Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day of the Dead Apron

(double-click on the image to get a closer up view of this fun fabric!)
Shilo has become a big girl and moved into her own apartment. We thought we might wake up some mornings to find her in the guest room, and she did leave a toothbrush for just such instances, but as of yet that has not happened. She's been "gone" now for a bit over a month, so I think those first scary nights are far behind her. She's been making lists of things that she needs or wants for her new life. After writing one of these lists, she let me know that she desperately needed an apron. This from the girl who was NEVER - EVER - going to cook anything besides macaroni and cheese. She has found that cooking is kind of fun, and even rewarding at the end. Well I'll be darned. Who woulda thunk it.
I couldn't quite decide what fabric to use. I knew Shilo needed something bright, fun and funky, but hadn't found just the perfect fabric yet. Until....

One fateful evening when I opened my front door to find this sweet bag hanging on the doorknob. The colors, yo-yo clasp, and pattern screams The Happy Zombie so I knew that this was the prize I had won for playing along with Monica's hide 'n seek game and guessing that she was in Phoenix, Arizona for a quick trip. I LOVE this little bag and have used it almost everyday since. But that fabric. THAT FABRIC. THAT screams of Shilo. She has this weird (well, I think it's weird anyway), liking for skulls. Not the scary kind, but the almost silly kind. She has them on her keyring, as candle holders, tattooed on her arm... I quickly emailed Monica to ask her where she got that fabric because I needed some.
Hers came from Phoenix, but with a quick search of etsy I found this similar Day of the Dead fabric by Alexander Henry. Cute! Two contrasting fabrics, a little bit of pom-pom trim for a Fiesta flare and Shilo's apron was born. It's so perfectly her. She had better be making her Mama something yummy while she's wearing it...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Stills - Barns

This week's Sunday Stills challenge is barns and who doesn't love barns! I'm always making Riff stop the car so that I can get a shot of another barn, and I grew up in Northeastern Oregon where some of the very best old red barns stand against the rugged Eagle Cap mountains. Awesome sights! This week Ed said to get a different prospective. Maybe inside the barn. Well, this week I didn't have access to the inside of a barn, so I took my camera with me on my travels hoping to get something a little different.
This first barn is in Southern Washington, outside of Grays Harbor. There were what seemed to be thousands of ducks swarming the skies above the barn and field. In this picture you can just see one leg of the swarm. I don't know what they were doing, but it was an incredible sight to see and you should have heard them all. quack...quack...quack. Incredible.

Just down the road, headed west, sits this old weathered barn. Here in the country, barns that sit close to the road like this one does are often used for advertising. Anybody up for a celebration of Washington's oldest covered bridge? Don't forget to vote for the Mayor!

I had never seen an A-Frame barn before, had you? I love this one. It is also on the Washington side of the river, out in the woods around the Deep River area. It was clear back on some country roads that we were exploring, hidden in the tree's. What I wouldn't give to go inside this on.
Thanks so much for coming on my barn tour today. Now I'm off to visit all of yours...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fortunes Told

And when might this start?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Trimming

Do you remember the commercial where the women are in the house talking about the new window blinds, completely oblivious to the fact that the man is in the backyard being thrown around and blown-up by the grill? A very similar scene took place at our house the other day. I was in the living room where we have a huge picture window that looks down onto our backyard. I was cleaning away - sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, throwing away old newspapers, and singing along with Meatloaf on the stereo; just having a grand old time. At the same time, Riff was in the backyard, trimming the maple tree. Our backyard is on a pretty steep hill, so the tree doesn't look very big in this picture, but it is a normal sized tree, not just a bush. This tree has a tendency to grow straight up which blocks the view of the bay, so every couple of years it has to be trimmed back. Anyway, there's Riff up on the ladder with his big long trimmer thingy-ma-bob happily trimming away. As the story goes, he was actually IN the tree, trying to step back onto the ladder when our very own Whomping-Maple decided to reach out and smack him across the face. His balance was thrown off and down went the ladder with Riff falling through the air and landing on top of the toppled over ladder. Very much reminds me of said commercial, which has made me giggle hysterically to myself all week at random times. Now mind you, he wasn't badly injured, just some scrapes, bruises and a little bit of swelling around the wrist (nothing broken). I wouldn't be laughing if he had, say, broken his neck or something. But as it stands, no major injuries, it really does paint a funny picture.
The moral of the story is....If you were to fall out of a tree at our house, or get blown-up by a barbecue grill, we'll ask if you're hurt - if we can get the words out between the snorts of laughter.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Storybook Cottage

