Boring Mitten Post

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Back in early November, I knit up these basic mittens for the (big)kid. I’ve never knit mittens before, and I must admit they scared me a bit what with those thumbs and all. I searched around on Ravelry for a pattern that didn’t terrify me, and I found this: Lilley’s Maine Mittens (you have to scroll down a ways). What I really liked about it was this little blurb at the end of the pattern:

“There you have it, a plain, hard-working, easy to adapt, change, embellish, and knit pattern from a 30 year knitter, mom of four boys! This basic pattern is the same one my grandma and mom have used, and has kept 50 years of children’s fingers warm.”

Anya picked out a nice burgundy wool, I borrowed some needles from my buddy, and a few days later we had mittens.


One Bouncy Month

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It’s impossible for me to not compare Kostaya’s first month with Anya’s. The thing is, I don’t really remember all that much from Anya’s first month. I mostly remember me crying and wailing and wearing only pajamas and Anya crying and wailing and wearing only diapers.

Luckily, this first month with Kostaya has held only small amounts of crying or wailing (from either him or me), and it has seen me wearing regular clothes nearly every day. [I set two daily goals for myself: (1) take a shower and (2) wear real clothes. I am a superhero.]

Now, let’s talk about Kostya and clothes. I was so spoiled with Anya being a late spring baby. When we were at home, all she needed was a diaper, and when we went out, she could get by with a onesie. Late fall babies aren’t so lucky. This guy has to wear clothes even at home! And not just a little onsie. Oh no. His poor skinny legs would freeze. He needs pants. AND socks. And the onsies? All those cute little short-sleeved onesies? When he wears them I have to keep a blanket handy so his poor skinny arms won’t freeze. I actually went to the store and bought him a few more pairs of pants. Can you believe that? Or perhaps a better question to ask would be, “Can you believe it didn’t occur to me when looking at all those cute little short-sleeved onsies that this guy was going to be born in NOVEMBER?”

Before any of you kind readers run out to the store to buy this poor kid warm clothes, and before any of you kind readers out there say, “Dude! I bought you warm clothes for that kid!” let me say that as soon as he grows up a size, he will be SET. Pretty much all of you wonderful people who gifted us with clothing gave bigger sizes, and those of you who gave us newborn clothes are the reason this kid had warm clothes at all here at the start. It was all me looking at a huge pile of cute little short-sleeved onesie hand-me-downs thinking we were set. (I hope I haven’t offended anyone who gave us a cute little short-sleeved onesie, because I have been thankful for them, too, since even in late fall we have had some really warm days.)

Aside from contemplating his fashion options, what has this boy been up to in his first month? He has…

– worn more clothes than Anya did her first three months combined,
– timed his poo diapers so Mommy got to change all but one of them,
– taught Mommy the zen art of chair sleeping,
– been licked by a dog,
– attended his first school function,
– dined in two restaurants,
– taken more baths than Anya did her first three months combined (if anyone ever tells you boy parts have fewer places for poo to hide than girl parts, don’t believe them),
– learned to roll from side-to-side when wearing the right diaper,
– perfected his pterodactyl sounds,
– served as an arm rest for Mommy when she crochets, with a built in timer to prevent overuse of hands, and
– learned how to imitate a turtle streeeetttttching its neck out of its shell.


What’s his name?

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With a little help from Andy, I’ve managed to assemble a workstation that allows me to type (with TWO hands) while holding the tiny pterydactyl. This is a very good thing because, for the most part, he is not happy unless he is reclining on his favorite piece of furniture — me.


Today is his one month birthday, and I want to keep up the tradition we had with Anya of posting a photo and list of tricks learned each month for the first year or so. However, I haven’t taken that picture yet, so you’ll have to wait until at least tomorrow. Or perhaps February. Another reason for not posting the 1 month post yet is because it feels weird to me to write about month one before I write about day one. I’m really big on the chronology.

One thing I’m not really big on is writing a birth story about the pain and the mess and the pushing and the screaming and all that, so I’m not going to. Here’s my story: We went to the hospital, the medical people did medically stuff, a baby appeared, and I ate lime sherbert.

Okay, so you want a few more details than that? He…

– weighed 8 lbs, 14 ounces,
– stretched 21.5 inches long/tall,
– arrived tangled up in umbilical cord and with a hand/arm up by his face,
– had a decent amount of hair, realllllllly long fingers, and freaky vampirically long fingernails and toenails,
– came with a red birthmark on his forehead (which the nurse baby nurse swore would fade — how does she know?),
– and was pimplier-faced than the pimpliest-faced teenager.

