Cyber Monday Giveaway from Ten Finger Workshop


Hi friends! Did you enjoy the rest of your long weekend? Ours was sublime. Lots of lazing about. Watching Miss Red “clean” in a tutu and rain boots. Catching up with friends and projects. Oh, and I wrapped all of the presents I have so far.

Anyhoodle, thanks again to Enid at Haley Studio for her Black Friday Giveaway. Using, it was decided that Lorraine is the winner (I removed her multiple comments to make it only one entry). She said that she’d make these mitts with her yarn. Congrats, Lorraine, we will be in touch!

So maybe some of you are participating in Cyber Monday. See, work is about fulfillment, doing good, and the internet.

Are you ready for the next giveaway? It’s a set of teeny tiny clothespin people from Lily Hoyer-Winfield of Ten Finger Workshop. This crafty mama of three boys knits, sews, crafts, frames, cooks and runs a homestead like none other. I adore Lily. She has such a great sense of humor and is so giving of her time, energy and smiles.

Miss Red playing with a few of her favorite Ten Finger Workshop toys

I’ve also been lucky enough to custom-order some of her little people, which Miss Red fondly calls “toy mama” or “toy dada,” etc. They are heirloom pieces. Lily was also kind enough to make a set for ALW and NVC for their joint baby shower this summer. Look! It’s their families!

Nesting families by Ten Finger Workshop

Really, I could spend an hour talking about Lily and how great she is. Which is why I’m so pleased she offered a giveaway for you, dear readers.

Here’s what’s up for grabs:

Clothes pin people from Ten Finger Workshop

Here’s how to enter:

1. Visit Ten Finger Workshop and “Like” it.
2. Comment below on how you would use your teeny tiny clothespin people.

That’s it! Easy peasy!

On her page she has a number of her projects. Consider purchasing an item or placing a custom order. Or, looking for a guitar? Her husband, Todd Cambio, is a supreme guitar maker. Check out his page, too.

The giveaway closes Thursday, December 1 at 8 a.m. CST. One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using and announced on Thursday evening, when the next giveaway #3 will be posted.

Good luck!

– MD

Black Friday Giveaway from Haley Studio

UPDATE: This is now closed. – MD

Welcome! I hope everyone had a nice holiday. We had Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s, and folks, it was off the hook. This year she decided to theme it foodwise with Indian food. Imagine homemade naan, palaak paneer, daal, tandoori turkey, in addition to salad, mashed potatoes, chutneys and curries. Off. The. Hook.

But you’re here for the first giveaway! I am pleased to announce that Giveaway #1 is from crafty mama Enid Williams of Haley Studio. Enid specializes in handspun yarn and crafts. She is offering one lucky winner living in the US handspun yarn of your choice – light, dark, natural or bright – valued at $20.

Handspun yarn from Haley Studio

Here’s how to enter:

1. Visit Haley Studio’s Facebook page and “Like” it.
2. Visit her Etsy shop and decide which color of handspun yarn you fancy. If you are a member of Etsy, add her shop to your “favorites.”
3. If you are on Twitter, follow her stream.
3. Comment below on which handspun yarn you’d like, and for fun, let us know what you’d like to make with the yarn.

The giveaway closes Monday, November 28 at 8 a.m. CST. One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using and announced on Monday evening, when the next giveaway #2 will be posted.

Good luck!

– MD

Black Friday Giveaway, Local Style

I’m venturing into a new world and I’m doing a giveaway. On Black Friday.

I guarantee that you won’t find me at any stores on Black Friday. I find the whole thing creepy – people sacrificing valuable sleep for “deals” in a society flush with coupons and an abundance of televisions. Shudder.

I took a self-pledge years ago to shop locally and support artists as much as possible. So I asked a few friends if they would be interested in participating in my first giveaway, and I’m happy to share I will have giveaways from four creative mamas, just in time for the holidays, starting on Black Friday.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Upcycled knit hats from fellow blogger EC. Miss Red wore them everywhere the first year of her life and I buy one each time a friend has a baby. They are completely unique and awesome. The photo below is an example, and two she is providing will be different.

