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February 2010

jumping in.....

I am very excited to announce that the Gypsy Forest Shop is open!

I can't believe I actually just typed those words, putting it here in writing for all of you to read was somehow even harder then saying it out loud. This place here won't change much. I'll have a shop update from time to time and there will be a little link on the side to the shop if you'd like to visit, but I want to keep our space here just as it is. 

Today, I am going to share a sneak peek of some items that will be in the shop..... and the tags I had made up from a drawing in my journal. Speaking of journaling, the whole reason I'm jumping in to this etsy store business is all Shannon's fault. We could put a warning on her E-Course Inside Out :: 

Warning :: This class may inspire you to follow a Wild and Crazy Dream

So, on to the goods..... part of opening a store meant, for me, coming up with something not currently offered by any of my pals and something useable and simple yet beautiful and affordable and something with a new design.........

All that being said, it really took me awhile to figure out just the right thing(s). But that class made me get out of the house to write..... in a journal.... which meant I really wanted a place to stick all my journaling supplies.... so this sling bag was born. It's got an extra wide strap so you can throw it over your head and wear it across your chest, or you can tie the strap in a knot (just like those groovy baby wraps) and wear it on your shoulder. And of course, the littlest gypsies wanted their very own.... so I made little ones too! Oh yes, the gypsy man also got one! He says it's perfect for the cycle ride to work. They are made from linen and cotton because natural fibers are my favorite. I'm very excited about the much tweaked finished product. Oh yes, and those funky edged quilts I designed.... some of those made it into the shop too!

Oh my there's been so much fun this week with reading CPSIA until my eyes hurt and doing a photo shoot with the hubby & kids... oh yes and all the label sewing.... labels! How fun to see that musical critter from my journal printed onto labels.....

And now... onto a little show to go with all this telling :)

Gypsy Forest Label
    

    

 Gypsy Mama
   

  

Gypsy Forest Sling Bag 

  

  

Little Gypsy Bag 

  

  

THE Funky Edged Quilt
 
 
 

Cheers to creative new beginnings!!

   


Happy Birthday!

Oh my what a fun filled crazy day yesterday was...... all the errands piled up together.....

which meant the littlest girl & I were quick baking daddy a pumpkin cake before we left......

  

pumpkin cake
 

  

a 45 minute drive to pick of FRESH milk.... (we are so excited!)

counting armadillos all the way....

a stop at the Good Will....

a quick trip to pick up a bag full of library books.....

a run into the hobby store for some drawstring cording.....

and then back home to make daddy's favorite soup... 

Coconut Chicken Curry Thai soup with Rice.

Oh it is so yummy...

and then some homemade frosting was made for that cake....

cream cheese & maple syrup.....

which each gypsy kiddo tasted twice....

just to make sure it was perfect.

Next, a pile of homemade cards and a loud happy birthday all for the daddy.

   

Happy, Happy Birthday to my sweet guitar playing man in blue.

We love you!

  

all my lovelies in one place 

  

happy birthday daddy!

I love the happy singing faces in this one! 

 

Good stuff :)

Happy Weekending Folks!

  


a bit of the inside.... on the out

Though the journaling e-course is officially over, I am finishing up the last days of it right now. I do love the freedom of a self paced course ;)

I have this book full of art and writings and more art and more writings. The other night, I actually sat in my bathroom with the laptop playing The Be Good Tanya's while I wrote and painted.... It really was the only quiet place in the house......

The course is really amazing in so many ways that I just cannot find the words to say it well enough. It has been just what I needed in this moment. To remember the importance of listening to my heart. To find balance in my life. To believe. To create. 

So, today I just wanted to share something I wrote in my journal........ I plan to reread it on those not so inspiring days to remind me that I just am. And that is good enough. I don't usually share this kind of stuff, but Shannon has really inspired me with her honesty and depth..... she truly is an amazing being.....

  

a gypsy at 30
A Gypsy at 30

 

"While I know I am a work in progress, I need to remember I am good enough. I can strive to be better and yet still embrace the beauty in who I am at this moment." ~ Stephinie, The Gypsy Mama



A Craftalong

Craftalong
    

This craftalong was sent to me by my friend Dotty. I was very excited to see that the projects are from one of our favorite books, The Children's Year. Each month one seasonal project from the book will be chosen by the creator of the craftalong, Anna. Crafters will share a photo of their completed project. I really enjoyed seeing the different colors in the knitting project from January.... we plan to do that next, just for fun :) 

We got our February Potato Printing done this morning...... (it's project 105 in my book)

We used some small cookie cutters to help us with our shapes....... natural watercolors....... the results were very nice and it was a lovely way to start our morning.

