Monday, June 28, 2010

360 degrees of aaaaaahhhhhhh

Temps were mid 90s. Rowdy got the boys to take a simultaneous nap. I made myself a cocktail, blew up my floatie and surveyed my happy place:

A tree we planted when we moved in...wasn't that yesterday?

Need to work on landscaping here:

Happy chaos. A tidy yard means no children live there, so I'm good with the chaos:

More of our cobbled together over the years landscaping. I'm so proud of it though, I wish I had a "before" picture to share. It was bleak:

The little chlorine duck was floating with me, checking it all out:

Oh, and remember this goodwill fabric? I got crazy on Saturday night, stayed up til 1am enjoying some uninterrupted mommy time, and made this:

Isn't it fun? Again, totally novice sewer, so I might as well have flown to the moon. The tutorial for making it is here. I took heed of her note that larger busted ladies might not want to sew the front pintuck down the full 2 inches. I liked the look of it though, so instead of foregoing the pintuck entirely, I only sewed down 1 inch in front. Maybe I'm not as chesty as I thought, 'cause I think I could have gotten away with 2 inches. Oh well. I also fudged on the underarm cutaway. She had instructions for doing it properly, but I wasn't sure how to account for the fact I wasn't using the sleeve ruffles, so I ignored it. After trying it on I decided it bugged, so I just folded the material down and topstiched. Not by the book, but I think it looks perfectly fine. I may at some point do some shaping of the body - she has instructions for that too, but 1am was waaahhaayhaaay past my bedtime and it was to be my last uninterrupted time of the weekend.

Note to self after looking at these pictures though: work on the posture, and position straps while wearing the bra you plan to wear when all is said and done. We live, we learn. Hope you had a lovely weekend too!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Living On The Earth, A Hippie Bible Review

A coworker, aware of my hippie tendencies, brought in a copy of her hippie bible - bought in Vermont back in the day. I was instantly transported to my childhood - this is surely what all of my and my friend's parents were reading when we were babies! I immediately did a search and was shocked to find out it's available on Amazon!!!???

In original and revised editions even! I must have it of course.

In her own hand, written script, Alicia Bay Laurel ("not my parent's name, but my favorite tree") covers wide ranging topics from tie-dying to butchering meat to bathing in low-water situations (I haven't met many hippies that made very good work of this!)

There's a lot of nakedness in the book, authentic to the time, and lots of hippie style lingo about staying stoned and making due on land that has been raped. It's great. Seriously, reading it, I feel like I'm three again. I took some pics of a few pages that were particularly near and dear, including


Homegrown "stuff", I mean, that HAS to be what this is right:

complete with recommendations for repeating a mantra such as Aum to the growing plant, as we all know "they respond to love".


I just love love love the hand drawings, and the recipes sound pretty amazing. I'm completely sold. I found another blogger as surprised and charmed by this book as I am, he covered more of it here, and included more pictures, quotes, and history of the book - I've only just skimmed it, but I'm sure I'll have more to talk about once I get it - I can't wait!

Here are a couple of links to the books on amazon if you're interested (left with the yellow sun is the updated version)

Living on the EarthLiving on the Earth: Celebrations, Storm Warnings, Formulas, Recipes, Rumors, and Country Dances Harvested by Alicia Bay Laurel.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekend Plans



And that is all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jewelry For Your Trees? Yes, Please!

So how beautiful is this?

I found it because it gets crazy windy here, and being one to try and make lemonade out of lemons I thought I might try to find a lovely little windchime to make the best of our blustery days. And I found this one, by Meadow Wren on etsy. It's $12.50 I think with shipping? I love the idea of hanging these from trees out in my garden - subtle enough, they'd add a little bit of sparkle and movement and a little accompaniment for the chirping birdies.

But I got really cheap and was like "nah, I could probably make a nice one too" and you know, went all budget conscious and stuff. This weekend I was in Joanns and noticed they have a nice little collection of decent looking beads! Not super cheesy and plasticy as I'd expected. Random selections were on a major sale too, so I got some beadalon wire ($2.97 on sale from $9.99ish) some pretty little silver pendanty beads  (0.99 for four or five) and a string of green beads for I forget but under $3. And I made one. It looks like this:


Pretty nice, huh? But here's the thing, you add the costs of supplies together and it's like seven bucks, and I don't have a pretty bell/chime on mine, so no taking advantage of the wind. I do have supplies left over though, and I just ordered four bells off ebay for $5, so I can make more and use bells on them - so ultimately I come out ahead, but Meadow Wren's are still more creative. They have better beads and a very artistic eye behind them. So unless you're dying to make your own, my advice is to buy one of hers. Except maybe don't buy this one, 'cause it's mine one of these days.

