Wednesday, July 26, 2006

MIA due to computer woes

Thanks for the comments everyone. Our computer has the flu or something so I can't answer each of you as I'd like right now. No posting for a day or so until I can fix the problem(s) and get back online. Keep sending those vibes my way!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Socks! Blue Socks!

Finally! Verizon Yahoo! Browser is worthless at this point. All day fiddling with the computer, running virus scans, deleting stuff and come to find out the MSN Browser works better. (Watch it come back to bite me in the a*&! tomorrow) As promised, finished socks. I believe the yarn was Elann's Essential. 2s2c, toe-down with EOP heel, standard toe. For me. I already have a feeling these will not be among my favorites simply because I decided not to rib all the way down the instep. Sometimes you just have to cut bait and sail, dude.

In other knitting news, sans photos, Miss E's vintage cardi has a completed back and half the left front. I have a sinking feeling she won't wear it long but I wanted to be sure I had enough yarn. Converting old patterns into today's yarns is just a nightmare for me. Math is not my strong point. Miss E is delighted and will be sending Mrs Bron a nice thank-you when the sweater is done because she lurves the yarn. :O)

Send some 'get outta the dump' vibes my way, please. After sitting down to do next month's budget, I am really down. The bills pile up, everyone wants their money NOW and I can only stretch things so far. It gets to me after a while, especially when the girls need things like haircuts and shoes. How to decide who gets what and who has to wait another month is a job no parent should have to do, period.

On the upside, the green beans are coming on strong. I must find a pressure canner before they are all ready. We will not eat frozen g. beans. It's just gross. Keeping my fingers crossed that one just falls into my lap unexpectedly like so many other things have done.

Monday, July 24, 2006

No sock pics

I do have socks finished but for some reason, I cannot get the computer (or maybe blogger) to upload them. ARGH!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It is a 2 Dress Sunday

The second thrifted tee as a dress. Finished in about an hour or so. She likes this one best although the pic doesn't really show that.

Tomorrow...finished socks.

New Life for Thrifted Tee

On my last stop at the Goodwill, I picked up 2 tee shirts for Miss E. One had a stain just where a skirt should go and I knew it when I bought it. In fact it was because of the stain that I wanted that shirt. Usually, when I find her "new" clothes, she cannot wait to wear them. I told her this one was to be made into a dress. Easy enough to do, it was finished in under an hour after the painful fabric selection marathon.

Here it is after a battle with the sun. My pictures really are awful lately and I do not know why. Oh well. The skirt is a lovely dusty pink with some green thrown in, diamonds that interlock. She is not as happy with it as I had hoped, but she is still wearing it. A plus in any sewing mama's book. Hopefully she will get 2 summers of wear out of it. Total cost: about $2. (under a buck for the shirt and probably a buck for the skirt from the stash).

I have another shirt to make-over this afternoon yet. This time with a tier skirt. In blues that Her Royal Highness picked personally and assigned positions for. Ya know, PRINCESS STUFF? Or is she being a diva? (Aunt you know which one it is?)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Some call it progress

I believe Bron charmed this yarn before she sent it to me. After several false starts (wrong pattern, NOT the yarn), I cast on a vintage cardi for Miss E. This is the back. In about 2 days I am nearly to the raglan shaping. Had it not been after midnight when I started it, I might have tried to rewrite the pattern to work in the round but ya know how it is when you just gotta start something right now.

I had the exact same cardi when I was about 12, I think. The pattern came from my grandmother's endless stash of knitting things and has her notations about changes through the booklet. I remember the cardi she made me fondly because she did it up in our school colors and added pockets because I always needed a tissue handy. Every year, she knit us new sweaters. One year it was heavy hooded jackets, another year it was cabled turtlenecks. An endless supply of mittens came from her house as well, which was handy when we had to help Dad with firewood.

Now for socks, which are something I do not remember my grandmother knitting. Although Dad says he thinks she probably did. I remember something about dpns being the devil flying from her mouth when I asked as a teenager. Who knows? Anyhow, I bought this yarn a while back from Jane, promptly forgot about it for a bit. The sunlight washed out the color a bit, it is really almost a country blue I think. I have to admit, I am not crazy about the socks right now. The thought of 2x2 ribbing down another pair made me want to cry even though I love the fit of 2x2rib. So I only ribbed about 2", did an EOP heel and am doing the toe decreases now. The EOP heel adds a smidge of interest to otherwise boring socks and I hope the heels will peek out under jeans this fall with my moc-croc clogs the egg donor gave me. Let me just say that any of these gardening clogs that can be hosed off (or ran through the dishwasher as Heather's hubby does) are a Godsend for me. Tennis shoes kill my back, flip flops hurt my broken toe so the clogs are it, baby! I hope to find them reasonably priced in a variety of colors soon because beige is so not me. lol

