Friday, February 26, 2010

Must be Spring Fever!

So far this week, my life has been all about areas other than completing knitting projects, that is!  In the last 3 days, I've done 14 loads of laundry, cleaned 2 refrigerators, changed the sheets on 5 of the 9 beds in our house, scrubbed the stove, mopped the floor, and cleaned the 55 gallon aquarium...twice.  I've also vacuumed, tidied up, cooked dinners, wiped counters, and done countless loads of dishes.  I've made a list for myself every morning, and faithfully checked off items as they've been completed.  So far, the only day I had an item remaining on the list at bedtime was yesterday.  The item I didn't get to?  "Knit booties"!

Yes, I'm including knitting on my to-do lists!  Is this cheating, you might ask?  The answer (of course!), is no, as the items on the list were ordered by a friend, and need to be completed by next Thursday.  Of the 6 pairs of slippers she asked for, I have 2 that are done being knit, but have yet to be seamed or embellished.  I'm hoping to get a third pair done today.  I'm starting with the more labor intense pairs first, as I can finish the other 3 pairs done fairly quickly.  Then, it's back to cross stitch for a little while.

Why the change in attitude?  I'm analyzing that myself.  For the last 3 weeks or so, knitting has taken the forefront of my priorities.  Not, I need to clarify, to the exclusion of  everything else, but I've definitely, ummm, skimped a little bit on household upkeep, as my husband oh so subtly pointed out last weekend.  (And he is VERY subtle any time he employs guilt...I love him for that, and so much more!)  Maybe the guilt got me, or maybe I just reached my threshold.  Maybe I'm just spring cleaning.  All I know is that I'm quite proud of myself at the moment!

Slotted to be finished this weekend:  change the sheets on 2 of the remaining beds (the last 2 belong to my teenagers, and they are on their own), clean 2 of the 3 bathrooms (again, the older girls can do #3), clean the microwave, vacuum and dust the whole house, mop the remaining floors, approximately 3 more loads of laundry, clean the laundry room, and clean out the downstairs closet.  Oh yes, and finish the slippers.  I think I can, I think I can....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dishcloth Knit-along

I previously posted that I was participating in Melissa Goodsell's dishcloth create-along.  The end of the 2 week long fun was Saturday, and I thought I'd post some pictures of the finished projects.
My final count of finished items was 10 dishcloths, 2 bath mitts, and 5 scrubbies.  One dishcloth and one scrubbie were gifted to my mom for Valentine's day, but were shown in a previous post.

Here are some more pictures:

Two of the three round cloths I completed.  The cloth in blues was a pattern found on this site, and is the windmill pattern.  My gauge was off though, and I had to do an additional repeat to make my circle close.

These were done in Sugar 'n Cream yarn, and the pattern is in the Sugar 'n Cream Kitchen Color pattern book.  I particularly love the striped one.

I used this create-along to try some patterns that I had previously book marked.  The cloth on the left, however is an old standby.  I actually found it on a pair of needles in a box, and have no idea when I started it.  The other 2 were from various pattern books I've found in my garage.  The one on the right is a trinity stitch, and I'm not sure I'll do that one again.

Four of the five completed scrubbies.

Two adult sized wash mitts, and the gingerbread scented shower gel I'm going to package them with.  The pattern is a basic mitten pattern for stitch count and sizing, but it is knit in garter stitch, to have a little bit of scrubbing power.

My very first ever venture into crochet.  The cloth on the left was my first attempt, and is also found in the Sugar 'n Cream Kitchen Color pattern book.  One of the other participants posted her picture of the fish cloth, and I had to try it.  Find the pattern here.  As you can see, I need some more practice!

And finally, the two cloths I haven't finished yet.  The one on the left was one of those tucked away in a box and forgotten.  It will be finished sometime this week.  The one on the right was my practice crochet swatch.  I think I will keep on practicing, and turn it into an appropriate dishcloth size, and make it useful!

Not bad, considering I also made 7 pairs of ladybug slippers, 2 pairs of baby booties, and 3 crayon caddies, in the same 2 week period.  My husband is very tolerant!  And now, back to ladybugs....I have 6 more pairs of them, and 4 more pairs of booties that I need by March 4th...wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knitting Projects

On Friday, I posted my first half project for the dishcloth create-along.  Here is the finished dishcloth, which I completed Friday night:
I used Sugar 'n Cream Twists for this cloth, and the pattern can be found here.

