Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hot Mitt Monthly for May

With a few hours left to spare before May becomes June, I am posting my entry for Hot Mitt Monthly. (Actually there is still 9 hours left, but it sounds better saying "a few".) The theme for May was "Anything Flower Pot Holder", but for some reason I read it as Flower Pot- Potholder. So technically it is still anything flower. :D So in my son's 2 hour nap today, I made this. Let me just say that potholders are not easy to make. I made 2 once with binding and the curse words were flowing freely. I recently embroidered 2 more and they were also a pain. So props to those who can make them without saying the eff word or beating up their sewing machine.

Here you see it in all of it's glory. A flower in a pot.

Here they are seperately. The pot is a (small) potholder. The flower is finger mitts.

See? This shows the back side. The pot has a little pocket to hold the flower. The flower looks like a weird shaped maxipad, huh?

And with a little imagination, my flower mitt becomes a monster. Thanks Cale for pointing this out to me!! Aren't kids the best?

They aren't suited for heavy duty work due to the small size, but I think they would work fine for say, getting a pizza out of the oven.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back from camping

We got back yesterday evening, exhausted and so glad to return. It was fun, but I'm more of a 1 night camping kind of girl, if you know what I mean. We went on a trip with a whole bunch of other people from base. The whole campground was filled with Americans, which I never got, because it was about a 5 hour trip. Plus we live on an island, so there's no shortage of beaches and campgrounds in Sicily. Anywho, it was both nice and not nice. Nice because if you needed something, you could just go ask another family (I'll get to that in a minute) and not so nice because military people have the knack of talking about work, no matter how far from it they are and it becomes a bragfest. Luckily this was mostly overheard and not directed at us. We arrived at the campgounds and I had to pee so bad. They pointed me in the right direction and I went to find it. All I could find though were rows and rows of these:

That's not a shower. Showers don't have holes in the ground. I finally found the one lone toilet. Honestly I would rather pee outside behind the building that in that weird thing (though I ended up peeing in one when I was really drunk.)
So we eventually set up camp and spent the rest of the day at the beach. We came back to shower and even though we had to pay for a hot shower, they were cold. about 20 minutes later they were fixed.
We sat down to eat and something was poking my foot. I was like what is that, so I looked down and saw that I had sat on a bee. I said the eff word a whole bunch, because bee stings suck. We borrowed some benadryl and benadryl spray (which by the way is awesome) and ate our dinner. My first bee sting was last year and it hurt forever and swelled my finger up very big. It itched so bad, I remember gnawing on it. My foot started puffing up and I started feeling drunk (about 2 seconds later after the bite.) From what I have read, the drunk feeling is not normal. Its a sign of allergy. I never found a stinger to pull out, so I just figured the bee didn't leave one.
The next day went well. We spent another day at the beach. I'll pause here to show you the beauty:

The color of the water again the "sand" was beautiful. It wasn't sand though, but rocks. That's pretty normal here. When it is sand, its rough and grating feeling. Smooth pebbles are preferable to us. Once we went to a loofah beach and it was really gross. It looked very pretty, like white sand, but it felt like ashes and it kept grossing me out.

Cale had a blast and stayed filthy the entire time, no matter what we did. That kid attracts dirt.

For having no naps and going to bed late and waking up early every day, he was pretty good. He could have spent the whole time throwing rocks in the water. He never got bored!

That night after we put Cale to bed, we had a few drinks with some friends. At some point I reached down and touched my very itchy foot and felt a bubble. My first thought was "It's like a tetanus shot." Although my husband later corrected me that what I meant was a PPD. (He would know, he gets shots every 6 months!) When I went to sleep, I kept waking up if it touched the mattress. I woke up and looked at it eventually and nearly freaked out. Its about nickle sized and pokes out about 1/2 an inch. I had no clue what to do. I took more benadryl, slept all morning because of it and figured that if it got worse, I would go to the doctor when we got back to base. It never got worse, but its never gotten better either. Exhausted and not really in the mood to put my family through a 2 hour emergency room visit, I just figured I would get home and google it. So I have and I have found nothing. Nothing at all. The only thing I can even find close is this really gross doll. And that's how my foot looks, except its only one sting and its not bleeding nor does it have a stinger sticking out of it. So now I don't know what to do. I know its not normal now, but it also doesn't appear to be life threatening. I'll probably just try and get to the doctor tomorrow. It hurts to walk, so I'm back to limping. Oh and I forgot the best part of all! It stung me in the exact place I sprained my foot! I have the best luck ever!!!

