Sunday, March 16, 2014

Shades of lavender

I was struggling for a title for this one, but for some reason the project I'm currently working on and the next one up are both in shades of lavender so I figured I would throw that on there.  Little known fact, I'm allergic to lavender (the flower not the color lol).  We've had a good couple of weeks since I last blogged and there are definite signs of spring.  We are having a true March that swings back and forth though.  I am really enjoying the ferocity of the seasons...I know, I know, people think I'm crazy.  I love bundling up in the handknits and I love the soft springy weather that still has some crispness to the air.  Autumn and spring are my favorite seasons and often spring around here is far too short.  It's like winter just becomes summer with no reprieve.  I think the gentle temps where one can have the windows open and smell the lilac bushes (we have a few outside our living room window) and have coolness for sleeping are just magical and wonderful.

I'm really looking forward to being off with the family at the tail end of spring and early summer.  It will be so nice to go outside instead of being shut up with a newborn.  I think we will have a lot of fun-hoping to do some zoo trips, walks, maybe a bit of flower gardening.  We are scaling back the veggie garden this year just knowing we will have a new baby.  I think probably just cover cropping most of the beds and buying a few tomato plants, potatoes, and onions.  Those are the things we eat the most and I can't let a whole season go by without growing any food-it just seems irresponsible since we have all that space and it does save us money.  We shall see how it goes, but those are all pretty low maintenance crops.

In the crafting world, I've been pretty busy!  I am working on a secret project for someone so I can't share that but I'm about 50% of the way there and I love how it is turning out so far.  I hope they like it as well.  I finished a pair of socks out of the Patons Kroy Blue Ragg sock yarn I've seen everybody using lately.  Nothing special, it's just from JoAnns but I really loved the stripes.

I finished these super early in the morning on a day it was still super cold and was lamenting that all my socks were in the wash and then remembered I had a brand new pair.  I popped them on as soon as I got out of the shower.  I got more of this to make sleeves for a sweater for the new baby.  I was thinking stripey sleeves with a solid navy body and maybe some fun buttons that match with the stripes...might even use the fun science buttons that I got in a swap from my Itty Bitty Knits group.  They make me think of the Big Bang Theory show-which if you haven't seen it you really should.  It's hilarious!
Yesterday, we made some new bunny crayons.  We did this two years ago I believe and I've been saving all of Maegwin's broken crayon bits when I find them on the dining room floor.  It was to the point where I had a quart size bag of them so as part of the cleaning process we did yesterday I decided it was time to make those into something useful.  We peeled and sorted so we had mostly tonal or single color ones and there were a few rainbow ones that she wanted to make.  Popped them into the oven at 225 for 15 minutes and bam we had new crayons.  She colored a picture or two but had a lot of fun just stacking and arranging them.
She was talking about making a mousetrap and was using some playdough, some appetizer toothpicks (for a clothes stick for them to hang their clothes on, she said), and these bunny crayons arranged in a circle.
Some sort of druidic mouse ritual?  Who knows?  She might just be building a better mousetrap.

Note the princess dress-she pretty much alternates between the two that we have until we make her peel it off.  She goes exploring in them with jeans underneath.  We were keeping them down in the basement to make her wear other clothes but then I thought "Hey, she's only going to be this age once and who am I to keep her from being a princess if she wants to be?" so we just let it be and let her have fun.  She literally asks to change out of her pajamas as soon as she gets up and finds some shoes to put on.  She LOVES shoes.  Not sure where that came from.  I have some shoes and I certainly appreciate a good pair of shoes but I also repair mine until they can't be worn anymore.  I have some shoes that are 10-12 years old.  She likes to put on my shoes or her little mary janes, or boots, you get the idea.

Recently I've also won a few prizes on Ravelry!  It's been so fun since I don't often win things.  I participated in a worsted sock knit along and won a really pretty bag and mug for finishing and having my name randomly picked.
The yarn inside wasn't part of the prize but it fit five skeins in there so it's a nice little box bag.  That is one of the lavender yarns that I was talking about that I'm going to use to knit Cinnamon for Maegwin.  I think it will be a pretty transitional sweater for spring.  (I hope you all can see the link-Ravelry says no account needed to see pattern pages).

