thanks giving

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. – G.K. Chesterton

art of all kinds, books, church, dancing,
ears, friends, grandparents,
husband, indoor plumbing, joy, kids,
legs, music, new house, oxygen, pumpkin pie,
quilts from my grandmother, random anecdotes overheard, siblings,
taking pictures, umbrellas with cheerful designs, van,
warm wool sweater, extended family,
yellow, zing



Pikachu hat

Remember this Pokemon?

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We found the Pikachu suit at Goodwill. Both my kids being Pokemon fans, there was some discussion over who would get to wear it, but my daughter conceded in favor of her former idea, a blue fairy, courtesy of her dance recital costume and some wings and a wand from Walmart. (Exactly the right color too!)

Meanwhile we needed to finish out the Pikachu costume, so I bought some fleece in the appropriate colors and started googling.

Shockingly, I didn’t find an actual pattern specifically for a Pikachu hat (seriously, I was actually a little surprised). But there are plenty of tutorials out there for fleece hats, and even hats with ears added. I mostly used this one and a couple of reference pictures.

Here’s the finished product:

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When I do it again (my daughter is begging for a fox hat), I will probably alter the height of the triangles a little – my kids and I have freakishly large heads, I fear. Also, be sure to cut the band the right way – I cut mine along the non-stretch and had to pick it out and replace it. Whoops.

belated Halloween ’10

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All of us – plus an aunt and a friend.

(I am a pioneer, in case you can’t tell from the folded back bonnet.)


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10 30 10 038Blue fairy.

10 30 10 072Ash and Pikachu!

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sharing an elf

I first heard about magic elves a couple years ago on Marci’s blog here. I love how she blogs about their adventures. She has elves from Elf Magic. We did that last year too, and it was awesome – I will put together a couple of posts about it this week, since I didn’t last year.

However, I also felt moved last year to make an elf and share it with A’s best friend (and her mom), so here’s some pictures of that.

christmas elf

I used this pattern here, on Make Baby Stuff. (Elf Magic elves are about 10 inches high, very little, can wear Barbie doll-ish sized clothes. This pattern came out 16? 18? 20? inches high and much bigger around. Later I made some clothes – crochet shawl, used a knifty knitter loom to make a dress – for her.)

I think it came out awesome. Best face I’ve ever embroidered, that’s for sure. And I’m frankly in love with my pointy ears there.

elf hairelf ear detailchristmas elf

The trickiest part about the pattern (besides doing the hair, which is not actually tricky, I just dislike doing it) is sewing it with the legs and arms inside. Beware stuffing your appendages too firmly! At least if you widen them like I did – I feared they would be too skinny as-was, but it was a bear sewing the thing together. Next time I may leave the bottom open instead of the head – it was that skinny neck causing the issues. Also I sewed the arms too far down – they should be right below the neck really. Elves are apparently not proportioned like us. I used all remnant fabric, yay! But the peach colored one particularly is a bit on the thin side. Don’t know exactly how to fix that, short of using different fabric… double the layer? Light interfacing? Both? We’ll see. I plan to make a few more of these (ragdolls, not elves), so I’ll have to try different solutions.

christmas elf

chore chart

How about some crafty-ness? Since clearly I’ve been majorly uninspired the last few days.

Similar to (or at least, inspired by) this one by Kerflop at Balancing Everything. Just not as pretty.

Sorry I don’t have lots of actually good photographs of this. Not this time. I will have to mostly describe.

chore chart

I sewed simple pockets of remnant fabric. (I used some medium weight interfacing on them, then visited a friend’s house to use her serger on the edges.) At the moment they’re (obviously) just pinned to a cork board with index card labels. (Maybe I’ll cover it with fabric eventually?)

Here’s an example of the chore cards:
chore cards

I used my digital scrapbooking supplies to make cards (particularly this kit here by Jacque Larsen and Kate Hadfield). (Pamela Donnis also has some cute stuff, and some premade routine cards that could help with this perhaps.) I made a new 4×6 document and made the color part in the middle 3×5″ in case I wanted to cut them down and use them in conjunction with 3×5 cards. Which I haven’t yet, and probably won’t bother. And I printed them all as 4×6 photos (cuz hey, 6 cents per print on Winkflash, can’t argue). I can also use 4×6 index cards with them, if I just want to write something on.

