Monday, October 26, 2009

dispatch from the sick house

We are sick. Sooooooo sick. Mega super-duper sick.

Friday my wee baby woke at the crack of dawn coughing and heaving, and would have thrown up if he were physically capable of it. He was lethargic all day long. He did not play, he just wanted to be held.

That night I gave both kids a bath because they desperately needed to be cleansed, and while in the tub, poor AJ...well, he can't throw up, so when he is sick it comes out the other end.

We cleaned that up, and the poor kid continued to blow out diapers all night. We quickly went from cloth to disposable, I assure you. There were several middle-of-the-night bed changes and I was doing laundry at midnight. I figured it was a stomach virus but like an idiot, I continued to feed him and did not call the doctor.

Saturday night we went to a wedding and left the kids with my parents. AJ was the same - listless, wouldn't play, just wanted to be held and cuddled.

Sunday morning my body started trying to turn itself inside out. AJ was still a wet rag. We called the doctor.

Pedialyte to the rescue!

After replacing two feedings he was just about back to his normal self. No more yucky diapers since yesterday morning. I have had zero food for over 36 hours as I write this, but I seem to be coming around. Yesterday afternoon Hubs started with the same symptoms. AJ and I are up this morning, Hubs is still down.

We left Daughter at grandma's house all weekend thinking it would protect her. Just got a call from my mom that my poor girl started vomiting at 3:30 AM. And the saddest part is, she has never done that before and had no idea what was going on. Mom is taking care of her right now because I'm pretty weak and can't care for a baby, a sick husband, and a vomiting 4 year old.

This one comes on HARD AND FAST, friends. Keep washing your hands, don't let your kids put anything in their mouths if you can help it. And maybe stock up on pedialyte and ginger ale just in case.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009



Ok, not everything, exactly. But lots and lots of fabric must go.

(sorry for crappy quality...trying to use natural light in Buffalo in fall is futile at best)

I want to unload a bunch of my quilting fabric (100% cotton), and I thought I would offer it here to you sewists and crafters who will give it a good home under your presser foot. It is just languishing here. My poor son needs his closet so I really do have to get rid of a bunch of stuff. It is just clutter to me right now.

I don't even know how many people come here and read these days, but I am hoping this might bring lurkers out of the woodwork. Please feel free to tell your friends who sew!

Here is the deal:

This is NOT a scrap sale. Some cuts might have a corner hacked out that I used for a project, but they will still be large enough for your use.

All fabric is first quality from either Joann Fabrics or a quilt shop.

Cuts may be anything from a fat eighth to a half-yard.

I will ship to US addresses in US mail priority envelopes. This will cost me $4.95. I would like to make just a little bit of money. Therefore:

******FOR $15 I will pack it nicey-nice.

******FOR $20 I will really jam that sucker full and you will get several yards.

I think that is fair pricing because much of my stash is quilt shop fabric acquired when I worked in a quilt shop!

Now, as for selection, I will sell according to color. That's the best I can do. Choose a color (red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, off-white, white) and I will send a selection of that color, or choose several colors and I will pick from each group. I also have several cuts of homespun available.

I'll do this until the stash is pared down to a comfortable amount for me.

Interested? Send me an email at momwhoknits AT yahoo DOT com, with QUILT FABRIC SALE in the subject line, and let me know what you might like. I will reply with payment instructions (paypal only please). I will pack and ship as requests come in, so it will be quick!

I promise, these envelopes will be generously packed. I am looking to get rid of stash here, not make a fortune. If this goes well, I have even more specific items I will offer for sale, such as Nancy Halvorsen fabrics and patterns, larger cuts, and notions up the wazoo. This is just not the season of my life for a lot of sewing around here, and I'd much rather all this go to a good home where it will be used to decorate your home, dress your little girls' dollies, be made into quilts to warm your family, etc.

I hope to hear from you. :)

More Stuff!!

