Thursday, September 30, 2010

Truckin Right Along

The Little Man
Wow, it seems as though I've been MIA on my blog forever, in reality only a week.  But I'm used to blogging more often than that.  I thought last week was a bit slow!

On Sunday J, X, & I went out of town for a little trip.  (But not before X took the opportunity to run around outside and enjoy the weather!) I had a work conference to attend on Monday and Tuesday and they were lucky enough to accompany me.  I was glad for the company - I hadn't been looking forward to the time by myself in the hotel room.  We went Sunday afternoon and stopped to visit some friends on the way down.  L is expecting a baby in a couple weeks here, I was happy for the chance to see her one more time before Tadpole arrives!  It was nice to catch up with her and X loved "testing" all the toys for the little babe.  In fact, after he learned where the toys were, we had a hard time keeping him nearby.  He kept wanting to go back upstairs to play.  He was kind enough to leave a few toys for the little one to play with first!  Then on Tuesday afternoon the three of us trucked back north.

I thought I would get some good knitting done during this time.  I was wrong. I had the chance to knit on the way down - got 2 rows done on the shawl (yes, this is good progress in 1.5 hours) and.....well...that was it.  We didn't really have time for anything else.  And even though I could have knit on the way home, I had a really stiff neck and wasn't up for the concentration this shawl requires.

I did, however, get more of it done the last couple days.  I'm just over halfway through Chart B now - only 10 more rows, the bind off and blocking and it's finished!  Maybe this will be done by Monday.

Last night I got to work on a custom order for my Etsy shop.  Remember the small KnitBooks?  After finding some coordinating fabric last week, I finally had the chance to do something with it.  I got all the pieces, interfacing and batting cut and half of the KnitBook sewn together.  I probably could have finished more, but I've been so busy lately, with little time for sewing, I had to get reacquainted with my pattern.  I'm itching to finish it tonight, though.

Then I have a few sewing projects to whip up for my last swap package for the Teddy Bear Picnic Swap and I can breathe a little easier.  So, no rest for me yet, but it's good to get a few items checked off my list! :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Favorites

I'm back! Yay!  Seems as though a couple days at home resting and catching up on sleep did my body good.  I'm going to switch it up today on Friday Favorites and share something I truly love.

Has anyone out there in Blogger land heard of Story People?  Created by Brian Andreas, StoryPeople came to life after Brian started taking pieces of wood from old barns and fences, painting them with bright colors and adorning them with little stories.  Established in Decorah, Iowa in 1994 (yay for Iowa!), Story People is an amazing perspective on life and love and memories shared through Brian and various artists.  Some stories pull on your heart strings, while others are just goofy and fun.  The quirky design of the sculptures and prints captivates you (or at least me) in a way not many other kinds of art can. There's a lot I could say about Story People, but instead of going on and on, I'll share a few of my favorite stories and the coordinating prints.  I had a very hard time limiting which stories to share, so I've actually got 12, which I'll share over the course of 3 Fridays (probably not all consecutively).  Believe me, even this was difficult.  :)

I sometimes wake in the early morning &
 listen to the soft breathing of my children
 & I think to myself, this is one thing
 I will never regret &
 I carry that quiet with me all day long. 

Obviously this story appeals to the mother in me, but even before we had X, this story was captivating.  It states so simply, how a child, your own child, can change your life, and your outlook on that life, forever.  I don't know how many times a day, even after he's been crabby or naughty or difficult, that J & I stop, look at X and say, "I love you so much, little man!"  Like I mentioned before, StoryPeople has this way of bringing a new perspective to things and sharing them in a way we can all relate to.  

Her only super powers are that she can
 walk in heels without wobbling & if you
 don't think that's amazing, you've never tried it.  

This is one of those lovingly, silly stories that I love to see.  They are light-hearted and fun.  This story appeals to me because it reminds me of myself.  I've mentioned before how clumsy I am.  Extremely so on some days.  But I love high heels.  And if you can believe it, I think I fall down less in heels than I do barefoot! I definitely think this would be my super power!

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still
 scary because most people think love only
 looks like one thing instead of the whole world. 

