Thursday, February 24, 2011

Away We Go!

Exciting day here today.  Going on an adventure.  A family adventure.  In a car.  Two mountain passes away.  Yes, we're headed to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  So exciting!  I've lived in Colorado for 25 years and although I've visited Steamboat in the Summer, I've never skiied there.  Until Now.

I almost thought I would be hanging up the downhill skiis last season, and pursue a gentler, more contemplative snow sport like snowshoeing or Nordic skiing?  But Max had other plans for us.  He is as passionate about this Winter sport as his grandfather, Bumpy.  When he's not skiing, he is reading up on world class resorts, watching Free Skiing Vids online, or entering contests to win cool gear.  Here is a photo he took to enter a contest for the best picture of an animal and skiis:
Looks like a winner to me!

So, we'll load up the Pilot, and head out after school today.  I don't know what will be more fun, the skiing, or the road trip.  We've had some great ones in our days, always a book on "tape", snacks, handwork, and yes the occasional (ahem) squabble, but what would a road trip be without one, or two, or ?  Well you get the idea.

I'm not sure what access I'll have to my Laptop while away, seeing as this was a major bargaining chip for Rachel, and I wouldn't want to rock her world, when at all possible!  So rather than love you and leave you, I will share this little diddy that has been living with me and hopefully can live with you until we meet again.

"If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy hyacinths, for they would feed my soul."
- Prophet Muhammad

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter's Slow Demise

I can feel it, can you?  I feel it as a little quickening in my step.  The early mornings don't seem so early anymore.  Bedtimes sometimes stretch a little later, sometimes.  But, I'm in no rush.  Too soon my energy will be pulled outside, and I'm still enjoying this inside time.  And yet, here I find myself doing the oddest things.  Yesterday I caught myself DUSTING.  What?  How can that be?  Not only dusting, but ENJOYING the process.

I have this lovely craft cabinet (converted TV cabinet) in my bedroom that houses a collection of my bits and bobs inside and on the top.  I do love my collections.  I walk past it everyday on my way to the bathroom, so there's no chance in not seeing it.  And how dusty it gets.  And sometimes, enough is enough.

Yesterday was just such a day.  Now I'm the first to admit I lack discipline.  Who wants to maintain something "old" when you can be starting something new?!  But I'm trying.  So rather than begrudgingly tackle this little bit of chaos, I took the time to relish it.  As Gradpa would say, "If you can't get out of something, get into it!"

Each piece, a photo, a ring, a necklace, a hankie, a bottle of perfume, is a connection to someone I love.  Taking the time to touch each one (well almost each one), lovingly clean off the dust, and carefully find its new place was a moment to remember and revisit that love.  As you can see, I have a lot to be grateful for.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Open Heart Watches and Receives

Redwing blackbird song, Buds swell.

A Northern Flicker cries.

The Maple sheds her tears of joy,

A squirrel's sweet surprise.

Even the pussywillow cannot sleep,

Winter's slow demise.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Simply Be

What can I say?  Sometimes I get to thinking.  I've often thought this was my gift, my ability to "connect the dots."  Something happens, a written thought is read, a friend shares a story, a teacher shares an insight or learning, and boom, here I go off to the races.  Connecting the dots of my life.  And although this is a fun pursuit, and I do love a good puzzle, else times its just nice to let go and trust and know that, yes, everything is connected, and yes, it is fun to think about, but really, don't spend too much of my precious time wrapping things up in tidy, pretty little packages.

"True wealth is the ability to let go of your possessions." Yogi Bahjan

I always interpretted this quote literally, as in, ok, so if I'm not attached to "my possessions" I won't own them, or more likely, they won't own me.  But now, I'm realizing "my possessions" could mean my thoughts as well.  Maybe that's why I enjoy handwork, gardening, and yoga so much.  Through these pursuits I'm able to visit a beautiful, simple, empty-of-thought kind-of place to be.

Imagine that?  Just being.  So simple.  But sometimes so hard to achieve.  As Benjamin Hoff in the Tao of Pooh states,

"The essence of the principle of the Uncarved Block (P'u) is that things in their original simplicity contain their own power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed."

Here's wishing you all a simply beautiful day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

I'm celebrating Valentines Day by cooking a, hopefully, favorite meal for my husband and children (not so much?).  Pulled Pork Bar-B-Q sandwiches, homemade coleslaw, sweet and sour beans, and vanilla strawberry cake with ice cream for desert. 

ALSO, I wanted to offer this little Valentine's Keepsake Tutorial for you friends in blogland.

Start by crocheting a heart.  I used natural hemp cord because I thought it's earthiness made a good juxtaposition to the heart's frilliness.
Using a size H/8 5.00mm hook
  • Chain 2.
  • Row 1: 2 single crochet (sc) in first chain. Chain 1, turn.
  • Row 2: 2 sc in first stitch, 1 sc in next stitch. Chain 1, turn.
  • Rows 3 to 6: 2 sc in first stitch, 1 sc in each remaining stitch. Chain 1, turn.
  • After row 6, you will have 7 stitches.
  • Row 7: Skip first stitch. In second stitch: 1 half double crochet, three double crochet, 1 half double crochet. Skip one stitch, slip stitch in next stitch. Skip one stitch. In next stitch: 1 half double crochet, three double crochet, 1 half double crochet. Skip one stitch, slip stitch in next stitch.
I just love this simple heart, but wanted to add a little embelishment.  I do like to layer texture and color!  So I got out my handy dandy Yo Yo maker and scraps of fabric from a bag I sewed for Rachel.
And Voila!  Layers of loveliness!
Just have to add one last little punch of GREEN

from some little GREEN buttons off a favorite shirt that I ripped.  I do love reusing my favorite things (cue Julie Andrews!).

