More Babies!

Mina1 Booties Abby has a new cousin!  Mina arrived last week and I just finished some booties for her.  There is a sweater on the way too.  I wish Christine could photograph her.  But she’s in Seoul, South Korea and, well, that’s another continent.    Christine took the most fabulous photos of my grandson Cooper when he was about 9 days old.  He turned 6 weeks old yesterday.  I always knew she had an eye, but man, these photos, I am telling you, she has a gift.  Just look at my faves(click to embiggen and truly appreciate):


The ultimate artsy baby shot, floating in the darkness.


I gave this sheep fleece to Kandis for Cooper before he was born.  I don’t think she understood what it was for at the time.  Honestly I just think every baby needs it’s own sheepskin.  This one came from Ikea (I heart Ikea).


This shot seems to be making an internet star out of our boy. And who could object?  And for those of you drooling over the couch, Kandis says she got it at Eurway.

Hurry, before she is all booked up, and book a sitting with Christine at Fresh Photography and capture those moments.  You won’t be sorry.

Coming up next post: My personal challenge to myself for the month of June.  You’ve seen A Dress a Day?  Well, I’m going to attempt to sew a garment (or bag or accessory) a day in June.  And then perhaps I can put the cutting table away for a while.  It’s a little like trying to put the yarn away, but perhaps you will enjoy laughing at my folly as I at least try to tackle the pile of projects in my kitchen/sewing room.  Previews later.

School’s Out for Summer!

Waiting_to_graduate_2 Graduation from Kindergarten is a big deal.  A recording of Pomp and Circumstance played as the Kindergarteners filed into the cafeteria where the ceremony was held.  Parents, siblings, and grandparents filled the room.  Abby’s class was the last one to get to go up on stage to receive their diploma.  She fidgetted a bit and at some point started crying, we still aren’t sure why, but Daddy went over to comfort her.  It may have just been too much stress, a big day, and for her a sad day.  Abby likes school.  And her teacher.  And she’s sensitive.  But she made it through and one grandma is going to have lunch with her and the other grandma is picking her up from school today for the last time this term. 

I suppose I could say Abby is now a first-grader, but I don’t know for sure.  In a couple of weeks she is taking the excelleration exam.  Her dad thought it was a good idea.  I am not so certain.  Yes, like most parents we think our child is brilliant.  Mostly we are concerned that because she is bright she will get less and less attention from teachers as she gets older and it seems many teachers are busy with the children who need more attention or who cause problems.  We are afraid she will get bored.  I don’t know if she is ready for this test.  As bright as she is, I don’t think she knows what a multiple choice question is yet.  We don’t constantly drill her, but we do read to her and encourage her to read and we read for pleasure, which I think sets a good example.  She will have to pass all four sections of the exam with a 90% in order to be promoted to second grade, bypassing first grade.  Teachers have recommended against it.  There are social and emotional considerations.  Tom thinks that they aren’t that important when you are talking about only one grade difference.  He also thinks that it’s more important for her to be challenged intellectually.  A friend asked us to consider when we want her to start dating. 

Kindergarten_2007_3 We have not made a big deal out of the exam.  We aren’t really preparing her for it.  Tom thinks if she deserves to be "skipped", then she’ll pass on her own and if she doesn’t, we haven’t lost anything.  Her sister was very bright too (okay, she still is), but when she was growing up, I was not a confident advocate for her with teachers and the administration.  I was a single parent at the mercy of whatever beaurocracy we landed in.  And we moved frequently so she never got to stay in any school for very long.  Maybe I am making a bigger deal out of this exam than is needed.  Maybe she’ll do just fine, passing or not and won’t mind that we made her sit for two hours to take a test AFTER school let out.

So, besides the test, Abby will get to do one week at a Nature Summer Camp and a trip to Vermont in late August to see the other grandparents and in between, she’ll be going to a summer camp style daycare during the day.  So what are you doing this summer?

Web Ap Envy

I must confess I am experiencing an unpleasant sensation.  I am trying to be big.  And patient (a neat trick for me).  And excited for those few chosen who are already experiencing the heady delights of this mysterious elixir they call Ravelry.  But I am feeling painfully envious.  I want to play.  It must be good stuff.  And they say that it’s going to be free.  At first.  Until they get us hooked.  And then we’ll trade our grandchildren for just a little more functionality.  So I wait.  Still no invites.  I have added myself to the waiting list…several times…just in case the first one didn’t take.  Do you think I disqualified myself?  Gawd, I’m paranoid.  Okay, so what to do while I wait?

