Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I haven't done this in a few years but I'm feeling ambitious, so here goes:

In 2010 I want to:
  • get out of the house more days than not (i.e., four days a week) even if it's just to garden or take a walk.  Between the babies, bed rest, a boiling hot summer and crippling morning sickness, 2009 was not a great year for leaving the house.  It was, however, a wonderful year for cultivating my nascent agoraphobia, which I really need to nip in the bud.
  • keep up the garden, at least to the extent that most of the stuff growing in it is not weeds
  • make a real article of clothing for myself (meaning something with a zipper or buttonholes).
  • continue avoiding unnecessary purchases.  Aside from about $350 on yarn and fabric and $100 on books and magazines, I don't think I spent much money on non-necessities in 2009--with the understanding that nice soap and new underwear are sometimes necessities.  Now I just need to get my husband on board.
  • make curtains. The blinds we have now are ugly, hard-to-clean strangulation hazards.  They need to go.
And I think that's enough.  Note that most of these items are thing that I enjoy doing (like gardening and sewing) but which I need to carve out time for.  I'm not even going to kid myself by resolving to do anything I don't enjoy.  But just for the record here's a partial list of things I really ought to do in 2010 but probably won't:  go to the dentist, exercise, finish all the craft projects I start, speak French with Joseph, do something about the 401K from my old job, write more thank you notes, eat ethically, blah blah blah. 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

can you stand it?

It's a picture frame ornament intended for newlyweds. Much better with babies. Got the idea from somebody posting in the multiples forum at

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the tree

 While Joseph may be the mellowest, sweetest two year old ever, the child does not understand limits, boundaries, or the concept of "don't touch that."  "No" means nothing to him unless it's coming out of his own mouth ("No pants, mama!  No pants, no pants, no pants!"). Therefore, our Christmas/holiday/solstice/yule/winter tree is 1) tethered to the wall, and 2) only decorated with ornaments he can play with.  I love when other parents tell me that their kids don't mess with their tree because they were told not to.  It makes me feel like I'm raising a jungle beast or a sociopath.  These are the same people who manage to have table lamps, which is something I can't even imagine at this point.  Fortunately, bed rest this fall gave me plenty of time to knit up some ornaments that can be played with, chewed on, "shared" with the babies and thrown at the windows.

I've already written about these lights. 

The popcorn and cranberry garland is also from the same knitpicks ornament kit, and it makes me happy whenever I walk past the tree.

You can see that there's an infestation of tiny elves.  The pattern calls them "korknisse" which I suppose means cork people, but Joseph calls them elf men so that's what they are.  This is possibly the best stash busting project ever; it uses hardly any yarn in any weight you want.  Some of the elves have face tattoos, which I think means they've killed someone, but I feel awkward asking. 

And some stuff I made last year.

I made the tree skirt (wool felt; the leaves are machine appliqued) when Joseph was a newborn, a fact that blows my mind and makes me think that having one baby must have been like a vacation compared to how thing's are now, even though I keep telling people that having twin babies isn't all that different from having one.  I must be delirious with fatigue.

Happy holidays, people!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

gingerbread men

I used this recipe. Something's wrong with it--maybe too much flour relative to the amount of fat. I usually feel like a fraud when I blame a recipe for tasting off because it's not like I can ever be sure that my execution isn't to blame, but I made this recipe twice and both times it was disappointing. Time to find another recipe.

We did have fun making them, though. Joseph has his own rolling pin and he really enjoys pressing down the cookie cutter and watching the shape emerge. We didn't decorate them because that's a bit much for a two year old. The first batch came out chalky looking, so we put a milk wash on the second batch (pictured above) to make them shiny. When we cook together Joseph is in charge of applying egg and milk washes and greasing the pan--he uses a silicone pastry brush and paints away. Greasing a pan can take half an hour that way. Hooray for that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

recipe card folders

My usual style of gift giving is to put it off until the last minute and then have to pay last minute express shipping on something really boring from Harry & David.  Sometimes I forget to buy anything at all, which at least keeps everybody's expectations pretty low in the future. This fortunate because this year nobody's going to be exactly wowed by what they get from me--we're only giving presents to immediate family (parents & siblings) and we're only giving little trinkety types of things--a couple of books and these recipe card holders.

I followed this tutorial for making the recipe card folders and it was super easy and didn't take up much fabric.  I enjoyed mixing and matching some of the of the random fat quarters that I had bought this summer without any project in mind. I especially love that brown floral print on the outside of the top folder--it's a print I'd probably never use in my own home or clothing, but I think it's so pretty so I enjoyed working with it.

The project instructions called for lightweight fusible interfacing, which I still find gross and hard to work with, but it does give the folder some body.  I actually wound up using two layers of interfacing (except on the pockets) because it was still too floppy with one layer.

I cut out the interfacing to the size of the fabric minus the seam allowances so that way there would be less bulk at the edges of the folder.  This is a tip I picked up somewhere on the interwebs and need to file away for all future interfacing-related adventures.

