Friday, August 24, 2007

Penguin stuffie

Little M was nearly 4 before he started to show any interest in drawing, and I was getting a little concerned, because neither big M nor I am artistic. But once little M started drawing, he was a machine. I was pretty excited about this picture, because I really liked how he captured the essence of penguins. And because the things he usually draws aren't immediately identifiable.

He said the big one was a boy and the rest were girls, and one was a kid. The big one inspired this "stuffie" (what softies are called in his preschool), which I made late last night.

I initially cut it out of a heavy grey denim (the wings are denim & quilting cotton) but the beak was simply impossible to turn right-side-out, even after trimming the seam allowance to nearly nothing. So I put the pattern on a double layer of felt and stitched around it, then trimmed the seam allowance to 1/8" all around, and didn't have to turn it.

Little M was a bit upset at first that the feet weren't "flat". Making them "flat" didn't even occur to me; I like its overall 2-dimensionality. Plus which, "flat" would have been a lot harder to do.

Tonight little M and I were talking about how scarves keep you warm by warming your neck, so I knit big penguin a red scarf.

(Bob was a bit leery of big penguin and smacked it a few times before sitting himself down next to it to make sure it wouldn't suddenly come to life.)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Cardboard Castle

Our 4-year-old has been invited to some pretty extravagant birthday parties, with live entertainment, bouncy houses galore, the run of a "farm" with ponies and other rides, catered food. Each time I can't help guesstimating the cost of these parties. It's certainly way more than I'm willing to spend on a party for anyone under the age of 60.

So, for a party for our son, we built this castle from scavenged refrigerator boxes, using plans and rivets from Mr. McGroovy's. This photo is the calm just before the storm. We had about 20 kids aged 3-4 running through the castle waving inflatable swords and screaming with laughter for 2 hours. (And then they had cake....)

The point is, with a little effort (this took us 5 nights to build) and creativity (Mr. McGroovy's, in this case), it is possible to throw a fun, memorable party that doesn't cost a lot. I can't afford to keep up with all the Joneses. Equally important, I don't want to teach my child that lavish spending equates in any way to fun or happiness.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Year of Living Frugally

This year I am trying to be greener, more creative and more frugal. I haven't purchased any new (unused) clothing since January 23, other than necessary exceptions: I bought new tights and socks, which I needed, and which cannot be made by (my) hand nor purchased secondhand (non-stretched-out black tights? in the Bay Area? not likely). My Jan 23 purchase was shoes, if you must know. Admittedly I haven't needed new shoes since the early '90s.

I made this knitting needle roll for my sister from a thrift-store pillow sham. The needles were a yard sale find--a big box of knitting needles & crochet hooks, all sizes, for only $1. I imagine the previous owner must have been a prolific crafter to have had such a complete set.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Crochet basket

Made this basket from Donna Hulka's pattern, using mystery twine from St. Vincent's and a size N hook. Halfway through I realized I'd been making double-crochets instead of singles and had to start over. urrrgh.

The turquoise-looking beads are from bracelets I got in Tibet. The silver-colored ones are from Joann's.