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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: (Sakon)
Everything came together in time, which is always nice and makes me feel like I'm winning at this "grownup" thing.

Last night was the family Christmas dinner at my aunt and uncle's, and exchanging gifts with them and my cousins while Skypeing with my sister, and then this morning was Christmas brunch with my parents, and opening the remaining bulk of gifts while Skypeing with my inlaws.

The Squiddle, being the baby of the family, of course made out like a bandit. But I think everyone got some things they liked. I certainly know I did! And this year I gave quilts to my dad, and Squiddle.

A couple days ago, Wonderful Husband and I went to see Star Wars. It was good, but I have feelings about some of the characters, old and new. Who knows, maybe fanfic will result?

But not tonight. Tonight, after Squiddle goes to bed, Wonderful Husband and I intend to try out the quilting-themed board game [livejournal.com profile] toothywiki gave us....
sakon76: (Sakon)
I... am probably not going to be posting any fics on Christmas Day this year. I want to, I just don't have the time/energy/concentration to write. The reason I've been doing so much quilting this year is that sewing is a creative outlet that withstands interruptions. Being dragged away from the machine by tiny hands? No big deal. I can pick up where I left off later. Writing, however, is completely different. To get into the zone, I need uninterrupted time. Not much of that around here these days.

That said, I am the quilting boss of everything at the moment. After realizing that the main present for someone was not likely to arrive on time, I pulled out a finished quilt top, put together a backing, basted it, and spent the last three evenings madly quilting it. From like 9pm to past midnight each night. It's not a small quilt - 75" x 94". And it is now DONE and chugging away in the washer. Compare that to me needing weeks to do something roughly the same size a year ago. So on that, at least, I'm pretty chuffed. And I'm going to sleep sooooo well tonight....

Tomorrow, more gift bags. And the library. And possibly seeing Star Wars.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Most of the Christmas shopping has now been done. Some will get here/there in time, some won't. Que sera sera.

I finally finished the backing for Squiddle's Christmas gift quilt, basted it, and sat down and quilted and bound it. After tossing it in the washer, I pulled out a bed-sized quilt top I finished a year or so ago (I know it was after I started quilting again, but even so, I look at it and facepalm, thinking "I could have done THAT better" on stuff no one but a quilter will ever be able to pick out). I pieced together the fabric I'd bought for its backing, and got it basted and half quilted yesterday. I'm booking!

Since I seem to be in a flow for quilting, I'm debating whether I should stick with it once I finish this quilt, and try to quilt up the two other tops I have ready, or if I should switch gears and make Squiddle some flannel jammies. Wonderful Husband thinks I should do the jammies, but I want to keep quilting....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Yesterday morning, I found out that at Squiddle's toddler group this morning, we'll be doing an ornament exchange.

So after a day of running around and having dental work done, etc., I remembered that I had seen a tutorial for fabric star ornaments that seemed promising, and re-found it via Google.

I am a quilter. I have a LOT of fabric strips already cut.

So last night I ironed and wove and trimmed and this morning pulled out some embroidery floss and made hanging loops, so I now have five stars for the exchange. Not a difficult task, just time-consuming. Which, Wonderful Husband pointed out, is true of most if not all crafts.

Incidentally, apparently the absolute best location for Squiddles is behind Mummy, wherever she may be sitting. Including on desk chairs. So I get a bare strip of the front to claim for my own as I type this.

On the other hand, he's really cute. :)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Nudging at holiday things. I don't know why, but I'm just not feeling the typical holiday urgency this season. Is it because we're not going to England this year? Is it because I hosted the family Thanksgiving, so my big effort thing is done? Whatever the cause, it's a dangerous feeling, because I have to fight my apathy in order to get things done in a timely manner.

I have not bought any Christmas gifts yet. And we have just barely started doing our Christmas cards. I'll drop the international ones (all we've done so far) at the post office tomorrow. Squiddle's Christmas quilt is still a top and nothing more. Though at least tonight I did begin the process of assembling the back.

