Saturday, April 30, 2016

birthdays and a big belly

This was a week of celebrations for us! Friday we began Dan's birthday weekend with a dinner date at a trendy Japanese restaurant downtown. Saturday we enjoyed Dan's birthday gift from his parents: tickets to a Pops concert featuring Lea Salonga, the singing voice of Mulan and Pricess Jasmine! Sunday, I made Dan's birthday cake... Every year it turns out so ugly but so delicious!

cozy birdhouse | celebrating dan's birthday at the pops

Wednesday, we celebrated Kathy's birthday at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the city. It was too rainy too sit on the patio, but the misty weather made the glowing city skyline even prettier as it got darker.

cozy birdhouse | kathy's birthday dinner

Friday was my last day in the office as I'll be working from home until baby girl arrives. I had my 38 week checkup that afternoon. I think my weight might have peaked last week, so here's a picture of me at my largest (hopefully)! The doctor doesn't sound like he expects baby girl to be joining us any time soon, since he said, "The good news is that pregnancy seems to be agreeing with you. The bad news is, it will likely be agreeing with you for a while longer." We shall see!

cozy birdhouse | big belly!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

about to hatch

Last Sunday, my friend Amanda hosted a baby shower for me at her house. The theme was "About to Hatch," and she went all-out with adorable bird-themed decor! I absolutely loved her diaper cake, which looked so cute on the table of delicious treats and sweets. The homemade mini bundt cakes decorated to look like little nests were perfect for the shower theme!

cozy birdhouse | about to hatch... my baby shower!

cozy birdhouse | about to hatch... my baby shower!

After opening many generous gifts (including a handmade quilt from Jen and a handknit burp cloth and booties from Kathy), we played a few games. I particularly enjoyed watching my friends race each other to match a big box of mixed baby socks into pairs as quickly as possible. Amanda bought a mix of lots of sizes, so we are well-stocked on socks now! I washed them all this week, and then Dan and I paired and sorted them all. (It's a good thing we didn't race because I would have lost. I spent more time saying "awww" than actually sorting socks.)

cozy birdhouse | handmade baby gifts from jen and kathy

The shower was like a mini-reunion for many of my friends who don't get to see each other that often. I'm so glad everyone invited was able to attend. My family stayed over with us Saturday night so that Mom, Kelsey, and Emily could come to the shower while the boys played disc golf. Now Mom can put a face with names of the friends I mention. She already knows a few (Kathy, Amanda) since they appear with us in photos on the digital photo frame that sits on her desk.

cozy birdhouse | about to hatch... my baby shower!

I'll finish up this entry with the sweet little poem that Amanda included with the shower favors (a tea light candle holder):

Burn this tea light on the night
Once the stork has made its flight
With a flicker of the flame
Please say a prayer in Baby's name

Sunday, April 24, 2016

baby bonnet

Oops. I meant to send a gift along to our friends CJ and Catherine when their daughter was born back in December. Then I got caught up with holiday planning and it totally slipped my mind. Fortunately, I came across this adorable baby sunbonnet tutorial from Purl Bee, which I just had to try out. Hopefully she'll get some use from it this summer!

cozy birdhouse | baby bonnet

I didn't have any stand-in babies to model the bonnet for me, so I tried it on all my stuffed animals. It was way too small for giant bunny, but it was only a little large on Baby Hulk, who graciously agreed to model for me. Thanks, Hulk; you look fabulous.

cozy birdhouse | baby bonnet

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

a harry potter crib mobile

Update: I have closed comments for this post. If you’d like to make your own felt Harry Potter characters using my pattern, send me an email using the contact form by clicking the “contact me” link on the right side of the page. Make sure to browse through all these amazing photos I've received from other crafters who have used my pattern!

At the end of January, Christopher and Emily found out that their bundle of joy arriving in June is a boy! They shared the news with family and friends at a gender-reveal party where Christopher popped a confetti-filled balloon, showering everyone with blue glittery bits.

cozy birdhouse | christopher and emily's gender reveal... it's a boy!

