Sunday, December 27, 2009

which holiday will it be?

I did a photo shoot days before leaving for a holiday card, someday we'll all find out which holiday I'm referring to?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Merry indeed

Blurrrr of a day...waiting in bed with Eva, supposively for Eli to wake, only to find the presents ruffled and a little Pinecone jumping out of the covers on the sofa, Eli claiming Eva's sewing machine as his own but later loving his marble run, echanging gifts, ransacking stockings, munching on marzapan, brunching on sausage strata, Panettone, frozen whipping cream salad requested by Eva to remember Grammy's breakfast by, coloring with new pencils, hiking with Peter, Suzanne, Chloe, slicing Eli's finger with his new knife followed by a quick detour to the drugstore, devouring yummy soup by Suzanne accompanied by salad and roasted beets, cheer and tired bones falling in to bed. It was a happy day indeed. we did it, our first Christmas in San Francisco.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

First Christmas Eva in San Francisco

This was our first Christmas in San Francisco as a family. After Mom + Dad moved out of their home to Summit Square, going back toVA was looking different for me but I was willing to give it a try.After our visit this past summer Eva declared when we got home that she wanted to celebrate in SF this year. I was not sure but let it sit for the fall. I'm not ready to give up winter visits so we'd go after New Years. Our house is busy, like everyone's from Halloween through the new year, adding E+E's birthdays in there has me stepping up to "create" a new vision for every occasion, yes, I know that's my own fault. I could scale it down but would that be fun? I want to provide memories of the feeling, the sounds, the homemade love, not so much the presents but the thoughtfulness of the holiday. I tried this year to keep it in check, not letting it all take over which meant a few long nights of sewing instead of dragging it on and on. Art is a trooper but I know he tires of the sound of the machine long in to the night. I also missed just sitting around the tree sipping cider. Next year.

This year we took off on the 24th  on B.A.R.T. to the Embarcadero to see the snow villages in the Hilton, see the ice skaters, shop for food at the Ferry Building Marketplace and a few bits of last minute shoppping. This was our second year at the Hilton, the lobby is so festive with the gigantic miniature village covering the same square footage of our house. The mood in the Bender family was a bit more subdubed, I wonder how long this will remain a tradition. I'm thinking we'll keep going for a few more years at least, if not to at least ride the elevator up and down to the 11th floor, I even love this.

After a quick cold picnic outside with tasty salami sandwiches, we headed past the ice skating rink to the Ferry Plaza. As we passed, a woman gave the children a candy and invited them to see Santa. They each got a card and off we went. I made a comment to Art about the sign asking for donations to have photo taken with Santa. I did not hear this but evidently Eva wanted to know what I was saying, Art told her about the man wanting money. Poor sweet Eva, she went hysterical and started saying, "I want to go home." Once in the Ferry Building, I finally got it out of her that she was embarrassed because she'd told that man pretending to be Santa what she wanted for Christmas, she was looking around the room so distrusting of the people.I was so sad for her. I hugged her over and over and told her he could have been the real santa, I was not sure and just to look around us and see all the people happy to be celebrating Christmas together. She remained in the long line with me as I got the mussles for our dinner, she finally calmed down. I was heart broken as her innocence was shattered. I'm not certain it was for keeps, she picked up later and became enthusiastic,especially after her macaroon from Miette Bakery. We got bread from Acme, 24 oysters and were ready to head home.

I'm not up to telling another key event from this day,another posting. I will share that Uncle Randy arrived from L.A. David, Naomi, Leon and Marcel came for our dinner of raw oysters with Champagne-Vinegar Mingnonette, steamed mussels with orange fennel and garlic, and two delicious varieties of ravioli (ricotta/spinach, pumpkin) from a local shop. After some stories around the Christmas tree, E + E were ready for bed after a long day, they were asleep by 7:30.

