Monday, August 30, 2010


When my best friend's little boy was three, I made him a hat. And he loved it. And loved it. AND LOVED IT. He wore it everywhere. He carried it around and picked at its edges. Some kid at his day care tried to steal it, and my friend snatched it right back from the thief (and the thief's mother, who was all "Oh, yeah, it's our hat, totally") with a "I know this isn't your hat, because my friend Steph made this for MY kid. See the frayed parts right there? That's where MY kid keeps picking at it, because it's HIS hat! So unless the universe is SUPER weird today and you have a friend who also kitted your son a hat in these exact colors and which he picked apart in exactly the same spots, we're taking our hat home now."

She can be pretty fierce when it comes to her kids and her hand-knits.

Anyway, her little boy loved it so much that he literally loved it to pieces, unraveling and picking at it until it was in shreds. It took me a couple of years, but I finally got around to making a replacement. I actually finished this in March or April sometime, I think, but then it got really hot and they were moving so I didn't mail it off. I came across it this week when I was "rearranging my stash" (i.e. taking all the yarns out of their containers and lining them up and touching them and dreaming up 10 projects for every skein).

It's orange, like the original (she called him "my little pumpkinhead" when he was a baby). It really is a nice, pumpkin-y orange, not the traffic-cone color it shows up as in these photos (and wow, does my camera hate to focus on oranges, reds, & yellows). I got the stripe a little too high on this one, but oh well. I hope he likes it. My friend said that not only did the little one love the original hat, but that her older son and her husband had all taken turns wearing it as well, so I'm thinking of making a few more to send to them. It's still pretty hot out, hardly wool-hat weather yet, and this pattern is super-fast, so I think I can manage two more by the time the snow flies.

And yeah, I know this yarn is mostly acrylic, which I usually try to avoid like the plague, but this is machine-washable and inexpensive. I'd rather give an inexpensive gift they will use (and is easily replaceable when some kid steals it or her husband gets it all greasy under the car) than a show-piece they're too afraid to wear. He loved this hat, and I can keep cranking these babies out until he goes to college, something I could not do with a more expensive or delicate yarn. Sometimes I gotta suck it up and make peace with the non-natural fibers, you know?

Pattern: Sparkling Pom-Pom Ski/Toboggan Hat (sorry, you have to log in to see LB's free patterns)
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick
Ravelry details are here

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

15 Answers questions my daughter has asked me in the past 24 hours:

1. "Well, yeah, I do think the Beatles probably ate a big bowl of ice cream when they got home from work. What flavors do you think they like?"

2. "No, I do not think Daddy wants you to stick that up his nose. In fact, I'm pretty sure he doesn't."

3. "No, you cannot hold Mei-Mei. She does not like it. Yeah, that? What you're doing right now? DON'T. Put the cat DOWN."

4. "Yes, there is poop in the cat boxes. Yeah, it's pretty smelly."

5. "Well, if you want to eat a block of dry ramen noodles for a snack, I suppose I don't see the harm in it."

6. "In that picture? Oh, that big pile is George's fan mail. The boxes are candy - jelly babies. Yep, because he likes candy."

7. "What's in his mouth? Uhh...candy. Yeah, it's, um, candy." [It was a cigar.]

8. "Yeah, I think the Beatles probably liked to drink water."

9. "I guess strawberries could smell like cabbage."

10. "No, I do not think Ellie wants to wear that necklace. Please stop whacking her with it."

11. "No, you cannot go outside and get the mail while naked. Just putting on shoes doesn't count."

12. "What's in Ringo's hand? Uhh...a drumstick. I think it's a drumstick." [It was a cigarette.]

13. "Sure, it can be time. I'll get it out for you. 8:30 a.m. can be time for Play-Doh if you want it to be."

14. "No, I will not give you any more whipped cream on your strawberry pancakes. Eat some strawberries, eat some pancake. But no more whipped cream."

15. "Yes, I think the Beatles liked to eat pie. Probably cake too."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Purple Poncho

This took longer than I intended, what with our busy summer and near-constant company. It was supposed to take a couple of days and wound up taking over a month. But she really loves it, and it was easy. I was so afraid of sewing it up that I had the finished pieces done for almost a week before I seamed them together. I'm not sure if I did it exactly right, but it looks pretty good. This was a really inexpensive project. I used stash yarn, but this is discloth cotton, and it's less than $4 for two balls.

