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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

All Work and No Play...

I don't know if many people would call making bags and altering kids clothes or making dresses for myself "work". I know I have fun doing it, but since it helps me keep our costs of raising three kids down, I call it work (just don't tell anyone I'm having fun doing it, okay?).

Last night, though, I played. That's to say, I didn't do any of my usual "work". I looked up stenciling with freezer paper yesterday, and found this very nice tutorial. I decided I'd try it with wax paper, since I'm not even sure where to get freezer paper here, or if it's even something that you can find in this country. I had some wax paper on hand, though, so I gave it a shot. It worked out okay, but it was far from ideal. The wax paper didn't stick to the fabric I had chosen very well when I ironed it (with a second piece of fabric between the iron and the paper, so I wouldn't get wax all over my iron). That made my painting job less than perfect, but it wasn't too bad. Luckily, since the fabric I chose was black, I could color over the mess-ups with a Sharpie pen (shhh, don't tell).

I kind of like it. It's the elephant that appears on my husband's wine labels. It's really tiny on the labels, so I drew it larger on the wax paper. I'm not sure what to do with it now that I have it, though. I don't know where you'd put such an elephant. I know it could be incorporated nicely into a bag, but he's already got a nice bag a friend of ours made. I'd love for it to become part of a birthday present for him, but his birthday is June 1st, so we may be a bit late on that one - especially if inspiration doesn't strike. I know they often wear aprons to serve wine at wine shows, and I could make one for him with the elephant front and center, but I don't know if he actually wears an apron himself. I'd like it to be a practical gift, because the one word I'd use to describe him is "practical". Romance certainly isn't his thing, but he's got practicality down to an art form.

Anyway, any ideas for inspiration?? Here's another shot for you to see that it's just a small piece of fabric that I cut out for it, so I can sew it to anything as a pocket or a panel of some kind. I've even toyed with the idea of cutting it up (like in strips) and putting other fabrics in between the strips, but I'm afraid to go ahead with that idea when I still don't know what I'd do with the whole piece when finished.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Always Listen To Your Mother...

Or not. Whichever.

I got in the mood to change my hair yesterday. This used to happen to me quite a bit. I was a hormonally imbalanced teenager. Cutting my hair was what I did at least once a month. I always did it myself. So, I've gotten pretty good at messing with my own hair when the mood strikes me.

Yesterday, I was kind of in the mood for something drastic. Not purple hair kind of drastic, but chopping off my bangs kind of drastic. I just couldn't convince myself to do it. So, I asked my husband. He gave the usual husband opinion of, "Don't do it if it's going to bug you the whole time it takes to grow back out, because I'll have to hear about it." Yeah, helpful, huh? So, I did the only other thing I could think to do at midnight. I called my mommy in another time zone. She's the ultimate non-advice giver. It's actually a personal motto of hers not to give out advice. I told her I needed advice, and she immediately told me she might not have any to give. So, I presented her with the dilemma. Her response was typical Mom. Wait till morning, wash and style your hair, and then see what you want to do. I went to bed thinking Mom was pretty darn smart: #1, she didn't actually give any real advice, so she can't get in trouble for giving the wrong advice, and #2, she told me to sleep on it. Not bad advice to give at midnight, really.

Here's the real problem, though. I woke up to a house without water this morning. The pump wasn't turned on, and the cistern went dry. You didn't think of that, did you Mom? So, now what? Well, we ignore Mom, naturally. So, I took a deep breath, held it in and chopped my bangs. It took all of 2 minutes to drastically change my hair. And, I think I like it, though it needs to be washed and styled to be sure (and I've been told I've got a couple more hours till there will be water). So, what do you think? Please excuse the paleness (I've not been brave enough to go outside much these days with the 50 mph winds whipping through our property these days). The silly poses there's just no excuse for. Like I said, it needs a good washing and styling to not look quite so stringy, but I'm thinking it's a change for the better (I know, you didn't see the before shot).

Okay, now for the important stuff. I did quite a few little sewing projects yesterday and this morning (and one semi-big one). I fixed a nursing bra that I like to wear but whose clasp had snapped. You don't really need to see that, so we'll move on to the baby stuff instead.

