Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ornaments you can stick in your mouth

...or bang on the floor or whatever. These are key criteria for Christmas ornaments at our house this year, thanks to a busy boy and his fellow mischief makers (the dogs). Using felt, fabric scraps, and seventeen miles of blanket stitch, I've made a passel of very basic ornaments that won't harm or be harmed. Most are just simple shapes I cut out and embroidered.

The flock of felt birdies are all from the template I found at skip to my lou:

I also made a few birds from the purl bee's pattern. They're incredibly tiny and delicate and I love them.

Hilary at Wee Wonderfuls has her stuff together in the safe tree department.

I keep reminding myself that I don't need to make every damn thing I see this year, or I won't have anything to make during the next few years. Nobody in my house right now is old/young enough to care about advent calendars, stockings, festive table runners, etc. so those can wait a year or two; also, garlands can wait until Joseph is old enough to want to help make them. This is my excuse for having a minimally festive house.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

how to test whether an ornament is child-safe

Last night we (finally) got around to opening the box of ornaments and assessing which of them are unbreakable enough to get put on our tree this year.  In my infinite wisdom, I decided to "test" one of the balls by dropping it on the garage floor.  I was totally sure it was plastic.  It was not.  I ran into the house to tell Scott how dumb I am (he agreed) and then proceeded back into the garage to dig through the box to find more plastic ornaments.  It turns out that "digging" and "glass" don't mix, and another ornament broke.  At this point I was wondering whether I had had some kind of mini-stroke.  Scott then took over with the ornament unpacking, promptly deciding to jackass around with two more "plastic" ornaments, sending one onto the floor of the living room, breaking it. 

We hadn't even been drinking, more's the pity. 

We came up with some more foolproof ways to test whether an ornament is breakable:
  • put it in your pillowcase
  • sit on it
  • chew it
  • hide it in your shoe
More later on ornaments that are actually unbreakable (because they are made of felt, which I know because I made them).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

joey six teeth sleeps with the fishes

Joey seven teeth is sitting on my lap. After a three month tooth-making hiatus, Joseph has gotten another tooth, with a few more that seem poised to emerge any day now. This has been predictably hellish.

In other dental news (could this post be less engaging? No.) Joseph LOVES to brush his teeth. I think this is because baby toothpaste is the sweetest thing he's ever had in his mouth, they really load it up with sweeteners. He gets pissed off when you try to brush his teeth for him.

I'm ending the boredom here and now. Next week: posts about holiday crafting, no oral hygiene whatsoever.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

giveaway day winner!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2008-12-06 15:03:22 UTC

The winner is Allie of Strandz. Hooray for her! Thanks to everybody who stopped by. It was fun to poke around and see all your blogs. This little project was also an excellent stash buster and I'm feeling motivated to have another giveaway after the holidays (the "after the holidays" list grows minute by minute).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

giveaway day! pinwheel coasters

These six coasters, based on the lovely pattern at the long thread are free for the taking as part of Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day.  I'll randomly pick a commenter on Saturday, December 6th (so: comment by the end of the day on Friday) and I'll ship it early next week (only within the US, sorry).  This is, of course, assuming somebody comments and actually wants them, which I'm not quite convinced will happen.

Anyway:  coasters!  I used bits of blue & brown fabric I had in my stash along with some linen.  I was planning to make some little cocktail napkins out of coordinating fabric, but this week is not a week for mitering corners, so alas, no napkins to give away.

Please comment and take them off my hands and give them to your office secret santa or brother in law or child's teacher or something.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


...for little boys who "eat" with spoons

...and talk on the phone (a surge protector...don't you love the expression--"can't you see I'm trying to talk on the phone here?")

...and for living in a place where we can watch seagulls and pelicans (!!) on Thanksgiving day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

what to wear during an economic collapse

You know, to wear while warming you hands over the fire in the trash bin.

