Friday, February 27, 2009

Thinking About Moving Again

Honestly, my heart hasn't been into the whole moving idea since we missed out on our chance to own a 100 year old farmhouse on 6 acres 2 miles from the city i want to live in. It was more perfect than anything that i could have imagined, just because of the sheer facts that it was a 100 year old house that hadn't really been majorly renovated since the 40's art deco wall paper in the kitchen and the 70's woodstove installation but also it was in a newly zoned area in a city that is looking to maintain the farm lifestyle here in the Puget Sound. Anything agri-based or agri-touristy is going to be the "new" standard there. B&Bs, farmstands, farmer's markets, name it.

However, now Hubbie has found another place he thinks we could be comfortable in (until we have more kids anyway--then we'll have to remodel.) I am not sold on it, because it is not my dream home--A&C style or older.


the more and more i think about the property it's on, the more i get excited. Which i shouldn't do because it's not ours yet. :o) It's 8 acres though, 6 of that being treed (perfect for fuel or extra lumber, say for that remodel-wink wink). 2 ponds, a creek, a barn and garden shed with the utilities out to both...2 acres of pasture. And then there's this:

this is the little sitting area out beside the house --pond and fruit trees??? I think it's growing on me.

Then there's this which most everyone would probably say, "Oh, big deal!":

an intriguing door OFF of the kitchen. Right now i have to haul my groceries halfway past the front of my house and up 2 flights of stairs to get them into my kitchen. Then, my kitchen is so small that i usually have to haul the overstock downstairs to the pantry. Just say that my car would be parked within 25-40 feet of this door, and this house might have a sold sign on it. :o)

It would be perfect if that was all that my criteria involved, but i would like to be closer to the town. It's a bit high up a ridge (which has it's advantages during flood season) and a bit farther from town (namely the grocer) than i would like. My ideal situation was to move to this town and have an easy access to the store by bike, so we could start teaching our child (and children when more come) the ways of living near your necessities and leaving the driving for the adventures on the weekends.

None the less, we're going to check it out, because the more i think about our last experience at the restaurant near our house last week (signs up everywhere that read "Absolutely NO FIREARMS on these premises!" and each booth we looked at sitting in had Spanish curse words carved into the tables), the latest graffiti i've seen around our neighbourhood, and let's not leave out the lovely "ladies" "strolling" (more like trolling) the streets for Johns where all our major shopping options are...maybe right now the most important thing isn't having my dream home, but getting my little cookie out of this area so she doesn't have to grow up in a place half as bad as her momma or her daddy did.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Winter-Spring-Summer Day

Today has been one of those days in Western WA where the saying "If you don't like the weather, just hang around for 5 minutes" applies. Well, really, i suppose everyone in every state has this kind of phenomenon (except for place like Arizona, because i had never heard this saying uttered while i lived there.) :o)

This morning we woke up to this

which is totally rare for us. And it continued snowing for a few hours. School was even delayed an hour!

Then around 11, the sun came out and melted most of the snow. I was out picking up some supplies at this time and everyone at the store was wishing each other Happy Summer. :o)

When i picked up the lil one and returned home, this was in our yard:

Isn't he pretty! Our cat thought it was Thanksgiving Day. :o) Would you look at the snout on that guy?

I had the camera zoomed out as far as it could go--i am so surprised this picture came out decently--i shot it from inside our dining room, through the window and the deck railing and the Flicker is standing about 20-25 feet away from the house under the very threatening and gloomy grey skies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh, and by the way....

Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!
These are some pictures of our Mardi Gras masks we made a couple years ago.

Our Heartfelt Thanks to Patti!

Remember a few posts ago i introduced you to a new acquaintance i met through the web? Patti at She makes adorable quilts at a feverish pace, and all while helping her family labour over homemade deer sausage and such. She's amazing! And she posted a Pay It Forward contest on her site and i entered it.

