Sunday, December 19, 2010

Homemade gift #2

One of my most treasured toys when I was little was my Toucan Sam cardboard safari hut. I remember excitedly collecting the necessary box tops with my mom and mailing them off. Not to jump off track, but why don't they have the cereal schwag they used to??? I can't believe I can't find a single link on google where anyone remembers that hut. So I decided B shouldn't have to suffer through childhood without a little fort all her own. First I hunted around and found a tutorial that came as close to my plan as I could at SewMamaSew. Then I headed to Joanns on the day after thanksgiving and spent the next 2 hours questioning my poor judgement to go buy one large piece of felt on the biggest fleece blanket buying day of the year. Seriously, I couldn't even see some of these grannies over the bolts of camo and unicorn printed fleece piled in their shopping carts. Since the tipi is too big to make the trip to Washington for Christmas, it was gifted early. So here it is, more or less finished. There are a few details yet to be added but they can come later. :)

The trick is going to be, keeping a big enough area clean for it to be set up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homemade gift number 1

One of my goals when I became a mom was to make at least 1 of B's Christmas gifts each year. Would I love to be the kind of woman who could make every single thing by hand? Hellz yes. But I'd also like to be a full time mom, full time crafter, smokin' hot bod who lives in a cabin along the Washington coast with my family. And so far, I have none of those at hand.... yet. So I take baby steps and am pleasantly surprised when I surpass my goal. The first of my gifts this year for her is a set of alphabet bean bags. Inspired by Chez Beeper Bebe, I picked up some fabric and got to stitching.

Since we are flying to Washington for Christmas, I didn't want to add any extra weight to our suitcases. So I am opting to only fill the letters of her name and then we will fill the rest when we come home. I have high hopes of these getting lots of use. Rob has always talked about building a bean bag toss board, and now we've got a way to sneak that silly old alphabet into it.

my sunday favorites

So, I basicaly haven't left this house in 48 hours. Blizzard Aiden finally nailed Green Bay and we've followed strict orders to stay home. So there's been lots of dancing, crafting, Eclipse watching, and Christmas daydreaming. And my favorite tune of the day is this tune that my frined Caroline, stylest extrordinaire, turned me onto friday. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Home

And I am crazy crazy in love with these tiny gingerbread houses for your mugs of cocoa over at Not Martha It makes me think of my mom and the year that she made a gingerbread house for every girl in my class to decorate at my birthday party. My mom, little Juanita, was known far and wide as THE best bday party planner. She always had some great crafting project planned for us all to make. My long time friend Chris told me that they still hang the snowman ornament she made at one of my parties. Anyways, these just made me and my coworker squeal. But the reality is, I will probly never get a chance to make these until we have a year where I plan a big ol' winter party.

Although she will get nothing from these folks this year, I am in love with this catalog for Magic Cabin. Perhaps next year when she's more of a small doll player.

This will be made this year as well. Young House Love. I just absolutely love the flow of their blog. Thank god for diying inspiration. I think this blog actually changed my long time dislike of ranch style houses. Rob will attest to the fact that I'm pretty choosy about the ornaments that we hang up. We were in agreement that we didn't want some huge pink thing to hang every single year. So we went with a quirky Superman thing we found. This year, I'm thinking this is perfect. And perhaps a new tradition.

So I hope you're all safe and sound and home with loved ones tonight. And I hope your morning doesn't have any of this waiting for you....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Waiting for this storm to pass

waiting for the big snow
It is a lovely Saturday afternoon. I am afforded the luxury of writing in the blog... well, only during moments where B isn't grabbing my finger and dragging me out to the floor to dance with her. Rob has run off to the store to get groceries. The dog sleeps soundly on the couch and the fire is roaring in the fireplace. We're waiting for the big snow to fall. As much as I do not enjoy the seemingly endless winters in the Midwest, I do love this quiet storm of snow. The morning coffee is gone and it seems time to get that teapot steaming up. And it be time to finish the Christmas gifts I've been working on. I just wanted to soak in this video of sun and warmth before I don my chunky socks and watch the piles of snow gather around the house. And I pray that mother nature gets it all out of her system before our flight west on the 20Th. I also send up big prayers for 2 particular families that I know where children have been given the diagnosis of cancer. I look at my own little human charge and I try to fathom the gut punch that these families must be reeling from. So, while I sew toys and fret over the fact that B whines and cries for me to go dance with her, I will remain conscious of how lucky I am to have a child that is happy, healthy, and wanting me to be there and present with her. And I will set aside these projects and be there with my miracle child.....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday inspirations

