So much for coasting…

I thought I was going to coast through Christmas, with not much stress after all was said and done. I was kinda congratulating myself a couple of days beforehand, thinking that despite the fact that I waited too long to get started, it was all going along swimmingly and I wouldn’t be up Christmas Eve until the wee hours finishing up the “must-dos.” I felt pretty good about the gifts for everyone and the preparations that I’d managed to handle.

However, while I wasn’t up until the wee hours with last minute rushing around, Christmas day still slapped me to the ground and stomped pretty hard thanks to GuitarGirl. Never happy, that one. I don’t know if it’s her expectations being too high or what, but she was just horrid on Christmas morning, and though I tried not to let it get to me, it did. She spent the morning being surly because she thought her sister was getting more gifts than she was. The cap to the morning was GuitarGirl bringing me the new book that I’d given her that I thought she’d be dying to read and the two others that came before it that she already had, and cuttingly saying “Oh, I forgot to tell you I didn’t really like these books anymore, so you can just sell them on ebay or whatever.” Well, all righty then! Is it any wonder I don’t look forward to Christmas anymore?

Needless to say, I didn’t feel much like Christmas after all that. ITMan watched his new movies, LittleOne (who was thrilled with all her presents under the tree) took off to her room to play, watch videos, read, etc., reappearing for food and chocolate as necessary. I did some quilting, working a little on The Misery Quilt (which is coming along, but obviously I’ve missed my Christmas deadline to have the quilting finished), and I started reading one of the books ITMan gave me for Christmas (which I love, by the way), and went to bed. And that’s been about the extent of my activity since Christmas day as well: quilting, reading, and taking it easy.

We did go out shopping (and returning some of the other gifts GuitarGirl didn’t want) on Friday, and had dinner out since it was our 18th anniversary. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long, but the years and the math don’t lie, I guess! Today I spent the day catching up on some web programming for a client, updating a plugin on my blog (which should have taken 15 minutes, but stretched into an hour or so 😦 ), and then I looked at my blog and saw that ten days have gone by since I posted. I guess that’s how years can go by so quickly, when you can’t even keep track of the days!

So I’m ready to put the whole Christmas rigmarole behind me and move on! My creative time of the year is coming and I have new ideas for quilts and website stuff running around in my head, just waiting for me to have some time to get started. Well, the quilt stuff has to wait until I get The Misery Quilt done, but that’s how it has to be. Anybody got some to spare? Time, I mean…

The plan and to-do list

Hard on the heels of clearing the mechanism and getting back to what’s really important came the thought that if I don’t make some sort of a plan and get to work on it, all the things that need to get done before Christmas won’t. I’ve done this to myself every year for the last few, just sort of waited to even think about the holidays until they’re here and then it goes downhill from there.

I remember being more organized once upon a time, maybe more than five years ago, when I would start shopping and planning in September, though like all parents who buy too much and spoil their kids, we were still up on Christmas Eve wrapping like madmen. More recently, I’ve been completely unmotivated to deal with any of it until the dreaded season is threatening to mow me down, and that doesn’t work too well when many gifts have to be ordered from the States and shipped soon enough to arrive on time.

I think it may have started to degenerate when I realized that no matter what I did for one of my kids, it was never “enough.” There was always something completely unreasonable on the wish list that we wouldn’t buy for a child in a million years, and then she wasn’t happy with what we did buy. There was always something she wanted to do that just didn’t work (usually because it was, again, something that a child wasn’t going to get to do anyway) and then everything we did do was met with surliness and/or noncooperation. She’s still kind of like that, though there are (very) brief moments when I see a faint glow toward the end of the tunnel, and last year Christmas was a bit better than previous years had been with her.

My reaction to that and all the rest of the holiday stress is to just not deal with it for any longer an amount of time than is completely necessary. (ITMan calls this my “Bah Humbug” response) Thus, the shopping and planning scramble starting on Thanksgiving and continuing on through December, ending with a complete crash on Boxing Day. Continue reading “The plan and to-do list”

The magic of cookies

I remember when we moved to this house, my girls used to scoot around to the other side of the house to see the landlords. Our landlords are retired and have grown kids and grandkids of their own, but they’ve always treated us almost as their own as well. When my girls would end up in their part of the yard or I’d send them over to relay some message or other, the girls would always come back clutching a few doppelkeks cookies, large round biscuit cookie sandwiches with a chocolaty hazelnut filling:

Doppelkeks

The girls used to love these cookies, and I must admit to eating a few myself! Today I visited the landlords (to tell him I needed help with an electrical issue in the kitchen!), and I came home with my own “handful” of cookies:

Christmas Cookies

Our landlady wouldn’t let me leave without sharing an entire plate of the cookies she’s been baking. And homemade German cookies are soooo good—Yumm! I couldn’t even get these pics posted before half of them disappeared down the kids’ throats! Time for a coffee and cookie break; add in a couple of quilt magazines, and I’m set.

