Friday, April 20, 2007

What's new, pussycat?

I've been a blogging slacker lately, tis true.

As a matter of fact, I've been really quite busy. Not in the "I'm making an excuse for my sheer unrelenting laziness" way but an actual god's honest time-crunch.

You see, I got a job. Hooooo-ray! It is a great job, part-time, freelance, editing books like I used to do back when I was a person. For a real company! I even work from home and make my own hours. *knocks wood* This is one of the best turns of event in quite a while.

It all came about because I decided to stick my neck out, by the way. They were advertising for a full-time editor. I sent them a letter that basically thumbed my nose at their request for an actual onsite employee and told them to call me if they wanted a freelancer.

Behold, they actually called. So moral is: don't be afraid to fling poo at the wall and see what sticks. At worst, you've had some fun flinging poo.

And now, because I'm here and I can, some crafty pics:

This is a scarf. (You don't say!) It is very boring to look at. I made it for the husband for Christmas but he hasn't worn it even once. Well, maybe once. It's not that he dislikes it, it's just that it turned out a bit skinny for a manscarf.

That is OK. I wear it a lot. It's the softest yarn in the entire world--Knit Picks Elegance. It's too bad the color isn't particularly flattering to me.

The yarn is left over from that ugly shawl I tried to make last year or whenever it was. I frogged it and there the yarn sits. It is seriously SO soft. Maybe it needs to be socks or something.

Here's something slightly more fun. The SPCA is having a silent auction so I whipped up a couple more kitty beds. The darker one is inexpressibly beautiful in person.

The yarn was so, so very expensive but I want to use it again sometime. It's Brown Sheep Burly Spun in a color called Mountain Majesty.

Speaking of mountains, I went to college in the beautiful Blue Ridge region of Virginia. (If you have not been there, you really must go.) This week's news of the shootings shook me, not because I went to Tech but because I could have--or it could have happened at my college just a couple of hours' drive away. Or near you. Or anywhere.

My dad got his master's degree at Tech, one of my good friends from high school went to Tech, and so on. Maybe we all have a specific connection, or maybe we don't. The point is, this week we're all Hokies. So go Hokies. You're in my thoughts.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Boy, oh boy!

Boy, oh boy is a new post overdue!

Boy, oh boy, a boy is here!

The long-awaited nephew was born on February 9th and eschewing the usual blanket or sweater (I was far too lazy and taken by surprise at the earliness of the arrival), I decided on some incredibly, wondrously deliciously adorable newborn socks!

Pattern here!

Cuteness here:

You can see how tiny they are, to go with the little baby feet. (I hope they fit--haven't heard yet!)

I am also working on an endless feather-and-fan throw that may take me until next winter, which is fine. It is a patient project.

My first paying client paid me to design another project which will have to remain a poorly kept secret for now. If you can read this, it's not for you, because dogs can't read. (Which reminds me of the saying, "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.")

Monday, January 01, 2007

Resolutions Revisited

Happy New Year!

Last year I posted my New Year's resolutions here. Let's see how I did, boys and girls, shall we?

The Ballad of the Unlikely Crafter: Goals for 2006 (not related to yarn)

1. Be more kind.

I'm not sure if I fulfilled this one or not. I don't feel much kinder than last year, and I sure as hell think bad, mean thoughts all the time. Hopefully I at least managed the Google corporate slogan of "Don't be evil."

2. Lose 26 pounds in 2006, which both sounds catchy and represents just 1/2 a pound a week.

Ha ha. The good news is I lost a couple of pounds, but only a couple. I'm checking this one back into the resolution library and renewing it for another year. This time it will be 27 pounds.

3. Be more selfish, in all the good ways.

Again I think I held the status quo on this one. I'm not quite sure what I was envisioning myself doing.

4. Do 10 stomach crunches every day in January, 20 a day in February, etc.


5. Start yoga. Again. It works.

Ugh, this is going badly.

6. Take the GREs and get act together for the long-term.


7. Go on a real vacation.

Ooh, ooh, this one I did! I had a blast in the Grand Canyon for a week by myself! Oh hey, maybe that applies to # 3--since leaving one's family for a week surely qualifies as selfish in a good way. I can also fulfill this one for 2007 because we are spending a week in St. John in January. Yipppeee!

8. Be a better housekeeper or earn enough money to justify housecleaning service. (see #6)

I think I have made some progress in this area, truly. The house is cleanable now in a couple of hours. I have sorted and pitched a lot of stuff and I'm better at daily maintenance. There are still days, nay, weeks when I feel like a massive failure in this department.

And my yarn-related goal:

1. Keep on learning: lace, intarsia, fair isle, embroidery, etc.
I did some lace, but none of the rest of it.

Adding a few goals for 2007--

1) Make a will. It is pathetic that we don't have one.

2) Save more for college in the kids' 529's.

3) Get a part-time job by the end of the year.

4) Be grateful and joyful. Life is precious.

5) Remember how time flies when your kids are little. This time next year they will be 7 and almost 5. Enjoy them.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another item for my Christmas checklist

Rosie had a cold last week and missed a day of preschool. The next day she came home sad because all of the other kids had made a pinecone ornament to take home and she didn't have one. No problem, I said. In the Land of Loblolly Pines where we live, there is no shortage of pinecones. We could make pinecone ornaments every day for a year and still have plenty.

