Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Break

Oh my, it seems as though my short bloggy break has extended itself. We are full in school holiday mode now and I have been so busy having a grand old time that I've lost track of the days!

Pony Girl and I have been completely absorbed with our industry, we have been awfully crafty I tell you. Not to mention the adventures! When the sun came out we worked outdoors with tools...
and there were the critters to keep an eye on...

and we went on walks through the neighborhood that were part scavenger hunt and part spelling lessons. The letters X and Z were most elusive.

When the weather turned, we had our sunshine indoors...

and went wild with glitter...

when things got dark and damp, we baked Almond chocolate chip cookies to warm us up.

Later, we promised the Engineer (who was away on business) that we would save him some - the most we could guarantee was 2 cookies.

The clay came out, a mama and baby horse of course!
There were rainbows to chase...

Spring flowers sprung!

and it's only Wednesday night!

I am feeling a great pull to spend time with my family. I don't know when it's going to happen, but there will come a day when my girl stops telling me she loves me 8 times a day, when she stops saying, "Your the best Mama I could ever have in the whole wide world!" It might not happen tomorrow, but I do want to deserve those words - I want to be the best Mama in the world - warts and all. So I know that you, my friends, will understand if I extend my Spring Break just a little bit longer. I know you will wish me all the best if I take a time out from my shiny place here and instead of blogging - maybe become queen for a day and order a royal ball, or be an explorer of jungles, a dance party DJ, a den building get me?

I also want to thank all the new followers and new commenters of late. I so appreciate you taking time to visit me and say such nice things, you make me smile.

I'll be back soon, honest. I just need a Spring Break, I need to stop and smell the flowers...yes indeed!

You can catch me over on Facebook and The Twitter for updates in the meantime.

Be safe, be well, and these flowers are for you!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Time Flies

This weekend Pony Girl turned 7! Somehow it snuck up on me, how can she possibly be 7?!

My beautiful girl, you are so amazing. Thank you for the constant inspiration and the everyday joy!

I have a feeling she's totally gonna rock 7!

Speaking of time flying by, it's past mid-March already, yikes! I have been trying to do it all these days and it's getting a little slippery. I'm going to take the rest of this week off from the blog and catch up on some family time, tie up a few loose ends, and tackle some projects. I will see you on the flip side.

Be safe, be well!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A little cheerful

Oh but it is a gloomy day out there today! Let's find something bright and cheerful to bring a smile and a spark!

Such as these gorgeous ribbons that arrived in the post from the wonderful Jane of Flaming Nora! I can't think of anything so wonderful as a cheery parcel brought by the mail lady. This wee package certainly changed the mood from dour to delighted! Thank you so much Jane!

Looking around the little green cottage, I spied some other cheerful bits.

Some beautiful new linen designed by Valori Wells for Free Spirit fabrics called Floral Birds. Now this is seriously cheerful! The colors are vibrant and stunning, and the feel of the linen is nice and drapey.

And one more shot of happy...

The new comforter for the bed. New to us anyway, picked up the other day when I popped into the thrift store for a minute. It is rather soft and lovely - though it does make getting out of bed on a gloomy day a little harder. And even though it is quite a lot more floral than any we have had before, it has been Engineer approved.

So, what sort of cheerful have you got going on?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Java Jive

This morning, as I do every morning, the first thing I do is put the kettle on. Only this morning the kettle was our shiny new electric kettle. As I was admiring it's sleek look and efficiency, I was considering this new addition to a long standing ritual.

The ritual of the morning coffee. Ah coffee, I love you so. My deep abiding love for coffee is about more than a caffeine buzz; it's about the ritual, the aroma, the details of making a good cup and finally wrapping your hands around a warm mug of goodness.

It all starts with the beans...and a really good roasting.
I'll admit I'm a bit of a coffee snob, but not in an obnoxious look down on others for their coffee choices kind of way. Rather, I am particular for myself. I rarely buy a fancy espresso drink - because 1. I can make my own coffee my own way at home for a lot less money and 2. I don't often trust others to make my coffee just the way I like.

When I was 16 I got my first Cafe job. I learned to make espresso on a beautiful old Italian copper machine. I was trained by the owners of the cafe who had lived in Italy and learned the ART of coffee. They were passionate about the quality of their coffee, about 'pulling' the perfect shot, creating the exactly right density of foam from steamed milk, and presenting it beautifully. So began my long career as a 'Coffee Jerk'. Oh I know, you are supposed to call them 'Baristas' now, whatevs. I have worked in many a coffee house, as a shot puller and as manager, and whenever I was on shift, the coffee had better be just right.

Now at home, it needs to be just right as well. We of course have our favorite beans on hand, the kettle has been turned on and whilst it works itself into a boil - it is time for the beans to be freshly ground - somewhere between medium and fine, just the right amount for the pot. The grounds are placed into an insulated metal "French Press", after the boil the water sits for a few so that it is not scalding, pour the water over the grounds and fill the press, this sits for one minute, then a stir to the water/grounds and the lid placed gently atop, now steep 3 minutes and push down the plunger, wait a moment for the silt to settle and pour yourself a cuppa Jo.

Precise I know, but I love this ritual.
Especially this morning as the rain-snow was falling down and I was so groggy-grumpy that I didn't think I was going to make it. As the grinder whined and the aroma of coffee wafted through the kitchen, I told myself to hang on, I think it's going to be ok.

