Friday, April 30, 2010

Sundress, fabrics and pins

New Look 6973 sewing pattern

Yesterday I had only really stopped to get more blue thread in preparation for using some of these fabrics. However, the pattern I posted yesterday caught me for several reasons. It goes up to girl's size 8, instead of size 4 like last year's pattern. And instead of elastic across the back it has a zipper. The pleats on the new pattern look a little more complicated than last year's model. They have arched the top of the skirt piece oddly to make up for the fabric gathering...interesting! I'm hoping that won't be too difficult when I get to it.

Some of the fabrics I had bought over the past few weeks - and some that have been waiting for a while to be used.

Sewing ephemera, thread and pincushions. The worktable definitely shows I've been busy lately.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blanket bug

Esme has never wanted to use a blanket. However, the other day she saw another little girl using a blanket at the babysitter's house. Now she's willing to try sitting and even sleeping under one. It's like she finally realized what it was for!

The blanket came from Leilani at work. It has a dreamcatcher on it and the words 'Follow your Dreams.'

And look what I got! This pattern looked very pretty.
The shirt length 'dress' uses 1 yard even of fabric for size 3.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Puppy Pile at four weeks old

Piled up at Esme's indoor slide in the kitchen hallway

Mark drug this old rug out of the garage hallway and put it down for them. Esme was holding this one because it got stuck on the other side of the slide and it was 'lonely.'

Hamming it up for the camera
My puppy pile!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

At the Huntingdon Flea Market

No pictures, but a few descriptions.
There were lots of flowers, chickens, ducks and rabbits as usual. A man with rabbits and baby goats took our boy cat - so we are accomplished in being less one cat, which was needed. There were so many people buying chickens - we even saw a pair of men chasing one in the parking lot! Mark said he was glad that wasn't him - chasing a loose chicken in between cars.

A man was giving away boxer puppies. Their mama dog wasn't happy at all - she kept growling at all the people who touched them. We found a squooshy green koosh ball for Esme again - her last one (from last years Fish Fry fair in Paris) went flat and then got all icky and thrown away. I saw carburetors on a table that were truly interesting looking. Also a large green ceramic owl cookie jar that I didn't look closely at because I didn't have that much cash on me. It would have been a great buy though! Another man had a 'cop' cookie jar. He told Esme she could have a cookie - but when he opened the top the policeman said 'Stop cookie thief!' and Esme nearly cried. Poor kid! There were tricycles and kiddie cars, but they were all too expensive (more than new). The Amish were selling cookies and jams and jellies at the front gate and the tomatoes and apples and oranges from the Florida truck looked great.

We bought two pans for Esme to play 'cook cook' with. They are just her size. She also found a little plastic ferris wheel that goes round and round. It was supposed to be for a birdcage toy - but this toddler enjoys it quite a bit. We are also plus one rubber turtle from the grocery store. I looked for coffee cups but there weren't any in good condition under antique pries.. need to come another day when there are more vendors or maybe stop by the thrift store.

Now we're home and watching Electric Company. I'm hoping to make the rubber duck pants today while she is occupied watching TV.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Some good stuff

I'm happy to report I've been on the third slot in on my belt for a week now. I don't weigh myself often because I tend to become obsessed by the number - but being able to comfortably draw my belt in another slot for this long is a nice indicator.

We hope to go to the flea market early tomorrow morning. I need to look for some spare coffee cups and a few other items. It's nice to have two days off in a row - it hasn't happened in so long!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday - size 10 is soon

Esme ate her foop (soup) tonight just before bed, and before that had a bath with a Tyrannosaurus Rex and lots of bubbles. I would like to make a few more pairs of pants for Esme during these days off coming up. The other day every single pair of pants she had were in the wash at once. I'm not sure how that is possible, as I had been washing things regularily. There were at least a dozen pairs, all dirty. I have the rubber duck fabric from Hobby Lobby which I promised as a pair of pants.

