Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Husband's scarf 2010

Husband doesn't ask for much. Maybe for me to cook a certain favorite meal of his every few weeks, but on the main, he's pretty negative maintenance. Which is nice, but it means that I have to try extra hard to be thoughtful because he never makes statements like, "I'd like so-and-so" or "I wish I had this-and-that" or "such-and-such is pretty cool." It also means that when he does ask for something, I almost always oblige.

His latest request was a few weeks ago at Hobby Lobby. He picked out this yarn and asked me to make him a scarf: my first thought? "really? it's kind of ugly."
This yarn is VERY similar to the yarn I use to make dish clothes. it's 100% cotton and easy to work with but not something I make scarves with a lot. In fact, I've only made a scarf for me, a scarf for a friend's daughter and a baby blanket out of it. (peaches 'n cream is what I used for those, this is a little different)

But, it was on sale and he doesn't ask for much. I'll admit I picked out a few yarns I'd rather work with but he stuck to his original idea. ok, ok. fine. I'll make you a dish cloth/baby blanket scarf) I *do* like mine after all. and it just gets softer and softer with age. My main hangup was the color.

The problem I had was I didn't know how many balls I needed. There was a pattern for a dishcloth included that used 2 balls. hmm. So in the spirit of wanting too much instead of not enough, we got 8 balls. excessive? yes.

this is Husband with the finished scarf and the 4.5 balls I had leftover!
He really likes it and I think the color goes well with his ginger beard. I'll admit, I like the finished product much more than the balls of yarn!

I did a very standard double crochet, but instead of working it length wise like I do for every other scarf I've ever made, I worked it width wise. (I got the idea from the recent baby blanket and the kids' Christmas blankets) I really like the unique look it gives the scarf. It definitely makes it look harder than it was.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Food Day Friday: Thanksgiving dessert

We had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. Husband and I spent the morning cooking, the afternoon eating and the evening visiting.

We (I say "we" loosely because I had very little to do with the desserts) made two desserts. A Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake (thank you, December issue of Southern Living) and a pecan pie (from pecans from our tree!)

This is the cheesecake
Husband made the crust (chocolate graham - the one deviation from the recipe) and the filling.
I made the ganache and the snow flake (both were really easy and fun)
I definitely didn't follow the stencil exactly. I was rushing and not being patient enough to trace it exactly. Next time, I'll be more confident and take my time so it doesn't look so rushed.
btw, it is rich and so amazingly delicious.

The pecan pie.
Husband makes the best pecan pie I've ever had. ever.
It's the crust. But I have no idea how he makes it besides butter and flour.

Shelling our pecans.
This really was a fantastic year for our pecan tree. In the four years that I've lived here we've never been able to collect more than a couple of pocketfuls of pecans each season. This year we shelled over EIGHT CUPS. That's a lot of pecan pies and four really sore hands! I was joking that all of our squirrels must have moved away and that was the reason we'd been able to collect so many.

This was after our first hour of shelling. Husband is saving the shells for some grilling purpose.

This our pecans after the first hour. Not even a little dent in the huge Aldi bag of pecans we collected. We had a long way to go.

It was definitely neat to have a dessert made from food we've grown (not that we grow or tend to the pecan tree, but it is in our yard! Mainly we're just glad it shades our house and hope it never falls on our house during a bad storm!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 nativity scene 1

As soon as walmart starting putting their Christmas stuff out (around Halloween) I was there. walking around, wishing, planning, etc. I found this:

and bought it.

baby Jesus.
My criteria for adding to my collection myself is pretty simple:
  1. it must be cheap (less than $15)
  2. it must not look like a set I already have.
Since Jennifer mentioned that her family has a ceramic bisque set that they painted, I've been on the look out for a set for us. Especially since Daughter is loving that new craft genre. In 30 years I would love to have a set that we worked on together. I'd even let the fellas help so it could be a family project. ;-) I haven't found an entire set on ebay yet. I definitely have not found any at the big box craft stores. I have found some reasonably priced ones on a website, but I'm waiting until I can search more before I commit to one.

Daughter's first college football game

Thursday, Husband and Daughter headed west to Tuscaloosa for her first college football game. She had a blast!

I talked up Big Al a lot like I talked up The Gopher for her first high school game. I even showed her a picture I had made with Big Al when Husband and I went to our first Bama game together in 2006. I didn't want her to be afraid of him like I was afraid of a GIGANTIC Papa Smurf when I was three. Seriously, that guy was only supposed to be three apples high. And he wasn't!

Husband said she was on the lookout for Big Al the minute they stepped into the stadium!

watching the warmups from her seat

FINALLY she found him down with the cheerleaders.
Down the steps they went and soon she was sitting on the fence with Big Al's big elephant paw wrapped around her.
She said he was "friendly and cool."

