Thursday, December 20, 2007

Do you dream in swatches?

I am certainly dreaming in swatches after my latest knitting ventures. Christmas for we mommies means teacher gifts. I contributed some $dinero to the class gifts for both Teddy and Matt's teachers, but I felt a small knitted token would also be in order. After all, these ladies look after my most precious angels, and therefore my sanity too.

I looked through the 'Other' patterns on Ravelry and found a coffee cup sleeve. Basically, any cable pattern your heart desires, plus 4 garter stitches each side. Repeat til it fits round the cup and bind off including the cast on stitches, thereby eliminating the need for seaming. Easy as pie. I dug out the DB Cashmerino Aran from my stash, got down the Vogue Cables Stitchionary and started.

The cable patterns are: top two, horseshoe cable. bottom row, LtoR, er, can't remember the name of the first cable!, flirtation, hugs and kisses.

Teddy has a teaching assistant with fabulous hair which is just crying out for a Dream Swatch. So I made her one, instead of the coffee sleeve. The yarn is Rowan Damask and I used almost the whole ball.

These gifts were all given out yesterday, the last day of school and I'm happy to say they were all admired and appreciated. Warms your cockles, doesn't it :-)

Another dreamswatch to report on. This time for the wife of Tommy's cousin. She admired mine a few weeks ago and her birthday is this weekend, so what else could I give her but her very own. The yarn is Alchemy's synchronicity. I ordered 4 skeins of this way back when Knit Happens had their mega-sale, but only 1 arrived. Maybe I need to buy the one-skein book, but why would I do that when I can get free patterns on the web?!

Now, I did have further finished objects to report on, but I gave them away before I photographed them. I ended up making a bunch of clothes for the lovely Ms B. Doll. Coats, sweaters, dresses, bags. I even made her a dreamswatch. Yes, really!

I donated them to Teddy & Matt's school Christmas auction, held after the children's 'show'. Of course, I meant to carefully photograph them before I sewed them to the sheet of neon pink posterboard they would be displayed on. But I didn't get round to it. So I thought I'd get a quick picture in the back of the car, before I dropped it off at school. I remembered on the way home! Then I thought I'd get a picture at the actual auction. Erm. Instead here's a picture of the boys with Teddy's teacher, Ms Trudy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

So, what've I been up to......

Well, I have been busy knitting and sewing, the past few weeks. The knitting will come in another post, but here's the sewing. I've been making dolly diaper bags for my Etsy store. Here are a few samples.

After Christmas I'm going to try sewing some dolly diapers. Currently I'm putting preemie pampers in the bags - obviously they're not an ideal fit with my current ecological kick, but needs must. I just needed to get some sewing done, to justify all the fabric I bought!

I have donated a couple of these bags to Teddy and Matt's school - their Christmas show and Auction is on Thursday night - along with a basket of Etsy 'stocking stuffers', all under $10. Gotta get the Etsy word out there somehow. I'm constantly surprised when my Mommy friends haven't heard of the site. I was pleased to find a good few Christmas gifts on the site :-)

Now, everyone go buy handmade :-)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Even More Thanks........

Go read this article on today's BBC news....

That's my brother and nephew. Thanks be to God today for their lives.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Giving Thanks

Is it really a whole week since Thanksgiving? Oh, no, that would be a week and a half then!!!

Well, here's what I'm really thankful for. My three boys. They are, in the word's of Lola, my current favourite kid's cartoon character, "My favourite and my best". Here are some persuasive photos, for those of you without my mother's love and rose tinted glasses.....

My Thanksgiving Turkeys.....

and one with Daddy.....

Future baseball stars?....

Matt, not for the first time, caught reading Vogue Knitting's 25th Anniversary book...

Last, but by no means least, this year's Christmas photo.

Tell me those aren't the cutest boys in the world. And they're smart too. And healthy. We all are blessed and we're thankful for that.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Thanks for all the comments on my first post about "Snowflower and the Secret Fan", which I read for my book club discussion last week.

