Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More sock progress

sock two
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
And for everyone who was waiting breathlessly to see how my second sock was coming along, here you go. I couldn't knit at all yesterday, but I was able to do some today. You may be able to tell by the light that it's late afternoon now.

Fortunately, in a weird twist of events, dinner is made, laundry is going, and I'm pretty much on track for the day.

And I'm wearing one normal white sock and one multicolored striped one, in anticipation of being done with this soon.

I hope I'm done soon. See how small my yarn ball is getting? I'll be done soon whether I mean to be or not.

Speech Notebook Wednesday

Sunday afternoon Tim took Charlotte to a birthday party for one of her classmates. Apparently it was refreshingly traditional, with balloons, party games, a cake, and even a clown who made balloon animals and did face painting. It was even on the child's actual birthday!

That might sound normal, even boring to some, but around here we tend to see the Birthday-lympics, with parents constantly trying to one-up each other. So it was nice to see a party that was appropriately celebratory, without being over the top.

Something to remember for next year's round of birthdays around here.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Two naps and a party

Lately Hattie's been having a little trouble transitioning out of the nap phase. At almost three and a half, she doesn't really need a daily nap, but frequently she just can't make it much past 6:30 pm without falling asleep. Of course, if she does sleep even 10 minutes she's up until 11, which throws her off the next day too.

So we've been finding her in interesting places. On Friday afternoon she was extremely difficult. After I finally had to reprimand her, she stomped out of the room. A few minutes later we found her like this:

Then yesterday afternoon Charlotte had a birthday party to go to. So Tim and Charlotte took off, and Hattie and Nate played fairly well together while I did whatever it is that I do (most likely surfing or knitting, but NOT folding laundry or making dinner). Right before I heard the party people returning, I went out into the hall where Hattie had been reading to find this:

Fortunately that short nap only kept her up until about 9 pm. It could have been so much worse.

And here's Charlotte, who had an excellent time at the refreshingly traditional birthday party (in someone's home! with a clown! who wasn't scary!), modeling both the butterfly painted on her face, and the very traditional and extremely popular party favor.

Just another regular Sunday in this kickin' household.

It's kind of a coincidence that Hattie's wearing her coat in both of these pictures. But I find that when she's crabby enough to refuse to take off her coat that it frequently means she's tired. So it's on in these shots.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Continued progress

sock one!
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
I finished this first sock last night while watching TV. If it looks a little short, it is, even though it fits (I have small feet). I was afraid to make it too long because my ball of yarn was looking small and I still had another sock to do. If it turns out that I have plenty left, I might go back and make it a row or two longer.

Verdict: I like it, and it's very comfortable. The yarn continues to be super-soft. Turning the heel wasn't hard at all and there are no holes! (I hope I didn't jinx myself for the other sock.) I kept waiting to get to the hard part, and before I knew it, I was done!

Although this is a beginner pattern, so there was no kitchener stitch required. And no fancy stuff on the leg or foot to mess up. Still, the simple pattern allowed me to focus on fundamentals like turning the heel and knitting the gusset, so it served its purpose.

Now I just need to finish the other sock and I can wear them out! Tim declared me "interesting" (read "geeky") for knitting my own socks. We'll just have to see about that.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sock progress

sock progress
Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
Well, this is how far I've gotten on my first sock. Of course, so far it's all been pretty straightforward -- just a little ribbing and then straight knitting. No gussets, short rows, or anything funky yet, which will be the true test.

You can see how beautiful this yarn is. It knits like a dream. It's very soft and consistent and it just flows through my fingers. It even stays nicely on my cheap-o needles when I'm knitting in the carpool line, at stoplights, standing up, you name it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Clear signs of an obsession

Finally -- some fairly decent pictures of my haul from yesterday's little spree. Here you see 1) the Wedgewood blue Pastaza, 2) the Sockotta in primary colors, and 3) the new felting book.

And these are the balls of cashmerino aran. The blue and green were the luscious colors that the sample scarf was done in, and the red is the exact color of my winter coat. So I'm going to see if I can't work that in somehow.

And the Lorna's Shepherd Worsted. It's really the most beautiful yarn. I was so excited about it yesterday that I couldn't leave it in its skein. I had to wind it into a ball immediately. And then I cast on for my first sock, which is what you see here. Blogger was having some difficulties earlier this afternoon, however, so I was able to do some more work on it. Maybe as a motivational tool to myself (and to keep myself from wimping out on this project) I'll periodically post my progress. Right now I just finished 8 rows of ribbing and am on to the stockinette portion of the leg. I'll post pictures soon.

And THEN, as Hattie and I pulled into the driveway today after a morning of running errands, I saw a box leaning against my garage door that contained THIS:

$35 (if you count shipping) worth of Peaches & Creme cotton yarn, straight from Elmore-Pisgah where they make it! I'm SO excited! I have all kinds of ideas for this. (There are 4 more of those yellow ones that didn't make the picture.)

