Saturday, December 27, 2008

A snowy Solstice and Christmas

We had so much snow over Solstice and Christmas. This is only the second white holiday season of my life. The last one was last year. Crazy weather.

We postponed getting together with family (we host) until tomorrow, so that everyone would be able to come. I just hope the snow melts enough.

On the crafting front, I'm working on a long sleeved sweater for Fiona. It is the Joseph sweater from Fiona chose Cascade Lana Grande in a plum shade. She also wanted the sweater to be long, so it should fall to just above her knees if I measured everything correctly.

We made a gingerbread house from scratch for the first time. I will try to post a picture later. We didn't actually take any pictures on Christmas. I feel kind of bad about it. We had such a nice relaxed time though. Lots of yummy foods, including sticky buns for lunch.

Here are a couple of pictures from Fiona's first Christmas (five years ago).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Can!

My husband, Fiona and I watched Obama's speech from Chicago. I cried. Fiona will grow up with him as the first president she remembers. I cannot express how happy, how hopeful, how everything I am right now.

Thank you Barack Obama, and thank you to everyone who worked, volunteered and voted for him. What an incredible day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Birthday to me...

My husband asked me a few days ago what I wanted for my birthday. I told him yoga lessons. I found a place that will be perfect, but they are in the middle of a cycle and I won't be able to join until January. So, I will get yoga lessons for Christmas. That then puts us back at square one, what would be a good birthday present. Something would present itself.

We went out to breakfast and then took Fiona to a friend's birthday party. I decided to continue the tradition I had started the year before of visiting the cat adoption center and playing with the kittens. Last year I had such a nice time. Who doesn't like playing with kittens.

We had to fill out paperwork about our home situation and such before they would let us play. I went and petted the senior cats first. Buddy was a sweet old guy who wanted all the love and scritches I could give him. Then there was Sweet Pea. She was hiding on top of some boxes under a counter. Fiona didn't have much patience with Sweet Pea, she wanted to go into the kitten room. We walked in and I kneeled down to watch a couple of little black kittens that were in full play mode. One of them, a short haired black kitten stopped playing, came over and climbed up onto my lap. He sat for a moment and then he climbed to my shoulder and just stayed there. His long haired brother was waiting to play. I have a very soft spot in my heart for long haired, black cats. I tried to engage the long haired one. He wasn't interested. The whole time the little short haired guy was just snuggling away. We had to leave the kitten room because some other people wanted to come in so we went back to the adult cats.

When someone opened the door to the kitten room a little short haired black cat ran out, and the volunteer said, "He really wants to be with you." He was acting differently. I thought it was kind of strange. A few minutes later I went back to the kitten room. It turned out that the kitten that had run into the other room was not the same snuggly short haired kitten. As soon as I was in the room, he came over to check me out, there were other people there, lots of toys, lots of kittens, but he came back to me. That was when I realized how lucky I was, and I started to think I might not be able to leave him there. My husband wasn't really pleased. "We have enough animals." Fiona wanted to hold the kitten. I set him in her lap. She petted him and petted him. He closed his eyes. A little kitten that comfortable in the lap of a five year old is incredible. Fiona started begging, "Please can we take this kitty home!" Her dad relented.

I went out to the volunteer and said we had decided to take Black Ranger. She went and grabbed his folder. Her supervisor was on the phone. She held out her finger to say wait. When she got off the phone she said that they had just received a call that the kittens had been indirectly exposed to panleukopenia and that the adoption center is required to put all of the cats into quarantine for two weeks. I was so sad, but that was nothing compared to Fiona's reaction. If he makes it through the quarantine without getting sick, he is ours. Any cats that get sick during the quarantine will be euthanized. This is a terribly sad thing for all of the cats and the volunteers.

There is one more impact on the adoption center from this exposure. All of the furnishings, e.g scratching posts, tents, kitty condos, must be destroyed. One of the volunteers had just that week donated a brand new multi-level kitty condo. If you can spare a few dollars I am sure that the cats and the volunteers at the PAWS Cat City would be very grateful.

And please keep your fingers crossed for Black Ranger.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where are the crafts?

Oh, yeah, this blog is called craftydabbler. Here is the long story, uh, long (interspersed with creative commons pictures from flickr that I like but have no real connection to this post).

Open Gate to the Beauty by Hamed Masoumi

I have been on a craft vacation for quite a while. I over did it a bit last year and had a hard time maintaining interest long enough to complete, well honestly, to start projects. I've bought fabric, thread and yarn, but for the most part they are all spread around the house in different piles.

Recently, a friend was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She put out a call for some lovely knit hats. She was told that she would lose her hair during chemotherapy. I offered to knit Shedir for her. I've never done cables before, so I was a little nervous but thought I could do it.

