Thursday, January 31, 2008

Valentine's Day KnitOwl toys

I'm adding more Valentine's Day items to the shop.

We had a tornado come through the area a couple of nights ago. It hit Paris to the north of us. I was ready to grab Esme and head for the basement as the sound of the wind was enormously loud and scary and then there was a big THUNK against the side of the house. The top of a tree in the yard came off and hit the side of the house but luckily it didn't do any permanent damage.

It snowed some last night and there was ice everywhere this morning. They expect more ice storms today. We've been looking into finding another job for one or both of us. We've been told we will soon have to arrange to rent the house we are currently living in.

This morning I drove an hour to have a planned interview only to find the boss out on an all-day service call. That was really frustrating. We tried to reach him several times that morning because of the ice storm coming. Finally we left Esme with her grandparents so as not to take her out on the road in the bad weather and high-tailed it there (and got there on time!) only to find him gone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And then there was one...

Squeaker has won the puppy version of 'Highlander'
'There can be only one'

We gave away three of the four remaining puppies this week. Silver and Skinny went together with a Spanish-speaking couple. Double-Spot went this morning to a man with two small children. Squeaker has won the puppy version of 'Highlander.' The prize? He gets to be a house dog as much as all the other dogs here now. He can come in and go out whenever he asks. He's pretty happy with that idea. Out of all the dogs Pixie is actually the one missing the puppies the most. Even Dee-Dee (the mother) isn't quite as unhappy as Pixie. Pixie took on being their bear rug blanket from the time they went outside right up until last night. For all her problems (her jaw still does not open much more than an inch, and the vet can't fix it) she is still hanging on and enjoying every bit of life that is given to her.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Strange Toys off the Cuff

Esme's new strange toys

I was watching the way Esme was using her fingers around one of her fuzzy blocks yesterday and got this idea. She needed something with lots of corners to grab and turn around in her hands. Something soft and colorful, that she could bounce around in her seat, grab and smack etc...

My first thought was to make some big felt shapes - cone, ball etc... but when I sat down at the sewing machine I just went 'off the cuff' with my felt scraps bag and ended up with these.

Baby Bird Ball and Ziggurat
These are some of the strangest and alien looking baby toys I've ever made ;)

However, what they lack in sophistication they definitely make up for in baby approval. Esme loves them already. She squeals at them just because they're colorful, and bounces them around with her legs and squeals some more because she can make them move. I'm going to try to perfect the ideas and make them a bit more regular, better constructed etc...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Esme's Shots

Esme did very well for her immunization shots today. She has been both giggly and cranky tonight back and forth.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Giraffe Pattern Needs More Work

I don't often show off the prototypes that fail - but this one is halfway to good. I need to change the legs again and the head but they are hopefully minor angle changes that will make everything work out much better.

I need to move the ears up to where the horns are (or maybe behind the horns?) and narrow the forehead some. See that little seam behind the horns? That one little seam is quite a challenge in this pattern, hence the crookedness of the entire head. My horse pattern would be 'beginner' but this is definitely 'intermediate.'

Next time you see a giraffe here I hope it is the final prototype, and a little better sewn than this one ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Growing So Big!

Esme is 10 weeks old

She is already in 6 months clothes (mostly) because she is so long the others usually won't snap anymore! She is also sitting up with some support. She falls over after a few seconds but it is still good practice for her muscles. She is grabbing blankets, toys and nearly anything else that can get in reach. Daddy's braid fell victim for the first time this weekend and she gave it a good tug ;)

We've also gone to a new internet connection here at our house - one that includes a cellular modem. I'm learning how to get all of our pictures transferred slightly different and how to get around on Ubuntu, which is a different flavor of Linux than I'm used to. It's actually pretty cool. It does a lot of things automatically such as printers, USB storage devices etc... I hadn't expected that to be so easy on a Linux install. The cellular dial-up is quite a bit slower than the old system. That is the toughest thing of all to get used to. Putting up Ebay listings or printing package labels seems to take forever. But we can do this from anywhere that has a cell signal, so WOW - considering that it is pretty awesome.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Trails puppies

We said goodbye and happy trails to three puppies yesterday as they went to new homes. We hope they will be loved and show their wonderful personalities to their new owners.

