Yarn Along

My worktable in the sewing room is a mess right now, with 1,000 things being constructed at once.  Well, only 4, but it feels like 1,000.  I may be prone to exaggeration.  Silje’s cat (her Christmas gift from me) came together last night, except for 1 ear.  It was pushing midnight, and I decided to leave the last ear until morning.  Really, these are coming along really fast, and I’m pleased with that.

Along with the rest of the world, it seems, we are going through Ann Voskamp’s children’s Advent book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.

Well, honestly, we forgot to do our reading yesterday…which was Day 2.

I can’t believe I dropped the ball on that this year, this early.  Sigh.  Fortunately, we can do 2 readings today, and even more fortunately, we’re not reading a book about how wonderful our works are and how impressed God is with us.  Nope.  We’re reading a story about God rescuing us, and his unfailing, unconditional love when we seem to constantly fail.  It’s the story of love coming down, and reaching us because we couldn’t be perfect.

So I think it might be okay that Day 2 is read alongside Day 3.

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along.

Yarn Along

Christmas crafting has begun, late in the evenings as the kids have gone to bed.  Last year I made 3 Miss Maggie rabbits for my girls.  The creator of this pattern has come out with 4 more patterns this year, and I dropped some leading questions to the kids earlier last spring, wondering if they would be interested in them.  I was thinking just the Solveig and Ingrid, but preteen-Silje and even Elias showed a huge amount of interest too.  David was the only one who said he didn’t want one, he would rather I make him a car pillow for his bed.  So that’s what he’ll be getting.  Silje will get the cat, Solveig the deer, Ingrid the mouse, and Elias the fox.

I’m starting with Silje’s kitty.  Since I have made 3 products of this designer already, the whole process feels familiar.  It was so overwhelming last year, but this year I see the simplicity of it all, and know how quickly everything will come together.  One night I got the shawl for the kitty done, and all of the felt pieces for the body cut out, as well as the dress pattern pieces.  Last night I did the facial embroidery and stitched the head together.  I’ve realized that the whole project can be done easily within a week, only using a few hours each evening.

I’ve also learned that the draw to this type of present is all in the accessories.  Silje showed as much interest for this as she does her American Girl doll, and as I thought about it, she loves having all the pieces that go with it.  So I’m wondering if I should make a little cardigan for each one, or maybe a knit dress as I did last year.  Rosy Little Things has so many cute accessories to add on.  It really is a relaxing, easy project, that finishes so quickly in comparison to the adult sized projects I do most of the year.  Compared to my usual knitting, this is instant gratification.

My reading is Christmas-related as well, as this is the month I need to do my family-advent preparation so that December isn’t the most stressful month of the year.  I’m holding off in sharing that with you, as I know some don’t like about talking about Christmas this early in the year.  :)

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along.

County Fair

I’m not sure if the 4th of July or the County Fair is a bigger deal in this house as the highlight of summer.  This is our second year bringing 4H projects to the fair, and I felt like we went this year with some realistic expectations, and experience under our belts.

4H is a club common in the country (though not excluded from cities) where kids show animals and projects.  It took me an a few years to grasp the range of projects that could be done.  Now that we have a better understanding of categories, we were able to bring a lot more projects this year, and interview better for them.  The kids are interviewed about their projects and are awarded either a blue or red ribbon, depending on the quality of their project and interview combined.

Silje brought 8 projects this year, and was awarded 8 blue ribbons.  The girl who interviewed in front of her with some amazing wool projects, and was her age got 3 grand champion ribbons, which was exciting since we got to see that happen.  So now Silje is trying to brainstorm a champion-grade project.  David brought 3 projects, but he’s in the cloverbud class, which is the younger kids.  It’s his last year as a clover bud, and next year he will be judged in the older class with Silje.  Cloverbuds basically practice interviewing and bringing projects.  They get used to the process, and the judge usually gives them hints on improving their projects for the next year, and gives them an inside look on how the judging is done.  He got his 3 rainbow participation ribbons this year.

They get money for their projects too, and their checks will be mailed out later this fall.  This is one of the biggest income generators for our kids for the year, so they really put their hearts into it.

