Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm in Heaven

I got the best birthday present I could ever get this year. My beloved sister flew in from Chicago to surprise me for my birthday. They tell me I fainted when I saw her. I don't remember. But look at this picture:That, my friends, is a look of pure happiness on my face as I lay collapsed in her lap. You must understand, I love my sister more than I can ever put mere words to. She was snatched away from me in an evil corporate relocation almost four years ago, and I have never been the same since. Most heartbreaking of all was that she had to move when ZimDee was just two weeks old, and I didn't even get to see her during my entire pregnancy and the birth of Sprout. So the moments we can capture together are very precious to me.

I will beg your forgiveness in advance for being pretty scarce during the time of her visit. I just want to soak up each and every minute with her that I can. Surely you will understand.

My love to all as I'm living these much too short days here in Heaven.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Tricia Wins One!

Congratulations to Tricia for winning the movie line contest from Apollo 13. Yummy chocolate for you.

The next movie line up for consideration is:

"I'm going to choose not to sit with you..."

Since I'm such a softie, I will tell you that this is from a pretty recent movie. Let me know if more hints are needed. Good luck to all.

In knitting news, I've been working away on Girlie's Girlfriend's Swing Coat. I just learned how to do the attached I-cord, and while slow-going, it looks very pretty indeed. Girlie is surprisingly specific about her preferences for this garment. I'm pleased with my work. Pictures to follow when I've made more progress.

I've also cast on for the Winter Branches sweater featured in the current edition of KnitNet and designed by knittinmom. Call me crazy (I never claimed not to be), but seed stitch is my absolute favorite knitting stitch. I know it can tend to make some dizzy, but there is something very pleasing about the look of it. And it never gets monotonous to me, like stockinette can sometimes do. There is just enough break-up of the branch pattern in the sweater that makes this a very fun project to do. I am enjoying every minute of knitting up this beauty.

My love to all.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh

Hello to everyone. Did you know we still have a movie line up for consideration? The current line is: "We're proud, happy, and thrilled."

Since that one kind of flew under the radar, I'll give you another clue. Actually, two. The first clue is that this movie has been quoted previously in this blog. Yes, I'm using it again. Because I like it. And the second clue is another line from the movie. It is:

"I heard it was going to be a [heck] of a show."
"Who told you that?"
"Some guy I know."

Good luck to all.

Now that ZimDee is well on the road to recovery I finally have some time to write. Girlie has not shown any signs of the flu, and I hope it stays that way. This was a really nasty bug. It would be oh so unfair for her to get sick over spring break.

Speaking of Girlie, indoor soccer has started, and it looks like she's going to have a great season. They still don't assign specific positions in 2nd grade, but she is a really good goalie. I'm very proud of her.

Sproutie has started scooting on his tummy; not quite a crawl yet, but almost. Let me make it perfectly clear that while I'm in no way holding him back, I'm also not in any hurry for him to walk. Because he is my last baby, I'm just trying to savor every single moment, for this will never come again. So take your time, baby boy.

Also my birthday is this Sunday. I bring it up because I have always gotten this feeling the birthday after one of my kids was born. I'll try to describe it the best I can: just a kind of sadness that I will no longer be the age I was when I gave birth to them; like that year of my age belonged to them. Does anyone know what I'm trying to say? These are the sweet days; my days of Pooh. Let's let Kenny Loggins sing it for us:
this is an audio post - click to play
The days will come when my kids are more independent, and that certainly brings more freedom for me. To knit, to go to the movies, to not be a human pacifier if you know what I'm saying. Having three small children means that my life is messy; it's in a constant state of chaos. Does it make me tired? Very much so. Do I get frustrated? Absolutely. But when I got pregnant with Sproutie I decided to just dive head first into all the chaos and accept that I would be living "in Topeka" for several years. And I love my life. Every peanut-butter stained, poopy diaper, tantrum-throwing, sleep-deprived, crying babies, toys all over the house, never a minute to myself, baby hugs with chubby arms, sloppy wet kiss, crooked smile, "wuvitoo so much mommy" day. Some days more than others.
My love to all.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

rough

It's been a rough couple of days around here. First Sproutie was sick. It was hard to see his little body fight. Then when Sproutie got better, ZimDee got sick. Terrible vomiting. But so brave. He's usually such a de-struct-or, going from one naughtiness to the next. So to see him slumped over his little toilet or completely passed out on the couch for hours on end makes me very sad. It makes me miss his naughtiness, because then he had spirit and could smile and laugh. He is making a recovery now, he's holding down food, and his energy is slowly returning. And I say--bring on the naughtiness. That is the ZimDee that I know and love.

