Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Sale and A Plan

Hi, Wednesday. You make me feel good. You make me feel like having a sale. A few weeks ago I put a few items in the shoppe. I was happy to see a few go to good homes and I asked for some feedback. Now, I know I have fellow Mama of toddlers reading here because we all follow along this path together in some ways. So, I am totally planning on getting some toddler sized t-shirts in the shoppe with a few unique 'Jon' characters. I promise they will not be white. But that will have to wait. You will see why.

Anyways, I have two wee onesies in the shoppe geared towards the upcoming Easter holiday and I would love to see them go to a place where they can be worn before that Sunday passes. They are on sale now for 10 bucks and free shipping.
On Sale!
On Sale!
Snatch them up if you like, give them to a friend with a little one. Or if you have a little one tuck them into it. One is 0-3 months, one is 3-6 months. Now, go and get 'em.

See, I am clearing the slate for a few weeks to focus on my boys. You know, those ones I never write about any more. Those ones turning two in a few weeks. Those ones driving me batty and alternately making my heart melt. Mostly batty though.
Morning 'Do :: Gene Wilder
Morning 'Do :: Greaser
Two is gonna be hard. As long as I can steal kisses and hugs, I think I might make it.

I saw an awesome project over at Woodcraft. I know half the world reads Sweet Juniper for the wonderful eloquent writing and stellar photography. But I was totally hooked in by Wood's new crafty blog. So, this project started spontaneously, gathering scrap, using some precious fabric pieces, digging deep into a box I scored from Jennifer's destash efforts. I love it so far.
Nap Time Activity
My plan is to make the birthday banner to be used for the multiple family members residing here, just a special touch to a not-so-ordinary day. And make a personal 'name' banner for each person as their birthday comes. This project is simple a fun and you can read the process Wood used here. So far I have changed a few things...
Bday Banner

:: My triangles are cut from 9" by 10" squares
:: I am using wool felt for the letters
:: I plan on using 2" ribbon and folding it over each pennant.

There are a few other things in the works, I am trying not to get too distracted by all the pretty shiny objects popping up all around. I did finish the second hat, just in time to catch a few Spring time rays lakeside.
Looks like we are going out of town for awhile on an impromptu vacation, but there is a post office in our little town and I promise to send out the onesies stat.

Now, back to work. I might be meaning this literally. More on that later. For now, I have projects and a sewing machine to pack.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekends are for...

Sewing (for Me) :: Adjusting the dress, trying it on, testing the fit.
Weekend Sewing Kimono

Feeling good about the current results. I was a little apprehensive when the elastic thread would not gather at the waist, instead I ran a few threads for gathering. I love the green fabric but may not have enough to make the Obi sash, my original plan was to use the shockingly pretty pink Heather Ross fabric, small conundrum.
Fabric Chosen

Any opinions?

Sewing (for them) :: We finally found a hat style they like and we only have the one in a cute Hawaiian print. I did a thorough examination of the current fave and sketched off a pattern and tried it out today.
Nap time Festivities

I have been hoarding all my Heather Ross fabric for too long, it feels good to finally use it. It was a great nap time activity, not too much sewing, and when they woke up I had something to show for the time.
Sun Hat

Owen immediately adopted it, refusing to even let Mace try it on for fit. He wore it from 3 p.m. until bath time.
Sun Hat

I have never been so flattered in my life.
Blues Brother

Knitting (for her) :: The sweet simple idea for a faerie dress has come together, the bodice is knit and I have too many yards of tulle floating around.
Faerie Dress

I love the fluffy stuff, so diametrically opposite from anything I have ever created for the boys.

Gathering :: Some blooms from the rose bush. Unbelievable, the fragrance that these huge flowers give off. Almost intoxicating.
From the Garden

I have spent many minutes of the last few days with my nose buried in them.

Organizing :: I inundated my craft library in the last few weeks and was feeling very very overwhelmed by all the ideas and possibilities and wonderful patterns and plans. I felt so paralyzed that I needed to take it all out, find the books new homes and open up a little more space for fabric and breathing.
Spring Organizing

The result is something new and nice, a bookshelf in our home reclaimed from toys, a corner space just slightly reinvented.
Sewing Corner
It seemed to work, as evidenced by the projects flowing. Spring cleaning has come to my crafting...but not to the whole home. That might have to wait until next weekend.

