Monday, December 31, 2007

Review of Goals

2007 is almost over, time to move on to 2008! Let's review my goals from last year and see how I did.

~ Put Ms. Belinda on a crash diet. (she's my body double, in case you don't know) I weighed 142 pounds when I made her, and I've managed to maintain my weight at 125-130 for 18 months now. She can go on her diet now. :) -- I failed at this, and to boot, I've gained 16 pounds, averaging 140 now. :(

~ Sew some nice clothes for my boys, at least 1 dress shirt/pants for each one. It's hard finding nice church clothes that aren't made like crap!
-- again, failure!

~ Sew at least 1 garment per month for myself, and keep it. -- Not quite. I made 7 items for myself, kept 6. However, the 6 I kept get worn a lot.

~ Do at least 1 charity project. -- I made preemie sleepers, made/donated an I-Spy quilt for a church raffle, and made 3 bags for a village raffle.

~ Get the window treatments done for the downstairs (living room, dining room, kitchen).
-- HA! I'm pathetic, no progress at all.

~ Stay on top of gift sewing. -- did OK on this, could be better.

~ Keep my sewing room somewhat clean, i.e. stop letting everyone use it as a dumping ground (including myself). This might involve some re-organization. -- not so great. Sometimes I do ok, sometimes (most of the time) not. Got rid of a big desk, so I have more room now.

Man, I sucked, big time! Let's see if I can do better this next year. I've been thinking of ways to help implement goals and stay on track. I'll post my new goals and year-end wrap up later.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Christmas!

We had a nice Christmas --
We've had lots of family time.

We've played games.

Calvin and I went to see The Nutcracker (per his request).

We ate lots of good food.

We visited with family.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Secret Project

Christmas is only 5 days away! ACK!!! Connor is over the moon about Thomas the Tank Engine. I've been trying to make a quilt for him:
This is as far as I am. Everthing is cut, and sitting there. I have to work on it in secret, and that's been pretty hard to do. It shouldn't take long to do, it's getting the time to do it! (I can't even let him see me working on this post, as he'll get obsessed with the photo) I may have to do some late night sewing, and I don't like to sew at night.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

Beth came over today, and we had a Christmas cookie baking marathon. Caleb is off on a Boy Scout campout, so it was just Calvin and Connor as our helpers. We made 5 different kinds, for a total of about 300 cookies.

The boys fought over using the mixer, but settled down after we threatened to kick them out of the kitchen. We might have threatened other things as well.

Connor was a pretty good helper.

The boys had fun with the sprinkles. Can you guess which trees Connor decorated?

It was really really hard to resist playing in the powdered sugar, and finally, he just gave in. It does look like snow, after all.

My half of the cookies. We made gingersnaps (11th recipe), spritz (trees, dogs, and wreaths), mexican wedding cakes, double chocolate kiss cookies (2nd recipe), and chocolate chip (yeah, all these neat holiday cookies, and David wants plain chocolate chip cookies).

Think these will last until Epiphany? Yeah, I don't either.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Orchestra Concert

Wow, a post every day this week!

I need to show some love to Caleb now, and last night he had his orchestra concert. He's been playing great, and is first chair for the cellos! Considering that he started playing a little over a year ago, he's done very well. I recorded 3 of the 5 songs they played. First, Sword Dance:

Sailor's Song (my favorite):

They closed with Bow-town Blues. I have heard and watched him practice constantly, but he purposely did not let me see the cellos twirl their instruments. He wanted it to be a surprise:

Regarding school/student productions, the Yarn Harlot wrote a lovely piece about them yesterday. Do go and read it. Right now I need to get in the shower and get over to Calvin's winter concert this morning. Hopefully I won't have the bootlicking kid today.

By the way -- I just LOVED his teacher's jacket, as did my friend Beth. We were considering if we could roll her for it. :) It looked dynamite with her hair.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Last Meet

Last night, Calvin had his last gymnastics meet of the year. He did well, winning 4 medals. Check it out - he is his normal silly self during gymnastics sometimes!

