Sunday, October 29, 2006

On a Roll, Baby

I am so totally on a roll.

I had my third Sampler Quilt class this past Friday. The teacher looked over our blocks, she gave us a bit of instruction and then told us to do two new blocks. Due in two weeks. No biggie, right? Well, yeah, I guess. Here is my first:

They call this one Jacob's Ladder. Nice pattern...very Amish-ish, IMO. As you can tell, I'm keeping with the bandana - blue/white/red scheme. I honestly like the way that it ended up. Go....Me! (quietly shouts to herself....woo! hoo!) I did this one on Saturday afternoon after a bit of second-bedroom-organizing-old-clothes-ditching-make-way-for-baby-even-though-we-have-no-idea-when-she'll-get-here sort of energy. Definitely a good time for a project (read: definitely time for some sort of focus-changing-activity).

Next block Flower Star...or was it Star Flower?

Here are the preliminary cuttings:

I took advice from Shelba re: "Pinning the Hell Out of It" and that is what I did (see below).

I then sewed the seriously pinned parts together - see below:

Here's what came of it (keep in mind that I had to rip out 2 or three pieces in the process):

I must do the close-up because I am so proud of the very excellent "points" that I got this time around.

I do think that this quilt thing is rubbing off on me.

Til' next class...........

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just DO the Damn Thing

I've been trippin'.

I think that I'm going through some sort of uber-introspective phase. Thinking about so many, many things. Family history, familial order, childhood haircuts and how I will avoid allowing children's music to take over my cd to broach issues like the "China Doll" thing, my waning interest in baby-item-shopping and jimmies vs. sprinkles. These things have been on my mind. I've also been thinking a lot about how important those first months of a childs life are. I think about that every time I hold my 3 month old neice.

Then there is the quilt. The Bai Jia Bei. The project that looms and daunts. My thoughts about it lately have been all about the why. Why am I doing this? Why am I torturing myself? Why?

Of course there are the obvious reasons: tradition, cultural value and - you know - creating a family heirloom is pretty cool. It is also cool connecting with other families doing the same sort of thing. Trading fabrics & wishes...and getting fun mail in the mailbox. Of course, there are the fabric & wishes sent by friends and family...the most special of all. It sure feels like a lot of love.

The quilt also appeals to my creative side. I love a challenge. I like pretty things. I love to make pretty things. I also love my sewing machine. It feels like a power tool that I'm skilled at using. Although it does need a little tune-up - but that is cool in its own way. It means that my machine has been used & loved.

Here comes the part where I'm trippin'.

This is quite possibly the biggest project I've ever taken on. I've fired many ceramic pieces, including trying my hand at Raku. I've taken quite a few watercolor classes, sewed a small collection of curtains for our home, knitted things big & small. Jzboy teases me because I frequently say "Oh, I can make that" about all kinds of stuff I see in baby catalogues and home magazines. I feel that I can pretty much make anything that I put my mind to. But, this quilt...this quilt project challenges me in a very different way.

Again, I ask myself "Why"? Why not ask someone to make it for me - a generous family member or maybe a paid professional? If this is such a headache - why torment myself?

The reason is that I need to do it for me.

This interminable wait for referrals is killing me. It is so incredibly difficult to not have a sense of the "when". The "how long". I'm hoping that the quilt will keep me keep me from stepping out of this long, long line at the CCAA. I think that this arduous quilt project will be a parallel process in developing the stamina necessary to get through this adoption wait.

It feels a lot like running a marathon. I did that last summer. I ran 26.2 miles through gorgeous terrain in Anchorage, Alaska. In the rain. I ended the race quite muddy, very thirsty and with TONS of mosquito bites. They bit right through the running pants. Not only was it one of the most difficult things I've done in my was also one of the COOLEST. The difference with my current project is that I will be putting one stitch in front of the other vs. one foot in front of the other.

