Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cephalopod Love

This is my new conversation starter/ party trick.  I pull out my most recent knitting project and it looks like a boring octahedron.

 "Oh....nice" the guests say uncertainly, thinking to themselves that I have really lovered my standards.

And then I begin to turn it inside out, 

What could it be?

It couldn't be.
 It is! 

An Octopus!

And an adorable one at that.
 I love it so much.  I still trying to find a name for him. I used Knit Picks City Tweed DK in Habanero and Porpise. The pattern  is Cephalohedron by Erica Schlueter.  The pattern is totally worth the money but I can't for the life of me figure out WHY pattern makers don't add the errata into the original pattern after they discover it.  It is a PDF for crying out loud.  Not hard to change.

P.S. I really love octopodes, it is a strange obsession but real.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


A while back I decided to have a few friends over for a luncheon.  I wanted to use my vintage snack plates.  The number of plates I have number 8 so the guest list numbered 7.

When Nutmeg heard about it she insisted that she be the maid and serve us.  Actually, she says "Suhv."  So I made this little hat inspired by the maid's  cap in the movie Fast and Loose.  This one is obviously ridiculously big.

 She did everything.  The only thing the guests were allowed to do was get a plate and fill their punch glass.
It reminded me of the maid "Liza" in Peter Pan

 Of course cleaning the house was a gargantuan undertaking but after that is was lovely.  Keira popped over in the morning to help me decorate.

I am struggling with my desire to decorate in a clean, crisp modern feeling when all of my experience has been in Heavy Victorian. Sometimes I need assistance.

 This was my favorite part of the day:

Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You're Only Six Once

I came home from a day at Cub Scout Camp to this note stuck on the Door (comprised of two purple sticky notes):

"DeAR MoM yOU SiAeD thAt we cAN ONLY hAve 1 CAMP thiS yeAR (Boba Fett) Get'S 2 hoW COME

(Commander C) Get'S 2 to it'S NOt FAiR

Then we went out to Charming Charlie's to get some sunglasses and this is what she wore
And I let her because I only get one six year old daughter and when else will she wear a red cowgirl hat shopping?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Orange Jasmine

I was hesitant to try another Collette pattern.  Though I do enjoy wearing my Sencha, it required a great deal of adjustment to get it to look good wear with a belt.  I don't know if that is a glowing recommendation.

I could not find a blouse that was better suited for my fabric than Jasmine even though I did buy Simplicity 1779 and had even cut the pattern pieces out when I realized that I REALLY wanted to cut this blouse on the bias.

I have been having a lot of bias troubles in my sewing lately.  I have also been wanting an easy project.  Something where I just followed the pattern and finished a garment. The end. No pattern re-adjustments. No re-designs.

$16 is spendy for a pattern.  I rarely spend more than $5 on a pattern and even then they are Vogue patterns which make me swear. (Seriously, whoever is writing the instructions for Vogue patterns needs some lessons.)  Also, I couldn't just pick up a Collette pattern, I had to either use 1/2 tank of gas driving to other side of town OR pay $16 online, plus shipping, and then wait for it to arrive in the mail.  I chose option two.

When it arrived I remembered two things.  First, the pattern comes with the most darling instruction book, very detailed instructions and a clever pocket for holding the pattern piece. Second, the reason I hate Collette patterns, all sizes 0-18 are printed on one piece of tissue paper.  So, you have 10 lines on each piece and are somehow supposed to follow your line through the maze out to the other side.  It is lazy and looks sloppy.  How hard and costly would it be to print out TWO pieces of tissue with half the sizes on one piece and half on the other? Not hard at all.

Pattern printing complaints aside, the blouse went together like a breeze.  It was pretty straight forward, the most difficult part was adding the piping around the edges of the tie.  This was my own design and had nothing to do with the pattern.  Even matching up the stripes of the fabric to the design went swimmingly.

