Friday, October 24, 2014


My dearest knitting friend is coming to visit in a few weeks.  Normal women email back and forth about what sites they are going to see..not us - we go back and forth about what knitting she should bring!  Which brings me to my stash.  The above photos if about 1/4 of the stash.  The crap yarn needed to go.  So off it went in a large bag to our neighborhood free table.  The free table is magical.  You can put anything on it.  Anything.  And it will disappear within minutes.  It's handy.  

My SIL has a goal to design an app by the end of the year.  I wonder if she meant 2014 or the school year?  Whichever, I am super impressed.  But that is her thing.  I would like to design more knits.  That is my thing.  Not sure how original my new scarf pattern is but I like it.  And double bonus - it's made from yarn gifted to me by the very same SIL! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

the bottom of the basket

I am staying in a bit more this year and I am reaching deep into the craft basket.  I have high (delusional) hopes, that the craft basket will be empty by the time we move in 9 months..

A baby quilt for a friend…put on hold for a long while during the sewing machine fiasco of 2014.  I still love my new Swedish machine though.  Super love!  I made up the quilt, one side is a bunch of 4 inch squares from a charm pack I bought off ebay a million years ago and the back is random 'modern' squares of a different charm pack which were leftovers from another project.  'Modern' here means totally random as I had all different sizes of remnants left.  Making due, isn't that what expat life is all about?

The mess of knitting is a Danish modular wrap - that I started over a year ago and ripped out.  Take 2 seems to be going much more smoothly.

And the ice skates made of dreamy felt.  More Alicia.  Again, cut out last year and sitting at the very bottom of the basket.  This will be their year!

I wonder what else is hidden away waiting to be finished up?  This week I think I will dig it all out and get going.  Let's hope I have enough tea to keep it up!

Monday, October 20, 2014

I like my kitchen

I friend alerted me to a new FS blog today, Adaptation House.  And I know the author is a kindred spirt.  FLOR tiles - yes, done.  Slipcovers - done at some posts.  The above kitchen is mine made better with the stencil design on the back splash…the back splash made of the same formica as the countertops.  It was boring ville.  I found it on of course.  At this shop where the owner made up a custom order for me.  It was not the cheapest thing I have ever done, but I like my kitchen a lot more now, so money well spent.  This was not the easiest crafty project ever, it comes in contact paper like roll sheets.  It is sticky.

Friday, October 17, 2014

how to become an even more obnoxious dinner guest

I love school.  I love learning new things.  Being an EFM at the posts we have been at, has not always made this easy.  True, I did really enjoy Chinese lessons for 2 1/2 years.  I super enjoyed puppy school with our labrador while we were in Ottawa.  But Moscow is hard.  I am pretty sure if I asked permission to anything, and I do mean anything, I know what the answer would be.

So I have gone back to my roots.  The musical ones.  Right now I am taking a MOOC (Massive Open Online Class) through  This particular course is run by two professors at the Curtis Institute, where I almost went to college, I didn't because there may have been something with a high school musician boyfriend…I am hazy on the details.  Anyway, you don't have to have a degree in conducting from a major American conservatory to take a MOOC.  They have Chinese for Beginners, The Bilingual Brain, Unlocking the manuscripts of Medieval Spain, The American South.  All of these sound so interesting!  I wish there was more time in a day!

Now if you want to know anything about Beethoven piano sonatas, the un-normalized elementary child, Ukrainian mail order brides or the basics of Waldorf doll making, invite me to dinner! I am an expert on all of them - I could write for a magazine….or bore the pants off you!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

welcome to the FS - spouse view

My real life friend, Kelly, just wrote this awesomeness about the FS and spouses.  I was brought up in the FS, watching my mother entertain, and resign constantly when there were no tandem assignments to be had.  When I complain, she can take me down more than a few notches with 'When you were a little girl in Ibadan…." life now is easy peasy in comparison to how she had it.  On my Dad's EER even though they were technically a tandem, the whole works.

There seem to be two camps of wives, those who easily get clearances and skip off to their new jobs at the Embassy, leaving children at home to be raised by nannies of varying descriptions.  I have strong thoughts on that, but will keep them to myself.  But I do wonder if I should tell the mother of two very tiny people here that her dream nanny actually appears to be addicted to Candy Crush and leaves her baby wailing in the stroller pretty often?  Well, so often that I have walked by the scene quite a few times and I don't get out all that much during playground hours...
And then there are those that stay home and complain bitterly about work and/or life options.  I wish they should shut up.  I feel like asking if the realized what the FS even was before their other half signed up?  Some cannot get clearances in a timely manner.  I know one wife here who applied for jobs the minute she stepped off the plane and ended up leaving after two years without ever getting her clearance done.  I don't know the details, but I do know she and her husband were bitter.  Very Bitter.

My advice to the latter camp is 1. stop complaining! and 2. get a hobby.  For real.  I feel extremely sad I cannot work in either of the fields I was trained for, but I feel extremely happy I can delve into my many many hobbies.  Before you leave for that first tour, download a mass of books you have been meaning to read on your iPad.  That way you have something to fill the hours while you are home alone and don't know anyone.  If you get invited to any event, go.  Even if it's not your thing.  There is a wife here now who is bitterly sad and lonely.  I have reached out and invited her to all sorts of things - she has so far not accepted my offers.  I might bend my three strikes rule for her…

Book, go to stuff and realize your life is going to be different.  You may not, probably will not, be able to live life exactly as you did before you went overseas.  Embrace it.  Or try really really hard to.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Things I like right now

A lot of bloggers do this lists of things they like…so here is my list.  Very random.

This video - a fellow FS wife sent it to me after being turned off by the gym bunnies at her new post.

This woman makes me want a do-over of my children's small childhoods.  Every picture she takes is dreamy.

We will printing up one of these any day now.  I may try my hand at a Red Square one some day soon.

I need some more high quality felt to make this sweet matroyshka.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I love the Swedish

I was all set to start a baby quilt a couple of weeks ago but the gremlins who live in my electrical sockets decided it was not to be - and my $$$ Singer sewing machine blew up.  Some tears were shed but then my best teacher friend at the school here told me about sewing delivery.  I had been to one of their really nice stores before, nicer than any American quilt shop I have ever been in.  But apparently they deliver.  So instead of going, I got a nice Russian man, who took his job of phoning them VERY seriously, to order one for me.  The delivered SAME day, for FREE!  Added bonus, one of our cashiers happened to be waiting out front when the delivery man came and she gave the typical Russian  lady clucking approval noises the whole while the delivery man took the machine out of the box and told me of all it's features.

Needless to say, I am in love with my new simple Swedish machine!