My sister in law recommended a great book the other day - Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. I hadn't heard of it but I guess it's really popular with book clubs in the US and it's being made into a movie. It's killing me that I can't just sit down and read the whole thing. I miss being able to take Prego Days like I could when I was pregnant with Emmett. Read, knit and nap the whole day away. He''s napping right now and all I want to do is find out what happens next with Lavinia and Belle rather than tackle the dishes.
Bet the book wins.
The biggest news, the news that's making me knit again, though, is that we're going to be welcoming a baby girl into our family in April. A girl! When I first found out I was pregnant I thought I wanted a boy. I know boys, have all boy stuff and a little brother for Emmett would be wonderful. Then I had my first scan and I decided I kind of wanted a girl. I wanted girly stuff, all shades of pink and lots of daisies. Tea parties, dolls and crafty time where I try my hardest to let her make her own thing and not interfere. And after seeing her I kind of thought she was a she...and I was right!
Anyway, a blanket is already on the needles and while I was in the states for Christmas (too much to catch up there but it was wonderful) I bought yarn for a couple of cardigans and Matt bought me What to Knit When You're Expecting by Nikki Van De Car. Before I found out the baby was a girl I swore I wasn't going to knit for this one. But how can you not knit for a girl?! Now that I have the sewing machine I want to do a bit of sewing, too. I bought Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby when I first found out I was pregnant and can't wait to make the snuggler (which can also be found here for free) as well as a few other things.
My first finished sewing project with the new machine was the doll in the (kind of lousy) photo. It's the Poppy Doll pattern from Hop Skip Jump and I cannot BEGIN to tell you how well this pattern is designed! I have loads of trouble with dolls when you have to squash the arms and legs inside and stitch around the body and you don't have to do that at all with this pattern (insert sigh of relief). I will tell you, though, that she's wearing a scarf because I'm pretty rubbish as sewing the head to the body. And I tried SEVERAL times. Ah well. And I'm a terrible blogger as I've totally forgotten what pattern I used to knit the little blue sweater.
The flower buttons were free with an issue of Mollie Makes which is a another thing I'd like to catch up on eventually. I LOVE that magazine and really think everyone should at least have a little browse the next time they're at a bookstore (it's available in the US as well). Oddly, though, I haven't subscribed to it but did subscribe to another one made by the same people called The Simple Things which is a monthly little mix of loveliness: craft, food, gardening, life. One of my favorite features is the list of simple pleasures one the back cover. A few from this this month: seeing my breath on the air - the smell of baking filling the house - the eerie silence of a snowy day - warm hands. Love, love, LOVE.
Anyway, the doll went to my mom for Christmas and there was a flurry of Christmas knitting as well after we booked our tickets. As soon as I get photos, I'll have to do a little post.
All right, time for a little nap. We just got back on Sunday and our schedules are all kinds of screwed up. We've been up until anywhere from one a.m. to four and sleeping until anywhere from eleven in the morning to two in the afternoon! Ridiculous. It's really up to Emmett, though. I could adjust but he has no idea what time it is so we're struggling a bit.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
This is about as crafty as things get around here. This and crayons, markers, glitter and glue. I have to say, though, I'm pretty proud of this kid. He started sticking the straws in all by himself and when he was finished he blew on it like a cake with candles.
Sewing projects have been left unfinished - I even boxed my machine up a couple of weeks ago since the kitchen table is my workspace - and knitting only seems to come out when it's time for knit group and I don't think I've been able to make that for couple of months. Sad, sad, sad.
I decided it might be a good idea to finish one project before starting another. This idea didn't go exactly as planned because I still started another project bofore this one was officially finished but I finished something which was really the goal all along anyway!
This kindle cover is NOTHING like what I'd imagined when I first started crocheting it. At first I envisioned a field of little flowers and then an owl perched on a felt branch. But along came the sewing machine and more ideas and projects to start so I finished it off with three little flowers and few leaves.
The button is the from the set I bought to use on my Something With Sleeves (sigh, I wish I were that size again).
This is some strange Japanese fabric I bought for the wedding. It was going to be the lining for my purse but I ended up winning one in a blog giveaway that was ten time better than anything I could have made, How I magaged to hang onto the button and the fabric, I'll never know. I'm not sure what's up with the US BABY but it's kind of funny. I totally cheated, too, and didn't line the button hole. That would have taken way too much time!
