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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ria's Surprise Birthday Tea Party!

I'll just say now (and edit later) that pictures must wait till another day for uploading. It's almost 11pm Saturday, right now, and I have to get to bed earlier than my norm tonight. I had a horrible case of weirdness last Sunday (shakes, hot/cold, WEAKness in my arms, headache... it was very upsetting; I left church during Sacrament meeting!!!) and I know part of the reason for it was that I was overtired. The other part was rushing hormones, which I know FOR SURE now, via the barfing later in the week!!! I will be better tomorrow regardless because I only worked for two hours rather than the ALL day that has been my regular every non-Sunday since March 13. I've re-discovered a bit of a workaholic in me as I try to develop my business. I think I'm pushing so hard because I really want Jess home more...even if it's just time that enables me to work undisturbed, he would be spending time with OUR girls. *ahhhh* You can totally help by passing the word along about my shop!!! The link is in every other post, probably, so I won't be annoying and include it again. ;)

I must say that the party went off well. Jess worked really hard Wednesday night (in addition to the Easter egg hunt we finally had, which pictures, alas, will also have to wait). He made the traditional biscuit sweet things, whose name I canNOT remember! He also made lemon curd squares, quiche, and eclairs! Today I made a cake and Carrie Murphy put together the cucumber sandwiches! What an ANGEL (which is why I LOVE to make angels... they appear EVERYWHERE when you open your eyes to them!!!). :)

I will return, probably Monday, to update/edit properly with pictures. Also, I will be predating some things (like EASTER egg hunt), so check previous posts for titles you don't recognize. Obviously I said Monday... that's for a good reason... you see, I won't do this, or most any computer work, on Sunday because it is sooo integrally connected to my work and it does feel like work (though I TRULY enjoy that, most of the time, except for the girls getting frustrated with me). Some people would dicker this point with me, but it's about MY feeling, so I won't be posting tomorrow, Sunday. See ya Monday.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Odd Sort of Adoption

Yesterday, Jessie's friend, Jerry, came over to spend some time with Jess. Since Jess only has one night off each week right now, that time meant the family was present as well. Jerry was hanging out while Jessie was getting things prepared for Ria's Surprise Birthday Party. Kathryn actually went right to Jerry and asked, via raised arms and a little whine, for him to hold her! If you don't know, this is TOTALLY UNcharacteristic behavior for Kitty Kat.

A short while later Ria came over to Jess and me and asked really quietly if she could call Jerry "Baba". We both thought it was strange, but told her she needed to ask him. So, after a little shy weirdness, she did. He didn't really know what to say at first. Then he asked if she didn't have a grandfather. I explained that both her Grampas were living, she called one Pop and the other Papa and that we didn't really know where the "Baba" thing was coming from. Then I turned to Ria and asked, "Why do you want to call Mr. Jerry 'Baba'?" She said, "Because I don't have a Baba." There you have it... I don't know what Baba means to her, but I guess it's something special. So, Jerry consented to be called Baba. Ria AND Kat were both very pleased and kept singing, over and over to the point of terrific annoyance, at least to me, "Baba, Baba, Baba..."

After Jerry left Kat sort of fell asleep. She'd been very tired during his visit. When she woke up she asked, "Baba?" We had to remind her that he'd left. She watched him go and was very upset about it because Jessie left the house when he did (and I think Kat thought he was leaving for work). It was a traumatic event, so the fact that she forgot he left was pretty funny, at least to me.
Changing focus to my "obsession" as of late; Ria has some Angels for sale in my Etsy shop. She's so very excited about them. I'm happy to do it because she'll pay tithing with any money earned and then put the rest in her special savings account. That savings account is the one she usually only has to put 10% of all her income/earnings/gift $/etc. This is the account that will remain untouched until she is 18+. So, it's a good thing! If you haven't been there lately, you really should check out her little angels. They are terribly sweet!

The following are some pictures of the Little Boy I mentioned before. I imagine him either as, literally, a little boy presenting flowers to his Mom for Mother's Day. OR... as the metaphoric "Little Boy" in every man when he's done something wrong and needs to appologize; whether to Mom, friend, or lover!

I should not that "Little Boy" was unbaked at the time of the pictures, thus also unglossed. I had to hold my hand oddly for the perspective picture because the flowers are very delicate and I didn't want to smoosh them. :)
http://torimade.etsy.com/ The Little Boy is not listed yet, but will be before too much longer. I specifically included the link, though, in case you haven't seen Ria's Angels!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Are You Kidding Me?

Ok, so this week I will move into week TWELVE of my pregnancy. I use all caps for the number because, for the first time during this pregnancy AND since the ONLY time it happened ONCE waaAAAyyy back when I was preggie with Ria, I BARFED!!!! It wasn't a simple little upchuck. I totally lost my breakfast! I've been all weak and tired since. WOAH is me! Actually, just joking about that last part. I actually don't feel THAT bad about it. I'm just sorta scared that this will become a regular sort of thing. How strange, though, huh???

So, last night, after hours of loving labor, I delivered a beautiful Angel Shelting Nursing Mother And Child! Oh, man am I happy with this piece!!!!! I'm going to include an annoying number of pictures because I'm just so very tickled with it. This particular item is actually going for a trade with another ETSIAN. She's at http://savonara.etsy.com/ I'm really excited about her products, especially because it seems that Kitty is coming down with eczema! :( She's pretty unhappily itchy!

So, in the face of the Angel, do you see the heart(s)?? In the face of the Mother (middle) I see a profile of a smiling woman!!! And, in the baby, do you see the profile of a pudgy baby forehead and cheek? I DO!!! The neatest... darndest part is that these were all "accidents" of marbling.

Just some "viewage" of the piece in process.

The three together. What do you think??