I packaged that dishcloth with a matching pot scrubber, and gave them to my mom for Valentine's Day.  Yeah, I know, really exciting Valentine's gift!

After finishing the above cloth, I cast on another, which I finished Saturday morning.  I used Sugar 'n Cream Stripes, in American Stripes for this one, and really like how it came out!

And here are the finished crayon caddies, which I gave the girls for Valentine's Day.  The idea is for them to keep them for using in church.
The pattern is from Lion Brand Yarn, but I used Red Heart Super Saver 100% acrylic.  I wanted to make them fairly stiff, so it would be easy for the girls to get the crayons back in the pockets.  Here is the pattern.  You have to sign up on their site, but it is free.

On Friday, I received an email requesting 2 more pairs of ladybug slippers from a MOPS friend, bringing the total I need finished for Thursday to 8 pair.  I have 1 1/2 pairs to do, and 1 pair to weave in ends on.  When those are done, I will be casting on more dishcloths.  Stay tuned!

A wonderful weekend with some of my girls.

On Saturday, my mom and I took the four younger girls to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California.
Unfortunately, as it was a weekend, factory production was shut down, so the tour was not as fun as on weekdays when you can see the jelly beans being made, but that gives us an excuse to go back!  We did all still get bags of Jelly Bellys at the end of the tour, and they, of course, have a retail store, so the kids were happy.  Here are some pictures:
The sign in front of the Visitors' Center

GIANT inflatable..see the kids in front?

Madison, in the Jelly Belly Cafe.  No candy for her, but she's still a happy girl!

After the factory tour, lunch, and candy shopping, we took the girls shopping for their Easter shoes.  My mom said she learned a lot that day, like why I don't take 4 girls shopping with me at once, and why I pick out their shoes when I'm shopping alone!  They aren't bad shoppers, there are just so many of them to pay attention to and help at once.  It can get a little overwhelming to anyone not used to it!

From there, we went to another shopping mall, which is where the former Nut Tree complex used to be.  We went there when we were kids, to ride on the giant rocking horses.  A few years ago, the complex was sold and torn down, and I was quite disappointed.  However, the new owners built an outside mall there, and they preserved the attractions.  The girls were very excited to get out and play!

Abby, Emma, and Katie, on the rocking horses.

They have a gorgeous carousel there, with lots of exotic animals.  Here is Katie on a cat, which is her favorite animal.

Emma, on a zebra, which is her favorite...

...and Abby on an elephant, which is her favorite animal.

This locomotive is 45 years old, and all 6 of us rode this.  It only makes a couple of slow loops around the park, but it is fun for the kids.

Yesterday, for Valentine's Day, my husband got me the Amazing Brownie pan, which is a nonstick pan with dividers in it, that makes 18 small brownies at one time.  We used a cake mix, and the girls decorated the little cakes for dessert last night:

We definitely had a sugar loaded weekend!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Princess Day and first efforts for the Dishcloth Create-along!

Yesterday was Princess Day at our house.  The three small girls put on their princess costumes from Halloween, and complete with craft store crowns I picked up that morning, they had a tea party picnic in the living room.  I served them lunch, and it was quite fun, except for the frequent bellows of "Room Service!" to me out in the kitchen when they wanted something else!
Following the picnic, we showed all princess movies on the DVD player....Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and...well, those were all we had time for, but Katie was really pushing for  The Aristocats, as that is as close as we can get to finding a princess cat movie!

Yesterday was so much fun, they had a low grade repeat today:

I wouldn't allow the costumes again, but did let them wear dresses, as the only thing on the agenda today was finishing our Valentine's crafts.

Here are our 12 finished bear magnets, ready for gift giving this weekend.

A few days ago, Melissa posted a Knit/Crochet Dishcloth Create-along, which I decided to join.  A link to her website is here.  The idea was to create, by either knit or crochet, as many dishcloths as you could in a 2 week timespan.  I was unable to start one until yesterday, as I had other projects that had to be done first.  Here is where I am:
I am slightly over half done, and it is slower going than I would've liked, but I've wanted to try a round dishcloth for a while, so now I've done it!  The pattern can be found here.  There are lots of other beautiful cloth patterns here too!

My next dishcloth will be a pattern sent to me by Cee, who's blog link is here.  The cloth I'm going to do is the bright blue one.

