Monday, December 1, 2008


We put our tree up last night, and the cat is having herself a grand old time climbing it and laying in the middle branches, casually batting a paw at nearby ornaments from time to time. The kids are getting excited; there are plays at school coming up and cookies to bake and ornaments to make and there is snow on the ground.

We had neighbors over for Thanksgiving...lots of neighbors. Five adults and eleven children filled our house, and it was wonderful. I love my neighbors. Right now their husbands are deployed to Iraq, so it was nice to be all together, with the kids playing and being loud and jolly. Clint even successfully carved his first turkey.

So that's pretty much what we're up to here. Work takes up a lot of my attention, unfortunately. Holidays in retail suck a little of the general joy in mankind the season should be bringing, but I'm thankful for the schedule they give me (because it could be so bad, really) and the extra paycheck that is helping us along with holidays and another Big Thing coming up, and also for the fun coworkers I have. So we'll be spinning madly through December, and hopefully come January I will be slowing down and be more "present" in other areas of my life. I'm looking forward to that.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oh Autumn!

Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness, indeed! Autumn is giving us thrills here in upstate NY. The weather is gorgeous, the leaves are magnificent swirls of color, and the area is ripe with possibilities for our weekend adventures. Last weekend we went to Behling Orchards and picked 34 lbs of apples! We went with our good friends and neighbors, and all had a blast.

We've made apple pies and applesauce. We might try an apple cake today. And more applesauce to freeze, of course. Today is also pumpkin carving day. Thank goodness the kids are off from school today, or I' not sure how we'd get all our fall fun done!

Ode to Autumn
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Productivity? Nah.

I'm trying to think of what I've accomplished in terms of crafty stuff, or creativity in general, over the summer and it's kind of embarrassing. I made a tote bag for Sophia's best friend as part of her birthday gift, but didn't get a picture of it. But! Look, I did make these curtains for our living room. Finally, WE HAVE WINDOW TREATMENT. It's a big window, as you can see, and the room just needed something bright. So I got this Robert Kaufman fabric from Sew Mama, Sew and whipped these up. It wasn't exactly hard...I almost feel guilty bragging about it.

Anyway. I think they do add some sunshine to the room. I bought some of those little rings that hang on the curtain rod and clip to the fabric, so I didn't even have to worry much about my top measurements since the rod doesn't actually run through the fabric. See? I'm lame.

The kids are staying with their Nana and Papa in West Virginia for probably about 2 weeks. That seems like such a long time...I feel a little weepy about them being gone for so long, but they were very excited about it. And! And! I start a job at Border's next week! I really wanted this job. It's just part-time right now, but that's perfect as we transition Benjamin into Kindergarten and Sophia into 2nd grade and we all get used to it.

And this week? I'm going to clean the house. And what I clean won't be immediately demolished as soon as I leave the room. And I'm going to read. A lot. Yes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

in which I am beyond pathetic

Yes, somehow a huge chunk of time has passed me by, and I haven't paid a bit of attention to this blog in the meantime. It's pure laziness.

We have been having a good summer, though. It's funny, but summer has always been my least favorite season. (I am not a fan of Heat, and I don't cope very well with sweltering temperatures.) But summers here, in Northern New York? Have me definitely rethinking that preference. It's just gorgeous here on a sunny summer afternoon. I'm used to humid river valleys in the summer. And then there was last summer, in Missouri, when walking outside actually felt like being slapped in the face. There was that day my car's temperature gauge read 112 degrees, too.

I heart you, Northern New York.

So, we've hit the Renaissance Festival at Sterling (where the Masked Man and the Faire Maiden had much fun and even rode this camel!), went camping with Sarah and her kids, toured Genessee Country Village with them, spent a lot of time outside, and enjoyed the wonderful free splash park here on base with lovely friends. The kids are seriously thriving here; the neighborhood is awesome, and they have Best Friends who live just a few houses up to play with every day. I can't believe our good fortune, or quite how much I love it here.

Here's some gratuitous picture spam.

Benjamin chases a chicken at Genessee Country Village.

Sophia rocks the Faire Maiden look at Sterling.

Spalsh park fun.

