Monday, April 16, 2007

Really, get real Monday—why do I blog?

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my non-blogging friends. “I don’t really get blogs in general, but yours is cute,” a friend will say. Or, “What’s it for?” Or,“What’s the point, why not just send pictures, or keep a diary?” Good questions.

I guess I wondered these things myself before I started blogging. Isn’t it a bit, well, self indulgent to keep a blog? It is sort of like a diary, but with pictures, and more importantly, an audience who is reading that diary. Which makes it sort of narcissistic, too, a bit of “look at me! Look at me!” Yikes. I don’t really mean it to be that way, but there it is…

And it’s not totally honest, either. It’s not like I’m posting the countless bad photos we take, or the disorder that seems to follow us in the course of the day. Having two little kids is messy, and exhausting, and sometimes disheartening, that’s all there is to it. That stuff doesn’t usually make it to the blog posts. At first impressions we are all sweetness and light. Hence the need for a “get real” Monday (thanks Randi, at I Have to Say).

Now I’ve concluded that keeping a blog reveals some of my more base qualities--my self-indulgent or narcissistic tendencies—talk about dirty laundry! (Look at our messy, messy studio these days!)
But honestly, doing the blog serves a bigger purpose for me, and for most bloggers, I suspect. Connection.

We are so busy, all of us! Connection is the casualty of all that “busy-ness”. How often do we see our closest friends and family? For someone like me, far removed from family, it’s not often. Of course, we are on the phone all the time, but that’s something else again.

And while we may have lots of activities with friends and colleagues, I think I’m so busy running from thing to thing, getting countless tasks “accomplished” each day, I don’t get the chance to spend time with friends the way I once did, before grown-up life happened. No lazy days at a beach swapping secrets and jokes, or late nights in the dorm, waxing philosophical and dreaming of the future. Grown-up life eats up almost all the extra energy and time, and for me, most of my mental energy gets tied up in the practical, day-to-day management of our home and family. And that’s how it should be. Our focus is our family.

With the little bit of leftover energy I have, I like to make things—crafts, food, words. I like fabric, and paper, and hand-written notes. I like to cook for my family and with my family. I like to take pictures. I like to read. I like to design little projects. I like to plan, and play.

This blog gives me a little outlet for all of these things—it helps me make new connections to other people who like to make stuff. It’s a way to update our friends and family on what we’re up to, what we’ve been thinking about. Blogging about my plans for making things makes my plans public, and that tends to make me more accountable to myself. Thinking about a blog from a rhetorical perspective, it is like a diary, a day-planner, a Christmas letter, a sewing circle, a letter, a photo album, and an email all rolled up into one.

Of course, our life is blessed in that I do get to make daily connections with my daughters, and my parents, and my best friend—my husband. Keeping a blog shortens the distance between me and the rest of the great people in my life. So that’s why I do it…for real.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sabine Kim's quilt is finished

I got word this week that Sabine's quilt is finished. I got this photo from Meghan, at Z and S Fabrics. It was she who organized the quilting. Look at the detail! You can see more photos of the quilters at work here.Thanks to Shanna and Patricia for organizing such a worthwhile project! It was a pleasure to be involved in making a block. Ada and I picked the fabric together, and then we learned about applique and embroidery together. Here's the block I made. I'm eager to make another bird study like this, perhaps in a different color.

On a more serious note, I must say that projects like this make the blogging community a real thing. Working on the block for this pretty little quilt--well, it gave me a chance to feel connected and to express, in some small way, my deep sympathy for the Kim family's loss.

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Easter and eggs

Ada loves Easter. The bunny, whom she suspects is perhaps Santa dressed up as a rabbit (because "rabbits don't really walk around and carry things," is very generous with her. Last year the rabbit delivered two separate baskets of treats--one to our hotel room, and one to our house for when we returned from vacation. That bunny. Always so thoughtful.

This year was no exception. Somehow the bunny heard of Esme's desire for a baby of her own (she is always playing with Ada's dolls--a major no-no around here). Now Esme has a little baby girl called Rose (Ada helped pick the name). And Ada got a coffeemaker, which every new mom needs, as well as a couple of mini Playmobil sets. What a great thing that Mommy loves Playmobil, too.

Somehow I managed to rein in our egg decorating this year. Only 10 eggs, and Ada enjoyed coloring each one.

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Apron swap--what we sent. And how much fun to make!

We love making things, and this swap was a great opportunity for Ada and I to work together on another project. Here is the apron we made for Patricia's Marley at Willow Lane:

I went with a classic retro style and print--teacups and flowers that Ada helped me choose. As I was working with these old-style fabrics, I couldn't help but thinking about both of my grandmothers--both very crafty in her own way. One was a Swedish farm wife who quilted and knew how to stretch out her materials. The other grandmother was a city lady, refined, interested in collecting, and a very accomplished knittter and needleworker. I just know they both would have loved this sort of swap, and they both would have loved the prints we chose.

For the lining of the pockets, we used a wonderful dotty print. It was so cute, we used a bit more to make a chopstick holder (or an ipod holder--great idea!). And we got extra for a few more things I've been dreaming up...

And then finally the recipes. We had such fun putting this together, I think I'm going to start a whole new recipe project. More on that later...

We just loved this swap. And I can't wait to do another.

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And more!

mini swap recipe cards
Originally uploaded by jinjur.
Look at the cute little cards Sarah made for us. (I used her photo--it came out so much nicer than mine.) All of these recipes look delicious, and Ada and I are eager to make them all. Look for a post on that strawberry bread soon!

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Apron swap! Lucky us--look what we received!

Look at the lovely apron we received in our apron swap! Thank you so much to Sarah at Jinjur, who spent a lot of time making the cutest little apron for Ada, and a matching bib for Esme. Ada has worn it several times already. SO, so cute! The funny thing is that Ada used to think she was a bunny, and she would correct people when they would say, "oh, aren't you adorable!" She would say, "I'm not really a 'dorable,' I'm a bunny!" Bunny or no, she is certainly cute in this adorable apron..

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Princess Esme

Ada decided we needed to add some regality to our home. A few snips, a few stickers, et voila! Enter Princess Esme. It was great until she decided to taste her crown...

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