On Thursday, the boys made Welcome Home signs for our newest little friend, Baby Davy. Simon’s picture was of Jake (on the left/bottom), Baby Davy (in the middle), and Joie (on the right) dressed as “injas” [ninjas], hiding under a giant tree.
I snapped this shot as he was almost finished. He added a few more details and signed his name, and then I took the dictation of what he wanted the sign to say: “Welcome home, Jake and Joie, and especially welcome home, Baby Davy.” (Ian’s sign, which you can see a corner of at the top of this photo, had a similar theme—he loves to be like his big brother—and said, “Welcome home, Baby Davy. Happy having a new baby.” I’m not sure what all ended up in his final draft, but in one version he was drawing multiple circles, and when I asked him what they were, he gleefully explained, “I’m making Baby Davys!”)
What I found incredibly interesting—besides the fact that drawing a family of ninjas seems like such a quintessentially “boy” thing to do—was that Simon didn’t paint the ninjas from the start. He first painted the people as he normally would (stick figures with giant heads) and then added the ninja costumes later: “Okay, now I have to camouflage Joie.” “Why?” “Remember? They are ninjas!” I love his four-year-old logic.
In other news, I have been quilting again. My friend Kerri came over the other morning to talk quilting, and I have been rather obsessively reading about quilts (specifically about modern quilts), thinking about quilts, and, yes, even working on a quilt ever since.
I started this one almost eight years ago, shortly after Jason and I got engaged. The goal, of course, was for it to be done by our wedding. And, yeah, so seven + years later, it’s not done. And, actually, I am kind of glad because I am going to change it up and make it truly unique. I suppose it might be more dramatic to blog about it when it is all finished, but, let’s face it, even though I’m on the quilting kick now, it still might not get done (not trying to be pessimistic, just sayin’), and then even if I do actually finish it, who knows when/if I’ll get around to blogging about it. So I’m doing it now while it’s on my mind.
Someday I will tell the story of how my friend Erin and her mom, Judy, taught me to quilt. It’s definitely been a stable interest/desire of mine to keep quilting, but I generally lack time and gumption to actually do, rather than just dream. Also, I love to start projects; this is a well-known fact about me. Following through is harder.
So this particular quilt, my unfinished wedding quilt, was intended to be a Double Irish Chain. I have all the blocks made (81 of them, in fact), and all that was really left was to sew them together to create the top. But as I’ve been inspired by more modern quilts, I started thinking about how I could make these traditional blocks into something a little more reflective of my current tastes. I also wanted to come up with something that had meaning for our family, something that was unique to us. The result ended up being a collaboration with Jason, which in itself adds meaning. We played with a couple of different layouts, but this was the one that I was most pleased with.
The two crosses at the top represent Jason and me, and the three across the lower half represent the kids. I really like all the negative space, but, good grief, quilting math is hard, and I won’t be sure I got it all right until I sew it all up. I’ll also need to add a border (or three) of the neutral fabric to make it bed-quilt size. I haven’t planned the back exactly yet, but I do have 41 minus 13 of the darker squares and 40 minus 12 of the lighter squares plus many dark and medium would-have-been-border strips and various measures of the neutral fabric. I’m thinking I will do a nod to the traditional layout of the double chain but also incorporate some modern elements. It’s a work in progress for sure.
A while ago I had a fun discussion with friends about what we might like to do or become in a different life. I said that I would like to be an architect, and while I will stick by that for my hypothetical different life, I will add that curator for some type of museum exhibits (art? history?) would be a close second. As I was thinking about that this morning, it dawned on me that I could realize the curator dream in the here and now to a teeny tiny extent by being more thoughtful, creative, and purposeful with my Pinterest boards.
I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to be more diligent in actually bringing Pinterest-y ideas to reality (and, yes, finishing projects). I happened across a linky at Simple Organic today about that very thing, so I went back through my boards and was pleased to find that I actually have implemented quite a few things this month (and a few from last month). (Here’s the original linky post, if you want to surf over and see what others have been up to as well.)
Stuff I Made
One of the first things I ever pinned was an infant carseat blanket. I had some fabric that I had intended to make into a baby quilt as a gift a couple of years ago, and, well, it didn’t happen. Then this weekend Jason’s mom showed me the quilt that she is making for Clara, and, well, I just got all inspired to quilt again.
I am really pleased at how it turned out, though if I had it to do over, I probably would have moved the gold paisley fabric more to one side to let the squares be more prominent. I also adore the backing. It took two trips to the quilt store to pick it out because I was overwhelmed (and totally inspired) by all the possibilities.
I meant to blog about the boys’ birthdays. We had two family parties this year because work schedules didn’t allow us all to get together at once. I made the same cake twice (and they really did turn out very similar).
The construction cake (original idea from here) was probably the easiest theme cake I’ll ever make. The “dirt” was pretty much impossible to mess up. I didn’t plan to, but I ended up making Jason a construction cake as well (though I didn’t make that one a layer cake). I had wanted to surprise Jason with a cake and told Simon so. After Jason left for work, Simon admitted, “I told Daddy about the chocolate part, but not about the construction part.”
Streamers across Simon’s door for his birthday was also an idea that came from Pinterest.
Recipes I Tried
Rice and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Kale :: I have been eating this for lunch (and sometimes dinner) for the last week or so. It is delicious. But I am the only one in my family who will eat it, so I need to beware of burnout. I really want to keep liking it as much as I do.
Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf :: This was my breakfast for several days in a row last week. It was okay, but I wasn’t wowed by it. I like the Rice and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Kale much better and it’s easier to make.
Coconut-Lime Tofu and Rice :: Um, well, I thought this was wonderful. But for everyone else it was probably the most unpopular dish I have ever made. It’s my own fault, really; I should have known better. This is a Renae-only dish if I ever make it in the future (I might).
Buttermilk Roast Chicken :: This was super easy to put together, though you do have to plan ahead to let it marinate overnight the night before. I thought it was tasty, but Jason was somehow expecting more flavor. I probably will make it again.
Bubble-Up Enchiladas :: This wasn’t as big a hit with the kids as I would have expected it to be. It may have been an off night, though. An easy and tasty recipe that I will give another shot.
Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips :: I am looking for ways to get more vegetables into our diet. I knew I would like this recipe (it had me at “maple-roasted”; it also had me at “sweet potatoes” and at “parsnips”). It was a surprise hit with the boys, though.
Crockpot Chicken :: Easy as it looks. A good go-to way to roast chicken.
Things We Did
The boys spent about an hour one afternoon creating 3-D paper sculptures. I would like to try this again, but I need to be a little more organized about it and also need to be a little more involved, especially for Ian. I had hoped to set them up and be able to do something else, but they needed a little bit more hands-on help than I anticipated.
I have a couple more projects in the hopper, but reorganizing and rethinking my boards may just be the biggest Pinterest task I tackle for March. We’ll see.
For a long time (at least two years), Jason and I have been planning to paint the dining room some great shade of red. More recently, we have been dreaming about decorating our fabulous red dining room with photographs we take when we visit the O’Donnells in Japan next spring (can’t wait! can’t wait! can’t wait!).
But then I was watching an episode of Top Design, and I fell in love with this tree:
And now I kind of want one in our home. I’m thinking on the dining room’s north wall—with the bookcase, opposite the kitchen. (I am also loving the tree in the new Indigo Bridge Books down in the Haymarket). What do you (including you, Jason) think?