Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I've been doing little sewing and knitting today, Esme spent about five minutes outside after she got home from school insisting she would not freeze.. then came in and said maybe we were right about that.   Now she is in invention mode, trying to invent a monocole.  While I was sewing a pillowcase the machine gronked and we had to take it entirely apart, clean and oil it, and put it back together.  Then it worked, again.  Tomorrow I have work, again and it is still just so so cold out.

I have started to make a list of things I need to get done soon and/or would like to make in the future and keep it on my desk.  I find myself often lately wandering around near my desk(s) and wondering what else should I be doing with this spare ten minutes?  And I find myself later on in the day when I have no time (or am at work and stuck) wishing I had started on this or that... I never needed a to-do list before, there was always something to do.  Now, there is always something to do, I just have a hard time pinpointing what is the best option for now.... I think I'm too busy and it's too cold out... I'm fighting hibernation ;)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Handy Robot toy for baby (custom order) at KnitOwl Toys and bits

 A soft washable robot toy for a yet to be born baby boy.  He has a little wrench and remote control that will entertain little  hands until they are big enough to toss all of him around.

He is 20 inches tall from toe to head and 9 inches wide in the chest.

Other than that, I am preparing mentally for Esme's speech IEP coming up next week, making a few little odds and ends, knitting on the striped blanket... have another toy that is already requested but I might need to draw a bit yesterday before making that plan.

I spent a midnight hour last night making a little washcloth for the bath, it looks like a sand dollar and I hoped it would be good for scrubbing.  If it is, I'll make a few more and post some pictures.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Handmade Dolphin Toy

 Dolphin for Esme, from my original design drawn on typing paper and cut out.  It could use some tweaking before it becomes an official design for KnitOwl Toys - but for a prototype, it turned out pretty good.

 She gave it a green collar that was a bracelet of hers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Robot taking shape

Trying to do this for a lady having a baby, haven't spoken to her much about the actual design - but she said 'vintage robot, multicolored'... and this is what I thought of.  He has legs to get and details to sew... we'll see how it turns out.  I wanted it to be washable and also didn't have time (or energy - it is dropping to freezing again here) to run out in the morning.. may run out when Esme returns from school in a few hours.  She was really good last week on her school report and does deserve a little special time out on Mama's day off.

Reading Monstrous Regiment, now... read through Night Watch by Terry Pratchett in the course of a few days.  The image of Nobby Nobbs as a child still haunts my imagination *(ha)*.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Another little ink and watercolor for a friend

It's nice to dip my hand back into this... been off drawing for a while.  Still knitting on the brown wool scarf, and the orange striped blanket... couple of other irons in the fire to think about.  Finished the book, and onto the next.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Poppies watercolor

saw this arrangement in a magazine and played with my watercolors a little

Friday, January 17, 2014

Neon pillows should be sewn while wearing sunglasses

Finally, another day off, and I am getting to the next step.  This requires tacking little stitches into the interior rounds to keep the pillow straight and centered while I begin the reducing rounds around the outside of the pillow, essentially crocheting the rest of the project with the 'removable insert' inside.  If it ever needed to be washed, it could be - with some careful snipping of about eight little tack stitches.  This one is going to turn out just a smidge smaller than the other two that are on our bed - but that is okay, since it is for Esme's room and she is smaller, right?  There were some quilting rags that were in a bag waiting for a project and they went inside it with the stuffing to give it some heft and keep the corners filled.

Not much else, reading, scrapbooking some fabric pattern and other decorating and art ideas... reading the Fifth Elephant, drinking coffee, folding laundry and scratching a puppy behind the ears every once in a while.  I'd like to add another skirt onto my wish list for crafting.. and a pair of pajama pants although I've been telling myself that one for a year and haven't made another pair, yet (but, three skirts - so that is something).  Esme will be at home in an hour, so, I'm glad I've made some progress today besides sleeping in and lounging over some frozen waffles and maple syrup.  The winter cold has made lounging quite desirable, especially with feet tucked underneath knitted blankets.

