March 30, 2011

Columbia or Etsy bound?

Photo 2 - 2011-03-30

These ones are actually for the Camsters. But I have the supplies to make a bunch more. Then I'll see if the Fancy Dry Goods store in Columbia will sell them for me. Then perhaps these little darlings will make it onto Etsy? We will see.

Over and out!

- Sarah

March 29, 2011

Etsy Picks of the Week VIII

Yeaaah baby! Time for some Etsy picks.

For Sweetpea...

a custom birth chart. I think this would be neat for everyone in the family. Maybe then my husband could remember all our birthstones... Here is Amy Karol's shop.

and for Me...

beaver speech bubble earrings! How cute! I think I pretty much "favorited" everything in this shop. Creepy cute is always the best route I say. Here is Marmar's shop.

- Sarah

Hey guys!

My comic
My comic

- Camsters (aka: Sweetpea)

March 28, 2011

Robeez Remake :: leather shoe tutorial

Don't you hate when you get really great kids shoes and can't find any more of them? Or worse... they cost $40 a pair? Never fear folks! Frugal Mom is here to save the day! *insert trumpets here*
Let's make some soft soled shoes...

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First get all your supplies together! I didn't have any soft leather on hand so I used suede cloth, but you can always cut up a thrifted leather jacket. You will need: a soft shoe that already fits your little one, 1/4 yard of super thin elastic, 1/4 yard suede cloth or soft leather, matching thread, and a fresh heavyweight needle.
Trace all the pieces of the shoe onto paper. Then go around the pieces adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance (excluding the sides that stay raw edges in the finished product). Don't forget to reverse the left and right soles. If you are using soft leather cut one each of the soles (suede cloth cut two), four shoe tops, two thin casing strips, and two (suede cut four) heel backs.

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Skip this if you are using one layer of soft leather: sew your outside suede to your lining (WRONG sides together) on the two ends, but not the top or bottom.
Sew the thin casing strip onto the top of the heel piece. Stitch only on the top and bottom of the thin strip. Repeat on other shoe.
Take two shoe tops (right sides together) and sew together on the short curved side. Turn right sides out. Topstitch along the same short side. Make two small parallel snips on one side to loop the elastic through later.

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Pin the shoe top (facing down with right sides together) to the sole. Then pin the heel back to the sole. The heel back should overlap the shoe top a little on each side. Sew using a regular 1/4 inch seam.
Test the fit on your child's foot. If it's a little big, just sew around it again with a little wider seam. Trim close to the seam without cutting it.

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Using a tiny safety pin, thread the elastic through the casing on the outside of the shoe making sure to go through the loop on the shoe top. Tie the elastic in a knot at whatever length gives a snug fit around the ankle. I ended up with about 3-ish inches. Shove the knot into the casing to hide it.
Turn right side out.... and.... Ta Da!

Photo 1 - 2011-03-30
If your baby is infatuated with little birds, stitch some creepy cute red birds on the shoe tops before sewing it all together. 'Now she tells me...' right?!


- Sarah

Readin' Babes Series :: part 4

Readin' babes

After almost two weeks of using our reading word cards, Camsters has shown absolutely no interest in them whatsoever. She won't even look at the cards and usually when we start, will crawl off to do something else. Sigh...

The book has actually warned about this very thing with 12-18 month olds. Apparently at this age they have better things to be learning and doing that sitting for fifteen seconds a day looking at word cards.

So we will be taking a break from our reading series until August when Camsters is 18 months old. Older and wiser right?! If your child is getting in the routine... Keep going strong and we will meet back up with you in August. In the meantime, I will still be reading to Camster daily. Hopefully that will spur some interest.

- Sarah

March 22, 2011

Children of the Gold Rush series :: 1850's photos

Children gold rush series

Click on the images if want a more detailed look-see.
For a few weeks I have been compiling pictures of real California children from the 1850's. Most of the pictures here are from Old Sacramento's archives. These pictures can give is insight to what was popular and common place back then.

1. We know that this child is a boy because he parts his hair on the side rather than down the center. He is also wearing a dress which means that he must not be "breeched", or toilet trained, yet. Love the ringlets kid! I wish I could do that with my hair..
2. From what I understand, this boy is wearing a Russian style shirt. He is also holding onto a poodle dog pull-toy.
3. This child is also wearing a dress like picture 1 and also must be a boy considering how the hair is parted on the side. If you look close, you can see the petticoat peeking out from beneath the toddler dress. The mid-calf length of his dress may indicate that he is now walking.
4. I love the sibling pictures best... You really get a feel for the family. The boy is wearing a French style shirt with his trousers buttoned to them. In the 1850's people used suspenders or buttons to keep their pants up, not belts. The girl is wearing a popular boat-neck style dress with pearls. If you look closely you can see her pantalettes peeking out from under her dress. This photo is also slightly tinted.

