Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat!


I just was not into Halloween this year.  I only made costumes because I was too cheap to buy them.  And felt that I would be failing as a crafty mommy if I didn't.  I feel like I have set expectations, especially after knitting three mermaid costumes last year.  I'm sure people would understand me not going that far this year, but I had to do something.

So, after much debate and having the girls veto every cool idea I had, plus me realizing I didn't really want to sew Jem costumes or a gnome costume, we went with fairies.  I just made some tutu dresses (basically long tutus pulled up to their armpits and cinched in at the waist), bought some wings and that's that.  The tutu dresses were super fast, because I used the 6" spools of tulle.

I wasn't going to  paint their faces, but Isabelle found the face paint from last year and insisted.  She was my first attempt at making a butterfly.


Ummm... it didn't go so well.  I offered to wash it off and start again once I figured it out, but she was completely happy looking like I shot her in the face with a paint ball gun.


The girls wanted their hair colored.  Until I started actually spraying it and they realized how awful it smelled.


They would have been just fine without all the paint and color, and definitely easier to clean up afterwards.  Which reminds me... I need to scrub the tub.  It's pink.

Fairy trio

The girls waved at everyone who drove past while we were waiting on Daddy to walk with us to my sister's house.


She only lives a few houses down and is always our first stop for Halloween.  The girls insist.


That wasn't the first candy in their buckets this year, though.  Our across the street neighbor came out while we started out down the road to give the girls some candy even though they don't pass out candy.  I thought that was really sweet.  We also hit a couple other houses on our way back home, which was a first.  We don't go door-to-door usually.  We loaded up after that and worked a couple "trunk or treats" at local churches.  Their buckets are pretty full.  We somehow managed to keep them from eating everything as soon as they got it. 

And, up on my soapbox for a minute...  I swear if my girls ever try to leave the house in a costume that barely covers their bottom when they are teenagers, I'll be the scariest thing they've ever seen on Halloween.  We were at a church, for Pete's sake.  You would think they'd have at least a little respect.  I know it's "cool" to dress slutty for Halloween, I know I probably went overboard a time or two, but come on...  at a church?  Off my soapbox...

Anyway, now my kiddos are all scrubbed up, in bed (much later than normal - they are used to a 7:30 bedtime), and this Momma is wiped out.  I hope all of you had a wonderful Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

After the afghan...

Do you ever feel the need for a break after a big project?  Now that my Stained Glass is finished, I have a ton of Christmas stuff to work on.  But what have I been doing all weekend?  Reading.  Except for last night when I got the urge to learn the crocodile stitch.  I did... I'm just making a triangle of stitches out of a skein of yarn that I bought for something else that didn't pan out.  So it won't be big enough to be a shawl or anything useful, but it looks neat.  Very fall colored... kind of reminds me of owl feathers.  I'll take a picture sometime.

I don't have time for all that, but I just need a break.  I need to work on my South Park amis... they're frustrating me though.  I have one fingerless glove finished and need to make the other one, but the pattern is pretty boring.  Then I'll have three sock monkeys and a mohawk, not to mention the things I hope to make for the girls.  I don't have time to read or experiment.

But sometimes you just have to.

I'm reading Eve by Iris Johansen.  I picked up the first of her Eve Duncan series forever ago and really liked it and read about half of them.  But I guess my tastes in writing style have changed, because her style drives me a little crazy now.  But this is like all the back story, and I'm too curious, so I'm trying to get past it to read this one and the two that follow.  You know, it's like some people can come up with great stories, but can't deliver them well.  I want to read the story, but her dialogue makes me cringe.  I don't care about the rest of the series that I gave up on.  I think one of her books was the second book I have ever just put down unfinished.  The first was The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway.  I detest Hemingway.  My teacher assigned it to me when I finished A Farewell to Arms early and I decided there was not enough extra credit in the world to convince me to finish that book.  It's rare that I don't finish a book, even if I don't really enjoy it. 