And a couple Christmas presents arrived today, including Sister-In-Law's for Wonderful Husband. Which I have sewn up a drawstring gift bag for, and placed under the tree. Poor lonely gift! Hopefully others will soon join it. And over this and the next few years, I intend to sew more and more drawstring gift bags, slowly transitioning us over to using them instead of boxes and wrapping paper, at least for in-family gifts. I weaned Wonderful Husband off of paper napkins by a similar process. :)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Christmas went well. I Skyped my parents, but my sister was working. The Squiddle made out like a bandit (the baby of the family always does), but I'm quite happy with the selection of mostly books I got. Including the book on free-motion quilting I wanted! Wonderful Husband didn't get much, but then his giftlist pretty much consisted of donations to the Ferguson legal defense fund, and donations to Heifer International, which I'll give him money for once we're home. My inlaws also seemed to like their gifts.

My big thing this year was doing the Sparkle quilt sew-along as a gift for Wonderful Husband's parents. It was two weeks of very late nights, and my sewing machine has been promised a spa day once I get back, but I finished the quilt the day before we left. And MAN do I want that gently used Babylock Tiara the sewing machine shop down the street had. But even if it's still there when we get back, the price would be at least $4K and Wonderful Husband says I'd have to make room for it. Which means getting rid of at least a third, possibly more, of my fabric/craft storage area. And doing that, if I can manage it, will take time. And regrettably I'm at the wrong end of the year to just simply, say, donate all the supplies to the Costume College Bargain Bazaar.... :/
sakon76: (Sakon)
Wonderful Husband, Squiddle, and myself did one Christmas party at my honorary aunt and uncle's on Sunday, another at my blood aunt and uncle's Christmas Eve, and a final get-together at my parents' today on Christmas Day. A good time was had by all, with diminishing levels of unhappy baby at each event. They were kind of going along a continuum of loud/unfamiliar --> quiet/familiar, so we figure that helped. As expected, the baby made out like a bandit. :) Next year my parents plan to be sailing in Mexico for Christmas, so we are planning to head to England again for the holidays. Hopefully the Squiddle, who will then be a year and three months old, will tolerate the plane trip well.

Next up is my sister's birthday on Saturday!

In the meantime, peace and joy unto all of you, my friends.

Best wishes from my family to yours. )

And the obligatory baby photo. :) )
sakon76: (Sakon)
Another week where I'm burning the candles at both ends. I'm managing to stay on top of things... but just barely. As a weird side effect, though, BAM! I'm being hit by creativity. When I have no time to write! Isn't that always the way? The best I can do is make notes to myself and hope to pick things up once life calms down a little. I may or may not be able to do my traditional posting of stories on Christmas Day. We'll see.

We're not sending out holiday cards this year. There's been too much to do and not enough hours to do it all in. So we're letting them go. Next year we'll resume the tradition. Wonderful Husband did put the outdoor lights up, I changed out the mantel decorations, and together we assembled and decorated the Christmas tree. Non-breakable ornaments! Though this year Squiddle isn't mobile enough to be a worry on that score. Still, we have cats.
sakon76: (Sakon)
My family do Christmas lists. As in, "write out a list of things you would like to receive." It may seem a little cold-blooded and calculating, but, really, it's no different than someone having an Amazon wishlist. And GOD it makes it a hell of a lot easier for everyone doing the shopping.

The funny thing about this year, though, is that though I've dutifully updated my list (mostly books, a couple DVD/Blurays, and a few CDs), I can't actively remember what's on the list without thinking about it. Because although they're books I would love to read, films and programs I would enjoy (re)watching, and music I like, when it comes down to it, they're really just not that important. They're entertainment, nothing more.

I spent four years wanting one thing more than anything, and I've finally got it. Life gave me the present I wanted most, and right now he's wrapped up in a blanket I made for him, sleeping. Even during nights like last night, when he was forcing Wonderful Husband and I to tag-team just to save our sanity, I love our child, and am so thankful to have him. I could receive no gifts at all this season, and still count myself rich.