The handwarmers pictured in the pattern are more delicate and not at all hobo-appropriate, but I screwed up the eyelet row (obviously). I think this is because I used thicker yarn and knit too tightly. I used the magic loop technique which I had derided before as being too much of a pain to be practicable, but I got all obsessed with it and couldn't sit still until I had successfully knit something in the round. So I checked that off my list and proceeded to knit a few miles of scarf (merry Christmas, family members!).

Anyway, I think they're perfectly serviceable, albeit not as pretty as the originals. I've already worn them a lot in the garden and sitting in the yard with Joseph, who thinks digging in the dirt with a spoon is the reason he was born. I think I might make another pair of handwarmers, but longer, prettier, and in some kind of dirt-color that will match my clothing, but that will have to wait until after the holidays.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

this is one fine looking loaf of bread

But it took forever to knead and now I have carpal tunnel. It's the 100% whole wheat bread from the excellent Bread Baker's Apprentice. It really was delicious, as was everything I made from that book, especially the pizza dough, which I'll write about some other time.

I'm really not interested in kneading anything right now though (maybe when it gets colder?) so I'm going to return BBA to the library for now and focus on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which I actually dream about. It's due back at the library on Friday and I'm so okay with paying the late fee just so I can try out the panetone recipe this weekend. I've made a few sandwich loaves, all of which were very good, but the most fantastic thing to come out of this book is the BRIOCHE. It involves like a dozen eggs and a gallon of melted butter, but it is heavenly. I just made croutons out of the last few slices and they are the best croutons in the world. I think I need this book from Santa.

The real lesson here is that everything I've made from either of these books tastes better than any bread I've made from internet recipes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

in which I embarass myself

I've been a loser over the past two weeks about posting, but I've been a loser about ever so many other things:
  • I'm kind of bored of reading to the baby (bad mama!). He's very interested in books right now, or at least in sitting in my lap and turning pages, and I'm at the point where I groan inwardly when I see him toddling over with yet another book. Don't worry, I read to him anyway.
  • I spent about a week glued to the internet playing with the New York Times website's interactive electoral map, and playing with all possible permutations of outcomes. There was definitely a point on Tuesday when I knew how many electoral votes every state had.
  • I'm so excited about having a potential self-diagnosis about my stomach issues. I heard in interview on NPR that resonated, then I did a google search, and I decided that I have a migraine in my belly! Who knew that such a thing existed? So exciting. Who needs gastroenterologists? This was hands down highlight of my week, even more than the election.
  • When I finished reading all the Harry Potter books (I was very late to that party) I got very depressed for several days, and spent too much time looking up wizarding trivia on the internet (information about Hogwarts is pretty much why the internet exists, apparently). I discovered that there is a sizable nexus of knitters who are extremely fond of Harry Potter. A Ravelry search turns up all manners of Potter-inspired hand knits. Very comforting, in a people-are-weird-like-me kind of way.
I have some creative endeavors that I'll post about next week, so the lameness will stop, or at least be interrupted.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

garden carnage

Here's Joseph trying to finish what Freckles started earlier this week--the near-total destruction of the vegetable garden.  I think there must be lizards or ants living in there, because she was hell bent on tearing the whole thing up.  I caught her at it, yelled a lot, replanted every single plant that still had an in tact root system, and then she tore it up again.  I think what we have left are a few lettuce plants (which are getting a little too old to eat anyway), a little bit of basil and spinach, and maybe some carrots (can't tell yet).

Today I found her sleeping smack in the middle of one of the garden beds.  I hardly had the heart to make her leave it.

We're sitting Halloween out this year.  Joseph's too young to know what's going on, so he won't miss having a costume.  I'm promising myself that next year I'll do something fantastic, costume-wise.  The candy situation is making me resentful because I hate having piles of it lying around the house when I can't have any--I'm allergic (or something, google hasn't been able to diagnose me) to corn, and you can't find much candy that doesn't have corn syrup.  Bleh.  I prefer holidays that are celebrated with baked goods.

Friday, October 24, 2008

this is the best picture you will ever see


Indiana has to visit Joseph's crib after nap time, otherwise he barks. I don't get it.

