Saturday, December 22, 2007


The Zoo was really fun. The weather was cold and bleak, so we had the place to ourselves. We only missed the gorillas due to the cold weather.

These guys wanted our candy canes. . . They were mewing like little kittens, so sweet!

The Daddy panda. Right after this he shat a big pile right in front of us, which the kids just loved. . . Uh, no, I didn't get a picture -- sorry guys.

The blocking board is working great.

Here's the result!

This will be my last post for at least a week, we're leaving tomorrow to do the family visit tour. I've got a rum cake in the oven and one last batch of cookies to bake. Have a happy holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chilly Penguin

Here's the penguin from the free Lion Brand pattern. I didn't use their yarn, but used my stash of Caron Simply Soft instead. I scratched the eyes with my pliers a little bit -- need to figure out how NOT to do that again. . .

This morning the kids and I did some Letterboxing until we got rained out. There are a bunch of boxes very close to our house, in the parks nearby. I think we're going to like doing this -- I used Atlasquest to find the ones near my house. Since we are traveling to visit family, I found a few where they live too.

Part of letterboxing involves making your own rubber stamps to leave in the log books. I guess I'll be trying that pretty soon. (Yipee, an excuse to acquire more craft supplies!) I actually heard about letterboxing on the Lime-n-Violet podcast, of all places.

I'm planning a trip to the zoo tomorrow, and we'll be looking for a letterbox while we're there.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So I Bought a Sewing Machine Yesterday

Nice gift, huh? This is for my MIL, not for me, sadly. I got to test drive it and I loved it. I have a Janome Jem Gold, which is similar but doesn't have the ability to adjust stitch length or width, unlike this one. It has needle up/down, and adjustable speed, etc. Really everything most sewers need. My MIL mostly mends, makes costumes and craft projects, so I think this will be great for her.

Here's my snowflake blocking board I made yesterday. I also picked up a few snowflake patterns:

I have to say Micki's comment yesterday about her dh's family's reaction to her snowflakes doesn't surprise me. I've learned not to give handmade things away unless I know the people well enough to know whether they appreciate them.

And, sure, you can buy doilies and snowflakes for 50 cents at a discount store. But that is not the point. Teaching yourself how to make something and watching it come to be is the point. The fact that there is a tangible result at the end is only a plus. I am desperate for nonbreakable ornaments (I have two young cats) so these fit the bill.

Yesterday's cookie: Raspberry white chocolate. I love these, but the jam starts to discolor the cookie after a day or so and they don't freeze well. I'll be giving them away to dd's teachers tomorrow.

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Monday, December 17, 2007


I made the elf yesterday, pattern Here. My order for the pattern got lost and I started inquiring after a couple of weeks. The designer comped me with her other two holiday patterns, Easter and Valentine's designs. I think she's got a book coming out soon. I really like her designs.

The kids and I attempted to make paper houses, but everyone lost interest VERY quickly, storming off in a huff, etc. The house on the right is supposed to be a modern house, but I goofed it up because I didn't have a photo and couldn't remember how to put it together. Ds thought it was a pagoda. . .

I found a fantastic page on making Snowflakes. I made a couple more over the weekend, and just couldn't get them even when I blocked them -- plus the cats knocked the pins out during the night and messed it all up. I printed off her blocking template (Yay!) so this should help a lot. Today I'm going to buy a piece of foam core board, some glitter, and maybe metallic thread. Hobby Lobby here I come. . .


Friday, December 14, 2007

December Stuff

There's my birthday boy, opening presents. Mine was this week too and a friend took me to lunch. It was also my book club's holiday party and book exchange that night, so some sweet friends surprised me with a fancy cake (no pics, it's too destroyed at this point).

I'm falling in love with these snowflakes. They are so fast and easy (except when I am wearing contacts and then I can't see well enough to make them -- glasses required for me.) You can see the one on the left has been blocked and the one on the right hasn't. You use a solution of elmer's glue and water, 1/2 and 1/2 to stiffen them.

I made a ton of these last year and I gave them all away. I've been making these during basketball practices and games. The pattern is in Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

The sorry state of my snow village. The cats and kids keep messing with it. I'm planning to make some more structures for it. BH&G has some plans for Snowy Village Ornaments that I want to try. Man, that is such a pop-uppy site, it makes me insane. Beware.

I just received the shipment of bulbs and strawberry plants that I ordered in October, you know, back when I was in the mood for digging in the yard, etc. I got the daffodils planted on Wednesday (it was almost 80 degrees here). Now I've got to figure out where to put the strawberries -- I wanted to amend the soil first, and they should have been planted six weeks ago. It's supposed to be very cold and windy this weekend, so I might try to do something this afternoon. Blah, do they have to ship that stuff right in the middle of the holidays?