I'll end the post with a picture of a pizza box.

Nothing makes me want to eat pizza quite like almost naked boobies. It says "Would you like...? ...A pizza"
The pizza was actually one of the best I've had in Italy yet. Must have been the boobies. :D

Friday, May 26, 2006

I went on a killing rampage yesterday

Ants have been coming in my house since it started warming up. I didn't mind so much at first because they don't bite and they carry the crumbs away. I joked that they were my clean up crew. Yesterday though, they crossed the line of annoying houseguest when I went to open a pack a crackers for Cale and found they had chewed their way through a package and were inside. We had a 10 pack of crackers and they were in about 6 of them. I am pretty against poison since I have a small child who likes to eat weird things and crawls around on the ground. Everyone is like, "Go get the Italian poison from the nursery." Um, I looked at that stuff and it may as well have had a skull and crossbones on it.
So I looked up alternative ways to get rid of them. My search revealed that several powdery substances such as chalk, baby powder, cinnamon and nutmeg detract ants from coming in. I have all those things! I decided on cinnamon because it smells good, I have a huge bottle of it and it was downstairs already. What can I say, I'm lazy. It seemed to go well. I opened the lid near the ants and they started going nuts! So I poured it around every place I know they come in through and all over my pantry. They made new places to come through and I poured more. Those caught running away were shot down with windex. Millions and millions of ants suffered yesterday.
I think it worked pretty well and I'm pretty proud of myself, except...
My whole body is itchy. Like crazy bee sting itchy. My nose is itchy too. It turns out that people can be allergic to cinnamon. Who knew? I honestly thought I just had the creepy crawlies from seeing so many icky ants yesterday. Guess I should have used poison. It never makes my eyes twitch.
Actually I may try chalk. (I just really hate touching it though.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

So many ideas, so little time

This month has been pretty busy for me. The swap has been fun and I'm so glad I'm done with everything. But I think it may be a while before I do anymore. I've decided that June will be the Month of Me.
Like I said, I'm done with my swap stuff, but I cannot start any new projects and it is so frustrating because there is so much stuff I am aching to do. We just bought a new desk and right now its sitting in our hallway (thank goodness its extra wide!!) waiting for us to clean out the room so it can be moved in. I think I have the easier part than my husband. All I have to do is box some stuff out and move it out so it can be moved back in and then organize. But he has to unhook all of the computer stuff, and then set it all back up. I *hate* doing that kind of stuff. We bought a giant L shaped desk with plans of each one of us taking one side. I needed more room for my serger and sewing machine, so they could live together and stay set up, easy to use.
So the reorganization of my craft room awaits me tonight. Today I have a craft class with MOM's club. I'm teaching freezer paper stencils. Yesterday was spent cutting out about 10 designs because I know I'm not dealing with the craftiest people. The rest of the day will be spent on base for a doctor appointment.
This weekend we're going camping. I dread the packing for it, but it should be fun. I may take something portable so I can craft there. Either knitting or embroidery. Or both. And definitely a sketch pad.
I have a huge art project that I have been planning and have had no time to work on it either. Luckily the excitement for it hasn't waned.

I hope everyone else is getting more craft time for themselves!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My mother's day

Friday I spent the morning on base and got to go to the thrift store which is only open for about 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. I got a few books for Cale (not shown) and these are for myself. They're from the 60s and 70s. You cannot imagine my happiness over them. We just don't find old stuff here!
The vase I got a few weeks ago. I absolutely love it although I have yet to find a permanent home for it around my house.

Saturday was spent at the zoo which is actually quite impressive. On the way home, we stopped by a nursery and bought some plants. I had been so intimidated about going there, but the owners were so nice. They kept giving Cale fruit. So on Sunday when my husband told me that I could spend the day doing whatever I wanted, I knew I wanted to get the yard done. He expected a day of crafting and not having to help.

