I used the egg chairs, the kids could move them all over as needed. I wish that door was gone already. Anyway. Need to think on it.


Little knees on hard floor does not a happy camper make!

3×4 FLOR puzzle rug tiles (would equal approx 5′ x 6.5′ in size)
undecided on color, but probably blue or green
cost: $15.99 / tile = $192

Less fancy FLOR:

I could buy two of these prepackaged dealios from Target ($60/each for a total of $120) for the same size rug (12 tiles). I will miss the puzzle pieces though – I just LOVE THEM!

other rug ideas (cheaper)
sew 2 or 3 of these together:

Barnslig Rand, $20/each ($60 for 3)

And this just struck me… we already have a road playmat rug currently residing right in our front entry, andwhile it is on the small side, we could just put that down there in lieu of something new.. It definitely will need to go somewhere, as it is used heavily! I guess in my head, I figured that it would stay on the main level with a bin of cars. Hmmm.

I’m referencing Ikea a lot aren’t I? What can I say. It’s because it’s cheap. And easy to link. And for kids… Ikea just makes sense. Moving on…

On the back wall, I’d like to paint the bottom half(ish, maybe bottom 1/3) with magnetic black chalkboard paint



and the top half a bright color. I thought at first gray would be cool, but since it’s the toy area, I’m thinking a blue or green. will depend on the other main color of the room.

Oooh, I almost forgot.. I also would like to put ceiling to floor curtains on that back wall – the one with the window (which is one of those tiny, up high basement windows, by the way). They will likely be pulled back at all times, but I think it will make a storybook sort of feel, especially to whatever the kids are drawing on the chalkboard wall. What sort of fabric for that however, I’m clueless on. I love so many fabrics, but at the same time, fabric kind of scares me. More on that later when I expound on my ideas for my crafty sewing corner.

So those are my thoughts for the toy area! Any thoughts? Would love some more ideas. In my mind, it all works together wonderuflly, but working with that floor plan was kind of a eye-opener.. Not sure it would actually work in that space, but I guess we will see. This whole thing is going to be a big work in progress for a while, since it will be put together bit by bit rather than all in one fell swoop.. For example, I think the chairs would be a good christmas present for the kids.


Probably a brown. Not too dark, as this is a basement we’re talking about. Although if I keep the furniture light, a dark espresso might look stunning. Oh decisions! I figure that the main color will go everywhere, with 2 accent walls – The kids chalkboard wall, and the small little wall in my sewing nook. the rest will be the main color.

How beautiful is this gray featured in domino magazine???

I like this light brown – and how cool is that ceiling? I think it works so well here because of those super tall ceilings. I wonder how it would work with normal ceilings. Could use that color for the upper half of the chalkboard wall in the kid’s nook..

Also quite fancy these colors as well:

Mmmmmmm. Yes. I like that. I definitely like that.

I also need to keep in mind the green color that is through the door into james’ office.

And I also need to remember that the color will have to carry up the staircase onto the main level too. Ooooh that gray is looking better and better! I think I need to resist.

Isn’t this fun? I think so. I’m having a ball. Since I’m a decorating clueless person, any thoughts anyone wants to offer me is VERY welcome 🙂

– amy can’t figure out what her style is.

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Sep 25 2006


I came across Hilary Lang’s Wee Bunny pattern (it’s free! it’s easy! even I could do it!) and thought that perhaps I could make one, put a totoro face on it (from My Neighbor Totoro), call it a totoro and maybe be able to pull the wool over my kids eyes that they’re ACTUALLY supposed to be bunnies. (it hasn’t worked, Jocelyn called them “little BUNS!” during the construction process, although she has readily adopted the “totoro” title now that they’re made.. )

I’m pretty pleased with how they’ve come out, actually! I am going to make a few more, one more at the very least, because I WANT ONE TOO. A little “sad” totoro! More on that below.

Jocelyn’s Totoro when it was still clean (completed).

Ethan’s Totoro still in progress

I tried out a few different mouths when finishing up Jocelyn’s totoro. The totoros in the movie are never exactly giddy, except in certain scenes. Mostly they have a serious sort of look to them. Almost grumpy. So the first mouth I did, Jocelyn took one look at it and said, “It’s a SAD totoro!” and demanded a HAPPY totoro.

