Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On My Desk: Bumblephant

On My Desk with Kootoyoo

A buzzy - uzzy elephant,
A bumble - umble Bumblephant...

Original Bumblephant pattern designed by Marie Lamb @ KnitOwl Toys

He's a work in progress
for Crammed Organisms
By the way I'm going I have to Express Mail!

UPDATE: I sent out my package to Cranky Yellow (Crammed Organisms is being held there) today! YAY!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Eye Candy

Click picture to enlarge

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Roundup

New Arrivals at the online KnitOwl Toy Shop

We were at MamaMade in Franklin, TN on Saturday. There were lots of talented Mamas there selling their goods. The atmosphere was nice and friendly, and the owner of Lillie Belle's tea house offered up a private room for baby changing, so taking care of Esme without leaving the show was a breeze :)

I made friends with Lil from 3 Lil Muses and we talked about our children and crafts during the slow times. She makes beautiful children's clothing and has three little girls.

We here at KnitOwl made back our booth fee and a little more. It was a nice learning experience, since we had never been to a show like this before. Mark and I both went out in turn to the Franklin Main Street Fair with one of our slugs on his hat to pass out flyers. I hope it helped with the traffic ;) There's a picture but we have to get it off the small camera.

And when I got home I started working on my entry for Crammed Oraganisms again, which has to be mailed out ASAP.

The Slug rider gnome with his wagon full of vegetables.

from the side...

Saturday, April 26, 2008


We're here at Mamamade! We left at 4 am and Mark drove us two hours to get here. It is raining at the moment but we hear there is a canopy to set up under. We're waiting for the coordinator to arrive.

There are 50-60 KnitOwl toys waiting to be taken out of their boxes and spread out on our table :) Esme is sitting in her carseat (she slept most of the way here) cooing and hugging her Mousebear.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Night Was... CONTEST!

Fabulous prizes
Choose your own color of one of these handmade toys!

I'm holding a contest. The winner gets a free custom (choose your color) KnitOwl Slug, Alien Monster Doll, Zebra or Baby Doll.

In the movie 'Throw Momma from the Train' the main character is always typing 'The Night was...' and trying to fill in the last part of the sentence. The last time Mark and I watched this movie for some reason it struck me... 'The Night was PINK.. pink I tell you, and full of zombies!'

And thus... this was born.

The Night was Pink, Cuddly
and full of zombies!

HOW TO ENTER: Please fill in the last part of the sentence 'The Night was _____.' I will try to illustrate the best ones for a 'zine'. Whichever comment makes Mark laugh the hardest will be the winner, so be funny! To qualify it must be one sentence (but I'm no grammar Nazi so it can be a run-on *grin*) that starts with the words 'The Night was'. Also, please keep it fairly 'clean' ;)

The contest will run on until May 15th and you can enter as many qualifying sentences as you like. Try not to repeat and Good Luck! Tell your friends to come put in an entry too please!

Slugs Galore and another kitten picture

Slugs Galore
for MamaMade this Saturday in
Franklin Tennessee!

Kittens at play

The little orange kitten is coming out of the box now, which is good. He is still dragging one of his back feet. He can move it, just not easily. Up until last week he wouldn't even leave the kitten box. We hope he continues to get even better with it. Sherpa (grey) and Hobbes (tiger-striped) are feisty and rolling all over fighting each other. The other grey one (in the background here) hasn't yet earned a name.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday and a puppy picture

Some of the toys going to MamaMade this Saturday
on a rolling table I found for four dollars at the flea market

We went to the flea market this morning with Esme. There were so many people there! Picked up a few useful things. Mark found the latest coins in a set he has been collecting, which made him quite happy. There were LOTS of ducks and chickens and a few geese but not many other animals to speak of.

Met a guy we have dealt with there before and he said he has his jewelry up on Etsy under the username Spicedragon. Beautiful well-made metalwork, not just beads.

Esme plays with the monkey rattle toy my Mom sent her
(the one where the plastic has an odd smell)
I put it on the swing mobile so she can touch and shake it but not mouth it

And here is a puppy picture. They're opening their eyes now and starting to move around, which means not so much peace for their Mom. The kittens are also wandering further afield from their box. Pogo lies down several feet from the box opening and coaxes them to come out and nurse. She even lets the dogs sniff them.. which is surprising!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Learning as we go... notes on gardening

Send good wishes to Mrs.Pao for her kitty Perdita, who looks like our Pogo. She was missing and now she is hurt.

