Seed Stitched Sweater

It seems I cannot keep Baby N off my mind these days.

I guess that’s somewhat to be expected, but very different from my experience during pregnancy with Parker. We bought a house that needed serious rehabbing right at the start of my third trimester, so my mind (and body) were a bit occupied with all that. I was also working full time and training my replacement at work. Of course I still daydreamed of my baby boy, but this feels very different for some reason.

I keep going places and thinking of things that happened when Parker was a newborn and just can’t wait to start a whole new set of memories with Baby N. I’m getting a bit impatient for these last 3 months to pass! So, to keep my mind (and fingers) busy, I’ve been knitting. A lot. I just finished this little seed stitched sweater in 3-6 month size for Baby N.

I love it.
Not half as much as I’m going to love it when its keeping my new baby boy warm in January or February. If this one grows anything like Parker did, he’ll be fitting into this before he’s one month old! I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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Trading Spaces

Remember that classic home renovation show? Well, we had a bit of that in our basement this weekend. Since Brian is no longer working from home, he decided that I should have his old office for my sewing room. What a treat! I have my own completely dedicated space to craft in. I also have a machine I may be inheriting this summer, so it is really helpful to have this extra space. Brian moved his “art/office/creative” area to my old sewing nook, and it looks really cool. He still does photography, along with many other artistic endeavors, and this new space better meets this needs.

First we had to vacate my office space into a big pile on the couch. What? Women who are 7 months pregnant shouldn’t be doing this sort of thing? Well, there’s a novel idea!


Then Brian moved all of his stuff over to my old space.


Then Brian used some extra shelves we had lying around to spruce up my new “office”.


Then we moved all my stuff in and now it looks like this:

Since we were getting all organized, I even re-filed through our filing cabinet. Whew! It’s amazing all the paperwork you acquire! It feels really great to be streamlining everything in our basement. Next up – organize all our books and storage area. Yikes!

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American Heritage Cookbook

I am a sucker for cookbooks – as you may well remember. Used bookstores are very dangerous places for me! I love new and modern cookbooks with all of their pretty pictures and updated recipes, but my real weakness is old fashioned cookbooks that nobody else seems to want.

Like the American Heritage Cookbook set.

(Notice the lovely fall flower arrangement my hubby gave me last week?
You’ve got to love a man that listens to you, provides for you,
and then sends you flowers on a rough day.)

I picked up this set for $1. Volume 1 is an Illustrated History of food in America. Fascinating reading I’m sure, but I’m more intrigued by the recipes and menus shown in Volume 2. It is absolutely astounding how much food has changed in the last couple hundred years. Not just the way we prepare food, but our actual taste buds have changed (at least as a nation).

Nowadays most people would cringe at the sight of many of these recipes, but they were completely normal and even desirable at one point in history. With the advent of modern refrigeration, the need for fermented foods went out the window — and now, for the most part, we think fermented foods are weird. In reality, many of the “old fashioned” ways of preparing food actually enhanced the nutrition in the food where today’s preparation methods tend to remove nutrients from the foods we eat. I wouldn’t want to live without my freezer or refrigerator, but it is so good to learn how food really works.

Many foods that go bad or rancid are actually a result of the processes they are put through before we even see them at the supermarket. For instance, pasteurized milk goes bad fairly quickly. Unpasteurized, or raw, milk actually becomes more nutritious over time. You can use it to make yogurt, cheeses, sour cream, buttermilk — long after the pasteurized version has gone rancid. Amazing!

Anyway, that’s my long and most likely not-interesting-to-anybody-but-me post about cooking. These are the thoughts that occupy my mind. Oh, and if you see an old cookbook you don’t want, pass it my way!

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Onesie for Baby N

In case you were wondering, I fully realize that I am not normal. You know why? Because I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy doing things that most people spend 5 minutes going to the store to do.

I can tomatoes — spending hours to do something that costs .99 at the store to buy. I knit sweaters for newborn babies — hours upon hours put into an item that will be spit up on almost immediately. I make my own chicken broth and cook my own beans — pretty sure those are fairly cheap canned items you can get at the store with little to no effort.

