Aug 31, 2011

knit a squillion: week four


What a fun week it's been! We had Owen last Tuesday, and since then I've been busy getting to know our little man, healing from my c-section, and hanging out with friends and family as they come to love on the little man as often as possible!

All this to say, I only got one square knit this week - and just yesterday, no less! While I didn't hit my 2-3 squares a week, I've been knitting far more than that up to this point, so I've already reached my 10 squares for August!

How many squares did you all work on this week? I can't wait to see your squares, shared through the Linky Tools below!

{for those who are curious, I've been slowly writing up our birth story - it's super fun, full of twists and turns and versions and adorable little boys, and I'm hoping to share it with you all in September!}



{This is charity knit 278/10,000. I'm knitting 10,000 items for charity in my lifetime as part of my Ten Thousand Project.}

Aug 30, 2011

Loving Lately, from Casey Wiegand

My name is Casey Wiegand, I am a freelance artist, wife and mama.

I love painting and sharing our life through my blog ...where you can expect pieces of my perspective on life, faith, kids, marriage, with touches of art, creative inspiration, projects and things I love along the way. I have two little ones in the hopes of lots more and am married to the love of my life!

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Just a few of my "mommy favorites"

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meet my loves:

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Thanks so much to Casey for her guest post skillz, put to use while I'm taking a mini-break to snuggle our little!

Aug 29, 2011

two quick things

First, the winner of the A Black Pepper Giveaway is ...

Donna (dlfknits) said...

What beautiful hats! I have been busy doing my part of a squillion squares for the knit-a-square project(www.knit-a-square.com)but sure would love adding one of these patterns to my project list. Robyn, I hope you are feeling well and looking forward to seeing pictures of the little guy after he makes his grand debut!

Donna, shoot me an e-mail at rmcdevine@gmail.com to claim your prize!!

Second, I'm giving away a Simple Slouch Hat in your color of choice over at Srsly Liz today - head on over to her fabulous blog, say hello, and enter for your chance to win!

Holiday Gift Prep in August: Yes, We are Crazy! {Guest Post from African Kelli}


The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Did you hear me? This Paul Revere is alerting all knitters of what we already know – cruelly, August brings record-high temperatures and the realization that we are only 4 months away from the holiday season.

Bring on the guilt.

That’s right – guilt. Because each season I make these lofty goals of what I’m going to make from scratch, how I’m going to wrap them in recycled paper and attached hand stamped cards with perfect cursive greetings, and get them in the mail or delivered with plenty of time. Hell, I might as well admit this fantasy includes me showing up at the post in a gorgeous handmade a-line dress that fits me like a glove with homemade Christmas sugar cookies for all of my favorite postal workers.

Yeah. Right.

The reality has never come close. While I love to give knitted items for the holidays, my rule for such a gift is the recipient must have expressed some interest. Raise your hand if you’ve ever spent a $100 on organic yarn and 5 months of your life on a gift that you’ve never not once seen your friend wear? Yeah. I’m just not doing that again. Let those folks cruise the ailse of big box stores and wear cookie cutter winter wear.

(And if that doesn’t say Christmas spirit, I don’t know what does. I’m sorry. Did I mention the record-breaking heat? I’m a little punchy and unforgiving this week. Thankfully, I’ve got 4 months to work through it before Santa checks his list.)

So, what am I doing this August to make this process a bit more joyous and less burdened? Easy. I’m relying on Google, type A planning skills and thrift – all of which are contemporary Protestant Ethics. Especially the Google. Though shall have a good email account and use it accordingly. What? My pastor does!

Google docs are a gift; similar to word processing programs, they allow you to organize your information. The catch is, they also let you save and share it in the cloud. Meaning wherever you open your Google account, you can access your documents, and if you are interested, you can make it public. For a holiday wish list, this feature may not be the best idea to share with your recipients, but it may be a motivator for those in your knitting guild. Why not share what projects you are working on and encourage each other’s progress?

I have created my Christmas 2011 spreadsheet with columns labeled as following: recipient, project, supply (y/n), completed (y/n), shipped (y/n). I’ve got 35 people on the list. The majority of these folks will not receive a handknit. That said, it’s August and with enough planning I think I can get quite a few projects completed by the time we are putting up a tree.


A guide to getting your butt in gear:

1. Get a Gmail account if you don’t have one. Browse the docs features. Create a spreadsheet that works for your organizational style.

2. Pour yourself a nice cold drink. Ice tea? Fine. Margarita? Better.

3. Open up that closet/basement/Tupperware door to review what you have in your stash. Slowly but surely, categorize and organize the yarn you already have. Remember that thrift value? This is where it comes into play. If you’ve got projects on the needles you are never going to finish and you can use that yarn for another gift? Frog.

4. Hit the interwebs for ideas. I’ve got a lengthy list of projects at Ravelry just waiting for me to dig in. I like to pick one or two projects for the holiday and make several of the same item. (Future post about both my stash and selected holiday projects to come.)