The most recent was one that I didn't finish of the most recent Sookie books.  I had to return it to the library before I finished it and I haven't even put myself back on the waiting list so I can finish it.  It's not that I didn't like it, but that I read some of Charlaine Harris' other series and they really turned me off.  I think she sold her soul to the devil for that series, because the rest of what I've tried to read of hers just was awful.  Or maybe she just finally figured out how to make a female character that wasn't totally unlikeable.  I guess I should give her some credit.

Stephen King has a new book coming out very soon and I'm super excited.  And Bag of Bones is going to be a miniseries on some network in December and I can't wait.  I know I loved the book, but I honestly can't remember much about it, so I might be able to enjoy the miniseries without comparing it to the book.  I have reading amnesia, I think.  I forget books almost as soon as I finish them.  I don't reread a lot of books, but I have been able to reread a few books and be just as amazed by them as the first time. 

I guess my brain just can't absorb much more than what's already in it.  Too many medical billing codes and song lyrics rattling around up there, I guess.  I can spout off colonoscopy codes like nobody's business and sing along with songs I don't even like, but I can't remember what the book I read last month was even remotely about.  It's kind of scary since soon I'll have to learn an entire new set of diagnosis codes when they switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 (yeah, it's all Greek to me, too... don't feel bad).  My brain is going to short circuit.  They'll find me at work, under my desk, chewing on electrical cords or something.  I wonder if a nervous breakdown would be covered by worker's comp?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stained Glass Window - the finale!

I gave myself a deadline of Thanksgiving to finish it.  I felt that it was a pretty generous deadline, but I'm always nervous of deadlines when it comes to my crafting because I tend to crack under pressure and flake out.  It turned out it was very generous.  I told myself Friday morning that I'd probably have it finished by the end of the weekend.  I finished it Friday night.  Almost a month ahead of my deadline!  Go me!


I began this afghan on our Florida vacation at the beginning of August.  So it only took me 3 months.  My other afghans have taken me 5 months each.  This one is quite a bit smaller, but far more complicated, so I think it's still impressive.

SGW detail

This is my third afghan... well 4th if you count the baby-sized one that I made last Christmas, but it was so boring to make that I always forget that I even made it.  It was shell stitch all the way... row after row after row.  I think that's why my others have all been squares.  They're not so monotonous.  It's also one reason I'm still a little reluctant to try a ripple blanket, I'm afraid I'll get bored really quickly.   That and I just can't get the image out of my head of the ugly, scratchy brown and orange chevron afghan my mom had when I was growing up.  I've seen such gorgeous ripple patterns lately that I am very tempted to try.

I digress.


Yes, I know my curtains are different lengths.  I didn't pay attention when I bought them.  Yes, I know I own a sewing machine and can fix that.  I'm too lazy and apathetic.

I really loved making this afghan.  It was definitely challenging, but not so much that it was frustrating.  The pattern is from a big book of patterns, and two of the pages from this pattern eventually just fell out of the book from me flipping back and forth.

SGW natural light

Even though it's finished now, I will probably still hang on to this until Thanksgiving before I give it to my boss.

I really want to make another one for myself, possibly in a different color scheme and probably bigger... at least another row of three to fit across the end of my bed.  I saw a pink and green variation on Ravelry that caught my eye... not quite so stained glass-esque, but still very pretty.  It will be a little while before I can, though.  After my enormous list of Christmas crocheting, I have promised to make afghans for Olivia and Isabelle.  My plate is full, but I absolutely love it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not to freak you out or anything...

... but do you realize it's only 2 months until Christmas?  *gasp!*

For most people that's no big deal, but for crafty people who try to make a lot of their gifts, this is crunch time.

If you look over to the right, I've started a little To Do list for myself.  I'm extremely honored that I've had a few people commission me to make things for them this year.  So far, that's what's on the list.  There will be more.  I have to make stuff for the girls, and Zoe's birthday is right after Christmas, so I have to keep that in mind also.  (People with post-Christmas birthdays always get the short end of the stick, don't they?)  And I'd love to sneak in a few decorations.  We'll see how it goes. 

But today.... today I really need to make the girls' Halloween costumes.  I've been procrastinating because I am totally not excited about them.  They vetoed every exciting idea I had.  Now they're just going to be fairies (possibly wing-less) in tutu dresses.  Meh.  At least they'll be easy.

