Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lumplings take on the Big Apple

Tonight will be a packing frenzy as the Amy Rue clan gets ready to hop on a plane going north to New York. Finn has been absolutely New York mad, so Hans and I promised to take them this summer. And here we are, in a newborn summer, going where there's lots of hot pavement. Yikes. But we are all excited; the children are desperate to hit the toy stores and I'm getting itchy just thinking about seeing the Cath Kidston store.
I still need to post on the amy rue website that any orders placed will be fulfilled next week.

lavender & flax pillow with frayed applique and vintage buttons
For years and years I've made lavender sachets for friends and our family. The kids both sleep with one; sometimes they'll reach over and squeeze it for an extra lavender oomph before falling asleep. One year, I made up a bunch of them for the goody bags at Finn's birthday party and all of the kids loved them (well, except one..and obviously she had a sniffer problem!) I put them in the drawers and linens, where they stay sweet forever.
My whole point is that it just now came into my tiny brain to offer them at So I'm sewing up a batch and they'll be available in the next couple of weeks.
Some Lumplings halfway done. for some reason I have not found the perfect way to make Lumpling dresses. This was my newest attempt and something about it just looks like Austin Powers to me. So back to the pattern board as I draw and scheme new ideas. I want something very simple and Lumpling-like. It's bound to click one day.
More of the patchwork pillows underway. I'm still in love with fabric squares and I just don't see an end in site with that! Over at Posie Gets Cozy blog today she had a great post about inspiration and mentions how lovely a simple patchwork is and I was happy to see that I'm not alone. I'm sure that an experienced quilter would laugh at the quilts that I made for the children or the Lumpling pillows, but just seeing the fabric sewn together makes me happy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

RIP crazy kitty

Last night, Hans and I found our kitty, Yin Yang under the bed. She had passed away in her sleep. Poor Yin Yang was never the healthiest of cats; she always had a runny nose and her fur never had that high pro glow. The vets that I took her to could never figure out what was wrong with her and since she never seemed to be in pain, I never asked for more invasive tests. But still, this week I did notice that her fur seemed a bit more dry and she tinkled on the kitchen floor. I told Hans that if she peed on the floor again that I was going to take her to the vet to see if she had a urinary infection. I really didn't expect to find her dead.

She lived a long life for a kitty, eight of her years with us. Hans found her outside the restaurant one day and fell in love with her. He called and left a message on our house phone saying how he had found the cutest cat and I'll never forget that he slowed down once during that message to say, "And YESSS, I'm saying we can have another cat!". This from the man that told me when we got engaged that we would not own any cats, I put my foot down because I had my kitty Tiggy and there was no way that I'd leave her forever, so then Hans said, Well, then the cat won't live inside... eventually that became "alright, but the damn cat will not sleep in our bed!". Tiggy will only sleep on top of Hans at night.
I hated telling the kids this morning that Yin Yang had passed. Ella is too little to really grasp it, but Finn was upset and very concerned about how and where we would bury her.
I'm sick as can be with a fever, chills and cough. And just miserable. I took dayquil even though I hate that fuzzy brain feeling that it gives me... I'm desperate for relief.
No sewing for me when I'm sick. The new Lumplings will have to be born next week.

Monday, June 26, 2006

slap me on the patio

Here's a picture of the little peewee kitten that might be coming to live with us. She's a little bit bigger now, but still being bottle fed. Hopefully she'll come live with us soon.

I've never been able to leave well enough alone. So every six months, or so, I attack the amy rue site and redo the banner. Today was the day for it, and I also chucked the link to the 'news' page. I figure any real updating that I do will be here, on the blog, or to the email list. People will still be able to sign up on the email list from the 'about' page.
I do this to certain rooms in the house too. There are just some rooms that I feel an urge to move about every once in a while and then I feel much better...a huge sigh of relief. Maybe this is what they mean when someone says that they are 'sensitive to their surroundings'
Growing up, my bedroom was in a constant state of change. I'd move my huge old wrought iron bed around and my walls were always a collage of pictures torn from magazines and prints. The collage crept onto every wall and I would change them every few weeks.
The first house that Hans and I bought after we married was an abused guinea pig and Hans always joked that he would never know what color the walls would be when he got home from work every night.

