Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Turning my day around.

I've been feeling rather melancholy these past few days. Maybe it's the typical post-holiday January blahs. Maybe it's the missing/presumed deceased cat. Maybe it's the letter I got from a lawyer talking about my "late mother", reducing her life to a list of assets. Maybe it's the weather.

our first overcast day of the year

This morning is unusually grey.

Maybe it's my knitting

I'm pretty sure I'm not shaped like a parallelogram, but I could be wrong.

It is also unusually grey. And unusually wonky. See how it is pulling into a parallelogram on one side. Or it could be a trapeziod. That one side is considerably longer than the other. What the heck Knitting? What the heck? It is the softest of soft acrylic (seriously, this acrylic is ridiculously soft and luscious). And because it is the softest of soft acrylic, I doubt this will block out. It is a pile of soft grey parallelogram shaped frustration.

I wonder if this is some kind of karmic punishment for adding to the list of unfinished things instead of finishing a project off the list of unfinished things. After all, I'm practically finished with Meaty's winter hat.

I know it looks odd, but its a hat.

Now that winter in the desert is almost over of course. All that is left is the sewing needle work. Weaving in seams, sewing in the lining, duplicate stitching the pattern on the front. I could finish this hat in about three hours if I tried. One evening of work and I could be done. And I might even be able to convince him to wear it to school in the mornings where there is still a hint of chill in the air. Yes, one evening and it could be done. I could be done. I'd have something real to show for my work. Something tangible that I created. Isn't that part of why I knit?

*sigh*I just can't get excited about finishing the knitting.



Despite my feelings of apathy twards it all, I had almost resolved to finally finish something.

Then I went to Bezzie's blog.

First of all if you aren't reading her, start right now.

Secondly, I've got to go find some cream colored yarn in my stash. ELF just might be the greatest Christmas movie ever made! I NEED a Jovie hat.

My day just might be looking up!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birthday Wishes

On Sunday we had dinner with friends. Someone asked Meaty how old he was. He replied "I'm six, but tomorrow I'll be seven."

And that is exactly how it happened.

Sunday night I went to sleep the mother of a six year old boy. Monday morning I woke up to discover I was the mother of a seven year old boy. Funny how that happens.

Age hasn't changed him much. He's still the same sweet/stubborn boy he's always been.

Busy Birthday Boy

So determined to grow up as fast as he can.

can you spot my child?

He's got all kinds of plans. He's going to take the army netting in his room with him when he goes to college. And the dog.


(Who sleeps tucked under a blanket because he tucked her in.)

And when he's a grown up he will drink diet coke and call me by my first name. And he will buy the house next door because he doesn't want to live with me forever, but he always wants to live close to me.

Despite my best efforts to keep him small forever he does insist on growing. And I'm sure all those things he dreams of are going to happen for him one day (except the calling me by my first name thing. I just can't get on board for that one. He will have to learn some disappointment in his life). I want his life to be full of good things, but I also want him to have the skills to deal with disappointment and adversity and challenges and sorrow. Because I know life is full of that stuff too. I want so many things for my sweet little man.

Happy Birthday Meaty.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The downside of being multicraftual

Yesterday we took down our Christmas things. The house looks barren without the lights and garland and all the sparkly fun stuff.

Naked House

I think I need more home decor. I dream of lamps and vases and beautiful conversation pieces, and throw pillows, and pictures on the walls. But then I might have to dust more. Or constantly pick the throw pillows off the floor. Or worry about the children breaking things (which is after all what children do best). I think it might be best to keep it barren for now. There is always someday for the other stuff.

To get to where we keep our Christmas things I must move all my crafting things. I was sure that after I moved it to get out all the Christmas stuff I had it all put away beautifully and it was group together according to craft and project supplies were all neatly bagged together. I was sure it was the epitome of organised.

crap pile

Yeah...not so much.

I'm beginning to see why The Greatest refers to it as my "crap" closet.

I've never been one for project monogamy. I like to knit what I wanna knit, when I wanna knit it. I like to spend an evening or two beading if something sparks my imagination that way, or making hair bows, or sewing, or my renewed obsession: quilting. I'm a bit like Pretty Woman that way. I say who, I say when, I say how much. If only I had the fabulous hair to go with the attitude. I find this attitude helps keep my hobbies relaxing.

I can do the monogamy thing. And I'm really good at it. I've got only the one God. I've only got one major credit card. I buy the same cookie every week for my mid-morning snack. I only get naked with the one guy. I'm good at monogamy.

