Friday, January 29, 2010

Told You So

I think I predicted this week way back during my holiday high.


It was a slump of a week, for sure. Not too much went right, not too much flowed, nothing fit right. But it is also a week that has come to a close.

I wrote about it here, but I just wanted to say the quiet feels good in its own way. This place is an interesting reflection of my life, has some little bits that fall in and out of favor, and lately has less and less of the happenings. Maybe that is just how it goes...

No worries, I will be around. Now, I have to go and post the blankets to be given to some little ones that have needs greater than a blanket can solve, but that a soft blanket can surely surround.

Think of Tuesday for a minute today, of her family and loved ones and the Love she shared with us all in her beautiful radiant spirit. Thank you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Snaps

The weekend held finally blue skies, clear and washed thoroughly...

But it also held some fairly big bumps in the form of a puking boy and an emotional meet up with a friend's mama who is dying.

Sunday afforded a few moments to breathe, pick up the camera and snap. Salsa and sickies, sunlight and sadness, all in one package.

Sunday snaps

And Legos, always Legos. Such is Life.

Sunlight through Owen's ear reminds me of how delicate he still is...makes me remember when sunlight could shine though his hand and cheek. Fragile and delicate, is life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What to Do When It Rains

I do not know if the rest of the nation is aware, but it is Raining here in California. We are on our fifth day of rain which feels like a really big deal considering the drought we have had for years. And the fact that we now have twin toddlers.

4 years ago when El Nino raged, four days of rain would have meant pajamas and tea and a few good movies and fire in the fireplace. These days it means strategies (heavy toy rotation:: lots of toys in the garage and only a few in the house, rotate heavily before they get us, repeat daily), short trips timed around the tornadoes (not really tornadoes, just really crazy thunderstorms) and a new treat or two.

When the boys were born, Tim's sister came down from Oregon with a load of hand me downs. Good ones...we have used the books she passed down since the day the boys were born and we are barely through them all after almost three years. And some prime dress up clothes, plush firemen suits with hats, a race car outfit, and the gem in the bunch...Buzz Lightyear. The boys have taken a real shine to the Toy Story I and II movies (during what should be their nap time but disappeared so very long ago). They love the two characters passionately and we find them sewing each other up in the armpit area and 'falling with style' daily.

Monday I arrived home from work, sprinting into the garage to find Tim emerging from their storage closet with the 'dress up' bag in hand...I have to admit for the first time. I was saving them, okay? From the dismantlers, you know?

His timing was perfect as they were a little bouncy and frazzled from the day inside. Out came the firemen outfit, the race car outfit, and the Buzz...the ONE Buzz outfit. Erm. Not very good planning on our part. It was not total bedlam, but I could see Owen visibly agitating as Mason contentedly flew around and buzzed things with his arm laser.

Our solution? Frantically calling the Disney stores in our vicinity to see if they carried another Buzz suit. Answer :: No. Next step :: Toys R Us, a place I have walked into once since they were born. No go there.

Then Amazon. Oh, trusty Amazon. We looked through the Buzz outfits with O and then he looked at me with his lash framed eyes and said "Woody?" And I clicked twice and had paid for the piece without even caring about the seriously inflated price.

Our by line that night was that Woody was on his way. Imagine my chagrin when the email I received noted an estimated shipping date on January 25. Waaaay too long. Waaaaaay too long.

Next solution? Take Buzz and wash him and tell the boys it had to rest for a day or two and hope they totally forget it exists.
He really did need a wash as within the first 15 minutes of wearing the mostly white outfit, Mace managed to sit and smear chocolate all over his bum. At least, I think it was choc (it was, it was).

Well, today I came home from work to a lovely brown box with its familiar marking. And lo and behold, Woody had 2 sweet quick much appreciated days. You can bet that Amazon seller is going to get 10 stars.

And we had a nice afternoon and night in. Pretty nice. Until I lost it when I had to take the suits on and off and on and off and on...
Toy Story

Only two more days of rain left. I hope we all survive. And how in the hell do you people that live with toddlers in terrible inclement weather climates make it through? Wow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I thought I would invite you to check out a Secret Mission performed today per a Mondo Beyondo request. And I would love it if you came along and made your own mission too.

Happy Tuesday, my friends. I hope you are finding Hope scrubbed all over it.

Secret Mission :: Hope Notes

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Make A Blanket, Win a Bag

Last year, about this time, Ravelry held their first SoCal event at Unwind. It was fun and my little group of knitting women gathered. I met and became a good friend of Jillian. Mary Heather came into town and I met the rock stars of Ravelry, Jess and Casey.

