Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby!


Today is Little's birthday. She is seven. SEVEN! It's shocking really. 2010 has come and gone. My baby is no longer a baby. And I'm pushing forty. Forty. Eeek!

I must admit it gives me pause -- this business of time. Where has it gone? I am reminded of Mary Oliver's famous quote, "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

What indeed? I have many many plans for 2011. Resolutions of sorts. But that's for another post.

I want to talk about today. Snow is periodically blowing from the west and baby it's cold outside!

Given the weather it's all about snuggling and nesting. This, of course, starts in the kitchen. Meat is boiling for tamales (to be built tomorrow). Alfredo mac 'n cheese is on deck for dinner. No knead bread is fermenting in the kitchen. Chocolate cherry cupcakes will soon be done. We have a family movie for tonight (How to Tame a Dragon). And Mama and Papa have a lovely bottle of wine.

This morning Little opened her gifts. With frugality in mind her present was homemade-- a cash box for lemonade stands (yes, yes -- I am aware 'tis hardly the season but summer will be here before we know it!)

What started as an ugly thrifted cash box turned into this:


I think it turned out pretty good. It's amazing what some spray paint, printed labels and mod podge will do. Now we wait for warmer weather. In the meantime Little has turned this into her piggy bank for safe money storage.

Love the labels? I found many of them here.

I hope you are having a wonderful cozy winter's day!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December? Already?

This season has crept up on me. Can it possibly be December? Already? Where has the time gone? Where has the year gone?

In absolute denial we put off decorating. Christmas won't come without ribbons or tags. Could it possibly come without boxes or bags? I believe you know the answer to that particular question.

Fah-who-for-aze. Dah-who-dor-aze.

Anyway last week my youngest daughter asked, "Mom? Why aren't we jolly?" referring to our lack of Christmas decor. Why indeed. Clearly decorating was in order.

In response to the six-year-old inquiry we stepped up our game. A tree was chopped down from our front yard (seriously). Here's the before shot. The tree was too large and blocking the view of our porch. Thus we killed two birds with one stone; clear the yard and procure some holiday decor.

Then we put up lights across the porch. The roof was too snowy and icy to do more. Now half the lights are not working but hey -- it's the thought that counts.

We strung popcorn and cranberries for the tree and made a few of those mushroom ornaments I've been lusting after. And I'm still loving the pine cone ornaments from several years past.

And I found the wherewithal to make Mexican Wedding Cookies. My favorite. I still have several things I hope to do -- make felted holiday acorns, bake for the neighbors, wrap presents, make a few additional gifts and, of course, get those holiday cards and dvds out (New Year's mail anyone?).

To be quite honest I'm shocked at how short a year truly is. If I am extremely lucky, I have sixty or so of these years left. How can that possibly be? The moral of the story? Enjoy each and every moment.

Now I'm off to make banana bread. Infused with chocolate chips -- of course. It's about the moments people. The moments. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One final post on Oliver

Hobbs, our darling replacement kitty

So. I got the surgical bill for Oliver. $1745.00. This is my cost after the 30 % professional discount. This for a stray cat; a cat that was not under my care when injured. Do I regret it? No. Do I wish I knew the outcome before pursing surgery? Of course. But life isn't like that. Sometimes we take risks. Sometimes we make judgement calls that don't quite work out in our favor.

I did learn a few things and I'd like to share them with you:

  • First off -- emotions and finance do not make a good combination. Oliver was an AMAZING kitty and we fell in love. Head. Over. Heels.
  • Kids wreck havoc on one's ability to make financial judgements. I had to take Oliver to surgery because I could not look into those sweet little doe eyes and tell them it didn't make financial sense (see point one).
  • Third -- veterinary medicine is expensive, even for veterinarians. If you have a pet that you would go to any length for you should either a) start a savings account or b) get pet insurance (or both).
  • If you are not going to adhere to the third point then by all means make sure you have good credit. Fortunately I have a year to pay off this bill without interest thanks to Care Credit.
  • If you do get Care Credit be sure to pay off the ENTIRE balance before the introductory rate ends. Otherwise the interest rates are astronomical.
  • Sometimes the free pet ends up being the most expensive. This is not to say you should purchase a pet. There are many nice animals at the humane society which can be had for a nominal fee (see photo above). Pets from the humane society come spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and often with a month of free pet insurance.
  • A new kitten of the same color variety lessens the sting of loss.
  • 4-month-old kittens are CRAZY. Our tree will likely be knocked over more than once this holiday season.
  • And finally, though some of you disagree, I am a sucker (in the nicest sense of the term). There are some animals that just get under my skin and I am compelled reach out and help them. See examples A, B and C. As such, after this bill is paid, I will start an "I AM A SUCKER FUND" so that I will be able to help the next creature with less financial strain.
And now, because I've neglected to do this for a while, I wish to post a list of gratefulness.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Amazing, caring, sweet and resilient children.
  • All the folks who reached out financially and emotionally to give Oliver a chance.
  • The thought that if nothing else I am supporting the local economy as Oliver's surgery was performed in town.
  • Professional discounts -- every little bit helps!
  • Delicious left overs that make eating at home worth the effort.
  • Library books and wool roving.
  • My small shop that helps me to meet my obligations.
  • Holiday cookies and lights on trees.
  • Snow on the ground and icicles on the roof.
  • And the love and joy that my family brings.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Homemade Holiday Gift Idea


This is hardly a new idea. It's been floating around the web for quite a while. Last year I made a set with photos from an old fairy tale book. For this particular game I used scrapbook paper. Truth-be-told I like working with the scrap paper better -- it is thicker and less prone to bubbling. If you choose to print your own photos perhaps print them on card stock.

This craft is easy -- scrapbook paper, a paper cutter, card stock, wooden tiles and mod-podge. Cut your paper to size and glue on the blocks. Easy peasy. If you want to add extra protection follow up with a coat of clear acrylic spray paint (it's probably worth it but a bit smelly). Top it off with fun drawstring bag like this one and you are ready to go; a frugal, fun and educational gift.

This is a birthday gift for a seven-year-old. Last year we gave this same girl an I Spy Bag. As my children's friends continue to grow I'm going to have to get more and more creative. Ideas are always welcome!! I'd love to hear what you make and do!

And now I must go get ready. Middle and I are going to participate in our town's annual Jingle Bell Run. It is chilly outside -- all white and gray. Off to find the wool handknits -- hats, gloves and scarves. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 3, 2010

If I die young.

Yesterday I was making a memory game for an upcoming birthday party. As I am often wont to do I left my stuff out on the table.

