Friday, April 30, 2010

Excuse My Dust - I'm Trying To Make A Button

And my tutorial tells me I must post it first. :-)


So perhaps it's the beauty of a blog that when one cannot afford a trip to the Aveda salon for themselves - to remedy a few particularly bad hair weeks, nevermind days - with just a few clicks and no money spent their blog can get some new highlights here and there, a little freshening up for the change of seasons.

I pulled all of the changes from the spectacularly Summery photo above. It makes me feel cheery.

Anyway, not a lot to jabber about today, much sunshine and cheeriness to you all this weekend!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Little Things

 So maybe this slow to depart winter isn't so bad. Last night I got home in a driving wind and rain storm, loved on my baby a bit, and took a hot bath. These are some pictures of the cozy view out of the bathroom window. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, that damp green ground is a thing I didn't know I missed since leaving home. I've been living in various parts of the dry and dusty west for almost ten years now, so it's been a while - and I miss it.

I found out about this book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy, while reading the amazing and inspiring blog Bloom. I searched the internet all day trying to find it without spending money on it (swaptree), but couldn't. The next day I went to fetch Rowdy out of the book section at the thrift store, and a simple glance to my left revealed its pretty pink patterned self sitting there on the 0.25 rack! I'm so happy it found its way to me, I'm just 20 pages in and so inspired! Here are a couple of quotes/passages that really speak to me and where my life is at right now:

"When money is plenty this is a man's world. When money is scarce it is a woman's world. When all else seems to have failed, the woman's instinct comes in. She gets the job. That is a reason why, in spite of all that happens, we continue to have a world." - Ladies' Home Journal, October, 1932
"Acceptance is surrendering to what is: our circumstances, our feelings, our problems, our financial status, our work, our health, our relationships with other people, the delay of our dreams. Before we can change anything in our lives, we have to recognize that this is the way it's meant to be right now. For me, acceptance has become what I call the long sigh of the soul...'Everything is going to turn out all right' This is simply part of the journey...Whatever situation exists in your life right now, accept it...Cast a glance around and acknowledge what's going on. This is my tiny kitchen with the dirty floor, this is how much I weigh, this is my checking account balance, this is where I work right now...this is okay, this is real life." - Sara Ban Breathnach
Brilliant. I love that she pulled that Ladies Home Journal quote from the depression, applied it to her situation in '95, and here I am, finding complete comfort in it during the economic woes we're experiencing in 2010. I feel like it so applies to all us lady bloggers. Most of the blogs I love to read are being written my moms, grandmothers, young women - all of whom are taking this economy and working with it. They are sharing and inspiring and creating a community of resourceful women who will ultimately get us all through these hard times, and its so nice to be even a tiny part of that.

This book is like a little guide to being grateful and finding happiness in the small things and in the abundance we already have in our lives. A lot of what she talks about are things I've started doing already, that I wish I'd started doing so much sooner - what a bunch of wasted years spent worrying! I cant' wait to hear what else she has to say, I'm pretty sure she's going to inspire me to clear out my clutter at some point...

Oh, and did you notice the other book? Embroidered Effects: Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching (Sublime Stitching) I got my floss and didn't know where to start. When I mentioned this to my lovely neighbor she loaned this book to me. It's PERFECT. Totally starts from the nitty gritty basics. Now I just need to get started.

And so I spent my lovely, waning winter evening, with a rare rain beating on the window -being inspired, preparing papers that may or may not help to lower our mortgage, knitting and drinking tea. Babies cozy in bed, dear husband reading a book with his eyes closed and glasses askance, everybody warm and cozy and healthy. Chickens and goats annoyed at the weather but snug in their houses...Now that is an evening that was easy to accept and be grateful for!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Things I Like About My Job

I work for the state legislature. While there isn't a whole lot of happy stuff going on around here lately, there are some amazing things going on in grounds keeping. I may work in a windowless box, but when I get out for a walk, I get a real treat. Wanted to share some of the beauty with you today.

I never noticed this gorgeous plant last year:

I love how delicate and leggy it is, then plop! These big showy trumpets set right on top.

 Isn't life amazing that you can go 33 years and then be surprised by something so beautiful? Makes me pretty optmistic about the years to come.
Some beautiful tulips - the only cut flower I like my husband to buy me 'cause they last so long. Everything else seems a waste of dollars:

I think the color of these blossoms are so beautiful, like a cherry blossom taken to the next level - I love how they lean over the wrought iron fence and create a semi-tunnel to walk under:

So I'm pretty happy - seems this whole Winter thing is going to resolve itself after all. 'Course they're calling for rain and snow tomorrow....

