29 November 2006

Mama said there'd be days like these...

She just never mentioned the frequency and intensity. Today has been mostly a series of small disasters (like the knitting needle fiasco), at least until this evening. Kitty Daddy scored a traffic ticket today and then, after supper, when I was returning some overdue books to the library, I had a flat tire. The bright side is that I was by myself, so I didn't have to deal with the flat *and* the kids. I'm about ready to go hide under a quilt until life is willing to give me a break!

Tomorrow will be better, right? The only way to go is up!

Oh man...

If you heard a panicked shriek sometime this morning, that would have been me. The kids and I had been having a quiet morning, since we are all still sniffling a little from our colds. The typical...coloring with crayons, watching videos, mom sneaking in a bit of knitting here and there...

At one point, I looked up and saw Bean waving a knitting needle. I thought to myself, "Hmmm, must have fallen off the piano or cabinet or whereever I put my knitting last." Because, of course, I know to keep WIPs out of little ones' reach. As I walked over to grab my needle before someone gets stabbed, it dawns on me that she is brandishing not one, but two needles. Uh-oh, my knitting life flashes before my eyes as I realize that I had left my Candle Flame lace on the sofa!!! Fortunately, Bean hadn't grabbed any of the yarn and the needle came out cleanly with almost no ravelling:

So I put the pile up VERY high until nap time, which was spent fiddling stitches back on to the needles and picking up dropped stitches and yarn overs. Man, knitting at nap time is supposed to be my downtime, not the most stressful part of my day!! Fortunately, everything is back where it should be and I have added another couple of rows as well. I am getting close to the end of the (lucky) 13th repeat, so only two more repeats after that. The end is in sight (if I don't have to fiddle anymore).

28 November 2006

Pumpkin Hat

Finally, another long overdue finished object...Bug's pumpkin hat. This was also finished well before Halloween, but just not blogged. The hat is a standard "Knitting for Dummies" top-down hat, knit in a craptastic hunter orange acrylic that Bug just absolutely fell in love with! No fun to work with, but it turned out cute anyway (or maybe the models just make everything look cute)!

Bean had to model the finished result since Bug decided not to cooperate with the phot shoot! That's also a mama-knit hand-me-down sweater from Bug that she's wearing.

27 November 2006

Halloween costumes

I am long overdue on posting this, but...

The kidlings dressed as black cats for Halloween...Black sweatpants, black velour hoodies, and mama knitted ears and tails. Even though I have been slow to blog, they were done and ready for trick or treating at the zoo on 10/21:

Pretty cute kittens, if I do say so myself!

Here is the ear pattern:

With black yarn (I used Cascade 220), CO 4
Row 1: knit
Row 2 and all even rows: purl
Row 3: k1f&b four times (8 st)
Row 5: (k1f&b, k1) four times (12 st)
Row 7: (k1f&b, k3, k1f&b, k1) twice (14 st)
Row 9: (k1f&b, k5, k1f&b, k1) twice (16 st)
Continue in pattern until ear is desired size. After last increase row, purl one row, knit one row, purl one row. (44 stitches total worked for me)

Base and inner ear.
BO 25 st, k17, BO 2, pull yarn through.
Slide live stitches to other end of circular needle (or slip all purlwise to another straight needle)
Note that front of inner ear is back of main ear
With pink yarn (I used Bernat CottonTots):
Row 1: knit (knit side of black is facing)
Row 2: ssk, knit to last two stitches, k2tog (purl side of black is facing)
Row 3: purl
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until two stitches remain
Last row: k2tog, pull yarn through

It looks something like this:

Then I used the tails to sew up the ears so they looked like this:

For the tails, I just did a long skinny stockinette swatch with a fuzzy black boucle yarn:

26 November 2006


I ran to the grocery store this afternoon, while Bean was napping, and Bug stayed home and watch Dora the Explorer. They watched the video where Dora's mami has a new baby and Dora becomes a big sister. When Dora is telling her news to Boots the Monkey, she tells him that there will be someone new at her house and gave the clues "sleeps in a cradle," "drinks from a bottle," and "wears diapers." The answer, of course, is a baby. Here, Bug announced to Kitty Daddy, "Babies don't use bottles, they drink nummies!" That's my boy!!! I'm so proud...