Bob, our big teddy bear
will have three little boys to run with
and a new daddy who has always wanted a big dog to wrestle with

Butterfly went to a farm with two other dogs.
The big dog came along with and approved of him. Even though Butterfly was timid at the giveaway he did well and we hope he shows this bouncy personality to his new owner once he is home and has time to explore.

We think Lassie made an excellent match. I liked the lady that called for her right from the start - she also brought her other female dog to meet Lassie which says a lot about her understanding of dogs. Lassie jumped right into the lady's truck bed and settled down on the dog bed with her other dog. It sounds like they'll get along fine :)

We gave these puppies away for free at a meetup made by emailing. We got a chance to talk to these people first and make sure they knew these were going to be big dogs, they'd need patience and training etc. It was a good chance to make sure they were going to good people, instead of just handing them off to a complete stranger.

I was also away from Esme for the longest time ever while we were giving these pups away. I missed her very badly and spent the first couple hours we were home feeding, carrying and dancing around with her. I was singing to her while I made tea in the kitchen. She gave me the most beautiful eyes and happy noises then :) I know some people have to leave their young babies every day for work or school but it's not for me. I want to have her next to me as often as possible and know I'm there whenever she is hungry or unhappy

Note: Esme weighed 12 lb 2 oz today..

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hands over Head?

Esme has been doing this strange thing for the past three weeks or so. She doesn't do it all the time, but often enough to make me wonder. She reaches up behind her head with her hands and starts to squirm back and forth and cry. We think it might just be digestion problems and she doesn't have anywhere else to put her hands?

Have any of you mommies or aunties seen this kind of behavior? She does it lying in the bassinet AND in her swing chair. She cries very loudly and gets red in the face, and squirms all over with her entire body but her hands stay behind her head or behind her ears. She doesn't have a fever and I'm not noticing any other signs that it might be an earache. She does still have cradle cap, including behind her earlobes.

We finally got Esme's insurance ready! She goes to the doctor this next Friday (not tomorrow) for her immunizations and another checkup. When we were there last they said to watch out for 'pulling on the ears' that it could be an earache - but I think this is something different?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Esme playtime

Now that she is a little older Esme is really enjoying toys! It is fun to watch her explore and delight in the colors and shapes. She is giving me one of her crooked grins in the top right picture ;)

Here is Esme looking at the colorful blocks Susan at KnitiotSavant sent and also beating up on the little lamb rattle Jeanne sent. Thank you both again :) She loves them and they are wonderful toys!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Frosted and Wire Musings

A frosted sunrise this morning

I've been playing with wire again - and made a few small hanging decorations to put in my 'other' Etsy shop.

Fish Wire Sculpture

Penguin Wire Sculpture

Just like my ink drawings I take the wire in my hands and bend it around with no real image until it starts to look like something. When I see something forming I work towards completing it as far as I can without overworking it. I like to think of them as glorified paper clips ;)

Monday, January 14, 2008


Esme and Pogo

Esme took another bottle today, even better than yesterday. Since the wood floor is so slippery I've put down this big blue rug. It is meant to put blankets down on for Esme's 'tummy-time' and of course all the animals love it too. Pogo has also taken to sleeping near or curled up around the feet of the bassinet. She says this is her 'job.'

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bunny Thumper Challenge

Pogo and Mouse

From Chris' blog: KitKatKnit’s kitty Ruby has issued a “Bunny Thumper Challenge,” ...

Mark agreed we had to do this! So here are our two and a half cats' bunny thumpers ;)

First was Mouse the dainty Manx, who was happy to oblige... I think I read just a hair over 4 inches, because the tape measure wasn't all the way to 0 at the back of her paw.

Then Pogo, who was slightly less than cooperative. 4.5 inches!

Puck and Pogo

And because Puck thinks she's a cat, she got to participate too. I don't think this is a legal entry though ;)

First bottle

Esme drank her first successful bottle today. You might ask 'first bottle at 2 months?' but I've been working on her every once in a while to get to this. Eventually she'll start teething, so this is necessary training for both of us!