Ok, on to what the grandparents and friends really want: the videos! You know the drill:

His floor routine, earning a score of 9.35, and second place:

Next, his beam routine, earning a score of 9.5, and first place (and a sloppy dismount, IMO):

Third, his bar routine, earning a score of 8.8. He had some trouble, but you can sure get an idea of how strong he is:

Lastly, his vault, placing first with a score of 9.85:

He won the gold All Around medal with a total score of 37.50. Four medals! He had a good time, though I am glad the meets are over for this year. They make a long long day for him (he needs to be there at 5:30 for stretching and warm-ups [which means eating supper at 4:30], march-in starts at 6:25, and the meet usually ends around 8:15). Of course, it's exciting, so bedtime doesn't really happen when it should, and it's a struggle getting up the next morning.

His total medal count this season: 16, plus one trophy!
We'll find out on Monday if he moves up to the next level.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Job Finished

I finished that job for the Suzuki Academy. Over the course of 3-4 weeks, I went to two practices to do fittings/mark hems, hemmed 8 black palazzo pant jumpsuits, removed sleeves from 3 of them, altered 3 burgundy boy's vests, hemmed 10 burgundy dresses, hemmed the sleeves on 1 dress, and made one new uniform from scratch (I had a uniform to copy, and traced it off and made it a size larger).

Phew! Actually, I really enjoyed this job. Normally I don't like doing alterations, but this was really nice. I could just go in my sewing room and do 1 hem, or do 6, depending on the time I had. The academy was very happy with my work, and would like me to do it again next year. Yay!

Now I really need to get going on some Christmas sewing....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snow Day

(big fluffy snowflakes across the street)

No school today! We found out when Caleb started out to school and a friend told him it was cancelled. That's usually what happens, as it never occurs to us to check (it's not much snow! I think there is a bad ice storm coming later). Anyway, the kids are outside playing in it now, and they'll eat the lunches I had already packed at the kitchen table. :) (hot potato soup! yum!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baby Socks

I finished these baby socks for a friend (had started them here in september). The baby shower was on Saturday, and baby is due mid-January. I used a leftover yarn that I can't remember the name of, but I'm pretty sure it's cotton. These will be perfect for spring/summer. It's probably hard to tell, but the foot is about 4.5" long.

If you have a Ravelry account, you can see my project page here. Otherwise, the details are that I used the On Your Toes sock pattern by Ann Budd, from the Summer 2007 IK magazine. Unknown yarn, size 1 bamboo needles, 40st count for foot and calf. Very fast socks, and I'm happy with the pattern, except for the sewn bind off at the top. Any other sock-knitters have a better method?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Five Medals

Last night was Calvin's third gymnastics meet this season. For the first time, he won a medal in each event, for a total of five medals! (I'm not really sure how they decided how many medals to award in each event, but it has something to do with the # of gymnasts in each level). Here are the videos:

First, he started on the floor, and placed third, with a score of 8.85:

Next, the beam, with a score of 9.15 and second place:

Then bars, with a score of 8.95 and fourth place:

Lastly, the vault, with a score of 9.6 and first place:

(He always looks so darn serious during gymnastics!) Calvin also won the All Around medal, with a total score of 36.55. Some of these scores for the events were so close, only separated by .05 in some cases. It showed the kids how important each aspect of a routine is, such as pointed toes, keeping legs together and straight, and not touching your uniform or hair (did you know? that's a deduction during a routine!).

These gymnastics meet posts are starting to all look the same. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

I've been working on some Jaywalker socks for my mom. I wanted to give them to her for Christmas. If you are a Ravelry member, you can see my project page here. Anyway, this is what happened on Saturday.
They were TOO SMALL! The zig/zag knitted pattern is just not very stretchy, and it was really hard to get the sock on my foot (mom and I wear the same size). I had gotten far enough to start the toe shaping, and had tried the sock on to be sure I had enough foot length. Once I found I could barely get them on, I asked my mom to try the sock on. She couldn't get it over her heel. I frogged them.

