Alright, it’s been WAY too long since I posted. There’s really too much to try to catch up on but let me hit a few highlights and then get on to the here and now.

  • Emma’s in 7th grade. How did THAT happen? In the past couple of years she’s gone from her natural medium brunette to adding a pink streak to dying the whole thing auburn, to dark brown underneath with auburn on top to now: Gorgeous, isn’t she?
  • She’s also taken on rodeo! She’s learning barrel racing; has raced a couple of times but is in the process of trying to get her horse trained (or get a barrel horse). I wish we had the space for her to have a horse here but it’s just not in the cards…yet.
  • She’s still dancing a ton. She’s student teaching two classes and can’t wait to be old enough to teach on her own. Also dancing with the Ballet 6 girls and Ballet 5 girls. Christmas time saw her dancing the role of Tinselina in “Twas the Night Before Christmas” this year and her mom, yes…me…was the grandma/narrator! That was fun!

So…my catching up appears to be all about Emma. Hmmmm. Well, we ARE moving ahead on the kitchen remodel. Cabinets were painted; doors are in the process of being installed (required some modifications and even some made from scratch); and backsplash tile is up on half the kitchen. Still to do: remainder of the backsplash tile; paint the kitchen; install new floor. (Tim’s also promised to build some organizing slide-outs in some of the cabinets but once I have a new floor I’ll consider the kitchen remodeled!)  More photos on our Flickr.

  • And Tim had a birthday. For 27 days he was the same age as me!
  • Then, 26 days later Emma turned 13. Her party was a New Years Eve party and was a smash hit.  With a cool cake made by her mom:
  • and 3 days after Emma’s party, I had a birthday. Here’s the picture from my birthday: Do YOU see me in the picture? Didn’t think so.

And now….  I’m knitting a lot lately. I decided to join The Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Olympics. The goal is to knit something that will be a challenge for me to complete during the time the Olympics are ongoing. I cast on during the opening ceremonies and am about half way through after five days. Pretty pleased with myself.  I’m making Stefanie Japel’s “Back to School Vest” from her “Fitted Knits” book. It’s a quick knit but I’m glad to have all the information that’s available over on Ravelry. I am definitely going to make a couple of modifications to make it more wearable for me but I’ll write about those as they occur if they are successful!  I’ve got the gauge swatch done.  I’m knitting with some of Chasing Rainbows 50/50 Merino Mohair and it’s not only gorgeous to look at it’s heaven to knit with.

OK.  That should be enough for now. I’ll try to make future posts more interesting. Items coming up:

  • Emma and I are going to the SF Ballet this coming Sunday.
  • Emma has auditions for Sunny Brae’s musical “Beauty and the Beast” coming up this week.
  • I’ve been asked to help with the directing/acting coaching of the musical.
  • I’m going to have dinner with a friend from grad school that I haven’t seen in 25 years.
  • We’re planning a big vacation this year (if we can figure out schedules!)
  • Tim continues to play with Ukesperience and to make instruments.

Ok…the great sewing extravaganza is over and in fact, so is Christmas!  I was so exhausted from the show that I’ve not had the energy to post a thing.  I did manage to get some photos up on Flickr and a video of BalletDaughter’s performance that I shot from the wings during the first performance. 

I can’t tell you how proud I was of her.  This was her first solo on pointe and it had some rather difficult steps for someone with only a year of pointe work behind her (under her??).  But she was lovely.  Amazingly, HER costume was the easiest one I made!  bellerinas-in-rows

The Bellerinas, who dance with her, were significantly more difficult but I only designed them; constructed one as an example, and another mother did all the sewing.  The difficulty came when the hula hoops we planned to use didn’t get shipped!  So UkeHubby, after driving for six hours from the Bay Area, helped me cut and form yards and yards of plastic tubing.  We had to warm it in the oven to get the right bend in it because it had retained the tight twist it had on the spool at the hardware store.  We had to insert them in each dress, then UkeHubby rivited each one so that it wouldn’t twist.  Twelve costumes – completed the day before dress rehearsal!


I also made the (10!) tops for the Intermediate Latin class and some new costumes/pieces for the soloists.  I was busy and my studio still looks like a bomb went off in a thread factory.  But my serger was a godsend.  I had been so afraid of it (why????) and then when I used it – heaven on earth!

