Friday, April 30, 2010

Animal House

A tale of the little green cottage, a wounded sasquatch, butterflies, a broody hen, a leaping stag, and a wild pony.

Life has been a little wild around here lately. The Engineer had his first surgery late last week, all went well and he is beginning to have less pain and hopefully beginning the healing. He's already talking about bowling again, "Sasquatch" is his bowling name and no, he wont be bowling with his injured hand, his bowling arm is just fine. It may still be some time before he's 'pickin' the banjo again though.

This last week the cottage has been taken over by animals. We had some caterpillars, we watched them turn into chrysalids and then watched them turn into painted lady butterflies. What an amazing process to see up close! I highly recommend doing this if you have some small ones at your house. Pony girl loves bugs and she completely loved watching them change and then letting them go. I did too! We ordered our caterpillars online from here.

That sweet girl there is Tweet Tweet, she is the most docile of our ladies and tolerates Pony Girl's shenanigans with great aplomb. This week I noticed some changes in her and it finally became clear that we have a 'broody hen' in our midst. A 'broody hen' is a hen that wants to set on the eggs until they hatch. The hen's body temperature rises and she will stay on the nest constantly. If she has no eggs of her own, she will often set on other hen's eggs. Now, we have no rooster in the hen house so...Tweet Tweet is setting on the ever unhatchable clutch, even when no eggs are present, she will not leave the nesting box poor dear. This can be a dangerous situation, even fatal, for sometimes a hen will not even leave the nest for food or water or to relieve herself. So, out I go 5-6 times a day to get her out of the nest, put her on cool ground to hopefully lower her body temp, make sure she is eating and drinking. This has not yet broken her broody and we may have to resort to moving her to a well ventilated cage away from the nest and her two gal pals.

Ah, the majesty of the leaping stag with the cuteness of a sweet fawn! I thought I would also share this wee dress that started the whole blue and orange business. This little number has been waiting around and chastising me all week for not finishing it. As I was making it up, I fell for the orange and blue combo big time! I'm hoping that the Fraulein and I will be spending some quality stitching time together this weekend and this dress will be leaping into my little shop.

No menagerie would be complete without a wild pony. Spring has her sprung with a herds worth of energy. Her enthusiasm unbridled, she jumps for joy and I can hardly keep up.

May you jump for joy this weekend and go wild!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A quick and crafty recycling tip

Just a quick tip for May Day bouquets or Mother's Day gifts. Paint, decoupage, wrap in paper or fabric, and otherwise decorate...those food cans! Good for flowers or, for mother's day - put some soil in with a little plant start. It's a perfect kid project, just watch out for any sharp edges.!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blue (and orange) Monday

You may or may not recall that I'm attempting a lounge re-do. On a very small scale of course. It took many more coats of paint than I anticipated, even with the priming but, we now have ever so slightly off white walls. The color is called 'Twinkle Twinkle'... how could I resist when it is the song I have sung to Pony Girl nearly every night for the past two years? An eco-friendly paint was used of course.
And now with the walls a blank and neutral canvas, I can dream of what colors I would like to add to the room. Lately I have been inspired by orange and blue, those two complimentary colors have been making me feel happy and lively. So after flipping through flickr, I have found some very happy inspiration that I thought I would share with you!

1. flower by harald guggenbichler, 2. Ditzy Floral Organic Cotton, 3. Untitled, 4. thrifty finds..., 5. O R A N G E, 6. orange, 7. ♥ N√§hmaschine, 8. collections, 9. Orange ribbon

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Native American Proverb

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You are not alone

Oh yes, it will. Though it may not make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it is there. In all it's silent waiting, in it's jumble of colors and challenging stains of uncertain origin, it is there for you. A constant in an ever changing world. And how nice, to have freshly laundered bedsheets, a favorite shirt, and comfy pajamas all folded neatly and ready for the next go 'round. Soon, here at the little green cottage, there will be fair weather and linens out on the line...and that is indeed lovely, really.

After yesterdays laundry complaints, I thought I ought make it up to the laundry and try to see it in a different light...a much more lovely light.

Speaking of lovely things, which I would very much like to share...

This morning I was perusing a few blogs out there that I have not had much time for these days, taking in a few sites. I wandered over to the very inspirational sfgirlbybay blog for a little 'pick-me-up' and saw her post on yellow, very bright and cheery. As I scrolled through the happy images, I was quite surprised to see one of my little photos in the mix! What a nice way to start the day - in such wonderful company.

Then I received a message from the Engineer, he and his team at work, just won the BEST award for Most Sustainable Building Project! Way to go and congratulations!

Lastly, I am sharing my 'Mend and Make Do Basket'. The basket belonged to my grandmother and is so very nice in shape and size. It holds all my mending inside. I brought it up from the 'studio' for a bit of rainy day mending, just a little at a time you see. It just looked so sweet on my wee antique table with the lovely green glass knob, so I thought she deserved a nice photo shoot of her own.