I also finished a little boy who is holding flowers behind his back. I'm thinking this will be a great Mother's Day gift for some LUCKY Mama! Actually, when I was making the little boy, I kept thinking of my nephew, JJ! :) Let's see what my Mom has to say about that when the pictures become available.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Speacial Day; TEMPLE Day!

So, almost two weeks ago (at the VERY beginning of March) on a Saturday, Ria told me, "It's been a while since we've been to the temple. We should be going to the Temple today! Saturdays are Temple Days." I was very happy to hear such a thing, but had to respond, "Well, today isn't a Temple Day because you have a birthday to go to and we're going to spend the day together as a family after that (Jess was scheduled to have the whole day off, but actually ended up going to work in the evening).

So, when I told Ria that we would be going to the temple this Saturday, earlier this week, I was expecting some joy about the subject. I was not disappointed. She was very happy to have that as our plan for Saturday. :) Then, this morning, at about 6:30am she was in the van ready to go, we were waiting for Daddy to come out from locking up and she said, "It's been a very long time since we've been to the Temple. I'm so glad to go to the Temple today!" I, of course, agreed with her. Then, she suggested, "Would you sing I Love to See the Temple with me while we drive to the Temple? As you would probably imagine, I happily agreed. And we started our trip with that song.

The whole morning was really nice. Jess slept on the way, as he usually does. Kat was up a lot longer than normal, but did eventually konk out. Ria was up the whole time. I actually listened to the radio on the way because I was very tired, needed the help to stay awake, and didn't have any tapes with us. It's really funny about that... ALL of the songs I heard held a really specific message, even spiritual message, for me! For instance, one song told me about the uselessness of thinking about "what ifs". This is a biggie for me lately because I had this dream about a guy I haven't thought of in ages and I've been wondering about him a lot this week. So, that song really spoke to that issue! Then, there was a song about a guy going to ask his girl's Dad for her hand in marriage. And basically this guy realized that he was stealing Cinderella from her Daddy... and that's totally how Jessie feels about his girls dating. He totally doesn't want to think about it or anything. Not to mention marriage! Yikes!!! Another song, one of my favorites, reminded me that I need to prepare a letter to future boys in my girls' lives. It's a song about the main thing the singer remembers from his high school years being the talk a Dad had with him about his daughter, the girl this singer was going to take on a date. The Dad had a shotgun he was cleaning and was talking about how wonderful his daughter was. One of my favorite line is, "She deserves respect, that's what she'll get, now aint it son? Go on and have some fun. I'll be here when you get home, CLEANIN THIS GUN!" heeheehee Well, I love this because I can totally see Jessie doing this. And, quite frankly, I hope he does! I know my family knew I was strong and stuff... but I always wished a little that my Dad and brothers were more protective of me! *sigh* Back to that other song, right!??? :) Anyway, that last one gave me this really overprotective wonderful idea for a letter that I will prsent to the boys that want to date our daughters. Now, mind you, I'm going to be totally cool to them and receptive and welcoming. The letter is going to give them clues on how to be considered respectable by us or NOT. And, based on their behavior, we will know what kind of guy they want us to think they are. Anyway, it's a lot more in depth than that, but that's the gist of it! I know, most of yall think "WOAH, Tori, that's a bit overprotective, don't you think?" And I'll say, "Yes. But I don't think there's a bit wrong with sheltering one's children. There is enough in life to teach them the bad stuff. I don't need to shove them in to it!!!"

My own Temple experience was really wonderful today. I'd actually wondered last night if we should NOT go today and wait for another day next week. I just kept having this icky feeling about going today. I really had a VERY difficult time discerning whether the icky feeling was because of my overwhelming apathy as of late, or because we really should NOT go! I did pray about it a lot and finally got the strong feeling that we SHOULD go. So, we did. And I totally felt, while I was there working, that there were a few reasons I needed to be there. Two reasons were two ladies I had interactions with. One was just so full of sweet, joyful, peaceful LIGHT and the other had the smallest hint of an Australian/New Zealand accent. I asked her about it and she did actually grow up in New Zealand. They were both really strong women, but the lady from New Zealand was a VERY strong spirit. I felt comforted and joyful and so very very grateful to have been in their presence. And, of course, my testimony of Temple work and my faith in my own spirituality was fortified! What a wonderful day!

So, I've been working on some more pieces inspired by Heidi! One she suggested directly, the other is a sort of off-shoot. I'm only going to attach one picture. If you want to see more, you'll have to look at http://torimade.etsy.com/ I'm honestly too tired to sit here much longer. Sorry.

What a great potential Mother's Day gift, huh? Just in case you won't check it out, I have to share that this particular piece was inspired by Heidi, my Mom, and Evelyn! :) Heidi actually told me to make one of these. My Mom... because she's my MOM! duh! Also, because she always seemed to love the flowers we brought her even though she would tell us she liked them in the ground so much better (I actually do this, too, without even thinking about it!!!). And Evelyn because I know she used to be sort of gahgah over sunflowers. Don't know what her favorite flower is anymore, but I was thinking about her anyway! :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Story Time and Work Today

We actually made it back to Story Time at our Beach Library today. It's been 3 weeks since we went last. It took me that long to feel energetic enough to walk there. Last week I could have gone, had I been willing to drive there. But I really wasn't willing to drive TWO blocks! UGH. The only time I drive there is when/if we have an errand before or after.

Ria was totally engrossed in the stories today. That was really nice to see because sometimes she's much more interested in the other children. After the story we made little square Easter Baskets. It was nice and the girls had fun. We didn't get to go to the playground afterward because Kat had a stinky butt and I didn't have diapers or wipes in the trailer (stroller). ahwell

The rest of the day, thus far, has been work on items to sell. I did, of course, have to make lunch and then we did eat it when Jess came home, but that was about an hour worth of the day.

Ria has made 2 really wonderful Angels to sell. She's so excited and wants to work with me most of the time I'm working on creating the pieces. She has actually even said she wants to do the listing. She may sit with me when we list her pieces, but I'll have to do the majority of the inputting and such, as you might imagine.

