Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Lordy I'm Done!

I made a car seat cover using the cotton fox print I had stashed with this pattern.  It was so quick and easy!  The whole thing is secured in the backseat of my car.  It's still a surprise to me every time I go out to the garage and see it in place. 
Today I am 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  This photo was taken last week and I feel even larger now.  A week ago tomorrow I had my membranes stripped at my weekly OB appointment and was so hoping I'd go into labor.  My Doc said that most people are in labor within 3 days of stripping and no such luck.  I go in again tomorrow and will have it repeated.  I'm just done with pregnancy and ready to meet Marek. 

I've been trying to walk and move as much as I can to evict my baby.  We had some nice melty weather last week and I got a bit tearful thinking this might be the last time I walk my Lopi dog alone.  Soon we'll always have a baby in tow.  It is kind of a strange bittersweet feeling.  I'm reminded of whenever I travel overseas on the last full day.  I constantly think, "This is the last trip to the grocery store.  This is the last subway/tram ride.  This is the last time we'll sleep here,"  etc.  At the same time you're excited to be going home soon but you know you'll miss what you experienced.  As excited as I am to be having my son soon, I do worry and am a little fearful of the massive change/responsibility of caring for a child 24/7 for the next 18+ years.
We saw one of the neighbor dogs we hadn't seen all season and you can see how pregnant even my shadow looks.  We were convinced we were in labor once already and it turned out to be false.  It doesn't help that we're first time parents bumbling through this process not knowing what to expect.  We also had an uneventful (thankfully) trip to the ER this week for another unrelieved migraine and were safely assured it wasn't an eclampsia presentation.  We're both in the impatient phase of pre labor and ready to meet our boy.  Hopefully by this weekend we'll have our new addition.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Marek's Room

I think my mother was a construction contractor in another life and the fact that our baby room is up and running is proof.  She stayed with us for a week and whipped the place into shape.  I'd come home from work every day and couldn't believe all the progress she'd made.
She painted the room.  She assembled all the baby furniture.  She laundered and sorted metric tons of baby textiles.  She organized and re-purposed items she found around the house for decoration and storage.  She cleaned and sanitized hand-me-down baby gear we'd inherited. 
Even down to the artwork on the walls.  I'd been hoarding Peter Rabbit things for years because I love Beatrix Potter and we raised rabbits as a family and I thought some day if I ever managed to have children, I'd like a Peter Rabbit room.  These are Wallies wallpaper cut outs I bought on clearance 20+ years ago.  I think I bought them at a Ben Franklin store--that's how long ago it was!  We went to the Dollar Tree and found these floating glass frames and Mom cleaned and assembled them and we didn't have to mess around with mats or coordinating papers.
This is a beautiful art print greeting card I bought in London or York probably 10 years ago: "The First Born" by Frederick William Elwell.  It has been tucked away in my stash of printed matter all this time waiting to be put in a nursery.  She framed and hung it and I'm so glad I can see it every day.
This is a framed print of sheep (you know how much I love wool!) I had in a box of stuff that still hasn't found a home since we moved in.  I think I got this at the Cancer Garage Sale and the frame came from Joann's or Hobby Lobby or somewhere.  She dug through homeless household goods and found it and made a good point, "Sheep are good for a baby room!"  Up it went on the wall.
She made the curtains out of stashed Peter Rabbit fabric and lined them with stashed muslin.  I'd bought the curtain rod months ago at Joann's with a coupon and up it went over the window.  We used our Menard's rebate money to purchase a blind for the window and up that went.  That little Ikea table was new and unused in the package downstairs and consigned to the baby room.  That little trunk used to hold fabric in the sewing room and was dispatched to hold baby blankets.
She bought us that dresser as a baby gift and assembled it for us.  That little bookshelf was already in the room but cleared of all the Katie books and now holds baby books and toys.  The most painful part of the whole process was the carloads of books I took to Saver's to make room.  That closet is filled to the gills with varying sizes of diapers we received from my coworkers.  The dresser is full of baby clothes I've knitted, hand-me-downs from my sister and her friend, and more gifts from my family and coworkers.  I have been so overwhelmed with the generosity everyone has shown for this little boy they haven't even met yet!
Here  is my mother hard at work.  She jokes all the time that she has a degree in furniture assembly.  Doesn't she look like a little Ikea elf?  I told her I was afraid I'd be charged with elder abuse because she was stuck here without a car and worked her tail off all day while I was at work.  It wouldn't have gotten done without her, that is the plain truth of the matter.  We appreciate all her hard work and I know she was happy to do it.  I am thrifty and appreciate how she was able to do so much with things we already had.  It makes everything so much more real now that we have a baby room that will soon be occupied by a newborn.

