Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year.

another great photo brought to you by Mama Rhondi.

This year we:
- Celebrated our boy's 1st birthday, and watched that same little boy completely transform from a sweet baby to a rough and tumble (but still sweet) nearly-two year old.
- Found out what it's like to be the family of a touring musician (maybe next year will bring a tour the family can join in on...).
- Helped to welcome a sweet baby nephew into the world (on his big brother's birthday!!).
- Convinced our girl that though cousin Jack was going to Kindergarten, they don't let four year olds go just because they want to (thank goodness, I'm not ready for Kindergarten!!).
- Rearranged our home, and then rearranged again. 
- Expanded our family with a kitten (which Mad named Mike).
- Started school. Stopped school. Welcomed a few changes in plans, and worked to accept the ones that weren't so welcome.
- Watched our daughter transform into a twirling, swirling four-year-old with quite the vocabulary (some of it impressive, and some of it just plain surprising).
- Were blessed with good health and much happiness.

We had a great year, and can't wait to see what sort of adventures the new year has in store for our little family.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

my next knit...

...should probably be a pair of red wool cloaks. 

They were on their way to take goodies to Great Granny. 


Monday, December 27, 2010

maxi's hat.

I knit this hat a few weeks ago, and can't believe I forgot to post it! I'm still trying to get used to knitting colorwork, and this hat is a great one to practice with. I only used two colors, but there are some great examples on Ravelry where people used more than that. The pattern is Norwegian Star Earflap Hat. I knit the smaller size, which turned out pretty huge for my little guy, so I just threw it in the wash and felted it and luckily it turned out about right. I took the photos before I sewed a pom-pom on top, which I like to pretend is Maxi's favorite part. I think I'm going to make another one soon for Karl. The man can't have too many hats, working outside everyday, right?

Here it is on my project page.

Friday, December 24, 2010

merry christmas

From our family to yours! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

for the dolls (gift idea!)

Hello again! I've been away from Blogland for awhile, due to the breakage of my computer. Max and I, with our powers combined, can do quite a number on technological devices it turns out. We're a team. One day we'll learn to use our powers for good. Until then, Karl does his best to keep a watchful eye on our computer and cell phone activities. Ha!

I'm just going to post a quick gift idea. I literally finished these in just a few hours last week and have been wanting to post about it ever since! Doll sweaters! Ta-da! This is just one of Madelynn's homemade gifts, as this year Karl and I agreed to make most of our family's Christmas gifts this year. I'll share more after Christmas, but I wanted to direct you to this pattern I used because it is so super fast you could easily make it for your girlie, a niece, a friend. Plus, if you're new to knitting sweaters, this is a good way to get a glimpse of the construction of one, while keeping yarn costs down. :)

The pattern is great as written. I only modified mine to save my wrists from purling--I think they have been bothering me due to my recent increase in small-gauge knitting (socks!). So I'll take a break from that and cross my fingers in hopes that a rest is all my wrists need. :) Anyhow, you can visit my ravelry page if you'd like to see the specs.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

she's amazing!

We had a photo shoot a few weeks ago, thanks to Mama Rhondi, and I wanted to share a few of the photos. I love that I belong to a family with such a great photographer! These photos were taken out at her place, but she's also met us at a park before for a photo shoot. It's so much more comfortable than going to a studio and having our photos taken by someone we don't know, which I think helps us all act a little more natural, allowing our personalities to really shine through the photographs. My favorite photo is going to be on our Christmas cards, so I'm not going to post it here until after I send them out. ;)

I find the kids' expressions here hilarious,
 and quite telling of how much they enjoy the whole photo-taking process.

Isn't she great?!


PS- those photos up on my banner are from Mama-Rhondi as well!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

sewing straight.

I am so inspired by the type of sweet blankets found here and here, I just couldn't wait to try it. However, I was a little intimidated by the fact that there are many, many straight lines of stitches on this blanket. It is pretty much a well known fact that I can't sew (or draw, or even drive--as evidenced by the fact that my husband actually made me pull over and let him get in the driver's seat last night, but I'm going to blame that on the dark) a straight line. I had to get over that though since I just happened to be in the fabric store last night when my sister texted to tell me she just found out she is having a baby girl--that would make this her 4th, that's right F-O-U-R-TH!! Next thing I know, I have the cutest combination of fabric in my cart and I am no longer feeling intimidated by straight lines--that is, until I get in the car and pick up my husband from the gym. I will say it again though... it was dark! and raining! and I need new glasses! Anyway, I have lots of baby girl sewing and knitting to make up for, since my last two neices (twins!) are going on 7 and I only started sewing like 2 years ago.

