The Whim of a 2 Year Old

For the past few months, all Elly wanted to wear was dresses. The fancier the dress, the more fun it was to wear. Rather than argue with her every morning, I let her wear her special occasion dresses.

When I went shopping for winter clothes for Elly, I bought mostly dresses.

For the past week, Elly has refused to wear dresses. She wants to wear a shirt over leggings.

She looks very fashionable especially with her black boots (which she picked out).

I can’t believe that at this age she would not only be aware of fashion but actually care. Maybe my best friend was right; I’m in trouble.

Reupholstered Chairs

After updating the fabric on this chair,

I went a bit nuts with the staple gun and reupholstered two more chairs. I would have done 5 more, but Dan asked for a cease fire.

A recently purchased chair went from sporting a hand embroidered cloth (which was filthy and musty lest you think I lost my mind by removing such a pretty piece of handwork) to sporting a scrap piece of fabric from my stash that really accents the orange grain in the wood.

The captain’s chair in out dining set went from a boring gold to a vibrant mix of orange, black and turquoise. Due to the white background, I wisely added a layer of vinyl overtop.

It was after the captain’s chair that Dan called a cease fire. Mr. Practical reminded me that our dining chairs have seen better days and were slowly falling apart. Perhaps we should replace them first and then I could go to town with the fabric, vinyl and staple gun.
He was right of course, but I lamented having to put down the staple gun. Reupholstering is so much fun!

How to Make a Yarn Boa

The boa I am making Elly for Christmas is not finished. Yet, if I wait till I am finished to share these simple instructions, I doubt there will enough time for you to crank one out before Christmas. I am moving slowly. I get a few inches done each week.

Please do not be discouraged by my slow progress. The boa isn’t hard to make. It just takes a dedicated few hours. Dedicated time is not something I am rolling in these days.

But enough about me, on to the instructions:

First, using a chunky yarn, cut 4 strips measuring 60″ in length or measuring the length you want the finished boa to be plus 4″.

Next, holding the 4 strips together, tie a knot at one end. This is your foundation yarn. Set aside.

Next, using all the little scraps of yarn leftover from your knitting projects, make hundreds of shorter strips measuring 12″. My strips filled 2 plastic grocery bags. If buying new balls of yarn to make this boa, get at least 6 balls. The fuzzier the yarn, the better of a boa it will make.

Next, pick up one shorter strip of yarn and tie it onto your foundation yarn as close to the beginning knot as possible. Tie the shorter strip again so that it is double knotted.

Then, pick up another shorter strip and tie it as close to the previous strip as possible. Tie it again so that it is double knotted. Then push the knotted strip up against the previous strip, eliminating any space in between them and allowing you to create a very full boa.

Repeat the previous step until there are only 2 inches left of the foundation yarn. Knot the foundation yarn.

If necessary, give the boa a haircut, trimming off any long strands and trimming off the tails of the foundation yarn.

Finally, give the boa to your special girl and watch her beam in delight.

In this case, watch her frown with disapproval of you taking yet another picture of her.

Girl Power Removed the Carpet



The carpet, the padding, the tack strips and the million staples were removed without Dan’s help. Who needs a man to help when you have an enthusiastic 2-year-old?

I wanted the carpet taken up and thrown in the trash before Thanksgiving Day. Dan had promised to help a friend move on Saturday. Thus, that left Sunday as the only day left to pull out the carpet. Before he left, he sheepishly informed me that if he was too sore from moving furniture, the carpet removal would have to wait. I understood his plea, but I wasn’t happy. There was a huge hole in the carpet by the windows and more spots unraveling every day. It looked awful. I wanted it gone now. While falling asleep Friday night, I remember my MIL telling me the story of how she ripped up all the carpet in her home by herself after learning there was hardwood underneath from a neighbor. If she could do it, so could I.

So with newfound determination, I started ripping the carpet up first thing Saturday morning. Elly was excited by the commotion. She tried ripping up the carpet with me, but didn’t have the arm strength. She tried pulling the tack bars out, but couldn’t figure out how to get the pry bar under the bars. Yet after watching me pull out a few staples with the pliers, she pulled them from my hand and informed me that she was going to help.

Help she did. Much to my surprise she was able to pull out several staples by gripping the pliers with both hands and hauling back. She was a force to be reckoned with.

Four hours later it was done. We had done it. And it looked amazing.

All Elly Wants for Christmas is a Ball

It is true. Every time I ask Elly what she wants for Christmas, she tells me that she wants a ball. She also wants to buy everybody else a ball. Mind you, she has a collection of balls and we always have at least one balloon blown up for her. Yet, Elly is consistent; she wants another ball. They are great for playing catch, soccer, baseball and tennis.

Thankfully, Elly doesn’t want any toys that her friends have or that she has seen in the stores we frequent. I don’t think it has occurred to her that a toy she likes playing with elsewhere could be purchased and brought home. It’s a good thing because I imagine the first discussion we would have is why a train table could not fit into our small house. Oh how she loves to put the tracks together and run the trains along them.

