Saturday, June 25, 2011

My friends are crazy-talented

And also incredibly kind and generous. I am so amazed that people would think of making and sending so many wonderful things for a 4th baby. Not that I don't think he's worthy of it, of course. More that I sort of expected people to have a kind of "oh, how many kids do they have already" attitude about him. But instead we've been literally showered with beautiful and handmade gifts and delicious home-cooked meals. How lucky are we?

Catching up

On some crafty stuff I had going on before the baby came. Above is my haul from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival that we attended two weeks before the birth. I did manage to finish the little sweater for Adrian before he was born. Every year I get seduced by the amazing hand-painted yarns at the festival and this year was no exception, as you can see. In the past, I've been somewhat perplexed as to what to do with hand-painted yarn like this--it doesn't really look good with cables or lace or anything else that is interesting to knit. But this year I went with a plan and got the yarn for 3 projects--one for each kid except Claudia (I'm not knitting for her since she tried on the beautiful Noro cardigan I knitted for her and said "I hate this."). I'm already on the 2nd sleeve of Diego's project and will start P's next with the pink yarn above.
Flowers from our garden.
Placemats I made for the family inspired by the 'Aunt Millie's hot pads" project in The Handmade Home. I used an old moth-eaten wool blanket that had been my grandmothers for the back. It occurred to me belatedly that I probably ought to have pre-washed the blanket so it doesn't shrink in the wash (since they are placemats after all). They have stayed remarkably clean thus far, but a recent frozen blueberry episode has made a wash necessary, so we'll see they hold up... I made a bunch of small hot pads and a mug rug too. The hot pads have been great because they are the perfect size for lots of things I do a lot--holding the handle of a hot tea pot, taking an overheated mug of tea out of the microwave, serving as a coaster for a mug of tea (are we sensing a theme here?).

An old wool cloak of my grandmother's became the wall pocket from the same book for my reading boy. He requires a lot of stuff next to his bed: books, chap stick, tissues, water bottle. You wouldn't believe all the accoutrements. Since his bed is a top bunk, he can't put it on the floor, hence the wall pocket. I made it in his favorite colors--dark blue, turquoise and yellow. In the book, it is mounted on a beautiful unfinished wooden branch, but those are hard to come by here in West Philly, so I used a left-over curtain rod instead.

As you can see, I had quite a love affair with this book in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I also made a bath mat and baby sling from it. It was weird because I'd had the book for years and had never really been inspired by anything in it, then all of a sudden, I wanted to make almost everything in it.

These are my favorite kind of projects, fast, fun, almost no rules and basically impossible to screw up...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This picture provides the answer to 2 questions I have been asked a lot recently: 'why is that baby so dark?' and 'How do you have time for knitting?'

My question is this: why aren't more people knitting at the playground???

Monday, June 20, 2011

Growing and kids

I took the girls and Adrian to Bartram's Gardens with my friend Kathleen the other day. We have been so lucky this spring with generally mild weather--cool evenings, pleasant in the shade, warm in the sun. Living in Philadelphia, it is essential to enjoy nice weather while it lasts so we have been trying to get out as much as possible. Bartram's Gardens is the oldest active botanical garden in the country, and it is right smack in Wes Philly, just about 2 miles from my house. It is a perfect West Philly type of place--a little weedy, staffed mostly with earnest volunteers, but absolutely lovely and with lots of amazing native plants and cool activities for kids. We had already gone to a few things this spring, so the girls are getting used to being there.

I think some of my pregnancy 'nesting' this time went into the garden. I'm thinking maybe that's why I didn't get even half the stuff done I had planned before Adrian was born. But our garden is looking pretty awesome with sunflowers taller than me (no blooms yet), tons of basil, parsley and crazy out of control bean vines. I've been loving checking out what's going on each morning, weeding, picking the suckers of the tomatoes. We'll see how I'm feeling when the hot weather arrives in earnest, but for now, it's a pleasure. We've been eating raspberries, lettuce, cucumbers and snow peas. Kathleen made us practically a year's supply of pesto already and our babysitter Jax who is a pretty awesome gardener herself claims she had garden envy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First car ride

Two boys. You can tell who is who by the clothes. Also because Al and I have relaxed our standards a lot in the seven years between these two pictures, hence the pacifier...

Heat wave

It's hot here in Philadelphia. But the pool is open and for those of us who aren't ready for the pool yet, there's plenty of fans in our house...