Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I feel like I've been thinking about blogging for the past week, but I haven't sat down to actually do it. I was barely on my computer all weekend and there hasn't been a good combination of mild temperatures + partial sun + free time for photography of yarn or projects. I also still haven't gotten back to the birthday party pictures. (I had a bunch open in Photoshop ready for editing when my computer froze up and had to be rebooted. :-( I haven't found the energy to go through the pictures again and most need some editing before uploading.)

So here are some random notes to try to free up my mind a little...

1 - Tomorrow is the beginning of the third trimester. Realizing that it was getting close, we bought baby furniture over the weekend. A crib and a double dresser. This makes it even more critical that I clean up my room so we actually have a place for these items.
I think we've realized that the dollhouses in my office need to go into storage for the forseeable future. At some point when we've finished the work on the 3rd floor and basement I can probably have a room that is all my own again...but until that happens or until Heather is old enough to play with the smaller dollhouse, there just isn't a good place for the dollhouses to live in "public".

2 - I'm trying to finish something at work that I really want to get off my plate and that is really mentally taxing to work on. I'm also pretty tired this week. This is not a great combination. I'm trying to use my iPod to help me through. As well as chocolate and coffee.

3 - I'm making good progress on Samus - a few more days and I should have the main body knitting finished. I'm also trying make myself put it down often enough that I can finish the baby knitting I need to do for next month.

4 - I had a great time at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. I took a crochet class from Robyn Chachula that was great. There were a few times that I felt a little slow since my crochet skills aren't awesome, but she was a great teacher and never made me feel like a slow student. I hope she'll be back in Pittsburgh again soon! Before her class I did my shopping at the Brooks Farm Yarn booth. I knew that I wanted to spend some of my shopping budget there and it seemed easier to do it before I had seen anything else in the market. I bought 3 skeins of Four Play (50% wool, 50% silk) in variegated medium blues. When planning my shopping I realized how little blue there is in my stash other than aqua, so I set out for a sweater's worth of blue.
Sunday, I took a great color class (color wheel, how to group colors, colors in different fibers) from Kate Lemmers. She could not have been more enthusiastic and it was a really fun class. I'm familiar with the color wheel, but she built on the knowledge I already had and expanded beyond the basics in a way that was really helpful. I think some of what I learned will even be useful when I get back to painting someday.
After class I had a lovely brunch with Anna and Lisa. They showed me their lovely purchases and talked about the vendors I had to visit after we ate. After lunch I browsed the rest of the market. I didn't have a ton of time, but I managed to take a look at each booth (I just skimmed the store booths unless they had something unique) and go back to the ones that really spoke to me. I bought yarn from Creatively Dyed Yarn, Highland Alpaca, Shadyside Farm Studio, Puckerbrush Farm and Star Weaver Farm. I was specifically looking for naturally colored alpaca and wool yarns, but I admit I was drawn in by some hand-dyed specimens as well. I also spent quite a bit of time looking at the yarn at Knitting Notions, but I needed to show some restraint somewhere and their website will be the first place I go when I have a little fun money to spend on yarn...whenever that might be.
My final class wasn't really what I expected. It should have been divided by experience level and it wasn't very well planned or organized. I'm not going to go into more detail publicly, but let's just say that I got a lot of knitting done during the 2 hour class... It raises my esteem even higher for some of the other teachers I've taken classes from.

5 - Saturday night I saw "Fiddler on the Roof" with Topol. I forgot how much I really love that show. I got chills during "Tradition" and I just really like the whole thing from beginning to end - the story, the songs, the characters. I laughed. I cried. I added the DVD and CD to my wish list last night!
And also, Topol was amazing. Not only did I think he was even better on stage than in the movie, but reading that he's now 73 just makes his performance that much more impressive. He did the movie in 1971...

6 - In my previous Heather updates I don't think I've talked about her favorite songs. There are lots of them! Sometimes she sings herself, sometimes she *requests* that we sing to her, sometimes she wants us all to sing together and sometimes she wants to see the YouTube videos of her favorite songs and we are instructed *not* to sing along. :-)
"Happy Birthday to You" has been a favorite for a few months now. We are instructed to sing to her, or a stuffed friend, or a person we recently sang to (Angelina, Andy, mommy, etc). Other current songs:
- The Wheels on the Bus
- The alphabet song (aka "ABCD's")
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Jumpin' Josie
- If You're Happy and You Know It
- Baa Baa Black Sheep
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
- Uh-huh
- Go Away
- And she still sometimes requests Jingle Bells... :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From our day off

Heather likes to walk by herself.

This is a direct quote from the little munchkin. :-) We went to get a bagel and chai before her nap. She walked all the way there and halfway home! We practiced holding hands and stopping to look for traffic before crossing at intersections and the long walk seemed to help tire her out for naptime. Regular occurrences of temperatures above freezing and a little sun can't come back soon enough in our book!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Daycare is closed on Monday and I'm taking the day off. We've been so busy recently that I really don't want to leave the neighborhood and it will probably be too chilly to spend much time outside. I'm just throwing this out there in case anyone is looking for something to do on Monday and wants to come over for a visit. Heather and I are happy to receive guests and share her toys if anyone is dying to get out of their house. :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Two past two

I got distracted by processing pictures and never made it back to write about Heather at two. And now there are more pictures to process from today's toddlermania, so I'll just stick to text today and come back with pictures later.

