Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Craft Hope

Like so many, I have been deeply saddened by the devastation in Haiti, and I have been searching for what I could do to help in my own, small way. The number of organizations and programs of outreach is truly amazing, whether it's a national or international organization, Facebook group, Ravelry charity group, or private organization. Last night while I was searching the internet for a worthy cause that felt "just right" for me, I came across the craftivist site, Craft Hope. There are several craftivist projects a year that the site focuses on, and right now the focus is Craft Hope for Haiti. Crafters/artists have donated their work to the Craft Hope Etsy Shop, and ALL proceeds will be going to Doctors Without Borders.

I wanted to get involved, so I have already made one purchase. I'm sure I'll make more, as there are so many beautiful pieces of work in the shop. What a great way to stock up on gifts, for yourself and others. One word of caution: if you see something you'd like, purchase it right away (I learned this the hard way); the listings are going fast! Another way I got involved was by donating the neck-warmer shown below. This is from a personal pattern I've been working on, and I used Rowan yarn's Lima. The yarn is absolutely beautiful with tons of depth and softness. It's actually corded instead of plied and is supposed to have memory (perfect for any project with texture) and resist pilling. The turn-around for project submissions is taking several days due to the generous amount of projects being donated, so this neck-warmer probably won't be in the shop until the weekend.

So, take a look around at the Craft Hope Etsy Shop, feel good about the purchases you make, and make a donation if you're so inclined (Craft Hope is receiving donations until tomorrow evening).

If there are any other great craftivist websites out there, I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, January 18, 2010


After procrastinating for three weeks about switching over the email to our new computer, I finally did it today. It took about ten minutes. Why did I wait so long? Well, I was afraid of the hundreds of emails that were awaiting me there, and well, I'm a natural procrastinator. Lists, such as the one above, sometimes help since I like crossing out what I've accomplished. I guess I'm a visual learner.

My husband and I take turns sleeping in on the weekends. Typically, he gets to sleep in on Saturdays, and I get to on Sundays. Since today was a holiday and I got to sleep in yesterday, I got up with Ben at about 6:00am while Pat and Matthew were sound asleep in our bed. Although I love sleeping in, I also really cherish my early-morning time with Ben. He and I don't get to spend too much time together, "just the two of us." I enjoy watching him play, grow, and learn. And, of course, there's much cuddling going on as well! :) While holding Ben, coffee in hand (cream AND sugar, thank you!), I watched the changing of the sunrise. During the thirty seconds it took me to find my camera, it had already turned from pink to yellow. I thought it was definitely still worth a picture.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas Knitting for Children

My Christmas crafting has extended into January, but at least now I don't feel pressured by deadlines! :) Most of my gifts have been completed, but some still need to be delivered. Out of all the projects on today's post, only the robot was delivered by Christmas morning. This robot (from Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor) was Matthew's special Christmas gift from me. Several months ago he and Pat were looking through the book when Matt spotted the robot. From that day forward, just about every day, Matt informed me (and anyone who enquired) that Santa was bringing him a robot for Christmas. And, yes, Santa delivered. Actually, we told Matt that Mommy was going to make the robot, then give it to Santa to place in his stocking (after Mommy and Daddy let him in the front door since the whole chimney/fireplace thing was a little scary; also, I didn't want Santa to get all the credit!). The robot was knitted on size 2 needles, and I finished it at 11:00pm on Christmas Eve. It was all worth it when Matthew spotted it the next morning, let out a little gasp, and said, "thank you, Mommy!"

My first goal was to make two pairs of these cute little gator mitts. I actually have the green portion for two pairs completed, but only had the patience to actually finish one pair. Hey, at least I have a head-start for next year!

There are a couple special little girls in my life who were born at about the same time as Ben--one was born the next day and the other just five days later. Since there are many blues and greens in my house, I have to take advantage of knitting some girly-colored gifts. Both these hats were made using Bulky Cashmerino (Debbie Bliss), size 10 needles, and a personal pattern that I've been working on. I had fun working in some eyelets and picot edging, and further expanding the details of this pattern. I hope to have all the kinks out soon and share it here in my little space on the web.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Walking in Their Sleep

This afternoon after lunch Matthew broke Ben's crib by jumping in it. This made nap-time a bit more difficult than usual, and I really didn't want Matt to watch any more TV (he's on a big Caillou kick right now). So, I got the stroller and the Ergo out, and we went for a walk. Both boys fell asleep after about ten minutes. Unfortunately, goat heads knocked the wind out of my sails, er, tires, before I could get too far. My arms got a workout, though, trying to balance the stroller with a flat on one side!
(Those of you from White Rock/Los Alamos, can you guess where the above picture was taken?)

