Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Esme bits

Yesterday she had this idea she was going to glue her plastic farm animals into a box and take it to school.  I vetoed the plastic animals, and told her she could draw animals and I would help her cut them out and glue them onto the box.  She refused, at first, to draw anything - saying it was too hard.  Finally, after much sulking and staring at the tv, she tried several times to draw a cow.  She was messing up almost on purpose it seemed - frustrated about this head being too big, or that neck being too long, or that smudge between those legs meaning it was all ruined etc...  She fussed and fraggled about it for a while.. and then we had dinner and I insisted she come back to it and try again.  She did, and completed with a nice job.  We glued it on to the box and put it in her bag for the morning.

At the beginning of this week she had told me the dentist at school said to brush morning and night, so you do not stink in the morning and the 'sugar bugs' don't eat your teeth at night.  So, Monday and Tuesday were not trouble - she brushed her teeth, and was fairly happy about doing so... but she didn't get to make the farm drawing before school because of all the time she took brushing her teeth... so the glamour wore off.  Today it was a sulky fight to get her to hold to her word she would brush all week.  But, she did it.  We'll see how this goes.  It would be great if she could get in the habit of doing both - it was so hard to get her into the habit of brushing at night but that finally sunk in.

She has been taking on a lot more responsibility these past few months -- bringing her lunchbox home and putting it where it goes, homework then play, taking her bath and washing her hair almost every single night (which it is down to her waist so it is a task), packing her own lunch with minimal help, brushing her teeth night (and morning, now, we hope), putting her lunch in her backpack in the morning when it is time to go... it is a lot for her, but it is good to see her capabilities develop.  She even has been trying, without success, to tie her own shoes.

Last night we introduced her to Algodoo, a physics/mechanics free program.  She picked up on things right away - here and there, drawing circles and gears and bars and chains, liquifying to play with water, adding motors to make things turn, cutting items with the knife and making lasers that cut things in motion.  She made a 'stomach' with a chain and water and used a laser to make it 'throw everything up'.  Ha.  She said cutting the piece of ice that floated in the water was just like ice cubes in the lemonade.  The really cool thing is once we showed her something she remembered how to do it almost perfectly, would restart the scene from scratch and do it herself to have it all done her way, and was having such a good time she didn't want to stop.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


 I thought well this is a knitting blog - and I have been knitting but haven't shown too much of it lately.  The scarf on the left was made several years ago from fine weight wool Palette yarn (Knitpicks).  I have worn it a lot since then.. even though I never really planned to use it when I made it.  Started in one in this soft yarn - not keeping to any specific pattern, sort of 3 garter stitch edge and a mixture of checkers and ribs that evens itself out to the odd 40 stitches I chose.  It is the soft texture and the versatility of it that will matter in the end, not if I kept the pattern for three rows or five.

This is the striped blanket I started after Christmas.  I hadn't picked it up for a while, but put the green and red parts on it lately, and am planning to repeat from the earlier red with those colors again.  It will be full to queen size when it is finished, basing that off the width of our air mattress.  Mark says eventually there will be so many blankets on the bed he won't be able to breathe... well, it is always nice to have a pretty backup item.  The brown and blue blanket (throw size, used as backdrop first picture) I made several years ago is used daily as a shawl, and the queen size striped and Esme's twin sized pink/blue stripe are in daily use. 

Monday, February 24, 2014


knitting, playing Minecraft, watching my cat attempt to fall off the sewing machine... there are other things I could have done today but I did put the tomato seeds in the pots and made a cottage cheese and cucumber salad for lunch.. and we got dog food at the co op so that was a trip out we won't have to make tomorrow.

 spice jelly beans and a grey scarf started

Minion on the sewing machine

I hope when Esme gets home in a few minutes we will make a bird feeder worthy of photos...
We made simple milk jug bird feeders from this basic idea at Thrifty Fun.  We put one outside the front door and one outside the downstairs window and filled each with a little cracked corn.

Friday, February 21, 2014

chemistry and rutabagas

I was playing with my chemistry ideas after doing some modules at Khan Academy, seeking out textbooks on the info that has been going round and round in my brain, and while waiting for our new toaster oven to work its slow magic on a rutabaga from the store.  Nice afternoon :)

This is a methane molecule.  I hope to do ethane and propane and make it a three piece set.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

busy day

The patchy patchwork quilt that was begun last year ... or maybe the year before?  It is coming along stripe by stripe I keep changing the pattern so there is no pressure to 'match'... and all the bits and pieces of fabric get used up this way.
It does appear my brain nodes are coming back online.  I prepared a few pots for starting tomato seeds, today.  We bought a toaster oven, and made grilled cheese sandwiches. I plan to cook a couple of little yellow summer squash I bought at the store.  Esme's camouflage fabric for her camo clothing came in the mail, and it is in the wash now.  We walked to the lake with Grandma, and pushed Esme on the swing..  She is in the bath, right now.  I've been cutting pieces out here and there for the yellowish stripe you see above.. inspired by the modern flying geese quilt I saw at Red Pepper Quilts.  I may be ready to start sewing it together tonight after Esme goes to bed.

