Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Hecticness.... and general craziness

My blog has been terribly quiet for the past couple of weeks and regrettably craft and holiday free.
Here is why:
The week of Dec 4 my freelance client called scheduling work for me and lining up a very important meeting than I am to attend in Boulder, CO on Dec 21.
Dec 11 and 12- working on freelance project
Dec 12- am contacted by another company looking for a freelancer; they want to meet me this week on Fri, Dec 15
Dec 13 and 14- First client at my house for a 2-day working meeting with baby Ewan screaming off and on
Dec 14 (evening) and Dec 15 (afternoon)- Trunk Show for Mister Judy (product line that I do with my sister)
Dec 15- Other company calls during Trunk Show (which unfortunately is not really busy) and wants to come over and shop the show and interview me at the same time; of course, I say yes. During the interview the cat barfs on the floor, my daughter spills an entire bowl of dry (thanks goodness) Cheerioes on the floor, and baby Ewan screams the entire time I present my portfolio. The client (who has a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old) thinks the interview went really well and hires me on the spot- maybe he didn't notice the complete chaos of my surroundings
Dec 16- Beginning to worry that I might not get Christmas scarves knitted in time. Attend Holiday Open House any way with in-laws and at least get to see Santa

Dec 17- some knitting, some freelance work
Dec 18- I was asked back in November by a professor at my university to help moderate a school project. Today is the deadline. I spend a few hours reviewing student's projects and making notes. I also have now run out of yarn for one of the scarves and go back to the store. They have it in stock but it just arrived and is in a box in the back. They ask "Can you wait 72 hours?". The US Postal Service shipping deadling is Dec 20 and I'm supposed to be on a place Dec 20. I buy replacement yarn and start to reknit.
Dec 19- Make a store visit with Mister Judy product and consign a small grouping to Zenana Day Spa. Spend 2 hours on the phone with university professor discussing grading. Spend many hours at computer and on phone preparing for trip to Boulder.
Dec 20- Get up at 4:15 am. Taxi picks me up at 5:15am. I board plane at 6:20am. Somewhere over Wyoming plane turns around and goes back to Portland due to bad weather in Denver... all this while I am knitting furiously on the new scarf. I call client when I'm on the ground to advise him of the situation. He instructs me to Fed Ex all items to the office in Boulder. Spend the rest of the day wired on caffiene completing projects for shipment.
Dec 21- Meeting is cancelled in Boulder due to weather. I spend a little time on the phone, but finally have a day off! I knit like a mad woman and finish the scarf! I wrap and pack the last Christmas gifts, pick up Elsie at preschool and head to the post office. Upon returning home, I collapse on the couch and nap and watch movies with Elsie. The spouse has taken baby Ewan for the afternoon to run some guy errands.
I am now focusing only on Christmas now. I still have a few things to make, but am not doing any more shopping or errands. I want to decorate my still naked trees and a make a stocking for Mister Ewan.... it feels good to breathe.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pretty Sparkly Trees

There is nothing like an aluminum christmas tree. They are so sparkly and pretty. And when someone walks by and creates a breeze the little "needles" wiggle and glitter and sparkle. I need to devise a way to have a gentle breeze blowing on ours so they sparkle all the time.

Seasons Gleamings is an excellent resource for inspiring images of metallic trees. I really like this one with the blue background (like our living room walls) and the red balls.

The trees came in colors too- green, blue, aqua, and PINK! The pink ones are rather rare and are always terribly expensive at the vintage shops. Maybe someday I'll get lucky and score one at a garage sale. Speaking of lucky, check out the tree that Mary scored in a dumpster! What a find! I love her ornaments inspired by her son.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas W.I.P.

Miss Elsie and I set up our forest of aluminum Christmas trees yesterday.

It was quite a work out with a 4 year old and a hundred or so individual branches and paper sleeves. I was sweating by the time we were done.

Her attention span wasn't really geared for three trees... more like one and a half, but she stuck with it. I still need to get out the rotating lights. The one thing I wish we had was a rotating tree stand! That would be so cool.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving recovery...

