Saturday, August 25, 2007

Weekend Update

I feel very fortunate to have good girlfriends that keep me informed. Several of you wrote to let me know about this very nice mention of Sophie's Toes in Knitter's Review.

The shop was pretty much empty, but since I have a few things lying around, and the shop was getting some attention, I popped a few things in there. Mini update. Just thought you might want to know!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Few Loose Ends

I love hearing from new people! Thank you for all the comments recently. One thing I've been wanting to mention is that ever since Blogger changed over last winter, the majority of the comments don't have an e-mail attached to them, so it is hard to respond. If there is a blog link, I always follow it and try to comment or find an e-mail address there. Sometimes this summer though, it's been a little hectic to leave comments. But I do love to "meet" all of you who stop by here. Thank you.

Preschool doesn't start for another two weeks, so don't expect me to chip away at that list too much yet. Right now it's still in the dreaming stage (dangerous, because more things keep getting added...)

One thing I'm trying to get done in the next two weeks is the re-doing of my kids' rooms. I guess I should say "doing" not "re-doing" since they were never really "done" in the first place! We have two bedrooms for three kids and previously my older two (boy and girl) shared a room and the baby had a crib in the other room. We have recently moved the two girls in together and my older son gets his own room. It suits them all and has been a really nice change. Well, I may shed a tear or two when I take down the crib this weekend, we'll see.
Yesterday I had a little time to get this project done. New lamps for the girl room. I LOVE THEM! They remind me of my sister's hats! They are so over the top girlie and if Dave goes away for a business trip he might come home and find one in our room!!

Lamp bases: free (trash picked- remember that, Gina?)
Shades and flowers: clearance shelves at Joann's
Inspiration: the lovely and talented Caro, seen here.

On a completely unrelated note.....

If you've been reading any other Chicago bloggers today, you have no doubt heard about our freaky weather yesterday. If you'd like to hear my account, read on. Otherwise, continue your regularly scheduled blog surf, because this concludes our crafting portion of the program.

I had just finished the lamps with my girls at home and was supposed to pick up Ethan at 3pm. I usually leave at about 2:40. At 2:30, Dave called from work and said “You are under a tornado warning”. I said “Warning? Not watch?” He said "Yes." (For my international guests, I don’t know if the lingo is the same for you, but for us, a tornado watch means that conditions are right for a tornado to form, and be prepared. Tornado warning means: tornadic activity has been observed in your area and get down into your basement! Now!)

I looked outside and it was overcast, but certainly not crazy thunderstorm weather. I checked the radar. Giant red radar blob headed right our way. Right about then, it starts to rain. I read the severe weather bulletins. It names all the towns and the exact time it is supposed to hit: St. Charles, 3:00 pm.

I'm thinking: Take the girls down into the basement? Go to the school and wait in the car for the tornado to hit us? Will they take the parents and siblings into the school? Since I haven't heard from the school, I assume they are dismissing on schedule and that they would do the reasonable thing and take all endangered parties into the school to be safe.

So I get the girls into the car and we head out. We are backing out of the driveway, 2:45, still barely raining, when the city tornado siren starts going off. No panic. I pull back into the driveway and call the school. I ask if they are dismissing at 3 or if they are doing a tornado drill. The secretary says they are doing a tornado drill and dismissing at 3:20, and a call was just about to go out.

So we get inside and get down to the basement. Then all hell breaks loose with the weather. We have those tiny little basement windows at one end of the house so I can see it. First, dark scary skies and really, really bad winds. Trees blowing in all directions. Then sheets of rain. Then the power went out. I waited for it to come right back on, but no.

We were in the basement for awhile, the girls happily coloring by flashlight as I was internally freaking about the storm, and I was getting nervous because it was getting close to 3:10, when I should leave to go get Ethan, and the storm didn’t seem to be letting up. Then I realized something. The power was out, my van was inside the garage, and there was no way I was going to be able to manually raise our heavy wood garage door. Okay, that didn’t stop me from trying. I went up and pulled the cord to disable the electric. I pulled. No. I started thinking about how I was going to get to school or who to call, when, all of a sudden, the power went back on.