We've been looking into more things that we would like to grow here, and into small livestock to run on this land. It will take a lot of studying and preparation. Mark has been interested in beekeeping for years, and is studying that more now. I have thought about keeping sheep for a long time... but was about the give the idea up. It might still be doable here, but there is a lot to prepare.

We would need more fenced area, a barn with a water source etc... and I've been looking into feed crops that could be grown here and pasture grass that could be sowed in the valley. The county extension agent is sending us a package sometime this week, on all of the above.

About the barley I mentioned: it is a fall crop here in Tennessee. Perhaps what I was reading about it being a spring crop was because of the severity of Northern winters? The co-op agent here said the heat of Tennessee summers would kill it and it should be sown in September/October for the best results. That would be fitting, as our sweet corn will come off of these plots about then. Harvesting it seems to be a tricky thing as least that is what this 1881 book at Wikipedia says.

We still need to do more work on the garden fences. I planted nearly everything yesterday but there is still carrots and mint that need to be put out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Planting Time

We have four garden spots tilled up and two are mostly planted as of now. I had Esme out in her car seat (with the sunshade up) but she has begun to get fussy. Mark and I will probably take shifts now, one staying in with her and the other planting.

I've put ornamental corn in the plots alongside the road as well as sweet corn, beans, leafy vegetables, dill herb, 3 varieties of squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and cataloupe. I still need to get the broccoli and carrots out there.

We have more corn to put in the bigger garden, watermelon, tomatoes, cayenne peppers and sunflowers. Mark is planning potatoes, but they need to be planted next month. He has been planting marigolds and morning glory and other beneficial plants all around the fence and garden edges. He put some scarlet runner bean near the fenceline on the roadside plots, although we still need to put some actual fence there.

I've also been looking into the uses of barley as livestock feed and wondering what we can do with that. It's good for sheep food as well as excellent for things like homebrewing beer, which Mark is interested in, too. I hope to get more information at my local extension when they are open next week. Making beer would be like real-life 'alchemy', although it would be years before we had enough production of ingredients to actually do any more than a single batch for experimentation.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pogos Kittens wander about

Pogo's kittens were wandering about near her, outside their box. Picture is a bit blurry but the only one I could get. Mark has tentatively named the Pogo-looking kitten 'Hobbes.' I suggested 'Sherpa' for the other one here, as she is already a great explorer and climber. The other two are in the box still. The orange/yellow one isn't looking too good, but we're hoping he gets better.

Blue Pumpkins and Red Sunburn

We tilled yesterday. Mark did most of the work, but we both got sunburned red as lobsters. Some coconut shea butter really made my sunburn feel better, but it was itching badly before that. Esme was out with us but she had her sunshade in the car seat. She really enjoyed the wind and butterflies and watching all the dogs run around.

We are planning on planting a lot of corn, some ornamentals as well as Mark's favorite Peaches and Cream. That might be an interesting mix if they cross-pollinate. I just finished putting in a few mounds of 'Once in a Blue Moon' pumpkins and Blue Hubbard Squash. When I worked at the Horticulture station in Grand Rapids, MN we planted an 'Heirloom 100 years Anniversary Garden' Everything in that garden was something that was planted at the station 100 years ago. Blue Hubbards were among the mix so I have a bit of fondness for them. I'm not sure how fond I'll be of _eating_ them, but that remains to be seen ;)

There is a storm rolling in right now. It is welcome, but I wish it had waited a bit longer. Or I should have got out there earlier and started to plant. I haven't heard back from Lowe's yet on my interview. That's not really good... *sigh* I thought it went well.. maybe she just is too busy. I was applying for night stocker but she said she could use another customer service person for the day - if she could talk her boss into it, and had me apply for that instead. Anyway - leave that where it sits until I call her and see what's going on.

We still have a few types of seed to get, dill, peppermint, more tomatoes etc... Hopefully this rain will be short and the ground will be dry enough again to plant tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Garden and Philosophy of Dreams in the Mind-Body paradox

I cleared brush out of the garden spot yesterday and Mark has gone today to rent the tiller. We have a few places planned to plant this year. Last year when I was pregnant I didn't garden as much as I had planned... I probably could have but I was being careful about Esme.


