Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And so it begins

This Holiday season is in full swing now.  We made the cookies. Today is the last day of school, and Grandpa Eric will be here this afternoon. 
Just a few more details to complete, food to prepare, gifts to finish (yikes!), gifts to wrap, and merriment to make.  But, here we are. 

Happy Solstice!  Light some candles!  Remember that everyday is getting a little longer from here on out! 

Have a lovely Holiday season out there.  I will be back in the New Year.  xoxo

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I see London...

My friend Andrea and I have been making underwear, bras, camisoles and I recently made a robe.  We have an etsy page called I See London I See France.  It has been a whole lotta fun for sure.  We recently sold items at the Missoula Made Fair, and we did a bang up job!  It was a very ego inflating experience to have people oooohhh and awwwww over our underthings.  Made all the fussy underwear making frustrations totally worth it.  

And I would like to announce another new business/life venture that I will be taking on in the Spring.  Seedlings!  Shall I explain?  Yes.  I am opening a Waldorf-inspired childcare business.  Big undertaking, but so right.  I have been leading up to this for quite some time, and now the time feels right.  It seems that life keeps getting more fine tuned for us.  Andy will be teaching a film review class at the University of Montana next semester, and was invited to Winnipeg to teach a workshop to some film buffs.  The kids are thriving, we are feeling a little less run down, and a little more prepared to conquer the world.  And, l have to say, it is about time.  

On an entirely different note, I am planning to ask Kinkos if they will give me their throw away paper, so that I can make some journals.  But if they don't, I totally plan to dumpster dive.  I'll let you know all about it tomorrow.  Happy Wednesday. xo

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I just went on the first run I have been on since, well, I can't remember.  A long time.  I have been feeling a bit unpredictable lately.  Moody.  Mostly with my family.  Even downright enraged at times.  I felt low this morning, like the world was against me, and I couldn't believe that the boys were leaving things all over the house for me to pick up, and why is it that Andy leaves his pants and sweatshirt all balled up with the blanket on the couch every damn morning?  At least the dishes are all clean, because I DID THEM LASTNIGHT.  This was the conversation yelling in my head this morning.  Then, everyone left, and I went on a run. 

Now, I am wondering what the big deal was with my past self?  Why was she so pissed off at everyone?  Why couldn't she see past her own squinched up face?  I'll tell me why. I needed to run.

I went outside, moved my body in open space, breathed really hard, got my heart rate up, even sweat a little.  Poof.  Bad mood gone.  So why don't I go every effing day?  I clearly need to.  All the excuses are; bad weather, lack of light, no time.  They are all valid, but if we are talking about happiness here, then I need to figure out a way to work around all of those obstacles.  For everyone's sake. 

So here is my pre-New Years resolution; to run as much as I can.  We will all be better for it. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Expansion and contraction...

It snowed this weekend!  It's always a little bittersweet when the first snowfall hits.  The sweetness is in the excitement of a changed landscape, and how magical it looks and feels; making Christmas seem just a few steps away.  The bitterness is in the extra work that it brings, loading on all of the winter gear, watching the winter gear take over a large portion of our house.  Driving.  And contending with such big personalities in our little tiny house.

I have been reading a lot about human development, specifically Waldorf theories of human development.  And, it talks a lot about expansion and contraction.  It is the rhythm of nature to expand and contract.  To forge outward without boundaries soaking up the world, learning, growing expanding; until you are no longer benefiting from it, and are ready to come back.  And then you contract, go inward, reflect, slow down, process.  We all need a balance of both, and often times, because of the modern times we live in and all of its distractions, we don't know how to balance them.  I think I am definitely more apt to contract then expand, even though when I am engaging in expansive activities I feel full of life and love.  But, given my choice I'd rather stay inward.

Kids are almost always in expansion mode, and don't always know when or how to contract.  A toddler is endlessly exploring, climbing, moving, expanding; and then hits a certain point when she no longer is in harmony with the expansion and starts crying, falling down a lot, getting frustrated easily, melting down.  This is the parents cue that she needs to contract, take a nap, read some books quietly, rest.