Joseph's latest accomplishments:
  • when you ask him if he wants to "fly" (get tossed in the air), he crouches and puts his arms out at his side
  • when he sees his cup, he becomes rapturous
  • he dances when he hears music
  • he says mama (and "mamamammamamamamammamama"). Sometimes mama means me, sometimes it just means "somebody had better come love me now."
Typical conversation with Joseph:

Me: let's say hi to dada
Joseph: mama
Joseph: mama
Scott: dada!
Joseph: mama!
Karen: dada!
Joseph: mama!

I love you too, baby.

Monday, October 20, 2008

symmetry is hard

I found a pattern on ravelry for mittens that are knit flat, so I guess I didn't need double pointed needles after all. They knit up very quickly, and it wasn't until I was done with the second one that I realized that its thumb was significantly longer than the first mitten's thumb.  Actually, that's not true--as I was knitting the second one, I had the notion that thumb on the first mitten was too short, so I had better make the thumb on the second mitten longer.  Which makes no sense, I realize:  a pair of mittens, only one of which fits, is no better than no mittens at all.

I do this all the time when I'm making sleeves, hemming pants legs, etc.:  after making the first one, I decide I can do better, so--instead of doing the first one over--I "improve" my technique on the second one and wind up with two totally unmatching hems or whatever.  Stupid.

Anyway, I wound up making a third mitten to match the first one, whose thumb was the right length after all.  And Joseph can pull the mittens off in no time so none of it matters.

Friday, October 17, 2008

roads quilt

Joseph is test driving a quilt I made for a friend's son. It was inspired by one I saw at Wee Wonderfuls.  I mainly used some colorful fabrics I already had and supplemented with a few new fabrics.  Most of the fabrics I used have a lot to look at--cowboys, frogs, farm animals--so the little one will be able to play memory or eye spy with it when he's old enough.  The "road" is gray kona cotton with yellow embroidery floss.

I based the quilt block on drunkard's path but with an added piece to make the roads.  Making the template kept me busy for a few days, but other than that the quilt top came togheher very quickly.  Piecing curves is a lot easier than it looks.

I stitched in the ditch alongside the road pieces but I wasn't satisfied with how it looked, so I echoed that line with more quilting a quarter inch away. It still looked empty, so I quilted circles in the center of every "loop" the road makes.
The backing is a sheet from Target.
I'm pleased with how this came out, and I'm making another one for Joseph, which should be even easier than this one because I have lot of leftover pieces from making this quilt. 

Monday, October 13, 2008


We've all been sick for the last week. After I spent a few days teasing Scott for complaining so much about what I insisted were only "allergies," I came down with the same thing, which yesterday felt like TB but is probably only a bad cold. Happily, when the baby caught it he didn't seem to suffer too badly. Can I chalk that up to the breastfeeding, or is that not how immunities work? I'm in the dark.

Anyway, all I've been doing for the last week is listening to Harry Potter audiobooks and praticing magic loop knitting, which I'm not finding very satisfying. I wanted to make mittens for the baby, but they'll have to wait until I have the technology (double pointed needles).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a knitting spree and why is nobody in this house wearing any pants?

I've spent the past week listening to Harry Potter audiobooks (the reader is so amazing that I don't feel like I'm losing anything by not reading the books) and knitting. 

I finally finished this sweater for Joseph.  The pattern is from Debbie Bliss's Simply Baby.  It's a little big, which is something of a relief because I spent so damn long sewing up the seams that I wasn't sure it would still fit him when it was done. 

 I especially like the button closure on the shoulders.  I'm all for anything that makes it easier to dress a toddler who is running in the opposite direction.  This is why Joseph never has pants on in any picture I take of him.  It just isn't worth the trouble of getting them on him, and then you just have to take them off to change his diaper.  Pointless.  If I ever have a girl she's only wearing dresses and socks, period.

I also made this wool diaper cover.  The pattern is the WHW wrap and I finished it in five days, which means that anyone else could probably finish it in a few nights of TV watching.  I made the large size, which turned out to be very huge.  It would easily have fit me, which was not what I was going for, so I felted it a bit  and now it fits Joseph well enough. 

