Friday, November 30, 2012

Quilt Block of the Month: Sept./ Oct.

Oh, dear me. This is how life is nowadays. Here we are at the end of November and I'm just posting the quilt blocks for September and October.

Other things that have been late recently:
  •  the baby's 4 month doctor's appointment
  •  my car inspection
  •  my/ my husband's flu shot
I'm also off my routine when it comes to laundry, showering, and exercising. However, I DO have almost all my Christmas shopping done and have my Xmas cards ready to send out this week, which makes me feel like I have it all together. And feeling like you have it all together is way more important than having it all together!

I've been on a small knitting/ crochet hiatus but before that hit I made each of the boys a winter hat, started some crochet animal hats for my nieces, and began a pair of mittens for Little C. I'm hoping to post some pictures of them in a more timely manner next time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Felted Acorns

So about a month ago (sheesh!) I hosted Girls Night and we did wind up making felted acorns.

I bought felt roving from the craft store--A.C. Moore. The packs were a few dollars each.

There was a good range of color. They even had premade felt balls for sale, but that's no fun, is it?

So, to make the felt balls rip off some roving (practice the amount to get the size you want), wrap it around itself in a ball shape. Then using hot water and a small amount of soap, roll it around between your palms. The key here is not to apply too much pressure at first. As you roll it around it will get tighter and harder. Once that happens you can apply more pressure. This was a fun activity for Little C. He got to play "car wash" with his matchbox cars in the soapy water while I rolled.

Truthfully, my felt balls looked pretty bad at first until I got the hang of it.
I followed this tutorial to figure out how to do it.
These are cute just scattered around in a bowl; they can be used as gift toppers; they can be glued on place cards; or you can glue some fishing line or string to the top and use them as ornaments.
P. emailed me this picture of hers. She used fishing line and attached them to a window that hangs on her wall. Very cute.
This was one of those seemingly pointless crafts that my husband teased me about. He kept saying, "Wait, soooo you're taking real acorns, breaking off the top, then making a fake acorn out of felt and gluing the real acorn top back on?" Yes, dear. Because real acorns don't come in these awesome colors--Duh!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Where Did Summer Go?

I found myself asking this question as I attempted to make my August quilt block in September.

The July quilt block is at the top and this bow tie block is August's. Yes, it's the end of Sept. and no, I don't even have the fabric picked or cut for September's block. I am officially behind.

Sadly, I've done little to no knitting on my Aidez cardigan either. The baby likes to be held at night when I usually knit, and I'm kind of enjoying just doing that and nothing else. It's hard to compete with a fat, cuddly, smiley baby.

I have Girls Night this week, so that will prompt me out of this craft slump. I'm thinking of trying something fall-like: Felted Acorns. (I'm using the non-tool version).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life Today

I'm still adjusting to life with two kids. (I have a feeling I'll still be saying that when they're in college.) Basically life can be summed up with this little vignette from the other day:

I had just finished feeding my older son and he was happily playing, so I started nursing the baby. As I stared off into space thinking mom thoughts I smelled the tell-tale odor of my older son's stinky diaper (this fragrance could rival the emissions of a burly lumberjack who just spent the last 24 hours drinking beer and eating bean stew.) Anyway, I tried to breathe through my mouth while my cherubic baby ate. Of course he was  blissfully unaware of the stench filling the house and seemed to take longer than usual to gorge himself. When he was mercifully finished, I laid him down gently. With little baby coos still resounding in my ear, I scooped up my older son and brought him upstairs to change the "man dump" diaper. After finally finishing that pleasant chore we went downstairs again and opened the windows to air out the place. Just as I sat down, I heard an explosion take place in the baby's diaper and the smell of sulfur began to permeate the place. And so up I went with a sigh to change the next diaper...

So to recap:  life today involves a neverending cycle of poo, a lot of running up and down stairs, and no sitting for me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

In between poop and stair running though, I did knit this sweater for the little one.
This is my second try at this pattern. The first time I made it a couple years ago I messed up the cable pattern somehow, but didn't understand what I did.

This time I started making the same mistake...

I finally figured it out. I was reading the cable chart only from the right side. The chart is written for the right and wrong side, going left to right. Ugh. So I had to rip back.

Much better.

This is such a cute pattern. I'm not in love w/ the yarn I used (Ornaghi Filati Punto Su Punto Corallina in a discontinued color), but it's good enough and it was on sale from

I'm just proud that I was able to finish something. Life today is smelly, tiring, busy.

As things get a little more routinized I hope I have more time to work on the Aidez cardigan; I'm currently working on the back and I love the pattern. I also have to finish (ok, start) the August quilt block before the month is over.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm So Crafty I Make People

Well, I went into labor right after my last post, so there was no lounging around on the couch and resting up before the big event. This little boy wanted to come early, and there was no stopping him.

