My People

You know how you send your children off to school, and they come home with all sorts of information and ideas you’ve never even heard of? I guess it means all that money we’re paying for education is actually doing something.

Sweet Miss graduated a couple years ago and started teaching at a new school last fall. She’s been using phrases like “Conscious Discipline” and “Reggio Emilia Approach”. Huh? Like I said before, it looks like she learned something in all that schooling.

One method she explained for dealing with a fussy child missing their mom or dad was to ask them who their person was. After that, you simple blow that person a kiss and say “I wish you well” and move on. I’m not sure how well that works, but I do agree it’s important to know who your people are.

My people are the ones on the mantel.

The MR and the girls are having a great time at a recent Dad’s Weekend, and then me and the MR are looking for King Kong on our trip to New York a few years ago. The photos are reminders of family and togetherness. I love how the green in the frame picks up on all the green in the stadium. It’s recycled from a motherboard (which the MR used to design), and we bought it back in Kansas when my nephew got married.

I’ve been searching for a frame for the picture of the two of us for ages. It’s an odd size, and it wouldn’t fit in a regular frame without having to crop out the top of the Empire State Building, and that’s kind of the whole point of the thing. A little wandering at Target last week, and a floating frame came to the rescue.

The picture with the penny is from Papa Larry. It arrived in the mail shortly after I finished the penny counters in the den area. And the slate and copper wire mirror I picked up on a family trip to eastern Washington.

I like knowing who my people are and surrounding us with memories.

Who are your people?

Advertisements

January ’18 Flew By

The first month of the year has come and gone with it’s accompanying highs and lows. Baby Girl went back to school, Sweet Miss is off teaching young children how to be better human beings, and me and the MR are holding down the homefront.

This month, I took My First Stab at Salt Block Cooking.  We’ve enjoyed salmon twice. (Note to self: don’t try to squish two fillets on the block, or one might drop down under the burner and create a large fire. Long tongs are a good thing.) I’m going to have to branch out; maybe the salt block cookbook I saw on Amazon would amp up the creativity.

I’ve watched many a beautiful sunrise here. You Just Never Know what secret delights your house will hold. I’ve also learned to deal with mice and ladybugs, but that’s another story.

I was promoting a decorating cleanse of sorts. I dubbed it a Reboot, but the MR was missing my chatchkies, so we put them back out before friends came over the other day. I have mixed things up a little here and there, and I know you’re going to like the mantel.

Just like the next time you visit, if you have to freshen up, you’ll smile at Baby Girl’s watercolors in the powder room. It’s all about Playing to Your Strengths.

One of our strengths–both me and the MR–is our ability to grow things. Houseplants seem to last forever around here with all the great light. Taking that into consideration, we’re Giving It (Our Citrus Grove) Another Go. The last tangerine died after I put Death Rain seasoning on the decorative stones to keep Cocoa from chewing on them and leaving them all over the house. She stopped, but so did the tree.

Finally, we received sad news this month with the passing of the MR’s close friend and another good family friend. Along with two deaths, we celebrated the arrival of another friend’s baby. Good times and bad times; they’re all part of life. We were happy to share a meal with friends and Make It Special.

 

February has already started off with a bang celebrating the MR’s birthday, and I have lots of other good things to share.

Hoping you have an wonder filled day.

 

Reboot

I spent much of last weekend packing up the Christmas decorations and putting the house back in order. After the over-the-top excess of the holidays with stockings, and trees, and nutcrackers, I’ve been slow to put back decorations on the mantel and shelves.

The fall season is over, and we’re not quite ready for fresh spring flowers. Do I give in to the cold and icy feel of winter or add some hearts and red in tribute to Valentine’s Day?

I noticed a friend from college still has her Christmas village decorating her living room just because she likes them. It’s OK not to rush into the next big thing.

Like a palate cleanse between courses, sometimes your eyes need a rest. Besides, this will give me a chance to touch up the paint on the fireplace and get Baby Girl’s sketches framed. It’ll all come together eventually.

Do you change up your decorating with the season or stick with tried and true?

The Power of Fabric

Over the summer, me and the MR visited Sweet Miss at her apartment. We were excited to see her first place on her own.

