Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun with Camera

Here's evidence that my camera arrived this week! Wahoo!

Yesterday Anja was standing on this chair (which I've had for AGES) and the seat gave way and her leg went right through!
So I made this silly cushion. It's nothing spectacular except that the stuffing is from my teeny-tiny scraps/thread scraps collection! You see? IT PAYS to be a packrat. The fabric came from my stash too. The funky bright yarn is Noro somethingorother and will become a hat for Anja.

And this is who we're calling Jack Calico (Calico is our way of compromising with Anja, who wanted to name him "Black White and Brown".
He's a good addition to the family so far... the only problem is that this lady doesn't come downstairs anymore. I'm not sure what I think of that...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Things!

Well, my lack of technology is getting worse. My cruddy little phone is on its very last leg. I'm pretty much limited to text messaging because everyone I actually talk to on the phone sound like they're on the moon. It's very, very, very obnoxious. Luckily, Martino has ordered me a new one from eBay for not much money. And it's pink!

The other new gadget Martino got me (this one as a BIG SURPRISE) was a nice new camera!!!! I'm really excited for it. It hasn't come yet, but I am sooooooo excited for it!! I can't wait to start taking good, flash-free pictures that aren't always blurry!!!!!! It'll be good too, since we've been tossing around the idea of getting a computer. Martin is on board for this online, at-home test scoring job, which is really only twice a year (fall and spring) and last fall he did it from work and it was tough. The time before, he did it from home and it worked out pretty well. So before this spring gig starts, he'd like to have a laptop. I'm not sure we'll get internet at home right away, but it'll be nice to have the option of being able to go someplace and enjoy a cup of coffee and some free wi-fi to make a blog post. ALSO, if we ever do get a computer AND internet at home, I'll start my Etsy shop back up because my pictures will be a million times better! And I've been crafting things all winter that might as well be listed in an etsy shop because I'm not really going to use them. So, anyway, it might not be long before I'm not needing to come up to my mom's anymore to do all this blog posting. It'll be nice, I think. I have a feeling that when I'm taking better pictures I'll want to be posting them to my blog!!!

One day during the most recent cold snap (before the delicious warm spell) we went up to the river for the day. It was beautiful and very cold. We had good warm stew to eat.
And the girls throroughly enjoyed sliding down the "slide" up in the playloft (which Anja calls the hayloft.) They'd never been up there much before... or maybe even at all.... and it was SO FUN. Martin and I sat up there with our knitting (me) and book (him) and just laughed and laughed at them playing. They played so hard that they fell asleep less than ten minutes into the drive home--and it was only 3:00 in the afternoon!
Shortly after we got there we realized there was no water coming into the house. Martin tried everything and finally figured there was a frozen spot somewhere in the pipes. That made toilet flushing somewhat difficult. This was Martin's solution:
We dumped it all into the tank and made one community flush at the end of the day. That's what being resourceful is all about, right?
Valentines Day was SO fun! For having written Valentine's Day Schmalentines Day only five six years ago, I've really made a turnaround since having children. I really enjoy making the holidays special. We started Valentine's Day with heart shaped pancakes and all day long enjoyed making valentines for people, recieving valentines from people and eating a lot of chocolate. For a special little gift each girl got a new notebook to be their sticker books for the year. Last year Anja got her sticker book for Epiphany but this year we forgot to get it for some reason, so we saved the idea for Valentine's Day.

And this is what a real man's gun looks like:
I like to think of that flower as a symbol that Spring is really coming. I am so ready to plant. We're going to be buying CSA this year (yay!) and planting our usual garden, plus hopefully adding to our few berry bushes we planted last year (assuming with doubly crossed fingers that they survived the winter.) We're planning to fence in our pumpkin patch so it looks a little nicer too, and so we don't have any more tragic baby pumpkin deaths due to growing over the sidewalk and being run over by the trash can!
And now onto the crafting of late:
For Valentine's Day I made these pants:
They are reversable! They fit both girls--for Greta they can be rolled up to show the coordinating print on the other side and for Anja they are just long and snuggly. The inside is green and brown. I think they are cute and Anja likes them!
The other thing I made is this rug:
Two wool blankets felted, cut and sewn together. You make cutouts in the top blanket so the bottom color shows through. Isn't that a brilliant idea? I got it from the book AlterKnits--Felt by Leigh Radford. I love it! I am really, really happy not only with how it turned out, but also with how it fits in that newly arranged space and ties the room together. Without knowing it, I made this in the same colors as our bookshelf in the same room!
Really, really happy with it.
And this is the newest addition to our family. Welcome to the desk, friend!

