K. Stonham's Journal|
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|Friday, December 26th, 2014|
Christmas went well. I Skyped my parents, but my sister was working. The Squiddle made out like a bandit (the baby of the family always does), but I'm quite happy with the selection of mostly books I got. Including the book on free-motion quilting I wanted! Wonderful Husband didn't get much, but then his giftlist pretty much consisted of donations to the Ferguson legal defense fund, and donations to Heifer International, which I'll give him money for once we're home. My inlaws also seemed to like their gifts.
My big thing this year was doing the Sparkle quilt sew-along
as a gift for Wonderful Husband's parents. It was two weeks of very late nights, and my sewing machine has been promised a spa day once I get back, but I finished the quilt the day before we left. And MAN do I want that gently used Babylock Tiara
the sewing machine shop down the street had. But even if it's still there when we get back, the price would be at least $4K and Wonderful Husband says I'd have to make room for it. Which means getting rid of at least a third, possibly more, of my fabric/craft storage area. And doing that, if I can manage it, will take time. And regrettably I'm at the wrong end of the year to just simply, say, donate all the supplies to the Costume College Bargain Bazaar.... :/
|Thursday, December 25th, 2014|
|Sunday, December 21st, 2014|
|Things I love about Britain
Signs pointing the way, in all blunt honesty and with no trace of irony, toward Corpsewood Park.
I love these gruesome images.
|Saturday, December 20th, 2014|
|Friday, December 19th, 2014|
Have caught Squiddle's tummybug. Why do I always end up hot and sweating when I throw up? Fortunately my inlaws have, just this year, put stone tiling in three rooms of their house. Lying down on the cold, hard laundry room floor afterward felt wonderful
ETA: Wonderful Husband has it too. Worse than I do. :( Current Mood: surprisingly okay
|Thursday, December 18th, 2014|
|Seeker of Silence
. Now have read both the books I brought with me, and finished 3/4 of the craft projects. I may ask to go back to the local craft shop, if it's not inconvenient, just to get something to do with my hands. Because I can only write in silence, and while I love my inlaws dearly, the television is always on. At the moment I've retreated upstairs to the guest bedroom to try to clear my head and see if I can find my words.
Yesterday's trip to London was mostly a success. I can report that Chipotle here is very nearly as good as the one at home, with just a hair's difference of quality. We did Hamley's, Liberty, Harrod's, failed at the V&A because I'd forgot to check opening hours, went to Trafalgar Square and saw the 65-foot Norwegian spruce Christmas tree, and took a look at the London Eye.
Squiddle, unfortunately, threw up in the sandwich shop in Harrod's, and again on the train going home. Other than those two minutes, however, he was in good spirits. He didn't have a fever last night, and has had no recurrences today, so we think it was just a tummy bug. And fortunately there were two changes of clothing in his diaper bag.
After hauling a stroller up and down stairs and escalators through London, however, we have concluded that handicapped access is a distant dream in the face of the Underground. Between three of us adults we were able to handle the one infant and pushchair. A wheelchair would simply not be possible.
|Monday, December 15th, 2014|
|The downside of sequels
I've started reading Guy Gavriel Kay's Ysabel
, which I knew was a sequel of sorts to the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy. Which I haven't read for fifteen or more years. Forty pages in, I just hit characters that I know are from the trilogy, but heck if I can remember anything more about it/them than that. So I'm dilemma'ing: to continue reading, or to stop until I can reread the trilogy again...?
Probably I'm going to keep reading, while I have inlaws to play with the baby, and put the trilogy on my reread list. I have them at home; surely I'll eventually find time there to reread them...?
|Sunday, December 14th, 2014|
|Breakthrough / Accomplishments
My sleep pattern seems to be drifting closer to normal, which can be nothing but good. I've hit a roadblock on one of the stories I was working on and so shifted to the handwork projects I brought with me. I packed three, all "finish ups" from this year's Costume College. My Regency reticule is now done, so the next time I need a 19th century purse, I'm set. I also finally finished beading the two sample bags for the beaded fringe evening bags class I taught. There is a qualitative difference produced by running the beading pattern horizontally versus vertically, so now I can show that. And while I've been working with my hands, my brain has produced the solution to my writing block, so tomorrow I'm planning to switch back to that.