She is in size 9 shoes going on size 10! I can't believe that! I bought her a pair of green shoes today in anticipation of the size 9s being too small one day when we go to try to put them on.

Esme has been much more talkative again. She is using more types of sentences - 'it's behind that door', 'bring bowl go lake?' etc... Except she doesn't say 'lake', she says something like 'ee-keh'. I know what she means, though. She was talking on the phone to Nana again the other night and I heard her tell her all sorts of things. Nana didn't understand much of it, but she showed her puppies and kitties, a bowl, pants, shoes, drink cup etc.. and asked her if she was 'happy.' She uses that word every once in a while now - I'm not sure if she knows 100% what it means. I also got her to say 'I Esme' a few times lately. That's just copying - but when we looked through her photo album she picked out 'Mama' and 'Daddy' and 'Grandma' and 'you' .... hmm... we need to do that a lot more so she gets that straight!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bag organizers now in the KnitOwl Etsy Shop

Two types of simple bag organizer for sale in the KnitOwl Etsy shop.

Keep those important items from migrating to the bottom of the purse or from wandering around your workspace with the help of little hands etc...

There are a few things like this on Etsy that are almost like putting a second purse inside your purse - when really just a few things need to be kept track of.

Tall for scissors, pens and crochet hooks.

Horizontal for cell phone, lipstick, tweezers, nail clippers etc...

There will be a few other longer and more complicated sizes later - and working on a few other organizational boxes and booklets etc. Come see the shop!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I planted a few flowers today. We bought them at the store while Esme played at the babysitters with the four other mobile little girls (and two babies in cribs). It was very cool. Esme loved it and gave hugs to everyone, over and over! I'll try to do it again soon, when I can stay longer. The babysitter said bring her over any day - no problem. She was such a good girl, just a little crying when Mommy left to the store for about a half hour - but was playing happily when I returned and ready to go with just a little coaxing.

A BIG UPDATE: I bought Esme a potty chair. And - she understands the 'pee' part of it from the moment I took it out of the box. She has went several times in it tonight when I have asked her to. I am so proud of my good girl! It will take some time. I'm not expecting consistency right away. However, her willingness to cooperate with the small potty chair is a 180 degree turnaround from where she was trying to get her to use the regular size potty. Yay Esme!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hometown Remedies

I talked with someone at work about my worries for Esme - and got an idea. Mark and I are going to try to bring Esme to a babysitter's house tomorrow. Not that we need a babysitter, but more the environment of a babysitter - with several children there to interact with. The mother of one of my coworkers takes care of several worker's children during the day. They gave me her phone number, and I gave her a call.

I have tomorrow off and she has agreed to let us bring Esme over, have her meet the other kids (older, younger and nearly the same age) and see how she reacts. I'm not meaning to leave her there tomorrow for any length of time - just see her reaction. If we think it is a good match Esme might go over a few times a week just to learn about getting along with other kids etc etc...

Maybe a little peer pressure will help with her language as well -- although that really is a lot better than it was even last month. She tried to talk to my mom (Nana) on the phone tonight and told her she had 'little doggies' and that she had been looking at pictures etc.


Still feeling a little crispy, even though I sat down and finished another dress last night. I will be giving this one away! Need to make a pair of shorts or pants to go with it.

Sometimes I wonder if it is too late for a few things with Esme - if I missed critical periods of time when I went back to work and all of this craziness the past year. She isn't potty trained, and she doesn't refer to herself by any name. I think maybe I just worry too much - but those set off my mommy-meter into emergency mode. I wish I could just take a few weeks off with her and be with her full time. She needs social engagement, and a more normal routine. And I need to start on the potty training thing... but she is so strong and so stubborn and so afraid of the entire idea. I guess I've been waiting for her 'I should do this because...' switch to turn on so I wouldn't have to fight with the strong/stubborn issue. I think I've waited too long - but I don't know what to do about it.

