Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jam! Hats! Dresses!

Mom and I discovered a cherry tree a few blocks away that is full to bursting with sweet cherries. It is in front of an old apartment complex, and we looked for a landlord office to ask permission, but couldn't find anyone, so we forged ahead and filled our basket in about 5 minutes. After a couple days of stuffing ourselves on them, I decided to make jam. Coincidentally the blueberries finally got (relatively) cheap at the grocery store, so I ended up making 4 jars of blueberry, 3 jars of cherry and 4 jars of blueberry-cherry. My mixed batch was pretty cavalier. The first blueberry batch called for 4 cups of fruit and 7 cups of sugar. I was too chicken to cut the sugar back and so I imagine that it is going to taste like blueberry candy. My cherry batch called for a more moderate 4 cups of sugar, and my final mixed batch I got crazy and only put in two cups of sugar. I was aware that it might not gel properly, but I had a small cup of jam left over that wouldn't fit into a jar and it seems to have jelled fine and tastes great! 

As I was making all this jam, Joe reminded me of a picture book we have called Jam. We found it, and I am reminded of what a great story it is. Mrs Castle gets a job as an astrophysicist, and Mr Castle becomes such an efficient househusband that he runs out of domestic work. As he is pondering what to do, the plum tree starts to drop ripe plums. He makes 3 pots of wonderful jam. But the next day there are more plums. This is a challenge, and Mr Castle eventually fills every container in the house with plum jam. The story continues as they eat their way through a house full of jam. I do hope you can find a copy to read it yourself. The book was a gift from my 2nd grade teacher. Thank you, Mrs Iverson!

In other goings on, I finally finished a Norwegian hat that I've been working on since last January. My friend Carol Witte has worn her hat to tatters and asked me if I could make her another just like it. It was really fun deciphering the pattern and I think I got it pretty close in the end. The colors are slightly different, as I had to pick the closest thing at the yarn store. I had to choose between slightly oranger red and a slightly too bright red. I went with the oranger, and you can also tell that my white is way brighter than the aged white. My gauge was slightly taller too, and I decided to keep the correct number of lice pattern repeats and have a slightly longer hat. I'm curious to see if Carol can transfer her affections to the new hat or if it will be just too new! I'm mailing it off to her soon. 

momma modeling for me
I also got a package from Etsy containing yarn from Hommespun Yarn Co, a one-man spinning and natural dying show. He happens to be my friend as well, and I'm thrilled to give Trevor's yarn a try. I chose the indigo color and I'm planning on turning it into a hat for Julia. I've cast on already, so maybe I'll have a finished product this summer yet.

 And since I've stopped reading my text book this week, (somehow we only have two chapters left to cover the second half of the class) I've also had time to sew Julia another dress! It ended up too big, but I imagine that next summer it will fit fine. This one was from a pattern, which is something I'm not very confident about following. It worked fine though, and I even managed to do a zipper. The neck is lined with some tatting from one of my great grandmothers. It came off of a pillowcase that had worn out. I think I should sew another dress from the same pattern, now that I've managed one. I think it would be a lot easier the second time, and maybe I could get all the seams finished properly too!

a wee bit big...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A sumer trip

