Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

behind, behind, behind September 27, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Family,Kids,Personal,Sewing — bonniep @ 11:38 pm

Our cherry tree had 8 cherries this year.


Baby C enjoys the beach, and big C enjoys building “fairy houses” there. One of the days we visited was warmer than the other.


We went to the fair. Actually, two fairs, but not a lot of evidence.



Baby C enjoys swings now (again). And coffee shop stops. And plums.


One last pair of shorts for M.


I actually finished a sweater in time for the child it was made for to still fit in it.



The baby who wasn’t walking runs now.



The first day of school (5th and 1st grades) happened. They chose to dress alike. Baby C was dressed the same until a small nail polish incident happened.



There are good reasons to have me as a friend.



Baby C loves books, her grampy, and hanging out on the deck. Not necessarily in that order.




OK, still about a month behind in pictures, but I will get there. Someday.


Didn’t you use to make stuff? June 2, 2013

Filed under: Garden,knitting,Personal,photography,Sewing — bonniep @ 10:41 pm

Right. I do still make stuff. Really.


Pink sweater with kitty buttons. Put on several times but never makes it past breakfast, has never actually been worn to school. The blue sweater from the same pattern I think has not even been put on. Sigh.


Rainbow polkadot Ayashe blouse. With the perfect skirt from Land’s End! This has been worn a few times. Unfortunately the neck is quite tight (there are no fastenings, just that opening slit) and the way it is constructed you can’t find that out about the neck until it is too late to fix without literally ripping apart the entire blouse. The bottom of the slit popped a few stitches on first wearing but I think will make it through after I put some reinforcing stitching on there. I made this blouse after making a larger one for C in a gorgeous floral fabric; sadly, it was too small (although too large for M) but has been passed along to a neighbor.


Tiny tea leaves cardigan. Has never been worn outside of the house. Took forever, mostly because the sleeves were too short and I had to unpick all the garter stitch cuff and reknit the sleeves longer. I think the impasse here is with the wide neck. It was meant to go with C’s cardigan from the same pattern, which doesn’t seem to have as wide of a neck, but which also has gotten a bit small for C.

Plus, why would you be wearing sweaters when you could be wearing this?


(She is “walking like an Egyptian” here.)

C is finally able to wear a blouse and pants I made her ages ago; she is quite skinny so ill fitting waists are a problem.


They are supposed to be cropped pants, although perhaps not quite that cropped. This outfit has been worn a few times.

I used to take pictures too. I wandered the yard today with my macro lens on….



Got totally distracted by those strawberries though as I hadn’t realized we had a harvest already. The slugs realized obviously.


That was the biggest one…didn’t measure (and five girls in the yard made short work of that harvest) but maybe 2.5” across? It was a monster berry!


We left two peaches and two plums on the fruit trees (otherwise pinched back to encourage growth this year) and they seem to be doing well.

Well, back to the trenches. G has been out of town for 4 days and still a few more to go. I had a long list of projects that I thought I would get accomplished in his absence, a bit over ambitious. Where by “a bit” I mean completely insane.


Celebrating Color November 20, 2011

Filed under: Personal,Sewing — bonniep @ 10:19 pm

Celebrate Color

A favorite sewing blog (Stitched in Color) has been hosting a three month celebration of color and crafting. As soon as I read the initial post, I started planning an outfit for M. I had some yellow material from Lecien that I purchased with her in mind—it has tiny colorful flowers in orange, red, white, and turquoise and just screamed M in the fall to me.

I put together two japanese patterns (the top is from Girls Style Wardrobe and the pants are from an issue of Cucito magazine) and made what I think is an awfully cute outfit. Of course, Life got in the way and I finished way later than planned, so the 40 degree weather here is a bit cool for this fall outfit! Somehow I don’t think that will stand in M’s way. Picture-taking opportunities have also been hard to come by, hence the late afternoon, post nap hair and yawning here!

Top has pleats at the neck, balloon sleeves, a rear yoke, brown lace edging at the hem and two acorn buttons at the neck. The pants are cropped brown fine cord with pockets on the front and reverse pleat openings of the same material as the shirt on the sides. Isn’t she a vision of fall?



There is a little contest associated with the color celebration, so I am throwing my hat into the Wearables category ring. Fingers crossed for me please!