Pants are ALMOST FINISHED, a Preview

Ta Da! I'm calling them "Tiny Bubbles" I have to measure, but I think they're probably 3-6 month size - I'm going to have to get better at knitting to size rather than eyeballing it. I'm super happy with them, and will be listing them sometime this week.

I like the mixture of crafts - knitted pants and crocheted circles. When I start embroidering, maybe I'll add that in and go for the whole trifecta effect.

They have lots of fluffy diaper butt room, and the cuff can be turned up for shorter legs or for the baby that likes to rock capris.

I have some tag sewing issues that need to be ironed out. I just need to sew it on before I turn the waistband down - duly noted for my next pair, which I started last night. Anyway, I'm picturing them as the perfect summertime aprez-beach pant for your littlest surfer babe. They have a silky, almost cool to the touch hand that makes them appropriate for summer. Yeah, these and a pair of baby Uggs? Freakin' classic - oh to live by the sea again, I miss it so much.

But I can't complain too much, in contrast to my last post, here in the barren desert it was a beautiful sunny weekend, my parents came to visit, and that was great fun...spirited political discussions excluded.
Ugh. A highly liberal father and staunchly conservative husband do not make for pleasant dinner table conversation - can't we all just get along?
All in all though it was a great time and it is always so sad to see them leave.

It was also an exciting weekend as we got to test out our minivan's carrying capacity - more on that later.

Hope you all had a beautiful weekend as well!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Springtime in the Wild West

This was what the sky was doing on my way home last night. It smacked of something wicked this way coming. But it was sure beautiful.

Here's what I saw when I woke up this morning:

Yup, something wicked this way came. Remember my sunburn from last weekend? It still itches, and I'm waking up to SNOW. Unbelievable.

However, if you don't like the weather in the west, wait five minutes. Something wicked will that way go. And besides, I can't say as I'm hating this springtime precip. The smell of sage is a balm for the soul. For those of you who've experienced it, maybe this picture, taken on this morning's commute, will conjure it - that spicy warm scent that drifts lightly on damp spring air:

It's mother nature's air freshener.

I remember when I first smelled sage. We lived in Wyoming, my husband's home state. Rowdy and I would hop in the big ol' Ford he calls Old Smokey and head out into the high desert for the weekend. Never had a plan, but we'd load up a six pack of beer, a pack of red vines, a bottle of water, some binoculars, our sweet dog, and hit the road.

All times of year were special, but spring was just amazing. I remember a day quite like this morning, trucking along dirt roads through the sage brush, looking for a break in a fence that evidently criss-crossed the entire state. You could see the storm clouds coming for miles and the smell of sage rising heavily from the damp ground. Eventually the rain came down. The colors of that day were incredible: purple and gray sky, deep green of the increasingly saturated sage, chocolate brown of the slippery mud. Makes me want a big old glug of Coors just thinking about it.

I remember the pickup sliding/careening on that gumbo mud  down a little hill into a gully and not being very eager to climb up the other side. There was a very real prospect of getting stuck out there in the high lonesome, no shelter aside from Old Smokey and the listing remnants of an old homestead on the horizon. I really could have cared less. I could have stayed there forever.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Little Knitted Cuff

I'm so close to finishing my first listing for knitted baby pants. Actually, the pants are finished, I'm just adding embellishment now. It's taking all I have to get to the end. If it weren't for the shop, I'd put it aside and move on to the next project (ask me how I have a pair of socks that I finished 5 years ago but have yet to weave in the ends....I have a ridiculous attention span that's how).

Anyway, last night I couldn't take it, I needed SOMETHING finished, so I whipped up this little bracelet/cuff thing.

It is in the same colors as the pants, and with the same embellishments (so it doubles as a teaser for the pants). I think it turned out kind of cute! It's sort of a girly version of 1980s sweat band things. I also like that it's summery and soft and I just love the colors.

So I don't know, I might have to add an "earthbound mommy" section to my shop and make these guys - this yarn is cotton/modal, machine washable, and comes in a spectrum of the yummiest, juiciest colors, so the combinations are endless - I can just imagine the color explosion on my shop if I made and listed a bunch in different colors. Would love to know what you all think!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

So Much to Say! Yard Work! Sunburns! And Yarn Dying!

