Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Belting it out

Jonah is forever singing or humming some diddy around the house. Most of the time it's something he's heard on one of children's songs CDs we play before bed or something he's heard at someone else's house. We try not to watch too much TV around here, but one of the kids' favorite shows at the moment is the Backyardigans. It's pretty cute. The whole show is computer animated, and there are 5 characters who have adventures in their backyard. As they start to pretend, the backyard landscape morphs into whatever magical place they are thinking of that day. There is copious singing of clever catchy songs, and the children who provide the voices for the characters have some amazing singing talent. The theme tune is pretty catchy itself, and as soon as the show comes on, Jonah starts singing along. Loudly. At the top of his little lungs. He knows most of the words to the song, but in true Brown form, there is definite liberty taken with the lyrics. What he doesn't know he just mumbles, runs together, or makes up. I figure part of the reason he hasn't figured out all the words is the fact that he can't hear the TV over his own singing. Grandma B. got the boys a CD with some of the songs from the series, and I got Jonah on video singing along...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Felted goodness

The bowls are pretty well dry, and I was hoping for good light this morning to shoot them in. Not too much luck, as the skies are pretty well overcast, but I did at least make an effort.

Both bowls were knitted using the same pattern from One Skein and Reynolds Lopi on size 10 1/2 DPNs. I finished knitting them way back in November, but I just got around to felting them yesterday. They were both the same size and shape when finished knitting (they made great hats!), and after felting shrinkage, they also were about the same size. I started felting them in my washing machine but decided that it wasn't coming along fast enough, so I dumped them in the sink with hot, dish soapy water and worked them by hand. After a cold water rinse, I blocked them over two different size rice bowls, which gave them two different shapes. One bowl is squattier than the other, with a larger bottom, while the second bowl is taller, with a smaller bottom. Neat little lesson on geometry and how the total volume is the same, but the dimensions and look are quite different.

Monday, March 26, 2007

So what is it? here's the "scarf" that I did out of one of the balls I picked up at the yarn swap last week. This is a ribbon yarn from Caron Pizazz (I keep mistyping it Pizass...bwahahahaha) in the color Meadow. The ball only has 28 yards to it, so I didn't get much length out of this drop stitch pattern, even on size 15s. I'm thinking of frogging it and making it into a small cell phone or camera cozy or something. I could also possibly make a really skinny belt or scarf if I took the number of stitches down to like 3 per row (this is 7 stitches). The length now is just enough to go round my hips and have the ends touch.

I do like this yarn, and the colors in it would be nice just about any time of year. I am, however, on a yarn diet at the moment and need to knit from the stash before purchasing any more.

I pulled an all-nighter last night to finish the strip for the Mother Love quilt the mamas are doing for the auction. I was so bleary eyed by the time I finished about 5:30 this morning that I didn't get a picture of it before hubby took it to school this morning. I started over again with only two repeats of the traveling vine pattern and put a selvedge slip stitch on each end to make it easier to seam into the rest of the afghan. I only used one skein of Lamb's Pride Cotton Fleece to make the 60-inch strip. I'll try to get a picture of the completed afghan on Saturday. So I have another skein of the cotton fleece in this beautiful aqua color, and I think I'm going to make a nice spring wrap out of it, probably just using the swatch I started originally.

Two knitted bowls also got felted today and are drying on the counter. They turned out fairly sturdy, and I'll snap pics of those tomorrow too.

Still so much to do and only a few days left. You knew I was going to wait to the last minute for the final push, didn't you? I did...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scent of a baby

As I sit here tonight trying to convince a sleepy baby that closing her eyes really is in both our best interests, my little girl is riding snugly next to me in her sling. I've been a big fan of wearing babies since I had my first, and each of the babes has spent much time riding around kangaroo style. It's good for me, as it gives me two hands to address important needs, like opening that jar of jam so I can make the boys lunch, and it gives my left arm a break from lugging around my little bowling ball of a baby. It's also good for her. She gets the benefit of hearing my heartbeat, feeling my breathing, and sharing my warmth while helping her to feel safe and protected. She gets an almost mom's eye view of everything we do. Studies have shown that babies who are worn have more developed and earlier developed language skills than their non-carried peers among a host of other benefits. They are calmer and cry less. When they get older, they are more secure and well adjusted. But what's my favorite reason for wearing my babies? I get to smell them.