The pattern called for 2 7/8 yds and I had only 2 1/2 yds of my fabric.  That is another reason I hesitated to buy the pattern, but with very careful laying out, including matching the pattern of the fabric, I had just enough.

I should have measured my arms, the cuffs are a smidge tight for my muscles.  It would have been a simple fix if I had caught it before I cut, but I didn't and I did not have any more fabric to cut new cuffs.  I made some very skinny seams on the cuffs and the cuffs fit well enough but I would like another 1/8 of a inch of ease.

I found the fabric at Mill End.  I just love it.  I piped the edges of the tie in the matching grey fabric.  Originally, the loop for the tie was in the main fabric, but the bow looked a bit anemic so I swapped it out for the contrast.

Would I make it again? Yes.  I am a pretty adept seamstress and I can get over the bumps in the pattern layout. Honestly, the multiple patterns printed over one another is my only complaint.  I don't mind the price but for the price I would like the patterns to be easier to see.   I would modify the sleeves if I were to make it again, I think that they need to be looser so that they can hang or shorter, right now it just looks like too much fabric.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Letter to Myself in 1992

I write for Latter-day Homeschooling and this is my submission today:

We recieved this inspiring e-mail from a reader and decided to share it here.  I left out the name but if you recognize this letter and want to be acknowledged just let us know and I will put your name back in.

I am 17 years old and I want to homeschool my children some day (no, I don't have kids-no I'm not married, and yes I'm still in High School)
As the time came to select our classes for our senior year- I was thinking about what I want my future to look like.
I want to go to college, meet a nice guy, get married (in the temple) and have kids, and maybe Home-school my children.

I know & babysit many families with homeschooled kids- they seem SO much more intelligent and happy.
I love the idea of being close and spending more time than otherwise.
Only thing is....

What things can I do now to prepare for my future as a Home-schooler mother?

 What are some important skills I need to be a homeschooler mother that I can gain now?

Do you like what you do?

Thanks! I love reading your posts (even though I'm only 17)

 My Dear Young Friend,

Oh, Bless You for knowing what you want for your future children!   I am so excited for you because you are at the PERFECT time in your life to prepare for this important (no other is more important in my opinion) mission.  So many homeschooling mothers realize AFTER they have little munchkins running around that they wish that they were better prepared and there just isn't any time!  "There is no time" we cry " If only I had known about this when I was younger!"

Study NOW!  
Fill yourself up with knowledge learn everything you can.  Read, read, read. Try out all the wonderful branches of knowledge that are available to us in this information age. Discover beauty, become addicted to learning. Become an encyclopedia that your children can turn to for questions.

Get an Education:
Education and school are not necessarily synonymous.  Find out what true education means to you and then choose your future institution.  Choose one that will mold your character and enrich your mind rather than just provide you the credentials to earn a living.  Choose one that you can afford so that you and your husband will not be saddled with debt.

Use Your Time Wisely:
You are young and you deserve to have fun but don't waste your time on things that don't bring you joy or don't prepare you for your mission. You might have time to read The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire now you WON'T when you are a mom.  Keep a book or audio book with you at all times.

Become a Student of the World:
Engage with the people around you.  Everyone knows something, you can learn from everyone.  Ask questions, be bold!  If you can afford it I highly recommend travel.  It is amazing how your mind broadens and opens when you travel to a new place, city, town, society or culture!  You won't have time later.

Establish a Relationship with the Lord:
Search, ponder and pray.  Become dependent upon the Lord.  Listen to the spirit, read the scriptures, understand the Atonement , dedicate yourself to Him. Discover his plan for you and your family. Establish now patterns of study, meditation, prayer, service and charity so that when your children arrive you will already have those things in place as your most valuable support and resource.

If you teach your children nothing else you will have succeeded.

Samurai Mom

P. S. I LOVE what I do.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tales of the Alhambra by Anonymous

I picked up a used copy of Tales of the Alhambra today.  I had heard the title before but didn't know it was written by Washington Irving. It has charming colored engraving illustrations.

