Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas deer and a secret present in the making..

Mom and Dad are working on something big... it is a secret, for the big holiday coming up! 

Esme has seen this - but thinks it is an oven or a house.. she does not know yet. Do you remember what she asked for Santa for? She told the librarian he was bringing it when we were there today.. we went to story hour and to McDonalds afterwards. She was so good.. and Daddy had this great idea for making something 'substantial' with some items we already had in the house. I think it is sizing up great! 

Take me to your leader! That is a big clue, huh? We may have to tell Esme eventually that Santa sent us the plans but we had to make it oursekves.. that'll work, right?  I have to pick up more supplies tomorrow, and we will be further along! I have also been making these Christmas Deer for the KnitOwl shop. I have one up and another on the way... 

Handmade from my own drafted pattern

//////////////////Language://///////////// Things I've heard lately:  'Yes, your highness', 'I'll be a Rapunzel and you'll be a Rapunzel, and we'll be two Rapunzels, and there is no witch, no witch like pretend to be a Mama, and this bed will be the tower and the prince will come (what is his name?  Prince boy.. but maybe Jamie) and he is here he says 'Rapunzel Rapunzel, let down your hair!' Are you there?  Are you gone at a Chuckie Cheese birthday party?  (quiet)  She's gone.  But, she is back now.'

''I didn't see it, I was sleeping or I was at school?' (when I told her Daddy told me something that she wasn't present for')  'Is it for me or is it for you? (about a toy I was making), 'But my Mama said, my Mama said!' (about Daddy saying it was too early to call Grandma and I told her we would try)  '

We live in the earth, and we are going to the Paris, to the library..' (I remind that Paris is still in the earth, too) 'I will have a little pet, and I have this kitten is a pet!  But, I'm gonna go, I'm going to take this to my room and play, just like that.' I'm going to grow up, and I'll be a Mama, I told you just like that, and I will drive, and go to work and do the work things, and I will come home.

On the computer game:  'Yes, I got it, I really really got it.  .... Yes, two points!'

(working on the computer) I am going to teach you, you go up there and you push ALT like that.',  'I am not shutting it down, it is coming up, it is waking up. (about the computer)', You just shoot the bad guys and then I will play like that, you better drive it (the car in the game), I will go to the drawbridge and you will fight the bad guys.  You will use the helicopter and you will float and go way high, and you will jump, and use the parachute and you will be alright.  You better do that.  Hey, I will play with this, and I will jump into the grass. (No - get those guys! - I was playing the grass running around the grass (as she makes Daddy fight the bad guys)...

I was a baby, and you were a mama, and I go waaa, and you give me the baby bottle and I grow up, and now I am a kid!  I have two kid dogs, a Loula and a Daphne, and they are kids.  I love my family, I really really love my family.  We will go in the store, they have it at the Walmart - you better buy it in the WalMart, with the toy cartoons and movies, I saw it.  (about a cartoon she had previously only seen at Grandma's house and I told her we did not have at our house).

This is for Santy, I make it for Santy, and he will see it.  (to the librarian) : I love Santa, he is going to bring me a spaceship!  'Can you bring me to the flowers?  And I will run with them and walk them around and hey - can I play with it?  You better get those bad guys!  Can't see it, where did it go?  Can't see the helicopter.  I was going to play with the grass and flowers. There he is, go get him, go get him, you big helicopter, go away you helicopter, BOOM.  You gotta shoot those bad guys and Ill play with the flowers, like that!  Oh.  wow.

Where's the flowers, on the mountain? Get the bad guys, but I can't, I'm too small. I was going to play and swing the trees, and just like that. I only shoot one bad guy, and I see the red thing, and I shoot he was really bad, like that... '  Don't run, dude.  Don't run.  I'm looking the people from their names and to... get those bad guys, I'm going to watch them go boom and I'll ride on the cars and I'll get off of them, like that - get me to the road and I'll get off those cars and I'll jump on them, like that.. I'm brave, really brave,  but I only shoot one bad guy, like that.   I can't look, I need help.  Can you get me to a beach?((Just Cause II Daddy's game))

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Handmade things by KnitOwl - and other bits

The KnitOwl shop is still open, and I will be adding things to it as I can.  There is so much handmade in this house and the 'fall to winter rush' for our own use is almost over - so there is time (I hope) to make some other things.

