May 23, 2014

Family Photos and I Heart Life Photography.

So.  Until this weekend I've never had a professional picture taken of our family.  I know!  I mean I take a ton of pictures of the kids - both crappy iphone ones:

If it fits it ships! #stevensonpartyof5
If it fits it ships!
 And attempts at nice ones with the "real" camera:

Big Spring 2014
 I've even had the posed at a mall portrait studio ones taken a few times:

Yeah it's been awhile.
I try to get the family picture when it's appropriate:

Disney at night!
We seem to have added a member... huh...
And since the whole "mom stays in the picture" movement I've made sure that there's at least a selfie of me to prove I was there:
The Castle!
terrible.  but I exist!
But I have exactly zero pictures of all of us that I would want to frame and put on the wall.  And our poor third child is only represented like this:
At least he's there, right?
So when Valerie Gage of I Heart Life Photography contacted me about doing a session I was SUPER EXCITED.  Her work is fantastic and exactly the type of relaxed, quality images that I was looking for:

PicMonkey Collage
Photos by Valerie Gage of I Heart Life Photography.
We talked about many different  venues and ultimately decided on the Cleveland Art Museum.  It's where we had our wedding pictures taken nearly ten (!!!) years ago so it was a nice symmetry to go back after all of this time with all of our kids.

#tbt us at the CMA back in 2011. We are going back this weekend with a great local photographer - I Heart Life Photography - to get some family shots with all 5 of us. I can't wait! #throwbackthurs
Hanging out at the lagoon after a GREAT photo session w I heart Life Photography. Super excited to see how they come out!  #thisiscle #cma
Running around that same lagoon after our portrait session.  2014.
Valerie is working on editing the images now but once I have them I'm sure I will post a belligerent amount.   Also I will be offering a contest where you can win a photo session of your own so be looking for that in early June!!!

After the photo session I was all "We're dressed up!  We look like a nice civilized family!  We should go out to dinner in Little Italy!"  Which rapidly turned into OH NO THE BOYS ARE WEARING WHITE SHIRTS WHAT HAVE WE DOOOOONE:

Pasta in white shirts.  Flawless.
Bleach is my new bff.
Afterwards we went to the little playground on Random Road to run off the pasta:

are you sick of seeing pictures of him in the Tomten yet?  'Cause I might never be.
And then drove the kids through the city to see the new Playhouse Square Swag:

New Playhouse Square Awesome

 And Chandelier!

Playhouse Square
According to my daughter "that's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen"

It was a wonderful day and Valerie was great to work with.  Yay for finally having some real pictures of our family!

Disclosure:  I received the photo session from I Heart Life.  All opinions are as always my own.

May 19, 2014

Tomten Jackets.

So!  I finished the Elizabeth Zimmerman Tomten Jackets!!!!!

Tomten Sweaters
I had to.  Because I'm pretty sure that if I didn't summer would never arrive.  Ok it sounds crazy.  But follow my logic here - You know that phrase "the baby won't come until the knitting's done?"  It's just one of those old adages that people like to say... that seems to be completely true.   I think that's what's happening now.  Summer can't come until the knitting is done.  It's the only explanation for why it's mid May and the kids are still wearing footie jammies to bed.  So I focused and finally did all of the finishing work on these.  And I am SO happy with how they turned out:

Tomten Sweaters
I took the kids to the park for a little photo shoot.  This was back on May 1. And right after that we had quite the warm spell.  Even got out the water table for a bit:.... Aaaaand then the cold came back.  And I had to (again!) dig through the attic to retrieve more warm clothes for the kids that I had put away (again!) BECAUSE WHY ISN'T IT SUMMER YET OMG.  Is anyone else stuck in the wardrobe change out that never ends?  Just me?  Moving on.

So now I figure that summer won't come until the knitting is done and blogged about.  That has to be it!   Because otherwise it makes no sense that today is the first day of summer vacation and it's barely going to hit 60.  So here we go:


Tomten Jackets for the brothers:

Pattern: Tomten by Elizabeth Zimmerman from the book Knitting without Tears.
"Tomten is the small Swedish elf who specializes in good deeds, and your child will resemble him strangely if you put a Tomten jacket on him or her." - Elizabeth Zimmerman in Knitting Without Tears.
Seems Legit:

Tomten Sweaters

My kids totally look like little elves in these:

Tomten Jackets

Tomten Jackets
Tomten Jackets

The pointy hoods!  I love the pointy hoods.  It is the CUTENESS:

Tomten Jackets

 I actually made the blue one for my little guy and the green one for The Dude.  But!  Kids only grow in one direction.  So I upsized everything.  So the Dude is wearing his brother's sweater and The Girl is wearing The Dude's.  Sounds confusing but basically each kid is wearing a sweater meant for their younger sibling:

Tomten Jackets

Meh.  By fall they will be wearing the right sweaters.  Until then I think the Girl is rocking it:

Tomten Sweaters!

Timeline: I started the Blue one WAY back in August of 2013.  The Green one was started in Feb. as part of the Ravellenic Games.  Both were completed at the end of April 2014.  So this was a 9 month long project. WOW.

iphone 3353
HE WAS SO TINY!!!!!!!!
Modifications: Basically none.  It's a modular jacket so it's super easy to modify to make bigger or smaller following her directions.  The blue one starts with 112  stitches and is modular from there.  The green one starts with 128.  For both of them I picked up a button band around the entire edge and around the hood.  I think that gives it a nicer edge than just the garter stitch.