Here's a sneaky peak at the project I started while finishing this one:
Sorry about the L-O-U-S-Y photos but I wanted to take pictures, blog, shower, eat lunch and make the filing for stuffed shells while Emmett naps which is a pretty tall order. He's pretty cute when he sleeps, though, isn't he?
This picture is from last week but he really doesn't look all the different right now. Except for maybe a bit of sauce here or there because I didn't do a great job of wiping him down after he had mini pizzas for lunch. Sometimes the dreaded pacifier goes back in the mouth before I'm finished cleaning him up. I love those pouty lips!
And I'll add this pic, too, because I love it so much. I found this shirt whilst going through some of the boxes Matt brought down. I'd totally forgotten about it. We bought this around the time we got married (ah, how I miss Target) only because it had a hippo on the front and I collect hippos. Who knew our first really would be a boy and the tee would be just the right size to wear on our (few and far between) hot days?
It took nine months but I finally sewed a felt back to Emmett's racetrack rug. And he's actually using it! This kid loves anything with wheels. His favorite thing to do is play with cars on the windowsill that looks onto the street in front of our house. It doesnt matter how big the vehicle is, he tries to get it up there. New Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars also get a run on the sill the moment he walks in the door (which is often because I'm a sucker for buying 99p cars that make him so happy).
I backed it with black felt and want to do something to make that side something to play with as usual so I'm thinking about making it a parking lot. That seems kind of boring, though, so I'm still thinking about it.
In other craft news, I got a sewing machine for my birthday! I haven't sewn with a machine since I moved here so I'm really excited. Emmett helped me open it and it took him awhile to stop trying to play with it. It was something in a box so it had to be his! Granted, the box was not as colorful as the boxes his toys come in. I'm looking forward to making him some fun things with it, though. I really can't wait to make him his first superhero cape! Sure, it's a few years off but I'm still excited.
I also bought a 12 x 12 shadow box and some balsa wood strips to make a little shadow box for my Lego Minifigures as the collection has gotten a bit out of hand. I've even ordered some from the Lego website and am so excited for the new series that comes out next month. It's a sickness. I have about a half dozed duplicates from the current series and can't decide if I just want to keep them since Emmett might actually get to play with them some time or sell them to feed my habit.
So far I've made one little square of basic Tunisian stitch crochet. It's really neat, a little more engaging than regular crochet and makes such an interesting pattern but I haven't moved to the next stitch yet. I am so good at starting things but Suck at finishing. Emmett's dino hasn't been touched in over a month, the Kindle cover I was so excited about is in a basket, all but forgotten....terrible.
I got bit by the tunisian crochet bug. SInce I'm trying to be a thrifty gal these days, I checked one of our many charity shops and found a hook for 50p! Can't wait to give it a try! I'm working on a Kindle case right now using basic single crochets but that might all change since tunisian is supposed to be a bit more cushiony....
I always knew Emmett was going to be a boy. I might have harbored a little desire, a little hope for a girl but even when we left for the scan that would (hopefully) tell us if our baby was made of sugar and spice or puppy dog tails, I knew. I'd always thought my first would be a boy.
It's still up in the air whether Emmett will be an only child or not but even if we did have a second, I might have another boy which makes me a little sad when I think about not getting to knit girly things, have tea parties and sew clothing for dolls. BUT there are lots of great things about boys, too. Lego being one of them I've already discovered. This is my latest obsession: Lego Minifigures!
Matt had been watching Megafactories and got me to watch the Lego episode. We were both so impressed with everything that goes into making even the smallest piece and it gave me an itch. I wanted some Legos. Matt happened to find these at the grocery that night and the obsession began.
Unfortunately, I've ended up with several doubles. Two bagpipe players, two knights and two of these guys:
This one, though, has two different faces. The detail on these minifugures is absolutely amazing. After a disappointing amount of doubles I started trying to use my x-ray vision to figure out which figure was in each bag. Okay, really I just felt around a bit, trying to feel for a piece that might give me a clue. It worked! I had really wanted this merman.
Then I said was taking a break. No more for awhile. Until I found a random series five at Tesco the other day.
And then today I found some series six packets at the toy store. This guy has two faces, too.
Now I can start mixing and matching, too.
They also have a Team GB set. I've only bought one.
