Monday, December 29, 2008

Scarves, finally!

Yesterday we celebrated the last day of Hanukkah and the girls got to open the scarves I made. I think they liked them! They were both impressed that I was able to keep them secret when they were constantly bugging me to make scarves for them every time I knitted anything. Hanukkah was definitely a hit with the little ones, they got to play with fire, get eight days of presents, play games and try to speak in a very funny (to them) language. I enjoyed it too, it really had us spending some great, low-key time hanging out as a family during a very hectic time of year. It's a great holiday for giving handmade gifts because they aren't just lost in a flurry of presents!

The oldest wanted to make sure that everyone noticed her new scarf coordinates with her slinky...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry and Bright...

A little peek at why my Christmas was especially merry...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Handmade Holiday Goodness

There were some fantastic handmade gifts under the tree this year... here we are all modeling them in a cheesey Christmas morning picture:

My mom was verrrry busy. She made a scarf for my dad and brother. She knitted super cute mice for the girls and even made me a bat from a pattern I had put in my favorites on Ravelry. Most impressive was the stocking she made for Jay in three weeks!!! We saw the kit in a yarn shop the week of Thanksgiving and I thought she would get it done for next year, but no she is obviously a knitting superwoman. I made Jay the hat, it has been killing me to not post about it for months. It is the Kim's Hat pattern from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, in cashmere. Here's a better look...
And the mice and bat (I have yet to come up with a suitable name...)

Now I must return to my holiday and more of this:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Double Festival of Lights

There's a lot of covert crafting and secret shopping missions going on around here, but we took some time this evening to celebrate the solstice and also the first day of Chanukkah. It was a really nice break from all the craziness! It was a double festival of lights by the time we go done lighting the last of the 21 solstice candles and the menorah. Jay dusted off his hebrew and said the prayers, we had some dreidel action and the girls were thrilled to get to open a present so early. I think we all had fun starting some new traditions this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Bird Friend

I have been meaning to whip up some birds from the Spool pattern that has been all over the place lately for quite some time, but just have not gotten around to it. Much to my surprise, last week Melissa called me and said she was coming by to drop something off and it was one of these lovely little birds. She said she saw the pattern and thought of me, oh it's so nice to be thought of! This little guy made my day. He has moved all around my tree talking to the other bird ornaments, but now he resides on the curly-que ironwork that is the base of my lamp on my desk. Perfect company and a reminder to make him some friends. Thanks Mel!
There is a whole flickr group of these guys here!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ornament Exchange!

We had so much fun participating in the Crafty Crow ornament exchange this year. They divided participants into groups of eight. Our group had kids from Alaska, New York, Florida, Arizona, California, Idaho and Minnesota. I had never joined in an ornament exchange before, so I really had no idea how many different stages of excitement it would hold! There's of course the making of our own onaments to send out:

The ornaments we made:

The packaging:

The great fun of getting mail and ripping into it, then looking at the map to see where each ornament had traveled from.

Getting to see what everyone else made and of course decorating the tree! (the girls have their own tree and they really love pointing out each new ornament and telling where it is from).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My new job can be official squirrel trapper...

...because I have now had quite a bit of experience.