Ethan however, wanted a sad totoro. “Not too sad. Just.. sad.”

I like the “sad” totoro better myself. (Jocelyn has already had 24 hours with her completed totor, and it already had jam on it by the time Ethan’s was finished, and there was daylight for photo taking with both completed totoros.)

I don’t know why this picture tickles me so, but it does. they look so cute looking at each other.

And now, some real totoros, for reference (for more totoro goodness, visit



Yes. I am way off. But still, I think I did ok on the faces 🙂 Honestly, IT COULD BE WORSE! SO JUST SHOOSH!
-amy, hey let’s GO! HEY LET’S GO! WE’RE HAPPY AS CAN BE!

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Jul 13 2006


Published by under amy's head,daily,to-do

I love reading.

When I was younger, I was quite the voracious reader. I would carry a book around with me, read it while I was walking, read during classes when I was supposed to be paying attention, read late into the night.

I remember the first “grown up” book I read. Charlotte’s Web. I was so tickled that I had read a book with CHAPTERS. I think I was in the first grade. I used to read after I was supposed to be asleep. I would leave the hall light on, with my door open, and read by the light of the hallway. then after my mother caught on and would turn the light off, I would use a flashlight and read under my covers. (Gee. I wonder why my eyes are so nearsighted. Hmmmm.)

I still read pretty hungrily post-college, but I didn’t readily seek out new books. I’ve always had lots of “favorite” books that I read and re-read, over and over again. An old, beloved book is like an old friend that you sit down and catch up with after a few years. I’m especially partial to children’s and young adult literature – maybe it is because those are the books I first fell in love with. Some books on my shelves I have more than one copy. I’ll not be able to find the book I MUST read right then, go buy it, read it, and then find my original copy a month later (Where the Red Fern Grows). Some I will read until it falls apart, and buy a new copy but can’t bring myself to throw away the old one. Some I have bought at used book stores even though I already have it, because it has the older cover that I grew up with (The President’s Daughter). Some I buy to give away and then never get around to it, or end up with them back in my possession somehow (copies of LLoyd Alexander’s Book of Three books, signed “To Susan” by the author). (*cough* Um, Susan, if you want these…. uhhh.. I’ve got them. )
With kids now in my life, reading has become more difficult to do, and when I want to settle down with a book, I find myself reaching for an old broken down paperback more often than not, partly because I know if I don’t get back to it, it’s ok, because I have already read it (a million times).

I’ve been trying to do a bit better though, and have partially succeeded.

Some of my recent reads:

Better Off : Flipping the Switch on Technology, by Eric Brende
Very interesting book. I picked it up by chance at Borders, thinking that maybe it was the book that Loobylu had mentioned on her website, about the family trying to live self sufficiently for 6 months. THAT book is actually called, “Living the Good Life” and I still need to read it. Better Off, is about a couple who lives in an amish/menonite community with no electricty for 18 months. (Yes, I know those books are really very different, but the memory of the original book was blurry in my mind, ok?)

The book really struck me, the author’s main thesis is that society is better off (“Better Off” get it? huh? huh?) without modern technology. Some of my attempts at discussing the book met with blank stares and immediate defensiveness, “technology is WONDERFULWHEREWOULDWEBEWITHOUTIT!” but sometimes people kind of “got it” immediately and happy conversations then ensued about how we live in a society where it is almost like an endless cycle where you must work in order to afford the mortgage, and you have to own a car in order to get to the job, and you have to get a better job, further away in order to afford the car…. our own materialism drives us in this society into always spending the same as our income. Our income can shift up and down and yet our spending will always manage to match it.

This is not what the book is about, but my own frustrations lately about life and the way society kind of forces us to live (“forces us”? yeah, i’m stabbing myself in the foot with that one). I have been thinking about my childhood and how I spent my time growing up, and comparing it to my kids and how different it will be for them. Will it be better? How? And what specifically will MAKE it better? Will it be worse? What will be the aspects of their childhood that will be “worse” and why?