I just choose not to be with my crafting.

But I've been staring at my mess and I'm beginning to see the wisdom behind the virtue.

I counted 30 projects in various crafting categories all in random stages of completion. That isn't when I hit the bottom of the pile of unfinished things. That's just when I decided to stop counting. The list was making me feel panicked and overwhelmed.

I know I've tried to get on top of things in the past. Remember when I tried Mission Possible. Yeah. That didn't work for me. I didn't finish my 12 projects. I finished 5, sort of. And I didn't abandon the others either. Instead I gave them all amnesty. The unfinished ones are still patiently waiting in my pile.

That's what I like about my projects. They sit and quietly wait.

The Greatest is not so quiet. I need to knit his sweater so he'll shut up.

And judging by the near panic attack I get looking at my stack of stuff, I need to get this under control before it stages an uprising and takes over. After all, if my projects were to stage an uprising they'd be well armed with all the various needles, and hooks, and pins, and scissors I own. Not to mention my two glue guns. I'm sure if they were to mobilize they would quickly over take us all. Except maybe the bunnies. I might be saved by the bunnies. They've got a lot of attitude. They just might be our salvation. But as usual, I digress thinking of the crafty rebellion and the bunny counter-strike operation.

So maybe I need to look into this idea of project monogamy. I daydream of just picking a project, any project from my closet, and working it to completion. Then I would reach in the closet and grab-bag my next unfinished object and continuing on until everything in my closet is beautiful and finished and blogged and admired and oh how productive I would be.

I think I'll look into this project monogamy.

Right after I cast-on for my new sweater.

Friday, January 08, 2010

It isn't a secret

Slave Labor

This is the only reason I have four kids.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Silly Socks

It doesn't get too cold here. But it does get cold. In fact the longer we live here, the colder it seems to get in the winter. Not to mention the entire first floor of our house is a concrete slab covered by ceramic tiles. Those puppies stay cold. That's what makes them so great in the summer when the outside temperature is 115 degrees and climbing. They keep their chill in the air conditioned atmosphere, bringing down our cooling costs. Yeah. They're great in the summer. But not so much the winter.

In the winter the tiles never really warm up. We huddle under blankets despite having the heat on because that edge of chill never leaves the air. Thank goodness the winter only lasts a few short months (it was already over 70 the other day).

In a fit of knitting insanity I decided that Sweet Pea needed socks to cover her feet and protect her tiny bones from the chill. Never mind the sheer lunacy of putting a toddler (who lives in a house with slippery tiles as the main flooring) in socks. Never mind the fact that every single one of my children have inherited my ability to trip over my own shadow. (Thank goodness The Greatest finds it endearing). Never mind the fact that my child is actually a nudist, consenting to wear only the bare minimum of clothing. She would rather die than put on a sweater or socks.

I've got an amazing ability to ignore the obvious and go with the impractical.

So knit socks I did.

Love those chubby knees

Pattern: Socks for Mary Janes pattern offered as a free Ravelry Download

Yarn: Socks that Rock, and a discontinued Knitpicks line

Needles: Size 2 circs for magic loop

Modifications: Only the obvious one

Review: Alright, lets get this out of the way first: HOW CUTE ARE HER CHUBBY LITTLE KNEES? *whew* It's good to get that out of my system. I just wanna squeeze those chubby knees. TICKLE THEM AND SQUEEZE THEM. *sigh* Sorry, NOW, I think it's all out of my system. We can move on to the socks.

Just a simple sock pattern with some pretty lace detail. I was using a left over ball of pink sock yarn I found in my stash. I decided her feet were still on the smallish size (at age 2 the kid wears a size 7 shoe, smallish is a relative term). They should only need a smallish amount of yarn to make some socks right?

Not so much.

As I approached the toe of the second sock I realized this was going to end badly. I had a few options

1) order more yarn. I wasn't going to order a $20 skein of yarn to knit an inch of sock for a child who will out grow said sock in roughly 4 days.

2) Bind it off and call them pedicure socks.

I considered this. The child in question is after all the girliest of girly girls who insists on having her toes painted on a daily basis. But then I would have to rip the toe out of the already completed first sock so they would match, and that seemed like a lot of work.

3) Knit the toe with something else.

This seemed like a solid plan. Just finish knitting the sock with something else, anything else. I grabbed another smallish ball of yarn and knit a contrasting toe.

And fell in love!

How cute are these socks!

Cutest toes ever!