This got me thinking, of course, about my own family and our tendencies.  Yesterday was hard.  I was wanting to stay in all day to organize, clean, get ready for the week.  Get my ducks in a row before we leave for a trip on Thursday.  My kids were grooving with me for quite awhile, playing quietly, coloring, reading books.  But then the switch happened, they needed some more expansion, then needed to be out in the world, and I was not paying attention.  The energy totally shifted, they got loud, started bickering, crying, wanting snack after snack after snack.  And all the while I kept getting more and more and more annoyed.  Until finally papa came home.  He took them outside, they ran, screamed, got pink cheeks and came back in 45 minutes later, content. 

It is that simple. I am going to pay attention to these shifts, and honor them. Even if I'd rather contract and retreat, and stay inside my four safe and warm walls.  For their sake, I am going to expand a little more.   Who knows, maybe I'll be snow boarding by the end of the winter.  Or, sitting in the lodge with hot chocolate while papa and the boys are snowboarding?  We'll see.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 4, 2011

This Moment

Joining Soulemama in This Moment:

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Warm pants for the wee boy...

When I walked into Selvedge the other day I saw this thick warm, not hideous looking fleece!  And, I wondered if I could get away with making a skirt for myself out of it?  I still might because it would be so very warm, though possibly not very attractive, but knowing myself, I wouldn't care and would probably wear it every day for the next six months.  So, yeah, I still might make it.

Anyhow here are the pants I made for Axel out of it.

He doesn't know about them yet, because I made them after he went to bed last night.  I'll snap a few pictures with them on; and then if they are really great, I'll list them on Etsy so that any of you fine folks can buy them up!  The knee pads were a little wonky because I left my straight pins at the studio, so I was just sort of holding them in place while sewing.  With this thick of fleece, there is a lot of shifting with the fabric.  I will definitely use straight pins to hold it down next time. 

That is all I have for today!  Onto some big cooking projects and some new ideas I'm cooking up outside of the kitchen.  Stay tuned.  Happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hung Over...

Didn't get a chance to squeeze in a post yesterday among all the Halloween hustle bustle.  Busy times.

Halloween with all of its lead up and anticipation, sugar, and late night results in: kid hang over.  Always.

We all love this holiday in our house, adults and kids alike, but man does it take it's toll.  This morning the first words uttered out of tired little mouths was, candy

So, after school today we are heading to Walking Stick Toys to cash in our candy, the candy fairy will be taking it off our hands, have you heard of her?  And, in exchange they will each get a new toy.  I should say, they ate their faces off in candy last night, no holds barred, total binge-fest.  Then, I let them pick their five favorites to keep for the week.  Andy and I will rifle through the bag for our faves too, ahem.  And then, off to fairy land it goes...

Speaking of fairy's  we built these fairy houses outside the other day.  It was really fun.


Slide.  Can you tell?

Consruction of...

And, speaking of fairies, check this out.  This lady makes the cutest fairy food imaginable.  And, she is having a Magical Fairy Birthday Party over at Walking Stick Toys.  We are so there. 

Happy Tuesday.  Hope you aren't too hungover.

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Moment

Joining Soulemama in This Moment:

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I made a shirt that I want to love...

Here it is.  My favorite fabric of the year, in a shirt that I can't love.

I thought an over-sized long drapey tee would be just the ticket for this fabric.  So, I whipped it up humming with happy thoughts about dramatically flitting around town, looking french and sipping coffee,  getting so many compliments about how cute my shirt was, where did I get that?  Oh, I made it.

When I put it on and looked in the mirror, I only half inflated for a tiny moment, and then I adjusted, and then I fully deflated.

There are a few things going on with this shirt that do not have me psyched.  First, the neckline.  Ahem.  The horizontal zigzags along with the oversized-ness is not flattering my upper half.  It is gramma-fying it, right?  Also, because of the pattern printed on the fabric, I really should have left it sleeveless, or figured out how to miter (line up) the zig-zags.  In other words, the flow is all jacked up.  Also, I like the length, but I think it should flow freely at the bottom without the cuff bringing it in sweatshirt style.  It needs a little more flounce and drape and less tapering.

My next idea for this fabric, because I assure you, I am not done with it, is a poncho style shirt.  I think it would be amazing.  Please dissuade me if you think I am delusional.  Any thoughts kind people?  It would also make an amazing dress.  Hmmmm?  Also, I might mention, this fabric is NOT cheap.  Still, it is cheaper than buying a new shirt, so as long as I don't make any more duds, like this one, I should still be saving money, right?

