Friday, February 28, 2014

Naps, cookies, and stage fright {7QTs}

Linking up with Jen the Industrious.

So my DIY hair plopping cap technically worked, but I am not feeling confident enough to post official pictures. Right now I am sporting 10 months worth of pixie cut overgrowth, and even though using the cap made it look a lot better than usual, it still looked pretty bad by most standards.

I didn't sleep well last night, then we were cooped up in the house all day due a canceled MOPS meeting and the stupid this morning wasn't pretty. After lunch I made the biggest mug of hot cocoa known to man, but when that didn't perk me up I had to pull out the big guns. I put Noni down for her nap, CJ down for his nap/not nap and then put in some earplugs so I wouldn't be able to hear CJ singing his ABCs over and over again. Then I fell into bed for a little shut eye of my own. I typically don't try to nap, since it usually takes me a long time to fall asleep and when I finally do drift off someone is crying. Not so today. I'm glad CJ actually did go to sleep today, because I was out for over two hours.

One of the reasons I didn't sleep well last night is because my band has a performance tonight, and in addition to playing the violin I will be debuting my dubious skills on the mandolin, which I only started playing about two months ago. As if that weren't nerve-wracking enough, I'll also be filling in for our vocalist, who can't be there. I like singing, but I haven't done it in front of an audience in almost 10 years. Quaking in my boots, over here.

We recently bought a minivan, and with its purchase came 3 months of free Satellite radio.  It didn't take me long to find and latch on to the 90's alternative and grunge station.

So we were cruising in the swagger wagon and Stone Temple Pilots came on the radio and CJ said, "Oh, mommy! I hear angels!!!"

Not quite, babe. Not quite.

Why my kid is crying:

He was taking too long to put his booster tray so and we prayed without him.  

That was intense.

Oh! I know. So I finally finished our taxes this week and Nemo took it into a real tax plance for a free "second look" and the preparer said I did a great job.
I am flattered to the max. No really, I am. Even though it was an "easy" year where didn't move, living in two states, have more than one job, or buy or sell a house. Don't care. Putting it on my resume. "Great" tax filer.

Today I'm also over at Living in the Green sharing a recipe to use up leftover baby cereal. If the thought of eating cookies made from baby food doesn't completely disgust you, head over and check it out!

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

DIY Hair Plopping Cap {Tutorial}

Why is it that alternative hair care methods have such unfortunate names? I have been a no-pooist for a while now (washing and conditioning my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, respectively) and I have recently been experimenting with "hair plopping".

I'm always hunting for the silver bullet that will turn my wild, frizzy hair into gorgeous curls, so I was excited to learn about hair plopping a few weeks over at Fine Linen and Purple. Basically, plopping involves tying a tshirt or microfiber towel over your head when your hair is still wet, and somehow when your hair dries it has magic curls. I was intrigued and immediately started hunting for more information all over the internet, which turned up a few good tutorials.

But I really couldn't get the hang of the whole tying the tshirt part, plus it sounded really uncomfortable to sleep in (some experienced ploppers recommend sleeping with your hair plopped), so after a few experiments I gave up for a while--but then today I had some time to kill, so I thought I would make a cap with an elastic band that would take the place of the twisted-and-tied tshirt.

For this project you are going to need a ratty old tshirt, 1" woven elastic (which you can get at a fabric store or Walmart), some pins, a pair of scissors, a safety pin, and a sewing machine.

First, cut up one of the side seams of the tshirt, then cut from armpit to armpit. This will give you a nice long rectangle

Then turn up the hem so that there is 1 inch between the original hem and the fold.

Then sew along the original hem. This will create a tube for the elastic to go through.

Next, you gotta measure out your elastic. You are going to want it snug so it will stay on, but not SO snug that you will get a headache. Hold the elastic around your head so that it follows your hairline (you don't want the band to touch any of your hair, lest it leave a dent), tighten until it is the appropriate snugness, then mark and cut (being sure to leave about 1" extra for the seam allowance.

Attach the safety pin to one end of the elastic and start working it through the tube.

Be sure to pin the other end in place so it doesn't get pulled through!

Once you've worked the elastic through to the other side, pin that end down as well. Then fold your rectangle in half with right sides together. At this point it's going to look like this:

Lastly, pin the raw edges together and sew. It doesn't have to be pretty since it's going to be on the inside of the cap!

