Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Knitmas To Me!

For Christmas, my mom gave me a "Learn To Knit" kit and taught me the basics! I spent a couple of cozy evenings beside her on the couch, struggling to cast on, knit, and purl while we watched old movies. After several hours of practice, I began making a scarf for Daniel to wear the next time it snows. If I have it finished by then! I ripped it all out a couple times because I made mistakes, so right now it's five inches wide and almost three inches long.

I've got to say it's a bit frustrating when I think to myself, "I'd have the doggone thing finished by now if I was crocheting." But I need the practice, and I'm determined to conquer this new-to-me craft. Or at least stop making so many mistakes. But it'll be a long time before I make anything good enough to sell in my shop....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm It!

I've been tagged by Blueberry Junkie, so here goes!

  1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
  2. Share 6 facts about yourself on your blog; some random, some weird.
  3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as their links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they have been "tagged" by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. My favorite VeggieTales songs are "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" and "Monkey."

2. I don't know how to knit... but I'm considering learning.

3. I can unwrap a Starburst candy with my tongue.

4. I love asparagus.

5. I've been keeping a journal since I was fourteen.

6. I performed in an all-female version of Monty Python's "Buying a Bed" skit for a talent show in college. I played the husband.

I now duly tag:

1. Dano's Grammy
2. Knitsational
3. Ginger Ingenue
4. Rose
5. Aprilis
6. Honey Bear Beads

Play if you want to!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lotion Bar from Athena's Olive Tree

I bought a couple things from other Etsy sellers recently, one of which was a Winter Wonderland lotion bar from Athena's Olive Tree.

If you don't know what a lotion bar is, don't feel bad, because I didn't either until I discovered the ones AOT sells. It looks like a bar of soap, as you can see, and you rub it between your hands to warm it up a bit, then spread the softened lotion on your hands. The rest of it stays hard until you need it. This particular bar is made from things like sweet almond oil, beeswax, and vitamin E, and it smells faintly of beeswax, with a kind of fresh, sunshiney scent mingled in. Once I rub it on, it takes about two minutes for my skin to fully absorb all the ingredients, and then my hands feel soft and hydrated for hours.

I've only used it on my hands so far, but you can use it anywhere you'd put conventional lotion. Because I wash my hands 900 times a day (after changing diapers, before making food, etc), my knuckles crack pretty badly in the winter. The only thing I'd found that helped was an Avon lotion, but this bar seems to be working just as well and a bit faster. My knuckles are on the way to being healed and happy again. Thank you, Athena's Olive Tree! I'm sure I'll be a returning customer -- they've got lots of other cool natural skincare products too.

Hint: when using a lotion bar, take off any rings you might be wearing, as they can scrape up bits of the bar while you're warming it up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where Did the Sunshine Go?

It has been grey and gloomy for days. It's been a whole week since I was able to upload a new item to Huggermugger because I haven't been able to take pics of new items. I have some super cute baby hats I want to upload, but no sun equals no good light for pics. Grrrr!

If it's going to be cloudy, can't it at least snow?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Sales on Etsy

Unlike most people, I have all my Christmas shopping done already. That's because I start in May most years. It keeps me from getting too stressed out at Christmas time over whether or not I can find the right things for the right people. And it means that by the time December drifts in, I have time to check out cool sales on things I might want to buy for myself :-)

In that spirit, here are five Etsy shops that are having sales on Christmasy stuff. See if they've got anything you'd like too!

Carrie's Crafty has 20% off all Christmas items. You'll find cool gift tags and cards there. I especially like these peppermint-patterned tags:

Simply Leilani has 50% off all Christmas items. You'll find jewelry, lanyards, and more. Leilani also has a neat blog. I'm particularly fond of these cute little snowman earrings:
Downstairs Designs has lots of holiday stockings on sale. They offer many different patterns, but I like this retro one best:

Unicorn Kids Studios has holiday magnets, earrings, and vintage toys. I think this magnet is especially adorable:

ruaTEA has a sampler of their loose-leaf teas on sale. If you're like me and just starting to develop a taste for tea, this would be a great way to try out different kinds:

Well, that's all the shopping I have time for today... time to go play with Daniel!

It's Curtains for You!

