Saturday, January 31, 2009

CPSC Grants one year stay of testing on children's products until issues can be resolved

The ban, which was to go in effect February 10th for all non-certified (tested at third party labs for lead and pthalates) has been lifted for a period of one year until they can resolve the issues brought up by the public.

Read more at the official site: CPSC Grants one year stay of testing and certification for certain products

That's a little progress!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Get a Long Little Doggy draft stopper

Available at the shop - draft stoppers (draft dodger) for keeping those drafts out from under your doors in the cold season! He is 40 inches long and an original pattern suggested by a custom order at KnitOwl and friends shop.

Get a-long little doggie! He is great at guarding shelves, couches and beds as well while you're out of the house.  He makes an excellent tv watching partner, or just hang out around your neck while you're reading.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Esme's walk in the forest

It was 64 degrees out yesterday, unseasonably warm for January. It's also due to be near freezing for the rest of the week (ie: seasonably cold). We took the advantage and took Esme out for a walk in the forest. She walked most of the way, but we carried her in places and all the way home ;)

'Fireman's' carry

She loves to carry sticks with her wherever she goes outside.

Sometimes it almost looks like she's getting ready to hunt wild boar!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's Orchid Time again

Orchids blooming again!

Above our Shoulders

On my desk

Mom, I'm not sure about this hairdo!

OK, maybe it's ok :)

We've been wondering if we want to snip Esme's bangs. They're getting in the way when she eats! For now, we've compromised to putting it up in an elastic when she is eating. Maybe it will get long enough soon we can put it all up (and not have her take it back out).

Other hair-raising developments:

Before - Yikes!
Mark caught this picture of me last week
the long hair wasn't doing me any favors!

4 inches shorter!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Little things she does

At fourteen and a half months:

We were reading a book that shows a doctor using a stethoscope on a child in one of the stories. Esme has a Fisher Price stethoscope we bought at the flea market before she was even born. Since she got to have it for her play area she brings it to me and I put it in my ears and put the listening end to her chest and say 'I hear your heart boom boom boom.' She saw the page and pointed at the stethoscope - I told her it was a 'stethoscope, boom boom boom', and she went and dug in her toy box and found the stethoscope and was very happy about it.

She has taken an even greater liking to stacking things on/in each other. I found some boxes that open in different ways and she has been bringing them up and asking us to help her with them. It isn't a real word yet, but she is saying something the same way each time she asks, and it has two syllables. One box she can open but not close, and the other so far she can close but not open. She uses the same word for each request of 'help.' but it sounds more like 'open.'

She brought me my cell phone yesterday and said some three syllable babble question. I tried calling my mom and got no answer, so I said 'Not home' and put the phone down on the desk. She runs over to Mark's desk and grabs his phone, brings it to me and asks 'Daddy? and asked the babble word again too. It was surprising she understood that was Daddy's phone, and included that in her question to try making that one talk :) Mark has a box and a little dresser of computer parts near his desk too and I often say 'No, Daddy's' when she is going to get into it and that will stop her and maybe sometimes even send her looking around to find Daddy. Too bad 'Mommy's cup' doesn't have the same effect!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wool Mittens finished and Workshop relocation

I finished the wool mittens I was knitting. I do still knit sometimes - but this is the first major non-dishcloth I've made in a long time. I bought a pair of gloves this season and they were coming apart on the first wearing! That made me motivated enough to knit something myself again. I say at least I know where the flaws are in these because I put them there heh...

Wool yarn bought from Knitpicks ages ago, size 3 DPNS, my own hands as pattern. The two aren't exactly the same and far from perfect but they are warm and fit my hands.

dropped stitches

I also knit this dropstitch scarf using some variegated Red Heart yarn and big needles. It has been keeping my ears warm while I wait in my cold vehicle for the manager to come open the store at 3 am. (open as in let us in to work, we don't open until 7)

Here is a picture of Esme goofing off.

Reminds me of a tiara, how funny!

She found this bit of plastic string in one of our boxes and I put it on her hair for a few minutes and let her see herself by taking a picture. She loves to look at the screen after a picture is taken - knows it was something that was just seen, like herself, a kitty etc... and is amazed by it. The string went in the garbage after playing with it.

I'm moving my workshop downstairs in our house. That will let us expand the area Esme has for a 'safe play' area and give us more room to upgrade her to a toddler bed sometime soon as she is outgrowing her 'stage 2' pen-like bed. She is getting so big, over 30 inches tall now! Someday that room the workshop is going into now will be hers, but not until I know she can go up and down the stairs without falling!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Want Daddy's Camera Tantrum

Snapped a picture

Really want that camera Daddy!
Begins to cry loudly...