I haven't finished it yet, but I couldn't wait to say that it turns out, I was intimidated for nothing. It's not so hard, really. 


Friday, December 10, 2010

this moment.

from SouleMama:
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 


Thursday, December 9, 2010

yay for $5 purchases!

I'm ridiculously excited about this. I bought a bias tape maker last night at Joann and can't wait to use it!

Notice all the binding in those three projects? All folded by hand. Man, it took a long time! And though this little tool won't save me from iron burns (I'm terrible about that!), hopefully it will make it so all the binding is an even width! I have had big sewing plans in my head, and wasn't about to fold more binding by hand, so hopefully this handy little tool will help get the ball rolling.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

christmas socks.

I was recently inspired to knit up another pair of socks.  I think I do enjoy knitting kid socks--talk about instant gratification, they go so fast!-- but since I am rather new to knitting socks, I really don't know what to look for in a pattern. This one is pretty similar to the one I used last time, but I like that these socks have a reinforced heel. Plus, I just love this yarn--those colors, they're all my favs.
Here they are on my ravelry page.


Monday, December 6, 2010

griswold style.

As I had hoped, we had some nice weather this weekend to walk the tree farm in search of our perfect Christmas tree. I love going places where it doesn't matter whether or not I have makeup on, or whether I actually showered, or whether or not I even changed out of my pajama shirt before I piled a bunch of extra warm layers on. A Christmas tree farm is perfect for this. You can remain at a distance from strangers, and the smell of all the pine makes everyone smell good.

We dragged my brother and his cute little family along with us. It was really a great time.

Luckily, there were no live animals still residing in our tree once we got home. And we didn't walk through 3 ft of snow to get it. But our tree is too big for our living room, and since my brother's fam came with us, this is what our vehicle looked like as we drove down the street. In this sense, I think we basically "Griswold-ed" it.


Friday, December 3, 2010

this moment.

I'm playing along with SouleMama again this week.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

it's beginning...

... to look a lot like Christmas! 

The fact that I have any decorations out at this moment is a pretty huge deal for me, considering the last two Christmases in this house. Two years ago, I was HUGELY pregnant, terribly exhausted, and praying I would go in to labor at any moment (of course as it would happen, I remained HUGELY pregnant for about 3 1/2 more weeks!). Our decorations that year consisted of a single strand of snowflake lights on the front porch and a fake, sparsely decorated tree. Last year I was the couch for the entire month of December (and most of January, too), following an emergency surgery. Somehow I managed to finish sewing the stockings, but that was about it. I think the little fake tree may have made an appearance, though I'm not sure when or how. Needless to say, this year I have been extra excited about getting the whole house looking like the season that is upon us. I am extremely grateful this holiday season to be able to feel the warmth and joyous anticipation of family gatherings, keep up a cozy home, and to finally begin some of the traditions I've spent the last few seasons dreaming up with my family. If all goes as planned, we'll take a walk in the woods this weekend to find our perfect tree.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I just wanted to share what I've been up to lately. First, I made these super sweet little flower broaches using this tutorial, which I found via Little Bit Funky. I'm probably going to make tons more of these, including some for me! 

I am slowly but surely gaining more confidence on my sewing machine, and after making the last pair of pants for Maximus, I was able to figure out what I wanted to change about the pattern.

I made a pair for Mad, too. Both pairs are lined with the fabric from an old t-shirt to make them more durable and warm, especially considering the weather we've been having. I also made then have cute, contrasting cuffs, in hopes that will make them last longer.

 You can almost tell by this photo that I tried my hand at making a flat front waist for Madelynn, but I still have some work to do on that, since it made them a little more "bunchy" in the back and on the sides than I would have liked.

End of photo shoot. whew!


Monday, November 22, 2010

coolest hat yet

I made this hat last week, and finished it off with pom poms just in time to wear it in our season's first snow!! I love this hat, but because I went down a needle size, it turned out a little small. That was initially ok since I made it for Madelynn, but she will only wear it after a small amount of coaxing because she insists the "arn is scratchy." I might knit another one for me, adding another cable repeat in the back so it doesn't fit as snugly. I like it knit at the tighter guage, as I think the cables really stand out more that way. If you're interested in knitting it, I put some notes up on my ravelry page, which I think help clarify the cabled earflaps.

