Project Nursery update

Twenty-five weeks pregnant, and major work on the nursery is complete!

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Hubby painted the wall pink and helped me rig up a projector. I’d found a picture I was trying to reproduce, so I selected the trunk, pasted it on a clear background, turned the trunk black and printed it on a transparency. Then I used our homemade projector (read: a box with a hole in it and a flashlight on a stand) to trace the trunk on the wall. I freehanded some of the detail. I also freehanded many of the leaves and all of the details on the leaves and birds. I made stencils using quilter’s plastic (freehanded the one leaf and edited an existing photo for the birds). All-in-all, it took less than 5 days, only two of those being all-day-long endeavors.

The only thing I have left furniture-wise is to buy a rocker/recliner (going shopping tonight). Then it’s just decorating. I’m still collecting ideas on what to do with 3-4 bridesmaid dresses.

It's the little things

I had a tiny package in my mailbox today. I’ve been watching for it since last week even though I knew that today was the earliest possible day it could be there. It left Canada last Monday, so it took a few days to get here.

What was inside? My “substitute” wedding rings!
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My fingers haven’t swollen so badly that my real wedding rings are unwearable, but I was starting to worry about how tight they were becoming. Rather than freak myself out, I went looking for costume jewelry. Coming up empty handed, I remembered that I saw this knitting ring featured on Etsy a few months back. I chose to add one simplicity ring to make it look more like a traditional wedding set.

The seller was so very kind. I had carefully measured my finger with string and used the sizing guide she recommended to figure out what size I needed. I came up with a 9, which seemed large, but I didn’t give it much thought. I knew that my wedding bands were a half size, so maybe that could make sense. The next night I happened to be playing with my husband’s ring while telling him about my purchase. I tried his ring on and saw how huge it it was. He thought his ring was an 8. Instant panic!

The sizing chart also offered an option of using a ring you own to figure out your size, so I went to grab my wedding band and I held it up to the chart. It looked like a 6!!! I ran to my laptop and convo’ed the Etsy vendor to see if it was too late to change my order to a 7. I wanted the rings to be a little big on me so my pregnant fingers can swell, but I didn’t want them to fall off or be uncomfortable. She messaged me back very quickly saying she was glad I caught her before she mailed them out. We wrote back and forth a bit, and when she did mail them a couple of days later, she told me to let her know if I really did need a 9 once I tried them on.

So sure enough, a 7 is perfect. They’re a little loose on me, but tight enough that my knuckle holds them on. I have plenty of room for swelling should it set in. And the rings are so pretty and shiny that I’ll have to buy a set that actually fits me once I recover!

The seller also makes a necklace and earrings with the knitting theme, as well as some crochet items. Her other jewelry is absolutely beautiful, too. I couldn’t recommend her more based on this experience. The finished item is beautiful and she was a delight to deal with!

Designing Woman

Nope, still not knitting, but I’ve been busy emptying out the room that will become the nursery. It’s like an archaeology dig. I keep running across relics from crafts I haven’t practiced in a while. If the strata was clearer, you could almost date my phases: sewing, cross-stitch, scrapbooking, stamping, card-making, etc. I’m hoping my yarn doesn’t see a similar fate.

I’ve finally put together a plan for the room. I’m going to paint one wall pink and free-hand a tree on it and stick pink birdies around the tree and around the room. I’ll keep you posted on progress.

I’ve found a really cute bed set, but I’m hesitant to buy it. Does a baby really need a cute comforter? She can’t really even use it until she’s older. It’s hard to talk myself down from some of these big purchases. I almost registered for a car booster seat the other day until I realized I’d need to store it for about 2 years before we’d need it.

I wish there were coordinators for babies like there are for weddings!

Nursery crafts

No, I haven’t started yet, but I’m just starting to think. My first idea was to ask my bridesmaids about using their dresses for fabric for decorations. I heard a great idea once upon a time that involved cutting a bridesmaid dress in half to make curtains. You cut the dress down the middle, sew the new seams, put loops or something on the top, then reverse the pieces so that what was the middle becomes the outside edge and the hourglass shape makes the inside of the curtain.

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Here is a picture of the dresses. Do you have any other ideas for nursery crafts? My friends and I have come up with lampshade, upholstered letters, decorative pillows and ruffles for furniture. You can’t see the pink very well, but there’s a bit of salmon accent at the waist and at the bottom. Another friend recommended cutting out appliques.

Now to get sewing!

Funny people are funny

I don’t usually write about other people, because it makes me feel weird. I know a few close friends read my blog, and even if I have only flattering things to say, it seems weird talking about people behind their backs. But I have some great knitting friends. I don’t see this group nearly enough, but they always make me laugh and inspire me with wonderful ideas. They’re a group of smart and funny ladies (and a dude).

One of them has recently begun dyeing her own yarn, which is available for purchase online. She named some of her newest colors after our mutual friends, and one skein got named after yours truly. I had to buy Rocket Pop Heather not only to share with y’all, not only because the colors are awesome, but also because I’m vain. The base, Sockalicious, is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend that feels luxurious. I can’t wait to knit it up.