Winter Knitting



My oldest niece has a December birthday and this year she wanted "wool mittens".  I really wanted to make these horse mittens because she is quite the horsewoman, but I was on a time crunch.  Lovely as the design is, they are knit with sock yarn and size 1.5 needles and just wouldn't get done in time with all the other baby knitting I'd been doing.   Maybe next year.  In the end, I found this pattern and dug through my stash and found all the Cascade 220 I needed so I didn't even have to make a special trip to the yarn store!  I gave them to her months ago without taking pictures of them and asked that she send me some knitting glamour shots.  She came through complete with a winter snowscape and birch tree backdrop!
We are 36 weeks along this week.  It is flooring me to think we could be literally having this baby any time now which makes the pressure all the higher to get things done.  We bought our stroller/car seat travel system months ago with Cartwheel savings and Target $5 gift cards I'd been rat holing for some time and paid half the original price...and then it sat in a box in the den for almost 6 months.  We got it out and acclimated ourselves to it this weekend.  As Dave was unpacking the box I thought, "This is a Kodak moment," and snapped this picture in his moment of bewilderment.  I think it is such a funny picture as he works with something so foreign to him.  We chose the Evenflo Sibby system because of safety reviews and we're loving how easy it is to manage.  I've been with people and tried helping collapse or connect their strollers and seats and you'd need a degree to operate the thing or lose your fingernails in the process.  We were joking that we'd time each other like they do in the Army disassembling and assembling their rifles!

And speaking of that baby, here is another pair of Hosenmatz for that fat little boy who is coming.  I used the same pattern as before with a sock yarn purchased at the fiber festival this year.  I went down one size in needles (these are 2.75 mm) to make the fabric a little denser and to slightly shrink up the dimensions and am quite pleased.  These are a nice neutral mottled colorway that should go with all sorts of tops.  I have one more fiber festival manly blues colorway I'd like to use up on this same pattern in the 3-6 month size.  After he outgrows those, I have a larger sized Drops pattern that uses DK and I have London yarn in mind for that one.  On the subject of travel and knitting, I'm happy to be using my Twilley's dpn's I purchased years ago in Ireland to finish this project  :)

I have not had time to participate in the Knitting Olympics this year or indeed watch much of any of the telecast, but I do know that Norway is a force to be reckoned with in these games! 
HEIA NORGE!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Do you have flour?

What about water, salt and yeast?  Then BOOM!  You've got bread!  
It is still very cold outside and sometimes you just need something comforting like fresh bread.  I was on call Friday and Saturday night which really took a toll on me this weekend.  David had the flu so I was taking care of him and yet trying to avoid him like the plague at the same time.  I felt like Sunday was my only true day off and spent much of it in the kitchen. 
Fresh French loaves are very easy and always welcome around here.  I mixed the dough and let it rise while I did the shopping.  I usually save time by making one fat loaf on a sheet pan but I got out my baguette pan for yesterday's bread.  When I backpacked years ago, I ate so much fabulous bread all over Europe and couldn't wait to get home and try to recreate those loaves.  I hunted for a perforated baguette pan as a trip souvenir but never found one over there so I ordered this one from somewhere when I got back.  I love the look of the late afternoon sun dappling the shaped dough and later the baked loaves.  Skinny loaves like this take only 15 minutes to bake in the oven and the upstairs was so wonderfully warmed by it's heat. 
I was digging in my cupboards earlier in the week and found some old Lipton Soup mixes with a website on them for recipes and decided to take a look.  They had a recipe for White Pizza Fondue and my interest was immediately piqued.  And it couldn't be easier!  I saw some sort of bacon soup/dip mix at Aldi which would also be good in this recipe.  I was even thinking that some cooked crumbled bacon might have been tastier than the pepperoni.  I always think pre-packaged dry mixes or sauces tend to under salt or season so I think this could have used a little salt to make it pop.
This is what we ate as a late lunch/afternoon snack yesterday.  It wasn't very colorful but it was carb heavy and warming and comforting.  Dave usually watches his sports TV in the downstairs living room but we sat together in the warmed upstairs yesterday and I put up with golf on my TV.  We don't see much of each other during the week and we avoided each other as much as we could on Friday and Saturday because Marek and I do not need to catch the flu. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Kinder for Kinder!