The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the Velcro closure, because all Velcro does is present a challenge to little hands, and the result is a nekkid baby roaming the house.  The solution is to put pants over the diaper cover, but I've already explained why I'm anti-pants.  I should have had the courage to try out how snaps would work, but I was afraid the fabric woudn't stand up to snaps. 

In related anti-pants news, I was watering the garden this afternoon and got attacked by fire ants, so I had to take my pants off hose myself down.  This why we garden in the back yard.  Because me screaming pantsless in the frontyard would have alienated the neighbors even more than our Obama bumper stickers.  Or maybe not.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

fresh air

Lately it's been cool enough here to sit outside, in fact cool enough in the mornings to require sweaters and blankets. So we sweater up (right over our pajamas) and head out into the back yard. I really love that Joseph is old enough now to have fun exploring outside. He plays with sticks, eats some dirt and marvels over the magic that is grass, while I cozy up in a chair with some tea and some knitting. Indiana, defying all expectations, seems fonder of the baby every day, and really is glad to have a playmate his size. Freckles, meanwhile, is more than happy to ignore the rest of us and pee in the vegetable garden, hunt lizards, tear through the lawn with the baby's discarded socks, and just take a nap (thank you, Xanax).

This is so peaceful, mellow, and right. Inside, it can be hard to sit still and enjoy the moment, but outside there is no laundry to fold or dinner to make or anything else to distract me from the present. I've decided that I'm just not going to worry about how dirty or dangerous it might be outside: as long as no choking hazards are in his mouth and he isn't too near anything sharp or poky, the baby is fine. Dirt is fine. Six baths a day are fine, too, because he likes baths also.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

photo magnets and no more sleep

I sent these out instead of proper thank you notes for Joesph's birthday.  I saw the idea on one of the blogs I frequent, but I can't remember whose.  They're card stock circles with a magnet glued on the back (and obviously a clumsily cut out photo on the front).  I'm very thrilled with how they look on my refrigerator, and only hope people don't feel that I'm presumptuous in assuming they want a photo of my son on their fridge too.  They kind of look like campaign buttons, but I like that.

The cardstock circles were from owlbot and they were amazingly cheap and came amazingly fast.  I have lots of leftovers so now I never have to write another thank you note again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Yesterday, while putting away groceries, I noticed that it had grown strangely silent.  My heart lurched, and I went off in search of the baby, sure that he had learned to open doors and was now in the middle of the road.  

Instead I found him and Freckles, sitting side by side on the living room floor, happily sharing a pile of throw up.

Naturally, the first question is "Whose throw up was it?"*  The answer is that at the time I wasn't sure.  Afterwards I was able to apply some forensic techniques and I'm pretty sure it was Indiana's.  Aren't you impressed that I have enough familarity with everybody's throw up to make that determination?  

Anyway, there they were, the two of them covered in throw up.  I picked up Joseph and immediately gave him a bath, while it slowly dawned on me that I needed to call the doctor. Which is exactly what I did after I rinsed the baby, and she called me back immediately to reassure me that everything was fine and there weren't going to be any stomach pumpings that afternoon.  Yay.

This is my observation base on a year of child rearing:  when things suddenly get quiet, the result is usually gross but not dangerous.  This is because you've already babyproofed the house reasonably well and because hurt babies and toddlers are loud. 

*just one of many sentences I got to utter or hear for the first time yesterday

Monday, September 29, 2008

house arrest

We are under house arrest due to the sleep habits of a certain one year old.  Every playgroup, library storytime, or mothers' group activity seems to occur at 10 or 10:30 in the morning, which is when Joseph takes his morning nap.  I mean, there isn't much I can predict about his sleep paterns (will he wake up at 4:30 am or 6:30 am?  will he want to have his afternoon nap at 1:00 or 3:00?) but I know for sure he's napping at 10:00.   Any efforts to game the system by putting him down at 8:00 in the morning or by acting extremely interesting so he won't be tired until 11ish fail utterly, and I'm left with a screaming, unhappy boy. 

