Baby Quilt again

As modelled by the Lovely Giffy

As modelled by the Lovely Giffy

I stayed up late last night and watched TV all morning to get this finished to take up the coast to visit Sam and meet her new Sophie. Sophie is 8 weeks old and a real cutie. This quilt was for her, although I didn’t manage to find time to add a label that said as much.

This quilt was a bit of a departure for me, as I had to learn blanket stitch to incorporate the applique. The turtles were purchased from Susan Claire who runs a patchwork shop out of her house up Otaki way. I used embroidery thread to pattern each one differently.

The border is made up of hour glass block and the whole idea is from the block-a-day patchwork calendar Zephfi gave me for my birthday last year. It was meant to be a patch with a penguin in checker-board alternating with the hour glasses. But I messed up the sizing and the turtle squares were much bigger. So I patched them together with the alphabet in between and used the hourglasses this way. The sizing was still off so I used more strips of ABC to make them fit.

The colours were all based on what went with the turtles, so all ended up being quite earthy, which is again something different for me, I’m usually all pastel or super brights.

toitles!

toitles!

Some detail there for ya.

Thanks to Giffy for holding it up for me, to Ayla for wearing it like a dress and to Sam for saying nice things about it. Also, thanks much to all those who said nice things about the last baby quilt I posted on here. Your compliments are all appreciated!

The Darling Buds of May

Last night I got a bunch of friends together and we went to see Lee play the romantic lead in The Darling Buds of May.

I was a little concerned about seeing him fall in love with another woman on stage and make out with her, but I was able to forget all that quite fast. The set was divided into two parts, one for inside the farm house kitchen and the other side was the yard. The lighting was very beautifully done with a very definite inside-outside difference.

I’ve never seen the TV show, and I’d only read parts of the script to help Lee with his lines, so most of the story line was a surprise. Lee was great, totally convincing as a bumbling and somewhat helpless fish out of water. The people playing Ma and Pop Larkin were very good too, utterly relaxed looking and enjoying themselves. The children were all fine and the girl playing Mariette (Lee’s love interest) was acceptable. I mean, I thought she was a little um, stagey, but then it’s a prick of a role. Just flit around being perfect and beautiful…how do you make that realistic in a stage environment? Naw, she was awesome.

The costumes were lovely too, the pale blue dress that Mariette wore was just stunning and the overall look of the show was very good. It was a lovely play, a really nice experience. You just watched it and felt good and happy. The dramas are all minor, the comedy is strong and at the end of the play you feel like crying for happiness. And I may have, just a little.

I would really recommend you go and see it if you can. The tickets are cheap at $20ish dollars and $15 if you can get a group of ten. It’s good to support community theatre after all, since it’s the lifeblood of our Wellington arts capital culture. Or something. And you should totally wolf whistle or similar when Lee comes on with his shirt off. Woo woo!

Book your tickets here, you can just email them or call the number. You reserve the tickets and then pick them up and pay on the night. Gryphon theatre doesn’t have EFTPOS though, so you have to bring cash with you.

Actual Play – Slayage by Gaslight and Fall

We took a break from our regularly scheduled Fall episode to have a flashback into Victorian times. Sophie took over as GM and Dan became a player. The frame for the episode was Alex reading an old watcher’s journal while Darius, Megan and Calvin slept.

The setting is London in 1888. Norman played Anastasia, a veteran slayer who has had her powers for five long years. Dan played Mr Butterworth, her watcher. I was Penny, a psychic member of the lower classes and Bryn played my younger brother Charlie. The game opened with us in combat with a demon. The watcher told the slayer not to kill it, they needed information it had. Anastasia beat it up for a while, Charlie tried to jump in and shiv it, Butterworth watched and made helpful remarks and Penny had a cripplingly painful vision and fell down.

…It has just occured to me that I shouldn’t do a full actual play report on this, as Sophie may want to use it for a con game. So I’ll skirt around details. The Victorian Scooby gang were investigating the Jack the Ripper murders and found much more than they bargained for.

I found it quite difficult to play Penny, she had the cowardice drawback and was terrified of the world around her, pretty much she was as different as it is possible to be from Calvin. Which may have been the point. I was trying to play her as realistically as I could, which unfortunately meant that I couldn’t move the plot forward very much.

I had an awesome moment in the final battle though, when I thought of a good use for the telekinesis she had on her character sheet. I did a Supernatural style ‘throw you against the wall and paralyse you there’ move, with Penny in some sort of mystical trance.

