Blogger is being odd...

The new blogger is doing something odd where I can't see a persons return email address when they comment, so I can't reply... has anyone else experienced this?


Blu's Cabled Jacket is finished. Can you believe that I did it? If it takes me this long to knit a baby sweater, than I think that Pete's going to have white hair before I finish his!

The Details:
Cabled Jacket from The Baby Knits book by Debbie Bliss.
Yarn: 6 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino purchased on Ebay.
Buttons: Liberty Print, handmade.
Start to Finish: Febuary 05 - January 06.
Notes: Ok, Ignoring the fact that it took me 10 months to sew down some pockets and find some buttons, this was a pretty fast knit. It was fun to knit because it was easy but not mindless due to the seed stitch and the cables.
The yarn was..well, it was so-so. It was disappointing to find that the dye job was incomplete on some of the balls, there are actually 2 or 3 white undyed stitches. They aren't terribly noticable but I feel ripped off because I was assured that this yarn wasn't 'seconds'. I definately won't ever buy yarn from ebay again.
And why is it that Debbie Bliss' patterns are always so odd? Don't get me wrong, the sweater is cute but I'm pretty sure (I dont remember because of course I didn't write it down) that I was knitting this for a 6 mo. old. It fits her perfectly right now, with a bit of room around the middle. She would have been swimming in it at 6 months.

This was the first cabled pattern that I've done, and I found it to be pretty simple to cable without a needle as long as you are not trying to do something else - like hold a baby - at the same time. It bugs me that all the cables twist the same direction. Had I more cabling experience at the outset, I would have twisted the lefthand cables the other direction. But it didn't bother me enough do it again.

I also found the pattern to have way too many button holes, it looks so busy... I think that 5 would have been enough. Oh well, next time. I never did find suitable buttons, these I made from some of my precious Liberty fabric...and when the sweater is too small they are coming off and going on something else, for me. I love them, and after all the knitting they are my favorite part of the sweater. Blu loves them too, she doesn't believe me when I said that they aren't edible. Everytime I put the sweater on her she tries very hard to yank them off and eat them. Maybe she won't wear it after all.


Tourists at home - Pt 2

This post has been simmering for a couple days... our tourist adventures have continued; this time with the camera.

Wednesday we went to the Park, with a capital P. Golden Gate Park has to be the best place to go for a walk with a baby, if only it wasn't so far! It took us 2 trains to get there, one of which broke down, but we stayed all day. First stop was the Botanical Gardens, where Blu got out and practiced her walking while we had lunch. The gardens are one of my favorite places in the city, and I can remember going with my Mom when I was very small as well. Its free to all and open everyday, its dog free which is a nice change but you have to beat back the squirrels with a stick; they have been fed too much.

Peter told me that the Botanical Gardens remind him of the ones in Melbourne, maybe thats because they have a native plants of Australia and New Zealand section..

Initially, having never seen a squirrel before Blu was rather curious..likewise the squirrels felt positive that we had something for them too eat and fearlessly ventured close. But after one jumped up on the bench at the spot where Blu was hanging over the back, a squirrels approach caused her to shriek in terror so we had to move on.

Close by is the new De Young museum, and the future Academy of Sciences (which by the way is going to be awesome!!). Some people really don't like the new building as it is very modern, but I think its kind of cool. Its made of copper, and so will weather organically as it is exposed over time to the elements. Already some parts are beginning to turn green. Plus (and this I admit is pretty geekish) it reminds me of the pyramids levels in Mario Bros. 3 for Super Nintendo...because its kind of megalithic and has palm trees...anyways, it makes me smile.

I was planning just to have a cup of tea at the cafe and read, but Blu fell asleep and a load table of corporate types scared me away. So I wandered through the museum for 30 minutes or so and caught some of the highlights. Its in between exhibits so there wasn't too much to linger on.

We ended up at the Conservatory of Flowers.

Its a gigantic hothouse, they have tropical plants from all over the world, a butterfly room where you can stand surrounded by hundreds of butterflys and even an orchid room specializing in high elevation orchids from the Andes Mountains. Even better, its like 85 degrees year round. I didn't go inside, Blu was still napping and I didn't feel like tackling any more stairs but its a really really nice place to visit. Just sayin..

So ends our second day of touring our city. At home that evening, Blu was so worn out she went to bed at 7! I followed soon after....


Tourists at home

Blu and I have been playing tourists this week, our last week of winter vacation before school starts on Wednesday. I've been trying to head further afield than neighborhood for things to do so we have been very busy. San Francisco has a reputation for being a very kid unfriendly town, and while I have certainly experienced this, this week I found that it is possible to find things to do with children that don't involve sitting in the park or lots of money.

Blu was a surprisingly complacent traveller, a godsend because at times we spent 45minutes on trains or waiting. I discovered that as long as I gave her snacks she would sit in her stroller much longer than I would have expected.

