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Archive for the ‘Random Me’ Category

Here are my first two fabric collections for sale at spoonflower….pretty exciting.

Designed by yours truly. luluhoo at spoonflower take a peek.

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As I’ve said in the past I love learning new things. My latest learning curve has been scheduling sleep for three little kids and trying to find some peace and quiet for a bit of creativity. I’ve come to the realization that if I really want this quiet time to create I have to choose between sleep or creativity. I end up going to bed most nights no later then 12am, those are the creative nights. The nights I choose sleep I’ll usually go down about 8pm.

For those of you who wonder how I find time to be creative(I get asked quiet often) its simple. I love it!!! What you love you find the time to do. I don’t want you to think I do it all by any means. My laundry piles up, the dishes need doing and truthfully I am not a very tidy person. I do feel much better about sitting down to sew or design when the house is clean but sometimes I have to let it go. One thing I know about myself is this….When I have time to be creative it helps me feel more alive. I’m sure this makes me a better person to be around and a better mom as well.

Here is what I’ve been designing on spoonflower.

Thanks to my sweet husband my photo shop skills are much improved.

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Our chickens are now full-grown young ladies, loving spring time in the back yard. Each day for them goes about the same. They come down from the roost with the rising of the sun eat their chicken feed and drink from the water trough and mill about in the dirt looking for bugs and weeds. About an hour goes by and they’ll get a visit from myself our the kids with some leftover table scraps(moldy bread, old lettuce, spoiled fruit) at which point they try their darndest to get loose from the coop. Id say it’s a 50% success rate for all their efforts. We then leave them to cruse the yard, we leave the coop open and they usually head back into the safety of its chicken wire after a couple of hours. They also prefer laying their eggs in the nesting boxes so that draws then back inside as well. If they don’t get loose we keep them in the coop for the day and spare out yard from the chickens poop and the possibility that they will eat my garden to the ground(its happened). We don’t hear much from the chickens on a daily basis except when one of them lays an egg. We get to hear all kinds of proud announcements. I can look out into the back yard towards the coop and see one of the ladies squawking and fluffing herself letting the world in general know how great she is at laying eggs.

Chickens eat pretty consistently all day long and love to roll around in the dirt and chase butterflies and crickets. They head up into the roost as the sun goes down, it’s actually pretty remarkable. If we leave them out all day we can be sure they are inside the coop as the sun goes down as long as we leave the door open. This was not taught to them they just started doing it once we put them outside. They live a very simple life.

Our little wanna be mama.

About a week ago I was heading out into the yard, the sun was shinning, I had just finished a yummy breakfast, had my cup of coffee in my hand, with kids running about and was en route to the coop. I had gardening on my agenda and I usually let the girls out when I plan on being outside for a while. I opened the door and only 4 out of 5 of the ladies scurried out….kinda weird. they’re usually elbowing each other out-of-the-way trying to be the first one through the door so I new something was amiss when Mary Clair didn’t even come down from the roosting area. I opened the side door and found her sitting in a nesting box all snuggled in. I figured she was laying an egg and left her alone (it seemed a bit early because the girls all like laying eggs midafternoon, and it was only 8:00am). I had also noticed a day earlier that she had plucke out or lost most of the feathers on her belly area. She has been sitting in the same darn box for this whole week. I called my dad and asked for his opinion about what I should do(he raised lots of chickens in our yard while I was a baby) and whether or not he thought she might be sick, he said he didn’t know and told me to kick her off the nesting box and check her out to see if she still ate and did the rest of her normal chicken stuff(pooping, laying eggs, wallowing in the dirt, eating bugs and weeds). I said ok and went out the next day ready to kick her out of the box and check out how she did next to the other 4 ladies. I got out there, opened the door and went to pick her up, she has always been very docile and friendly as far as chickens go, but as I reached in to get her she fluffed up and pecked me really hard!!! What ran through my mind was what the heck, I’m not gonna hurt you, why are you being so protective? Then it struck me that maybe she is brooding. I was told some breeds of chickens can become what is called “broody”. They think that their eggs are fertile and need to be kept warm. Mind you we have no rooster so the eggs these 5 ladies are laying will never hatch babies. This poor chicken thinks she is gonna be a mama. I have had to kick her out every day this past week trying to break her of the habit because I’ve been told and have read that chickens can become very nasty if they aren’t broken of the habit. Ugg….she so wants to be a mother and here I am 7 month pregnant telling her no, like I have room to talk.