We had a lot of fun with the setting, Dan being the quintessential Watcher who Knows Best, Bryn having fun with his loveable street urchin. Norm trying to use her character’s society connections to get to the bottom of things. The atmosphere was very easy to buy into.

Once the Big Bad was vanquished (and the final blow was not by the slayer’s hand I might add), the Fall characters woke up.
Megan keeps sleeping, the trauma of the mystical mirror taking its toll on her. Calvin, Alex and Darius talk for a while about what to do with the enchanted mirror, now removed from the wooden vanity itself. Calvin suggested sticking it behind the fridge, but Darius’s kitchen was all one unit so that was a no go. Eventually they decided on putting it in the basement with a tarpaulin over it. Which doesn’t seem that safe, but whatever.

Alex became suspicious of Megan again, until Calvin pointed out that we knew we had the right Megan because the bad one chased us with fire balls. Mirror world Gina was getting freaked out so Calvin took her home. Continue reading

Baby quilt

now I know my...

now I know my...

Now that I have gifted this creation to my darling friend Zephfi for her first born, I feel like I can share it online. I bought the ABC fabric on Trade Me. When it arrived I was somewhat unimpressed to find that the alphabet was printed not-quite-in-order, so if I wanted to leave the entire alphabet intact I would have to stick it on a quilt with the letters out of order.

I was a librarian so long I could not stand the idea of that. So I had to cut it up, but then I realised that the individual letters came in three different sizes so I couldn’t just cut and paste. So to speak.

I sucked it up and log cabinned around each letter until they all matched height-wise. Then it was a simple matter of sewing them into strips. I had fun matching colours to the ones used in the pre-printed alphabet blocks. I knew that Zephfi wants things to be as gender neutral as possible, so I went with bright fun colours. I think it really pops. It’s totally fierce as well.

jennitalulaquiltdetail

There’s a detail shot, so you can see how cute this fabric is.

The border one layer of bright green and then a wider one of white based ABC fabric with random pictures. Then I used spotty green on white with ladybugs for the binding to bring it all together. The backing is red with white hippo fabric from IKEA.

Things I Love Thursday

PhotoFunia-2a5fe6d

  • Photofunia is awesome fun. In fact it is so fun that I am going to include a few more.
  • Ha ha ha

    Ha ha ha

  • Last night’s cookies. They are still awesome today. I ate more.
  • My friend Regan, who read my book and edited it and gave it back to me with all notes and stuff. And pointed out that I have been doing speech sentences all wrong, which is also something that Matt and Debbie told me, so I love them too. Thanks guys, for helping make my writing better! And being lovely!
  • People who are nice to me on the phone at work. It just makes such a difference to laugh with someone rather than be yelled at.

Honourable Mentions go to: Merino tops with stripes, takoyaki aniticipation, Ka Pai salads, baths, roleplaying tonight!, being healthy, kitten sitting on the weekend, snail mail, making pretty things and looking forward to Lee’s play.

Please share your happy list below.

Oh no! Evil transformer!

Oh no! Evil transformer!

Cookies of awesome

I’m big on biscuits. I’m big on biscuits straight from the oven so they’re all warm and melty. I’m also big on drooling over new recipes while sticking solidly to trusted old favourites like Highlander chocolate chip and the Ladies, a Plate afghan recipe which I have made a bajillion times now. (BTW, there is going to be a sequel to Ladies, a Plate! Second helping!)

What I’m trying to get at is that I sometimes have the fear of new recipes. For weeks I’ve been eying up this graham cracker recipe, but when I showed it to Lee he said Meh. Actually, he said ‘only if you make them into s’mores’, and I don’t have any marshmallows. Instead I showed him the other recipe I’ve been shyly looking up every couple of days peanut butter filled chocolate cookies, which I found on flickr. His eyes kind of glazed over.

I stuck on some Gossip Girl for company and made the recipe. It was easy enough with my trusty kitchen whizz. The rolling stuff into little balls and then covering them with the other kind of batter was time consuming but pretty fun. The result?

Om nom nom nom

Om nom nom nom

Huge, sprawling, American style cookies that seduce you with their…uh…cracks…I have only eaten one. It’s a miracle of light cookie dough and smooth creamy peanutty centre. I think I groaned out loud. The good thing about them being so large is that you only have to eat one at a time and you feel satiated. Mostly I’ve been making really small cookies, so these ones look decadently huge. I can’t wait for Lee to get home and try one.