My basket and me are off to the lounge for a mending session. Tell me, do you have a mending basket, box, bag or something of the like?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Primed Monday

During the weekends I try to stay away from the computer, I really do. Spending time with family, catching up on household 'to dos' and generally getting out and about. Last week was a long one, fraught with appointments and Florence Nightingale duties - by Friday's end I had hit a small but rather sturdy wall. So, leaving the mangled Mr. to read a bed time story to princess spider monkey, I tried to put together a reasonably fashionable ensemble and headed out into the world at large. I went to visit a friend of mine at her wonderful restaurant. Upon seeing the dazed look in my eyes and the carpet bags underneath them, she handed me one of her large, delicious and definitely dangerous 'Sangria de Fonda Rosa'! And then when that was gone, she handed me another.

Come Saturday morning, upon waking I discovered that the small but sturdy wall had fallen on top of me and I was unable to get up. As I lay there thinking about the 5 loads of laundry, the sink full of dishes, the sweeping, general cleaning, 4 pincushions that need to made for a swap and the unfinished dress that were all awaiting me, I took the deepest breath I was able considering a small, sturdy and surprisingly heavy wall was on top of me, and pulled the covers over my head.

The rest of the day was spent in my pajamas doing as little as possible. Someone else was going to have to feed the chickens, fish, cat and two frogs. Someone else was going to have to make the bed, do the dishes, sweep the floors, clean the bathroom, make the pincushions. Oh, wait...there isn't anyone else. Well, I am pretty sure the animals got fed but, everything else was left just as it was, the chaos gathering momentum by the minute. And still, I sat.

The Engineer left at 6pm for an overnight trip and I managed to get Pony Girl bathed and into bed, though not asleep. At 9pm after hearing the menacing sounds of a room being torn apart, I decided against poking my head in to assess the damage since I was just beginning to wiggle out from under the wall. Suddenly, I was free and I got up off the couch with a startling determination. I needed to get to it, so much to be done!

So, I moved the furniture, got out my Spackle knife, armed myself with brush and roller and set about painting the entire living room with primer. All whilst still in my pajamas.

Well, I'm off to tackle the now 6 loads of laundry and whatever else I can manage to cram into a Monday. I hope that you all had a restful weekend!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roadside Attraction

So, now that I'm making my way back to blogtown, I can finally show you what I found by the side of the road. It's been a good long stretch without a roadside find. The last was a doozy! Still, I did find something...

1 funky desk that once the sun shines for a few days will hopefully be magically transformed.

1 Vintagey style bedspread. Though The Engineer made a scrunchy face - wavy hand expression at first glance, he finally did agree that it will make for a most excellent festival/picnic blanket.

1 sleeve press or smallish ironing board. I was in great need of a new one, the last two were dodgy and broke - this seems a good sturdy sort that only needs a new cover sewn.

1 Cool vintage collapsible measuring thinger, which is not truly useful but I like the looks of especially.

Now just recently, I was driving in the car with the Mr. and caught a little glimmer in the corner of my eye. As I started to pull over, the Engineer said, "whatever it is, we don't need more funky furniture!" I know that sometimes, the Engineer can be a doubter of the utmost kind. Whilst he spied a big pile of junk on the side of the road...I on the other hand, spied possibility!

I told him, "of course dear, no more funky furniture. Just give me a minute."

To his credit, it was mostly a big pile of junk but, I did snag a couple of useful items.

A lovely duck egg blue hanging basket thinger that will come in most handy in my "studio". Another metal basket for storage, and a collapsible wooden peg hanger do-hickey.
It does my heart good to know that these items will be given new life and usefulness and that in my own small way, I'm helping to keep them out of the landfill. I will also admit, that it gives me a thrill, makes my heart go skippity skip, to find treasure by the side of the road.

I'm off to see about some caterpillars who are promising to form chrysalids any minute now. I shall be back soon with a game of musical cabinets.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thankful Monday

by My colour blue

I am overwhelmed and deeply humbled by all the kind comments left on my last post. You are all so lovely and the Engineer and I thank you so much for the well wishing. It has touched our hearts.

Many thanks too, go to our friends and family who have been generous and wonderful, bringing over dinners of great deliciousness, flowers and kind support.

We are doing well...if suffering from a bit of household chaos but, that shall sort itself out soon enough. The surgery has been delayed and will possibly take place later this week. Then it is just a matter of time before we know what the long term will bring. We are quite grateful that it was not a worse injury. The Engineer has maintained good spirits, possibly in part due to some pain erasing medication but, also because of his positive temperament.

