Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Embroidery In The Car
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Happy Birthday Papaw!
- Fresh peaches are better than canned. To this day, I cant eat canned peaches. He and Grammer had a peach orchard for years and we always had fresh peaches in the summer. The canned or even frozen ones just dont do it for me.
- Family is extremely important.
- How to bait my own hook and catch sunnies with a cane pole.
- There is great joy in having a garden and growing your own food.
- Be prepared.
- If the tractor doesnt start, try saying "contact" first...works every time.
- Live below your means and save for a rainy day.
- Compost is good.
- When you are underage, dont steal a bottle of liquer from your Dad's cabinet. And dont throw it out of the bus window when there is 18 inches of snow on the ground. Because when you get back to your house, and your Dad notices the liquor is gone from the cabinet, he will make you walk back several miles in the cold to find the empty bottle and bring it back to him.
- Dont take too many antibiotics, you never know when you might contract a rouge virus.
- And finally....The older generation is a huge untapped resource full of valuable information.
Happy Birthday Papaw! I wish I were there in person to tell you how special I think you are and that I count you as one of my best friends in the entire world. I love you!
Saturday, September 09, 2006
First Days and Listmaking
First of all, thank you for all of the kind words and encouragement about all of the stresses of summer ending and more routine, routines returning. This week has been a big one for us. The big boys went back to pre-school! Yeah! It was a perfect opportunity for some creating. When we went to meet their teachers a few weeks ago, they said that it was going to be difficult for them to tell the boys apart. So, I thought it would be fun and practical to make the boys some rough edged appliqued t-shirts via Wise Craft with their initial on them. I drew out a big blocky Ian and a Zane out of some firetruck fabric I had and then the boys cut them out. But the letters didnt provide a good enough view of the trucks or the dalmations. The boys decided that they also needed a circle on their shirts to show the full truck with ladder, hoses and all. So, we added a circle to each of their shirts. But now it looks like their initials are IO and OZ...makes me laugh!!!! But the shirts were designed with 4-year old little hands, so as IO and OZs mama, of course love them.
(It took everything I had to resist the urge to just do it myself and make the shirts like I had envisioned, darn it. At least Wyatt hasnt developed an opinion on how his clothes should look, so I can still dress him like I want...he, he...at least for awhile.) And of course we had to make Wyatt one too. But I made his and with cowboys. I swear with a name like Wyatt, this kid is going to wear cowboys until he goes to college! But the older two wanted him to wear his t-shirt the same day to "match". When Wyatt and I got back from dropping Zand and Ian off, we went to breakfast and ran a few errands. Then we came back and played in HIS room with HIS toys. Ive never realized how the other two seem to dominate time and conversation. This was probably only the third or fourth time that we honestly sat in his floor and played with his things. It was really nice. I like only having one kid at a time. We had lunch and then he went down for a nap and I got some time to myself .
I made myself another cup of coffee and sat on the patio for a long time....listmaking. A list for housethings like painting and cleaning out. A list for Ms. Darla of things to get done on her site. A grocery shopping list and a list for S to tackle when he gets time with things like organize the shed and clean the grill (he's gonna love that). Amazing what an organizing kind of day can do for your mind. I feel much more in control and more set on purpose. *sigh* Oh, and Ive reconnected with a friend from past college days who recommended that when making a list of things to do, scatter things youve already done in your list so that those are easy to check off and you feel more accomplished. But Margo, isnt that cheating???? Oh, OK...well that didnt stop us from "helping" each other in the dorms, so I guess it wont hurt now. Love you and so glad we are back sharing bon-bons.
Monday, September 04, 2006
So many bloggers seem to be posting Works In Progress ... I see them everywhere, beautiful photos of fabrics put together and hands cutting out patterns. I love that there is beauty in the process of preparation. But I dont even know where to start around here. If I took photos of all of the works in progress, I think flickr and blogspot just might kick me off for taking up so much bandwidth. But here is a bag Im working on that has taken me a week of evenings to get 1/2 done. I guess I cant crochet a straight edge to save my life, but I can crochet circles and flowers. (I know this is a crappy photo...sorry, camera is still having issues) Im using crochet, felt and some of the fabric from the vintage pillow sham that Aunt K and I found. But even these small crafting victories dont seem to lift the fog that I find myself in these days. When I get too many works in progress, I go nuts, I feel overwhelmed. I know part of it is the time of year. With school starting and summer coming to a close, I tend to feel like Im swimming up to my eyeballs with tasks, I feel like Im really, really behind. Where did the summer go and what do I have to show for it??? All of those things on my list arent dont yet! I mean, I have been busy all summer, but what is actually at a "DONE" stage? Well the answer is not much. The wallpaper border in the kitchen is still 1/2 peeled and the kitchen has not been painted. I still have not started the painting in the dining room or hallway. Wyatt's outgrown clothes and toys still have to be gone through and divied up between new nephew on the way, new cousin on the way, little boy down the street and Goodwill. My craft/sewing area is a wreck and is honestly scattered all over the house. Yada, yada, yada...like I said the list is a mile long. For some reason at the end of a season I have a huge need to feel acomplished and ready for the next chapter. Well, Im certainly not ready. And quite honestly, I dont WANT to be ready. Im not ready to be done with this...
