Split Lips and Frozen Treats

One thing I have learned while raising my kids is that it’s good to always keep some freezer ices* in the freezer because there is no better way to treat a split lip.  My toddler reminded me of that one last night when he tripped over his own feet.

*Freezer ice, freezie, freeze pop, ice bar… you know, like a popsicle (ice pop, freezer pop, ice lolly, etc) without a stick?   Or whatever you call them where you live.

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Note: I’m sure this is not an original idea.  It’s still brilliant and I was very proud of myself when I first came up with it, years ago.

Miss C’s Blankies

Each of my boys has two matching knit blankies (so one can be washed.)  When we found out we were having a girl after the four boys I couldn’t choose just one girly color.  So, Miss C has quite a few blankets, none of which match.  I figure if she really gets attached to one I’ll make a copy of it.  All the blankets are more square than they appear.  I had kids and cats climbing all over them (or jumping on the bed next to them) when I tried to take the pictures.

I made six corner-to-corner knit blankets in the same style as the boys’ blankies.  This first one is in Lion Brand Homespun Thick and Quick.  I believe the color was called “Sea Glass Stripes”  I used 1 skein, so it’s a small blanket (around 24″ square) just right for her to cuddle.

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These four are all about the same size (approx 30″ square, to make a guess).  Two were made with 2 skeins each of regular Homespun.  The top is is in “grape” and the one on the right is, I think, “wildberries stripes”.  The other two were each made with 5 skeins of Deborah Norville Chunky Sprinkles.  The one on the bottom is “peekaboo” and the one on the left is “sprite.”  I think I used size 13 or 15 needles for everything.

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I got ambitious and made a “lapghan” size blanket in the same style, but with stripes.  I used a mix of Bernat Softee Chunky and Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky.  They are almost interchangeable.  The Bernat yarn doesn’t has as soft a drape, and the Serenity Chunky has a very slightly smaller gauge (barely noticeable).  The (large) cat is included for scale and because anyone with cats knows how difficult it is to get a picture of a blanket without a cat included!  The blanket is about 42″ square.

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I also crocheted two blankets in the last few weeks before Miss C was born.  This first one I did to test out a pattern I was going to teach my sister.  I used 2 strands of “Jiffy” yarn and an 8-petal “African Flower” design.  It’s the smallest blanket (around 20″ square), but happens to (accidentally) perfectly match one of our little baby seats.

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Finally, in the last week before Miss C was born I decided to make a fancy blanket.  Fortunately, she took her time and arrived (late) after it was done.  I’ve never enjoyed sewing a bunch of squares (or hexagons) together, but when making this I discovered the join-as-you-go technique.  It made it so much easier and so much more fun.  I used Bernat Softee Baby Chunky yarn (the white is Serenity Chunky) for this one and a six-petal “African Flower” design.  I an sure I will use this design again someday to make another baby blanket.  I love how it turned out.

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Again, a cat (demanding a belly rub) for scale.  The blanket is shown spanning a twin bed (~38″ across.)

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My current baby blanket project is coming along nicely.  I’ll share an update soon.  I’m also hoping to get decent sleep one of these nights so I can get back to the dragon.  I’m itching to work on it, but don’t feel like messing up and having to undo my work a bunch of times.

Bitten by the Blankie Bug

I did a bad, bad thing.  I had some free time, so I went to the library by myself!  I got to go into the adult part of the library (not the kids’ section) for the first time ever.  I was just going to look around a little.  Somehow, totally by accident, I found myself face-to-face with the crochet section.  And a book jumped out at me (figuratively, thankfully.)  I borrowed it, and when I got home I flipped through it.  Then I immediately ordered the book and two others by the same author.  I felt like a kid at Christmas waiting for the package to arrive.

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My immediate reaction was “Now I desperately want to make some baby blankets.  But I don’t have any friends expecting babies right now.  And little Miss C. already has 8 or 9 blankets I made for her!”

Less than a day later I found out a longtime family friend is expecting a baby boy!  This is awesome because:

  1. She’s having a baby! (her first)
  2. I get to play with my new books
  3. I had an excuse to go buy more yarn (which I did not need)
  4. I have not been getting much sleep lately (Miss C. has her first cold and woke me up seven times last night.)  It’s also school vacation and all the kids are home.  I need something relatively mindless to crochet.  I can’t design a pattern right now.  I would totally screw it up.  Sorry, dragon.