Oh my, it was a wonderful weekend! Did I accomplish everything I planned to? Absolutely not. The laundry got folded but not put away, the sink is piled high with dishes. But I don't care. I just did not want to be indoors this weekend, so I wasn't.

Let's focus on the things I did accomplish, like dying some of the yarn I got from my Old Navy sweater with Kool-Aid!

I followed these instructions. It worked great I think! I read somewhere else that you need to use wool to get good color saturation. This sweater is like 20% wool and 80% cotton. I think that is what accounts for the heathered look - the cotton didn't take up the dye as well. But that's fine, I like heathered! I used lemon lime and black cherry. I'm gonna use grape and orange to dye the rest next weekend. Now to decide on what to knit with it!?

Other than that the main order of the day was grocery shopping and chicken coop moving. Groceries are boring so I'll spare you. On to chickens. Their coop is behind our garage in a spot that doens't get enough sun so we're moving it to another unused corner of our backyard where they will get more sun and will be in closer proximity to the hose so it isn't such a pain to water them. So this is their old coop:

This is where they are moving to - Steven the goat is always down to help with moving chickens:

It doesn't look like much yet, but it will. And best of all my ladies will have this lovely view, or more importantly this lovely shade - hard to come by in Summer in the desert:

And I want my girls comfortable, 'cause they give us these:

And this, well this is just a gratuitous shot I wanted to share. Its this succulent thing that volunteers all over our front yard. Things don't just volunteer where I live - well, unless they are noxious vile weeds with spiky prongs that like to get buried in your heel - lots of those types of plants volunteer around here. But this one's kinda pretty and doesn't seem to be out to maim or kill. I like it. Anybody have any idea what it is?

And I got sunburnt - I do this every year, convince myself I'm gonna get melanoma, promise to be better next year, then do it all over again. Really dumb. And I have to come clean, I drank a little of the kool-aid. It was so good.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Warm Fuzzy Welcome To My New Followers!

I wanted to say a quick and warm welcome to all my new followers who have arrived via my homebirth shirt giveaway at Woman, Uncensored!

I am busy working on some new shirt designs, crunching my budget to find a way to order some shirts in larger sizes, and spastically jumping from one random craft project to another (see some of my recent posts if you're interested in finding out more about the to do list I've gotten myself into lately - I need to develop an edit button). All the while laundering/cooking/breastfeeding/mending boo-boos/and complaining about the weather! Just another day in the life of a Mommy!

I am beyond thrilled to have you join my new blog family, it's making it much easier to pretend I'm speaking with somebody other than myself as I blog along so self-importantly! Today I'm working on my mom's old Imac, which I'm not entirely sure how to add photos to, so I dug around in some old photographs she already had in here, and came up with the photo you see above for your visual interest.

 It's an oldie but a goodie; that's me in the front row with the flower shirt (wild irises, I believe) circa I'd say 1982 or so. My Dad's up there rockin' the semi 'fro, my mom beside me in the pretty peasant blouse. The other three are our very best and very dear family friends - no blood connection, but family just the same. It's in this spirit I welcome you to sit a spell, read a bit, and comment often!

I'm so glad you're here!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Good Deals are Killing My Bottom Line

I believe I may be going broke on great deals. First, there were these boots:

They're Frye. The Pioneer Woman blogged about them. I had to have them. I stalked them and finally found them, $100 off, on ebay - in my color, my size. Happy Early Mother's Day to me!!

Then there was the serger.
And today, there's the one year old, barely used in the grandparent's car, Britax Boulevard convertible carseat that will take my little one from 5lbs to 65lbs in comfort and safety, $330 new, $150 to me - not a screaming smoking deal, but a very fair deal for a great seat that would otherwise be way out of my price range. And it's cute too:
I can't regret any of these purchases, but I think I need to stage a little auto-intervention here: "Self, NO MORE online shopping. I dont care how boring your work is today, tomorrow, or the next day. Thou shalt not use thy computer for shopping!" "OK, self, I promise."
The End.

Caught in a Whirlwind

For those of you who enjoy my blog, I want to apologize for dropping off the face of the earth in the last couple days! I've been in the middle of a whirlwind of activity and haven't had much of interest to say about anything. I still don't, but I wanted to at least give a little run-down of the highlights and assure you I will be myself again soon!

