Thursday, October 2, 2008


My life is lacking balance.

In the wake of my husband's raise being delayed and prices for just about everything going up and winter's heat bill looming I decided to reopen my etsy shop, Lilac Quilts and that's sucking all my time.

My formerly neat and tidy office now looks like a bomb went off in it and it's difficult to find a place to work in here.

I think I will have to set myself strict work hours to free me up to continue with the little things, like feeding and clothing the children. And sleep. Sleep is critical to creativity, and good parenting, and being a good wife.

So, I resolve to go to sleep very soon. And starting Monday I will not do any Lilac Quilts work until after dinner (I've got 3 custom orders to finish over the weekend and then I can relax a bit).

And now, sleep.

Take care everyone!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boo boos

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the toughest girl in town.

Tonight at her brother's soccer practice, Tirzah fell off a rock and smacked her forehead on another big rock. It swelled up impressively and I think it's at about its peak now. Tomorrow her poor head will be a riot of purple, blue and green.

We checked her for concussion, but she's fine. I'm still going to wake her up every couple of hours tonight anyway, because she's never had such a big bump on her head. In fact, I don't think any of my kids have had such a large bump.

It took her 3 deep breaths and about 4 minutes sitting on my lap with a cold water bottle before she decided she felt fine and wanted to go back to playing with the other non-soccer-practicing kids. A girl has to have her priorities, after all.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quiet around here

I've been a bad blogging girl. It just amazes me how life sneaks up on me and takes all my free time.

I did re-start my Etsy shop, Lilac Quilts and today's new item is a custom made apron, like the one I made back in the spring. I love that apron and if you did too I'd love to make one for you. What I like most is that I feel feminine in it, it will cover most of any dress I'm wearing and you can still I have what passes for a nice figure at 42.

More later, but now I have to take the third load of laundry off the line and start folding it all.

Have a good night everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The local wildlife

There's a frog in my lettuce. This isn't so incredible except for the fact that the container garden is on the deck on the second floor. That poor little guy had to hop up a flight of stairs just to get to my lettuce. I hope he gets a lot of yummy insects for his troubles.

The children are fascinated by him, particularly as he seems to come and go whenever he wants. It's like a hide and seek game, which pot is the frog going to be in today?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Today's project

Today I'll be making this dress. I'm using the pink version on the envelope. I've never made a lined dress before so I hope this comes out well.

The dress is for my niece's birthday party this Sunday. It's supposed to be 92 degrees out, not too amazing, until you consider that I live in New Hampshire. It isn't supposed to get that warm until August. In fact, right now it's 55 degrees and rainy out.

I'm really looking forward to trying it on - I think this pattern will accentuate my waist and flow over my hips in a floaty sort of way.

I've got to get working on it right away because after today I'm booked solid through the weekend and my husband has to work intermittently throughout the weekend. Saturday we have soccer games in the morning and a trip to the zoo with cub scouts in the afternoon. Sunday is the party. I need to carve out time to go to the gym and write those days as well, and make sure I don't stay up insanely late to get things done.

Off to work!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My office

Not many people read this blog - it is new and somewhat unattended but just the idea that I said I'd post pictures of my office once I had it cleaned out had me working to make sure I'd have it done today while it was still light out so I could take pictures.

This is my sewing table. It's really a small kitchen table that I plan to stain this weekend. The wood is rather pretty so I am going with a very light finish. The chair is on loan from the dining room and clashes horribly with everything in here, so it will be replaced as the budget allows.

To the right of the sewing table is an empty spot, waiting for a comfortable reading chair, preferably with an ottoman so I can stretch out and really get comfortable.

This is my writing table, where I am sitting right now. To the right of the table is a nifty 3 bookshelf setup that my son thought up - two bookshelves back to back and one more spanning the sides so they make up a cube of sorts. It also blocks my view of the door so I don't keep looking out to see what mayhem the children are up to.

Who says I have too many projects going on? I had a great idea for these shelves for next year. Plan out all the holiday gifts I want to make and put what I need to make them up on the shelves so I can see them all year and (hopefully) be inspired to work on them. These shelves were kindergarten open lockers but putting the whole unit on its side makes for a great storage unit. These shelves are between the writing desk and the space for a comfy reading chair.

