Monday, January 31, 2011

An Angry Bird!

I finished my angry bird! Or rather, the Imp's angry bird.

I may (or may not) felt the whole thing. It turned out to be a combination of knitting and needle felting. Overall I'm really happy with it.

This is the pattern I used for the ball base.

For the top feathers I picked up four stitches and knit in stockinette for four rows, k2tog twice, and pulled through. On mine, the not-stockinette side is visible because the other side naturally laid back.

For the beak I cast on 18 or 20 (I don't remember now) stitches and knit in stockinette in the round for two rows and then switched to *k1, k2tog* repeated (if I had extra stitches at the end of rows that didn't fit in that pattern I just knit them), and finally pulled through and sewed it on (with stuffing).

For the eyebrows I cast on four stitches, knit in stockinette (seeing a trend here?) for a couple rows and the k2tog, k the rest for each row (purling in between). After ending up with just one stitch (for three rows) I switched the pattern to increasing (kfb instead of k2tog) and worked it in reverse order. I needle felted the eyes and then sewed the brows on.

The tail is: cast on 4, knit in stockinette for four rows, k2tog twice, purl a row, knit a row, pull through. I did that three times and then sewed them together at the small end before sewing them onto the bird. Then I needled felted the belly and voila!

Blerg. People who write patterns must have a lot more patience than I do. I winged most of it and probably typed half of it wrong.

Friday, January 28, 2011

{this moment} and a recap

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. My boys took me out for breakfast and a late lunch/early dinner. And then they made me cookies. Yum!

My mother-in-law sent me birthday money and instructed me to do something Just For Me. So I did. I went to a real yarn shop for the first time ever. It was lovely! Women sitting around knitting and talking. Beautiful yarn everywhere. Mmmm. I came home with four balls of Poems (in 564) by Wisdom Yarns, four hanks of Brown Sheep "top of the lamb" - two in stone(101) and two in graphite(102).

Yay! I'm excited to use the new yarns. But first I have to finish my Secret Project for the Imp - knitted Angry Bird toys!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yarn Along!

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it.

I'm almost done with these longies! I have less than ten more rows to knit and then it's just seam (and waistband) sewing, tail weaving, and drawstring making (I use a French/tower knitting thingy). And yes, there are definite lines where I switched yarn balls. I knew it would happen. B says to just leave it (actually, he suggested radical and crazy solutions that don't really apply to knitting, but that's B for you). I think I'm going to try and re-dye it. Odds are, it won't work (I tried re-dyeing those green hanks to de-pink them and it barely changed anything). But I think I'm going to try anyway.

And my book! Ah! This has been the best birthday week (and it's not even my birthday *day* yet!) - first a new Decemberists album (and it's all bluesy!) and now the latest book in the Pink Carnation series! It makes my soul do a happy dance - so much that I don't even mind turning 30 (not that I really minded in the first place)! Anyway, the book is called The Orchid Affair and is, of course, by Lauren Willig.

And then there's the yarn. Yum! I dyed these two skeins (a total of 440 yards) over the weekend using drink mixes. I used the squirt bottle/plastic wrap/steaming method and it turned out brilliantly! Not sure what I'll use the yarn for yet, but I imagine I'll come up with something!

Friday, January 21, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

photo credit goes to the Imp! (:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pay It Forward (and a cute baby).

Belle + Bee posted about "Pay It Forward 2011" and I thought.. well, it didn't work on Livejournal but maybe it'll work here. So, snatched this from her post:

The first three people to comment here will receive a handmade gift from me sometime in 2011. BUT, you have to repost this to your own blog and offer three handmade gifts to others, who of course, have to repost, and so on, and so on.

So there you go. I love sending things to people. Of course, I love receiving things, too. But the giving is really where it's at for me.
And then I just had to share this photograph that I took today. Something about it.. I don't know.. but this kid is gorgeous (in my book, anyway).

As you can see, we finally got his amber necklace in the mail (all the way from Latvia).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yarn Along!

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it.

Still reading Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. It has opened my eyes to some things that are just intrinsically "boy" and I'm hoping it will help me to better deal with having a house full of them. On the other hand, I'm getting tired of all the assumptions that all boys attend school. And that religious communities and events are the ultimate solution. Ugh. For the most part I can ignore it, look past it. But at times it's a little irritating.

I'm knitting.. longies! Aren't you surprised? These are just stockinette (though they'll have seed stitch cuffs). I'm using the Bare Wool of the Andes that I dyed. It's not as foxy red/brown as I wanted. I'm thinking that I may try to redye the whole thing when I'm done knitting it. Unless there's some really good reason not to?