One of my goals for 2011 is to find my blogging groove. I get all inspired and then I forget it exists for a few weeks. So I thought I'd share the blogs that really inspire me lately to just enjoy myself. The photos and emotions of these sites feel so rich and inviting....
I think I love this site because her shop is like something a girls dreams up with her best friend in art class....
a beautiful mess
Anyone who knows my 365 collection on facebook knows I get weak in the knees for well made vintage toys. When I saw the post on this gal's blog about Christmas gifts for her daughter, well, she kinda stole a piece of my heart.
blue bird vintage
I came across Sara on a hippy christian message board a few years back. Though she hardly knows me, I am definetly one of the many people who are inspired by her lifestyle. Oh to share a steamy cup of tea with this mamacita....
walk slowly live wildly

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the tiny ghoul

So, we lovvvve costumes around here. Little known fact, my secret desire before college was to attend Cornish school for the arts to study costume design. But a more conservative dad groaned "what kind of work is there for a degree with that???" um, well, costuming. But thats many many years of water under the bridge. SO, we love costumes and little funny gems. That means, we couldn't do just one day of costumes. Especially since we had been hand me downed 3 adorable costumes from her older cousins. The first was from cousin Topher. The Topher man filled that Telletubbie costume out so well in his day. It also inspired me to pull up some Tubbie videos on youtube. There are some royaly twisted mixes on there. So, beware before you youtube them! And note that her unsure face had nothing to do with her views on the costume and were entirely due to her feelings about me snapping pictures.

Next was the bat costume that her oldest cousin Kate sported at the same age. I can at least take some credit on this one as I helped construct the wings and my sister made the ears for the hat. We took her to our favorite bar for dinner and she charmed the pants off of everyone in the place.

But the one that made the final day was her cousin Mary's Evel Kneivel costume that was made by my mom about 4 or 5 years ago. Bridget was hilarious in this get up!!! And I was pleasently surprised that everyone seemed to know what she was. And she really enjoyed the grandiosity of the cape.... or maybe it was that the more she played it up, the more candy she got. Either way, our first year trick or treating as a family was a great one!!! We chose 3 different homes of good friends to drive out to and then just did a few houses around there. So a big thanks goes out to those friends who also treated mom and dad with laughs and some beer and wine.

Friday, October 29, 2010

oh the thrifts you can thrift

I loves me some thrift stores. While Rob was getting his latest tattoo worked on, B and I went to a thrift store that is really hit or miss. This time it was a hit.... minus the fact that its too crowded for shopping carts and I didn't have a stroller so B pitched a level 9 shit fit in the middle of it and instead of understanding "i've been there" looks from the old ladies at the register, I got the "what the hell are you subjecting us to?" glares. But, these little gems for $2 were worth the moment of pain. As soon as I got them home and on her feet, all I could think of was Loretta Lynn's cd VanLear Rose and the track called Little Red Shoes. Even though these are easily 4 sizes too big for the little B girl, she loved them too.

little red shoes from francieclarksen on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hidden hellbilly sides...

We went out to another show last night. Its not uncommon for us to go out for some live music. In fact, sometimes I feel guilty that we leave Bridget home with a babysitter so often so we can go out to catch a show. Since we didn't take the camera, the best I can do is this picture of me modeling my new hat from the merch table. What was different was that it was an actual "get up, get sweaty, and dance.... throw yer fist in the air" kinda show. I grew up with the 90's as the soundtrack to my teen years. Mother Love Bone, Screaming Trees, & Alice in Chains got me pumped and I loved being in a crowded smokey room with bodies flying overhead and the swarming mosh pit in front of me. I even have my beloved old blue Doc Martens from back then. But over the years, my taste got a bit crunchier and I traded mosh pits for taper sections and girls spinning in patchwork dresses. From there I morphed into sit down and listen to the song and the story telling songwriter concerts. Until last night, I didn't realize how much it had changed on me. I forgot what it was like when folks battled to get 2 feet closer in the crowd. I'd lost my bag of tricks to keep my dancing bubble the right size. If you are passively watching the show and not dancing, folks will take advantage of that. If you dance like a fool and throw your elbows out a bit more, they avoid you for fear of getting hit. Jessica and I loved using that tactic in our single girl days. So, the show we saw was Hank Williams III. Looks like his grandpa and sings like the devil. He sings about poppin pills, smokin dope, and livin wild. Some of the time, I felt like a hypocrite and wondered if the guy next to me could tell that I was the mother of a toddler who goes to church and the only pill I pop is Aleve. But I pumped my fist and danced as hard as I could. I even felt the slightest urge to move closer to the mosh pit but decided that at 34ish, its not as cool to slam around with a bunch of sweaty disheveled guys. I did, however, laugh at a group of guys in the back of the venue who were trying to psyche themselves up to make their own 4 man mosh pit. I may not be cool enough for the front of the stage crowd anymore, but I'm not lame enough to create a poser pit in the back. Long story short, we had a blast. We admired the spectacular rockabilly hair and clothes, enjoyed the heck out of my gin and tonics, and thanked the stars above that we married people that see the value of live music and not being afraid of dancing when everyone around you thinks they're too cool to move their feet. So here's a little acoustic Hank III.... last night was a lot more down and dirty with the bad. His hellbilly and metal side, Assjack, tore it up and left my throat sore and ears ringing into the next day as well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Give away heads up!