Dirty baby is probably my favorite smell in the whole world. When my babes were brand new, they still had that amniotic smell to them, something earthy and fresh. As they grew, their scent changed, and something in me thinks that my sense of smell is more sensitive when they are young, as I can recognize who's been holding the baby just by smelling her. Baby hasn't had a true bath in a little while, so tonight she smells heavenly to me. It's a combination of notes, the sweet milky smell of her breath, the slightly salty smell of her cheeks where she's been a bit sweaty from being wrapped up against me, and the notes coming from her hair where its a bit oily from being kissed so much that are just her. I can't describe what exactly her smells like, but I could breathe it in all night. Bottle it and sniff it when she's 3 and won't cuddle with me anymore and her milk breath is long gone.

For tonight, I'll enjoy it along with the warm snuggle of her wrapped securely next to me as she clings to my tee like the little koala that she is. These moments are so fleeting.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring cleaning

Some people use the first of the year as a time to start new habits. While I usually resolve to do a thing or two around then, those resolutions often don't stick, which I am going to conveniently blame on winter funk. As the energy of spring grows, I start getting itchy to get into a new groove. Out with the old, in with the new. I procrastinate on everything, so why should new year's resolutions be any different?

Right now is a time for decision making for our family (gee, isn't being grown up fun?). A time to evaluate and re-evaluate. A time to clean out the proverbial (and literal) cobwebs. A time to prioritize. It's a good thing the days are getting longer. I'll need a little more energy to keep up.

Crafting is coming along, but I have nothing exciting (meaning no pictures) to share at the moment. I did make a pretty nice score of some new yarn to play with last night at our knit n sip, and I whipped out a quick one skein scarf last night (that may be a belt or something....not sure what to do with it yet. Maybe if I show some pics someone else can give me a clue) because I was so in love with the color of the yarn.

Baby girl turned 11 weeks old today and is now pushing a healthy 12 lbs. My, how time is flying. Two months from now and we will be getting ready to fly home from Rome. Anticipation is growing!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Caution! Construction Ahead!

It's only the first day of spring, and already, there's major construction underway. At least I don't have to navigate orange barrels to appreciate this project.

Corinna says she would oversee the project, but it takes away from time she could otherwise spend napping, nursing, cooing, pooping, or drooling.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

No longer bald

I've been a busy girl. Six root children now have hair. I made three of them boys with short hair and three girls with long hair. Each girl has a different hairstyle, and because the heads were so small, doing the wrap and sew style hair made the most sense. I love the little redhead. She is so sweet with her green eyes, and the merino is super soft. It's funny how by looking at the little faces, I just knew what kind/color hair they needed. The little girl with the blue eyes just had to have blond pigtails. I only wish I'd had different colors of dollskin to make them truly more ethnic. I think they turned out pretty well. Now to make their twins in flower colors. The big question will be what flower will each root child represent as a flower child? I can see the blond as a daisy. The redhead will be a tulip. Not sure about the rest of them...

I've also been working on a strip for an afghan that the mothers' handwork group at school is putting together. So much to do so little time. Tick, tock, tick, tock...gotta get back to it!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bald babies would be cold today

Funny weather, that. 70 degrees yesterday. Tornado touches down not far from here. This morning? About an inch of snow on the ground. The weather the past few days made us all forget that spring isn't quite here yet. This morning was surely a wake up!

Crafting continues here, and I'm finally feeling like I'm making some progress. The root child from the other day now has 5 siblings that are in the home stretch. They are all still bald with their Frankenstein-like stitching where I closed the skin fabric over the tops of their heads, but that will change tonight. Each doll has different color eyes. I did two shades each of blue, green, and brown. I have yarn for blonde, brunette, and black hair, and I might rustle up some red merino and see how that looks for hair. More updates soon!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Taking in a little fresh air

The boys have been thrilled to be outside the past couple of days. Even 40 degrees feels downright toasty when you're used to wind chills in the teens and single digits and not a temp above freezing for so long. Yesterday, they pulled out their bikes, the scooter, and even the Jeep got a turn up and down the sidewalk. The neighbor girl also has a Jeep...a very pink, very Barbie Jeep, which seats two. Jonah loves to get in with her and ride up and down the sidewalk. I have a feeling he's a bit of a backseat (passenger seat, whatever...) driver.

I suppose that all works out just fine, as the neighbor girl's dad says that his daughter is really quite bossy and that she'll make a perfect wife someday.

