Friday, July 02, 2010

Firework Fun

Happy 4th to those in the States.
May your weekend be filled with many "ooohs" and "aaahs".


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A few more things...

I forgot to mention a big thing that happened this spring for the Bud...

He has been using his running bike for a few summers now ( September 2008, November 2008), and last summer he alternated using that and his "big bike" with training wheels, so all it took this spring was a little push from Mr 5 and he was off.

The cupcake's new love is a musical card that plays "Shake Your Groove Thing" by Peaches and Herb.
She has been cracking us up with her dancing:

One more thing...
I needed a little purple.


I think it goes well with the gray "highlights" I have been adding over the past few years.

I've been plugging away on the Green Mountain Shawl, but it doesn't look that much different. The rows are getting a lot shorter, and I hope to be wrapping it up soon.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mr 5 Tomato-Seed

Bird Whistle 2

It's officially summer (here in the northern hemisphere anyhow), and it is about time for an update on this blog.
So join me on the morning deck - and I'll pour another cup of coffee (it's never too hot for coffee, in my opinion) and let's catch up.

The morning deck

Mr 5 got on a gardening kick this spring and started lots of seeds inside - including 120 heirloom tomato plants - who could resist with names like "Bloody Butcher" and "Mortgage Lifter". We only saved 18 for our own garden and spread the rest about town - like some sort of Tomato version of Johnny Appleseed.

The clever Mr 5 also altered some large cans from my school's cafeteria to hang a few grape tomato plants.
(Thanks to the cafeteria staff for saving them and running them through the industrial dishwasher for us!)

Hanging Tomatoes

We are eagerly awaiting the first pick of the season.


We have already been harvesting from our small crop of lettuce - or as we say at our house "le-tooce"

Lettuce Crop

Our summer plans mainly involve hanging out around home, so we invested in a small improvement for the backyard.

The Swing Set

Swinging Rudolph Bud

The "Tree House"

Thanks to craigslist, we paid very little, but it was pretty cut-throat for swing set listings this spring. I emailed my interest about 30 minutes after this one was listed, and I thought I had already missed out.
The Bud picked out the material for the new canopy. I love it.

The morning deck is the perfect place from which to supervise. To shade it in the afternoon, the eternally creative Mr 5 snagged a used sail from a local sailing shop (for free!) and rigged it up as an awning.
It also shades the door into the house, which keeps our kitchen sooo much cooler! His thoughtful design is easy to adjust or quickly take down in the case of inclement weather. I'm in love!

Sail sans blotches

This really is where we will be all summer if you happen to be looking for us.

During all of this blog silence, our little cupcake has been growing up. She is 11 months old today!
I can hardly believe that in one month it will have been a year since her eventful birth.

Cupcake 3

She has mastered moving herself around in her own special way which involves pulling with her arms and pushing with her toes. And just this past weekend she figured out how to get herself back into a sitting position.
She is an easy going sweetie who loves to watch her brother, the ultimate entertainer.

My big news on the knitting front, is that I finally tried my hand at stranded knitting.

Snowflake Colorwork

It's like having a new toy. And so many more patterns have moved themselves from "that's lovely" to "that's possible" in my brain.
I love the traditional Norwegian "Selbu style" patterns, so I see more snowflakes in my future.

I am also still working on the Green Mountain Shawl from the first issue of St-Denis Magazine.
This thing will be mammoth once it is blocked.

Green Mountain Shawl with Bud for Scale

Thanks to the Bud for adding some scale. This shawl starts from the outer edge and works increasingly shorter rows to the center neck, so what's left should seem to go far faster than what I have completed so far. It is a little warm on the lap for the current weather, but I hope to make some more progress on it soon.

Green Mountain Shawl

Happy June Solstice, Everyone!

Blue-eyed Cupcake

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

giggles and milk love

It's been quite a long time since I have posted a movie of any sort. We no longer have a working device to capture video... but I recently discovered what I can do with just the voice recorder on my phone.

And so for your listening pleasure...

Cupcake is such a serious (but happy and easy going) baby - especially when compared to her kooky brother. She usually gives us subtle smiles instead of big grins, but somehow we managed to capture this rare giggle-fest.

It's hard to believe our little Cupcake is already 8 months old.

8 Months
(Click here to see a slideshow of her growing)

She just started blowing raspberries this week and is loving bananas and carrots with rice cereal. She is a pro at rolling over and looks like she tries to get her knees under her at times. She loves to stand and play in her exersaucer - marching in place and spinning around.

A few weeks ago she grew two small razors in the bottom of her mouth - I'm still healing.
Click the photo to enlarge and get a peak at her tiny weapons.

Look closely - teeth!

The Bud is constantly pretending to be a new character in his world that is always a stage.
Random items (considered by many to be trash) become fantastical props.
We have become used to stealthily throwing away things like the foil top to his yogurt at breakfast time because "that's my new toy."
This morning he was either a tiger or "the coolest puppy in the world" depending on the moment.

