Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Bread Basket

Two days ago I used my sewing machine for the first time since our move.

I started this little project about two years ago after seeing Keri's (from Knitty Gritty Thoughts) European-style bread basket. She even had a tutorial with a sew-along, but I eventually got side-tracked with my Christmas knitting. The night before Thanksgiving I pulled out my sewing machine from the garage and finally sewed on the binding. Actually, I didn't finish sewing on the binding until the next day because my thread kept getting tangled and breaking. This is a constant problem, so now I know what I'll be asking for for Christmas (or perhaps my birthday). :) I finished hand-sewing the binding about half an hour before going to my aunt's house. I had pretty simple dishes to bring (thanks, Aunt Nancy!), so I enjoyed making this little extra to go along with my rolls and salad.

My focus for the rest of the weekend is finishing my mini-stockings for an Advent calendar. Thirteen down, eleven to go...

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my family, my extended family, and the multiple generations that were able to gather today. Both my boys have been able to spend much time with my grandfather, and I know that is truly a gift and something to be cherished. Ben resembles Pat's side a lot more than mine, so I especially love that in the picture of him and his great-grandfather the similarity between the chin dimples is uncanny. :) Matthew spent much of the afternoon playing with my cousin's (who is now nineteen!) train set. We had made Thanksgiving cards a couple days ago, and he really enjoyed passing those out.

I am thankful we were able to make it to my aunt's house in the first place. We've been battling numerous illnesses here, and Ben still isn't quite himself. I can tell that I'm flirting with something but am doing my best to rest and relax. You definitely won't find me doing the "Black Friday" thing tomorrow. At four in the morning I'll (hopefully!) be nice and toasty in my bed (along with both kids and a couple of cats thrown in!)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Some Thoughts

This afternoon I attended a memorial service for a former student of mine. I had attended services of parents of students, but never a student. My heart is heavy as I grieve for this sweet, charismatic, friendly, and always smiling seventh-grader. I often go back and forth in regards to my teaching career: do I want to go back to teaching? Do I want to stay in elementary or pursue a licensure in special education? Do I want to go down a completely different career path altogether? I still don't know the answers to these questions, but what I do know is that I was blessed by so many children in just three years of teaching. I hope that, in my own way, I added something positive to each one of their lives as well.

Right now I'm focusing on my boys and being the best mother I can be. When a tragedy occurs it is natural to hug your loved ones a little tighter, give more kisses and say more "I love yous." That is what I'm doing, and I'm extremely thankful for this time I have with my children.

I want to use this opportunity to discuss something deeply personal. On this little space, I often showcase my crafts, the positive aspects of my life, and the special moments I have with my family. I do not, however, want to paint the picture that my life is perfect. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression a couple of months ago. It was difficult for me to admit that I needed help, and I constantly felt like a terrible mother. When I ran into someone at the grocery store who said, "I bet you're a wonderful mother," I walked away feeling guilty and inadequate. I would read other crafting blogs and wonder how these other mothers seemed to have countless hours of crafting time, take beautiful pictures, homeschooled, etc. all while having more children than just my two. Something I once enjoyed doing (browsing crafting blogs) became a constant reminder of how I never seemed to measure up to my internal concept of the Perfect Mother.

After some urging from my own mother, I did end up seeking help and am on an antidepressant. My husband and I also both try to set time aside so that I can have time to create. Having a hobby like knitting has been very therapeutic for me. In her article in the summer issue of Living Crafts magazine Sonia Choquette wrote: "...a personal teacher of mine once suggested that the root of depression is that a person's creativity is blocked or shut down in some way so they are not doing what the soul needs most to do, which is to create."

I am not writing this for people to feel sorry for me. My hope is that someone may come across this post, read it, and understand that no one person, and no family, is perfect; it's healthy to seek professional help; it's important to find a creative outlet and somehow make time to create.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

WIP: a Couple Days Late

I've been plugging along on my Christmas knitting, or at least trying to anyway. We've had a bit of a rough week with crummy side-effects from vaccines, not much sleep, and a pretty full schedule. At the end of the day all I want to do is sleep, which is what I did last night. Usually, even if I'm tired, I try to spend some time crafting since it makes me feel good, but last night it was light's out at 8:30. Luckily, the boys were tired as well!

