How Has It Been Almost a Year?

The baby’s-first-year-on-the-planet time warp is REAL, folks. How is it that our son is almost one? Well, really, he’s almost 11 months old, but since I’ve begun planning his first birthday party, it feels like his first trip around the sun is really almost here.

It simultaneously feels like the longest year of my life AND like he just arrived yesterday. Kind of for the same reasons, actually – Willem has changed SO MUCH in the last 11 months (and so have I), and the changes are happening faster and faster every day, it seems. Suddenly, we have a waving, giggling, steady on his feet (at least when standing), sweet little guy with his own PERSONALITY and stuff. Oh, and he can say “mama,” which is about the cutest thing ever.

And to think: a year ago, he was still IN MAH BELLY. Totally crazy.

20140112. 35 weeks.

One year ago today.

Anyway, I’m getting pretty excited for his birthday. The kid has so many toys already, so we are definitely not getting him much in the way of “stuff.” Instead, on the actual big day, Chris will take off work so we can go do something fun as a family – I’m thinking we’ll go to the Children’s Museum. Then we’re having a small party of family and friends to help celebrate.

I am ALL OVER Pinterest these days re: party decor. See Exhibit A:

First birthday crafting.

Willem loves reading, so the big “thing” he’ll get from us is something along the lines of this:

Chris is going to build the tent frame, and I just ordered this fabric for the tent sides. I am probably, definitely a little WAY TOO EXCITED about it. I think we’ll really enjoy reading together, lying in our tent:

I’m also putting together some fun little camping supplies to round out the whole tent gift idea. Like… have you ever knitted a log? Because I am currently knitting a log! (I mean, I don’t have a LOG….)

Any other ideas to add to the tent/camping gift? I need to go thrifting and see if I can find some fun metal cooking camp pots, maybe a metal mug. A fake/wooden Coleman lamp? Or, heck, a REAL (but baby-friendly) lamp of some sort?

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ALL THE THINGS!

TODAY:

  • Dig out all the weeds growing in the lettuce bed.
  • Steam some green beans for Willem’s lunch.
  • Cut back the blackberries.
  • Pull ALL THE WEEDS.
  • Lay down plastic to KILL ALL FUTURE WEEDS.
  • Mow.
  • Buy winter rye for cover cropping (and a bunch of other seeds) from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
  • Update a website and track the produce from our last CSA of the summer.
  • Get some more work done on our family portrait.

Family.

  • Make rosemary-lavender simple syrup.
  • Go buy some fixings to make a pumpkin pie. I need some pumpkin pie like whoa.
  • Play with, feed, talk to, smile at, put down for naps, read to, and change the Willem.

This guy.

  • Take at least two showers.
  • Drink ice water, eat ice cream, watch the series finale of The Killing, and drink pumpkin beer in our underwear under the fan once all of the above is complete.

Also? It is stupid hot and humid out there. STUPID.

State of the Belly Address: Half-Full

As of yesterday, this adorable little beastie of mine is halfway done. We celebrated the 20-week mark of pregnancy with a visit to Fall Creek Gardens for their fall harvest party and mural ribbon cutting ceremony, dinner and ice cream out, and a trip to Lowe’s.

We know how to party. Saturday! Rage! No, really, though, it was a great day.

Ever since the wedding, I feel like I’m busier than ever, probably due to the fact that for the entire month of August, anything that wasn’t wedding-related got pushed to the back of my mind and the bottom of my to do list. Now it’s all rushing back to the forefront like a tsunami. Or at least a slightly flooded stream bed.

Rather than bore you (and myself) with the details of that flood of STUFF that needs doing, I think we need more pretties on this rainy Sunday, no? Not only have I been productive in the baby-making lately, but I’ve also been productive in the baby stuff-making (and acquiring). Here are a few of my latest goodies for this little no-name nubbin.

First, we have some toasty sweaters and a kick sack for those breezy February days:
20130929. Making stuff and taking names.

And what little beastie doesn’t need some cozy wool pants and a super soft chevron blankie? The better to cuddle you with, my love.
20130929. Making stuff and taking names.

Every time I look at Barnaby the Bear (made by my sister-in-law and four-year-old nephew, Ben) and my big cuddly bunny, I squeal a little (in my mind… although sometimes a squeak manages to get out). Barnaby also happens to be modeling an aviator hat and bib for the babe.
20130929. Making stuff and taking names.

I’ve also procured about a billion (okay, 17, but whatever) cloth diapers to get us going. We might be pretty well set in the cloth diaper department!
20130928. My fetuses cloth diaper stash is about complete for now.

Last but not least, I love the way these turned out. These are being printed up and framed as 11×14″ wall art. The ideas were totally stolen from others (love you, Etsy and Pinterest).
20130929. Making stuff and taking names.

Oops, I lied. ONE one more. I forgot I made a bunch of kick ass onesies yesterday!
20130928. New onesies for the sprout.

Chris fretted the other night that this baby is going to come out all hipster: bearded in a flannel shirt and skinny jeans if it’s a boy; dark-rimmed librarian glasses, bangs, handknit mittens, and jarring, conflictingly patterned clothes if it’s a girl. I think it’s going to come out all hippie farmer: dirt under its tiny nails, pulling raw beets from the ground to use as its teethers.

The Most Perfect Ring Bearer (and Not in That “Mt. Doom” Sort of Way)

I scoured the shelves of Goodwill yesterday for a fitting book to hold our wedding bands for the big day. I was thinking of Great Expectations or some lovey-dovey title… or even a cheesy romance novel.

What did I find instead? A David Sedaris book I haven’t read yet! Score! Oh, wait. I couldn’t possibly cut that thing up just to hold our rings for one day, so I did what I should have done first: went shopping on our own book shelves.

