Wednesday, December 22, 2010

McCall's 5966

Eleanor is great to make for. She's little, so the projects don't require a lot of fabric or time, and she hasn't yet developed a particular taste, so she gets excited about whatever I make. Love that.
This is really just a trial run of the above pattern, made in size 3. It's big on her, which I wanted to check - the length is right, but around the body and the sleeves are too big. I think when I make it again in it's intended fabric (warm cord/cotton), I'll make it in size 2 but add some to the length.
The other change I made was to lose the zipper at the back and make it so it can be pulled over the head. Makes it easier to get herself dressed, and I'm all for toddler independence (to a degree, of course).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Taming the Hair Beastie

Three little girls means a lot of hair-type junk. Hair ties, clips, slides, grips, brushes, combs, headbands...ugh. For years we've kept it all (well, mostly) in a plastic food container. Occasionally, little fingers would tip it all on the floor and my blood pressure would hit the roof. But those days are gone! (Please don't burst my bubble - I'd like my blissful ignorance to last a while.) And it's all because of this:
I based it on this tutorial, with some changes. First, I wanted to store the hair ties on pegs, since we have so many. I used three, but next time I would add another for good measure. Also, I used just one strip of clear elastic for the clips, but again, I underestimated how many clips we have and wish I'd added another.
For basic construction, I stapled the fabric onto a cork board I bought at JoAnn's, after stitching the pockets on.Because of it's placement in the bathroom, it helpfully covers over the electrical outlet, which we rarely use. No worries about wet little fingers is a definite bonus.

Of course, this is only helpful if it's actually used, but it's so nice to be able to look and see what's where without having to make a mess to find matching clips. I think it will probably be used, for a little while anyway, even if only for the novelty factor. And it is exciting have a special, girly-styled organizing tool. Surely, I'm not the only one who thinks so!

Monday, December 20, 2010

On the tree

This Christmas has snuck up on me, though I suspect I say that every year. This year, it's really true. I haven't finished my shopping yet, even when I thought I had; even when I would normally be finished (except for the last minute "making") by now. And I definitely would have done more "projects" with the kids than I have so far.
Fortunately, some inspiration came from Sew Mama Sew blog in the form of the kids sewing some felt tree ornaments.

Ellie's creative juices are limited at the moment, but I foresee progress. First, though, she needs to not drop the sewing needle on the floor a thousand times.
I drew a tree in chalk on Noah's and had him outline it. It looks great, but it did involve sitting with him, holding the piece of felt and telling him where exactly to put the needle each time. It was totally worth it.
Anna went for a button theme. I love all the different styles she choose.
Abi wanted to do something with ribbon, so she hand-stitched the ribbons criss-crossed and the button in the center. I like the way she was so independent in her design and execution.

All that was left for me to do was stuff them and add a loop before sewing them up. I even managed to hang them on the tree the evening they were made - uncommonly quick finishing, for me - for the kids to find the next morning. And the best part was seeing how excited they were at being add a little something of their own creating to the Christmas tree. Me not feeling like a totally craft-negligent mother was (a close) second.

Monday, December 13, 2010


This hat took a little Noro Kureyon for the brim and exactly one skein of Noro Cash Iroha. Unusually, it's knit flat and seamed, rather than knit in the round.

Toby wears it all the time. I think that means he likes it. Thank goodness, too - it took ages to choose a pattern he liked.
Apparently, this hat is much preferred by bald men; I'm told this is because the hat doesn't cover the ears. I don't know what that has to do with anything, but what do I know? I'm not bald.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Little Jacques

This has been finished and worn for about a week now, but I've only just uploaded the photos. What can I say - time seems to run away from me...
So, this is the Jacques Cousteau hat. Notes and pattern links here. He loves it. He claims that orange is his favorite color (for now), and it looks really cool on him. Plenty of growing room (essential for a big melon), he should be able to wear this for the next couple winters. I hope.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It has been so nice to spend some more time in my sewing room. This week, the girls have been the recipients of new dressing gowns (bath robes).
Everyone is outgrowing their stuff (still trying to figure out how to make them stop growing), so the little ones have hand-me-downs, but I wasn't in the mood to spend loads on new things for the girls. So, I took the dressing gown that Anna's outgrowing, cut larger pattern pieces based on that one, and viola! Warm, fleecy girls. I had the red for Abigail already (I think it was a remnant piece from JoAnn's) and bought the fleece for Anna in one of their recent sales (I don't remember how much it was, but I bought two yards and didn't use it all).