Reading :: Want to see the new books? I warn you, you might not want to place a huge Amazon order for all of them at the same time.

* Alabama Stitch Book
* Weekend Sewing
* Aranzi Cute Stuff
* Seams to Me
* Stitched In Time


The rest of this new week holds coaxing little veggies to grow big and strong in their new homes.

Making another sun hat out of orange doggie fabric. Finding more moments to participate in this new place I have found, a much better healthier social network than FB. Practice egg hunts with the boys. Following up with my 30 Days project for the boys. Deciding what to knit next now that my needles are empty (but my mind so full).

How is your week shaping up?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dream Big or Go Home

I know you have a dream. I sometimes wonder what the dreams of others look like.

Are they hazy, wrapped in gauze and indistinct?

Or is yours sharp, real and clear, as clear as the silhouette of the Eastern Sierras against a bright blue sky?

I have my dream, our dream, I should say. It is of the sharp quality, almost too easy to see. Aptly named and even better placed. Nestled in the arms of the mountains I love, not too far, but otherworldly in its setting. Strategically situated next to a clear running stream, at the end of a 16 mile mountain bike trail, feet from fishing holes, minutes from elevation, closest to my idea of heaven. (No, it is not Canada, and that is what makes it so real).

This dream unfolds easily in my mind, scenes of this life vivid and challenging. I can see the place clean and welcoming. I can see the Lodge restored and inviting, people gathered around a deep warm hearth in winter. People not on Retreat, but in Advance mode.

I can see artists of all types, all mediums, snugged up in small cottages, needing and finding inspiration. Cyclists needing open road and trail, yogis needing meditation and practice, travelers from far off places stumbling upon us because someone told them about us back in Thailand.

And I can see all of them gather to find these things in each other.

I can see small gardens tended, classes offered, people coming and going and staying and leaving. A huge glassed in room of fiber and art and wheels and looms and space. I can see learning to fish, like, really fish.

There is healing and growth, unbelievable opportunity for early morning sunrise glory, unparalleled areas for photography exploration and a lot of home cooked meals served on long trench tables where all sit to eat and live and eat some more.

I can see this dream and it makes me happy. And it makes it harder. Dream to reality seems a challenge I am not quite sure how to embrace. My current attempts to realize it involve SuperLotto tickets every so often. I do believe that when we truly visualize that which we need, we can will it to come, it just might not come the way we expect.

This here is my attempt to put the message out to the Universe at large that I am serious about this dream and would welcome any assistance available to help it become solid reality. Thanks, there, happy spirits, and I am looking forward to seeing you in Paradise.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dressing Up a Girl

I finished a little something, something that has lingered in various piles, been lost and found, taken out and occasionally admired. The skeins of the original yarn are all lost, all except a little bit of the green. Just the color i needed to finish.

Here is Kayda in Anouk.
Kayda in Anouk

I recall the day I first saw the free pattern at Knitty, I was still early to knitting. I was fascinated by the colors, the name, the adorable bebe in the photo. It made me dream of having babies, of a sweet little one with a French name and a bright colored dress. I actually knit the dress years ago, almost right after the pattern was published....that would make it Spring 04...five years ago. Wow.

We all know when I did start down my path to Mama hood it included a lot of blue and no real need for a dress, bright though it may be. But Anouk was still around, unfinished, in need of pockets sewn on.
Kayda in Anouk

It was weird, I actually was totally stumped by how to sew the pockets on. I thought about picking up stitches, thought about how to join the two rows of knit stitches. Then I just picked up some matching embroidery thread and straight stitched them on. Not hard at all.
Kayda in Anouk

I knew it was for Kayda. And so over the weekend I whipped out the button bands, let Amanda pick out some buttons from the stash and duplicate stitched on a few stems (sans leaves). Completed with minutes to spare before they loaded up to drive north and the boys even had a few minutes to play with the buttons.

I love this dress and highly recommend it to any one looking for an adorable dress for a sweet spunky little girl. It has a very simple construction, easy to put together. I love the suggested yarn, so soft and saturated. My sister loved the colors and declared it her birthday dress. Now that it a huge compliment to this Auntie.

Wait until she gets a load of the real birthday gift. I am loving it already. And I am making it quite big so as she grows into her Year II and faeries become part of her world, the dress will be waiting on her.