And now I can feel like I have accomplished something in terms of this blog. And vow to update more often, and soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I am so popular among the younger set

This week Clint is on a field mission so I've been letting the kids sleep with me. (It's a beloved treat, for all of us.) I started in the middle last night but around 1am had to shift a kid over and get that little bit more space to stretch out. Tonight I set my terms that I wasn't in the middle and the negotiations began. Sophia claimed the middle and Benjamin got all put out and started pouting about not "laying beside Mama." The deal was that tomorrow night it's his turn to be in the middle, and there was lots of "Benjamin, you always get to be beside Mama!" and "Sophia, why don't you go to your own bed!" but the issue pretty much got settled and they quieted down.

Then as soon as Sophia started snoring (about 3 minutes later), Benjamin promptly rolled over her and proceeded to wedge his little body between us. Now he's patting my arm while I type and savoring his Machiavellian triumph.

I feel so wildly popular.

Mother's Day

I love this picture. It's my great grandmother, Violet, with my grandmother, Ghislaine. My great grandmother passed away a few years ago, but this picture of her, a young mother looking over her shoulder with the sunlight on her back, makes me happy. I have another picture, with her and her grown daughter encircling my mother and her two siblings, that I would have liked to post, but isn't scanned to my computer. I have a deep, desperate love of old photographs, and I've been lucky enough to be given quite a few from my mother's side of the family.

I had a great Mother's Day. Not only did I get the Best Mama Present Ever, but the day itself was a joy. We went for a hike on a beautiful trail here on base, which circled a pond and was just long enough to be a hike without too much carrying of the children involved. (Ok, Benjamin isn't the best walker and he spent about 10 minutes up on my shoulders toward the end.) It was such a gorgeous day. I can see us doing that walk a lot. Clint grilled after that, and we even had brownies while we watched a movie. Perfect.

This was my present. I found the artist on Etsy and she did a fantastic job on this necklace. I just adore it and have been wearing it constantly. Sophia also brought home a card she made for me in art class, and it's pretty fabulous.

We saw Iron Man on Saturday, and everyone enjoyed it. Benjamin had been pretty ambivalent about Iron Man, which is surprising given his love of super heroes. So when we left the theater I asked him if he liked it, and he said, "Yes. And when I say 'yes,' I mean 'AWESOME'!" Score.

On Friday I got Sophia out of school a bit early because Clint's company was having a family event at the bowling alley. They had a lane set up with bumpers for the kids and they had cake. Cake seems to be a universal happy-maker. It was the kids' first time bowling, and they both loved it. I'm not a big fan myself, but I can see I'll have to suck it up and take them more often.

Anyway, the whole weekend can basically be summed up as: I am one lucky mama.

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's May Already!

Man, where did April go? Hmm.

Anyway, Sophia gave a gripping performance this week in her school's spring concert as Blind Mouse #3. She had about six lines, which she memorized with great deliberation and delivered with impressively calm perfection. Her favorite part? The tail on her costume.

Also, see those glasses on her face? They're new. You can't see them all that well in that picture, but they're the classic tortoise shell, plastic frames. Sophia does not have a very good track record with glasses. This is her fourth pair since she was screened not quite two years ago. The first two pairs? She simply lost. The last one? She left on the floor and the dog put a few chips on one of the lenses. She continued to wear them until they literally fell apart and fell off her face in school one day. The girl is hard on eye wear. And she wanted me to spring for Hannah Montana frames. Um, maybe next time, Sophia.

Benjamin's new favorite thing is to have his breakfast on a tray. Pictured is a general favorite around here: hot chocolate and oatmeal with syrup and brown sugar stirred in. Earlier this week I had to take him to the clinic here on base to have a tick removed from his head. He was so brave and kept so still, even though it hurt him a good bit while they were trying to get all of it out. They tested the tick, and unfortunately it was carrying lyme disease, so he's on a fairly heavy dose of Amoxycillin and is going in for a blood test tomorrow morning. Good thoughts are appreciated. Apparently ticks and lyme disease are pretty bad in this area.

I think we're going to see Iron Man this weekend. Everyone is excited!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Feels like Summer...

For all the snow, and for all that it felt like spring was never going to quite arrive here in upstate New York, we're having weather that is positively balmy now, and have been for more than a week. It is quite simply gorgeous. I think I will adore the summers here. The kids got new shoes to see them through all their summer adventuring: "performance sandals". They love them because they're comfortable and they can get them wet. I love them because they keep their feet fairly protected and they just wash off when they get muddy or dirty. Plus they can be worn to school and such. So versatile.