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We have another bun in the oven as they say and for me number three has not gotten any easier.

I haven’t consistently posted in about 5 months mostly do to the lovely nausea and tiredness I’ve been dealing with. I really hate whiners so enough about that, it’s over and done with and I now feeling much better. We are due to have another sweet baby in August and we’ve been told its going to be a girl!!!

Some stuff I’ve learned this time around…….so far.

  1. We are what is considered a middle-income family and live in California. With insurance being as pricey as it is I chose to look into AIM(access for infants and mothers). It’s a California state-run program and there are income minimums and maximums that you have to fit within but over all I am very pleased with the program.  I was able to down load the application and fill it out and send it in without any hitch. You have up until the 30th week of pregnancy (7 1/2 months!!) to complete your paper work. I have no complaints so far. Its 1/4 of the cost then when I was working and had what I thought was great insurance for my first baby, and again 1/4 of the cost of the second baby with another insurance. They charge you 2% of your yearly income. We chose to break it into monthly payments for the 10 months that I’m pregnant (about $85.00) and we don’t have co-pays when we go see the doctor.  I put this as something I’ve learned because I have quiet a few friends who are young, married and starting family’s and had not heard about this program. It will even extend to the health coverage of your child (for $5.00-$24.00 per month) as long as  you qualify, up until that child turns 18yrs old.
  2. I’ve learned what a Doula is. I wont be in need of one (I have 3 supportive sisters and a great mom, my hubby doesn’t do well with blood and things of that nature so he’s present but more of a cheerleader at my head) but I have watched and learned with the women around me how truly important and calming a doula can be for a pregnant mama who needs good solid support during pregnancy and labor. I good friend of mine is a Doula and has her own blog where she shares other women’s stories of labor and delivery. Through her and mutual friends I have seen how she can help answer a range of questions that you might feel silly calling your doctor about, as well as supporting you through some of the toughest emotional and physically demanding moments of your life. If you’re at all unsure who is going to be your support during this stage of life I would look into finding a doula.
  3. GRACE, is huge. Having grace on my 2 toddlers that run around the house making noise and messing with the general order of things is a must. Having grace on my husband when he doesn’t always understand my emotionally charged moods is a must. Last but not least I need to have grace on myself when I don’t pull the house back into order after a day of kid chasing or get dinner on the table when I know it should be time to eat or understand my own emotionally charged moods. Life happens and without grace life can be very disappointing. A book I finished right before I became pregnant with this 3rd bundle of joy really brought parenting and grace into perspective for me, it’s a good read and I think I will be reading it at least a couple more times. I plan on going more in-depth about this book in a future post but for now, The title is “Grace-Based Parenting“, By Dr. Tim Kimmel

I am sure to add more to this list later but as of yet these are the 3 that stand out the most this time around the 10 month stretch(yes 10 months, they all lie when they say 9 months, do the math).

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I’ve chosen to learn something new!!!!

This time around I’ve decided to take my love of sewing to new levels. Creating my own fabric!!! There are tons of great designers putting beautiful work on the market for us sewing fiends to choose from…but I still have a hard time finding exactly what I want and I think that comes from having my own eye for design and something specific in mind.

My husband  who happens to bring out the creative side of a person in everyone he meets asked me if I had considered designing my own fabric, I replied with “I’d love to but I don’t think it could be cost-effective and I wouldn’t want bolts and bolts of the stuff and so on and so forth”. I am always the one who says “it probably can’t be done” and he is always the one to reply with “you don’t know until you try”. Well I’ve looked into it a bit further and found out lo and behold it can be done. After looking at some different sites I found Spoonflower to be my favorite.

Once I picked my company of choice I started looking at what kind format my image needed to be. Their list of acceptable file formats are JPG, PNG, GIF or TIF (8-bit, uncompressed), and the file must be less than 30 MB. I was also informed that my best options for designing fabric through Spoonflower would be a digital photograph or a scan of some artwork, or a design created in Photoshop or illustrator. So I started out simple I used a photo I already had and played with the colors and patterns it would make all layed out on fabric.

