Monday, March 30, 2009

Call the trainer...

'cause I'm getting my ass kicked by a ball of string!
*sigh* Have I mentioned that I am trying my first lace project? And did I tell you that it's also my first time working with lace weight yarn? And did you know that "lace weight yarn" is really some kind of oxymoron? It should be called thread or gossamer. It slips through my fingers like water...

There's a lot of learning/personal growth happening here, I tell you. See, I'm learning that how I hold the thread is like a metaphor for life. I can't grip it all tightly--it'll kill my hands and I'll run out of steam after two minutes. No, I must loosely weave the yarn through my fingers and gently guide them around the needles. I must breathe deeply at regular intervals. And I'm getting the hang of how to handle this yarn. But that's only part of it. The other part to knitting lace (that I know of right now--there could be more lurking around the corner for me) is following the pattern. I took a two-day break from working on this project because I was messing up. I did some reading on lace knitting for practical advice. I bought more stitch markers. And last night, armed with my new index cards and many, many stitch markers, I picked it up again. And about fifteen stitches in, I realized I had too many stitches in this one particular section.

My inner child wants to throw a tantrum in the worst way! But I'm trying to be all zen-like about it...I know that anger and despair are not going to help me actually complete this project. Later this morning I'll be making the executive decision of exactly how many stitches I'm going to rip out. Because I'm not quitting. I will not be defeated by this string and these silly pattern repeats. If I go missing from this space for a while, just know that I'm with the alpaca...

And every time I say alpaca, I think of this.

It is so on!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sew Connected: March

This month for Sew Connected, it's Jessica's turn. She sent an assortment of vintage sheets, plus this lovely orange fabric. One of her fabric pieces was from a pillowcase, I think, and she asked us to use that piece as is. Other than that, the sky was the limit. And if you pop over to our group page on Flickr, you'll see that the members once again rose to the challenge! After dealing with my monthly inferiority complex, I decided to get to work.
I love, love, love all the fabrics she sent--guess I'm a sucker for old sheets, too! Anyway, I thought that the vintage look of the fabric required a matching vintage quilt a 12.5" block. Not always easy to do. I had seen a magazine article recently that taught how to hand-piece hexagonal flowers. After thinking it over for a couple of weeks, I decided to go for it. I hand-stitched the hexagons together and then I machine-stitched the flower to the orange fabric.
After that, the rest of the block came together pretty quickly. The center-right block is the one that had to remain uncut, and as luck would have it (because I would never plan this far ahead), it was about the same size as the appliqued block! Whew!
I'll be off to the post office today to send this to Jessica.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It wasn't an especially warm weekend, but it was sunny. The kids spent a lot of time outside, which is always good.

I started a new knitting project. This is a lace project (my first). It is also my first time knitting with lace weight yarn--which is similar to knitting with thread. I had to frog and start over about three times on Friday night. I read on ravelry that one of the keys to successful lace knitting is don't knit tired. Got it!

This is the progress I made on Sunday afternoon--no kids in the house. So far, so good, although I know there's so much that could go wrong...wish me luck!

Last week, SouleMama made this bag, and well, I just had to make one for myself. It's called the Buttercup Bag, and I do live on Buttercup Boulevard.
It's pretty tiny, and when I make it again (because there will be a next time), I'm going to tweak the pattern to make it a little larger. I love, love, love this fabric (the yellow with the circles). It's from Amy Butler, and has it in a linen. I said LINEN, people!
Since it was sunny, and since my son was down to his last pair of pants, I had a lot of laundry to do Sunday. This was the first time this year that I brought out the drying racks. It took much longer than I wanted to get the clothes dry, but it was nice to use the drying racks again. It gives me hope!

This is a picture of a little birdie. This little birdie has a nest behind those shutters. Those shutters flank our bedroom windows, so it's loud and chirpy really early around here. Every year we talk about how we should put some chicken wire behind the shutters to stop the birds from nesting back there...and every year we are awakened early every spring morning by baby birds.

This was Saturday morning. It's my Caitie Sunshine, doing what she loves best.

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 20, 2009


I heard a rumor that today is the first day of spring...imagine my surprise when I looked out the window this morning!
The sun is out now, so this little dusting will be a distant memory by lunchtime. And now that my daffodils are starting to push their way out of the ground, I say good riddance to the snow!