This is my front garden, which I may have posted before. I started with a complete blank slate and here it is now. It makes me so happy!! I love coming home to this! I have chives and basil growing in the windowsill, easy to access from the kitchen. The statue of the lady is a little busted up. We got it on the side of the road for 10 euro (about $13.) I had had plans on gluing it back together (she's missing an arm) and putting copper patina all over it, but she has grown on me. I even like that she's broken. I have jasmine on the trellis, petunias, gladiolus, hibiscus and lilac (I think). The lilac is struggling a little.
This garden has actually been done for a while, but we added mulch to it and it looks a lot more finished.

This is also in the front yard. Its all that I have left. Its the area between my house and the house next to us (they're set up kind of like townhouses). I currently have no neighbor, so I'm taking it and planting this plant in it. You can also see my wheelbarrow which will become a planter. Yay!! I had one at my house in Virginia and I loved it! This was it:
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I really like how this turned out.

My backyard. This is the view from my dining table. It used to be a dead tree that my husband removed for me. Now its our food garden. I love that we're able to have an orange tree. And we have strawberries, zucchini and tomatoes. I was hoping this was a cherry tomato plant but no such luck.

The dirt where I live is very thick clay mud. Its gooky and icky and filled with slugs. In the front, it already had a pretty thick layer of nice dirt on top. In the back we had to add compost and more dirt. Its not what I'm used to at all. Its no wonder that Caltagirone, a nearby city, is famous for its ceramics with clay so prevalent. Honestly I don't know if they use this gunk for pottery or something else.

I live in Italy, but my neighborhood is American. Its almost like they cut out a piece of America (circa 1950) and plopped it down in rural Sicily. I have never lived anywhere like this. Neighbors wave and smile. Kids are always out playing. Its lovely here. We're located about 30 minutes from base so we have our own grocery store in the neighborhood, as well as our own bar, movie store and gym. Twice a month, vendors come in from nearby markets and sell their goods. Its all very nice. It makes it easier to be here, I think. All of the scariness is gone out here. We have none of the normal complaints that Americans living overseas have. We have normal power and its constant too. Where we used to live, the power went out at least once a week, which really sucks when you have multiple computers. Even our tap water is drinkable. I think we have the best of both worlds here.

Hope everyone had a great mother's day and weekend.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


So I realized that I don't write a lot about myself or my life outside of crafting. I created an FAQ because yes, I am a geek. If you want to skip this, the next post has pretty pictures. :D

First a little about myself.
My name is Emy Lou F. Yes my initials spell "Elf" which can be either kind of cute or kind of geeky. I have been married to Kevin for 7 years, which yes, means that I got married really young. We have a 2 year old son who sometimes takes the term "military brat" too seriously.

1.Why are you in Sicily?
My husband is in the Navy and we are here for 3 years (1 down, 2 to go.) Growing up I always envisioned men in the military as being big tough strong guys who liked to hunt and stuff. I wonder if other people think that. I guess some people are big tough guys but my sweetie is pretty much the opposite.

2.What is Sicily like?/ Is it romantic there?
Romantic normally conjures up images of intimacy in the bedroom, to me, so its hard for me to call it romantic. It can be breath-takingly beautiful here though. We lived by the coast for the past 5 years before coming here, but the east coast has nothing on the beauty here. I think what really gets me is the water color, depending on where you are different variations of the bluest blues, the aqua-est aquas possible.
Italians must find it very romantic, because they make out in public a lot (grown ups too.) I think it has caused us to be a little more showy in our affections. When we go back people are going to yell at us "Get a room, jeez!" as we hold hands.
The word I would use to describe Sicily is foreign. Of course you say, its a foreign country. But no it really is as foreign as it gets. Everything is so different. Every little aspect of life, the way stuff looks, the landscape. Its still normal to see men driving carts pulled by donkeys.