I have no idea why it took me eight months of not having a computer to have the bright idea to buy a typewriter, but as soon as I got the idea I was desperate to get one. One day this week Martin came home for lunch so I slipped out (without a coat because it was sixty degrees!) and walked down to the antique store. They had this, and even with it's missing the number 1 key and the T that sticks, I couldn't resist. I walked home proudly with my little typewriter in its little black box! And since I had been up to see the Typewriter Man a day or two before, I know I can get it repaired and find new ribbon from it through him. And he's only a few blocks away!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Winter Sunday

Happy Superbowl Sunday! Go Cubs! Hahaha, just kidding. I know the Cubs are a hockey team.

We more than survived the snowstorm. We were right on the edge of the blizzard (north) and the ice storm (south) and so we received a good layering of something like sno-cone. Interesting! Yesterday it was all covered by a few more inches of snow. Winter is a good season. We began the snowstorm by making a blueberry coffee cake. It was SO GOOD! A recipe from my all-time favorite cookbook, Simply in Season.

Blizzard warnings are good times for getting some knitting done.
So yesterday I got this great idea to rearrange the house. Not the entire house... just the completely over-cluttered dining room. The little table that once was a nice place to set a vase of flowers became the table for my sewing machine, resulting in the slow deterioration of that entire wall of the room. The place was a wreck... and it's February now, which means I've been looking at this wreck of a room for MONTHS. Time for a change. Enter: The Landing.
You might remember our first arrangement of the Landing when we first moved in; it was our Book Nook. A marvelous little space, my very favorite part of our house by far. But then we started having children and the amount of stuff that comes with having babies kind of squeezed the books out of the way. Since then the landing has been the space where all our dressers live. And then they were joined by a box of fabric. And now? Now it's my craft space. Sounds great, right? WRONG. The landing is tiny. Waaaay tinier than my dining room. So a craft space that was cluttered and messy just got more cluttered and about 500% messier. We have nowhere else to put our dressers, so they are still there. I covered one with fabric and am using it as a sewing table. So every day when we need something to wear, we'll have to basically dig it out from under my sewing table.
Another really awesome thing about this decision is that my sewing machine is at least 7 years old, and probably more like 17 years old. I know it's at least 7 years old because that's how long I've had it. No wait... more like 8 years now. Anyway.... I know for a fact that my mom didn't buy it new, so it's got at least a few extra years on it. My point is, it isn't silent. Which is fine! Great! Be as loud as you want, sewing machine..... when you're placed anywhere in the house EXCEPT NEXT TO THE ROOM WHERE MY CHILDREN ARE SLEEPING. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
And of course, there's also the issue of getting my ginormous trunk full of fabric up the stairs. Ha. I guess that's why I married Martin.
I don't have any "before" pictures handy, but it went something like (beginning at far left) kiddie piano, long table with sewing machine, ginormous trunk. This is what it looks like today:
Notice the cup of tea sitting on the ginormous trunk that's just been shoved out of the way and almost immediately became the set-up surface for a bunch of little tin soldiers that came out of hiding with that canoe shaped shelf behind Anja in the picture. The chair and crate table used to be upstairs on the landing.
And this is the only part of the upstairs sewing/crafting area that I'm happy with so far:

Something along the lines of organization.
Anyway. Frustration reigns today, but I'm hoping to get the place in order eventually and make myself be happy with the setup because if that trunk gets moved upstairs, I can't imagine Martin volunteering to bring it back down again anytime in this century.
And here's Anja and her favorite horse (as well as a sort of "before" picture of the landing):
Now that things are scrambled in the dining room and weird little things are emerging from hiding places, we were able to be entertained by our fine young musicians!

They've taken to decorating themselves with markers lately. I think they might have futures as tattoo artist musicians.

