Ode To Summer

Today marked Ellette’s first day of school.  For her, the summer is officially over.  On my days off, she will not be wandering the house, lamenting over how bored she is and how much work I have to do. One more week and my summer will be officially over as well.  While  I am somewhat sad to see it go, I am also rather grateful.  Summers are the busiest time of year for me, high stress levels and increasing boredom make it rough for us.

I thought I would see summer out with a little recap of our adventures.

We walked the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

We went to the beach.

Watched the fireworks on the 4th of July.

And we visited Six Flags Great America.

For much of the summer my studio looked like this, due to the fairy festivals and renaissance faires.

Now, fall is setting in, and the more regimented routine that follows.  I am trying desperately to get my house in order.  The chaos is getting to me.  I have started plotting projects and new products, hoping to get underway soon.  I kept myself going through the summer by telling myself things will slow down in September, and now that I am thinking about this September I realized things aren’t going to slow down for awhile.  I am working hard to eliminate KIPs just so I can cast on new items.  I have been sewing up a storm simply to use up the fabric scraps that have somehow overtaken my tabletops.  Over the next couple of weeks things should become slightly more organized, and more detailed photos of the projects I have undertaken will be available.

Until then, parents should enjoy the respite September brings!

It’s Sunday Night

I haven’t posted in a while, and quickly had to delete my last post because I made a greivious error that nearly sabotaged my Knitty chances.

I posted about the scarf I made, without realizing that the Knitty staff will take as long as they please hemming and hawing over patterns before approval, and this process can take up to 2 weeks before the issue goes live.

I, being rather impatient, jumped the gun by a few months.  Luckily, I caught the issue and deleted any virtual trace of the scarf from the world wide web.

It sort of killed my blogging buzz.  I apologize.

Instead, I have been working relentlessly on hats, that seem to be sprouting from every available orifice.  The miniature top hats are now available at a yarn store in Andersonville – Sifu, down on Clark St.  This makes me immensely happy.  The lovely owner, Lisa, has also requested several more hats to round out her display.

Next weekend begins the Bristol Renaissance Festival, and represents not only the loss of my weekend availability, but also the requirement for even more mini top hats for La Paloma.  All I have been doing lately is making mini top hats for other people.  It’s been sort of driving me up the wall.

So, this weekend, I decided to not knit top hats.  I kind of went the anti-hat direction.  I have been working on socks.  Knee-high socks of my own devising for the little pixie who wants really really badly for her mother to actually make her things with all that prettiful yarn falling out of boxes in her studio and closet.  I am just about ready to turn the heel on the first one.

Also, because it is summer and I want a summer knit for myself, I cast on the Racerback Tank, which I have been completely enthralled with.

I have been relatively well behaved at not buying yarn, which makes me feel crazy when I wander in to yarn stores just to feel their wool but saves my wallet from further injury.  A while back I discovered a vest I had knit all of but never added buttons to that I had loved the pattern for, but hated the end product and stuffed into a bag to be forgotten.  Well I found the seams and tore it apart, wound up the yarn and tried to guess how many skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece I had actually used for it, so I could begin a new project with the old yarn.  I kind of really like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece – good fiber memory without being too heavy and warm.  It is a good transitional seasony yarn – if that makes any sense whatsoever.

I’m a little beyond caring if I make any sense whatsoever though.

I still can’t find the charger for my camera battery.  I was using Odin’s camera until I found out it’s his work camera, and if anything bad happened to it, he would be in deep dog poo.  I’m trying to find a replacement charger, but things have been a bit hectic around here.

My studio is overflowing with top hats in various stages of completion.

And it is Independence Day Weekend.

And the house is full of people this weekend, which always throws me for a loop.

Holding On

Last weekend, I took a trip up to Milwaukee, to visit my mom and grandpa and help clean out my grandmother’s craft room.  My mom had told me of the piles of boxes and fabric and the cabinets nearly bursting with surprises.  I always wondered what exactly was in there, but was never permitted to look around.  My grandmother was a bit protective of her belongings.  I hear her voice echoing in my childhood constantly about not wearing shoes on her carpet, not playing in the living room where the tall glass cabinets held her china knick knacks and so on.

