Thursday, March 29, 2007

love thursday

(a condensed version) this week I am loving....

knitting with good friends....stuffing tummies with corned beef & cabbage + boiled corned beef sanniches with the leftovers....little boys playing trains together....honey in my tea and on my face. ...playdates at the park....finding my P&S camera after 'losing' it for three days....a clean, shiny sink (even if it only happens once a week)....a neatened pantry....the way Monkey Boy looks like he's dancing when he runs....finding $20 in the dryer screen when doing laundry (finders' keepers!)....Little Man holding hands with his friends as they all go 'hiking' in the bushes next to the park....laying on the lawn with LM and looking up at the blue of the sky....hearing "conjunction junction, what you funkshun" from Monkey Boy....reading books with small men before bedtime....

what are you loving this week?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

convenience crafting

Little Man attended a birthday party for one of his preschool friends tonight. The honoree was a girl turning five. Since I have absolutely no clue what the cool gift for girls at this age is, I asked my mother-of-three-girls-neighbor for some suggestions. A few days ago Little Man & I headed to the local Le Tar-jay and picked up some Polly Pockets based on my friend's comments and LM's ideas (he wanted something with animals in it so we got a set with dogs & cats...I think the doll is supposed to be a vet?).

I wanted to use one of my already purchased little totes for a gift bag, but it looked soooo boring as is. It needed some gussying up!

day 81 of 365/photo a day

I sewed up a couple of "yo-yos" from scrap fabric pieces and added vintage buttons. Originally I was planning on embroider the little girl's initial on the bag, but after about six tries I gave up. I was attempting to put Monkey Boy down for his nap and did all the sewing in the rocking chair in his room (getting up every 10 minutes to tell him to close his eyes and go to sleep). You can probably tell how distracted I was by the somewhat wonky embroidered stems:

yo-yos closeup

Whew, that's some mighty messy stitching! Oh well, I still think the bag came out pretty cute. And the project lasted long enough for Monkey Boy to finally fall asleep- how convenient!

Friday, March 23, 2007

first words

Little Man's first written words
Little Man's first written words

Thursday, March 22, 2007

love thursday & a crafty FO

this week I'm loving-

-the silence that befalls our house after 8pm when the small men are in bed and snoozing (can you tell that the Dearest is still out of town?)

-ice cream 'staches:

day 74/photo a day
day 74 of 365

-linear thinking:
linear thinking 2

-my new foundation from Meow Cosmetics (try it, you'll like it! And samples are only $1!)

-being blessed with a funny, sweet and supportive extended family

-the local library's online catalog...I can put all my books on hold and pick them up at our local branch. No more searching thru the stacks for me!

-banana chocolate chip muffins....with the banana and some whole wheat flour, these might actually be a little healthy....right?

-my new traveling bag, made in a frantic haste the night before leaving for San Francisco (because you HAVE to have a new bag when traveling! And what possesses me to start crafting the night before I'm supposed to leave???):

the front

the back

I've been eyeing the tape measure fabric for weeks and finally purchased some not too long ago. Love the pattern, but I wasn't sure what to use it turned out perfect for straps and a pocket on this little bag.

The beige twill material is some clearance linen-like stuff I had in my stash forever. It's quite thick and I think it's cotton. I tried to get a good shot of the interior of the bag, which is lined in a contrasting fabric, but the light wasn't cooperating with me. :( There are two large pockets inside- big enough for keys and a cellphone (or BART tickets and some extra change). The lining is lightly interfaced, but I probably could have done without that since the beige twill is quite heavy.

I didn't follow a pattern for the bag, just kinda threw it together. I wanted something quite deep and not too wide so things wouldn't fall out while I was walking around SF. The bag turned out perfect- my camera, wallet and phone fit perfectly with room to spare for a map and bottle of water. We even threw some sticky buns in there while walking through Chinatown.

on the shoulder

The big button is vintage from the stash G'Ma O gave me last year. There was a funny pucker at the top when I finished topstitching the bag and I covered it up with the button...which also happens to close up the top perfectly.

I like this bag so much that I've been using is in lieu of my normal diaperbag/purse since getting back from San Francisco even tho it's a bit too small for that. I might just have to make another, bigger one for everyday use.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

how i spent my weekend....the obligatory slide show

For those who guessed, yes we were in San Francisco this weekend. By "we", I mean the Dearest and I...sans les enfants terribles. That's right: 24 hours in a strange city by ourselves with no schedules to worry about but our own, no having to say "leave your brother alone", no wiping noses (or butts), no diapers, no hauling a bag full of someone else's stuff around, no conversations revolving around Legos or trains....

