Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Small Announcement ...

Yesterday I found a vintage travel trailer on Craigslist. I really really really wanted to go look at it. And in my heart was set to empty our savings to buy it. I was dreaming of road trips and family vacations, tea parties and sleep overs, new hand sewn cushions and curtains and pillows. It just seemed right. However, after some discussion, we erred on the side of caution and allowed it to pass. My heart broke a little. Okay. My heart broke a lot.

We agreed that, yes, we could get a trailer but first had to save the money for it. So practical. So adult. But dagnamit not so fun. Only maybe it will be fun. To earn a little extra cash I'm reopening my Etsy shop; Peculiar Momma's Handmade Wares and Vintage Treasures.

Thus far I have two items listed; the gorgeous mint green scale seen above and a set of awesome pyrex refrigerator boxes. I'll be listing additional items this week including a great vintage plaid lunch tote with two thermoses and a Jim Beam 1930 fire truck decanter (seal still intact). Additionally I'm hoping to add some appliqued camper t-shirts, as well as, burp clothes and bibs. By the way I'm also happy to take custom orders for anyone who might be interested.

I'd love for you to visit my new shop! Additionally please pass on the link to anyone who might also be interested.

Here's to handmade, vintage and just plain fun!

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Things I'm Loving Today:

Things I'm Hoping For Today:
  • Sleep
  • Etsy Success
  • An amazing find of a vintage trailer (when the time is right)
  • Beautiful blue skies
I hope you, too, are having a fruitful (and relaxing) weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just A Few Things I've Made ...

1. VW Bus Applique Tee, 2. Picnic Blanket, 3. Homemade Honey Almond Butter, 4. Camper Tee

Here are a few things I made this week. Production has now halted. I'd like to tell you we have a spectacular weekend getaway planned. But, alas, we do not. Tonight marks the start of our (hopefully) busy summer season at work. And, as such, I will be working and sleeping, sleeping and working.

I hope everyone has a lovely extended weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Eat Dessert First (and an Ice Milk Recipe)

Growing up my mother would occasionally throw a curve ball into our standard dinner routine and serve dessert as the main course. I have fond memories of these dinners and am carrying on the tradition. More often than not our dessert was (and is) strawberry shortcake. My mother's version was bisquick scones, strawberries and ice cream. Our version is similar; cream scones, strawberries and ice milk.

Ice milk has a bit of a crunch compared to ice cream. It gives a lovely sensation on the tongue (similar to the crunch you get on ice cream in a float). Growing up ice milk was readily available in the grocery store. Now I'm not so sure -- I haven't seen it in my neck of the woods. Fortunately ice milk is super easy to make.


4 cups milk (any percent)
1/2 to 1 cup sugar (to taste)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch salt

Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir until sugar dissolves. Place in ice cream maker and mix according to manufacture directions. Place in a container and freeze. For best results freeze overnight (I'm not that patient and have learned to love soft ice milk.)

If you don't have an ice cream maker don't despair -- simply place in a container and freeze (for best results stir every couple of hours until frozen through).

After you master vanilla go wild and experiment. Add strawberries or chocolate or coffee. Tonight's ice milk was made with 2 cups whipped cream (had it and decided to use it), 1 1/2 cups coffee (left over from this morning), 1/2 cup milk, vanilla, sugar and salt. I must warn you the whipped cream fluffs up like crazy and might overflow the bowl so keep an eye on it. The resulting ice milk/cream is very light and fluffy. It is currently hardening in the freezer.

I love this recipe because it easy, inexpensive and contains simple wholesome ingredients.

And now off to make some scones ...

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Things I'm loving today:
  • New appliqued tee shirts
  • A husband who is enthused and designing new appliques (seriously)
  • Crazy weather (sun, rain, hail, thunder, sun, rain)
  • Snuggle kitties

Things I'm hoping for today:
  • A good holiday weekend at work
  • To find a new captivating book
  • Children who appreciate one another
  • A solution to the crisis in the gulf

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wash Wednesday

A gentle breeze rustles through the pines. In the distance a crow caws and a train bellows. A pair of Canadian geese fly overhead honking their greetings. The chickens cackle and chatter begging to be set free on my compost pile. One cat sits and watches me while another climbs the juniper tree dividing my yard from the neighbors. Our resident scrub jays are not pleased with this development and begin to screech and dive bomb the cat. Mickey is unperturbed. Me? I'm on the back patio hanging laundry.

I do not have a proper clothesline. Rather all we own is a metal rack from Target. I have plans, dreams, and am working on the husband to implement them. He tells me I am a hippy. He might be right. In the meantime I've decided enough is enough. I will hang my laundry, line or not.