Last night, while at work, Middle called and asked if she could use my supplies. She needed one piece of craft paper, mod podge and a wooden square. I asked what for and she was rather vague. However I was busy and therefore didn't push matter. Of course I let her use the stuff (it's amazing she even asked permission).

Well this morning I found this:


A note to Mickey and Oliver, nestled alongside Oliver's foot print*.

The words are the lyrics to If I Die Young. It reads as follows:

To Oliver and Mickey,

If I die young, bury me in satin,
lay me down on a bed of roses,
sink me in the river at dawn.
Send me away with the words of a love song.

Oh how I adore these kids of mine!

*At the clinic we make clay footprints of deceased pets. I've found these to be of great comfort for my children. We have amassed quite a collection and I suspect our Christmas tree will be decorated with these charms. On any given day a paw prints will turn up unexpectedly around the house. Oh -- there's Herschel sitting in the bathroom! Even though these pets have passed on they are still with us in spirit.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

I'd sincerely like to thank everyone for their kind words and sympathies. Though we only had Oliver for a short period of time we were smitten. He will be missed.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not every story has a happy ending

Sometimes you try. You do all you can do and it's not quite enough. Sweet little Oliver has now moved on from this world.

He had a urethral tear and we took him to surgery with the hopes that it could be repaired. It was too deep. Inoperable. He was euthanized on the table.

I've yet to tell my kids. Their hearts will be broken. Yet again. Being the child of a veterinarian, if nothing else, teaches the frailty of life. Tonight we will have a talk. We will talk about life and death. About planning for the future but living in the moment. About being willing to love even if it means sadness and pain. And we will talk about going to the humane society to get another kitten.

I am responsible for this fiasco and really should have known better. Usually I'm pretty good at hardening my heart. But every once in a while there is a crack and some creature sneaks in. That was Oliver. Such a good kitty and I am sad to see him go.

And if anyone has the letter "S" sitting around the house you may send it my way. S is for sucker and I need to update my wardrobe. Dagnamit. What a world. What a world...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Oliver Update (and an eensy weensy little freak out)


Overall Oliver has been doing well. He is eating and drinking and urinating and defecating (all good things). He is completely unaware of his broken pelvis and would just as soon roam about the house and cavort with the dogs. Only we have a little problem.

Earlier this week my son noticed a small wound on Oliver's tail base. I, thinking it was chewing secondary to pain from his healing pelvis, didn't worry about it too much. He got his e-collar back on, I brought him to work and shaved the area and we started another round of antibiotics.

And then today I saw it. The clear fluid drip drip dripping from this wound. Crap. This is not an infection. Now I suspect he has a fistula connecting his spinal column bladder/urethra with the outside world and he is dripping cerebral spinal fluid urine out the hole (from the top of his tail!!). Crappity. Crap. Crap. Crap.

Hopefully this little problem can be cured by surgery with prolonged urinary catheterization (bummer for him). He has an appointment tomorrow with a specialist for a contrast uretherogram to determine if this is indeed the case.

And here's where I am with my thinking.
  • Am I crazy? What have I gotten myself into? This is an unexpected expense right when money is the tightest (i.e. the holidays).
  • Oh Mr. Peculiar is going to kill me (not literally of course but he won't be happy)
  • Thank God my sister and her family doesn't mind thrifted gifts.
  • What am I going to tell the kids? I hope this is a correctable problem. Please please be correctable.
  • Am I crazy? Why do I do this to myself?
  • What ever on the planet am I going to get my children for Christmas? What does a teenage boy want that's a) homemade or b) thrifted. (ideas more than welcome here!)
I already know that if this is surgically correctable I will have the surgery done. This is not a financially astute plan of action (I can just see Dave Ramsey shaking his head in disappointment). Criminy.

So here's my plan.
  • I emailed a day practice (i.e. not an emergency practice) to see if they had any shifts I could pick up.
  • I'm going to continue to list new and exciting items to my Etsy shop with the hopes that folks will want to buy them.
  • I'm going to scour the house and see what we can put up for sale on Ebay.
  • And finally there is a donation button on the sidebar of the blog should others want to continue to help with Oliver's care ( I am soooo grateful for all the help I've already gotten. You people are AMAZING!!).

And here's what I am determined not to do: feel sorry for myself. There are many reasons why. First and foremost Oliver does not feel sorry for himself. He has a broken pelvis, is stuck in a cage and now has a spinal urinary fistula. Yet he remains a happy kitty. Animals are amazing in this way. If this were a human we'd be moaning and groaning and generally no fun to be around. Second -- this situation was one of my own choosing. Something akin to making my own bed and laying in it. As such I am going to pull up those boot straps and do what I need to get things done. Looks like my family is getting a cat for Christmas.

Thank you for listening to me grouse. It feels good to vent. I'll update you after Oliver's appointment this afternoon.

XOXO,

Shalet

And the update is this may be a urinary fistula rather than a spinal fistula. Which is funny because I originally thought the fluid might be urine but then talked myself out of it because it is anatomically quite strange. But, of course, veterinarians can't have animals with simple problems.

The good news is: if this is indeed a urinary fistula it may heal with prolonged urinary catheterization (i.e. several weeks) and not need surgical repair. Emphasis on the might. So I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping against hope this is the case. Tomorrow he will have a contrast urethrogram (radiographic dye in the bladder) to determine just what is going on. I'll update again tomorrow.

XOXO.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful


At this moment I'm tucked into the couch. I'm wearing my bathrobe and have got woolen socks on my feet. Miracle on 34th Street, the original, is playing on the television. I'm sleepy. I got up early to run, well sort-of, my daughters and I ran/walked the chilly 5K course.

Soon I'll be going to work. I do believe coffee is in order. Despite the fact that we're not celebrating the holiday in the traditional way I am thankful. Very thankful indeed.

I am thankful for precocious children, joyful dogs and loving cats. I'm thankful for walls and a roof and insulation. I am thankful for indoor plumbing and hot showers. I am thankful for food on the table, sharp white cheeses, crisp white wines and warm ciders. I am thankful for a body and can shuttle me to and fro with only minor aches and pains. I am thankful for pajamas and slippers and down comforters. I am thankful for knitting and wool. I am thankful for books and the library. I am thankful for my computer, my camera and internet. I am thankful for a husband who today is doing laundry and, at this very moment, is brewing me that coffee I so desire. I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life, both virtually and in person.

And last, but not least, I'm thankful I look a touch better than this 'ol turkey.

Have a wonderful holiday all!

XOXO.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Take on Snow Globe Soaps


When I saw this tutorial I knew we had to try it. Aren't they adorable?!! I thought these soaps would be perfect for town*.