5. Get going. Use the Google calendar to set some time goals for your projects. I start backward at December 20th – my postal drop dead date for the US, and go from there. Give yourself as much cushion as you can. It’s always nice to have one extra handknit on hand. The emergency handknit, so to speak.

6. Revel in your smugness. Because this type of organization, thrift and dedication to the craft is to be applauded. Stick with it and you’ll be thrilled with what you can produce by the holidays.

Now, about that margarita.

~Kelli




Thanks so much to Kelli for this amazing guest post! She's a peach for giving me some time off to enjoy my new little boy Owen!

Kelli Donley is a novelist, gardener and crafter living in Denver, Colorado. She blogs at: www.africankelli.com

Aug 28, 2011

little bitty potter fan


We watched the first two Potter films while at the hospital ... I think we'll introduce Owen to the Prisoner Of Azkaban today!

{onesie purchased from Morning Star Loft on Etsy}

Aug 26, 2011

thoughts at 39 weeks





{daddy holding Owen, best friend James on the right}
being a mom is AMAZING!

Aug 25, 2011

My Hospital Bag: Or, I Need To Bring {WHAT?!?!?} With Me?

{a note: i had this set to publish the day before we were SUPPOSED to head to the hospital ... if it seems out of order, it is! we had Owen two days before this went live!}

I have a confession to make: since about May I’ve been stalking mommy bloggers to see what all they packed for their trips to the hospital when they had their kids. I’ve never spent any time in a hospital you see, and so I have no idea what I should or should not bring. Plus, it would appear I’m packing a bag not just for me, but for my husband and another little person as well.

Tuesday's external version did not work, so now we know --- this baby will be here Friday morning! As in, tomorrow. So it was time to get this bag packed, in the car, and ready for baby.

After doing quite a bit of homework, both on blogs and through baby websites, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

First, folks bring A LOT OF STUFF with them to the hospital. Those who are having all-natural child births bring birthing aides, folks bring music (either on their cell phones or their iPods) and mini speakers, there are a wide variety of clothing items packed, not to mention pillows, blankets and towels.

Second, everyone as a VERY STRONG OPINION about what you need to bring with you. Like, I might die if I don’t have some of the items on some of these lists.

Thanks to a few friends who have given birth IN THE VERY SAME HOSPITAL I will be having our monster, I’ve picked up a few tips … items I surely don’t need and a few things I’ll definitely want to lug along, knowing we'll be in the hospital for three full days.


Thanks to their advice, the lists I’ve found online, and the fellow bloggers I’ve stalked, I’ve come up with my list:

STUFF I MUST BRING
  • My toothbrush and some toothpaste. Because I don’t want to be THAT lady.

  • Pajama pants and socks. Because I am always, always, always cold, and hospitals are not known for their warmth.

  • Kindle. I've got two books on there that are "fluff reading", and if there's time, I'll crack one of them open.

  • A few skeins of sport weight yarn. I've been knitting baby hats with all my sport weight yarn (photos next week hopefully), and I have a few more skeins left. I was hoping to have them all knit up into baby hats to donate to the hospital before we take our little man home, so I'm bringing what I've got left in case I feel like knitting.

  • A going-home outfit and one handmade hat for the little. We’ll most likely have his diaper bag in the car “just in case”, but these two things are all I can imagine needing in those 48 hours.

  • Toiletries. Sort of. I've got a toothbrush and toothpaste for both of us, some face wipes and dry shampoo for me, and deodorant. They've got soap, shampoo and such, and I most likely will be a sponge bath girl anyhow for a few days, so most of this isn't needed. I also may have packed some lip gloss and some mascara.

  • My laptop. I have it on good authority that I’ll get some wifi while I’m there, and at the very least I’d like to have a way to write down some of my first thoughts as a mama, should I want to do so. I can also use this to share photos of the kiddo with friends, family and of course you all, and we've loaded some movies onto it as well.

  • The Boppy. Folks say its a good idea to have it on-hand for breastfeeding, so we'll leave it in the car and see if I need it. If not, no harm, no foul.

  • Camera, extra battery, charger, extra memory card. Because I will be a photo-taking FOOL, people. A fool. 

  • I've got a list going of all the folks we need to call and text right away, and a folder with our important information in it.

I will fully admit the diaper bag is packed full of diapers, wipes, a few swaddlers, and far too much clothing. I know they'll have all that stuff at the hospital, and the bag will probably stay in the car the whole time, but I wanted to be prepared just in case.

I'm not setting up a special play list or anything music-related. Confession time: I'm not really a music girl. I listen to the radio in the car, and don't have a lot of favorites, so if I decide I want some music I'll just pull up Pandora or something.