Pattern: Spice Girl by Candi Jensen, from Total Baby Knits
Yarn: Lily Sugar n' Cream Solids
Ravelry details are here.

She's worn it around the house a couple of times - she likes to put it on and dance around (to the Beatles, natch). She's worn it out of the house twice, which is pretty good considering it's still over 90 here every day. I'm hoping to put it on her and get her to sit still so I can snap a photo. Silly of me, I know.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Bother To Cut The Cheese

Suffering from cabin fever combined with a lack of imagination last week, I took her to the grocery store right before naptime. We were both hot, cranky, bored, and sick of being cooped up inside (it was yet another day of near-100 temps and ozone alerts, so outdoor activities were off the roster). I couldn't think of anything else to do, certainly nothing that would get us home in time to attempt a nap, and I needed some things anyway. It's not like it was a hardship; she loves the grocery store. There's one two minutes from our house, but I usually drive a little farther to the one that's more fun for kids. She gets a free cookie, I rarely turn down her request to ride in one of the cars with the big plastic "car" on the front, I let her partake of the samples in the produce and cheese departments, and at the end of the trip, I usually pony up $0.50 for her to ride the whiplash-inducing singing dragon located in the vestibule.

On this day, we swooped in and scooped up the items on my list. She asked for "cheese, that big one to eat in my hand," and pointed at the 1/2-lb blocks lined up in the dairy case. I figured cut-up cheese would be a pretty decent snack and told her to put it in the cart. We survived the checkout line, she rode the singing dragon, and we headed for home. I could tell that she was really, really tired, and I realized that I was playing a pretty dangerous game here. Sure, our little field trip had probably helped tire her out, but now there was a good chance she would fall asleep before we got home. If she did, well, GAME OVER. If she falls asleep somewhere that's not her own bed, even for the last three minutes before we pull into the driveway, she will not take a nap. Will. Not.  No amount of pleading, bribery, yelling, taking away books and toys, putting a baby gate on her room, letting her lay down in our bed, or reading 35 books in a row changes this fact. It's even worse if it happens before bedtime, because then she won't fall asleep until at least 1:00 a.m.

Anyway, I knew I had to do something. She sleepily mumbled something about being hungry and asked for her cheese, so I grabbed it from the bag, opened the wrapper, and handed it to her. A half-pound bar of cheese, and I gave it to her to munch on like it was a 3 Musketeers. She only ate a few bites, but she did not fall asleep on the way home. She took a 2-hour nap later in the afternoon.

Improvisation and a disregard for cholesterol. I has them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Welcome To My Birthday

YUP. Not only is it Friday the 13th, 90 degrees and rising (actually 93 at the moment I write this, I took the photo a couple hours ago), but it's my birthday.

My very nice husband gave me my first present at 12:02 last night, a bottle of raspberry lambic, which I immediately had two glasses of. I'd been reading this book before bed and it made me so anxious I couldn't get to sleep. I'll post a full review after I've finished it, but so far I have two things to say: 1) this marketing stuff is scary, scary shit with long-term societal implications; 2) everyone who has kids, wants kids, likes kids, hates kids, or has ever been a kid should read this. I'm now an avid reader of the author's blog and looking forward to reading her other book ASAP. Anyway, two glasses of lambic and an episode of Psych are a good cure for can't-sleep anxiety.

He gave me my other present this morning, a set of movies: The Color of Magic and Hogfather. We are some big Pratchett fans in this house.  Piper sang me a song: "Happy birthday to Mom-my! Happy birthday to Mom-my! On your birth-day, you! can! eat! CAKE! Happy birthday to Mom-my!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Life Lessons, Brought To You By Tragically Ordinary

I am miserably sick today with some sort of sinus thing, and since I haven't quite completed my latest knitting project (and therefore can't share it yet), all I have for you is a list of things I've learned. These are things I've been thinking about a lot lately, because we've had some discussions about our future plans for this little family (actually, at this stage, it's more like 'plans to have a plan to make plans') and for ourselves. Friday is my birthday, which I always dread, but I'm trying hard not to get too hung up on it this year. I'm trying to view all the hard knocks and missteps and bumbling that have occurred in my life so far as learning experiences, instead of a list of reasons why I shouldn't be allowed near people and should never be given power tools or a checkbook.

 What I've Learned So Far:

1. Wear an apron while cooking bacon. Do not cook anything while drunk or naked. Definitely do not cook anything while drunk and naked.

