Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Very First Craft Show - EVER!

I am very excited to be selling my knitted bonnets at the Maternal Creations Craft Fair on Friday and Sunday (Saturday is the Vancouver Waldorf Christmas Fair and we just can't miss that!). This is the poster for the Craft Show:

Right now I am printing up tags that need handwritten details of each piece. And prices... I am so bad at pricing things. I like knitting and have a hard time charging for it. This experience will have its own learning curve, I guess. It will also be very strange to be sitting in one spot for more than a few minutes without a small child asking for something. I get to knit for hours on end - such fun! It will all be worth it just for that. I wish I had more variety of things to sell, but I lost my momentum once pregnant. I have so many ideas - just a lack of time. And now there are baby things to make. Diapers, carriers, blankets... We'll see where these craft shows lead me...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just For Fun

I saw this meme on the Nature Moms blog and couldn't resist. It made me giggle.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Minka Ford

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Caramel Ginger

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Pink Kitty

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, hospital where you were born)
Leigh Grace

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)


7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Turquoise W(h)ine(r)

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Gordon Franz

9.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names)
Ann Ferdinand

10. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
McDonald Maine

11. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Autumn Violet

12. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Strawberry Pjammy

13. HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Toasted Cherry Blossom

14. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Knitted Thunder Tour

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pain & Prettys

I had surgery yesterday. If you read my meme a little while ago, you'd know that I had jaw surgery about 12 years ago. They put 4 titanium screws in my jaw. About 5 years ago, one of the screws started making its way out of the bone and polked through the skin inside my mouth. Over the last five years it has pushed farther and farther to the point where it became wiggly - like a loose tooth. It had to be removed. So I went back to the surgeon who did my original surgery and with only local anesthetic, he cut the gum and pulled the screw out of my jaw bone. Without all the gory details, I'll only say that the local anesthetic didn't work and I felt everything. I have two stitches, a very swollen face and a screw. Here is the screw - it is about an inch long:

I was crashed on the couch feeling very sorry for myself, when a very obnoxious UPS guys banged on the door more than necessary. He delivered a package from my mom - good timing! She gifed me a collection of very beautiful vintage hankies.

I am loving these hankies. But now I have to decide what to do with them. I thought I could make something pretty, like a skirt for my daughter. I did just buy a serger a few days ago that I have yet to crack open. But I think I am going to use them. Yes, use the hankies as hankies are supposed to be used - to blow your nose. For many years now I have given up my addiction to paper towels and we only use rags. Hankies would be a next step, since we are also planning on cloth diapers and wipes for the new baby (hence the purchase of the serger). I just don't think I could ever go so far as to have cloth wipes for the bigger people instead of toilet paper. Maybe in the very crunchy future...but not now. And I promise not to offer a hankie to you - unless you really want to try....

Monday, September 17, 2007

PURPLE SOUP and other foood stories...

I never intended to make purple soup. It was an accident. I intended to make Corn Chowder - a typically "white" soup. I wanted to use up some of the vegetables that have been sitting around my fridge from the UBC - CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that we get weekly. Corn, nugget potatoes, patty pans, and carrots. The carrots are to blame - they were purple carrots. Corn, potatoes and zucchinis are pretty "white", so why didn't I think about what would happen if I added carrots? I dye things. I should know this. Here is the soup:

It may look funny, but it tasted soooo good. Half a bottle of whipping cream will do that.

Another funny food story. My dear Miss B has never experienced conventional (i.e. non-organic) breakfast cereals. We don't eat much cereal in this house, but when we do it is of the granola type. But, being pregnant I craved rice crispy squares. So off we went to the conventional grocery store to buy Rice Crispies and marshmallows. We made the gooey delicious treats and ate them all (over a few days, mind you). There happened to be about a 1/4 of the box left (I like my squares really marshmallowy) so I decided to have them for breakfast yesterday. I surprised Miss B with the magical sounds of the "Snap Crackle Pop". She was amazed so I offered her a taste by putting a large spoon full in front of her mouth. She proceeded to BLOW all of the contents of the spoon on to the table and floor. I screamed - in shock and fury. What are you doing????? She looked at me with a confused face and said "But they are hot!". Oh. My. Goodness. Miss B took the sounds of the milk on the cereal as being a boiling sound - she really thought the cereal was piping hot! At that point we all cracked up. Only an organic family can have a situation like this...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I realized today that it has been almost 2 months since I last posted. It seems like 2 days. I really don't remember the last three months. Why, you ask? I am pregnant and have been so incredibly sick. Not pukey. Just sea sick, all day. Tired. Cranky. Brain dead. I really don't remember what we did for the month of July. No memories at all. If I could just be a mother hen and sit on the couch all day I would be a happy camper. Supposedly this will all end in a week or so when the first trimester is over. Today is a really bad day, can you tell?

