Thursday, January 31, 2008

news from the couch

ok, so all in all, i have been pretty lucky in this pregnancy. i am healthy as a horse, and the baby is big and active as hell. i have had some hurling, but not so much as to make me insane. and i have been tired, but not disfunctional--i even manage to get to the grocery store and make dinner still. i'd love more sleep, but that's really always been the case. yesterday, i had the evil glucose tolerance test where i had to go in and drink a (warm) 10-oz bottle of what tasted like hawaiian punch with about 4 extra cups of sugar dissolved in it on an empty stomach. when this made me feel kind of off, i can't say i was surprised. but it seems that i have contracted a THING. a THING of the stomach variety that has required me to spend the day working from my couch and eating nothing but plain carbs, salt, and gincger ale. all i can say is, it better go away soon.

in other baby news, the doctors claim everything with him is awesome, and that he will be big. they tell me i need to register at the hospital soon, which freaks me out. we start childbirth classes in less than two weeks. we're entering the home stretch over here, and it's just still bizarre as hell to me. i have lost back the one pound i gained, so that's interesting. considering that my uterus weighs about 6 pounds, the placenta another 6 or so, the baby about 2 and a half or 3, the amniotic fluid a couple of pounds, and the fact that i have about 150% of my normal blood, that all means that my actual body is probably the lightest it's been in like 10 years. that just ain't right.

my friend emily reminds me to get as much done now as i can, as i will have a permanent houseguest coming in april. i love her description of having a new baby in the house:
Well, in truth it's initially like having a really inconsiderate college roommate--up all night, loud partying, never cleans up after himself...fortunately the cuteness factor and the "I made this person myself" factor ameliorate the bad roommate effects...
i've always said the cuteness is what saves them. thank god for that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

stuff on the sticks

so my camera battery charger is still MIA, so i tried taking some pictures of my kniting with my phone. and of course, they pretty much suck. however, in the interest of documentation and the need to talk about yarn, i am showing them to you anyway. bear with me.

foliage, wip
i cast on for the foliage hat on sunday while snowed in (by which i mean, not snowed in at all, but rather holed up as though snowed in--you do what you have to here in NC to make winter happen for yourself), and i am through the crown and one and a half repeats of the leaf lace pattern. i am still a little stumbly with lace--just a lot to keep track of--but i made it through the last 8 rounds without having to back up and fix something, so maybe some practice is actually helping. the yarn is malabrigo, in a lovely silvery grey that's almost the exact color of fergus's belly and nearly as soft. love malabrigo. of course, i've lost the label, so god only knows what color this actually is. the hippie's making this hat, too, in green. it says something about us that i get gauge with this yarn on size 7's and he gets it on 9's.

baby bolero, wip
also in the works is a baby bolero for kieran. this pattern is really cute, and it's the only newborn size thing i am knitting--i am 99% sure that we're going to have a 10+ pound baby, in which case, he will be lucky to wear this home from the hospital. i am using the yarn called for, which is blue sky alpacas organic cotton. the color is called willow, i think, but again--the lable is somewhere, so i can't tell you for sure. i can tell you that this yarn is wonderful to knit, and that i love how the ply of green witht he natural ply becomes all tweedy looking when it's knitted up. i am changing the pattern a little bit--i did the shou;der seams with a 3-needle bind-off rather than a seam, and i intend to pick up stitches and knit them from the top down rather than knit them as separate pieces as they are written. everyone i know who has made this has had issues with fitting the sleeves into the arm holes, so this seems a better solution. thanks to knitting betty for the suggestion to do them top down.

pink umbrella, FO
i knitted a third umbrella hat because i just wanted the pink yarn. (of course, the color looks all off here due to the lack of proper photography, but i am trying not to whine about that anymore.) i am sure i am not alone in doing that sort of thing. the umbrella hat from leigh radford's one skein book is just a great little satisfying knit. i love the little lace motif at the bottom--it's enough to keep it interesting. and then the stockinette portion of the hat is small enough that it just goes by in a flash. i took no in-progress shots of this project because it was over too soon! i have no idea who will be the recipient of this little hat. it's made to fit a 9-12 month head, so we'll see whose baby turns out to be the right size at the right time. :)

i also took some pictures of the green eyelet baby blanket i am making for kieran, but they came out too atrocious to post. ew. you're just going to have to wait to see that one till i can get the camera battery up and running again. the sam's sending me her extra charger--thank god! soon, i will be back in the game.

i am meeting my new S&B group tonight (if you live in cary or apex, come meet us! we're meeting at 7pm at the starbucks at 55 and high house.), so hopefully i will get the rest of the way through my foliage hat. it's cold! i need that thing!