25 November 2006

Under the Weather

Everyone in the house seems to have come down with the cold that Kitty Daddy brought home from work earlier in the week. Fortunately, it seems to be pretty mild. In addition to standard cold symptoms, just your garden variety tiredness and crankiness. Combined with post-turkey wind-down, Bug was in rare form last night...turning your regularly schedule tantrum into high theatrics.

We went to the downtown library this morning (since we missed our regular Friday trip due to the holiday), but then came home and all seven of us took a nice long nap. We are laying low this evening, "enjoying" the videos that Bug and Bean got from the library.

WIP Saturday???

Okay, so I'm not doing so hot on knitting updates on Friday. At least this week I have a holiday excuse. Today is the second Sunday in a row this weekend! No new pictures this week though...everything looks a lot like it did last week:

  • Candle Flame Shawl continues to grow...I am almost done with the 11th pattern repeat.
  • Bloomers for Crumpets Dress...as Nike says, "Just do it" already!!
  • Red, White, and Black socks also continue to grow. I figured that there should be about 10.5 stripe repeats between the heel marker row and the toe decreases. I have about seven repeats done, so only a little over three to go. Then the toe decreases and heel construction go pretty quickly, because I am just geeky enough to get really absorbed watching decreases happen!
  • Feather and Fan Scarflet...see Crumpets Bloomers...*sigh*
  • Swiffer Cover...the first green band is almost done, but I haven't really done more that a few rows on it.
I have also done a gage swatch for a sweater for Bug, but haven't completely decided on a plan of attack yet. I think I might try and get the Candle Flame shawl done first...we'll see.

23 November 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, lots of yummy dinner, and much to be thankful for! We had a nice dinner with turkey and all the trimmings and a nice visit with Kitty Daddy's dad and half-sister. The pies were not the prettiest pies I have ever seen, but they tasted good and, dang it, I never once claimed to be Martha Stewart! Here are the pies:

I think the pumpkin pie recipe was for a smaller pie plate. It was pretty shallow. It looked fine when I took it out of the oven yesterday, but it deflated. Oh well, I would take yummy, ugly food over pretty, tasteless food any day of the week and twice on Thanksgiving!!

22 November 2006

Pie are round, cake are square

Today is another glorious fall day...sunny and in the high 40's to low 50's. The kids have been in and out all morning running around and "vacuuming" the leaves with the snow shovel!

Today is pie baking day and I have an apple pie in the oven at the moment. The pie crust is the old reliable 8th grade home economics recipe. For those of you who don't know the history, I learned to make pies in 8th grade home ec and the crust turned out so nicely that I demonstrated my proficiency at home with some pies for family. Everyone was so impressed by the crust that my grandmas (who are/were both wonderful bakers of all kinds of yumminess) switched to this recipe! Anyway, in the intervening years I have made scores of pie crusts from this recipe, with consistently good results. Then suddenly, I couldn't make a nice pie crust if my life depended on it. The same recipe, the same technique, but inexplicably nothing turned out. In recent years, I even resorted to buying pre-made crusts from the grocery store. So today, with no little measure of trepidation, I dug out the old recipe to give it another try and it turned out beautifully! Well, a little iffy visually, since my crust crimping skills have rusted away to almost nothing in the intervening years, but the same old, easy to handle crust as before! After the apple is done baking, we'll try it again with pumpkin. I suspect the mystery of the moody pie crust recipe will never be solved. Oh well, as long as it is working again now...