Great. But now I have dis-engaged the door, and I don’t know how to re-engage it. I found the manual (luckily it’s only a few months old, so I have the manual on hand, otherwise there is no way I would have found it.) I re-engaged the door. By this time it’s 3:25. Five minutes after the kids are supposed to have been dismissed, and I am still at home. I got the girls in the car, the rain was letting up a little, and we raced over to the school. I tried calling the school to let them know I was delayed, but I couldn’t get through. There was still some freaky lightning going on, and it didn’t help that there were power trucks all over the place and fire truck sirens all around. I’m worried that the kids have been dismissed and Ethan doesn’t know where we are.

So, we get there and I see parents walking away from the building with kids. I pull up where I always do, but I don’t see Ethan waiting at the door where he is supposed to wait. I get out of the car (still raining) and don’t see him inside the door. I get the girls out and we race into the building (humongous thunder clap freaking us all out) but there is no Ethan in the hall. There are a few teachers out in the hallways but no kids. I ask one of them what’s going on and they tell me that the teachers are keeping the kids in their classroom until they are signed out by a parent, so the administration knows they are safe.

I peek into the room next to me and see a bunch of kids calmly sitting in their seats watching their teacher. I realize that while I was running into the building like a maniac, the teachers are in the classrooms keeping the kids calm.

Whew. Thank God for great teachers and school administrators! The end.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What a Difference a Summer Makes

Thank you for all of your sweet comments! Someday, when I clue my daughter in to the blog and let her read the comments, she will love them.

So, I have 2 very excited kids back to school this morning with really wonderful teachers, and they are happy to see all of their friends, and it's a good day. I am really happy and excited for them. I've had a few moments where I've been sad to see the summer end, but the summer has been really good, so I'm satisfied.

I mentioned that this summer was quite different than last, in that last year I had 2 kids plus a baby (technically not really a baby--but I see now why people always call the youngest "their baby") and now I have 3 full-fledged kids. I had a conversation once with a girlfriend about how once a child turns 3, they change from a cute toddler into an invisible "kid". People in the grocery store ooh and ahh over cute babies and toddlers, but nobody really notices kids. (Unless they are being annoying or bad.)

She was kind of lamenting the fact that nobody noticed her cute kid anymore. But here I am, with 3 full-fledged kids and I kind of feel like I'm entering the stage I've always waited for. I'm not really a baby person. I did love a lot of things about it, but I'm not the kind of person who wants to hold other people's babies, or longs to have another--to keep the baby stage going. I'm ready to move on. Dave and I have discussed that there is a great stage between ages 3 and....I don't know....12(?) when they are past the baby stage and can do things, you can take your eyes off them for 10 seconds without worrying that they are going to drink Lysol, they are (hopefully) past the tantrumy stage for the most part, they still love being with mom and dad and are fun to be around, BUT it is before they enter the teenage years. We will have 5 years with all 3 kids at this stage, before they become teenagers and hate us. The Zone. We are entering The Zone!

There are so many things that I haven't done with the kids because I still had a run-away toddler. We had never had a week-long family vacation before this summer, and it was awesome. So many changes this summer. The potty training that lasted for three fricken months (the previous 2 took only a week). The big girl bed. No more diapers, crib, or lugging a pack-n-play on trips.

This year my middle daughter has morning kindergarten. Two years ago, my son had afternoon kindergarten, and the combination of one kid in morning preschool, rushing home for lunch, one kid in afternoon kindergarten, and a baby in a bucket carseat along for the ride with all of it could've killed me. We survived, obviously, but it was the most hectic year so far and I was bracing myself to do it again this year. With morning kindergarten, another in morning preschool, and the oldest gone all day, I will have 4 mornings all by myself. To think. To work. To drink a hot cup of coffee!