  

making the stamp
   

potato stamps
  

artists
  

stamping hands
   

little yellow bird
   

masterpieces!

Thank you Anna! This was fun, we look forward to being part of this throughout the year. Anyone else that is interested can head on over here to read more. Happy crafting :)     

     


Monday Bites ~ Quinoa Patties

A few years back when the wee one was just a wee babe, we discovered that he had a very upset tummy. The upset tummy turned out to be an allergy(s). I went off of milk, eggs and soy in hopes of settling the nursling boy's tummy. I added soy back, but no such luck with eggs and milk until he was about 2. Now he does well with both, but we had our time of some very creative cooking and some creative ways to get some protein back then. We checked out vegan books from the library for basics and stumbled upon quinoa (keen-wa). It's a lovely little nutty seed that we've grown to like quite a lot. This is my favorite recipe to make with quinoa. It's based on a recipe I read and wrote down in my cookbook forever ago..... and I do not remember where it came from. Also, it is supposed to be eaten as a burger, which would be lovely, but we've always eaten them without the bread dunked in greek yogurt sauce. All of my kids love them, yum!

The Wee Gypsy's Quinoa Patties::

Feeds 4 (we always make a double batch and have just enough for lunch the next day)

  The Patties

1/2 cup quinoa (many people soak it for 15-30 minutes, I always forget)

3/4 cup water

1 medium carrot grated (or put in the food processor) 

2-4 scallions diced

1 can or about 2 cups of cooked white beans, rinsed

1/4 cup plain bread or cracker crumbs

1 large egg 

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp lemon juice

salt & pepper


Bring the water to a boil and cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed and it's fluffy. Let it cool while you do the following. Grate the carrot or pulse it in a food processor. Add the beans and process/blend until smooth. Add 2 diced scallions, unless your kids aren't fond of them.... like one of mine.... then leave them out! Add the cracker/bread crumbs, egg, spices, lemon juice, salt & pepper and mix well. Add the quinoa & mix well again. Now comes the messy part. I think it helps to have a little water or oil on your hands for this. Make the mixture into your desired patty shape and layer them between wax paper on a plate. We make ours small, but big ones would also be good. Put them in the fridge to chill for about 1/2 an hour to firm them up.

   

quinoa patties
 
  

  

The Sauce

1/2 cup greek yogurt (you can make your own by straining plain yogurt until is slightly thickened, like sour cream consistency)

2 scallions diced

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 cucumber sliced, seeded and diced smallish

a bit of salt

  

Mix the above together and let it sit out while you cook the patties. It tastes better that way.

Heat a frying pan with about 1/4 inch of olive oil in it. It should be medium to medium high heat. Fry the quinoa patties in the olive oil until golden on both sides. I do mine is small batches to avoid crowding and keep them warm in the oven as I finish them up. Don't freak about the oil.... if the pan is hot you don't use much and olive oil is good for anyway.

Serve with roasted potato wedges and a good green salad. Oh yes, and the yummy yogurt dip. For lunch the next day you can warm them up in the toaster oven and eat them with lettuce & tomatoes in a pita pocket. I am sure they would also make a darn good veggie burger!

  

quinoa & potatoes
 

  

Enjoy!

(PS - There's a very gnomey giveaway at Garden Mama! Go take a peek.)

   


treasures

vintage scale 

  a beat up old scale..... sure to be loved by the homeschooling gypsy kids.....

  

  

colander 

a colander to fill full of fresh garden goodies.........

  

  

sangria pitcher 

*finally* found the perfect sangria picture.... now I'm ready for summer.....

  

  

cinderella & three bears flip doll 

don't ask...... I just could not leave mama bear.... she had to come home with me....

and yes she is one of those groovy flip dolls..... cinderella lives on the other side.....  

  

   

birdies embroidery 

future pillow and friend to "the hoo-hoos"........

  

  

the goods 

I do love treasure hunting.

  

  

Hope your weekend has been a lovely one!

   


The End of a Quest

I keep writing and rewriting this post over and over in my head and on the computer. And no matter what I do, I realize it comes down to these three words.

We are silly.

Joe & I, that is. We are just very silly.

We celebrated our anniversary a few weeks ago and we sat in front of the fireplace and drank wine and laughed and laughed. Oh there have been so many good times. And 13 years later that guy is really, truly still my best friend. And that silliness factor is just so huge for us, because you know, when life gets tough there is nothing like a good laugh.

So I warned you. About our silliness.......