Christmas…here and Gone December 29, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Family,Kids,Personal — bonniep @ 9:56 pm

Wow, that was fast. I felt like we were constantly busy and yet after Christmas was over I thought of about a hundred things we didn’t do this season (cards still not made, much less sent; the girls didn’t complete any homemade gifts for relatives; no Garden d’Light; didn’t actually make cookies for Santa; completed just one felt tree of the planned six [worse still, this is a craft holdover that was uncompleted last Christmas!]). Sigh. As G points out, the girls do not seem disappointed. Sadly, of the things we did do/make/etc. I have little photo documentation. Perhaps some more photos will appear one day if I manage to snap the tree before it keels over.

A few things we did but lack photos of include:

1. Visiting Santa. A certain little M wouldn’t sit in his lap, or even approach anywhere near him, crying or not. So I am in the pictures. This has destroyed the photo such that photographer actually included a free photo in our packet of just C with Santa! Trying not to take it too hard. In any case, not sharing photos here!

2. Decorating two trees. “Tree the lesser” as seen in an earlier post was our handmade tree, although enthusiasm for that didn’t hold steady (paper chains take a lot longer to make than expected). G and C purchased a bigger, fuller tree during a rainstorm and that was our “main” tree.

3. One strand of outdoor lights. The neighborhood is a bit light crazy (I suggested we just put up some outdoor mirrors, but G vetoed that suggestion) and this was our token nod. And the main tree was in the front window.

4. Annual Nutcracker attendance. M and I sat this one out. But we did meet up with G, C, and the grandparents for dinner and then Bellevue’s Snowflake Lane.

5. Annual viewing of the Grinch.

6. Friends over for dinner on Christmas Eve. I made chickpea sensation patties with vegan gravy (outstanding), root vegetable au gratin (foiled a bit by some tough celery root), beet and blue cheese salad, baked macaroni and cheese, and decadent chocolate mousse. The latter was so easy and so good. I always try to hit dessert out of the park (and make it first) in case the rest of dinner is terrible. I was surprised to be talking to a friend recently and hear that she doesn’t make new recipes for guests. I almost always do. Dinner can be a bit of a risk at my house I guess. But I will feed you mousse!

7. Went to the pottery studio to paint a mug (C) and plate (me and M) for Santa cookies’ and milk. Although then we ran out of time to make cookies—Santa had mousse and reportedly was quite pleased with the changeup.

I did take some photos though. The grandparents were in town for a week, ending late on 12/22, which meant lots of time with the kids (C was on winter break for some of that time). Sadly, I lack photos of the train that Grandpa and C set up under the main tree, and especially the four or so large cardboard accoutrements they designed and implemented, including a painted mountain with train tunnel. Grandpa and C also steered the decorating of the (purchased from a local bakery) gingerbread house. A good way to use up halloween candy!


I think maybe they lost steam after that first side. You can’t quite make out the awesome lifesaver and toothpick people standing in front, but rest assured they were very cool.

Grandma and Grandpa were also roped into reading lots of books and babysitting so I could run outside and do a two hour new patient dentist visit. No cavities!

I did do one photoshoot of the two generations, but there were few where everyone is looking the same direction with eyes open. This is more typical:


My girls are always good for funny faces (C in the first, M in the second):


And see how they all love Grandpa (let him know, ‘cause he didn’t see it!):


Grandma and Grandpa were witness to a bit of a baking frenzy on my part. I had been warned that everyone in the neighborhood (17 houses) exchanges gifts at the holidays. I, of course, baked. But it turned out that gifts ran the gamut, and a purchased bag of Lindor truffles is also acceptable. That might save me a day (or three) next year. Not likely though, especially if Martha Stewart comes out with another holiday cookie issue. Mmm. I did discover that 16 plates require a lot of cookies though…even double batches of all cookies left them a bit sparse.


Springy, fluffy marshmallows (easy, and folks are always surprised by the idea of homemade marshmallows), Sparkling Ginger Chocolate cookies (a last minute decision, and somewhat of a disappointment—too crunchy with all that sugar), Honey Cardamom snowflakes (awesome tasting, although my decorating was hurried, and the edible glitter stars didn’t work out so great), white and chocolate mice (these were more about looks than taste, that thick of a cookie is somewhat hard to take, but I thought they looked good!), and saffron macarons with chocolate ganache filling (recipe slightly different looking in the magazine as opposed to online. And my almond meal had skins. Hence the speckles. But these were different and tasty).


