Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Little Game

There's this beautiful photo blog I stumbled upon last week and I've been meaning to add it to my sidebar. Last week, the author proposed a little game. She'd been watching Amelie, one of my favorite movies, and loves the part at the beginning where the narrator introduces new characters, listing a thing or two that they love (aime) and that they do not love (n'aime pas). This little quirk of storytelling is my absolute favorite thing about the movie.
She asked her readers to play along with the same game, listing several things that they love and that they do not love - but they must all be small things. For examples from the movie, you can check out this post on La Porte Rouge.
I'm a little shy about leaving comments for people I don't know, and by the time I thought I might go ahead and do it, well, it was kind of late to jump in, you know? But I want to play the game anyway. And I hope you'll play it too. Would you, ever so kindly, drop me a comment (even if you're a silly, shy lurker like me)? Tell me some tiny little things that you love and a few that you don't. Five of each, maybe?
I'll go first.

Christy n'aime pas
stiff bubble gum
cracking toe knuckles
commas in wrong places
Neil Diamond
animal movies

Christy aime
surprise kisses
air conditioner smell
chipmunks with stuffed cheeks
knitting with alpaca yarn
coconut milk in my bath

Daily Bliss: reading to my kids while it rained and thundered outside of our little cottage
Wake-up Playlist: The Silver Seas, An Infinite Number of Monkeys

Monday, June 29, 2009


I have been a busy, busy little buzzy bee over here. I've been finishing projects and starting new ones and have taken no time whatever to tell you about things or to take decent photos.
Max's blankie is done (my new little nephew in Indiana). That sucker is big! I had no idea how big it was until I started binding it off and it was coming off the needles. It's big enough to be a watching-tv-on-the-sofa blankie for me!
I'm really pleased with it, though. Here's the blanket and my silly puppy wishing she could sit on it.

I've also gotten hold of the irresistible notion to make a sundress wardrobe for Emma and myself, as we are heading off to an artist's retreat weekend at the end of July. I have a sneaking suspicion I've mentioned it before, but I don't want to check to see whether I did. What that means, really, is not as fancy as it sounds, but it will be so perfect for us. We are going to visit my friend Allison who has a bit of property a little ways south of us. She's a writer and a kindred creative soul. And the three of us girls will paint and write and draw and generally just be artists for the weekend.
Don't you think that calls for a wardrobe of simple sundresses? Well, I sure do.
I made two for Emma over the weekend and one for myself. There should be three outfits total for each of us, plus a fabulous ruffle bag! Pictures and links will follow to be sure.
The only dress I have photos of is the one I finished for myself. I made Poor Chris try and take pictures of me tonight in the dark house. He really hates it when I ask him to take pictures of me. Mostly because, even though his pictures sometimes turn out okay, I am entirely too vain to post pictures of myself that are not flattering (read: shave off 20 pounds and add four inches of height to my frame). But, as I have little else to offer you in the way of proof-of-crafting, here are some blurry, dark photos of me in my super-cute dress. You can't even see how pretty the fabric is! It's a lovely blue and purple calico-ish floral print. And, it has pockets (which I will place higher up next time. oh well.)!

It's the Mendocino Sundress pattern by Heather Ross and it's simple and fabulous - and free! The shirring on the top is done with elastic thread in the bobbin case and it's super-easy. I do it lots of it on stuff for Emma, but it's rather tedious on a grown-up-sized dress. I do like this dress enough, though, to do it again! I hope it will be soon. I could simply live in this dress all summer long.
The kerchief is on my head, not as a fashionable accessory, but because my hair is pretty dirty. When I have a project I am focused on, I have little ability to focus on anything else, and that certainly is holding true with this silly sundress wardrobe idea! I can't seem to make my head be where it needs to be.
But that is nothing new. It will pass.
Coming soon: a red gingham dress for me and the first skirt Emma has sewn for herself!

Daily Bliss: bubble gum
Wake-Up Playlist: The Silver Seas, High Society

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tea & Knits

It's been a full day.
Emma had her Rock Band Camp concert this morning. She did so well. I have high hopes that her stage fright issues will be overcome with time. This was a nearly all-girl camp, so their band was called the Music Magicians. They played Twist & Shout, Surfin' USA and an original composition called My Life and they were all so cute. One of the instructors told my mom earlier this week that they'd never seen anything like Andrew...until they met Emma. I'm pretty much glowing with pride right now.
Lots of small projects are afoot here, including several summer dresses for Emma and myself that should be simple and breezy and ready for use by the end of July. There will be pictures as they roll out from under the needle.
And I have a few personal projects - some new directions I'm thinking of taking. If they come to pass, you'll be the first to know. One thing I've been considering is returning to the piano - she and I have something of an on-again, off-again, tempestuous relationship. But I've been thinking a lot about why I let it go when I was younger and why I haven't followed through on the handful of chances I've been offered to pick it back up. And maybe, I've been thinking, I owe it to myself to take one more stab at it, just for a little while, to see if I really was any good and to see if there's anything left in my fingers that's worth salvaging. My mom and dad have granted me six months of piano lessons as a birthday present, and when they told me about it, I cried. I am rather terrified to jump back in, though. This is something that I definitely want, so it is something that definitely brings out my preternatural fear of failure. Probably, there will be more to say on that later, once I get started or at least once it isn't late at night and I'm sleepy.

