Friday, January 31, 2014

something unexpected

Today was a busy one, just like yesterday, only....well....busier.

Woke up at 5:45am after less than 6 hours of sleep and did the mad morning scramble with MyFavoriteKid to get him to school by 7am (drumline rehearsal before school).  Performed all the household duties, got as dolled up as I could (which really meant covering the dark circles), and headed out to the Friday Knitting Group.  Part of me wanted to crawl back in bed for a few more (deep) winks, but Knitting was not to be missed. We were celebrating Sarah's birthday! Yay!!

Lunch followed, and then I had to kill a couple of hours before the improv class I took myself to the fabric shop and then to Laci's for some millinery supplies (more cute hair clips are on my craftyassed horizon).

Lacis is a shop full of all sorts of creative goodness. There are supplies for knitting, sewing, making old lace, hats, corsets, you name it. It's there.  And cute vintage-y stuff.  But it's also a museum. And as I was just about to head to the register, I was told that the curator of the Italian Lace exhibit was arriving to give tours, and the next thing I know, I was being whisked into this back room....and look at what appeared.

A room full (this was only a smidgeon) of historic lace. As in, samples dating back to the 1600's.  With a curator to explain the history of lace.

A total surprise. Just stumbled upon it. And an absolute treat, so full of information and magic samples.

Could have stayed for another hour using the provided magnifying glasses to marvel at the techniques, but I had to dash to make it to the class on time!!  But I'll say it again: what a treat! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

a mismatch

Loved teaching my knitting class today. 

Loved attending Day 5 (of 8) of the improvisation workshop tonight.

Did not feel the same love teaching my own class directly afterwards.

I don't have much more to say about it than that. Tonight, at least.  I'm exhausted.
But I've been examining more closely than ever lately what is working for me v. what is not working for me, and it's getting really hard to ignore signs when they are so squarely in my face.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

needle arts

A little needlework we spotted on a throw pillow. It was at a schmancy boutique in Napa and was being sold for for way too much money, but it just.....well, it just.....spoke to me (??) 
(what it was sayin', I do not know...but it does make me smile, both inside and out)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

so much for getting the parent of the year award.

Somehow MyFavoriteKid has grown up having no idea at all who Pete Seeger is.

HOW the f&$% did THAT happen?!?!!!

I feel like I have failed as a parent.

I think perhaps when he was a baby I must have been too busy saturating him with Cat Stevens and Beatles tunes or something. 
So it's not a total loss.
But still.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I love wearing little clippy doo-dads in my hair, and thought I'd take a crack at copying one the faves in my collection (which is not pictured, sorry, because now it's late and I'm in bed and I forgot to photograph it!)

But here's a couple of shots of my experimenting making my own handcrafted hair doo-dads, taken earlier in the evening.....when I could not stop making these things!

Tomorrow I'm going to try putting these three much smaller ones onto some sort of fascinator type thing-y (only I like my fascinators a little less fascinating, so I'm not quite sure what to call that yet).

Totally addicting to make. 
I see more of these in my future.
If I can't stop making them, I might just have to sell 'em.
Or wear them all at once.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

hate to say it, but...

.... it's true. It's Sunday night, and I have a date with my TV.

Downton Abbey, Masterpiece Mystery (Sherlock), Girls, and True Detective (which if you are not watching that one, you are missing something truly magical).

It makes me a little sick to say it, but my least favorite on this list is the one I was anticipating most, and that's Downton. Is it just me?? Something doesn't feel quite right to me this season.  I don't think it's the characters or the story lines (do I just miss Matthew or something??).  I actually think it's something to do with the editing. It's like the pacing of the scenes is not quite right.  I never get to drop into jumps around too much.  Is it me?   Share your thoughts. Please. Because it's bumming me out. And then go watch True Detective ;-)

back to the glow of the tube....

Saturday, January 25, 2014

snaps on saturday

Dinner out with friends....

Friday, January 24, 2014

just another body part

Something interesting to me happened in the improvisation workshop tonight.