I am actually surprised that another baby doll wasn’t on Elly’s Christmas list. She went through a phase just a few weeks ago where we couldn’t leave the house without a baby.

Even today we had to take Baby Pearl to the garden store. Her favorite thing to do with her baby dolls is to pile them all up on the couch or the chair and cuddle with them. So more is merrier.

Occasionally, Elly asks for wings to help fly around the house or to pretend she is a bird. She had a pair, but they were damaged several months ago. She hasn’t forgotten.

As mentioned on Monday, Elly’s love for books as increased lately. Even after unpacking all the books I had in storage for her, I didn’t feel that Elly had too many books. Is there such a thing? So naturally, I bought her a book for Christmas. It’s not your typical picture book. It’s a picture book about knitting called Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf. How perfect is that?

What else did I get Elly for Christmas? As you can guess, I didn’t get her a train table. I didn’t even get her a new pair of wings, mainly because she gnawed on the last pair. Perhaps when she outgrows her need to put inedible things in her mouth. Instead I got her a dollhouse, a Lite Brite, a toddler laptop with mouse, and stocking stuffers. Shopping for kids are so much fun. Basically, I buy them whatever I loved playing with as a kid. I adored my dollhouse and Lite Brite.

New Life for Old Curtains

I hated the fabric when it hung as curtains in our guest bedroom. The fabric was too dark for the small room. It made the room look gloomy and closed in.

But on my new desk chair, the fabric looks amazing.

It brings out the warm wood tones of the chair. Plus, it is going to hide a lot of dirt and dog hair.

This isn’t the first time I have repurposed the fabric from the curtains in our house.

I used it to make this utensil case for a Christmas gift a few years ago.

Then, I used it to line a purse I made for my MIL.

It’s Waverly fabric. It doesn’t make sense to throw it in the trash can, especially when the price of good fabric is going nowhere but up.

Explosion of Books

Rarely does Elly gnaw on the cover of a book or tear pages out of a book anymore. Factor in her increased desire to read books and all of a sudden the two bookcase shelves that were dedicated to her no longer looked like a large enough children’s library.

Oddly enough, there was no need to buy more books. Even before Elly was no more than a twinkle in my eye, I collected children’s books. From Dr Seuss to Shel Silverstein, I loved them all and would buy them to read over and over again.

As a baby, Elly had an appetite for books. She literally tried to eat them. When one of my favorite children’s books was destroyed, I packed the rest away and put them in Elly’s closet.

On Sunday, I pulled several boxes out. Now Elly has 3 bookcase shelves jammed tight with books, two in the living room and one in her bedroom.

More boxes are still in her closet, but they are mostly chapter books and will likely stay there for another year or so until Elly learns the true beauty of books: words are far prettier than any hand drawn picture. I imagine that realization will come after she learns to read.

Of course, I don’t know for certain how to teach Elly to read. Dan and I read to her, spell words out to her (which seems mean when you realize that the only letters Elly knows are O and E), write words and encourage her natural curiosity about the alphabet.  I’m kinda hoping the ability to read will just click into place like a puzzle piece. Already Elly likes to “read” books all by herself, so perhaps we are doing something right. By “read”, I mean she has memorized the book and can retell it by heart. Although, the other day she surprised us by recognizing the names Elly, Mom and Dad, but I suppose she’s probably memorized those words too. Still, we’re proud parents.

Elly singing the words from “The Wheels on the Bus” book.

I myself read a ton every single day and yet I haven’t read a traditional novel since before Elly was born. Instead I read the news, a ridiculous amount of sewing and knitting blogs, recipes, emails, road signs, etc. The sooner Elly can read, the sooner she can enjoy the amazing written world all around her. I just know she’s going to love it.

This post is part of a community effort to raise awareness about YWCA’s literary program. An anonymous donor has agreed to contribute $1 for every valid name and email address entered into this Google Doc. There is no cap on the amount of money they are willing to donate. So, please hop over to the Google Doc and enter in your info; it will take you less than 1 minute of your time. Thank you!

Sunday Snapshots (of taking pictures)

I love to take pictures. I take pictures almost every day.

Elly is quite used to me carrying my camera bag with me everywhere. Often if we are headed out the door, she’ll hand it to me.

She is also quite used to me taking pictures of her. She doesn’t mind it a bit. Quite the contrary, she encourages me to take more pictures.

This picture was taken when we were visiting Target. As we were walking out of the store, Elly saw a mother taking a picture of her daughter who was sitting on one of the big red balls. You can see the young girl in the background posing for another picture. Naturally, Elly wanted me to help her climb up on the red ball and take her picture too.

The picture above was requested just yesterday morning after Elly laid all her babydolls on the couch and then curled up next to them under a pile of blankets. She was proud.

This next picture was requested because Elly thought she looked funny hanging upside down.

She was right.

Other times, Elly will be playing with her toys and then abruptly stop and announce that she needs to find her camera. Off she runs into her bedroom to get her camera and take a picture of her toys.

It’s so cute.