Today, like yesterday, there is a chance of rain. Yesterday my clothes were rained on. I brought them inside and this morning they were dry. Today I'm watching the clouds ready to rescue the laundry at a moment's notice.

While hanging the clothes I feel somehow more connected. Connected to the world, nature and generations of women. I feel environmental, frugal and rebellious. You see I live in a town where laundry is controversial. In fact my neighborhood is adjacent to the neighborhood in question. There are only two families who can see my laundry. I don't think they'll complain.

I'm struggling to see laundry as an eyesore. I find it strangely beautiful. Happily today I discovered Garden Mama and her Wash Wednesday. Check out her stream for more gorgeous laundry line photographs.

Tell me. Do you hang your clothes out to dry?

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Things I'm Loving Today:
  • Breathing like a normal human being (breathing is not over-rated)
  • Vintage trailers (oh be still my heart)
  • This post (and yes I do think I'll make it myself)
  • A lovely quiet morning to drink coffee, hang laundry and browse blogs
Things I'm Hoping for Today:
  • A good run (i.e. energy and minimal rain)
  • Inexpensive t-shirts for the above project
  • Continued inspiration for all things creative and frugal

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make It Monday: Picnic Blanket

Last Friday I was dreaming of a handmade picnic blanket. Today my dreams came true. Presenting the Beach Blanket To Go ala Soule Mama. The top is comprised of vintage sheets; including fabric from this project and this project. The bottom is a terrycloth shower curtain. The blanket has already been on an inaugural voyage to the Boy's lacrosse game. The weather has been quite chilly so our new-to-us coffee pump also went along for the ride. And, of course, smack in the middle of the blanket is my knitting. I can't think of a better way to spend a May evening.

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Things I'm loving today:
  • Bursts of sun during the lacrosse game
  • Dinner out with my parents
  • Vintage picnic items (baskets, pumps, blankets, etc)
  • Chickens that are decidedly still alive after an early morning visit from a raccoon
Things I'm hoping for today:
  • That last night's visitor will not return (he had to deal with sprinklers, dogs and dive bombing scrub jays)
  • A good nights sleep with pleasant dreams (as opposed to dreams of being sued and forgetting to show up in court)
  • To remember to refill my inhaler prescription
  • The energy to exercise tomorrow

Happy Monday All!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Handmade Toy for a Toddler Boy

A little something I was working on this week -- a stuffed rocket ship with matching tote bag. Rocket Man was destined for a little guy who just turned two. This is not a new project. I made similar rockets for my nephews this past Christmas. I like the face painting better here as I'm rather smitten with the soul patch. That's one hip astronaut!

If you want to make a Rocket Man of your own check out this tutorial over at The Long Thread.

I've got about a hundred billion (give or take) projects up my sleeve. Lately I've been a bit ADHD with my crafting/sewing/knitting. Hopefully I can settle down, clear my brain and focus.

And now I must go -- I've got movies to return before 9:00 pm.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!
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Things I'm loving today:
  • Remembering to return our movies
  • A kitchen remarkably absent of dirty dishes
  • A use for my "new" garage sale fabric
  • Sleep

Things I'm hoping for today:
  • Contentment
  • Freedom from financial worry
  • Warm weather (c'mon already!)
  • Guilt-free time to work on my projects
  • A cheerful husband

Friday, May 21, 2010

Frugal Friday: Thrifty Finds and a Crock Pot Recipe

Check out my latest frugal find ... a coffee pump. I'm embarrassed to admit how giddy it makes me. One dollar. One. See how well it coordinates with our picnic basket? Now all I need is to sew one of these and we'll be ready for picnic season, that is if the weather cooperates.

Today is a mixture of rain, snow and small bursts of sunshine. If not for the stormy skies I'd have my hands buried in soil prepping and planting our vegetable beds. I've started reading Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and am itching to plant some asparagus. But alas not today. Instead I'm huddled inside longing for something more akin to summer -- after all it's nearly June!

Late spring or not it is chilly. I've kept our heater off during this cold spell. I'm curious to see how well our house can maintain on its own. Right now the indoor temperature is a cool 64 degrees. With a long sleeved shirt and toasty wool socks it's not too bad. Plus I've got the crock pot simmering and the smell alone lends a cozy aura. And it masks all the other, ahem, not so pleasant smells in this house. Pets, children -- enough said.

Today's crock pot recipe is so freakishly simple I can hardly believe it. It is the perfect recipe for mornings when you are in a terrible hurry or those mornings where putting one foot in front of the other is work enough. So, without further adieu, here it is:

Salsa Verde Pork

Pork Roast (bone in)
One Jar Salsa Verde (brand of your choosing)
Corn Tortillas
Cilantro (optional)

Put the pork in the crock pot. Pour the jar of salsa over the pork. Cook on high for 6 to 7 hours or until meat is tender and easily pulls off the bone. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with tortillas.

