Monday, August 30, 2010

A Sunday Afternoon

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What do little girls do with a free Sunday afternoon?

They open a restaurant and invite all their friends.

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What do Dads and Moms do?


Welcome a dear friend home.   No matter how many times we sit in the airport and welcome a troop home it is always emotional.  Tony is a great guy and we’re happy he is back with his family.

This is something I don’t write about much on my blog, being an Air Force family…I added a button over on my side bar >>>>>


I remember those first few years of being away from home and being frightfully optimistic.  Nearly seventeen years later and we still wonder what is around the corner.   If you have any questions about the AF or being a military family please email me.  My email is also in the side bar. 

Or if you have any questions regarding how many pairs of socks and underwear you should pack for five kids traveling cross country and will be living in a hotel for an undetermined amount of time, I can help with that, too.math_equation_editor

= as many pairs of underwear and socks you own.

It’s Monday morning now.  Do you know what little boys do when their sister is at school and her restaurant is left unattended?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

kiddie furniture

Here’s some other pieces of little furniture that I’ve finally gotten around to working on.  006 


Table and chair before and after….



When my kids are too big for a little table and chair I’ll be sad.  It’s perfect for a little rainy day fun with Richard Scarry.  A cut and paste activity book I highly recommend, if you can find it.  For ages 4-8ish.



For a couple months the stool has sat on the porch, Henry has asked me about using it many times. Like every time he walked by it.  His Mom is a procrastinator!


I decoupaged the letters from craft paper, using a font from the computer as a template.  The sailboat is four pieces of craft paper.  


When you come for sun and fun

please do wash for number one.

With soap!

Recently I found (at Home Depot) Martha Stewarts new line of paints in small tester jars.  You can have them mixed in any color in three different finishes (semi gloss, eggshell, and flat).  They’re under three dollars and perfect for small projects.  There are some premixed colors with the paint chips, at our local Home Depot the mixable bases are with the techs behind the mixing counter.


premixed on the left and tinted base on the right.

PS they also sell Glidden paints this way, but they stink as in they don’t paint well as in you shouldn’t buy them, as in I did and went back later to buy the Martha stuff.

Monday, August 23, 2010

a little piano

I found a little piano at a yard sale.  The older woman that was having the yard sale had neatly organized tables of 1990’s whatnot.  Everything was priced too high and all the good stuff from the earlier years of her life was missing.  I imagined her to be the waste not-want not type of mother who didn’t allow the slightest clutter.  I saw the piano in the corner looking lonely.  It was only a couple dollars and the woman looked at me like I was a hoarder and what in the heck would I do with that.


It had names carved in it (her children must have been rebellious because she was controlling with their clutter).  The names were Linda, Fred, Dick, Deborah and Annie.  Do you know them? 

I took it home and sanded it down and did what I normally do when I’m not sure what to do.  I painted it red and brought it in the house.


The nice thing about blogging is that it looks innocent nestled in the playroom.


The reality is that people with smallish hands walk by and plink plunk a little too hard.  Like it is a wind chime in the farm store just begging for someone to crash the chime parts like a hurricane wind.

Have a happy Monday!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

thoughts on growing up


We bought Hadley this bike for her first birthday.  I was so excited to give it to her.  I remember she had on a pink dress and a very tiny bit of hair pointing straight up on top of her head in a very tiny pony tail.  It was 1993. 

That first year of her life seemed to last forever. I wanted her to have hair and walk with shiny patent leather shoes.  I couldn’t wait to see her grow up, like a real kid that would need me to tell her to clean her room and eat her vegetables.  


And it happened even better than my motherly whims could imagine.  My daughter grew before my very eyes into a beautiful young woman.  She sang and played us her masterpieces  on the piano (“Staples oh Staphulls” is a favorite). She read books and enlisted her siblings into plays and magic shows. She developed a sense of style and became one of the nicest people you could be lucky enough to meet. 


She went from being the finger sucking baby on my hip to my dear friend.  

Should you be friends with your kids?  Yes.

I’ll tell you why you should… because before you know it they grow up and are no longer sleeping and waking in your house.  They sprout wings and start their own adventures.  And they need you even more, they need you to tell them all these new worries and concerns are normal, that they are strong and that you are proud.  Then they can step out of your bubble and open their arms to the world.  The bright, colorful, living, breathing, world.  And then your heart will feel like it is breaking open.  Because you aren’t ready, because you miss her and because you can’t hug her everyday.

