Monthly Archives: October 2009

It’s all in the details.

I’ve decided to take a new approach to this whole photo shoot wardrobe business. The new approach is based on the fact that Bean has one fallish outfit that both Stephen and I have items in our closet that coordinate with. I also decided that a pallet based on oranges and browns would be appropriate for some fall photos.

I think more than the varying votes, I found some of the other commentary to be useful in coming up with what we’ll be wearing. Stuff about bright colors popping in the photos, little details, whether or not I’ll want “fall” themed photos in my home year round (the answer is YES, I love fall), etc. Anyway, I decided to base what we’re going to wear around this outfit of Bean’s:

I know it is kind of cheesey in that it screams fall, but I just really love that little shirt on her!

So I’ve decided to go ahead and get the Old Navy sweater. I have a long sleeved orange-ish (different shade) tee that I’ll wear underneath and I’m pretty sure I’m going to wear some jeans (albeit some different, real deal maternity ones because those AE ones were comfortable for all of an hour) and my boots. Stephen has a couple of different shirt options with jeans, maybe one of his favorite jackets and some brown shoes.

I loved Barbie’s suggestion of something knitted for Bean as well and decided that she needed a fun beanie to go with that outfit (and cover up her bald little head). I already had the yarn on hand too so no more unexpected purchases for the photo shoot were necessary. The whole thing only took me a few hours to figure out and I just love it!

Pattern: My own. And I actually wrote it down (follows)!
Yarn: Less than one skeins Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds in Earthy Brown and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Persimmon Heather
Needles: 7mm bamboo DPNs
Size: Made to fit my 13 month old daughter’s head which is in the 50th percentile for her age.
Made for: Bean
Modifications: None
Started: October 30, 2009
Completed: October 30, 2009

And what is a cute beanie without a cute model to fill it out?

So for those of you interested in making your own version of this beanie, here are the instructions:

Using 7mm DPNs and chunky yarn, cast on 45 sts (15 on each needle) and join for working in the round being careful not to twist.

Starting with a purl round, work 10 rounds garter stitch (in the round this means one purl round then one knit round). Next work 12 rounds stocking stitch (knit every row).

Row 22: [K3, K2tog] to end.
Rows 23 & 24: St st
Row 25: [K2, K2tog] to end.
Rows 26 & 27: St st
Row 28: [K1, K2tog] to end.
Rows 28 & 29: St st
Row 30: [K2tog] to end

Break yarn leaving a longish tail. Thread tail through remaining loops and pull tight. Weave in ends.

The flower is not my own. I used this pattern from Lion Brand, but only did it in one color. After it was completed, I fastened it on with a button in the center and then tacked it down in a few other places so that it wouldn’t be flapping all over the place.


Filed under Craftopia, Family, Homemade, Photography

Attempts at maternity Fall fashion…

In two weeks our amazingly talented friend, John Stephens, is going to shoot our family and just me for some maternity/family photos.

And now I’m agonizing over what to wear.

I kind of want to get this sweater from Old Navy, just for the shoot (well, I’d wear it the rest of the winter too, but mainly just for the shoot):

I’d either pair it with some jeans and boots or a skirt, tights and boots and I’d wear a long sleeved tee underneath (not sure which one yet).

My frugal side, the side that doesn’t want to spend nearly half my monthly personal budget on a maternity sweater that I’ll only get a couple months use out of, says to just make do with what I have. So this is what I have… (I cut my head off in most of the pictures because my hair is insane… which, by the way, the stuff I bought at Sephora does nothing for me… and I’m really not good at making cute little faces when I’m taking my own picture like Emery)

Option #1

Eggplant ruffleneck short sleeved sweater from GAP Maternity, AE straight leg jeans (still burnt that they discontinued these ones), brown leather Aldo boots.

Option #2

JCrew ribbed tan sweater that I’ve had for several years, brown satin belt, GAP Maternity flowery pleated neck sheer shirt, same jeans and boots. Another option for this one is some boot cut maternity jeans and pointy flats that are the exact pink of the flowers.

Option #3

Heathered green pullover that I knit myself, same jeans and boots.

Option #4

Heathered purple sweater tunic, brown thermal (though after seeing this photo I think it looks better with this grey turtleneck I have), same jeans and boots.

Option #5

Brown thermal, green Motherhood Maternity top, same jeans and I think I had some bronze flats on with these (see picture below).

Option #6

Striped brown thermal, burnt orange gathered sleeve tee (coloring is a little off in this photo, it is much darker and less red looking), AE jeans, bronze flats.