First, let me apologize for the orientation of this picture. I've rotated it in iPhoto, but it doesn't seem to want to show up that way when I upload it. Sorry. You'll have to live with it this time (apparently, I couldn't live with it - came back and fixed it later by quitting and reopening iPhoto, in case you ever need to know). This is a little outfit I was given when Lambchop #1 was still in the belly. It was a garage sale special, and I know Lambchop #1 got some use out of it. She even gave the little bib a couple of nice stains. That's why I took the bib off (well, that and the fact that I'm not a huge bib fan). I didn't really want to throw the whole outfit away. Maybe I'm a sucker for seersucker. So, I detached the bib part and added a little rickrack to spice it up a bit. I think I like it better this way. Maybe it's not quite so fancy but it's more my style. And, since the outfit was free and that's most likely less than 20 cent's worth of rickrack, it's a pretty frugal restyling job.

Next is a little shirt I bought on sale a long time ago for 2 euros. I liked the cut, and I was planning to add some embroidery and give it to my sister-in-law's daughter. Only, I don't embroider and am unlikely to learn anytime soon, and the kid's now too big for it. Luckily, I had a girl. And, even luckier I have another sister-in-law who sent me a really cute collection of ribbons she bought a while back. I was able to dress the shirt up nicely with this one.

I was going to show you a before picture, but I didn't remember to take one till I already had the bottom section pinned down. I think you can picture it without the ribbon around the collar and bottom to get the idea of how plain it was before. I think it's really cute this way. Thanks, Aunt Dis. You gave me the perfect tool to fix this shirt up.

Here's a close-up so you can see the ribbon a little better. Perhaps it doesn't look like a professional installation job, but it'll do. I'm still not a pro at attaching ribbons, rickrack or bias tape, but I'm learning.

Now on to the big project of yesterday. I spent most of yesterday's sewing time on this one. I really love the way it turned out. I also love the fact that didn't buy anything new to make it. A while back, most of the grocery stores agreed to stop handing out plastic bags with groceries. Instead, they make you purchase slightly sturdier plastic bags and these funky material (plastic tarp stuff) heavy-duty bags. They're reusable and exchangeable, but they still irritate me. First, you have to buy them. Second, I used to reuse the other plastic bags for trash - now I have to buy trash bags so where am I doing any good for the environment?? And, third, they're really not all that sturdy, and it's a hassle to exchange them. I'd much rather have a pretty cloth one made from leftover fabric from my stash. So, I measured one of the store-bought ones and made my own.

Here it is:

Any Ikea shoppers may recognize the gray and black fabric to be a shower curtain. We bought one with a gift certificate we were given. Our shower stall is narrow, and the curtain was too wide, so I cut it and saved the excess material. The purple lining is some canvas that I used to make curtains for the bathroom (so this bag really matches the bathroom well). I had leftovers since it was double-wide upholstery fabric. The strap is made from a strip of fake leather I had bought for use as slipper bottoms (I changed my mind about the slippers, so I never used the fabric). I am very happy with it and can't wait to go shopping in style.

It's huge, too. Take a look at the inside. Imagine all the stuff you can fit in there. I just hope it'll be sturdy enough. I can't picture it falling apart as easily as the bags they sell you at the store, so I figure this will be fine.

Now, I have one last thing to show off before your eyes glaze over (don't tell me if they already have - I'd prefer to remain delusional). It's a little shot of my knitted cardigan tank. It's coming along nicely, and I thought I might be nearing the point where I should start the arm holes. I wasn't sure, so I steam blocked it a little with the iron to check. Here it is blocking.

You get a much better idea of what the lace will look like here than you got the last time I showed it to you. I love this lace. I think it's so pretty. I can't wait till I finish this cardigan. I guess that means I should really work on it more often, right? No big deal. I'll still have time before it gets too hot. With all the wind we've got these days, it's not yet the right weather for it. Anyway, see that band of lace that continues all the way up the edge? That'll be the button band. I'm kind of anxious to see how it'll look with the buttons going up it.

