Thursday, May 25, 2006

A proto and some peelings

It's always a good idea to make a prototype BEFORE embarking on the real thing. I made a pointy kitty this week as a test before doing the Back Tack kitty. There were a few construction issues and the questions of how hard to pack that fiberfil into the body... the answer is- quite firmly. The first kitty still needs its eyes and nose, but Miss Elsie carted it off right away and was in love. You will notice that one eye is really crooked. I have appliqued in a while. I need to practice working around the pins, rather than removing them and going freehand.

Here is the skin of the cat for the Back Tack project:

I'm trying very hard to stay within the 20 percent allowance for an accent color.... it's very hard.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day... weekend, actually

I hope all the mommies I know had a wonderful Mother's Day.... and you all remembered to call your mothers to wish them a Happy Mother's Day. Here in Portland, the weather was gorgeous... so of course I over did it in the garden. By 8pm, I was so stiff I could hardly get up from the table!
On Saturday, Elsie requested a Family Movie Night and sleepover in Mommy and Daddy's bed. Since we have watched every family movie we own at least 20 times, we thought we would purchase a new one. We bought Nanny McPhee. If you have not seen this movie, it is a gem. The set design and colors are fantastic bordering on the surreal and getting more so as the story takes off. In the children's room, each of the seven children have their own bed. Each bed has what appears to be a handmade coverlet- one with granny squares, another quilt in a log cabin pattern. I need to see it again just to focus in on the detail.

Mother's Day morning came at 6:30am as my offspring woke up and then woke me up to ask "Where is Daddy?" who was downstairs making breakfast. So Elsie and I curled up in bed to watch some Disney channel for a bit (no Charlie and Lola this morning unfortunately). Dave brought the breakfast upstairs, so I had a lovely breakfast in bed and then received some fabulous Mother's Day booty downstairs. Elsie and Dave had given me a large bouquet of Gerbera daisies the day before which I had been thoroughly enjoying. Then I received a stack of Green and Black's chocolate and a printout of the Cath Kidston umbrella I wanted (the printout was to show that the umbrella had indeed been ordered and was just not here yet).
Then we headed for Portland Nursery for some general plant wandering and shopping. Followed by 8 hours of intense gardening, planting, cleaning, etc... an excellent day! I fell asleep at 9:30pm and slept soundly until this morning... when getting out of bed was a challenge due to sore muscles.

Friday, May 12, 2006

New favorite things

I have been an avid reader of blogs for the past year. I have come across several things that various bloggers seem to absolutely love. I have tried two of them over the past week.
The first is Green and Black's Organic chocolate. So purchased two bars to test- dark chocolate with currants and hazelnuts, and dark chocolate with almonds. I have no pictures to post, because in my current pregnant state, I eagerly munched them right down. Of course taking advantage of the high iron content of dark chocolate. They are (were) every bit as good as people have been saying! I now will have to purchase the other flavors (I'm particulary interested in the caramel). Maybe next time I'll have time to take a picture. The packaging is lovely.
The second thing is anything to do with Pride and Prejudice- book, mini series, or various movies. I am now ashamed to admit that I have never read the book nor any Jane Austen for that matter. I read other types of classic books (H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Shakespeare, etc), but not any Austen. After all the ravings after the most recent movie came out, I thought I had better explore this particular work. I treated myself to an OnDemand movie of the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice . Amazing!!! I loved the story and characters, Lizzie's parents, and, of course, Mr. Darcy (who wouldn't!?!?). I have heard rumblings that the BBC miniseries is actually superior to this movie in terms of accuracy and character development, but it is 5 hours in length total. So for now, I have added a DVD of Pride and Prejudice to my birthday/anniversay/just-buy-it-for-me wish list. Did I mention that the costumes are stunning?!?!.... links have been added for shopping convenience.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Springtime baking...

I love pies and tarts. Growing up, all I ate for breakfast during the summer was cherry pie. We had a pie cherry tree growing in the front of our house, and my mom would bake the pies as long as I picked the cherries. This seemed like a reasonable arrangement... so I ate a lot of pie.
Elsie and I did some baking yesterday. We had some leftover crust, so we made some mini tarts too. We will fill these with fresh strawberries later.

The finished product in the back yard....

I have found that Martha Stewart's three pastry recipes work the best- Pate Brisee, Pate Sucre, and Pate Sable. One for each occasion. The trick- keep that butter COLD! and then chill the dough before rolling it out. A beautiful flaky crust every time! Let me know if you want me to post the recipes.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Back Tack Thoughts

I have more energy today than usual, so there are two posts. I've been contemplating my Back Tack project. I hope my partner doesn't think that I've completely forgotten the whole thing. I haven't posted anything.... YET. I spent a little time rummaging upstairs and came up with these things...

Lovely large plaid, but maybe too much red to qualify. Looks good with some of my vintage ric rac...

I love the spider web-like appearance of this all-over lace. It is a gorgeous fabric that I have now had for over ten years! I would have to back it with something...

These are all the black or black and white options that I could find at hand. I kind of like the houndstooth. The red buttons are from my Grandma's button box... probably came off something my Mom wore.

Basement Update

As I type, our alarm guy is moving some wires (read as tucking them up and out of sight) and an electrician is also doing the same with the jumble of wires in our basement ceiling. Each of the previous owners of this house put their own spin on do-it-yourself home wiring. We have an interesting woven pattern of wires criss-crossing the ceiling... which we are planning on leaving unfinished and spraying white. We also have a Gordian knot of plumbing, but that's a story for another time.
This is officially the start of the remodel. Hopefully Dave and I will be able to move a cabinet this weekend and tape the layout of the new walls onto the floor. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!!! I was starting to get depressed due to lack of progress. It's no fun to spend all winter cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and then 3 months of planning, planning, planning, and nothing happens.
Since I haven't posted any pictures lately (and what fun is a blog without pictures), here is a photo of our bubble princess in the bath....

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Tired, tired... oh yeah, did I mention I was tired?

I have been extremely exhausted this last week (hence the no posts for a week), spending most of each day on the couch in the TV room. All the blood tests that the doctor has done indicate that I am just fine and nothing is wrong. Apparently it is just general pregancy weariness. However Miss Elsie doesn't want to play quietly from 10am until 2pm which is about how much additional, horizontal rest I need each day. I've shifted my eating around a bit to include more protein and iron and am also taking an iron supplement. I seem to have a bit more energy and am spending less time on the couch.
Since I'm not up to much gardening, house cleaning, or anything physical, I've decided to tackle my knitting pile of UFO's. I was trying to knit Miss Elsie a skirt last November, and did not follow the directions. The skirt is knit in the round and required two rows of reducing stitches (knit two as one). My first attempt, I only reduced 1 row and did not wind up with the cute flirty ruffle at the bottom. Also the finished width of the skirt was large enough for two Elsie's. So I gritted my teeth and started to unravel and re-knit. That is when I discovered the challenges of unravelling on fuzzy yarn. What a nightmare! The first few rows of un-knitting almost wound up as a giant felted mass... but I perservered and am about 5 inches in length away from finishing the skirt. It is probably a little heavy for spring/summer, but I'm adding a bit to the length for this fall. I will post pictures later.