Coach Al always told us to "Just get out there and DO tha' Damn Thing. Stop trippin' & start doin'". The quilt I can do. The wait I will have to endure. And, the quilt will help me through it. Plus a whole lot of patience, determination and tenacity. Oh yeah, and a loud cheerleading section.

I believe that eventually I will make it to the end of this incredibly long journey and at that point, I will wrap my daughter in the crazy quilt I've sewn...and somehow all the pain endured will be off in the distance.

Now there's a pretty cool image.

**Pic at top is my collection of Bai Jia Bei quilt pieces thus far/Thanks to everyone who has contributed**

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Great Slowdown of 2006


WHY does there have to be a slowdown - when we finally...FINALLY decided to adopt?

Damn! I wish that I could do something. I'm a DO-er. An advocate. A get-things-done-kinda-person.

This is so incredibly frustrating.

Ok, now......Back to the quilt.....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Quilting Endeavors Continue

My third beginning quilting class is this Friday (10/27). Yes, I have had SIX weeks to get this second block done. And, yes, I waited until the last minute!! But, I mean, SIX weeks in between classes? It would be hard for the most industrious of students to maintain momentum in that situation. Wouldn't it?

So, here are the pieces all cut & positioned for my "shoo-fly" block:

Here they are all sewn together:

I think there's been a bit of improvement. This time, my square *almost* fits perfectly in the graph paper template thing.

Just take a look at the corners on this puppy (below). LOOK at those corners. And, with TRIANGLES no less. I'm pretty happy - the corners match up much better than the first block. I think that I put to good use the iron+sizing spray=genius fudging techniques the teacher showed us in class.

I am now ready to show up on Friday - quilt block in hand. Two blocks down, four more to go. I guess that means one per week. No more of that "6 weeks between classes" business. Time to put one stitch in front of the other & not to look too far ahead. Far ahead, like, at the huuuuge pile of quilt pieces sent by family and friends. The one that stares right back at me with its non-matching, infinitely patterned...I-have-no-idea-what-you're-thinking sneer.

Eyes averted.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

La Isla Bonita!!

Oh yeah. We're going.

Mexico, that is.

Isla Mujeres, baby!!!!!!

I think that this place will be in our future:

And, some of this:

And, probably a bit of this:

I can hardly believe that we bit the bullet and bought the tickets. Feels like a very good thing to do - especially considering the immense wait that continues to extend before us. Funny what a little inspiration from friends, a bit of detective work on Orbitz, a vision of sandy warm beaches in the winter-time mixed in with some creative budgeting can do to make a dreamy vacation a reality.

Um, yeah, we are STOKED.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Soundtrack for a Waiting Mother

I've made soundtracks that accompanied me through adventures big and small. Musical collections on tape carried me through heartbreaks, ego crushings, triumphs of the heart, death, birth and every other life transition. The day I got my first tape player, I started making mixes.

My love for the compilation grew as my musical library did. In high school, my boyfriend and I would compete. Remember the movie High Fidelity and how the guys would list their top 5's? Top 5 Ultimate Breakup songs? Top 5 Songs to Play at Your Funeral? Yeah, our competitions and banter were a lot like that. The high school mixing was fun, but it became an entirely different sport after I was chosen to DJ for the college radio station. The edgy vibe, the audience...the vinyl. And, the mixes...oh, the mixes!

I can reminisce for hours about those good times. Fun, carefree, hazy times. And, such is life, those feelings have changed quite a bit since college. My love for the mix, however, and my need for a musical accompaniment during life's twists and turns - is still very, very present.

I have a huge collection of tapes gathered over years of genres and pinnacles of experience. The one soundtrack that I've worked on the longest continues to tumble around in my mind. It has developed slowly, changed tone dramatically and gotten very long over the years. I just can't seem to finish it - to wrap it up - to record it.

It all began as I romantically anticipated and approached motherhood. That was at least 10 years ago. Does this not just scream "work in progress"?

Yes. A "work in progress". And, yes, my parallel growth experience.

During what I refer to as "the infertility years", the idealistic tone of my soundtrack was replaced with an introspective and questioning one. As I get closer to resolution, the music refects that as well.