Anyway, today I finished my first personalized "doll". I tried out the whole face thing and just didn't like where it was going. So, I'm sticking with only impressions of a face. I'm adding hair and clothes and if there's a really significant feauture or attitude I can imitate, I will. My first one turned out quite well. It's a gift, but I think I'm going to try post it with the picture I used as a model. I will photoshop the picture first to take out the face of the little girl for whose Mom I made it. Hopefully I'll have that up in my shop (http://torimade.etsy.com/) tonight sometime.

I'm taking a break right now from making a little girl giving flowers. This is an idea Heidi suggested/inspired and I hope she will be pleased with the outcome. :) Of course, I have been thinking about Heidi as I've made it because I don't think I would have had the idea on my own, but I've also thought about my girls and Evelyn! Evelyn is actually why it will be holding the particular flowers it will hold. I don't even know if these flowers are a favorite of hers anymore, but I remember them being particularly interesting to her a while back. You should check it out!

I'm very excited after the visit with my midwife, Karen, yesterday AND the library visit today. As I was going back to the exam room in my midwife's office she mentioned that the area to the left, a display case, was specifically for her mothers to display items to promote their stay-at-home business. Immediately I mentioned that I'd just started up a business of my own and gave her a card. She told me I should definitely set up a display! So, I'm definitely going to do that! I'm so excited!!! Then, this morning, I shared my card with my librarian, Ruth, and she told me that I should put business cards on the "take it" table. And then she went on to suggest that I could bring in any extra pieces to display (with price tags) and she would be happy to put them up on some of her shelves. She displays paintings and such that are for sale, so she considered it sort of the same thing. So, I'm so excited!!!! I have two physical places to sort of advertise/sell and perhaps they will also increase interest in my shop!!!! :) Oh, I'm so hopeful!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Some Funny, Some Sweet Pictures and Commentary

The are the most regulary attending of our JOY SCHOOL children.
Sage's two girls and mine. Both of our eldest daughters are VICTORIA!!!
How cool is that, right?

Our girls on the steps of a new playground.
Do you see the greenish colored van in the background? THAT, my dear friends, is one of the many amazing and wonderful gifts from Earth Angels that our family experienced last year. Tori's Uncle Mark Storms gave it to us. BUT, not only that, he drove it to us from LA, gave us money to get it registered, AND paid his own place ticket home! What a blessing!! And this whole thing was set in motion within the same weak that I gave up a fear I'd had about transportation for our family, were it to increase. I gave the fear up for trust in Heavenly Father! We received the van in November 2007 and we became pregnant with number 3 in January. So, Heavenly Father was preparing the way for transportation for our growing family! God IS good!!!!

Kitty Kat finds an egg. She had a lot of fun looking for the eggs, but probably would have enjoyed it as much if she had just watched Ria or tagged along behind her big sis.

Ria eating some candy BEFORE lunch! What a treat.

Here's Kat trying to find me so that I will help her get her shirt off.
She got it this far and just looked too funny to miss capturing!

She's actually chasing me to get the shirt off, but I laughed a lot while taking these pictures.

A Talk With Mimi

Happily talkin' to Mimi! She's cheesin' a little,
but she was totally smiling when she first got on the phone to talk to her Mimi!

Trying to look at Mimi in the phone.

ANGRY! Give me the phone!

See how angry she is when she can't have the phone to talk to Mimi!?
Love The Mimi!!

Kitty Kat is happy once more, now that she gets to talk to Mimi again!
"See Mimi is talking to ME!!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

My First Sale and Other Thoughts

Can you imagine my surprise and pleasure when, as I was going through my items to record the number of views, I found an item missing!?? "Oh, no," you might say, "something way missing?" And I would respond, "It was SOLD!!!" I was (ok, I still am!!) really excited and immediate got to work. So far I've made the inner packaging box, painted it, but still need to complete the paint work. Then I'll have to package it for the mail... a bit larger box and protective stuffing. I'm sooo happy! If you have offered prayers in my behalf for my shop, I thank you. I'm so grateful and very very hopeful! Now, you may wonder what it was that someone bought. Well, I'm happy to show you!

Today I've posted a new item in my shop. I'm very pleased with it for a few reasons. One of those reasons is that I just felt SO good when I was making it! I was thiking about my Mom and her dreams for a rose garden and rose bathroom... and how much she enjoys gardening and how that has influenced me. So, I was pretty happy with it after it was baked and in process of completion. But then Jessie saw it out and he asked if that's what I had made that day. I told him I'd actually made it the day before, that it had taken ALL day, and then asked what he thought. He picked it up, looked at it more carefully, and then told me that he was really impressed with it and that he thought it looked really pretty. (I'm so glad I have a hubbie who is comfortable saying things that are meant to be pretty ARE pretty!) Then, today I asked for his opinion on pricing it. He told me, "At least $20. It took you so long!" And I knew the other unsaid compliment was that it was so good... you see, he'd already told me that part, so he didn't feel it needed re-iteration (though I would have loved to hear it anyway!). :) Next are a few pictures of that piece. I'm calling it Garden Angel.

I couldn't manage to get the smile in the marbeling to show up when I wasn't using the flash on our camera. So, that's why the last picture is so bright and shiny. I love shiny, though! :)

I've learned about three other girls that I knew in my youth, who are ETSIANS. It's been really neat to realize the little world of ETSY is pretty well-known. :) I'm so excited to have found it and started my own little place in this big business world. Keep wishin me some luck!!! And the prayers are even more awesome! Maybe we can replace one of Jessie's jobs with me work!!! Oh, to have my husband home....

