31 May 2009

morning & afternoon

after a morning of homeschooling projects, & studio decluttering; we spent the afternoon creating. it felt wonderful to get things checked off the pesky to-do list.

i got most of the birthday crowns embroidered &/or beaded. then; whilst looking for something in my sewing cabinet; i came across a few labels. this enabled me to finish the pencil pouches that i'd begun the other day. woohoo!

thehobbit didn't want to be left out of the creating part of the day, so i dug out the kit purchased on our last thrifting expedition. other than my hands to steady things occasionally, he completed this project all on his own.

it's meant to hold tools, but he's decided it should be used as a remote-caddy instead. i'm not the least bit embarrassed to say that it will definitely get more use from us watching television, than from us using tools.

i hope your day was as productive & creative! may i nap now?

30 May 2009


we managed to drive deeper into the city yesterday; & still we spent most of our time surrounded by nature! i'm glad we did, because i have been feeling such a pull towards mother nature of late.

i want to say that it has everything to do with how far along in my pregnancy i am. most likely though it's because thebelfry is such a wreck right now. between having little time & energy for deep cleaning sessions, & having bags & boxes everywhere i look (the challenge) - it's not the most calm of places to be.

hopefully this round of bags & boxes will get taken to the thrift shop on monday. the challenge is going well, by the way. i find i'm at the stage of trying to justify keepers; but i'll push through.

i meant to work on the challenge today - however i sewed a few pencil pouches, watched a documentary with thehobbit, then accidentally took a little nap instead.
i'm off to do more not-working-on-the-challenge. have a lovely weekend.

29 May 2009

where the wild things are

we're lucky to have parks nearby that are not neatly manicured. i do love a pretty park, but there is something about the wild ones that brings me such peace.

if i have to live in a large city; which i do at the moment; i'm glad it's this one. a 10-minute drive to the ocean, & pockets of wilderness peppered throughout? that's a fabulous balance to the city's chaos.

today we're going to enjoy a more citified excursion; a museum field trip. not to worry though - we'll bring our wild with us. (in which wild means children)
have a lovely day!

26 May 2009

of stitches & shoes

so much for our grand plan to declutter. yesterday morn manlyman sliced open his wrist when he dropped a large, ceramic bowl - so instead of filling bags with things we no longer need, we watched him get stitches. no need to worry about him though; manlyman is fine.

the decluttering project is still taking place, just in smaller, daily spurts. today 2 boxes, & 3 large bags were filled then left where they were when i discovered i had to rearrange furniture immediately.

unrelated - i want these shoes:

i know! i hadn't thought about the cloth mary janes in years either. wait, i should warn new readers: i have an obsession with mary jane shoes of all sorts. always have had. so anyway - i've been looking for a pair of comfy shoes to get me through the remainder of my pregnancy.
these just may be the perfect pair: casual, lightweight, airy, & cloth. the only thing they wouldn't do for is a day of walking. as my belly is now the size of a small country, i doubt i'll do many day-long excursions in the near future.
now i need only decide if i'm going to order them online, or make the trip to china town. one is vastly easier, but the other could involve food. oh the difficult decisions in life! ;-)
i hope that none of you had to go to the hospital yesterday, & that all of you find just the pair of shoes you'd been looking for.

23 May 2009

kats in the nest

the nesting stage has begun. i haven't yet gotten to the point where i'm constantly cleaning, but i can see it coming.

already instead of thinking i really should xyz, i'm just doing it. that's a big tip-off for me, because; as queen of all procrastinators; i generally give something a lot of thought before getting to it.

to-do lists have been made, & things are getting to-done. theshop's list was the first seeing action. in the past week i've chosen the items i want to put in theshop, & to sell at winter faire, gone through fabric bins, & cut out a stack of birthday crown bodies.

most difficult for me is staying realistic in what i can get to before thebebe comes. with only 2.5 months left, i don't want to waste time sewing anything that isn't usually a good seller. that means no new products, & nothing iffy. blah.

another to-do list on which i've been focusing has to do with thebelfry. as i mentioned above, i'm not yet in the cleaning stage of things, but i have begun tackling the chaos that is our home.
inspired by an episode of oprah, thehobbit suggested we each get rid of half our belongings. he pointed out that after the challenge of living with less, all the people on the show were happier, & enjoyed each other more.
how could i say no to that? happier & enjoying my menfolk more? sign me up! so we'll be spending all of monday filling giant bags with things we don't need, & rarely (sometimes never) use.
a certain someone (who is not me, nor the person who suggested this challenge) is going to find this very difficult. manlyman loves his stuff. he has a hard time parting with his belongings, & has not yet met a freebie that he could say no to. my hope is that seeing his little guy going at it with such passion will infect & inspire him.
that's all the time for chatting i have today - i'm off to sketch designs to embroider on the birthday crowns. have a lovely weekend please!
** all photos in this post were taken by thehobbit. excuse the fuzziness, as they were shot through a screened window. **

20 May 2009

an impatient gardener

i am an inpatient gardener. i'm inpatient in all things, but with gardening extremely so. the temperate climate in which i live allows me to plant things well before other parts of the world can. that helps some. mostly though? i want my food now, now, now!