3.Do you like it there?
I do. It has taken me a while, but I do. When we first got here, we were moved into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment. We were miserable. I had no room to craft and no desire to. My unhappiness was poison and spread to every aspect of my life. I felt fat, stupid, lazy, uncreative, uninspired, like a bad mom. My relationship with my husband was suffering. We finally got permission to move and its so much better now. I have gained almost all of the weight back that I lost during that time, but I don't look at myself as fat anymore. My inspiration came back pretty much the day we moved in here. It took us months to unpack the first place and 3 days for this place. We now live in an American neighborhood with plenty of parks and other children to play with. So you're thinking "A bigger house made her happy." Well to be somewhere every day that makes you miserable, not be able to take your growing child out to play, or be able to release my creative juices, well that was awful.
So to make a long story short, I'm much happier now that my day to day life in the house is happier. We usually only go out on weekends to explore and see stuff.

4.What do you miss about America?
Convenience. Italians have very strange hours. If you want to go to a store between 12 and 4, forget it. They're all closed. Sundays, closed as well. After 8 pm, yeah right. America is open 24/7.
I miss thrift stores. The base has a tiny one and its cheap but the treasures are rare. I like old stuff and there's not much to be had.
I miss Target. Yes, they will ship to us, but only certain stuff. And its not the same as going in the store and experiencing the wonderfulness that is Target. I love the displays. I like seeing everything lined up on the shelf by color. Its much more impressive.
Cheap car insurance. Our insurance tripled when we moved here because there are so many accidents.
I miss fast food and restaurants. McDonalds is all the Italian community has. Our base has a Burger King, 2 Subways, Taco Bell and Popeyes. There's a few others but nothing big. We're getting an Applebees soon which will be wonderful.

5.Fast food? What are you talking about? You're in Italy with Italian food, silly girl!
Italian food isn't the same as American Italian food and nothing like Sicilian food. And I must admit, I prefer American Italian. There's a few dishes that aren't that different, such as alfredo, pasta a la norma, and canneloni. Pizza is way different, thin crust with weird toppings like hot dogs, lettuce and french fries, then topped with oil. The french fries are good. Lasagna has no ricotta but has everything else imaginable like peas, boiled eggs and ham. Speaking of ricotta, it is mostly used for desserts. I cannot for the life of me understand how Italy is famous for pasta, when the desserts are so great. Gelato (ice cream) and granita (like lemon ice) are the best ever. They have yummy flavors like almond and pistacio and hazelnut. I never knew I liked any of these until I moved here. The biscotti (cookies) are great.

6.I bet you see all kinds of weird stuff. What kinds of weird stuff do you see?
Well, where to begin. I've mentioned a few already. What else? A family of 4 on a vespa, truck drivers driving while reading a newspaper, a dad and son on a vespa walking a dog, a man dropping off an umbrella girl (hooker) and smiling as we passed him, a man on stilts with a horse mask, people selling everything from fish to couches out of their trucks. I guess the thing I will never forget though, is that people do not put their kids in carseats here! The moms hold them in the front seat. Ah! This kills me!! And I still can't get over how much people love babies here. Men, teenage boys, other children, everyone has to touch my bambino's head and tell me that he's beautiful.

7.What's up with your email address?
ilovepantsmelons. I love pants melons. Okay, think of what shirt melons would be, now think of pant melons. Pants melons means butt. My husband works with computers and he's always telling me not to use my name for my email address. Hackers can break in to your account and send mail using your name. They used to do it all the time to our account in America which did in fact use our name. He hated that people were getting spammed from his name.
Anyways, I chose the silliest thing I could. It makes me laugh. I actually heard the term on an episode of Malcolm in the Middle.

8.How do you live without Insert-Popular-Show-Here?
We have AFN which is 8 stations that show the shows popular in America. We don't watch much tv though. One station is for kids and that's really nice. But there's no channel you can always count on to be entertaining (like HGTV). We have a movie channel too but they keep showing the same stuff over and over. Basically we get whatever the networks will give us for free or very cheap. So we get lovely shows like Little Big Kid (so awful that a google search produced nothing) and commercials about presidents and national landmarks.

