Sunday, May 22, 2011


My littlest man is three! Can't believe he is three already. In fact, he turned 3 almost a week ago.

But with the craziness of having my in-laws in town and making cookies (M&M) for a school birthday party and cake (chocolate) for a home birthday celebration and the last week of school, I never blogged about N's birthday.

But despite my state of denial, my littlest man is three!

Happy Belated Birthday to my sweet little cinnabun. I love your infectious laugh and the fact that I can make you laugh so easily, Mr. Super Ticklish. Even though you are getting more opinionated and not so easy, you are still my laid back little man. I love the way you always want "little" hugs because you don't like to get squeezed too tight. I love how you are usually willing to try new foods and even request healthy things like carrots and salad. I love the way you get attached to your toys like your broom and your new rolling suitcase. The simple things make you happy and that makes me happy. I love the way you love the sweater I knit you and wear it all the time even when it is way too hot to be wearing a hooded sweater. I love the way you're not afraid to climb and jump on anything even though it may mean some trips to the ER in your future. I love how you try to keep up with J and his friends and how you think you're a big kid too. I love how you hug Pepper because it reminds me of me when I was your age. I love the way you remind me of my dad because he is one of my favorite people in the whole world. I love watching you crawl up in your daddy's lap and the way you settle in like he is the most comfortable seat in the house. I love how you love to count people's fingers right now because you are so proud of your discovery that everyone's hands count up to five. I love listening to you in the morning when you lay in bed and sing songs like the ABC song, Happy Birthday and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. I love how when people called you on your birthday, you told all of them "Happy Birthday." I love that you are my littlest man and I am so glad to have had you for three whole years. Can't wait to have many, many more!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Trip to the Zoo

My in-laws came in town to help celebrate B's birthday and N's birthday. On B's birthday, we went to the zoo.
While we were in the Giants of the Savanna section, we caught the end of the cheetah zookeeper talk. They told us that they had hidden meat throughout the cheetah enclosure and that they were going to let the three cheetahs go look for it. So we went next to the "safari jeep" and waited. We soon saw the cheetahs approaching.

Then they went to explore other parts so J and N took a break to pretend driving the jeep.

Then a cheetah jumped right up into the back of the jeep to eat a small morsel of meat. It was super cool!

Later in the day, the boys and I took a camel ride (the person working the membership booth had given the boys free ride passes in honor of N's birthday).

Towards the end of our visit, N asked to revisit the Reptile Building so he could hold a snake. So we did.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh, That's Clever!

I recently received my copy of the Summer 2011 Interweave Knits magazine. I've been getting this magazine for a few years and I don't knit that many things out of it, but I find it fun to look through and I always learn something from it.

In this issue there is only one project that I immediately wanted to knit, The Swirl Skirt by Annelena Mattison:

I think it is so pretty. I love the diagonal lines (it is cast on waist to knee and knit on the bias) and the fun play of the cotton (for stability) background and the fun color-changing wool (for a little more elasticity) accent stripes. The short rows that add some flare at the bottom of the skirt seem nothing short of genius. So clever!

Anyway, as I ponder more and more the idea of designing my own knits, I am always on the look out for clever ideas in others' patterns. So I decided to read through the patterns to see how the different pieces are constructed--even though I didn't want to knit that particular piece. Here are some of the clever ideas I found:

In the Camp Smock, Mary Keenan added this nice pleat detail. The smock is knit from the bottom up. To create and hold the pleat in place, she does the clever "folds" where she places two sets of stitches on doublepoints and then knits them together (kind of like a 3 needle bindoff without the bindoff part). SO CLEVER!

In my other favorite clever find, Lisa Shroyer makes this lovely curved V-neck in her Banstead Pullover. To create this lovely v, she adds that simple column of slip stitches in the middle of the bust. That creates that lovely v shape without any decreases. How simple and how very CLEVER!

Sorry for the sideways photo, don't know why Blogger does that sometimes!

I found a few other little design ideas in the following projects. In Allyson Dykhuizen's Cumulus Tee, a decorative band is knit in a long strip, then joined and turned to make a neckband, then stitches are picked up and the tee is knit top down from there. Very clever.

In Alice Tang's Al Fresco Camisole, stitches are dropped and the resulting ladders are crocheted together (four at a time) to form the interesting vertical bands of large stitches.

In Stacey Gerbman's Lion Oh! Sweater, the decorative lion body shape is added by making a crochet chain (crocheted directly onto the finished sweater). I don't think I'll ever knit this sweater, but I might use that technique sometimes. Seems like a simple, but clever way to add some embellishment.

I am so impressed with people who can come up with such interesting knits. So what clever ideas have you seen lately?

