Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bleached T-shirts

Last night I broke my camera. Hopefully it's something that can be fixed - I think one of the focusing lenses is adjusted wrong and needs to be put back in it's place. I'm too sad to even try to get the certainly cute pictures off of it that I took last night before I broke it. So, we will have to do with this image from earlier:
These are the smiley face pirate shirts that I made for the family. They are a riot. I love them so much. Here's how you do this: first, get a dark shirt t-shirt. Pre-washing is preferred, but I didn't do that. Find an image you like. I found stuff off of the internet, photoshopped it to the right size, and printed it out. Now, get some contact paper. Any kind will do. Cut a piece slightly larger than your image. You are going to cut both the image paper and contact paper at the same time, so get ready to hold them together tightly or attach them. I used staples for cutting out the ship because it was so intricate - I cut the sail side first, then did the waves last. With the faces, it was easier, and I actually was able to use the pattern more than once by taping the edges and cutting through the tape. Do the middle parts first with very small scissors, then cut the outside part. Now for the fun - stick the contact paper wherever you want your image, and put some cardboard or plastic bags inside your shirt so that the bleach doesn't soak to the back. Get a spray bottle (I used an empty glasses cleaner bottle) and fill it with half bleach and half water. Go outside (trust me) and spray bleach around the image. I used a paper towel to blot the contact paper, because I really don't know what happens when contact paper and bleach mix. Spray as much or little as you like. Let it dry, and then bleach it again. More bleach = more white. Less bleach = interesting variations of color (see the shades of orange above). Experiment to see what you like best. I dried mine in the sun for an hour, then turned inside out and washed in cold. Have fun, people!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Favorite Fotos Friday: VBS

Our church does a family-style vacation bible school that we call FAM JAM. This week we have been singing, playing games, doing crafts, and learning about serving the True Captain at our pirate-themed Treasure Quest. Yeah, it's been a blast. The first night's message was "Arr Ya Seeking?" and the second was "Arrr Ya Giving?" Here is Samuel and Stuart:
Notice Stuart's sweet pirate ship shirt. I made that. Yep - made it myself. It's an image from the publicity for our event, and I used bleach in a spray bottle. Because I am a good and kind crafty blogger, I will post specific directions for making your own. I have more shirts to show you, too. But not right now. You have to come back next week.
Here's Sally sporting an eye patch. That's Joey behind her - he joined our family for the week.This is Samuel listening to the message last night - "Arrr Ya Serving?"

Look at the concentration. FAM JAM rocks!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Last weekend my sister and her family stopped over for the night on their way home from a long vacation. We had a great (but way too short) time together. Here's the kids: This is after an afternoon of swimming. That's why they look tired. (Really, it is.)

This is my nephew. He's six months older than Samuel. He loves Spiderman too.
This is my other nephew. He's a redhead.

Come back soon, kids! The pool awaits!

The Craft of Knitting

Since I've become addicted to knitting, I've dedicated a fair amount of time to learning all I can about the craft. I have learned the different techniques of knitting and tried them out. (I am a devout combination thrower knitter - it's just the way my hands work. If I use a fine yarn knit at a loose gague, I can pick instead of throw, but it takes more concentration.) I have knit scarves, mittens, baby blankets, hats, socks (ok, one and a half socks), bags, and a sweater. I have knit with wool, cotton, angora, novelty yarn, and a whole mess of blended yarns. I can use straight, circular, and double pointed needles. I know how to do cables. I know how to graft. I've done a little fair isle and a little more intarsia - enough to know that I prefer one color of yarn at a time. I've followed patterns and I've designed some of my own projects. I have crossed a significant line: I bought yarn with no intended project in mind.

So I'm on to the literature. Of course, I've read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books, and Sally Melville's books. Love them. I watch and read Vicki Howell's Knitty Gritty stuff. I love looking at Erica Knight's books, as well as Debbie Bliss's baby book. I've looked through Mason Dixon Knitting, Stitch n Bitch Nation, and domiKNITrix. I am loving the Harry Potter Charmed Knits book (thanks again, Tina!). And I read Annie Modesitt's blog - she's the biggest promoter of combination knitting out there.