Option #7

Orange/green/brown plaid Target top, brown cords, bronze flats.

Option #8

Grey ruffly Target sweater, green tank top, maroon Banana Republic silk slip dress, grey chevron tights, brown leather Aldo boots.

So, what do you think? Buy the sweater or make do with what I have?


Filed under Ramblings

Little tweed coat

I don’t know how many of you have little boys or have tried shopping for little boys, but they get jacked when it comes to the clothes.

First, in the clothing stores their section is usually disproportionately smaller compared to the little girls section. Then, a lot of the stuff is just, well, blah.

Bean does not need any clothing. She is generously supplied by doting aunts and TONS of cute hand-me-downs from her cousins. However, I cannot help but gravitate towards the girls section of the stores because I just have a hard time getting into most of the stuff for boys.

As such, I have not yet bought a single thing for Sprout. He has no clothes people.

A few weeks ago I bought some chunky tweed yarn because I wanted to make some convertable man mitts out of them (fingerless gloves that have a flap that converts them to a mitten). I made one and it was UGLY! So then I had these two balls of chunky yarn and no ideas.

The nice thing about knitting for babies is that their clothes don’t require much yarn. When I was flipping through my baby knits books to decide on a project for my friend, I also spotted the perfect thing to knit up that tweed yarn into…

Pattern: Chunky Knit Cardigan from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight
Yarn: Less than two skeins Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds in Earthy Brown
Needles: US 6 and 7 bamboo straights and US 6 bamboo circ
Size: 0-3 months
Made for: Sprout
Modifications: None
Started: October 25, 2009
Completed: October 27, 2009

I am really loving these designs by Erika Knight. They are so simple and classic. The other thing I like about her stuff is that the sizing seems really right on. I wish I’d had these books when I was pregnant with Bean because a lot of the other patterns I knit up for her are STILL too big and were way off on the sizing.

So anyway, my knitting frenzy continues… I’m sure I’ll have something new to share on here in the next week or so.


Filed under Craftopia, Family, Homemade

An engineer in the making

Stephen and I often joke that he should have been the comm major and I should have been the engineer. As a kid I was obsessed with K’Nex, Leggos, these castle blocks my mom found somewhere, Lincoln Logs and other similar toys. I remember playing with these well into junior high and even pulling them out a few times in high school. Stephen says he was never really into stuff like that.

I bought Bean this big LittlePeople school bus that came with some giant Leggo-like blocks. Lately it has been her favorite toy. The last couple of days she also has gotten a kick out of climbing in the school bus/wagon too, but we have to make sure she’s not in a crazy, bouncing-off-the-walls mood or she’ll bounce and tip right out of it.

This is the first picture I’ve seen of her where I actually think she looks like Stephen and not me for a change.


Filed under Family

Not so dark and twisty.

A friend is having a baby girl and I wanted to make something. I did not want to buy more yarn though. So I’m pretty happy with the fact that I was able to do this entire project without spending any money. I used scrap yarn leftover from other projects, but it turned out really cute!

Pattern: Garter Stitch Wrap Top by Erika Knight from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. For the embroidery motif, I used another Erika Knight design, this one from the Short Sleeved Sweater in her Simple Knits for Little Cherubs book.
Yarn: Less than one skein Sirdar Snuggly DK in Lilac (LOVE this yarn! it is so, so, so soft and definitely does not feel like acrylic at all), less than one skein Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK in Willow and remnants of Knit Picks Telemark in Cilantro Heather and Sirdar Snuggly DK in Clover for the embroidery.
Needles: US 2 bamboo straights
Size: 0-3 months
Made for: Baby girl Miller
Modifications: I accidentally ran out of the lilac yarn before I could do the other side of the wrap top so I did the other side in the light green color. So, because of the random one side of green I decided to add in the embroidery motif to tie it all in together. I was sort of afraid it wouldn’t look good, but I think I like it better this way than a single solid color.
Started: October 24, 2009
Completed: October 25, 2009


Filed under Craftopia

Dark and twisties…

This weekend pretty much our whole family is at Disneyland celebrating this little lady’s birthday. We are not there. Why? Because I’m pregnant, we have colds, pregnancy and giving birth is expensive (even when you do it the cheap way with a midwife at home), and Stephen thinks Bean might freak out like she does when a certain dancing hamster does its thing.

I’m still quite bummed about the whole ordeal, actually, and trying to come to terms with the fact that this was probably my one last chance to get out of the house and do something big and fun for at least the next six months and we didn’t do it.

