Friday, December 21, 2007

Pics are finally here!

This post is a little later than I had planned. Life interrupted the photography for a while, but here it is now.

These pics turned out well I think, but I wish I had made a little bit bigger light box. I could not put the whole set in it to photograph it. I'll have to show you the set in pieces instead.

For the Clay Pot Nativity Set that I made, there are sixteen pieces and each took a while to make. I'm considering making more to sell, but they'll have to be custom ordered. It will be a little late to have it for this Christmas, but that's ok, I'm patient.

I've come up with some cute ideas to mix clay pot people with knitting and I'll have some of those after Christmas.

I don't have an Etsy store yet, but if anyone is interested in getting one of these sets or even part of one you can email me at sjmercureAThotmailDOTcom and I'll get you the pricing information.

So, without further ado (click all pics to enlarge):

The Basic Set - Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the Stable

Three Wise Men and Camel

Shepherd and Stableman with Sheep, Donkey and Cow

Innkeeper, Angel, Drummer Boy

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meanest .Mommy. Ever.

I have been given the "Meanest Mommy Ever" award by the Eldest. Wanna know why?

There was a Holiday Gift Shop at his school. A place where the little kiddies could by their family some great gifts for Christmas. He was so excited about doing this.

We had a small talk when I gave him some money about who to buy for, mainly his Dad and his PawPaw (my Dad). He already had gifts for everyone else. He looked at me and said "And I can get myself something too!"

I replied, "No, You don't need to buy yourself anything. Christmas is for giving a gift to others, not yourself." I thought this was pretty simple and straightforward. A done deal right?


That afternoon when I picked himself up from school he couldn't wait to tell me everything he got. He got Dad and Pawpaw something. Oh, and also something for his little brother, The Youngest. I was a bit suspicious over that one. He doesn't really do a whole lot for his brother. The suspicion was confirmed when he said, "Oh and I got myself two things."

Now, I know that it's difficult being a 7 year old when confronted by all that cool stuff. However.... Not only did he not mind me, he was selfish.

So, I decided to turn this into an Object Lesson. (7 year olds hate those.)

He got to donate those two really cool toys (and they were pretty cool I must say) to a wonderful cause:

I wanna urge everyone to donate a toy for this wonderful cause. The Eldest may have toys overflowing out of his room, but some poor child will have nothing. Give a little love to a child near you this year.

The Eldest is a good kid. There was only a little of his lower lip pouting out when he put those toys in the box. He conceded that he was helping others and maybe that wasn't so bad. I think he's learned his lesson.

I think next year I'll let him pick out another couple of gifts to donate too. This is one lesson I don't mind repeating over and over til he learns it.

The Definition of Silence

Never turn your back on an almost two year old. Ever. If you hear silence, run, don't walk and go find the said child. I guess the same goes if you hear screaming, but the silence is often worse.

Normal definition of silence:
Silence: n.
1. The condition or quality of being or keeping still and silent. (Forget this one, the Youngest doesn't know how to keep still.)
2. The absence of sound; stillness. (I repeat, he doesn't know how to sit still.)
3. A period of time without speech or noise. (I only wish)
4. Refusal or failure to speak out. (NOW we're gettin' warmer.)

I think we need to add a few more numbers to this list. Something like:

5. The sound that brings terror to a Mommy's ears.
6. The sound of a child bent on wreaking havoc on the living room, or the cat, take your pick.
7. The sound you hear when a child is hell bent on destroying (or climbing) something he knows he's not supposed to.

Would you like a few pictorial examples?

How about when he redecorates the living room with diapers?

How about when he decorates the trees with his own diaper ornaments?

And the loud annoying Hallmark decoration?

Or adds them to the stack of gifts?

Or unrolls a whole brand new roll of toilet paper on the floor?

The face of guilt:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ways to hold yarn for knitting

How do you hold your Yarn and needles when you are knitting? And does changing it affect your tension? For me it does. There's no "right way" or "wrong way" to hold yarn when knitting. To each his own. But it does fascinate me how many ways there are to hold the yarn when knitting.

I learned to crochet first. My mom taught me. When crocheting I held the yarn in my left hand. So, when I picked up the knitting needles for the first time, it felt more natural for me to do it that way. Now in English style knitting, the yarn is traditionally held in the right hand. In Continental style knitting, the yarn is controlled by the left hand. When I do my Combination style knitting, left is the way to go.

Now that we've figured out which hand to hold the yarn in, how do you hold and control it with that hand? Now most people (unless you're Annie Modesitt) don't just let the yarn hang down, they need to hold it to control the tension of the yarn in the stitches.

I became curious about this subject recently. I was watching a show (can't remember which one) on tv and this one lady was doing a demonstration of how to knit. She showed both English and Continental styles. I didn't pay as much attention to those as how she held the yarn. It was different than the way I do it. I was fascinated. I tried it on the project that I was working on and discovered that the tension on my project was completely different. I went back to my way, but I now I watch others for their methods.

Here is how I hold my yarn:

Image 1 - From the Top

Image 2 - From the Palm

Video - How I load up my yarn on my hand:

I haven't seen or found many people discussing this subject online. I have seen it in published books, but most online articles that I've found just explain the different styles of knitting and avoid how to hold the working yarn.

Here are a few links I've found to some of the different ways to hold your yarn and needles. I'm sure there are many more out there, I just haven't found them.

The Scottish Gypsy
How Stuff Works

I would love to know how you hold your yarn!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lightening Round!

So it's time for a lightening round of "What's Shea Been Up To?"

First, not much good news on the socks. I had to rip about 2 inches last night. I had big gaping holes between the heel and the leg of the sock. I tried to get over it, I tried to tell myself that I would go back and sew them up later, but I just couldn't do it. I had to fix the holes. So rrrriiiiipppp I went! I caught back up today, but jeez I'm so far behind schedule. I may be finishing these socks in front of my Dad. I haven't had a lot of time to devote to these because of another Christmas project which I'll show you part of in a minute.

Second, I helped the Eldest make his first Gingerbread House. This was from a kit and I will never buy the kit again. It would be easier to do my own. There wasn't enough frosting to do the job properly. But, eh, The Eldest had a ball doing this anyway and it did turn out cute.
Model of Eldest's dream house?
Third, I made a light box today to help photograph my projects. But I didn't have any poster board and this definitely needs poster board! Tissue paper in the back just won't do.

Fourth, Here is a portion of what I have been frantically making for the past couple of weeks. Yep, it's a clay pot people nativity set. There are only three pieces to the nativity scene shown here. Once I get that poster board, I'll do a proper pic. with all of them. There are a lot of characters in this nativity set. I made two sets at once too and it almost killed me. These are all very detailed. Like I said, more to come tomorrow (hopefully.)

Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus at the Inn

Mommy's been busy and I think someone's feeling neglected.