Tuesday, July 31, 2007



I've been to the flea market twice to pick up things, and a few garage sales. We found a stroller with big wheels and a baby bathtub this morning to put away. I'm accumulating a small pile of 0-3 and 3-6 mo. clothes here in this red toy chest. The things I've made are in plastic bags to the left, and hope to take patterns off a few more of the ready-mades. This little pink jacket (on top in picture) shouldn't be too hard to copy.

I've also been having those dreams pregnant women get ;) I've dreamt yesterday morning that I gave birth in the back of a bus - and this morning that instead of one baby there were quadruplets (who somehow magically turned into two year olds when I turned my back.. and I was really confused!).

Made another baby hat and am avoiding working on the baby sweater -- not for any specific reason except I haven't successfully made a sweater before. Mark's mom gave me a bag of her old yarn, and the Simply Soft has really come in handy. I also mail-ordered some cotton Knitpicks Shine, sport and worsted, to knit more baby pants, hats and other items out of.

Mark ordered a Roomba robotic vaccum cleaner a few weeks ago, and it arrived today. I'm not sure which web store he bought it from, but it was a remarkably good deal. The animals are a little freaked out, but so far they are taking it as a non-communicative cat that really likes to go around running into things ;)

Mark has given the Roomba a name - "Marvin", after the robot in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Because: What happens when it gets stuck while trying to get over something? It gets depressed and goes away...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A few more finished objects...

Two knit baby hats and a sewn pair of pants.

I used the size 3-6 mo. pink pair of pants from the flea market finds to make a pattern for some elastic-waisted cotton pants for Bazooka. This pair is a little smaller than the original, but I'll make a few larger pairs as well. I tried a few variations on baby hat patterns I found online. I liked the pattern for the pink hat much better than the green.

Pink hat: Size 6 DPN knitting needles and 'Simply Soft' yarn.
CO 66, split between needles and join to knit in the round.
Knit one row of garter stitch.
K5, P1 for 9 to 10 centimeters - then begin to decrease (row of K4, P2tog / row of K3, P2tog) etc decreasing the number of knit stitches until you reach a total P2tog row (Knit zero, purl 2 together) - break off long tail and draw yarn through all loops pulling tight and firmly secure ends of yarn.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Works in Progress

Green baby hat, Baby Bee 'Yoda Sweater', several finished washcloths

Cloth for making baby shoes and pants
The Japanese rabbits came in the mail ;)
I have a yard of orange and blue goldfish fabric ordered as well.

The circular baby blanket is now 17 inches across and slowly creeping.
Now that I have that errant row straightened out, it should get some more work done on it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Redneck Chain Mail

I'm not the only one doing arts and crafts around here...
Redneck Chain Mail 'lovingly handcrafted' in Tennessee...

in other words.. we have a lot of these steel snap hooks
in our shop, and they're fun to play with ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Questions of Practicality... Baby Items

Thanks everyone!
Your advice really helped (and the 'horse snot' made me giggle)!

Some of you have kids, and some of you know people who have kids ;)

Some questions of practicality I have...

1.) Do newborns need bibs? Especially breastfeeding newborns?
2.) What do you reccommend for a diaper bag? I'm thinking of making one, but have seen some 'hacker' styles with lots of pockets that might be better...

I know I'll have other questions later, but these are the two basic ones that have been bumping in my head the past week...

I picked up a few small items at the flea market that were in really good condition. Over the next few weeks I'll be seeing what can be made easily and making a list of the things we need to get.

Finished Objects

I've been doing some knitting too - but it's not photogenic. I've done a few more washcloths to put away for when Bazooka is born, and making a valiant effort at a baby sweater. I had set the circular shawl (her baby blanket) aside for a while when I realized a whole row needed to be carefully ripped back, because I forgot to increase! But, it's back on track now.

In non-knitting crafts, I have some finished objects.

Mark's pipe bag is finished.

He wore it on his belt to the flea market yesterday and then we decided it needed a pocket so his lighter didn't get lost at the bottom. I added the pocket in the side with a velcro closure on the top.

A red pair of shoes for Bazooka - with a double-layer sole to make them stiffer, and a cloth upper to make them more washable than the felt ones.

I've got some Japanese fabric coming from Etsy next week or so - navy with little rabbits running on it. I'm going to make a third pair out of that when it arrives ;)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pogo-ing at 50%, check back later for full recharge...