I am so pleased with what I found: a book I got from my grandparents, all about the Indiana of old. The title and subject matter are perfect, and I absolutely love the cover (there’s even a little honey bee on the binding). Couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out!

20130818. Ring book - from my grandparents.

20130818. Ring book - from my grandparents.

Channeling My Inner-Martha Stewart… Cheapo Hippie Style, Of Course

This weekend, we are having our much-belated housewarming party. Yes, we got the keys to the place on Friday, May 13, 2011. So what? We were so busy getting settled and embarking on epic projects all summer long last year that a party just didn’t seem feasible.

Now, however, a party is SO feasible! Not only that, it also seems like the most fun idea. Both of our sets of parents are coming, as well as my aunt and uncle and one of my cousins. On top of family, we’ll have new neighbors, old friends, work friends, friends from out of town, friends from across town, and even our fantastic realtor who snarked his way through house after house with us a little over a year ago. I keep mentally coupling up our wide variety of friends and relatives, thinking who will love who the most, who will hit it right off, and how many objects of Mallory’s clothing will feature leopard print (I’m hoping for THREE).

In true me-form, I’ve decided that it’s not enough to just feed people and laugh a lot and get them drunk. Things have got to be just a tad crafty. Here’s a housewarming party preview:

20120620. Belated housewarming party decor.

Signs inspired by my hair salon and paint chip garlands.

20120620. Belated housewarming party decor.

Home sweet home and leftover paint chips from our bedroom paint job.

20120620. Belated housewarming party decor.

Ball jar lanterns.

20120620. Boombox helps Chris.

The awesome thing about housewarmings? We are finally getting some long overdue projects done – like hanging the amazing poster of Indianapolis neighborhoods I got for Christmas. Boombox is the best little helper.

20120620. It only took us 6 months to hang this awesome poster.

Indianapolis neighborhoods poster, bird mobile from Chris’ parents, our amazing Darth Vader fireplace, a 3D ship from my grandparents, and an oil painting from my parents. Lovely.

20120620. Belated housewarming party signs.

Signs of great value and importance.

20120620. Belated housewarming party signs.

I’ve also brewed up some rosemary-lavender vodka and fennel simple syrup, as well as lavender simple syrup (if it makes it until the party – it is too delicious!). I’m going to empower people to make awesome fizzy cocktails for themselves.

20120620. Belated housewarming party decor.

The garden needed a little sass, too, in the form of pompoms…

20120620. Belated housewarming party decor.

…and beer bottle vases. These will probably hold fennel and maybe a cut flower or two.

I also put together a music mix, including such varied artists as Air, NWA, Cursive, Damien Rice, Elliott Smith, Jay-Z, Jawbreaker, Mates of State, the Mountain Goats, and this song (of course).

Recycled Yarn: Fiber on the Brain

I’ve had fiber on the brain lately. We’re not talking about the kind you find in beans or in supplements marketed during daytime television soaps and Jerry Springer episodes. We’re talking about fiber, the stuff that, loop after tiny loop, makes up many of our favorite hoodies, comfy pants, sweaters, and shirts.

Truth be told, I am woefully ignorant about how yarn is made. It seems like a big shortfall in my knowledge as a knitter and as someone who wants to live a little closer to home, a little more sustainably. I understand the basics of how yarn is made, of course, but I don’t understand the social, environmental, and cultural impacts.

I suppose all of this came to mind as I worked on a few different projects to “stash bust,” or finally make something out of those skeins and skeins of yarn I’ve had for years. In some ways, I do think of stash busting as recycling – which is ridiculous since, ages ago, I bought that yarn and completed the animal/plant to production to purchase economic circle. Really, I am merely being *not* wasteful when I finally use up the yarn I already possess via purchase or as leftover from other projects.

20120226. Using leftover yarn bits.

Stash busting supreme: using screaming orange yarn, hand-dyed in Peru, leftover from a previous cardigan project to make a shrug. Who spun that yarn? Who dyed it? Where did the waste water from the dying process go? Deep questions, fellow fiber lovers, I know.

One of the yarns I’ve had in my stash for years is made out of recycled silk saris. Since I bought the yarn off Ebay, I will never know exactly which company or source it came from. Many of the vendors of recycled silk sari yarn are fair trade, and some work with women’s cooperatives to provide a source of income in India and Nepal. Was this yarn part of a fair trade setup? Were its makers earning a decent wage? And… could I spin such a beautiful thing myself someday? It quite literally brought along pieces of its former life with it; I found bits of wood and sticks stuck right in the yarn as I knitted.

20120226. Improvised pullover with recycled silk sari yarn.

Improvised pullover knit up with recycled silk sari yarn.

So I suppose the next step to being a more mindful knitter is to find the answers to some of these questions. I’ll let you know what I find out! For now, I just started knitting with this lovely yarn from Knitpicks – Full Circle Bulky Yarn, a wonderfully squishy yarn spun from a blend of Merino and Highland wool fibers that would have otherwise been discarded. Now that’s more like it.
20120226. Recycled yarn.

Fold-Your-Own Chicken Coop: First Recipient of the Boombox Seal of Approval

A woman from my block printing class just sent me this fold-your-own chicken coop, designed by my new favorite people, Scout Creative. Look at the itty bitty hens! And the “Farm Fresh Eggs for Sale” sign! D’awwwww…

My first thought: what a great activity for kids! My second thought: heck, who needs kids. I want my own paper chicken coop!

I believe this is eligible for the Boombox seal of approval.
20111210. boombox posing with chris' white elephant gift.