Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Monday, January 29, 2007

While You're Waiting...

a photos for you while you wait for me to get internet connected in the new house (right now, I am freezing my hindside off in my husband's frigid office while I mistype every 5th letter on his French keyboard).

This is my husband's artsy shot of the aftermath of Lambchop #2's recent experiment with the medium of Halloween paint. Nice to see that he's still up to his old tricks, eh? I'll try to upload a few pictures of the baby and our oldest soon. There are still so many other things to do for now, though.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Real "Quick-Like"

Going to be quick here. I'am too tired not to. Just wanted to share some pictures of what I've been up to...

My husband hates our futon couch. Says it hurts his back. He had to leave town before getting a chance to move all the furniture. The futon is one thing that didn't make it over. Now it likely never will. Two days without it made me see how much fun the kids have in a wide open living room. Why fill it with an uncomfortable piece of furniture? Thus, our new, unconventional livingroom is born. We must sit somewhere, so this is our "new" stackable/collapsible couch (more like a loveseat). I's two funky-shaped wicker chairs from Ikea that my husband bought years ago. They've been in storage. Now they're useful. The fabric was 9 bucks a meter. It made a quick and easy couch that's fully washable and even the kids can move it out of the way if need be. There will be lots of different sized (again, washable) pillows to match.

I've also been painting a lot. My dream would be to have the house look fabulous upon hubby's return, but I'll settle for pretty good. In his lifetime, he's never lived in a fully-furnished, nicely decorated home. I have so far made him believe I've been too swamped with the kids to get any work done (yes, I can be sneaky). What I've really been doing is taking crappy furniture like this and turning it into fun things for the kids' rooms. We've somehow accumulated a sorry amount of crappy (or at least cheap) furniture. Some is stuff my husband has had for years (most likely someone else's cast-offs). Some, like this little chest of drawers were bought for cheap at a local consignment shop (I put one drawer back in for this shot so you could get the idea). I'll admit I never thought this thing was pretty even when I bought it. But, at 15 euros, I couldn't pass it up at a time when we needed the drawers (cheapy plastic drawer towers will cost you more than that). When deciding what things to move to the new house, I considered taking this back to the same shop I found it in and reselling it. Then, I thought of doing this to it instead. I'd have to say this was a much better idea. Looking at those fun colors just make me happy, and Lamchop #1 loves it (though this one is for her sister, she's excited to know hers will look similar in the end). I always hated those swirly things carved into the wood. Too kitschy. Now they're a cool sort of kitsch. I just need to get some cute knobs to finish it up.

Sorry about the dark picture. With all the beautiful windows in the new house, you'd think I'd be capable of getting a decently-lit picture, but the truth is, I have been swamped with the kids. The sewing happened after 11 pm, and this picture was taken after they went to bed. The new house excites them so much that they're quite the handful. And with that "quick" post (I'm utterly incapable of that!), I'm off to bed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


No, I'm not changing blog locations. We're changing houses. Still no internet in the new one, so I'm sneaking a moment in the old house. Hubby's out of town, though, so I don't have much time for that. I will post all sorts of fun stuff when I get around to it, though. Promise. I've got paint and fabric for decorating fun, so you'll hear all about it when I get a chance. Till then, patience please... I'm alone with three kids (two of whom have the chicken pox - Lambchops #2 and #3 now, and all of whom have colds because of their weakened state from the chicken pox) trying to move into a new house with a baby strapped to my back almost every moment she's awake (kind of needing lots of attention these days). So, a wee bit hectic.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cosmetic Surgery

It's been a full week since I last posted, and I have been very busy. I could be packing the house to get ready to move (we're doing a gradual move, since it's just a short walk over there), but I haven't. I could even be making the curtains for the new house. I haven't been doing that yet, either (though I did wash and iron the fabric for them). Instead, I've been doing a little cosmetic surgery.

Those who know me know that I could probably do with a little redux on the girls, but somebody's got to produce the baby's milk around here, so they're staying (not to mention the scary possible side effects of such an operation). And, I've just started to get a few wrinkles, so it's not botox, either. Actually, it's not even me who is undergoing surgery. It's my wardrobe. After my last couple of pregnancies, I refused to buy clothes to fit my temporary post-pregnancy figure. Well, I bought clothes - just not pretty ones. Whenever I saw a largish shirt for under $3, I bought it. Didn't matter if it was a man's shirt or a woman's shirt. Now, I've got a hefty stock of them and some large ones that were gifted to me.

The other day over at Pocket Farm, Liz mentioned Wardrobe Refashion. I popped over for a second to take a look. That second turned into a couple of hours of searching online for inspiration and ways to change my frumpy clothes into something at least a little more flattering and feminine (keeping in mind that no amount of sewing is going to give me back the girlish figure of yesteryear). And inspiration I did find. Lots of it, actually. So, I set about deconstructing and revamping no fewer than 6 shirts. Some surgeries only ended up making a more figure forming fit. Others entailed completely transforming the garment into something a little more fun. They aren't all 100% perfect, but none is a complete flop. All in all, I'd say I've learned some fun things, and perhaps buying new clothes has now become a thing of the past for me. Why not pay much, much less for that large mumu at a thrift shop if I like the fabric (okay, well, not likely with a mumu, but you get my point) and concoct something original and all my own? Who says once you hit your thirties it's too late to develop a unique sense of style? Alright, my husband implied it, but whatever. What does he know? He's the same guy who will willingly go out in public in the holey t-shirts and stained pants he works in.