At bookclub, I brought up my thoughts on comparing the current U.S. cultural practice of circumcising baby boys, to the footbinding of girls in China and a lively discussion ensued. Most were shocked at the comparison, except the one other mother who hasn't had her son circumcised. Her only comment was "I knew you were going to bring that up". She obviously saw the comparison too.

I wanted to clarify why I think of the two as similar. They are/were both performed on children and those children are/were given no choice in the matter. Baby boys are strapped to a table to stop them moving while they are circumcised. In S&TSF, "Third Sister" who had tried to escape the footbinding, was subsequently strapped to a chair while having her feet bound. Footbinding was NOT performed to stop women fleeing their husband's household, although of course it is true that they physically could not do that anyway.

There is no medical reason to perform either 'operation'. Footbinding was done for aesthetic and financial reasons - small feet were seen as a sign of beauty, the smaller your feet, the more beautiful you were seen as. And no man would marry a "big footed" woman, only the most poorest women did not have their feet bound - they needed full use of them, so they could work. I understand that circumcision was performed in days gone by for health reasons - the instance of UTIs and Penile Cancer were greater in uncircumcised men. However, simple good hygiene (daily washing) gives the same result as circumcision. And we all take a daily bath or shower, right?

Both operations cause great pain to one degree or another. It goes without saying that having your feet bound so that they fold over in half causes great pain. And that operation goes on for two whole years. Ew. But did you know that the majority of circumcisions performed in the US are done without sufficient, or any anaestesia at all? And it's not a small majority like 51 or 52%. It's something like 80 or 85%. How much pain do you think a newborn, straight out of your birth canal, suffers while part of his most sensitive areas are cut off? And you didn't want to pay for him to be anaesthetised? Think about it next time you have an ingrown toe-nail taken off with no pain meds.

So.... what is my point? I can't remember, I lost track.

Oh yes. Cultural traditions. I think that circumcision was started for health reasons. They don't exist anymore - we all live in houses with running water and can wash ourselves everyday. But it has gotten so ingrained in U.S. culture, that people still do it. Even after bringing up all the points above (and more) at bookclub discussion, people still said they'd do it again. Just because.

Is that sufficient reason to do anything? Just because.

I'm actually pretty open-minded about the whole subject. When we had our first son, I told my American husband that we could have him circumcised if he could give me one GOOD reason to do it. He still hasn't come up with that reason. And no-one else I've ever talked to about it since has either.

So, cyberspace. Can you do it? I am honestly not on a crusade, I look at it more as a quest for understanding.

Although if I were to make it a crusade, I'd ask that each and every circumcision in the future is performed with medication, I mean what year is this? 1907? If you can't afford the meds, please email me....

And so to conclude my post, I'll tell you where I got all my "facts" from. If you can call them that. Google "chinese footbinding". I read most of the posts in the first 2 pages of results. Do it even if you're not interested in my subject matter above. It is fascinating. A magazine I read at the pediatrician's office (the one that always made me wait at least an hour - so I had time to read the magazines). My cousin-in-law's recount of her own son's circumcision. A bookclub member's account of seeing many circumcisions when she was a nurse (she paid for pain meds for her own son, who apparently didn't make a peep). My in-laws account of why my husband is circumcised. A discussion with my new pediatrician (the one who only makes me wait 20 mins) and factsheets she gave me on the subject - don't ask me to resurrect them, go search the Fort Myers landfill if you like.

OK, that's it, I think I got it all out. Now please, don't bash me too hard.......

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Snowflower & The Secret Fan Post No. II

I only just got back from book club, so excuse me if I "hic" a couple of times.

Maybe I'll leave it til tomorrow.

hic, hic.

Yes, definitely

at least I survived :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Not, actual FO?!

Yes, an actual FO. On my knitting blog. If that's not controversial, I don't know what is.

Here it is, in all its glory. And quite clearly good for its intended purpose too. The Log Cabin Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. As modelled by Teddy. It was made with Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, a pale green colour. Then finished off with just a row of a brown/ginger colour, to match the piping on the sofa.

