Saturday, March 29, 2008

Horton Hears A What?

Two weekends ago, Big Sister had her best friend spend the night in our new house. Now, Big Sister had been really sad because her friend didn't like our old house and really wanted her to like our new house. So I tried to make it really special without going totally overboard. In the morning, for example, I told them to get dressed for a surprise. I took them to IHOP for their Horton Hears A Who breakfast...Whocakes to be exact. Now, this wonderful breakfast is simply one giant sugarbomb, but I figured it was kind of a special occasion.

BUT...last night, the same friend spent the night again. (Testimony that our first sleepover went well. *grin*) I asked the girls what they'd like to do. "Surprise!" yells Big Sister. Meaning, of course, more Whocakes. Yikes. Um....$4 a plate for 3 girls, plus my meal, drinks, tip....Easily a $25-30 proposition. Not something I can do very often. So I decided to improvise.

I searched online for Copycat recipes, but found nothing. They're likely too new. *sigh* Time to experiment.

So, here's my take:

Copycat Whocakes

1 can vanilla icing (we only used 1/4 to 1/2 a can and we got the kind that comes with confetti sprinkles)
1/2 cup (or so) pancake syrup
pancake mix or make your own
food coloring (we used blue and red to make blue and pink icing)
sprinkles or small candies of some sort

Mix equal parts vanilla icing and pancake syrup. Microwave on high for 20 seconds to melt the icing just a bit to make it easier to mix. Add food coloring as desired. Use a separate bowl for each color.

Make pancakes as directed, except pour them in increasingly smaller sizes so they stack nicely, as shown.

Stack pancakes. Holding two bowls of icing at once, pour onto pancakes, making sure to allow the colors to each stream over different parts of the pancake. All the kids to add their own sprinkles and lollipop.

Photograph the smiles.

These didn't taste quite like the IHOP version, but the kids were thrilled and have asked me to do it again. Next time though? Reduced sugar everything!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Promised Content

And I plan to deliver. What's a knitting blog without some knitting content? Oh wait, first I plan to share crochet content. I know a lot of knitters are die-hard anti-crochet or something, but frankly, I don't get it. To me, they are more like yin and yang. Well, not opposites. But they're two complimentary halves to this form of fiber arts. Sure there's spinning and weaving and all that, which I certainly don't discount. But in the world of taking one continuous string and producing everything from afghans to socks to sweaters to mittens....knitting and crochet are it. You can use one....or use both. Knowing both seems to give you the ultimate freedom in your work.

Anyway, enough of that. You came for pictures, not jabber, right? I give to you, the Never-Ending Tablecloth. I believe I am only roughly 10 rows from completion. However, keep in mind that each round uses a 1.50mm hook and takes approximately 2 hours. So that's still around 20 hours of crocheting, then tucking in of ends, and then blocking. But I can taste the end, so hopefully I'll have new and better pictures for you very soon!

And, since many of you prefer knitting. ;) A sock for good measure. Trekking XXL yarn, size US1 needles, magic cast-on, 72 stitches around total, 3x1x4x1 rib across top of foot. This is my mindless, gotta-think-of-something-beyond-the-tablecloth project.

Can I just say that I love love love yarn that stripes this way? So gradually that it's just one ply at a time that changes? This type of striping makes me want to learn more about spinning...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Home Safe

After a little over 9 hours in the car and a little under 2 hours with the doctor, I must say that I'm exhausted, but we're home safe. Baby Yarnworks has to go back once more in June, then from there we'll schedule the surgery. The surgery looks like a definite now....not just MY assessment of what should be done. Always nice to feel validated. :)

I'm off to bed. Who knew driving all day could zap so much energy? I *promise* there will be knitting or crochet content soon! How about an update on the neverending tablecloth or some sock pictures? Sound good? Good. Bed....... *wanders off in search of a soft surface to lay down*

Monday, March 24, 2008


We're headed to the other side of Des Moines in the morning, so I'll keep this brief and let the pictures do most of the talking.

The girls woke up to an egg hunt that started on their nightstands and led them down the hallway and into the living room. There they found more eggs and their baskets. By 10am we were all full of sugar, which is a family Easter tradition around here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Eyes Have It

I promised to explain our trip to Des Moines.