Instead, Stephen took long naps, Bean made a mess of the livingroom and I did some knitting. Basically, this weekend ranks right up there with Mother’s Day 2009 as one of the real low points of the year.

Appropriately enough, my project was also quite boring. I didn’t take the advice of other knitters that have attempted it and thought the point of interest that really makes this sweater would be enough to keep me going. But oh, all that stocking stitch. And this thing is knit in the round too so it was even less exciting.

Pattern: Gathered Pullover by Hana Jason from Interweave Knits Winter 2007 issue
Yarn: 9 skeins Knit Picks Telemark in Cilantro Heather (I’m not sure the color name is appropriate, the only cilantro I’ve ever seen this shade of green has been rotting)
Needles: US 6 Bamboo circs and DPNs
Made For: Will probably wind up being another Christmas gift, but I might keep it for myself too. Not sure.
Size: 36″ bust
Modifications: I’m not a fan of the rolled hem, so instead I did a 1×1 rib for 2.5″ at the sleeve cuffs and bottom of the sweater, and I did it for 4 rows around the neck.
Started: October 17, 2009
Completed: October 24, 2009

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Filed under Craftopia

Everyone needs a knitted friend

Once a upon a time a crafty mommy made her unborn baby girl a knitted friend…

At 15 weeks the baby girl decided that she loved the knitted friend and the two were not found far from eachother for many weeks to come…

At sixteen weeks…

At nineteen weeks…

At twenty-six weeks…

But then the knitted friend became decidedly uninteresting compared to toys with sounds, lights, rattles and moving parts. The knitted friend was often found at the bottom of the toy box and not played with for days and weeks on end.

The mommy became hopeful when she read in a child development book that around 12-18 months children take a renewed interest in dolls.

So then one day, just after her daughter’s first birthday, the mommy was overjoyed when the knitted friend was rescued from the bottom of the toy box and again became a constant companion. Her daughter carried the knitted friend with her to every activity, insisted on having her in her arms for diaper changes and even at nap and bedtime.

Today, at 56 weeks:

The end.


Filed under Craftopia, Family, Homemade, Parenting

Learning baby

I remember the first time I took Bean to one of my old workplaces and the head anchor there was like, “Lisa do you read to her?” “Um, not really,” I answered quite sheepishly. “Oh, I read to my boys all the time. I’d nurse them for hours and just read and read.”

I came home and was a little freaked out and intimidated. Oh, no! What if I was already stunting Bean’s development? I didn’t even have any kids books yet. I remember calling my sister-in-law and asking her if I should already be reading. A few weeks later Ruth brought up a mini-library for Bean and I started trying to read sometimes, but she honestly wasn’t at all interested.

Within the past year, Stephen has really started to love reading and learning. He is rarely without a book these days and his guitars and amps are mostly sitting around collecting dust. Part of that makes me a little sad as I’ve always been a big proponent of his musical endeavors, but it just isn’t where he’s at right now. I do love, however, the effect of both of us reading all the time has on Bean. Like most kids she wants to copy everything we do and being such a Papa’s girl this is especially true of anything he does. She loves to pull out her books when we do and look at the pictures, point to things in the book and ask us, “Isth ut?” (which I think might mean “What is that?” or “What is it?”) and have us read to her.

The past couple months I’ve also started going on a couple times a week and doing a few letters with her until she gets bored. And then for her birthday, my sister, Andrea, gave us the Your Baby Can Read! language development system which has been featured on infomercials and TV shows. I admit to thinking this thing is quite cheesy, but I read through the materials and what he says about early learning seems to make sense.

I am not, however, willing to dedicate a daily allotment of time for reviewing the DVD, books and flash cards. I think his system is a bit strict for a child this young. Plus, I think the way the system goes about teaching words encourages sight-reading over phonics (which is why I continue to use starfall).

In the few weeks since we started using it though, Bean has learned some of the words. While she can’t say all of them, she does recognize clap (she claps her hands when it is said), mouth (will point to her mouth), baby (she can actually say this one), arms up (does this), and hi (waves).

Clapping after pointing to the word clap and hearing me say it.

Waving “hi” after I pointed to the girl waving hi and said hi to her.

I really don’t think there is much to his system though that most parents couldn’t cobble together on their own. I think the biggest part is just actually setting aside time to either read or go over words, pictures, letters, colors, etc. Repetition seems to be a big part of it too. I also think it is important to watch their cues when they are this young. If they are clearly disinterested and ready to move on to the next thing, I wouldn’t force them to continue to sit through the rest of the video or book or whatever.