Only we ran into a bit of trouble. Either a) Alpha Mom found really small trinkets or b) she hada huge ice tray. We had quite a bit of trouble finding trinkets that fit in the confines of our tray.

We did make ice tray soaps but, shall we say, they didn't turn out quite as nice. My daughter is still taking them to school -- we're simply calling them Secret Surprise Soaps (Wash Your Hands to Find the Prize!). Inside are holiday erasers that the kids can use once free from the cleanser. My daughter does not think these goods will be popular with the boys because, as she put it, boys do not wash their hands.

The leftover soap was poured into silicone cupcake molds to get the beauties above. The flower contains a small ornament with the string attached. It can be hung on the tree either before or after the soap is gone (remember soap on a rope?)

I still really like the snow globe idea and am on a mission to find minuscule trinkets. Teensy tiny trinkets. We shall see what I can find.

Thanks for stopping by!

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊



* My daughter's 5th grade class holds town every 2 weeks where they make and sell wares for town dollars. They also earn town money by doing classroom jobs throughout the week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The post in which I embody Eeyore (if only briefly)


I must tell you I'm feeling an eensy, weensy bit sorry for myself today. This is the time of year when I realize how much my job impedes on my life. Once again as people gather and raise their glasses in cheer I will be resplendent under the strip mall's fluorescent lights (and yes that is sarcasm).

When the turkey is carved I may very well be removing turkey bones from an over exuberant dog. While my book club watches "The Power of One" I will be sitting alone typing records. While my neighbors have their annual holiday talent show I will be displaying my talent of reasoning with unreasonable people. And while my parents enjoy a quiet evening at home (sans grandchildren as we can't get away) I will knee deep in diarrhea (not my own mind you but diarrhea nonetheless). And yes, yes -- when I took this job I knew it entailed nights, weekends and holidays (and, for that matter, diarrhea). But I've been working this schedule for ten years and, truth-be-told, I could use a sabbatical. But a sabbatical is not in the cards.

I do my best to make lemons from lemonade. Next weekend we are hosting a pre-thanksgiving thanksgiving (note to self -- get turkey). We'll have a few friends over and stuff them to the hilt. I know it will be a lovely time. And I know on the actual thanksgiving I will be performing a necessary and needed service for our community. And yet. Yet. On days like today I still feel sorry for myself. I wish I had a job that I could schedule around my life instead of the other way around.

But I don't. And perhaps I won't. Still I'm telling you Duckie you're really quite lucky. Some people are muchly, oh, ever so muchly, muchly more unlucky than you!

And there it is. I am lucky. Lucky in so many ways. I have a happy (relatively) and healthy family. We have a roof over our heads. Friends to share with. Food on the table. Hot coffee each and every morning. A washer and dryer. Indoor plumbing. The list goes on and on.

What right do I have to moan and groan? None. Diddly Squat. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

When I feel this way I know it's time to step outside of myself and do something for others. This morning I signed up for a charitable run. A run on Thanksgiving to support the food banks. I'll get some much needed exercise and then go to work -- hopefully feeling better for it.

But don't get me wrong. It's not all altruistic and lovey. Yes it's for a good cause. But people -- the shirts were simply too cute to pass up. I need to find other ways to help -- if not financially then with my time. As such I'm keeping an eye out for opportunities.

Tell me - what are your favorite charitable organizations?

Friday, November 12, 2010

A quick update on George the Cat


First off his name is no longer George. His name morphed from George to Henry to Oliver. "Oliver" seems to be sticking. I wanted to call him Oliver with a Twist. At that suggestion the kids screwed up their faces, took a poll and promptly voted me off the island. Note to self: a democracy is not a good idea when the children outnumber the adults. At any rate I doubt they got the joke. Perhaps a trip the the library is in order.

Oliver is peeing and pooping. My 10-year-old tells me this is proper terminology. All week I've mistakenly been saying urinating and defecating. I am so not cool. His urinary catheter is out and he is getting up to use the litter box. Walking is still quite painful and though he makes a genuine effort he often misses his mark. One can hardly blame him and truth-be-told I don't mind the extra laundry. Laundry is a never-ending and daily chore. At least blankets are easy to fold.

Right now Oliver is nestled in his bed aka Kirkland Walnut box. Someday in the near future I hope to fashion him a bed from a vintage suitcase. Something like this. I just need to figure out the logistics of such a project.

He still has a bandage on his foot. I'll be taking him in to tomorrow to change that and check his toe injuries. Hopefully they are healing well *fingers crossed*.

While his condo was being cleaned he went nose-to-nose with both our dogs. He seems to be a dog person which is a prerequisite for living in this house. And, yes, cats are people too.

So all in all he is doing well and healing as expected. The kids are worried about him being bored. We've slathered him with cats toys and love in an attempt to keep him entertained. He may end up being the most spoiled cat on the planet.

And now the most important part of this post. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR WONDERFUL AND KIND SUPPORT! Your donations, purchases, tweets and blog posts mean more than you will ever know.

And an FYI. One of my Treasury Troupe teammates make a SPECTACULAR necklace in Oliver's honor. You can find it for sale here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you all!


Monday, November 8, 2010

S is for Sucker (or the post wherein you learn I am nothing but a bowl full of mush)

Were we living in the age of the Scarlet Letter I would have an enormous S adorning my lapel. Turns out I am a Sucker of elephantine proportions.

I present to you the new focal piece in our living room.


That is a cage. And it houses this:



Meet George (or Henry or Charlie or Fred).

George is a stray kitty who encountered a car and consequently broke his pelvis. This morning he came home with me; one full day after Mr. Peculiar and I had a discussion about our *ahem* overabundance of pets. I wish I were joking. Excellent timing 'eh?

But I couldn't help myself. This guy is young and healthy and otherwise fixable and I simply couldn't bear to see him put down. And the icing on the cake? He reminds me of our beloved Mickey whom we all miss dearly. So now we have a convalescing feline smack dab in the middle of our living room.

He will be on cage rest for two to three months. This is the time it will take for his pelvis to heal. Today I went out, bought him a cage and placed it near the window. A bird feeder hangs in view. Hopefully our feathered friends will provide a touch of entertainment during his recovery.

And, yes, that is a pink bunting around his kitty condo. He told me he was secure in his masculinity and was down with the decorative touch.

Now I must tell you I'm having a lot of conflicting emotions here.

The practical side of me is having a veritable conniption fit. What are you doing?!! What if this cat doesn't survive? You'll break your kids' hearts. And how do you plan to pay for this endeavor? That kennel cost $85.00 alone and it was thrifted. He needs medicine, bandage changes and prolonged care...