And you know what? Eleven months ago I was disagreeing with this test result, but as it turns out it was eerily prophetic!

(For anyone who's concerned about my mental health, yarn-wise, I'm not buying ANY more for a LONG time!)

Speech Notebook Wednesday

The speech notebook version of our adventures at the Pinewood Derby. Charlotte was having so much fun holding hands with a little boy from her class that she didn't have much time to watch any races.

Check back later for some fun pictures of yarn, once Blogger decides to come back to work.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Yarn Retail Therapy

Found myself with a little time on my hands in Buckhead this afternoon, so I swung by a yarn shop I hadn't already visited -- Why Knot Knit.

And wow! I still think I prefer Knitch, but I was able to find a BUNCH of stuff that I couldn't live without.

If we had any kind of decent light here, I would have taken pictures of the newest additions to my stash, but this borrowed shot will have to suffice until I can take some. I came out of there with a new book of things to felt, a ball of sock yarn (to make more mini sweaters with), a skein of some gorgeous Cascade Pastaza in Wedgewood Blue (it's part llama!), five (I know!) balls of Debbie Bliss cashmerino to make myself a Mistake Rib scarf like they had there, one free pattern for the aforementioned scarf, one purchased pattern for beginners socks, and one skein of the most expensive yarn I've ever bought -- Lorna's Shepherd Worsted, which is 100% Superwash wool, seen here. (Although not these colors. Mine is rainbow-y, but in a muted, earthy-tone kind of way if that makes any sense -- Color 18, Watercolor, for you googlers out there.) It's unbelievably beautiful!

So let's see -- that would be the following upcoming projects: a new scarf, several (like 20) mini sweaters, something with the Pastaza that I just couldn't live without, some felted projects, and my first pair of socks.

That should keep me busy for a while.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Race day!

Today was a fine day for racing. Which was fortunate, as it was Pinewood Derby day for Nate's cub scout pack. We'd been working for weeks on his car, which you can see here.

All hand done! With no power tools!

Over the past few weeks as we worked on Nate's car maybe we should have taken notice, instead of shaking our heads, as we saw numerous books in the bookstore about Pinewood Derby cars, and whole aisles in the craft stores devoted to the Pinewood Derby.

But being new to scouting, we didn't, and we gave it our best shot knowing basically nothing about this event. Here we have Nate's car lined up for a race against another little boy's from his den.

Unfortunately Nate's car didn't win for design or speed this year. But we got lots of ideas, and some sense of what all goes into this event.

And really it is a very fine line deciding how much parental involvement there should be. Do you let the child do most of it himself with minimal parental guidance so they can learn and be proud of their achievement, or do you take over so he has some chance of competing? Because there was lots of stuff there that didn't seem to have been done by elementary school children. (I know that sounds like sour grapes, but jeez, check out this entry! And this one!)

And the one you see here. A very, very cool entry, but I have to wonder how much the child did. This is displaying my ignorance of the Pinewood Derby industry (yes, it's an industry!), but this car had some kind of shiny plastic coating perfectly molded around it, resulting in a mirror finish. Is that paint? What the heck IS it?

But Nate had a great time watching the races and hanging out with his buddies. And I have to say that I was surprised at how exciting it was to watch the cars competing, even when I didn't know the boys whose cars they were. (I found myself saying to Tim quite a few times, "Watch that one with the blue top! It's FAST!") So I'm glad we did it.

But next year we might have to kick it up a notch or two.....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Speech Notebook Wednesday

In all the excitement yesterday I forgot about Speech Notebook Wednesday! Plus three posts in one day might have made people keel over.

So here it is today. Back when we went to IKEA we purchased a new desk, which Tim and I put up and organized over the long weekend. Getting a new desk for ourselves started a chain reaction that eventually affected pretty much everyone, desk-wise, that is.

What's kind of nice is that we're all excited because we all have better desks now! And they're even nice and clean!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ladies who lunch/blog

Originally uploaded by 3 to get ready.
Went downtown for a haircut today and had a FABULOUS time meeting lla. We've been corresponding for a while now, but this was our first visit in person. We chatted and chatted, in that way that you do when you are both talking so fast that it's only on the way home that you think, "I forgot to say this" or "ask about that."

She gave me a couple of her famous dishcloths, seen here. Thanks, lla! Check out that fantastic presentation! I could learn a thing or two from this lady!

My very small gift to her was plucked out of my purse, unadorned in any way. But I thought I was doing pretty well because I didn't have to pull any dog hair or a half-sucked candy off of it.

We had so much fun at lunch that we didn't get across the street to Knitch. I was constrained by having to be back in Suburbia in time to get Charlotte off the bus.

Next time, lla, next time!

Birthday recap

In yet another entry in the "bad mom" column, I've been remiss in writing about Charlotte's 5th birthday parties (that's right, plural), which were not this past weekend, but the previous one.