I attended knitting night tonight, which was hosted, for the first time ever, by someone other than me.

I don't mind hosting. In fact, I rather like it. But it was nice to have a break this time and just show up with my bag o'yarn + sticks and not even have to make the cookies. Consequently, Nephew Blankie is nearly done. I have high hopes that it will be finished tomorrow.

Daily Bliss: Dipping an Earl Grey Tea cookie into my Earl Grey Tea. A full-circle moment to be sure, at least in the life of that cookie.

Wake-up Playlist: Muse, Thoughts of a Dying Atheist (shaking my head over that one)

Thursday, June 25, 2009


All but one of the bulbs in my bathroom chandelier have burned out in recent weeks. I have really loved the effect, though, of the one bulb casting a huge chandelier shadow across the ceiling, unfolding down the wall.

I took a bath the other night, just so that I could enjoy it fully.
Emma is feeling much better and things are back to normal around here. Well, I suppose "normal" is kind of relative. I should say instead that life has returned to our own special brand of normal around here.

Daily Bliss: (Actually, this was yesterday, but...) a surprise visit from a good friend who came to share a cup of coffee and a bit of good conversation.

Wake-Up Playlist: None. But Thank You Too! by My Morning Jacket has been in my head much of the day

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just Tuesday

Hi everybody. It's just Tuesday around here today.
We're expecting a visit from our Pest Control Inspector.
I've been knitting a bit.

And later tonight, into early tomorrow, we'll be taking in the opening show of the new Transformers movie. Emma will be sleeping at Grandma's house while I am caught in what is sure to be a swarm of aimless, testosterone-driven semi-adolescents. But it should be lots of fun. I really like boys.

Daily Bliss: vegan key lime pie for breakfast and a drizzling, rainy afternoon
Wake-up Playlist: Muse, Hoodoo

Monday, June 22, 2009


I was trying to clean up my house a little bit this afternoon because our annual pest control inspection is tomorrow. We, of course, don't want the pest control company to know that we do anything that might attract little buggies, so we quickly clean up the evidence and whistle to ourselves while the expert walks around our house.
When I was working in the kitchen, I was struck that the contents of my counter top were so random that it was a little funny. I like to keep the things I need quick access to out in plain sight (Chris likes them all to be put away regardless of how present the need is, but that's for another post). I don't know if this is true for anyone else, but it would seem that the contents of my counter reveal the state of my life at the moment.

And so I give you fever-controlling implements and congestion prevention, aloe for sunburns, lemons that were zested for muffins, oranges that Emma picked at the fruit stand, a green jalapeno pepper that has sat so long on the counter it turned red and some bubble soap that Emma made from a recipe in one of her books. I don't know why there's a marble in it.
Need I say more?

Daily Bliss: leftover watermelon lemonade
Wake-up Playlist: Kings of Leon, Arizona

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Oh my, what a day! Two special days at once - Fathers' Day and the Summer Solstice! As a girl who likes to celebrate, I can say that two celebrations at once is double the fun.
But it's also double the work.
Last night, I was up until the wee hours making preparations. There was baking and pureeing and brewing and slicing and sewing to be done and I had a mind to just dig in and have fun with it.
For all but our very first solstice beach trips, we have just gone over to the Gulf Coast to catch the sunset and maybe have a picnic and some ice cream if we were lucky. We've been talking for a couple of years about heading over to the Atlantic for the sunrise instead. And even though we didn't end up staying overnight as we had initially planned, we had the fun of waking up at 3:00 AM to pack kids and beach gear and foodstuffs into the car. And I don't really mean that sarcastically. There is something hushed and exciting about waking up in the early dark hours in preparation for something really fun.
And all was going well until Emma, well, I'll just come out and say it - Emma threw up. All over her floor.
But don't fear. She often will do that as she's getting rid of some kind of virus. It's like her body's way of giving germs a final heave-ho (haha!). So, we made the call to stick with our plans and head for the beach.
We arrived just in time for the sunrise, even though the actual sun was obscured by heavy mists and clouds.

No matter. We had vegan blueberry muffins (ohmygooness! very tasty!) and coconut lattes ready for breakfast. That's all the sunshine you need!