My thoughts go out to mamma today. I fear that no news is bad news. We've only been blog friends for a short time, but I feel very protective of you. Know that you are in my prayers.

My love to all.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Congratulations to Tam

Congratulations to Tam for winning the movie line contest from Rat Race. Yummy chocolate is your prize. By the way, I lost my email files and your mailing address in the process. Would you please email that to me again at kkmj at comcast dot net?

Tim, I'll have to do some research on the Mixed Nuts movie. If that line is also said there, then by all means you should get a prize too.

The next line up for consideration is:

"Remember, we're proud, happy, and thrilled."

Good luck to all.

By the way, there are so many good movies out there that I may just use lines from movies that have already been in the contest to mix things up. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

As I'm writing this, the background music to ZimDee's computer game is playing. It's a Peanuts game (you know, Charlie Brown and the gang), but what is hilarious is that he always chooses German for the language and he plays it very well. No, he doesn't know German, and as far as I know he hasn't heard the language being spoken. I think he just likes the sound of it and guesses very well. I did take three years of German in high school, but haven't kept up on it so I'm very rusty. I know just enough to figure out what's going on. The funny thing is, I asked him a question the other day and he shook his head no and said "nein", which is of course the German word for "no". It cracked me up. Their little minds really do pick up on new things so easily.

The kids have the rest of the week off from school for conferences. Yay! That means we don't have to be anywhere at any certain time. I already told you how much I love those days. Except tomorrow we're going to take a short trip to the yarn store. It shouldn't be too tortuous for them, because I'm going to be buying some yarn to make stuffed animals for each of them from patterns from a book. Girlie has chosen a turtle, and ZimDee wants a clownfish, of course. Those will be perfect little mindless projects for me to work on when I need a break from the sweaters. I actually was looking for a mindless portable project to take with me today when I was walking out the door, and to my dismay, didn't have any. So we will remedy that for sure tomorrow.

Girlie starts soccer practice on Monday, so that will be occupying our time until school gets out. But don't you worry--the practices and games are the perfect places for me to knit.

Little Sproutie's schedule has been all thrown off since being sick last weekend, and he's been getting up at the crack of dawn this week. I'm talking 5am. Those of you that know me well are shaking your heads and laughing right now, because you know how much of a night owl I am. I'm never awake to see 5am unless I've stayed up until then and haven't gone to bed yet. There's just too much knitting to do! But I've always been like this, ever since I was a little kid. I guess everyone's internal clock is different. I'll just have to train that baby boy to wait until at least 7am to get up if he wants his mom to be anywhere near coherent.

I hope everyone is having a great day. *love to all*

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Project!

Congratulations to Mom+SIS+Auntie for winning the movie line contest for Signs. Hooray for you!

The next lines up for consideration are:

"I'm sorry, I thought you were a woman."
"I am a woman."

Good luck to all.

I know I'm working on the Girlfriend's Swing Coat. And the Drops Cardigan, I haven't forgotten. But my head is being turned by this object of beauty:

Winter Branches
Designed by Chrissy Gardiner

(the photo is from KnitNet.com)

No, no, I didn't knit that. But I want to!

Isn't it gorgeous? It was designed by a knitter who lives here in the Pacific Northwest. Beautiful work, girlfriend!

Yes, I know, my head is turned very easily by pretty knitted things, but I just can't help it. Look at the seed stitches (my favorite)! Look at that branch pattern. I can't wait to cast on for this project.

My love to all.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Progress

Congratulations to Tim for winning the movie line contest from Housesitter (with some clues from Tam and her top secret source).

The next movie line is a complete giveaway, but I'm in a generous mood, so here goes:

"Swing away".

Good luck to all.

I haven't posted for a few days because Sproutie has been sick. It's hard when babies are sick, because they can't tell you how they feel, all they want is for you to hold them, and you feel so sad for them. But he's almost fully back to his curious little self again, which makes me very happy.

