Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I am posting on Christmas Day because I am sick and confined to my room while the rest of the family celebrates and I keep my germs to myself. It is a bit of a bummer, because I really enjoy Christmas. Everyone sounds like they are having a good time, and I'm sure the dinner smells good. I can't smell much of anything.

I completed the traditional Christmas Eve pyjamas on time and the children (my two and my sister's two) opened them last night and put them on with grand flourish. I seem to have forgotten my camera patch cord and will be unable to post pictures until I return to Portland. I have apparently packed 3 sets of patch cords for my iPhone... so no danger of not being able to plug that in.

We did watch Mark Morris' The Hard Nut last night on TV. It was amazing and creative and a great interpretation of the classic Nutcracker.
Scene from Act 1....

.... not your traditional Victorian family. Love the graphic patterns on everything.

The snowflakes actually snowed by throwing snow from their hands.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gingerbread Men

Miss Elsie wanted to make gingerbread men, and the spouse is gearing up to construct a house out of gingerbread as well. So last night, we made a few men.... careful not to open the oven door in case one got away.

We are using the magazines to control the thickness of the dough. I know you can buy those doughnuts that slip onto your rolling pin which do the same thing... but we didn't have them... and the magazines are about 1/4" thick and work just as well... as long as your 3 year old doesn't try to unwrap them partway through the rolling process.

Of course while the cookies baked, there was a lot of munching on the candies decorating the men. You do have to sample all the components.

I melted some colored white chocolate used for candy making for the decorating. It was late, and I didn't have time to make a batch of frosting and Miss Elsie wanted to give her teacher a couple of the Gingerbread Men for Christmas. Thank goodness for candy making supplies and a microwave. They white chocolate melted in a few minutes and piped out really well from the pastry bag.... well enough that one of the men has eyebrows.

The rest of the men are baking today and will be decorated this afternoon. The house will be under construction soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Christmastime!!!

I seem to be firmly in the one post per month realm. I really want to break out of that trend and blog more.

We put up one of our amazingly retro aluminum Christmas trees last week.

Of course if you have an aluminum tree you MUST have the rotating light.

Which spends the rest of the year inside it's vintage box.

I did take some great pictures of all the vintage glass balls on the tree. I'm trying to figure out a way to make one grid of pictures with all the images. It's a lot of pictures.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Halloween Goodness

So my serger and myself were covered with all this brown fuzz during the construction of the Halloween costumes.

The skin of the bat.... which caused all the fuzz...

The finished bat...

He's very proud of his wings. I'm still cleaning up fuzz.

Miss Elsie went as a Bride Witch. Yes, that is her real hair that we sprayed black with pink streaks.

I'm still cleaning up the black overspray in the bathroom.

Both costumes worked well and the pumpkins are full.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hello... yes, I'm still here....

I know it has been over a month since my last post, but my life has been very, very full. Things are starting to slow down a bit, so I'm breathing easier. Those of you who know me have seen my bullet lists... those of you who are new to this side of me, this seems to be the easiest way to organize my thoughts and convey a lot of information....

1. Elsie started 2nd Grade and loves it!

2. I have been busy with freelance work which involves travel. I have been traveling almost every other week since the beginning of August. Some for personal and some for work... either way, I haven't been home enough.

3. I have been teaching an online class at the University of Idaho (which I teach every semester).... and then I had the idea for a field trip. So I took a group of students 9 students plus my director to Los Angeles last week on a fully packed 4-day field trip complete with a factory tour and trip to the California Mart for a fabric show. (The prior 3 days were spent working with a client in Irvine, so I was in LA/Orange County for a week.)
We spent the last day at the Getty Center... which was gorgeous and relaxing and amazing. The entire setting from the tram ride up the hill (at 10mph) to the buildings themselves was designed to elevate you out of the hectic pace of LA. It must have worked, because as I was making my purchases at the store the salesman touched my arm and told me that I had the most serene eyes. It had been a long week at this point, so I took that as a great compliment.

The spouse was very happy to have me home... so were the kids. Mister Ewan has not been far from me since I came home Saturday night.

4. My wonderful Grandmother Agnes passed away in mid-September. We will miss her very much. She lived to be 97 and up until June was living at home on her farm.

This is Grandma at her high school graduation.

The family all gathered in Idaho to celebrate her life and, in Grandma's words, give her a "good send off". Grandma would have been very pleased with the flowers.

5. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Mister Ewan turned 3. We celebrated part of his birthday in Idaho. We still need to have a Portland party for him for the family down here.... all in due time.

6. Had a successful Tag-A-Long pick up from school yesterday... and Miss Elsie and I were able to pedal all the way up the hill in front of the house and into the back yard.... and that's something.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Progress with the Tag-a-Long!

I have finally worked up to biking to and from Miss Elsie's school with her on the back of the Tag-a-Long. I have no idea what the distance is.. probably around a mile one way. I can't quite make it up the incline in front of the house, but I can get within a block. We are going to give it another go tomorrow. My goal is to be able to do the whole trip in grand style (as in NOT pushing the bike... at all) by the time school starts on September 8. Will keep you posted on that.

In the meantime, here is a little visitor that came and peeked through my open window in my studio where I was working....

