Archive for 2009

The 12 hour walk…

December 20th, 2009

On Wednesday we once again needlessly yanked our frequently truant son out of 2nd grade. We paid a visit the only freestanding fully pediatric dialysis clinic in the country, where Brian was once treated while waiting for his transplant. He brought gifts and candy for the kids, caught up with his doctor and even a few nurses who were still there after almost 2 decades. The kids got books about dialysis and squishy kidney-shaped stress balls and Bailey even managed to squeeze a couple completely undeserved stuffed toys from a sympathetic nurse who fell for her considerable charms.

After our clinic visit, we drove over to the Hancock Center Observatory to “see everything in the whole wide whold” (according to Bailey) from 1,000 feet up! The kids tired of it quickly (not as quickly as Brian), but it’s something you can only see in Chicago and it was completely empty due to the fact that most parents don’t really encourage truancy.





After several trips around the loop and when we’d finally adjusted to the gentle sway of the building, we viewed our lovely green-screened family photos and then decided it was time for lunch. The kids quickly decided that Ed Debevic’s is the only acceptable restaurant in the entire city of Chicago, so we checked the route on the trusty new iphone and after some debate we decided we could walk it. It turns out, routes look small on iphone… very, very small.

Looks OK, right? We set off sans stroller and it really would have been nice if I had worn a coat.

Oh we are most definitely suburbanites. Even less than suburbanites now, living in Wisconsin (against our will). Those long city walks seem so easy in the summer, even enjoyable. Brandon, Bailey and I walked miles last summer without a care, but apparently one must consider each degree below freezing equivalent to an additional city block and each block walked while carrying a freezing child who can’t.walk.another.step an additional mile. When you factor in these variables, we walked roughly 376 miles on Wednesday.

By the time we finally arrived after our lovely walk, I was pretty much over the whole city walk thing. Against my better judgment, we broke the law and took a cab back. Trust me, that many blocks are torture on foot when it’s freezing and the kids are cold and tired, but it was just a teeeeeeny tiny little cab ride (though it would have been shorter if the cab driver hadn’t taken the long way because he thought we didn’t know any better). Truthfully, I think the cab ride was the highlight of the kids’ day.

On the way home, we missed the Legoland Discovery Center admission time by 10 minutes (thank you Chicago traffic), so we shopped the Lego store, got some yummy Jamba Juice smoothies, and made it home just in time to have dinner and get ready for bed. There is nothing like a day away from Janesville to put a little bounce in your step.

but I do have a fabulous mug filled with fabulous hot chcolate.. and the tree makes a pretty fabulous background for the image, too. I’ve discovered the way to make a really frothy cup of instant hot chocolate. If I whisk the powder with a splash of cold milk, then add the hot water to that mixture, it froths up just like coffee shop hot cocoa! Simple, but it’s the little things.


There are no ornaments on our tree, but I did finish setting up the hard part so that the kids can hang the ornaments today. Bailey is really trying hard to be gentle and careful with the village, but she’s very sneaky and very curious. Still, I think she’s doing a pretty good job of looking and not barely touching. We get to have Christmas Eve here this year, which guarantees someone other than us will actually see this!


Last night, I went over the instructions for making pizza dough in the bread machine. Handed him the printed recipe and explained each step. He has witnessed the process of making bread at least 10 times. He was fully prepared.

I woke up today, after the Bears brat pizza extravaganza had ended. I found a frightening scene. In the sink, my bread pan was full of wet gooey dough. Half the mixture had dried all over the outside and inside walls of the bread pan, something like liquid concrete. It was caked on the side of my sink. I glanced at the counter and saw a suspicious triangular wrapper — canned pizza dough.

Brian said, “it overflowed…”
“It overflowed?” I asked? Not bothering to process the implications of that statement.
“You should see inside the machine.”
A few beats…
“wait. what?” I said.
Then Brian said, “I think that’s why you found it at a thrift store… it gets mad when men try to use it.”

Umm. no.

Apparently I have mad bread skillz. Yo. Because that machine has never let me down and is, from this day forward, off limits to Brian! OFF LIMITS!

I don’t want to disappoint you, oh master of the multi-tasker, but I frankly do not care if my bread machine only makes one thing.  I’m content and at peace with my decision.  In fact, even with the amount of real estate it consumes on my kitchen counter, it’s undoubtedly the best investment I’ve made all year.  For $5, I got a not exactly lean but very mean maker of bread, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks, pizza dough, and I’m sure some other stuff I haven’t considered yet.

