Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I am no fan of the Kitchener Stitch!

Ellie's socks are done, but please do not look too closely at the toes. Ugh, I need to take a private lesson or two on that Kitchener stitch. I get the concept, I understand it for the most part, but when I start to do it, I end up all confused and end up with more stitches on one needle than the other. I hoped to enter these in the fair, but there is no way with the toes the way they are. Oh well. I recently purchased another sock book that teaches how to knit socks from the toe up and will try that method for my next pair. (Since writing this, I have found a tutorial on youtube and I feel better about trying again.)

The yarn is some acrylic something I bought at A.C.Moore that makes the designs as you knit. For once I actually had trouble knitting too tightly (rarely happens for me) and even ended up breaking one of my bamboo sock needles-yikes! I don't like the way they feel, but Ellie and her sister Macy don't seem to mind. Ellie put them on as soon as I attempted to sew the toes closed, Macy found them and wore them yesterday (I took this picture after she removed them for the day, that's why they're a bit dirty) and I found Ellie digging through the laundry to put them on today (I told her I had to wash them before she could put them on). Macy is now wanting to know when I will make her a pair. I was hoping to use some Noro yarn I have on hand, but she wants blue and purple stripped so I will use some Dalegarn Stork yarn I have. I will enjoy knitting with that much more I think. Maybe those socks will be fairworthy.

I used double pointed needles for the first time (I've only made one other pair of socks and they were on two circular needles) and I bought two sets so that I could knit both socks together so they would be the same size. I should have made these a bit longer and used a rib stitch the entire sock instead of just at the top for more stretch. Lessons learned. I used a book that just gives you basic sock instructions and you decide the yarn, gauge, etc. It's in my car right now or I'd give the title.

Kate is asleep, Claire is resting and Ellie has lunch bunch at preschool today. I'm going to try to work on some boxer shorts for my husband. The last batch I made are so old and falling apart-he's in desperate need of more.

I will leave you with a parting picture I found in our picture folder. Ben inherited his dad's old digital camera and has been using it to take all sorts of pictures. As you know, he loves Calvin and Hobbes. This is his imitation of Calvin getting his picture taken. Believe it or not, he's actually taken some good ones and we plan to enter those in the fair this August.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kindergarten Orientation

You would think after having done this twice before, I would find it easy to send off my third child to kindergarten. Nope! Even though this was just orientation and Ellie won't start kindergarten until August, I found myself tearing up! She is chomping at the bit to be at the elementary school with her brother and sister.
Macy and Ellie are getting too tall for many of their dresses and although I've bought a few at the mall, we needed some for Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings for church that are more casual (I know I could sew them some, but I'm tired right!) I'm very pleased with how they turned out! Sorry about Ellie's head being cut off, not sure how to make a collage of pictures and not have that happen. Anyway, here are three of the four dresses I made the other day using t-shirts purchased at Target. The fourth dress is just like the pink one, but with a turquoise t-shirt instead of pink-same skirt. I needed a fourth picture to complete the collage, so I slipped in a picture of Kate.

I used a dress that fit them well and used that as my sample to get the idea of how long I wanted the bodice to be and how wide/long for the skirt. I cut off the bottom of the t-shirts, applied nylon tricot to the waist to stabilize it. I found that if I cut a strip lengthwise it has a bit of stretch so it works well for this purpose. I then cut one panel of 45" fabric I had in my stash, sewed it up both sides and then gathered and added it to the t-shirt. A narrow hem to finish up. I bought the fabrics at fabric.com and have had them for quite a while so that part of the project felt free. The t-shirts were $5.00 each at target. The whole project just took me two nights. (about three hours total work for all the dresses)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Carolyn Gurtz and her fairworthy cookies

I have no pictures of the Pillsbury Bake Off Winner's cookies. If you haven't seen a picture yet, go here, here or here. Instead here is a picture of a fairworthy baby. She turned two months old this week. She doesn't eat cookies yet.