On a different note... we had parent-teacher conferences yesterday.  It always blows me away to hear how my kids are at school.  Heaven knows that at home they're crazy little goblins, but at school they're just everything I could ever hope they would be.  Sweet, patient, smart, helpful.  Olivia's apparently painfully shy in class, which she comes by naturally, but that was probably the worst thing I heard out of their teachers.  I am a very proud Momma. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

He's really just a softie...

When Bill's aunt requested that I make a Michael Myers amigurumi, I was kind of nervous.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to find a pattern and would have to wing it.  The only amigurumi I've ever improvised was my stuffed stick figure, which was pretty much just a ball and some tubes.  But I was determined to give it a try.

After getting really frustrated trying to improvise South Park dolls (I broke down and bought the pattern... I couldn't get the proportions right and was tired of ripping out my work), I grabbed a ball of light gray yarn and decided to take my frustrations out on the serial killer.

michael myers

It took me a few tries to get the nose to not look too button-like.  Then I decided I would try to do this without having to sew on arms or legs, because I really hate sewing on body parts.  I've done this with legs before, but never arms.

michael myers

The arms were almost more trouble to do this way than if I had worked them separately and sewn them on.  I should have made them a tad bigger to make it a little less fiddly, but I think they look OK.

michael myers

I tied his hair on but, unlike Olivia's doll, I decided to not go overboard.  I knew the yarn I was using would fluff out enough to cover any bald spots.  I originally was going to use felt for the eyes, because I'm not really good at embroidery, but I didn't have any black felt.  Well, I probably do.... buried somewhere.  I was in my "I'm almost done so I must not stop for anything" mode, so I didn't do a thorough search.

Michael Myers

I still need to make him a knife.  I thought about crocheting one... I have some sport-weight silver yarn that would work.  I thought about some lightweight cardboard.  A friend of mine suggested felt.  I'll have to see if I have any thing that will work.

I think he looks more cute than creepy.  I'm not sure I'll add details to his coveralls.  He was fun to make and I'm pretty sure I could make more like that.  I didn't write down a pattern or anything, but it wasn't all that complicated. 

Confession:  Until yesterday, I didn't even know what horror movie franchise Michael Myers was in.  I don't watch them.  If asked, I would have said Jason was the Halloween guy.  Now I feel a little obligated to actually watch at least one Halloween movie to know what I just made.  I have never seen a single Halloween movie.  You'd be amazed at the number of popular movies I just have never seen.  Netflix doesn't have the original on instant play, so I set the DVR to record it on Monday so I'll get to watch it Tuesday (maybe).  Unfortunately, my husband will not watch horror flicks (I've never minded... I'm not big on being scared myself), so I'm on my own here.  Let's hope I don't end up calling my sister and brother-in-law to check under the bed and in the closets before I go to bed. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Motherhood = insanity

Olivia is going on her first sleepover tomorrow night.  She's going to stay with the girl that came over here a few weeks ago.  At first, when it was planned, I thought it would be really cool.  I would have a little bit more attention to share with the other two that night. 

But now that it's almost here, I would love for it to fall through and keep her home.  Or for her to get homesick and ask to come home.  The one and only time she's spent the night away from us was when I was in the hospital after having Isabelle and she stayed with my sister.  Bill didn't even stay with me when I had Zoe... he stayed with the older two.  My parents can't handle keeping a kid overnight and Bill's family is too far away.  So this is new territory and I don't like it much right at the moment.

I would never describe myself as an overprotective parent.  I'm not all that paranoid.  I probably let my kids do things that a lot of parents wouldn't agree with... like let them play outside without my constant supervision.  But this... this is freaking me out.

I just imagine every possible terrible thing that could happen while she's gone, from her losing her manners to things I won't even make myself put into words.

