Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some HAPPY Thoughts

My biggest happy thought right now: Matthew is walking! He took his first steps a couple of weeks ago, but this weekend walking became his prefered mode of transportation. He loves to grab a toy (especially my yarn) and walk from one end of the downstairs to another. He is so proud of himself! He also loves to terrorize the cats and dogs and shrieks while doing so. The little stinker. Of course, with this new-found freedom comes more bumps and bruises, as well as more work for mommy, but it has been so amazing watching the process of coordination, strength and confidence grow. (The pic is a little blurry due to the "action" quality).

Another happy thought: the Summer issue of Interweave Knits. I looked at the preview yesterday and loved what I saw. SO much better than the spring issue, which I didn't even bother buying. My favorite patterns so far: Tidewater Wrap, Drawstring Raglan, Wallis Cardigan, and the Eyelet Surplice Dress.

We had a simple dinner this evening of tuna chowder with bread and baby carrots. The recipe is so quick, easy, economical and yummy (and I am not usually a tuna fan) that I thought I'd share it. It came to me via my favorite aunt. :)

Tuna Chowder
2 carrots, shredded
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c butter
1/4 c unbleached flour
2 c chicken broth
2 c milk
6 oz tuna
1/2 t celery seed (it's ok to omit this if you don't like celery)
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t salt (or to taste)
1 1/4 c cheddar chees, grated

In a large pot, saute carrots and onion in butter until onion is transparent. Remove ffrom heat and stir in flour. Return to heat and stir in broth and milk a little at a time. Stir constantly until thick and bubbling (don't let reach a full boil). Add tuna, celery seed, Worcestershire sauce, and salt, and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it melts. Serves four.

I hope that everyone had a terrific weekend, and I promise some finished projects for next time!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Some Thoughts

I am currently in the middle of several projects, so I don't have much crafting to share. I do have some personal thoughts to share on a couple of subjects, though, and I hope that no one takes offense.

First, where does mother-guilt come from? Has it always occured or is it especially prevalent in our society? Is it a feeling that is timeless and universal? I know that I need to "trust my instincts," but sometimes that is difficult when so much contradicting information is out there, especially in the news. My son always nurses to sleep, so I feel good about not letting him "cry it out," but then I feel guilty that he doesn't know how to put himself to sleep. We have chosen to have him vaccinated, but then I read reports urging caution about doing so. I am thankful to be at home, yet sometimes long for "something more." Do I feel guilty about having such feelings? Yes. Should I? I'm not sure. Many other mothers I know have similar feelings. The thing that's odd to me, however, is that it seems like the working mothers I know don't have as much guilt as the stay-at-home mothers I know. What a contradiction! Could it be that the working mothers just aren't sharing their feelings? Or maybe the stay-at-home moms are so entrenched in their children's lives that they have difficulty separating?

I believe that it's so important to have your own passions, hopes and dreams, which brings me to crafting. I love to knit, crochet and sew. It helps me be creative in ways that i haven't in the past. Sometimes I even feel like I'm neglecting my son because I want to knit just one more row or sew just a couple more stitches. My housework definitely takes the back seat. Then I feel guilty that Matthew's precious nap time was spent sewing instead of cleaning the bathroom or puting the dishes away (I also feel guilty about being excited for Matthew's naptime).

Then there are blogs such as Angry Chicken and Soule do those two women do it all?! Plus, they both have three children each. I know that I shouldn't compare myselves to either of them and their accomplishments, but really, how do they do it?

I have many more concerns with what I've read about/watched on TV lately, such as products made in China, toxin levels and greed, but I will save all that for later. I don't like to get political, but I think that these concerns cross party lines.

One last question today: is it more important to watch the news and read current event articles to stay informed, or should I just turn it all off so as not to be frightened and paranoid?

Friday, April 18, 2008

April Showers Bring...

