December 31, 2007

Turtle Mania

Another reveal - I made these lounging pants for my favorite two-year-old. I thought the turtle pants were pretty darn cute when I finished them, but then I made the turtle toy and all together it is simply over-the-top cute.

The only problem is that it doesn't look to me like the pattern built in sufficient diaper room. I may be making these again, a size bigger, after his parents get a chance to try putting them on him.

December 30, 2007

A Foray In To Wedding Photography

My cousin and his new wife were married in a civil ceremony in South America, where they met and lived up until a month ago. Yesterday they held a small church wedding here. So small that I was asked to be the photographer. Its not something I'd like to do routinely, too much pressure, but I enjoyed the role.And while I fell far short of what you'd expect from a professional, I did get some great shots under difficult circumstances.* I was apparently fairly convincing in the role, too, since one of the elders who assisted with the ceremony asked for my card afterwards. (I was very confused for a second before I realized she didn't want the business card identifying me as an attorney.) I won't show many here, not knowing how others would feel being pictured on our blog.But my sister isn't shy - and is very photogenic - so I'll show you this one.

It was a great day. The bride is a warm and funny (and beautiful) addition to the family, who clearly brings out the best in my cousin. We enjoyed celebrating with them and welcoming her in to the fold. Its probably lucky he married her before she got a good look at all of us, but she handles the chaos well.

* The priest gave me free range to take pictures during the ceremony, but no flash. The bride and groom had only limited patience with the posed pictures afterwards, and even with my flash the lighting was tough. And the reception was held in a house that forced me to run through another room to get around a wall for most every show I wanted. All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the photos I obtained. And since the groom's mother assured me "at least you won't have your finger across all the photos, the way I did when I took pictures at the wedding in Chile," I'm guessing they'll be pleased, too.

December 26, 2007

The Glow

I know its been a great holiday when I wake up the morning after and the world seems to have a peaceful glow. We succeeded this year in having a holiday that was busy, joyous, and full without being stressful. I surprised the family on Christmas Eve with bags of treats - the table of pickled vegetables and baked goods you saw yesterday.

And on Christmas morning, most of my gifts to others were hand made or the 'just perfect' thing I knew all along they wanted. I never once set foot in a mall and I only went to one box store - for bows and Alex's stocking stuffers. I hope to start planning ahead early enough next year to make most of my gifts again; it was so much more fun this way.

My Mom and Aunts all have creaky joints, so they each received a heating pad. The pretty cover is removable, so you can wash off the menthol, and the rice bag inside is flannel.
My Uncle, whose passion is fishing, received a basket of snacks. Homemade granola, vegetable chips from the farmers market and extras of the Christmas goodies. Dad, the hot sauce fan, received the habanero hot sauce made from my bounty of habaneros. (And an extra, personal gift that made him cry.) I didn't think to get photos of either.

For Grandma, my sister and I made a photo album of pictures old and new. It was not only a hit with her, but with the rest of the family too.
I forgot to take a picture of the gift I worked longest on - a collection of cloth grocery bags for my sister - and was most excited to show you. (I'll try to get a photo shoot with them soon.) I used pre-embellished denim and then made bags of assorted sizes to accommodate different types of groceries. I'm hoping the french seam will keep it strong enough, and I'm really pleased with the handles - both a strap for over your shoulder and small handles for gripping.

Of course, it turns out my sister forgot that she asked me to make those for her Christmas gift over two months ago and proceeded to make cloth grocery bags as gifts for other people. I couldn't believe it when the first one was opened. She swears its still perfect because she hasn't made any for herself, didn't have the long strap on hers and now she has a matching collection. I'm still pleased with them, but it definitely took the wind out of my sails a bit!

But, I think the rubble work scarf was my coup de grace, anyway. Here's the finished photo.
This one's hard to give up.

I have a few more gifts for people I'm not seeing until New Years, but all in all I'm feeling pretty proud of myself this morning.

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours many lovely treats and special moments.
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December 20, 2007

Mmmm, Chocolate

I've given in to the instinctual need to bake at Christmas. I now have 15 half pint jars of chocolate cake in the oven, and its all the blogosphere's fault. But, really, how could I resist the chance to give my neighbors serving size cake? If these turn out as well as I expect, I'll be doing several more batches over the next few days.