Santa finished wrapping and installing by 10:30 much to my surprise.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23rd and quilted pencil bags are finished

I started this project as an exercise, oh so long ago, as learning process for quilting seeing how I'd match color/pattern of fabric, read instructions, measure/cut properly (not my skill), and crossed my fingers hoping the children would like the final product. I also made the little bag for the block crayons as Eva chides me that the few that we have are limiting her practice work for school. Last week I asked Eva if there was anything she really wanted for Christmas and she said she had a pencil bag at school but not at home - HOORAY - I was on the right track. I took the children to Discount Fabric and let them choose their own chording, not knowing what it was for, they'll be able to identify their own bag. This will be a whole assortment including big drawing boards from Flax,watercolor pencils to share and the block crayons to share.

Monday, December 21, 2009

now the little elves are asleep more work begins....

  • blanket for my dad made from wool samples I found at S.C.R.A.P. ( with Neema - just sewed on the beautiful felted wool trim I purchased and now need to add the red blanket wool to the back - NEXT WEEK, I need to make a move on the SF presents...
  • finally got the outside material for the pencil case, I've really dragged my heels on this one. I got a beautiful dark/oatmeal linen from Peapod Frabrics.  Neema and I considered black linen. I left the chording at the studio so I'll pick it up tomorrow.
  • making a little bag following a drawstring jewelry bag I own, this will hold the children's block crayons to complete their ART EXTRAVAGANZA from us.
good night...I'm not sewing tomorrow night, will be caroling with the neighbors. we'll see if I get inspired post-eggnog.

the elves are in high gear now....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dicken's Fair converts

Eva has been begging to go the Dicken's Fair for three years, I truly had no interest in taking two small children to the Cow Palace with 100's of people. This year the Dicken's fever is rampant amongst the first grade girls.  Many girls came back after Thanksgiving weekend with hairdos and Eva was ready to shed her short locks for the chance to get her hair done. so Eva's birthday became the the turning point of my bending. As posted before she got the vintage red cape, pantaloons, and a dress that never arrived. The day before the event, we found a red dress someone found at a thrift store last year for us and with a little crinoline it was perfect. Our house was a flutter before the event, Eva dressing before the rest of us were out of bed, Eli wetting down his hair drying his pants in the dryer, Art looking through various closets to find his wedding vest and I pulling out every item that may pass as Victorian.

All said and done we were there from 11:00 - 7 pm with a total of 5 families from school, we watched performances, played the lemon game, rode the carousel, ate fish 'n chips, and danced for hours. It was completely enchanting (if you could get over the crowds + hot buttered rum helped!), good wholesome fun for the family. the actors were polite, engaging and highly entertaining. I think we're going to get a season pass next year!  oh no, does that mean the Renaissance Fair is next????

highlights: Eva getting a telegram from friends announced at the big Fezziwigs party including a note and a rose in a porcelain holder, getting her hair done in braids with adornments, being free to dance with her friends and the actors. Eli was mostly an observer until the very end. A woman came up and asked if he's like to dance and off he went, she asked if he could skip and told them they were doing the Polka, most children are excorted to the center to dance away from the massive moving crowds. evidently Eli just took off skipping and swinging is partner all around the floor, avoiding hitting other dancers and keeping up the pace for the entire dance. she asked if I could send her photos I did and this is what she wrote back..."
Thank you so much for sending these.  He's a real sweetheart and was a 
highlight of the day with his energy.  He's gonna break some hearts in a 
few years...  ;-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

7 it is

After a short night for mama, Eva was ready to see what was in store for her at 6 am. She and Eli immidiately sat in their chairs, gazing at the stage. I asked Eva if she was cold, trying to prompt her to opening a very special present (a red vintage velvet cape + muff I got on ebay as a present for her outfit for the Dicken's Fair, more on that later.) I had to prompt her several times, finally I said, "Eva aren't you cold?" she answered a bit stunned, "I'm too excited to be cold, mama."  I gave her the box and with a big grin wipped across her face immediately donned the cape. I performed the play and the day was off to a rapid clip from this point. We had dadda's waffles for breakfast, carried the little ginger bread petit fours to school for her class while wearing her cape, made the requested pasta with bolognese (almost as good as Helen's), was offered Leon's cake from Channakuh party (thanks Naomi!) that I reshaped and iced with a Martha Stewart eggwhite frosting and candy cane sprinkles, entertained two friends with crafting a soft christmas tree stuffie, dinner, cake (complete with Eva's new technique of licking the bottowm of the candle while still lit),and sweet dreams.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eve of Eva's 7th birthday

