Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Esme says Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

well, she isn't really saying it, but she would if she could :)

Traditions: In my family growing up we would always stand out on the porch at the stroke of midnight and shout as loud as we could 'Happy New Year.'

Monday, December 29, 2008

Stuff Esme can do at nearly fourteen months

Breakfast means emptying your bowl of dry cereal on the shelf

Esme can do these things when she feels like cooperating. When she doesn't want to cooperate she just runs around and makes noise and throws stuff... typical toddler.

New stuff she just mastered:
1.) Put up both hands and say 'RAR'.
2.) Try to repeat words we say - although her pronunciation isn't good at all.
3.) Put several pieces of her huge baby Legos together and take them apart.
4.) Find me a book to read. I ask her 'find me a book, read this?' and make a hand sign like turning pages in a book.
5.) Find her kazoo when I imitate the noise it makes, even if she has to look hard for it.
7.) Wave 'bye-bye'
8.) Pretend to wash things imitating me.
9.) Suprised me by finding a specific book twice when I asked her for it. 'Brown Bear Brown Bear' book, bypassing other books to find that one in her toybox.

I just read her this book and came back to find her paging through it upside down. She only gets a few 'real' books to have in her toybox because she still rips the pages sometimes. This one was a quarter at the flea market and she has been very good to it since getting in trouble for ripping the first page.

Old stuff she's been doing for over a month and some more:

1.) Respond to our sign for 'Hungry?' with her own sign for yes or no.
2.) Sit in her chair when she sees her food tray or when she hears us say 'sit in your chair'
3.) Go up and down the entire staircase (under supervision)
4.) Ask 'where is Esme?' and she finds her blanket to hide under.
5.) Stack about five or six blocks before tipping them over.
6.) Draw on her sketchpad with crayons (mostly lines and dashes)
7.) Put things in a bowl or bucket when we ask.
8.) Clap when she sees us or people on TV clapping. The TV surprised me.
9.) Imitate our hand signs and things we do with our hands and feet, she is doing more of that than she used to.
10.) Tell us she needs to be changed with a hand sign.
11.) Put her puzzle and sorter blocks all in the right places.
12.) Pick up her books and sit in her chair looking through them.

She drinks from her sippy cups, eats well from her tray but not really well with a spoon. That is mostly because I don't have the time usually to let her make a mess with the spoon. She is really good at it when she is eating oatmeal with me from one bowl and can watch me use my spoon.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I don't have anything big to say, but a lot of little random chatter, more for myself than anyone...

It's two days after Christmas and I'm slowly cleaning the house, area by area. I'm scrubbing floors, walls etc... more intensely than I have since before Esme was born. It needs it... especially in the areas we don't use much. The floodwater coming in to the garage wasn't the entire cause but it did spur me on a bit more. Usually I clean when I am upset or worried -- and maybe there is a little of that in here but also a sense of satisfaction that Esme will be playing here soon. She is running all over the house now more and more -- and getting into so many more places.

Next week they have me on a shift starting at 4 am - which is better I guess than laying me off. I've heard this is the time of the year they do lay people off until the busy season starts again... This should be interesting. At least they're giving me three days off before that to shift my schedule.

They say it is the perfect weather condition today for a tornado, unseasonably warm, windy and thunderstorms predicted. Mark says he can feel the pressure changing in the air. The trees are whipping around violently and the dogs are all sitting on the porch enjoying the warm air.

Feeding Esme has become more of a challenge, as she goes away from wet baby food and into mostly things she can feed herself. She likes carrots and corn, most other vegetables she just pushes around. If she has corn she won't eat anything else on her plate until every kernel is gone. I say she gets that from Mark as corn is his all-time favorite non-meat product. She really hates mashed potatoes.. not sure why, maybe the texture.