That's it. Told you it was easy!

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Things I'm loving today:
  • A weekend off work.
  • A clean living room (we'll see how long that lasts!)
  • Estate sales (fabric, notions and my new coffee pump to boot).
  • Our lovely down comforter and pillow top bed.

Things I'm hoping for today:
  • Warmer weather!
  • Supplemental income (might put some stuff on Ebay).
  • A handsome fairy to wash the dishes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Perhaps the pioneers had something on us ...

At the moment I'm trying not to freak out. Coordinating the lives of five separate people is overwhelming at best. Today Mr. Peculiar came home sick from work. We had early release from school. Guitar, lacrosse and freshman orientation for the boy. Dolls to make for Pioneer Town for Sis and ballet for Little. Needless to say Momma's plans for exercise flew right out the window.

I'm also working on gifts for a 10-year-old birthday on Friday and a 2-year-old birthday on Sunday. Oh yeah and Middle needs to dress in fifties attire for school on Friday. I have to work tomorrow night so all this has to get done before then.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Tonight was definitely a night to go out to eat. Dinner simply wasn't going to happen any other way. And that margarita? Most helpful to Momma's state of being.

America has bred days like today. Families always on the run. Bigger better faster more. After tomorrow I'm jumping off this treadmill. I have no interest in this perpetual race to nowhere. To be honest I'm desperately looking forward to this summer and its deceleration. As of yet I've not signed anybody up for anything. And, you know, with the exception of a few swimming lessons I might just keep it that way.

Here's to sanity!


If you'd like to make yarn dolls of your own check out this tutorial.

Things I'm loving today:
  • Pounding rain, sleet, hail and sunshine all in a single day
  • Margaritas!
  • One more night in my own bed

Things I'm hoping for today:
  • Health for Mr. Peculiar
  • The energy to finish these projects
  • Time to cook dinner before work tomorrow
  • Sanity

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sewing Projects and Family Milestones

Here's a sneak peak at a project I've been working on: Baby Kimono Booties, a reversible bib (based loosely on the pattern) and burp cloths. Soon these will be packaged up and sent on their way. Their destination is hush hush as they have yet to be sent.

Anyone getting tired of this material yet? I'm stretching it as far as it will go! So far four boxed pouches, a shoulder bag and the items above. Not too shabby for $15.00.

And, on a completely different subject, Little spent last weekend learning to ride a bike without training wheels. I dare say she has it down pat. Her bike is a double hand me down. First it belonged to her brother and then her sister. It is ten-years-old and has seen a fair amount of use.

To celebrate this milestone I might just need to give her two-wheeler a makeover. Perhaps some ribbon in the spokes and maybe handle bar streamers. Does anyone have other suggestions to "girly up" a boy's bike?

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Things I'm loving today:
  • Evenings spent with family
  • Walking downtown for pizza, the library and the park
  • Time spent running (well, okay, jogging at a pace slightly faster than walking)
  • Dandelions
Things I'm hoping for today:
  • To find a fun creative project for pioneer town (crafts from the 1840s)
  • That the odor of spilt milk soon dissipates from my living room
  • No thunder storms tomorrow so I can hit the pool
  • A complete reduction of cellulite (yes I know -- good luck but a girl has the right to dream!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Frugal Friday: Go Handmade

These days I feel weird when I buy a gift. Gifts, it seems, were meant to be handmade. A touch of love sewn into the seams or knit into the fiber. And I'm figuring out my standard gifts based on age. Diaper bags for new mommies, shirred outfits for one-year-olds, I Spy Bags for the kindergarten set and, now, boxed pouches with matching bags for the pre-teens in our life.

Today Middle Daughter went to a birthday party. I made a boxed pouch and coordinating shoulder bag. However it didn't seem quite enough. So we included a book (read but not worn) and Bookie the Bookworm Bookmark.

Bookie started off innocently enough -- what good is a book without a mark? But then Little said it looked like a worm. And indeed it did. So we took it a step further and added eye balls. Alas Bookie was born.

This gift is everything I hope to give; full of love and education. It sure beats made in China plastic!

Total cost of the gift? Hard to say. The fabric was on sale for $3.00 a yard. The book was pre-owned. The ribbon for the bookmark and bag -- thrifted. Then of course a zipper and thread. I'd venture to say no more than $6.00. And yet it is a gift I am proud to give.

Happy Frugal Friday!

