Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Launch Time!

Technology is my friend.  I think.

The website is up and functioning properly.  I think.

Hop over there for the new blog!

Monday, July 28, 2008

One WIP down

Good advice.  

Camp is over for PeeWee.  Big Brother went to DC until the 13th on an adventure with family there.  I hope he's having a great time, because I am pretty sure I'm not going to hear from him.  Marky Mark made it home so it has been Camp Daddy this weekend.  We have a slew of projects lined up to keep us busy the next month, including a bit of travel time I am excited about.  

It's a good thing because this:

is pretty much the scene here every day.  Getting a little tired of it but at least we seem to be back to our normal summer rain levels.  If you check the weather channel we have thunderstorms every day.  

So we're doing a lot of this:

And while PeeWee naps I get time to knit!  

I have finished her little tunic.  I actually had enough yarn to make it a dress and still could but for now I am so sick of that little cotton yarn that I am done.  I'll hang onto the other ball and be sure to keep track of it and when I feel up to it I'll go ahead and make it longer, turning it into a dress.  For now it's a tunic and she loves it.  Slept in it in fact.  It's not blocked yet and a little lumpy looking.

I'm pleased with it.  I used the raglan sweater for a 26" chest from Ann Budd's Handy Little Book of Sweaters.  I use those reference books of hers all the time.

Updates on the other WIPs coming soon...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There's a lot more room in here now

So, for the last few weeks I have been in that awful half cleaned house state.  Where everything is pulled out and nothing is put in the new tidy space yet- Spring Cleaning a few months late.

That was how I noticed the excessive number of WIPs and UFOs around here.  They were stuffed everywhere.  So were balls of yarn and projects to begin when another is finished.

Yarn and needles in drawers, alongside some other weird things waiting for homes.  I have ideas, just not the time for execution.

Out of place craft/idea books, I pull them out of the closet and they seem to never get back up the stairs.  They're put away now.

The crafty things that get stuffed into closets, corners and drawers.  These were the things from most of downstairs... when you gather them up it's surprising!

And then there's the TV room.  I had a few things in there, too.  Granted, except for the crewel and the cabbage needlepoint this stuff was tucked away in the drawer, so it's not like I've been actively looking at all this clutter.  (Michelle, I know this is killing you...)

I figured out that I have a lot of things to frog but not so many to actually keep as WIPs.  I'm hanging on to PeeWee's dress, which is going to have to turn itself into a shirt because I don't have enough of the yarn for a dress, since she keeps shooting up like a weed!  PeeWee's dress/shirt is my priority right now. It's straight stockinette all the way until I split things for the raglan sleeves so I hope I can make some good progress on that. It's going to be hot here until October so she'll get wear out of it but I want to be sure she gets as much as possible.

Of course there's also the cardigan, which I won't need until October at least, and there are the cabbage needlepoint, needing the yarn for the background, and the dragonfly needlepoint, which needs a little doctoring.  I'm really unhappy with the background.  Ripping knitting or crochet is a lot easier than ripping needlepoint.  I have to use a seam ripper for that.  And pick and pick while hoping I am not stretching out the canvas.  I can usually ignore something that looks off but this time it looks plain weird to have such a big background on the ornament so it is going to have to be ripped out.  The crewel is about halfway done at this point.  It is soft colors I would never have chosen but love.  It's for Marky Mark for Christmas.  It matches out room.

I promise pics of the WIPs soon.  My battery is charging for the camera.  So next post, the actual WIPs I am keeping.

Monday, July 21, 2008

WIPs in every corner...

All I am going to say is WOW.

I am going to need a larger container....

more later...

and pictures...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not only do I have bling..

I am a winner too:

Thanks Michelle!

