I keep my laptop on the kitchen table. When it is time to eat, I move it to the little book case next to my chair, along with all the mail and school papers that threaten to overwhelm us from time to time. I spend probably 50% of my time each day sitting in this spot. When it is cold, I love the feel of the warm sun at my back. It doesn't hurt that my chair is directly over the heat vent. It is a good place to read a magazine or work out our menu for the week or do a little sewing by hand. I have a straight view to the front door, the dining room, the family room and what's on the tv, and out the kitchen window.
And yesterday, while going through photos for the annual Christmas calendar, I discovered two photos from this spot. In January:
and in October:
I wish I had taken one in April when that redbud tree was in all it's glory. But just look at the way those succulents on the windowsill have grown! All from a little cutting from Ben & Martha's wedding almost exactly two years ago. Amazing how things grow with a little love and light and a good view.
I have used the same grapevine with some ribbon and greenery wreath for years. It looks sad. Then, shortly before we moved, my belly dance teacher happened upon a dumpster overflowing with perfectly good Christmas stuff - including three full trees, strings of lights, brand new packages of ribbon, miles of garland, and a lovely pine cone and seed pod wreath.
Perfect, I thought, for my new front door.
I hung it up, loved how the brown wreath and my white front door made such a nice contrast, marveled at the simplicity of it all and then tried to shut the door. Uh, whoops. The wreath is too thick to sandwich between the wooden door and the storm.
So, Plan B. After seeing yarn wrapped wreaths here and here and here made by my talented friends, I jumped on board. So while Aidin and Tim assembled every puzzle we owned yesterday (with Eliot's intermittent help) ...
I made a big old mess with the paper and felt,
and voila, new wreath. And not too Christmassy, so I think it will stay right where it is until February, when I may need to make another in red. With hearts. And glitter.
Now I'm off to round up snowball, snowflake and snowman related crafts and games suitable for the first grade, because I'm already in charge of a class party. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
I have new furniture in my living room. New to me, at least. It all came from Grandma Jean's house. There's a cream with light grey and tan sofa sleeper, a rocking chair and this chair.
It is a very comfortable old chair that no one ever really sat in. And I love the lines - the wood peeking out, the soft squishiness of the cushions. Grandma had it reupolstered some years ago in a rather girlie pattern. Perhaps that is why no one else laid claim to it.
I am a rather big fan of pillows on chairs and couches. And I really like the calm, neutral vibe in the living room right now, especially as it is flooded with light. So I wanted a neutral pillow for this chair, that coordinated, but didn't make the whole room too pink and blue.
Then I ran across this table runner/dresser scarf. I picked up this bit of vintage goodness at the antique mall years ago. It was so beautifully stitched and all the hems were finished by hand. Perfect except for two holes smack in the middle of the embroidery pattern at one end and a few small holes in the middle. Hmmm... and it was exactly 14 inches wide, which also was the size of my pillow form.
It was destined to be a pillow.
Of course I wanted to make it RIGHT NOW, and was without any piping except white or any cord to put inside piping, so I twisted some yarn together and sewed it inside some bias tape. The runner was long enough that I was able to make an envelope back, which I finished with the same bias tape. To cover the wee holes in part of the center section, I cut up the embroidery on the other end (where there were also holes) and fused on as a patch. Then I added my own bit of embroidery around the edges in a floss that matched the background.
So Tim got the job offer on July 1st. My last day of work was on July 14th. On the 15th, we had our first house hunting trip. We looked at 30 houses. We sort of liked one. Upon looking at that house again the next week, we decided we really didn't like it at all.
It was a little overwhelming looking at so many houses. In the end, we probably looked at 70 houses - in our price range and well beyond.
There was the 100 year old stone farm house. Charming, but there was not a level line in the entire house. And a 20 minute drive from town.
There were brand new houses, that looked just like every other house on the block.
There were funky finishes,
and basements with funky smells. Trust me on that.
Miles of panelling and shag carpet.
Nothing struck our fancy. Until this one went on the market.
We liked it from the start.... The stone around the entry,
the retro entry lights and the deck with porch swing off the living room,
the light-filled living area,
the ample kitchen workspace,
the shaded back patio,
and the family room 1/2 a level below and open to the kitchen.
We were not real crazy about the miles of wallpaper upstairs in two of the three bedrooms, both bathrooms and the hall, but that can be changed.
And the avocado counter top will need replacing.
but overall we loved it, and now it is our home.
The kitchen and our bedrooms and baths were set up right away, but the basement is still full of boxes. Now, back to unpacking....
Tim got to stay home with the kids yesterday. Today it is my turn. We have Eliot's conference this morning and then I'm looking forward to a day of laundry and playmobile and snuggling on the sofa with the cats.
My overnight camping training was canceled due to lack of trainees, so I won't be sleeping in a cinder-block cabin on a cement floor or a tent tonight, (yea!) but I am going to meet a lady at camp in the morning and give her the "readers digest condensed" version of training. Just to dot the i's and cross the t's. She spent a month backpacking through Colorado with her husband, so I think she's got the basics down.
