Showing posts with label slippers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slippers. Show all posts

October 31, 2016


Ya'll... I questioned our move south ALL summer. Our city ranked in the top 5 in the nation for hottest summer. We had 90 plus days of 90 degree weather. It FINALLY cooled off last week, only to have the temperatures rise back into the 80s this week. We STILL have the AC on at night.

The other day, the Sailor wanted to braai some lamb chops we received from our farm CSA. I said we could do it later in the week. He looked at me earnestly and said the weather would be changing: he'd better do it that day. 

Seriously, folks. He acted like Snowmaggedon was coming to the South. The weather did drop, it got windy, but it wasn't that bad. 

But, it did at least turn the leaves their glorious colors.  

Even though we went to a local farm and it was blazing hot out, the Peanut still looked super cute trying to find a pumpkin

I do love a good seasonal change (even though it heated right back up!) It makes me want to purge closets, sort craft supplies and start cooking new meals, in between our days spent at the park, the zoo and the aquarium.

I'm also sorting digital data. I mentioned in my last post that Walter, my beloved iMac of six years, finally packed up (RIP). The Sailor managed to get the hard drive out of him, and I've been sorting through the innumerable photos I had stored on the computer. I had a TON. I was heavily into the camera club, photo shows, and a new iPhone, not to mention a vintage craze, and I had an insane amount of pictures taking up space. So, this past week, I've been sorting, shuffling and deleting. (Seriously, why do I have sooo many photos of Pyrex bowls I no longer even own?!

I also decided to get a few cool weather items out of the closet, when I found this scarf I'd made, full of holes. 

Moth holes. (Insert shriek of horror.)

I was not impressed. I'm quite tidy and the thought of having moths in our closet freaked me out. (Not unlike the mold fiasco of a few years ago, in our tiny and fairly grotty, PA apartment.) I am meticulous about keeping my wool yarn and other goodies storied in plastic and away from moth potential. I guess I'd forgotten about this beaded scarf. In fact, I took it out and wondered if I shouldn't just give it away, because I never wore it. 

The holes answered the question for me.

It seems to be a theme here... nearly everything I've knitted over the past few years, I've unraveled. Apart from the toys and sweaters I've made for the Peanut, I've ripped apart countless sweaters and things that I made for myself. And then I stare at that pile of spaghetti yarn and wonder if it was all worth it.

Sometimes my life feels a bit the same. I often seem to be unraveling something for one reason or another. Sometimes stuff I wanted to accomplish goes by the wayside. The Sailor could return to work any day, without much notice, giving us occasional grief with planning anything. My attempt to create deep friendships here has so far failed miserably. The slipper business I hoped to start by the end of the year has taken a backseat for the moment. 

In the meantime, I need to make my mom a new pair, because her slippers are nearly four years old, and have been well-loved. (Sidenote: until the moth issue is under control, I'm freaking out about having ANY wool laying around, plastic bags or not.)

So instead of knitting much these days, I'm working on this cross stitch monstrosity I started last year in Singapore. I decided I needed a little break from yarn projects, and I want to finish this before the Peanut turns 16.

I've been thinking a lot about how seasons change — not only with the weather, but in life. When I started this blog, I was crafting and taking photos like crazy. I was part of a knitting guild and a camera club. I had time to thrift and hunt for vintage treasures, and I spent long days at coffee shops planning projects. My giant archive of photos is a testament to the copious cups of coffee I drank, the Pyrex I collected and the crafts I created. 

Obviously, when the Peanut came along, so much changed. Pyrex got purged (although I still have a serious stash of it that I use daily!) Half of the craft closet went to a thrift store (simplify, simplify, simplify!) and lots of to do projects went by the wayside. Now we spend our days taking walks, throwing balls, watching the animals at the zoo, and trying to say, 'fish' at the aquarium, before I collapse into a heap on the sofa post-Peanut bedtime.

One thing though picked up. I'm writing a LOT more, which let's face it, is all I've ever really wanted to do some days and it's the real reason why I started this blog in the first place to give me a platform to write. 