Baby Update: I could swear she has my thermostat on call in there -- in the morning I am freezing cold and sweating, and by the afternoon I am hot enough to strip. She is also MUCH more active the last few days - in frequency and strength. I can see her send the side of my stomach out about an inch when she gets a well-placed kick. I'll probably regret saying this later - but her kicks don't hurt yet, just feel like a hiccup going the wrong way.

My friend from high school suggested this is a good time to start reading to her, so for the past few days I've waited for her to be active and then read a chapter or so out of Little Bear. I've also been walking more than a mile every morning, weather allowing. It's a nice evenly paced walk - no pushing, and I'm not even tired when I get back, just warm, no matter what the temp is. I got an ankle brace for walking with today, hope it works - I have that one ankle I broke as a kid that has went out on me three times so far. No serious falls, and the ankle doesn't even hurt after it bends back the right way, but I end up with a bloody knee and a bit of worrying until I feel Bazooka kick again. Soon enough here, I'm going to have so much scar tissue on that other knee it just won't bleed!

Thanks for all the comments on the little shoes! I have plans for a few more small pairs (with alterations to the pattern) for back-ups :) They are so easy and fun to make!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Well, maybe the Green Tea isn't All Bad...

I'm still not drinking more than a cup or so while this sinus thing has me - but I did make a bit of green tea today, weak green tea. I asked on my pregnancy group and apparently the jury is still out on just how bad it is for you - especially in the third trimester. Early pregnancy it is still a high risk, because so many things are developing then.

Nearly 25 weeks.

I'm starting to price out some things for the baby now, just to know what we're in for next month. So far, we know we need a good crib, a carseat and that I'd like to get one of those baby sling/carriers to keep her close to me, instead of a stroller. Still worried about sizes on baby clothing, too. When I was born nothing my mom had been given or bought fit me - I was just too big for all of it. That's one reason I'm kind of holding back, thinking maybe just buy a few basic things in a few different sizes, and save the rest for when we know what size she'll be. I'm not blown up to 'house-size' yet either. I expected to be by now... although I am noticeably huge ;)

We watched Pogo hunt a dove today outside - which she didn't catch. She had a really good stalk going on though, came within two feet of it. It was funny to see her get up after it flew away, 'Is there anything else here to stalk? No? Did anyone see that? Rats! I sat here five whole minutes and it just flies off!'

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pogo the Teenage Kitten

As I've said before, Pogo is growing up. However, she has a ways to go yet.

So she can be smug when getting a dog to be her minion...
Tell me Misha, is it the other way around?

And grab a catnap 'egg-rolled' into the corner of the blanket
This is at the foot of the bed, where I almost step on her...

Weaving Update: I wove a small belt-loop for the bag out of embroidery floss (same technique as the dreambag) and have it halfway sewn to the lining. Not an interesting thing to take pictures of yet -- but maybe soon.

My friend from high school called last night to talk about the baby but she lost her signal after only a few sentences :( She has two kids and was on the road to pick them up from a babysitter when she called. I'll have to call her back tonight.

I'm having nosebleeds and a dry stuffy nose :( Trying a pan of water on the stove for a humidifier and making some chicken soup from scratch (well, the chicken was from the butcher shop.. not that much scratch) to try to kick it out. Also, about three months ago black tea made me want to throw up.. which luckily, I have only done twice during this pregnancy. I tried a black tea latte again today (half tea, half milk) and so far my stomach is taking it much better. Green tea, my old standard for sinus issues, is a no-no until well after the baby is done breastfeeding, due to the effect it has on growing cells :( Funny, the same thing that makes it good for adults makes it very bad for infants and little kids.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I've been weaving a white string bag the last couple of nights - and it has progressed very quickly. The weave is not as tight as the dreambag, but not 'loose' either. I'm hoping to make it into a nice little zippered pouch he can keep his corncob pipe, lighter and leather  pouch together in.

Waiting to be sewn to a lining and sewn together.

While still warped up on a picture frame.

An illustration from: Little Bear's Friend by Else Minarik

This was another book I couldn't pass up from my childhood - the Little Bear series by Else Minarik. I remember having a copy of this and just looking through all the pictures again and again until I could read it for myself. The volume I bought off Ebay had three books combined in it, which will be great for reading to Bazooka when she is born.