Scarves being made for the
 100% wool, basketweave hand knit 
brown variegated and (coming) blue variegated 

Esme talking to me about being out in the frost before we take her to school

Size 6 1960's smock dress with back zipper

Handmade toys in several styles

Bambi toy and blue summer - to - fall dress

Someone at Esme's school said they recognized her 'from the internet, somewhere'... if you made it here then 'Hi!' - this is our little corner, and where I post the clothing I make for Esme,   I was "just" a toymaker, making custom dolls and animals for people at my Etsy shop for five years before I had Esme.  But then I couldn't find anything that fit her right - and I dove into making clothing as well.   Women in my family have made clothes and toys for their families for generations. My mom passed along some general sewing knowledge but not much about clothes - so I had to learn as much as I could by doing, trial-and-error, and seeing what other people were doing on the Internet at the same time.

There are a lot of 'handmade' clothing shops out on the Internet - everyone is different, and my style of making is much more 'old school' than many of those out there now.  I don't know many who would hand work a buttonhole anymore, and my sewing friends think I am nuts to sew in a zipper by hand.  But, I do it because it turns out better for me.   I found out that these handmade clothes actually last a lot longer than storebought knits and were a better investment for our household in the long run.  And, I didn't have to fight dressing rooms and too-tight t-shirt necks.   Each piece takes about an hour to three hours of handwork and sewing machine work, and has zigzagged interior seams, turned and edged facings, handworked buttonholes and zippers sewn in by hand.  The clothes are sewn using 'antique' or vintage patterns (1940s to 1970s collection, size 2 through 10) and given alterations based on what the child needs.  I face with simple cotton fabrics and do not use seam or bias tape.

I do take custom orders - but only for those serious few who want handmade 'old made' things... the results will last a long time, hard washing in the washing machine and hard play outdoors in mud and rain.  However, they do require measurements and sometimes a try on to see where the 'problem areas' are.  For myself, the problem area is my wide shoulders.  For little one, it is also the wide shoulders, long legs and skinny waist.  When things are handmade, allowances can be discovered and made for such things that would require long searching in off-the-rack clothes!

All that said - I still work full time, and sometimes growth spurts here keep me from making much at all otherwise.  Maybe that will change over the next year - we'll see. I'll try to put up a few more things in the shop, and see if there is anyone out there willing to take the dive!

Black Friday, riding in the car in her handknit jacket, helping to take Mom to work


Size 5 Blue long sleeved dress and shorts from 1960s McCalls pattern with back ties 

Hobby Horse


Monday, November 26, 2012


Esme: 'Not the old coat, I want the young coat - the younger coat?  Mama, which coat?' And I then explain the use of the word old/young vs. old/new.  She was also saying that on Mark's game all of the older soldiers were fathers to the younger ones... which was not true - I get her meaning, but so hard to explain.  She thinks differently - not incorrectly, just .. .differently.    She says we will be a human and a person and do things and she will be a girl human and I can be a man human and... I get lost as she is just going "60 per" with laying out the roles and then she gets mad if I interject that I am a human, and 'girl human' sounds odd she could just say 'girl' etc...  She told me she was wearing her pants seams out because then the pants were 'empty' inside, all okay...Mama, don't worry about it etc..   She has mentioned she dislikes the strings in her pants that come when they are washed often and the zigzagged seams start to unravel some.  She cried the other day when my Mom was on the phone because she wanted me to play with her - and she said that my Mama would be alright, don't worry about it, I need to play with her.  She also said it was okay - I was with my family, and we all love.  It blows me away sometimes how clear some of her ideas are, and so very unexpected at the same time.  I hear her singing along so often now to things on the TV - even when it doesn't seem like she is watching... she was sitting on Mark's lap playing a computer game and under her breath I hear her singing the Simpsons theme song that is on as background noise.

On other notes : I am starting to make more things for the shops again - I am thinking of maybe three of a toy - put them up and if they sell they do if they do not then okay, not much time wasted.  I am taking yarns to work and making scarves - a thing I planned to do last year but never did... save them for the year in containers and post them for Christmas/winter etc etc... Energy energy.  The scarves and the toys will be posted at MarieMeyer KnitOwl and all the drawings at Ink Strokes Etsy shop.

