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sakon76: (Sakon)
Pressed for time and stressed out of my mind. I may do summary/reviews later, but for now, here's what I've read in the last couple months.

Title: Spiderlight
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Length: 291 pages

Title: Every Heart A Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Length: 169 pages

Title: Rilla of Ingleside
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Length: 277 pages

Title: Searching for Dragons
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Length: 242 pages

Title: Talking to Dragons
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Length: 255 pages

Title: The Runaway Quilt
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Length: 329 pages
sakon76: (Sakon)
Have a baby draped on me, sleeping. Haven't had this experience as much with Jazzy as I did with Squiddle since, y'know, I now have a toddler to run after too. Just going to lean back, close my eyes, and enjoy my baby.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Still doing the shuffle of recovery. I (mostly) feel fine, but I sound like the living dead. Last night was fortunately better, as I had a guild meeting. Where I was voted and sworn in as Secretary for the next year. On top of running the Block of the Month and a Nine-Patch Exchange and sometimes helping out with Quilts For Kids. As one of my friends in the guild observed, "if you want to get something done, ask a busy person." Well, I expect it'll be good for me.

I'm also pondering which quilts I might want to enter in the quilt show in a couple months. Of the ones I've made and still have, there are five that spring to mind as maybes: the black/orange crane quilt, Wonderful Husband's flag quilt (the show's theme is "As American As..."), Squiddle's dinosaur quilt, Squiddle's sunflower quilt, and I need to pull out and get quilted the top from the round robin last year, since the show would like all those exhibited together if possible.

I'm four books behind in my blogging for the year, and currently working on my fifth, Rilla of Ingleside. I read maybe the first half of Montgomery's Anne Shirley books when I was younger, but I never got to this one, and I think it's a good thing, because I don't think I'd've liked it then. Now, it's interesting and I'm liking watching Rilla mature. Though the baby she's taking care of keeps taking me aback when she mentions things like him being exactly on track, weighing nine pounds at four months of age. Um. My babies were almost ten pounds when they were born. ^_^;; And they don't even hold the family record! I don't think I've ever held a baby that small.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Urgh. Only one out of the four of us slept well last night, and he's the one who has his own room. Nonetheless, stuff got done today including, yes, the purchase of two African dwarf frogs for the fishtank. Plus another bundle of plants for it - this time telanthera cardinalis. I'm figuring every couple of weeks I'll add a new species and a new plant to go with it, pulling out the plastic plants as I go. Of course, I'm only planning to add like two more species: some ghost shrimp, and probably some rasboras.

One thing that I wish I could find online is a tank stocking calculator. Something that says if you have this size of tank, how many fish you can you fit in it. With inputs for things like "I want X number of Y type of fish" where it will calculate their size requirements for you and do pop-up warnings if a type of fish will try to eat one of the others you've selected.

Also today I did get some more seeds planted. Sugar Pie pumpkins, Charentais melons, Minnesota Midget cantaloupes, Sugar Baby watermelons, rainbow chard, and jalepenos. Counting the popcorn seedlings this afternoon, it looks like I got somewhere around a 75% germination rate, which is not great, but also not terrible for a year-old packet. And that's why I planted the entire packet! Anyway, now I'm at the point where I need to fill more seed starter packs with soil. And research vegetative cloning of my surviving tomato plants....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Not much going on at chez Stonham since we've all fallen under the flu crud to varying degrees. Wonderful Husband took today as a sick day. And even Jazzy has a snotty nose and a nice chesty cough going! But none of it is worth a doctor's visit - fortunately Squiddle's fever broke Monday morning, otherwise we would've hauled him in for poking and prodding. And he was miserable enough as it was.

Unfortunately, however, the fact that we're all sick has meant no playgroups and classes for Squiddle this week! So he's been bouncing off the walls at times, which has drained me down further. Today, though, I'm hoping constitutes a turning point.

This afternoon, while both the boys were napping and Wonderful Husband was vidgaming, I did another session of "tame the kitchen garden." The dead bay tree was put in the brown bin for yard waste, as were the ginormous kale plants. The bin is FULL. No more yardwork until Tuesday, I guess. Though I need to examine the bottom of the pot the bay tree was in, since it died of drowning - the pot clearly needs more drainage holes before I use it again.

The hundred-and-seven popcorn plants just started peeping their heads up today, and the peas/spinach/radishes/beets/lettuce/carrots/whatnots in the one bed I've planted are all neatly sprouting. As are the onion sets at my parents' place that I thought wouldn't sprout, so goes to show what I know! Tomorrow we're due for more rain, which makes me happy, but... I'd kind of like a dry week so the back lawn and kitchen garden paths could get mowed. Ah well. Grass is always greener and all that.