Ever since we were first married my husband has half serious half joked about finding a vintage powder blue leisure suit. But being the sturdy polish man he is, vintage goods are hard to come by. Everything is either too small or far too big. But yesterday, while perusing the local thrift store..... I found a three piece..... powder blue....... leisure suit. In perfect condition. SIX BUCKS. I went through the entire three pieces with an overshopped underfed three year old on my shoulders, bouncing a thrift store stuffed animal on my head. That's dedication right there! FINALLY, in the pocket of the jacket I read this :: 44R. Just the right size. And the vest, well that just put me over the top! We somehow managed to get the suit and the three year old all paid for and out of the store and back home...... I hang the suit up in the kitchen, on the pantry door.

In walks Joe, smiles at me... home from work kiss and then he spots it "That is a leisure suit. A powder blue leisure suit."

I start to laugh. "Do you like it? Try it on!" I say.

And let me tell you, the vintage thrifting fairy must have pulled some strings, because it fits p-e-r-f-e-c-t. 

And yes, he will wear it. To a work Christmas party, or on Halloween...... he will find just the right time to wear it.

  

IMG_3109_2
    

  

This is the stuff memories and good times are made of.

Hope your weekend is full of laughter!

** My Grandma says it isn't really a leisure suit and she's right..... but Joe still looks smashing in all that blue polyester!**

   


and the gardening begins.....

Oh those seed catalogs. They get the better of me. I always have this eyes too big for my backyard thing going on. I mean, doesn't everyone want to plant 2 dozen tomatoes? After all how else will I ever can our pasta sauce this summer? And if I want fresh sauce I need onions and basil and.........

so the gardening begins..... plans are being drawn up to build a box for each gypsy to have their own small garden.... seeds are planted indoors..... dreams of fresh veggies and fruit are filling our heads... yum yum yum......

  

planting
  

  

writing
  

  

labels
  

  

gardening girls 

  

  

grow little seeds
  

  

garden inspiration
    

  

Some of my favorite memories as a child were munching on dill and cherry tomatoes and fresh peas in Grandma J's garden. I loved following her around sampling the goodies while she tended to the watering and weeding.

Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots is my all time favorite kid gardening book. I have checked it out from the library each spring for years and I am so glad to finally have a copy in our home library!  I had so wanted to plant the moon garden, but it just won't work in our yard. So I realized we needed to improvise. If we can't have a moon garden, we can still plant those seeds around the yard to coax in the night time creatures. My husband reminded me of the mass amount of pavement in our driveway, which we both loathe, and he suggested we cover it with potted plants. I suggested garden boxes for each gypsy kid. We decided to plant food in every container we have. We splurged on berry bushes. We're going to grow as much food as we can in our little backyard.... our little homestead in suburbia.

That herb Garden above was a Christmas gift from my mom. It is a lovely simple herb garden for the kids to set up nearly on their own. You can buy one from Imagine Childhood. One of the (many) draws of Waldorf education for us is the strong influence on being connected to our food source. I feel such a sense of gratitude towards the food I grow myself. Knowing that little seed from packet to plate makes the salad taste so much better. I think tending their own gardens will help each of my kids feel the same. And they will learn about botany, handwork and their food source in the process. The older two will even be building the boxes themselves! We plan to help as needed, but mostly we plan to stand back, let them plant their garden and watch it grow.

   


Elephante

No, that wasn't a typo. It's part of this spanish counting song my oldest daughter learned and taught to the littlest daughter. We were lucky to attend a spanish preschool years ago (thanks Emily & Paola) and that song just stuck with the kids. 

My littlest girl loves elephants. I mean LOVES.

She has a big stuffed puppet elephant named Poppy, she came up with the name herself when she was 3. 

She loves poppy. 

She used to bring Poppy e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e we went! 

And I'm noticing her doing far too many big girl things lately. Like bringing a book or her purse when we leave.... instead of a large stuffed elephant. Poor Poppy.

So in hopes of holding on to all the little girl bits I can..... this hat was born. I got the elephant shape from this free ravelry pattern. And the hat pattern is my own knit as you go design..... this hat gave me a ton of trouble... figuring out how to carry yarn and do all this crazy stuff made my perfectionist side scream a little. Which is why it got tossed in the knitting basket..... and then it sat there looking at me for weeks....

But that girl of mine, she's not getting any smaller...... so I had to look that hat square in it's elephant eye and pick it up and rip out the top (again) and finish it. Plop it onto the head of the girl that had been waiting "forever mama" for me to finish it.

Done. (knit up in brown sheep cotton fleece yarn)

Do you think it will stop her from growing up? Or at least slow things down a bit??