I finally finished the third winter dress and also two pairs of very long pants for Esme.  She is 44 inches tall now - and her pants legs are 25-26 inches.  I can so very barely squeak a size 5 pair of pants out of a single yard now... it is not safe to buy a yard and hope it will suffice... yard and a half at the very least.  (yard==45 by 36 inch piece of fabric.)  Her waist elastic is 20 inches now, which shortens to about 19 when sewn.

Peacock lady drawing 11/23 - somehow the scanner does not show the intense pink of the entire dress... *sad*  Drawn for Esme - she says it is so beautiful and she loves it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Little Bits

Esme's latest bits:  'Mom, help with my coat hair, please?' She meant the hood on her coat.  // And those are cows, mom and dad cows, and the baby cows will come out of the cows, and they will be boy and girl cows, and they will pee, and they will grow up, and they will go to cow school!  //  She is calling the dogs the short one and the little one and the big one // She feeds her new fashion doll (her first one ever) pretend food and juice and pretends that her eyes and mouth open and she talks to her. // She was sitting in a storage box and pretending to be a cake that was in an oven, and saying that she was Mr.Box and she was being delivered and would say Surprise!

Friday, November 23, 2012


I am sorry to say I was down and out this Thanksgiving - spent most of the day in bed with the flu.  I will have to do a raincheck for Grandma, sorry :(  Esme watched a bad stomach moment and was grossed out - she told me the flu virus was not in her stomach, she was going to squish it and make it dead and go away.  I had just told her I was going to puke - and she said oh - with the little 'l' in it, puke, yes I know... *roll eyes*  I spelled it for her - and that was pretty much it, because then it was a visual example after that (I had a bucket).  She then said 'Eww..  You are sick.  You are really really sick!', to which I responded : 'I told you so.'  She was very good considering Mama was down all day - she played PBS kids, Sims (where she took newfound interest in when they get sick) and watched movies all day.  She watched me cut my hair during the one time I was really up - the headache was so bad and I was fighting the nasuea at that point and needed to take my mind off things... that is the usual time for self haircut.  I did an adequate job considering, will have to fix little bits here and there.

Esme has been moving forward on her language at a greater speed - Martha Speaks and other shows she is watching.  And she has been asking for more definitions and trying to make bigger explanations of things she is thinking.  When she was eating dinner last night (we had grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup - she got all the noodles) she said it was going into her brain and splashing and feeding her brain and it felt good.  She held a sandwich up and said the butter and the cheese were so good.  When she had a popsicle before bed she told Mark and I that she had grape popsicles and grape fruit in the refrigerator, just like that - and she was thinking, the one thing and the other thing, and that is an idea, in her brain.  People have ideas, and  she likes ideas.  When we went to WalMart the other day there were toys wrapped up she wanted to look at, but they were covered with signs that said 'Not Available until Thanksgiving 8 pm' on them;. I pointed to the signs and told her what they said and she was sad but accepting of it.  I saw a noticeable uptick that night on her trying to decode things on the computer, and trying to spell words out, not always correctly.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Out Collecting gourds and further garden cleanup


Planting items that may withstand the frost to come 

Our long-haired monster is playing dirt. 

Washing hands in cold cold water after playing in mud 

Collecting gourds before we mow down the rest of the garden 

They are like music in them! 

This is for smacking? 

On second thought, give that back. 
All done, putting the gate back up after mowing
Shadows and sun setting 

Sun is beginning to set over our little place here
We did let her take some of the dry gourds to a stump and smack the seeds out of them, others she helped pile up by the well house to dry over the winter.

Green winter dress, thoughts on five years old

Green winter dress
Second winter dress, an inch longer, different collar and different skirt gathering - same pattern (butterick 3200). I like to evaluate the fit of the first one before going on to the next, so yesterday I watched her wearing the other dress and decided the collar could be a tiny bit more open for her, the sleeves (which I worried about) were actually perfect and the gathering on the first skirt was so time consuming I tried this again to save some work. I used to do all of her skirts like this.

I am thinking of a button up shirt next, with long sleeves, and a pair of matching pants. I can whip the pants out in an hour - but the shirt takes more fortitude... This is my last day off for a while. I want to get the Swiss Chard and rutabaga in the ground and we need to put the plastic up on the windows today, as well. Mark just finished roasting pulled pork for the week and it is good... we are hoping for that to be part of our Thanksgiving to bring up to Grandma, with roasted apples and rice.