2. If you buy your significant other something awesome for their birthday, and the same year they buy you some unwanted, bewilderingly useless kitchen appliance for your birthday, it's time for a new relationship. This is particularly true of college relationships, and quadruply true if the other party doesn't understand why you're upset. If they can't comprehend that you make $7.50 an hour yet managed to buy them an amazing and perfectly-chosen $125 gift, and that their reciprocal $35 newspaper-wrapped breadmaker might be upsetting, especially given that you don't bake, they're probably not The One. If you've been together for two years and get a shrug and a "I didn't know what else to get you," they are definitely not The One.

3. You will  never be able to convince anyone else that their significant other is not The One. It's really something they need to realize on their own.

4. If your baby makes a gigantic mess every time she eats blueberry applesauce, either deal with it or stop giving her blueberry applesauce. Don't try and feed it to her while she's in the bathtub. It's going to make a bigger mess than you ever imagined.

5. If you're moving to another state, some place you know nothing about, RENT for a year.

6. Investigate strange smells promptly. This applies to any and all strange smells in any and all locations. 

7. All mothers are crazy. All mothers drive their daughters crazy. Most mothers-in-law are crazy, too. Everyone's definition of "crazy" is different, so it's all (HA!) relative.

8. Air conditioning, a working dishwasher, and a sense of humor are key components of a happy marriage.

9.Before you buy that extra t-shirt or stack of discount books or whatever trinket you're eying, consider how you feel about moving it back and forth across the country a few times. Doesn't sound like fun, does it?

10. Don't confuse "adventure" with "stupidity." Don't confuse "caution" or "responsibility" with "fear."

So what about you? What have you learned so far?

Friday, August 06, 2010

What I Learned About Making Headers.

You may (or may not) have noticed the new header.

This is what it looks like without the text in it, because...well, because Blogger is frustrating and all their NEW! AWESOME! CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS! don't really work with my old template edits.

My last header picture was one that I took when we went to an exhibit at MOCAD, two years ago. It's been up there that long. I just never found the time to change it, and since I couldn't exactly remember how I got it up there in the first place, I figured I'd probably better not monkey with it. But a few nights ago, armed with my new computer (an early and much-appreciated birthday gift from my mom), this nice tutorial, and some gumption, I decided to change it. I've fiddled a bit with the code for my page; I thought I knew what I was doing. Ten minutes, tops, I thought.

Three-plus hours later, I had learned the following things:

1. I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

2. Blogger has lots of choices for tricking out your blog and I don't like any of them.

3. If you're going to pick a photo to crop for a blog header, it has to be one where you only like a tiny portion of the image. If you have a DSLR set on high resolution and large photo size, and you try to use a very close-up shot of something you just end up cutting off most of whatever is in the picture. It also can't be fuzzy or blurry at all because that is only emphasized when you crop.

4. I don't have any photos where I only like a small part of the image. At least not any non-fuzzy or non-blurry ones. I did go through the pain of trying to crop 6 different pictures that were too huge, though.

5. That photo I was certain I took of Piper's feet last summer, when she had her toenails painted cherry red and she was wearing those yellow-and-white retro-looking polka-dot sandals? I never took it. I have 45 other pictures of her feet, but not that exact one.

6. High-resolution pictures of feet look terrifying when cropped close and put up on a large computer monitor. It's like they're going to leap out and kick you in the chin. 

In the end, I had to go all the way back to years-old photos I took with my point-and-shoot, because those were small enough to crop and still give me something halfway nice to look at. It's still not quite right, but it'll have to do until I can get something better up there.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Lego Fallingwater

This thing is so cool. I want it. I have nowhere to put it, and I'm sure that even if I did find somewhere to put it, it would take all of three seconds before a) the cats knocked it over, smashing it back into all 811 individual bricks or b) Piper found it and disassembled it back into all 811 individual bricks.

But it's pretty cool anyway.

Found at Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Lobster Ravioli

"This is awfully awesome. These are tasty and good."

-She picked these out herself. Seriously. Her grandma was in town and told her to get whatever she wanted in the grocery store. My daughter was quite adamant; I tried to talk her into spinach tortellini (the kid LOVES spinach, can't get enough of it), but she wouldn't let me put the lobster ones back. "No," she said. "I already said I just want the lobster raviloi. I just want the lobster ones!" And she scarfed them down, without even a drop of olive oil for seasoning.