A few more faces of Kayda

With Omi
Omi and Kayda

And done...
Kayda in Anouk

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thoughts from A Week

I have been ruminating on what to write about this whole experience. It has been quite a week. One that will go down in the memory banks as one I will likely not forget. So many things learned from the week that has passed into the past.

:: I have learned what it means to be a caregiver. For those of you that work in medicine, this is a word that holds much meaning. When a person needs help, we look to their caregivers. We ask them to be the help. We ask them to be the other. The non-medical person that will be there for the patient. In my case, I was always the one to teach the caregiver about how/what/when/where to do things. How to move the patient. How to help. How to be what they had never been asked to be before. Someday I might write the full import of what this week was for me. For now, I will say I have learned something from the other side of the fence.

What does it mean to be a caregiver? To take care of someone that you never quite expected to not be well. To see the one you know, in front of you, needing something you have never needed to give before. I am humbled by the experience. Saddened at times by my reaction, my need to not be that. Understanding much better than ever before what the true import of the word means. Happy to have come through this a little bit more aware of what it is exactly that I have asked of the people in my past work, what I just assumed they should be able to give.

:: I have reacquainted with my niece. She, of the 11 month old wadddling gait.
My Hearts

Of the pre-verbal, not always sure, brink of toddlerhood being. She of the baby girl thighs of squishy joy. She now knows and loves me again. It is never enough when part of your family lives 12 hours away. When your true sister-hood lives too far to find daily, but I will take it. The bonding of cousins, twin boys watching "baby" because their new vocal cords cannot quite say "Kayda"; watching, holding, helping, sharing. Mason asking for 'baby' when he wakes, the boys watching her nap on my brother's couch, fascinated by her sleeping. The perfect culmination to the bonding, Sunday night bath, Owen washing her hair, Mason warily but willingly sharing his bubbles. Moments they will remember in their future connections, laying foundations. They felt her fascination with them, had their own.

And I had time to strengthen my bond with a sister, now mothers, never enough but always just what we need.

:: Spring morning storm, blowing in cold and grey. Waking after a too sleepless night, not their fault, only my own. Out for the first time this week, together with the boys, an excellent dinner party. Then home and in the front yard for a minute, watching the clear blue post storm sky, feeling the cleaned breeze, whipping the leaves so fresh, hummingbirds screeching their territory, spring blooms bright after the wash,

seeing my seed flats pushing forward first sprouts. Feeling right for the first time in days, not afraid anymore.

:: Hiking, slowly and not far, but outside, greeting the day with dirt and smiles.
In a Rut

Resolving ::

- First, my sister and I decided to write out our birth stories and send them to each other, do what we will with them. Frame them, write them longhand, paint them, but our gift for each other in this thing called Mamahood as she finishes her first and I, my second.

- A second go at a picture a day leading up to the boys' second birthday. A long standing tradition maybe, for me, for them. To be started on Thursday (I think).

- Finishing a dress for Easter. A big party to be at, Kayda's first birthday, their first Ester Egg hunt, my first dress. It will all work out, right?

Like I said, maybe someday I will figure out what to write about this week. It is a odd thing to find yourself on the side of then fence you never wanted to be on. Terrifying actually. But that always can make one stronger in the end.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shoppe :: Open

Oh, Friday, you mean so much to me. This one is a good one. A few goals accomplished and the end to a very crazy roller-coasting ride of a week.

A few small things pulled me through this week. They are named Fred and Trogdor the Dragon. Say Hi.
Shoope Offerings

These are my new little friends. Little folks that came by and stayed a bit. Designed as always by Jon, my uber talented brother. The biggest kick is in showing him his sketches realized on the little onesies and listening to the boys call them "babies".
In the Shoppe

Craft is my savior, hope it becomes your gift. To your little one, or a friend with a little one coming. When I make these for my own little ones, I always smile when I dress them in one, remembering the joy of the stitching, seeing them move about in something I made.

Please look and let me know what you think. I would like to entertain any custom requests if possible, these onesies are sized for the wee ones (0-6 months) but I may expand the line to include some of those terrorizing toddlers. As long as they earn it.

Cheers and happy weekending. Ours shall include stacks of buttermilk pancakes, my gorgeous niece Kayda, bbq's and healing families. Loves, A.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Moving Along

First off, thank you so very much for your concern and well wishes for Tim. It never fails to amaze me how strongly my community of friends here in this space give and support and encourage. He is experiencing a few more complications from the hit and we are hoping for him to get back to his normal self soon. I cannot reiterate strongly enough how good it feels to know how much you all care.