So at this point we've been living without a computer for seven months. That's a good part of a pregnancy (no I am not!). And for a good part of that time it was really awesome and I almost never thought of the computer or the internet and I came up to my parents' house many many times without even thinking about sitting down at the computer. Well, maybe it's just the longness of winter finally getting to me, but I am missing the internet. I'm missing the blogs I used to read. I'm missing my own blog and being able to quickly post about some funny little family happening. I really like my little life and miss sharing it with my blog readers. *sigh* Also, without being able to hop online and search for recipes with specific ingredients that I have, our dinners are getting a little monotonous. Oh well. Winter is a good time to sit and knit mindlessly without distraction. And I still believe that my days are richer without having the magnetic pull of the computer on my kitchen countertop. And I still would like to make it a whole year without having a computer at our house. BUT. For the past week or two, I've been actively missing it.
That's all for today. I hope you all are having a cozy winter. Also, for any of you who have the Simply in Season cookbook, the girls and I made the Cinnamon Bread yesterday and it turned out REALLY YUMMY! It was great for the girls too because the recipe yields 2 loaves, so they each got to put the cinnamon and sugar on a loaf and roll it up themselves. Fun for all, and a tasty Sunday morning breakfast too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hunkered Down

Hello, BLIZZARD WARNING! I made a quick dash over to the library to post my excitement. I've been wanting to get to a computer for a few days and make a post... partly because I was disgusted with society, but now I've gotten my soulemama fix and am feeling a little less annoyed. (My annoyance had to do with a generally lazy society and the mentality that someone else always has to fix things for you. When did people forget how to take care of themselves?!)

So, I've been collecting some knitting books from the library and in one (something about vintage baby knits) I found a pattern for little baby pants, worked on straight needles! (I don't do circular, remember.) They are freaking adorable, and I am afraid that I've.... been bit. (again.)

I don't have any yarn for them, but I did get my hands on this wonderful cotton (mission falls) that's in a very springtime green that I'm working into a little baby sweater. I'm calling it the Springtime Garden Sweater. I think it's going to be cute! And I'm pretty sure it'll fit Anja, but if not, it's lucky I have two baby girls!

Baby girls, who really aren't babies at all any more. In fact, yesterday I was nursing Greta while she was picking her nose, and I realized I'm nursing a little girl, not a baby. How did that happen?! Greta seems so much older than Anja at that age. She talks ALL THE TIME and really well. In fact, she speaks way more clearly than Anja does, and tries out words more bravely than Anja. Greta can name almost all of her cousins.... Anja only says the name of four. She still calls Avila "my cousins' new baby." Haha! Greta calls her "ya-ya" which is adorable. And Greta's got all this fluffy hair now! And Anja's hair is so long she wears it in pigtails, which is great, because left on its own it kind of goes wild. She's got a pretty crazy mop.

And Anja is getting too big too fast too. Last week we read "Charlotte's Web." !!!!! A CHAPTER BOOK!!!! She was asking if all spiders are mean, and I said oooooh no, no, no... and I told her about Charlotte. She immediately wanted to read the book. They didn't have it available at the library, but we happened to be at Once Upon a Child last week (where I also picked up for $2 a pair of green corduroy pants that will soon have felt vegetables appliqued onto them) and found a brand new copy for $1.50! What a bargain. So we bought it and started reading it that day in the car. We finished it in five days. Every morning Anja would come downstairs and ask me to read her a chapter of Charlotte's Web. She looooved Wilbur, and she really loved Templeton too.... oddly enough, she didn't really care much about Charlotte or the fact that Charlotte dies at the end of the book. But anyway, we're into the world of chapter books now and I am not sure what to think about that.

But in all this sentimentality, I have to say that I LOVE having two "kids" instead of two babies. It's so much fun! We do such fun things together during the day. Today to celebrate Blizzard Day we made a blueberry coffee cake. They love to help me bake! And they're getting really good at stirring without flinging ingredients all over the kitchen.

The guy next to me is totally rocking out... and burping. Do I laugh, or throw up a little?

Oh my gosh, the other day Martin told a really gross joke that made my mom run to the bathroom. She called out "I'm gagging!" And then a minute later she said, "I threw up a little in my mouth!" Oh my gosh, I'm trying not to laugh out loud right now around all these weird dirty people in the library computer lab.

Well, I'm on Martin's library card (I've lost mine) and he wants to jump over here too, so I'd better not use up all the time. We're well stocked on toilet paper and canned goods, and yesterday when Martin left work one of his co-workers said, "See you Thursday!" It would be a cozy break. We were reminiscing this morning about the blizzard of 2007, when we'd just moved into our house and everything was closed except Chumley's so we walked down there for beers with downtown friends. And I think it was that same snowstorm when Martin picked up that hitchhiker during the snow emergency. Looking back on past events, everything seems so weird and funny.

Okay, it's time for me to leave. I'm feeling claustrophobic. And I am feeling the very strong need to wash my hands. And body.