And then there's the emotional side of me. I want to hold him and squeeze him and call him George.

You know which side won out. Guess I'm not as practical as I thought.

To appease my pragmatic side (and Mr. Peculiar) I have decided to use proceeds from the Etsy shop to pay for George's care. If you, too, would like to help please visit the shop. You might just find that perfect Christmas gift or a little treat for yourself. What better way to buy than with your heart and soul (you'll be saving not only a sweet kitty but also my marriage!).

George would also be ever so grateful if you pass on the word about him.

He tells me he'll flash a smile as soon as I take that horrendous collar of his neck. Soon George. Soon.


XOXO and have a WONDERFUL day!

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

Addendum: Thanks to Rabbit's lovely suggestion I have set up a donation button on sidebar of the blog. That way you don't have to buy something to help George out. If you are so inclined to donate please also include your mailing address. George thinks it's only proper to send thank you notes.

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Worry


Today my friend, Karen Maezen Miller, wrote a poignant post; 5 zen secrets to productivity. Number 4 is my current mantra: what we worry about most never comes to pass.

You see tonight I had to perform surgery on a dog. A very sweet gal who swallowed something that got stuck. So we went in to retrieve the object and identify it (if possible). We found that object, only it wasn't where I thought it would be. Rather than in the small intestine it was in the large intestine.

Now you would think if this foreign body could eek its way through the small bowel then it ought to pass through the large bowel. That was not the case tonight. Despite the best of coaxing it would not budge. And therefore I chose to surgically removed it. Which is fine. Only the colon is a fussy organ and doesn't heal nearly so well as it's smaller cousin. So here I sit hoping, praying, I made the right decision and this dog heals without serious complication. On this only time will tell and all the worrying in the world will not change the outcome.

So I am doing my best to push worry out into the cold as she is not a welcome guest. This is easier said than done. It seems she knows all the cracks and crevices. If the door is locked she creeps in through the window. With the windows sealed she crawls down the chimney.

In this profession, despite our extended educations and best intentions, shit happens; literally and figuratively. This is not news. It's statistics. Only, as Karen so eloquently pointed out, the shit typically hits the fan when least expected. So I need to chill out, stop worrying and simply deal with the mess when it happens.

For now I'll focus on being acutely present and enjoy the beauty that surrounds me each and every day. For instance I am currently enamored with the sweet purple flower pictured above. It bloomed in my garden this fall and for the life of me I don't remember planting it.

Tell me -- how do you kick worry to the curb? And, just for fun, bonus points if you guess what was removed from tonight's patient.



Friday, October 29, 2010

Dream

Today has been one of those days. Those days where I was (am) simply mired in it. The sink was full of last night's dishes, the laundry seemed to multiply exponentially overnight and my bedroom has been mistaken for a rubbish pile.

Last night, before I went to bed, I hoped and hoped and hoped and hoped that the cleaning fairies would come and set everything right. But these elusive fairies are my Great Pumpkin -- they never arrived.

So today I tackled the mess on my own. I will be working at the clinic the entire weekend, as well as, most of next week (with the exception of Monday). As such this is my only day to get the house in order.

To be perfectly honest there are about a bazillion other things I'd rather be doing; knitting, sewing, photographing, cooking, baking, reading ... you get the gist. But no. I'm cleaning. Because, truthfully, a messy house messes with my mind. It depresses me mentally and physically. This is not to say I want to be the one to set it straight but, hey, someones got to do it.

Hopefully it's not all for naught (are you listening children? I will have your heads!) My fantasy, my dream, is that I'll come out of the other end of this week with not only several days off but also a clean(ish) house. Then I can do all those things I want to do.

In the meantime I have posted the above photograph (Dream) in my Etsy shop. I wrote a bit about dreams there too.

I hope your day is everything you dreamed it would be.

Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Shrinky Dinks, Halloween Decor and a Witch Craft Giveaway!



This year Halloween is all about DIY. We are not just creating holiday decor -- we are creating memories. And what better way to celebrate the season?

Already this year we made our skull and bone display. I also fashioned an eyeball in a beaker*, you know, just for fun. And I'm marching around in my skull knit hat. The final piece of the puzzle is our Shrinky Dink Beetlejuice Jar inspired by my Halloween Snow Globe project from Witch Craft.



Shrinky Dinks are a really simple DIY project that is fun for the whole family.

Ingredients:
Salad containers or other #6 plastic
Permanent markers
Aluminum foil
A clear glass jar
Water
Food coloring
Ribbon (optional)

Instructions:
  1. The first thing you need to do is gather up #6 plastic. This is the type of plastic used at most salad bars -- the clear plastic containers. I've also found most of my store bought fresh herbs come packaged in #6 plastic. Just look for the number printed on the container (often on the bottom inside the recycle symbol). If you ask nicely your grocer may give a few of these salad containers on the house. If you are using used containers make sure they are clean and dry before starting your project.
  2. Gather up a set of Sharpies. You will need to use permanent markers as others will not survive the baking process.
  3. Cut your plastic so that you have a flat surface to work on (in other words cut off and discard all the bumpy sides).
  4. Find an image you would like to trace (I got mine from The Graphics Fairy). If you are particularly artistic you can draw your own image. Keep in mind we will be shrinking these quite a bit so plan your drawing accordingly. My original image was about 4 inches x 3 inches.
  5. Trace your image and color in as desired.
  6. Cut out your image
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  8. Make a little baking sheet out of aluminum foil by rolling up the edges
  9. Place your images on the foil sheet and place the sheet in the oven
  10. Turn on the oven light and watch the show -- within a minute or two your images will shrink before your eyes. Initially they will curl up. Be bold. Be brave. Leave them in a minute longer and they will usually flatten out again.
  11. Remove your items from the oven. In the first couple of seconds they are still pliable so you can flatten them a touch more if desired -- be quick!
  12. Place your designs in a jar, add food coloring and decorate with a ribbon and tag. Voila! Beetlejuice for the holidays!
Now of course this project is not limited to Halloween -- it would be great for any time of the year. Happy shrinking!

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊



Now as promised -- a giveaway! To two lucky readers I am giving away a copy of Witch Craft. This is an amazing and fun book chock full of craft projects and halloween inspired recipes. This is a book you will want to refer to year after year (and I'd say that even if I wasn't one of the contributers). Seriously -- there is so much inside. My girls went gaga when it arrived!

And now, without further adieu, all you need to do to win is leave a comment on this post. Be sure I have a way to contact you should you win. I will pick two winners after 9:00 am on Wednesday the 27th. The books will be mailed asap with the hopes that they might even arrive before halloween.