But my girl can't wear just one pair of socks all winter long! She changes her clothes a minimum of three times a day. What makes me think she would be content wearing the same socks for longer than ten minutes? So another pair of socks it is.


Pattern: No pattern, just basic ankle socks based on her foot measurements

Yarn: No idea, it was left over from these

Needles: Size 2

Modifications: None, it's my personal sock recipe

Review: Oh my goodness! Those knees are so chubby I wanna chew on them! NOM NOM NOM NOM NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

I apologise. I swear. I'm really done now.

So I guess that after I make a pair of socks I have enough yarn left over for 1.75 toddles socks. That's alright. I'm kinda loving the silly toe. I'm contemplating purposefully knitting a mismatched toe in all my future socks. Some of my friends, who have beheld the cuteness that is the silly toe, have suggested I start a Silly Toes Ravelry group and start a sock revolution! Knitters everywhere will create pairs of socks with one mismatched toe. Matching socks will be so passe. Yarn manufacturers will start including a small skein of contrasting yarn with each skein of sock yarn. Sock knitting will never be the same again!

I'm not sure if I'm ready to lead a revolution, but I am knitting a pair of toddler monkeys.

Monkey Toes

I wonder what color I'll knit the toe...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Daily Distractions

My grown-up responsibilities often get in the way of my life. I have to keep the house reasonably clean. I have to feed the children three or four times a day. I have to go grocery shopping, and run errands, and balance the checkbook, and worry about money, and the kids health, and the dog's arthritis, and do we have any clean socks. I want to volunteer at the school, and knit, and sew, and create, and play with my kids, and laugh with my friends, and occasionally see my Husband. There's always something I want to do distracting me from what I have to do, and something I have to do distracting me from what I want to do.

Sounds like normal grown up life doesn't it?

Now I'm gonna tell you an unrelated small story.

Way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day I had a house bunny named Georgia Anne. She was the most awesome of awesome bunnies. She was litter trained and would hop happily around the house. She was a bunny, so the corners of my papers were all chewed off. She had a red ball she would push around with her nose. She would run circles around our feet oinking as she hopped. Her greatest joy was to grab the handle of a plastic grocery store bag and run through the house at top bunny speed reveling in the noise it created. She was, to quote The Greatest, "money." I was heartbroken when she died of old age right before I became pregnant with Pork Chop. I've been too grief stricken this past decade to even contemplate getting a new bunny (it's been a decade?!!! where does the time go?). But over the past year the subject has come up from time to time in lazy conversations as The Greatest and I contemplated the things we wanted for our family. We'd decided we wanted a Flemish Giant but there are no breeders near where we live. So the idea dropped for the time being to be picked up again in a future dreaming session.

Until Gabe came home and asked me if I wanted him to surprise me, or if I wanted to pick. I love surprises, but hate the anticipation. I asked him a few questions trying to get clues out of him and he just smiled his most happy of smiles and quietly made rabbit ears with his two fingers and hopped his hand across his arm.


So Saturday night he took me to what can only be described as BUNNY HEAVEN!

In the backyard of a lovely little house, tucked away in a lovely little neighborhood, under a giant mulberry tree, a warren of rabbits hopped and dug and played. The bucks had free run, and the does resided peacefully in large wooden hutches. As I looked at the toys and the bunnies and the cuteness of it all The Greatest could see the wheels turning in my head. He caught my eye and firmly told me "No!" So no warren of happy bunnies playing in the backyard for me.

The children fed the bunnies fresh carrot that they ate out of their hands. I held as many as I could get my hands on and wanted to take every single one home with me. They weren't pure Flemish Giants, they were Angora/Flemish Giant mix, so they were huge and soft. They were perfect!

After an agonizing decision we chose a pretty set of 8 month old sisters


So I've foolishly added one more distraction to my list of things to do.

Actually two more distractions.

Aren't they cute?

I know the timing is suspect. The cat is missing and thought to be dead (the HOA Landscapers called, they'd found a cat they think is ours, it had been hit by a car *sob*) So we bring in a new pet to replace her.

But that is not the case. Nothing can replace our sweet cat. NOTHING. I'm still hoping the landscapers were mistaken and our cat will wander back any day now, just strolling in as if no time has passed. She would love the bunnies.

This just happened to be the moment that the stars aligned and free bunnies were placed in our laps.

Since they are older bunnies and not used to being handled as much as my children want to handle them, we are slowing adjusting them to family life.

Sunday the children were permitted to sit in the room with the bunnies but not touch them. They decided to spend the time taking turns reading to the bunnies.

