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August 2009
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September 2009

A little Thank You

I just had to share this glass gifted to me by Deanna from East Mesa Design.

We ordered 4 custom glasses for Father's Day this summer. We l-o-v-e them! Deanna recently switched to sand etching which she says has a much more fluid result. She sent us a new glass just to show how nicely it came out! You can see for yourself below on the glass she sent to us. It looks really great!

Another new thing at East Mesa Design is etching on vintage glasses and coffee mugs. I recently saw some lovely yellow 70's mugs on there :) I love that she is incorporating green crafting into her business. And she is great to work with on custom orders.... we sent lots of emails back and forth getting just the right design for the glasses we ordered in June.

Thank you Deanna :)

garden beer

good beer in my garden :)

East Mesa Design


In the Garden......

It's still so strange to me to be feeling summer this time of year. Having spent my entire life in a northern climate with 4 seasons, my soul is anticipating changing leaves and cool crisp air and that's not what we've got going on here right now! The weather is cooling off and starting to get really nice.... the locals say by mid month it will be in the 70's and stay that way until December! 

The seeds we planted in our garden are all popping up and doing well. By the time the weather gets into the 50's everything will be ready to harvest. We should be able to get two plantings out of our lettuce before it gets too cold..... and I hear if you keep things covered you can often do greens year round!

So even though my internal clock is all goofed up, I'm enjoying the gardening and the warm days and just to confuse myself a little more I've started my normal fall bake-a-thon. Right now my entire house smells like heaven. Spicy pumpkin bread. Yum. And just for fun, we framed some leaves sent to us by our Minnesota friends and hung them up to look at it. (thank you Maddy!)

Here are some views from near and in our garden.... have a lovely day!

Bug

cool bug

Mushroom

a little mushroom

Beets

little beets

Beans

bush beans

Arugula

arugula


Festival Weekend

Wow.

We had a busy weekend. Lots of fun at La Fete d' Ecologie Festival and Heritage Days. The first focused on learning about and protecting our wetlands and the second focused on folk art and craft demonstrations. I met a knitter and a homesteader. Yeah-hoo!! The knitter & I swapped emails and I got a beautiful new pattern to try out. The homesteader & I also swapped emails and he wants us to come out and see his farm and meet my beer brewing husband to talk about growing hops. 

The kids had a great time digging worms, seeing cool reptiles, watching crafters, talking about compost, painting murals, listening to awesome Cajun music and eating ice cream! I snapped as many pictures as possible while keeping track of them all and carrying Mr Three on my shoulders.

Mural Painting

Miss Six painting with her homeschool buddy.

The Boys

The boys love these big old trees.

Weaving

A seasoned weaver working her magic.....

Carding Tools

Tools for carding cotton.

Cotton

Cotton in a huge gourd.

Sleepy Chocolate Boy

My sleepy chocolate boy....

That Toothless Grin

I am LOVING this toothless ice cream grin!!

Acorn Hat

Finished up that acorn hat!

We ended the day sticky and hot and full of inspiration for creating. Good stuff!


The furry kid......

Our dog, Sid, is a wee bit neurotic.

A bird dog by nature, he has been thrown into the job of herding four children. Which he does well. He has separation anxiety (see here) and can never decide which person to be with so he goes from place to place to check on everyone. At 10 pm he looks at Joe and sighs, and then goes to bed. Have you ever heard a dog sigh!?!?! This poor loyal pooch has lived in 6 different houses in the last 8 years and has never complained. Nor has he eaten our couch, so I assume he is pretty happy. 

He does weird things though. I wish I could keep track of them and remember them, but I don't even have a finished baby book around here, so a doggy book just isn't going to happen. So hopefully sharing this here will make it stick in my mind for years to come..........

I've posted several times about our slow draining old house pipes...... we decided to start using the old baking soda - vinegar - boiling water solution on a weekly basis this week. It helps. But the great part about it, is this::

dog in a tub

Super Sid

After pouring the baking soda & vinegar into the tub, we all went about our business...... and then there was scratching..... and whining....... and we all ran to the bathroom thinking the dog had been locked in, but no. He was standing in the tub scratching at the drain and whining and growling at it. He did not like the fizzy bubbly noise. He laid in there for fifteen minutes until I had to shoo him out to pour the boiling water down.... how weird is that?

The kids have decided that once a week drain cleaning will be great fun now that Sid likes it too!


Finding your peeps

A friend of mine sent me some info about the upcoming Heritage Days in a town about 25 minutes from here.

When I clicked on the link to read the newspaper article (here) I nearly fell out of my chair. And then with a joyful tear in my eye I said "They're here! My people are here!!"