I'd been planning Eva's birthday present for months I envisioned a "stage" between the living room/dining room complete with curtains with a lower curtain as a puppet theater option. With Thanksgiving and guests I was muchly delayed on getting started on the curtains, even purchasing the material. Finally less than a week before the big day I went to a thrift store on Valencia Street where I'd seen velvet curtains in the window, I mean every stage needs velvet curtains right? Well as it turns out there were no set of curtains only vintage single curtains sold by the pound, when I took three panels up it was going to be $78! so I mixed it up a bit, got a few pretty damask panels and one velvet panel that I'd cut in to strips and make them a patchwork. It was fun to work on them the next day with Ro in the studio, she offered solid advice and I went to town cutting strips, sewing, ripping, resewing only to rip out yet again. 

Here it is on the eve of my girls birthday I had so much to do, plan the craft for her two friends, finish the curtains, sew the "girl" portion of her banner like the one for Eli's, finish the little ginger bread petit fours for her class, and decorate the table in birthday fashion. As I tucked Eva into bed, she looked at me, biting her nails, saying," I hope you're making a set-up for me because I'll be very disappointed if you don't, I'm nervous that you won't." I reassured her that of course I would. The moment I left my head was spinning with oh no, she's going to be so disappointed when she comes out and only sees a curtain, I have no props for her. I mean we are so much a like that Eva's love of flare and drama matched my desire to perform and create a mood, giving me license to go over the top!I went to work on her curtains and banner, finishing around 11pm. The curtains are of a crude construction but will serve her and help secure the space for guests in the future with a bit of privacy. As I mediated on my girl, it came to me, I went back to an email by a story-teller, found her winter story and designed a Waldorf-type puppet show around the theme of the blue slippers with silver stars, complete with little slippers I needle felted. I set up chairs and had the performance space ready. So here at 1:00am I think of my girl.

Dear Eva,

I hope you are not disappointed tomorrow. I love your vision, your enthusiasm and your strong voice. As I sit and think of you I can hardly lament on the little girl I've left behind because in front of me I see the girl that will be with me for the rest of my life, grateful, strong, enthusiastic, determined, polite, did we get here so soon?

I love you in first grade. There is no more pressure to find someone to play with, you are part of a large group and you are working through things harmoniously. Seeing you immerced in letters is a blessing, from writing then on your back, to hearing you sound out the alphabet, I know the words will soon come in to focus for you and look forward experiencing your journey.

I love my sweet dooby doo. Happy 7!



child born of rain

Saturday before Eva's birthday I had to run some errands, there is nothing worse than running Saturday errands except running them in the rain; the parking, the poor driving, the sour attitudes. I got a sparkle in my eye when I pulled Pumpkin in to my vision of commuting around our part of the city. I pulled out my snow pants and found a raincoat and was ready to head off when Eva asked if she could join me. Why of course, no one loves rain more than my girl. The first rain storm of the year found her sitting down in the largest puddle on the playyard, wicking the water under her rain suit, leaving her wet up to her neck. Here are examples of my girl in rain one in Virginia at Graves Mt. Lodge and the other at friend's place in Novaro...(.the next time I looked out, she was naked on the tramplene, outlasting the three boys.)  We headed out in a torrent of drops, the pitter patter on the helmet sounded like that on a standing seam roof.  We took our time, stopping for lunch and a quick visit at a Holiday Bazaar of some Mission artistist - if I'd only had money. We returned home satisfied with our time out and about.