Can I just get a big WOOOOOOOOT?!?

I missed the small men, but I was soooo happy to have some time alone with the Dearest. We haven't been on a trip together since before Little Man was born 4.5 yrs ago. The last time I was on a plane, we were flying to Europe with LM when he was one year old. I'd forgotten how much easier it is to travel when children aren't involved.

As any parent knows, vacationing with kids is NOT a vacation. It's often more trouble and headache than it's worth. The Dearest has been talking about going on a family vacation for the last couple of years. When he brings it up, I just stare bug eyed at him and think of all the work it will take for us to get on a's exhausting just thinking about flying, nevermind getting around when we land. And dealing with two active small men in a strange hotel room? Umm....yah....that sounds about relaxing as a poke in the eye.

But a few weeks ago the Dearest talked to his mother (known around here as G'ma O) and asked if she could watch the small ones for a night or two if he could arrange for me to go with him to San Francisco. G'ma O jumped at the chance to hang out with the grandkids, and the Dearest got everything together so I fly up with him early on Sunday, then fly back late Monday night. It meant only about 24 hrs together in SF, but that sounded great to me!

San Francisco has always been one of my favorite cities. I've only been there twice but loved it both times. If I ever had to live in a big city, SF would be my first choice (Amsterdam would be my 2nd). Despite the fact that cities don't generally appeal to me (too much noise and too many people), something about the atmosphere in San Francisco makes me feel comfortable. Maybe it's the fog coming off the bay or all the crazy hills...who knows?

At any rate, we dropped the small men off at G'ma O's early Sunday morning and headed off to the airport. After a quick one hour flight, we landed in Oakland and took BART across to San Francisco proper. It's amazing that we traveled so far so quickly and for only a few dollars. Gotta love that public transportation (of which Southern Cal has practically none). The BART station was literally steps from the hotel so we were able to check in and drop our bags off within an hour of stepping off the plane.

Then it was off for some sightseeing. The hotel was right on Market Street, within easy walking distance of Chinatown, Nob Hill, Union Square and pretty much all the other tourist attractions.

So what did we do in San Francisco? We walked, took the trolley, walked some more, ate, drank coffee & did some uninterrupted people watching. Oh, and I also took photos (of course! LOL):

the Bay from 17 floors up
the view from our room (best viewed large)

First we headed off to Chinatown where we stumbled across an amazing park. There was a fun play structure in the shape of a pagoda and a great view of the Transamerica building (which I posted previously). Here's another shot of the can see the pagoda play structure in the foreground-

Transamerica building (of course)

And everywhere we looked, there were old Chinese aunties slapping cards and dominoes down on upended cardboard boxes...
aunties playing cards

More Chinatown shots:


"tourists welcome"
"tourists welcome"

Then we started walking up Nob Hill. About halfway up, we stopped wondering why the sidewalk was so deserted (these two guys were the only people we saw the whole way).
yes, we actually walked UP Nob Hill

We stopped at Grace Cathedral to catch our breath (I didn't realize that it's a replica of Notre wonder it looked so familiar!):

grace cathedral

Then it was down to Union Square, where our rumbly tummies reminded us that it had been quite a while since we'd eaten. Faced with a choice between Daily Grill and Lefty O'Doul's, we went with the latter when we saw the "children welcome" sign. We figured that any place serving beer and allowing kids must have decent pub food, and we weren't disappointed:

dinner is served

It was cafeteria style (where you grab a tray and are served from hot plates), but still pretty good and *very* filling. We wandered around some more after eating and then headed back to a coffee shop near the hotel for some cafe lattes and people watching before turning in.

SF skyline @ night
Aren't city skylines pretty at night?

The next morning started with the luxury of breakfast in our room....Can I just say that I can't remember the last time I actually sat down to eat breakfast? Usually I'm rushing around so much in the morning that I feed the small men at the table and if I actually eat, it's leftovers crammed into my mouth between washing dishes and loading kids into the car. Most of the time I forget to eat and survive on coffee till lunchtime.

Sorry no photos of the delicious fruit tray and egg/sausage breakfast due to our state of undress and the fact that I was too lazy to actually move from my chair to get the camera. :)

Since we did so much walking the day before, we were determined to have the total tourist experience and ride a trolley/cable car. We got on at the Market Street/Powell stop. This is also where they have a cool roundtable to turn the trolleys around. I taped it just for Monkey Boy (who is obsessed with trains/trolleys and roundtables), but you can enjoy it too. If you turn up your volume you can hear all the background city noise.