Then all you have to to is turn it right side-out and use!
1. Get your hair wet, then bend over so your hair is hanging perpindicular to the floor (not shown since it looked way awkward). Slip the cap over your hair, making sure the band is resting below your hairline

2. Find the corners of the cap.

3. Tie the corners in a loose knot on top of your head.

4. Let your hair dry!

Ok, so I haven't officially used this yet (since I just made it two hours ago) but I am planning on showering before I go to bed and sleeping with the cap on. I'll post a hair update in the morning. Try to contain your excitement.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a female age 25-35 must be in want of an emergency contraceptive

A few months ago I was bored of all the kids shows on Netflix so I made a YouTube playlist for CJ and Noni comprised of the best alphabet videos the internet had to offer, plus some funny cat videos for good meadure. The bambino love it and I turn it on almost every day so I can have a little mid-morning break to read some blogs and catch up on Facebook. What's not to like?

I'll tell you what. About 50% of the time, the obligatory commercial at the beginning was for THE MORNING AFTER PILL.

Of course the kids are too young to understand at this point, but it was really, really starting to bug me. Regardless of where you stand on the topic, it's a little weird and awkward to see two kids under three watching bespectacled  hipsters talk about the results of their sex lives.

I was considering writing an angry letter to YouTube. I mean, aren't you part of Google now? Aren't Google employees wicked smart? Can't you adjust your algorithm so that playlists clearly compiled for the sole purpose of entertaining toddlers will feature ads that will result in them demanding new addictive iPad apps instead of asking me what "unprotected sex" means?

While that would probably be cathartic it wouldn't change anything, So I thought I would try to find a way to prevent that particular commercial from showing up on the playlist.

Google proved useless.

So I went to check out my YouTube settings to see if there was a way to change the types of ads shown.

Maybe fiddling with the Google Ads Settings would help?

I liked the words "Opt-Out" at the bottom. However that link didn't work, even after several days of trying. You might want to get on that, Google.

I was stumped for a bit...then inspiration struck. If Google thought I was in a much older age bracket, surely they wouldn't be advertising Plan B, right?

So I clicked where it says "Visit Your Google Profile", changed my birth year to 1900, and crossed my fingers that it would work. 
This morning's commercial? Old dudes sitting around discussing oil prices.


So, in conclusion, if you want to avoid Plan B commercials, lie about your age and/or gender.

I predict that we have about 2 days before the first Viagra commercial shows up to welcome me to the 65+ bracket.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Home Tour for the Rest of Us

This isntallment of Jen's 7 Posts in 7 Days challenge is brought to you by the poor overworked television. No thanks to the bazillion errands I had to run.


I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for home tours on la internet. But while I consider myself to be a good home renovator (or, at the very least, a good home renovation PLANNER) but I am not a tidy person and I have zero skill when it comes to home decorating. But that's not going to stop me! Put your helmet on; it's time for a Humblebee Home Tour.

Keep in mind that I took these pictures AFTER spending most of the morning cleaning. 

 Welcome to our home. Sorry, the coat rack is full. But if you need to change a dirty diaper, you have come to the right place.

1. Changing table (actually a cheap dresser) plus a diaper pail.

2. A stroller, because we don't have a garage.

3. A yellow cloth diaper cover draped artfully over the stroller to lend the entryway a pop of color.

4. Coat rack built by Nemo and stained by myself, topped with knitting, church quiet books, and other odds and ends.

Walk through the non-functioning pocket doors and you will find yourself in our living room, which was much improved recently by the addition of a new sofa that replaced the old Craigslisted one that Pippin the Cat ruined. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

1. More knitting on the mantle. Apparently I have unfinished knitting projects stashed all over the house.

2. An ecclectic mantlescape featuring a crucifix, a beer stein, a smoke alarm, and Nemo's baptism candle.

3. The only place in the house that CJ can't reach, hence; this is where we keep the iPad.

4. Another stroller. In the living room. Ye gods, I need a garage.

5. Throw pillow slipcovers made from a thrifted tablecloth. It doesn't get any more lowbrow than that, folks.

Now please come through to the dining room, where we never actually dine. 

1. Antique map print hung awkwardly high.

2. A small part of CJ's extensive collection of alphabet and number-themed toys.

3. OMG why do I hang pictures so high? Also, two years' worth of palms.

4. Desks!

5. Beige carpet + two toddlers = NO FOOD IN THE DINING ROOM!
1. More diapers brightening up the space. These ones are clean.

2. The cabinet of forbidden toys (anything with more than two pieces).

3. To the untrained eye this looks like a banana box from Aldi, but if you tilt your head and squint your eyes you can see that it is actually a laundry basket.

