Monday, March 31, 2008

I've started a post so many times in my head over the last few days, but it never seems to go anywhere cohesive. So, how 'bout a round up of the random stuff?

1) I think I'm going to declare this a No Pants Summer.
No, silly! I mean an all-dress and skirt summer.
A friend reminded me of the movie Chocolat, which is one of my favorites (meaning I've seen it more than once, as I seldom do that), so I had to rent it. What do I love about it? Among other things, the costumes! I have been craving dresses anyway, but now I am pretty sure that I must make or buy dresses and circular skirts in various calicos and pretty cottons. I may even take to public apron-wearing.....but that would be a bold move indeed.
I wish I could get all the dresses that Anthropologie has out for the season. I am especially lusting after this one. But I sure can't afford it! We shall see what a seamstress I become with these dresses as my motivation.

2) New music! You know that JC Penny commercial? If you've seen it, you know. The song that's on it has been absolutely captivating me and I didn't want it to because it's a little on the country side, y'know? Not really my thing. But steel guitar always breaks my heart - in a good way. So, I gave in and Googled it. Guess what? It's Robert Plant and Alison Krauss! Of course I love it! Y'all know how I like to get the Led out. So, this odd pairing recorded together and I can't get enough of it. I have listened to it while shopping, cooking and generally feeling sundress-y all weekend. I'm not in love with all the tracks, but most of 'em....yeah.

3) Day 1 of Spring Break and the kids are already driving each other crazy. Ugh. The world would be so much nicer if I was the kind of mom who just let them play video games all day. But no. I just can't. So they are picking and picking. As much as I would like you to all think my children are perfect, I find that I must be honest. I fear that we will all melt down before the end of the week. Not that I get the week off. No. I must work. But my mom has them today and tomorrow, Chris has them Wednesday and Thursday and I am taking off Friday....we will have a long-overdue family day, which I am looking forward to. Hm. In light of the escalating conflict, maybe I'm not. Just now, I forced them to play a game of chess. I am not always Fun Mom.

4) Knitting. Did I tell you guys I finished my mom's sweater? I think I forgot. I don't have pictures either, but at this rate it'll be ten years before I get around to it, so I thought I'd better at least report the good news. Now, I'm powering through the last part of Pay It Forward object number one. I am quite bogged down now due to the enormous amount of stitches per row. Why, oh why must I always jump in over my head? I was feeling like it was just never going to be finished. But I believe I will start the edging tonight which means maybe a day or two more and I'll be done. Can't wait!!

5) New computer!! As if it wasn't enough that we added some memory to our desktop (which makes me unstoppable - Bwa-ha-ha-HAAAAA!), my mom won a new laptop at AACRAO (American Association of College Registrars and Officials, I think) and generously gifted me with her old one. I believe I am the last in all the family to be tied to the wall, and it feels very good to be wireless. Also, at that convention, the registrar at UMass let her know he'd like to talk Andrew out of MIT and into their school:) Just thought you all should know.

Um....I think that's about it. I'm sure there's more stuff floating around in my head that I wanted to tell you. I'm sure of it. Maybe it'll surface now that I've skimmed off the top.

DAILY BLISS: watering flowers with my galvanized watering can

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wonderful News!

The nest in our laundry room now contains baby birds! At least two of them have hatched....
It's a wonderful excuse to postpone a chore, too.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chicks with Sticks

Tonight was our monthly knitting night. I've really come to look forward to this event! It's so fun to just have the girls over and blab and knit and laugh.
This time, our boys got out of the house a little early, which also meant girls-only afternoon and chick supper. Emma declared that a nice, crunchy salad was just the thing for girls to eat for supper. We had a blast browsing through the produce section at Publix and came up with our tasty dinner. Here's what we had, just in case you need some girl salad too:

Kiki and Emma's Girls Only Salad
Fresh Express SWeet Butter bagged salad
Fresh Blackberries
Goat's Milk Cheese
Sunflower Seeds
Olive Oil
Lemon Wedges
Pile the lettuce onto your plates. Preferably plates like this:

Place as many blackberries as you want in the lettuce beds. Break up a big hunk of goat cheese over the lettuce. Sprinkle liberally with sunflower seeds. Squeeze lemon wedges over salad and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt to taste.