Okay, so maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but I was certainly very excited to read about this craft demonstration. My plan before this was to hang out all day in the organic section of the grocery store to meet all the people who buy organic apples and happily spend that extra buck fifty on a half gallon of organic milk. That's dedication, don't ya think? I thought it was foolproof, however my teenage son (yikes, can't believe I can use that term now) pointed out to me the many flaws in my plan..... you know something along the lines of weirdo-stalker lady!! Oh well. If you see me trying to grocery shop in the middle of the school day with 3 to 4 kids in tow and I have Organic Valley milk in my cart, please say hello. I'll be the one with the 3 year old standing up in the cart trying to climb up onto some fruit display...............

So, we'll be headed to Heritage Days on Saturday right after we make our stop at the Farmer's Market in Thibodaux. I'm really looking forward to this and the kids are too of course. This is our last weekend without Joe.... so we're glad to fill it up with some fun stuff. One more week and he'll be home...... speaking of one more week.... we've got another birthday next week and the week after that! My Libra girls are turning 7 & 11.

And as if this post wasn't random enough all ready!! The girl's birthday's remind me about something fun I read........ WIP Wednesday's. Work In Progress Wednesday's.  Once a week crafters all over the blogger world are sharing what their working on. I love this idea..... so this morning, here is mine. I'm half way through this little acorn hat for a dear friend's little guy.

WIP Wednesday - Acorn Hat

I am off to knit and read and drink coffee with Miss 6 before Mr 3 wakes up......

Happy First Day of Fall to you!!


Granola Recipe

As promised, here is my favorite granola recipe. I make a huge batch of this and then store it in mason jars to keep it fresh.....

(*I've made some tweaks as of 3/11 and added them in parenthesis with a "*")


Gypsy Mama's Granola

1/2 c honey
1/2 c maple syrup
1/2 c almond butter (*cashew, coconut butter & peanut butter will also work!)
1/4 cup milk or juice or a combo of both (*orange, apple & nut milks all work fabulous!)
4 Tbsp flour (*I've been using 3 Tbsp of coconut flour!)
1/2 c sunflower or walnut oil (*we started using coconut oil, so good!)
1 tsp vanilla extract (*or any flavor you like, Simply Organic is our favorite, you can make your own vanilla too!)
2 tsp ginger powder (*recently been adding a 1/2 tsp of cardamom too!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 c coconut flakes
8 cups rolled oats (we've used 1/2 oats & half rolled barley & it worked perfectly)
1/2 c flax meal (*optional)
2 cups nuts ~ cashews, walnuts & almonds are our favorite. (* we started using 1 c nuts & 1 c seeds. We love sesame, sunflower & poppy)

~Mix together honey, maple syrup, almond butter, oil, water, vanilla & spices over medium heat until smooth. Stir flour and flax meal/seeds into the honey mixture. Mix oats, coconut & nuts into large bowl. Slowly add syrup mixture stirring until well coated. Spread thinly onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 stirring every ten minutes until granola is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Store in airtight jars after cooled thoroughly.

**If you don't like nuts, flax or coconut, don't add them! Feel free to adjust the spices & sweetness to your personal taste. And if you like raisins or or other dried fruits, toss 1-2 cups in with the granola once it has cooled. We love cranberries & cherries, but raisins are the best budget fruit to add. We've also been adding a TBSP of raw hemp seeds to our yogurt & granola.... and our oatmeal. Delicious!

Serve with homemade yogurt, of course! (It's almost as yummy as oatmeal.)


Happy Monday :-)



Making Yogurt

This week I leave you with my yogurt recipe. We use this for breakfast, for smoothies to make mango lassi. All those probiotics are good for you! You can get a fancy yogurt maker to take up space in your cabinet.... or you can just do it the old fashioned way.

Thermometer

You need a clean quart size jar with a lid. Make sure it's very clean, we are growing bacteria after all! Okay, so then you heat not quite a quart of whole milk to 180 degrees, stirring constantly. Let the milk cool to 100 degrees. This is crucial, if the milk is over 100 degrees, it can kill the bacteria that make the yogurt and you'll just have sour soup tomorrow morning! Mix in a half cup of plain yogurt to the jar. I use Stonyfield or Brown Cow myself. Nancy's would be the best, but I can't get it here in the south. Let it sit in a warm place for 8-24 hours. It's done when it looks set. Chill it in the fridge. Voila!

Yogurt

It's a little softer set and more mild than store bought yogurt, but it is very good. They don't recycle much here in the south (at least not in my town) and so I am trying to be very mindful about how much garbage we have to throw out. Those yogurt containers add up quick, so I've been trying to mostly make our own. So far, so good! Be sure to save a 1/2 cup of yogurt from each batch as your "starter" for the next one.

Yumminess

Enjoy :) 

Have a lovely weekend!