We were partnered up for this exercise where one person would move their body, but only a single body part was to lead the movement.  The partner was to guess which part was being used at any given moment.  The mover was instructed to just do their own thing and move however they felt drawn to, but at the same time, to make clear enough movements for their watcher.  The movements were not to be so simple that it was in your face "Hey. This is my elbow. Elbow. Elbow. Elbow!!"  But we were not to make a collection of movements so scattered all over place that you were some swirling mass of body parts.

We each took turns, and at the end of the round we exchanged feedback with our partners, and mine said he felt compelled to say "wheels" several times....but he did not....and he had questions for himself about why he did not, as his guesses should have/could have been just as improvisational and off the cuff as my movements. 

Being that I was working from my wheelchair for that exercise (sorry for not stating that sooner), I took his observation as a compliment.  There is nothing better for me than complete integration when I move, and the chair being recognized as being part of my body as opposed to being separate from myself or a piece of furniture.

My partner was from another country and his English was minimal, but he kept calling my wheelchair "your cart".  So much changes when you rename a form, doesn't it??

Thursday, January 23, 2014

so, improvise

Sick kid.
And a just on the fringes of sick me.

And today begins an 8-day over 2-week improvisation workshop that I have been looking forward to since I dipped my toes in the water of this work last year.

I registered for this series months ago, and I aint missin' it. 
More about it in the days to come, I am sure. 

A few days of working with her last year changed me. Can't wait to see what happens this time ;-)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

a moment in the sunshine

Me and my sock (in progress) at the dog park....

....getting a breath of fresh air for just a few moments.  Taking a wee break from nursing  My(poor)FavoriteKid who was at home sick again all day.  

He seems a bit better.  Not much. But not worse. 
Fever has decreased, and he's getting plenty of rest. 

Let's hope tomorrow he's even better. I have a busy few days ahead!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


MyFavoriteKid has had a cough developing over the last few days, and last night he was really complaining about not feeling so well. He stayed home from school today, and by the late afternoon had a fever of 103 (before you ask, no...we did not get flu shots).

I'm on heavy mommy duty during a week when I am busier than most. TheMostImportantGuy has been slammed with a deadline at work that caused him to have to stay at work overnight last Thursday, plus go into the office on Sunday, and tonight he was there late totally stressing out.

I've been really practicing taking better care of myself in ways small and large, and some days it's just very hard for me to do that. Today is one of those days.

Monday, January 20, 2014

have a seat...

make yourself at home...

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Oopsie!  I did make a post yesterday, but it got hung up in the system.  It's there now, just scroll down.

As for today....
Well, today didn't go as planned, but it was decent ;-)

Last night we had friends over for dinner, and somehow one thing led to another, and conversation and they hung out until 2am!  (I'm usually pretty much ready for bed by 10 or 11 so this was unusual for us. I feel so old!! LOLOL).  I was too tired to clean up once they left, so I put the food away and left the kitchen a wreck, and so guess what?!
That's exactly what I woke up to (no little elves cleaning up my house at night. yours??)

Just I was finishing up the housework, TheMostImportantGuy found out he had go into the office for a 5 hour marathon document editing session with the executives, so off he went.  MyFavoriteKid had been over at a friends house since the night before, and so there I was...alone for a bit!

I did a couple of hours of "sewing", and that is in quotation marks because what I am learning about sewing is that a lot of it does not involve acutal "sewing".  I feel myself grumbling, "Okay okay...enough with the preparing of the fabric and the cutting and the pinning and the pressing already!! This is not sewing!!"  (but it is, of course)

I know that when I cook I consider prep work to be an enjoyable part of the cooking, but some people don't feel like they are cooking until the food is in the skillet.  I think perhaps I might I feel that way about sewing.  We'll see, though. More will be revealed.

Well, today I took a crack at drafting my own A-Line skirt pattern based on my own measurements.  I created the pattern on tracing paper, then I cut out a muslin version if the skirt so that I can sew it up, try it on, and figure out where the darts are going.  Unfortunately I had to stop after the cutting and before the actual sewing started because the light was getting bad and MyFK was arriving home anyhow.  So all that "sewing" without actually sewing is what I accomplished today.