Originally I intended to use a separate blog to explore and share the various songs that comprise The Soundtrack for a Waiting Mother. I wanted to look at each song individually, read the pertinent lyrics and collect others' thoughts as I did so. What a collective, I thought! However, due to copyright related complications I have changed my mind on the format.

What I feel that I can share however, is an ITunes version of my soundtrack. On the right sidebar of the buttercup blog you can click on The Soundtrack for a Waiting Mother and it will connect to the ITunes version of the compliation. My personal version is a bit longer (quite a bit) than the one here because ITunes didn't include all of my selections. But, hey, I thought that it was better than nothing.

Please feel free to email me or post here any other songs that you think should be a part of The Soundtrack for a Waiting Mother. I truly welcome any creative/constructive thoughts.

This is a working document!

My hope is that one of these days I'll have it all updated and at a point where I will feel comfortable finally recording it.

I would like to think that by that time I'll be working on an entirely different Soundtrack. At least, I sure hope that I am...because, well you know, I'll hopefully be a Mom by then.

Cheers! XO

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Show & Tell

Well, I've finally waded through the large batch of pictures that we took in PA. Here are a few favorites:





We had such an incredibly colorful, fun & relaxing trip...and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. Welllllll, honestly....? I would have LOVED a tiny, wee thunderstorm but the dry skies made it perfect for the auto show. Otherwise, this was a perfect trip and came around at just the right time. It was rejuvenating & inspired us to plan a few more getaways.

Now THAT is very good news!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Advice, Please.....

Hey Blogger Friends -

You may or may not have noticed, but I've got another Blog-A-Brewin'. It is my Soundtrack for a Waiting Mother & I've got it listed in my sidebar right now. No cyber-work has been done on it but loads of thought & ink has been spent.

My hesitation in getting going with it is due to concerns I have about quoting song lyrics. I want/need to do so - but am not sure how Kosher that is. Certainly everything I intend to reference is copyrighted.

Does anyone know if I can quote song lyrics as long as I footnote the copyright information? (e.g. Run/Snow Patrol/released 3/30/04).

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts or guidance that you could offer.


Secret Pal Halloween Treats!

Our Secret Pal strikes again!!

This month was a unique mix of Halloween cuteness for BabyZ and a couple treats for Mom & DadZ.

LOVE the Orange Kitty Halloween TShirt!! I love the way the cuffs & waistband do that cute-curly thing. So fun. And, the kitty!! Looks a lot like our Cleo:
Our secret pal also included a teeny book about sign language. Little does she know that I took a couple years of sign language in college! I've often wanted to go back & get a more thorough education. Right now, all I can remember is how to sign "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.

Finally, here is a closer look at this really cool, unique cat-charm-bracelet. Very special!!!

Thank you SOOOO much, Secret Pal! We LOVE you. XOXOXOXXOOX, the Z's

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Belated WAYRN

WAYRN - aka "Where are you RIGHT NOW?"

I missed out on participating in this fun little showcase of people's blogging spaces inspired by Carrie at Walternatives because my camera was packed for our vacation. I still want to be in on the game, though, darnit. So, here I am with pics and everything.

Here is my blogging spot. It is conveniently located in our kitchen. Yes, it neighbors our bitchin' stove - makes it that much easier to mind the "Break & Bake" cookies, wash a couple dishes as I wait for Blogger to upload pics and type a bit in between commercials of Project Runway (the TV is about 10 paces away).

The shiny board to the right of the computer is my spice rack. I am very proud of it. You see, we remodeled our kitchen last summer & this was one of the things that I put my fingerprints upon. I'd seen many smaller scale versions - but I wanted one that was kindof like art upon the wall. The project took me forever, b/c I just couldn't find the perfect magnet to attach the jars to the board. Once I did, the shop that sold them only got them in a few at a time. Certainly a labor of love.

Anyway......I digress. Back to the WAYRN.