I may not be writing here that regularly, but I'm still writing. If you want to know more about the Peanut's birth and how I knew nothing about c-sections and then had one, you can go here

Birth stories aren't for everyone though; loves stories are a different tale altogether. For a more detailed version of how the Sailor and I met, you can read that here

And, November 1st heralds the starts of the 2016 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Last year I participated and managed to eek out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I'm going to attempt to do the same this year, even though I seem busier, the Peanut seems needier, and I'll be traveling for half of the month of November. 

Wish me luck, and I'll plan to see you again in December! Hopefully nothing will come unraveled in the meantime. 

August 18, 2016

Welcome back?

A lifetime ago, when I worked for Mercy Ships, I waved goodbye to their flagship from an ice cold dock in Germany. I spent a few weeks in England and then returned to the States to assimilate back into American culture. I slept late, recovered from jet-lag, wrote in my journal and tried to figure out pop culture nuances I had missed over the last few years in Africa.

Then I started job hunting. In the end, I took a land job with Mercy Ships. I worked as a grant writer in their short-lived DC office. When I calculated the time that I officially left Mercy Ships to the time I took the job, it had been exactly three months.

I didn’t need to leave Mercy Ships. I simply need a Leave of Absence. All long-term crew were afforded a three month break every three years. I neglected to take mine. And I should have. I was burnt out and simply needed a break.

Maybe I just needed a Leave of Absence from blogging for the summer (again). Who knows. But I'm back.

I’m a little like those Olympic athletes and coaches who say they’re retiring and then they come back for just one more season. (Okay, that's a stretch. But hey, the summer Olympics ARE on.)

And while I did indeed take the summer off from blogging, I certainly have not had a summer off.

So let’s have a little recap, shall we?

:: The Sailor arrived home in May, after passing his Master’s Unlimited exam! Those of you familiar with sea life will understand what a HUGE and monumental deal this is. The Sailor studied and put hours of hard work into this and had to endure a grueling three and a half hour oral exam. Not for the faint of heart. I’m so proud of my captain! 

:: In May, I attended a fantastic sweater unraveling workshop on an alpaca farm. The workshop was hosted by Reunion Yarn, a great startup focusing on recycling and reusing fiber. It combines my love of thrifting with my love of yarn. Unraveling thrifted or old sweaters? Sign me up! I even hauled my dear mother with me and together we attempted to dismantle a few cardigans I had previously made for both her and myself. The yarn stash is now overflowing. 

:: While the Sailor was home, we took a trip to Legoland in Atlanta. The Peanut has been obsessed with his $2 blocks from Goodwill. We figured it was time to introduce him to Legos. He LOVED it.

:: In June and on a whim, I mentioned to the Sailor that I wanted to start looking seriously into selling my handmade knit and crocheted items. The following week, Co.Starters was starting their summer cohort, a
nine-week course aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to startup a business. The first week I sat there wondering what on earth I got myself into, but this past week we had our pitch night and graduation celebration and I'm pretty proud of myself for taking such a giant leap forward.

While I'm still very much
in the beginning stages and taking it VERY slow, I do feel far more equipped to eventually launch a small business selling hand knit slippers (of course.) Stay tuned for more info on this exciting endeavor! 
Cooling off in the cabin

:: In July, the Peanut and I went camping. It was CRAZY hot. We camped with a dozen moms and 45 kids. You read that right. FORTY-FIVE. I was the only mom with only one kid — most of the gals there had 4-5 each, many with newborns! Props to those mighty women. I of course was missing my summers in Scotland, but this was a good initiation into camping for the Peanut. At least our cabins had an outlet and I had the good sense to bring a giant fan. We spent a lot of time floating on the lake. The Peanut also consumed lots of junk that he's not allowed to have at home, like blue Gatorade and sugary lemonade to avoid dehydration.

:: In August, the Peanut turned two! TWO! I actually felt like a fog lifted that week. I don’t know if it’s a hormonal shift in my life, or the fact that he’s no longer a baby, but I feel a little lighter these days. The first two years with the little Peanut, while filled with immense joy, were also HARD. And tiring. So I don’t know what the reasoning is for my new lighter outlook, but I'll take it.

