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Snapshot: Making Personal Threats & Isobel’s Pencil Room

16 Jan

– Since it’s been awhile since my last snapshot, and since so much has happened, I’m posting it early this week.

– The biggest news (besides me having the most annoying and stubborn cold on the planet) is that we moved Isobel’s big girl bed from our bedroom into the Pencil Room. The Pencil Room is officially Isobel’s big girl bedroom, and now we refer to it as “your pencil room.” The first day was rough. At first she was so excited when I told he we were going to move her bed that she tried to move it herself and then excitedly asked me to help her. Once we got the bed in the room and all set up for her nap, she pretty much cried from nap time to bedtime. She was m-a-d. After she got that out of her system it wasn’t a problem and she’s been sleeping in there fuss-free since the 7th. Anthony and I are so glad to have our room back (bow chicka wow wow) but it did make me a little sad at first. I was so ready for her to be out I didn’t expect to be sad. Having her in a different room after two and a half years of cosleeping was an adjustment for Mama as well as baby.

– I’m almost done decorating Isobel’s big girl room. I posted a sneak peek earlier on twitter. I still need to finish some organizational things and Anthony needs to hang the finishing touches, but once that’s done I’m going to share it here. Hopefully sometime next week!

Bethylicious nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award! According to the meme I’m supposed to nominate fifteen people and list 7 random facts about myself. I always have trouble coming up with these, so how about we do something else: I will answer seven random questions put to me by readers, either here in the comments, or via email, or on twitter. If I get seven questions I’ll answer them in a post and then nominate my picks for the award. I’m betting there won’t be seven questions.Go ahead and take that personally. It’s a threat. Or something. Yeah.

– The lovely and talented Erica made this gorgeous shawl for me and I am over the moon about it. The deep green-blue color, the delightful scrunchiness of the wool, the fact that it was nothing but a mere string a few short days ago has me swooning for it. Thank you so much, Erica. I hope the basket of vintage goodies I’m about to send you is satisfactory.

Recent Photos:

Little Big Links

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The Thrifted Closet

8 Jan

While working on Life List item #11, I decided I’m going to share some of my thrifty outfits with you. This outfit features three recent thrift store scores: the sweater, the belt, and (my favorite) the skirt. Made any good clothing scores lately?

Snapshot

4 Jan

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

– I have so much to share, I don’t know where to begin.

– Christmas was great despite the head colds Isobel, Anthony and I succumbed to on Christmas Eve. As I mentioned in my scrapbook post, we ended up cancelling on three of our holiday activities and spent the day playing hours and hours of Mass Effect. Quality family bonding, obviously.

– I hope everyone saw this year’s Christmas card(s). It was difficult, but I think I managed to top last year’s.

– Isobel got a ton of new toys, which I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, Yay, presents! on the other hand I now have a crap load of stuff to organize and fit in to our already toy-filled abode. She received lots of fancy, expensive toys, but the gift she liked the best (after the vintage 1983 Care-a-lot plus bears, obviously) were the inexpensive set of blocks from her grandparents. We enjoyed them, too. Perhaps being sick had something to do with it, but she spent Christmas day in a new-toy stupor.

– New Years’ was even better. As a family we had all recovered from our malaise and we spent two whole days eating, hanging out with friends who drove in from all over, and playing Scribblish, with hilarious results. We now have a new saying: “I’m trippin’ balls off that Care Bear stare!”

– I’m having a lot of fun thinking up new goals and items for my life list. I’ll share the revised version later this month.

– Remember when I set up a twitter account for Isobel so I could record her milestones, but instead it became yet another outlet for my ridiculousness? Me, neither. But the other day the idea suddenly popped into my head that I could use that account to tweet actual things she says to me, rather than things I made up based on my best assumptions and my faultless mother’s intuition. If you want to encourage me in my delusions or hear about how much she loves the Care Bears constantly, you can follow her on twitter here.

– Everyone deserves a little something pretty to start the new year off right, so don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a free Vegan-approved handmade bow from Inez Gill! These little babies are adorable and the contest is open until Friday. Don’t forget to follow Inez Gill on twitter. Not only will it give you an extra entry in the contest, but she tweets as a real person, not as a business, so she’s great to talk to as well.