snub nosed baby elepant

I came home yesterday to a message on the machine from my Father saying that my Uncle C.D. has passed away. And I know that I'm an awful person, because I sat there trying to work up some sort of sad feeling about it...and I just couldn't. Uncle CD was the worst sort of pervert; always trying to touch any female foolish enough to get near him. He was married to my Aunt Cooter (yes, when you live in the south...someone in your family will be called Cooter), and luckily they never had any children. I say Luckily because he would have molested them. He tried to get me alone so many times when I was little, but my brother and cousins were wise to Uncle CD's ways and would stick on me like glue. And my dad threatened his life once and my dad can be kind of scary when he wants, so that worked to keep CD away for years. Until I was old enough to tell him to back the hell up myself. He was a small man, in mind as well as stature.
A boy that I dated a long time ago came with me to meet my family one year. This guy was slender and had long I guess from the back he might have looked female. Or, if you were an old perv, he looked female. Because Uncle CD came up from behind and grabbed my boyfriend's butt with a "hey, pretty young thang" line, and almost died when he realized that he had just grabbed a man. It was a sweet moment for me and every other girl in my family.
Rest in Peace, you old perv and I sure hope you aren't buried within grabbing distance of a lady.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mama love and kitchen goes boom

Lumpling pillows in progress!
Yesterday, I received a package from our dear friend Don.
He's a sneaky one...that Don. He somehow managed to have my children put their tiny fingerprints all over this mat, and Finn wrote "we love you mommy" across the bottom.
Don put the mat around one of his very own wonderful paintings for me. He managed to do this all the way from Texas! I know that my mother-in-law was involved in this sneaky love attack, but I still can't get a straight answer from the kids as they say that they are sworn to secrecy still.
But I'm hanging it above my desk, so that I can see it often.
Don's story of how and why he paints is a very special one... if you click on his name it will take you to our Luna7 art pages with his full story.

These are some of the newest items over at the amy rue site!

I'm only adding things that are special to me and my family. Things that we actually use.

Often, when we have visitors, they will ask us where do we get the items in our house. And it's always way too complicated to answer properly! But now we'll be able to offer at least some of what makes our house a home.

I managed to find some more of the tiny vintage glass knobs for the Lumpling cupboards. I'm working on the cupboards and will soon have some available on the site with Lumplings

Speaking of knobs...when Hans and I get a hair up our butts, we usually jump first and groan later. Such is the case with our kitchen. Hans had to have this new fangled induction cooktop, so we ripped out the hulking stove, put in a new cabinet, countertops and a beadboard backsplash.

All of this was with the help of our wonderful handyman, Kirk. Hans and Kirk worked a hard morning in here the other day, and the results are worth it. On Monday, an electrician will come hook up the power for the cooktop. So Hans hasn't actually gotten to use his fancy cooktop yet.

But you know that my foodie boy has to have a fancy spot to cook, because I sure as hell won't be! It's weird to see that picture on that Food Network link, because Hans was 65 pounds heavier then..and that was taken this time last year.

We still have some trim to put up and I need to caulk around the beadboard. Later on, we'll be adding a wall oven on the other side of the kitchen and putting in the new countertop there as well.

Right now it's so lovely to have clutter free countertop. I know that I won't be able to keep it this way. We are a family that makes piles. Magazines, books, toys and anything else that we can stack ends up on any flat surface in the house.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Beware the Lumpling egos

Several months ago I received an email asking for some Lumplings for a movie set.
The movie is Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, and it stars Natalie Portman and Dustin Hoffman. There's not a lot of information out on it yet. I think that it just wrapped up shooting.