If that small brown rabbit were to listen closely, he would hear the sound of children laughing and teasing as they fished in the pond at the end of the driveway. He would hear ducks quacking and the soft summer sound of a Mama cow calling to her little one. If that bunny were to sit very still, he would soon drift to sleep under the warm glow of that July sun. He would awaken lying in the sweet green grass under the crab-apple tree with honeybee's happily humming around him. That bunny would be thirsty after his nap, and if he were to hop up to the little red door on Storybook Cottage and knock quietly, he would be immediately shown into the kitchen for a nice refreshing glass of lemonade by the Mama who lives there. She would offer him cookies as well, then call for the children to come in and meet their guest. Those kids would push and scramble through the door, honored by the opportunity to meet such a wonderful guest. Then that bunny would be asked to spend the night, and help with the dishes, of course.

I had the urge on Easter Sunday to do a little painting. I love to paint, but don't do it very often because I love to do everything and there's just not that much time in my days. I've seen so many wonderful, fun mixed-media artwork and wanted to give it a shot, so I dug out this little 4 x 6 canvas board and had my hand at it. Nothing professional about my creativeness, but it's mine all the same. I modeled my little Storybook Cottage after a house that we lived in for a few years as kids on Cricket Flat. This little house sits about 12 miles out in the country on 1,000 or so acres. The land was leased out to a farmer who ran cows on it and we were allowed to run and explore those acres at will. There were two ponds on the property as well as an old homestead and orchard. An incredible place to grow-up. I have beautiful memories of those years and imagine that everybody who ever sees that house, including a little brown rabbit, will feel the love and joy that radiates from those sweet walls and want to go inside for a spell. I hope you can also feel that magic...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

(originally uploaded by HDR Cafe')

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vintage Apron Remix

I made this apron for my partner in the Vintage Apron Remix swap through the Flirty Apron site. What a fun swap! It gave me a reason (like I needed one!) to prowl our local thrift stores, yard sales and antique shops in search of just the right vintage linen. I had a lot of fun and even dragged Riff along for some of the trips, but alas, the right linen was not to be found. Finally, there on etsy I spied the absolute perfect tablecloth. Gold and black embroidery on off-white linen fabric. Heavenly. I was also tickled that the seller was in Portland, Oregon, so even though I didn't find my tablecloth here on the north coast, it still came from our state.
I used an Indygo Junction pattern as my base and changed it up for my own needs. The waistband and ties are a gold silky material and I added a vintage-style button on the waistband just for a bit of character. I'm really happy with how this apron turned out and have enough tablecloth left to make another. Yeah! I hope my secret partner likes it as well....

Monday, April 06, 2009

Turn The Page...Tuesday

(Originally uploaded HERE )

Adrienne over at Some of a Kind is hosting Turn the Page...Tuesday, a book review/recommendation on the first Tuesday of the month. I love to read, so thought I'd join her. Here is my recommendation for this month. I actually just finished reading it yesterday and miss the characters already!

'Wednesday, 31st October
Dia de los Muertos
It is a relatively little-known fact that, over the course of a single year, about twenty million letters are delivered to the dead. People forget to stop the mail - those grieving widows and prospective heirs - and so magazine subscriptions remain uncancelled; distant friends unnotified; library fines unpaid. That's twenty million circulars, bank statements, credit cards, love letters, junk mail, greetings, gossip and bills, dropping daily on to doormats or parquet floors, thrust casually through railings, wedged into letter-boxes, accumulating in stairwells, left unwanted on porches and steps, never to reach their addressee. The dead don't care. More importantly, neither do the living. The living just follow their petty concerns, quite unaware that very close by, a miracle is taking place. The dead are coming back to life.'

