Saturday, December 27, 2008

What's in a name

2 weeks old, originally uploaded by mricon.

Mr. Mitten here again.

We're still getting settled in after coming back from the hospital, which is why the updates are scarce. :) It's rather overwhelming to suddenly find yourself with a tiny tot, especially when you weren't expecting him to show up until some time in mid-January.

However, things are getting on just "swimmingly" and baby Lev is now steadily putting on weight. Being a preemie, he's a bit more quiet and docile than most babies are around his age -- I'm sure that stage won't last too long. Another couple of weeks and he'll discover just how many decibels his little lungs can squeeze out (naturally, just when mommy and daddy are finally able to fall asleep.)

His name is "Lev," which is the Russian version of "Leo" (Tolstoy's name is Lev, though in the West he's known as Leo Tolstoy). The common Russian diminutive of "Lev" is "Lёva" (pronounced "Lyova"). His middle name is "Konstantin" as a nod to the Russian tradition of patronymics.

Okay, time for some of those z's.


Monday, December 22, 2008

back home

Finally, after 10 days in the hospital, our little family is back home. Baby Mitten is doing very well, slowly putting on weight, and getting cuter every day. He is currently taking a nap on his daddy's lap, which is how I'm able to leave this little note for you. I promise photos soon!

Needless to say, after such a long and unexpected absence, my email inbox is full to overflowing! Mostly lovely comments about our little one, thank goodness! We are still trying to settle in, but I will try to get back to everyone within the next week. I'm not sure how much time I will have to write here, but I'll try to drop by at least once a week to let you know what's up. My etsy store will remain closed for a while, but all my patterns are still available at the other shop.

I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday, and spending it with the ones you love!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baby Lёva

Baby Lёva was born December 12th at 12:30AM. He showed up a bit earlier than we were expecting him, but he is doing just fine, and is a healthy and beautiful baby. We will be tied up at the hospital for the next few days, so please excuse us if we're a bit slow responding to your emails. :)

-Happy Mr. Mitten.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

gift tags

I had a little fun this morning putting together a sheet of gift tags for you! There are six different tags, with 12 to a sheet of paper. Nothing very fancy, but I tried to make them cute! I figured the easiest way for you to get them was to make it an image file, so you can just download it from my Flickr page. Make sure to download the largest size, though, or the tags won't look very good (click on the 'all sizes' icon above the image). Then print them out on some heavier weight paper, cut out, and punch a hole for attaching to gifts! I tried to leave enough room around each tag so you can use a set of those fancy scissors, if you have them.

I hope you're all getting excited about the upcoming holidays! I certainly am, especially since we got a tree this year! I didn't think I'd have enough ornaments to decorate a full-size tree of my own, since my rather large family usually pools all their ornaments for my parents' tree. Surprizingly, I had more than enough, so I left off the really tatty and ugly ones. With a few other decorations thrown around, some eggnog and cookies, and Christmas carols on the radio, I'm really feeling good about this holiday away from my family. Now I'm just hoping Baby Mitten doesn't show up in the middle of it! (I'm imagining holiday staffing at the hospital is not the best)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

santa reindeer

Finally, everything came together last night, and we got the Santa Reindeer pattern done! I actually listed it last night (Lulu, Etsy), but was too lazy to blog about it. Good thing the toys are small and quick to knit, so there is still plenty of time to make one before the holidays. Someone already finished a super nice one on Ravelry, so I know the pattern is all good! I'm kind of curious how the toy would look with bigger antlers too, if anyone decides to get creative. Felt might work better than trying to knit them, which is why the pattern just has little baby antlers knit in I-cord.

I've also made the old reindeer pattern free. It's so different from all my other patterns, and I've never knit it again myself, so I felt bad about charging for it. I've sold a few copies since I published it, but I don't know if anyone else has knit it either. Maybe when I've got some time over the winter, I'll knit another one and keep it for myself this time, instead of selling it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

better late than never?

