cocoa purl

Chocolate Covered Misadventures (knitting, childrearing, surviving) of a Passable Mind

Procrastination+Desperation = Craft! November 29, 2007

Filed under: crafts,kid's stuff — cocoapurl @ 6:55 pm

I did it again. Instead of working on the three web sites I should be working on, I’m goofing off. Seriously, this has to stop. I’m on a canvas moratorium for the foreseeable future. Really.

Nick the Race Car Driver

Nick the Racecar Driver. He’s not three yet, but I thought 2.6 would look weird.

This was another test, this one with a coat of black paint on the canvas that I let dry for about 24 hours before painting over it. I was originally going to sand it after it dried to give it a neat color/texture. I still might, but only in the background. I like the way the red didn’t quite cover the black (though the blue did – I SHOULD have known that. Damn color theory.) The only bummer is that it really doesn’t “go” with the other one I did because the colors are so much more muted. The boy likes them, though. He keeps asking when we are going to hang his paintings.

Maybe we should do an opening. LG loves to serve hors’devours – he’s always bringing me “cheese” (refrigerator magnets) on “crackers” (potholders).

(Sorry about butchering the spelling of the small snack foods served before meals – apparently WordPress doesn’t know how to spell it either.)



A Great Excuse November 27, 2007

Filed under: crafts,kid's stuff — cocoapurl @ 5:19 pm

Christmas, and surrounding holidays, are a terrific excuse to justify all sorts of craft projects that ordinarily my inner voice would be all over me for:

IV: It’s yet ANOTHER project, don’t you have enough started ALREADY? Besides, isn’t there dishes/laundry/grading to be done?

Me: Quiet, you – It’s for a Christmas present.

IV: Noooooooo…..

My inner voice fades out in a Wizard of Oz “I’m melting” sort of way – gifting is my guilty concsience’s kryptonite.

I’ve had it in my head for awhile that I wanted to try and paint something for Nick’s room – originally, it was going to be a mural, but the thought of painting over it eventually was not compelling. So I decided instead to do an actual PAINTING, on canvas and everything. BG, ever the voice of reason, suggested I get some “practice” in first – a couple small canvases, a few tubes of acrylic and moi.

Five hours later:

Nick’s Construction

Once it dries, I’ll paint “Nick’s Construction” on the door. He told me once that he was going to work – when I asked what his job was, he said, “Dump Truck”.

Disclaimer: I completely ripped off the wonderful artist that does the Big/Little, Yummy/Yucky books – I haven’t really found a style of my own yet, and after all, this was just practice….Shut UP, conscience!

You know where this is going: I could make gifts with this new trick I can do! To the art store!



Off the Sugar Wagon November 9, 2007

Filed under: adventures,crafts,kid's stuff,LG — cocoapurl @ 10:38 pm

Or is it on? I can never remember.

Even though there was a distinct possibility of refusal, I was determined to make LG’s Halloween costume again this year. There was a tiny snag, in that every time I asked him what he wanted to be, he replied, firmly, “A pumpkin”. Not that I have anything against pumpkins, but part of me was hoping for something, well, a little more fun. Besides, I had no illusions that he would keep a pumpkin costume (you know, the ones that basically turn you into a giant beanbag) on for more than 30 seconds.

So LG and I were off to the fabric store to buy supplies. After browsing through pattern catalogs, I became aware of the fact that only two sets of people are apparently supposed to wear pumpkin costumes: toddlers and adults. This presented a problem for my guy – as he is currently wearing a 5/6, there were no sizes for KIDS. What’s a parent of a monster-sized toddler to do? All the kids costumes were all wrong – he doesn’t care about Superman or Spiderman – his interests range more along the lines of Elmo and Thomas the Train. But those don’t come in 5/6.

As I began to resign myself to a “Bob the Builder” plan B (overalls, plaid shirt, a hard hat and we’re done!) that I knew he wouldn’t really be into, we came across costumes for dogs. Specifically, a hot dog. Eureka!