Benjamin and I went thrifting today, and I totally scored. I found these vintage orange pyrex mugs, which I love way too much to be normal, and this hand-sewn patchwork panel at the lovely local store that encloses antiques, a nursery/garden supply shop, and foody, crafty new things all in one delightful and dangerous stop. (It's the same place my birthday table came from.) We also picked up two small vases at the post thrift shop, which we've filled with some of the flowers growing in the front garden. And I only spent $20!!

Here's a close-up of the patchwork piece I found. I debated turning it into a pillow, but instead decided to use a frame I had on hand from a picture I was gifted but just isn't me, and turned it into some wall art. I really like how it turned out, even though the piece doesn't quite "fit" in the frame.

Clint is in the field for the week, so I'm making a non-meat dinner. I can't do that very often when he's here; he says he can't get full without some meat, and unfortunately he just wasn't raised as a veggie person. Oh, I make him eat them along with the rest of us, but his caveman heart just isn't in it. He is so very happy grilling season is here, and he can "burn some meat myself and eat it." And I really do *love* his grilled chicken and burgers. But tonight, we're having steamed veggies and rice. Yummy, easy, intensely satisfying...and good for the one person in this house trying to shed some extra pounds, too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"April is the cruelest month / breeding lilacs out of dead land"

Or daffodils, in this case. And I really hope my paraphrase of the beloved Eliot's lines isn't terribly far off.

You know, I'm feeling incredibly blessed about a whole lot of things. I have two of the most amazing, spirited, imaginative, fun, kind, stubborn, caring, inquisitive and intelligent kids I've ever encountered anywhere. Every single day I am surprised at my good fortune, being their Mama. I have a husband who is funny, hard-working, loving, successful, fun, and supportive. I'm even grateful for the year we have leading up to his deployment rather than bitter about the time we'll spend apart and the danger he'll be in. I love this area we've landed in; I love our house and neighborhood; I love the flowers sprouting their newly-green bodies up from bulbs some other soul planted when they lived here.

Sophia goes to sleep every night with her audiobook of The Secret Garden playing. She's watching the movie as I type. It's a story I have always loved, and its insistence on finding the good things, what is "wick" underneath what appears to be dead or dormant, seems to speak even more clearly to me now.

We just got back from a visit to West Virginia and Clint's mother, who is no longer struggling with her cancer, but meeting its eventuality and going on with the business of her life with a grace I hope I can one day muster. It is a sad thing, "it is a fearful thing to love what death can touch," but I am also reminded of the great abundance we carry inside for wonderful things; forgiveness, courage, tender kindness that spreads like the roots of growing things. I can see how my children show their loving souls and quite honestly feel nothing but humility in the face of it.

Clint also got to spend his birthday with his mother and his twin sister, all pictured above. Sophia and Benjamin are still a little puzzled about twins that don't look alike. Anyway, we had a good visit but we're glad the trip itself is over and we're home.

I took these amazing little souls to the small zoo downtown at Thompson Park today, as Sophia is off all week for spring break. They had a great time, and I've promised to take them back to the big park beside the zoo before the week is out. We're officially on the hunt for the Perfect Summer Shoes for them, too. I'd like to get them a pair of Keen performance sandals, since I have a pair I absolutely love and I know how well they wear, but I've yet to find them anywhere but online and I really want to fit them properly.

Clint is pulling all-night duty right now, but I'm having a glass of wine, both kids are showered, watching tv with their still damp hair and looking and smelling sweet in their pajamas, and soon we're going to snuggle up in my bed with a chapter book. And all I can think is how much I love my life.

Friday, April 4, 2008

On Supporting Handmade and Indy Artists

I spoke about by newest passion, buying or producing handmade or independent items whenever possible, on a recent entry, and I thought I'd talk a little more about it. See, my wonderful grandmother sent me a chunk of money for my recent birthday, and I decided to use it to finally get some of the art I've been salivating over for awhile now. All of the artists have Etsy shops (I'm telling you, Etsy is a magical place!). The first picture is the package I received when I ordered a print from TillyBloom. Not only did I get the totally fabulous print I paid for, but she sent a few business cards, a coupon for free shipping, a note, and a Stash vanilla chai tea-bag for my enjoyment.