I haven't gotten to do a lot of knitting due to a clingy sick baby, but I've tried to make as much progress as I can on the Girlfriend's swing coat. I'm liking the ease of the pattern. I'm almost ready to bind off the bottom edge, and I've been working on knitting the sleeves in the round. Tomorrow night is my knitting group, where maybe I'll get a chance to work on the attached I-cord around the border. Here is an update on my progress:
You're looking at the back of the sweater. Still to be knitted up and added is a very sweet sweeping collar. And I'm trying to decide whether to end the sleeves plainly, or add a decorative garter stitch or seed stitch cuff. Any thoughts about that, anyone?

My love to all.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Congratulations to mamma

Congratulations to mamma for winning the movie line contest from Shrek. That donkey is a great character. Snaps to you, mamma! Your chocolate is on its way.

I made a cheesy little something to add to the sidebar of your blogs for those of you who have ever won a movie line contest here. Feel free to use it or not. It's just a little sumpin' sumpin' to show my appreciation for your talents. It's quite primitive and the size or whatever may not work for you, but I tried.

The next movie line up for consideration is:

"Where are your ethics?"
"My ethics are that I know this about myself."

This might be a tough one. Let me know if you need help.

Good luck to all.

Stephanie Wins One!

Congratulations to Stephanie for winning the movie line contest for Muppets in Space. I laughed so hard when you answered "Muppet Babies" and with such conviction. I knew you knew what you were talking about, just got the words mixed up. And thank you, Tim, for keeping the world in balance by correcting her. We do what we can.

The next movie line is:

"...and in the morning, I'm makin' waffles!"

Good luck to all.

In knitting news, I'm coming along very well on Girlie's Girlfriend's Swing Coat. Here is my progress so far: It is knit from the neck down in one piece. The picture is of the back, and shows where the sleeves are being kept on waste yarn. I'm about two inches from binding off the bottom, and then I will be ready put the sleeve stitches on circular needles and finish those. The pattern suggests an attached I-cord along the edges of the coat, which I'm looking forward to learning. I'm using Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, and it's knitting up like a dream.

There is no school today for Girlie. ZimDee doesn't have school on Fridays, so we are on vacation today. Girlie does have Brownies this afternoon, but until then we are staying in our pajamas and drinking chocolate milk and playing. I love these days.



Thursday, March 09, 2006

Snow!!

Congratulations to mom+SIS+Auntie for pulling a two-fer and winning another movie line contest, this time from Nine to Five. I love that turkey line. Way to go!

The next movie line is:

"Build the jacuzzi and we will come, ok"

Good luck to all.

Well, I know this is not a big deal to those of you in colder climates, so excuse my excitement but: WE'VE GOT SNOW HERE! IN MARCH! That never happens. I was up late last night knitting and catching up on Grey's Anatomy episodes when I looked out the window, and this is what I saw:Look at how big the snowflakes are in this picture, especially the one on the lower right. You must understand, we might get snow here once every 2-3 years, usually in January. Since it is so infrequent and doesn't hang around long enough to be a nuisance, it is greeted with childhood glee by everyone in my household. I immediately ran upstairs and woke up the Count, who giggled like a little kid. Here are some views from our bedroom window:And the snow was still here when we got up this morning:In fact, it's still coming down like crazy as I write this. Part of my excitement comes from the fact that if it wasn't cold enough to snow, it would be pouring down rain, and the snow is so much prettier.

It's also an excuse to bundle up my baby just so:I didn't think Sproutie would get a chance to wear the snow gear that was handed down from ZimDee, but there he is in all his glory.

I'm not sure how long the snow will last, probably not even through tomorrow, so indulge me in this playful bit of whimsy.

My love to all.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Congratulations and Thank You

Congratulations to Tim for winning the movie line contest from Toy Story. That was fast! And a big thank you to mamma for her technical support with my blog template. You guys rock!

Here is the next movie line for you to ponder:

"I bet they ran. Like turkeys."

Good luck to all.

I've reached a point in the girlfriends swing coat pattern where I can't go any further without assistance, which makes tonight the perfect time for my knitting group. Granny Cheryl will guide me right through it. I'm so glad I switched knitting groups/locations, because this one is much more up my alley. Low key, everyone helping everyone else, no diva attitudes (unless you count mine-ha!) Tonight I'm going to pick up some Rowan Calmer in pink to knit up the Olympic Aura hat for Stephanie. You will look gorgeous in it, mon cherie.