I also won a prize package for finishing up the slippers I shared that were for Josh's mom for her birthday.  It came all the way from New Zealand!
Two skeins of yarn I have never knit with, a little ruler bookmark, a silk notions pouch, and a sheepy luggage tag.  Maegwin has her eye on that luggage tag so it might go on her backpack for a bit.

Finally, I won a copy of the ebook Head to Toe: Kids Knit Accessories from Cooperative Press.  This was a prize from the Homespun podcast which is one of my favorites.  I was so excited about this one because it has such beautiful stuff in it and I can make things for Maegwin and for next winter for both kids.  Really looking forward to working some things out of this book.  I think my first project might be one of the pair of handwarmers because Maegwin almost wore hers out wearing them constantly when she went out to explore in the yard and they are too small for her now.  She definitely needs some new ones.  I love when she goes rummaging through our warm things basket to find stuff to gear up for going outside.

That's really all the news that I have.  We are heading out to Mom's today for her birthday lunch.  I made a pistachio bundt cake which Maegwin is referring to as the big green donut cake.  She says she wants one just like it for her birthday but it needs to be pink...and rainbow...and have ponies.  So really nothing like it.  lol

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Making it up to you March

Sorry I totally missed posting in February...not sure how the month got away from me.  Well, I do know and I will just blame it on pregnancy and choosing to spend time with family and crafting instead of blogging.  We have had sooo much snow this winter, as I am sure you are all aware.  I think it will make for a gorgeous spring with tons of flowers since we've had a lovely protective snow blanket on everything for most of the winter.  I actually don't mind snow and am enjoying having a real winter like the ones I remember from childhood.  You know, when snowsuits were a good investment?  This year I even contemplated getting one for Maegwin but of course by that time the stores already had spring clothes.  Seriously people, stock the season...none of us are wearing shorts anytime soon.  But I digress.  Josh made a sledding ramp on the far side of the house for Maegwin and she loved it.
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We also went on multiple "snow hikes" where we'd put her in the sled and just walk around the yard looking at various tracks and guessing at which animals made them.  Squirrels, groundhogs, bunnies, and deer are the usual denizens of our yard.  Probably mice too since we've caught several this winter when the polar vortex got quite bad and it was super cold.

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Here she is also wearing an earflap hat and the fox cowl that I made for her.  It's a hood/cowl combo.  With those frigid temps we really bundled up.

We have got tons of use out of our handknits this year.  It makes me glad to be a knitter because honestly you can't beat good ol' wool for warmth.  I made a pair of mittens for Maegwin and she never complains about her hands being cold.  One day Josh took her out and put a pair of store bought cotton mittens on her hands thinking they were handknit and that is the one day that she said her fingers were too cold about 15 minutes into playing.  I need to whip up another pair though for layering or for when her others are wet and she wants to go back outside.  Her hands are so tiny that I can usually use scraps from my projects so she gets some pretty luxurious stuff.  hehe

I finished knitting another pair of socks and these are my favorites so far that I have knit this year.  I listen to a podcast called Just One More Row and the ladies on there started what is called the Clean Slate Challenge for the first few months of the year.  The idea was to knit all from yarn that had been in stash for more than six months and to clean off the needles of anything that had been sitting on them.  The yarn I used for these socks was from a yarn shop that closed at least a few years ago-A Tangled Tale.  It's Pagewood Farms Elias in the Forest Camo colorway.  I used the My Cup of Tea pattern which is free on Ravelry.
It is handwash only and my first time knitting with Blue Faced Leicester wool.  I have to say I'm totally smitten.  They are so warm and soft!  Even sticking my feet in the snow like this for the photo (hey, I suffer for my art) they kept my feet very warm.  I am wearing them at least once a week.

A friend on Ravelry had asked me how I organized my sock drawer so for those who follow my Flickr and wondered why the heck this picture was on there, now you know.
I got the honeycomb divider from a sale on Zulily and I really love it.  This isn't all my handknit socks but it's a lot of them.  I don't ever wear store-bought socks anymore.  The yellow ones in the lower left corner were a Christmas gift from my mom.  They are the first handknit socks I've received as a gift.  So fun!

