Thursday, July 29, 2010

Talk to me already!

Destructo-boy won't talk, or can't, not really sure which.  Maybe he just isn't being given enough impetus to need to talk since pointing and going 'uh, uh!' seems to be working just fine.  Well, it works fine for him at least, I for one am getting heartily tired of it.  It just gets so frustrating, I know he wants something but he won't say what it is that he wants, we have to play an elaborate game of Charades to figure out his wants and needs half the time.

He is going to be two in October so he should have started saying some words by now, and we know he is capable of speech as he occasionally will let loose a single word never to be spoken again, no matter how much he is prompted.  Unfortunately if my history is anything to go by we may be in for a bit of a wait before he start to talk to us.  Apparently I was almost 3 before I started to talk, I also did the grunting and pointing thing for quite awhile myself (sorry Momster!).  That said, once I started talking it was in full and complete sentences, my first being "Jennifer get in the backseat of the car!" (apparently my cousin really didn't want to sit in the back and both my aunt and the Momster were instructing her to do so when I piped in). 

Lil' Miss tries to help translate his grunting, maybe another reason he really doesn't make much of an effort at human speech.  Oh, and the topper was this morning, his talking dog toy, Scout, (which we normally lurve by the way) was singing some stupid song and sang 'dog', so what did the boy do, he said 'dog' back to the damn toy, clear as a bell.  He talks to the bloody damn dog toy but won't talk to me!  Do you begin to sense my frustration level here!!!  All I can do is hope that he starts talking soon, I mean, he'll be talking by the time he needs to start preschool, right?!  Right?

Monday, July 26, 2010

I have officially lost my mind...

Because I have decided to finally start on a long planned project, a Hawaiian applique quilt for my bed.  (shout out to Paige from Paper Starfish, whose lovely quilting projects have finally given me the inspiration I needed!)  I have previously made a fall duvet set and a winter duvet set for my bed including dust skirt, duvet cover, pillow shams for standard and european pillows, all without the use of a pattern, yea me!  Our current spring set is a purchased one that will be replaced, eventually.  I have wanted to make something cool for summertime for awhile now and I do believe a Hawaiian quilt would be perfect during the heat, it's just such a overwhelming, scary, freaking massive big project to take on!

Mister Vonkysmeed and I have been to Hawaii several times, and love the place.  We even bought a print of an antique map of Maui during our first anniversary visit that currently hangs over our bed (yes, I know, not a terribly bright idea in earthquake prone So Cal but I do have it on earthquake hooks so hopefully we won't get brained by it some night!).  We have admired from afar the lovely quilts for sale while there, but really couldn't afford the astronomical pricetags.  I have made a smaller lap quilt of 9 squares to use during the holidays that took 2 years to finish, so I certainly can understand why the prices are quite that high (since it's currently packed away with the Christmas decorations unable to post a pic, bummer!)!

First I will need to pick out my designs, I have two lovely books of patterns, Hawaiian Quilting: Instructions and Full-Size Patterns for 20 Blocks by Elizabeth Root and Poakalani Hawaiian Quilt Cushion Patterns & Designs, Vol. 4 by Poakalani & John Serrao provided by Mom-in-Law that I have to pick from.  I am currently debating if I want to make it a true sampler quilt with each square different or choose 2-3 patterns and just use those.  The quilt will be for a queen size bed so I'll need to make it 4 squares x 4 squares with a solid border all around the sides... I think.

For the fabric I want to stay somewhat true to Hawaiian tradition and use solid colored fabric, probably an ecru background with a coffee or cookie dough colored fabric for the pattern to go with the colors in our room.  I want to use good quality cloth for the quilt so will be Kona cotton that I will purchase with some lovely 40% off coupons that come out from Jo-Anns every week, that will definitely help with the cost!  Now to figure out how many yard I really need to get so I can get moving on this!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Office with a view...

