Archive for November, 2008

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Turkey Day

Much to be thankful for at our house.  I hope you all enjoyed your day.  Here are a few pics from ours:

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Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Handmade Gift Ideas :: Baby Doll Mei Tai Carrier

I took this picture yesterday of Chase wearing her mei tai.  I made it a few months back but Chase is more interested in it now that she’s really into taking care of her baby or babies as it sometimes goes.  That and I thought what more appropriate time to post than after all the talk about baby-wearing and the controversy over Motrin’s recent ad campaign.

We first bought her a little stroller and she loved it but not so much because she was taking care of her baby as that she loved to push stuff around.  She likes the mei tai because she can carry around baby and still have her two hands free to weak havoc.  Sort of the same reason I like to use a sling… well, same but different.  

In any event, this was another quick and simple project.  It’s just two squares of pre-quilted fabric stitched together with four attached straps.  The buttons are purely decorative.  The project used up bits of stuff I had hanging around in my stash.  I love projects like that.  I always feel productive when I can use something I already have on hand.  

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Handmade Gift Ideas :: Play Food

I made these grapes last night.  They’re the first in what I hope will materialize into a set of different play foods.  A while back I made a pretty successful strawberry and carrot so I’m feeling pretty confident about fruits and veg but I’m less certain about meats and grains.  I don’t have that fully worked out yet but hopefully between now and Christmas I’ll have some more info to share on the matter.  

I made the grapes from 4 small bags of pompoms.  I stitched through some with elasticized thread and others with regular cotton thread.  Once I had them all strung I twisted them around each other until I had something that resembled a bunch.  You can sew right through the center of the pompoms.  I hope it holds.  We tossed it around a bit but I don’t know if the elasticized thread will be enough to withstand much pulling.  It’s just an experiment, if they don’t last I’ll shell out for some commercially made stuff but until then I’ll keep having fun dreaming this stuff up.

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Monday, November 24th, 2008

Handmade Gift Ideas :: Refrigerator Felt Board

We went to A.C. Moore today to pick up a few things.  Something Kayris said got me thinking about trying my hand at some handmade fabric play food.  My sewing machine is out of commission for the moment so I didn’t feel like going to JoAnne’s and opted for a little felt from the craft store instead.  I just wanted to try it out and to see what I could do.  There was quite an assortment of colors of felt but I’m standing there looking at them trying to figure out which of them were the color of an actual food.  When I spied magnetic felt.  

I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it when I put it in the cart but I think this is a cute idea that Chase will have fun playing with. Only the felt board itself is made with the magnetic felt.  The rest of the face is made from regular felt and sticks as it would on a regular felt board although using magnetic felt for the face pieces might work and make them a little sturdier.  I used a compass and cardstock to draw a series of circle templates and then used them as patterns to cut out the felt.  Now I just have to remember to take it down and hide it before she wakes up tomorrow.  

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Monday, November 24th, 2008

I’ll Write a Real Post Later

No really, I will.  I’ve been thinking about some handmade Christmas gifts for Chase and I think I have one all worked out.  I just have to take a few pics before I share it with you.  Meanwhile, here are a few more random bits of video.  It’s only about 30 seconds long so indulge me, will you?  Just so you know I’m not kidding when I say Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is big business around here.  In the second video she’s singing along to Feist.  I thought it was cute, it’s the first time I’ve heard her try to sing along to a song that wasn’t Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or another kid type song.


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Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

My New Toy

I know, I’m the last person to have one.  You can hardly call it ‘new’ anymore, but it’s still new to me, ok?  We already have a mini dvd recorder that ‘works’ just fine but downloading them to my computer was a hassle because I don’t have a dvd player with a tray and it won’t suck in those tiny discs.  You can get an adapter or whatever but the point is it was a hassle.  And no, I don’t have an iphone to use for video.  So I took my 80 dollar store credit and put it towards a Flip.  I’m really happy with it.  It was so easy to take, edit and share the video.  

Of course, it doesn’t help with the talent but we were just playing around.  She’s hamming it up for you a bit.  She knows all her letter except A and J.  She won’t say those sounds.  She’s been working hard at the alphabet for weeks demanding to hear chicka chicka boom boom over and over again.  A few days ago she discovered The Jungle ABC on the shelf which she, of course, also refers to as boom boom.  We’ve been reading that one a lot lately.  

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Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

All You Ever Wanted to Know about 1X1 Knit Rib

So I finished the mittens.  The first looked pretty good and I thought that would make the second one a breeze.  However, as it turns out it’s an extremely sad and sorry excuse for a mitten.  Actually, the mitten’s ok but it has a sad and sorry excuse for a thumb.  It’s hiding its shame in the picture.

The only good thing to come of the whole painful exercise is that I learned something new to add to my knitting repertoire.  Knitting in the round on a mess of double pointed needles is not as hard as it seems and there are plenty of good resources and tutorials out there on how to do it.  There’s nothing new I can tell you about that.  What had me totally stumped was working the 1×1 ribbing.  I had to cast on about 6 times before I figured out what the problem was.  I would cast on, count to make sure everything was right and start knitting… knit, purl, knit, purl, I would look at my work and it would be a horrid tangle of stitches and twice as many as I started with.  I couldn’t figure it out anywhere.  It’s the whole don’t be stupid when you’re knitting thing I mentioned before.  It’s so totally intuitive but when you’re freaking out and frustrated it just might not come to you… it sure didn’t come to me.  The secret is that you have to reposition your yarn with every single stitch because you’re moving back and forth between knit and purl stitches (unless there’s an easier way… someone please fill me in).  I knit English method so for purl stitches I had to make sure to move the yarn to the inside between the two working needles.  Like this… the two working needles are under my index finger.