I have a crush! I already told Jessie and he's ok with it. See, I found this amazing artist on ETSY and I want this person to be my friend! But how do you ask someone with whom you are potentially a competitor to be friends? I had it all worked out. I was going to write to the artist and say, "I LOVE your work!! Would you be my friend? Oh, and by the way, are you a boy or girl?" That last bit is only important because I TOTALLY have a crush and would feel way more comfy if the crush is on a FEmale artist than a MALE one. Ya know? Are you curious? Well, I'm not sure I should actually share the info... since this person really IS my competition... especially because I was planning to make cake toppers and such... but I REALLY admire their work, so I'm going to share the link anyway! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7403869 This should bring you right there. BUT if it doesn't, http://boogiebabys.etsy.com/ really should!

So, I did mention that I had some other thoughts (not ETSY related). I'm just so enamored!

Ria is all about working now! It was so funny. Yesterday, she kept asking to make something with clay. I did explain to her that we weren't going to do any play or anything with clay or the computer since that's what we did for work, even though we love doing it, because it was the Sabbath. Well, she didn't like that at all. Then, she asked if she could play with playdough. I had to then explain that even though it's a different medium, it's too similar to what we use for our work. I'm happy and excited that she loves to create! It IS a joy!!!

Kitty Kat also enjoys working with the clay. She will actually sit for up to 45 minutes, in her little desk/chair, and work with sculpy! Now, if you know Ria you may not think this much of an accomplishment. So I feel it important to explain that Kat does NOT sit still. She is a much more active child than Ria. Her attention span is shorter and pickier! She's just a different girl, as she should be. So, the fact that she's sit there and work on anything for longer than 20 minutes it SERIOUSLY amazing! Oh... and usually Kitty will stand up like she's finished, but then see how intently Ria and I are still working, and then sit back down and work some more! Her work habits are also unusual in that she doesn't try to get my attention every 2 minutes to show me what she's made. She will work the ball of clay I give her until she has her desk area covered with smaller odd shaped pieces, then get my attention to show me one particular item and after I comment on it she will look down at her other work and then up at me and wait for my comments! Isn't that hilarious!??? I LOVE IT!!!!

So, even if the work I'm trying to do now does not blast off, the experiences I am gaining of and with my daughters are treasures!!!


I will have to do some work on pictures so that I can share some more of the girls. We have some great bubble pictures that we took yesterday with and of Daddy. It was his special time with the girls before he went to work. I have not yet uploaded those pictures to my computer.

So, Heidi, my best friend since I was 12!!! Checked out my shop and gave me some more ideas of things to make. So, today I went shopping and now have some shadow boxes. She suggested I made some shell scenes, like my 2 Beach Angels and the Snow Angel and put them in shadow boxes. The reason for the suggestion is really smart, so I'm going to fly with it. That particular item will not appear in my shop for a while, though, because those shell scene are very time consuming and I need to be able to put my thoughts together for a larger scene than 3" diameter! But I'm excited about that. I'm also going to make free standing angels, rather than just ornaments. (Also a suggestion by Heidi!) She thought that some people might like the angels because they collect Angels, but prefer something that is not an ornament. So... Do YOU have any suggestions or ideas for me?? If you let me know what they are and give me a reason or a couple for the idea and why it could be good, you may see your name in my Blog!! hahaha, not that I get terribly much traffic... but still! You can email me at secretsshallebb@hotmail.com

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Day to Relax

Ok, so I actually worked quite a lot. But the reason the work was relaxing was because Jessie took Ria and Kat to a birthday party at Wadsworth Park, just over the bridge from us. They left at about 10:45am and arrived home at about 1:30pm. I was alone at home for 2.75 hours! I think that's the first break from responsibility I've had in... at least a month. And, by far, it was the longest break I've had in much longer than that. So, even though I was working on the computer and with my clay, I was feeling very peaceful!

I'm really excited about an angel I've made and almost completed now. It's a garden angel and has turned out beautifully! I was thinking about my Mom and her love of roses and gardening... so I'm sure love translates in the sweet little thing. Although I would love to get it in my shop tonight, I decided not to stress myself out about it since I did get 5 new items posted within this day. So, check back to my shop at http://torimade.etsy.com/ on Monday evening and it should be up for viewage. ;)

Jess was supposed to have the whole day off today. It didn't happen because The Club called a number of times. Jess could have just told them we had plans already and he couldn't come in, but we discussed it and I really encouraged Jess to go in. Very uncharacteristic, mind you. But I know we'll need him to have lots of time off in the near-ish future and I want the man in charge of the schedule to feel good about him and willing to work with our requests. So far he's been very reasonable in his scheduling of Jess and receptive and responsive to our requests for specific time off. I really want to stay in his good graces as long as he's there! Anyway, he left for work at 5:45pm, which is about 3 hours later than he normally would have. All said, he was with us for most of the day and that's always a slight relief to me even when we have a bad day.

Kat's nose is still a bit drippy and Ria is coughing a tiny bit, but other than that I think we're done with the crud we had for more than 2 weeks! Thank goodness. That was a rough patch, for sure. Yet... I was pondering things and realized that we really were blessed, in many ways, to be ill when we were. Part of it, I think, was Heavenly Father encouraging me in a big way to take a break. I'd sort of had the feeling since mid-January that I should rest more (I was preggie, but didn't know it!). But, as with most Mamas, I just couldn't think of HOW to do it and I certainly didn't want to feel myself lazy. Well, I caught an ear infection, don'tcha know? That didn't stop me, though. And I caught another common infection to pregnant women. But that didn't slow me down. THEN we all caught the CRUD. That knocked the girls AND me down and OUT!!! For a whole week the girls had fevers off and on, took 2 naps a day, and then were ready and falling asleep by 6:30 or 7pm! So... it was a blessing to be ill and not feel lazy in taking some rest. :) ALSO, and this seems to happen regularly in the last 15 months, or so, I was really worried about affording the gas money for all our regular activities. Dum-da-da-dum: ILLNESS to the rescue! We still have gas in the van! What a hoot, huh? It's wonderful to be able to recognize and FEEL some of the blessings of the trials in my life. I'm still trying to figure out some of the others, but I don't give up easily on the thinking thing. My Mom says I think too much. I believe I think actively and that it enriches and fortifies my life and relationships!

