Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Five years of Diego Madrid.  Unbelievable.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


When baking in a mason jar, do not fill jar more than halfway.  (Also do not knock over your conventional loaf pan when you put your macaroni in the oven).  
I know: baking in a mason jar--why a mason jar?  Because angry chicken did it?  Giving gifts to the kids' teachers at the holidays is apparently the thing to do.  Al and I totally failed to realized this last year.  Now (of course) I've been in a total lather for weeks about what is an appropriate gift for a teacher.  (Giving gifts to teachers was not done at Bank Street so this is all new to me).  I thought contributing cash to the Visa gift card fund seemed tacky and unoriginal.  But baking a holiday bread in a mason jar?  Classy and unique.  Well, unique anyway.
Of course I'm not a baker and never have been.  But it's on my list of goals for this winter (along with learning to make good soup and learning to sew with knits).  My friend Holly laughs at my anxiety over baking, but let me tell you I've had one disaster after another.  The picture above is only one small example.  Omitting sugar.  Tripling the required amount of butter.  Everything has been edible but hardly worthy of Paige (Penelope's teacher who everyone by now knows I think is really really cool.  Like really cool.  And funny.  With a great accent.  I'll stop now).  So anyway, I keep trying with the baking.  Today Diego and I made cranberry nut bread in the small mason jars I got to gift the teachers.  If you put the lids on when they first come out of the oven they seal.  And then you have canned cranberry nut bread (or whatever).  It just seems cool to me.  (This is one of those things that you either get or you don't.  Anyway, the cranberry nut bread looks every so slightly like barf in a jar.  It might not be the right one for gifting. I guess I could try a banana bread, but it doesn't seem very seasonal.

Enough about the baking. Last week Claudia and I took a trip to NYC to welcome my dear friend Emily's new boy Kieran.  

Seeing them together was crazy because Claudia looked like this giant kid next to tiny new Kieran.  Emily was appreciative but really what could be better than hanging out with a brand new baby and mama?  We sat around and admired the babies and munched and nursed and that was pretty much it (somehow I munched a lot more than Em did, but that's okay).  
Emily is my one really really sane friend and hearing her birth experience and seeing her so calm and relaxed with her new babe really reminded me that people are apt to birth and parent much like they live.  It is such a treat to see an old friend become a mom.  Emily and Andrew have probably been married for about 3 years now.  Of course their wedding quilt is still under my sewing table in the 'needs to be quilted pile.'  Sigh.  So of course I had to at least bring them a baby quilt.  Because I'm still in a deep love affair with the Heather Ross fabrics I bought over the summer, I used them to make Kieran's quilt.  The goldfish fabric was particularly suitable because of Emily and my Fire Island history.
Last but not least, see below Miss Smiley in the shirt made for her by my friend Nikki (now sadly living far far away in Madison Wisconsin.  Also came with handmade booties and gifts for the big kids.  Unbelievable!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fire Island Thanksgiving

Some images from our Thanksgiving.  How Martha Stewart is my mother?  Check out that Thanksgiving table?  How about the birthday table runner? (mom's b-day was 11/19).

Monday, November 24, 2008

She has enough hair to host a clip.  Hallelujah. 
She has been sleeping some longer stretches during the day so I've been able to engage in some more involved crafty projects.  Just in time for the holidays which in the Schwarz-Madrid household is also birthday season as there are 5 birthdays between November 19 and January 4th.  Because it is holiday/birthday crafting, I can't actually show some of the stuff as some of the intended recipients actually read this blog.  But below is the preparations for Penelope's Thanksgiving dress, which turned out really cute.  
My friend Vicky finally succeeded in dragging me out to the suburbs (gasp) to her favorite fabric store Cloth and Bobbins.  I have to admit that it is definately worth the painless 15-minute drive.  I did find rick-rack in the perfect burnt orange color to trim the dress.  

Here is Claudia providing a size reference for Penelope's new sweater.  It's 'Helena' from  I knit it in some Nature wool that I had bought when Holly was pregnant to make something for her baby.  So much for good intentions.  However, the knitting goddesses punished my for my selfishness and I ran out of yarn with half a sleeve and the trim to go.  I filled in the sleeve with another red I had lying about and it almost matches.  I did the trim with a beautiful hand-dyed yarn I got the first year we went to the NY sheep and wool festival.  I'm going to make myself a hat with the rest of the skein.  Anyway, the sweater turned out nice and Penelope is a very appreciative recipient of the stuff I make for her (as is Diego, actually).  
Almost Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.  I probably won't be blogging over the holiday, so Happy Thanksgiving to all.  I think our whole country can be thankful this year in spite of the economy.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can this be normal?

