Day 2 – Babette preparation

December 23rd, 2013

I’m getting ready to start crocheting a new Babette blanket for one of my best friends, Erin, because she and her husband are expecting their second baby in June. Whee!

happy new year!

January 16th, 2013

I am also a big fan of @wwjend's hats.
My favorite hat, knitted by my friend Jen

Oh hai there. Yes, I’m still alive. Just out of the habit of telling you all what I’m doing.

You can see the sun sinking below the horizon. Golden.

A teeny sliver of moon. This sunset is SO much prettier in person.

So…what have I been doing? Well, taking lots of sunset photos, as usual.

Sunset photographer. Checking the shot.

Annalie has also been taking sunset photos. I’d show you the photos she took, but I haven’t downloaded photos off that camera in weeks. I love Instagram along with 100 million other people, but it’s made it way too easy for me to be lazy about taking pictures with my real camera.

Homeschooling in a blanket fort.

Homeschooling is going really well lately. Annalie mostly does her daily lessons without complaint nowadays. It probably helps that she’s almost nine years old (!), and that she can do them in a blanket fort if she wants to. Also she’s not allowed to watch any TV or movies or play any computer games until she’s done with lessons and reading and her daily chores. (It’s all about knowing what exactly motivates your particular kid. If you’d told me I couldn’t watch TV till I’d done my chores and homework, I’d have shrugged and retreated to my room with a stack of books, content.)

Annalie's door art.

A lot of art is going on lately, too. Annalie always loves to draw and paint and create, but she seems to go through occasional periods when she is creating more or less constantly. It’s like she wakes up in the morning with ideas, scenes, pictures she dreamed up and she can’t do anything else until she gets them down on paper or canvas.

Annalie and her portrait of Lady Gaga.

And then sometimes, we’re eating dinner at a restaurant where the tables are covered with paper and Annalie picks up a couple of crayons and casually whips out a portrait of Lady Gaga before our food arrives.

Annalie drew herself as a mermaid. A Christmas mermaid. Like ya do.

Annalie’s Christmas-mermaid self-portrait. (What? “Christmas-mermaid” isn’t a thing?)

I love this beach scene. I love all the amazing art Annalie has been creating lately.

I love this beach scene. There are so many amazing things going on in it: the detailed sand castle, the far-away sailboat, the plumes of smoke billowing out of the cargo ship, the different colors of blue of the water and sky, and the huge crazy sun dominating everything else.

New art in the front hallway, by Annalie.

I thought the sun in the picture went rather well with the ceramic sun—purchased by Troy in some Mediterranean country while on a deployment years ago—that hangs in our front hallway. I’d tried several different paintings and photographs in that spot, but nothing looked quite right. I framed the drawing and hung it up, and it works perfectly.

Bug's creations on the left; Annalie's on the right. Re: the top right canvas,  Bug's real name starts with H. :-) @secretagentjo

My mom gave Annalie a stack of a dozen small canvases for Christmas, and I think it might have been Annalie’s favorite gift this year. She hasn’t been hoarding them, but—atypically for her, the kid who uses every sticker on the sheet in two minutes flat—she hasn’t blown through them, either. The first time she used them, Brenda and Bug were here visiting, and she generously and excitedly shared her gift. The two canvases on the left are Bug’s; the two on the right are Annalie’s. (Re: the canvas on the top right, Bug’s real name starts with H. Awwwww.)

Awesome Narnia-themed card by Annalie.

I think this is my favorite thing Annalie has drawn recently. She made this awesome Narnia-themed birthday card for friends who had a Narnia-themed birthday party. Look at it! Aslan, Reepicheep, Susan’s bow and arrows! The Dawn Treader! The painting in the Scrubb family’s guest bedroom that drew them back into Narnia! What really impressed me about all of this is that it’s been probably a year or more since Annalie has seen any of the Narnia movies and even longer since we read the first book. (And can you tell that Annalie has recently discovered Cake Boss on Netflix?)

Sequined hat, pink rhinestone shades, rocketship footie pajamas. The girl's got style.

Why yes, I do have two children, now that you mention it. This one is just harder to get photos of these days, because she’s constantly in motion. She is something else, this kid. When we ask her how old she is, she tells us, “Six.” If we try to insist she’s two, she shakes her head and airily replies, “I’m not two. I six,” before wandering off to climb on something she shouldn’t be climbing on.

Double-handed I-love-you signs.

She flashes the ASL “I love you sign” two-handed, and tells us, “I love you too!” When someone is carrying her against her will, she demands, “PICK ME DOWN.” Troy has discovered that if he reminds her to use her manners when asking for something with the phrase, “Can I get a ‘please’ in there?” then Elliora will repeat her request for food or water or whatever and tack the phrase, “please in there?” onto the end. It makes us laugh every time. She makes us laugh a lot.

Doing our part to raise the next generation of geeks. #GeekShirts

They both make us laugh a lot, these little geeklings of ours.