Thankfully for all of us, not only do we live about ten minutes from the hospital, but there is a Target approximately thirty seconds away. If I decide I MUST have something or I will DIE A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH, I will send my mother, my husband, or even a random stranger (if it comes to it) to the store or our house.

Realistically, we’ll all be at the hospital for three sleep-deprived days, and then we’ll be sent home to fend for ourselves. The last thing we need to worry about during those 72 hours is “did we remember to put xxx back in the bag?”

For those of you who have had kids, what did you bring with you to the hospital that you thought you’d need but didn’t? What did you wish you’d had with you?

Aug 24, 2011

oh, hai world!


My name is Owen, and I was born on 8/23/2011, at 11:03pm. So much for waiting until Friday!

Knit A Squillion, Week 3

What a week in knitting! I'm not sure if it's because the babe is coming any time now, or because I've been doing nothing but sitting on the couch and knitting while watching television (which is not as fun or productive as it sounds!), but I've got quite the squares to share today!


Yes, that's six! I'm not exactly sure how it happend - on Sunday morning I only had one done and one on the needles, but by the end of the day there were six squares all in a pile! I'm definitely not complaining, mind - I think it's wonderful that I was able to knock so many out in such a short amount of time, moving me that much closer to my goal for the year so early on in the season!

How was your knitting this week? Did you manage to work on a square or two? Did you knit anything else for charity you'd like to share? Add a link to the Linky Tools section below ... I'd love to see what you all worked on!

Last week we had two entries - Worsted Knit managed to get six squares done, and Handmade Homeschool knocked out seven! Remember, every single square helps a ton, so even if you can just make one square, you will have helped keep a child in need warm!



{These are charity knits 272 - 277/10,000. I'm knitting 10,000 items for charity in my lifetime as part of my Ten Thousand Project.}

Aug 23, 2011

In the next few days


That's our bags, packed and ready to go to the hospital. That's right, on Friday (FRIDAY!!!! FRIDAY!!!) we'll be welcoming our little man into the world!

Between  now and then I've got a few more fun things to share, and then ... baby time!

Don't forget to enter the A Black Pepper giveaway - that will stay open until next Monday, when I'll turn on the computer long enough to let you all know who wins!

And while we're getting used to the little man, I'll be taking a bit of time off (I'll share a few photos with you, don't worry about that!) - but I've got some amazing folks who have sent over some amazing guest posts ... great knitting thoughts, some things they're Loving Lately, and even some mommy must-haves!

I know you'll welcome them with open arms, and I'll swing by to share cute photos and stories when I've got time!

Hooray for babies!

August Sponsor Spotlight

I'd love to give a big welcome to all my August sponsors - won't you do the same?!



Hi there, I'm Katie of Je suis une monstre, and I love making things!  Currently, I am a UK knitwear designer and produce all my pieces myself, by hand.  I love working with beautiful fibres and yarns, and coming up with delicious colour palettes.

I am dedicated to the highest quality of materials and craftswomanship in all my work.  Je suis une monstre is my space to write and ponder on Arts & Crafts, Handmade and DIY.  You can also read about my new ideas, designs, creations, and small triumphs in my 'impossible task' of setting up my own One-Woman Arts & Crafts Micro-business.  You are all very welcome to come and join in my adventures! xxx





Ashley Daoust is a freelance word worker who loves helping individuals and small businesses polish their words. She offers a wide range of editorial and audio transcription services, which you can learn about at her website. If you've got something that could use an extra eye - the book you're writing late at night, that 'Life on Mars' project proposal you're about to send to NASA, a super-awesome blog you're building, or the grant that will give your nonprofit the traction it needs - Ashley is your gal.

And for you knitting-minded designers out there, she's unveiling a new and exciting service - pattern tech editing! If you'd like to learn more about the pattern editing, or about any of her other services, you can contact her at ashley@adeditorial.com.

When she's not busy with all the word stuff, you can usually find her (secretly) reading the book on her husband's night stand, humoring the many whims of the border collie, pulling for the Tar Heels, and/or knitting something for her little family's next generation, which is set to begin right around Christmas!



My name is Casey Wiegand, I am a freelance artist, wife and mama. I love painting and sharing our life through my blog...where you can expect pieces of my perspective on life, faith, kids, marriage, with touches of art, creative inspiration, projects and things I love along the way. I have two little ones in the hopes of lots more and am married to the love of my life!
BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




Hi All! My name is Jane Richmond and I design knitwear. My knitting patterns are meant to be fun to knit and wear. In knitting, the process is just as important as the end result.

My design aesthetic is simple and classic, I don’t believe that knitting needs to be complicated in order to be beautiful. Many of my patterns are excellent choices for new or beginner knitters because of their simplicity and readability.

I will be offering 15% off to Minimalist Knitter readers in my Etsy Shop and on Ravelry! The code for both is MKblog and is good until the end of August!






Elise runs a blog where she shares craft tutorials and stories about her life in San Diego, CA. She has an online shop that sells handmade books, prints & posters and teaches online workshops.

