Instead, she won't get a surprise, but she'll get some toe-up ribbed socks:
Whether she'll get them in time for Christmas or her birthday (December 26) is another thing.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Big Meet

Last night was the "big" gymnastics meet for Calvin. "Big" in the fact that it wasn't just an intra squad meet, but the only one against another team, from a nearby YMCA. It was fun, and you could tell the kids were a bit more nervous than usual.

Here are the vids. Level 3s started on the vault, and Calvin scored an incredible 9.8:

Next he was on the bar. He had a rough time on them last night. I think he scored an 8.something:

Then they moved to the beam. I was nervous for him and don't remember his score, but he got first!

Lastly, they finished on the floor. I believe he scored a 9.0, and got third place:

After tallying all the scores, he won the All-Around trophy for the 8 and under Level 3s! He had told me the night before that he was hoping for that because "you know what, Mama? You get to take the trophy HOME!".
It was hard for him to go to sleep last night. :)

Next meet: November 29

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

November Iris

The weather has definitely turned towards winter. I finally turned on the heat on Saturday, and it's supposed to freeze tonight. With all that, look at what I have blooming!
Isn't it pretty? I'm not sure if this is a double blooming iris (like my white one) or if it just bloomed this late because I moved it this summer. Either way, it sure is pretty.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Auction Bags

The education foundation here in our village holds a big ball every year, and does fundraising. This year they are having a "community art silent auction", and sent notes home from school asking people to make things for it. I offered to make either bags or a quilt, whichever they thought would do best, and bags were chosen. This week I made these two, and then I added the one I had in the state fair this year to make it a total of three. Hopefully they'll do well!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why Ottobre Rocks

Every year, the gymnastics teams get a team leotard. Calvin, being a boy, doesn't have to buy one (yay! $35/40 I don't have to spend!). Last year, the team leotards were black/pink/purple, and I waited too long to find a purple shirt, so he wore black shorts and a white t-shirt. This year I started planning as soon as I saw the new leotard (black with a swath of green). I remembered I had quite a bit of leftover fabric from this top, and after bringing a swatch to practice, decided it matched good enough. It's actually a few shades off, but under the gym lights it looks pretty darn close, don't you think? The black cotton/lycra was also in my stash.

Next we had to decide the style. At first, Calvin was absolutely positive that he did NOT want a tank top. I asked for opinions on one of my email lists, and got some links to gymnastics uniforms. After 'selling' the idea of a tank top with side panels, Calvin decided that would be ok, and could I make it tight like an undershirt. I dug out my Ottobre magazines this past weekend, and decided #19 from the 2/2005 issue would be perfect for the top. I made it on Monday afternoon, and it took no time. I traced off the largest size (122), guessing that Calvin is probably a 128. To make the side panel, I laid the front and back patterns together at the side seam, traced off the underarm area and decided on a 3" wide panel. I don't know if you can tell, but I curved the seam a bit at the underarm. I then added 3/8" seam allowances at the new seamlines. I did not bind the neckline/armholes as recommended, and instead just turned them under 3/8" and used my twin needle to stitch them down. Calvin was thrilled with it when he tried it on, and has requested a few more. He likes that the top doesn't fall down into his face when he does a handstand.

How crazy is it that on October 30, Calvin can go outside barefoot for pictures?!? Anyway, we decided that he needed black shorts to match the top. He already has some, but I wanted some made from the same cotton/lycra. Again, Ottobre came to the rescue. Yesterday I browsed through my magazines again, and settled on #35 from the 2/2004 issue (listed as swim trunks). I did not want them as tight as originally designed, so I traced off a size 140, added 1" to the top for a wider casing, and added 3" to the leg length. These went together in NO time at all! Again, Calvin loves them and has requested more.

Hopefully next year the team leotard will be a color that is easy for me to match as well.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gymnastics Champion!

