Saturday, August 30, 2008

Project Therapy

What have we been doing at the ole' rainy night ranch? Well, in order to keep our hands and minds busy so that we don't notice how quiet our house has become without Noah (oh, and Brittany too!), we have begun painting everything that we come in contact with while playing the stereo at the top of it's lungs. (I know. Stereos don't have lungs per-say.) If you happen to pop over, don't stand still to long or somebody will probably paint you as well. Just a warning...

Riff tackled the bathroom a month or so ago. The paint color is "Aspiration" and I love it. We still have a long way to go in here ~ new counter tops, mirror, towel racks, flooring, yada yada, but it's a start. So much brighter and fresher.

Our house was built in 1955 and has the original tile in the bath/shower that we were trying to match. I think we came pretty close.

Shilo decided she wanted a big girl room now. She bought herself a new bedspread, sheets, pillows, nightstand and artwork, then bought a gallon of paint and went to town. (Dad and I finished it up for her, of course!) Her paint color is called Madison Road and is a really pretty jade color. It looks darker here than what it really is. Once we find (or make) some curtains, she'll be all set.

We're working on Dustin's room right now. He picked "Windsor Moss". It's a dark green, but really pretty especially when the sunlight shines through the window. (Yes, we did see the sun for a few minutes today!) Then we will move on to the guest/craft room before doing the living room. After that, I'm thinking some wallpaper peeling in the dining room and kitchen is in order. I'll keep you posted.

The craft room (okay not room, more like corner) has been busy also. More baby blocks keep emerging from my sewing machine. The Cooper blocks are an order from my etsy shop and the Noah blocks are for...Noah. He turns 1 next Sunday - without Grandma & Grandpa to sing happy birthday to him, I might add. (a tear may be sliding down my cheek right now)

I've been trying to paint a "On A Rainy Night" sign to hang above my computer but other things keep taking precedence. I wonder if my family's getting tired of eating dinner with the guest being this wooden board?

There's some secret knitting projects going on in the evenings as well as some embroidery that I can't yet talk about. Keeping busy, busy, busy, but we know all to well that our Noah isn't here. We also know that he is perfectly fine without us ~ it's Grandma and Grandpa who aren't fine without him. Wah!!!
Enough of my pity party. I promise not to whine anymore. Well, at least not where you can "hear" me...

Anybody need anything painted?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Hey, Stacey is giving away one of her gorgeous necklaces.

Go on ~ get outta here....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Miss Daisy Tutorial

I made some little piggy scissor holders back in February, I think, that my daughters quickly scooped up to be their cell phone holders. Cris at Country Patch has been asking me to do a tutorial on them for her and in my true nature it has taken me, oh, just 6 months to do that. Here it is Cris. Sorry it took so darn long but that's how things go at my house!

First, you will need to make a template for your piggie. Just grab something round in the size that you want. Mine's about 4 1/4" diameter. I used the lid from a candle to make my template. You will want to just draw your little piggy legs onto the template. Easy-Cheezy - you can do it!

Grab some wool felt and cut away. You need two pink wool bodies - one for the front, one for the back.

Cut two ear shapes out of your pink wool. I just eyeball these instead of making a template for them. Go just a tad big, you can always cut them down, but you do want them to be a bit floppy when stitched on. Stitch them to the FRONT of Miss Daisy, so that they hang down just a bit. Piggy's ears do not stand straight up at attention, they are floppy. I stitch mine on at about 11 and 1 if you were looking at a clock face. Does that make any sense to anyone besides me??

Grab your basket of fabric scraps and your button jar. Pick out some fun colorful fabric and buttons for Miss Daisy's eyes, nose and ears. I used two matching dark brown buttons for her eyes, a piece of pink fabric with stars for her nose and some fun flowered fabric for the inside of her ears. With the fabric pieces, I cut them with pinking shears, glued them to Miss Daisy in the appropriate places and, using a simple stitch in matching embroidery floss, tacked them down. I also cut out two little daisies from fabric and glued them down where her nostrils should be. Four small pieces of black fabric made-up her hoofs; two for the front and two for the back. With colorful embroidery floss, I stitched a flower on the front of Miss Daisy and one on her cute little behind. Depending on which flowers you pick, Miss Daisy can quickly turn into Miss Lavender, Miss Tulip, Miss Cosmo, whoever you wish her to be.
Using a small piece of pink yarn and a crochet hook, I made Miss Daisy a tail out of 4 chain stitches and then 4 single crochets back up the chain. This technique gives you the little curly-que for the tail. I then just stitched her tail on with more embroidery floss.
Cut out two more pieces of fabric with your pinking shears, just a touch smaller than your original piggy circle size and glue to the insides of your piggy. Holding these sides together, blanket stitch Miss Piggy together, starting and stopping your opening on the far side of each ear.
Oh, I almost forgot! I stuffed Miss Daisy's legs with some fiberfil so that she would stand up just a bit easier, (with some propping of course!)
Miss Piggy is now full of personality and ready to hold your embroidery scissors and crochet hooks or your cell phone.

And there they go, wagging their tails behind them!

You can also use re-purposed wool pants or skirts to make your piggies...

or use the same basic technique to make froggies...

kitties or anyone else that your little heart desires.

This is my first tutorial, so if you find that I've left out any important steps, just email me or leave a comment and I'll come up with the answer, even if I have to make something up!

Have fun whipping up some cute and fast piggies!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Achy-Breaky Hearts

Tomorrow we leave to help Brittany and Noah move back to Wyoming.

