Happy Halloween!

Just dropping in to wish you all a Happy Halloween! It’s my ultimate favorite holiday, and I can’t wait for our family of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to go trick-or-treating tonight!


I thought I would share the buntings that my mom and I made together when I was 4 years old. She sewed the pumpkins and stuffed the ghosts, and I drew the faces. We made three strands, cut to custom lengths for three of the doorways in the house where I grew up. Now they hang in my house every Halloween. I’m sharing my favorite of the three. Why is this one my favorite? Because you can very obviously tell that the one on the left is the one my mom did as a demonstration of how she thought the faces should be made. And then I obviously decided I did not like that, and promptly made every single one of them on all three strands smiley. 🙂

BK and I actually did a similar thing last week when she drew a ghost, and I suggested doing three ovals – two for the eyes and one for the mouth – and then she went right ahead and made a smiley face anyway. It’s great to be 4 and love to smile.

 

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Three on Thursday

Knitting in Hawaii in the car

  1. Mr. Snips and I just recently returned from a flat-out amazing, wonderful trip to Hawaii, which is why it’s been so quiet here recently. It was a great trip that had a lot of time for relaxing and reading by the pool, but with enough fun outings that it didn’t get too restful. Above, you will see a picture of me knitting in our rental car, roof down (we had a convertible), and the sunset in the background. Bliss.
  2. I’m nearing the finish mark on a quilt I’ve been working on for a while, and will be handing it off to get it professionally quilted very soon. I’ve never done that, so I’m excited! The other quilts I’ve done, I’ve bumbled along doing some straight lines on my little machine. Since this one is for BK, and the fabric is out of this world beautiful (Magic by Sarah Jane), I want to make sure that it gets a fancier treatment than I can give it alone.
  3. It’s almost Halloween! I can’t wait! It’s hands down my favorite holiday. It may have something to do with growing up in a cornfield and always having to be driven to different houses for trick-or-treating. It’s not nearly as magical as what I always saw on TV where kids just walked out of their front door and went around the neighborhood. When we moved into our old house, I nearly burst from excitement when we had 100 trick-or-treaters come to our door (yes, I’m a nerd, I keep a tally). Our new house gets less traffic, but it is amazing to trick-or-treat in because it is basically a big loop. We also have a few neighbors who really go all out on the decorations and make it really fun. BK and I did the whole neighborhood last year and it was a blast. I can’t wait to go out with her again this year.

Heroes in a half shell

The very first thing I knit for BK’s advent calendar turned Valentine’s countdown, was a Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I cannot describe how deep and how passionately my child feels about Michelangelo, and the Turtles in general.

We have Bitty Babies, and beautiful dresses for them to wear, and Build a Bears with fancy clothes and all kinds of other things, but her stuffed Turtles (she has these) are what get to wear the nice clothes and use the nice accessories. Michelangelo is the one always selected to go on trips when limited toys can be packed on the airplane, or even a short car trip. In short, my daughter loves the “party dude.”

From the very beginning of planning the countdown, I knew I wanted the things to be stuff that reflected who she was, instead of just holiday baubles. I wanted this calendar that I am making with my own two hands to be full of my love, but full of my daughter’s personality. And the first thing that had to be on it was Mikey.

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She then requested Donnie and Leo, which I happily obliged. She doesn’t like Raph all that much, so she originally didn’t want him, but then changed her mind. I haven’t made him yet, but he’s on the list.

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I made these in a similar way to the tiny ornament, using the ornament pattern from Handknit Holidays, knitting on a smaller needle and not increasing so many times. I added on the eyes and mouths (details like these are so much harder than you think – especially on such tiny things! I had to redo them a few times) and then also tied an extra bit of yarn to the back to make the ends of their masks.

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Turtle power!

 

Switching directions, and counting down

So, I mentioned that I was going to make BK an advent calendar. But shortly after I posted that, she declared that she did not need another Christmas calendar. And she already has a Halloween countdown, too. But what would be good is a Valentine’s countdown, she said. Well, count me tickled! That saves me making ten excruciatingly small knitted items! And BK loves a good countdown.

Since I had only made a few items, and had not really done anything totally committing me to Christmas (like sewing a giant felt tree), this is an easy turn. There are two things I made that I’m going to have to scrap for the countdown, but still plan to turn into little ornaments for her tree she has in her room at Christmas. The first is the ornament I shared last time. And the second is this cute little guy.

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He was originally a gnome in Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, which I purchased shortly after deciding to undertake this project. There are several really cute things that I love in this book. It was an extremely easy mod to change his clothes to red with some black pants/boots, and ta-da! you have Santa Claus.

But when BK got up the next morning to find him on the couch, she asked, “Where is his nose?”

So mod #2 was adding a little button nose to please her.

 

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I hate to say it, but she was right. He did need a nose.

Christmas in July

Last year, I really kicked around the idea of doing some kind of Christmas project that my daughter would have forever.

I have had the idea on my mind since I saw the Yarn Harlot’s advent tree that she did back in 2014. I loved it, but I wasn’t a confident sewer, and I had a one-year-old at the time, and it just seemed a little out of reach for what I could accomplish at the time. Also, I already had an advent calendar with a scene of Santa and Mrs. Claus that had a tiny mouse that you moved from pocket to pocket. It was given to me by my Granny, so it’s very special to me, and I had passed it down to BK. I thought she was covered for an advent calendar, because I want her to have fond memories of that one, too, and it was a wonderful thing we could share.

