Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Gifts

Now that the gifts have been given and received, I can post a few photos of what I made this year (and didn't!)
Tea towels or finger towels for my mom. These were made from the Elsbeth Lavold Linen in sage. I got the pattern from Knit Wits, a store in Northern Kentucky. There were fast and fun but I should have included a note, I don't think my mom knew what they were when she opened them!

This is a simple 1x1 rib scarf made from glorious hand painted cotton. Super soft but the pattern didn't deserve the yarn. But, I had bought the yarn from a store in Half Moon Bay, Ca and the store went out of business around 8 years ago, so I figured I should just make something with it.

Notice anything? I like to travel and go to yarn stores. It brought me peace this summer. I took an hour to myself when my husband was in the hospital and found a knitting store in Pittsburgh. They had every color of Cascade 220 on the walls, over 100 colors of the same yarn waiting for you to do something with it. It felt good just to be surrounded by possibility.

And now, the impossibility: I made a mitten with camel toe! Learn from my mistakes this winter!

1. Don't think that Elizabeth Zimmermann, the Grandmother of knitting, was wrong when she said to pull the yarn through the top stitches on your mitten. I decided grafting would be better, like the toe of a sock, I ended up with the toe of a camel. I fixed the top but the mitten is still too narrow, unless you know someone with small, long hands-this is going to be ripped out.

2. If the shawl in the picture looks like it will be too long of a triangle and you knit it and it's too long, that's probably your fault. This kills me and I can't decide what to do. I started knitting this as a wedding shawl for Maria (last July). It's not turning out right and I hate working on it. Should I press on and finish it, even if I don't like how it's turning out-too pointy??!! Or, rip it out and make something else, a better wedding shawl? I have lovely memories of starting it in Tuscany and still trying to finish it the day of the wedding. I'm thinking they'll just be memories.

3. The last lesson: It won't save you time to wash your black, red and white fabric for a baby quilt with your dirty clothes. Yes, you should be impressed I even pre-washed, but now I need to find the time to go back to the fabric store and buy new fabric as my newly washed fabric is stained all over.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Renting Sounds Good

Less than a year ago, a guy called to offer us a limited time offer on insurance for all our major appliances. We could try it free for a month. We don't need it, I told him. When we bought the house, it came with all new appliances, except the hot water heater. Everything else was less than 2 years old. A few days later, the hot water heater broke.
A few months ago, I noticed frost in my fridge. $600 later, we have a very expensive favorite seat for Baby E (it's chocolate cake on her dress, but that's another story). Apparently, there is a part in this brand fridge that breaks so often the repair guy thinks it should be recalled-he carries back up parts in his van. Still, $600 bucks.
Tonight, the dishwasher didn't drain. Ty took off the bottom to investigate and everyone came over for a look (don't throw stones, I'll bet under your dishwasher isn't sanitary either, plus, he vacuumed after this picture.) Let's hope we don't have to spend our Christmas money on a new dishwasher, I was hoping to buy the Addi Click system!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Family for the Holidays

We (I) had my family come for a visit for the holidays-my sister and her 9 year old son. We had a wonderful visit, complete with 2 feet of falling snow. For the visiting Floridians, this was mostly a treat, except they had no warm clothes. My sister and I shared my awesome new Keen Betty Boots-we took turns going outside. We did manage to go out and get to the Flying Heritage Museum and bowling. I made this spare, with a baby on my hip (a new event in the Mom Olympics

We entertained the kids inside with mostly sugary treats, which was closely followed by taking snow walks. We made a ginger bread house and Merry Mints, a treat my mom used to make with us!

Merry Mint Recipe:
1/3 c lite corn syrup
1/4 c butter-soft
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 oz powdered sugar
Combine first four ingredients until well mixed, stir in sugar, then knead until smooth. Separate dough if adding food colorings. Roll out between wax paper 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutter or old jars. Place on wax paper to dry overnight. Dip or drizzle with melted chocolate and chill. Enjoy!