She really likes pointing to the tiger and hearing me say that one. I’m not sure why.

Anyway, a few friends asked me to do a bit of a review of the product and that is what I think so far. I guess this means homeschooling has already begun around here?


Filed under Family, Homeschooling, Literary Love, Parenting, Reviews


Within the knitting world, the Central Park Hoodie is somewhat of a legend.

Since it first appeared in the Fall 2006 edition of KnitScene magazine, there have been countless blog/Internet based knit-a-longs (where people all over the world knit the same pattern at the same time and post pictures of their progress or pose questions about any problems they run into). On Ravelry (a social networking site for knitters and crocheters), the pattern boasts nearly 3,000 completed projects and the entry for the pattern says it single handedly made KnitScene famous.

When I first saw another blogger’s version of this pattern a few year’s back, I knew I was eventually going to knit this thing. I was pleased to find that my then LYS had a bunch of back issues of KnitScene including Fall 2006. So I purchased it, but didn’t really do anything about the pattern for about a year. Last November, I decided I was finally going to knit this as part of the ambitious, but way over my new mom head, plan for handmaking all of my Christmas gifts. I found some great yarn for cheap on KnitPicks and purchased it, but the yarn and the pattern have been sitting in a basket in my craft room, then in a box, then in a box on a moving truck, and then in the new craft room ever since.

Of course since then several projects have caught my fancy, but I am slowly working through the stash of yarn and projects I purchased last November. Once I finally got through the blue yarn that took on three or four different forms before arriving at Cherry and the baby blanket that was originally for my sister’s friend, but she now says I can keep for Sprout, the CPH was ready to have a turn.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The pattern was quick, easy to follow and knits up beautifully. All pluses in my world. No wonder it is so popular.

Project: Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky from KnitScene Fall 2006
Made for: Not sure yet. It actually stretches quite a bit because of all the ribbing and even fits me with the preggo belly, but to avoid renditions of “fat [girl] in a little coat” there will be no pictures of that here. It will certainly fit me after the baby is born, but I’m sure it would also make a good Christmas gift.
Size made: To fit a 32″ bust (but like I said it stretches quite a bit)
Yarn: 9 skeins Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Lake Ice Heather
Needles: US 6 and 8 bamboo circs
Modifications: I used the Kitchner Stitch for the hood instead of binding off all the stitches and sewing them together, I added a zipper, and I picked up all the ribbed edging around the front in one long row instead of doing it in two halves.
Started: Sept. 27, 2009
Completed: Oct. 15, 2009

And OK, no pictures of me in said hoodie, but Bean has been having so much fun playing with this sweater and pulling on all the strings as I knit it. So here’s a cute, though slightly blurry and out of focus, picture of her with it (she has a thing for hoods):


Filed under Craftopia

The best oatmeal ever.

Last night Ruth and I were IMing. Between the many random topics including flu shots, my husband’s new addiction to the Harry Potter series, yogurt making and pumpkin soup, we both said we had discovered the best way to make oatmeal. So this morning, I combined both techniques and I really do believe we have the best oatmeal ever. If you want a nice warm bowl of oatmeal tomorrow morning, do yourself a favor and skip the instant brown sugar and cinnamon with raisins and make some of this.

• 6 cups water
• 2 cups steel cut or Irish style oats
• 12oz vanilla yogurt
• 1 jar Trader Joe’s peach halves in white grape juice, diced (or fruit of your choice, I really think diced apples or pears sautéed in a little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon would also be lovely and I’m sure the old standby of raisins wouldn’t be too bad either)
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• salt
In a large bowl combine 3 cups warm water, 2 tbsp of the yogurt and oats. Soak overnight (I actually just soaked it a few hours and this was lunch, but Ruth did it overnight). Why soak it, you ask? Ruth says that when you do this the oatmeal releases enzymes which are good for you. It also gets nice and soft and creamy.

In the morning, boil 3 cups salted water. Transfer oats mixture to the pot of boiling water and cook over medium heat until liquid is gone and you have a thick cereal.

Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon, fruit and remaining yogurt.

As you can see from the pictures, this makes a family sized portion (or in my case several ice cube trays worth of baby food to freeze for days when I don’t feel like soaking oats and all that).

How good is this oatmeal? Well, Bean ate a whole adult sized portion in about 2 minutes flat. Like I said, it is the best oatmeal ever.


Filed under Gourmet Lisa