The artwork was bought at Boskone. The one on the left is called "Plague" by Alan Pollack and the one on the right is "Soft Landing" by Sarah Clemens.

I love my office. It's peaceful and relaxing and it inspires me to get work done in here - whether craft related or writing related.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer time!

Today is the unofficial start of our Summer Break here at the homeschool. The standardized tests have been taken, photocopied (in case the answer sheets get lost in the mail), and are going back to the testing company later on today.

It's been a crazy year so far but things are looking up. I've moved myself back into my office (formerly my mother's room, and before that it was my office) and taken the opportunity to do some painting and decorating. It's lovely, but a bit cluttered so once it's tidied up a bit more and the curtains are hanging up, I'll take some pictures.

I thought today would be a good day to share my summer goals for house and family.

The biggest goal is that June is going to be "Healthy Eating Month" - everyone who lives here has been warned. There were complaints until I mentioned that watermelon is healthy and we'd be eating a lot of it.

I've got sweaters to knit for Chanukah, quilts to make for winter, and hat/scarf/mitten combos to make for various and sundry relatives for the holidays.

I have more landscaping work to do around the house, the container garden to tend to and harvest veggies from, and the lawn to keep mowed.

I have a cross stitch "Live, Love, Laugh" type quotation to make for my sister-in-law and a very nice cross stitch for my mother-in-law.

Of course there has to be a lot of playing around with the kids. It's really important that we get out and just hang out, having fun over the summer so I'm not always the mean mother that makes them do their Math.

So, what are you doing for your summer?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Home Improvements

This is the front of my house. I have never been fond of the before/after photo pairing because the befores always look so bad. Before this afternoon there were two big, overbearing bushes flanking the stairs and the paint on the railing was patchy at best. The two oldest boys did their best to cut down the bushes and I painted the railing. Now I want to paint the stairs and porch but I have to wash it down first then let it dry and it's going to rain Thursday and Friday. Maybe that will be a project for next week. Tomorrow I can plant the rest of the bulbs, plants and trees I bought. The boys will be happy to cut down more bushes and rip up more vines for me leaving me to do the digging and heavy lifting.

My husband, wonderful man that he is, says the landscaping exists to make me happy so if I'm not happy with it, I should change it.

Am I lucky or what?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Zach is 10

Yesterday was Zach's 10th birthday. Wow. Zach tried very hard to be born too early but wound up being born at 38 weeks. I was on bedrest for about 3 or 4 weeks and there is a lot to be said for bedrest, let me tell you! He's the only one of my children that didn't threaten to go past the traditional "give birth or else" date of 42 weeks.

As we say around here, I love him with the mad crazy love! He's growing up to be a compassionate, goofy, "follows the beat of his own drummer" kind of person and I couldn't be prouder.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Holidays seriously throw me for a loop - it takes so much energy to get everything ready, cook for so many people, make sure everything is as good as I can make it (with an eye toward making the
holiday better in some way than last year) that after the big day or days, I take some time off.

I'm back now though and this week it's all about the gym. Public school kids have the week off and so the kids' portion of the gym is open in the morning as well as the afternoon. We've been hitting the gym between 8 and 9 every morning this week. I am amazed at what a good workout I can get in so despicably early. Sadly, then we get home and want to just hang out and not do things like Math and History because we're beat.

The silver lining to all this is that all my pants now fit me - even the ones that were too tight a couple of weeks ago. I'm really happy and proud of myself for putting in such hard work. The scale hasn't budged but someday it will. I can't keep up all this good exercise and hip shrinking and stay at 170 pounds forever.

No photos for today because, seriously, me at the gym is not a good photo-op.

And now, I think it's time to go to sleep. More sleep means more recuperation for my poor, aging muscles and after the weights I did today they really need it!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Passover Seder

You can tell the children set the table, nothing is straight and some people had two spoons but no forks. All they know is that I appreciated their help and that a bit of silverware bartering went on before we ate.

This is one of the two tables for our Passover Seder this year. We had 21 people the first night and 19 the second night. As always, it was a crazy busy meal with food and plates going back and forth to the kitchen at breakneck speed. I love every minute of it, even now that it's all over and a it looks like a dirty dish bomb went off in my kitchen.