A Tiger or the coolest puppy in the world

He has been singing lots of original songs lately that evolve into variations on a theme.
I love his "I like milk" song - especially the end note on this version I recorded.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stitches in time and space

I have recently finished a couple of projects that have been on the needles for over a year. Not because they are large projects - just because of various extended hibernation periods.

One of my finally finished projects is my Ishbel shawl out of Serenity Sock by Zen Yarn Garden (that little bit of cashmere makes it so wonderfully smooshy!).

Ishbel Blocking Up close

I started this in March 2009 during the part of my pregnancy when knitting (and even reading) made me nauseated. I'm not sure why I decided that this was the moment for me to knit my first lace shawl, but everyone was making them - and they all just looked so lovely.
I made it through the stockinette portion just fine. But for some reason I screwed up on each repeat of lace in a way that my preggo brain could not find and fix - leaving me to rip out and re-do multiple times. I finally refused to rip back again and just shoved it in a bag.
Months later in the throws of gift knitting, I pulled it out for a status check. I was easily able to find the last elusive mistake and fix it without ripping anything back.
Now it was back on my radar - ready and waiting for a little finishing time.
I only needed about 4 hours to have a finished Ishbel just in time to wear it for my birthday a few weeks ago.

Ishbel Blocking

I love how it turned out. I only wish I had done the large stockinette with the small lace border.
Knitting on this again brought me back to thoughts and feelings of a year ago. How things have changed!

I also recently finished a plain pair of socks that have been on the needles since January 2009.
Stitched into these socks are so many places and memories.

Stash: Brick House

The yarn was a birthday present back in 2008 from my knitting neighbor pal who dyed it herself.

I wanted a pair of plain socks to work on at the Bohus Exhibit at the Swedish Institute.

I cast on both socks - trading off knitting time to keep them at about the same place.
The cuff and most of the legs remind me of this.

Then they sat until about April when they traveled to Yarnover - where I worked through the increases and decreases of a small gusset and added a piece of scrap yarn to pull out later for an afterthought heel.

They sat again until August - after the Cupcake had arrived, and I needed some easy and portable crib-side knitting. Thinking about finishing the feet on both socks takes me back to a specific corner Abbott Northwestern Special Care Nursury where I spent a lot of time.

That just left the toes and heels which I WIPed to FO during this year's Ravelympics

Anniversary Cuff Socks

Although I didn't like to have a heel to knit after I felt like I should be done, the fit is fabulous, so I think I will probably do it again. There are a few gusset/heel details on my ravelry project page.

I was an Olympic junkie this year watching any event that was on, and consulting my Olympic iPhone app for up to date info. I finished the above socks in the WIP category, and
the Cupcake's Tulip sweater in the children and sweater categories.

Tulip Sweater: Done but blocking and buttons

Now I'm focusing on what I am calling my shoulder blanket. The cover project from the first issue of St. Denis Yarn Magazine.

Green Mountain - edge

The piles of snow are gone and it feels like spring is finally here.
Not quite perfect timing for a huge worsted weight shawl. Hmmm.
It is supremely enjoyable knitting however, so I am loving it anyhow.

Happy Spring, everyone!


Sunday, February 07, 2010

still a favorite

Remember that new favorite video I mentioned? (OK Go's This Too Shall Pass)

If you know the Bud, you know it's all about the dress up and pretend. So it came as no surprise that after watching the video for about the 55th time this morning, the Bud wanted a drum and "feather hat" like the lead singer.

Ok go - costume

We used a few things we had sitting around, and voila!

Ok go - costume

We are now playing the video repeatedly so that the Bud can drum along.
It cracks me up to no end that when the drum stops at certain parts in the song, he stands and waits for it to start up again.

Ok Go - costume

Thanks for the fun, OK Go!


Saturday, February 06, 2010

a new favorite

Going back to work has been not so bad.
It does make me really appreciate sleep and weekends. A snow day in the near future would totally kick derriere (although I've probably ruined any chance of that happening by actually saying it out loud).

We've got a new family favorite youtube video (sorry no embedding on this one) - it just makes me smile and sing along each time. Maybe it's the marching band - I had a little marching band envy in high school. Violists don't ever march, and those band folk always seemed to be having a lot of fun.
The Bud has decided that the song is about his little pal Molly, and that the lyrics are actually "when the Molly comes."

There has been nothing at all happening on the knitting front since the start date back at work, but I did manage to finish a couple of quickie projects during the final countdown:

Thorpe 1
Ravelry Link
The Bud was in dire need of a new hat. He loved my Thorpe, and I had a few leftovers around that seemed a perfect fit.

All the Water
Ravelry Link
I also finished my "back to work" mittens - I love Through the Loops and her patterns - so lovely and always well written.

Everyone is napping but me, so I will end with a gratuitous baby pic (our little Cupcake is now over 6 months old!) and enjoy a few precious moments of silence. Shhhh.

6th months - up close

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Whew! I made it!