This story is a great way to say, "there's more than one way to love." We love our spouses and our children, our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and our family.  We love our friends and our pets.  Each one of those things take a different kind of love.  I think this story also has an underlying theme of tolerance.  Tolerance is something we encounter every day and some of us have a harder time than others. Unfortunately, this story does not come in a print.  So I have no picture to show you.  It can be purchased as a sculpture or on furniture.  I wish they'd make it a print.  I have a mental image of this huge tree, the top engulfed in flames shaped sort of like hearts.  It also reminds me of Fall, when all the trees are changing colors and some trees almost look as though they are on fire.  Love it.  :) 

Don't you hear it? she asked & I shook my
 head no & then she started to dance & 
suddenly there was music everywhere & it went on
 for a very long time & when I finally found the words
 all I could say was thank you.

When I graduated from college, I had already accumulated a few StoryPeople prints.  Most from J.  But this one I received from my family (Mom, C, my sister & brother).  Mom & my sister found it, I think (if I remember it correctly).  I was very involved in music through my entire educational career.  I started playing piano when I was 7 (2nd grade) when I took my first piano lessons.  Playing piano is still a love of mine, I'm so happy I had the opportunity to learn.  Although I don't so much anymore, I used to sit down at the piano after a long, difficult day, and just play.  I sang in the choir through middle and high school, going out for musicals and singing in concerts.  In 5th grade I went out for band, starting on the clarinet and then switching to bassoon in 6th grade.  I loved playing the bassoon because it was different and funky.  It set me apart from others and provided a lot of opportunities in the music world (like traveling the world!) I probably wouldn't have had if I had stayed on clarinet.  I continued on bassoon all the way through college, being a member of the Wartburg Wind Ensemble.  In high school I played in the Pit for Marching Band.  Man, I loved marching band, the weekend competitions and being a part of something bigger.  Needless to say, music has been a big part of my life and soothes me in a way that's hard to describe.  I don't think it's necessary then, at this point, to explain why I love this story so much.  I have the sculpture hanging in my living room by all my other StoryPeople prints, where I can see it every day.  

I encourage you all, today, to take a look at these wonderful stories.  There are so many ways to search the site to see what pulls you in.  Sometimes it's fun to just browse, not knowing what you're going to come up with. 

In other quick, quick news...I finished all of Chart A (on the Haruni) last night and am crossing my fingers Chart B going well!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Bug

I've been pretty excited about the progress I'm making on Mom's shawl.  I'm almost completely through the 4th repeat for Chart A and ready to start Chart B.  I was hoping to finish up the last bit of Chart A today.

But it always seems that when I try to "plan" ahead for finishing a WIP, something gets in the way.  Today, it's the stomach flu. :(

X was sick over the weekend, the first time he's really ever had the stomach flu.  It's so hard to watch him not feel good because he doesn't have a clue what's happening or how to prepare himself for it.  And although today was a daycare day, we ended up picking him up because he had several really messy, loose diapers.  He's been coming home "sick" a lot from daycare lately.  Today, though, I understood why they called.  When I went to go pick him up, there were about 3 other parents picking up their kids.  Apparently, the bug is going around. 

So to top it off, I didn't go to work today because I too have the flu.  As my husband puts it, I spent my night praying to the porcelean god.  : \  Most of my morning was spent in bed, with the afternoon laid out on the living room couch.  When hubby came home from work, he too realized he wasn't feeling very well. It's crummy being sick. 

Mom was gracious enough tonight to take X so J & I could take the night to recooperate.  I'm starting to feel a little better, but I don't think I'm over it yet.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.  It has set me back a bit on my knitting, though, as well as my sewing. 

I've got a custom order for Etsy that I'm working on and I was hoping to get that started soon.  I guess it'll have to wait.  So I apologize for really no new updates.  I hope to be back on Friday for Friday Favorites, but I'm not planning on it yet!

Thanks for stopping in and I hope everyone is staying healthy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yarn Cakes

Friday Favorites

I'm back, as promised, for another edition of Friday Favorites! :)  And although unplanned, this week seems to have a children's theme to it! :)

Photos by Lyndsey Deeds
Yes, I know. I featured a horse pattern last week.  But there it is.  Not only does this pattern hold a special place in my heart because it involves horses, but also because it was designed by a good friend of mine, Lyndsey Deeds.  She designed this hat for the Petite Purls Winter 2010 issue.  This is her lovely daughter modeling the hat.  This picture reminds me of me when I was this age.  Long blonde hair, love of horses, yes it's all coming back to me! :) This is one of my favorite "grown-up" patterns for kids, especially girls. The colors Lyndsey chose also drew me in.  The dark and light really create neat contrast with the blue.  And who doesn't love a few tassels on their hat?!