Yes, this is where I get to work everyday.  Aren't you insanely jealous, well, at least a little?  I am incredibly lucky in that I am able to work part-time from home, with flexible hours to fit into my parenting schedule.  It all started a few months after I quit my full time job to be a stay at home mom when I got a call from my old employer asking me if I'd like to do some research work from home on my own schedule, 'why of course!' I answered (I'd be kind of dense to pass up an offer like that!).  It's now going on three years and I feel so fortunate to have a job where I am not on a specific schedule and can actually get some work done while keeping an eye on my ankle-biters at the same time.

With the onset of some actual heat the ankle-biters really want to play outside instead of staying inside where it gets pretty warm while mommy works on the computer (no A/C except for the portable unit we use for about a month).  So after a quick request I actually have power at the patio table in the backyard due to Mister Vonkysmeeds' engineering skills (I have learned to not refer to him as crafty, but to use more 'technical' terms) hooray!  I'd rely on battery power but I get about 20 minutes before my laptop craps out, sigh.  But now I can set up in the backyard to do my play, ravelry cruising, facebook checking work during the hot months of summer and keep an eye on Lil' Miss and Destructo boy while they play in the pool and on the waterslide.  Yes, life is good, so nice you asked and I do hope your summer is going just as well too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Well color me happy!

I am so honored and humbled to have been nominated for a Beautiful Blogger Award by Beccah at Nutmeg Knitter.  I am just tickled pink that she felt like nominating little ole me.  Seems like I must be doing an okay job of designing and writing this here blog if someone went out of their way to mention it!  Thank you so much Beccah!  From what I understand the rules are that I have to list 10 things about myself that you don't know and then nominate 10 other bloggers that I enjoy.  So here goes with my list of 10 little known facts:
  1. I can't stand mayonnaise.  The smell, the taste, the look of it, just makes me want to gag and I often do.  I am not sure why, but I think it may have had something to do with me finding out you could get food poisoning from if it was left out to long when I was a kid.
  2. I love horror movies in spite of the fact that I have very vivid and memorable nightmares.  When I saw Poltergeist for the first time I slept in my parents room for a week.  And when I saw The Ring I had nightmares for days and was convinced the creepy little girl was standing in front of me in the shower one time.  I never learn do I?
  3. The first concert I ever saw was Steppenwolf at the local county fair when I was in high school.  It was free with admission and I went with two of my best friends at the time.
  4. I have an alter ego, Kisa Vanyusha, you see I have been dancing as a gypsy at local Renaissance Faires with Tribe Roman Morga for 18 years now.  Makes that button on the left sidebar make more sense now doesn't it?
  5. I was born with hip dysplasia.  No, I am not part German Shepherd!  At birth my toes pointed in by 90 degrees as a result of this and I wore a variety of orthopedic shoes until I was 4.
  6. For some reason I am deathly afraid of deep, dark water.  Don't know why but I am.
  7. I am addicted to Coca-Cola, not the diet crap and most certainly not the P word, tastes like lemon to me (blech!), but the beautemous red can stuff is my hearts desire.
  8. I have competed in a rodeo.  It was during one of the summers I spent at my Aunt's house in Tehachapi and I competed in Horsemanship.  I would have won but I kept looking down to keep my hat from blowing off so ended up with a third place ribbon.
  9. I LOVE to read.  Unfortunately I don't get to read as often as I used to but I try to get in a little bit every day, usually at lunchtime.
  10. I am terrified to put my hand into the garbage disposal.  I always think of a certain New Twilight Zone episode where a very rotten kid starts to turn the disposal on while his fathers hand is stuck.  For some reason I am convinced the thing will tun itself on a la Stephen King while my hand is in there.
And here are my nominations for A Beautiful Blogger Award of their own, each one not only inspires with the authors writing/patterns/tutorials but the photography and design are lovely on each one:
  1. Marigold of Hideous, Dreadful, Stinky!
  2. Thea of Baby Cocktails
  3. Charity of Indietutes
  4. Hilary at The Yarniad 
  5. Ashley at Make It and Love It
  6. Kate at Tot Toppers
  7. Natalie at Daily Dose of Deuce
  8. Lisa at U-handbag
  9. Kelly at Drago[knit]fly
  10. Sew Much Ado
As a sidenote (and to toot my own horn a little bit more), I am also pleased to say my Liesel scarf won an Honorable Mention at this years county fair as I discovered on our trip there this weekend.  Maybe next year I'll do better, I am currently working on a beaded shawl that may just blow the judges away in 2011!