my little hill's odd micro-climate doesn't allow for early tomatoes & cucumbers though. it's not nearly as hot as even a mile from here, & we have a heavy marine layer each morn & eve. i love the weather, but in this it frustrates me beyond belief. you should see the fantastic array of tomatoes soap gets from her farm! yes dear one & only reader - i have tomato envy.

i do have my tomatoes in the ground, but it will be quite some time before i'll have any fruit. & for some strange reason, every batch of cucumbers has failed to sprout! i may have to give in, & buy some potted ones if i'm to have any at all this summer. & oh how we do love our cukes - sigh. seriously though; have you had a lemon cucumber?

now that i think on it, none of the zucchini has sprouted either. what do you suppose could be the matter? i've never before had such difficulty starting from seed. i'll try one more time, & if i still haven't anything sprouting it will be off to the nursery for plants.
so as not to leave you thinking i've nothing lovely going on in my gardens, or in the farm: the strawberries are still delivering plump fruits every few days, the onions & leeks are doing fabulously, we've a few fennel left, & the artichoke is simply beautiful.
also beautiful is the bank of bougainvillea, with the passion vine trailing through. not to mention my little hobbity helper - the most beautiful of all the things i grow ;-)
what about you? are you an impatient gardener as well; or are you able to peacefully wait on the whim of mother nature?

17 May 2009

at week's end

i'm sorry to not have written all week. my mother has been in the hospital, & i'm afraid the only writing i've been good for has been short bits on twitter. she's through the worst part, but has to remain there until they feel she's fully healed.

on a completely happy note: i made a teeny blanket. i cut out some parts weeks ago, but couldn't get to my fabric bins to choose the rest. each time i passed the pile of blanket parts i felt a pang - thinking it would be one more wip never completed. after a morning of math puzzles & dominoes with thehobbit, i decided a few hours of sewing was just what was needed to end my week.

most of the fabric i chose came from clothes & sheets i'd saved over the years. i knew i wanted to back the blanket with flannel, so i was able to use thin fabrics that always get passed over when making bags & drink slings. choosing the colors was the easiest part - the center had to be an oatmeal-colored linen.

you'd think with all the years i've been sewing; & with all the books & tutorials out there; i would have researched how to make a patchie blanket before starting out. in usual katness (real word) i just jumped in, assuming it would work out in the end.

for the most part it did work out; but there are a few puckers, & a few places where my quilting wasn't as straight as i meant it to be.
i do love it in spite of the mistakes - most especially because the majority of the fabrics used hold memories of those i love. i think that is a good thing in which to wrap the newest member of the belfry.
it was also a nice way to end my week. that, & sharing chips, lemonade, & a cary grant film with my little hobbity boy. i hope your week ended nicely too.

11 May 2009

i baked!

let me rephrase that: i baked, & none had to gag it down! i've spoken about this before, i'm sure. i cannot bake. i can destroy even a boxed mix. i am not a baker.

last night i was desperate for a sweet treat, & couldn't convince manlyman to get in the car in search of baked goodies for me. apparently spending the entire day pampering me wore him out. selfish beast.

my desperation was such that i actually scoured the internet for something simple to bake. oh, & for which we had ingredients. i found one that looked easy enough. i decided to make a few substitutions, & gave it a go! it not only did not gag, it was amazing! here is my version:

cinnamon dessert bread
1/4c butter
1 1/3c sugar, divided
1 egg
2c all-purpose flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1c vanilla soy creamer
2tsp apple cider vinegar
1tb cinnamon
* preheat oven to 350
* add vinegar to soy cream, & set aside
* beat butter, 1c sugar, & egg
* combine flour, soda, powder, & salt
* add flour mixture, alternatively with curdled milk, to butter mixture
* combine cinnamon & remaining sugar
* pour half the batter into a greased loaf pan, sprinkle half the sugar mixture atop it, then the remaining batter, & finally the remaining sugar mixture
* bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
(note - i use evaporated cane juice, not white sugar - i cannot vouch for the flavor using white.)
it was very rich; most likely due to using soy creamer rather than soy milk; so tasted more like a dessert than the breakfasty bread i'm sure it was meant to be. i am definitely going to make this again! oh - something is wonky with my laptop, so i was unable to link to the original recipe for you. i did link you to the site though.

i'm off to eat a gigantic slice.

10 May 2009

08 May 2009

back in the saddle,

figuratively speaking - because let's face it; i don't know that there is a horse strong enough to handle my current tweedledeeness.

i had been wanting to start sewing for theshop, as well as for december's winter faire; but either life would get in the way, or i'd find some excuse to not.

you know, sometimes life not only gets out of the way, it takes your excuses with it. first i received a custom order, then we got pestilence, & i had to cancel a field trip. i was being forced off my lazy arse, & given the exact day in which to saddle-up. all in one week!

the request was for a drink sling in 10yo boy fabrics. well i knew i couldn't go by what my 11yo boy liked; because i doubt she meant fancy, with a top hat if possible; so i asked her for more information about her son.

it took a lot of searching through my bins, but i think her blue, & red, & cowboy lovin', horseback ridin' boy will like his new sling. what do you think? (as usual, all negative comments will be ignored completely.)

