Thursday, October 30, 2008


"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." (Aaron Rose)

I'm having trouble loading photos into Blogger. It keeps rotating them. So I posted a few of them through Flickr and it's causing some bugs too. Anyway, I wanted to show the cleaning/babyproofing/purging we did after everyone left from Sam's birthday/baptism weekend. We got a nice soft and big (9 x 12) carpet remnant for our living room for under $300 (and it's wool).

Before we had my smaller (6 x 9) rug from India (see "Before" photo below), which I wanted to save from spit-up. We had already gotten rid of one table to make some open space for Sam to crawl around and had laid down an old carpet with a quilt (made by my Aunt Pat) on it. We moved that old carpet into our kitchin to protect Sam's head from the hard tile. It's ugly but it does the trick.

We also got rid of the coffee table (already a replacement to my Sticks one, which is in storage till the kids are older) and a Tiffany-style lamp that was broken. Also in the trip to Salvation Army went my husband's stereo, which took up half of our armoir, with a woofer that was about two feet cubed. All that empty space is now toy storage. We now have so much more room for Sam to play and for us to get on the floor with him. And the decluttered look helps my sanity!

Sam with his birthday balloon: Before (above) and after (below). Nice shots of Aunt Pat's quilt, too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Falling leaves

"If I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." (George Eliot)

Remember these from last year? This garland of fall leaves was made out of recycled felt with embroidered veins. If you'd like to make your own, I put together a kit with the felt, yarn and pattern (a Martha Stewart one no longer online) that's available in my etsy shop. I don't have tons of time to craft these days, but if you really wanted a already-made garland, I could make one for you. Just email me at spiritualknitter (at) gmail (dot) com.

I'm also making some felt leaf pins (like these but in a variety of shapes and colors) as gifts for my felt orders. Lots of other felty goodness for sale in my shop, too. And, as usual, if you have any special requests, I can probably fill them. My felt collection runneth over!

Speaking of all leaves, how cute is this guy playing in them? More pictures of Sam here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Picnic in the park

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." (Antoine De Saint-Exupery)

Look at that sweet boy! I'm making kissing noises at him. We had a nice picnic in the park with our friends Jon and Kristin and their son Lincoln on Saturday. We ate sandwiches from our favorite Vietnamese sandwich shop under a nice shady tree in the park next to our house. Kristin took a bunch of photos of Sam and me. Our camera is a little heavy with photos of Sam and his Daddy.

Actual knitting content! I started this sweater for little Lincoln earlier this summer and got about 2/3 through the back before we left for Vietnam. On the flight over, I almost finished the back. And since we've gotten Sam, I've done maybe 10 rows.

I love this pattern (Dougie Dog Sweater from Lucinda Guy) but those cables are a bitch! Just for the record, there are 37 of them (yes, THIRTY-SEVEN) on each row. And the whole front and sleeves are in this pattern too. (Also, I have to learn intarsia to do the pocket.) What was I thinking? I know what I was thinking: I don't have a child; let's do this really complicated sweater for my good friend's son. Now I worry I'll never finish it. And I won't let myself start anything new till I do. Wish me luck...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Busy weekend

It's been a busy weekend here at the Schlumpf-Butler household. Sam continues to get used to his new surroundings. His schedule is getting more regular, but unfortunately it includes only very short naps (usually about a half hour). He is sleeping pretty well at night, although it can take a long time to get him down.

He attended his first birthday party--for our friend Lincoln, who turned 2, on Saturday morning. It was a great party, outdoors on a sunny day, with about 20 people. There were Bloody Mary's for the adults and an Elmo cake for the kids. Sam especially loved the balloons.

Sam has been eating solid food, too. In addition to the yogurt mixed with rice cereal, we also added sweet potatoes yesterday and he loved them. He likes to feed himself and puts the spoon in his mouth. I love messy kid-eating photos. Look at those hands!

On Sunday our friends John and Leigh Ann visited with their daughter Josephine, who is one month younger than Sam. Sam was even a bit taller than Jovie. She was wearing this adorable sweater I knit her when she was first born. She looks so girly-girl in it. I think Sam and Jo-Jo will be good friends.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nanny gifts

"We must not only give what we have, we must give who we are." (Desire-Joseph Mercier)

For our adoption of Sam, we brought gifts for those who helped facilitate the procedure in Vietnam. Most important were the gifts for the 23 nannies who cared for our son the first 10 months of his life. I knew I wanted to do something handmade but wasn't sure what. So first I hand-painted the gift bags for their gifts. I stamped flowers and polka dots on them.

Then I made felt violet pins (The violet is the state flower of Illinois, which I meant to explain in a translated card, but never got around to that.) I used a purple felted sweater and cut out two petal pieces, embroidered them with lilac thread, then attached them with a yellow button. Finally I added the green leaves and a pin on the back. I know they probably have no idea what they are or that I made them, but it was important for me to include a piece of me in their gifts.

To see the entire gift bag, see this post on our adoption blog (which is where we're putting the cute Sam photos.)