Friday, July 21, 2006

Heads up

Interweave Press announced another hurt book sale today. Starts in 4 days so warm up those credit/debit cards and have fun! I won't be shopping thanks to another lovely, unexpected bill in the mail today but hey, someone will buy enough to make up for me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yesterday, the mailman braved the heatwave to leave me a present. I will forgive the fact that he did not knock on the door to let me know it was there, bring it with the rest of the mail (what's up with that?) or put in the usual place because it was a box of yarn from Bron, the cotton queen. I sent her some Reynold's Saucy cotton yarn that drove me batty and she sent me 6 skeins of TLC Cotton Plus in the color Jazz. Can we say "soft"? I have not settled on a project for it yet but am loving it just the same. Thanks, Bron!

Have you all seen these things?
Maybe it is just me, but this is more than a little far-fetched in my opinion. First of all, I have visions of my eyes going bonkers from that tiny light in a dark setting. I also have nightmares about being stabbed with them by people sharing the dark setting with me. Believe me, I am all for knitting in public whenever the mood strikes but in the dark seems a little extreme to me. (this from the woman who sits in her dark house all day and knits. Not midnight dark, rather twillight dark) Don't even get me going on the appearent neon colors they seem to be.

E read an entire book today with very little help from the big folks around here. It took 2 sittings to get through Go, Dog, GO by P.D. Eastman but hey, it's 64 pages long. E is less than thrilled with her success because, get this, the book is not a girlie book. Give me a break. This announcement was a little hard to swallow for this mama. E has loved books from the moment she can remember. Never mattered before what the text was, the art work kept her attention and sparked her desire to learn more. I certainly hope this is just a phase. J reminded me this afternoon that she went through the same thing at about the same age because she could read long before we realized it and therefore was bored to death for a few months in public school. Her advice was to work harder with E, even when she throws a fit, because in a month or two, she will be tackling Junie B Jones on her own. I think she is right and that scares me in a way.

E also decided today would be the day she would count to 100 by 1s because her buddy C can do it. Now before I get an angry email saying all kids should be able to count to 100 by age 5 or 6, let me say that we tend to be unschoolers by nature. That is, child-led learning. E knows things about Ancient Egypt I have to look up, things about farming, crops, bugs and animals that astound my father, her sense of color shows she comes from a long line of quilters and she draws almost constantly. I knew she could count for a long time, she just did not realize it. She has counted by 10s to 100 so why this was earth-shaking, I have no idea. Maybe it just was the day for accomplishments. I wish I could accomplish something other than sweating, eating and sleeping.

Yup, the blue socks are at that mid-point where you knit like a fiend and feel like you make no progress at all.I have tried them on 3 times today and swear they are still exactly where they were when I picked them up this morning. How can that be after what feels like hours and hours of knitting? Surely, I should be nearing the toe by now. Maybe I will be ready to Kitchener them now? Nope. Hubster thinks I am nuts for trying them on as I go instead of measuring them but I get a better fit this way. Or so I think.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

OMG, FO time!

Can you believe it?!Socks for me.

Vital Stats
River Rapid Pattern from Sockbug
2 on 2 circs using Addi Turbo size 2
Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Irving Park
Time to complete: about 2 weeks.
Changes to pattern: I worked one more repeat on the cuff, EOP heel. I LOVE THEM! They are now in the sock drawer awaiting cooler weather. Wanna bet they will be the first socks worn in the fall?

I also finished a pair of socks for E but she kidnapped them so I doubt we'll see any pictures of them. Now on the needles, a pair of boring ss socks for me. I seem to have a thing for patterned socks but decided that maybe a ss pair would be nice summer knitting for once. After that pair, I think I have enough yarn for one more adult pair and of course, tons of baby ones. Which will really work out well since I plan to order yarn for myself when I order for my YA2 pal in a few weeks.

Today was a really crummy day for me. I woke up tired. Seems no one in this house could sleep last night and I picked up on it. Then I read Wendy's post about the Eden rose. The flood gates broke folks. I never cry. Period. I yell. I scream. I swear like a drunken sailor. I grind my teeth. I pout. I sulk but I do. NOT. cry. Something I taught myself not to do growing up because egg donor is a weepy woman. I just do not want to be like her. Anyhow, Wendy's story about the Eden rose really captures the grief of a mother well. I know all too well about a mother's grief. Go show Wendy some love if you haven't already then hug a friend/family member who has lost a child. Tell them their child(ren) matter, that they made a difference and that you remember. It will make their world a bit brighter for a while.