Where to begin? I suppose I could start with some exciting craft equipment news: the universe came through and I found this amazing Janome 634d serger on Craigslist for $125!!! Hardly used! I stalked this poor woman via email all day on Friday and she finally wrote back telling me to come get the darn thing on Saturday morning. I apologized for my cyber harassment (I emailed her three different times with rambling explanations of where I would be and how she could get ahold of me and how much I wanted her serger), and she told me that my enthusiasm was what helped her decide that out of all the people that contacted her, I was the machine's rightful owner. "See?" I told my husband, "my psycho leanings pay of in the end!" He rolled his eyes and kept on drivin'.

I went to Goodwill and bought this beast of an Old Navy sweater so that I can disassemble it and turn it into mounds of super cheap cotton/wool blend yarn, which I will then dye with Kool Aid! After buying it I discovered that ideally it should have a higher wool content than it does in order to get more saturated colors. Oh well, I'm moving on with the project and we'll see how it goes. So far it has yielded a TON of yarn and I still have most of the sweater to go!

On Monday I submitted my Homebirth Shirt to the blog Woman Uncensored for her Friday Freebies giveaway. The shirt sparked some controversy on a forum I'm on, some being of the opinion that it is too preachy. It made me wonder if anybody would want it as a giveaway on their blog, but then I found Rachele - her blog's full title is "Woman Uncensored - subtle as a 2x4 upside the head" so I decided this might be the place for my shirt! She was excited about it too! She posted a teaser on her fan page and it got some great feedback and people seem excited about the giveaway....which leads to my next item:

I SOLD MY FIRST SHIRT TO SOMEBODY I DON'T KNOW! A lovely mama from Oklahoma who heard about my shirt on the forum where it sparked the controversy. It was very exciting to have such a nice person for my first transaction!

Then I got some inquiries about my shirt from Australia! I'm realizing controversy might not be such a bad thing! Unfortunately this mama wanted the shirt in larger sizes, which I don't currently carry. I'm too broke right now to order more. So sad. I decided to create a Facebook fan page, so that I can keep folks updated on goings on in the shop and let them know when I am finally able to order larger sizes. I need fans! So please click on my facebook badge over to the left and fan up if you'd like!
I also arranged this great trade agreement with some fantastic owners of the etsy shop Turquoise Angels. They contacted me a while back to say they liked my Earthbound Baby shirt. So nice of them. I love their tutus. I have been imagining my friend's baby girl modeling one of my shirts while wearing an adorable tutu. This got me to I contacted them to gauge their interest in a trade and they were all over it! So they have sent me a gorgeous tutu, which I can use as payment for baby girl's modeling services as well as a great photo prop! In turn they get my angel shirt to put on their models, and we all get great exposure! Again there came the issue of me only having baby sizes though, as their youngest model is in a 2T. I searched Carson City for a plain white tshirt, found them at Target where they were of course out of 2T - so I got the 18 month and they think it will work out fine as their model is a skinny minny. Sigh of relief. They've been so great to work with, and their tutus are adorable. If you're in the market definitely check them out - I wish I could convince my boys to wear one. Well, Boone probably wouldn't mind...
I guess it may not sound like much of a whirlwind, but trust me, it feels like it! I think once I get my first order out tomorrow I might feel more centered and ready to post interesting stuff again. And then I'll be back. OK, I have to go now, I've run out of brains.
Small Cry For Help: I've tried approximately 50 times in the last two minutes to split these last three paragraphs up and each time, blogger squishes them back together when I publish the post - do any of you blog savy folks know what I am doing wrong??? Or am I right and blogger just has the devil in it this morning - an other mornings..this happens a lot.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blossoms Beautiful Blossoms, and One Mama Quail...

Can we possibly get enough of this delicate, pink yumminess this time of year? If your answer is yes, you might not want to scroll down...
This little mama is the inspiration behind my newest tee shirt!