Happy and healthy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Under the weather...

We are feeling a bit, well, bitten by a bug around here.  Stinging throats, running noses, feverish foreheads.  Eating soup, drinking tea, eating apples, sucking on lozenges, sipping elderberry syrup
and rest seems to be helping.  Healthy Wednesday to you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sometimes, this is it...

I really really wish my camera could capture more of what was happening in these scenes.  Because it was so beautiful that I took the same picture fourteen times.  Sorry for the repetitive and possibly boring pictures, but during this five minute interval, the wind picked up and the sun poked out on this brilliantly yellow tree.  It was raining golden sunshine in the form of leaves.  But, it is hard to see the leaves falling in this picture.  My camera isn't anything special, so I'll just have to commit that moment to memory.

Sometimes the pictures of small moments that are beautiful, are all I have to report for the day, because nothing else is as interesting.  So, there you have it.  Have a lovely Tuesday. xo

Monday, October 24, 2011

Going to Sleep

We are getting the garden ready to go to sleep.  It is very satisfying to rip plants out of the ground.  We are cleaning up to start over next spring.  Feels like a step in the right direction.  These fall days are so full of home-y feelings.  My goal this year is to slow down enough to take it all in.  To notice every nuance, and variation of leaf changing from alive to dead.  To take in every smell of the season, which right now happens to be drenched with apple.

Walking into the Moon Cabin, where we store our apples, takes me back to being four years old walking down the stone steps of my grandparents root cellar.  We were always warned about the danger of those steep hard steps,  and of the sandman that lived in the big pile of sand in the corner of the cellar.  It was dark, damp, and smelled like apples.

The deer are unabashedly eating whatever they can these days.  There are consistently six to eight of them cruising the orchard looking for apples.  They eat up all of the pulpy remains after we press the apples into cider as well.  They are well fed.  And, very comfortable. 

This is the old farmhouse (and outhouse) the homesteaders built.  It still has a lot of their old things in it, some broken down furniture, many different kinds of jars, coats, and I'm sure plenty of critters.  The kids think it is haunted.  I do too.  In a good way. 

I'm sure it wasn't fun walking to the outhouse in the middle of a cold wintry night.  How lucky we are to have indoor plumbing.  

As we head towards November and it's lovely feast of Thanksgiving, I am feeling very thankful to live in such a beautiful place.  Thanks Montana, thanks homesteaders, thanks Missoula.  

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Moment

Joining Soulemama in This Moment:

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

A beautiful foggy frosty morning.  Mist hiding ghostly homesteaders of yesteryear.  Or so I like to tell myself.  Such an enchanting time of year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Indoors to outdoors

Making the shift from outdoors to in.  Trying to figure out what winter gear is needed first, and where it all is.  So many pairs of mittens will be gone through.  Layers of wool underneath clothes are needed.  I have been drooling over these.  I feel like we need to prepare for long hours outdoors even on the coldest days, if we are going to stay sane this winter.  And, I plan to stay sane.

Making tea is a constant around here these days.  We have been making the Chai Tea recipe out of Cynthia Lair's cookbook, Feeding the Whole Family.  It is nice and spicy-sweet, and is made without caffeine if you are sharing with kids.  You can add a tea bag if you want the caffeine, which I do often.  But I'd like some more tea recipes.  Any ideas out there?  I'd love to hear what your favorites are.

 Happy Thursday out there! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lip Balm

I made lip balm this afternoon, and thought I would share it with you.  I used the recipe from the Meadowsweet Herbs website.  I'm planning to give some for stocking stuffers, and to have around the house for the up coming dry-lip season known as Winter!

It was super easy to make.  The clean up is a little high maintenance, because of the waxy-ness, but not reason enough not to make this simple essential.  Also, it has natural ingredients that aren't terribly expensive.  Here is what I did:

Mixed together 3 ounces of almond oil, 1 ounce of jojoba oil, and 20 drops of vitamin E oil.  Then added to that, 1/4 of an ounce of alkanet root.  It is the red stuff you see floating around the oil.  It naturally gives the balm a rosy tint.  I let this mixture sit overnight to let the alkanet work its wonder.