Esme is watching Emperor's New Groove. She likes the man turning into a camel (llama, really). We watched some Eskimo things on Youtube this morning, building an igloo and catching fish. She watched them cut the fish and said it was Ewww, but also that they could put them on a fire and make them good. I have been showing her how to 'check the weather' for me in the morning in the same way I had her start learning to tell time. She learns to read her numbers that way, too. It's fun to see what she can do and what she is interested in. We played 'train' yesterday where we put pillows on the end of the bed to drive the train and identified stops (sheep world, dragon world, word world etc..) so things could get on, get tickets, get off etc etc... Mark also found a brush yesterday that says it is a teasing brush - but does a very good job on Esme's hair without pulling on it. We want her to make attempts at brushing her own hair with it to keep it in better condition between washings.

We've also been testing her brain lately with logic. It helps to see her try to figure out what to say - and encourages her to think new things. That was what the Eskimo thing was about - she said she was not an Eskimo, she was a person named Esme. I told her about Eskimoes on that note, and how they used to live in igloos and still build them and catch fish. Other logic things : 'Don't get Mouse cat's tail stuck in the door' (she is a Manx), now she makes sure the cat has a tail before she tells me she is being careful of their tail and the door. We also told her to 'Go out and build a tree.' of which she said this to me : 'But, Mama can build a tree - with a door and a door and a house! Mama can make a tree house!' Where? 'Here!' In the house? A tree house in a house would be a house house? To that, she sighed and rolled her eyes and then told me it would be tiny, a tree on the floor, and like pretend, and she would have me build it with sewing tiny so she could put her pretend figure in it. She has repeated that request this morning. The kid thinks I can sew anything ;) Ha.

I was watching Esme sprawled out napping while watching a show last night and also watching Daphne puppy sprawled out on a beanbag asleep - and thinking about how all of our young ones are stretching and growing and becoming all feet and legs. Watching her run to Grandma's house, and then later walk back with Grandma, dancing and swirling around her as she meets Daddy on the driveway.. pulling on arms, spinning, waiting patiently as they talk, waiting impatiently... running, laughing and dashing for the door.... I see her growing in many ways lately - quickly, in spurts.. I walk into her room and find blocks everywhere, figures, 'stories' set up like miniature plays. She is reading and spelling more small words, using bigger words in her speech and working hard at her syntax.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Playing with Poof kitten

Wearing her first new winter dress, playing with Poof kitten I went through the fabric boxes yesterday and washed and stacked the things I will need to make her a few more after this same pattern. I have a green one with white sleeves cut out and ready to go. She will need at least two more dresses this size and a few more pairs of pants.   // Butterick pattern #3200, size 6, only alteration made was shortening the skirt //

The other day she was playing with Poof and her Mr.Frog toy and Daddy caught this shot of her with her tongue out.   This was just after I posted the magic show pics and had went to work.

We went to town today to get some plastic to insulate the windows, and a few other things.  I had her wear the dress and it fit well under her blue knit coat.  She has been watching Martha Speaks on for days and now 'Martha' the invisible dog is always present and she feeds her steaks and leading her on a leash.

Butterick 3200
1960s, size 6

bought February 2011, and now in good use // Made the second dress today while Esme was at her Grandma's house. It is green with snowflake white sleeves, slightly different cut to the neck and treatment to the skirt gathering, but same everything else. It is nice to make some progress during days off. They take about a half hour or so to cut out, and about two hours to sew - and that can be hard to scrape that amount of time some days. Esme is watching Daddy play Skyrim now and telling him he needs to go to protect the village, she loves her village, it is safe now from the dragon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Playtime Magic Show

Sitting with Kitty, Sponge bob and an imaginary friend watching 'cartoon' on the magic show box we made months and months ago.