Right now my plan is to find something to do around noon (like something involving other adult humans, which is complicated when you don't know anyone in your city, hence library story time,, etc. and I have no control over when these activities take place), because he's almost always awake between noon and one.  This may involve rejiggering lunch so it takes place earlier or later (or more briefly) but I will try.

Friday, September 26, 2008

plants! and other good news

My garden has plants! Despite the fact that the dogs have frolicked through it a few times. I planted salad seeds two weeks ago and they germinated almost immediately. This weekend we'll plant more vegetables in the other bed.

I think our spate of bad luck may be over, if the growing list of fixed and unbroken things around the house is any indication. (I just realized after I wrote that sentence that we had been counting things that work instead of things that don't work, which is probably not what most people do.) My parents have been here for two weeks, so my father has been fixing things and my mother has been playing with the baby big boy so I can do things like take apart the entire sewing machine and put it back together so the bobbin stops jamming, instead of throwing the entire machine through the window and checking myself into a mental hospital.

In other very good news, Freckles is now on Xanax (we knew we couldn't get through another few weeks like we've been having without somebody in the house being medicated, we just didn't know who it would be). We knew the weather had been making her a little crazy so we had been keeping her away from the baby when we aren't right there, but we didn't think to keep her away from Indiana. So when we found Indiana trotting around the house with two tooth-sized wounds in his side, we connected the dots (we don't have any wild cougars, stray bullets, etc., but we do have a large neurotic dog) and brought Freckles to a vet who sent us right home with Xanax. She's been in a much better mood since she's been taking it (we're jealous): she tears through the yard like she used to at our old house and only occasionally looks at Indiana like he would be delicious. This is a major improvement. Indiana, of course, is unfazed by all of this.

So, hooray for sane(r) dogs and salad and fixed appliances. Now, what will break next week?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

crayon roll and deep thought on making things

This is for Scott's niece's second birthday. I really enjoy making these things: mindless straight lines, lots of fabric scraps used up, near-immediate satisfying results. Even though the linen had a fair amount of body, I used cotton batting between the front and back pieces to keep it from getting too floppy, and I'm very glad I did. I enjoy how linen makes everything look kind of subtle and Martha-esque. I totally ripped this idea off from somebody, I wonder who?

The not too badly executed (but slightly off center, whatever) applique H is the initial of Scott's niece, of course.

I think this took an hour from start to finish, which for me is an awesome time frame for anything that doesn't turn out looking half baked and totally sloppy. I've been sewing fairly seriously now for nearly a year and I only recently accepted the fact that seams will have to be ripped on every single project, and that it helps to build that into your expectations. My other recent moment of clarity related to the fact that about a third (if not a full half) of all my new endeavors will not turn out how I had envisioned--including sweaters that took two freaking months to knit, including any new recipes, and definitely including all new patterns. I mean, you can't cut out the fabric assuming you're going to get something fantastic, right? Very liberating. Zen.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I could have used a little more cowbell (and birthday balls)

I've had a few successful sewing projects lately and a few real duds. The duds are due to the fact that I am having issues sewing knit fabrics, to put it mildly, and I think I need to reconcile myself with the fact that non-droopy t-shirts are available for my whole family, ready-made and at a reasonable price, at Target.

Among the more successful projects were these patchwork balls which I made using a tutorial on the purl bee. I pretty much did what they said, but I put some jingly balls in one of them to add some thrills. Joseph likes them, which is a relief seeing as how they're all he got from us for his birthday.

From my parents Joseph got a slew of musical instruments, including a very awesome cowbell which he walks around the house playing. It's definitely the coolest present ever and I don't think we will ever get tired of telling Joseph to explore the space. Along with the cowbell came a set of maracas, a tambourine, some castanets, a triangle, a xylophone and some other goodies. He's fairly thrilled, and so are we.

Friday, September 19, 2008

vegetable success story

This is the week's haul from our local organic produce delivery service. It's not a CSA but rather a man who buys from local organic farmers and then delivers to your house. It's $35 a week for about nine pounds of produce, which is really more food than I thought it would be. Part of the excitement is having vegetables in the house that I might not have chosen for myself at the store, and finding out how to cook it. The (enormous) spaghetti squash for example--I cooked it up and then hid it in everything (pizza sauce, quesadillas, pasta, pesto, etc.).