So, ballet concert is over; smashing success.  December is a hectic time for us.  UkeHubby’s birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, BalletDaughter’s Birthday…then New Years is rapidly followed by my birthday.  We can barely breathe.  But UkeHubby and I did manage to go out to dinner for our 7th anniversary.  We’ve come to really enjoy Abruzzi after BalletDaughter’s dance teacher gave us a gift certificate last year.  So we chose their romantic atmosphere to celebrate 7 years of marriage.  BalletDaughter snapped a picture before we left, with UkeHubby swathed in the wool scarf and hat I got him as an anniversary present (did you know that the 7th anniversary is WOOL??? But I have LOTS of wool already.  And wool blends…skeins and skeins of wool!)



We had BalletDaughter with us for Christmas and it was wonderful.  She had been told she couldn’t get up Christmas morning until UkeHubby was up.  I generally get up early and that morning I got a text message about 8:30 asking “When’s Tim getting up???” She used modern technology to approach a child’s age old dilemma on Christmas morning!

As usual, she was spoiled.  And so was I.  I got the new camera I had asked for.  We loved our old (?) Canon but wanted to supplement it with one of the tiny cameras that would travel in my purse more readily.  UkeSanta got me the Canon SD1100 and I’m thrilled with it.  I’ve taken hundreds of photos just experimenting with what it does.  Trust me.  It does a lot.

I didn’t finish my gift knitting completely.  I hope to get that done this week.  But I did manage to crank out a quick scarf for myself – a Fidget.  I love it.  As soon as it’s blocked I’ll post a picture.

Until then, we wish you the Happiest of New Years! May the coming year be filled with joy and peace and contentment for us all!


Kiddlebiddle’s dance teacher has the most amazing ideas and choreography.  The show this year promises to be fantastic!  It’s not a “kids dance recital” but more of a themed dance concert, including adult professionals as well as the children from her school.  (She’s building her own dance company!)

This season it’s “Seascapes” and promises to be as fantastic as we can imagine.  Kiddlebiddle has three dances, one of them a solo.  She’s also appearing briefly in a couple of other scenes.  In her Latin dance class she’s a flying fish; in her ballet 4 she’s a lionfish, and her solo is as a manta ray. 

This time I am only involved in the design and construction of ONE set of costumes.  But what a doozy. 

 The ballet 4 girls are lionfish.  A lionfish is gorgeous! 

 So…how do you translate that into a costume?  You hand paint a white leotard (If there had been more time, the artist part of me would have liked to do more shades of red.  But farther on you’ll read why it’s pretty stark red and white.):

In order to paint on the leo, I had to stretch it over a mannequin and pin out the skirt to maintain tension.  Thank goodness for my blocking board and pins!

And how do you translate the spines of the lionfish?  Well…first I came up with the fins for them to hold (in class they had been holding paper plates).  Then…Erin wanted them to have a “mohawk” but couldn’t figure out quite how to make it work.  While I was putting together the fins, (and after DH cut tons of thin little pieces of wood – Michael’s didn’t have enough of the right size!), I realized that I should be able to set them in to foam; glue a horsehair strip on the bottom and provide some place for them to pin them to their hair.  The final piece of the “puzzle” is that I’m inserting some nude stretch mesh in the back of the costume (it has a deep “V” back) and then using velcro to add a spine down the back.  We rigged up a modified version for rehearsal today and boy…I must say, the costumes look fantastic!  (the spines in the following photos haven’t been painted yet.)  The choreography is strong and pretty amazing.  What’s going to be super cool – part of the dance is in black light and the white areas will glow (that’s why they’re as big as they are!)  I’ll post video after the show.  But these photos I took today will give you an idea.  Forgive the quality.  The lighting was dim and they were moving so much it was hard to get a shot.  But you’ll get the idea.  (Unfortunately, like the cobbler’s children…Kiddlebiddle’s costume wasn’t ready today!)  Enjoy!  (And wish me luck on finishing them tomorrow!)

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you that are mothers (of any sort!).  We have a rather traditional tradition in our family.  I’m not allowed out of bed (except for the bathroom) until Kiddlebiddle has served me breakfast and presented me with my gift.  For the past 7 years she’s had the help of my dear husband to make me breakfast.  I have a darling photo of him helping her break eggs when she was four years old.  But she’s 11 now…and HE made the whole breakfast!  I’m on weight watchers and they wanted to make me something I could eat so I found a Core recipe that was a bit more complicated than KB wanted to tackle.  (Though I’m sure she could have.)  So… 

Once she got up, she joined me in bed and we watched the last Indiana Jones movie while DH made this scruptious breakfast.  (It tasted and actually looked better than this photo shows.)  It was an egg and potato frittata, lite turkey sausage (2 points!), strawberries with yogurt, and a cappucino!  Yum! 

After breakfast, they presented me with my gift – a silver ring with KB’s name on it. 