Today after ZimDee's preschool I packed up the boys to go meet their dad for lunch. ZimDee woke up crying for his dad yesterday, and while his schedule was too busy to do anything then, he officially pencilled in his son for lunch today (gosh I love that guy). We met at the restaurant, and the Count immediately commented on how adorable both of the boys looked with their hand-knit hats on. (Their mother, on the other hand, was all rain and wind-swept, because sweet ZimDee has claimed the Noro Silk Garden hat for his own. I don't mind. Really I don't. Really.) (I'll just have to knit ANOTHER one for myself). Anyway, I came all prepared with baby food for Sproutie, which I fed to him throughout the meal. ZimDee was in great spirits and kept pointing out the fish in the big tank. Usually Sproutie and ZimDee are crying and wiggling and squirming in unison, and I have to leave the restaurant early in shame. But today they were in fine form. So fine, in fact, that a man came up to our table when he was leaving and made it a point to comment on how well-behaved the boys were, and that he was impressed. We thanked him for saying so. We also knew down in our hearts that it really depended on which day you caught us, whether the dog across the street barked three times or five times that morning, and how the planets were aligned as to how the boys would behave. In other words, it was purely by chance. But we will take the compliment, and thank you, random stranger, for taking the time to say something nice to parents who are more often frazzled than not.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I already said I was a dork...

Ok, does anyone know how in the heck I got my sidebar profile, avatar image and links all the way down at the bottom of the page? What did I do wrong? When you click on February archives the sidebar shows up where it's supposed to be, but during my recent posts, the sidebar is way the heck down at the bottom of the screen. I've fiddled with my template, but have no idea what I'm doing. Please help!

Ugly felted clogs

Congratulations to Mom+SIS+Auntie for winning the movie line contest from Gladiator. The Count and I use both of those lines on a regular basis here in this house: "That vexes me. I'm terribly vexed" (spoken by the great Joaquin) and of course the classic "Are you not entertained?!?" We usually say that last line when we've done something for the other--like when I've brought the Count something he's asked for, or after I've made dinner. We've tried it on the kids, but they look at us kind of scared-like. Snaps to you, mSISa.

The next movie lines up for consideration are:

"You uncultured swine!"

and

"What are you looking at, you hockey puck?"

Good luck to all.

I finally felted the clogs that I knit up last January, and let me tell you, they are uuuuuuuuuugly. Not even mildly, but full-on ugly as sin. I was afraid of that. I think that's why I put off felting them for so long. First of all, it's hard for me to felt in my washing machine because I have a front-loader. No matter what I do, it always makes a terrible wet mess all over my laundry room. And felting two thick clogs by hand in the sink, agitating them for 20 minutes each until they shrink? You've got to be kidding me. The kids would immediately sniff out the fact that I would be busy for an undetermined amount of time and find the worst possible trouble to get into. And I don't know why I knit them in browns, because I don't really like brown. I guess I thought that if they got dirty it wouldn't really matter. But they look to me like two unshapely pieces of, well, poo-dee. I actually liked the look of the stitches before felting, but of course when something is felted you no longer see the stitch detail, because it all gets shrunken together. So without further ado, here are "the doo-doo clogs":

I don't know why I ever thought I would like to own a pair of felted clogs in the first place. I'm just not a felted clog type of person. I'm more of a fuzzy slipper kind of gal. Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you that you will never go wrong buying me a pair of fuzzy slippers. Preferably purple. In fact, that's what I'm wearing right this second: I guess the felted slipper fiasco belongs in the "I can knit that!" file, you know, the kind of ghastly thing you see in a picture and immediately start knitting it without thinking how horribly ugly and unusable and embarrassing to the wearer it will be. Yes, these things are ug-ly. Even my mother-in-law, the slipper thief, would not touch these. So, to my dismay, this is the first finished knitted object that I have made that I cannot stand. I can't even unwind them and use the yarn for something else because they've been felted. Maybe I could use them as firewood, perhaps? Or dust with them? Put one on each hand and go crazy cleaning all the objects in my house? Maybe the neighbor's dog needs a nose warmer? Or a pair of nose warmers? The one place you will NEVER see them again (besides in the awful pictures above) is on my feet. And before you tell me that they aren't so bad, answer this question: would YOU wear them? I didn't think so.

Chalk this one up to a learning experience. At least while knitting these, I got comfortable with doing short rows and mastered picking up stitches. Hey, I've got to find something to make me feel better wasting my time and money on all that Nashua yarn, which the pattern called for DOUBLE what I needed. Why do they do that? At least the yarn store was fine with taking back the extra skeins. Otherwise I would have been really upset.

