present tense

Just thought I might

I feel like I should talk about all the things that have happened between the last time I wrote and now. But that's just not possible. And I'm so out of practice at writing, it's not at all funny. Or maybe it is. Lots and lots of things have happened between then and now, as they do. I'm sure you'd say the same. But I've been thinking about how I would like a record of things, with photos. And to get out my camera again. I'm not sure people read blogs anymore, unless they're recipe blogs or a how to make a thing blog. This won't be that. It'll just be a record of things, however often I feel like it. With photos.

Seen in Raleigh, NC

Last day in Raleigh, Thanksgiving 2019

I have a camera now—not my old D80, which died a very quick death—but a Nikon D7000, which I really don't like at all. The focus so soft. I've had it a few years. And of course I have a phone, but it's not super new and flashy. One of my 2020 goals is save up for a new camera. Might take me 2 years. It's an expensive camera. So until that happens, I'll do my best with what I have, which is what I do anyway.

Miss V is so grown! She's 14. Holden is 7. I started this blog not long after V turned 2. I'm not sure where the time went. It flew by while I was looking at other things.

Raleigh, NC

Miss V. Remember when she was little? Me too! And Baby Holden? Well, his eyes are definitely brown, while his sclera is blue. But that's a story for another day.

So here's to 2020. I don't know what will happen next year, but I plan to make it a good one no matter what.

Ah, today

Today I faced the fact that if I didn't reopen my pendant shop, I wouldn't have a lot of Christmas money.

Not that Christmas is all about money. It's not. But some is good.

My mom has been my childcare and she broke a bone in her knee. And tore a ligament. And needs surgery next week. So I haven't wanted to make lots of pendants around a 3-year-old who loves all my findings so very much! He has to have them! It's not that can't do it, I just haven't wanted to.

I've been enjoying getting things done around the house. But, alas, I have reopened French Honey. I'll keep it open until the Christmas shipping deadlines and then I'll close it for the rest of the year so I can enjoy the holidays with my family.

So I'm putting those 600 new designs on the back burner. I had wanted to work on that like crazy to try to get some momentum going during the holiday season. But I think I burned through all that adrenaline and now I just want to do what I know will work. I've had 2-3 Etsy shops for a couple of years now and I think I'm burned out on that. I just want one (successful) thing to do. That makes sense, right?

Today I found a bunch of cool looking sciencey books and put them in my Amazon cart. There are a lot more for Holden than for V, but I think she would enjoy them too.

Two blog posts in two days. Woot! Now I just need to take some pictures and maybe I'll start to figure out what I really have to say these days.

Catching up

It's kind of funny to me how I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. How can I be a reasonable version of an adult when I have no clue? Everyone else seems to have a clue. Maybe I can buy one?

I have a vision in my head of how everything should look, and I tell myself I should start there and work backwards to where I am now and then I'll have a plan. Brilliant idea. Won't that be great! Except the sheet I use to make my plan looks like chaos and then I just end up throwing it away and thinking I'll start over soon and really get things straight next time.

I think there's a certain amount of acceptance I have to have that this is what my life looks like. I am living it now. Not later. Not in a year when I "get things under control" or when we have more time/money/whatever. I ignore the chaos and just try to focus on the important thing, which is my family and all their various working parts. And all that stuff is going pretty well. Miss V is 10 now. Can you believe that?! She just had her birthday last month. We're still homeschooling. She had to take an achievement test at the end of the last school year, per state requirements. She scored 99th percentile nationally in everything. I can't even, as the youngsters say today. For math we use Life of Fred. Love it (and more importantly - she loves it. She reads it for fun, even while telling you that she doesn't like math). I also like to buy "mathy" books for her, but we're not doing anything above and beyond that and Fred. I want to write about what we're doing for language arts this year, but I'll do that later. It's not a set curriculum; I'm basing it on a book I read for college in my education classes. I love it and can't wait to get more into it. I have a hard time finding science things for her. She's read a lot already and anything I've found that goes farther is too "old" for her. But I'm always on the look out. (know any good ones??)

Holden is good. He's 3.5. Soon he needs to see the orthopedic surgeon. I'm afraid he will need surgery on his foot. He has a really, really tight tendon on the bottom. I'm not sure what they can do about that. Something, I hope. He needs to see the hand surgeon. I can't tell if he needs surgery on his left wrist or not. I've been putting off finding out for a year, and it's time to go see what the doctor thinks. That could go either way. He needs to get back into PT/OT, ASAP. And he needs to see the allergist for blood tests, probably food challenges eventually, and we need to treat some environmental allergies (Dogs. They give him hives if they lick him. He wants a dog so badly.). But he himself is wonderful. He's bright and funny and we all just love him to pieces. He seems more drawn to numbers than words. He likes to read, but not in the way that V did. By this age, she was on the brink of reading. He's not. But that's cool. He loves dragons, dinosaurs, and pumpkin-headed skull men (?!).