But I am finding out that these are all new knitters. To get to some classic knitting wisdom, I have checked out Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. I love her. Her patterns are more like having tea with an older knitter who is teaching you a craft, not a pattern. She's not just showing you how to make a sweater, she's training you to be a better knitter. But it's even more than that. During the instructions for making a patchwork blanket, she shares some insight for learning to read and knit at the same time (!!!), and tells a story about how she learned to read and knit at the same time while reading aloud to her kids, which produced three children who love to read. See? It's knitting training and parenting advice in the middle of the blanket pattern!

So, I'm making big steps in my knitting education, but I'm not done. I don't think I'll ever be done, which is part of the appeal of knitting. There is always more.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Preview

Sorry I've slacked on the posting. We are in VBS week at our church and I have stories to tell and crafts to show you (seriously, my crafty genes have kicked in!). I also have pics of my sister and her family to share, and a new knitting project to tell you all about. But for now, I'm tired. I'm dishing up some ice cream for the kids and then hopefully watching some old episodes of Scrubs. (Tam - wish you were here!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Favorite Fotos Friday (but on Monday instead)

This summer break is really wrecking my schedule because I can't seem to get the pictures from the camera to the computer to the blog by Friday. Ah well - it's not that important, right? Right?

First off, the birthday party pictures.Look at all those tickets!

The infamous Spiderman birthday cake.

Sally and Samuel pose for the camera.

(Note the matching outfits - all their idea.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Birthday Boy

Samuel is four years old today. If you want to read my Samuel story again, you can find it here. We celebrated with a small party last night - complete with the required Spiderman cake. Pictures to come. Thanks to all who sent things (A. Harr and U. Ted - he LOVED the package of goodies - thank you!) and to everyone who came last night. He kept saying over and over, "I'm so lucky. I'm just so lucky." We all are, buddy. Happy Birthday!

Top 30!

Blogger friend Dan has made it to the top 30! Want to vote again for his Chocolate Mint Explosion cookie? Go here and vote! Good luck, Dan!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Knit Bit: Project Rundown

Sorry I haven't put up a knitting post lately. I haven't had any FOs (finished objects) lately, so it's not too exciting around here. But I do have some things ready to start.

First, the baby boy sweater. I'm almost half way done!

This is another "Math Geek" scarf. Tami named it for me: The Spumoni Scarf. It's Paton's Silk/Wool yarn - a great yarn, very soft and silky. I need another skein, though.

This is a project I am almost ready to start. It's going to be a gift for my mom. (Hi Mom!) I'll show you what it is when I get started on it.

And this is some daydreaming yarn. I don't know what I'm going to make with it, but I love it. It's Lion's new Organic Cotton (colors: almond and bark). I love the twisty skeins. (Sally is my hand model here.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Typical SoCal Evening

Last week, Stuart and I had a night out. We went to hang out at his friend's boat. She has a really cool sailboat, and next year she is taking off and sailing around the world. Isn't that the coolest thing? Anyway, as I was sitting there, sipping white wine, eating some really good English cheddar from Trader Joes, and watching the palm trees blow in the wind, I thought to myself, this is so SoCal! And something I don't get to do too often anymore. After catching up on all the company gossip (everyone there was ex-employees from a company Stuart worked at two jobs ago), we walked over to The Crab Pot. Now I'm not much for crab, so I had some clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, and it was excellent. The rest of our party had the crab dinner - the kind that comes in a huge stainless steel bowl and gets dumped out in the middle of the table and you get a little board and a hammer and get to work. (It reminded me of that scene in Jerry Maguire.) Watching everyone crack open a crab leg and enjoy themselves was an entirely enojoyable experience. (It could have been the wine, or the fact that our kids were at a friend's house. Hard to tell.)
(The picture is from The Crab Pot website - if you live in the area, I highly recommend this restaurant!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Quoteable Samuel

"I pledge ah-weegience to the flag of the United States of da Americas, and to the republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, invisible, in wiberty and dustace bra."