Here is a more detailed pic of the view from the keyboard. If Jzboy saw Iris up there sitting upon the MacMini he would "throw 15 fits" (shameless use of a favorite Mom-ism). Above the monitor/keyboard is where I keep my favorite cookbooks and other special kitchen collections. Notice the vintage Betty Crocker cookbook? The illustrations are genius.

Finally, a detailed shot of my collection of cookbooks & Schillling Spice Tins. Most of the collection is thanks to my mother. She has an amazing talent of clueing into anyones (& I mean ANYone's) collection-tendencies. Do you love Santas? Cardinals? Vintage sweaters? Or, perhaps, you love quail???? She and Dad hit a lot of antique stores and stuff on a day-to-day-to-weekend-basis.....hence, the killer collection.

Thanks Mom! Don't forget...I'm still collecting vintage dishtowels. And....if you should ever happen to see an original Dressy Bessy (the one with the Red Hair)....well, wouldn't that be perfect for buttercup????? Love ya, Mom...........

Cool. I did it. Thanks for visiting. That was fun.

Onto the next thing....updates on the knitting I finished on vacation. Good times.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Jzboy and I just spent a lovely weekend in the Keystone State visiting family and attending the annual Applefest. Both of us grew up in Pennsylvania, so this sort of homecoming is like falling in love again. There are so many things that we forgot that we missed. And, some that we will be happy to leave behind until next visit.

Forgive me, but here is another list. It is the best way to cram in a bunch of highlights. This one actually goes hand in hand with my last list because that was all about my love affair with Autumn.

We felt so lucky to get such a good dose of Autumn this trip!


1. Amish Hex Signs
2. Rusty Sheds
3. Townships
4. Red Barns
5. Bitchin' Camaros
6. Lawn Ornaments
7. Steeler Country
8. Toll Baskets
9. Blue Skies
10. Cows in the Field
11. Wooly Caterpillars
12. Crunchy Leaves Underfoot

13. Roadside Produce
14. Apple Butter
15. Labatts
16. Pierogies
17. Porch Swings
18. Cool Native American Names like Allegheny, Chippewa, Aliquippa, Pokono, Susquehanna...I could go on and on.
19. Deer

1. Roadkill
2. Hunting for a Latte
3. Limited Cultural Diversity
4. Deer Season
5. Smoking Sections

Looking forward to reconnecting with my Blog Community later this week!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Why Autumn Rocks

I Heart Autumn because....

1 - We can cook in our oven and enjoy the rise in temperature that doing so brings. (This is a pic of our oven, isn't it schweet?)

2 - I can break out my extensive legging collection.

3 - It is Dia de los Muertos season.

4 - The cats get all snuggly when they are chilly.

5 - The fireplace regains its significant role in our home.

6 - REM. I always want to pull out my REM cds during the Fall. Not only does their music perfectly suit my post-summer/pre-winter mood, but they released some of my favorite albums (Document, Green & Automatic for the People) during this season and the music somehow became part of my personal Autumnal Soundtrack.

7 - Corduroy.

8 - Target starts putting snack-size candy bars on sale.

9 - It is knitting season!

10 - I LOVE slow-cooking soups and marinara on the stove...not to mention the smell of baking bread that accompanies this exercise.

11 - If you're in the right place at the right time, you just might feel that wonderfully crisp Autumn chill that is unfortunately such a fleeting experience. And, pretty difficult to come by here in California.

12 - Rain. Another thing we don't get enough of in California.

13 - It is time to pull out the flannel duvet.

14 - Butternut squash, brussels sprouts, tarte tatin, sage butter, mashed potatoes, roast turkey, spiced cider, apple butter.

15 - Of course the colors of Fall. Red leaves, orange pumpkins, red pomegranates, yellow scarecrows, ruddy faces and the most beautiful sunsets of the entire year.

Editors Note: Regarding #2 on my list...I really meant *TIGHTS* vs. leggings. Honest.
Thanks to Millicent for triggering my memory on that one.