A few yards of yellow, red and tan polartec later:

Hot Dog Bite

Mmm, hot dog boy.
In typical fashion, I completely winged the entire thing – I made a tube for the body, basically like a hot dog tube dress. To this, I attached a stuffed “mustard” section through a whole bunch of hook and eye’s (turns out iron on velcro – or iron on anything – and polartec is not a good idea. It returns to its plastic origins from whence it came.) Then I made two buns that attached to his back with velcro (this I could actually sew on). The flaw in my plan is evidenced by the oh so subtle string that’s tied around his waist – the “buns” were too big and too heavy and flopped around enough to actually throw him off balance. This is what I get for putting the thing together without my structural engineer/consultant (BG).

Suprisingly, he not only wore it, he kept it on for the whole block – the string self-destructed, and one bun, then another, eventually came off (actually, I took off the second one as he was decidedly off balance – a big problem with the steep neighborhood driveways). Turns out, he really likes trick-or-treating; I had thought we would visit our closest neighbors, say hi, and then head back home to hand out candy, as we did last year. Instead, after each house, he would say, “a couple more houses” – we even went to the resident scary house, complete with music, black lights, skeletons, and various spectres peeking out from the bushes and windows. LG was not fazed in his quest for candy.

We eventually arrived home, at which point he could have one piece of candy. Of course, his choices were sort of limited, being lactose intolerant (though we did give him one tiny candy bar earlier in the evening, and paid for it later). The lollipops, luckily, were the most fascinating, so we let him have one. Being his first, he didn’t really get the idea of sucking on it – he’s more of an instant gratification eater. Before we knew it, he had sucked on it hard enough and long enough that the whole thing ended up in his mouth, soggy stick end and all. BG did some extraction before it got out of hand.

First Lollipop Lolly Consult

First lollipop…Daddy gives a needed lollipop consultation.

Suprisingly (given his family history), he didn’t ask for his basket of candy again – maybe he will get the “I’ll eat it if its there, but otherwise no thanks” approach to sugar that his father has, rather than the “Give me the sugar NOW before you get hurt” problem that I seem to have. I’ve gotten a lot better over the years – I try desperately to avoid refined sugar, but definitely partake of pretty much all other kinds. Luckily, candy has never really been my thing, but it helps to not be able to eat 90% of it.

I know, I’m a mean mother, depriving my son of the sugar legacy he is entitled to. Maybe at least I can postpone it for a little while longer – at least, until next Halloween.



Can you keep a secret?

Filed under: BG,blog,news,rambling — cocoapurl @ 9:04 pm

I can. Its one of my talents, I suppose. Some people are athletic, others good at math. I can keep my mouth shut. It may not come in handy as much as math (= Nobel Prize, or at least being able to calculate tip) or athleticism (= $$, endorsements), but it has its moments.

The second week of October is big in our house – BG’s birthday is the 10th, our anniversary is the 11th. This year, it wasn’t just any ol’ anniversary – it was our 10th. (We’ve been sharing the same space for thirteen years, actually, but you don’t get credit for the pre-marriage years. Maybe because they were probationary.) Since the tenth is the Tin Anniversary (or the modern equivalent, aluminum), the obsessive gift giver in me really needed it to be both a)Memorable and b) Keeping with the metal theme. I came up with a doozy, if I do say so myself: Race car driving lessons.

Those of you who know my husband know this is potentially a dangerous idea – not because he would hurt himself – he’s actually an excellent driver – but because it would be like giving heroin to a former cocaine addict. BG was very into cars and hot rods growing up – he has many fond memories of various male family members driving him and his cousins on country roads, very fast. This was in the days before shoulder belts, or even seat belts, in some cars, as well as, he feels obliged to point out, without strict DUI laws. He fondly recalls the six-pack rattling as he and his cousins butts’ rose off the seat over a particularly fast hill.

My next problem was how to pay for it. Being a race car driver, for even just a few hours, is not cheap (I’m sure a good portion of this fee goes to their liability insurance). So as relatives began asking what to get BG for his birthday, I mentioned my idea, and viola – donations to the BG-Racer fund began to come in. After some quick math, (with calculator of course), the tickets were bought. I’ve never taken longer to hit “Submit” in my entire life – I think I sat there for at least an hour.

