Thursday, January 28, 2010


Sometimes I come home from my day, walk into my house, throw on the most comfortable clothes I own (which are normally old worn out sweatshirts that I have for ten years), curl up under a blanket with the sleepy little one I just woke from a nap and snuggle. Quietly.
I look around me and think to myself how lucky I am. How much I have. How much I haven't lost and the things I do gripe about, the little things that bother me, the tiny things that shouldn't be thought about twice....are let go. Because someone out there, while I'm being bothered by little things, is dealing with something so much bigger. So much harder. From that... I gather perspective.
Today was one of those sometimes. And the little things have been let go. It's a good feeling.

She Had Them All

Looks that is. She had them all. Happy, sad, ornery, calm... she had them!!!! I'm so glad I got to play with her for a little while!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I'm beginning to think that learning the ABC's (not singing, but recognizing and putting letters together and learning the sounds, etc) is a lot like potty training.....where patience is a virtue and they will learn when they are ready. Slowly we are learning.

I have a friend in Canada that inspired me to put my letters together. I took these two years ago, and filed them away. Back in the day when car rides would put my kiddo to sleep. This was our car ride letter adventure. He, at that time, knew the alphabet song, and it isn't until now we are using these every day.

So, this is for my baby. For his room. To help. To spark creative juices. Because I love him so.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Times Two

The mama of this baby has been through an amazing yet trying time. It has been a road of happiness and hiccups. One that I can't even imagine walking down.

But she gets to see these eyes every day.

And these.
And this look.

And those pursed lips.

And those.

And share a part in this bond every. single. day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again!

So... it's been a while since I took pictures of other people's children. Since last October really. Been a while. So these two boys were my initiation into this year's journey. And let me tell you, they were awesome. I had so much fun with them and aside from almost being conked in the head with a giant stick, (thanks parents for saving me!!!) it went really well.

They aren't brothers. But they sure act like it.
They are cousins.
What fun to have cousins to play with!!!

Oh, and this is what happens when parents try to ride the wibbly wobbly things at the park...they get bucked off!!! I've also heard stories about what happens when you take a swing at one of the wibbly wobblies with a bat.....not good. Not good at all.

Cranberry Streusel Muffins

Don't you love the word "Streusel." I do. I reminds me of my grandmother. I can just picture the way she would pronounce it. German. Hard yet soft at the same time. I bet you're saying it, trying to sound German right now......I can't say the word streusel without saying it twice, the second time with an accent!

So, even though I didn't do a lot of Christmas decorating this year, I did manage to fill my house with cranberries. I had them everywhere. I love decorating with cranberries at Christmas time. So, after the holidays are over I have an enormous amount of cranberries... and I have to find ways to use them. I came across an awesome muffin recipe and thought I would share it here. (I know, one of these days I'm going to share something nutritious, as I probably come off as some sugar eating feign, which some days I am, but most, not.)

Streusel Topping Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Muffin Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup milk
3 cups fresh cranberries

For the topping, in a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Add the butter pieces and combine the mixture with a fork until the topping resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper liners in muffin pans. In a separate medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
With an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (when it says 5 minutes, it means 5 minutes as they won't be near as fluffy if you skip this step!!!) At low speed, beat one egg in at a time, then add vanilla, sour cream, and milk until combined. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients at a time and beat until just combined. With a spatula, evenly fold blueberries into batter.
Scoop batter into muffin pans and fill each cup to the top. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer comes out clean.
Makes 24 muffins

Song: Dream, The Cranberries

Heart Felt

Another way to repurpose sweaters is to "felt it" which all that really means is to wash it and shrink it so it doesn't stretch anymore. Apparently there is a whole felting movement in the craft world right now, I have really boarded that train, but it's fun to experiment a little. In order to felt a sweater must be made of 100% wool or cashmere. Cotton doesn't work, and you can use blends, but I've found they don't turn out nearly as nice as pure ones do. I made these stockings out of felted wool a couple years ago, and had left overs for which I made little stick hearts for Valentines day this year.

All I did was cut out tow heart shapes. Sewed them together. Stuffed them with the scraps of which I just cut and then stuck them on top a stick. You can also do a blanket stitch on these, but I didn't have enough time for that!

Song: Have a Heart, Bonnie Raitt

Repurposed Sweater Projects

I've been trying very hard, in this new old house of mine to keep things Au natural, the decorating is a slow process for me this time around as I'm thinking about it a little bit more. Don't get me wrong I have already spent a small fortune on new furniture, but I want the surrounding things to be natural or remade. I'm constantly reminded of how much I already have and I have piles and piles of things in the basement that are awaiting garage sale season. So, this time around I want to make sure I got use out of what I already have.

