Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

The beginning of January is one of my favorite times of the year.  I learned years ago not to make resolutions, but to make goals instead.  When I have all my goals listed out, I feel like the year ahead is full of possibilities and fun.

First, I have a lot of quilts I really want to finish.  It's sad how many quilt tops are waiting patiently to be basted up and quilted.  Then there are so many new quilts waiting to start!  Yay!  I have big plans.

Next there are some goals to change things around in the garden.  I hate gardening, but I love flowers so it's up to me to rip out some old stuff and treat myself to some new pretty things.  If I can stay focused on how I want the yard to look, instead of how it looks now, I can stay positive about this one.  Once again, Pinterest is helping me a lot with inspiration.   My goals involve tackling just one small area at a time.

Reading goals.  I've learned that I'm not good with the online reading programs I sign up for.  I get too distracted with other books that I want to read.  So my goals this year are just to be sure I read every day.  It's a pleasure I sometimes skip in favor of answering emails or other mindless activities.  So I've started a list for myself of the various wonderful books I've been meaning to read.  I've given myself permission to change the list and just read whatever I like. 

Husband and I have a big goal of finishing off the garage this year.  Our neighbor the contractor has offered to work on this for us.  It's an oversized garage without cars inside, so we hope to adapt the space for my sewing and my husband's art.  I'm drooling over studio designs and thinking about what I want.  I'll just be so happy to have cabinets in there to store all the holiday decorations and various outdoor supplies.

This year will also reveal what lies in Drama Girl's future.  A year from now we will probably know what college she will attend.  I'm very nervous and excited about this.  Lots of trust and hope and thinking about this part of her future.

I'm off to cook up a big ham.  New Year's Eve is pretty quiet around here.  I'm just happy to welcome in a new chance to get things right.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Secrets Revealed

Just like everyone else, I've kept a lot of secrets this Christmas season.  How fun it is to reveal everything on Christmas Day!  Here are some of the ornaments I made for friends and family.

This one was made for Jungle Boy, who plays the trumpet.

This one was for Wasabi Girl, who plays the saxophone.  Both of these are from an old cross stitch book I've had for a long time.

This one is for Drama Girl.  If you don't recognize it, it refers to a funny internet joke that's been going around for a while.  She loved it.  I hope we all understand it when we pull it out in future years.

Here's a little Mad Hatter for a dear friend of mine who always meets me on my Disneyland trips.  This was from a pattern at The Floss Box.

Now I'm ready to start another Christmas project - a big one for next Christmas.  The house is quiet because the girls are off visiting an aunt, Jungle Boy is engrossed in a new book, and my husband is nursing his annual man cold.  The latter is probably the stupidest Christmas tradition we have around here.  But every year it arrives like clockwork.  I need to go hide in my sewing space!

Monday, December 24, 2012

This Christmas Moment

Right here, right now.  This is my favorite moment of the entire year.  I'm prepping our goose to roast in the oven.  Wasabi Girl is peeling potatoes.  Christmas music is playing in the background.

Shopping is done and (miracle for me) so is all the wrapping.  All of the handmade gifts are done done done.  Cards are sent.  Party is over and cleaned up.  Cookies are baked.

I'd like to put my laptop away but I can't help following along as NORAD tracks Santa across the globe.  He's coming!  Just hours away. 

My heart is full of love.  Tomorrow morning we'll all dive in and make a grand mess of paper and eggnog French Toast.  We'll kiss and model new clothes and open new books for the first time.  But for me, the real joy is today.  I made it.  Christmas is complete.  Happiness abounds.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and the real joy of the season. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today We Mourn

Yesterday's tragic events were so shocking and unbelievable to me that I could hardly process them.  As a scientist, I find comfort in gathering as much information as possible to sift through and analyze, but yesterday watching the news unfold did not give me any of the answers I needed.

Like everyone else, my brain got stuck on why?

I choked up when the President did.  I texted my kids in class that I love them.  We talked and shared when they came home from high school.

Today I woke up thinking of the families and community who lost so much.  I mourn with them.  I don't need to know their children.  I work with small children and I am a parent.  There is nothing more innocent and sweet than a kindergartener.  I can't imagine anything more horrible than losing a child to violence.

Today I will probably not read the news.  Nothing can undo.  Nothing can fix what has happened.  Nothing will make those families and that community whole again.  I cannot gather any information that will help me.