For a second chance at winning send out a tweet and leave a second comment.

Happy Crafting!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dear Women in my Book Club

Dear Women in my Book Club,

I am very excited to have you over tomorrow night. I want to let you know that my house will be cleanish. Emphasis on the "ish". I will do my best to ensure there is toilet paper on the holder in the bathroom. I also hope to have soap *and* a guest towel present. It is highly likely these items will be confiscated and/or dumped on the floor by the little people who live here. If this occurs I apologize. I have threatened bodily harm. Clearly my bark has no bite.

My carpets have been vacuumed. I can tell the difference. You? Not so much. The upside is that if you spill an entire glass of red wine on the floor --no problem. The dog will lick it up. And the stain? It'll go nicely with the others.

Feel free to wear fancy shoes with spiky heels. You are more than welcome to walk across my wood floor in said shoes and add to the surface's "rustic appeal". You may elect not to wear shoes. This is also fine. However I can not be held responsible for the yellow fur that will gravitate towards you like a magnet seeking it's mate. Along those same lines -- black is not the best color choice for your evening ensemble. Beige is always good. I can send you a fur sample in advance if you'd like to coordinate.

If you are offended by dogs, cats, cockatiels, poultry or fish you may not want to attend. I will do my best to keep the pets at bay. They are only dangerous in their excessive exuberance. Actually I lied. Do not stick your fingers in the cichlid tank. That would not be wise.

If you have allergies you may want to take a benadryl (or two) before arrival. I hear it mixes nicely with alcohol. I'm happy to drive you home but you must be willing to ignore the condition of my car. Smashed up goldfish crackers are the height of vehicular fashion. No. Really.

Before your arrival I will light a few candles. I'll also have a cobbler in the oven and coffee brewing. This, hopefully, will mask any untoward smells that might, perhaps, linger in this house.

There is a strong chance you will find fingerprints on the walls and paint on the floor. You might notice our coat closet door has been *ahem* bashed in. Twice. Once by a fist and once by a skateboard. Someday we might fix this. Then again we might not.

I do not recall the last time my windows have been washed. It may have been years. Fortunately it will be dark outside eliminating the necessity to look outward. Plus one can always open the door if need be.

Just for you I am clearing the kitchen table. We will have a place to sit and to chat. I must also tell you that once upon a time we had a full set of wine glasses. This is no longer the case. I now own a motley crew of glassware and you may find yourself drinking from a jelly jar. Trust me -- the beverage tastes the same.

As you will see we are not fancy folk. Rather we strive to live in an environment that is welcoming and comfortable. We want you to put your feet up. To lounge and to sprawl. To giggle and to make a little mess. We want you to feel at home.

See you tomorrow!

XOXO,

Shalet

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Nectar of the Gods


If you were not already aware I am a person who is chronically sleep deprived. Yes, yes mother. I know this is not good for my long-term health. But I am doing what it takes to, you know, be responsible and pay our bills.

Ahem. Sorry there. At any rate coffee is my best friend. Each and every morning I make a pot -- a full pot. Now on mornings when Mr. Peculiar is home we'll drain that pretty quickly. But on mornings he's not here there are always left overs. And, yes, I can come home from work, drink a cup of joe and then drift contentedly off to sleep. I may have built up a bit of a tolerance for caffeine. Just a touch.

Another thing you may not know about me is that I am fairly peculiar about my coffee. I typically drink a cafe au lait (1/3 heated milk and 2/3 coffee). This must be hot. Very hot. As in near scalding. Once my coffee begins to cool I can no longer drink it. Seriously. It makes me gag. Therefore I am forever reheating my coffee to make it drinkable again.

More than once I have lamented the lack of a vehicular microwave -- you know just a little something in lieu of a glovebox to keep my beverage at an appropriate temperature. Never mind my ovaries smack in front of that radiation box -- at least my coffee would be hot.

But I digress. I also like my coffee cold. Ice cold. As such I've taken to using the remains of the morning pot as an afternoon pick-me-up. Ice, milk and coffee. This is particularly lovely on afternoons such as this given I have to work tonight and have been up all day.

Plus it's frugal, the coffee doesn't go to waste and that's one more dollar in the retirement pile. So I can, you know, retire and restore my health. Smart thinking, 'eh?

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Now if you don't think you'll drink the leftovers that day then freeze them. They can also be used to make mochachinos. Yet another frugal tip.

Tell me -- what are you doing for frugality today?





Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Ladybird


Today was a GORGEOUS fall day; seventy-five and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to drive around with the windows down and simply take it all in.

This afternoon the girls and I were in the car enjoying the weather when Little let out a sudden yelp and hollered "It's a lady bug! It's a lady bug!".

And indeed it was. The larvae we "adopted" had turned into a cocoon and now a ladybug. Why, you might wonder, did we discover this in the car?

Simple! This larvae (and cocoon) have been everywhere with us. I mean everywhere. Last weekend he (she?) even traveled over the hills and through the woods -- to grandmother's house of course!

We are serious about our entomology. Quite serious. As it turns out this gal (guy?) is an Asian Ladybird Beetle (aka an Asian ladybug). Often they have spots but sometimes they do not. She has an orange hue which seems abundantly fitting for the season.

We really enjoyed watching her metamorphosis -- miraculous is a fitting word. We love this beetle, we really do. But she has a job to do and food to find. So this afternoon we set her free. Little was especially sad. I felt bad but hey -- another learning opportunity. You know -- if you love something ...

Shortly after the ladybug release Little came charging into the house. "Mama! Mama! You gotta come outside and see!!!"

What? What in the world was so exciting?

She found another larvae. We placed it gently in our mason jar and will "hatch" her out as well.

My daughters have proclaimed October ladybug season. And indeed it is.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dagnamit Cold!


Well it seems I have a cold. A knock down drag out cold. My eyes are puffy and swollen. My nose is simultaneously stuffed up and running. I'm sneezing near constantly and (this may qualify as too much information) every time I sneeze I pee my pants a little. Yes folks. I am a sight to behold.

I'm trying to be brave. To power through. To continue to do the dishes and laundry and pick up the house. But I'm having a rough time of it. And I find myself mumbling to no one in particular about how I seriously dislike meth addicts. Because, you see, I can not go to the store and pick up the medicine I need to feel better. No. It requires a prescription. Lest I might go and use the stuff to manufacture drugs. And I refuse to run to the doctor every time I get the sniffles. As such I am sitting here. Miserable.

In an effort to make myself feel better I thought I'd write a list of all that is good and beautiful about today.

