Monday, June 25, 2012

A matched set

This last Saturday was all about Big and Little. (Which totally reminds me of Grover Monster's Near and Far bit.)
I'll admit it. I am a HUGE fan of matching stuff. When KidBrother Sam and I were little, Mom used to make us matching outfits. If Mom sewed me a dress, she sewed a matching one for my stuffed pig, Perfect. I LOVED it.

So, I'm knitting a few matching mother-daughter sweaters for Genevieve and me, starting with the Garter Yoke Cardigan, out of my handspun:

Also, matching dimples.
I loved knitting these sweaters. I think I might make matching ones in another color, once she outgrows this one. (That should be in about 12 minutes, for the record.) The thing I may love best (about the sweaters) is that my buttons are the same as the ones on Genevieve's sweater- except that mine are a little bigger.


You may have noticed that she's wearing a hook bracelet. In Andrew's family, there is a tradition that when you go to St. Croix (and everyone does, eventually), you get a hook bracelet. Hook bracelets are worn at all significant family functions.

You can imagine how charmed and delighted I was when we opened a gift from Andrew's Uncle Ted (and family), and it was the tiniest hook bracelet you've ever seen. Given how big Andrew's hook bracelet is, I found it even more adorable, and an incredibly thoughtful gift.

The Biggest and Littlest

When I was taking these pictures, I also noticed that Genevieve's outfit has a crab on the butt, and Andrew is wearing one of his Portland, ME lobster shirts. Total coincidence.

(Yes, I know that crabs and lobsters are totally different, but you see how they're *kind of* the same, too, right?)

Peas in a pod.
Down to our accessories, we're a matched set.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Real Moms

I seem to be fixated on this idea of "real". You know, like being a "real" GrownUp. Recently, the new obsession is with being a Real MomTM.

Don't confuse being a Real MomTM with being a Mom. Moms love, nurture, comfort, and parent. Real MomsTM (by my standard) are the Moms that cook, bake, play, and create. I knit, yes, and I have (FINALLY) finished a few sweaters for Genevieve.

But Real Moms, they sew. And now, Real MomsTM, I AM ONE OF YOU!!!

I used McCalls 8574
Last year my friend, Marvelous Maribel, was destashing a HUGE amount of beautiful knit fabric, and bequeathed it upon me- with the proviso that I started sewing.

My initial attempts were on a Singer Touch and Sew (which Elaine, the Singer Fairy, referred to as a Singer Yank and Curse) were ... not great. But a sewing machine is a sewing machine right?


The Yank-and-Curse was miserable to work with. It would jam. The slidy part over the bobbin had lost the latch, so that would come off and take forever to reseat. Mom offered to let me use one of her machines, but I'll be honest, I was so frustrated that - while I said it would be fine - my heart said, "Just forget about it."

Fast forward to Abby selling me Bernadette (my beautiful Bernina 910), and (later) the serger Andrew bought me for Mother's Day. It's amazing what having good equipment will do for you. (Also, let the record reflect that a serger isn't the same as getting a vacuum cleaner for mother's day.)

I have been assembly-line sewing nighties for Genevieve and it brings me immeasurable joy. Not only did we need more nighties for her, but these are easy to get on and off of her, and the lighter weight nighties are perfect for the warmish weather we have been having.

Dandelion nightie
Oh, Envelope neckline! How I do adore you.

It could be mathematical in nature:

[Someone you grew] + [something you made] = Happiness

Pardon me; I'm off to sew (more) for my baby.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lessons in motherhood

Me: I just feel crazy for worrying about Every. Little. Thing.
Mom: Welcome to Motherhood. It comes with the territory.

Blue steel
Blue Steel

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Carcharias, canines, cuteness

Genevieve is teething.


Does it remind anyone else of this?

(Photographic dramatization)

Oh, good.

But seriously, wow. Teeth! They're so exciting, and there is nothing cuter than a lopsided, toothy grin, but, sweet mother of purl, my poor kid.

She's chewing on everything she can get her little hands on- especially Andrew's fingers, which - per my tech support buddy - DaddyFingers were both his kids' (and his grandkids') chewie of choice. (My poor computer has been having some real issues. My tech support buddy and I have gotten very close, if you couldn't tell.) I even polled Facebook for teething comfort measures.

