Archive for the “caught being good” Category
The first week of school means getting up early, getting back to routines, and trying to stay organized. The girls just entered 5th, 7th, and 9th grades. They all do sports. They all want to do other things as well. There is a lot of homework, a lot of laundry, and a lot of driving. There is also a lot of quiet. From 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. my house is quiet. Of course, I need it to recover from all the time that is not between 7:45 and 3:15, but the quiet during that time is so glorious. I don’t even turn things on. I may watch the weather or listen to a bit of a cd now and then, but most of the time I just enjoy the quiet. The wind is blowing slightly and every so often the windchimes ring a soft tone. Occasionally a car drives by, but as long as the phone doesn’t ring, it is quiet.
At 3:00 though, I start preparing. What to give them for snack? What shall we have for dinner? Who is driving carpool. Will we make it through the evening? Yesterday, we had a particularly rough afternoon. Agents J and B arrived home and they were hot. Sweaty dripping hot. And they had homework and they were tired and they were hungry. Agent B is generally not a fan of school and especially not a fan of homework so she was just not happy. She wanted to tell me every injustice of her day (the teacher did not let her go to the bathroom and she had to raise her hand forever and she never noticed her and then her arms got tired…). Agent J seems to be a lover of homework and she grabs a snack and says “Come on “B” let’s do our homework!” in her characteristic singsongy high pitched voice. Agent B slugs herself over to the table, and they both pull out all the forms that compose my homework. “Ha ha Mommy, you have more forms to sign.” They seem to take glee in it.
I go to take my shower to get ready for our evening activities and it is not too long before I hear Agent B melting down. Her homework is too hard she tells J and she can’t do it. She is starting to get worked up, but then I hear something different – laughing and giggling. What happened? I go downstairs to find that J has come up with a plan. For every question that B answers, she gives her a piece of a fruit roll up. When that runs out, she moves on to chocolate chips. Maybe not the best way to get homework done, but I’m all for smiles rather than tears.
Agent J coaxes Agent B into doing her homework.
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Today, we fought the bleak December by making gingerbread houses.
This is an actual holiday tradition in our family. The first couple of years we made gingerbread houses, I made the dough and all the pieces from scratch, but then one year I discovered the “kit.” The gingerbread kit is a beauteous thing! All the pieces, the frosting powder, and the candy all in one box. This year it got even better. At Target they have $8.00 kits that include quite a bit of candy, PRE-MADE frosting, and a plastic base which has slots to hold the walls in place. Very easy and the girls were “caught being good.” when they completely cleaned up after themselves!
This was not really the plans that I had for today as we were supposed to attend a Womens Hartford Hawks Basketball game, but with IHA off at a Patriots game and the threat of inclement weather we decided to opt out and shop in the morning and gingerbread house in the afternoon. I think this worked out really well, as I have one more thing crossed off my todo list!
I needed to get back to knitting Dark Victory this week and I think I am starting to get moving again. But to get back on my knitting feet, I made a quick roll brim hat for Agent B:
This was some handspun yarn I had from a Funky Eclectic Nuclear Superwash Wool Roving.
OK, onto Dark Victory. Here is the body portion so far up to where I have some stitches bound off for the sleeves:
As I attempted to start the sleeves last night, I discovered that I just didn’t understand the directions. I played around a bit and reworded the directions so they made sense to me. I think the sleeve is progressing nicely and the increases are coming out symetrical. My only hope is that I can complete all my increases by the time the sleeve reaches the appropriate length. For anyone interested (and for myself when I go to start the second sleeve), this is what I am doing:
Start with a long tail cast on and smaller needles.
R1 (ws) edge stitch (knit on all rows), K1, P2 (K2, P2), K1, edge stitch
R2 (rs) Switch to larger needles. edge stitch, P1, K2 (P2, K2), P, edge stitch
(What I think is going to happen by doing it this way is that the 2 purls from the opposite sides will combine together for the purl 2 rib after the edge stitches are seamed using the mattress stitch.)
R3 (ws) Follow rib pattern as established knitting edge stitches.