Which should drive my husband nuts, seeing as how he doesn't eat flour or sugar.

December 16, 2007


I'm still busy with lots of Secret Christmas Stuff, but this weekend I worked on a few projects that are blog safe. For my two little cousins who love to color and craft, books and special coloring tools.The youngest is new to the family and I have no idea how her parents feel about markers, so she gets twistable crayons. The oldest gets really cool markers I am coveting myself.

I made the books with cardstock and drawing paper, running a line of stitches down the middle and then trimming to fit. This was not my most successful project and I have real doubts about the sturdiness of the spine, so I reinforced with tape. (Blue painters tape, specifically. I thought it would be more festive than masking tape.) They are cute, but I'm going to need to do some research or thinking before trying that again.

My plan is to put the two books, crayons/markers and some loose drawing paper in to a small canvas bag for each girl. Time permitting, I'll decorate the bags with their names or something. (I toyed with the idea of making bags for them, but then I realized I have the right size bags on hand from a wedding project that went nowhere.)

And for a friend who has requested I knit her a scarf someday, a sewn scarf to tied her over is in the works.
(I'd like to thank Teddy for the lovely modeling job.) I usually keep friend gifts to a minimum and/or simple, but this friend is stuck in Florida working while her family and her boyfriend all celebrate Christmas in Virginia. We're taking her in for the holiday, and I wanted to have something nice for her. Kathy's Rubblework Scarf fits the bill, and it has come together very quickly so far. Tomorrow evening I will back it with purple flannel left from the T-Shirt quilt, and I think it will be lovely for her.

**I will not be trying to finish this, or anything else, tonight. I am decidedly tired tonight. When I finished the books, I went to get the markers out of a cabinet that we threw out a good six months ago. I then started the scarf and had to rip apart the small square blocks twice before finally getting them right. When I successfully finished the front of the scarf, I decided I should consider myself fortunate to have gotten so far and stop.

December 14, 2007


We've plunged right in to the holidays here. We had a great Thanksgiving with everyone there, including family from Texas there to visit, showing us just how quickly a baby can grow when out of sight, and a new wife and daughter introduced to us from Chile. As wonderful as it was, it was still four days since we'd returned home, so the next day we quite literally did not step foot out of our front door. And we didn't do much more than that on the weekend, but we did have to do some shopping to prepare for the company arriving the next Wednesday.

Yep, the next Wednesday Alex's cousin came to visit. From South Africa. For the first time since they were little boys living in Bulgaria. I couldn't decide whether the fact that this was so cool was going to outweigh the lousy timing. (I mean all I wanted to do was sleep, and we were going to have company?) As it turned out, he was the easiest houseguest ever. The kid could have stayed another week and I would have been pleased to have him. He was thoroughly entertained while we were at work by a bike and vague directions of how to get around town. When I got home, he was happy to help out with whatever I was doing and equally as happy to read his book if I needed to lay down. When I needed to go to court for a quick hearing on the day I'd taken off to spend with him, he was excited to be able to attend.

He really took no effort at all, and what effort we did make (and you know we did, right?) was thoroughly appreciated. Make pickled vegetables like they have in Bulgaria? He can barely wait until they finish curing to taste them, and then from the sounds of it I had to assume they'd be outlawed in several states. Light a fire in the chimnea and have dinner in the backyard? "Lovely." We took him canoeing, where Mother Nature decided to impress him with a half dozen otters frolicking in the run, and he was thrilled.

And then, we took this architecture student and Frank Lloyd Wright fan to see Florida Southern College. Ah yes, sometimes we are good. It took up most of a Sunday and never would have been worth it for me, but for him? Oh, we had taken him to the Promised Land. He could touch and photograph actual Wright buildings and the Water Dome. It was pretty cool to be part of that!
All in all, its been crazy busy since we got back. I'm not complaining, though, since everything has been. So. Much. Fun. that I've really enjoyed the whirlwind. But, when he left a week later, I did feel it was time to declare it Christmas. I have been a busy little elf - decorating, crafting, cooking and just a tiny bit of shopping. A quick break to spend time with (yet more) company and then right back to it. Most of it is Secret Christmas Stuff (except the decorating, which isn't all that exciting), but I'll see what I can share later.

(I do have this job that they insist I show up for, and its past time for me to be in the shower and on my way.)