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5. Cheer up kid! This girl is also wearing a boat-neck dress that was popular in the 1850's. Her dress has some sort of neat embellishment on the sleeves and bottom hem.
6. It's unclear whether this child is a boy or girl, but it is rare to see a baby's photo that isn't postmortem. Creepy.. I know. But this baby does have it's eyes open.
7. This girl is wearing a matching coat and dress. You can barely see her long sleeves peeking out from under her coat sleeves, but not enough to distinguish any real pattern.
8. I love how this girl brought her dolly. Her and her doll are both wearing fan front dresses with a boat-neck. Her dress is mid-calf with her petticoat? peeking out. She is also wearing shoes with ankle straps. Dolly is wearing an adult length dress complete with a handkerchief and straw sunhat. In this photo the girl's dress is tinted purple and Dolly's dress is tinted pink.

- Sarah

March 21, 2011

Dear Spring,

I'm not accustomed to having so many conversations with a season, but I feel you aren't in tune with my needs.

Can you just get on with it already?! You're kinda letting Winter run the show. You did just come into season yesterday... I understand, but let's get rolling on the sweet bird songs, light sunshine with cool breezes, and happy flower blossoms! I'm getting a little sick of Winter's snow storms, 72 hour rain storms, power outages, and 40-mile an hour winds. This is California for goodness sake!

Sarah (and frankly, everyone else too)

Children of the Gold Rush series :: introduction

Children gold rush series

Would you be bored if I learned ya a bit of history? No? Oh good. 'Cause I'm gunna. Don't worry, it has nothing to do with proper English.

After completing my docent presentation, I started thinking about perhaps doing some sort of walk-by interactive exhibit on the life of children for the park. Every second Saturday of the month Columbia SHP puts on "Gold Rush Days" which opens buildings and exhibits that aren't usually open for the public (gambling, the schoolhouse, sewing, justice court, etc.). The rangers (aka: docent wranglers) have mentioned that if we come up with something new, to bring it to them and they would see if there was a good spot for it.

I'm thinkin'... with all the tourists carting around their kids and babies in strollers, wouldn't someone be interested in this? Hope so.

So, long story short (yeah right), stay tuned for pieces of my (hopefully) interpretive exhibit.

- Sarah

Etsy Picks of the Week VII

It's Monday! (how often do you say that with an exclamation mark?) That means it's time for some picks by yours truly.

For Sweetpea...
duh. A felt camp fire! How cool is that?! Rhetorical question... it IS cool and you know it. Camsters love the electric "fireplace" in her room. Icould see her lovin' this too. Right up until she figures out she can throw the felt logs... Here is Neafus' shop.

and for Me...
a 24k dipped mistletoe necklace. I know I just did jewelry, but Etsy recommended this for me and I have already requested it for Mother's Day. It's an actual piece of mistletoe! Mistletoe is Camster's birth flower. Didn't you know every day of the year has it's own corresponding flower? Look yours up here!
Here is Lu's Boutique.

- Sarah

March 17, 2011

Readin' Babes Series :: part 3

Readin' babes

The Camsters and I started our daily reading regiment today. It was actually pretty easy. Since she is in the 12-18 month old category, we have started with only one set of five word cards three times a day. In a few days I will add another set of five cards to her reading routine.

Day one... So far so good!

In keeping with the book's suggestion, I have made sure none of the words in the set begin with the same letter.
Her first five words are:
(her name)

I hope you all are doing well with your readin' babes!
- Sarah

March 14, 2011

Etsy Picks of the Week VI

Yay! Etsy Picks has been revived! I'm sure you are just as excited as I am, so here we go...

For Sweetpea...
little painted Japanese dolls. They might not be specifically for children, but Camsters is in love with little wooden figures right now. Here is Protean's shop.

and for Me...
an awesome ring spawning another awesome ring. I love the swirly-bobs around it most. Here is Nova of Sweden's shop.

- Sarah

March 13, 2011

12 of 12 :: March 2011

1. The Camster's morning hair-do. No styling necessary.
2. Playing in the toy box.
3. Pizza dough for breadsticks.
4. Dolly parts. I've been watching too much Dexter....

5. Clay marbles from my docent presentation.
6. My two true loves, Ms. Singer and Mr. Serger.
7. Sitting on the doll house instead of playing with the doll house. There's been a lot of fascination lately with where to sit....
8. Snack time!

9. Husband tying knots.
10. Creepy face.
11. Clippings from my mom's camellia bush.
12. Camellia buds.


March 12, 2011

What have I been up to?


Thursday the Camsters and I got new tires put on the car and picked up this cute fabric from Twain Harte Pharmacy while saying hello to our pals...

Creepy cute right? It's called "Wee Woodland" by Moda. I got 2 yards which should be enough for a sleeveless dress for my sweetpea and a skirt for me. We will be so matchy-matchy! See those pattern pieces? I know! I'm actually sewing from a pattern.

Friday I spent crying over incorrect serger tension, then decided to just use the regular ol' sewing machine.

Today (Saturday) I attended a docent meeting where I got my official state park badge, name tag, and a fancy certificate. Then Husband and Camsters came to pick me up and we strolled around Columbia for Gold Rush Days. Now Husband is making some burgers for dinner. Uh... 12 of 12 will be postponed until tomorrow when I have energy. Don't judge me.