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We headed down to Fisherman's Wharf, which is lined by dozens of amazingly ugly and colorful shops selling the same t-shirts & souvenirs. I loved the whole tacky, carnival-ish feel. We ate at Boudin: clam & corn/crab chowder in bread bowls. Yum. Perfect to warm us up on a foggy SF day. It was too foggy to see the Golden Gate Bridge (we could only see the bottom half), but Alcatraz was quite visible:

alcatraz on a gloomy day

We walked down the wharf a ways...

bay bridge
(that's the Bay Bridge, not the Golden Gate)

And caught a streetcar to the Embarcadero. The Dearest's client is in one of these big buildings:

the embarcadero

Finally we decided to catch one last trolley ride up California Street and back toward the hotel. Here's a typical touristy shot:
typical tourist shot
(yup, I'm hiding in there)

And finally, a shot down California Street, looking back toward the Bay...
California Street

Then the clock struck midnight and the carriage horses turned back into mice and Cinderella the Princess turned back into a maid....OOPS, I mean:

Then it was time to pack up and head back to the airport. I got back to G'ma O's house around 7:30pm and the small men were overjoyed to see me. I was pretty happy to see them too, even if I did just have a wonderful time without them!

So now we're back to our regular schedule of school, swim and housecleaning. And if you were able to stick it out through all those photos, you should go get yourself a treat!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

the reason for the radio silence

a long, picture heavy post upcoming....but here's just a glimpse of my weekend:

Saturday, March 17, 2007

saturday sky 03.17.07

blue view
Originally uploaded by shizzknits.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

the party 'bot

Robot, that is:

The Party Robot shirt

I've been seeing lots of crafty bloggers making cool tshirts with double-sided fusible web (sold here under the name "Wonderunder") and wanted to try some myself. So I pulled out the scrap basket and made Little Man a 'new' tshirt with a robot appliqued on the front.

After ironing the pieces onto the tshirt, I embroidered around the edges. Since I'm still a total noob at embroidering, it's not the neatest job but Little Man thinks it's perfect. I like the how the shirt turned out too. As soon as LM saw it, he said "That robot is wearing a party hat! It's a party robot shirt!"

I see some more projects using applique and fusible web in the future.

Monday, March 12, 2007

monday musings

Bloggers are the nicest people around- I got some kind comments and emails after my whiney post yesterday. I almost feel like apologizing for whining- so many people out there have much worse problems than mine. That's why I rarely post 'bad stuff' here...not to say that my life doesn't have its ups and downs, but I try to keep looking at the upside even when I'm frustrated or out of sorts.

And just to be clear, I'm not going to get a nomination for SuperMom of the Year any time soon! There are plenty of days where I lose my temper and do my fair share of screeching at my small ones. There are days where I don't want to pull out more play-doh or paint and make another mess to clean up. There are days where I count the minutes till the afternoon naptime/quiet time, when I can have an hour of peace & no one is demanding anything of me. Days where I'm exhausted at 9am and wondering how the hell I'm going to make it to 6pm! Being a momma is hard hard hard work- 95% drudgery, 3% soul searing fear and 2% overwhelming joy.

I just try really hard to keep 'bad days' to a minimum & to make them few and far between. I try to remember how deep my blessings run and how lucky I really am. I live for that 2% of joy & hold onto it for dear life when it happens. And hopefully I'll raise some loving, confident and thoughtful human beings in the process.

Anyhew on to the crafting (which is why you're here, no?)-

Lots of good bloggy vibes were sent my way after my whine, which is probably why I was able to sit down and complete a sewing project yesterday afternoon:

tote bag + pencil/sketchbook case

It's a tote bag+pencil/sketchbook case for my newly-turned 3yr old niece, Little Red. The pencil case is based on the tute from One Red Robin. I had made the pencil case previously, but still had to complete the tote bag before the party.

Monkey Boy wasn't keen on taking a nap due to the time change so I slipped a DVD in and retreated to my room to do some super quick cutting and sewing. Here's the pencil case outside:
day 68 of 365/photo a day

and inside:
inside the pencil/sketchbook case
I used Crayola Twisteables because they're easy for little ones to use without breaking. The sketchpad is 8x6.

The tote bag was just a simple patchwork- I only had about an hour to make it so it's not lined. Monkey Boy heard the sewing machine and came looking for me after about 20 minutes of watching the DVD. So I had a little helper- he 'pushed' the fabric through my sewing machine & pressed the button that raises the needle. Here he models the finished tote bag:

tote bag on the arm

The straps were a little wonky due to Monkey Boy's 'help', but I think it still turned out ok. I put some cute little books into the bag along with the pencil case. Then we were off to the party, where we took lots of pictures, ate lots of sugary stuff and otherwise enjoyed ourselves.