Its funny how my blog focus shifts as my hobbies change. Well, maybe not funny but interesting to me. Anyhoo, I've become a huuuge fan of everything photography lately and I wanted to pass along this give away. Her shots are so lucious and ethreal. It definetly inspires me to explore my home more and play with light.

Go forth and be inspired!!! Pretty up your nest with her prints

Sunday, October 17, 2010

my homies

I apologise for the 90's nostalgia with the title but Rob's been playing a lot of Sir Mixalot and Beastie Boys lately. We went to the pumpkin train today at the Railroad museum. No, it was not a train made out of gigantic pumpkins unfortunately. That was the totally awesome idea of one of the guys at church. We took B to it last year and I remember thinking that she was just the tiniest little shrimp back then.

The teeny little hand holding onto Rob's hand makes my heart ache just a wee bit. This little one that stole my heart with such ease just like her daddy did.

She definitely got more out of it this year. But with her complete lack of fear and lightening speed, we spent the better part of the morning dashing to grab her from ladders and steep steps. Case in point. Here is Bridget with her friend Lisa. There was no stopping Bridge at all. I will admit, next time she will either be in the ergo or on the puppy harness thing.

You may say "Where is her mother at this point?" Yeah, I'm totally guilty of taking pictures of my daughter trying to jump from a train instead of saving her. Ironically, the train they were on was the Safety First train.

And as I was laughing at the picture this evening, I was overcome with how thankful I am for the friends who don't have kids that stuck with us and are so patient and stay despite the random screaming fit & who don't roll their eyes when you tell yet another Bridget story. To our friends who choose to carry on conversations with my wacky little child and allow her to lead you in circles around the house while she looks for a cat. Thank you for the nights of babysitting on short notice and not minding the fact that we never stock the fridge with frozen pizzas, chips, or anything cool(except for the occasional six pack.) Couldn't do it without ya. So today, I'd like specifically to thank Lisa and Seth for coming out to the pumpkin patch(even though the ticket taker thought you were a little creepy for coming to a children's event without your own child) and helping us corral B.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

so long, its been good to know ya.....

I don't know what pushed me to do it... but I quit sugar. My blessed beloved sugar. I love ice cream.... cookies.... milk chocolate.... Over the years, I've tried to be more conscious of the kind of sugar I took in. But those bursts of awareness usually fizzled out after a few days when I forgot to keep checking labels or was too lazy to make things from scratch. Or the friendlier sugars like agave nectar created a slippery slope back down to where I started. Then I would realize that I had failed again and that would trigger a phase of "i just don't care cuz i can't do it." That lovely cycle of what I want my life to be like but then getting hung up on the snags along the way until I finally return to my old ways. Like they say, if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. And in my case, its a body that keeps me from being the down and in the dirt kinda mom I want to be, and the smokin' hot mama that makes other guys jealous of my husband. Last week, a thought finally sank in, I never fully commit to kicking the sugar habit because unconsciously it scares the crap out of me. Which is completely INSANE!!!

