Thursday, July 31, 2008


So, things have settled down round here. Sorry, bad pun. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments from the last post. It is amazing what support we can all give each other, even in times of just a little need. Claroux said, NJ gets nothing in the way of natural events, so there might be a place to go to get away from it all. Right?

Anyway, the week has allowed me some time to finish a few projects. The kimonos I mentioned previously have been finished and are quite cute, if I do say so. I actually say so because I was worried initially.
kimono boy
I bought the fabric on close out for the purpose of the kimonos, but when I cut it up, it all looked a little off. Like the pattern would not carry the pattern well. But I was pleased once the binding was sewn.
kimono yellow
The boys hate them. At least hate donning them. It was like I was burning them while I dressed them, the drama before the photo shoot does not show in the pictures. I think it has something to do with the ties? Don't really know.

A few little points to mention.

- The double ties are a bit of a challenge at this age. The shirts almost came off during park play, which is okay because their bellies are kinda' cute. I might replace the inner ties with a snap and leave the outer. It might make the 'burning' part of dressing a little less intense.

-I modified the pattern size a bit (because I only had 1/2 yard of each fabric). I would suggest you follow the recommended sizes. These were the 18 month, but they will be out of them soon. Due to my cheapness over anything else.

-This is a great 'first time sewing a shirt' pattern. Excellent tutorial, her pictures are so inspiring, and it is all straight seams, except for the binding, which is fun and good practice. Her blog is also lovely and it looks like she may be putting more patterns forth soon.

One of my Mama friends asked me how I craft so much with so many other things going on. I thought about this a bit and realized sometimes I do not feel like I craft enough. Especially in comparison to some other Mama bloggers. But then I gathered the bits and pieces up and realized I have accomplished a good amount. But it is a gradual process. The kimonos have been in action for weeks. I will usually choose a project and then think about it. And visualize it; during breaks, during nap time when I am immobilized by a sleeping boy who will not go back down without me, right before I drift off to sleep. I just keep visualizing it. And then I do each step, one at a time. Measure, leave it. Cut, leave it. Sew a seam, leave it. Until it all comes together. No superhero here, just paced piecing.

Having these boys has taught me so much. I used to take all of that free time for granted. I used to go and go and very rarely reflect on stuff. Writing here has helped with that reflection too. But I have learned to be still at times, to breathe a little deeper and slower and to not always race to the next thing.
I gathered up these knits tonight after taking some pictures of a knitted project that is finally complete. I was struck by their beauty, stacked together. I was struck by the fact that I made them. And how much I loved the making. The joy I find in the process, as much as the end result. I loved the feel of the knitted softness under my fingertips. The unique spring knitting has when handled (alright, alright, fondled). As I went through the steps to wash and press and lay out the lace I finished, I realized just how much I love this craft.

But I was also struck by the fact that last year at this time I despaired of ever knitting again, ever having the time to craft, to rest through this medium, to be ME. I recall the feeling so vividly, and now, looking at this pile,
I realize I cannot change the way I felt then, but all those projects lined up on my chalk board, in my Ravelry queue, in my head. Well, they will come to fruition. In due time. And I do not have to be impatient with that. Rather embrace the luxury of every stitch and I first embrace every moment of my growing boys' days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All Shook Up

Toady will not go down as one of my favorite days in history. Yes, I am talking about the earthquake. As a native California I have been through a good share of them, present for all the ‘bigger’ ones since 1975. But today was different. It was the first day I experienced one as a parent.

The first one I remember came during a morning while I was still in grade school, maybe 7th or 8th. I was in a meeting of the student council for my school, we were gathered in the Kindergarten classroom, Mrs. Tucker (the kindergarten teacher, mind you) presiding over the event. It hit and she let out a short expletive and told us to get under the tables. A bit of a problem as we were frozen in place by her expletive, and hampered by the fact that the tables were designed for people measuring 3 feet tall or so. Not a problem for me, but my buddy Kevin did not fit under so well.

The next one was experienced at a friend’s home, from a guest room on the second floor, hitting in the wee hours. Not very fun to wake to a strange family all gathered near their second floor balustrade, not sure what to do.