We noticed that this seemed to go over especially nicely if you are wearing aprons and listening to some Celtic music, such as Emily Smith, who we decided we like very much.
I think Emma said that it all made her want to sink into her chair and dream about (well, I'll let her share her dreams with the public when she's ready). But, I agree with her.
I taught her how to use a melon baller and we served up a beautiful trio of watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew with my magic fruit dip and some special tea and coffee to all of our friends. OH - and Emma was a guest blogger tonight over at Julianna's blog. Check her out - her story cracked me up. Considering all the original stuff this girl comes up with and could have chosen from, I was a little disappointed that she instead blogged an anecdote she heard in (I guess) chapel. Ah well. She still enjoyed herself and I expect she will be blogging on her own in no time!

DAILY BLISS: Fresh hair color and blackberries

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kid Pics

I hate abbreviating "pictures" to "pics." "Pix" is even worse. I just thought it was more interesting to do it and then explain that I don't like it instead of just titling this post "Kid Photos." I think I've already used that title. Maybe not. I don't know.
Anyway, I did our annual portrait shots last Friday at Lake Mirror. It's getting harder and harder to get those really nice-looking pictures I used to get from my kids. It used to be that I could just give them a simple prop, put them in blue jeans and white and just snap away, winding up with something really beautiful. Last year was tricky - last year we did the bathtubs. I didn't get a really good one from that, and I don't think I got a really good one this time around either. But, in the interest of sharing what I'm doing, here's my favorite shots (there's a bunch of them). They haven't been fiddled with yet. I usually turn them into black and whites. I may have to adjust brightness and stuff this time around, too.....if I get around to it what with all the sewing and knitting going on over here! Then again, I might just scrap it and start over.....

Whatcha think?

DAILY BLISS: My hubby telling me I'm cute and an on-time paycheck

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


So, I think it's time to admit that I'm completely obsessed with sewing right now. Not that I've made a whole lot more stuff, I just find that my brain is trying to constantly figure out how to put together the next dress or skirt or whatever and I don't have time to make it before another one pops into my head. My head is currently full of dresses and skirts for myself and my daughter. And a few knitting projects, one of which I am down to the wire on (that'd be the rainy-day gray one I showed you a few posts back) and am terrified that I may run out of yarn.
The real problem there? It's clearance yarn. That I bought in Tampa.
Now, knitting is supposed to be a relaxing thing, right? Well, I'm up to about 285 stitches per row (hmmmmm.....mysterious shaping information, no?) and my heart is just pounding through every stitch, every row. I had to put it down this afternoon after just three rows. But, three rows is a lot when there are 285 stitches, isn't it?
You may wonder how I do it all. You know, cook, clean, work, parent and craft?
I don't.
That's the problem. When I obsess, and boy am I obsessing, all else is ignored. I am forcing myself to pray my fingers away from projects long enough to help with homework (mostly) and to put dinner on the table. I am seriously considering giving up sleep.
I'm sure I'll feel much better if I can just get some of this stuff out of my head and into existence. Maybe that would be worth the loss of sleep.
Of course, I'm not that crazy (all the time). I'll be a good girl and all, but that means I am living in this weird state of suspended anxiety. It's stretched out over a long period of time. Maybe it's not as intense as a short burst while waiting for a project to be completed in a normal amount of time, but it's growing tiresome.
Not to sound complainy. I'm wearing pigtails today. A broomstick skirt too (with a zipper waist, thank you - none of those silly elastic waistbands for my good-for-childbearing hips). I'm happy. I'm having fun.
I'm just a little, well.....distracted.
Which explains why I'm having trouble blogging.
I think of things all the time to tell you all. I've found some new music that I like and I took my kids' annual portraits at Lake Mirror last Friday. Oh - and the bird couple that have nested in our laundry room? They're Carolina Wrens. I'm excited to know this much about them.
She eyes us so trustingly when we switch the laundry. I just love her.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joyous Easter!

