Monday, February 25, 2008

A Crafter's Work is Never Done

Last week, I started this:It's going to be another dress for Anna. I got far enough to realize that I would need to hem the bottom of this dress and that to do that I would also need some blue or grey thread. So now I have a pile of blue-grey shirt pieces laying on my craft table. This will probably continue until next month when I finally get my act together and go to the craft store.

Last week I also finished these:
They are for my friend who is due to have a baby any minute. I don't think she really reads this blog, so I feel comfortable showing these off ahead of the baby's arrival. She may glance at the blog periodically, but I'm confident that she'll have the baby before she checks in again. Of course, we've been expecting this pokey baby at any minute for a couple weeks now, so I may be wrong in this estimate. Whatever.

I got the pattern from the illustrious Mason Dixon Knitting which I'm sure a lot of you have heard of. I'm not even sure I really used the pattern since the idea is pretty straight-forward, but that is where the idea came from. Have any of you knit the Baby Kimono from this book? I think I must be slow-witted or something because I have run into a bit of a problem. I think it may be a gauge issue, but if any of you have knit the kimono before, let me know because I have a question. So far my kimono is looking like a whole lot of Knitting Gore and I'd like to rehabilitate before I send it to the Land of Frog.

Speaking of Frog, I saw frog legs for the first time ever last week. They were sitting in a pile of ice at the butcher's counter.


I'm as adventurous an eater as you're likely to meet in most places. There's not much that will put me off. But I have to tell you that seeing those little, naked froggie legs sticking out of the ice in frigid little pairs really made my breakfast lurch. First of all, they looked like tiny baby legs, especially with their webbed feet removed. Secondly, well, maybe there is no secondly, but it completely threw me for a loop. It was one of the few times I actually thought, "You mean people actually eat that?" Man, after seeing them raw in the store, I found it incredible that anyone would eat them without being Double Dog Dared.

And I thought Head Cheese was a pretty bizarre idea. I guess people can eat pretty much anything if they get hungry enough. Grasshoppers, anyone?

Have you had any food encounters that made you look twice?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Would All the Irony in the World Look Like If You Put It on One Website?

Love him, Hate him, Wish he'd try again in eight years, whatever your opinion is of Barak Obama I think that this will make you smile.

My favorite is "Barak Obama built you a robot." Because, what if he did? What would that robot be like? I bet that robot would tell me I'm awesome. And that I'm the change I want to see in the world. And that yes, I can. And then that robot would remember my birthday and save me from drowning.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another Bout of Craftiness

This is Summer Dress 2.0. You'll remember the blue gingham dress we finished earlier and the mighty pile of thrift shop dress shirts from a previous post? I've finished the second of the Summer Dress series. Adorable front shot:
And if you ask her to show you her booty, this is what you get:
We had to take the pictures over her onsie, which wouldn't be the case if it were warmer than 12 degrees outside, but you get the idea. This dress is linen. We'll have to see what we think of this fiber's wearability as a play dress. I'm not sure I like the straps better than the ruffle sleeve I did on the last dress. I think that all things being equal I'd choose the ruffle sleeve for the marginally better sun protection the extra fabric would give. I'm the sort of person who thinks about these things.

In other news, Thomas has been having some fun playing with his "Fort" that P and I made.
I know that a lot of kids make forts from tables, chairs, and sofa cushions. However, we were getting pretty tired of having to go hunting for our kitchen chairs and replacing the cushions back on the sofa any time we wanted to sit down. We like that the are stable and that the kids can play without having to constantly stop to "fix" a falling wall, which happens quite frequently when you're including a two year old in the fun! P made the wood frame and I used an old sheet I'd inherited from my grandma to sew the "walls". The kids can make the walls (which are hinged) into any kind of shape and they like using our throw blankets as a roof. Today they put our throw pillows inside for sitting and brought in a few books to look at. Thomas used a couple of clips to attach the baby blanket door. It folds up pretty compactly when we're sick of looking at it. Thomas got his first sliver off of it a couple of days ago (about 1/3 to a 1/2 inch) and was very brave when I pulled it out. I'm hoping that the novelty of this will last until summer. Wish me luck.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In Praise of Garter Stitch

God, I love garter stitch.

There's nothing like a little garter-y goodness to just mellow a person out. Knit, knit, knit, Turn, knit, knit, knit. It's just so good and entirely satisfying.

This week I've felt like I've had a burr mill grinding in my head. There's no very good reason, I suppose, but sometimes things get stressful for me very quickly and I don't have the time I need to relax and let it go. These times are often referred to as "Dinner Prep" time or "No Nap for Thomas" time. I'll start the day just fine, but after a couple of hours of trying to get Thomas to be quiet for two minutes together I get stressed out and worn down.

This week I have discovered that nothing takes the edge off like a little garter stitch. And whiskey. Perhaps a lot of whiskey. Just kidding. Now quit looking at me like that. Stop.

My good friend is expecting a baby at any minute. While I've already finished the sweater and other Standard Baby Accessories, I've been giving a lot of attention to the modern Baby Bib in Mason-Dixon Knitting. It started as a way to kill time while eagerly awaiting the arrival of Baby Nuevo and has blossomed into a full fledged garter stitch obsession. Elizabeth Zimmermann was a smart woman. I love wool with an undying love, but there's a new flame in my heart that burns all the quicker for being made of cotton. Cotton garter stitch has seen me through this week of winter-blues like a hired professional. And cotton garter stitch makes a darn fine bib.

