Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guest Blog Post: Zachary on American Football

(A couple of months ago, I wrote about my Australian nephew Zachary and his passion for American football. Today, I share with you a short essay he has written about how he discovered American football, the NFL, and the Philadelphia Eagles. I hope you enjoy!  ~~ Clare ~~ )

Hi, My name is Zac.

Anyway, I love American football even though I live in Australia. all my life. I got into football when my friend Harry told me about it about 1 1/2 years ago. He accidentally clicked on the Philadelphia Eagles homepage and I have been hooked since (because Harry supports the Vikings). I love watching the documentary "America’s Game” about the Super Bowl champions. Also I play football at lunch time with my friends. I like playing safety/ cornerback and qb, because I’m the only one who can throw (apart from my friend Danesh, who can throw huge passes). I’m not old enough to play football yet, you have to be 14 or 15, I’m only 13 >:(  I like football because it’s the ultimate team sport and is a lot of fun to play. But it’s my 2nd favorite sport behind cricket (I’ve been playing since I was 4, go figure).

Here is Zachary's "doodling" of the logos for all the
NFL teams (he drew these free-handed)

My favourite team is the Philadelphia Eagles and my favorite player is LeSean ‘Shady’ Mccoy. It’s too bad that he’s injured. The Eagles haven’t been doing too well lately but once we get all our injured players back and get new coaches and better secondary (safeties and CBs) and with Nick Foles doing nicely we will make the playoffs next year. Hopefully.
Here is Zachary with a cool Philadelphia Eagles
logo that he made out of wood!

I have made some cool NFL and Eagles things over this year like: a poster, my own helmet made out of cardboard and a wooden Philadelphia Eagle logo! And during the school holidays (right now), I am drawing the logos of all the NFL teams. I am drawing them free-handed - and when I finished, my mum is going to frame them all and hang them in our house.

This is one of many of the large NFL logos that
Zachary is drawing this summer.
It's worth noting that he is not a Green Bay Packers fan!!

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Gifts - Part 3

In part 3 of my series of home made Christmas gifts, I share with you the adorable toy I made for Desmond.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Susan B. Anderson's book, Itty Bitty Toys, as become my "go-to" book for knitted toys. And I found within its pages the perfect Christmas gift for Desmond. Our baby will be 15 months old on 21 December and is starting to develop his own personality. He likes to "perform" to see what sort of reaction he will get from me, his daddy or his big brother. But most of all, he seems to want whatever it is his brother has. And one thing that Vincent has is lots of stuffed animals and toys. So I knew that I would be making Desmond a knitted stuff toy for Christmas this year. I chose the baby doll from the "Baby Doll Set" and adapted it to make it gender appropriate.

(Ok, so it is worth noting here that I am not at all opposed to boys playing with "girl" toys - in fact, I think it is a good idea. I don't really want to launch into a debate about boy toys vs girl toys vs gender neutral toys. Suffice it to say, although we have lots of trucks and dinosaurs and tools - traditionally categorized as "boy" toys, we also have lots of gender neutral toys and "girl" toys. And today at the library, Vincent picked up a book obviously marketed towards girls called "Ella Bella Ballerina." He held it all the way home and we have already read it twice. But I thought that Desmond would better identify with this little doll if I made it a boy rather than a girl.)

Meet Norman (Paul picked the name because we think he resembles a character from the children's cartoon series "Fireman Sam.")

Simple construction, not much sewing together or seaming at the end. I didn't do the ruffled pants, sundress, and hat with braids from the original pattern. Instead, I knit up some short overalls and gave him a healthy crop of yellow hair. I think he turned out pretty well - he is chunky and solid. Perfect for a little boy to play with.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday gifts - part 2

Last week, I started a series of blog posts about the gifts I am making for Christmas this year. Today, I wanted share with you my gift idea for the boys' daycare teachers.

The boys have been attending daycare here in Australia since July - Vincent goes two days a week and Desmond just goes on Fridays. I wanted to do something simple - yet meaningful - for their teachers for Christmas. I decided to make each of them a dishcloth (there are six teachers in total - four in Desmond's room and two in Vincent's). I then wrapped the dishcloth around a candy cane to make it more festive. This turned out to be a super-easy project!

My "go-to" dishcloth pattern is easy and quick to knit and makes a very durable and useful dishcloth. Plus, I discovered that I could almost an entire dishcloth on my commute to and from the city. I used Lily's Sugar and Cream cotton yarn - each ball of yarn makes 2 or 3 dishcloths (depending on the size of the ball of yarn) and size 7 needles. Here are the results --

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Gifts - Part 1

I know it has been a while since I have posted, but I have been busy applying for jobs, spending time with the boys, and working on Christmas gifts. Speaking of which, this post is the first in a series of the gifts I am making and giving this holiday season.

This year, I decided that all of the gifts that I/we give will be home made/handmade by me (well, not all gifts...the gift for my nephew Zachary isn't handmade - I couldn't find a Philadelphia Eagles knitting pattern...) Even the gifts from Santa will be handmade this year. Now, before you start calling me "Martha Stewart" or "Suzy Homemaker," let me explain my decision. First, I have found that it is much cheaper to make gifts than buy them. Second, by making all of my gifts, I can ensure that I can get exactly what I want for each person - and each gift is so much more personal. And finally, I genuinely enjoy making gifts - especially knitted/crocheted gifts.

So, I decided that it might be fun to share these gifts with you (the illustrious readers of my lowly blog). If you are expecting a gift from me, don't worry - I won't post your gift here until after you have received it. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

First up - Vincent's gift --

Three of this year's gifts, including Vincent's, come from Susan B. Anderson's book, Itty Bitty Toys. You may remember in September that I made the mama and baby koala from this book for a Relay for Life fund raiser at the boys' daycare. I have really been enjoying working with the patterns in this book - easy to follow, relatively quick to knit, and fun results!

For Vincent, I chose one of the five reversible toys featured in Anderson's book: the elephant and the lion.

Knit separately, each animal has several cute features. I love the elephant's trunk and tail and the lion's mane is adorable (but a bit time consuming to make).

The two animals are then sewn together, with one folded inside the other.

I think Vincent will really enjoy playing with this. I hope that it holds up to his rough play!!