Ugly Little Caterpillars

Monday afternoon I went out on the deck to water the plants and saw loads of ugly little caterpillars eating my parsley!  I counted over a dozen!  I wavered between being irritated that they were eating my parsley and intrigued by what kind of caterpillars they are.  I came in and went online, but I had trouble finding a match at first.  While site upon site told me about eastern black swallowtails eating parsley, the photos I found didn’t match what I saw.  I finally stumbled across a photo of an eastern black swallowtail in its first instar, and that was a match.  It’s amazing how much the appearance of the caterpillar changes over time, as these small ones look nothing like what they will look like.

they already look quite different

That night, and again the next morning, I cleaned out our caterpillar enclosure that we’d used with the Monarchs.  I cut off some of the parsley and put it in jars of water inside the enclosure, bringing in a total of six caterpillars.  I didn’t want to bring them all in, since there were so many, but I also didn’t want to leave them to destroy my parsley.  The benefit of knowing other homeschool families, though, is that I was able to give the other caterpillars to one of them.  However, I had another problem, in that the parsley wilts rather quickly.  So I just went out and got a small parsley plant to put in the enclosure with them.  Now we’re all enjoying having caterpillars in the house again, and I hope we have success with the butterflies.

Crafty Thursday

Well, I have 8, I think, diapers completely made, with another ready to sew up, and more cut out, but without snaps, not to mention the scraps to make more patchwork ones.  I need to get more snaps, though.

In the meantime, I’m working on other projects, like Kieran’s sweater (can I mention how much I love Ravelry?).  He helped choose the colours for the ribbed stripes.  I decided to do this on the old Brother knitting machine, even though it can only knit stockinette and not rib.  This means that every so often I had to take out half the stitches and work them back up by hand with a crochet hook to make it ribbed.  It was also tricky to decrease stitches evenly across a row with the machine, since this means moving all the stitches.  But it still went a lot faster than doing it completely by hand.  Now I’m putting the figures on with duplicate stitch, and then I’ll do the sleeves.  I’m going to make it short-sleeved since it’s rather warm here.

Crafty Thursday

I’m very happy to be past the barn on the playmat!  This means I only have one colour (two strands still, since I’m double-stranding the yarn to get the right weight).  Now if my mother’s cat would stop chewing the yarn. . .

The majority of my time this week, though, has been spent making diapers.  I ordered more PUL from Diaper Sewing Supplies after someone else told me she’d gotten her PUL from there.  I also ordered some microfleece from them, as I think that’ll be much better than using flannel for the lining – it’ll definitely be softer.  And since I ordered a chocolate brown, it won’t show stains, which is a bonus.  Because I spent over $15, I qualified to receive a free gift.  They gave me some choices, and I chose the scrap PUL.  The blue with farm animals on it is the scrap I received, and I love it.  I can’t quite get a whole diaper out of it, but I can easily sew some of the red with it (I’ve become quite adept at French seams in piecing together the two patchwork diapers shown above).  I can get almost four complete diapers out of the red, with lots of scraps left over.  I think I can get three of the cow print.  And of course I’ll piece together the scraps to make more.  Waste not, want not, in my opinion.

I also decided to go with KAM snaps instead of the metal ones I was using.  The metal ones were driving me insane, as only 50% of them were going in correctly, and some were even tearing the PUL.  But I didn’t want to get the Babyville snap pliers or snaps, as I’d heard they weren’t as good.  So I went on Amazon and found a seller in their marketplace and got their snaps and pliers.  They allowed me to choose two different colours, so I got green and brown, and I’m quite pleased with them.  I’ve had absolutely no problems with them working, unless I make a mistake, which is rare, as they’re easy to use.  Honestly, before doing this my sewing skills weren’t the best.  I wasn’t a complete novice, but neither was I a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination.  While sewing with PUL does have a learning curve, I’ve found these to be fairly easy, and I’m learning new tricks with each one, it seems.  I’m quite pleased with how they’re turning out.

Self-Expression

When it comes to clothing, I’ve never had much of a problem with self-expression. In fact, on my wedding day, my father reminisced about how I’d go to school wearing trousers, a skirt, and mismatched shoes and socks.  I enjoyed my unique style, and I still do.

My children seem to have inherited the knack for self-expression in their clothing.  Kieran often intentionally wears his shirts backwards and/or inside-out.  Charlotte refers to certain shirts as “styles”.  She may not be able completely dress herself without help, but she is very opinionated about what she wears.  I enjoy seeing their personalities expressed in this way.

However, it seems some don’t appreciate it.  When out-and-about, people sometimes comment about Kieran’s choice of how to wear his clothes (Charlotte, being younger, doesn’t seem to get the comments).  My motherly desire to protect my child means that I can have a hard time with such comments.  I don’t want my child to become self-conscious or uncomfortable about his unique sense of style, but neither would I want him to conform just because of comments.  I don’t want to fight his fis for him, but I need to give him the tools needed.  Perhaps I can stick with saying something simple like “that’s how he wishes to dress” and telling him I appreciate his unique sense of style.

Actually, this reminds me of walking with Kieran through Liverpool.  For a while, he’d suddenly declare that we needed to do a silly walk or a dance walk.  So there we were, turning heads with our silly walking (we could’ve been on the Monty Python sketch).  I know we got funny looks, and I’m sure people wondered about us, but I have to say that it was more fun than just walking normally, and I will cherish that memory.  We no longer walk everywhere, which I miss, and now he’s moved on to a new form of self-expression.  I will cherish this moment, as well.

Book Nook

Today was library day, oh exciting day! It was made even more exciting by a certain 2-year-old running off a few times . . .

After she got that out of her system, though, we settled in to search for books. I randomly chose an aisle, and we started looking.  A book caught my eye, because we have the first book in that series.  In fact, I had no idea there were more books in the series until today.  What I did know is that our children have greatly enjoyed Melanie Watt’s Chester, and so I figured they would also enjoy Chester’s Back by the same author.  I may even like this one more than the original. Chester, the silly cat who is determined he can make a better story than the author, is back in this book with more of his own ideas, which inevitably backfire.  It’s another fun read.