Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mother's Day, a little late

Better late than never, some favorite photos from Mother's Day. Without any mothers, at that.
Playing piano with grandpa
Resting with Daddy
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We've also had some big milestones lately! The week after Mother's Day, E's first tooth starting poking through enough to see! He's also started pointing with his index finger a little and doing index finger and thumb pick-ups (pincer grasping). Just yesterday was the first time he lunged forward from a sitting position, maybe we will be crawling afterall...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Babies Don't Keep" Print: Complete!

When we first started looking for a house to buy over the winter (we're still looking...), we visited a home where I saw a poem that really stuck with me.  It was done in cross stitch and hung in a bedroom that looked to be shared by three little girls (I see why this family was moving from their three bedroom home). Months later I was still thinking about that poem. Looking it up online, I found out that it was called Song for a Fifth Child, by Ruth Hurlburt Hamilton, and what I had seen was just the last verse. The full poem (found here) reads:

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread. 

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking. 

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue, 
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo. 
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due 
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo. 

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew 
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo 
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
 Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue? 
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo. 

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow 
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow. 
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep! 
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. 

I read that the verses are often cross stitched, as I had seen. Searching turned up a couple of cross stitching kits on eBay and Etsy, but they weren't really my style.  I checked for prints too but didn't find much.  So I decided to design my own.

I'm glad this project is finally done! It filled the majority of my baby-free time for the past two months or so, from learning enough Photoshop to git 'er done (yay for the free trial period), to finding a place to have it printed (I went with, to getting the frame (from Goodwill) and painting it.  In the end, it turned out pretty much how I'd hoped.

Here's the finished product:

I actually gave this one to my neighbor, mama to two little boys, for Mother's Day.  I printed it with two different background colors because I wasn't sure how they would turn out and the shipping was more than an 8x10 print!  My copy is a bit more blue and has a slight gradient.  No photo of mine because when I was trying to take one I realized that the glass in the frame I kept for myself is crazy reflective. You can, however, see approximately what it looks like here (that's also a clearer image than above if you expand it to full-size).

Also, printing a smooth gradient over a relatively large area is hard.  Especially when the colors at the endpoints aren't that different.  Apparently a known issue in the graphic design world, it was news to me.  The first print I received had obvious streaking in the gradient that I hadn't noticed on the monitor, through no fault of the printer.  Google suggested using Photoshop's "add noise" feature to smooth it out, and that (mostly) did the trick.

The graphics are Photoshop brushes (you can think of them as re-sizable stencils) that I found online.  Credit for the butterfly brushes goes to coy-dreamer and to melsbrushes for the rest.

Here are a few pictures of E working on drinking. He loves drinking from my cup, even though he has a small-person-sized cup we get out at mealtime.

Don't worry, it was nearly empty when he started!

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Recent Finds

While I'm not that much of a shopper, I found a couple of really cute things this past week or so. The first is this toast rack I spotted in the sale section at Sur la Table. Shaped like toast! All of the B&B's in the UK that we stayed in during our honeymoon had toast racks. We'd never seen one before, but with these handy guys you don't have to lay slices of toast on top of each other, so none of them end up soggy (at least we think that's what they're for).
Saturday marked the beginning of our local farmers' market, and since we only live a few blocks from the train station where it's held, I jumped on the chance to go. E and I bought eggs and a couple of herb plants each for half of the price I would have paid at Whole Foods! The herbs weren't organic, but the eggs were from pasture raised chickens. After reading The Knitter's Book of Wool (review to come), I was on the lookout for "farm yarns" (the book really encourages giving them a try and supporting the farms that produce them), but I sadly didn't see any yarn at all. In the mood to support my local crafters anyway, I bought this super cute vase instead.
An outtake picture of a serious little guy with a toast rack. He has become much more discerning with his smiles lately.
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Sunday, May 6, 2012


Eight months, that is!
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Some highlights from the past month.  You...
  • learned a new sound and have just started "babbling" - putting consonants in front of the vowel sounds
  • developed a love of rolling
  • even roll in your sleep
  • wave your arms vigorously when you'd like help walking around
  • can be calmed down nearly instantly by going outside
  • yep, still have grey in those eyes

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mini book review: Little Red in the City

My parents got Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City for me for my birthday (thanks parents!), and it's really great! Despite having learned to knit when I was little, I've never made any clothing other than socks. A sweater's worth of wool is expensive, and I've always been worried about getting the fit right. This book deals with just that issue! Ysolda emphasizes the importance of measurements, she must list close to 20 different measurements that matter, and swatching (of course).

The only negative was that the book has a tendency to focus on pattern adjustments for larger people, comments for skinny people are just tossed in with a sentence or two. One might have guessed that this was the case from the model on the cover, but I was hoping for more tips that would help me personally since Ysolda herself is more or less my size. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to attempting this neato sweater from the book.

We visited my in-laws awhile ago, and got this picture of little E with his grandma:

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Forget about "seeing" with your hands, we're into "seeing" with our mouth!  The orange was a big hit, I think because it has a fun texture, and you can smell it through the peel.  We also tried giving him a whole apple to play with, but it wasn't nearly as interesting as the orange.

Just this week, he has also moved on from saying "ahhhhhh" to mainly saying "uhhhhh" and pursing his lips, a little like the fishy face he used to make as a newborn.