Another Princess Post

I am pretty certain that I have shared the link to a really good read - BeautySchooledProject.com. If you haven't been in a while I would suggest that you check it out today. Virginia has a new post up, The New Toddlers In Tiaras, featuring a very familiar toddler.

I am looking forward to reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. As I have written about here and vented about at knitting, I'm in the midst of a "Princess phase" at my house. Everything is associated with a princess "Yellow, like Belle", "Blue, like Cinderella"... and I pull an eyeroll that I used to give my mom when she told me something I didn't like.

As far as this princess culture goes, I am conflicted. She is being creative and making the box of princess stuff into her own version of it. So what if she doesn't know anything really about the movies. If and when we do show them to her most likely those major things like awful gender stereotypes will go over her head. So because it bothers me a bit I should stop her from having a good time? Am I bothered more by the fact that that is the only option around? For the record I have no problems with princesses or fairies. It's specifically the disney ones that are everywhere you turn (for crying out loud, a certain yogurt company that I used to buy because it did not use HFCS has been repackaged to include the princesses). And should I want to purchase something princessy I do not have many options for non branded items. When I was around her age (through elementary / middle school) I adored Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Punky Brewster, and much to my parent's delight I am sure, Daisy Duke from Dukes of Hazzaard. My parents let me play each of those phases out and I became interested in something else - crafty projects, drawing, reading (Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie - each are probably helped balance out any harm inflicted on my by Daisy Duke), music, drama, etc. She's been into Elmo for 1.5 years and that seems to be on the outs. Princess stuff is in for her now...we're still in the early stages.

I was surprised, but a tiny piece of me was happy when she was given the box of dress up clothes. I had spotted that item in one of the store fliers and seriously considered getting it for her for Christmas. I knew she would love it. I read on a different parenting blog that their way around it was to have the princess stuff come from Santa - so the kid still got it and was happy, but it was not directly from mom / dad. I held off because I really don't want to buy her princess
stuff. When she's out with me I can pass off a lot of it with "We'll tell Grammie you like that". I was actually surprised that we didn't get more princess stuff for her birthday and Christmas - I take that to mean that I have made my stance fairly
clear to my family and friends and they understand and respect we don't want to be
overrun with princesses. If other family / friends choose to give her princessy items its fine - I'm not going to be an outright evil character and return gifts or not give them to her because they have princesses. We have seen our friends get overwhelmed with princess things for their daughter - for her last birthday they flat out said "Nothing with princesses" - I think we are on the right track to avoid

Am I worried this princess stuff will impact her? No. I'm not worried that it is going to shape her personality - a lot of it still is over her head. She can't give me an answer when I ask her what princesses do. I have accepted that she is more girly-girl than I was and that's not a big deal. She likes the sparkly things, who
doesn't? She likes her pocketbooks and shoes and I could care less. She is who she is. I think (hope) that by offering her opportunities to do other things along with supporting what she is interested in. She was really loving dancing all over the house, so we enrolled her in ballet. She likes to run around - she'll probably be a soccer kid. She likes to draw and paint. Certainly she is spoiled and has a good life, but at the same time she is helpful and independent and can take direction and is friendly - I don't think that I have to worry about her ending up on an awful
reality show like "You're Cut Off" or "Bad Girls Club". She's a toddler in a tiara, but she is not treated like a pageant princess. We have set expectations for her - she can help clear the table / set the table / give jackson his food - those little jobs are part of shaping her personality too.

True I am lacking the automatic pink gene. Certainly there are people that are ready to frill / fluff / frou-frou out their little girls from birth. And I won't deny - little girls are incredibly cute and it is quite fun to dress them up. We are lucky to have family and friends that want to (and can) indulge the Lorax in things she is interested in and will at the same time respect the wishes of her parents.