Hello. As promised, I am back today, with pictures. There may not be so many of my calico dresses. Upon closer inspection of the photos, I realized that I am much more confident about forcing myself upon the general public while wearing a sundress when I am not aware of what I actually look like in a sundress. So, there will be a head shot here or there, portions of the dresses that you will see, but a full body shot? No. Here is what you will get (me with the other tough chicks at my mom's house):

And then, you will get an explanation that the other one is cream with rusty brown flowers. None of those pictures satisfied my vanity.
We had a delicious brunch at church this morning. I made my blackberry biscuits:

Brunch images are courtesy of my sister-in-law Mindy. She started up a new blog today. Please visit her and give her lots of bloggy love!
Emma wore a hat, of course

And Drew took part in what is sure to be his last candy hunt. Being a bit too old to hunt eggs, he instead hunted individual pieces of candy. They're much more fun to hide and much harder to find. I think it was a nice transition.
But he still looks a little disappointed.

A couple more gratuitous kid shots:

A holiday celebration that has definitely earned the Good Momkeeping Seal of Approval:

DAILY BLISS: A family whose crazy big love can reach around and encompass anyone that happens to be under the same roof.

*All other images in this post are courtesy of my mom. Since I gave Mindy credit, it's only fair to give her credit too :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rain, Incense and Calico

This afternoon is quite nice. I have had a bit of sewing success using a pattern. That's a first for me! I made myself an Easter dress. We shall see whether photos will be posted. I also made a little house-dress sundress. Both are from quilting cotton, so they're soft and have sweet, old-fashioned flowers on them. Never knew a dress could feel so much like I'm wearing the inside of me on the outside!
This has been a rainy day, which I love. But it's not the Florida kind of rain that rumbles and builds and then dumps buckets of water on you. This is a Yankee rain. The kind where it's just gray and drizzly all day long with no thunder, which is just my favorite.
Chris did some yard work and a little prep for planting my very own pink lemon tree, which is waiting patiently in its little bucket in the back yard.
Then we sat on the porch, I in my calico dress and Chris in his manly yardwork splendor, and we enjoyed this rain.
When procrastination was no longer an option, I came in and did the dishes. But I lit a stick of incense and opened the windows so that the rain would feel welcome and maybe stick around a bit longer.
Wish I could stretch this afternoon out for a couple more hours. We have Easter things to prepare and a birthday cake to bake for my Grandma. They're all fun things, but this is a do-nothing, sit-on-the-porch-in-your-calico-sundress afternoon. Sigh. Even fun responsibilities are responsibilities on a day like this. Ah well.
See you tomorrow, with pictures, I'm sure.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday Service

"What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?"
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

The Gate

For my all of my friends who want to get in behind the gates at Lake Mirror:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I just finished that late-night WalMart and Target shopping that always happens when you're this close to a major holiday and have not yet planned anything. I seriously didn't have time for that today, nor did I have time to browse the fabric section at WalMart and pick out and buy some hope in the form of a new project. Also at Hancock's, but who's counting stops?
I'm pretty tired and I ate a terribly unhealthy supper - ribs and french fries - which I do love, but leaves me feeling gross and greasy. So, I struggled my way through and managed to find some springy joy amongst all the pastels and flowers and bunnies. I bounced my way out of the store and got home.
Then I saw myself in the mirror.
I had pinned my hair up in a very bohemian sort of non-bun to go with my peasant shirt in a brown and orange retro print. Feeling pretty cute, I'd say. Coupling that with the bounce and the spring joy....well, I thought I was rockin' the look.
Actually, I looked like a crazy bag lady. My mascara is halfway down my cheeks and my hair has wildly unpinned itself in places. My shoulders are even slumpy. There are dark circles under my eyes.
Oh well.
But you know what sucks? All those people who saw me and thought, "Whoooo! She crazy!" have to see me again tomorrow morning because I left one of my bags at the cash register. Got all the way home and filled up the Easter baskets before I realized that something was missing.

