The calm after the storm

I am enjoying the peace and quiet afforded to me after the holiday. The kids were in school all the way until the 23rd so Christmas felt like this really giant race that I did not know if I would complete or not. But amazingly, Christmas happens whether you are ready or not and it all turns out okay.

All three children were spoiled immensely, and I hope they realize how lucky they are. They have been getting along moderately so I guess that means "Yes".

This pic I took in the backyard by the water heater was included in my Christmas cards this year.

I am blessed.


Holiday stress

Please note the tail growing out of the bottom of our tree. The cat thinks she is hiding from her nemesis pictured to the left.

So I'm in Borders today trying to finish my shopping. I have been done with my shopping for some time but my hubby has fallen in love with Damian Marley and I think he will turn into Scrooge if this CD does not appear under the tree. Anyway, I think , I can just run in there and grab it and pay for it and be done in no time.

Paige has other ideas. She sweetly exited our car with her "purse" and held my hand all the way to the store. I'm thinking "Yeah, I've caught her in a good moment and this will go smoothly." That's when I jinxed it. Paige immediately ran off into the bowels of the store. I caught up with her in the Disney DVD movie section. I grabbed an employee on the way to her and said "Damian Marley". Luckily he was twenty-something and knew exactly what I was looking for. I scooped Paige up into my arms who now starting screaming "Put me down, I want Cinderella! PUT ME DOWN!!! You are hurting meeeeeee!!!!"

I grab the CD from my dumbfounded employee helper person who agrees that it is supposedly one of the best albums around. I thank him and head to the check-out line before being taken off course again because I had put Paige down and she bolted up to the second floor stairs. Luckily she is very loud, so it was easy to find her in the children's section. I somehow convinced her that a ride down in the elevator would be the highlight of the month and we headed to the check-out line again. I rounded the corner and there were (no exaggerating), 17 people in line. All 17 of them were "full of hands". Full of hands is a family riddle because that's what Sarah says when her hands are full. i.e. "Momma, I can't help carry anything else, I am full of hands."

Paige and I get in line. She stands next to me very nicely and looking straight ahead at the older man in front of us makes the longest, noisest raspberry I have ever heard. I did not know until this moment that she has reached the childhood milestone of making farting sounds with her mouth. I ask her to stop. She runs off down the aisle continuing to make the noise so at least I can easily follow her. Bless the man standing behind me in line because miracle of all miracles, he saved my place in line for me. No grumbling, no dirty looks, just let me get back in line. Paige continues making the raspberry sound all the way through check-out and out into the parking lot. She stopped momentarily to demand a candy and which I promptly snapped "Not on your life" and was thinking much worse thoughts that I am unable to put in print.

I must really love my husband. He better LOVE that CD! Merry Christmas to all my cyber-buddies and family readers!!

Love, Steph

Side note: finished a baby blanket for my hairdresser who is having her first baby in January. The pattern is in the Leisure Arts booklet Snuggle Squares.



Hello, my blogging buddies... I have not dropped off the face of the Earth. The winter holidays are upon us and I have gotten a least 10 times busier between class plays, field trips, Camp Fire candy sale stuff, my children's birthdays, doctors appointments, etc., etc.

Hope y'all had nice Thanksgivings! We did untraditional this year and went to Magic Mountain. Before you get on me about not creating a traditional dinner for my children to cherish and remember forever, please remember I am not a very good cook. I'm too impatient and I always mess a least one thing up. I can feed my family but just barely so they enjoy the same food over and over.. I am learning though. The Crock-Pot is my friend.

Also, I think the holidays should break from tradition from time to time. I'm not saying don't do anything but mix it up a little. I think a lot of the holiday depression comes from people sitting around realizing that their holiday is not Norman Rockwell picture perfect and then they start picking apart their lives and getting all sad and stuff.

After my dad passed (I was 13 and thought I was grown-up ahead of schedule) all the first holidays were so painful because tradition was broken and things were not "normal" and oh yeah, now I don't have the picture perfect family and "No my parents are not divorced, he died." explanations.

Make new traditions. My tradition is going to be that holidays are sometimes "untraditional". If that messes up my kids because they didn't stuff themselves with turkey and mashed potatoes (because that's all they will eat anyway), then they will just have to get their own therapy. On Thankgiving, we were THANKFUL, thankful to be together, thankful for our health so that we could go on some of the world's scariest roller coasters, thankful that we had the money to buy a $7.00 turkey sandwich. Next year I will TRY and cook a turkey again and not drop the stuffing all over the floor and break my favorite baking dish.

I'm getting off my soapbox now. Can you tell I have gotten some strange reactions to my Thanksgiving? Mostly from other moms. I guess I'm just wierd.


Some finished projects

I made this necklace using the pattern in the newest issue of Creative Crochet magazine. 26 gauge wire and various glass beads. I donated this as a raffle prize for the Stitches from the Heart sale this weekend benefitting Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Research.