R just got promoted at work. I'm so happy for and proud of him! It's pretty much his perfect job (as much as these things can be). He's just left the band he was in to write fiction. Sci-fi, actually. He's got some awesome ideas. He's writing the books and I'm doing all the other stuff like designing book covers, formatting the books, uploading them, editing them, marketing them, etc. This is the first thing we've really worked on together like this and it's bright and shiny and new. We've really just started, nothing published yet. It feels good already, though. Like we were meant to do this. I'm hoping that eventually this will be my only "extra" job. About the band - they're really good. You should check them out. Then you should read this review by some guy named Jeff Clark. Dude clearly needs to chill out. I read this review and just laughed because it sounds like he has it in for them. It's just a CD - no need to smash it up into tiny bits!

As for me, I have Pretty+Paper to work on. Part of the reason for Pretty+Paper is because I don't have to make and ship things, I make it on the front end by designing the printables. That works for me because, between homeschooling, regular home stuff, and a 3yo, there's not a lot of time for making and shipping. The only problem is, the shop isn't doing as well as I would like (if you like it, share it! Please? That would help me so much!). There are different ways to "get found" when you have a shop on Etsy - my particular business model is to have as many listings as possible. That worked for me with my art pendant shop, French Honey (which is on vacation at the moment). And I want to repeat that with Pretty+Paper. Only thing is that I haven't been so successful with getting tons of listings up. I need at least 800-1,000. Seriously. That sounds insane, doesn't it? But that's what I need. So, I'm going to work on it. I need 600 or so new listings ASAP. How am I going to do that? Batch processing. Sound like fun?!!! Well, I am developing a plan. And my piece of paper looks like chaos. So we'll see what happens next.

Tellus More

Today we went to our local science museum, Tellus. It was really windy outside, but we went and looked at the giant dumptrucks they have there.

Big Truck at Tellus

We saw a lot of dinosaur bones, which Holden loved.

Dinosaur at Tellus

Holden makes me laugh. When he sees a man that he doesn't know, he calls him "Guy" or "Man." There was a security guard there. Holden went up to him and said, "Hello, Guy. Sabertooth Tiger, Guy." It was cute.

And he touched poop.

Holden in B&W at Tellus

We saw giant coral, which was beautiful.

Coral at Tellus

We panned for gems, dug for dinosaur bones (V found an awesome big tooth!), and I bought some rocks at the museum to use as photo props.

Then V climbed on the big rock outside before we left.

Violet at Tellus

Holden wanted in on that.

Holden at Tellus

This picture doesn't really look like him, but I really like it.

Right now Holden and I are playing a game I call "Mama Pick Me Up." He says, "Mama pick me up," and I do, but then I start naming body parts. I say, "Neck pick me up!" and "Riblets pick me up," tickling as we go. We laugh and laugh. He's a sweetie.

Milk, shellfish, and all the nuts

Food allergies. I have so much to learn. I mentioned it on Twitter. I guess that was stupid because I'm never on Twitter anymore, but someone who follows me told me that peanut allergy moms need to get off their high horses. And I thought that anyone who would say that is actually saying it from her own mighty tall horse. But it is a thing, these nut allergies. Because people die. Kids, adults. It is weird though when the allergist acts like it's no big deal and just sends you home with a bunch of handouts that purport to tell you how to avoid the allergen.

So whatever. We will find a new allergist, one who specializes in food allergies. Because I've been reading.

First off, the deal: Holden is allergic to cats, dogs, & dustmites (not life threatening). He didn't test allergic to trees and grasses, but the allergist said those are to come. Later he can take shots, etc. No fun, but not a big deal really. But then he's also allergic to milk (I believe the cause of his eczema, which these days is more of a rash that pops up just as soon as he eats anything that has milk in it. Milk is in a lot of things you wouldn't realize. Latest culprit - spaghetti sauce). Also shellfish, peanuts, and 7 of the 9 tree nuts they tested for. Which may as well be all tree nuts because being negative on the scratch test doesn't necessarily mean he's not allergic to them.

Secondly, things I'm considering/doing: Probiotics, getting as many fruits and vegetables into him as possible (this means lots of smoothies and homemade juices right now because he is a picky eater), raising money somehow for a Peanut Dog, and oral immunotherapy (OIT). He's just 2 years old. Maybe with probiotics and fruits/veggies, he can grow out of it. It's not likely, but it's not impossible. And if he doesn't, then we'll look more into the dog and the OIT. 

