I'm back

June 18


I disappeared. I didn't mean to, but life happens. Thank you to all that checked in to make sure that I am ok - I am! It's just been a crazy few weeks...

Jane graduated from 8th grade. So. Hard. To. Believe. And still, so right, you know?

Ppd on

I altered my painted portrait dress and wore it out. I love this pattern. There will be more. And more. And then probably even more.

I had my annual colonoscopy (I have ulcerative colitis). TMI? Probably. But, I had a lot (understatement) of anxiety leading up to it as my last two scopes were only so-so - not really bad, but not great. This time all was better than it has been in years. I am thankful and relieved and happy and will continue to take my meds and eat healthy and all that.

We packed up and left town for Mexico on Kate's last day of school. It was a great way to start the summer.

While gone, Fatty and I both suffered from food poisoning. That put a little damper on the trip, but it was still good to get away.

How to

I read 10 books on vacation. TEN.

And my MacBook crapped out. It couldn't be fixed. Insert sad face here.

Quilt progress

Two days after we returned home, I took a great class with Quilt Dad, John Adams. It was fun and I am super excited about how my quilt is coming together. It's Pacific Crest, the cover quilt from John's new book, Beyond Neutral, (affiliate link) which is A-MAZ-ING.

Father's day flowers

When I came home from sewing all day, there were flowers for me for Father's Day. Fatty is the best, I tell you.

My new computer arrived earlier this week. It is shiny and fast - yay!


I didn't turn it on until I cleaned the entire studio. It took 3 days, but it is also looking shiny, so there's that.

And now I am going to pay the bills and then get back to making things.

See you around.

New York Spoils


Scrap pack



Nano iro2

We are home from New York.

It was a good, long, exhausting and fun week. We saw Tara and Tim twice - the perfect bookends to a week in Manhattan where we shopped, walked, shopped, ate, walked, drank, ate, drank, walked, shopped our way through Manhattan. Did I mention the eating and drinking and shopping?

All of the above came from Purl Soho with the exception of the dandelion fabric. That's from Marimekko (on sale!). The second photo is actually a scrap pack. I saw it when I walked in the store and thought about it the whole time I was there. The fabrics are not necessarily ones that I'd be drawn to on their own, but together like that? Yes. Please. And thank you, too. I scooped up the other blues and whites to go along. I know exactly what I am going to make and if I have the time, I will start it today. The green? Well, of course, I had to have that.

Now, home, I'm feeling incredibly spoiled. I have loving in-laws that take my kids so that Fatty and I can run away for a week together every summer. I have a husband who is more than a husband - he's my best friend and partner in crime. He makes me laugh and knows that if my blood sugar gets too low, it's not pretty. He holds my hand as we walk down the street and sits patiently while I spend hours looking at textiles and trying on clothes at Anthropologie. It is such a blessing to have that time alone, to be able to manage a vacation each year, to feel completely in love for the last eighteen years. I don't ever want to take that for granted. I feel incredibly blessed.

And the girls? I missed them just the right amount - not too much and not too little. We are hanging out today, running errands and doing other everyday life things like laundry and cooking. I've already referee-ed one fight and I'm sure it won't be the last. I'm slowly bringing them back to our world of limited television and healthier eating. Most of the time, I have the best job. I wouldn't change it for the world. Those girls - an equally big blessing.

Fatty Blogs: Movember

Today I have a rare, most likely one-time treat for you: Fatty's taking over the blog! He's working on a small project that I thought you all might want to hear about. He's been talking about doing this since last year and the time finally arrived. Plus, it's his birthday today! I'm not spilling the beans on how old - let's just say that he's older than me. Ahem. Take it away, Fatty.....