In a previous life perhaps I was a nomad, as things like pottery, rugs and blankets really draw my eye. I've spent a lot of time looking at things like this recently, in the store and on Etsy, wondering how our house could be better organized. I think that is why I am cleaning the house - a mixture of worry from job/family in Minnesota and just wanting things to look nice. The fabric and yarn I am also drawn to are perhaps just because they make the rugs and blankets... warm soft tactile things that can be moved to where thay are needed most for comfort. Pottery is just pretty and good to store things in. I gave myself a long narrow pottery tray for Christmas this year because my handmade soaps were overflowing the soap dish ;)

I bought Esme some long sleeved shirts and a sleeper to grow into. They are 'advertised' as boys' clothing, with blue and grey and brown colors. However, they have dinosaurs and robots and airplanes on them. I grew up a tomboy. I still like dinosaurs and robots and airplanes myself ;) The last round of clothes I bought for Esme was on clearance and was predominantly pink, purple and turquoise. And all the girls' clothes seem to be garish colors or covered in Dora the Explorer, Disney, Hannah Montana etc... why can't they just be plain or simple designs? Esme just moved up from her 6-12 month and 12 month clothes to 12 and 18 month sizes. She seems to always be in the middle some from one size and some from the next up, too long in the legs for one and have to roll the sleeves up on the other. So now I'm working on collecting 24 month and 3T ;) it's nice to plan ahead.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Steak, Kazoos and more

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

This is what Mark wanted for Christmas this year. A huge steak. Just look at that grin, a little maniacal perhaps? STEAK! Of course we didn't eat all of it (not even close) tonight but he has plans for every last scrap of the leftovers.

Esme got several board books and a kazoo which she has been enjoying. She already figured it out and has been happily bugling away on it.

Touched a Kitty cat!
Now read me a book kitty!

I wish the sun hadn't been quite so bright - but this picture is cute anyway! Mitzi is really growing into a cat and puts up with so much from Esme. When they play it is cute but rarely Esme gets too excited and squeals then Mitzi runs for the hills (or in this case the bed)...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rain and Leaks!

We have had a torrential downpour off and on since last night. And now there is water coming into our garage on the first floor. Sheesh what a Christmas present from Mother Nature. We are actively working on cleaning it up.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A few mentions

Some things I've seen around today and liked:

Little Alouette toys. They have teething keys made of wood. I was looking for something like this for Esme back when she was very small, and never found it. They have the old fashioned ones like the plastic keys we grew up with, except they're wood!

And that led me to SMALL magazine, which I admit is very cool. Nice layout and focuses on small enterprises for children, clothes etc... a nice read and I hope to get time to visit their next issue.

And that's it - for now. All the toy orders were out in the mail on Monday. It was great to be done! I have four days off from my town job now, after seven days on, and am hoping to enjoy it! I just want to play with Esme and take her to see Grandma and run around the house/yard :) There will probably be some sewing in there too. Merry Christmas to you all and I'll probably pop back in whenever I have cute pictures or toys, but other than that it is relax time :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Help Save Handmade Toys Made in America!

I was just informed that there is an act before Congress to regulate the amount of lead in handmade toys. This is a good idea in general, but it doesn't include exemptions for small handmade manufacturers.

In the current form, the toymakers would have to pay an average of 4,000.00 PER type of toy they make to have it tested, and do this several times a year to be in compliance. This is not just for toys with paint, but all kinds of toys children would play with. It is meant to protect against big manufacturers but it will include handmade toys too unless we act soon (50 days left).

The Handmade Toy Alliance is trying to get an exemption for all toymakers who produce 5,000 items or less per year. But, we need all the voices we can get to be heard.

Please take a look at the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act and contact your local Congressman and/or Senator if you are interested in this issue!

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
~Marie @ KnitOwl Toys

Saturday, December 13, 2008


My sister is having another baby. This will be number four for her, although only two of the other three live with her. Her youngest is five now, and she was a surprise too - so I'm not sure how my sister feels about number four yet. Her email just said 'Guess who is pregnant with baby number four, yes it is true, it is me.'

Lots of Toys piling up here!

in other news: We bought a box of board books for Esme and she is happily paging through them. My sister sent me a message on some 'pay to email' site - *sigh* - I wish she wouldn't do that.

The very last lime slug, as the fabric is now discontinued

happy little horse
going off to a baby not yet born

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It Came from Outer Space

Alien Monster Doll by KnitOwl Toys

So many aliens! Just a note that we have nearly reached max capacity for holiday orders. The desk is a virtual cloning lab full of eyes, mouths and stuffed aliens.