Hi there — my name is Maggie Whitley and I’m the owner/designer of Gussy Sews. I spend equal time working on my blog and my shop. On my blog you’ll find updates on my handmade shop, tips on how I left my day job 1 year ago to focus on my business, and different prompts/projects that help build a handmade community of inspiration & adventuring.
Interested in what fills the “shelves” of my shop? All sorts of sassy, girlie, colorful accessories: tote bags (3 different sizes), zipped pouches, eReader cases, headbands + more! — all sporting my signature ruffle.





I'm Megan Hunt and I am the owner and founder of Princess Lasertron and a bridal designer, blogger, and best friend. Since I started my business in 2005, we have grown to a three-person company and work with over 250 brides each year. We began with simple hairpieces and brooches and have expanded into dresses, bouquets, craft kits, and our brand has reached hundreds of thousands through magazines, television, and online media.
I live in Omaha which I LOVE, and it's my favorite city in the world! What I love most about my job is meeting and collaborating with passionate dreamers, speaking and teaching to other awesome creative people, and being able to take my 1-year-old daughter, Alice, to work every day.
On my website I talk a lot about my business and the custom work we create for our clients, but I also offer readers a peek into my personal life. My husband comes in for the occasional guest post, I share the trials and successes of being a new mom and figuring out how to blend my career with my family, and there are lots of fashion posts and DIY tutorials in between. I love writing and I love you for reading!



Hello, my name is Lucy (a.k.a. a black pepper) and I design, knit and wear my own handknits. My website "ablackpepper" is where most of my knit designs are featured and shared with the online audience.
The focus of my designs is mostly for myself  and my design philosophy is simple; only design and knit what I would wear (and do wear!). However, over the years, the designs have been known to strike a chord with many knitters, lovers of handknits and others with no knitting experience.
Cables and great textures are a constant passion and are always incorporated into the designs, but that doesn't mean designs are not simple to knit, because they are. Maybe a little challenging sometimes but who does not like a bit of a challenge in life?
And until the end of August, use the code "SAVE15" in the Etsy shop for a super sweet discount!



Thanks so much to all these lovely ladies for their sponsorship!

Aug 22, 2011

Knit A Squillion, Week 3

What a week in knitting! I'm not sure if it's because the babe is coming any time now, or because I've been doing nothing but sitting on the couch and knitting while watching television (which is not as fun or productive as it sounds!), but I've got quite the squares to share today! Yes, that's six! I'm not exactly sure how it happened - on Sunday morning I only had one done and one on the needles, but by the end of the day there were six squares all in a pile! I'm definitely not complaining, mind - I think it's wonderful that I was able to knock so many out in such a short amount of time, moving me that much closer to my goal for the year so early on in the season! How was your knitting this week? Did you manage to work on a square or two? Did you knit anything else for charity you'd like to share? Add a link to the Linky Tools section below ... I'd love to see what you all worked on! Last week we had two entries - Worsted Knit managed to get six squares done, and Handmade Homeschool knocked out seven! Remember, every single square helps a ton, so even if you can just make one square, you will have helped keep a child in need warm!

A Black Pepper Giveaway!

Today we've got a great giveaway for you - your choice of one free hat pattern from A Black Pepper's Etsy shop!






I've been staring at her gorgeous hat designs for far too long now, trying to decide which one I'd choose, and it's so hard!

To win this giveaway, simply comment below! Extra entries for Tweeting about this or sharing it on your blog, and then heading back here to let me know you did!

Aug 20, 2011

Sponsor Minimalist Knitter for September!


Interested in sponsoring Minimalist Knitter for September? We've got tons of great stuff coming up .. including a new little addition to our clan! Between adorable new baby photos and fall knits showing up en masse, it's the perfect month to test out sponsorship!

Check out the Sponsorship Page for more info, and to get signed up!

Aug 19, 2011

Loving Lately

The weekend is here, the weekend is here! We're just that much closer to meeting our little man, and I cannot wait! This week has been full of so many amazing links, let's dive right in, shall we?



I don't know which I love more ... the way these root beer bottles are labeled, or the root beer as birthday gift idea itself!

Great (and super inspiring) info in this food post by Elise, making me re-think some (okay ... many) of the food choices I make!

Lucilia's Story. Heartbreaking.

I'm loving this Cinnamon Jacket pattern! Currently the pattern is only available for littler girls, but it will soon be written up for adult sizes as well!

Check out the video trailer for Blake Mycoskie's book Start Something That Matters! I plan to own this one on Kindle for sure (it comes out on September 6th!), but may also have to pick up a few copies for friends and family!

Fake it 'til you make it with creativity? Might be something to this!

Amy at New Nostalgia re-shared her kids' morning routine - love this idea for the whole household!

Could you live in a 400 square-foot home? Not sure I could, but I love her magnetic coat hangers!

