Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Mom

Dear Mom,

You passed away almost four years ago and I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and call you. To say that I miss you terribly is an understatement. That old addage "You don't know what you've got until it's gone" is so true. So many times while you were alive I resented your meddling in my parenting, in my marriage, in my life. Now I'd give anything to hear some words of wisdom from you...or any words at all, for that matter.

Christmas is a hard time for me, now. But I'm trying to be jolly and happy and hide my deep hurt and sorrow from your grandkids. I know, now, that you must have been doing the same all those years after your mom passed away. Where did you get the strength to go on? How were you able to smile?

You were the anchor of our family. You kept my brothers and me connected. With you gone, things aren't the same. We never had a very close relationship, your children. The age gaps were just too wide. But we at least knew what was going on in each other's lives. Dad is also less connected, now. I don't know if he really means to be, but the choices he makes when it comes to family functions are so unlike those you would have made.

You'll be happy to know that he did make the 3000 mile trip from the West Coast to the East Coast to visit your first great-granddaughter. He also stayed and visited for more than a week. However, his 600 mile trips down to Southern California from Northern California to visit with me and your three grandchildren here (you have one more, now...did you know that? He was born a year after you passed) last about 24 hours, if we're lucky.

I think he's replaced taking care of you with taking care of his 94 year old uncle in Northern California. He uses Uncle as an excuse to not go anywhere or to hasten his return from any visits he does make. He says that when Uncle passes away, he's going to go to Oregon to live on his brother's property. I wonder if he knows how much this hurts me? Why would he choose to live even farther away from his children and grandchildren?

You showed us and taught us that Christmas is a time for family. Yet none of us will be together this year. Dad is staying in Northern California with Uncle. Biggest brother is, of course, clear across the country. Big brother came and visited over Thanksgiving, so he'll be staying in the Bay area with his family.

This is the first year, also, that I have not extended an invitation to my local in-laws. Not because I don't want to see them, but because I was curious to see if Hubby and I didn't invite them to get together, would they? Evidently the answer is no, because we haven't heard from any of them.

So our Christmas Eve will be spent quietly with your grandchildren. Our Christmas day dinner will be a lot smaller than usual and again, spent with just the five of us. And although this should make me happy, it doesn't. I love Hubby and the kids...of course I do. But something is missing from the holidays when extended family isn't part of it. 

I'm sorry this turned into such a venting/complaining letter. I hadn't intended it to be. I guess I've just missed being able to talk to you and getting my mother's perspective on things. Talking to Hubby isn't the same. He's a man, so he doesn't quite understand the emotions of we women. Plus he's an engineer, and his thinking is far more logical than mine.

Anyway, Mom... I hope you have a Merry Christmas this year in Heaven with our Lord, your own mother and my brother. Give my love to everyone who've gone Home before and after you, and with whom I hope you'll be having a wonderful holiday party with.

All my love,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Crocheted Flower Pattern

As promised, here are the instructions for creating the crocheted flower I used for Baby Grace's headband.

I used a size F hook with Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn (sport weight) to end up with a flower that's approximately 1.5" large.

To begin, ch 3. Slip stitch (sl st) in first chain to form a ring, ch 1

Work 10 single crochet (sc) in the ring. Sl st to first ch

Ch 2 and work 2 half double crochet (hdc) in same space; sl st in next sc; * 3 hdc in next sc; sl st in next sc * Repeat from * to * 4 times; end with sl st in base of ch 2

(You should now have a small flower with five petals)

Working on the WRONG side of flower, insert crochet hook at base of sl st and sl st; ch 1

(This photo shows the hook being inserted at the base of the slip stitch on the wrong side of work)

* Insert hook under post of hdc near the sl st between petals (see photo below) and work 1 sc; ch 1 * Repeat from * to * 4 times; end with sl st in top of 1st sc

(This photo shows the hook being inserted under the post of hdc from previous rnd)

You should now have a ring behind your small flower. This gives us the foundation to create the second layer of flower petals to give the completed flower its 3-dimensionality.

(This photo shows the ring on wrong side of flower)

Ch. 2; triple crochet (tr c) in 1st ch. 1 space (see photo below) & dc in same space, ch 1; sl st in sc; * dc in next ch 1 sp, tr c, dc; sl st in sc * Repeat from * to * 4 times; end with a sl st in base of first sc; Finish off, weave in ends

(This photo shows the hook inserted in a ch 1 space of the ring)

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me or post a comment!

Baby Grace's Ensemble

I've completed an entire outfit for Baby Grace in crochet that I plan to mail to her for her baby shower this weekend!

First, we've got her Ruffled Baby Dress that she should fit into around spring time. 
Front of dress
Back of dress

Next, we have her headband, using Chelle's Headband pattern. The flower on both the headband and the dress are my own design...although I make no claims that it's an original design. :) If someone else, out there in Crochet-land, has come up with the same pattern, you're welcome to the glory of being the designer. :)

I'll post the directions separately, complete with photos since it can be a bit tricky to just explain it!

