Friday, April 30, 2010

Birthday hats

This years birthday gifts for the little ones included hand knitted hats! Both my niece and nephew have January birthdays, and it was pretty cold here in Florida so they were a perfect addition to the birthday bounty.  The truly wonderful part is that I finished them!  Niecey-poo received hers on her actual birthday, and the Little Prince's was only a little late.

Princess got a Hello Kitty hat - its an easy pattern, and available from Beadwhore Knitting's blog here.  After a foolish misguided start, I eventually followed the pattern exactly and it turned out to be a great size for my now 6 year old niece.  The embroidery on the front was the best part of course when it comes to instant gratification - the hat really comes to life once Miss Kitty's features are on her sweet face.  I gave her a pink nose instead of yellow.  This used less than one skein of Loops & Threads White from Michaels, and I added some leftover pink from Bernat.  Isn't Miss Kitty adorable?

So the Kitty is cute, but obviously the Birthday Boy needed something considerably cooler for a 9 year old.  He loves Star Wars, especially the Clone Wars stories so I did a hat with an Imperial Storm Trooper motif in the round.  I found this fabulous chart by Sarah Bradberry here, through Ravelry of course, and added it to a simple hat pattern.  Unfortunately, I did not do any calculations as to the size of the pattern and the overall height of the hat, so it turned into a sort of Cat in the Hat tall affair.  Precious child that he is, the Little Prince is still willing to wear it at home.  I haven't caught a shot of him in the hat, but here it is on its own featured in the snow from one of the Washington DC blizzards this winter.

I loved Sarah's idea of the checkerboard border, and as a special bonus I used white glow in the dark yarn.  Very cool.  I do try to keep my title of favorite aunt, and I think I've managed it for the moment!  If I were to do this particular hat again though, I'd need to have fewer rows before the pattern starts, and perhaps decrease for the crown more dramatically than I did.  I would like to start designing my own patterns, so these are good lessons, right?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The New Year Ain't So New Any More

Yes, its been a while.  Let's not talk about that.

My house is on the market and I am keeping my fingers crossed for some good news any day now.  The first time home buyers rebate is only good for ratified contracts through April 30, and we are hoping for a buyer who wants to get in under the wire.  I had a nibble from a serious buyer, but we couldn't reach an agreement.  I have a feeling they panicked about the money they were spending, but who knows.  I wish them well, and hope they find a happy home.   I went home for a few days to take care of some things and get some spring colors planted, and now I'm back at the new shop.

The NEW SHOP!  Its beautiful and cheerful and just as much of a happy place as the old shop.   Its twice as big, so I am having fun ordering new things to fill the space.  There are still loads of boxes to be unpacked, and shipments keep arriving.  I suppose it will be a work in progress for some time to come.  I am however, starting to take breaks at the shop and allow my mind to wander to something other than work.  One of these days, I'll get back to knitting and my other crafts.  This morning I spent some time visiting my favorite blogs and Ravelry and was thoroughly inspired.

Katie loves our new neighborhood - the pelicans and palm trees are wonderous, and she loves being outside.  What a happy pooch! 

[caption id="attachment_173" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Happy Dog"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_175" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="mystery vine with gorgeous red blooms"][/caption]

I am still learning about the flora and fauna of Florida.  There are all sorts of wonderful plants in my yard here, and I am anxious to find out what they are, and how I should be caring for them.  I even have a lawn!  My postage stamp sized yard in Virginia was a shady spot, so I have little grass keeping experience.  There's a giant tree with woodpeckers and blue jays visiting the yard, not to mention lizards! 

[caption id="attachment_176" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="the tropical garden"][/caption]


 not a Virginia native!