Back to reality post escape (um, well, it was an semi escape that is currently turning into the endless rounds of insurance talks, doctor visits and juggling sick twins...yep, sick again). It makes me feel a little like it would have been better to just stay put. I am harried and frazzled and tired and dirty (screw baking soda, I am taking a long bubbly shower as soon as my Mama can take the boys for a while). But I am here, and we Mamas (and others) know you just have to keep on going. You have to. Because those little ones need interaction and security, food needs making (except for last night when I resorted to really good pizza from the local joint) and laundry needs washing. Some how.

And of course, what do I do when I am feeling stressed. I try to cram as much craft into my solitary breathless moments. Because I am crazed like that. Actually it is my non crazy that needs it. There is something calming in the small even stitches, the repetitive movements that leave behind evidence of my ability to create outside of myself, evidence of little dreams.

I started this simple bag last week and it came with us onto the slopes.
Simple Sewing

It is from the excellent book Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter and I loved the way it came together so organically. She is right on with the title, her projects are simple, logical and easily executed. This one is from a sturdy pretty corduroy (1 dollar remnant) and a splash of Heather Ross fabric for a pocket. It held up well on my back through out the day, was barely noticeable. I think it will be a good take along for hikes and park days. I also think I might make up a few for the boys to introduce the beginnings of packing it in (and out) when we venture this Spring.

And then the Mammoth porch activities with needle and thread. Here is a peep peek.
Peep Peek

I have a plan to do up a few more onesies. I had such fun doing the auction pieces (that sold, much to my relief). The little character of Fred has been floating around this household, created by my brother Jon for his French class. He is a debonair little monkey and finds himself in many different situations, diapered and cute, breaking out of his first Easter egg. I am planning on stocking a few onesies in the shop, plans plans. I will let you know if it does happen...I think these would make excellent baby shower gifts and lord knows there is a plethora of pregnant women out there right now.

So, there is my Zen. And this is a new Zen I am discovering. I read about Alabama Chanin and the book Alabama Stitch Book at one of my new favorite blogs. Something about the images immediately called to me so I did a book order post tax refund. The last two evenings I have been immersed in the magic that is the Alabama book. I actually gets tingles when I see some of the pieces. Combined with my Weekend Sewing
acquisition, the inside of my brain feels like a virtual world of amazing sewing possibilities. It may be some time before I can actually try a piece from the Alabama book, but I have so much fodder for my night time imaginings.

So, one step at a time. First, park, then doctor then dinner then tomorrow. It all works itself out. With a little time and faith and healing, right?
Black Bamboo

And reminders to breathe. Just breathe.

Train Cap Two
Train Hat II : Check.

Not to alarm anyone, Tim is okay...but struggling a little more than we thought. Keep him in mind if you can.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mammoth : Check.

It might not be everyone's idea of a romantic getaway.
Mammoth Trip
Small cabin on outskirts of mountain town, lights but no heat, down comforters and bags for warmth and bathrooms a walk away. But it was always ours. Tim and I have always been frugal, not luxury travelers. We decided to try our first weekend away, a visit to our favorite spot the way we used to do it, alone together, just us. Before the kids we would do the drive to Mammoth, grab this cabin and either snowboard or bike the weekend away. It has been three years since we last used it and it felt like high time to check on our little friend.

It was a great idea, and though the nights and days turned out spectacularly cold (we woke Saturday to ice floating in our water bottles inside the cabin), it was everything we needed and hoped for.

A easy day of discounted riding, getting the feel of the board back, laughing at my total loss of directional sense on the mountain (Tim, traverse!) and then a good long soak in the hot tub slope side.
The porch

A few beers on our front porch, talking about photography and work and kids and politics, all while sewing (he swears it does not bother him and I am helpless to leave hands idle).
Porch activities

And then a sunset photo session,
Mammoth Trip

freezing our *sses off and laughing in the wild wind because we were a little tipsy and our lips were turning blue, but we wanted to keep taking pictures.


