Thursday, February 24, 2011

The run-down.

When I feel like it Every so often, I like to do a little list of the random things we're up to here. So, here goes:

1.  We're freezing our butts off, once again. This has been the year of bitter cold snaps. Supposedly it might snow this weekend? In San Francisco? Check it out! We don't see that snowflake symbol much in these parts.

Steve's talking about snowboarding down Lombard Street.

I'm thinking, yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.

    2.  Our little late-talker is picking up the sign-language like you wouldn't believe. These days, it seems like he learns new signs every day. I can hardly keep up! Just yesterday, he signed "phone" and "butterfly" for the first time! This must be the blossoming of communication skills everyone promised would happen around two.

    While Joe's too busy signing to condescend to say most actual words, he does indulge in some animal sounds. He recently learned "quack," and I managed to catch this action shot - isn't he the cutest?

    Saying "quack"!

    (Sometimes when I'm cooking, Joe likes to bring one of his books into the kitchen and sit close to me so I can look over to what he's pointing at and say "Fire Truck!" five million times. So, yes, he is sitting on the kitchen floor.)

    Joe's learning to talk, but pretty slowly, so next week he gets an assessment with a speech pathologist. Chances seem good that the recommendation will be to start speech therapy with him. We've heard that speech therapy is actually a ton of fun, and I'm excited to see how it's done, so this should be interesting! In the meantime, we have been having fun making sounds and communicating in whatever form Joe prefers (signing, squawking, pointing, etc.).

    3. It recently came to my attention that Joe has outgrown many of his hand-made pants. Including the orange wood grain pants. And the pony butt pants. Sniffle. What to do? Make more baby pants, of course! So I made these gray cord pants for Joe:

    New pants with back pockets.

    They're really not too exciting as far as pants go. Gray corduroy, eh. But here's the super-crazy-exciting part (for me): I think I can say I drafted the pattern myself! That is, I started with Heather Ross's "Huck Finn" pants (also the basis of the pony butt pants and wood grain pants above), but that pattern maxes out at the 24-month size, and Joe is now pretty much a 2T or 3T (hard to believe, I know). So I tweaked and tweaked and tweaked, and then I free-hand drafted front AND back pockets, and ta-da! They're enough different from the starting point that I think I can say they are "self-drafted" pants! Woo-hoo!

    Flushed with confidence from this enterprise, I decided to draft some "skinny baby pants" (because, you know, every good Oakland hipster needs some skinny pants). We'll see how that goes.

    4.  Which brings us to this update ... Thanks to the lovely Andrea, I have chosen fabric (from the stash) for a dress to make from the Built By Wendy Dresses book. I have also traced the pattern in my size, and added seam allowances. So I am almost ready to actually cut fabric and get going.

    This would be a good time to explain that this book doesn't just give you patterns. Rather, it gives you a starting point, then guides you through the pattern-drafting/alteration process.

    I admit, I find this a bit overwhelming. I mean, technically, the dress-making skills should not be beyond me. But sometimes, the endless possibilities can be ... too much. I spend a lot of time pondering options, and very little time making actual decisions on the options. What can I say? I'm a Libra! I don't want to choose: I want ALL of the dresses!

    5.  We just got the new America's Test Kitchen slow-cooker book, and plan to get a ton of use out of Rebecca's slow-cooker, trying out recipes.

    6.  Although this has been the winter of the cold-snap, I'm still getting excited about my summer garden. (Update on winter garden: Pretty much nothing germinated except the peas, which were promptly mowed down by slugs. Sigh.)  I am soliciting information on good tomato varieties: What worked for you? What TASTES the best? I'm thinking this year, I'll plant only heirlooms. The "Early Girl" type-hybrids tend to be good producers, but the taste is so forgettable and mediocre, who cares? Talk to me about gorgeous, plump, colorful heirlooms, folks. Oh, and I need one cherry plant. What should that be? As with sewing dresses, sometimes having less to choose from is just so much easier.

    That's it for now! Enjoy the snow?

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