So the 7 blogs I'm going to send this award on to are:
Moscow Daily Photo  since I really enjoy the daily peek across the world to one of those places I would love to return to one day...
Christy  A mis-placed Louisiana girl
Christina  she skydives!  and knits!  and lives down the street (just about)
Beak's Handmade Blog  I love this daily peek into another Mommy's world
Rhonda who I think needs all the good vibes one can get right now
Tammy who entertains me endlessly with the tales of her boys
and Sara who thinks like me.

I would give it to all my blogland loves, but I had to pick 7, which was not easy since I would have liked to have passed it on to about 27.  But that's a lot of links.  And If I'm reading you daily I think you're brilliant anyway.

In the creative world right now I am still chugging away on the back of the cardigan.  It is my traveling/waiting knitting so it's just moving along.  Nothing exciting to show.  Light teal yarn.

I started an embroidery project, against my better judgement.  Somehow my hands just got started.  It's crewel really.  And pretty.  And a gift, so under wraps for now.  

I'm feeling the need to start a pair of socks but am fighting it.  I am going to contain all my half done projects and see what I can actually wrap up and finish.  I mean opening all the drawers, containers, window seats, etc and gathering the WIPs in one place.  I know the ones that are in the back of my mind and am sure there are little unfinished things tucked away that I forgot about also.  I'll probably be shocked.  I promise to share my shame.

I'm thinking a big plastic tub because I can not go into the attic and get out the cedar chest because it is 1) way too hot up there 2) too heavy for me to get it without a band of merry men 3) there is no where to put it, I think that's why it's in the attic.  It came with the house.  I may offer Big Brother an obscene amount of money to do it.  He'd need a helper.  Just going up there deserves a chunk of cash in my mind.  I'd certainly rather look at the cedar chest than a plastic tub any day.

Yesterday PeeWee and I went to an Ice Cream Social.  Since I hate to leave you without something cute to look at here she is loving her treat!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I said I was going to paint myself some ornaments, didn't I?

Here's my shiny and fun dragonfly, almost done being stitched, too.  I'm going to bring the yellow out a bit more around the wings so there's not too much weight at the bottom, and because I like it so much.  I had a thin outline around the tail but I figured there was simply no stuffing something so narrow and decided to beef it up a bit and it's looking like it needs it all around.  This is totally something I would have bought in a shop.  I've got it all charted out so I may paint up a few to see the response.

Yes, that's my cabbage pillow.  No it has not lost it's allure.  I really wanted to get the ornament finished so I can get it sent out through the woman who might decide to carry them.  Or not.  So I put it ahead of the pillow.  

The huge frog?  Yes, I know it is truly disgusting and in spite of my frog phobia it lives happily alongside us here.  I hate frogs, they are just the nastiest things out there, they make my stomach turn and heart race but I am given frogs all the time.  I kid you not.  How this huge phobia has passed unnoticed I have no idea but I get frogs from everyone.  This beauty was a gift from a good friend who laughed and was really surprised I have these issues.  Charming, huh?  And, as you can tell, huge.

Just for good measure, since it has been a while since the kids have made it on here, a picture of PeeWee.  Today was a swim day at camp so off she went all dressed to go!  Sassy little pirate that she is.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Christmas in July

I met with a friend who has a needlepoint project for me to paint out on canvas for her as quickly as I can get it wrapped up, and I have another canvas to paint up for a friend so I also picked up some canvas for myself and I want to see how many times I can say canvas in a run-on sentence, so just for good measure, I got some canvas to make PeeWee a needlepoint rug for her doll house and I got her an adorable ladybug canvas made just for kids.

Here she is stitching away!  She's watched me enough times to actually be pretty proficient.  Especially for a little 3 and a half year old.  It makes a mother proud.  I think we'll have this one framed when she's all finished with it.  The stitches are already going in every direction but that's fine with me, she's doing this one all by herself.

Next craft to teach her is knitting.  I'm waiting until she is 4 for that, simply so I can actually have the patience.  I want to be sure she gets it.  She wants to learn, I just think she is a few stages away from being able to fully grasp the action.  The last thing I want to do is frustrate her so we're leaving that alone for now.