I received my package from her and to my surprise there were two little bundles inside: one for Ri and one for me! Ri was so excited when she opened hers--its a beautiful pink and black apron and as Ri said, "Oh, Mom, look! It's my favourite! Ric Rac!! Hooray!" And then when she noticed that Patti had sewn this pink ric rac with a a shiny silver accent in it she squealled with delight that this was her new favourite apron. :o)

Yesterday we welcomed it into the family by preparing a batch of cupcakes and a batch of caramels. And after everything was finished baking, she forgot to take it off and wore it all afternoon! She absolutely loves it.

This is the apron Patti made for me:

I absolutely adore the colours (we need a little June-ish looking pick me up around here about this time of year) and the lace reminds me of the lab coat my mom and i doctored when i used to have to wear one for work--we deconstructed the pockets and replaced them with flannel and trimmed them out with this lovely lace. I love that style of lace trim!

(Sorry about the hat, i had just gotten done washing my hair when Ri decided she was ready to take pictures of our aprons and whip up our goodies for dessert night.)
And another good thing about it is that now i have another functional egg collecting apron too!
Thanks so much, Patti! We absolutely love them and will cherish your handiwork for years and years to come.
psst...are you reading this and haven't seen my Pay It Forward contest post?

Helping our little friends

Since participating in the GBBC this year, my lil one has become very aware of birds. We've been watching a little "Kitty TV", as we call it in our home, with our cat Sadie. I am not sure whether Ri likes watching birds because she likes seeing the different kinds and looking them up in the bird book, or if she just likes watching because it's funny when the cat goes into a trance and does her little bird talk-"meya meya meya ay ya oow".

Today, Ri helped me make a fiber feeder for our little birdie friends.

1. We cut a piece off one of those netted bags (onions inhabited ours.) We took a rubber band to one end to seal it off.

2. Then we filled it with dryer lint (i can tell the fiber feeder is going to be in fierce competition with the woodstove for the dryer lint--oh boy!), various pieces of yarn/thread (i only use the cotton or wool blends only for this), and we raided the hairbrushes for some of our cast off locks.

3. We sealed it up with a string and tied it under our porch on the deck. This is near where the birds feed. While we were out there, i couldn't believe the number of song birds in our holly tree. And it's been a wet, miserable, cold day here. It is nice to hear the return of the song birds though. Bring on the Spring!

Ooh, and i saw crocuses sprouting over by Hubbie's work this morning. Woo hoo! Just a couple weeks and we'll have to beat the Leprechans to planting potatoes and peas!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Death of My Sanity

This week is so far a big week for me and it's only Monday. I think it's cause i've had so much time at home with the sick lil cookie. Time at home, or the lack there of, is my constant crutch as to why my house is in such shambles a good 85% of the year.

Now that i have had ample time at home (albeit while trying to entertain a 6 y/o), i am sick and tired (que the Bill Cosby: Himself rendition he does of his wife when the children make her angry.) :o) I am just sick, Sick, SICK!

And not only is it because we are a family of 3 procrastinaters that don't pick up after themselves, but because up until a few months ago, i had no style. :o) Now that i have an idea of what makes our family comfortable--and basically how i would like my 24 hour "office" to look, i want to show no mercy, however...

When it comes to things like this,

i can't seem to let go of it easily.

What it is, you ask? It's one of those "post burning incense, pre waxy melty incense thing-a-ma-jiggies". You place water and a drop of essential oil in the glass saucer, and you light a tea candle underneath. And "aaaah", better than an Airwick. :o)

And why does this mere object cause such torture to my soul at the thought of parting with it?

It's got too much sentimental attachment for one. It was a 1st apartment warming gift from a dear friend that i don't get to see or talk to much anymore, so when i see it, it reminds me of her and all the fun we had when she let me move in with her while i finished up my pharmacy internship in Spokane and the huge blessing she was when i finally moved out on my own into my 1st place.

Then, once i move past the sentimentalness of the piece (bribing myself by thinking "well, if i could place a picture of her in a cute frame and hang it on the wall or rotate it through the prayer table pictures, then i could donate this modern day incense burner and delight in the same effect"), i look at it's style--i think its interesting. It reminds me of Martini time which reminds me of the 50's style, which reminds me that this is what era of home i live in. At one point, i wanted the Sputnik-Atomic clock on the wall and the vinyl and chrome dinette set and all things rat packy with aqua, orange and grey walls, but Hubbie would never embrace that idea, so i went with the more traditional, yet still eccletic style within our 1959 home.