Back to the Christmas knitting: I found the pattern for the sweet little gnomes at the blog, Plain and Joyful Living (now added to my sidebar). They are knitted flat, but since the finishing is "sew as you go," it's really not that bad. They're addicting little guys. My first was the red gnome--can you tell? I made it to go in Ben's stocking along with the matching ball from my previous post. I'm definitely going to re-knit the hat, although it makes me smile looking at it (so maybe I won't re-knit it; I don't think Ben will mind).

After Matthew saw Ben's gnome he asked me to make one for him. He said he wanted it to be blue and was very insistent. We've been working on colors, so I pulled about five different colored skeins out and asked him to choose which one he wanted. He picked up the blue skein and said, "blue, Mama." Translated: "I said the blue one, Mom. Why do you keep asking me this?" I lovingly obliged and enjoyed giving it to him on a Saturday morning after he woke up.

Below is a pair of Later Gator Mitts I've been working on. They're from Stitch and Bitch Nation, a book I've had for years now yet have never made a project from (it's a bit too trendy for me). I think that Matthew will enjoy having a pair of these mitts and am even making a pair for one of his friends. Another good thing: I'm using yarn from my stash.

I've been learning some difficult lessons about taking care of my knitted projects. Last spring when I was VERY pregnant I didn't take the time to wash and store my garments/accessories properly. Now I'm paying for it. I'm finding evidence of moths everywhere and am having to wash and mend numerous pieces. My finished Wisp is another example of not taking care of my knitting. I finished it shortly after Ben was born and kept it in my knitting basket until a couple of days ago when I finally got around to blocking it. Sadly, I found a couple of huge holes right in the middle. I haven't found any evidence of moths, so I think that a pair of scissors got it. I took it to my LYS yesterday and got some good suggestions on how to fix it. So, here is another WIP: mending my knits and learning from my mistakes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WIP Wednesday: Baby's First Ball

Football season is now finished for the Hilltoppers, and although I always want them to do well, I'm happy to have my husband back. The team finished with a record of 4-6, so I guess that it was considered a "growing season."

We spent this Veteran's Day basically relaxing at home. I've been trying to organize all of the boys' clothes, and Pat tried to go through the huge wood pile that the previous owners left behind. Unfortunately about half of it is rotted, and there are plenty of spiders, mice, and other creatures making their homes in it. We hate to disturb them, but we also want that wood for the winter. Hopefully all the critters won't decide to move into our house!

This afternoon while Pat was tackling the wood pile, I pushed the boys in their swings while sneaking a couple stitches here and there. The yarn was stuffed into my vest pocket along with the project when I wasn't working on it. I'm just about done with Baby's First Ball except for the sewing and felting. This will be a stocking stuffer for Ben, and I may even make a few more. It's very satisfying starting and finishing the knitting for a project all in one day.

(After I took this picture I noticed that Benny lost a booty--oops!)

Another WIP for me right now is creating a pilot cap with bulky weight yarn. I've made one each for Ben and Matthew and hope to have a (free) pattern up soon. I just need to double-check my pattern notes first so that it's an easy pattern to follow. I know what I want to say and do, but I can't assume that others know that as well, you know what I mean? :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shawl Collared Jacket

As mentioned in my previous post, this sweater has been a work-in-progress for about three years now. I am so relieved to finally have it finished! Seaming it up and sewing on the buttons really wasn't that difficult; I have no idea why I didn't do it earlier. Maybe a psychiatrist could figure that one out. Anyway, the pattern is the Shawl Collared Jacket from Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss. After looking at the Ravelry page, I noticed that there is errata available, but I can't remember having any difficulties with the pattern. I used Debbie Bliss Merino Aran for the yarn and really enjoyed working with it. It's so soft and doesn't seem to bother Ben at all. I used the Kiddie Cadet pattern for the matching hat and am really happy with the results.

Ben was very fascinated with the grass during this photo shoot, so it was difficult to get any good shots of him looking up. Of course, I also had to put down the camera a number of times to pull grass and leaves out of his mouth!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WIP III: The Three-Year Sweater

Why is it that adding those last few finishing touches to a project can take the longest? I am ashamed to admit that I started this sweater when I was pregnant with MATTHEW. I even finished all of the knitting, including the collar. All I had to do was seam it up. Well, I finally finished seaming it yesterday! Now I still need to add the buttons and add a brim to the matching cap. Then Ben will be ready to go...for a few months anyway, until he outgrows it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We had a day of family togetherness, pumpkin carving, eating sweet potatoes (some a little more pureed than others) watching geese migrate (don't you wonder where they're coming from and where they're going?), and of course, trick-or-treating. Although, someone only made it to Grandma and Grandpa's house...