It drives S crazy that I get like this...that I cant just stop and enjoy being lazy, that I cant enjoy the downtime without stressing about all of the things Im NOT doing. Someone, anyone, please give me permission to just let it all go!!! Tell me its OK to not take a shower first thing in the morning, to feed my kids peanut butter on a spoon for breakfast, to go barefoot for the last 3 months, to hope that little fairies come in the night to do the dinner dishes, to just deal with the funny smell in my laundry room for awhile.
After I finish typing here, I will do as my mother has taught me. I will get out my yellow legal pad and start making a list...or lists. Something about getting it all down on paper makes it all a little more managable. And then to get to checking my tasks off one by one. And I will feel better.
My current WIP...me.
New Life For An Old...
Wok Lid? Yes, we have had the lid to our wok sitting around my kitchen for about two months now. I kept moving it from one place to another trying to keep it out of the way, but in eye-shot so that it would remind dear husband that he needed to reattach the wooden top knot handle. But, after getting pretty frustrated that it was yet again in my way, a lightbulb went off. I have seen so many succulent gardens lately and have wanted to try my hand at the little creatures. Most of them display shallow containers with rocks as top dressing. So, the idea was that this lid, which was soon to be going to the recycle bin, might make a good garden pot. After an interesting (em..nightmare) trip with all 3 boys to the garden cente r... wala!
I give you my first try at cacti and succulents. Ive read up on them some and they seem pretty easy to grow. Not much watering involved, I guess they like their feet pretty dry...that is good news for me. However, here in WI it has been raining for the last week and Im not sure how they will fare. Im tempted to bring them in and let them dry out a bit, but I keep thinking "how much more rain can we get?!?!?!". I sure wish I could bottle some of these clouds up and mail them South to Texas where they desperately need it. But that is another story.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
A Year of Color: Inchworm
Crayola calls it inchworm, but happythings calls it lime green. Here in this fabric, I called it apple green. But whatever you call it, I love this color. This one was an easy one for us as was orange. So many things are this color of green...new leaves of our lettuce plants, many of the boys toys, our caterpillars before they go into their chrysalis.
The photo above is from Grammer Shirley's stash that I blogged about before. You can see more of her fabrics on flickr. This color of green reminds me so much of new life and of spring ... and as the evenings are already getting cooler here, I now that spottings of this color will be few and far between soon. So we are having fun this week looking at greens. P.S. I encourage you to do AYOC with your kids because it is such a great way to show the sublties of colors and how to mix primary colors to get this amazing rainbow of other shades. Colors are amazing!
Monday, August 28, 2006
What a photo to start this entry, huh? This is the bowl that sits to the right of my kitchen sink and holds the scraps that one of the boys will dump into our compost bin next to the garden. In this photo are coffee grounds, egg shells and the ends cut off of last night's zucchini. I know kitchen scraps are not generally a pleasant thing to write about, but it so appropriately shows our composting efforts. All of the earth friendly kitchen discards are tossed into our compost bin and will eventually end up back in the garden as fertilizer. We also add grass clippings, wood ashes, newspapers, shredded paper and leaves to the pile. In our garden, the plants deplete the soil of essential nutrients, so it is important to add nitrogen and other "vitamins" back to keep future plants healthy and growing. If done right, compost doesnt have an odor or attract pests. I know I'm totally weird for getting all excited about composting, but ... well, you already know Im a nerd. OK, here's more...