Hug Make it all better

reading a story
Brown Rabbit's shape and colors balloon book

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Working on things with Esme

We tried rolling her ball again today and she got it when Daddy helped. She even kicked it a few times for him. This is hard to do alone with her because she wants to sit in my lap and then she doesn't want to go get the ball when it is rolled... she brought me a book instead of the ball and got upset that it wasn't the right thing. She knows 'find me a book' and 'sit in your chair' and 'where's your milk?' but I'm trying to see how much else she knows. If I ask her something like 'where's the ball' or 'where's your nose' she might give the right answer one out of five times, getting frustrated the rest of the time and not wanting to play.

She is stacking her blocks ever higher, at least seven high now, and in more elaborate formations. We're working on numbers 1, 2, and 3. She learned to twirl in circles the other day and was making us laugh at her with it.

We're working on the new hand puzzle Mark got her. She loves taking it apart and is trying to put it together. It doesn't have one hole for every piece like her other puzzles -- so it is harder. I showed her it was a hand with fingers and she took one of the finger pieces and put it on top of my finger and laughed about it.

I was telling her the zipper on my jacket was a ZZZZZipper a few days ago, and when we got to the Zebra in her animal book she tried to find the zipper on my shirt which wasn't there. She made a sign like going up and down and pointed to my shirt as soon as I said 'zzzzebra' so it dawned on me she was thinking about the zipper. I got the zipper jacket and played some more with her but told her the picture was a ZzzzEBRA, it just sounded like the z in zipper.

She started saying duh for duck and mmmmmuh for milk, both new words for her. She doesn't get the end consonant in either word at all, just makes it more forceful instead of saying the 'k'. Her dah for Dog and duh for Duck and daddy/dadada and 'dat' all sound so much alike you have to know what she is looking at to understand the difference. Kitty is very clear. Mom and mumumum (pacifier) and mmmmmuh (milk) are also run together. I'm starting to think she is trying to say lots of stuff but hasn't learned enough differentation to make us hear it. She puts her fingers in my mouth and on my nose a lot when I'm saying words to her. Yet her hearing is perfect because she dances to music, heard the 'zzzz' in the other word, meows at the cats and howls with the dogs etc...

We went to the library on Saturday and got some more new books :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thought Process in Action. Esme and the Mud Puddle

She walked right into it, had no idea it was there. Then, her curiosity was peaked and she went about finding out what it was.

Lucky for her it was quite warm out. On the way back up the stairs into the house she split her lip on the bottom step. Poor girl! It was better in a few minutes though and she got half-frozen strawberries to make it feel better. Mark bought strawberries for pancakes the other day and as exepcted Esme thinks they are wonderful!

It's raining right now - hopefully it will let up because we planned to go to the library today. Happy Anniversary Mark :)

Friday, January 09, 2009

In the Golden Woods original watercolor

This is something from my 2004 portfolio. It is at the original art shop now.

This is quite large for my work, 16 by 20 inches. I tend to work small and this was a little different. It is also much more colorful than a lot of my art.

It is ink and watercolor with black and gold metallic paint overlays. The 'Golden Woods' is a scene that often comes up in my drawings.. and I'm not certain why I call it that - but it has an air of mythology and the past about it. Sometimes I put myself in the drawings and sometimes not. I sold the drawing 'Fantasy Woods' in October, but it too represented this place where everything is dreamlike.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Large Rag Doll

20 inch tall handmade rag doll. Experimenting with this further and will have some in the toy shop

Esme carried it around the house some yesterday, so she gets this one.

Innovative toys I've seen recently:
* Elvis Cthulu
* 6 foot Ugly monster dolls. Six foot tall.. wow what a project! No wonder they are over 500.00 each!
* Melissa and Doug Latches Board with lots of little brass latches and locks to undo. It says 3 years and up... but looks like an instructive toy.

* In the same thread, this 'zippers and buttons doll' is cute too. I remember teachers using something like this in our Kindergarten class when I was little. There is something like this at the store but it has lots of electronics on it that make noises and Mark finds those annoying.

