20090726

Hello, Cupcake!

As many of you might know, I'm obsessed with Heather Ross, her fabric, and her book, Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching. I think her fabric is delightful and whimsical while still being usable.

When I fell in love with her book, I decided to do the simplest clothing pattern first, and we all know what that means. Pajama pants. Quick, cute, yet also useful around the house.

Pajama Pants


Pattern: Pajama Pants for Everyone from Weekend Sewing
Fabric: Printed Quilting Cotton from Jo-Ann

I really wanted to love these pajama pants, and they were mostly good, except for the following flaws:

1. The butt was tight, but the rest of the pants were normal. I'm not particularly booty blessed, so I'm not sure if this was because my hips are much larger than previously believed or if the pattern allowed for no butt at all. I will try to make myself a medium some time in the future to see if this resolves issues. After all, I need a flannel winter pair.

Backside Shot of Pants


2. The yardage called for was incorrect, even after I checked the errata. I bought three yards of the fabric even though two yards were called for. I'm very glad I did.

3. There was no "neaten the seams" instructions or hints in the book. I neatened a few seams on my own just to make the final product feel more finished.

4. I had the brilliant idea to put in a little tag in it to differentiate the back from the front. Only I stupidly put the tag in the front by accident.

Interior Details


The fabric I used was an adorable little woven cotton from Jo-Ann.

Fabric Detail


One suspects that this is the type of fabric that cheers a person up even when life is handing them sad no-cupcake days.

I'm definitely going to have to try the Yoga pants from Sew Everything Workshop as well, sometime in the future, but I do like these PJs. I want to make Nathan a slightly match-y pair. I love family matchiness!

PJs


It's so much fun doing a photo shoot on your front lawn in your PJs.

20090724

Knit Reset!

Dear readers, I hardly deserve to craft blog. You see, I have fallen off the knitting horse after spending months working on the same scarf. Tonight, Jenn went through my "stash" (if you can call an assortment of remnants that) and I did an inventory of my projects. I own and have assigned yarn for:



I have been working on the scarf FOREVER, and it is so slow and boring and so many months until I will want to wear a scarf again. So, Jenn told me to take a break, and knit the slippers. I had done a swatch months ago, so I had to rewind my yarn. See above re: my craft blog deservability... Jenn just gave me this look, and said, "Do you want me to wind that for you?" Yes! Perhaps I can absorb your ways through osmosis alone.

We then spent an hour looking at sweater patterns and yarn colors for said sweaters. And then I noticed that she was knitting, and I was not. And this is why she has many completed projects, and I only have a blog post about projects I haven't even started. :(

20090719

One Year Old Plus

Oh, Nathaniel, I'm a slacker. Your first birthday came and went and I posted no blog entry, nor did I even post photos until two weeks ago. I wasn't even going to write anything tonight until I realized I was going to put it off forever, forget some of the sweet details of your birthday, and be angry at myself for the rest of my life, just because I wanted to read more blogs.

On your first birthday, or slightly before it (because it is bad luck in the Korean culture to throw a birthday party after an individual's birthday, and your grandmom refuses to acknowledge that Americans believe in 'jinxing'), you had your first birthday party. It was thrown by my mom, your grandmom, and your whole family was there.

My creation


I mean Aunt Becky and Uncle Tom and their family came! Your Godparents and Isaac came! Every Korean my mom knows came!

There was sushi, and kalbi, and kimchi, and meatballs, and roast beef, and scallion pancakes, and every good thing. Your grandma's friend Janet, and Mrs. Shin, and grandma, and your grandma's family spent days making the food. It was all delicious, and everyone enjoyed it. The main decorations were baby blue "First Birthday" and baby Winnie-the-Pooh "First Birthday" selections.

There were a ton of little kids like Josh, and Isaac, and Misha, and Andrew and Lilly, and Nate, and Hana and all of your cousins from the Laub side. I had got some sidewalk chalk and they spent a great deal of time eating or drawing. It was fun to watch you interact with all of them, even if you couldn't walk or talk much yet.

We dressed you in an adorable little "First Birthday" onesie, and then changed you out of it to put you in your hanbok.

