Here it is, my new mimiboo hat. Visit her shoppe on Etsy. She made me two detachable flowers for the hat. I'm wearing the larger one here. I'm really enjoying it and will most likely ask for another for the fall. I am freakishly cold most of the year, even in the summer, so keeping my head covered yet remaining a la moda can be a challenge. I have loads of hats, and this one is perfect for the changeable early spring weather here in the northeast.
I will also leave you with a few random pics of the boys doing their respective thangs.
Things have been going well here; we are gel-in' like Magellan and thoroughly enjoying warmer days. Yay spring!
I have been remiss in many things, one of which is getting an Etsy shop up. Instead of finishing my quilts, I've been obsessed with this book.
It's way too much fun. I would be booted off Proj@ct Runw@y faster than you can say Km@art, but I'm having a very good time. I've refashioned a baggy turtleneck sweater, an ankle-length skirt, and a hoodie. The hoodie makeover is very lame, but the sweater looks great, and the skirt has potential. I'll post pics as soon as I finish putting on buttons and finishing edges.
For now I will leave you with the latest Hide n' Seek costumes:
Tiger, tiger, burning bright -- so bright he had to wear shades
Sporty Superman -- eschewing his good-guy image he spent all afternoon attempting to rip the mask off of Tiger's face
Superman was terrified of Tiger. I think that's why he wanted the mask. He finally realized why Batman and Spiderman wore masks -- courage.
Also, I have a question. Why do boys throw things? Just curious.
Craft-wise, I've been really busy with quilting. After finishing the two heart quilts for a friend, I started a crazy-quilt and got the top done, and am almost finished with a small quilt for another friend who had a little girl.
Today the boys and I started on their Valentine's cards for their friends at school. I cut heart shapes out of regular sponges and showed the boys how to dip them into the paint (red, of course), and use them like stamps. They practiced a bit on scraps of paper, and when they showed their heart-making proficiency, we moved on to the real deal. I cut bristol board (white) into 4 x 4 inch pieces and they stamped their hearts out (sorry for the pun).
Tomorrow we're planning on outlining the hearts with black marker, which I think will give it all a nice effect. Pictures posted below of hearts, heart-makers, and almost finished quilts.
A friend of ours has two new baby girls in her life, so I've actually completed two little blankets for them! They are simpler than I usually work, but I love the fabrics and their silky hearts. The photos didn't come out great, but you get the idea. The last close-up hopefully shows the Beatrix Potter fabric I used in both. Habtam LOVES this fabric. Our guys are big bunny fans, since we live in bunny heaven around here (or hell, if Chauncey happens to be outside...).
The boys and I will begin their "macchina" pillows soon (pillows in the shape of cars). And another friend will (or already has?) given birth, so another baby quilt is on tap...
2 cups flour
3/4 cup salt (I like to use Kosher salt)
2 tbsps cream of tartar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups water
Food coloring (optional)
Mix all ingredients. Put on medium heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will achieve the consistency of super-wet mashed potatoes. Keep stirring until dough comes away from the sides of the pot as you stir. It will start to grow a "skin," which lets you know it's almost done.
I take it off the heat as it gets less moist. I don't stop stirring, because it can burn easily, especially on an electric burner, where it's more difficult to adjust the heat.
Remove from pot and place on wax paper, wooden board, whatever you like. Allow to cool a minute or two, until you are able to handle it comfortably. You may need to add a couple fingerfuls of flour to the dough if it is too wet to handle. Knead the dough into a lovely, elastic, play-doughy goodness. I allow it to cool even more before I place it in an airtight container or ziplock bag.
It lasts for a while, though I'm not sure exactly how long, because I always give it away. One mom told me she kept it in the fridge for 3 months. I'm not sure if that would dry it out, so experiment. It can get moldy after a few weeks unrefrigerated -- I've had that happen.
It's definitely moister than store-bought play-dough, and it stretches into super long "snakes." It's also a fun project to do with pre-schoolers. I don't let such small kids use the stove top, but they can mix the ingredients with you ahead, you can stir, and they can help knead the dough once it's safely cool.
Another fun thing to do is to wait to add the food coloring until you knead the dough. The colors swirl and blend in fun ways, and kids dig it.
I have another recipe which uses alum -- it's a pickling preservative. I've lost it, but will look for it.
in order of appearance: Picasso "peace" quilt ("pace" and "fred" are italian and swedish for "peace," I'm going to embroider more words for peace along the border, corny as it may be); some quilt squares for one kids' quilt (the pale yellow squares will have simple shapes/images embroidered in them); funky bird fabric with yellow/star border. I love that "fred" is swedish for "peace." Also, sorry for the dark pictures. I'll do better next time.