Around the same time I started having trouble with arthritis, which used to be very troublesome, but a six month stint of acupuncture about five years ago seemed to have put it in remission. It took me a while to realize that I had also started drinking Coke around the same time that the pain in my hands had started. I've stopped the Coke. I believe I have a sensitivity to the high fructose corn syrup, because I have had sodas that are made with cane sugar or are sweetened with fruit juice without feeling ill. My hands are still stiff, but not very painful. I am hoping to get in to see an acupuncturist soon for some help in clearing this. The upshot of all of this is that I have made very little progress on Jenna's hat. Luckily, Jenna has not lost her hair, which is amazing. She loses more than average in a day, but she still has a full head of hair. I am still working on the hat in bits and pieces. It is being worked in garnet (shade 492) Rowan Calmer on US3/3.25mm needles.

Quiet Beauty by JumpinJimmyJava

There is one project that I finished recently. Fiona had wanted a bathrobe for over a year. Last fall she and I went to JoAnn's and she picked out some lavender fleece. I decided on Simplicity 9853 for the pattern. It was all put in a drawer and a storage box and put off for many, many tomorrows. About three weeks ago it was very chilly one Saturday morning and I decided it was time to make the bathrobe. I found the bag with the pattern and the matching thread. The fleece was in the box. Much tracing, cutting, pinning and sewing later, and there was a comfy bathrobe, just the right size. Fiona is still so pleased with it that she keeps asking to wear it out of the house.

The Texture of Beauty, Or the Beauty of a Texture! by Hamed Masoumi

The last crafty thing that has been interesting me lately is embroidery and most specifically Chicken Scratch embroidery (see here and here). Fiona is getting impatient with me, she wants to go to the zoo, so I shall have to fill you in another time on that endeavor.

ps The other day I listened to Mozart's Requiem Mass for the first time in eons, it is my absolute favorite piece of music. (To call it a "piece of music" seems sacrilegious, it is much more than that.) Let me tell you, it is nice to have that popping up in my head through out the day instead of the theme to The Backyardigans.

pps Don't get me wrong, I like The Backyardigans.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quote from Goethe

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Thank you Jen Lemen.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Yet another quote...

"It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded."

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

That's mighty neighborly of you

My neighbor across the street had just finished pressure washing her aggregate driveway when I got home from an errand. I stopped to say hello. She said, "We could pressure wash your aggregate steps and path and get rid of all of that moss."
"Oh, yeah, we should do that sometime," I said, thinking nothing of it really.
"What are you doing right now?" she asked.

My front steps are beautiful. They didn't look this good four years ago when we bought the house. My husband who doesn't really notice much noticed the difference right off. Pressure washing was also kind of addictive. The back spray felt good because it was about 86 degrees Fahrenheit. We ran out of gas, but I think in the next day or two I might borrow it again and do the driveway and the curb. Fun, fun.

Afterwards we all had big glasses of iced tea.

I love getting to know my neighbors. They are really all very kind people. I feel blessed.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Another quote that resonates with me

"I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters."

From Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Silly life getting all complicated and topsy turvy.

I don't know that I will be keeping this blog anymore. We had a vacation for a week (a while ago) and had no cell phone access and no computer access. I was jonesing the first day or two and then afterwards it seemed easier and better. I'm back to my old ways with the cell phone, but I'm trying to keep some distance from teh internets. I get sucked in too easily, like TV. I also need to go back to work. We finally figured out why we always have credit card debt. It is because we are running a deficit. I'm going to pursue being a doula. I've done doula work for friends, but now I'm going public. It is exciting and scary. My husband is being really supportive. I have to get a business license and everything.

Here is a lovely quote from a poem by W.B. Yeats.

May we two stand,
When we are dead, beyond the setting suns,
A little from the other shades apart,
With mingling hair, and play upon one lute.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Karma for snarkiness

So, my last post was a little snarky with regards to the weather. I have paid for it, or at least my little basil seedlings did. I forgot to water them and then they baked to death in the whopping 68ish degree heat wave we had. All right universe, lesson learned.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Watch out for that nasty heat!

Here is something I saw today on Please note the part in red type. It is a link on protecting your plants from heat. Considering the anticipated high and low temperatures for the day, I don't think we need to worry about the "heat" impacting the plants. We often have what we call June Gloom here in the Seattle area, but the temps have been lower than normal this June.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

One Local Summer

My family and I are participating in One Local Summer. It is a commitment to eat one entirely local meal every week throughout the summer.

For our first meal we had a goat cheese and sorrel omelet with raw spinach. The eggs came from Yelm, which is 74 miles away. The goat cheese came from Bainbridge Island, about 20 miles away. The sorrel and the spinach came from our garden. The only non-local ingredient was butter. I haven't found an organic local source yet.

