Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Has (Finally) Sprung?

We've been keeping busy here, waiting and wishing for temperatures to finally feel like spring- and to stay that way!

I think it might finally be here. I hope. Even if it isn't, I couldn't wait any more. I just couldn't stand it. My daffodils finally popped (this is the latest they've ever bloomed since we've been here), and so have I! As we speak, my sweet husband is attempting to till my garden beds. Well, the ones that are still empty, anyway...

Like I said, I couldn't stand it another minute. I've already stuck a few onions in the ground and just the other day, I went ahead and planted my peas, too. But everything else is still empty and waiting. The lady at the greenhouse/nursery told me that Good Friday is the day. That's supposedly when everything else will be able to go out. Which is a good week and a half before what the internet told me was our last average frost date. I don't think it really matters either way, because the weather for most of the next ten days is supposed to be very wet and stormy. I'm not going out and attempting to plant anything in that...

Still... I started my seeds at the beginning of last week. I wasn't expecting anything to happen very quickly, but they all popped their little leaves up super soon. Except for the little pepper plants. Every single one of them is taking their sweet time. Just today, I'm seeing the first signs of them starting to think about joining us out here. Which is right on schedule, according to the package they came in. Not sure why the tomatoes, cucumbers, and cucamelons got so excited and sprouted so quickly, but they did. :) Maybe they have just as bad a case of spring fever as I do?

My husband told me to stick them outside, so here they sit, on the top shelf of my new toy. (Technically, we bought it on clearance last year, but I only just got it set up this week.) I stuck all of my herbs in there for now, too.

 Here's my new toy from the front. It's actually turned out to be a lot bigger than I expected. Still doesn't keep me from wanting a bigger one someday, but for now this will be a good size to play with. Or so my husband tells me. ;)

Here's a shot from the side. You can see it's two shelves dee-... Wait. What is that down in the corner there?

Let me try to get a little bit closer...

Huh. That was definitely not there yesterday. Maybe I can get closer without disturbing anyone...

It looks like we have some new neighbors, doesn't it? I sure hope they aren't as obnoxious as the upstairs neighbors are. (Those stinking squirrels just have no manners whatsoever. They keep attempting to eat my house.)

My girls haven't found this yet. I wonder how long it will take them to notice it? (I wonder if the little one can stand to leave it there and not touch it? Pretty sure that having her baby sister pick up the house and run off with it might ruin the magic for Little Miss.)

I have plans to put a nicer one in the backyard, as soon as I can find some decent (and more importantly, both affordable and weather resistant) doors and windows to attach to the tree. I might even set up a very simple one at the tree with my flowers. Maybe.

Let's see... In other news this week, we signed up (and ordered more seeds) to be butterfly heroes over at the National Wildlife Federation. (My daughter got her first magazine this week, and they had a feature on it.) The NWF is working with a seed company that we ordered from, Botanical Interests, and they've got butterfly seeds to give to everyone who takes the pledge on the Butterfly Heroes page. (While supplies last, of course.) They're also having a contest to win a trip to Disney World, apparently.

Taking the pledge requires posting a photo of you (or better yet, your adorable kids) making the ASL sign for butterfly. I thought you might like to see a few of our reject pictures. Although, I'm pretty sure one of these is what we had to end up using as the final entry. Baby Girl tends to get bored before I can get good pictures. (Not necessarily her fault. I sort of suck at photography...)

So, that's all for now, I guess. It's fast approaching Easter weekend, which means another birthday party is around the corner. (And I still haven't gotten organized enough to post shots from the last one!) Should be lots of pictures available for grandparents in the next week or two. If only I can manage to get them up here...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Some Big (and Scary) News

So, today is a big day for me. It's exciting, and also sort of scary.

My husband has been suggesting this for a while, but I have never been brave enough to attempt it until now...

I would like to announce the grand opening of my new Etsy shop. You can find it here if you are so inclined. I would love it if you stopped by for a look.

Right now, I have a few baby blankets and some pincushions. I am working on new items even as we speak, and I will be adding them as soon as they are ready.

Here's a peek at the items currently in my shop:

I've also got a new blog, just for my shop. You will find shop updates over there, and also the story behind my Dutch girl blankets. If you'd like to stop by, you can find us at NeeNee's Needlework. I'll be posting the links up at the top of the blog here for the shop and its blog in the next few hours, so they'll be easy to find later.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll wander over to take a look at my new shop and blog. See you soon. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Baby Blankets

So... as I mentioned before, my husband has been contracting out my sewing this year... I've been busy with his sewing, and I'm falling behind on the projects I wanted to jump right into. But that's okay. For now.

 I finally got the first two blankies finished last weekend. (One more to go, for now.) We snapped a couple of (not great) pictures and threw them into the mail.

This is just my standard baby blanket. The only adjustments I made were in swapping out the little Dutch girls for bears. (And on the other blanket, jungle critters.)

The first person specifically requested teddy bears, so he got teddy bears. Boy, did he ever!

The color is much better down in the second picture...

 I adore the flannel on this blanket!

Isn't it cute?