I always come back to the same sort of conclusions, and they revolve around nature, and time spent in play. I grew up with a creek in the woods in my backyard. The world was as big as I could pedal on my bike, and as magical as I could imagine up with my noggin. Don’t get me wrong, I watched plenty of TV as well, my favorite movies were Superman, Star Wars, and The Last Unicorn. I wanted to marry superman and have superbabies. Until of course I decided Luke Skywalker was the man for me and Leia could just push off. Then I wanted to be a unicorn turned into a girl and sing a song about “now that I’m a WOOOOMAAAAAAAAN.. EVERYTHING IS CHANGED….”

Ahem. I digress. I’m not saying I was raised in an ultra hippy no TV granola land, but nature was a big part of my playtime outdoors. I think about my kids’ well regulated days at their daycare. They arrive around 8am, I pick them up at 5pm.* We get home, we have some dinner, we play with toys, we play outside, they go to bed about 7.30pm. I know they’ll be out and about when they are older, but out and about to where? Our backyard is a postage stamp (which was a PRO, when we were considering our neighborhood, whereas now…..not so much) and the woods that were off the block behind us was torn down last year to make a Minnieland (daycare). I spend time wishing that we lived closer to our respective workplaces, so that we would have more time with our kids, and them just more time at home in general. I hate that they spend more waking hours at school than at home. Some technology definitely improves our quality of life, and I’m not saying I want to do away with that. I think that there should be a better balance between quality of life, materialism, and wants vs. needs.

Anyway, this turned into a lot more of a spiel than I really meant to say, but I could go on even more (and will do so at great length enthusiastically, if you bring it up).. There are a lot of aspects of our society that I don’t like. Even as I hypocritically participate in them, so yes, feel free to point many fingers at me while you throw some stones, because I probably deserve it.

* Don’t get me wrong, Ethan and Jocelyn’s school is wonderful, with the largest playground I have ever seen in a “daycare.” We have been so impressed with the school that we will probably keep the kids there for their private kindergarten and first grade (how can we not, with TEN KIDS per teacher!)

What was I talking about again? Oh yes. While I DON’T really wish to go live with the Amish, I thought it was a refreshing read, though a little one sided. I think it worked for him and his wife because of the ills they see in society, and they saw this time as an experiment, nothing that they wanted to do permanently.

I call it one-sided, because the whole thesis of the book is that technology not only does not equate happiness and quality of life, and even argues that more technology can equate to unhappiness and lower quality of life (see: cars/ mortgage/ job/ endless spiral). Obviously, not everyone wants to go out and farm the land with no electricity, so it is one sided in that if you took someone else and had them perform the same ‘experiment’ it would be very different, but it was an interesting look into life without technology, and I could not put it down, I was fascinated, both by the descriptions of everyday life itself, as well as his take on the people, community and beliefs.

The book got me interested in reading about the “Plain People,” as the various orders of Amish and Menonite people are called, and I checked “Crossing Over: One Woman’s Escape from Amish Life” by Ruth Irene Garrett & Rick Farant out of the library. The title pretty much says it all. It did not go into much of everyday life, but the very personal story of how Ruth left her family and Amish community and entered “English” (read: American. what we see as Normal.) life and married her non-Amish husband. While interesting, it seemed a bit one sided and left me wanting a more general book on these people.

Another book I have picked up, and am still reading, is “The Almond: The Sexual Awakening of a Muslim Woman” by Nedjma. I picked it up for the sexy cover, and so far, it’s OK. Honestly, a bit disappointing, as there is nothing to really make my blood run hot (hello, which is why I bought it!) and the storyline is ho-hum.

I’m also reading an old beat up paperback by one of my all time favorite authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery, of Anne of Green Gables fame. It is a short novel called, “Kilmeny of the Orchard,” and if you know L.M. Montgomery, then you are already of the race that knows Joseph, and need not be informed of anything further, other than to read it, if you have not already 🙂 If you are NOT familiar with this dear author, then it wouldn’t be a bad one to start with, as it is very short/ easy to get through, and will give you a good idea of her style. My favorites of hers are the Emily books, Jane of Lantern Hill, and The Blue Castle. And the Anne books (I’d be shot by all L.M. Montgomery fans on sight if I leave that out, but I like to think it’s a given.)