And, at the risk of sounding really judgmental, the girl comes from a really messed up family situation.  She lives part-time with her grandparents... and that's where Olivia is going, the grandparents' house.  To be honest, I am not sure I'd want her to go to the girl's mother's house at all.  Just the things I've been told and the bits and pieces I've heard from Olivia, I just think it's a shame that the poor girl has to deal with it all.  Growing up, I had quite a few friends who came from broken homes and dealt with similar situations.... I always kind of felt that I was a bit of an anchor from them, being from a very stable, relatively drama-free home.  And Bill and I strive to provide that type of home for our kids.  I should be proud that I'm raising children who can be that type of friend, but in some ways it makes me a little sad that anyone would need an anchor.

I try to keep an open mind, but it is just very difficult for me to comprehend people handing their children over to their parents to raise.  I can't imagine going to bed at night not having kissed my kids goodnight.  I mean, I think about this cruise I'm going on in a few months and really think I will at some point have a breakdown from being away from my kids that long.  Obviously... here I am worrying about ONE kid being gone ONE night.  I don't know how I'll handle over a week without the three of them.

I am sure that all will go well.... she'll come back happy as a lark, in one piece, with a good report on how well-behaved she is.  Until she is back, I'll worry though.  It's my job....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oh, happy day!

My husband stopped by our local camera shop yesterday while he was out and about on his day off.  He didn't have my camera, however, but they told him to bring it in with the charger so they could take a look at it.  He said he'd do it today after dropping the girls off at school, but I was pretty sure that he'd forget.  I forgot to ask him about it when I talked to him, so I certainly couldn't blame him for forgetting about it himself.

Well, I got home today, opened the door and Bill went all paparazzi on me with my now-working camera!!  It was a bad battery.  They don't last forever apparently.  He just had to buy a new battery, which has to be much less expensive than a repair and definitely less expensive than a new camera.

I'm a happy girl.  And I'm so grateful for a husband who is so supportive of something that means so much to me.  If it weren't for him, I wouldn't even have the camera... he insisted on it. 

I think one reason he was so adamant that we get the camera working is that he knows how many pictures I normally take this time of year.  We went to the state fair last night and I had to make do with the camera on my phone.  I think he was more disappointed than I was that I didn't get a lot of good pictures of the girls enjoying the rides for the first time.  Of course, I'm sure they'll appreciate one day that there aren't more pictures of their panic on the kiddie roller coaster. 

All systems are go for our pumpkin patch visit... this weekend hopefully.  =) 

I've made some serious progress on the ol' Stained Glass Window.

SGW - 1st row connected

I actually have one more attached since I took that picture and I'm working on the 5th one today.  They way the pattern is written to attach the squares is a little confusing, and different from any other method.  But I'm still loving it.  I'm setting a goal of having it finished by Thanksgiving.  Shouldn't be a problem, I don't think.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Serial Killer

I am not one of those people who get freaked out having to be home alone (aside from the kids) at night.  I've had lots of friends who are like that and it's just not something I really understand.  And it's good that I'm not like that since my husband works nights.  5 nights a week, I'm alone.  No big deal.


I remember one night I was reading a Stephen King book.  The title escapes me, but it's the one where the woman who gets trapped handcuffed to a bed.  I got to this one part and got so scared I slammed the book shut and threw it across the couch.  I was freaked out to be home alone that night. 

So, tonight is just a quiet night here at the house.  Me alone.  The girls are asleep.  Watched a bizarre movie that I didn't get.  Just kind of in my own little head trying to decide what to do until Bill gets home or I go to bed.  I opened the carport door and we have a porch swing right outside the door.  And it was swinging like mad.  It wasn't windy or anything, that thing was just swinging by itself.  I slammed that door like I was in a horror flick and ran to the farthest room in the house.

I thought I was going to die.

After a few minutes of trying to reason with myself, I decided that I knew what had set the swing off and I should at least go check it out.

Yeah, I'm that stupid person that dies first in the horror movies because they have to go check things out.

(Don't worry, I obviously didn't get murdered... in case you were getting concerned)

I turned on the outside light and eased the door open.  And I was right about what caused my heart attack (my reasonable guess, not the serial killer first conclusion).

Serial Killer

Please excuse my messy carport... the girls were out there playing earlier today. 

