Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tote Bag Winner

The winner of the pair of troll tote bags is MOMFOREVERANDEVER.

Go congratulate her at her blog Mom forever and ever and wish her well as she's chattering her teeth without power in a terrible storm! I hope these bring a little sunshine to her.

Thank you all for entering, and subscribing. I hope you'll stick around.

Today Jungle Boy is out geocaching with the scouts, Drama Girl is off to babysitting class, and Wasabi Girl and I are baking banana bread. I love Saturdays. What are you up to?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Finished for Friday: Doll quilt

Lit and Laundry

Welcome old and new readers to my weekly incentive plan to get projects done. Join in with a link to a project you've completed recently. Mine happen to be crafty - yours might be a clean closet or a book you've read. Thanks for playing along!

Today's finish is a doll quilt, made from blocks leftover from a quilt I made for Wasabi Girl. I hand-quilted it, which gives it even more of that authentic "made by an incompetant 7 year old" look.

The girls have outgrown dolls for the most part, but they both begged to have it. I think it's going on my mini-quilt wall for the time being.

Now let's see what you've been up to. And don't forget! Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a pair of troll totes!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Bay Bridge Plate

I have quite a few pink Staffordshire transferware souvenir plates and this is one of my favorites. I know when you think "San Francisco," you think "Bay Bridge." Or maybe not. That's what makes this plate so funny to me. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is in the lower left, and the less than gorgeous Bay Bridge is featured in the middle.

It was the longest bridge ever built when it was completed in 1936. This plate probably dates from that year. My father-in-law was driving on this bridge when part of it collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake. He walked off with all the other stranded drivers, and retrieved his car later when it had been towed. There was no turning around and driving back possible that day.

Vintage Thingies Thursday is hosted by Colorado Lady. Give her a visit and see who else has vintage items to show.

Tomorrow is "Finished for Friday." Get ready to join in and show something that you've accomplished this week. And don't forget to enter my giveaway for a pair of troll totes!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Do As I Say

"Be careful with the cat food! Don't spill the cat food! Careful! Watch it with the cat food!"

So of course, after they've heard me say this over and over, who spilled the cat food? Me. At least the kids were kind enough to sweep it up for me.

"Quit banging the plates! Put them away carefully please! Gentle! Watch the plates!"

Yup. Me again. It slipped out of my soapy hands. Maybe I need someone to warn me about these things all the time.

Troll Tote Giveaway

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

It's time for a blog giveaway! Just like last time, I've made a pair of tote bags that you can use for shopping, hauling library books, toys - whatever you'd like. Go green and retro at the same time with these troll tote bags. They fold in on themselves for easy storage.

I will pay for shipping worldwide.

  • To join this giveaway, subscribe to my blog. You may use the links on the right to subscribe through a reader program, or get posts sent to you via email.
  • Then simply leave a comment that includes your email so I can reach you.
The comments will be closed at 5:00 pm Pacific time on Friday the 30th, and I will pick a winner using on Saturday morning.

See the hundreds of items being given away this week at Bloggy Giveaways.

Good luck!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Scat Song

The twins are back from Outdoor School. The fine staff there has enlightened them on the mysteries and awesomeness of nature. They visited tide pools, made friends with banana slugs, and learned the biological term for animal droppings. There's even a song about the latter.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Finished for Friday - Basket

Lit and Laundry

I'm cheating this week because my "finish" is only the single block of a quilt. I'm trying to master the technique of needle-turn applique and I'm certainly struggling with it. Let's not look too closely at this ok? The whole time I was making it I kept reminding myself "this is supposed to be relaxing" as I unclenched my jaw from my furious concentration. I can see why people like this technique, but I can also see that I'm going to need a lot of practice to get good at it.

Did you finish a craft/project/book/cup of coffee this week? Please grab the button from my sidebar and add yourself to Mr. Linky below.

Happy Thursday: Ashleigh

Happy Thursday! I'm in a great mood today because my poor ancient cat Ashleigh seems to be on the mend. I'd include a picture of her but she's lost so much weight that she's a shadow of her former self. My dear husband has gone as far as buying chicken and roasting it so he can feed her little nibbles to whet her appetite. Spoiled cat much? Cute husband much?