Finally, we've got a matching pair of baby Mary Janes. complete her entire outfit!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Busy, baby, busy

My 26 year old niece is expecting her first baby next month. So the past few months I've been knitting and crocheting like crazy making her things. Being the spaz I am, though, I haven't been taking pictures of my completed works before I've shipped them off to her! One item, in particular, was a really lovely baby bonnet that I truly wish I'd photo'd before I sent it to her...I'm pretty proud of it... It turned out so nice! Ah well. I'll ask my brother to get some pictures for me. :)

I've knitted my grand-niece-to-be (it's a girl, the sonogram shows!) two sweaters, thus far. Two pairs of booties and the aforementioned bonnet. I've also knitted her a little pumpkin hat (since she's supposed to be a fall baby) that I still have in my possession. I've just completed crocheting her a spring dress with a matching headband, which I still have, also. These items I plan to photograph tomorrow, so stay tuned! :) I still plan on making a pair of crocheted mary janes to match the dress and I also have a little security blanket on a set of circular knitting needles that's in progress. Exciting stuff!

My kids keep asking me when I'm going to make THEM something. Some day, I tell them. Just not today. :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The weekend's almost over? Already??

Here it is, Sunday morning. Where did the weekend go?? My daughter is a Girl Scout and I'm the troop leader. Not for much longer, I don't think. I've been doing it for the past four years, now, and I'm burned out on it. I'm worried, though, that if I don't keep leading the troop, it'll disband. Though is that really so bad? I don't know...

Anyway, it's Girl Scout cookie time, so the past two weekends my daughter and I have been doing the site sales (you know, when you see the Girl Scout troops in front of your local grocery store, trying to guilt you into buying cookies with their cuteness??). Today's the last one for our troop, thank goodness!

I finished Kimberly's hat on Friday.... Pictures will be posted as soon as I take some. Although I realized after it was complete and I was staring at it wondering at how big it was that I'd forgotten to change needle sizes after the initial band ribbing. Oops! Maybe I'll get another skein of yarn and do her another hat just like it and give this one to charity.

I've also started working on completing a baby sweater I'd started a few months ago and had stopped working on. I didn't like how the sleeves were turning out, so I'd set it aside. Now I figure I'll try to finish it up just so that it's not taking up space and my needles that have been tied up with it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sick & Potty Training

It was only a matter of time. The kids keep bringing all sorts of germs into the house, coughing on me, sneezing on me. But I'd been fortunate enough to avoid most of their illnesses....until yesterday. It's not too terribly bad...I've definitely had worse colds before, but it's draining. All I want to do is curl up and go back to sleep, but alas...if I did that, no one would keep the baby from peeing or pooping on the floor!

Yes, I decided that, even though I wasn't feeling so great, it was time to try potty training Little T. He'll be 3 in June. I'd like him to start preschool in the fall. We've had two successful pees so far, and a bunch of failures, including one poop on the floor. Eek! But we won't give up. At least not until nap time, which is in about an hour. :)

I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon working on the hat my daughter wants me to make. It's coming along quickly, now that I've had my "Ah ha!" moment in altering the pattern to be knit in the round. I even
had Little T model it, which is why it looks big on his head (and he's not wearing a shirt due to the potty training thing...he's running around pretty much nekkid all day today). I'll try to work on it some more later when my energy has been sapped and all I can do is sit on the sofa. :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My First Post

Well, I decided to start a more public blog than the one I have on MySpace, mainly because the only people who see my MySpace stuff are my close friends and family. Most of them, I don't think, would appreciate my ramblings about my hobbies. Not to say that you, dear reader, will, but if you're here and reading this after checking out the welcome text describing what this blog is pretty much going to be about, then maybe you can appreciate my ramblings!

This is my first post, pretty much just to get something up here. I'll be prettifying the layout and adding more photos and info as time permits. But for now, I'll just tell you a smidge about myself and leave it at that for today.

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three, beautiful children. I have a daughter and two sons...all three years apart from the other (i.e., my daughter, K, is the oldest, her brother, Little J is three years younger than her, and my youngest, Little T, is three years younger than Little J). The older two are in elementary school, but the youngest is in preschool for half days three days a week and home with me the other two weekdays. This can make it a bit challenging to pursue my hobbies, and I try to only knit or craft when all three kids are in bed for the night or playing together nicely (which doesn't happen nearly as often as I'd like!).

I'm married to a wonderful man, Big J. I know, everyone posts that their spouse is wonderful (usually). But seriously...I'm really fortunate to have found this man. He's a great dad and a fantastic, considerate hubby, who tries to support and encourage my various crafts, even if he doesn't always understand my fascination with them!

Big J has a pseudo-hobby of restoring pinball machines. He purchased an old Cyclone pinball machine not so long ago and has been working to restore it. I've been drafted to repair the painted playfield. Unless you're a pinball hobbyist, you may not know what I'm talking about! I won't say anymore about the pinball, right now. I'll wait until I have some photos downloaded from our digital camera to post and show you.

Currently, in the knitting department, I'm working on a hat for my daughter. I made this hat:

...for my youngest son. She liked it so much that she asked me to make her one, too. Hers will be made with a variegated yarn. I haven't taken photos of it yet. Her hat is a lot more challenging, too, because the pattern was written for flat knitting. I'm attempting to knit hers in the round because I really hate seaming. :) This is the first time I've tried to take a flat project and knit it in the round, so I've been making a TON of mistakes and having to rip out rows of work at a time to get things right. The good news is that I'm writing down how I've altered the pattern to knit in the round so that the next time I make this hat, I won't have to reinvent the wheel!