Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Rite of Passage

I feel somehow that last week I became official. 'Cuz I don't think I could call myself a "knitter," if I hadn't made some baby booties. Really, who do you know that knits or crochets and hasn't made a pair of booties? Don't answer that. I could be wrong.

The booties are from a very simple pattern out of Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas. And, although I have yet to tackle knitting in the round, I did manage an I-cord. Surprisingly satisfying, those I-cords. I want to make them to tie up everything I own! I know that doesn't make sense, just humor my hyperbole.

I was going to wait to give these away and to post about them until after I had tried the bonnet to go with them (this one from Last Minute Knitted Gifts), but patience is SO not one of my virtues. Addy, I'm sorry they make your feet look a little like a Smurf, but I'm sure you'll grow into them.

Eeeeek! I made baby booties! I am such a happy little nerd.

I mean, knitter.

Knitting Nerd (that's better). Happy little knitting nerd.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Laundry List

We've been getting some MUCH needed rain around here for the last couple of days. While I'm taking a break from hanging my laundry outside, I skipped around on the order of my "need to make" list and tackled my clothespin apron. Here it is in all its glory:

Recently, every time I reach in the pocket to take out a clothespin, I manage to tear it just a little bit more. To be fair, this was a relic from my parents' basement (I like to shop there. It's pretty much as good as their attic) and it had a long life before that. I don't want to try to date it, but has been around for DECADES of washing days.

So, today I whipped myself up a new one:


Now we just have to wait for the sun to come back out.

Double Take

Over the weekend my boys got a couple of hand-me down Game Boys and a handful of games from some older cousins. Now I'VE got myself what?



Well, at least one of them is still a baby. :-)

Now off to write up some new rules for this business, as we are obviously not ready for "self monitored" use.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm an Idea Sort of GIrl

If you really pay attention, you will likely notice that I have more ideas than finished projects. I'm just an idea sort of girl. Add this one to the list:

My aunt bestowed a bag of dishrag cotton on me this weekend. In it was this rather hideous book probably from the early 80s. And, yet, in its pages.... voila! I am thinking "Little Red Riding Hood." Can't you just see Ellie's little blonde curls peeking out under that hood?

Yup. Lots of ideas.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Weekend Work

These were the symbols of our weekend. Blessed with good weather and help from Mike's family, we began the "demolition" phase of outdoor improvement. I've shared some of the before and after of the inside of our house, and the previous owners were no better at caring for the outside. I won't even begin to list all the overgrown and neglected corners of our yard (front and back). We've just started in one little spot (sort of) and I'm trying to tackle things in small bits in my mind so that I don't get too overwhelmed or depressed about it.

This was my project: tearing out a 20 x 12 ft. patch of ivy from the back corner that has crept through the fence from our neighbor. I was about halfway done in this picture and the whole thing took me ALL afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mike and his dad busted up and cleaned out an old shed foundation in the same area.

Don't focus on all the grub around it, but just on that nicely cleaned up area. (Read as "mud hole just as soon as it rains.")

A little dilemma came into play though as we talked about filling in the small pit made by the removal of the foundation. We hated to buy topsoil to fill it in when there was this huge, terrible garden in the front that we want to tear out anyway. Wouldn't it make MORE sense to use that dirt in the back and buy dirt for the front after we tear out the ugly, overgrown yew bushes? Yes..... Great! then, we're also going to tear out the front bushes today!

We looked a little naked after, but OH so much better. Then yesterday, Mike worked his bum off while I took the kids to my folks. He disassembled that front garden, filled in the back pit and built me some new gardens along the front of the house.

THAT dirt is some I am actually excited to buy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Preview

The last couple days here have been nice and hot. Pretty soon, we'll be doing this everyday.

Dirty, grassy splash pool that must be refilled twice a day to stay clean (ish).

Sprinkler cools off the kids and my plants.

Buckets of water are dragged about for purposes known and unknown, approved and unapproved.