Matthew couldn't see Teddy have his picture taken without him, so here he is too.

The knittyboard blog stalking subject a week or so ago was "What's for Breakfast". Well it's taken me a week or so to post, but this was mine and the boys' breakfast on said day. The boys had Weetabix with bananas cut up in it. And I had Kashi 7Grain Honey Puffs, with my banana on the side :-) Yum.

This week's subject is another easy one: "your junk drawer".

Or in my case, drawers.....

I have been ramping up my fitness schedule this last month or so, trying out the "Couch to 5K" program. It gets new runners from zero to 5k in only 2 months. The program, for me, has been so achievable. The whole of last week I didn't go to the gym, afraid of my next run which would be a full 20 mins with no breaks.

Well, yesterday, I got myself to the local YMCA where I workout and actually did it. I have to admit being very proud of myself. I have never been a runner, the longest I've ever run before was 15 mins. So this is pretty major for me.

After the run, I went to Publix for some groceries, then to school to pick up Matt. I got there with a few mins to spare so reached for my knitting in my handbag. Which wasn't there!!! I dashed back to Publix and in my haste to get to the store, tripped over their ridiculous kerbs that separate the parking spaces (why do they have those and not just paint lines?). This is the result.....

One very icky knee. On top of that, a cold came on yesterday afternoon, and I'm aching from the run too. AND I can't bend the icky knee as it breaks open the 'wound'. Eew.

At least they had my handbag.

Tomorrow is a better day. Book Club, discussing Snowflower. Can't wait :-) :-)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Charlotte & Yarns

Last night, I got back from a great weekend, hanging out with my SIL and her family in Charlotte, NC. What a beautiful city, a green and pleasant land indeed. They have a new baby, and, oh boy, is he cute with a capital Q. And he cried only once, the whole 2 days we were there. Almost made me want another, but he cried just before we left, and DH said to me "Remember what it's like now?!" So, maybe not.

While there, I visited Charlotte Yarn and got to meet the wonderful Turtlegirl. Anyone visiting that part of the world should go look her up. As one of only a few blogs I read regularly, she's like my yarnharlot, so it was quite a thrill to meet her. Maybe that makes Bezzie my Crazy Aunt Purl :-) I'd be able to tell better, if I read either of those other blogs!!!

Anyway, some yarn was purchased......

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids in Loden - my 1st CTH
Misty Mountain Farm, Blue Ridge Yarn - another new yarn to me

Mountain Colours Bearfoot in Olive and Chocolate

I have been squishing them since purchase, trying to decide which I like best. The thing is, they all have something about them. They are ALL soft. They are all beautiful colours.

But the Bearfoot wins. It has a cool feel to it, along with its softness. I better buy some sock pattern books to do justice to all these gorgeous yarns.

Or maybe I could just look through the books I already have. There has to be a sock pattern in there SOMEWHERE!

Hope Monday has treated everyone well.

Next post: more controversy (with a smile) :-)

Holy Canoli Batman!!! I almost forgot to post the one photo I took while I was in Charlotte. Here is the window display in the Anthropologie Store in the SouthSide(?) Mall. Yes, it really is balls of yarn. It was all I could do to hold myself back from jumping right on top of it all.

I wonder who'll get THAT stash in January?!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


A couple of pics of my cute halloweenies......
They both insisted on monster tattoos on their foreheads....

And Matt insisted on wearing my new "Candy Corn Felted Bag" as a hat.....

I swear that's chocolate in his mouth. His teeth aren't rotten. Give that a couple more halloweens, right?!

The bag is totally cute and I'll use it next Halloween for sure :-)

That most awesome of halloween baggies came from my very own knitty halloweenie, Criosa. She sent me a hallowicious package to celebrate this most spooky of holidays. Thanks Criosa for all the goodies, of course, esp. the English goodness.

And look at this gorgeous yarn she sent too.....

I'm in love with this gorgeous baby blue yarn, which looks and feels JUST like malabrigo. Hello!