I've been making my mental list. It started out pretty simple. More yarn dyeing, more blogging, more quilting. But it's getting quite long. I'm excited to:

Start quilting seriously again.
Enter my quilts in exhibits again.
Organinze my quilting life that's gone to hell the past 5 years.
Organize everything else that's gone to hell in the past 5 years.
E-mail back everyone that's e-mailed me in the past 5 years.
Combine my quilt website, blog, and yarn store.
Or maybe just switch my blog over to a different service.
Blog at least 3 times a week.
Dye more yarn.
Sew more clothes (and actually blog about them).
Sew a few bed quilts.
Volunteer in both kid's classrooms (AVIC).
Have coffee occasionally with friends.
Treat myself to the occasional thrift store outing.
Keep my house cleaner--just a little--let's not get carried away or anything.
Get back to well thought out meals.


Yesterday, we went to pick up the school supplies and meet the kindergarten teacher.

My Kindergarten Girl got up early, put on her best dress, best shoes, and asked me to braid her hair (I've never done that before!) Then she put on her backpack and wore it around the house all day.

Do you think somebody is excited?!?!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knits on Vacation

Family on vacation.

Sock on vacation. (Not just any sock. It's a second sock. I blame the fresh air.)
Sleeve on vacation.
Scarf on vacation.
Squares on vacation.

Now we're back.

I wish I could do this:

But I can' starts in 2 days!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hollyhocks Shawl

My finished Hollyhocks Shawl.

Pattern: Shoalwater shawl from Fibertrends.
Yarn: Sophie's Toes color Hollyhocks. 2 1/4 skeins (225 grams, for you scientists)
Changes: I did the shawl in stockinette lace instead of garter lace (see below).

I started this shawl on the plane to Mexico. (I know, I haven't even blogged about Mexico. Ask me sometime over a beer.) Six hours of plane time (sans kids!) , plus a four hour layover, I was prepared with a LOT of knitting!

What you see in the photo below is the start of the shawl. The line at the bottom left where my finger is, is the center of the shawl, so you are looking at one half of the shawl. As per the pattern, you do the lace pattern across the right side, and knit the wrong side row, making garter ridges with a lace pattern. (Or "garter lace"). I'm not sure if that is a real term, but it's what I'm calling it for explanation purposes, bear with me.
I wasn't crazy about the look of the garter ridges, because I felt they were obscuring the colors and turning the color to mush. After several inches, I tried about an inch of "stockinette lace", where I did exactly as the pattern for the right side rows, and instead of knitting the wrong side rows, I purled them. I thought it brought out the colors much better, so I ripped the whole thing and started over.
I was a little worried pre-blocking, because the shawl came off the needles in almost a diamond shape instead of a triangle. (Was this due to my changes? It's a mystery.)

But a good blocking turned it into a fine triangle. A friend asked me about using superwash wool for a shawl--does it block nicely and keep the shape?
Post blocking:
My favorite thing about this shawl was the picot bind off. Just beautiful. Almost every little picot is a different color!!!! Love that!!!!

I am so crazy about lace right now. I have lace on the brain! Lace, lace, lace! I'm looking at: this, this, this, and all of these.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Look Familiar?

I honestly didn't realize that I had just finished a pink eyelet cardigan when I bought the yarn and pattern for this new one. Now that I'm blogging them back to back, I feel like a bit of a goof! I guess I'm just drawn to the same thing!

Anyway, Belle is long sleeeved and this one is short sleeved, so there is a difference! It's the Eyelet Cardigan from Blue Sky Alpacas, and the yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas dyed cotton in Lotus.

We are back from the 2007 World Tour of the Indiana Grandparents. Lots of swimming, tomato picking, thrifting (yay!) and museums. Thank goodness for great children's museums when its 95 degrees outside and Indiana Humid.

I even did quite a bit of knitting. I am really starting to notice a difference between this summer and last. Last year, I had 2 kids and a baby/toddler, and I spent most of my time chasing after the toddler that wanted to run away and play mommy catch me.

This year, I have 3 kids. Its a big difference, and I have to admit, I'm loving it. It was a difficult year with the terrible twos and things are calming down somewhat.
And school starts in 2 weeks, can you believe it?!