Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bootiez: Take Two

This is a great Debbie Bliss pattern that knits up fast. I love it so much that I bought several different yarns for all these babies that seem to be entering my life right now. Remember the ones I made for my neice? Digging through my stash, I ran across some suuuper cool rainbowish-ragg-wool-looking yarn that I used to make some fingerless gloves last year. It is a miracle - I thought I'd used it all up on the gloves. That will be buttercup's pair. Best color yet.

This pair is for Little Baby Joy Division. We look forward to meeting her early next year. I hope that she and buttercup will become BBF's. They are certain to party it up with many a playdate. Can't wait.

I must get back to the bear. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Thank you to my dear Secret Pal.

These gifts are so thoughtful and welcome. The "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes" book inspired my mother to read it to her church Sunday School group. It moved her and it moved me. Thank you for that.

The Einstein Baby Blocks? Well, those things are just crazy.

Iris loved them. She worked her hardest to "free" the duckie-that-quacks-inside-the-yellow-block. I wish that I could attach a video sound bite of Iris trying to free the duckie "quack-quackin". Much to her dismay - all she got from her efforts was a whole lot of laughs from her momma. Jzboy was a bit upset because she snagged the block a bit.

Those insulater cups are hard to resist. We so want to try them out. At next weekends picnic - at tomorrow's lunch. How will we know if they work or not otherwise? But, they-must-stay-inside-the-package-until-they-are-needed.

Thank you so much for the wonderful gifts, Secret Pal O' Mine. We love seeing your thoughtful offerings each and every month. We love to think that - whoa - someday soon we will really need this stuff.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Images of the San Francisco Moon Festival 2006

It was a beautiful day for a parade. Add in some Chinese musicians, Lion dancers, rhythmic drumming, dim sum and mindfullness -- and the day upgrades to near perfection.

Birthday weekends can be a little bittersweet when you're in the LID-waiting-room. Holidays, back-to-school, birthdays, Fall TV Seasons - all serve as pesky reminders that although time may stand still in one's heart it continues to march on every place else.

The Autumn Moon Festival couldn't have come at a better time.

Hanging out in Chinatown made me feel a little closer to the country that has become so special to me. Made me love it a little more. Made me want to embrace it a little more.

Walking through the hustle and bustle of the very crowded festival also made jzboy and I wonder about our future trip to China. It inspired so many questions. For example: Will the alley's in China be this stinky or will they be worse? Will I be able to handle the jostling crowds with a baby strapped to me - or will that just push me over the edge? Will we get sick? Will we get along? Will we remember a souvenir for everyone?

We escaped the crowds for a bit and grabbed a bag of dim sum, a drink & some time to reflect. During my recent research, I've learned that the Moon Festival holds cultural and historical importance related to the Autumn harvest. Similar to Thanksgiving, families celebrating the Moon Festival organize reunions and honor those that have passed away or that live far away. The belief is that we all share the same moon.

I love that image of all of us, every one of we humans, sharing the same moon. In spite of our differences, distances, colors and beliefs we have this in common. I have been looking at that moon and wondering about our future daughter. Has she been conceived? Where is her birth mother? Where is her birth father? What do they think when they look at the moon during this season? Will our daughter be born during the Year of the Dog? Is she living under the same moon that we are looking at tonight? So many questions tangling up my thoughts.

It is that birthday season time, and soon will come the holidays. I'm sure that I'll find my way back to Chinatown for another shot in the arm in the near future. It definitely was therapeutic this weekend.

I leave you with images of mooncakes-a-plenty:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Interesting Reading

I just found this blog via BlogHer the other day: Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse. The author is a writer who has traveled with her husband to China. He has been relocated there temporarily for work. She is writing a novel, learning Chinese and exploring everything. She posts some amazing pictures - my favorites are the ones of the local people in the marketplaces.

Check it out. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have been.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Raggedy Gurl

As a wee girly-girl, I loved my cloth Raggedy Ann doll very much. I liked her little pantaloons and her I-Love-You heart. I think that she had a little music box, but it must have broken early on b/c I can't for the life of me remember the tune that it played. Raggedy Ann had a very special place in my extensive doll collection - somewhere between Shirley Temple and Mandy.

Check out buttercup's Raggedy Ann!

My mother met a lady that sews them herself. Mom asked her to make one with almond-shaped eyes & black hair...something special for her grandaughter-to-be from China.

Thank you, Mom...and Dad for this very, very thoughtful gift. You two make such cool Grandparents!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mooncake Taste Test

I'm a little confused about the Moon Festival. Ok, so it is the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month? Or is it the Gregorian calendar? And, that is September 18th? Isn't it supposed to be on the full moon? Tonight, not so full. Oh, I've got some serious Chinese Culture Homework to do. I am further confused because the Moon Festival celebration in San Francisco is this weekend, September 23rd/24th and the Santa Clara celebration is September 30th/October 1st. Maybe it is kindof an extended sort of thing. Hmmm?