Upcycled Knit Hats by Ellen Carlson

Hand-spun yarn from Madison mama and crafter Enid Williams, who operates Haley Studio on Etsy. She will give away her choice of hand-spun yarn.

Hand-spun yarn from Haley Studio

From another Madison mama and homesteader Lily Hoyer-Winfield of Ten Finger Workshop comes two sets of clothes pin dolls. Believe me, you want them. I’ve custom-ordered wooden dolls from Lily and they are heirloom items and well-loved in our house.

Clothes Pin People by Ten Finger Workshop

And last, but not least, comes an awesome tote ALL THE WAY FROM NEW YORK CITY! Artist, musician, poet and mama Summer Pierre is providing a cheesecake tote. What a sweet gift for you or a loved one! Might I add that Summer’s post about giving birth in the backseat of a taxi remains THE most read post on this blog ever? Did I also mention that Summer has published two books, has an awesome blog, and is just plain inspiring? Yeah, that.

Cheesecake Tote by Summer Pierre

Are you excited yet? I’m excited for you. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Click on all of those links and check these people out. Like their Facebook pages, subscribe to their feeds, favorite them, be a good egg. While you’re at it, go ahead and add me to your Google reader or subscribe via email or RSS via those buttons on the upper right-hand corner.

2. Tell your friends.

3. Come back on Friday, where I’ll post the first giveaway and the simple rules. All giveaways will be to you by the holidays.

– MD

p.s. Aren’t I the luckiest gal around? I thought about doing this, asked my friends, and they said yes.

My Best Friend Had a Baby

My best friend had a baby. It’s her second, a boy. A boy! Her first child, a daughter, came within a year of Miss Red. We shared stories of pregnancy, infancy and everything in between.

My best friend had a baby, and we are hundreds of miles apart. We work diligently to see one another at least twice a year, but at this moment my heart aches to be with her, sitting in the hospital, holding her new son and laughing at the ridiculousness a body goes through after labor and delivery.

{The video above was taken when Miss Red was about a year and a half. I had her parrot my best friend’s family’s names.}

My best friend had a baby, and for some reason her having a son makes her seem much older, more grown up, more mature. She has a family of four now, a girl and a boy, and her family seems so complete. She’s a mother to more than one child, and to me, that seems different than having one child. I can’t explain it, but I am in awe of her.

My best friend had a baby, and we’ve done our best to catch one another as we can, texting and leaving messages. The text messages we sent to one another leading up to her labor were priceless and for our eyes only – snippets of jokes about body parts and humiliating occurrences.

My best friend had a baby, and I can’t wait to hold him, to hug her daughter, and to laugh and cry with her in person.

– MD

Hurt Feelings

Around Chez D-H, we’re pretty comfortable with our feelings. My husband and I talk a lot, talk openly, and have a nice balance of silly conversations with “ohmygodthishurtsmyheadandheart” conversations. I’d like to think that we’re that way with Miss Red, too.

But how do you talk to your kids about hurt feelings? With Miss Red now in preschool, she is sometimes coming home talking about people who were not nice to her. How do we help her work through the minor offenses and the genuine assholes in the world?

What do you suggest?

– MD

The Good Traveler

We are blessed with a good traveler. A good airplane traveler, that is. Car trips are another issue, but since we now use a portable DVD player during longer drives, Miss Red tolerates them.

At 8 months, first plane trip.

As some of you may recall, we went to Okinawa, Japan in April, with our then 2.5 year-old, and she was amazing. I mean, really truly great. She went with the flow and had a lot of fun exploring.

How we survived 15 hours of plane travel with a child who didn’t sleep.

We’re back from Galveston, and I keep thinking about how well she did on the plane. Strangers would stop me and tell me what a good traveler she was. A man offered to carry a bag for me up the jet bridge so I could untangle her gate-checked stroller. She was given plastic wings on one leg of the flight and said after I pinned them to her fleece, “This means I’m a good traveler.”

She really, truly is. She talks about taking trips. She wants to go to China next, she says. She wants to go to Orangeland and Greenland. She wants to see the ocean again.