No, actually, it's curtains for my bathroom. Well, not really curtains, more of a, um, valance thingie? We've lived here for over a year now, and I'm only just getting around to making curtains. This is my first attempt at making them, and I think they turned out fairly well, though I realized after I hung them up that I should have ironed them first. Sigh.

Our bathroom has a Coca-Cola theme (see the shower curtain hooks to the left?) because I collect Coke things and am also somewhat addicted to drinking it :-) I've had this fabric for years, since before we were married, and now I've finally found a way to use some of it. Our bathroom is rather boring, so this adds at least some interest to it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Once Upon a Time Journal

Like most writers, or at least most fiction writers, I am an avid reader. A bibliophile, even. I love books. That's probably why I became a writer, really -- I wanted to make more of what I love!

This journal's collages are inspired by that love of reading. I found pictures of peaceful places to read, then added a shot of a young woman reading under the open sky, a picture of a woman's still-slippered feet next to her morning paper, and the phrase "Once upon a time." For me, this journal evokes feelings of peace, relaxation, and enjoyment, as well as a little nostalgia. Once upon a time, I could spend all day reading if I wanted to. Now, between caring for my toddler, writing, listing things to sell on Huggermugger, and trying to keep my hubby fed and our apartment reasonably clean... I don't have loads of time to read anymore. Sometimes it takes me a month to get through a single book.

But enough griping! I love this journal -- it's another one I'm tempted to keep for myself. It has so many possibilities, not just for journaling or writing, but for keeping track of books I've read or want to read, writing down particularly good passages or lines, or writing down my thoughts on different books as I read them. Yup, keeping it for myself is very tempting indeed.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Back at the Ranch Jewelry

I'm a cowgirl at heart, didja know that? John Wayne is my hero, I love horses and the outdoors, and not much makes me happier than a good western movie or book. So of course I love the western-themed jewelry sold by Back at the Ranch. I'm particularly fond of this "Don't Mess with Cowgirls" necklace -- isn't it awesome? There's a matching bracelet listed separately too.

Back at the Ranch also has a blog that features lots of other western artwork. If you're a misplaced cowgirl like me, check out both shop and blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Candy Cane Tabletop Tree Skirt

I wanted to crochet a tabletop-size tree skirt for a friend of mine, so I found a couple of patterns and tried them. But I didn't like either pattern, so I just made one up. And it was so fun that after I finished the skirt for my friend, I made one to sell! And now I'm going to make one for myself too, since our current apartment is too small for a full-size tree. And our current baby is too rascally for one, lol. Anyway, I think it's cute, so thought I'd share.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Custom-Made Journal

I made this journal over the weekend and thought I'd share it just cuz it turned out so well.

Last week, I sold the "Write Where You Are" journal I blogged about a while ago, but someone else liked it too, so they requested I make them a similar one. So I did! And just between us, I think it might be a teensy bit cooler than the first one! I'm especially fond of the back cover's arrow and little cartoon woman reading in the bubble bath. That makes me smile every time, just because it's kinda fun and unexpected.

And yes, I will do collages on journals or notebooks by request! I might not be able to fulfill every request ever -- I'm a little limited by what pictures I have available to me, but I can probably come up with something for almost any theme. My own favorite subjects are classic Hollywood, modern Hollywood, writing, reading, food/cooking... the things that I enjoy in my own life :-) So those are the things my own creations revolve around, but if someone requests something focused on another subject, I'd do my best to come up with something that fit. If you'd like to request a custom-made journal, contact me here or on my shop via the "contact Huggermugger" link and we'll discuss your wishes and ideas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It All Started With....

Crafting blog Sweet Figments featured my shop yesterday! They're doing a series of interviews with Etsy store owners on the topic "It all started with...." You can read the Huggermugger feature here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Banner!

Check out my new banner! I'm also using it in my shop -- isn't it awesome? Major thanks to my sister-in-law, Erika, for creating it. She's working on a new user icon for my shop too.