We really enjoyed watching all the ghost crabs dig their holes. They're so funny, climbing out sideways with claws full of sand that they throw as far as they can. There was a really big one right by our beach quilt and we named him Mongo. He and another dude of similar size had a bit of territory dispute at various points in the morning, but no harm, no foul. All was well and they each retreated to their own holes.

We all took many shell-hunting expeditions up and down the shore.

The Solstice is the only day of the year that I really let my kids bring home shells - otherwise we'd have a house full of them by now. We set them, with a bit of sand from their beach, into a glass milk jar and display all the jars from all the previous years together. There were so many to choose from! Emma and I particularly liked finding the ones with holes in them as we could imagine turning them into various articles of jewelry. We brought home plenty of those, so look for jewelery-crafting posts coming soon!

Being a knitter, though, I like to think in colorways, or the particular color schemes of a dyed batch of yarn. There were two that stood out as the most prized colorways this year and we named them after the treats they made us crave.
Behold, Toffee Cream:
(the top two were my favorites)

And Raspberries & Cream.

In what would have been a romantic and fitting conclusion to such a life, we nearly lost Emma to the sea. She was playing in the waves with Daddy, was unwittingly overtaken and knocked clean off her feet by a wave. Chris grabbed her by the ankle just in time to rescue her. Though she survived (and was hardly in any danger, really), she did find that she was far more connected with the shore than she was before The Incident.

Once we all grew too hot and tired to continue our revelry, we showered off (especially Emma, whose swimsuit bottom was positively drooping with sand) and drove home, enjoying the watermelon lemonade that I'd made the night before. It's not summer without lemonade, right?

You really do need to try this recipe. It makes a mess in your kitchen, but it's really worthwhile. The recipe calls for frozen lemonade concentrate, but I couldn't find any without corn syrup in it, so I had to make my own. It was easy peasy. Just reconstitute the homemade concentrate by mixing equal parts watermelon juice and concentrate. This won rave reviews in the car.

After we all showered at home (with soap!), we headed over to my mom and dad's house for a Fathers' Day lupper (that's a lunch/supper because we ate right in between the appropriate times for either meal). A mess of Mexican stuff was served and I provided my famous salsa and, of course, dessert. My baby brother's going to be a daddy this year, so I prepared a favorite of his - authentic key lime pie. This recipe was also a big winner, but go ahead and make it with two cans of sweetened condensed milk and 3/4 c. key lime juice. It's so worth it! It was really easy to put together. So easy that I'm afraid to share it with you. Once you see how easy it is to make your own key lime pie, you might not invite me over under the pretense of serving me dinner just so that I might bring one of my homemade key lime pies. Not that I was envisioning ingratiating myself to my circle of friends with this recipe...
Also for my little brother's first Fathers' Day, I made him a little somethin'. My brother has a problem with changing diapers. He has a really strong aversion to, um, excrement of any sort. So I made him these little Pee Pee Teepees. If you can't figure out how they work (on a little boy), email me and I'll explain a few facts of life to you.

I found a really easy tutorial online and once I made sense of it, they came together very nicely. It's a great little boy baby shower gift. (Dang. I was going to link to it, but I can't find it right now. I'll edit it later to add the link if I can dig it up.)
So, if you're counting, yesterday I made:
Lemonade concentrate, watermelon lemonade, vegan blueberry muffins, three key lime pies (one vegan for me!), eight pee pee teepees, coconut lattes, and salsa.

I could not have done it without the help of my friend, my partner, my stability, my husband. He's the one that runs around behind me, cleaning up the messes I make and ensuring that the children are as safe as possible, regardless of what I entice them to do. I was teasing him yesterday about being so predictable in his behavior patterns and he said to me, "Honey...but...stability is the spice of life!" I laughed so hard I nearly fell off the bed. In truth, he and I are so opposite, but that's how we find our balance.

And if you made it all the way through this post, you are probably as tired as I am.
Good night!

Daily Bliss: with a day like this, who can pick a favorite happy thing!
Wake-up Playlist: Kings of Leon, Notion & Missy Higgins, Where I Stood

Friday, June 19, 2009

Little Things

Posting has been less-than-inspired lately, hasn't it? Well, at least I think it has been. I feel like there have hardly been any good stories at all. So, I decided to pick up my camera and seek out something interesting and I hope to make it a daily habit. Of course, in picking it up and trying to learn more about it, I was messing with my ISO settings yesterday and forgot to re-set them today. I took lots of pictures today and was disappointed to find them all rather grainy. Terribly sorry. But, still, here are some small things that made my day more interesting:

This Little Miss Spider lives at my place of employment. My friend Katelyn and I were very impressed with her eye-catching web stitchery and we have researched and determined that she must be a St. Andrew's Cross spider. I sat down with her this morning for a little chat on the sidewalk. It's a good thing nobody saw me, I guess. I don't know anybody else that talks to spiders.