Go to bed already!

I am fairly certain that the kidlets dwelling in this house have not gone to sleep before 2AM in over a week. A 48 hour sleep-over kicked things off right with a make-over fest. (See evidence: Beautiful, no? We Duckwomen just do not wear makeup. I gave it up years ago when I worked in a grease-factory known as McDonald's. Just seemed pointless to clog my pores with makeup when the air was doing a fine job of it alone. Anyhow, the girls had invited over a former constant companion who just happens to be taking modeling classes. Modeling classes evidently involve classes for applying insane amounts of goop to one's face. Sure, the girls looked nice afterwards but it took 3 days of eye-makeup remover to get all the mascara and eyeliner off. I'm just saying is all.

In other news, I finished another pair of LL socks but the weather has generally sucked until today for pictures. And wouldn't you know it, today I broke the little toe on my left foot so the snap and pain of that drained all picture taking thoughts right out of my head. Well, that and the lure of a homemade oatmeal pie, egg salad and sleep. I am such a great cook, I amaze myself.

Let's see, I've also signed up for Yarn Aboard II and cannot wait to get my match. Mad, wild props out to Amanda for putting this together again. I have to say that it is the perfect swap for those on a limited income. One box, one amount to spend and endless joy. What more could a swapper ask for? Perfect timing as well since I am down to about 2 socks worth of yarn. (I have promised R I will order more girly sock yarns and get cracking on hers as soon as I have my match for YAII. One huge order or several smaller ones from different companies, will see)I am not a good yarn stasher. Fabric, I can horde until the cows come home and take flying lessons from the pigs but yarn just does not stash well here. Maybe it is because I am finding I truly love knitting smaller projects like socks and baby stuff rather than adult sweaters and afghans. Portable is the buzz word for knitting.

Sewing is moving along as well. I have another summer top for myself nearly done. Still tweaking that same pattern because I am comfortable working with it enough to change it blindly. I whipped up a halter top for E which she loves and I hate. Butterick patterns have always been the most confusing for me, even the "very easy" ones. This one was no exception. Took me about 5 days of working, laying it aside due to frustration, re-reading every direction to get it done. It SHOULD have been an afternoon at most. One tiny seam kept f*cking things up so I wrote up new, better instructions to put with the pattern for next summer. Yep, it's a pattern she will wear for years to come yet which is one of the ways I keep sewing clothes cost down. Simple, basic, classic patterns that can be modified easily to mimic the latest style in many sizes. A package of tissue paper, a roll of scotch tape from the dollar store, a few hours of tracing time and presto! Major savings just in patterns alone. Sure, real pattern tracing paper exists but around here that requires a special order from some faraway company. Tissue paper can almost always be found cheap. I have fused it to interfacing before but usually just trace off another piece if one gets damaged. No biggie.

Hopefully, pictures will follow. Maybe socks in the garden with weeds, bean blossoms and tomatoes???

Monday, July 10, 2006

15 years ago today

This beautiful young lady came into our lives.
I had visions of a picture laden post showing highlights of her life thus far but when I sat down with the photo albums, I realized that the million or so photos we have of the Amazing J and her sisters could never, in any way, capture the joy she (and they) bring to us. So, J, let me just say that I have always been proud to be your mama. That pride continues to grow as you grow. Your financial wisdom, your wit, sense of right and wrong, the caring you display towards others are just a few of the hallmarks which make you an Amazing Woman. I love how you can make me laugh with just a few words, how you think almost exactly as I do on many things. I know you will be great no matter what. Here's to many, many happy returns...may the next 15 be as charmed as the first. I love you baby. Happy Birthday!