This weekend I hope to take a nap and contemplate how it is that I've never realized before how great garter stitch is. I wonder why it's been so much more comforting than knitting in the round. I am usually a big fan of knitting in the round and turn to it first for Knitting-type Comfort, but this Garter Stitch Fling has been something else altogether. After I've pondered these mysteries I plan on eating some fresh baked bread and drinking some water--you know, for a change.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Washing the Diapers

I've been using cloth to diaper my babies for over four years now. Four years seems like a long time. It seemed especially long during the year or so that I had two babies in diapers, but now it seems like it hasn't been so long at all. Especially with Anna on the cusp of potty training (or "potty learning", for you hippies out there), it seems like those years went by very fast.

I was reading Jennie's post about laundry detergent wherein she mentions her Diaper Washing Routine. It got me thinking about how I've changed my diaper washing since I first began when Thomas was little. Here's a gratuitous baby picture:
Here's what I do now: First, I dump the enormous bag of diapers into my washing machine. I run a short cycle in cold water with a dose of detergent (Charlie's Soap, if you're interested, though I've used a little Tide Free lately instead). Then, I run a longer cycle on hot with some more detergent (Charlie's Soap again). If I open the washer at the end of this and it smells a bit still, I'll run another cycle with just a whiff more detergent (though I'll often skip the detergent on this run). I usually only have to run that third cycle if the diapers were very dirty or it had been three days between Wash Days.

What's your Diaper Routine? Do you wash or do you toss?

By the way, here's that little baby today:
He's so smart.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Some Day She'll Live in Miami

Anna went outside to help P shovel some snow. She came back in after two minutes outside.

"I don't like snow. Throw it in da garbage!"

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Winter of My Discontent

I used to like winter. Love it, really. I went to college in Duluth, Minnesota and never once flinched at a snowdrift, not even when winter was nine months long and the drifts reached the dorm roof. I didn't mind the layers, the bulky clothes, the hats, mittens or any of it. I never really minded the mess that comes from months of dirty snow and salt piling up along roads or crusting up under cars. It just feels good to not be hot. Who could mind a little freezing rain?

And then I had kids. And winter became a whole new ballgame. Yeah, you know what this post is going to be about. It's February. It's time.

This has really been the winter that has made me hate the whole season. This winter will last nine months long, if it doesn't see me in my grave before the end of it. This is the year I've come to understand that Cabinus Feverus is a horrible virus and it can wipe out whole communities. I'm about to paint a black X over my door: "Pass ye not this way". I'd tell you to stick a fork in me, but I'm frozen solid and you'd likely break your fork.

I don't know what the average temperature has been this winter, but it's been hovering around Negative Below Freeze Your Butt Off. I actually feel like I'll never be warm again. Usually in January I start getting sick of being cold and will start nudging the thermostat up a degree or two. This year I haven't bothered because there simply is no hope for frostbitten limbs. I'll simply have to wait for my nose and fingers to fall off like the cat's tail did that one horrible winter back in '88. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been petting her at the time.

The reason the cold has been such an issue this winter is because it's been too cold to send the kids outside. Which means that we're starting ColdWatch: Week 6--weeks and weeks of not. going. outside. for anything but the mail and a quick trip to the grocery store. My children are 2 and 4. I'm not sure I can fully illustrate what this means for them, but for me I can safely say that I most closely resemble a surly black bear covered with the matted hair and filth of a winter's slumber. Only this bear didn't get to hibernate and had to change diapers and entertain whiny cubs instead. Lord, I hate it when the cubs whine.

It's snowing again as luck would have it and I'm about half way out my door now with my hair drier. I need an extention cord first, but I'm going to see if I can do something about the weather. At least you don't have to shovel rain.


I can't say much for their logic, but you can't fault their humor.
Minnesotans for Global Warming

Well, to be fair, it's really just the Global Warming Song video that's actually funny. Though I have no idea why the main guy speaks with a southern accent.

All Around the Mulberry Bush

When drawing a picture of a house today, Thomas decided that what his picture REALLY needed was a mulberry bush. And he drew one--with mulberries the size of apples.

I'm not sure if he's ever even seen a mulberry bush or what even brought it to mind, but it made me smile.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Will The Craftiness EVER Stop?

The craftiness will stop, eventually, but no time soon. I have a mountain of button-down shirts that need to be transformed from ordinariness into this:

I know that it wouldn't win any awards, but I'm pretty excited. I wish I'd taken a picture of the tablecloth-plaid shirt this dress had come from, but I didn't. I came out just even on fabric, too. I thought about adding a couple of pockets, but decided the pattern would look too busy, unless I did the pockets out of plain white, or something like that. I'm also planning on taking in the bodice a bit, too.

I found the pattern here. What great instructions! I wish I had made the straps a big longer, but they'll do, I think.

I went to the thrift store in town and picked up six dress shirts for $10. If all the dresses work out, I'll have Anna's wardrobe complete for the summer, I should think. They take a fair bit of work, but I've got one down, five more to go. You know I'll show the results.

Before I leave for the evening, here is some brotherly goodness. I've been focusing a lot on Anna since most of my sewing has been little-girl related and I thought I should make an effort to include Thomas.