CHRISTMAS ORDERS (custom make to order) will be halted on December 10th at midnight. We are also out of Turquoise color. Thank you to everyone and have a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Note: Ready-to-ship items in the store will still be available for Christmas shipping until December 15th.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Busy busy toymaker

This is most of my largest holiday order. There are still two more 'twin' dolls to add to this and I made a mistake on the first one.

So many more toys to make!

Esme ran around at Grandpa and Grandma's again today. She is getting a little more involved with actually seeing them up there and not just wandering about. That will get even better with time - but she just never wants to sit still at all unless she is asleep!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Esme at thirteen months

Esme has gotten where she will bring us books to read one after the other. She has lots of board books which she loves to pieces, sometimes literally! However, when she brought this book to Daddy she didn't know what she was getting into. 'Daddy, where are the rest of the pictures?' Mark read her the preamble to the Constitution and she had enough - took the book back to the box it came from and started playing with my measuring tape.

Esme is thirteen months. She weighs 21 pounds and is 30 inches tall! There are lots of teeth coming in, including some back ones now. That means a lot of crabbiness sometimes too. She is running and climbing on EVERYTHING. We had to do some creative thinking to keep an area safe for her to wander around in without us watching her every second. We know it's still just a matter of time before she is up and out of there again!

In her play area she has lots of toys. She loves her blocks of several types, and also sits in her booster chair and 'reads' herself books. She drags her play quilt around and covers up things with it, including herself. When we come with her tray of food at mealtimes she gets right in her chair and is excited to dig into her very own food. She absolutely hates having her hands and mouth washed off but enjoys baths once she is in the warm water.

She has started to call 'MumMum' and 'Dada' with better accuracy although 'Doggie' and 'Kitty' are still interchangeable. She is also beginning to have symbols or indeterminate 'words' for diaper change, up/down, lost pacifier, empty sippy cup etc... That is no small matter, as she is communicating what she wants better!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Alien Invasions continuing this holiday season...

at the KnitOwl Toy Shop

All the usual suspects have been rounded up, thread, scissors, felt and stuffing for the holiday season crush. The KnitOwl is working in her workshop four days straight!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Slumber

It is the last day of November.

This drawing was made today, and is called 'November Slumber'
(6 by 7 inches original ink)

It is reminiscientof my drawing 'July Dream' from several years ago. It will be available in the original art shop.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We're in the Etsy Childrens Gift Guides for the Holidays!

Thank you Etsy!
It's on page 5, but our Alien Monster Dolls made it into the Gift Guide (which their editors pick.)

See them in action!

Sluggish around here? No not at all!

Custom slug order for JB - here they are!

One is a little longer than the other and has a bigger mouth - but every toy has its own unique personality, even when they come from the same pattern!

Sluggish? Actually we've been quite busy!

Our Thanksgiving was simple, at home and relaxing. We had a 'traditional pepperoni pizza' as CarrieK said. We took Esme up to see Grandma and Grandpa for about an hour, but she was more interested in tromping about their house getting into things than actually visiting (she is one after all). We went home and made pizza and watched a movie, then tired Esme entirely out so she would go to sleep early. I had to work on Black Friday at 6 am. That actually wasn't so bad, but then I have five years of experience under my belt and I didn't have to open the doors -- that poor guy in New York!

Slug with carrot
He has finally come back from St.Louis
He'll be in the shop

The toys all came back finally from the Crammed Organisms show in St.Louis. Some of them were just a little worse for wear. It took them a long time to turnaround the shipping (which I had to pay for both ways and that sucked) and they didn't do very well on getting pictures of things while they were at the show. I saw Bumblephant in just one photo out of the twenty some they took. I was glad to be invited to what was a wonderful and original idea but was kind of left wanting for more. Maybe they'll do better next year, as this was their first try at anything this large.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A philosophy of making and buying handmade

I love handmade, and not just the things I make myself. I buy handmade olive-oil soap on a regular basis, but usually don't buy knitted or sewn things that I could make myself. I would like to sometimes, and instead I say 'no you can make that' and usually end up buying something cheap and not well made at all as a replacement. I'm rethinking that.

