Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flip Hunting

Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio

That's what my husband calls it.

He had such a great idea today. We divided into two teams (mom+1, dad+2) and went over to the nature sanctuary. There's a trail we've done a zillion times that often evokes groans from the kids, but this time was different. Each team had a flip camera with the charge to video all forms of wildlife found in 40 minutes (that's about how much light we had left). We assigned points to each - 1 for bird, 4 for rabbit, 5 for deer -- with the judge's ruling final. The kids dashed into the woods and had a great time looking at things they often run by. After dinner, we reviewed all the videos and awarded prizes (Fizzy Lizzie's). We already have plans to do it again. You could easily play this game with cameras, cell phones, etc., but the Flips are nice because you can track the action and it's fun to listen to the audio.

We lost by 2.5 points, by the way, but it was close enough to be declared a tie.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I have been in the kitchen for about four days straight.  The first two guests arrived a week ago, two more arrived on Tuesday and one more on Wednesday.  Three left today, two still sleeping in the grey cottage studio.  In any event, I cooked big meals for everyone every night and now, I am spent.  Tomorrow,  I need a day without carbs and without meat or roasted anything.  I'm thinking Japanese food.

I am so grateful that I don't have to travel for Thanksgiving this year; that our house was filled to bursting, but didn't;  that our family came to see us and that they left;  that I have the kind of mother-in-law who tells me not to bother ironing the tablecloth.  Love that. 

And now, onto Christmas.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

You call them napkins. I call them distractions.

My name is Jill.

And I am a procrastinator.

With 12 hours left before the first of the family trickled in for T-giving, I had a very long to-do list. Did I cross things off my list? Well, no. I started cleaning the grey cottage studio -- trying to transform the craft emporium into suitable guest quarters, when I got distracted by some red & white floral, rejected as quilt binding, reborn as cloth napkins. They please me, however, no one else will notice. They may notice the bits of fabric and thread on the carpet, the unmade bed, the ironing board in the middle of the room.

Silly girl.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Glimpse of the Dark Side

On Monday, I felt a hard cord-like mass in my right breast.

On Tuesday, my ob/gyn felt it.  He was cautious and vague, which was not comforting.

On Wednesday, I had my first mammogram, my first breast sonogram.  The mammogram tech was coarse (Her:  "You say it's not really a mass.  Well that's the code your doctor used.  He said 'mass.'  What am I supposed to put, it's a line?" Me (one millisecond away from losing it): "Look, I'm not the doctor here. Why don't you come over and feel it yourself." ) The sonogram tech was nice.  I closed my eyes for the sono and tried to think about breathing.  She told me the doctor had left for the day.  Then she told me not to worry.

On Thursday, my ob/gyn told me everything looked normal.

On Friday, the breast surgeon (no thank you!) told me I have Mondor syndrom, which basically means a swollen vein that you can treat with tylenol if it's painful.

End of story.

It was a long, emotional week.  I am grateful for kindnesses.  I am grateful for my problems, because really, they could be so much worse.  I am grateful for my husband and for my kids and for my friends.  And, I am grateful for my body. I don't always treat it so well, I say mean things about it, but in the clutch, it came through.

Now, back to our show.

Monday, November 9, 2009

primary patchwork

primary patchwork
Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio

The little patchworks, the relatively quick gratification of the sewing machine, a few hours here and there and it's done. I made my first quilt. It's a little thing. Just 30X40-ish. Too small really even for my toddler. But now, I'll add quilter to my list of titles (right before chief bottle washer).

Anyway, it was actually pretty simple and quite fun. I used a charm pack from American Jane's happy camper line. The results are a little too matchy-matchy for my taste, but at least they all work together and I didn't have to cut little squares or buy a bunch of fat quarters at once. I used a free pattern posted on Sew Mama Sew written by Elizabeth of Oh Fransson!

The quilting turned out to be simple simon because I backed it with a diagonal plaid. So I just followed the lines which were already there. My craftsmanship is shoddy, but my little guy doesn't mind and it doesn't have to fit anyone (always my downfall with knitting). My fellow crafters out there can understand the happy glow I had all day after pulling my new creation from the dryer. Others may think I'm mad, but you know it keeps me sane.  Too many more pictures on my flickr set.