31 October 2008

Halloweenie FOs

Some spooky FOs...

First up, my "sketelon" dishcloth. This was the October entry in the Dish-Cloth-Along. Very cute and very seasonal!


Since most of my knitting peeps are in Ravelry, I'll refer you guys to Ravelry if you want the details and not bother with the links and lists. If you really want to know needle sizes and yarn specs and pattern details and aren't in Ravelry, let me know...

I also finished off Bug and Bean's costumes by finishing a couple of hats:


The poor felted princess hat has been languishing since January after over-felting the first try. I think the princess thinks it was worth the wait:


I also knit a second version of the pumpkin hat. The first one was too big around and not nearly long enough.


I'm much happier with this one and it is easier to navigate than the stem mask that belongs with the pumpkin costume. Plus, they can wear it all winter, too!

And some non-fiber works of art:

First up, the artistes with their complete oeuvre...

Yeah, it's pretty sunny out, the artistes are not at their most photogenic ;o)

Next, Bean's works

Bean provided artistic direction, while our friend K wielded the knife, though on the lower one Bean discovered that she could "drill" out eyes and nose by twisting the knife, so she helped.

Bug's works

He carved them himself, though I did some clean up to connect cuts and get the holes the whole way through.

And finally, a collaboration:

Beeb had this pumpkin to play with while we were working and started some preliminary carving with his teeth. From there, Bean took inspiration and made a full face with her knife. Beeb also took to the job of scooping pumpkin guts back into the jack-o-lanterns after they were carved. Mmmmmm, what texture! And almost as tasty as sand!

30 October 2008

Catching Up IV: Kid Pics

The brood doing assorted cute things...

Bug was cold one afternoon, so he bundled up in a sweater and made himself a bed atop the cedar chest. Looks pretty comfy to me!

Bug is up to much buggish stuff. He loves numbers and has just discovered dot-to-dots...he's been working his way through a book of them and is now doing some with 100 dots! He is also experimenting with phonics and loves finding rhyming words. He asked to start up with the Bob Books again and we are currently breezing through the second set. He wants to read since he loves books so much, but some of the brain pathways just aren't quite ready yet, but he's getting closer all the time.

Bean is very pleased with her pigtails!

She is very into dressing up with jewelry and hair-dos these days. After an enthusiastic (and very cute) start to life in pigtails, she wouldn't let me mess with her hair more than the bare minimum most days. She is very determined to learn her letters since she wants to read like her big brother. She also loves counting, but still tends to put the numbers in her own order: One, two, bree, seben... She also is very taken with the stroller she got for her birthday. She loves being a little mommy and has her "baby" close at hand much of the time (the baby she got two years ago is the baby of choice these days...bottom picture of this post).

And last, but certainly not least, the Beeb:

My little dude is turning into a toddler (sniff, sniff). He needs a haircut, but Mama isn't quite ready to part with the sweet baby hair just yet. We are getting a lot of "Oh what a cute little girl" comments. He has been walking with a walker like Great Grandma Dell for a couple of weeks now. He doesn't have a fancy one like her, but a doll stroller or a foot stool serves quite nicely thankyouverymuch. He started taking short jaunts on his own last weekend and is gaining confidence all the time. He is also getting ready for talking. He knows a couple of signs ("more" with respect to food is his favorite) and parrots back some words. Oh, and according to my little future fiberphile, all animals go "Baa," even the fish at the library.

29 October 2008

Catching Up III: Halloweenies

This year for Halloween, we have a pumpkin, a princess, and a pflamingo (you know, like the pfabulous pfaucet with the pfunny name?? Didn't want Beeb to feel left out with the p-thing). We started our week of Halloweenies at the zoo, which was fun, but a bit of a disappointment compared to previous years. Here are the pumpkin and princess posing:

and our widdle flamingo hanging out with his peeps.

Bug and Beeb are both wearing hand-me-down costumes. The pumpkin has a long, sordid history. I was the pumpkin in grade school, my little brother had his turn as pumpkin, and my mom has worn it to work for Halloween. We will have to pass it along to my little brother's family when I have subjected everyone here to the pumpkin. Bean was the first Flamingo a three years ago, though that was the year that Bug and Bean ended up swapping costumes, so technically, Bug was the flamingo for trick or treating.

We have a whole week of Halloween fun going, so we will get lots of mileage out of these costumes. On Monday, our homeschool playgroup had a halloween party, so we dressed up again and made some ghoulish treats:

Finger Food, a la Molly Bees and

Mummy toes (aka monster toes). Wednesday is a Halloweenish story time at the library and Friday is Halloween!