Our tree is going to be some fun and handmade from now on. I do still pick up other ornaments but it's looking like the home made variety is going to be taking over before long. Granny is always stitching up ornaments for us as well so we get some great things come the holidays.  So far I have these back from the finisher:

There are 2 more out being done.  And I have the three I am painting for myself so we'll have a good amount of new needlepoint ornaments hanging this year.  Not to mention the felt ones I have been making.  Or the sewn ones I plan on making.

It's been a crafty day around here so far.  PeeWee and I had our regular breakfast at the coffee shop around the corner and when we got back we decided that Daddy has been on such serious PeeWee patrol this week that we would let him sleep in and read and laze around, like all good Daddies should get to once in a while.  More projects are up our sleeves for later today if we need to pull them out.

It's hard work to paint stars for gift tag ornaments.  When these dry we'll have them for another day to paint the other sides.  Eventually I'll put an eye screw on the tops and we can use them to wrap packages up for Christmas.  

I know, the "C" word.  I'm working on so many projects around here and I have a few things I am trying to get myself organized with for a professional idea that I am already thinking that far forward.  I have plans for a hand-made holiday for my family.  None of them need anything.  None of them want anything.  So it's hand made this year.

I'd show my cardigan so far but seriously, that would be boring.  It's a whopping 5 inches of stockinette back so I'll spare you, but know that real knitting is going on here.  The needlepoint cabbage, however, is heading into the home stretch.  I've got two colors left to stitch and then it's all background, which I will gladly do in an interesting stitch to make sure I both stick with it and that I am not blind from poking my eyes out with the needle.  

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

So I knit a gauge swatch

A real gauge swatch.  I really did!  And I cast off.  And I washed it and blocked it just like you are supposed to.  How about that.  Of course no pictures because it's a square of yarn.  I like seeing everyone else's but my own, hmmm, no.

I started the Shawl-Collard Cardigan last night and was surprised at the quit knit it is starting to be.  Hoping the speed keeps up but I like the drape and the style and in spite of my overwhelming urge to change the edging to a non-rolling garter stitch... I did not.  No I did not make that spelling mistake in the name of the sweater but since I have a weird love hate relationship with collard greens I could not help repeating it here.  I keep wondering if whoever wrote that up had some kind of experience with collard greens and had that stuck in their head.  Plus I think we're going to eat at a restaurant the NY Times raves about today where one of the side dishes is collard greens.  #3 on their list.  Somehow I do not think low-fat will be an option.

We've been working out a few healthier meals for this house.  That trip to Natchez about killed me with the excessive eating.  Once you start that it is hard to curb.  And I am not back-tracking.  Not that I've seen much movement on the scale lately but I am not going to let it head back up.  We're in gear here because we need to dress well for several parties this fall and winter.  And I do not want to look like sausage girl with huge bouncing boobs.  The less jiggling the better.  You get the picture.

I started a needlepoint project that is larger than an ornament.  A pillow.  A head of cabbage, which in some way appeals to me.  Um, I do see the 'greens' theme here but I'm not quite sure what's going on...

Anyway it's stitching up quickly at this point.  I need lots of excitement and all the short areas of color are good for my easily distracted brain.

I finished up the socks for the orphanage.  Well, got them finished off of the needles, I still need to weave in ends.  They are cute.  I needed the needles for the cardigan, you know.  I still need to go figure out where to send these.  I need to get in touch with the woman who has adopted from Eastern Europe and get an idea from her.

Lest you think I am an idle person... I also made a little summer dress yesterday out of some retro styling fabric.  I am not sure if it is going to stay a dress or go the way of top and skirt yet. I need to try it on a few more times and decide.

Monday, July 07, 2008

More babble?

Yep, more babble.

I've been working on some technology issues here in my house, trying to simplify things in my electronic world.  I think it's working.  We'll see in the long run.  It's been all about how to make my life run smoothly the last few months and the ideas of that were killing me.  It is time to put things into action.