Calvin had his first of four gymnastics meets tonight. He did great, winning 4 medals in the 8 and under category for Level 3 gymnastics. Here are videos of each of his routines (for the grandparents, you know! ~G~)

First, his floor routine, earning a score of 8.85, and first place:

Second, his beam routine, earning a score of 8.9 (darn it, if only he didn't fall off!):

Third, his vault, earning a score of 9.65, and first place:

Last, his bar routine, earning a score of 9.3, and first place:

He also placed first in the all-around, with a total score of 36.7.

Congratulations Calvin! You are a delight to watch compete, and it's great to see you having lots of fun.

(I made his uniform, and will post on that tomorrow)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Yesterday, Calvin was able to dress up in costume for school, and participate in a parade. He came home for lunch so that he could change afterwards (otherwise, he'd have to bring his costume to school and change in the bathroom. Coming home was easier). Sometime last week he went to a halloween store that has opened up in our neighborhood, with a friend. He came home with this sombrero. Once I saw it, I said it would be perfect for a mariachi costume, especially since we had most everything for it already. He loved the idea, and here he is, complete with 'Zorro' facial hair. :)

He's planning to dress up like this for trick-or-treat on Sunday afternoon, and again on actual Halloween, when we go to a friend's neighborhood that does night trick-or-treat. I tried teaching him some songs, but he keeps forgetting them.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cross Country Runner

This year Caleb is at the middle school, and there are sports to go out for! He decided he wanted to try cross country, and turns out he really liked it.

The season ended yesterday. Each race is 3K, and Caleb consistently improved. I'm not sure what his final time was yesterday (he came in 20th), but he ran about a 15:40ish last week.

Mostly the weather was nice for all the meets, except for last week, when it rained and was freezing cold. Really cold and wet!

He had a great first year of CC!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Got A Job

One that pays actual money. :) It's temporary, but it's a great fit for me, my family, and my time.
I'm altering uniforms for a local Suzuki String Academy. These are the advanced student uniforms, and I had 8 of them. All needed hems, one a minor zipper repair, and 4 needed sleeves removed. I got them on Sunday, and was able to return 6 of them yesterday. Last night I met half of the regular students, and thankfully only came home with 3 vests (boys) and 3 or 4 dresses (girls). I go back next week Thursday to meet the rest of the students and mark any uniforms that need adjusting.

This means I'm busy sewing -- but nothing you all would be interested in seeing. I'll throw up some knitting photos next week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sewing for 2 Henry IV

The Milwaukee Shakespeare production of 2 Henry IV closed yesterday, and pictures are up on the site! This link will take you to the production photos page. Click on 2 Henry IV, and a pop up window will appear with photos. (by the way, I made the blue shirt Prince Hal is wearing in the thumbnail. I did the pants too [altered RTW], but I don't think you can see them). Other things I worked on:

First photo: I did the crest that is on Justice Shallow.
Fourth photo: I did the red skirt and the white petticoat that you can see a peek of on Doll Tearsheet (the skirt was actually done for 1 Henry IV, and this time around I added the petticoat).
Seventh photo: Unfortunately, you cannot see the lovely chiffon centerpiece I added to Lady Percy's dress. It looked nice, though. I also shortened both Lady Percy's and Lady Northumberland's dresses, and cuffed the sleeves on Lady North's dress.

Not pictured are the 5 full and 3 half aprons I made for the "in disguise" scene in Eastcheap.

Next up: Twelfth Night in January!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


(I know I haven't posted for a while, and I don't really anything to share now. Been busy, but mostly with mundane day-to-day stuff. Here's a post anyway.)

I took a quiz, and turns out, I'm really a Centaur:

You Are a Centaur

In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.
However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.
You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.
You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Belated Birthday

Calvin's birthday was actually at the end of August. We didn't get to have a party for him, as we were on vacation. Yesterday we finally got to have some friends over for cake.
Every year Calvin comes up with some idea for his birthday cake (last year it was a chocolate creation, the year before that a 'king' cake). This year he decided that he wanted everyone to have their own little individual cake! Originally I planned to make 8 little cakes, as he turned 8, but I ran out of frosting. So we got 6 little cakes decorated with 8 chocolate chips.