Life with a newborn is wonderful, exciting, and often exhausting. I'm still trying to adjust to life with two kiddos. Despite me-time being even more limited, I have managed to sew up this month's quilt block and finish a knitted sweater that I've been working on for the new baby. I'm going to try to post them soon.

In between feedings, and diaper changes, and Blues Clues-watching with my older son, I've been thinking about some projects I'd like to work on in the coming months, namely the uber popular Aidez cardigan. I even ordered the yarn to make it from my LYS. Hopefully it will fit by the time I'm done knitting it (It's definitely not going to be fun to take off the pregnancy lbs. again).

It's also almost August and you know what that means...blanket time! I always have a ridiculous urge to crochet blankets in the sweltering heat of summer. This year is no exception; I started crocheting another ripple blanket out of scrap yarn. It's completely mindless, which is perfect for this tired and sleep-deprived momma. Hopefully it will be finished by winter, and I'll be able to snuggle under it with my two little men while watching tv at night.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Still Pregnant

 Here are the next two (May, June) blocks for the Quilt Block of the Month a-long.

By my quilt block calculations, I should be due any day now.

There are a lot of things that go through a 9 month pregnant woman's mind. Many are heavy and philosophical, others are more mundane. For example, when I drop things on the floor (which I do hundreds of times a day it seems!) I ponder a few things: 1.) Can I pick up said object with my feet? 2.) Is my toddler around anywhere to pick it up for me? 3.) Do I really need to pick it up or can I just leave it there? 4.) Why does the universe hate me?

As I spend the next few days wondering about these things, I'll be resting my enormous self on the couch and anxiously awaiting the baby's arrival. I know crafting will be non-existent for awhile, but hopefully July's quilt block will coax me back into craftland again.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tying Up Loose Ends

This is C's Big Boy Blanket that finally got finished after 3 years. I thought that I'd better get it done to coincide with his move to his big boy room.

My husband and I were unduly worried about this move, but C. completely surprised us and didn't even bat an eye. He made the transition easily and without any tears. We were shocked and very proud of him.

I think spending time in the space beforehand, and seeing all of us (my husband, me, his grandparents) working on the room made him excited to switch rooms. Plus, we emphasized what a big boy he was, and that the nursery was for a "baby."

As he got ready for his big change, I finally bound off and wove in some more ends on this blanket (which is made up of single, double, and half double crochets).

I'm happy it's done and I do like the colors/ feel of the blanket, but it's not my favorite thing I've ever made. I started this before I knew a lot about yarn, hook sizes, etc. So, my gauge changed a lot about two years ago, and that's a little odd. Also the yarn I used (Naturally Caron Country) was maybe not the best choice for a blanket.  I've learned a lot since I started. Still, I have a feeling it will be snuggled and loved by C. and so that makes it perfect in my eyes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quilt Block of the Month: April

I'm really getting behind on craft stuff. I've been making freezer meals, sorting baby clothes, buying baby stuff, cleaning, getting C.'s big boy room ready for him. It seems like the to-do list never ends.

It's ironic that there's always so much to do to prepare for a new baby and it's the time when you least feel like doing any of it. Lately, I get winded just making the bed in the morning.

Thankfully I can always count on these Blocks of the Month to coax me into a small craft session.
Although I have to admit, the April block wound up taking the whole month to complete!

It's exciting to see the quilt starting to take some shape. And it's fun to use the quilt blocks to tell time; in just one more quilt block the baby will be here! Ok,  a quilt block and a 1/2. (I've got 6 weeks left).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plugging Away

 I made a little hat and bootie set for A. for her upcoming shower in May.

I used Purl Bee's Little Fair Isle Hat pattern. It was easy and fun. I'll definitely make another, maybe for my own little guy.

After finishing the hat I figured I'd make some booties to go along with it. I used this pattern. They're supposed to be booties that are guaranteed to stay on. I'll have to ask A. if that's true once the baby comes.

I like how they turned out for the most part, but I was pretty confused on the first one. Somehow I resolved any issues on the second, but I'm not sure what I did differently. The only modification I made was to add an eyelit row underneath the ribbing, to thread in the i-cord. I also made the i-cord on a US 1 needle with 2 stitches. I used Patons Angora Bamboo for the hat and booties; I give the yarn 2 thumbs up. They also make a silk bamboo that would be interesting to try sometime...

I hope she likes this little gift.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Girls Night and Block of the Month: March

Here is my finished quilt block for March. I got a crazy idea last month that I was going to start another quilt in addition to this current project. I even started looking at fabric lines that I liked online and even bookmarked a few.