I've been away for a while. Again. I remember that when I was addictively reading adoption blogs in the past, sometimes people would get their referrals and would disappear for a while. Now I understand why. There is a lot of stuff flying around the air here -- Inside our heads and between us -- and it's hard to write about, and also, I'm not really sure if it's necessary or would make interesting reading.
I'll let some of that stuff percoloate for a while, and I'll plow on with a few other things.
First, let me apologize for not having pictures of my ongoing sewing projects. Because, believe it or not, I've been sewing a lot, and I'm pretty happy with what I've got so far. Though not one project is close to being finished yet. Gulp. First there is the Picasso quilt. The top is almost done. I've got some embroidering to do along the edges, and then I need to add another border or two.
Next are the small quilts for the boys. I like the colors I've chosen quite a bit. I'm still not sure how they'll fit together, but that generally comes after I play around with the squares.
Third are the twin size blankets I am making for their beds. I'm excited about those, because I just came up with the idea this weekend, while in NYC. I went in to get our visas to go to Ethiopia, which I'll get into later. However, one of my stops was Ur&an Outfitters, where I was looking for tapestries. Sometimes they have some nice prints that I use for pillows, quilts, what-have-you. This time nothing was right -- they were way too hip, not much fun. Too many faded olive greens, mustard yellows, hot pinks. Not that I have anything against any of those colors. Every color has a place, somewhere. Just not in the boys' room. They can be tragically hip later on in life. Plenty of time for that.
What I did find were curtain panels, retro-60-70's. Multi-colored birds in spindly cages. The colors border on the hip, but in a good way. The birds reminded me of the illustrations in a poetry book I loved as a kid. I picked up three of them, which I divided and then pieced together to make two blanket tops. Ultimately I will join them with two off-white fleece blankets. However, the fleece blankets are bigger than the curtains, so I needed to add a colorful border to the edges of the curtains so they will be the same size as the fleece. Is this making sense?
I will attach the curtains with added borders to the fleece blankets (back-to-back), add a binding of sorts, and I will have two soft and funky blankets. Or so I hope.
The sad ending to this story is that our camera batteries need to be recharged, so I couldn't load the pictures tonight. Sigh. I will upload them tomorrow, or the next day, so you can sort of see what I'm talking about.
Until then, get some sleep for me. And I will also leave you with a comment made by a male friend of mine some years back when I told him I had shopped at Ur&an Outfitters. "Aren't you getting a little old to be shopping there?"
So I undecorated our Christmas tree the other day. Yeah, I know, it's late February. We don't get evergreens for Christmas, mostly because we have always lived in small spaces, and making room for a tree is difficult. Instead we decorate our ficus tree. We had a Norfolk pine tree in a pot that we would decorate, too, but a friend is babysitting it for us until we get larger digs. Unless it dies. Which it sounds like it is on its way towards. This friend very kindly got us another, smaller Norfolk because of the impending death of the former pine tree.
I know that this may sound lame, but I felt like I had accomplished something when I removed the ornaments and the lights. I didn't have the heart to do it in January. January needs a boost around here, so the lights and ornaments stayed. The naked ficus looks like a regular old plant again, it has a more spring-like air, and we are ready to move on to March and said spring.
In other news, my attempts to meditate have been pretty good. I've been a little lazy and have been doing it lying down, rather than sitting up. I've got to work on that. I'm more alert when I'm upright. Though I'm more relaxed and meditative lying down. The work is bringing that relaxation to my body as it sits up.
Quilting is going much better than I thought. I'm working on a Picasso quilt that will be a wall hanging. Picasso did a bunch of sketches promoting the peace movement -- spanning several years, I believe. One of them stuck with me. The colors and imagery are simple, but manage to accomplish the complicated expression of peace, brotherhood, all that stuff we hope for every day. I decided I would like to try to recreate it with fabric, so I could look at it whenever I wanted. I'm using similar colors, but I'm using patterned fabric, too, not just flat colors. the applique is going more smoothly than I thought, so I'm pleased so far. I'm not going to post pictures yet. I'll wait until it's closer to finished and also post Picasso's drawing, so you can see the inspiration.