My sister Evelyn had a beautiful wedding. I've been thinking about it a lot because at ETSY they're doing a special bunch of promotions for weddings and such. I even made one of the ornaments for sale in my shop thinking about her. Eves, can you guess which one it is? I'm sure you can!

Can you tell I'm totally enamored by ETSY and my shop and trying to contribute financiall to our fam? If you thought as much, you'd be right! I have such dreams! And if they come true... I'll have more time to write the stories straining to burst forth from the confines of my poor bedraggled and ever-so-tired brain. Oh, such stories.... Catch ya soon!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Working, Always Working

Wanna See What I've Been Doing?
Work At Home, That's What!

Adding the stress of working at home has been interesting! And I've only been doing it for a week. The girls don't seem to mind me working at my work station, for the most part. But they really don't like when I'm on the computer for any span of time. Unfortunately, because I'm listing the things I make, my computer time is pretty high because the whole listing thing takes a while. I now TOTALLY understand why other sellers LOVE the relist feature. I hope I might be able to make use of that function, but I rather think I won't since each of my items is different from the others... completely unique can be bad, I suppose.

So, I thought I might post some pictures of my little work area, in case anyone was curious about that kind of thing. And then I'll add a few pictures of the things I've most recently created. :) I hope they are interesting to you! If you are SUPER interested you can connect to my shop through my torimade link or type in http://torimade.etsy.com/ I would love to have you visit me there. Of course, I'm still very new (I only opened my shop yesterday), so I only have a few things showing at the moment. I do have a few more to complete and list, so my shop will expand in the next 24-36 hours. It's sort of like labor! hahaha ^_^

So, this is it, yall! My itty-bitty work space is also my family's dinner table. Thankfully, we are all careful eaters! What a dream come true it will be to have a larger home and a room to work in. HEY! Didn't Virginia Wolf say something about that!? (Of course, you know, that I know, she DID!) Well, she may have been on to something, even if she was a bit of a femi-NAZI. Would you like to see my shtuff more closely? I bet you would! Well, let me help you with that.

And here you see the medium of my work: Sculpy polymer clay. I'm low on colors right now. Christmas uses most of my variety. I do love to mix, though. Marbeling is probably a fave!

A closer look at "The Top Shelf" of my work area. This is where things that could poke or break (except for many of my almost finished pieces) are kept when I'm not working.. So, that begs the question of why I took pictures when I wasn't working? Well, I wasn't really thinking about it in that way and cleaned up before I took pictures. Next time I'll make sure to leave everything in WORKING condition and take the majority of the pictures from my sitting positon.

This is a bit closer look at the pieces I was finishing up in my work area. When I was actually sitting to work, they were not all together and the whole area didn't look this neat, either.

Finally, the last picture of my work space. It's a bit better look at the pieces unbaked, in the dish, and you can even see some sketches. The one on the right is the first stage of my sister Evelyn's wedding gift! I may be replicating it for sale in my shop. The big differences between my gift items and shop items is the sig. GOLLY for gifts and TORIMADE for shop. Nice, huh?

Now on to closer views of the things I was making!

This is the Smiling Angel. Isn't it cool how she actually looks like she's smiling!? An accident of marbeling? ...or more? :) Well, it's art, so you make up your own mind!

I call this the Bird Angel because it looks, to me, like there is the silhoutte of a dove in the left hemisphere of her face. It could be just random swirls to someone else, though!

What kind of animal do you see in her face? I'm not really sure what to call it, but it looks animal-like and even sort of angry. So, I named this creation Animal Face Angel. I really like it, even if it does look angry! I think she's really pretty and even sweet looking.

So, there was another piece under construction at the time of the work space pictures. You can sort of see it there, but right now I'm way too tired of fending off my children to keep working and trying to upload that picture as well as reformatt everything else on the page. I really need to figure out how to work backwards on this thing so I can start with the picture I want on the bottom! UGH! It's a learning curve... and a big one since I've been offline for soooo long. Hope you've enjoyed!!! Come back and read me some more soon! ;)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Day for Dance

No camera today, but the pictures are pretty typical. Cute, of course! :)

I do have to say, though, that Ria does NOT usually look this bored in class! They were in between songs during the tap portion of class at this point.

This is Ria posing after class. See my cadillac of a stroller behind her. It's THE best thing ever! It's a double stroller that converts (NO TOOLS) to a trailer you pull behind a bike!! It's awesome and I've loved, loved, LOVED having it. I found it at babyjogger.com, and, of course, when in stroller mode, it is very light and would be VERY easy to use as an all weather jogger because the whole thing is entirely enclosed. What an awesome income tax return purchase. It's about a year old now, but you wouldn't know it because I take very good care of it!

Kitty Kat is hamin' it up for this picture! She gets ready for dance class every week right along with Ria, even though she won't be able to begin ANY dance classes until she's 2... and that's only if there are enough registered children for a Mommy and Me class at that time AND if Mama is up to it with the new baby! I really hope to be because she loves dance class SO much and often dances along with the girls when she loves the music (this happens most often during tap class).

I just wanted to include another picture of Kathryn and didn't like the other dance class options. For whatever reason, Kitty loves to put her head to the side when I aim the camera at her. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ria Is 4!

Can you believe I have a four year old? It's hard for me to believe it's been so long, yet not. She had a really wonderful birthday, thanks to lots of calls from family and many Happy Birthday wishes. She even heard a few folks sing the birthday song just for her! It was really sweet and she has A BIG smile on her face as she listened.