Too squashed to quilt!

My quilting room/studio area gets smaller every day, it seems. I fondly remember the days when my kids would leave the house at 7:30 a.m. to get on the bus for school, and wouldn’t be back until 3:45 in the afternoon. Talk about productivity! I had my own room for all my quilting stuff, and I’d spend the day there and it was always nice and quiet. Heavenly!

These days, things are a bit less productive around here. My quilting room is now shared with ITMan’s closets and dressers for his clothes, and two other computer areas/desks besides my own. I have both my girls here for school now, and we’re one big happy family (mostly). We all come down to start the day around 8:00 a.m., school for them and work for me. So much for the quiet! This house seemed huge when we moved in seven years ago, but I think it has shrunk down to Barbie size somewhere along the way. Maybe when we washed it, it lost a size or two?? See I knew cleaning house was a bad idea! Dust is a preservative!

…what we really need to do is knock down the whole outside wall of the house and add about a thousand square feet…

On the calendar for this weekend is a trip to Ikea for another computer desk solution. Yes, I realize that all we lack here in this Barbie house is another piece of furniture! However, it will soon be time to start the machine quilting on The Misery Quilt (finally!), and with GuitarGirl taking up a good portion of my quilting table with the laptop for school, I don’t have any place to machine quilt anything. So off we go to purchase a rolling computer desk thing to add to the already cramped quilting/dressing/computer room when what we really need to do is knock down the whole outside wall of the house and add about a thousand square feet to the whole house. I’m not sure our landlord would spring for that though, so Ikea it is.

When we look for a new house (let that be soon!), it’s going to be interesting when I tell the rental agent/realtor that I need something that has at least five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a den/bonus room type thing, as well as all the usual rooms, super high speed internet lines, and oh, by the way, make sure there’s no noisy neighbors around and it needs to be near ITMan’s office so he has a short commute. Nothing like being high maintenance, right? Do other people have these space issues?

Not quilting, just playing musical rooms!

Not much quilting going on here, but lots of activity. We decided that we should move a few rooms around in the house, so that the girls would have a little more privacy and separation from each other. Their “rooms” were on the top floor of the house, and while the space is sort of divided into two areas, there’s no door in between them. There’s a hallway with a bathroom, but no doors except for the door that leads to the whole set of rooms. This setup was okay when the girls were 8 and 3 years old, but now they’re 15 and 10 and it really no longer works.

So, GuitarGirl (that would be DD#1, now 15 years old) moved into my office/studio, and LittleOne (DD#2, 10) moved into GuitarGirl’s old room, since it’s cooler in the summer. So far so good. Now, the biggest part of the problem (notice I said “biggest” not “only”) is that the only other room in the house that’s available to house all of my own activities is the basement, where ITMan hangs out. It’s not big enough to handle all of my machines, tables, shelves, and cabinets, not to mention my fabrics Continue reading “Not quilting, just playing musical rooms!”

Sharing the fabric and the gift

Quilts From The Quiltmaker's Gift

Quilts From The Quiltmaker’s Gift,
by Joanne Larsen Line

My youngest daughter Erin has been asking to make a quilt for a long time (never mind how long; shame on me!). I helped her pick out fabric yesterday for a quilt for her bed, and we are using a pattern from Quilts from The Quiltmaker’s Gift. She has a good eye for color, and after I remembered about the newer 1/4″ patchwork foot for the Pfaff machine, she’s getting better keeping the seam allowances consistent. The newer patchwork foot has a flange on the right side, to help keep the fabric from moving out of position as you sew the seams.

I’m trying to let go of my perfectionism, of course. Poor kid, with a mom like me for whom a 1/4″ seam better be 1/4″ or it gets redone. I’m not making her redo, unless it’s way, way off, but I do point it out so she can learn, and she seems okay with that. I’ve never been great at teaching kids anything, but I did try with my older daughter. Maybe it was my perfectionism that drove her off of the whole quilting thing. Well, we all get better with age, I suppose. 🙂