I haven't been knitting much. A bonnet here and there. Started some socks for Miss B. I am even too tired to knit. I never thought I'd say that.

I need to start spinning again. I have 4, 1.5 pound bags of grey corridale roving hanging out in my bedroom. They stared out as stinky fleeces from a farmer friend in the Okanagan. I sent them to the Island to be processed by a woman who has the proper machinery. We made our summer traveling go in the direction of the wool. Luckily, she saved the carding for when we arrived. We got to see the 19th centrury machine do it's thing. It was so beautiful to see the lumpy wool go in and come out in slinky roving. Here are some pictures:

I would love to do this job one day. Play with fibre all day long. Wash it, dry it, card it. So simple, but so satisfying. I didn't want to leave her workshop. It was so much fun. Thanks, Anna!

Other news - I got into Ravelry! I haven't waited that long, but that is probably because I signed up early. It seems like a great concept, but I need to explore it more. I have trouble posting here!

No back-to-school for us. We are homeschooling. Once I feel better I hope to get more of a routine going. More projects. More posting. More creativity. It is coming....

Monday, July 09, 2007

Catch up - and chickens...

I keep forgetting to blog. I get so absorbed reading other blogs, and I run out of time to write on my own. A lot of the time I feel so in awe of the creative people out there and their endless amazing projects. My random projects seem so small - should I bother posting about them? But I will! I have to upload the photos to the computer more - I tend to leave there there for awhile. I was also reading in the Artist's Way that people who edit themselves when they write (or type, I guess) will also limit themselves in their creativity. It sounded alot like me. I never kept journals because what I wrote was never "perfect". I'd think too much about what I was writing in case someone read it. My brain also tends to go about a million miles ahead of my hands. Typing is better than writing, though. I just need to let the ideas flow...

So I thought I'd tell you all about our chickens. Well, not our chickens - but UBC Farm's chickens. Miss B and I are volunteering our time once a week as Chicken Friends. Our job is to feed and water the ladies, as well as collect, sterilize and package the eggs for UBC's Farm Market. It is so much fun - a touch of the country in the middle of the city! The air is so fresh there!

I fell in love with chickens last year at my mom's house in California. That summer my mom let us pick out three chicks to replace a few that had been "taken" by an unknown animal. We picked a white one, a red one and a brown one - Princess, Twink, and Chocolate respectively. We held them and snuggled them. This is what they looked like back then:

Over our three week visit we watched them lose their fuzz and start to grow feathers. They morphed into gawky teenagers:

This summer we saw them again. They are beautiful birds. Princess is still the meany that she was when she was a baby. She always pushes the others around to get the best food first. Twink is super snuggly - she'll sit on your lap. Oma always gives Chocolate the most treats, so she is a bit bigger than the rest. They follow my mom around the garden as she works and they get all the worms that she digs up. They remember the area where their cage was kept when they were small and they always come back to that spot on the balcony to rest. They are such smart birds - it makes me wonder why I eat chicken. I miss them.

To get our chicken fix at home we do our chicken duty. The birds follow us around as we fill their feeders. They watch us collect their eggs - always with full commentary. They love to be patted and don't mind if you pick them up. Miss B snuggles them and brings them fresh grass from outside the pen.

I have never volunteered my time before. This has been such a great experience for me and my B. And it is great to know that the eggs we buy every second week are from really happy birds.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I took a break. I didn't mean to, I just forgot to blog for awhile. Now I am back and I pledge to blog more often.

I was tagged by cosy! I find this so funny because I just sat down to renew my blogness with inspiration from another of cosy's posts. So I'll do both!

Seven random things about me:

1. I started out my university degree with a major in English. When I started my first year at Mt. A they required all students to have a quick look at all the faculties. One of my stops was at an introduction to Art History. Art History? I never knew that a person could legitimately study art at university. I fell in love and never looked back.

2. I can't eat green, lime flavoured candies. When I was 5, I stole the bottle of Flintstone vitamins and dealt them out to my brother and the neighbourhood kids. I ate all the green ones. We were taken to the hospital. To this day, "green" candies turn my stomach.