Thanks Criosa:-) :-) :-) from me AND the boys :-) :-) :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Teddy, cousin O and Matt. aka James, Jack Sparrow and Thomas.

What's cuter than daddy holding the baby's hand?

The boys waiting for trick-or-treaters.....

The end of an exhausting day.....


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A picture of yours truly.....

Here's the earliest picture of me that I have:

And a close up:

That's me, my two brothers and my two cousins on my mom's side. I also wonder why I was making such a stupid face. It was a compulsion on my part - there are other pictures of me doing that sort of thing.

I love this picture for a couple of reasons. The first is that I don't have many pictures at all of us as children and the second is that it brings back happy childhood memories (oh yes people, there were a few in there).

The picture was taken at my Aunty Pam's house, but for ever after that, sat in my Nan & Taid's living room (the room we never used). They lived in North Wales and we would visit them a couple of times a year. They were such fun times when we would get to see our grandparents, Aunts and cousins. I loved visiting them, their house always felt so safe and warm. So I associate this picture with their house.

When they moved to a smaller house a few years ago, they gave me that picture. It's still in its original frame and I will never change it. Every time I look at it I feel like I'm with them. I wish I could see them more often. They are now in their mid-80s.

Oh, and this picture is pre-birthmark removal too. People still ask me if I have scratched my face. I guess facial surgery wasn't what it is now back in the mid-70s :-)

Also, check out the 70s curtains in the background. Groovy baby :-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

SnowFlower and the Secret Fan - a controversial post

So last week we discussed A Thousand Splendid Suns at bookclub. Our next book is Snowflower and the Secret Fan. Both books are about, at least in part, the suffering of women within different cultures - the first book in Afghanistan, the second in China.

Snowflower, relatively early in the book, gives a detailed and graphic account of the chinese practice of "Footbinding". Although the author gave an amazing description of how the foot should look once the process was complete, I just couldn't picture it in my mind's eye.

So I googled it. And google I almost did, when I came across a photo of an actual bound foot. That link is not for the faint of heart, let me warn you.

Anyway, to get to my controversial point, I see no difference between the act of footbinding, which was carried out in China for A THOUSAND YEARS!!!! and the american custom of circumcising baby boys. Both serve absolutely no purpose and are perpetuated in the name of 'custom'.

What say you out there in the blogiverse........

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pleased to meet you....

oooof, has it really been a month? So, what have I been up to?

Not much knitting, and just a bit of sewing.......

I made some pillows with the fabrics I bought at Purl Soho when I was in NYC a couple of months ago. Here's a closeup.....

Guess which is the Amy Butler fabric.....

See the Log Cabin Blanket in progress on the back of the sofa. It's still in progress. As is the Clapotis. And I have cast on a Jaywalker.

We had an awesome book club meeting at my house last night. We read A Thousand Splendid Suns. What an AWESOME book. We all LOVED it. It's one of the best books I've ever read. I made curry - big thanks to my mate Jamie Oliver for the recipe :-)

I also have been sewing for my etsy shop - go check out my adorable "Dolly diaper bags". Everything a little girl needs for changing her baby doll. I have more fabrics cut out and ready to be stitched together. Just need the time.

OK, blogging mojo back in gear. More pics soon :-)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blogstalking / Catchup

OK, I have been distracted from my blog by my family, work and actual crafting this past week or two. So, here's a little combi-post.

This week's blogstalking topic is how we get from A to B. Well, there's not a lot of public transport in this neck of the woods. And even if there was, there's no way I'm standing around in the heat, waiting for it to arrive (and have 6 of them arrive at once!!!). Soooo, I drive a car. Everywhere. This morning I drove to a friend's house in the next development to me. There isn't a sidewalk between our neighbourhoods, and they're on the same side of the road! No way I'm walking (and as already mentioned, it's HOT).

And don't forget, I'm a mommy. So I have a 'van'. I would've been happy with a mini, I'm sure the boys would've loved that too. But my DH is American. And paranoid about the terrible drivers in this part of the world. So I have a lovely silver Chrysler Pacifica. I have to admit, I like the size, now that I have it. It wouldn't be a vastly interesting picture, so here's something inside 'the van' that IS pretty cool.