The ‘big’ Northridge quake was a doozy. I was asleep on a foreign couch, we had plans for an early beach/surf trip with the boys before they would bring me to LAX to fly back to NY to start school. I woke to the sight of their backyard pool with waves splashing over its lip and a large sliding glass door bending and shaking about 2 feet from the couch. Oddly enough, I did end up going to the beach that day (the guys were stoked on the thought of huge waves from the quake. Whatever). And I flew out to NY that night (much to my chagrin…I never really did get used to leaving California, quakes and all).

The last one is barely worth mentioning much. It was not that big, but at the time Tim and I lived in your typical box-like apartment in a second floor unit. It felt like we were in a house made of matchsticks as the structure bent back and forth precariously, but no harm done. Except I think I had just had my wisdom teeth out and was in no mood to be shaken. I do not think we even got out of bed.

But today. That was different. The boys had just gone down for their nap, I pulled Owen’s blankie up a bit and went to the window to make sure the drapes were pulled tight. We keep their room like a cave for sleep, almost total blackout except for a little light. As I reached, I felt the earth turn a bit, then heard a huge bang and felt a huge jolt, like an impact into the side of the house. It then dawned on me….Earthquake. I felt disoriented from the darkness and the waves rolling underneath. I could not tell if it was still going or if my adrenaline was making me woozy. I waited a moment to see what was next, if it would intensify or die down. It slowed and I opened the door to find my dad and brother waiting to help. We realized that was it for now and decided to let the boys sleep, staying close just in case. The news reports made me feel a bit reassured. It seemed like this was the culmination of the Earth’s protest for the day. And my boys slept two and a half hours (a rarity), all of which I spent on the edge of my seat. Ah, the irony.

The previous paragraph does little to describe the way I felt during this episode. The surge of fear then fierceness. The desire to keep them totally safe and the knowledge that I had no real way of controlling any of the variables. Being the parent instead of the child, shouldering the responsibility for their safety. A very different feeling than ever before.

I knew what to do. Tim and I discussed earthquake plans early in their time with us. We designated which one and where each of us would go. We know what to do when there is a big one (never have followed it yet). We tend to ruminate on this stuff. We even had a emergency plan when we lived in the LES. It consisted of riding our bikes with backpacks over the Williamsburg Bridge to our friend’s place in Brooklyn (because Brooklyn is safe, you know)(how we would have returned to California, well, we did not get to that part). But it all tends to fall away in the moment of.

I am so glad it was not a bad one. People and places seem fine, we are fine. A little rattled, shaken, off kilter. So too seems our Mother Earth. Hope she has calmed down for now.

Writing this made me think of something else. There was a major problem with land line and cell phone service after the quake (it was all anyone was talking about on the news. Crazy). But there is something you can do to make contacting loved ones easier in the event of an emergency.

Have you heard of ICE? Stands for In Case (of) Emergency. I think most emergency responders are trained to look for an ICE number in your phone in the event that you cannot tell them who to call (god forbid). It would be a good thing to put into your children’s phones, too. Just enter ICE as the name and the number of the person whom you want called.
just because
Wishing you an safe and uneventful week. Smiles.
with opa
my right hand man some days

Monday, July 28, 2008


Feeling a little uninspired to post lately. It just seems like the time slips away and the desire to write waxes and wanes. Lots of juggling lately, crafting has been a bit disconnected, been back at work, trying to make a little extra to help with the 'here and there's
There have been a few new things collected:

Looking into a CSA program near us to simplify procuring our food. This is prompted by my immersion in The Omnivore's Dilemma. We are not vegetarian in this house, but we may be headed in that direction. If you have not heard of or thought about this book, well, you must. We have a great gift in this book...Pollan has given us a powerful tool by identifying the method of food production in this country. Read it. Nuff said.

Finished the boys' little muslin pants. Finished used loosely.
prepping for photo shoot
If you call a safety pin finishing. Played with bias binding and linen waist facing.
getting up
I am falling in love with linen. It is such a lovely fabric to work with. I want to delve into my Home Stretch (sitting on the bookshelf, unread) so I can make a few pairs of pants for the boys out of knit fabric. My sister was telling me about a serger foot she found online for her Singer. Anyone know if one is made for a Brother machine (a very cheap Brother)?

I am almost done with the kimonos and then will attempt a photo shoot with the children who should now be known as "Those that think handmade clothing burns their delicate skin'. Trying these things on has not been fun. Maybe they dislike the feel of the ties. Who knows. I promise a pic or two...somehow.