Next time I will take pictures.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mosaic meme

Credit where credit is due: 1. Evelyn Genevieve Sharp, 2. Scone Medicine, 3. Black and White, 4. yawn, 5. Dreaming............., 6. Sparkling rain in the city of Champagne, 7. HPIM6045, 8. calce e mattoni - bricks and cement, 9. Day 3 - I write, 10. Chicken A Go-Go, 11. sunday shower, 12. Fi-and-Rebecca

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

You can play too. Found at Pea Soup.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Something learned

I am in my late thirties, my very late thirties, and I think that I have finally learned something very important. Planning is the key to success. What do I mean by success? Well, I mean actually paying bills on time, paying off debt, eating healthful homemade food, getting places on time, having savings, having a garden, and the list goes on. I admit that I am somewhat adverse to planning, and I have found that that attitude makes things very difficult at times. It actually makes things rather chaotic.

When I was young I was surrounded by chaos and to combat that I became very regimented about how I did things. I would even go so far as to say I was obsessive-compulsive about "a place for everything and everything in it's place." I broke with that chaos in my mid-twenties and ever since then I haven't been regimented about anything. It is so strange; with chaos, I imposed order, without chaos, I impose chaos. Recently I've noticed, time and again, that planning seems to be the only way to accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

When I started the Riot for Austerity I was quite good at planning in order to meet goals, but it fell by the wayside. I tripped up and became discouraged and fell farther and farther behind, and felt guiltier and guiltier. I will work on starting again after I fall. I read on a quilting website once that you should "Never try to catch up, just keep working." I think that is something good for me to remember. I am currently impressed with Celtic Mommy and her 101 things in 1001 days. I've started a list for myself based on hers, but I'm focusing on things to do within the next year.

Anyway, I am going to try adding more planning into my life. (My internal editor is screaming at me that I am a joke and this is a joke and I am pathetic, etc. Well, I say, f*ck off.) I have committed to posting to my What Grows There blog twice a week because it is pretty easy. I will commit to posting to this blog once a week.

So, I have figured something out, but now I have to figure out how to incorporate it in my life and keep it there.

Some facts about me! Meme

I tagged myself, via Our Red House.

Some facts about me!

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was living in a nice one bedroom apartment in one suburb of Seattle and commuting by bus (I had no car) to another suburb to work. I had a lovely cat and my fiancé had just moved in with me.

Five snacks I enjoy in a perfect, non weight-gaining world:

First I must state for the record that I do not avoid snacks because of their caloric/fat/sugar etc content, so I will list my first five favorite snacks and go on to my second set of five favorites in the following category.

1. Oat Scones
2. Plain scones with clotted cream (I have only had these a few times in my life, but they are so very good.)
3. A Latte or Mocha, depending on the mood
4. Ice Cream, specifically Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby
5. Dill pickles

Five snacks I enjoy in the real world: (or really my favorite snacks 6-10)

1. Coca Cola
2. BBQ potato chips
3. String cheese
4. Cashews
5. Apples

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. I would provide education for as many people as I could.
2. I would build a room in my house that would be just for cats, it would have ramps and sunlights and caves and innumerable cat toys.
3. I would never clean my house again. It would be someone else's job.
4. I would travel and stay places months on end so that I would really get to know them and the people who lived there.
5. I would have another child or two.

Five jobs that I have had:

1. Raspberry picker
2. Veterinary Asst
3. Army linguist
4. Customer care representative in a call center
5. Software quality engineer

Three of my habits:

1. Read everyday. I love books.
2. Open all of the blinds and curtains in the house (if I am feeling good, if they are all closed that is generally a bad sign.)
3. Turn off the lights. I prefer daylight (no matter how dim) to lamp light any time, plus I try to conserve energy.

Five places I have lived:

1. Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan
2. San Diego, CA, USA
3. Encinitas, CA, USA
4. Monterey, CA, USA
5. Seattle, WA, USA

Five people I want to get to know better: (A nice way of saying TAG!)

1. a garden of nna mmoy
2. secondhand gods
3. Franny Kate's Creative State
4. The View From Elsewhere
5. don't wake the pretty

I can't remember if some of the above do not do memes. No worries if you don't want to do it. I also invite anyone who would like to do the meme who is not on the list to join in and give it a go. Please leave a comment if you do, as I would like to read what you have to say.

Friday, May 09, 2008

What Grows There?

Hi All,

Just a note to let you know that I have started an additional blog. It is called What Grows There? I wanted to document, in word and pictures, all of the plants and animals that share my suburban lot with me.

Pop over if you get a chance.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I think it is time to clean the house...

Last night as Fiona (4.5 y.o.) was lying in bed trying to fall asleep she picked up a couple of her dolls and started playing.

Woman doll: Hi! Do you want to get married?

Man doll: Um, I'm already married. I could ask my wife.