The whole time I was drafting that pattern, all I could think about was that I Love Lucy episode where she makes her own dress.

Yes indeedy.
It could happen.
Really. It could.

Well, I'm not sure when I'll have time at the machine to sew my trial skirt this week, especially with all the bouncing back and forth between houses.  Additionally, I am about to take a two week series of improvisation workshops, so it's going to be a very busy couple of weeks!

Knitting.  It's far more portable.
And you don't need to pin or press a damn thing!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

snaps on saturday

Oooo this post was typed up Saturday night while I was at TheNewDiggs, and apparently I filed it as a draft rather than publishing it! Here we go, though!

The first pic is a few weeks old, the second pic is from today.

I'm always trying to make some of my holiday gift giving to be handmade, and here is something I did this year.

 When TheMostImportantGuy's father passed away (Dec '11) it wasn't long after that his mother started bringing TheMIG some of his father's clothes (they were about the same size).  Two of the garments were cashmere sweaters, and while they were lovely, when TheMIG donned them, he looked  a little bit like Mr.Rogers (as we know, I love Mr.Rogers....but I'm not sure if it's such a good look for TheMIG).

So I turned them into holiday stockings, one for his sister that she got on Christmas Day....

....and one for him, which unfortunately was not finished until today (better late than never I suppose).

I made them by slightly felting (fulling, really) the sweaters in the washing machine before cutting them, then I used a store bought stocking I had on hand already as a template.  I sewed the stockings together by hand (I did the first one before taking the sewing (machine) class, and I'm also not quite ready to sew on a machine with knit fabric yet anyhow).  I put the names on the band by needle felting using a natural color single ply wool yarn.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out.
Soft and lovely, and sweetly sentimental. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

a little sewing

When I took the sewing class a few weeks ago with TheNiece, we made a cute little drawstring bag. I think the idea was that it could be a project bag for knitting, but other uses were suggested, from buying bulk foods, to holding cosmetics. I personally use mine to stash socks and undies in my weekender tote as I go between the two houses.

Well, it was a very simple bag, and I decided that when I made v.2 I would trying using bias tape to make a contrasting channel for the drawstring.  Then I set to embellishing it to make it a personalized bag for Kimberly, as it's her birthday.

Her blog is called Craftini and she has a pug, so I could not resist using this image once I found it. I used my printer to get it onto iron on transfer paper, then ironed it onto plain white fabric. I used a product called "Wonder-Under" to iron it on to the bag, then did a little hand stitching around it to secure it and give it a handmade touch.

The image was a little smudgy (it didn't set with heat as well as I thought it would), so I may try another product next time. A knitter/quilter friend of mine (Sandy) told me that there is another product that lets you print directly onto the fabric itself rather than creating an iron on I'll fiddle with that sometime soon (I think it's this stuff, but I'll have to check with her because I am having a brain fart and I didn't write it down anywhere...but whatever it is, she says it's great).

I found the WonderUnder to be a bit smudgy too (got a little stuck to the iron and made a mess on the heart), but I'm trying to turn a blind eye to it.  Above, you can see I sewed on a "patch" by machine, hand embroidered her initial, ironed on the heart made out of a felted sweater remnant, then hand stitched that with a tacking stitch around the edges in a contrasting thread. I topped it off by sewing on a few cute vintage glass buttons (she's a button addict like me).

This little tag was on the back of the bag in the bottom right corner. It was made with a rubber stamp and fabric paint onto white cotton, then stitched in place.

I had a really good time making this, and I'm starting to think about other bags I can make for other friends, customizing them for each one. Fun times :-)

I'm going to do a little sewing tomorrow.  I want to start drafting a pattern for an A-Line skirt and sew a muslin/mock-up to see what sort mess I've made.  I have a hunch I'm so curvy that the seams will be all over place, and my zipper could be a total joke....but I'm going to give it a whirl anyhow.  If it doesn't work I'll make a looser fitting skirt with elastic...hahahahaha.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

new do

A little self portrait taken in the car outside the beauty salon ;-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

in the weeds

Oh, man...I have been runnin' all day.