:: Finally, I have broken a promise I made to myself when I was pregnant. I became a mommy blogger. (GASP!) I am one of the newest contributors on the Chattanooga City Moms Blog site. I had been reading their material for a while (there are City Moms Blogs all over — find one in your area) so when they put out a call for Chattanooga writers, I applied. My first post will be on there in a few short weeks. (Excuse me while I eat my words...)

So there you have it. I'm back and hopefully better than ever. Or else I just have Olympic fever. Or I'm still delirious from lack of sleep (still), two years into this mama business. Whatever the reason, I've missed sharing bits of my life on here. I'm still not sure where Typing Sunflowers is heading, but I know like most things in my life, it's growing organically.  

I hope you'll welcome the blog back! 

February 1, 2016


Yes, I know it's been forever. It's February already. 


I promise you, I haven't forgotten this blog. But you know the days run into other days, and there's a constant flow of meal prep, dishes, playtime, laundry, errands... and occasionally sleep. The Sailor arrived home for the holidays and has been home for all of January, so it seemed like our days were even fuller and busier. Every time I contemplated writing a blog post, the Peanut would bring me a book, hand outstretched, wanting me to read it to him. 

And really, who can deny such a cute kid a little reading session? 

So here I am, in the middle of his nap time, wondering where all of January went besides a blur of food, laundry and library books. 

Nevertheless, I did manage to accomplish a few crafty things. I also realized that even if I'm not posting every little detail, I'm still living life and making things. And that's what really makes me happy.

I threw my friend Tianna a baby shower! 

She hosted my book shower a little over a year and a half ago. Now, she's having twins! We ate lots of yummy food on vintage wares, and showered her with gifts galore. I made her yellow and grey baby cardigans like this one (I was so busy hosting that I forgot to get photos of my own gifts.)  

I'm also in the middle of making both myself and the Peanut new slippers. (I've finally gotten around to using the wool I bought in Idaho a year ago.) They are both these felt clogs. I remembered this week that I had the pattern for the children's version as well! Perfect timing since the Peanut rips his socks off and needs a pair of these for around the house. They knit up fast and I'm looking forward to throwing these in the laundry and watching them shrink to the right size.

I also finally finished this Through the Woods hat and cowl. I purchased a kit on Craftsy forever ago and then realized it never really gets cold enough here to wear such a thing, so I kept it in the 'to do' pile. Over the holidays, I worked on it and decided it's a perfect belated birthday gift for my pal in Idaho (where it gets cold enough to wear it!)  

It looks much better on, but since we are all recovering from nasty colds and constant nose blowing, I'll refrain from posting a photo of myself in it. (I've looked better... let's just leave it at that!

And once again, my local yarn store had the perfect wooden buttons to go with it. 

I also feel like I should report that we have the windows open and it's positively balmy outside. THIS is the reason we moved south. 

November 2, 2014

Holey Slippers

I love my slippers. Ever since my first trip to Ukraine, I have been a huge fan of slippers, house shoes, whatever you want to call them. My traveling friends and I used to find the ugliest pair for sale in outdoor markets and we'd send them to each other via snail mail. 

Over the years, I learned to make my own and some lucky pals are actually the recipients of handmade ones nowadays. Some of my favorites are these granny square slippers and these heavy duty felted ones

Then I felted the blue pair on the left and I gave them to my mom (knowing that she also loved this pair I made for her.) To give you an idea of how giant these are before felting, the pair on the right fit me perfectly and I'm a US shoe size 9.5.

Now, my pair on the right has a few holes in them. 

It was enough that this pair eventually wore holes in them after one winter. ONE. 
(You can actually see the light streaming through the hole on the right heel.)


I guess I kind of expected my orange pair to last forever. I did not, however, expect to feel the cold floor under my left toe when I stumbled into the kitchen earlier than usual this morning because the Peanut didn't get the Daylight Savings memo. 

There's only two things left to do. 

1. Turn the heat on. The weather got below freezing last night and I don't want the Peanut to turn into a popsicle, after all. 

2. Knit a new pair of slippers. These holes might be beyond repair. 

I should probably add a third thing: 

3. Buy more yarn for new slippers. 

February 24, 2014

Spring in the Air?