I'm a girl that's faced some pretty gnarly things in my life. Most people know that there was a period in my life where I really enjoyed cigarettes. But I knew it was possible to stop, and so I quit. Before that, I had a lovely funky little life in Seattle where I really wasn't at a loss for anything I wanted.... except for this lovely funky man who happened to live in the Midwest. I knew he was what I wanted, and so I moved. Both of these were huge scary and difficult changes in my life, and yet I did it to be the kind of person I dreamed to be. I could not believe that the thought of quiting sugar gave me more anxiety than quiting cigarettes. It really sunk in that sugar was just as much of a drug.... that it triggered things in my body that are slowly trying to kill me and to take me further from the life that I dreamt of living. Now, I know that some of the things I ingest still have some form of sugar in them.... bread, fruit, etc... but I just want to focus on this one simple step. I think that my past attempts fail when I let the plan get ahead of itself. I'm still eating cheese... I still enjoy some french fries and bacon. And once in a great while, a scoop of ice cream or a piece of birthday cake is allowed if I can remind myself that I will have to wrestle those cravings again like an alcoholic after a fall from the wagon. My hope is, making a sugar free life the norm, then I can add other changes as I go along and see the positive changes along the way. I should note, that the sprinkled cone in the pictures is really an apple muffin cone I bought at the dog bakery booth at the farmers market. Bridget's begging for it looked like how I used to feel when I'd see a pan of brownies. I need to remember that I didn't spend my whole life dreaming of polishing off that carton of Ben and Jerrys.... I spent my whole life dreaming of a healthy body that could hike at the same speed as my friends and a body that stopped guys in their tracks with how it looks in a pair of jeans... jeans I could buy in a store other than Lane Bryant ;) So, sugar, my sweet old pal, its been fun. But we're really not good for eachother. Its not your fault.... well, yeah, its sort of your fault. But I can't change you.... and I can't change myself with you. So, its time for us to see other people.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

the summer that barely was....

How is it August? How is it that I didn't post at all the whole summer? I shall lay the blame on making the most of every moment when the truth is, I had a good amount of blissfull down time along with bursts of wild action. B has proven to be an amazing road tripper at this stage of the game. She made the drive to Massechuesette and back and her very first camping festival like a seasoned veteran. This season has also brought us to the point where we set the "date" for our westward move. My dad's 70th bday and realizing that at some point, B will enter school have prompted us to get that dusty "to do" list out and crossing off projects. Car loads of boxes have already been driven to the thrift store. I am embarressed by the shear volume of crap we possess. Maybe it says something about how well I take care of stuff cuz I have loads of clothes I've owned for 10 years that are still totally wearable, but seriously, why do I want to keep it? On any given day, you will probably see a glop of drywall compound in my hair or paint under my fingernails. The idea of sellling the house freaks me out to no end. Its not the fear of leaving this home that we love.... its the dread of housing market crashes, realtors, and making that basement suitable for people to enter it. But I over power that dread with dreams of a barn home near the beaches of Washington..... taking B to my parents' house to play in the pasture..... watching my brother help Rob shop for just the right starter boat.... and raising B in a community of friends with kids the same age. I try to reign it in sometimes because realizing how far away our move date is sometimes brings down that curtain of blue around my heart. I have no doubt that when that day comes, I will be able to look at this post and laugh at myself since time flies way too fast now a days. So, to make up for the lack of summer posts... here are some of the highlights.

Friday, May 14, 2010

~girls and skirts

Its funny how you can dream and hope for something for so many years.... and then not even realize that dream came true when it is right in front of you. I have been sewing clothes for little ones for as long as I can remember. When I was living in Seattle and selling my patchwork goodies, I would try to imagine what my future child would look like and if they would love to play in patchy skirts and pants as much as I hoped. I even held onto a couple pieces of work over the years as I loved it so much I had to see my own child in it. So color me surprised when I started crying after I slipped a little patchwork skirt over B's bare bum(her pink bum wanted air but I wanted her decent enough to play on the front porch in front of the neighbors). There before me was my daughter running and playing in this sweet little hippie skirt. It took all of 10 minutes to make. But it fulfilled about 10 years of day dreams and hopes. When I went to share that with Rob, I was caught off guard by the tears that started flowing again. So while I'm still on this crest of creativity, I'm jumping on the band wagon of bloggers who are working on making something new everyday
I've also been pulling out old unfinished goodies to complete too. One of the things I detest in life is hemming things. I don't know why, but when I get to the end of a project, the last thing I want to do is hem it up. Which results in lots of things left on the "almost done" hanger and never touched again. So this weekend I am digging through the boxes, tubs, and closets for long forgotten goodies. The above skirt was day 1. The skirt below was day 2.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rhubarb comin' out the ears

I love rhubarb. Lovvvvvves it. But seriously, the plant in my yard is just plain out of control. I spend a good portion of my summer wrestling prehistoric looking stalks out of it as it takes over my lawn. So, this is the summer of rhubarb recipes. First attempt was rhubarb sorbet. My first icecream maker adventure was a bit too rich, chocolate mint chip. The heavy cream was just overwhelming. So I was excited to try a fat free recipe. I would have used all agave nectar but lord almighty, that stuff isn't cheap and I prefer to use it for my daily coffee and tea and cereal so it lasts longer. Instead, I used up the last of last summer's lavender sugar and then the rest was raw sugar.
So first I chopped the monster stalks up in one inch sections. The recipe called for 1 lb. Well I'd chopped a lil more than a lb so we went with that. Next, tossed all that in a sauce pan with 1 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of water. Turned the heat up to medium and put a lid on it. While this was stewing, I measured up the sugar for the simple syrup. Like I said before, I used a combo of lavender sugar I made last summer and some raw sugar. Next time I would go for more Lavender.... probably just toss some blossoms in with the rhubarb while it simmers away.
Next, the rhubarb is all nice and mushy and bubbly. Turn off the heat and pour it into the food processer. Blend until smooth... Now, take the 1 cup of sugar you measured and dissolve this into 2 cups of hot water. The recipe said to simmer on the stove but I think nuking the water and adding the sugar after was just fine and didn't mess up another pot.