Do you notice yet how I am avoiding using a name for the wee one? See, here’s the problem. When you call a person by a name for seven or so months, it’s really, really, really tough to suddenly start calling him by a totally different name. Mostly we are still calling him Bouncy (his pre-birth nickname), but I tend to introduce him to new people as Konstantin (his formal name — which one should use for introductions). Occasionally I call him Kostya (his post-birth nickname), and eventually I will say it and hear it enough times that it begins to feel more normal than Bouncy. Hopefully this will happen before he is a teenager.

A very “Despicable” Halloween

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For Halloween this year, Anya really wanted to be a minion. And Andy needed to be Gru. And I needed to be one of the little girls. I found crochet patterns for a minion hat and for minion goggles, and I made up a super simple knit pattern for a Gru scarf.

Alas, as much as Anya wanted me to be one of the little girls, the complexity of their clothing was too much for me (so many parts!). I thought about going as a kid in “The Box of Shame,” but that somehow didn’t seem appropriate to wear to school. I remembered I had a purple wig from last year, and I pondered for a while dressing up as a purple minion, but that required me to get a purple shirt. Woe is I. In the end, I crocheted up a minion goggle and wore my purple wig and made growling sounds and had to explain to everyone who I was dressed up as because really I was just a weird person wearing a purple wig and a circle thing on her face.

And Anya? She wouldn’t wear the goggles. By the end of the school party, she’d taken off her hat, gloves, and shoes, too. When she got home, she changed into normal clothes and wouldn’t put any part of her costume back on for trick o’ treat time. Andy convinced her to put on her big sweater and go as Red Riding Hood.


Andy’s costume was definitely the most successful of all. He shaved his beard off the night before and had a coworker help him put on the bald cap and draw in super big eyebrows. He was really creepy, and I almost didn’t recognize him when he showed up at school. A few people thought he was Uncle Fester.


Do you have any sparkly yarn?

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If you ever want to feel what it’s like to walk into a yarn shop and have every person inside stop their knitting and chatting to stare at you intensely, just ask, “Do you have any sparkly yarn?”

I don’t normally shop at yarn shops because Michael’s can meet my needs way cheaper, and I prefer the anonymity. At Michael’s I don’t have to tell anyone that I am making minion goggles while they are sitting there working on a multi-colored piece of intricate lace. I don’t have to try to justify that crochet is indeed an acceptable way to use yarn. I can walk around and look for what I need without having to remember the difference between worsted weight and sport weight and lace weight and heavy weight champion of the world. And I can use a coupon.

But I was having lunch right next door to the yarn store, and I had a need for some sparkly yarn, and I thought surely a Yarn Store would have more variety than Michael’s. So, leading up to my entrance, it made perfect sense to ask this question.

And then I asked my question.

And then the staring and the silence.

And then I realized sparkly yarn is more minion goggles and crochet and coupons than it is multi-colored intricate lace.

“Ha ha!” I chortled. “I mean, something with a little shimmer or shine, you know!”

“What are you making?” the helper asked.

“Um, an aviator hat? It’s crocheted. I like coupons.”

“Hmm…perhaps I have something in the clearance section.”

In the end, I did walk away with some shimmery (NOT sparkly) yarn for my project, but I remembered pretty vividly why I don’t usually go to yarn shops. Everyone really was nice and polite and helpful, but I just don’t think I am a yarn shop sort of gal.

Here are a few things I’ve been working on lately. As much as I love to squoosh the nice, pricey yarn, it’s really overkill for Hello Kitty hats and diaper covers.



Fair Remorse

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The county fair was a few weeks ago, and after last year’s big hurrah, I found myself feeling rather inadequate. I’m not sure if I’ve said it before here, but it took me until probably the end of spring this year to feel crafty again after that experience. I rode in cars and watched tv and went to appointments and watched Anya at storytime for months without bringing any knitting along. Sometimes I wondered if I’d ever want to do much of anything crafty again.

Don’t worry. I’m all better now. But when the fair came along this fall, and when I started to go through the list of categories (oh, remember the days when I had that list memorized?), I could only come up with four things to enter. Four. I did, however, write down probably another half dozen that I felt convinced I could come up with if I just got real busy and focused. Then I realized that was crazy, and I helped Anya find some things to enter, and I figured if I added both her stuff and my stuff together that would sort of count as stuff I entered because I made her, right?


Anya, however, didn’t seem to agree with that and made sure everyone knew that SHE won $15 at the fair and her mother only won $10. Fine, kid. I see how that works. I’m storing this away for later use.

So, what did I enter? There’s an owly crewel piece:


And the aviator hat I crocheted:


And Anya’s sweater and one of the baby hats I knitted:


Enough of that stuff. Tiny as it was, there was more to the fair than the crafts. There were games,


and chances for Daddy to look silly,


and lots and lots and lots of corn.