Liam has officially outgrown our Jeep, but that doesn't keep him from trying to drive it. The engine seriously objects when Liam's behind the wheel, but that also doesn't seem to deter him.

Corinna thinks that all this play just plain wears her out.

One down....11 to go?

Over the weekend, I finished sewing up the doll bodies (with some help from my MIL...thanks!), making the doll heads, and covering the heads with skin fabric. Last night I took one of the heads and assembled a doll after making the pipe cleaner arms. I decided to embroider a face on this one, as I thought they looked better that way. So here's the final result for the root child:

Front view:

Side view:

Rear view:

Hanging onto a measuring stick (it measures 3 1/2 inches tall)

And with the bunny I finished last week for scale...big bunny, eh?
The body is made of cotton batik fabric. The body is stuffed with rice, and the arms are a pipe cleaner covered in wool. I sewed knit skin fabric over the ends for hands, and I used mohair for the hair. The pattern came from The Nature Corner. I still have 5 more root children to make, 6 flower children, 6 terry cloth teether dolls (which really just need assembling), Mother Nature, and more bunnies and sheep. Most of what is left to do is just the sewing together. The heads have all been made and the bodies cut and sewn, so the rest is just detail work. I was hoping to get it all done by today, but I must have been smoking something for thinking that was possible. Hopefully I'll finish by the end of the week, with time left before the auction.

Friday, March 09, 2007

What a difference a day makes

There's a saying about weather in Northeast Ohio. If you don't like it, wait five minutes, and it will probably change. Remember 9 degrees yesterday and a high in the 20's? Today's temp topped out at a very springlike 56 degrees. Pure bliss. Jonah was itching to get outside, and with the weather being so balmy, it was much easier to let him go out in front where I can see him easily knowing I could bop out with the baby if I needed to reel him in. There is still snow on the ground, particularly where the snowplows piled up the 2 feet or so that we picked up during the snowstorm a few weeks ago and in places where the sun doesn't shine this time of year.

Jonah got his bicycle out first and rode up and down the sidewalk for a little while, but the lure of the snow was more than he could bear. He tromped out into the backyard (braving the dog's landmines) and got to work moving snow. He stayed out for quite a while, and I could tell how pleased he was to be out of the house. The sky today was so clear, and the contrails were crossing everywhere. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid 40s with rain, and I know I will miss the sun. I'm solar powered, you know.

I'm still busily working on dolls and the such and hopefully will have some pictures of finished ones to show you all tomorrow. The bodies of most of them have been sewn, and today's work has consisted of making doll heads. Tomorrow, I'll finish the heads and start assembling, which is fiddly work. Hopefully by Sunday I'll be embroidering on hair and facial features.

The delivery man brought us a package today from my Aunt C. and Uncle P. in celebration of our new family member. A lovely velboa blanket (so buttery soft!) and a nifty night light that projects stars on the walls and ceiling in a choice of three colors. I think the boys will enjoy it as much as the baby will (heck, I might even turn it on tonight for me)! I'm so far behind in getting out thank you notes...gotta get on that.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is is spring yet?!?

I'm suffering from major cabin fever and springitis. Temperature this morning when I got out of bed at 6:30? 9 degrees. Hi, March? Doesn't that mean average temps above freezing? Yesterday morning we had 3-4 inches of fresh snow on the ground that had fallen overnight. Ugh. At least the sun is out today. I'm going to opens the shades, hang out in the house, and pretend that it's really 66 degrees outside, since that's what it is in here.

To help combat the winter doldrums, I've also started working on some springy things. Our poor nature table never really had a winter scene on it, thanks to the impending arrival of baby girl. The minute the equinox hits, I'm putting out some spring stuff.

The school auction season has arrived again, and in my true style, I've procrastinated and have nothing finished to donate. Which means I'm crafting like a fiend this week in the hopes of getting something finished by the deadline.

To feed my need for spring, I'm doing some felt animals and flower children for a nature table display. I'm also making more of the terry cloth baby teethers like I made for the Children's Festival.

I'm also hoping to make some dolls, but I know I'm going to run out of time. Such is my illness. I want to do a million things but I procrastinate or get busy with other things until it's really crunch time. We'll see what I end up really getting finished.