Sunday, then, was a bit surreal.  I arrived at my grandparents’ house, with news that my grandpa had taken a tumble and was in the hospital (and he is mending, thank goodness), and my mom wanted to get through the boxes as quickly as possible.  She had moved about half of the craft stuff out of the upstairs room and into the middle of the living room, where it would be easier to sort through.  We made three piles – one for mom, one for me, and one for donation.

I admit, it was a little strange, digging through piles of holiday crafts, never finished sewing projects, and boxes upon boxes of silk flowers.  I couldn’t help but wonder what she had planned to do with it all, and what she would think of what I was planning to do with it all.  I felt a little guilty in taking things from the pile and for not taking things.  My mother kept telling me that if I even had a short fused idea about an item, I ought to take it with me, because in this situation I would not be able to go back to get it.  After Sunday, it would be gone for good.

Needless to say, I ended up with far more than I know what to do with, and the promise of a trip in the not too distant future to clean out the other half of the craft room.

I took boxes of beads, buttons, and findings…

These funny little fuzzy animals, which Ellette quickly laid claim to…

Some beautiful fabric, which I am not quite sure what to make with…

Silk flowers….

And silk flowers…

And even more silk flowers.  Some of them were quite cool, however.  Like these metallic leaf bunches:

And these blue velvety roses

I took far more hats and baskets than I know what to do with

Ribbon and several boxes of lace

I am still cleaning up my studio and reorganizing to accomodate the sudden influx of supplies.  Much of it has caused inspiration (tons of the lace will look great on my top hats!)  So, if you keep checking back over the next month, I am sure you will see much of this stuff being used!

Chaos is the Life I Lead

My studio floor has been covered in fairy wings that are drying and getting ribbon put on.  My sewing table is covered in elastic and plushstaches.  The dining room table has tufts of tulle covering it.  There are boxes everywhere.  Yarn is spilling out of every available nook and cranny.

This afternoon, after living in a pig sty for the past few days, I made a push to cleaning.  Mainly because I promised Odin the writing desk would be moved out of his wood room by Friday.  And, my studio floor had floating bits of dust, ribbon, sewing thread, buttons, flowers, and needles that needed to be cleaned up.  I’m trying to reorganize while finishing inventory and it is driving me bonkers!

I’ve been dividing my work into three categories.  That which must be finished by Friday (wings), that which can be completed on site (tutus and some sewing and knitting), and that which must reach a point before I am able to complete it on site (top hats).

All of this, while I had to drive to the DMV to register my car, only to arrive and realize that I did not bring some necessary information.

It is now beginning to storm.  I can feel the thunder shaking the windows a bit.  There are still workers hammering away at the exterior of the house.  I have a feisty kitten attacking my feet.  And all I want to do is finish knitting the wedding present for some friends I will be seeing this weekend.

Next week I will provide you with better updates.  I promise.  Until then, I am trying desperately to hold on to my sanity as I am living in this chaos.

Another Random Friday

In no particular order:

  • It’s SPRING!  Today was the first warm weather and sunshine day with flowers blooming and people out walking and playing.  The past week or so has been rainy and chilly and depressing.  I was getting awfully cranky.

  • I had today off.  I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but I did go grocery shopping, talked to someone about my dieing car, and knit.  A lot.
  • I knit these:

  • Which, after dinner, I felted into these:

  • Most of this is leftover wool that I wanted to experiment with.  The yellow is Lamb’s Pride (don’t remember the name of the color), the black is a Berroco – I think?  The reddish brown is a new yarn I bought at Windy Knitty – called Monteza from Classic Elite.  It is 50/50 Wool and Llama.  I like how the stitches disappear when felting (the Lamb’s Pride is still too distinct) but it is so fuzzy!  I suppose I will have to make a decision once the item is complete.
  • Speaking of yarn, I fell in love at the yarn store.  To this:

  • Yeah, I thought so.  Madeline Tosh Merino.  It is ridiculously soft and squishy and dangerous.  I want to knit with it forever.  The colors are so intense.  And not just this green either!  All of them were like this.  The blues and reds.  Amazing.
  • Ellette is having a sleepover tomorrow.  She’s busy cleaning her room now.  I should be cleaning the house, too – but I imagine two six-year old girls will be romping around and causing enough trouble.  Why do twice the work?
  • Tomorrow, while the girls are out of the house with friends’ parents, I am going to be making Plushstaches.  This is currently my sewing station:

  • You guys have a good weekend.  I’ll let you know how many staches I get done tomorrow.  And maybe we’ll have a photo shoot.  Just maybe…

Creating Neverland

I must say, putting together a 6-year old’s Faery Tea Party is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent.  I thought that it would be a piece of cake, seeing as how I have been a professional faery for a few years now.  However, being the one to organize the party, rather than just show up and be cute for an hour, has sort of kicked me in the butt.  Ellette wants a Faery Tea Party, and, of course, I have to go all out for her.  It is in my nature.  I hear the words “Faery” and “party” and I think: “Oh yes!  But of course!!  It must be colorful and magical and breathtaking!” and I have set out to make it so.

So, the party is tomorrow and I am still working on decorations.  I have tried to remind myself that they are 5 and 6, and being such don’t actually care for anything more than cake and presents, yet I feel compelled to make my daughter enviable.  Why is this happening to me??

While we have gotten most of the logistics out of the way (thank you, school, for the directory.  Every student in the class has been invited, along with a few of Ellette’s best friend’s from Milwaukee) and we have an estimation of the number of kindergartner’s that will be arriving at our house tomorrow afternoon.

So, today’s post is a segment on how I have been creating our own personal Nevervland for tomorrow’s insanity adventure.

I have been knitting these “vines” – as one might call them – for weeks now!!  Today, I finally finished them (mostly) and hung them up, along with bolts of fabric.  More of which will get put up tomorrow.

I also made these:

I found the pre-made ones for sale at a shop here in Evanston but out of my budget, so I came home, googled, and made my own on the cheap.  The how-to is located here.  Ellette and I made 5, and she absolutely loves them.

For some reason this afternoon I began rearranging furniture.  I guess I want to make the apartment feel bigger for tomorrow.  I ended up finding a lot more “faery” things than I thought I had.

There is still more to do before 2 tomorrow.  Tune in later in the evening for my rendition of How To Maintain Your Sanity with a Dozen Faery Princesses in the House.

Snow Day Checklist

Well, the midwest was hit by a monster of a storm last night.  Well, really it’s been over 24 hours.  I woke up Tuesday morning with several inches of snow on the ground.  Thought nothing of it as I trudged to work at 6am.  I kept marveling at how peaceful and beautiful the city seemed that early, all covered with a glowing snow as the sun was just starting to rise over the lake.  The only others crazy enough to be out at that time in those conditions were runners.  They gave me a pleasant good morning as we passed each other.

It wasn’t until I arrived home from work and Odin walked in the door that I was confused and looked outside.  Odin doesn’t usually get home until 7 most nights.  To have him home at 3 was very strange.  I got a call that after school activities were cancelled, and then that the Actor’s Gymnasium was shut down (and I was so looking forward to Ellette’s first day of gymnastics!!)  But then I looked, and the wind was blowing so fiercly 4 foot branches were falling out of trees.  Some have compared the sound of the wind to the sound of a tornado.  The snow drifts were higher than the cars, and snow somehow wedged it’s way in between the storm windows and the heavier windows in our apartment.

It’s still going, too.  I had hopes of getting outside for a snowball fight, but it just looks cold and maybe a little dangerous.  I keep looking out of the windows as I pass and watching tree trunks and cars disappear further.

So, at the moment, I am curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and the Leyfi sweater I am working on (the arms!) and thinking about everything I should get done today.  I’m not going to bother numbering, as I will not stick to an order, so you get bullet points!

  • Ideally, finish the Leyfi sweater
  • Find my camera cord to give you guys the photos that have been building up on it!
  • maybe, when the wind stops blowing, shovel the walk
  • Impending snowball fight with the neighborhood?
  • clean up my studio a bit
  • finish making those purses I have all cut out
  • make chocolate chip cookies with Ellette
  • Show Ellette the joys of water colors
  • hot chocolate, wine, and movies
  • organize my yarn stash
  • finish the baby present for the bossman and his wifey.
  • wish I could distract Ellette long enough to work on her dress
  • Clean the house and do laundry (like that’s going to happen!)

So, there you have it.  Current time is 10:08.  How many more hours are left in the day?

Odin just pointed out that I forgot to list “EAT” on that list.

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