If you've made it this far into this long winded post, I want to share a link for pretty good alternatives (from Peggy Orenstein's blog): resources. Good stuff there to keep checking on as Lorelai gets older. I picked up a "My first Little House" book at a book sale last fall and Laura Ingalls Wilder has been a big hit lately (yay!). At the grocery store when given the choice she chose Batman chewy fruit over the box with Rapunzel / Tinkerbell! Maybe I could work up a "Wonder Woman" cuffs and red cape and transition the princess box into a dress up box. We have read some princess books with more positive outlooks (Very Fairy Princess was a good one, in my opinion. Cinder Edna made me and DH giggle, but the main ideas go right over her head.)

Moderation is key. I was most surprised when Lorelai and I were at a store and we made a game out of spying the "princesses all over" - she asked to look at a Disney Princess toy of some sort - she took it, looked it over and put it back unasked! No asking if she could buy it. No whining that she wanted it. I think we are going to be ok.



I can't remember if I already shared this here or not (and obviously, I'm too lazy to go check). With all the snow we've had, the Lorax has gotten a lot of wear out of her purple mittens. I noticed that they were getting a little too small for her and mentioned that I would make her a new pair. Her response, "Princess Mittens?!" My response, "Um, does that mean pink?". I was quite excited to see the Heart Strings Mittens pattern was shared by Vivere Nel Colore (check out her blog - great designs and a little cutie too!). As soon as they were knit, they were snatched off the table, so I consider this a success.
The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Neon colorway, leftovers from a pair of socks. Bright pink, orange and yellow - acceptable princess colors I think.

This pattern is well written, quick to knit and there is the possibility for so much customization. My back up plan was to find a princess charm or iron-on-patch of some sort if the Lorax truly had her heart set on princess-mittens (whatever that means to her). Lucky for me, she was excited about these and though we did buy some pink glitter buttons, she chose the star buttons to go on them.

After our photo shoot she told me, "Now I need blue ones for Cinderella, and yellow ones for Belle, and purple for Rapunzel, and green for Tinkerbell..." Sure kid.
A rather blurry shot of the Lorax with her princess mittens and her princess valentine balloon bought by daddy.


Happy Valentine's Day

If you celebrate and even if you don't I hope today is a good day for you. The weather here is beautiful - after 6 weeks of cold and snow, a sunshiney day with temperatures in the 40s is such a treat!

Know what I love? That Lorax is going to be a big sister (And Jackson gets to be a big brother again)! Sometime this August! Stay tuned - you know that the baby knits and hats are coming again.


A Walk in the Woods

Again, I start a blog post talking about the weather. What else do you do in winter? The weather still is not wonderful but it is totally acceptable for February. The Lorax and I bundled up on Friday afternoon and spent a good hour outside just tromping about in the snow that still surrounds our house. On Saturday, our whole little family did it again and ventured into the woods adjacent to our house. There were no complaints at all from the little one, so this morning we decided to go a step further and try out the local trails.

I love that the handknits are being used! Dan's got on a hat I made him (by request) when I was first getting into knitting. The Lorax is sporting mittens and a hat that have lasted for multiple winters. It is getting time for new versions of each - I am planning on casting on a pair of Heart Strings Mittens today for her (and I think we all could use a new hat. I want an earflap one.)

I think we probably hiked just under a mile and there were no tears, no moments of whining, and no problems. Good exercise tromping through the snow - we are all ready for a nap. You can see here I'm sporting my Rhinebeck Hat version 2010 - it's warm but my ears got a bit chilly. I've also got on my Rainbow Scarf (wow - made that in 2005!) and inside my new favorite boots are a new pair of handknit socks!

Plain vanilla style, Schaefer Yarn Nicole, in the Agatha Christie Colorway - quite lovely (and would be a great guy color as well).


Getting Excited.

All week, I have been able to get out of the house - the weather has been cold but cooperative. I've still been working on things but when it comes to post them, I'm admittedly behind. I am okay with that, especially since now I can see my lawn!
I can see my lawn!
It's not a spot we can get to (or would do much with if we could get there - Jackson would probably like to use that as a new bathroom break), but still - the lawn does exist! The hearts in the window were a fun little project to do - I let the Lorax play with practice using scissors while I cut the paper strips, then she helped to staple them together. Our inspiration (and instructions) came from here.