Are you familiar with these?  They are little German made egg shaped chocolates that encase a small plastic capsule containing a small toy.  They're awesome and sold all over the world.  They're also illegal only in the United States.  Apparently it is unlawful to place a toy inside a consumable. 
I look for these in the airports on every overseas trip I take and was worried I was breaking the law by bringing them back into the States.  They are clearly labeled a choking hazard but as I understand the law, it is illegal to re-sell or redistribute them to strangers in the United States, but if I want to endanger the small children in my life by giving these as gifts, that is perfectly legal.  I have always found these delightful and the small toys require some assembly and are intricate and detailed.  We just don't have anything like this here so I think they are fun little unusual treats that are always given and enjoyed under adult supervision.  I brought back 8 from Oslo's airport and the cashier even warned me that I wouldn't be able to bring them into the country.  I corrected her with my understanding of the law and I'm sure I sounded snooty.
I was in my HyVee yesterday and found these!  This must be the US approved version of the treat.  They were 4/$5 so of course I bought 4.  One for me and one for each of my sister's kids!
I think they skirted the law by keeping the toy outside the consumable.
The egg separates into two sections.  One side holds a white and hazelnut chocolate cream and wafer candy and the other holds the toy components.  
I got a little robot in this one and built it while enjoying my treat.  Hooray for this new and improved and approved Kinder Egg!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Serge!

Not Surge like the 90's pop of the same name, but SERGE as in the sewing machine!  I bought this almost 6 months ago, right after we learned we were pregnant, with the last of my plasma money.  It then sat in a box in the living room all that time until I finally worked up the courage to use it.  I LOVE it. 
I had 2 pairs of loungewear pants cut out and sitting in the sewing room and thought that would be a good first project.  It came already threaded and you can't use pins because of the knife on the machine so I put my quilt clips to good use.  I used a serger 20 years ago in home ec class and haven't been near once since.  I couldn't believe how quiet and FAST it was.  It sucked up the fabric and of course you don't have to trim your seams...I made those pants in record time!
I not brave enough to change the thread yet but I already slowly purchased 4 serger spools of 8 basic colors while I was busy not using the serger.  Every time I went to the grocery store, I stopped at Joann's armed with coupons and bought a few spools.  My sewing table is too cramped with two machines on it so when it's not in use, it sleeps in my cubby shelf and fits perfectly!
I've used it to make a bunch of quick baby items like these shoulder/burp rags.  They are just 2 pieces of critter flannel serged together.  They have double thickness and finished edges that did not involve turning inside out and top stitching.  Record time sewing.  I used a bread plate to round the corners versus fighting with right angles.
I made a couple pee pads too.  This is PVC coated fabric used for making cloth diapers topped with critter flannel and the edges serged and again I rounded the corners.  I made a few crib sized pads for major blowouts so the pad can be taken out and laundered and the rest of the bed clothes are spared.  I also made a few smaller ones for the diaper bag to be layed out as a surface to change on.  These were nice early projects to get to know my machine because I feel like I'm still "learning how to drive" with it.
This is my other favorite appliance in the house at the moment!  Best Christmas ever because Dave bought me a fake fire!  I've been asking for one for years and this year he came through.  You can run it with or without heat and I very rarely turn the heat on.  I'm a tightwad when it comes to the energy bill but also I'm hot blooded and like to just look at it.  This is the view from my knitting chair!
He really outdid himself this year!  Here he is putting it together for me.  We enjoyed our first pregnant Christmas together.  Next year we'll have a 9 month old trying to get into everything so this might be the last year of full decorations for a while!  And of course my family will get together for Christmas next weekend so I kind of don't feel like we've had Christmas yet.  Happy Late Christmas!