*mommy meltdown* - one more day of work and then one day off... doesn't this seem insane? And it is always the middle part of the day, too... Esme is always more affable in the mornings, and gets crankier as the day goes on. So mommy usually ends up on the tail end of her day or just a few hours in the morning and then leaves (making her upset)....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



This was a 'brain smoothing' project yesterday after getting home from work. I've been feeling a little 'crispy' from work, and not the only one etc... Everyone is on overtime - which isn't bad - except that you can feel the 'tired' in the air. Tomorrow I am coming in on my day off, then I get Thursday off before another long stretch.

This is made from some squares I had cut out of scraps here and there... Esme said it was a 'pretty'. She was sitting in my lap pointing out all the colors and the frogs, counting how many there were of a pattern etc... I asked her if I could work on it some more and make it a bigger pretty - she said yes - but wouldn't get off of my lap! We had a small meltdown about that - she wanted Mama to sew it while she sat there and got mad when I said we couldn't. We ran up and downstairs for a few times and did a Starfall game before she finally crashed around midnight last night.

In other news: Esme has been saying a lot more lately. This month has just been one development after another, language-wise. Usually I would need to take into account what was nearby/what we were doing to realize what she was saying. Now, even when it is something off-topic, I'm understanding more and more. I can even be in another room (unable to see gestures) and usually understand what she is talking about. That's a big thing, I think.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Green cow shirt (with picture)

Esme sporting her cow shirt while playing memory game this morning before I went to work.

Other Notes: My vision insurance at work is now "eligible"! I can schedule an optometrist appointment and get a pair of glasses :) I would also like to get my hair chopped off again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bag organizer

Was doodling around with some patchwork and came upon this idea. It's not a new idea - just didn't expect to make one for myself! Probably will make a few more, as they have potential to be infinitely useful. I think I'll put this one in my purse to hold the cellphone, USB drive, chapstick, pens, nail clipper etc... and make another one for work to hold my marker, knife, measuring tape and pens. Thinking how to incorporate a change purse in there somewhere... even to just keep a few quarters out of the bottom of the purse for when you're searching for them etc...

On sale in the KnitOwl Shop

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Puppy pile

Esme and the puppy pile.
This one had its eyes open before any of the others - and is really insistent on coming to see Esme, chewing on her and falling asleep in her lap.

The puppies are currently in the broom closet by our trash can - but they are starting to venture out hourly into the 'world.' There are seven total puppies - but only three were awake right now.

Friday, April 16, 2010

MY COW shirt

Was just making up the green cow dress on the blog a week or so back - and was planning to send it to Emily or my niece Elizabeth. But - Esme said MY COW and wanted me to put it on her right now (before the zipper is in). She says the cow goes right on her chest. So I guess this one is hers...

Sew Many Ideas : searching for local fabrics

Found a new fabric store in Jackson - has a lot of good choices. It's called Sew Many Ideas. They offer custom sewing lessons for 15.00 an hour, reservations in advance. They prefer Bernina sewing machines, but can bring in your own machine if you know how to use it well (they can't answer any questions how to use other brands.. marketing etc.)

Anyway. Got some pretty blue 'dandelion ball' fabric at SMI and a yard of duckie fabric at the Hobby Lobby (Esme calls it nana nana nana nana quack quack) All of her ducks swim to the tune of JAWS. haha. I promised her a pair of pants out of the ducks. Also bought a few purple fat quarters to go with a purple solid I dug out of my stash. I think I made a pair of shorts out of it before for another little girl. I've sewn up several pairs of shorts for Esme but they're not really photo worthy - they work and wash and wear well and look just like her pants but half as long ;)

The "party dress" I bought last week at the flea market fit very very well. It was fifty cents - and labelled a size I didn't think I could wear. So.. that felt nice! The only downside is that it is very thick fabric. I'm trying to take a pattern off of it but it takes a lot of room to do that. I think I got a basic bodice copied from it but didn't continue on to the skirt and haven't gotten back to it since then. I don't have any parties to wear it to, but it felt nice to look like a pretty lady (which is what Esme said when I was wearing it... except I think she said pretty Daddy... hmm. 8^)