It was terribly easy to put together, especially since I serged the edges, rather than hemmed them. (For the unsure, a serger or overlocker is that scary-looking machine that sews with up to 4 spools of thread and creates that chain-type stitching you find in your t-shirt.) You could easily leave the edges unfinished, since the fleece is unlikely to fray, or you could use a wide zig zag stitch on your machine, or even blanket stitch by hand. Me? I'm all about speed.

I can definitely foresee making these more in the future. Sorry, Land's End and Mini-Boden, I don't think I'll be needing your dressing gowns anymore!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gooseberry Swirl

Eleanor's hat was so easy and fun to knit. With more of that lovely Louisa Harding yarn, it was a pleasure to make. Of course, with just knit and purl and some decreases thrown in, it was perfect "looks involved but was pleasantly mindless"-type knitting. The only thing is that even though Ellie likes it and has worn it, I never got a picture with her in it. So Dan kindly filled in...
Abigail's hat was different - the swirl pattern was fun and funky (much like the girl herself), and fortunately, very forgiving (also like her). I made a ton of mistakes, but once it's on, not at all noticeable. Thank goodness! Yarn is Lorna's Laces, "Valentine". So pretty!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anna's Beehive

Basically, I'm on a hat-making mission.
Everyone needs a new hat.
Dan's is done. Ellie's is also done, but photos
need to be downloaded.
So here is Anna's. Also known as the Noro, it's gorgeous. I made some modifications, but it was so fun to make, and the yarn is lovely - wonderfully soft, but really sturdy. Just right for kid heads.
Ellie's coming soon, Abigail's currently on the needles...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Costume day

We celebrate Reformation dressing up in Halloween costumes...

It's just so hard to get a good photo
of "wild animals"...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vacation knitting

We went on vacation to the wilds of West Virginia last month. I had taken great pains to plan the knitting projects I wanted to bring, but despite the best laid plans, the yarn I'd ordered didn't arrive in time. So, the day before departure found me at my favorite local store, where Maggie kindly hooked me up.

The small, portable car-project were a pair of Dashing fingerless mittens, also known as my first ever cabled project. I love them so much! It only took one skein of Rowan Felted Tweed, so it wasn't very expensive, either.
The second project was a faith-based project for me. That is to say, I had to continue in faith that it was all going to come right in the end. The Baby Surprise Jacket was my first true foray into Elizabeth Zimmerman knitting (very clever lady that combines math with knitting and makes it interesting, unlike 11th grade algebra). No line by line instructions, it was new to me, but fun. The best part is how it goes from a blob like this...

to a cardigan like this...

Hint - it's all in the increases and folding!

So, now Ellie has a sweater of her own that Mommy made. Of course, she's also inherited Abigail's Libby, since Abi accidentally threw it in the dryer! I was horrified for about 10 seconds, then thought, "Oh well, I guess I'll have to knit another one!" So, that's all right, then.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baby Gnome

Because a kid this cute needs a hat to match

Pattern here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Everest

This sweater is finally finished! It has taken so loooong, though there were(somewhat) understandable reasons.
I managed to complete the front, back and sleeves in a couple months. Not great, but not bad. Then, I realized that I didn't have enough yarn to finish the collar and put it together. So I put it aside for a while - you know, ignore it for a while and hope an extra ball of yarn will magically appear?

Yeah, didn't work out so great.

So, after searching a few places (namely my wonderful local store and the nice knitters at ravelry) and finding the yarn had been discontinued, I found one last ball here. Truly, it was meant to be.