She's back to her old demeanor and loud purrs so we're all grateful. I'm also very grateful for my wonderful vet.

To join in on Happy Thursday, visit Goddess in Progress.

I'm thinking of my twins at Outdoor school today. Last week was gorgeous here in Northern California with record-breaking heat, so of course this week it's raining buckets. According to their big sister, who has been to outdoor school and in general knows everything, they have to go on hikes and do their nature lessons rain or shine. At least the cabins are snug and heated. And I know they have extra socks and such. Hope all their jeans aren't wet yet. I need to think of a special wonderful dinner for their homecoming tomorrow night.

Please join me tomorrow for "Finished for Friday" and link up a recent post of a project/book/craft you've finished. I promise to come cheer you on!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Comings and Goings

The twins went off to outdoor school yesterday. Off for a week in the woods to learn about things like the water cycle, eat "eggs that glow in the dark" (according to Drama Girl) and take semi-scary hikes in the middle of the night. I remember my own adventures at outdoor school fondly.

One of the skills my kids have long mastered is the art of packing a bag. All I had to say over the weekend was "get out your luggage and pack it" and they did. Of course I had to run through my mental list with Jungle Boy after he emerged from his room wheeling his packed bag.

"Did you pack 5 pairs of underwear and socks?"
"Yes mom." (insert very bored, eye-rolling type voice)
"an extra sweatshirt?"
"yes mom"
"a book to read?" "yes" "a pencil to fill in your workbooks?" "yes" "5 shirts?" "hiking boots?" "toothpaste?" "yes, yes and yes"
"stationery and stamps?"
"mom, I'm going to be gone for 4 days. I'm not going to write to you."
Brutally honest, but a mom can hope.
"a camera?"
Real eye-rolling at this point. "I'm not going to take any pictures!"
"a book to read at quiet time?"
"yes mom, you already asked that"
I wracked my brains. "cards?"
"Oh! Great idea. I'll pack some cards."
"I knew you'd forget something."

I don't even have to quiz Wasabi Girl. I know that not only has she packed a toothbrush, she has probably packed extra floss and the phone number of the dentist just in case she needs it. If other kids forgot to bring anything to camp my kids could probably offer extra supplies to last a week.

Tuesday morning came, and I packed them up in the minivan, and dropped them at school with their tidy luggage and sleeping bags. Other students arrived with massive duffel bags and even garbage bags stuffed to overflowing with supplies for the week. My kids looked like those efficient flight attendants who wheel their little luggage past the masses who are struggling with unwieldy pieces you know wont fit well in the overhead compartment. A kiss from Wasabi Girl, a "see ya!" from Jungle Boy, and they disappeared into the throng of excited 5th graders in front of the school. The buses were due to load up and take them away later in the morning.

I came home to watch the inauguration. The whole spectacle fascinated me. Among my favorite moments was watching the back-door of the white house as trucks pulled up to load one set of boxes and unload another. It must take a small army to move one family out and another one in in a matter of hours. I was happy to hear that Mrs. Obama insists that the girls make their own beds. I bet they're already expert suitcase-packers themselves.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

I've had trouble writing lately. I felt. . .cramped. My blog just wasn't working for me. The tulips were pretty but I couldn't fit my words into that little space.

So goodbye, fixed-width columns. Goodbye right-justified paragraphs. Goodbye comments that were smooshed together so I could hardly read them.

I need space to stretch out my words here.

I'm a blogger. An independent thinker. I reserve the right to revert to my old blog style. Thank you to everyone who complimented me on the tulip layout. They were pretty, weren't they? And to those of you who've joined me recently - those are my roses in the header. That day last April when I decided to start a blog I just walked outside and snapped that.

So now I feel like I'm home. This is where I used to write so easily. And where my photos fit. Maybe I'm just a creature of habit.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Morning

I have escaped the unwashed masses that are my children and gone to my personal retreat. The spot where nobody interrupts, begs, fights, or burps. I have before me a short but pleasurable time to indulge in reading all my favorite blogs. Or I might sew a little. Or daydream. Or read one of the books in the stack waiting for me.