Daddy and Son


You hated it, and I really can't blame you. It was really hot at the party, and that outfit was even warmer.

I wish I could say you had a terrific time, but you were overstimulated, tired, and cranky. You mostly wanted me or your daddy to hold you, or you wanted to ride your horsie all around the place. The best part of the day for you was playing with the balloons we blew up prior to everyone arriving.

Balloon Laughter


Dear Lord, Nathan. You love balloons. If I owned a balloon emporium, you'd be the happiest baby on Earth. You love Mylar balloons, regular latex balloons, balloons that float, balloons that bounce along the ground, single balloons, large batches of balloons. You've never met a balloon you didn't love. You only loved the balloons (including the batch your Aunt Talena and Uncle Dan brought).

Wait! That's not true. You also liked the cake.

My creation


We ordered it from Rillings, a bakery that also made the wedding cake for your daddy and me. We tried to do the standard thing where you smooshed cake in your hair and face, but you're kind of a little too neat for that, just like your mommy. You touched it, hated how it got all over you, and refused to do anything more than lean in for bites of it after that.

We also made you pick out your future/destiny/big life deal out. I think it's kind of mean to do that, but it's tradition. We offered you wealth, a long life, health, art, and sports, but you wanted to be a scholar or a reader.

Every Attempt to Distract Him


Then, Nathan, people accused me of training you to pick that option, because your mommy loves to read. Nathan, I didn't train you, but you probably associate books with your daddy or me snuggling you up tight and making funny noises and kissing you and tickling you and telling you we love you.

We gave away little party bags to the children who came. I remember that they included animal crackers, bubbles, stickers, and crazy straws.

After mostly everyone left, a few close family members and friends such as Uncle E and Aunt C (who were engaged at the party) and Aunt Talena's crew, and Uncle Erick and Uncle Jason, and Mr. and Mrs. Shin were all still around, and my mom made us open your presents. You were too tired to care at that point, but you got some cool little presents, such as trucks and cute clothing and a wheelie bug.

Your daddy and I celebrated your actual birthday two days later a little more quietly. We opened a little card I got you, and gave you a little cake, and danced with you. You seemed just as thrilled with that option.

Nathan's First Birthday


Happy Birthday to my little man, snuggle bug, bunny, baby boy, Captain Rottenbottoms, and all around awesome little son. May you have many more.

Daddy Time

20090714

Just So You Are All Aware

I resent every single one of you who didn't tell me that knitting socks on size 0 DPNs would take effing forever.

I've been working a tiny bit on my gorgeous Schaeffer Anne anklets, and I'm only half way done the first heel! I'm not a fast knitter, by any means, but this is unusually bad, even for me.

Anyway, internet -- shame on you for not warning me.

20090710

Highlights Of A Disorganized Internet

I was on Facebook today, and a random grade school individual who I never chatted with had friended me. I was feeling generous and I friended her back. It was odd because on reading some of her wall, I realized I'd probably like her now. I'd probably be friends with her. We have a ton in common, including reading habits and the same sense of humor. Yet, we'll probably never be anything other than Facebook friends. The internet is weird. I think I would have been happier not knowing this.

It's been a while since I posted random links to my blog to see what sticks, so let's get to it.

I'm on Ravelry, Twitter, and Facebook. Let's be social networking pals, okay? If you don't think I follow your blog, let me know, so I can!

I follow a lot of sewing blogs, and I've seen a series of people doing jeans this summer. None of them have impressed me as much as the ones Quixotic Pixel has done. If I thought I could make these jeans, I would start sewing now.

So, I have a terrible confession to make. I don't like the sweaters people make from EZ books. I just don't. I don't like her baby clothes either. It is horrible because this probably makes me a bad knitter. I mostly try to get over it, skipping EZ related podcasts/blog updates/stuff, however, I had to read this blog post about a children sized February Lady Sweater. It's so adorable on this little girl that I'm thinking about adding the FLS to my queue!