In adoption news, we are still awaiting updated paperwork from the USCIS. Since we decided to adopt siblings, we needed to ask the CIS to "reopen" our case, which meant we had to pay them more money and get an updated homestudy. Our social worker did her part in record time, the office sent it off for us as soon as they got it, which was January 24th. So we've been waiting about 3 weeks or so. The last time we awaited CIS approval it only took 12 days, so I'm a bit bummed. It seems impossible to check on the status of our case, because we don't have a case number, the money was sent as a money order, so it won't show up as a check being cashed from my account, and there doesn't seem to be a way to reach a person when you call the toll-free number. We're left with the unknowing waiting that is the hallmark of the adoption process. Since Mercury is retrograde, I don't expect to hear anything until after the first week in March, which makes it more bearable. I know, sounds ridiculous, but anything that makes waiting easier is good.
It has been around 40 degrees the last two days -- it feels positively balmy! I could actually smell the earth when I went outside. Thanks to the sinus surgery, my sense of smell is back. I can't tell you how wonderful that is, unless you've experienced it yourself. Smell affects so much in one's life. How your food tastes, being able to smell your loved one's hair when you hug him, figuring out if your dog needs a bath (not yet), realizing that you're burning the pancakes -- the list goes on and on. This may sound weird, but I cannot wait to experience Ethiopia's smells. Like most places, I'm sure there will be the good, the bad and the ugly, but will all be a part of the experience of being where our children come from, and that means the world to me. And smell has so much impact on one's memory.
Speaking of my nose, it's healing pretty well, but unfortunately I have an infection that seems to have gone into my right (cursed) ear. My ENT was pretty bummed, as was I, especially since I had been feeling good until last Friday. Then I started feeling tired and headachy, and well, infected. He confirmed this by probing my proboscis with that crazy scope thing he sticks up my nose (lovely, I know), and did a culture. We changed antibiotics, and I am saline-rinsing my nose like it's the latest craze. It helps a lot. Part of the problem was that I started work last week, and I went from cleaning my nose 6 times a day to only 3 times a day. It's tough doing it at work, since I was teaching/touring with kids, and never seem to sit still for very long. Not to mention sneaking around with my salt water and the bulbous rubber irrigator.
The doctor got tough with me, told me I needed to take more time off and attend to the sinuses. I worked Tuesday, took today and tomorrow off, and will work Friday. Then another 3 days to rinse and rest, and hopefully things will look better. I feel better, that's for sure. I don't want to gross you out with too many details, but the scabbing inside my nose is pretty irritating. Itchy and scratchy. Please send positive vibes to my nose. Now that it can smell, I think it will pick up on them more easily.
My eating has been good, too, btw. I have not bought any cookies or muffins in over a week. Bought a bag of tangerines and apples, too, to satisfy my sweet tooth. I did allow myself a smidge of super dark chocolate, but only a smidge. Speaking of which, OMG, have you ever tried Gr@@n and Bl@ck's organic dark chocolate? Try the Hazelnut and currant bar, it is everything that is right in the world.
Today is a better day, nose-wise. After my morning post yesterday, exactly one hour afterwards, the throbbing began, and I wondered what kind of drugs must have just worn off since I hadn't taken any myself, that I knew of. If that makes any sense.
So I reverted to 12 year old me and was pissy on the phone to my parents, knowing all the while that I would karmically have to pay this back some day soon. I called and apologized today, so maybe I'll shave off some of my future suffering.
Today was good because I was finally able to get my craft on (go ahead, go press the button on the sidebar and see what's up!). The inspiration this month is "heart(s)," one that is open-ended and that pleases me to no end. I have a friend who hates hearts. But not me. I like shapes that are symbols. I took out all of my collage supplies, of which I have many thousands of teeny-tiny pieces. I was a HUGE miniature collage maker in the 90's and early 00's, and since I've been quilting, have put it down for a while.
My personal challenge, in addition to thinking about hearts, was to not cut any of the paper. I had to use each piece as is. I do have a few pieces of full-sized paper, but mostly I have irregularly shaped paper, and paper that has already been cut into recognizable shapes. And they are all teeny-tiny. I needed to use some of these up.
The heart images are very small, but the message is heartfelt. So without further ado, I present to you The King & Queen of Paper: A Love Story in Two Acts.
Act I: The King of Paper prepares a Valentine for his beloved Queen. Oh, and a pineapple, too. He lives on a cloud at the bottom of the sea, dreaming of the day he will share his love. And the pineapple. The King of Paper loves him some pineapple. He hopes she likes it, too. But not too much...
Act II: The Queen of Paper also prepares a Valentine for her beloved. That's right, the King! She lives atop the earth with the trees and the flowers, and blows as the wind sees fit. Unfortunately, so does the Valentine she's crafted. She wafts after her precious gift, dreaming of the day she can Get. Her. Hands. On. That. @#%* Card!