Sometimes I still feel as if I don't really exist as my body, but rather within it - as something controlling the switches but definitely separate. Mark and I disagree on this, and haven't reallly been able to come to a compromise on the idea. He believes that since mind and body cannot exist without each other, not as the same person -- then they must be one and not two coexisting entities. I've read a lot of philosophy on it over the years. Descartes, Kant, Plato and Aristotle, the empiricists like Locke - and a lot of new theories as well. It is part of what I paid close attention to in my anthropological and mythological studies in college, as well.

I'm still examining my gut feeling that I am *something* within a marionette pulling most of my own strings (deep - that has more to be said on it). That shows up in my art a lot - masks and puppets with different outer and inner forms. It is only further confused by my dreams, which are rich and vibrant, containing motion and scent and color, time and a richness of detail (books have actual writing in them, titles, authors... people speak words to me, not always English, that seem to make sense but later I can't remember it all...) -- but sometimes it's not ME, that is ... not this body. It's not even the same 'not-me', just some arbitrary different body... Sometimes it feels like I'm just listening in, 'fly on the wall' etc....

When I am 'ME' often the time is wrong, I'm back in the past - or the people I'm talking to I realize halfway through that they are only my dream-world's representation of the person I think they are ... they are not 'complete' - just a memory... It's like someone turns on the lights and everything stops... disappears, melts etc... because I figured out it was a dream.

These dreams would make for excellent writing material - if I could just describe them well enough. They sound like lots of crazy movies and fantasy stories all rolled together. However, this type of experience has always, I think, made me see things a little differently than most people.

A self-portrait I drew while in college
I used a tiny pocket mirror that I couldn't see much more than a little bit of my face at a time in. This was my 'Picasso'-like period as well, thus the odd shadows


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On My Desk

This is a sort of boring 'on my desk' for me but I've been out of the house a lot the last week or so.

On my desk is a little dragon pup toy I made a few weeks back, some spare knitting, drawing and some toys my Mom sent for Esme. The plastic still smells 'fresh' on these, just like the other things from the big box store's baby dept... so I'm not sure if I want to give them to Esme yet. Maybe I'm just more sensitive now, but if my nose tells me it's not good for my baby, maybe it really isn't. One thing I KNOW is, her pacifiers never had that smell when I opened them, and they are made in Germany while this more 'chemical'* smelling plastic is all made in China.

*chemical: Yes all plastics are chemicals, but they shouldn't still have a distinct fresh chemical smell when they've been shipped halfway round the world and sat in a store for months. Should they? Even at the plastic factory I temped at last week the hot plastic lost the smell after it was cooled down.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Went on my interview today, will hear more Thursday, wish me luck.

Have just finished reading Dies the Fire by S.M.Stirling and started on the sequel, The Protector's War. It makes me bitter* for my old recurve bow that is still 'lost' somewhere in my parent's basement. They have a PILE of old things down there that stands 8 feet tall and about 10 feet wide -- I had to climb up to the top of it to get some books and a globe last time I was there... but no sign of my bow anywhere and I didn't have time to go through more than the top layer :( Mark says he has a recurve somewhere in his old house as well - that I could try shooting.

bitter because when I left for Fargo I put it safely in the corner of an upstairs closet and said I'd be back for it... and now it's *maybe* in the pile downstairs, maybe gone... *sigh* I was pretty good with it in Grand Rapids during our archery classes at the college.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Artwork: Automatic drawings


These drawings start with a few ink dashes put down on paper to the rhythym of a song. Then I slowly fill in the areas that look like something to me, until there is a full image and no dashes left over (hopefully). This is a style I have been working on for well over ten years. Usually animals, people and plants show up, but also some symbols that have come to have meaning for me.

We are currently gathering and posting these drawings at Pen Strokes etsy shop.

Rabbit Dancer Woman

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Esme this morning

I got to sleep in this morning and Esme has already said 'Wow - it's sunrise and you're here!' and been very happy. It's nice to sit still and have a cup of coffee and smile at a little girl and her Mousebear.

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Drawings

Bird mask with many faces

I did a few drawings today after I got home. Some are selling out of our art shop.