People who know me tell me that I take things too seriously. I guess the idea is that somehow I should lighten up or become more positive or perhaps become a different person. I should drink more because that would loosen me up. I don't really see that happening. What makes me feel best is researching the issue until I'm satisfied. Serious things have happened over the last 10 years of my life and I'm not sure how to outrun them so I can start feeling like myself again. And I'm not really sure what I used to feel like anymore. 

What I'd like to do is go to the beach. Sit on the sand with R, watching the kids play, and just not worrying about anything. That'd be good. Then I'd like about 3 weeks where I didn't have to work on anything but my life. I'd like to super clean and completely minimalize my house, make a 4-6 week menu with shopping lists, and write up a daily schedule. I realize I can do all these things, but I never seem to get them finished. I get them half done and then some other fire needs to be put out. Having two shops is a lot, but I'm committed to doing that at least until after Christmas, and probably longer. It just has to be right now. But I need to do all those things, so they're on the list.

Holden is the cutest thing. He's so funny! And sweet. He's 2 and a half now, as of yesterday. Hard to believe. He's asking for a nap, so here I go...

Per V's request

V requested that I not write about jewelry, that I write more often, and that I talk about the things we are doing as a family.

I agreed.

So I'll have a new blog for the business junk, as she calls it.

This week, she started third grade in our homeschool, which we have named Flying Cat Academy. I'll have to share a picture of the kids wearing their shirts when they come out of the wash. They're too cute. Week one went pretty well, I think. We read a lot. History and math, with some grammar thrown in. Plus the regular assortment of books she reads. Lately she's been reading Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain trilogy. I just ordered the third book for her. As she finished the second one, she said it was too short. That usually means that she really enjoyed it.

Tomorrow, I'll be looking for vintage books at the antique shop to use as photo props. V is probably thinking she'll get another ceramic cat to add to her collection. Holden doesn't know what to think yet, as he's never been.

This is a short post because they're waiting for me to come play in the living room. And because I keep meaning to write but keep thinking that I will once I take some good pictures. Then I don't take any pictures. So I figure I just need to jump back into writing and the rest will follow. Or not. Either way, it's cool.

Happy weekend!

This post contains an affiliate link.

Things are moving slowly. Well, time moves quickly. Weeks pass me like I'm standing still, though I rarely stand still. Up in the morning, run around all day, fall into bed at night. And I didn't even go anywhere today.

V's art teacher has accepted a job as Director of Education for a local museum. We're so very happy for her and she's going to do great at the job, but we're sad for us. We're going to miss seeing her and her sweet dog too.

I need to find another activity for V. She wants to do gymnastics. Sweet girl can't skip rope. Or do jumping jacks. I want her to try a Crossfit class. I think she'd really like it. I don't know that she's the competitive sport type. But she can check both out and see what works for her.

Every spare moment I work on the new shop, even if it's just in my head. I can tell this is going to take me forever. I'm so impatient. I can't even think of a name. I'm telling myself that it will come to me, that I'll pluck it right out of the blue sky. But I'm not so sure. It's making my head hurt.

But I did set this stone and it was so thrilling to me, I can't tell you. I haven't taken it off since.

I've been wearing it with my rose gold stacking ring like a wedding set. I love it.

Yesterday, I started making fresh juices for Holden. There's too much for just him, so V and I have been having some as well. It's ... interesting. This week we have apples, kale, red cabbage, sage, tomato, red pepper, and I added an orange but it didn't seem to make it sweeter. It tastes grassy. I have to drink it quickly. But Holden drank most of his and I'm happy with that. Someone in a Facebook group I'm in told me that their son was cured of severe eczema by eating plant-based whole foods and that it took 6 months. I'm not sure H's is severe (though it's pretty bad), so hopefully it'll take less time. It's so sad to see him scratch and cry, "Itchy!"

To do list

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

You know this song? I've had it running through my head all day. It does that, this song. I've never been a fan of Janis', but she's been growing on me lately.

I want to start a new jewelry shop, the final jewelry shop. The best little jewelry shop I can make. So I have a to do list.

I need:

Design ideas: have several written down already
Tools: assorted pliers, hammers, stamps, metal, metal wire, a bench block, chain to make necklaces, and more, I'm sure.
A shop name: something not already taken either on Etsy or on the internet.
Packaging materials: I have ideas, but haven't sourced anything yet.
Business cards/branding (assuming Etsy isn't going to take our banners away. Been kind of waiting to find out about that): Wanting a real logo for this shop, as in something I didn't make myself. And there's a reason for that, which I'll explain in a future post. It might have to wait a little while, though.
Photos: I really want a dedicated place to take photos, but I'm not sure that's possible, given the light in my house. But I need to get all my photo props together and decide if I need to add to them right away or not. There's a particular mood I want to create, but I know virtually nothing about photographing jewelry. So I'll be learning about that too.

My plan is to start with the basics, and use really nice materials. I've always loved semi-precious stones. And I adore the current trend of raw stones. That can last forever as far as I'm concerned. I'll start with wire wrapping and making "charm necklaces," as I call them. And there are at least two types of bracelets I want to make. Eventually I'd like to get into either precious metal clays or I might just skip that and go straight to soldering and fabricating my own ideas. I hesitate to call them designs or to call myself a designer. I'm a long, long way from there. And I'd need to take classes, which really isn't feasible right now. But there's plenty for me to do and learn on my own in the meantime.

I have started collecting some beads. I got these gorgeous ceramic beads the other day. I've also got some pyrite, labradorite, moonstone. Love to look at them. Can't wait to get started. But first I need some tools - and I really need to clear out the "fiber room" so it can morph into the "jewelry studio."

Tap, tap ... Is this thing on?


I missed blogging. I'm not even sure I remember how to do it, but I missed it so here I am.

So let's catch up ...

V is 8.5. Sweet and crazy as ever. Still cat obsessed, but now also obsessed with making things. Hand sewing (need to get my machine out and get her started). She wants to learn to make realistic stuffed cats and dogs.

H is 2 just this month. His eyes are brown. His disposition is generally sunny but, you know, he's 2 now ... A more bonny boy, one could not ask for.

R is good. We put the screenprinting ideas on hold for now. It turns out that it's quite costly to start up that kind of business. I don't think we've completely given up on the idea yet. I need to talk to him about that.

Me? I've had a hell of a year and a half. But better days are here, methinks. I've barely taken out my camera in 2 years. I haven't knit anything since 2012 (I have half a sock to go but I can't remember where I am in the pattern exactly). I just bought some lovely Finn wool to spin from on the round, but I haven't spun it yet. I'm not dyeing. My life is too busy and I don't like that. But I always have ideas. Most I never get to, but others catch hold and won't let me go until I'm acting on them. Right now that's jewelry.

I want to learn to make jewelry. Like real jewelry, with lovely metals and stones and such. Starting with the basics and going as far as it will take me.
What are you up to these days?

The boy of indeterminate eye color

Baby H was born with blue eyes, as was his sister. But it's obvious they aren't going to stay blue like hers. They're in the process of changing to whatever color they plan to be. I don't know their plan, but I wanted to try to capture them in photos in the middle of their magical change. Depending on what he's wearing, they look blue, dark brown, hazel, or Army green. I've been calling him The Boy of Indeterminate Eye Color.

The boy of indeterminate eye color 001

The Boy of Indeterminate Eye Color is teething.

The boy of indeterminate eye color collage

I'm knitting a hat for R. He has 2 hats I've knit him already. I only have one hat, but that's because I like to knit them a lot more than I like to wear them. It's from before I started dyeing yarn, so I might have to make myself one more hat because sometimes you need one, even if you don't like to wear them. V has more hats than I can shake a stick at.

Antler Hat WIP

This is the Antler Hat (Rav link) from Tin Can Knits. I am LOVING IT. The cables are fun and it's nice and manly, especially in this color. I'm using a skein of my Philomath Worsted in Cattail. I've got my fingers crossed that there will be enough left over to make Holden a matching hat, since this is the only skein I have. It came with a big knot in it, so I used it as a test skein when I was working on the Cattail colorway and I have been saving it for just the right pattern.

If you've been hankering for some hand-dyed worsted weight to make your own hats or scarves, I'll have some in my next update, to be announced...


Absolutely perfect

Do you know what I love most about my camera lens? I love that it makes all the toys and things in the background of my photos just look so pretty instead of so messy.

Holden in Handknits 002

Do you know what else I love? Or who, rather. Meghan. She's a sweetheart. She so thoughtfully knitted this for baby Holden a while back with a skein of my Philomath Worsted, in my favorite color (Silver Screen). Is that too sweet or what?

She's a fantastic designer and has even more patterns on Ravelry, which you should check out. Especially if you love shawls.

Holden in Handknits 001

I love the xoxo motif on the sides of this little vest. And I absolutely love that she made it big enough so that it's just a tiny bit too big for him now that he's right at 6 months old. That means it'll be absolutely perfect for him for our Georgia fall and winter and he'll probably be able to wear it straight through to spring. And then I'm going to put it away and keep it until maybe one day when Holden's son will get to wear it.

Holden in Handknits 006

Knitters are wonderful and generous folks, I've learned.

Which reminds me, if you're a yarn dyer or any sort of maker whatsoever, and you feel you could use a pick-me-up, just give something away on a blog. Right now I'm giving away some yarn over on the Knitty Blog and the comments I'm reading are making me smile!

You can also check out the Small Things blog this weekend, where I'll be giving away a skein of Muscadine Sock for your autumn knitting pleasure.

In pattern news, there's a new crochet shawl pattern that was designed with 2 skeins of my Eulela DK. Shibaguyz used my Olivine colorway for Tiamat - very dramatic!

And last, but most definitely not least, one of my customers (hi K!) used some of my yarn for a test knit she was doing for Yarn Madness' brand new Dyning pattern. I was thrilled to see my yarn as one of the suggested yarns when the pattern was released! Madeleine is a new-to-me designer but I've already bought two of her patterns and I'm planning to knit them ASAP. Vinkel is a really cute sweater with an interesting design that I think will work great here in Georgia, where it's not always so cold, even in winter. And of course I had to get Dyning, which I'm thinking of knitting long enough for it to be a dress for Miss V, but we'll see when I get there.

In the meantime, I'm working on a hat for R and still trying to overcome my second sock syndrome on a pair of Nutkins! But what about you? Are you knitting anything fun this fall? Any new-to-you designers I should know about? Do tell!

Chicken Pot POW!!!

I've discovered there are many things I can do with a baby strapped to my chest. I can mail packages of yarn (as long as it's just one or two), put away laundry (if I must), type a blog post (Holden says to tell you gaga goo goo!) as long as there's music playing (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours is his current favorite), put skeins of yarn into water to soak (this is getting trickier), and cook some things, though I don't like to chop veggies with him on me. Knife + baby = nervous mama.

But one thing I absolutely can't do with H in the Baby Bjorn is make a pretty chicken pot pie.

In the Baby Bjorn

In recent episode of Wordgirl, The Butcher yells, "Chicken Pot POW!!!" while he hurls the pies at our heroes. That was a seed that grew in my family's mind, a desire for our own little chicken pot pow. When I found the recipe I wanted to use, all the reviews said to double the filling so it wouldn't be dry. So I did.

What I ended up with was enough for 2 pies because I had to use the deep dish frozen crusts since the store was out of the kind in a box that you roll out, which is what I had planned to use. The first pie was a wreck because I needed to get it in the oven during a time when my boy is really active and didn't want to be without me. I poured the filling in the pie pan and then flipped the other pie crust on top as best I could with a grabby baby wondering just what kind of interesting, good-smelling stuff this was!

I wanted to freeze the leftover filling for another time, but since there were potatoes in it, I was afraid they'd get yucky. So I made a second pie the next day. This time I had R here to hang out with Holden. I know I used to have a set of pretty leaf cookie cutters and have made at least one pie with a beautiful leaf-shaped crust. But they've been lost in one of our moves, so here's what I came up with.

Chicken Pot Clifford

Happy October! It's the first - so that means there are 15 days until the November Yarn Club closes. So check it out if you want in!

Invisible kid's car

V has her own car now! Actually, she's had it for a while. It's an invisible kid's car. She keeps it on top of my car and when she wants to go out and do stuff, she just takes it down and takes off in it.

kids car

I have two pretty new fibers to play with. This one I'm calling Julep Twist Sock. It's MCN, like my Julep Sock, but with 2 sweet plies with lots of twist that plump up against each other when I dye them. 

julep twist

This one is the height of luxury. It's baby camel and silk. Not sure what to call it yet. It's a heavy laceweight, comes in this natural brown color, is so very soft, and is so rich when dyed. I can't wait for you to see them!

baby camel silk

My new hobby is doodling. I needed something fast and fun for the oh-so-brief moments of quiet I find these days.


What are you up to this summer? Anything fun? 

Rolling over

In the last week and a half, H has mastered rolling from back to stomach. At first, he would kick his leg out straight and arch his body, using his foot to pivot over. But then I got a handout on teaching baby to roll over. It says to bring their knees up, roll them to one side, and the top half of his body should follow.

Rolling over 001

Ever since I tried that with him, that's how he's been doing it. He loves tummy time and will roll onto his stomach every time I help him back onto his back.

Rolling over 002

What he doesn't like is that he can't roll from his stomach to his back. I've read that this is more of a 6-month-old baby move and H is just past 3 months. But don't tell him that - he gets really agitated that he can't do it himself. It's that shoulder. It's just too big to roll the rest of him over and he isn't strong enough to tuck it under.

This may be my favorite picture V has drawn yet. It's me and Holden.

Mom and Holden

I hope you have a happy Sunday - thanks for stopping by!

It's going to be awesome

This morning, V stamped 10 paper bags that we will use as packaging for her new Etsy shop. We got the best custom made stamp from Village Impressions. Anna-Mae was a pleasure to work with and I recommend her highly, should you need a stamp made.

Awesome Packaging

We still have much to do! The concept for the shop was all her idea, though I'm helping her refine things just a bit. She's been talking about having her own Etsy shop for 2 years now.

V starts first grade this year and we are homeschooling. This shop should be fun, definitely just a hobby for her, but also a learning experience. She won't do absolutely everything by herself, but I will help guide her until the day that she can.

More details to come!

There's no fussy in handknits

Today I put Baby H in his bouncy seat, which he usually loves, but ... um ... not so much today!

Fussy baby

I said, "Oh no! Fussy baby! There's no crying in handknits!"

What this is handknit

He said, "What?! This was hand knit? Just for me?" 

I said it surely is, by Auntie Claire, and sent all the way from Germany.

Youre right

Baby H said, "Oh well, then. Why didn't you say so? No fussing today!"

Knit by Claire


Yesterday I contemplated this yarn. I have 4 skeins of it and I was knitting a cardigan with it, but I've pretty much come to realize that it's not going to happen. Right now I just need simpler projects.

Tanis on Aran

Looks like a lot of people could get a lot of teal blue hats and/or scarves for Christimas this year, if I get on that soon.

I also contemplated this yarn, which is my favorite BFL and my favorite purple. I knitted one fingerless mitt with it but it's way too small for me. Laughably small. At the time I thought I'd just finish up and give them to my sister, who has much smaller hands than I. But I don't really want to knit the second one. So I will continue contemplating this yarn. Maybe some socks.

Purple yes it is

Then I contemplated this right mess. The one on the left is new, a one of a kind color that I did not measure or write down. Don't ask me why I do that sometimes. There's no reasonable answer. The one on the right is this yarn. I knew when I dyed it that it would take a while to sell because orange almost always does. But I can't help but dye orange; I love it so. It's passionate and unafraid to be exactly what it is. Sometimes I go in to where I keep the yarn and squeeze all my orange yarns.

But don't tell anybody.

Red Orange

I took action on these yarns - I tamed them with my handy skein winder. 


Same with these. They looked even worse than the ones above. But now, they look sleek and lovely.

Moss and TBD

They'll be in my next update, which I'm planning for sometime in the next week or two.

Trying to get on a more regular schedule now. It's hard when there are baby toes in the house to nibble...

It's Tuesday & there's nowhere I have to be

Today I'm taking the day off from most of what I have to do. I'm making a plan of what to dye next, which technically work but does not involve heating up an already hot kitchen with dyepots. And we just made our own play dough for the first time in forever.

Making play dough :)

We left one of them its natural color, so that V can mold it into cats.

She has already drawn a picture this morning that I hope will work as a rubber stamp so I can stamp the packaging for her entreprenuerial project. We've been dyeing bits of wool here and there for it. I can't wait to share it with you! I think it's going to be fun.

Today is R's birthday. There will be cake. I wish it were homemade, but I am sure that it will be tasty. There will also be strawberries. And ice cream.

Baby H will have a bath. V and I will choose a new chapter book to read. There will be Annie's Mac & Cheese for (her) lunch. I may work on a tiny bit of knitting I'm doing. I have a certain yarn and I want to see if I can do a certain thing with it. I just don't want to tell anyone what that is yet.

And that will be our day. 

Feels perfect to me.

And the baby awakes! Better go see what we can get up to...

The Misbehaver

I love my sneaky girl, even though the sneaking sometimes makes me crazy. She's quite the creative thinker, Miss V. Lately, she's been drawing pictures of her misadventures. Then she came up with a name for them, kind of like a comic strip: The Misbehaver. She is the title character.

This is all very tongue-in-cheek, a good-natured joke among us. V is a scamp, that's for sure, but she relishes her sneakiness and we support her outside the box thinking as much as we can, as long as it doesn't involve things like drawing with dry erase marker on the carpet (which fortunately cleans up easily), sprinking pink glitter all over the house (even in the beds), or sneaking honey from the honeybear while standing on the countertop. On those days, there's a little bit of trouble...

Here's Miss V's new tumblr - The Misbehaver. We hope you enjoy it!

Tummy time

V hated tummy time. Holden loves it, at least until he gets tired.

Holden's tummy time 001

The differences between our first baby and this one are striking. This one enjoys sleeping!

Holden's tummy time 002

We're having much fun getting to know this little one.

Holden's tummy time 003

Have a happy weekend!

One week

Last Thursday we went out to dinner with family. While I was in the restroom, I heard a bit of a song I just couldn't place. So I took a video to record the sound so I could figure it out later. Then I promptly forgot all about it and went on with life as usual.

This morning I woke up with a song in my head, seemingly out of the blue, and by the time I got into the shower, I knew that it was a Pete Yorn song that I hadn't thought of in years and years. I looked it up on YouTube so I could hear it and then I remembered the song from the restaurant, played the video on my phone, and it was the same song.

Funny how your brain works on problems when you're not paying attention.

One week to Baby H. I have all kinds of thoughts on this, but no time to really think them. So hopefully my brain is working on it while I'm paying attention to other things.

La la la ... Sunday

Yesterday I went out in the back yard with V. The weather was perfect, with just a slight cool breeze.

V did lots of things.

She checked on and fixed up her Cat Lodge.

Fixing up Cat Lodge

She's hoping a stray cat will take up residence there so we can adopt him/her.

She blew bubbles.

Blowing bubbles

There was some chalk out there from the other day.

Pink chalk

So she drew on some trees and the fence.

Chalk cat drawing

The cat drawing is so that the stray cats will know to come use the Cat Lodge whenever they need a place to stay with a ball to play with, a soft mossy bed, shelter, and greens to eat. 

Cat Lodge

Today we're supposed to put a bowl of water out for them too.

While she did all that, I contemplated my baby belly. Which is huge. And three weeks to go.

Baby belly

Do you see my feet? Neither do I ...

And I knitted a pattern repeat on my socks.

Nutkin No 2

Then I had the idea that V should collect some pine cones so we could make bird feeders. But we don't have pine trees in our yard; we have sweetgum trees. So we used those with peanut butter and birdseed.

Sweetgum bird feeder

V says these will lure the birds to our yard, so that they will lure the cats, who will want to catch the birds for their meals when they stay in the Lodge.

After that we contemplated the violets peeking through the leaves at the very back of the yard. 


Just looking out back, I didn't think there was any color back there, but once I started looking I realized the violets are everywhere.

Happy Caturday!

As of Monday, I'll have 3 weeks to go. I keep trying to imagine what it's going to be like to be a family of four, but I really can't. We've been three for 6.5 years.

Here are Zasha and Roxy trying to nap within just mere inches of each other. About 30 seconds after I took this, Zasha left the room. They play so well together, it's hard for me to believe they don't show each other a lot of affection when they're not playing.

Happy Caturday

Lately, V has written her first poem and her first two songs. Here's her poem - you should know that she prides herself on being a sneaky sneakerson and swiping any candy she might find in the house - or anyone else's house!

so here we are,
my crimes long far,
i'm still at it today,
eatin' candy from
the kitchen, par-tay.

And then she drew a picture of herself sneaking candy from her grandmother's kitchen. One of her songs is about falling down and scraping her knee and the other one is about puking. I'd say that perhaps reading her Horrible Science books for a good 1-2 hours every night before she falls asleep has something to do with it, but that was pretty much her sense of humor before she got them. I never knew puke was so funny!

Just wait until she gets it from Baby H - we'll see what she thinks then! Ha!



My friend Kim sent me some pretty thread.

Button and Buttonhole 001

When I was a kid, my mom drew a little girl on an empty wooden spool and I played with her all the time. 

Button and Buttonhole 002

Today I've felt very tired, like I'm walking through sludge. Or like I could sleep the afternoon away. So far I have knitted a bit on my socks and gotten totally confused about what work I'll be doing over the next four weeks. I've had a kitty beside me for some of it and V beside me for all of it. R has been working hard all day, preparing things. Not a bad day, but I'd love a shot of energy.

Lo Gixx

Once upon a time, I was pregnant with a little girl baby. And I knew exactly what kind of child she would be. First off, she'd have curly hair (like me) and dark brown eyes (like her father). She'd have a calm disposition. I read up on Attachment Parenting, thought it was lovely, and hoped I'd be able to incorporate some of its ideas in raising my daughter.

Then my straight-haired, blue-eyed V was born and any ideas that I might ever be able to tell the future flew out the window during the long, sleepless nights of the "colic" that lasted an incredible 14+ months (and even longer with the sleep issues). Attachment Parenting wasn't a nice idea, it was the only reality that even halfway worked.

Tee hee. (of course I'm thinking of these things now, with #2 on the horizon, wondering if we'll get any sleep at all over the next 4-5 years...or perhaps he was the curly-headed, brown-eyed baby in my vision)

Before V was born, I bought a set of blocks and used them to spell out her name for her room.


Pretty, yes?

Today, V tells me that she's changed her name. To Lo Gixx.


So Lo Gixx and I are going to spend our afternoon jumping off the sofa repeatedly, making cat lodges in the yard (to catch stray cats so we can take them in. all of them. because we can't ever have enough cats. hundreds of cats are what we need.), and climbing on kitchen counters in search of marshmallows.

Nothing wrong with that!

Crafty resolutions for 2012

Happy New Year!

Who doesn't love a fresh, new year? The other day I was thinking of some crafty things I would love to do this year. Here's the list I came up with:

1. Knit 12 socks (6 pair)
I dye and sell sock yarn, yo! I should be knitting with this yarn too. Right?! There never feels like there's time, but I have come to realize that the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is go sit on the sofa with V for about a half hour before we get on with our day. Surely I can use 15 minutes of that time to work on a sock.  

2. Knit at least a couple of Christmas gifts for this year
Not everyone I know would appreciate a hand-knitted Christmas gift, but I can think of at least three off the top of my head who would. So I'd like to pick 3-5 projects and decide on when I will knit them and see if I can't get that done this year. 

3. Learn how to thread my sewing machine
My friend Kim was kind enough to find this sewing machine for me at a thrift store, clean it, oil it, and fix it up for me. I've made exactly one thing with it. Partially because it's down in the fiber studio - out of sight, out of mind - and partially because I am really intimidated by it.  But I really want to be able to make simple things with it, and I want her to know how much I appreciate the gift by actually using it! V has an idea she wants to bring to life this year and it involves sewing. It'd be so much quicker for me if I could sew it on the machine rather than by hand.

4. Sew a tote bag
Seems like an easy enough first project. 

5. Sew winter PJ pants for the whole family
This is something I've always wanted to do - make PJ pants for everyone annually. I think that'd be a wonderful family tradtion.  

6. Make an Advent calendar
This year just felt so very busy. And every day V would ask me how many more days until Christmas. It's time to get this family tradition started. I want to find something cute and get it together before the end of November. Any suggestions? 

7. Plan a few newborn shots for when Baby H is born
I've always wanted to take newborn shots - now here's my chance! I have a couple of ideas already, but I want to keep my eye on a few photographers for even more inspiration. 

8. Take at least one roll of black and white film with one of my vintage/toy cameras
I had an idea for 2011 that I wanted to take a roll of film per month. In the end, that just felt too overwhelming and I gave up before I even got started. So I'm going to make it easy on myself and just try to take one roll of black and white film. It's something I really want to do. If I can do more than that, great. But if I just get the one done, I'll feel I accomplished something photography-related this year. 

9. Work with V on her business idea
That's right, V has an idea for her own business. She's been talking about it for a good month now and I told her we'd get started on it after the new year. Of course she needs my help for it but she has already come up with ideas for two products and the name for the company all on her own. Of course it's all just fun for her, but I want to make sure I give her the best experience possible with it and to handle it all in the right way, as appropriate for her age and skills.

To keep up with all this, I have started a board on Pinterest. My intention is that it will become a mixture of inspiration and my own completed projects.

So, to get my crafty 2012 started off with a bang, I've begun my first pair of socks (here's my Rav project page for all the details).

Socks for V

Everything else I think I can do, as long as I plan when to do them, gather the materials sometime before the last minute, and possibly print and keep a copy of this post in my datebook.

I have a couple of other resolutions I've made too, but those aren't as fun. One is to floss my teeth every day in 2012. I used to do this, but fell out of the habit. I'd also like to get back to being plant-strong. That's my eternal struggle, apparently. And getting much, much, much more organized. I plan to do this with help from a book I found through Ginny at Small Things. The book is called Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder. While I don't have ADD, my life is sufficiently busy enough that I get pulled in 20 different directions throughout the day and end up accomplishing maybe one thing when I should've finished five. This book has ideas for organization that just make sense to me. They're not always pretty, but if it's easier to clean up my house, I think it'll get done that much more often.

What about you? Any resolutions, crafty or otherwise? 

Wednesday morning

It's Wednesday morning before Christmas. I have done a startling lack of Christmas preparation.

Our cat Roxy has been telling me she's bored all morning long. I just now walked into the kitchen and she was staring at the blinds, listening to the birds playing outside. I opened the blinds for her. Both the cats have adjusted well to the raw food I've been making them. Once you get your "Healthy Powder" mixed up, it really doesn't take that long to make the food every week. Hopefully it'll do Roxy good (so far, so good!). They gobble that stuff down like crazy!

Today I'm mailing yarn to New York and Australia.

Wednesday 001

I'm also thinking about 2012 and writing down some things I'd like to accomplish,

Wednesday 002

contemplating what sort of cookies fill this cookie jar with,

Wednesday 003

and - my favorite - watching V bring her own ideas and designs to life.

Wednesday 004

Now it's after noon; morning is over. It's time to make lunch, keep up with our reading habit, and see what the rest of the day brings.