We are carrying over a tradition my Mom started with her own children. She gave us our choice of dinners for our birthday. Ria chose enchiladas. Now, these are not Mexican-style, they are cajun... and my own personal favorite, by the way. :) She has very good taste, my daughter. They entree takes quite a while to prepare and Jess had to purchase a few of the ingredients FOR the dinner AND cake/icing, plus he still had to work that evening, so yesterday morning was a bit busy to say the least. I was only able to prep a few things, so once he and Ria got home from grocery shopping (their special "date") we were very busy for a few hours. But we were able to enjoy a family lunch for Ria's birthday and it was really lovely! She was so very pleased with everything for her and still smiles SO big when Daddy comments on her new age. She is so very pleased to be 4!

I'm ever so slowly getting things rolling for my newest venture into online selling on ETSY. I'm very excited about it and very hopeful, still. Since being back online, I've been able to reconnect with a friend from Australia and found out that she is a seller on ETSY! What a small world, eh? So funny... and exciting! My seller name is going to be Torimade and I've actually joined under that, so it sort of exits, but I haven't posted anything for sale. Like I said, I'm going very slowly. Ria got me back into working on angels and my other clay creations because she really wanted to make an angel for her birthday. So, we did that for family home evening last night and talked while we worked. Then she wanted to get right back into it this morning first thing. So, as a result, I've got 3 angels made and a baby picture frame almost finished. The picture frame is pretty new for me. The first one I made I gave as a wedding gift to Evelyn Pieper just this last summer. I was pretty please with it, but I don't know if it's a kind of thing others will buy. We shall see, right?

Now, I don't know if I would like to live in a small town that was isolated from others by time and space, but I do have to say that I have learned some nice perks of living in a small town. For instance, our librarian knows us by name and knows our routine for visiting our little library in town. Last week was THE worst for our icky stuff illness and we totally missed both of out library trips (skipped the crochet teaching night and story time). Friday, the day after story time, Ruth called to check on us! Can you believe it? I was so touched. I finally called back today (library is closed Sunday and Monday) and thanked her for the call and let her know we HAD been sick and appologized for having items out late. She told me not to worry about it at all and let me know she had renewed everything because she'd figured something had come up to keep me away. Isn't that the coolest? Well, I thought it was pretty awesome, myself.

We are still fighting the lingering effects of the CRUD we've had. Our sleep schedule is totally out of whack, to boot! UGH. We girls ended up taking a THREE hour nap this afternoon, which is totally unusual under normal circumstances. As a result we woke up right before SEVEN PM! BLAH! *sigh* But, we are slowly improving. The snotties are slowly clearing and maybe diminishing. The girls still wake in the night coughing a bit, but I think it's less often now (maybe... hopefully!).

I'm afraid Jess might be catching the funky junk we've had. He was up coughing a lot last night. If you would, send a prayer that he stays strong and healthy. It's a hard thing being an hourly worker and the sole breadwinner!

We are not happy about a change approaching for Jessie's morning job (The Almond Blossom Cafe). The owner is planning to join her establishment to a gym in The European Village. There are MANY reasons we are unhappy about this change. For one, the new location is quite a distance from us. If Jess were to continue working there, he would have to drive an additional 24 miles each day, plus pay a toll every day to get to his night job, AND not be able to come home between jobs for lunch. Now those are our personal problems with it. There are many other reasons this move is, as we see it, a detriment to the business in general, which Jess cares about because he has a lot of time and effort invested into this thing. The move would mean fewer seats for potential diners and also, because of the venue, the likelihood of selling full-on meals would decrease, so too would revenue. The boss is saying that she's unhappy with the current state of things because she's only breaking even. SHE's ONLY BEEN OPEN EIGHT MONTHS!!!! Most retaurants LOSE money for the first YEAR (if they are lucky they'll break even during year two and then possibly make money year three). And she's unhappy. Ignorant, is really the truth of it. She's never known what to REALLY expect from this industry, which is one thing she said she wanted Jessie for - to inform her about the food industry. But he tries and she totally ignores him! Very annoying!!!! So, those are just a few of the issues. I could continue to rant, but I think I'll leave it alone for now.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

An Additional Adventure

So, I've been considering trying to sell some of the things I make. Honestly, I was heavily pressured by Jessie's sister and her fam and after the other people who had commented that I should really sell the Christmas ornaments I make, I've decided to try and do it. I'm actually pretty excited now!

Basically, I'm going to try to place some items in a few stores locally, but initially I'm going to try ETSY. I guess I'm a big ol' chicken. My ego is very fragile, contrary to what some would believe and I want to see if there's any interest via the web before I go to an actual living person to see if they will put my items on consignment in their stores. We'll see what happens. I hope you will wish me very well because any income from this venture will help pay some debt and/or (depending upon how much it is) enable us to do some things that we'd like to do, but just cannot afford at all. For instance, I really want to go to Disney this year. Mostly because it's Ria's 4th birthday year and she just loves the princesses SO much. So, I want to try to get her to see then when it might be a wonderful first memory, or something like that. Of course, Kitty will get a kick out of it too, probably, but she's lots less likely to remember it.

Anyway... I'm really quite excited and very hopeful. ETSY is really classy and very affordable. I'll have my own shop and be able to list as much or as little as I want because it only costs $0.20 per listing and then a 3.5%fee AFTER the item sells. If the item does not sell, I'm only out twenty cents for it. Oh, and the item remains listed for FOUR months. Great, huh? Of course, if you just let it sit there it's less likely to appear in the early part of the time machine II, which I gather is a popular way for buyers to search through the products for something they are interested in.

As far as my Christmas ornaments go, I haven't seen anything else like them on ETSY. Of course, that could because we're quite a while before Christmas... but I'm still hopeful! Also, I'm going to make ornaments similar to the ones I made for Evelyn's and another wedding gift AND try a few styles of Baby's First Christmas and such as potential Baby Shower listings.

