Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Mouse Family"

She keeps wanting to draw a "mouse family" and then hang it on the fridge, just like in one of those "If You Give A Mouse..." books that I thought were so cute when I was a kid but now, a large number of titles later, do not find quite so charming. Of course, I hadn't realized that these books exactly describe life with a little kid until I read them to my child, so there you go.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Swirly Summer Beret

So, this thing.

I wanted a new summer slouchy beret in cotton, something cute and multi-colored to wear around without roasting in the heat. I found this yarn on clearance and thought I'd struck gold. I am not overly fond of using variegated yarns in lacy patternwork so I went for the simple One-Day Beret, which I had previously used on this hat.

I don't know why this didn't turn out like I wanted. The wool one I made was too big, so I went a bit smaller and it's not too small, but not the fit I had in mind. I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, and I think it just doesn't work for cotton. Despite using a needle two sizes smaller than I used for the rest of the hat, it's just sort of stretched-out and lumpy and weird.

Piper likes it, though. She keeps asking "Is that my hat...or your hat? Can I wear it?" So maybe I'll just give it to her and make myself something else.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Party Favors

With her early-summer birthday, I usually try to do something summer related as a party favor. Last year we only had 3 kids over, so each kid got a sand pail with chalk, a small shovel, and a bottle of water in it. This year we had a dozen invitees, so I bought a couple 6-packs of scented bubbles (they're supposed to smell like different things, but they all smell like sno-cones to me) and some fancy tissue paper. I traced & cut star shapes out of cardstock and wrote on them with a silver Sharpie. Simple, easy, cool.

The kids really liked them, but I handed them out at the party as were waiting for the food (it was a at a big bounce-house place, so we were having the pizza they supplied with our "party package"). The only thing worse than one kid whining "When are we going to EAT?! Where is the PIZZA? I am TOTALLY STARVING TO DEATH RIGHT NOW!" is ten kids, all at top volume, in order to be heard over the noise of the indoor play-place. I grabbed the basket and started thrusting small packages into sticky hands as fast as I could while I whispered to my husband for the love of God, go find our party hostess and figure out where the hell the food is before they start gnawing on our limbs.

Before the pizza and accompanying "party hostess" made their way back to our bright-blue party room, I realized two things, two terrible and tragic mistakes I had made:

1. If you're making party favors to give to little kids, make sure they can untie the ribbon themselves, otherwise you will have a room full of preschoolers squealing in frustration because they cannot get your super-tight double-knots off the thing they want so much to open; and
2. It is not a good idea to give 10 kids sticky colored liquid unless they are outside and possibly surrounded by fire hoses.

I apologized to the parents, who all gave me a wave and a "Please. This is nothing. Two drops of water-soluble pale-blue bubble solution on that shirt will be totally eclipsed by something much worse any second now." But the kids loved the bubbles, and they all ran around blowing bubbles, smelling each other's bubbles, trading colors, and generally having a very good time with the stuff. Most importantly they stopped whining until the food arrived.

The only major problem was some tears from the birthday girl, because she can read her own name now, so she thought all these were hers. "But those are my presents! My name is on them!"

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Class Picnic

Yeah, this happened two months ago, but the photos were on a 2MB memory card and do you know how long it takes to fill one of those things up? A long time. And it takes even longer for me to get around to uploading the photos.

Her school has an end-of-year picnic for each class, and students' families are invited to pack a lunch and come eat with the kids on the next-to-last day of class.

Sushi for a picnic? This is how we roll. Get it? Ha!

I had packed her the usual in her lunch box that day (cream cheese & jam sandwich, carrots, water, grapes) but as a surprise I stopped at the grocery store on my way to the picnic and got some sushi, a crisp apple (out of season I KNOW!) and some strawberry-flavored sparkling water. She was pretty thrilled, and I was secretly gloating because all the other parents were so amazed that an almost-four-year-old ate sushi with such enthusiasm.

She was pretty pleased, too.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Blue Leaves Hat

This thing was so easy. She picked the yarn and asked for a hat, and I figured since she would probably wear it twice and then toss it somewhere, it couldn't hurt if it was something I could wear too, right?  I originally made 95% of one using this pattern. It did not go well. Too big, too floppy, just not right at all. So I pulled it out and started over. She was quite upset. She had been hovering and bugging me about when it would be done ("Is that my hat or your hat? It's my hat? Is it done yet?") and when she saw me frogging it she wailed "Mommy! Why are you pulling out my hat?! It's MY hat and I want to wear it right now!"

I gently explained that keeping the hat in its present form would make her look like some sort of smurfy pastry chef, or like a blue glob of goo was digesting her head.  She was undeterred and continued to whine. I gave up and started knitting the new one with the unused end of my 2nd skein, and let her wear what was left of the first hat until I needed the yarn. She eventually grew tired (and probably hot), and I found it under the dining table.

I picked a totally different pattern the second time around, with a little more attention to yarn weight and texture. This worked very well. It was my first time working off a chart, and I think I didn't screw it up too much. The hat looks okay, at any rate, and she is quite pleased with it. I made the "adult" size, and even though she's 4 and has a smallish head it fits her okay with the brim flipped up. It's a little big, but that means we should get some years out of it and unlike the first version, is not so huge it's falling over her eyes all the time. I can wear it too, which is  nice.

This yarn (Cascade Cotton Rich) is quite nice to work with - all the cool comfort of cotton with a little spring in its step. I really loved this pattern - so simple once I got going, and gets lovely results. I think it would be a great pattern for a yarn splurge, like some luxe wool-silk blend for winter. I love finding patterns like this, that look great and don't take up a lot of yarn, because I can spring for 1 or 2 skeins of something awesome and feel like I'm living the high life without spending $160 to make a sweater.

Pattern:  Lace-leaf hat by Sophy T. O'Donnell
Yarn: Cascade Cotton Rich
My Ravelry details are here.

P.S. The other hat in the above picture will be blogged soon. I have mixed feelings about it.