 …and like this for knit stitches  

The two working needles are over my index finger in the second picture.  It’s kinda hard to take pictures of yourself knitting.  Anyway, I’ve got it down now and I’m actually considering casting on another pair because obviously I’m a glutton for punishment.  

Here’s one last shot of the snowflakes we made during the flurries on Friday.  Chase colored and I cut.  Pretty low tech but she’s pretty proud of them.

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Monday, November 17th, 2008

Priming the Pump

For holiday shopping that is. I know, we’re tightening belts around here too but still, the girl needs a few things under the tree right? The play kitchen I’ve had my eye on for months was discounted 30 dollars this past weekend so we picked that up. I think she’ll be very exited about that. I have dishes and pots and pans from Ikea stashed away here somewhere to go along with it. I broke down and ordered her a paperback copy of Baby Shoes and a used copy of Hi, Cat which I’ve been thinking about since last year.

Speaking of things I’ve been pining over for a year or more, I picked up some hairpins and Holiday Heap over the weekend. Whether or not I’ll ever wear them remains to be seen I just really, really wanted them. I’d post a picture but my camera is decommissioned because my battery charger suddenly and mysteriously conked out on me. I should have a new one of each by Thursday so I can figure out whether it’s actually the battery or the charger that’s causing the problem. Hopefully it’s not the camera.. but then again I could ask santa for my new lens and the new nikon DSLR that also takes video. Anyway, that’s how I ended up on Amazon ordering books. Shopping on Amazon is like going to Target nay, Walmart because they’re always slashing prices and showing you the deep, deep discounts coming at ya.

I cast on (an re-cast on and re-cast on) a new pair of mittens for Chase. I have about 20 knitting books but I always use Knitting for Baby because I (usually) find the instructions clear and easy to follow and because the projects are simple and cute. These are toddler mittens knit in the round on double pointed needles. The project is too small to knit on circular needles and let me tell you these double pointed jobbies are no joke. I had to go online looking for further explanation but only ultimately figured it out after doing it over and over again. What I learned was to not be dumb about knitting but in all seriousness, that simple point just wasn’t coming to me. I might write a little tutorial on the finer points of not being stupid when I get my new battery.

The reason that I’m knitting, I’m noticing a pattern here, is that my sewing machine is in the shop. It needs a tuneup to deal with what I can only imagine is some kind of timing issue. It’s a solid machine though so I’m pretty confident that it’s nothing disastrous. AND, most promisingly, I met someone who thinks they might be able to thread my ancient industrial Juki overlock. I’d love to get that baby up and running. You know, so I can use it late at night and cut a finger off instead of just sewing over it.

I’ve been doing a little but not nearly enough cooking. I was supposed to prep a casserole tonight for dinner tomorrow but haven’t and now it’s way late. I might push myself to get it done instead of paying for it tomorrow. Chase has had some kind of food epiphany. Completely unprovoked the child, who on one occasion last week ate only a single grain of rice and a bite of chicken for dinner, ate (almost) a whole scrambled egg, half a grilled cheese, carrot sticks and almost a whole flounder filet with rice AND salad. She didn’t eat that all at once, but the sheer variety of it all has my mind reeling. Even though I never really pressed the issue I thought she’d just eat crackers for the rest of her life. I’m glad that my approach didn’t come back to bite me, not yet anyway.

Lastly, because I’m feeling really proud of myself, I cleaned out the fridge today. It was much needed.

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Thursday, November 13th, 2008

On Local Eggs

I bought my first dozen eggs from a coworker that lives out in Carroll County. I try to weigh every food decision I make in consideration of all the information that I’ve accumulated on the subject of food. There’s so much information out there that when it comes to figuring the mess out it’s hard to know whether you’re coming or going. Marion Nestle wrote a good book that provides a comprehensive analysis of what can be found inside your local supermarket, how to decipher the information given and what it all means for the consumer. She also has a blog that she updates regularly with useful information that you can find here.

I mention that because on some level I’d prefer it if the carton my coworker’s eggs came in was stamped with words like organic, natural and free range. The whole idea of it has just been drilled into my brain for so long which, of course, was the goal of ‘big organic’ that produced those eggs for the grocery store. All this is to say that I’ve concluded that I am happy to pay a buck fifty (I was wrong about 75 cents) for a carton of oddly shaped and randomly sized eggs even though they’re not certified by any government agency because I know that a) the chickens are her sons pets, b) she feeds the same eggs to her family and c) they are incredibly fresh.

Oh, and Chase’s first order of business? Crack and egg just like I showed her on Tuesday night, except unsupervised and on the dining room table. I saved the egg after the first tap and before it was completely decimated but as soon as I had the egg put somewhere safe Chase had moved on to carrying half a cake into the kitchen for me. Carrying it, I should add, by the plastic dome as opposed to the base. I saved that too and then I scooped her up and gave her a big hug.

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Quick Update :: A Short Week

A day off is always nice but somehow leaves you short on time when there’s stuff that has to get done. I got my results and things just keep picking up steam at work. I guess passing lends something to my credibility. There’s stuff to be done at home too. I have an enormous bag of apples that I’ve been trying to get to for a while. I did manage to sort out all the last minute details about the book project and it’s all good to go. Hopefully with that off the table I’ll be able to get to the apples tomorrow. No matter though, the weekend is so close I can practically taste it.

My coworkers had a surprise cake for me today to celebrate my good news, isn’t that nice? Tomorrow I’m buying my first dozen eggs from a coworker too… for 75 cents. 75 cents a dozen! When was the last time you paid that for a dozen eggs? We were buying them from the same place we get our meats, but with 100lbs in the freezer there’s no need to make a special trip once a week for a dozen eggs.

The new season of top chef starts in 30, I think it’s time to put the kettle on.

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