I hope Little Red enjoys her tote bag and pencil case. Little Man saw the case and wanted one of his own made out of pirate fabric. So I guess I'll have to make another!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

today I'm....


feeling crafty urges, but feeling too blah to craft (nevermind no one to watch the littles- I dunno how other bloggers craft while their kids are underfoot)

needing my morning coffee very very badly

tired of cleaning cleaning cleaning cleaning ....and did I mention cleaning?

just plain tired

/end whine

Thursday, March 08, 2007

love thursday

Here we are again- has it already been a week since last Thursday?! Time flies, I guess! This week, I'm loving:

-listening to Monkey Boy & Little Man as we drive down the road at night-
MB: "Monsta! Heeeer come monsta, Ba-wai!" (Ba-wai is his word for brother)
LM: "Don't worry, I'll shot the monster with my golden pencils"
MB: "Shoot! Shoot! Me shoot!"
LM: (turns on overhead light) "This will scare the monsters away!"
MB: "Monsta go! You! Light! Monsta run!"
LM: (turns off light and makes shooting noises out the window)
MB: "Hep! Monsta coming, Ba-wai!"
LM: "Momma can drive faster than the monsters-"
MB: "Go fasta, mommy!"

They only play this little game a night in the car, and it's always started by Monkey Boy. One of these days I'll have to get the camera out to tape it.

-my new iron. We've had the same iron for probably 10 years- it was a hand me down from my dad's house when I moved out. The steam function hasn't worked in forever, and the temp control is kinda wonky (it doesn't get hot enough to press for quilting anymore). So I finally got sick of it and bought a new iron. Nothing fancy, but the new one is a lot lighter and actually produces steam. I sewed up a couple of pillowcases last night and it was so much easier to have working iron for pressing!

-fabric stash enhancement:

day 60 of 365/photo a day

-watching the small men play in the local pop fountain last weekend when the temps hit 80+ degress:
day 61 of 365/photo a day

-cardboard boxes

-Soulemama's new aprons/smocks

-cookies and milk for breakfast (don't tell the small men)

What are you loving this week?

Monday, March 05, 2007

blooming feet socks DONE

After much ripping, some cursing and about three sets of toes, I finally finished my Blooming Feet pal's socks!

blooming feet socks DONE

These were are a simple twisted rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. My pal had warned me that she had big feet (size 10) so I was nervous about knitting something lacy or complicated for fear that I wouldn't get done in time. The ribbing was easy enough (a two row repeat), and I jazzed it up by using some of my own handspun. The orange handspun is BFL from Dicentra Designs. I picked up the purple/orange handspun from LPK for contrast and because the completely orange sock incarnation of these was just too ORANGE.

It's really difficult to knit a pair of socks for someone when you can't get them to try the socks on as you go. I had my pal's basic foot measurements and I'm confident the socks match them, but you never really know if they're going to fit till the recipient puts them on!

I had to rip the toe of the first sock out three times, and the toe of the second sock twice due to some silly mistakes on my part. Plus I wanted the socks to be perfect because they were for someone else. If they had been for me, I would have had no problem with the mistakes I'd made....but no way was I going to send them off with 'oopsies' in them!

Now that the socks are done, I can look for some fun little surprises to throw into my pal's package before I mail them off. And I can't wait till I get my own pair of Blooming Feet socks from *my* pal!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

love thursday


-the call of "trash truck! trash truck!" every Thursday morning as Monkey Boy and Little Man climb up onto the top bunk to look out the window as said vehicle makes its way around our cul-de-sac

-coming out one morning and seeing this:
day 56 of 365/photo a day
evidently, LM was having a 'sleepover' & MB got out his own blanket/pillow to imitate big brother.

-how Monkey Boy can pronounce lots of words really well, but still calls LM "ba-wai" (for 'brother')

-insulated coffee mugs- so I can make coffee in the AM and still drink it hot two hours later (because any mom knows how difficult it is to actually get a cup of warm coffee)

-curbside-to-go at the local restuarant (where they bring the food to your car & you don't have to get out when picking up a to-go order)

-Monkey Boy blowing kisses & laughing when I 'catch' them

-toddler toes

practice makes perfect

-how Little Man has to read a story out of his children's bible every night, then take the bible up into his bed with him. He sleeps with it next to his pillow!

-how Monkey Boy sees trains everywhere (he even pointed at this screen on my laptop and claimed there was a train on it)

what are you loving this Thursday?