Friday, December 31, 2010

Taking some sick time

Or I should say - getting well time.  I've managed to get pneumonia - not a terribly bad case, but it's my first ever case.  I'll be back as soon as I'm well again.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas this year was a lesson in letting go if ever I saw one.

We've all taken turns being sick - tho I skirted the edge of sickness mostly, until Christmas eve ;)

Many many plans were abandoned.  Much less of a handmade component than I would have liked.

But these things happen right?

But Santa still came through with Miss Big A's sweet request for this cake - no way could  I have made that - she was very specific - and ever so sweet on Santa's knee - shyness gone and a twinkle in her eye.

Little Miss A didn't really get the whole Santa concept enough this year to make a request, but I knew that this would be it - 

My big project for the girls was a proper dressup box - no I didn't make the box ;)  I planned to make quite a lot more things to go inside, but the time-factor collided with the sick factor...

This bench seat with the storage under the seat, fit the bill perfectly.  Big Miss A is in the middle of an obsession with beds - she makes them all over the house and gets furious with anyone who dares to touch or move said bed.  She immediately went to work turning the top into a bed of course.

 Little Miss A didn't take this dress off until it had to come off for the wash.  That girl loves dresses.

The dresses were a huge hit, which was great since she utterly rejected the Christmas pajamas ;)

The pictures are kind of terrible - due to the fact that a certain (youngest) child of mine had us awake at *4am* Christmas morning.  I actually don't remember most of it - thank goodness I've got these pictures - terrible or not lol!  

Now that Christmas is over,  I'm on to the run of birthdays that follow Christmas rapid-fire.  
Little Miss A is first up  - I should have something to show soon.....

Friday, December 24, 2010


This moment

Inspired by Soulemama - {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Scientist has been dying some gifts

This year, I figured that the perfect gift for the scientist to make for his little sisters, was new playcloths, in a rainbow of colors.  The boy *loves* food coloring - seriously folks you would not believe the vast quantities of food coloring that we buy.   I ordered the scarves from Dharma Trading Company.   In the past we always have used koolaid - not sure why.  The colors are so much nicer with food coloring!  And no yucky smells either.  

I also ordered for the girls, from the same place, some silk triangle shawls with silk fringe - so cute, and a perfect addition to the dress up box I'm putting together for their main Christmas gift.  I had planned to dye them ahead of time, but ran out of time - I'll have them dye them with me tho which will be way more fun :)

Dharma has so many gorgeous silk items - I couldn't help myself - I  also got some gorgeous silk camisole night gowns for the ladies of the house - I dyed one for my oldest in her favorite shade of blue. It's a gorgeous thick satiny silk too.  I was a bit disappointed in the silk long underwear I bought tho - not the greatest fit, and it snags really easily.

The play silks have gotten a lot of use around here, and I like to replace them now and then when they wear out.  I've never had a whole rainbow at once tho!  I love rainbows!

This photo just doesn't do the colors justice - I got a nice vibrant shade shade of each color. 

I've described the process before - it couldn't be easier - for silk fabric I just get a small pot of hot water going on the stove, add a good glug of vinegar to help set the color, and then start adding the food coloring until I like the color.  You can test on paper towels for the colors that need more mixing like purple.  If the silk sucks up all of the color from the water and isn't as dark/permeated as you would like, just scoop out the scarf, add a little more color and put it back in for a few more minutes.  Let them simmer on the stove for a good 20 minutes or so, rinse and dry.  I like to iron them with a low heat iron when I'm done.  I bought some long skinny scarves too and dyed them in watery colors - these work really nicely in setups as water.  That's it :)  I like to keep a few extras on hand for last minute birthday gifts.  I love homemade gifts, and this one is so super kid friendly.  If you don't want them working near the hot stove, you can mix them cold on the table, and then an adult can heat it on the stove later to set.  I'm really comfortable with my kids being around the stove - they all are, pretty much as soon as they can stand - with adult supervision at first of course.  


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Solstice Baby is Sixteen!

My biggest girl turned 16 today.  That feels huge.

There was cheesecake.

**sister giggles**

Our birthday mama daughter day in town - new hair, lunch and shopping.


She has changed in so many ways.....

but some things stay the same ;)  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas is so sensual isn't it?  Some of my most vivid childhood memories are from Christmas time - every smell and taste still in tact and ready to come back in an instant.  I saw bags of german Christmas cookies a while back that were just like the ones my aunt used to hang on the Christmas tree, and as soon as I saw them, the memories just flooded in, smells, tastes, how beautiful the tree looked.....a rare moment when I was actually bummed that we can't eat any gluten - those cookies are definitely not gluten-free!  

There's plenty more to get excited about tho...

The lights, family traditions, baking.  Excited talk about Santa.....