LAUREL BURCH Christmas fabrics - one panel, 23" X 44", and four 1-yard cuts of coordinating fabrics. Two are border prints. Unwashed, purchased several years ago at a quilt shop. I won't lie to you, I paid a lot for these. I believe it was $9 per yard for 5 the math, then please do not tell my husband. Laurel Burch died in 2007, so there won't be more designs coming...these are some of her last fabrics.

I am offering all 5 pieces for $30, including the priority mail shipping.

ADVENT CALENDAR panel - these two photos show both sides of one folded piece of fabric. Directions are printed right on the side of the panel (on the left in the photo above). You will need to supply backing, batting and binding. This makes an absolutely adorable advent calendar!! I made one for Daughter a couple of years ago and we adore it. Because I am greedy, I bought two. Now one can be yours!

This is just one piece so I will stick it in a regular padded envelope. $5 includes first class shipping to the US.

PETER RABBIT panel, backing fabric, and extra fat quarter. Bought this to make for a friend's baby boy. He's in first grade now, I think. Woops!

The panel (34" X 39.5") and backing have been machine washed and dried. The fat quarter has not.

All three pieces $10 including priority shipping.

Just email me if interested! momwhoknits AT yahoo DOT com

More to come!

Friday, October 16, 2009

the start of holiday knitting

Dear This Week,

Please slow down so I can catch my breath. Thanks!



Wow, whoa, hang on there! It's Friday already? I feel like I'm spinning in circles. Things got better after my wee breakdown the other morning, and the week was actually pretty fun. I didn't yell at my kids too much, the house is in relatively good condition even though I feel like I've done nothing, and I even had a friend over with her sons yesterday to bake Halloween cutout cookies. Not only that, but I managed to get Daughter signed up for a library activity next week (Barnyard Bash...stories, songs, and a craft! Whee!), for which I feel I deserve applause. Because I generally stink at that kind of stuff.

I've been working up an Etsy order, but before that I finished up a Christmas stocking to send to my sister.

It is from Christmas Stockings: Holiday Treasures to Knit, which, oh my goodness, would cost you about $120 to buy just now, wouldn't it? Wow! And I am going to go ahead and admit that I'm not even positive who gave this book to me. April, perhaps? I just know for sure I did not buy it, and I believe it came in a big, generous package of knitting books and patterns several years back.

I sent this one stocking to my sis along with the book so she can choose what she wants for herself, her new husband, and her future children.

Knitting a big ol' Christmas stocking is actually pretty satisfying. It goes quickly at a large gauge, is simple to execute, and once you're finished, there's no "second sock" problem.

I'm excited to see which stockings she chooses. They all look like fun to knit up!

And then, because I am not already drowning in yarn or anything, I ordered this:

Please, nobody tell Hubs.

(Sorry for the upside-down-ness of the yarns in the picture...I was working quickly to take the photo and stuff the whole shebang under the bed before anyone could see...)

Yes, it is the Knitpicks ornament kit. I do not even know what my problem is. I barely have time for the things I truly need to make, but this kit was simply irresistible to me. I have the idea in my head that it will come in handy for years, making a few ornaments at a time for people like therapists and teachers. I mean, the wee sweater ornament is the perfect size to hold a gift card! How could you go wrong?

Oh man, listen to me rationalize.

I'd better go finish up that etsy order.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the things that get to me

On Sunday we went grocery/general needs shopping as a family unit (never happens), so we could get something like 5 stops accomplished more quickly. If I go alone I can go fast, but then the kids are stuck watching TV all afternoon and AJ sits in the pack 'n play forever and ever. So we all went! Whee!

At the grocery store, the nice deli lady gestured to my two children and asked, "a slice of bologna for each?" I turned to Daughter and asked her if she'd like some and she said yes, so I said to the woman, "just one for her, please." And I didn't think much else of it. We had groceries to gather, after all.

But yesterday morning that moment came rushing back to me as I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, and before I could control myself a big, choking sob came from my throat and I cried hard. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was intense.

I don't know when or if my son will ever be able to eat a slice of bologna.