Do not be fooled by this furry little thing's attempt to be cute. They are nefarious, persistent and evil little pests. Obviously there is a story behind my blog suddenly being hijacked by a squirrel. Last week, a very unsuspecting Jay went out to start his car and it would not start. He had not moved his car for ten days after having his wisom teeth out and then having dry sockets and then getting sick, so he thought that maybe the battery was dead. The next day we tried to jump-start it with no luck. So, the car got towed off to find out what the problem was. Yes, squirrels. They had built a nest in his engine and chewed through his wiring. $400 worth of damage. He got the car fixed and all was fine until Saturday. Our neighbor, a slightly paranoid officer of the law and good friend, called Jay to ask if he had seen any suspicious people in his driveway because he thought someone had cut the wires on his truck. Jay assured him that he was not being stalked but had been a target of our evil squirrels while Jay's car was off getting fixed. They met up in the driveway and Jay went to show him what the squirrels had been up to in his own car. When he opened up the hood a squirrel shot out at his head and scampered off, and sure enough the wires had been chewed through. Again. After a lot of squirrel cursing and quite a bit of throwing rocks at the heckling critters, I went off to my uncle's and returned with a squirrel trap. As of this morning I have successfully trapped three squirrels. Much to Jay and my neighbor's dismay, they have all been driven off and released into the wild (well, one was released behind a liquor store on our way to dinner yesterday, but there were trees). It seems like every time I trap one I see about four other squirrels standing around near the trapped one, so this could go on for quite some time. I am determined to greatly reduce the squirrel population around my home, especially since I spent a thousand dollars last spring sealing up the attic and having our phone line rewired. They also started in on my neighbor's other car, so for now the score stands at squirrels: 4 cars (counting Jay's twice) and thousands of dollars worth of damage, humans: 3 squirrels captured and released. I'm afraid the squirrels are way ahead for now.

Did you know that squirrels growl? They do. Quite loudly too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two Presents Done!

Melissa and my Mom came over for another Sunday sewing session this past weekend and I cheated and knitted instead. We are always so productive during these gatherings, my mom finished the project she was working on and Melissa got a lot of this handsome fellow done. I finished up the Christmas/Hannukah scarves for the girls, yay! Of course I couldn't have the girls model them since they are a surprise, and it is waaaaay to cold outside to go find a pretty tree to hang them on, so my back-up model stood in. He was doing quite well until one of the cats came on the scene and sat behind me while I took pics. I can just imagine the heckling that was going on. Look at how he has his eyes narrowed at her in the last picture... don't worry, he was well rewarded with milk bones. I sure hope the girls like their scarves!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Southern Style

Doesn't this look like some kind of ancient turkey torture device? Apparently, after watching way too many episodes of Alton Brown my dad decided this is the way to fry a turkey, can't really argue since the turkey was delicious! I just see it as a sign that craftiness is hiding in everyone, they just have to find an outlet for it.

Nana's Pound Cake... (made by my step-mom):
Pioneer Woman's Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake (made by me!):

We did the usual family gathering and copius amounts of food consumption. However, the main focus of the evening ended up being my cousin's dog, Beaver. I think we all considered abducting him at some point and my mom is still talking about what a great dog he is. I will post some completed craftiness tomorrow if I can get enough light to take good pictures, we had grayness and snow today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ridiculous Five Year Project

The story behind this little quilt is a sad, sad example of how easily distracted those of us with fabric addictions can be. I started this quilt for my unborn second child five years ago people! Also, it can hardly be called a quilt. She was going to have a fairy themed room and I came across this cute fairy fabric and decided to just make a quick blanket with the fairies on one side and minky on the other. Minky had just come out and this little project was mostly an excuse to use the super soft stuff. It should have taken me a weekend at most to complete this. Well, I put the two pieces together, freemotion quilted little flowers all over it and put it aside to do the binding later. So, it sat. And sat. My second daughter was born and then I had a newborn. Unlike all the blogs I read from people that have like five babies running around and still sew daily, I got nothing done in the sewing department with a baby in the house. I then went through a Jane Sassaman obsession where I started a new quilt (known as the butterfly quilt, also unfinished to this day) and then I decided I would learn to hand applique and started that project and then, well, my life fell apart. So, to somewhat get to the point, I unpacked this quilt at my new house and put it in a prominent place so I would finish it. And it sat. I made this quilt and this quilt and started a myriad of new projects and then I felt really guilty... and then! and then! (is anyone still reading this?) Melissa came over last weekend to sew and I decided the time had come to finally get the binding on this quilt. And I did! And now I have no idea why I didn't just finish it to begin with. Oh well. I did notice a great thing about this quilt. When you just take a full cut of fabric and throw on a backing you end up with the perfect size rectangle for kids to use on their nap mats at preschool. You see, that's what I intended for it all along!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Socks for Christmas

