Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cupcake cuteness

"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." (Diane Ackerman quotes in Simplicity Lessons by Linda Breen Pierce)

I'm a little late to the cupcake craze, in part because I'm not a huge cake fan. But I started making cupcakes for my students on the last day of class, and now that I've done it twice, it's a tradition! Last weekend I went to a wedding shower for Stephanie, who is marrying my husband's friend Jerry this August. She had registered for a cupcake carrier, so I decided to make a dishcloth and dishtowel to go with it. The cupcake dishcloth pattern is from Heather's Craft Room here. And the cupcake embroidery pattern is from Sublime Stitching.

The cupcake carrier, from Crate and Barrel, was so cool that I bought one for myself too! It includes a nonstick pan for baking 12 cupcakes, and then the top "shelf" is plastic, so you need another pan for the other 12. It's nice and light and was only $22 (in the store; it's $25 online). This might be my new favorite wedding gift. I love to give something handmade, but also practical. Those are the cupcakes I took to my last day of class on Wednesday. Woo-hoo!

Friday, June 27, 2008

20 questions

Finally--my answers to the 20 questions from the Parasols, Pink Lemonade and Polka Dots Swap.

1. What is your favorite summer drink(s)? Vodka and lemonade, preferably Crystal Light. But also my mom's yummy Jell-o shots.

2. What is your favorite summer activity? It used to be going to the Jersey Shore. Now it's sitting on the deck with a good book. Or swimming at Lake Keesus. Or biking. Or barbecuing. There are so many fun summer activities, it's hard to choose!

3. If you could spend a lazy afternoon reading, what would be in your hands? Anything but a Communication textbook. I want to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this summer.

4. What is your favorite type of craft/art medium? That would be knitting, hands down. But I'm also enjoying sewing, embroidery and even tried my hand at quilting recently.

5. What is one art/craft supply you absolutely have been dying to have or try? I would like to learn some basic crochet (especially to add edges to knitting) but I have so many other projects on my to-do list, I'm not sure when I'll get to that.

6. What are your favorite colors in our 'rainbow sherbet' theme? Pink, lime green, yellow, orange, aqua (or blue) I'd pick pink. I especially love pink and green together. Our nursery is light green, but I'd like to make it pink and green when Sophie comes.

7. What is your favorite sweet treat? I'm enjoying all the summer berries right now (blueberries, strawberries and blackberries) but my favorite sweet is any fruity candy. Those German raspberries are my fave.

8. Are there any craft or art supplies you would NOT be interested in receiving? I'm not a big scrapbooker, although I am planning to do a scrapbook-type "lifebook" for our adopted child, Sam. No acrylic yarn, please.

9. What is your favorite song today? I don't really have a favorite song, but I enjoy the White Stripes. I need to get an iPod so I can listen to more music.

10. How do you 'pamper' yourself during the hot summer days? Lots of fresh fruit. Lazy days reading in bed (as soon as my class is over). Sitting on the deck with our neighbors.

11. Do you have any kidlets or pets? No pets. One adorable 8-month-old baby boy on the way from Vietnam.

12. What is your best potluck dish for summer get togethers? I love this red lentil, cous cous, feta and spinach salad that my sister makes, which came from the back of the box of cous cous.

13. If you could take a summer vacation anywhere, where would it be? Right now, I just want to go to Vietnam to get Sam. But otherwise we like to camp in Door County, Wisconsin. And Germany is next on my list of countries I'd like to visit.

14. Describe your decorating style. Does that say anything about your personality? My decorating style is colorful, eclectic and international--and yes, those words describe me well.
15. What are your initials? HLS

16. Why do you like to join swaps? I've had a run of bad luck with swaps lately, not getting packages from my last two partners, but I'm optimistic each time I join one, hoping to meet a new interesting person. I also enjoy keeping the theme in the back of my mind that month and putting together a mish-mash of cool stuff for my partner.

17. You have 25 dollars to spend just on you for a little treat. What do you buy? (you can list more than one thing) I'd probably hit the thrift store and get some cool fabric or wool sweaters to felt. These days I'm getting great baby clothes there. And because they're so cheap, I'd probably have money left for a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream or other sweet treat.

