Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Finished Quilt

So I bought some new fabric. Some fantastic incredible fabric that I've had bookmarked for at least six months. I bought fabric for my personal dream quilt, and some Heather Ross fabric for a big quilt for Jane, my poor sweet second baby who never got a baby quilt. and I also went crazy and bought this little fat quarter set from a great etsy shop. I don't know what I'm going to do with that, but I am not letting an inch of it leave my house. Those colors are so lush and rich in person. I wish I could buy the whole bunch. My self-imposed condition for cutting into this fabric is that I knock out at least 2 items in the quilting queue. Really there are three, or now that I am thinking, actually four things I should finish first. But two is all I can reasonably ask of myself.

Anyway, that was my inspiration to finally get this little quilt cut and pieced.

And then finding this tutorial was about as life changing as finally buying a walking foot. The "no binding" method is apparently known as "birthing a quilt," but I found it to be about a zillion times less tedious and painful than hand binding. Gah. And I don't even hand bind prettily. If my bindings turned out mitered, and lovely with those tiny invisible stitches, that would be one thing... but they don't. So I am in love with this now. Also, being able to just FINISH a quilt, just like that?! Is awesome. Like if somehow, at the end of an enormous stripey knit blanket, you just somehow did NOT have to weave in all the ends.


So what I'm saying is, this whole little project came together really fast and easy. These scraps were already in a pile together, left over from Wren's big girl quilt, and the backing is a well loved swaddling blanket we inherited long ago. It's funny how some things that I labor over for months I end up feeling just "eh" about. And this tiny quilt, which I spent about 4 hours on, total, makes me so happy and proud.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mary's quilt

I finished my stripey, sunshiney graduation quilt for my cousin Mary. So what if she graduated last May, and is now nearing the end of her second semester of college? Whatever. Anyway, it's finished, almost... just the tiniest bit of binding to finish off, and some stray threads to clip, and it's in the mail. For which I will need her address... and probably also I'll need to go to the post office.

So...shootin' for July?

This quilt is mostly thrifted sheeting, which I love because it's so soft and thin and comfy. Nice and light weight for those Oregon/Wyoming winters. Yeah I suck.

Also, our house gets almost no direct sunlight if it's at all overcast. This allows me to keep my rep in our complex as "that crazy lady who's always taking pictures of blankets outside."

This is my new walking foot- enabling the completion of this quilt and making my life in general a billion times better. One of those "the right tools make the difference" moments. I told Chase "remember when I said I loved hand quilting? What I apparently meant was that I loved it in comparison to machine quilting WITHOUT a walking foot."

As I type this Jane has assumed her pooping crouch, so I should probably end this pretty soon. Now she wants to sit on my lap. "LAP! LAP!" she says. "HIGHER! UP! SIT LAP CHAIR!" Lots of new words these days, between the poop grunts. Nothing like a one and a half year old. She is a destructive terror and a delight. She enchants everyone at the grocery store, in between bouts of screaming and throwing all the food out of the cart. She stands, climbs, and leaps. She sings, but yells furiously at anyone else who sings. She dances to music, dances with her sister, clomps around the house in any oversize pair of shoes she can find, and regularly tosses whatever strikes her fancy into the front loading washing machine. My sweet fierce Jane baby. I can't imagine what kind of kid she will be in a few years.

And Wren and I have been going through a rough patch. She's a sass-monster. Which I never thought would bother me that much, because according to my dad, I was a pretty "mouthy" kid as well, deserving many a "because I said so" spanking. I generally have a pretty high tolerance for sassafras, so I'm half disappointed in myself for having a short temper, and half just so frustrated with Wrennel for pushing me all the time. If we were dating, we'd take a break. I'd go camping or something, and leave my cell phone at home. I think of Mrs. Rush, saying to Kelly in high school, I'll always love you, but I don't LIKE you very much right now.

The once vaunted time-outs are just not doing the trick as a cooling-off time for the two of us. She's still amazing and incredible and sweet. And now with some years of parenting behind me it's a little easier to see this for what it is- a temporary phase, not the new look of our relationship. Perspective is grace from God in parenting- because it's so easy to fall off either end- difficulty in engaging moment to moment, and difficulty pulling yourself out of a never-ending-moment, like it's 5:30 and Chase isn't home and the diapers are not washed and dinner isn't made and so on.

