Friday, February 27, 2015

Skeleton stories

Evelyn has been asking me to make up stories about her lately, and tonight she's been wearing her skeleton costume and I've been telling this story (with a few additions from her) over and over tonight while she acts it out.  I thought it would be fun to write it down:

Once upon a time, there was a little skeleton who lived in a big city.  Her name was Evelyn June Skeleton, and she lived with her family.  They all loved each other very much.  She liked to visit the library, she liked to grow plants, she liked to play with her grandparents, and she liked to build puzzles.

She also liked being very, very spooky.

One night, Evelyn crept out of the city and into the woods of a nearby state park.  She silently walked deep into the woods, over leaves and branches and rocks.  When she came to just the right place, she pulled her telescope out of her bag to look at the full moon.  She studied the moon and the stars.  It was a cold and windy night, and she was so happy to be outdoors.

When she was done looking at the moon and the stars, she packed up her telescope and began creeping back through the woods.  She saw owls and possums and racoons.

Then! She saw a campfire.  A family of campers was gathered around the fire.  Evelyn came closer.  The owls said "hoo hoo".  And Evelyn said "hoo hoo".

"Did you hear something?" one of the campers asked.  Just as the family started to look around, Evelyn jumped out of woods and into the light!  The campers screamed with fear.  Evelyn screamed with happiness.  She jumped over the fire and back into the woods.  She watched from a high tree as the campers searched for her.

Then when she was ready, she went home.  She spookily climbed into her cozy bed, pulled up her warm covers, and fell asleep.  It was a perfect, spooky night.

The End.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Yarn and meat

From this weekend onward, I got to work on knitting and crocheting up some partial skeins of Patons Roving yarn that I had leftover from projects/balls wound up from unraveled projects.  I made a hat for myself from this Purl Bee pattern, a pinkish hat for Evelyn where I was just kind of winging it, and the granny squares are going to be a tea pot cozy for Cody once I get finished with some seaming and fiddling around.

I also knit a hat for Ellis that used my brown and white scraps of Lion Brand Thick and Quick. Ellis currently only has one hat that fits him--okay, only one hat that I have made for him and I think that's all that matters--and I used the Split Brim Toddler Hat pattern that I love so much.

And I'm still plugging away on the sock yarn granny square blanket every now and then.  I'm up to 23 squares and I have a lot of tan yarn left. 


So.  The hat I made last night counts as getting rid of something for Lent.  And tonight I came home to find that Cody had used up the last of the frozen meatball mix (he got kind of carried away one time) and some cans of tomatoes for spaghetti sauce.  Man, I love when we store leftovers in the freezer and actually use them. So yay for using things up to make good things and yay for enjoying some tortellini with a different sauce!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fits and starts

On Sunday night, Cody and I took on a bigger project of going through everything stored under our bed.  We threw out some papers, found some picture frames, added some books to our donation pile, and I went through some t-shirts for Evelyn.  Also, I had to wedge myself under the bed to replace a stander in the middle of the bed and nearly suffocated myself even though Cody was lifting the bed frame as much as he could without making the box spring mattress fall off the frame.  It was terrible, but cathartic to clear out some things I thought I'd already gotten rid of.

On Monday, Cody and Evelyn went through some boxes in her room.  Cody moved the crate that holds Evelyn's shoes, as well as the basket that holds her hats and scarves, to another part of her room that cleared up the flow of the room a bit.  When Evelyn was stalling sleep and sobbing hysterically at 11:30 last night, she said she wanted her room back the way it was and so I fixed it and then had to snuggle her for 30 or 40 minutes and sing Nickelback songs to her.

Tonight I went through the stacks of....whatever it is that gets piled up on my bedside table.  I put some of my books back on the shelf, found some more lotion (another fun discovery from cleaning out from under the bed: foot lotion! I'm going to have such beautiful feet!), and tossed some papers and placed some important copies of papers in a place where they're way less likely to get wrinkled or lost.

Cody thinks we should be fine to skip some weekdays and then schedule big projects for the weekends.  That just kind of fills me with a sense of dread and makes me want to procrastinate forever.  I like puttering in tiny fits and starts after Evelyn goes to bed. I do think some time soon we'll be doing a big going-through with her because she's very fixated on whether a toy is a baby toy or a big kid toy. 