Don't forget to do your sun salutations!

Is it too early to be thinking of the holiday photos you want to be sure to capture? I don't think so!

Top Ten photos to take on baby's first day - I've got these written on a little cheat sheet!

Offline loves:

the heat finally breaking | all the love you've all been showing off this past week | more Simple Slouch Hats coming off the needles | one week until college football starts | unclenching my fists | chicken sandwiches | two weeks until maternity leave!

Get Ready For Fall With Seasonal Knits!

I can’t help it … even in the midst of all this summer heat I’ve been dreaming of fall weather like mad! While you may not want to pick up your knitting needles as much during the hottest months of the year {and I know I didn’t, as evidenced by the lack of shared finished knits in July!} a girl can sure dream of the days when a knitted cap goes best with everything, you want to pull a scarf around your neck at night, and you can finally pull those jeans and hand-knit socks out of storage!

For me, the end of summer and the beginning of fall is always marked by kiddos going back to school (and all the glorious school supplies that go along with that!) – lucky for me, when I moved here to Omaha I realized this happens in mid-August. PERFECT! I can start dreaming of fall even earlier than before, and plot out and plan everything from fun fall adventures to my autumn knits beginning in July without looking too strange!

In honor of mid-August and my readiness to transition from summer to fall, I’ve compiled some of my favorite simple and quick knits – the types of things you can get on and off your needles in a week or less {and usually MUCH less}, knits you’ll actually want to wear in those fickle fall days, and items you can even start stashing away for holiday presents if you’re so inclined … and I most certainly am!


Qfk1

1. Boneyard Shawl - free Ravelry download
2. Capucine - free pattern
3. Chunky Alpaca Scarf - free Ravelry download
4. Circular Shrug - free Ravelry download

Qfk2

5. Elisa's Nest Tote - free pattern from Purl Bee
6. Everglade - Ravelry purchase
7. Jane hat - Ravelry purchase
8. Easy laptop/Kindle sleeve - free download

Qfk3

9. Mock Brioche - free pattern
10.Mustard Scarf - free Ravelry download
11. Oma House Slippers - etsy purchase

Qfk4

12. Two Needle Mittens - free pattern
13.Waffle Knit Dishcloth - free pattern
14. Walk In The Park hat and scarf - free patterns



What are some of the quick patterns you love to knit with for the fall? I'd love to add them to my Raverly queue!

Aug 17, 2011

Knit a Squillion, Week Two


How are we all doing on making squares for Knit A Square? This past week I managed to knock out four, which was super amazing! I've actually got a fifth on the needles right now, but that one will have to wait to be shown off until next week!

Last week, SweetestLight shared a Ravelry link to the squares she's been making so far - how fun! I can't wait to see the squares you all have been working on this week - don't forget to use the Linky Tools at the bottom of this post to share a link to your blog, website, Raverly, or even Flickr!

A few reminders about squares:

** You can actually make your squares out of any type of yarn. If you use wool or wool blends, just be sure to label them as such!

** Don't forget to package your squares to keep them waterproof - I plan to put mine in Ziploc bags before shipping them out, but as long as you send them in an envelope that's got a waterproof exterior or interior (like a bubble mailer or a Tyvek mailer) you'll be fine!



{These are charity knits 268 - 271/10,000. I'm knitting 10,000 items for charity in my lifetime as part of my Ten Thousand Project.}



 0 entries so far... you're next!



Aug 16, 2011

New To The Shop: Simple Slouch Hats!

I've been so excited for fall to get here, I've been cooking up some great new patterns for the shop ... to sell as finished knits! Over the next few weeks and months I'll be introducing them to you one at a time, giving each new pattern some time to shine!

The first of these patterns is available today - the Simple Slouch Hat!


These roll-brim hats are super slouchy, stretch to fit over almost any head, and come not just in the three colors pictured (which are available in the shop and ready to ship as we speak) but in twelve colors total!


Knit from 100% acrylic yarn, these hats are vegetarian and vegan friendly while still keeping you super warm during even the coldest of days. An added bonus? They're completely washer/dryer safe!

Simple Slouch Hats measure 20" around (un-stretched)  and 14" from brim to end - they will stretch to fit most children's or adult heads, and can be made extra long if you'd prefer more slouch.

The best part about these hats (at least, in my opinion) comes in the price tag. The Simple Slouch Hats cost just $36 each, and 1/2 the price (or $18) is donated to charity: water to help fund wells in some of the neediest areas of the world. That means you'll get a stylish and warm hat for the fall and winter, and one person somewhere else in the world gets clean drinking water!

To purchase your very own Simple Slouch Hat, head on over to the Minimalist Knitter Shop today!