But for now I've got a diaper to change, and then it's time to pick up Miss Sassafras from school, and see if we can make a path through this afternoon that doesn't hurt anyone's feelings, and leaves us totally in like with each other at bedtime.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Finnessee Questions

We were inspired by Finn's question and answer post, so Wren and I played this morning:

What's your full name? Kelly Cinnamon! HAHAHA... Wren Roden
How old are you? I am 3, no 4.
What grade are you in? I am in Mrs. Evan's Class.
My hair is brown.
My eyes are blue...(actually, they're brown.)
What's your favorite color? My favorite color is pul-pur and pink.
What's your favorite season? My favorite season is spring.
Why? Because I love the colors of leaves.
Favorite friend? Ava and Zoe. They are my cousins.
Thing you like best about your body? My belly button. And my arms, because I like to pick Jane up.
Favorite TV show - Carlissini HAHAHA I mean Maisy. (Carlassini is obviously made up, and she hasn't watched Maisy in years. She loves Olivia right now.)
The one thing you can do best? Do tricks. Watch this! (spins around)
One thing you wish you could do better - read grownup books.
What do you want to be when your grow up? A daddy or a mama or a teeny tiny little baby or a big sister. and I want to read books when I growd up, to children.
What's one thing that really scares you? A dinosaur-apotosaurus. If I see one that really makes me want to get scared.
What's the thing you wish for most in the world? I wish would that I had a full garden of flowers and dandelions. That would be fun.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


What is it about an egg white omelet that is just so spectacular? Chase loves it when I bake anything that requires just egg yolks. We had some super sharp cheddar too, so this is pretty much my dream brunch. I will take this over asparagus quiche any day.

I think these whites were left over from Easter hot cross buns. Unfortunately it rained here on Easter morning, and the combination of the humidity and the fact that I was rushing, and I don't think I let the milk and butter cool enough before adding it to my yeast meant that my dough didn't rise. So we had hot cross dense loaf. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, huh? At least we got an omelet out of it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

more baby presents

So I did end up trying one of those bookmarked ideas. I made the cozy blanket from Purl Bee, but I made it with some leftover fleece and some bright floral fabric, because it's for a new baby girl.

Getting the ric rac sandwiched in was tricky, but this is one of those areas of crafting where being the laziest opposite of a perfectionist really helps me out. Oh hey look at that! Doesn't really line up, does it? Oh well, time for a Diet Coke break...

I had a bit of everything left over so I made a little burp cloth too. If two newborns have taught me anything it's that you can't have enough of those around. My mom always had the "fancy" burp cloths, for church I guess? I just mostly used cloth diapers. If only I had felt the mystical pull of ric rac earlier in my mothering experience. I too could have had a ric rac floral burp cloth.

Anyway, two babies have also taught me that a new baby sometimes means a tender-hearted big kid, who needs a present too-

So here's yet another elf hat, from the Amy Karol book. Man I love making those. Can you tell? This one is for an especially elfin new big sister, and I went with the safe choice (pink) for embellishments. Wren is making the transition from pink to purple (or "pul-pur," as it's pronounced here) and I am thrilled. Of course she still loves pink, but I have hopes that we will eventually move along the spectrum- violet, with indigo potentially in our future. Indigo Future, last year's biggest loser at the Westlake Battle of the Bands.

Monday, April 13, 2009

soon and very soon

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. Ours was full of memories and new celebration- weddings, new babies, birthdays, visiting friends, and a fantastic church get together with my favorite music. I heart Easter Sunday, even though my kids' Easters are looking a whole lot different than mine as a kid. Less brass quintet and rack of lamb, more banjo and key lime pie.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pronunciation Woes

Me: Were the girls okay?

Will: Well, we had fun. But (with the tone of someone imparting bad, weird news) Wren called me her bitch.

Me: What? She did what?

Will: She said I was her bitch. Her "swinging bitch"?

Chase: Wren, is Uncle Will your bench? Like the swinging bench at Grandad's house?

Wren: Yeah! He's my swinging bitch!