A sneak into the small quiet lodge, where we stole moments by the fire and watched the apres ski folk laugh over 10 dollar cocktails and felt a smidge of envy knowing we had sub zero temps to return to in our little cabin in the woods.
Tamarack Lodge

And then what we thought would be a fun date before dinner, spotting the local outdoor skating rink, seeing the little four and ten year olds stumbling about. It looked so fun and we ran to get skates rented, tied them on, feeling like kids too as we wobbled towards the ice. Tim asked if they rented helmets....I wish they did.

Ice skating is unbelievably hard, especially on outdoor roughly groomed ice. We did not do so well, really badly actually. After 10 minutes of struggling to hang onto the rail and move forward, I looked up and saw Tim face down on the rink and thought he was joking around, then realized he was not moving, totally unresponsive, happened in a moment. Boom. Heart pounding, shouting at him but not moving him, asking for help, realizing how bizarre this happened here after a whole day on the mountain. Off duty fireman on the ice came to help and eventually Tim came around. A few hours later, at the ER, head CT checking out all right, all observations normal, ironic instructions to wake him up a few times in the night, we are released into the frigid night air to walk back home, our cabin blocks away from the hospital.

Not exactly how we imagined finishing our first weekend away together. And quite literally the scariest thing that has happened to us ever. Tim is fine, headache but fine. Now we are home and the pictures tell the tale of most of the day. Fun and together and quiet and not quiet. But let me tell you, I cannot do this without him. And so we will never touch ice skates again. And to think we were worried about the kids. Arg.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Body Betrayal?

Some days I feel like my body is betraying me. Over my life I have had bilateral dislocated shoulders, over stretched hip ligaments, a broken talus, I was en pointe for 6 years and on a punishing gymnastic schedule for quite a few years in my youth. I have deep aching in my feet when they hit the ground in the morning, there are days when my back makes me want to scream and I carry a fun little c-section tummy that still does not have full sensation restored and gets in the way all the time. As a physical therapist, I know too much about where these things might lead me as I grow older inside this body.

I do yoga three times a week right now. I started yoga at 10 when my father deemed that we as a family would wake at 5 a.m. and practice the routines from this book in the semi-dawn light. We groaned and bitched but he laid a foundation for me, the foundation of life long health. I no longer dance en pointe, no longer can do a back flip, no longer have the luxury of accessing modern dance classes always based in L.A. But I can still practice yoga.
Joining In

I practice yoga to heal, I practice to challenge, I practice for both internal and external strength.
52 Weeks :: Her :: Nine

It is a struggle sometimes to make myself go, the Tuesday and Thursday classes are later in the evening, post bed time routine. But for this year, I have made the commitment to be committed when I am there.

I get really discouraged sometimes. I practice in a level 2/3 class, the same instructor for four years. I watch as she advances in her practice and sometimes I feel so stagnant. I see the girl next to me that weighs 100# soaking wet flow through class. I watch my bendy advanced neighbors with a combination of envy and awe. I know I am not supposed to, but whatever, I am human. Some of them achieve every position, every arm balance, every bind, as I struggle to wrap arms, clasp hands, ignore folds of skin preventing full bends. I know it is not yoga mind, but sometimes I just want to cry. I slip into the mind set that I cannot improve inside this body that I have.

I think I know why my practice stalled. It is because I did. I have made other things more important than the time I am spending there. I allot the time reluctantly, gauging the moments until class ends, leaving a bit early to reclaim non-yoga time. But I want to tell myself, no more. I will be present and whole for class, otherwise, what exactly is the point?

My body is so very different now, so much less accessible in so many ways. I do not want this to be my relationship with it, I do not want to feel betrayed by it. Part of me feels like I could never take a stage again, present it in any way that others could actually see it. Believe me, this is an ongoing thing with me and my body and I know I am not alone.

I am writing this down to see it in print. A reminder that I need to be a part of it and accept myself, body parts and all. And that yoga can be a wonderful path to get there and that it really won’t kill me if I can never fully achieve Marichyasana. Well, it won’t kill me, but I think I do have to make a goal to lose enough weight to get back to that pose.
Park Yoga

And to give myself maybe a bit more kindness and acceptance for the things I can do. Like bend.

I started taking a few self portraits in yoga positions and I am finding it a really good practice. It helps me to 'see' where my body is in the poses, sometimes it is very different than I 'feel' in the poses. I am thinking I will take pictures regularly to remind and record my progress (or lack there of) in the next few months. Maybe not in Chucks and jeans from now on....a little limiting to flexibility.