In my search for a fairworthy cookie, I became excited when I found out that Carolyn Gurtz won the Pillsbury Bake off with her Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. I thought, "If I made a chocolate cookie dough and wrapped it around the peanut butter mixture from her recipe, that would be so yummy. I bet it would win a ribbon at the fair." Well I was right, it would and it did. Last year or maybe the year before, Carolyn entered that very same combination in our county fair (we live in the same county) and it won a ribbon for cookies. Sigh . . . thought I was onto something there. Anyway it was that recipe that she changed to make it more appealing to the pillsbury people. It worked, she won! I'm sorry to hear people bashing the recipe because it uses premade cookie dough. Of course she would make the recipe so that it would use the most products that would appeal to the company. If anyone had bothered to do their research, they would have found out that she just changed a recipe in which everything originally was made from scratch. For those interested, here's a link to the very article that tells the real story.

I could make the cookies anyway, but I know the judges would say "Carolyn wanna be!" I believe she won Grand Champion/Best of Show in baking two years ago with a pecan pie. She was in the paper with all the other Best in Show winners from the other neighboring county fairs. So I can keep trying for a Best in Show item (can be anything baked-cookie, cake, pie, cheesecake, brownie) since she can't win for another three years since a person can win it only once every five years. I am so far from there though. The best I've ever done is a blue ribbon here or there. Not even a champion, so I have a lot of work to do yet. I have high hopes for the Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake I made from Smitten Kitchen. Maybe that will win champion for Cheesecakes. I can dream!

On the sewing front, I have a few smocking items I am finishing up and hope to have completed in the next month or so. I only smock in the car on the way to church, so the going is slow. I also knit and have been finishing some socks for Ellie I started a while back. Pictures soon, I hope!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Proud of my scout

Did I say I was proud of my scout? I am. Irritated, but still proud. Currently he is trying to emulate the actions of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) which means he's been getting into all sorts of trouble lately. Not very scout like I'm afraid. Being that it's April Fools Day, I'm afraid to know what he's done today, but I can hope for the best.

We just finished spring break and during that week we finished up a last few requirements for his Bear Badge which means we finished with a month to spare! Yeah! Badge requirements are not one of Ben's favorite things about scouts. Neither is wearing his uniform. Don't let the above photo fool you. If Ben could, he would burn that uniform. He's tried losing certain components of it, but I always prevail to get him mostly in uniform for his meetings. The above photo was taken right before a uniform inspection. It is the best he has looked all year. He won't look this good again until next year's uniform inspection. Sigh . . .
(sarcophagus car is being checked out by a resident dinosaur)

Last month was the Pinewood Derby. Ben did very well. He placed 13th out of the 50+ boys in our Pack. Much, much better than last year. He might have even done better had his mother read the rules and placed his wheels on his car at the correct spacing. Since she did not, they had to remove the front wheels and put them back on according to the correct distance. The car did great placing 1st and 2nd in many heats, until one of those front wheels went flying off. When they placed it back on, the car never won another heat. Not only did it not win, the car would come in so last, everyone would have a donut while waiting for it to finish the race so they could start the next heat. Oh well, there's always next year.

Lest you think Ben did no work on his car, he did. He came up with the idea, sanded the car, painted it, glued the picture on top and then added the shiny top coat. Next year we'll see about putting on those wheels by himself, but I'll tell you, they're hard even for someone who's as handy as I am. We'll enter Ben's car into the fair in August. They have a pinewood derby car division in the Craft and Photography building. We tried to talk Ben into writing "race in peace" on his car, but he wouldn't do it. That's why our pack needs an adult race so I can make my own car. :)
One last photo. Kate is getting bigger! Here she is on Easter morning sitting by her sister Claire's Elmo. The Easter Bunny got Elmo, right after Christmas, for a steal at the grocery store. Bet you didn't know the Easter Bunny shops the sales did you? The dress Kate is wearing was a bit big on her but it had a bunny on it and I couldn't resist. I made it for Ellie when she was 6 months old for Easter. I entered the dress in the fair and it received a blue ribbon! Kate didn't think much about the dress however. She decided to poop all over it not long after this picture was taken.