Monday, January 21, 2008

when email's down at work...

new t-shirt

new desk it was this morning--well, that's a perfect time to go internet shopping and become that greatest of all things, an american consumer. today i ordered these two lovely items, both of which i wish would arrive right now. the first is a maternity t-shirt from an etsy shop--the seller's name is discobelly, and i have high hopes for her shop. this t-shirt is so cute, and sadly the same cannot be said for much of what's available out there for pregnant women. a lot of it's just frumpy and lacks all style. and you know, when you are starting to feel big and cumbersome and like maybe you are about to give birth to a whale rather than to a tiny (yeah, right!) baby, then the last thing you want to do is feel frumpy, too. so amyway--thank you, people like discobelly! i love this shirt!

the second item is the small bedford desk from pottery barn, after which i have been lusting for many moons. i have an enormous antique teacher's desk, which i love--it used to live in what is now the nursery. but since the baby's crap is going to take up a whole room, my poor desk was excommunicated and banished to the garage where it is destined to become a stained glass worktable. the problem? now i have no desk to use as an actual desk. and everything's just too damned big for my available space, EVEN at ikea. (i KNOW, right?) so anyway, this stylish little petite number (only 23 inches deep) is going to become my new little office-y niche in my studio. it should arrive in a couple of weeks, which is lucky, because--let me tell y'all--i am NESTING. i want everything organized, and i mean NOW!

in other news, i am still knitting up a storm (probably something to do with that nesting thing again), and i still can't show you squat because I can't find my camera battery. i started a foliage hat for myself this weekend, and i am still working on many other half-finished items. i also spent the weekend holed up at the house doing things like making 15-bean soup and corn bread and big country breakfasts, ironing massive amounts of bed and table linens, and trying not to notice that the baby being all in the front is starting apparently starting to crack my back in two. yep. nesting. all i want to be is home.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

at random

why is it that i feel i need to have pictures in my posts? maybe because i like looking at other people's pictures so much. anyway--i don't have any, because i have not suddenly located my camera battery, probably because i have had no time to look. maybe i should start taking phone pictures again. this has been one of those weeks where i have been unaccountably busy. i have had something going on pretty much every night all week, and then i wonder why i have no time to get things done at home. duh. tonight i have a date with my friend emily, which is awesome. tomorrow i will prepare for the weekend arrival of my friend michelle. someday i will finish packing up the christmas ornaments--but don't ask me when. on tuesday this week, i knitted with strangers--we're trying to get a stich and bitch group going that's closer to where some of us live, and so far, so good. two people last week, four this week--if we keep that up, we'll have a good group going in no time. this also means i am making knitting headway even if nothing else is coming along for me right now. man, this is a rambly boring post. maybe i should throw up a random picture, just so you guys have something to do.
fergus at the vet
there--that's fergus at the vet earlier this week. (my phone does take ok pictures at least.) he's about as happy as he looks in that picture, but he's also perfectly healthy other than some residual anxiety over the loss of scout. what do you do for a cat who's trying to groom out all his fur? anyway, i'm going to shut up and try to finish my work so i can leave a tad early.

Monday, January 14, 2008

photography issues

i have all this stuff i want to show you, internet, but alas, i have lost my camera battery charger.

for example, jenn and i took an all day beading class on saturday (because i definitely need more hobbies). i walked away with 4 new pieces of jewelry i can't show you, one of which i really like and would LOVE to show. i made a lovely silver glass pearl bracelet with blue silk knots (wearing it right now), some chandelier type earrings with lots of crystals, a pair of copper and charcoal pearl earrings, and a stone necklace with black seed beads and some other glass beads as well. we learned knotting, crimping, and wire wrapping, and i am now all fired up to make more stuff. however, you can't see any of this because my battery is dead dead dead.

other things you can't see:
the pink malabrigo umbrella hat i made
the baby blanket i finished for my friend jennifer's new baby
the red felted bag that's ready to felt
the baby bolero that has a body and no sleeves
the eyelet baby blanket i am halfway though for my own baby
my pretty new yarn in my pretty new silk yarn bag


i need to find that thing...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

all about the baby

i feel more pregnant than usual today. i am not sure what it is, but i just feel more cumbersome and large all of a sudden. maybe it's the fact that i am finally in the black as far as the pregnancy weight gain has gone--i am a whole two pounds heavier now than the day i took that first (of five) pregnancy test. maybe it's these jeans i'm wearing pressing just a little TOO tightly on my lower abdomen--ie, on the baby. maybe it's the the baby is really roll-y today. maybe it's that i can't quite seem to take a deep enough breath. but anyway--yeah--i'm definitely knocked up over here, folks.