 Growing a mustache isn't really all that hard.  Empirically it seems to be taking a little longer than I thought it would.  It's time consuming.  Maybe I should have been tipped off by the actually terminology of "growing a mustache" as opposed to possibly "wearing a mustache".  I feel more like I've been cultivating a mustache over the last 16 days.  It didn't look like a mustache until the end of the first week.  Days one through seven felt like the chia pet stage.  Things really started to solidify this weekend at a local bike race on day thirteen.  I was not racing myself.  I was watching the pros race here in town in our leg of the USGP of Cyclocross.  I wore my favorite Akubra snowy river hat that looks like a real buckeroo cowboy hat (steamed into its current shape one drunken night 20 years ago by a true friend who happened to be a part time rodeo cowboy).  It is my go to hat on a sunny day when I know I'll be outside all day.  The combination of the hat and my fresh mustache drove home the fact that cowboys have more fun.  I crossed over into real mustache land the next day when I went for a mountain bike ride in the late afternoon and could feel the wind blowing through the mustache.  It was wild and kind of cool.  On the negative side, now I have to think about food and beverage getting trapped on the upper lip.
Well, enough rambling.  I'm halfway through the month of Movember and excited to see what this thing ends up looking like.  Movember is a charitable concept built around getting guys to grow sponsored mustaches in an effort to raise funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer.  The guys (Mo-Bros) and a few ladies (Mo-Sistas) from our beer company have challenged another beer company to see who can raise the most money for the Movember cause.  Erin encouraged me to write a blog post about it for you charitable folks.  If you feel like supporting my efforts by making a donation, please visit my mospace page at http://mobro.co/fatty.

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any help.  Happy birthday to me.  Hooray beer.


The celebrations continue

because today is Fatty's birthday.  While I could go on and on, I'll keep it short.  I'm blessed to have him in my life.  He's a great person and good father.  He's funny and smart.  He's loving and patient (oh so patient!) and isn't afraid to tell me when I'm acting up.  And I need that.

IMG_9017 copy 

Happy Birthday Fatty!  Here's to the next forty-four.

It's Fatty's Birthday

Since I just wrote a gushy post about Fatty last week, I'll spare you all.  But my fantastic and handsome husband turns 43 today.  I'm looking forward to more cake.  Happy Birthday, Fatty!


I am also looking forward to finishing the small painting project that turned big when I tore the towel bar out of the wall and had to repair the drywall.  I spent most of the weekend with a paintbrush in hand and paint in my hair.  This is the before shot.  I laughed when I looked at the photo.  I don't often walk around carrying empty toilet paper rolls, but I am collecting them for a school project.  Nice one, Erin.  Anyhow, I have repaired the drywall, painted two ceilings (this one and the one in the butler's pantry) and put a coat of tinted primer on the bathroom walls.  Yellow is a hard color to cover.  I'm hoping to get away with one coat of the green (you knew that, right?), but it might take two.  I forgot how much cutting in there is in bathrooms.  And painting behind toilets?  That pretty much sucks.  So yeah, keep your fingers crossed - I really don't want to paint more than one more coat.

The de-stash did not happen this weekend.  I will give you all ample notice before I post anything here.  I do have a couple crafty things to post.  I'll check in while the paint is drying.  Till then, ta ta.

This man


I just wrote a real sappy post about this man, but I couldn't publish it.  He likes his privacy too much.  That said, he might not like his photo on the blog.  Oh well.  I had to do it.  You see, he gave me a really wonderful birthday gift back in May.  And this past weekend, I cashed it in.  It started with a flight to New York and swanky hotel room.  It had big city shopping, a day in Bridgeport, CT, room service and sleeping in, too.  Three days by myself - no responsibilities beyond choosing what I wanted to eat and when to get out of bed.  Bliss.  In the end, I came home refreshed and renewed, bursting with creativity, but missing him and the girls.

It was the best gift I have ever received other than my daughters, and of course, him.  Because every day I have this man in my life is gift in and of itself.  I am truly blessed, that I know.

This man.  Oh, how I love this man.

I like green, but not around my photos

Imagine my excitement when Fatty came home last night and gave me this:


Awhile back, I had mentioned that I was looking for a Polaroid camera.  I am always in awe at the wonderful photographs that I see over on Flickr and wanted to give it a shot.  Of course, the film is not being produced any longer and so it is hard to come across.   Fatty found all of this at work, where they used Polaroids to take photos of beer displays before they went digital.  I was feeling pretty lucky and was antsy to get shooting.  I knew exactly what my first shot was going to be.  I slung the camera over my shoulder when I walked the girls to school and on the way home took a photo of my favorite path.