Monday, June 18, 2007


Yesterday was my birthday. It was also Father's Day, so we had a joint celebration here involving steak and shrimp, and a chocolate ice cream cake. (Can you guess which part celebrated Daddy and which part celebrated Mommy? Yes, I thought so.) Our day started out with my sister-in-law making us a big quiche breakfast (with a recipe from Paula Deen's show) which was so good that we ate the whole thing. Thanks, Tam! Then we went to church, came home and had lunch, and went for a swim.This is Sally and me right before dinner. Sally set the table herself, with special folded napkins for everyone. She also dressed up.This is what Samuel and K did while we ate dinner. They were wiped out from swimming so hard. K started swimming with her head under (she's not quite two - that's very advanced!) and Samuel can jump in the deep end and swim half the length of the pool (but he's still not "pool safe" so we watch him very closely). They both slept through the entire dinner. This is me with my cake (thanks, honey!) in front of the Pin The Knitting Needle Next To The Other Knitting Needle. Sally made this game up for me. It was so cute - she made knitting needles for each of us, with our names on it, and made me wear a blindfold and everything. I think she won, though. She also made a pinata for me - she used a mylar balloon that had a hole in it and put scraps of paper numbered 1 to more than 177 (yes, she numbered them and cut them apart). We had to dump some papers out and see who had the highest number. I won. This is my cake and my party planner. She's great. Thanks, Sally, for making my day so special! (And shouts out to S, W, and G for the car decorations and huge birthday card! You guys are so great!)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

34 Days

I just pre-ordered a copy of Harry Potter #7. Very exciting. I can't wait. I'm going to pick it up at our local Borders because I like the event. Truth: I like to see all the freaks who actually dress up and make a bigger deal of this than me. It makes me feel normal. Last time (book 6), our store had a very community feel, with all of us non-dressed-up people chatting in line and talking about all the dressed-up folks. You do realize that the dressed-up people were there very very early and were not in the part of the line that I was in. Also, by 12:30 am, most of them already had their books and were either reading it or standing around clutching it to their hearts and smugly looking around at those of us who were still waiting. I can't wait! SUCH fun.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! My favorite memory of my dad is the day that I had to cook dinner myself (practical skill training - my mom had my sister and I make dinner by ourselves a few times a month) and I made lasagna. I put too much sauce on the lower layers, and ran out by the time I got to the top. The top layer of noodles was still crunchy (the recipe I used did not require you to pre-cook the noodles; they cooked in the sauce that I ran out of). My sister declaired the meal disgusting and she ate a pb&j sandwich. My dad ate two helpings of the lasagna, and even told me that he liked it a bit crunchy. What a great dad, huh? Thanks Dad! I love you!

Coming up next week: a typical SoCal evening, a trip down memory lane, and Samuel's version of the Pledge of Allegiance. See you later!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Favorite Fotos Friday

Samuel finished preschool this week. We are planning on preschool three days a week next year. This is the bridge by the church where he goes to preschool. The bridge spans a small creek. When we pick him up, I usually bring a baggie of Cheerios so we can feed the fish. Everyone loves to feed the fish. I think we'll have to go a few times over the summer. It's quick, it's free, and everyone loves it. This is a picture of the fish coming up to eat the Cheerios. Those fish are usually very hungry.
If you click on this last one and look closely, you can see the fish! Samuel would say, "Sweet!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Three Things Thursday

It's overused sayings day! Here for your consideration: three overused sayings - pithy, but still true.

(1) The secret to happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you've got.

(2) The truth always comes out.

(3) The cure for anything is salt water---sweat, tears, or the sea. (OK, you got me - this last one is a quote from Isak Dinesen, and not a pithy overused saying. But I like it. And I think it's true, too.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Conversations with Sally

Sally: "I need a costume for my play at school."
Me: "OK. Who are you?"
Sally: "I'm Rapunzel's mother. I'm supposed to look like I don't have a lot of money."
Me: "Do you want to wear a dress? I have one of Dad's old shirts - it will look like a dress that is too big for you."
Sally: "Oh, that's good. I like that."
Me: "How about your hair?"
Sally: "I'll just make it messy. Then I'll look like an old lady."
Me: "I don't think Rapunzel's mom was an old lady."
Sally: "Yeah she was. She was like in her 20s or 30s."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Favorite Fotos Friday (but on Monday)

Playing outside (that's Samuel's yelling face, not pain face. it's hard to tell, huh?)


