Saturday, July 25, 2009

a new bag in the shop

A quick wee post to let anyone interested know that I have finally added a new item to my etsy shop. It is a super soft and sturdy purse made from upcycled t-shirts and part of a cotton shower curtain that I cut off so the rest would fit on my shower. That may not sound appealing, but it looks great and I'm really happy with the colors and the design.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Every time we go camping, which really just seems to be for this annual trip to Cape Cod, I remember what a perfect vacation it is for my family. So, maybe it's true that I can be a bit of a nag when it comes to jobs around the house. And, maybe it's even true that I find all the work to do around the house more than a little distracting, even when I have every intention to hang out and play with the kids, and swear in my mind that nothing is more important at that moment. Yeah. Well, then there is camping. A vacation for the slob at heart, in my book (though the folks camping next to us had a perfect campsite with a container of Clorox wipes on the picnic table and really lovely votive candles scattered about here and there. The wipes spoke volumes about how different their home looks from mine, but I digress). A vacation for really hanging out with each other in rain or shine, and lucky for us, we had both. We camp right on a kettle pond that no one else seems to ever go to. We eat tons of seafood. We ride bikes. The kids draw and draw and we all swim and swim. So now, the pictures. I must. I can't help it. So, if you don't know me or care to see my vacation pictures, thanks for reading this much. I will keep it to the highlights. Swear.

I LOVE the Beach...

Our guess was whale intestines.

Some of us raced the waves more successfully than others, but the rain levelled the playing field.

So, every year we camp with our dear friends and if there is one thing our families are good at doing together, it is eating. Now, remember, I didn't say backpacking. This is car camping!

Oh the things you can cook over an open fire if you have a roll of foil! Striped Sea Bass with garlic, lemon, and butter. Heaven. Especially since I am not a lover of...

I know, I know. I really want to love it though.

Packet perfection. Summer squash with garlic and herbs.

And the last day, which was spent playing Bananagrams, swimming, and loafing around, we made these in the pie irons:

That brown stuff on the side is the chocolate oozing out.

And, although I have no pictures of our traditional camp dinner, I must insist all you campers try it out- Raclette with boiled potatoes. We heat the raclette on a stick over the fire and scrape the melted parts onto salted boiled potatoes. A glass of red wine and some cornichon and you are in heaven (while the children gag over the smell and eat their hot dogs). Aah! I love vacation.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

of fisher-price and show tunes

A few years back we were having dinner over at some friends, and Jimmy had just moved his stereo out of his study and into the living room. He was spinning vinyl all night. When we got in the car, Ava, then 6, asked me what those super big CDs were. Boy! She had never seen a record player before. Never heard music through the click and scratch of the needle. I don't even think that we need to be all retro to appreciate the beauty of playing your favorite album on a record player. There really is something nice to setting it up and watching the thing spin. Just a couple of years ago some other dear friends got a record player and though the ipod is generally on in that house, when the kids want to spin some tunes, they do, and it's sort of an activity in and of itself. Everyone is drawn to it and music you would normally avoid on your playlist just sounds better. I can even tolerate holiday music on a record player, but sort of try to avoid it otherwise (humbug?).

Sooooo, there is this awesome free table that I actively try to avoid at the magazine. I have a problem. We have too many books because of it. But, it is right next to the craft room and sometimes I simply get drawn over against my will. Well, good thing, because look what I scored! Mint!

So, after the kids had an evening of using it as a spinning art thing that makes cool marker rainbow circles on paper plates, I took them to the Salvation Army and we chose one album to see if it would actually play music. Well, it did. Perfectly. Now, all we have to listen to is this:

It seemed like the best choice at the time. Help me!

We are heading off for our annual Cape Cod camping trip. The forecast is for some big 'ol weather. Today's beautiful weather has made me feel quite optimistic for a sudden change. I figure optimism can't hurt.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

simple pleasures

I just had my upper wisdom teeth yanked (gross!) and although I have a gauze packed mouth, I have a moment and am trying to look back on the summery beauty that made us all smile this morning and made me get my camera out and feel just how good things are. And actually, the extraction wasn't such a big deal. I didn't even have time to figure out how to turn the volume up on my ipod before he got the first one out.

The kid's summer breakfast of choice around here is blended muesli, and if you have never made it, I really think you might want to. It can be filled with lots of stuff or super simple like the one we made this morning. Oats, almonds, and yogurt are blended together and then it is topped with fresh berries and a little agave syrup. We planted a bunch of berries about 4 years ago and they produce all summer long. The kids pick off and on throughout the day and, dang, do I feel great about it. I don't mean to be one of those bloggers that paint the picture of a sweet and perfect life, but really, when we pick berries in our own backyard, boy, do I feel like everything is just perfect- simple, sweet, bountiful, and even slow.

We are all dwarfed by the summer growth of the canes.

I have a hand blender. I just stick the wand right into the container and blend away.


Oh, it's the kids, not the berries at all. Silly me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

crafting for the man

Just like with buying gifts, I have a way harder time making things for the guys in my life. I've got me a pretty manly man and the things I tend to make are pretty femme, so I often feel a bit stymied. Even the toe nail polish wearing guys feel tricky to me. Of course, I would put my own little boy in a tight capped sleeved tee with a rainbow unicorn, so I don't think it's totally coming from some standard or aesthetic I have set. Well, some of my most dear friends are men, so I have got to learn to bend and stretch. I started this week with my most beloved cider-obsessed man. An upcycled reverse applique golden bottle of apple cider with a machine appliqued apple adorning it. And, well, he seems to love it! At least I think so, as he doesn't really say too much. Next is a birthday present for a dear one. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

summer sewing

I'm not sure why I thought summer was going to feel hazy and lazy and full of lots of space for biking instead of driving and all of that. I guess I am an optimist- I watch the doughnut, not the hole, as Ava would sing- but still! I would love to be posting all of the things I have been making lately, but finding the time to upload photos, blah blah blah. I have exactly one minute to write then head off to pick up my kids at our friends house and head off to swim lessons, so I'll get on with it. I have been busy sewing, and it has been super fun. Here's my favorite thing I've recently made: A reverse applique wrist cuff. Just thought I'd share.

Oh, and just because maybe I can be a minute late, I would like to quickly proselytize about buying from small human owned business instead of those BIG BOX stores. My story: My beloved Janome Sewist sewing machine was having it's first little issue and my thread was getting hung up somehow. I actually took my machine apart to see if I could figure out the problem, but since I know nothing about machines, I couldn't. I took it down to Newman's Sewing Machines in West Springfield, where I bought it, and they looked in the bobbin area, found a bent part, rebuilt it, put it back in, adjusted some things, gave me a 15 minute tutorial on various things my machine does, and sent me on my way. All of this for exactly $0! My kids happily spun around on the rotating chairs for 45 minutes, and I felt so glad I wasn't dealing with someone at, say, some unnamed large fabric and sewing store, with employees who are underpaid and low from all the sizing they must sniff. So glad!