One of my favorite things about baking (which I don't do terribly often, but enjoy it when I do) is that many of my kitchen supplies were hand-me-downs from Grandma O. We did a lot of baking together when I was younger. Not only did she teach me a lot of what she knew about baking, but she was also just an all-around special lady. I have so many wonderful memories of grandma and grandma's house growing up. Even though grandma passed away almost 11 years ago, we still bake together whenever I bake. I use her old measuring spoons, her rolling pin, her old bowls, and, in a way, she is there with me.

And finally, if anyone was wondering whether or not I was truly crazy (not that I have ever denied it), I leave you with this picture. This is what the kids were doing in the dining room while I was making the apple pie...bowls, measuring spoons and cups, a pie plate, and some sugar and cornmeal:

They had a blast! And it wasn't as bad to clean up as I had thought it might be...though I still have to vacuum! I figured there wasn't much point until the pumpkin pie is done!

21 November 2006

Gobble, gobble, gobble

This morning the kids and I did the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. While it isn't going to be an over-the-top, all-star gala kind of dinner, I'm starting to get a few pre-turkey jitters. In addition to the four of us, we will be joined by Kitty Daddy's father and half-sister, so not a huge crowd. Even if it was just the four of us, I'd still be a little nervous, because no matter how many charts and cookbooks you consult, there is no way to predict when a turkey will be finished. Which would be fine, except that you would kind of like everything to be finished and still hot at close to the same time. I don't doubt that things will turn out fine, it's just a small case of the pre-performance jitters.

Since today is sunny and in the high 40's, the kids ran around in the backyard for a while before lunch. We need to be sucking up fresh air as much as we can, because, before long, we'll probably be looking at snow-drifts, which will make outings shorter and chillier!

20 November 2006

From the department of vital statistics

What with the excitement of company (Grandma and Grandpa), missing kitties, and other random excitement, I neglected to blog about a very important milestone: Miss Bean's second birthday. Her birthday was 10/21 and the pictures below are from our little party on the 22nd. Bean has become a huge fan of Blue's Clues. When we have a BC video out from the library, she will point up at the DVD/VCR and say "Boo-boo" with the hand sign that they use for Blue's clues in the videos. So her cake this year was a big clue!

She had her two-year well child checkup the Tuesday after her birthday and weighed in at a 37½ pounds (just for comparison, the 95th percentile for two-year-old girls is about 32 pounds). She is 2'11" tall, which is around the 80th percentile. She doesn't look like she should weigh anywhere near what she actually does (and the doctor agrees)...she is just a solid, densely put together little gal!

The birthday cake!

Birthday card from Great-grandma 'Dell

A star-bellied Sneech (with accompanying book) from Grandma and Grandpa

High fashion from Grandma and Grandpa (It's the dress we used for our pictures yesterday)

A "Waldorf-y" doll from mom and dad

19 November 2006

Pretty photogenic group...

We did family photos at Sears today. Other than getting pictures taken a half an hour after our appointment time (and the increasing squirreliness of the kids), things went pretty smoothly. These are the photos we picked to give to family for Christmas.

If anyone wants to see all of the pictures from the sitting, let me know and I will email you the info to see the whole session!

18 November 2006

WIP Friday on Saturday

In the same order as they appear on the sidebar, my current WIPs are:
The candle flame lace shawl. I am almost done with the eighth lace repeat. I haven't completely decided how many repeats to do. I think I have enough yarn for 15, but we'll see how it looks at 12 and decide from there.

Bloomers for the Crumpets dress. Still just needs the elastic. I really need to just finish the darn things so I can get 'em off the list.

The current purse sock. I am doing a peasant heel, which is added after finishing the toe, so I am actually a couple of inches past the heel point. Since the weather is getting cold, I'm not making as much progress as it is just about impossible to knit while the kids are playing in the park this time of year. I can knit while they play at home, but then I don't pull out the purse sock...

Feather and Fan lace scarflet. All that is left is weaving in the ends. Like the bloomers, I need to be Nike inspired and "Just Do It." I'm so stinkin' close.