So here we are, two days after Heather's second birthday.

Heather is a delightful, chatty and charming toddler. But she has her cautious side with new people as well. Lately, she's been talking and singing almost non-stop in the car, and then once we arrive at our destination she keeps quiet and takes in the people and activities in her surroundings. The change is less pronounced at places where she is most comfortable (daycare and the neighborhood coffee shop are the most obvious examples). That doesn't mean that she's painfully shy whenever she's out of the house, she just seems to have the need for a buffer of time to get comfortable in her surroundings. Even when she's in a quiet phase, she still seems to be able to charm the heck out of anyone who crosses her path.

She also seems to like to have some independent playtime. I haven't talked with her daycare teachers about this, but I've observed that she seems to have regular periods when she just wants to play quietly and be alone. I can totally see where she gets this. :-)

The theme for Heather's birthday dinner was Thomas the Tank Engine. For the past few weeks, the first comment upon entering the living room is usually "Where is Thomas?". She has taken him to restaurants, for trips in the car and at some naptimes we've barely managed to keep him out of the crib.

Other favorite pasttimes include playing with play-doh (we got her some accessories for her birthday - big hit), playing with her kitchen, her trains, little people, doing puzzles, building duplos and reading books. I also think we're going to have a LOT of fun when the weather gets mild and we can spend more time outside. We were out briefly today, and I forgot how nice it is to be able to walk casually instead of walking from the car to the house as quickly as possible. I also think she'll be more coordinated for outdoor activities, which should be very entertaining.

On the food front I'd say that I trust Heather to eat just about anything and we've had a few new additions recently, oranges and orange juice being the most notable that she used to totally reject. On the other hand, previous favorites are sometimes rejected and other regular staples (mashed potatoes, peas) haven't been touched in a few weeks. She eats enough good things that I'm not worried for her nutritional intake, but I do look forward to a day when she's willing to accept a slightly more varied palette of foods.

On the teeth/sleep front there continue to be signs that I see that makes me think she's getting her 2 year molars, but we still can't see anything. So either I'm crazy or it's just the pre-eruption pain/movement that has caused all of this excitement. Her sleep hasn't really been that bad lately. We've had some nights of long rocking sessions and maybe once or twice a week she's been waking up overnight and sleeping with us until morning. Some nights we all sleep well together and others we don't. But I think the most frustrating thing that we have to try to let go of is that it is hard to equate the chatty toddler that comments on everything going on around her with the 4am toddler that just cries and can't tell us why she can't sleep or what she needs/wants. Sometimes when she's sad (even during the day) she just doesn't seem able to stop crying and tell us what is wrong. It is a reminder that she really is just two and still very little, despite her grasp of the alphabet, big vocabulary and ability to count to 14 (when she wants to).

Heather still loves her babies. Robbie, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Elmo, Glow Worm and various doggies, bunnies & bears are all still favorite cuddly friends. Someone cuddly usually travels with us in the car. Oh, and she still sleeps with her favorite pink blanket.

Did I mention that she's charming, adorable, chatty and loves to sing? :-)

Party pictures soon...

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Value of a Designer

I'll be back later today with a post about my beautiful daughter who turns two today(!), but in the meantime I'm posting a link to the blog of a designer for whom I have great respect.


As an architect and a scenic designer I know how important it is to value the work of a designer/artist in every field and how easy it is for that value to be lost in today's society. No one questions how much a lawyer or an accountant charges them per hour, but many people think they can buy some software and design the house of their dreams better than a pricey architect. Many people feel no remorse if they purchase pirated movies or burn copies of their friends cds or illegally download other copyrighted material from the internet.

I'm not here to argue about what the right way is to distribute copyrighted content or to try to inspire guilt in anyone. I'm just hoping that my readers will think about how their actions affect those who try to make a living with any sort of creative pursuit. And to let you all know that if you ever ask me again to make you a copy of a knit or crochet pattern that I paid for, it isn't personal when I tell you "No". :-)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Lost and Found

I plunged my hands into my coat pockets this morning and came out with just one mitten. :-( I didn't really have time to be sad since I had to get the bus, so I dropped the solo mitten on the counter and grabbed the "still needs some work" pair to provide me with at least some warmth.

On my walk I wondered how I could have lost it, since I always look back at my seat before I get off the bus. And I got a faint glimmer of hope that maybe I had dropped the mitten in the house somewhere because I usually wear them on the walk home.

As I approached the bus stop I saw something dark on the sidewalk. I tried not to get my hopes up, but I went to look anyway.