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


As if I need one more craft project to add to my list, I went and bought this lot of hand dyed emroidery floss off of ebay ($11). Do I know how to embroider? Not beyond a few tutorials I've read on blogs and different websites over the last few days - which means, in my head I THINK I can figure it out, but really: No. I don't.
I was brainstorming for a handmade wedding gift for a childhood friend (who I'm pretty sure doesn't read this blog, I hope). I really want to do handmade b/c I just think it means something and I'm at that stage of my life where I want to start giving things that mean something. So she loves purple. I was inpsired by this tutorial over at Film in the Fridge to make some patchwork dish towels - this I KNOW I can handle, I have lots of purple scraps of material and a sewing machine. I will have to figure out was stitching in the ditch means, but I'm sure its simple enough.
Then I was inspired my some amazing emroidery art over at Maureen Cracknell Handmade and also Kat, at The Story of Kat, posted this little gem which planted in mind the idea of embroidery as wedding gift. So off I launch into a another realm of the crafting world, despite the fact that I am already surrounded by unfinished projects that have made quick work of my craft room and are now cluttering up the where-the-kids-can't-get-to-them-slash-laundry room.
I tell myself it was meant to be though, because just last week I picked up a big huge purple linen dress, thinking I would make hand towels of it. Now, however, I realize it will be the perfect base layer of my pillow case. I also have a lovely sturdy natural color eddie bauer linen dress I've been slowly deconstructing for a while. I think I will do the actual embroidery on it, b/c the floss colors are going to look beautiful against the neutral background - then I'll sew that onto the purple linen base.
I'm thinking I'll have the bride and groom's names, wedding date, a quote, and I've found some nice free embellishment patterns online as well that I can spice things up with - oh, and I'm going to attempt to embroider some mountain silhouettes in the background since they're Colorado folks. I'm a little overwhelmed, but I have 'til mid July and beginner's luck on my side.
When I get all my materials assembled I'll take you along with me on this project. Perhaps promising you a happy ending will keep me honest.
Have a lovely thursday!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mendocino Botanical Gardens

I grew up in the middle of one of the world's most beautiful landscapes on the northern California coastline. There is so much beauty there that it is hard to pick one thing to rave about. But today the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens facebook fan page made it really easy by posting these amazing photographs. If you ever make the trip, you should really plan an afternoon to enjoy this amazing place. They have a store, host classes and even weddings. They are definitely a treasure on the coast. I have a particularly fond childhood memory of a warm Summer afternoon spent running around the gardens and trails through the trees with friends while our parents enjoyed an outdoor concert...ah, memory lane!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Silk Dyed Easter Egg Tutorial

Maybe it's a stretch to call this a tutorial, as I've left out a couple pictures and I'm basically just repeating exactly what Martha Stewart tells you to do here. So for truly well written and comprehensive directions, please see Ms. Stewart. To check out my experience with the silk dyed eggs, read on!
So a while back, in preparation for this project, I picked up some silk ties from Goodwill. I shot for bright colors and really wrestled with myself trying to remember that I was not necessarily looking for the tie that appealed to me the most, but the pattern that was going to look coolest on the eggs. It took me forever to get this straight in my head. I also wasn't sure if I wanted the shinier finishes or the more matte finishes, so I got a little of both.
So on Saturday afternoon I got all the stuff out and me and Willie commenced to dying eggs. First you wrap your little (raw) egg in a square of the silk, right side facing the egg. Then around that you wrap a square of white cotton (cut up sheet or pillowcase or what have you). Secure with a twist tie and plunk it in the empty pot. Note: I was a bit disappointed as Willie was not able to be as hands-on as I thought he would with this step - the twist ties are still a bit on the tricky side for his 4 year old fingers. In the end, he seemed to have fun letting me do it and then he got to be the official egg-putter-in-the-potter. Boone supervised and gooed and ate Trader Joes white cheddar pirate's booty puffs:
When all the bundles were safely transferred to the pot, we filled the pan with water to cover the eggs, then added 3 tbsp of white vinegar:
Then we set the eggs to boil for twenty minutes. This was a long time for Willie to wait. I worked on tshirts. He bothered his dad who was trying to watch a very important DVD about coyote hunting. Sigh.

When 20 minutes were up, we took the eggs out and unwrapped them - this should have been my coolest picture, but it was a really bad picture. Sorry.

Then I dried them off and polished them up with a little vegetable oil, and voila!

They turned out pretty cool. My favorite are the red paisley ones in the middle right position. The baseballs are kinda cool too. I'm thinking the ones with matte finishes turned out best. If I do this again I'll go to greater lengths to make sure the silk is in closer contact with the egg. I think some of the other patterns would have looked better if that had been the case. Oh and how cool are the Williams Sonoma egg crate holder things? My awesome neighbor, Jenny, from over at Hank & Hunt, gave those to me last Easter. I heart them very much.
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