Went to the International Quilt thing at Long Beach this weekend. Without a real camera. Not smart. the quilts were amazing, but my Blackberry does them no justice. i found a pattern for a small quilt that I love. Looking forward to that. Someday.

Eating well, thanks to Soulemama. Have you a glut of squash (recipe calls for yellow, but I have a feeling any squash will do)? Try this easy lovely soup if you do. It cooks up easily and it was eaten with gusto. In my typical form, I prepared a bit more than the recipe called for. I looked at the vat and thought, waay too much. It is gone. A few hungry teens, a husband and twin boys that ate it when stirred into a bit of pasta made sure of that. And Tim asked me to make him some for his lunch. I think soup will become a mainstay round here.

You may remember my cavalier claim that I was going to attempt the Master Cleanse. Well, I am. I have assembled the necessary agents. One reason I help off was the sleep disturbance (to put it mildly). I thought it not prudent to try a cleanse on three/four hours of sleep. But I am trying to be accountable and hope to embark on it this week. Hope.

Totally jonesing to start my Knitting Olympics project. I will swatch this week. Almost finished with the Lace Ribbon Scarf I started eons ago. It looks like it will be pretty. Here's hoping.

Hmmm, guess I had more to write than I realized.
This here just because he is cute.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fifteenth Month

Oh, my boys. How fast it did fly. This month gone by.

Yes, it is rhyming, everything that comes out of my mouth rhymes. A penchant for rhyme I have picked up since your birth. Someday I will no longer talk in a sing song rhyming voice (to adults as well as children, I cannot seem to find the off button). It works for now. When I am not yelling the word No! as you both attempt some dare devilry stunt on the edge of some dangerous precipice. I prefer the rhyming.

This month was a endless secession of events,; from our bbq,
the fourth
family visits,
With the Aunties
trips to the beach
be brave
and to other family events…it all went so quickly and without too much time to take a breath and recollect. I guess that is what this is for.

Amidst all of the summer celebrations, we continued the saga of teething. The molars of Mace move slower than ancient glaciers….giving little rest to a hurting and occasionally very angry little boy (by the way, if you are keeping track, that would be three months to the day to get 4 molars in). Owen, you weather the storm and occasionally contribute to the melee, but we are all almost through. Mama still has not learned to give in when a disturbed sleep cycle comes up. She got used to going to bed a little later, then a little later, then too late but she was getting a good chunk most nights. Until we all lost it again. Argg. When will she learn?

This month gave us crayons and new shoes, big boy shoes with laces and soles. It gave us climbing and falling, and so much more.
new shoes
A new development came with sitting to concentrate. For Mason, you are the king of Legos, patiently exploring options for 20 minutes. Owen, you are king of organization, patiently attempting to return errant crayons to their place for 40 minutes, in your seat, at the table. Emphasis added as you will not even sit in that thing for 10 minutes for meals. 40 minutes. No joke.

My mind races trying to decide which thoughts to capture from this time, what memories I want to come back to later, in a few months, a few years when this time has faded.
silly tongue
There are a choice few:

- In the dead of the night Mason was having a terrible time of it and I was walking him, his cries loud and frantic. Owen, I heard you rustling around, then sit up and very clearly say, “Mama, no no no no no no!” then lay back down.

- Watching your naked bottoms run around our friends’ lawn, post pool. Oblivious to the scratching of the sharp blades on your skin, chasing a huge barrel of balls around. So free and excited to be free, avoiding any attempts at diaper placement.

- Facing each other on the kitchen floor, giggling as I caught a glimpse of you over the island table, feeding each other pretzels and looking in each others’ eyes, the laughter rolling out of you so spontaneous, so full, so alive and with each other.
walking with the brother

- The endless attempts to grab your penises at every given chance, even during dirty diaper changes (the phrase, ‘Do not touch your pee-pee when you are poo-poo’ is highly ineffective.

- The words; the words rolling out, the imitations, the use in context, the adamant way you demand that we all acknowledge a BALL is a BALL. The Mamas and the Daddys, the running with the phones to say “hello” though it never sounds like that. The joy I feel as you move toward verbal communication.
15 month words

I know these monthly updates will start to fall away, it all moves so fast now. I contemplate returning to work to help the family, finding out if we can explore options for Montessori, deciding what we need to address as a growing family with babies who now reach to be boys.
the boys
I want to remember the first time you strummed the guitar or ran out of your crib in the morning to look for your Daddy who now goes into work at the crack of dawn so he can come home early to share more time with you. Sure, there are still those times when I am just wishing for the close of the day, when I can tuck you in and walk out and collect myself. But that feeling seems to be experienced less and less as the time races away.