The next photo shows what I received from AnneJulie, who I ordered two prints from. She sent along a handwritten note of thanks and an extra little print which is so sweet. So not only did I get the satisfaction of buying art from an independent artist, but I got so much more for the money I spent than I could have done buying a print of something from or a big store somewhere. Not only can you find insanely wonderful things from people producing and selling outside the big corporate box, but you can get those great things on a budget.

It's just made of win.

I'm still waiting to receive a few handmade rubber stamps from a Canadian artist. Soon I know I'm going to break down and purchase this button ring kit. What a cool gift this would make for a child's birthday! And come on, I want to make them, too!

Jewelry? The next time I buy a piece, I'm definitely getting one of these incredible necklaces. (One of the bird ones, because you know I have a Huge Thing for birds.)

So what's my point? Well, mostly to share with you the wonders of Etsy and a small slice of all the extremely talented people producing indy art and handmade items. And you know, whenever I used to think about the movement to steer away from mass produced, big store items, I usually thought about how hard that would be, and how pricey. But I was wrong. I've just used the outlet of Etsy in my quest to commit to handmade. There are so many other ways to find and support artists like this, local artists and people producing all kinds of things right in your area. It can be as simple and fulfilling as going to the farmer's market in the summer. Try the local wine, buy the maple syrup that's made in your area, or the cheese, or whatever. Don't be afraid to make something the next time you want to give someone a gift; I think almost everyone can deeply appreciate the time, effort, and love that goes into a handmade gift. I know that I adore receiving such things.

And I feel so good supporting it!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!!

My baby boy turned five and he had a pirate birthday party. I think it went pretty well. His friend from up the street was able to come, and so were our very dear friends from Rochester, Sarah and her fabulous children, so both Benjamin and Sophia were over the moon about that. (And I was pretty giddy myself.)

He had strawberry cupcakes, pizza, little hot dogs, and an ice cream cake. Yep, we cracked those kids up good and then sent some of them home! The mothers probably hate us! I was a little worried about what to do with the kids, especially as we had a range of ages, but they pretty much just ran around the house and entertained themselves. Benjamin had one of his presents, a Pirates of the Caribbean cd player (the actual part where the cd goes is Davy Jones' heart! it glows!!), set up on a table with the goody bags and we had some pirate music. But far and away, Benjamin's favorite thing to play on his new present is Funky-town, as sung by The Chipmunks. He repeatedly asks me if I want to "see his moves".

Sophia made this for the party. She kept saying things like, "I really want Benjamin to have a good party, because he's my little brother and I know he just wants some friends." And I was like, "Gee, it's really wonderful that you care so much about your brother, Sophia, but quit making him sound like a complete social outcast!"

I also made small bags from a pirate fabric I had at the house. These became the goody bags, which we filled with some candy, small pirate telescopes and play gold from the dollar store, and some saltwater taffy. It was very, very easy, and I used some self-adhesive velcro so they fasten together at the top.
Maybe the kids will use the little bags for something aside from the goody-bag lifespan.

So Benjamin had a great birthday, and we had a great weekend with Sarah and her kids. Couldn't ask for much more.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bookish Things

I love children's books. Even if I didn't have children, I would probably be a collector. Don't get me wrong, we love the library and we use it often, but we also own a LOT of children's books. There is a bookcase in each of the kids' rooms that are full and more besides. Some are from my own childhood, many are from my rabid spirit of acquisition when it comes to books. I also own many books of fairytales and books talking about fairytales. What I adore more than anything are books that catch the imagination in such a way that they're almost landmarks of growing up. My favorite book of all time was and is Anne of Green Gables; even the language of that beloved tome is woven so inexorably into my growing up that it continues to shape how I see things.

I mean, "kindred spirits," anyone?

I'm so glad that Sophia and Benjamin see as much magic in books as I do. You know how you always say (and believe!) that it doesn't matter what your kids love, you will always encourage their own interests and passions? Well, yes. But I would have been utterly crushed if they didn't adore books.