Wednesday we're going to London for the day, so I'm making a short list of places we want to go. Harrod's, Hamley's, Liberty of London, a quick pop in at the V&A just to see if they have a gift shop outside of the pay entrance, because there are a couple of books I want, and because I am a dork like this, tracking down a Chipotle in London for lunch, to see if their fare is of any greater or lesser quality than the branches back in the USA. (It happens. Ask my husband about the difference between UK and US Burger Kings, KFCs, McDonalds, and Pizza Huts.) Maybe also going to the London Eye? We shall see.
|Thursday, December 11th, 2014|
|Tea, Toast, and Tidying
Somehow, though you would not usually think it to look upon the mess that is my house, tidying before going to bed has become a bastion of my sanity. So, my inlaws being out at the theater tonight, Wonderful Husband having packed it in at eight, and the Squiddle going down at nine, I'm still up, sitting in the lounge. It is much neater now than it was two hours ago (Squiddle mess everywhere), and my mind is calmer. Time to turn in and see if I can get a night of sleep tonight.
|Wednesday, December 10th, 2014|
|In the middle of the night....
I'm really hoping this won't be one of those trips where I never adjust to the time difference. Because after getting up to nurse Squiddle at 1:30, I laid in bed for three hours, trying to get to sleep, before finally giving up and coming downstairs for tea, toast, and internet.
The weather here has been cool and damp, though we haven't actually got rained on yet. The BBC weather reports are including 50-foot seas in the Outer Hebrides, though, which pokes my bunny brain into thinking "Hey, I can use that..." though I have no idea how or where. The Hebrides, of course, being where Berk is fictitiously located.
I have been able to poke at some writing over the last couple days, though setting myself anything like a number of words to do a day is useless. The editing program on Laptop-chan is SciTe, which has no word count function that I can find. Also, the Squiddle is not fond of me reading or typing or, in fact, holding much in my hands that is not him. Still, I'll have at least one piece to post on Christmas this year, and have managed to read my way through American Gods, which was more to my taste than I'd feared. The blurbs which mentioned horror elements had me worried, but apparently for naught. So now I'm two books behind on my 2014 book reports.
Time to finish my tea and see if I can find any of that elusive sleep before dawn.
|Monday, December 8th, 2014|
|Back in the U.K.
After a flight that seemed shorter than usual, we arrived safely at Heathrow. Squiddle was mostly very good during the flight, except for one crying fit when he was overtired, trying desperately to sleep, and just couldn't. But he got there eventually. Wonderful Husband and I got very little sleep on the flight, and didn't get to watch more than half an hour of a film. So yesterday was a very long day. But hopefully it helped reset our inner clocks.
Safe in Southampton, at my inlaws', and trying to convince myself to start working on writing stuffs.
|Friday, December 5th, 2014|
|*pops back in, briefly*
Have been running around like mad whittling down the list of stuff-to-be-done-before-we-go-to-England.
Thus the radio silence. Most of it is now done, which is good, given that I have about 36 hours left before we leave. Included in the stuff I've knocked off the list is shipping another batch of milk to the milk bank. 302 ounces!
Anyhow, midnight. Bedtime. I'll probably be more chatty once I'm on a different continent. Later~!
|Wednesday, November 26th, 2014|
Got my grocery shopping for tomorrow (I'm doing my succotash, House of Blues' cornbread, and hoshikage
's sweet potato biscuits) done. Have had lunch. Baby is napping. Time to sew! Current project is making Wonderful Husband another pair of pyjama bottoms. And I've started another quilt.
|Monday, November 17th, 2014|
Funny thing about being sick and still acting as the primary caretaker to a toddler: there goes all your energy to do anything else. Like, say, finish a sewing project.
But today I was back to 90%, and the Squiddle, not having slept well last night, being all bunged up then, gradually became unbunged and took a long nap. So I dug through my button tins and then reacquainted myself with the buttonhole settings on my sewing machine. It's been a couple years since I sewed anything with buttons.