Look at how hairy she is!  Guess she won't be wearing a strapless dress to the prom.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

laundry laundry everywhere...

I think I'm being punished for bragging about my new laundry room. Because all we do now is laundry. 3 loads a day. I kid you not.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Surfacing briefly from the world of laundry, milk and delicious baby to share some pictures and an update.
Baby Claudia is growing quickly into a wonderfully plump little thing.  She weighed 9.5 pounds at the doctors on Tuesday and I have no doubt she's put on a few more ounces since then.  She seems to be emerging from the 'content newborn' stage and has been fussing and crying a bit more the past few days.  (She stayed up fussing until 2:30 Am the night of Obama's victory.  She may be a Republican).  
The older kids are holding up well, especially since they are now over their various illnesses of last week.  
Chestnut Hill's ob department closed the night before the election.  I took Claudia up to say hello and goodbye to some of the folks I worked with up there.  It was very sad to see everyone on their 2nd to final night there.  Although I am personally looking forward to doing something different for a while, I know how lucky i was to have had the opportunity to learn from all the wise nurses, midwives and doctors there, as well as from the patients, and I will definately miss the place.  I hope everyone has a soft landing as they settle into their new jobs.

The night of the election, people in my neighborhood were dancing in the streets all night.  Seems like an auspicious start to the winter.

Best wishes

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Claudia Madrid
Born 10/20 at 2:51 in the morning. She weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces. She is absolutely perfect and we are overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.

And after 2 days of snuggling under the king-sized baby quilt with my new girl, I'm rethinking the suitability of it. Perhaps all baby quilts should be big enough for the whole family.
Thanks for all the well-wishes. We feel really blessed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

P is famous!

Okay 3 posts in one day is a little much, but Penelope is famous!  Check her out...

Picture post

Some pictures I intended to put into the last post but got interrupted.  What I suspect will be the last outdoor, shirtless day of the year.  Below was a pizza-making extravaganza.  We tried (fairly successfully, I think) to reproduce a 'hamburger pizza' Diego ate with one of his friends after school one day.  The crust recipe was from the same cookbook as the challah mentioned a few posts back.  I highly recommend this book.

And I never showed off this quilt I made for the couch which the kids love to snuggle under.  It was made to be a vehicle for my very special russian nesting doll fabric which is in the border.  Okay, that's it for now.

Baby quilt take 2

Okay, here is the more appropriately sized baby quilt.  It has flannel on the back and puffy, light polyester batting.  I have run out of beds, cradles etc for putting this quilts on, so this one lives on the back of this chair in the front room for now (where it can be exposed to full sun at for at least 3 hours a day).
On the subject of "being past your due date can be fun if you make it fun" here is a dress I made for Penelope. The pattern is from Oliver and S which is a company that makes fabulous, easy to follow patterns for kids clothes.  The fabric is from Heather Ross's new Mendocino line.  Can you see that they are mermaids?  Fuschia mermaids.  What could be better?  The dress actually looks even cuter on.  
Because it's been chilly and I want her to be able to wear the dress to the school picnic today, I made a pair of flannel-lined pants to wear underneath.  They are also fuschia.  With cabbages and roses.  Fuschia cabbages and orange roses.  Again, remember the theme is "being past your due date can be fun if you make it fun."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Past due

I can sense all you wondering folks out there (kind-hearted and well meaning, of course).  So I'll put you all out of your misery: no baby yet.  No sign of any baby (other than my enormous and growing belly).

If I haven't had the baby by Saturday I will be able to go to the kids' school picnic which I have missed in the past because of work.  While there I might have the opportunity to schmooze with Penelope's teacher (on whom I have a small crush--you would too, she's so cool).  So that would be okay and I think I'll be able to be patient until then.  Especially as I am making P a special beautiful dress to wear to said picnic (need a conversation-starter dontcha know).