And since my evening is suddenly free and I already had a baby sitter lined up, I'm going out to hear my husband's band play tonight. They may even be wearing their shirts.
Yes, those three scraggley sticks, which I tried to discern from the surrounding healthy vegetation (and weeds) by draping a shawl behind, WERE my milkweed plant. The horde of caterpillars have moved on in search of more food - to where I do not know. I could only find two left on the bare sticks. I moved them to the tiny milkweed plant in the back yard.
So here are Lucky and Lazy. I figure they must have been pretty lucky to still be there when all the rest were gone - and too lazy to move. I'm wondering if those little orange dots are Monarch eggs. Too bad if they are, because when these monsters finally turn into moths there will be no food left for the baby butterflies. Ah well. I think I'll be starting some more milkweed seeds this fall. And I was so looking forward to having milkweed pods to play with this fall. Drat! I guess that won't be happening.
School is out for the kids until Tuesday, so I shipped them off to Grandma & Grandpa's this morning. Tomorrow they'll go to the other Grandma and Grandpa's for part of the day and then back with my folks. So tonight I'll be working late paying bills and getting cost in jobs so that we can bill out jobs after tomorrow's payroll. Not normally part of my paper-pushing job, but I'm covering for my dear friend on maternity leave. I hope to get her baby gift - the lamb - FINISHED tonight too, with no bedtime stories to read or children to tuck in or drinks of water to get or "sleep with me for five more minutes, Mommy." * Sniff *
And sorry if yesterday's video was a downer for anyone else. I intended to be thought-provoking, not depressing.
For my new bloggie friends in the Kansas City area, mark your calendars to come meet me at the Kansas City Renaissance FestivalSeptember 16th and 17th and October 8th.
This will be my 6th Ren Fest - it would have been my 7th, but Middle Eastern Weekend was cancelled in 2001 because it was the weekend immediately following 9/11 and they were afraid for our safety in the wave of backlash against all things middle eastern. Nevermind that Islamic extremism and Egyptian/Lebanese/Saudi folk dances have very little in common.
Ren Fest is my favorite time to dance. Even the year that it rained the whole time. Even the years that it has been so stinking hot you couldn't think straight. Even the year I was six months pregnant with Eliot. The next year some guy said to me, "you look a little different this year." Ha! So if you make your way out, I'll be the one with the dun lap disease - my cottage cheese belly dun lapped over my belt.
And my sewing projects over the next few weeks will be (once I finish up the rest of the baby gifts!) costumes. I've got a few new pieces to make for myself (nevermind that I already have 3 complete costumes shoved in the closet - I want something NEW!) and maybe a new costume for my dearest. Thankfully, the kids still fit into their costumes from last year.
Oh, and the above photo was taken by our good friend, MattNeedham.
Wow! What a weekend! More like this one, please! Bear with me while I recall the fun.
Friday night - free concert at the Lied Center by the Wailin Jennys. I love them. If you've never heard of them you must check them out right now! They are a simply scrumptious folk/blues/roots trio from Canada. Their harmonies make me swoon. As did the fun time with my family.
And friends that I see far to little of.
Saturday - such a full, busy day. We started, as we do most Saturday mornings, at Farmers Market. Jill, pictured above, is the grower of such wonderful abundance.
Then progressed to the park.
And the train depot to watch a freight train go by.
And then to Home Depot to decide on tile and order grout, but no tile was actually purchased or installed.
The rest of the day was spent crafting for Aidin and I, creating things for the next day -
a kitty by me
and a combination stitchette by Aidin. Didn't she do SO WELL!?! I swear, all I did was tie the knots, thread the needle and put her initials in the corner when she was finished. And she's only five! Gosh, I love her and am so proud of her. And she was terrifically proud of herself.
Sunday - Gazpacho! Made by my dear husband from the abundance found at Farmers Market and provided by Jill. Fantastic!
Wrapping presents and driving to my brother's farm (formerly my grandparents' farm where I spent days and weeks and hours as a child) for my niece Caroline's 5th birthday party.
Who needs party games when you have dress-up clothes,
and a tree house,
and a view like this?
Glorious, glorious weekend. Oh, how I dreaded returning to work.
My family bought me some milkweed plants for Mother's Day. They have done well despite my lackluster gardening and our brutal summer. The hope in planting the milkweeds was to attract butterflies to our garden and maybe even grow a few caterpillars. A few caterpillars? What were we thinking? This is what we found on the milkweed last night:
The monsters have already eaten destroyed 5 leaves. I don't think these were the fun little Monarchs we were hoping for. Anyone know what they are? I e-mailed the picture to Chip Taylor at KU, head of "Monarch Watch". Let's see if he responds. I'm sure a college professor has plenty of time to respond to some random woman the Friday before classes start. Geez!
And inside, we have this growing:
It started out about 2 inches long and now is up to about 6 after 48 hours in water. The kids got this rubber? caterpillar at the school carnival and it expands very slowly in water. When you take it out of the water, it contracts, very slowly. We're on round 2 of growing/shrinking the caterpillar. I swear, this is the best school carnival crap I've ever seen. We are all having fun with it - and I don't have to worry about it escaping and eating holes in my sweaters.