This is just a little project I did. Really quick. Really simple. Before throwing away this old sweater I decided that it needed to have a second life. If only for a while.

My loft, is completely cream/ white. (the above is the bedroom in it) I love cream and white. It will be decorated in only black and white photos or those of the natural color scheme. I've always wanted a white area, full of afternoon and morning sunlight, and now I have it!!! (I'm getting complaints there is no color anywhere yet... but no fear, there will other areas!)

I'm always looking for things to fill space, but not necessarily knick knacks. These orbs are all over the place right now, so I decided to make my own cozy warm ones. All I did was cut out 6 shapes and tack them to Styrofoam balls. I left the edges raw, as I love raw edges. (I have a lot of clothing with raw edges, so this seemed to just "fit" me). Easy as that. Not hard. Simple.

Song: Weezer, Sweater Song

Monday, January 11, 2010


Seems like lately the photos around here have been a little lacking... so I left the house, camera in tow, kiddo on my heals and headed to the gardens. I love it there. It's humid. My camera fogs up. I get all warm and toasty and have to take my coat off. And when I'm done looking for inspiration, I sit on the bench and breathe in and out, and in and out. Ahhh. Just what I needed.

Song: By Your Side, Sade

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reusable Resource Cookies

The following recipe is a rarity cooked in my family. They are my brother's favorite cookie, but being a diabetic, he doesn't get to eat many, if any. So we eat them for him. (Though, technically, I shouldn't be eating them either!) Now, if I call them by their real name... I get disgusted looks, especially from young people. So I won't call them by their real name. But the key ingredient in these cookies is what makes them taste out of this world, and back in the day, it was a clever way to use such ingredient.

What ingredient am I talking about.....
Bacon grease.
Think about it. What is butter? Grease.
What is oil? Grease that isn't solidified.
So what is wrong with bacon grease. Nothing! It's just flavored.
Now before you scoff... try. Seriously. They. Are. Fan-tast-ic!!!! And I am not even a cookie eater.
Unless oreos are in the house.
Which they never are.
Because I would eat a bag at one sitting.
They are that irresistible to me.
Then I wouldn't be able to move for three days.
Because I would turn into one giant cream stuffed oreo.

Reusable Resource Cookies
1 and 1/2 cup if raisins. Cooked over medium heat until plump. (Cover in water) Reserve 1 cup of raisin water. Drain the rest of the raisins.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup creamed bacon grease (cooled)
2 Eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon.
1 cup raisin water
1 teaspoon soda

Cream together sugar and bacon grease. Add two eggs. combine 3 cups flour, nutmeg and Cinnamon. Add to mixture. Add one teaspoon soda to the reserved raisin water. Mix together with above mixture. Stir in raisins.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and back for 9 minutes. These cookies are so soft and wonderful!!!!

Gum Chewing Dino Loving 4 year Old

"It was an unusually warm January day the day you were born. You were born with black hair and....."



"Do you think Anklyosaurus' are herbivores or carnivores and if an Anklyosaurus got into a fight with a T-rex...who would win, and mom, do you think people will bring me dinosaur presents and do I have to share them with other people, and can I put them in my room where ever I want them?"

That was my special moment with him...and it was typical Park.

He turned 4. He got to chew gum today for the first time. HE LOVED IT!!!
I can't believe he's 4. It is soaring by so quickly. Please slow down. Let him be little for 10 more years. Please.

We had a special visitor this year... my big brother flew in from Alaska to help us celebrate. It was so good to have him here.

They played pirates. For hours. Do I see a new phase in the distance.... who knows!!!! I'm going to have to pick up a book on pirate dialog if it is a new phase!

Monday, January 4, 2010


Well.. I have to say I'm completely relieved to be a year older today. Last year was a good year, but I am more than ready to move on.

This is the day of the year that I like to make lists. Not necessarily of goals, (well kinda) but things I would like to try to do. Ideas I would like to try. If I get them done, great, if not... then that's just fine as well. It's just a way of keeping myself busy and motivated to try new things!

Here's last years:

1. Move 2. Visit a new country 3. See a new state 4. Go to Elmo (the town) 5. Dance on a rooftop 6. photograph something beautiful by moonlight 7. Master knitting ..and pearling.8. Sew a garment 9. Publish something 10. Paint something hangable 11. Build something with wood. 12. ice skate 13. cook something extraordinary 14. help someone in need. 15. produce something from recycled materials. 16. Read three classics 17. Read three new authors. 18. photograph something extraordinary 19. Go to a "You pick" besides a pumpkin patch 20. Watch 2 classic movies I've never seen. 21. Let someone else take my photo. 22. Join a new club/group 23. Rollerskate 24. Get a library card and use it. 25. Make a quilt 26. Do something that makes my family proud. 27. See a field of flowers 28. Ski uneventfully 29. Sleep under the stars.