Also got a copy of Eating Well When You're Expecting - the nutrition book that goes along with What to Expect When You're Expecting. We're already six months in - but there are still things in here to be of use, as well as eating reccommendations for breastfeeding and post-partum.

This book comes at a good time, as I'm in another 'eating surge' - where I get hungry OFTEN. That's hard when I've already gained the 25 lbs the doctor wanted as a top limit *eek* - but where is that 25 lbs? I feel bigger, I look bigger in some places, but 25 lbs? One thing I don't do enough of anymore is walking quickly - (yes I still can!) and that feels really good on my knees and legs when I get a good speed up. Took a good long walk today in the early morning and felt a nice stretch in muscles that had been lacking for a while.

Monday, July 16, 2007

As the Tummy Grows...

First of all: Thank you to Shannah for adopting a bunny! I'm glad he's going to a good home with Gort and Co. ;)

I'm starting to feel the stretch now. Even the size 14 jeans (which I bought in April) are getting a little too tight at the belt - although they are still baggy everywhere else. My silhouette is looking very strange, but normal for pregnancy.. stomach way out in front and back oddly curved in. I'm starting to look in the mirror and long for my waist. Then I feel a shift in movement in there and think three more months!

I'm looking forward to the day I can twist my body in any sort of gymnastic contortion I want to, without worrying about hurting Bazooka. I used to have a lot of fun doing that with my body - and hanging from my arms, etc... if I hadn't broken bones (plural) I would have stayed in gymnastics and martial arts as a teenager :( However, accident-prone doesn't go well with organized sports ;)

My belly button is starting to disappear, actually turn itself inside out. I had a very deep 'innie' belly button that is now approaching flat.

The headache on Friday did put me down - and we've been pretty busy since. There's still more to do later on today. I went up and did some more work on Saturday and you would not believe I left Kelba leashed in the car for a LONG time when I got back, well after sunset. I completely forgot about her - and she didn't say a word. This is a coonhound people - she didn't say a word, just waited for us to come back and get her. The pregnancy 'absent-mindedness' might be taking effect now too :( Luckily she didn't seem traumatized by it and I hope I NEVER do anything like that again!

On the craft front: I've knit two dishcloths during my 'I can't sleep' hours at night and have about 1/2 way woven on a cotton string bag that is a much looser weave than the dreambag. I have it strung up on a picture frame and it is weaving up very quickly.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Missing in Action

We took a quick run to Jackson, TN yesterday for some computer equipment for Mark's parents. On the way back the most terrible headache hit me, and didn't go away until well after nine o'clock at night. I tried a bath, rest, a walk, coffee, water, salt... even some knitting. After six hours you'll try anything to see if a half-hour later it worked :}

Today I feel better. Have some other work to get to now. Tessa's trade came in the mail. She sent me a cool totebag along with the shirt!

Update: Here is the picture!

The orange tube top shirt just barely fits my pregnant stomach, it peeks out from underneath. I'll have to put it away until after Baby Bazooka is born ;) The tote bag has a cool silhouette on it. Thank you Tessa! This was a really great trade!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New and old fascinations

When I was in Yellow Springs in May we picked up some little cylindrical bead-like things - that really confused me. I had never seen anything like them. They looked natural, but were too blunt to be teeth or horns, and each one had a strange little 'peg' at one end that seemed too regular for them to be cut or shaped by man.

The lady at the store had no idea what they were - just that someone else had sold them to her as part of a very old necklace. They also felt 'funny' in my hand - like each one possessed a slight static charge. (can't explain that - Mark didn't feel it)

At the flea market on Tuesday we found a windchime that had lots of them hanging from it - the exact same thing! I was then spurred to look them up and they are 'pencil sea urchin' spines. They are hollow, and the 'peg' area is where they go through the hole in the urchin's hard outer body and are attached to muscles inside. The coloring and striping on them is completely natural variegation. Not sure why I've never seen one before - but even now knowing they are common (large lots of them on Ebay, etc.) I'm still echanted by them.

Windchime with sea urchin spines hanging from it.
Click picture to enlarge

I also picked up a little colored cardstock and have started playing with another old favorite past-time of mine - paper cutting. With an X-acto knife and about two minutes (in between other things) I made the card below.