Driving home from work, I got stuck behind this guy:

I suppose I shouldn't have photographed while driving, but it was so great, so perfectly indicative of the local culture that it could not be helped. I was on a mission to find interesting things and I thought this was interesting. I was actually thinking about that tire on there and how, next time I buy a watermelon, I'm going to wash it really well before I cut it. Also, I was listening to Van Morrison, which made me think of Mary, who had that most famous song of his played at her wedding. That was also great.

We spent quite a bit of time outside, trying to clean up the garden spaces. Our inexperience and yesterday's storms had left quite a mess. Our squash are being ravaged by squash bugs (they already took out my jack-be-little pumpkin and possibly my watermelon and cucumbers), which are awfully hard to get with pesticides once they have already bored into your vines, so we were hunting them manually, the kids and I, while Chris stirred the compost pile (ew!) and planted a second grouping of sweet potato slips.
After we were all itchy, all the way through, from various bugs and grasses, I sent Emma in to shower first, since she is still recovering from her fever (it's a little better, thank you). As I waited around for Chris to grab the post-hole digger, kind of toeing around in the dirt, and I found a little treasure:

Now, there is knitting ahead of me this evening, and online entertainment courtesy of a friend who heard my plea (we still haven't picked up that TV converter box...)and sent me some very nice links to some favorite shows and stuff. But before I go, I must brag a bit. One other not-so-very-small thing came my way today. A picture of my brother's table. Gaze upon it in wonder and astonishment,

for he made it himself, in all of its modern-yet-warm, sleek-yet-home-y, design-perfection glory. My middle brother made this with his own two hands. It is so very nice to know that I'm not the only one in the family that makes things. I am so impressed - I begged him to let me blog about it.
And he said yes.
So I did.

Daily Bliss: dirt under my fingernails and a few more fresh tomatoes
Wake-up Playlist: Wheat, Some Days

Found it!

I found my little USB cable or whatever you call those things. Here's the hail on my porch from yesterday!

And also...(please forgive the "noise" and overall bad quality of the photo, I was experimenting with my ISO to see if it would help me take better indoor pictures) here's what my afternoon looked like:

Digging through my magazine stash to salvage what I want to keep before I recycle a bunch of them. I was thrilled to find out that the science club at Emma's school gets all the proceeds from the recycling bins to use toward their state-award-winning garden projects! Now there's something I can support! Anyway, Puppy Pupperson wanted to have my attention so she put herself between me and the Evil Reading Material. I do love that sweet little face.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hail and Fevers

I had pictures to share with you today, but I can't find my camera cable. Boo hoo. So, if I ever again figure out a way to get my pictures from the device to my computer, you will be the first to know.
Pictures of what, you ask?
Oh, just of our little miniature hurricane from this afternoon. No biggie.

I had a hard time sleeping last night, due to a late-night overdose of caffeine. So, it was really hard to roll out of bed this morning. Have I ever really confessed that that's exactly what happens? It's rather pathetic. My honey makes the coffee and gently shakes me. I ask for five more minutes. He grants it and then calls me again. Often, he will even turn down the covers and stand there to offer help because it really is that bad. I sort of roll over to my stomach and slide my first leg over the side of the mattress. Then the weight of that first leg sort of tugs the rest of me toward the floor, since my bed is high up off the ground and, you know, gravity and stuff.
So anyway, I rolled out of bed this morning with more difficulty than usual. I made it to work and my boss had taken the day off, so there was much knitting at my desk today. Plus, I raided the youth group's candy stash, so there were jawbreakers too. It was a nice, non-accomplishing day at work, followed by billing frustration at Emma's school. I spent the better part of my evening trying to unravel that mess, but I think it comes down to having been charged twice for science club in April and twice in May. I think. Plus, well, maybe plus, a check, that never cleared, so they must have lost it. Yeesh.
But this afternoon, in between the difficulties, Andrew and I popped some popcorn and sat outside waiting for the storm that had been promised. There had been warnings all day and you could just feel the energy crackling in the air. The wind whipped around in all sorts of directions - not nearly as organized as most afternoon storms. Tree branches fell and our legs were soaked with rain so quickly, as it came onto the porch nearly sideways! So we retreated indoors, only to hear a crack of really close thunder, followed by several smaller cracks. Those made me nervous until I figured out that it was hail. Oh, I scrambled for my camera faster than you can imagine! We enjoyed the premature darkness and the sound of the hail pelting our roof. Then we went to pick up Emma from painting camp, only to discover that she wasn't feeling well.
Once we were home, I popped our thermometer under her tongue and her eyes widened with anticipation of the great drama that was sure to unfold presently. We discovered she was running an impressive fever, so that cancelled out any other plans we had for the evening. And she made sure that we were all duly impressed by her fever - how, surely, no one would want to sit in her spot on the couch since she'd been sitting there while she had a fever, and how it was tragic that she couldn't fully enjoy the rainy afternoon due to her fever, and how her dinner was not palatable due to her fever, yet somehow, popsicles seemed to be just the trick. Other than a headache, she's pretty much asymptomatic, which is almost scarier, if you know what I mean, moms. I'm hoping it's just one of those random things that passes by morning. I'll let you know if it's really as dire as she believes it to be.