We tested out this easy pizza dough recipe from my super favorite site.  I made a boring and basic mushroom and pepperoni pizza that was tasty on day one, but much better the second day.

pizza collage

Brian, the plate artist and master of doing everything the hard way created something completely new and unique.  A white bratwurst pizza with grilled onions and cheddar cheese… and yes, mustard on the finished product.   It sounds like my worst nightmare, but apparently people who like brats and onions found it quite delicious.  Brian didn’t think his finished pizza was perfectly pretty and golden enough to be showcased, so I will take another photo of the finished product tomorrow on Bears day so he can submit his masterpiece to

brat collage

Sunday morning (who am I kidding?) afternoon cinnamon rolls tomorrow? I think so.

That’s a lie.  I’m sorry.  I really want to be honest with you.  These aren’t really all my favorite things.  These collages are just a collection of many of the things I’ve sewn over the last several years, starting back around 2005.  All taken from my previous site, where you can still see the large versions of these terrible snapshots:)

After studying the problem of getting these images here to my new site in individual posts, I finally admitted to myself that it simply isn’t going to happen.  These collages will have to fill the gap as I go forward from here, showing newer and hopefully better projects.

Looking back at many of these items, I realize some were constructed very poorly… some fell apart in the wash, some with use.   Fortunately they turned over very quickly.  For many, I only remember them in photos because she barely wore them before she moved on to the next size.

The first collage below includes the beloved fleece coat that I made for Bailey.  It’s quite hard to mistake the fact that it was made for Bailey because her name was embroidered on the front of the coat.  Keeping that in mind, it baffles me that when it flew off my stroller in a mall parking lot on windy evening, no one returned it to the mall’s lost and found.  Perhaps another family with an 18 month old named Bailey happened upon it and needed it more than we did…

past posts collage 1

past posts collage 2

past posts collage3

past posts collage 4

… Sew Not Perfect. :) I have delusions of pulling up all of my old posts and lovingly moving them one-by-one here to this new blog, complete with all the images I once uploaded that have now been lost to server moves and crashed hard drives. That part may take some time. So, in the interim, I’m getting started with my latest projects.

Thanksgiving is officially over and December has arrived. I consider holiday food my reward for tolerating holiday weather. Brian only celebrates for the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Turkey is just a device to create pan juices that eventually become gravy, the elixir of holiday life. For me, it’s the bowl of a brightly wrapped Lindor truffles, chocolatey spheres filled with… more slightly smoother chocolate.

During the pre-holiday chaos of a last minute mini-session, pie baking, laundry, house cleaning, and a long 4 day weekend at grandma’s, I was able to finish a new outfit for Bailey to wear for our Thanksgiving at Uncle B and Aunt T’s.

From Ottobre 6/2008 — #16 (skirt) and #23 (overshirt)
With a side of a modified tunic pattern in velour from another Ottobre with an impromptu turtleneck to give it the height it needed to poke out from under the top shirt.



I was given exactly 12 seconds to celebrate the gift of 61 degrees… that’s how long it lasted before someone felt it was necessary to tell me we’re scheduled for our first snow this week. AWESOME!

That was sarcasm… Brandon would have explained that to you, but he’s not here. He is on the ball when it comes to sarcasm, that kid. Brace yourself for what will likely be the last outdoor photos of the year. Spring will be here soon… spring will be here soon.

This entry is also filed in the sewing category because I did make the floral dress that Bailey is wearing. Unfortunately my calculated “was this fabric prewashed” risk did not pay off and the skirt is a bit short. The dress will still look adorable with jeans, but it will have to stand alone without the scrumptious suede boots that this dress insisted be worn with it.

b&wcollage copy

Photography and the business of photography have consumed me for 2 years, not leaving time for many other hobbies or creative pursuits. Due to what we will call the “Alien Bee Bulb Incident of 2009” my camera and I have been spending some time apart, which has given me some extra time to discover new things and rediscover the old.

For $5 I picked up a bread machine that was churning out bread when I was still in high school (read: they don’t make ’em like they used to). I’m still waiting for an apology for the eye-rolling reaction I received when I brought it home, but it has earned its (very large) space on my counter. The kids enjoy the science project that is every loaf and I’ve been baking up a storm with all the awesome recipes at . More cinnamon rolls are definitely in order!


My sewing machines have found their way home to my table and the mess has returned… along with it my very first completed project in close to 2 years. Not quite sure yet how I feel about picking up where I left off with a whole new set of patterns to trace, but Bailey truly appreciates what I’ve made for her. It’s so much more rewarding than sewing clothing for a baby who outgrows everything in 3 months and has no concept of the work that went into the item.

The Farbenmix Cara that I just finished tracing will be my next project, but I can already tell that I’ve forgotten half of what I used to know about sewing. This little Ottobre set was practically destroyed several times by my seam ripper before I finally remembered the correct order for sewing up the seams.