Sunday, December 30, 2007

$10 Baby Gift

I had plans to do some serious decluttering today...until I remembered that I had volunteered to make dinner for a new mom in my MOPS group. Well, I had remembered the dinner part but then I decided I wanted to sew something for the baby so my grand cleaning plans were set aside.

I snooped on the Babies R Us website to find her registry to get an idea of her tastes. Black furniture, white sheets, changing table pad and she noted that the nursery was simple with tiffany blue accents. What the heck color was tiffany blue?? She also seemed to like brown and blue baby outfits. I did a web search and found a teal color that was called tiffany blue so armed with that knowledge, I headed to my sewing room.

I thought I might make a simple quilt with white and 'tiffany blue' squares. And I would also use my embroidery machine to add the new baby's name. Only I didn't have anything close to tiffany blue. Well there was one floral print that I nixed. I did pick a few fabrics and I brought them to the washing machine because I wasn't sure if they had been prewashed.
While that was running, I sorted through a bin of ebayable stuff because I knew I had some tiny baby boy clothes in there. I found a NWT brown fleece gymbo outfit that I bought on clearance a couple years ago. I'm sure I paid less then $10 for even thought the tag said it retailed for $28. I had planned on gifting it or eBaying it but hadn't done anything until today. It was perfect for the new baby.
I then changed my sewing plans completely. I went to my fleece bin and found 2 remnants of a boyish stripe that sorta coordinated. I paid approx $1 each. Both pieces were long and skinny so I had to improvise with the simple block pattern. I didn't have blanket binding and I didn't want to add the thickness of a folded hem so I just serged the edges...which I'm not entirely comfortable with. It looks a little unfinished to me but I didn't have time to do anything different. I had thought about making it 2 sided but I really didn't want to add the thickness. I wanted a super soft blanket without heaviness that could be draped over the baby and the mom's lap to keep them both warm as she nursed him.

I had a bit of fleece left so I decided to use it to make a a little hat. I had a pattern but it only made one size which was gigantic. I chopped it up a lot and tried again. The resulting hat was teeny. Surely it would be too small.

Once the blanket and the hat were done, I threw them in the washer with my new thermal knits and I washed everything with Baby All and I started dinner. I always make mac & cheese with shredded cheddar but I wanted to try it with velveeta. I found a recipe online and it made a ton of cheese 'soup' instead of a creamy sauce. I used half of the soupy mixture and cooked more pasta for the rest of it. I had planned on making double of everything but I ended up making 4 times the mac & cheese. LOL Once it was almost done, I turned the broiler on for a few to lightly brown it and I forgot it. My first pan had a couple dark brown bubbles. Whoops! To salvage it, I scraped off the top, put everything in a bakeable gladware container. I then threw some regular sharp cheddar cheese on top and baked it a few. The main course was slices of pre-cooked ham, heated up. And I made a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I should have added a veggie or salad but I didn't have time to make another trip to the grocery.

I packed up the meal for the new family and I also packed a duplicate one for my brother and I delivered the food. As luck would have it, the new mom lives exactly 2 blocks from my brother's house. I didn't discover that until I was driving away from her block trying to figure out which way to go to get to his house and boom there his street was. That was kind of a weird thing. I also brought him the laundry that he had abandoned at our house 2-3 weeks ago. I washed it for him and dh folded everything and found an empty bin for the clean clothes. I should also mention that I had to wash everything TWICE because my brother is a smoker and his stuff still smelled awful after the first wash. I doused the clothes with odo-ban and washed again on the longest cycle with the hottest water and with the pre-wash and extra rinse added. I should have let my kids smell the clothes as a way to show them one reason why smoking is not a great idea. Who wants to walk around stinking all the time?

The mom called the house before I had even come home and she told my dh that my macaroni was the best macaroni that she had EVER had. LOL Should I tell her that I had burnt it?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pay it Forward

Something really nice happened to me today. I found out that I was selected as the grand prize winner of a drawing for 8 skeins of wonderful malabrigo yarn and a knitting book. If you know anything about knitting, malabrigo yarn is something to be coveted. Finding out that I won just gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling. There is no way that I would spend so much money on yarn and I have no idea what I'll do with it but I can tell you that 8 skeins is enough to do a big project and that makes me happy. I also adore the colorway - velvety grapes.

Part of the deal of winning is that I have to write what charitable deed I plan on doing. I guess I could send a donation somewhere. That's easy. I could even do it in Nolan's name, something that would given me a bit of happiness.But, I keep coming back to the idea that if I did a donation, my good deed would pretty much end. What could I possibly do that would be meaningful and would continue the ripples of good deeds? That's where you come in. I thought that maybe I could ask my friends here (and on my other blog) to do a good deed. It doesn't have to be big and it doesn't have to cost money. Just do something nice for someone else that you might not have done. (No dangerous good willing or picking up hitch hikers though! ) If you want to tell me about it and you want to send me your address, I will mail you one of the infamous FROG wristbands that were ordered after Nolan's death. I also plan on doing a few good deeds, too.