I should have taken a photo of him slightly tilted because the lion logo on his swim cap is neat. I love that he has drops of water on him as well. He's much more detailed than the lady swimmer from series seven. I'm not a big fan of the chiseled cheeks, though.
I figure (no pun intended) that by the time Emmett's actually old enough to play with these, I'll he'll have a really nice collection!
I've been anxiously waiting for the right amount of me time to make soft pretzels from the cookbook Matt bought for me a week or so ago: Bake by Rachel Allen. Lorraine Pascal is my number one cooking crush but I like Rachel Allen quite a bit, too. Both of them create dishes that make you think, Yeah, I think I could really do that. I've made more out of the two Lorraine Pascal books I have than any other cookbook I own and, after making the soft pretzles, I think Bake might become just as popular.
They were a bit labor intensive - lots of steps - but well worth it. They were delicious! According to the recipe, poaching them in simmering water and bicarbonate of soda before baking gives them the real soft pretzel taste.I made several with sesame seeds, a couple with salt and a few with a honey, butter, sugar and cinnamon coating. Next time I might pop the sweet ones under the grill to carmelize them a bit.
I'm kind of enjoying reading books that I've "assigned" myself this month. I still have a couple that will be added to next months reading along - Night Circus and Insurgent and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter which I still haven't finished. I'm really struggling with it but am determined to finish. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was my favorite read of the month. Shadow of Night, the second in the Discovery of Witches trilogy was kind of a let down.
I broke my own rule (well, I broke it a lot if charity shop paperbacks count because I bought several of those but I don't think they count - you have to grab them when you find them) and bought the first Harry Potter book for my Kindle last night. I've been wanting to reread them for some time and it's even better than I remembered. I really wonder what Rowling's adult novel is going to be like.
We were thinking about a trip to the states in September but it looks like it might be more like December or January. Warmer weather would have been nice since my parents have a backyard that Emmett will love but I haven't spent Christmas with my Ohio family for three years now so the idea of maybe getting to be there even close to the holidays is pretty exciting. And, cheesy or not, if I get the chance, I'm totally taking E to have his picture taken with Santa. I was pretty surprised to find out that they don't do that here. There are places to see Santa and sit his knee and all but not to have your picture taken - at least not that I could find.
Emmett is still asleep, Matt went into town - I should do a bit of housework but I think I'm going to catch up on and episide of "The Good Guys" instead....
I recently read on Facebook that the neice of a girl I went to high school with had come down with a case of E. Coli that had her in the hospital with all kinds of complications. She's been in for weeks and even "celebrated" her fourth birthday there. I haven't seen this classmate since our five year reunion and our twentieth is in a couple of weeks (a fact I just cannot believe) but something about this little girl really got to me. I couldn't stop thinking about her and decided to put together a little care package to cheer her up.
I have to admit, I'm going to have a hard time putting this kitty an the package and shipping her off to the states. I love her. She's supposed to be a bunny (the pattern, Boxy Skirt Bunny can be found for free here) but when I finished her body at knit group on Sunday it was decided she might make a better cat. She's also supposed to have arms but I think, in this case, minimal is cute.
I tried lots of flowers but decided that minimal was best here as well. I thought the flower should go high because she's basically wearing a skirt and no top but once I sewed it on I thought it looked a bit odd but it's grown on me. I think I'll have to make another just like her for myself.
And this is totally a silly thing to post but it really goes to show that some times a little flair can make something pretty out of something plain. I wanted to send a little notebook since I was including a few little sticker packs and was pleased when I found this plain brown one with blank pages. A little flower and her name and - viola! - cuteness!
I got kind of excited about buying girly things so I'm also sending a bracelet and necklace from Claire's (why it surprised me initially that they were here too, I have no idea) and some fairy temporary tattoos. Hopefully they'll let her put them on in the hospital. Although, really, I'm hoping she'll be home by the time this package arrives.
I'm also pleased to share that Emmett made a craft on his own for the very first time the other day. He picked out a pipe cleaner (oddly, he chose black) from our box of crafty stuff and started sticking sparkly circle stickers on it, applauding himself after each sticker because EVERYTHING gets applause in our house (because he's a totaly ham, I even taught him to bow when I say "thank you, thank you"). I totally count that as a craft - especially since he wrapped it around the back of his neck like a sort-of necklace when he was finished. Pretty good for a twenty one month old!