So like I said, there will be days when I navel gaze a bit and feel really, really lousy. Today is one of them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

rite of fall

I had hoped to have this quilt finished up over the weekend...but it's sitting under my sewing machine needle with just one seam quilted. AJ has decided that taking two naps each day no longer works for him, but he keeps switching back and forth between not sleeping in the morning, and not sleeping in the afternoon. I was able to get the quilt completely pieced and bordered Saturday night after everyone went to bed, but on Sunday afternoon when I tried to begin quilting it, my darling son kept standing up in the crib and hollering. I tried laying him back down several times, but to no avail. quilt today.

We did have a great weekend, though. Saturday morning Daughter, AJ and I met up with my parents to go apple picking.

It was sunny but quite brisk, so we donned many handknits (total count: 4 pair socks, 4 hats, two sweaters, one pair mittens, one scarf, one baby afghan), and luckily I ran back into the house to grab extra fleece jackets just as we were about to leave! We wouldn't have lasted long without them.

We brought our little red wagon, but it turns out the farm has their own fleet! They tow one out behind the hay wagon as you ride to the orchards. It was so cool.

So many apples still on the trees. It was ridiculous.

We ate ourselves silly (it's ok, they tell you to!)

We went home with A LOT of apples.

It was simply...

Friday, October 09, 2009

little helper

I think I mentioned over the summer that I am trying hard to tackle the WIP problem. Yes, it is a real many projects I started and sad, really! It is starting to make me quite uncomfortable to have all these half-finished projects laying around. What a waste - of time, of materials, of my efforts.

I made these schoolhouses the winter before last, and was planning a bed-size quilt (as ask me how many bed-size quilts I have actually made...) but the blocks are fiddly and I don't enjoy making them. So they got shoved in a pile and ignored. I think I will just take the 5 completed blocks, put them together with solid cream setting squares, and call it a wallhanging, yes?

Daughter helped me lay these out. Again...

And again...

And again.

In all she must have made every possible iteration of these 5 silly blocks. And I guess I must have said it first, otherwise I don't know where she would come up with it, but she kept saying, "I'm just not sure how this is going to work out with the red."

Oh, how I love her and love her and love her.

I think we'll need some sashing between those houses, though, don't you? Maybe red!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

our first mother/daughter sewing project

It's funny how a child's interest in certain toys ebbs and flows, isn't it? Daughter has had a beautiful doll cradle, handmade almost 30 years ago by Hubs' grandfather, sitting in her room gathering dust for months. Yesterday she asked Hubs to bring it downstairs so she could put her baby to bed. (Interestingly, this baby has been at the bottom of the stuffed animal bin for ages as well.)

Hubs brought it down and it looked pretty sad and empty sitting there. Daughter looked at me and said, "it doesn't look very comfortable like that, does it?"

She was right. It did not.

So we set to work remedying the situation for babydoll. Daughter chose an old fat quarter and we cut 2 rectangles to size (18"X8"). She sat on my lap and guided the fabric as I pushed the sewing machine pedal. We stuffed it with two layers of cotton batting, and topstitched all the way around the edges. Then I cut two rectangles about 8"X6" to make the pillow, sewed them right sides together, turned it out into a little bag, and had Daughter stuff it full of polyfil. We stitched it closed together. Now we had a mattress and pillow! But wait, what about a blanket?

Off to the bag of leftover yarns! Daughter chose a soft pink wool-ease left over from a winter hat I made her several years ago. I chose this pattern (yes, it is for a dishtowel, but it is crocheted which means it is fast for me to do), and worked on it throughout the day. I finished up at 11:00 last night.

Voila! Doll bedding!

My understanding is that baby is resting quite comfortably. Bunny has also taken a nap in the cradle, but not Daughter's Beaker doll, because "Beaker doesn't care for cradles."

I love that kid.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

3 scraps of paper

The other day, Daughter came downstairs first thing in the morning and went straight to the family room for her art supplies. She came back into the kitchen (where I was slouched over my first sips of morning coffee), and presented me with 3 scraps of construction paper, green, orange, and yellow, which I had placed in her art bin the day before. (We are trying to focus on not wasting things these days.)