This morning I saw the first robin of the year. He stared at me through the window and then went about his merry way.

Less than two weeks ago, no robins were to be found and this was the view out my window. 

SNOW. In the south. 

At least I had these awesome pink socks to get me through the chill, and of course, handmade slippers. 

I'm ecstatic to report that within days the weather warmed up enough to melt the snow, and over the weekend, temperatures reached the 70s. That's right, the SEVENTIES

I spent far too much time outside to even think about taking photos anywhere... but I did manage to snap a shot of my new batch of Friday Flowers when I returned indoors. 

I do love it when Spring is in the air... especially when it's still February!

February 3, 2014

Slipper Flop?

Remember when I felted these slippers last month? 

At first they felt (no pun intended...) a little big. I wore them around, and they flopped all over the place. Not really what you want in cozy slippers. Like socks, slippers should hug your feet perfectly to keep them warm. 

These did not. They felt like a flop to me.

So I bent the rules and threw them in the front-loading washing machine to felt them further. 

Absolute success. I had to stretch them out a bit while they were still wet, but the second felting worked. 

I wanted the blue layer on the outside, but even after the second felting, it kept falling off while I walked around. An hour would pass and I'd wonder why my left foot was colder than my right and then I'd find a lonely slipper on the other side of the apartment. The inside gray layer stayed on, however.

I kind of chalked it up to a bad knitting job (after all... I'm on a roll with this yarn and the sweaters...) but then I realized I could put the blue layer on the inside and the tighter gray layer could keep them on. 

While these are nice slippers... I still prefer this felt clog style in the winter, simply because they cover more of my feet. These however, are great for spring or fall, I think. 

Definitely not a flop!

January 6, 2014

Felting by Hand

As a kid, I loved being barefoot. I don't remember ever having slippers, even though I'm sure I put something on my feet during the cold winters -- socks, probably. In fact, I kind of remember thinking it was silly that slippers were always on sale around Christmas time -- nobody in my family wore slippers. Did other people really own indoor shoes? 

Clearly times have changed. I still love that barefoot feeling -- nothing beats walking on the grass or sand sans shoes. However, during cold weather months, the slippers come out in full force. I live in this pair most days. They were knit with the yarn held double and they are super sturdy, warm and somewhat indestructible it seems. 

Over my years of wearing slippers, I've come to realize that not only do they keep my feet warm, especially on non-carpeted floors, but they also keep my feet clean! I cook a lot... and I'm not always the neatest in the kitchen. Lots of stuff ends up on the floor in the process. (I yearn for the day when we have a dog who can hoover up the crumbs.) Of course I sweep and clean the floor clean, but if I'm in the cooking melee, I only get a chance to cleanup at the very end. 

In the meantime, when I wear my slippers, I don't feel a thing under my feet. 

Most girls have a thing for shoes (I've always had more of a thing for handbags, myself...) I do love a good pair of shoes, but honestly, there is something so lovely about having a nice pair of comfy slippers, even if you are the only one who sees them. 

For Christmas this year, I didn't buy myself a new pair of slippers. Instead, I bought myself The Knitted Slipper Book

Magazines aside, I usually try to buy one or two crafty and creative books a year. This one made the cut -- there are so many slippers I want to make. I already made the blue pair on the bottom right. They reminded me of my everyday pair, only instead of knitting them with the yarn held double, you knit two separate slippers for each foot, and then put one inside the other.

I finally got around to felting them today. Since we have a front loading washing machine, I decided to felt these by hand. (Top loaders are preferable for felting, since you can pull the pieces out mid-cycle to check on the progress.)  

Felting never ceases to amaze. You knit or crochet something that looks so gargantuan, and then somehow, with hot water, dish soap, agitation and time, that humungous object shrinks as the fibers mess together, ultimately creating a stiff fabric. (If you have ever accidentally thrown a 100% wool sweater in the wash on a hot cycle, then you will certainly understand the process!

Felting by hand takes some time and patience, but it's worth it once you start to see the fibers mess together and the piece shrink before your eyes. It also takes some muscle. I'm thinking my hands might cramp later tonight.
One I got them to my size, I stuffed them with paper and set them out to dry. 