*insert photo of our garden and compost bin, blogger is being a thorn in my side* The compost is also used in my houseplants. Ive noticed that after a few years, my pothos ivy and others start getting yellow and tired looking. And if I repot them with a little compost, they come back 10 times happier. I also add a little compost to the top of the dirt and as I water, the compost trickles down to the roots and serves as a time-release fertilizer. (I've also learned that the arrowhead plant that lives in my kitchen loves the little bit of coffee leftover in the bottom of the pot, so don't pour it down the sink, give your plants a drink.) I also do the same thing with crushed eggshells. If you have the room, This Garden is Illegal provides a great tutorial on how to make your own compost bin from recycled wooden pallets or picket fence, or you can buy pre-fab bins like ours at garden centers or hardware stores. OK, so now you are thinking...that's really a great idea and all, but I dont have room to compost? Think again! If you are in an apartment, there are small under-the-sink style composters (vermicomposters) to buy or to make. For purchase, I like this one and to the left is a photo of one from IKEA. Or for you D-I-Yers, I love the directions the You Grow Girl site gives on how you can make your own out of a plastic bin. Its so easy and inexpensive! Just add worms...what kid doesn't like worms! Like I said above. It is one of Z and I's jobs to take the kitchen bowl of scraps and dump it into the compost bin. It has been a great teaching tool to talk about how the worms decompose our leftovers, make good soil, we put the soil back in the garden, the plants use the "vitamins" from the compost and then the process starts all over again. In light of our goals of living a more intentional life and our goal to expand our current composting efforts orts...here is the expanding part. I leave you with a little challenge to do your own version of composting. Whether it is pouring your leftover coffee on your houseplants, or making a full on compost bin, composting is a good thing.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
After 2+ years without a dog in our family, we finally have added one and we are all so excited about it (read that, all of except Reggie the cat). Our last dog, Mazzy a black lab mix, died the day before Zane and Ian's first birthday. She was diagnosed at 7 years old with bone cancer. It was aweful and we havent been ready for another dog until now. Scout is so fun and full of personality already. She loves to crawl under things like our patio railing, barstools, chair legs and under the tomato plants. She enjoyed sleeping in the squash plants before they were taken out...sorry girl. The older boys are learning a lot about taking care of an animal and about picking up your toys before they become doggie playthings. Ian is the first to wake up and lay with this blanket and pillow right outside of her crate until she wakes up. Then he cant wait to come ask if he can let her out and take her to the back yard. Zane is really into "teaching" her. Wyatt still squinches his little face everytime she walks by because 50% of the time she gives him a big lick across his mug. In the two weeks we have had her, she has already learned how to "sit" and "lay down". So smart this dog is!
So, as the garden has moved from summer to fall, we've already moved on to thinking of doggy crafts. Collars, leashes, doggie toys, homemade treats, etc. She will need a bed once she is really house trained and can be trusted to be loose in the house. I picked up this vintage sheeting earlier in the summer and I think it would make a really cute bed for her. She is so super black that it has been hard to photograph her and with that I think she needs something light in color so that when Im taking pictures fo her she will show up, *snicker*. By the title of this entry, it means that Ive either fixed the broken camera or gotten a new one. Well...neither. Im living with its crankiness for now in hopes that it gets me through another few months. (living within a budget and with intention is hard sometimes!). But it can really be fun and it has done a lot for the creative juices around here and it has sparked some good conversations between all of us. More on that tomorrow!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
A Year of Color, Week 6: Orange
This post was supposed to be titled "Meet Scout" and be an introduction to our new puppy, but the camera is on the fritz. It keeps telling me there is a memory card error when I try to shoot a photo. Even buying a new card is not fixing the problem. So, not sure if a new camera is in the future for us, or just trying to fix the current one. So instead, Im catching up on the year of color. Im really behind in blogging our entries for this growing group. Ive been posting them on the flickr group, but havent been following up with the blog. The boys love asking what the color of the week is and then hunting things to go with the color theme. Here's a wrap up for us! Week 6: Orange The photo above is of a great pot I found while curbside shopping with Aunt Karen a few weeks ago. It has found a new life with lettuce planted in it. The seedlings actually arent seedlings anymore as we have had 2 salads off of it now. But, since the camera (darned camera!) is not cooperating, you get seedlings in orange. Zane did this painting earlier this summer of a fire. We put the orange paint on the paper and then he blew the paint around through a straw...so fun! And you've already seen my crochet flop in orange, so I dont need to post that again. Week 5: Hot Magenta (there's not much pink around here, believe me!) Im not a girly girl, so there just isnt much pink to be found in this house or even my wardrobe. I was at a total loss until Laura Lea mentioned that the dishtowel apron I did has a tiny bit of bright pink mixed with orange in the pattern. Here is the one photo I managed to enter.
Week 4: Chestnut This one was easy...I immediately thought of this little calf that was in the barn lot when I was visiting my folks last time. She was so sweet and walked right up to my Dad and put his little nose in his hand. Those of you who know my Dad wont be surprisedat this, as we have always thought of him as a "dog whisperer", "cat whisperer", "horse whisperer"...some sort of general "animal whisperer" I suppose.
