Monday, July 30, 2012

Newly Made LEGO Geek

I always knew Emmett was going to be a boy. I might have harbored a little desire, a little hope for a girl but even when we left for the scan that would (hopefully) tell us if our baby was made of sugar and spice or puppy dog tails, I knew. I'd always thought my first would be a boy.

It's still up in the air whether Emmett will be an only child or not but even if we did have a second, I might have another boy which makes me a little sad when I think about not getting to knit girly things, have tea parties and sew clothing for dolls. BUT there are lots of great things about boys, too. Lego being one of them I've already discovered. This is my latest obsession: Lego Minifigures!

MF Bag

Matt had been watching Megafactories and got me to watch the Lego episode. We were both so impressed with everything that goes into making even the smallest piece and it gave me an itch. I wanted some Legos. Matt happened to find these at the grocery that night and the obsession began.

Series 7 Trio-001

Unfortunately, I've ended up with several doubles. Two bagpipe players, two knights and two of these guys:

This one, though, has two different faces. The detail on these minifugures is absolutely amazing. After a disappointing amount of doubles I started trying to use my x-ray vision to figure out which figure was in each bag. Okay, really I just felt around a bit, trying to feel for a piece that might give me a clue. It worked! I had really wanted this merman.


Then I said was taking a break. No more for awhile. Until I found a random series five at Tesco the other day.

Now I really want to get the office worker from series seven so that I can put his coffee cup in the lumberjack's hand...

Luke's Luke from the Gilmore Girls (if his hat were blue)!

And then today I found some series six packets at the toy store. This guy has two faces, too.


And asleep!

Now I can start mixing and matching, too.

Tough Guy

They also have a Team GB set. I've only bought one.

I should have taken a photo of him slightly tilted because the lion logo on his swim cap is neat. I love that he has drops of water on him as well. He's much more detailed than the lady swimmer from series seven. I'm not a big fan of the chiseled cheeks, though.

I figure (no pun intended) that by the time Emmett's actually old enough to play with these, I'll he'll have a really nice collection!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pretzels, Books and Christmas

I've been anxiously waiting for the right amount of me time to make soft pretzels from the cookbook Matt bought for me a week or so ago: Bake by Rachel Allen. Lorraine Pascal is my number one cooking crush but I like Rachel Allen quite a bit, too. Both of them create dishes that make you think, Yeah, I think I could really do that. I've made more out of the two Lorraine Pascal books I have than any other cookbook I own and, after making the soft pretzles, I think Bake might become just as popular.


That's about as fancy schmancy as I get with plating!

They were a bit labor intensive - lots of steps - but well worth it. They were delicious! According to the recipe, poaching them in simmering water and bicarbonate of soda before baking gives them the real soft pretzel taste.I made several with sesame seeds, a couple with salt and a few with a honey, butter, sugar and cinnamon coating. Next time I might pop the sweet ones under the grill to carmelize them a bit.



The sea salt I had on hand was much too fine. I had one about an hour ago and am going to have to brush my teeth to get the salty taste to go away. Not good.

I'm kind of enjoying reading books that I've "assigned" myself this month. I still have a couple that will be added to next months reading along - Night Circus and Insurgent and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter which I still haven't finished. I'm really struggling with it but am determined to finish. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was my favorite read of the month. Shadow of Night, the second in the Discovery of Witches trilogy was kind of a let down.

I broke my own rule (well, I broke it a lot if charity shop paperbacks count because I bought several of those but I don't think they count - you have to grab them when you find them) and bought the first Harry Potter book for my Kindle last night. I've been wanting to reread them for some time and it's even better than I remembered. I really wonder what Rowling's adult novel is going to be like.

We were thinking about a trip to the states in September but it looks like it might be more like December or January. Warmer weather would have been nice since my parents have a backyard that Emmett will love but I haven't spent Christmas with my Ohio family for three years now so the idea of maybe getting to be there even close to the holidays is pretty exciting. And, cheesy or not, if I get the  chance, I'm totally taking E to have his picture taken with Santa. I was pretty surprised to find out that they don't do that here. There are places to see Santa and sit his knee and all but not to have your picture taken - at least not that I could find.