As luck would have it, it was about 15 years ago that I began to get serious about sewing.(I have seen since I was about 9. Not well back then but I did it.) Really serious. Nana gave me her old Kenmore sewing machine when J was born "because all mothers should make their babies things". J never enjoyed Mamawear, even as a baby. I never let that deter me though, once I found the joy in slicing up fabric only to put it back together again. I mastered altering patterns for the girls a long time ago but found it much harder to alter them for myself until recently. I have a pear-shaped body just like Nana. Figures, I get the figure from one grandmother, the hair from the other. (I'd have prefered to get them both from Gma S...she was always the more slender of the two!)But we do with what we have. R had picked out Simplicity 4123 for herself a while ago. Luck must have been on my side that day because the pattern includes all sizes 10-22, which means all 3 of us 'big' girls can use it. I am still tweaking the fit for me a bit but absolutely LOVE this top.
The fabric was in the box Jan, my twin sent in February. The girls thought I was crazy when I announced I was going to use this fabric for the second draft (the first is, well, too ugly for pictures but ok for pjs). They thought I would look awful in the color. Boy were they surprised! It is so soft and very retro...a definite keeper. Pattern alterations were rather simple, just the addition of a few inches at the bottom to give it a little more room around the tummy and hips. I wanted a floaty-er look but still like it. It is comfy beyond words with the exception of a bit of bra showing. I'm redrafting the pattern again with hopes of correcting that problem. If I can't fix it, I'll still make a few more of's not like I'm showing anything really.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rain, GO. AWAY.

I am tired of the rain. Fed freakin' up with it. Summer is the only time I have the house to myself even a tad, but if it rains, everyone is indoors. I want my space. Without some space and time, I become the Royal BiOtch as J says.

Even with the rain, I managed some sewing today. A pair of pj pants for E, elastic in 3 pairs of atheletic shorts for J&R, a pattern resized, cut out and partially sewn together. A tier skirt for moi in a red, white and blue print. Seemed fitting to do a R,W&B thing on the 4th. Wouldn't ya know, after all my careful list making for restocking the stash, I found out I am out of 1" ribbon. Darn! Had planned on using it to make the casing for the elastic but oh, well, I will just do something else.

Speaking of RW&B creations, head over to see Kerstin and her ITMFA bag. Follow her links of info about impeaching the Massive Failures (trying to keep it a smidge clean here for once). Do your part to get America back on the right track...ITMFA! No better time than July 4th to remember why our country was founded, the reasons our forefathers fled the motherland and the reason the CONSTITUTION was written: FREEDOM. How free are we?? Ponder that awhile...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Creative Goodness

Being creative is pretty much who I am, whether it is with fabric, yarn or the garden. Or at least, garden produce. I present Exhibit P: AKA Garden Candy. Not a single pea made it into a pan...all were eaten raw, straight from the pod.

Now Exhibit S: the altered skirt. I am one of those unfortunate women who lost her figure to childbirth. Major surgery will wreck the muscles every time, let me tell you. Those 4 C-sections were sure worth it though. ;o)I am too lazy to hunt up the pattern, but I'm fairly certain it is a Simplicity. I just had to add a few inches to the hip area for a better fit. I love the skirt. It is comfy, cool and I feel pretty when I wear it, which is saying a LOT because I am not all that crazy about the fabric. It was free, had enough yardage for the pattern and I had no second thoughts about hacking into it for a test fit.

The success I found with the skirt has led me to look at sewing for myself again. Thanks to a great sale (but rather picked over selection) at Joann's, I picked up a few pieces of cotton, 2 patterns and the required notions this afternoon. Not the required notions for the patterns but rather notions running dangerously low in the stash. Stuff like sportswear elastic, thread and machine needles. Both patterns will need some 'fixing' but I feel up to the task. One ( New Look 6565 will be an easy fix, just the addition of a few inches at the side seams. The other, Butterick 4790 will take a little more tweaking to fit my made-for-pregnancy hips but I LOVE that dress. It just screams "I am a woman" to me. I picked up a clearance fabric that seems made for this dress but, as with all perfect fabrics, there was not enough for the entire dress. So I will be hunting for the perfect companion fabric later in the month when I take Athena for her yearly servicing. Have to kill a few hours while I wait for her to be finished (costs an extra $15 but will save $30 or more in gas) so why not hit my favorite Amish country haunts in search of it?

Hubster went to the neurologist today for his degenerative disc disease. Dr C2 said he would not do surgery because it could very possibility make things worse for Hubster with all his other problems. Dr C2 said he could guarantee it would not improve things, so the course is PT and pain meds. We can live with this, we think.

Yes, I do still knit when time allows. Life has been hectic, throwing curves at me I could not fathom until they hit. Hubster's back problems, Friend J's marital problems, Duck's knee replacement this week, no vacation this year, etc. I have struggled to stay positive and make the most of what we have, what we are given and all that but it is hard at times. Extended family offers no support at all. Is it any wonder I find the silence easier to deal with now?

But enough whining. It is late and I want to get up early to sew before everyone else is up.LOL.