Perhaps many of you are tea drinkers instead of coffee lovers, and tea has it's own beautiful rituals. how about you, do you have any rituals that you perform every day?

P.S. Thank you to The Engineer for suggesting this post.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Other People's Wonk

Let's just say I can appreciate a little 'wonk'. Especially if we are talking quilts. I love quilts, different shapes, sizes, colors! I used to make quilts back in the day; in fact I can recall my first truly satisfactory (brimming with pride really) sewing project was the first quilt I ever made, I was 13 at the time. It was full of wonk. The last quilts I made were just before Pony Girl was born, small hand tied crib quilts that now keep her dolls cozy on cold nights.

I have been itching to make full size quilts again for ages, but it seems time, space, and other things get in the way. In the mean time however, I have started a little collection of quilts made by other people. I have a few amazingly beautiful vintage quilts from my grandmother, some she made - some given to her for gifts. I also have another growing collection of quilts made by people unknown and picked up for next to nothing at thrift shops and yard sales.

Some of them are slightly vintage, or at least make use of some vintage fabrics, others are not vintage in any way; but all of them were made with love and care.

Sometimes the colors are a little strange, the stitches uneven, the binding twisted, and there is always an element of wonk. Some are small - odd shaped and sized, some are large and crooked.

When I spy such a quilt in the thrift shop, my heart skips a beat as I go to investigate. Some are a pass, left for someone else to discover. Then there are the sweet few that have made me look around in fear that someone would grab it out of my hands. Those lovelies come home with me to stay.

Some are worn, most have small stains, and some need repairing. I almost whisper to them, "You are coming home with me and I am going to take good care of you." The first thing I do when I get them home, is to give them a good once over. If I determine they are tough enough for a hot soak and a trip through the washing machine and dryer, down they go to the laundry. Once they come through looking brighter and smelling daisy fresh, I thread my needle for any repairs. During my repairs I get to spend some quality time with my new wonky quilt, getting to know it better - acquainting myself with it's personality and quirks.

Once any repairs are complete, I lay out the quilt on the big bed, I run my hands over the stitches, I stand back and admire the big picture, and I am happy. I think about all of the time and care that went into making these quilts. The cutting, the piecing, the sewing, the hand quilting! Hours of time and love! I wonder about the maker, the recipients of these quilts...sometimes I tell myself a story about them. I always wonder how they landed in the thrift shop or the yard sale; certainly I would never give up these beautiful wonky treasures. Though I will admit I am a little happy that someone did give them up so that they could come home with me.

Another really great thing about these quilts - I am not afraid to use them. They make our beds cozy, get thrown on the ground for a picnic, wrapped around us on cold nights, and they make the most spectacular dens and forts! From time to time they cover 'the couch that mocks me' for a burst of extra bright and cheerful.

Thank you to the makers of these happy quilts, your work is appreciated and fills me with joy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quick Snaps

Today is a bit crazy, so I'm going to share some quick snaps from The Instagram from this past week. A few random bits of daily life here at the little green cottage - where everyday is an adventure...sort of.

Dolly gets a haircut.

The happiness of a clean and well organized spice drawer; it's the little things.

Rosemary harvest.

My current obsession with sewing simple funky little prairie dresses for my girl.

A girl and her cat, and a pony.

Happy Wednesday all!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Art Appreciation

Everyone, I would like you to meet Earl.

Earl is my wonderful new art work from artist Christina Muse. I stumbled across her work on Flickr and was smitten! Also known as Artsy Muse, Christina creates amazing pieces; working in collage, altered art, and assemblage. I love the pieces she finds, and the way she puts her items together tell a story. Her attention to detail and unique perspective have charmed me completely. I knew I had to have one of her pieces in my home.

So, now Earl has come from across the country to stay at the little green cottage. He has moved around a bit, looking for a comfortable and commanding spot. Currently, he seems at home on the "O.K." wall.

I think indulging in a little art now and then is very good for the soul. I know that Earl and I are very happy with the way things have turned out. Thank you for the beautiful addition to my art collection Christina!

If you would like to see more art from Christina Muse, she has been kind enough to allow me to link to her Flickr Photostream HERE

Please know that all of the images on the artists photostream belong to her. Both the artist and myself ask that you be respectful of her images (as well as my images of her artwork) and do not use, copy, or distribute her photos in any way. Thank you for playing nice!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Celebrating the Hand-Made Life

Today I am joining in with Homemade & Happy's month long celebration of The hand-made life I will be posting once a week for the month of March.

I will share Josie's thoughts:

"Throughout the month of March I’ll be posting one photo each day on the theme of “hands”. I wanted to find a project that could provide daily blog posts, and in my pondering it felt good to keep this series nice and simple.

Why hands, you may wonder? Well, virtually every activity I do each day involves my hands – cleaning, cooking, sewing, writing, playing with the children, gardening, photography itself, tidying up around the house … everything that my day to day rhythm involves … and yours too, I’ll bet.

And in thinking how amazing our hands are, how expressive they can be, I thought it would be great to celebrate them. Sometimes they’re kind, gentle and delicate in their actions and at other times firm and strong. Our lives truly are hand-made, aren’t they?"

Wonderful idea don't you think! Pop on over to Homemade & Happy to see who else is joining in, maybe you would like to join in as well!

Have a happy hand-made weekend!