My mornings start with a flip through the Times Picayune with a Diet Coke (bad habit #1 to break) and some sort of breakfast, either then or later with PeeWee.  Then I get on the computer to catch up with emails and blogs, piddle around, all that.  I like getting up a bit before the rest of the house to have those few minutes to myself.  It makes a huge difference in my day.  I need a little me time.  Being ready for bed at 9pm is my trade off.

A few blogs I have stumbled on lately are really thought provoking.  And not in a heavy "why do we exist" kind of way.  Just simple ideas, creative or not that cause one to stop and slow down if nothing else.  A favorite I'm finding is  She just seems to have ideas and thought that are jiving with my daily thinking right now.  I like when I stumble upon that.  Another one that makes me happy thinking someone is doing all the things that rattle around in my head is Posie gets cozy.  I've had some weird nesting issues going on here.  Reading all about the simple and basic living going on is kind of nice.  I'd like to be more on top of those things but our life gets in the way.  Our life is always such a whirlwind I like to look in other's windows to see what they have going on.  And then there is Craft Magazine's blog.  Just to make sure you aren't doing enough.  Or have a long enough list of things you want to do.  Or learn to do.  Or like...

We went off to Natchez this weekend.  Maybe it's the escaping our daily grind for something different but I really enjoy being there.  We went with Marky Mark's family and it was once again a bit much but the time to ourselves was worth it.  And they can put on a fireworks show.

We went to Natchez Needlearts again.  

My brother in law sitting on the left, PeeWee and Marky Mark waiting patiently on the right...

That store is very well done.  Very.  They also offer an array of classes I wish I could find here.  My long term goal is to have a place where creative business is going on.  A spot where you can take classes and also purchase your supplies.  And I can stay there all day and make.  I'm working towards that.  Coming up with lots of ideas for how I'd like it to work.  A five year plan thing.

Oh!  On a knitting note, I have found a pattern that both excites me and I want to start for me.  Yes, for me!  I so rarely find something that's going to work well with my voluptuous body that it's hard to get myself going.  It's the Shawl Collared Cardigan.  Lion Brand patterns freebie.  I have some super soft right weight yarn I want to get going with and I think I have something to inspire!  Phew!  It was getting knitting dull around here.  

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Little yellow hat pattern

As promised...

Here's how I made the little yellow hat:

Cast on an even set of 8 stitches, I cast on 32 for this hat, it's about 8 inches unstretched and since lace has a good amount of give it should fit about a 30-32 weeker.  Gauge for this yarn (Vanna's Choice Baby ) in stockinette stitch is 4sts per inch on size 9 needles.

If you are using dpns or 2 circs, just be sure you have a full set of 8 stitches on each when you divide them up.  I used 2 circs and had 16 stitches on each.

Here's what I did...
Cast on 32 sts, join in the round
begin pattern:
Round 1: Knit 2, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, knit 2, repeat
Round 2 and 4: knit
Round 3: knit 1, yo, ssk, knit 2, k2tog, yo, knit 1, repeat

Simple as pie, repeat these 4 rounds until the hat is high enough, this one is a little over 5 inches, taller is always better with a baby hat so it stays on easier.

When you get to the decreases simply leave out the yo's before the ssk on the first round, after the k2tog on the next pattern round then continue without them until you have decreased enough times to draw the tail of the yarn through and finish off the hat.

Sorry for the basic instructions, I could have written out the pattern but that would mean I would have to do that and I am just not that organized this week (okay, month, I'll be honest).  This hat could be made much finer with leftover cotton or acrylics in smaller weights.  Or made larger just by increasing the repeats of the pattern.