R4 (rs) K1 (edge stitch), P1, K2, place marker, Inc 1 (I use m1 by picking up running thread from back to front and knitting into the front) (P2, K2), Inc 1 (pick up running thread from front to back and knit through the back), place marker, K2,P1, K1(edge stitch)
Then just follow the rib pattern and increase every 4 rows. The increases have to work into the existing rib pattern and I could not get that to work by “following” the instructions in the book. This way, they seem to working in nicely. When it is time for a purl increase I do the make 1’s by purling instead of knitting.
You are probably wondering why I titled this post with a quote from The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. Well, I’m reading stories from The Return of the Light by Carolyn McVickar Edwards to the girls each evening. Tonight’s story was called “Raven Steals the Light” and in the introduction to that story, the author compares Poe’s raven to the Inuit’s raven. She says that while Poe’s raven is “dreadful,” the raven in the Inuit story is “comforting” and ‘the very antidote to Poe’s “Midnight in December.”‘ So I have been thinking about the raven in Poe’s world and whether that raven is allowed to exist in our culture today with its plea for constant holiday cheer. We fight the bleakness of December in many ways from endless shopping to thousands of strands of Christmas lights. We get so busy that the month of December flies right by and before we know it that shortest day has passed and the days get longer and the sun stronger again. Overall December is a month to get through and all the holidays in that month throughout the ages have been just a way to quickly pass the time to get on to better days. So, it seems to me that we have 2 choices for December. We can get through it by accepting its innate dreariness and dealing with Ravens such as Poe’s or we can fight the dreariness by bringing in our own light like the Raven in the Inuit story who stole back the light with his wit and cunning. I think for tonight at least, I choose the second raven.
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It is very interesting, now that the agents like to take off with my camera, to see what photos I’m going to be uploading at the end of an event. In a way it is sort of cool because they take pictures of things I wouldn’t typically photograph myself. Sometimes they are very silly as Agent K likes to photodocument her feet extensively and sometimes they are very artsy like the dappled sun coming through the window on the Thanksgiving pies
or a red bowl of green gherkins
I think I have about 26 photos of Thanksgiving pie! I also have a whole series of them trying to get Grandma’s photo. Oh they try so hard, but she is a tricky one!
Overall, we had a very nice holiday. LFG and her husband were at their inlaws and I’m always a bit edgy when I have to holiday without her. For the last few Thanksgivings, our major blessing has been to have our dad with us. This year we were doubly blessed that both Mom and Dad were with us and in good health and spirits; for that I am ever so thankful.
This morning I woke with the start of a killer headache. I poured my coffee and walked over to my windows to zone out a bit while I woke up. As I started sipping, I noticed a grey thing down in the bushes. Without my glasses, it was just a big grey oval. Was it a bee’s nest? Why had I never noticed that? Was is a wicked fat squirrel? No, it is just too still. Off I went to find my binoculars. Guess what it was?
A Barred Owl! He (she?) was so cute. He was there for a couple hours after I first noticed him. All the agents got to see him (except IHA, he was at work). He would look this way and that and seemed to snooze from time to time. I sat with him for a long time while I was wishing my headache away.
Which brings me to tell you about my horrible night of sleep due to my horrible fight with my laundry. I think I am allergic to Tide with Fabreze. It has been going on for a few weeks now. It took me a while to realize what it was (and I’m still not 100% sure). I have to buy HE detergent and it isn’t always easy to find one that I want. My favorite is All Free and Clear HE but Walmart just stopped selling it and I can’t find it anywhere else so I have been using other things and I guess I got careless one day and Tide with Fabreze HE came home with me. Anyway whomever I see regularly knows that lately all I talk about is my laundry and how many times I have washed my sheets and clothes to try to get rid of the Tide! I tried Method Free and Clear HE and it didn’t seem to help too much so now I have moved on. I located some Seventh Generation Free and Clear HE at Walgreens so I think if I still have an allergic reaction after that, then I am hopeless. Does anyone happen to know a store that still carries All Free and Clear HE?
Today was a sort of up and down day with the girls (as always), but here is a moment in time when they were caught being good:
Well, I guess there is no time for a knitterly update now. I guess that will once again have to wait for another day.