9.Are you going to have another kid?
I dont know. We have about a 9 month window that we would need to get pregnant in and it is very quickly approaching us. My first pregnancy was awful, with extreme morning sickness (so bad I couln't move without puking), scary tests, telling me I may need to abort my long waited for child, pain and more pain, epidural not working, hemmorhaging (almost needed a blood transfusion; i think i almost die) and then after all that having my son whisked away to have surgery when he was 3 days old. Breastfeeding never worked due to various reasons. The whole thing was so stressful. Was it worth it? Yes. I love my son more than anything. I just sometimes worry that I was never supposed to have children and tempting fate again may kill me this time. My husband disagrees that I almost died, but you should have seen his face. He was terrified. And normal births don't involve 10 doctors and nurses each taking turns feeling you up and leaving the room covered in blood. (This probably contributed to my very strong aversion to blood.)
We had been thinking of trying in August but as August approaches, I'm getting scared. Cale is easy now. We're done with the hard part. Soon I won't even have to wipe his butt! He'll start preschool soon! And I don't want to give up my craft room or my craft time. Selfish reasons, but my reasons to have children were just as selfish. At the same time, I would love for Cale to have a sibling. I grew up with 2 sisters and a brother, and it made me very conscious of others. I had to learn to share. And my neice's voice keeps echoing in my head "Don't make him be an only child! You don't know how lonely it is!" We'll see if she's singing a different note in October when her new sibling is born.
So I don't know. We're still in negotiations.

10.Where are you from?
There's a commercial on AFN that this question reminds me of. Its like, where was I born? where was i before this? etc, etc. My husband and I are both from a small town outside of Houston, TX. We lived in Norfolk, VA before this for 5 years and that area is the area that I will always consider home. I read Country Living magazine and it makes me so homesick because it seems like most of the homes are from the east coast.

11.So you're high school sweethearts?
No. Friends and then it blossomed from there. He's still my BFF.

I'm going to wrap this up because its already waaaayyyyy too long. Thanks if you read it all. If there's anything that you're dying to know, let me know and I will answer.

Explaining my absence

My foot is better which is great for me and bad for blogging.

Here's what I've been up to:

It's that time of year: Birthday Season. Apparently lots of other parents planned their children's birthdays a little better that we did. We always enjoy a good birthday party though. (I have been to more parties here than I ever did growing up.)

Feeling better means being able to take Cale to the park. (So this was the same day as the birthday party, but we have been going a lot.)

It also means being able to attend MOMS club events. I have never talked about it but I'm a member of our neighborhood's MOMS club. It is one of the best things about the neighborhood and I am so thankful for it. One mom described it as a way to keep from going crazy. Its true. I joined it just as much for me as for my son. I have made such wonderful friends and we have a tons of fun. I recently ran for the board and made secretary. These are crafts we made for mother's day. Honestly I made them while Cale kind of sat back, but it was fun anyways. In a few weeks I'm doing an adult craft class and I'm really excited about it. I'm doing freezer paper stencils.

I never posted pics of the goodies I received from Jennifer for winning a contest about a Mrs. Beasley doll.

I like how the gummy frogs say "Fresh and chewy." That's just how I like my frogs. If only the frogs I find in my yard were this cute, then I wouldn't scream. I would want to pick them up and cuddle them. But they're gross so I scream and run.
And I want to says thanks again. It did make me smile. Plus it was cute watching my son say "ribbit ribbit" and hop.


Some stretchy frogs on the wall. My husband discovered that when you throw them at the wall, they stick. (No one has noticed them yet and I've had lots of people over.)

My best embroidery work ever. This is what a few days on the couch produced. I love embroidery. It's crafting at its best! The shirt has 2 sparrows, one on each side. I can't wait to wear it.

Quilt blocks. I am halfway finished with this part. Lots of fun so far, but I'll be glad to be finished. My next quilt (a throw sized blanket) is already planned out and I'm way more excited about it.

New supplies. I order stuff online like crazy, especially craft supplies. I am so excited about this felt. Its regular craft felt but I was able to get pretty colors like turquoise and hot pink. I got it at MisterArt. I am expecting stuff from Joann's and Sacred Kitsch Studio as well.

I really want to order the new Amy Butler halter pattern soon. I think it would look pretty with some Denise Schmidt fabric so I'm just trying to keep an eye open for an online shop that sells both.

In addition to all of that I'm in the middle of crafting for theBaby/Kid Swap Round 3. Its kind of hard crafting for people you don't know. It makes making choices a lot harder, so it's taking me a while to narrow my choices down. But I think it should turn out pretty well.