Then it rained.

Dress Up

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I’ve been wanting to write a post for a while but you know, the usual: I’m tired, or busy, or foggy headed, or driving, or in the shower. That last one I think one day will be overcome. Surely one day there will be a wall-mountable, water-proof, steam-proof computer. I guess, though, along that line of thought, I could in theory dictate a post to some sort of device while driving. No matter how cool the device, however, that sounds like trouble to me.

My breakfast is ready, and my mind is wandering, and this post is about to be left to languish in the pile of forgotten drafts, so I better hurry up.

We went to Goodwill last weekend to look for some stuff for Anya’s Halloween costume. Of course we had to check out the shoes. I think these are the most amazing shoes we’ve found so far. I almost bought them.


Do you need a better look?


Personally, I think they go very well with Anya’s outfit. I’m also thinking maybe we try on too many fancy shoes because she had absolutely no trouble walking up and down the aisle in these. Thankfully, pretty much every time she is done trying on fancy shoes she says something like, “Yes, they are nice but they aren’t good for my feet and back.” You got it, girl. And remember, soda is disgusting.

About two weeks ago, we went to Target to search for a birthday present for a little friend. We weren’t in any sort of rush, so of course we had to roam all the aisles. After this trip, we read a really gross book about head lice and then watched a sort of gross cartoon about it. I sort of wish those events had been reversed, but (knock on wood) we seem to be safe.


Although, this picture is so cute, it may have been worth a little lice.

No, not really.

I was definitely testing fate that day because I requested Anya pose in this hat, so I could see if I could replicate it later.


“See, Mommy, that’s my thoughtful look!”

And that’s all for now. My bacon is getting cold.

Whatcha Doin’?

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School started a few days ago, and it’s been pretty cRaZY around here, but things are finally calming down. The first day of school was so action packed, I didn’t get the traditional first day picture of the kid. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone or my scrapbook group will revoke my membership.) I have managed to get some crafty time in. Two weeks before school began, I felt an overwhelming need to make Anya the place mat she needed for lunch time, so I pulled out a pattern I used last year for The Great Fair Adventure and whipped up this:


Nothing fancy, but still nifty. I mean, it is destined to be coated in peanut butter and squished grapes. The yarn I used is leftover from Anya’s sweater and from a Fair project. (I think I will be using the sweater yarn for a LONG time. I sort of overbought. By about 5 skeins I think.)

After the place mat, I blazed through Anya’s second sock (no pictures…it looks like the first one). My latest project is making gifts for all the folks at school who have been / are going to have babies. I found the pattern, Flower Power, on Ravelry (which rocks if you knit or crochet). I’m planning to make several, but so far I’ve only finished the one. I’m not sure if any of the baby mamas or papas reads my blog, but I’m going to guess not. If they are, um, hi! You’ll be getting one of these in the near future!


Do you recognize any of that yarn? Yup, more sweater yarn. And a wee bit of the purple Fair/place mat yarn. The yellow and black are from a scarf I started a while back but didn’t finish due to lack of yarn. Riiiiiiiiip! The other two colors were from my early knitting days when I bought yarn by the pound.

I’m also working on a crocheted froggie blanket, but no pictures yet. I definitely have my fiber groove back on.

July and August Swap Stuff

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Craft swaps are fun, but it’s a good thing the group I’m part of is understanding because very few of us are terribly timely with our projects. Until this weekend, I was three months behind on my submissions. I decided to take June as my “free” month, and then I did two items to catch me up for the summer. Nothing super neato, but I enjoyed what I made. I continue to try and use as much of the materials from my swap packet as I can.

So, here’s what I made:

For July, I decorated these little kraft paper notebooks I found on super clearance a few months ago. The paper and ribbon are from my swap pack, and I think I bought the sentiment cards…though maybe they were in the packet, too? I don’t remember. The ladies I went to the convention with (why I feel weird about using their names when I posted photos of them yesterday I cannot explain), who are members of the swap, really liked these books.


For August, I made some get well cards. The patterned weather-themed paper and little pearls were from my packet. I put the cards together and didn’t have any sentiments and was a bit bummed. Especially after searching the convention vendor floor for two days to find something that would work. Luckily, one of my crafter friends found and bought a stamp pack that was just perfect, and so now my fellow swappers can tell someone “I’m sorry to hear you are under the weather.” (Get it? Weather? Umbrellas and raindrops? Oh, I am so clever!)


My swap packet is starting to get a bit empty and tattered. How many more months did I sign up for this?