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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

thoughts on: The Anti-Romantic Child

The Anti-Romantic Child: A Memoir of Unexpected JoyThe Anti-Romantic Child: A Memoir of Unexpected Joy by Priscilla Gilman

Gilman laces her memoir with the Romantic poetry which both framed her expectations for family life and sustained her when those dreams seemed to be crashing down around her.  In doing so, she goes beyond recounting the realization that something is amiss, the frustrating process of evaluations and therapies, and the effects of it all on her marriage and career.  Through poetry, she reframes her own idea of a romantic childhood, of meaningful relationships, of her son and her self, and finds joy.

Lovingly written, The Anti-Romantic Child shows both the joys in parenting a child who is far outside developmental and cultural norms and the fears and frustrations she feels along the way.  Her son's condition, hyperlexia, affects every aspect of his development, creating ongoing challenges.  This is not a story of overcoming a diagnosis, or an instructional guide to advocating for your special needs child, or a tell-all tale of a family tragedy.  It is a story of the power of words - to afflict or to inspire.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Panda, a hybrid softie

Real pandas might not be hybrids, but this one is.  I made it using the hippo pattern from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys.  I modified the snout to be more bear-like, but the resulting head looked freakishly small for the body.  I don't know why this was, because I've made the hippo twice (once as a hippo and once as a rhino), and their heads look perfectly in scale.

So, I took that head off and knit a new one using the head from the baby bear pattern.  It fit perfectly.   Wondering why I didn't use the bear pattern to begin with?  Size.  I wanted a smaller bear than results from that pattern, which I'd made in blue for a different baby.

The eyes took a few tries, but I had an a-ha moment when I realized I could get a rounder shape using crocheted chain stitches. 

Because I was frustrated while trying to figure out the eyes, I decided to weave in all the ends.  Usually, I wait until I am completely finished before doing this.  Here, you can see why waiting is smarter:  his ears are crooked.

I considered cutting the ears off and trying to pick out all the black yarn, but decided against it.  I think his lovability will be unaffected in a child's eyes by his lopsided ears.

The panda was knit on size four needles with Caron Simply Soft yarns.  He used significantly less than half a skein.  I might knit a smaller body to go with the panda head that is now sitting in my work cart.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baby Geek Onesies

These are the onesies I decorated for my friends' babies.
(Each set was for a different baby.  Both girls, born on Sunday and Monday this week.)
They were all done with the super easy freezer paper stencil technique.
I loved making these!
Star Wars
The one in the center is Boba Fett's symbol.
The rest you probably recognize.

Harry Potter
Fawkes, Snape's patronus,Hogwarts, snitch, HP
My daughter did the lettering for the Hogwarts and the pretty wings on the snitch.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Secret Baby Projects Revealed


One of my friends had her baby this morning.  I was rather sad I could not be there, both to cuddle baby a bit and to host the big sisters while their mommy is in hospital, but I went to the post office to mail my gift within an hour of hearing the news.  We do what we can.

I could not send the gift, or show it to you, before now, because my friends did not want to know ahead of time if baby number four was a boy or a girl. I did. I wanted to know with baby number three, too, but had to impatiently wait. This time, since they do not live nearby anymore, they let me keep the secret! Their ultrasound technician wrote it down, sealed it in an envelope, and they mailed it to me. Do I have amazing friends or what???? I felt so honored that they both loved me enough to indulge me and trusted me enough to keep the secret from the - literally - hundreds of other people who were playing the guessing game.

Baby is a girl.


I must be honest. If they had been having a boy, I would have gone all out with blues and dinosaurs. However, this is their fourth girl. I have seen the abundance of pink and purple and girlie motifs they already have. So I mostly kept the pink to one blanket.

I am thrilled that they had another girl, though!  As much as I love being a mom to boys, I love the idea that their four daughters make two pairs of sisters with a few years gap between.  I love my sister, and I know their mom and her sister are best of friends.


The little panda stands a good chance of being confiscated by a toddler sister, but that is half of why I included him.  I will post more of him later.

I also sent a soft green blanket, lighter in weight than the pink one.  I shared this blanket a few months ago.  I meant to show you this blanket a few months ago, but did not.  I think the green will go well with all the pinks and purples and yellows that are awaiting this baby at home.
 
The fourth item was a set of Baby Geek onesies, because my friend is a big Harry Potter fan.  I'm giving them their own post, so no photo here.

thoughts on: The Rescue Artist

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing MasterpieceThe Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick

I expected to like The Rescue Artist more than I did.  Drawn in by the opening story, the 1994 theft of Munch's The Scream, I was set for a meandering narrative about the hunt for it and its thieves.  However, about half way through the book I began to lose interest in the side stories about detective Charley Hill's past exploits.  Since the book was more about Hill than The Scream, I should have set the book aside.  Instead I plodded through, genuinely wanting to find out about this particular crime.  By the last section, I was skimming through, reading only the parts relevent to the Scream.  I think I would have enjoyed a nice magazine article about the crime more.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Did you think I'd abandoned my chemo hats?


If you did, you were almost correct. I haven't knit any new hats in months. These two were knit back in March, but I didn't photograph them until yesterday, when I turned them in to our knitting ministry.

We've found a home for our hats at a local chemo center, so I wanted these two to go for summer.  The blue one is yet another Odessa in Sirdar's Silky Look.  

The peach one (which looks cream in the photos) is another Boardwalk, this time in peach cotton.  A discontinued yarn, Cajun Cotton, I think it was a poor choice for the pattern.  I did not realize how the textured yarn would look knit up, having never used anything like it.  I'm not a fan, but it is cotton, which should be welcome in the warmer months.  (Although, in this heat wave, it is hard to imagine anyone would want a hat at all.)

My daughter's beautiful long hair doesn't really go with the chemo theme, does it?