– My friend Camilla sent me a whole box of cookbooks and they arrived just in time for Christmas. My favorites so far are the ones that involve cooking with kids, which she sent my way especially for Isobel. Right now our favorite is the Peter Rabbit and Friends Cook Book, which strangely had no recipes for hasenpfeffer.

Packing up Christmas is kind of a pain in the ass.

– I’m working on a special project for next week: the Best of Follow Friday 2011. I’m using my favorite 100 photos from last year and choosing the best of the best tweets from 2011 to create seven days of Follow Friday posts. The posts will not only highlight the funniest moments but it will also serve as a scrapbook of the year’s best photos and memories from 2011. I hope you all enjoy it.

– Really and truly, this was one of my favorite New Years of all time.

– I owe everybody (especially @turtleparade) a fabulous recipe for Roast Chickpeas. I haven’t forgotten. It’s coming and it will be worth the wait.

– My friend Korinne and I came up with the latest fad to lose your shit over: Mustache Bird. It’s going to be huge on Etsy.

Photos from the week:

Favorite Links:

– Vintage Alice in Wonderland invitations. I feel a themed party coming on. Via The Red Star Designs.

– My twitter wife shared this video with me: All the Single Ensigns.

– Dave Polak’s adorable kittens have started a Tumblr. As the Jennui once said, “The Internet is made of cats.

– Are you a new parent? Perhaps you’d enjoy the book Give Baldy Your Tit. Via Stray.

– The Dr and Mrs The Doctor Monarch sing Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Scrapbook: Christmas Highlights

1 Jan

I’m not going to make you guys suffer through another long Christmas post (like I did last year). I’m sure your’ readers are chalk full of them, anyway. If you want the whole Christmas story, feel free to go here. These photos are just the highlights of our holiday celebration, made unfortunately short by the sharing of a family cold virus. Merry Christmas to all of us! Peace and joy to the world! Now let’s all huddle under a nest of blankets on the couch and play Mass Effect till our eyes fall out.

A New Year

31 Dec

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I’m staring a new tradition: each January I’m going to update my life list to make sure it truly reflects my current goals. I’ve noticed as time goes by the things I really want on my life list can change and my list has been due for an update for quite awhile. January is a perfect time to revise and revisit this process. I’ve never been able to keep resolutions, anyway.

I’ll post an update later on in the month. I hope everyone has a happy and safe night and a wonderful new year. Here’s to 2012.

Best of 2011: Scrapbook

29 Dec

These are my favorite Scrapbook and Adventure posts from 2011.

 

I Can’t Decide On Just One, So I’m Sending Them All

25 Dec

Snapshot

21 Dec

Here’s what I’m up to:

– Woohoo! I am late again this week. Go team.

– My friend Kristi made gingerbread chickens instead of gingerbread men and now I’m obsessed with the idea of making non-traditional gingerbread creatures.

– Have you seen Erin’s creative way her family counts down to Christmas? I couldn’t find a photo to link to, but she writes the count down on a chalk board in her family’s kitchen. It’s so adorable, it might be my favorite advent calendar idea yet. I found several chalkboards while thrifting. I’m going to give this a try next year.

Marie showed off a photo of her Hipster Analog PDA. Is it weird that I love seeing the handwritten way people keep track of things? When I still worked at the library I made my own datebook using a notebook and a due date stamp. Now I use a shared google calendar with my husband but I can’t leave the pen and paper world behind: I have a binder that contains all my ideas, my to do lists, important papers I need to have handy, and my menu plan for the week. I’ll show you sometime if you’re interested.

– Another friend named Erin is making a homemade Huckle for her lucky kiddo this Christmas. It is amazing. She is so talented.

– I’m going through the photos on my hard drive (er, hard drives. Let’s be honest, here) and I’m trying to delete the ones I don’t need to make room for future memories. I uploaded more photos from our trip to Cayucos last March for Chris and Jenn’s wedding.

– I recently got a spam comment that was left by “A Puppy.”

– I was having a terrible night until petersagal posted this tweet: Yo Yo Ma on the floor of a bathroom, with a wombat. Then he said, “There. I just justified the existence of Twitter.” Yes you did, good sir! Yes you did.