This is where I am at.  My daughter is a sophomore in college (she is much smarter than me because I thought you spelled sophomore like sophmore—who says soph-O-more?) Every year brings a new emotion, I didn’t know it would be this emotionally achy. I am weepy at weird stuff.

The logical part of me feels grateful she has this opportunity.  I have traveled to parts of the world where women live some pretty hard lives.  To struggle just because you are a girl?  My daughters are among the luckiest women in the world just because they were born here.  They will grow and learn and hopefully value their education.  And when they are done learning in brick buildings with manicured flower beds and done traveling to wherever life leads them then can return to us.  To their old Mom and Pop who will welcome them with open arms.

I miss you, Hadley.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

on a whim


Somewhere I saw little red shorts with gingham pockets.  The vision sat in my head, I can’t remember where I saw it…a blog? a book? in a dream?  It never went away and now summer is on the downside (so I hear anyway, it will be warm here for a couple more months).  Suddenly making these shorts became a priority, like paying the bills or making a chocolate cake (that is so a priority).

So you can understand why I did what I did.  It made sense at the time.  After dumping a mountain of fabric on my floor I realized that, indeed, I didn’t have a piece of red denim like I thought.  I went through my husband’s closet and picked a red denim shirt.  And truthfully I was proud of myself for being resourceful.  I took pictures and snipped off the sleeves, which suddenly made me realize that yeah, no duh, he hasn’t worn it in ages because it’s summer.


What’s done is done, right?  

Hope you’re having a good weekend.  Ken’s friend is making us some BBQ, the Texas kind that includes a smoker and brisket and 20 hours. There’s something about being here in the extreme heat and seeing people in cowboy hats and plaid shirts that make you want to eat BBQ all the time.  With beans and slaw and banana peppers and pea and onion salad (this is my favorite) and Pepsi.  Sounds healthy, doesn’t it?

 red shirt

Friday, August 13, 2010

summer stack

Anticipating summer is a good feeling. Throughout winter and spring I sew little dresses and collect recipes.  I envision taking out the white cotton bedspreads and hanging them out until they are crisp like paper.  But my favorite thing of all is to collect a big stack of books…just for summer.  I scout used book sales, estate sales, yard sales and the stack slowly grows.  


The passage of time is marked by how many books I’ve read.  And sadly, I have no more books.  Okay, yes, I have plenty more books but no more in this special stack marked “SUMMER 2010”.  Now I feel all withered and curled up like  a dead leaf (isn’t that so dramatic?).


Are you wondering what my children do while I read books all day?  Me too. 

Actually I make them read books, too.  We put it on our list (thanks, Meg )


 Lonesome Dove would have to be my pick to recommend, the others were eeh (insert shrugging shoulders).  But I might not be in the mood to recommend anything as my children and their peeps are in the next room being very loud.  Shall I go in and tell them children should be seen and not heard like Ma Ingalls tells her kids?

Have a nice evening, friends!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

something for me and something for you

This morning I woke and felt like my body was full of lead weights.  I couldn’t get up and go, but I did.  Because I had to.  Because the older kids had places to go and the younger kids woke up needing to eat.  Because the chickens were in their coop waiting at the door ready to burst down the ramp and catch the night bugs that were still hanging around.  Also because Red gently neighs to me from afar telling me he wants his grain.  He neighs gently at first then with more urgency as the minutes pass.  So I put a bra on under my nightgown and go feed the animals (children included) because I’m not classy enough to get dressed but classy in that I need undergarments.

Sometimes it’s hard to get in the groove of my day.  I think because even at 6:00am it’s warm enough to sweat outside and it’s hard to push thoughts of home out of my head.  Yesterday I was thinking of this cove and how Sam threw up bean salad while sailing and will never eat it again.   Isn’t that tragic?  No more marinated bean salad ever again in his life?


But this morning I was thinking of Auntie Mary’s cool piano sink.   And how today I would like to swim in the big waves at their house and go in and wash my hands and eat food outside.


