Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Little Knitting and Some Cheesemaking

A few weeks ago I had one of those mother-daughter moments that every knitter waits for. I was asked to pass on what knowledge I have of knitting. So, I taught my mom how to knit. She actually already knew how to do the knit stitch, I just taught her how to purl and armed her with the Mason Dixon book. My step-father is in a Celtic band, so she has a lot of good opportunities to knit.

While mom was visiting us, she spent a lot of time reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. One section of the book that we were both intrigued by was where Barbara recounts her attempts to make cheese at home. She recommends the mozzarella kit produced by New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. Since dairy seems to comprise practically half of our grocery bill every week and can go even higher if we try to buy organic, I thought it would be fun to give it a go.

Started with:Boiling the milk:

Seperating the curds and whey (which I honestly found a bit challenging):

Weirdly shaped cheese with extra curds outside the bowl that got lost along the way:
So, technically, it's supposed to take about half an hour, but my first attempt took closer to an hour and a half. Of course, I was taking care of two kiddos at the same time, so still not too bad.

For dinner, we had the cheese with homegrown basil, homemade focaccia bread, and tomatoes (man, I wish I was more like Emms, growing tomatoes at home!). As Little Girl would say, it was "Yuuummmmy!"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just for Him

Finally, a finished knit (Ravelry details here) that is solely for Baby Boy. There is no way that Big Sister can claim this one even if she's just "sharing."

I fell in love with this sweater as soon as Anny completed that first beautiful cream version... and the pattern is exactly the kind of pattern that works well for a knitting mom. That cable that provides fun knitting... it's a 16 row repeat, so you're not going to memorize it (unless you knit a few of these... which I might!), but there's also plenty of stockinette, so there's no reason not to work on it even when little ones are awake. Plus, since she added the matching hat to the pattern, it satisfied my irrational love of matchy matchy kids clothing. (I have no idea why it is that I'm so enamored with matching kids clothing, but anytime there's a matching hat/accessory/whatever I can't help myself.... thankfully, this does not play out in any way with adult clothing.)
As an aside, there is actually a good chance that Big Sister will think that this sweater was hers at some time. Right now, we're dressing Baby Boy in a lot of her hand-me-downs, as she had a ton of yellow, green, and white onesies. So, anytime I dress him, she says, "I used to wear that... when I was a baby." Of course, he also has his own boy-specific clothing, but to her everything he has was once hers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So far, I've only managed to finish two knits for Baby Boy and they're both toys, Otto and Elefante. Nice in theory, but since he isn't quite old enough to play with them, his older sister has pretty much claimed them as her own. She says that he's just sharing them with her, but since he didn't really have much say in the matter, I wonder about how this will play out when he gets older.

The Spice Rack and the Green Grocer

My newest obsessions.

Obsession #1: My collection of spices now numbers around 45 because I finally found an easy way to get them on the cheap. Monterey Bay Spice Company. They have a minimum order amount and shipping can be high. I've resolved those issues by becoming a mini-spice distributor among my friends and family. Plus, they also carry teas including my new favorite, Rooibus (so nice to have another decaf option!)

Obsession #2: the Green Grocer. This one's for those in the Metro area. They deliver fresh produce to you once a week. You can opt for an organic box or not, either way they try to get as much locally as possible. The best part, though, is the quality. Seriously tasty. Oh, and the fact that they bring it to you... very handy for a mom with a newborn!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sleep Deprivation Knitting

Two months of being a mother of two. Never more than about two or three hours of consecutive sleep. A two year old who used to be so well behaved and who has now taken to running away in public (oh, and as a result after a couple major scares and our first spanking I had to buy a kid harness.... now I'm that mom with her kid on a leash... something pre-parenthood that I would have definitely looked down on!).

That's a formula for an exhausted mommy who was itching to knit something, but not really thinking through what the finished object would look like. Sigh. Well, at least it's functional!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Still no baby, but Otto is done (Rav link)! There were several evenings when I was working on him and I was in false labor. I kind of liked the idea of working on him while actually in labor. It makes a sweet story anyway to say that I was knitting something for my Baby Boy when he was on his way... so, I think I'll start a second Otto and see if I can get it done before he arrives.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm now only one week away from my due date! Throughout my pregnancy so far, I've found that I've been much less aware of being pregnant than I was the first time around. Sometimes I even forgot entirely about being pregnant. With the due date so close now that has all changed.

I can't stop thinking about my Baby Boy on the way. Every time I do even the most mundane chores, I think of him. When I do the laundry, I wonder if this will be the last time I do laundry for just the three of us. When I go to bed, I wonder if this will be the last night I sleep without a newborn beside me. When I start a knitting project, I wonder if I will be able to complete it before Baby Boy arrives.

