Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Just a Peace of Me...

I always try and wait to post until I have pictures up and ready. But then I realized that this blog is really for me as much (or more maybe) as it is for you. I don't even know how many people read this, but that isn't the point. It's about weeding through the fog in my brain, finding what makes me tick, and saying "here I am, love me or leave me".

I grew up afraid. Physically afraid, for more reasons than I'll ever go into here, but more emotionally and spiritually afraid. If our parents model what we, as children, deem as appropriate behavior, then it's no wonder that I was afraid. I think my father's real emotions would scare him; actually, I think anyone's real emotions scare him. My father can deal with facts, with logic. Emotions may be facts (after all, when you are happy, that is a FACT), but so many times they are so NOT logical. My mother certainly has emotions and expresses them, but only if it's socially acceptable. I used to take care of my mother and her emotions, hiding my own from her to protect her fragile being. I love both my parents; I accept them as they are. But in the life I want for my present and future, I cannot continue to enable them in their fear. I understand the fear, certainly I lived my life like that for so long, too. But with the fear that comes with facing anger, grief, and all those other darker emotions comes strength....and even better, the room in your heart, your soul, and your spirit for pure, unadulterated happiness.

I understand that my family may disagree with what they view as my OPINIONS (or as my mother has said, "my perspective") on the events of the past. For ME, they are the facts of my life as I lived it. And it matters not if they agree or not. For now, for every moment I can have it, I have peace. And it took so very long for me to find. It slowly crawled into the corners of the airplane as I left my childhood home for Norway at 17. Over that year, it flooded me, filling me with a lightness of being, of my spirit that honestly I had never felt. It was okay, better than okay, to just be me, flaws and all. I went to Davis for college soon after, and the light became a fixture, and I never wanted to turn that light off. His name was, and is, Bob. At first a friend, then my boyfriend, my husband, my partner, the father of our children.....And in his eyes, and the eyes of my sons, I see that light. I finally realized that as much as they give to me, I give to them. I realized that the more I embrace myself and everything that means, the more I have to give. The more I love, the more I see, the more I create, and feel......the more I want from this life.

And at the end of the's this peace that pulls me through the still dark moments I have. It's the knowledge that every day, every moment is a new beginning for me to create any kind of life I want. Finally.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Grab a Cuppa! This is going to be a long one...

That's right...we have a lot of catching up to do here. I've been working on things the last few weeks that I need to update you all on, so grab a cup of joe (or tea, water, whatever), find a cozy seat, and let's get caught up.

Well...I guess this is obvious...another corner of my hive. I love this color on the walls - during the day it's so cheerful as the light streams in, and at night, it's so calming and soothing. I chose to accent our room in red for two reasons: I like the color combination, and the significance of red in Chinese culture. For those of you who don't know me personally, my DH happens to be Chinese. So in decorating our house, I've found a combination called "Eurasian chic" is what suits us best. It's very simple and non-cluttered, with only the things that we love and have personal meaning for us and our family. So...that means lots of things symbolizing both the Chinese and Scandinavian/Celtic roots of our family. Also, the bed and nighttables were handmade by Bob (in the earlier years before the kiddies).

Moving on...

You might remember me mentioning this dress. Well, I did finish it (with a few adjustments)! The zipper was giving me quite the fright, and after three times of ripping out the seams, I finally just sewed up the back seem and used four hooks-and-eyes to close up the top. I really love it; it's just so dang comfortable, especially with a tank or t-shirt underneath, my black leggings, and black ballet flats. Tres chic, mai oui? It's a McCall's pattern I picked up at Walmart for $2.99, and the fabric is from Joann's. Someday I'll model it for you...

A little bunny love! I had set out to make the whole bunny for the kiddies, but Will, being curious as only a 3 1/2 yr. old can be, saw this bunny's face and wanted him right away. He's a thrifted and felted bunny face, made with much love from my dear grandmother's sweaters. They have been sitting in my cedar chest for years, and I just couldn't depart with them, even though the were full of holes and such. So...felted they were and now are being turned into what I am calling "Funny Faces". After an overwhelming response from family and friends from the bunnies at Easter, I am now working on pigs, dogs, sheep, and cats. Keep reading...they may be for sale at Etsy soon!

That's right....

As soon as I get feedback from a few good friends on these prototypes, I hope to be up and running at Etsy. You know how inspiration often comes at the strangest times, in the strangest places? I used to plan my best lessons when I was still teaching in the shower in the morning before school. Well, this idea came to me while I was running on the treadmill at the gym! When I work out, I don't glow or glisten; I sweat. And having to stop every minute or so to wipe my brow and push back my sweaty bangs was not so fun. I looked for sweatbands online, but they were all, dare I say, rather masculine. I believe in equality as much as the next person, but I still want to look cute when I work out. I don't need a big Adidas or Nike on my forehead. So, being the problem solver that I am, I came up with the idea of the Wick Band. It's essentially a headband, with cute fabric on the front and an aborbent layer of terry cloth next to your head. It's elastic (covered also in terry cloth) that makes it adjustable for just about any sized head, and the terry cloth makes it more comfortable and absorbs sweat there as well. Make sense?