And the kids make sure that EVERY night is a bath night.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Remember Violet? Well, MONTHS ago when she was sent off to her dear new owner, a friend was requested. Sorry, Beth and Claire, I'm a little slow these days. But Cousin Bridget is going in the mail this morning.

She has wonky arms, like she is permanently saying "TaDA!!!!"

She has some issues with being bowlegged; it must run in the OTHER side of the family.

And, because I miscalculated the sheerness of the lighter skinned fabric color and didn't trim her dark blue eyes as closely as I should have, she appears to have some serious dark circles.

Still, I'm lovin' the freckles. Hang on Violet, I see a summer of tea parties and sleepovers ahead.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Official

Little Man Tate is moving up in the world, but taking his bean bags with him.

First year of preschool? Done and done.

I'd say congratulatory cake is in order, but did they have to use BLUE frosting?

Hooray for you Tate!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cal's First Party

On Sunday Cal attended is first "real" birthday party without us. He attended a couple in preschool, but only friends of ours or a party where parents were required to be there too. ( Remember the dreaded visit to Chuck E. Cheese?) This friend, Ashley, lives kiddy-corner across the street from us. Her incredible mother VOLUNTARILY hosted a party of crazy little children between, I'm guessing, 5 and 8ish. Ashley is a really cool little girl who is super into reptiles and amphibians! (I am for SURE encouraging this friendship.... no princesses here!) Her parents know a guy who works with snakes and other cool things like that and he came to the party and did a little show/demonstration deal. Cal LOVED it. He got to see snakes and alligators and toucans. I felt pretty good about our gift choices after getting to hear all that.

Here is what we made for Ashley:

The backpack is from the same instructions used for this bag from last year. The bean bag frog was from Purl Bee.

Ellie loved the frog too. Might have to make some of those for the Christmas stockings this year. They are really fun to play catch with.

And here is my little model showing how cute the bag is on. I slipped in a little notebook and colored pen again too; although if I had felt like I had more time, a sketchbook and pencil roll would have been better.

When I picked Cal up, Ashley was holding her frog (yea!) and I'm excited for him (3 hours and a party without me!) and happy for me that it was just up the street. ;-)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Green Thrifting

I haven't been to my favorite SA haunt in quite awhile. I've been avoiding it because, if I go, I WILL spend money and because I really do sort of hate going with the kids. (shhh!) I have a friend though, who is NEW to the whole thrifting business (can you IMAGINE????) and she is easing herself into learning to shop in this wonderful way. I say "easing" because when you weren't raised with used stuff and with a love of.... shall we call it, vintage chic?.... apparently learning to sift through a giant thrift store that feels a bit like a jumbly garage sale can actually be rather difficult.

She was going to hit 1/2 Price Wednesday this week, so I thought I would join her. And join her, I did. Although as my luck usually goes, nothing I found actually qualified for 1/2 price.

Cool bookends for the boys' desk:

A darling hardtop suitcase (3 bucks!!!) in almost perfect condition. I tried to air it out a bit in the sun and hoped baking some lilacs inside it would help with the "i've been stored in someone's attic for 30 years" smell. The suitcase is being saved as a trunk for all the doll clothes that I am going to (in theory) make for a birthday gift for Elle. OK, so maybe it will be for her 4th or 5th birthday... ;-)

And Ellie also got this sweet, vintage cardboard print for her room (that is, if I don't steal it for my "studio" -that's just fun to say!).

I LOVE it from the brushed texture to make it look like canvas right down to the fake-woodgrain, green plastic frame.

I don't know about "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," but I sure had a green day.

Oh, and I found THE MOST AWESOME Father's Day gift EVER!!!! But that has to stay a secret as I think Mike may actually read this....

Really can't imagine having to ease into this; I don't know what I would do without it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Could Eat This

It's here. I took the plunge and ordered the fabric because these quilts are something I really want to do for Ellie, something I decided I was justified in using her saved up gift money for, I remembered that I had two vintage twin sheets that would be just perfect for the backings, and because it is something I've always wanted to try.