P.S. -- I do well making gifts for the younger set. But when it comes to teenagers, specifically teenage boys, I fall short. I'd love to make gifts for my son's friends but I'm at a loss for ideas. For Christmas the boy got a knitted hat. Not so good for the summertime set. I love to hear what you make for the young men in your life!

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Things I'm loving today:
  • Having the night off work
  • Yummy left over pizza fixings (dough, meat and sauce frozen then thawed)
  • The Boy's first lacrosse game (he made a goal!)
  • Friends and community
  • Biking (with a small tumble in the driveway)
Things I'm hoping for today:
  • A productive but minimally stressful weekend at work
  • A house cleaning fairy
  • Continued motivation to exercise

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vegas Baby!

Guess where we've been? Yup. Sin city. Las Vegas! Only we weren't there to gamble (well, at least I wasn't). We went to witness our niece's wedding. You can see us above in all our finery.

The wedding was beautiful and it was great to reconnect with family. We relaxed at the pool, walked the strip and generally had a good time.

Crazy people that we are we drove to Vegas (one car, three kids, fifteen hours). Honestly? It was great. I really enjoyed the family time. Plus we were able to see some cool things that we wouldn't have seen from a plane. For example Bighorn Sheep, Pronghorn Antelope and bum ba da dum (insert drum roll) -- Death Valley.

Death Valley was a detour requested by moi. You see I grew up at the gateway to Death Valley. And yet I had never actually been there. Seriously. Never. And now, after 38-years, I can finally say I've been to one of the lowest points in North America. I'm not sure the family was impressed. But now they can say they've seen it too.

And now we are home. Back to our regularly scheduled programming; cooking, cleaning, knitting, sewing and, of course, working. Our mini-vacation was good while it lasted. Ah memories ...

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Things I'm loving today:
  • A feisty Grosbeak that doesn't seem to notice his (her?) broken leg
  • Learning Judy's Magic Cast-On for toe up socks
  • Warm weather forecasts
  • Crock pot cooking (an excellent way to feed the family on nights that I work)

Things I'm hoping for today:
  • The motivation to start triathlon training
  • Extreme frugality for the remainder of the month
  • Productive nights/weekend days at work
  • The wherewithal to knit TWO socks rather than one

Monday, May 3, 2010

Make It Monday -- Boxed Pouch

This morning I made this adorable boxed pouch. I was nervous as I'd never worked with a zipper before. But the pouch only looks complicated (at least to a novice sewer such as myself). It turned out to be such a quick and easy project that I plan to make this the standard gift for the pre-teen girl set. Coupled with some lip gloss and perhaps a larger matching bag? Ten-year-old heaven!

Want to make one yourself? Here's a tutorial. Happy Sewing!

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Things I'm loving today:
  • One final night of work then mini-vacation!
  • A husband who was willing to brave the DMV to register my car
  • Shexy new dress and shoes (turns out my old one had seen better days)
  • A renewed commitment to exercise (aka I tried on dresses today!)
Things I'm hoping for today:
  • That the dachshund on it's way in to our clinic doesn't actually need a c-section (push mama push!)
  • A bit of rest tonight so I can get ready for our trip
  • A magical cessation of the pain in my wrist (anyone want to nail me with a bible?)
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day!

A couple of months ago my neighbor called to ask if the girls were at my house.

"No." I said, "They aren't here".

"Ah," she replied, "they must be a Leena's house. I'll call over there."

She called back a few minutes later with an edge of panic in her voice. The girls weren't at Leena's either. They had been at Leena's. Their shoes were still there. But no girls.

My heart sank. Leena's house was being remodeled and full of construction workers.

It couldn't be. No. These things don't happen here ...

All three moms barreled outside calling for the children. Silence. Chirping crickets. No girls! Where in the world could they be? I searched the empty lots near our house. My neighbor jumped in her car and began to drive around.

I was queasy and light headed. When, I wondered, should I call the police? In the event of an abduction the first few minutes are critical. Amber alerts need to go out. Could someone really abscond with three little girls?

Then my neighbor called. She found them. They were the next block over, barefoot and ding-dong ditching. A nine-year-old and two eight-year-olds ding dong ditching. Phew! First relief and then anger. What were they thinking?!!

Needless to say the girls were grounded and harsh words exchanged. Things along the lines of "I'm not allowed to do ANYTHING! You don't love me! You don't trust me! You hate me!"

Yes. Yes. I was being most unreasonable banning barefoot ding dong ditching in the middle of November. Clearly other parents are much more lenient and I'm just an old meanie.

Well then flash forward to today. Today, as a family, we rang the bell and ran. Really. You see today is May Day -- a day to leave anonymous flowers and welcome spring.

As it turns out there is a time and place for everything - ding dong ditching included.

Happy May Day!