So here's the first FO. A felt bunny stuffed with wool with a needle felted wool tail. She didn't take long to make, so I'll probably shrink the pattern and make her a mommy by giving him babies. Liam says she's a desert cottontail.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy (belated) Blogiversary

It's been more than a year now since I started blogging. Part of me is really surprised that I've kept up with it as long as I have (long blog break post baby notwithstanding). I'm really happy with my experience, and blogging has helped to bring me closer to others in the knitting community but also helps me feel closer to those of you whom I cannot see on a daily basis. Thanks for hanging around and reading.

Projects on the horizon

So I mentioned last night that there had actually been knitting taking place. I've gotten really good at knitting while standing up with the baby in the sling. So what's been happening in the world of Bunnie knitting?

Well, we finally have a knitted blankie. Ends must be woven in (ick), and I've decided to put a dupioni silk back on to hide the seams, but other than that, this blanket is done. It turned out really cute and is super soft and warm. Love me some Malabrigo!

Here's the front:

And the back...ugh...look at all those ends!!

And with baby included for scale. By the way...Are we there yet? (Cliff loves those jammies...both the boys wore them, and I couldn't resist putting them on her too. They are super plush and soft)

I picked up Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies at the library a couple weeks ago, and I fell in LOVE with the patterns in this book. I've already started a pair of leggings that I plan to pair with a sweet flowered dress that I got from the neighbor's hand-me-downs. One leg down, one to go. Such a fast knit, even though it's in DK weight wool/cotton.

How cute is this set?

Showing a little leg (very curled in on itself)

I also want to make these (click for bigger pics):

The Mabel dress, Wrap cardigan, and pullover vest (really, it's a knitted T).

In a moment of weakness on my birthday (which was last weekend and was lovely, btw), I also stash enhanced. With a project in mind, though. After dining at Pad Thai for dinner (yum!), I stopped by JoAnn's on the way home to look for silk to line the back of the baby blanket. The yarn aisle kept calling me, and I went to see what new bulky novelty yarn they had (since that's all they seem to have anymore)...they never have enough lighter weight natural fiber yarn (they don't even carry sock yarn), but to my surprise, JoAnn's now carries their own line of yarns, and one of them was a wool/cotton blend in lovely pastel colors. I went shopping for clothes earlier in the day, and this time of year, you can't find sweaters (which I desperately need since I'm not small enough to fit in the sweaters I currently own...and we do live in Ohio, after all. Spring doesn't come here until, oh, June maybe?). I decided I'd just knit my own, and with a pattern in mind, I picked up enough yarn to make a sweater for myself. This is the pattern I'm going to make, and I've already swatched....The yarn is a purple and pink heathered color, and it's really so soft.

Breton Jacket from Fall '06 Interweave Knits

Needless to say, I've got enough projects to keep me busy for a while. On top of that, the school's annual fundraising auction is at the end of the month, and I need to make something to donate to that. I'm working on what to do. A doll perhaps?

Wiggle worm

Friday, March 02, 2007

Remember me??

I was really surprised when I logged in this evening and noticed that it's been a few weeks since I posted last. Time flies when you're having fun (and are sleep deprived). There has been so much that's been blog worthy...but at the same time so much that is routine.

Speaking of routines, we're finally getting into one here now that the baby is pushing 2 months old. Ugh. Baby is still in her same wake up/sleep cycles, and we're still working on that, but the daily routine is getting better. I've actually been able to get some things done around the house, which seems nothing short of a miracle to me. There's even been knitting progress. I have a finished baby blanket to show you all...tomorrow hopefully...and other projects that have found their way to the needles.

The baby keeps growing, and I keep shrinking (good things, I think), as evidenced by her growing into the next size clothing while I've managed to get out of my maternity clothes finally (though still not back into my prepregnancy wardrobe).

We received the disc that has all the birth and pregnancy photos on it, and they turned out spectacular. I'm so impressed by how lovely they are...our photos will actually be featured on the photographer's website at Cindy's Gentle Vision in a few weeks.

The big thing that our life seems to revolve around at the moment (other than the children) is planning our upcoming trip to Rome. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. Passports are being processed, airline tickets are on hold, and hotels are being researched....and I'm trying to learn Italian. Corinna will be bilingual by the time all is said and done...well...maybe.

And now...for cuteness.
Look at me...I smile!!

Whack dance shots...Get down sister friend!

Ok Mom...I'm getting tired of all this already...Can we be done now?