Baby blanket made from Bernat's Baby Coordinates in Pale Yellow. Unfortunately, I cannot find the pattern book so I can't tell you where it came from but it makes the most interesting pattern. Lots of braided loops and spirals.

Close-up of loops and spirals.



Found this picture of Sarah wearing a red poncho I made for her. Specifically for school because they wear uniforms and can only wear certain colors (red, white and navy blue) This uniform thing can seriously dampen the creativity but I like that they wear uniforms...
Anyway, this pic is a year old but she still wears it. Made from Lion Brand Homespun (Color Caribbean - discontinued). Pattern from Sally Melville's book "The Knit Stitch".

Also, took Paige for her first real haircut

Before (Ragamuffin extraordinaire)

After (So neat and tidy)


Too cute for a title

In my mailbox yesterday was the always impressive Sundance Catalog.

These jumped out at me


Acres of Books

My digital camera died on Halloween night (appropriate, huh?) and should now go to digital camera heaven. I am so bummed because I did not get any good kidling costume pictures.

I have been making baby hats for Stitches because they are such a good stress relief. Crocheted and knitted. There are lots of good patterns at Crochet Pattern Central and Knitting Pattern Central.

Yesterday, John and I took Paige to Acres of Books, (an old used book store in downtown Long Beach) It really is Acres of Books, to the point where you feel really claustrophobic and hope there is not an earthquake (which is always a good possibility when you are in an inappropriate place in California). It's this old warehouse filled sky-high with old books and divided into sections. I headed to the craft section and children's books. Some of the book were so old, they were falling apart. We could have spent hours there but something about the close quarters and the dust smell made Paige crazy! She ran up and down the aisles yelling very loud. She enjoyed looking at some of the kid books but she totally disorganized that section by taking books and putting them in other random sections. I have no idea how one would find anything in that store anyway, but Paige made it much harder for the next person to find what they were looking for. I don't recommend taking a 2 year old toddler to an antique book store. Unless of course, you bring some Halloween candy in your purse.. and bribe her out of the store with it.

Best part of going to downtown if you are 2 going on 3:

Seeing trains (the Blue Line) and blimps (used car lot advertising) and ambulances (local hospital) all on the same road.


Baby present

I finished a present for my cousin's baby boy that was born a few months back. Sweater is made from Caron Simply Soft. I handstamped the doggy prints on the bodysuit. Hope she likes it!

Paige and I are battling the nastiest of head colds. This time of year always sneaks up on me and reminds me that we are vulnerable to germs... no matter how much we wash our hands. UGH!!


Knit in the City

What a fun day yesterday!! My mom drove us to Pasadena for the Knit for the Cure event. We volunteered to help out at the Stitches from the Heart booth. It was near Old Pasadena which had some amazing antique architecture.
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The city park where the festival happened also had a small amphitheatre where there was live music and a fashion show.

Best part, I got to meet some of my favorite blog authors and yarn people,

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Wendy from Knit and Tonic

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Regina from Monster Crochet

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And the talented Barry Klein of Trendsetter Yarns

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Here's me and Vickie Howell of the DIY TV show Knitty Gritty.

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Sandra Carter, fiber artist, was there making a cool HUGE pink scarf for the competition. She is knitting with homemade PVP pipe knitting needles!

Here's my scarf being judged (I did not win, but the scarves will be sold for the Susan G. Komen Foundation) The winner (Jan from the Yarn Lady) made this gorgeous rose colored felted spiral scarf with felted flowers that were handbeaded. You can also see my mom's scarf in this picture. It's the white scarf with large pink flowers on it.


Friday fun

Before I head out today, I wanted to share pics.

Scarf I made for today's Knit for the Cure in Pasadena. They are collecting the scarves and selling them to raise money for breast cancer research. There will also be a friendly scarf competition.

Scarf made from three different yarns (one fuzzy soft fleece type, one ribbon yarn and one worsted weight. Very simple garter stitch with single row stripes. The best part of this pattern is that when you finish one row, the next color is on the right side for you to pick up and keep knitting. The yarn will run along the side easily, just try not to get it twisted up.

Just for fun...

Paige and Maddie in a tunnel. What would we do without playgrounds????

FYI - My stitches (from my surgery, not knitting) finally came out this week and I am feeling oh so better!! Almost 100 %



One of the most interesting parts of the internet is the ability to encourage the penpal in all of us. Here is my latest card from Jenny in Finland:

Thank you Jenny! Yeah Postcrossing!


Square One

First freeform crochet and knit 7 inch square for a swap with my bud, Mara at AllArtTrade.


Some knitting??

Can you believe it? A knitting blog with some knitting on it!

I am feeling a lot better as of yesterday. In addition to all my medications/painkillers, my mom suggested adding iron to help my dizziness thinking that maybe I was anemic. It took 2 days but has made a heck of a difference. I think the previous 2 weeks might have been the longest of my life. My youngest is definitely so out of sorts that it is going to take me weeks to get her back with the program (Using the potty, having some manners, not giving everyone evil looks and shrieks, etc). At least she's young enough that hopefully she won't remember any of this..

