Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm not a good photographer.

I'm a snapshot kinda gal. Point and shoot. I'm trying to get better, but I have a hard time playing with light and shadows. I really want a niiiiiiice camera, but I think the one I have is just fine. I'm pretty sure the problem is more me than the camera.

I see camera's all the time at the thrift stores, but I don't know what I'm looking for, so I don't ever get anything. Plus they don't have manuals. Not like I read the manual I have now anyway.

So, the end of August/beginning of September was pretty rough for me. I had a LOT going on, and was really, really stressed.

Remember this box?

I mentioned it a few posts back. Yeah, it takes me a while to get around to things sometimes.


So September, rough time, and -

Sara, over at Handy Hooker happened to be having a give away. And I won! I was beyond happy. Man, how I needed a pick me up.

And that box was filled with goodies!!

(here's the part where me being a bad photographer comes in)

I know, it's dark and blurry. I tried a couple times to get a better picture. It's been rainy and dark here (forEVER!) and despite a million windows in our house, we never really get a ton of sunshine inside anyway. I'm working on getting better lighting in the kitchen. Kevin doesn't think there's a problem with the kitchen lights. I think he's crazy.

Anyway - the goodies! SouleMama's new book, Handmade Home, which I had wanted so much! And some Burt's Bees - a skin/facial kind of pampering thing and an outdoor survival kit. I love burts bees. AND homemade strawberry jam. Nom. AND these awesome hand/arm warmer knit(crochet?) things.

Can I just tell you how many sweatshirts and sweaters I ruined in High School by putting thumb holes in them?! I tried to get a good picture of the arm warmers, but remember how I'm not good at photography? Yeah. Sara has some pictures of purple ones on her site. They are awesome and I love them!

I haven't actually made anything from the Handmade Home book (I know, so surprised at my procrastination, right?!) but I love, love, love just looking though it. She is such an inspiration to me. So many times I complain about there just not being time to craft. Yeah? She has 4 children. That she home schools. I have 2. I just need to make it more of a priority. Not only will it bless my family, but it's soothing for me.

Remember my One Pretty Thing Challenge (that I totally failed at?)

I'm bringing it back.

I have so many things that just get moved around and pushed aside. But just because something doesn't work once, doesn't mean that it won't ever work. I just need to keep trying. Keep moving. Keep the effort going. Like with knitting :D

Thursday, October 22, 2009


About 5 years ago now, I taught myself to sew. I really loved patchwork skirts and pants and purses but they were so expensive and I just knew I could make them on my own. And I can. And have. Learning to sew was sometimes frusterating, but mostly satisfying. And it was flexible, because it didn't have to be perfect - I could mess up and figure out a way to fix it.

But sewing isn't always portable.

My mother in law knits (she's made our children some beautiful hats, mittens and sweaters and my favorite blanket ever) and sometimes, while we're all hanging out having a glass of wine, she'll knit while she chats. Or she'll knit at the kids soccer games. It looked so calming.

Also, since I quit smoking (twice since the first time I wanted to learn to knit - this time successfully!) I thought it would be great for keeping my hands busy. Or when I come home from work and the Husband is watching football.

So I got needles. And yarn. And looked up some instructions online. And So, I asked my mother in law to show me - and she did - and it made perfect sense. I got it this time for sure, right?

Except I got home and didn't have it.

This went on for the last 4 or more years. Every 6 months or so I'd pull it out and it wouldn't be long before I shoved it back in the bag. Sometimes I'd be getting it and going along - but then I would make a mistake and just couldn't figure out how to fix it. Stupid knitting.

But I soooooo wanted to learn. I really, really wanted to knit.

Last week I sat back down with my mother in law. And this time, I think I really do have it. The knitting part anyway, cause that's the only thing I'm doing. I guess it's called the garter stitch? That's all I've got. But I'm elated - because I've got it! yay! And, I even made a mistake, and even fixed it well enough that you can barely tell where it was ;D

I'm looking forward to learning more and more! yay knitting!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The wild things.

I know where they are. Our woods.

This morning, while waiting for the bus Colin says

:Our woods are where the wild things are. We can go in there and play just like them . . .

Oh! That's why Daddy built us a path - so we could be the wild things!:

I love that boy.

Bugs. eeeeeeeeeewwww.

We've got bugs. Lots of them. All over the woods and trees and side of the house. I've never seen them before, but I've never lived by the woods before. They look like this:

Only there's not one, oh no. There's like millions (I'm pretty sure that's not an exaggeration!)

Apparently they are box elder bugs. And apparently a lot of the trees behind us are elder trees. Sweet.

The good news is that they are harmless. Other than swarming disgustingly around my house and trying to break in to hang out for the winter (I'm reading about how they are sneaky little things and will just wander in through any itty bitty tiny crack or anything. Or on, you know the freaking wood we use to heat the house). And the other good news is (supposedly) you don't need pesticides to kill them. Just plain ol' soap and water. Yay! I'm not a huge bug killer, really. But I'm not a fan of swarmy creepy beetles in my bedroom either. So I'm soaping the suckers.

Looks like for the next couple of days I'll be ninja-ing around my house with a spray bottle full of dish soap. I'll sneak up on them before they can sneak in on me! Ha!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Outdoor Dining

I've been on the lookout for an old real wood table for the backyard since we moved in August - I wasn't having much luck though. Originally I wanted a patio set - but the prices are pretty outrageous, and there wasn't really anything I loved.

Not long ago I began keeping an inspiration file.

One afternoon, a few weeks ago, the husband and I were wandering through the restore looking for odds and ends for projects for the house. We were hoping for some beams or boards to start  building the back deck. We didn't find much for that, but we they did have a huge collection of wonderful old doors - and among those doors I found this:

I actually hugged it. In the store, put my arms around it and hugged it. I love it. AND it was only 10 bucks! So, we brought it home, I varnished the top - Kev built legs and now we have an outdoor table - yay!