Photo by fastracbabe
Did any of you grow up with Mr. Men and Little Miss characters?  I did.  Someone in our family had a book with Little Miss Contrary, I think it was my grandma's book.  Something about these simple creatures (from the mind of Roger Hargreaves) makes me love them.  With names like Mr. Tickle, Mr. Happy, Little Miss Chatterbox and Little Miss Sunshine, you can't go wrong.  And kids seem to like them.  Again, I did. :)  They were a creature of the '70s and '80s and they hold a bit of nostalgia for some of us. :) Mr. Bump is the best of all.  Maybe because I can relate.  I'm clumsy, I fall a lot, I run into things, I'm always catching a cold, I lack coordination.  And he looks so darn cute always wrapped up in bandages! :)   These patterns are hard to find as most of them were published in old issues of Women's Weekly.  I did recently contact someone who had the patterns and has agreed to send them to me.  I can't wait!

Imagination Book

Photos by claire_teagueuk
I apologize for the dark photos on this one.  I don't have a picture of the specific project from the book so I went on a hunt to find someone who did.  This pattern is called Imagination Book from Amy Butler's book, Little Stitches for Little Ones.  I bought this book after I had X because of this pattern. There were several other patterns I liked, and this is simple enough I could have figured out how to make one on my own, but it just appealed to me so much I had to buy it!  There is something so simple about this child's toy.  A little book of black and white pictures (which are supposed to be good for Baby's brain development) that folds up and fits in it's own little case.  It can only be described as sweet.  And really, the pictures you can choose to use is limitless.  I've yet to make this and X is now 18 months, but it's still on my list.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nap Time

As I mentioned yesterday, I was home today with X since he couldn't be at daycare.  We've had fun today, playing with fridge magnets, going to school to get my picture taken and going with Daddy to the post office.  There was plenty, but not too much, to do.

When X went down for his nap today I took the opportunity to organize and clean up my knitting space (i.e, the kitchen table).  I was torn between working on Mom's shawl and this much needed organization, but finally the need for some order won out.  

I recently got my new ball winder (I think X sat on the old one and broke it) and swift so after I got all the needles, project bags, patterns and yarn put away, I decided to wind some yarn.  My stash is small, but much in need of that above mentioned order! :)  

I got everything set up on the island in the kitchen and got to work.  
See that pile of yarn?  That's just the yarn that's in a hank.  I figured that'd be the easiest place to start since the rest of the yarn is in a ball or "intertwined" skein.  
There's something so satisfying about seeing your stash wound into wonderful yarn cakes. :)  By the end of the day, maybe I'll even have a picture to show you all for all my effort. :) 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Bit Tired

Today took an interesting turn of events right before lunch.  I got a call from X's daycare that he had a fever.  Anything over 100 degrees means he has to be picked up.  They tell me that they take a child's temperature any time they seem to be acting a little differently.  So when he didn't eat breakfast or finish his milk this morning, they decided to check and gradually over the day, his temp went higher. I'm not arguing that he has a fever, but I have to admit that I'm a bit tired of dealing with this issue every few weeks.

Last year when X was in daycare, I swear I got a call at least once every 2 weeks saying I had to pick up X because of a fever (or loose stools in his diaper).  And the policy states that the child can't come back to daycare until they've been fever free for 24 hours.  So that means that either J or I have to take the day off tomorrow to stay home with him.  Again, I don't doubt they've taken his temperature and it was a little high.  What bothers me is that when X teeths, he gets a rash, loose stools, and a fever.  So EVERY time he pushes a tooth, we have to come pick him up at daycare.  It's frustrating because we still have to pay daycare for the time he's NOT there, plus one of us has to take a day off from work.  (X only attends daycare 3 days a week.  This week, he'll only be able to attend at most 1.5 days, but we don't get a refund on that week even though he can't at there according to policy.)

So anyway, it's a bit frustrating.  The good that comes from all this?  I get to have an afternoon at home with my little boy. :)  He usually feels well enough to still play and move about so I get the rare opportunity of spending a weekday with him instead of being at work.

It also means that at naptime, I can get in a little knitting time! :)  Which is really where I was going with this post, but I sort of got sidetracked and felt the need to stand on my soapbox for a minute, apparently.

