Wednesday, May 27, 2009

See Mama Sew


So I decided to try my hand at pillowcase dresses. Pork Chop could use some new nighties (I'm not exactly sure when her legs became a mile long, but they are.) And the other two, well, they're just so cute how could I not. I'm feeling lazy so I'm not going to bother linking to a tutorial. Just google "pillowcase dress tutorial" and roughly eleventy billion links will come up. All of them say about the same thing: cut a "j" for the armholes and stitch that bad boy up! They're quick and easy. My only word of advice is to ignore the people who say to double fold and stitch the armholes. You'll save yourself a world of frustration if you use binding instead.

This is the only one actually sewn from an old pillowcase.


It was intended to be a nightgown but Pork Chop loved it so much she wore it to a church activity last night. She told every one "Can you believe she made this with a pillowcase?" I'm glad she likes it.

This was sewn with just regular fabric.


Lucky for me it is easy to duplicate the shape of a pillowcase. I asked Bird if she would like a nightgown, a dress, or a shirt and she choose a shirt.


It might be a smidge on the short side. The length is perfect now, but might be too short next week. *shrug* She loves it, and isn't that all that matters.

Sweet Pea's dress was sewn from fabric as well. I love this fabric and was saving this square for just the right project. I even tried to get fancy with embellishment, I'm still undecided as to whether or not I like it.

Sweet Pea is ambivalent about wearing her dress. She is actually rather picky about her clothing. If she doesn't like her shirt she will pull at it and grunt at you until you give her a different one. Honestly, the kid prefers to be naked and has taken to removing her clothing (including her diaper) as often as she can get away with it (i.e. hourly). Sometimes she is lucky she's so cute.

She did enjoy being outside and smelling the green things.


It made her very happy.


We went to the playground after our "photo shoot", and that made her sad.


Meaty didn't get anything sewn for him. Poor neglected boy. But he didn't seem to mind.


He amused himself trying to stomp a "jumping ant" (whatever that is)

All in all I considered it a very successful morning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just Passing Through

My secret Evil knitting grows.


As does the decoy knitting.


He doesn't suspect a thing. *insert maniacal laugh here*

AND I stitched up a dress for Sweet Pea during nap time yesterday.


I've taken a photo shoot of all the sewing I've been doing, but it will have to wait. I've only got a moment. I guess really I'm blogging to tell you I don't have time for you.


That's how it starts and the next thing you know I'm breaking up with you via text message.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

And The Star Spangled Banner Truimphant Shall Wave

O'er the land of the free, BECAUSE of the brave!


I wish that sentiment were my idea, but I stole it from a friend. We must always remember what we have been given, and the price of such a gift.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes

An observant reader might have noticed that I've been knitting a lot of sweaters lately.

Yup, I live in the desert. Summer has just arrived bringing with it temperatures of over 100 degrees. And I'm knitting sweaters.

An observant reader might also have noticed that I don't appear to have any new yarn coming in so to speak. That's right. I've been stash diving.

Now my stash has never been particularly big. I buy yarn with a project in mind, knit the project, and wonder what to do with the tiny left-over balls. But every once in a while I get lots and lots of yarn just because its pretty. It would appear I've run out of pretty yarn. I've still got sock yarn. I've got sock yarn for at least another seven, maybe twelve pairs of socks. But sweater quantities of yarn? Not so much.

To appease my inner sweater knitter yesterday I found myself knitting this




This is the only sweater size quantity of yarn in my stash.

One might recognise this as dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnn: Evil. This project first made its debut here . Yes. I do realize that would be March of 2005, over four years ago. My oldest work-in-progress (not counting the children).

I don't want to drag up painful knitting memories, but I feel some explanation is required for those of you who haven't been hanging on my every word for the past four years (have I really been blogging that long?!!!). A brief synopsis of this project looks like this: My husband choose the World's Twine-iest Most Painful Yarn EVER(tm) and told me to knit him a sweater and then refused to find a pattern he liked. No. This mythical perfect sweater must be conjured out of thin air using yarn that actually removes the skin from my fingers as I knit. And it must be perfect.

But no pressure there.

I once made him a quilt. We carefully chose each fabric together, picking out just the perfect color combinations to create each square. It took me a months to piece the top, hand stitching the entire thing. Then it sat. I couldn't decide if I wanted to hand quilt it or tye it. He wanted it tyed but it seemed like sacrilege to tye a hand sewn quilt. So it sat. For five years it sat. Finally The Greatest decided to take matters into his own hands and tye the darn thing himself. Which he did. And now he uses that quilt almost everyday. He teases me that he's going to have to give up and knit his own sweater as well.