Daily Bliss: laughing so hard that I nearly peed my pants, and nephew blankie progress
Wake-up Playlist: Nada. Nothing at all in my overtired head this morning. At least not that I recall...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Slice of Today

Remember that apricot tart I made over and over last summer? Well, apricots are back in (insert opera-singing voice) sea-son!
So, guess what we're having for dinner tonight? Oh yes. Yes we did. Apricot tart and ice cream! I figured, why not just skip the mess and extra calories of supper and go straight for the decadence?
It is really hot here today. This time of year begins the long season during which I hate living in Florida. My car told me it was 99 degrees outside and the bank said it was 104. Sheesh. And no rain in sight just yet. Our afternoon showers have been sporatic at best. We had such a hot, dry spring, then a couple of weeks of rain, rain, glorious rain, and now we're back to nothin'. Wish it would just make up its mind.
The kids are continuing their instrument lessons over the summer, so the afternoon brought an hour to me of listening in amazement to my kids. It's so brilliant that they can actually do stuff. I mean, when they are babies, it's so hard to imagine what they'll be, what they'll do. But as they grow, you just have to stand back and take it in sometimes because they really are people, in their own right, with talents and abilities. And they do stuff - even without your help!

Daily Bliss: a cool cotton tunic, made by me of course
Wake-up Playlist: Jars of Clay, Two Hands

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm Good!

I love that guy phrase - you know, when they fall down or get hurt or something and they holler out, "I'm good!" I saw that on a Pepsi commercial recently. I laughed a lot at it because it's really true.
So I feel like I ought to holler out at you all that I'm good. You know, I didn't hurt myself or anything, I just haven't had a lot to say this past week or so.
Summer is rolling along.
We haven't bothered to get our TV converter box yet and we don't have cable, so we're outta luck on TV. I'd like to be in a store and state loudly and self-righteously that we don't watch TV in order to make people think that we are that kind of family. Does it really matter why we're not watching TV?
That lack has made for some interesting entertainment choices, though. We've really been digging to the bottom of our DVD collection to find something to watch in the evenings (not that we watch something every evening...). I tend not to enjoy watching things twice, so it's getting hard to find something entertaining in the cabinet. Last night, we watched the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers while I knitted on that baby blanket (sorry, Melanie, that this blanket is taking so long! I don't know why!). Chris grew up on that kind of stuff, but I didn't, so it's fun for me to see those campy sci-fi movies. Only, this one was actually good. Bonus! Plus, Kevin McCarthy, the leading man, was in UHF, which is one of the few movies I've seen multiple times. I know. I'm not normal.

I made spaghetti bolognese for dinner tonight. It's really a simple meat sauce recipe that somebody gave me - the photocopy looked like it was originally from a box of spaghetti noodles. It is such a favorite in this house and I think you should try it if you don't already have a sauce recipe of your own. My husband came home from work and I was cooking (listening to my iPod - The Silver Seas' High Society album is really happy indie pop stuff). He lifted the lids on the pots, you know, just to check. He was so happy about what was in there that he started making out with me right then and there! So, ahem,I highly recommend it.
Just brown a chopped-up onion with a pound of ground beef and a clove of garlic. Add parsley flakes, dried basil and oregano to taste - oh, and salt and pepper of course - and pour in a large can of tomato puree. That's all! Man-pleasin' dinner is what that is. Trust me.
I did a little knitting and a little sewing too. There are a few new projects listed over on the side bar, if you haven't noticed. The nephew pants are kind of a consolation prize because I haven't finished Max's blanket yet. Only, they were meant to be cute little matching pants for my Indiana nephews and somehow they are becoming pants with monogram-appliqued t-shirts and maybe some sun hats. But I might nix the sun hats because I don't have enough fabric. We shall see. I always do complicate things.
My sewing was interrupted by a stiff breeze outside that could almost be called a real Wind. I headed out to the porch in the dark and took that in for a while, until I got some dust in my eyes.
I guess you could say that things are happening, lists items are being scratched off and...you know, I'm good.