Bunny literacy is important

Doesn't that just melt your heart?

So we have two.

Neither have names.

For the moment we call them Alpha and Bravo.

Alpha is the friendlier of the two. She already endures the petting without running, and even seems to enjoy it. She actually licked The Greatest on the nose the other night. She is very sweet. She is a pound heavier than the other with white around her ears.


Bravo is smaller with black trimmed ears and a dark nose. She will only let you pet her when she is in her hiding spot. But she is also the more curious of the two. She is scared of us, yet can not resist coming over to see what we are doing, only to turn and run when we notice her. The exception to this rule is Sweet Pea. She is completely unafraid of Sweet Pea, and even played a game of chase with her this morning. (Sweet Pea chased her, she chased Sweet Pea, and back and forth they went for a bit)


The kids want to name the Cookie and Brownie. Or Sarah and Lashia. Or Dewie and Flopper.

I've vetoed all those idea.

The Greatest vetoed Alice and Bella.

So I sit quietly in the bunny room and knit while they hop around me, sniffing my needles, and think of names.

So yeah, I've been a little distracted lately.

Monday, January 04, 2010

This Child

This evil child!

The one who took a bath at two and managed to be filthy with stuff in her hair by six.

how does my child get so dirty?

Who posed for one picture then hid her face from the camera.


She just might be the death of me.

I was quietly knitting away on my Knitpicks project of which I am forbidden to speak when I noticed it. I'll admit, I'm fussy about my knitting. I've learned to rip what I hate with minimal whining and take the time to re-knit. Trust me, the whining factor while ripping is significantly smaller then when I try to ignore the mistake and live with it. And that's just for the stuff I'm fiddling around with for me. Imagine how much higher the fuss factor is when I'm knitting for someone else?!!!! I won't lie to you. It's pretty bad.

So I was quietly knitting away when I realized I did not like the way I joined the new ball of yarn. I used one technique and thought maybe a different one would be a better idea. Unfortunately I was four inches away from the join before I noticed the join was having problems (I was distracted, I'll tell you about that tomorrow). With a sigh I settled myself on my bed to rip it. Sweet Pea settled herself beside me.

She babbled and giggled and basically we had a good time talking together. I ripped back to the offending join and rolled the newly freed crinkly yarn back into a ball. I set about putting the stitches back on the needles so I could commence knitting once again, this time with a superior join. It took some time to carefully place all my stitches back on the needle. Sweet Pea continued to babble, and giggle and be cute. I continued to be distracted by the project and by my mysterious distraction.

When I finally returned all the stitches to the needle and was ready to re-execute the join I realized what Sweet Pea had been so happily doing while I was so distracted. She was unwinding my newly wound yarn. *sigh*

She grinned at me over the pile of yarn barf she had created.

I died a little inside as I reached to take the ball and rewind it back into a usable form.

For the most part it wasn't too bad, until I got to the end.

At the end was a yarn snarl like no yarn snarl ever seen before.

Objects in picture may look easier to untangle than they actually are

Sure, it doesn't look so big and bad in the picture (why are some things so photogenic?), but believe me, it was a PITA.

I contemplated cutting it off, throwing it away, and never speaking of it again. Surely what that move would save me in frustration would actually add years to my life. I mentally tried to calculate the amount of yarn I had and the amount of yarn needed to finish the project. Would the yarn contained in the snarl be the difference between a pristine finished object and me writing apologetic e-mails to Knitpicks pleading for more yarn?

Better safe than groveling.

I unpicked the entire snarl of yarn barf. I won't even tell you how long it took.

Somedays she's lucky she's so cute.

It's the only thing that keeps her alive.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Breaking the Code of Silence

Yesterday held a little more housework, and a little less napping than expected. But I'm not complaining, because it also held dinner with friends. How can you complain when you're eating grilled steak with friends? So later bedtimes again, but that's alright too. I'll be sad when Christmas break is over and order is once again imposed in our lives by the strict school schedule.

Despite the cleaning and the socializing I did manage to sneak in a bit of crafting yesterday. But I can't tell you about it.

I know I bill this blog as a knitting blog. So one might expect me to actually blog about the knitting. And I'll admit I have been holding out on you. So much knitting I did last year. And so little of it actually touching the blog. Mostly it didn't get blogged because I was lazy, uncommitted to my blog. Too busy actually knitting to take pictures and write a witty paragraph about the knitting. That's my bad. But some of it wasn't blogged because blogging about it was FORBIDDEN.