This cat has been hanging around for a few weeks.  And it's not the first time she has scared me.  I actually don't know if it's a boy or girl, but for simplicity's sake, it's a girl.  She likes to chill out on the car booster seat at night.  She likes me.  When I convinced myself that Michael Myers was not about to jump out at me, I opened the door and stepped out.  The kitty came up and rubbed against my legs.  She has no collar, but she's fat and fairly clean, so someone takes care of her probably. 

As much as I would love to have a cat, the landlady would have a stroke, so I'll just have to enjoy the Carport Kitty when she's not scaring the bejeezus out of me.  I even gave her a name. 

Serial Killer. 

That way I won't feel so silly the next time I think a serial killer is outside.  She probably will be.

Since Zoe's a punk...

Well, you know that Zoe decided that we cannot give my boss the Daisy afghan after all.  I felt a little bad, since my boss really liked it.  But then I had a brainstorm.

I've had the idea to make a sample of the afghans when I complete them, so when I was making the Daisy afghan, I made 4 extra squares, one in each color.  Then I joined them into a big square and added the border. 

Did you know that tomorrow is Boss's Day?  Yeah, on a Sunday of all days....  I realized it earlier this week and we forgot last year, so I wanted to make sure we didn't forget this year.  And as part of our gift, I put my little sample afghan into a shadow box and am giving it to her.

daisy afghan sample

I told them that it would be about 12" square, in hopes that they'd get a 15x15 box, but they got a 12x12.  It fit, but just barely. She'll come in Monday to this and a gift card to a local salon. 

She's still getting the Stained Glass Window afghan... I've been working on it today, in fact.

I think when I remake this sample for myself, and for my future ones, I will just use a picture frame and take the glass out.  Or not.  I'll just have to see how it looks, I guess.  It might be a while before I do it anyway.  I'm a little worn out by it right now.  =)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Sky Is Falling!

One of my oldest friends requested that I make her a hat.  This is what she asked for:  a pink hat with a cute little face, simple flirty eyes and a cute mouth.

This is what my hook created:

Joy's hat

I thought at first that it was just me being my usual overly critical self.  Then the girls started asking me who the chicken hat was for.  So it isn't just me.  It is a little bit Chicken Little.  It's cute... it fulfills the requirements, so long as you think a beak is a cute mouth.  It's supposed to be puckered lips, really.

Joy's hat

Putting it on didn't make it any less foul.  *snicker*  I'm a dork, sorry.  But there's a picture of me in all my unbrushed glory... it wouldn't fit over my half-bun, half-pony I had going on.  A picture of me with a chicken on my head.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goin' down to South Park...

My husband's aunt has commissioned my newest project.  One of her daughters is a huge South Park fan and Aunt A wants me to make the boys - amigurumi style - for a Christmas present.

There is a pattern for them, but it's kind of steep.... $12 for the set of 4.  They're not very big, so I just thought that was a little more than I would like to pay.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying for  a pattern.  But I've studied the pictures on Ravelry of the finished dolls and I've studied pictures of the characters and I think I can do this without the pattern.  Kenny might give me fits with his hood, but I'm going to give it a try.

I've been stockpiling the different colors for a few weeks and I sat down today to do some serious planning.  Just a side note... I like South Park, but I rarely watch it.  Until today I don't think I would be able to tell you which was Stan and which was Kyle.  And after this is all said and done, I probably would still not be able to. The girls came in while I was sketching and asked if they could watch a video.  That would be a negative, girls.  Believe it or not kids, not all cartoons are made for the innocent.  Especially South Park.

planning for the new project.

I decided to start with Stan.  I finished it and now, looking at pictures again, my proportions are way off..  He needs a bigger head and smaller body.


Sure... he's Stan-esque, but he's just not shaped right.  No big deal.  The girls were dying to get their hands on him.

Back to the drawing board....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Daisy Afghan... complete!

I had hoped that this afghan would take me less than the 5 months that it took me to complete Babette, but it's been 5 months.  But it is finished!

Finished daisy afghan

I am going to try to get better pictures.  But I'm just so excited to show it off.