Monday, December 10, 2007


I made up some sugar cookie and gingerbread cookie dough for the kids to cut out, bake and decorate this weekend.

They had fun, but, being kids, raced through the project. I was that way when I was a kid too. Must have driven my mother crazy. . .

The spiderman cake came from the grocery store. (Spiderman spins around on a stick mounted on the box on top which winds up, you can't see him in the photo, it's crazy.) We had ds' birthday party at an inflatable/bouncy castle/birthday party place. No one got hurt badly, for which I was thankful.

I made these cupcakes to take to school tomorrow, on the actual birthday. I used this Cupcake Cookbook. I admit I almost never make any of the complicated recipes, but I use the basic recipes for cakes and frostings all the time. It has some very fun ideas for kids' party cupcakes.

I guess this week will be mostly holiday prep, cards, wrapping, and a party or two. I think the shopping is done, so I can mostly relax. Yay.


Friday, December 07, 2007

I'm Photographing Yarn Now

I've always thought taking pictures of your yarn was a little bit much -- who takes the time to do that? But this week, I was looking for some knitting needles and couldn't find them. I ended up buying a pair because the pair I already owned were so buried in my stash closet.

Ravelry is the coolest thing ever. It has a Stash page where you can enter a photo and the amount of yarn you have. That way you can match the number of skeins required to another pattern in their database or your Queue. You can mark the yarn for sell or trade to another Raveler. Just fantastic.

So I decided it was time to clean out and while I was at it I uploaded it all to Flickr and then Ravelry.

There really weren't a lot of surprises. I only have three or four lots of yarn that are large enough for a sweater or a big project. Most everything I have is in small hat/scarf amounts.

This Noro Silk Garden was going to be a Lady Eleanor (entrelac stole) but now I don't know. . .

I still haven't organized and photographed the sock yarn. I'm going to try to get it done today or over the weekend while I'm still enthused about it.

Things I learned this week:

Do not attempt to *get a jump on the day* by blogging or uploading flickr photos before the kids have left for school. You will forget to send them out to the bus and will end up driving them to school, which makes you *behind on the day.*

Always check to make sure your wallet is in your purse before you leave to go Christmas shopping. (See above *behind on the day.*)

One more thing: Lion Brand has some adorable free holiday amigurumi patterns in this week's newsletter.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unoriginal Hat

We're having some cool weather, and my yarn finally came. I used the yarn called for in the Yarnharlot's free pattern, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Leticia, colorway Froggin'. It's too small for me, but fits both the kids. I used size 10.5 (6.5mm) needles, because that was all I could find at JoAnn's yesterday. Also, I had very little yarn left and might have run out if I'd sized up. It was so fun to make, and I made it in an evening, shame no one will wear it. . .

So, ds has to make a diorama for a book report and he chose Peter Rabbit. This is Mr. McGregor's garden.

I have to resist my urge to fancy things up, it's supposed to be a 1st grade project, but I love working on things like this. See the little carrots and cabbages? I need to find a tiny rabbit today. It's killing me that I know we USED to have a tiny one from a Lego set that would have been perfect, but I'm sure it's long gone now. I searched the basement toy bins and can't find it. I will probably spend an entire day driving around to find a tiny bunny. . . Gah!

Here's batman, helper on the diorama. The cats are loving the afternoon sun in the dining room. I completely admire people who can take great pictures of their cats. Mine just won't sit still. . .

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Dobby's Socks

I actually finished something this weekend, shocking! These are Dobby's Socks, from
Charmed Knits. You might recall from one of the later Harry Potter books, where the house elf, Dobby, gives Harry a pair of socks for Christmas. One is green with a snitch on it, and the other red with a broomstick. I used Knitpicks Essential, which has a decent selection of colors, although the gold for the snitches is a mystery ball from my mom's stash. I think these will fit dd and if she doesn't like or wear them, then I will. I didn't follow the pattern, except for the number of stitches to cast on and the charts. Short row heels don't fit as well as traditional ones (at least on me), so I made a regular flap heel and a wedge toe.

We got the holiday dance over with (whew!) and the fun thing about was that two of dh's coworkers read the blog, so they were nice enough to mention that they had seen me working on my outfit over here. I was stepping on my hem a bit, because with my Spanx on, my butt and tummy became smaller and the dress therefore became a little bit longer, oops!

Decked the halls a little bit this weekend:

The tree is up and I've got my King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion out. Dd needs a European food for a school party on Friday and I'm itching to bake a few cookies.


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