10 October 2014

I Survived Holly Days 2014

I paid $16 for the privilege of walking into a convention center to shop for cute, expensive gifts. Many were handmade and worth the price. Others seemed less reasonable. The ticket price was $11, but I also had to pay $5 for parking. Kind of ridiculous all around.

It's "for a good cause," whatever that cause is. The Junior League does outreach in the community, so spending money to go isn't something I feel bad about (although the parking fee just goes to that garage).

I carried Jane around on my back in the Ergo, since strollers were not allowed. (And a good thing too. It was crowded enough without the addition of strollers.) We made a loop, methodically, around the outside and then zigzagging in and out of the shorter aisles and middle aisle. There wasn't a clear flow to the aisles, so there were always people going both ways and clumps of people stopping to chat "Oh hi, I haven't seen you in forever."

(No surprise: I didn't see ANYONE I knew.)

I bought about five Christmas presents -- I had to feel like I was getting my entry fee money's worth. Just before we left Jane got down from my back to try out these expensive horse toys. They were more than $200, and the sales guy was weird about which ponies were for demonstration. I did not like him -- or the toy -- at all, but we'd walked past it and she'd asked to play on them. It was a small reward for not crying and bucking while riding on "mama horse" through the shops.

All together we were only there for a bit more than an hour. I could have spent more time methodically going through each shop and looking at pieces individually. There was a lot of great jewelry, although it's such a personal item it's hard to buy something like that for other people. (Hey, I have a birthday coming up though!) I couldn't last much longer than an hour with the 35 extra pounds on my back. And once she was down it would have been a matter of time before she wandered off -- or pulled my arm out of the socket by going limp/dragging me down.

Ideally I would go to a thing like that alone, with headphones, to shop in stealth, leave-me-alone mode, which is much more efficient although anti-social. I don't think I'll ever go to the Holly Days again, unless someone had free tickets or otherwise invited me specifically. But it was worth it to see what it was all about this once.

I didn't find out how much the booth rental was, although if I ever got serious about my crochet hats that would be an obvious place to sell. (I saw two booths that had crochet hats, but they were afterthoughts/not the main thing being sold and didn't have much selection -- they were also MUCH more expensive than mine.)

An idea for an entrepreneurial junior junior leaguer -- a child care service like they have at Ikea -- just a room or area where parents could drop off their kids and shop, for a charge of course. Could offer activities and crafts, games, etc. I definitely would have been down for using a service like that (at least in theory). It's probably a nightmare legally though.

Carry on.

05 October 2014

Glitterati

We went to the Denham Springs Fall Festival yesterday, and it was a very good time. There were arts and crafts, kiddie rides and loads of antique stores.

Jane's favorite thing was the face painting. In that same Daniel Tiger episode some real life kids got their faces painted to look like the DT characters. When I saw that they had a face painting booth I didn't hesitate, because Jane had been asking to have her face painted since we watched the show.

Putting toxic chemicals on her skin is never a good idea (I didn't even ask what the paint was made of), but I really did a bad thing because there was GLITTER in the paint (either that or the lady added the glitter afterward). Jane became the cutest tiger ever (chosen by the face painting lady because Jane was wearing her tiger crochet hat), and the paint itself came off easily when we got home (I was smart enough to not let her lay in her bed with a full face of paint). But even after a shower we still have glitter on her face and in her hair, and even after vacuuming the car her car seat is still sporting sparkles.

Is this my life now?!

Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll pay closer attention (rather than taking pictures of the painter at work!) and specifically ask for no glitter before the painting begins. I'll also be sure there's no paint near her mouth -- the bit on her nose migrated to her lips somehow and it was quite a mess. Who knows how much she ingested. I'm so careful about what she eats, but I didn't think about this getting in her mouth.

Rookie mistakes all around. I hope we can get the glitter out of the car with a lint roller and/or tape. Any other ideas? I'm so worried about some getting in her eye and scratching it somehow. So far it hasn't, but I'm always worrying about the worse case.

03 October 2014

Dress Up Day

On an episode of Daniel Tiger that Jane and I watched (on Amazon Prime) today the characters all dressed up and had a parade. They knocked on people's doors to show off their costumes, and instead of candy they got stickers for their sticker books. What a wonderful idea -- I'd love for that to be the m.o. for our church's trunk-or-treat. I'm not sure how I'm going to keep Jane from eating the crap she'll collect.

I'm trying to decide what we'll hand out from our "trunk." Last year I bought a bunch of things that were non-candy -- vampire teeth, some bracelets, bouncy balls, etc. I've got a cart ready for checkout at Oriental Trading just ready to hit "purchase."

But there's part of me -- the CHEAP part off me -- that realizes how much less expensive it would be to pick up a couple bags of value candy at Walmart or Winn Dixie and call it a night. (My shipping alone is $10. GAH.) I wouldn't let Jane eat any of it, but other people's kids are going to eat it anyway, so why should I shell out more money? And I'm still buying CRAP that's just different crap (and won't harm their bodies ... well, as long as they don't ingest it).

Yeah, I just placed my order... Junky toys for everyone!