I didn't do any cleaning last night after dinner - when your 21-year-old niece wants to chat, you chat. I feel very lucky that all my nieces and nephews want to sit and talk to me, tell me what's going on with them and sometimes tell me about problems they are having. I have a long history of accepting them as they are and not blabbing to their father (since nothing was ever life-threatening). I wouldn't dream of doing the dishes instead of listening to them. I hope my own kids are as comfortable with me as they get older.

The best news of the weekend is that a long-time family friend is getting married, on our anniversary. We all take that as a good omen because Paul and I will have been married for 15 years on the day she gets married.

And now, my kitchen is calling to me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I sat down a few times yesterday to blog but was always called away.

I had exciting news, too. The Moonglow quilt is finished. I worked on it Monday night, from the time the kids went to bed until almost 3 am. Normally I wouldn't stay up so late but I was not tired. I slept in a bit on Saturday and Sunday and just didn't need to go to bed at a regular time on Monday.

After the quilt was done, I brought it upstairs and put it on the bed. Paul never even moved - not even when I turned the bathroom light on so I could see what I was doing. When I got up I said "Look dear, the quilt fairy has visited you!"


And I was just called away again. But this time for a very important project - cleaning out the garage. I told the children after breakfast we would spend 45 minutes cleaning out the garage. Saturday is bulk pickup day so we want to get out as much as possible before then. It's scary how much we took out, and if you compare that to what's still in there - oy!

I should have taken a before picture because the after is going to be great.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Great 2008 Passover Countdown

I have 5 days (to the hour) to get my house, my pantry and my kids ready for Passover. My husband and I have been married for 14 years so this is the 14th year I've done this, and every year it looks like a hugely daunting proposition. This year my Mother-in-law is in Israel, so it all falls to me.

First there is the Spring Cleaning aspect. Clean the house from top to bottom, air it out, bleach the counter tops (I didn't choose white, but I'm stuck with them) - you know the drill. Second is reorganize the pantry and take out anything with flour or any form of leavening - you'd be surprised how many things have flour or leavening in them. Third is get the kids ready, which means try to work on their attitude. We're a big carb family - we have home-baked goods most days and often for more than one meal. They don't take Passover well.

Here is the apron (Butterick 4945) I made myself yesterday:

It's a very cute green leaf and pink bud fabric. Tirzah has a matching apron but I'm saving hers for a surprise once we start the Passover cooking. This photo is on my front porch. Once the leaves come in, it's a beautiful view.

I made 5 new potholders as well and bought some very cute green, white and pink kitchen towels. At least the kitchen will look all fresh and spring-y. These new kitchen things are really inspiring me to redecorate the house. Redecorating is not in the budget but I am so tired of the look of our house that I may have to come up with a new plan and slowly work toward it. The problem is that I'm not very good at home decorating. I think I don't have an eye for it, but probably I just haven't had enough practice. I have a couple of decorating books and magazines that I may have to pull out for inspiration. But not until next week.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Good morning!

It's a lovely morning here - Paul (the fabulous husband) is making pancakes for breakfast with Josh's help, Ben is playing on the computer, Zach is reading The Zombie Handbook and Tirzah is watching PBS Kids.

In short - it's peaceful.

Yesterday I had my hair cut and colored. The young girl who does my hair does a really great job and always makes me feel fabulous when she's done with me. If you live in NH and need a new stylist, Meghan at Hair Excitement in Nashua is the person to go to.

After the hair, I went to the airport to see my mother-in-law off. She headed out for Israel yesterday and will be there for a month. I accused her of leaving me in my time of need (Passover is a huge holiday and I'll be running the whole thing this year) but I am happy she'll be having such a good time. It looks like seeing people off at the airport is becoming passe, there were so many people traveling alone. Joan had an entourage of 8 people with her, and I know of at least 5 others who couldn't make it to the airport that said good bye to her earlier in the day.

We went out to dinner and then I brought Ben shopping with me. He wanted to buy a new book and I needed a few things. I am really pleased with my relationship with Ben. We had a good time out together - just a mom and her 12 year old. We laughed and joked and just had fun talking to each other. I hope it lasts throughout teenagerhood. The shock of the day came when we were in the music section, looking for the same CD. We do not have the same taste in music at all, but we were both looking for the Amy Winehouse CD. We listened to half of it on the way home and we really like it.