Okay, pour the rhubarb smoothie into the syrup and pop it all into the fridge to cool off. Once properly chilled, put into the pre froze icecream maker and let it work its magic til it looks like soft sherbet. Pour into a container and stick in the freezer til it is more firm. Enjoy! Its tart & wonderful. Loads of room for experimenting.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

~the smell of oil, sweat & ideas

I've neglected an old friend for far too long. It happens to the best of us. We get so wrapped up in our day to day "have to" list and forget to take a few moments and sit down with a loved one and catch up. She's been my sidekick for as long as I can remember. She's listened to me cry, scream, and daydream. She believed in me when others called me crazy. She helped me do the impossible at times. And when the coin purse was rather light, she pulled through to help me make ends meet. During those years where I never thought I would be a mommy, she didn't judge me for secretly making little tiny sundresses and pants which I stashed away, afraid people would see and pity me. We used to stay up way too late in highschool working on projects until my mom would eventually come down and tell me to go to bed. So I am determined to be a better friend. I need to find a place for her in my day to day again. Luckily she isn't one for holding grudges. We just pick up where we left off.

Friday, April 30, 2010

~falling in love and other risky behaviors

I was watching a documentary last night called Second Skin. It was about the online gaming communities. One of the story lines followed a couple that met through a game and fell in love over the computer. They eventually made the big move and he transplanted himself across the country to be with her. I wasn't able to finish the movie, but where I left it, you could see that the rose colored glasses were off and things were falling apart for them. It all got me thinking about how incredibly blessed and lucky Rob and I were. Seeing the interviews from before they met face to face was hilarious and so mirrored what we experienced. Giddy, full of hope, and totally scared to death but willing to take that leap. I am still amazed at the level of support my family showed when I made the big "i met someone online and I think I'm in love" confession. To this day I can't imagine the conversation mom and dad must have had that night. But it wasn't like it was my first venture into meeting people online. Not like I'd dated many folks from the magic toaster, but I'd had enough online exchanges and witnessed enough train wreck relationships to know better. I was cautious enough to know what was real and what was fantasy. Waiting for that first visit was gloriously scary. The odd thing is, the only thing my friends kept worrying over was what if he smelled bad. A thought I had never contemplated, the idea of a guy with really bad BO terrified my friends. Not "what if he's a woman? or a junky? or married? or mean?" To this day, I am still blown away that our leap of faith was met with so many blessings. With the success of so many Eharmony couples, admitting you met online is a little less freakish now a days. You still get that raised eyebrow "oh reallllly?" look, but fewer people think of you as some desperate kitten poster hanging freak show. On our honeymoon, we visited a friend of mine that I knew from the Kynd Crafter circle. She had recently fallen in love online but was embarrassed to admit it. I laugh when I think that she was embarrassed to admit to me that she had met her soul mate at the same silly site I had. In our circle of friends, I can name several very successful marriages that came about from a similar leap of faith. I wonder, what will B think of her parents' love story some day? Will it be so common place that she doesn't blink an eye? So I'd like to take this moment to thank my folks for being so kind as to keep their fears and doubts to themselves when I poured my heart out. I'd like to thank my dear friend Jessica for enduring a year of me dating him long distance and being a giddy school girl when our friendship was built upon our independent spirits and being survivors. I don't know what I would have done without gin therapy nights at the monkey pub and making weird eye Willy our whipping boy or our Snow Goose nights with Cheryl and Lisa singing Fat Bottom Girls. I'd like to thank the moms that I nannied for during that time of change for their support and understanding and embracing of Rob made me feel even safer in my decision to leave the work I loved to start from scratch. The years prior to Rob were some of the greatest in my life and I would never trade a single one of them for anything. After college, I felt beat down and unsure who I was anymore. Those years in Seattle allowed me to regroup and feel good about who I was once again. I knew what I wanted and what I was not willing to take. I have no doubt that if I didn't have that foundation already laid out, the leap into Rob's arms would have been much much bumpier.