Daily Bliss: Choxie (chocolate) - bought with coupons!
Wake-up Playlist: Eric Claipton, After Midnight

Monday, June 15, 2009


The weekend has passed and I have nothing to show for it but a couple of naps and a clean(ish) house. Further proof that cleanliness and order are the natural predators of creativity and fun.

Daily Bliss: berry-red, kitten-heeled mary jane shoes
Wake-up Playlist: Iron and Wine, Resurrection Fern

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Clearing Out

Ever need to just clear our your head? I sure do.
You know how I got a new notebook? How I've been just dumping lists and thoughts into it?
Some of them were things I didn't want to keep anymore.

Sometimes, you have to let go of things - things you've outgrown, hopes that don't line up with who you are anymore, thoughts that go against who you want to be.

So I thought this seemed like a good way to do it.

Cleaning my house out today too. I'm on a roll!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Best Part

In all of my fuss and pouting yesterday, I forgot to mention the most wonderful news of all! It's the reason we were out having dinner and the reason we even had ice cream afterward.
Mindy and Joe found out they are having a boy! I'm so thrilled! I adore that little one so much already and have so many, many little things I want to make for him. Not the least of which being a vintage cowboy-themed baby shower. And a little tiny knitted sweater. And a linen kimono. And knitted booties. Oh - and burp cloths and blankies. And?
I can't wait to kiss his sweet little baby head, by which I mean I can't wait to smell his sweet little baby head. Nothing in the world smells like a fresh baby's head. Nothing. I told my dad that I never knew getting a baby that wasn't my own could be so exciting. My brother's gonna be a Papa!
Having a chick flick night to myself - Chris gets back into town tomorrow night. Of course, it will be wonderful to have him back, but I do enjoy a night to myself now and again.

Daily Bliss: Andrew's "rock band" performance today at the end of his week-long rock band camp. those kiddos were all so amazing!
Wake-Up Playlist: My Morning Jacket, Librarian

Thursday, June 11, 2009


It would appear that the Perfect Nightie and I emptied too much of my brain into that notebook last night.
I locked myself out of the house today.
Chris is out of town and left me his keys and I've been trading out keys with Denise, who is watching the kiddos part of the week while I work. So, I walked out of the house, mindful that I needed to have Chris' key ring in hand because I had given Denise my house key. And I really thought I did have Chris' key ring. Only after I got back home with groceries (read: highly melty popsicles) did I realize that I had the wrong key ring.

I'll pause here until you all are finished snickering.

I could make this a long story. You know I could. Turning nothings into long stories is kind of my specialty. But I don't feel like it. Just know that I ended up with both of my brothers at my house in the dark, after picking up the two possible extra keys in my family's junk drawers. Neither key worked. We had to break in - flashlights, putty knives and all. It's a good thing my middle brother is a little bit of a shifty character.

I broke into my own house.

Or, rather, my brothers broke into my house for me.

My children are sleeping at my mom's and I am feeling a little sorry for myself, all alone in my house. Hrmph. So, now that you all know my shame, I will wallow around in it until I decide to go to bed. But I will try to count my blessings first.

Daily Bliss: steak for dinner and Googling a weird bug with my son
Wake-Up Playlist: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Tijuana Taxi (it was bound to happen sometime)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At Least It's Something

You are looking at what is sure to be the bulk of our tomato harvest for this season.
I know. Sad, but true.

Apparently, I went all-out with tiny tomato varieties. What we have here are a few Super Sweets, Jelly Beans, Green Grapes and a Chocolate Cherry. The Chocolate Cherry one? Yum.

They're all pretty tasty, actually. I'll probably skip the green one next time around just because it's tough to tell when it's ripe, you know? It's green all the time.
We've had weird weather. The spring was super-dry and very hot and then, when the sky decided to let us have a bit of rain, it just let loose the heavens and poured and poured. So, we had trouble keeping everything from withering in the beginning and then we were beset with mold and mildew and stem rot and blights of all nature. I have read other experienced gardeners are having tomato trouble this year too, so that makes me feel a little bit better. All in all, we've had several good handfulls of tasty little tomatoes for munching and, well, it could be worse. We mightn't have had any. I don't exactly have a green thumb.
All is not lost. We have learned a lot this time around. We have a couple of summer veggies growing. The black-eyed peas are going gangbusters, but they're covered with aphids, I think. I'll have to address that this weekend. And we have a couple varieties of squash that are supposed to do well here in the summer and even a couple of supposedly warm-weather-friendly tomatoes. We shall see. But, come September, we will go for tomatoes again. And maybe, maybe, maybe we'll do better. Maybe we will have a bumper crop and I will make roasted tomatoes and dried tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and bruschetta and...
I'm probably getting ahead of myself. I tend to do that.