Shortly after the announcement, they decided on a Harry Potter-themed nursery. Given my almost unhealthy Harry Potter obsession, I might be just as excited about the idea as they are. I offered my crafty skills as a shower gift, and was super excited to take on the challenge of making a Harry Potter crib mobile, similar to one Emily had spotted on Pinterest. I used a similar technique to the felt birds I made last year, except I designed all the patterns myself this time! I just love how Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Dumbledore all turned out. They are soooo cute. I also made stars, a crescent moon, a lightning bolt, a snitch, and Hedwig for extra decoration. I strung everything onto a pre-assembled mobile arm using embroidery floss.

cozy birdhouse | harry potter mobile

cozy birdhouse | harry potter mobile

cozy birdhouse | harry potter mobile

I started working on the mobile in February and finished in plenty of time for Emily's shower last weekend. I got the OK from my doctor on Friday to travel the two hours to my parents' house on Saturday, but I think it's my last time traveling for a while! It was fun to see their house decked out in blue balloons and hydrangeas, since we've been deluged with pink things around here! After we lunched and played a few games (I particularly enjoyed modeling a baby from Play-Doh), Christopher arrived for opening gifts.

cozy birdhouse | emily's baby shower

I hope Christopher, Emily, and baby enjoy the mobile as much as I enjoyed making it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

stash busting with little knits

I tried to pare down my yarn stash a bit before I packed it away in the basement! Here's a few of my "stash busting" projects. I had a shoe box full of Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn. It comes in so many pretty colors, is super inexpensive, and is available everywhere! A few years ago, I made a small stack of dish cloths which get lots of use in the kitchen since they're very absorbent and the texture makes them great for wiping up crumbs. Over the last few weeks, I've added to the pile of dish cloths. These are all knit in the "double bump" pattern which I like because it lays nice and flat, no curling edges. Details on my Ravelry page.

cozy birdhouse | double bump dish cloths

cozy birdhouse | double bump dish cloths

These felted stacking bowls are a good way to use up worsted or bulky weight wool. Knitting the bowl only takes and hour or two and then they are felted in the washing machine and blocked over a mixing bowl. I have a set of these on my craft table for holding little things like thread, buttons, and pincushions. This blue and gray set made with Cascade 220 yarn will likely be gifted in the near future! Details on my Ravelry page.

cozy birdhouse | felted bowls

Lastly, a baby item. Baby knits are so satisfying; they are much quicker than full-size clothing and use much less yarn! I picked up two balls of Sesia Mistral from a Canetta store as a mini-souvenir from our trip to Rome. The beautiful hand knit baby items on display (€100) were so tempting, but a couple balls of yarn (€8) were more in my price range. I originally tried the Meredith Baby Cardigan pattern with pretty lace detail around the yolk. It was cute, but the lace pattern didn't show up well with this saturated yarn color. As I was sewing on the buttons and debating whether I wanted to re-do it in another pattern, Dan asked what would be going through my mind when I dress our baby in it: "Awww!" or "Eh." I realized it was more of an "eh" and this pretty yarn deserved to be reknit into something more "awww!" I reknit it in the Baby Tea Leaves pattern that I used for my last baby sweater project. Hopefully the 6-12 month size will fit nicely in the autumn. Details on my Ravelry page.

cozy birdhouse | roma baby cardigan

Sunday, April 10, 2016

signs of spring

Lots of wonderful things happen in the spring. Birds build nests, the grass turns green, the city starts filling in all the potholes, and the flowers start to appear. (I had almost given up on my new daffodils, but they finally bloomed just as everyone else's were beginning to wilt!)

cozy birdhouse | daffodils

My favorite part of the spring is that people really begin to emerge from their homes for the first time since New Years. They plan events and get-togethers in an attempt to shake off months of cabin fever. Last weekend we went to Ben's annual food-themed birthday party. Dan and I have been to most of Ben's birthday celebrations since we met at the Chicago-style hot dog themed party in 2009! This year's feature was a blind taste-test of five chilis, which just reaffirmed my original judgment that Cincinnati-style chili is really strange.