Crocheted items are much more plentiful on ETSY, but even so there aren't as many baby items as I might have expected. There are some really AWESOME hats for little ones and probably more items than I've run across thus far. As a bit of an aside, this site is just generally FABULOUS for gifts!!! I found a necklace I totally want to buy for my sis... alas the money lacking.... I haven't seen any of the stuffed animals I make. Amiguri (or something like that) is the most popular look for crochet stuffed things and some people might not prefer that. So, I could well have a market! Again, I hope you'll send me some high fivin vibes and well wishes so that this might take off. A great dream I have is that this could bring in enough moola so that Jess wouldn't have to work TWO jobs even if he doesn't make more at The Club! A good dream, right!

I've started working on a little newborn baby jacket for my sister Eves. It's going to be very sweet with little pockets and fun trim, a matching hat, and booties! Oh, I hope she and her hubbie like it. They are very gracious, so even if they didn't like it, they wouldn't let on, but I want them to REALLY like it. Ya know?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Turning a Corner

So, because of our protracted illness, I've missed my first ever La Leche League meeting. "Why?" you might ask, "Were you going to a meeting of that sort when you have successfully nursed one child until she was just older than 2 and are still successfully nursing your youngest, who is almost 17 months old?" Well, let me tell you... It's because of the pressure. You see, most people don't understand "extended breastfeeding". They think nursing is done when the baby is 6 months old. But, I know that nursing has so many benefits that are irreplacable that 6 months is not nearly long enough. And, as a matter of fact, 1 year is not long enough for my nurslings. There are women more dedicated than I who nurse well beyond 2 years, but TWO is my personal goal. Well, I've been questioned a few times about whether Kat was weaned or when I would wean her. I respond that she is not, nor do I feel any need to, but I still feel sort of weak... like I'm going to buckle under the pressure and just go mainstream, which isn't evil and horrible in all respects, but I would lose respect for myself if I did go there in this instance. So, I was hoping to make it to the LLL meeting to speak to other women who REALLY understand BFing and hopefully feel more resolved to continue on my good course. Since we missed, I'm just going to have to count on the two ladies I've spoken to on the phone. They've both said I could call any time, so I'm actually going to take them up on it, even though we've never met. Perhaps we may even become friends!

Ria is much better. She was actually worse off for a good while. Then we used the zapper and my cold pressed castor oil (on her chest) and she's seeming almost back to her self! I'm very happy. You don't know how out of it she was with this illness. Let me see if I can illustrate... she was lying down somewhere for the better part of the last week and a half. If she wasn't lying down, she looked like she should be. Her face was ashen and her eyes were circles of red and droopy lids. She walked unsteadily and whined a LOT more than normal. She was coughing, at the end, so much and so hard that she made herself gag and retch. And she had so much snot coming out of her nose it seemed like her poor little nose was a water faucet turned to leake steadily! So, even though the whining is up from norm, I'm glad to say the other visible symptoms have mostly abated. YEAY!

Kat is worse. She's snotting regularly (though not like a faucet) and her fever is up again. I can't help but think that I have extended this blight because I gave her some motrin for her ear ache last night. And you know, when you do that and it interferes with the fever, the illness is extended most of the time. :p ugh! ahwell, I'm doing my best.

Next week Jess works 6 nights. Not looking forward to that. I feel so much relief after he's been home (even though he might not DO a thing) for a couple nights a week. He was trying to work 6 mornings this week, but thankfully he didn't commit to the 6th day. I think I would have had a temper tantrum of my own if I'd not had some relief from these girls after this LONG week of illness. It's been made so long because we haven't had the regular activities to break up the days at home. Such is life when the babes are ill.

I've finally turned the corner in my mind to be able to spend a good deal of time working on the crochet projects stacked up in my brain! Let's see... there's my friend Tom's little girl, my sisters' THREE to make something-or-others for, and then my regular projects for my own bebe, plus I want to try to get some things made to sell on Etsy! So much to do and less than 8 months to finish it all in. I really BETTER get bookin. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Beginning

BabyNamey.com Name BadgeObviously, this is our biggest bit of news. Bubble Baby should be born on October 8, 2008 and Ria is absolutely sure it will be a boy. The unusual thing for Jess and me is that we really don't care what gender this one is. We really just want a happy healthy baby and if we get that, it will be AWESOME. From our experience with the last two, we know we couldn't possibly love Ria or Kat more if either of them were boys!

The second biggest news as of late is that we three girls have been sick as... well, very sick people! Tuesday, March 4th, both girls had fevers and we three basically stayed in bed all day! I even slept right until Jess came home for lunch and didn't have a thing ready for our family meal. Ria was completely aggravated and upset about that, but Jess took it cool as everything he does. Thankfully, he really seems to understand how sick we are!

I thought the girls were a lot better today. We went to dance class, even. But they seemed worse by nite-nite time. Ria even barfed because of all the phlegm. UGH, I know, right!

So, this pregnancy is just flying by. Of course, it helps that this is my THIRD pretty significant illness. Of course, there's the first trimester sick feeling, but that has paled in comparison to the actual physical illness I've been racked by. It feels like the devil is trying to take this babe!! *sigh* Even if it works, the Lord will bring the child to life when and as He sees fit. I certainly do NOT want to lose a child, but I know it'll all work out in the end. My life has, at least, taught me that truth (and I usually remember it, too).

I'm up late tonight. Trying to stay awake until Jess gets home because he went in to talk to the Steve downstairs about something or other. Here's hoping!

So, I've finally finished my Annual Family News Letter Guide/Map for 2007, but still have to make copies and piece it together. So, it will hopefully be out sometime before June! Seriously, it's a time consuming gift this thing I'm working on.

This past Sunday, I missed my first church services due to illness, since we moved here. I was totally bummed about it because I was going to pick up a little girl who is trying to attend church (even though her whole family does NOT) for the second Sunday and I just couldn't. What a let-down, I have to say.