I washed a new bottle in the dishwasher last night in anticipation and when she napped this morning I got the breastmilk ready and the bottle pieces boiling. Then I put it all together and woke her up. I held her on the bed across my knees (not against my chest) and tried the bottle. IMHO The NUK nipples work much better than the 'classic' baby nipple style. I was having troubles at first, though. She wouldn't take the nipple for more than a second before spitting it out. Then she would get frustrated and cry as if she wanted it back. I finally realized I had the nipple upside-down in her mouth. NUK bottle nipples have an 'up' and 'down' just like NUK pacifiers do, but they aren't marked the same way the pacifiers are.

Esme did finally understand though. After I got it right-side-up she drank nearly the whole thing. However, the whole time she was staring at me with strange eyebrows like 'You're SURE about this? Something is wrong here *frown* well at least there is some milk...'

I wonder if I can keep her taking at least one bottle feeding a day...?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Esme's first Podcast

Let me know if you can hear this - I worked hard converting it from our voice recorder!!

I caught Esme's squeals on tape, well.. in digital bytes at least ;)
Click here for the Link to the MP3
I hope you can hear it!

Heads Up!

Esme has been practicing her 'push ups' during tummy time. She doesn't like it much though - and these are the first 'happy' pictures I've been able to get of the process ;)

Mark's parents went to visit his aunts in North Carolina last week, and came home with a bunch of baby clothes and other items for Esme that had been waiting out there for her :) Very nice of them indeed!

That set me to going through all of the clothing we have for Esme, that has come from so many of you (thank you!), our relatives and the flea market. Esme has already grown out of at least a dozen items she fit when she came home from the hospital! They're all too short lengthwise now. It amazed me! The best of those I think I'll pass on to Elizabeth as she will be getting about that size soon.

The other thing I noticed is that sizing is very crazy in baby clothes. There are 6 months clothes I had put away that already fit Esme and things that say 3-6 months that are still obviously too big. There was even a dress that said 18 months that looks like it will fit her and a dress that said 6 months that looks like it is for a toddler! I sat on the floor and pulled things out, holding them over her body and putting them in three piles 'now', 'soon' and 'later.' That made plenty of room to put the new items the aunts had sent as before that all the 'later' was pretty disorganized.

//Note: Yesterday Esme weighed 11 lbs, 10 oz.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Our Anniversary

Today is a first anniversary for Mark and I. It was one year ago today that I came to him to stay. I wanted above all to be able to say honestly I had come to stay - and no one was going to be able to make me leave again against my will. This is the day I told him 'I'm here and I'm yours' and meant it completely.

We have our wedding anniversary later in the year but this feels more like our real anniversary, and it is the one I'll commemorate.

**happy sigh**

Dreaming in Stormy Weather

I had the strangest feeling when I woke up early this morning. It was just after dawn - and I had been dreaming I was in a round swing chair that was sucking me in and I couldn't get out. I woke up like 'can't breathe' and the air around the house just 'felt strange.' It was exactly like being wrapped up in a sphere that was slowly pressing in on all sides.

For about a minute I sat up in bed wondering if I should get up and check the weather report. It felt like the air could break at any moment. Then there was a huge crack of lightning and the world did break - out into sheets of rain on all sides of the house. It rained heavily for quite a while, and that satisfied me enough to go back to sleep for a few hours. It is still raining and thundering and lightning...

Mark looked at our weather radar and it just showed little 'hot spots' of severe activity all around us. I'm wondering if there is a tangible weather phenomenon that caused that 'charged sphere' feeling or if it was just my sleepy brain overreacting to the sounds of the storm.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

KnitOwl toys stepping up

Aliens for 2008

I'm making what I hope will be a lasting committment to keep small toys in production for the shop. I've been lacking there in favor of our Ebay store and custom orders - and well, of course, Esme ;)

If I want the handmade toy shop to be successful, I need to be putting things up every day or every few days to draw people's eyes. For that, I need to be working on a small handmade baby toy, softie, bird pincushion or some other project at all times. Unlike the Ebay store where we need to buy inventory to host in our store - I can sit down with a few materials and make inventory for the Etsy store.

I emailed a lady who wanted me to send a batch of Alien Monster Dolls to her shop in England last year. I asked her if she is still interested, and we'll see if she gets back. I'm open to other suggestions for promotion as well. I wish I had more connections for knowing where to sell or promote!