Here is my first effort. Not really something I’d buy or want to sew with so I moved on pretty quickly from just straight photos. Next I tried scanning some art work which I felt came out better but still not really what I was visualizing. At this point I realized my desire to design fabric was actually taking me in the direction of needing to learn some  Photoshop and Illustrator skills. I’m a very hands on learner and sitting next to someone else while they show me what different clicks of the mouse can do is not going to help me much until I can get at least a small footing of my own. So with very limited knowledge of what I am doing I’ve started playing around and here is what I’ve come up with so far. I am headed in My right direction and pretty excited. I like learning new things even though its hard and I feel like there is never enough time for it. That’s a whole other issue, I don’t want to go there today.

I’m hoping in the near future you’ll have the option of purchaseing fabric from Luluhoo on spoonflower and/or etsy.

Any questions about how to get yourself started down the path of designing your own fabric…ask away.

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Ive been going backpacking in Yosemite national park since the age of 13 and fell in love with the place. I love what your body can pull through when asked to not only survive but to thrive in an environment that your not used to . I feel truly alive when I’m out there. The rigor of daily activity and the excitement of reaching the top or simply accomplishing something you weren’t sure you could, gives you the confidence to reach even further into yourself to go further out. Something I learned while on the trail is that your thoughts can be your biggest obstacle, as well as your greatest encourager.

I encourage everyone to go backpack and really push yourself a little further then you think you could go.

Some things to consider if your thinking of heading out into the great Wilderness:

  1. Backpack/ Gear: You can rent your pack from many different stores, I rented my gear for the first trip I did  from Adventure 16. You can also buy your gear from there and other stores like REI or even Costco might have them in the summer. Its best to go in and talk to the people who have gone before and figure out what kind of pack and gear is best suited for you and the hike your doing.
  2. Permits for the trail: Most trails need wilderness permits to hike them so that the trails aren’t over crowded and they know where you might be if there is a problem.
  3. Water: This is very important. You must consider your proximity to water and where your next drink will come from and how to purify it. Ask about it at the store you are getting gear from, they can help. Whatever you do don’t drink straight from the stream.
  4. Storing your food: Most areas have food storing regulations. We used bear canisters and stored our food at all times in these bear proof bins. This could save you from getting your food stolen and loss of sleep. Once they know your food is secure they usually stop bugging you for handouts.

These photos were scanned in and taken before the digital photo age so please enjoy the old school style. Photos courtesy of Alisa Smith.

no showers and sitting so close!!!!!?

no showers and sitting so close!!!!!?

Some the fellows getting ready to head out

Some the fellows getting ready to head out

On top of Clouds Rest

On top of Clouds Rest

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CAMPING!!!!

Its a bit different with two little kids under the age of 3 yrs old, but in my opinion totally worth the trouble. We headed out on the 8 hour car ride with a borrowed van (our Subaru was not quiet big enough) two kids, a borrowed niece (aka a helping hand and a belly of laughs) and a load of camping gear. Some might think we packed too much while other might have wondered how we survived.

We arrived at the entrance to the park where normally you would pay $20 to go into  Yosemite Valley but it was free, lucky us.  After two Starbucks brakes and one subway stop we were ready for a week of camping, climbing, river floats and bike riding.

We set up camp at North pines and once all the work was finished we went for the first bike ride of the week. The rest of our time was filled with floats down the river (it runs through the campground), bike rides, hikes up to mirror lake(not so mirror like any more) and a hike to Vernal falls. Our niece also hiked to upper Yosemite falls at 4 in the morning which my husband and I passed on. There are quiet a few day hikes you can take from the valley and there seems to be a hike for every level of difficulty.

Lulu and Henry

Lulu and Henry

We would strap the kids in the bike trailer, pack the trailer full of lunch water and backpacks, and ride to the trail heads. Then we would lock up the trailer and bikes and stick the kids in the backpacks and head off on our adventure. Henry’s (our 2 1/2 yr old) favorite thing to do was throw rocks in the river and cruse around naked and dirty. Lulu (our 1 yr old) loved to sit with her feet in the cool stream water and bite on the large cool rocks. They both seemed very at home in the woods and loved living dirty, as did I in all honesty.

Halfdome

Halfdome

kid trailer for biking

kid trailer for biking

dad and Lulu in "mirror lake"

dad and Lulu in "mirror lake"

our little rock climber

our little rock climber

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