Hubby is out of town for the rest of the week. So, I have poured myself a crisp, sweet glass of Riesling to match my crisp, sweet new nightie. The nightie and I will be filling a brand new notebook full of thoughts in order to empty out my head.

Daily Bliss: knocking one more little sewing project off my list - a long-overdue birthday present

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


My head's been a little muddled for these past couple of weeks. It's not a headache, just a furry sort of feeling in the brain that renders me unable to concentrate or do anything meaningful. I've been having trouble making even the simplest of decisions. I'll be ready to start in on a project and then remember two or three others that need rather immediate attention and I just freeze up. I can't prioritize, so I can't accomplish, y'know?
I have long since lost my Paper Brain - the notebook where I empty out the lists and ideas that fill my head every day. And I decided today it was high time that I made a Good, Old-Fashioned List - a list of things I want and need to do this summer and into early fall. It seemed like there were three or four projects and chores in my head and those were the ones that were really fighting for attention. Boy was I wrong!

Within seventy-five seconds, I'd filled this notebook page entirely, plus a bit on the back!

Looks ominous, huh?

Actually, I feel a lot better now that I can see it all. When that page filled up so fast, I kind of stopped and thought, "Huh. Well. That explains it." And I was pretty relieved that that was it. So relieved, in fact, that I tackled Item Number One on the list. My Perfect Nightie.
It's done!
It's evening, so the photo-taking light was less than ideal, but you can see the main idea, right? Sky blue, sheer cotton with pretty, pretty pleats.

Oh, and lovely lace too! It's so newly-finished that you can still see the holes from my basting stitches over the pleats and even the disappearing fabric marker that I used to mark strap placement.

I used the pattern that I linked to yesterday, the Spring Ruffle Top. Only, I made it super-long, of course, I eliminated the sleeve ruffle (after much deliberation) and I cut the strap size in half (I was going to put lace on the straps, so I made them thin, but changed my mind later and left them plain). I had thought about putting a fat ruffle on the bottom, but I liked the simplicity of it so much this time around, I just hemmed it straight. Maybe next time there will be a ruffle. I'm quite sure there will be a next time.
Simple and so pretty!

Daily Bliss: sleeping in just a bit
Wake-Up Playlist: Ummm, I think it was David Crowder Band, Remedy

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Couple of Lies and Some Sewing

I think I finally have my head wrapped around how this summer's schedule will work.

That's a lie.

I have only figured out how this week will work.

But that's okay. We'll muddle through the rest of it just fine. It may not be ideal - we may not have daily chess matches and literature lists to plow through. We may not exercise for 30-45 minutes every day. We may watch too many movies and play too many video games. But I think it will be pretty balanced, overall. And for now, I'm satisfied with that.

I've been working on a little shirt using one of my thrifted Goodwill sheets. It's the Spring Ruffle Top from Sew Mama Sew. Free tutorial! Yippee! It came together pretty nicely.

That's a lie.

I had some trouble with it at first, but that's because I was trying to do it late at night, with fifteen minutes of sewing time here and five minutes there. So, sometimes I sewed pieces on backward and sometimes my bobbin thread ran out in untimely fashions and I realized, too late, that the sheet had been ripped and then patched up in one place, which ended up right in the middle of the shirt's back. So I will never be able to wear it in public, I fear. Unless I can pull off that whole boho-chic, ragamuffin look. Come to think of it, I do usually look like a ragamuffin. Maybe I'll be able to wear it after all!
But I haven't even gotten around to hemming it because it was really a practice run. A wearable muslin, if you will. I wanted to see if the pattern would work to create My Perfect Nightie! I've been looking for a nightie pattern for a long time. I'm super-picky about what I sleep in.
No sleeves.
Nothing around the neck.
No pants.
No elastic.
Must be pretty.
Must be loose, but not sloppy.
So this little shirt...if I made it longer, it would be my perfect nightie!
I bought yards and yards of the prettiest, sheer blue cotton broadcloth. I bought some gorgeous floral, lacy trim that was on clearance. It's the perfect shade of blue. It was fate, I'm sure.
And tonight, I nearly finished it! Only, it's late. I dragged out the sewing machine and my pin box and my scissors and everything was going well until I sewed the chest band on inside-out. That was my cue to put it down for the night.
No worries, though. That nightie is almost ready. I've waited a very long time for this and I can wait just a little longer, I'm sure. I'll finish it tomorrow night because Chris is going out of town on Wednesday and somebody has to pin the straps in just the right place before I sew them down. I sure can't reach back that far!

Daily Bliss: Fresh figs! I've been waiting for them to come in season and they're finally here!

Wake-Up Playlist: Ugh. I'm embarrassed to admit this. I really loathe this song, actually and I've been so mad all day that I'd have to own up to it being in my head - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Facedown - I apologize.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I met my friend at the beach yesterday. She's had a just had a major life change and I really needed to get away, so the timing was just right. I got up early (for a Saturday) and made my way to Siesta Key, singing in the car and feeling like I was really escaping. But by the time I got there, it was raining.