Flannel Blankies

Dave gives me a hard time because I make a lot of blankets.  A lot of blankets.  But I never hear him complain about it when the weather is our current -20 degrees and we have 8 blankets on our bed and blankets on the couch.  Our son will have no shortage of blankets either because I've been busy making satin bound flannel blankies.
I'll admit that for the nanosecond after finding out we're having a boy, my heart sank simply because of my opinion that it is always harder to sew and knit for little boys.  I always thought there were more fun prints and patterns geared towards girls.  It turns out there are boy prints and patterns out there if you look carefully for them.  This first one has llamas on a Martha blue background!  I finished it with a manly gray binding.  Love it!
Foxes are everywhere!  I have some quilting cotton in this same print--I don't know what I'm going to make with it but it will eventually come to me.  This blankie was made out of the flannel cut I had.  I debated whether to bind it with orange because that is Dave's favorite color, but I liked the more subtle cornflower blue. 
And finally more critters!  I got this cut as an impulse and then decided to make a blankie out of it.  I already happened to have a package of pale blue binding in the sewing room.  I got to come home early from work last night and whipped this up while I waited for Dave to get home from bowling.  I have to say I'm thrilled with my baby boy blankies.  They are colors I love and patterned with my favorite critters and will keep this little boy warm and protected.  They'll probably keep my lap warm on the couch every now and then too!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Hosenmatz!

I just finished a knitted pair of baby pants from this Hosenmatz pattern!  With the sub-zero weather we've had all week, I wouldn't mind having a pair of these myself!  I used the remaining Zauberball wool I'd used to make a sideways baby jacket.  I think the jacket is too feminine for our son (29 weeks yesterday!) and I had enough to make a 4-7 month size pair of pants.  They are so roomy and have ample front and back gussets for fat diaper butts!
The zauberball yarn is a very fine sock/fingering weight.  I want to make a few more of these and I feel they'll be a little more substantial when knit out of more traditional sock yarn.  I have lots and lots of sock yarn in my stash and I'm loving using it for things other than socks!  To that end, I bought this skein of manly/neutral tones this spring at the fiber festival.  I think it will coordinate nicely with some Gopher items we got on sale.  This boy is going to be a Gopher fan if my husband has anything to do with it!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Secret


I volunteered to bring cookies for our hospital volunteer appreciation coffee and baked peanut butter blossoms this morning.  I haven't made these since last Christmas season I think.  The secret to these cookies is to not freeze them once they are baked.  If you look at the photo, the kisses in the bowl are dull but the kisses on the cookies are glossy and shiny.  If you took a knife to the kisses on the cookies, that chocolate would spread like soft butter.  The candies are placed on the hot cookies once they are taken out of the oven and they soften up and almost melt.  Once the chocolate firms up again, they remain a little glossy and softer to the teeth than they'd be right out of the bag.  Essentially you are tempering the chocolate and if you freeze these to store them, the chocolate loses it's temper and becomes dull and hard again.  The same thing happens with chocolate chip cookies.  I love a soft cookie and there's nothing worse than a soft cookie with a hard wad of chocolate that you have to gnaw and shave with your teeth.  The only trouble though...I started baking a little late this morning and now I'm worried they won't be firm/set enough to stack in a container.  I might have to bring them all spread out in my covered sheet pan.  I'll keep the ones for the volunteers looking nice, but if the extras I baked to fortify myself and my coworkers get a little smeared, they'll taste just as good!  ;)