I ordered them each a new book for their spring baskets. They didn't quite arrive in time for that, but they're here now and we're poring over them. The pictures are from Benjamin's gift, Peter in Blueberry Land, by the fantastic Swedish author and illustrator Elsa Beskow. We own several already, and they are great favorites of both the kids and myself. Written over a century ago, they are as enchanting as they ever could have been, with the added fascination that comes with seeing aspects of a different way of life. My kids are enthralled with the depictions in some of the books of harvesting, hand making items used in the household, and -of course- the clothing in the illustrations.

The books usually deal with some element of the mythical or magical. The King of Blueberry Land taps Peter on the foot to shrink him down to his size and they go off to meet the blueberry children and have great adventures. Another book shows the life, through the seasons, of the "Children of the Forest", people smaller than mice who wear red spotted caps to look like mushrooms if danger comes near.

Sophia received the first book in the Sisters Grimm series, which I think we will enjoy reading together.

I recently picked up The Other Boleyn Girl on a recommendation. I like a good, enticing, semi-trashy read sometimes. I'm only a few chapters in, but so far I'm not that impressed. Hopefully it will pick up and grab me a bit better as I get further into it. I'm kind of on a York/Tudor kick now, actually. I read The Daughter of Time last week, which deals with the historical accuracy of Richard the Third being accused of murdering his young nephews, the two princes in the tower. Richard was killed at Bosworth, and Henry 7 became king which of course ushered in the Tudors. (It was a good book.) And I'm watching dvds of the first season of The Tudors, with the very yummy Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing an impossibly hot and clean Henry 8. So that's fun.

Sophia has a project in her school's science fair today. She did it on "what's inside an egg." Can you believe 1st graders are doing science projects?! It seems young to me. But she's excited, and she even has note cards and a planned-out hand flourish. I'll let you know how she did.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


My birthday and Benjamin's birthday are only three days apart. I distinctly remember having a birthday while hugely pregnant with him and ordered on bed rest. I made Clint go buy me a ham dinner from Kenny Roger's and watched The Sound of Music with Sophia on the couch. Now my little boy is turning five on Friday and Sophia's favorite actress is still Julie Andrews.

Anyway, my birthday yesterday began with being sung to by Clint as he climbed the stairs in his sweaty PT's, which was much lovelier than it sounds, and continued with a latte and donut and a homemade card from Sophia, which was perfect. Clint bought me this old enamel-topped table which I've been coveting from an antique shop nearby. I am totally in love with it. I've decided that it's my new writing desk. (Now I just have to use it for its intended purpose!)

The kids and I picked up some sushi from the man who makes it at the grocery store for lunch, read a little, I took a short, glorious nap, and then Clint took us out to eat when he got home from work. We went to a fantastic Italian place in was way pricier than we expected but the food was truly an experience so I'm trying not to think about it too hard.

Look at this vintage tablecloth I got at the same antique shop as my table! Complete with the cat, who absolutely refused to move for the picture. I love vintage textiles, and this one is in awesome condition. My mother is going to give me some vintage sheets and such that belonged to my great grandmother for using in sewing projects, so I'm really excited about that. I think they'll make good backings for quilts.

So Friday, Benjamin decreed he wants a birthday dinner of roasted chicken, macaroni and cheese, cucumbers, and marshmallows. Which I think we can do. And then on Saturday he's having a small pirate party. I just can't believe he's going to be five years old.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Handmade for Spring

I'm really invested in choosing handmade as often as possible these days. First of all, I love getting handmade items. A homemade gift is layered with so much thought and intent that it just feels special, ya know? Now, I know that we don't always have the time to devote to handmade items, nor do we always have the inclination toward handmaking something. So the other facet of my newish devotion to handmade is buying handmade whenever possible. I love love love Etsy for this. There are all kinds of vendors on this site, selling knitted things, sewn things, jewelry, art, dolls, paper goods, and it goes on and on. Not only does buying handmade support the people who make these wonderful things (while NOT supporting all the creepy business practices from some large chains out there) but you get a really fantastic, often heirloom quality, product from the transaction.

Anyway, I decided to make something for the kids' spring baskets this year. I got the pattern for these knitted hares from our copy of All Year Round, a seasonal celebrations book, very Waldorf style. (It's little caption says something about Christian celebrations, but it isn't at all preachy and doesn't feel like that. While it has Christmas and Easter ideas, it also has ideas for each equinox and solstice. It's very inclusive.)