My sweet girl calls often, so I️ knew how she pictured blues and grays, a geometric rug, and intricate patterns for her living room.

Sadly, I also knew she had our old futon with the green slipcover and the two little red chairs from Papa Willy’s basement; none of which went with her vision. (You can see the futon in all it’s glory in A Magic Carpet and fancied up with a slipcover and new pillows in Pump Up the Volume.)

When you’re young and just starting out, you can’t be too picky about furniture, and Sweet Miss was making do with what she had. For her birthday, we picked up a set of navy slipcovers from World Market, but I don’t think Ikea even sells the chairs anymore.

Don’t worry; I came armed with pins, fabric, and a plan. I’d just rough fit the chairs with an old sheet and use that for a pattern for slipcovers. But there were angles and arms, and we had to buy “love” stamps for save-the-dates, and pick out a wedding dress.

We wound up just bringing one of the chairs home for fitting purposes. Somehow, we decided to leave the arms behind, since I wasn’t covering them–big mistake, but we’ll get to that later.

On the way home, we stopped at a store to look for fabric, but nothing caught my eye. I went to two more stores in our area without any luck before turning to Fabrics. com. I bought some trellis pattern fabric in blues and some gray and blue accent fabric. And since I was shopping, I bought some fabric in rust hues for our home.

img_8580

Sometimes working with home decorator fabric is overwhelming due to its size and weight. I used the pattern on the fabric as a guide for straight cuts. Work smarter–not harder.

We were on a bit of a time crunch with having to move Baby Girl back to school and the fabric arrived with just one day to spare. Now sure, I should have made a accurate pattern with the old sheet, but I didn’t. And after a bit, I realized I wouldn’t be able to leave gaps for the arms since I didn’t know exactly where they’d land.

It was a long Saturday, and the slip covers aren’t perfect, but these chairs are bright, and cheery, and no longer red. Sweet Miss used a staple gun to tack down the seat of the one on the right and give it more of a fitted look. The staple gun stopped working after that, but you get the idea.

They remind me of atriums and sun-filled days. I believe the living room is headed in the right direction. She can borrow a staple gun on her next visit.

I still have some fabric waiting to be made into pillow covers. Maybe I should get busy before I see her again. And she mentioned artwork…

It’s amazing how a little fabric can change things up.

What have you been sewing lately? Any tips for that first home?

Our Own Dot-Dot Story

Me and the MR were watching an Australian TV show the other night, and we both noticed with excitement that they had dot-dot paintings on the wall.

Dot-dot? I hear you asking yourself. Yes, dot-dot. Aboriginal art, don’t you know? On our trip to Australia, my dad said we had to go see Uluru (aka Ayres Rock) if we were going that far. Neither of us were too sure exactly what that was, but we’re game so of course we went.

Our first stop in the middle of the country was at Alice Springs where we picked up some water bottles and wandered through gift shops. That was our first introduction to interesting graphic textiles and paintings made by aboriginal artists.

That night we dined on barbecue under the Southern Cross at a sustainable, family farm.

The next day, it was a long drive through the desert, with stops at an art studio for lunch, and camel rides. Then it was on to the massive monolith in the middle of nowhere.

We did wine and nibbles at sunset, and then sunrise and our trek around Uluru. (You can check it out at A Little Off My Game.) The next day before we left, we had class with an aboriginal artist and her interpreter. The taught us about the meanings behind the symbols, and then gave us an opportunity to share our stories.

Papa ran off to the drugstore, and the MR decided to observe, but most of the group participated. And then later they shared stories of loss, and of childhood, and of good times and bad. There were tears and everything.

Dot Dot Paintings

Mine was a rather simple tale. In the bottom right corner, the red circles represent a fire or home. You can see me with my stick for digging up grubs kneeling by the fire, and look there’s the MR with his spear and clubs and other manly stuff kneeling with me. Look at all the squiggly blue lines; they signify heavy rains. The circles and lines represent travel, and the other blue lines are for water.

img_4172.jpg

Basically, me and the MR live in a rainy place, so we travel across the water to other lands. Not that deep, but accurate.

And now when I see my little painting hanging on the wall, I smile and think of our adventures. For a little more authentic fun, I also bought a pillow cover by artist Any Tjilari through Better World Arts. I’m not sure what story he is telling, but it does add some nice color to the great room.