I also did a 10% water change on the fish tank this afternoon and will probably add in a few more critters tomorrow. Likely either a couple African Dwarf Frogs or half a dozen ghost shrimp, depending on which one excites Squiddle more when we're at the store....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Well, the Squiddle is sick, with what's probably the flu. We're keeping him dosed with kiddie acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and if he's still feverish and coughing and congested and miserable tomorrow, we'll get a same-day appointment for him with our pediatrician.

Jazzy, meanwhile, has probably got a milder version of the same thing - runny nose, but no fever or coughing. He's also, at four months, outgrown the six-month sizes of clothing, so today I'm digging out the nine-month bin....
sakon76: (Sakon)
I planted 107 popcorn seeds (one whole packetful) on Tuesday. Will be interested to see how many come up. Meantime, in the garden bed I planted with fifty bajillion seeds a week or so ago, the radishes and mizuna are popping their heads up and I think I saw the first sprouts in the spinach and snow peas areas. (Also in that bed: mesclun, lettuce, cucumbers, two types of beets, leeks, carrots, arugula, and parsnips. Plus the potatoes and calendulas that had self-seeded from last year. I may have drawn myself a map so I remembered what's where.)

We bought a betta to add to the tank, so that's up to six fish now and everybody seems happy thus far. I'm going to wait a week or two before adding anything more. I'm thinking maybe some mollies or guppies would be pretty, but I want to do some research first.

I got an out-of-the-blue call today that pretty much summed up to "Hi, you don't know me, but I was given a bag of quilting fabrics and I don't really do that, so would you like them?" Seems someone (I suspect one of my guildmates) had given Shirley my phone number. And I love the fabrics she gave me - they're quite varied and I think I'll find them useful.

Also today, my sister, after two weeks in the hospital, has finally been released to go home. Hooray! This extended postpartum stay involved an abcess the size of a tennis ball. *grimace* Nobody was really happy about that. And she's still on antibiotics. But she and niecelet finally got released. And apparently the frozen breast milk I shipped up has come in handy, so at least that was good.

And, last but definitely not least, Wonderful Husband and I have now been married thirteen years. ^_^ Still my lover and my best friend, even if we don't get to date or dance as much as we used to. ^_^
sakon76: (Sakon)
Since my writing teacher told me I should write down the "out of the mouths of babes" stuff so I remember it in years to come....

Squiddle currently sleeps, most nights, under his blanket and one of the quilts I've made him. In the specific order "quilt down there, blanket up there." Very important.

Also, in my car his car seat is behind the driver's seat, so when we're driving and he asks me "what that?" I frequently have to guess what he's looking at. The other day I guessed "a billboard?" and he came back with "yes, dat a building board." ^_^

And, as of two days ago, Jazzy has mastered rolling over onto his tummy!
sakon76: (Sakon)
One little boy napping in his bed, the other napping on my left arm. I would like to be sewing right now, but I'm pretty certain Jazzy will wake if I try to move him.

Mt. ToBeRead is way too tall ATM, but I've gotten through another book I should blog about soon, as well as volume 8 of A Bride's Story.

In the background I hear the humming of the 28-gallon fishtank we took possession of from my parents yesterday. A thorough cleaning, new gravel, and running the rocks and plastic plants through the dishwasher has hopefully taken care of the snail infestation. I've added in a few live plants as well, and as they grow I hope to get more and eventually phase out the plastic ones altogether. Currently the tank is inhabited by four neon tetras and one catfish.

I am so very, very unhappy with the political state in the USA right now. I remember a few years ago a friend joked that what was screwed up in comic books was not the powers or outfits or interpersonal relationships - it was the politics. Such as Lex Luthor getting elected president and declaring Gotham no longer part of the country when it got devastated by an earthquake in the No Man's Land arc. At the time, I agreed and found his point funny. I'm not laughing any more. Time to get Jazzy his passport. Partly to visit his grandparents in the UK this winter, but also partly... just in case. In case things continue to go horribly, horribly wrong.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Sister had a CT scan this morning, which revealed an abdominal abcess. This was followed by surgery to deal with it. Hopefully, knock on wood, this is going to take care of everything! But meantime niecelet is going to be on formula again for at least 24 hours and my sister (possibly because of the infection) has not been producing enough milk for her. So tomorrow morning I'm going to put together and ship a relatively expensive care package of all the breast milk I've been sporadically pumping and freezing over the last couple months. I think part of the reason I've been holding off on taking care of donating it to Mothers' Milk Bank was maybe in case something like this happened...? In any case, not so good that she needs it, but good that I have it for my sister to use.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Niecelet almost a week old now and still in the hospital. Not for her - though she did spend two days in NICU - but for my sister, who keeps spiking fevers despite being pumped full of various antibiotics. She is Not Best Pleased, and no wonder. I had to spend a week in the hospital when I was expecting Squiddle and I was nearly climbing the walls. How much worse must it be for her, with a new baby?