And our sun tea...this has been a staple occurence around here all summer. It doesnt last long if not put in the fridge, but it doesnt usually last that long anyway. Mmmm....
And last but not least, my Mom is opening her new shop Main Street Mercantile in Weatherford, Texas and asked me to put together a logo for the new store. It will be within eye shot of the historic Parker County courthouse, so she wanted to incorporate it into the design. Here are 3 that I came up with...which one do you like best, I would love to have your input?
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Patterns and Pups
Things here have been crazy...read that more crazy than usual. Abuelita Sofia, Tia Claudia and family were in Chicago over the weekend. We were able to hang out with them for a day and visit Millenium Park and the Field Museum. So fun! And then "Fia" came back with us to Wisconsin for a few days of relaxing. Now those of you with Mexican relatives know that even relaxing can be a little nutso with 3 adults and 3 children in the kitchen. We attended the older boys' pre-school meet and greet on Tuesday. They are so excited to get back to their teachers and friends...so is the mama. They will be going three full days this year which will leave Wyatt and I with some good one-on-one time and maybe even a little more time for the ever growing sewing list of mine. Throw a little web design work in there and I think our days will be full. So, in short there hasnt been much time for thrifting...which is fine. Because with the new emphasis on living with more intent, I dont need a darned thing! So, Ill post about a find that I never noted.
Quilt patterns! Who knew they were so fun! Im loving the butterfly pattern...you know we've been all about butterflies here this summer. (Speaking of...we have 3 in crysalises right now awaiting their new outfits.) And this...
Not that Im really into Amish toys so much, but Im thinking of Christmas. And the older boys had boy dolls which really came in handy through the whole potty training thing. So, I think Mr. Mooch might be getting a boy doll too. But an added bonus is this little dog pattern! I cant wait to use some courderoy Ive been saving for this little guy...probably because of this big news! Meet the newest member of our ever growing family.Her name is Scout (of To Kill a Mockingbird fame). She is a solid black German Shorthair Pointer and such a smart girl. YES a girl! S was set on a male, but I stood my ground and got myself some female back-up. More on Scouts adjustment to her new surroundings tomorrow.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Learning to Crochet...Take Two
My Grandmother Florence taught me to crochet when I was 8 or 9. My brother and I used to each go to one of the grandparents house seperately for a week and then switch. It was during one of these weeks that I learned to crochet. I remember doing chains and chains of single stitches. I dont even know what I did with all of those chains. But I do remember the afghans she made. We had one around the house for quite awhile...not sure where that afghan is now. Then later my Grammer Shirley taught me how to take old clothing, scraps, and leftovers of fabric, cut them into strips and wind them into balls. Then, using a giant crochet hook, make a small rag rug. I even found one at my parent's house last time I was there that I had started with Grammer...unfinished...in a basket. So, now I begin again...with iced sun tea with mint and a little help from The Happy Hooker. Im doing pretty well so far I think. Im not sure what Im actually making, but I just keep chaining and chaining and then undoing it all and starting over. But the boys found a great use for all of the single chains.
Why dog leashes of course! So, today I decided I should make a real something...a coaster for my coffee cup.
But look at this?!?!?! I cant for the life of me figure out how to propperly turn around and start going the other wayand make it all look even and tidy. Its not that the book doesnt provide easy to follow directions and great photos of hand placement. Mine just doesnt look like theirs.
Maybe some strategically places buttons would distract the eye from the uneven edges?
So, if any of you more experienced crocheters (there I go again, pretending I know how to spell these words) have any tips for me or can see where Im going wrong, I would appreciate a few words of wisdom. I would relly love to make one of these or these crocheted bags from recycled plastic bags someday.... maybe someday. Muchas Gracias in advance!
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Its A Swallowtail
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Going Green ...