Now to find a place to hang it, and actually use it!

lists are the theme of the month around here

I apologize – if it weren’t for NaBloPoMo I would spare you the uninspired, meaningless posts. (At least MOST of them…. ) What do you think – is it better to post consistently, but not necessarily great stuff, or is it better to wait till you really have something to say? Of course, I suppose sometimes we don’t learn what we have to say till we say it.

Anyway, when in doubt, or short on time, make a list? Here are a couple from List My Life, an ebook from Log Your Memory.

Fonts Preferred

  1. Garamond
  2. Futura
  3. CK Cursive
  4. Impact
  5. Delicious

Songs Performed

  1. What Child is This?
  2. Total Eclipse of the Heart
  3. All I Ask of You
  4. Carmina Burana
  5. Ave Maria

Weddings Attended

  1. aunt’s
  2. best friend from high school
  3. brother-in-law’s
  4. father’s
  5. mother’s

you’re gonna miss this

Ever heard this song?

I listened to it on the radio the other evening, and I started thinking. Especially with all the recent changes in my life – house! moving! car! – it does invite reflection. Thinking about those days, the “little apartment” in the song. Initially I thought… whatever. Too simplistic, too cliché. There are so many things I DO NOT miss… about high school, about all those little cramped apartments. But then again. Hating it while I was there was certainly a waste of time. And there were things to be appreciated, sometimes even in (occasionally more-or-less) dire circumstances.

I was going to do a brief play-by-play of each place we’ve lived before now. But how about we go a little more in depth into one instead? Divine detail and all.

Like the second apartment we lived in. It was more or less the nadir of my adult life, in various ways. You know how we all talk about broke newlyweds, about the financial troubles of early married life? Like starving students, but with the added responsibility of marriage and kids? (Not meaning to one-up starving students, that’s a tough time as well.) Anyway, that was the Second Apartment, or rather the time there. Not the tiniest place we ever lived, but certainly the tiniest kitchen. That really was crazy – we’ve never had a lot of counter space (till now) but in that one – the only place to possibly put a microwave was the top of the frig. Had to use the stovetop for extra counter in preparing food. In total that kitchen was probably the size of a small walk-in closet, maybe 4×4 feet of floor? Bitty.

The real problem with that time was the dire employment and money stress we faced. Maybe you know it – when you can’t sleep, can hardly breathe because you don’t know how you’re going to buy food, how you’ll keep a roof over your heads. The depression, the worry, the humiliation of asking family members for money because you have absolutely no choice. All exacerbated by pregnancy at the time, nausea (to this day the sound of the DVD menu music on Lilo & Stitch makes my stomach feel queasy, my daughter watched it a lot then), anxiety, guilt, paralyzing depression, sitting as if pinned to the couch. As Anne Lamott says, the X-ray apron of depression settling over your chest.

I really don’t miss those things. There’s a phrase, “Come what may – and love it,” but I don’t know how to love those things. That part was mostly desperation and misery, and I don’t see why I should have to embrace them. They SUCKED, and I’m deeply grateful (like, every day) that I’m not still stuck in them.

But I won’t deny either that there were some valuable experiences I had at the time, perspective gained, happiness experienced too. My 18 month old daughter dancing like crazy around the living room. How much I appreciated the city library. My dear husband, helping in the kitchen as much as possible to alleviate my pregnancy smell-sensitivity.

Most of all, I remember one evening, sitting in the living room with my husband and my daughter and my pregnant belly, and seeing us as if in a drawing, close and happy together; even though all around us was a yawning pit of unknown and probable disaster. Still, I thought then, was impressed then, this IS what really matters. Right now, with these people I love more than anything. This is most important.

That’s what I wish I could tell my high school self, my young married self, my current self: “Don’t bother angsting about your weight, the mess, the tiny space. Even the big things. The worry, the distress, that’s the real waste. Either act to change it or don’t, but don’t spend one more minute in guilt or obligation or self-flagellation. All that energy can be much better used elsewhere. Where? I’m not sure, but I’m eager to find out.”

It’s a common thread through all the past times I thought about in conjunction with this song – I may not want everything back, I may not want to go back to it for all the rice in China, but I do treasure memories of the people I loved, some of the lessons learned.

The perspective of learning from our trials, of seeing the light rather than the dark, is what I want to take from that. Is anything more wasted than the energy I spend wishing now away?