I'm pleased to share that I have finished the Babysquared Blanket from WifeMomKnitter
Babysquared Blanket - Rainbow
I used up exactly 2 skeins of Plymouth Encore Colorspun resulting in a roughly 19inch by 29inch blanket. I think it will be just right for the intended baby who is supposed to arrive in May - stroller, beach, lightweight lap blanket for sleeping on mom or dad as they watch the baseball games... I love how the colors worked up and I will make this pattern again. Encore is a great all-purpose yarn - I have an Encore afghan that washes beautifully. This blanket will be washed before I wrap it up for the baby gift - just wanted to get Jackson in the picture to give you a visual idea of size. I also love love love this colorway. A nice kid rainbow without being too pastel / baby.

I had made a sale of some stash yarn through Ravelry this week. While I was gathering up the skeins I came across a skein of yarn that was gifted to me a while back from my brother & sister-in-law - "Hudson Valley Fiber Farm Cormo Wool Worsted" in the "Firecracker" colorway.
I was immediately consumed by a "Must. Knit. This. Now." feeling. It is more of a raspberry-red-white-teal than straight red-white-blue, but it is fun. I've decided to start a selfish knitting project and work it up into a Scrappy Lengthwise Scarf.
Woven stitch really does wonders for the wildly colored yarns. The downside of this project though is that each row is 350+ stitches and you have to keep moving the yarn to slip stitches. It's not an immediate gratification project, but that is fine - it's a great project. And this is my first time to work with cormo wool - I like it!

In another fit of selfish-startitis-projects, I've also cast on for a pair of legwarmers. Some Cloudy Day is a free pattern and quite easy.
Leg Warmers - to - be
Mostly knit with an occasional row of lace. Also not a super quick knit, but satisfying. I have been thinking about making a pair of legwarmers for myself since last fall - even just to wear under my pj pants when I take Jackson out - I should be able to finish these and get a few wears in before spring truly arrives.


Jackson, dachshund.

Jackson, dachshund.
Originally uploaded by nutmegknitter
There haven't been many pictures of the furbaby lately. To remedy that, here's a pretty good shot I got with the iphone - after our nap, Jackson's watching me eat an apple (I shared when I was done) - from this angle it looks like he is smiling! Good boy!


Go Green!

I think I have mentioned here before that I was not brought up in an athletic family. We were a family of nerdy, bookish types that dabbled in tennis and skiing and hikes in the woods. When my youngest brother joined an ultimate frisbee team in college he was the first college athlete in the family. :) I did marry into a football family and have learned (and relearned players, teams, and terms). I even won our fantasy football league in 2008. I have found that I do enjoy a game of football here and there. I tend to loose interest after one game, but it makes for good knitting / crafting time. I have stuck with the Jets as they were the first team I followed, and though in typical Jet fashion they did not make it to the Super Bowl, I will happily route for the other green team, the Packers.

I have pretzel-dough made and cooked into pretzles (thing-a-day!) right now and am really looking forward to homemade pretzels as a treat for later. My game-day crafting (thing-a-day!) is going to be following the lead of ladies... and "Craft Like a Champion". I plan to work on green and white baby hats for the Save The Children / Caps for Good - certainly, like the Jets I will fall short of making 32 hats, but, babies still need hats and I have the yarn. Good for everyone.

Enjoy the game, the commercials and what's left of the weekend!!



Today is another weather day. Nothing major, just rain for my area, but it is so very grey. And drippy. It feels like forever since we have seen the grass, so I made my own using the Grass pattern from mochimochiland.com.

For now, the grass sat with my jade plant looking longingly out at our snow and ice covered backyard.

I also made a batch of Chocolate Chip Muffins this morning - quite delicious.


This Moment.