The other night the Imp (two years old) and I dyed yarn. Why did I never think to do this with him before? Sure it was messy. But the fun? Oh, the fun!

This is the Imp's yarn soaking (yes, in the oven - it was off, I promise) overnight. We used water/vinegar and food coloring. Isn't his lovely? It's way nicer looking than mine.

Unfortunately, his ended up being really muted. The yellow seemed to disappear completely, too. Next time we'll clear off the table and spread it all out on plastic wrap to paint it properly. I'm really not sure how my greens ended up with streaks of pink. Or how the Imp's yarn ended up really pink on the inside. Ah well, we must have been channeling our femininity.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I've been trying to post this for days. The Beast is still sick. I stayed up holding him the other night. He slept, I knitted. Come morning I was ready to collapse. I still haven't recovered properly.

Here are the finished longies. Again, I used this pattern and used Wool of the Andes in Cobblestone Heather.

I made cookies for myself last night. Just for me. I do share them, but my boys would prefer them with chocolate chips. I wanted something I could eat for breakfast (or in the middle of the night with a sick Beast) and not feel too guilty (or sick). This was my pathetic attempt at Maureen's "Taking Care of Mama" Monday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I wish I could say that I've been quiet because we're having too much fun to check in. Instead, I've had sick boys. Ugh. First the Elf ate for three days straight (hello, growth spurt) and then he was zombie-kid for two days with a slight fever and no appetite. A few days later the Imp because listless and wanted to do nothing but nurse and cuddle. He's mostly over it. But now the Beast is congested and coughing. He can't sleep well and it breaks my heart to see him so miserable. And of course, I'm not feeling so hot myself. I was up walking the Beast at 12:30am, 3:30am, 5:30am, and every 15-20 minutes after that. I gave up at 8am and declared that it was time to get up.

We are without internet for the next day or two. Right now I'm at Panera by my self. Did you hear that? By. Myself. This is only the second time in more than eight and a half months that I've gone anywhere without at least one of my boys. I should be enojying it, but I'm just antsy to get back. So I'm zooming through my bloglist and quickly updating.

I finished knitting those longies and have already started another pair (not patterned, though). I'll post a picture eventually.

There was something else. Something I thought was noteworthy.. but I'm much to addled to remember. With luck we'll all be healthy again by the time the we have an internet connection again. Right running home now!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yarn Along and Parenting Woes.

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it.

Still working on the longies. This photo was taken around lunch time - the best light was already gone. Anyway. As of now, the longies are all knitted up. I still need to sew up the crotch and weave in all my ends. And make the drawstring. And sew down the waistband. Ack. Okay, so they aren't exactly done. Hopefully I'll get them done tonight or tomorrow morning and take pictures of the Beast in them.

I've finally finished the Pink Carnation books (though the next is due out later this month! Squee!) so these are my new library acquisitions. The one is called Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin. I saw it at Borders and it sounded interesting so I thought I'd give it a shot (even though it is a mystery). The other book is called Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas. I've only just started it.

Do any of you have suggestions for parenting books? Specifically about boys? I'm out of ideas regarding my oldest son. He's eight (the lower end of eight) and he has the attitude of a cranky teenager. Nothing we do seems to help. We've tried everything we can think of. Our family is full of tension over this.. change.. he's going through. We don't know how to cope or how to help him. Anyone out there with boys ever experience something like this? He's angry and argumentative and mean to his little brother and never seems to think before he acts or speaks. I've heard there is a seven year change and a nine year change (though generally closer to ten in boys). This eight year thing doesn't seem to be mirroring those. I'm just.. ugh.. lost.
And here, in one picture, is why my family will never manage to be 100% Waldorf (and I'm okay with that):

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The weekend.

As predicted, within a day or two of cutting his first tooth, the Beast cut his second. Accompanying the teeth is a new interest in solid food. He's gummed an apple piece into sauce, devoured muenster cheese, happily sucked hummus of B's finger. Alas, his teething necklace still has not graced our mailbox, though. Bah.

Yesterday (technically part of our weekend because B had off from work) I was so very pleased to find Pele's New Suit at the Goodwill bookstore. For less than $2! Score! So now we finally own an Elsa Beskow book - one less for me to repeatedly check out from the library. I also found a couple other nice looking books for the boys. I'm still weeding out "junk" books from our current collection.

