Weekending

We are on our second 4-day weekend in a row, to to sickness and a plethora of school holidays.  So, to beat the long-weekend-with-two-kids blues, we took an overnight trip to Sacramento to visit family.

On the first afternoon, we went to the train museum in Old Sacramento, which was a huge hit, especially with the wee boy.

http://www.csrmf.org/

This morning, we went to Fairytale Town, which was super cool for the little ones, because there are life-sized fairy tale/Mother Goose/famous story things the kids can play on.  They can climb the beanstalk like Jack did, sit in Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, water plants in Mr. McGregor’s garden, etc!

http://www.fairytaletown.org/

The kids and I slept almost the entire ride home, but we still ended up feeling like this:

i too tired

But after a short trip to the park, the wee boy and I were treated to this:

sunset

I hope you had a good weekend, too!  Tomorrow I should have a new bear to show you!

 

Frustration

Ugh.  My entire iphoto library may have gotten deleted.  Last week, in preparation for installing a new OS, we backed everything up onto an external hard drive.  All was fine.  We upgraded to a newer OS, all was fine.  Yesterday I got a new phone.  I’ve been taking some photos, and tonight I wanted to watermark some.  They seemed to upload fine into iphoto, but when I got to iwatermark, there was nothing.  I clicked on the iphoto icon, nothing.  I plugged in the external hard drive and looked for iphoto, nothing.  What the heck happened???? 6 years of photos, gone?  Backing up the photos was the main reason for the external hard drive, so I’m really confused, aside from seriously bumming.   I hope there’s some logical explanation….????  Sigh… no photos to share today.  😦

A new bear, and a dash of perspective

Tonight I finished my 19th bear, named Sean after a nephew.  I used up the last bit of yellow I had from a Gryffindor hat and Gryffindor-themed bears, as well as making a good dent in a bunch of burgundy and navy blue acrylic obtained at a stash exchange for the purpose of making bears.  The acrylic is Caron Simply Soft, which is very soft and works great for bear knitting!  And oh! the generous yardage!

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http://www.motherbearproject.org/

As I’ve mentioned, my goal for 2014 is 14 bears.  I’ve sent off 5 (yay, ahead of schedule!!), and I want to have 3 to deliver in person to the Mother Bear Project booth at Stitches West next week, so I’m right on schedule for that, as it only takes about two days for me to finish a bear.   I think this is the best face I’ve done so far.  I’ve realized that instead of embroidering over a few spaces for eyes or a nose, it looks better if I repeat the same stitch in the same spot about 4-5 times.  That way the stitches aren’t spread out, and they stand out nicely.

And in other news, this afternoon I had a sobering encounter that made me count my blessings, and hopefully can curb my complaints about daily life….. I was walking home with the wee boy after completing a big (for me) errand when I passed a woman standing in front of a gas station, holding a cardboard sign, you know, the type panhandlers hold up to drivers to ask for money.  At a glance, I read “STRANDED,” and my eyes went to the 3 or so children sitting on the curb next to her with suitcases in front of them.  I tend to walk quickly, so it was a few paces before I could stop safely (out of the entrance to the gas station) to think about doing something.  I checked my wallet, first thinking of how much I could spare before just taking out all the cash I had and walking back to her.  I held it out to her, and her eyes welled up as she took it.  I was completely choking up, thinking of this mom having so much trouble that she was asking strangers to help her at the side of a busy San Francisco street.  I mumbled some nonsense before remembering that I had more to offer.  I asked, “Could you use a sandwich?” and she said softly, “yes!”  So I took out what was left of the lunch the wee boy and I had grabbed (we’d each only eaten a half of the sandwich and bagel we’d gotten for lunch– they were cut in half, not leftover gnawed bits :0), and gave the bag to her.  We were both welling up and she said, “thanks for stopping,” as I patted her shoulder and managed to choke out, “good luck.”  I had to walk away quickly before I ended up bursting into tears in front of her.

Ugh.   This has stuck with me all day, and I hope that the woman and her children are ok.  Living in San Francisco, seeing panhandlers or homeless people is, unfortunately, common.  Seeing people panhandling doesn’t usually affect me like this, but it’s not often that it’s a clean-cut young woman with children.  I fact, I’ve never seen children along.  I think it’s easier to feel connected, as a mom, to someone who is also responsible for the well-being of little ones, and my mind just zapped to how could I not help, if I was totally able to do so? Not that I’m rolling in dough, but I’m sure that bit of cash meant more to her than it would have to me. What happened that this mom had to resort to asking complete strangers for help?  I know it has to take a lot of guts and humility to do what she did, standing with a cardboard sign, hoping that some people would help her out, admitting to the world that she needed help.  

