Tuesday, January 31, 2012

birthday and some socks

Whoops, didn't mean to disappear for a week. 'Twas a busy one, though...the usual daily stuff plus my (gulp) 36th birthday and the attendant celebratory activities. I got a new vacuum from my husband, and lest you think he's a horrible gift-giver, I asked for the thing. We've been getting by cleaning our area rugs with a canister vacuum, which I thought was ok, but now I have a bagless upright with spinning brush and let's just say I'm really sorry if you've visited my house and sat on the floor in the recent past. Blech! (I recommend that vacuum if, like me, you have no wall-to-wall carpet, only area rugs over hardwood...I don't think it is heavy-duty enough for anything more.)

"The kids" got me silver hoop earrings which I've been trying to drop hints about for years. Yay!

And we had ice cream cake, and my parents took me (and AJ, we're a package deal) out for lunch on my actual birthday, and then Hubs and I got to go on a date with another couple on Friday night! Woohoo! My awesome parents took the kids over night so we got super wild and went to...Olive Garden. I know, we are total party animals. It was so good, though. I ate myself into a food coma. Then we came home, watched TV, and fell asleep. Which, for my money, is a good birthday. I didn't have to read bedtime stories, fetch glasses of water, or take anyone to the potty. Good deal.

Today it is 50 degrees (!) and I feel restless. It looks and feels like SPRING! But it's January 31 and I'm no dummy. It will be back to cold, snowy, dark winter in a day or two.

For a little brightness I pulled out some fun sock yarn last week:

This is Joann Sensations "Bamboo & Ewe" yarn in what they call the pink/red pattern colorway. This photo is washed out, I couldn't get it to look quite right even with editing. The pink is very bright in real life, and those gray-looking stripes are really lavender. I'm pleased I was able to make them match so closely. There's quite a bit leftover, too, so I will make socks for Daughter.

What to make now? I need to make some more soakers. I would like to work on a stalled shawl but the rows are very long now and I need quiet and good light, both scarce just now. There's a big bulky fisherman sweater started in my basket but that's not calling to me either. Hmmm. Off to search the stash and see if anything catches my eye.....

Monday, January 23, 2012

tasty treat

I'm currently ensconced in my recliner, plugged into season 1 of Downton Abbey on Netflix. How did I miss this show last year?!? It is so, so, so good.

I just popped up today to make something tasty and filling for the kids' snacktime, and thought I'd share the recipe. These muffins are delicious, and loaded with oats so they kind of qualify as healthy!

Honey-Oatmeal Muffins

2/3 c milk
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 beaten egg
1/4 c honey

1 1/2 c oats (quick or old-fashioned, I use the latter)
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c raisins (I use currants)
1/2 c chopped nuts (I use walnuts, but these can be left out)
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 T baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Combine wet ingredients. Add to combined dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full (make your life easier, use the paper liners). Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.

These are so hearty and so delicious. Make sure your baking powder is fresh, because all those oats require a lot of lift. Otherwise the muffins will be heavy. The brown sugar/honey combination makes for a rich sweetness that isn't overwhelming. These are awesome while a bit warm, with butter or just plain, and still excellent the next morning for breakfast.


Friday, January 20, 2012

a little sewing

I felt like doing a little sewing today. But what? Nothing major...not a garment or a quilt top or anything large or long term. Just a quick fix.

I've seen some cool improvisational quilt piecing around the internets, so I thought I'd give it a go. I have, ahem, a few scraps laying around. I used some old Sulky stabilizer I've had for years (back when I bought it I thought it was something else...probably interfacing, I didn't know much at all about sewing at 23). It's on a roll, and is 8.5" wide so I cut 8.5" lengths to make squares. Then I started pulling little scraps out of the bag and stitching them down. You just stitch, trim, flip, press, repeat, until the whole square is covered. It's paper piecing, but randomly rather than following a printed pattern.

The jury is out. Do I love these? Or do I hate them? Or, possibly, do I love the idea but I'm just tired of looking at the same fabric scraps for 10+ years?

I learned the hard way to press between adding pieces. It's a fairly quick process to make these, but difficult for me because I'm...what's a nice way to say it? Let's go with "fastidious."

I was definitely outside of my comfort zone here, but that's good, right? It's good to stretch yourself and learn something new. 