I hope you all had nice Thanksgivings and the rest of your weekends are relaxing and full of crafting and shopping and whatever makes you happy. G’night:)
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We made some progress last week in our attempt to have some afternoon sunshine at our house. We had some more trees cut. Too bad we can’t figure out what to do about all those clouds!
Here is a before photo from the spring:
Here is an interim photo that shows some trees removed (also from the spring):
At the beginning of the school year, the trees had filled in so much over the summer, we couldn’t even see the girls standing out at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus!
Here is the photo from today:
We still have a few rather large Hemlocks left, but the really big scary hollow ones are gone. The ones that you see in the middle will still block some afternoon sun, but they disguise a rather ugly telephone pole that sports a rather unattractive transformer so they have to stay. I know many people are sad when trees are cut, but please remember that we still have plenty and the ones we cut were not very healthy and we needed more air circulation around our home as it is very prone to moss and mildew. The little agents took it rather hard at first, but they discovered that they now have a whole new area in which to play and they have already built a fort out of leaves, branches, and moss.
I also had a great shot of them “caught being good” today but Agent K said that she didn’t want to be on my blog without her hair brushed so I will just have to tell you that they played a game of monopoly together while I mixed dyes and IHA worked. It mostly went well though they were a little wild toward the end.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend and I hope to have a knitting update soon!
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I can’t quite get my act together to post about anything knitterly or spinnerly tonight. It has been a long week and it is summer and girls want to play, you know…
I have a couple of photos for you though. This one is of Agents K and J doing the whipped cream pie eating contest at IHA’s company picnic last night. I just love that Agent K , the almost teenager that she is, still has enough kid left in her to do these kinds of things and completely enjoy herself.
Here is something wacko growing in my garden. My bee balm has gone double decker!
Crazy thing, isn’t it?
Also, don’t forget there is still time to enter my blog contest! I was so excited to get all those comments! I tried to e-mail back to as many of you as I could! Please know that I loved your comment even if I didn’t get a chance to reply yet! The Agents and I are very excited for the drawing on Sunday morning!
Oh, and one last thing, I wanted to post a couple of shout-out links to some Etsy shops that I have frequented:
LisaEverettDesigns.etsy.com – I bought some cute little pendents from her and they are as cool in person as they are online.
Dragonflies.etsy.com – I bought some fridge magnets at this shop and they look so nice that even IHA noticed them and he never notices anything!
Spinsanity.etsy.com – This shop sells decorated hand spindles. I haven’t bought any yet, but they intrigue me.
Stringsandyarn.etsy.com – This is another start up fiber shop like mine. I like that Jodie is naming all her colors after music she has played on her violin. She is a little low on inventory right now, but I think she is planning on updating soon.
Paperlove.etsy.com – Knitcole linked to this one the other day on her lj and it sells some really cute notecards and gift tags. After Agent K saw the gift tags, she decided she wanted to make some things for Etsy too which kept her busy for almost an entire day!
I wonder if there is an Etsy Junior?
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We had Crazy Hat Dinner tonight to commemorate Agent J’s success in earning 20 stars on the chore chart so far this summer! Not only did we have crazy hats, but Agent J received her Spotted Frog Webkinz as her incentive prize. The other 2 girls are close, but not quite there yet. They get stars for doing things like
remembering to breathe emptying the dishwasher or tying their shoes taking out the trash. No, seriously they are pretty good. It is just that sometimes it seems like they squirt the Windex, do a couple of wipes, and they think that is star quality chore doing. I have a new sign up to remind them that stars are for jobs well done with effort. I do have to say that they are getting pretty good at cleaning the kitchen when they can cooperate with each other.
Of course I have some photos for your entertainment pleasure:
Not only did the girls make their own crazy hats, but they made my crazy hat as well:
This next guy, we don’t know who he is, he just showed up for the toasted pita pockets:
Here is Agents J and B signing onto Webkinz. I think she named her spotted frog, Julia.
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OK, it is 10:13 and all three girls are still alive! That is good! So far there has been playing, singing, bickering, consequences, laughing, and a bit more bickering, but not too bad. It is such a gorgeous day and we are off to spend it swimming with friends. These are the best kind of summer days!