This year it came around again, our little group considerably smaller. MH was back, Julia knit this amazing piece to wear,
Julia's knit

Shan slipped out for the night...Jillian got sick and we missed celebrating our first anniversary of friendship, Lori went to Canada and MJ is gallivanting through France, finding the latest class 5.3 to climb and designing some gorgeous and intriguing patterns, Kat was on the road with family. It was a fun time...though the absent were missed.

This year I was delighted to see the women from Namaste again.
Unwind Knit Night
(Kelly last year)
Kelly and Dawn are so funny and wonderful and their banter makes my sides hurt. Kelly insisted she had started a blog, but I was a little hazy from the sparkly pinot and could not find it. I told her she did not know what she was talking about (I think). But the next day, I did find the blog. Apparently I did not know what I was talking about. I am so happy that I did finally find it.

If you are not familar with the Namaste line of bags and accessories, you can see them here. These are local girls with a huge commitment to their business, but they are also caring and lovely individuals. Their latest blog post is a call to arms, well, knitting needles and sewing machines. They are holding a donation event, requesting hand made lap blankets to be given to children at CHLA. They did an awesome event for the Humane Society previously and I love how they just keep going. They are giving away prizes via raffle and I know there some readers here who are talented in creating.
Blankets for CHLA

I would love it if you clicked through and read for yourself. The deadline is January 31, which gives one a few weeks to work on a piece. I am working on a flannel blanket with some handwork, another fuzzy and soft fleece and another simple quilted cotton blanket. The request is for the pieces to be at least 24' by 24' which makes for a do-able and quick project. It is not much time, but I think it is just enough.
Blankets for CHLA

This January marks one year since Tuesday passed and this making has given me some focus, a place to put the prayers that I have felt welling up as the month moves on. Sometimes, I think it is not my place to grieve so much, for this child that was not mine. But she is a powerful soul, a little one that touched my life deeply and deeply touched the lives of many others. So, again, I would ask that if you can make and you love to make and you want to make, do it. And send your embodiment of love and healing to the women of Namaste so that they can pass it on to little ones that need it.
Blankets for CHLA

I am doing it for Tuesday, and her Mama, for me, for the littles that may be battling things that are almost too hard, to horrific to contemplate. I hope that you find a reason to pick up some of your favorite fabric and fiber and send some love their way. Namaste.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Let the Dreaming Commence

The Mondo class started on Sunday after a bumpy entrance which included me not really understanding what the phrase "user name not available" meant and thinking it was all the computer's fault, and then finally dawning comprehension and then finally gaining access, well, I feel well on my way.

The class is going to be full, a daily thing, commitment to be made as I feel available, but I feel really available. After reading the first "lesson" I realized that I want to write, daily if I can, and I am not sure that this space should take on the responsibility of carrying all that writing. I mean, I highly doubt there will be much knitting or sewing going on with my journaling and dreaming (whatever, I totally sewed all day while dreaming).
On Tuesday

Anyways, this is all to say that I have made a new space for it all, aptly named My Mondo Beyondo (clever, aren't I) and it will house and shelter the writing as it comes for this aspect of my time. I put up a link on the sidebar if you want to check in and read. The links to the lessons are for any other Mondo folks, but I hope the writing in itself speaks to something, speaks to me, and helps to clarify just how it is that I am going to swing this dream of mine.

Um, want to see some sewing? Here is a picture or two of some projects taking shape in the New Year. I think it might be the class lighting a fire in my proverbial craft belly, so there are backpacks and blankies and lots of other things. Embroidery too. Just so you know I will not leave this space hanging.

MAking Backpacks

On Tuesday

On Tuesday
Resting a bit as all the working and sewing and cooking and running after the boys has made me a bit tired. Good tired.

Dream on, sisters. And brothers. Hope you are finding some of your own in this new year.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

On Dreaming in the New Year

I feel like it has been a bit quiet here since the New Year. That is far from the case inside of my head. It always feels like the newness of the year should somehow be reflected in my posting, but so far this year I have yet to set any goals or resolutions for myself. Instead I have just been thinking.

Starting Monday, I will be participating in a 6 week online course about dreaming. Not of the nocturnal variety, but of the big (or small) and more esoteric dreaming. It is called Mondo Beyondo and it is the idea of two wonderful creative women bloggers that I have read for a very long time, Andrea and Jen. I signed up as a birthday present to myself back in October. The time is now here and for some reason, though I am a little excited, I feel a lot of apprehension.