We've tried frozen washcloths, we've tried classic teething rings, we've tried the teething bonbon (which we refer to as Genevieve's chilly bone), and we've tried green onions - which were a BRILLIANT suggestion from one of Genevieve's knitting aunties. (The green onions worked remarkably well, but WOW, a baby with onion breath is nothing short of shocking.)

I'm still nursing, and nursing a tiny shark teething baby is an interesting proposition. Whenever I have a question about anything boob-related, I turn to my breastfeeding bible. (Out of perverse fascination alone, I read the bit about nursing teething babies a long time ago, both there and in The Baby Book.)

Fortunately - and I have a hard time tying "fortunately" to the whole concept of being bitten - Genevieve did most of her biting before the tooth erupted. She would clamp down on me (usually) if my gaze had wandered anywhere but her charming maybe-green-maybe-brown eyes. So we used the same trick (training?) that we used when Niki went through his mouthy phase all those years ago.

[The trick, in case you're curious: immediately after a bite, break the latch, hold baby away from boob for 10-15 seconds, then offer the boob again. Three bites and baby gets handed to someone without The Boobs.]

She's been a little fussy - but, wouldn't you be? I remember when my wisdom teeth made their presence known, and WOW. Uncomfortable. 

I sewed the blanket she's laying on!

If only my mother had thought to swaddle my 16-year-old self, we might have all been a little more cheerful.

Friday, June 1, 2012

We all scream

WARNING: This blog post may make you gain weight.

Last weekend, our AMAZING neighbors invited us over for a casual barbecue. We live in a nice neighborhood, but what makes it truly great is the community that we're working on building. (My contribution to community building is baked goods, in case you were curious.)

It was a pot luck arrangement, and we were assigned dessert. In case you didn't know, dessert is a BIG DEAL. Everyone remembers dessert; especially if it's good. A bad dessert will *literally* leave a bad taste in people's mouths. (Top Chef proves this over and over and over again.) I needed something that EVERYONE would love, from age 2 on up, for a hot day.

Ice cream. PERFECT!

To make ice cream, you need to do a little planning. You need ingredients (duh), a recipe (or book of DELICIOUS recipes):

An ice cream maker:

And/or this ice cream maker:

I say we require planning because both ice cream makers have freezer bowls, which really do need to be frozen 24 hours in advance of use. Fortunately, ours live in my Standing Freezer of Love (Dr. Chill, whom I got as a Valentine's Day gift when we got Richard Blaze), ready at a moment's notice to serve my whims. And serve they do!

If you clicked through, you'll see that the smaller one claims to be a 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker- which is a lie. It does 1 quart comfortably. When Costco put the 2 quart one on sale, I snapped it up with the intention of finding a new home for the smaller one.

I could talk about all the varied paths my good intentions are busy paving, but we can skip that, right?


Ice cream.

I decided to do two quarts of a tried-and-true favorite, the Ben & Jerry's Sweet Cream. Then, I picked up my trusty copy of The Perfect  Scoop and picked out the Aztec "Hot" Chocolate recipe. Pepper is chocolate anything is all the rage these days, and this ice cream is a prime example why. It's totally, 100%, full of MMMMMMM.

(Recipe notes, I used Penzey's Dutch Process Cocoa, ancho chile powder, and chipotle chile powder. I actually use Penzey's spices exclusively in my cooking; they're excellent and extremely well-priced. No affiliation, just a happy customer.)

But three quarts felt... unbalanced. We had chocolate and "un"-vanilla. And half a flat of fresh strawberries. Any other woman would have sliced the strawberries and served them on the side. Not me.


I flipped through my trusty ice cream recipe book and found the recipe for Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream. The thing you need to know is that I HATE STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM.

Or so I thought.

Apparently, store-bought ice cream tastes nasty, and homemade ice cream tastes like absolute heaven. It curls your toes and feeds your soul. And it takes a minimum of effort. (By minimum, I mean macerate strawberries, blend, chill, throw in ice cream maker, eat.)

It was so easy, we through together a double batch for the knitting group at the last minute- and it was ready about 10 minutes after they showed up.

The ice cream? Was a resounding hit with the neighbors, their kids, and the knitting group.

Do yourself a favor. Make some ice cream. Just be warned: it's completely addictive, and totally worth it.