March 8, 2011

Patio Oasis

We have a fairly large patio at our apartment. Maybe even bigger than the apartment itself! With winter withering away, I've been thinking of starting a potted garden of sorts. Who doesn't like to be surrounded by greenery, fragrant flowers, buzzing bees, morning sunshine, and afternoon shade?

So far we have:
- very happy pansies
- the newbie camellia bush
- astramerium
- an herb I haven't identified potted with chocolate mint

I would like to add:
- a little Meyer lemon tree (I've looked at Lowes, but they aren't "in season" yet)
- hardy lettuce that isn't bitter
- some sort of super viney squash (not pumpkin)
- a bunch of basil, cilantro, and oregano
- maybe turnips?

As you can see, I want some edible stuff. Not only for the obvious reasons of being able to eat it, but also to be able to teach the Camsters about gardening and where food comes from.

- Sarah

March 7, 2011

Docent Training Presentation

So as I've mentioned before, in order to graduate docent training, we have to give a 5-minute presentation on something specific to the California Gold Rush... hopefully Columbia... and hopefully 1850-1870.

I chose to do my presentation on "the children of Columbia" since close to nothing is mentioned of them. Well, we know there had to be children here because there was a two-story brick schoolhouse built for them in 1860. There are children's graves in the cemetery. There must have been children in Columbia! So why don't we hear about them in books about the Gold Rush?

Well, it was a "man's world". Plain and simple. A google search for children in the Gold Rush came up with squat, but my research in the Columbia archives came up with a few things of interest.

I like to think of the Dagner family as the "First Family" of Columbia. William Dagner was a well trusted and respected Wells Fargo agent and lived with his Prussian wife and 4 children. Unfortunately, their 3 younger children died of scarlet fever within 2 days in January 1863. William Jr. was 4 years old, Emma 2 1/2, and Paul was 11 months old. Hattie their eldest died a few years later of diabetes at 14 years old. What a blow that would have been.

While looking through the schoolhouse archives, I found a few interesting photos. The first is of the class in 1890(?). Only one child and the teacher is named. Julie Conlin (teacher) was one of the sisters of Tom Conlin. Tom was the last of three Wells Fargo agents on Columbia. In the picture most of the children aren't wearing any shoes.
Next is some-sort of newspaper clipping with the photo and names of all the children who attended Columbia school in 1880(?) and 1891. It was so neat to have all the names for a change and gave me a decent list of last names to look for while researching families.
Lastly, I found a picture of a family posing for a photo in "the garden and stable behind the Fallon House" in 1880(?). I thought this was particularly interesting because there are three children of different ages in this photo and the boy on the far right is sitting on a rocking horse. A rocking horse! I haven't seen any photos of American children with rocking horses.

I wanted to find some lesser known toys that were popular in 1850-1870. The toy I found was clay marbles. Glass marbles were being made in Italy in the early 1800's, but weren't largely produced until the late 1890's. Clay marbles began being produced in large quantities around 1870. The clay marbles in my presentation are probably very similar to the clay marbles Columbia children may have played with since I made them from local clay found in Murphys.

Now I just have to come up with a witty way to end my presentation. Think of a good one for me and *insert here*.

- Sarah

March 1, 2011


First of all, didn't Phil say that Spring would come early? Um... then I ask you Phil, what's with all this snow lately? That's what I thought. Hide in your creepy little groundhog hole. And take those guys that wear the top hats with ya!

So looking through my Google reader (sounds vaguely dirty doesn't it?) this morning, everyone was spending time the last few days thinking about Spring. I don't know about you guys, but screw Spring... I'm looking for Summer! I've got stuff planned starting May. Here's the breakdown:

May: Put together art show at the school with my mom. Dab the sweat off my brow from hanging up 450 kids worth of art in one day. Also, Mother's Day! I think I may join my poi class in the parade. I'm not totally decided on that yet.
June: Summer Arts Camp at Columbia! 3 days being administrator, 1 day teaching painting (wait till you see what I have up my sleeve), and 1 day putting together an art show and eating hot dogs. AND I need to sew a teepee for Camsters and I to hangout in and "administrate".
July: My nieces come up to stay with my parents for a week just for fun. I'm going to teach the older two how to sew. How to sew cool stuff like fancy pants, and skirts, and clutches, and creepy dolls.

So move over Spring! Summer and I have plans.

- Sarah

I'm going to throw a party...

For the last two months Camsters has been calling me "Daddy". Sigh... It really started the first time we were away from each other for over five hours. I went to my first docent class and Camsters stayed home with Dad. As soon as I came home I was no longer "Mama"... its kind of sad really. It's not that she doesn't know what she's saying. She has almost made a game out of it. Sigh... My family has a running joke that Husband drilled the word "Daddy" into her brain for the whole five hours I am gone on Saturdays. It's probably true.

So Camsters and I had a long conversation about the rewards of calling me by my proper name. I let her know that by simply calling me "Mama", I would make her a cake, make little party hats, we would go out for dinner, the works baby!

She must still be thinking it over.... Sigh...

- Sarah