Esme and her new pillow
after which she spent many minutes stacking them all up on the bed and claiming they were hamburgers or pancakes and we needed to have dinner.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

progress and tangents

The pink and green pillow progresses... I actually made it to this point last Monday...now I need to make the insert out of something in my fabric stash, stuff it and sew it on now to get any further.  The other things I've been working on here or there are not photogenic, the orange striped blanket is getting work on it, but slowly.  I've been adding some writing and more magazine clippings to my journal when things aren't quite cohesive enough to make a post.  I'm reading 'The Fifth Elephant' by Terry Pratchett and awaiting 'To Live Forever' by Jack Vance to come in the mail.  The  latter of those I read many years ago as a teenager and it affected my views on several things... I've been mixing it up with The Dying Earth series he wrote and keep wondering where the story is that I remember, it wasn't any of those.. was I misremembering?  Not quite... found it the other night by searching through cover pictures of books he had written until I found one that was similar to my memory... and the synopsis matched my memory as well.

Thinking of other things I would  like to do, if I had more time... like knitting another shawl, doing some embroidery, drawing some figure drawings,  listening to more French and maybe some Romanian language online if I can find it, painting more... no time for much of it really, but at least my mind is busy thinking of things. 

Esme is absorbing information - using words like 'hexagonal plates' and 'prismatic' - asking me why her bath brush looks crooked in the water 'that's refraction'.. oh.. refraction.  The ability she has to gain 'big' words is so strange against the way she misuses all of the little words, still.  But everything is moving forward in its way - she has grown very opinionated about her clothing, and now when we disagree about something (like the neighbor's house lighst at night NOT being the carnival) she will say 'I don't want to talk about this with you.'  *eep*  Progress, yes... the teenager coming out in my six year old *ha*

Sunday, January 12, 2014

bits in pink and green

A day off today, and sweet sunlight is spilling in and the world has warmed up a little for the first time in a few weeks.  I'm working up the yarn Esme had chosen yesterday for her pillow, and have a stack of old 25 cent magazines from the library sale to snip pictures out of and arrange into my journal/scrapbook of ideas.  I've cleaned out quite a bit off my desk again and it is nearly all workspace and very little clutter.  Tomorrow it's back to work for a full week and it is the busy season.  Esme is watching old Justice League and Super Friends cartoons so our brains will be fairly dizzy (as the adults in the room) but Mark will counter that with his thick meat spaghetti sauce that is filling the house with it's tomato and basil smell.  I find it nice that when I snip something out of the magazine lately it is pretty plants, branch patterns, fabric designs, hexagons and zigzags... might get into some paint later today and play with color combinations in the little octopus book I made the other day.

I dreamed of a candy from my childhood the other day - although they are not excellent - my grandparents always had them and I felt a bit of nostalgia to find out what they were as only the color and shape and an idea they had peanuts was left in the snippet of memory..

These are French Burnt Peanuts, a small burnt orange globular candy with small nubbles all over it as a sugar coating around each peanut..  Mark found some for me at a store after I finally tracked it down.  The key thing about them is not exactly the taste, but patience, which my grandparents had quite a bit of, (they taught me to sew), and was probably the reason they were always 'around'... a few beside a cup of coffee will last an hour, as crunching into them is not good for teeth! Heh.

Esme came and asked me what I was doing as I was copying an entry in my journal from a damaged page to a new page.  I told her 'copying', and she said no, copying is like I am drawing a pony and you are drawing a pony and that is copying me.  I said no, close, but not.  Copying can be drawing a picture from a picture you did before, or writing something you did before, not just 'copying' what a person is doing etc...  As I explained that she peered into the water in the bathub that was waiting for her to start her bath and said Oh, the water is copying the window.  Close! *ha*  So we talked about reflection (which she does know) and the reflection copies the light, so she was almost right about that sentence.  And then she said - Oh, words.  Yes, I said, there are a lot of words. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Mark, Esme and Mr.Frog say Happy New Year 
and help show off the blue pillow I made during my vacation.
Now, Esme wants one of them, too.  She asked which of these were hers and was 
sad that neither one was meant for her room!