I'm working on a hood/scarf combo for Josh that has this fun basketweave pattern but I've run into issues on the hood so it's in a bit of a time out.  The scarf is about 50" long and has a neat leather clasp closure so it makes it like a cowl that can be double wrapped to cover the neck and face then the hood goes up.  He wanted the hood to come down low over his forehead which I didn't understand when I started knitting it so I need to rip back and modify to add increases.  Still noodling that one over so I haven't done it yet.  It's almost done though.

I also finished up these fun slippers for my mother-in-law in California.  I promised them for her birthday and finally got over to Mom's to get them felted.  I had to wait on the yarn because I stupidly ordered it around Christmas and it took a bit.  I like how they turned out and hope they fit her.  I can't try them on because my feet are bigger than hers.  One didn't felt quite as much as the other so I'm hoping if that one is a little too big she can throw them in the wash for a few and get it to a good size.  I want a pair for me now!

I'm working on a pair of stripey socks now so I will share those once they are done.  I'm finished with the first sock and on the leg of the second.  Just making up a plain sock pattern.  I figure I've knit enough pair that I should be able to knit a simple no frills pattern.  Going well so far!

Finally I'm working on the Once Upon a Time sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  I get a square a month and they are all fairy tale themed.  I'm going to hang it in Maegwin's bedroom when I'm done.  It's been fun doing some cross-stitch again.  I tend to do it in the morning when she's not up yet or at work during lunch.  Bonus, the little thread labels make great witch nails!
She loves the picture so far and said the other day "Mommy, how bout we hang it up right now.  I don't mind that it isn't all done"  So sweet!

Here is Maegwin's latest creation.  She built a house for her animals and people.  I love how intricate it is.
She made an area for vehicles, some towers, in the back there's a bedroom with beds and a little star blanket.  There's a tiny rabbit hutch in the front.  I enjoy seeing her being so creative and this was all her own ideas.  We didn't prompt or help at all.
The bedroom is the back area with the two clock towers.  Those are alarm clocks according to her so they know when to wake up.  There's also a snack table for them if they get hungry and a domino to play with. Thanks to everyone who got her Duplos for her birthday and Christmas.  She literally plays with them every day.  They are the most used toy in the entire house.  Only the play kitchen comes close-that one is a daily item as well.

Things are going well at work-trying to wrap up loose ends before I'm out on maternity leave but honestly my team is great and very self sufficient.  I'm more worried about accomplishing goals for the year prior to being out.  I want a good review!  The pregnancy is also going well though I feel way bigger this time around than with Maegwin.  The doctor says it is all just second pregnancy-stomach muscles being looser and all that.  I am measuring essentially the same.  Only about two months to go.  We are very excited to meet the little guy.  I really haven't done any knitting for him.  Since he will be a summer baby I am pretty sure he is going to live in onesies and diapers.  Once I have a better idea of size for him I will knit some sweaters and stuff for fall and winter.  I might make him one outfit for the hospital photo shoot-not sure on that yet.

We got our new bed (a king size-yay!) which I intended to use Christmas money for but somehow I miscalculated how many exemptions I could take on my W-9 so we owe taxes this year.  I'm kind of kicking myself about that one since we've had a very expensive couple of months of 2014 so far (pipes freezing/bursting, ice in the dishwasher, Honda needing repairs, blah blah blah).  I had really hoped to have a nice bit of savings put aside for hospital bills and such but we will just have to make it work.  grr!

That's about it-we are all healthy and doing well.  It's snowing outside right now and we are expected to get 3-5 more inches of snow.  I'm glad it melted for a bit and yesterday it was almost 60 degrees so we let Maegwin go out and explore the yard.  I wanted to get pictures but I was having Braxton Hicks contractions so I basically just sat in my chair trying to breathe through them.  She brought me a dried hydrangea flower from the back of the yard though which was so sweet.  I leave you with a picture of the snuggling buddies.