The Plymouth Tweed was lovely to work with, very tactile without feeling either fuzzy or slippery.
I think the waiting, searching and more waiting took longer than the actual knitting.

Come winter, though, it will all be worth it. I'm gonna be one warm mama!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Kind of Day

'"After all", Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."'
~Anne of Avonlea by LM Montgomery

Monday, October 4, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Ever wondered what to do with those oddly-shaped and strangely-named butternut squash?
Here's a suggestion:

Photo from Stuart O'Keefe.

Chop 2 onions and saute in 3tbsp butter until soft.

Add half a butternut squash that's been peeled and diced, and 1 apple that's been cored and chopped. Fry for a few minutes.

Take it off the heat and add 3 tbsp flour, 1 tsp curry powder and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir.

Slowly add 750 ml (3/4 pint) of veg/chicken stock, 400ml (almost 1/2 pint) milk & 1/4 cup orange juice. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until everything is tender.
Pour it all in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Add a pinch of sugar and serve, with cream or sour cream, on a rainy day.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A good day

Monday was my birthday. I am now 33 years old. So, in honor of such an occasion, I am prepared to share 10 little known or interesting factoids (I thought about coming up with 33, but I don't think I'm that interesting).
1. I have had more than 50 (cumulative) stitches - so far.
2. I was the first in my family to start training in karate, and the only one not to receive my black belt (I got close, though).
3. I always wanted a big family, though I never had a lot of experience with kids and didn't quite know what to do with them.
4. I have always wanted a home birth, have tried three times for a home birth and have had pretty much every birth experience - except the home birth.
5. My secret occupational dream: disaster search & rescue.
6. I once went through a dyeing-my-hair phase. First, it was jet black, then cherry red. After that, blonde. Over the black, the other colors didn't really take, but as my hair grew out, it created an interesting striped effect that strangers would stop me on the street to ask me about.
7. With another point toward vanity, I have a tattoo on my shoulder of a sunflower. I'd have it removed now, but that (for me) would just be another bit of vanity. And a lot of money.
8. There are only 2 places in the world I'd really like to visit: Montana and Venice, Italy.
9. I have met and photographed Robin Williams. We're pretty tight now. (Okay, the first part is true, but not so much on the second.)
10. Making this list has shown me just how pedestrian I really am, but I'm cool with that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kid logic

So, Noah has this thing for Iron Man. He's got a costume, plus a couple shirts handed down to him, so he's curious this intimidating-looking superhero. He asks, "Who is Iron Man? Is he a bad guy?" (He's also got a different thing about "bad guys".) His sisters assure him that Iron Man's not real, but just a machine. I mention that no, in the story, the Iron Man costume is made by a man named Tony Stark, but it's all make-believe.
At this point, they were surprisingly excited at the idea that this character should have a normal, real name. Then one of them remembers that our mailman's name is Tony. "Wow! Our mailman's Tony and Iron Man is Tony! I think our mailman is Iron Man!!"
Makes sense to me. I mean, how many men could possibly be called Tony and have the second word of their job title be "Man"?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I'm sick. Not dreadfully, just a bit of a head cold. That said, I am not a good sick person. I'm rather impatient at the best of times, and when I'm sick...ahem. Let's just say that I predict no more than 1 more day of feeling poorly before I've had enough and get over it.
Not a great deal going on recently, and few photos being taken. We're looking forward to a vacation in about a week, though. And I have an about-to-be-8-years-old daughter on my hands. Tuesday is the big day. She's been counting down for a month. I hope the big day lives up to her expectations - no pressure!
My neighbor-across-the-street had a beautiful little girl a couple weeks ago. She had a very excited older sister to welcome her home, and both girls needed some coordinating fashions. So the revered pattern served us again. Big sisters need to look just as sweet as their new siblings, right?
When I first started these longies for Dan, it did everything according to the pattern, but it wasn't long before I realized they were going to be way too small. After some ripping out and modifications (on my page), they are now finished and fit perfectly.
Now we just need some sensible autumn weather to give them a good test run...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Baby knitter

That's me, I'm a baby knitter. I knit for babies, that is. There have been so many new babies being born or about to be, I've been pretty busy.
I made this one for Daniel recently, though he'll not be wearing it for a while, given the heat (oh, the heat!). It had better fit him when it's cool enough to wear, that's all I gotta say.
Pattern and yarn info is on my Ravelry page.