The third graders have this "Wax Museum" project that they all participate in--they choose an historical figure and research the person. They write a one-minute speech, and on the appointed day, they dress in character, and the parents are invited to the wax museum to see/hear the historical figures tell about their lives. Caroline chose Laura Ingalls Wilder. We already have an abundance of bonnets lying around the house for her costume; we just needed a dress:
This is from the same Simplicity pattern as the bonnets (3725, I believe). It was pretty easy. Oh, there are plenty of places where it's not perfect, but for our purposes, it's just fine. I'm so glad I had done lots of sewing last year--apparently you can never practice putting in sleeves or zippers enough! I have yet to put in a zipper perfectly...guess I need to keep sewing! *grin* Caitlin wants to be Laura Ingalls for Halloween now, and she can't understand why I won't start on her costume right away.
Caroline also has a birthday party tonight. Here is tonight's gift, the t-shirt and bag combo again:

I also finally, finally finished my hoodie! Here I am in it a couple of days ago, before I blocked and wove in loose ends:

I'm very excited, and since there's snow on the ground (!), a wool hoodie sounds like a perfect choice for today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fairy Wonderland Recap

Whew! That was a crazy few days--birthday, birthday, Third grade family fun night, party...and she's already planning next year's party!

Well, let's get to the recap, shall we? Here we have, in a variety of lovely colors, fairy skirts for the guests.
After they got the skirts on, their first activity was to decorate fairy wings with stick-on jewels and foam hearts and stars and such. The girls were all so quiet during this activity, I remember thinking to myself, "this is a breeze and they're so quiet!"
Cut to about twenty minutes later when it was Fairies Gone Wild! They were running through the house, sounding very much like a herd of elephants. I did stop them long enough to make sure the traffic was all flowing in the same direction...a fairy collision would have been bad news!

We played "pin the fairy on the flower."

After they had burned off some more energy running around, I managed to get most of them to sit for a story. Around this time, the dog made an appearance, so there was lots of stopping and starting...until the dog was escorted back upstairs to watch basketball. I read them a shortened version of The Sun Egg.
And while I was reading the story, other people in the house were hiding these sun eggs. The girls then went on a Sun Egg Hunt.

And then, of course, there was more running around, some freeze dances, some cake and of course, presents. I think they had a good time. I know I had lots of fun putting this one together.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


My handsome man is 41 today.His year is already off to an unexpected start, what with the job situation and all, but I think it's going to be a positive change. I'll be right there with him all the way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Keeping busy

In between dashes to the computer to edit Rob's resume, I've been sewing birthday presents for a little girl who will turn seven (I can hardly believe it!) on Thursday. We have a new bookbag:
A new dress (done with a tutorial found here):

Painting some fairy wings for Saturday's party:
And knitting like a madwoman to finish the sleeves on this!
This picture was taken on Sunday. I have one sleeve completed now. I hope to have the second sleeve done tonight so I can block tonight/tomorrow and sew on buttons tomorrow.
And tomorrow is Rob's birthday, so I'll need to come up with a special dessert surprise for him, since the poor guy has been overlooked for the last seven years...and then it'll be time to clean the house just in time for all the little fairies to descend upon us on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Thank you everyone for your well wishes. Fortunately, last Friday's paycheck wasn't the last...but we're starting to deal with the reality of a job search. I'm hoping we can use this time to really look at our priorities--not just in terms of money, but in how we define "lifestyle." I'm finding that all the plans I had as recently as last weekend all fall into the category of "before," and now we're living in "after." "After" is going to take a little getting used to.

But while we're adjusting, we're still preparing for a birthday party in eight short days, so there's lots of crafting to help me keep my focus. Let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

Last Saturday, Bobby had a birthday party. After racking my brain, I came up with this, a Birthday Bucket o'Fun, I call it:

It's a fabric bucket with one handle--you can hang it on a doorknob. And ten beanbags for chucking into the bucket. Then I made a Tic Tac Toe mat to use with the beanbags.
Doing the stenciling for these letters took way longer than I wanted to spend on this project. It's the one thing that may keep me from making this again--unless I give myself more than one day to work on it. I hope the kid likes it. I was quite in love with it myself.
Here is my sweater! It's going to be a hoodie. The hood comes after the sleeves. This has taken forever, but I can guarantee I'll wear it until it falls apart because I've put so much work into it.
Obligatory birthday cake shot. In the end, some of the extra people didn't come. And the New Jersey folks were a little nervous about the drive back because of the snowstorm. They drove into it on their way home, but all got home safely. It was nice to visit.

And now I must focus on Caitlin's party. It's set for the 14th. Our theme is Fairy Wonderland, and here's the lovely parting gift for the guests--fairy skirts. I ordered tulle from and ribbon from Oriental Trading. I filled the skirts with flowers from leis. They've been pretty easy to make. We're also going to decorate fairy wings, so there's going to be lots of cuteness.
One of the bonuses of this whole no-more-job thing is that Rob has been able to come home for lunch. He's on his way now, so I'd best go enjoy his company!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I went to bed last night trying to be positive--not overreact to any rumors or speculation.

But this morning I've read four articles that all say the same thing (mostly because it's four re-printings of one news wire article): HSBC is closing its HFC and Beneficial operations in the US; 6100 jobs will be lost.

And one of those jobs is my husband's.

He has a conference call at 8:00am, so I guess that's where we'll find out if last Friday's paycheck was indeed the last.

I know there are people far worse off than us right now, but I sure could use a little positive energy and prayer today.

Thank you.