IMG_4173

Where have your adventures taken you to?

#AATKings, #AllAboutTony #Australia.

The Right Fit

Sometimes, you buy something, you have a plan, and it’s going to be amazing; till it’s not.

A few years ago, I was up in Bellingham on the Local Yarn Shop tour and was totally drawn to this sock yarn with beautiful torquoise, and brown, and carmel, and cream. I was going to make the best socks ever. Then as I was paying for my yarn, the man behind the counter proudly showed me his socks and told me this is how the yarn was going to knit up. Hopefully, I kept a smile on my face and didn’t look totally crest-fallen. His socks looked brown. I wanted cream, and carmel, and pops of color. How could it all go so wrong?

Perhaps that’s why the yarn sat in my stash for two, three, four years? I didn’t want to ruin the illusion. Then I heard people talk about the Sockhead Hat. This might be the answer to my problem. I could make a hat, and it would look totally different than that nice man’s socks. So I got to knitting.

While me and Baby Girl did have fun at Molbak’s last Christmas, my hat was still quite brown, and I’m not really the sloppy hat kind of person.

So what could I do? Stick to my plan and make socks? or go another way? I decided this yarn would be great for the Hexagon Sweater. So I forged on and made a motif. The color runs of yarn were just too short. All of the motifs would look totally the same. I needed to think some more.

That’s when my brand-new, amazing crochet stitch dictionary arrived with oodles of inspiration. OK, that could be a bit of an oversell, but Sarah Hazell has put together 200 stitch patterns that go from the ordinary to holy cow! (It’s available on Amazon in case you were wondering.)

Maybe I just needed to make something that would pool the yarn more, so that’s just what I did. I made a simple rectangular scarf using the Crosshatch stitch pattern (#169 if you’re counting), and finally have the effect I was looking for. By adding two buttons and matching buttonholes, my scarf works as a poncho/shawl/cowl/scarf. Four for the price of one—not bad.

I know I look crazy, but this is as good as it gets running back and forth, setting the timer, and taking pictures of myself. You get the idea of how the scarf works. Next time I’m going to put the MR to work.

And now for a side by side of the two applications. One skein was knit the other was crocheted, and yes this is the exact same yarn. I think knitting using the entrelac technique could create a similar effect as the crocheted project. (This is Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Bourbon.)

So you may be wondering why in the world I’m going into all this—especially if you don’t knit or crochet. Don’t worry. This isn’t about yarn; it’s about having a vision and making it happen. Maybe your first attempt doesn’t work out; rethink, replan, retry. You’ve got this; I have faith in you and a new scarf.

Happy creating.

 

 

 

 

 

The Mystery Unwrapped

 Once you've reached a certain age, you've probably learned a little bit about yourself. For instance, I know I tend to procrastinate; if you can put something off to the last minute, I'll do it. 

That's why when I saw a blog post about making your own reusable food wraps, I was quick to buy some beeswax. If I had the materials on hand, I'd be sure to make it happen. I have tons of fabric, a paint brush, an oven; I'd have food wraps before you could bat an eye. 

The beeswax only sat on the desk in the kitchen for about a year. All the what-ifs plague me. What if it doesn't work? What if I make a mess? What if the cloth isn't organic? Will it make us sick? You know by now that I'm a worrier. Someday I'll be fearless. 

So the other day, I gathered my supplies and got busy.  Using the tutorial from My healthy green family for cotton wraps, I set the oven to a low temperature and got to work. 

First you sprinkle the fabric evenly with the wax. Then you put your tray in the oven. 

 When, the wax has melted,you smooth it with a paint brush, and then hang the clothes to dry. 

 I didn't want to steal My Healthy Green Family's thunder. She shows great, step-by-step, detailed instructions. but I would encourage you to not be afraid to modify things slightly. 

I bumped up the heat and added more wax than the directions recommended. When I put a cloth on the cookie sheet to absorb the excess wax, I just ended up with a mess. It's not rocket science, so don't be afraid to mix it up a little. 

And now after waiting around forever, I have a bunch of new cloths to use in place of plastic wrap. I even refreshed one of my beeswraps that's been around for quite awhile. 

What steps are you taking to reduce your use of plastic?