One good way to tell that it is Moon Festival season? Mooncakes. Does anyone else think that they are cute? All shiny-glazed and wrapped so nice. I thought that it would be fun for jzboy and I to do a little taste test of these special I dropped by a local Chinese bakery & picked up a couple.

Here is a pic Pre-Mooncake-Taste-Challenge:

So pretty!

The flavors that I chose were Jasmine Tea, Pomelo, Pineapple & Mixed Nuts. The one at 12 o'clock - yes, the half eaten one, was the Mixed Nuts. Sorry, I got a bit hungry & didn't think about the blog potential of this exercise until I was sitting in traffic on the way home.

Here is a pic Post-Mooncake-Taste-Challenge:

Quite a few leftovers...

We didn't know one flavor from the next until tasting. My favorite was the Jasmine Tea - I liked the subtle flavor, it smelled good and wasn't too sweet. The Mixed Nuts (which were jzboy's favorite) held the promise of an old fashioned pecan pie which is why it made the cut. Nice theory. I didn't like it much at all.

Neither of us liked the Pomelo. That was a huge bummer for me because I LOVE Pomelo. Love it. The consistency of the Pomelo Mooncake was really strange. Jzboy described it as similar to what happens "when you are chewing gum & then take a bite of food"...that gritty, mealy texture.

My best description of this candied fruit/marzipan-ish cute little treat is "Holiday Fruit Cake Meets Fig Newton".

I really wanted to love them.

Jzboy and I will embrace the Moon Festival Tradition in our family. Mooncake and all. So, we plan to try different flavors, different bakeries and maybe even baking one ourselves. Who knows what treats we may find at the SF Moon Festival this weekend?? I'll admit that I am quite intrigued by the prospect of mooncakes with a duck egg center. Maybe with a Har Gow chaser??

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Happy Birthday SBird!!! I hope that you are enjoying your day to the fullest, this beginning of a new decade!

My wishes for you: countless metallic treasures, very good news from China ~ sooner than later, a Dia de los Muertos themed baby shower, a January bounty as amazing as your tomato garden and a tolerable mooncake with a birthday candle to enjoy as the Moon Festival is the eve of your BDay.

Cheers to you & tweet, tweet!!


I've been a really good girl.

Yes, I've been pinching pennies, cutting back on the Macy's habit, scaling back on the baby gear buying, saving up all of my vacation and sick leave at work and considering part time employment to add to the coffers. I've also been reading parenting and adoption books, educating myself about quilt-making (for the Bai Jia Bei) and getting back into the gym to strengthen my baby-picking-up muscles. All in anticipation of how life will change once baby-girl moves in. everyone reports with the wisdom of 10,000 Old Wives....EVERYthings gonna change.

OK, I get that & I'm up for that. And, a girls gotta have fun, too.

I've been enviously reading as quite a few of my blog-friends have mentioned trips that they have taken or are planning to take. For example, there's Millicent's trip to Croatia, Carrie's trip to Paris, Rhonda's trip to Scotland, Jen just got back from Vegas, Holly just got back from the Oregon coast, Kim just got back from Africa, Barb's planning Greece and of course there's M3's trip to Austrailia. And, what about the crazy road trips to Detroit and Florida that Connie is organizing??

Many very cool vacations. People enjoying their pre-referral lifestyles.
I want a piece of that.

So jzboy & I are thinking Mexico. Seems like it would be relatively inexpensive. We would be more than happy with modest accomodations close to the playa. Anyone have a recommendation? Our recently married, well traveled friends suggested Isla Mujeres. Any other thoughts?? Think cheap....and non-touristy. Good food. Not too hot.

Just the thought of it warms my heart & my toes (its cold this morning). Thanks for any thoughts...

Friday, September 15, 2006

B.B.E. = Big Brown Envelope!

Wegotit! Wegotit!! We GOT it!!!!

I mean, we got...them?

Yea, we got TWO Big Brown Envelopes! My sister who was visiting when the mail-lady arrived with the plain brown wrappered items said, "You're gonna have twins"!!!!

I was getting really envious of the folks in my DTC group b/c over the past few weeks loads of them have gotten their respective envelopes!! Now we have ours. And, it feels pretty darn good.

Looking through the paperwork enclosed is cool, because I know that one day we will painstakingly fill out each page in China & then walk out of the consulate with a brand spankin' new visa for our future daughter. This is a vision that I'm going to hold tightly all weekend.