I’m not sure I have a point with this, but to put some sort of conclusion to my ramblings, 1) I’m very grateful for the comfortable life I have.  A good home in a nice neighborhood, a stable home life, stable income, friends and family I can count on. 2) Our acts of charity, however small to us, can mean a lot to people who are struggling.  3) More charity knitting, more charity giving!!

And if you have a moment, please say a small prayer for the mom and kids, wish them shelter, food, and safe passage home.  It can’t hurt.

Sapped

You know those days when you’re completely sapped of energy by 9pm?  I always have these high hopes of getting A and B and, oh! C done after getting the kids to bed.  I generally end up with some Facebook, some Ravelry, and a bit of knitting while watching Dr. Who.

Tonight is one of those nights.  I fell asleep while getting the wee boy to bed, and can’t bounce back.  So it’s just a bit of bear knitting for me tonight.

However, I was able to get some things done during the day today.  My husband took the boy to swim today, and they were gone for several hours and I was able to finish sewing 5 Marvel Comics and Star Trek knitting/crochet/etc. project bags!  I hope to take good photos tomorrow and get them posted in my Etsy shop ASAP.  I’m really happy with how they turned out, and I even ironed some just-washed fabric for some Star Wars bags.    Here’s my Etsy shop:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarissaMadeIt

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I’m looking forward to turning these into cute, useful items!

Knit night!

Ahhh, Tuesday again.  A few hours of knitting with friends is worth many, many hours of massage, therapy, lounging at the beach, whatever might be therapeutic and relaxing, especially when some of us are crankier than usual…..

I forgot to take photos at Knit Night, so here’s a shot of my two WIPs, a bear for the Mother Bear Project, and my second Chasing Snakes sock.  I probably knit half this sock at knitting tonight.  I haven’t felt very attracted to the knitting, although I think the finished sock is very pretty.  I try to work on this pair when I’m at knitting groups, so I will get a chunk of it done without even noticing the effort I’m putting in.

WIPs

You may have noticed that I wrote “my two WIPs.”  Yes, I have only two knitting projects on the needles right now!  I tend to be almost monogamous with my knitting, as I prefer to work on my projects until they’re finished, then start another.  I don’t like projects to languish in the closet or on the shelf.  There was a point maybe 5 or 6 years ago when I had too many projects going on at once, and somehow it struck a nerve in this Virgo, and I steadfastly finished all the WIPs, and since then I haven’t had more than about 3 at a time.  In general, one might be kind of challenging, maybe not super portable, and the other is simple, easy to take along and knit in public while carrying on a conversation.  Lately, when I need a super easy project right now, I just cast on another bear.  It’s super simple and only takes a few days, so it’s not a huge commitment, WIP-wise.

How about you?  Do you have lots of projects on the needles (hook, sewing machine, etc), or are you fairly monogamous in your craft?

Sewing, and stalled startitis

I managed to get a good deal of sewing in after getting the kids to bed tonight.  I’m nearly done with 5 new Marvel and Star Trek project bags.  I hope to get photos and get them up on Etsy within a few days!

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I cut the sewing short in order to squeeze in some knitting as well, but it’s been frustrating.  I have these two lovely balls of Berroco Alpaca, one a light brown, the other a friend overdyed with short repeats of yellow, green, and very light brown.  I’m having trouble fitting them with a project.  I tried a “Noro Striped Scarf,” but there isn’t enough contrast between the two balls, and it ended up looking muddled.  I do want to use them together, though….  Maybe something involving blocks of color instead of stripes.  I’m almost tempted to make a Go-Go Garter scarf:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/go-go-garter-stitch-scarf 

I’ve been feeling drawn to garter stitch since seeing a lovely, simple garter stitch cowl on a passerby yesterday….  Ohhh, we’ll see.

R-bear

Ever so inspired by yesterday’s sighting of Josh Bear in Kenya, I finished up my R-bear today!  I think this will be named Rosemarie, for my wee girl’s middle name and her paternal grandmother.  ❤   I just realized that R is my 18th bear!