Well, I'm lucky today, because I get to hitch a ride with my husband to the fabric store to finally get a zipper for that blue dress. I'm also hoping to make a little stop at the thrift store. I have the excuse that I'd like to dump some old clothes, but we really know that I just want to feed my new thrifted sheet addiction.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Come On Baby Light My Fire

aka Kids, Don't Try This At Home...

aka Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Fire...

aka Always Wear Natural Fibers...

aka That Bamboo Is Sturdy Stuff...

Can you imagine where I'm going with this? Yep, lit myself on fire last night while cooking dinner. Nope, nobody was hurt (not even the hand-knit shirt I was wearing). I was pretty darn shaky after the fact, though. Thoroughly freaked out, as you can imagine.

I'll bet you're wondering how on earth I managed to light myself up, right? Well, the crappy matches they sell here in France make it a remarkably easy task, actually. That combined with the fact that the electric clicker component thingie (its technical name, I'm sure) of our stove no longer functions makes a dangerous combination, I guess. I have always had a lot of trouble lighting these particular matches. I realized that lighting away from me (striking in an outward direction) worked less often than lighting towards me. So, I'd recently developed the habit of striking inward. This worked just fine until last night when I decided to rewarm dinner. I struck a match, and a portion of the tip (the part that is meant to light the match) detached from the rest of the match. That's what I mean when I say these are crappy matches. This stuff comes off in mid-strike all the time. It just doesn't usually come off lit up. That's where last night differed from the usual. So, this little ball of fire flew at me and ignited my hand-knit Southwest Trading Company Bamboo shirt. A whole portion of the belly area was flaming like the alcohol on a Cherries Jubilee. I patted frantically for as long as it took me to realize that was about as effective as fanning the flames. When I saw them travel upward toward my chest and shoulder, the shirt came off faster than a bra in a 1960's political rally. The whole thing ended up in a charred-smelling pile on the floor.

It took me a little while of standing half-naked in the kitchen before I actually picked the thing back up. I was pretty impressed with what I saw. Take a look...

This is the section that caught on fire. You can't see any damage at all. I'm not even sure what it was that was burning. Leftover chemical dye residue?? I'm really baffled by this one. Aside from a slight odor of burnt hair, you'd never even know anything happened.

So, the moral of this story - actually, there are several.

  1. Light away from you, even if it takes ten matches to get a light.
  2. Always wear non-synthetic aprons.
  3. Don't inadvertently fan the flames when they are on your body.
  4. Surely, I should have gotten some other lesson from this experience, but I can be a slow learner. Perhaps #4 should be that I should not cook in hand-knit garments that I might be disappointed to lose.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Back In the Saddle

After a couple of weeks of not doing any crafting at all, last night I got in the mood. So, I pushed myself away from the computer and pulled a chair up in front of the sewing machine instead. A while back, I bought a vintage sewing pattern on ebay. It just happened to be in my size (well, my bust size, anyway), and I kind of like the style of the dress. I wasn't really sure what fabric I should use, but I had this fun sheet I had paid 33 cents for at the local thrift shop. I figured at that price, I couldn't really got wrong, so I tested the pattern out on it. I'm really pleased with the results. I have to say that this fabric isn't exactly the style I would usually be seen wearing, but I like the whimsical nature of the flowers and the bright color (and who says I ever had any sense of style in the first place?). It'll be great for summer, I think, and it fits perfectly, as well (after some alterations to the pattern, because it would appear that I don't have the average proportions of women of the 1940's).

I still need to hem it and install the zipper, but it's finished otherwise. I just don't have a zipper, so I can't get it done till the stores open tomorrow (it's moments like these that I'd give almost anything to be in the US on a Sunday afternoon).

And, just for good measure, I'll throw in a couple of kid pictures. Daddy put the baby on the floor near the pots and pans yesterday, which she found to be the perfect playground. Lambchop #2 liked her idea and started to play kitchen with her.

This is what I get for not installing a cabinet yet. There are open shelves for now, and some day, I'll get around to sewing the curtains I have planned, but for now, this certainly allows easy access to the kitchen "toys".