I see something really cool on a website, like a pair of baby slippers or a toddler play quilt and know if I took the time I could come out with something just as good - out of my own materials etc. etc... But then I don't do it, because I really don't have the time! I make so many things for my own handmade shop I don't take out the time to make things I would like to use myself.

So, I have to get on the ball here. I either buy those cool things and support my handmade crafting friends, or I actually get down to the knitty gritty (sometimes it's knitty, usually not) and make the item myself, and USE it.

This blanket was inspired by one of those cool things I saw online - just some pretty nice fabric that was made into a toddler blanket. But the only special thing about it was the lady had chosen really nice fabric. I had all this 'recycled' fabric lying around and started putting it together. Some of the squares came from a sample book of curtain fabric someone gave me - and the rest was from a box of upholstery remnants we traded for last year in our Ebay store. It became a pretty little quilt that is being used in our house as 1.) footwarmer and 2.) hide and seek blanket for Esme. It's quite warm and also very funny when Esme grabs it and puts it over her head asking to play her game with us.

Some of the things I'm considering buying handmade:
wrist warmers and baby slippers

I keep trying to make them and ending up with half-finished or ripped out projects. I'm just not that good of a knitter and have had such a hard time keeping on those yarny projects to get them finished. I've tried to make Esme a pair of felt or knitted shoes since she was BORN and haven't come out with anything wearable.

I love slipper socks from Etsy seller TheCrocodileRock but am still trying to make a pair for Esme -- not sure if I'll succeed and her feet are growing so fast it's hard to keep up!

UDPATE: I have contacted TheCrocodileRock and asked her to make a custom order for us - in process of making choices! YAY!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Esme Cuteness

Here are some pictures we took yesterday - it was a cute day.

Esme's hair is almost long enough for these clips to stay in

She has taken to sitting in her booster chair when she is hungry and sometimes just to watch a movie when it's on

Mark took this photo of me sewing on our 'Surreal Fish' plush toy.

The last time we drew crayons with Esme I drew a fish that looked like this - and saved the drawing to try to make a toy out of it.

Then he took a turn showing it off too ;)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random News

Esme went to her 1 year check-up (a bit late, but insurance had to be switched) and everything was good. She won't get more immunizations until 15 months.

A neighbor came by and told us while he was out hunting with friends they found our Kelba. They knew she was our dog, and came to tell us. She had been shot, a while ago, in the deep woods about five miles from here. We're sad but not sure what, if anything, to do about it. She was the one dog who could climb over the top of our six foot fence, even when we put wire on the top of it - and when she didn't come back that one morning we were pretty sure of what had happened.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama Plan

The news says Obama plans to rebuild infrastructure in America to help with the economic crisis, job losses and to help lay a foundation for the future. I'm not really the political type - but that sounds like a good idea. Paying American people to put work into their country that will last, like roads, bridges, trees, parks etc... just might be part of the answer. At least we will have something when we are done - unlike the plan to hand lots of cash over to corporations. And the corporations will get some of the money anyway - because where are all the materials and machinery needed for these projects going to come from? Just my two cents.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On My Desk

On My Desk with Kootoyoo is ending, so here is one more shot of what was on my desk when it ended. Thanks Kootoyoo even though I have been so busy lately I have not posted in a while. :)

A doll for a one year old girl's Christmas present.
Not my little girl though!

It's been fun playing!

Here is the dolly all finished.
The little girl has glasses so her dolly does too.

Esme's Crew

Esme and her crew
hanging out, thinking up what trouble to get into next.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Sippy cup

Esme has almost completely refused to drink formula anymore - and now it's real milk in a sippy cup and no more bottle either (unless all the sippy cups are in the dishwasher).

Happy girl!

Most of the time Esme is smiley, but lately she has been quite the brat with her teething and mommy being busy so much when I'm home. I have so many toys to make! I spend lots of time playing puzzles, chasing her around, reading books, giving baths, mealtime etc.. but sometimes she just can't bear to be stuck in her playpen when Mommy is sewing.

