Monday, July 27, 2009

Take down those shower curtains!

In my weekly (ahem cough sputter) cleaning of the bathroom, I took down the shower curtain in an attempt to clean off the mineral buildup from the clear liner. I threw it in the washing machine, and as per usual, many hours later it was still in there when I wanted to take a shower.

Drat. I settled for a bath. I shooed the children away to their father, and turned on the tap. I added some bubble bath, grabbed the Twilight book I've been meaning to read all summer long and settled into our neglected soaker style tub. It was a lovely, relaxing moment to myself. So my advice is: take down the shower curtain, "forget" it in the washer, pawn your children off on someone and have a bubble bath. You might even get to shave your legs or read a chapter in a book.

Oh, and lock the door. After 12.6 minutes of bubble bath bliss, a two year old had barged through the door, demanded that I strip off her clothing so she could bath too, and in she hopped. So my alone time quickly became hide and seek underwater with Dora the Explorer, but it was nice while it lasted.

And some recent pictures of the kidlets:

G got himself a new "manly" car seat. (have you ever noticed how much money is spent on places for your child to sit?)
And the car seat box is the most fun of course:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Baby/Toddler Newfie Mittens

I love these mittens. They will keep hands warm, even in Canadian winters, and they are a childhood memory for sure. Less than a year ago my Nanny passed away, and she used to make these mittens like crazy for us grandchildren. I still have some kicking around that she knitted up. There are lots of patterns around for these mittens I've come to discover, but I had trouble finding a toddler sized one, so through trial and error I put this together:

3.25mm double pointed needles (or 3, or 4... it will just make the mitten a little smaller or larger)
tapestry needle
worsted weight yarn, 2 contrasting colours (in the picture I used Patons Classic Merino Wool)

MC: Main Colour
CC: Contrasting Colour

K: knit
P: purl
K2tog: knit 2 together

Size: When using 3.25mm needles and a worsted weight yarn, this pattern creates a mitten that has a 1.75" cuff and the body of the mitten is 3.5". I would guess it's about a 12 month size, but it's easily adjustable by adding more repeats to the pattern, or by using a slightly larger needle.

Using MC, cast on 30 stitches, divide stitches evenly onto 3 double pointed needles and join to knit in the round.

K1P1 ribbing for 15 rounds (or longer if you wish)

Next row: purl
Next row: purl, increasing by 2 stitches on each needle (36 stitches total). It doesn't really matter where you put these increases, just separate them a bit. I use a make-one-back increase and purl it... it's pretty invisible this way.

Now for the patterned section:
Join your CC so that you have both colours still connected to the mitten. You will now use the CC for the next 5 rows, but make sure your MC hangs on the inside of the mitten.

(A): *K4 with CC, slip 2 MC stitches purlwise*, repeat ** to end of row.

Complete (A) 4 more times, for a total of 5 rows.

Pick up MC and using it, purl 2 rows.

(B): K1 with CC, *slip 2 MC stitches purlwise, K4 with CC*, repeat ** to end of row. (you'll actually end the row with 3 knit stitches instead of 4, this is ok)

Complete (B) 4 more times, for a total of 5 rows.

You may now put stitches on a holder for the thumb, or if you're making the mitten larger, you might want to add another (A) section or an (A) and (B), just make sure you alternate sections and separate them by 2 purl rows.

Next Row: Immediately following your last section (A or B, depending on size), where you would normally purl 2 rows: P2, place 5 stitches on a holder, cast on 5 stitches using the backward loop method, purl to end. Purl one row.

(hint: Backward loop method (single cast on): )

Continue alternating sections A and B, separating each by two purl rows. For the 12 month size mitten, I did 4 more sections before starting the decreases.

(you can now break your CC, leaving a end long enough to weave in later)
Using MC:
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: *K4, K2tog*, repeat ** to end of row
Row 3 & 4: Knit
Row 5: *K3, K2tog*, repeat ** to end of row
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: *K2, K2tog*, repeat ** to end of row
Row 8: Knit
Row 9: *K2tog*, repeat ** to end of row.

Break yarn and using a tapestry needle, thread yarn through remaining stitches, pull tight and weave in end on the inside of the mitten.

Using your double pointed needles, pick up the 5 stitches from your holder.
From the body of the mitten, pick up an additional 5-7 stitches. Divide all of these stitches as evenly as possible onto your double points, join your MC and knit in the round for 14 rows (more for a larger size). To end, K2tog for 1 row, break yarn, thread it through remaining stitches with tapestry needle, pull tight and weave in end on the inside of the mitten.

Weave in all remaining ends and repeat pattern for a second mitten (or a third if you lose them a lot).

I like to connect our mittens with a single crochet string and then they live in a jacket until washing is needed... :)

Again, I obviously have not created this concept. I have no idea who is the original "newfie mitt" designer. I'm just sharing my adventure in making a mini-size. :) Enjoy.

Where I shop...

One of my favourite cloth diaper shops here in Canada, she has awesome customer service, a wide selection of products and almost always has some great deals.

I love shopping within Canada. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Easy Peasy Cheesy Broccoflower

The farmer's market is now filled with beautiful organically grown veggies. There are huge tables of green and orange and red and purple, so fresh you can still smell the earth they were growing from just hours before. Perfect for baby food. ;)

G's supper last night:
1/2 cup of steamed broccoli
1/2 cup of steamed cauliflower
Thumb size chunk of pasteurized cheese. (I used marble)
You can add a tiny bit of water, but the steamed veggies are likely moist enough.
It went for a whirl in my bullet and turned out like this:
G is about 8 months from picky eating due to colour, so he gobbled it right up.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

When a baby is not a baby.

This is how I can tell that my baby is rapidly becoming a toddler. The change table becomes a sewing/craft station. I need some nice lined baskets for the middle shelf and I need to take the change pad off the top... but it's much nicer than the ironing board I was using before... haha. And it's still easily convertable for when baby #3 decides to come along.

And on the theme of diapers - I thought I'd share my diaper laundry/stash.

Fresh out of the dryer:
Ready for a bum. (And yes, my very hip son wears pink. )
And my helpers:

And I can officially run 2 kilometres before a walk break and I've lost 11 pounds. Less than my pre-pregnancy weight! Woohoo for me! And I'm now comfortable wearing some very fitted running clothes.. sure there are some bulges hanging around, but the tight clothing gives me incentive to keep going. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sometimes I'm organized...

This took me a couple of hours to complete but it will save me time in the long run. All of the patterns and tutorials I use are found online and sometimes it's a pain when a computer is not available, or I have to run back and forth from my sewing machine (or knitting chair) to look something up. I have printed things occasionally, but with many tiny hands around, papers get rumpled and lost fairly easily. So here it is folks, this dull and boring three-ring binder:

Is actually Rebecca's Super Cool Book of Patterns N' Stuff:

All of the patterns and tutorials are held inside plastic page protectors and where applicable, the pattern templates are located in the back. An example in the sewing section is shown here:

Each section (sewing and knitting) is divided into categories with coloured tabs:

I included all of the patterns I use most commonly. It's a big binder so there's lots of room to add!I'm quite excited about this project. I've already used it and referred to its pages many times. Perhaps it makes me a geek, but I'm at peace with that. : )