Here's another sweater of the same pattern, but smaller. For a newbie. Hope mommy and daddy like it!
I can't remember if I posted this before, but we have another boy sweater (details here). This one is for the very sweet Isaac Henry, who's presence in the Wilson is very much appreciated.
I'm almost finished seaming another pair of these booties, which are looking really cute.
I'm now working on these for Dan. I got a good couple inches into it before realizing that he would be rather too big for them by the time they were finished, so I ripped it all out to start again with a larger needle. We'll see how that progresses...
I still need to put together my Salina, and I'm still dreaming of the Tea Leaves. Is it wrong to hope for yarn money for my birthday?

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Proper Education

"We are...commanded to prepare each child to walk as a faithful Christian in all areas of life. An arrow has two ends. On one end is the arrow head. We want sharp arrows, academically speaking. But on the other end of the arrow we find a delicate guidance system, feathers to be exact. We want our arrows to travel toward their target without deviation. This corresponds to the development of moral character. A proper education will work on both ends of the arrow (i.e both ends of the child) at the same time. Although scholarship is obviously important, a sharp arrow is worthless without direction. And a blunt arrow, even if it hits its target, will have very little effect."
~The Christian Homeschool by Gregg Harris

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Some recipe links, from me to you:
Also, for using up leftovers:
Fry an onion in some butter. Add 3 tbsp of flour, then slowly add half a pint of milk (I think) to make a roux. Add a "cream of" soup (chicken, mushroom, celery, etc). Then add your left over meat and veg (about half a pound or so). Put it in a pie plate and top with mashed potato, biscuits or (our favorite) a puff pastry sheet. Bake on 400 for half an hour.
Your welcome.

Monday, August 9, 2010


It's good for the soul. After all, how could this laugh not make your day a little brighter?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Take Them a Meal

Shortly before Daniel was born, we heard about this website, What a nifty thing!
Take Them a Meal is basically an online meal organizing tool. Someone just had a new baby or coming home from the hospital? Wanna take them food but don't want 12 casseroles to show up on the same day? No problem - once you sign in, you invite anyone you think would like to be involved in making and taking food. They decide what available days they would like deliver the food and fill in their details (name, number and what they'd like to bring). The system will then email the meal-deliverer on their delivery day to remind them, and email the meal receiver, so that they know who's bringing them what food and when.
The lovely Marie set one up for us (thanks again, Marie!) when Dan was born. I had 2 weeks of meals delivered hot and delicious. We even had the facility to say what time we'd like to eat and if there were any allergies or food preferences. When we signed up to take a meal to someone else, it was a major help knowing what others were bringing, so there were no duplicate meals.
The website even has some suggested recipes and other little hints and tips to make life easier.
It really is a cool little tool. If you get the opportunity to check it out, I highly recommend it.
If anyone else has used it, what is your verdict?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Homeschool Top Tip

For the families that use paper-bound workbooks or worktexts, try this:
Go to your local copy place and politely ask them to cut the binding off the book and either rebind the book with a spiral binding or three-hole punch it. Avoid comb binding if possible, since the combs always seem to pop out. If you choose spiral binding, take your newly bound book home to enjoy. If you've had it three-hole punched (as I have), ask for the spine back and get yourself a big enough three-ring binder.

I didn't think to ask for the spine, so made due with an index card. I'll be asking for the spine next time!

Put the front and back covers in the sleeves and the binding in the spine. Load your pages into the book and enjoy the flexibility that comes of being able to remove pages from workbooks while still having a home for them and, best of all, avoid all the sin issues that come from an open book not lying flat!