I made these "cookie" bars and oh. my. goodness! I love them. So does the Imp. His love of them keeps me from pigging out the way I'd like to. Instead we carefully dole out small pieces after we've eaten sufficient "real" food. I covered our bars with crushed spelt pretzels. Next time I'll just sprinkle them with salt instead.

In other news, I'm on the second leg of the Beast's longies. Not sure what I'll start next - too many choices!

Friday, January 7, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Feels like a Monday.

It is Thursday, right? Because it feels very much like a Monday.

Last night, at 11pm, the Beast cut his first tooth - on B's finger. There they are, walking in the living room with B's fingers in the Beast's mouth. One is happily chewing, the other.. well.. he was probably talking to me about computer things. I don't remember. All of a sudden B declares "I feel a tooth!" This poor baby has been teething for months (and his amber necklace still isn't here. Grr.) with nothing to show for it. Likely, he'll prove to be like his brothers and magically pop out several more teeth in the next month.

This morning I made Dutch Babies. What an appalling name. But oh! So tasty! We didn't have enough milk for cereal this morning, so I made the Elf and I a treat. Next time I think I'll leave out the vanilla (I added that instead of nutmeg) and sugar. I'll add cheese instead!

Today (possibly right now, even), my father is having surgery for the second time in a month. On his carotid artery (read: his neck). Everyone I spoke to last night seems ambivalent about it - as though the same risks of heart attack and stroke don't apply as they did last month (they do). Personally, I won't feel comfortable with the day until I hear that he's made it through okay. He and I may not always have seen eye to eye. We might not always have gotten along. But he's my dad.

The sun is out today, no rain! There's a flock of chipping sparrows out front chowing down on bird seed. I will find a way to make the best of today.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yarn Along!

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it.

Still reading the Pink Carnation series. There are two books in this photo because I have just a few pages left in The Betrayal of the Blood Lily and then I'll be starting The Mischief of the Mistletoe (yes, I did just read this a month ago). I'm so excited - the next Pink book comes out a week before my birthday! I really hope our library isn't too slow in acquiring it.

I'm still working on longies. I'm using this pattern again though I've had to add rows to make the rise long enough for my super tall Beast. All that moss stitch takes forever, though. When I'm done with these I'll go back to stockinette longies.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I got out the play food today. My hopes were that it would keep the older boys happy and that the Imp wouldn't resort to throwing things - as he did before. So far, they seem to be mostly happy. He loves putting the food together and "cutting" it apart again. The Elf, of course, wants to take food orders and watch me "eat" endless plates of wooden food. I find it hard to stay present for this kind of play for too long. It's fun to watch, but exhausting to participate in.

And later..

I found myself eating far more than I'd planned and felt that I simply must share. The Elf enjoyed them, the Imp.. not so much. The Beast is forever trying to take them out of my hand (don't worry, I don't let him have them).

These cookies are long time favorites of mine. The original recipe is here. Don't get me wrong, the original recipe is great. But my gods! The sugar! The butter! My recipe these days is much more like this:

1 cup organic coconut oil
1 cup (or more) natural peanut butter
1/4 cup (or slightly more) organic apple sauce
3/4 cup (or less) brown sugar (or regular sugar if that's all I have)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup (or more) quick oats (though old fashioned work as well)

Sometimes I add: granola, flax seeds, chocolate chips (okay, I add these most of the time), nuts.

I scoop them with a cookie scoop and bake a dozen, freezing the rest on a pan. Then I bake as desired. I really love these cold. The chocolate chips (I use mini) are hard and the cookie doesn't crumble as easily - which it does when warm (because of the coconut oil). I reason with myself that as far as cookies go, these are fairly healthy. So I can easily go through a batch in less than a week. There. You now know my weakness.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

There are so many things that I'd like to post about. Our {this moment}s that were never captured on film (sitting by the fire knitting; watching the Imp happily, joyfully putting things away). My unusual urge to look back on the past year (my, how things have changed). The things I've crafted recently (cloth bulk bin bags!). But I'm not going to. Not yet. Maybe not ever, but certainly not right now.

What I will share with you is a recipe. It's no secret that there are a great many granola recipes out there. Some bloggers were even generous enough to share their tried-and-true versions. But here's where I differ from a lot of people - I don't like *stuff* in my granola. Just give me some yummy, clumpy, slightly sweetened oats and I'm a happy woman.

I've just made this recipe (no extras, just oats). And it is so very, very yummy. I look forward to devouring it all! Okay, maybe I'll share with the boys a little..