Tomten Jackets
Tomten Sweaters
I did add in the slip stitch faux seam on the top of the sleeves on the green one.  The directions are in the Brooklyn Tweed Adult Tomten version.  I think it gives the sleeves a bit of detail and structure not necessary in the smaller size. 

Tomten Jackets  

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted for the gray.  It is deliciously sheepy and wooly and everything you want a sweater/jacket to be:

Tomten Sweaters
Then I used Patons Classic Merino for the blue stripes.  The Green is Cascade 220 that was left over from The Dude's Green Hat.  I had juuuuust enough to finish it.  Like I was cutting off long ends and spit splicing trying desperately to make it through the bind off without having to buy another skein.  My knitting group was quite amused.

Tomten Sweaters
Notions:  The zippers were just basic zippers bought at JoAnn.  I dragged both boys there one day with the intention that I WILL FINISH THESE TODAY. .... and bought non-separating zippers.  YEAH.  I would say that I'm an idiot but in all fairness I was wrangling two small boys in a JoAnn Fabric.  That I made it out alive at all is a success story.  I ordered the actual zippers that I needed online once I got home and realized my mistake. 

Tomten Sweaters
The verdict: LOVE.  Unabashedly love.  The grey sheepy goodness!  The pointy hoods!  The zippers!  The garter stitch!  These are classics that my kids will wear for years.  And then will get passed down to someone else because they are always going to be in style.

Tomten Jackets

Tomten Jackets

Yay Swedish Elves!!!!!!

Tomten Sweaters!

And as an extra fun bonus picture here's the not yet finished Tomten's with a sweater that I made for their little cousin. 

Three (almost ) finished little boy sweaters. I can't wait to see them on!  #knit #knitting #drivethru #tomten #ravellenicgames
Someday I need to get a picture of all three boys in their sweaters.

May 12, 2014

Supertote for Mother's Day!

So!  I'm still having computer problems.  I'm replacing the hard drive and hopefully it can all be saved but until then I'm blogging on an Apple IIC.  Also playing King's Quest and writing simple BASIC programs.  Heh.  But I had to fire up an old computer to share a quick post with you guys because I have to show you what I made my mom for Mother's Day:


It's the Super Tote from Noodlehead!


Squee! The BRIGHT green fabric is vintage.  It was used to make pillows for her room when she was a little kid.  Seriously.  My grandma still had a small piece of it it in her amazing fabric stash and I snagged it WAY back when I made the kids their beach robes.  I always intended on making my mom a bag out of it but then I got distracted by making another grandkid.

Anyways this year I decided to throw logic to the wind and take on a huge, awesome, amazing tote pattern.  And having a Mother's Day deadline meant that I would make it a priority.  The irony of ignoring my own children so that I could make my mom a Mother's Day present wasn't lost on me.  Meh.  They survived.  And if felt really good to actually accomplish something, anything, that wouldn't be immediately undone by them.


 The pattern was awesome.  Included all sorts of amazing details like a recessed zipper and tons of pockets:


 I included not only the elastic pockets the pattern calls for but an additional, smaller, cell phone pocket. 
The pattern was very easy to follow and not confusing for a novice at all.  If you're following me on Instagram you know this whole thing was a bit above my skill set.  There were some late nights and some cussing.  But!  I learned SO much making this.  How to use piping!  How to insert a zipper!  How not to fuse interfacing to your iron!  How to insert a magnetic clasp!  What happens if you break a needle and have to take your entire flipping machine apart to find the piece that broke off!  And that if you spend weeks making a My Little Pony costume out of fleece you should probably take your machine apart anyways because it's FILLED WITH FUZZ.  AHEM.


The other fabrics were all purchased at JoAnn with my daughter's input.  The hot pink and pink polka dot are just quilting fabrics while the gray is a heavy cotton twill.  I kept the back of the tote a simple gray and pink to offset the crazy neon of the front:

Business in the back, party in the front.


My favorite feature of this tote, though, is the side gusset:


It's such a simple detail that adds so, SO much.  Plus it add structure to the bag - it's narrower at the top and then wide at the bottom where all of your stuff is:


Anyways this was a really fun project. My mom LOVED it!  And since I'm an idiot when it comes to purchasing reasonable fabric amounts I have enough to make one for myself. Yay!!!


May 1, 2014

Signs Things Have Gone Horribly Wrong.

So!  I've been having some computer ... issues?  We'll call them issues.  Really it's just a case of an old laptop that needs to be cleared off and de-bugged or maybe set on fire and I have the patience for none of that right now.   It's having the unintended effect of making me stupider.  See I've learned that when your only internet access is via a smart phone you end up reading a lot of link bait listicles.  Buzzfeedy nonsense...

I'm.... not proud.

But!  I recently saw one of those listicles that was titled Signs Things Have Gone Horribly Wrong and it amused me a great deal.  However it was clearly written by someone single and in their 20's.  With the fun and fabulous life that goes along with that.  I thought it would be fun to do a Mom in her Thirties version of that list.  Plus it will kill some time while I try to figure out how to post real pictures again.  GAH. 

Signs Things Have Gone Horribly Wrong.

11.)  A kid runs by at top speed with no pants on.

10.)  The bathroom sink looks like this:

9.)  It's 4AM

8.)  The dog is nowhere to be found.

7.)  There's more than one (or AHEM 2) random laundry baskets floating around the living room.

6.)  I'm standing in nothing but a towel, yelling at someone.

5.)  There's a bucket next to a bed.

4.)  I've resorted to posting listicles.

3.)  There's an unidentifiable smell coming from... somewhere?

2.)  My phone looks like this and I have NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS:


1)  It's quiet.

Ok!  Hopefully I can get all of this nonsense fixed soon!!!

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