Julia and I left last week on a trip west to Colorado to see a friend from college get married. Driving to Portland was mostly fine, and I got to re-connect with another college friend, Whitney. She also happened to be flying out that morning, so we stayed the night and got up at about 4 30 to go to the airport. I dropped Whitney off, then found a parking lot and dozed for an hour, until it was time to go park the car at a hotel's long-term parking. (much cheaper than airport parking) The shuttle took us and our pile of stuff (car seat, stroller, large backpack, small backpack, jacket, blanket, toddler) to the airport, where we checked in and survived security. We got to our gate and then learned that the flight was late, 2 hours. this was a bummer, but we made do, and finally got to board. We sat on the plain awhile, and then they announced that they were checking some hail damage, but that it was probably no big deal. awhile later they announced that actually, it was a big deal, and we needed to disembark. while we were doing that, they announced that our flight was now cancelled, and furthermore, all other flights that day to Denver were also cancelled. Major bummer. So we all stood in line for hours, waiting to get re-scheduled. I put Julia in the stroller and paced in circles around a row of chairs until she fell asleep. The stroller was already worth it's weight in gold. We finally got our turn with the Frontier employee, who informed me that 5 am the next day was the only way I could make it in time for the wedding. They gave me a hotel room and meal vouchers, and I headed off to find the hotel shuttle. It was 1 pm now, and I thought about going to get my car, but that would mean taking the other hotel's shuttle, then having to find the hotel that I'd be staying at, then at 3 am the next morning, taking the car back to the other hotel, and taking that shuttle to the airport. I was already exhausted, so I decided that we would just hang out in the hotel that day. We got airport food to go, picnicked on that, swam in the freezing pool, wandered the halls, ate complementary cookies, watched tv and read gossipy magazines, Julia took a loooong nap, and then I tricked her into an early bedtime with the magical dimming lights and blackout curtains. This was very necessary as our wake up call was for 3:15 am. I woke up in a panic at 3:12 am thinking that I had missed the flight, and with that, we headed back to the airport. This time things went smoothly, and we landed in Denver about 9 am, just in time to meet two friends who were also arriving and had a rental car. We drove into Denver and met up with 4 of my 6 college roommates, got changed into fancy clothes and headed up to Estes Park for the wedding. The wedding was lovely, and the ensuing dinner and party were lovely. Julia really loved dinner and napped during much of the dancing. I thought she might like dancing, but I think the music was too loud for her to feel comfortable. She danced in my arms instead. That night we stayed in Erin's hotel room in Estes Park, and the rest of the girls camped nearby. The following day, we drove/hiked a tad up a mountain for views, and came back for meals hosted by Kay's family. It was great to get to catch up with everyone, though I couldn't relax outside as there was a really fast stream 20 feet away that Julia was enthralled with. Every chance she got she'd head over to check it out, so I had to keep a really close eye on her. We spent the next night in Denver at Kelly's house, and Julia and I were the first to leave for the airport at 5 am. I awoke 2 minutes before the alarm again, convinced I had overslept. It took an hour by bus to get to the airport, whereupon we learned that our flight was again cancelled, thanks to the same hailstorm that got us the first time. We stood in line again for hours, waiting for our turn at re-booking. In line I smelled that Julia needed a changing, and dug in the backpack, only to discover that I was out of diapers. totally out. I just about burst into tears right there. Nothing makes you feel like a bad parent like running out of diapers at the worst possible minute. Lucky for me, there was a family with two young kids in line nearby, and I asked if they had a spare. they were happy to give me one, and I changed her right there in line. Frontier certainly does not provide changing accommodations in the re-booking line though that would be a really good idea. We got to our employee, who very snippily informed me that the next possible flight was at 7:40 pm. the thought of 12 hours in the airport made me burst into tears, but she was unmoved, and said that a hotel was not possible, nor were meal vouchers, since they "did not accommodate for delays due to weather." (though they did so the first flight...) she did suggest that I go down to baggage and ask if they had diapers. So I did, sniffling a bit and oddly enough they did have a few. they were small, but anything was better than my plan of wrapping her in t shirts and duct tape. I considered calling my friends, but they were an hour's bus ride away, and Kelly was busy accommodating everyone's flights, and I couldn't deal with the idea of hauling all that stuff around any more than I already was. So we went through security, found our gate, and somehow survived until 7 40 pm. We walked the corridor, Julia played with various other kids, we took field trips for food in mini-meals. a sandwich now, fries later, ect. Two friends with time before their flight came and hung out for awhile. We napped on the floor and I did not care at all if that was a security camera directly above my nursing breasts. The worst part about it all was that if Julia wanted to go walk, or I had to go to the bathroom, I had to pile everything onto the stroller and haul it around with us. The car sear and stroller were gate-check items that they wouldn't check as regular luggage, and You can't just leave a car seat or a backpack alone while you walk 50 feet away for fear that the bomb squad will blow it up while you are chasing you baby. The day dragged, but finally our flight boarded, and we took off. Julia fell asleep and slept the entire flight. It was 10:30 pm by the time we were loaded in our car in Portland, and I drove a few hours before I was exhausted, and Julia was awake and hungry. I stopped at a gas station, and folded the seat down, locked the doors, and it was a rather functional makeshift bed while I nursed Julia. I fell asleep for a couple hours too, waking in the early morning and finishing the drive back to Klamath Falls. I suppose I could have gotten a hotel room, but I'm cheap like that, and hated the idea of spending more on this trip than Frontier had made me spend already. I'm so glad to be done with flying for awhile. Julia was so happy to be home here too. Now I'm back in class. I did quite well on the mid-term, despite my deep fears to the contrary and that has boosted my confidence greatly that I will indeed survive Anatomy and Physiology. 

My roommate Erin, and her fiancee Mat. Their wedding is later this summer!

Kay's ceremony
Julia looking adorable right before she spread her salad in a 3 foot radius. 
Erin, Kay, Kelly, Me, Sarah, Kate and Kezia, all roommates our senior year at St Olaf,
and many of us roomed in various combinations other years. 
We drove up a mountain in Estes Park for some lovely views and snow at the top!
I think everyone else looks exactly the same as in college. I've cut my hair short and added a baby to the photo. 

no airport photos though. somehow I wasn't in the mood...

Olaf taught Julia how to spin

If you can't see the movies, I suggest trying a browser other than Safari. Firefox works for me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

what Julia does

What Julia does:
plays in the water

admires the chickies

gets patriotic

wears her new dress made by grandma Gini (notice how long her bangs are)
looks cute. (notice how short her bangs are now)
plays in flour

naps in the stroller

what Olaf does: eats ice cream and draws airplanes

what I do: study

and avoid studying

Friday, July 1, 2011

I sewed a dress!

My mother in law, Gini gave me a wonderful older Husqvarna sewing machine, and I had to give it a test run. A couple days earlier, at a garage sale, I found a pink linen skirt and blouse that was great fabric but not so great fashion, as well as some grey linen shorts. I didn't have a dress pattern to follow, but decided to wing it and traced out the top of a dress that already fit Julia. I added a little room for the seam allowance, and cut out the top from the grey linen and cut the skirt from the pink linen set a bit shorter. I liked the flowers embroidered on the skirt so I decided to leave it in the skirt form and just cut it off about at the right length. I sewed the seams of the top, then pinned the skirt to the top at two sides and kept subdividing it into pleats. I sewed the skirt on and realized that this might actually work. The remaining issue was buttonholes, which I have never done. I downloaded the manual and followed the directions and was amazed that it actually worked quite well. I was nervous about making the buttonholes on the dress itself, and actually sort of screwed the first one up, but was able to recover smoothly and they turned out fine! I chose pink buttons to tie the skirt and top together, and then all that was left was convincing julia to model.

the top, all seamed

the skirt, before attaching

the dress, done!
the model, giggling while sprinting away from me

good thing i don't aspire to participate in baby pageants

So the modeling could have used another 2,000 frames, but it was getting on naptime.While I was sewing, my sister Grace got into experimenting with using linoleum blocks to print on fabric, and she found a box of my dad's old carved blocks and carved some of her own. We hit up some more garage sales and she made some wonderful shirts for julia to wear in the upcoming years.