I actually feel so good about this that it's balancing out some the breakages and failures we've been having lately. Also, my father fixed out dishwasher! I celebrated by dirtying dishes with careless abandon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

not wounded, sir, but dead

Our casualties since moving into this house less than two months ago:
  • dishwasher
  • cell phone
  • corded phone
  • stove top
  • dining table
  • bathtub (shattered enamel)
  • lawn mower
  • computer
  • washing machine
  • juicer
  • iron
  • assorted crockery (including a glass baking dish that exploded in my hands)


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

no babies here

We celebrated Joesph's first birthday yesterday with cake and a visit from his grandparents. He wasn't altogether thrilled with the cake (neither was I, for that matter--whole wheat cake flour was not a great idea) but he's very happy to have my parents around.

Friday, September 12, 2008

first foray into pattern drafting

Using the awesome swedish tracing paper I heard about here, I attempted to draft a pattern for shoulder-buttoning overalls. I think I came close--it's a bit snug on the bottom (considering the big cloth diaper) and too wide on top, and I think the top gingham part should have extended further down to the waist, but otherwise it's pretty close. I lined the top part instead of making a facing (I hate facings on baby clothes, they just wind up sticking out all over the place) and made tiny little french seams for the pants, which means the whole thing looks pretty fine from the inside but is a pain to alter. I don't think he'll be wearing this (unless he is going to join the circus) but I'm pleased with it as an experiment and a learning experience.

Best of all: this cost nothing. The top and bottom fabrics are from a friend's stash and I used an old torn sheet for the lining. Even the buttons were left over from some project or another.

I can deal really well with sewing failures/learning experiences when they're free.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

this room is ugly just like my mood (and my quilt!)

During the infamous week before our furniture arrived, while were were sleeping and eating on the floor like a couple of hobos and swallowing fistfuls of muscle relaxants and washing them down with wine coolers (because we had no glasses! classy!), we decided it would be a good idea to paint the spare room orange. Scott was like "I live here too. I'm tired of dirt-colored rooms" and I was like "orange is fresh and modern." So now we have an orange room.

Instead of admitting right away that it was a failure and repainting before the tape was even peeled off, I decided to make a quilt that would somehow make the room less of an eyesore. I'm not sure this is going to work. Anyway, I feel committed to this color at least until the quilt is done.

Also, because Scott doesn't want to hear about it anymore:
1. Our dishwasher stopped running.
2. We spend eleven million dollars on groceries every week.
3. Our new high efficiency washing machine can't seem to get the diapers clean.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

new teeth and I made a mei tai

Joseph now has six teeth, which I feel is plenty so we can stop teething already. Usually he is all sweetness and light but he has the disposition of a serial killer when he's teething. Last week was devoted to crying, rocking, holding, biting, whimpering, fussing, etc. I really need to remember that when I'm ready to scream and want to start smashing things into the wallI should look inside the baby's mouth and see what's going on there, because that's usually the explanation for a crummy day.

One relatively sweet aspect to this process is that he's regressing a bit into tiny babyhood when he needed to be rocked and held all the time. It is nice to have him fall asleep in my arms, something he hadn't done in a while. However, since it really isn't comfortable for me to carry him all day in our old pouch-style sling, I made a mei tai.