Is it just me or are those two nearly identical? (with about a 12 year gap of course)

You can tell she has a teenaged sister - she loves to pose for photo shoots...

He certainly found his spot....

I have absolutely no idea where he got the whole prayer thing from (we are really not a religious family) - maybe he's trying to send Santa a psychic message????

My goodness this child is photogenic!

An ornament got dropped and broken while we were decorating, and my oldest said " Don't worry - it's not one we've had very long"   This one tho - that was given to her for her very first Christmas
 - she was only 4 days old.

I grew up with candles on the tree each year, and really a tree without candles doesn't feel right to me.

My mom always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve - and the routine every year was that after dinner, we'd light the candles (with lots of buckets of water /fire extinguishers etc on hand of course) then we'd sing Christmas carols......then, and only then it was time to open the presents.

Oh my goodness us kids were sooooooo aware of every one of those steps - urging people to just hurry up and eat already.  All the same, I loved that it was always the same - it all felt so special and important.

I hope that one day my own kids look back on the Christmas's of their childhood and remember these times with the same vivid magical dreaminess.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December is the sewing month.

I'm fairly certain there is no month in the year that I sew as much, as I do in December.

Today I finished Big Miss A's Christmas pajamas :)

McCall's 4283

The fabric is by Valeri Wells in her "Urban Flannels" line - I'm using another fabric in the same line for Little Miss A's pajamas - that is if the fabric ever gets here....

The scientist's pj fabric arrived today - except that it's not flannel - Oops.   Not sure what I'm going to do with 3 yards of quilting weight fabric covered in icecream cones.... Tomorrow I'll see if I can find some flannel that he'll love that much locally - in fact I'm practicing creative visualization at this very moment (no I don't have a lot of faith in the local stores in this case lol )  And while I'm at it, I better imagine there being something there for my husband too, since I wrecked his the other day in a sewing disaster ;)

I'm still waiting for 2 more packages of fabric to arrive in the mail too.....

They will come, and I will somehow magically have all 6 pjs ready in time for Christmas eve.  So there.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I got a lot done today - goodness that feels good :)  

I can't post one of the things I made - since eyes are everywhere, and secrets must be kept, but I can share...

this sweet dress - repurposed from a women's top that my 2 year old fell in love with at the thrift store....

It took less than an hour from start to finish.

I took it in along the top of the sleeves so it would fit her better, and then I just folded the tulle in half lengthwise, and sewed along the fold (that's 4 layers since it comes folded once already) then gathered it until it was roughly the same length as the shirt was around, and zigzagged to hold the gathers.  Then I pinned it on the dress a few inches up, and sewed it on.  A quick trim with the rotary cutter afterwards to tidy up the bottom, and the little bow at the neck and voila! Another dress for the dress up box I'm planning for the girls for Christmas :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The race is on....

I've not been around here much - I just haven't had any time - lots of challenges colliding in my life at the moment.  I'm finally kicking into gear for Christmas sewing - tho my list is going to be cut waaaaaaaay back at this point.  The idea of a completely handmade holiday - or even mostly handmade, had officially flown right out the window, but such is life - I'll do what I can.  Fingers crossed that no one else gets sick around here in the mean time ;)

I've been making some progress today - tho I completely and utterly destroyed the pajama pants I was making for my husband - no idea how I managed that other than the fact that there was no wrong side and apparently I just got things entirely ass backwards to the point of no return.  Not sure what I'll do about that since I've already got the top cut out, and I ordered the fabric by mail....... Moving on to the next project tho - at least this one has a right side and a wrong side, hopefully it'll go smoothly ;)

I've made the girls nightgowns for a couple of years now, but this year in a sentimental moment I realized that they will soon be too old / unwilling to wear the zip up one piece jammies, so this year I'm making those instead.  Wish me luck on the zipper.  I sew a fair bit, but pretty challenged with following a pattern, and I've not done a zipper from a pattern yet - ask me to wing it, and I'm usually fine, but patterns often seem to be written in a language I just don't get.  SO far so good tho, so I'm hopeful ;)

OK - back to it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Moment

Inspired by Soulemama - {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I heart faces - Scenic Black and White

This is my entry for this week's challenge at I heart faces challenge - "Scenic Black and White"

Edited to add that I just missed the cut off by literally seconds -  oh well.

Be sure to head on over to the website to check out the other wonderful entries.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Finally Christmas crafting.....

I've not been sewing at all since I moved my sewing things into the main living area - too much going on, and once everyone is in bed I'm too.....ZZZZZzzzzzZZZ...... to do anything requiring the use of my brain ;)

Today I had the whole day tho, so I finally got down to it.  I used a women's tank top that I picked up the other day - it's quite shimmery/metallic looking which doesn't really show all that well in the photo.