A little boy and his broom

N has always loved to play with cleaning tools--brooms, vacuums, feather dusters, mops. His birthday is next week and his grandparents (my in-laws) are in town for it. They took him to Toys R Us yesterday to pick out a toy. Of all the toys there, he choose this broom.

He LOVES it! He's taken it to bed with him for the last two nap times and last night for bed. Nothing cuter than a boy with his trusty broom tucked into bed next to him:).

This little boy just cracks me up.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

In a recent post, Nova talked about working to make her new house feel like a home. It made me think about my own goal to create a happy home for my family. After the move that never was, we finally got the motivation to paint our dining room. It was a chocolate brown before which was a perfectly fine color, but did nothing to show off the lovely mahogany antiques B & I found back in the days before children took up all our time and money.

So now it is this lovely greenish blue color. Very bright and colorful compared to the rest of my house and I love it. This is now one of my favorite rooms in the house. Thought I'd use this post to highlight a few of my favorite things about my dining room--the things that make this house feel like my home.
I love the furniture itself (well except those chairs, but that's another post). I especially love the corner china cabinet and the buffet (that Brian so painstakingly refinished).

I love the cool pulls on the buffet. They give it a little vintage funk that adds so much to the piece.
I love the lovely little runner I found at Target with it's fun textures and great pops of golden yellow and orange--a nice contrast to the blue green walls.

I love this print that my sister gave me my first Christmas in our first house. It goes with the larger one (in the first picture above) that B gave me for our first Christmas as husband and wife the year before. I love the colors and the romantic feel of it and I love that it reminds me of the people I love.

I love that I have this doll in my china cabinet. She was my grandmother's doll and I still remember my joy when my grandmother gave her to me.
So these are just a few of my favorite things. Thought I'd share. Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thank you, Teachers!

My boys are both in preschool this year and they both have wonderful teachers! As an end-of-the-school-year thank you gift, they decorated reusable water bottles and made snack mix for their teachers.

I didn't take any pics of the water bottle decorating, but here is a picture of the snack mix making:

Our snack mix was really simple. It includes Honey Nut Cheerios, Chickadees (cheesy bird-shaped crackers), Pretzel Goldfish and M&Ms.

We did equal parts Cheerios, Chickadees and goldfish. I did a smaller portion of M&Ms (about 3/4 the amount of the other ingredients).
Here's a copy of what I wrote on the note I made to go with the snack mix:

A special snack mix to thank you for all you do!
Cheerios to thank you for always cheering on my child.

A school of Goldfish to thank you for making school a place my child loves.

Chickadees to thank you for teaching my little chickadee so much.

M&Ms to thank you for your sweetness.

I really am so thankful for all that these teachers do.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Another Peacock Tail and Leaf Scarf. This one is a gift. Am enjoying the interest of lace but also the mindlessness of repeating the same ten rows 32 times. 7 repeats down. 25 to go.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby Gifts

This weekend I went to a baby shower for a good friend who is having her second little girl later this month. I decided to make her a few things for her new baby.

First, I made a little lovey blanket out of this fun pink fabric and backed with super soft pink minky. I also embroidered it with a fancy K (for baby Kenzie).

I also knit this sweet little short-sleeve sweater.

The pattern is a free one by Carole Barenys. It's a simple easy little baby sweater. My only complaint about the pattern is that there is no gauge and no length measurement so not sure what “size” I made.

I made a few mods. I moved up to a size 5 needle because I felt the fabric was too stiff on size 4 needles. I also moved the placement of the buttonholes. After the first one, I placed the buttonholes every 8 rows so all 5 buttons are at the top of the sweater. I also replaced the recommended buttonholes with a 2 row buttonhole. Cast off one stitch (3rd from end) in one row and add it back in on the next row with a Kfb (2nd st from beginning). I also did short sleeves. I picked up all stitches on hold (36) and then 7 additional stitches along underarm. I then knit 3 rows, then did a garter stitch border (P1 row, K1 row, P1 row, K1 row, P1 row, bind off in knit). I did not do any additional decorative rows on the sleeves or at the bottom of the sweater. Decided to keep it simple.

I did short sleeves since this is for a Texas baby and hopefully this will mean she can wear it more.

I followed the numbers for the smaller size in the pattern, but with size 5 instead of 4 needles. Chest circumference of about 21”. Length from neck to bottom of sweater of about 11”. I think this is a 6-9 month size.

Pattern: Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater by Carole Barenys

Yarn: About half of a skein of Bernat Baby Softee in White (120g/ 330yd/ DK/ 100% Acrylic)
Needles: Size 5
Gauge: Didn't measure
Mods: See notes above
On Ravelry, here.