*** As an added super special bonus to blog readers, I'm offering a 10% off coupon for the rest of the week (good until August 20th) ... simply key in "SLOUCH2011" at checkout! The coupon code is good for any item in the shop! ***

Aug 15, 2011

simple style: summer maternity must-haves

Being pregnant during the hottest months of the year is never super fun - you've gained some weight, it's hot and sticky, and you find yourself much less able to stay cool - even in air conditioning!

Whether you're summer pregnant during your first trimester or last, keeping cool is a must for any pregnant lady!

As I'm spending my last weeks of pregnancy in the midst of the summer heat, I've been keeping track of those things I find myself turning to daily - to help keep me cool, ache-free, and even a bit stylish as my belly grows to amazing size and our little man grows big and strong!

Maternity must haves

1. (be)materinity tank tops. I own four of these bad boys (two black, one grey, and one white), and wish I owned at least 10! These tanks are super comfortable and can easily be worn through your entire pregnancy. If I'm honest, I've been wearing mine since I was approximately 8 weeks pregnant, and will miss them terribly once I'm not pregnant anymore!

2. Maxi dresses! As the weather heats up, dresses have become my go-to daily choice. Maxi dresses help keep you from getting the "short in front, long in back" dress problem many pregnant ladies get, and if you're lucky you can do what mamas like Rebecca Wolf of Girl's Gone Child have been doing, and buy non-maternity maxi dresses a size bigger.

I'm not able to do that, however - at 5'2" I'm a bit too short to wear a dress a size or two too big without some serious alterations. I've managed to pick up a few maternity maxi dresses on sale however, and have been loving them daily!

3. Bath And Body Works tinted lemon blackberry balm. I discovered this wonderful stuff just a few weeks ago, and haven’t stopped using it since! I’m not a huge make-up wearer in general, and the thought of putting anything heavy on my face during this heat has kept me from using all but mascara – and even that gets left behind most days!

This lip balm adds a hint of color and tastes/smells/feels amazing on though, and its helped add just a bit of pick-me-up to those days when I’m feeling bloated and like I’ve got four chins instead of one!

4. Black moccasins from Target. I’ll admit it freely, my feet have swelled up to epic proportions. By mid-July I was no longer able to wear a single pair of my shoes thanks to a combination of typical third trimester swelling coupled with the heat and humidity.

On a trip for baby stuff to Target I saw these moccasins and fell in love. Yes, I’ll probably stretch them out to the point that I won’t be able to wear them once the monster gets here, but for six weeks of foot comfort, they were worth every penny! No “breaking in” time, they are do-able for both work and play, and they go with literally everything I own. SOLD.

5. Generic body lotion. (not pictured) I never did buy into the whole “this cream will keep you from getting stretch marks” theories. After reading several studies that said stretch marks are more a genetic thing than a lotion thing, I kept right on using my Walgreens-brand lotion on my tummy, thighs, and other bits every day religiously.

To be honest, because I have super dry skin, I’d have done this anyhow.

Keeping up with a pattern I was used to, coupled with copious amounts of water, and there are no stretch marks anywhere there weren’t before. This is not to say some might not show up last-minute or reveal themselves after the fact, but so far? So good!

The little things:

Air conditioning + keeping a hair tie on me everywhere I go + putting my feet up every chance I get + gallons of water a day + DQ Blizzards + the Harper Connelley series by Charlaine Harris, downloaded to my Kindle + turkey sandwiches and strawberries + frequent breaks between completing tasks



What are some of your tips and tricks for other ladies lucky enough to be super pregnant during the hottest months of the year, like I am?! While I may be winding out of this pregnancy, the tips and tricks are much appreciated!

Aug 12, 2011

Loving Lately: August 12, 2011

And a happy weekend to you! Despite some hard news this week, things are slowly looking up around here - a few job leads for my husband, some fun finished knits for the Minimalist Knitter Shop, and some pizza and friends have made the week end much better than we'd thought it would.

Here's a few links to enjoy, and we'll see you back here on Monday!

Knitting man
(photo from Slip Knit Pass tumblr, via Eunoia)

+ How to look hot in a photo! And also, five tips to taking a better self portrait!

+ Do you have a Blogger blog? Here's how to remove that nav bar!

+ Believing your feelings - amazing advice!

+ Craft Hope's new project - christmas stockings for Christmas In Dixie!

+ Andrea has some great words on how we cannot escape our essence.

+ Great Motherhood Mondays post from Joanna ... it's all about boobs!

+ Gorgeous Larksfoot crochet stitch!

+ A simple guide to sucessful parenting - great advice!

+ Gorgeous granny squares - and gorgeous photography to boot!

+ Ten non-depressing movies.

What have you been loving this week?

thoughts at 37 weeks

What a week it's been! Quick burts of updates on a few things ...



Acupuncture: Last week's session was amazing, and now the baby is wiggling his way around more than wever! Granted, he does not turn completely around, and he still prefers the breech position, but simply the fact that he has moved around as much as he has in the last week gives me hope that he'll get flipped during the external version.