Amazingly, I was able to get Ben in our bed without waking him up (thanks for the tip, Britton!) :)

Plenty of crafting has been going on here, but there are some finishing touches that need to be made before any pictures are posted...

Friday, January 8, 2010

One Small Change, January: Baking Bread

I signed up for the One Small Change challenge over at Hip Mountain Mama to help me with my New Year's resolutions. Here is an excerpt from the site:
"We want to challenge each of you to make 1 change each month leading up to Earth Day (April 22, 2010). It can be small or it can be huge, but all we ask is that you decide on something you will do to make a positive green impact and follow through with it. If everyone makes 4 changes between January and April, this can have a huge effect."
The resolutions that have been on my mind the past weeks are all "green" and will hopefully help me express myself creatively, have a peaceful effect in my home, and improve my family's overall health. I also liked that the challenge involved focusing on one resolution per month, so as not to be overwhelming. Head on over and check it out--it's never too late to sign up!

My resolution for January is to bake bread on a weekly basis. My Aunt Nancy taught me how to make her fabulous high-altitude whole-wheat bread many years ago, and although I've made it many times, it's never been on a very consistent basis. I would really like for that to change. It's not a very difficult task; it just takes a little time. Plus, it's very therapeutic punching my fist into the dough when I knead it! :)

Of course, Matthew loves helping his mama bake. Right now I measure, and he pours. The teacher in me is looking forward to lessons on fractions and conversions in the future! Seriously, studies have shown that children entering grade-school today have less knowledge about fractions than previous generations due to the lack of hands-on learning in the home...Anyway, it's a quality activity for Matt and I to do together when Ben is taking his morning nap. Plus, the house smells wonderful as the dough rises and bakes!

It's a good thing this bread is just for our family, considering that Matthew licked it! I guess it serves me right for getting preoccupied behind the camera. Matt is such a boy; it cracks me up: he calls my kitchen utensils "Mama's tools," and when Pat gets any of them out of the drawer, Matt says, "no, Papa Bear, those Mama's tools!" When we were making the bread he pulled a cork screw out of Mama's tool drawer, told me it was a jackhammer, and began using it on the dough! Ah, life with little boys (and big boys!)...

(Matthew really does call his father "Papa Bear." I can't remember how it started, but it's so cute!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thoughts During Walks Revisited

I created this blog nearly two-and-a-half years ago when Matthew was just a couple of months old. At the time we were going on VERY LONG walks, as it was just about the only way for him to get in a good nap. I would seriously walk around our neighborhood for one to two hours at a time! His napping got better, the weather got cooler, but we still got our walks in just about every day until I became pregnant with Ben. By then Matt was getting pretty big for the Ergo (plus it got difficult to carry him with my pregnant belly!), and he refused to sit for any length of time in his stroller. Also, I have to admit, I got a bit lazy.

So, I've been thinking about changing my blog's name. I've been going back and forth about this decision, and I'm glad I've decided to wait. The boys and I are getting out more now, and I'm enjoying my walks once again. This afternoon we went out for about an hour. Matt was in the stroller and Ben was in the Ergo. By the time I got home, both boys were asleep. Ben's now up and exploring our office while I type this, and Matt is still in the stroller (in the house). How I love not having twenty steps to climb before reaching our front door!

It's been cold here the past few weeks, and the snow from before Christmas is still on the ground. Typically, it melts soon after it has fallen due to our brights sunshine and fairly warm temps. I love the smell of fireplace smoke in the air, and there were tons of birds out looking for food (note to self: pick up a bird watching guide at the library!). My thoughts today were on my own past and how much I've come full circle: we walked passed a couple of ex-boyfriends' homes, the pool where I lifeguarded in the summers, a friend's house who passed away when we were eighteen. How things have changed: now I have two babes, a husband, a house, four pets, and a lot of history!

Now, I don't necessarily want to make "walking more" a resolution, but it is something that is being more and more incorporated into my life again. It makes me feel good, helps my boys rest, and helps me to gather my thoughts and have increased motivation. So...perhaps it is a New Year's resolution, then. I just don't want to jinx it!

On to crafting--
After seeing Ellie's great thermal cowl, I knew I wanted to make it. I even had the yarn the pattern called for in my stash. All the ribbing did take longer than I expected, so I was only able to make one before Christmas for a friend. I would like to make more, but I just need to remember to allow myself more time!

Several of my friends received these sweet crocheted caps. I found the pattern in the Winter 2007 Knit Simple magazine I had stashed away on my shelf. It was fun to do some crochet after weeks of working on the knitted Christmas stockings for the Advent calendar. I already have yarn picked out for a crocheted cap for myself!

I have many more resolutions, or perhaps I should call them "goals" or "ideas" for 2010, so there's much more to come! What are your New Year's goals? :)