Thouhts on local fabric stores

Hobby Lobby :
pros decent consistennt prices and lots of prints with 'punch'
cons the things without 'punch' are forgettable, as they are the same price but just like what could be gotten anywhere.
Hancock Fabrics :
pros Lots of blenders and colors, priced adequately (usually) and separated by color and type - which is good!
cons Their clearance sales used to be more exciting - but other than that this is mostly 'pro'
WalMart :
pros Open every day - closeby, has some reliable stock and some rotating clearance stock that makes me check it often.
cons few new interesting things. keep getting reminded 'they're talking about discontinuing fabric here'
Local Quilt Stores :
pros they're closeby and it is an adventure seeing what they have right now in stock - get to feel the fabrics otherwise usually would only see on Etsy.
cons : Each store is limited by the taste of who runs it - so finding one that has a wide variety of general sewing fabrics (solids, blenders, kids prints and designer collection prints) is hard - it just doesn't pay for them to carry all of that at once at an accessible price.

Haven't been in JoAnns in years - there just isn't one near enough. Would like to see one nearby. Also I would love to get my hands on a few yards of the 'linen like solids' they advertise on their website but I don't want to pay shipping!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easy peasey baby quilt with four fabrics

Aidan's mommy asked exactly how I cut out the squares for the quilt. I bought three 1/3 yards of three different fabrics and one yard of the backing fabric. With each one-third yard I cut the fabric in exact halves. Then I cut the halves in half, and again in half and so on and so on until I reached a hand-sized rectangle (about 3 inch by 5 inch). This way, all the rectangles were the same size without really having to measure out anything.

I laid all the rectangles out in a pattern, then scooped them up one row at a time sewing them in a line on the machine. Then pin and sew the lines together (keeping seam lines even) and it became a top of about one yard. Lay the yard face-down on the sewn top and pin it all around. Sew all around the edges except for one rectangle's length on one side. Use a pinking shear to trim the edges down to 1/4 inch from the seam. Turn inside out and finish.

Finishing: Sew about 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around. Tie with embroidery floss or 'stich in the ditch' three to four times down the length of the quilt. This will keep it from becoming a balloon in the washing machine and getting stretched out of shape.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

language updates

We are hearing lots of narratives lately - with a lot more observations that make sense to us. (watching a karate movie and two guys are fighting each other)

Esme: ow - you alright? ow ow - you alright? you okay? hey hey hey! (make them stop) Is he hurt? He IS hurt? ow ow? (looks very sad and then very softly says: oh sh*t)

Later in the film there was a cat in the apartment that cried as it was stepped on - and for several minutes Esme kept asking 'where's the kitty? kitty okay?' Eventually the film showed the kitty okay again and I hear 'there's the kitty - you're aright!'

We're also taking care of Iggy and her litter of puppies. Esme has lots to say about them, colors of puppies, what they are doing etc etc... I'm amazed she is starting to pick up our animals' names now and more than just Iggy (which we named because she could say it). I've heard her say Misha and Ninja.

She was making her little playmobil girls swim in her cereal milk today *sigh* and then we had to go wash their hands. Her frogs are getting 'adjustments' with a plastic wrench tonight. She puts it around their neck and says 'ow? ready?'

She's also picked up this very cute response to anything we ask her if she wants to do. 'Oh, OKAY! (walk off in the direction of doing that activity)'

Monday, April 12, 2010

Black, white and green quilt

This is about a one yard backed blanket, probably a 27 by 36 inch blanket or some ratio thereof - but I didn't actually maeasure it! Made for Aidan and added some frog fabric to it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Wow - look at this thing! Mark came up to the house after catching this ten pound catfish and asked 'What do you want to do with it?' We took it to his parent's house and they showed us how to prepare it for cooking. They're frying most of it up at their house - and I took a chunk home to try to broil.

Mark even lost blood on this thing - look at his fingers! When they were cleaning it they found part of another fish in its stomach. What a carnivore.