And on the fly leaf this is penned in blue ball point:
"September 30, 1981,
As we approached the Alhambra this morning, a young gypsy woman handed me a red carnation, grabbed my right hand and proceeded to tell my fortune.  As it was in southern Spanish I couldn't understand most of it, but I did get the words 'a great love life.' I told her 'Thanks, but I have already had it' as she grabbed my left hand. 
Every girl should, just once in her lifetime, have her fortune told on a sunny morning in Spain at the entrance to the Alhambra, by a gypsy fortune teller. Now shouldn't she?"

The book cost me $0.50 but I think the story was priceless.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Up Dog, Down Dog

I have been doing a fitness challenge with friends this month.  Here's how it works as my friend Afton puts it "You make your own goal. Whatever you want. Then we make you pay if you screw up."  Well, My goal is to go to a yoga class everyday (except Sunday) this month.

So, there has been a lot of Yoga going on around here.  My 6 year old ever precocious and coordinated has been doing some yoga of her own. 

 We got this book from the library The ABC's of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Ann Power.  She has been having a great time doing yoga on her own.  I will find her with my old mat spread out carefully following the instructions in the book.  Some of the poses have been given different names to fit the ABC theme but the little verses help the kids remember how to do each pose.

Yoga has been great for me physically and mentally.  I feel great!  I don't usually get to say that. What I love about it is that I get a good workout without the high impact.  I have never been much of a MOVER, exercise and I have never been friends.  I like to walk because I like the scenery, I like to bike because I like to feel the wind in my hair, I swim because I am part fish, I love to dance because it is dancing, but exercise for exercise sake?  No way.  I do like to be in touch with my body, I want to be healthy and I have felt the need to be stronger physically and this has been such a good fit for me.  I love that my daughter wants to join me in this journey.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today I am trying to beat a cold.  It really a shame because after several years of staying in on Valentine's Day, Moose and I planned to go downtown tonight and try a nice place I have wanted to eat at for a long time.  So I am playing it safe and resting today in hopes that I can go out tonight.

Nutmeg loves to nurse me when I am sick so today I let her wear my nurse hat and she found her Alice apron and we created Nursemeg!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Starlings' Sky Scarf

 As I was thinking about what to share with you this month I thought "What am I doing right now?" and the answer is Conceptual Art.  More specifically conceptual knitting and it is all I can think about right now.
Photo from
I found this post about the Sky Scarf a while back and I loved the concept but wasn't sure what I would do with a blue scarf, but last week I realized I live in Portland, Oregon, I wouldn't have a blue scarf, it would be grey, my favorite color!
And so my friend Paula and I are impatiently waiting for our order of grey and blue yarn to arrive so that we can start knitting.  In the meantime we have begun diligently recording the color of the sky each day.
Paula is knitting a sky shawl and is being a bit more methodical than I am, she has a palette of 6 colors, plus white for snow (which will be MAYBE one or two rows) and has specific criteria for what weather merits what color. She will decide the color for the day at 12:00pm.
I, on the other hand, am knitting a scarf an have a palette of 9 colors, plus white, and will be mixing the colors as well.  I will choose the color of the day when I wake up in the morning and will sit and knit the row after I say my morning prayers and wait for my eyes to "wake up." I don't have a strict criteria for the colors as I prefer a combination of matching the actual color of the sky as well as the mood of the weather.

Not everyone will knit this project but wouldn't it be fun to do this with your kids to record the  color of the sky each day, or record the mood of the day, or the color of sunset or the sunrise? One gal I read about is knitting the high and low temperatures of the day.  How about using a box of crayons and some lined paper?  Just color in one line each day. Or color the box on the calendar?  You could cut out squares of colored paper and glue or tape them on each page of the kids journal or daily school workbook.  The possibilities abound.

To learn more about the Sky Scarf and Conceptual Knitting visit Leafcutter Designs. Watch the video too!