Man doll to Wife doll: Wife, um, there is, um, like, this woman who wants to marry me. Can we get married?

Wife doll to Man doll: Of course you can! If she cleans the house.

Man doll to Woman doll: She said yes, if you clean the house.

Woman doll: Sure, I'll clean the house.


My daughter thinks that polygamy is a good way to get a clean house. Hmm, I think it is time that we started cleaning up a bit more around here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know Australia's rice production is down 98% due to the drought they have been suffering through for years? Link.

Did you know that there are people eating mud pies made from dirt, oil and sugar in Haiti, because there is nothing else? Link.

Did you know there are bread riots in Egypt? Link.

Greenpa has written a post that is a call to action. Please read his post.

Friday, April 18, 2008


No one has claimed their prize yet. If you would like to, please email me at craftydabbler [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So Many Different Ways To Look At Something

Here are some pictures of a gauge swatch in the round of my first attempt at Fair Isle or stranded knitting.

Here is a close up. I was basically just experimenting. The topmost row of stitches was knitting with both yarns for each stitch. I didn't like how it turned out. I have to say that this was the most fun I've ever had doing a gauge swatch. I didn't want to stop.

Here is the whole swatch.

I just love the spaghetti-ness of the back of a gauge swatch in the round. It's messiness is of course compounded by having three different yarns.

Here is what the wrong side looks like. To badly paraphrase something I once read on the Yarn Harlot's blog, the back is as beautiful and interesting as the front.

The swatch is for a hat that I am in the process of knitting. It's the first thing I've ever knit for myself! I've added a bit of yarn that was the first and only yarn I've ever spun on a wheel. It is quite the work in progress as I keep changing everything.

I have to say that I am really enjoying this yarn though. It is Jamieson's DK Shetland Wool. The colors are Peacock, Sage and Plum if I remember correctly. I don't have the ball bands at hand. I'm knitting on Brittany birch 3.75mm/US 5 dpns. It just feels really good to hold these needles with this yarn.

Breakfast Rice

My mother used to make this whenever we had leftover rice from the night before. Put your leftover rice (white or brown) in a sauce pan. Pour in milk. It is difficult to give measurements as this one of those things where you work with what you have. Generously sprinkle cinnamon on top. Turn the burner on to medium. Periodically stir the rice until the milk thickens and it is a temperature that you like. Dish it up and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. My husband doesn't care for it. He says that he is hungry before lunch if he has it for breakfast, but I haven't noticed that.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The first half of the 14th

I decided to write everything that I did today à la Little Jenny Wren. It is not a complete accounting because I wrote in detail, maybe too much detail. I didn't edit it and about every sentence starts with "I" which drives me nuts.

I woke up around 7ish with an elbow or a knee in my back. Fiona had come in, during the night. As I shifted I realized that J's alarm clock was on very quietly. It was time to get up.

Fiona asked if it was a movie day, no, I said, it is Monday today. She cried that she wanted to watch a movie. I said no, but offered her her vitamins which she had brought into the bedroom a day or two before. She found a ribbon in the bed and asked her dad to tie up his hands. He did. Then she wanted their hands tied together. Then she wanted to be foxes living in a den. She crawled under J's comforter.

When I got up I noticed that it was a gray and raining out. I offered to make hot cereal for breakfast. I went downstairs to use the bathroom and when I came back up Fiona was a fox, J was a bear, and our little siamese bi-color cat was a monster. She is a monster, too, because she loves to knock things down, especially glassware.

J went down to have a shower and Fiona and I went off to the kitchen to make breakfast. I had to wash the pot because we are behind on dishes right now. I put the water on to boil for the coffee and measured out the water and cereal. Fiona played at the table with a book and the salt and pepper shakers. She was singing a little song of her own devising to herself. I washed the french press, measured out the coffee. I washed off the table, and cleared a couple of dishes that had been left there over night.

We needed three spoons, three bowls and three mugs. Fiona had a Hello Kitty bowl, an orange spoon and her favorite mug, the dragon mug. She likes warm milk to drink. Fiona poured the cereal into the pot while I stirred. The electric kettle clicked off and I poured the water into the french press. It smelled so good. I love the way the coffee grounds sort of bubble up and are such a dark, glossy brown. I set the timer for four minutes and stirred the cereal again. I used a soup plate for my cereal, because they allow everything to spread out and cool. J got a cereal bowl for his cereal. I had to wash a spoon for him. We are really behind on dishes, but it doesn't help that we only own a few spoons that aren't plastic kid spoons.

The cereal was ready. Five seconds later the coffee was ready. I dished some cereal for Fiona and brought out the milk and maple syrup. I splashed a little milk on her cereal and she stirred it around to cool it off, and then just a little bit of syrup. Yum. I called to J but he wasn't done getting ready yet. I dished up for myself. A bit more maple syrup for me, because well, I'm a naughty adult and have a well developed sweet tooth. J comes up just after I've a had a bite or two. He dishes up the remaining cereal for himself. It is quite a large mound of cereal. He has two cups of coffee. I have one.