I'm also a giddy mommy over some really simple things. I've been waiting for Esme to start grabbing things beside my hand. It's an important step towards her exploring the world around her. She has begun to wrap one of her hands around the little lamb toy Jeanne gave to her. She then squeals with delight and rubs her fingers back and forth in the fuzzy surface. I also took out the Baby Einstein blocks Susan sent back before Esme was born. She spent time staring at them on the bed yesterday and also making lots of noises when I would rattle one, or change what surface was facing her. Simple things, but I'm very happy about them :))

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Giraffing

I think the dark pink one with longer legs is the way to go. The green one is cute but the neck was extremely hard to pull the head through because it was too skinny. I'm on to the larger version tomorrow.

It is raining and storming here and there is a Tornado watch that is almost over.


Stained glass looking colors behind the trees

Monday, January 07, 2008

Happy Blurry Esme

Thoughtful? She stares at her frog on the mobile like this a lot.


Mark's Canadian friend Meow pointed out I haven't had an Esme picture in a week or so ;) Here you go! She is very wiggly, but I managed to catch a bit of a smile!

Esme also has a lot of dry skin or cradle cap coming off of the back of her head right now. She looks like she has dandruff all of the time, poor kid! Her cold isn't getting any worse, maybe somewhat better but she is still 'snorting', especially in the mornings.

Giraffe prototype #1



4 inches tall, final product to be 8-10 inches tall
Changes to be made: lengthen nose, even up leg lengths, skinny up forehead

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Esme's docor appointment

Esme does have a cold, and the doctor gave me some drops for her nose and some reccommendations. The doctor's appointment didn't cost much, but her vaccines aren't covered under our insurance. I asked them how much they would cost, but they said instead I need to go down tomorrow to the health department and fill out paperwork to see if Esme can get immunized under some statewide 'vaccines for healthy futures' program. It was really strange they wouldn't tell me what the cost would be. Instead they said just go and see if she is covered by that program first. If she isn't - then they'll tell me how much they cost. The closest to a number they would give me today was 'lots.'

/hates sitting in beaureaucratic offices

No more word on my sister - except she tried to call for more money for bail that my mom didn't have. I wonder if my mom slept at all last night, she sounded so tired on the phone. Still no precise description of what Marcia did that has her in this much trouble.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Esme's Immunization Appointment

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it is a great year for all of you and for all of us as well :)

Tomorrow we go into the doctor for Esme's immunizations. It was supposed to be on Friday, but I called the doctor today and they moved it up a day. That is because Esme has what could be the beginnings of a cold. She has had junk in her nose three days in a row and been 'snorting' when she eats. I'm feeding her more often, whenever she will nurse, and that seems to be helping her a lot. If the doctor says she is well enough to get her shots they'll give them to her tomorrow after checking up on her cold. Of course I'm a paranoid first-time-mother, and it might not be as bad as it seems. I hope it isn't ;}

It snowed here a little bit yesterday and today ;) but not even enough for a snowball.

I ordered the reprint copy of the Voynich manuscript the other day from Ebay. Apparently there are a lot of people very interested in understanding what it is about... codebreakers and such. Glad to see other people see this as a valid form of entertainment as well. I've been making little books of obscure plants, animals, math formulas, mechanical diagrams and 'secret' pictographic languages since I was a kid. I was a very bored but also very imaginative little kid. In college I found a well-bound set of Leonardo's Notebooks in our college library and spent many days sitting there looking through all of his varied studies in math, science, anatomy and art. Even now, as an adult, looking through my sketchbooks would produce things quite close to Voynich, strange creatures and plants doodled on pages with phonetically encoded text of quotes I'm not sure I want other people to read... musings and poetry and the like.

What a way to start off the New Year (family)

*sigh* I don't talk about my sister much here, but she's in big trouble again... I usually feel like the big sister around her even though I'm the little sister by seven years. She is always in trouble and milks my mom for money constantly. When she lived near my mom she would leave her kids there for days on end, only picking them up when she wanted to ask for more money. She is in jail tonight and my mom is really upset. She may actually stay in jail for several years this time where before she has always gotten out with warnings and/or time served etc... *sigh again* Sadly I had to tell my mom my sister is an adult who knows she is not doing the right things when she does them and in this case mom can't really help her. In my sister's mind (my opinion) nothing is ever really 'wrong' until she gets caught and punished for it. My mom knows she can't do anything, especially halfway across the country, but still is staying up all night worrying what will happen to the kids and, in general, why my sister is the way that she is...