I have a Caught Being Good story. I haven’t had one of these in a while, I should really be keeping up! Agents B and J ride home from school on the bus together. They don’ t sit together during the ride, but everyday when they get off the bus, Agent B gets off first and waits for Agent J and they proceed to walk up the driveway and chat about their day. I watch them get off the bus from the door and I can usually tell how their days went from the tones of their conversation. Next year Agent J will get home before Agent B and I asked her what she will do without her and she said that she is going to go out everyday and wait for B to get off the bus so they can still walk up the driveway together.
In knitting news, today, I started to add some of my stash to Ravelry (my user name is Spincerely, btw…). The Ravelry blog says that they are adding 1000 new users per week and in couple of weeks they will be working on the site full time! I can’t wait until it is open for real! I want to share with everyone! There are so many cool features. I think this site is really going to have a huge influence on the yarn industry. The data. It is all about the data! “The data is never wrong.” (a quote by one of my college professors…)
Ok, well, there are now hoses, sprinkers, and water balloons going outside so we better get to the lake before they are complete predrenched!
Have a great day!
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My Endpaper Mitts are done now, completely and for real!
Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Knitpicks Palette colors blush and wood (This yarn was great for this pattern. I had tried swatching with some slipperier yarns and I was totally frustrated, but this yarn was nice and “sticky” and was really great for learning colorwork. Plus these things cost less than $4.00 to make!!! How can you really beat that for a learning experience. If I had seen this yarn in a store, I probably would not have bought it as it just isn’t all that appealing in its ball. It doesn’t have much twist which doesn’t really affect the way it knits, but it just makes it less aesthetically pleasing The biggest downside to using this yarn is that I can not wear them to work but I promised Agent J a pair of fingerless gloves and as you can see from the above photo, they fit her “like a glove.”)
Needles: US sizes 0 Britanny and 3 Chiaogoo
Date Started: January 17, 2007
Date Completed: February 7, 2007
Things I learned:
I learned about yarn dominance. I found that I really have it – I must hold the darker/main pattern color in my left hand (the one I “pick” with) or you can’t even really see the pattern. As such, I still have places in the mitts where the brown overwhelms the pink.
I learned how to do the Italian Tubular Cast On. It looks a little loose and uneven when the mitts are lying flat, but when they are being worn, it looks nice and it is very stretchy.
I learned that I really like those little tiny size 0 needles. They are sooooo cute!
I learned how to do the yarn over increase – or rather I learned when it was appropriate to use the yarn over increase.
I already knew how to do the tubular bind off – but I gained in proficiency having to do it over an extra time.
I learned that I’m really braindead and that I need to read my patterns more carefully and that I really need a vacation.
Here are the mitts in the deconstruction process so I could add the 10 rows I missed the first time:
All I did was insert the needles through each stitch making sure that the colors that were on the needles matched the chart and then I cut the top off and unwound the yarn down to the live stitches. Then I continued knitting on and all was well! Another trick for my bag.
Here’s a Caught Being Good photo:
Agents B and J pretending to be kangaroos before school because Agent B was wearing her Kangaroo sweater to school! She wore it twice this week and I’m so excited!!! I was so sure she would put it on and decide that she didn’t like it, but that is so not true! She wants to wear it everyday now!
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Since it is my birthday month and I’m also on a yarn diet*, I have decided that the best way to treat myself is to start lots and lots of projects without a care of whether I actually ever finish any or not. Yesterday I started the Cambridge Jacket for IHA and today I started to spin some Recycled Denim. 100% recycled blue jeans, babe.
Yummy? Agent B and I thought it looked pretty yummy and as we were reflecting on the qualities that the fibers share with cotton candy, Agent K, ever so practical, was quick to point out that somebody probably farted in those jeans. Just lovely, huh?