We have returned! We had a wonderful time at the farm. My sister and I with Dad's help made the Thanksgiving Day feast since Mom was recovering from surgery. We did a good job... if I do say so myself. My main responsibility were the desserts...

I can't take credit for everything in the picture. I made the pumkin pie (two of them), the pumpkin/maple cheesecake, and the meringue shells with cranberry-orange filling. The sweet potato pie and the apple pie with whole wheat crust were brought by others. There is no cheesecake left... that disappeared quickly as did the meringue shells. I didn't even get to try one; but they must have been good.

After all this eating, the three older kids (my Elsie and my sister's two) were terribly wound up and circling the walls. Our dear friend John Elwood played his dulcimer (which he built... he builds them for a living) and sang kids songs and tried to accommodate every request...

I think he played Old MacDonald about five times.

Then the kids wanted snow which there wasn't any. So we got out my mom's Think Snow button pin. It is this yellow button that says "Think Snow" and then in fine print "Help Stamp out Summer". It was given to her as a gag gift at one time. When my sister and I were little and desperately wanting snow, she would get it out and rub it to make it snow. It worked some of the time. Enough so we really believed that it worked. So we thought we would give it a try. Mom put it on with great ceremony and rubbed it a bit, until Dad cautioned that we shouldn't rub it too much. We didn't want the house buried in snow. Sure enough, the next morning we had snow!

Now the kids are thoroughly convinced that Nana can do magic. Elsie spent at least 5 hours outside. She had a near meltdown with tears when we finally convinced her to come in for lunch at 1:30pm. She had me out before breakfast building a snowman and eating snow. I think she ate breakfast in 5 minutes and headed back out. There was much sledding and building and general tromping around. It started to melt and all the snow critters started to disappear, much to the distress of the kids. But the next morning... more snow!

Now we are back home in Portland where there is no snow much to Elsie's disappointment... and we are still working on that basement and Elsie's bedroom. Here is how we left the basement bathroom last week...

... nice and red. Dave put the floor in just before we left. We love it so much that we may do the entire basement floor in some version of industrial linoleum tile.

Maybe I can start decorating for Christmas this week too.... as soon as I find my dining room.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bond is back!

I am a HUGE James Bond fan... as is most of my family (Mom is not as big a fan as the rest of us). I married a Bond addict, as did my sister. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas Spike TV has a full week of Bond films- The James Bond-a-thon. Last Christmas at my parent's farm, all of us spent 5 evenings (and some afternoons) in front of the TV watching movie after movie while my brother-in-law mixed the drinks. This week is Thanksgiving and the whole family is congregating at the farm for food and James Bond. The drink this time is the Chocolate Martini. We can hardly wait!
So the spouse and I were REALLY wanting to see the new Bond film with Daniel Craig Casino Royale. My wonderfully amazing friend Lynne offered to watch both kids, so we could have a date. We just got back from watching the movie, and it is every bit as good as I had hoped! Daniel Craig is a tough Bond.... no goofy, unbelievable Roger Moore stuff. He has a rockin' bod to boot. You get to see him pretty much naked... actually totally naked from the side. He is a fine man! And Judi Dench as M again... she is so icy and tough. I would recommend it to any James Bond enthusiast. You will not be disappointed. And the stunts are more believable, not so crazy-over-the-top. The free running chase at the beginning is awesome.... I've got to come down off this high and get to bed.

Yes, I am a geek, and I'm totally fine with that.

ps- the theme song by Chris Cornell also does the film justice... in the great tradition of Bond songs like "Live and Let Die"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Things have been a little quiet on the blog....

... we've been priming and doing a little painting in the basement. The dust is still settling from the drywall. I can't believe how fine the dust is OR how many places it as covered in our house. I'm gradually working toward the front of the house cleaning. I'm about halfway there. Here are some great before pictures taken from the same angle as the in process pictures...


.... our new hall

This was during the new plumbing install for the half bath. Look at all that dirt!

This is how things were looking earlier this week...

Four coats of paint later our bathroom is a rich red. We still have more priming to do, and we need to lay the floor in the bathroom before they put the toilet in. I don't think it is going to be done by Thanksgiving... maybe by Christmas.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ahhhh!!! Uwajimaya!!!

