My Girls

 Silje’s new thing is being able to hold Solveig now.  Not just on the sofa.  She can walk around holding her for short periods of time.
 I cannot begin to tell you what a help it is.  She’s been begging me for months to let her.  As I’ve watched other girls her age do the same with their siblings, I’ve realized that it might be okay.
They simply adore each other.  Silje loves the responsibility and importance that comes with helping, and Solveig loves being doted upon by a little person.  It’s a match made in heaven.

Yarn Along

It’s Wednesday, and that means Yarning Along at Small Things.

I’m growing concerned about my weekly yarn along posts.  You see, this last week, I’ve been stung by the sewing bee again, and it’s sewing projects are all that I’ve thought about.  I’m really trying to finish at least the Jenny set I’ve been working on.  It’s tough, though, because I seem to have messed up somewhere, even though I’ve done this pattern dozens of times.  It’s time to split for the legs on these longies, and the numbers aren’t coming out right.  If I can’t figure out where I went wrong, this size 2T set may have to be frogged and redone.

I know the cream longies are very plain, but the yarn looks so pretty next to the top that goes with it.  What’s worse is I’m thinking this is more of a winter set, so it really doesn’t need to go into my store for a few more months…but I cannot allow myself to have yet another UFO (UnFinished Object).  Even if it’s not listed right away, I’d really like to finish it completely.  Once I get to the leg cuffs and do some fun lilac fair isle accents, it will be quite fun. 

So I’m working on that, and kicking myself that the “Jane” pattern isn’t done.  It’s about half way there, and on my goal calender, it should have been sent to the pattern testers 2 weeks ago.  My motivation is nearing zero, and I wonder if I should focus whatever self discipline I have left in finishing this set, and then put the pattern design on the back burner for a month or so while I blow off some steam with the sewing kick I’m on.

As far as reading, I’m still paging through Orthodoxy as often as I can, although my brain has been feeling fried as I sit down to it which isn’t helping.  Chesterton continues to make me laugh out loud in his simple, profound, and even comical approach to theology.  I expected to be further along in this as well.  I’m having to remind myself that I don’t “have to” get any of this done.  I just want to so bad!

For school, we’ve picked up 2 new books this week!  Little Pear is the story of a little Chinese boy.  As you may be able to tell, our history unit right now is on ancient China.  Since Silje’s been studying Chinese this year, and has an overall interest in it, we’ve been going all out in this unit.  Last week at church I was introduced to an amazing woman who lives in China and is currently in the states visiting family.  I asked her over for tea with Silje and I this Friday and she said yes!  She was excited to talk to Silje about China, and you know what else?  She homeschooled her 3 boys using Sonlight over there.  I haven’t met another mom in my homeschool circle who uses the same curriculum as us, and I’m so glad to finally meet another Sonlight mom!  I can’t wait to pick her brain.

I’m getting off topic.  We also started reading George Mueller, which is a biography of the famous man who ran an orphanage.  I’m surprised to learn that Mr. Mueller was a thief for awhile, and am curious to find out how he found God before his amazing ministry.

O, and that other book is Silje’s copy of See and Sew that she’s been spending all of her free time oogling over.  For  those who haven’t seen yet, I’m giving away a copy of it as part of the giveaway I have going on now.  Click here to read that post.

500 Something Post Giveaway

Here’s a preview of the giveaway before I begin to ramble:

I sometimes feel that I’m constantly saying “no” to my children.  This is especially true when we’re out shopping.  I’ve gotten them trained to not ask for things much when we’re out…or at least they’ve learned not to bother.  The answer will be “no.”

The bad thing is I want so badly to say “yes.”  I’d love to say “yes.”  I want to shower my children with all things good.  However, if I say yes to one child, not only do all the other children with me perk up and start asking for things as loudly and frantically like a nest of baby birds, but the child who I said “yes” to sees it as a free ticket and asks for more things.  The only thing I can do at that point besides fill my house with junk and spend hundreds of dollars on it, is to say “no” every time one of them opens their mouth, or forbid them to speak at all, which never works.

So I’ve learned the trick to showering my kids with good things is to get them things when they’re not with me, and surprise them with that good thing when it’s just the two of us.  Then I don’t get the whine “but I wanted that one!  Why can’t I get this too!  I never get anything fun!”  Instead, I get “You got this for me?!  Wow!”

See the difference?  Yeah…never buy your kids toys at the store.  I wish I could, but the sense of entitlement comes out so fast before I can even get to the checkout.  When I present them with something at home they feel so special that I thought of them.

So I spoiled Silje down in Phoenix with something that probably should have been a birthday present, but I couldn’t help myself.  I was out shopping by myself (gasp!) and they just found their way into my cart.  Crocheting this year has proven to be a bit too difficult for her at this age, so I thought we should do some sewing instead.  We did a few ornaments at Christmas, but honestly, they didn’t turn out that well and I completely lost steam for the project.  You know…having a baby and all.

Isn’t it such a cute little basket?  Even better, I found a little sewing kit with pink things.  A little pink pin cushion, pink seam ripper, everything.  We started working on a counted cross stitch bookmark together.

I told her at the beginning that it may take us months to finish, so she could expect it to go slow.  I’m surprised how patient she is about it.  She needs help with every. single. stitch.  So I have to sit right next to her the whole time to help her, which I think is her favorite part about it.  It’s just “us” time.

See and Sew: A Sewing Book for ChildrenI picked up this book using Swagbucks on Amazon, and thought it would be fun to work through it after we finished the bookmark.  Then I got the idea for my giveaway.  I wanted so badly to make something for the giveaway, but my load is so full.  Still, I wanted to do something to show appreciation for you readers.  So I’m delegating the work.  I’d like to get one of you sewing.  Or get your daughter, granddaughter, or that girl at your church sewing.  In my dreams, I’d love to inspire one of you to be Candy (my sewing mentor as a little girl) to someone else.