DAILY BLISS: Browsing the garden center at Lowe's and dreaming of getting an orange tree of my very own

Monday, March 17, 2008


I would be remiss in not telling you that we had green scrambled eggs with toast this morning, and green milk to drink. And that's quite a feat, all things considered. The kids were really excited, but both of them got pinched as soon as they got out of the car because I neglected to adorn them with a green talisman. What can I say? We're Scottish.
But, on with the title.
There are nests all around our home and yard of late. The little nest I showed you that's in my laundry room? It now contains five tiny little eggs and a Mama that tucks her head way inside the nest when we switch the laundry. We are, needless to say, doing laundry very gingerly these days.
This past weekend, while I was working on the Mom Cardigan (only one more pocket to sew in and the button to add!!!), I witness a couple of birds building a little nest in our Spanish Bayonet. That's a pretty secure location. We call it the death plant, due to its spiky leaves. Avoid it at all cost, I tell you.
I'm even feeling the urge to feather my nest a bit. I always do in the spring. I'm ready to overhaul the whole thing and my mind is whirring and clicking and planning all the live-long day. But those things must reside solely in my imagination for the time being. We did put up some new towel hooks and a toilet paper holder, though. The bathroom almost feels finished (after nearly two years....).
Most significantly, though, this nesting phenomenon has revealed to us all that we own cockatiels of both the male and female variety. We discovered late last night that we were going to have to separate those two. Emma just could not understand why and I told her that they wanted to lay some eggs together. She was so excited and just couldn't understand why we wouldn't want such a blessed event to happen in our house. This morning, she asked me how I knew they were planning on laying eggs. "Was it because Smudge was standing on Hedwig?" she asked. Uh, pretty much....yes. I just thought that was the funniest way to put it. So, we had quite a fiasco trying to find an affordable cage option last night, after business hours. We have something that will work temporarily. Ugh. I sooooo did not need this added to our chaos!

DAILY BLISS: berryblossom tea from Starbucks

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rain and Mess and a Big Near-Miss

As I stated yesterday, I've been trying to focus on picnic moments to get me through a really hectic week. I have managed to come up just under deadline or a fraction late on everything that has happened this week. And some of it is because my head is very full and I am having trouble focusing. So, I take plenty of responsibility for that.
But today was the Family Fun Fair at school. The kids were really excited, but I couldn't remember what time slot I'd signed up for and didn't know which booths belonged to my kids' classes, so I stopped by the ticket booth to be curtly informed that the classes were not sponsoring individual booths this year and they didn't last year either. That's a lie. I've done this freakin' fair three years in a row now. I know how it works. Okay. Moving on.
So, we sized up the crowd, bought some tickets for games and I went back to the volunteer booth, having gathered my wits about me enough to inquire about what time I'd signed up for.
Recognizing me, she sighed exasperatedly and told me that there were not any time slots. Just a list of volunteers. Just like last year (that's a lie). And that I should just go and find a booth that has only one person in it, since they want two in every booth. Okay. I sent my kids on into the crowd to have fun (which is a little scary in itself, let me tell you) and found a booth.
Can you all see yet what the problem is with no time slots and finding a booth that is manned by only one person?
The problem is that once there are two people in a booth, there is no cue about when someone else should take over. Not only was I not relieved after the half-hour slot (which is how the sign-up sheets were broken down), no one came after one hour either. A little after that, I sent the other mom who was with me and had been there since 2:30 to ask for relief. She came back and told me we were put on a waiting list. What? You have GOT to be kidding me!
Anyway, to condense the story, I spent three hours in the rain this afternoon. I did bring the umbrella, but the mom next to me had just gotten a spray tan, so I offered it to her. You have to let those set for, like, six hours or something. Compassion for her? Eh.....I just hated to see all that money wasted. Just kidding. She's nice and I know her, so I lent her my umbrella.
Finally, we got home and the kids, who were soaked, got on some dry clothes, and I decided to take a bath. This is the kind of day when I love having a bath apothecary in my house. I just surveyed my shelf and thought, what do I want to bathe in today? Hmmmm.....a chunk of cocoa butter, a scoop of shea butter and some coconut oil. What No. Buttercream frosting? No. Brambleberry? Oh, yes. With a drop of Creamy Coconut? That's the ticket!
And my troubles melted right alongside the cocoa butter, which takes the longest by the way. It's really more of a wax at room temperature. And I sat in my tub and thought about talking to all of you and how I would get my fluffy robe on and find my glasses and type it all out. And I started to walk out of the bathroom, happily smelling like a jelly-filled macaroon.
And caught myself.
Somehow, my distracted brain already thought it had told my hands to put on that robe. I nearly walked out of the bathroom in the altogether - right in front of my kids!
Maybe I should just head on to bed now.