I have been trying to put a finger on it, this apprehension. It is not something I feel often and usually it is associated with things I put in the class of "not so important" like paperwork unfinished. I am thinking it has something to do with the whole idea of actualizing my dreams.
Farmer's Market :: Claremont

Here is the thing...I cannot seem to define exactly what my dreams are. I do not put them in the same place as goals, they should be more sweeping, grandiose, special than the old "lose 10 pounds and clean the house more". I think it is because I am not sure of the "what and how" that I am feeling adrift, like I am peering through murky water and cannot quite make out the shape and form, but know it is there.

I have never felt like a dreamer, too practical and yet also too able to believe that things work themselves out. I do not dream about writing a book or creating a personal business or making it big. I feel really happy with what I have in my daily life and rarely think of striving to change that, or even add to it. Our life is far from perfect, we have challenges with money and time and balance. We have never quite finished the house or the garden, but it all feel like it will come together someday.
Farmer's Market :: Claremont

I have been asking myself if I am shying away from defining a dream because then it is real and out there, open for all to see. If my dream is made clear, then others can know it and acknowledge it and it goes forth from where?

Maybe one step was in the choosing of a word for the year...that of Gypsy. Now I just have to figure out what that really means. In real life and real time. If I am a bit absent here, then you know what I am working on.
Farmer's Market :: Claremont

All the photos are of really beautiful vegetables and fruits because so far this year those vibrant colors have really been catching my eye. Not sure how relevant these are but I just really really like them.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Made :: Last Year's Holidays

It feels like Christmas was eons ago, but I also feel like it whirled by and I am left still wanting to create a whole slew of projects that I just did not get around to. I have a precious copy of a Martha Stewart publication that gathers some of her best ideas into one tidy magazine and I find myself still looking it over, wishing I could do them. I just might while still in the spirit, it might ensure that next year we send out handmade cards rather than Costco’s finest with our pictures emblazoned all over them. (If you click the link you can check the snowman button cards, so cute and so simple. These might actually work for me).

I thought I would recap some of my favorite holiday making from last year (gasp, really, 2009 is so gone). The first was the set of oven mitts I sewed up for my sister. They were solely from scrap corduroy folded in my stash and I used many layers of old batting and flannel to insulate them and I love love love them. The quilted effect really made them special and bolstered my desire to explore more of the quilting format in the coming year.
sewing for the season
The pattern is really simple, from the Lotta Book, not exactly rocket science, cut and stack and quilt and sew together. I found it easiest to hand stitch the binding at the wrist edge as my machine sewing attempt was horrible. And now I need to make more, but I ran out of corduroy scraps. Anything will work, but I love the way the cord quilted up.
sewing for the season

This season was the year of candy making, as evidenced by a whole post devoted to marshmallow making. Then I made some caramels that had to be given out immediately for fear of eating them all. I also made some toffee that was out of this world.
I used the recipe from Molly’s book, but subbed in almonds and used Andes Mint candy chopped up with bittersweet chocolate for the top. People, I have discovered how to make a pan of sinfully delicious Almond Roca. I thought Tim might pass out when he realized that this new knowledge can be implemented at any time. In. Our. Home. I might have too as I wished I could erase the knowledge of candy making from the memory bank. It is a frickin’ dangerous thing to know.

There was this banner from my ever inspirational friend Jennifer that came together from more fabric stash.
Banner Year
Easy project and perfect for hanging all the cards we received in the mail. I used small pieces, sewed them right side together, turned them and stitched them at intervals to store bought bias binding. It is great as it can be used year after year for hanging the cards that come. Cards are one of my favorite parts of the season and it is nice to display them in a way that lets them become a part of our days leading up to Christmas.

One of the last thing I tried was a New Year’s Day appetizer.
Mushroom caviar on homemade crackers
I read an SK post on mushrooms and cream and immediately understood where she gets the ‘smitten’ in her blog name. We had made the mushroom Marsala pasta a few days before so I had all needed ingredients for a mushroom caviar, but no brioche for toasts. Back to the Martha Stewart magazine, where I found recipe for crackers. So I made crackers. It sounds crazy but they are so easy….basically flour, butter, cheese, spices, cream or milk. Bam. Cracker dough. Roll it out thin, cut it pretty, bake it a long time, and you have crackers. Mine were garlic parmesan with red pepper flakes and they were gooooood. Especially with creamy mushroom caviar dolloped on top. (SK made crackers too, her recipe sounds just like the one I used, so here you go).