I'll come back later (likely tomorrow) and post a picture of the FROG wristbands and will also explain the significance of them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Few Projects

Tiny Noro Hat for Mia's Penguin

I had a bit of the Noro yarn left from Mia's hat so I made a smaller version. I thought it might be for her American Girl Knock-off doll but it her new Webkins penguin was handy and it fit so there ya go. She was so excited about this little hat. I think I could knit the ugliest hat in the world and if I added a little matching one, it would be all good. This was a fun project. I think I need to make more small things since I'm more of an instant gratification girl.

I started the tiny hat on Christmas Eve and I finished most of it while I sat outside with the kids on Christmas Day. The boys played with their new footballs and Kendall rode her bike.


Sometime last week, Mia decided to clear out the kitchen in my sewing studio, aka our garage apartment. It has become our unofficial storage unit. I had previously purged a ton of stuff so the things that were left were things that we definitely need to hang onto but don't have another place for them. After the huge toy purge of 2006/2007, there were bins with sorted toys like playmobil, imaginext, puppets, Barbie dolls, baby dolls, baby toys and a couple bins loaded with teeny, tiny parts that I just never got through. Mia emptied the kitchen...into the bathroom rendering it completely unusable. The bathtub was filled with bins, some without lids and they had toppled over. The tiny floor space was also crammed full of stuff. When the twins had gone out to the studio with me, and one of them had a potty emergency, I had to quickly remove bin after bin and they still had to climb over stuff to get to the toilet. But, hey, the kitchen was empty.

Between last night and most of today, I cleared out the bathroom and moved stuff back to the kitchen. We just don't have another place for these things. I suppose I could put some of the bins in the attic but then we would never see them again...not to mention that my larger bins don't even fit in the attic opening. And it's just a huge pain to put stuff up there and retrieve it. Oh how I wish we had an attic like my SIL in Indiana. They have an amazing old house that looks like its 3 stories tall because the stairs continue up to the attic. Our attic is a tiny opening and you need a ladder to get up there. Plus I have to actually put my feet on the top of the door trim to get myself all the way in the opening. Try doing that while balancing a box.

I did sort stuff and I emptied quite a few bins. I created a large bag of trash and another large bag of toys for charity.

So, with a clean sewing room, I needed to sew. I made a pair of King Kong PJs for my 5 year old son. The flannel was in the clearance section at Joann's. I also got another color of a coordinating King Kong print but I noticed that the pattern was printed screwy so I didn't use it. The pants were made from a butterick pattern. I went buy the measurements and it said that my 5T in ready-to-wear clothes was a 2/3 so that's what I went with. I chopped 2 inches off the legs and the pants were still too big. The shirt was from the Otto 4/04 and I made the 110 size, using fleece I had and orange binding. I had my son's measurements in inches but not in cm so I was really guessing on the 110. The shirt neck was *way* too tight. I think I did the binding on the neck 4 times. I tried my fancy binder attachment for my cover stitch machine and that was a disaster. I then tried my regular sewing machine and that was a bit better. It wasn't until I had a nice looking binding that I noticed the neck opening was teeny, tiny. I knew it wouldn't fit. So I cut it off and redid it again.

While I was making these PJs, I wondered what the heck I was doing. Ethan had already received a pair of 'Cars' store-bought flannel jammies from my SIL for Christmas that he loves. He told me that he want to wear them ALWAYS. When Kendall spilled Gatorade on them, I rushed the beloved PJs to the washer so he could wear them again. We waited the 35 minutes for the quick wash load on the front loader and then the 40 minutes for them to dry. And in his half-asleep state, he emphatically wanted to wait until he could put them on before he really went to bed. How could I compete with that???

I also thought about the bargain PJs that I recently ordered from the Garnet Hill, less then $5 a pair. Why was I sewing PJs that would probably not be all that less expensive then the bargain ones...and my pair were FAR from perfect. The truth is that I did it for me. I need to sew. I need to create. Based on my calculations of time (using my previous salary from corporate America) and materials, these hand sewn jammies are worth $150. And did I mention they are far from perfect? Yes - I did. That's that part that nags at me.

My son; however, deemed them worthy enough to wear tonight. Even though he had to remove the beloved Cars PJs to wear the new ones. And, *I* created them which fills a need deep inside of me.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Knitting Ugly

It was pure torture finishing this project. I ran out of yarn and the new one that arrived from eBay was a totally diferent dye lot. Of course, I didn't know that when I ordered beause I had tossed the original tag thinking 1 skein would be enough. The new skein was pastely compared to the deep colors of the 1st skein. I thought about frogging it back to the color change and using darker sections of the new skein...but that would involve more work and I hate frogging so I just continued.

I stopped looking at the pattern somewhere around the time that I realized I had accidently done 5 knit rows instead of 4 in the last few sections. Whoops. Imperfect from another angle. Oh well...I knew the recipient wouldn't notice or care. I finished it, making it extra pointy. I then added a big pompom to use more of the 2nd skein.

I gave it to my 11 year old today, an early Christmas present. She LOVED it and refused to take it off even after she said it was a little itchy on her forehead. I think wool is itchy, too. It seems like all knitters love the stuff so I hope it grows on me. The hat suits her well. I'm glad I finished it.

Now what new project should I cast on?? I'm not feeling like working on my baby surprise jacket, the dreaded dishcloth or the 2nd sock to match the my first ever knitted sock. I have some lovely Peace Fleece begging to be touched so I think I must search ravelry for inspiration.