Mom's Haruni has had a few hiccups.  I had to frog back to a lifeline and reknit.  I did this twice.  Now all is back on track and I'm trucking along, although a bit slower since the shawl is increasing (which, obviously, happens when you continue to add increases to your  I realized a few days ago that a lot of the projects on Raverly are made from sock weight yarn, which I bet gives it a nice weight.  But I really like this lace weight yarn.  And it should be perfect for Mom.  Truly, it will be like a piece of jewelry.  Not too warm to wear with other layers, but just right to wrap around your neck for those cool winter breezes.

So I'm hoping for good progress today.

By the way - I'm sitting here watching SyFy's TV mini-series Alice.  Anyone ever watched this before? So far this is a very "unique" take on the story of Alice in Wonderland.  Yep, unique is the right word...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How We Spent Our Afternoon

Today is hubby's birthday.  I'm not a fancy cook and I don't bake a lot, but sometimes, I manage to sneak it in. :)

X & I enjoyed spending our time this afternoon baking Daddy some brownies.
After helping pour in a few ingredients, X decided a taste test was necessary.  Several times.
Two words.  Chocolate everywhere!  I think it's time to invest in an X sized apron! :)
The brownies were yummy, just a hint of peanut butter combined with chocolate. And powder sugar glazey goodness to top it off. :)
This one's on the list to make again.  And the best part was that Daddy liked it too! :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Favorites

A lot of blogs I'm reading right now have at least one day a week dedicated to a specific topic. Some are about food, some are WIPs, some are just pictures of the day.  I think I'm going to jump on this bandwagon, too.  My plan is to dub Fridays my "Friday Favorites."  I'll share different things I like, want to try myself, or just admire.  At first I was going to restrict this to items I'd really like to knit.  But I thought that was too limiting.  So it will be a combination of lots of things.  Today, though, will be about knits. :)

Pictures by Kate Davies
I really like this sweater. Everything about it is cute, from the pleated sleeves to the simple hood.  I could see my sister in this sweater, it's her kind of cute.  And it'd be great for both cool and warm weather.  The pattern has a cloud pocket on the front, but I prefer it sans pocket.  

Picture by Johanne Landin (Borntoknitblog)

Picture by Boringknitter
Something about this hat grabbed my attention.  I can't put my finger on what exactly, but I immediately liked it.  There are so many things I've never tried, including stranding.  This would be fun to try.  There are several finished hats on Ravelry that I like, including the variegated blue version shown above.  The variegation adds a bit of interest to an already beautiful hat.  

Picture by Frazzledknitter
And how could I leave out on of my very favorite things on Friday Favorites?  I've had a love of horses since I was a very little girl.   This Icelandic pattern was brought to my attention the other day and I love it.  I love the look of this knitter's stranded yoke and the prancing horses.  This one would be a purely selfish knit! :) 

That's all for today's Friday Favorites!  I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak at a few items as much as I did sharing them. :) Remember, come back and visit future Friday Favorites! :) 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just a Taste

It's nowhere near complete, but I figured it was time I finally shared some pictures of my current WIP.  My very patient mother has been waiting for this to be completed since her birthday.  I won't mention when her birthday actually falls (okay - so we didn't have a pattern or yarn picked out until after her birthday, but at this point, that's a moot subject).

I had started this a while back, eager to have the chance to work on a shawl.  This pattern is one I've mentioned several times, called Haruni.  Which in the Elven language means Grandmother. :)  Very fitting. :) Anyway, I started this, but then other things got put higher on the priority list over the summer, and well, I'm finally getting back to it.
Unfortunately, when I picked it back up to work on it more, I had forgotten where I was.  I know I marked on the chart where to start, but I was lost after not working with it for so long.  I frogged it (cringing a bit as I did) and started over.

Progress is good.  I've gotten through Chart A once, and have completed 1 of 4 pattern repeats for Chart A.  I've decided that when I've finished all 4 repeats I'll be about halfway finished.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.
It's hard to pick out the pattern right now, or any subtle color change in this lovely yarn (Madelinetosh Prairie, Baltic) because the shawl isn't finished.  Once it's finished & blocked, the pattern should be pretty noticeable.  Since I'm not used to working with lace weight yarn, I'm crossing my fingers that it turns out like it should.  The needles are so small and the yarn is so fine.  But I love this pattern.  I will make one for myself.  Eventually.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Teddy Bear Picnic 2nd Edition

I guess I was a little more than accurate yesterday when I said my 2nd swap parcel would be arriving soon. :)  I came home from work yesterday to find a box of soon-to-be-opened goodies sitting on my kitchen counter. :)

My lovely swap partner sent some great stuff and little X really enjoyed helping me open and explore all the things inside.
Among the goodies, I found 2 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash in a beautiful blue (which, if you're me, you can never have enough blue),
a sheep keychain and some fun stitch markers (which will definitely get put to good use!),
a family pancake recipe and real maple syrup (YUM!),
a Winnie the Pooh Bear blanket for our picnic and for X to cuddle up with, and a teddy bear kit - complete with his own clothing!