We got out the glue and glitter and paint and crafty supplies and we each made a pinecone ornament. Our craftacularness is not the point of this post, however.

This is what I find so amazing. Here is my creation, the pinecone oeuvre of a 33-year-old practical woman:

And here is the ornament of an almost-4-year-old under the influence of the book Fancy Nancy, which I simply cannot recommend enough to parents of girlie girls:

She used up every speck of green and red glitter glue, all the silver glitter, much of the blue glitter, all of the feathers, all the jingle bells I didn't snag for myself, and at least two dozen fuzzy sparkle pom-poms. I love this child.

Although Ian did not wish to participate in the glitter fiesta, in the interest of equal time here is the sandpaper gingerbread man (rubbed with a cinnamon stick for a delicious smell) we made together last year. Love this child too!!

Also Rosie's:

And Eric's, which is a self-portrait. Love this guy!!

(I cannot find my own sandpaper gingerbread girl at the moment--I saw it briefly on Saturday when we were decorating, but I think the tree ate it since then.)

I don't consider myself one of those crafty moms, but we do try to make at least one thing together every year. Forget those department store theme trees, they suck compared to a tree covered with tacky homemade ornaments.

I made this one in the fourth grade. It scared my little sister but I have always loved it:

So there you have it. Whenever the Demented Elf ornament surfaces, my Christmas spirit usually starts to stir.

Two weeks and counting down...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas checklist

One batch of cookies, peanut butter with Hershey's kisses stuck in them (my klassy husband calls them butthole cookies), check.

Went to church on the first Sunday of Advent, check.

One lovely fresh Christmas wreath on mantel, check.

Christmas music on iPOD: Jackson 5, check.

Irritating insane children, check.

Messy house and two beds covered with laundry, one for dirty and one for clean. Check and check.

Christmas shopping done, tree up, decorations outside, any semblance of Christmas spirit growing and spreading cheer to the whole planet, um...yeah, call me next week.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Instant gratification

Today at my friend's house she was showing me her knitting projects, all in woeful states of unfinishedness. Though a half-hearted knitter, she sews like a genius and also chases two kids 3 and under, so we'll give her a pass.

Anyway, she pulled out this hat, which she started knitting a year ago while doing her 3-hour glucose fasting test. It was a case of nesting syndrome coupled with sitting-in-the-hospital boredom. The reason for the nesting is now 6 months old and she has lost interest in finishing the hat.

It was just about ready to go on the DPNs for the decrease rows, so I snatched it up. Stole all her needles and the cone of yarn and brought it home where I finished it in an hour or so.

Ah, so satisfying. For once I finished something I didn't start instead of starting something I'd never finish.

The hat, meant to be an 18-month size, is going to fit her son in about 3 or 4 years. Cotton, ack.

I only get partial credit for this one, but my blog is completist...

From photosforposting

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The end of babies

My BIL and pregnant SIL visited over the Thanksgiving weekend. We welcomed their visit as an opportunity to unload the baby items that we still have that haven't been yard-saled, Goodwilled, or given away. (For years, we expected no nieces or nephews would materialize at any point in our children's own childhoods. We were wrong, but it's not shaping up to be a Kennedy-size extended family by any means.)

It's (going to be) a boy, so it was especially poignant to wash and fold all of the remaining baby boy things. I did find that I could not part with this outfit:

I mean really, how could I? :-)

That little fleecy dude turned six two weeks ago. He loves Nintendo more than life itself and likes to create puppets by drawing pictures and taping them to plastic silverware. The ensuing puppet shows are lengthy and sometimes make sense. He loves to draw elaborate poster-size pictures but never colors them--he's all about the line drawing. (A future architect?) He likes to dance but refuses to sing (although he can) and instead he talks. non. stop. He also loves and protects his baby sister (who is NOT A BABY, so she says) when he is not torturing her.

Giving up his last remaining baby clothes was highly symbolic, because it signifies with near 99% certainty (so says my friend Mirena) that we are DONE.

For me, knowing I'm done is completely an intellectual exercise. I simply cannot do it again, but in my heart I'd always love to cuddle another baby and snuffle another newborn baby head. The feeling of tickling little feet in footy pajamas, patting a diapered bum underneath terry cloth and snaps, and getting a gummy grin covered with sweet potatoes--these are always things I'll crave until I hopefully have grandchildren someday.

Rosie has been waking up several times a night the past few days, however--reminding me, do I crave another two years of THAT? Not so much.

The thing is, whether you have one or two or ten kids, they will eventually grow up and you'll be done with babies. No getting around it. My choir friend whose daughter just got married told me that she often wishes she could take her little girl out of the old photos and hug her again, just once. *sniffle* I've been hugging my own children a lot more since she said that.

Children get bigger and take up more space, and they become way more expensive at the same time, but on the plus side they begin to resemble something like rational people. I'm looking forward to enjoying the next phase while also looking back at the past more than a little wistfully.
In the immortal words of that formerly ubiquitous song "Closing Time"--"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." Well, it's true, isn't it? :-)