DAILY BLISS: handing out game prizes to my kids' friends and nearly clearing my desk at work

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just My Picnic and Me

There's a big orange grove behind the church where I work. I'm sure that I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Since the trees are blooming and it's one of my favorite smells in the world, I have been promising myself a picnic out there. I finally got around to it today. Only, there was a little be-hatted man driving a tractor through the trees, so I had to settle myself within the fences of the church grounds, but as close as I could get to the trees.

I brought a china plate and a hand-painted, stemmed glass and a lap quit. Also a new magazine and some knitting. All of it must be lovely and none of it may match. Them's the rules.
What do I like to eat on a picnic, you ask? Why, fresh goats' milk cheese, some pears and honey and whole-grain flatbread and a little salami, of course. And tonic water.

So, all was quiet, cool and breezy, even in the sun. Then a couple of girls from the GED class that meets on-campus came wandering my way during their lunch break. They probably thought I was really weird. But, you know, that's never mattered much to me - other people thinking I'm weird, I mean. I'm pretty much used to it.
The rest of my day? Eh. Let's just think about the picnic.

DAILY BLISS: red lipstick

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Doo Doo Doo

This has been quite a week so far! I've had a couple of hectic know how all that goes. But this morning, we were running late for Safety Patrol (which was only remembered 5 minutes before we would have had to leave for our regular schedule) and in the car, the dog puked on Emma's chapel uniform. It's her only one. So, it was quite a trip getting everybody clean and where they needed to go and slipping into my chair at work just in time.
But, having missed an opportunity to tell you about my Monday, I thought I'd reach back into my week so far and pull out the highlights. Starting with Monday. Cause it was the best.

My afternoon me-time was once again spent at my little spot on the lake. It was pretty crowded this time, so I was glad I had my trusty iPod. There are times when it's nice to shut out the public. And other people's children. My favorite little duck couple paddled around in front of me. I think they were hoping for treats. Maybe I should bring them something next time.....there aren't many ducks at this lake, so it's easy to pick out who's who.
I've started on a new knitting project. I thought I'd wait until the cardigan was finished and I got so intent on finishing that by Sunday afternoon, I was down to the end. I had my skein of yarn in my knitting bag and was knitting so fast and I proudly announced to Chris that the next row was the shoulder bind-off and then the end of the yarn came up out of my bag. Before I got to the bind-off row. I ran out of yarn. Grrrr. Since I haven't found this particular yarn anywhere by JoAnn's and that's on the other side of town, I gave up. I heaved a great sigh and decided to cheer myself up by playing with the new yarn I'd bought on Saturday. Also, I'm out of elastic and waiting for pay day. Otherwise, I might have made another shirt or something.
Here's a couple of my happy knitty things:

Of course, they are only close-ups, since some of them are going out to some of you. Or all of them. Or whatever. We shall try to maintain a facade of mystery. What shall we call them? Oatmeal and Rain? That's what they make me think of when I knit them....and those are some of my very favorite things. So, they are bringing me bliss after bliss.
Here's Emma in a skirt and shirt I made. I hadn't intended for them to be an outfit, exactly, thinking that it might be calico overload, but since the shirt fabric was also in the skirt, she put them together on her own and felt fabulous. The skirt will get a little lace trim around the main ruffle's seam. I sewed it in white thread, which was all I had at the moment, and I just wanted to makesomethingnow, so we made do. I usually make do and cover the consequences later. Hm. That could be some deep insight there.....but let's pretend it isn't.

Anyway, the weather has been so lovely and I heard an old CCR song on my way home that summed it up:
"Bother me tomorrow. Today I'll buy no sorrow. Doo Doo Doo Lookin' out my back door."