Knitted fabric scares the pants off of me. I have yet to work with it, and I'm terrified to. When scanning through Vogue's patterns one day, I noticed a very cute drawn picture of a dress made from knitted fabric and it was one of their Very Easy, Very Vogue patterns (Vogue 8571), so I added it to my wishlist of patterns. I started to believe that it was too cute in the drawing and made up it'd look horrible. Turns out? I was totally wrong. It's super cute in this blog post and I want to make it in deep red or brown or grey. What say you, internet?

Anyway, it's time for me to head out now. I need to go put on my cute new cupcake pjs and knit a row of my scarf and go to bed. Oh, what cute new cupcake pjs, you ask? Well, that's another blog post!

BTW, if any of you use a social site for keeping track of books, let me know which you prefer, okay? Thanks!

20090707

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

During our last murder mystery, Helen kindly lent me a dress to fit in with the 1930s vibe of the night. She told me it had probably belonged to her grandmother and that it didn't really fit anyone in her house because it was for short people. (She might not have said it like that, but I know what I heard. She might as well have called me shrimp.) It was a nice dress, and a tiny bit tight, but nothing worrisome. If anything, it wasn't tight so much as well-fitted. However, during the course of the night, I felt a few stitches rip and I was horribly embarrassed about my fat tummy.

Later on, while removing it, I saw that the frayed thread looked pretty old and I realized that while my habit of chugging frappucinos had not helped the dress to stay in order, it hadn't hurt as much as I thought. The dress broke away from the zipper mainly because that thread was so old that it had become fragile. I told Helen what had happened and promised her I would fix the dress. I mean, I have a sewing machine, no? I could just whip that sucker up.

Things happened, however, and I forgot about the dress until this evening when I examined the zipper and its lost threads in more detail. Folks, this wasn't some machine made dress. It was hand-sewn. That easy fix is going to require some invisible stitching to attach the outer dress to the zipper. The inner lining will be a much easier straight stitch, but I'm not going to bring down the awesomeness of this dress by machine sewing it.

I pinned the whole thing together for my ease of sewing, and I've got plans for tomorrow night. I had been going to make myself a cute pair of pajama pants, but I foresee some hand-sewing now. I would do it tonight, but it is late, and I will need to practice whipstitching invisibly prior to working on this dress.

I can't believe I thought I was just going to machine stitch this vintage dress. I'm an idiot.

Here's a picture of the dress in murdering action:

"ACT YOUR ROLE!"


Totally cute, no? I mean, not as great as Helen's or Paula's outfits, but it is something!

20090704

New Ninja On the Block

You might have noticed, but a new blogger posted on 'my' craft blog here. It's no longer really my craft blog, however. It's our craft blog. I finally guilted Helen into blogging with me. I feel no shame about doing it, either.

I have been complaining for years now that I want a co-blogger for Ninja Kitten Knits, and as I began branching out into other crafts, I started to reconsider my blog concept, as well.

Tonight, at dinner, while discussing blogging with our friends, Helen started to lay down the guilt on Paul for not posting to her food blog. We got into our discussion and I pointed out that no one posted to my crafting blog, and she told me she'd join, so I promptly invited her, and she already has one post. I then joined her food blog, even though I'm the worst person to have on a food blog ever, and posted. (Seriously, if anyone else would like to invite me to blogs that are inappropriate for my hobbies, skills, or abilities, I am also horrible at sports, applying make-up, singing, and being laid back. Just invite me! I can discuss my failures in each of these topics at length.)

After some IM discussion with Helen, I decided to change my site name since "Ninja Kitten Knits" was inaccurate in all ways. We are now "Ninjas, Kittens, Crafts". Our topics still include knitting (primarily), but we will also branch out into other topics such as beading, sewing, card-making, kittens, and our ninja adventures.

To go back to knitting, however, Helen is thinking of working on her first sweater, and, if she does, I think I might also and force a first sweater knitalong with her. I've already talked about how I'm a much better competitive knitter than not. Ingenue by Wendy Bernard in Custom Knits has been calling my name for a while too! However, Helen has wanted to knit a cardigan. Anyone know how easy the Featherweight Cardigan is to knit?

In the meantime, a big hello to our newest Ninja Kitten, Helen!

My First Earrings (and Post)!