I'm pretty sure that although I gave my hands a workout today, my feet will thank me tomorrow, when these slippers are dry.

September 28, 2013

Last Year

This past week, my mom came for a visit.

She hasn't flown in about 15 years -- not since she crossed an ocean to visit me in England while I lived in a house with no heat. 

Thankfully, the temperatures here were warm enough for shorts most of the week -- and when they do finally drop (hopefully not soon) my apartment is well-equipped with heat. 

As I mentioned in my last post though, there has been a morning and evening chill in the air. It was the kind of chill that warranted wearing slippers while we sat on the porch drinking our beverage of choice, depending on the time of day. 

I loved that my mom managed to only take hand luggage on the plane with her and she still found room to bring her slippers. Apparently she's picked up a thing or two from me while watching me pack for trips throughout the years. (Always bring your own slippers. Always.) 

I made her those maroon slippers 'last year' right before Christmas. During my years working in Ukraine, my colleagues and I had a running joke about 'last year'. Every time an event didn't go as planned, or we experienced unexpected glitches, we'd say something like 'Well, LAST year we did this instead...' or 'LAST year so and so did it that way...'  

We were so goofy with our comparisons, but over the years, a lot DID change in the country. One thing was pretty consistent though -- we still wore slippers whenever we visited a Ukrainian home. 

I found myself thinking a lot about last year while my mom was here, because really, so much HAS changed. Last year the Sailor and I knew we'd be moving, but we didn't know where. Last year I became serious about writing a book. Last year, my brother was still alive. 

Last year seems like a lifetime ago and yet last year feels like yesterday. 

I felt a little funny dropping my mom off at the airport. So often, it has been my mom driving me to and from an airport and waving me off as I stumble through security. This time, I watched as she expertly made her way through security, as if she's flown more than me. 

Last year changed a lot. 

I am super proud of my mom for getting on a plane to come and see me only three months after we've moved. I'm also proud of her for keeping up with my whirlwind tourist tendencies this week (We did a lot. I mean A LOT. We may need another holiday to recover from our 'vacation'.) And I'm incredibly proud of how she has pushed through what was undeniably one of the hardest years of her life. Mother's Day looked a lot different for her this past year. 

One thing remains the same, though. She's the most amazing mom I know. Slippers and all.  

September 24, 2013

Sock Season

Sock season is nearly upon us. There is a slight morning chill in the air, and even though I'm refusing to give up my sandals at the moment, I know the closed-toed-footwear day is right around the corner. 

And when it arrives, I want to make sure I have enough warm socks to wear. 

Like these. 

You may already know that I adore slippers, from this post and this one. Despite my love of slippers, for years I shunned socks (even with non-sandal footwear). Now that I'm making my own, I can't get enough of letting my feet feel fancy in homemade footwear. 

I used the same Patons booklet that I used for these socks and also these. These pink wool socks were knit with the worsted weight pattern.

If you're scared of knitting socks, this booklet is a great step-by-step guide and well worth the few dollars it costs. I purchased mine at a local Michaels store when I first learn to knit socks. 

I'm thinking though, it's time to branch out from the standard, simple pattern. I have some lovely squishy perfect fall sock yarn that is awaiting my attention. I may need to try these Calendula Cable Socks next. What do you think?

January 29, 2013

Felt Slippers

If you haven't already guessed, I have a thing for slippers. Over the holidays, I couldn't stop making these granny square slippers. I also love handbags and luggage -- but I'm not very good at making those from scratch. Yet.

Slippers, on the other hand, are wonderful to create and wear. They make fabulous gifts... and occasionally I keep a pair for myself. 

Like these. 

These are the same felt slippers (or clogs, as they are called in the pattern) that I made my mom a while ago. You can see that pair here. This time, I made a pair for myself. And yes, that's right. It's the same yarn that I've been trying to use up from the stash -- first it was Lawrence, then a pair of socks for a friend. 

Unless there is a spare half ball rolling around under the sofa, I think it's safe to say that I've finally used up the last of this color with the slippers. 

January 4, 2013

Granny Square Slippers

I love a good granny square. There is something so old-fashioned, pure, and lovely about the humble crocheted granny square.  