Ria has finished the reading lessons in How To Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons! We've borrowed a teaching reading book (1st grade level) from the library and she's already read 3 stories from it almost completely on her own! We are so excited. Of course, it helps that she LOVES to watch tv/movies and the only time she gets to (unless we're totally sick like we have been) is after she has reading class! She loves to read.

Probably the biggest deal to her lately is her recent aquisition of her own Book of Mormon. I bought one for her with some of my allowance money when we went to the temple a couple Saturdays ago (actually the same day my Mom went with my sis and her hubbie!). She is just tickled PINK about having her own BoM just like mama's (with D&C and PoGP). And when we read scriptures at night she HAS to read at least one verse from each of the scriptures we're reading right now. (We're not reading the scripture stories at this time, we're only reading the actual scriptures to reduce the time we spend in preparation for nite-nite.)

Ria is absolutely set on owning her own Bible now. She wants me to buy one at the Distribution Center when we go to the temple this month. :) She told me so. Then, she wants me to yarn her a carrying case for her scriptures. Yarning is how Ria referrs to my crocheting. :) I've told her the correct term many times, but I have to admit I really love hers!

Oh, I bought a $0.70 CTR right for her when I bought her BoM and she was just all googoo about it. Totally lost it within a few days and is determined that I need to buy another one. But just today I was looking at something and she saw a CTR ring in the sidebar and was SO excited and pointed it out to me. I honestly wouldn't have even seen it, otherwise. She's so funny.

Kitty Kat is well and happy. I started working on colors with her. She's very excited about them, but not terribly intent on doing what I'm trying to do with them. That's all right. She's DEFINITELY a different girl from her big sister! Kat would rather move, climb, and DO. Ria loves to be active as well, but she can be calm and focused a lot more than Kat has the proclivity to do.

Standard operating procedure for dance class is that BOTH girls have to get attired in dance paraphenalia. Kathryn is still really funny and cute about getting her dance clothes on! She LOVES to dance and aches to get out there and do her thing. She doesn't mimic the actions of the girls very well yet, so I can see she's REALLY not ready, but she has a BIG desire!

Both girls love Nora Jones and tonight I found that Kitty Kat also REALLY enjoys Odis. I have to go on a little weird tangent, for me, for a moment. You guys have GOT to check out Odis! They are sooo cool! I'm not all that INto music groups. I mean, I know what kind of music I like and I can definitely put my finger on things I do NOT enjoy. Well, I heard this group on a talk show and the DJs were totally talkin them up. I was waiting to hear the group, sure that they were puffed up more than they could possibly deserve. And then I heard them. Spread the word... THEY ROCK!!!! Seriously!!!! If you look em up on myspace you can hear their work. MAN are they GOOD! I have a crush. I'm not sure if it's as huge as my crush on Metallica, but it's close. I can't believe I actually said that! Yikes. ahwell, they seriously are awesome!! Kitty was rockin to the very first song on myspace and she doesn't stop to rock to all the tunes she hears! :) Nora Jones now has some competition! hahahaha Jess and Ria like them as well. Jess is actually trying to book them for a gig at The Almond Blossom Cafe in April, I think. Wouldn't that be something else?

Since this is the beginning, I think I'll make it longer than most will be and share a bit about our regular-ish routines. Ok. So, Jess works 2 jobs so I can stay home and do everything pertaining to being a Mama and homemaker. In the morning (lately from about 8am until 2pm) he works at The Almond Blossom Cafe. He comes home at 2:10pm for a lunch with the family, which I almost always have ready and waiting, and then he leaves to go to The Ginn Club in the Hammock at about 2:40pm. He's at the Club from 3pm until wheneever he gets out of there (usually around 11pm) and then home by around 11:15pm or later. He is, as you could imagine, always tired. But he's awesome. He tries not to nap the entire time he is home on a morning or day he actually has off. He has Saturday and Sunday mornings off from The Cafe. We go to church together on Sundays and try to make our temple trip for the month on a Saturday morning. He usually has two nights off from The Club and,when we're lucky, the nights sometimes match up with the mornings and he'll have a whole day off! We LOVE those! Rare lately, though.

Tori, Ria, and Kat kick around the house after Daddy leaves. Mondays are relaxed at home days. FHE in the evenings. Once a month that means driving around to deliver Primary birthday gifts to inactive children. The other days we try to focus on a principle or characteristic that we want to develop and understand better. Tuesday mornings we have Joy School at 10:15am (www.valuesparenting.com/joyschool/) and at night we go to the beach library for crochet class, which mama teaches, though we missed this week due to illness. UGH Wednesday are an easy morning, then dance class at 3:15pm. Thursdays we have story time at 11am and spend time at the playground when the weather permits, either before or after story time. Friday and Saturday are also easy days, no outside activities. In the time not scheduled, when we are well, we have reading class, usually 6 days a week. We also have coloring class, painting (rare because it's sooo messy), cutting class, writing class, and working on numbers/math bit by bit. Of course, I also read to the girls and I'm truing to do some Preschool-type activities with Kitty Kat. Additionally, I have crowns, envelopes, and Spotlight tags to make for my calling with Primary. I color and cut out the crowns and spotlight necklaces. For the spotlight necklaces I also add glitter. The envelopes mostly involve stamping, and putting some pieces together because it is the gift we give the children for their birthday (with a little candy bar that I wrap with Happy Birthday from Primary). It's really sweet. I also try to read and crochet. I have to get working on my newest baby's stuff! I think I'm going to make Tigger for this one. But I'm not sure. And, of course, I need to make the hat, jacket, and blanket that I make for all my own babies. On top of THAT, I need to make my sister and 2 sisters-in-law baby blankets for their new additions! :) We're a reproducing family!!

So, that about covers our life, in general. Any questions?

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