It is something i won't get much more use out of these days because i tend to like burning beeswax for the anti-asthmatic qualities. And, i am afraid the cat will get tangled up with it. And quite frankly, who am i kidding? I am the mother of a 6 y/o--when do i ever have time to just sit down and light a candle and relish in smelly good smells? Yet, still, i figure someone will have to pry it from my cold dead hand.

It has taken me 3 days to grapple over what to do with this treasure. 3 days of my conscience arguing with my sentimental side. Oy vey! And so even with all those good reasons it took me three days to think of, i was still tortured about what to do with it until just a few minutes ago.

The only reasons that could make me willingly part with this treasure and let someone else share in its glory and love it as i have was this:

my found Valentine decorations i have been collecting since November and December at some of the local antique stores. These beauties were buried under my mess on my dresser--what a waste!

It is time my self had a serious talk with itself:

Let this be a lesson to yourself, ME--it is because i keep spots full with things that i don't love anymore that i can't display things that i do. (and hopefully, should i lose sight of this message, i'll reread this post!)

I hope this fire in my gut keeps burning awhile...i'd like to really have the place looking sharp by Hubbie's birthday.

Stamps Coming Out Our Ears

This 100 days project for Ri's school is really renewing my love of the postage stamp. Here are a few reasons why:

Stamps from Ireland with their cute little monks on them

The Australian stamp with the Three Wise Men from 1959, proving once again that all things were better when my parents were growing up.

The Hommes Abby (Abbye aux Hommes), Caen, Normandy. Classic example of Romanesque architecture (and a personal fave stamp of this gal who's absolute top 10 fave buildings she visited includes the Koln Dom.)

A stamp commerating the Legend of Sleepy Hollow

And a stamp that still holds as much truth today as it did back when first class postage only set you back 5 cents.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sick lil Cookie

My little Cookie Monster has been home sick since we returned from her grandparents this weekend. Yesterday, a bit of the old life and energy was restored, but she wasn't like she normally is conducting dance classes with all her imaginary friends.

Yesterday, we ended up watching too much tv. :o( Especially because my favourite episodes of Little House on the Prairie were on. However, we kept our hands busy with a little sewing project that was inspired by the "Chasing Cheerios" blog while we watched .
Heart Sugar Cookie w/ Buckets o' Sprinkles

Ri has had a play kitchen for a few years now and we have been trying to acquire a little Haba and Melissa and Doug food here and there. I love the Haba brand of kitchen food, because not only is it a German company (so you get to practice a little German when you're "working the kitchen and serving your guests"), but you also can find classical and practical, yet small and sometimes very interesting food items made of wood or felt and stored in metal tins. Like a set of wooden tea bags (complete with the tag) and a set of sugar cubes to go with it. Or felt bow tie pasta.
Last year, i broke down and purchased some "gormet food" from a local crafter out of West Seattle that makes the most adorable and fancy fruits and veggies you've ever seen. Potatoes from pantyhose, pineapple from fancy drapery material, green name it, she makes it. It's all inspired by the tradition of the cornucopia, so i think the lady was a little surprised when we said we were going to be playing with her food in Ri's pretend kitchen rather than displaying it. :o) And ever since the arrival of the refrigerator that Poppa so carefully crafted for her, the interest in the kitchen has really piqued!

