Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Thoughts

Happy Halloween!  I think I've covered the costume angle pretty thoroughly here, but I have just a few more thoughts, and frankly, I needed some material to go with my awesome pictures of an otter eating a pumpkin (which we saw here). 

I talked a bit about my Halloween philosophy two years ago, and I'm standing by that.  I don't go all-out on decorations.  I don't dress up.  But I am happy to indulge my kids' interest enthusiasm, and I love that Halloween is pretty much just a fun holiday, no strings attached.  And as we were puttering around today I thought back through Halloweens in the recent past and realized I have a good collection of memories of this particular date.  

In 2006 I hurried through Stop and Shop on my way home from work, hoping to get dinner fixings and a "welcome home" cake and get back to the pier in time to watch the Ida Lewis pull in. We had been in Rhode Island for about 3 months, since Don's graduation from boot camp, and he had been away for most of that.  I remember how exciting it was on that cool October evening to watch his ship round the bend and head for home. 

On Halloween in 2007 I was 3 days past my due date for Miss Amy Jean. I really didn't want a Halloween baby, so I was actually happy that she wasn't coming that particular day, anxious though I was.  I hopped up and down from the couch every time the doorbell rang and felt pretty darn good for 40+ weeks pregnant. 

Halloween 2008 - now living in Maryland, with an almost-walking, almost-one-year-old.  I made chili just like my mom always did on Halloween, and Amy loved it!  Amy wanted nothing to do with a costume, which was really fine with me. 2009 - all pretty much the same story, except I was expecting William. 

2010 was the famous Maid Marian year, when Amy very resolutely stuck to her costume wish to be the fox from Robin Hood.  William wore a costume, too, and we attended a Halloween party but did not trick-or-treat.  And then there was last year... 

2011 might be one of the most memorable Halloweens of all time.  I wrote a bit about it here. That day was one for the books, and it ended at my parents's house, all of us (minus Don), and no power.  This year of course, Sandy arranged for the same tree-limb-strewn and power-less Halloween for that part of Connecticut.  Talking with my folks this week as they update me on the status of things has sent me tripping down memory lane in a major way and wishing quite a bit that we could all be up there together for this, even without electricity.  

But here we are, and today was lovely.  Don was home (a Halloween first, since having kids) and Amy and William went trick-or-treating for the first time, and they looked adorable and did a great job. They both are growing up so fast... sigh. 

Okay, this post is going to degrade into sentimental nonsense - can't have that!  
Hope everyone had a great day! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Costumes Complete

Ta da! Both kids had complete costumes in time not just for Halloween but for our neighbors' party yesterday - go me!  Dorothy's dress turned out quite nicely and most importantly, Amy was happy with it.  I even made her a petticoat, ribbons for her hair, and put some makeup on her.  Toto came from Target.  William's costume might be a bit harder to guess... especially with his blue shark boots and the too-small knitted cap that he insisted on wearing, as part of his Han Solo get-up.  Don figured out how to make a holster from an old belt and our pruning shears case, and I glued a red ribbon up the seam of an old pair of pants, bought the white shirt, and sewed the little black vest.  His costume truly came together at the last minute, as I was so focused on the sewing effort of Dorothy that I kind of overlooked making anything for my poor boy who spends much of his day pretending to be Han. 

So... success!  This past week went by so fast.  We had an awesome weekend last, away with friends at Myrtle Beach.  I have lots of thoughts big and small to share about that, and some pictures too, and hope to get to it all before it's old news.  But for now I'm writing on borrowed time and need to get Dorothy and Han to bed.  Hope your weekend is delightful! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sewing Progress and Playroom Thoughts


Look at what is finally coming together! Dorothy is off to a promising start, I am happy to report. I've probably said this on my blog a hundred times already but I REALLY love sewing. And that fact always kinda surprises me, because somehow sewing projects are constantly at the bottom of my list - I want to but  feel I couldn't possibly start something until the bathrooms are cleaned/the laundry is done/the kids stop bugging me, etc.  But once I just jump into a project, I love it so much that I question why I don't just make it a higher priority in my day, for goodness sake.  Anyway. 

Hey, remember those extremely cool bookshelves I whipped up (with Don's help) in the playroom?  Well, they looked great, and the thriftiness of the idea is awesome... but... in practice they didn't quite work out.  There were a few installation things I would change if I were doing them again, but mostly, the flexible nature of the gutters allowed the books to do some impressive forward flips off the shelf if anybody besides me set them in the ledge and tilted them precisely toward the wall.  So therefore, no one put the books away, and after a few nights of stories the daybed where we sit to read would look something like this: 


So... I unscrewed the shelves, tucked them away to try/modify another time, and brought the trusty yellow bookshelf back out of the closet and returned it to its former location.  I am much happier now.  So is the yellow shelf. 

After putting away the books and tidying up a bit I realized that my next home dec efforts really need to happen in this room.  Did I post here about the other changes in this room lately?  I can't remember and it's 11:15 pm so I'm not going to go back and look now... but the short version is that now my desk is up here, too.  We moved the extra tv and its cabinet to the garage and now my desk is opposite the daybed.  I still have my sewing table in the other corner, and generally this room works quite well as mommy-and-kiddos' playroom.   However, as functional as it all is, there is a serious lack of cohesive decorating.  I have some incredibly cute fabric that I think I might patch together for some quilted cases for these huge pillows, as well as for a new cover for the cute but sorta "dated" (I hate that word) tulip pillow in the rocking chair.  And, I think a new cover for the daybed is in order as well.  Maybe I'll even recover my sewing chair.  I've got ideas, people. 