Usually one would not be overjoyed to receive socks for Christmas. However, this year I have already received one of my Christmas presents, which was indeed socks, and I could not be more pleased! My aunt and mom have been chatting for weeks about joining a sock guild at a yarn shop that I had never been to, but my aunt had no idea how to knit a sock. I thought the idea of a sock guild was intriguing, but I also had no idea how to go about knitting a sock and it was quite a few things-to-learn down on my project list. That all changed last week when my aunt called me practically giggling and asked me to join her in private sock lessons at the yarn store, The Whole Nine Yarns, as an early Christmas present. I was definitely up for that adventure and yesterday we went for our first lesson. If you knit, and you live in the Atlanta area, and you have not been to The Whole Nine Yarns... GO! This place is a knitters dream and I was overjoyed to see that it was absolutely packed with people taking lessons, buying stuff, and supporting the local yarn economy. So many quilt and yarn shops come and go very quickly, but this place is definitley doing a lot right and creating a knit community. Our instructor was delightful and got us both on the road to making socks in no time. My aunt had another class after ours which only had one other person in it, so they said I could hang out with them and work on my socks. We were there all afternoon chatting, viewing different yarn combinations for some pillows my aunt wants to knit, looking at books and chatting some more. It was quite invigorating to be around tons of people that share the same crazy passion for yarn and color and all its possibilities.

As I was walking to my car I did do a little mental head slapping for having bought more yarn (the perfect combination for a scarf to match my new jacket had to come home with me) and even a new book, not to mention joining the monthly sock guild myself! Clearly I had lost my mind. But then I looked down at the ground as I walked and noticed that it was sprinkled with tiny, red, heart shaped leaves. A little reminder from the universe to embrace what you love, and just be happy. At least that's how I saw it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And So It Begins

The seven year old has been in craft heaven the last two days because Grammy got her a Janome Hello Kitty sewing machine for her birthday. She has had three "lessons" and rarely talks about anything else. The first thing she said at 6:30 Monday morning was, "Mom, I think today is a terrific day to learn how to sew" and the last thing she said to me when she went to bed tonight was "What are you going to teach me about sewing tomorrow?". So far she has practiced following a straight line and then following the line with the edge of her presser foot, she really has done much better than I thought she would. Today I did have to teach her one of the most important lessons in sewing... "When you start to get frustrated it is important to get up and walk away, then come back to it later". It's a lesson that I still have to remind myself of quite often. I have stopped hovering over her every second and am just letting her "go at it" as Melissa told me to today (so of course I will blame her if the child sews her fingers together). Her concentration is quite good, she didn't even stop sewing to ask me "are you taking pictures of me for your blog again?". Yep.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Birthday Quilt!

Hard to believe there is now a 7 year old living in my house (even though sometimes lately it seems like she is about 13). I saw this quilt kit when we were in Nashville and fell in love with the Moda Full Moon Forrest fabrics (each one has different animals hidden in the design) and snatched it up with the intention of making a birthday quilt. Thank goodness the pattern, "Just Can't Cut It", was super simple and I was able to make it in basically two weekends. Melissa and mom came over for an intense Sunday sewing session last weekend and I got most of it done then.

Of course now the younger child is begging for a new quilt of her own. I am determined this week to finish the quilt that I started for her when she was born, um, almost five years ago. It has been waiting for binding that whole time. That is really, really embarrassing. Especially since it was just one piece of fairy fabric and one piece of minkie on the back. In my defense, everyone else made her quilts when she was born and mine was just a quick blanket I was whipping up to go with her fairy room. Sometimes it sucks to be the second child, but hopefully that will distract her for a bit until I come up with something fabulous for her January birthday.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


My little devil wore her costume almost every day of the last month. Then, when Halloween finally arrived, she hit about five houses then came home and begged to go to bed. It was a big day... Halloween parties at school, a neighborhood jumpy house, several sugar crashes... she fell asleep in her costume.

If using a reader, you have to click through to see pics!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Almost Ready!

You don't believe the story of the Great Pumpkin? I thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them. I thought little girls were innocent and trusting.
-Linus, It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown