Friday, December 29, 2006

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. Remembered it last night while reading Berenstain Bears to my kids. Weird how the brain works. Anyway, this book was memorable because it was from adult viewpoints in teen bodies. Plus the writing was just really compelling. I only read books that cause me to care about the characters and their outcomes. Very much so in this case. I can relate to the characters feelings of discovery, regret, confusion, and longing.

And in crochet news...the sunny side up egg from The designer uses safety eyes, which i think are cuter but don't have. So this one is just french knots.
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft yellow and white, bits of black
Hook: E
Time: 1 hour?

Most amigurami patterns using worsted weight yarn call for G hook but I use E or F, depending, so I don't have to hook tightly for a nice effect.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I just finished this stupendous book about a girl ghost who haunts a high school english teacher and meets a boy in his class who can see her. And i cant remember what it was called. This book made me cry rivers and i cant remember who wrote it or what title was. I know it was a new book, or first book for this woman author...just returned it and am desperately trying to look it up again so can post intelligently about it instead of going on like a ninny about how i canna remember it...

gotta put the kids to bed. they are having too much for right now...

Merry After Christmas, all.

Christmas cards on sale at!
For any thinking about next year, we have a few sets of daughter's lovingly designed Christmas cards for sale here. They are blank, so you get to write your very own personalized message inside. And you can add a family photo on one inside flap.
Merry New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

For all those i am pretty sure I will be seeing very soon this holiday season, all gifts for the young 'uns are done. DONE! This year the mom-friends gifts were mostly ...ummm...put on back burners as I raced to finish their children's gifts - all handmade, I am proud, and exhausted, to add.

Sushi Puff (pronounced poof like that english thang) adopted from Sushi Roll by MK Carroll (it's the same thing, i just renamed it for the kid and put a bottom on it to make into a cushion)
pattern: Sushi Roll on
yarn: Caron Simply Soft
hook: G for rice and size 4 dpns for knit nori
time: kind of long for a kid's thing but it is SO CUTE and squishy!

Scarf for the Sis
pattern: Shelly by Emily Nelson on Crochet me
yarn: 2 skeins CascadeYarns Dolce
hook: K
time: 3 hours? FAST
The hook seems too big but the drape is wondrous! Yarn so soft!

Shhhh. Don't tell but I actually had to use this thing while camping. It was so cold at night I draped it over my head to sleep, right after completing it! Wowie! I am so glad I got to use that softy drapey thing.

And the last handmade thing has been delivered!!! On to something fun and purple I saw in the most recent Knit Simple magazine. That purse on the cover - sans the puff balls. I think I'll line it too. For me this time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kid Lei
Time to complete: 2.5 hrs.?
Yarn: flowers in Lily Sugar 'n Cream, swimming pool (used more than half the ball)
centers in Lion Brand Micro Spun french, vanilla
Pattern: Pansy (Paneki) from Fancy Hawaiian Lei in Crochet by Roberta E. Wong
Hook: G
This is my new favorite kid project. Kids play dress-up all the time. And with the time invested in one of these yarn leis, the color does not have to match the actual flower, and recipient will wear it more than on that one special occasion. Plus, it is completely washable , gently, like other yarn confections, and very one of a kind. If you have not checked out the yarn lei pattern books out there, you are really missing out. They are AMAZING. Beautiful, easy, and long-lasting. My friends use their leis as decorative items, but the kids actually WEAR them. So I have not regretted gifting any to a child. By child, I mean at least 4 years old, with some amount of common sense. Shorter length is better for a kid, less likely to catch on something and choke. Of course, remove lei when involved in active play with anything that can catch on something around the neck. Or you can just leave the lei untied so it is more like a scarf.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Two things

Finishing last minute girl gifts (gifts for girls between the ages of 7 and 12) and working on last-minute little boy gifts (between 1 and 4 yrs.). Those little boys are hard to knit for if I've already given them my standard wash cloth and soap set! I guess I could always change the design of the wash cloth and the book given with it.

First pic of a choker, using the fastening button as the centerpiece.

The second pic here is of a knitty thing that looked fun to knit. I used big yarn and a FUN color! It still needs a face and neck shaping, but my older daughter has seized it for her very own and refuses to allow it a face. Could be disturbing...I thought initially to gift these critters to the little boys, but worried about long appendages causing some choke/barfing episodes and changed mind.

In any case, a purple one with lime hair and tail is in the works. Hopefully, with a face.

These are both Walmart yarns. Bernat, i think.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I should be bathing. Myself. The kids. Or shopping for groceries for tomorrow's dinner. Or some other useful gettng ready for Christmas thing. Instead, I'm doing stuff like this quiz about my accent (see sidebar) and cleaning up my bookmarks folder on mozilla. While the kids fight and not get ready for bed. Ah me. Well. See, it's all the fault of this excellent book I didn't read but readily discussed at my Moms Club book group today:

Finding out that we just have to let our kids have play space and play time and let them try and let them fail and and...just be there for them to become happy, well-adjusted individuals. That and, get a pet, help them feel part of some kind of community or group, and a few other really key things thay my friend K had the total skinny on. Highly recommended book. Now I HAVE to read it. She and I both wanted to wave it in our mother's faces and say "see! see how you warped us!!" I guess that's a little disturbing. But honest!

But there are finished object pictures to share:
beaded choker

dinosaur washcloth & soap

dino wash cloth and choker (not a set)


I wrapped all our pesents in this brown craft paper with a simple, boldly colored purple ribbon and it was SO EASY! Usually I moan and express great anguish over bulk present wrapping. I get stressed, my back hurts, and the gifts come out looking like my kids wrapped them anyway. With the craft paper, I was so arted-out over the lovinly hand-crafted things inside, that I just wanted something simple, fast, easy, and preferably low-cost (read FREE) to gift them in. The plain paper was perfect. The kids helped decorate it before and after wrapping, SOMETIMES, but there was a lot of little things to wrap and after awhile, my eager artists wandered away. So I happily completed almost all the gift-wrapping for friends' kids in a few evenings, while listening to harry potter on CD, and a few knitting-related or harry potter related podcasts. I LOVE podcasts. They are the coolest things ever for this book-on-tape girl.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oh the insanity!

Today I wrapped a bunch of handmade gifts, some partly purchased. I think I was in constant panic-attack mode, what with trying to keep the different presents separated and correctly labeled, while fending off my two children who constantly want this, that, and the other thing, all at the same time. I feel done! There is so much more to do, and I just want it to be OVER! Why do I do this to myself every year? I suppose if I bought more gift wrapping accessories (printed chinese take out box, gift bags, gift boxes, etc.) it might make the job easier, but I kinda want to be done with the purchasing part of this holiday. I spent a lot of time and energy on these endeavors, and i just don't want to spend any more moola for a little while. But on the other hand, it feels SO LIBERATING to just buy the darn gift!

And then, what do I get for the really picky kid? The kind who will throw the thing over their shoulder the second it is opened if it just does not suit him or her? Hmmm. Ah, I know! Something the younger sibling will latch onto once it is discarded by the older one! Inspiration strikes. Thank you blog gods!

Friday, December 08, 2006

More FO for Christmas
This digital pic taking at the macro setting is tricky! The shutter speed is slower so I have to hold the camera still longer and there's no flash so there has to be adequate illumniation for the picture to come out right.
First pic at right is a bunch of dino wash cloths piled on top the baby gift octopus, with the red beaded choker on top. The colors looked so striking together. Too bad all going to different peoples.

Tyrannosaurus and Brontosaurus dino wash cloths for some lucky little boys, to accompany the board book How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. I bought a slew the last time I ordered from Scholastic Books.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas is coming!!!
Somehow, this phrase fills me with dread and stress. Many more gifts to make. And just when I feel like I'm doing okay, I remember that I haven't made the item labels so the recipients are aware of the contents and care instructions. Wrapping is a whole 'nother issue. Hand decorated paper, of course.

I am thinking to create a new gift-giving holiday so the timeline will be less crunched and more sale-friendly. Perhaps we will celebrate Chinese New Year with extra gusto this coming year, and make up the gifts that were not completed on time for Christmas as well as celebrate the THIRD time I've seen the pig year come around.

I'd like to just sack out more often, like my little one did on the Waikele trolley the other day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gifts for older girls
Finished two of these. This is what i did:

Simple Crocheted Chokers
12" length (for best results, measure the neck of recipient and make a gauge swatch. multiply gauge by neck length for starting chain number. any soft yarn can be used if this is done.)
size 1.65 mm hook
size 10 crochet thread, NOT South Maid - it feels too stiff against skin
gauge: 9 sc/1"

leaving a long enough tail to sew button on, ch 97
sc in 2nd ch from hook and all the way to end
turning ch 1
sc to end
make total of 3 sc rows
last row can be slip stitch to end for a nice finish.
when get to end, make button loop by chaining to fit around the button and slip st to choker
sl st again to choker
go back and sl st in each ch of button loop and finish off
weave in end
sew on button with tail and weave in end.

String on a bunch of beads (5/0 strung easily but smaller possible if you have a dental floss threader to assist) then begin and just place them randomly throughout.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I must confess and apologize, but I am still learning how to take good close-up pictures with my digital camera. I think these are the best so far.

Patten: simple granny square
Yarn: Size 10 crochet cotton. Variety of brands. South Maid is NOT the soft thread.
Needles: size 1.3 mm crochet hook

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Finally pau octo!!
For a newborn to snuggle with without choking on button eyes or longish tentacles. Perhaps orange for the eyes would have made them pop out more but the green is a little more laid-back island style. Good for me!
Dubbed: Holoholo He`e
Pattern: Deep Sea Babies from
Yarn:Body & legs - Lion Brand Cotton-Ease sugarplum
Features are a variegated sock yarn from Knit Picks Simple Stripes in color modeled but no longer carried
Hook: comfort grip size F.

To be honest, I tend to understuff because I like the squishiness factor. But it is recommended that amigurami be stuffed within an inch of their little bugger lives for optimal cuteness.

Octos almost pau.
Two more legs to go since last night, then assembly required. Hope this thing is cuter than Violet, the Lion. My kids think she's creepy but she doesn't want to change her eyes out!

Off to 4H!