This, for example, is a big kid toy.
She's apparently decided that anything that can even be remotely considered to be a baby toy needs to go to Ellis.  It looks like she's ready to move on!  I'm kind of excited, but also feel like maybe I should apologize to Laine.  Because girlfriend is feeling generous and Ellis is about to get some loud and obnoxious things.  And also several pairs of little girl pajamas.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Behind the TV

Last night, we went through our bathroom cabinets and drawers.  Tonight we went through the stuff behind the TV.  I didn't take before and after pictures because that's incredibly boring.  It's boring enough to tell you that we cleaned behind our television and underneath the table it sits on.  Cody had suggested cleaning under our bed, but I think that should wait for a weekend. 

When I came home from work today the apartment was halfway covered in space stuff.  Story time at our little library had been all about space, and since Evelyn was the only one to show up she got to bring home the jet pack.  I think the space helmet craft was for everyone.

 Also, there is a string tied to the ceiling fan that connects to the corner of our table so that Evelyn can fly a rocket around.  It's fantastic.

This is the stuff I want filling up my home.  I went ahead and started another blanket just because I've known how I wanted to make it for quite a while now.  My life is full of stressors right now and starting new projects makes me happy.  It doesn't bother me right now to have several half-finished projects all over the place, and I think this will go pretty quickly.

I could use the instant gratification, and I think this will look nice over the back of my office chair.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lent in progress

Would you believe I started crocheting granny squares out of sock yarn before the snow and ice hit?  Because this seems like the kind of thing a person does when they get cabin fever.

But no.

I started crocheting granny squares with sock yarn a couple of weeks ago as part of a craft challenge where we're supposed to use up stash yarn.  I have an oddly large stash of sock yarn for someone who doesn't like knitting socks, but I grabbed up a lot one time when Leisure Arts was doing a purge and I figured I could use it for some other kinds of projects.  The brown squares you see are yarn I bought myself to crochet a shawl.  I didn't want to finish it, so I haven't.  Instead, I've unraveled it and a few other projects to use up all my sock yarn in solid colors and an F hook. 

Oh yes.  That's solid colors only.  And it's just your standard ol' Patons.  The multicolored and/or fancy stuff is still sitting in a box, all safe and ready for more fun.  I think I have ten squares' worth of yarn left and then I'll have a small throw.  I like starting throws.  It's probably my new favorite thing, which would explain why I started a garter stitch blanket out of some bulky yarn scraps a couple of hours ago. 

I am not a Lent person.  Cody is.  We were talking over dinner about ways to observe Lent and I tossed out the idea of decluttering for Lent.  Because I know people usually go without something to reflect on sacrifice and be more mindful, but I like the literal idea of cutting things out.  With a growing girl and busy schedules, we catch our small space filling up with things we can't enjoy pretty quickly.  I'm not trying to be flippant about Lent and sacrifices (just wanted to put that out there because I'm occasionally pretty flippant about Catholicism, but mostly because I saw someone being kind of belligerent on Facebook about Protestants observing Lent and now I'm nervous), but I did really enjoy making a granny square a day for Advent before holiday crafting took over.  There's something nice about doing an activity to help you reflect on something. 

It's a super busy time of year, and I like the idea of being more mindful.  I'm hoping that once Easter gets here, we'll feel a little lighter and more grateful and ready for spring.  It's easy to focus on what we don't have, but I know going through all the things we do have always helps me be more grateful.  I want to make space for things that we love (or just be able to find them!), and pass on the things we don't need.  I'm not sure quite how we'll do this, but Cody liked the idea.  Maybe he just liked it because I'm trying to participate in something that's important to him.  Maybe he just wants to find the sleeping bag I told him we have somewhere in the house.  Our goal is to go through a space each day.  I think tonight we'll go through the cabinets in the bathroom and throw away things that are expired or mostly used up and take stock of what we need.  Cody decimated our first aid supplies last week when he sliced off the tip of  a finger using a mandolin slicer--but good news! He tossed the mandolin slicer!  (It felt gross to think about donating it knowing how many times he's bled on the poor thing.)