This week began Dan's first full week of "funemployment" following a large round of layoffs at work. He's trying to stay busy with the job hunt and getting the house ready to welcome our little girl. At least a week at home afforded him the opportunity to attend the Reds Opening Day Parade for the first time. The parade featured all the typical small-city attractions: police on motorcycles, fire trucks, baby goats on leashes... even the city coroner made an appearance. So exciting.

cozy birdhouse | reds opening day parade

cozy birdhouse | cincinnati skyline

Thursday, Kathy threw me a baby shower over lunch time at work. Lots of girls from my current and previous groups chipped in for a tasty potluck and a group gift! Kathy made some delicious chocolate cupcakes topped with strawberry frosting and little baby-themed white chocolate decorations.

cozy birdhouse | my baby shower at work

cozy birdhouse | with kathy and elena at my baby shower at work

I loved how my friend Cassie wrapped these baby socks, with each one rolled up and tucked into an egg carton. So cute!

cozy birdhouse | baby socks in an egg carton!

Saturday, our trivia team (called "Chuck Norris' Entourage") competed in the city semi-finals. We finished 4th of 60 teams, earning a spot in the finals next week. Unfortunately, most of our team won't be in town, so we'll have to settle for the bragging rights of having made it this far. We are currently tossing around ideas for a new team name, since Kierston and Alan moved away and our team has shrunk a bit. I think the current front runner is my suggestion of "I lost on Jeopardy."

I am hoping for more warm spring days soon! As much as I love snow, I was a little disappointed to see a dusting of it Saturday morning. I'm ready for sunshine and flowers!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

easter showers bring may... babies!

Over Easter, we traveled to my parents house for a fun whirlwind of a weekend. My in-laws even flew in to attend the baby shower that Aunt Ruthann and Kelsey planned for me! Saturday morning, we all got ready for the shower. My toes are a bit beyond my reach at the moment, so Kelsey helped me paint them "baby pink," a new nail polish color that Kathy gave me for Christmas. So perfect!

cozy birdhouse | getting ready for my baby shower

The shower was at a little tea room nearby. My lovely hostesses felt a lot of pressure to show off their crafting skills for me, and everything turned out amazing. Aunt Ruthann made an adorable diaper cake centerpiece and a batch of cute owl cookies as favors (with decorating help from Mom and Kelsey). We lunched on chicken salad, cucumber sandwiches, and lots of miniature desserts.

cozy birdhouse | my baby shower decorations

I loved having my family, in-laws, high school friends, and mom's friends all together. My cousin Jamie even brought baby Libby wearing the cardigan I made for her baby shower; the gray and pink coordinated perfectly with my shower theme!

cozy birdhouse | my baby shower

Dan arrived towards the end of the shower and helped me open a mountain of gifts. We received so many practical and thoughtful items; we feel much better prepared to welcome our little girl now! She will certainly be a well-dressed baby.

cozy birdhouse | a mountain of baby shower gifts

cozy birdhouse | opening our baby shower gifts

cozy birdhouse | our baby shower guests

cozy birdhouse | at my baby shower

After the shower, we rested for a bit and then drove to our little downtown area to enjoy the nice weather. We walked past the shops and then a short distance on the bike trail. We spotted a Cooper's Hawk perched in the trees right over the trail, but I couldn't get a good photo on my phone! Then we went back to my parents' house for dinner followed by toasty s'mores around the fire pit.

cozy birdhouse | an easter weekend stroll

cozy birdhouse | making delicious hot s'mores

Sunday morning, we ate brunch and hunted for our Easter baskets before Mass. (It took me the longest to find mine, as usual. Forgot to look in the dryer!) It was so fun having our families together for a baby celebration and an Easter celebration!

cozy birdhouse | extended family easter photo

cozy birdhouse | family easter photo