These were very easy to make: all you need to know is the basic knit stitch. I got some mohair yarn and cotton stuffing from Michael's, and used some $1 yarn scraps I got from the bargain bin at Target to brighten up their wee necks.

Normally I'd give them their spring baskets today, the equinox, but the books I ordered them haven't arrived yet and my mother is coming to visit on Friday. Since she celebrates Easter, we might wait so she can be included in our celebration.

We are going to make egg baskets from shredded wheat and melted chocolate, a la Angry Chicken and welcome spring our own way.

(Please spring, come here soon!)

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Here we are nearing the first day of spring, feeling the sudden sense of the wheel of our year turning again, and we're still looking at a foot of snow on the ground here in northern New York. And yet...the past few days I've begun to feel spring, somewhere under the snow, under the ground, quickening and stirring and ready to burst out. I always imagine it like an embryo, spinning quietly under the top soil that is still hard and frozen, waiting for its moment. The temperature gauge on my car this afternoon said it was 35 degrees outside, but with some sunshine smiling down on us after weeks of overcast skies, it felt much warmer, and it was almost as if you could smell spring in the wind.

I don't actually mind winters. I rather like nesting down in a warm house, soup simmering on the stove and hot tea and cocoa in mugs, reading or knitting as the snow falls outside. There is something deep down that even needs this "hibernation" of sorts, like anything creative or anything new needs a period in the womb, a period to develop quietly. But I'm really ready for the year to turn now. I'm ready for damp, warmer breezes and rain boots, for the scent of green things popping up, for long walks, for afternoons spent out in the yard. I'm ready for fresher produce. Clint is going to build me some boxes to plant herbs in; we have a fenced-in yard, but it's rather small and I don't want to plant my herbs on the ground because I have more than a sneaking suspicion they'll get peed on by the dog. So Clint is going to anchor some boxes to our fence. I can't wait for fresh mint and basil. I'd like to find a good co-op around the area.

And there is just something exciting about spring, something that energizes. I find that the downward turn toward the autumn equinox fills me with the same kind of energy. It's no surprise that those are my favorite times of year, I suppose.

The kids are doing very well. The picture above is from last month's Peacemaker Assembly at Sophia's school, with the 1st graders singing "What a Wonderful World." Sophia won an award for sharing, which of course tickled her to death. I am also just so pleased and proud of how her reading is going.

Benjamin is getting excited for his birthday, and we have planned a pirate party. He is giving out some invitations tomorrow to some of the neighbor children. He recently got really into a cartoon called "Avatar," and we found a dvd with the first 24 or so episodes at the bookstore. I was able to use a 30% off coupon and get it for a very reasonable price. I can't wait for him to open it. He's going to be very surprised and excited.

And continuing in the vein of new starts, of quickenings, my latest sewing projects have been baby gifts. We had friends over Friday evening who are expecting their first baby, a boy, in a week or two, and I gave them a gift set of a blanket, bib, and matching onesie that I made with my love, my Brother XL-2610. I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out, so I think this is my new gift for babies. And there seem to be a lot of people having babies lately.

Ah, spring...don't leave us waiting too long.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's Love...

Me and my sewing machine. We're past the flirting now. We're on to the long walks and moonlit talks. Soon it'll be the bottle of wine and the sloppily delivered professions of adoration phase.

Anyway, we've made some things together.

I got the pattern/guideline for this burp cloth from Handmade by Jill. This is the first one I made, flannel on both sides with some batting in between. I've made another with more traditionally boyish colors, and after I make several more these will go out in small stacks to people reproducing.

I'm really excited about the book I just got: Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol, the same woman with the great Angry Chicken blog.

I took her pattern for a vintage apron and modified it to fit smaller persons. It's just some cotton fabric embellished with a pocket and some hand done embroidery. I used some vintage buttons from the big mason jar full of them I got from my great grandmother's house to hide the somewhat ugly seaming where the bias tape is on the pocket and for the embroidered flowers.

A close-up of the very much winged flowers.

I sat down with this about 1pm this afternoon and, no lie, finally foggily resurfaced about 4pm, just in time to go pick Sophia up from the bus stop.

Happily, Sophia was delighted with the gift I laboured on for an entire afternoon.

I am only further encouraged. As if my new machine and I needed more.