And this morning - yes - that's snow. Hmph.

The plan is for next summer to have a deck where the pebbles are. I'm still working on the seating, eventually we'll have a nice mix of unmatched chairs too.

Because we found the wood for the legs at the restore too and the paint I already had, the total table cost less than 15 dollars - and each chair so far was less than 3 dollars. So way less and way more personal than a patio set.

We still have a lot of work we want to do in the backyard but this was one thing I was anxious to get done and I'm beyond pleased with the way it came out.

Now, if we actually had a day without rain (or snow!!) maybe I could use the table . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bright as yellow, warm as yellow

Grey. Grey, grey, grey.

That's all I've seen the past few weeks.

I love autumn. Adore it. It's by far my favorite season. And we have wonderful, beautiful vibrant autumns - for about two weeks every year.

I live in an area where we have winter for about 9 months -  spring for 2 weeks, summer for 2.5 months and fall for 2 weeks. I'm only slightly kidding.

The rain is stealing my little slice of autumn. It has been grey and dreary and rainy for almost 3 weeks. We've had little splashes of sunshine here and there, but not nearly enough to satisfy my longing for a crisp, bright, colorful fall day.

So, last week, needing desperately to bring some sunshine into my life - I pulled everything out of our pantry and painted the shelves yellow. It's not quite as deep or bright of a yellow as I pictured - but it helps. It's brighter. It makes me smile. It gives me a little sunshine on grey days.

I'm no photographer, so the pictures don't really capture it well. I think eventually I'll paint the walls a creamy white instead of the beige. But, one thing at a time :D


Sometimes you just need to find - or create - joy in the little every day things.

On a side note - how do you spell grey? I guess grey is a colour, while gray is a color (!) but grey just looks right to me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Autumn Curtains

I've been trying to get back into doing little craft projects here and there - I've been seriously slacking.

I told you about tumblr - where I can save and track all the little inspirations I come across. And Soulemama continues to be a source of inspiration for creating a handmade home.

Last week I took about an hour to myself and whipped up these curtains quick. The embroidery around the leaves I've been working on in stolen moments here and there, so that's not quite completed and I would like a second panel for the 2 windows. But it didn't take much time at all to add a little personality and warmth. I'm already thinking of Christmas valances :)

A couple of years ago a piece of red something ended up in a batch of linen I was washing. It stained the fabric and I tried to get it out - but there were still some swirls of pink. I put the fabric away and figured I could use it for a cutter project down the road. It's been probably 3 years since then and that's what I pulled out for these curtains. The coloring is barely noticeable on the window, like it would be up close. It took about 45 minutes to cut and sew the fabric into curtains. Easy enough!

Then I just cut out a couple of leaves out of felt - creating an embroidery swirly trail - fused the leaves on and now am embroidering around that. In all, I've spent maybe 2.5 hours on them - not bad! It's been great with the embroidery because I can "steal" a couple minutes here and there to work on it.

I'm still working on knitting, and now crocheting, but without a ton of luck so far (still!) I think I'm going to have to sit down with my mother in law for a couple hours one of these days.

How are you incorporating the season into your home?

It can't rain all the time.

I've missed a few Gratitude Friday's - and I think it's time to get back into it. I've had a rough few weeks. Seems like it's just one thing after another after another. It's been getting harder and harder to keep my balance.
It's been raining for almost 2 weeks. I don't think that helps. Sometimes rain can be cozy, but when it's grey day after day after day it makes the even the little things seem so big. I'm in serious need of a little sunshine, everywhere in my life right now.

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. ~
Anthony J. D'Angel

 Today I am grateful for

Some quiet alone time

Good, hot coffee

Successfully starting a fire in the woodstove on my own for the first time!

A beautiful place to live, sometimes I look around in absolute amazement that I actually live here

Family and friends

A healthy family

Autumn leaves

Knowing that it can't rain all the time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

May the four winds blow you safely home

I've started and deleted and rewritten this post several times now. I guess I don't need to post anything at all, but I feel the need to.

Friday morning, Matt Bushen passed away due to complications from a car accident.

Matt had only just turned 28 - but he touched so many lives in that short time.

I met Matt several years ago through Kevin and spent quite a lot of time at the house of Matt and Jen the first year I met them. I was always impressed with the kindness and optimism and peaceful energy that almost literally radiated from Matt. He was truly always enjoyable to be around.

There was a benefit held in Matt's honor in Ithaca yesterday. It was originally meant to be a fundraiser for his medical bills - but with the news, turned into a show of support for Matt's family - for Jen and their two year old son Eli, and a celebration of Matt's life. It was beautiful, and I'm glad we were able to be a part of it.

And even more so, I'm glad we were blessed enough to know him.

It shouldn't take a tragedy like this to remind me how to live my life - but it certainly reinforces it.

I've quit smoking. I've been taking better care of my overall health. I've been making all the right steps. But it could all be taken it seconds, no matter how carefully I live my life.

It reminds me to tell the ones I love how much I love them. Daily. And show them. Hug them. Kiss them.

It reminds me that folding laundry or washing dishes or vacuuming floors can sometimes wait.

That we have one wild and precious life to live. To stop worrying about the what-if's. To stop fretting over the future or the past - and get out and enjoy the now.

People weren't remembering yesterday how clean Matt's house was. How much laundry he's done or hours he worked.

They remembered his joy. His love. How he helped them, how he made them feel. His kindness and laughter and generosity.

His memory will live on in all those fortunate enough to know him. His light and spirit will continue on in his young son.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~Annie

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860