I love this. I love that she can think of places real or imagined and decide it’s worthy of getting on a plane for. I only hope we can take her there.

Where do you hope to take your kids one day?

– MD

The Cousins

My intentions for posting daily for NaBloPoMo were true, really they were. I even posted from the road while traveling for work, but last Thursday we three hopped on a plane for Galveston, Texas, and I barely checked my email or opened the laptop, so alas, I lapsed.

We went to Galveston for a lovely wedding. It was my first time there, with my previous Texas experiences limited to San Antonio, where my mother is from, and Austin.

Our little family really enjoys spending time with my mother-in-law’s family. This might sound like a given for some people, but I come from a complicated and fractured family myself – some people aren’t talking to one another on one side, I’m not talking to others on another side – and in some cases, people can’t even remember why they aren’t talking anymore. I grew up with a cousin only three months younger and for much of our lives we were attached at the hip, and to this day retain a close bond. I have been close to other family members over the years, but time or distance have pulled us apart, so to have family that actually likes spending time together is a joy.

This gaggle of relatives stem from my mother-in-law and her three siblings. Their offspring and the people who have  married in and their children are all called The Cousins. I get to be a Cousin, and we range in age from 22 to 38. We live in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, New York, Texas, Wisconsin and Japan, and when we get together, it’s a veritable United Nations meeting – with representatives from Scotland and Russia, too.

My favorite moments were the ones where Miss Red and her Arizona cousins played – coloring, twirling, dancing, laughing, and running.

At our final lunch together we started looking at calendars for our next family reunion. A time when The Cousins can frolic again.

What are you favorite family memories?

– MD

Creating Memory

This year many of our friends were pregnant, including Miss Red’s former daycare provider, so talking about babies was an all-the-time occurrence. She’d ask if babies were in everyone’s tummy and share information about if they were a boy or girl.

We started talking about when she was in my body, and out of nowhere she said, “and then I jumped!” Which is quite funny, since she wasn’t much of a jumper, more like a slow-moving deep sea creature.

Even now, at dinner, she’ll talk about how she was in my body and that I worked hard to get her out. During a car ride Ray LaMontagne came on the radio, and I told her that we played his music while in labor. “And then I jumped!”

How do you share your pregnancy stories with your kids? Do they share an interest in them?

– MD


When I Grow Up

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Me? I wanted to be an archeologist, mostly because I loved rocks.

Photo by EC

Somewhere along the way I changed my mind to psychologist, then academic. Then I found myself in communications, where I happily remain.

Do you talk about careers or work with you children? Do you have dreams of what they might be when they grow up?

– MD

Parts of Me

Part two of my awesome car trip with EC and RC was the drive home, where we dove into meatier topics. Not on purpose, but as part of a flow of good friends in a car for more than three hours and the conversations that emerge. We talked openly about our parents and how our experiences as children, combined with our parents’ parenting has molded our parenting and the anxieties or habits we work with.

I confided that I spend a good amount of time being concerned that Miss Red will hate me – I know, it drives my husband crazy – but I do. I fear that she’ll never want to be a part of my life, never want to see me again and just turn her back on me. Why? I don’t know.

While sharing this, EC asked me something I had never considered: Think of the good she’ll take from you, and how she’ll love those parts of you.

I had never considered that there might be parts of me my daughter would love. Maybe I’m so caught up in my entire love for her, that I had an “all or nothing” mentality about this emotion – that she would either love me or hate me, and not, what is probably true, that she’ll love parts of me and hate (maybe not) parts of me, too.

Can I share what a relief that was? That that sentence, in the moment, and in retrospect, washed away layers of anxiety? Again, why? I myself have no issues with love. I love myself, I know I’m lovable, I have loving relationships. It’s this seed, this stick, this root, this essence, this unnamed that drives me to the brink of tears when thinking of my daughter.

Hush, little baby.

Honestly, what it comes down to is that I haven’t quite learned to be in the moment with my daughter. I can be present, but if I’m honest, there is that part of me, that clinging, hopeful, needy part that is wrapped up in real and imagined interactions, that cries softly please love me.

– MD

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