In conclusion, that's knitting time I'll never get back.

Now for gratuitous cute baby picture to cheer me up:Sorry it's blurry, but remember the flash freaks him out.

Much love to all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Tim's Illusion Scarf

Now that I've received word that Tim has officialy received his illusion scarf, I can share pictures of it with everyone. When looked at straight on, it looks just like a plain striped scarf: But when viewed at an angle, this is what you see:The pattern is called "Card Trick" and I discovered it on the Knitty Gritty show on the DIY network. You can find the pattern yourself at:

diynetwork.com/diy/shows_dkng/episode/0,2046,diy_18180_32904,00

This project was so fun to work on, because I could watch the pattern just pop out as I went. It's strictly knit and purl, with following a chart as you go along. The chart isn't very logical, because one color doesn't always mean one thing, but I got through it just fine.

The yarn I used was Caron Simply Soft Quick, which is unapologetically 100% acrylic. The yarn is very soft, and shows surprisingly detailed stitch definition. It also blocks like a dream. It may have the tendency to pill a bit over time, but is still delightful to work with and wear. I modified the pattern by only knitting each card suit once, instead of twice, because Tim requested a 58" scarf. If each pattern was knit twice as the pattern calls for, this scarf would be 10 feet long! Great if that's your thing, but my darling nephew was quite specific with his length requirements. I used one skein each of red and black, and two skeins of white. At $2.49 a skein, that's not a bad investment for such a fun scarf.

The pattern calls for you to use a size smaller needle than the yarn recommends in order for the pattern to pop out. I used size 10 straight needles.

This pattern was written by Shetha Nolke. Snaps to you, girlfriend!

If the previous line wasn't a dead giveaway for the current movie line contest, the next one will be. Here is the first line:

"It vexes me. I'm terribly vexed."

and the new line is:

"Are you not entertained?!?"

Good luck to all.

Distracted...

It's been a few days since my last post. I've been a good little knitter, and even managed to keep the house clean and laundry done while making great progress on my knitting, which doesn't always go hand in hand. I even took time out to enjoy the Oscars. Some people love them, some hate them. I'm on the enjoyment side. I love movies. We have a lot of fun out here eating snacks and predicting the winners and playing Oscar bingo. I had a chat going with my family in Chicago, but yahoo got overloaded and kicked me off about 15 minutes into the ceremony. So a shout out now to Shikaka, who beat me soundly in the predictions. I'll get you next year.

Speaking of movies, I put a movie line out there for the contest that I thought would be very easy, but I've had few guesses. I'll give it to you again:

"That vexes me. I'm terribly vexed."

If you're having challenges with it, let me know.

Now on to the knitting. I'm in the process right now of knitting Girlie the Girlfriend's Swing Coat from GarterBelt.com. Here is the progress so far: I'm using Blue Sky Alpaca's Organic Cotton. So far so good. I'll keep you posted as I go.

And remember back before the knitting Olympics started I was working on the Drops cardigan in Cashsoft? Here is how far I've gotten on that: It's agreed, Cashsoft is a dream. Mamma made this sweater in pink. I'm making mine in lavender. Of course I will keep you informed of the progress of this lovely project. This will be the first garment besides a scarf, hat, or gloves (or slippers-ha!) that I've made for myself. I'm very excited.

And because I like to have a mindless small project going at the same time as a more challenging one, I submit to you now a simple scarf in progress made out of ghetto Bling Bling from JoAnn's. The simple 8-stitch garter pattern and bright variegated colors is just what I'm looking for when my mind needs a rest from counting stiches and rows. And I can take these simple projects with me to appointments, etc. and not have to worry about messing anything up.

And here is Sproutie modelling his little hat I made for him. I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and size 8 - 12" circulars and double pointed needles to finish this one up. I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually bought this pattern for $4 at the local yarn shop. What was I thinking? Well, he looks adorable anyway. The band is straight stockinette to create the roll-up effect. Cute on him, not so much on me. And look--I even got a picture of his elusive teefies! He's got 5 now:
And finally, here is ZimDee showing us his shark. I couldn't take a picture of brother without taking one of him and his compadre, no?

Have a great day all.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

USA Gold Medal

This is my Gold Medal for participating in the Knitting Olympics:





Many thanks to Yarn Harlot for coming up with the concept and providing the medals. See you in Beijing!