On a lighter note, I've finished reading my first book of 2017!

Title: Children of Earth and Sky
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Length: 571 pages

Review )
sakon76: (Sakon)
Today is one of those days where I wish I had a flagpole in my yard. So I could fly the American flag at half-mast. A good man leaves office and is succeeded by a man who is the cream of society... in the Pratchett sense of "or at least that bit that floats to the top."


Today redeems itself on a personal if not national level because I am now an auntie!!!! My niece Sibyll was born this morning. ^_^
sakon76: (Sakon)
Of course as soon as I did a "you can have my LJ when you pry it from my cold, dead hands" post, there arises a valid reason to migrate from this platform, which several of my friends have already done. And which I will probably do when I can hustle together the time and energy.

Meantime, my last four books I read last year:

Title: Deadly Gamble
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Length: 379 pages

Review )

Title: Deadly Deceptions
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Length: 367 pages

Review )

Title: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Length: 352 pages

Review )

Title: Next Steps in Machine Quilting
Author: Natalia Bonner
Length: 142 pages

Review )

2016 totals: 27 books read for a total of 8393 pages.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Somehow, despite Wonderful Husband stepping forward out of the tree shadows, two of the quilts have a bit of dark shadow on them in their pics. Sigh. Reshoot sometime soon. Meantime, here's "You Are My Sunshine":

Sunflowers quilt.  Made in September 2016 for my older son on the birth of his brother.  Blocks won from the Orange County Quilters Guild in May 2016. Cornerstone sunflower fabric inherited from my grandmother....

I made this for Squiddle and gave it to him when Jazzy was born in September. He currently sleeps under it. ^_^ I won the blocks from the Orange County Quilters Guild block of the month lotto in May 2016. Two of the blocks are mine - upper left and bottom center. The brown sashing is a purchased remnant - I used nearly all of it; one of the sashes is pieced! The blue is from my Costume College Bargain Bazaar haul. And the sunflower cornerstones are actually fabric I inherited from my maternal grandmother, the one who taught me to quilt. I like using her fabric in this quilt I made for her great-grandson.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Meh. I'm three quilts and four books behind in things I want to post about here! But for the latter, at least, I have to wait until the LJ folk fix their Java script - I have no access to my galleries to upload new pictures!

That said, I'm starting a new blog, one dedicated to my sewing and quilting, here.

Don't worry! I'm not abandoning LJ! The new blog is solely for the sewing stuff. My life and my peeps are here. I've got a lifelong paid account, and I intend to cling to LJ until it dies a hard, cold death on its own.

So, let's see. What else? Christmas ended up coming together in the last day or two before the actual date. Wonderful Husband is off this week so we've been sort of teamworking to get some stuff around the house done that usually slides and piles up. Squiddle is still resisting our nudges about potty training. Jazzy is a happy, fat, gurgly baby. And it's just over three weeks until I get a niece.

Ah, amusing thing about the niece. For Squiddle, Wonderful Husband and I chose not to know the gender, so of course no one else did either. (Save the doctors, of course.) For Jazzy, we had a hard time deciding on his name - I think we only finally decided like the day before he was born. So in neither case have my parents known the name of their grandchild-to-be. Well, my sister is continuing the tradition! She's teased us by saying it starts with "S" and is not a common, though also not an unknown, name in this country. I told her I was perfectly okay not knowing ahead of time - I appreciate the mystery. But consequently my parents and I are referring to the baby as Vera. The name (and yes I know it doesn't start with an "S") being pulled from The Beatles' song "When I'm 64," namely the line "grandchildren on your knee / Vera, Chuck, and Dave." And since my parents already have two grandsons to fit the rest of the line....

We are all dorks in our own ways. ^_^
sakon76: (Sakon)
Jazzy dozing on his playmat. Squiddle working on his fine motor skills (aka playing with playdough aka learning that no matter what colors you smush together it always ends up hideous brown). Both stockings done save for hanging loops and nametags.