And now to the heart of our home...the kitchen! We are 641 days into the renovation, and it still isn't complete.

1. Over the sink shelf constructed out of scraps, which is handy for storing cook books and also the toddler crack better known as Flintstones "bye-tamins".

2. There's supposed to be trim up here.

3. Bag of cat food camouflaging the absence of baseboards.

Make a right at the bag of cat food and you will be in our lovely pantry nook. 

1. Generously-sized pantry full of graham crackers and fruit leather, topped by another banana box. This one is what I bring to Aldi each week to tote the graham crackers and fruit leather home.

2. Paper bags. What better place for them, I ask you?

3. Corner where I hide all of the things (toaster, cooling racks, bread machine, pizza peel, tea kettle, tea mugs, tea bags...)

4. Our one and only house plant. It's a feisty little violet that has somehow managed to survive my neglect for about eight months.

1. My only decorating win.

2. Our command center lets us keep the ignored meal plan, the overfull calendar, the forgotten chore list, the expired Michael's coupons, and fliers for events we will never attend all in one convenient location.

Thanks for coming! No, sorry, you can't go upstairs. Where do you think all my stuff is?

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shop Updates {7in7}

So, I made a spur of the moment decision to participate in Jen's 7 Posts in 7 Days challenge, which is an awesome addition to my already epic week. In the next seven days I have an a doctor's appointment, a tax professional appointment, a car inspection appointment, a MOPS meeting for which I need to bring a brunch dish to share and I will also be providing a door prize to promote my Etsy shop, and two gigs with my band. Like I said, EPIC.

SPEAKING of the shop, I've been having a lot of fun with it lately. I recently started making rainbow dresses out of upcycled t-shirts. They are sooo fun to make!

I've never really taken my shop very seriously--I never expected to make a living off of crafts, I just wanted to have a self-sustaining hobby:) But I have allowed myself to dream a little bit lately--perhaps if I put in a little effort I could use my profit to pay for preschool for CJ, or more organic food for the family, or let's face it, Shabby Apple dresses for moi.

So. I've recently started taking some baby steps to make my shop a little more legit.

Baby Step #1 - Branding!
I had a custom rubber stamp made (by the Etsy shop Stamp Out Online) so I can make branded clothing tags and also stamp the order packaging. See how cute?

Baby Step #2 - Keeping Track of Things!
I told Nemo to hunt the web for a pre-made spreadsheet to keep track of my Etsy finances, and he directed me to this one from Cthulhu Chick. It's going swimmingly so far, at least compared to my old system.

Baby Step #3 - Banking!
I've been wanting a separate checking account for the shop for a while now, but my attempts to get it done without the small ones present always failed. So today I put on my big girl pants and took them along to the bank.

Luckily there were bowls of Dum-Dums everywhere in this joint, which the kids were delighted to reduce to sticky slobber while I signed papers.

I foresee my bookkeeping being a lot less confusing now that my craft supply purchases are no longer jumbled in with all the household purchases. Seriously, so excited about this!

I also have plans to branch out a little--currently I only sell baby things but someday soon I hope to include upcycled items in a lot of categories. But that is going to have to wait for another day because my book discussion group is meeting tomorrow evening and I still have 27% of the book to read. To the kindle!
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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Two-Toned Buffalo Check Infinity Cowl

I thought I had cracked the nap strike code. With having stern talks about naptime expectations and putting him down a half hour later, I was able to achieve a decent nap about 75% of the time, and if he skipped one nap he would always crash the next day.

But we are experiencing some major backslidage. Yesterday he wouldn't nap because he was too busy reenacting his favorite LeapFrog movie, and despite the sternest of discussions (Pipe down, kid! I can't hear Buffy what with all this caterwauling!), he did the same thing again today. I was flummoxed because he was pretty tired. This was no mild suspicion--I KNEW.

Lunchtime drama. Oy.

I called the nap at 3pm, and since Noni was sleeping on I decided to take CJ up to the sewing room. Surprisingly he managed to pull  himself together and play quietly by himself for an hour so I could mess around with some scraps.

My grandma gave me a bunch of her sewing scraps a while back, and among them were these two pieces of pink buffalo check flannel.

They kind of put me in mind of some super cute flannel scarves I saw over at Sheena's a few months ago. infinity scarf...short, sweet, and simple. Perfect for passing a no-napping afternoon.

Of course I began the project with a bad cut which I had to go back and repair.

After that repair I got down to business. I cut each piece of fabric in half and sewed them end-to-end so I had one light pink and one dark pink strip. Then I put one strip on top of the other with right sides facing, then stitched down the long edges. Then I just had to turn the tube rightside-out, press, and stitch the short ends together to make a loop.