Not exactly what I was expecting.  Who knew that there would be Heineken branded film?  Not Fatty and not me.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised since it came from the beer guy.

It looks like I am in the market for film.  Any suggestions other than Ebay?

Happy Father's Day


To my dad...thank you for all the support and encouragement you give me.  I know you believe in me and that means everything.


And to Fatty...Did I ever tell you this part of our story?  When we were at the Dollar that September night almost 15 years ago, you said your goal in life was to be the best father and husband you possibly could.  That was all it took.  You had me there.  And you are the best.  I am so lucky I get to spend my life with you and that our daughters have you for a father and role model.  We are blessed to have you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there!

Our Handmade Christmas - For the Dad

Jane and Kate love to draw.  In our house, we go through paper and crayons and markers and pencils at a very fast rate.  And it is just not possible to keep all those masterpieces.  We keep a pile of artwork and edit it down from time to time, keeping the ones that tug at my heart the heart and the ones they absolutely cannot bear to let go.  Some have been embroidered - the tree shirt that Kate made last year being my favorite.  My idea for Fatty's gifts from the girls was to transform something that they drew into a shirt for him.  I was thinking freezer paper stencils like Hannah did for her husband's birthday.  But then we had a change of plan.  Enter the print gocco.

The first time I used the gocco, the girls were mesmerized.  After I had printed about 10 cards, Kate said, "Can I use it, please?"  I looked at her and a light bulb went off over my head.  I said, "Another time" and thought, "Oh yeah - she can make something for Fatty with the gocco."  A week or so later, she was home sick from school and in a matter of 15 minutes, we had the drawing.  Ten minutes later we had the shirt.



Not to be left out, Jane wanted in on the action.



Jane came up with her idea on her own.  That's a bowl of cashews next to the frothy beer, in case you were wondering.  Perfect gifts for the beer-selling (and drinking), bike-riding dad who happens to like t-shirts very much.  He loved them and has worn them both - in public!

Something else that Fatty enjoys is cooking.  He does grill duty on a regular basis and often cooks one-pot meals on Sunday.  So you can probably guess what I made him.....his very own apron.


He had made a comment about how much he liked that blue and green fabric when I was making Finn's elephant.  I already had bought the blue twill for his apron and was going to use a different print, but this one really is perfect.  The straps are a bit long - I need to fix that sometime.  My favorite part was using the print to hold the d-rings up by the neck.  I am pretty sure he was surprised.  I don't think he had any idea what I was making - in fact, if I would bet he thought whatever it was would be knitted.  He really likes it - he's told me so many times.  And I am sure he will wear it.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for Sunday.  I am counting on a nice one pot meal.

Our Handmade Christmas - For Our Daughters

Get your cup of coffee and settle in.  This is a long one.

Let's start with Fatty's gifts for the girls.  Remember how I told him that he could burn me a CD and I would be happy?  Well, that is what he did for the girls.  Jane and Kate both have CD players in their rooms and are constantly asking us to make them copies of our CDs.  So Fatty spent the better part of a Sunday creating playlists for each of them on itunes.  He burned the CDs and put them in a CD case of their own.  They loved this.

Jane's disc:
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - The Police
Way Back When - Donna the Buffalo
Shine - Dolly Parton
Lakes of Pontchartain - The Be Good Tanyas
Penny Lane - The Beatles
I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - The Jayhawks
My Right Versus Yours - The New Pornographers
Laughing - R.E.M.
Singular Girl - Rhett Miller
Children of December - The Slip
6 String Belief - Son Volt
Mysterious Ways - U2
The Long Cut - Uncle Tupelo
Everything I Do - Whiskeytown

Kate's disc:
Silver Lining - Rilo Kiley
Walking On The Moon - The Police
Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles
Teach Your Children - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Waiting for the Sun - The Jayhawks
Blankets - The Gourds
Life Is Just A Tire Swing - Jimmy Buffett
Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
Catapult - R.E.M.
Get Off My Cloud - The Rolling Stones
Windfall - Son Volt
One - U2
We've Been Had - Uncle Tupelo
Either Way - Wilco

And me....well, I knitted ponchos for the girls.  Completely inspired by the one Kristin made for her daughter, I started with Kate's.