I used shirring on the tank top, after cutting the top straight off.  I saved the straps and sewed them back on at the end.  The tulle was just folded in half and then again lengthwise (4 layers) and then gathered along the folded edge, and sewn onto the bottom of the shirt.  I used a zig zag stitch for that and sewed twice - no idea if it will hold long term tho - I've not used tulle this way before.

It's pretty tho, and my girls will love to dance in it :)

I'm trying to pair down my list of things I'm wanting to make to something in the realm of reasonable ;) 

I'm not having much luck tho ;)

The problem with Christmas, is that in my attempt to keep it from turning into a greedy consumer fest, I end up burning out trying to make everything.  Every year we are scaling back a little more - but I'm also trying to make sure the kids experience is a magical one.  Now if I could just start crafting earlier in the year - but there is something in me that just isn't the least bit interested in crafting for Christmas until November.  Before then it's just too much for me to wait to give it to them I think ;)  I do love making gifts.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This moment - playing with glass

Inspired by Amanda Soule {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I was driving along today and realized that my sweet husband and I met and fell in love 12 years ago this month.  It's a lovely story, one that made me believe in love at first sight,  so I thought I'd share it here.

A friend of mine had a crush on a man that worked at a store and wanted to show me who he was, so we went window shopping.  I was immediately smitten and the chemistry was obvious.  I was panicking tho!  I didn't know if this was "her" man or not.  I talked with him for ages, our eyes locked the entire time.  Finally it was time to go, and as soon as we were out of ear shot I asked if that was him.  She said no - thank god!  and I said right away, "Good cause  I could marry that man".

From that day on I've believed in "Love at first sight" with all of my smitten heart.

And recently my husband confessed that on that day - seconds before I was declaring my plans to marry him, he had peaked his head out the door to watch me walk away :)

This time of year - late fall - the feeling in the air will always remind me of the time when we were falling in love.

A day with my biggest girl

I got to spend the whole day with my girl today - just me and her.
It seemed fitting that since I love taking pictures, and she loves posing for pictures (and taking them too), that we should get outside and go have a photo shoot!

*disclaimer - prepare to be bombarded with pics.  I couldn't help myself. 
There were too many that I loved. *

If you remember, I've been learning how to use the manual settings on my SLR - I've not had much chance to try at all - in fact this is only the 2nd time I've spent any time outside really playing around with it.  I love the feeling tho, as over and over that light bulb in my head lights up and something is clear - or clearer.  I feel as tho one could never stop learning where photography is concerned - I love that!

She still loves to hug trees after all these years
(she used to hug the sad lonely telephone poles when she was a little girl )

She's really fun to photograph!  She is quite comfortable in front of the camera - as I'm sure most teens are these days with the explosion of photos on facebook....

Isn't she beautiful???

I really want her jacket.  Badly.  I might actually have to go searching for a similar pattern.

We had so much fun, being silly and giggling.

I love that I accidentally overexposed this!  It's a bit tricky to get used to changing settings when you're used to just pointing and shooting - it's a good kind of tricky tho - makes my brain happy - even if it is at times frustrating.  I was taking pictures of her in a hollow tree trunk, and completely forgot to check the exposure - they all turned out really dark.  That's ok tho - the beauty of digital photography is that you can take as many shots as you like!  I think I took around 250 shots today, so missing those wasn't such a big deal...

I'm fairly certain that I have an identical shot of Little Miss A running at this very spot with her nearly identical hair flying just like that....

The feet - an exercise I was trying from a photography book.  I didn't have the book tho, and I'm not sure if I did it right!  It was sooooo hard to get a shot that was focused clearly on the feet.  The background is super fun tho - I'll be playing around with this more for sure.  

I'm one of those people that loves to read really long novels - the longer the better - a whole series of long novels is even better.  I love to be fully immersed in pretty much whatever I'm interested in.  So instead of feeling overwhelmed by all there is to learn in photography, it just feels like my own personal playground!  Always new, and always getting more interesting, more fun and rewarding.

I'm so in awe of this fairy girl of mine.  Almost 16 now - she's matured so much and just continues to amaze me with her loveliness every single day.

It was a close call getting to this spot - she very nearly took a plunge !

Eventually she decided that it was my turn to have pretty pictures taken of me - if she got to have so many - then only fair if I had some too.  And besides - she was just itching to get her hands on my camera ;)

Considering how few pictures there are of me - it was nice to be on the other side  of the camera for a change....

tho I'll admit to being a bit nervous in front of the camera - coming from the film generation and all ;)

The day ended with mochas at the local coffee shop.  With real whip cream on top :)

When we have a day together it's pretty much just assumed that coffee will be part of the picture.

She loves her coffee.....