Happy holidays, and all life's blessings upon you as well, my friends.
sakon76: (Sakon)
When did it become twelve days before Christmas?

Fraggit, I haven't even sent out Christmas cards yet. Let alone started shopping for gifts.

Trying to work eight hours, spending two commuting, and still eating healthy meals and spending time with my baby and husband does not leave me time for anything else.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Saturday's sourdough bread turned out an inedible disk as it never rose. Yesterday's seems a bit better; we'll know for sure once we cut into it tonight. I used a different flour for it, and put it in the closed microwave oven along with a heating pack to help it during the rise. I'm figuring I'll keep doing a loaf on Saturdays and another on Sundays until I've got sourdough bread mastered.

Since yesterday was sunny and rain-free, Wonderful Husband and I ran errands, pulled Christmas stuff down from the garage rafters, and while I baked (the aforementioned bread and an apple pie), he took out the geranium that regularly tries to eat our front door, and hung our outdoor Christmas lights. A couple of the neighbors seem to be getting rather competitive about their light displays. I think we'll stick to our one row of icicles, thanks.

The two times Squiddle woke last night were at the worst points of my REM cycle, but I managed. The third time I got up with him was a matter of necessity on my part. Milk engorgement is a strange feeling. The best description I can give is that it feels like being a balloon inflated too full. Tight to bursting. And then, after Squiddle has nursed and the issue is resolved, the breast feels (comparatively) like a sack of pudding. Weird.

Lowe's has their bulbs half off, but I'm not going to buy any until I have time to plant them. And now that that geranium has been removed, even if the long front bed hasn't been rebuilt yet, I have plans for it. My garlic failure of this year was due to a failure to water. The front bed, however, is one of the ones with sprinklers on a timer. I'm thinking alternating patches of garlic, radishes/carrots/parsnips, and maybe blueberry bushes....
sakon76: (Default)
I have been intending to use November and the associated NaNoWriMo to work on Field of Stars. I don't think I'll be able to finish it in one month, no matter how hard I push, but I'm hoping to get a huge chunk of it written and hopefully have the whole book, draft 1, done by New Year's. Doing this kind of huge push, though, means a pretty big investment in time and energy, so I've been trying to get things as what need doing, done before the first.

I'm finishing up a dress I've been working on. I have this weekend earmarked for a set of linen fitted sheet and pillowcases. And somehow, somehow, I need to work on curtains. I've also been cleaning up the garden from summer and sowing the winter/fall crops. Wonderful Husband has been informed (though I will doubtless need to remind him) that I'm planning to absorb myself in the book, and thus the onus of cooking will fall further on him.

All this worked perfectly with Thanksgiving being done by my parents this year, and Christmas by us. It gave us time to get the house spruced up a little more, even.

Except yesterday my father finally got scheduled for knee replacement surgery. In mid-December. Which means we're flipping holidays, as it will be trickier for him to get around at that point, and our place has three stairs up to it which theirs doesn't, and it'll be all around easier that way....

Dammit, wrench being thrown in my NaNo plans! Because now I not only have to plan a major holiday meal for 8+ during the month, I have to speed up making-the-house-presentable. Sanding and painting furniture, painting the shower room, deep-cleaning things, rediscovering the surface of my desk and the areas of the office where I have stuff stacked, tidying the yard....

I hate having to be hyper-organized, and now I have to be so for the next month and a half.
sakon76: (Default)
If the dominant category on your gift list is lots of books? And you get lots of books? And this makes you happy? Then you just might be a bit of a geek.

My family traditionally does a huge Swedish smorgasbord on Christmas Eve, and Wonderful Husband and I exchanged gifts with them then. I think my inlaws didn't end up too shocked. This year I finally got brave enough to try the various types of preserved fish, and was pleasantly surprised. Which is not saying they're something I would like to eat all the time, but they're no longer something I'll actively avoid.