Our first outing was Tuesday, we hiked up the hill to the Randall Museum. I had heard about this from another Mom of a one year old as a good place to take toddlers. Aside from the massive hill - it would be really convienent to have a car for this one - it was. Situated above the Castro the Randall Museum is a hands on natural history center. It does classes on weekends and for school groups in art and ceramics and has a toddler rooms and rotating exhibits. The current one was on honey bees. There were gigantic models of bees flapping wings, protecting the nest, larvae - these were a bit freaky like 4 foot white slug plushes - and interactive hives and bee dances... Blu loved it and spent a long time flapping the bee's wings up and down. What a great place, and the best part? Its free.



Playing around with some new template changes today, not sure if I like it or not...
What do you think?

*Edit 1-25: Thanks for the comments, I too like the minimalist scheme but I don't think that this is "it" yet. And I'm not so sold on the red on the sidebar so I think that that is going to go....



Doing some research tonight and I came accross this in Flickr's use disclaimer:


Its really bizarre, but I suppose that it wouldn't be above some people to sue after suffering from a fit while scrolling through photos.



It took some effort, and some intense bribery, but I got the video...
Here she is taking hesitant steps...
This stage is already going, everytime she stands she goes a litle farther, a little more steady...
She is growing fast, no?


being upright

Blu has been making a concerted effort to practice her walking today. Her highest count was 14 steps, with a little snowballing run at the end. I have been desparately trying to get a good video clip of some steps, but everytime she sees the camera she stops. Argh! I swear, I will have video in the near future.

I'm trying to make good on my New Years resolutions this year, at least during January... I think most New Years Resolutions turn out to be January Resolutions don't they? Anyways short duration aside, one of my resolutions was to finish what I've started. This is a big one for me as I'm prone to starting many many things - books, projects, assignments...- and forgetting about them half way, the projects on my sidebar being a good example :-). I'm really trying to make good on this one, no new knitting (or sewing for that matter), until all started knitting is finished. Well, I may cast on a sock but that really doesn't count does it? And I got such pretty yarn for Christmas too!! But I'm determined, I will finish. In that spirit, I've picked up Blu's Cabled Jacket again.

One side, sleeve and pocket seam to go, but I think I might have block it again. You know what? I think it might still fit her, amazing as that is. I'm chalking it up to the stretchy weight of cotton, and not my laziness in matching row gauge.

I also got this in the mail this week:

Ordered from Purlsoho so that I can finally finish the Icarus shawl for my Mother, that is if I can bear to pick it up again. You might ask why I bought two skeins when I only need to knit 2 rows (Yes, Peter that would be you), and the simple answer would be just in case. Honestly, I originally bought this yarn to knit something for Me, so this is just a sort of stash reimbursement....
The pretty fabric sitting underneath the yarn will become pajama pants for me and Blu when the new project ban is lifted, its already washed and ready to go.

And to distract you from my lack of promised video and interesting content, I will send you to Yarn Harlot (if you haven't been already) where you can see the amazing power of knitters en mass. And if you have spare change and feel like being an upright human being, it is IMHO a very worthy cause. When I went to the actual website early in December, I had the strong urge to tell everybody I knew that for Christmas I wanted the approximate value of my gifts donated instead. It was only a momentary urge, otherwise I would have no new yarn, or fabric, or cookbooks....but I still hope to donate something. And I'm not above laying on some guilt and saying you should too.


More Effort

Sometimes it takes a little more effort to achieve what usually happens effortlessly.
I'm trying to keep this in mind this week as it has been a bit of an uphill battle, literally.

We have been having such nice weather that we went to the park both yesterday and today. Blu's cold seemed to be improving and we were feeling a bit pent up inside the house. Because I usually take the bus to get to the park on the top of the hill I decided not to take a stroller, but to wrap the baby to my chest instead. In retrospect, I don't think that I will do that again. There is only one bus that does this route because its pretty remote, so we usually spend at least 10 minutes waiting. Its a bit of a gamble. After pulling all the tricks I could think of to keep Blu still while waiting for the bus, it came - going the wrong direction of course. Rather than wait with the fidgety baby for another 15 minutes I started trekking up the hill on foot. This is a really, really long hill - 10 or 11 blocks, up and up and up....

I stripped off my coat about half way up. The diaper bag was getting pretty heavy by then too, so I slung it along my chest. Now I felt like a pack mule, or a bag lady, baby strapped to my front and bag across my back huffing and puffing up the hill. .We got some odd looks...but Blu didn't notice, she fell asleep shortly thereafter.

The view from about 3/4 of the way up nearly makes up for the sweaty hike.

The bus passed us at that point.

