Friday, April 22, 2011

Misty of Chincoteague

Because of my current assignment, I am not able to take annual leave. A week ago, our plan was training, a week of consultations and packing out our house, then leave for Estonia (on a Sunday! land on Monday! go to work on Tuesday!). Luckily, or unluckily, depending on my progress in Estonian, the testing unit is swamped in July, when most language students wrap up their courses. My test is now moved a week earlier, which gives me a whole gaping week of nothing in which I am free to use my leave as I see fit. After toying with the idea of going to Colorado (too expensive to fly and stay for a week) or Cape Cod (expensive rental houses and eight hours each way), we settled on going to Chincoteague Island.

I love ponies. Love love love them. And Boy loves rockets. Loves loves loves them. We can see the wild ponies and watch NASA launch test rockets on Wallop's Island. Husband will undoubtedly find joy in our joy, Girl is too little to care, and Nanny is happy for new experiences. It should be a quiet week of playing in the sand, eating ice cream, reading on the screened in porch, and taking it easy. Sounds heavenly.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sensory Buckets

A week or so ago I dyed rice, inspired by a super crafty mom. Also: she makes me feel like a terrible parent. She's so prepared. And her kids are so participatory. Boy is participatory, but never really in quite the way I was hoping for.

Anyway, Husband was out of commission after a minor surgical procedure, so I was on my own for entertaining both the little ones. I busted out the rainbow rice and a bin and hid a few little treasures. The sensory box was a huge hit, but playtime was cut short when someone just could not restrain himself from throwing rice all over the place. (It's still upstairs. The only time I have the free hands to vacuum is when the kids are asleep, and no way am I waking them up just for neatness' sake.)
We took another crack at it later after careful reiteration of the rules. This time I hid mini Egyptian toys amongst the rice. Again Boy loved it. He even piled rice up into a volcano (or "bolcano") and showed me where the lava was running.

We played for a while, until his snack came calling. Not a bad homemade-ish activity.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Place for Everything

When we first moved into our current place, Husband stealthily set up a Man Room when I wasn't looking. He kindly started referring to it as his room. When I asked what my room was, he said the kitchen.

Wrong answer.

He rectified this by setting up a sewing area for me in our finished basement. I bought a $99 Singer Simple in August, popped in the instructional DVD, and taught myself to thread the damn thing. Once I tamed the bobbin beast, I was addicted. I tried knitting once, and sadly discovered that I do not have the skill or patience to become A Knitter. But sewing...that I can do, or at least attempt it.

My sewing table sprouted piles. My sewing kit overflowed. Girl arrived two days before Christmas, and as I unwrapped presents on Christmas morning, I was a little sad to find that Husband had bought me a serger (a serger! so indulgent). I thought I'd never have time to sew again.

Turns out, we were blessed with a champion sleeper. A couple months in, and she was mostly sleeping through the night and, more importantly, going to bed by seven or so at the latest. I had my sewing time back. My list of fantasy projects was becoming a list of achievable projects. Very exciting.

Sadly, in the post-second baby mayhem, my sewing area had devolved into this:

It was a mess of unfinished projects and sewing materials. Please note the very sharp scissors within a toddler's reach.

I still hadn't learned to use my serger, but instead was treating it as a storage place for rosettes I had made while watching Modern Family. The fabric on the left is part of the Started-But-Not-Finished category of projects.

Another incomplete project (was theoretically going to be a set of five minute hand puppets). Oh yes, sad face.

This week I finally got it together. I removed the clutter from the actual workspace.

I hit up Goodwill for a bunch of inexpensive baskets to contain supplies.

I put the rosettes, along with trims and some homemade bias tape, in a basket just within reach from my sewing machine.

And I folded and stashed my ever-growing supply of fabric.

I learned the basics of the serger and am now furiously stitching away on a couple projects, with a whole host of ideas waiting in the wings.

With a government furlough on the horizon, there's a good chance I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands and very little spending money. Perfect time to start whittling away at that fabric stash.