I’m wearing it on my left hand, middle finger, next to my wedding ring.  My “engagement ring,” (which I got several years after we were married) is a blue topaz which is the birthstone of both DH and KB.  Although my hand is showing my age, I love the trio of rings.  (The wedding ring, which matches DH’s and a pendant we got for KB, is handmade with gold nuggets from the Truckee area of California.  DH lived there as a child and it’s absolutely gorgeous so there’s lots of sentimental meaning it it all.)

I’m still lounging around.  Decided not to get dressed today.  Apparently, lounging is the order of the day:

 Yaya (Sonya) joined us before I left the bed and apparently stayed for awhile. 

In other news…Kiddlebiddle didn’t win the talent contest last night.  She probably took the loss better than I did.  There were only five elementary school entries and I think the “cute” factor was what won over the judges.  The winners were a four piece “rock” band of fifth graders who performed a cover of a pop tune.  They were OK.  Now, I’m going to sound like a stage mother, but really…if you were judging a talent show, would you choose a band of cute little boys playing (not great…just playing…boom, cha, boom, cha, same rhythm over and over – and singing rather flat) a cover song, or one of the charming young singers with nice voices but little “movement,” i.e., stiff, or an 11 year old ballet dancer who choreographed her own piece and performed it well.  DH says that going the extra and writing your own work should count as quite a bit.  I agree.  I’ll post a video of the performance in a bit.

Anyway, she was fine.  She kept smiling while the award were given.


  That kid has grace (and I don’t mean the balletic kind, though she’s got that in spades!)  I am so proud of her!

Well…despite the newsguy…she’s in the show!  (I really didn’t have any doubt; but you never know with community events!) 

Kiddlebiddle has auditioned again.  Last year she won the “Stars of Tomorrow” talent show for the elementary school division with a dance she choreographed to a number from Cats (see earlier post).  This year she decided to use her number one love – ballet, and choreographed a number to “Dance of the Little Swans” from Swan Lake.   I surprised her by ordering a tutu and we embellished it appropriately and I made an “Odette” headpiece.  (If you are EVER doing ballet costumes, you’ve got to check out www.tutu.com.  They are fabulous!) 
My little swan Here’s Kiddlebiddle posing before the audition (should have taken off the watch!)

Regal Swan  My regal swan….

 And here’s the headpiece.

The audition went well in spite of some poor planning on the management’s part.  After all the work on her costume, they made her pin a huge number on herself so the judges would know who she was.  She managed to ignore while she danced but during the children’s auditions (all the elementary school kids went first), a local newsman wandered the stage with a video camera.  I could tell that even the singers, who primarily just stood there and sang, were a bit uncomfortable, but can you imagine what it’s like to be a dancer with someone else on stage that you DIDN’T choreograph into your dance? Can you say distracting??  Kiddlebiddle is a very serious dancer with a drive and passion you see in a professional.  She may only be 11 but she knows what she’s doing.  And with this guy on the stage she had to watch out for him while she was dancing, hoping he wouldn’t get in the way!  She had worked hard on her choreography and rehearsed and rehearsed and here she was having to “wing it” because someone else was on the stage!  And to top it off, they wouldn’t move the grand piano 3 feet upstage so that she could make the exit she had planned – a magnificent leap off stage.  Instead, she had to maneuver her way upstage (making up new steps!), around the guy with the camera, and changing the ending of her dance – without the grand movement! 

Although I felt she was stupendous, she was pretty upset.  And though my usual video camera wasn’t charged (oops) I used my Canon’s video capabilites.  You’ll see the guy in the way; that I was so busy watching her that I didn’t watch through the camera; and you’ll even see the other kids waiting.







This was our first year sans Nutcracker!  But Kiddlebiddle got to do even more in, what we think was, a better show.  Her dance instructor conceived, wrote, and choreographed a wonderful new holiday ballet to showcase absolutely all of her wonderful students.  KB danced as a Christmas tree light (with her Latin Dance class), a Peppermint (with her Ballet 4 class), and in a solo as Iciquelle, one of the ornaments that came to life.

 It was a charming show called “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and told the story beyond what you usually hear.  Did you know that elves, pirates, and a musicbox doll are part of the story??? They are now!  I’m posting a couple of videos taken at her most recent performances.  The first is KB as Iciquelle.  The little snowflakes that are dancing with her are the students from the class she student teaches.  Aren’t they darling??

I’m also posting a video of KB at thespring concert where she danced as “A Young Dancer of 14 Years,” Degas’ famous ballet dancer statue.  The premise in this ballet was that the artwork comes to life as the visitors leave the museum.

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