Hanging out with Dad

Mark hangs out on the bed and reads books often and she likes to come up and crawl around and 'smushface' on the pillows etc... Mark often has to keep hold of one leg just to make sure she doesn't dive off unexpectedly.

Unhappy girl :(
crying because she can't have the camera

She wants to copy everything we do and be in on the fun. Being told 'No' is about the worst thing in the world for her and she has a temper. We're holding firm though. 'Yes we know you're mad. No, you're not getting/doing (X)' We try to just ignore her tantrum and go about what we were doing. If she really gets unreasonable we distract her by reading a book, singing a song, going to another room etc..

Completely exhausted, she fell asleep on the shelf like this for a full ten minutes before the dogs woke her up

Friday, November 14, 2008

Local Fabric store treasure trove found in McKenzie, TN!

I was told by a customer where I work that there was a fabric store in McKenzie, a town very close by. I was so surprised! Robertson's Decorating Center is located on Highway 423 in McKenzie, TN, not far from Paris and Huntingdon. It has remnants of thousands of types of upholstery, decorator and bedding fabric. I took Esme there today and she ran all over with me while I looked at the various remnants and rolls of fabric in several rooms. They also had trim, ribbon, pillow forms and lining fabrics. I am amazed this store was in my backyard and I had never heard of it. By the time Mark came back from the feed store Esme was very tired and ready for home! She was rewarded for being such a good girl by a hamburger of her very own for dinner tonight.

I will definitely be back there soon to buy more. Now to see what I can do with the lovely thick cotton fabrics I purchased there today.

On another note: I have orders rolling in for the handmade toy shop and am being kept quite busy!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saying goodbye to furry friends

I hate to dole out bad news, but now two things have happened and I'll just go on and say goodbye to both of our furry friends at once.


It's been over a week since we saw Gypsy, the black kitten from Pogo's litter. Is it bad to say I'm glad we kept two kittens? Mitzi, the yellow striped girl kitten, is still here and bouncey as ever. They were learning how to hunt with their Mom we guess and one night something happened to our tortoiseshell kitten. Pogo didn't seem too concerned. Mitzi cried 'I'm lonely' for days. Goodbye Gypsy, sorry to see you go.

Kelba, 5 years old
bluetick coonhound through-and-through

While I'm dealing out the bad news, we've also lost our Kelba just recently. For several days she was grumpy and curled up on her couch, but that wasn't entirely unlike her. She would have her bouts of grumpishness. But as long as she still got up for dinner and went outside and came back we usually didn't worry. Then one morning she didn't come back. We looked along the roads and called for her, but it isn't like her to not come back for more than one night in a row. After all, it was her job to call the morning wakeup call with a roundabout howl. Mark holds out the hope that maybe a hunter (it's rabbit hunting season here) picked her up with their dogs, or worse maybe they shot her when she was fighting with their dogs. :( We'll probably never know living out in dense woods like this.

Still with us
Pogo giving 'cat lessons' to Mitzi

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Storyteller's Mask original drawing

'The Storytelling Mask' (SOLD)
by Marie Lamb (gallery of work)

An original drawing from 2004, made in the same 'scribble some and see what shows up' method as most of my work. This was done at the same time I had my gallery show at North Dakota State University. It was one of the pieces that didn't get into that show because I just had too much work to show at once!

Original ink and prismacolor drawing. Now available at the PenStrokes Original Art Shop at Etsy.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Esme at one and simple baby toys

I haven't been able to take many 'spectacular' pictures lately but I'm posting the ones I have taken a few days ago. Esme and I were playing in her play area, with all the toys and books etc...

Esme has a lot of toys, but the kicker is only one of them is electronic. I really don't like all the electronics in baby toys I see on the store shelf. Why does a ball need to beep and have batteries? Can't a puzzle just be regular wooden pieces without magnets and electronic 'You did It' alarms going off when it gets in the right place? For Esme, the best baby toys require Mom or Dad as a major component of the fun. And then we aren't playing too, she is trying to remember what we did together and try it again herself.