Coat = done! I'm planning a photo op tomorrow. It's like trenchcoat length on Squiddle. Very cute. ^_^ Must remember to write it up on the pattern review site.
|Sunday, November 16th, 2014|
|The Squiddle, Sickness and Habits Of
Squiddle appears to have got my head cold. Poor kid. All stuffed up and snotty. Though at least this somewhat explains his vast unhappies last night that kept us all up for two hours (11:30-1:30). Fingers crossed/knocking on wood that Wonderful Husband doesn't get this too!
In the mommy/toddler group I go to, I'm always somewhat surprised by the reported behaviors of the other children. One is a highly picky eater (won't eat anything but chicken nuggets and watermelon this week); another runs around the house naked because he refuses to put on clothing. And these are children one year old! I've no idea if Wonderful Husband and I are doing something different than the other parents, or if Squiddle's just an easy-going child, because he has no problems with clothing, and if we're eating something, he wants a taste! Thus far he's regretted that policy with the hot peppers I have with lunch sometimes. But today he's shared our lunch burritos (Chipotle; their hot salsa at least temporarily unbunged my sinuses), our breaded cod dinner, eaten three-quarters of my Hachiya persimmon, and guzzled down pomegranate seeds with me. And I maaaaay have been looking up what age it's safe to give a child sushi.... (Answers seem to vary from one year to five years. Grr for inconclusive research!)
ETA: Rereading the above, I make him sound perfect. Which the Squiddle isn't. He's far too fond of playing with the cats' food and water and dumping it all over the floor, if nothing else. Also of following people into the bathroom now that he's figured out how to open doors. But overall I think he is a pretty laid-back child, and I worry that either that's going to change, or that karmically we're going to find balance in the force whenever child #2 comes along....
|Thursday, November 13th, 2014|
|One stitch at a time
Went to quilt guild Tuesday night, sat there pinning and pinning and pinning all the hems and facings of Squiddle's jacket. Went to writing class last night, sat there sewing the hems and facings to the lining with tiny little stitches. Home sick today (no yoga) with the crud in my throat, sitting here continuing the sewing as Squiddle allows. Plotting quilty things and drinking hot teas.
|Saturday, November 8th, 2014|
Grr. Trying to line an unlined coat pattern. Specifically, figuring out how to deal with lining the vent/kick pleat in the back center. Think I've got it figured out in my head; now to put that theory into practice....
ETA: Vent/kick pleat lining SUCCESS! It's not perfectly pretty on the inside, but is otherwise up to my fairly high standards. Pretty good for a first go at this. Now to figure out how I botched up the facing, fix that, and start putting the layers together.
ETA 2: Facing fixed, all layers sewn together. Tomorrow I clip and trim seam allowances, then begin invisibly hand-stitching the facing and hems to the lining. After which, the last part will be buttons and buttonholes. And then I decide whether or not to make the matching cap. Squiddle hates having anything on his head, but... England in winter. And the cap is really cute. And, this project has cured my fear of wool! The wool has been so wonderfully easy to work with, especially compared with the China silk lining. Mind, I'm still iffy on how to clean this coat should it become necessary, but I preshrunk the wool, so hopefully if and when it becomes an issue, it won't be an issue.
|Tuesday, November 4th, 2014|
|Pleasures, current and deferred
I was considering doing NaNoWriMo this year. Or as much of it as an active toddler would let me. But then I realized that there are other things I want to do instead. Like prep for next month's vacation. Currently I'm sewing the Squiddle a coat. He has never been in cold weather and will need a good coat for England. And for me it's a treat - I pulled some 100% wool out of my stash. I've never sewn with wool before. So I got to research how to pre-shrink it without felting it. I'm also stretching my sewing skills by using tailor's tacks for the first time! Also a press cloth. Hopefully by the end of the week he'll have a quite smart gray wool coat with red baby rickrack trim and a sky blue silk lining to keep him warm. And after that there are a few other things I want to sew in the mornings and evenings and while he naps.
So I've decided to shunt a month of writing to next
month. When we'll be in England and my inlaws may be persuaded to play with the baby for a stretch of time while I attempt to pound words into the laptop via keyboard.
But for now to finalize my voting choices.