Saturday, December 6, 2008

Personal Triumph Booties!

This past fall, I decided the time had come to tackle a knitting project All By Myself. I had done scarves, hats, potholders, a blanket, socks....but in each project, I either had the friend who taught me to knit, my Knitting Guru, who entered the picture a few months later, or You Tube videos to show me what to do. I decided I wanted to try to tackle a project just by following a pattern, and see if I could do it without any help.

I chose booties, thinking that they couldn't be much harder than socks. I did go to my Knitting Guru to ask for a pattern that she thought was do-able by an amateur, such as myself. She gave me two great patterns, and although the one I decided to do had a mathematical problem in it (the directions for each row didn't match up with the number of stitches in each row) I figured a way to get around that and knitted up five lovely pairs of booties. A couple of them had little holes around the ankle where you can string a ribbon, and although it was very cute, I thought it was also totally impractical. (I am not the type of mom who would spend any time tying and re-tying ribbons around my baby's kicking ankles.) So I modified the pattern yet again and came up with this bootie that I really liked. I knitted six pairs in various colors...they were pretty quick to make, and I wasn't sure what sex my sister's baby was going to be so I wanted to be prepared! Since my nephew turned out to be a boy (as nephews often do) I sent a couple of the boy pairs up to Wisconsin this weekend. I gave away two of the girlie pairs to friend's babies, but I still have this one multi-colored pink pair left. Anyone know a baby girl with about an infant size 3 foot who needs some warm booties this winter?
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Hot Air Balloon Centerpieces

As you saw in Ruby's nursery curtains, I have a hot air/flying machines theme going in her room. I decided to extend that theme to her baby shower this past summer before her arrival. I know, I know - you aren't supposed to be in charge of your own shower decor or theme, but my mom lives pretty far out of town, and she had already thrown me one shower at her house. So I decided that the more I could have done by the time she got here just one or two days before the shower, the less she would have to do and the more we could just visit together, have fun, and eat. The eating was especially important to me in my last month of pregnancy.

I bought some potted flowers. I think these were called "firewitch cheddar pinks" or something like that. I'd be lying if I said the name alone didn't appeal to me. But I wanted to get perennials so that people would get a more lasting take-home item. I got some unisex-looking baby fabric from the clearance section of Joann Fabrics, some unpainted napkin rings, and several 8" styrofoam balls. By the way, are you aware how much those balls cost?! After looking around for quite awhile on the internet, I actually felt that Joann had the best prices on them. If you get the next size up, there is a huge price jump of like $10. So I decided that the $3.99 eight-inch balls would be perfect!

I wrapped the fabric around a ball, then pulled it through the napkin ring. Then I took scissors and kind of hacked away at the bottom until all the fabric was trimmed away. I pushed a kabob skewer (you know, the kind you get at the regular grocery store) up through the center. The sharp end was perfect for that. Then I stuck it down into the plant. Then I cut up a regular white plastic party tablecloth to cover the container that the plants came in. I tied curling ribbon around the base to secure that on. Next, we tied ribbon on by going under the bottom, up to the top and crossing it over, and then taping it down to the bottom so it didn't move (you could also start at the top, cross under the bottom, and then tie at the top so you can curl the ends). Ma had made cute little buntings from leftover streamers (from the other shower with my aunties and cousins) and brought those with her to tape onto the sides. You just cut a circle, put a slit in it to the center, and accordion it until it is a half circle. Then you repeat with a smaller circle.

We put one centerpiece on each table with some confetti, then tied a small ribbon under one of the chairs. Then we announced that the person who got the ribbon under his or her chair won the centerpiece. I was proud and happy when people actually seemed happy to have won...