Finished daisy afghan

I decided to bring the yellow and white from the flowers out into the border.  I tweaked it slightly from the pattern so it was a little more petal-like.  I still think this would be amazing in a solid background color (like the green, especially).  Maybe one day, but not anytime soon.  It's time to move on.

Finished daisy afghan

I am going to make four more squares, one of each color, and make a little sampler of it.  I've decided I might do this will all my afghans from now on... make a little sample version to frame.  I think it would be a neat decoration and a good way for me to have a reminder of the afghans I give away.

And, of course, Zoe has decided she can't live without it, so it looks like the SGW is back to being my boss's gift again.  I have neglected that for a few weeks, so I need to get back on it.  Can we beat 5 months on this one?  It is possible... it's only been a little over 2 months since I started it and I've made good progress.  I have a bunch of other projects to work on at the same time, though, so we will just have to see.

Sad face

Something awful happened today.  I was sitting in Zoe's classroom at school, waiting to go on her field trip to the pumpkin patch, when tragedy struck.  I had my precious Nikon D80, snapped a picture and

it died.

The screen went blank, the viewfinder went dark, dead.

There is something about going on field trips with Zoe.   It's the second field trip that I've brought my camera on and had to put it away because it wouldn't work.

I turned it off and back on.  Nothing.  I took out the battery and put it back in.  Nothing.  The battery wasn't dead, I checked it before I left.  It wasn't fully charged, but it was enough for the day.

I am willing to admit that I abuse it.  I hardly ever put it in its cushy bag.  The kids have banged their heads into it more times than I can count while it's around my neck.  I've had it at least 3 years and have never had it cleaned.  I've been meaning to since our trip to the beach, just in case it got some sand or saltwater in it despite my efforts to protect it.  But I didn't.

And now it's dead.

I don't know what to do.  I can't really afford to replace it at the moment.  Who knows how much it would cost to repair?  And the store's website where we got it said it would take 6-8 WEEKS for most repairs.  What am I supposed to do without a camera for two months?  Go crazy, that's what.

So, for now all my pictures will be cell phone pics.  I'm disappointed because I have something to show you and the pictures suck.  Boo.   I'm such a spoiled brat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Toasty legs

Granny Stripe Legwarmers

I finally got a picture of Liv in her legwarmers.  She says she loves them and has thanked me repeatedly for them, but I can't seem to get her to wear them for more than 10 minutes.  Of course, it's still fairly warm around here.  Maybe once it gets colder.  She says she can't wear them to school, but I don't see why not.  I didn't see anything in the dress code against them and if that chick I saw yesterday wearing knee-high "Beiber Fever" socks was any indication, they aren't picky about leg-wear.

Granny Stripe Legwarmers
A picture of her looking like a little girl!!!

I'm very, very excited.  I am this close to being finished with the body of the Daisy afghan.  I cold have finished it up last night but I decided to go to bed before 11pm for a change.  I just  have to attach the last row.  That's it.  Then on to the border.  I need more yarn for the border... I didn't anticipate being ready for it until the weekend.  And now that I'm here, I can't stop.  I must finish it.  It's going to make me insane otherwise.  So I'll have to make a run to get some at lunch.

So excited.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I can't think of a title...

Well, I survived our first ever sleepover.  It wasn't too bad.  They didn't stay up very late... my kids are usually in bed at 7:30pm, so they're kind of lightweights in the staying up department.  Olivia was asking when they could go to bed about 9pm, and who am I to argue?  The morning was a bit of a test of patience since I'm generally a pretty cranky person first thing in the morning and I didn't want to leave the poor child with the impression that I'm Monster Momma.  Olivia wasn't the best hostess ever.  I had to remind her several times that she needed to play with her friend.  Luckily, the other two were more than willing to step in.  Olivia would either get caught up in the television or go off to play alone. 

We have a tentative reciprocal sleepover in two weeks.  The girl's grandfather invited her to come stay the night, but I want to confirm it with her grandmother first.  Make sure everyone's on the same page. 

I was thinking about it and I don't think Olivia has ever spent the night away from us other than when Isabelle was born.  My parents aren't up to keeping the kids overnight and Bill's family is too far away.  It'll be so weird for her to not be here.

