Monday, December 26, 2011

Cross-stitching, or How I Lost a Month of Naptimes

People are always telling me to sleep while the baby's sleeping. That is such good (and totally impractical) advice. And if I had taken it in the past month, I never would have finished my first cross-stitch project: a family portrait. Yay!

I got the inspiriation* from a Martha Stewart tutorial, then changed it up to fit my family. Getting the goatee right without turning my husband into a giant bobble-head was the toughest part. I used graph paper snitched from my husband's science-stuff stash and my daughter's crayons to plan it all out, then used some large-blocked cross-stitch fabric to make it easier. I could do about one item per naptime - a Bears sweater, my curly hair, a much-loved purple blanket. The Great Dane took two naptimes.

Contrary to my memories of learning how to cross-stich as a child -- and then refusing to cross-stitch as a child -- this was actually pretty fun. I might make another one, if I can pick an appropriate subject.

*According to the comments section, Martha got her inspiration from an Etsy seller, but gave no credit. I have no idea.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Once Upon a Time There was a Blanket

I found the pattern for the blanket baby Emma was wrapped in during Once Upon A Time! Isn't it pretty? As soon as I saw that she was wrapped in a hand-knitted item, I thought, "I wonder how long it will take before that pops up on Ravelry?"* Answer: no time at all. I can see the studio changed it up a bit - stitched it shut and sewed a patch of fabric to put Emma's name on.

*OK, so my first thought was "Oh my dear, that man holding his baby while battling the forces of evil is so hawt! Oh, heavens! I need a cold drink. To pour on my head." But my next thought was about knitting.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mommy Mittens

In theory, it should get cold because it's winter. I don't live in Alaska anymore, so everything being relative, who knows how cold it will get. Most of my memories of Texas winters involve wet, sloshy, windy uncomfortableness - not fun, dry, puffy snow. But I'm going to be optimistic. So I made mittens for my little one.

I followed a pattern in A Knitter's Home Companion, and honestly, I wasn't very happy with it. Following the instructions for the smallest size, I ended up with a giant, disproportional thumb. So I frogged, guessed, rinsed and repeated a few times until I was happy.

More importantly, my little knit-receiver was happy. Once I figured out my own formula, these knit up very quickly -- I could probably do a pair while watching my stories in one night.

And what better way to celebrate a finished pair of mittens, then with toasty warm beignets in the morning? These came from a Cafe Du Monde mix, but I'd like to make my own. I found a few recipes on the Food Network, but taking any advice from Paula Dean makes me uneasy. Uncomfortable. Possibly diabetic. Hummmmm...

Friday, October 28, 2011


I had this really snarky post ready. All about this hand-dyed yarn company that done me wrong. Who either sold me a defective dress pattern, or a shorted me several yards on the skein of yarn. And how their customer service told me to stick it. And how I defied them and turned the stinking thing into a sweater. Seen here:
Sesame Street: toddler tranquilizer for photography.

I frogged this thing three times, checked and changed and rechecked my gauge, and still came up with a "dress" that was at least six inches too short.

So my snarky story was really funny. But then they had to go and email me tonight. And tell me how sorry they are. And how they are sending me more yarn. For free. Which kind of makes me the jerk. Because, let's face it: it's probably my mistake. I'm not sure how, but still.

So for now, until the new, free, customer-friendly yarn arrives, the dress is a sweater. Which my daughter LOVES. Which makes me so happy. Because nothing* makes eight thousand tiny handmade stitches worth it like hearing "Mommy, love swea-tah! Soft! Love swea-tah!"

Thank you Three Irish Girls. I'm a jerk.

*But free hand-dyed yarn comes pretty close.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In which I watch too much TV

I distinctly remember a co-worker's comment about my husband and I going on dates. Eight years ago this web editor said "You guys still go on dates? That'll end as soon as you have kids." I said nothing but gave him a poor-little-you smile with a condescending head-tilt. Because we would never be that boring. We had parties. And shows. And wine bars. And social lives. And yet, that statement stuck in my head. And has come back to haunt me all these years later.

Now that Wednesday is Psych Night. Thursday is Vampire Diaries Night. Friday is Grimm Night. Saturday is Doctor Who Night. Sunday is Walking Dead Night. And Monday is Castle Night and now, also Once Upon a Time Night. But here's the upside. People always ask me how I find time to knit. The answer is I knit while I watch TV, when I'm too tired to do much else anyway and I'm sort-of spending time with my husband who is parked in the armchair grading papers, talking to himself and occasionally asking what dessert might be. So it's couple-time. Sort of.

So now that I've made my excuse for the me-shaped dent in the sofa, have you seen Once Upon a Time? I was prepared to hate it because Precinct 17 wasn't picked up and I'm irrational like that. But it was so cute in a Pushing-Daisies-meets-Princess-Bride way. Let's hope more in a Princess Bride way since Pushing Daisies met an unceremonious and quick ending. Which I am still bitter about, ABC. Don't think I've forgiven you.

