Seasons — Summer 2012

Wow.  A big one, for sure.  This summer was filled with…

…happiest places on Earth…

…lots of goodbyes to much-loved stuff…

…beach business…

…9 years of luv…

…handy beginnings…

…and handier endings.

On to Fall!

 

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Seasons – Spring 2012

Spring has sprung, and brought a plethora of beginnings into our lives.  Yikes!  Things are going to start happening to me…now!

A new city…

…A new school…

…A new home…

…A new time for the fam…

…A new way to celebrate Mother’s Day — with a tickle and a wiggle…

…and a new man at two!

Seasons: Winter 2011-2012

Whoops!  Although I do have all of my decorations taken down, I’m a little behind on my seasonal updates!

This winter brought…

…the excitement that comes with Santa…

…giving and receiving…

…the jolly “Ho-Ho-Hipster” Dad…

…merry merry, spirits, and goodwill…

…a foggy but fulfilling New Year’s Eve…

…the return of the “Baby Bandie” at pep band…

…knitting successes…

…and knitting failures…

…and what winter would be complete without sliding!  (Vegas style)

Spring soon to come, along with all the changes it brought!

Seasons: Autumn 2011

Despite having seen Christmas decorations out even BEFORE Halloween, I am determined to give the season of Fall its due.  Lots happening, lots to remember.

This autumn brought…

…a new creation, new art to carry forever…

…fun times with Grandparents in exotic locales…

…another great Nevada Day/Birthday Weekend…

…a little Wild Thing who will eat you up, he loves you so…

…good food, loving family — lots to give thanks for…

…and lots of time to reflect and relax away from the craziness of it all.

Yay for Fall!

 

Baby Elephant Vest for Patrick

I haven’t been getting my Knitters magazine since we moved, but I think I’m not going to worry about it anymore now that I’ve found Interweave Knits. My lovely aunt, Jane, has this magazine, and this spring when we were at her house, I picked it up for a look. The patterns are all beautiful, but with only one or two simple embellishments or focuses. The patterns in Knitters lately have been growing in complexity and garishness for a few years. Time for something new!

This is the first pattern I’ve tried from Interweave. It’s called a Baby Elephant Vest, which made me sing Baby Elephant Walk so many times while I was knitting this piece, I think Drew was ready to let a Mama Elephant step on me, just to make it stop. It’s still stuck in my head…little elephants bouncing around the savannah…giggling and tumbling.

Anyway…

It’s for Patrick, and the yarn is a light, sport weight yarn in a smoky navy blue. The elephants are in the lace pattern. In case you can’t see them in the big picture, try looking at this close-up:

You can see the legs go up into ears, and the trunk in the middle, with two little eyes peering at you. Cute, huh? It’s a little big right now, but I think he’ll be wearing it to a wedding we’ll be at in October. And then again whenever I can convince him. The pattern was fun, but not really one you could memorize. The needles were size three, also, so it took quite a while. I started it at the beginning of the summer, and just finished two weeks ago. I’m glad it wasn’t an Adult Elephant Vest, or I’d still be working on it! (Ka-pow!)

Here’s my little baby elephant in his vest. What I like best about this vest is its gender flexibility — in the world of kids’ knits, sweaters and vests are so polarized. But I could make this again, for a girl or boy, and it would be just as cute. Hard to believe that when I started this vest, Patrick could only toddle about 5-10 steps, and now he’s running. He only knew a few words (duck, mama, dada, banana) and now he’s doubled it, adding night night, box, ball, shoe, that, and others I can’t remember right now. Someone should remind him that the song is called Baby Elephant WALK, not Baby Elephant RUN.

Someone else’s art…on me

I have been wanting a tattoo for years. Years! And I’ve had the idea of what I wanted all along, but have been waiting for an artist whose work looked interesting, unique, and in keeping with my idea. This summer, Jason Schroder of Incognito Tattoo was brought to my attention by Drew, and once I saw his work, I knew I’d found the right person.

So here it is!

He made the sketch specifically for me, and I couldn’t be happier with it or the whole experience. It’s a statue of the Greek goddess, Athena (who, among other things, is the goddess of crafts! Knitters unite!) and a hummingbird. I really love all the colors on the hummingbird — it’s quite vibrant in person — and the coloring of Athena as a statue is beautifully done. I wasn’t expecting it, but I also like how much of my skin shows through in the statue part.

I don’t want to drone on and on about what the imagery here represents, but I’ll give you a few thoughts to ponder, and then we’ll say nothing more about it.