And inside the folder are recipe cards (except for one person, whose recipe collection has progressed far beyond the confines of any folder, and who will instead receive these neat post its in her folder).

Monday, December 14, 2009

carrot cookies

Not much eating seems to happen at mealtime these days.  Joseph seemingly goes for days without eating anything other than a few spoonfuls of yogurt and half an almond. My husband is a grazer, so he snacks all day and then spends dinner avoiding vegetables. And while I've for the most part been able to eat dinner since Scott is always around to hold a baby, for the rest of the day I only eat things that can be grabbed with one hand and eaten standing up.

Since Scott and I have both been subsisting on snacks (and Joseph on magical toddler fairy dust) I figure I should just accept the fact and make some healthy goodies instead of eating a $5 box of Fig Newmans every day and then hating myself.  And while I try not to cater to Joseph's gastronomical whims, it can only be a good thing if there's something palatable and healthy at hand when the spirit moves him to eat.

These carrot cookies fit the bill:  they're yummy, but not so irresistible that they're going to disappear in an hour, and they include vegetables, whole grains, and protein while totally avoiding refined sugar and animal products.  I used this recipe, except that 1) I didn't have enough maple syrup so I made up the difference with some fruit-sweetened jam, and 2) I used canola oil instead of coconut oil.  And I threw in some raisins because why not?  Next time I need to grind the nuts super fine because my husband won't eat anything with visible nuts and will instead buy overpriced candy bars from the vending machine at work; also I should make the carrots tinier because Joseph systematically dissected each cookie to get "carrot out of there, mama". 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

six weeks

The babies are six weeks old today.  Crazy.  Harry's about nine and a half pounds, the little piglet.  Violet's a little over eight.  Harry is fiercely hungry; if his eyes are open, he's hungry; if his eyes are closed, he's still probably hungry--he roots around in his sleep. He's perfectly happy as long as he's eating; Violet meanwhile is perfectly happy as long as she's being held.  Those two conditions pretty much tell you everything you need to know about the last six weeks of life here.  I'm worn out but it's not as harrowing as I thought it would be.  Sometimes entire minutes pass without either of them needing me, and then I can fold six loads of laundry and take a shower.  

Here Violet's modeling a mama-made outfit.  The diapers are working out well but I can't say we're getting much use yet out of anything else I made.  During my prenatal crafting frenzy, I seem to have forgotten the crucial fact that babies wear pajamas.  Or swaddling blankets.  Anything else is too much effort to put on and keep in place.  Once she starts sitting up a bit then maybe the dresses and sweaters will make more sense.
And here's the big brother, pretending to be a baby.  This isn't regression so much as it is hamming it up for the camera.  What you can't see in the picture is that he's chewing on the pacifier like it's a cigar and pretending to cry ("wah wah wah").  The more Scott and I laughed, the more he amped it up.  I love this new phase of toddlerhood.  He cracks me up.  Sometimes when he does something he finds especially amusing he says "funny! ha ha!"  I love that.  What idiot came up with the idea of the terrible twos?  So wrong. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

holiday pictures

This afternoon we had a Christmas miracle:  we managed to get everybody clean, awake, and reasonably content in the same room for about 90 seconds while we took a picture for the holiday card.
Sigh.  But consider the runner up, in which Joseph is sticking his behind in the camera and Violet is screaming. 

That makes the first one look like Annie Liebowitz took it.

Later on, Joseph drew wheels on the bottom of the Christmas tree:

He explained that the Christmas tree is now a crane.  Good for it.

If I haven't sung the praises of blackboard paint yet, let me do so right now:  it is the shit.  Go buy some.  We used it on a little corner of the living room and it keeps the child busy for longer than you'd think. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

another sweater (and blogger hates me)

This is the second Liesl I've made for myself.  This time I used thinner yarn than what's recommended in the pattern, but I like the effect--it's a bit lacier.  I'm so happy with the Liesl pattern.

I love the yarn I used.  It's a soft and gorgeous alpaca-silk blend.  Even though it sheds like mad I'll definitely use it again the next time I knit myself (or another adult) a winter weight sweater.  I love the color too--it's not a true brown, but rather a reddish cinnamon.  In the context of my 90% brown winter wardrobe, this counts as some real pizazz. 

I made the sleeves fairly long.  I feel like every fall I have to re-answer the question:  can I wear a long sleeved t-shirt with a 3/4 length sleeved sweater?  And every year I answer "sure!" and then wonder whether I look like some kind of weird scarecrow or a crazy hobbit or something.  So now I have a sweater that goes a little beyond my wrist and I can feel proportionate.

(I made this before the babies were born, when I was bored stupid on bedrest.  I feel like I need to mention that.  But I sewed the button on last week!  Hooray for me!)

Edited to add:  blogger hates me and originally published this two weeks in the past, instead of yesterday.  That, or I time travelled.   Now I've reposted it.