She had one party on Saturday for the family. The theme was pink and purple, which was carefully selected approximately 12 hours before the first party. Gone are the days when I used to craft meticulous theme-appropriate invitations weeks in advance, design and prepare a full menu and decorations that also matched the theme and then give people plenty of notice in case they wanted to wear appropriate theme-matching clothing.

15 birthdays later I throw a birthday party together the best I can, painstakingly selecting the menu from our fine collection of takeout menus smashed in a kitchen drawer. The cakes are simpler, but always well-qualified for the Wonky Cake gallery. Witness:

Yikes! I think the flourescent lighting adds a lot to the Halloween quality of this picture. And it does kind of look like it belongs in a new saloon. Charlotte wanted a white cake, so I made cream cheese frosting so it wouldn't be too, too sicky-sweet.

Charlotte really, really liked it, so it was redeemed by that, if by nothing else.

The next day we had the party for her friends. Before my kids were born I thought it would be a good idea to stick to the concept of having only as many birthday guests as the honoree is old. Well, by that measure Charlotte turned 19 this year. It was her first party for friends, and she wanted to include everyone. We didn't have the heart to tell her no.

I might have been more motivated to stick to my guns if we'd been having it in our home, but since it was in a big room somewhere else with trampolines embedded in the floor, someone else orchestrating, and only 90 minutes in length, we caved. Next year we can be more principled.

Of course we had to get a new cake for the 2nd party. So we got one from the grocery store, known for their wonderful cakes. Here's the shot of that one, same colors, much more tastefully applied.

My cake tasted pretty good, but this one was YUMMY. Love that whipped cream-type frosting! And the kids all seemed to like it too.

Charlotte had a fabulous time and everyone behaved themselves, so I would definitely consider it a success. Not something I would want to do all the time, but worth it, without a doubt.

Happy birthday, sweetie!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Speech Notebook Wednesday

We did so many fun things over the Christmas break that I couldn't figure out which one to profile in this week's speech notebook. So I did several.

More about the birthday bashES later.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year

Well, the Christmas decorations are down as of about 12:30 last night, Tim is back at work today, and our days are slowly starting to slip back into a normal pace. With January here I'm optimistically full of good intentions and I'm feeling all organize-y.

Last night I decided at 5 p.m. that we needed some of those Christmas ornament boxes with all the little segments in them to put away all our ornaments. No more wads of toilet paper in ancient boxes for us! Except after a trip to our local Target, an Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and then another Target, I realized that everyone else had been all organizey ahead of me, and there were none of those boxes to be had. Except on the internet, and I wasn't about to sit around for the next 10 days with our glass ornaments in heaps on trays. Surely a recipe for disaster if there ever was one.

So I made my own segments by cutting slots into strips of cardboard and fitting them together. It's not fancy and it took for-freaking-ever, but it's effective. And now it's done for next year. Here's a lovely photo so you can see my meticulous handiwork:

Two levels, even!

And last week we ventured downtown (to the big city!) to IKEA, where we braved the crowds and a 30-minute checkout line to get a new desk. Here's what we've been using for the last two years:

Unglamorous and too small, even if it wasn't a refugee from 1983. So we bought this to replace it: Great! Useful and efficient! Except it looks like this currently:

So there's a little project to look forward to.

And we have a birthday party, actually two, this weekend -- one for family and one for five-year-olds, because we wouldn't really want to inflict either group on the other. So we have that going on too.

But back to resolutions. Usually I don't break them because I rarely make any in the first place. It's more of a pragmatic approach.

This year, however, feels a little different for some unknown reason. Maybe it's because my kids are finally getting old enough that I don't have to have one or more touching me at any given hour of the day. Maybe it's because I'm finally sick of having too much junk in my house. For whatever reason, I'd like to make a decided effort to do the following:

  • Exercise more. We're off on the right foot on this one. We purchased a family membership to the Y on Dec. 30, so as to take advantage of the free month promotion. We haven't actually gone yet, although the kids had such a great time in the kids' areas that they are really bugging me to take them. Which should make it easier to get there.

  • Eat more vegetables. We realized last year when Charlotte was on the yeast-free diet that we'll eat just about anything, and it's kind of fun to have fresh, organic vegetables for dinner that aren't the usual carrots/broccoli/green beans that we have every other night. So we joined a CSA, specifically this one, and starting in February we'll pick up a box of fresh vegetables every week. I've vowed to use every fruit and vegetable we get, but Tim is skeptical, so we'll see how it works out.

  • Stay on top of organization. This would include opening any boxes that remain from our move in January of '05, but also staying on top of piles of mail and other miscellany, specifically the one currently residing in my laundry basket from approximately October (but probably earlier). One manifestation of this would be if I did our taxes before April 14th. That's the plan, anyway.

There are lots of other things I could improve. But really those are the ones I plan to concentrate on. Notice I didn't list "lose weight." I'm hoping it will be a by-product of eating better and exercising more.

So there you have it. Wish me luck! And Happy New Year to all of you!