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Archive for January, 2009

Did I ever tell you how much I love where my house is located?  Because I do!  Yes, we live in suburbia.  Despite that, we have almost 3/4 of an acre of land and are within walking distance of our grocery store, GoodWill, several other shops, and the YMCA to which we are members.  And walk to these places we do, even in the winter.  I’m a little ashamed to admit that the criterion we used to choose L4’s preschool program was that we could walk to it (it’s at the Y).  It all worked out as she loves it there.  Here’s the path we take:

Our Walk to the YMCA

I’ve had to carry her on my back a couple of times this winter because the snow has been too deep for her little legs to trudge through.  A workout for me (even on the days that she walks next to me, I’m out and about getting some exercise) and I don’t drive my car the short distance to her school.  In all honesty, I think it’s far easier to grab her backpack and head out for our walk then to get the keys, get her buckled into her carseat, drive, park, get her out of her carseat, then drive home.

Sometimes I stop and catch my breath with the realization that some of the simplest actions in our daily lives could be making a difference.  Walking to a destination, bringing banana peels home to compost rather than throwing them out at work/school/etc, reusable shopping bags or simply saying, “No bag, please.”: I know they’re small things, but they do add up, right?  Especially when we see signs of these types of simple actions on the rise?  And then I also remember, “Hey, it makes a difference for us, too!”  We spend less on gas, we get more exercise, we have lovely compost to add to our gardens, and less clutter in our home (goodness knows we could use less of that around here!).

Here’s to realizing the beauty and utility of the simple things in our lives.  Cheers!

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A Lady in the Making

It’s been a long time coming.  My February Lady Sweater is almost complete (and there have been over 3700 of these made, according to /in the making according to Ravelry!).  The knitting is done and it had a bath and was blocked to open up the lace-loveliness  and lengthen the body from its pre-blocking cropped length.  (I was a little impatient to finish the body–oops!)

February Lady Sweater Preblocking

pre-blocking, color off in photo
Blocking February Lady

blocking, color a bit more true here

Some stats for you:

Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne

One of my favorite things was to read the pattern notes from the designer.  She wrote, “A swingy lace cardigan,
made to fit a grown-ass woman.”

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Weight in Purple Magic

Needles: US7s, knitpicks interchangeables and some dpns as well

I’m looking forward to wearing this in most seasons, with its swinging arms and body, plump, soft yarn, and fitted top section.  It’s a good representation of me trying to break out of my mold in terms of color (the second purple thing from 2008 that I knitted!) and it’s a style I haven’t made before, either.  I enjoyed making an adult-sized top down sweater. Once I have buttons on it I’m sure I’ll engage L1 to help with a full-on photo-shoot.  Yippie!

Up next?  I finally get to start making Wisteria by Kate Gilbert!

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Handwritten, showing the life behind the words more than an email does.  It may seem old-fashioned, but I still love received (and sending!) letters via the post.

What brought on this bit of nostalgia?  A bedtime letter.  I have to start by saying that I almost dread bedtime in our house, at least for L3.  L4 tends to be happy to go to sleep and falls asleep rather quickly (much like her parents!). My boy has never been so good with bedtimes, from infancy.  We have tried many token systems, music, audiobooks (after we’ve read to him, too!), resetting bedtime with late nights and early mornings, all to no avail. We have now learned that this is part of and enhances his ADHD.  He can’t quiet his mind down or tune out all of the house noises.  He’s frequently out of bed multiple times for various reasons (bathroom, drinks, food, has to say goodnight one more time, etc).  Friday night he was delivering mail.  And this is what I received:

Heart-melter

My boy may have a bleeding heart, but he melts mine.

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The Clinging Garden

Clinging Garden Skirt

That’s my spur of the moment name for the skirt I made and then wore to work yesterday.  I love the fabric and the cut and will ignore the wonky zipper issues because I can cover them up.  I did a rolled hem with the serger because I really like the length of the skirt on me and didn’t want to shorten it any with a hem.  I’m really looking forward to wearing it in the spring and beyond–when static isn’t an issue!  Every step I took yesterday the skirt clung and stuck between my legs.

Clinging Garden Feet Shot

gratuitous feet shot!

Speaking of gardens. . .  I need to get to work on my garden planning and seed ordering.  I know I have to replenish a bunch of my seed stock this year because of age of seeds and I’ve run out.  I hope to put my order in by the weekend as I’ll need to start planting onions and celery very soon indeed.

How about you?  Have your garden dreams begun?  What do you hope to plant this year?

ps: check out my crazy Loki:
January Jumble 131

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I Am Not A Waif

That would be the sum result of me and Stylish Dresses this week.  I finally was able to dig into the Japanese pattern book I bought way back when.  I still love the patterns in the book.  I cannot, however, pull off the waif look of the Asian women (or are they girls?!?) in the book.  That being said, the cut of these patterns is rather large.  Many are tunic-style, so that’s part of it.  Another part is that I’m just short (but with hips, even pre-babies).

The original title of this post was “One for Work, One for the Garden.”  Here’s the one for work:
January Jumble 103

Pattern “B” from Stylish Dresses, size 7.  It was very long on me so I wore it tucked into a skirt for work tonight.  I never tuck things in, but I did.  And I think it was okay.  I will make this pattern again, in a lighter weight fabric (shirting material, maybe?) and I’ll make the lower arm a bit wider where it attaches to the upper arm so that I can gather it more.  I’ll also gather the top front a bit more.  It was hard to tell if I had done enough without a Millie of my size.  Maybe someday I’ll make one out of duct tape!  According to L1 this shirt passed the test, it was “professorial” looking enough.

