Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Good Stuff for Me: What I'm listening to....

I don't want to imply that anyone out there is not familiar with these radio shows, but I've been asking friends lately, "Did you hear such and such" and I've been getting blank stares back. So, I'm just putting this out there, and if anybody listens to these shows, tell me, and let's talk.

This is what I listen to when I clean:

This American Life
I've been listening to this show for years, and it never disappoints. I have laughed to tears (bodybuilding snowman), and been moved to tears (this week's is actually quite poignant), and the time flies right on by. Your thoughts? I especially recommend this episode about the healthcare debate , which was excellent at clarifying the issues involved.

Radio Lab
My cool sister recommended Radio Lab to me a year ago and it is great! I listen to my sister about new things. She introduced me to Pearl Jam in 1992, took me to a Sarah McLachlan concert in 1994, sent me emails in 1998, when I checked my email account maybe once a month, and moved to San Francisco AND started doing marathons and triathlons before it was the cool thing to do. Anne, you are so on the cusp. And Anne likes Radio Lab. And I really do, too.

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
Classic NPR show that makes me laugh out loud. Ah, am I geeking you out yet? But really, Mo Rocca cracks me up every time he talks. Eva, I am still sorry to have had to give up your spare ticket to see the live show all those years ago! And, did you know that Peter Segal is a pretty serious marathoner?

So, friends, what are you listening to these days?

The Good Book: The Garden in the City by Gerda Muller

I love this book. For those apartment dwellers among us, you can understand the longing for a little piece of land to look after. This book clearly demonstrates the dream of tending to a garden: a family buys an old, charming house with a huge, overgrown yard. The parents proceed to restore the yard to life, involving their children in each task, until the two young kids, along with their buddy from next door, have their own gardens that keep them busy! outdoors! frolicking! pulling weeds! listening to birds! I especially love that the home is set in the city. I love living in a city (Ok, New Haven isn't a big city, but it is very urban). Now I just have to figure out how to have a garden in the city. That would be perfect.

We have been up to our ears in library books--Peter has been devouring them! Tonight, before bed, he said, "I'm feeling kind of 'read-y'." Then he gave me that look that means I'm sure you aren't smart enough to know what I'm talking about and explained, "Mama, being 'read-y' MEANS that I need to read some books." I have been relying heavily on Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. This juvenile literature reference has thousands of great recommendations from babies through to teenage readers. It's been fun to request books for both Peter and Nathan. The Salt Lake Library System has a fabulous online request system and I can pile on the requests at home and have the books ready for us the next day! Please, someone, tell me that Connecticut libraries have this system in place! I don't think I can go back!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Napkins to remember

No matter the occasion, you can always count on me to forget to put napkins out when I'm entertaining. It never enters my mind. I even assigned a friend to remind me about putting napkins out(Thanks, Kristy), but, sadly, she moved to Iowa. So, promptly after she moved, my guests resumed eating napkinless. How many times has a friend eating at our house asked for a napkin, only to be handed an old, crumply Christmas one, or worse, a folded paper towel! I thought I'd remedy the situation by making cloth ones. These little ditties are for lunches and baby showers, as I've been known to host a few of both in my day. They are the perfect size for when you might be juggling a plate and glass on your lap.
Truth be told, the napkins are also leftover quilting squares sewn together and trimmed with my snazzy new pinking shears I got for Christmas. We'll see how they look after I wash them. Probably a good idea to line-dry these babies. Anyway, this was a fun little project to distract me from the dreaded skirt project bogging me down. Hopefully, you'll be seeing a post about the skirt soon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Christmas Jammers

I did end up making us all jammers to wear on Christmas Eve. I did not, however, get a picture of us all wearing our jammers, since we got home late Christmas Eve, put them on, collapsed in bed, and we woke up very early on Christmas morning to see Shane off to work, when, by that point, Shane was all dressed up and our magical pajama photo op had escaped us, so you will not see Shane or me modeling our jammers. Which is probably for the best. Anyway, just for the record, there were pajama pants for Shaner and me (same patterns from last year). For the boys, I made kimono jammers. Pete's are from an Oliver & S pattern. Ah, Oliver & S, how I love you! The patterns are a dream! I learned some great sewing techniques just from reading the instructions. (I'm thinking about making the coat for Pete next year. I better start now...) Anyway, Peter's jammers looked great! He loves them! Success!
Here you can see the trim from my excellent DI fabric find. The main dark blue fabric was from my sister who was purging the closets, so it turned out to be a $1 fabric investment. Thanks, Anne!
Now Nathan's jammers are another story. I used the pattern for kimono pajamas in Amy Butler's Little Stitches and ended up with this:
I made them THREE times and repeatedly saw what you see now! Aren't they ridiculous?! Every time I'd finish, I couldn't help but bust up laughing--WHO IN THE WORLD IS SHAPED LIKE THIS??!! Uh, definitely not Nathan. We even tried them on him for kicks, and guess what, they didn't fit. So, just in case you thought I know what I'm doing behind a sewing machine, put your mind at ease and look at that picture totally not right. No hard feelings from me, though. Nathan likes his one-piece jammers better anyway, and they really only would have fit him for a couple of weeks after Christmas. Not to worry, Nathan. We'll use the other pattern next year!