Cat sling

This is a prototype attempt at making a carrying sling that is actually for a small dog. A friend of mine at work just got a tiny chihuahua puppy that his wife wants to carry in a baby-type sling. Ninja kitten obliged somewhat willingly for this experiment. She is tolerant that way.

Today Mark caught about an eight pound bass at the lake. He says he should have kept it. He just got a new pole and it's apparently working well. As we went up to see Grandma and he went down to the lake to fish Esme said 'Bye bye Daddy - Have good day! Go catch a pretty fish, ok?' She had been, up to the last month, mostly speaking just a few words and trying to fill in the gaps to make a sentence - now she is speaking in multiple sentences at once in rapid succession. Sometimes, we even understand most of it hahaha.. sometimes she needs to slow down or all we get are a few of the words.

I am also nearing completion on Aidan's baby quilt, and have several projects cut out for Esme. I'm on my way over to the friend's wife's after a bit to show her the prototype and try it out on her puppy. The fabric will probably end up being Esme clothes but the idea will be transferred to whatever she wants.

Friday, April 09, 2010

weekend bits

Anticipating a long weekend. It's been a stressful few days at work - lots of customers and not enough help to go around, missed lunches and still never seemed to catch up etc etc... sometimes I guess that is the way it has to be. I made a commission for the first time in over a week yesterday - so I guess that is good. I needed to get some commission on the books - it was starting to look by the numbers like I wasn't doing anything at all (when it is definitely the opposite!)

Mark was very sweet last night. I had a splitting headache already by the time I got home - he made dinner and then put on a show for Esme while I took a bath. She fell asleep after that for a little while, so I could mope with my headache without feeling like I was ignoring her. It broke before bedtime (which it rarely does) and I was able to get a decent sleep. I did cut out two pairs of shorts for Esme during the time my clothes were in the dryer. Those might get sewn this weekend.

I still need to get fabric for Aidan's quilt. I made him a quilt when he was born but something happened to it this week and his mom was pretty upset, as it was one of his favorites and there were lots of doctor appointments this week in strange places etc... I am keeping them in my thoughts that his tests turned out okay and what they thought might be serious is going to work itself out.

Back to the trenches - I might surface Sunday, or sooner if things let up.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

rising temps mean we need more shorts

It will be a long week of work. The temperatures are starting to rise, as well. I'm making a few more shorts for Esme, as she has been playing outside with Daddy at the lake every day that it is warm. Iggy's puppies are squeaky and getting bigger. At the moment Esme is trying to convince us that her frogs need a few pair of dice to play with. They hop and say ribbit ribbit dice? Mark offered her to go out in the dark and look for Iggy but she wisely opted for a bowl of ice cream instead ;) Luckily Iggy came home right after that, so no searching in the dark was required.

I need to remember that Aidan's mommy wants a new baby quilt in green and black and white :)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Dyeing eggs for Easter

Mark dipping eggs for Esme
Mark says: Stand back! I'm going to try Science!

She is wearing the green shirt I made her the other day. I love the gingham pattern on it!

Goofing off at Mama
I put her hair up right out of the bath this morning and it has been a terror to put back ever since - dries in place just like mine and doesn't want to take another shape until it is wet again.

Wow - Pretty Egg!

Looking through the eggs with Mama

That is the grey shirt I made yesterday - not great but ok for a first attempt. You can really see the sunburn I got this morning. I even wore a hat and tried to sit in the shade some. I'm so fair skinned normally it doesn't take too much. Luckily Esme was in the truck more of the time we were out - she got some sunburn but not as bad as mine. She also has inherited a bit more of her Daddy's complexion, so she is more likely to tan before she burns.

Lots of colored eggs!

We brought the eggs up to Grandma's. I ate one, and Esme drug one around and the dog ended up eating it. Grandma kept the rest in her fridge.