Emmett is still asleep, Matt went into town - I should do a bit of housework but I think I'm going to catch up on and episide of "The Good Guys" instead....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Girly Care Package

I recently read on Facebook that the neice of a girl I went to high school with had come down with a case of E. Coli that had her in the hospital with all kinds of complications. She's been in for weeks and even "celebrated" her fourth birthday there. I haven't seen this classmate since our five year reunion and our twentieth is in a couple of weeks (a fact I just cannot believe) but something about this little girl really got to me. I couldn't stop thinking about her and decided to put together a little care package to cheer her up.

Jane the Cat

I have to admit, I'm going to have a hard time putting this kitty an the package and shipping her off to the states. I love her.  She's supposed to be a bunny (the pattern, Boxy Skirt Bunny can be found for free here) but when I finished her body at knit group on Sunday it was decided she might make a better cat. She's also supposed to have arms but I think, in this case, minimal is cute.

I tried lots of flowers but decided that minimal was best here as well. I thought the flower should go high because she's basically wearing a skirt and no top but once I sewed it on I thought it looked a bit odd but it's grown on me. I think I'll have to make another just like her for myself.

And this is totally a silly thing to post but it really goes to show that some times a little flair can make something pretty out of something plain. I wanted to send a little notebook since I was including a few little sticker packs and was pleased when I found this plain brown one with blank pages. A little flower and her name and - viola! - cuteness!

I got kind of excited about buying girly things so I'm also sending a bracelet and necklace from Claire's (why it surprised me initially that they were here too, I have no idea) and some fairy temporary tattoos. Hopefully they'll let her put them on in the hospital. Although, really, I'm hoping she'll be home by the time this package arrives.

Craft Time
I'm also pleased to share that Emmett made a craft on his own for the very first time the other day. He picked out a pipe cleaner (oddly, he chose black) from our box of crafty stuff and started sticking sparkly circle stickers on it, applauding himself after each sticker because EVERYTHING gets applause in our house (because he's a totaly ham, I even taught him to bow when I say "thank you, thank you"). I totally count that as a craft - especially since he wrapped it around the back of his neck like a sort-of necklace when he was finished. Pretty good for a twenty one month old!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A WIP and Miscellaneous Chitter Chatter

This project is taking so long that I thought I might just post a wip photo.

Basil the Brontosaurus finally has a head. Maybe he'll get a tail at knit group on Sunday.

At the end of September I'll have lived here for three years yet I still haven't unpacked several of my boxes. Virtually none of my craft stuff boxes were even opened (except for those that were marked "knitting") as there wasn't really anywhere to put any of it. This past weekend, though, Matt dug out a few and I started going through them. I don't want to unpack it all but I would like to have a shelf or two of the things I really miss. Annoyingly, I know I've bought things here that I already own.

This is one of the things I was so happy to have found: the Emily the Strange messenger bag I bought in Nashville years ago.


It might become the latest diaper bag.

We also went to Hobbycraft this past Sunday and I stocked up on crafty things to do with/for Emmett. He's not really old enough to do much other than finger painting and coloring but I did buy some wooden spoons, pom poms, pipe cleaners and googly eyes to make some puppets - he might be into helping me clue on pom poms. Plus I found a cardboard house with a car, two trees and a table andd chairs that comes blank for decorating. I told him he was allowed the car. Maybe the trees and the furniture, too, but the house is mine to decorate. Months ago, I had grand plans for a Build A Bear box and bought all of the things to make it into a little house but I never really get around to doung much to it. I have lots to oomph to start a project but not much of it or time to finish one. Matt and I have also talked about making me a place to work on the dollhouse my dad and I built before I moved here. I'd love to at least get it painted. I didn't come across any of my boxes of dollhouse stuff so they're still out there somewhere.

Argh, my little sugar booger (I wonder what he'll think of that name in years to come) is tossing and turning a bit which means the nap is close to ending!