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    How to: Crochet fortune cookie pattern

    I couldn't find a pattern for an amigurumi or crocheted fortune cookie when I was crocheting tons of play food for Lil' Miss last summer and since she demanded I make a Chinese cookie, I came up with this pretty simple and easy design to create one.  Now to figure out how to crochet a Chinese takeout box to put them in, wouldn't that be cute!  (p.s. don't tell Lil' Miss about that or the demands will begin anew!) {a PDF of this pattern is located here}

    Here's what you'll need:
    • yellow or tan worsted weight yarn for the cookie
    • white worsted weight yarn for the fortune
    • size H crochet hook
    • small amount of stuffing
    • stitch marker 
    • tapestry needle
    For the fortune:

    Chain 7 with your white yarn, make 1 sc in second chain from hook, then make a sc in each chain to end (6sc) finish off.  Set aside to insert into cookie after stuffing.

    For the cookie:

    Start with making an adjustable loop with your yellow or tan yarn, if you don't know how check out this great tutorial here.  Use a stitch marker to keep track of your rounds if you prefer, I certainly find it easier that way!

    Rnd 1: 6 sc in magic loop and sl st to join (6 sc)
    Rnd 2: ch 1, *2 sc in each sc to end*, repeat to end, slst to join (12 sc)
    Rnd 3: ch 1, *1 sc in first sc, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat to end, sl st to join (18 sc)
    Rnd 4: ch 1, *1 sc in each of first 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc*,  rpt to end, sl st to join (24 sc)
    Rnd 5: ch 1, *1 sc in each of first 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc*,  rpt to end, sl st to join (30 sc)
    Rnd 6: ch 1, *1 sc in each of first 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc*,  rpt to end, sl st to join (36 sc)
    Rnd 7: ch 1, *1 sc in each of first 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc*,  rpt to end, sl st to join (42 sc)
    Rnd 8: ch 1, *1 sc in each of first 6 sc, 2 sc in next sc*,  rpt to end, sl st to join (48 sc)
    Rnd 9: ch 1, *1 sc in each of first 7 sc, 2 sc in next sc*,  rpt to end, sl st to join (54 sc)

    End off, leaving a long enough tail of yarn to sew your cookie in half.  Fold circle in half and sew about 2/3 of the way along the open edge.  Gently stuff with a small amount of batting, the points of your cookie will need to meet, so don't over stuff.  Place fortune so it is coming out of the cookie before continuing to sew seam shut all the way around.  Fold cookie in half by gently pressing the center in and pulling tips together until you have achieved the fortune cookie shape, sew the tips together with your yarn tail and then weave the end in.  Give to happy child and watch them play!

      Monday, July 12, 2010

      Isabella est finie

      Tis done!  Hooray, and it actually fits rather well in spite of my fears of it appearing to have been painted on.  Even better than fitting well is the fact that although this is made out of wool it is not suffocatingly hot (thank you to all the ravelers who reassured me that I was not an idiot for choosing 100% wool for a summer tank top).  I wore it to a 4th of July BBQ at my Aunt's house and I was quite comfortable. However the unusually cool weather here in normally sunny So Cal may have had something to do with that!

      The lace at the v-neck, the rows of eyelets, and the picot hems really make this a flattering and very feminine top without being too cutesy.  Well, the deep v-neckline certainly keeps it from being cutesy, Mister Vonkysmeed loves that part!

      I modified the pattern just a little, following the length for a large size and narrowed the shoulders by following the instructions for a small size, otherwise I followed the pattern instructions for a medium size.  I also knit the whole shebang in the round up to the armhole shaping so as to avoid seaming.  Overall I am really happy with my Isabella and look forward to getting a lot of use out of it this summer.