Fiona finishes her cereal and starts pretending to be a dik dik. I am a sloth and J is David Attenborough. David Attenborough is surprised to find a dik dik under the table patting his knees. The sloth sits very still and drinks a cup of sloth coffee. That is coffee for sloths, not made of sloths, not slothlent coffee (play on soylent green) says David Attenborough. Then the dik dik climbs up into David Attenboroughs lap and snuggles. He then gets up to brush his teeth.

Fiona puts the maple syrup and the milk away in the fridge, then she sees a yogurt. She asks if she can have one. Of course. She chooses the Dulce de Leche flavor. Unfortunately she knocked it over on paper gingerbread man that she decorated two Christmases ago. Luckily there is a lot of yogurt still left and the yogurt rinses off the paper without much damage. She gulps down the rest of the yogurt. J picks out music for his iPod for the drive to work. I read my blogroll. I saved Little Jenny Wren's for last because I knew she was writing out her day, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to read it all. Fiona wanted to read some stories. J left for work. We read Little Bear, Frog and Toad All Year, Cinderella, The Paper Bag Princess and an issue of BabyBug magazine.

I went downstairs to the laundry room and picked out some clean clothes for Fiona. I brought them up with a warm washcloth. She got all washed up and dressed. She decided that she was going on a train and then a plane to visit her friend Amelia. I became her friend Amelia and I lived in the desert very far away. Seeing the images of Frog and Toad sharing tea and cake had made me wish for cake. Remember that sweet tooth I mentioned. We went back to the kitchen around 10:45 and I made black tea with a lot of milk and a mite of sugar. Fiona and I both had a piece of cinnamon toast as we didn't have any cake.

Fiona started playing with the ceramic chopstick holders that were in the back of the silverware drawer. She was building all sorts of things and making patterns, happily amusing herself. I sat down to read Little Jenny Wren's account of her day. I was inspired and so I started writing down what I could remember of my day.

Fiona wanted me to read to her. I explained that I had to finish writing first. She was mad. We went back and forth for a while. Her asking me to read to her or play cars with her. At one point she started driving her car down my shoulder and onto my breast. I told her not to do that, that it made me uncomfortable. She said she was just driving her car. I explained that just like she can tell someone to stop touching her body if it made her uncomfortable, I could do the same thing. She was not happy but she stopped.

She asked me to read a book again while she ate her toast. I suggested that she look at a book while she ate her toast. Finally she agreed, but she chose a paperback book that wouldn't lie flat and kept falling off the table. She came to me crying. I helped her choose a hard bound book with lots of pictures to look at while she finished her toast. I continued to write. She then asked for more toast. There were two small heels of bread left, so I toasted those for her. She asked for me to read to her, so I read to her what I had written so far. She smiled several times. Then she asked if she could type, too. You will find her work at the end of this post. She started playing by herself again. She changed into a pair of pajamas, then another pair of pajamas, and after a bit came to show me that she had found a pair of her scissors. She held them up like she was going to cut her hair. I said it wasn't a good idea if she wanted to have long hair. She said what if I cut this part just to here? I said it wouldn't be a good idea because then she would just have a chunk missing and that it wasn't a good idea for children to cut their own hair because they might cut themselves. She said she wanted paper to cut and went to her paper bin. She wanted to cut a heart. She got very frustrated. She begged me to do it. I helped her do it instead, but she wanted me to draw a line on the heart so I did, after much frustration.

I had planned on doing dishes this morning and tidying the living room, but time ran out. At noon I put in a load of whites to wash. Fiona wears fuzzy bunz to bed, so we do a load of whites every couple of days. Next I got in the shower, while Fiona cried because I wouldn't read to her. As soon as I was in the shower though, she busied herself with rearranging various things found in the cupboard in the bathroom. She put them in order from largest to smallest and then she would mix them up and laugh because they weren't in order any more.

I used the hair dryer because it was a cold rainy day. After getting dressed, I helped Fiona put her clothes back on again. I put a lemon yogurt in a little white paper sack and wrote Fiona's name in fuchsia ink with a little swishy swash underneath. It was her snack for school. I had a doctor's appt this afternoon, so she was going to aftercare at her school for the afternoon. She does have a cloth lunch bag, but when I went to grab it it had something in it from the last time it was used and we were in a hurry. I grabbed a couple of cloth grocery bags so I could run to the store later.