Now, I wish I could afford to giveaway the full basket that I did for Silje.  However, as blogging is just a hobby, I have to limit myself.  Here is the giveaway package that could be sent to your house:

It’s the children’s sewing book, just like ours, with the gorgeous vintage inspired illustrations.  It has little project ideas for little hands.  Silje loves to sit and go through this book and has all sort of projects planned that she has little time for…just like her mommy.

Also, the pink sewing kit that Silje went bonkers over.  It’s not the basket, but the accessories.  It contains the pin cushion, scissors, pins, needles, thread, a seam ripper, pink tape measure, hem ruler thingy, and a tailor’s pencil.

Lastly, you’ll need some material to inspire a project like Silje has her bookmark.  I got these 3 fat quarters as a gift with purchase from a quilt shop, and although they’re gorgeous, I don’t have a project in mind for them.  I have enough projects in mind to last me a good 5 years straight or so, so I don’t have room for fabric without a project.  These could make beautiful doll clothes, or little stuffed animals, or a cute little apron.  (I’ll stop there with the ideas or I may change my mind and keep them.)  I’m throwing in this spool of ribbon from my stash because I think it goes well with the color palette. 

All you need is a little basket to store it, and you have everything you need to teach some hand sewing to either yourself, or someone special in your life that you’ve been meaning to spend some quality time with.

So here’s how you enter.  I’m going to borrow some ideas from my friend Melissa‘s 500th post because I thought it was fun:

1) Follow me.  Leave 1 comment saying that you do. 

2) Leave 1 comment telling me what one of your favorite posts was.

3) Leave 1 comment with a question that you would love to have me answer in the blog.  I’m not saying I will answer all of them, but I’ll probably answer a few.

4)Put a link to this giveaway and a comment about it on Facebook.  Then leave me another comment to tell me you did.

So, up to 4 ways to enter.  You can do all 4, or just 1.  You could technically do none of them, but you’re not going to win that way!  Please leave one comment for each entry, so that it’s easier to distinguish the winner using an online random number generator.  In one of the comments, make sure you leave your email address or blog address so that I can somehow contact you if you win.  If I cannot contact you, I’ll pick again.  Comments/entries will be closed next Monday.

I just want to say a quick thank you in advance to all you readers.  This blog is a lot of fun for me, and mostly because of the comments and feedback you give.

UFOs, Hardanger, and Russian Literature

So, you may remember my goal to take things off of the UFO (UnFinished Object) pile. I have this nasty habit of hating to do “finishing work” on items.  That…and my terrible habit of having several crafting projects going all at the same time.  I do that with books too.  I used to have at least 4 books going at the same time, but as I’ve gotten busier, I try to limit myself to 2: 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction.  That way I can read whatever I’m in the mood for.  Unless it’s a piece of Russian literature, and in that case it belongs in a category of it’s own because they take way too long to read.  Anna Karenina took me 4 years.  I can always depend on it to cure my insomnia.  I owe any sleep that I got in my first and second pregnancy to Anna.

Anyway…back to UFOs.  Yesterday I was doing another sewing lesson with Silje.  More on that later this week.  The point is that I normally alternate between knitting and sewing, and since I’ve been knitting so much lately, all of a sudden the sewing bug has bitten me again.  I’ve actually picked up Silje’s quilt again.  I used to joke when I started it that she would be 8 when I finished it.  Now I’m hoping it’s done by the time she’s 8.  Who knows, maybe it will be a graduation present.  Or wedding.

(Silje and I named these birds who just made their nest on our porch “Bernard”, “Charlotte,” and “Sophie.”)

During this whole “back to sewing” phenomenon, I’ve been on a mission ever since we got back from vacation to get this house together already.  We’ve been living here for 3 years? or so and there are pictures that never got hung up.  There are things to be done!  I am nearly done decorating the 3 season porch, and just in time for the seasons we actually use it.  I was thinking that the end tables could use a little cloth or something, and then I remembered that I had started a hardanger short runner a few years back after my mother in law gave me a little pattern book and all the fixings for working the craft after I repeatedly said I wanted to learn how to do it.  (It’s this gorgeous style of Norwegian embroidery.)  I’m so making more hardanger things…someday.  It’s on the list.  Maybe somewhere around number 30 or 40 on the to-do list, but at least it’s on the list.

The whole piece was done except for cutting around the outer edges.  Then it got put in the black hole in my sewing room called the UFO pile, and has now resurfaced after years of being buried in there.  So, yesterday I took out my little embroidery scissors shaped like a birdie, and cut very carefully around the edges while I actually watched a t.v. show.  It’s not perfect, but first attempts at a new craft rarely are, so I won’t beat myself up about it.  I love it, and it works perfectly in the room.

Well, it at least goes with the white, ivory, and green color scheme I have going in the room.  I would prefer it to be against one of the green tablecloths, but it’s the wrong size/shape and I already have things for the centerpiece.  Then again, I think making some pretty hardanger pieces in more of a square shape for the tables in there would just be perfect.  Adding it to the list…

I showed Knut my finished work, and he looked at me in shock and said “when have you had time to do this?”  (I actually spent most of the day cleaning closets and general decluttering/decorating/cleaning of the house these last few days.  Not to mention, I’ve been doing lots of ‘finishing’ on a diaper order due at the end of the week.)  I told him that I actually did it a few years ago, and it was just waiting for me to cut around the edge.  He laughed.  Yep, that’s me.  At any rate, when I was working on it, we weren’t even living in this house, and I had no where to put it in our old house, but knew that once we reached our permanent home I’d have an opportunity to use it.

So there you go.  Look at what I “just” whipped up last night.