It doesn't look like she'll complain about the current set-up anytime soon.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Just To Show I Care

The way I've been neglecting the blogging lately (much like the housework), you might start to think I no longer care. That would certainly be the case with the housework, but it's just not so with the blogging. I've wanted to blog. I really have, but since I tend to work by obsessive motivation (it's a family trait, I think), and all motivation has centered around web publishing lately, I don't have a lot of crafty stuff to show off.

This lack of things to say here on my craft blog makes it a bit hard to formulate a post. That's why I've decided to show off two projects I've had in the works for a little while but haven't really blogged about yet. I might have had some silly notions about making patterns to submit somewhere, but let's get real. I'll be lucky if the garments ever get fully knitted at this rate, so I may as well show them off here instead of keeping them a secret.

First off, we have a mango-colored yarn from Anny Blatt. I actually think the yarn is called mango, too, but I can't remember right now (and I'm not obsessively motivated to actually get up and check for you). It's a nice cotton/modal blend that is great to work with. I have a feeling I'm going to like the finished garment, too (if the fit is right when I'm done). When all is said and done, it'll be a lacy cardigan tank for the summer. The top (boob) section won't be lacy, though, so I can wear it without a shirt under it if I want, I think. You can't really see the definition of the lace pattern here, but it's really pretty. It makes a wavy front edge on both sides, so the button section in the front will be wavy. I'm hoping I like that effect when it's finished. Only time will tell, though, because it'll need some serious blocking to get it to behave.

This next one is something that I have no excuse not to have already finished. It's just a simple baby t-shirt for Lambchop #3, and if I don't hurry, it'll become a gift for a friend who's due around September. All that's left is to finish knitting a few rows on that first sleeve and to pick up the stitches and knit the second one. How hard would that be? Unfortunately, my obsessive motivation seems to be directing me toward computer projects these days, so we'll see when I get around to this.

I really have spent all my time on the computer these days. Having a decent looking blog (for me) and webpage (for my husband) is apparently more important to me than having a decent looking house. Actually, that's not it. I just know that web publishing success is actually within my reach, while I'll never have a clean house. So, why try? Right? What's sad, though, is that I've even been shirking other little duties and things I am good at like baking. We have actually had to buy bread this week. I would like to pretend I made some though, and show off this loaf.

I wanted to show you what a loaf of that oh-so-easy-to-make no-knead bread looks like when you use half whole wheat flour and half white flour. You'll have to adjust the water a bit, I'm sure, but once you know what the texture should be like after baking the original recipe, you'll be able to figure out how much water you need to modify the flour content. I also just about doubled the loaf size. I've got a pot that makes a nice size loaf, and we devour that itty bitty loaf in the original recipe way too fast. This is good stuff. I can't recommend that recipe enough (do a little google search - I don't have the time right now - for "no-knead bread recipe" and you should find it).

And, lastly, before I head off to clean the kitchen (my husband invited a friend over for lunch - smarty pants thinks I won't realize he's doing it to force me away from the computer long enough to make the kitchen presentable and cook a decent meal for once), I've got a picture of the baby for her grandparents and aunts and uncles.

She's recently started eating more solids, and I mean real solids. Much like her daddy, she can consume large quantities of bread now, though, I'm happy to say he doesn't suck on chunks of it till it's soft enough to swallow like she does. She also really likes bananas, though that gets pretty messy too. Somewhere, I have a great picture of her older sister around 9-10 months old eating a banana in much the same way as she is doing here. I couldn't resist taking this one for comparison some day.

So, there you have it, an actual real blog post - with pictures and all. Now, I've got to get on that nasty housework. I promised myself I'd stop working/playing on the computer at ten, and it's ten minutes past right now. Better get to work. The baby's sleeping, and I'm thinking maybe I could actually do the work at hyperspeed and still have time to play with my new blog site a bit. Think I can do it?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stick With What You Know

a.k.a. DON'T (under any cirumstances) do what you like (as the song might tell you to do. Doing, or shall I say, attempting to do what you like can mean you spend days upon days in front of the computer attempting to learn new technologies that many people pay perfectly good money to learn at an established institute of higher learning. Really, stick with the knitting and the sewing, or perhaps the baking. Just don't try to fiddle with the technology. It won't be pretty, and the decline in household management will be even uglier.