We went out to the car. Fiona had brought a magic wand with her. She pretended that our garden had no flowers and that she did some magic and now we had flowers. We got clicked into the car, which is lovingly called Gus. Off we went. We went through the drive though at Taco Bell to get a quick lunch and then stopped at Starbucks to get an organic milk for Fiona. I also got a peanut butter cookie. Trust me, I am so not proud of this. We arrived at her school at about ten minutes after one. We walked in and her best friend at school was right there inside the gate. They gave each other a big hug. I took her yogurt inside, then said goodbye. I made it all the way to the gate and Fiona just broke down. She didn't want me to leave. I held her and then took her inside. Her friend followed us. The teacher was still tidying up after lunch but said the two girls could play inside if they liked. I asked Fiona's friend to take care of Fiona and give her hugs if she needed them. She agreed and gave Fiona a big hug. Then the two of them were off playing.

I drove to my doctor's appt. I arrived about 20 minutes early, so I sat in the car and listened to NPR. There was a program on talking about the Dalai Lama's Seeds of Compassion event that was going on in Seattle. It started raining, again. As I walked up to the building where my appt was I saw a worm on the pavement trying to get away from the water. I thought about stopping to pick it up and move it, but I didn't, there was the weather, my appt and I needed to use the bathroom. Then I saw a piece of paper on the ground. I should've picked it up, but I didn't.

And on and on and on it went.

The following is Fiona's version of events.






Saturday, April 12, 2008

Answer to a complaint

A few posts back I complained that you never knew which company owned which. My husband just found this. I thought I would share it with you. It doesn't cover all of them, but it does cover a lot of big names.

Oh boy oh boy

Who won the fabulous prize giveaway celebrating my 100th post?

Drum roll please....

Everyone! Because my audience is small and dear to me, everyone who posted a comment on my 100th post before today will receive a gift. Please email me at craftydabbler [at] yahoo [dot] com with your name and address and also tell me if there are any crafts that you like to do.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Starfish Stuffie for Teething Tot

It reads like a newspaper article title.

Here is the Starfish that I made for Little M back in December*. So many chewy arms to choose from.

* I just realized I had forgotten to post pictures of it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

100th post

Hello and welcome to my one hundredth post! Sadly it has taken me more than a year to get here. Since you are here, leave a comment. In one week, I will use one of those random number generator things to pick a commenter who will win a fabulous prize. I don't know what the prize is yet. I will think about it. Thanks for coming by.

This is the saddest thing I've ever read

According to an article in The Seattle Times, "The gloomiest outlook for the economy in 35 years may be forcing Americans to live with what they have and save up for what they want."

That's right, Americans are being forced to live within their means. The horror.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Risotto for Spring

On Easter I made a risotto with Asparagus, the juice of half a lemon and about a teaspoon of dried tarragon. Everyone said it was good.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Squash Risotto

Over at Our Red House Kate was asking for recipes to use up her garden's bounty of pumpkins. Something that I make with some frequency is Squash Risotto. I usually use Butternut squash, because it is my favorite, but I bet pumpkin would be just as tasty. One of the best things about this recipe is that it can be vegetarian ( I use veggie broth), vegan (use olive oil instead of butter and no cheese) and gluten free. Here is the recipe I left in the comments, in case anyone is interested.

2 Tb Butter or Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
9 cups broth
2 cups Arborio rice (short/med grain white Italian rice)
1 tsp dried Thyme (or more to taste)
1 medium size winter squash or pumpkin
Shredded parmesan or pecorino to taste

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Lay cut side down in a baking dish with about 1/4 inch of water and bake at 400°F (200°C) until tender when pierced. Remove the skin.

Heat broth to a simmer. (My trick for this is I use my electric tea kettle to heat water because it is much faster, then I pour it in a large pot on the stove and add good quality bouillon cubes and just keep it simmering on the stove while I use the broth).

In a second large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent. Add the rice to the butter and onion and stir until the rice is partly translucent. You will see a little white dot on the rice grains, too. Then add a cup of broth and stir the rice until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth one-half to one cup at a time and stirring until the liquid is absorbed. As you get close to the end of the broth taste the rice and see if it has the texture you like. When it does stop adding broth. Stir in one teaspoon of thyme. Add the squash. Stir it in as much as you like. I've found that everyone who has tried it prefers some lumps of squash.

Serve with grated parmesan or pecorino cheese. This recipe makes enough for 4-6 adults.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Power of Kindness

I found this book when I was looking for inspiration. It is not what I expected, but it is definitely what I needed. We all come from different places in our lives, so really, I can't expect everyone to get the same thing out of this book that I have, but read it, please. There is one caveat, I haven't finished it yet. I usually fly through books, but this one is for savoring and slowly digesting, for consuming when needed, to continue the metaphor.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Help is needed

I stumbled onto Monkeyfister's blog and read his call for help for the survivors of the terrible storms in the south. Even if you can donate only one dollar, it will make a difference to someone who is hurt, hungry or cold.