I'm also working on Wick Wipes (again fabric on one side, terry cloth on the other...a cuter towel alternative for the gym) and a Wick Tote (same idea, but in a tote bag, so the inside doesn't get all wet with your water bottle and clothes after you change). I did some research, and there doesn't seem to be anything like this around, so I hope that others might be interested in these as well. In addition to being useful at the gym, I thought the bands might be great when your gardening, and even for women in labor. Kind of weird, but you know how mussed up you get....the band would keep the sweat off your face and make you presentable for all of those pictures. Andyhow, I'll keep you posted....

I also am working on these in my "spare" time....

The head band theme seems to be stuck in my head. These are more for little girls (of which I have none in my immediate or extended family!) and are essentially braided. Again, I'm still working on the prototype, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Finally (yes, you're almost to the end), I couldn't let a Friday post go by without adding this picture, because it reminds me of the TRUE inspiration in my life. As long as I have the three guys in my life, I am truly blessed. All the rest is just icing on the proverbial for all of you, a little baby love...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Hive is Alive...

Finally....a moment to catch up. I didn't mean to be away so long, but between the kiddos being sick (again), me being sick (again), the hubby working night shift, and having to buy a new computer, I haven't been able to get to much blogging. I have been sewing and stashing and embroidering, though, so once I figure out all the new gizmos with the new computer, I'll be putting some pictures up.
It looks like spring is finally here, and I am thankful. Not just for the nice weather outside, but for finally finding a spot of peace amid the chaos of my life in the last year. It certainly has not been easy getting here, and I pretty much have had to cut all ties from my biological family. I think my parents did the best they could with what they had, but now that I am a parent myself and have a family of my own, I really can't have them in my life. I think back to my childhood and is it that I thought that was normal? Did I ever really have anything (other than genetics) in common with my parents and my sister? I want a life so different, and my priorities are so different, that I often wonder about these things.
So...I am grateful for spring. Grateful that I am alive (unfortunately, in my darkest hours, there were THOSE moments), grateful to be getting older and wiser, and grateful, that like all things in nature, I have been given a second chance to get it right. I may not have had the greatest of families growing up, but I have the chance to now create the family I never had.
Be back soon (I promise!!)......

Monday, March 19, 2007

Interfacing, darts, and zippers.....Oh My!

Yes, I've been sewing up a storm....and I've landed myself in some scary territory. Wish I had ruby slippers to keep me safe; I guess my cute new (green!) slippers will have to do.

But Ode to Spode.

Oh I love thee....thou beauty defies description. Okay, enough of me trying to be a poet. I really DO love my new dishes. I have been collecting over a few months now, a few pieces at a time as I find them. The Willow collection is a special favorite, as it reminds me of this book I read as a little girl. My grandmother knew the author and had the book signed for now I think happy thoughts of my wonderful grandmother (I still miss you, Gamma) as I look at my beautiful plates.
On to the sewing......

This was actually my second project complete this weekend, but it's the one I'm most proud of, so I put it first. This was my first foray into the land of's a scary place, it is. I wasn't sure what weight to use, which side was "wrong" or "right", and frankly, the "help" at the fabric store wasn't very helpful. One teenage girl said, "What's interfacing"? Then, the MAN cutting my fabric was busy with the three lovely older ladies talking about quilts. That's not a conversation I wanted to interrupt! I'm having problems with interfacing, and they're talking quilts. Talk about feeling my lack of experience....Anywho, I finally got it all together, and this is the result. A beautiful lined tote (the lining is stripes of varying shades of green...tried to snap it but the little hand was in the way). I'm very proud!

My next sewing project (#3 mentioned above) is cut out, so now the sewing begins. A lot of circles, notches, etc. to be marked and cut, AND.......drum roll, please.....DARTS AND a ZIPPER! Send good thoughts out to me....

Friday, March 16, 2007

Saying goodbye to Thyphoid Mary.... (#9)

Yes, that strange, and totally unwelcome, visitor swept throught our house this week for the first time. Both boys were under the weather with a nasty cold. It really WAS the first time this has happened, and I hope it doesn't happen again anytime soon. I'm looking forward to some sleep this weekend.
Despite MANY frequent pauses to wipe runny noses, etc., I did manage to complete one project, get #2 cut out and ready to sew, and #3 is ready to be cut out tonight. Hopefully some progress will be made on both #2 and #3 today, and I'll some goodies to show off this weekend.
In the meantime...a little Gratitude Friday:
1. Health - I'm very grateful that the baby bees are on the mend and that both Bob and I managed to stay pest-free during Mary's visit.
2. Wealth - And by this I don't mean the material kind...Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't need much in that area (though I do admit it would be nice to have a bigger backyard for my kids to play in)....Friends have been consistently absent in my life, and I suddenly find myself with 4 really wonderful, RELIABLE friends.
3. Happiness - Anytime I can count this among my blessings, I will....Life is pretty great, you know? Certainly not all roses and butterflies 100% of the time, but I count myself really darn lucky....
4. Bandaids - Okay, granted, a little weird to be grateful for this, but can you imagine how life would be without them? I was reminded how great they are when I nearly cut off my finger this morning...running around trying not to get blood everywhere....and a bandaid is the perfect solution to the problem. AHHHHH, life in the modern age!
5. St. Patrick's Day - Always a favorite for me: love the color green (my fav.), love the food, love how everyone is in a good mood (maybe due to a little Bailey's and green beer). As my half-birthday is the 15th and Will's is the 17th, we actually do celebrate (cheesey, I know, but the kid is a sucker for any type of celebration, and oh yeah, Will really thinks it's fun, too).