MyFavoriteKid had a 3 week winter break, just returning this past Monday.  January marks the beginning of the three month insanity known as Winter Drumline, and so the rehearsals begin.

For some (dumb. sorry.) reason, the band director has decided that the kids should rehearse Monday, Wednesday, and Friday...both before school and after school.  7am to 7:15pm, is what MyFK had to endure today.  He got up at 6am to eat a decent breakfast, shower, etc....was out the door by 6:45, and didn't get home until 7:30pm.  He helped out with a couple of chores, ate dinner and fell asleep by 8:30pm. He didn't even do his homework.  He set an alarm to wake up earlier tomorrow to do it before school.


Meanwhile, I had a pretty similar day.  I used Yelp to check in and out of every place I drove to and stopped at, all the errands I ran, and people I saw or worked with....and at one point the app told me I had checked into too many places and had to stop. 

La di da.

I still haven't taken care of a four emails I am horribly behind on, and I have dishes to wash still, and a few other chores, including taking a solid 7 minutes for myself so I can feel a bit human.

I do not remember ever being this busy as a kid.  And of course I have no friggin'  idea what my parents actually did all day, but if they were run as ragged as I am....well, sorry mom and dad for not being more appreciative. 

It's 9:30. More chores to do before sleep. Thought I was going to "sleep in" until 7am tomorrow, but now am getting up earlier with MyFavoriteKid to help create a supportive space for him to do homework before school.

I'll say it again.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

a little knitting

Well, I sure have not been knitting much.  I think I got in a knitting funk after working on too many projects that were various shades of cream and brown.  I started on rainbow striped knee-high socks to counteract that, and that has been going splendidly, but then I got sidetracked (in the best sort of way) by sewing.

Well, I belong to a knitting/stitching group that meets up on Tuesday nights, and we had agreed to a post-holiday secret-buddy cowl knit along.  I selected Joyce's name out of the hat, and she had requested purple, orange, or any fun multi-color. 

Here's the end result:

I think she likes it!!

Sorry. I just had to try it on.
You know. Quality control ;-)
In the same way a good cook would always check the seasoning before feeding anyone. Heh.

I think I might need to make one for myself, too!  Squishy and cozy and wooly and wonderful! 

Details on my ravelry page.

Monday, January 13, 2014

my new favorite thing

I have a new favorite thing to eat. It's something I had at Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar a few weeks back, and I immediately set about to replicate it at home. 
It's Avocado Toast with Marash Pepper.
I could eat this every friggin' day.
And sometimes I do ;-)

A fat slice of Acme pain au levain, toasted....then covered with a hearty layer of avocado smashed with a fork. Top that with a sprinkle is sea salt (not pictured...but I've been using a pink salt from Hawaii lately), a drizzle of a fruity olive oil, and a generous dash of my new favorite ingredient: marash pepper (it has a mild, but very fruity, fragrant chile flavor).

Ohhh how I love thee!!

Before you say it, I'll say it for you:  No! It's not low-fat!!
But it is indeed HEALTHY fat!!
My hair and skin look fabulous. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Seriously, though. I pair this with a plate full of undressed salad greens, and it is ridiculously delicious and satisfying :-)

There is another toast they do at that restaurant that I have made at home, too.  Same bread toasted, spread with Bellwether ricotta cheese, sliced fruit, and a drizzle of local honey.  Here's a shot of a batch I made for breakfast on Thanksgiving Day while I was busy banging out the big holiday dinner.

Persimmons! Yummmm!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Seriously vegging out on TV tonight.  It started out with a little Golden Globes, and the during the commercials (and a few stupid acceptance speeches I couldn't tolerate listening to), I switch to Bull Riding. 

Yes. Bull Riding. I watch it all the time.
And I root for the bulls.
What can I tell ya'.

Then an hour into the awards, I switched over to Downton Abbey, and you wont find any spoilers here, but I have to say:  I did not see that coming.
~ sigh ~

When Downton was over, it was back to the Golden Globes for the last hour, and by the time I had switched back, it seemed like most everyone there was drunk (or am I just trippin'..?).