External Version: We've got our external version scheduled for the 23rd of this month. At just two weeks before his due date, he'll be bigger and thus a bit harder to move, but I wanted to give him as much time to flip on his own as possible. If he doesn't flip then, a c-section will be scheduled for the next week.

Preeclampsia: I'm still doing fine on this end as well. Blood pressure remains in the "good enough" range, my foot swelling has abated quite a bit since the heat has broken (hooray!) and we've gotten into a fun little pattern of me sitting on the couch and knitting while Zach cooks dinner. Then we both pretend we're going to do things like laundry or the dishes, before collapsing into bed.


So, those are the good things. But this last week has also been super hard. We found out on Wednesday that Zach no longer has a job. Downsized, re-deployed is what they call it. Three weeks before the baby is born, and we are one-income family.

I think we're both shell-shocked, to say the least. We can't live off my income alone (at least, not the way we've been living!) and so we're making some big changes, and some small ones as well. Along with his putting out his resume and such, we're cutting back on expenses, and making some changes to how we look at income streams.

I'm focusing a ton more on this blog and the shop - my hope is to have the combined punch of the two be a viable part of our income by the first of the year. This means I've already got a document full of ideas for items to sell in the shop, and I'll be posting a big update next week sometime (don't worry, I'll be sure to tell you all!).

I'm also moving this blog away from Typepad, and over to Blogger. (for those of you already reading this there ... HELLO!) The $15 a month pricetag is no longer in our budget, and Blogger offers just as many bells and whistles - you won't be missing out on anything, I won't be missing out on anything, and all will continue as before. I'm hoping to be able to switch the feed reader over seamlessly, but if you're not seeing new posts on Monday morning, head on over to minimalistknitter.blogspot.com and re-subscribe!

In the midst of all of this, I'm remembering all that we have to be thankful for - we've got insurance still. We've already gotten everything we need for the baby, from clothes to diapers to a crib to toys and books. Our home and car are in wonderful shape. We've got a great network of family and friends here in town who love and support us.

And of course, there's you all! As the next weeks and months unfold, I'm excited to share it all with you - the bigger and better shop, the new babe and all the joy he will bring to our lives, our re-commitment to minimalism and what that means for us as we become a three-some family with a smaller income (hopefully just for the short-term, on the income front!) and so much more!

See you all next week, and here's to a much less eventful week 38 in this pregnancy!

Aug 10, 2011

Knit A Square Knitting Tutorial

The squares needed for KAS blankets can be the simplest of squares, with every row made using just the knit stitch. What follows are the directions from their site, along with some photos my husband took of my knitting a square to help those of you who are visual learners.
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What You Need:
  • Any worsted weight ball of yarn. Here I’ve got a ball of Hobby Lobby Brand I Love This Yarn!

  • Any set of size US 10 / 6mm needles. I love to use circular needles for almost anything, but you can pick up straight needles at any craft store in this size for just a few dollars.

  • A yarn sewing needle, darning needle or tapestry needle. This will help you weave in your ends when the square is done.
Instructions:
Using your yarn and needles, cast on 30 stitches. I like to use the long-tail cast-on method for almost all my knitting, but as long as you keep your cast-on edge somewhat loose, you can use any method you’d like.
Row 1: knit all stitches.
Row 2: knit all stitches again!
Continue working every row in the knit stitch until you can fold your square into a triangle like I have below, and the ends line up. That’s how you know its square!
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Simply bind off all your stitches, and weave in just one of your loose ends. On the other end, leave a one meter / one and ¼ yard piece of yarn for help in joining squares together. I like to leave this piece on the end where I’ve bound off – it’s easier to judge how long the end is this way!
To make your ends easy to deal with, butterfly wrap them up (see the photo below).
Some Square Suggestions:
>> Don’t let a super small bit of yarn get you down – you can combine yarn colors to make striped squares super easily! Simply join your new yarn at the beginning of a row, and remember to weave in all those ends!
>> If you’re new to knitting, you should be able to pick up a pair of needles and a skein of acrylic yarn at any craft store (even your local Walmart will have these supplies!) for less than $10. If you aren’t sure you’ll want to become a knitter or not, borrow a pair of needles from a friend at first!
>> Figure out how many squares you can make from different brands of yarn. Every acrylic yarn brand comes with slightly different yardage and gauge suggestions. This is the perfect chance to get the most bang for your knitting buck! You may find you get three more squares out of one skein of yarn than another – I love figuring this sort of thing out! And with most acrylic skeins costing $4 or so, you won’t spend a ton of money while you figure it out!
>> Pass the project on! Knitting squares like this can be a fast way to teach folks around you how to knit … if you’ve got extra knitting needles and acrylic balls laying around, consider finally agreeing to teach your friends, neighbors, and co-workers to knit. They’ll fall in love with knitting, you’ll gain a few new members to your knitting circle, and Knit A Square will benefit from all the extra squares sent their way!