07 May 2009

tiny bottoms, long post

having your children 11 years apart is, in some ways, like having your first. this can mean different things for different people. for us it means not having anything saved from the last bebe. sure we kept some items that were special, but we gave away all our bins of clothes & other essentials long ago.

i've been searching around for affordable newborn clothes that i didn't loathe, but wasn't finding much. everything i loved was freakyexpensive. finally it hit me that if i could find just one pair of bottoms, i could make more! surely i could find one pair. with that thought in mind, thehobbit & i headed to a local resale shop.

we searched & searched the shop, but couldn't find anything! then! on our way out i spotted a little shelf with baskets marked newborn. did i manage to find one pair i didn't loathe? no. i found four!! 4 tiny bottoms (plus 1 thehobbit chose) that i actually liked, & that cost less than $2 a pair! faint-worthy to be sure.

the light was wonky, so the colors didn't photograph well. from left to right we have: black, tan, blue (thehobbit's choice), gray, lt. gray/drk. gray stripes. (the beanie was a bonus find.) ahhh plain, non-cutesy clothes! & yes, the black bottoms are my favorite.

i know it's silly to be so thrilled by this, but i can't help it. it was humbling enough to have had to take whatever was donated to us for thehobbit, but loathing most of it made me miserable. this go around we're blessed to be able to buy things we need, & blessed to be able to be picky with hand-me-downs.

something i've noticed that strikes me as odd: i actually feel more grateful for the donations now, than i did when pg with thehobbit. i wonder if it's the lack of desperation. we were utterly broke back then, & had to accept everything that came our way. this time i feel like i have enough breathing space to truly appreciate the generosity of family & friends. i'm not sure if that makes much sense.
11 years ago we were given a brand new stroller that i found extremely ugly. please understand that i was grateful to have a stroller at all, but for all the years we used it, i hated the sight of it. this time a friend offered us her gently-used stroller, & i was able to check it out before saying yes or no. that felt so amazing! no desperation forcing me to accept the gift, regardless of liking it or not. in case you're wondering: i love the stroller immensely this time, so accepted it with a great amount of gratitude & giggling joy. thehobbit has named it already (of course he has): mac for its brand.

back then i hated being poor, we'd had to make do with so little, & with even less once thehobbit came. fast forward 11 years & i'm happy we'd been in that situation. having had to have made do with near to nothing helped me truly appreciate the life i now have. it also gives me courage to have a bebe so long after the first. having money, a nice home, a huge community of friends, & so much more - trumps all the negatives by far. besides - who needs all that sleep i'll be missing, when i can put my bebe in tiny, black bottoms?

04 May 2009

the view from up here

thehobbit spends a great deal of time with my belly these days. he rubs it, sings to it, pokes at it, talks to it, & lately (with how active the bebe has gotten) has been laughing hysterically at it. though i love every moment of this immensely, i have to say that by far my favorite is this:

a few times a day he'll lay his head on my belly, & quietly snuggle. usually i can hear him whispering, but not loud enough for me to hear what's being said. the words aren't meant for my ears, so i don't ask. occasionally he'll look up with his huge, brown eyes, & there will be the most peaceful smile on his face.

i know it isn't the most artistic photo, but i like it. it was taken from my view, & it's how i'll remember this time in our lives. if you ask me, i get the best view up here.


03 May 2009

the arboretum

i've only been to the arboretum twice, but it's one of my most favorite places to visit. the first time was with oddsox & her boys. we made a marathon of the day, trying to see everything. it was great fun - we nearly accomplished our goal, & probably walked a zillion miles in the process.

this trip was with thepapers; a vastly shorter day, with vastly less walking. we focused our attention on a few gardens near the entrance, & attended the la garden show.

the event had not only booths for purchasing plants & garden items, but workshops, & garden displays as well. here are thehobbit & minipaper enjoying one such display. by enjoying, i mean they found it extremely entertaining to dip their hands repeatedly into the green water. green! ew.

i behaved myself at the sale booths, buying only a trinket from a vintage garden accessory vendor, & one potted plant. i know! i'm impressed with my restraint as well.

this was my favorite of the day: an enclosed vegetable garden! isn't it gorgeous?! the garden enclosure was just sturdy mesh, stretched over posts, with a door at either end. i want it. i love how they attached the doors to painted arbors, & how the beds are raised so high in the center, & that all the climbing structures are pretty (sigh). i couldn't get a shot of the entire garden, because there were people wandering within.

this would be thehobbit's favorite of the day. the arboretum has a large population of peafowl allowed to roam freely. they'd strut past us as we were strolling the gardens, & one male even came right beside me as we were picnicking. they truly are beautiful up close, & utterly unafraid of humans.
according to my research, a group of peafowl is called: a bevy, a muster, an ostentation, or a pride. if the group is only male, you can add: a cluster, a lek, a bawl, or a pulchritude to that list. i think i'll go with ostentation, simply because it seems to most suit them.
time for me to see what my little peahobbit is up to in the other room. i hear quite a bit of banging, which never bodes well. have a lovely sunday!

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