I am loving you, boys. I m loving you so very, very much.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flickr's Meme

Jumped into the madness, probably a bit after it has passed. Try it out yourself and let us know if you did.

My Flickr Meme

The questions:
1. What is your first name? (Amiee)
2. What is your favorite food? (Bread)
3. What high school did you attend? (Mayfield Senior School)
4. What is your favorite color? (Red)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Owen Wilson)
6. Favorite drink? (Guiness)
7. Dream vacation? (Margs in Western Australia...again)
8. Favorite dessert? (Dark Chocolate)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (Special)
10.What do you love most in life? (Family)
11. One word to describe you. (Layered)
12. Your Flickr name. (Senorayatez)

1. Amiee, 2. Girl with bread - Pakistan, 3. Clock Tower, 4. `paint the town red., 5. Owen Wilson & Wes Anderson CASTING for Bottle Rocket, 6. Guiness Brewery Dublin, 7. Forest at Margaret River, Australia, 8. Art Nouveau Wedding Cake Tower, 9. I'm a Special PERSON ..!, 10. Family Portrait, 11. Layers - Monochrome #18, 12. kat's blanket

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cache Coeur Complete

The long anticipated (only by myself, of course) Cache Couer Bergamo is finito. I cast on for it and anticipated a quick knit. It was up until the time of finishing, which is how things go in my book.
cache coueur front
The main pieces came together quickly and I was able to piece the body together but then it sat waiting for a few weeks. The edging on this project was a beast, one of those ‘slipping 8 and crossing’ deals with a very splitty yarn. Finally I mustered the energy to barrel through the 300 or so stitches and it came off the needles and ends were woven and I simply steam blocked it because I thought it not a good idea to dunk this stuff. It seems like it would be a thirsty yarn and possibly grow beyond wearable proportions

(Right now I am chuckling thinking about some of the non-knit Mamas that might read here who are reading and wondering what the hell I am talking about. But it has been a long time since a true knit post, so I thought I would go for it).

Anyway, impressions of the knit (inspired by Julia, who posts the most thorough and succinct pattern notes I have ever seen).

- Intriguing pattern with a ingenious construction and a fair fit once finished. I do feel like the sizes might be a bit generous. I knit the 36 inch bust and would have thought it to be tighter on my form. I like the fit but for this type of clothing I think it needs to be snug to keep one from looking ginormous.
cache coueur back

- A quick knit due to the yarn weight and the needle size, but maybe not a project for the beginner. It requires shaping, grafting and lots of edging, but also requires one to have a good conceptual idea of the pattern. I read this as a novice knitter, but it seemed like gibberish. Upon my return to it a few months ago, I understood the construction and appreciated it without frustrations.

- I used the suggested yarn because it was in my stash. Served for a quick knit, but it is very splitty and tends to unravel on the cut ends, proceeds to get tangled with all of the other loose pieces and requires scissors to liberate the tangles. And it was absolutely terrible to knit the edging. Ugh. So hard to slip and not split, etc. Also, as mentioned above, I avoided a true wet block as I thought this was a ‘growing’ yarn. It is 100% wool, so no machine washing (I think, threw out the labels so I am not sure).

I think the piece will be useful in the fall with a cool evening. The wool ensures body warmth, the drape is okay and it can go to the park or to dinner. Glad I finally made it and hope to use it. It was nice to knit something for myself and like the results for once.
cache couer

Now onto the Knitting Olympics. I have a piece picked out, a shawl to be gifted to my lovely friend for her wedding. The timing is perfect if I make it to the finish as it would be out of the way. The wedding is in October so let’s say I finished in August. It gives me all that time to weave in ends and block. Wheeee!

Next up sewn will be these kimonos for the boys. They are cut and ready for sewing. We will see how it goes, they look really cute on others' little ones (there is a flickr group and everything).