Noah's Daddy, Chris, has never been able to join them out here in Oregon as the original plan was and they are tired of being apart. A year is a long time. Noah "talks" to his Daddy on the phone everyday but has only seen him twice. Chris has missed most of Noah's first year milestones, so they're loading up and going back. And honestly, the cost of living is a bit cheaper back there, so hopefully things will be easier for them.

Our heads completely understand and get it, our grandma and grandpa hearts, on the other hand, are aching and our house will be so quiet...

"Don't tell my heart, my achy-breaky heart; I just don't think it'd understand..."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sea Lion Hugs

What would happen if you hugged a sea lion?
Would he smile and hug you back?
Would he ask you to hop on
and tell you to hang on tight?
Would he take you for a ride?
Would he bark at you happily
and show you to his friends?
Would he teach you how to catch a fish?
Would he help you learn to swim?


Would he bark and growl and carry on?
Would he tell you to go away?
Would he push you off of his rock?
Would you be afraid of him?
Would he say that you woke him up?
Would he smack you with a fin?

What would happen if YOU hugged a sea lion?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Small Town America ~ Elgin, Oregon

Elgin, Oregon is my home ~ the land rough and remote and I call it mine. Even though I've been grown-up and gone now for more years than the 18 that I was spent here, my family roots, heart and soul are still deeply embedded in the Union County soil.

Elgin is a small farming and logging community that sits in pretty little Indian Valley in the Blue Mountains of Northeastern Oregon, population around 1200. I swear that these 22 years later, when I pull into town, the same little old men are still sitting on the same little old bench in front of the downtown corner market. Things and times have not much changed in this remote corner of the world. My little brother (born much later than the rest of us, and raised in northern California) is a city boy and can't imagine why we would want to go back there, that things are so behind the times. I try to explain to him that those are the exact reasons, besides the absolute love of the land, that my husband and I, my older brothers and sisters, want to go back. It's home. Enough said.

This is the old Elgin Opera House and City Hall. I'm not sure what goes on in the Opera House these days, but when I was a kid it was a movie theatre. There wasn't a movie shown every weekend, just now and again. It's a great old opera house with a wonderful balcony and red velvet curtains and seats. There is a notorious story about an old pistol-carrying character who got excited during an old western and shot the bad guy on the screen when my mom was a teenager. During my growing-up years that hole was still there in the screen. Of course, it had to be pointed out and talked about whenever you went to a movie. I wonder if it's still there?
You know you're in a small town when the grain elevator is located right behind city hall!

"I am from the cool feel of the big stone porch on a hot summer day
where the sound of laughter and the clink of dishes makes you know that you are safe.
I am from brick."
This is the house that my Mom grew-up in, the house that I wrote the above passage about in my poem "I Am From Hammer and Nails". My grandparents lived here for many years and we all have beautiful, loving memories of this place. My sister, Susan, recently wrote about the pantry in the basement of this house in a post about canning. To me, it brings back memories of Daddy-Longleg spiders and dust; to her, the smells and sounds of canning. Behind the house, there was a firepit with Grandpa's great big fat hotdogs roasting away and long stone benches that were so cool to lay on on a hot summer day. So many cousins running around, so much love.
I'm keeping on eye on this old family home, and if it ever were to come up for sale again...SNAG!! Somethings should just be kept in the family. I can definately see myself being the Grandma in this house.

My brother and his wife, Todd and Gidge, bought this house a couple of years ago from an old Elgin family. This wonderful old house belonged to our shop teacher. Mr. Hendrix was the wood shop teacher for more years than I can even imagine and so very talented. His students won all kinds of awards for the projects that came out of that shop. I had him freshman year and made a cedar-lined chest that I no longer have. It was a toy-box for the girls when they were small, but was pretty heavy and had to be left behind in one of our moves years ago. A classmate of mine built a Grandfather Clock that was just incredible and won a state competition, if I remember right. I also took ceramics from this same teacher. He was no-nonsense and taught us all so much. Anyway, off the track there, Todd and Gidge's house sits on an acre in town, has a huge garden spot and a small pond that they have stocked with bullfrogs and bass. So much fun, but the best part is the big shop that sits behind the house with a big workbench that was signed by some of Mr. Hendrix's students that must have come to his house for special lessons. We got a huge kick out of finding our uncle's name scrawled on this workbench. Uncle Phil is our mom's oldest brother, so does that give you any idea of how long Mr. Hendrix was the shop teacher?? Decades! Our Grandfather and Dad also re-roofed this house for the Hendrix's years ago. Small town living has so many many connections and circles...even when you come back so many years after leaving.

"Here we have Elgin High, winning her way to fame.
The purple and white will shine tonight
and romance lies in her name..."
How proud we were to be Elgin Huskies, of course we had our own version of the school song, sang to the same tune.
"Juniors never stumble,
Seniors never fall;
We sober up on pure alcohol.
Send those Freshman out for gin
and don't let a sober Sophomore in!"
I wonder if that has been passed down all these years and if the kids still sing it?

I didn't get all the pictures that I wanted this trip, so sometime there will be an Elgin Part 2. You NEED to see C-Zer's drive-in, my Grandparents old hardware and lumber store among other sights.

May you all be blessed with the love of a small town...

Friday, August 01, 2008

80's Ladies

Your 80s Hunk Is

Jason Bateman

Since I'm a product of the 80's, I just had to do this though I don't agree with my match. I had pictures of John Schneider and Scott Baio plastered on my bedroom walls, but never Jason Bateman. What I wouldn' have given for one wild ride in the General Lee...