Today I am getting ready for our annual cookie party.  I will bake and tidy and set up .  I will find comfort in family and home and traditions.  But throughout the day, I know I will pause and think of those affected.

A little piece of my heart was torn yesterday.  Today I mourn.  Tomorrow I will celebrate the season and give love to my own community of young people who will come my house. 

And by giving that love, I will give myself healing and hope.  I will teach the young people I host that there is a community that cares for them.  By traditions and joining together, I will teach peace.  It's that simple.  I can't cure the world, but I can help my one small corner.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A victim of my own success?

I found a lovely scarf pattern on Pinterest.  A way to celebrate my love of kitschy Christmas cheer.  I grabbed my crochet hook and worked it up over a few days, muttering under my breath that I really hate changing colors a lot, but just this once, it was worth it.

The final peppermint-striped scarf with long red and white fringe turned out goofy-great.  As I was putting the finishing touches on it, Jungle Boy took notice.

"MINE!!  Mom you have to give that one to me!  I love that scarf!"

"Are you kidding?  You wouldn't wear this."

"Mom, I'd wear it every day.  Please please please can I have that one?"

So I gave in, at the same moment that Wasabi Girl piped up...

"Hey!  I WANTED THAT SCARF!  Mom was going to make it for me!"

I said no such thing.  I was always making the scarf for myself.  I can't believe the kids would want something so loud and wild.

So here I am, on scarf #2 of at least 3 of these that I'm going to make.  I'm shaking my head at my goofy kids.  And I really don't like changing colors this much but for some festive silliness, I'll do almost anything.  I tucked all the little tail ends under the scarf for the picture.  I'll probably have to drive across town to get more of the right color.

If you would like to make your own, you can find the pattern here.

And speaking of Pinterest, today I got my 1000th follower!  Thank you so much.  I'm having a lot of fun with my boards.

How is your crafting going?  As usual, I have more plans than time to execute them before Christmas.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Boy. Jungle Boy.

I can't believe this is my son.  This is his tux for his band concert.  I'm just gobsmacked.

When the heck did this happen?  I swear I was buying little OshKosh overalls like yesterday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Favorite Christmas spot

I always feel like a kid with a short attention span during the holiday season.  So many things to try to do at once.  Cards to address, cookies to bake, presents to buy and wrap.  If I didn't keep lots of lists I think I'd be totally lost.

But there is one spot in the house that I can count on to calm me down and get me focused.  When I have a break and can put my feet up to stitch, I sit in my big chair by the kitchen Christmas tree.  This is my calm place.  When I sit here, it means I'm not moving for a while and everything else can wait.  Its twinkling lights make this corner especially festive.

The tree used to have lots of vintage ornaments on it.  Then for several years it had lots of harp ornaments.  This year it is all handmade ornaments.  They are proof of many many hours spent stitching in that chair.

I still don't have my Christmas shopping done, but I've made a start.  The calendar is filling up with concerts by the kids, Nutcracker productions, and a midnight show of "The Hobbit" coming up next week.

I also unwind by making a pot of my favorite tea - "White Christmas" by Stash teas.  It's light and pepperminty and just perfect. 

Here is the quilt just behind the chair.  I love this one.  The nutcrackers are all batiks.

What do you do to relax during this busy season?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Not making my Monday

We've had quite a rainstorm over the past few days.  All the leaves torn off trees, howling winds.  I thought how lucky we were to be all safe and cozy inside.  I considered reading Jane Eyre again - because it seems like such a good book for a storm.

Sunday morning Jungle Boy woke up with water dripping on his head.  One interior wall was soaked and the water was dripping from the ceiling and around his window.  The eaves above his room come to a "V" and the gutters couldn't handle the sheer volume of water.

I feel so lucky that our wonderful neighbor, who is a contractor, answered our call for advice and came right over.  He helped both outside and in.  Here's what Jungle Boy's room looks like right now.  Today the sun is shining out his window.

Our neighbor tore out some of the damaged drywall and insulation.  Then he created this tent so the heat from the vent would dry out the area.  Reminds me of the movie "ET."

Jungle Boy is managing with his bed and things in his room moved around.  Hopefully when all is dry in a few days we can get in there to do repairs.  Last thing we need during a busy month!

Hope your Monday is going better.  I'm off to make some cookies for the neighbors...

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