In conclusion, a good straight forward recipe with a very rewarding and delicious result, assuming you like peanuts and chocolate that is.

(And in case you were wondering where the Wednesday writing entry is, i had a long nap after shopping this afternoon, I have a mind blank on how to end my children’s book I’m writing and I’ve been trying to edit Kiki and procrastinating, hence the cookies. And the Gossip Girl.)

You may also notice in that picture my first attempt at crazy patchwork. I wouldn’t call it a success, but the owls are cute. More on patchwork soon.

Hormones approaching 30

Please do not be offended by the stream of crazy you are about to read.

I didn’t think that I’d be fazed by turning 30, in fact, I’m still not. I’m a few months off yet, but everyone makes such a big deal of it when you say 30. Like it’s the end of your life or something. I have always determined to not worry about after some sage advice from Susan when I was still an impressionable teenager.

The problem is that my body doesn’t feel the same way.

I was very pleased to find my first ever grey hair last week, it’s very shiny and silver. This evening I noticed that it has a friend, just hanging out nearby. I’m hoping they recruit more of their near friends so that I can have a Rogue-esque silver lock of hair at the front. I have totally wanted one of those since I read the Belgariad by David Eddings.

My body clock is what is really driving me crazy though. I’ve never been a baby person, I’ve never really wanted one of my own. I’m much better with kids aged about 4 and up, you know, the ones that are toilet trained and capable of forming whole sentences. They’re like little people. I’ve never understood the desire to have something that screams and poops and you have to be the one that deals with the poop and all their vomit. That grosses me out. My body clock has a different frame of mind. It will see some innocent person walking down the street with a baby in a pram and my whole hormonal uterus will suddenly ache and scream in my ear Babybabybabybabybaby!

When I think of my friends who are pregnant, I think about how lucky they are, and how they must feel like they are so totally blessed. Then I feel sad that I am not pregnant. Then my brain actually kicks in and says ‘what? WHAT?’ And I wonder what that was all about, because I love my life how it is now. With long sleep ins when I want them, uninterrupted nights, no nappies to change and no one’s vomit to clean up but my own. And I know how to aim into the toilet so it all just flushes away.

Besides all that, Lee and I have two mortgages right now and it’s a recession and we can’t afford to bring new life into the world. And besides that, it’s kind of a two person decision and while Lee isn’t completely against the idea, he can think of many downsides. As can I. But try telling my body clock? Not even. That clock doesn’t listen to a word of reason.

Combine this with the all consuming terror I have of being pregnant and giving birth and you have one very confused Jenni. One moment I’ll be going babybabybabybabyifonlyihadababymylifewouldbeperfect and then the next I’ll be imagining with every working faculty of my Worst Case Scenario brain just how awful being pregnant would make me feel, and how I wouldn’t recognise my own changed body and how there’s this whole bit at the end where a LIVE HUMAN comes out of you, and I think that there’s no way in the world I am ever doing that. This is within a two minute time frame. And then I’ll cry because I don’t know what I want.

There’s also this whole weird thing where a lot of other people want you to have babies as well. I told my mother that another one of my school friends is pregnant and her eyes got all shiny and I just know she was thinking ‘you’ll be next’, and she already has three grandkids. I guess it’s not that weird, but it can be pressure-tastic for me. Like, I know you want to meet my future baby but don’t you understand the terror? The horrible, consuming terror?

I suspect no one is ever truly ready to get pregnant and have a baby, but I feel like I will never even be close. I wonder what life would be like if we never reproduced and I can see Lee and I happily doing what we’re doing into our forties and at the same time it scares me (is this all there is? What if I get bored?) and it also seems very easy and comforting. We *know* how to do this bit after all, we function fine without kids. That is when I’m not an emotional hormone wreckage puddling on the floor.

*le sigh*
Being a grown up is hard. Anyone want to go back to high school with me? I’d be awesome at those 1000 word essays now.

And you can blame Dooce for this unusual outburst of crazy from me, I’ve been reading her book as well as having a hormonal breakdown.

Learning from Leonard Cohen

I grew up without religion, so I have to take my moral lessons where I can find them. Sesame St set me right through childhood. When I was a teenager I discovered Leonard Cohen and started buying his albums on vinyl for some reason. I would listen to them over and over again and then I forced my friends to listen to them when we went on holiday together at the beach. Then Zephfi would play her Paul Simon albums. Then we’d listen to Triple J.