So I think I'll try to post about it here and there.  I'm usually in a constant state of decluttering--5 scrap yarn blanket projects and counting!--but I like the idea of us doing something together in a focused way for a certain amount of time.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ice day

Girlfriend has been waiting on a snow day since some time before Christmas, so we went out on the balcony this morning to see if we could make a snowman.

We couldn't.  But I didn't show her how ice is shaped differently than snow particles and she stayed outside even after I fled indoors because sleet and my glasses don't mix.  She enjoyed making footprints and putting ice in her mouth when she thought we weren't watching through the window.

Her dad had hot chocolate and oatmeal waiting for her when she came in.  I hope your ice day was just as mundane and safe as ours.  Stay warm.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A book list for 2014

I got this email from the library last week and realized that maybe I'm not going to finish this biography of Hildegard of Bingen any time soon.  I love her a lot, but I've been renewing this book since OCTOBER. 
 I'll try again some other time.  I'm about a month away from taking a break from reading anything, and I've only finished one book this month. I didn't finish any in January.  Oh well.  At least I'm finally posting my list of books read in 2014!  Library books are marked with asterisks, as always.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Douglas Adams
Last Bus to Woodstock: An Inspector Morse Mystery. Colin Dexter.
The Mystery of the Third Mile. --.
A Discovery of Witches. Deborah Harkness*
Shadow of Night. --.*
The Tree of Life. --.*
Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, ed. Ann Hood
 Another Man's Moccasins. Craig Johnson.*
Any Other Name. --.*
As the Crow Flies. --.*
The Cold Dish. --.*
Dark Horse. --.*
Death Without Company. --.*
Hell is Empty. --.*
Junkyard Dogs. --.*
Kindness Goes Unpunished. --.*
A Serpent’s Tooth. --.*
Spirit of Steamboat. --.*
Broke is Beautiful: Living and Loving the Cash-Strapped Life. Laura Lee.
The Graveminder. Melissa Marr.*
Homeward Bound: Why More Women are Embracing the New Domesticity. Emily Matcher.*
The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting. Clara Parkes*

This was the year I enjoyed books by knitters, books about dry detectives, and a silly trilogy about witches and vampires and history.  I'm not sure what, if any, theme will emerge for 2015's reading selection.  Evelyn's in our little library's reading program for kids to read 1,000 books before kindergarten and a sick part of me is wondering if we can hit that by the end of the year.  I don't put her books on my reading list, but I am thinking about jumping into a few chapter books with her some time soon.  Any recommendations for either of us are super welcome.

Currently reading Beowulf and wishing I could get into fairy tales.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A post for Mom's anniversary

Another year, another knitted thing.

This time it was another iteration of the Age of Brass & Steam shawl with thick and thin bulky weight yarn I bought back in September.  I've made this shawl 3 times in the past 2 months and this is actually the second one I've made for Mom.  I liked the texture of the yarn for this project, but I was a little nervous about all the blue pooling up in the knitting because Mom asked me last year if I could make her fewer things with blue yarn.  I hadn't thought too much about it until I saw where she hangs up all her scarves and cowls and all that business was probably 90% blue!  Whoops.  Mom likes blue, and I like blue yarn.  I also like knitting for her because she is constantly cold, takes really good care of all her knitted things, and wears everything I make for her with pride and joy.  It's a really nice thing about her.  I gave her the shawl on Friday because she came to watch Evelyn and she wore it.

Evelyn and I met up with Mom and Dad on Saturday just to see them.  Saturday was Mom's 12th anniversary of being cancer-free and I'm glad we got to tag along.  I had already hiked Pinnacle that morning and taken Evelyn to the zoo, but we were both just ready for...more.  We had lunch and Starbucks got to wander around plant nurseries because this year Mom wants a miniature maple instead of roses.  I appreciated them sharing the day with us, because sometimes I just want to hover.  Especially around this time of year. 

Mom has been cancer-free for well over a decade and we're all very thrilled.  So much so that we still buy plants and make shawls.  I didn't explain the day in great deal to Evelyn, but I did say that it was a happy day for Gil and that it was the anniversary of her getting happy news. And that that meant we had to leave the Good Earth Garden Center and get some warm coffee somewhere even though Evelyn wanted to play on their swing set forever.