18. What's one craft supply or art supply you absolutely can not live without? Yarn and my knitting needles.

19. Who's the last person you hugged? I just got back from lunch with my friends D'Arcy and Staci, so I hugged them last. My friends are all big huggers. My husband, not so much (to me, but not to friends and strangers).

20. What's your favorite number and why? I'm not sure I have a favorite number. I like 24 because it's divisible by so many things (and that is the date of our son's birthday) but I also like 4 for some reason.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


"Everything that grows holds perfection but a little moment." (William Shakespeare)

It's summertime and the living is easy. Well, not so much until I'm done teaching my summer school class (6 days, but who's counting?). Still, I really am enjoying the season, our last without kids! Sorry that hasn't been much knitting or crafting--and thus not much posting on my blog--because I have been so busy prepping, teaching and grading papers for this class. But I'm still loving my new job, especially the flexibility to sometimes grade papers from my deck at home on a nice, sunny day.

On Summer Solstice (last Saturday) our friends had a big party/baby shower for Ed and me. I posted about it here on our adoption blog. It was really nice--a Vietnamese theme, great food, and limeade and vodka drinks that went down like Kool-Aid! We got lots of nice gifts, plus plenty of Target gift cards, which will come in handy when we need to buy diapers and food!

In some summer-related craft news, I knit this Flower Power Dishcloth from this pattern. I love those bright pink, orange and yellow colors of the Sugar and Cream in a colorway called "Playtime." This will be part of a handmade gift pack for my friend Lourdes who got married last month. In the background is the basil I started from seed this year. I've never done that before. I usually just get the plants.

Speaking of summer, I joined the Parasols, Pink Lemonade and Polka Dots swap sponsored by Sweet Goodness Swaps and was paired with Shara of Monkey Box, whose blog I've really been enjoying. She is a master thrifter! I've been a little behind (as I usually am) and will finally do my 20 questions for the swap tonight. I promise!

Friday, June 20, 2008

To Sam, with love

Dear Sam,

Today your Dad and I sent you your first care package--all the way to Vietnam. We sent you some pictures of us plus a blankie and a teddy bear (knit by me) that we have been sleeping with for a week so that you might get a little used to our smell. We also included a letter to the orphanage director, translated by our friend Linh's dad.

Today your Dad worked hard all day at his kayak job, which is a good thing because the Fed Ex to Vietnam cost $102!!! (Plus we just learned we have a very expensive car repair in our future, but that's another story.)

Next week you will be 8 months old! Maybe our agency's in-country worker will bring you these little gifts by then. I hope you are continuing to grow big and strong.

Love, Mommy

(cross-posted from Dear Sam and Sophie, our adoption blog)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Long time, no see

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." (Ancient Buddhist proverb)

Sorry to drop off the map there for awhile. We have been busy, not only with our big news, but also with some practical things that have to get done before we're ready to become parents. My husband has been finishing student teaching and working on getting a job for fall. I have been teaching a class this summer and traveling for some freelance projects.

Trip #1 was to Philadelphia for a writer's conference with InTrust magazine for me, while Ed visited his parents and I joined him on the weekend. This is an awful photo of us, but the best we could get. I was trying to get a nice close-up of us to send in a care package to Sam.

Trip #2 was to South Bend for a meeting with Ave Maria Press about a prayer book (with a Notre Dame theme) that I'm working on for them. While there, I stayed with friends Kristi and Brian and their three kids (pictured above).

I did a little knitting while in Philadelphia: finally started (and re-started seven times before I got it right) the Peapod Baby Sweater by Kate Gilbert (Ravelry link, since the pattern is no longer online). It's my first pattern with charts, and boy was I confused for quite awhile. The pattern is not exactly beginner-friendly, either. But I did finish one sleeve, finally. And I'm knitting it in a 18-month size, since I won't have time to knit sweaters once I have two kids!

I also finished the sweater at the beginning of this post, my basic sweater for Sam. This one's of Bernat Bamboo in Linen. So soft! I just need to find some nice buttons for it.

Quote found on Cassi's blog, Bella Dia.