Pix of the ongoing crafting/nesting to follow.  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Still struggling with the mac.  I originally uploaded some of the pix for this post Oct 4th, but today is actually the 11th.  I don't know how to make the date change on the post.  

No baby yet, so I have time for an update.  We went apple picking last weekend and picked a ton.  We've already made an apple pie (see above) and two batches of applesauce.  Al also made an (unrelated) challah (see above).  How gorgeous is that.

Below is Penelope with her new doll.  Her name is Posy.  I actually really made her for me to play with but Penelope has taken her over.  She is made from the 'Kit Chloe and Louise" pattern from  She was a breeze to make and she's a nice size for playing with.  Not too sure about the blonde hair, but otherwise I'm happy with her.

Anyone who has spoken to me recently knows that we had a washer and dryer installed on the bedroom floor of our house.  This has continued to be the best renovation decision ever.  Behold my new laundry room:
This works so well for us.  I fold laundry while the kids are in the bath tub.  I start laundry first thing in the morning, at night, whenever I find myself in the bathroom (which is all the time, now that I am 17 months pregnant).  I even thought about switching a load at 2 in the morning the other night when I couldn't sleep.  Decided that might be excessive.  

Below is the baby's changing table which we have also set up in the bathroom/laundry room.  I mad the cover for the changing table from a pattern in Amy Butler's new book "Little Stitches for Little Ones."  I love this book and also made the monkey laundry bag below from the same book.  For the changing table pad, I didn't follow the pattern exactly, because we already had a changing table and pad that were different dimensions than specified in the book.  

Below is a  close-up of one of the squares on the baby's huge quilt.  I also just finished a 'normal' sized quilt for the baby--just sewing the binding on.  
Holly and I collaborated on another oversized baby project--a bird mobile inspired by the one that had been on display at our local fabric store (  The birds were really fun to sew and I just kept sewing and sewing them.  Unfortunately when Holly put the mobile together, it was way too big to hang where I had intended it--over the co-sleeper in our room.  In fact, even without the co-sleeper set up it was too big.  We couldn't get out of the bed on that side.   It has since been turned into three smaller mobiles and I have an excuse to make a few more birds--to fill out the smaller mobiles a bit.  More pictures to follow of the smaller baby quilt and mobiles.  I hope all these huge baby projects don't reflect any kind of maternal intuition about the size of the actual baby...especially since I'm apparently going to be pregnant forever.

Finally, belatedly a picture of the kids with my beautiful niece Dylan.  She was here with her doting parents in mid-September and we all enjoyed soaking up her delicious fatness and incredible thatch of hair.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My lovely doula friend Jessica tells me that there has been research that shows that women's IQ's actually go up during pregnancy and that they learn faster than at any other time in their lives.
 I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this hasn't been the case for me.  At least not recently.
Exhibit A: the most unsuitable baby quilt ever:

Yes.  There it is.  Covering my KING sized bed.  Somehow I just didn't see that coming.  Plus, what you may not be able to appreciate from the photo is that I screwed up the batting too.  I really wanted a quilt that would be light but puffy--like a comforter.  They make batting for just this purpose.  It's called 'high-loft' batting and it's polyester and it's both cheap and readily available.  And it only has to be quilted about every 12 inches making it perfect for tying which is what I planned to do.  But I had to have a natural fiber for the batting.  So instead I used to layers of a wool-cotton blend.  Which is the opposite of light and puffy.  It is heavy and dense.  Like so heavy that when I tossed the quilt down the stairs to Al, he staggered backwards.  And it has to be quilted every 2-4 inches.  And it smells like a wet sheep.  

I machine quilted around the log-cabin blocks, and hand-tyed each embroidered square.  But the borders are about 15 inches (and yet I didn't anticipate the finished size being slightly larger than co-sleeper sized, huh) and they do not lie flat at all (guess that's what happens when you decide to be 'spontaneous' and make each square as big as you feel like in the moment, and then pull and wrestle to get the borders to fit around four uneven sides of the quilt).  So I can't figure out whether to attempt to machine quilt the borders or tie them in some way or what.  Plus, let me tell you that wrestling 15-pounds of wet-sheep-smelling quilt through my little sewing machine was... well lets just say it wasn't pretty.  Maybe all the exertion will put me into labor.