3. I can't do somersaults. Not at all. Never have, and never will. But I can do cartwheels.

4. I am an Austrian citizen. I speak basic German.

5. I wanted to grow up to be a veterinarian. I even worked at an animal hospital when I was in high school.

6. I am still friends with one of my friends from Elementary School. We met in Grade 3. We have the same birthday. We have been friends for over 20 years! And for those who don't believe in astrology - she and I both have daughters, born 6 weeks apart.

7. I have had 4 sets of braces. The first ones at age 9 to pull back my Bugs Bunny front teeth. The second set were right after the first and the straighted up everything else. The third set was just after high school to realign everything in preparation for jaw surgery. The last set was last year. My front teeth were starting to move and I didn't want to end up like Bugs again!

And now for the second list:

Bold the things you have ever knit
Italics the ones you plan to do sometime
Leave the rest

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn

Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down

Knitting with silk

Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL

Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fibre yarn
Domino Knitting (modular knitting)

Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn

Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn

Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn

Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments

Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publish a knitting book

Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding

Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting

Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads

Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed Toys

Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Phew...that is a long list.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Moving Forward

I quit my job! It feels so good to finally be done with a job that was not my true calling. What did I do, you ask? I was doing food photography for a local organic grocery store. I had done wedding photography a long time ago, and some artwork photography at my pre-baby job. The food photography came up at a time when we were consolidating debt and it was a great opportunity to make some extra money to pay off the debt. I have been doing it for two years now. Over those two years I have fallen in love with fibre arts. I could spend all my days with wool and fabric; sewing, knitting and spinning. It started small at first - I picked up knitting. Then I learned how to spin and dye. Sewing has always been a favorite (I won an award for it in high school, but I never took the hint and pursued fibre arts as a career). I have been collecting stuffed sheep from long before I knew how to knit - I always knew it was in my destiny to care for some of the darling animals. So now it is time to move forward. I am so happy to take the W out of WAHM and be a true SAHM or can I amend it to be AAHM (Artist At Home Mom). I can be creative and not worry about guidelines. Yay!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Secret Santa Project

Last Christmas I participated in the CanSpin Secret Santa exchange. I have never done one before and I found it to be lots of fun. My Santa sent me a box full of samples of different kinds of fibres. I finally got the nerve up to spin them on the weekend. Each fibre was unique to spin.

First I spun up the Navaho Churro roving. Donkey, non? I thought I'd take a risk on the weirdest one. It is the first time I have spun a naturally dark fibre. It was a dream to spin. Soft, too.

The Llama was in a batt - not combed or washed. I found it frustrating at first because my fingers were turning black from the dirt and there were tones of earthly matter attached. Some of the hay fell out as I spun, some fell out when I washed it and I picked out as much as I could when I balled it up. My carpet looked like a barn. The fibres pulled from all directions when I was spinning so the yarn ended up with lots of slubs. I loved the final product, though. Once washed, the caramel colours showed through and it is incredibly soft. See photo:

Next I did the soy and mulberry silks. Not my favorite. They are slippery and shiny. Once washed, they were stiff. They feel very "plant-y" - like linen. I think I will stick to animals.

I saved the best for last - tiny bags of cashmere and baby camel down rovings. Both were not that easy to spin, but felt so soft to the touch. The cashmere is is warm grey colour and the camel is, well, camel coloured.

One last bag of goodies - green cotton. It scared me. I remembered from my spinning class that cotton has a very short staple (short fibres) so it makes it very difficult to spin. It was. It kept falling apart. So I gave up on it and have saved it for another project - maybe stuffing?

Well, now all of these fibres are spun, washed, dried and balled. Ready for a project. I am thinking that a scarf would be fun. All the fibres to show and tell.

Thank you, Santa, wherever you are!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Coffee & Wine

Well, grapes, really.

We have been making smoothies for breakfast lately. We used up all the blueberries in our freezer, but found some frozen concord grapes hiding underneath them. They reminded me of the organic concord grape popsicles that stain B's teeth and tongue. So why not wool? I boiled up the grapes and smashed them to smithereens. I soaked only half the skein in the pot. I really like the purple! The other colour came from coffee. I was hoping for a darker chocolate brown, but this caramel colour is nice too. So many non-toxic things to dye with! I must find more....

This skein of mohair soaked in the leftover grape juice and turned a very light shade of lilac. Very pretty.