She asked me if she could use them, and then asked what we could make with them. I think I said the colors reminded me of the changing leaves, and we were off to the races!

I slurped a bit more coffee and started free-handing some leaf shapes on the scraps. Daughter got her scissors and began to cut. Before long we had dozens of little paper leaves.

I suggested we draw a tree trunk on construction paper and paste them on to make a fall tree decoration, but no, that was way too static an idea for Daughter. Over the course of the morning those paper leaves were petals thrown at a pretend wedding, leaves falling from trees, gifts for her brother, daddy, and me, and finally food for a bunny.

Bunny liked the green ones just fine.

But she liked the orange ones better.

Then Bunny got tired of eating one at a time and went for the whole plate.

I couldn't believe how much creative play we got out of 3 scraps of construction paper.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

baking day

"Fold in the sides,
pull it towards me,
kneeeeeeead it, kneeeeeeeeead it..."

"Fold in the sides,
Pull it towards me,
kneeeeeeeeead it, kneeeeeeeead it..."

Oatmeal bread! Mine on the left of the photo, Daughter's on the right. Not bad considering I did not help her!

We try to cook or bake together several times each week. I like to make things with her that don't require super-precise measuring, so she can do a lot herself and it won't come out "wrong." Bread is great for that!

Monday, October 05, 2009

why not homeschool?

Thanks for the nice comments on my last post (re: creative and messy). My dear friend Karen left a comment asking me why not homeschool Daughter, since we are doing well now?

Indeed, why not?

There are so many issues tied up in that little question, I hardly know where to start. First I should say that I don't plan to homeschool her. I am doing so now because I didn't find an affordable program that I liked enough to fork over the money. The ONLY thing I wanted for Daughter that she is not getting enough of at home is social interaction with other kids her age. I still wish we could get together with more kids, but it is so hard. I took her to her swimming lesson this weekend and in the car she told me she hoped her friend would be there - Isabella, the girl she met for the first time last weekend. The poor child is so hungry for friends, and so outgoing. It breaks my heart not to be able to provide that to her. So that is the first reason she is going to school next year.

The second reason is the fact that we moved here, to Expensive-ville, just so she could attend the public schools. They are known to be excellent, and Hubs and I went through this district, so we know what we're getting. It is mostly what we want. But I am so, so torn about surrendering her to those schools 11 months from now. She is so creative and sweet and generous and trusting and kills me to think she will lose a lot of that the minute she steps on the bus for the first time.

Now, if I had my druthers, I'd send my sweet, creative child to our "local" Waldorf school. I think. Well, I'm not sure, exactly, but I probably would! How's that for being clear as mud?

I just finished reading You Are Your Child's First Teacher, and I must recommend that you all run to the library and read it immediately. If you already have children, if you are planning to have more, or if you haven't had any yet, go get this book! I will admit, and I will warn, that it is a bit on the "hippy-dippy" side, but the insights the author provides into raising small children and encouraging their natural learning are so, so inspiring. She also manages to distill Rudolf Steiner's work down into understandable concepts and explain the basics of Waldorf education without overwhelming the reader.

We have only one Waldorf school in Western New York, and it is a solid 45 minutes away from our home in good weather, plus it costs mucho dinero to go there, so it's not going to happen. But I'm rapidly falling in love with the concepts embraced by the Waldorf system, such as soft colors, curved surfaces, picture-based learning, music and movement, and a real emphasis on teaching the whole child. The kindergartens are true to the name - a child's garden of play, and academic concepts are not emphasized until "the changing of teeth" which is a weird-sounding way of saying 7 or 8 years old. What we consider 1st or 2nd grade in our public-school universe is where academics begin in the Waldorf program. The major emphasis before that age is allowing the child's energy to be devoted to physical growth, development, and maturity.

Now, I am no expert on Steiner or Waldorf; I only know what I have read and it isn't much. But it makes so much sense! I'm cringing at the thought of my exceptionally bright daughter, who was reading the newspaper to me this morning, sitting in a hard chair at a desk or table with other 5 year-olds, being given a stupid worksheet with the letter G on it, having to circle the things that start with G and color them in. BORING! She will be told to be quiet, to get in line, to follow directions, to listen for a bell that signals when she can and cannot get up and move.