Go_with_the_flow pattern: Go With the Flow Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, Summer 2005 IK
yarn: This is the yarn that comes in the Red Cross Commemorative Yarn Tin.  It is very soft wool and there is a lot of it – I think it’s over 500 yds.
I decided not to knit the pattern for the men’s vintage wool socks for soldiers(that comes with the tin), because the yarn was so soft and pretty, I thought lace might be nice.  These are a tiny bit snug in width for me, but my mom has very narrow feet, and she’ll be arriving here next week, they should fit her perfectly.

Plumeria_bloomThis is the first bloom on one of my two plumerias.  I got them last year and they never bloomed.  This one has just begun to open and when it is fully open should be a show stopper.  Have you ever smelled these flowers?  They are beautifully perfumed.  I may move it to right outside my bedroom window.

Yucca_close Twist_leaf_yucca This is a Twist Leaf Yucca, growing right outside the bedroom window.  It seems to only bloom every other year, though the drought we had last year might be what held it back then.  This bloom shoots up about 10 feet from the base of this native plant.  Very pretty and impressive to see.

The pears this year are looking good.  Last year I implemented a squirrel management program.  It worked – we had plenty of pears and I learned how to make squirrel stew.

I need to get in the garden this weekend and finish planting.  I have cantelope and okra seeds to go in, and the second round of green beans and squash as well. 

Now, to the first person to offer me an invite to Ravelry, I will bless with some of my homemade pear preserves (like my granny used to make), some canned pear halves and my recipe for squirrel stew.  Of course, if you aren’t into cooking, I can prepare the stew for you.  Just please, let me be a Ravel-Rouser!

FO FO FO & 1/2 FO

This has become a very quiet blog.  It’s been very busy at Chez Yarnmaven.  But I have managed to clear the decks of some languishing sock projects.  I don’t know how I started so many socks at one time.  I have way too many sock needles.  So, here they are in no particular order:

Wildfoote Plain ol’ socks, my basic generic sock pattern.
Yarn: Wildfoote, by Brown Sheep Company,
Color: Jungle

Comments: Not the softest sock yarn by a mile, but for 5.50 per skein (Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe), not a bad buy and they’ll soften as they get washed and worn.

Mountain_colors_brown Rib and Cables Socks from Fall 2005 IK
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot
Color: Um, I lost track of the band, and don’t remember, but Kandis brought it back from Montana (where Mountain Colors is located) when they went up for Rob’s brother’s wedding.  I still have a different colored skein I haven’t used yet.

Comments: I LOVE this yarn!  It is sooo soft. And a joy to knit.  This is my second Rib and Cable socks in this yarn and I might do one more.  I followed the pattern except for the cast-on and I did my usual cast-on.

Koigu_mine Koigu Shortie Socks with Picot Cuff, my pattern
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM
Color: lost the ball band

Comments: This is the first pair of Koigu socks I kept for myself.  I do like knitting with it, but can’t make long socks because I am cheap and won’t buy the third skimpy skein to fit my big feet.

Ms_lumberjack Ribbed Socks (first sock of an eventual pair)
Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes
Color: Lumberjack

Comments: The yarn was on sale, the pattern was free on the ball band and I knit this one sock at a two day conference this week.  I have knit many socks with this yarn.  It isn’t luxury yarn, but the socks soften with wear and washing and they hold up very well.  And it’s economical – great for kid’s socks.

I only have 2 more pair of socks on the needles.  Plus the ribbed sock mate.  Things are getting better.  I can see a little of the top of my coffee table and there’s a plan this weekend to perform some spring cleaning by the whole family.  Whose taking bets on us pulling that off?