And now that Ri is 6, i figure its about time to show her how you can make some of these things she'd like to have in her kitchen, instead of buying all of them (keeping in line with our "homemade is better than store bought" logic.) So yesterday we set forth to make heart shaped sugar cookies. We're both just beginners at stitching by hand, so they aren't "Made in China" perfect, but we love them just the same. And Ri tried her hand at her first sewing project and was quite successful (didn't even poke herself with the sharp embroidery needle!)
We used one larger-sized heart shaped cookie cutter and traced it onto 3 pieces of felt (two for the sugar cookie colour and one for the royal icing colour) and cut them out. Then i shaved off a little extra from the "royal icing". Then i used a running stitch to piece together the icing and the top of the cookie. Then Ri chose all of her sprinkle colours and she stitched them on. (if anyone has a trick for teaching the lil' ones how to hold on to the needle so it doesn't need to be rethreaded with every stitch, please share in the comments below.) :o) Once that was finished, we whip stitched the bottom of the cookie to the top and left a small hole at the top for stuffing it. I used the leftover thread and the felt scraps leftover from cutting to fill the cookie. Then we whipped the rest of the cookie closed and Ri set it up on a plate at the dinner table as a trick for Daddy when he got home.

Didn't she do a phenomenal job with sprinkle placement??

Today, i think we are going to try our hand at shamrock cookies. 'Cause it's almost that time of year again!! Woo hoo!

Ri figuring out the stamp hinges

Earlier this week, we started on her 100th Day of School Project. The kids have to bring a collection of 100 like items, grouped by tens. When Ri heard i had a stamp collection she was welcome to go through, she was excited! We're going through the old stamps and i am curiously fascinated by how she decides which stamps she'll choose for the project. When she's finished, i'll post more photos, but for now i'll leave with a picture of some of my stamps that makes me wonder "Why did i stop stamp collecting again??"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

D-Day for V-Day

Today is the "last chance, Charlie" to get all our Valentines done for Ri's school.

22 of them, plus 3 for the teachers. Whew!

We also like to throw a little something in them besides candy. But since it was so late in the game, we decided to ditch the homemade paper (a craft i decided would be better executed sans a hard deadline) and we made seed tapes instead using a mixture of flour and h2o as the glue that holds the cosmos, bachelor button and sunflower seeds to the Daily News.

My fingers have also been busy crocheting heart shaped dishclothes for the teachers (which thankfully has helped keep the said fingers out of the M&Ms jar.) We also had to run to a couple stores today to pick up the soap accompaniments to the dishclothes and to deliver our Valentine well-wishes to our beloved grocery clerks we're so fond of and who are also very fond of Ri.

Hoping i can get just one more cloth crocheted tonight and then it's on to assemble the school's book order and pack for our weekend at the in-laws.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I *heart* Orting, WA

You know, if only it wasn't soooo extremely tragic to have to be ready to evacuate everytime there is a 1" rainfall predicted in the Cascades, i would totally move to Orting! It's beautiful there--lots of farms, lots of great views of Mt. Rainier, and it's a totally walkable town with very practical and homey shops for the residents with their beautiful their Victorian/A&C style homes! Call me strange, but i feel there has got to be a better way to build a "community" than by having citizens volunteer every other week to sandbag vital city monuments. :o) lol And if that wasn't enough, the lahar disaster drills in the city would be a bit unnerving too, eh?

It's a great little town for a day trip though, and yesterday was a great day to be antique-ing in Orting (especially because it was snowing!) My Weight Watcher leader (aka dear friend) and i made the trip out there (with a small sidetrack past the house we were going to buy last year, which has curiously not been inhabited yet even though it's sold??!?) to a couple of really nice stores: First Love Antiques and The Wishing Well. My daughter even came along with us and she made out like a bandit, just like me. :o)

First we stumbled upon this...

it was the 50's/60's "blue" that caught our attention
then with a name like "Maynard", it was sure to remind us of Poppa everytime we use it.

(back in the day, Maynard was one of those words my Dad used in our house when i was growing up--and now that i am a mom of a parrotting 6 year old, i am convinced it was used in one of those instances when you couldn't use curse words in front of your child.)

Ri was super excited to have found it, because she'll have an egg beater she can use to help Mom when we're baking. Then we found this fabulous little number and knew it was a match waiting to be made...

The ric rac is over the top! When Ri saw it, she was all giddy with delight over ric rac. She could recall every thing ever made for her with ric rac! And, spoken like a true farmgirl in the making, she said, "Mom, i just love ric rac. It's so cute and happy."