The lady that wrote to me was super super nice and they needed the Lumplings like the week before. So I sat up until 3 am sewing, fell asleep with needle in my hand and woke back up at 6am to keep sewing, so that I could get this first batch of Lumplings in the above picture to Canada on time.
They said that the director liked "Fuzzy, with big ears". Which cracked me up to no end, because of my warped sense of humor.
I wasn't going to mention the movie on my website or the blog until I actually went to see it and checked out whether or not Lumplings made the cut.
But the Fedex man drove up about ten minutes ago...
And dropped off a box, marked LEGOS...
But it's a box with six worn little Lumplings. Lumplings that look like they've been to a plushie war.
There's one striped cat and her baby completely missing, the other cat has a hole in her cashmere leg, everyone else has heavy duty stitches in their backs where they were sewn to something and all of the tags, save one, are missing.
So, wow, what the hell happens on a movie set!?
I feel like a bad Lumpling mother, sending my newborns off to unknown lands where something..something bad happened to them. I'm worried about that one missing cat!
the kids are going to be excited that there's a fresh supply of Lumplings for them. I can't put these guys up for adoption because of the obvious wear and tear on them.
Now we wait until the movie comes out to see if the Lumplings even get shown. They are so small that it would be hard to pick them out of a crowd of neat toys.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Is it really so....

Small herd lurking on the amy rue site. Such a small herd that a mass mail out just didn't seem like the thing to do.
The two new pillows are there too.
*Update!* The herd is already moving on to new homes across the land!
Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Swimming pillows and ports

We've been busy little bees this week. I've got several more pillows in the works. One pillow is just waiting for a glamour shot, along with Lumplings that need photos!
Yesterday I made the cutest pajama pants for Finn. They are black with wee ghosties flying around. Luckily, he's totally my kid and loves everything Halloween; so he's very pleased with them.
Sneak peek below of new pillows and Lumplings!
Every morning last week the children had swim lessons. Finn has taken lessons from Miss Katie for the past four years and this was Ella's second year with her. Miss Katie has a heart of gold and nerves of she can stand an entire group of kids screaming bloody murder in her face is beyond me. Beyond me without valium or vodka anyway.
Finn is an excellent little fish and doesn't get upset about swim lessons at all now. But his first year, he was a of the kids shrieking and running away from the pool. Miss Katie would just calmly get out, pick him up and plop him back in the water.
Those are the parenting moments that make you just want to sink into a hole.
Finn is now the first one to jump off into the deep end and swim the entire length of the pool.
His best friend, Jackson, jumped in right behind him and they were the only two that could swim the entire way across.
Hans and I look smug and tell people that we didn't name him Finn for nothin'.

Now Ella... well, you know that it couldn't just be totally easy at first. She screamed like a banshee the first day. Ella would hold her hand out, palm flat in Miss Katie's face and scream "NO! I don't want to!" Miss Katie would, of course, just pick Ella up and plop her in the water.

I did the best that I could to hide behind my hands.

But then I got sneaky. I told Ella that if she didn't have any more hissy fits at swim lessons that I would take her to Target and she could get Hello Kitty Nail Polish. You could see it click in her baby blues. "oh! Okay, more hissy fits" and she waltzed through the gate and sat down on the stairs in the shallow end all calm and sophisticated even. Miss Katie looked nervous as she greeted Ella, but Ella smiled and said "HI, Miss Katie, I'm gonna get NAIL POLISH". And from that moment Ella had a great time and would beg for her turn as she looked smugly at the little girls who were still shrieking. Ella definitely has the smug look down pat.

I am so not above bribing. It has saved my parenting ass many a time.

Yesterday, I took my munchkins to Target and Ella got her Hello Kitty polish and Finn got a new x-men toy. Both kids haven't let go of their prizes for more than five minutes.

Hans missed yesterday's grand finale of Swim Week because he was down in Atlanta getting the port for his chemotherapy removed. His oncologist, Dr. Ajani, in Texas wanted him to keep it in for two years, but it's really been getting on Hans' nerves. It pained him and I think that everytime he looked in the mirror he had to be reminded of the cancer. His surgeon, Dr. Hofstetter, said to just remove the damn thing and if Hans ever needs chemo again, they can put it back in. Hofstetter knows Hans very well now and knows what will upset him. We are lucky to have a doctor that views Hans as a person, not a number.