Books on my (albeit virtual) TO-READ stack:

Under the Banner of Heaven : A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

No Man Knows My History : The Life of Joseph Smith
by Fawn M. Brodie

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View
by D. Michael Quinn

Memoirs of a Geisha

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
by Ann Brashares

I’d love to hear any recommendations to toss on the virtual pile.

And while I’ve been trying to read more, I’ve also (ALWAYS) been keeping up with my myriad of blogs. So many good writers out there in blog-world, it often makes me think, “what am i doing writing here, anyway?” but what can you do.

I read a lot of well written blogs, a lot of them mommy/daddy bloggers, but lately the blog that I’ve particular been digging is “Granny got a Vibrator” because while I love a good toddler poop story just as much as the next person, Liz always manages to make me think and question, and that is always good. I hope you’ll check her out.

– amy needs a little help from her friends.

2 responses so far

Mar 21 2006

Canon EOS 20D vs. Canon EOS 30D

Published by under daily,photos,to-do

Do you have an opinion on either of these? Tell me. I’m torn because while the 30D is supposed to be out any day now, the upgrades from the 20D to 30D are fairly minimal, not the “everyone run to the stores and upgrade!” sort of changes that happened when they went from 10D to 20D. So when it finally does ship, the 20D might drop some more in price making it a better deal. However, there IS the upgrades that it has, site metering, bigger LCD, and some other stuff I can’t remember atm. I’m leaning toward the 20D which seems nearly as good for cheaper, cause you KNOW we’re going to need the other swanky stuff to go with it, like some lenses and maybe the battery grip and possibly a flash. Oy to the vey. Talk about dropping some cash. the 20D after it has hopefully dropped in price some is looking better and better.

Remember how I mentioned googling photography classes recently? OH MY GOD — LOOOOOOOK at this cool photography thingee I found in my googling. Basically, you take your camera and you go take pictures in DC while a professional photographer gives you advice, pointers, how-tos and more. They have a “safari” for the cherry blossoming which, if you don’t know, is a big deal in DC this time of year, and it sounds fabulous. I wonder if I could get my hands on a new camera by April. Anyone else interested in this? Angie???? I didn’t sell you that camera at the yard sale forever ago, but maybe you have another one and maybe you’d want to learn how to use it better! Tamara? Chris? Ann? ANYONE maybe? EMAIL ME YO!

Safaris I want to go on:

wouldn’t it be awesome to go on these ones?

I’m not even going to get into the ones in other countries. Sigh.

-amy dreams in digital.

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Feb 23 2006

chris’ challenge

Published by under amy's head,challenge,random,to-do

I have totally been digging Chris’ Challenge(we need to determine a name for it, my friend), and seeing the various threads of everyone’s friends criss-crossing back and forth like a spider web all based on this event. I have been mulling over what I am going to do with the various words when I snapped a picture this morning that will be perfect for the word “hate.”

And then today as I was reading at lunch, I got more insight into my whole thought process that goes along with “hate.”
And I remembered another blog entry I read recently that totally tied in, and i’m so ansy and wired up about it all i want to vomit it all down on the page, but i can’t. i have to WORK! and there is more work to be done TONIGHT! and tomorrow we are being all solemn and serious for some “I DOs” and then we are BOOGEYING DOWN until the wee smas!

So I thought I’d tell you. Hate. Soon.

Coming this Saturday,
to a crazy mokes blog near you!

– amy had a very nice birthday thankyouverymuchtoeveryone

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Nov 18 2005

weekend to do

Published by under to-do

since this is my blog and I will use it as I see fit, I’m using it as my own personal digital notepad. This post will probably also be edited as I add things to it I remember.
This is what I would like to try to accomplish this weekend:

  • clean up my side of the garage so I can park in it again
  • clean out pantry
  • clean up my office and bedroom, vacuum
  • clean all the bathrooms/wash kids bathroom mats
  • groceries
  • sit down and do some css mucking, pick greg’s brain

fun things to do this weekend:

  • maybe take the kids to the local airport to watch planes land and take off. been promising something like that to ethan for a while
  • spin around and around and around til we all fall down

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