Watching a movie before bed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Help out a friend (of a friend)

Hey cookie lovers! Do me a favor, please. My #1 blogger friend, the one who started it all, Sherry, has a friend, Dan, who has created a delicious and lovely cookie to celebrate Mrs. Field's 30th Anniversary. Anyway, he needs your help. Go vote! Vote here - find "Chocolate Mint Explosion" and go to the bottom and click on "vote". It's that simple. Oh, and here is the recipe if you want a taste for yourself. I need to go make a shopping list . . . .those look too good to pass up! Oh, and good luck, Dan!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Nothing Much

Nothing new to write about. I'm waiting (not so) patiently for the new Knitty to come on-line. I need to take some new pictures. I'm going to work on the pool. But the best thing today - I am purchasing tickets for the Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit at the San Diego Museum for next month. !!!!! History rocks!

Have a great weekend, internet!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) Sally has discovered comic books. She really wanted to find a comic book store around here. Imagine our surprise when we were cleaning out the garage and found a box of Stu's comic books! The timing was perfect - she was instantly rewarded for helping us clean up.

(2) Samuel got in on the action with the garage clean-up project and was rewarded with a Spiderman comic book. He sat on cousin K's chair and read it for a long while. He fell asleep with it on his chest.

(3) Stuart got me a whole big Costco bag of garlic flavored bagel chips. Knowing my history with garlic, this was a very sacrificial and loving gesture. What a great guy!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

Samuel: "I can totally taste the Par-mon cheese!"

Me: "Par-mon?"

Samuel: "Yeah, you know, Par-mon cheese, wike the kind you put on your basketti! I love that."

Conversations With The Kids

(the scene: we are sitting outside after a swim, drying off and eating frozen fruit on a stick)

Me: "These strawberries are a little tart. They would be really good dipped in sugar."

Auntie Tam: "I like eating frozen fruit. Even dipped in sugar, it's better than something that is all sugar, like an Otter Pop."

Samuel: "Oh! Oh! I love Otter Pops! I want an Otter Pop!"

Sally: (sounding but exactly like her dad) "Nice, Tam."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First Grade

Today I taught a first grade class. It was fun, but I have to say this: girls are way more assertive and bossy than they used to be. It's a little unnerving. I actually had to take a little lovely seven year old girl aside and tell her, quite firmly, that I had experience teaching and that she needed to stop telling me what to do because it was really starting to bother me.

She didn't stop.

She wore me out.

I'm going to go knit something.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sleeping With Bread Monday

What has brought me grief this week?

There is much to be sad about. Many marriages in my circle of friends are going through serious situations. It is painful. Sally is starting to ask questions that, although Stuart and I are both talking to her and answering what we can, I don't really want to tell her these things. I don't want her to ask. I don't want her to know. I think I just don't want her to grow up so fast.

What has brought me joy this week?

Stuart's sister is staying with us now, and her daugher (who I will call K) is so funny. Watching K with my kids is such a balm to my spirit. Yesterday we all swam together in the afternoon, and then it was reading and playing and nap time (although I was the only one who actually slept!) and then we had dinner together. It was an altogether lovely day. Samuel, at almost 4, and K, at almost 2, are close in age and they are both "no sleep kids". So Sally was asleep at 8:00, but the two young ones stayed up a bit longer and we laughed at how silly they are together. Laughter is very good medicine.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Favorite Fotos Friday

Pokeman cards poolside

The kids have made up an elaborate game with
the Pokeman cards. It's called "World". It
involves catching all sorts of cartoon characters,
and turning the "bad guys" into "good guys".
They love it.

A quiet reading break for Mom.