Green Fox Notecard

Baby Update: Today was the first day we saw my stomach actually move on the outside from 'Baby Bazooka's gymnastics. I was taking normal breaths sitting in my chair and Mark and I both saw several 'jerks' in one part of my stomach as I felt her bumping around there. It really made me giggle, then we had to wait for me to stop laughing to see it again. This kid is going to be strong!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Baby Update

I can't believe it - I've gained 11 lbs in the last month and a half. Still boggling at where that went other than the obvious - as yes the tummy is getting much bigger much quicker now. I've been super-thirsty, but then it's been hot too.

At this rate of growth, will she stay in a whole nine months? ;) Just watch me read that when I'm 41 weeks along and asking her 'Why won't you get out?'

Busy here...

We have our doctor's appointment today, shipping for our Ebay store and a few other things to do in town. We've been busy most of the weekend, as well. On Saturday we had a cable break out over the driveway that holds up the fiber optic cable for our Internet. It didn't cause the Net to go down, but we had to expend quite a bit of effort to stabilize the wire again, so it wouldn't break in the next storm.

We're also going back and forth between different computer projects. It isn't as easy as it seems to keep a large Internet network up and accessible to the Web. We run over 16 web sites here, and are pretty much the only ones who know (me because Mark knows) what to do when something breaks. Often, it is a situation that will lead to other things failing later, and although no one can see the fixes being made on a weekly basis, they would quickly know if they stopped being taken care of for any long period of time. We're also working with salvaged equipment to get all of this done, and have for years - so the methods to fix broken systems often includes cannibalizing some other machine, making a work-around or trying to scrape together something new before old one gives out completely.

Not that we are busy 24/7 - we still get time to sit down and watch a movie during dinner and be together, but there is always more to get done, somewhere, the next time we get moving again.

I traded a few rabbit softies to a lady in Florida (Tessa at HowtoMakeArt blog) for a cool screenprinted shirt. I'm glad those rabbits will have a good home instead of sitting on my shelf in a cutely menacing row. I've taken on a few custom art projects, one for a friend and one for a site logo. We went to the flea market yesterday and picked up a few more things to Ebay and a small box of craft materials the lady was selling for 2.00.

Off to bustle some more, we've got our postal box ready to go out but I really need to vaccum before we go to the doctor ;)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Softie Adoptions

Click Here to See my Softie toy shop!

I have a proposal to make. If you would like to swap for any of the little creatures below, please post a comment here. Also say which creature you would like to trade for. These softies need to be adopted to good homes before I embark on a much more complicated project...

From L to R: Blue Bear, Red Rabbit, All-Pink Rabbit, Brown Rabbit, Pink Birdie Rabbit, Pink kitty, Yellow Bear

From L to R: Set of three knit rabbits, bird pincushion, white rabbit.

I've finally decided to get a sewing machine, although it might take a month or so to actually happen. I've been mostly against using sewing machines on softies. I'm very quick and detailed with a hand-sewing needle. It seems like the toys have more personality when handsewn, more care and detail put into them. Also sewing on a machine is more difficult because many of my projects are 6 inches or smaller. However, the new projects are going to be larger, and more complicated. I think it's about time to dive in and get a sewing machine that can do long straight stretches.

So, tell your other knitblog friends (if you'd like), that these stuffed animals are looking for good homes. Possible swap materials would be a bit of an interesting fabric, some felt, ribbons, buttons, a skein or two of cheap wool or cotton yarn etc...

Some of these animals are still for sale at my Etsy shop and have been reduced in price. If you don't want to swap the price on them would help towards the sewing machine. Once I arrange a swap I'll remove them from the shop.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Dream bag is finished

I started this weaving in February and it is finally done. The old one is now in a box, and it's contents are in this one. I also asked a pottery artist I love on Etsy to make a new ceramic rabbit tile for me. If I decide not to use it as a replacement for my current tile I can save it for our little girl.

Overall I'm really happy with this bag. It was looking very uneven on the loom, and making me wonder how it would work out. It sewed up with just a little bit of strangeness on one side, and that isn't really distracting to me. The two sides have very different looks, while the old one was the same pattern front and back.

Materials: cotton warp, mercerized cotton embroidery thread for the weft in purple, blue and white.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

22 weeks

Me and 'Baby Bazooka*' at 22 weeks

We were supposed to go to the maternity clinic this afternoon for a monthly checkup, but the doctor got called into surgery. We did a few other things in town and came back home to work on a computer project.

Susan: Yes I'm sure the day I can't get out of the bathtub or up off sitting on the floor will come soon and not looking forward to it!

