Friday, August 28, 2009

The Colour of Learning

Another summer is gone. The days are getting shorter. Which means that three things will happen: 1) Merchants will start dousing their stores with Christmas paraphernalia 2) Cold and possibly flu germs will start planning extended visits to our house and 3) The kids will start back to school.

Back to school has been THE topic of choice at our house for weeks. How many weeks until it starts? When can I pack my backpack? Can I wear my new clothes yet? It's been on my mind constantly too. But school and learning colour us each differently.

Daughters 1 and 2 start attending afternoon classes three days a week at a Christian school. Daughter 1 has a few "new school" hesitations but that blinking yellow is going to change to pure green once she gets started. Daughter 2 is purple passion--happy to be out and about with normal hearing kids, looking forward to an adventure. I think this is going to be a good year for her.

Daughter 3 is dead set against going anywhere away from home. Even though she could start kindergarten at this same school she won't. Won't. She's the one with attachment disorder. In her case, she has the more rare form called Anxious Attachment. She is terrorized by the certainty that something bad will happen to her or me and she **much** prefers to be home with me at all times. That's fine. We'll paint her red. We could also paint her black and white since that's how she often sees things. She isn't happy her sisters are leaving home to go to school but I think, ultimately, she's going to be tickled pink to have more one on one time with me.

That leaves us with Daughter 4. Her colour is in the Agent Orange or dioxin poisoning which we are becoming increasingly certain she suffered from before birth. All the pieces fit: cleft lip and palate, hernia, pervasive but scattered developmental delays. She was born to a family who lived on the Mekong River Delta, an area of Vietnam with high Agent Orange exposure. And birth defects certainly remain prevalent in Vietnam despite time passing. I'm knee deep in pages of highly technical medical reports about the effects of dioxin on fetus; it's sobering reading. She and I have a lot of work to do this year which we are going to accomplish via play with a purpose.

And then there's me: a bit blue that I have three daughters facing difficult futures as they work harder than their peers to overcome their disabilities, a bit green with envy of other parents with "normal" kids, but mostly white with fear that I'm not going to "get this right"--that I'll miss something I need to give my girls, particularly Daughter 2 and 4. I have neither a background in education nor early child development. But these kids are golden. I can do a lot wrong and they keep coming back right--not to mention colourful characters.

So think of us Monday morning when we start off our learning kaleidoscope. One thing is for certain: it's never boring and I'm glad I get the pleasure of raising these rainbow girls.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Creative Space--Yo Yo Ma

Help me! I'm addicted. Not just to Cadbury almond chocolate bars--that's old news. No, it's worse.

It's yo-yos....those cute little puffy medallion things. Someone help me!

I've loved them all my life. My step-grandmother had yo-yo covered throw pillows on her couch. Even though there were some serious family tensions that swamped us all when we visited, I loved that house: the fruit magnets on the fridge, the black and white linoleum and the yo yo cushions.

A month ago I took my mother to a quilt show where I confessed to my love of all things yo yo. Was I surprised--she loves them too---because her mother and her aunts used to make them all the time. In fact, it was my grandmother's yo yos which became my step-grandmother's pillows. (Feel that mucky swamp water rising?)

And so, armed with the knowledge that I was continuing in the steps of a grandmother I never met...and that Christmas will be here before I know it (gifts, gifts, gifts), I hopped down to the fabric store where I purchased a Clover yo yo maker--size x-large.

And I've been yo-yoing since. It but it's a family tradition. More great creative spaces here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Creative Space-Crossroads

Just like Vera, the new sock puppy I made this week, I'm at a crossroad. Most of my big projects are finished: two quilts for Breaking Traditions, redwork piece for the Embroidery Expo, first piece of Bearly Fall.

With Littlest One recovering from surgery plus all the rest of us getting the cold--and summer colds are ick--I just haven't moved on to a new project. Maybe today I'll stop drifting and settle on something new.

More Creative Spaces including one amazing "shoe-in" for best redwork ever can be found here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Spoonflower is offering free swatches tomorrow as way of helping one of my fave charities Heifer International. Now how cool is that? Win, win, win, win!!!!! Jump over here for the details.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hi Ho Hi Ho it's off to the hospital we go

If you wonder why it's been so quiet here at the ranch, our youngest daughter had surgery Friday. As many times as I do this, it never gets any easier to take my kids to the hospital and turn them over to some maniac with a knife skilled medical professionals.

You think to many times as you have done this? What? Is this the second time? third? This marks the 13th operation for the girls--and that doesn't count two for me and three for Head Honcho--in the past five years. We love our medical insurance! We send BCBS a Christmas card, never forget birthdays, send "just thinking of you" cards...