Freecycle Love - pretty prettyness

As promised yesterday, here is the thing of beauty I got from a lovely freecycle woman yesterday:

I'd recently been thinking on trying to find a dresser to hold linens and such in my kitchen. It's a small kitchen, but there was a little room by the back door that was only serving to collect dirty shoes - I thought I could squeeze something in there. Anyway, this woman was also offering a metal cabinet, so I told her I'd take a look at the antique dresser too to see if it would fit in my little spot. Well the metal cabinet is ugly as sin but will work great in my office closet. But I was thrilled to pieces with this dresser. Isnt' is beautiful? I don't know a darned thing about antiques, so I have no idea how old or anything, but what matters is it suits my style just right. Pretty simple but with sweet little details. It also has a mirror that attaches to the top:

The actual mirror is broken, but I'm thinking of replacing it with a chalkboard anyway - and write some nice quotes on it or what have you. Also on the frame that goes around the mirror there are those adorable little round platforms for pretty! One is broken but I think it can be fixed - she gave me the pieces.

It has this cool little top deal that opens up:

and even came with a newspaper from May of 1954 in the top drawer:

I'll have to ask her if she wants that back - right after I have a quick read!

Someday I'll have a big bedroom with a wrap around balcony and the dresser will get its mirror, some pretty candles, and go in there to help create a cozy western feel. Can't you see it with a little vase of wildflowers, some pretty bottles of something pretty smelling, a collection of simple jewelry...

For now it looks right at home in our kitchen. I can't wait to do our remodel so it has some equally pretty surroundings. For now some pretty napkins and maybe a nice bouquet of flowers will have to do.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Coming Up Roses

I typed that title and realized I should have taken a picture of a rose bush that is growing actual roses for me this year! It's so exciting! I'm a pretty lackadasical (sp?) rose garden keeper, so I'm always amazed when the poor girls bloom. Anyway, no, I was talking about this fabric I picked up at the goodwill this weekend. Isn't it sweet and purty? I want a shirt from it. I'd love a peasant blouse but I don't think I'm quite up to par with sewing skills. So I'm think I'm gonna shoot for a tunic, a tutorial for which is found here. I'll not be doing the sleeve ruffles though, just the plain strap. Anyway, I'm still  a bit intimidated by the whole thing, but this fabric will motivate me, or scare me further b/c I will be so sad if I waste it. Thinking positively for now.

While I was at goodwill I also picked up a pillow. I could tell it was a really nice down pillow so I went ahead and got it to serve as the pillow form for the cover I'm embroidering for my friends wedding in July. It was covered in a pretty nice black and white floral print which I figured could be a nice addition to my fabric stash as well. Imagine my excitement when I got home and opened it up to find a backup cover underneath - turned inside out for some reason - to contain all the inevitable escapee feathers. I love the hidden pillow case many times more than the black and white!

It looks a little Anna Maria Hornerish to me, don't you think? The next day I hustled back to Goodwill to see if the matching pillow was still there, but no dice. Oh well, what a deal $2.99 for a down pillow form some pretty black and white fabric for the stash, and this lovely bonus pillow case hidden within! It was like finding a Da Vinci canvas covered over by some lesser but still decent artist years later. hee!

I think I may have gotten something quite beautiful from freecycle this morning as well. I'm not sure though, it was really early and I was in a rush to get it out of the people's driveway without setting off the whole neighborhood's canine alarm clocks....a chihuahua across the street was already on alert...anyway I'll assess the situation when I get home, and let you know!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Retrospective

My kids come from a line of really good fathers. My husband and I were blessed with incredible roll models. Iconic American men.

My dad grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas during segregation. He got a football scholarship to the University of Michigan, where he met and married my mom. He went on to various endeavors as I mentioned in a previous post: professional football player, assistant college dean, probation officer, logger...He read me stories every night, changing voices for each character. He took me on walks by the ocean, bought me expensive shoes we couldn't really afford, and wrote me encouraging notes before volleyball games and important tests. He is everything a girl needs her dad to be.

