Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So, I'm officially a knitter now

This past weekend I finished my first real knitting project! (I'm not counting the little neck warmer I made in my intro to knitting class, it didn't turn out too well :)  I call it Squiggle's easter sweater.  I had hoped to finish it a bit sooner, so as you'll see below it only just fits and is maybe a bit short... but nonetheless it's finished, and I think I did a decent job!

It's the boy version the sweater from Susan B. Anderson's Squares and Rectangles baby set from her Itty Bitty Nursery book.  It's all made up of super easy garter stitch squares and rectangle seamed together.  I decided I don't mind seaming but I'm not a fan of whip-stitching, which the pattern uses for some of the seams and the edges.  It's hard to make it look nice and even.

So while it is getting warmer, hopefully Squiggles will be able to wear it a few times more, otherwise it will have to wait for the next baby!

So now I must decide on my next project.  I think I'm going to try to make some sort of knit toy, or something sewn.  I'm wanting to make something for my nephew who will be visiting in a few months, and I want to make something for one Squiggle's friends 1st birthday.  But first I think I might work on my stocking knit stitch.  Ohh so much to do, and so little time!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We love food, perhaps too much

Last night we went out for dinner.  It cost a good chunk of money, and we had a coupon.  But it was oh so yummy and allowed some much needed adult time.

I admit that one my husband and I's biggest weaknesses is food.  We both love it, and in particular the ritual of eating out.  I'm not sure where this came from though.  When I was growing up, we ate out maybe twice a year. And normally that was a meal at the mall, which we traveled too twice a year for spring and fall clothes shopping (The nearest mall was an hour away)  There was also very, very few choices to eat at where I grew up, So when I moved to the big city for University, restaurants and take out were plentiful and convenient.  I've also always had good paying jobs, even through University, so I could afford it.  Or so I thought.

Eating out is the one part of our budget we are having real trouble paring down.  And I think if we could, we'd see our debt disappear much faster.  Mr. Bear is an awesome cook, and we get fresh local organic produce delivered every other week to cook with.  And I love to bake, so eating at home should be easy.  But it isn't.  It is very easy to find excuses to eat out.  "Oh we have errands to run after work and so we'll be home too late to make dinner, so lets pick something up".  Oh we had a hard busy day today, lets eat out to avoid the clean up etc."  And I admit, I'm the worst offender!

That said, I think food should take up a good chunk of your budget.  All this talk about rising food prices is interesting to me.  Historically food would have taken up a massive chunk of  a households income, but nowadays we expect it to take a tinier and tinier portion.  Presumably to leave more money to buy stuff we really don't need.  So while I don't mind spending money on food per-say, eating out as much as we do is still too costly.

Anyone have any tips on keeping dining out costs down?  Our current plan is to set a very tight budget for casual/spontaneous eating out, and also to set up regular (monthly) date nights for Mr. Bear and I to get our fix of formal restaurant dinner meals.   But I'm not convinced it will work... yet...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hip happy

I'm a bit obsessed with baby carriers.  I admit it, and I know I'm not alone.

I had a lovely organic cotton green stretchy wrap when Squiggles was first born .  It was the best for keeping such a tiny babe secure and snuggly.

But it was hot in the summer.  So we got a light linen ring sling from a small Canadian company.  Also great for quick in and outs from the car once you get the hang of it.

Once Squiggles was big enough, we then started to use the Ergo Baby my brother and sister in law kindly purchased for us.  It has been our main carrier ever since.  Its great, but lately, wearing Squiggles on my front has been bugging my shoulder.  I like to put him on my back, but I still find it tricky, so I started wearing him on my hip.  He likes it because he can see more, but the hip carry with the Ergo is a bit awkward and find the shoulder strap rather uncomfortable.  It is also too awkward for those quick in and outs, and the ring sling puts all of Squiggles 20 pound on my shoulder (not good!).

 So, I decided I needed a devoted hip carrier.  I tried on the Scootababy at our local awesome baby carrier store, but I just couldn't justify spending $100 bucks on yet another carrier.

Then I found this Free! tutorial for the Pea Pod hip carrier.  Thank you to Sascha of Piccoli Piselli, you rock!  It turns out I had almost all the supplies. I had black twill I had intended to make a skirt with years go, plus some other scraps from a purse I made several years ago.  All I had to buy were two side release buckles and some fusible fleece interfacing.  I spend a total of less than $10 bucks plus maybe 3-4 hours of my time.  Its always hard to judge time when a certain baby is in the mix.  But a few naps, late nights and some time with Squiggles on my back produced the following;

I think it turned out pretty well.  attaching the interfacing was annoying, and I'm not that great at making those barn door style reinforced stitches, but still.  I think it would also be better if the straps were from heaver fabric.  I have to make a knot in the long strap so it doesn't slip through the buckle, which isn't a problem (and she did warn of this in the tutorial), but I think it would be nicer if you didn't have too.

I've used it a few times and so far Squiggles likes it and so do I  It's small and easily portable, and quick to put on.  Yay!  I don't think it will be great for long walks, but then I'll make the effort to put Squiggles in the Ergo on my back.

So, anyone else a carrier addict?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Night

So lately I've felt the urge to blog.  I have big plans for things I want to do, things I want to change.  So I'm starting this blog mainly to keep me motivated.

I'm not that great of a writer, and I'm often all over the place, so we'll see how this goes!  In this space I plan to write about two main themes.

The first is to chronicle the attempts by myself and my dear husband, lets call him Mr. Bear, to simplify our lives and get rid of a bunch of stuff.  Stuff makes life stressful (and harder to clean), and wanting to much stuff takes money.  So we hope to be quicker at paying down our debts and living a life with less.   We want to do this also to be a good example for our son, we don't want him growing up thinking stuff and money is what life is and needs, we want him to see beyond that.

The second is to chronicle my crafting tendencies.  While I have always liked making stuff, recently I've become determined to do it more.  It can save money, and can help us lessen our contribution to our rampant consumer culture.    In particular I love sewing, and I've recently started knitting.

Otherwise, I may occasionally ramble about my mothering journey with my almost 11 month old son.  Lets call him Squiggles.  I guess I'm pretty crunchy, as they say.  I'm a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, babywearing, organic semi vegetarian.  I want my child chewing on wood, not plastic, and I want him to play outside, not sit in front of a tv.  So some of that may come through in my blog :)

One final note about the title of this blog.  I didn't know what to call it, but all of the above is framed by where we spend most of our time, in our 1930's semi.  It's old, although not that old, but we love it.  I'm also an old building geek (have a Heritage Conservation degree to prove it) and so it seems appropriate.  There may even be the odd post full of my rambles on heritage and old building issues.  We live in an older neighbourhood full of bad reno's I could go on and on about....

Oh Squiggles is stirring, probably looking for a midnight snack, so that's all for now!
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