i have reached the point where i am not throwing up (very much), and i actually ate some oatmeal for breakfast today with no problems. i feel mostly ok, although i am very tired. i am having really vivid dreams, and i wake up every time i roll over from one side to the other. i can't sleep on my back or my stomach anymore, which is also affecting things. i fell asleep at the kitchen table the other night reading a wikipedia page (reading about the baby's name) on my laptop--i didn't even know that was physically possible. i have had a couple of pretty severe headaches, but less than i have when i am NOT pregnant, so that's ok, too. i think maybe i am in the calm before the storm.

the baby moves all the time now--he's like my little constant friend in there. of course, the minute the hippie touches my belly, the baby becomes as still and quiet as a little church mouse. i think he likes the vibrations from his father's voice, a trend i hope continues until he is at least twenty. the hippie was fianlly able to feel him for the first time last night, which is pretty exciting.

wee clothes
actually, many things are starting to get exciting. many people have given us stuff for the baby already. we have enough baby clothes that i washed a whole load of them--i could not stop laughing as i was hanging them to dry--so tiny! and we spent a lot of time over the holidays working on the house, which means that the nursery is painted and has furniture in it. the nursery is a lovely pale, pale blue--almost white. it's cool and soothing, and it's the color i would have painted the room, baby or no baby. the hippie's worried about stereotyping putting a baby boy in a baby blue room, but hey--i figure, we like the color. it has nothing to do with the baby's gender for me. after all, my bedroom is blue, too! jenn and harry have given us a crib and a dresser with a changing table top, which is HUGE and has saved us a ton of money. plus that crib has held many babies who are now womderful children, so we are excited abotu its good karma as much as anything. i have been shopping around buying odds and ends, like a glider from craigslist ($60), the rug i wanted from pottery barn kids on ebay ($139including shipping!), a bumper pad ($30) and a little valance ($5) from a clearance sale at pbk, and a teddy bear ($14) at restoration hardware while i was christmas shopping (i just couldn't resist it!) i will probably end up spending more on artwork than on anything else that will go in the baby's room--that to me is the fun part. i feel like one of those people on the HG or the TLC channel decorating on a a teeny budget or somehting--it's like a game to me at this point. anyway--things are moving along. things are going really quickly. i feel like this baby is going to be here before i have time to blink twice. i hope he waits till his due date on april 25th. whew!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

cupcake factory

cupcake ingredients
what starts out as a neat and orderly pile of ingredients and equipment as you see pictured above quickly turns into a pile of flour and sugar and a fine coating of sticky over your entire kitchen when you start turning it into 72 cupcakes. this is what i did on saturday--i made cupcakes. all day long. and let me tell you, i can't think of many better ways to spend a day! i heart cupcakes. i love making them, and i love eating them--i consider them one of the Perfect Foods, along with bacon, biscuits, sauteed mushrooms, and really good ice cold gin martinis. (there are others, of course, but i am trying not to digress...y'all know how i am once i get going.)

for christmas, i received two cupcake cookbooks, cupcakes, by susanna tee, and cupcakes year round, by sara neumeier. the first is quite pretty and is great for inspiration and decorating ideas, but it isn't very practical for mass production of cupcakes. all of it's recipes make different amounts of cupcakes--one will be 12, one 16, the next 26, and so on. the other one, however, is awesome--every recipe i made on saturday came from this book, and all of them were fabulous. highly recommend this book! evey cupcake recipe is for 24 cupcakes, and every icing recipe is enough icing to generously ice all 24 (and then some).

i spent some time thinking about what flavors to make and how i wanted to decorate the cupcakes. i settled on 3 batches. 1) red velvet, because there's just something about red velvet that people like--it feels festive. 2) chocolate mocha because well--mmmm...chocolate. 3) carrot cake because i thought i should do something that had no chocolate in it for people who either don't like it or might be allergic or something. besides, carrot cake rocks. i made a big double batch of cream cheese icing, and then flavored it differently for each kind of cake. the red velvet got plain cream cheese icing, the carrot got cream cheese with lemon zest grated into it, and the mocha got crushed candycanes mixed in for a subtle peppermint flavor. (that was an idea from the cookbook, although they used buttercream as the base rather than cream cheese icing--they called them reindeer snacks. cute.)