Maybe I'll make more. But this was enough for today. I got my little sewing fix and it felt nice. Now for a little coffee fix...

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

shop talk

Have I mentioned that I am always shocked - shocked, seriously! - when I get an order for a diaper soaker? I've sold many at this point but still, I'm always so surprised and flattered when I get an order. (Self-confidence problem? I guess so.)

As soon as I get an order, I start to knit. Like, within the hour. Once someone has paid for something I put major pressure on myself to get it out as soon as possible. I've been very blessed with orders since Christmas, so I've been knitting soakers non-stop. Today I'll be shipping these:

And then taking a few days off from knitting. My hands are sore! Maybe some sewing? Or reading? Or just relaxing and drinking a big cup of tea with a generous squirt of honey to beat back this sore throat (yep, still sore). 

Then I'll be pulling wool from the yarn bin and starting again, restocking the shop. Thanks to all who have ordered! More to come...

(By the way, that is my PROM mug in the photo. It says [my high school] Senior Prom, "If You Leave", May 27th, 1994. I am such a huge dork.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

arts and crafts keep you sane

MLK day...a day off school for Daughter, no therapy for AJ, but Hubs works. What to do? What to do?

I'm trying hard to be a better mom; a mom who says "yes!" A more fun mom. You know.

So we got it together and headed out to Dunkin' Donuts first...but I forgot my camera at home. Bummer, because I wanted to capture it. The kids were so psyched! "We're actually going to EAT THERE?" 

They shared a bagel, then a donut ("healthy" food first, of course), and I had a humongous hot tea because my throat has been sore for a week. AJ liked it there so much he took his boots off. Mmmm, just what every mother wants...her child walking around DD in stocking feet. Blech!

Then we went to Michael's because I had an idea for a craft that both a 6 year-old and a 3 year-old could execute. We bought a big bag of stuff, mostly on clearance! How can you pass up craft supplies for 9 cents? You cannot.

I also got myself this little notepad for my purse. Couldn't resist it. It was only a buck:

We got two ready-to-finish wooden letters. I wanted the cardboard-like block letters, but Michael's apparently doesn't carry them? We ended up with these flatter letters. Which were $3.33 but whatever, we were there and this was my plan for the day. 

I let the kids pick out whatever colors of the on-sale acrylic paint they wanted (they were 3/$1). We ended up with 6. 

AJ chose blue and yellow. We used the cheap 1" sponge brushes they had on sale 14/$1. I know you can find them 20/$1 sometimes too. This way I could just use little bathroom dixie cups for the paint and toss everything when we finished.

Daughter chose purple and turquoise...not a big surprise though I would have expected pink. This cheap acrylic paint did the job, and for a kid craft I would buy it again for sure, but the coverage was kind of lousy. I went over Daughter's again to cover the streaks but it still looks uneven. It's ok, because I knew we'd be covering a lot of the paint.

We purchased some embellishments - they had a LOT of clearance. Many items were 5 cents or 9 cents. I think the most we paid was 29 cents, and for that price I even got a HUGE bag of painted wooden hearts. I'm planning a Valentine craft idea for those.

And a lot of what we used we already had on hand. Sometimes when I have an extra coupon for one of the craft stores I'll just pick up a bag of sequins or foam shapes or something. Then we can have spontaneous crafts. 

I loved this craft, and the kids had a blast with it! I did the glue gun because, obviously, it's dangerously hot. But I wanted everything to stick really well so these can be put on their bedroom doors and not fall apart. 

It's so awesome that they are both at an age where we can do fun things together. Not that there weren't temper tantrums today...we couldn't get out the door without at least one each morning. But this really kept both kids engaged for a long time and they were happy. So I was happy!

Unfortunately I did not make a letter for myself. :(

I have been up to my eyeballs in soaker orders. I feel so blessed, but it is keeping my fingers flying, so while the kids painted, I was knitting.

I think I have done 6 since Christmas...? Something like that. But I am thankful, not only for the little bit of extra money, but because I know there are little babies all over the country wearing something I've made. That's kind of neat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

the wearin' o' the green

Are you, by any chance, expecting? Perhaps in March? Perhaps you are Irish? (Or not, everyone can wear green/pretend to be Irish for St. Patrick's Day!)