And here is a little something from the post today.
I have not bought yarn in ages (too much fabric buying), but once I made the little Kureyon Oz vest I knew I had to make one for the boys for the Fall. And the Malabrigo, well, it is Malabrigo. What are you gonna' do? Sometimes you just have to have it.

Hope your weekend was swell. I got to say a fond but sad farewell to MH, she is leaving before I really got to know her well, but I loved every time we met up. Good luck in Albuquerque, MH.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Food is Good

Whenever my little sister comes to visit we eat well. She is the true foodie of the family, able to create and explore in new ways. She also eats no red meat or chicken, so we always have a great new vegetable dish when she comes around. This week was no exception. It started Sunday with some fresh kale from our local Farmer's Market. I actually thought up this one but I give her credit for inspiring me to try a new thing. I had been thinking of a bean dip for summer so I put together this quick Bean and Kale dip as follows:
white bean and kale dip

Chop 1/2-1 bunch kale coarsely and saute with 2-3 cloves garlic and splash of olive oil until wilted.
Using food processor or blender, puree 1 can white kidney beans, kale, a few more tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of dry Italian seasonings until a nice chunky puree.

Serve with crackers or stir into warm pasta (tried both and liked them).
makings of

To give fair warning, this dish can leave you a bit, ahem, shall we say, gassy...but it is delicious and a nice use of fresh kale.

There is a salsa I want to share because it is unbelievably easy and really really good, if you like salsa , that is. This recipe comes from Tim's grandma and my version is just about the same except for the quantity. This makes a bowlful of the stuff, be warned. It goes so quickly here, but you can halve it for yourself and a smaller crowd.
grandma's salsa
Grandma's Salsa goes like this :
-Coarsely chop one white onion, 2-3 serrano peppers, 1 jalapeno (this will make it pretty hot, use less peppers if you do not want the burn), 1-2 fresh tomatillos, 1 bunch cilantro and 1 clove garlic.
-Add to blender with 1 can tomato sauce (emphasized because it must be sauce, not paste)
-Whirl until chunky and all ingredients are incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Great with chips, but also with scrambled eggs, etc. This is a strong salsa and will leave you a bit breathless, but it is also so good for you.

And now, the final, my sister's contribution to dinner last night and a better summer salad I have yet to meet. Her Summer Beet and Corn Salad.
summer beet salad

-Chop 3-4 beets into small dice and saute with olive oil in a pan with lid. Let the beets cook down until semi-firm, then add 2 Tbl. honey and let cook until tender.
-Add 1 bunch finely chopped cilantro and let cook until cilantro wilts and softens.
-Using 2-3 fresh ears of corn (uncooked) cut kernels off cobs and add (uncooked) to saute pan. Let cook 1-2 minutes to bring out sweetness.
-Wa-laaa. delicious!

Hope you find something you like here. It has been such a great week with my sister and Michael.
My Em (and her Michael) and our boys
These two will make your heart melt with joy watching them care for each other and all our family around them. You know your sister is with the best man when he a)gets her coffee every morning b)plays ukelele with your sons c)can handle the onslaught of family members that comes along with the package of being with a Bout.
We love you Em and Michael. Now move your asses South soon so we can see you more.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Action Shots

We finally purchased a new way to get the boys on video, our old p&s busted months ago and we were missing all the action. We went with the Iflip and love it, so easy to use.

Here are a few outtakes of our weekend with twin boys.

Just for clarification, we do not let them drink the beer, just play with it. Harhar.

Modification on the pants is coming along slowly, I am venturing into the world of linen bias tape and waistbands. Oooooh, sounds exciting, si? My sister is here with her sweetheart so time is going to family. Which can also be a welcome break at times. Getting some great time in with her and the boys is totally the priority. Oh, how I wish she never had to leave. I'll check back soon. Smiles.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Muslin and Men of Leisure

Lately it has been much easier to start on projects that I have been dreaming about during those nap time hours when I am laying down with the boys. One such project is the making of pants for the boys. I have always loved the karate pants the boys wear from the American Apparel line. We have 6 or seven pairs and I love the lines of the pants. The easy to care for cotton is fun, but a bit plain. I am no clotheshorse when it comes to the boys, preferring the gently used clothing from Children's Orchard, but I want to be able to apply my love of sewing towards them a bit. And I want it to be special when I do make them bits.