Anyway, long story short (which is not easy for me, you know)...

I'm fiddling with stuff, trying to attach my blog to my husband's wine business site. He's got more than enough room, and I was thinking it'd be fun to play with some other blogging software - not to mention the fact that I'd be able to have my blog's name appear without the whole .blogspot thing attached. I'd much rather advertise for my husband's wine than for Blogger.

So, as usual, I miraculously made a very simple task extremely complicated and spent days trying to figure something out, when, if I had only known what my hosting service's special terms meant, I'd have have saved tons of time. Luckily, I happened to click on something that led me to a little info about blogging on my hosting services' website. So, I'm happy to announce that after some more fiddling (this time with blogskins and stuff), I should be moving.

Having said all that, I'm not even sure I need to ask you to please be patient with me while I work on this, since I won't be doing a lot of blogging till then.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Working Hard

But, somehow, also hardly working. I've been working a lot lately on fixing the website I started a very long time ago for my husband's wine business. It's been a mess forever, and I finally learned about the wonderfulness that is NVu, a graphic interface html editor. It's really great. I've made a really nice looking site so far. It definitely beats the one I had before. It's very time-consuming to make a website, though. Hey, at least, my husband isn't bothered by the dishes piling up, though. He hardly has anything to complain about.

You can get a little idea of what it'll look like by clicking here. I wanted to do some kind of screen capture to let you see the thing, because if too many people click on that link in a day, it'll lock people out (it's a free geocities site - what do you want?). Apparently, though, I have enough know-how to build a website, but I am too dumb to do a proper screen capture. I'm not going to try too hard, though. My eyes are already glazing over half the time because of all the time I spend in front of the computer.

Well, I must go eat breakfast and do some chores before a friend of Lambchop #1's gets here. I wouldn't want her daddy to be too afraid to leave her with us.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

What Do You Say When You Don't Know Where To Start?

And, how long could I actually make this post title? I have been so busy, I don't even know where to start to tell you about my week. It's been hectic in both good ways and in bad. Hey, let's do a list. I haven't done one using that little easy-list tool Blogger's got. I'm obviously a nerd and find that idea exciting, so let's go for it.