By day I am a mild mannered housewife. Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Crafter. I dabble in everything, cooking, decorating, bow making, sewing, quilting, photography, and yes, I'd even say I dabble in knitting.

But by night, when the kids are in bed and all is quiet, I've become a Professional Knitter.

I can never join the Knitting Olympics because I have given up my amateur status. I am a paid professional knitter for Knitpicks.

Honestly, I love this arrangement.

They send me a pattern and ask me if I'd like to knit it. They then send me supplies to knit it. I knit it. I send it back. They send me a check.

It isn't a big check, but it is enough to pay the water bill or buy some bread and milk when we really need it. These days every little bit helps. I'm sure if I sat down and divided the check by the hours I spent knitting I would discover I am make about 6.39 cents an hour. And then I might be less happy. So it's probably a good thing I've never sat down to do the math.

My items are then used in the Knitpicks catalog and on the Knitpicks website. I like that part too. But until the item is published in the catalog I am forbidden to speak of it. But once it is published blogging about it is fair game.

So far I've only done little things.


Serpentine Socks

A hat.

Swedish Sail Hat

A pillow front.

Therese's Pillow

(do I have mad color work skills or what?!!!!)

I'm really waiting for them to finish vetting me and my skills so I can get in on the complicated lace shawl action. I loves me some lace weight yarn.

But until then I've got another small project I am knitting for them. And I can't tell you about it. I can post a tiny teaser photo.

Not very interesting is it?

But it's not very interesting blogging is it.

To entain you, before you leave, I'll tell you a story.

I've got a friend who posts daily on face book the funniest quote of the day. Usually it is something her children have said, but occassionally it is something her Husband has said. They are always hilarious.

Yesterday in my house I over heard this from Pork Chop and it made me laugh. She said it with all the righteous indignation a nine year old girl can muster.

"Why aren't you wearing undewear?! You have to wear underwear if you're going to be in my room. That's a rule from now on: everyone must have on underwear if they're going to be in my room. So if you want to be in here, you'd better go put on some underwear!"

I have no idea who she said it to, or who wasn't wearing underwear. But it sounds like a good rule.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Good Riddance!

Good-bye 2009, and good riddance!

What a crummy year. I don't know anyone who didn't struggle and muddle their way through last year as best they could. Including us. Frankly I'm glad to have the year over with. We muddled through and tried really hard and kept afloat until after Halloween. Then everything went down hill. The final straw came when my cat got out on Christmas Eve and hasn't been seen since. It feels like we've had a death in the family. I've had her for twelve years, as long as I've had The Greatest. I miss her so much, that stupid cat. And no one should have their children cry themselves to sleep on Christmas Eve. (I might have cried myself to sleep as well. I miss that stupid cat.)

(In a related note if any of you local girls see this cat....

Please find my cat.

give me a call.)

So all in all 2009 was a bad year. We tried to keep it all in perspective and soak in all the good stuff. But man, I'm glad that year is over.

I'm trying to optimistic about 2010 (how do you say that anyways? two thousand ten? twenty ten? 2-0-1-0?). But I'm not feeling the love.

Hello Inner Pessimist! Have I told you how much I don't like you? Please go away.

Thank goodness my Inner Pessimist is no match for my Inner Optimist (Hello Spirit of Pollyanna! Way to stay strong!) So we rang in the New Year in style!

Everyone got fancy hair

Everyone got curls!

I made brownies in my brand spankin' new "Perfect Brownie Pan." Not wanting to show up empty handed Bird made s'mores in her Easy Bake Oven to share.

Cause all food should be cooked with a lightbulb!

We spent the evening with friends playing Wii

Wii is too much like work for me

And Pool

She made up her own rules

And Board Games (for the record The Women won the Battle of the Sexes.)(Twice)

Competition was cut throat

And just talking

Get out of here Mom

And eating too much yummy stuff.


And at midnight I got to kiss the best looking guy in the room.

He makes my heart go pitty-pat

And at 2:00 a.m. when the baby decided it was time to go to sleep


We packed it up and went home.

The Greatest got up entirely too early to go hunting with friends. And Sweet Pea got up entirely too early because she does not fully grasp the concept of sleeping in. But that's alright. We've got a very full day planned. We will be hanging out in our jammies, eating pizza, drinking root beer, hopefully napping, and possibly fitting in some crafting. A rather perfect day.

Hello 2010! It is a great start to a great year. May you live up to the hope and promise you hold!