I started a sweater for Paige now that the weather is cooling off the tiniest bit. It is a light weight baby yarn I have had in my stash for at least (uuum I'm embarassed to say) 6 years...

Crocheting requires me to lift my arms too much and since the doc said that was a no-no, that's out for a while. Knitting can be done with the smallest amount of arm/shoulder/chest movement. Feeling very grateful that I can do both..


Paper Flowers

The kidlings and I had fun making these flowers for my mom to take with her when she volunteers at a local nursing home. Since Paige is going along for the visit so I can recuperate, I thought it would be fun for Paige to have something to pass out. Instructions for the flowers can be found here.


Squares for Survivors

Just wanted to make sure everyone knows about this great lady and what she is doing...

Squares for Survivors

I have sent some squares and you can too!


Out of commission

Just wanted to let everyone know I will be having surgery tomorrow. It is not too major but I will be out of commission for about 2 weeks. I will probably not be able to respond to email or posts but hope to be back crocheting and knitting and painting just as quickly as I can...



I was thrilled to find out one of my Artist Trading Cards was picked to be displayed on the homepage of one of my favorite groups. You can see it at:

All Art Trade


Dakota as art

Wanted to share my latest cards for a swap.

I love my dog.

Purple purse

I wanted some instant gratification so I crocheted this cute little purse from Marvelous Mini tote by Deneen then I felted it. I used 100% Peruvian Highland Wool from elann. I added a little texture thread in there but you can barely see it. The hook shown in both pictures is a size K.



Hi to all my new friends from the crochet blog webring!


something random

From my front yard garden. Now that Scary the rat is gone, I have a new terror, I mean, um, friend. Meet my friend Hoppy.


Down under

Received these exquisite ATC's from Llewena Newell in Australia. Her postage stamp even had a koala on it and Sarah and I ooh and aahed over it as well. Thank you so much for the trade, Llewena!


Last day of summer.. for us..

Even though I hate it when ANY picture is taken of me, I feel I'm taking a huge step in my self-confidence by actually posting a picture of me with my family. It's part of an inner strength, come to grips with your weight demons, therapy kind of thing...

We finished the summer on a high note by going to Disneyland today. I'm in the back with Mike, John is in the middle with Sarah, and my mom is in the front with Paige.

I wonder who my idol was when I was two and a half? I think it's cool that Paige got to meet hers in person.... (Ariel from The Little Mermaid) We know all the words in this movie by heart. Someone little also likes to send the songs at the top of her lungs!

We listened to some awesome music in Disney's New Orleans Square and thought of all the victims of the hurricane.

School starts tomorrow!!! YEAH!!!!! I am doing a little happy dance right now...


More back-to-school stuff..

I made this beanie for Mike as part of the Back-to-School KAL and CAL. Ten year olds make such lovely and obliging models...


I finished my first felted bag. It's my version of the Scallops and Beads bag from Knit One, Felt Too. I used different yarns then asked for so the final result looks much different then the book but I am happy with it. I used Lion Brand Landscapes for body and some wool embroidery thread doubled up for the brim. The handle is an i-cord made from Landscapes. I wish I had taken a before picture. It took two hot cycles in the washing machine to get it to the right size.

Here's some shots from our trip to the Orange County Zoo.

A bear wandered right by us before he picked up his watermelon slice and took it back to his liar.

Kids in front of the train. (Tammy's kidlings and mine plus one friend)



I received this wonderful card today from Vivian in Norway! Check out Postcrossing.com


My heart goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Katrina.


Farm life

We drove down to San Juan Capistrano today to visit a mini-farm/petting zoo. Lots of hay covered fun...

This is what I would do if I won the lottery.. Raise alpacas...

and fluffy bunnies....

and horses....

and drive trains!

Everyone could come visit Steph's Farm!



WOW! What an exciting weekend! I spent most of Saturday with the talented Mara Thomas at the Fabulous Fiber Fest in Santa Monica. She taught the Freeform Crochet class last year that my mom and I had so much fun at. This year she concentrated on Artist Trading Cards, altered books and collage art among other things. We talked and compared notes about our "spirited" little ones. I bought some wonderful buttons and fibers (hand-dyed bits of lace and yarn) I even got the urge to paint (see Horse below).

Here's my first ATC:

Sorry my picture is not that clear. I will experiment on better capturing techniques.

Here's my card for Mara:

Water color for my Sarah.


Summer is dwindling

Finished swim lessons! Yeah! I think deep down I was afraid Paige was going to poop in the big college pool. I'm so glad we escaped that one!!! Sarah learned to dive off the diving board.

Went to the park yesterday.

Finished a baby hat for Stitches.

I am going away for the weekend BY MYSELF!! I will be going to the Fiber Fest in Santa Monica first then spending the night at a hotel! I won't know what to do with all that quiet! Maybe this will recharge my batteries...