Iggy had puppies, seven of them. They are such odd colors! Are they her own type of Easter eggs? just/kidding

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Grey shirt (no pic)

Spent most of the afternoon making a shirt out of the grey cotton. Thought for sure it was going to be a failure - but I think it is wearable after adding an elastic strap to the back to pull it together. If I had been willing to use a zipper in it there probably wouldn't have been any problem. I used the jacket pattern and a few pieces of newspaper as a starting point and there were several things I should have done differently. Not bad for a first try. How many times did I redo the raglan dress pattern for Esme? (six)

Esme went to see Grandma today for a few minutes, she said 'it's for you' to Grandma a couple of times when handing her things. I have never heard her say that before - very cute ;) Most of what I hear is hard to discern anyway - and maybe she was saying it before but not clear enough for even me to hear. I think she was a little disappointed earlier when she realized the shirt I was sewing was for Mommy... she got up on a chair while I was wearing it and inspected it some - said it was 'pretty' but I could see her thinking "I thought it would be for me - that'll never fit!"

Tomorrow is Easter - we aren't doing much. I might boil her an egg and let her try to crack it, but not sure about dyeing any. We do have food coloring and vinegar. And we have baskets... Mark is worried she is going to not know when the game ends :)

Friday, April 02, 2010

A few 29 month updates

Esme learned to tickle during this month. She comes up to you and says 'tik-tik-tikku!'. She will even tickle characters in a book and laugh for them. She also has been much freer with hugs and kisses, both to people she likes when she is feeling cuddly and also to show she likes things like fabric, pretty rocks and food she wants to eat. I'm glad she is telling us what she likes!

Much better language this month - fuller sentences, more words overall and trying to describe more complicated ideas with the words she has already learned. Asks for things she wants to do and understands some 'after' and 'not because' explanations. She will say the 'Oh S***' word sometimes when she drops something, especially down the stairs... *facepalm* Feeds toys and has them pretend to eat other things like dice, keyboards, Mom and Dad... hops her plastic frogs around the house and says 'ribbit ribbit' and her cars around saying 'vroom vroom.' Will hold conversations between two toys - some words of which I understand, make them fight, hug and sometimes one has to rescue another one from under a blanket, in a box etc... That makes me laugh! Told Daddy what she thought was dangerous and warned him not to touch a 'hot' thing. Some attempt to read more and several 'sight words' from her computer games, flash cards and Electric Company. She can also undo her own carseat buckles now - oh joy! She has put on her own shoes even when I said 'No' and has become insistent about eating soup and cereal out of bowls with spoons.

More stubbornness this month though, less naps and greater crankiness over things she doesn't want to do that we insist on - hand washing and teeth brushing and going to bed etc...

weird trick: will take two six-sided dice and roll one, then match the dots on the second one to be the same as the first. She came up with this 'game' and thinks its great fun.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Beef Carrot Foop and is this the End of Naps?

Not much today - very early day today. Submitted the pictures at the store today - should be ready in about a week. I'm not in a hurry. I also found a yard of thin ice grey cotton, hopefully to be made into a shorter sleeved version of the tunic by Crafty Dogma posted earlier - my jacket's pattern should be a good starting point for the size. For dinner Esme asked for 'foop', so I made her some beef/carrot soup from a beef Ramen package (only half the bouillon used), canned carrots, tomato paste and a flavoring bottle we were all given a sample of from the Taste of Home cooking showcase (from Allegro foods, quite good stuff). Esme really liked the broth and was picking out every carrot she could find to eat. She almost ate a noodle, but thought better of it. That will take some work! I was impressed and quite happy with the outcome of my 'science experiment' type soup. Mark made some breadcrust pizza afterward and Esme ate some of that - then had her bath and crashed in a furious fit at about 7:30... that seems par for the course lately. She seems to have given up naps entirely now, favoring crashing earlier and harder instead. *sigh* We'll just have to give in to having our dinners earlier instead of at seven which is usual for us.

Another early day tomorrow, but the weekend off. Looking forward to that. Esme's shortened green top worked even better than planned -- will probably cut a few inches off the green 'moo cow' one that was cut out as well...