We didn't have to wait long for it to clear up, though, and the sand takes on such interesting texture after it rains, so that was nice.

Conversations rolled past us like the off-shore showers, interspersed with lots of quiet and good music. And the sun finally popped up, so we popped up her beach umbrella.

Two pale-as-vampires girls need all the protection from the UV rays that we can get!

Lots of aerosol sunscreen was sprayed, homemade salsa, blueberries and crunchy grapes were eaten, deep thoughts were shared, shallow thoughts abounded and the day passed. I even got into the water, which I never do. But that might be because I haven't owned a swimsuit in a very long time. The waves were really rough, for the Gulf anyway. It was almost as good as being on the other coast! We took a long walk and found fistfulls of perfect shells and two unblemished sand dollars.
Then the sun went down. It took its sweet time getting there, but we didn't so much mind.

There was a little more rain as the sun set, but not enough to make us leave before we were ready.

When we did finally get out of our chairs, we slung our bags over our shoulders and grabbed our shoes, and turned around. Then we gasped as we caught sight of a perfect, glowing moon that had snuck up behind us. I scrambled to get my camera out of the bag, but a photo just wasn't meant to be - by the time I found my camera, the clouds had rolled over and hidden it.
I am more refreshed than I had expected to be after just one day to myself. But being in the presence of a kindred heart probably has that effect.
And I'm only the weensiest sunburned in a few places.

Daily Bliss: tomatoes from my pitiful garden for lunch

Wake-up Playlist: I was sleeping so hard this morning that I don't even remember waking up, much less if there was a song I was singing!

Friday, June 5, 2009


I'm almost ready to jump back into life here.
Last night, my parents took the kids overnight, so Chris & I decided not to waste a date-night opportunity. We decided to go to the movies and see both the Star Trek one and the Wolverine one!
I was talking to my sister-in-law on the phone, telling her what we were up to and she laughed at me. She said that after a four-day reading excursion and a double-feature of testosterone-y movies, I'd be a little overstimulated. And I think she was right. Man! Lots of fighting action going on and things blowing up and weapons and boys standing around in groups with their feet planted wide apart.
I'm not wrong on that one.

We swapped kids this evening with a family we know - we have the girls and they have the boys - for a sleepover to kick off the summer. There is cheese popcorn, pizza and ice cream at our house and that doesn't often happen all at once. The girls have been flitting about in the garden and are now sitting on the edge of my clawfoot tub, soaking their dirty feet. They're so much fun. When we have boys over, the Wii comes out, along with whatever game systems are toted in from our guests' homes, and they don't move from the TV for, well, however many hours they're here. The girls don't so much do that. There has already been dressing up and there will be art projects and certainly lots of pretending.
I will go to bed at a decent hour tonight. Tomorrow, I get to hang out at the beach all day with a friend and I know that I probably need it even more than she does. I can't wait!
Normally, as the school year closes, I show you a picture of the kids from the last day of school that I compare to the one I took at the beginning of the school year. I get a little misty-eyed and express my melancholy feelings about the passing of time. But I don't think I will this time. This time, we will take it in stride. I am much too tired for introspection.

Thursday, June 4, 2009




I am resurfacing to breathe now. I have read all four novels in the span of four days. My eyes are tired and my imagination hurts.
Four days have slipped into a black abyss and now I must catch up with all the daily doings that have been left undone.

I am hereby owning up to being my son's genetic benefactor when it comes to his irritatingly voracious appetite for fiction novels. I know it's my fault and I am finally willing to admit it.

There is a reason I don't often indulge.

And Allison? Yes. When we lounge on the beach all day Saturday, there will be discussion. And it will be even juicier than you can imagine ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


So, hi. I borrowed those dang Twilight books from my sister-in-law. Behind the trend? The last one to know? Yes. That should surprise no one because we all know that I am not exactly cool. I will check in once I've finished reading them all. Unfortunately, I read the first two within a 26-hour period. And now I don't have book #3 in my possession. It will be mine later today, though. Yes. Yes it will.
My husband has now lost his wife to the vampires, but he doesn't seem to mind for now. When he sees me with a book in my hands, he knows what to expect. I don't read novels very often, you see, because this always happens. I cannot eat or sleep until I know how it ends. Even if it is a silly romance written for teenage girls. About vampires and werewolves. Dang. What am I? Thirteen?

Daily Bliss: compliments on a dress that I made (and my restraint - I didn't tell anybody that it was fashioned from an old sheet I bought at the Goodwill!)
Wake-up Playlist: Led Zeppelin - Living Loving Maid