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My friend joked that she couldn’t think of anything but my husband’s job when she named my colorway. I granted her that “Rocket Pop Heather” sounded much better than “Library Worker Heather,” so she decided to make a “Library Worker Heather” in her Chubby base. Chubby is a DK weight superwash merino. I love how springy the yarn is.

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Finally, because we met up most recently at a spinning/weaving/fiber crafts store, I had to get a little something scrumptious for my spinning wheel. They recently began carrying Frabjous Fibers, and this Merino-Sparkle Blend is not only my colors, but it has just enough glitter in it to make it special without being garish. I am so in love I can’t wait to begin spinning it.

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You can't go home again … unless you do

Last week, I took a few days off of work to head back to Lake Charles for a quick visit. I got to see some good friends much too briefly, then I turned around and came home. We still have a lot to do to prepare the baby’s room and get ready for the holidays. I brought a Darrell’s special home for hubby, jalapeno mayo and gravy on the side so it didn’t get soggy.

My craze for this week has been finding a good robe. I threw away my old robe last year because it got a little weird after being washed so many times. It was perfect: long, soft, thick, warm. I don’t know why women’s robes are suddenly only knee length, but it drives me crazy. I ended up turning to the men’s section to find what I wanted. I’d share it with you, but apparently it’s not on the Target web site. I found a dark purple robe that fits just right and meets those criteria I listed.

Then for slippers. I also tossed mine last year. I started last winter with two warm pair but ended with zero. One was on its way out at the beginning of the year. They were really dirty and showing their heavy use over several years. The others were pretty new, but poorly made. They began coming apart. The replacements are a shade of purple very close to my new robe. And they were on sale!

Telling this to a younger friend today, I suddenly felt like a very old woman. So I had to show her my new lipstick/cheek stain (in Portofino).

Waiting for go

I just realized I never did write up my vacation! I’m using the term vacation loosely because it wasn’t a typical “go enjoy yourself” kind of trip.

My husband flew out to Florida first for work. His robot is going to the International Space Station on STS-133, which was set to launch Nov. 1. Needless to say, it didn’t. There were some mechanical and electrical and weather issues, a different thing every day. Thankfully they were able to take care of all of these issues … until the last day we were there. They found a crack in the GUCP and then one in the external tank and then more. Launch scrubbed.

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Hubby was working the whole time; he only got one day off while I was there. We used that one day to go to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure with some friends. It was a blast as you can see on our faces! We were particularly excited to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We ate at the Three Broomsticks and Phil rode all the rides. In my condition, I only went on the Forbidden Journey and it made me quesy, but it was totally worth it.

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Here’s me and another Heather with the conductor of the Hogwarts Express. He was an amazingly good sport. I think we were holding him from his lunch break, but he didn’t give any indication of being bothered. As soon as we snapped the picture, he disappeared, though. Almost all of my pictures from this day are in Hogsmeade. The rest of the park was fun, too, but we all enjoyed the Harry Potter section the most. I think the other visitors agreed, because it was by far the most crowded area in the park. Even then, we never had to wait too long for rides. Being there in the middle of a school week really cut down on the lines.

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Another day, I went out to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex by myself. It was amazing. I’ve been to Space Center Houston a number of times (both are independently run visitor centers not administered by NASA), so I thought I knew what to expect. KSC’s visitor area is so much better, though! I went on the bus tour that was included in admission and was on-site for almost 5 hours! And that was without viewing the extra movies they had at the stops. The highlight was definitely the observation gantry where you can see the launch pads. There’s Discovery several miles away. Darn rotating service structure obstructing my view.

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The tour also goes out to the Apollo-era Launch Center. Having been inside the Apollo-era Mission Control in Houston, I wasn’t expecting to be impressed, but again, it was great. They play a video above the console desks and light up the consoles as they come into play. They have big status displays, too, so you can watch it light up as they “go” on various systems. It sort of blew my mind.

You exit that area into their Saturn-5 hangar, which once again surprised me. I’ve spent many hours at Houston’s Saturn-5, and while that area has been improving lately, it still doesn’t hold a candle to Kennedy’s display. Plus, Kennedy has a cafeteria, which I sorely needed by that point. There’s also a museum and another movie theater.

While driving on-site, our tour guides were quick to point out the wildlife. KSC is located in a wildlife protection area, so we saw alligators, wild boar (with babies) and an eagle. In fact, the eagle’s nest at KSC is one of the more impressive things I saw. I’ve never viewed one before, and it was so much larger than I expected.

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By the time I made it back to the visitor center, I was exhausted, but I walked out to the astronaut memorial and checked out the orbiter mock-up. I really wanted to see the ISS IMAX movie, but as a 10-week pregnant woman, I wasn’t feeling my best. I did stop by the Astronaut Hall of Fame on my way back to the hotel, but I think I was a little burned out on space by that point. Nothing could’ve lived up to the space bacchanalia I’d just enjoyed.

Here’s Phil’s picture of the official countdown clock as he left work one night. It’s the clock by the pond that you see on the news all the time during launches. That light in the middle of the picture is the shuttle on the launch pad just over 3 miles away. Phil was standing at the second-closest launch viewing spot when he took this. It’s not safe to stand near exploding rockets!

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