Mother’s Day is this weekend.  I’m tryng not to stress.  To most folks it’s no big deal; they just buy a card or send flowers or take Mom out to lunch.  Well, I have a mom and two mother-in-laws and Abby has 3, count ‘em, 3 grandma’s.  So, not only do I need cards from me and he-who-buys-no-gifts, but Abby wants to send cards from her.  Do you know what greeting cards cost now?  I know, I’m sounding cheap again.  I suppose if they added another damn day to the week, I could MAKE cards, but as it stands right now, my card-making priorities are way down the list.  I hope they like their cards cuz that’s all I’m doing this year.  Why do we recognize holidays that were created by the greeting card/candy/floral industry?  In case I don’t get back around to this blog before the weekend (highly likely), all you mothers out there, have a great one!  And don’t be too dissappointed if all you get is a card.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Give her a hand

I have reached that time of year, or perhaps it’s the time of life where I have difficulty maintaining my mental health.  I tend to take on a lot of responsibilities.  Eh, I’m just made that way.  Some responsibilities are assumed, some are requested and still others are thrust upon me.  I try to meet them all and still get in a little knitting or sewing time.  Well, it’s just not happening right now and it’s bugging the crap out of me.  Here’s the run-down.

  • New grand-baby born April 17th – I want to spend time with him and I want to help his folks adjust – though they live 30 miles away.
  • My retired mom just bought a house 10 miles from me and is moving down from Dallas after living in apartments for many years. (A friend and I are painting her house, and whipping the yard into shape after being neglected).  I want it to be a smooth transition for her.
  • I am going to miss the third week of knitting meetups this Saturday because I need to paint.  I miss my meetups!
  • Husband is navigating finals and preparing for Summer School so it looks like we will still have to pay for all day child care for the summer, plus one week of camp for the six-year-old.)
  • Because of the abundant and frequent rain we have had this year, my yard and garden are suffering from neglect and excessive water.
  • My cutting table is up in the kitchen completely covered with fabric and patterns waiting to be cut and stitched and I have no time to get to them, so they continue to block a large area of the kitchen because I am afraid if I put them away, I will forget about them and never sew them.  Yes, I am considering therapy.
  • There are several simple repair jobs I need to do on my MIL’s apartment, that I just haven’t gotten around to, though I now have the parts and the tools.
  • There is this full time job I have which seems to be keeping me from finishing all my other projects, but I kinda need the income.
  • I volunteer for way too many non-profits and I know I need to scale back my participation, but it’s hard when I care about their work.  But the demands are adding to my stress level.

There are lots of things I can do, if I have the time. None of these things alone is a big deal, it just seems to be a matter of timing.  A friend once told me that my problem was "bad timing and bad taste", he was referring to men, though I think I finally developed some taste where men are concerned.  Timing has always been one of my issues, that and patience and they seem to go hand in hand. 

Speaking of hands, while I was catching up on some of my blog-reading, I ran across Anne’s post and well, this is just the most awesome thing, that I felt I had to share it, Hurry, go check it out.  Be amazed.  I was.  And the whole time I am being amazed and thinking that is so cool and wondering "what can I go knit a cozy for" that is a complete and total misuse of the rare spare minutes I have to do anything that is not for someone else, I am just gobsmacked!  If I just had the time to create something like that…well, the mind wobbles.  Time, where can I buy some time?  Anybody?  Sometimes being handy isn’t enough.

Access This!

In my job as a web developer/administrator, I am often in the position of having to explain to customers and coworkers and sometimes superiors our need to meet our mandate to produce accessible information on our web site. I cannot count how many times I have heard the question, "How or why would blind people need to use the internet". Of course, the visually disabled are not the only group that we need to consider when producing material, but they tend to get the most attention since the web is such a visual medium. Fact is, for those with disabilities, their need to use the internet is even more essential than most of us who are not disabled. To answer the quesion, blind people use the internet for the same reasons that sighted people do, to get information and communicate. Assistive technology is available, that allows blind users to "hear" the information on a given web page, so long as the site is designed with all users in mind.

There are over 50 million Americans with disabilities. Ignorance and lack of awareness of those with disabilities is no longer acceptable in a global environment where technology can be the great equalizer – so long as those who create content and services via the internet consider those with diabilities when they approach their design decisions. Not all disabilites are apparent. In other words, you might not realize someone has a disability just by looking at them. I believe that discrimination against those with disabilities stems mostly from ignorance and laziness rather than malice. But the internets are for everyone and there are tools and training and people with experience that can be tapped to assist anyone in making their information on the web accessible.

Today is Blog Against Disablism Day and here are some resource links:

Understanding Disabilities – Types of Disabilities

Access and Opportunity – A guide to Disability Awareness

Hiring People with Disabilities Blog

Gnome AccessibilityDeveloper Information – (Geek Info)

Knowbility – Accessibility Consulting, Training and Advocacy to Support the Independence of People with Disabilities