  1. Lambchop #2 has strep throat. We had a really fun couple of nights before the antibiotic kicked in - incidentally, I'm all for "soft" medicine as they call homeopathy and the like here, but as a mommy who had her tonsils removed at the age of 20, I'm also all for bringing out the big guns when strep is involved.
  2. I made some of that famous "n0-knead" bread that's making the rounds of the net. You must try this stuff. Very tasty and way too easy for how well it turns out. It isn't a very big loaf, though, so I modified the recipe to make a bigger one. I've also tried it with 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white. It worked out well, but I'm sure I had a slightly different flour-to-water ratio to get the right texture. Some day, when we don't devour it in one sitting before it even has the time to cool, I'll post a picture.
  3. Made a pound cake with the kids the other day. Learned something new there: had no idea that there was no rising ingredient in pound cake.
  4. Hating to throw out perfectly good egg whites after making the pound cake, I started making meringue and then decided to add some flour and whip up some mini angel cakes (using a silicon muffin mold). We each had our own mini cake for dessert with kiwis (just tossed them in a bit of sugar to release their juices) over the top. Yum. And frugal.
  5. Ate the worst meal I can recall last night after my husband left for a business trip and I realized we had no more butane gas to run the stove/oven (they won't bring the gas pipes out this far). Dinner was half-cooked, and I was really irritated. Couldn't very well serve bloody chicken to the kids, so I boiled some water in the electric kettle to make couscous. We ate it really bland (I must have skimped on the salt) with cheese on top. The only good thing about dinner was the strawberries and whipped cream we had for dessert.
  6. My knitting project is coming along nicely, though I have no idea yet if it'll actually be pretty.
  7. I spent a couple of days fiddling with iWeb to build the website for my husband's business. It turned out okay, but that software is seriously limited in very annoying ways. I called my brother to have him take a look and got tons of great information - like that I could download a nice, free webpage-making, graphic interface kind of html editor. I'm really excited about learning to use this software (without all the limitations). I'll let you know how I like it.
  8. Took the kids into the city via the new tram line that reaches one of the towns on the outskirts of the city. I still had to drive to get there, but it was a fun and less stressful way to get all the way into the city. We picnicked in Montpellier's lovely botanical gardens and then bought goodies (Yay! A list within a list):
  • a kit to make a wild and crazy (and also hugely humongous) ring for Lambchop #1.
  • buttons for the cardigany-tank I'm knitting (I'm so boring that I bought plain wooden ones).
  • a cutting board for the bread (you can't imagine how excited I am about this after my husband repeatedly telling me he'd make me one but never finding the time to do it).
  • some funky beads and string to make a couple of necklaces for Lambchop #2 (he's into that kind of thing, I wanted to avoid any jealousy over the ring kit, and shut up! they're masculine beads!).
  • several used kids' DVDs that I'm also oddly excited about.
  • very bland milkshakes at a place that had delicious gelato. It was a sad waste. I actually saw a lady bring hers back and tell them it wasn't any good. She was right, but I didn't have the heart. It was a bit like drinking bland chocolate milk with a bit of a spicy kick to it (I had them use dark chocolate/hot pepper ice cream, which was amazing when they let me sample it). Basically, they just added a dollop of ice cream to milk and then whirred it till it was foamy on top. So, I paid ten bucks for the three of us to drink about 3 cups of milk with about 5 or 6 tablespoons of ice cream. I'll know better next time. McDonald's can do better.
  • black-eyed peas. Yum, and hard to get here.
Hey would you look at that! Even my lists are wordy. You'd better be glad I never followed through with a kooky idea I had the other day about doing an entire post in poetry. You know, like:

Went to the store today,
To load up on food stuff.

I don't know what else to say,
This poem-writin's kinda tough.

Obviously, I'm considering this as a career option when I finally grow up. I'm that talented. Hey, come to think of it, maybe doing all my blog posts as poems would cut down on the excess verbage a bit. Until that time, I'll try to load up on the kid pictures to try to balance the post and make it look like there really aren't a million and two paragraphs of my blabbing.

Mom, quit being silly with the camera.

I'm feeling camera shy.

Then, again, maybe I'm not.

Up to no good?

Yeah, well, it's hard work annoying my sister being a little brother, but somebody has to do it (pulling apart a bit of spool knitting done by Lambchop #1).

Lucky you. I'm about to fall asleep sitting up after my long day weaving in and out of human traffic in small alleyways with 3 lively children, so we'll have to cut this "short".

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Too Funny

We just stayed up entirely too late on a week night watching a program showcasing several different movie shorts. Being a mother, this one really struck a chord for me.

Go watch it
. It's short and very funny.


Monday, May 07, 2007

A Mother's Dreams

I haven't posted in a little while because I haven't had much to say. I haven't felt all that funny, and I hate to drone on endlessly about my life with three kids. There haven't even really been any projects to talk much about. I've done no sewing, but I've been knitting a little everyday. I hadn't had any inspiration to knit in quite some time, but thanks to this lace I saw at Jenla, I have gotten out of that funk. I'm now neck-deep in the drama involved in not knowing if there will be enough yarn to finish the tank I've started. It's so close, and I'm pretty sure that if I have I wish for it hard enough, there will either be enough yarn already, or it'll miraculously start to reproduce itself while I knit.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if yarn would reproduce itself the way dirty dishes and used diapers do? In this dream world of mine, the yarn would, of course, be asexual like worms. We could just by one skein of some coveted expensive stuff and leave it alone for a few days (surely, it'd want its privacy). Of course I can see how this could quickly get out of hand, but I wouldn't complain. I can picture sleeping on the softer hanks if they started to take over the place like the laundry always does (especially now that I'm trying to be good by getting the cloth diapers back out - we always have to work up the courage to do this).