This is the first paragraph of The Lollipop Shoes, the sequel to Chocolat written by Joanne Harris.

Vianne Rocher now goes by the name of Yanne, trying to create a "normal" environment for her two daughters, Annie and Rosette. She no longer uses magic charms to add sparkle to their worlds, the wind isn't blowing them back and forth and Yanne is soon to marry Theirry, the older pompous landlord of her Parisian Chocolate shop. Soon a new friendship blossoms for Yanne and her daughters with the vivacious Zozie de L'Alba, who blows into their shop bringing sparkle and laughter and wearing the fabulous lollipop shoes that catch Annie's (Anouk) eye. But Zozie has her own brand of magic and a dark and devious nature that threatens to tear this little family apart.

This is a very good read, especially for anyone who loved Chocolat. It's almost a thriller, full of magic, deception and even a bit of evil. A fast read that you won't be able to put down. I bought my copy in a little book store in Red Lodge, Montana. I found it in their used book section and when I brought it up front, the shopkeeper couldn't find it anywhere in his computer program. He finally found it, but the program told him that this particular printing had never gone to press. Hmmmm....very interesting. A bit of magic for me, wouldn't you say? I've googled it myself have not found the same cover so far, but have found that "The Lollipop Shoes" is the title of the UK version and in the US it was published under the title of "The Girl Without A Shadow". Again, interesting...

Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse

It's been a beautiful sunny weekend here on the North Coast, a weekend to dig into the rich dark soil, getting your hands and knee's dirty as you begin the restorative task of turning over the winter dirt and finding the fresh spring soil underneath. As I worked this afternoon, the smell of fresh mown grass and newly blooming daffodils surrounded me. The sweet sun beat down on my pony-tailed head, warming my spirit and my soul. There is something about gardening that is so refreshing, so fundamental. A time to think and pray and just be. I didn't solve any problems while I was down there today, but I did feel a little bit of my balance coming back. Dirt under the fingernails will do that, and just the act of digging that shovel into the ground and tossing that soil around makes things just a little bit better.

Thank you for visiting our little herb and veggie patch today. I hope you got a little digging of your own down. It's time to get dirty and restore your soul~

This is the time of year that I dig out my gardening books and magazines. What will catch my eye and imagination this planting season? A cottage garden is always my favorite, a mix of veggie's and old-fashioned flowers to tantalize the senses. Lavender and Shasta Daisies, Cosmo's and Blue Flax will reside beside tomato plants, squash, onions and Rosemary. Sweet Pea's and tender Spinach leaves will soon be shooting their way up through the dark soil. I can almost taste the green goodness already...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Back Again...

I'm back, sort of. My sweet little laptop is home and feeling fine, humming along just as smoothly as it did on it's very first day of life. (Thank you Rusty!!)
In my techno-absence, our little Noah boy came to visit and he did bring his mommy, Brittany, and his great aunt, Stacey, with him. We had a wonderful rainy visit, a lovely time at the zoo and were way sad to see them leave again. Then an Animal Planet camera crew and producer came to interview Riff and Kevin about the elk rescue. It's not everyday that a camera crew is in your living room, so that was pretty fun to watch. We don't yet know when they are planning to air the program, but I think it will be a bit. I'll let you know...
We have some other things going on around here that are pretty hairy. Not anything I'm going to talk about here on this blog, but I may not be around as much for awhile - then again, I might. You just never know about me.
This week a friend of mine hung a clipping from a magazine in my cubicle. It is a little paragraph that basically says that we all go through hard times now and again, that's the cycle of life, but to try, even in those hard times, to find some joy in your days. I hope you are all finding some joy in these early April days...