So I started looking for alternatives. Last year, the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL caught my eye. It was appealing because it only involved 12 things, not 24, and also you had two weeks to complete each small mitten, which seemed very reasonable. It was also very beautiful. But I ultimately decided not to make it, because even though it was lovely, I struggled with where it would go in amongst my Christmas decorations. I also explored the Mitten Garland Advent Calendar by the same designer, which is also lovely. I also considered a garland of little stockings, but didn’t want to commit to finding treats to put in each one of them, since BK usually already has a store-bought calendar with chocolates in it.

Eventually, this year, I got back around to the idea of the Yarn Harlot’s tree. And I figured if I’ve been thinking about it for 3 years, that’s probably what I really want to make. And that BK probably had enough room in her life for two advent calendars, since last year she had three (the mouse one I gave her, a chocolate one, and one with mini Thomas trains in it).  I started digging around for ideas on what to put on the tree, and made a rough list of what I would like to include. I’m still finalizing exactly which 24 things will be on it. BK and I have a had a few conversations over what to add and what to remove, and the list is very fluid at the moment. I’ve started on a few, and since I still have 4 months, I’m sure I can get it done for this Christmas (famous last words, right?).

tiny ornament for advent calendar

Above, you’ll see one of the finished items. It’s a tiny Christmas ornament, made from this pattern in one of my favorite books, Handknit Holidays. I’ve made the full-size version several times (I got a little excited about this pattern when I first learned to knit in the round), and all I did for this one was start just as the patten calls for, but didn’t increase the full number of times. When I finished it, I then picked up three stitches on the top in the gray yarn and made a tiny i-cord for the top of the ornament. The main part of the ornament is Tiny Toes by BaH Yarns. I’m not sure they make this color way any more, because I bought it when they first started. Heather is a good friend, and I love everything she and Brenda make. I originally purchased this yarn with the intention of making BK socks, but since she hates all socks (handmade and store-bought) and prefers to be barefoot, it seemed like a waste of good yarn. So she’ll still have something made out of this beautiful yarn, and it doesn’t have to be on her feet. 🙂

Wish me luck on getting all this done before December! And I’ll keep you posted on which 24 ideas make the final cut.

P.S. – Happy Birthday, Harry Potter.

Back to reality: Bye bye Disney World

Mr Snips, BK and I just returned from our first real family vacation just the three of us. We spent a couple of days at Disney, and I have to say it was magical. I was so sad to come home. And not just because we were going from 80 degrees, sunny and spectacular to sub-freezing, snow flurry conditions, but because we had a really lovely time. So nice, in fact, that I’ve already started daydreaming about what our next trip will be.Cinderella's castle in Magic KingdomAnd since we’ve arrived home and the snow has started in on us (which feels very early for Indiana, but the weatherman assures me we are nowhere near reaching record lows or snowfalls), the knitting has commenced in earnest.

I finished my Roseberry sweater last night (can’t wait to get some FO shots for you!), and I started a hat that is part of my very limited Christmas knitting while we were on holiday. Since we’ve gotten home, I’ve dithered on what to do next with the hat (Ahoy Princess Beret), because my initial plan was to make the worsted weight intricate cables version. But after I finished the ribbing and realized I had an opportunity to do a modification for an extra slouchy version, I’ve wavered. I think I only have enough yarn to do the regular version of the intricate cables, and I could MAYBE squeeze a slouchy less-intricate cables version out of my yarn – but I JUST DON’T KNOW. And it’s for a 21-year-old college student, and I don’t know what kids these days like (this makes me feel FAR older than my actual years – when did this happen?). I have 200 yards of MadTosh Vintage, and the pattern calls for 210 with non-slouchiness, but I’m feeling dangerous. Some research on FOs on Ravelry hasn’t helped make up my mind. Suggestions welcome!

4th of July wrap-up

I really love the 4th of July. I don’t really remember being that into it until we moved back to America from England, and I really appreciated what America was all about and the opportunities it provides.

It became even a little more special after Mr Snips became a citizen. And my heart did a little skippy beat when we started out for a bike ride yesterday and he stuck an American flag into BK’s little trailer, and we whizzed off through the cornfields to the park.

20140705-230323-83003339.jpgAnd I was never really that into cornfields until we moved back either. But considering I grew up in one (really), I don’t think it’s surprising that it feels like home. And nothing fills me up quite like green cornfields, bright blue sky and a red barn, like this one we passed on our bike ride.
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Growing up, Indiana often felt too repressive, small, not quite interesting enough. But going away and coming back, I’ve realized it’s a really nice place to live. Of course, the number one thing Indiana has going for it is that my family lives here – but there are other things. It’s got a nice capital city, but it’s not too big or overpowering. It’s affordable. It’s safe. It has open spaces. It has views like this:
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Sure, we’re a little backwards about a lot of things, and certainly no one would accuse us of being progressive, but we’re generally a kind, friendly people just doing our best.

And we’re just one of 50 states doing the best we can, still trying to hold on to the American dream, and figure out how we can contribute in this land of opportunity.

This 4th of July, I thought a lot about how lucky my little family is. That we’ve been able to make our home in the USA, and we have a wonderful place to live and grow.