My poor mitten spent the night out on the cold sidewalk and got a dusting of snow on it to boot - but now it is safe and sound in my purse warming up and waiting to see his partner when we get home tonight. Losing one made me realize how much I have come to love these mittens, so I suppose I should take the time this weekend to mend the small hole in one of the fingers. ;-)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Amy's NaKniSweMoDo

I posted this in the 'Stash and Burn' forum on Ravelry. For maximum accountability, I'll post it here, too. My own, personal NaKniSweMoDo for 2009. I love the idea of the challenge, but having a 2 year-old and being due with my second baby in May means that this isn't the year for me to follow the official guidelines. :-)

My personal NaKniSweMoDo:

1 - I will focus my 2009 knitting energy on 12 sweaters, tops and vests.

2 - Sweaters, tops and vests for myself and my toddler will count. Sweaters, tops and vests for my baby will only count after he has arrived and my knitting time is severely hampered. (In other words, I can't take the next 12 weeks to knit 12 baby sweaters and call myself done.)

3 - Ripping back and finishing last year's Bombshell can count as one of my 12.

4 - There are at least 9 adult sweater's worth of yarn in my stash plus yarn for adult vests and toddler/baby sweaters. I will knit with stash first and only plan to purchase new sweater yarn at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival from Brooks Farm (or equivalent vendor) or with gift certificates.

5 - Presents for other people's new babies will still happen in 2009 and those objects will not count in my tally.

6 - If I am inspired to pick up a big lace project or return to Subtle Babette, finishing one of those big items will count in my tally.

7 - Even though I started the knitting in December, Amelia will count as my first NaKniSweMoDo item since the majority of the knitting was done in January.

8 - Given my changing body shape over the course of 2009, I do not have to focus on one project at a time. There is no penalty for putting a project down until such time that my body has returned to some semblance of "normal" and it can be tried on before completing the finishing work. Although it is expected that the projects will all be completed and wearable before the end of 2009.

Anybody else want to make themselves a 2009 challenge? ;-)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wrap-up, Knitting and Baby #2

Looking at my list from last week.

1 - Christmas is put away. There are still a few bins and christmas tree parts that need to make it to the third floor, but that isn't my job. Plus, it's pretty cute when Heather sees the tree parts and says "Uh oh Kih-mas tree!"
2 - Nope
3 - Nope
4 - Progress made on laundry, but we aren't caught up. I especially need to deal with the hand wash stuff.
5 - I did the first treatment of the tea stain. It's lighter, but it needs more scrubbing.
6 - All but one present purchased and wrapping paper purchased. Oh, and I finally bought envelopes for a few late Christmas gifts that haven't been mailed yet. *Shame*
7 - Baby knitting finished. Washing and photography still needs to happen.
8 - Done. I think Heather and I set a whole foods bill record, but I don't think I have to go grocery shopping next weekend - score!
9 - Amelia is ready to block. I tried her on last night and I think she'll be great. The garter stitch needs to relax a little...
10 - I'll finish the Samus cable on the bus this afternoon. Then time to start picking up stitches.

I didn't get as much done as I had hoped since putting christmas away took most of Saturday and Heather didn't really nap on Sunday. Oh, and I didn't mention the dishes in my list. Blah. R and I both worked on them this weekend and it doesn't really look like we did. I hate dishes.

Knitting obsession

I'm really feeling the knitting obsession in full force right now. If there wasn't so much to do around the house (short term and long term), I would probably be knitting whenever Heather is sleeping. I've got tons of ideas, tons of motivation to use the yarn in my stash and lots of excitement over my upcoming classes. I'm taking 3 classes at the Pittsburgh Knitting and Crochet Festival in 2 weeks and a Franklin Habit class on March 1st. Plus a knitting retreat with friend in March and lots of babies to knit for.

There is a lot of yarn left from Amelia. I was pretty sure that we overbought for a sweater's worth of yarn by one skein when we picked up 4, but there are significant portions of the 2nd and 3rd skeins leftover as well. I'm going to have to get out my new scale to figure out how many yards remain. I think it might make a nice vest, although it would make a nice shawl, too. Either way, it's going to be something for me. :-) 2009 is the year of selfish and baby knitting, after all, and the yarn is just gorgeous.

Along with this, is my desire to wrap up all of the projects that are "close". Wash all the hand wash items sitting in a pile, sew up the knitted ball, photograph everything recently finished and in progress, etc, etc. There isn't a ton of stuff, but given my limited time, it just feels like I have too many loose ends that I want to tie up so I can enjoy some more evening knitting again. And I don't want to cast on any more big projects while these loose ends are staring me in the face!

Pregnancy #2

This child seems to be causing me a lot more regular heartburn. Tums and avoiding tomato products is definitely helping but the second is a little difficult when you have a toddler obsessed with ravioli and italian food. I think tonight she and daddy are having lasagna while I eat the leftover quesidillas. If I had the energy to cook something just for me I'd make something with mushrooms. :-)

I'm also definitely showing sooner, and at my last appointment I was measuring 2 weeks ahead! I'm hoping that this is just because the little guy is stretching out a lot more than Heather ever did, and not because he's going for some sort of birth weight record.

I still haven't decided what kind of delivery I want this time. There is no wrong answer, I'm just trying to figure out what I want and what freaks me out less. ;-)