Hana turned five last Monday. To start things off right, she opened a few gifts in the morning, before big brother and dad went off for their days. Then, our usual but special playdate. Next, meatball making, cake baking and decorating with me! That all requires a stay-at-home-day which is our favorite kind, so there's a bonus gift. After her favorite dinner, came opening the extra surprise: her cool pink plasma car! Then blowing out the candle on her birthday cake! Check out the cute candle holder doll from The Small Object! That was one of Hana's a.m. gifts, and she was so tickled with a special holder that she decided to forego any other candles because "this is special enough by itself, mama." Sweetie! It was a great day.
After the "business" of celebrating, on Tuesday we began to prepare for her birthday party, which was Sunday. Hana's vision for the party included a pinata, "We definitely, definitely need to have a pinata, Mom!" She had been very consistent with that wish, so it became my vision too. My vision for a pinata included homemade, so we made a pretty good-sized mess with some flour, water, and newspaper; it was so fun! I love that after the mess got going, she asked for her apron (the one my mom made for her) and then there was no stopping her! I even took a pretty long phone call while Hana pasted away! One round bowl, one flat-bottomed bowl, some tape, some poster paint, a red felt ball cherry on top, and a healthy dose of imagination, and by Sunday we had a cute, petite cupcake pinata filled with lollipops, some mini candies, and flower fairies (and a race car, believe me, he liked the race car better)! Alas, I did not get a photo of the pinata.
For the party, Hana requested a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and strawberries on top, yummy! Serendipidously, Alison posted her recipe for buttercream frosting just that week, mentioning a chocolate version... hmmm... perfect! I got up the courage to try it (by myself Saturday night) and it worked out delicously! It seemed like Alison was right there in my kitchen holding my hand and encouraging me through the whole thing. Thank you, Alison!
Do you remember my watched-pot knits? Well, Saturday night while watching the frosting do its thing, I was putting the finishing re-touches on the princess crown hat Hana is wearing in the outdoor photo above (click on the pic to enlarge). Alison also held my hand through that one, as she designed it and included the pattern in her beautiful book, Fairy Tale Knits.
To make a sweet long story shorter, Alison and I go way back, about fifteen-years-and-five-children-between-us back (not to mention the number of knits and baskets between us!). After we'd known each other for about six years and had become very good friends, life moved her family away from Ann Arbor. I am a poor long-distance friend (however this blog and the internet are helping me mend my ways), so Alison and I were only in touch very infrequently. Miraculously, the occassional out-of-the-blue phone call or note would land itself at the moments in our respective lives when something wonderful was happening for the other; another baby, a year in Rome, Italy, another baby! Most recently, a comment on this blog cropped up, and the something wonderful was her book! My amazing friend, Alison, wrote a book! We have picked up where we left off many years ago, even coming to the realization that we read the same blogs, knit the same projects, and need a good buttercream frosting recipe! These coincidences are nothing new to our relationship, but even over all the miles and all this time, the things that brought us together when we were two miles apart remain the same; that is such a reassurance (and a testament to her patience as a friend). Thank you, Alison.
So, did you catch that, re-touches to the hat? After I finished it the first time, it stretched in length like crazy, it covered Hana's eyes! The beauty of the repair was that I only needed to take out the hem and picot edge since the hat and crown were knit separately and then joined for the edge and hem! Yes, I did see the wee hours of the morning, but hey, it wouldn't be a birthday around here if I hadn't!
Still with me? I warned you this would be long, but I hope you smiled a few times... we sure did!