Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Tomten,

I think you are a little creepy, frankly, but I'm willing to overlook that. You see, some people (my mother, my imagination), think you might be living in the attic space of the house. After all, why else would the third floor, that long, single, slant-roofed room above me - why else would it have those little, little doors?

Oh, I know. There's storage space there, right? Yes. We have some boxes of holiday ornaments behind one of the doors. And some other random boxes behind another. Books in most. I fear that you, like a spiteful brownie, might decide to ruin the books.

Worse, I fear you might, like your Scandinavian kinsman we read about some evenings, you might decide to tiptoe through our house as we sleep. So, I keep things stacked in front of the little doors. But, I've been thinking it might be worth the creepy creeping if, during your nighttime ramblings around the house, you made some cookies.

Chocolate chip, ginger, peanut butter, molasses, your choice. Though I would be especially grateful for those little chocolate pillow cookies my grandma used to make. Cocoa drops. With icing would be lovely, but perhaps too much extra trouble.

Anyway. Just a thought.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A List: 10/24/12

I want to knit some socks and wear them with a beautiful pair of clogs.
I want to make more art - journaling? trading cards? Start small.
Time to re-instate Curry Night. Cooking curry, eating curry, makes me happy. Do more often.
Remember when you used to take pictures?
Read more. Web surf less.

Eight days until NaNo. Get ready.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I'm committing myself to ScriptFrenzy this month (so proud of myself for still being on track here near the end of week two!), but I don't want to let all of April go by without a post. So, here's one courtesy of my own little craft-companion!

The first photo is a drawing Cora made as a pattern for a quilt. Then I asked her to make a list of all the design elements in her pattern and what kind of fabric she would want to use for that item/shape. Then, there was a lot of sorting through my fabric bins, talking about color/texture/shape interactions, and through a combination of seaming, fusible applique, and stitching, we arrived at the last photo.

For the parts that are fused, I had Cora draw the shapes on the fusible and, after I cut them out, she positioned them on the fabric. Then I pressed them in place. It was an excellent collaborative experience, completely led by her own vision.

For example, after looking through the fabric she found a piece of fabric featuring cat heads - she pulled it out and said, "This will be perfect for a cloud!" I wasn't so sure, but it was her design, so we went with it. Turns out she was right. That is one awesome cloud.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Photo fun

I'm enjoying playing with Pixlr these days.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hello Spring!

This year Cora decided to ring in the spring with a fever. Because she is so rarely sick, it was very strange to spend a day with her while she just curled on the couch watching PBS and listening to stories. Not much moving around yesterday.

Today I can tell she is on the mend, because she is her usual squirrelly self. She's still watching PBS, but also writing a letter to the tooth fairy, coloring, reading some of her library books, and being much more chatty than yesterday.

I've missed two days of work to tend to her, to make her homemade chicken soup, and to do a little handsewing while I sat beside her. It wasn't the start to the week that I had planned, but it has been pleasant in its own way and, coming off a more hectic than usual end of week/weekend, not entirely unpleasant.

Now we wait to see if the fever jumps to another family member, or if it really is done with us. In the meantime, it is good to see this smile back (at least until that VERY loose tooth comes out!)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

I should thank February 2012 for tacking on an extra day so that I could post a second time in February. What was up with this month? Although I've sat down at the computer every day to check email, run through Facebook, and do some editing work, I haven't felt like writing. Which is a disappointment to me.

On the other hand, I have been sewing a lot, pursuing quilt ideas and color combinations in a more focused way, and that has been rewarding.

I've done some mild planning on a class I might be teaching in the fall - but I'm leery of putting too much energy into it until I know for sure the class will go. A lot of things are like that right now - waiting to see if something will or won't happen, will or won't work out.

Waiting is not my strong point.