With all this goodness in my life, and spring clear announcing its arrival at my backdoor, how can I not be but grateful? Now if I could just find a good Irish soda bread recipe, life would be absolutely perfect......

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A little wisdom from the country....

In one of my many treks to our new library, I came across this. Having grown up in the "country" (at least by California standards), many of the things mentioned seemed like something my grandparents would have said. I've always felt the "country" in my genes: I'm not a city lover, I need to have space around me, and I can't drive in San Francisco. Certainly, as I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate what the "city" has to offer.

But this book spoke to me (anyone else ever had that happen?). Bob has always joked about "living off the fat of the land" (yeah, right, raised-in-Oakland man), but we certainly have done our share of vegetable gardens, etc. I think what made so much sense about the wisdom of this book, what made me run over to the local B&N and buy it, was the simple life it addressed.

There's that saying, "Cluttered house, cluttered mind". For me, it certainly was true. Now that the latter part has been taken care of, I'm working on the first part. To be honest, too much stuff makes me stressed out. It may be futile at this point in my life, but I just like an organized space. I like to have around me the things I truly love and don't see the need for much else. So I've been getting rid of, reusing, thrifting a lot of the stuff around my house ("stuff" is my blog friendly word for it). Maybe part of it is the parents I have: they like their stuff, their stuff is expensive, and they like to accumulate more stuff. I've never really understood that mentality, but growing up I have to say I bought into it, as I didn't know anything else.

So, I have a challenge for you all. This month, as a beginning to what I hope will become a habit, I am really going to try not to buy more "stuff". This isn't just about using what I have; it's also about appreciating a way of life that seems to be disappearing. I used to be able to feel how slow life moved in Visalia when I would visit; now it's become much like everywhere else. I pledge to really slow down, take my time with my WIPs, look at all the things I can DO for MYSELF instead of buying more stuff. I know that others are doing similar things, so I'm hoping that those of you out there will join me. Can you make your own bread? Cleaning supplies? Gifts? Do we really need that extra "whatever"?

Let's find the value in a more simple life, a more grateful life....let's adopt a little "country wisdom"...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Weekend Goodies (#7)

Drumroll, please! I finally finished (one was actually STARTED and COMPLETED) over the weekend. I'm very proud of my two projects, as other than some baby blankets for Made for China, these are the first things I have sewn in over 20 years! That's right...the last real things I sewed were in 7th grade for my Sewing class.
So...this was a real shot in the dark for me. I guess that's all part of the healing process: not being afraid of failure anymore. As I have stated before, I'm a real perfectionist, and sewing (at least in the beginning) doesn't allow for that. You have to roll with the punches, err mistakes, and just rip out the seams and start over. A metaphor for life, actually, and one I need to take to heart.... I proudly display my work, please be kind. I know that many of you out there are fluent in the language of sewing, but remember, I am basically still a student in Sewing 1 (okay, maybe 101 at age 34!). Without further ado:
Mr. Flops

I guess you can figure why he is named as he is! I figured my little guy (Nathan) would commandeer him, and I was correct. After I brought Mr. Flops downstairs, Nathan cruised right on over, latched on to him, and scooted away. I made the template myself (yes, a BIG deal for me), and fill him with rice and poly-fill (mostly rice so he would thus be "floppy"). I used an old shirt of mine and an old fleece blanket from IKEA as the fabric. And yes, another biggie: I did the embroidery on the face myself (drew them on with disappearing ink beforehand). Such joy, such bliss I have sewing something for one of my little boys....I hope he loves forever and passes it on....

It's a Purse!

I thought I would tell you just in case....I did use a pattern for this (a Simplicity Sew Easy), but added my own embellishments in the end. I really loved this fabric the first time I saw it and knew it would be my first purse. The lining is the same fabric as the flower (a little wonky, but I'm pretty proud nevertheless). The flower and the ribbons at the top (to cover up the stitches) were my ideas. I looove, looove, loove it: the purse screams "Spring!" to me and definitely speaks of my return to the land of color (my other purses being nice, but brown and black...). And I did this all yesterday..

There you have it! My first two projects!! And that's not all I did this weekend....once I take the pics., you'll see my other goodies....