That's all I have to say at the moment -- I just sold my "Write Where You Are" journal and want to try to get it to the Post Office yet today. We'll see if Dano cooperates :-) The PO closes in an hour, so I may not quite make it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stir-Crazy Cake

Every Sunday, after our church service, the members of our congregation gather in the basement for "Fellowship," a time to visit and get to know one another. Every week, two families bring treats for Fellowship and are in charge of making the coffee, etc. (We Lutherans are quite devoted to our coffee, you know.) This week was our first time bringing treats, so yesterday, I made a really yummy bundt cake for it. Unfortunately, the cake didn't come out of the pan in one piece, and it wasn't remotely fixable with frosting or any other means. So I made a Stir-Crazy Cake to take instead.

This is probably the tenth time I've made a Stir-Crazy Cake in the past six years. I think it was the first cake I baked after I got married -- I remember my husband found the recipe online and said it looked so odd he wanted me to try it out. And odd it is, but it is also super yummy, and the quickest, easiest from-scratch cake I've ever made. So I thought I'd share the recipe, in case you'd like to try it too. It has a crispy topping, so it doesn't require frosting. And it makes very few dirty dishes, because you mix it up in the same pan you bake it in. So here's the recipe:

Stir-Crazy Cake


2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups cold coffee
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Put flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt into an ungreased 9" x 13" metal baking pan. Stir until combined. Form 3 wells in flour mixture. Pour oil into one well, vinegar in one, and vanilla in one. Pour cold coffee over all ingredients and stir with a spoon until well mixed. Do not beat. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 for 35 min.

If you're like me, you'll look at the batter and think, "This is way too liquidy to be cake batter. The cinnamon-sugar stuff on top is all sinking in -- it'll never form a crispy topping. It's a funny color, and it's got little bubbles in it. And there are no eggs! How can this be a cake?" But when you take it out of the oven, you will breathe in its rich, chocolatey aroma and hardly be able to wait for it to cool before you cut yourself a slice.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Praise the Lord and pass the craft supplies! I found a craft store only ten minutes from my apartment!

We've lived here for almost a year (it'll be a year in two weeks), and I'm finally starting to get used to the fact that the city we live in is really several different cities lumped together. So while I thought there were no craft stores anywhere near me, it turns out there's one quite nearby, it's just got a different town name.

So for a whole year, I've been getting my crafting supplies from Walmart, when lo and behold, there's a Michael's here too. You have no idea how excited this makes me! Daniel and I stopped there this afternoon and I just wandered about, starry-eyed :-D

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bright Baubles Scarf

Yay! I got pics taken of my scarf yesterday and uploaded it to my store -- check it out! I love this bright purple yarn, it's sport weight, so fairly soft and thick enough to be warm, but has some fun play to it. I got two small skeins of it on clearance a month or so ago and wish I'd picked up more, because I'm in love with it. I may have to be selfish and use what I've got left to make something for myself :-)

Anyway, the scarf's not just purple, it's got lines of different neon colors, and a multicolored neon fringe. The fringe might be my favorite part of this scarf, because I knotted the different strands together to give it a lattice look.

I worked the scarf in double-crochet Vs to match the look of my Bright Baubles hats, and of course, it's made from the same yarns.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunshine on My Shoulder

After four days of gloomy, wet weather, the sun has returned! Okay, it actually returned yesterday, sort-of. It wasn't raining, at least. But today it's full-on sunny at last.

I'm not usually bothered by an absence of sun, but it was so yucky that I couldn't take Daniel outside. And the four days of gloom just happened to coincide with four days when my husband was gone on a business trip -- Daniel and I about went stir crazy! We went to the mall twice just so he could play on the little playground there and I could see something besides the white walls of our apartment. And I couldn't take photos of anything to list on Huggermugger, so I kind of fell behind there too, even though I finished a new scarf days ago.

But it's sunny today, so as soon as Daniel went down for his morning nap, I started snapping pics of my scarf... and my camera battery died. So I put it in its recharger and plugged it into an outlet in my kitchen... and the battery fell out of the charger and under the washing machine! Ack! I finally fished it out after wasting lots of time I could have spent writing for Nanowrimo... and now, of course, it's hours and hours later and Daniel's awake and I haven't had a chance to finish my photo session. Sigh. At least I got to take him out to the playground today!

So I guess I'll list another address book that I took photos of last week. The scarf will have to wait until tomorrow. Maybe it will be sunny again.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Out of the Darkness" Notebook

Last night, I spent a couple hours doing something I haven't done in over a year -- I collaged a notebook for myself. Although I won't be selling it in my shop, I wanted to share pics of it, because I love it sooooo much.