It's Sunday morning. And they're all sleeping in. It's as good as any vacation ever gets.

Don't get me wrong, I adore my family, they just drive me a bit crazy by the end of the day.

Take Drama Girl's new favorite joke:

Two muffins are baking in the oven. The first muffin says "Hi! How're you doin'?" The second muffin says "Whoa! You're a talking muffin?!"

Funny the first time. The 20th time? Not so much.

Or Jungle Boy's latest reply to everything.
"Clean your room" "I am!" "Wash for dinner" "I am!" "Put your bike away please." "I am!"

All said at various times while he continued to sit on the couch and read a book.

Wasabi Girl and I get stuck in an endless loop. The competitive side of me always wants to win.
"I love you more than you love me." "No, I love you more than you love me." "No, I love you more than you love me."

On and on and on.

Sometimes by the end of the day, I just collapse from exhaustion. These silly people never give me a moment's rest.

But early in the morning, it's just me and the quietly ticking clock and my fingers tapping on the keyboard. So peaceful.

Happy Sunday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finished for Friday: Valentines Candy

Lit and Laundry

Welcome to Finished for Friday. Here is my low-cal Valentines candy made out of wool felt.

Please join in with a link to any recent post that shows a finished project. Doesn't need to be a post from today. Grab the code for my button over there on my sidebar-------------> or just link back here please. I'll come visit!

Happy Thursday

Goddess in Progress is hosting Happy Thursday. A chance to get through this tricky not-quite-the-weekend day and proclaim what we are happy about. It's a good exercise in counting my blessings.

I'm happy my husband is home from his business trip. He had a rough few days in Las Vegas, poor guy; eating at restaurants, going to Cirque du Soleil, and doing a little gambling while I was nursing a sick cat and a sick kid. Misery loves company and he was just having too much fun. I missed him.

I'm happy I finally beat somebody at monopoly this week. I used to be terrorized by my brothers into playing this endless, hopeless game, but now that I have children of my own who play, I find that I can outwit a 10 year old at last. Of course, it helps that I'm the only one who read the instructions all the way through. On a serious note though, it has been fun to spend hours playing this with my son this week.

I'm happy that it's been 70+ degrees here for the past few days. It's ridiculous, really, when I see what's happening in places like Minnesota. It's like global warming has only hit California.

I'm happy that the situation with the PTA that I've been struggling with has finally turned a corner. For better or worse. Thank you WaMu for stepping in and freezing the rogue PTA account. Now we'll see if that parent has been embezzling money.

I'm happy that I've got some stitching done to show for tomorrow's Finished for Friday. I hope you can join me and show any kind of project or book you've finished this week!

Monday, January 12, 2009

An F for My Assignment

Laura at Catholic Teacher Musings sent me an email with an assignment: List 10 things I fancy that start with F. I haven't been to school in ages, but I'm sweating to get this turned in on time.

Here is Ashleigh, who thanks you for all your well wishes. (Still not out of the woods)

Because I have to have chocolate in the list somewhere.

Like county fairs, because what's better than pig races and quilt exhibits and hundreds of choices of artery-clogging deep-fried goodness?

The best part of my life.

Where you are likely to find me at Disneyland.

Even if I don't buy anything, just stepping into a florist's shop brightens my day.

Although I like the beach and the mountains and the desert my heart is in the woods.

Filet mignon
I could have made a whole list just with food, so I'm really showing some restraint here.

Love them. Especially at Disneyland.

Firth, Colin
I'm yours Mr. Darcy. It's ok, my husband understands.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If I had words

They say that cats have nine lives, and today I'm inclined to believe it's true.

On Thursday my husband pointed out that Ashleigh was crouching bent over in an odd position. She didn't want to be touched, and when I opened the cat food can, she didn't race to her food dish like usual. In fact she didn't go near her food dish at all, or her water.

This cat, who turns 18 years old in a few months, seemed to be in the process of checking out. If you had seen her, you would have thought so too. Every breath seemed like it would be her last. I kept her warm, but gave her her space. I considered the vet, but didn't think she'd survive the car ride.

