Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Dance!

Aunt Kimmy sent the perfect video game for Christmas.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Squeeze my cheeks and I'll give you a kiss tutorial

It all started when Mom brought us a Squeeze My Cheeks Reindeer for Christmas. A patient made it, so she only had one, but I have 2 boys (plus the baby, but she's not at the squabble age, yet). I hadn't seen one in years, but I remembered getting them from somewhere... little old ladies at church, maybe the bank? Probably from Grandma - she was always a source of things like that.
Anyway, I needed another one. I looked around online for how to do it, and I found one for this mouse, but it didn't have pictures and it wasn't the Santa that I remembered from my childhood. So, I had to figure that part out. And once I did, I sewed it together wrong, so I decided to write out how to do it, with pictures, so it might help someone else. And I might need these if we decide to make some more. We probably will because I have a bunch of leftovers, even with having to make 2 to get one sewed together properly.
I didn't even know if they made that plastic canvas stuff anymore, but it turns out they do! You can get it at Walmart - a pack of 6 sheets is only a couple of bucks.

Step one, cut out 3 squares that are 10 squares wide.
3squares.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
Start filling them in. I found that doing it across the diagonal gave it the best coverage. This is super easy to do. Rowan is 7, and he had a lot of fun filling in one of the squares for me.
howtoyarn.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
You need to make 2 squares in red, and one square in the Santa face pattern. Here's the one that I designed. I think it might look better to use pink for his skin instead of yellow, but yellow is the yarn that I had, so that's what I went with for now.
santagrid.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
You'll need to use your judgement for eye placement. It looked off when I tried to draw them on there. Or you could use googly eyes. It would be fun to do that and use a small pompom for the top of Santa's hat.
You need to finish two edges of two of the squares so you have a nice opening. This is one of the places I messed up before! I finished the edge that was all Santa beard, and then one edge of each of the other two squres. That's NOT what you want to do. Finish two edges of a red square and leave the other square alone. Make sure you do 2 or 3 stitches in the corners, so the plastic is all the way covered. I did 2 on the sides since they would end up being sewn, and 3 on the corners that would end up being the front.
3piecesdone.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
Now it's time to sew it together. I really don't know how to explain it well, so have another picture.
santaready.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
The square on the top is the one that didn't have any edges finished. You need to make sure the other two finished edges match up like shown. Then you will sew the green sides together, and the yellow sides together. It looks like it won't work, but it will, and you get a fun Santa!
santadone.jpg picture by sweetteasoakerssantaside.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
Isn't he cute? If you squeeze his cheeks, he'll give you a kiss.
santakiss.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa should have worn a cup

I don't think he was thrilled with the Pixie. I'm pretty sure she nailed him. Props to the big guy for only looking surly instead of throwing her to the floor.
santapic2009.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's like that Hitchcock movie, The Birds, only yarnier and with more screaming

It all started with this cute little shrug. Leah asked me to knit it for her daughter, so she could wear it over her dress for Christmas and not get cold. I haven't taken the pretty pretty pictures of it yet, because it's dark and the shrug is still wet, but here's a glimpse.