The next day, I lined a metal strainer with a napkin.  The recipe called for a coffee filter, but I didn't have one.  We use a french press.  Then, I strained the Alkanet out of oil.  The color is a really beautiful rose-red.

Then I put the beeswax in a metal pan, turned the burner on low, and melted it.  I really enjoy the way beeswax smells.  So wholesome.  After it was completely melted, I added the rosy oil to the pan with the beeswax and stirred with a metal spoon until it was completely combined.  Then, I removed it from the heat and added essential oils.

The recipe calls for 40 drops of your essential oil of choice.  You shouldn't use citrus though, because it is photosensitizing.   A bit of a bummer for me because I have only a few essential oils that seem palatable enough to put on your lips, and lemon was one of them I wanted to use.  So instead I used a combination of ylang ylang, lavender, and peppermint.  It was a bit, shall we say, grandmother-ish?  The ylang ylang was not a wise choice for me, although I'm sure someone will like it??

 I am definitely going to try it again and I will leave the ylang ylang out, and perhaps just stick with peppermint or lavender.   Any suggestions out there??

The rosy tint turned out to be not very prominent on the lips, like hardly at all noticeable.  This is why I think it would make a great lip balm for young girls who are intrigued by make-up.  It looks like lipstick, but doesn't actually act like it.

please excuse the crusty countertop, we have been a productive little family.

I  bought a bunch of these little white chapstick tubes, as well as some little round salve-like containers.  I poured (important: use something with a pourable spout) the melted mixture into the containers and let them set.  And, voila!  Lip balm for the masses!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Introducing underwear, hand made even!  I'm newly in love with making them.  My friend Andrea and I are making them like crazy right now to sell at the Missoula Made Fair.  They are comfortable, beautiful, and designed to fit women of many shapes and sizes.  I'm pretty excited about them.  We will be setting up an Etsy shop soon as well.  Stay tuned. 

I found these amazing Day of the Dead beads at our local fabric shop, Selvedge Studio.  Love.  I plan to make earrings out of the little red flowers, and the skeletons.  And, perhaps a bracelet out of the bigger skull beads.  The boys are infatuated, they love macabre.  Those tiny little skeletons speak to me the most.  Seriously, how cute.  

This oily wonder is the beginning of  what will be naturally tinted lip balm.  More details tomorrow, but the red dried stuff floating in the oil is alkanet root, which gives the lip balm a rosy tint.  Can't wait to try it out.

And, lastly, this here is some fabric that I bought at Selvedge Studio, and I think it qualifies as my favorite of the year.  It's a very stretchy knit, super lightweight, and it's french.  I want to make myself a dress reminiscent of something you might have seen Carly Simon wear back in the 70's.  I can picture it in my head, kinda clingy, with a gold belt around the waist.  Maybe Crystal Gayle would've rocked it?  Anyway, I'm in love with it, and I guarantee I will be posting many more projects that incorporate this beauty.  xoxo

Monday, October 17, 2011

Curative Powers

I've been hearing some hints of a runny nose around these parts.  Some post-nasal-drip clearing of the throat.  The voice sounding a little scratchy, some snorting.  And this year I want to be PREPARED.  I want an arsenal of natural remedies with curative powers that I can call upon at the first glimpses of illness.

Last week I made Elderberry Syrup.  Elderberries are a powerhouse of good medicinal compounds and used as a preventative medicine can help boost the immune system.  I used this recipe from Meadowsweet Herbs.  It turned out delicious, and a little more runny than traditional cough syrup.  I have been giving it to our whole family everyday, one tablespoon for adults, and one teaspoon for kidlets.  I feel like it really helps, and I'm pretty psyched that I made it in my own kitchen, and I know every ingredient in it.  No harsh chemicals, just plain ole elderberries and honey.

I'd like to make some chest rub next, and maybe some sort of bath bomb for sickies.  Any of you have any magical potions that you use to keep your kids healthy?  I'd love to hear about them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

::Apples: Part II:: and Fall, and This Moment.

We are in the season now, the Fall season.  It is here.  Leaves are falling, apples are in various stages of production, wind is blowing, we are wearing more wool.  I like to join Soulemama in This moment on Fridays.  But this Friday I had to incorporate a few more moments.  Enjoy!

Apple Cider to become Hard Apple Cider.