I made the Darn Good Chocolate Cake batter, and first baked 8 cupcakes (the cakes are square because I have these muffin pans). Then I took the rest of the batter and poured it into a 9x13 pan. After all the cakes were cool, I cut the sheet cake into 8 pieces, trimmed them evenly, and started frosting. It was kinda fun! I used a standard buttercream frosting. The kids enjoyed getting their very own cakes!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm In!!

Whoo hoo, I got my Ravelry invite this morning! I can't remember when I requested it, but it didn't seem to be that long of a wait. Now to go play around on the site, and get my knitting organized!

(btw, I'll be going by mamafitz, like I do everywhere.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I've become obsessed with bento lunches, and it's all Rowena's fault. It all started innocently enough. About a year ago, I found out about Vegan Lunch Box. While we are not vegan, or even vegetarian, I enjoyed seeing the lunches she made for Schmoo, and got lots of ideas for the lunches I was making every day for Caleb. I started using containers and getting thermoses, and tried making lunches that had as little waste as possible.

About a week ago, someone asked for lunch ideas on one of my email lists. Since this year I now make two lunches a day (Calvin's school has no hot lunch program. Caleb's does, but it's expensive, and he wasn't too keen on the selections), I thought I'd play, and listed a bunch of my ideas. Then Rowena had to go and post her Sunday Morning shoutouts. I looked at BabyHopes Domesticity Flickr Album. Do you see them? Do you? The darling little cow and piggy hard boiled eggs??? Oh my, I had to try that!

Through BabyHopes, I found the Lunch In A Box blog a few days ago. Oh. My. Goodness! This site is packed (hee!) with information! Tips! Tutorials! Ideas! Recipes! Yesterday I went out to Wal-Mart to get the ice-cream molds, and they still had them! (I was afraid I had missed out, since it's now September, and it seems the stores get rid of seasonal stuff so fast). I bought 6! I got home, and had a note from Lori that our Williams-Sonoma had the same molds that were on the Lunch In A Box blog on sale! I went and got those too! I boiled eggs right away! I am obsessed!

Two piggys and two cows cooling in their ice bath, plus an extra boiled egg. I wanted to do the star mold too, but couldn't find another rubber band. Here is how you mold boiled eggs.

Aren't they cute?? The top molds are the WS ones, the bottoms are the Wal-Mart ones. Calvin is getting a cow for his snack this morning, and it's a surprise. I stuck some paprika in the eyes and mouth on his for contrast. He's going to love it.

After I unmolded them (the Wal-Mart ones unmolded a bit easier than the WS ones. Next time I will spray the faces with butter spray, or rub a bit of oil on them), Connor wanted a 'piggy-egg' right away.

Next to try: Make your own jello/fruit cups (I bought white grape/peach juice for this. Yum!).

After that: yaki onigiri

Calvin will eat just about anything, and doesn't really care for sandwiches, so I am going to have so much fun making neat little lunches for him this year. :) Connor and I will have to start having bentos too!

Monday, September 10, 2007

These Are Quick!

Thanks to a football game yesterday, I almost finished the first toe-up sock!

The sole is 4.5" long, and should fit a young toddler. I don't think I'm doing my sssp correctly, but I'll continue the same for the second sock, and figure the proper way on the next pair.

I am STILL going to have yarn left over. I'll have to figure the stitch count for newborn socks.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Blue Socks

Remember this sock? I started it earlier this year, and had made great progress on it during a Memorial Day weekend trip. Well, we tried it on Calvin and it was TOO SMALL! More accurately, too tight. I had used such a tight gauge that the sock wasn't very stretchy. ARGH! So, I cast it aside, and started over. During State Fair judging in July, I cast on the first sock of this pair. Yesterday I finished them. Calvin is thrilled. They are just a bit long (good for him to grow into), and a bit loose, but he likes his socks that way. This yarn is wool/bamboo, and feels heavenly.