Friday, March 09, 2007


I did some experimenting last night. I had spun and plyed the wool last week and had it sitting around, waiting for inspiration. The beets I cooked for dinner left a beautiful red soup that called for wool. I added some vinegar. I added the wool. And this is what appeared. The top skein was natural. The bottom skein was light green (previously dyed with kool-aid, but not all that attractive). I like the results, but I thought the colours would be brighter. I envisioned reds and purples, not peach. I'll have to do some research to find out what else needs to be added to the mix.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My Knitting Bag

I love my knitting bag. It is an ancient doctor's bag. My Oma gave it to my a long time ago. It is in such good condition. It had been in storage - i was saving it for something special. I have slowly realized that there is no time like today. Carpe Diem. Why hide it away. it must be used. And since it holds itself open, it makes a great knitting bag. What do you use to carry your projects around?

An actual WIP

I took this photo at B's class last week. I have started my third pair of socks! I love the two-up pattern from knitty. I like that the toe and the heel look like real socks. The heal flap that I have seen on other socks looks so "home-made". Too clunky. This pattern taught me how to do short rows. It was tricky at first, but now, at the third pair I have finally got the hang of it and I don't have holes at the joins. I really like the colour-way of this wool, but I was hoping that the stripes would be thicker, like at the toe. I must dye my own! It has to be cheaper too. $12 per sock. It seems obscene to pay that much for one sock - plus all the work.

Birthday Kitten

In trying to be a "good" natural parent I decided to make B's 4th birthday present. She has been begging for a real white kitten so I thought I'd make her a knit one. I started just after Christmas so that I'd have lots of time to make the kitten and a whole wardrobe of clothes. You see, she does not like dolls, but she loves animals. I thought that if I made clothes for it she might get the idea of taking care of a "baby". The kitten pattern came from this book. The pattern is for a mouse, but I modified the ears to make it a cat. Some of the clothes came from there (although those clothes didn't fit as well as the ones I made from these patterns). I was so happy knitting all of these cute miniature clothes. It was great to use up all sorts of small balls of hand spun and hand dyed wool. Here are some of the clothes:

Well, after all the hard work and love put into the gift - she didn't like it. She liked the clothes, and she uses them on all her other animals. But she doesn't like the kitten. It broke my heart. I ended up putting the kitten away with the beautiful Waldorf Doll I made her for her 1st birthday. Maybe she'll ask for it one day. Maybe she won't and it will be there for another child who will love it as much as I do. At least the clothes are getting used. Right?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


My new addiction (knit-wise) is baby bonnets. They are quick easy knits - something I need when I am knitting outside with constant interruptions from inquiring minds. I am hoping to knit enough that I can sell them on etsy when I eventually get a store up and running. I knit the first one with a badly dyed yarn (from the dye class). It was supposed to be rainbow, but the colour red didn't show up except for a few very light pinky/peachy spots. UGLY, but perfect for trying out a new pattern. The trial worked out so I decided to over-dye the whole thing with blue, hoping that the pinks would turn purple. Yes, I know I should be more scientific about dyeing, but I am a wing-it kind of gal. The Blues got bluer and the yellows turned green. The pinks disappeared. A very cute baby boy bonnet indeed. Before and after shots are below.

Fingerless Mitts DO NOT WORK!

I was always skeptical of fingerless mittens. How could they keep your whole hand warm if your fingers were not covered? Then I read a few blogs where the people swore that fingerless mitts kept your hands warm enough that the fingers stayed warm too. I have been knitting outside a lot at B's Waldorf class because she hates playing outside there (She claims that it is too boring because it has no swings and will only play outside if I am outside too). But my hands get cold. I have long skinny fingers as shown in this photo. There may be mild winters here in Vancouver, but my skinny fingers turn purple very easily. Anyway, I though that fingerless mitts would be the answer. I found a cute pattern. I attempted and loved my first cables. The colours are gorgeous! BUT THEY DON'T WORK! My finger nails still turn purple. So much for knitting outside. Thank goodness Spring is almost here.

Long Lost Chickens

I knit these chickens about a year ago. B's Waldorf Parent & Tot class had them. When I realized how simple they were - just a knit square - I had to make some. I had some hand-spun wool from my spinning class that I took to my dye class. Well, the colours were odd and the balls were small, so the odd balls became the chickens. Notice the playsilk?


I had my hair cut. A lot of it. I am actually very happy. It was so long and heavy and I had it tied up all the time anyway. I asked the guy to make sure to keep it long enough to make small pony tails. His logic was that if you are going to put it up, you might as well cut it off. So I did.

I asked the hair-guy to keep all the hair. It is a big pile that I hope to spin. Yes, I know it will have a rope-like texture. But I have heard many a story of spinners spinning hair. Now I need to figure out if I have to comb it or if I can just grab pieces and go for it. Maybe it should be mixed with some wool to hold it together. But I don't have a drum carder. Oh well, I'll just have to jump in and try it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

One more (almost) Christmas thing...