Christmas morning I went back down to my parents' home to, as requested by my mother, divvy up a couple huge boxes of linens left by my late grandmother. I let my sister have first dibs on most of it; I pick up nice linens fairly often at estate sales, and additionally have been a homeowner longer, so I'm more set up for such things. In the afternoon Wonderful Husband and I went with his family to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The pacing felt odd, but other than that I thought it was a pretty good film. I also think Stephen Fry was having the time of his life playing Mycroft. ^_^ We got a slew of trailers, including John Carter, which now I want to see though I reserve the right to snark about Avatar, Battleship, which I am ALREADY snarking about how much it's "borrowing" from Transformers, and The Dark Knight Rises, which I've already talked about here. Since we'd had a heavy meal the night before and we weren't fancying our chances at a restaurant on Christmas, I did a simple French herb chicken in the crockpot while we were at the theater. Sadly, it wasn't the best iteration of the dish I've ever made, but at least it was edible.

And today it was my turn to cook. I wanted to do a British-style Christmas dinner for the combined families, so I baked a ham and roasted a turkey and made mincemeat pies and roast parsnips, carrots, and potatoes, and steamed Brussels sprouts and peas, and we finally iced the Christmas cake and of course the Christmas pudding was already done and just needed white sauce. And on top of that, my sister leaves to go home tomorrow but her birthday is on Wednesday, so we got a cake and ice cream for that and gave her her birthday present today. And now it's all over and done and we have a fridge full of leftovers and probably two racks worth of dishes still to be washed. 'Tis the way of the season.

And tomorrow we take my inlaws and introduce them to our latest restaurant find, Lucille's. Particularly since Wonderful Husband's dad really likes a good barbequed ribs....
sakon76: (Default)
Finished doing Christmas cards last night, except for the two people who haven't given me their (new) addresses yet. Wonderful Husband is supposed to mail them today. Also got in my annual Youtube rewatch of A Muppet Family Christmas. Good stuff. I suspect that next year I'm going to just cave and find and buy the 2003 UK DVD release, since unlike the US one it doesn't have multiple scenes cut out.

Inlaws are arriving on Monday. House is a disaster, so is the yard, there's a ton of stuff we need to cook... essentially, no rest for the wicked this weekend.
sakon76: (Ahiru and Fakir)
Start: 124470
Finish: 125686
Daily Total: 1216
Monthly Total: 16970

Went to the gym today, as I was bad and didn't go last night. Also helped Wonderful Husband fix and hang our exterior Christmas lights. Debating whether or not it's kosher to have them on in the evenings now, or if we should wait until December 1st. Hit one plot point I'd forgotten in today's writing, but still have the last two to work in. Close. So very close to the end....
sakon76: (Default)
Got home and the house smelled wonderfully like Christmas pudding. Not being happy with our stockpot and its steamer insert, Wonderful Husband co-opted both of my canning pots (water bath and pressure) and used them to steam the two puddings instead. So now they get covered up and tucked away (probably in the back bedroom since it's (1) little-used, (2) cat-proof, and (3) the coldest room in the house) for the next month and ten days. Then, while I was washing up the dishes from his first round of endeavors, he mixed up the Christmas cake, which will be going in the oven momentarily.

Also, odd note from my last gym session: being a bit worn out on Elv1s and Daft Punk's Discovery album, I cast about my fake!Pod to see what else we had ripped from CD. *NSync's Celebrity album is pure suckage for the gym, but NKOTB's Hangin' Tough is actually not too bad.

And, finally, I found one of my plastic tubs which will fit the Singer sewing machine in it in most configurations (sitting right-side up, sadly, being the one it won't do; it's too long for the tub), and poured a gallon and a half of EvapoRust in with it. The machine has been sitting with its neck down for a couple of days, since that's where most of the internal corrosion is; I'm tilting it back and forth a couple ways so all the parts get a good soak. Then I'll do the head, let it all drain, and go back to seeing if I can get it to unfreeze.

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