(thing-a-day - caught the moment! note the snow white headband & clip on earrings).

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. - Soulemama



Embracing Imperfection (or Not).

I've been working on a baby blanket, the babysquared pattern in particular, designed and shared by WifeMomKnitter. Last night I noticed that over the last 30 rows or so I had messed up the pattern. It was all my fault - I was decreasing at the wrong spot. I took a close look at the blanket and thought hard.

The pattern is a scallop-lace style in a rainbow-striping yarn. The mistakes were sort of hidden in a darker part of the rainbow. The mom-to-be is a non-knitter, would she even notice? For two or three rows I thought it over - the blanket would not be cast aside for such a silly reason (I hope), the baby is not going to mind (I hope - though maybe it will help with pattern recognition later on in life? That's thinking it over too much!) - and decided to leave it. But then, I no longer saw the pretty scallop-lace pattern and the lovely rainbow stripes! My eye went straight to the mistakes. Rrrrrrriiiiiiiiipppppppppppppp. I was able to insert a lifeline and that was a huge help. This pattern is quite enjoyable to knit, so I do not mind having to redo a section. After I got going again I noticed something else, do you see it?
One side of the blanket has a 5 stitch border, the other side has a 7 stitch border. Again, all user error. At least I'm consistent and that error bothers me less.

For today's thing-a-day, since I am working on re-doing some of the blanket, I'm going to share someone else's creative endeavors, go check out the Attention!Employees blog, especially today's post - you will see someone I work with.
And a little silly story: A few weeks back the Lorax and I went to visit Dan at work. We said hello to a few people, checked out where his cube is, etc. After we went out to eat. In the car on the way to eat, the Lorax piped up "Mommy, that was fun to see Daddy's work. Tomorrow Mommy can we see where you work?" Ummmm, my work is currently in the kitchen and great room and bathrooms - you're there every day!! :)


Bring on the amigurumi

I spotted this tutorial a few days ago - who wouldn't want to make a monster? I love amigurumi and have hoped that by trying a few crochet projects here and there would enable me to actually make some. Thanks to craftyiscool I think I totally get it now! Awesome tutorial, the steps are so easy to understand (even as a lefty!). I think the end result is cute:
Scraps of cotton classic and malabrigo. Quick and silly. Perfect for Thing-A-Day #2! Currently they are without mouths as I am undecided as to their character - I should just get out the needle and thread and see where I end up. I think I am ready for more crochet stuff, which is a good thing as I dream of making the granny stripe blanket this year but I have been avoiding the long cast-on chain. Maybe that will be tomorrow's "thing". I'm going to let it rest for now though - I feel like I've got a cold coming on and just want to snuggle up with a warm puppy.


One thing at a time

Hello February. Another storm is working on through these parts - it is cold, it is grey, and I am distracted. Today is the first day for the Thing-A-Day creative challenge. As I write this blog post there are already 14 pages of posts from other individuals who are sharing their talents. As for me? I hit a snag this morning - I pulled out the materials for one project and then changed my mind. I started googling something else for a different project. I sat down and knit on a project. I think I am still a bit overwhelmed by all the things I want to do and I did not set a clear course for how I would accomplish those things. So today I am sharing a project that is quite overdue. It was knit up in December, but the ends were woven in and button added today.

This is the Cashmere Neckwarmer knit up in an alpaca / wool bulky blend by Blue Sky Alpacas. The button was found in a bagged assortment I found at a local thrift shop - I like how it mimics the stitch pattern. This project will be leaving me soon as part of a gift, but I plan to make another one for me.

I gave it a little steam to flatten it a bit before taking the photo - that's a little bit of heaven, warm wool / alpaca around your neck! Like pajamas right out of the dryer! Just about makes up for the burnt tongue I just got on my hot chocolate because I am to impatient for it to cool. Stay warm and dry if you are where the weather is nasty today and tomorrow. Let your hot chocolate cool!!
Give Life, Donate Blood