DAILY BLISS: helping Emma pick out her first music purchases and pancakes for supper

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Little Venom

DISCLAIMER: I try to keep my fingers out of controversy here on the ol' blog for the most part. This is a place for me to just jot down what I'm thinking about and share my life and pursuit of happiness with you. But an event this weekend has prompted me to blow off some steam. If hot-button topics and religion make you queasy, just skip down to the part of the page that says, "DAILY BLISS." I will not be offended and I don't really want to offend you either. Please bear in mind that I will be spewing some venom. And what I have to say is probably offensive. That happens to me all the time. And after I have said it, I will probably feel much better and say much softer things about it.
Hokay. So, a little background information: my mom has made the decision to return to the denomination in which she was raised. She and dad knew it was time to move on from their worship community some months ago, and while they have been in fellowship with other believers, they have not found a church that feels like home. My grandparents, my mom's parents, live here and attend said church, and this seemed like the right time for her to please their hearts and worship with her parents, which has not happened in, oh....decades (aside from an Easter service or Christmas Eve here or there).
There are doctrinal points that my parents disagree with in this denomination, and that is the reason my dad will attend with my mom, but will not "sign up" as it were. These are some hot-button, widely-debated-within-the-church issues. And these are issues that are seldom discussed in a traditional denomination such as this one. Nonetheless, these are carefully and prayerfully considered stands that my folks have taken.
At any rate, mom was approached in the lobby by, shall we say, a junior member of the pastoral staff of this very large church. "How long have you been attending?" She answered and he noted that he had been preaching that day. On this very specific hot-button point of doctrinal disagreement, by the way. He offered a conversation opener about needing to bring the church up to speed with true and right teaching regarding this topic. Mom stated that she actually did not agree with the church's stance on this. At this point, Overzealous Recent Seminary Grad launched into a verbal attack. One might call it an argument if one were being extra-polite, but I'm not feeling so inclined. Of course, mom backed off, not exactly thrilled to engage in an argumentative conversation in such a public arena. Foolish New Pastor actually followed her across the lobby (narthex if we want to be traditional about it) to where she stood with her parents, foisting upon her the literature he had grabbed and continuing to argue.
My point is that, this man, the face of the church, attacked a new attender over a hot-button, controversial issue in the middle of the church lobby on a Sunday morning right before church started. But beyond that, this man was very friendly and welcoming and warm when he thought he was about to indoctrinate a neophyte with the Truth. The Silly Zealot picked the wrong new member. Not only is she familiar with the doctrine he was pushing, but she hails from a family that has produced more pastors per capita in that denomination than just about any other. Uncles, Brothers, Great-Uncles, Second Cousins - all of them seminary grads and prominent members of this denomination. Making the decision to leave that denomination was not taken lightly and she and my dad had to have pretty good reasons to do so and not be excommunicated. Families do not normally excommunicate, but considering the ratio of pastors to laity in this one, I think that's a fair use of the word.
She can Stand Her Ground, is all I'm saying.
I don't have a problem with debate within the church. Scripture can be like a Rorschach inkblot. Two people can be looking at the exact same thing and see two completely different things. There are a few basic tenets that define someone as a Christian. They are pretty much wrapped up into the Apostles' Creed. Beyond that, I don't see how a section of the church can claim to have cornered the market on absolute truth and have the audacity to claim that these things constitute provisos and conditions to salvation. If you want to argue for a 100% literal interpretation of Scripture, you've pretty much got to throw out Jesus' parables. He spoke in allegory. I'd venture that the Father probably does too.
But before I end up with a new topic like that, let me state that what I do have a problem with is believers, particularly pastors, mowing people down over perfectly debatable viewpoints. This pastor had never spoken with my mom before. He had no idea where her relationship was with the Lord. What if she was a new believer? What if she had just come out of an unhealthy church community with a controlling pastor? I'm certainly glad that wasn't the case. But situations like this happen all the time. I haven't met an ardent non-believer yet who doesn't have a horror story of their own interaction with a Christian. These are the things that make me hesitant to talk about my faith. If someone asks me whether I'm religious, I will usually squeak out, "Yes. I'm a Christian. But please don't judge me." Hopefully, they've been around me long enough by then that they know better.
If you have bothered to read this all the way through, thanks for listening. And please don't take me too seriously. Heaven knows that I don't.