Yesterday was very low on the arts and crafts progress, although I did get a few rows done on a string grocery bag and late last night I knit a couple of inches on Tirzah's sundress. I've moved from the linen stitch variegated yarn to the stockinette stitch white yarn and it's zipping right along. Her birthday is in 10 days so I'm rather relieved to be at the faster knitting part of the dress.

Today is sewing day - 6 potholders, 2 aprons, hem a skirt and bind a quilt. That should keep me off the streets!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Finished Object Friday

I don't know about you, but I am forever starting new projects at the expense of finishing the old ones. It's not that I don't want to finish what I start, I just get bored and want to move on to something fresh and new. My husband is very glad this extends to craft projects and not relationships.

Before we were married we had an apartment and I started a few projects but hadn't finished anything yet. I looked around and it was a bit messy with dried flowers, bits of quilting fabric and cross stitch thread lying around and had a moment of panic. Suddenly, I was certain that he would never want to marry me because I was spending all this money on things and making the apartment messy with nothing to show for it. I was so sure this was a major character flaw that I was sobbing when I explained this to him. He laughed at me, gently, as he hugged me. It didn't (and still doesn't) matter to him if I ever finish anything or how much I spend of craft supplies (keeping the general household budget in mind) as long as I am happy.

He's such a keeper!

It's been about 17 years since then and although I have finished many things - often in a flurry right before a holiday or birthday - there is a lot left unfinished. It's bothering me, so to this end, I bring you Finished Object Friday - where I try to present one new finished object a week.

Ambitious? You bet. But if I know I've got to come up with a new finished thing every Friday I'll work harder at getting things completed.

Today's finished object is a denim skirt. This has been sitting in my mending pile, waiting for a waistband and a hem for a couple of years now. I'm really happy to say I had to take it in at the waist and hips since I first fitted it to my dress form.

Photo taken by my son, Ben, who completely doesn't understand blogging a domestic life.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Logan's Blocks

I love alphabet blocks, I always have. I love the pictures on them and the building you can do with them. I hate how most kids turn them into projectiles because those corners are really sharp!

A long time ago, before we had children I found the perfect solution - cross stitch blocks assembled with plastic canvas on the inside to give them structure. I love them, and decided I had to have the pattern to make for my kids. Once we had our first, I knew this was a shockingly ambitious project and decided there was no way I could make them while actually raising babies.

Fast forward 12 years and while organizing last year I ran across the book. I now have 2 1-year-old nephews and a baby niece - how perfect would these blocks be?

Now, what you don't know about me yet (but it will become very obvious as time goes on) is that I think I can do anything in about no time. I really can do just about anything but I never estimate how long it will take me to do it. I seriously thought I could get these blocks done in a couple of months, and I was going to make 4 sets of them. That's 624 sides, each side taking me about an hour to do.

I've backed it down to making just one set this year and I am keeping my fingers crossed that they'll get done. A little math tells me I have 132 sides left to do and 265 days to do them in, but I can't forget to factor in sewing the blocks up and stuffing them.

He's a lucky little guy, that Logan.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Paul's belated Chanukkah gift

with optional cat attachment.

In the interest of getting the quilt on the bed some time in 2008 I need to bind it and then maybe quilt the borders more. The borders could survive without more quilting, but I'd like them to be finished properly.

Tonight I've got nothing to do (Ha! Right! The work never ends around here.) so I'll be able to work on it tonight. I like to bind by hand because it's relaxing and I don't have to worry about pushing this huge quilt around on the table while using my machine.

Today's Menu is:

Ham and eggs
Macaroni and cheese (home made for me, from a box for the kids)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What's for breakfast?

This morning we're having spice muffins with spring-y orange and yellow sprinkles. I won't tell anyone the sprinkles are really left over from Halloween if you don't.

Lunch will be grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade wheat bread and dinner will be pasta and sauce. It's a whole vegetarian day and no one will even notice.

So, welcome to my blog - I hope you stop by often!

Spice Muffins

2 c. white flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. shortening
1/3 c. applesauce
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. vanilla soy milk
2 large eggs

cinnamon, mace, ginger, nutmeg to taste - we like our muffins very spicy and with sprinkles.

Mix and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.