The teddy bear kit comes with a teddy bear body, stuffing and some fun felt coins to put inside next to Teddy's heart.  This teddy had a smiley face, peace sign and BFF coin.  The BFF & peace sign went next to his heart.  I let X help me put the smiley coin in with the stuffing and he placed it next to the bum. :)  So cute! :)   And to complete it all, he had a little gray sweatshirt to put on.  X couldn't stop loving on this bear.  There were lots of hugs and kisses given out yesterday (along w/ a little nose biting) and someone didn't want to share with me so I could grab pictures.
The Pooh Bear blanket is really soft and squishy.  I took it out of the packaging for pictures and to let X have.  It was put on the couch while I was putting together Teddy.  X picked it up and brought it over to me so we could sit together on the couch under his new blankie.   Swap partner - you hit the nail on the head with these things! :)  He also kept rubbing the blanket against his cheek (that's how I showed him how soft it was).
Thank you, thank you for everything, swap pal! :)  It was fun to open and to give to X so he could play. You made him a very happy little boy yesterday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

You've Got Mail

Isn't it funny how those 3 little words instantly trigger a certain memory?  Maybe not for everyone, but for a lot of people, I think that's a pretty true statement.  

I remember our first family computer (Yes, family computer, we all shared.  In fact, my siblings and I had time limits because we fought over whose turn it would be.) Mostly I just played games on it.  Then I remember when we actually got our dial-up modem and we could access the internet!  And that was back when you paid for a certain number of minutes per month online.  Wow, how times have changed.   Now, I don't think most of us would be patient enough to wait for the modem to dial, and some of us might have a difficult time limiting the number of minutes/hours we spend online.  Can you imagine putting that sort of restriction on teenagers now?  They're so tuned in to getting everything instantly whether it be online, email, text message or phone call (although, how many kids actually make phone calls instead of texting?). Although I grew up right about the time all the computer technology was really getting good, sometimes it all makes me feel old (comparatively), especially with how "plugged in" kids now seem to be.  

But I digress.  

The real reason the title statement makes me so happy is because I love receiving mail.  Any kind - snail mail, email, invitations, thank yous, packages, pretty much anything besides bills and spam/junk mail. And speaking of packages....I should be getting one soon in the mail, I think. :)  My swap partner in the Itty Bitty Teddy Bear Picnic swap told me she sent out my package early last week.  :)  I'm not sure where that puts the package after the long holiday weekend here in the US, but it should be coming any day. :)  And although X doesn't know it's coming, I know he'll have a blast helping me open it up to see what kinds of goodies are inside. :) 

I also can't forget to mention that my swap partner's package is also going out in the mail today!  I feel like I've just run a marathon to complete the 2nd portion of this swap.  I was going, going, going up to the very end.   It's a relief to have things finished and ready to go.  The final package due in a month should be a bit more laid back.  And since I remembered to take pictures of both packages thus far, it shouldn't be difficult to remember what's leftover to put in the final parcel. :) 

Dear Swap Partner -
Please enjoy these few teasers from your package! :) 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Friday

Aren't these lovely?  This is the surprise that entered my office this morning shortly after I'd gotten to work. :)  My MIL visited yesterday and knowing I was getting sick sent me flowers today.  :)  They're so beautiful and such an uplifting part of my day.
And I figured since I can't share any pictures of my knitting projects right now (still top secret) and I haven't done much sewing so no pictures there, I'd share a few pictures of these pretties. :)

This vase is filled with yellow, orange, pink, white and green. :) I don't know what all the types of flowers are, but it doesn't really matter.  It was so sweet of C to think of me today!

So, fellow readers, when do you get surprised with flowers?  Your birthday?  Anniversary? Mother's Day?  Maybe just because. :)  Sometimes those are the best.
These last 2 photos are my favorites of the bunch!

Have a wonderful weekend, and for my fellow Americans, Happy Labor Day! Enjoy that extra long weekend.