DAILY BLISS: a new magazine in the mail, fresh strawberries and pigtails

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Happy Saturday

I am happy to report that the Curse of the Unfished Objects has lifted and things are now back to (relative) normal. I am still a little bit obsessed with the sewing stuff. I have now made another shirt, a skirt and a dress for Emma. With each one, I've learned a little something that makes the next thing better. With any luck and a little more practice, her summer wardrobe will pass from the homemade category into the handmade category. Until then, she feels beautiful because of cute fabrics and ruffles....and she doesn't know about crooked seams and wonky ruffles. So, that's good.
I found another victim of my curse, though. I picked up the cardigan to knit sometime on Thursday and noticed that the new skein I had joined in was not, in fact, the same red yarn. It was just different enough that I only noticed it in the daylight, after I had knit a good inch and a half (which is a lot, when we're talking about 136 stitches per row) in the wrong red. Ugh. But, I rip-rip-ripped it back to the join and picked up the stitches without incident. I am now on the very last bit of sleeve. Four and a half more inches to go, people! The end is in sight! Of course, we will ignore the fact that finishing up will need to be done to the tune of ends being woven in, an i-cord loop made for the giant button at the top, the pockets sewn in and an edge picked up and knitted around the neckline. And a couple of those are things I don't know how to do yet. But the curse is lifted, I should be fine.....
Oh. And the bubble bath as a complete bust. Not even foamy.
I got my hair done today. That's always just the thing. I had lost a lot of hair with all the weird health and diet changes I've been through over the last year and all the medicine I've taken and stopped taking. When I got my last haircut at Christmas, my hair guy said it wasn't very noticeable, but this time he noticed it. The good news there? It's stopped coming out and it's now growing back. But, I had him chop a lot of length off so that the bottom wasn't so thin and so that all the fuzzy new hairs sticking out of the top of my head would be less noticeable. So....

(nervously) Do you like it?

The other fun thing about hair day? It's also yarn day. Because the closest real yarn store is just a few blocks from the salon! Yay! What was going to be a yarn run for Mary's pay-if-forward object turned into one for Allison's object, due to an unforseen and wildly distracting clearance yarn bin. They had carefully baited the trap with precisely the yarn I had in mind. So...I can be flexible. And I can't wait to start on a new project!
Rounding out the day nicely was the blustery, chilly weather. This is so unexpected at this time of year and quite delightful. I am always happy to have a cardigan-worthy day, especially since I found a cute, hoodie cardigan on clearance for $6!! Woo Hoo!

DAILY BLISS: long, husband-y hugs and jasmine tea

Thursday, March 6, 2008


So, um, hi.
I'm going a little crazy.
Things have been a little hectic.
I found myself laying on my painted concrete floor, stitch ripper in hand, bleeding where I'd already stuck myself, and crying just a little bit. That was right after I shoved a spoonful of Nesquick powder in my mouth, for lack of any real chocolate in the house. Then I wondered if I might be actually losing it.
The dress I was making should have been yet another quick, painless stress reliever for me. Something I could conquer. Something I could say I'd finished that day - a day when nothing else had been finished, properly or otherwise. Well, it was the second or third or something day in a row like that.
Instead, the cosmic state of calamity that is following me around overtook my stress relief project and made things even worse.
Things seem to be quieter today, which is good. I'm sitting at my desk and having a deep breath.
So, no trip to the looney bin for me. Not today, anyway.
In nicer news, Drew was in a musical on Tuesday. He had so wanted a speaking part, but got placed in the choir. This brilliant casting move revealed to me that his natural sense of pitch was needed more than his untested, but fabulous-I'm-sure, acting chops. My boy! His chess and logic skills definitely come from his dad, but it's nice to know that my genes are indeed part of the final product that is this fine young man. Here he is passing out programs:

All is not lost. I will conquer that little dress. I will make more progress on the cardigan. I will enjoy some "me" time with the bubble bath I made. It may not all happen today, but it will happen soon. And if all else fails, I'm getting my hair done on Saturday. Maybe a trip to the yarn is on the way there after all....

DAILY BLISS: Orange blossoms!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Instant Craftification (or: I can stop whenever I want)

Just one more. I already had the fabric. It was a super-easy one.
Somehow, between 5:00 and now, I managed to supervise homework, get dinner on the table, clean out Emma's shirt drawer, and make this:

I'll make it a little longer next time and give a little bit more room in the armpits, but all in all, it's not bad for a first shot. And I love it, and the recipient is very happy.