Seriously, I could just bite right into that stack. Let's hope I didn't bite off more than I can chew.

PS. Check this out. I'm FAMOUS ;-) (and I have really cool ideas)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

So, remember this room?

I know, it's hard to recognize. I can barely see the resemblance myself. Even the closet is neat.

That was my Mother's Day gift from Mike (along with some dahlias and not having to cook all day): a WHOLE AFTERNOON of no child related responsibilities so I could dig myself out of that wreck of a room. It's all mine now, by the way, which is why it ended up so messy. OK, PARTLY why it ended up so messy. We moved all the office stuff out a few weeks ago and everything just stayed jumbly. I now feel like I can tackle my ever-growing list of things to sew and I better get on it soon. This month includes birthday parties for 4 and 7 year old girls, a baptism and two preschool teachers. To say nothing of all the things around the house that need to get done.

**deep breath**

Before I get ahead of myself, let me just bask a little more in that (still) clean room, in the pretty glass of flowers brought to me by my three babes,

in the gorgeous pile of drawings and writings bestowed on me by the boys

including this from Tate,

and this from Cal.

It is enough to make me want every day as Mother's Day. But really, when I think about it, every day is.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blech and Happy Mother's Day to You!

Tate: Mom, do you know where the throw-up is coming from? It is coming from my BONES."

Oh Pip, I believe you.

I am pretty sure we have a case of Rotavirus on our hands. Ellerie was, thankfully, vaccinated for this; so in spite of a week long version of the runs, she was saved from the violence at the other end. But my sweet Tate always seems to have the hardest time. So, while what I really WANT to be doing is taking care of this:

(You can barely walk around in this room. I may never craft again at this rate), I am trying to take care of my sickly little man and doing enough laundry (again) to keep my local water authority in business for the near future.

I know he needs someone nearby though and like I said before, sick kids are usually good kids. Oddly enough, watching them so vulnerable reminds me just how incredibly much I love them and how much they really do still need me. I think that is what I will take away as my Mama's Day gift: they really do need me and I, them.

It really is a special sort of bond because, trust me when I say this, ONLY A MOTHER would have cleaned up what I had to clean up in the middle of the night last night.


Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to you all! May it be a time to treasure and sickness free! ;-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Garden of Our Own

After the "window incident" and before we began yet ANOTHER round of GI virus (I only wish I were kidding), we had a really nice weekend. Saturday was a visit from Nana Sue, Papa Paul and the Great Grandmas, where Mike and I got to go window shopping (literally) and Garden Shopping. This time of year, that is even more fun to me than thrifting. And that is saying something.

It was perfect weather, although probably not hot enough for the naked body parts my sons were sporting.

Man, I need a rope ladder for that tree. Those boys are getting way too big to boost up there.

Ellie enjoyed a little snack in the breezeway while she waiting for the gardening action to begin. (Her headband, btw, is from this pattern. Super easy and possibly addictive to make)

The boys were SO keen to help plant THEIR plants. And watering?

Well, that's fun even when you don't manage to get a drop on the actual plants.

We are all very excited about our 8 tomato plants (Cherry, Burpee Big Boy, and Heirloom), Romaine lettuce, Zucchini, Cucumbers, and some herbs. The boys were out last night (after their entire day of tv and computer games while I moaned in bed, sleeping off the fever) already checking on their progress. "Mom! I think the plants have already grown!! They look just a little bigger!"

Those cinder blocks are our next little project. They need to be weeded, filled in with soil and we are planting some Trailing Soapwort seeds to create a nice little flowered border and to help HIDE the ugly cinder blocks.

In spite of the fact that we worked ALL day and only managed this wee garden and some improvement to the patio, I am learning slowly to just embrace these small changes and not to get bogged down emotionally by what is left to do. And, it's hard not to get excited about a little summer salad from our very own garden.