Yesterday I took both of my lovely offspring to one of my favorite stores Uwajimaya. My reason for going was to buy a copy of the Country Craft magazine that Hillary had posted awhile ago and a bottle of fish sauce... which is necessary for most Asian cooking as well as a short list of other grocery items. The bookstore there is amazing! However, about 5 minutes into my search, Mister Ewan fired up and started fussing and then whimpering. Elsie declared over and over that she needed to buy a kids book and kept wandering off. After another 10 minutes both kids were making enough noise that I couldn't think and people were starting to give me interesting gazes. So I grabbed 4 publications that sort of had what I wanted and headed to the check out. By this time Ewan is crying. Not a soft baby cry, but a loud, robust, annoying bellow. I threw my books in the cart, put Ewan's car seat on top, and told Elsie not to touch ANYTHING and grocery shopped as fast as I could. By the time we made it to the fish sauce aisle, Ewan was a lovely shade of crimson and tears were coming out of his eyes. Most ladies were sympathetic and said that it was the man in him that didn't want to shop. Some other ladies were now glaring at me in that "you are a bad mommy" way. Elsie was now wanting anything in bright, colorful packaing which is every item in an Asian grocery store. She is a sucker for Asian packaging just like her Mom. I grabbed what I thought was fish sauce ran through the frozen food aisle and the produce section... more glaring... and then to the check out. Just as a swiped my credit card, Ewan stopped crying and looked as sweet and angelic as ever. Elsie had pulled herself together too and was not trying to grab everything in sight and instead was commenting on the nice dragon overhead. At this point, I have started to sweat and my ears are ringing. I even fed Ewan in the car before heading in... is there something wrong with my breast milk? Like it burns like battery acid instead of being filling and soothing? I wonder sometimes. When the spouse went to cook dinner last night, we discovered that I had purchased a very large bottle of oyster sauce rather than fish sauce.
Oh well... at least I bought some great magazines....

This last one is an Aranzi Aronzo book and is nothing but softies. If you have never been to their website, you will have a hard time leaving without buying anything... AND they have fabric too!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quick post...

Just a quick post this morning.... the cats (we have three of them) are not dealing well with the basement construction and strange people banging about. They are started wetting on any pile of fabric/rug/towel that is laying on the floor. So I spent yesterday washing rugs and other things, only to find more stuff to clean this morning. We have had to banish them from the upstairs until this problem passes. The arrival of the new baby could also have something to do with it too. Although the two male cats are waaaaaaay more tolerant of Mr. Ewan than they ever were of Miss Elsie. They wouldn't even be on the same floor of the house as Elsie. This time around they will be in the bed with Ewan while he's crying and screaming away. The Three Felines also left some other presents this morning in the form of cat yak and some pooty here and there. So after scrubbing the floor, throwing in a load of wash, washing one cat's hind quarters, AND cleaning litter boxes, the house is clean once again. I really hope this ends after this week. The drywall gets it's last coat of mud tomorrow and then will need a light sanding and then it's done!

On the baby side of things... here is a short list of things that I had totally forgotten about new babies...
-how many diapers they use
-how tiny their little toes are
-how they can fall asleep with total noise and chaos, yet fight sleep when it is quiet and dark
-snuggling under Mommy's chin and wrapping one arm around your neck
-how much noise they make when they sleep
-how amazing that first smile is

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The holidays have officially started!

My friend, Mo, and I have been eagerly awaiting the coming holiday season. We are both nuts about Christmas. It is our favorite holiday. She has already started with a new ornament. The tiniest, sweetest little acorn.
I'm holding off until the dust settles here. The drywallers started yesterday in the basement and were done hanging by noon. Now the house is covered in drifts of dust... sort of looks like it has snowed in here. They are supposed to mud and tape today. I'll post pictures soon.
My sister and I have been working frantically on our Mister Judy product. We have a trunk show in Boise on Saturday. The kids and I are flying over tomorrow. Fortunately my wonderful parents are coming to help manage our collective four kids, while my sister and I work the show. I still have aprons to make and need to pack.... and those drywallers still haven't showed up yet!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

We did our annual pumpkin hacking and cutting last night and created this motley crew of orbs...