I still think I might add some pockets. I do love pockets, and little girls need places to put things. The pockets would be in that peachy polka-dot pattern.
On another note, though not entirely different, today is Monday and that means I got my all-to-myself hour again. And I went to my favorite spot by Lake Mirror. Here's my lap with the cardigan-in-progress and my gorgeous-o knitting bag, and also the view across the lake of my favorite mystery zone (I've always wanted to go exploring behind those gates):

And while all of this crafting has been going on, some wee little birds have been busy creating a nest in my laundry room. My laundry room is basically part of the carport with walls built around it. The walls don't go all the way to the ceiling in some places. So, the little birds fly in through the rafters (if they qualify as such, which I doubt) sometimes. This particular pair seems to have found a cozy spot between our utility box and some old jewel cases.

DAILY BLISS: coq au vin in the crock pot - genius! and the square of 85% cocoa chocolate I'm about to eat....can it qualify if it hasn't happened yet? I guess I make the rules here. So it does.

Falling off the Wagon

I have been so good about my priorities. I'm sure that is evidenced by the lack of substantive posts here. I have been focused on the kids' homework and housekeeping (to a point - let's not get crazy here) and responsibility. Those are very difficult things for me to focus on.
But I fell off the wagon this weekend. I ran across the Portabello Pixie blog. Her children's clothes are fabulous! But you know what's even better? She has a tutorial on her page. About shirring. And about how you can toss together adorable children's clothing, on a whim, completely patternless. That's how I like things. Don't bother me with instructions and preparations. Just tell me how it works and let me jump in!
So, I made a trip to Hancock's (because it's closer than JoAnn's) and grabbed a couple yards of cute cotton and some fat quarters, too, for good measure. And when I got home, I thought that maybe I should do a practice run with something before I cut into fabric I actually bought. Hmm.....a sheet will do just fine. It's cotton, right? And what's one more mate-less fitted sheet?
So, here's my practice shirt. Bear in mind that I am SO not a seamstress. I can barely sew a straight line. You will notice, I'm sure, that the shirring is shorter on one side of the seam than the other. However, the shirt was declared "fabulous" and worn all day long.

So, on to my first attempt at the real deal. I learned a few things with the practice shirt. My shirring was much more even this time. But the ruffles took forever. I read somewhere that ruffles should start out at 2.5 times the length of the skirt. In retrospect, that was way too much. But I wanted this to be a quick and simple deal (ha!), so I'll change that for next time. And the dress was longer than I anticipated. And the pocket that I completely made up is pretty sloppy. But the dress was declared "magnificent" as it was when I suggested shortening it a bit. So it will stay as-is. And it was worn the rest of the evening.

I have to say, I love this glamour pose, complete with Fruit Punch Lips:

I also made an attempt at a bubble bath recipe I found. I don't think I like it. I'm trying to find something new for the whole Kiki's Suds thing.
And, much knitting was done on the Mom Cardigan. I'm up to the under-arm increases on the last front panel. Almost there! She tried it on last weekend, in all of its one-armed glory, and it actually fits. So, that has given me reason to go on as far as the sweater is concerned. However, it will be a long time before I do another sweater. I'm much more into instant gratification with crafts. Could we call that instant craftification?
I suppose I will have to get back to life now that it's Monday. But it started off all wrong. Emma lost a shoe. But it's possible that Daddy or I threw it away when we cleaned up her room this weekend. You can't send kids to school in just any kind of shoe, though. They have to wear sneakers of a certain type, due to P.E. regulations. Very strict. So I had to run to Target and pick up some new sneaks for her this morning. We were all just late, late, late and that throws everything off. It does not help that I now have a new crafty trick on my mind. And I can't stop designing dresses and shirts and skirts for Emma. It's like when you first learn how to play Tetris. Remember? Once you understand how the puzzle works, all you can see when you close your eyes are little pieces falling into their correspondingly-shaped holes.
I. Must. Focus.
Get. Back. In. the Saddle.