He came around 10 minutes later for another visit. Apparently I wasn't very interesting... he didn't stay long.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Good Things

Today I went to Levi's to replace my mostly-holes-and-not-much-denim capris with some new ones. Of course standing there under the over head lighting and fun house mirror was not good for my body image. I took the summer off from ballet and although the scale hasn't changed, my body make-up has... as in less lean muscle and more fullness about the general hip area. Some sort of physical exercise is drastically needed so I decided the get out the Tag-a-Long (tandem bike attachment for the offspring) for my bike so Miss Elsie and I could ride together. I couldn't find the bike pump and the tires were completely flat since they haven't been ridden in 6 years- give or take, so off I went to Fred Meyer to buy a new pump. Came back, the bike pump did not fit the valve stems on my bike, but did fit the stems on the Tag-A-Long which in the long run really didn't matter since the bike pump was broken anyway. Back to Fred Meyer to return the first bike pump and buy a different one that would accommodate both stem types. Now we are about 1 hour into the project, and I have all the tires pumped back up, and spend the next 1-1/2 taking parts off my bike and trying to get the Tag-a-Long bushing/bracket onto my bike.... eventually resorting to the rubber mallet persuader. Finally I had success and put on my helmet, loaded up Miss Elsie, and made it 4 blocks and was so winded and out of shape... we called it an evening.... anyway... it's something to build up to.

Here some other lovely things from the end of the summer..

My 100% cotton crochet trim that I bought 3 years ago at Fabric Depot's outdoor sale. It has all been pre-washed (this stuff really SHRINKS), and ironed and rolled on a card.

Coffee filter art at Anthropologie... they really do the most amazing display work there....

In-and-Out Burger from our trip to Disneyland... enough said...

And the sushi platter from Saburo's... the Temple to Sushi here in Portland....

My garden is just not that dazzling this year... partly due to the strange weather... partly due to the continuing lack of sun in our backyard (the neighborhood trees keep growing... as trees do)... and partly due to me not being that diligent this spring because of allergies. I am developing a new strategy for next year that involves moving A LOT of plants around and some hard pruning... work will commence this fall.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Another dress and some gardening

Miss E gets another new dress. This one is remade from a skirt that belonged to my Mother-In-Law and was passed down a few times. We started with this...

... and wound up with this....

It has this great scalloped hem. The belt is the spouse's from when he was a little boy.

Gardening is coming along. Somethings are a little behind due to me not getting my plants planted early enough. But we have some green tomatoes and the basil is growing like mad! All were started from seed.

The pepper experiment out front is going well. I've tried growing peppers in the back several times and they either never fruit or don't ripen. So this year I put them in pots out front on the cement. They get lots of hot, hot sun and I can water them easily. Then they get reflected heat from the cement the rest of the evening and night. These were also grown from seed.

Very exiting!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sewing Projects!!!

I finally am getting around to posting some of my lovely sewing projects that I have been working on.
Miss E came to me last month and announced that she wanted to sew a bag... something to carry her drawing supplies in. Not too purse-like and not too fat. We rounded up these supplies from my stash:

which produced this snappy bag....

Then today, after being inspired by a walk through Forever 21 and all their 80's floral inspired summer sun dresses... I finally got out my elastic thread that I bought awhile back. My friend Mo at Lime Gardenias gave it a try last year and created a darling dress for Miss M. So armed with the knowledge from Your Fabric Place, I was off to expand my sewing skills by creating elasticized ruching!

The results are very cute... if I do say so myself. Of course, you can't go wrong with Heather Ross fabric either. This is from her West Hill line... little lily pads with tiny frogs jumping amongst them.

Here's the ensemble in action...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Family Vacation

We just returned from Anaheim and two days and Disneyland. It was a lot of driving, but we had so much fun at the park.
We started off with some Umpqua ice cream at Rice Hill, OR...

and then stayed over night in the Redwood Forest in Northern California...

Then drove like a couple of deranged individuals through central California for 12 hours to get to Disneyland!

Who can resist the gorgeousness of "It's a Small World"?

We had to go through twice.

I could have gone through a few more times and been completely happy.

We did get stuck inside for about 10 minutes when the ride stopped... which let me take some really good pictures... and "no" the song did not get stuck in my head for the rest of the trip.

Then we were off to the Storybook Boats which I had never been on before. There were all these gorgeous miniature scenes from fairy tales and movies... and all the trees and plants are real!

As an added surprise bonus we could see the fireworks from the air conditioned comfort of our hotel room!

We drove 12 hours yesterday and came home at 9:30pm. We want to go back again with the kids in a few years, but we will NOT be driving. It's only a 2-1/2 hour plane ride rather than 2 or 3 days in the car. Money well spent I say.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Sadness

We had to say goodbye to Daphne on Monday. This has been a rough few weeks.

We now have no cats whereas 9 months ago we had three. We are taking a break from pet-dom and deciding whether we want to add anymore animals to the house... maybe in the spring. Between now and then we will have to make do with the fish. Unfortunately the most interesting one is nocturnal, so we never get to see him.

I promise my next posts will be of creative sewing projects. Throughout all the goodbyes and housecleaning, I have managed to sew some pretty cool things.

Friday, June 26, 2009


We had to say good bye suddenly to our cat Griffin earlier this week.

Elsie came downstairs in the morning and found him under a piece of furniture meowing constantly. His hind legs were not working. The vet said that he most likely had heart disease and a clot made it into his spinal region disrupting the flow of blood to his hind quarters. He had no pulse in his legs and was very cold. So I made the difficult decision to let him go. There are typically no symptoms that would indicate heart disease, and he had been to the vet for two check ups in the past year and was pronounced "very healthy".

Now our trio...

is down to one....

Unfortunately Miss Daphne has kidney disease and will not be with us much longer. It has been a rough year in the pet area.