Garden Shirt Mosaic

This shirt, however, was not.  He told me, “You can wear it in the garden.”  I love him, but our relationship is sprinkled with statements like this made by him.  Ahem.  The shirt is a bit fugly, my eco-chic idea foiled in the final product.  The material is a thrifted sheet I found when Kim took us on a whirlwind and wonderful tour of her local thrift shops over Thanksgiving.  There was an entire wall of sheets at this place.  That’s where the solstice pjs for L4 and I originated.  Back to the shirt–it was a learning experience.  Why?

  1. I made it two sizes two big.  Oops.  I thought I was deciphering the Japanese and the metric measurements correctly.  Apparently not.  I ended up serging off an inch off each side of the finishing product and it’s still a bit big.
  2. I got to make bias tape again–it’s been awhile.  I really love the finished look of it on the neckline and the sleeve edges.
  3. I made five buttonholes.  My current sewing machine is fantastic in that it remembers the size of the first, so they’re all exactly the same.  I heart that!
  4. I used the machine to sew on the five buttons.  Yes, that’s right, the machine did it for me.  So. cool.
  5. Lastly, I learned that it’s okay for a project to be a learning experience, even if you really wanted it to just be a finished object to be worn and adored.  I’ll wear, but I don’t know how much I’ll adore it.

I’m not sure what I’ll make next from the book–all of the patterns call for an obscene amount of fabric!  I’ll be sure to keep you updated with the sage of trying to make a Stylish Dress of my own.  Me and stylish in one sentence–there’s my laugh for the day!

Where ever you are, dear readers, I hope you’re staying warm today and finding your own positive learning experiences.

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I’ve seen it in the past, but wasn’t sure just how sincere he was, or if he was trying to get a reaction/be dramatic.  For example, when driving past the turkey farm near our home, I mentioned how when we were eating our Tofurkey for Thanksgiving others would be eating the turkeys.  L3 exclaimed, “Mama!  Pull over, we need to help them escape!”

Recently we’ve had a mouse infestation which L1 has been handling swiftly and efficiently.  I’m a wimp–I refuse to be a part of that task.  This afternoon as L4 and I were hanging out in the living room I thought I saw a little mouse tail scurry around a corner.  What?!?  It’s in the open!!  I left L1 a voicemail about it, then packed up the kittens for their check-up at the vet.  Fast-forward to later afternoon.  L1 and L3 are at karate and L4 and I are hanging out in the living room once again.  I look up from my semester prep-work to see the d*&n mouse running across the floor–the open floor!!  L4 sees it and freaks out, deciding instantly that she doesn’t like mice.  I don’t blame her as I don’t really like any rodents.

When the male-folk return home, I direct L1 to the place at which I had last seen the mouse.  He gets a trap ready, but doesn’t see it.  L3 realizes what is going on and freaks out.  “Don’t kill it,” he wails, “it’s a living creature.  It’s not fair!!!”  This type of speech continued, along with copious tears as we explained why we didn’t want the creature in our home, to no avail.  “Please, why can’t you just catch it and let it outside??”  We tried to explain to him that it would probably suffer if we put it outside, but he wouldn’t hear us.  And so, in the end, L1 chose to end his son’s suffering.  He trapped the mouse and set it free outside, in a snow storm, I might add.  The boy is happy.  We told him the mouse didn’t have a good chance of surviving.  His reply?  “Well, if I find its body someday, I’ll bury it.”    Oy, kid logic.

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It’s inevitable.  As we spend more time indoors, and in the same room or two, we find the scenery becoming a bit stagnant.  There’s usually a bit of a furniture shuffle for getting the tree into and out of our living space.  Then, after all of the holiday blitz we look around and feel a little stir-crazy. This year that happened about a month earlier than usual.

Remember the cabinet that was my sewing desk?  After L1 built my new sewing space this summer the desk went to L4’s room.  She has the smallest bedroom and it already has a built-in desk, dresser, and two bookshelves.  It was full with the cabinet in there, too.  I kept thinking, ” We need to get that cabinet out of her room. . .Should we sell it?  I don’t want to sell it. . . ”  Then it hit me–we could try to use it for our TV and stereo equipment, being able to shut it off from the world.  Yes!  We originally purchased it for a similar purpose, to close off our computer from baby L3 and the rest of our lives in our little house in NH.

But I digress. . .  I brought up the idea for the cabinet with L1 and he went to work measuring items to see if they would fit.  He proclaimed they would, then we went back to our day’s to-do list.  That afternoon when I was lifting weights in the basement I started hearing all sorts of noise overhead.  I had a sneaking suspicion as to their source.  When I came upstairs  I found that I was correct–L1 had completely dismantled all of the entertainment equipment (most old school–we don’t have surround sound or anything like that!) and had most of the cabinet apart, too.  Now, I love that he was so excited and showed such initiative.  The thing was, we hadn’t discussed how we were going to arrange anything.  Now there was a pile on the living room floor, L4’s room was a complete disaster and we were at a standstill.  Nothing we talked about together was making either of us happy.  We needed outside help.  I called Kerry and begged her to come over.  She graciously acquiesced to my “request” despite her own schedule with a deadline (she’s got half a book due this week!).  An outsider was just what we needed.  We couldn’t think about moving our couch into a spot other than it has been in for the past six years, despite all of the other furniture rearranging we’ve done in this room.  She could.

January Jumble 065

Now I can breath again and the feeling of being closed in has abated.

What do you do to alleviate feeling shut in during the winter?

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