So, the race is on. Who will get here first? Otto (Rav link) or Baby Boy?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Family "Heirlooms" and That Darn Sewing Bug

In my family growing up, we were raised not to throw anything away that could be useful in the future. My grandmother would cut the front off of cards so that they could be used again. My father held onto clothing that didn't fit him for at least twenty years after it had gone out of use. Generally speaking, I try not to go to the extremes that they did. I have to admit, that I do that card thing, but I do cull out clothing. The hard part, though, is going through the things that have been passed down by these and other family members. I mean, it's been around for thirty years now, how can I presume to be the one to get rid of it? (Although, I did heartlessly sell my grandmother's collectible Shirley Temple doll.) Okay, enough rambling.

The whole family not getting rid of things was one factor that led to the making of this adorable dress. I used this tutorial from craftster on how to convert a button down shirt into a toddler dress (mentioned by both Claudine and Meg on their blogs) and one of my dad's old shirts (this particular one, incidentally, did get some use past that time thirty some odd years ago... I used to wear it all the time in high school). Also, Hannah's recent post on not wasting was a great reminder of this shirt and all the other random pieces of old clothing that I've been holding onto so that I could use the fabric for something else.

Of course, now I'm remembering all the other cute sewing endeavors that I want to make too... like the cloth shoes that Stephanie made...

Friday, April 11, 2008

I guess I needed a reason to post...

and the demise of Magknits was it! I'm sure that everyone has heard by now that Magknits is officially closed. The weird thing for me was that I just happened to check out the Magknits page for the April patterns within hours of it all being taken down. So sad! Anyway, I've made the two patterns I had in Magknits available on Ravelry as free downloads. Halweh from October 2006 and Cloverly from June 2007 are both there safe and sound. It was funny the other day when I was reworking them as pdfs, Little Girl looked at the computer when I had Halweh up and said, "Who is that cute baby?!" It's so funny that she doesn't recognize herself as a baby nor does she think of herself that way anymore!

Anyway, I have been doing some knitting and recently finished one of my most favorite knits of all time (although, I could be biased as it's really one of the only ones that fits me right now). The photos came out really dark, but prove that I can get it on! It's Joie de Vivre (Rav link with details and such) by the super-talented (and chic) Veronique. I will admit that I purchased Sensual Knits just for this pattern and even though it turned out that there are plenty of other beautiful designs in it, it would have been completely worth buying even if there weren't... that's how much I love this sweater!

The color in this one is better, although it's still a bit off. At least the design comes through a little better.

So, as far as the pregnancy goes, I'm now less than three weeks from my due date... which really means that I could meet this Baby Boy any day now or in five weeks! I'm really hoping for the any day now mostly. Especially since I finally got my act together and pulled out all the baby stuff. I really didn't remember that I had so much squirreled away! It's really nice not having to make any huge purchases this time around. I did want to invest in some new cloth diapers, though, since the first time I went with the economical choice of prefolds with prorap covers. After some researching, I decided that bumGenius was the way to go and just today I received my order of 12. They look very promising, but obviously the proof will be in the pooping!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Free Just for You

I decided to take advantage of one of the new features on Ravelry, and make the pattern for Sweetheart Cardigan (sized from 12-24 months to 4T) available as a free pdf download (click here or on the sidebar). It's so cool that they will host your pdfs for you. Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Sweetheart

One of my favorite things about being pregnant this time around is having two family members to share the experience with. Little Girl is really too funny about the whole thing. She regularly wants to feel my belly to find out if the New Baby is kicking. "Feel him?" she asks with her arms reaching for me. She also talks about wanting to see him. Mostly, "Want to see him," "want to play beach ball with him," and "want to share with him." Sometimes, "he need to grow up!" I don't know how things will be after he's born, but for now she seems excited about his impending arrival and we talk a lot about how she will help her mama when he's here.

I feel like I should be doing a lot of knitting for the New Baby, but so far, I'm not for two reasons. First, he'll be born in the spring, so it's hard to figure what kind of knits would be appropriate for a newborn in the summer. Second, who knows how fast he'll grow, so I'm not sure about what size to knit winter items in.

In the meantime, I'm doing a little knitting for Little Girl. I made this cardigan (I'm calling it the Sweetheart Cardigan because she is my sweetheart and also the eyelets are little hearts) with the upcoming transitional weather in mind. More info on Ravelry (really, who wants to type that stuff up more than once?).