Thanks everyone for the messages of encouragement. A good hot bath does help every night to soothe the muscles ;) It's like dancing 8 hours a day while carrying things around in a small space... But I have only one more temp work shift on Sunday, then I'm off because I may have an interview. The manager at this place was really nice today when I explained I couldn't stay on longer -- she offered for me to come back and work again if I'm not hired elsewhere. The interview would be at a big supplies store like the one I used to work at in Fargo. I really miss showing people where to find things to help them do their projects. Doesn't that sound weird?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Toy Airplanes Soft Plush Toys

Toy Airplanes At the KnitOwl Toy Shop

More soft toy airplanes that are fun to swoop and fly through the air. Pretend you're a pilot or let Godzilla bat them down and eat them...

WORK: Another long day today, always moving, barely any time to stop in between things. They I say I'm picking things up fast, which is good... But it is hard on the back, and the machines never ever stop - so if you fall behind you have to work three times as hard to catch up. The receptionist at the temp agency said they may ask me to stay on at the end of the week. I'm promised to stay on until Friday. Things might get easier. My muscles still hurt from yesterday so that could be part of it. It's also a 47 mile round-trip to get there and back from our house. I'm going to seriously consider the gas mileage it takes to get there and see if maybe I can't do better somewhere closer to home or at home again. Not many other nearby cities will be much better, considering our location out in the back woods.

Esme gave me one of her 'muppet grins' when I got home. She was crawling a little on the floor today and Mark took her for another walk to check the mail today. She is now sleeping peacefully in her chair, a contented little girl.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I've been wondering for the past few months about working outside the house to bring some extra money in. Especially right now when the economy is where it is. Last week I joined up with a temporary agency after spending a week putting out applications locally. Last night the temp agency called me and said they had a job going from 6 am to 3 pm for the rest of the week. It wasn't too bad of a day, assembly stuff and packaging. It isn't a 'wonderful' job but it will bring some money in right now and get me a local reference.

My muscles are sore and probably going to be worse tomorrow. But it IS good to know I can still do a day's hard work, after having a baby etc... I missed Esme terribly and she seems genuinely glad to have me home again. Mark said they went for a walk and also saw Grandpa and Grandma. The dogwoods and daffodils are in bloom and there are rabbits out in the woods somewhere. I know there are rabbits, as I saw two in the twilight this morning ;)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Night Owl KnitOwl

For the next couple of days, at the least, I'll be turning into a Night Owl KnitOwl. Expect posts at night instead of in the morning. :}

Esme Smile and Hands

Some pictures I caught today.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Plush Jet Plane

Happy Jet Plane Softie

I've had this idea for a while, and finally got around to making it happen. This airplane softie is large, huggable and very friendly :) 14 inch wingspan, 12 inches from nose to tail.

More pictures and Available at the shop

Friday, April 04, 2008


Esme is five months old today.

Pogo's kittens are cute and lively. The one with her eyes open is the only girl, we think.

DeeDee delivered more puppies but not all of them survived. We said she didn't look large enough to be pregnant, and she didn't enough weight on her to be healthy. She isn't in very good shape herself right now and we're trying to feed her up so the three remaining puppies get the milk they need.

I've been running in town most days this week. Mark took this picture of me after I got back one day. He says it's a good picture, but I think it shows how tired I've been lately.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Surprise Surprise

A midnight surprise

DeeDee had a single puppy last night, then another one this morning. We're surprised. We didn't think she could actually be pregnant again. The timing didn't match up and she had gotten slightly heavier but nowhere near 'large'. We had been holding off again on spaying her because we weren't certain. Mark thinks there might be more but with such a long time between these we're not sure what to think.

Mark also counted the kittens. There are four: a Pogo-ish stripe, two greys and an orange. Pogo is being a good mommy cat, and has been extremely interested in Esme's crying now that she has kittens with similar noises. She came up the other night when Esme was crying and looked really close at her, and all around her, as if to say 'Do you have one of my kittens up here or is it really YOU making that noise?'

Grey kitten
with Pogo-ish stripe behind

This makes seven babies total in this house (including Esme). Sounds like it's Spring.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Pogo has at least three kittens, maybe four. They are moving around in the box but it is dark under the bed and we haven't wanted to move the box yet. We are going to count them today. I've gotten the custom doll orders done, and am working on some other projects down in our basement. Esme is taking to the solid foods well. She had sweet potatoes and applesauce yesterday. Right now she is happily cooing at me from her swing chair.

One of the custom dolls
for our toy shop