Baby Yarnworks has a slight visual impairment caused by a condition called nystagmus. Nystagmus is constant, involuntary, uncontrollable eye movements. This clip on YouTube, while of a flute lesson, shows Sir James Galway, whose eye movements are closer to Baby Yarnworks' eye movements than any of the nystagmus videos on the site. I plan to videotape BY's eye movements soon though, and I'll post that link when I do. Anyway, BY has a consultation with a surgical eye specialist on Tuesday to determine if she's a good candidate for surgery. This surgery will not cure nystagmus and may not even improve it at all (though some have seen noticeable improvements). The purpose of this surgery is to correct a head-tilt she has developed. BY sees best when she's looking down and to the left.

This may look like her just trying to be cute, but this tilted head position is something she uses often. She watches tv in that position, watches her sister play, and even looks at books with her head tilted a bit. Obviously we're worried about long-term neck issues and this surgery would address that. They'll remove the horizontal eye muscles from her eyes and reattach them in such a way that she can look straight ahead and get the same visual benefit that looking down and to the left currently gives her. Other than the normal risks of surgery (and anesthesia), this surgery is relatively low-risk and it's reported that vision never gets worse as a result....though sometimes it doesn't correct as much as we might like.

Considering doctors thought she might be legally blind as an infant, BY seems to see extremely well. She has some issues with stairs and running and such, but nothing like we expected. Only time will tell us if she has any more difficulty with her vision, but for now, she's doing just fine.


With the help of my friend C* and her friend with a truck, we are totally done moving. Completely done! The old garage is now empty and the new garage is.....well....I hope to unbury the lawn mower before spring.

Yes, yes. I know it's technically spring already. But it's currently snowing, so I'll believe it when I see it. The only good news is that it's been warm enough that it's not sticking to the roads or sidewalks. No shoveling! And it looks like this is as bad as it will get before our trip to Des Moines on Tuesday. (I will post about that later.)

As a side note:

My Dear Mr. Yarnworks,

If you are reading this, please know that I love you with all my heart and soul. But please also know that your name was cursed many many many times yesterday. My apologies. I still adore you. I just never want to delve into the wasteland that you call a garage ever again. Ever. Really.

Forever Yours,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lookie What I Found!

I bought this stuff before we moved, but I didn't take the time to share then, so here it is. Look at this awesome stuff from KaratStix! Take a moment...

There's a needle gauge, a WPI (wraps per inch) gauge, and a sock shaped bobbin for colorwork and such. She also sent one of her cute little buttons as a freebie. (It's a LOT sturdier than it looks!) Each tool is made out of bamboo, which in itself is really cool. But, when they arrived, they were MUCH thicker than I'd anticipated, which is even better. These are sturdy tools that will last a very long time. I'll obviously be a bit more careful with the bobbin, but the needle gauge could easily be thrown around a knitting bag without a second thought.

I love the little socks the best. She has sheep and other cute stuff too though. She hand-draws them on after wood-burning the outline (I believe). I'm sure she'll correct me if I'm wrong. :) She made my set as a custom order. I told her as long as one pair of socks were purple and she kept the details simple, I'd be a happy customer. And sure enough...perfection!
One day, when my online shop leaves Etsy and is bringing in a decent supply of customers, I'm going to beg this woman to let me carry her products. That's how happy I am with this purchase.
In other news, the girls started at a new daycare today. They'll be going 2 days a week so I can concentrate more on JL Yarnworks (once the move is totally done anyway). So today, instead of working...I um....shopped. It's for my new home office, so that counts as work, right?

I got two lamps, a pillow, and some yarn in the right colors. I'll have slate blue, tan, chocolate brown, and splashes of celery here and there. At least that's the current plan. I keep seeing other colors I like too, so we'll see. I'm trying to make it a home office plus a refuge/sanctuary. I'm looking to be able to relax there, but not so much that I don't get work done. I'm also trying for something a little more modern than the rest of my house to inspire me to create more modern designs. I have so many ideas. I need a place to go to create them. I can't wait for my new room to be that place.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Our new house is on the corner of a nice quiet residential road and a nice busy road, complete with a mini storage place across the street and the interstate on the other side of that. You'd expect the noise to take some getting used to, right?