I'll definitely be glad for the day my jeans fit me sitting down the same way they do standing up. Currently I have to unbutton them when I sit, and tighten my belt when I stand up... which makes for some interesting adjustments in public ;) These are the same jeans that were 'WAY too big' two and a half months ago... finally my belly had grown into them but somehow I change shape drastically at the waistline when I stand up vs. sitting down.

* Mark's nickname for her ;)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!

We have Fireworks! (they are legal in Tennessee, but are not in Minnesota)

Yesterday was a long day, we went to the flea market in the morning, a town trip in the afternoon and at about 8:00pm we decided to go to the Transformers movie in Murray, KY with a stop at the fireworks store while we were up there.

Tranformers was extremely fast visually, hard to see things because they were moving so fast. It was like a video game, with everything going on all over the screen at once very fast and hard to track it all. Plot-wise it wasn't too bad, but it was funny to see Ebay used as a plot device ;)

Our Pogo-face

When we were at the flea market we saw a kitten that could have been Pogo's twin. She was very small and scared of dogs, though. I'm sure Pogo is glad we left her there for someone else to adopt.

Cotton Shirting Fabrics

I also picked up some men's cotton dress shirts from one of the flea market booths. At 25 to 50 cents apiece I don't mind using them for fabric - they'll be great for toys!

Wishing you all a happy and safe Fourth of July!

'Magical Lights and Messages' 07/04/2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Loom

I've wanted a 'real' loom since I was a teenager. I tried to build one several times, but it never stood up to the wear, or missed key pieces. I've woven items on picture frames, cardboard, books, doors and most recently, the found frame that used to be part of a table. Yes, that is what the big frame I've been using for the dream bag is - and it has done quite well! However, I still wanted a loom with a heddle, and something portable. A few days before my birthday I ordered this.

It's a Beka loom from Dick Blick catalog.

A few minutes work with their already-warped setup gave this.

How to Warp a Rigid Heddle Loom <-- so I'll remember later.

I'm hittinng the home stretch on the dream bag, as well.

This will be one side, and you've seen the other. I'm still using the finger pick up method to get the shed on this, or it would be going a lot faster. Those long bars with all the slots are called 'heddles.' They allow you to pick up the sheds just by pushing the bar up or down and scooping them all up at once.

Baby Update: We see the doctor again on Thursday. She has been kicking me furiously between eight and ten at night as her chosen 'awake' period - but also at random times during the day. I'm finally starting to feel awkward bending over for things and will be asking the doctor what is the best way to do that - since my book only shows the proper way to 'lift small packages'... How long will it be before a piece of paper on the floor defeats me? *grin*

Thanks for all the well wishes yesterday. In all but the law, I was 'divorced' that morning in January when I made my final decision. I am happy to have the legal part finished though finally.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I am divorced.

Finally received my judgement for divorce this morning in the Chancery court. I'm very happy to have it finished legally. From the time I went to the lawyer (last week of January) to now makes about six months.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I signed up for a swap called 'Handmade Happiness.' You sign up through swap-bot and send two handmade items to your partner. It sounds like a fun and quick thing to do! Link for swap page: here

Stuffed owl made from an original pattern, available here. Mark suggested the beak curve. Handmade toy by KnitOwl 6.5 inches sitting, 11 inches standing.

Toymaker's Rant: Etsy used to have a lot more 'quality' toymakers, people who took some visible time with their toys when making them. Lately I see a lot of amateurish work and things that look more glued together or hanging together by luck alone than that good quality work I was used to getting inspiration from.

Quality toymakers like Hop Skip Jump, Loobylu, Jhoanna Aranez and Little Birds, all of whom I greatly admire.

I'm wondering where all the other 'artisans' went? I still see some, new and old, on Flickr. A lot of them have their own shops now..

Etsy used to be great because we were all in the same place. It was a benefit to post toys there because it put you into a search engine that was used by lots of people every day. It was like Ebay, but everything was handmade by a real person (often with a blog, who you could start a conversation up with). Not to say there aren't still a lot of nice things on Etsy... their yarn, beads, clothing, handbags etc... are still on the most part looking very professional.

Note: my work is nowhere near as 'professional' as those artists I listed above, but I do put some time into making sure my toys will stand up to normal handling and not look thrown-together. I should invest more in some materials like wool or linen, but does that make the toys too fancy for real children to get to play with them?