Then I realized I was having a baby in the not too distant future, and I was completely insane for thinking I would have the time for something like that. So it's back to focusing on this one little quilt and taking my time with one square a month. I know (from experience) that this little lull before the baby comes is the calm before the storm. I don't think it's the best idea to start something big right about now. Maybe in a few years I'll start that next quilt!

Speaking of babies/ pregnancy, our old friend A. was in from the opposite coast for Girl Nights a couple weeks ago.  It was great to see her and her pregnant belly. (She's due a month after me). K. hosted (I'm still dreaming of her baked ziti, spinach dip, and oreo truffles!) and it was so fun to get the old gang back together, even if it was just for a short time. Sigh. Of course I forgot to take any photos.

I'm still enjoying making quilt blocks each month, and I just saw the new design for April-fun pinwheels! I'll have to get the girls to update me with their blocks and get started on mine soon too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby Brain

You know your pregnancy brain is really bad when you try to put your key into someone else's car when you drop your toddler off at pre-school...

Or when you make a special trip out to the store to pick something up (milk, eggs, bread, fill in the blank) and you manage to pick up several worthless items but not the one you set out for and need...

Or it's been so long since you went to your own blog that you type in the wrong address in the browser...

Yep, it's been getting pretty bad around here. At least I finally finished this cute little vest for the new baby (who will be making his debut in a little over 2 1/2 months).  I used this pattern and made the 6-9 month version. I used a discontinued yarn from that was on sale. The pattern really isn't that hard (even for a brain-befuddled person like myself) but it is written a little strangely in some parts that requires some heavy thinking/ figuring out. I wrote some notes about it on my Ravelry page.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


You will never believe this...wait...wait for it....

Yep, I'm sick again! After a respite of 3 days I came down with another cold, but this one has been my favorite cold so far.

(It's sad that I am so familiar with the cold viruses this year that I can pick a favorite). This time I have little nose congestion--it's mainly a sore throat. It feels amazing to breathe again! I have so much more energy!

...enough energy to finish this Presto Chango baby sweater. I made the 6 month size in stash yarn. It was a very easy pattern that knit up quickly. The entire front panel comes off (those are all working buttons). I think the idea behind that is, if the baby spits up all over the front, just take it off and button in another panel. If I was subscribing to that theory I should knit another panel. However, with my luck, the new baby will throw up on his shoulder AND the panel. Also, with my newfound nasal breathing abilities pumping energy into my body, I've been crafting up a storm and I'm too distracted to knit another. I just finished my March quilt block, I'm 99.9% finished C's big boy blanket, and I'm really close to finishing up an adorable gray vest for the new little one. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quilt Block of the Month: February

Believe it or not, I am just recovering from yet ANOTHER bad cold. What gives? This is really getting ridiculous.  I figured I better post something and get some craft/ knitting work done quickly before I get sick with my next one! I'm sure the rhinovirus is not done with me yet.

I finished my next quilt block for the Quilt Block of the Month-along. This is a variation of a flying geese pattern. I tried to be very precise again. It's only slightly off here and there. Not too shabby.

I hosted Girls Night last week and we talked a little about our quilt blocks. K. brought her Feb. block but I forgot to take a picture. Here's a shot of Jan.'s block that she emailed me. She's using It's a Hoot fabric by Moda. (I'm using Sassy by Moda).

I think P. is making two each month for her two boys? I'll have to double check with her. That's a good idea. I'm sure at the end of the year, I'll have wished I had done that too!

In other crafty news: I almost have C's Big Boy blanket completed; I just have to weave in some ends.
I'm also 75% done a little Presto Chango sweater for the new baby. AND, I ordered some beautiful, quality yarn to make the little baby some things for next winter. It's so soft-I can't wait to use it. It was all on sale from here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

This is the sweater I made for the new baby. It's a 3-6 month size from this pattern. I didn't add the lace on the sleeves, to give it a more unisex feel.

The lacy-leaves going down the front are a little feminine. If the baby is a girl it's no big deal. If it's a boy...well, at least the sweater is blue, and boy babies can be dressed in sweet little things when they're tiny. I don't think it's a big deal.

The sweater gave me a little consternation only b/c of how I arrived at the pattern.

I originally saw this Pea Pod Set on Ravelry and added it to my queue over a year ago. I was so excited to make it but then I found out that the pattern was no longer available.

Say, what!???!!! I searched everywhere for it online. I was willing to purchase it--but it was a no go. Do you know how frustrating it is to have your heart set on making something, when tons of other people have already made it, and then all of a sudden it's not available anymore? Also, there is no information about why this is so, or if it will ever change.