This is the back so you can see the hood.  Kristin told me that she wished she could make the hood bigger - I am so glad she did.  Kate has a big noggin, so I made some adjustments to accommodate it.


I also added pom poms to the drawsting for a little whimsy.  I would be lying if I told you that I didn't think they would add to the appeal.  My kids are all about the pom poms.

When it came time to knit Jane's, my plan was to make it the same, but just in a different color.  When it came time to pick up the stitches for the hood, I hesitated.  Given her pickiness in clothing, I wasn't sure if the hood was such a good idea.  I knew she would like the pom poms, but I wasn't convinced that she would want the hood.  I asked Fatty what he thought and he agreed with me.  I decided to leave the hood off and if she really wanted it, I could always add it on later.


Without the hood, it needed something.  I added a sweet flower pin, in her favorite color turquoise.  I actually showed her 5 fabrics and asked if I were to make her something out of one or two of them, which would she want.  She chose two Denyse Schmidt prints and I pulled out my copy of Blair's great pattern and whipped this up in less than fifteen minutes.  I took the Sarah route and cut circles with my pinking sheers instead of the scallops because time was not on my side.


For you knitters out there, here is the scoop:
PatternKnitting Pure and Simple, Children's Ponch (#243)
YarnNashua, Creative Focus Worsted, 3 skeins of hot pink for Kate and brown for Jane (I probably could have done Jane's with two if I had made it about 1/2" shorter)
Needles:  16" and 32" circulars, size 8
Modifications:  I added 1" of length to Kate's hood and made 3 sets of increases along the center back of the hood to allow more room for her big head.  I added pom poms to the i-cord drawstring on Kate's also.  Jane's didn't get a hood.
Notes:  This pattern runs small.  My girls wear about a size 8 - I knit the size 10 to 12.


Kate loves hers - she wore it all Christmas day!  I was standing in my brother's kitchen and saw her running in the back yard, hood on, pom poms flying with a huge smile one her face.  I wish I could have captured it on film.


And Jane....well, at first I think she was disappointed she didn't have pom poms.  But I knew that was a gamble.  In the end, I think it paid off.   She has decided against the hood which is fine by me.  She wears her poncho all the time - sometimes with the pin, sometimes without.  She would sleep in it if she could.  Well, if I would let her.

Little does she know that by loving something I made her, she gave me the best Christmas present of all.

Our Handmade Christmas - From Sister to Sister

Jane and Kate jumped aboard my handmade plan from the start.  We had a lot of fun discussing what they would make each other.  Jane knew right away that she wanted to make Kate some jewelry.  She had received a huge bead kit for her birthday (thank you Auntie Heather and Uncle Tiger!) and some extremely coveted shrinky dinks from one of her friends.  The Saturday before Christmas, Fatty and I split up.  He took Jane to my brother Ryan's house where she crafted while the men bottled their home brewed beer.  I sent her with a bag of supplies, some loose direction (i.e., make sure you punch the holes right so the charm will fit!) and she came home with her gift to Kate held in her balled up hand.  She insisted on making a fabric bag to hold her creation.


And inside was this:


A very pink bracelet with two heart charms and one that says princess.  Kate was over the moon!

Kate's gift for Jane was guided a bit by me.  She had all kinds of grandiose ideas that were not feasible, especially a jewelry box that she wanted to make, not just decorate.  I told her that we would take a trip to the craft store together and that I thought a picture frame might be nice for Jane.  The great thing about Kate is that she is flexible so she was fine with my suggestion right away.

One trip to Michael's later we came home with a $1 frame, paint, glue and that irresistible Martha Stewart glitter (it's so sparkly!).  Kate also picked out a small cutout to put on the frame because she knows Jane has a thing for monkeys.  Thank goodness I had some extra photos on hand from our Christmas cards.  Not only did it fit the frame, but it actually matches!


