...my routine gets shaken a bit, that's why I haven't written in over a week. I should feel glad that I went to Ohio for a few days and hung out with my sister and that I had 6 whole hours to myself in a car on the way there...and when I got home I have been just "poking" around and trying to keep up with laundry, weeding, and mopping floors.
I really do like when my kids are home and there is no more driving to school, homework, and lots of lazy afternoons. My husband is even home more often! BUT I am finding it difficult to find time for myself.
For instance, while I was about to sit down and post, and checked on Penelope. Here is the crazy girl in our backyard. She found a puddle in this tarp and was happy and proud that she found a nice place to cool off. I actually really didn't care, but as you can imagine when you are always distracted with such events- why even bother to sit and relax?!
Okay, so I have found some time to sew, but it took A LOT of effort to prioritize. I see other “super-hero crafters” producing and I get a tad bit envious. But I am also grateful people are keeping up with their talents and it gives me nice reading material.
Anyway, I wanted to make a simple shirt that involved no buttons, zippers, gathers or elastic. I found this super cheesey pattern, but found potential in the shirt that is basically a glorified t-shirt pattern. I can imagine some really fun fabrics with some added embellishments, stencils…like I said, basic and simple.
Here I am modeling the shirt, but it doesn’t really show much. Check out the hanging threads on my left shoulder! The neck line is nice and I believe I can easily alter it to suit my tastes. The cut of the shirt is nice too. Not overly tight, but not matronly either.
Of course this little guy is a distraction too. Good grief, he is like an infant. He is a great dog, but of course if you forget what is like to have a puppy! I still miss Beatrice quite a bit, but Ollie has reminded me how much I love dogs.
Next week I will be sending off some CDs I have promised to some patient friends/readers. And hopefully I will get a chance to show off some of our summer journal entries (The kids haven't been home much for the past 2 weeks, so hopefully next week will be normal!).
I really hesitate to brag, but I had to share what my kids created for their aunt. They very thoughtfully and carefully painted her portraits and I think they did a remarkable job.
The dog painting is of “Lucy”, my sister’s beloved dog. She became a bit agitated during the process, but she pulled through and successfully captured her “essence”.
And Si figured a blue bird with a meteor was a great way to celebrate his aunt’s day. He did a superb job too!
Finally, check out this cool film my husband made. I really am so fortunate to be living with such fun people!
During the evening hours I have found myself reading much more than sewing or being crafty. That is fine with me since this activity is really my favorite. When I sit and enjoy a book, I know I am totally relaxing.
So- I have just started reading Cesars Way and have been utterly fascinated by it. It’s basically about humans and their relating to their dogs. I suppose it is sort of “dog psychology” and just being in tune to nature and it’s living creatures. I also find it very applicable to my own “human pack”…whether you have a dog or not, it really is pretty cool.
I also just finished Maos Last Dancer. It’s a memoir of Li Cunxin, a famous ballet dancer. As a young peasant, he was chosen to be a part of Mao’s few to be educated in the arts and of course communist doctrine. It was incredibly educational…unfortunately I was not all that aware of Chinese politics and was thoroughly enthralled with learning about it’s culture and people. It’s about a 450 page book, but you wouldn’t even know it.
So now with the crafty catch up…
I do have some projects I want to share. I planned on posting a lot in regards to my sister’s big 40th last week, but obviously with the events of Beatrice I had no motivation.
Below is a stitching I did for her. It was so exciting to give it to her. I love gifts that you put all your heart into it…I definitely was bursting … Especially since Nathan and the kids made some pretty fantastic gifts as well. I will share those later.
I love this smock I made for Penelope a few weeks back. It was SO hot the other day that she just wore it with no shirt underneath. I figured she is at the perfect age of not being marked with indecent exposure…how can you resist soft, squishy baby skin?!
She was being a typical, fickle 2 year old and had no interest in posing for me. So let’s pretend these are artistic action shots.
I am so grateful for this man. He is my best friend and has been since I was 18. Although I don’t need a day to give him the honor he deserves, I do feel I want to introduce the world to one of the most unbelievable people…
To the kids and me he is a driving force that keeps our home stable, happy, together. He is a remarkable teacher in his profession and a talented coffee roaster for his wife. He is also a gentle spirit and I can already see his influence on our children…Little did I know when I met him in the Fall of 1991 that we would live life together. What a wonderful gift I have been given.
By the way, the shirt he is wearing is a freezer paper stencil. I needed to get out of my funk after losing our sweet Bea (still trying to, actually) and so one afternoon I attempted this cool process.
Another gift we bestowed upon him today. When we say Nathan is an “early bird”, we are not joking. He wakes up every morning at 4:30. Oy.