I got all but three of them accomplished...#19,#22 and #25 (quilting is time consuming!!!)

So this year, I am out to make a new list. And since I am no longer in denial that I actually am in my thirties... it will be a list of 31 things.

1. Take my child on a vacation. (Yes... I have avoided vacationing with my own kiddo)

2. Learn to use my metier saw.

3. Take photos of three strangers without getting overly embarrassed (street photography!)

4. Take portraits using street lights as available light (I know, that means taking my camera out past 6:00 at night!)

5. Visit a town in Wyoming that I have never visited.

6. Go on a driving road trip.

7. Have coffee at least once a month with a friend (time escapes me sometimes and this doesn't get to happen all that often)

8. Make a quilt. (Try this one more time)

9. Read a book a month. At least.

10. Go to a you pick (besides a pumpkin patch, also trying this one more time!)

11. Take pictures of family more than once this year.

12. Donate piece of clothing every time I buy something new.

13. Launch a place to sell photos.

14. Have Parker reading at least 10 words by the end of the year.

15. Visit 3 museums.

16. Take a pottery class.

17. Go sledding on a gigantic hill.

18. Cook a weeks worth of meals of things I've grown.

19. Can zucchini rings.

20. Make my own apple butter.

21. Take treats to someone I love once a month.

22. See a new state.

23. Go crabbing

24. Go clamming

25. Tip-toe through the tulips.

26. Swim in a lake. For more than 5 minutes.

27. Go to a planetarium

28. See a movie twice a month.

29. Do something athletic that does not pertain to the gym.

30. Make liquor.

31. Make a mural with photos. Teeny Tiny

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Projects

When I moved into this old house of mine, there in the corner of the dining room was a huge, old built in cabinet. Now, ordinarily, I am a fan of built in cabinets. Ordinarily though, the cabinets are attractive. This was not my favorite built in cabinet. It was a cross between 1972 Rhinestone Cowboy style and Victorian. It was too atrocious to even photograph. It needed to go and three days after I moved in... it went. (If you're dying to see it, it was donated to a consignment shop.)

Instead of replacing it with more cabinets, I had my own. My 1940's hutch from a little shop in Thermopolis that no longer exists. And then we added custom molding around the whole thing. I LOVE custom molding. Chair rail. Crown molding.....etc. And for Christmas, three years ago, I was given a metier cutter. Though, I am not the one to do the cutting (goal... lean to use my own metier cutter!!!) I do come up with the ideas.

The second project I have been wanting to try for a while now. Simple. Takes about 10 minutes. I had an old frame with nothing in and so I thought putting a chalkboard in it would make it a little more desirable. It hangs in my loft where guests will be staying and I was hoping people would leave words of wisdom on it as they pass through... (there are a lot of passer-throughers.)
You can buy chalkboard paint in a spray or a can (I used the can as I think it covers a little bit better) I got a piece of scrap wood from Home Depot (fifty one cents for scrap wood of any size) Paint it, and stick it in the frame. Easy and awesome. Think the little man needs one in his room as well... another project for another day!

And I have also realized that technology has ruined my handwriting. I have reverted back to writing like I did in 6th grade.

If you can't read it, it says " Still around the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate." by J.R.R. Tolkein (Author of Lord of the Rings, other Lord of the Rings, then watch it) It's his birthday today.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Let the Wonders Begin!

Sometimes it's hard to find the time to reflect on the past year. It's hard when you are only excited about looking forward. Ready to move ahead. But, in all honesty, it's hard not to look back at an entire decade without reflecting a little.
Though I am keenly aware of how fast the time has slipped by, and how different my life has become in this last decade, I still take comfort in knowing I am the same person I always have been....though older, hopefully wiser and probably a little shorter.

I don't make New Years resolutions. I am one of those people. It's not that I don't believe in them, and when it comes to list making I consider myself to be a master. Resolutions are another story though. Everyone tends to have the same ones. Loose weight. Exercise. Feed the hungry. Spend more time with family. Get Healthy..etc, etc. Well, for me, those are things that are just a given. Those are things that need constant attention, not just a yearly brush up.

So, I will eat pasta and not feel guilty. Try to exercise the best I can. Some years I'm great at it, some years I really am not that good. I'll buy the clothes I want and drink the wine I drink. Because, that's me and I don't want to change those parts. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely things I want to work on. Moving slower. Not going through the motions. Telling people that they matter. Telling them I care. Being there to prove it. Helping make this world better for my son. Use the talents God has given me to make people happy. Put myself out there.

So with that....

Gently steel into the New Year and make life beautiful.

Song: Brand New Day, Van Morrison