Still on the night shift - will be for at least two more weeks. It's not fun getting up at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning. It's even less fun because Esme doesn't go to bed until around 8 usually... 10 if I'm very unlucky. I've got Valentine's aliens to start making but not getting too far ahead on that with Esme crying for me every time I get near the sewing table which is in her sight but out of her reach. If I've gotten some sleep the night before I can be happy and play games with Esme - but yesterday I was very tired and got somewhat irritated. The dogs have been underfoot and overly hyper lately as well, perhaps from the weather and schedule changes. I just wanted everyone to calm down, go to sleep etc etc so I could nap or at least collect my thoughts enough to do something constructive while I'm awake.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The KnitOwl tries to cure the common cold again

Every year that time rolls around, I begin to feel that tight feeling in my chest and I try to cook up a household remedy for the common cold. Some years it's raw onions and garlic, some it is licorice tea... I usually use what is on hand in the house, each spice according to it's properties learned through old wive's tales, library books and of course, surfing the Internet.

So here is this year's remedy.

One can of chicken noodle soup
1/2 can of sliced carrots
1 tsp onion powder
several grinds of pure fresh black pepper
a pinch of ginger
some 'Italian Seasoning' oregano, basil and such
1 tsp or more of fresh garlic powder

Drain the noodles and carrots, if all you want is the broth. If you're in the mood for a good meal, adding an onion and some celery to the soup at this point will make it a meal for two.

This sounds simple, but I am thinking it will have some effect.
Onion and garlic powders are supposed to have some of the same effects as 'production' components of cough syrup. To be graphic, they grab the junk attached to your bronchial tubes and tell it to take a hike, leaving you coughing up mucus. But at least if you're coughing anyway it is 'producing' something instead of a dry cough. Usually I use fresh garlic and chicken boullion or, some years, fresh chicken. The antiviral properties of chicken and carrots is perhaps only a rumor, but it's one I'm willing to believe in.

We'll see how this pans out over the next few days.

And yes, I'm up at 3:30 AM. I have to be up at 2:30 AM tomorrow, for this week of night shifts. The other good remedy for a cold is to get plenty of sleep. That might work once I get my schedule shifted.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Esme has Daddy's Shoes!

I think she needs some time to grow into them...

She had her foot in one and was dragging it around the room, but all those pics came out blurry. She really has been fascinated with trying to put her feet in our shoes for a while now.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Things I've Done Recently and Esme's Adventures

14 months
Esme 'draw draw' on her sketchpad.
She can find her crayon and draw on the paper when you ask 'Draw Draw?'

I only let her have one crayon in her play area at a time unless we are all drawing together, for obvious reasons. We've gotten her 'soap crayons' for the bathtub which she is also enjoying immensely.

Instead of New Year's Resolutions of things I'd like to do this year, I'm going to list a few things I've actually DONE recently, that I am proud of.

Hopefully they will serve as an inspiration to do more things I've been planning to do.

1.) Put cabinet pulls and a child-proof lock on our cleaning supplies cupboard.
-- also outlet covers over all accessible electrical outlets
2.) Vacuumed the stairs and cleaned quite a bit of the house in the past week.
3.) Knit a mitten (working on the second)
4.) Made several batches of cornbread muffins which we all enjoyed.
5.) Made a queen-sized topper for a quilt (working on the back)
6.) Taken Esme for walks outside four days in a row.
7.) Been more spontaneous with things I want to get done in the house, instead of putting them off until Esme is asleep etc...

I've had Esme outside her play area most of the time this week when I've been home. The play area is the main area of the house we've babyproofed, with all her toys etc. It is fairly safe to leave her there when we have to go downstairs for a few minutes. We have the stairs and lots of equipment she could get hurt on, so I don't let her run around the other parts of the house unless I'm ready to watch her closely. This week I've had her ALL OVER the house with me, everywhere, and pretty much followed her around when we weren't actively involved in doing something. She has brought laundry down with me, seen Daddy load the dishwasher, watched me sweep and scrub the floor, been a participant in getting her milk and food, etc. etc... Today she was running all around our upstairs harrassing the dogs, playing with packing supplies and basically trying to get anything she could reach.

And I've really seen the difference in her. First off, she is SO much more stubborn about wanting to touch and learn about every new thing she finds. She has probably thrown more tantrums in the past three days than in the past month. But there are good things too. She is babbling more - asking about things in her babytalk, interacting and imitating what we do with things, learning to respond to me more by following directions etc... She also has started to push her limits about what Mommy doesn't want her getting into. You can 'see the gears turning' when she has been told 'No' about something before. She starts to reach for it, looks for me, then backs off with either a grin or a rising wail depending on her mood.

Also I've had her outside four days in a row. The other day I picked up a sweet gum ball and just by instinct knocked the seeds out of it on a post before giving it to her. I didn't think she paid any attention to my action, just the object. She looked it over, went over to the post and knocked it on it again 'Is this what we do with this?' Also watching the thinking process as she trades a stick for a rock for an acorn for a bigger stick etc...

I can really see our little girl's personality and mind blossoming ::)