A customised Bezzie Ball......

One day soon, I'll get back on a PC and be able to post links again. In the meantime go to where she has a link to her etsy shop. Everyone go buy one, they are cute and awesome.

Last week's blogstalking was all about the purse guts. Here are my two current purses - a Namaste messenger, for when I know I can do a bit of knitting whilst out, and an everyday straw bag, which suits the hot weather down here in Florida's permasummer.

The insides of the messenger bag, including a current WIP - the mason dixon log cabin blanket for my sofa.

And the insides of the straw bag........

.....which until an hour or so ago, held this WIP, now an FO.......
.....embossed leaves socks, fresh off the needles and onto the only sock blockers I own (yes, they ARE my feet)

And a close up of the stitch pattern....

LOVE this pattern. Love the yarn (Koigu PPPM). Love the colours. I see more embossed leaves in my future for sure.

What a post - 2 weeks of blogstalking, a WIP and an FO. If there were some pron, it would be complete. Next time.....

I wanted to say a huge thanks for all of the positive comments I had on my last post. They made me feel like a good mommy and gave me a real lift. :-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Who Am I?

Over on Knitty, "Blogstalking" has begun. A different subject is given every week and each blogstalker posts about it. This week's subject is "Who am I?". One of the deepest questions ever posed.

I shall answer simply, using these pictures.

I'm a mommy. These two gorgeous boys are my life since the first one was born a little over 4 years ago. I am a SAHM. It's not easy, in fact it's the hardest job I've ever done. But look at them now. This was taken this morning - see, they're still in their jammies, but they are doing a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle. The youngest gave up on his baby puzzle and moved over to 'help' his older brother. Older brother happily obliged in accepting said 'help'.......

......and here they are completing the puzzle. They were so proud of themselves, and of each other. Teamwork at age 4 and 2.....

I hope I'm a successful mother. Whatever that may be.

And I'm a wife. That's not easy either. Especially with a family to distract you from being a 'life-partner'. I'm lucky that my husband has infinite patience and committment to me. A marriage really is a committment - it's the first thing I think about when times are tough, no matter what, we are facing things together (even when we're on opposite sides of the table).

That's me in relation to my closest family members. But who am I when I'm just me? Well, first and foremost I think I am a knitter and crafter. I learned as a child to knit from my female relatives, then didn't take it up again until my first son was born. I can't see me ever leaving again, I love it (and I have enough yarn to knit for a good million years or so, too!). Other crafts are creeping in on me now too. Like sewing. I've always wanted a sewing machine - I'm only 5'2" so I have a lot of pant legs to take up. I may not ever be Christian Lacroix, but I'd like to be able to make my own clothes - someday.

Before I had my children, I always thought I would want to stay home with them. But after having the first, I struggled with my need to go back to work. To feel useful, in an instantly gratifying, 'that was a productive day at work' kind of a way. Looking after babies never made me feel that useful - I guess the rewards are more long-term. So I'm definitely a worker too.

Other things I am: a friend, a reader, member and helper in a MOMS Club, a sometimes cook, a pretty good driver, a daughter and sister, a shopper (I love to support the retail community :-)), a tea-drinker, tv watching, movie-goer. I have no idea what my 'politics' are - there are things about all parties I like, so I cannot say I'm a republican, democrat, conservative, or labour-ite. Which leads me onto a dreadful thing that I am, that plagues my life. I'm a horrible procrastinator. If only I could make a decision.

Now I'll just read this over three more times before I hit publish.......

p.s. I'm a blogger, yay!!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday - the weekend

Was it really a couple of months ago that my LYS closed down? Time flies....

Here are some pictures of the Plymouth Yarns Baby Alpaca Grande I bought in that sale. 6 beautiful dark green skeins for half off. Not a bad day at the office, eh. Now what can I make with 6 skeins.........