**Update** I had a few questions about the yogurt, so I'd thought I answer them here just in case.... I use a plastic mason jar lid and screw it on almost all the way, so a little air flow can get in/out. And as far as general temp for the "warm" spot to let it sit, somewhere between  75-100 degrees is perfect (the cooler the temp, the softer the yogurt will be). Also, in the winter months you could use a (warm) hot water bottle and towel and wrap the yogurt up in it, or set it on a heating pad set on low. I know when we lived in Wisconsin, finding a spot that was above 65 degrees in December would have darn near impossible! And since homemade granola goes so well with homemade yogurt........ I'll be posting our favorite granola recipe Monday. ~~See you then :)


Welcome Home

My Uncle made it home safely yesterday from his (third!!) deployment to Iraq. To say that my family is grateful would be a huge understatement. Having him home safe and sound makes us ALL let out a sigh of relief.

Of course being able to welcome him home in person would have been the best, but we hope this photo is a close second!!

Welcome Home!!

We love you!!

Welcome Home


a mini makeover

Sometimes, there's just too much yellow.

I know you've all seen the picture of our screaming yellow bathroom. White and gold vanity. Peeling linoleum. Oh yes, and don't forget the fabulous neon fish wallpaper border..........

fish border

Really, this picture does not do the colors any justice...... they were SO bright!

With the rest of the house looking better and better.... I had to give that bathroom a mini makeover. So for about $20 I did.

First the eldest scraped off all of the icky linoleum squares. Then I scrubbed the terrazzo with an sos pad and oxi clean....... then I patched about a hundred holes in the wall, redid some caulking, painted the ceiling, trim, walls and vanity. I spray painted the light fixture, towel rack and vanity handles an aged bronze color. And best of all, I made a shower curtain and mini curtains for the vanity. My only bad idea was attempting to replace one of those ceiling tiles. Don't ever do that unless you want to replace the whole ceiling!! Yikes! But after ending up with insulation in my hair, eyes, shirt, everywhere...... I did get the tile mostly back in...... and with a little paint you can hardly tell...... (really honey I promise!)

And if you need motivation.... just save the sewing project for the end, because that's the best part! 

So here it is, my mini makeover. A bathroom I can live with until we have the time and money to really make it over..... no more yellow..... no more peeling off tiles...... no more gold and white. And best of all no more neon fish! (sorry fishies!)

mini makeover 1

mini makeover 2

the shower curtain

The paint color was a mix of the blue from the living room and white trim paint. It's a light smoky blue. The vanity was painted with leftovers from the doors in the den. And the vanity and shower curtains were made from a vintage pillowcase and flat sheet. I didn't want to look at the shower curtain rod, so I made the shower curtain with hidden tabs on the backside to hang it up... and since you can't see them, and I didn't want to press and sew a bunch of tabs..... I cut them with pinking shears and sewed them on..... I'm a cheater, I know. I measured to make sure there were tabs at the beginning, end and in between all the hangars so it would pull open easily. And that's a clear vinyl shower curtain for the inside.

closeup

It's surprisingly hard to photograph a little bathroom with no natural light...... but hey, I tried :) 

**And if you noticed the toilet with no tank cover, it's still on backorder from this event.

** And another funny thing, the sideways toilet paper holder........ this keeps my wild man from unrolling the WHOLE roll....... yes he's a funny one!



Crafting Memories

While visiting my mom in Alaska last month, my Grandfather passed away. He had been suffering from Alzheimers for the past two years. At the age of 87, he certainly had a full and wonderful life. I am so grateful for being there for my mom during this time, and I am also grateful that my oldest two kids have many vivid memories of their Great Grandfather. (as do I) If you are not familiar with Alzheimers, I highly suggest reading Days with my Father, it's a truly touching story. My Grandmother cared for my Grandfather mostly on her own these past two years, and I am in awe of her patience and love and ability to keep his integrity intact so beautifully during these times. It was really amazing.

When the kids and I headed home, my mom headed to Idaho, where she would help my Grandmother through a lot of those things that happen after losing a loved one. One of these things was collecting shirts which my Aunt will turn in to a quilt. She is an amazing quilter, so I am excited to see this come together.

 I asked Mom "If none of the kids want Grandpa's handkerchiefs, will you send them to me?"

She did. 

Hands

Inspired by a recent post on SouleMama about making a holder for handkerchiefs, I made one too. (Thank You Amanda) It's a pouch that hangs on a door knob or hook with a zippered back and an opening in the front to pull the tissues out. I reinforced the front opening for my overzealous grabbers and added a splash of color to the hangar, but other than that it's the same as SouleMama's design.

This pile of handkerchiefs will be loved and used and washed and loved and used again! And even better, they will remind me of my Grandfather.

Zip

Closeup

Hang it Up

The fabric, which i love, is from Anna Maria Horner

And if pulling handkerchiefs out of this isn't fun enough, Mr Three has also decided they should be worn on his head......

Peekaboo

I just hope this little trick comes before the nose wiping.