I used the pattern from this site and it came together very quickly and easily. Most of the patterns I stumbled across online made me want to cry. This one was like: print this out, cut here, sew there, enjoy your new baby carrier. I appreciate that. My goal was to make something that Scott could/would use also, so I made it as plain as possible: army green canvas with soft brown corduroy lining for the cuddle factor. I think stylistically it's working, the only problem is that I can't get comfortable in it--it digs into my shoulders and pulls my shirt out of shape. I think my shoulders are a little on the narrow side. I need to spend some more time viewing the many YouTube videos on proper mei tai usage, in which people throw their babies onto their backs with one hand, like circus folk. Very impressive.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

wildlife death watch and why I have a map of the hospital in my car

The other night we had a frog stuck (as in "affixed" not "trapped") to the sliding glass door. At least I'm assuming it was a frog, since it was green and tiny. My knowledge all comes from those frog and toad books. (What were they called? Frog and Toad? Probably.) And this is a far grosser picture than I intended to take of the event:

Yech. It was kind of cute in person, but this is disturbing in a biology class kind of way. I suppose it will not be long before we have some actual frog dissection, courtesy of the dogs. If it isn't frog guts I'll be cleaning up, it will definitely be a dead lizard. Our yard is teeming with critters, and a lizard has already made it inside.

And in more "this cannot end well" news, this is our new trick and why I did a test run to the hospital yesterday:

Every time you're wondering "why is my child not whining right now," there he is, standing on the couch, ready to take a nose dive onto the floor. We're weighing the pros and cons of surrounding the couch with pillows (con: the pillows will just make it easier for him to climb up).

There you have Freckles stalking away, angry at having to share the couch.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Today we had a picnic at the beach and then got a bunch of things done around the house so I think we've managed to exorcise our demons.

Scott assembled wood for some raised planting bed we're putting in the garden. He's graciously humoring my fantasies about growing vegetables despite the fact that I've never quite managed to keep a house plant alive. But I'm going to grow huge piles of butternut squash (even though I bought the wrong seeds) and great mountains of lettuce and that'll show them. I mean, seeds want to grow, right? That's the whole point of seeds, clearly? The other day I asked a really intelligent question along the lines of "how will I know what is a weed and what is something I'm supposed to eat" and I could see Scott adding up all the money we're totally not going to save by having a garden. Patient man.

And there are our helpers. Seriously, when you take out the camera they both light up. I think they practice with one another when we aren't looking. See the stones lined up at the base of the fence? They're to slow Indiana down because he wriggled under the fence within eight hours of its installation (we found him trotting happily around the cul-de-sac, like "look at all this stuff to pee on, whee!")

Indiana helped me finally baste this quilt top that I've had sitting around for a while. He believes that fabric on the floor means that he has to burrow underneath it so this was very restrained of him just to sit on top, so it does in fact count as helping.

Throughout all of this Freckles is behaving like a lady. She does not interfere with anything that isn't her business and she doesn't jump in front of cameras. Somebody raised her right.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

good small things

Two minor improvements to daily life here that are making me happy:

This is a baking soda shaker made from an empty salsa jar whose lid I very satisfyingly punctured a few times with a hammer and nail. This is a real improvement because I sprinkle baking soda on everything to clean it and and instead of always reaching for a soggy, torn generic baking soda box I have a much less offensive glass jar. Also, the easily accessible baking soda has liberated us from ugly germ-ridden dish scrubbers and sponges. Cost: free.

And here are a bunch of new kitchen rags. We've stopped using paper towels (except for throw up and squashed bugs, there I draw the line) and the old rags we had were really ugly and too frayed and holey to be useful. So I took an old Ikea towel that was starting to fray at the edges and cut it up and bound it with bias tape. Now I have lots of practice putting on bias tape and eight reasonably pretty rags that will add all sorts of charm to the seventeen times a day I have to clean up mashed bananas, muddy paws, fingerprint-encrusted windows, etc. Hooray. Cost: $1.99 for the towel (four years ago) and the bias was made from fabric I got from a friend's stash.

So that's what I'm focusing on instead of the daily parade of annoyances and disappointments. Here's a sampling from the last 48 hours: a cd exploded in the computer, I dropped a bottle in the tub causing the enamel to shatter, our computer was held for ransom by the people who were supposed to be curing it of a virus. Not to mention the fact that every freaking time I reach for something I realize it was in one of our lost boxes (I miss my rotary cutter). We're considering getting somebody in to bless the house, but I want somebody to burn some sage and invoke the goddess while Scott would prefer an exorcist (preferably The Exorcist).