Having a magic show.  Abracadabra, and he is gone! (not really, he is behind her back) 

Concentrating on her lego mini figures 

Oh, and she wants a pony, that talks... gotta record when that first happened ;)
I had to be her new friend Sponge bob and talk for him while she gave him the 'tour' of the room.. although he has been there for months.  She gave Sponge bob a great description of her room, that he was on Earth now, and not in Bikini Bottom, and that Mr.Krabs can't reach her piggy bank because he is no taller than her and she can't reach the shelf it is on either.  She showed Sponge bob the Earth map she had (Solar system poster) and told him all about her birthday party and Dreamlite and when Gwennie came to play.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Planning Winter dresses - first one

How to spend a Tuesday night sewing a dress and talking about the azimuth of the sun, axial tilt and how it pertains to day length and solar radiation...  Mark and I decided that Esme needs a better science book, as hers only gave half the story when we went to look at it.  I should have called my Mom - I have been hearing her voice in my dreams, her symbols - telephone everywhere in my subconscious.... this always happens.  But, I wanted to do this, and I didn't think it would get done.  Also, my sister and sister-in-law were having a catfight on my facebook page, so I decided to delete the message they were fighting over and have some peace and quiet for the night.  Esme began playing a weather dressup game on pbs along with her SuperWhy - and that led Mark and I into a scientific discussion about the weather.

Butterick pattern 3200 circa 1960, girls size 6 

Almost done, needs the sleeves finished, hem at the bottom, zipper in back.

This is the first for the winter, and if it fits well, several more will follow.  If it doesn't, I'll try another pattern in the box and see what gets me there best.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Esme has been playing Super Why all morning on my computer, doing quite well on her spelling practice.  She is sounding out more in both her many pbs kids games and also in her forays into Daddy's Skyrim playing around the town, reading the 'talks' as she calls them and learning the commands.  I also had her trace the words 'giraffe' and 'spaceship' into her letter to Santa yesterday.  She did okay, but she needs more practice and gets antsy quickly.. but because it was a letter to Santa she paid a lot of attention to it.  She says he lives at the Christmas House and she lives at the Green House.  Sending this letter out means 1.) she can't change her mind (much) and 2.) we have time to collect the Santa presents and then choose a few extras from Mom and Dad. 

I've been sorting cloth for winter dresses and making a flat sheet for her bed.  I have enough cloth of that to make her a second one, too.  I put several of the things harvested from the garden into a lunch to take to work.  Glad to have a nice house and warm things, crafts to make for the 'homestead' etc etc...  Esme is playing Ring around the Rosie with her puppy and foot wrestling.  We had a talk first thing this morning about her keeping her kitten locked in her room and being mad when she escaped.  It was the 'if you love something you can't keep it in a cage because it is not fair to it - it needs to run and play and eat food and all of the things you like to do when you run around the house.'  She cried a bit longer on the stairs and then came to me saying she 'I understand.  Mama, you said the right words.'  I hope she did understand.  And I know that is a lesson for me, too -- watching her play at the park and trying to keep an eye but let her run free at the same time, that was resonant.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cleaning out the Garden

Dancing with Daphne puppy
Mark looks like he is dancing, too
Filling up the water dish

Beans in hands

Mark says we'll look back on these pictures and say: 'were we ever this young...'

Found these again after had already been through it... going to leave this plant for a bit longer

Putting beans in the pocket of the skirt

You're throwing sticks, now?

Esme saying: 'Look at me!' beyond the fence

Red Marigolds

Plowing up the garden with an audience

The Cub Cadet was still a good investment, it just took a little bit of fighting
 and it started up and went right to work.

Yellow Marigolds

I have not been able to identify this.. but it is prolific
I love the slight rose tint to the beans when they are dried... there are a lot more drying on strings and I hope to replant them next year as well.

Yesterday's haul.. there was more today but not as spectacular of a spread.
I took Esme out to the park yesterday after a short session collecting in the garden. It was such a nice warm day, and I took some knitting to bide the time. Esme had a great time with the children, and showed great social skills. Her language is improving here and there - I am surprised by many things lately. She told a toy it's mom was 'not even home yet, she is at the store' when it was crying during one of her pretends.. 'not even' was something I had never heard before. She also told the Simpsons children figures to get into her truck because they were all going to Alaska (like in the movie), she pronounced Alaska very slowly and deliberately - and then proceeded to tell them about the snow and needing coats and hats and building a house there.

I've been out in the garden today winding up fences and wires, pulling stakes and poles up and also cornstalks and sunflower stalks. I found one good ear of corn from the last bed of sweet corn we planted, and one from the last field corn. I replaced a tiny bit of the sunflower seed that had been demolished in our drying room by a mouse. I put it in a canning jar with a lid this time, even though Mark is sure that was the only one.

 I am headed back out to the garden in a bit to do some more work... Mark thinks we could till an area for winter crops this week or so, and then scrape the west field down and put vetch over it. Ambitious.. we will see.