Unfornately, I was so inspired, I got right to it without taking many before pictures. I promise to take some afters. Besides, the one or two befores will be more than enough for you to get the idea of what my before wardrobe looked like. It's all basically a bunch of large button-downs that are way too long and make my torso look like a large roll of fat (as opposed to the large lumps up top and the smaller roll around the spot where actual inward curves can be found now that I've restructured the shirts a bit).

So, when I finish overheating the sewing machine with all this extra work, I'll take a few shots of my "new" clothes. In the meantime, just imagine me with an ear-to-ear smile as a I maniacally chop at my old clothes with a huge pair of metal scissors. That is actually a pretty good description of me while I'm working. I'm so happy about finally feeling less frumpy that I am giddy with the excitement of how the next shirt is going to turn out.

In knitting news, I also have a felted hat-turned-bag that I am working on. I think it's going to be really cute. I'll show it once the lining and zipper are in.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

And, All Through The House...

not a creature was stirring, except for Mommy, of course.

It is so nice to have some time to myself for the first time since everyone started to get sick. All the little ones and their daddy are asleep at the same time for once. I could be knitting, but I did some of that while watching a movie with the kids earlier (that was nice, since I haven't gotten much time for that lately, either). What I really needed to get some time for was some household chores. So, I tried a little something new while doing chores. Since our kitchen also serves as my "office" (my desk is just behind my chair at the table, which gets turned around when I want to workplay on the computer). Occasionally, I use the crappy speakers that are a part of my aging iBook to listen to online radio programs. I can get my fix of NPR that way whenever I think to do it.

Today, while listening to a regular old CD from my own collection, I decided to click on the podcast feature of iTunes. I clicked on the podcast directory and did a search for knitting podcasts. Have you done this? It's great. There are MANY of them. I only knew of two. I subscribed to a couple to try them out (FREE PROGRAMMING!!). The first one I listened to was Cast On, which I had been told was wonderful. I was not disappointed. From listening to other podcasts (not many, I'll admit), I had gotten used to an unprofessional sounding broadcast. Not the case with Cast On. Just well-recorded, good programming to listen to while knitting (or doing some chores). Now, "just one more row" can become "just to the end of this podcast."

Perhaps this means that an iPod will be in my future. I can picture myself roaming around my beautiful new (immaculate!!?) house listening to whatever podcast pleases me while maintaining the household chores. Is this what it means to be a modern housewife?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Buh-dee, Buh-dee, Buh-dee...

That's All Folks.

As in, that's all I've got. Just this one picture (and I recognize it's not a great one). I can't think of anything to tell you aside from all the family woes. We've got illness galore around here. We're about at the end of a collective bout with the common cold. Lambchop #3 and I were the last to have it. She wasn't a happy girl (which is way different than her usual character) for days. She's still not quite herself, but things are looking up. But, you know how they say that famous people die in threes? Who knows if there's any validity to this thought whatsoever, but it's an interesting idea. And, what's even more interesting is that the concept seems to apply to illness in our family, as well.

We get sick in threes. It's not good enough for us to have one person sick at a time. So, for example, Daddy and the first two kids had the cold together. Then, it was my turn with Lambchop #3. But, that only makes two people sick, so someone else naturally has to chime in with their own disorder or bodily malfunction of some kind. That's when Lambchop #1 volunteered. And, what did she bring to the party? Why something extremely contagious that she could share with the other kids, of course - the chicken pox. I've actually mistakenly thought she was coming down with it twice before, but that's only because I've never seen it in real life. Now that I have, there's no way I could mistake it for anything else. She, apparently, has quite an impressive case, too. Got to hand it to her. She goes all out. She's quite the perfectionist. Her letters have to be written just so, and she'll spend hours trying to draw the perfect heart or star. It's the same with the chicken pox, I guess. A few little bumps here and there aren't enough for her. She has to come out with a case of the itchy-scratchies that even an epidemiologist would stop to gauk at.

She even went so far as to develop as many of the classic symptoms as possible. It all started with the headache. That was most likely caused by the fever I didn't know she had. And, in checking her forehead for a high temperature, I stumbled across a few pox. She matter-of-factly told me that those were her bumps, but there was nothing matter-of-fact about them. See, there are two kinds of pox-bumpy-things you can have. There are the little red spots and there are the blisters. Apparently, most people have more of the red spots than the blisters. For her, it was the other way around. Unfortunately, it's the blisters that take longer to heal. And, there are blisters, and there are BLISTERS. She's got quite a few large ones, and this can't make them itch any less. Although she's clearly still contagious at the moment, we seem to be winding down, and now she's even stopped itching all day. Unfortunately though, she has developed a chicken-pox-related sore throat. Yeah, I didn't even know that could be one of the symptoms. Basically, she's had all of them that tend to be associated with this disease except for back pain (that's our silver lining, in case you're wondering). So, my guess is that if our sickness-in-threes theory holds out, we'll be nursing two more cases of the chicken pox before Lambchop #1 is fully healed. Let's just hope I'm wrong and Lambchop #3 will have immunity from my breastmilk.

Why am I telling you all this - aside from the obvious need to complain about my life? Well, it's to excuse myself from the obligation of the knitting pictures I recently promised. She was going to be my hat model, after all. And, even a five-year-old can see she's not too beautiful with all the blisters and scabs. I'm pretty sure she'd refuse if I tried to take pictures, and I wouldn't be so cruel as to try. Besides, who has the time to pick up a camera when they spend their days doling out rations of anti-itch cream and fever/pain meds while holding a whiny baby and scolding an ornery, jealous three-year-old (poor Lambchop #2 feels neglected and is expressing his dismay by kicking his older sister every chance he gets)? So, if I don't get around to writing another post in the next few weeks, you'll at least know why - I've drowned in a sea of ointments, creams, disinfectants, syrupy meds and my own tears.