The possibilities are endless. You can adorn this little sweet heart to your choosing.  Here's another idea:

Quite a nice addition to the Valentine's Altar.  I will be bringing these keepsakes to a Valentine's Exchange at our Handwork Circle on Thursday, so perhaps there will be time to embelish some more?  I hope you enjoy a very Happy Heart Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Ridiculous Obsession With Love

1 minute and 57 seconds into this medley, gives me the chills everytime!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Clever Little Idea

Good things come in small packages, right?  And the more the merrier, yes?  With that in mind, I look at my workspace and think, gosh, I have bits and bobs, flotsam and jetsam, kibbles and bits ALL OVER!  For the most part I enjoy my melange of color, it's what inspires me you know?  But sometimes, enough is ENOUGH!

The other day when I was Socked In, an opportunity presented itself for me to try out this Clever Little Idea (CLI).  If you're like me, you probably have little mounds of embroidery floss stashed here and there, hither and yon.  If so, why not try this out?  Clever Little Embroidery Spools.  Here is the short, but hopefully sweet tutorial:

Start with an old manilla file folder (does anyone use these anymore?) and trace spools all around.  Next, cut them out.  This step reminded me of cutting out hearts when I was in elementary school, or  even when my kids were!


Then, relish in the winding up of all your happy little blobs of color knowing that they will be at your fingertips at the ready.

Lastly, you can punch holes in the tops in order to string them into a pretty lamp necklace,


or pin them up with min clips and create your own colorful bunting, stash them in a plastic "tackle" box, or even file them away in a binder filled with plastic sleeves meant to hold baseball cards (but who wants to hide their colors anyway?)

"The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Socked" In

Another snowy day here.  Seems like the snow has come to stay.  One could say we're "socked in!"

What say you?  Yes!  Speaking of Socks, at last, a Ta Dah moment!
Rachel cozy in her socks!

Max cozy in his
Interesting thing, this "Ta Dah!" stuff.  While in yoga yesterday, my teacher explained the meaning of "Tadasana" or mountain pose.  Did you know "Ta Da" means "I am that?"  Maybe that's what is feeding my desire to create?  Striking when you think of it.  Each sock knit, each cookie baked, each blog posted, each relationship shared, a connection to "I am that."  A connection to the creative spark that got us on this journey in the first place.

Makes me want to stand tall, feet firmly planted and centered on the earth, and with my heart open, take a deep breathe and go out into the world.
Missy has her Ta Da! moment
What about you?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Right Then

Okay, so no more "wallowing in the mire."  I sure do like to throw myself pity parties, don't I?  Wait, don't answer that.  If I'm sick of my moping I can only imagine how my family and friends feel.  So, onward and upward!  It was a beautiful, snowy afternoon here in Boulder, again.
Today would probably be a great ski day at the local ski hill, Eldora, but I will probably be helping my husband, Brad, get off for their scout weekend.  Actually, he is very well prepared.  My help will be more along the encouragement and reassurance lines.  You see they are going to Klondike Days in Winter Park which involves Dog Sled Racing, Dutch Oven Cooking and sleeping in a tent.  In the winter.  In the snow.  And cold.  Bless his heart, he's a better man than me!

So the girls are left to our own imaginations as to how we will pass the time.  My favorite!  I know it will involve watching movies, but . . . I have a sneaky suspicion that this would be a good weekend for some sewing.  Rachel and I saw some incredible Plum colored jersey knit the last time we were at the fabric store, and boy oh boy it would make a great swingy cardigan.  Something like this, only more purple!

Fast and pretty.  With any luck, I'll have pictures to post of our joint project.  In the meantime, I continue to look forward to Spring, and want to share what's inspiring me now:

I love these tops, so swingy, so 70's, and green is my color! (I seem to like the word "swingy" today :])
 I love them all, well, the blue doesn't really appeal to me, but hey, cute cute cute anyway!
 Can you say "ruffles?" Oh how I love them!
Love these skirts, something about the bold print and clean lines of the bias tape.

I hope you all enjoy a great weekend as well!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tangled Up In Blue

Today was not an easy day.  I guess we're all bound to have them.  Seems the emotions were running freely with my tears and nose.  Yesterday we started some family counseling, after much urging from our 15 year old.  At the time it felt like such a relief to be putting time aside to put it all on the table.  But, today, well, I'm feeling just a little overwhelmned, just a little tender.  You see, all I ever really wanted in life was a family of my own.  I have such great memories of growing up with 3 older sisters and 2 very active and engaging parents.  Summer trips to our family cabin, holidays shared with relatives, pets, hikes outdoors, and ski vacations.  Who wouldn't want that?

So the idea that what we've attempted to create, with all the required striving and sacrafice, is no good?  That's it's broken?  Somehow that just breaks my heart, you know?  I wish I had my daughter's perspective. She's able to look forward to where we'll end up.  She doesn't get caught up in what happened, what was said.  I admire that.  Now if I can only live it.  See what I mean when I say she is one of my teachers?

Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all them buckets coming out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand
You got all the love honey baby
I can stand. Bob Dylan
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