I wept. Most of the day. Ashleigh is a sweet cat and has been part of the family longer than my children. It pained me to see her failing before my eyes. When the kids came home from school, I gently explained what was happening. We've talked about our cats aging and moving on before, so they weren't overcome. They each soberly said their goodbyes to her.

But that evening, when my husband came home, he sat with her and stroked her and talked to her. The tip of her tail flicked. She purred faintly.

Then in the middle of the night, she went to her water dish and drank. I know because my husband woke me to tell me. Yesterday morning she raised her head and focused her eyes.

As she seemed to rally, I took her to the vet. I was going to let her slip away quietly, and told my husband blood tests and everything else would be expensive, but he was the one who insisted we do whatever was necessary.

I don't know today if she's going to make it. We're giving her antibiotics and she's eaten a small amount of freshly cooked chicken.

What I do know, is that I feel like I'm living a scene from the movie Babe. Where the stoic old farmer takes the pig who refuses to eat and sings to him

If I had words to make a day for you
I'd sing you a morning golden and true
I would make this day last for all time
And give you a night deep in moonshine
Thanks dear husband, for inspiring Ashleigh to eat. That'll do.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Finished for Friday

Lit and Laundry

Today's post doesn't have a picture, because my "finish" for this week leaves me nothing to show.

I've packed up every last bit of the Christmas decorations. Boxes and boxes. Christmas china all put away, Christmas towels washed and stored. Even the Christmas shower curtain is retired until next year. (What? You don't have a Christmas shower curtain? You must get one!)

The model village and all its villagers are snoozing in their styrofoam inside a big trunk. The Christmas doormats and bath mats have been cleaned and dried and rolled up. The vintage Santa from the front porch is hiding behind the fridge downstairs. (He likes it there, reminds him of the North Pole).

As much fun as I have decorating for the holidays, it sure is a mammoth job to put it all away. The house looks rather bare now, and the kids are asking where the Valentine's Day quilts are. *sigh*.

Hope you've had a great week. Get anything done? Link up a post (doesn't have to be today's post) and we'll come visit and congratulate you. Grab the button from my sidebar and add it to your post or sidebar. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Stray Sock Pets

Angie over at 7 Clown Circus is hosting Wordful Wednesday, for those of us who can't post a picture without a caption.

My kids know me pretty well. When Wasabi Girl went to the bookstore with my husband to pick out a book for me for a Christmas gift, she picked out one she knew I'd like:

Stray Sock Sewing. How to make cute critters out of socks. Genius. Of course, who has the most stray socks in the house? Drama Girl. I don't think she's worn a pair of socks that matched for years now. She glommed onto the book right away and disappeared into her bedroom with it Christmas day. She came out later with this:

Within the next few days, she'd created a whole family:

I realized later that the one on the right is one of my socks. I think these two look like they could be characters in a children's book. I'm going to tell her she needs to write one now.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another mommy report card

I found a piece of notebook paper on the coffee table a few days ago. It had some neat printing on it but I'm not sure which of my kids is the author. I've left the spelling as I found it.

Makes quilts
Miraculasly awesome
Yummy cookies she makes

Mommy is a mom
Mommy is a very good perfect mom
Mommy is a mom

Mommy munches, miraculacly making monkeys.

Not sure what that last line means, but it's cute alliteration. Have to say I'm pretty pleased with the fact that I got upgraded from "very good" to "perfect."

I like the poem that spells a word with the first letter as you read down the line. I'm sure there's a name for that.

Hope this wasn't somebody's homework, because I sort of picked it up and kept it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Memory reset in progress

"How were your holidays?" "Did you have a nice Christmas?"

My brain flashes back to Dec 22 and the little meltdown I had in our kitchen.