So consider this a "before" post - hopefully I'll have some good progress to report on sooner rather than later, both for the costume and this room in general. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Little Things

One of the recent additions to my "favorite blogs" list is that of Sarah Marie, who has started a "Little Things"  Friday post that I'll be linking up to. This is a fitting way for me to quickly catch you up on some of the little (but very good) things that have been going on around here.  Here goes: 

1. A few weeks ago I sewed two little bags (all in the same afternoon!). Amy and William had each picked out a fat quarter at this great little fabric store we found, and Amy successfully pestered me into making something for her with it. I used a pattern for a larger tote I've made a few times, reduced the size, and churned out two in about two hours, maybe less. 

2.  At Target I found the cutest wall decals for the kids' room.  Amy and William share a room, and I don't really have a decorating "theme" - mostly just trying to keep it simple and quiet with meaningful pieces on the walls and an absence of branded or gender-specific decor.  Just nice colors and nice things for nice kids to look at.  But I thought these decals would be something fun and special for each one to have on his/her own side of the room, and to look at while falling asleep.  Success on all accounts. 

For William I chose the vintage-y cars/trucks/vehicles, which is right up his alley, and for Amy I picked the sea creatures, which is perfect for my animal-loving, science-y girl. (How many times can I use -y inappropriately?)


3.  I finally got another string of twinkle lights to go around the living room window. I've had them around the dining room window (left) since Christmas, but left them up for the nice evening light they add to the whole room.  After a bit of minor redecorating I decided that since I'm not likely to commit to drapes any time soon, I might as well do lights around the living room window to match.  Of course nothing is simple: first set I got from Lowes cost $10, which I thought was steep but accepted, but got them home and discovered that they were too short and too dim. Returned. Second set was from Target, $5, but these were too long and even dimmer. (And each time I was buying the simple 100-count white lights on white wire, 40 watts - no reason for a difference, people). Returned the Target ones and finally ended up at Walmart, where I think I got the original ones anyway, and found them for $2.88, and they are the perfect length and much brighter.  Go figure, but thank goodness for ol' Walmart.  I bought four boxes, lest I go through this exercise again. 

4.  Back in the kids's room: See that little table in front of the window?  It used to be black and live in the garage holding junk.  I spray painted the daylights out of it and now it is pretty and white and exactly the right size for a mutual nightstand.  Even found 3 blue bins that fit perfectly on the top shelf to hold.... well, something eventually. (Walmart again, $0.96 each).  Very pleased with this project. 

Oh, and since the backing is just cheap-o cardboard and didn't take the paint well I just glued scrapbook paper to it, which, miraculously, I HAD, and had exactly the right amount of.  Meant to be. 


5.  Feeling really lucky about these pretty saucers, and the mug they came with.  For $2 (total) at Goodwill.  They are Fire King by Anchor Hocking.  I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked at the bottom; I have coveted Jadite for the longest time but never knew the same type of glass was made in this pretty blue, which I have since learned is called Delphite.  The mug alone would go for $30-40 on ebay.  (PS - I just found that link when I did a quick google search for an example picture - but apparently I'm in good company with loving the stuff - if only I actually owned some...)    Anyway, now I have a start! 

6.  A not-so-little project for the weekend: Must. Make. Dorothy. Costume. Eek!  Wish me luck! 

I like this theme... might try to make it a regular Friday thing along with Sarah Marie.  Thanks for the idea and the link! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lowcountry October

Not quite feeling like fall yet around here... but we're enjoying a lovely month all the same. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One of Those Posts

I think I have some sort of blogging glass-ceiling problem.  Just when I think I'm doing well with a steady posting frequency something happens and suddenly two weeks go by without writing.

My excuse this time is that I have moved my desk.

And approximately 5 other small pieces of furniture in the house.

And I've rehung a lot of pictures.  Need to spackle.

It is all very exciting.  But that means that my little camera-card-reader-doo-hickey is in the desk drawer.  Upstairs.  I am downstairs.  I've moved my workstation but I can't seem to move my habit, so I keep finding myself with my computer on my lap on the couch, and cozy as that may be, it is not terribly productive.

Allergies are hitting something fierce right now.  Is it ragweed?  That's what I hear... Ug.

Amy is in some sort of almost-five-year-old stage of being afraid of the dark... and just about everything else.  It is always hard to know with her how much is genuine and how much is a ploy for attention.  Either way, we've had some unpleasant middle-of-the-night crying sessions that are leaving me a bit tired.  How did I ever manage when being awake in the middle of the night was a regular occurrence?

William is easy, by comparison.  He got a stuffed hedgehog puppet the other day which he just loves.  He also likes to wear this old, faded pink plastic garden pot (clean) on his head as a hat.  It fits perfectly.  He likes to walk around the house very seriously with his hat and his hedgehog.

I have fallen behind in the sewing department lately.  Seems to be October already, which means a very finite number of days to complete (or, ah, start) Amy's Dorothy costume before Halloween.  I also have a quilt that needs a few extra rows, and a whole heap of other inspirations I'd like to be acting on but just haven't gotten around to.

My thought with moving my desk upstairs to the sewing/playroom was that it would be more conducive to my doing some work in the morning before the kids get up - either taking care of my computer chores like paying bills (writing posts!) or trying to generate some creative momentum to (gasp) start an Etsy shop or write some stories or just make things for my own enjoyment... ANY of it would be a welcome addition to my day.

Problem is of course, waking up early when I am oh-so-fond of staying up late.  Hmmm.

Think I need to give my blog a makeover, too.  I don't really know how to do that.

I really like this post - and need to reorient myself to that mode of accomplishment.  I've been flying by the seat of my pants a bit too much lately.  Need a good list.

Oh, speaking of creative, I am going to a painting "class" with a friend tomorrow night.  I am very excited, hope it lives up to expectations.

Aaannnd I think that's about all I've got for tonight. Will procure card reader and unload pictures tomorrow... hopefully will have something better to show for myself. Till then!