So now the port is gone and we have a new bandage to check and change. I'm very good at changing bandages and cleaning wounds now. Most of the time in the hospital the nurses would just hand the supplies to me and let me go at it. They must be trained to recognize control freaks like me.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

There are some changes over at the Amy Rue site. I've added a 'home' section where we have Lumpling pillows and some of our favorite things that we want to share. Hans, the kids and I are in love with these little bonbons, so they are on there and I've added our favorite soaps.
This section will grow with some new products that will hopefully come in soon. I'll be adding pillows as I finish little Lumpling pillow is already on it's way to a new home!
Hans and I really want to open a small shop with stuff for the Home & Garden, so we decided to go ahead and get some of the items and put them on the websites.

Back in April, Amy at Inspire Company posted on her blog about Fairy doors popping up in Michigan.
And so I started obsessing about wanting a little door out in the garden.
I finally have my little door, but really what it has turned into is a Lumpling Cupboard, which is a perfect spot for Lumplings, who are rather like magpies, to stash and glue all of their treasures.
Here are pictures of Lumpling Cupboard No. 1.

This Lumpling has glued a few of his favorites in here; buttons, mirrors, a spoon, bottle cap, shiny glass and a wrapper from the best chocolate that he ever did snarf down.

I'm very happy with how the cupboard has turned out and maybe we will have more of them soon. I might put them on the amy rue site for sale with the Lumplings.

Speaking of Lumplings... here are three baby Lumps that are sitting and waiting in my button dish for finishing touches. And below is the next Lumpling Pillow top.

I really like to fix up little lamps, and this geisha is my newest victim. She has to be cleaned, rewired, and a perfect shade has to be found. But I already love her.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

This is my life and this is how it reads
For every chapter, a thousand memories
A murder, a mystery where everybody bleeds
A fantasy, a thriller with romance and disease
-Beautiful South

My beautiful Thistles that Hans risked life and limb for.
I was seriously worried when he called on his way home from work and told me that he had something for me. Worried because in the past couple of weeks he has brought home two huge old travel trunks and an old chest of drawers. I've also had to pull him away from this monster desk at the thrift store that he desperately wanted. So, yeah, I was worried that we were going to be looking at more furniture.
I was all tickled that he had brought flowers for me...and not just any flowers, but flowers that he had gone out and cut himself.
But then...what's that behind him? What? It's rather big...looks like wood. Oh dear. A table. Somehow the boy managed to find an old coffee table to rescue.
See... I know when to worry. People don't believe me...they don't listen or they think that I'm just paranoid. But I'm usually right!
So now I've got two trunks to clean up, a table to paint and find a new top for and a chest of drawers to paint and find a new top for as well. Oy!

Several weeks ago I started finding marbles for the kids and they have been thrilled with their new shiny little friends.

See...I knew they were my kids. My kind cannot resist round and shiny.

Today, I pulled out my old marble and bouncy ball collection. I cleaned it all up and gave the marbles to the kid. Well...most of them. I had to hold onto the big ones! And most of my bouncy balls stayed in my jar.

When I worked at a large bookstore, my friend, Steph and I would always sneak into the back room and go nuts with the bouncy balls when no one was looking. We would always end up laughing so hard and yelling as we chased them that we were found. I don't remember anyone ever telling us that we couldn't do it, though. Mainly, they just looked confused...and maybe a little frightened. When faced with two girls laughing so hard they are crying and panting from running and yelling things to each other that could never make sense to another human's ears, then I guess frightened makes sense.

Sometimes I still get to talk to Steph on the phone, it's even more rare that I see her, but we still act like loons around each other.

Speaking of loons.... the kids painted a birdhouse today. I spread out some craft paper on the kitchen floor and got out the brushes and paint and away they went!

Finn and Ella are staggeringly proud of their paint job.

I don't know if any birds will actually come live in this poor little house. Maybe a crazy, artsy, poet reading, weed smokin' little bird will fly by and see the potential.

I've been sewing and we have a few large Lumplings about done, but then I decided that some of them needed baby Lumps, so now I'm almost done with tiny Lumplings. I'm also working on a couple of pillows that will go on the site soon!

This isn't a huge herd, so I don't know if I'll even do a mass mailing to announce them. Probably it will just be here that I mention it.