The other blanket turned out to be jungle-type animals. (Technically, I suppose it's more of an African plains sort of fauna, but jungle is easier to say and it gets the point across quickly, don't you think?) I love the little lions- which is good, because I have a bunch more lion flannel. Enough for two more blankies- but the little elephants just... I have no words...

I can find some words about those rotten little crocodiles, though. But I won't. They aren't super polite, those words...

You see, the picture I was working off of to make my pattern, well... It had a lovely little spine ridge down the back and tail of the little croc... But, when I went to make the applique pieces, it did not work. At all. So, after much headache (and not polite language) and a consultation to get my husband's opinion, I scrapped the entire ridge piece. And I think he looks okay without it. Not as cute as he would've been, but okay.

And then, about two hours after I finished the freakin' blanket, inspiration hit me- I should've used rick rack for the spine ridge! (Slaps herself in the forehead. Again.) I have no idea why that idea waited around in my stupid brain until after I'd already finished the blanket, but wait it did- just a little too long. As you can see, I didn't go back and modify anything. This time. But watch out if I ever make crocodiles again!!

Another full blanket shot.

Here's a close up of the flannel. It's a sort of jungle scrapbook photo sort of thing...

 It's cute. But the little bears and ducks have won my heart. I would go back and buy an entire bolt of that teddy flannel if I could. (Unfortunately, the store doesn't have any more. I looked the other day.)

So, now I'm off. I have another blanket to finish up for my husband's friends. Gotta hop to it! :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Moving along...

Now that I've finally gotten all caught up with crafty type news from last year, and bragged on my little crafter-in-training, I can jump up to what little bit I've accomplished this year so far.

Okay, up until a few days ago, this was my one and only finished object for the year. It's a tooth fairy pillow. I got the pattern from an issue of Crochet World (I think) years and years ago. I remember making them for my niece and nephew when they were small. A few weeks ago, the dental hygienist came to school to give all the kids a good talking-to, and a cleaning/exam. Little Miss came home all excited, with an excellent report and a note that one (unspecified) tooth was just the tiniest bit loose. It still isn't loose enough for me to figure out which one is going to jump out first, and Little Miss is not updating me on progress. It's possible she hasn't been trying very hard to find it.

Still, I figured it was about time to dig out the pattern and get started. I modified it slightly by adding a hanging loop to the top, in hopes that I can convince her to hang it on her bedpost. The last thing any poor tooth fairy needs is to be digging around her bed in the dark trying to find one tiny little tooth...

Here we go with the close-ups.

Front: as requested, brown eyes...

Back: love the little bow on the pocket.

 Slightly better shot of the hanging loop:

I suppose I should probably go ahead and make one more while I have all of the supplies fished out and handy... It would probably save me a little trouble in the long run. We'll see if I can get motivated.

I did finally get some (okay, two) projects finished a few days ago- baby blankets (ordered by my husband for a couple of his friends). They turned out pretty cute, I think. One of them has been received already, and I'm told they're very happy with it, too. Thank goodness. I worry about that when I make blankets for strangers. I'll have pictures in a couple of days...

I have several other projects on the go. Hopefully some of them will get launched soon. I'm busy, busy. See you soon!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cabin Fever

I guess that's what I have. We've pretty much been snowed in for the last two weeks- no school, no extracurricular classes, no company other than each other... Blech! (Technically, we could've gotten out if we had to. Probably. But we had no urgent needs and I had zero desire to be out with all the crazies who can't drive in this mess. Given the option, I always stay at home any time the weather gets iffy.)

I don't know about the weather where you are, but we have had an unusual amount of snow here this month. I haven't seen this much snow since my husband moved us all down here. And all of it has hit in the last week and a half or so. Not fun at all. We're pretty much sick of each other's company.

We've only ventured out for groceries a couple of times and today was an adventure. All the streets and parking lots are pretty cleared off by now, but our rather long, uphill driveway is another story. We very nearly didn't make it to the road. The temperature is just above freezing for now, and the sun is out, so I'm hoping that some of that junk will melt down out of the way before I need to venture out again...

I think this confinement is probably the main reason for my crafty ADD. Well, the cabin fever coupled with my discovery of this blog (Plays With Needles), is probably to blame for my crafty ADD... (You should totally click over and browse. Her work is gorgeous!! I'm very awed and envious of her talents.) Even though I have quite a few projects going on, I want to drop them all and start a new one. Preferably one filled with green and the hope of spring. Probably one far outside my skill set. I've been browsing and pinning gorgeous embroideries all week now over on Pinterest. Also crazy quilts. And some knitting. I have dragged out every embroidery, needlework, and crazy quilting book I own and stared longingly at all the pretty pictures. I've been window shopping on craft supplies websites and dreaming of a time when there is no more snow and ice. Dreaming of warm temperatures. Dreaming of the ability to migrate south every winter, like a bird... (I hear Australia is nice this time of year. I've always wanted to go there...)

I am so ready for spring...

I mentioned last time that my older girl had done a project. She bought a little kit at the craft store, and it took her most of two days to finish it (with a little help from me, but not too much...). Here it is:

This is a shot of Sid (the teddy bear) and the blanket and pillow.