More inside crafting time! Since I hadn't made the Pleated Beauty bag for my swap before, and my swap partner in quite the seamstress, I was a little intimidated. So, I dedided to make a test bag for myself. It took me a day to cut out the pieces, and then two days to complete the bag. The designs from Bend the Rules Sewing are adorable, but I have to be honest: I find the patterns a little hard to follow. In the end, I am VERY glad I made a test bag. There are many changes I'll make for the second one that will hopefully make the process and the finished product a little better. I do, however, really like the fabric I chose for the test bag--very springy!
The showers yesterday were actually SNOW showers! Sadly, I think my newly-planted raspberry plants are not going to survive the multiple freezes they've endured. I have not had good luck with raspberries: the summer before last the dogs dug them up, and last summer they weren't watered when Matthew was in the hospital so they died. Anyway, the cold weather led me to crave tomato soup and grilled cheese. A little known fact about me: I am absolutely hopeless as making grilled cheese sandwiches. I burn them every time! Any suggestions are most welcome!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


...The elegant, yet earthy, Lady Eleanor! All the stats will be up on Ravelry (eventually), but I'll give you a little summary: I used Noro Silk Garden for this beautiful Lady Eleanor Stole designed by Kathleen Power Johnson. The pattern can be found in Scarf Style by Pam Allen. It was a very satisfying knitting project. I did take some time off during February, so in all it took me about four months to knit--off and on. It is cozy, soft, rustic and sophisticated all at the same time--I just love it! BTW: the fringe took me longer than I projected--about four hours of very tedious work. It was, however, very meditative.

I was feeling a little under-the-weather yesterday, so she kept me nice and warm and cozy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

An Old Flame

In the crafting world, that is. I was at the grocery store the other day looking at the magazines and picked up the Spring edition of Interweave Crochet. I fell in love with some of the projects, so decided to pick up the mag. My favorite project is the Marianne Mobius Wrap, and the Kathryn in Beauly Dress and Hat made me long for a little girl to make it for. Unfortunately, the yarn for the mobius wrap would put me back $180! So...I'm on the search for a good alternative. I also picked up Sensual Crochet from our local book store and Simple Crochet from the library. Sensual Crochet has some beautiful patterns, such as the Butterfly Cardigan, but many of the halter-top variety patterns I will just never be able to wear. In my opinion you have to be very careful with crochet--pick out modern patterns and beautiful yarn--or else the project will look too kitschy. It can be a tricky business...
Yesterday I spent the day in Santa Fe with my good friend, Britton, and her twenty-month old son. It felt so good to get out, even if it was a little hectic chasing after the boys. We went to JoAnn Fabrics, where I found the awesomely retro fabric in the picture. I'm planning to make a table runner out of it and perhaps a test-Pleated Beauty bag for the swap. But, first things first: my goal is to finish Lady Eleanor by this weekend. I have completed 33 out of 35 tiers, so I'm almost there. Woo-hoo! I hope to finish the tiers tonight, block it tomorrow, and work on the macrame fringe Sunday. Be looking for a finished object Sunday night...

Have a terrific weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2008

March Summary, Goals for April

Well, DH went back to work today after a week off for spring break. I feel like I always have grand plans during any kind of break, but nothing much usually materializes. It's also so much different now with a baby: even though Pat's on break, I'm never on break! I tried to squeeze in an hour here and there during nap times, but I honestly think I may be even more lazy when Pat's home! Having him home gives me an excuse to relax, sit around, and just hang out. I even saved my homework until the very last minute! We did get some yard work done, though. We built a planter for a vegetable garden, and I planted some raspberry plants and vinca minor.

After realizing how little I accomplished this past week, I decided to post a "to do" here for the month of April. This way maybe I will be better at holding myself accountable. Plus, I usually need that list and competition, even with just myself. I also thought that I could sum up the previous month's accomplishments, or lack thereof. So, without further ado...

Knitting/Crochet Projects Completed: none :(

Sewing Projects Completed: three mini-bags

Books Read: I am currently in the middle of Middlesex (no pun intended)

My Stormcloud: issues with our dogs--they have become more aggressive since Matthew has been born, mostly due to us not spending as much time with them. Our neighbors even put up a fence! We're trying to get them out more and help them feel like they're "part of the pack," but they're really driving me crazy and I don't trust them.

My Rainbow: Spending time outside again, especially going on walks.
(When I was in college one of my roommates asked us what our stormclouds and rainbows were each day. So, here's to you, Lins.)

For April:
Knitting/Crochet Goals: finish Lady Eleanor! Also, complete two small gifts to put towards my gift stash.

Sewing Goals: Complete quilted table-runner, mini diaper bag, and swap bag (more on this shortly)

Ok, so you're all going to hold me to these goals, right? ;)

Now, one item of news: I joined a sewing swap based on the book, Bend the Rules Sewing. I am going to make the "Pleated Beauty" bag from the book, and I need to send it to my swap partner, along with a spring dessert recipe, by the beginning of May. This particular swap is now closed, but there will be two more to come based on projects from the book. I know who my partner is, but I need to keep it secret until she receives her bag...I am really excited about this swap!