**Does anyone else think it's odd that we got 2? I actually looked twice at the address wondering if one might belong to a closeby cool would that be?**

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Old Friend

I fell in love with Anne Tylers'novels in college. Our American Lit professor was an eccentric Jesuit priest-in-training. "Mr. P" was the kinda guy that got so enthusiastic during lectures, everyone would avoid the first row of seats due to random spittle flying about. Despite the fact that he used to call me "cupcake" & wore ill-fitting polyester clothing, I am very grateful to have taken his class. "Mr. P" turned me on to Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, Sherwood Anderson and, yes, Anne Tyler.

The Tyler novel that we read in his class was the Accidental Tourist. It is a wonderful, bittersweet book about a couple that moves through the aftermath of their 12-year-old son's senseless murder. My favorite character was Muriel Pritchett, a batty dog trainer that leads the main character, Macon Leary, back to living his life. There are so many details about that novel that I loved. Little, quirky, heart-tugging, special details about the very human characters.

This is why I think of Anne Tyler as an old friend. She's touched me. I couldn't be more excited to start her latest book - Digging to America. Because it is about families brought together through Korean adoption. Because it touches upon cultural identity issues. Because it is guaranteed to have a few nutty characters. And, because it is Anne Tyler.

Anyone else read this? Anyone else share my love of Ms. Tyler?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Beautiful Wish

I just started asking friends/family to contribute to our 100 Good Wishes Quilt. I'm kinda glad that I waited, because what I've inadvertantly done is save the very best for last. Honestly, I was a little worried that people would be too busy, feel overwhelmed by the request or threatened by the creative aspect of it. What a surprise it has been to receive some of the most heartfelt and beautiful wishes from our dear friends & family. Buttercup's future support system.

Today this came in the inter-office mail.

This fabric and wish are from a dear colleague of mine that encouraged me to consider China for a good handful of years before my heart was truly open to adoption. Her daughter, adopted from China back when the time between LID & Travel Arrangements, was weeks vs. months, is a sophomore in high school this year! She is beautiful, creative and very smart. Just like her Mama!

Take a closer look at this beautiful wish:

It reads: "May you always love China,
The beautiful country of your birth"

I'm pretty sure that she hand-painted the delicate cutout on the card. She also told me that the quilt square is real Chinese peasant fabric.

I am so very touched. And thankful to have such special people in my life.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fudge, Fudge - Who's the Judge?

More adventures in quilting.

Homework for class: Rail Fence Block due Friday, September 15th.

First things first - specialty gear needed.

Sometimes the gear collecting for a new hobby is just about as fun as the project itself. I already had the rotary cutter & cutting pad for all of my pre-class quilt square cutting and subsequent swappery. And, well, the 24 inch ruler **really** was necessary. It ended up being the envy of my classmates. Even the teacher made comments about it. Whomever said that size doesn't matter certainly wasn't considering acrylic rulers in her analysis.

The coolest thing I've gotten thus far is this:

Does it look familiar?

C'mon....doesn't ANYONE watch Project Runway? This little number is something that Kayne has been wearing during the sewing challenges. Of course I noticed. And, oh BOY, was I excited when I saw it at Beverlys!! It works really well, too. And, it is a rainbow. Mine.

Back to the quilting. I struggled a bit over the placement of the strips, but finally came to a conclusion while I was watching Oprah today. It really didn't take me that long to do my cutting. Then, I got the guts up to sew. Not too bad. I managed to keep the 1/4 inch seam allowance w/o too much difficulty. Here is progress:

So far, so good. And, really, doesn't everything look 1000-times better once ironed? It is almost miraculous. Kept checking my "measurements" - and everything pretty much checked out. PRETTY Much. And, I honestly got those 1/4 inch seam allowances right on. HONEST!

At first glance, it looks purty good...dont'cha think??

Wellllll, take a closer look:

Those wee red corners don't exactly **meet**.

And, take a look at this.

Despite my best efforts, somehow I am off by a 1/4 inch.
What? Why?? How???????

I don't care at this point. I figure that if I continue to follow the directions to a "T" & am off by a 1/4 inch consistently - then the quilt will be perfect.



Ok, what the hell am I going to do once we move on to the triangles?????????

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Newby in Good Company

Day One - Quilting Class - One step closer to Bai Jia Bei-Land

Here it is, Stone Mountain & Daughter, site of the quilting class that I signed up for ages ago. This is a pretty cool shop in Berkeley, CA. It has been around a long time - they had pics on the wall of students quilting in the 70s. Different fabric, same patterns.

The place stayed open late for we soon-to-be-quilters. Talk about kids in a candy store. The colors! The patterns! The 20% discount!!

I was looking for reds & these bandana prints really inspired me. I thought that I'd choose one and then pull some other stuff to go with it. When my teacher happened by my pile, she encouraged me to use ALL of them. Instead of sticking to the materials list (that suggested 3 fabrics for the sampler class quilt) she recommended that I just go crazy. So I did. And, I am so stoked. I've already got another lighter blue fabric in mind....oh, this is going to be dangerous.