A little bit of knitting during all of it, and a few thwacks on the drum (practice makes something, but it's as far from perfect at this point as perfect can get).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

snaps on saturday

First middle eastern percussion lesson today. I know, I know, another new hobby I probably do not have time for. Like the poor guitar back there. 

I'm hoping that 20 years if being a belly dancer gives me an edge though!

Friday, January 10, 2014

it's amazing i get any sleep at all

L to R:
Mr.Darcy on my left hip
Gaara pinning one side of my foot
Riley pinning the other
Teeny the chihuahua (not pictured, because she has burrowed UNDER the blanket) is on my right hip

Heaven help me if I roll over! When I do, I get the death glare from ALL of them!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

here she comes... comes Speed Racer!

She's a demon on wheels!  

(if you don't get the reference, here....let me help)

And, YES...our speed racer is a SHE!!  My good buddy Sandy is not only a race car driver but a racing instructor.  That there be her fancy "regular street car" parked behind my humble cross-over SUV.

Today she came over and took MyFavoriteKid out for a little driving lesson.  He's nearing the end of his permit time and getting ready for his actual behind the wheel test to get his license.

She was not teaching him how to drive like he owned the track, but she was teaching him some tricks about how to handle a vehicle more safely and especially how to really pay attention to what other drivers are doing on the road and how they telegraph their idiocy just before they do something ass-y.  In other words, she gave him a good sound "defensive driving" lesson.  I suspect that defensive lectures get absorbed by the teenage brain more deeply when it comes from someone other than their mom....and especially when the person "lecturing" is someone as cool as Sandy :-)  (And I doubt she lectured, actually....she's much cooler than that, and lecturing isn't quite her style anyhow)

What a treat for MyFK!
And for me!!

I hope she wasn't pulling my leg when she said he was a good driver....because her approval helped me relax just a wee bit more from my now frequent passenger seat perch.

I keep hoping that soon will come the day when he chauffeurs me around while I knit!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

fingers busy...

...hand sewing.

Re-purposing men's dress shirts into kitchen towels :-)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

as if i needed a new hobby

One of the things TheNiece and I did together while she was in town was to take an "Intro to Sewing" class at A Verb For Keeping Warm.

I have used a sewing machine before, but it's been a good 12 to 15 years since I last touched one, and it was just for some very simple hemming.  My very first sewing machine came to me on my 13th birthday, and I recall making patterns and sewing clothes for a baby doll....but by the time my late 20's had rolled around, and I had lost that adventurous spirit and could barely sew a straight line.

TheNiece hadn't used a machine before at all, but she is indeed very crafty, and there is a cousin that she visits regularly who sews, and she has been looking on with much curiosity.

We sewed little drawstring bags, and I learned quite a bit about things I never knew (having been selft taught).  Little things like, ohhhh....grain lines, and tips and tricks to keep the machine running smoothly.

Well, I've been bitten by the sewing bug.

I pulled out the machine that I had in deep storage in the garage, fiddle with its creaky parts and got it up and running.  I'm going to do a few more of the project bags, some like what we made in a class, and few other types I am finding tutorials for online.  And next up after that, some linen napkins.  Then (*gulp*) I'm going to try making a few skirts.

I might look like I'm wearing napkins. LOLOL
But we'll see.
I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 06, 2014


More backtracking... the retelling of the visit with the niece!

So. Sushi and holiday lights was Sunday, and the next day, the Monday, I stuck to my regular routine of leading practice at the zen center and then visiting James at the convalescent hospital.

While I was off doing that, TheNiece and TheMostImportantGuy (who was on vacation) ran a bunch of errands, including going to the pet store to fill up stockings for the dogs (Riley, Teeny, and one for her to take home to her dog Desi-Bongo).  They also went to the cemetery to leave flowers for family.

