Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why that sweater has taken you two years to finish

8:00 p.m.: Finish your row. It's time to switch colors, but your thread cutters have mysteriously disappeared.  Get up to scrounge around for some scissors.
8:03: Walk past the kitchen. Those beans you boiled are probably cool enough to move along to the freezer.
8:15: If you don't do diaper laundry, you won't have anything to put the baby in in the morning. Go upstairs and get that pail.
8:16: Wonder if the recent diaper rash is due to the bar of Ivory you used in the latest batch of detergent. Go looking for something (anything) that isn't that or Woolite. Come up with an ancient box of detergent (like, possibly-left-by-the-previous-owners old), manage to chisel off enough for a load.
8:22: Husband offers to do the dishes from the beans, but you're pretty sure you can't deal with looking at even one more toy today, so you ask him to take care of that situation while you do dishes
8:30: No one's wiped the stove in recent history. Really cleaning it would kill your hands in this dry weather, but a quick swipe would be a good idea.
8:33: Step back. Well, crap. The kitchen literally looks bigger because the stove is so much cleaner. Probably should just bite the bullet and do the job right.
8:41: Maybe if you run upstairs and get lotion on your hands immediately, your skin won't turn into sandpaper...
8:43: Maybe not.
8:47: It's getting late; clear various projects off the table in order to have a place to pray.
8:50: Compline
9:00: Ignore dessert requests; time for jammies and toothbrushing.
9:10: Tuck in Thing One. Dad's still getting over the flu and has taken over kid's room for quarantine purposes, so kiddo is sleeping in his pup tent by the Christmas tree. This means everyone is banished to the upstairs rooms until he's out.
9:13: Thing Two is still going strong. Attempt to contain him in your bedroom, which really has no place to play.
9:20: Your sister calls to chat.
9:21: Now Thing Two is totally ready for bed this instant.
9:23: Change him one-and-a-half-handed while carrying on your phone conversation.
9:30: Make a valiant attempt to bounce and otherwise distract Thing Two while you carry on your conversation.
9:41: Resign yourself to saying goodbye and taking care of the bedtime situation.
10:05: Both kids asleep. Check out something online your sister had mentioned.
10:14: Chat with husband for a few before he checks out.
10:23: Make yourself a cup of tea. You have to babysit the kettle, so it doesn't start screaming with a kid asleep right next to it.
10:31: Bring your tea up to the computer. Fetch your project, too, and finally settle in with a good Netflix show to get some quality knitting time.
10:32 p.m.: Pick up your needles and glance at the chart. Realize you still need to change colors, and your scissors are all downstairs.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

You Won't Catch Me Saying I Never Win Anything

Not after today!

I discovered Big White Farmhouse through mutual friend Caitlyn, and was incredibly thrilled to be the winner of their birthday giveaway!
One of the best things about indie shops? The wrapping!
Really, if they'd let me pick anything at all in their shop, it would have been this recipe box! For all the things I do digitally these days, I'm still a great lover of hand-copying any recipe I'm going to use more than once, so I already have quite a collection of well-loved recipe cards, and I can promise this will be well used. (And it's so much lovelier than my old, too-small, cardboard box.)
It even has dividers! I'm moving on up in the world!
Do head over and have a look at some of their things (this apron has caught my eye...). And thanks again, ladies!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hungry Caterpillar Lacing Toy

I always fall down on my resolution to hand make more of the boys' presents, so, even thought it meant pulling a couple late nights and being okay with some flaws, I was pretty pleased to be able to pull this project off for Peanut's birthday. (With apologies for the unintentional alliterations!)

It helped that the initial investment was super low (twelve pieces of 25-cent felt, a quarter-yard of cotton batting, plus odds and ends that I already owned). I find it a lot easier to get the planning phases of a project rolling if I've already got the materials in hand.

To make the pattern, I found the images from the book online, pulled them into Illustrator and created outlines of each. I made a mock-up of the pattern layout so I wouldn't get everything printed out only to find I'd scaled it too big for my sheets of felt, and then squeezed the pattern onto a few pages and printed.
The pieces are three layers quilted together; a layer of batting, (optional, but gives it a nicer feel in your hand) trimmed about ¼" smaller so the edges don't show and sandwiched between two of the felt pieces. I learned along the way that it's much better to cut the holes in all three pieces before assembly. They're a little less stable on the sewing machine, but it's almost impossible to get that hole cut nicely through all three layers otherwise.

Some of the pieces, like the caterpillar and the cherry pie, got details appliqued on before assembly, and some, like the watermelon and the lollipop, got details hand-embroidered in with embroidery floss. I did this after assembly because I had lots of road-trip time to work on it, but beforehand would probably make more sense.

The caterpillar has a piece of pipe cleaner (with the ends folded over so they won't poke through) to make him stiff enough to thread through the holes. A round shoelace connects him to his egg, which keeps the pieces from falling off the other end.
And here it is all together! One is still a little young to actually lace the pieces together, but he loves hearing the story while his brother and I send the caterpillar through the food with lots of giggle-inducing munching noises. As a bonus, the food pieces do double duty as kitchen toys!