28 October 2008

Catching Up II: A Beanly Birthday

Who woulda thunk that this little spud:

would become such a charming, spunky, cute, silly kiddo four years later? We celebrated her fourth birthday last week. We had cake and ice cream after dinner on her actual birthday and then this past weekend we made our traditional pilgrimage to Ella's Deli for a special birthday dinner. She is still a huge Dora fan and demanded a Dora cake. I made a Map cake last year, so decided on a Backpack cake this year

and Bean blew candles out with gusto!

She has definitely entered a phase of superlatives. She declared this her "best birthday ever" and all of here presents were the best, nicest, or most. She got a nightgown from Grandma and Grandpa H that is a special treat after wearing mostly hand-me-down jammies. I think we may have trouble getting it away from her for laundry! From us, she got a doll umbrella stroller and she is bringing her baby along to story time, farmers' market, or anywhere that little brother gets to ride in a stroller!

She's a pretty special little lady and I can hardly believe how grown up she is already getting...the time just goes much too fast!

27 October 2008

Catching Up I: Fall Fun

Although I am very much a winter person, I still think fall may be my favorite season. It has a lot of thing going for it...fun activities, cooler weather (winter's coming!), it doesn't hang around forever (yes, February, I'm looking at you.)...

We've been puttering around, mostly tending to day to day stuff. We've been doing a homeschool playgroup, library story time, and Farmers' Market pretty much weekly. In addition, I have been doing a little canning and freezing while we can still get fresh produce. And since the weather has cooled down, soup season has started again! Yum.

We had miniature caramel apples for a treat one afternoon:

Just one bite (ballpoint pen for scale)! They solve the problem of how to eat a caramel apple without getting caramel all over your face and hair. I got the idea here.

We have also been going on homeschool field trips at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. We have been to two classes, and even though Bean is technically not old enough to participate, the leaders have let her tag along with big brother and do the activities. The first class was on birds and each of the kids made birds' nests using things that birds would use (pine needles, straw, leaves, etc.) and a few that birds wouldn't use (e.g., glue and paper). We came home and made origami birds for the nest.

Here is Bean's:

She has declared the black birds to be vultures.

And here is Bug's:

He insists that the red birds are canaries. I suspect that he means cardinals, but he insists that isn't the case when I asked. They are canaries.

We have also done one on trees and seeds. Currently, we have only signed up for one other of the remaining four (Bats!!!), but we have had such a good time at the two we have gone to that we might go ahead and sign up for the others, too.

Yeah, we're still here...

There has been much going on and not much in the Mama motivation department lately. There are four groups of pictures I need to catch up on: (1) Some early October fallness, (2) A very Beanish birthday, (3) some early Halloweenies, and (4) some gratuitous kid pics. There are also some FO posts that need to be caught up on. *sigh*

02 October 2008

Something I have been dying to tell you...

*snort* *snicker* Sorry, had to get it out of my system.

Anyhoo, what started out as 100 grams of Knitpicks Bare Bulky weight yarn, ended up looking like this:


I split the skein into five parts and tried different dye/mordant combinations [Aside: a mordant is what you use to set the dye]; from left to right: Beet with Alum and Cream of Tartar, Coffee with Vinegar, Onion Skin with Vinegar, Beet with Salt, and Beet with Vinegar. And some progress photos (in all of these photos, you can click to go to Flickr and see dye/mordant labels).

In quart jars, soaking in dye and hanging out in the sun (kinda like sun tea):


Drained and rinsed out:


And hanging out on the deck to dry:


I had a good time playing with dyes and was very excited to get some pretty colors without using the kinds of serious chemicals that can wreak all tunes of havoc if you don't use dye-dedicated pots and pans and use care in handling them. Everything I used is in the kitchen for cooking anyway, so I wasn't as worried about getting interrupted all the time!

01 October 2008

My new love

Isn't she a beauty?? After peeling 20 pounds of apples and then picking another batch, I finally threw up my hands and gave in. All I can say is "Wow!" Not only does it peel, core, and slice way faster than I can with my paring knife, I can also use it to extract a certain amount of slave labor from my children before they lose interest. Mama's little sweatshop: gotta love it! I made three quarts and two pints more applesauce and will make some apple rings tonight! Seriously, I think I love this gadget more than I love the kids (well, at least while I am peeling, coring, and slicing apples!).

So, if "Mama's little sweatshop" and loving my apple gadget more than my kids isn't enough to put me out of the running for Mother of the Year, how's this?

While I was making applesauce, little Mr. Beeb managed to get in the drawer with the hot chocolate and popcorn (what can I say, I have a unique filing system). You know the hockey pucks that break into wedges to make Mexican hot chocolate (like these or these)? He got a wedge (1/6 of a hockey puck) and thought he had hit serious pay dirt. In addition to be adorable and working on a killer sugar high, he has almost reached toddler status. He can stand up in the middle of the floor all by himself and can shuffle out a teensy step or two before going down on his tushie.