I donated to the Red Cross. Monkeyfister also recommends United Way.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Surprise snow

Last night it was raining, then it was rain and snow mixed, then it was just snow and then the snow started to stick! I took a walk around the neighborhood this morning and took some pictures. If you have a good internet connection I hope you will click on the pictures to get a better look at them. The third and fifth are my favorites. The second is the small maple tree in our backyard.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gratitudes and sleep

There is a meme that caught my eye the other day. There are actually two that are related. I found the first one, a list of 25 things you can't get enough of, here. The second is a list of 25 things that shit you to tears (a phrase I've not encountered before but apparently means something along the lines of "bug the shit out of you"), here.

Generally speaking, I love doing memes. I think it may be that they are like those little personality tests you can take that will tell you all about yourself and what your career should be. Anyway, at first I was mostly interested in the negative meme. The first one seemed kind of smarmy to me, but later that night as I was trying to fall asleep it popped into my head. I started thinking of things, and I suddenly realized that thinking of a list of things you like, when you are trying to fall asleep does not cause anxiety! Stop the presses! What?! That's right. The reason this is earth shaking news is that I have trouble with initial insomnia, meaning it takes an age for me to fall asleep; a good night takes 30-45 minutes, a bad night 5-7 hours. The game I used to play in my head was "what if I won the lottery." For example, the lottery that week might be worth 20 million. Divide that over 25 annual payments, and multiply that amount by 60% to estimate the amount left after taxes and you have $480,000. Ok, so that is enough to pay off all bills and the mortgage and live quite comfortably, but what about your friends and family. So I could go on for quite a while figuring out who would get how much, how I would give it to them, how often they might get a stipend, etc, etc, etc. My aunt thinks of this as a sort of advanced counting of sheep. Money has been causing me anxiety lately, so thinking about winning the lottery just isn't fun any more. If I just lay there in bed with nothing to think about, I end up thinking about things like someone taking all the children in my daughter's preschool hostage, or the bridge I'm driving on collapsing in an earthquake while Fiona is in the car with me, etc, etc. You can probably see why I might be up for a while. So, I am rather excited that I have come up with a new way to relax and fall asleep.

Just in case you are curious, chocolate and coffee have become regulars on the list of things I can't get enough of.

p.s. If you have any sleep inducing ideas, I would love it if you would share.

p.p.s. It is also de-lurking week, so please leave a comment if you stop by.

A little dab of Martha

I ironed some of my cotton napkins tonight. It took a couple of tries to figure out a trick to ironing them and not having them out of square. If I ironed the whole napkin and then folded it to press it again the sides never lined up because the shape of the cloth had been altered. So I tried just pressing the edges so they weren't rolled up and then folding the napkin in half and smoothing it with my hand so that when I pressed them they would be in a nice rectangular shape with all the edges lined up. Aren't I clever? No, it's just that I have never learned the proper way to iron things, probably because one hardly needs to iron anything now. As I was putting everything away I told my husband that I really like my iron (a newish Rowenta), but that if I had to use it everyday I probably wouldn't like it as much.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Matinee Jacket for baby M

I knit a baby sweater in the Matinee Jacket pattern from Baby Knits Vogue Knitting On The Go (the book is out of print but still available at the library, etc). It is a lace pattern that is pretty simple really. I started in March and finished in July. It was knit with 2+ skeins of Dalegarn Baby Ull in white on US size 2 and size 3 needles. The reason I say 2+ skeins is there was a lot left of the third skein. I did modify the pattern somewhat. I did some fiddling so that the lace holes lined up from the bottom of the arm holes up, otherwise things would have shifted and looked wonky to me. I didn't graft the collar onto the jacket. I suck at grafting and have developed a great fear of it. I did a three needle bind off. I don't know if I would do it again. It made the neckline really rigid and the collar wants to flip up all the time, but who is looking at the collar when a cute baby wears the sweater, right?

This was my most difficult undertaking ever in the realm of knitting. There were times when I knit an entire row, that would be 203 stitches just so you know, incorrectly and I would have to go back and take them all out and redo them. Please note this happened more than once. The right front has an extra row in it. I didn't notice it until I was done with the left front. I looked at it and decided no one would notice.

The baby who received the sweater was a month old when it was done. The sweater was also given to him on the hottest day of the summer. Oh well. It fit him well, and he was able to wear it well into the beginning of fall. His mother and his grandmother both liked it very much, and that was what mattered to me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I freakin' hate it that you can't tell which company owns what

Here is an article from the NYTimes about the purchase of Burt's Bees by Clorox. I also found out in the article that Clorox owns Hidden Valley dressings, Glad trash bags and Brita water filters, of all things. 84% of Tom's of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

Yes, I'm happy that Clorox is going to try and green up a bit. I just think that things that are sold should have a provenance or something so we know who is ultimately going to profit by our purchases.