As I approach the five year mark with this sweater I've decided I need to suck it up and knit. I'm using Leo as a pattern guide. In a perfect world I would just be able to knit this pattern but The Greatest wants 3x2 ribbing not 5x3 ribbing, and yes, it does make a difference (in his mind it makes a difference). And the collar isn't right. And he doesn't want it to be that fitted (although he'd look so good with it fitted like that). But it is HIS sweater, so I suppose I should knit what he wants to wear, not what I want to knit.

I've decided to surprise him with this sweater, so he can't know I'm knitting this. One would think it might be difficult to secretly knit a sweater for someone you live with, but it turns out its not. I can blog about it because he doesn't read my blog. The summer has started and there is the ever elusive off-duty work to be found (HALLELUJAH), so it turns out there are hours and hours and hours and days and days and days where I won't see him. Plenty of time to knit a sweater.

Of course I must have a decoy project to knit when he is around, because if I sat around not knitting he would know something was up.


I've got it all covered.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Housewife or Borg, you decide

This is eerie...


That my friends is the bottom of my knitting bag. I don't think I've seen it in years. My poor row counter and mp3 player look so lonely lying there. At least they have each other for company. I wonder if they're cold with no half knit woolly projects to cuddle. (note to self: you might want to vacuum the bag out before you take pictures of it next time. Nah, I'm just keeping it real, cause that's how I roll)

I feel slightly unsettled with no projects in my bag. I know how this happened, but I still don't understand how this happened. Like when my friend got pregnant after her husband's vasectomy. She knew how she got pregnant, but she didn't understand how she got pregnant. Oh the mystery of the known.

It started with my knee (the knitting, not the pregnancy).

Yesterday my knee throbbed. I've got what I think is arthritis in my knee and life is so much worse for me when there is moisture in the air. And we had a doozy of a thunderstorm Thursday night. Friday morning was surprisingly cool, with a touch of precipitation. It felt like a spring morning back home. It reminded me of camping and how the air was always cool and full of dew at dawn. I always loved that moment in the morning before the heat of the day descended. What should have been a refreshing change of weather was instead agony. My knee ached and throbbed and screamed at me each time I moved. I tried moving around all morning, doing my general cleaning and such (see here )to see if I could "shake it off" so to speak. Around 10 I gave up. Moving made me feel like crying. I felt on the verge of a migraine so I couldn't take pain relievers (too many will push me over the edge into a migraine). I decided the only thing to do was sit on my butt for the rest of the day.

But I can't just sit on my butt and do nothing. It feels so wrong. That's why I took up knitting in the first place, so I could sit on my butt all day but still feel productive. I can't fully relax unless my hands are busy. I'm so odd.

And productive I was!


I was a woman on fire. I did so much I'm wondering if I might in fact be part machine. Am I a Borg? Some kind of monstrous alien sleeper cell masquerading as a mild mannered knitting house wife when in reality I am poised to kill and conquer mankind at the flip of a switch? I looked for a USB port in the shower this morning. I couldn't find one, so I think I'm still human, but only time will tell.

That impressive stack of crafting contains five finished sweaters, one scarf, a nightgown and a tank top. All the knit items just needed a little finishing work. The sewn items were cut and finished yesterday.

I'm telling you, sometimes I impress myself.

Of course all this productivity led to this


for dinner.

But no one seemed to mind.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Lovin'

Or Showing off my kids. Cause they're what I love.

I love swimming!


I love the baby


hanging out in her floatie singing E-Pro to her walrus. She's surprisingly good.

I'm loving end of the year award ceremonies.


And Kindergarten Graduations.


(where I bawled like a crazy woman as usual. I don't know what it is about those cheesy school events that make me so weepy)

I loved discovering that I'm the proud parent of THAT KID, you know, the one who always does the song motions a beat or two after every one else.


And who finds himself fascinated by the ceiling halfway through the song.


He's just so lovable. I wanna squeeze him.

And I love that today is the last day of school. At 1:15 today these children are officially all mine for the summer.


(and just for fun compare that photo to the one at the bottom of this post. They grow too fast! )

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Evidently if life hands me a bunch of stress all at once that I can do absolutely nothing what-so-ever about


I can be quite productive.

That is indeed


16 inches of knitting.

I'd expect a finished Sage Remedy Top by this time tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of the baby 4:45 am.

That was only fifteen minutes earlier than usual.