Sweetie and Minerva.  The puppy is getting accepted and almost everyone begrudgingly plays with her now.

Playing with illustrations out of the magazines, this is a little book with blank pages.
 Esme asked lots of questions about what everything was on the desk.

and Mr. Frog had to take one last pose...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Seven year anniversary

Seven years ago Mark and I decided full force to forge a life together and form the hope that was realized in Esme.  It has been a good seven years and we are looking forward to more, each with our own brand of strangeness and the mixture they become together.  Today I have no big updates or photo essays... We got Esme off to school, then slept in late, went to the library book sale for our anniversary and hunted junk food at the store...giggling and joking.  I did get a large stack of magazines to leaf through over the coming weeks.  Esme is coming home from school in an hour or so...and she will be bubbling and full of energy.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

bits of progress - knitting, crocheting, sewing

More progress in turning the tiny squares and scraps into something more. 

Another crocheted round pillow for the bed, as they are quite useful and we have spent a lot of time using the bed as a couch for everyone to snuggle in and be warm during this cold snap. Semi Instructions for Round Crochet Pillow

 Extra blankets are useful, too... no one wants to give one up once they have one! 

a bit of beautiful recycled Shetland wool yarn from Sonia's Twice Loved Yarns to match my gloves made from last Christmas.  I am working in a sort of half-broken rib pattern to make a scarf.  It was really quite a good match!  The Shetland wool is not meant to be extremely soft - but it softens with use, and is so warm.

Esme is building a hatchery for her Violet dragon and retrieving agate rocks out of my sewing box collection to be eggs.  Apparently dragons hatch out elephants in lack of smaller dragon toys ;)

And in other news, my brain dreams partially in French - an entire farce about people in a storm who are all preparing care packages for the others because they don't seem to be acting right since the storm hit - because they are being secretive preparing care packages they don't want the others to see... and not doing their regular routines.. and they all meet up in the middle of a room trying to force the other to take the package and the bowls of soup they were bringing to each other.  And the one guy who was not making care packages was paranoid that everyone was going to attack him.  He partially causes the strange behavior and is also effected by it, as at the very beginning we see him waking up in the freezing rain outside with a bleeding wound on his head in his driveway he didn't remember happening... he suspects everyone and comments to several of them about the strange things someone else is doing.  Towards the end of the 'film' in my head - after the soup revelation - his friend finds a bloody stain on a stick in the fence near the basketball at the edge of the driveway, and says he remembers the injured man right after he came inside  kept saying 'it goes up and through and comes down' over and over... (but that was partially in French but not grammatically correct) - and it turns out he was shooting hoops in his driveway at his basketball hoop and the ball came down and smacked him in the head and he fell down towards the fence unconscious and no one else was involved at all... *my brain is an interesting place to live* .. especially on cold nights when the electric blanket is turned up like a sweatlodge experience.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The New Year and bits to remember

I post less frequently lately, but there is a lot going on... just not things that can be easily photographed or reduced to one liners... and that is a good thing.  As someone said today to me - time to catch up on life.. and for me, also, time to record some tiny bits of it because otherwise I may forget the essences... those that fade and change and transmute 'just so'.. some quickly, some so hard you do not see it until one day you realize it is different. Like the puppy being twice the size she was last week, or the old toddler dress in my scrap pile being half the size of the one I made for Esme just last week etc etc...

And that ties into several things for me in this New Year.  I didn't make any resolutions... except to keep working at the good things, the things that are important.. and I would do that anyway.  And I like where we are - know things will change, and getting ready for whatever we can, how we can.