I love giving presents. I keep a notebook of my Nice List (very Martha, I know, but my mom did it and I used to think it was crazy but it's a great idea-you don't buy the same thing and I write ideas for people all year long). Getting hit by a snowstorm didn't stress us out. We have enough in our pantry to last us several months, plus I always have ingredients for some kind of baked good-cookie, muffin, bread, chocolate covered pretzels. We had our shopping done way early and had most of the wrapping done, we were able to enjoy the snow and enjoy the visit! (Incidentally, it's fun when your Aunt gives you a new sugary drink-Sprite, but she probably won't get it back!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I have a mantra for the holidays-remember this is supposed to be fun. Somehow, I have a talent for instant grouchiness. I had excuses before, but since I'm no longer pregnant or have a newborn or dealing with cancer, I'm begining to think I just might be crazy or very grouchy.

Still, with 2 and a half feet of snow, we've been having fun and finding enough to do. We had my sister and nephew come and visit, got some cabin fever (hence a recycled castle, the Knight was eating "Christmas cereal," according to B.)

We had our Christmas morning and opened presents early. Is it possible to get a photo of two kids under 4 to stand still for one second and look good in a photo?

Here is Butters saying, "I'm done taking pictures now."
Here is Baby E saying, "Duh?" She can clearly say Mama, DaDa, BAbee and Uh Oh. She shakes her head yes and no and says the syllables for Thank you and Angus and Levi. She's got a great personality and is tons of fun. Even at 3 in the morning.
Back to watching, White Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Before I forget, I need to write story down. Butters was talking to me about babies, he asked me where they come out from, I try to be honest, so here's how it all unfolded:

We were looking the blue blanket I made for him.

B: Did you make this when I was a baby?
Me: I made it before you were even born, when you were still growing inside of me.
B: How do the babies get out?
M: The mom delivers the baby and the baby is born.
B: Where does the baby come out from?
M: (long pause) the baby comes out of the mom's vagina
B: Then does the baby come out of your pants?


We've been busy getting ready for Santa and the holidaze!
Be like Brother
Not like Sis
Enjoy the holidays
Don't be piss(ed)
Butters was amazed, he hung on his every word. It was adorable, Santa liked his shirt, "It's a Santa Booby trap!"
We are mostly on the mend from sickness but still crazy with the thoughts of presents, visitors and traveling. For the crafters out there now is the time to fish or cut bait. Mittens? Mostly done. Hat, just started. Blanket, maybe next year!
I finished up my holiday shopping at a local women owned toy store-Rowdy Rascals. The prices were higher than amazon, but I supported a local business and she wrapped my gifts and carried them to my car since I had my hands full with the baby, you don't get that on line or from toys r us. I bought some amazing, responsible toys. We have a lot of plastic crap, so I'm trying to cut back and have better, fewer toys.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Home Sick

We've been wiping runny noses and dealing with sleepless nights around here. Last night I laid awake for hours, I just couldn't fall asleep. I couldn't blame a hungry or crying child or even growing pains. Just me. Awake. I listened for more rats in our attic, let the dog out at 2 am and I tried drinking milk. Tonight, I plan to stay up late so I'm super tired and will fall asleep no problem.

I've been crafting up a storm, and it looks like a storm hit my craft room. Here's a sneak peak. I've also got startitis since I finished a number of projects. Started a hat and getting ready to put another pair of socks on the needle.

Baby E leans back like she's doing a limbo, it's the funniest thing but not quite captured on film. You have some come and see it! She also gives her baby a bath, loves peek a boo and reads the book Ready, Set, Go!

The Boy has been less than a joy lately (here he is with make up on his face). Testing me/us daily, pestering sister. I was threatening to email Santa before 8 am the other morning, just to give you an idea! I've been at the end of my rope some days. Three and a half is supposed to be a tough time for them, possibly the hardest yet, until puberty. I think the holidays add a level of craziness to everything also. He's great when we go out, but with the sickness, we've been home. And I'm climbing the walls! Luckily, there is Christmas knitting to keep me busy.