Here goes:
  • I don't have to work tonight and have a couple days yet to recover
  • The pot roast in the crock pot smells delicious (or so I've been told)
  • My husband brought home a super cool polariod camera today
  • He also brought home a "Sue Sylvester" outfit for me for halloween
  • I found my missing library book which I can now begin to read
  • The birds are flitting about the feeder out front
  • My laptop is nice and warm on my lap
  • This cold is temporary (aka thank goodness I don't have a long-term illness)
  • I have a fun halloween decor project to do if I can find wood, glue and glitter
  • My daughters' room is *mostly* clean thanks to my efforts yesterday
  • It appears to be a lovely fall day outside -- crisp, cool and sunny
  • My new baby chickens are expected to arrive this week (yes, yes you can call me crazy chicken lady)
And, um, yeah. That's all I can come up with for now. Soon I promise I'll be back to do more than grouse.

I hope you are having a WONDERFUL day!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Proper Care and Feeding of Me


Last night we had a frost warning. I decided to bring my porch plants inside with hopes of overwintering them indoors and putting them out again next spring. This has worked well for me in the past and can definitely be a money saver if they are brought in in time.

These poor plants, however, have not had the best of care. They were planted with the best of intentions -- to bloom and blossom on our porch while butterflies, birds and bees flitted about. But I sort-of forgot to water them regularly. Somehow they've survived despite me. They are alive but not thriving.

I've got two potted plants out back that I attached to our watering system. These plants are HUGE and vibrant and ALIVE. It's amazing with a little proper care and feeding can accomplish.

Only here's the thing; I too am alive but not thriving. I've been exhausted and fatigued and shuffling about my days. Why? Because I haven't been watered. I haven't been eating properly. I haven't been exercising and I haven't been taking my vitamins.

Why I've not been caring for myself I really could not say. But things are about to change. Quite frankly I'm tired of being tired.

This morning I gave myself a little TLC -- a honey facial mask and brown sugar scrub. Then I took a shower. I even shaved my legs (lucky Mr. Peculiar). Then I made a pumpkin banana smoothie. I'm going to take my vitamins. I'm going to clean my house (part of it at least) and I am going to walk down the hill to pick up my children from school.

So there you have it. Hopefully I'll find my mojo soon and return to this space vigorous and re-energized. I can't wait!

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Pumpkin Smoothie

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1 ripe banana
A sprinkle of cinnamon
A sprinkle of nutmeg
A splash of maple syrup
1 cup milk
Ice to taste

Blend together and enjoy.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Rainy Day Suitcase


Well it is officially fall though right now it strangely feels more like summer with temperatures in the mid-eighties. However the weather is rumored to turn tomorrow. Which means we'll be spending more time indoors. And I'm told staying inside is B O R I N G. My children are not quite adept at self entertainment.

This past summer I made them a list. A list of things they could do should they find themselves bored. But I've decided to take things a step further.

Presenting the Rainy Day Suitcase. It is a vintage child's case with a sweet umbrella graphic mod-podged on the front (I'm all about mod-podge these days). Inside are handmade coloring books, colored pencils, vintage "Make and Do" crafting books, yarn, knitting needles, a crochet hook, a set of cards and little bag of jacks.

Hopefully this will provide the kids with the much needed impetus to entertain themselves -- at least for a brief periods of time. And, being a portable suitcase this is perfect for trips, car-rides and those not so interesting sporting events we occasionally drag them to (i.e. day long water polo tournaments).

I'm looking forward to trying it out this next weekend as there is another tournament on the books. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for popping in! I hope you are having a weekend chock full of pleasantries.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Halloween Decor Tutorial (that's so simple it's hardly a tutorial)


I've been told the recession is over. Only in my neck of the woods things are still tight (a little too tight if you know what I mean). This translates to a miniscule holiday decorating budget (aka no decorating budget). Now I could have given up and pulled out my boring old halloween decor. Only I DON'T WANT TO! (spouted while petulantly stomping my feet.)

And thankfully I didn't have to. Because I already had all the "ingredients" for this project it was (virtually) free.

Ingredients:
  • Halloween Graphic (you can find all sorts of free vintage graphics from The Graphics Fairy)
  • A piece of wood (I literally scavenged mine from the empty lot next door)
  • Mod Podge (okay -- if you aren't crafty you *might* not have this lying around)
  • A paint brush
Take your graphic and cut it to fit the piece of wood. Spread a layer of mod-podge on the wood and then place your paper on top of it. Mod-podge over the top of your paper. Smooth out any wrinkles. Let dry. Simple as that.

Now if you so desire you can get all fancy and, say, paint the wood prior to adding the graphic. Or you could go and sand the edges to give it a nice finished look. Me? I dug through my son's bone collection and displayed them along with my new vintage skull. Yes. Bone collection. You know -- snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. Indeed he is a boy.

At any rate I'd say we're ready for trick or treat. Well, almost, it seems my daughter wants to be sushi for halloween ...




Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm a trailer girl!


This weekend we snuck away for one last camping trip before the weather turned. We brought our sweet little fiberglass trailer (fresh with new curtains) to our first ever vintage trailer rally. What fun!

I really enjoyed staging the trailer interior. I borrowed several items from the shop -- salt and pepper shakers, a mushroom trivet, a fisher price record player, a camera (or two) and the precious ceramic basset hound. Seriously people -- it looked awesome staged. You can see additional photos here. I'll add more photos as I have time to process them.

And now I must admit - I'm completely exhausted. It's 9:00 pm and I am quite ready for bed. So I think I'll curl up under the covers with my book and shortly fall asleep.

I hope you, too, had a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Welcome Fall!


Well it's official. It's autumn. I do declare this is one of my favorite seasons. I can't wait to feel the crunch of leaves under my feet!

This season is shaping up to be a busy one. We are kicking it off by attending a vintage trailer rally. Now when I signed up for this rally at the beginning of summer the September seemed Oh So Far Away. Of course we had time to refurbish our trailer, to cutesy it up. Yeah, right. Schnikes does time fly! So this week I'm desperately trying to make our "egg" presentable. I cleaned it out, put down a new, albeit temporary, floor and bought curtain fabric. If I have time I'd also like to sew a floor rug and decoupage one of the walls.

But time is a factor. The rally starts on Friday. I work today. Tomorrow is it.

And the work doesn't end once this rally is over. When we get back it'll be time to renovate the nook.

For now I bid you adieu -- it's hi ho hi ho for me.

Have a WONDERFUL day!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The post in which I ramble about my dream house


Lately I've spent a fair amount of time admiring, and truth be told, pining for other people's stuff. Their new house or farm or bedroom or studio.