But here it is Leap Day, and I completely forgot to give it the minor holiday attention it apparently now deserves (?). Instead, Cora and I have been too focused on the fact that March 2nd, Friday, is Dr. Seuss's birthday. She tells me that her class is studying Dr. Seuss at school the past couple weeks. Yesterday she wore her Cat in the Hat shirt. She tells me she has decided to wear it until they stop studying Dr. Seuss. While her teacher is used to seeing her wear the same outfit twice in a row, I'm not sure what she would think of a week of the same shirt. I am hoping we can peel it off her little body and wash it at some point.

She already has planned what she will wear for Dr. Seuss's birthday. It includes, of course, the shirt.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What the kids are watching these days

Last night Cora and I were watching TV - she has been adamant about watching House of Anubis on Nick. It seems to be a kind of Dark Shadows for middle schoolers (putting her far below the demographic) - very convoluted plot lines involving kids at a British boarding school and ancient Egyptian curses, myths, and symbology. Frankly, I didn't think she was really following it. But then I asked a question, and she unfurled the whole plot, and while she didn't understand all of it, she had all the plot points nailed in place and even some good insights into character motivation. Huh.

And then a commercial for the latest Twilight saga DVD came on. We see Jacob saying "I know what I have to do." Next clip he is running, shirtless, through the woods.

Cora: "Really? That's what he had to do? Take off his shirt and go running?" Then, a moment later: "Can I have that movie when I'm 12?"

Yes. Yes you can. Right after we watch every episode of Buffy.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter is Winter, as it turns out

Yes, we had a lovely reprieve in December and early January, as temperatures soared in the high 30s and the snow stayed away.

Yes, I know we need snow and ice and cold and even disgusting gray slush to maintain the natural order.

And yet...well, this picture from January 2011 still best expresses my feelings towards the Midwest winter.

(I'm not sure which expression I love more - Cora's SnowZombie face, or Trout's apparent protest to having to wear a headband.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The Christmas season went by fast, for the most part. As usual, there were things I meant to bake that I never did. Cards, such as they were, did not go out as early as hoped for. Fewer things were handmade than I intended. Looking back I see that I did a terrific job of managing Cora's expectations, and a really lousy job with my own. Looking farther back I see that as a theme of the past two years. Will 2012 be different? We shall see.

I believe the common approach to the new year is to square up the previous years resolutions. I did part of this for publication elsewhere, but here's the brief assessment, with the goal followed by the result:

Dye sock yarn with Kool-Aid. Knit socks. – dyed worsted yarn instead, gave for Christmas presents, kept some for myself for a new hat. One new recipe a week. 52 recipes. – probably accomplished this one – didn’t track well though; when I got to the end of March and had already tried 21 new recipes, I stopped listing them. Write more. Publish more. – wrote little, published one poem (frankly, only submitted to 12 publications over the whole year), but also several  essays for the Simple, Good, and Tasty web site and blog posts. Make cards. Send birthday cards. – total fail  Read more. 60 books. – read maybe 20 books ( for adults) in 2011, but dozens of articles and magazines, plus many, many, many picture books. My all time reading record is about 120 books in one year, so 60 seemed a reasonable goal. Make a quilt, start to finish. – yes! four new tops completed, one completed, though technically quilted by someone else, but it was finished and under the tree for Cora this year.  Finish four unfinished projects. 1 per season. – an abandoned scarf became an earwarmer, I had two old quilt tops quilted, and I finished the tree skirt I started eight years ago.  Journal. At least a list. At least 5x/week. – total fail, even if I stretch to counting blogging as journaling. Can only claim victory if a Facebook status update counts as a journal entry!

The goals for 2012 are very similar. I still hope to send birthday cards (something I have not managed since Cora was born, but that was nearly six years ago and I really think it now makes a poor excuse). I hope to read more than last year. I'm sticking with the same cooking goal and also hope to finish some unfinished projects. I have a collection of batik fabric I have never cut into. This is the year. I hope to write more - and to finally finish NaNoWriMo - and to send writing out more often.

I would like 2012 to be kind to me. I hope to find this year more sustaining. I hope to leave a lot of the sadness I've been collecting behind. Or at least get the scales to tip in the other direction more often.