Along with the knitting, I've done a little thrift shopping. I was reasonable this time, because I've started to realize that the amount of laundry I do is directly proportional to the amount of thrift shopping I do (funny how that works out), but I did buy a really great little object that would have to work really hard to find itself in the dirty clothes hamper. It's the Magnus Electric Chord Piano pictured with Lambchop #3. I got it for 1 euro, which according to ebay is a pretty darn good deal. Aside from a little dust, it's in great condition and works perfectly. The kids love it (including the baby), and I even taught myself to play parts of La Vie En Rose today.

The baby is great with it. She's got some real talent. I'm thinking she may be a child prodigy or something, because she instantly started to pick out the notes to some classical piece I can't quite place (she's obviously much more musically inclined than her mommy). Okay, well, maybe she just sits there and slams her hands down on the keys, but she really seems to enjoy herself, and as the parent of any kid who sucks at a sport will tell you, what matters is how much fun you're having. If you take a good look at her right hand in this second picture, you can see the blur of her hand as she bangs on the keys. Mozart in the making.

Perhaps she will take time off from her travels as a concert pianist to be a professional photographer (Do I sense a mother projecting her own dreams onto her children a bit here??) She loves the camera. She's always trying to reach for it.

Give me that!

Almost got it.

Just a little closer.

Ha! Now I just have to pull really hard.

She's not really into blogging, though, and I'm getting tired of fighting her while I type, so we're going to have to call it quits for today.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Through It

Throughout all of yesterday and parts of today, we have had quite a bit of rainfall. At one point, there was even some hail. This always starts my vintner husband to worrying and staring quietly out the windows with a small look of panic. The scariest thing to a person who lives off the land is the weather. It is so unpredictable and uncontrollable, yet it can wreak havoc on what is essentially your life's work.

Luckily, the hail was pretty mild and didn't last long, but a walk in the vineyard proved his worries not to be totally unfounded. There was indeed some damage to the vine's new leaves. What he doesn't know is how much that will actually affect the plant, if any. We'll hope for the best and assume since it's still early in the season that the vines will have plenty of time to make more leaves to make up for any loss.

I really enjoyed the rain, though. The sound it made as it pelted the skylight was impressive. You had to almost shout to make yourself heard over its din. I felt like I was suddenly transported to a new and amazing place called the Tropics of the Mediterranean. Strange oxymoron of a place, let me tell you.

A river runs through it:

This is the dirt road that leads up to our home. It turned into our very own river yesterday. It's still raining a lot today, so I'm pretty sure my husband and his father will have some fun with the tractor when all is said and done. They always have to put the road back together after a rain like this.

My husband said the natural spring we have near the winery was overflowing, too, which is unusual in the arid Mediterranean climate we live in.

A baby sleeps through it:

This kind of weather makes me want to sit with a cup of cappuccino (I rarely drink coffee) and read or do some other lazy activity. Instead, I've forced myself to do housework and take care of the kids, because, well, they just don't seem to take care of themselves no matter how much I wish for it sometimes. Unfortunately, for me, we have no decaf coffee in the house, anyway, and I can't handle caffeine anymore.

From the looks of it, I'd say that Lambchop #3 is a bit like her mommy. She seems to enjoy the sound of rain on the skylight. She slept soundlessly for hours yesterday while buckets of rain were being dumped all around her.

What I don't like:

What's not so cool about the rain is the leaks we found in the skylight over the wood floor on the stairs. I also really don't like having to have all the phones, computer and internet disconnected during thunderstorms. We've lost many an electric doodad that way, though, so I just have to live with it and hope the satellite doesn't get taken out since it's out on top of the house.

And, a last couple of pictures before I go change a diaper (mercifully, I won't take any pictures of that for you)...
Oh, and I haven't done any new sewing projects unless you count the lovely skirt I made my husband the other day. Okay, well, it was more like a skort - you know, those blousey shorts that were so popular about 15 years ago. The thing about blogs is that you can filter the information you give others about your life. I'm thinking you don't need to see my husband's skort until becomes a proper pair of men's shorts. It was good for a hysterical laugh around midnight the other night, though.

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