I'm not the only one who feels this way in knitting land either. I read a bunch of posts from people who are in the same boat as I am. The designer has not really mentioned changing the status of this pattern either, and there hasn't been any mention of it from her in several years time, so I'm not very hopeful about it being offered in the future. At one point I even wondered if maybe she had died and that's why there was no response about it. Seriously!

Needless to say, not being able to knit it really bummed me out. I have no idea why it is no longer available, but that's life. I can't speculate or judge because I really don't have any information about it/ her. Me whining about it is pretty pointless.

That's where this other sweater comes in. I thought about trying to re-create the Pea Pod cardigan, but it was a challenge I really didn't feel up to with my current pregnancy fog. The second sweater is cute in its own way (even though I made several mistakes while knitting it), and I'm thinking about adding a little hat to go with it once I find a pattern I like. Oh, and before I get too excited about it, I'll make sure it's available first!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I CAN be Precise! Quilt Block of the Month: January

A little while ago I made a mini quilted table runner for Christmas. Even though I'm proud of it, it was basically a major fail. I didn't bother with pressing, or even measuring everything by the end. I don't really know what I was thinking. However, it taught me a very valuable lesson about precision. Maybe I can fudge some stuff when it comes to knitting, crochet, painting, or cooking, but if I was ever going to dive into quilting I was going to have to have the precision of a surgeon.

So basically I figured my commencement as a quilt maker would never happen. Or at least not at this juncture in my life. Who has time to be precise with a demanding toddler all over you, and another little one on the way? Not me.

But the quilt gods have been guiding me toward quilting ever so gradually over the past few years. A few things happened since I made the mini quilt that truly inspired me jump right in. First, I noticed that a quilting blogger I follow was going to start a quilt block of the month series for 2012. The quilt block for January was eye-catching, I loved the colors she chose, and her tutorial looked beautiful. Then a little later I saw another blogger I follow decided to participate in this quilt-a-long. He (yes, it's a he) made his own quilt block following the tutorial; I also loved his color choices. I was impressed with his block because he's new to quilting too, and I figured if he could do it, I probably could too. (Also, he's a dude! If a man can do it, I can do it too; I am woman, etc...and all that banter).

Then the final straw? I was out to tea (we're really not that gentrified but we did have a lovely little tea outing a few weeks ago) with the girls and P. brought up how she wanted to do a quilt block a month this year and was looking for patterns. I emailed her the link to the blog and didn't think much about it for a few days. But the seed had already been planted and it started growing, and growing....

I literally feel like I woke up one morning and was all, "That's it! I'm doing the Quilt Block a Month-along. Let me order my fabric." I notified P. who also decided to participate and then we asked K. to join us and she obliged.

I can't explain enough how great this project is for me:
  1.  I committed myself to measuring everything precisely--no eyeballing on this one.
  2.  having an entire month to complete 1 square is perfect for my lifestyle. A whole quilt would be overwhelming for me to contemplate, but one little quilt block is easy to accomplish and focus on.
  3.  Following a step by step tutorial takes all the guesswork and uncertainty away from me, a newbie.
  4.  It's exciting to anticipate what the next blocks will look like--she has not revealed them in advance. So the compulsive in me can't jump ahead. It forces me to practice patience and pace myself. This is such an important lesson for me--I'm always in a race.
I'll have to say a thank you to those quilt gods for directing me to this place. I'm really enjoying working with fabric and learning something new. It's so fun to have the girls on the same journey too (there's already been a handful of emails going back and forth about fabric lines, pressed seams, and selvage). And finally, the thought of having  a full quilt in a year's time is really amazing to me b/c it always seemed so out of my reach.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I promised my sister a "blizzard" of crochet snowflakes this year, but due to the ridiculous number of colds, etc. my family and I have been experiencing this little collection of flurries were all that I could muster.

This one is from here and wound up being the most successful.

This is from this pattern. I'm pretty sure my counting was off somewhere.

And this is from here. Again, I'm sure I miscounted somewhere.

I've obviously been in a craft slump because of lack of energy. Would you believe that we're sick again??? Little C. is overcoming an ear infection and I apparently have another cold (my 4th or 5th one? or just the same one over and over?)

It's pretty rare for me to get sick like this; being a teacher for a number of years strengthens your immune system. After that type of exposure to germs I went years in a row without having a single cold, but I'm pregnant this year and I guess my immune system can't keep up. I'm thrilled to be pregnant, but I'm not thrilled about being unable to take any cold meds!

Anyway, before I started to feel lousy again, I was starting to get into the craft game again. I'd been working on C's big boy blanket, knitting a sweater for the new baby, crocheting the Flowers in the Snow blanket, and even attempting my first real quilt block. Hopefully this cold doesn't knock me down for too long so I don't lose momentum.
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