Monday, April 6, 2009

coasters for Ruth

Our friend Ruth just moved into a new house, and it's actually less than a mile from where we live. She lives on the side of the highway that's overrun with deer, as opposed to hipsters. She invited us to a housewarming party, so instead of doing my homework on Saturday morning, I made coasters. These are sort of like the ones I saw in Denise Schmidt's book, but I had to return that to the library, so I was sort of guessing.

I backed them in mustard felt, and other than accidentally sewing the wrong side of that yellow fabric, and then being too lazy to go back and fix an inch and a half seam...I think they came out just fine. Hurray coasters!

Ruth's new place is great, and I was immediately jealous of her awesome planter boxes. She also lives less than a block from Chase's bus stop, so I bet they will get to see each other more often. He can report back to me about the coasters' inevitable lack of use. Because no one really uses coasters. They're ridiculous.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I've been bookmarking projects like crazy lately. I guess it's partly a new season and being inspired by all the great colors and designs I see around. And also it's having a little bit of money to spend on crafting at the moment. Usually I try to navigate through the crafting world with financial blinders on. Like, oh that's a great project, but... it looks like about 10 yards of good fabric so... No thanks.

Also, of course, as I may have mentioned 27 thousand times, everyone I know is apparently reaching big-life-milestone age, and there's no one on the list I don't love enough to make a quilt for. So I'm trying to keep my eyes open for various projects that say "I love you enough for a quilt, but I only had 2 hours, so you get this coaster set instead..." without coming off like a jerk.

Here are my favorites out there right now-

From The Purl Bee with an awesome how-to. I want to live in that room. I want to make the quilt, but I want to make it with more blue. I wish I was better at putting colors together.

And today I bought fabric for this little blanket, also from Purl Bee. I went with an Amy Butler knockoff floral, and I'm going to use the fleece leftover from Wren's elf hat.

And I want to make every single thing in Heather Ross's new book -

I don't actually own it, I'm just assuming. I will probably have to skip past a few obligatory craft book offerings- the apron/potholder/tote bag/placemat patterns, that everyone who writes a book is apparently convinced people are clamoring for. But that skirt! that dress! I put the book on hold at the library the second it came out.

Oh and speaking of aprons. How many craft books do I have with apron patterns? I know, and yet the one I want to make is this one. Ruffles!

Nothing says "I didn't have time for a quilt" like a ruffle apron.

And here's a slightly less inspiring (although arguably a zillion times more useful) project. I love projects that use things you already have (um, yes. I do make my panties from used t-shirts... don't you?) My utilitarian and practical friends and family have birthdays too.

And last but not least, this is not a project, but it's my first thing in the morning and last thing at night bookmark-

That's a hotel room, in Isla Mujeres, for $60 a night. That, plus this is what I have been thinking about when 3:30 pm rolls around, and the kids fall apart and my internal monologue is along the lines of "How many cups of coffee is this? Maybe I should switch to Diet Coke. Which one of you is screaming? Is there blood? Hm.. is that a diaper? Or did someone track dog poop in the house again?"

My dad has talked for years about what a great stop Isla Mujeres is for his sailing trip, but I sort of tuned it out because sailing = barf. But now that there's a terrifying rickety new airline- sign me up!

My husband is currently dying from a combination of oak pollen inhalation and antihistamine overdose, so it seems like a good time to get out of town. Either that or I drown him with the neti pot the next time he snorts. Anyone who wants to change their 3:30 pm monologue to something more like mine should give me a call about babysitting. I will bring you back a mojito.

Wren these days

"A plane! A yellow airplane!" from the backseat, driving home from running errands. "Oh, Mama! You missed it! I'm SO SORRY you didn't get to see it."

On the phone last night with her Nana, "Goodnight, Nana. If you need anything at night, you can just call me and I'll take care of it."

Pausing, at dinner with Richard and the family, to tell us her blessing was "loading," and she'd say it in a minute.

Chase: Wren, sometimes you say very cute things...
Wren: Daddy sometimes you say things that are BORING! HAHAHA.