Onward to victory!
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle in his room napping. Jazzy laying on my left arm, napping. Winter rain, temporarily halted. It's turned cool (for SoCal) the last couple days and Jazzy's been wearing the baby sweaters his Granny knitted when I was expecting Squiddle. Gratifyingly, they'll probably keep fitting him for a while!

On my sewing machine are two Christmas stockings for the boys, sewn from pale green velveteen and burgundy damask, with gray silk dupioni linings, all of which I got at the Costume College Bargain Bazaar in my two trashbags full of stuff for $10. I also have been stitching at the counted cross stitch stocking I got in the same place, for Wonderful Husband, but that's not going to be done in time for this year's Christmas.

Presents to wrap, presents to wrap! And one (maybe two) still to sew. Squiddle's in the process of getting graduated from MegaBlocks to Duplo blocks, and I'm making up a pair of drawstring playmats, one for our house, one for my parents', to make cleanup time easier. And only one quilt being given for Christmas this year - it's Jazzy's inaugural quilt. Which sets me at three quilts behind on posting them to this blog! I'm actually considering getting a second blog (blogspot maybe? or wordpress?) to dedicate just to quilting. In any case, I experimented with a different brand of batting for this quilt, and was surprised when it turned out much puffier after washing than the usual Warm and Natural brand I use. Not bad, just different, and not wholly what I was expecting.

Anyhow, time to log off and go stitch a bit more while there's quiet. (And maybe bake cookies tonight.)
sakon76: (Sakon)
We're running late this year. Our Christmas cards just got mailed out and our tree put up today. Squiddle had a grand time with the latter - he's big enough now to be putting ornaments on the tree. Though for the next several years, at least, all the ornaments are going to be wood and fabric and my nigh-unbreakable vintage plastic ones!

Squiddle is actually quite the character at this point. The other day, I picked out a blue t-shirt with some cartoonish figures in a plane, a train, and an automobile, and plain black shorts to go with it. He rejected the shorts I chose and insisted on wearing a pair of tan plaid shorts instead. His reasoning? "Now I look like Daddy." Um, Wonderful Husband is not prone to wearing shorts or trousers that look like they belong on a golf course, so... no? My best guess is that Wonderful Husband often wears blue shirts and tan slacks.

(And, relatedly, why DO so many of the shorts/trousers options for little boys look like hideous plaid golfing wear?)

Jazzy, meanwhile, has a very sweet smile, is quite willing to be amused, and has finally started sleeping through the night. He also, at three months old, weighs 14 pounds. This amuses me because his weight is one stone, and his first name means "stone" and his last name means "stone village." :)
sakon76: (Kitten)
Last week, our visitors (my mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, and, separately, my sister) all flew home. My father's 70th birthday party, Thanksgiving, and my sister's baby shower were all successfully pulled off. So then, of course, I hit a bit of an emotional crash and Christmas stress. Whatever. I got past it by sewing. I can't explain why needle and thread, or preferably sewing machine and thread, help me work my mental/emotional knots out. I'm just glad it does, especially now that a toddler and an infant stymie my fiction writing abilities. I have faith that the latter will come back eventually, but I don't know when. So some creative outlet is good.

My sister's baby shower, on the 26th of November, came off rather well. The weather held good just long enough for fifteen of us all to have an al fresco lunch on my parents' new patio, then stormed while games were played an gifts opened. And as the party broke up, the sun came out and there was a double rainbow!! A good omen, I hope. My sister got weepy about at least two gifts, the first and last. The first was our aunt and myself going in on it together to purchase the glider my sister wanted. The last was this:


I'd told her I was going to make her a baby quilt...

And today was the December meeting of the Orange Grove Quilters Guild. I hustled the boys down to my parents' bright and early so I could sign up for one of next year's classes. And I got in the class. Next June, I'll be taking a workshop with Bonnie Hunter! At guild, I also did a show-and-tell of my other recent quilting finish, which is a piece I made for Wonderful Husband fifteen years ago and only just got around to quilting:

sakon76: (Sakon)
Big family Thanksgiving, with fourteen adults, one toddler, and one baby, successfully pulled off by my mother.

Yet somehow the best part of the day was not talking with friends and family at the shindig, nor eating a lot of very good food. It was sitting in a skychair in my backyard this afternoon, hand-sewing binding on a quilt, watching my three-year-old chase a butterfly, calling out "Butterfly! Come back!"

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