Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 30

I've spent the last three nights trying to adjust a simple pattern (Heather Ross's Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing) to my non-standard body shape (B cup I am not). Drafting is hard without a dress form, a helper, or instructions. There's been a lot of trial and even more error. But at last, after three king sized sheets and about ten hours snipping, stitching, and cursing, I think I'm ready to cut into the 'good' fabric.

Oh yeah, and I got a haircut too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28

Long, long ago, I started on this quilt of corduroy from thrift store clothes. I had intended it to be for our bed, but somewhere along the way I decided to give it to Ian instead. By Christmas time it was stitched and basted, but not quilted or bound. I wrapped it up and gave it to him, then took it back to complete it. Finding someone willing to machine quilt it turned out to be problematic, but in the end Shawna's stepmother did a great job at a fabulous price.

Then finally, today, I finished binding it, nearly 15 months after the day I started.

Some things are worth the wait.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26

I didn't realize how much I missed Vegemite until sister brought some on her recent visit. Fresh bread, spread with butter and Vegemite, and topped with gruyère ... perfect!

We had no guests for dinner tonight, so instead of spending the day in the kitchen, I spent it at my sewing machine. I followed this tutorial and after an unbelievable amount of trial and error on strap placement, finally got it fitting nicely. From the front, I think it looks pretty cute on, but from the side there's no denying I look pregnant. If I were to make it again, and I might, I would use a fabric with better drape. Foreseeing this problem, I did in fact use a pretty soft cotton, but I think it needs something even drapier. Or else I need smaller breasts. One or the other.

I need a good easy pattern for a summer top that suits my body shape. I'm not sure this is it. The hunt continues.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 25

I {heart} Anthropologie teatowels. And I'm quite enamoured with them hung as kitchen curtains. The view is made even prettier by the flowering orchids and ice plants. My mother always appreciated a nice view from the kitchen sink too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 20

Sometimes (when she's Miss Independent) Lauren wants to pack her own lunch, and sometimes (when she's feeling needy) she asks me to do it for her. Tonight she asked me to do something much more difficult. She asked me to write a letter to her mother explaining why she doesn't want to spend time with her for a while. After that task, the lunch request was insignificant. So much so, that I was inspired to whip her up a new lunch bag to contain it.

This fabric, is, I think, PUL. I've never actually seen PUL, and the girl at Michael Levine's didn't know what it was called. But it's plastic coated fabric, with a fairly soft hand. And with sock monkeys, who also, coincidentally, have fairly soft hands.

I hope the lunch is extra-well-received. From my loving hands to her little, needy ones.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19

I really tossed up whether to cancel our Sunday Open House dinner tonight. I was exhausted with sadness and, I admit it, self-pity. The thought of having to be up and at it tomorrow morning, for the school carpool then back to work, made me want to curl up in my cave and sleep this afternoon.

But a day alone in the kitchen is therapeutic, so I worked slowly and steadily, producing: fish tacos, stuffed poblanos, red rice, roasted cauliflower, pecan cookies, matzo toffee, and berry turnovers for tonight, plus lentil burgers and a leek and asparagus quiche for the week ahead.

When the last guest left and we were cleaning up, I let the glass lid of my stockpot slide onto the floor and shatter into a thousand shards.

I was too exhausted to react. My good man vacuumed then hand-mopped the kitchen floor, while I watched in detached appreciation.

Thank you honey. You go the extra mile.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 18

We agreed tonight that family lineup photos should be taken at the start of the visit, when everyone is happy and excited, not during the last hour, when we are dragging our heels and fighting back tears. Late this afternoon we gathered for a last supper outdoors, and shared empanadas, lentils, brussels sprouts, and roasted squash. Spontaneously, we spoke from the heart about what this past two weeks has meant to us. Love, comfort, joy, sharing, connections. Hearts opening wide. Folk music.

It could not have been better, in any way.

Sister and Dad, I love you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16

Another happy, peaceful day, spent in part at the Getty Villa. I am beginning to brace myself for dad and sister's departure, and my return to my 'normal' life.
This has been the best vacation ever. One more day to go!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14

Our last day was spent in Joshua Tree National Park. This awesome wilderness area is only 3 hours from my home. So why has it taken me 12 years to visit? I will be back soon and often.

The last picnic lunch. For the record, we were not drinking the wine. I just removed it from the esky to get the sandwiches out.

And now I leave you with some of the many faces of Arizona.

And lastly, a map of Australia, to where sister and Dad, must, sadly, soon return.

Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13

The trek west continues. We had expected to see a lot of saguaros this week, not realizing that they mainly populate southern Arizona, while our trip took place in the north of the state. So when we passed a good patch on the back roads of California, it was deemed a photo op.

The day's destination was Roughley Manor, an absolutely delightful B&B in Twenty-Nine Palms.

A most satisfactory 'wine o'clock' was celebrated. Does life get any better than this?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 12

After saying a reluctant farewell to La Posada, we began the journey back west.

First stop was Montezuma Well. This oasis lake is fed daily by over a million gallons of warm water. No wonder the Sinagua made their homes in the canyon walls. But why did they suddenly depart?

Then on down the road to Montezuma Castle. Wow. Thanks to the generous overhang, this is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in America. Go there. It's amazing.

Next stop was Tuzigoot National Monument. Can you tell my annual National Parks pass was getting a good workout? I love this picture of sister and Dad.

It was now early afternoon, and time to find our B&B. By the time we checked in, we only had a few hours to sample the natural delights of Sedona. After a visit to Kachina House to pick up some very reasonably priced Native American artefacts, we opted to visit Cathedral Rock. We were not disappointed. Obviously Sedona has a huge amount to offer in the way of scenic splendour, but alas, we only had a few hours before dark. Another trip, another time.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 11

Today we headed west and north of Winslow in a big loop that took us up onto the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

First stop was Petrified Forest National Park.

Then up through the Painted Desert.

When we arrived at Hubbell Trading Post in Navajo Nation, we discovered that they observe daylight savings time, though the rest of Arizona does not.

It was getting late, so we hastened up to Second Mesa, for dinner at the Hopi Cultural Center. The weather was very gloomy as we climbed the steep mesa. At the top we stopped and looked back -- the sun was shining through the clouds down over the valley from whence we had come.

It began to snow as we arrived at the Cultural Center, and there was some discussion about whether we should turn back immediately. The winding mountain road would be difficult to navigate in a snow storm. But our sense of adventure prevailed, and we stayed to eat. The snow stopped, and soon melted, so all was well.

Friday, April 10, 2009

April 10

After a last good-bye to Grand Canyon, Day Two saw us heading to Winslow, stopping to enjoy the many National Parks and Monuments on the way.

Wupatki National Monument features the remains of a large pueblo built early in the last millennium.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is the closest I've ever come to a recently-erupted volcano. OK, so it last spewed 900 years ago, but the lava's still there. Very impressive stuff.

Then there was lovely Walnut Canyon National Monument where we got to see our first cliff dwellings, abandoned by the Sinagua people about 600 years ago.

Lunch time. We picnicked every day, in wonderfully scenic spots, exclaiming to each other that "This is the life!"

After being led astray by Google Maps, we finally found our way to the fabulous La Posada Hotel in Winslow by "wine o'clock". More satisfied sighs ensued.