Have you experienced having lots of little bits and pieces of yarn left after finishing another project, yet they don't seem big enough to do anything with?  I've collected LOTS of those, but at last, I have a use!  I found a tutorial on knitting pot scrubbers here.  I happened to have had a six inch wide, 25 foot long roll of tulle that I bought a long time ago, and nothing to use it for, so I dug it out, and in an evening, created these:
I liked them so well, I went out the next day and bought more tulle, even though I had enough already cut to make four more scrubbies!  I will use up those little bits one way or another!

We are off on an adventure tomorrow.  My mother and I are taking the four littlest ones to to Jelly Belly Factory, and then for an afternoon of shopping at the outlet mall.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Start 'em young...

Last week, I decided to let the girls start their Valentine crafting, making refrigerator magnets for all of their grandparents.

This kit came from Oriental Trading Company, one of my new best friends.  There are enough pieces to make 12 magnets, and the price was under $6.  Paired with Glue Dots ( the best invention on the planet!) and minor supervision, the girls are able to work on projects for gift giving.  Here is Abby and one of her hearts:

And Emma:

And Katie:

And here are all 12, ready to go in the mail:
We have one more set that we will do, probably tomorrow.  I've also ordered kits for St. Patrick's Day and Easter.

Here are the projects I've been working on this week:
I hadn't done the ladybug booties before, so it took a bit to work out how to do the face.  A lady in my MOPS group requested them for her daughter's doll, and I'm glad she did.  Now I have another variation, to go with the solid and the "Converse" style.  I also tried the ones on the right, thinking they would look like little dress up shoes for babies.

And here is the first of 3 crayon caddies I'm making for the girls for Valentine's Day:

I finished the second one last night, and will most likely finish the third tonight.  I've also done 3 of the 5 pairs of ladybug slippers I need for next Thursday, with a 4th pair on the needles now.  Oh, and I joined a dishcloth/washcloth create a long from another blog, so I will hopefully have some of those to post soon as well.

You must think that all I do is sit around and knit, which could not be farther from the truth, although my husband might argue with me on that!  Two days ago, the little girls and I made a quadruple batch of gnocchi for the freezer...they had fun helping, and due to all the flour on the floor, I had to do a thorough cleaning on my kitchen!  And today, alas is laundry day, which started with making a fresh batch of laundry soap.  Some would argue that it is just nuts to make your own soap, but it saves me money AND 30 minutes or less, I've got 5 gallons of detergent made and bottled.  I couldn't get to the store and back in 30 minutes!  I'm also due to make a fresh batch of fabric softener as well, but that will wait until next week.  If anyone wants the recipes, leave me a comment with your email address, and I will be happy to share!

Time to get back to the kitchen...dinner tonight is chicken saltimbocca and roasted cauliflower...yum!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Two Weeks Between Posts, but very productive!

So, what have I been doing for the last 2 weeks?  Well, first off, my in-laws came to visit us for a few days, as our #5 daughter was turning 4.  My mother-in-law has been hosting family "Ravioli Days" (where everyone gets together to make homemade ravioli) for years, but I seldom get a chance to travel down and participate, so I asked her if we could do a version at our house.  She agreed, and my dad came to help.  Together, we made about 99 dozen ravioli, both meat and cheese filled, plus 3 pounds of cavatelli and 1 pound of linguine.  Here are pictures of the fun!

The next day was Katie's birthday party, so here she is with her cake:

Aside from the standard household-with-six-girls stuff, I've been a knitting fool!  One of the ladies in my MOPS (Mothers of Pre Schoolers) group asked me to make 2 pairs of slippers for her.  Of course, I can't stop at 2, so I made 10 pair of slippers and 5 pair of baby booties.  At our meeting today, not only did I sell her the 2 pairs she ordered, I sold 2 additional pairs to other ladies, and got orders for 6 more pair.  Yay!  My obsession is maybe going to pay for itself, at least in part!

I also finished 2 other works in progress, a pair of slippers for daughter #6, and these:

It's hard to tell in this picture, but they are adult size Mary Jane slippers.

Here is the latest progress on the cross stitch baby sampler.  As you can see, I'm closing in on the end.  I may even beat my deadline.

Today, at MOPS, our craft project was a beaded bracelet, which I have always wanted to try.  I came home and finished the one I started, which is on the left, and dug out all of the supplies I bought a few years ago, and made the one on the right.  I am working now on a third one.  May as well, I have the beads for them!

And now, back to knitting....2 weeks to finish 6 more pairs of ladybugs!