Best Grin Ever-001

Saturday, July 7, 2012

While He Sleeps

I think While She Naps is one of the most clever blog names in all of Crafty Blogland. It's so true and I'm sure some momma would have scooped it up if Abby hadn't gotten to it first.

Emmett's longer, more predictable naps have become a wonderful, much needed bit of me time to read or crochet (or do dishes although he's gotten much better about letting me get on with housework while he plays with his Hot Wheels on the sitting room windowsill). I'm still working on a knitted dinosaur for him but recently I've been choosing small crochet projects that I can just about complete while he naps (see? brilliant!).

Puppy Full Body
Sorry about the super busy background. It's been absolutely pouring here for over 24 hours which means no outdoor photos and it's all I had on hand!

I finished all but a couple of the paws on this little pup (a Lion Brand free pattern: Ravlink) during a nap the other day. The bit of brown on the tip of one paw was an added design element due to the fact that I used up every bit of that oatmeal color. Now I think it's my favorite part of the pup.

Pup with Basket
And then, that night, I decided he needed a little basket for his own naps.


Emmett has cuddled him a couple of times. He's become a bit of a dog freak and wants to pet every one that we run into. Then he cries when they or he have to go away. This doesn't look much like the dogs he loves, though, so I'm keeping it for myself, I think. Can you guess what I named him?


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Read What I Own Month

Every once in awhile I put an embargo on myself when it comes to buying things to read. Most months its the same: one magazine (Mollie Makes - I wouldn't want to miss it) and no books. Other months, when the embargo is lifted, I can tend to go a little nuts with the book buying for the Kindle. Right now I have at least forty unread books on my machine. Ridiculous. Imagine if those were real books on a shelf. Good grief. Granted, a lot of them are free or less the three pounds. There are a lot of really good books out there for nothing or almost next to nothing. I never miss checking out the 99p Kindle Daily Deal; although I rarely buy them. They aren't really part of the embargo but I also really research any book meticulously, checking Amazon and Goodreads reviews before purchasing. I went from someone who was pretty leary about the whole Kindle thing to a slightly obsessive junkie.

Anyway, this is an embargo month. This month, though, I'm allowed one magazine and one book. The sequel to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, comes out next week and I don't think I could wait until August to start reading it!

Here's what I have on my Read What I Own Shelf for this month.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

KNife of NEver letting go

I bought this one awhile ago after seeing it at Waterstones. I started it but put it down after only a few chapters. Something about the way it's written annoys me a bit. I'm determined to finished it this month, though.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

I liked the first book, Divergent, so much that I preordered this one so that it would download at 12:01 am the day it was released. I read two pages and realized I'd read so many similar dystopian YA fiction that I couldn't entirely remember the first book...and I haven't picked it up since. This is another 'determined to finish'. I know it's going to be good. I think I just need to read the end of the first book again to get back into it.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

State of Wonder
This is - gasp - a paperback! Recommended by trusted sources: NPR and my friend Chris.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.


Tiniest picture but probably the one I'm most looking forward to. I bought it with a gift card my parents gave me when they visited last month but haven't read it yet. I've been saving it for some reason. It's nice to have a good book to save* once in awhile even when you're not sure why or when you're saving it for.

I'm also reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter but I keep putting it down after a few pages. I like the story itself but the way it's written - regular text with interspersed bits of diary entries - is too distracting. I'm about halfway through and I still haven't gotten used to it. I like the idea of Lincoln as an ass-kicking vampire hunter, though.

So what are you reading? Have you ever imposed an embargo upon yourself (or am I totally a freak)?

*Useless bit of Emily History: when I was younger I wrote to John Updike. Twice. And he wrote back twice, too. Typewritten white postcards with his signature in blue. I don't remember why I started reading him but I loved his books and read almost all of them. I recently picked up a book of his short stories at my father-in-law's house, read the first story, and, sadly, kind of couldn't figure out why I liked him so much. Anyway, the second letter was about the book Brazil which I saved and read on vacation and he wrote back that he pleased I had chosen his book to save. Okay, kind of anticlimatic but it popped into my head when I said I was saving The Night Circus. And I always thought it was really nice that Mr. Updike took the time to write back to some teenager in Ohio.