Rowdy's dad grew up during the Great Depression, on a homestead in Wyoming. His family gathered and broke wild horses in the Red Desert. They survived on their own skill at living off the land. He went to World War II and served on Okinawa. He came back to Wyoming and worked as a cowboy - later he went on to build many of the roads you'll drive on if you ever visit that great state. He was everything a boy needs in a father, everything he needs to become a great man himself. He passed away last year. It was a great loss to all of us. I like to think he left a great legacy though, because his son is growing some very fine boys himself. We celebrated him yesterday:

He got a new hat:

And I got a little bit distracted by that handsome neck:

It was a Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Couple Songs

That made me proud to be a woman, a mama, and an American.

This one woke me up this morning, and it made me dance:

Then a friend shared this one with me and I sobbed and cried and had to wipe my nose a lot:

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I'm a consumer. A mad, brainwashed, needer of things. I realize it's terrible, but it is a flaw that is in my core. I feel helpless in the face of it. I've improved over the years from wanting junk for junk's sake to now, where I want really really cool stuff and for really good reasons.

But still it's want, not need. It's money spent and I have such a hard time deciding if the expenditures are justified, as in they improve my family's quality of life....or are they just expenditures - that drain the bank accounts without substantial reward.

See, here is a shopping cart I have all filled up with yarn candy. Ready for me to buy and get to work on something that someday might resemble this

With shipping it comes to $40, which seems like nothing for such a bounty of beauty! But then I start the inevitable tabulating of all the other things $40 could buy....and my little cart will sit for now.

You can bet when I get home my eye will be roving for stuff to put on craigslist to raise my $40! A few years ago I coveted a little set of bookends from the Sundance catalog - they were so cute, little pewter mice, each holding up one end of your row of books - they looked so eager to help and I just couldn't resist them. Well I went to goodwill and found a vintage down North Face coat for $10, sold it on ebay for $33 (robbed! but still a profit!) sold a couple of other things, and put the mice to work on a kitchen shelf. I worked hard to get them, so I think they'll always be special to me, and I've never regretted the purchase.

Hmmmm, I think there are some cloth diapers I could unload......

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snail Mail

I for one LOVE to get mail. It's part of my obsession with cloth diapers. They result in lots of "fluffy mail". I love to get mail, however I am terrible at GIVING mail. The packaging, the calculating postage, the driving to the post typically results in me just accumulating things that are meant for somebody and then waiting until I see them in person to hand it all over. Most of these people I see once or twice a year, so you can imagine the list of things I was supposed to give them but forgot because I was too distracted by being excited to actually see them!

This weekend though I put together a little package with gifts for Grandma and Grandpa (the dropcloth rug Willie made them), a Father's Day gift for Grandpa (beautiful shirts from J. Crew and Gap - new with tags at Goodwill!), and a couple of quail shirts I made for my mom and my second mom Sabine (really for Sabine's birthday, but I didn't know which color shirt she'd like best so my mom gets whichever one Sabine doesn't want) I basically added a quail mama to the quail papa and baby I had on this baby shirt. Here's how they turned out:

I think they're pretty cute.

Typically when I get the gumption to send snail mail, I feel so proud of myself for getting the basics involved accomplished that I often forego wrapping the gift portion of the package. I went the extra mile this time though - I swaddled my Dad's shirts in some brown paper, the tshirts in some blue tissue and then thought up a fun way to embellish without putting a bunch of work into pretty bows that would only be smushed in the box. For this I turned to my super cool xyron sticker maker.

I dug up some great old photos of my Dad being the great father that he is, photocopied them and used my circle cutter to well, cut them into circles. Then I sent them through my sticker maker:

That top one is a photo of him when he worked in the woods in Northern California when I was just a baby. Like me, my Dad has had a very random collection of very diverse jobs over the years....

Anyway, then I stuck them on the package. Voila!

Cute, huh?

I used some previously made stickers for the tshirt package - I'd cut them from an Anthropolgie (yum) catalog:

So there you have it, fun with snail mail. The sticker maker is a great way to turn all those drool-worthy photos in magazines, or cool pictures in children's books that are falling apart at the seams and what not into nice embellishments for any surface that will take a sticker. They're not too spendy either. I got mine on ebay I think for $17 but you can buy them for like $20 at walmart - price varies according to size. You also have to buy refill cartridges for the stickum, so if you're gonna make a ton of stickers it might get a bit pricey. But for at-home small scale decorating like this? Just the trick!
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