Since she now sleeps through the night and usually takes at least on decent nap a day, sometimes two, she thought it would be wicked awesome to torture me by waking every day as the sun makes its appearance.

I've purchased supplies to black out her window.

I fed four children breakfast, including a reluctant little boy who doesn't like to eat in the morning. I was the same way as a child. I should apologise to my parents for that.

I made the older two get dressed for school.

School lunches were made.

I nagged the children into cleaning their rooms. This took longer and required more effort on my part than if I had just cleaned the rooms myself. They also would have looked better if I had cleaned them myself. But my goal is responsible adults, not perfectly cleaned bedrooms. Eye on the prize!

I made my bed and picked up my bathroom.

I made them pick up the toys so I could vacuum.

I started to vacuum.

The older children decided to wait outside for their ride to school. A ride that wasn't coming for another hour.

The baby decided to go outside too. I'm so glad she learned to work the door knobs.

In the process she let the dog out.

I stop vacuuming to put pants on, retrieve the baby and find the dog.

All children are safely in the house.

I vacuum.

I give the baby second breakfast, there's a bit of hobbit in that one I tell you.

I start laundry.

I clean the kitchen and polish the appliances.

I start to clean the bathroom.

I stop to go find the dog, the baby has let her out. Again.

The children's ride arrives to find me in my jammies and flip flop trying to get the dog while Pork Chop stands on the side of the road holding Sweet Pea, who is dressed only in a diaper. Classy.

Children leave for school.

I bribe the dog back into the house with fakin' bacon.

I finish cleaning the bathroom.

I get dressed.

I get the other children dressed.

It is only 8:00 a.m.

I'm already exhausted and ready for bed.

The rest of my day was just as action packed. Between household duties, childcare, church commitments and my water company's inability to deposit my checks into the right account my day was full.

And I didn't even get to go swimming.

Is it any wonder I can't find time to blog?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Showing Off!

Like most knit bloggers I got to spend a large portion of my day yesterday sitting on my butt knitting. It was just what I wanted to do with my day. And in an added bonus, The Greatest got up with the baby, made me breakfast in bed, cleaned the house, did some laundry, cooked dinner, and bought me a blender. Mmmmmmm.....daily milkshakes from now until winter! I don't call him The Greatest for nothing. It was a good day.

Here's what I spent yesterday working on:


Ummmm. Yeah. I know. It doesn't look like much yet. But I'm hoping in a week or so it will be something fabulous. It's got some issues (lace weight stockinette stitch on size 6 needles. Can we say lumpy?) so we'll have to wait and see if blocking really is as magical as I think it is and can salvage this mess in the end. Until then I plug along. First it was endless knit rows in the round, then 22 inches of stockinette, then more endless knit stitches. Now I'm on to three inches of 1 x 1 ribbing. This is a boring knit. Easy, mindless, I'm not complaining. Every once in a while I like something that is easy on the brain. I think when I'm done I might have to knit some lace to energize my brain or risk turning into a zombie. Mmmmmmm.....brains. Until then I zone along with the knitting and try not to drool on myself.

But my red blob of a hot mess of knitting isn't what I came to show off today. I've got family pictures!

My favorite - just look at that expression on Bird!


A close second.


The rest of these? Well now I'm just showing off.







Aren't they great?!!! I'll take credit for making the cute kids. But the photography credit goes to Sunshine and Shade Photography. She's not exactly what I would call local, but well worth the drive!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Things I love on a Friday Morning

Once upon a time I lived in a cream colored house. It had green shutters and a tiny front porch. I always wanted to live in a house with a front porch. The Greatest was so proud to buy me that a front porch. We closed on our wedding anniversary, our very first home, a gift we intended to spend the next thirty years paying off.

I loved those green shutters. I loved that front porch. I loved that house. I loved everything about that house, from the vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom, to the garden tub, to the fireplace, to the ginormous kitchen. I even loved the blue counter tops that I thought were soooooo ugly. I loved them because they were mine. I felt spoiled living there. The Greatest bought this house for me, for our family. He gave us a home.

This was the house I was going to live in forever. The house where two of my babies were conceived. When they came home from the hospital this was where they went. This was the only home they were ever going to know. The only home Pork Chop was going to remember. This was the home I was going to grow old with The Greatest in.

