Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things Finished, Things Begun

Remember I said I had a Blizzard List? I really wanted to finish my son's sweater.

This is a case of not letting Perfection get in the way of Done. I'm not quite so happy with the center garter stitch at the neck opening. The last time I knit him this sweater, I did seed stitch there. The pattern calls for garter, but I like the seed stitch better. Too late now though, although at some point I am probably going to snag it back from him so I can try to neaten up the bottom of that panel, at least. Otherwise, this is a comfy sweater with room to grow. It's his second Wallaby, as the first was really getting too small. I used the same yarn, Spud and Chloe Sweater, and again, he picked the colors. As he said, the first one (which is two shades of blue) is a cool sweater, and this is a warm, fiery sweater. (This is the kid who identifies strongly with colors.) Details on Ravelry here.

I also wanted to finish my little embroidered trees for hanging. I knew I wanted to incorporate the selvedge, and I decided to stitch it to a backing, ready for hanging, rather than try to frame it somehow. This is what it looks like from the front.

The backing is red wool burel. I sewed on loops on the back for the dowel to slide through:

...and I'd hang it by balancing the dowel on a nail on each side. I'm running out of places to hang my stitching, though, which makes me think maybe it's time to try to start selling it? (I gave the birch trees, by the way, to my sister for her birthday. I'm a pretty awesome sister.)

Finishing my son's sweater means I could finally start mine. This is a dodgy photo I took this morning with my cell phone.

I'm making Tang, from Custom Knits, but without the turtleneck, because post-having-children, turtlenecks make me feel like I can't breathe, even though I used to wear them all the time and am still a very chilly person. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, a total splurge, but it's so nice.

And finishing the hanging method/backing for the little trees means I can start on the next embroidery project, but all I've done thus far is transfer my drawing to the fabric. Oftentimes the first stitch of an embroidery piece is the absolute hardest for me, because, I think, embroidery is so very important to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ready For Valentine's

I lost all momentum for Christmas stuff, but I'm down with Valentine's Day. I hung the banner we made last year:

All the snow out there with sunlight bouncing off it made for a very bright background.

I also made painted rocks for the kids. A couple of years ago I gave them each a rock with a heart mod-podged onto it, and my youngest peeled hers off. This year she informed me that she needed a rock with a permanent, painted heart on it. Our supply of good painting rocks is running low, especially since she went through a heavy period of rock-painting earlier this autumn. But I managed to find three.

So sweet!

We also have a tradition, in this family, of giving the kids books for Valentine's Day. I accidentally started it, and one year when I didn't give the boys books--I knit them treasure pouches with a knit heart inside--my oldest looked stricken. "But we always get books for Valentine's!" Books it is.

My four-year-old loves all the Ladybug Girl books, so when I saw Bumblebee Boy (which we've had out of the library) on sale locally for half off, I picked it up for her. My eight-year-old likes origami and Star Wars and all those Star Wars origami books, and my oldest has had my little laminated tracking guide outside while we wait for the bus in the mornings so he can try to figure out who visited the snowy yard overnight. I figured a more complete guide would be welcome.

And finally, I didn't forget myself, either. My husband is away this week--we're starting a heavy travel period with one trip each of the next four months, this one being the only one that's not international (and thus the shortest of the four). I'm sort of head down about the travel, looking no farther than the week I'm in, because stacking trips like this--oh, they are hard, and it just gets harder as they pile up. But this week's trip is over Valentine's, and I'm by myself, and truth be told even if he were here I'd probably only get a card anyway, and I wanted something else, something special, and realized the only way that would happen is if I got it myself.

So I did. Two pairs of earrings, because I couldn't decide between the two, and yes, I had them wrapped, because I'm worth the pretty packaging.

How about you? Are you ready for Valentine's Day?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yellow Postcards

When I realized on Thursday that we'd be spending the next several days at home, I made a list of Things To Get Done During This Storm. I've been using the sticky note program on my laptop, and that sticky note is gone--I did everything on my list. That means I have some things to blog this week, starting with these sunny yellow postcards for Karen's Yellow Postcard Swap. What better color to work with as the howling winds covered everything with snow?

I call these first two my lemon ladies.

I thought about adding some text but then decided to let the recipient--and you all--fill in your own ideas. Are these women making lemonade from lemons? Are they making some snide sarcastic remark about the idea of turning lemons into lemonade? I couldn't make up my mind. What do you think?

These next two have a print of my sunny compass rose.

I made these the same way I made the blue ones--I gathered a pile of papers in the chosen color, made a larger collage/paint background, and then made the final compositions once I'd cut the larger sheet into four pieces.

Here's to sunny days ahead!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


The last big blizzard around here was in 1978; I was the same age my daughter is now. I wonder what she'll remember of this? I remember my mother didn't want to let me outside because the drifts against the house were much taller than I was. I remember she put milk in the snow on the deck to keep it cold; we'd lost power, but we still had heat and the stove, which were powered by gas, and plumbing, which was hooked up to the town system. In my current house, losing power means losing heat (oil with an electric starter), water (well with an electric pump), and the septic system (a fancy-schmancy required-by-law system that uses electric pumps). I also remember that my father, who'd been traveling on business, was stranded in Canada. My husband is scheduled to fly out on business on Monday. I'm grateful that trip wasn't this week, or this storm didn't come next week.

How much snow? I took this photo first thing this morning.

22 inches. All at once, that is quite a bit of snow. I only managed a narrow path on the walk and up the stairs.

And this...under here somewhere is my husband's car.

It took a ridiculously long time to first, get to it, and second, unbury it.

I had to make sure I waded through the snow to refill the bird feeder, too. It's back behind that cage of snowy branches--branches that were, until yesterday, much higher up. The snow is heavy and wet and weighing down the trees.

Speaking of trees, we have four juniper bushes that go across the edge of the yard. They're under here somewhere.

You can sort of see one all the way to the right. But not really. Just trust me, they're there.

I wanted to share some pictures because I know for some people, this sort of snow is unimaginable! We've had snow-filled winters before, but getting it all at once like this is certainly not the usual--although clearly, it's not a once-in-a-lifetime event, either. I hope the power stays on (after Sandy they shut it off while making repairs elsewhere) and they restore it quickly to the thousands of people who have no heat--a situation that could quickly become dangerous. If you are in the northeast, I hope you're warm, safe, and home with your family.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some Links For You

'Tis almost heart season
Things have been a bit sludgy around here, so in lieu of showing anything I've been doing (with the exception of those Valentines-in-progress over there), I'm sharing some links.

I love love love National Poetry Month, and the form is now up to request this year's poster. It is absolutely gorgeous, too, and includes a line from Letters to a Young Poet. The site is always worth a browse. So much good stuff there. So much poetry. Ahhhh.

I'm been teaching a class to 5-8-year-olds on animal classification, and I've been sharing my plans on my other blog. Mammals and Fish are in one post here, and Birds will be up sometime this weekend (hopefully). We covered birds today, and it went really well.

Karen has posted several new mail art swaps recently. You can see them all at the Mail Me Some Art blog. I am going to aim for participating in the yellow postcard swap, but I have to paint some heart rocks before I do anything else, because I was informed a while ago (by the 4yo) that painted heart rocks were expected on Valentine's Day, so.

Lastly, here are a couple of cute Valentine's projects from last year: the patterned paper bag heart banner my kids and I made, and the lickety-split heart napkins (using freezer paper stencils on cloth napkins) that brightened their lunchbox lunches.