The littlest one is the spouse's creation for baby Ewan. It's actually a spaghetti squash rather than a pumpkin.
Unfortunately I received a call from preschool this morning and Miss Elsie had thrown up. Both Ewan and I were still in our pyjamas, so I hurried and got us both dressed and ran out to the van only to discover that is was covered in frost and apparently there was no ice scraper in it. Eventualy it thawed out and we picked up Elsie. She is extremely disappointed (to tears) that she may miss trick or treating tonight. So far she has not thrown up again and has kept down some dry cheerios and juice. Maybe it was just a morning upset stomach or something... I hope. It she can't go out this evening, she will be a wreck everytime the doorbell rings and some little goblin shouts "Trick or Treat".
On a more positive note, the basement is now completely insulated thanks to my spouse... who was down there until after 11pm last night. Our drywaller, Irwin, is supposed to come tomorrow between 8am and 8:30am to start hanging. I will get excited when I hear some pounding and banging in the basement. Somedays it's hard to get the help to show up... or call. I've been painting away in Elsie's new room. Two walls are done and two to go. It is still full of furniture that will move to the basement soon. Then we have to empty this huge closet before we can paint the floor.
There is light at the end of the tunnel!... and it has Christmas written all over it!... and a finished basement too.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fall Bounty from the Farm

We just returned from a quick weekend trip to my parent's farm. Every fall we make apple cider. There are usually 30 or so friends and family, and we have a huge potluck lunch. I think we made 30 gallons this year. The most we ever made was 65 gallons. That was too much... we couldn't even give it away. I also bring back all sorts of farm goodies. The apples are from an apple tree next to an old house. They are very sweet and full of juice. We will be making apple butter out of those.

The walnuts are from a Carpathian Walnut tree. These are from this year and will need to be dried for a few months before they are ready to eat. The shells have such a pretty color.

Here's a close up of the cider. If you drink too much, regularity is NOT a problem... as Miss Elsie discovered. Of course, when you make cider, you have to do a fair amount of sampling while you are grinding and crushing the apples. Elsie did more than her share.

Then there are the gourds! We brought back four grocery bags of gourds...

Mom has a spot next to one of the fields where she started throwing leftover gourds a few years ago. They get chopped up and worked into the ground in the spring by the field equipment. Then they grow and cross breed and grow some more. This is the fifth or sixth year they have been out there, and there are some real strange ones this year...

So Elsie and I decided to bring back a lot to decorate the outside and the inside....

Since the house is still under construction and the dining room is a temporary storage facility, most of the gourds are outside for now. I have some that are still in a bag that I need to find a spot for. I'll post more pictures once we are all decorated.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rainy Day

It's a rainy and cool fall day here in Portland. A good day to work on projects indoors. I did go outside to take a few pictures of my fading flowers and to cut some roses that were in bud.

However, when I went to my rose garden someone had already yanked off the three buds that I was saving! I wouldn't have minded if they took one, but ALL THREE! We've been wanting to move the roses to the front of the house to prevent such flower thievery. I need to make that a priority next year. I grow them to enjoy inside in large bouquets, so the whole house smells of roses. Maybe it's time to prune them all back and switch to arrangements of greenery inside.

On the project side of things, Elsie has requested a Dorothy costume for Halloween. We've been working on it a little each day and it is coming together really well. We picked up the shoes yesterday.

Elsie also outfitted Tinkerbell to match.

Her creative side is already blossoming. Notice the copious use of pins.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


My posting is rather infrequent due to the newest member of the family. But here are a few pictures I took the other day. The light was so beautiful in the morning... the warm colored light of fall. The kind of light that indicates a change in the seasons.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another blanket...

I'm making another small knit blanket for Ewan. The first one turned out really well and is the perfect size for the stroller or car seat. He even naps under it sometimes. The second one will have 4 squares. Then the squares will be joined with a red whip stitch. I'm trying to use up yarn on hand, so I'll wind up with two blue squares, one pale green, and one blue/grey heather.

It's sort of like knitting 4 dishrags....