She dances around the house, screaming wildly, and then 10 seconds later she is totally involved in playing with her tiny dollhouse, arranging the creatures just so, and doing different tiny animal voices for each one. She has a better concept of time, and a better memory in general, than she did just months ago. Her memory has always been amazing- "Mama remember that red crabby sandbox we had when I was a tiny baby?" Um... yes. But it's a little bit creepy that you do..."

This is both a curse ("Mama remember you said I could have a treat when we got home! I want a treat that is chocolate!") and a blessing ("Remember that time, when Grandma came and took me to get ice cream?") Yes, honey. I do remember that over a year ago, Grandma dropped by the house we used to live in, and surprised you with a trip to get ice cream. The whole thing lasted about an hour and a half, and although we probably talked about it for a few days afterward, I surely hadn't remembered it again, or mentioned it, in at least a year.

It's really incredibly wonderful that she has so many memories of Grandma. I don't think she'll ever walk up to the door of the house on Bamford without a tiny part of her expecting Grandma to flip the metal letter door up and surprise her.

Wren tells involved, rambling, hilarious stories. She sings until she cries (which is genetic, actually), and she is still so excited about seeing the people she loves that she becomes a babbling mess when they appear (also probably genetic, I'm afraid). She is a little shy with strangers, and incredibly articulate with people she's comfortable with. She can be articulate to the point of intense bossiness with Jane, directing her like a little puppet master. I don't know how many times a day I say, "WREN. YOU ARE NOT THE MAMA. I am the Mama." When things don't go her way (crumbling block towers, disobedient siblings or dogs...) Wren says "I just need to take a little break" and goes to her room, by herself. She likes to get a stack of books, and a flashlight, and read under the covers in her bed. This might also be genetic. When she's had enough of any situation, too much school, too many errands, whatever the problem, she just wants to be home, in her bed. She is our little homing beacon. In contrast, Jane is more of a food beacon.

Four years old is a blast, so far. Chase and I bargain over who takes the kids where, now that Wren is more like shopping with your weird and distractable friend, and less like shopping with your wiggly squirmy 30lb bag of screaming time bomb, who also wants to throw herself into traffic. Wren is a delight, and I just wanted to write this down so I would remember how fun she is right now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Shoes

I look outside to see what all the suspicious silence is about...

Oh, -these- new shoes? Yeah they're great for putting in the dog's water bowl!

Wait. You want me to take my feet out? of the water? Um.... I'm kind of busy here.

And how am I supposed to even be annoyed at her? Look at her face! She -knows- she's not supposed to do that, obviously, but she's so thrilled she got away with it. And also now she would like some helping getting her shoes off, please, because the knots are really tight.

Alvin is now Pete

So this last week, we had a puppy at our house for about 4 days. And then, in spite of my mother's "Never accept a live gift" rule, he went home with her to Beaumont. That's 4 nights of whining and barking, lots and lots of tiny puppy poop and puddles in hidden corners of the house, and lots of near crushings, as he jumped in front of my feet (or under my chair) a thousand times a day.

Reactions to our sudden and brief puppy ownership were pretty mixed. Stongly in favor was Wren-

She was very very bummed that he wasn't here when she got home from school yesterday. They really loved each other. I think Wren is at a very very fun age for a puppy- planning all sorts of dress up games, running around, never getting tired of throwing the ball, but enough of a big kid to be able to tell him "No" when he gets too bitey. So she is missing him.

Next up we have Jane

Who will not miss Alvin/Pete at ALL. He jumped on her when she walked in a room, licked her face and scratched her legs. He chewed on her favorite toys and cried when she tried to throw him across the room in retaliation. Tattle tale!

Jane spent Alvin's time of residence climbing up my legs, screeching in rage, dumping out his food bowl, or trying to assault him. So, even if we had ever thought about getting a new puppy, this would not be the time.

And of course, the strongest vote in favor of putting the puppy in a burlap sack and dropping him in a river:

This bundle of stoicism and long suffering neglect, Ramona.

Alvin went home with my mom, who will immediately un-crate train him, and he will spend the rest of his life eating steak on a plush velvet pillow, with short breaks for squirrel slaughters. She had to rename him, since she lives directly across the street from my dad, the original Al-Vin. Awkward.

So this short chapter of two dog ownership closes happily. And I know we have a while to go before we jump into that again.