I leave you today with some flickr images that have caught my attention. Something simple, hopeful and lovely.

by wood and wool stool

by precious pixel

by Finistère Lointain

Thank you again for all your kindness. I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We interupt your regularly scheduled programming

I had meant to go on about my usual business today but, you see, things took a turn.
Last night was spent in the Emergency Room of the nearest hospital. The Engineer had a rather nasty accident with a table saw. Oh my, I heard your collective gasps. I still cringe when I think about it. He is fine, well not exactly but he will be. They sent him home at about 3 a.m. and there has been little sleep since. He will be having surgery on his hand in the next couple of days. I know you will all understand that I will be taking a few days break to tend to my family.

Until next time, take good care of yourselves.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Discovery Monday

Ah, the feeling of discovery! Heady stuff really, enough to make the pulse quicken and the heart to leap. Unless of course it's the other sort of discovery; like what the neighbors cats left in the veg garden (more of a pulse quickening, stomach lurching) - let's not speak of it.

Anyway, I thought I would share a few of my latest discoveries with you on this fine Monday.

Discovery #1 Shop:

The other day I was feeling a little smudged about the edges so, I took myself on the rare adventure known as, 'Lola on the Town'. I made my way to one of my favorite French bakeries and took a very long time to eat a pastry and sip a coffee. It was heavenly. As I was going to leave, I saw this little shop that I had noticed and wanted to go in for years. Well, no time like the present. Hollywood Senior Center Handcraft Shop – Golden Treasures & Thrift...doesn't it sound exotic? (Hollywood is the name of a NE Portland neighborhood, not to be confused with the one in California with the movie stars)

As I walked in the door I was greeted by two very lovely seniors whom I would come to find out, were volunteers Shirley and Gladys. The tiny shop was filled with handcrafted items and a few thrifty treasures, all on consignment from folks at the senior center. Now I know just where to go for a lovely and very reasonably priced crochet or knitted baby blanket, sweater, hat etc. Wooden trucks at half the price of the fancy toy store and all hand made. Had I more cash in my pocket I would have undoubtedly walked out with more loot but, I did end up with a bundle of 8 vintage handcrafted hankies for a steal, a red crochet pot holder and a very ingenious crocheted pot scrubber all for a song.

I also had a chance to chat with the very sweet Gladys and the super spunky Shirley. We talked about tatting, embroidery, the senior center...which is behind the shop. They gave me a tour of the offices, kitchen, and large room where a group of seniors were in the middle of a yoga class. I left with a smile in my heart and wishing I had stopped in earlier (the shop has been there for 30 years)!

If I were you, I would check out the senior centers in your area and see if they too have a shop, or many will have seasonal bazaars or craft fairs and some run thrift stores (or op-shops). Not only will you find handcrafted treasures at bargain prices but, you may get the opportunity to chat with some folks who know a thing or two.

Discovery #2 Music:
Have you heard of the band Black Prairie?

Unless you are a deeply devoted fan of The Decemberists, it is quite possible that you have not...yet. No, I didn't just discover the band, for our long time and very dear friend, Jon Neufeld is the guitarist. Jon has played with my brother in-law for years. He, along with a couple members of The Decemberists and a couple other major local talents, make up the band. They play wonderfully interesting music, many instrumentals...think Gypsy, Appalachia, Folk...

What I did discover, is that along with a small feature on NPR, they have just been signed to Sugar Hill Records! I am so pleased for them, they are all deserving incredible musicians. Hooray and congratulations! Go check 'em out.

Discovery #3 Food:
I discovered just how much Pony Girl loves sushi!

I do hope you have enjoyed my tour of discovery today. Next time I will tell all about what I found by the side of the road! Suspenseful no?

So my dears, what is your latest discovery? I'd love to hear.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm no April fool

No, I have been a busy bee... getting a few things ready for the shop. I'll be putting some new wares on the shelves at last! Oh yes, it feels quite good to finally have some fresh inventory.

There will be a couple of new journals and I do believe I have sorted out my Hook Books rather nicely.

The Hook Books are made from all recycled and vintage materials (but for the snappy snaps and zippity zips). The fabrics are all vintage, which always makes me ever so happy.

I am quite smitten with these little lovelies. A place for your family of crochet hooks, a zippy pocket for stitch markers, yarn needles and the like, and a spot for a notebook or pattern notes and a pen. If you are not the crocheting kind, never fear! I have discovered that these make a cozy home for arty pens and pencils with the pocket used for an eraser and sharpener. I imagine you could come up with all sorts of uses for it really.

Well now, I'd best be off to tidy up the shop, I'm heading over there now to place these sweet things just so. There is still a lot of goodness in the works too, hoping for another update next week.

I have other fab things to share with you after the weekend. I will tell you all about my latest discovery, some sweet seniors, and what I found by the side of the road. Have a joyous weekend and Happy Easter to those who observe. I myself, am looking forward to nibbling the ears of a chocolate bunny or two.