Back to their seats for some football and self portraits.

the pregame show

She had a shaker with her but when I asked her if she used it, she said, "not very much. I just used my hands."

french fry break

before halftime she announced she was cold and needed her hat and scarf and jacket (she also had gloves but decided she'd just put her hand in her pockets.
heading down the stairs at halftime. (Husband said if she made it to halftime then the night was a success)

walking around at the quad

wow, I love this kid.

another self portrait

this picture reminded me of a fun day Brooke and I had taking pictures on the Gorgas steps

Husband said she hugged, kissed and professed her love for the fire hydrant. seriously.
We're both so glad she had a great time and she's still talking about her friend the elephant (who she calls "big owl."

The orange scarves

A couple of weeks ago Daughter picked out two balls of yarn so I could make her and Son "matching" scarves. (By matching I mean the same color, but not the same pattern)

This is what she picked.
(I have this yarn in light blue and dark blue but haven't used it yet. I liked working with theirs and it gave me a better idea of what to do with the blues)

for DAYS after I bought this yarn, I heard, "I love orange, Mommy," OVER and OVER again.
excited much? I loved it.
I bought two balls.

Daughter's scarf
I did the basket weave ends and single crochet middle. That pattern takes a LOT of yarn so she went over on her one ball allotment by about half a ball.
I love that scrunch face!

a darker closeup so you can see the work a little better.

After toiling on Daughter's scarf for about 12 hours, it was great to sit down and knock out Son's double treble stitch in about 3 hours. (yes, that's how many hours the basket weave takes. It's definitely the most labor intensive (and uses the most yarn) of any pattern I do right now.
I love how he's in the pose and say "cheeeeeeeeeese" stage right now.

close up of the double treble. (or double triple, I've seen it called both)

Daughter loves talking about how scarves keep her neck warm outside now that it's cold. and she loves orange and it's beautiful and lots of other sweet stuff.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Internet difficulties

Updating from my phone: I have Daughter's first college football game, three new nativity scenes I've picked up, food day friday and two new scarves to blog about. Hopefully soon.

In the Jungle

Because my current lot in life is that of a stay-at-home-mom/money saver/chief entertainer/educator for a single income family, one of my favorite places in the world in the $1 section at Target. seriously. Especially now that it's cold outside, we can't just go to the yard and play for hours. crafts. yes, I love crafts.

The $1 section is where I found It's Check-up Time, Elmo! That little gem made Daughter's three year old check up the best one ever. If Elmo wasn't scared, neither was she!

This summer I found these. And, WOW, I wish I would have gotten more than two. They are ceramic, which I think explains the 8+ age recommendation. (that and the paints are not washable!) But I figured it would make a great afternoon activity for Daughter and I.

She chose the giraffe and went to work.
Notice how we're using one of my yarn bins as a table?

working on my lion. I definitely don't paint with the mind and heart of a three year old, unfortunately.

She kept telling me how much fun she was having and how beautiful my lion was and how she was exited to show Daddy when he got home.

I also work faster than Daughter.

still working, with the cat over her shoulder.

finally finished.
She insisted that she be the one to take the "finished" shot
that was $2 well spent.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aprons for all (almost)

I've been wanting an apron for months. You see, I'm the gal who always spills, splashings or drips things on her while cooking. (and yes, sometimes it's my own blood. yuck, but true)

I've been scanning TJMaxx every chance I get but I just never found one I was terribly excited about. Then a couple of months ago I found a couple I liked at World Market. On sale. yes, please. You can't really tell in the picture but it had two nice sized pockets on the front. I narrowed it down to this one:
I really like it and I'm so glad I got it!
Don't you love the klassy way I displayed it on the pantry cabinet hooks? The only alternative I could think of way put it on and do the stand in front of the mirror shot ... And well, there is not one floor length mirror in my entire house. true story.

So, now I'm wearing my apron every time I cook. And the kids have been noticing. Daughter asked if she could have one too and I told her we'd be on the look out. World Market has kid ones on their website. But they're way too expensive. That was as a no-go. Then Lauren's Mommy posted about finding cute inexpensive aprons at Hobby Lobby. score.

One for Son and one for Daughter. $2.99 each. They only had white, pink, blue and denim so I wasn't too surprised when she grabbed the pink and he reached for the blue.

I planned to spruce them up with their hand prints in white paint. I figured the white would look a little like flour and be cutesy on their aprons.

operation paint the aprons:

Daughter did fantastic and was so exited. After I took this picture I wrote her initials and the date along one of the edges with a fine tipped Sharpie.