{These are charity knits 265 - 267/10,000. I'm knitting 10,000 items for charity in my lifetime as part of my Ten Thousand Project.}

Have you been working on any squares this week? If so, link to your blog post/flickr photo/Ravelry project page below ...

Aug 5, 2011

Loving Lately: August 5 2011

Each Friday I share a few links and photos that I’ve been Pinning, starring in my Google Reader, and just generally loving on.

Hat

+ This 10-year-old’s knitted hat! As soon as I saw it on Pinterest, I grabbed some yarn from my stash to try to duplicate an adult-sized version. With two already under my belt this week, I may have to whip up a tutorial for this one … so simple and stylish! {thanks Aura, for pointing this out on Pinterest}

+ The Power Of 26 helps foster leaders and promote change in Kibera. {thanks Cookooloonks, for the head’s up!}

+ Football strawberries - because there’s less than a month until football season

+ Convertible lace-centered headband/neck warmer. FREE PATTERN ALERT!

+ Simple striped ski caps, sent off to charity. What a great way to use up your yarn stash! {Note: when I make caps like this, I use my free Boystown Beanie pattern as a base}

+ Is it too early to be thinking about holiday garlands already?

+ What a great round-up of holiday knits for the men in your life!

+ Jared Flood’s latest venture, Wool People, is now available! A compilation of designs curated from some amazing designers who all used Jared’s Shelter yarn as their inspiration, this project features fifteen designs that all look squishable and tremendous! And if you peek closely you’ll notice a design from one of Minimalist Knitter’s sponsors … congrats Lucy http://www.etsy.com/shop/ablackpepper !

+ Karen Walrond (ie Chookooloonks) recently got back from spending a week in Kenya with some of the One folks. She blogged her trip while there, and has just released a video of all of the photos she took - 1600 photos, compressed down into 4 minutes. I compel you to check it out!

For more of what I’ve been loving this week, check out my Pinterest account!

THOUGHTS AT 36 WEEKS

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Whew! So much has happened in the last seven days – what a whirlwind!

With one week to go until I’m officially “full term”, I headed off to my doctor’s appointment, only to find out I’m starting to show a few signs of preeclampsia. I put on six pounds in two weeks (I should only be putting on one or two a week, so that’s a bit high) and my blood pressure was 132/94 (that bottom number should be in the mid-80’s). While there’s plenty of other signs I don’t have, the doc wants to monitor me a bit closer – welcome to my home, little blood pressure cuff!

I now have to check my blood pressure 3x a day to make sure I’m not heading back into the 90’s with that lower number, and I’m supposed to drink tons of water, wear sexy compression socks, and not do as much.

For the record, I have been pretty much sitting on my ass and knitting while watching television these last three weeks or so, so I’m not sure how I can do LESS. But there you have it – straight from the doctor herself.

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As for the actual monster himself, all is well. He is still decidedly breech – his little bony butt is sitting directly on my cervix as we speak, with no intention of moving. He also loves to play “find my heartbeat” with the doctor at every visit – I think it’s adorable, but she may not.

I had an appointment with an acupuncturist on Thursday – more about that next week – who has a really great success rate with flipping breech babies, and I also have the option to rock the external version. Between these two tactics, I’m hoping we can get him turned around, and that the preeclampsia won’t necessitate induction so I can potentially still deliver vaginally.

At this point – just four weeks before he’s due – it seems strange to me that so much of this is still so decidedly up in the air. He may stay breech, he may still turn. I may deliver by c-section (and early at that) or he may come naturally, and even after his due date! My preeclampsia may necessitate more medical intervention, it may just have been a combination of heat and eating too much fast food (don’t lecture me – I needed me some fries these past few weeks!) causing a bit of a problem.

Mostly I’m just trying to relax and ride out these last weeks. Which? I’m not going to lie, is getting harder and harder. A big part of me wants to walk into my doctor’s appointment today (to double check my blood pressure, swelling feet, etc) and tell them to heck with it, let’s just schedule a c-section and get this kid into my arms already! The heat, she has gotten to me folks. That, and I’m ready to see this cute little boy and his cute little face and his cute little toes and begin our family life as three instead of two.

Just when I get all crabby and DONE WITH IT ALL and ready to throw in the towel however, Rebecca posts a pregnancy post of her own. Lady is 30 weeks pregnant with twins folks – THIRTY WEEKS. TWO BABIES. Yeesh! I bow before her and her goddess-ness. After carrying just one this summer, I am now acutely aware of just how much I do not want to ever have twins. Sheesh!

As for me and my little babe, I will be sure to keep you all updated – if he flips, if I have to have a c-section, etc. And as an added bonus, some amazing folks from around the internet are going to keep you all entertained a bit once the kid gets here – some great guest posts are lined up and waiting!

Until then … happy 36 weeks to me!