I am personally used to knitting up much smaller gauge preemie hats, but I think these would be perfect for learning hat construction.  I've been asked to knit with my kids' school this fall and I think we're going to stick with very basic and easy patterns while cranking out preemie hats.  I plan on working out patterns which use basic math to figure out repeats required for resizing and for different gauges so the patterns can be easily converted to everyday knitting use.  Seems like a good way to introduce teenagers to the idea of knitting for others.  You know, provide something useful out of it.  They require a certain number of volunteer hours per semester and if these kids have been going to the school the whole way through, they were introduced to knitting in 3rd and 4th grades so will have some basic skill.  We'll see how it really goes.

I hope everyone in the states has a great long weekend and gets to celebrate the 4th of July in style (whatever style you want that to be).  We're thinking we may run to Natchez to see my brother in law if we get it together.  Even though we've been back in town less than a week?  Yep, running away from home again.  It is summer after all, and the holiday did conveniently fall on a long weekend... and why not?

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

All over the map these days

I wasn't lying when I said I got some knitting done on my trip.  I actually did.  

Five preemie hats and 2 hats to go to Eastern European orphanages.  Also a pair of socks that need toes grafted which match the hats for the orphanages.  I did nothing for us.  I cast on for a pair of socks for me but I am disillusioned with them so... they may stay in the bag for a while until I decide what their fate is.  It's hard to knit socks when you don't even want to wear shoes.

I know those blue and greens are a strange combination.  I did go to Tulane (well Newcomb for those of you who know such things) whose colors are pretty much those right there.  I decided that I wanted to make up hats for the orphanages after a lengthy conversation about my trip to Russia a few years ago.  We were finding more about Big Brother's trip to Europe and I said I wanted to go to a few of the places he went and I wanted to take him to Russia.  A huge tangent later and I was knitting up hats.  I had those yarns on hand anyway at the house and since their only real requirement is wool yarn my choices were pretty limited.  I have enough to make up a sweater even.  Not sure if I am up for that task but we'll see what inspires those needles.  They have a mind of their own, you know.

And now for some giving back in other ways...

Jeld-wen windows is having a contest to help restore a light house.  The New Canal lighthouse here is on the list.  You can vote daily and it would be appreciated.  I'm hoping the lighthouse wins, or at least there's some attention drawn to it from this.  It's a pretty neat little structure, sort of sitting on the brink of oblivion.  It amazes me that people here, who have had their lives altered in so many ways are the source of such incredible generosity.  I mean we're all rebuilding the city in our own little ways.  That people can take away from their own struggles to do things like rebuild that funny little lighthouse is great to me.

I've got my own little project going on, of course.  And I may as well get shameless, right?  The Women's Health Services department at our hospital is currently raising money for purchasing 3 or 4 bundles of equipment for telemedicine for our satellite hospitals, saving money and time for patients who are in need of more specific maternal/fetal care than they can get from normal care.  Patients for whom a problem is suspected who could get the chance to go in and have our high-risk OB's look over the ultrasound in real time, while on the phone with both the ultrasound tech and the patient and her doctor.  

It's very neat technology, it's going to help so many people down the line, I would have been one of those patients when we found out about PeeWee's heart defect so this one is pretty near and dear to my heart.  Just saving the price of gas to help these rural patients makes it one for me to push.  Plus I am such a technology junkie it's kind of embarrassing...

Since I said I was being shameless, and I personally will never see anything about if or what or when someone decided to donate, I've put the link to the online donation form up there.  The only thing I ask if you should decide you are inclined to donate is that you check off "other" and fill in "Women's Health" in the space provided where they ask the designation of your gift.  If you wanted to leave a comment that said something like "sarah sent me" in the comment box that would be fine.  

And, yes, again I am working on the pediatric fundraiser.  I am thinking of donating some of my little kid aprons to their auction.  I want to get the word out that I am making them, then I want to get them in a few stores this fall when everyone is back in school.  My priority right now though is to get those doctors in the dunking booth again.  So far I think we have 8 who are ready to do it?  And the event isn't until October and the asking has just begun?  Things are looking up for this year!

Next post, a few fun things I've found on the web... for now I think I have bombarded you all enough.