I posted some more stitch markers on etsy today. A couple of cute new bead designs. One of them I only had one set of the beads, so they are one-offs.

Work tonight. I saw on the knittyboard that there's a knitting book sale at B&N - I'll have to check that out.

Have a fabulous Friday night out......

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Very Important Day for WIPs

Yes, it was a very important day for my very important little wips. 1st day of school for both of them. Here they are, backpacks on and raring to go. I'm such a proud mommy. Teddy was totally awesome as ever and went into the classroom and started playing and making friends straight away. It is a job getting a "bye mommy" out of him. Matt on the other hand. Not so much. Apparently he cried on and off all morning. He was doing that really sad heavy sniff, sniff, sniff, sob that children who've been crying a lot do (er, and adults too), when I picked him up at noon. Poor baby was exhausted. Oh well, he'll get used to it.

I had a great morning at the gym and returning things to Target. It is so easy when you're on your own.

A quick list of crafting WIPs progress:

- Log Cabin blanket - 16 blocks completed. I feel as if I've spent more time on this than my progress might indicate this week. I guess that's the blocks growing in size though. It is such good TV knitting. Although what I'm doing watching TV these days I don't know. There is absolutely NOTHING worth watching for the next few weeks. Apart from the Biggest Loser. Can't wait for that to start next week. DH and I always bawl at that show. They are so inspiring. (So inspiring that we usually watch it with a tub of B&J's!!!)
- Clapotis - 3 stitches dropped. Still.
- Embossed Leaves Sock - 2 repeats of the second sock completed. I love knitting this, but I like to have a chunk of time - I usually have to hunt down the chart I photocopied and my highlighter pen. the LCB, I can just pick up and do a row of.
- Grow with Me - 5 3/4" out of 9" of the stocking stitch is done. I keep this in my handbag - the Namaste messenger bag is now my handbag. I love it, but it's so big, sometimes it's difficult to find things. Anyway, I'm knitting this pattern in the round so it's a LOT of St St, a bit boring, but it'll be worth it.
- Innocent drinks hats - I lost the ones I made a while ago. I could blame the two small boys I share a house with, but it's really my fault for letting them play with them. I started some more last night. I finished the knitting of 3 of them, then sewed them up while waiting for dinner to cook tonight. They are all black. Would that put you off your smoothie?!
- Sewing - I cut out the fabric for a load more bags and also bought more yesterday. It's washed, dried and waiting to be ironed. Maybe I'll leave the cutting for the weekend - I'd like to make Barbie another outfit the rest of the week :-)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

GIFTS from Cali

Excuse the text at the top and then a load of pictures. I'm blogging on our Mac computer and can only get a load of code. I usually load pictures then drag them around. I don't know how to cut and paste to get them in the right order.

I received an amazing package of goodies in the mail today. Or I should say WE received an amazing package. My great knitty friend, Irishgirlie, sent treats for the boys and I. Pralines from New Orleans. I'd never had them before. SO sweet. Yum-o.

And a voodoo ring which you can see on my (hairy {ew}) toe in a picture below. We are debating whether it is a toe ring, or a pinky ring. Mine's definitely a toe-ring. It has to be - it matches my tattoo. :-)

Also enclosed for me was a new Barbie - I guess my blondie did look a bit lonely in her photoshoots, some really fresh scented soap and a cute 'knit happens' fridge magnet.

For the boys there were some Cars the Movie cars, plates and stickers, and art supplies, along with some New Orleans beads, which Matt took great delight in running round the house in all afternoon. The boys set to work with their art supplies immediately.

Thanks so much Carrie, you made the day for all of us today.

And tomorrow is our big day - the boys are starting school. I'll proudly post a picture tomorrow. :-) :-)

Artwork, woot woot!!!!!

Loads of lovely treats....
Matt and Mommy wearing their treats.....
Matt: "Why yes, I have been eating the markers, but looks at these awesome cars".
Gift overload. Gift overload. Gift overload.
Teddy: "look mommy, art supplies" (referring to the tissue paper).