I begin by perusing blogs. Then, slowly but surely, I disappear into Fantasia (my eyes gloss over and I might, perhaps, even drool a bit).

In Fantasia the Peculiar family lives on a small farm. There are chickens and cows and goats and pigs. We wander daily through the huge maple forest behind our house. In the winter we tap the trees and make our own syrup.

We support ourselves working from home; industry that doesn't require attention at 3:00 am. Out front, over the the left of the drive, is a small quirky outbuilding. It's our little vintage shop that is open every other weekend.

Our house, a remodeled farmhouse, has rustic wide plank wood floors and a wood burning stove. Each child has his or her own room. The edges and details are a bit worn - -in a shabby chic way. We love it; not to worry about the periodic nick or scratch -- it simply adds charm.

In the kitchen sits a large farmhouse table. We gather there often with family and friends, simple rustic food, wine and home brewed beer. Each year we host Thanksgiving. Friends often stay over -- sleeping in our cozy guest quarters.

Out back there's a lovely little garden shed -- reclaimed windows, barnwood siding and a tin roof. This is Mama's studio -- full of yarn and fabric and photographs. The kids love to lay on the oval rag rug and read while Mama works.

We have an apple orchard and pear trees. A plentiful vegetable garden is tucked behind a gorgeous wrought iron fence.

We aren't wealthy but we are content. We have everything we need.

Only there's one problem -- though I visit Fantasia often I don't actually live there. At least not yet. Until I procure the wherewithal to move to such a place I need to find contentment here, in the "real" world. I must seek satisfaction in laundry and dishes and our bumpy wood floor, with pet hair and doubled up rooms, a yellowing lawn, an overflowing garage and our short growing season.

On any given day I am relatively content. But not with everything. Lately I've been dreaming of space. Mama space. Just for me. A place to craft and set my stuff (rather than the kitchen table) Only where? This morning I figured it out.

You see we have a space, a nook really, that is terribly underutilized. It houses forlorn exercise equipment, a tv and a computer -- all of which will shortly be relocated. With my families blessing I am claiming this space as my own. And I have grand plans -- new flooring (on the cheap mind you), a robin's egg blue wall and a yellow formica crafting table. Yes. I have a lot of work ahead of me. But in the end, if I'm lucky, I'll have blurred the line between this world and Fantasia.

As Falcor said, "Never give up and good luck will find you." Oh I hope so! Indeed!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And the winners are ...

Thank you thank you all who entered my giveaway! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and visit my other pages. The winners were chosen via random.org and are as follows:

The recipient of the Brownie Hawkeye is:



And the winner of the pyrex kitchen set is:



Congratulations! Contact me with your mailing address and I'll get those special packages in the mail asap. ♡♡


Friday, September 10, 2010

Exciting News!


A couple days ago there was a knock on the door. It was the kindly UPS man who, after being mauled by my *ahem* overly enthusiastic dogs, delivered a small package. The return address read Quirk Publications.

Squeeee! Was I excited! I tore open the wrapping and admired the contents -- a much anticipated book -- Witch Craft; Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More!

And, yes, I do like halloween. I bake for it, dress for it, decorate for it and craft for it. But that's not the reason I was excited. No. I was ecstatic because my name was (is) in print! I am a contributing crafter for this publication. Squeeee!



I must admit -- this is a fun project to be part of. All the crafts (and crafters) are amazing.

For the first two days I barely got my hands on this book (my book!). Rather my girls were pouring over the pages -- marking all the crafts and projects we just had to do! On deck are chocolate marshmallow skulls, a cupcake graveyard, fuzzy bats, ghost toasts, a knitted spider and web hat, peanut butter and jelly skull sandwiches, ruby slippers and, finally, sleepy ghost broaches. As you can see our fall crafting schedule is now quite full.

But that didn't stop me from doing even more (yes, yes, my sanity may be in question. Let's not go there, shall we?). As such I created a supplemental project to accompany the spell jars and snow globes in the book-- creepy crawly DIY shrinky dinks. This project was soooo simple and terribly fun to do with kids. I hope to have a tutorial up soon.

Additionally I will be hosting a book giveaway in the very near future. But, if you can't wait, it's already available online.

And now I must go. I'm off with a skip in my step and I might even do a little dance. It really is quite exciting to see one's name in print.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends! I hope your days are equally bright and cheery!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Today


I am not having the best day today. I had bad dreams, stress dreams, about work versus parenthood. Though I can't remember the details the basic gist was that I needed to be home; to be a grounding force in the lives of my children. And that's all well and good except being home, at least at this juncture, does not pay the bills. So tonight I will dutifully change hats and go to work.

Hopefully - hopefully my children will not destroy the house. They will not watch too much television, will go to bed at a decent hour and will, possibly, peruse a book or two. Hopefully. And yes -- their father will be home. But I suspect he will be sound asleep on the couch -- exhausted from his work week. He does have the day off today. He's out thrifting (yes, alone). He wanted me to go but I felt I needed to be here. To attend to the dishes and the laundry and the bedrooms. The general care and maintenance of a family is challenging at best.

Today I'm not having the best day. I asked my 10-year-old to pack lunches for her and her sister. She lost it. Completely melted. I was treated to a litany of complaints about my parenting skills, or lack thereof, including how I, as the mother, should be packing their lunches. I responded that it was in her best interest and her duty as a member of this family to help out.

But that not so little voice in the back of my head was screaming BAD MOTHER, BAD! Because, you see, all good mothers make breakfast for their children and pack their lunches and walk them to school. Good mothers are home at night to tuck their children into bed and aren't too tired to function the next day. All too often I am none of the above.

Today did not get any better when a gorgeous pink snowflake pyrex casserole dish slid nonchalantly from the backseat of the car and shattered into a million pieces. I told myself it's just an object. Just a material thing. But truth-be-told a small piece of me was shattered as well.

This morning I did not look in the mirror. I got up, switched pj bottoms for jeans and threw on a sweater to take the girls to school. I'm still wearing the t-shirt I slept in. You don't want to see my hair.

When I finally did glance in the mirror I was startled. There, around my neck, was an orange necklace - handknit by my youngest last night as we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had forgotten all about it.

This necklace, this sweet orange spot of cheer, reminded me -- it's not all bad. So today I will clean the house. Tonight I will go to work. And tomorrow, in a sleepless fog, I will deal with the aftermath. And so and and so forth ad nauseum. For these are the days of my life. They're not all good but they're not all bad. I simply have to take them as they come. As my friend and Buddhist mentor Karen Maezen Miller would say; your practice is your life.

om.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Giveaway Time!