You see? That is just not normal folks.

And you know what? It’s getting worse. I made a onesie. Yep. The most basic, cheap, and spit-up-on item of baby clothes. Does it help justify it at all if I tell you it was free? I already had all the materials (leftover from Parker’s pajamas), I used a free tutorial online (Dana Made), and I cut apart an old onesie (one of the ones that I tried to beautify with potato stamps with little success) to make my pattern. Still sound crazy? Well, maybe — but the whole project took less than 30 minutes and I’m just thrilled with the whole thing!

Here is my cute, little, free, homemade onesie for Baby N:

(Side note about the fabric: I’m not sure if it is intentional or not, but they definitely misspelled “monkey” on this shirt. It says “monkees”. Which, as everyone knows, is not a mischievous animal but an awesome band from the 60′s. Okay, just had to get that out there!)

You see, my favorite part of any project is figuring out how it all goes together. I mean, I used onesies for months and months on Parker and never once did I guess at it’s construction. Taking an old one apart and then putting a new one together gives you a whole new perspective. I guess I just like understanding how things work! You can bet I’ll be making more of these. At least, whenever I have leftover knit fabric (and with lots of pajamas on the docket for Parker, I’m guessing I’ll have a lot!).

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A Finished Sweater

Here it is folks — my first official sweater!
I love how it came out. It’s so cute and tiny.
It’s so hard to believe the little flutters in my tummy are a small person who will be wearing
this sweater in just a few short (we can always hope, right?) months.

Next up, this seed stitch sweater in a lovely light green.
My boy has gotta stay warm in that blizzard month January!

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The Myth of Better

You know what I’ve been thinking a lot lately?

“It used to be so much better.”

or

“It will get better.”

You know what?

Those are both myths.

When I remember things, I tend to remember them with rose-colored glasses. I forget whatever might have been hard or painful at the time and only remember all the good stuff that was happening. Sometimes I really miss just being Mr. and Mrs. — you know, pre-kids? I will think about sleeping in or being able to do whatever I wanted at the end of the day. About going on vacations and not worrying about nap times or bedtimes. Or tantrums. Or trying to get another stubborn human being to eat nutritious food. But it’s easy to forget all the things that were hard about that time period. About working full time and longing to be a homemaker and a mom. About putting my husband through grad school and not having money to do fun things or go on vacation. About living in an apartment that was weird and quirky — and had no oven or stove. Or how my health was particularly bad during those times. You see, the thought that “yesterday was so much better” is just a myth.

And tomorrow? Well, it holds it’s own unforeseen troubles. There will be easier things for sure (no more diapers! kids putting themselves to bed! kids helping with chores!), but who knows what else will come? Days filled with “why?” or kids that don’t want to hang out with their parents. Heartache that only a parent can know about a child making bad decisions. Changes in jobs, living situations, cars, friends, etc. Oh yeah, it’s easy to imagine the future with a clean slate with no bad days in sight. But that’s just not reality, is it?

Every day will hold it’s share of joys and sorrows. So what is “better”? Today. Today is the best. It might be hard or it might be wonderful — but it’s here and it’s real, not a figment of our imagination. Try to appreciate it for what it is. Warts and all: Today is better.

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The View from Here

The view from here has been changing slightly over the past few month. My belly is taking up more and more room in my line of vision, as I try to knit or craft on my lap. Parker is finding it a little harder to snuggle in with mama, now that a large bump is in the way. Sometimes Parker even gets kicked by his baby brother if he does too much rough-housing near mama’s belly.

It’s always weird to see your body morph into a new shape. Getting in and out of bathroom stalls becomes more challenging. And putting on boots–wow, what a chore. I actually lost my balance twice this week and fell flat on my bottom while trying to get something out of the low cupboards in my kitchen. I end up dropping a lot of food on the shelf that is my belly and ending up with food stains because of it. I’m nearing my third trimester (yay!), and baby N is definitely going through a growth spurt. Thus, I am going through a growth spurt. What a weird process pregnancy is.

