Author Archives: Christine

Great Moments in Christmas Crafting

My friend Leticia gave me some cheery animal fabric she found at a yard sale, and I decided to use it as part of my annual gift bag-making extravaganza. I must have been more careless than usual when I cut the fabric, because I ended up making two gift bags that prominently feature animal rear ends. There’s the right-side-up version:

And even the upside-down version, in which the animal seems to be lying with its legs up in the air like the back half of a carcass (how festive!):

Talk about some really special gift wrapping! I was almost embarrassed until I realized that this could be the start of a whole new, hostile Christmas tradition.

“You’ve been very naughty this year, so you get your lump of coal in the ANIMAL’S REAR END bag!” (The actual words might be a bit ruder, but this is a family blog.)

Things I’m Thankful For

First of all, my two girls and their cousin Peter (pictured above.) We had a mid-day Thanksgiving feast, then Peter wiped us all off the board in Scrabble. Afterwards, we went to the city to go ice skating and have dessert at the Hyatt hotel downtown, where my husband’s brother is a chef. It was a very happy Thanksgiving.

One of the things I’m most grateful for in life is the way being a parent lets me re-experience the world through the experiences of the next generation. Peter is reading for the first time some of the books I first read at his age, like Pride and Prejudice and Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. I’m rereading some of the same books now and finding them very different from my aged perspective.

I’m also thankful for my husband, who was jet-lagged from after a two-week trip to Japan and crashed at home while the rest of us were out gallivanting. His hard work is the foundation for this great life we have, and I appreciate it every day.

I have so many more things to be thankful for that I won’t try to list them all here.  I’m thankful for you, my readers, and hope I will see a lot of you in the holiday season.




The Halloweeners

I’m a little behind the times, I know, but I had to show you our trick-or-treaters: first, Minnie Mouse and her friends, then Witch Sunny and her bored-looking companion. (Don’t be fooled by his appearance. He was not bored with the candy. I have found quite a few candy wrappers on the floor that have obviously been fished out of the garbage and given a thorough licking.) 

Here’s a Guy with Really Great Taste

Let’s stipulate right up front that my Facebook profile picture is a cartoon. My daughter Sunny made it for me several years ago when I didn’t want to post my photo all over the Internet. (It’s also my profile photo on this blog.) It’s a cartoon, I might add, that has two left feet, because she didn’t notice that in real life I actually have two different feet.

In light of all that, I was pretty flattered when I got this message on Facebook today:

“Hello, sincerely speaking, your looks are everything i seek in a woman, you are the definition of simplicity, what will it take for a man of my kind to be accepted in the world of a lady like yourself? i truly and honestly want to know you, what are your hobbies, what are your greatest wishes in life, i really have loads and load of questions to ask, but i think its fair enough if i should talk about myself first, i am XXX X XXXX, Italian American, a widower, i own a shipping agency but its a small one cause we just started, i like to cook, read books, watch movies in my living room, maybe i would prefer the cinema if i had someone in my life, i wanna say so much but just don’t know where to begin, please please and please, write back to me soon, i sincerely wanna keep in touch with you. thanks”

Thanks, Internet! Serving up absurdity 24/7.


Love of Wool

Yesterday I went to the annual Lamb Festival in Dixon, a small ranching town in the Central Valley about an hour from where I live. This little fair is heaven for anyone who loves wool. Wool is so beautiful, with such rich, intense colors. It’s so soft to the touch. The tools for carding, spinning, and weaving are made of wood and look like they belong in a fairy tale. Everywhere you looked, you saw something like this:

I bought a sheepskin to use as a rug on the cold floor of my sewing room.  My friend Maria warned me that I was kidding myself if I thought I was buying it for me, when clearly it was going to belong to Marcus. How right she was! Here he is about an hour after I put it down on the floor.

Lamb photo by Ian Britton. Used by permission from

Snowy Owl Footstool

This decoupaged footstool for our living room has been a long time in the making, and involved contributions from three people: Basketball Birl, who chose the papers for the curved parts of the top, my friend Mary, who cut and glued on the papers (because I am challenged when it comes to measuring and making straight lines), and me.

I printed the owl on fabric and decoupaged it onto the lid. Then the stool sat in my sewing room and ripened for a few months while I waited to see what else it might need. I was originally going to put a moon in the top left corner of the lid.  I even cut out a few moons from various papers and fabrics, but they all looked too big, so in the end, I decided on a kind of Milky Way of white and silver glitter. I don’t think you can ever go wrong by adding glitter! Here’s the end result:

The Old, Old Towel

So I was folding laundry this morning and came to the decision that it’s ALMOST time to retire the beach towel we got on our honeymoon in Mexico. (Nearly 28 years ago.) We still use that towel all the time as a bath towel, and it fits right in with my motley collection of linens from the thrift store, from department stores in Korea, where we lived for a couple of years, and from various online merchants. (All in different colors and patterns, of course.)

Giving up objects associated with our wedding still causes me a bit of a pang. We’ve broken a few of our wedding presents and given away a few, like the hand-forged black iron candlestick with weird curlicues that made it look like a badly made ninja weapon, but I’m quite fond of the survivors. The old towel has a happy killer whale and some assorted sea creatures cavorting under the palms. It’s getting a little frayed at the edges but still works perfectly well as a towel.

Hmmm… think I might just put it back in the linen closet for now.

Do you have something old and tattered that you still hang onto either because you love it or because it’s just so comfortable?

Space Shuttle Farewell

This morning, Marcus and I went down to the bay to watch a historic event: the final flyover of the space shuttle Endeavor as it traveled to Los Angeles, where it will live in a museum. Seeing that huge jet carrying the shuttle and flanked by a tiny fighter jet made me think of all the awesome things accomplished by our space program.


Things that Annoy My Husband, Part 5 of 1,000,000

When he drives an hour and a half to a business conference and spends all day struggling to stay awake while he listens to boring speakers (I actually made that part up, but I’m also sure it’s true), but then WINS A KINDLE FIRE in a raffle, only to get home and find out that he’s not allowed to keep it because it’s worth more than his company’s $50 limit on gifts.

This is actually more tragic than funny, but I seem to be on a sorrowful streak ever since our vacuuming robot ate up a whole roll of toilet paper.

Tragic Vacuuming Accident

I’m deeply in love with my little robot vacuum, but even my beloved isn’t perfect. This is what happens when you vacuum after leaving too long a tail on the roll of toilet paper. My husband had to rewind it laboriously by hand. And was he annoyed? It’s quite possible he was.

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