You guys did it! 100 likes on our Peculiar Momma Facebook page. Yipee! I am thrilled! Honestly -- you people are the best.

To say THANK YOU I am hosting not one but two giveaways!

First on the auction block -- a vintage Pyrex Spring Blossom mixing bowl (oft called Craisy Daisy), coupled with a vintage Cutco Cookbook (which has amazing illustrations), a vintage apron and a set of matching Pyrex salt and pepper shakers. Just think -- soon you could be mixing cookies in this fabulous bowl (by the way I'm making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies today -- num num!)

The second giveaway is for a Brownie Hawkeye camera; similar to this gal here. She's great for display or for ttv photography.

Now how, you might ask, do you enter to win? Well let me tell you.

  1. First leave a comment on this post and tell me which item you would like to win and why. Easy peasy. Be sure to leave a link containing an email address should you be a lucky winner.
  2. Second visit my Etsy Shop -- come back and tell me what your favorite item is.
  3. Third tweet about this giveaway then come back and leave a link to your tweet.
  4. And, finally, give us a "like" over on our Facebook page then leave a comment saying you did so.
This contest will run for one week -- I'll accept comments until noon Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday September 15th. After that time I will draw two lucky winners.

And tomorrow -- another announcement. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More Thoughts on Imperfection

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully."

~ Matthew Fox

My first thought when I saw this vintage pyrex cinderella was gorgeous! She had that sublime turquoise/robin's egg blue color which I adore. And she had a pattern I'd not seen before. I picked her up, intent upon bringing her home, then hesitated. She wasn't perfect. Though the pattern was intact her paint was scratched and mildly stained. I wasn't sure.

I consulted Mr. Peculiar. "Well, she's a little beat up," he said, "I don't know." And I hesitated again. I almost set her back down. But she drew me in. You see. Despite her imperfections she was delightful. How could I not? I brought her home. I figured if nobody else rejoiced in her beauty then she'd be mine, all mine!

After a bit of research I discovered she sported a rare embroidery pattern. Then I had to get on with my day. You see today was the first day of school. There were groceries to buy, children to transport, snacks and meals to prepare. Busy as I was, this bowl, thoughts of this bowl, kept churning in the back of my mind.

And finally it hit me. This bowl wasn't beautiful despite her imperfections. She was beautiful because of her imperfections. Her paint was scratched because Aunt Mary used her to bake cookies after school. And she has that little stain on the top because she sat at the Thanksgiving table and Grandpa Joe put her a little too close to the roast pan. This bowl has had a life. She has been loved.

And, honestly, the same holds true for you and me. Those liver spots on my hands? Kisses from the sun. The wrinkles around my eyes? Years of laughter. Those strands of hair that are a little less blond and a little more gray? Wisdom.

You and I and this sweet bowl are all alike; perfectly imperfect and well well loved.

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It doesn't feel right keeping this gal to myself. She needs to go out into this world and spread the love. So she's listed here, in the shop.

Now I have to tell you. Though it's not a matching set she looks awfully good with this cinderella butterprint bowl. You can see them together above. It almost seems like destiny.

Separately the bowls are $18.00 a piece. If you wish to buy them together I'll combine shipping and give you a discount at $28.00 for the set. Simply add a note to the invoice or send me a convo and I'll refund you the difference. This is a special deal for you, my friends, here on blogger and facebook.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peculiar with a Side of Quirky


Here's a little factoid. I have an aversion to odd numbers. Five is the exception; it is a tidy little number that falls halfway between any two sets of ten. Therefore five is an even number by proxy.

While driving the climate control must be set appropriately; 68, 70, 72 or 74. When my children have a death wish they change the temperature to 73. I will swerve into on-coming traffic to correct this egregious error.

You will also find that, whenever possible, I carry an even number of items in my Etsy shop. (Note to self: list additional item.)

Now I have no control over some things such as days of the month. Therefore I am okay with a day like today. One. The first. It is what it is and I can accept that. I can move on with my life.

However my Facebook Fan Page is a completely different story. 31 of my friends like my page. Thirty-one! Why oh why couldn't it be 32? In addition I currently have 89 people who "like" the page. Again with the odd numbers! It's like fingernails on the chalkboard, my spine tingles, my hair prickles and I feel discombobulated. Yes. Yes. I am an odd duck.

Why tell you this? Because you, each and every one of you, make my day brighter. And I don't want to lose friends to satisfy my number fetish. But -- I would *love* to gain new friends. So if you know anyone who would like to join our circle, and add to the "evenness" of my page, please invite them in. How about a perfect round 100 at our party? How fantastic would that be?!!

In fact I do think a party is in order. Hmmm! I feel a giveaway coming on when that magic 100 is reached.

In the meantime please tell me I'm not alone in my idiosyncratic ways. I can't possibly be the only one. Can I?

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Lonely Socks Club


Once upon a time I knit a sock. He was a lovely creature with even stitches and bright striped yarn. He was a sock begging, yearning for a mate. This sock ached and dreamed and hoped and prayed. Yet no counterpart ever materialized.

Then, one day, this forlorn sock was banished to that despicable place; the lonely sock drawer. For two years he pined his days away; losing hope day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. That is, until last Sunday, when he emerged from his chrysalis and transformed into a sweet toy dog.

He is no longer companionless. He now spends his time snuggled next a child, enveloped in her sticky hands and drug around by the ear. In other words he will live happily ever after.

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If you, too, would like to change the life of a lonely sock you can find a tutorial here. Thanks to the Little Black Tea Pot we can transform these sad creatures one sock at a time!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

On Tranquility

"The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom."
~James Allen


It's early Sunday morning. I'm sitting in my reading chair, legs stretched out on the ottoman and facing the front windows. Outside small birds flit about snacking on the bird feeder (I count six). One of my cats sits on the chair across from me. Occasionally she chatters gutturally. Clearly she sees the birds.

My husband and son have already left for the day. The Boy has a water polo tournament the next town over. Middle is still sleeping and Little slept at a friend's house. This moment is mine. This tranquility is mine.

As you can see from the photos above our week was full. Picnics and flea markets*, book club meetings and music lessons, dinners and desserts. All wonderful events that kept time ticking at an accelerated pace.

We've got additional plans this afternoon and this evening. Team gatherings and a barbeque with friends. But before that happens I'm going to take this time and just be still. To sit and reflect. To enjoy the birds, the quiet and the solitude. To solidify in my mind how truly blessed I am.

I hope your weekend is as full.

Namaste!

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* Peculiar Momma Vintage went to her first flea market as a vendor. There are more photos here on our Facebook Fan Page.