Nobody's helping me clean up and I've still got a ton of shopping to do and if you want to have this big party somebody is going to have to help with the vacuuming and I still have gifts to wrap and ship and now it's probably too late and I lost a few addresses for the Christmas cards and somebody needs to water the tree because I can't crawl under there and reach it and would you please sweep the leaves off the porch why does everybody expect me to do absolutely everything around here while they play Nintendo and talk on their cell phones and why is it the mom has to do everything for Christmas anyway, because I've been spending a lot of time at that theater for Nutcracker rehearsals and performances and I. Just. Want. To. Sit. Down.
I had reached my limit, and I let them know it. They all did rally around to help, but I have to say this was a pretty stressful Christmas. And then it was over in a flash.

But as I look back, remembering how stressed out I was at the time, I remember also how thrilled Wasabi Girl was to receive the unicycle I found for her at the 11th hour, and all the little ornaments I was able to stitch in stolen moments, and the dozens of other fun, fulfilling wonderful parts that make Christmas the season that I look forward to every year. So I answer the same way I always do;

"My Christmas was great! How was yours?"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Finished for Friday: New Blog Layout

Lit and Laundry

Welcome to the first Finished for Friday for 2009! Today my show and tell consists of the new blog layout. Seemed like a simple idea at the time but I've learned that it can take a while to switch over. An entire day to be exact, and at least one thing still doesn't work right. Thank you to Cheri for kindly emailing me and letting me know when the comments section wasn't working.

I've also made a button for Finished for Friday. You can grab the code from the sidebar and paste it into your post or your blog to show you're playing along. Many thanks to zakka life for the tutorial on creating a button! I never could have figured this stuff out on my own.

So join in if you've kept up with a resolution, cleaned up your decorations, or gotten something done this week. Thanks for playing along! I'm working on a giveaway that I'm going to offer to future Finished for Friday participants, so stay tuned!

Lofty goals

I'm not much of a resolution person, and when I make them they tend to be of the easy sort like "floss more."  I hate failure.

But I do make goals every year, and looking back, I accomplished quite a few that I made last year. So here is this year's list of goals (in no particular order):

Finish 10 quilts.  This includes finishing off all the quilt tops that are waiting patiently in a pile.  I'm going to focus on piecing smaller quilts this year, like doll quilts.  I also plan to give each of the kids a new bed quilt next Christmas.  

Double my Technorati rating for this blog.

Walk without pain or limping.  This would be the first time in years if this happens.  Hoping that surgery in the new year will fix everything.

Join the Christmas Ornament Stitch Along and make Christmas ornaments for everybody.  If you know me in real life, this is what you're getting for Christmas this year.  

Say no to volunteer jobs (I'm looking at you, PTA) and do more substitute teaching, where I actually get paid for my time.

Clean out the garage.  Let's not get in to how bad this is right now.  Trust me, it's a big project.

Keep up with the blogs in my reader.  I'm terrible at this right now.  I subscribe to many, and fall behind quickly.  Oh dear.  I just opened my reader and I see that now they have recommendations.  New blogs to read.  This may be my hardest goal.

More harp playing.  I hardly played any music at Christmas time this year, and that's some of my favorite music.  

Then there is the really-tough-probably-out-of-reach list:

Achieve and maintain my ideal weight.  Why does this get so much harder every year I get older?

Open an Etsy shop.  Thinking about it this year.  This is probably a goal for next year.

Read the entire Bible.  I've done this in a year about 4 times.  I have software that lets me read part of the Old Testament and part of the New Testament every day.  It is a challenge to finish it all in a year though.  I think the last time I did this was before I had kids.

And finally, goals I should make but won't:

Stop buying more fabric.  My stash is getting big, but how can I pass up fabric like this?

Stop buying books until I've read absolutely every book I already have.  This is a hopeless cause, and I know it.  I'm trying really hard to be good about this though.

Cook fabulous,  well-rounded, delicious meals for my family every night.  Let's get real.  I love to cook, but once in  while the pizza guy is my friend.

There it is.  As soon as I hit "publish" I'll probably think of a dozen more.  What are yours?

Join me tomorrow for "Finished for Friday."  Now with a button you can grab from my sidebar! Short on ideas?  This Friday you can show us that 2008 calendar you finished, that empty bottle of champagne from last night, that Christmas tree you hauled out to the curb.  Get creative and join in.  Happy New Year!

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