With the kids occupied with their visitor, I had a chance to put in some good progress on the Daisy afghan. 

daisy afghan
I'm kind of chilly right now, so that looks so cozy to me.

I'm thinking I'll have it all finished and put together by the end of the week and then I can start the border.  That won't take long, I wouldn't think.

I need to pick up my neglected SGW.  I haven't touched it in two weeks or more.  I actually brought it out to work on it last night and got distracted by the book I was reading.  I hit that point in the book where I had  to finish it.  Now I'm bookless for a few days.  I hate that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Is it just me or do kids age exponentially?  I mean, 7 seems years older than 6, not just 365 days.

6 year old Olivia

So much changes in a year. 

7 year old Olivia

So much stays the same. 

She's still so dramatic, which is good and bad.  She loves to find a corner to play in with a few stuffed animals and you can overhear the tragic and fantastic tales she spins.  But she doesn't even remember her imaginary Grandmother.  Man, I miss those stories.  Grandmudder was awesome.  She is still a little couch potato, although her taste in television has evolved from Maggie and the Ferocious Beast to iCarly. She's interested in music more.  Still sharp as a tack. 

It's nearly impossible to get a picture of her looking like a little girl.  Now she looks like a miniature teenager. 


She loves her doll.  She named her Lilly Blain.  She was pretty sure I had made her a doll (since she did ask for one) and was planning the name on our ride home.  Everything is named Lilly around here.  And everyone's middle name is Blain to them (actually, only Zoe's middle name is Blain, but they can't pronounce Izzy's middle name so they have replaced it... which led to them just assuming it's everyone's middle name).

I finished the legwarmers, but she won't get them until Sunday.  I'll take pictures of them then.  Legwarmers just are better modeled. 

I can't believe my first born is 7.  Such a big number. 

Olivia Grace, Happy Birthday!  It's going to be a great year, I know it.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Doll

 Livi's doll

I finished Olivia's birthday present last night.  I spent more than three, yes three, hours knotting hair into this doll's head.

You know when you get an idea and think it's a great idea until you are halfway through it and then you realize that it was the stupidest idea ever?  That was me about 2 hours into the hair.  Originally I wanted to crochet corkscrew curls for her hair, but I decided that there would be no way I'd get it done in time.  For once, I was realistic.  But I did want her to have a nice, full head of hair.  Well... she definitely has that.  I used probably more yarn on just her hair than the rest of the doll.  Insanity, I tell you.

Livi's doll

But I kind of like it now that I'm not in the process of making a billion knots. And her hair isn't fluffed out or anything, there's just that much of it.  I have pretty thick hair myself and I'm jealous of this doll.

It was a labor of love.  A week and a half of my nights devoted to this doll.  It's a great pattern... I'd never used a chart like that before and I think I kind of prefer it.  In fact, when I am copying a pattern down from the internet (I don't have a printer at home and sometimes I'm too impatient to wait until I get to work to print something), I often abbreviate things down to just stitch counts for a row anyway.  It's not like most amigurumi patterns have complicated stitch patterns.  It's all sc, inc, and dec for the most part.

Livi's doll

I did make the shoes, but forgot to put them on.  They won't stay on unless I sew them onto her so they'll be lost in no time anyway.  No big deal, I think she looks fine without them.

Livi's doll

I did go off on my own a little bit with the dress.  It's by the pattern for the most part, but I was tired and ended up just lacing up the back and carrying the yarn over to make skinny straps instead of crocheting them and sewing on buttons.  I like it though.  She's a tad goth-looking with the gray and dark red and black.  Working on the Daisy afghan, I'm a little burned out on pastels and I had these colors on hand.  I gotta mix it up.

I've decided I might crochet amigurumi a bit too tight.  I hardly ever use my G hook, but I pulled it out for the dress.  I had last used my G hook on a different (and unfinished) ami project.... and it was warped.  I bent my hook crocheting.  So maybe I go a bit overboard on the tension.  Just a little.

I see two more doll requests in my future, so I'm already scoping out other patterns.  I can't make the same pattern over and over.  Here are two options I'm looking at:

I'm not overly fond of the head... I might make it rounder.