Some of this knowledge is stuff I would rather not know as the waist band of my pants tightened ever so slightly every other day leading up to the holiday week. But the holidays are over and I guess I can just tuck away some of this knowledge to re-visit next year. We all know the holidays are going to be here before we know it, right?

Now, onto the next year of making. As long as it does not hold weekly candy making efforts, I think I am game.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 :: In {too} Many Pictures

Last year I tried to recapture 2009 in photos. One picture a month did not quite pan out so I allowed myself two.

This year I tried to compile the photos whilst away from them. This was not conducive to choosing a photo a month, not even two photos a month. I ended up poring over our Flickr account with Tim in the small coffee shop in the mountain town with excellent wifi...

They are so lovely to me. I understand that there are not many who will sit through over 70 photos in a blog post, but I am not that good at culling, especially when it comes to mine own...

And especially when it comes to Time. Time is somewhat of a conundrum to me now. I never have enough. I never know how to ask it to slow. I never really know. I want it to be so many things but it is just Time and it does what it does.

The oddest thing to me is that the reflection in Flickr and Blog World somewhat shaped my memories of 2009. I recall each moment captured when I view it, as if it just happened. If you were to ask me about another moment, not pictures, would I know as well? I am not sure.

Anyhow, here it is, our boys through the year of '09, captured in random moments as they and the camera fell...

2009 in {too} many pictures.
{Click on above link to make it work}

Picture I posted on Obama's inauguration day...with my 44 words for them...

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010 :: The Year of Caravans and Wagons

It is New Year’s Day and we are sitting in a quiet cabin. So quiet I can hear the hum of the refrigerator and the stilted tapping of the keyboard. We are here without the boys for the first time since their birth. The last time we were here alone was New Year’s day 2007, I was pregnant with them. Back then I used to write to them in a paper journal and I remember I wrote about my hopes and dreams for them as we entered the year of their birth. I feel a little bewildered that four years have passed since those quiet moments.

We called to check in with my parents this morning and Owen and Mason grabbed the phone and sang us 'Happy Birthday' as my Mom gently coached them in the background. It was the best sound ever and I wish I could have recorded their voices. We stayed in bed until 11 a.m., another first since their birth, and I finally read through a sewing book I bought over two years ago. I understood all of it and I was not interrupted once during the reading. And I now feel as if I understand sewing knits and have unlocked the secret of sewing my own T-shirts. It is knowledge worth its weight in gold.

It is odd to be able to hear myself think and actually finish books and thoughts and conversations. There is always so much energy coursing through the space when they are around. We have only been gone two days but it feels like two weeks. I miss them but I am not running for the car to get home just yet. That will probably happen tomorrow morning.

Last night, we rang in the New Year in our own quiet manner, talking about our dreams for them and having a few beers. The cul-de-sac rang with isolated shouts and a few gunshots sounded in the distance (we are in mountain country, you know). We were glad to be home and warm inside after spending four plus hours in the car driving to and from Yosemite. During the drive I reclined my seat all the way back, a luxury I had forgotten, and I knit away at my sock and did not turn around once during the whole drive.

It is a good thing and an odd thing to be away from them. Time seems to stretch and I feel the urge to jump up and fill it with movement and doing, so hard to learn to just sit for a minute. We have spent 3/8 of out time away talking about them and mimicking some of our favorite phrases, just now we are easing into speaking in full sentences and not repeating ourselves five times.

I think 2010 is going to be an interesting year. I have plans, but not too many to be overwhelmed. It is nice to sit and mull over them during this quiet mid-day interlude. I think I want to declare 2010 the year of the Gypsy. The year of creating portability and lightness, flexibility and movement.

I have no solid resolutions but I have made a commitment to dream. I have been wanting to find a way to actualize my dreams. They are truly simple ones, nothing like writing a book or creating another person. In truth, the dreams are so vague that I hope that fleshing them out will come in the space of participating in Mondo Beyondo, helping me to figure out just what dreaming of living like a gypsy will look like.

When I was young and read voraciously, I always fell hard for the characters that lived in wagons. I loved the idea of a treasured interior, stuffed with essentials but somehow always organized and accessible. I could see in my mind’s eye loading and unloading precious needed cargo, easily taking oneself from place to place, unfettered and unhitched from the ordinary, able to explore the extraordinary.

Now, with the children in the picture, the dream has shifted a bit and, yes, it does include dual DVD players and a solar powered battery charger, but it is still there, so real and present. I am not sure how or when yet, but I do think that 2010, the year of the Gypsy, will be quite wonderful indeed.

And you? What are you dreaming of on this fine New Year’s Day?

We are wishing you a year of dreaming big, always a good wish to bestow.