So daughter number four, sighing with resignation, had hernia repair surgery--two incisions in her abdomen. Then, she caught a cold from another child whose idiot, irresponsible, brainless, imbecile parents were stupid enough to bring in for surgery. Did I mention I want to drag these people through hot lava? My poor sweetie has been miserable this weekend. Even Scooby Doo could not cheer her up.

All of which did not lead to crafting this weekend.... But that's small fries when it comes to the important thing like raising healthy tater tots.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Creative Space Stitched

This is the first panel of a series I'm doing called "Bearly Fall."

I know! I know! We shouldn't even be thinking about fall yet. It's still summer! The thing is it's been so cold up here in the North (coldest July on record) that it's no stretch of the imagination to think of fall days.

I also have a certain longing for the girls (my oldest two) to start school. They will be going three afternoons a week. Bad Mummy to wish her kids to school--but they're going to have fun and it will be so much easier to do therapy with the younger two this way.

Okay, so don't forget to visit the other My Creative Spaces here. Since it's gone Friday in Australia I'll probably be the last to enter. (Apologies to the Southern Hemisphere readers who are probably thrilled to be thinking of Spring.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moooo ve on over

Although I purport to be a softie maker I have not been making a lot of softies as of late. This causes me some concern. Does anyone know: if a person were to report on their income tax or some other official paperwork that they were a softie maker, would the federal government require that said person create a said number of softies? Could there be fines? Charges of false impersonation? Questions of libel?

With something more than a little apprehension I decided perhaps it was time to make a softie or two. Here is "Seventeen", the sock cow. That is her name: 17. She's not the 17th cow. Or the 17th softie. It's just a nice prime number which makes her.....yes, beef. Hehehehehe....

That should put the IRS off for a few weeks while I think of more sock animals to make....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This art quilt came into the world kicking, screaming and fighting every one of it's 12 square inches. Or is it 24 square inches? It's 12 by 12. Well, whatever. Let's just say this thing seriously tested my patience.

To recap, I created the hula bunny using crayon and embroidery. So far so good. Then, I had the brilliant idea to turn it into the focal point of my second ever art quilt.

First, I fused it to a pink floral fabric but, after one week, I cut that away. A trip to the fabric store for something else entirely scored me this cool black-red-orange floral. Cut away the first fabric, rebond, rework, add leaves.

I spent a very hot and humid Saturday machine appliquing the pieces. This is the very first time I've tried that little trick--5,000 miles on my button hole stitch. It's not perfect but it was really satisfying.

Then, there were two days and two shopping trips to find the right embellishments. Thank you Hobby Lobby for having flat flower buttons. Trim added to the edge to frame it, a final pressing, and it's now ready to head to Detroit--priority mail. Cause it's due by Saturday. Sigh.

Friday, August 7, 2009


The other night I transformed a doodle from my planner into a little embroidery pattern. I've never embroidered something this small.

I like the way Nickel Dog turned out--so much so that I'm wearing it today. I covered the front in clear vinyl, added a pin back and voila! wearable art.

Isn't life grand?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Creative Space needs a cleaning

This week I've been working and working and working on another art quilt. I've still got time to enter it in the Breaking Traditions Exhibit....maybe....

If only I could get it to sort itself out. I've been through so many scraps of fabric trying to tie this pun intended.

Pop over here to see more very inspired and probably less messy creative spaces.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let Me Off of This Ride

That's how I feel today: four kids, all out of sorts, all getting into mischief and sometimes being down right disobedient. Forget the Calgon, I want the Mounties to take me away....hopefully to a very secluded lodge on Lake Louise.

I will be amazed if anyone is still reading this blog seeing as I haven't posted for days and days. First, my parents arrived and stay for six days. House guests are hard no matter how much you like them. The visit unsettled our youngest daughter: read not sleeping through the night, has hot glued herself to my leg. And then the house guests left which has thrown the entire house into absolute bedlam. Even Bedlam couldn't hold a candle to us. Oh, did I mention summer camp? This is T-Rex's first year to attend. I'm trying to remember why I thought a child with attachment disorder could handle house guests and summer camp at the same time. Today, she hit her younger sister with a book and gave her a nice bruise...under her eye. Oh, let's just call it what it is: she gave her baby sister a black eye. Oy! Where are those Mounties already?

But through it all I have still been crafting. Of course, I've been crafting! It's my only source of sanity. I test drove a softie pattern for WildOlive. I won't show the pictures of that though until she releases the pattern. I finished The Secret Entry for the Embroidery Exhibit. After I photograph The Secret Entry I can put that aside. And I got this finished:

It's Super Cheddar--the Sharpest Mouse in the Universe. I'm not sure exactly what he fights for: truth, justice and cheese puffs? Anyone have a suggestion?

And there you have from the nut house.