February 5, 2010

Up and Down, and Mittens for Miss Skinny Wrists

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the kind, where EVERYTHING seems to happen in a very short period of time. Great things, sad things, busy things, funny things, all piled up on each other. Two thirds of the way through today I still feel like I'm catching up.

Obviously the great thing (among others) was the Design*Sponge article. We are so overwhelmed at the response to out little kitchen makeover. I cant describe how wonderful all the comments are. We love our kitchen, it's been a lot of work, and there's still more to do, but it's been so fun to watch it change from what is was to what it is.

The sad thing is that we lost one of the chickens yesterday. I let them out while Evie and I walked to the library. They've been escaping lately so we haven't let them wander much. But with the "snowpocolypse" coming I thought they needed a little run around time. An hour later we were walking home and I spotted a giant hawk perched on one of the bushes in the chicken yard. We ran up yelling and scared it away, but it had already killed the alpha hen. The rest were cowering under bushes around the yard. I took me more than a half an hour to find the last two and I thought the worst, but ended up spotting them under the snow covered arborvitae. I usually curse that plant as it's often the means of their escapes, but yesterday I never loved a green growing thing so much. Although we've talked to the kids at length about the chickens being working animals, not really pets. It was still sad. I do like to think of her as defending her flock, I imagine she went down with a fight. She was always the feisty one. Ironically, the really clueless hen who often forgets how to get out or in to the coop was safe inside the nesting boxes. I'm not sure she even knew what had happened.

So I cleaned up the feathers and our little red hen and the day went on. Well, sort of. The school called asking me to pick up Briton, who was sick. The kind of sick that moms dread. The sick-but-not-sick-enough-to-want-to-stay-in-bed-why-can't-I-play kind of sick. Which kept me busy and away from several articles that needed writing. And then they called a snow day for Friday, which wasn't really a surprise, but with all the things I needed to do, I was kind of hoping that they would at least TRY to have school. But oh well. I'm always saying I love being busy, and yesterday certainly kept me on my toes.

I did, however, manage to accomplish one thing on my list of to-do's which made me smile. Because it's nearing the end (technically) of winter and the stores, despite the impending snowpocolypse are out of gloves, we were desperate for some kind of hand warming vehicle for Evelyn. As I've mentioned, she's not a glove kind of kid. And while her muffs are a-plenty and suited to a variety of outfits (per her orders!) they aren't that great for sledding and snowball fighting. I dashed out Wednesday evening to a few stores but found nothing that was small enough for her, not that it would have mattered since every mitten I've ever put on her has promptly fallen off. Long hands and skinny wrists are not conducive to normal winter handware it seems. So, standing in line with a bag of "just in case" kitty litter I was contemplating what to do about the lack of mitten situation when I spotted some fleece blankets for $4. Humm, didn't I read something somewhere about easy fleece mittens? I was pretty sure I had, and even if not, how hard could a pair of mitten possibly be?

Super easy it turns out. I read up on a few patterns online and did a few test pieces before settling on a ribbon tied version to help keep them on those super skinny wrists my girl has.

First, trace their hands onto a piece of paper - although I was just working on a pair for Evie, they both wanted to trace both hands. What can I say... Make sure you trace down their arm a bit. I find most mittens are too short and snow gets in between the cuff and the coat.

Adding one inch all around, cut the mitten shape out of the fleece - 4 identical pieces.

Fleece does not need to be hemmed but just for kicks I zigzagged along the bottom of each piece.

Stack two pieces together and line up the edges. Fold a twelve inch (more for bigger kids) length of ribbon in half and tuck the fold between the layers on the thumb side where the wrist is the narrowest. Let about 1/2 inch of the ribbon loop hang out past the seam. Stitch around using a 1/4 inch seam margin and follow this with a narrow zig -zag stitch to reinforce the seam.

Trim the edges and turn right side out. The inner loop of ribbon can be used to hook the mittens together or to run a ling string from mitten to mitten to thread through their sleeves. The outer sections of ribbon wrap around the wrist and tie (in a bow of course!) to keep the mittens tight.

We tried them out today and they were a big hit. It was the first time ever that Evelyn did not come in crying after five minutes because her fingers were freezing. Hallelujah! Bring on the snow storm!