This little bit of patchwork pictured is an embodiment of that... it is filled with little bits of this and that collected and saved over the entirety of Esme's lifetime.  It contains (not in the first picture, but in the second) bits from her very first baby blankets all the way up to clothes she is still wearing.  And I don't have any immediate plans for it.. except to try to keep it and keep it nice... for whatever it will become, and add on to it as it seems fitting... or onto other pieces, that might one day become other things, or the same thing... it is kind of a philosophy of memory and effort in fabric... and that says a lot about me, and my view of the world.  One of my oldest memories - probably before five years old, is going through the multitude of fabric in our house, seeing every different pattern - the fabric that was not things, the fabric that was part of everyday things... how were they different, how were they alike, which ones were in both piles. I didn't think so deeply on it then - it was just color and pattern and hey - those match etc... but it was important to me, and as I grew up sewing in the same household, using fabrics and collecting bits here and there, recycling a shirt, patching something with a bit from another project - I felt time and memory crystallized in those objects, and the memories around that time they represent - like riding the elevator with my mom at Kremers for the very last time to get the flannel fabric for my eighth grade quilt...

so now I look at the little red and white flower fabric in the bottom left corner and I see a rabbit Esme held onto the leg of, and her pink rabbit quilt I made as her receiving blankets, and the blue and white star fabric that was a sundress when she was three, and a multitude of other things.

I like that, it is my own private treasure trove.. with nothing more than my memory.  And I fear a little there, with my mom and her memory problems, but... that is somewhere in the future and the past.

And the other bits I want to remember now : Esme has 'changed phase' since she started school.. it is scary and amazing all at once.  She can open many more things with her hand coordination - like twist ties on bread, and ziplocs, but still has trouble getting a knife through bread.  Her processing is much better at big tasks - still easily distracted, but she has a good idea of where she is, and what comes next if she is motivated.  She uses big words like 'vanishing act', and 'horrifying nightmare', seen on Shrek 3 when he is dreaming), asks if I have checked my text messages and expounds on where the living room is in our house (which is atypical) or what today is when you said it yesterday vs tomorrow when you said it today etc... She asks me if the line of water from the top of the windshield means it is cracking or if the antenna is melting because of the ice or if it is the ice melting.  She wonders if things are a boy lunchbox or a girl lunchbox, because boys have this lunchbox and no girls do, and it is not pink.  She pays attention to all sorts of little details I don't realize are important to her until she communicates them - which she does and often...

She reads over my shoulder now, can read most level 1 books and today tried to read the word 'seventeen' as 'Steven', until I covered up the 'teen' and she rethought.  She can grasp the idea of less than zero in subtraction although that makes her little eyebrows wrinkle up and she wonders why... She can compare January to February or March, understanding one is further away than the other,.  She can also read the clock in 'thirty-sevens' and 'twenty-fives' etc... instead of just saying which number the hand is pointing to.  Her sense of tense, pronouns and connecting words is still just a tad bit 'strange' but she has come light years even since leaving her preschool class and sounds fairly normal until she gets into complicated questions or descriptions.  I do know she still 'sees in pictures' especially when remembering... she commented on the antenna on the truck this morning and then got that 'faraway' look saying look its the fat boy he is hitting his head because he was looking at the antenna... I asked her if she was remembering that and she snapped her eyes back to me like 'of course - can't you tell?' but then told me about a boy on the bus who had been trying to look out the window and hit his head on the top of the bus on a bump.  I don't know what that had to do with antennas.. but apparently it did. ;)

I was reading a journal entry from last June, before we went to the zoo, the other day - in my paper journal I write in at work or late at night etc...  and I was remarking on making her dresses for school and how she didn't understand the calendar or read very well.  I read some of her quotes and saw just how far she has progressed in that time.  Her view of the world is so much wider and her questions are so much more complex.  I am proud, and often feel the 'here we go' but by the time I've realized it lately, it seems we're another mile down the road.  And if I had read this, or thought all of this was possible, three years ago I would have been relieved... and when I read this three years from now... how much will have changed?