  

Elephante 

  
 

And this sweet girl of mine, the very next morning put on all her favorite mama made goodies and I nearly fainted from cuteness.

Just look.....

  

cuteness overload
  

See that "studio time" does a mama good in the creative sense. This skirt was sewn up just to work on a pattern I'm trying to create. Panels and twirls and handmade bias trim...... it's a work in progress. It wasn't exactly intended for Miss Seven.... but she somehow managed to get it anyway..... and you know.... that is just where that skirt belonged.....

  

Sea Pocket
  

Seaskirt 

  

And at the end of me chasing Miss Seven around to photograph the hat...... I think there are about 15 blurry pictures.... she's a wiggly one...... she gave the me the "okay I'm done with your camera" look in true Miss Seven style.........

  

Silly 

  

Yes, it's blurry..... but it makes me laugh out loud..... so I thought I'd share :)

  


Me & T

Did you hear I won a giveaway?? When I signed up for this Creative Journaling E-Course I immediately emailed my mom and pal Tawnya to see if they'd join. Mom was in.... but my pal... a mama to two young boys and a CPA couldn't. That girl eats, sleeps and dreams taxes this time of year. Bummer.

So as the course ended and Shannon offered a giveaway over on her blog, I entered in hopes to win and give the class to T. You see, the two of us have been sending this journal back and forth for about 3 years now. That journal is full of baby foot prints stamped in ink and letters that are happy and sad. I knew this   course was something she would L-O-V-E. 

And guess what, I WON! (Thank you, thank you Shannon!!!) 

Oh my, do the two of us have a history together. A beautiful crazy history so intertwined no matter the miles between us, and I thought you might like to know a bit about it.... 'cause it's the stories that bring us here anyway, right?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  

Rewind a little over 13 years ago. (uff-da that makes a girl feel old)

  

I was a cashier..... a check-out-girl if you will......

  

Tawnya was my manager. The Head Cashier Boss-Keep-em-in-Line person.

  

She managed all us not so inspired check out girls that tried to rustle up a bit of enthusiasm while enduring our jobs. If you've never rung up groceries..... you have no idea what you missing. Seriously, I love bagging my own groceries to this day because I know just how I want it done. Don't laugh.

  

So.... we became pals. We hiked. We laughed. We played board games. We talked about life to come. We did cartwheels. We drank cheap wine. We had huge bonfires. And she introduced me to Joe. 

  

Skipping over many fun times and even funnier stories and a tearful goodbye between us, we fast forward one year later and she is the Matron of Honor and bestest pal that flew from California to Alaska to attend our wedding. 

  

  

steph & tawnya 1998

Steph & Tawnya in Cordova, Alaska ~ 1998

   

   

A few years later she follows us out to Cape Cod...... and decides to stick around.... meeting her own future Mr. Right....... we add a few more kids to the Gypsy tribe and move away to Alaska. Another sad goodbye.

  

  

the girls on the cape ~ 2001

My little bug (Miss 11) Me and T in Cape Cod ~ 2001

    

     

After that comes Tawnya's wedding..... and we ALL, 5 of us at the time, fly from Alaska to Cape Cod to attend. My oldest daughter as one of the flower girls and me as a bridesmaid.

  

  

steph & tawnya 2005

after a whole lot of fun dancing at Tawnya's wedding ~ 2005

  

  

 tawnya & jade ~ 2005 

Tawnya and Jade (Miss 11) ~ 2005

   

  

Then, the best thing ever happens. I get pregnant with the littlest of my bunch and T with her first. Within 6 weeks these little bundles of joy were due. Our friendship took this whole new amazing turn as we were now mamas together. 6000 miles apart.... but that didn't matter. We talked. We emailed. We wrote. She's the kind of friend that can send you the perfect maternity tunic to wear..... that's how good she is. (see below)

  

  DC ~ pregnant with little bear

Visiting DC ~ Me 7 months pregnant with Mr. Three ~ 2006 

    

  

And then the boys came along. Two very spirited strong willed beautiful boys. Oh my do these two ever keep us busy. 

  

And then the boys met. And the mama bond between us grew even more.

  

  

Ted & Luke - 2008

The boys, Ted & Luke, at Tawnya's place in Cape Cod ~ 2008 

  

  

Neither of us are phone girls..... so most of our communication is through emails or letters.... our journal we send back and forth a couple of times a year.... I can hear her voice in every word I read from her. She's like a sister I got to choose for myself. And oh yes we've had our share of sisterly disagreements. We know just where those feisty boys of ours get it from.

  

I love you T :) You really are the bestest ever. I hope you LOVE the class :)

  

xoxo

steph