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, the art of war, and crafts. The “art of war” certainly doesn’t apply to me, but as a teacher, I like to think I am heavily invested in the ideals of wisdom, and as a knitter, I am a crafty lady myself. So the statue of Athena represents me as an individual, separate from the influence of others.

The hummingbird comes from when I was pregnant, and represents my new family, and family members who have passed on…even though I see the irony, that those family members would not have approved of a tattoo. But to each their own, right?!? I hope so. Hummingbirds have always reminded me of my grandmother, who was so like a hummingbird herself in later life, small and seemingly frail, but with great strength of heart. Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about her, remembering all of the good times I had with her, and realizing how much of her life was and is a mystery to me.

But there was a specific hummingbird that became very precious to me during my pregnancy. I called it my hummingbird friend, and during the last month, when I was huge and uncomfortable, it reminded me of my Grandma and helped me think of happier things, rather than just wallow in self-pity. Which is pretty easy to do when you’ve gained almost 50 pounds — blerg!

I actually started writing a bit about my hummingbird friend last year while my Creative Writing class was having journal time. It’s been unedited, but I’ll share some of it here:

_____________________

All month of May, I waited with swollen feet. My poor feet. They looked as though little marshmallows had been toothpicked onto a Dubuque ham, a hedonistic Midwestern potluck delicacy. My belly stuck out with a vengeance. My skin was pulled and stretched over baby-man, marked with angry purple cougar scratches.

I sat everyday, sinking deeper and deeper into the couch, watching blase daytime television or playing Lego games on the X-box. The cats were beside themselves with glee that I was home all day. They showed their excitement mostly through sleeping, although they could also be convinced to stare at me, when the spirit moved them.

At some point everyday, when I knew I needed to move my massive self or risk permanence on the couch, I would waddle down the stairs to the computer. From the computer desk, I could look out at our teeny backyard. Outside walks were out of the question at this point — I could barely make it down to the car without panting and huffing. So these were my windows into life outside: the computer and my miniscule yard.

Admittedly, I spent the time dinking around on Facebook, trying to see the world through profile pictures and status updates. If anything, it made me feel more removed, as thought everyone else had actual events to comment about, real news to report. I was living in my little pregnancy cave, eating and doing awkward prenatal yoga poses, no more aware of the actual world than my baby in his dark, tight, encroaching home. We were both stuck waiting, looking at the shadows in Plato’s cave, not knowing when we’d get to see reality. One of my few pregnancy books said that by this point, you may believe yourself to be the only permanently pregnant woman ever. I was sure of this fact by now.

In my computer funk, I would space out, farther and farther removed. Then, a flick of movement outside. My eyes were coaxed away from the screen.

Another flick. There, by our olive tree, buzzed a hummingbird, left, right, then left again. Looking at me through the window.

________________________

That’s all I have so far. I’m sure I’ll come back to it someday when the ending presents itself. And now that I have this reminder for all time, I’ll remain aware of how much that little hummingbird meant to me, and how fantastic things really can come in incredibly small packages.

P.S. If you are looking for a tattoo artist, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Jason Schroder. He was gentle, just as advertised. He very patiently explained the whole process to me, including the maintenance. And, perhaps most importantly, he is very talented artistically. I am so, so pleased with his design, I can’t say it enough. However many stars there are to give on your ratings scale, I give them all to him!

Hippo for Patrick

Last project of the summer!  I finished this cute little hippo a few weeks ago.  He is everything I wanted him to be.  The yarn is Lorna’s Laces — a donation from Aunt Jane — and I thought this would be the perfect yarn for a hippo.  Turns out it was the perfect yarn for a tiger, but rather than start all over again (lame), I named him “Tippo” and called it even.

He’s also from Susan Anderson’s book, “Itty Bitty Toys,” and, once again, I love that book.  So many fun patterns, so quick to knit up, and so satisfying in the end.

Instead of filling him with fiberfill only, I wanted to give Tippo a little more heft…he is a hippo, after all.  They are not known for being lightweight.  I tried to put some poly pellets in cheesecloth, figuring I would stuff that in his tummy and fill the rest out with fiberfill, but poly pellets are a mess and a hassle.  If I had known that, I would never have purchased a bag.

So there I sat, feeling defeated, staring at my little empty hippo tummy just waiting to be filled.  Then, Eureka!  Beans!  A few months back, I bought a bag of Pinto beans in a flash of excitement to make for Patrick.  After reading the instructions on the back of the bag, once I was actually home, purchased beans in hand, of course, the amount of time and work beans took to cook overwhelmed me, and they sat in our pantry, were packed up for the move, and have sat in the pantry here.  Waiting.  And waiting some more.