Back in September I created a challenging list of gift knitting for myself: 3 shawls, one scarf, one pair of mittens, a pair of fingerless mitts and some ornaments.
It was September, I had months to finish everything.
I got a few "you'll learn" sorts of smiles and nods from those who thought my after Christmas post would most likely be titled "Grand Plans".
Well, to that I say, Ha!
I made it, even with last minute additions and a detour for myself.

Holiday Knitting

BSJ for little Cupcake
Stetland Triangle for Mom
Breathe Deep Mittens for SIL
Scholar Collar in One Row Scarf Pattern for Dad
Evangeline Fingerless Mitts for Niece
Ornaments for lil gifties
Lace Beret for myself
Highline Shawl for Sis
Elfin baby hat for a wee one's shower
198 Yards of Heaven for MIL

The BSJ was added to the list a little late to finish by Christmas, but it was very close. And Cupcake didn't know the difference, so I'm safe there.

For months I've been putting off selfish knitting. Oh I did take a short detour to make a beret for myself, but that felt like a blip in the sea gift knitting. Don't get me wrong - I loved all of those projects, but now it is January the time for selfish knitting, and the time for new projects. Perhaps later it will be the time for finishing some WIPs, but only once the joy of starting long awaited new projects has worn off.

The first FO for the new year is a Thorpe from my own handspun.
Handspun Thorpe
Ravelry Link

I love the browny stripe in the middle and the chunky braids for the ties.
Thorpe is one of the many fabulous patterns from the talented Kristen at Through the Loops. I used two of her patterns for gifts (Breathe Deep and Highline), and I just started a pair of mittens using her All the Water pattern with some juicy cables. Yum!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A story of socks reborn

It's a new year, a time for looking ahead and focusing on the future.
It is in that spirit that I plunged a pair of socks into kool-aid and vinegar last night.

It was January 2008 when I knit these foot coverings of orangey goodness:
Dreamsicle Monkeys - Finished

I was in love. I dyed the yarn myself with kool-aid.

Dye Job #2

The repeat worked well with the pattern.

Dreamsicle Monkeys - Finished

They were the most beautiful socks I had created.
(cue ominous music)
Until the unthinkable happened...

new - black - leather - shoes

those new shoes coupled with my sock pride (I just had to show them off in my new shoes) ultimately lead to hand-dyed, hand-knit sock disaster.

I have no pictures because the result made me so sad: black stains all over the foot of each sock.
I soaked, and soaked the socks, and much of the black came out, but out came most of the beautiful orange color as well. I could hardly bring myself to look at the resulting dingy yellow color.

It took over a year and a half, but I was finally emotionally ready to do something about this sock tragedy.

Last night I overdyed them with some Blue Raspberry and Tropical Punch.
I wasn't sure what the final color would be, but they ended up a nice rusty orange-red.

Socks Reborn -2

The feet have some wear - fuzziness that looks a little white in the photo on the heel and ball, but it's not horrible for 2 year old socks.

Socks Reborn -1

It's almost like a brand new pair of socks for a brand new year.

Socks Reborn -3

Happy new year, everyone!


Friday, November 13, 2009

the buck stopped here

Yesterday around lunch my neighbor called from her car to say that she just pulled into her driveway and saw this guy hanging out.
Buck in the driveway
Not a normal visitor to our 1st ring suburban neighborhood.

Later he circled back for a closer shot.
The bud kept calling him a reindeer. It seems the excitement of the "reindeer season" is already upon us.

Our poor little tiger (aka the Bud) seemed to catch just about every bug out there last month. I am crossing my fingers that he is finally on the mend for good.
Sweet Tiger

Thankfully we have managed to keep the Cupcake healthy during this very germy time.
Adoring Cupcake

Meanwhile... I have been knitting away on many secret projects.

finished this (ravelry link)
Sneak Peek #1

checked off this (ravelry link)
Sneak Peek #2

still working on this (ravelry link)
Sneak Peek #3

and this (ravelry link)
Sneak Peek #4

and this (ravelry link)
Sneak Peek #5

(I recently learned that I can now post photos directly to Ravelry - so there are more pics and details there)

I did take a little break from secret knitting to whip up a beret for myself - or as my friend called it, a beret-k (just say it out loud).

I love a good beret - every girl needs at least one in her hat arsenal - and when I saw this one in the recent Vogue Holiday magazine, I knew I needed to cast on.
Lace Beret

I have finally learned how to read a chart "lefty style" - it's like a whole new knitting world just opened itself up to me. This lace cart based on a Japanese stitch pattern was a joy to knit.
Lace Beret - 1

Many folks, including the infamous yarn harlot, have fallen in love with Dream in Color Starry lately - this is very similar (superwash, semi-solid, fingering weight, spun with a little silver), but is from Zen Yarn Garden - a favorite little shop of mine.
Lace Beret - On
Ravelry Link

I hope you all are making time for a break (or a beret-k) for yourselves.

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