Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Place to Call My Own

The room that used to look like this, and then later like this, now looks a little more like this:
Yes, my 4 year old still sleeps in her crib. Why not? Its cozy, still plenty big for her small body, and it easily contains the menagerie of stuffed friends that keep her company at night. But I digress.

The other upstairs room, which used to look like this:
Now looks like this:
Can you even stand how much better it is now? I can't. I keep going into my new office, my very own room, and fiddling with projects and tweaking the arrangements on my shelves, and generally being happy that I finally did it.
The bouquet of hydrangeas were at my wedding. I'm not usually one to decorate with dead flowers, but I just can't bring myself to throw these onto the compost pile. They were vibrant and fresh that day, and although their new-ness has faded, they have become more lovely with time. A good metaphor for our marriage.
I finally moved the kids into a room together (they love it, by the way), ignoring my un-founded fears that they would be sleep deprived and too crowded for comfort. I shared a smaller room with TWO siblings when I was that age, and it certainly didn't hurt me.
I do feel a little greedy, taking over an entire room for my office space, but it is my house, after all. Those little people are just borrowing space until they are grown up and ready to face the world. Might as well start teaching them to share and get along with each other first.
And having the space in which to be inspired and write and create and design and sew has been a very long time coming.

The other side of the room still needs some serious help. But for now I am content. No more setting the sewing machine up on my dining room table then putting everything away before dinner. Now it can stay plugged in and be at-the-ready continually.
And hopefully very soon, she will have a fancy printer as companion, and I won't have to make multiple trips to town each week to fill pattern orders.
This here is a little celebratory wallpaper for you to use if you like. Just click to enlarge, then right-click to save to your computer. For your personal use only, please.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Some big things going on around here today.
Including, but not limited to, the hooking up of high-speed internet! Woot! Until very recently, our only options were dial-up or satellite. I am not excited about switching email addresses, but otherwise, will be glad to turn that old satellite dish into a birdbath.
The biggest question is when, in the 8-5 window of time, the technician will arrive. And will he have the courtesy to call my cell phone as requested, if he arrives when I am at an appointment this morning or taking the Kindergartener to school? 

Oh... the anticipation!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Old Cupboard

I just adore old blue paint... don't you?
And Robin's Egg Blue is my happy color any day of the week.
It can be pretty hard to come by painted blue cupboards out here in the West, so I made do.
A second-hand-store cupboard with the right style and dimensions...
some new paint (Miller 0689 Atmosphere), a can of brown shoe polish, and an intense amount of elbow grease was all it took.
I bet you can't wait to see where the cupboard now lives and what sits on its shelves...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Garland the Passionless Mounds

"Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time;
let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us; a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."
-General John Logan, General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

Friday, May 25, 2012

When a Bookworm is Having a Baby...

...and drops a few un-subtle hints that she might like something like this for decorations at the shower...
a crafty sister gets busy dutifully making some folded book sculpture hangy-things.
Because she loves her little bookworm sister, and is happy that there will soon be another girl to help balance the scales (current tally: 6 boys/2 girls... all ages 6 and under, I might add).
Folded books are all over the internet these days, found on people's mantels and being sold in etsy shops.
Never one to leave a new idea un-tried, but fully anticipated being bored to tears by the time I hit page 10, this crafty sister set to work.
Following a combination of instructions found here and here, I folded page after page.
Its a surprisingly therapeutic and addictive craft.
For those inquiring minds out there... both books were found at our local thrift shop. Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls and Twilight. Because she likes classics and Pacific Northwest vampires.
And then, because this sister couldn't leave well enough alone, a few more books were sacrificed in order to make the Mama and her future bookworm happy.

A festive combination of pages from The Hobbit, printed with the letters of Baby Girl's name,
pages from a vintage storybook and scrapbook papers cut and layered, a sweet circle bunting purchased here (that's where I draw the line... cutting out circles),
then sewn together with a zig-zag stitch on my machine.
Now, when that baby has been born and stolen away to another state to live, she will look up at the lovely decorations in her nursery and know in her heart that her Auntie Beth loves her best.
Then she will look at her parents with an accusing eye and beg them to move back home where they belong.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.
I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can't do a handstand--
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said--
I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head.
Poem by the brilliant Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It has been a very long time since I shared pictures captured on our trail camera with you. There haven't been any creature spectacularly new, and winter time is typically quiet on the animal front. But the woods are coming alive again, and although there haven't been any baby deer as of yet, we have seen plenty of Coyotes, both day and night...
and this mysterious creature...
Too small to be a Cougar, too un-marked to be a Racoon, and look at that tail... too long to be a Bobcat! It was moving so fast that the pictures are all blurred. Our only guess is that one of the members of our Beaver family was out for a jog.

And of course there are always pictures of my very favorite woodland creature...
All furry and moving like stealth through the trees. He looks right at home out there in the wild, and I often have to pick leaves and sticks out of his hair and off of his clothes when he returns... at least he returns at all, right? That must mean I have him at least partially tamed.

As far as birds go, there has been some excitement lately... two newly-identified species, and a photo capture of the elusive American Goldfinch, which until now has only been sighted along the driveway...
This Black-Headed Grosbeak showed me a glimpse of his yellow underarms, which I previously didn't know existed...
And new to me is this House Finch, with his lovely strawberry-colored feathers...
Also new, and not nearly as sweet, is the ornery Brown-Headed Cowbird caught harrassing our collection of Band-Tailed Pigeons...
I really need to stop shooting pictures through our storm windows. My new lens is ashamed that I am showing you these pictures at all. I can hear it, sitting behind me on the shelf, complaining about how badly I am mis-representing its abilities. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sampler Apron

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my friend Nora and her sewing skills. You may not have noticed, because I sort of sandwiched her in between a clip of me making it onto the local news and a picture of a fire in my new woodstove.

Nora is really, really good with a sewing machine. I mean really good. Not only can she sew, she also listens and interprets well. After a few sessions of helping her set up her etsy shop and talking with her about launching her online business, and complaining about the number of aprons in my closet that don't get used because there's one thing or another about them that I don't like... she went home with my ugliest (but most perfectly shaped) apron and some bits of fabric from my stash.

A few days later, she gave me this:
Thee most perfect apron ever, I tell you.
And double-sided even.
Perfect fabric (too bad both are now out of print, or else she would make one for you too),
perfect shape, perfectly long ties that can wrap around to the front if I so choose, and look at the detail she intuitively added just for me.
Little x's all around the edge? Oh yes, please!

If you have some favorite fabric in your stash and a favorite apron that you want knocked off, Nora is your woman. Tell her I sent you!

PS. The pan I'm holding is full of homemade hamburger buns, a revelation that you simply must try. I'll get around to posting the recipe soon, promise.

PSS. Windham Williamsburg Sampler and  Moda Blackbird Designs Beach House are the fabric lines. Both lines need to be resurrected, don't you think?