Later that night, MyFavoriteKid joined us and we went to the Oakland Zoo to see "Zoo Lights". It was quite as fabulous as I remember it being the last time I went (I think MyFK was what....5?? LOL), but it was indeed very festive, and we got a kick out of riding the train in the dark through the zoo.

My favorite part???


I loooove Santa.
More proof of my love of Santa here (circa 2008).

Sunday, January 05, 2014

the tv wins

It's too close to 9pm for me to write anything of substance, and by the time I'm watching the NEW SEASON OF DOWNTON ABBEY (squeeeee!!) it will be 11pm and I will need to be off to bed.

I should have planned on writing earlier...but I was busy being shuttle mom for MyFavoriteKid who had auditions today, and in between times I was working on fixing my old sewing machine that I just pulled out of retirement! 

I feel a flurry of crafty activity building on my horizon :-)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

snaps on saturday

Snaps On Saturday?  
These pics were taken on Sunday December 22nd, the first night TheNiece had arrived in town (and so begins my little photo tour of what we did during her visit, which will span the next few posts).

The night she arrived we all (we all being: me, TheNiece, MyFavoriteKid, and TheMostImportantGuy) headed to our favorite local sushi joint.  As we exited the freeway, I took a look to the right to make my turn onto the main drag, and my heart stopped. It was only dusk, yet the sky was completely aglow, a big blob of lights poking out from between a few trees several blocks away.  We went right past the sushi place and followed the lights like little flies...and there it was. A house decorated like none other. We drove around the block with out mouths gaping, but kept going and made a commitment to come back after dinner when it was dark for a closer look.

What we had stumbled upon was Christmas Lights Vallejo:

The most lights I have ever seen per square inch. It's a single family house, and these folks live on a corner lot, so it even wraps around.  There are lots of moving parts, like a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. You can walk through the whole display. Christmas music is playing, and a couple of times a week, Santa is there for photos. It's all done by this sweetheart of a retired guy and his lovely wife, and one of them always stands on the porch handing out candy canes. He said last year they ordered over 18,000 candy canes and they ran out before the end of the season.

We had no friggin' idea this was happening right here in our little town.
It would absolutely bring the spirit of the holiday into any grinch-y little heart!! 

Friday, January 03, 2014

not the post i promised...

... but a chihuahua in fuzzy pajamas trumps everything.

Little outfit compliments of my friend Jan of the Friday morning knitters :-)

Thursday, January 02, 2014


It feels like "the early days of January" posts should be forward thinking, but alas....I am feeling very reflective. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity (hence no posts), and I'd like to share some it with you over the next few days.

TheMostImportantGuy has a Newphew(TheOlder) and a Niece(TheYounger) by way of his only and elder sister, and brother-in-law.  TheNephew is 21 and had returned to living at home after a stint out on his own. His presence back at home was creating drama beyond belief (up to and including some legal action). It's not been pretty. And TheNiece, who is 18 and in her senior year of high school, has been under quite a bit of stress with all the family upheaval.  She was feeling uncomfortable at home and staying and friends houses, and with the drama with TheNephew still unfolding, we invited her to spend her winter break with us.

At first I was.  What the heck am I going to do to keep an 18 year old girl entertained?!?! I wasn't doing anything but getting in trouble when I was a young girl, so I certainly cannot look to myself for inspiration. And although I do have a kid of my own just a year younger, he is all boy. TheNiece is all about the pink and cuteness. 

MyFavoriteKid was slated to spend most, but not all, of his holiday break at home, too....and MyFK also wanted to have a buddy of him own come stay with us for a few days (three teenagers in the house! yikes!). TheMostImportantGuy was also getting a much needed break from work, and I really wanted to him to enjoy himself, too.... so I needed to come up with things that pleased all.

Well, I came up with a list of ideas of things to do, and everything pretty much worked out!

Over the next couple of days I'll share pics of our escapades :-)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

happy new year!

This year I'm focusing on "the Happy".

I know I've been missing in action these last several days, but it's been due to a very welcome but very active time with a visiting relative. More on that soon, but meanwhile, I just wanted to pop in and wish you all the best!  

New year, new moon... it bodes well for fresh starts, I do believe!