Crafting is something better done in pairs, groups or gaggles, and so, too, is craft blogging! Paula brought Jenn and I a bead bonanza from Washington state, so we sat down one night to break into beading and watch He's Just Not That Into You. (Note: this was too ambitious. We only made it halfway through the movie.)

Beading is overwhelming. Despite copious resources, Jenn and I each made a pair of earrings, then had to stop.


Earrings in repose


An earring in action

Looks simple. Do not be deceived. I am working up my strength and ingenuity to bead again.

P.S. Does this make me an honorary ninja kitten?

20090703

Actual Knitting Pictures Included Below

My, my. How are you all doing? Just last night I chatted with you. Will this daily posting become a habit? My guess is no.

I was taking photos of a very simple dessert I made today when I decided to throw in a few yarn photos. The only one I cared for was this shot of my sock knitting in the lovely yarn bag that Vahnee gave me.

Knitting On A Sock


Isn't that yarn absolutely gorgeous? It's Schaeffer Anne in some unknown color way. Admit it, it's gorgeous! I'm so pleased that this variegated yarn does not yet look disgusting.

20090702

A Library Break

As many of you know, I love books and I love to read. Since I'm trying to save a bit of money, my book spending has gone down in recent years vastly. Prior to marriage, I probably dropped hundreds of dollars on books each month. My library was full to packed, and I had multiple bookshelves which were double stacked with books. I had books piled on books in front of other books.

When I moved in with Paul, he kindly got my to realize this was stupidity. There was no need for this great amount of books, most of which went unloved. I had a library card and I could buy books that I really wanted. We only have one bookshelf and most of it is packed with my books, again stacked on each other in front of other books stacked on each other. I have some books in the attic as well, and many other books are still at my mom's house, but now, every time I decide to keep a new book, I must decide to get rid of another. I've virtually rid myself of manga, silly romances, and less than awesome fantasy novels.

When I started to use the library, I found they had a new option that I had never known of -- reserving and holding books at the library using the internet. It's like Amazon, but for free, and you have pick up and return the books. I used it liberally those first years, but then, I got delayed on sending some books back, and then I got pregnant, and then I had Nathan, and then I owed roughly one hundred and fifty dollars to the library.

Taking action, I decided to call them. They told me if I returned all the books I had out for years, I would be down to owing fifty dollars. I "promptly" returned all my overdue books. I then let that fifty dollar fine sit and sit, and it hurt. I wanted to get books out of the library, but I couldn't, and I was visiting the damnable library all the time for Nathan's story times.

This week, I broke down and decided to pay them some of my fine with cash I had been carrying for three weeks and not using. After paying, I asked the librarian helping me if I could get books out or if the fine was too much. They said, "Go ahead and get some books!"

That's all you needed to tell me. I came home and promptly reserved five books, a few related to crafting and a few fiction. Let me tell you, modern crafting books are apparently a hot commodity in the library world. I am five out of five people waiting to borrow Sew What! Skirts.

I got my first reserved book today, and I am thrilled with it. It's reminiscent of Battle Royale, but without the slight strangeness that Battle Royale brings by being a product of Japan. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a young adult story of a girl battling for her life in an arena where there can be only one victor in a fight to the death between twenty four teenagers. I ripped through the book in less than two hours, so it's a very quick read, but it is one I can suggest for people who like young adult stories or who like fantasy stories about people being forced to battle for their lives in a game. For those of you who care, I mostly liked the main character, a girl who volunteers for the game to prevent her younger sister from being taken to play in it. She's deadly and focused and while romance between herself and another of the players is a theme of the story, she has the sense to realize that romance is stupid until it can benefit her, and even then the romance is another of her tools in the game.

Anyway, check out the book. If you're curious, this whole post is a byproduct of not having any significant crafting to share with you. I am now nearly halfway done with my scarf. I flipped out this week and started to knit like the wind on it. I followed through with my knit at least three rounds a day promise to myself and it has made a difference. I can't show you any sewing because for the last week or so, my sewing area has had no light. Our switch broke and poor injured Paul has just repaired it today.

Pictures of my crafting soon. I promise. Until then, go browse some food sites or something and make some delicious asparagus dishes.

My Vegetable Obsession