We were the first family to live in that home. I think houses grow personalities. I think they can take on the energy of the previous occupants (I know, sometimes I'm crazy, its part of my charm). I spent time pondering the legacy I wanted to leave the house with. I thought of the energy I wanted to fill the house with. I wanted the house to be happy. So I filled it with music. And the laughter of children. And fights, cause we're normal people, followed by hugs. And big loud holidays. And quiet evenings snuggled on the couch together. And all the good things I could think of. I tried to keep it neat and clean. I'd like to think it was a happy house.

We were unbearably happy there.

Until we weren't happy.

One day things got bad. Jobs were lost. Bills piled up. Unemployment ran out. The stack of bills got taller.

The house was sold.

As things spiraled worse, no home, bad jobs, no jobs again, my Mom had cancer, we talked of divorce, I fell into the habit of thinking of the time we spent living in that home as "The Happiest Time in Our Life." Those were the golden days. The days I wanted back.

In addition to giving me a house with green shutters and a front porch, when we lived in the cream colored house The Greatest gave me roses. I've mentioned before that The Greatest doesn't really buy me flowers. The occasions he has are truly blog worthy events. But in that home he planted rose bushes for me. He faithfully tended them, watering them, feeding them, doing mysterious gardener things to them. He would often bring me beautiful roses from his bushes. The most fragrant delicate blooms. I still remember the kind of roses they were, Peace Roses, creamy with pink on the edges. It was romantic and sweet and part of the beauty that was life in our cream colored house.

Leaving the house was hard on all of us. Leaving the roses was especially hard on The Greatest. I think he has in his mind the kind of man he wants to be, the kind of father and husband he wants to be. The rose bushes played a part in that somehow. He mourned the loss of the roses, the loss of the man he was trying to be.

Time marched on as time relentlessly does. The only constant is change, I suppose. We moved, and moved, and moved again. Jobs changed. There were deaths. And a birth. And as life cycled around we were happy again. We fell into a comfortable place. I was content with our lot in life. I rarely allowed myself to dream a bigger dream of having a place all our own to call home.

And then we bought a new house. A home. I traded shutters for stucco. A fireplace for a pool. No front porch, but I still have a ginormous kitchen. And I love every inch of it, even the hideous green carpet I hate so much, because this is ours.

This is the home we're going to live in for as long as we can. We'd like to grow old together here, but I suppose being older and a bit more cynical we're not planning that far ahead. We'll just take as much as we can get. For now, for this moment, this is home. And that is enough. I think the house felt sad when it was standing empty and alone. I'd like to think the house is happy now, filled with the constant chaos of four children, a cat, and an incontinent dog. This is our life, and it is a good one.

But The Greatest still felt a hole where something was missing. It wasn't completely home to him yet.

I'm going somewhere with all this. I really am. This was all just a long way of saying I'm loving my roses.

The bushes on the ends are deep red.


The bush in the middle is cream.


I guess we're officially home now.



That is the number of teeth this Princess


is currently cutting.

(I know! She looks so big in that picture! When did that happen? Must plot ways to stop it...)

You may recall that she has never been one to suffer in silence.

So we all suffer.

She did pretty well with Tylenol. Life was bearable. She was crabby but easily distracted into a better mood. And she still napped! I drugged that baby up every four hour religiously. In fact I don't think I've ever performed any religious duty as faithfully as I doled out her medicine. But we went through the bottle at an alarming rate. When purchasing a replacement bottle I made an executive decision and decided to go with the Equate version of Tylenol. It just made sense to buy the bottle that was half the price when we were going to go through it twice as fast.

It would appear I do not in fact possess that kind of executive authority. I should have consulted the person who really wears the pants around here. Sadly, she does not like the taste of Equate Tylenol.

So now crabby baby's mouth hurts and she refuses to take anything that might make her not hurt. Instead she prefers to spit it out in a fabulous spray of sticky purple goo. *le sigh* That baby. She does a good imitation of a Vegas fountain.

Without the mellowing effect of the Tylenol crabby has become her only emotion. And in an added bonus she has declared a moratorium on napping. Good times people, good times. I don't recall seeing warnings about this in any of the inspirational "Have a Baby, They're So Cute!" brochures. Can I sue for false advertising?

Two teeth have broken through. One tooth is about to break at any moment. I don't understand how it can be so close to the surface and not break through. Four more are swollen and positioned to strike.

Pray for us all.

And now I must go. The baby has realized I am doing something that she does not find personally entertaining. The crying and tugging on my clothing has commenced.


I'm off to see if we have a new Sesame Street on the DVR (which, by the way, SHE programmed to tape every day, TRUE STORY!) May the primary colored puppets distract her into a better temper.