Here's the "Famous Cook" of the even more "famous" Ri's Water Cupcake and Sandwich Shoppe (things she says about her play kitchen when we pretend she owns a restaurant and she wants to make a meal for Momma and Daddy.) Doesn't she look like one hip little Susie Homemaker and especially swanky in front of that toy refrigerator that Poppa built her?
I was also able to do a little Valentine's Day shopping for Ri. She's really into Barbies, and because my parents stored mine for all those years after i was done with them (which included hauling the Barbies with them in the big family move up from AZ to ID), Ri can now play with the ones i had as a child. However, i have read recently that many of the new Barbies don't "fit" with the dolls from my era, because of the modifications they made to make her physique more "real". Plus, the newer Barbies are too "modern" for my tastes--the clothes, the make up--it's a bit too much. So because i really don't want to get into the whole frustrations of "these clothes only fit on these Barbies and those clothes only fit on those" with a 6 year old, and later when my little 6 y/o is 15 i don't want to have to "unteach" standards her toys may have "told" her were okay if ever i hear her utter, "But the Barbie's i played with dressed this way and wore makeup like this", i've banned new Barbies from our home.

Yesterday we found this Barbie and an outfit to go along circa 1985--which would be about the time i was playing with Barbies--which makes me feel like my shelf life is slowly dwindling when i see childhood toys of my youth already sold in antique stores (however that is another topic for another blog on another day.) LOL

The Mary Poppins sticker and colouring book is going to be a big hit too. Ri could sing every word in every song from Mary Poppins by the time she was 5. :o) This shop and purchase made me tingle with glee because it just proves once again that i don't need to live near mall or toy store filled with the new junk kids covet these days, because given a good vintage store, you can still find a relevent gift for today's kids.
And with the ever growing list of projects, i was super excited to find these (the first in my collection):
They'll help me from having to hand draw everything i want to try to embroider.

And Mom, you can call off the hound dogs, i've found all the old fashioned clothes pins i'll need for the plans i have for the valance in the laundry room. Unfortunately, i think i paid for these what we paid for those singles you found me in La Conner, but that's life, eh?

These are even made in "W. Germany".

These are some of the linens i've found recently. Finally got them laundered and pressed. Ri is very thrilled to have a hand embroidered poodle dinner napkin to call her own now. The embroidery on this makes me wish i were that good (maybe someday.) The trolley hanky will become part of the afore mentioned laundry room valance i have in mind. The rosy looking embroidery is what i am really excited about finding this week!

This is a closer look at it in it's new home. I got it last week when J and i ended up in big trouble at Mad Hatter Antiques. :o) I had intended to go to MHA to purchase the chalkware busts of Immaculate Mary and The Sacred Heart of Jesus as a gift for Hubbie and my 8th Anniversary. But because i couldn't talk myself into the $$$ they were asking for them again (for the 4th week in a row), i was distracted by this table runner. I loved the design (red and blue, my faves!) and the crocheted edging is just perfect. But for what? In the store it reminded me of something, and i couldn't really place my finger on the "what".
When i got home, it hit me.

It's the perfect table runner for our prayer table! And now that it was laundered and pressed, i was able to do a little restaging of the table that i had intended on doing this month, but was left so uninspired by the plain jane, mass manufactured table runner i had on there before.

February is a bittersweet month for our family. Normally, the reasons why are only in the back of our minds, however last week my mother-in-law said aloud the words in a phone message that jolted the memory into the cerebral forefront. It was a simple message of Happy Anniversary and to let us know that Fr. Peter (my hubbie's brother) was up visiting her on the 3rd of Feb and that he said a Mass for us and for their father, who died 18 years ago, that day.