We had lunch at the top, and played awhile but it was very windy and Blu was very irritable after only having a 20 minute nap, so we came home pretty soon - by bus this time. We must have looked a mess on the way home, Blu had lost a sock somewhere along the way and was shrieking at having to be carried for so long ( I usually can't rewrap her once we are out becuase the wrap trails on the ground) and I was a bit frazzled and tired from the climb.
The moral of this story? Mama should always take a stroller, and try to be prepared for the unexpected.

Today Peter drove us to the park, and everyone was very happy.

The End.


Beating back the cold

Blu and Peter have been sniffling and coughing for days. .. Going through tissues like we are burning bills. In an effort to stave of the cold myself I'm making stock tonight, for soup tomorrow. There are few things, IMHO, as wonderful and diverse as fresh stock. It takes any flavor you throw at it, builds it up, blends it in and turns into something both warming and soothing. And how many things it becomes! Soups, stews, the basis for poaching and pasta, sauces and seasoning. I often make stock with an asian twist with ginger, soy and star anise. Today it was traditional, onions carrots, thyme and sage; a twist off of a pheasant recipe from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries, my new infatuation. The bird is stove browned and then braised/roasted with dry vermouth and sage with a couple of potatoes. Surprisingly tasty for chicken, and it will make great stock. I highly reccomend the book, I can't stop reading it like a novel, and am making lists in order to make as much as possible from it. We bought it for Anai for Christmas, but at the point that I was feverishly typing up recipes Peter gifted me with my own copy.

If all goes according to plan the cold shall be vanquished, just in time for Saturday's dinner. It will be a treat for us as I gave Peter the implements for Christmas and we have yet to try them out. I'm making Sukiyaki.


Starting Anew

A new year is born.
After a holiday week of frigid temperatures and rain while visiting family, Jan 1st was warm and sunny, a beautiful start to the year. We spent most of the day trying to travel home, and are now happily back in the city - although I must admit that I did not miss all of the sirens. Sadly the journey proved too much for my poor finch, who died last night, the strain of a week spent in a small cage and car travel without food or water was too much for him. I'm terribly sad, he was the last of 4 that I had for 6 years now, and its very quiet around here without his little chrips. Hopefully we get another soon.

Aside from that low note, our holidays were great. We did our usual Christmas Eve and morning with his family, Christmas dinner with mine. Of course, both sets of Grandparents were very happy to see Blu-chan - they even let us parents sneak away to a movie, our second in a year! I don't think that Blu knew quite what to do with all of her presents, but she really liked the wrapping paper! Luckily she had lots of help:

I was a very delinquint Christmas crafter, and though I spent many naptimes working, did not manage to finish ANY gifts. Actually that's not true, I finished a batch of limoncello for our parents, but then Peter broke his parent's bottle on the way up. I'm midway through a second glove for Cris, and I sort of gave him the first - but I took it back to match the second. So several 'Christmas' gifts are now going to be birthday gifts, but really the recipients (the babies) won't know the difference. I suppose that if I want to make gifts for the holidays, I need to start in January don't I?

After Christmas we had several days of just lazing around.
Then we had a birthday party.

Blu turned 1 on Friday! Happy Birthday Blu-chan!
I made cupcakes:

They all disappeared.

Blu was shown proper candle blowing etiquitte by her cousin. Next year she will do it herself, I'm sure.

She didn't like the meringue icing, but ate the chocolate part with relish (I made mini cupcakes for the girls, I ate the big one in the picture) . Afterwards she opened some more gifts and played alot with her cousin while the adults drank champagne and ate tea sandwiches. Someone managed to get a rare mother-daughter photo of Anai, who hates to be photographed. Sorry Anai, I couldn't resist - its such a lovely photo!

Here is the Birthday girl all tired out from her party:

I was trying to remember how I felt this time last year, just before and after giving birth to Blu. For the first several months after she was born I felt strongly affected by birthing process. I fully intended to write her birth story down at that time so that I wouldn't forget, but naturally I didn't - I was a little busy at the time. Now, the experience of having Blu has ecllipsed the experience of giving birth to her, and the memory has faded somewhat. I still think about it, but am unable to really remember the intensity that went along with it. However, the moment Blu raised her head from my stomach and looked at me for the first time is still very clear, I hope that it will not fade. I might still write her story down, but mainly so that its around at the point that she asks me about it.

The next day (the 30th), Blu - who seems to be a very punctual child, as she first sat up and cut her first tooth at exactly 6 months, and crawled at 7 - took her first walk. We had seen little 1 or 2 steps here and there, but I understand that this was more than that. I was asleep, and woke to a chorus of 'walking, walking'. But I missed it. Whatever it was she had enough, and went back to crawling, although there have been some occasional steps. She just can't seem to get the left foot up. Dancing though, we see plenty of - I'm still trying to get a good video to post, because her dancing is hilarious!

New Years was quiet, a glass of champagne at midnight following a video, but very nice.

and Blu came back with a cold, probably because she spent so much time napping outside.