Anyway, as you know I saw Leonard Cohen live this year and for me, it was the closest thing I have personally experienced to religious enlightenment. I was seeing someone who I admired perform his songs with passion, humility and sincerity.

One of the reasons Leonard is so great is that his songs are poetry and the poetry is based on experience, philosophy and religious teachings. This is a man that feels deeply and is unafraid to put his emotions into his songs. And I think there are things that we can learn from him, if we take a select sample of his lyrics and apply them to our own lives.

Lesson the first, that Leonard sings about over and over again is that Love Conquers All.
Even when it doesn’t work. Even when it hurts. Even when you know you have to part, love is the most important thing.

I saw you this morning.
You were moving so fast.
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past.
And I miss you so much.
There’s no one in sight.
And we’re still making love
In My Secret Life.

All the rocket ships are climbing through sky
Holy books are open wide
The doctors working day and night but they’ll never ever find that cure for love
there ain’t no cure for love

The next lesson is that although you can try, you shouldn’t ever expect to achieve perfection. You do the best you can and that is all that is needed. if you can accept that everything has a flaw in it somewhere, then you will be a happier person than the person.

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be….
Ring the bells that still can ring/ forget your perfect offering
there is a crack, a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in.

Continue reading

Things I Love Thursday

  • I love nights of unbroken sleep, hot baths and being warm.
  • Following up on an article about how dark teen fiction is very popular right now, Meg Cabot has written an awesome article about why she doesn’t write dark fiction, and why it’s important to have fluffy escapism as well. (Also, she has a good point that dark teen fiction isn’t a new thing. Most of the stuff I read as a teen, over ten years ago, was pretty dark. Izzy, willy nilly anyone?)
  • This short but awesome flash fic that Wil Wheaton twittered today.
  • I rewatched Donnie Darko, I really love that movie. I love how the father is really easy going and funny. I love how Donnie is essentially very honest in his dealings with people. I love the fear – love lifeline and the jokes about smurfs and the weirdness of Frank. I love the music over the montages, system of touch and killing moon in particular. Cellar door.
  • Funny Videos: The Matrix runs on Windows and the Star Wars Stars dance off ganked from the above Meg Cabot article in case you didn’t read it.

Honourable Mentions: rewatching anime, Gilmore Girls, patchwork (I’m enthused about it right now), the way vitamin water is relentlessly pimped in Gossip Girl season 2, vitamin water, Terry’s milk chocolate orange, takeaways for dinner, wool socks and people who return your emails.

And you? What are you thankful for this day?

Writing Wednesday

In between shopping at Spotlight, laundry and changing the sheets on the bed, procrastinating online and updating to twitter, I actually got a heap of writing done today. In fact, this whole week has been good, On the weekend I got a couple of short writing sessions in, not a huge amount of words written but I pushed myself past the laziness and into the writing again.

Last night roleplaying was canceled and I wrote another bunch of pages, filling up the A5 Kikki-K bird notebook I’d been using. It’s so satisfying to fill a notebook with your words. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. Even if the words in it are sucky and first drafty, it’s a whole notebook of my words!

So today I started another notebook, a bright yellow nood one, like the orange one in my handbag last week. I don’t think the story has too much more to go so it didn’t seem worth using another big notebook. I wrote about ten little notebook pages and got to the emotional drama between my characters which is kind of sort of the climax of the book. It’s hard to know how much to write for this genre, but I suspect this is definitely a case of less is more.

It’s been really fun to write this book. I’ve been thinking back on how it felt to be eight years old, and it’s kind of hard. I have lots of vivid memories of being ten and eleven, and of starting school at five, but eight is a funny in-between kind of year. I remember lots of games, playing at lunch time and Barbies at home. My teacher when I was seven and eight was big on aerobics, and at least once a week at lunch we’d do aerobics with her. She also lead aerobics for PE lessons sometimes.

I remember loving to perform the plays that came in school journals and having crushes on the older boys. I idolised my sister and I cherished some of the clothes that were handed down to me. It was around then that my family would go skiing a lot too, we even travelled down to Queenstown to ski at Wanaka and Cardrona. I would always get a cookie time cookie once we were done for the day, I suspect to keep me from grizzling from tiredness on the long drive back to the motel.

I’d love to hear your memories from when you were eight, if you don’t mind sharing them? I feel a little like the more I try and remember the less clear it is.