Im not sure where to start with this post...I have so many things going through my head right now. So, this may be a lot of babbling and misalignment of thoughts, but here goes. Ive read several posts from fellow bloggers lately that accurately articulate a growing feeling Ive been experiencing. * The feeling that there is too much waste these days. * The feeling that there HAS to be a better way to raise our children. * The feeling that I dont want my children to grow up with the TV as their best friend. * The feeling that simpler is better. (is that even gramatical?) * The feeling that we all need to be more connected to our creator. * The feeling that I want to be safe in my own home. * The feeling that I want to know where my food comes from. * The feeling that I want our family to be active and healthy. * The feeling that I want to move more physically. * The feeling that I want to be more intentional in my purchases. * The feeling that I want to change my neighborhood. * The feeling that I want to do more good in the world. * The feeling that there are others who feel the same way I do. I mean, the things that our family has experienced lately is enough to make you want to join a commune with walls as high as Jericho and sing "kumbaya". Seriously. In one of the many amazing conversations Ive had with my Papaw, he asked me what a BLOG was and why was I writing one. It caught me off guard to be quite honest. Im not even sure what I told him at the time, but after thinking about it here is my answer Papaw. I have several (read that many) beautiful journals sitting empty on my bookshelves waiting to be written in. And nothing. But for some reason, sitting at the keyboard, the words just seem to flow. Especially after a glass of wine or two. (you didnt just read that Mom) With the gift of S (husband) being home more with his current work position, I have been able to find the real me again. I have been able to listen to the news again. I have been able to research issues online again. I have been able to have somewhat intelligent conversations again. I have been able to reconnect with those of the present and the past. I have been able to feel creative again. For all of that, I am greatful. I feel much more connected to the real ME. Reading African Kelli's blog has reconnected me with my trip to Nicaragua and what I felt while being there and how vowed that things would be different when I returned. That trip changed me, it changed the mother I am and would continue to be. It changed my marriage and how S and I connect. It dramatically changed our whole family forever and I cant wait to take them all back there. With all of the above in mind, I pledge this. 1. To eat only when I am truly hungry. 2. To continue to have a garden and to expand it as much as I can. 3. To share as much of the natural world with my children as I possibly can. 4. To move everyday and to not resist the movement that the boys seem to need. 5. To buy locally and organically when possible and to teach my children where their food comes from. 6. To expand our current recylcing efforts. 7. To walk when it would be easier to ride or drive. 8. To repurpose when I see an opportunity. 9. To not shelter my children and to expose them to the world however hard it might seem (within safe guidelines of course). 10. To make our own cleaning products and to reduce our use of harmful chemicals. 11. To use what crafty supplies I have and to use them for a better good. 12. To cook more and more and more for my family so that I know what they are eating. 13. To eat only dark chocolate and not milk chocolate...I had to throw that in just for fun.
14. To realize that I might screw up ... alot ... but at least its a start. Now, some of this might come as a surprise to many of my friends who read this and never post a comment. It might not seem propper for a wife of a military man. But this is who I am... who I was, before I lost myself. So there, I said it. I feel better. If you made it this far, thank you for reading. And all the people said ... Amen!
Friday, August 04, 2006
This morning was finally much cooler than the last week has been. It was so nice getting out before the boys woke up to do a little watering and picking. The acorn squash that has been growing up the fence between our house and Ms. Dorothy's have wilted down quite a bit, so I watered them a little extra...hoping they recover. They are set really heavily, so I hope we dont loose any of the amazingly beautiful squash. It would really be a shame. I stayed up late last night. I couldnt sleep ... maybe it was the cup of coffee at 6 p.m. that did it?!?! Im sure. But I finally got my stuff together to make one of the dishtowel aprons that Ive seen around. Im probably the last one to get to this, but I hadnt found the right ribbon to use as ties. I like how it turned out and it was so nice to wake up and put this on first thing.
Im really enjoying wearing aprons around the house and garden. It reminds me so much of my Grandmother Florence and the other amazing homemakers in my family. Well its Friday, so we're off to the farmer's market to see what we can find. Have a great day!!!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
We''re Still In Firetruck Mode
The older boys are going on a year now of an obsession that does not seem to have an end in sight...firetrucks, fire fighters, boots, bunker pants, masks, gloves, k-tools, ladders, hydraulic scissors (oh yes, we know all about hydraulic scissors), air tanks, helmets. You name it, we know it. We've read every firetruck book in the library (seriously), we've watched all of the movies many times over. Even an obnoxious one about a man with a mullet from Hawaii singing "Lets Be Safe". So, I thought I would share a little about our firefighters' world. The above is a vintage book that I found at a thrift store and of course had to pick up. The cover is wonderful as are the illustrations inside. And then there is this... and this... oh, and this... ...a fire station made from an egg box complete with pole and beds for the firefighters. And we found an entire flickr group dedicated to firetrucks. Here you can find photos of firetrucks from all over the world. The boys could sit for hours with that group set to slideshow mode. I think that is a good thing?!?! Isn't it?!?! Then I was over at Repro Depot fabrics looking to use a coupon I had gotten via email and found this vintage inspired firetruck print. Gotta have some of that for future use...Im thinking something for Christmas.
So , needless to say, the neighborhood we live in is safe with these 2 on duty!