Pretty, right?
So... I was part way done and Leah asked me if I would be able to make a vest for her baby boy out of the rest of the yarn. I felt it, and said "sure!" thinking that vests aren't that big and don't take up much yarn and I had yet to crack into that second ball of yarn anyway.
*cue music* -- O Fortuna
Let's get in the proper mindset.
extremeknitting.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
So, an 11" sleeve takes up A LOT more yarn than I thought it did. Just sayin'...
We chose the pattern for the owl vest that's been pretty popular on ravelry lately. Yes it isn't for knitting for sale, but I figured in this instance since Leah bought the yarn and all I was just providing the knitting service and she'd be paying me for my time... nothing else... so it was fair.
Anway. I cast on. Good times. The owls popped up quite nicely. Busting along. That ball is looking pretty small... knit more. Feel the ball. Knit more. Feel. hmm. I still have that little end of the first ball that I set aside so I wouldn't have to run out of yarn in the middle of the second sleeve. It will work. Knit more. Look at yarn. Holy moth, I'm going to run out.
IM Leah in a panic. Tell her we have a problem, but I'm going to make it work. Keep knitting. Run out of yarn.
extremeowl.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
See that bit at the top there where I ran out? See how the top fronts of the vest are missing? Ya. Frantic IMing with Leah - no she can't send more yarn because it would be a different dye lot and anyway, Old Man Christmas is looking at me and he's only a few days away and I lost all that knitting time when I was having that competition with the Pixie to see who could produce the most snot and be more pitiful....
So. I am an inventive person. I can handle it. I ran a lifeline around the bottom a few rows above the ribbing, and spent a couple of tedious hours picking out the knitting from the bottom up. Have you ever unraveled k2p2 knitting from the wrong direction? It was pretty bad. I required much cheering and sympathy from John. He did his best, which is pretty good for a muggle.
extremeowlgreenoffbottom.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
There. The vest, unravelled from the bottom, with the hard-won ball of yarn next to it. Live stitches everywhere, just aching to slide off the needles and cause me pain.This is not knitting that I can do while the Pixie is being helpful, but it was late and I was drained from all the unravelling so I stashed it and went to bed.
Next day:
Fix the fronts. Knit one front up to about where it should be, but I'm no fool (at least, not after I've been smacked around a little by the knitting). I unwound the ball and knit the other side from the other end, so that I could make sure that the sides would at least match, even if they did come up short. They didn't, though. I had enough, and could finally join the shoulders and close that chapter of my life. Eventually. After I joined one shoulder inside out mobius strip style and had to redo it. I must have been getting cocky. See the little twig of yarn left? I measured it. It's 1.75 yards.
extremeowlgreendone.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers
So all that was left was to knit on the lives stitches at the bottom and then do the neck and arm holes like a normal person. So I did, in white, and I must say it's pretty snazzy. Much snazzier than it would have been if the whole thing was plain green.

So there you go. Wet vest, in bad light. The pretty pictures will come tomorrow when it's dry. And I don't think badly of the owls at all. I still think they're darling, and I think there are two little boys around here who might be getting their own owl vests once I recover.
Of course, I will start them with the contrasting trim.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Candle Bath

This is something I started doing with the boys in about mid-November, and it's a really good thing! We call it the candlebath. They get candle light and classical music, and most of the time there are bubbles in the water.
The catch? They have to use soft voices and soft movements to go with the soft light and soft music. If they get rowdy or loud, the lights come back on and the music gets shut off.
It's been working really well! Bathtime is soothing and calming instead of a splashfest that gets the ceiling wet.
Definitely one of my better parenting ideas.
candlebath.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Niall's photoshoot

You can view the whole set, but you have to be my friend on Flickr. I have our photos set to private, just for my sanity. It's easy to join, and all you have to do is ask me to be your friend.
Anyway, we did our photoshoot. I need a lot more practice before I can do a white shirt well. These are indoors, natural (not great) light, fleece blanket backdrop. They're all tight in because our blanket was kind of small. These are some of the best ones.

That's my guy!
The full shoot is here. Let me know if you need help seeing it.

My Niall is 5!

He was 9lbs when he was born. We were shocked! But looking back, it shouldn't have been that big of a surprise...

Everyone fell in love with him right away. Rowan couldn't keep away from him.

And then he started to grow. And Grow. And Grow! He outgrew his carseat at 2 months old.

By 6 months old he was giving the Michelin Man a run for his money.

He learned to climb
DSC02853.jpg picture by nukku
He learned to pick strawberries

And he learned where we kept the powder.

Niall taught us that some baby gates are useless, and that the parenting handbook should either include lessons on toilet anatomy or the number of a good plumber.
And oh ya, there was that sharpie incident, and my engagement went missing (forever) and that time he broke the camera, and, and and...
All those times with the yarn...

And the fuzzy hair

And the makeup

And the constant, endless, always getting in to things he's not supposed to be getting in to

And now he's a big brother, too, and you couldn't find a guy who loves his baby sister more.
He's my Niall. My darling sweetheart. The reason I had to bolt the bookcases to the walls and the number for poison control is on the fridge. The guy who keeps us on our toes, keeps us guessing, and always, always keeps us laughing.
Our lives wouldn't be the same without him. I'm so glad he's ours!
Happy Birthday, Niall James!

Monday, December 07, 2009

This time, I win

Rowan's shoelaces have been a constant thorn in our sides. He can tie, but he's not very good at it and they're always loose. So they always come undone. This wouldn't be so bad, but he doesn't care if they're undone so they're always flopping around and getting ripped up.
I had an idea to fix it. One piece of elastic, thread it through, and sew the ends together.
Sha-zam. Done. Issue solved. It's been a week and they're holding up just fine.

shoe.jpg picture by sweetteasoakers

Wednesday, December 02, 2009