I would especially like to eat food with Daisey.  Because she is my niece and has my heart wrapped up tight in her fist.  Unlike my own kids nieces and nephews are cool because it’s okay if they have play dough under their fingernails at the dinner table.  They can say crude things that make me laugh and I will buy them ice cream even if it’s before lunch.073

I braided Daisey’s hair, then she sat on my lap and held my face and told me I was pretty because I have braces and freckles.  She said it like she really meant it.  Then she went out on the beach and looked for sea glass while wearing a bathing suit that was way too small and now she has one tan butt cheek.

Soon enough as the day progressed I felt better. My mind woke up and became appreciative for all that the day had yet to offer.  These are some of the things that the day offered to me:

Writing flirty texts to my husband at work. 

     *number of texts I sent-4

    * number I received back-0

Washing and hanging out three loads of towels with the littles handing me clothespins. 

    *number of clothespins pulled apart- 3

Giving myself a mud mask.  I did this while talking to my sister on the phone also while I brought in the towels and unloaded the dishwasher and picked up the dried shell noodles from under the table.

   *number of people who would go outside and take a mud mask self portrait-1, including myself.


Like the glasses make me look cool.


Do you like Crabtree and Evelyn?  They have a $10 discount until August 31 if you enter AGIFT10 at checkout.  There is no minimum purchase.  I’m going to buy Nantucket Briar bar soap because it is my favorite.  Nothing is better than working outside on a hot summer day and showering with Nantucket Briar soap.  I sound like a commercial.


Friday, August 6, 2010

oilcloth lunch sack


There are a few good tutorials about this project.  The easiest to follow is here.  Also Martha Stewart has a how-to page.

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In all it took about 20 minutes to make, if you don’t count the ten interruptions from little people and the phone.  I had an insulated reusable grocery bag with a tear in it. I made a pocket out of it and put a piece of thin cardboard in it to give the bottom some stability.

Need more inspiration? Hers is insulated and there are some variations here.

If you want a beautiful lunch tote already made look at my sister’s Etsy shop.  She makes pretty things!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

making things with paper


When I was 20 or so I had two rubber stamps.  I made many cards with them using rubber cement. (like, what is rubber cement?)  I would use liquid starch on fabric and iron it until it was like card stock.  Shortly after that we moved to Idaho where I set foot in a scrapbook store, it was remarkable.  Though it was really just the size of a walk in closet I could easily spend an afternoon there.  Though I haven’t been much of a scrapbooker, I just like to make stuff with the patterned papers.  Mostly cards.


                    for my in laws who sweetly house and entertain my children every summer

Needing to make things often overpowers my mind.  I think many women have this in different forms.  There are times I find this troubling… why the need to make stuff?  Is it a way of adding chaos?  Why can’t I just buy a card at the store instead of hauling out bins of stuff?  Usually I will make a card (or sew a dress or bake something or paint something) and not even like how it came out.



                                for a friend’s baby-I have probably made 100 of this same card over the years

There is something therapeutic in the making part, don’t you think?  I sometimes wish I could just focus on one hobby and advance my skills instead of trying out everything and staying at a 12 year old skill level.  I often see such beautiful whimsical creations with paper and vintage baubles.  It isn’t in my brain to do that.  I wish it was.


                                                    My husband’s squadron gets a lot of homemade cards. 

Crisp lines and simplicity, I can’t be rid of them.   No fuss, the same way I am at home.  It’s part of not being able to relax, I think. Remember Almanzo’s sister Eliza Jane in Little House?  I used to be afraid I would be like her.  All bound up and self conscious.


                                                                              Happy retirement Col B

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Having kids kind of forces that self conscious feeling out.  How can you not laugh at yourself when your son leaves a 30 foot pee trail to the bathroom in Target? 

This wooden plaque/thing is for you, Carl.  My dear brother who lives in a  little house by the ocean.  Do you ever look off into the horizon and wonder what world is out there waiting?  It’s me, your sister waiting out there until we can sit under the same umbrella and and make fun of our siblings. 


I have had that Mary Engelbreit image of the boy looking off at the whales for years, it’s among my favorites.  


                      This is 3-D art, it was popular in Germany when we lived overseas.


I heart Mrs Grossman stickers, even more than I did when I was 12.

What do you find comfort in making?  What are your favorite hobbies? What do you wish you were better at?

Hoping you are having a terrific Tuesday…