30 September 2014

The Unintended Silence

I haven't written at all in September, not really. The posts for the BR Maker Faire were slap-dash necessities because I handed out more than 60 cards with my URL and I wanted relevant content at the top. Nothing has come of that, although I've been working on other crochet projects anyway.

The biggest reason for a lack of posting is a paying, part-time job I'm doing. It's for the local university -- actually one of the departments my husband works in -- writing and editing an annual magazine. I went into the process for an informational interview that turned into a job offer. I grossly underestimated the time it would take me, although the director wisely built in some overrun and I hope to at least keep it within that number of hours.

Basically I've been working 20-ish hours every week, which seems like nothing thinking back to my career-filled life, but when I'm balancing it with child care it has left me feeling as exhausted and strung out as I ever did while working (save for the morning sickness road trip of 2011). It has also involved a lot of working with others -- almost all strangers who don't want to bother with the magazine or me. And I've had a few tense gripe sessions with Shawn about him getting me into this!

Things are slowly coming together for the magazine though, and I'll find a new equilibrium once it goes to print. (I'll post a link to it on my Facebook and maybe my professional site -- keep reading.) There may be additional work with this department (their website needs serious attention), or maybe not. There's another possible website job with a different organization slated to start in January, although I won't know if I've actually been chosen to do it until sometime in late November at the earliest.

I purchased www.mariwalker.com when I saw it was available (there's an author with my name who used to own it). For now I'll use it to promote my freelance communications offerings -- although every job I've had so far has come to me without trying. Not sure if that will last.

Jane has started a two morning per week preschool program that has been the only way I've been able to work as much as I have. (I've also had to make her sit in her dad's office for an hour here and there -- which she adores because she gets to be with him ... and watch Daniel Tiger or Olivia!)

She loves school and has never looked back. She loves her teacher, her friends and all the fun stuff they do together. I lost it the night before her first day with ugly crying and straight up fear of leaving her, but after the nerves of day one I've felt really good about it too. (Perhaps in part because I've been frantically working/interviewing/writing during her school hours.)

Today was my first day without an interview, where I was at home without her (normally I have been going from drop off to the university until it's time to pick her up). It was great -- easier to fit in exercise, then a more leisurely Target run with no "get in the cart" negotiations.

I will write more in October, leading up to NaBloPoMo in November.

21 September 2014

Want to Order a Crochet Hat?

Thanks for your interest in silvermari crochet hats. Most of what I make are sized for infants and toddlers, although I can size up and down for custom orders (and based on the Maker Faire I'll be making more elementary-age girls sizes).

Please email me at silvermari@gmail.com to place an order. (I may consider setting up an Etsy shop in the future.)

I will need to know the style of hat you'd like (see photos in my silvermari crochet hats Flickr album for ideas), the colors (general or specific) and a couple head measurements. Most importantly I need the head circumference -- measure around the crown of the head. It's also helpful to have the brow height -- from the top of the head to just above the eyebrows (or wherever you want the edge of the hat to be). If head measurements aren't available let me know the age for the recipient. (I use this great chart for estimating head sizes.)

Hats range from $10-$20, depending on size and complexity. I am located in Baton Rouge, LA, and I can meet in a public place within BR to deliver local orders. Shipping costs will be extra.

I expect about a week turnaround time for each order, although that depends on other factors (including number of orders I already have, if it's a hard-to-find yarn that I need to special order, etc.), so I'll let you know in our email conversations. If you have a rush deadline let me know, and I'll see what I can do.

If you have other crochet projects you'd like to commission, please contact me for a quote. See my silvermari crochet Flickr album for examples of other types of crochet projects I've completed.


19 September 2014

Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire

This Saturday I'm going to be part of the Mini Maker Faire at the East Baton Rouge public library. I'll have my crochet hats for sale and will be demonstrating crochet and teaching anyone who wants to give it a try. I'm confused about the way it will work, but if nothing else it will give me some stories.

If you're visiting my site because you saw my booth at the faire, welcome! I don't write exclusively about crochet, although I do post about almost every project I make. I hope you'll stick around. See more about my crochet craft.

30 August 2014

A Decade of Owen

Last visit to Baton Rouge as a 9-year-old.
It's hard to believe that "Baby O" is ten (10!) years old today.

I can vividly remember the day ten years ago, when I was in Maryland starting graduate school and my sister was in labor. Owen was almost a week late. I had been home on Beth's actual due date.

I sat in an orientation class of some sort, and for the "ice breaker" fact I shared that my sister was having a baby and I'd rather be with her at that point. The dean of the school did his best to make me feel "other" and wrong about that. He just couldn't understand that desire and mocked me for it.

Beth and I texted for as long as she could manage.

I was in Ikea looking at hanging hooks with my roommate when I got the call from my dad that Owen had arrived.

I didn't get to meet him until nearly four months later -- December 17, 2004. And in the meantime I met Shawn.

Graduate school was the right thing for me, and led me to my life with Shawn. But I sure would have liked to have been there when Owen came into the world.

Now he's a silly, smart and fun boy. It's amazing to realize how quickly the time has gone.

Here's to many, many, many more years of Owen! AMLBO!!!