I wanted to dye some playsilks for B for Christmas. I ordered them from Dharma Trading and had them sent to my mom's house in California so she could bring them with her when she visited us in early December. Well, they missed her by a day and so she couldn't mail them to us until she got home a week later. Then hit the Christmas mail rush and they didn't show up until long after Christmas. So I thought it would be a fun project for B and me to dye them together. She picked out the colours (kool-aid) and I dyed them. We did one for each colour of the rainbow. Some of them turned out a bit blotchy - but it was a first try so I think they turned out great. She uses them for so many things - blankets, costumes, landscapes. Playsilks are a great thing!

We also tried making an enormous rainbow striped silk - but the colours turned out faded in areas and concentrated in others. I wasn't impressed with how it turned out- but she still likes it. I can't figure out how to dye such a large piece of silk in stripes. I must try again some day when I have an outdoor space to splatter with dye.

Another Christmas Present

This I made for a dear friend who is a scarf addict. The end bits are hand spun and dyed. The rest of the scarf is some ancient pink mohair (doubled). The flower on the end is kool-aid dyed and needle felted. Very cute, I think. I hope it is keeping you warm in that big blanket of snow Jennifer!

B's Christmas Present

B picked out this yarn so long ago and I finally got down to making the slippers for her for Christmas. They were a big hit. The pattern is the same as the mini felted ones I made for my niece. I was surprised how thick they ended up. They are a bit big, but the ribbon can pull tight to keep the slippers on. One of her teachers thinks that they look like pink porcupines.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My First Art Yarn

For Christmas my mom bought me this:
I first heard about Lexi at my spinning class. My very traditional teacher used her as an example of the many possibilities of what you can create with a spinning wheel. But she wouldn't show us the techniques - too strange for her tastes. Pluckyfluff had a place in the back of my mind until my last visit with my mom who lives in Placerville, CA. I visited the local yarn shop in search of some parts for my spinning wheel. I saw the book and it reminded me of the reference in my spinning class a few months before. The women working in the shop noticed me looking at the book and told me that Pluckyfluff lived down the street. Excuse me?!?!? The enigma of a spinner lived in Placerville? She also told me her family owned the winery on the hill. I knew the winery so I hopped in my car and went into the tasting room. No one there knew where she was so I left a message. I got in contact with her later that day and made an date to see her spin. I was so excited to learn all about the rouge ideas that my teacher dismissed. When I met her I was shocked - she is the same age as me, and has two kids - a daughter the same age as mine! I watched her spin some sushi yarn and was totally inspired. I could do this! So, my mom got me the book - and even had her sign it (how embarrassing - but sweet). And this is my first attempt at art yarn:

It has coils and wrapped-up knots and stick-out squiggly things. It is soooo against all I learned in my first class, but I loved it! I can't wait to knit something out of it to see how it looks in action. Lexi also made me think about some of the first spun yarn I made on my own wheel at home (I had put all the bad spins in a bag to use as stuffing for animals or something). She talks about how no yarn is bad. Everything is unique and beautiful. Every bump and lump is meant to be. It is hard to remember this when you are first taught to spin straight and narrow. So I untangled some of the crappy stuff and it really is great! It has character. Thanks Lexi! I really appreciate your work and how it has changed my view on "craft". I'll have to look you up again when I come to Placerville this summer. Happy spinning!

Tiger Tales

Another birthday gift. B's friend M loves tigers. So we got him tigers. But tigers need a home so I dyed and wet/needle felted a habitat for them. They needed a pond to drink from and a bit of greens to munch. And of course a cave. I hope they like their new home.

I haven't been all that great at blogging lately. I get too caught up in reading other people's blogs. Other people seem so much more crafty and prolific. So much more interesting. I wish I knew how those other moms do it - two or more kids and they still create so many wonderful things. I really have to just do it. Not worry about what other people think and just type.

I have to go back and photograph the gifts I made for B for Christmas. Right now I am working on a big project for her birthday which is in a few weeks. Photographing it will be tough as I don't want to let the cat out of the bag (literally) before the big day. And she happens to be around all day long when the great sunlight is too. I'll have to set up my lights and dress up the meow. the works in an oolawoola logo. A very talented friend is drawing an amazing logo for me. Maybe that is holding me back. To me the blog doesn't seem official until it has a pretty design up top. Silly, but a mental block is a mental block.