This is most of a washable, reusable cover for our Swiffer duster. It is based on the ball-band dishcloth in Mason-Dixon knitting. I'm afraid I can't take credit for being clever enough to come up with the Swiffer idea. While this is my own design, I got the idea from a couple of other blogs.

Recently finished objects include the pumpkin hat and the cat parts for the kids' Halloween costume. I will hopefully get my ducks in a row and get some FO pics up soonish.


Our sweet kitty Chai is home!!!! She had a nice two week vacation with a wonderful person. Apparently, after slipping out the door, she had been captured in a big net by a neighbor, whose son was hitting Chai with a stick. Our good samaritan (who was visiting another neighbor) intervened on Chai's behalf and took her home. She had reported finding Chai to the animal shelter, but her report and our report were apparently never matched up. This morning, this wonderful lady was back in the area visiting her friend who lives two doors down from us and after seeing signs, they check with us and our princess is home!

I truly hope that there is a special place in heaven reserved for people who are kind to animals. While we expressed our appreciation in words and a small reward, I'm not sure that is possible to adequately convey just how much her kind actions meant to us.

16 November 2006

We're back...

Sorry for the long hiatus, but sometimes life happens. Combine that with some unresolved guilt for having old pix that haven't been posted, and well, you know...

I haven't been completely away from the blog, even though I haven't been posting, I am still working on moving the posts from my knitting blog over. I only have a dozen or so left and then I will be unified into a single blog!

This morning we went for a walk and then spent a few minutes at close park. It is a brisk day...36.5°F right now, according to Weather Underground. When we went to the park on Tuesday, the weather was similar and mom ended up carrying all the hats, gloves, and mittens, so we tried just winter coats (Don't look at me like that...they both have hoods and the jackets are on the big side so hands can be turtled up into the sleeves...it's not like I sent 'em out nekkid. Really.), but everyone was pretty chilly by the time we got home. So we all had some hot cocoa and are now piled in the recliner with one big blanket over everyone and nummies for all comers. All in all, not a bad way to be on a cold, cloudy November day! Of course, having two hands to type would make my life easier, but it is pretty cozy, so I'm not complaining!

Still no Kitty Chai, but we are checking weekly at the animal shelter (cats are held for seven days before being adoptable) and aren't giving up hope. Mama misses her princess...

06 November 2006

Missing Kitty

Our sweet Kitten Chai has been missing since yesterday. We are hoping that she just slipped out for a short outdoor adventure and will come back soon, but in the meantime, we'd appreciate some "Kitty Chai, go home" thoughts that anyone can spare.

Poor Kitty Man...he's usually pretty affection starved, but he has turned into a little orange cockleburr, clinging to Mama, wondering where his furry sister is.

03 November 2006

At the Fire Station

A few pictures from the open house at the local fire station (10/14/06):

Miss Bean showing Sparky the Fire Dog some lovin'

Mr. Bug posing with the fire fighters' uniforms. He got some nice compliments on the hat that mama knit for him!

The kids working in a fire engine, getting ready to fight fires

Bug getting ready to hook up the hoses on the tank truck

Bug tries his hand at law enforcement

Going for a ride in a fire engine

The fire engine we rode in (with its next load of passengers)

02 November 2006

What we're reading

Since the weather has gotten colder again, we have been enjoying cuddling up with blankies and books. A few of our favorites right now incude...

The Kipper books by Mick Inkpen. Not only do we enjoy reading about Kipper's adventures, we have been having Kipper and his best friend Tiger joining us for many of our daily activities. Love that three-year-old imagination!!

The Cleo books by Caroline Mockford and Stella Blackstone. Cleo is a cute little orange kitty and we enjoy the bright, colorful pictures in these books. Bug and Cleo are busy playing and talking as I write this.

We have also been hooked on "If you give..." books by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. We have If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, If You Give A Moose A Muffin, and If You Give A Pig A Pancake out from the library right now.

Also anything by Todd Parr, though we have a couple of Otto books out from the library that have been a huge hit. We are also huge Dr. Seuss fans, but then again, who isn't??