I have a one-off newborn soaker listed, and it's the cutest jalapeno green (nearly a kelly green but it's called jalapeno by Knitpicks so I'm going with that). I just had a few partial skeins left from something else I made, so I whipped up one diaper cover to use it up.

Isn't it sweet?

Over the holidays someone said these look like something for dogs. (?!?)

I assure you, they are for babies.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

roy g biv

So many of the blogs I like incorporate rainbows...in the blog design, the crafts shown, the homes showcased...

I am so drawn to these pretty blogs!

Rainbows are big right now.

And lately I've been grumping around, wondering...

Why don't I have any rainbows in my life?

I really like rainbows.

And I wanted to find some.


They are everywhere!

Monday, January 09, 2012


Seriously? Seriously?

How does that even happen? It's just a little button! I picked it up to use it last week and that little piece of plastic just fell out. When did it break? HOW did it break? (It wasn't the kids, they don't have access to this tool, obviously.)

I don't think a rotary cutter is the kind of tool you want to mess around trying to fix with superglue or whatever (and I'm sure it wouldn't even work), so hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to Joann Fabrics I go. 


Because I don't have a car today. 

Our older car tried to kill my husband last week and it will now be dragged out back and shot. Just kidding about the shooting part; it will be traded in on a new car. Already has been, technically. We just need to do the actual physical trade tonight. Goodbye, 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport in "flame red." You have been a pretty good steed for nearly 11 years, but with your 103,000 miles and disintegrating engine, the time has come to call it a day.

Kind of a bummer that we are re-entering the land of car payments after 8 months without. You get used to that pretty easily! Oh well, at least one car is paid off. One payment is better than two. And we got an awesome deal.

Of course, all I want to do today is cut quilt pieces and/or go somewhere. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

new year

Wow. Another new year already. How can it be 2012? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

My baby girl will turn 7 soon. Impossible.

Well, I still can't quite understand how the holidays whizz by so quickly now that I'm an adult. This year we had the added bonus of our hot water heater failing one week before Christmas Eve, necessitating its replacement. And then we had the (planned) installation of two oversize, custom built, double-double-hung windows in our kitchen and dining room on the 22nd. Yes, the leaky crappy windows have been replaced! We requested a full tear-out and rebuild of the frame for both, so we will never have to worry about them. We saw some seriously gross stuff when they ripped out the 1966 construction, but thankfully no structural damage. We already feel the difference in temperature inside the house, and there's no more rattle when the wind blows.

There was minor panic when a few gifts did not show up on time (thanks a lot used booksellers, you charge me $3.99 to ship a book, and I ordered TEN BOOKS meaning I paid a small fortune in shipping even though they all came TOGETHER...yet they did not arrive in time for Christmas)...so Hubs was out with the Crazies late at night on the 23rd, picking up a few extra gifts.

All in all it was nuts, as usual. But the good kind of nuts - cousins who live hundreds of miles apart getting to play together for several days in a row, catching up with my sisters, giving and receiving gifts, laughs, hugs, more laughs. Yes, it was good.

And I nearly made it with my knitted gifts! I got an ornament knitted up for our amazing therapist, but she ended up cancelling our last session before Christmas. I guess I could have put that time toward Hubs' hat, which ended up being finished early last week. Oh well. He loves it and has been wearing it to work each day. And thank goodness...all that garter stitch was torture!

Now, back to regular life, I suppose. Daughter went back to school today. AJ is back to his daily speech therapy. It's fa-reezing outside (12 degrees F today, with wind chill below 0), so I just want to hunker down and knit cables. I have one order to finish:

3 soakers, 3 colors, 3 sizes. I'm always so grateful when someone orders from me. I don't make a lot of money doing this, not by a long shot, but it's nice when someone likes my stuff, orders it, and then comes back to tell me how much they appreciate the item. Lots of photographers order newborn diaper covers and a few times I've received photos of teeny babies wearing them for photo shoots. It's so sweet.

When I'm done with that, it's back to this. I've started another project to use up some stashed yarn. I want to do a Starmore sweater really, really badly but I don't have enough of any one yarn right now. This is a free pattern from Lion Brand that gets decent reviews, so I'm going with it since I have what the pattern calls for. The stitch definition leaves much to be desired...but hopefully it will block and wear well. Whatever, I'm enjoying it so far. Cables are addictive, so the 8-row repeat goes by quickly and it grows in length surprisingly fast.

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you're all staying warm.