But what I'm having the most trouble adjusting to is the silence. Silence. All night. Not one cough coming from the girls' rooms. My oldest has stopped snoring even...something that started a couple months ago. After months of sharing my bed with my oldest (I don't know how parents manage two young kids in the same room....Baby Yarnworks would wake up screaming, startling Big Sister who would then start to scream...just a mess), I'm used to the constant rumble from her side of the bed, intermixed with coughing fits and muffled coughing from Baby Yarnworks' room. Except for the really bad bouts of coughing, I'd grown accustomed to this noise.

And now, there's just silence. When I recognize it for what it is....a sign that my children are finally getting healthy....I smile, grateful that I was able to find them a better home. But when it's just there, while I try to go to sleep at night, it's strange and foreign. Kind of like how it must feel to be able to shower without a child in the bathroom, trying to climb in with you. Strange, but certainly not unwelcome!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Out With The Old...

Pictures of the new house as promised.

First, a look at the craphole we are leaving behind... I will NOT miss all the gross wallpaper combinations....

Our new living room:

The Yarnworks boudoir:

Big Sister's new room. She's very excited she doesn't have to share!

Baby Yarnworks' new room:

Baby Yarnworks poses in the new mold-free main bathroom:
The first meal in the new house:

Excuse the mess...I have way too many cooking-related items. The new kitchen is a bit overwhelmed:

And moving on to the basement. Here is the family room:

And a second full bathroom. Also mold-free. Amazing!

Anyone want to come visit? This is our first ever guest room!

Saving the best for last. My HUGE craft room/office where JL Yarnworks is sure to flourish!

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

This feels like home. Truly. Even with only 1/5th of our possessions unpacked, even with the strange house noises at night, even with Mr. Yarnworks never having lived here with us....this feels more like home than our last house ever did. It truly doesn't look like much on the outside, but on the inside it is nearly perfect.

There are a few items still left at the old house, like a garage full of tools, but since I'm paying rent through the end of the month, I'm not too terribly stressed about it just yet. Ask me again in two weeks.

As you may have guessed, I now have internet services back. :) I'm working quickly to fill orders that have come in in the last couple of days (and working more quickly to FIND them!) and should be back to relative normal within a couple of weeks I think.

I will have pictures up later tonight I hope. By tomorrow at the latest.

Thanks for all of your support. It's been a very trying couple of weeks and all the advice and words of encouragement have been wonderful.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Housing Update

This will be my last blog entry written from this old, crappy, dilapidated home. I'm very excited about that! The stars have been aligned just right and the universe has been giving me signs along the way and we have a new home!

It doesn't look like much, but this house is so much better for our family even ignoring the mold, health, and safety issues. The girls will no longer have to share a room. Big Sister is VERY excited about that. It also has a large room downstairs absolutely perfect for my home office/knitting studio. AND we will have an honest-to-goodness guest room for the first time in the 9+ years Mr. Yarnworks and I have been together. The yard is a good size and fenced in. I told a friend yesterday that if this house had a 2 car garage, higher ceilings in the basement, and a back door to the backyard that didn't involve going through the garage, this would be a house I would buy. I don't think I could find anything closer to our perfect home to rent, especially given our decision to move quickly and within our budget. What's even cooler is that my boss used to live in this house. We knew it was coming available and while Mr. Yarnworks was home over Christmas, we walked through it. Even before getting hold of him, I knew he would approve of this house and this move. That's made this an easier burden to bear.
Today, I am packing like a mad woman. Tomorrow we're moving. Unfortunately, my computer will be staying in the old house so I can continue to run the business until internet is hooked up to the new house on Wednesday. I'm hoping to make this move as seamless as possible from the business end.
I'm really excited about my extra business workspace in the new house. I've felt limited by the space here for awhile. I think this is my year for growth. Everything is falling into place, little by little. I *do* have lots of new yarns and stitch markers I had intended to launch today. They will have to wait. I'm hoping to have lots of goodies for you by next weekend! I'll probably post teasers when my internet is working at the new house.
Wish us luck. The next couple of days are going to be utter madness!
(*sidenote: sorry about the weird formatting with the periods. For some reason Blogger gives me fits when I try to space out my paragraphs after a photo.)