I'm still sick and I think it makes me crankier than usual.

Monday, January 07, 2008


I spent last night either freezing because of chills or sweating through my pajamas. Having a fever sucks.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A bit superstitious

I'm a bit of a superstitious person. Superstitious may not be quite the right word. I've started making coffee again at home, which involves warming up a bowl of milk in the microwave until it is quite hot and then pouring an equal amount of french-press coffee into it. Every once in a while I heat the milk too much and a bit of skin forms. On New Year's Day when I poured the coffee into the milk a small heart shaped bit of milk skin was floating on top of my coffee. It is a little thing that means nothing, and yet it made me happy and I think of it as a good omen for the year.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It isn't flattering

I was just over at one of my favorite blogs and the author wrote about the terrible time she has had over the last couple of weeks. She prefaced it with her thought that personal whining is annoying and unflattering. I have definitely taken to personal whining on here lately. Crafting has fallen off, and I don't carry a camera around with me. I've thought about trying to have a beautiful, peaceful blog like Little Jenny Wren or Love Forever or Ann Wood, but I am not those people and I don't have their lives or outlook. Please understand that I am not badmouthing the person who said she didn't like personal whining, I completely agree with her.

I am exceedingly happy about something today. First the sad part, my sewing machine died in November. It is a Pfaff 130, an heirloom from my grandmother. It came with the original warranty card with her signature and the date of purchase, June 1, 1954. I was so sad when it died. Most of the gifts I had planned to make for Christmas required sewing. The person who came out to service it last year said that it wasn't really worth fixing and that once the motor went it would be history. I had him go ahead and service it, replace the foot pedal, and the cord because the insulation around the wires was cracked. It all cost in the neighborhood of $200. Ouch. So when my well loved machine stopped, I was sure that it was beyond help. Today I wandered into a sewing machine store to get an idea of the cost for a new machine. They wanted to sell me something that looked very nice for $800. I do not have money like that sitting around. On the way home I passed by an old sewing machine and vacuum repair shop that I have passed a million times. I decided to call. I told the man everything about how it was old, and I thought it was the motor, and that the last technician said that it was not salvageable, etc. He laughed. He said that this machine is one of the most indestructible ever built and that getting a new motor was not a problem. He then asked me if the person who had worked on my machine before was so-and-so. I said yes. He then told me about some that persons questionable business practices. Oh, and the quote for repairing the machine this time is $79.

Here is a representation of my 30lb black beauty. I will take many pictures of her when she comes home.

Happy New Year

I've been making a couple of lists lately. One is a list of things I would like to do/have/be in the future. I made a list several years ago and did/had/was a lot of the things on it. I'm not too keen on making resolutions as they seem almost made to be broken. Fiona and I worked on two lists today of things we like to do and places we like to go. On Friday we will go to the craft store and buy some card stock and brads so we can make a couple of spinning wheels that will have the list of things written around the edges. The idea came to me when I was thinking how some days I don't want to play princess for the 10,000th time that day, but I can't think of anything better to do. A friend recommended that I make a wheel of things that she can do by herself, when I am unable to or disinclined to play.

It has been a stressful month/month-and-a-half. There have been many nights when I've seen the clock tick over to 3AM. I received a prescription for Xanax about a week before Christmas. It helped me fall asleep perfectly. I also realized that I am a light sleeper. It wasn't until the second day that it dawned on me that I hadn't woken up when the cats climbed on me, or when I turned over and dislodged one of the cats, or when the dog scratched, or when my daughter cried out in her sleep (I know this sounds terrible, but it happens every night between midnight and 2AM, she has night terrors), or when my daughter climbed in bed with us. It has been amazing. I've actually woken up after eight hours of sleep and felt like getting out of bed. So, we are making changes, because I obviously can't take the medicine for ever. The cats are now shut out of the bedroom at night. It makes me sad, because I have loved having them with me. One would sleep between my feet and the other on my hips. We put a new door handle on the bedroom door, so that Fiona can open it without a lot of noise. We took the collar off the dog. I'm going to look into getting one that has the name and phone number stitched into the fabric of the collar. Of course none of this deals with the initial insomnia that I've had trouble with, but I've been visiting with my therapist rather frequently lately and things in general are doing a bit better.

I found this article on the New York Times* to be interesting. It is about how people deal with regrets.

I found this article on the New York Times to be utterly distressing. It is about companies creating virtual worlds for children to visit and pay money for etc, online. It makes me think of the writings of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson.

Here is a bit of fun. You can make a South Park character that looks like you. Here I am. My husband says the expression is just perfect, but that is only because he constantly says things that make me roll my eyes.

* If you don't have a login for the New York Times and it asks for one, you can use craigslist for both the ID and the password.