      Pattern: Isabella by Jordana Paige published in Knitty, Spring 2007
      Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll tonal, Queen Anne colorway
      Needles: Knit Picks circulars US #3

      Thursday, July 8, 2010


      Today I veer a little from my normal topics of crafting and kids due to being inspired by an old friend of mine.  He is going through a rather difficult time right now (and that's probably putting it mildly!) but rather than focus on the regrets of the way things could have been, instead he has chosen to focus on his gratitude for the way things are both large and small.  Thanks for reminding my to think about what is good in life Benji!

      What I am grateful for includes but is not limited to:
      • my health, in spite of some very minor issues overall I am doing quite well
      • my family, esp Mister Vonkysmeed and my kids
      • that I am able to stay home with my kids to care for them rather than having to go to a job
      • that my kids came out healthy and happy
      • that I live in beautiful Southern California, you couldn't pay me to live anywhere else
      • 80's music, loved it then and love it now
      • my home, it keeps me and mine warm and dry
      • campfires, there is nothing like gathering with friends around a firepit with the makings for s'mores
      • that I have enough food for myself and my family to eat every day
      • freedom to live how I choose, we truly are lucky to live in the good ole' USA
      • dogs, don't have one now but always had a family dog growing up, maybe next summer we can make an addition to our family
      • my sight, so basic but so important (I was fortunate enough to be able to undergo LASIK about 9 years ago and it changed my life, I was horribly near-sighted and couldn't get out of bed without glasses, now I wear nothing)
      • chocolate, nuff said
      • my creative abilities, I actually earned a degree in Studio Art (see next item) as well as just being generally crafty!
      • the gift of education, thanks Big Pops!
      • The Muppets, Jim Henson was a genius
      • my friends, so supportive and kind, sarcastic and fun
      • that I had the opportunity to know some very special people before they passed from this world
      • libraries, a great place to take my kids (and me!) to learn about the value of the written word
      That's all I can come up with right now that I am thankful for but I am sure I will think of more items later.  Take a few minutes today to think about what you are thankful for, you might be surprised at what you come up with.  By the way, I am also grateful to you for reading my ramblings blog entries!

      Monday, July 5, 2010

      Sewing Some Shade

      I've been doing some sewing in between knitting on my numerous wip's the past few days, making bucket style hats for both kids.  I found a great tutorial for Destructo boy's hat here on the U-Create blog, and for Lil' Miss I used a free pattern provided by Simplicity.  Both worked out pretty well, but in both cases I screwed up had some issues, so had to make judicious use of my seam ripper.

      gotta love little boys

      Something went wonky with both of the hats, different patterns but both had the same problems (hmm, perhaps sewer error?!).  I surmise some of my trouble had to do with the fact that the seams are supposed to be 1/2" in both patterns, but when I did that the hat wouldn't fit around the kids heads even when using the appropriate size.  So I seam ripped both the hats apart and did a 1/4" seam, it fit around the head then but came out rather tall, so I had to cut down the fabric on the sides of the hats about 3/4" (of course found this out after the brim had been attached resulting in more seam ripping, sigh).  You'd think I'd learn the first time too about the circumference of the hat being an issue wouldn't you?  Sadly this was not the case.  Mind you, for Lil' Misses hat I was trying to distract myself from the migraine nipping at my heels so my patience level which is naturally rather low was even worse than normal resulting in the fury frustration with the sizing issues being somewhat blown out of proportion.

      Lil' Miss opted for the brim to be the reverse fabric, cute idea missy!

      In spite of the problems, I got both patterns to work in the end and both kids now have rather cute reversible hats for the summer (if I do say so myself).  For Destructo boy's hat I even did the seams every 1/4" across the whole brim to give it a little more rigidity since I only used one layer of interfacing.  Now that I have conquered these patterns and understand how they work I am already thinking of making more for the monkeys, have to keep an eye on the remnants section at the fabric store!
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