She looks like a Lalaloopsy doll =)  And that's the hair I wanted to do...

I still have to finish up the legwarmers.... I have one leg finished and about 1/4 of the other.  I am thinking it might not happen tonight, so she probably won't get them until Sunday when we have our family birthday celebration.  They are also using more yarn than I anticipated, so it's debatable if I even have enough yarn!  I'm a horrible judge of these things.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Awesome weekend

I love October.  After December, it's my favorite month.  We always have so much going on in October that it's hard to fit it all in... the State Fair, pumpkin patch, Liv's birthday, Halloween.  It's usually my biggest photo-taking month. 

This month is looking like it will be no different.  It's only two days into the month and I've snapped over 300 photos, and none of our big events has even happened yet.  I'm so excited to see what the rest of the month will bring.

On Saturday, my best friend invited us to come join his family at the park.  I oh-so-reluctantly abandoned my laundry ;) and threw the girls into the van.  We went to a park we had never been to before.  It was really neat.  It's an older park, with tire swings, lots of slides, tunnels, odd looking swings with handlebars.... the girls were just in awe.


How bizarre is that?  It made me nervous because it was blacktop underneath, but the girls weren't really big enough to get them going so they lost interest quickly.  (Zoe was being pushed in that picture)


Isabelle and Abby... they are three weeks apart, Abby is older.  She's Zoe's size, though.  Little bitty thing.


The tunnels were fun, especially when they wanted to escape us and go to the other side of the park and us adults had to walk the long way around.


They found some sidewalk chalk and started decorating the tunnels.


You know how people always marry off their kids to their friends' kids?  These two are like that.  He's the sweetest kid and they've always been super great friends.  Olivia loves her some Gabe.

Today was our Family Fun Day.  They opened up a new pedestrian bridge this weekend at the Clinton Presidential Library.  I've always wanted to take the girls there because they have the most awesome little park full of steep hills.  So we went to go check out the bridge and do some hill-rolling.

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The new bridge is an old railroad bridge that has been renovated and converted into a walking bridge.  There are 4 (I think) pedestrian bridges crossing the river now.  I'm loving them.

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View from the bridge... that's downtown Little Rock.  It was a perfect day, if you can't tell. 


Izzy wasn't too keen on crossing the bridge, so I had to promise her a trip to the fountain in front of the library.


And then much rolling....


And belly-sliding on the steeper hills, was had by all (well, the kids anyway).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Little Obsession

There is a potholder pattern that I've been wanting to adapt into a beanie for a good little while now...

Stir Me Up Potholder

The past few days, for some reason it became a little bit of an obsession.  When I'm working on something with a deadline I seem to always need a quick project to break up the monotony.  Plus, I can't work on Olivia's presents while she's awake and I also needed an afghan break.  I love these afghans, but making squares can get a tad boring at times.

So, I dug into my yarn tote and picked out some colors and set to work.

Not entirely thrilled with the color combo, but it was just an experiment.
Making swirls is pretty fun.  Starting out is extremely fiddly and I don't have any stitch markers (I use scrap yarn to mark rows in amigurumi), but I managed without them.  Working with four strands of color meant that I had to be really careful to avoid a massive tangle-up and it was kind of annoying when my yellow yarn kept trying to run away from me, but the girls were nice enough to chase the ball and bring it back.  It's was like having a cat!  ;)

I want to make a candy cane colored one for Christmas, and maybe then I'll work up a pattern, but basically all you do is follow the potholder pattern until you feel it's big enough, then stop the increases and keep swirling away until it fits.  It makes me want to find other circular potholder patterns to see if I can turn them into hats.

It worked up really fast, but it's too small for my kids.  It took me a minute to get the math right in my head to figure out where I made my mistake, but I did, so I'll be able to make them one that will fit.  This one will probably go to the children's hospital or some other charity.

Luckily, one of the girls' teddy bears was willing to help me out as a model.

I was told it reminded someone of a hacky sack.

Thank you Pink Fuzzy Bear (if the stuffed animals around here have names, no one has let it slip around me) for your assistance.  You have been, by far, the easiest model.


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