I also love a good pair of slippers. Nobody likes cold feet. 

Combined together? Crocheted awesomeness. 

I think granny squares sometimes get a bad rap, because we remember scratchy acrylic blankets our aunts or grandmothers made. Or maybe we once saw a friend wear a kitschy skirt or poncho... and we vowed to never wear granny squares in our own clothing.  

But really, granny squares are kind of hip -- and so versatile!  They can be big, small, on their own or joined together. 

Slippers however, need no defense, in my mind. Ever since my first summer in Ukraine during my college years, I have found any excuse to wear slippers. It is unheard of to enter a house there and simply keep your shoes on. Instead, it's much more common to leave your dirty shoes at the door, and then throw on a pair of slippers to slop around inside the house.

Of course, as a guest, I would be exempt from this rule on occasion, but I preferred to follow the custom. Often, my hosts would then scramble to find me a pair of slippers to wear as soon as they saw my feet.

Sometimes, this was to my detriment. I gave English lessons to a student at his home regularly one summer. In return for the lessons, the student's grandmother pumped food into me at a rapid pace -- and prior to feasting, she forced me into a hideous pair of maroon and grey slippers whenever I entered the house. 

I was used to being barefoot inside, especially in the summer. However, Babka didn’t back down. My feet were on fire throughout the meal and then the lesson. I returned to college with a roaring case of athlete’s foot -- and the slippers. When I left Ukraine, she insisted I take them with me. 

I kept them to be polite, but I soon found myself actually wearing them regularly. Those slippers lasted me for years -- they kept my feet warm through British winters and they made me smile whenever I remembered how I resisted wearing them at first. 

Now, I try to employ the slipper rule in my own home regularly. We are often falling over shoes on the way in or out the door, but at least they are all clumped together. (I also recently read somewhere that you are less likely to bring certain germs into your home this way -- things like pesticides, etc, stay on your shoes. Who wants to bring that into a home?!) 

My favorite granny square and slipper pattern at the moment is this one from Purl Soho's blog, The Purl Bee. You can also see more samples on Ravelry here.

I've lost count of the number of these I have made and given away as gifts... and I'm still making more. That alone proves to me that this is a pattern you really can't get tired of.

The best part? I can whip them up in a night or two, so they make a great last minute gift. And, I can easily pack them in a bag, making them very portable travel slippers.

The Ukrainian granny was right. Slippers are a necessity. 
And with such a fun and easy pattern, who can argue with that? 

December 13, 2012

Felt Clogs

In early Spring, I hauled my mom to New York City with me for a day out on the town. We went to the Natural History Museum, ate sushi, walked through Central Park, devoured far too much European goodness at my favorite Ukrainian diner, Veselka, and we spent some time in Knitty City.

I knew I couldn't buy any yarn -- I had previously made a promise to myself that I would diminish the stash significantly before purchasing more. Nothing prevented me from stocking up on patterns, however. After all, how could I use the stash without an idea of something to actually knit? 

The clerk quickly pointed out to me a pile of patterns on sale. I scored this one for Felt Clogs on clearance. 

After our road trip and the Bullion Beach Blanket, I wanted to make something quick and easy, so I found some 100% wool in the stash and proceeded to make a pair. 

Do you see the size of these things?! That foot wearing the hand knit blueish green socks on the right -- that's my size 10 (!) 

(Do not fear dear reader, my left foot is also there, simply inside the other clog...)

I will admit that I used a larger sized needle than the pattern called for, but these things were ridiculously huge. 

However, they felted to near perfection.

They were just a touch too small for my big feet, so I gave them to my mom instead. I had planned to make her a pair in any case. Considering she is the one who handed down to me the Bigfoot genes in the first place (which then multiplied and gave me bigger feet than her), I thought it only right that she got the first pair I made. Fitting, therefore, that she was also with me when I bought the pattern in the first place.

These things are fantastic. And considering I bought the pattern and yarn on clearance, they only cost me a whopping $3 to make (not factoring in the needles, which I think I may have gotten in South Africa for a mere $2 for another project.) 

I love it when thrifting meets knitting. Together, they make quite a pair.