I'm hoping to go to a couple of NaNoWriMo write-ins this month, and I wanted something new and groovy to write in while I'm there. I watched The Princess Bride last weekend, and while I watched it, I remembered I had clipped an ad for the special edition dvd once. If I'm tossing a magazine, I go through it and cut out everything I think I might want to use in a collage someday. That way I don't have to keep a closetful of magazines around, but I don't lose cool pictures or words.

So I got out my clipped pictures and a fresh notebook and got started. I decided to make the words on the Princess Bride ad the theme for my collage, and found other movie couples to go with it, like Roux and Vianne from Chocolat, Paula and Charles from Random Harvest, Satine and Christian from Moulin Rouge!, and Rudolph Valentino by himself, just because he's Rudolph Valentino and I lurve him. And really, he's still a pretty major symbol of love, eighty-two years after his death.

I continued the theme on the back, with the quintessential movie lovers, Rick and Ilsa from Casablanca, taking center stage. I added Inman and Ada from Cold Mountain and Jane and Eddie from Someone Like You, and then I started searching for some words for the back. Words can make or break a collage, and I narrowed it down to four possibilities from my clippings before I finally decided on the phrase "Out of the Darkness." I like it because it works on lots of levels -- finding love can bring people out of their own personal darkness; movie images come at us out of the darkness of the movie theater; we create stories out of the dark nothing of our imaginations.

So there you have it, my new favorite notebook. Sorry I won't be offering it for sale, but if you really like it, you can contact me here or on my shop and we can discuss me collaging something similar for you. I can't wait to start using mine -- hopefully at the write-in tomorrow!

Oh, and if you're wondering what NaNoWriMo is, or what a write-in is, I'll explain quickly. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, a world-wide challenge to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. Write-ins are get-togethers for participants in specific areas to meet up in a public place and write together. For more info, visit my writing blog and

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to Make a Book

If you've ever wanted to learn how to make your own books, check out this awesome blog post by Celestefrittata, another Etsy artiste.

Her journals are fabulous, and if no one gets me this Harry Potter-themed one for Christmas, I will probably end up buying it myself. :-D

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Write Where You Are" journal

To kick things off, I thought I'd post pictures of a journal I uploaded to my shop yesterday and tell you a bit about how I created it. I decorated about eight journals a few months ago, which I'm adding to my shop, and this is my favorite one. In fact, I'm tempted to keep it for myself. As a writer, I use a lot of notebooks to work on stories or jot down ideas, and I also keep a daily journal, so it sure would come in handy. But I'll give other people a chance at it too ;-)

The idea behind this pair of collages is that when you're a writer, you can hone your craft wherever you are. You don't need a specific setting or a lot of fancy tools -- if you've got something to write with and something to write on, you're all set.

I built this idea around the top picture on the front cover, the person writing on a folding table by a canyon or some other mountainous formation of some sort. I think I found this picture in an old National Geographic -- most of my collage pieces come from magazines, although I do get a few from other sources. Anyway, I loved that picture and what it said to me, so I found other photos of unusual, somewhat exotic places where you could write too. I've never tried writing in a canoe or a kayak, but I'm sure you could, especially in a canoe.

After I found the pictures I wanted to use, I started looking for words. I hunted through probably a couple dozen magazines before I finally found all four words for the front cover. The phrase "Write where you are" encourages you to be in the moment, to write from what you are experiencing here and now. On the back, I put the simple word "Discover." Whether you're discovering new places to write, or learning new things about yourself and the world around you, it's important to keep growing and experiencing new things.

Once I was happy with this collage, I signed it, and when it was dry, I covered it with contact paper to protect the collages from getting scuffed or dirty, and to keep the different pieces from getting ripped. So now it's ready to be written in, wherever you are!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brand New Blog!

Welcome to my brand new blog! Whether you've followed the link from my shop on Etsy, from my writing blog, or found me some other way, I'm glad you're here :-) I'm still working on getting my template the way I like it, so don't be surprised if some of the things in the sidebar change or move around a bit.

I'll be adding more soon, so check back in a day or so!