Son was a different story. I couldn't explain to him properly what I needed him to do, even though he watched his sister do it three minutes earlier. He refused to unclench his fist after I brushed the paint on his palm. So Son's apron is still plain. I'll try again when he gets older.

Hobby Lobby also had adult aprons for pretty cheap and Daughter tried to pressure Husband into getting one too. But he held fast to "no, I wouldn't wear it."

Monday, November 15, 2010

the sewing machine update

A few friends recommended that the best time to buy an inexpensive sewing machine is right after Thanksgiving at walmart. Ok, great.

The kids and I visited my parents Saturday and I told my mom the plan - black Friday sewing machine. She quickly offered up hers that hasn't seen serious work since 2004 when I had her sew together a quilt I made for Tina. She fixes hems here and there but nothing substantial.

I don't know what brand it is but it's fairly new (as in less than 10 years old). So that's exciting.

I'm picking it up Friday night when she's babysitting so Husband can go on our FIRST EVER movie/dinner date. That's right. Husband and I have NEVER been to a movie and out to eat together. weird. but not really.

Anyway, Thursday night Husband is taking Daughter to her first ever Alabama football game. Son and I are dropping her off in BHM with Husband so I asked Mom to go with me to jo-ann's to look at EASY patterns and fabric. I feel like I need something idiot proof to gain a little confidence about the whole sewing thing.

My first planned project is a $5 dress I got on oldnavy.com. It's great except it fits weirdly like a maternity dress. And while Husband wishes and hopes and dreams about it, I am not growing a third child. I'm going to {try to} take it up a little.

Brooke and I have been plotting all the fun things I could make with a sewing machine. It's fun to talk about but I have no idea how much I'll actually do. In that regard, it's nice to be able to borrow Mom's instead of having to buy my own right out of the gate.

FINALLY, Son doesn't hate hats!

And just in time for winter.

Son still has barely any hair to speak of so keeping his head warm in the winter is a job that falls on HATS. I picked up a cute mittens/ear flap hat set for him at walmart and we're still wearing hats around the house.

Last night's hat parade.

He ran up to me, climbed in my lap and started announcing "CHEEEESE."

Will do, buddy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What I'm working with

Since the middle of the summer, I've been picking up yarn that I like that's on sale or clearance. I've had a lot of luck so far with making pretty scarves for people I love with it. I really love to pick out a yarn and a pattern for someone. I also like when someone picks out yarn for themselves and then I can make a scarf out of it.

Now that the Christmas blankets are finished, I'm back in the scarf making saddle.

This is what I have left. I have some rough ideas for some of it but mostly, it's still undecided.

This is yarn that Husband picked out for a scarf. Yea, it may seem like a lot of yarn for one scarf, but there is a pattern on the skein that says it takes two balls to make a dish towel. So I figured better safe than sorry. Plus they were on sale for $1.40 each.
It's the same kind of yarn (100% cotton) that I use to make the dish towels (if you've gotten some of those)

This is the orange yarn that Daughter picked out for a scarf. She asked for two balls so I could make a scarf for Son too. She said, "we both love orange, Mommy."
The white above the orange is a shimmery soft white that I picked up to make a scarf to wear with my green coat. I haven't really decided what to do with it yet.

I've also decided that because I have so much yarn, I'm going to REALLY try not to buy anymore until I use this (mostly) up. Does that sounds wishy washy enough for you? WOW. I'm a girl that really loves yarn. And I have a hard time saying no to a yarn sale.

Another girl who loves yarn is Tiffany. She knits. And it's beautiful. scarves, mittens, socks, stockings, wraps ... she does amazing work and always seems to find beautiful yarn to work with. I'm currently obsessed with living vicariously through her yarn supply and ogling and her posts. So stop by her blog and check out her knitting.

p.s. If you'd like me to make you a scarf - DON'T be shy. Send me some yarn or if we're local we can meet somewhere and I can help you pick out something. Seriously, I really love doing this. I sold almost 60 scarves last Christmas but I hate charging friends. You buy the yarn, I'll make it into something you can put around your neck to keep you warm.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the blankets FINISHED

I finished last night. I was SO close I decided to just get it done.



ready to move on to the next.

Son has already tested and approved his blanket.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The garden is not so green

While the kids were playing their guts out earlier today, I snapped some shots of the garden.

the basil is dead.
It was great while it lasted and I know Husband is already rationing the remaining pesto in the freezer.



a rogue onion

and two pepper plants

Don't worry about the peppers dying before I have a chance to pick them. Daughter decided to go ahead and pick them. "ALL BY SELF"

I have a feeling this little boy will be a better picker by next season!