I will definitely make macarons again.


(Posting before this thing stretches into a thesis length tome.)


Halloween… October 31, 2010

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:07 pm

With a party at C’s school, trick or treating at G’s office, a costume party, and regular trick or treating, the costumes really got a work out this year. We went with a family theme once C decided to be a witch and M opted to wear C’s old monkey costume…

The wicked witch of the west and her flying monkey. (Not sure why the monkey opted to wear glasses this day).

We kicked it up a notch for the costume party with G and I in costume as well (don’t even want to say how late we were up on Friday night…designing and sewing my own costume the night before was not such a hot idea). No pictures of that.

Up yet another notch for the big day with some serious makeup for C…

C was a pretty good sport for the makeup and glued on facial extensions. M was a bit of a wild monkey, swerving in and out of lines during the downtown Bothell trick or treating (little understanding of waiting her turn) and trying to grab candy out of passing kids’ buckets (little understanding of who was handing out the candy and who was taking). You can’t see the rest of C’s broom, her green nail polish, or my ruby slippers, but rest assured they are all there.


You would think… October 30, 2010

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:32 pm

That having done this professionally I could figure out what is going on. Spaces is updating to WordPress now, so things are looking a bit different and I haven’t figured out how to make it all pretty and nice yet. But commenting should be easier than before! Give me a bit and hopefully this will soon be better for everyone involved.


Countdown to 7 October 18, 2010

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:56 pm

Two parties this past weekend—a pumpkin carving party and C’s 7th birthday party! If only both kids didn’t still have colds (and me too).

First up was pumpkin carving. M didn’t really participate, except for eating a lot of chips with hummus (don’t ask—she loves hummus) and utilizing a play kitchen set. C seemed interested and had designed her own paper templates in advance, but once we arrived she complained it was too hard to cut and let G do all the heavy carving. G continued in his tradition of using accessories, and I attempted to copy Martha Stewart Living (and am not ashamed to admit I happened to have an unused linoleum block cutting set laying around the house).

Top to bottom: G, me, and C.








And here is Miss Chappy nose with the pumpkins:







The next day was C’s birthday party at local(ish) pottery painting studio Color Me Mine. With the party package they did all the decorations—C had requested “spooky” and they delivered with Halloween themed balloons, a light up pumpkin necklace for C, orange and black m&ms, bat and skull centerpieces, and some spooky plates and napkins:






We had a spooky cake from local (for real) bakery Hillcrest:







I was surprised how many of the kids liked to eat the fondant ghosts. All the kids got to paint a small pottery piece, including C who had wanted to paint a scary cat with fangs (they do not stock such a piece) and settled for drawing her own pictures on tiles, and M who painted a fish and then sponged it off for about 20 quiet minutes, such that I suspect no paint remained.  








Luckily, C is not a big believer in needing to blow out all the candles in one breath (I believe it took 3 + daddy):








C received an insane amount of presents (themes: crafts, Barbies, and Polly Pockets) and I finally admitted that the kids did get goody bags (attempts to tell them they only got a bag if they too were goody were only moderately successful). No current photos of the 13 goody bags which I sewed the night before (C helped pick spooky material) or the awesome fake spooky teeth that were the far and away hit of the bag.

Much fun was had by all, even by G who on Saturday was surprised to discover that C’s party was the next day, and then on Sunday was surprised to hear that we were going to stay for the party (since I had told him it was a drop off party). Sigh.

Today C started her reign as “Tiger of the Week” in her class by sharing her all about me poster. I did not in fact make it onto the poster as person she admires (in fact, when she was filling out the sheet I did not even come up—Christopher Columbus and Santa were rejected in favor of …. Daddy. Not that I am bitter!) But I am present in “favorite thing to wear” which she filled out as “mom cloths” but which is supposed to mean the clothes I make for her. In fact, she wore the latest skirt and shirt outfit to her party, but as you can only see the shirt a little I will need to get a better photo.