Here is how Esme plays at one:

We have several plastic shelves she climbs on to look out the windows. She has fun with the gates too, hanging things over them and sticking things through them - and piling toys up on the bed from the floor and dragging them back down again. She digs in the drawers she can reach and puts lots of stuff in there only to pull it back out. When we let her run all over the house she has certain 'hot spots' of stuff she plays with - our hardware bucket full of carabiners, a calculator, a bucket from the kitchen, shampoo bottles in the bathroom etc... and lots of magnetic letters on the fridge.

She loves board books, paging through them herself and pointing at things while babbling. She has several large and small balls to bounce, roll and carry. She has a sorter box with shaped blocks that is a current favorite and today I gave her a small amount of large wooden blocks to try to stack and build with.


Coffee Can: Yes, a clean metal coffee can (watch for sharp edges, this one doesn't have any). She puts things in it and dumps them out. She turns it upside down and bangs on the bottom like a drum. She bangs other things on it and makes a different noise. She rolls it. She picks it up and drops it making a pleasant 'GONG' noise.

Fly Swatter: Don't ask me why but she loves this toy. It is just an average 96 cent fly swatter made of plastic but she often carries it around. She 'pushes', 'slaps' and 'taps' things with it to see what will happen. In adult terms she doesn't get much accomplished but in baby terms it is a great exploration tool.

Sleigh bells: I bought a leather doorhanger that has big sleigh bells sewn onto it. It is hanging up on the gate and she comes up and has great fun ringing it.

She has lots of other miscellaneous things but right now she is most interested in seeing new things (exploring), hearing songs, reading and looking through books, banging things on other things to see what they sound like and sorting things. I'm not always sure what logic she is using when she sorts - but she gets very busy about it.

We also play games like 'Where is Esme' when we cover her (or us) up with a blanket, shirt etc. and 'Chase/Follow' and simple things like 'bring that to mommy' or 'baby hug!' She loves any kind of music and watches movies intently when we put them in. We don't play the TV or music 24/7 - just when we are going to watch something. I don't like the idea of a TV as a babysitter. In fact, it's a little scary how intent she can get on a movie and forget to do anything else!

She can reach the THIRD shelf up now without standing on anything - and when she does stand on something she can reach all the way to the back of it. Her hair is getting so long but I can't capture any of it yet to put it back out of her eyes!

New Drawings Artwork in the Shop

New drawings in my original artwork shop
Click here to visit

Titles: (couterclockwise from top right)
A Gift from Fox
Foxbird (Fox and Bird at once)
There is No Cure for this Sickness
Rabbit Mask

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Esme and her Grandparents

Thank you for all the birthday wishes! :)

Yesterday Esme's Grandparents Henry and Irene came over (Mark's parents). They don't live very far away. We got some pictures while they were here :)

I'm hoping to bring Esme up to see them today if they are home. She likes to toddle around their house and talk to their dogs, and grab magazines etc... It's great fun to watch her show them everything she can do.

We got Esme a pad of paper and some big crayons for her birthday, as well as a little piano that is a lot like a xylophone. She has been having lots of fun with all of it - even though she can only play with the crayons when we play too (for now).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Esme is One!

Esme is one year old today!

She is growing up to be such a big girl! She is amazing us constantly with how much she can do and figure out.

She can put several of her sorting shapes in the box, 'reads' her board books and tries to copy many things we do. She knows her socks and shoes go on her feet, but can't get them on yet by herself. She comes up behind us with her brush and tries to brush our hair.

Today we went to the library and she played with several large peg puzzles. We ordered her one from Amazon :) Grandpa and Grandma came down to say hi before we went to vote. They gave her a pretty little baby doll for a birthday gift and said to come up and see them later in the week.

I've been working a lot of hours at work, 5 days on and 3 days off for the past few weeks. It hasn't left me a lot of time for other things - because when I get home I want to spend time with Mark and Esme. There have also been several toy orders for Christmas so I'm trying to get those done as well!

Alien Monsters are featured in Etsy Treasury

Alien Monster pairs

An Etsy Treasury 'Cute Monsters Attack!' has featured our Big Brother and Junior Alien Monster pair :) Thanks TassieWashie!