Here’s my yarn: Red Heart Soft in “Light Grey Heather,” “Sea Foam,” “White,” “Mid Blue,” and “Navy.”  The octagon is motif #70 from “Connect the Shapes.” by Edie Eckman (pictured above.)

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I’m going to do a grid of 9 octagons with squares between them and triangles on the corners and filling in on the edges.  The design colors will vary, but they will all be bordered with navy blue.  The triangles and squares will all be navy, too.  I think.  I might do the squares in a different color.  The edging around the whole blanket will be grey.  The octagon is 8″ across.  I might end up doing one more round of navy dc to make it closer to 10″.

 

Thoughts on Socks

One of the most useful, time-saving, parenting things I have ever done was getting rid of all of my kids’ socks.  They had white socks, colorful socks, socks in all different styles.  I replaced them with all the same brand of socks (Hanes, because they brilliantly put the word “Hanes” in a different color on each size of sock).  And I got them black socks.  Now their socks don’t get that terrible dirty “when did you walk in mud with just socks on?!” look.  (Black socks, they never get dirty…)  And it’s super easy to sort them.  #1 gets socks with blue letters on the toe.  #2 and #3 split the socks with green letters on the toe.  #4 gets socks with red letters on the toe.  And #5 has white socks because she’s a baby and doesn’t get them dirty.  And after doing all the laundry, at most I have four socks leftover.  I just shove those in the owner’s drawer and go on with my life.  No more laundry baskets full of socks waiting to be matched.

That’s my thought for today as I embark on tackling the mountain of laundry baskets which has piled up.

Straw Bale Garden Part 1: Preparation

This is another idea I got via the internet.  It’s not my idea.  I wish it was, because it’s brilliant.  Basically, you use straw bales, which decompose over the course of the summer, as raised bed planters.  They get warmer than the soil, which is useful in a cool climate like we have, and are usually free of veggie diseases.  They require more water than plants in the soil, but that’s not a problem here.  I tried it with a variety of veggies last year to test it out.  I learned that tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers love it.  Eggplants probably do as well, but the one eggplant I tried died.  Oops.  My green beans, and broccoli did fine.  The basil was just sad.  The lettuce hated it.  My summer squash plants all died, too.

For the record, I don’t have a black thumb.  Usually my plants do well.  But, last year, thanks to being pregnant, I was struggling with hyperemesis gravidarium (severe morning sickness) and exhaustion during the beginning of the summer (plus taking care of four kids).  At the end of the summer we were out of our house for 5 weeks while some work was being done.  So, my plants were neglected and died, except for the tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, which produced like crazy.  And the tomatoes got almost no blight.  Amazing.

This year I’m doing just tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.  I’ll have 10 tomatoes plants in 8 grape/cherry/currant varieties.  I’ll have 12-14 pepper plants in five varieties, some in bales, some in pots on the deck.  And 4 bales worth of cucumber vines in 4 varieties.

The pepper seedling have been growing since February and the tomatoes since March.  They have another month of growing to do before I plant them.

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The bales will sit out in the rain for the next few weeks.  I’ll start watering them daily 7-10 days before planting and will add nitrogen rich fertilizer several times.

The lovely green plants on the other half of the garden are strawberries.  And the fence is for the deer.

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Crayon Paintings

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Here’s another kids’ craft.  I saw one of these hanging in our pediatrician’s office and spent my waiting time figuring out how it was done.  Then I got home and realized the directions are all over the internet.  At least it was a fun thought exercise.  My kids needed help to do this.  My older two could probably do it themselves, but they were a little scared of the hairdryer, having never really seen one used before.  I’m not even sure why we have a hairdryer, given that I never use it on my hair and am pretty sure I wasn’t the one to buy it.

Materials:

  1. canvas
  2. crayons
  3. hot glue gun
  4. hair dryer

steps:

  1. use hot glue gun to glue crayons to canvas
  2. use hair dryer to melt crayons (careful, ours splattered a bit)
  3. admire your artwork

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Note: don’t accidentally drop the picture on the floor when putting it on the mantelpiece.  The crayons fall off, the kids cry, and you spend 20 minutes matching the crayons back up and gluing them back on.