white chocolate snowflakes

lemon twists
i decided to individualize each flavor of cupcake by decorating them differently. i made white chocolate snowflakes for the red velvet cupcakes. this is easier than it sounds--you just start with good quality white chocolate ( i used ghiradelli), melt it over a double broiler, put it into a pastry bag, and then draw out the snowflakes. i put a piece of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and drew them there. then i decorated them while they were still soft with silver dragees and put the whole sheet into the freezer. when they are frozen, just peel them off the foil as you need them. takes a little time, but it's worth it. the bit if white chocolate on top really adds a nice richness to the red velvet, too. for the carrot cake, i sprinkled the tops very lightly with cinnamon and added a sugared lemon twist to each one. the fragrance was awesome, and i think it added a bit of sophistication to these humble little carrot cakes. for the mocha ones, i just sprinkled them with a bit of red sanding sugar and added a few more pieces of crushed peppermint to the tops. simple and festive. i have to say, i was really happy with the results, and i am sad that all the cupcakes are gone. click on the picture below if you want bigger pictures and more detail.

cupcake mosaic

Friday, January 04, 2008

on the 11th day of christmas...


i am finally getting around to posting something about the holidays. (and look at the time! it's ALMOST the 12th day of christmas already!) and really--that right there sums it up. i think i have been behind pretty much since thanksgiving. i am still behind. i have a handful of packages still waiting to go in the mail. my studio looks like a bunch of elves got drunk in there for new year's and left wrapping paper shreds and bits of ribbon and tape on every horizontal (and maybe a few non-vertical--who's keeping track at this point?) surface. in fact, a few of my gifts still aren't here yet. that's a long story involving someone else's holiday issues that i won't go into--suffice it to say, i feel her pain. but all of that whining aside--it's been a good holiday. i have been remarkably low-stress for all the lateness. i think i have just decided to chalk it up to being too tired to care and just make my one new year's resolution to do better with this stuff next year. wish me luck with that. we travelled little, ate much, saw many people we love and care about, watched all of season six of 24, knitted some, rested, worked on the house, took only a few pictures and generally chilled for the holiday. for new year's eve, we went to a party at the home of some dance class friends with our friend meredith, which was great fun--i even managed to stay up till 2:30am! (a minor miracle, considering that i have been going to bed at like 10pm...) i think i have opted not to make any real resolutions for this year, lest i start thinking too much about all the impending change and overwhelm myself. if i have any resolution at all, it's to try to take things as they come, one thing at a time, and just try to enjoy life more.

fergus knits a baby bolero

green scarf

fergus models a new green scarf
i had enough time off over the holidays that i actually got to do some knitting, which was nice. i finished a little pink baby hat and a couple of baby blankets that have been languishing on my needles, and i worked on one i am making for myself (pictures to come of that one). i also started a baby bolero for my own baby, made a crazy scarf for myself, and made fergus help with the whole mess. fergus, he's my knitting familiar. the bolero is from leigh radford's one skein book, and i am using the recommended yarn, blue sky alpacas organic cotton. the color name is willow (i think)--it's 2-ply with one ply each of ivory and pale earthy green--both are natural colors. this yarn is so soft and is LOVELY to work with. plus as an added bonus, leigh radford and i apparently knit at exactly the same gauge. swatches? we don't need no stinkin' swatches... the green scarf is a simple garter stitch thing on big needles from trendsetter. the yarn is dune, and god knows what color that is--it's a crazy green with bits of purple, black, and metallics thrown in. i bought it because it matched my green toenails, which i admit is a little insane. and while i love the resulting scarf, i did NOT love working with this yarn! it's 2-ply, with one ply of mohair and one ply of metallic stuff. the problem is that one ply stretches and the other doesn't, so that mohair ends up having a big lag in it--it separated from the other yarn and just kept tangling up and catching on everything. in the end, i had about 3 yarns of mohair left and none of the other ply. very, very annoying. the scarf's cool though. :)

in other knitting news, i took a little trip down to bella filati in southern pines with meredith and the hippie, where we all bought some yarn. the hippie bought enough to make himself an awesome dark green tweed sweater. i bought some yarn to make a little sweater for the beastie for next winter, and meredith introduced herself to the wonder that is malabrigo. i predict she will be an addict within the month. as are we all...

and now, all blog posting aside, my butt's got to go get into the bed. i am so tired, and i have been sleeping like boiled ass this past week. and tomorrow, i need all my strength to make 72 cupcakes for my company's holiday party. i'll definitely be taking pictures of that! i got two cupcake cookbooks for christmas, so those will be in play for sure. i really can't wait! y'all know how i feel about cupcakes!

i leave you with one last thing--the hippie insisted we take a belly shot in front of the christmas tree, and i admit, i am glad we did. this one's going into kieran's baby book:
christmas belly