Despite all the weird things that happen to your body, to your emotions, and to your life–it is a fun view to have. So, I thought I’d share it with you.

(P.S. Don’t ask about the project I’m working on here. It’s a Christmas present so that’s all I’m gonna share! :-)
I promise to give full details after Christmas . . . in 2 months. Ahhhhh!)

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The Dessert You Shouldn’t Make

If you happen to find yourself with a bag of plain cheerios, you definitely shouldn’t make this dessert.

You shouldn’t mix 6 cups of cheerios with a bag of melted caramels.

And absolutely don’t mix in 2 cups of mini marshmallows.

Don’t press the mixture into a 13 x 9 pan and let it harden.

Resist the urge to drizzle it in melted chocolate.

And keep away from topping it with M&Ms.

Why shouldn’t you make this monstrosity of a dessert? Other than the fact it is loaded with bad for you sugars and other refined no-no’s? Well, you shouldn’t make this dessert because you might find yourself irresistibly drawn to the pan and eating piece after piece. It’s dangerous I tell you. And really, really bad for you. So I’m not advising you to make this dessert. But if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s delicious in it’s low-brow, high-sugar kind of way. Seriously. Keep away if you can.

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Never Say Never

I said I’d never cloth diaper.

Well, we all know that hasn’t been the case. But even within my cloth diapering, I had a lot of “I will never’s . . . ” These past two months have proven me wrong in four ways.

Big boy in his wool covers.

I’ll never use wool diapers.
They scared me a lot. Even when my  friend Beth graciously loaned me her wool covers to help with Parker’s rash problem, I still held out. For two months. But I’m at my wits end with these rashes, and they were my last resort. So, this week I’ve been using wool covers with prefolds. And they are awesome. I don’t know what I was so scared of.

I’ll never cloth diaper without a diaper sprayer.
Okay, this one I’d still prefer not to do, but for right now it’s working okay. We haven’t been able to hook up our diaper sprayer since the bathroom remodel, because our new toilet doesn’t fit the old attachments. Or something technical like that. Eventually we’ll get it up and running again (crossing fingers), but for now I’m making due without it.

I’ll never rely on disposables as my primary diaper.
This goes back to point number one. Parker is just super sensitive to cloth diapers. So much so that I used disposables almost exclusively for over a month. And you know what? I lived. Parker lived. We’re all fine actually. I still personally prefer to use cloth whenever I am able, but I don’t feel guilty for using disposables when I have to. Or when it’s easier to.

I’ll never make my own cloth diapers.
Yeah, I’m not sure why I thought I’d get through years of cloth diapering without attempting to make them myself. Or why I really didn’t want to even try to make them. But, I said it, and I know I’m eating my words. Have you guys seen JoAnn’s new line Babyville Boutique? Oh my goodness. It is so awesome.  I picked up their book with patterns for cloth diapers and some of their PUL kits, velcro, and elastic. I can’t wait to get started!

So, folks, here’s my word of wisdom for the day: Never say never!
What did you think you’d never do in regards to parenting?

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A Sweater

I’ve wanted to knit a sweater for a long time. It just seems like that hurdle I need to jump to feel like a real knitter. But, because I’m a realist, I decided to start with a very small sweater. Like a sweater for my soon-to-be-winter-born-baby-boy. And because he will have very sophisticated parents (ahem), he should have a sophisticated sweater. With a shawl collar. Because you know he’ll be smoking a cigar and chatting about politics before you know it.

So far the project has gone fairly smoothly. I’ve been impressed by myself, to be honest! But now that I’m onto the sleeves, it’s another story. This is what I’m currently wading through:

Yes, I’m still knitting. I didn’t decide to pick up a game of pick-up sticks in the middle of my mess of yarn. We’ve got four double pointed needles working in a very small circle. Yikes.

Thankfully I’ve got an expert knitter staying with me this week, so hopefully we’ll sort through this mess soon. I hope to have pictures of the final project up by the end of the week. Yay!

Are you doing any fall knitting? Anyone else know what I’m talking about with double pointed needles? Boy are they a headache!

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