My fear is that since it comes from the people who brought you Lost, OUAT will drop seemingly meaningful clues and half-revelations season after season that amount to nothing but They're All Dead (sorry for no spoiler warning but if you haven't seen Lost, now you won't have to waste your time).

You may have noticed Tuesday is missing. Tuesday is with Sunday's underwear. Because of God.*

*According to Meg Ryan.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I buy too much junk from Target

Martha Stewart did mummy cupcakes a few years ago and they looked marvelous (don't expect a link, I'm too lazy to look it up right now). So these were inspired by those. I found the candy eyes two years ago* at Target but discovered that having a three-week-old was not conducive to baking. Or eating. Or sleeping.

We are scarrrrrrrrrry. Because we will stain everything we come in contact with.
Yes, they are red velvet. No, I did not make them from scratch -- it's a box mix. Yes, I know how to make them from scratch. No, it's not worth it, especially when the designated House Cupcake Eater generally licks off the frosting and declares the item "Done!"

*Don't you dare judge me for using two-year old candy eyes. If you're stomach is strong enough to eat straight sugar, I'm sure you've built up an immunity to whatever is NOT growing on these.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blooming over spring break

So here's what I did over spring break:
1. whipped up the following in my kitchen: duck a la orange, a lemon tart with a pate briste crust and, for St. Patrick's Day an Irish Fish Pie with Dublin Cheese
2. Finally set up Netflix and caught up with a ton of films I missed while pregnant (Zombieland and Sherlock were my favorite. I found the Princess and the Frog a little extremely scary for kids)
3. Visited the Arboretum and saw a LOT of gorgeous tulips
4. Planted a lot of veggies and herbs
5. Had several backyard picnics -- something I couldn't do in my last house (see: mosquitos, year-long horrific abundance of)
5. Sewed a cupcake-themed dress and a St. Patrick's-themed skirt and tiered top -- all for The Beautiful Girl!!!!!
I am just loving this sewing business!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spinning a tale

Looking for some fluffy, knitty reads? I just read Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton. It's a supernatural romance set in a magical knitting store in a small town. Bretton does a wonderful job of creating a detailed atmosphere and likable characters. Several days after reading the last page, I'm wondering about the characters and wishing I could visit the town. Luckily, it's the first in the Sugar Maple series. The second is Laced with Magic, followed by the recently released Spun by Sorcery. I'll be checking them out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Today I placed an order for the beautiful new Glimpse colorway from the talented Three Irish Girls. Just one skein will make the Skip Hop Pinafore in size 2. A portion of the proceeds of each sale of Glimpse goes to Share, a non-profit organization supporting the needs of parents who have lost a baby. You can read more about it on the Yarnista blog.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lazy Days skirt

Well, here's my first baby-sewing project. It was super easy and very quick. I bought several different fabrics and ribbons to make a few different skirts. This one was Valentine's Day themed with little hearts and zebras (not that zebras have anything to do with Valentine's Day, unless you are having a very romantic holiday in Africa...)

The Lazy Days skirt pattern comes free from Oliver + S. I am so impressed with her patterns, I recently purchased several. If you've ever found yourself in front of a sewing machine, surrounded by cut fabric, pattern tissue laying hither and tither, a broken needle and frustration mounting as you scream "WHAT does this pattern MEEEEEEEEEEEEAN? I have NO IDEA what this MEEEEEEEEEANS!" (What? Just me?) -- then these patterns are for you. They are written very clearly, no sobbing phone calls to more sewing-machine savvy relatives needed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Things to Sew

My crafty friends should enjoy this book. It's sewing, not knitting, but I LOVE the other patterns she has written (the book isn't here yet). The details in the patterns I have are beautiful and the instructions are crystal clear:

Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, by Liesl Gibson from STC Craft on Vimeo.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Valentine's Day Hearts

This is the Baby Tiered Coat and Jacket pattern available on Ravelry. It knits all in one piece and was super quick and easy -- and my first completed sweater! I'm working on sewing (gasp!) a dress to match so she'll have a full V-Day outfit made by Mommy.

While you are working on your Valentine's Day projects, please remember the little hearts who need some help: Congenital Heart Disease affects one in every 100 births. The costs on families (both emotional and financial) are huge. Many children need multiple surgeries over many years, sometimes far away from home. Please consider giving to Spencer's Fund, providing support to these families and their special little ones.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This top was a dress

A dress! This was a dress I made for her in April. April! Of this past year! If this keeps up, I'm soon going to be the shortest person in the house again.

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere purchased at Loops and the pattern is the free pattern Child's Play Top from Lion Brand.