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She’s my Hufflepuff-themed bear, not a bumblebee-themed bear as it might appear.  As most of my bears lately, she has a hood instead of a scarf.

In other news, today I was on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.  In the (rather long) fabric cutting line at JoAnn’s, another woman asked me what my number was, and since hers was 2 before mine, and I had 2 frisky little ones in tow, she gave me her number, a sweet smile, and an “I’ve been there. The days last forever, but the years fly by.”

I actually teared up a little, as I processed how very true that is (and I generally discard most touchy-feely crap about parenting),  and I want to remember to pass on this good deed when I’m waiting in a line without little ones….

Catching up

I meant to write yesterday, but it didn’t happen.   We were/are all still sickly, and yesterday we powered through a trip to San Jose to the Tech Museum for the Star Wars exhibit, so I was especially tired and was asleep by 9pm.  Usually I’m just getting started crafting/meandering online around that time!  

First of all, the Star Wars exhibit was really fun.  There are tons of model spaceships, costumes, puppets, accessories, etc., that were used in the movies, videos explaining specifics, interactive games/activities, etc!   The wee girl wore her Leia outfit through the exhibit, but the boy only consented to put on his R2 outfit on after we had left.  Oh well!  Leia was very popular, but she got really shy when people showed her any attention.  The kids especially liked the video about Wookies, their planet, and their role in the Clone Wars.  My favorite…?  I’m torn between 1) seeing actual costumes and props from the movies and 2) the videos explaining details of the movies, such as how they did the sounds of the ships.

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Today I was happy to find that my Josh bear, which I finished last Fall, 

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has been united with his new owner in Kenya!

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It’s the sweetest thing to spot the bears with their children in Africa.  Today I was looking at the bears photos with my kids when we spotted Josh.  We had to check my photos on Facebook to make sure it was him!  When the bears have been gone for a while, I kind of forget what they look like!  I need to remember to post photos of each to Ravelry so I can identify them!

Since we’re all still under the weather, we stayed home today and around 3:00 I played my tv card to keep my sanity.  I let the kids watch an Elmo video while I did some sewing prep.  

Some of this,

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became some of these: 

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and there will be more to come soon.  At least all the measuring and cutting are done, those seem to be the most tedious steps.  Some of these should be appearing in my Etsy shop before too long!

Sick day

At long last, I caught the cold that I thought I had avoided this time around.  Today I kept the wee girl home from school, due to her rough coughing all night long.  Unfortunately (?), my kids aren’t the type to sit/lie quietly when they’re sick.  They run around and wreak as much havoc as usual, in spite of coughs and runny noses.  To give myself a break, I let them watch a movie and some Sesame Street, and I sewed and prepped some sewing projects, spiffied up my son’s R2D2 costume, etc.  It was pretty productive for a sick day.

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A friend gave me this chicken fabric recently, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but the amount happened to be perfect for two of these lined project bags (for knitting or crochet projects, etc).  I’m not sure yet if I’ll put them in my Etsy shop or donate them to the Mother Bear Project to sell at Stitches West in a few weeks.  I’m leaning toward donation.

The pattern for the bags is found here:

http://www.incolororder.com/2011/10/lined-drawstring-bag-tutorial.html

I used the free pattern to make four or five bags last year, and I liked it so much that I bought the expanded pattern.  When I had some trouble with it (it assumes you’re working from fat quarters, and gives cutting instructions as such, but it turns out you can ignore those numbers and skip to the final cut measurements), I wrote to the designer and she responded quickly and sweetly, completely clearing up my misunderstanding.  I highly recommend this pattern (free or paid!)!

I was also able to prep a few more of these project bags, and will show them to you soon!

A good day, a day late

Yesterday I forgot to post this:

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I sold my first Totoro Quiet Book pattern on Etsy!  Yaaaay!  I’m so thrilled!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/174363863/totoro-quiet-book-pattern?

And this!

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I finished my girl’s Princess Leia dress!  Oops, this photo was before hemming, and I still want to make a better belt, but you get the picture.  The boy is wearing a Yoda backpack.  It’s this hilarious item:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/817c/

You can pretend you’re Luke Skywalker, training in the swamp with Yoda.

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I also finished my first Chasing Snakes sock last night, but I forgot to take a photo.

Wow, three good things in one day!  I hope you had a good day, too!