2.28.2011

Fear Not

We didn't all die from corony arrest from eating our fair share of birthday cake.


I have to say, the cake turned out beautifully.

And by beautifully I mean it looked gorgeous.

As for the taste, I give it about a five.  Ben gives it a slightly higher score, but truth be told he'll pretty much eat anything if it has enough sugar in it. 

I had read a lot of the reviews on-line about how the actual cake was too dense and kind of tough and that the almond extract flavoring was a bit overwhelming and I have to say that I agree with both of those assertions.


Despite that though, I still find myself still eating many, many pieces of cake.  Apparently a five is good enough for me.

2.25.2011

An Experiment: How Much Saturated Fat Can You Fit In One Birthday Cake?

O and I are spending this afternoon making a birthday cake for the special man in our lives.

Yep, that would be one pound of cream cheese,
five sticks of butter and five eggs...does anybody else feel
their arteries clogging?
Based on the ingredients, I'm going to go ahead and assume that whatever we create is not going to be good for us.

2.24.2011

The Phases of Parenting



O back in the day - Otherwise known as
Phase One
Over the past twenty months I've learned a couple of things about this whole parenthood thing (not a lot of things, mind you, just a couple).  One thing that I've learned is that parenting occurs in phases.

Perhaps you recognize some of them?

Phase 1 - Sleep Phase.  You're obsessed with sleep.  You want it.  You need it.  You read every book about it.  You try every technique you find on the internet.  The idea of a decent night's sleep rules your thoughts.  It's your everything.

Phase 2 - Safety Phase.  You're obsessed with trying to make sure that your now-mobile baby doesn't accidentally kill herself.  You put up the baby gate (and mostly remember to close it).  You install foam padding around your fireplace ledge.  There are plugs in your sockets and locks on your cabinets.  Friends and relatives come over to visit and can't figure out how to open anything.

Phase 3 - Spelling Phase.  Your child's language skills are developing at lightening speeds and in order to avoid any mishaps or tantrums you end up finishing each sentence with a cleverly spelled-out word.  "Do you know where the c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e is?"  "Do you think it's time for her to take a n-a-p?"  "I have to go to the s-t-o-r-e." 

We are currently knee-deep in Phase Three...which is kind of funny only because I am the world's worst speller and sadly there's no spell-check in everyday conversation.

2.22.2011

The First Rule Of Sewing: Know Thyself

Almost a year ago to the day I purchase a Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic pattern at the Puyallup Sewing and Stitchery Expo.  The Expo is coming up again shortly and with the massive amount of time that has passed and the appearance of some cute school house tunics on the internet I knew it was time to break out the pattern.  And so I did.

After stressing about what size to make I ended up cutting out a size  6-8, but after it was all sewn together I took it in about an inch because honestly it looked like a very unattractive sack on me.

Please focus on the unattractive sack
and not the unmade bed
This is in no way the fault of the pattern (in fact, I really like the pattern)...the sack-like result is solely of my own doing.  You see, as already established, I tend not to wear loose-fitting clothes and I don't think over-sized clothes look all that great on me.

Despite what this picture may lead you
to believe, I am not "with child"
Which leads me back to the first rule of sewing - "know thyself."  Know your body type.  Know your style.  Know what looks good on you.   And most importantly, know what doesn't.  There are few things more demoralizing than spending hours sewing something up (not to mention the money that you spent on the fabric and pattern) only to look at yourself in the mirror afterwards and say "Ehhh.  It's okay."  Which is kind of how I feel about this tunic.  It's okay.  Not great. But okay.




I do think I'll send up wearing it but I'm just not sure how I'll end up wearing it or how much.  If I end up making it again, it'll probably be as a shirt and in a nice drapey, voile fabric.  After that, I'll probably retire the pattern. 
As for the details on this tunic I pretty much followed the pattern except that I just turned under the edges of the placket rather than topstitch it to the bodice front.  I also ended up topstitching the top of the placket to avoid having to hand stitch it down (anything to avoid hand sewing).


I ended up finishing the bottom with about a 3/4 inch hem and the sleeves with a one and a half inch hem.