Hence, the muslin. I have a half yard of precious Heather Ross fabric,
only enough to make one pair of pants and that only if I do not mess up while cutting, etc. So I ran out to the good old JoAnn's and grabbed some muslin to sort out the quickly drawn pattern. Using the recommendations by Amanda Soule in Creative Family, I traced my favorite pants, then sewed together the crotch seams, then leg seams and slipped them on the boys post nap. Just to see the fit.
mace models

Digression....years ago, when we were child free, job free and obligation free we went to Australia for an extended trip. The trip was meant to last 6 months and take us from Sydney round the country/continent back to Sydney. It lasted 4 months and took us from Sydney to the northern parts of Western Oz...then we ran out of money and the desire to continue living out of a car, so we headed home. One of these days, Tim and I were walking through a small town called Margaret River (Margs to the locs) and he was dressed in khakis and Rainbows with camera flung over shoulder (nothing has ever been flung over my husband's shoulder, but it sounded good to write) and I looked at him and decided he was A Man of Leisure. A man who had no other obligations in life than to take photographs and walk around looking leisurely. So I made up some ridiculous silly song about him being a Man of Leisure and we laugh about it to this day.

Well, he took one look at the boys in the pants and declared they too are Men of Leisure. I almost just want to make tons of little muslin pants and give them flip flops and cameras and let them follow the route we were then.
muslin pants
I am sorry, but my boys are too frickin' cute. It is like they know when I make them something and they go around posing in it. Well, I like the pattern, like the fit and will try to find a few more great fabrics so I can sew up a few more of these pants. They probably will not look like Men of Leisure (I know, I have said that a lot in this post, but it cracks me up, that title) in the printed fabric, but that is okay.
man of leisure

In other baby knit news, my best friend Ana is expecting her second boy soon and I got cracking once I knew gender. This vest is the result of some stash Kureyon and a heavily modified pattern from Natural Knits.
Vest for L
I promise to upload it to Ravelry once completed (I am so bad about Ravelry updates) and I already ordered some more Kureyon (why use stash stuff at all, I always end up with twice of what I used....what is up with us knitters?) from Webs for vests for the boys. I just love the color variegation in the pattern. It made me happy, and do not worry about me blogging it. I cannot keep any knit news from Ana and showed her the minute I cast on for it. Because it's like that with my homes (heehee).

Now, back to the machine. No, not really, naps over and Tim is being a sport and watching the boys while I play here for a bit. But I will get cracking on the pants soon.

Can you guess who's who in the top row of the mosaic? Just thought I would ask as I can tell their tummies apart easily. Ah, baby tummy. Nothing better.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Color of our Day

I opened the box and I was instantly transported by the smell.
their first
I felt my hand grasping a color and rubbing it back and forth, the telltale scent coming to my nose as I tried to get the shade I desired and stay in the lines and plan ahead for the color change I envisioned for the bottom of her dress...I remembered. The feeling of childhood. It is not a feeling I get often.
I saw the box on sale at Target, a mere 2$. A bit of overkill for children just over one, more for me to enjoy the sensation and watch as they discovered. Endless color choices, the fresh points at attention.

They dove right in, their less baby-like hands trying to get at them.
Mason pulled three and immediately started eating one,
he eats it all
then exploring the other two, one in each hand, an endearing trait that persists to this day, whether toy or snack (the kid always has to be so busy, wonder where that came from). Owen sat down next to the box, pulled a color, scribbled around a bit and promptly attempted to return it to it's proper place.
And he continued this for at least 20 minutes. And he tried to replace all the discarded ones Mason left strewn aside. That would be from his daddy, I like order but I am not so great at the execution of said order.
put it back

I watched, fascinated by their fascination. I watched as they played with these new things, these colorful bits that will transport them someday when they open the first box for their own. I wonder if this memory will flood their minds, the balmy sunny summer morning when they first found Crayons.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Placing Myself

I had this idea brewing that I could maybe create a space of my own. Since adopting the practice (or attempted practice) of sewing, I have had an accumulation of stuff. My knitting has always been contained to boxes on my wall, artfully displaying my stash and reminding me what i need to use before going trolling for more. It was starting to become overrun by fabric, bits and pieces, fat quarters and felt...alll jumbling up what once used to be unadulterated wool and fiber. I started to feel antsy, our room no longer sancutuary, but messy hovel.