Here's Bebe the Bunny. Front:

And back. (You can just make out the little tail.):

Bebe is very fond of Sid and takes good care of him. Little Miss is also very fond of Sid. It's possible she likes him better than she likes the bunny. Shh... Don't tell Bebe!
So, that's what we've been up to for the last little while. And, I expect we'll be occupying ourselves in much the same way for the next few days. With any luck, our horrible weather is done, and maybe schools will even open back up next week. (They've been closed now for two entire weeks...)
 I'm going to attempt to find some time and willpower and just power through my very terrible case of startitis and get at least one of these current projects finished before I cave in and start a new one. (For more information on startitis, see the Yarn Harlot, who I believe invented the word. Her definition seems to be exclusively related to knitting, but I believe it is a universal condition that all crafty types sometimes succumb to. Actually, even if you aren't interested in learning about startitis, you should read her stuff anyway. Her books are great. I spent a lovely couple of weeks last year binge reading everything I could find with her byline. Including her entire blog. She's awesome.)
Next time, I'll have pictures of my one finished item this year. And with any luck, I'll be very close to another finished project. Maybe...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christmas, part 3. Finally!

I know, I know. I said I'd be back in a couple of days. And now it's the end of February. :(  One of my goals for the new year was to blog at least once a week. As soon as I decided this, my computer went insane, or something. My husband finally seems to have sorted out whatever it is that my toddler did to this ancient monster (a couple of weeks ago, actually. Ooops...), so I'm hoping she won't mess with it any more. Anyway, since my computer appears to be working again (although, now the printer is screwy), here we go...

Finally found those photos of the last of the Christmas presents...

First up, the bunny hat for my kindergartener. (I promise the eyes are not quite as crooked as these photos make it seem.)

Here's a look at the pompoms.
She wears her new hat to school nearly every day. So, I'm pleased that it's seeing more love and use than the last one I made for her (at her request, no less).

And last, but not least, my niece's fingerless mitts. We're nearly all Whovians, and so this is the Rose's Wrist Warmers pattern from Ravelry.  It's based on a pair of mitts from one of the episodes of the show. I've always loved them from the first time I saw it, and I hope my niece is getting plenty of use out of them in all this winter chill... 

Here's a closer-up shot of the cable pattern.
This (finally) concludes the Christmas gifts for 2014. As far as I can remember.
We've been keeping busy so far this year, although not as crafty-busy as I really want to be given all this yucky snow and ice we have right now. Two little girls are a great hindrance to sitting in a chair and stitching all day. :) So, instead of curling up under a quilt-in-progress for 10 hours at a time, I'm lucky to get an hour here or a half hour there of knitting or stitching. Lots of refereeing fights this last week snowbound, though. I kinda can't wait for school to open back up. It's looking like our second full week out due to weather...
I've got all sorts of projects started, so far this year. All of them are either half finished or just started, though. I've started to attempt to get a jump start on Christmas, given that I have several very large/complicated items that I would love to have done in time (none of which have been started yet. Not the best sign, is it?), my husband  has me making two baby blankets for friends of his (I have really GOT to get those finished. Soon!), I'm doing two different (simple) embroidery projects, and I still have spinning to finish. It got abandoned halfway through back when the Christmas crunch hit around November, and I'm just now getting back to it. :(  Oh, and I also have a leftover dishcloth from my earlier obsession that's been abandoned about halfway through. And the first Christmas gift is just barely half knitted now. I think that list is pretty complete.
I do have one finished item so far this year. And my oldest has a pretty nifty little project she just finished, as well. She's been working on it ever since she got back from the grocery shopping yesterday morning, and she just finished it up. I have some pictures, of course.  :)  Next time...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas, part 2

It took me a bit longer than intended to get to part 2 (so what else is new?), but here we are, finally!And since Christmas is now long gone, almost everything has been delivered. There's one left that I can't show until next week, but here's the rest. I think...

This is the shawl for my grandmother. It is pink, but maybe not quite as pink as it looks in this photo. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. 

These are the two mugs for my sister. She has a Pinterest board full of things she wants people to make for her, and these were listed, so...
 I loved this little piggy button, but I could only get my hands on one of the darn little things... (And it took ages to get here...)

So, the second mug doesn't actually match, but I love this little heart button, too. I think the cable shows up a bit better in this photo, too.

This is the first of the herd (warren? flock? whatever group name applies...) of little bunnies I made this year. And it also is the only boy bunny of them all. He hasn't been delivered yet, either, but there's almost no chance of my nephew looking here, so it'll be fine. :)
 Here's a group shot of the rest of the little bunnies:

Five little girl bunnies in cute little dresses, for five little girls who are also quite cute. (My little ones each snagged a bunny for Christmas, and my three adorable little nieces got the others.)

Looking at these pictures, I see that I still don't have that bunny hat uploaded yet. So that's two more Christmas presents left to post. I'll get that up in the next couple of days. I'm going to get back to my dishcloths for now. (I have no idea, really. I just suddenly needed to make some dishcloths. Maybe I'm not quite as recovered from that cold as I thought I finally was...)