I never was able to meet my father-in-law, however from the stories i've heard my in-laws share, i have learned he was an awesome, inspiring, sometimes goofy, beloved man who worked his guts out for his family, for his beliefs, and for the Church. After Hubbie proposed to me, the first date we thought of for a wedding day was Feb 3rd. We figured it would be a good time to travel (not to busy with tourists in Ireland at that time), a slow time for the church and reception area (it'd be a day all to ourselves in the appointment book), and a slow time at work for Hubbie and me and until my hubbie shared the news with his mom, it seemed it would be just another average, ordinary day. It didn't occur to him what other anniversary would be remembered on that day. I remember the look of sheer panic on my hubbie's face as he took in the words from his mom's response to the news--before she had even finished her sentence, he had remembered--, "You remember what else happened on that day don't you?" It was at that time, the 10th anniversary of the passing of Hubbie's father. Respectfully, we all agreed that it would be a very special day to be married. It would be a day that we could feel like we could be honoring Hubbie's dad at our wedding too.

And so to make a long story just a little bit longer, with this table runner cleaned, i was able to really do up the prayer table the way i had been intending to the past couple weeks.

With the prayer of St. Anthony (the saint my father-in-law was named after) and with his and my m-i-l's picture and our "blessing candle", it is now the perfect little spot to pray for them this month.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Out and About

After a few days being couped up last week, cabin fever has set in big time. Next time i need to remember to leave my wallet at home. :o) After all, i live in the "thrift store capital" of our area. Within a mile or 1.5 mile radius there are 6 thrift shops of varying degrees of coolness.

Once i got the wee one to school this morning, i headed to run errands. Again, another instance where errands were sidetracked by window shopping. The bookstore/teaching store is located next to one of the thrift shops benefiting a local hospital, so i always like to pop in there.

There i found this cool little Pyrex dish (with the pattern i remember my mom having when i was growing up) so i had to snatch that up. I am trying to replace as much of my plastics with Pyrex as i can.

Then, as i was gathering materials we'll need for homeschooling our little one next year, i was cruising through the books displayed in the front window and through the window i noticed something different about the layout of the land across the street. I said to myself, "Hey, lookie! A new shop in our poor suffering ol' downtown Kent. I'll have to take a closer look-see."

It is a "treasures" boutique. Lots of neat trinkets and furniture people have found and are trying to sell in a co-op biz. I love places like that, but their stuff always seems so overpriced.

However i did find something that i couldn't walk away from. Ta-da:

Looks like i am not the only one that felt love at first sight when i saw this. :o)

At first, i just loved the charming chaos of this piece. Then i thought i would love it if it wasn't so striking. After putting it down and walking around the store (slowly) twice, i decided it was it's very striking-ness that i found myself attracted too.
Then i looked closer:
Turtles! Oh boy, i thought. Then i tried to convince myself that one cute pattern block did not a valuable investment make. But then i looked closer...

These little people are charming--they remind me of the little pocket Worry People the Guatemalans make. So small and too cute.

These cute little Dutch looking people were adorable too...especially surrounded by the red blocks with hearts and flowers. Look at the little one there sitting on the pumpkin! Those flowers on the left there started making me remember the cool flower wallpaper my mom decorated my bedroom with as a child. Still not a reason to buy this piece though...then...well, you know what happened next.

Upon further inspection, i found these cu-ute little duckling-chicky critters mixed with the adorable flowers looking soooo European. The more i stared at these critters, the more they reminded me of something my daughter drew recently...

these are her renderings of our chickens in a self protrait she drew.
Now i really couldn't put the thing down.
This was almost the deal breaker. Then i remembered a sweet quilt-maker's blog i read recently, and she mentioned how she would design, with the utmost scrutiny, her quilts down to all but 1 block. Then she would randomly pick a pre-cut fabric square from her stash to add in--whether it matched or not. And her quilts were really fabulous looking and unique. She couldn't be the first person with that idea, could she? Maybe the person who made this piece had the same philosophy?
I decided after this piece
that i had to just buy it. So cute and who doesn't love barns and rainbows?

And once i got home and saw this, i was really glad that i had bought it.

It's such a happy little quilt.

And i especially love how they finished the back.
I was so inspired by the quilt and had so much crafty energy that i needed to do something before the little one comes home. So, i was able to work a little on crocheting a rosary.
And now i am wondering which room my new quilt will look best in:

on the new chairs in the living rooms?
on my red oversized chair downstairs in the room with our bright blue walls.
Decisions, decisions.