Workshop toys from KnitOwl Toys
They will be going out in the mail tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brain nodes and rubber bands

Esme has discovered rubber bands... I need to get her a box.
This is the 'Mooer', it is like a telescope, but you moo into it.
The crayons are for extra super power.

I'm starting to get my 'brain nodes' open and flowing again.  I don't want to just fall into bed at night.  It must be getting towards Spring, and some of the worry channels I've kept the past years just *might* be reassigned...not sure about that one, but I think it might have some truth in it.  I feel I've always reserved a piece of my brain for 'when it hits the fan up North', and as that happened a week or so ago, and is winding down... still lost and angry a bit but also there is a relief at the same time.  I dreamt of seedlings the night before last, and that is a good dream.  I emptied all the trash out of the seed box... lovingly sorted things, planned what we have for making seedling trays, ordered a new package of a certain tomato.  I do need to buy some more zinnia seeds, for the butterflies.  I have a workshop project to finish tomorrow and mail off.  Tonight I have work and then a Common Core meeting at Esme's school I am planning to attend.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


 making a 'bridge' and diagramming the parts

This was her own idea of a project, and I did help get the hair ties all the way around all three of them - as that was a dexterity issue and she had tried a few times.  The plan was all hers,and we discussed ways to get the pencils in there without using glue, which was her idea and I said was too messy.

She spent the next half hour assembling similar little bits and bobs with lots of items on her desk until it was time for bed.  Mark says she is just about ready to have a family Knex night.  I've seen her digging in her Legos more, too - trying to make things and working out how they go together better.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

honeybee pattern

I was asked to work this up a few weeks ago, made design drawings, but had not begun the construction phase until yesterday.  I was feeling physically better from the flu that hit us over the weekend... and needed to take my mind off Sunday's other events and the echoing thoughts about not going to the funeral tomorrow on Thursday.

I think it turned out quite cute.

Changes would be to narrow the neck, enlarge the wings, and Esme says the legs are in the wrong order but that will be a difficult thing to change.

Monday, February 10, 2014

My mom

On February 9th at 8 pm my mom died at the hospital in Minnesota after a long illness of complications from diabetes and dementia.  Last night, I dreamt of butterflies.  I can't go up there for the funeral, but her sister-in-law, friends since early school days, is there with my stepfather.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

drummer girl and plastic twine bag

 A coffee can, some string and a pair of pencils and we have a little drummer girl.
It was her idea, Daddy made the holes in the can and helped her with the knot.
She was also very excited about snow, today.  But, there really wasn't enough to sled or do anything with.

In the very few spare minutes I get between everything else this week I've been adding rows onto this plastic twine bag.  I hope to have a full workshop day tomorrow - several toys to make.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


I've put half a new row on the pieced quilt I was working on about five, six months ago?  Maybe longer ago than that.  And I've discovered a new 'easier' way to make the blocks, so we'll give that a try on another day.  We start another long week of work here... been knitting on the blanket, trying to think what yarn I have would be right for fingerless mittens and taking in a lot of eye candy on quilts, fabric, yarns... not buying anything, but thinking.  I am on the lookout for, next time I am in the fabric section, another blue fabric with white dots.  I really do love the two dresses I have made for Esme (green, and light turquoise) that are this simple dotty fabric.  I saw some things over at TownMouse (link aside) and a few other places this week that just made me inspired to make MORE things than what I've been doing.  And that is what led to the quilt work yesterday and today, as well.

Saturday, February 01, 2014


It's Saturday again, and I feel like I've done a time warp.  I know I was at work... but it is all kind of fuzzy ;)  I am knitting a toy net for Esme's room, reading Hogfather, and am wondering what else I should get done during this rare weekend.

 the toy net hammock
pattern: with strong cotton yarn : knit 1 row, second row and all after: knit one, yarn over, *knit two together, yarn over* to end of row, bind off, attach long leader lines at five equal places along edges, tie over hooks and hang up on wall. 

bitty bits:  Made a little potholder/trivet cloth and put it in a letter to Mark's aunt.  Crocheted a band onto the bottom of my hat to cover my ears.  Delivered the robot to it's owner.  Made two of those scrubbing cloths for the bath and they worked pretty well (Esme thinks they are great, too).  Put another two inches on the orange striped blanket.  Mark says I could get some thin nylon rope and make us a grocery net for the back of the truck, as well - it is a pretty good idea but I need to research the nylon a bit.

Esme has a fascination with Iron Man at the moment, and superheroes in general.  She asked for a grilled egg sandwich the other day - which I translated as a grilled cheese sandwich with an omelet egg put in the middle before the toasting cycle.  She ate it all - although I had to urge on after halfway - and that was a first for her.  She has hated eggs and cheese both since she was tiny... we were making little steps with the cheese up until now but had not made much with the eggs.