I thought the red added a nice masculine touch and didn't make the project look so "baby". Even though he is a baby, I didn't want it to be baby specific... in case he wants to keep using it as a little boy. This one will be slightly bigger than the last one... about 24" x 24".
I started some painting in Elsie's new room today. It shouldn't take too long to paint the whole thing. We still have things to move out, but with the basement not far enough along to use, everything is winding up in the dining room...

This is also my make shift sewing/craft area, but I can't use the dining table for cutting because it's full. The electric should be done at the end of this week, and then we can move things into the storage area in the basement. That should alleviate some of the mess.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Getting the hang of things...

Things are settling down, and we are settling in with our new little guy. The basement is humming along. We have the largest crew of plumbers down there right now. I think there are 5 guys in our basement. Should be lots of progress today. The electrician is coming this afternoon to go over our lighting/electrical plan... which involves outlets EVERYWHERE even in the ceiling. I really dislike not having enough outlets when you are in the middle of a project and having to use splitters and extension cords. The ceiling outlets will go over our work table, so cords will go up and out of the way rather than across the table and through the project.
And on an exciting note... Doctor Who season two started last night! and it was a double feature! Woo Hoo!!! We've been waiting all summer. Ewan slept through both episodes, so it was kind of a date night for the spouse and me.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Some sisterly loving...

I thought this picture was very darling of Miss Elsie and her new brother.

Tomorrow we will test Ewan's ability to sleep through construction noise as we will have the plumbers, the framers, and the furnace crew here. Should see some fantastic progress on the basement. The wonderful spouse is at his father's house with my dad making the counter for the bathroom. They are taking an old head board from a bed, cutting it up, and reassembling it as a bathroom vanity with legs. I will post pictures once it has been installed. Hopefully it will be as good as we envision.

Friday, September 22, 2006

No longer waiting....

Our little man arrived Thursday morning at 2:38am.... meet Ewan...

... note his lovely hand knitted accessories.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Just waiting....

Still here and still pregnant. Several times over the weekend, I had some strong contractions that raised my hopes, but they never amounted to more than three or four at a time. So here I sit... huge and tired. There are lot of things that I want to do, but just don't have the energy. I did some cleaning this morning and did some laundry. Just maintaining the house is overwhelming, let alone managing all the projects going on. Luckily my parents will be here tomorrow to help. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon. So if I haven't had the baby by then, my doctor will schedule an induction (inducement?)... maybe even that night! Yay! The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter.
For now here is the basement progress...
Here is the before, taken in January....

and the current state of things...

and our new stairs...

you can kind of see how things are coming together with the bathroom. We had to move the furnace and will be replacing quite a bit of the duct work. The plumbers are coming today to move some supply lines and then the furnace guy comes on Wednesday to reinstall the furnace. Hopefully the framer can come Thurs or Fri and finish the framing. And somewhere in all this, we will be having a baby!
Here is the little stroller/car seat blanket I've been working on. It's about 21" square, so just big enough to cover, but not drag on the ground.

I was using it as a chance to practice picking up stitches. That is how the rib border is attached to the body. I think I should have used a size smaller needles for the rib. It's a little big and wavy, but the whole blanket is very soft, so it sort of works. I'm working on another small blanket now. They are good for using up bits and pieces of yarn.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fall is in the air

There was definitely a crispness to the morning today. Summer is ending and a new season is starting. I cut this bouquet for my desk....

I love the color that hydrangeas turn as fall approaches... all these great muted colors. I'm running out of blooming plants. Watering has again not been a huge priority over the last week. My dahlias are in between flowers, so I cut what roses I could find to add to this bouquet.
The framers have been here all morning ripping and tearing. We can now walk upright down the stairs. YAY!

I have plaster dust everywhere, but am not complaining. I no longer have to fold myself in half to get down to the washer and dryer.
Dave and I dug out our vintage doors that we will be using in the basement- a mostly glass one for the laundry room and a panel door with a window that will lead from the studio into the work shop. Hopefully the windows will allow some of the light to travel around from room to room. I dusted them off and washed the windows... they look so good! They came with the house when Dave bought it and have been stacked in the basement for over 10 years. Now they will finally have a home. We just have to figure out how to put them in a door jamb. Apparently the framer just frames the opening and does not hang the doors. Always something to learn.