I know I promised the Santa Reindeer pattern would be released for December, but life keeps getting in the way of it being done! Finally, I decided yesterday to help things along a little. My husband usually washes the dishes in the evening after I've gone to bed. Yesterday, I washed them myself (big belly in the way and all) so he could use the time in the evening to work on the pattern. The plan worked great for a time... he was working away at the formatting, while I was putting the last of the decorations on our tree. Then we heard a *bang* outside the house. Well, the students around here have a habit of setting off firecrackers around exam-time, so we didn't even blink. Then, about a minute later, an even louder *bang* with a bright flash, and the power went out! The transformer just down the block had exploded, and the power line was actually on fire! Crazy, eh?

So, without any electricity for the rest of the evening, obviously the pattern wasn't finished. Thankfully, the Quebec Hydro people managed to fix the lines temporarily, so we didn't wake up to a frozen apartment. They replaced the power lines this morning, so hopefully such excitement won't be happening again. I realized one thing though: we should own a flashlight!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mr. Mitten's giveaway results

Charlie, originally uploaded by mricon.

I only had two submissions for the contest, and, as promised, I was totally arbitrary picking the winner. :)

I'll be sending the portrait to Kathy whenever I find my paper fixative. I used to bump into a can of it all the time, making me feel guilty that I don't draw as much as I used to, and now that I actually need it, I can't find it anywhere -- I must have put it somewhere "safe." I guess a trip to the art store is in order.

I may do another portrait give-away in the future -- hopefully more people will be willing to participate. Sometimes I need some extra motivation to pick up my sketching pad, and since I don't feel comfortable charging people for my work (I'm self-taught and make lots of mistakes), I usually give it away. So, don't be shy in the future if you would like one. :)

-Mr. Mitten

Thursday, December 4, 2008


First, I must say I'm completely overwhelmed by how many people participated in my contest! Thanks everyone for stopping by! Good thing I'm used to my usual 2-3 comments a day, or this could all go to my head :)

So, the winner, chosen by random number generation is Ali from Texas! I hope she really enjoys her prize! (Ali, I'm sending you an email as soon as I finish this post, so look for that this morning).

So, now that all the excitement is over, what next? Well, today I'm putting the final touches on my last 3 custom toys before the holidays. Usually I make custom items in the order that they're requested, but these three were all commissioned around the same time, so I decided it was only fair to have them all done the same day. Besides, there's something so fun about getting all the pieces ready, and then having 3 finished toys for a couple hours work.

Oh, and I'll nag Mr. Mitten tonight about the Santa Reindeer pattern, so he will get that all done for you. One of these days I should get him to teach me how to use the publishing software, but it's rather different from a word-processor, and rather more complicated. I like sticking to the designing and knitting parts :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

give-away today!

In case you're dropping by here for the first time, thanks so much! Maybe you'll have a look around and find something worth reading. But without further ado, let's get on to the contest!

The prize: a printed copy of my new Festive Knits pattern book, sent directly from the printers to wherever you live. Or, if you already have the book, an equivalent value in goodies directly from me! If this is the case, I'll email you with a few questions to make sure I send stuff you'll enjoy.

The rules: very simple, just leave a comment on this post before 8:00 am EST tomorrow, including your name! Your email address would be useful too, but you must know I can't give a prize to anonymous.

The winner: I will use a random number generator to pick one of the commenters, and post that name here tomorrow morning. However, since I have to send the prize by this weekend, I need you to email me with your shipping address by Friday afternoon. If I don't hear back from the chosen winner by then, I will choose another.

Good luck! And don't forget, to increase your chances of winning something, check out the list of participating blogs on Sew Mama Sew.

Monday, December 1, 2008

happy december!

Happy December! Month of fun holidays and the start of winter up here (which means time to wear warm knitted things!) I had planned to have the Santa Reindeer pattern ready for you today, but things went a little awry this weekend and the pattern isn't ready yet. Depending on how busy Mr. Mitten is this week, it should be ready for you by this coming weekend. I know several people have asked about it already, and it does seem like the best time to release it.

In baby news, we had another ultrasound today, and everything is progressing very well! He's already over 2 kg (about 4.5 lbs) and a bit big for his age. Truthfully, I wouldn't mind if he shows up a little early. I'm impatient to meet him! Also, the third trimester is starting to show it's difficult side and I'm ready to be done with it.

Don't forget about my give-away contest on Wednesday, Dec. 3! The contest will only be open for the one day, so I don't want anyone to miss out!