Jane loves it - it is her favorite color with her favorite animal with lots of sparkle allure.  She has it sitting next to her bed so she can see it first thing in the morning.  And Kate wants to make more - I think that may have something to do with the glitter.

As for me, I think they outdid themselves again.  They both made something that their sister would like, not necessarily something that they would want.  They worked hard to get them finished on time and then wrapped them up, too.  And they were gracious recipients.  I am proud of them.  I know in my heart that they not only appreciate handmade, but they might actually enjoy giving and receiving it too.

Our Handmade Christmas - For the mom

I was completely taken aback by the gifts the girls and Fatty made for me.  I really thought I would get some paint-your-own pottery.  The girls love to do that and it would be easy enough for all three of them to accomplish when they went on their secret mission.  I was wrong.  So wrong.

Instead, Fatty took the girls to blow glass!  Blow glass, people.  I have never blown glass and I had no idea that six and eight year olds would be able to blow glass.  Well, they did.  And I was flabbergasted when I opened the package.  Inside were three gorgeous ornaments, each unique and lovely.  If the packages hadn't said who they were from, I think I could have guessed.  All three glass blowers thought of my tastes, but they each put a great deal of their own personality into their creations.


White, blue and green from Jane


White, pink, purple and red from Kate


Green, red and yellow from Fatty

They outdid themselves, didn't they?  I am in awe of this gift.  I think these are too pretty to sit in a box all year long, waiting for December to be hung.  I am going to hang them in front of a window next to our kitchen where I can admire them all year long. 

Lucky, lucky me.

How we had a handmade Christmas

Sometime last fall, maybe in November, I told Fatty that I thought that he should make ME something for Christmas.  I think I was in the middle of knitting his sweater and feeling a bit overwhelmed about how much I wanted to make for others.  At the same time, I was sad that I never receive handmade gifts.  Well, not from my family.  If you know Fatty, you would understand the quizzical look he gave me.  I said something like, "I don't care if you burn a CDfor me.  Would you please just make me something?"  He thought about it and a day later, he was in.

How it happened, I am not sure, but somehow I managed to transform this into each of the four of us (Fatty, me, Jane and Kate) making something for each other.  I knew I could manage the girls' gifts for each other and for Fatty and kept my fingers crossed that he would manage to help them make something for me.  I want my children to understand that thought and the time that goes into making a gift for someone.  I really wanted to do something to counteract the clothes debacle of last summer.  It is important to me that they appreciate handmade.

Well, the girls and I tossed around lots of ideas.  Most were rejected because they were just impractical and in some cases impossible.  Fatty thought his hat was his gift - it wasn't.  I knitted the girls' gifts in front of them and they never asked me what I was doing.  Fatty took the girls away one Saturday afternoon on a secret mission.  That left me guessing.  Jane took some craft supplies she received for her birthday and made something beautiful for Kate.  Kate made something in Jane's favorite color.  I sewed for Fatty.  Fatty spent an afternoon on the computer creating something for each of the girls.  Between the four of us, we used fabric, thread, plastic, pencils, yarn, glue, wood, glitter, ink, metal, glass and paint.

There were secrets - some kept better than others - and lots of plotting, planning and actual crafting.  Christmas morning it all unfolded before my eyes.  It was amazing.  Everything was made with great care and love.  And everything was received with an open heart and immense gratitude.  And they were all given with much anticipation and excitement.  It couldn't have been better.

I told you I was saving my favorite for last.  Back next week with all of our creations.


I am so in love with this good-looking, bike-riding, beer-selling, book-reading, music-loving, wine-drinking, soccer-watching, foot-rubbing, pun-making, sunday-cooking, old blue pickup-driving, good-parenting, wife-supporting, hand knit sweater-wearing, kind, patient, smart, funny, loyal, considerate man.

He's pretty damn great.  But I am the lucky one - he chose me.

Happy Birthday Fatty.


More on the sweater at a later date.