E: "I'll snuggle and help warm you up, Annalie!"

I think we’ll keep ‘em.

Two colorful potholders I've crocheted recently.

I’ve crocheted a few potholders recently. Some of them I’ve given away as gifts, but these two I’m keeping because the two crocheted potholders I’d been using for years both got burned on Thanksgiving.

A galaxy of crocheted stars! Some last-minute gifts a friend ordered: crocheted balls and a star ornament. Fingers crossed they get there on time!

Some star ornaments I crocheted for Brenda and Bekah, and a few crocheted balls. I’ve actually crocheted about 20 balls recently to give as gifts, but I haven’t take pictures of them all. Yes, I said “to give as gifts.” Only about three people got timely Christmas gifts from us this year, and that’s only because I ordered their gifts online and had them shipped directly. Everyone else probably thinks we suck and don’t love them anymore. And let’s just say I’m hoping to get our holiday cards mailed out before Valentine’s Day. I won’t even mention all the Christmas baking I didn’t do this year. Ironically, however, our Christmas tree is still up. (Was it just me, or was anyone else particularly unmotivated this past holiday season?)

An owly hot pad for @secretagentjo.

An owly hot pad I crocheted for Brenda, at her request. It’s meant to look kind of like her book character, Little Hoo. I think it turned out pretty good, considering I was completely making it up as I went along.

Be wholehearted.

I’ve painted some stuff, too. Have I taken pictures of most of it? Noooo. In fact, one person who had commissioned me to paint her a mug, oh, a couple of months ago sent me a very sweet note on FB, wondering if her mug had been fired. I have been very, very slow about shipping items to people lately. Lucky for me, people are mostly kind and understanding about this, but I hate the fact that I’ve been taking advantage of people’s good natures. If I have been slow about shipping something to you, please accept my humble, heartfelt apology and this reassurance: I’m so sorry I’m slow. It’s not just you. Everyone has been waiting forever for their pottery. I promise I will try to do better.

Annalie found my origami book & paper. She folded the blue hat first, then the green hat.

I hate to end a post on that slightly bummer note, so here! Please enjoy this photo of oranges wearing origami hats, folded by Annalie. She found a book and some paper that I had and has been folding all kinds of things entirely on her own. It’s kind of awesome to watch her figure something like that out without any help.

Rainbow cake on a random Tuesday: that's how I roll.

If you were here in my house, I would further brighten your day by feeding you a piece of rainbow cake, which I made on a random Tuesday because that’s how I roll. Here’s hoping you all had wonderful holiday seasons and that 2013 is full of random-Tuesday rainbow-cake goodness for everyone.

bright nine-patch

I’ve been crocheting like mad lately. Several friends have had babies recently, or will have them soon, and I’ve been making lots of baby blankets, including the spiral-squares nine-patch above for my friend Jill. She and her husband are expecting their first baby in a few weeks. They wanted the sex to be a surprise, so Jill asked me to use primary, Crayola-bright colors. That was music to my ears, because those are my favorite kind of colors to crochet with. I’m really happy with how it turned out, even though I almost ran out of one of the colors and had to fudge a couple of the squares. It’s barely noticeable, though.

Corbin's colorful hexagon blanket

This colorful hexagon blanket was made for my good friend Sonja‘s second baby and second son, Corbin.

hexagons in Corbin's blanket

For the hexagons, I used Attic24′s excellent Hexagon How-To pattern. She includes instructions for how to connect the hexagons as you go, which is awesome—so much easier than trying to sew a bunch of hexagons together at the end.

Detail view of chevrons and hexagons

The first time I made a hexagon blanket, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and the end result was pretty but kind of lopsided.

chevron border on Corbin's blanket

This time I did a little research and realized that I could make half-hexagons for the sides of the blanket, and add a chevron border to the top and bottom for a more finished look. I’m glad I did, because I really liked how it all looked in the end.

Kitty snuggles.

The baby blanket I’m working on right now is for a baby who is, um, five months old already. Jen requested something with orange, and I happened to see these awesome giraffes in Jen’s photostream and loved the colors. So I used them as inspiration for Jen’s son’s blanket, which I am currently working on. It’s another spiral-square blanket. I never seem to get tired of that pattern. (The cat in the photo isn’t my cat, in case you’re wondering when we got a gray cat. It’s my friend Jen‘s not-her-cat, Hobo. [Not the same Jen. A different Jen.])

stripey crocheted balls for Emeline's 1st birthday

Three months ago (wow, time flies) I crocheted these stripey balls as a first-birthday gift for Elliora’s playgroup friend Emeline. (It’s the same basic pattern as my snowball/rainball pattern, just with different colors.) I got rather clever with the packaging for them:

clever packaging

We had a clear plastic tube package lying around from a travel pillow Annalie had gotten recently. It was the perfect size and shape to hold Emmy’s balls.

What are you all working on these days, craft-wise?