They worked beautifully!  You’d think others would have figured out that beans make great toy fillers — I’m probably the first one ever.  (Ha!)  So he has some beans in his tummy and beans are the filler for each hand and foot.  Everything else is still fiberfill.  It’s a great combination, giving him the heft and solidity I wished along with the lightness and flexibility from the fiberfill.

So far, Patrick hasn’t paid much attention to him…which makes me a little sad.  I’ve tried placing him in conspicuous places, hidden places, right in the middle of the floor…  A few days ago, he picked Tippo up from the coffee table, and gave him a big hug and kiss!  My heart soared…success!  And then he threw him in the toy bin with everything else.   

Here you can see Patrick ignoring Tippo to watch one of the cats get clean.  Maybe if I got a live hippo…

Seasons: Summer 2011

Whenever August rolls around, I wish it was still July.  Although it’s fun to celebrate our anniversary, I know that after the festivities are finished, school will start in a week or so.  So it’s also a good time to look at what an awesome summer this was, and see how we spent our time…that helps it seem longer, too!

This summer was…

...waiting and waiting and MORE waiting...

...new lengths (or really, lack of length!)...

...a new place, a new pad...

...full of family frolics...

...old haunts with a new twist...

...a new childhood beginning, with some of the same players...

...friendships continuing, joy expanding...

...walking, walking slowly, walking quickly, walking thoughtfully, walking hard...

...all about feeling loved...

...streaming SciFi and having drinks after Patrick's bedtime...

...trips to new horizons...

...traveling family style...

One last trip before the summer ends!  Pack the car quick — let’s go!

We’ll miss you, summer!

This Moment — Wishing and Thinking

Nano Scarf #3 for me

Insert your own witty clue here.

One of my favorite things about marriage is creating a new conglomeration of traditions.  He brings some, I bring some — it’s fun.  My favorite tradition that Drew brought to our little family has to do with Christmas gift tags.  Instead of writing “To Drew From Liz” on a little sticker with a smiley Santa, you make the “To/From” into clues.  A few Christmases ago, I took this clue writing to the extreme and placed a present under the tree with the tag, “To Dr. Teeth From Fozzie.”  Drew puzzled this one out for a long time.  A LONG time.  He had all kinds of good guesses — by the shape, you could tell it was a book, but what book?  Something about the Muppets, obviously.  Turns out, in my quest to write an indecipherable clue, I had written the worst “clue” ever.  (It was actually a biography of Hunter S. Thompson, called “Gonzo.”  Esoteric at best, I know.)

So, this PAST Christmas, it was Patrick’s turn to join the tradition.  Nevermind that he was only 7 months old…he still “wrote” some wonderful clues on my gift tags.   One of my presents said this on the tag: “To Big Feet From Little Feet.”  I was pretty sure it was a knitting project, and I wracked my brain thinking of every possible sock pattern Drew might have found online.

At least I didn't have to knit in nano size.

When I finally opened the present, I laughed.  It was this Gecko Feet Scarf, that I had been hinting at for months, ever since my birthday.  There’s a wonderful yarn website called Morehouse Merino, and they get more creative by the minute.  This scarf was based on a nano photograph of a gecko’s padded feet — hence the clue!

Love it! Thank you, Little Feet!

To make it, I had to keep changing between size 17 needles, the approximate diameter of a chair leg, and size 6, the diameter of a green stalk of basil. It was a pain, and I am glad it has turned out so beautifully, or I would have been a little peeved.  It’s made with Morehouse’s lace yarn, one in a variegated blend, and the other in a pastel yellow.  I can’t believe how much it looks like the nano picture.  Pretty cool.

I have two Morehouse scarves left to go from my Christmas 2010 stash.  I’m almost finished with the second one, and boy is it cool.  Don’t worry — I won’t spoil it for you.  Although my loyal readers have already seen me working on it, so who am I kidding?  Here’s your Christmas gift tag clue: “To Unagi From Wasabi.”  Any guesses?

One last close-up of the scarf so you can compare it to the nano photo.  It was soft, light yarn, so perfect for summer work.  Thank you again to my nano baby!

Morehouse Merino has a new line of scarves and shawls that they just introduced.  Instead of nano photographs, these pieces are based on satellite photographs of large, distinct land features, like the Bahamas Tide or the Susitna Glacier in Alaska.  I’ll be checking my Christmas gift tag clues very closely this year!

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