As for other details:
Pattern: Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated
Fabric: Atlas in the Wild World line by Jenean Morrison, purchased at West Seattle Fabric Company
Time To Sew: One day
Time to Getting Around to Actually Open The Pattern: One year

2.21.2011

Where Did the Weekend Go?

A little science center.






A little eating out.




A little cooking.



A lot of reading and relaxing.


And apparently, it's back to work tomorrow.


Here's to a better week than last week (when I was officially having an "I hate people week").

2.20.2011

Y Is For Yellow

O goes through phases of favorite colors.  When she was just a wee little one year old her favorite color was orange.  Basically if you asked her what color anything was she would say "orange."  We wouldn't share that little secret with others though and they would marvel when we would point at orange objects and our little one would correctly identify the color.  We're so sneaky!

Her new favorite color appears to be yellow.  When I get her dressed in the morning I'll hold up two shirts and ask her "do you want the purple shirt or do you want the blue shirt" and she'll reply "No!  Yellow shirt!"  She'll even go so far as to open her dresser drawer and pull out her yellow shirt.  What can I say?  The girl has a mind of her own. 


Unfortunately, the girl also only has one yellow shirt so when her lone yellow shirt is dirty she is a less-than-happy twenty one month old.  So when thinking about what I wanted to make her next, the only thing I knew was that it definitely had to be yellow.  And with a warm feeling still in my heart for the last sweater dress that I made for her, I decided to attempt another one.

Someone smeared chocolate all over her
dress about five minutes after I put it on her...
any guesses who that someone might be?
Fortunately, this one appears to fit her a bit better than the last one (although it is a bit of tight squeeze to get it over her ginormous head).




There's no pattern for the dress except for the one that I made up in my head.  I just made it with basic top down construction as explained in Barbara Walker's Knitting From The Top.  I did a couple of rows of seed stitch to form an empire waist and added some increases along the sides to give it an A-line shape (perfect to hide her humongous booty on the days that she wears all-in-one cloth diapers).  Oh, and I turned under the sleeve and bottom hem to give it more of a finished look.



As for O's feedback on the dress, let's just say it was not love at first sight.  I believe her initial statement was "I don't want wear dress!  Take dress off!"  Considering that this was her reaction to the past two things that I've made her, I'm not quite sure what it says about me that I keep making her stuff.


Perhaps it's because she just looks so darn cute in them!

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted
Needles: sizes 5 and 7
Pattern: Made up in my crazy little head, but based off of instructions provided by the ingenious Barbara Walker

* And for the record, she eventually agreed to wear the dress...eventually...

2.18.2011

How My Child Maintains Her Youthful Appearance

Weekly yogurt face masks (followed by a very intensive cleaning regime provided by her father).

2.16.2011

The One Without The Picture (For Which You Can Thank Me Later)

It's no secret that parenthood is sometimes, well, a little disgusting.

Rectal thermometers?  Gross.

Cleaning up vomit?  Nasty.

Changing diapers?  Ughh.

And for us that last one is compounded by the fact that we use cloth diapers about fifty percent of the time. There are few things that I like less than transporting O's poo across the hallway to drop it in the toilet.  O, on the other hand, loves it.  She inevitably follows me into the bathroom saying "I see it.  I want see my poo"  and watches in absolute fascination as I dump it in the toilet and flush it away.

Yesterday she did just this and as I dumped it in the toilet she wisely observed "I see corn in it."

At that point I didn't know if I should be in awe of my child's awesome observational and verbal skills or absolutely disgusted that she just identified partially digested corn in her feces.

I tell you...this parenthood thing can be really confusing.

2.14.2011

My Guilty Pleasure

We all have them, right?

Don't worry.  I won't judge because I happen to have one too - homemade chocolate pudding.


Wait, not just homemade chocolate pudding...homemade chocolate pudding with whip cream on top.


Ahh, that's better.

I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes me to sit on my couch with my little ramekin of pudding at the end of a long day, occassionally sharing a bite with a toddler who inevitably comes running my way yelling "have some, have some!"  It is pure happiness (obviously, I am not a difficult gal to please).

I've been using Dorie Greenspan's recipe and while it can be a wee bit of a pain in the butt to move things back and forth between the food processor and the pot, it is not a difficult recipe (I don't do difficult).  And best of all, it calls for fairly basic ingrediants that I usually have on hand.