And then Mom accidentally ordered a frappucino and let Evelyn drink some of it. Evelyn sat in her lap and told her "Happy anniversa-weeeee!" Life is sweet, and definitely worth celebrating.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday: I do things and stuff

Hello!!  I have projects I want to talk about!

This is my Linus shawl.  It should use up 2 skeins (450 yards) of some lightweight wool I've had for nearly 2 years.  It's one of those patterns where you knit the same two rows over and over again.  It's really boring and I don't have time for it right now.  But the next time we drive somewhere for more than an hour you can be sure this will be riding with me!

And here's my Super Easy Crocheted Baby Blanket.  It's one of those glorious Purl Bee patterns that I adapted to fit my own stash and the result is, of course, a little less than glorious.  I'm happy with the colors I have, and how this is turning out.  But I don't think I can give this to a baby!  It's 7 stripes that are around 6" each and I'm on color #7 now. 

In case you can't quite tell, that's a dark brown.  And I had to buy it!  I had some dark brown when I started this project, but then it got used up for some granny squares.  Same for the hunter green I bought as well.  Oh well.  I can keep all of my acrylic yarn in one zip-up comforter bag and I'm making some lovely blankets even though I thought I'd ease up on the blanket-making in 2015.  Whatever.  I have at least two blueish green skeins that could look nice with these colors.  The blanket is nearly 3' wide, so this could turn into a nice couch blanket for a grown-up.

And this blanket is nearly bed-size.  At least, twin bed-sized. 

The blue is nearly a full pound of yarn, so I'm going to be using this color a while.  I chained 164 stitches, which might have been too many now that I think about it.  Whatever.  I'm alternating single crochet stitches and double crochet stitches for a bit of texture and because all of the single crochet stitches of the other blanket are getting a little boring.

I have the rest of my colors picked out!

I may add some greens to this. I'm not sure.  I don't know who's getting these projects, and that's kind of exciting all by itself.  Taking care  of so much stash yarn is also exciting, though.  The living room floor is looking a bit better, and just having the yarn committed to projects makes me happy.  

Monday, February 2, 2015


In case you were wondering, Evelyn picked out a Dora the Explorer balloon a few weeks ago when she went to the grocery store.

I knitted her a scarf.

I knitted me a scarf.

 We've been looking at schools and I've been even more pathetic and emotional than usual over it.  I would love to imply that I've been doing careful research, but really all I care about is putting Evelyn in a nice environment where people will be nice to her.  That's it.  She's  a bright girl and will excel at learning some things and have some hangups with learning other things.  She's your average bright little kid and she's the light of my life.  All I care about is her being happy and safe and maybe just sorta kinda learning how to be in a school setting in the next year or two.

Evelyn has been really interested in sewing these animals lately.  She was tickled to know that her Gil bought these for her back when she was in my belly.  She's improved a little since I took this picture over the weekend, but this has been one of her main activities for the past few days. 

She really loves sewing on one of these creations and giving them to people to snuggle.  When my mom sewed up a red lamb for her on Friday, Evelyn was full of effusive praise.  If nothing else, she's really picked up on how to appreciate handmade gifts.

We went to Michaels on Saturday morning and she carried the shopping basket for me at least part of the time.  I bought yarn for the first time in a couple of months, which included some light pink Red Heart (368 yards! Whee!) that Evelyn thought she needed.  She wound up needing a lot of things, it turned out.  One of them was a new set of window decorations.  I really love what she chose.  This is what she looks at when she eats at her spot at the table.

Cody and I are both busy with work.  But yay for employment!!  His work busyness should slow down in the next week or two and he can go back to being our chief errand-runner and playground visitor.  My work should calm down in the next....4 or 5 months?  I don't know.  I'm having my rear end handed to me every single day and I feel like my brain is probably getting pretty worn out in the process as well.  Cool.  I didn't finish a single book in January, and I'm just now realizing I still haven't posted my book list for 2014!  I'll get to it sometime.  No rush.  


Things are pretty good around here.  We're staying warm, and Evelyn and I are mostly over the cold that we got a week or so ago (our third one this winter! Awesome! At least Cody avoided it this go-round), and we've been enjoying our crafts.  I knit.  She paints.  It's a nice little existence.