Monday, August 18, 2008

the beach

Last week we took Joseph to the beach. While he has no use for the actual ocean (too loud, too cold) he loved playing in the tidal pool. He enjoyed puzzling over the sand and chasing after the birds. In fact he stared at a bird, and then said as clear as day "puppy" (actually, "bahpi"). I guess anything small and alive is a bahpi. Meanwhile, our very own bahpis are trying their best not to eat him, which we appreciate.

In other news, sometimes I love the library so much I feel like I'm having some kind of illicit affair with it. I sneak off to check my email to see whether my hold requests have come in. I take the baby to storytime at the library as a thinly veiled excuse to browse the stacks. I get all tingly about the fact that the Jacksonville library lets you have twenty holds and zillions of materials checked out at once.

Monday, August 11, 2008

my glamorous life

Freckles hiding under the bed:

Freckles has been very sorry to discover that Jacksonville has weather, which is something you don't have for most of the year in Phoenix. Storms make her want to hide wherever she can, like under the bed, behind the dryer, in the bathtub, behind the toilet, in the closet. Storms also make her pee all over the place, notably in the bathtub and on my foot.

Meanwhile, Indiana soldiers on regardless of the weather. He has decided that it's too disgusting to go to the bathroom outside, rain or shine, so he just uses our bedroom, which he finds very convenient. Last week I decided that it was too mean to kennel the dogs at night so we let them sleep on the bed, but then we realized that Indiana was getting up in the middle of the night to poop behind Scott's weight equipment. We had wondered what the smell was. Now everybody is sleeping in their kennels again.

Yes, I spend a lot of time cleaning up dog messes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

our stuff

We're all in Jacksonville, and after a week and a half of sleeping on the floor and living like a couple of hobos, our furniture has finally arrived (nine days late). We were very relieved when it arrived, only to discover that some of it had been damaged, which I'm not even going to write about because it makes me too mad, and some of it has been lost. Some highlights of what was lost:
  • all the baby's clothes that he would have worn this fall and beyond--i.e., his 24 month size clothing, including some things I made him
  • my sewing things (scissors, rotary cutter, etc.), including all the patterns I drafted, not to mention the patterns I bought
I realize that in the greater scope of human misery, this doesn't really amount to much, but it still rankles, especially since the moving company was so crooked and went so very out of their way to deceive us.

But anyway, focusing on the positive, I now get to buy new sewing things and sew a new wardrobe for the baby. I've ordered some patterns and I'll take a trip to a fabric store later this week, so that should at least be some consolation.

Friday, July 18, 2008

we got frisked

I know it's hardly fresh news to point out that that airport security is very silly and doesn't seem to promote any kind of actual security.  But seriously, Joseph and I got frisked this morning. Because a woman traveling alone with a ten month old is a real security risk.  And traveling alone with a baby isn't stressful enough.  Everybody was very polite, though.  It's important that the people who frisk you at 5:45 am be polite.  Otherwise it might be a negative experience.

Anyway.  We arrived safe and sound in New Jersey, Joseph is being treated like the baby Jesus by my parents, and I have plans to take a forty five minute long shower.  No pictures for the next week because I'm using a borrowed camera & computer and I can't be bothered to figure them out.  

Monday, July 14, 2008

baby hijinks and knit pants

This is what I have to contend with when I use the computer.

It's like he's trying to tell me to stop wasting my time on the interwebs.

Meanwhile, I have knit the baby a soaker instead of finishing the packing and finding dog-friendly hotels for Scott's cross-country journey with the dogs.

I used the free tiny birds pattern but I left off the cuffs because of the laziness issue. I learned the importance of a gauge swatch because when I finished them I had a new pair of underwear for myself. They were, let's say, a bit too big for Joseph. So I partially felted them and now I'm very pleased with the results. I really like having nice-looking diapers & diaper covers because I'm too lazy and it's too hot to dress the baby.

We're full swing into talking and standing here. By "talking" I mean he waves and says hi ("haaaaai") pretty regularly (to the dogs, natch) and he says mama and dada when he feels like it. And he stands like it's his job. All the time.