Here's Madelynn wearing the hat. I find this photo herlarious (typo intended, it's a shout-out to my lil' bro). It is cut out of the family photo that Mama Rhondi took yesterday, and it may or may not end up on the front of our Christmas cards this year.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

dear bill gates,

Hire this boy already, would you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

small project (gift idea!)

I used this tutorial to make some sweet little cloth napkins. Need something to do this weekend? Why not grab your favorite fabric to make some cool binding and throw together a few napkins for yourself. Or make some for a gift!

 You could even take it a step further and do some cute little embroidery on them.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

inspiration overload

This is the result of having so much inspiration, but little direction. I realized last night that my entire sewing table is covered with various projects and supplies.

 I'd like to say it's because I'm being super productive and getting tons of stuff done, but really, I'm just getting lots of things started. Before I can even finish a project, it seems something is inspiring me to start something else.

 I can't pin it down exactly, but I'd say that all that inspiration is probably coming from here, herehere, and here.

 Fortunately, at least one of my projects has an end in sight, and I'll share the details soon.


PS- Please excuse the purple walls. My sewing table is set up in what used to be the playroom.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

lovely morning!

Last night I decided, despite the fact that we are on a health binge and gave up most baked good, to bake some cookies. It must have been my intuition working (and my craving for peanut butter), because a few short hours later the power was out. The outage lasted until this morning. The kids leapt out of bed this morning and tried every single light switch and the television's power button, but none of them worked. I could have told them that would happen, but they wouldn't have believed me, so I just sat back and hoped the task of flipping all the switches would keep them busy for hours. It didn't. So we snuggled on the couch under all the blankets we own and ate cookies for breakfast. Then the house shook. I texted my mom (who's house is about 20 feet from my front porch) to see if she felt it, too. She didn't. I was pretty sure I was going crazy. But I wasn't.

All in all, it was a lovely morning.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

he's a saint.

This is what Gus looked like when we first brought him home. Madelynn adored picking him up and playing around with him. He was only seven weeks old in this photo.

This is what Gus looks like today, almost a year and a half later.  
I think he could probably pick her up now.

He was pretty sure they were raking him up a bed.

Seriously, good dog.


Friday, November 12, 2010

this moment.

Inspired by SouleMama.
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 
Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

sweet potato burritos.

I have to start out by telling you that I didn't know I liked sweet potatoes (I should clarify that what I call sweet potatoes, you might call yams) until I was pregnant with my son. I had been turned off of them as a child when I was subject to canned yams covered with marshmallows at Thanksgiving, and it wasn't until just a few years ago that I finally had some real ones and fell in love. The only problem is that I ate them at somebody else's house for the first time, and they were roasted in the oven with butter (so yummy, and also makes great baby food when mashed), but that is the only thing I have known to do with them ever since. That is, until I came across the recipe for sweet potato burritos via Keeper of the Home. I made them one night for dinner, and then made them again the next week for guests and got great reviews. I also made them at last weekend's knitting retreat, and then I came home and made more and put them in the freezer. They freeze really well, which I love since I don't buy pre-made frozen food anymore. This has easily become one of my most favorite simple, nutritious recipes.

Hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

free holiday cards?!

Yes, please! I can't believe it's already that time of year again. We don't even have any plans yet this year, but to get the ball rolling, I just found out that bloggers can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, by signing up here. I am pretty excited about this since I was already thinking that some super cute photo Christmas cards are in order this year from the Penn family. I always knew that Shutterfly did cards, but by poking around the site a little more this morning, I also found out that they can turn your photo into a canvas, and you can make super sweet personal calendars using all your own photos! What a perfect gift for grandparents. Now the only question is, which photo(s) will I use? I was thinking I would have a special Christmas photo taken for our cards this year, but then I saw that some cards allow you to have multiple photos, am thinking that would be a great way to show friends and family how the kiddies have changed over the year.

I hope you have a great time getting ready to welcome this holiday season!!


productive weekend.

This past weekend my mom, mother in law, her sister, and her mother and I attended our second annual knitting retreat at Grampa Jack's house. It was so lovely. We first planned this event last year when we thought it would be nice to get away for a quiet weekend of knitting, in time to finish up (or in my case, start) any knitted gifts we might be working on in time for Christmas. I was able to make some decent headway on Madelynn's Christmas dress, which comes from the book, Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. I also nearly finished Maxi's sweater, and knit another hat for my husband, which is a free pattern on ravelry. I have also updated my ravelry page with my modifications and project details.