So it's really more of a cowl than a scarf, but that's all the fabric I had! So I guess I'll just have to deal with it.

Mmm. Cozy.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Stars Aligned {WIWS}

No Mass behavior report on the kids this week, because grandparents. Nemo and I enjoyed a nice quiet Mass, but I still didn't absorb enough of it to actually comment on it. I'm trying to get into the habit of going over the readings later in the day on Sunday to help things sink in...but I keep forgetting that too. Le sigh. I've got LOTS of room for spiritual development this Lent, let me tell you.


If you know me, you know that I go thrifting. OFTEN. And I know for a fact that great finds are few and far between. Well-designed clothes made of high-quality materials are becoming more and more rare, so very few find their way into thrift shops. In order to find the good stuff, you either need to possess a) perseverance or b) pure dumb luck.

All of my good finds thus far in my thrifting career have been due to the former. I may put off cleaning the bathroom for weeks at a time because I am "just too busy", but I make the time to go thrifting at least twice a week and sometimes more. With dedication (obsession) like that, I am bound to find a few treasures.

HOWEVER last week I made the find of a lifetime, and it was due to lady luck.

I went to a Goodwill that I rarely go to, mostly because it is in a different state and I almost never feel like going that far, but that day I had something else to do in the area and I decided to pop in and see what they had.

And GUESS WHAT THEY HAD? A Boden dress, like new, in my size, for $4.

I mean, what are the odds?

Boden has been on my radar for a while (Hallie's fault) but I had yet to add one to my collection. I must say, this one has lived up to the hype. It's fully lined, for goodness' sake. How many dresses can say that these days?

It's quite a rush, let me tell you.
Dress: Boden, thrifted
Necklace: Accessory swap at my MOPS group
Boots: Keen
Old Lady Hands: Too much sewing, fiddle playing, and mandolin learning. I also blame stupid winter.
Dressed up. Linked up.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Things I Just Realized {7QT}

Linking up with Jen, whose memoir Something Other Than God is coming out in April. Coincidentally, my birthday is also in April and I love memoirs. Hint hint.

My brain, you guys. Allow me to illustrate the sad, sad state of things upstairs with a few dawning realizations I've made over the past week.

So it turns out that the bready coating on corndogs is actually cornbread. Hence the name. I honestly thought it was called a corndog because the shape is reminiscent of an ear of corn.
I mean, come ON! This was a perfectly reasonable assumption to make, right? Especially considering that I've never eaten a corndog before. Not for health reasons, mind you. I've just always been more of a sweet than a savory person, so when there is carnival food about I am going to go for the elephant ears 110% of the time.

But still:

Stove grates, those collectors of grease and spaghetti sauce that are too big to fit in the sink and are a pain and a half to wipe down, can actually go in the dishwasher.

I was googling how to clean stove grates without all the scrubbing--I was thinking maybe a vinegar solution or something--and one forum said to JUST PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER. I scoffed at first because it couldn't be that easy, could it? I ran to my stove's user manual and sure enough, the grates are dishwasher safe.
Oh my cheese. The HOURS I have wasted trying to get those things clean. 

Along similar lines, when I was cleaning off the top of the fridge I found a nifty cover for CJ's booster tray. We've had that booster for years and I was always griping that the tray was in no way easy to clean (too big to fit in the sink)--what were they thinking, putting this piece of crap on the market? But oh yeah, it turns out it came with a tray cover that easily fits IN THE DISHWASHER. And it's been doing me a lot of good on top of the fridge for the last two years. 

The sweater I wore a few weeks ago that I professed that I bought for 50 cents even though it was stain free? Yeah, it has a stain. And it must have been there when I bought it because it looks like pen ink, and we don't really keep pens handy around here since CJ got all artistic on the walls.


Getting Diet Pepsi in your eye hurts almost as much as childbirth. Hot chocolate up your nose is equally unpleasant. Ditto to hiccuping while eating a green bean. These all happened to me, and adult who has allegedly mastered fine motor control and hand-eye coordination, all in the same day.

My sewing machine wasn't broken all last week, the power supply had just wiggled itself loose.

doctor who facepalm photo:  giftenfacepalm.gif


Aaaand my serger has been threaded completely wrong for almost a year.

This explains the tension problems I've been having, both thread tension and "why isn't this WORKING?!?!?" tension.

How excited was I to waste precious nap time to completely re-thread this beast?

So, in summation:

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.