And I am so torn.

Part of me supports the logical argument that this is America in 2009 and kids need to learn and study and get ahead. The world is not a hippy-dippy place and Daughter will have to be the best to get into the school of her choice and build a career. But a part of me says "eff that!" and wants her to have her childhood, for as long as possible!

I have my arguments with the book and with some of the ideas. I don't know if I would get rid of the television entirely, or take away all computer privileges, or dump every single toy that isn't wooden/natural and handmade, or burn all the clothes that aren't made of 100% natural fibers. That would never fly in my household, anyway, since my husband spends most of his time with one eyeball on the tv and one on his computer. Plus I don't want to raise my kid to be the weird outcast whose mom won't let her have any "junk food" in her lunch and who never heard of Disney. A large part of that is also our community, I guess. We now live in an area that I think of as being very "hard," meaning, I guess, very professional and fast-paced and cold. The school systems are designed to groom little investment bankers, not particularly well-rounded, happy, well-adjusted kids. Like I said, the Waldorf school is out in the boondocks 45 minutes from here. There's no Hanna Andersson store here (much to my dismay), for natural soft clothing. People work, moms don't generally stay home, and if they do it is so they can go to the gym, and go get their nails and hair done, not so they can do homeschool-y stuff with their kids. I'm not saying those families don't exist, but they are not the norm, whereas in some parts of the country you can actually find multiple alternative education schools and entire communities that embrace those values.

So I have all this stuff churning around in my head. I will probably have more to say about it in future posts as I continue my mothering journey and strive to guide my babies in what I hope and pray is the right direction. Have any of you read the book I am talking about? Do you send your children to the local public school? How do you feel about it? Are your children in an alternative-education environment? Are you happy?

Are your children happy?

Friday, October 02, 2009

creative home

I have been trying very, very hard to avoid turning on the television before lunchtime. I have been in the throes of some kind of depression for many years now, and combined with pregnancies, that has led me to plop my kid(s) in front of the tube waaaaaayyyyy too much. It's also a selfish and unfair way to buy myself time.

So now, in the mornings, we all have breakfast together in the kitchen (imagine!), while listening to the morning news on NPR, and I quickly check my email, facebook, and 3 or 4 favorite blogs. If Daughter finishes quickly, she can play with toys or do some coloring while waiting for AJ to finish. Then we go into the family room together and play with the dollhouse or some other creative-play item.

At 9:30 or 9:45 AJ goes up for morning nap, and it is "homeschool" time for Daughter. I will have more to say about that in the future, but for now I'll share that we are using Kumon workbooks to practice simple addition, long vowel sounds/printing, cutting, and pasting. When we finish that (usually takes about an hour), we move on to some kind of craft. I try to let Daughter direct what we will do, but some days I have to take the lead.

Today we made a Halloween mobile to hang on our front door. So if you come by, you'll be greeted by these guys:

I have trouble putting aside my OCD when it comes to a neat and organized home, because when we're done, this is what the kitchen table looks like:

Morning coffee cup, current and future knitting project, hole punches, scissors, construction paper scraps, glue, crayons, pencils, workbooks...

It's a bit of a disaster, really, but it's a creative disaster.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

never not knitting

Since I haven't posted much interesting visual content in a long while, I thought I'd throw up some knitting today.

My sister got married last summer, and asked for some Christmas stockings. I was originally going to sew them, but my sewing mojo is missing in action these days. I'm more into knitting at this time of year...feel it right in my bones, actually, can't stop! So I am knitting up a sample stocking from an ancient skein of Fisherman's Wool I had in my stash (you can tell how old it is by the label). I bought this yarn several years ago when I was into dyeing with kool-aid and Rit, but I lost interest and a couple skeins have been sitting around.

So: Christmas gifting AND stashbusting in one. Sounds good to me.