Cool thing about the class is that everyone is a beginner and we're all similarly excited and intimidated by this endeavor. So far, everyone seems pretty mellow. Our teacher is really experienced, very talented, fun and encouraging. Quilting is a different sort of beast I now realize - and that 1/4 inch seam allowance is going to be verrrry interesting. If anyone has any suggestions or words of wisdom on that front - please share.

This is a 6-week sampler class that focuses on rotary cutting. By the week before Thanksgiving we will have put together a 6 block quilt comprised of 12x12" blocks. The samples from former classes looked HUGE to me. I was surprised to see that if the Goddess of Textiles and Graph Paper shines upon me I'm going to walk out of this class with a real useable quilt. Whoa.

My goal this weekend is to wash this fabric and begin cutting. Gotta get on it because the first block is due next Friday! The teacher started us off with the Rail Fence pattern. I guess it is one of the easiest. We shall see.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


What a day! Not only did I get to spend this past Friday with my bestest bud, Annie, have a killer lunch and generally goof around...I also got to finally see the Quilts of Gee's Bend exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. I've been dying to check it out for weeks. My primary motivation being the looming 100 Good Wishes Quilt project. I start my beginners quilting class Friday, September 9th.

You know, that Bai Jia Bei is not going to make itself. No siree bobbie....

Please, look at these beautiful quiltmakers of Gee's Bend. When I turned the corner at the exhibit and saw their pictures - I was so struck emotionally. I was inspired - by their faces and by their words. And, of course, by their works.

During the interactive exhibit/movie thing one of the ladies said:

"Someone asked me...what is this that you're working on...what is the pattern...?" (or some-such-sort-of-thing) and she responded "It's a quilt. A quilt. It is a QUILT. It is a quilt." Simple as that. Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. Nothing that necessitated a special form of graph paper or cutting tool. It was a quilt. Simple. Easy. And, it was very beautiful.

Yes! I am inspired.


Tomorrow is my very first class. Yes, it is at a fancy quilt-ish shop in Berkeley, CA. What will that be like? Will they let me be less-than-perfect?

I will do my best to "blog" the experience. I am excited and so anxious at the same time.

Let's see how it goes...............

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

September Cyber Shower

Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by the kindness...

Check out the wonderful gifts from my September Cyber Shower partner:

Maybe you saw the raspberry hat that I made for her?? That was a gift from the heart as was her package of goodies to me. That is what feels overwhelming. Sending heart-felt gifts 3000 miles across the country to someone who you've never spoken to on the phone. Someone with whom you may never have breakfast. You may know the name of the daughter for whom she waits, but will you ever meet? A cyber shower. Despite the frequently anonymous internet very personal. Something so unique to this IA process

The theme for the September cyber shower was "the Red Thread". Ambiguous, open for interpretation...that is why I joined in the fun. I always enjoy a creative challenge!

Besides a huge box of wonderful buttercup-oriented goodies...I ended up with an understanding of the needs of a cleft-impaired child and a thoughtful new friend. My cyber-shower-mate, Debs, will be going to China very soon to meet her daughter (DD#2), Meilyn, that waits. Meilyn is a beautiful girl...and I so look forward to hearing about her journey from China to NY. What a loving family she will join.

Debs put together such a thoughtful box of goodies for us! I love this little overall set. It is made of the softest corduroy. And, it has a wee thermal shirt underneath. Very cool. I love it.
The "red thread" here is that Debs decided to buy the same exact "fit" for her daughter. Same-same!

Each gift that Debs sent was wrapped beautifully and tied with a thoughtful note that explained the "red thread" connection. One of the very, very special things she enclosed was a baby "rain stick"....sooooo cool. The "red thread" was that it was her daughter's (DD #1) favorite toy when they met her in China.

Debs also included some chocolate for the "wait" and a lucky ladybug...but, hey, check out this amazing book titled Kite Flying!! It is written by Grace Lin (author of Dim Sum for Everyone), a local author to Debs...who SIGNED this book! See below:

Lovely book, lovely shower, lovely new friend!

Thank you Debs! I so look forward to hearing about your TA & everything else that leads you to meeting lovely Meilyn.

Your kindness means so much. XOXOXO

Monday, September 04, 2006

Definite Progress in the Bear Department

The little guy is starting to fill out! He's very, very soft & snuggly - even without arms.

But I think that he freaked out Iris. He's just about her size. We had to intervene when she knocked him off of the mantle, and tackled the wee guy. She bunny kicked him!

That'll teach.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Raspberry Beret

So this is why I haven't posted on my Teddy Bear progress for a while. I got sidetracked. My May DTC group had a "Red Thread" themed cyber-shower and I thought it would be fun to send something that I knitted with a "red thread". Can you see the wee raspberry bumps? This was a fun one & I'm definitely going to make one for buttercup.

Back to the bear for now. Updates to follow shortly, I hope.