The day of our anniversary arrived – though I was empty handed, I told BG that he needed to be ready and caffeinated for a significant amount of driving the following Thursday night. It was an Oscar-worthy test of my mettle – I told him nothing more than he needed to pack for two nights and put a full tank of gas in the car. My fabulous mother-in-law (who contributed significantly to the BGRacer scholarship) was coming that afternoon to hang out with LG while we were away.

He quizzed me and asked me and tried to be sly, but I was having none of it. As scheduled, we left right after my lecture on Thursday night.

I gave him turn by turn directions (for FOUR HOURS), hoping that his spatial superpower would fail with a lack of visual stimuli – I wouldn’t let him look at the map, and it was pitch black out. Sure enough, these factors short circuited his internal mapping ability, and he had no other clue where we were other than the “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign.

The mystery remained as we got up bright and early the next morning – we needed to be there by 7:45 am, and I wasn’t taking any chances. So we were out of the motel by 7. I won’t comment on how attractive we were, but I did manage a shower and a cup of tea for me, coffee and danish for him.

It was pretty foggy out, but out of the mist emerged the giant “POCONO RACEWAY” sign, and BG muttered “No WAY.”

From then on, he was smiling so much I think his lips stuck to his teeth.

We went through a half-hour of orientation – me, BG, and three other couples and a single guy. We sat through the informational DVD, which, in all honesty, I tuned out as they were talking about the geometry of turn 1. It was more fun to surreptitiously watch BG as he soaked up every word, every moment.

THIS makes it go…

“THIS makes it go very fast… “

The other significant others and I settled in to watch as the boys got suited up for their ride (in addition to the drive, they got a three-lap ride as well). I am proud to say that BG was the only one that didn’t struggle to get in through the window – must have been all that “Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid. For some odd reason, I kept hearing theme music in my head, which ranged from the Rocky theme (when he was getting suited up, helmet in hand) to “Sweet Home Alabama” (when they were pulling out), to AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. Not ordinarily on my internal playlist, but there was an awful lot of testosterone floating around.

Happy. Very Happy. VERY Happy

Happy BG. VERY Happy.

At this point, it was becoming mistier and mistier – not raining, precisely, but the air was becoming more and more sauna-like; only without the heat. Sitting on the metal chairs under our pop-canopy, we (the other ladies and I) began to seriously chatter, teeth wise. And turn 1 was becoming a mystery – as we watched, the cars disappeared into the fog. This didn’t bode well – after all, those headlights are only painted on.

BG arrived back a few minutes later – turns out, three laps go pretty quickly at 160 MPH – with the report that they may not get to drive today. But he seemed not bothered at all by this info – he was positively giddy. I scanned my brain quickly for any withheld information that would upset him ordinarily – “They were on sale…I know its a lot for yarn, but they’ll be GIFTS…I forgot to take your T-shirts out of the dryer”, because now would be a GREAT time. He was impervious to disappointment, bad news, even shoe shopping. But I came up empty.

He didn’t get to take his drive that day, but we got a rain check for the following spring. As it turns out, I think this was a perfect way to go, because now he will have the benefit of anticipation, too.

Later that day, we went to an outlet mall, where I went, you guessed it – shoe shopping. On our way home, we took a “detour” so that I could go to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival.

Still Smiling Tuckered

Still smiling…….. and note the race car hat hasn’t come off, even for a nap.

Pretty Yarn

Meanwhile, I’m manhandling all kinds of pretty yarn…

Yarn Rainbow Hats

All natural dyes – can you stand it?

I probably could have garnered all kinds of sweet deals for myself at that point, like lifetime exemption from cleaning the bathroom, weekly pedicures, or no diaper changes for a month. He was feeling, literally, no pain – not from shopping, or from walking around looking at people looking at yarn. He did eventually retire back to the car for a nap, but even for that he held out an awfully long time. Just IMAGINE if he had access to a race car all the time – what a happy boy he would be. But for now, I think him getting to sit in one and take a ride is pretty darn good.

I’ll keep you posted on when he actually DRIVES it this spring. We may not be able to get him out.