Silje’s projects were:
-A fairy garden terrarium
-2 flower bouquet arrangements
-2 framed, completed stamped cross stitch projects
-2 pieces of pottery from their pottery class
-A framed painting she did of her cat Starlight, and her 2 kittens

David’s projects were:
-A poster explaining his tree project with a tree to have on display
-A Lego starship he built from his imagination
-One of his pieces of pottery from their pottery class
(He was limited to 3 projects, in this class though if we had animals to show it could have been more.)

The kids’ club also had to volunteer one morning at the food stand which earns money for the 4H program.  They mostly had to wash tables, as the older kids in their club make more of the food.  They also helped fill some simple orders.  While they were at the food stand, the 3 younger kids and I walked through all of the barns and just had fun with all of the animals.

I’ve learned over the years that toddlers rarely stay in the stroller, and they scream if I just force them to.  I always end up carrying them AND pushing the stroller, and it’s too much on my body.  So I just put Ingrid in the Ergo carrier, which is nice on my back, and since she snuggled into me all morning, I don’t have any pictures of her.  I have bunches of Elias and Solveig, though.

The baby animal barn was a favorite.

The ducks and geese were THE favorite.  I found that surprising for some reason.

Of course, Solveig was delighted at the 4H club that decorated their horses’ stalls in the “Frozen” theme.

Oh, there were so many other fun things.  I won’t bore you with our endless “vacation pictures.”  On the last night of the fair, the kids used the money they saved to buy some wristbands and go on rides.  Silje and David have much stronger stomachs than I have!  I will say that a good time was had by all, and ideas for next years projects are already in the works.   I made it home the whole week without buying a lamb or bunny or anything.  Knut counts that as a victory.

Brownie Points

So, do you all remember that last year for Christmas, I made my 3 girls these little girly Miss Maggie rabbits?  They were made out of wool felt and had little country style dresses and knit wool accessories.    I nearly died from cuteness overload.  Knut and I try to give the kids at least one handmade gift for Christmas from one of us.  Last year, this was the girls’ handmade gift.  I was thinking of making them each some homemade socks this year but…

well, read on.

Let’s just be honest.  No one asked for them.  They weren’t on anyone’s wish list as they weren’t on any commercial and don’t have a t.v. series to go with them.  I just thought they were adorable and I wanted to make them, and of course I wanted them to love them.  And they did.  Each little girl dearly loves her rabbit.  Silje’s was named “Miss Maggie” and Solveig named hers “Posie” and Ingrid’s is “Rosie.”

Silje doesn’t usually care for old fashioned styled things like that, but learning how to sew herself, she seemed to genuinely appreciate the effort.  She oohed and aaahed for my benefit like a pro.  While I like antiqued, muted colors, she likes anything with a rainbow of bright colors, animal prints, and of course…glitter.

Well, the designer, Alicia Paulson, has added 4 more softie kits to her store this spring.  There’s now a fox, a deer, a mouse and a cat.  I’m just obsessed with them, and am already thinking I’ll make 2 of them for Solveig and Ingrid for this next Christmas.  Deciding which 2 to make will be tricky.  Anyway, I called Silje over to the computer to get her opinion.  I made this stupid remark:

“So, I know you’re almost 10 and all, and I know Miss Maggie is kind of old fashioned, and you’re probably not into this stuff and want something different, but the designer just came out with some more animals.  I was thinking of making 2 more, at least for the little girls for this Christmas.  Want to help me choose?”

She looked at me, with a shocked, sad expression on her face.  “You’re not going to make another one for me?  But I love my Miss Maggie!  I want another one!  There’s a cat?  I claim the cat!”

I love that she’s still my little girl.  And even though she doesn’t like old fashioned things normally, she actually, genuinely adores her gift, and is eagerly anticipating her next.

Either that, or she totally knows how to score the brownie points with me.

And, since the boys say I never make anything for them, I asked them if they wanted a softie.  The fox is my favorite new softie, but all the girls say they want the girl ones.  So I asked the boys if they would like a fox so I have an excuse to make one.  Elias gave an enthusiastic “yes!” as he plays “house” with the girls as often as he crashes cars with David.  But David said he didn’t want one.  Fair enough.  But now I’m wondering if it is okay for me to make one of these animals for everyone except David for Christmas, because I know he won’t play with one.  Stuffed animals have never been his thing.  He says he would rather get a car shaped pillow for his bed.

I feel like I’d totally be leaving him out by not making one, but I’m not going to buy a kit, and spend hours making him a toy he doesn’t want.  Well, I have a few months to figure out their Christmas gifts anyway.