The above photo shows a bobbin of bulking, lumpy, bumpy, singles. Just what you would expect from the fibers. Do you see on the bottom left? There are even still actual hunks of jeans in the bag. Do you think this will count as Art Yarn if there are pieces of someone’s pants hanging off of it? I have to admit, I got a little frustrated spinning. Therefore, I only have one bobbin so far. I still need another so I can make a 2 ply to send off to my Spin to Knit Pal for part of the February swap. I think the frustration results from the lumps and bumps getting caught on the hooks on the way onto the bobbin. The yarn broke and the end got stuck and I couldn’t find it anywhere — it totally disappeared and I think if it was my knitting I would have pulled a Knitcole and flung it across the room. Since it was all attached to my yet un-named Minstrel, I just pulled it all off in to a glob and chucked it into the garbage. So there recycled denim! I’ll try again tomorrow. There may, however, forever be recycled blue jean dust in my house. That stuff is wild.
I’m also experiencing technical difficulties with my bobbins. They all seem to have left over yarn on them. Small amounts of this or that that didn’t make it into a plied skein. Out of my 5 bobbins, I only have 1 that is completely empty. Does that happen to anyone else?
So, I mentioned that yesterday I cast on for the Cambridge Jacket. Here is what I had this afternoon, though I knit a few more inches after our family laundry folding and while we were watching Mythbusters. (We used to watch This Old House every Saturday evening, but the Junior Agents now all seem to prefer Mythbusters. Maybe because more things blow up or crash or maybe just becuase those guys always seem to be puking or something.)
It is pretty easy, breezy so far. I just have to knit in the same pattern straight for 14 or so inches before the next thing happens. I hope that IHA will like it and I hope it will fit ok, because don’t tell anyone, but I just cast-on and I didn’t swatch or anything. Shhhh….. you didn’t hear me say such a thing! Who knows what will happen though, maybe I’ll loose interest — it is going to take 8 balls of yarn and so far, I’m still knitting with the first ball. It is my birthday month after all, so I can knit as I please as long as I’m not hurting anyone but myself, right?
I posted a snow picture earlier today. I do have a couple more as we had our first real snowfall last night. Agents J and B played outside almost the entire day today while Agent K voluntarily and willingly did homework all day. (I know! What is up with that???) (That so counts as a Caught Being Good thing too! Congrats, Kendra!)
Here are the girls sliding:
Here are just some hemlocks covered in snow:
Here is the side of our house. I really like this angle because it reminds me of a farmhouse. Although our house is just a regular plain ol’ colonial from the front, I really wish it was more of a farmhouse style:
The little black spot in front of the door is our cat, Clause. That is exactly where she likes to hang out and someday someone is really going to trip on her walking out the door, I think. Crazy cat.
What about all my other projects? I’m still working on them. I finished one Endpaper Mitt and I’m working on the second. I finished one of the Dancing Socks for LFG (who just updated her homepage – you have to check out her new really cool photo) and I’m working on the second. I almost finished one side of the felted bag for Agent J, but I think I’m going to run out of one of the yarns so I ordered a second ball. So while I may not be finishing anything, I really am still working on everything. Just one row at a time.
*I would be remiss if I did not mention that tomorrow is the Superbowl sale where I work. Select yarns at 41% off! If the yarn that I have been coveting forever is one of those select yarns, I fully intend to use my get out of jail free card on my yarn diet! Cross your fingers! I’ve been waiting awhile!
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I’ve been a very good mommy this week. (That is until today when Agent K needed to use my computer and thusly made me quite snappy.) Can I say that I caught myself being good? I didn’t want to go, really. It was cold with lots of wind chill and I thought — this is crazy we are going to freeze our buns off. But we went and it was wicked fun — I had forgotten how much I love ice skating. It was so fun that not only did we skate after school on Monday, but we went after school on Tuesday also. It is a good thing that we went the second time too, because now we have snow cover.
It is very rare to have all the things align in our favor to do something like ice skate together on a pond. As a matter of fact, I think this is the first time that it has ever happened. All 4 of us had skates that fit, the pond had a good 8 inches of ice, there was no snow cover, and the girls did not have after school activities. The last one is probably due to the fact that because Dave is studying so much and basically non-participatory in our family, I have drastically limited the amount of after school activities that they can do this winter.
I brought my camera on the second day we went skating. I wish I had it on the first as there was a beautiful sunset that evening, but I guess since clouds are more typical around here, Tuesday’s photos are more representative of life in Connecticut.
Here are a couple others:
I don’t know why but they really wanted me to take this photo too:
Can anyone guess what tomorrow is???
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