And yes, we do have a new friend in our home. Nathan decided we needed to start off our next year of marriage off right (our 11th anniversary was yesterday) and got this little guy. His name is “Ollie”. He is a Beagle/Blue Heeler (I couldn’t get something exactly like Beatrice) and is entering our home with such joy.
Obviously he is not replacing Bea. But since Bea left us so tragically, we all needed to replace the bad memory of our loss with some sweet hope. Now I can say that the image of Bea without life is being replaced with only good memories and I am hopeful.
And as you can see, Nathan and Ollie have become close chums.
Thanks again friends for sending us your good wishes this past week. They were all felt. It was a good week of reflection and it made me hug my kids and husband a little bit tighter…so YOU go do it right now! Seriously, do it!
thank you all for your kind words.
everything is still very raw for us (especially for nathan and me). we were able to bury our sweet friend in the backyard…we like that she is near us.
There have been a lot of tears tonight. Thankfully, they have helped most in our family fall asleep, but for me they keep coming. Our sweet Beatrice (the beagle) was hit by a car tonight and killed.
I am so sad. Perhaps I am writing to seek comfort for those who knew her or read my blog regularly. I do know this will be a farewell for awhile. My heart is so broken and a bit ( alot, actually) of joy has left me…I can not even post a photo of my dear friend.
My oldest sister (there are 3 girls in my family, me being the youngest) is turning 40 this weekend. She is one of my most favorite people in the world and I am so glad she lives near to share life with (of course my other sister is one of my favorites too!).
The staff at her business gave her an early birthday celebration since we are so crazy with parties this weekend. I decided to make some fun flags for the kids to wave and hand out to the other party goers. The flags are reminiscent of the banners I have made, and although they are not so original they were easy to make and looked festive on the table.
Here is the ultra easy guide to make these things…I’m not even writing out directions…feel free to ask questions, I’d be happy to answer them.
Of course Penny felt like adding more drama to the flags and used hers like a rose, as if she was a dancer. That girl…
Here is the party, with the back of my sister doing her own “flag waving”. Fun, huh?
I’ll be working all day tomorrow and then hanging out with my sister on Sunday. Have a terrific summer weekend. Go to the Farmer’s Markets and support your local guy (Ellie and I went today).
It’s funny how this blog changes from day to day. I began keeping a blog to document my familie’s life for me to enjoy in the future. And then, as my interest grew in other people’s writings, it has become a great way to learn about other families and how they live.
Anyway, I want to share something I have reinstated this summer with my kids…Each of them have 5-7 large bags with outfits in them. In the morning, while I am doing something, and they need to get dressed, I just say “go pick out a bag”. Within minutes, they are dressed and I am happy.
It really is THAT easy. They have a choice of what they are wearing, but I have a bit of control over the actual outfit. I know it sounds controlling, but my kids really have no opinion on their fashions. This way, as I am putting away laundry I can fill up their bags and know what is being used, grown out of, etc.
I used this method last summer and part of the school year. It was a challenge to do the bag thing when our weather would be so erratic (especially in the Fall and Spring), so the system sort of dwindled.
I also used this idea when we went to the shore last summer. It was so nice to have the kids’ clothes organized and it eliminated unecessary items for the suitcase.
Anyway, I hope this tip helps some of you. Obviously, if your child likes to express themselves through mismatched outfits this wouldn’t work…but you could have them help you fill the bags.
On a side note- since I really can be crazy, I plan to make cloth bags with their intials. I know…I am horribly a nut.
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Here are some shots from this morning’s activity with Ellie. An easy thing to make and they quite tasty too. Good thing she was going to a friend’s house to play…and away they all went!
Okay kind readers,here is the turnover recipe. It is so darn easy that I hope you won’t have a lower opinion of my baking skills. I actually do want to make my own puff pastry…some day.
The recipe is from “everyday Food”, issue 23, June 2005
flour for dusting
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed according to package
1/4 cup raspberry jam
3/4 cup raspberries
2 t. sugar, for sprinkling
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, unfold pastry sheet. Roll out to a 12 inch square.With a sharp knife, cut into 4 equal squares. Place on prepared baking sheet; refrigrate until firm, about 15 minutes. (I did not obey this command and only went about 5 minutes)
2. In a bowl, stir jam and berries. Assemble turnovers. Spoon mixture in center of each square. Using a pastry brush, dampen edges with water in a 1 inch border. Fold dough in half diagonally, over filling. Press edges to seal;with a fork, crimp to make a 3/4 inch border.
3. Brush tops with water and sprinkle sugar on each urnover. With a tip of a knife, cut 3 slits in the top (for steam vents).
4. Preheat oven to 375 while turnovers are chilling (Again, I did not obey completely…maybe 10 minutes?)
5. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.
Unbaked turnovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.
I also think these would be great with chocolate, ham/brie…Happy baking!