The details:
Yarn: Trekking Pro Natura, color 1606
Needles/Gauge: size 2/8 sts per inch
Pattern: Classic Sock from Folk Socks
Size: Ladies S (56 sts)
Changes made: Eye of Partridge heel, worked toe to 16 sts and then grafted
Other info: worked ribbing for 4.75", then 10 rnds st st. worked foot for 4.625", then toe shaping.

I started these last night. I've never done toe-up socks before, and thought a pair of baby socks would be a good pair to learn on. I'm using the On Your Toes pattern chart and instructions from the summer '07 issue of Interweave Knits. Took me about 5 tries to get the eastern cast on right (love the IK illustrations, they really really helped), but after that it's been easy sailing. Once I finished the toe and started the patterning on the instep I switched to my customary 5 needles, instead of the 4 called for.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Preparing for the Holidays

Now that September is here, that means it's time to start getting ready for the holidays! For the past 5 or 6 years I've done the Holiday Grand Plan (technically, this begins the last week in August). If you are interested in this, there is a very busy Yahoo Group where you can get inundated with emails, recipes, and the annual religious/non religious argument. If you are just interested in the plan, there is the announcement only Yahoo Group, which sends you an email each Sunday, outlining the goals for that week. While I have never fully completed a HGP ever, it really helps me focus and not get overwhelmed.

This year, I am not going to do the HGP. I am going to do the Holiday Houseworks Plan instead. I like how it divides the house into zones instead of rooms, and I think it's going to fit with the way I think and work better. This week is planning and paperwork week, and as my family will attest, I've been trying to pin everyone down on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've been rolling gift ideas around in my head, and will commit them to paper this weekend. Since I like to make a lot of gifts, I need to plan my time out as well. As far as I know there isn't any announcement only email group (which would be perfect for me).

Maybe this year I'll actually start sending cards again!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day

Today is the first day of school. Both boys were excited and I think a bit nervous (neither had much of an appetite for breakfast, which is odd).

Caleb is at the middle school this year!

Calvin was to bring something special to tell about his summer, and he decided to bring his walking stick that he bought at the Renaissance Festival in MN.

I'll be getting good exercise walking to and from Calvin's school twice a day. Now it's just Connor and me during the day. Whatever will we do with all that time? I'm sure I'll think of lots of things!

Monday, September 03, 2007


To end our summer, we took a 5 day trip up to the Twin Cities. We had a wonderful time; it was great to be just the five of us with no one else. We left on Wednesday, and meandered our way up via LaCrosse, WI and then followed the Mississippi River on up through Red Wing, MN, and on to the Twin Cities.

We stopped in Merrick State Park so that Calvin could go fishing. He caught 2 fish! David thinks this first one was a baby small mouth bass. Then he caught a bigger fish, but I don't know what it was. Wednesday was Calvin's birthday, and even though he had to spend most of it in the car, being able to fish made his day -- heck, it made his week!

On Thursday, we went to the Minnesota State Fair. The arts and crafts were phenomenal! Gorgeous quilts, embroidery, sewing, and woodworking. The 4H stuff was incredible too. There also was an 'Eco' building, with displays of solar panels and wind turbines one could buy, information on reducing one's carbon footprint, and all sorts of info on 'green' living.

On Friday we spent most of the day at the Waterpark of America. I got to meet an online friend and her family, and we spent the day swimming and playing. Caleb tried surfing a few times, as did David. Calvin says he went once too!

Connor and I enjoyed the lazy river, and also spent time in the hot tub. :) The family raft ride was great! Ten stories tall! Fast! Scary! Connor went twice!

The main reason we decided on Minneapolis was for the Renaissance Festival. Saturday was spent there, beginning with Connor getting stung by a bee on his ear. He cried a bit, but was fine, and we got some ice from the first aid station to reduce the swelling. Caleb and Calvin fenced. We rode an elephant, played with bubbles, watched some belly dancers, played with swords and other weapons, and had a great time. Now everyone is begging me to whip up some costumes. :)

We had a really good time.