Oh, chocoalte pudding, you are the reason that I still have my sanity after particularly insane days. Thank you.

2.09.2011

I'll Take My Rest Wherever I Can Get It

Photo by the lovely and talented Chara Michele
Yesterday morning I had a dentist appointment and as I laid back in the dentist chair with a piece of plastic propping my mouth open, gauze stuck in my cheek, and some high-pitched instrument drilling away at my tooth, all I could think was "man, if feels so good to lay down."

2.07.2011

Hat Number...Oh Hell, I've Lost Count

I'm not quite sure how many hats a twenty month old child needs, but whatever the number, I'm pretty sure that O is quickly approaching that amount.

That said, I had some extra Araucania sock yarn sitting around and new knitting book (compliments of my boss no less!) and I thought, "O definitely needs a beret!"  Of course, the pattern in the book involved a beautiful fair isle pattern on the beret and if I've learned nothing about my knitting preferences over the past ten years, I've learned that I love simple patterns.  In addition to that, I've learned that I'm far too cheap to buy all the different skeins of yarn that are needed for fair isle patterns.  So I decided to take the basic shape of the beret and just knit it in one color.  Originally I was planning on just knitting it all in stockinette stitch but then I though, "What the heck?  Let's throw in some pearl rounds too."

And here's the end product.


Personally, I heart it!  O, not so much.


When I first tried to put it on her she screamed and said "No!"


I then resorted to my finest parenting trick and tried to bribe her with her current favorite food, Gummy Vitamins.  She then got this tortured look on her face as she tried to decide if she wanted a Gummy Vitamin that bad.  Sad to say, she decided that the Gummy Vitamin simply wasn't worth it and she continued to say "no wear hat!"

I gave her a couple days to get over the trauma of having to chose between a Gummy Vitamin and a hat and this weekend we headed out for a walk and because it was so cold she really did need to wear a hat. Coincidentally, this was the only hat I had with me (sneaky, mommy!).

Fortunately, she now appears far less traumatized by the idea of wearing this hat and she tolerated wearing it for the entire walk.  Whew!


Yarn: Araucania Ranco sock yarn (less than one skein)
Needles: size 2 and 3 double points
Pattern: loosly based on Classic Fair Isle Beret pattern in Design It, Knit It Babies by Debbie Bliss

On a side note, can I just say how much I love this yarn.  With two measly skeins I've been able to make:

Two hats.




And one sweater.


And I still have half a skein left!

2.06.2011

The Hired Help

Oh, how I would love to have someone come in once a week to help with deep cleaning.  Perhaps then I wouldn't feel overwhelmed with the amount of housework that needs to be done each weekend.  But alas, there is no room in the budget for some cleaning help.  So until we strike it rich we'll just have to make do with the free help that we get.


Yep, that's Kid-O swiffering....and oh boy does she get mad if you take her swiffer away from her.

If you dare to be so brave, you'll hear a little something like this.

"Want mop!  Need mop!  Gimme mop!  Mop!  Mop!  Mop!!!"


What can I say...the girl likes her cleaning supplies.

2.02.2011

Flash Back (Finished Pre-Blog)

I know that I've mentioned it before, but my transition to motherhood was not a smooth road.  Breast feeding hurt like hell.  My body was sore from labor.  I was beyond exhausted.  And to top it all off, we ended up having a bat infestation in our house, having to take Baby O to the emergency room for rabies shots, and sleeping in a tent in our basement for a month until we could get rid of the bats (don't worry, after a five hour wait at the ER we were told that Baby O didn't in fact need rabies shots...and now I'm officially an expert on bats). 

That would be a bat hanging off
of my couch, thank you very much
Needless to say, every project made around that time had to be easy-peasy.  I couldn't handle much more than easy-peasy. 

Take this quilt for example.



It may be the epitome of easy-peasy.  It was incredibly simple and was the perfect project to work on during all the chaos. 


As for the quilting, I was going to do just one straight line in each fabric but with the pattern being so simple I figured that I should put a little more effort into the quilting (not a lot more effort, mind you...just a little).


I eneded up quilting an increasing number of lines in each fabric block and I think it came out just fine and dandy.

Yay for simple!!


Wait a second...who stole my quilt?

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