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.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I'm having some real issues focusing these days.  I have some pretty grand ideas, and am feeling super inspired; however, my mind is in overdrive.  I need to reign it in.

But, look at this freakin' dress! I'm wanting to make some vintage-y style house dresses for myself to wear when I'm here doing stuff at the house.  I'm trying to avoid the yoga-pants-and-oversized-tee-shirt- everyday look.  So I started searching online for patterns.  It turns out there are a plethora of patterns out there for 40's and 50's styles, but a severe lacking in 20's and 30's.  I love the look of the 40's/50's, cinched waist, prominent shoulders, very crisp.  But I really want the 30's style drop-waist, less definition kinda deal.  Not in a matronly way, but in a hot way, like the dress I linked above.  I love it. 

This morning we woke up to a frosty misty wonderland.  Feeling really October around here.  I'm thinking of concocting a spooky Halloween get together up here at the homestead.   The cabins and old farmhouse could be super scary.  I actually am pretty sure we do have ghosts around here, though I will never tell my children that, lest I be tortured about it for the rest of our days here.  Is it disrespectful to turn the homestead into a Halloween show for a night?  Perhaps too gimimicky?   My other thought is to just keep it real, by actually honoring the folks that lived here and giving a guided story of their lives, without spooking it out.  I suppose I could dress up, and maybe I could get Andy in on it, and the kids?  I like where this is going. 

I am currently super inspired by this book as well.  It has some amazing DIY techniques for creating really neat projects at home. 

Ok, time to mosey on.  Happy Monday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

This moment

Joining Soulemama in :

{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. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Elderberry Dresses

I'd like to give October a warm, friendly, inviting and sincere welcome.  I'm psyched to see October, he/she is a truly beautiful month.

Leaves are falling to the ground, mornings are chilly, days are hot.  Andy is pressing nine million gallons of cider.  Honestly, he is probably spending a good twenty or more hours per week doing something apple related.  I'm ok with it because it means I will get to drink tasty cider during the winter months, AND I can use some of it to make apple cider vinegar, and cider jelly.  Both are totally new for me, and both seem totally easy.  Famous last words.

Something I did do, and is totally easy is making Elderberry Syrup.  I got the recipe from the Meadow Sweet Herbs website.  This store is local and has every natural remedy, herb, tincture, salve etc. you need to keep your family healthy.  I now have several jars of it, and am actually looking forward to the first cough that escapes someones lips onto an unassuming family member, so that I can test the stuff out.  Maybe we'll go hang out at the mall to better our sick getting chances.  kidding.  of course.

I am a total dork for this witch doctor stuff though.  I love the idea of making our own medicine.  I recently ordered some facial oil from Angry Chicken, and I really love it.  She uses amazing oils, it smells super good, and probably the best part - she did a "magical incantation" on it, promoting radiance and confidence!  I really love that.

I made a dress recently, and it is only the third thing that I have made for myself that I actually like on.  And, I have made a lot of garments for myself. 

I like the neckline, the fit, and the comfort.  I even slept in it and it was really comfortable.  Also, it is simple, simple to make.  It would probably be very cute in a light weight wool for winter as well, with tights and a sweater.  Or perhaps long sleeve shirt underneath? 

Looking forward to some rain and cooler temps to keep us inside for a few days.  Happy Wednesday!