Plus the sewing machine sat on our table, in the way, tangling up with the oddments of life and fruit and whatnot. The occasional stain on fabric and the boys constantly pulling the plug on me in the midst of a seam attempt prompted me to dream...could I carve out a space for me? For my craft?

I should remind you I live in a multi-generational communal home with lots of people around. My parents, the twins, the last of my teenage brothers getting ready to take off to college (that is the plan, anyway). So, there is not a lot of me space for anyone. It felt a little selfish but I went and claimed a corner for myself....and I have never felt better.
It was a fairly simple endeavor...shelves from Ikea, a few containers purchased at Ikea and JoAnns...the desk an abomination of particle board (found at BigLots for 30 bucks, my husband literally shuddered as he put it together but I refuse to spend more as the plan is for a row of built in desk spaces and he can build them all for less than the cost of a finished desk....he just has to find the time). And in a day or two, I find I have this space.
a place of my own

It has helped me clear a very fuzzy head, a head full of too many ideas with no where to put them. A head that has felt tired and beat down by the difficulties that come with all the joys of parenting twin boys. Now I can glance over there, or quickly find a book or fabric swatch to look at. I can toss stuff up there out of reach of graspy little fingers, and I can find things without searching for precious minutes.
details, details

Doesn't mean my projects will get better. That just takes practice. But at least I have a place to put the practice in. So many projects I want to do....look at this swatch.
cicada studios, etsy
Cicada Studios, etsy seller. Found her shop via Soulemama and had to have this linen. Not sure for what quite yet...any ideas out there?

Saturday, July 05, 2008


What makes a day memorable?

My first memory of this weekend will always be meeting my niece. My gorgeous wise lovely three month old niece. Daughter to my sister, baby of the family, new love of my life. We all gathered round, eager to touch and hold and show our love.
meeting the family
I still want to take her and run. That visceral feeling of see baby, hold, cherish, smell, sweetness. An honor, to finally hold her and witness my sister as Mother. The little one that used to pray us to sleep by reciting the name of every known person on this earth before we could rest.
Now a mother, a gorgeous glowing mother of Kayda. And my brother in law, Stell....a natural father, able to soothe a hot overstimulated little girl in his arms, secure in his knowledge, already so confident.
makes me gaga
What is it with men these days? How did they get to be so good? Thanks to their Mamas (talking to you, Mona).

What else makes memories? Watching as my soon to be sister in law celebrates with her siblings a father turning 75.
old school
A father who came from Cuba and built a life for himself and his eight children. A father who smiles for the camera, tends to the roasting pig and greets each as family, warm embrace, eye to eye. Proud of each one, especially his baby girl, last of 8, close to him and at his side.
j and her poppy

Memorable. Our first real gathering since the twins came, at least since they became. The last gathering we hosted at our home was at their one month 'coming out'. It was my husband's 30th birthday and the day we introduced them to out larger circle. Since then time and naps and chaos and fatigue have prevented us from the attempt. Because, you see, when your direct family includes more than 10 people, all of which know 10 more, well, daunting, to say the least.
the kids
Today, we came back to the tradition of this home, that is, the tradition of open door, gather all, celebrate.

What a joy. Our landscape of friends has altered a bit. It now includes others with small children. Those that understand the world of meltdowns, chasing, splashing, and enjoying. It is not about us anymore, it is about them.
loving pretzels
And each of the lovelies that came through the door, bearing child on hip and gift of drink, well, they get it. They know the world of child and enjoy it as much as we do. And though I did not have the time to photo the parents behind these pictured children, I can say I stand in a community of friends and family that have embraced the world of parenting, are figuring it out as we do, and enjoy it as much as we do too.

I will never qualify as an event photographer because I forget things. I forgot to take a picture of the Indonesian meal we prepared for all: the pork satay, the peanut sauce, rice and gado gado. I forgot to take pictures of the 40 odd people here enjoying it. I forgot to take pictures of the boys shoveling grapes into their mouths while eating with 'human' forks (a weird phrase I let slip while explaining why my children eat with regular utensils. Hey, at least they eat that way).
I only got a few shots of the kids in 'water world' before I stashed the camera in order to attend to my children that decided to patrol said 'water world' and run everyone else off, even the 4 year old. I did get a photo of myself at the end of the evening
and the two of us on the patio. Last guest departed, kitchen lights off, on the patio with a final beer. Memorable.