– While shopping for supplies for Handmade Christmas at Michael’s, we bought some (pink!) pipe cleaners and had some fun. All other games were quickly brought to a halt, however, when she discovered that I could shape them into hearts. Soon she had covered our tree in heart-shaped ornaments. It was so fun.

– My cat Poppy totally clotheslined herself on the Christmas tree garland this morning.

– I’ve realized that ironically it’s Rich People that are best able to pull off Handmade Christmas.  You have to really work to keep your crafts affordable, and they take so much time. Ideally, participants in Handmade Christmas are independently wealthy, so in addition to having all the funds they need at their disposal they can make their butlers help when their fingers get tired.

– I’m still getting more Christmas cards! Thank you so much, friends! But I’m still not returning the favor till after Christmas. Happy New Years cards are for the fashionably late.

– Speaking of cards, I’ve been doing more portrait work in time for the holidays. Earlier this week I shot the best portrait session of my life–a friend wanted to take the most awkward family Christmas photo with her brothers as their gift to their parents. Think matching sweaters, ridiculous headbands, and too-huge identical sets of plaid pajamas. It was epic and I learned it’s difficult to shoot while crying tears of laughter.

Photos:

I like big buns and I cannot lie.

Bring your pink purse with you on your walks.

Wearing your Flair to the grocery store.

Monorail Cat.

Handmade Christmas.

Multitasking.

Little Braid.

I do what I want.

It is I, the Christmas Asshole – A Thrifted Christmas

20 Dec

Anthony and I are not going to tell Isobel about Santa. We are the type of asshole parents that approach child-rearing with the aim to be as open and truthful (and developmentally appropriate) with our child as possible. That’s not to say she won’t find presents waiting for her under the tree on Christmas morning, or that we are going to squash other children’s belief in the big guy. She’ll know all the myths and stories about him, but they will remain just that: myths and stories. Besides, lots of people this time of year are so keen on telling everybody that Santa isn’t the reason for the season anyway, so I don’t think this deviation from the parenting norm should really be all that big of a deal.

To reiterate, though: I do not care if you wholeheartedly encourage your child to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Loch Ness Monster or the viability of a Republican candidate for the presidency. Santa is small potatoes in the big scheme of parenting and it’s not worth making a fuss over. I truly believe that in this regard parents make their own rules for the household and it’s not my place to judge. Or care.  So why don’t we focus on what matters: presents.

If Isobel asks why we don’t believe in Santa we are going to tell her about the universal spirit of generosity and goodwill Santa represents. It sounds better than saying, “Honey, we believe in science!” but it means the same thing. “Yes, we believe in science. That’s why this year you’re getting Quantum Presents this Christmas, my dear! This one’s from someone named Schrödinger. Your present may or may not be a dead cat. Don’t open the box, sweetheart! That ruins the mystery.”

Since we are embracing the Handmade & Vintage Christmas this year I have been saving up thrifted items for her since this summer. I can’t wait for her to discover these gifts under the tree:

BAM! You just got Care Bear Stared IN THE FACE! You now possess the uncontrollable urge to share.

Can you believe I found the vintage 1983 Care-A-Lot for thirty cents? Thirty cents! I nearly died. After I found that I won Funshine, Tenderheart, Cheer Bear, and Friendship Bear on eBay for seven bucks. Earlier in the year I made a major CB faux pas when I failed to remember the correct name is “Funshine Bear” instead of “Sunshine Bear.” Multiple people came forward to tell me what’s what. This lead Anthony and I to have a discussion about The Care Bears Cousins. Remember them? If you don’t I’ll jog your memory: their names, according to my perfect memory, were Lion-O, Trumpet Face, and Hippo. Since that incident I’ve collected several stuffed Care Bees (as they are known in my household) at thrift stores and yard sales.

Isobel spends about 90% of her daily vocalizations requesting I turn on the Care Bears. Of those times it’s an even split between asking if she can watch “Care Bears,” meaning the Big Wish movie, or “Different Care Bears” meaning any of the newer Care Bee movies that are out. Big Wish is by far her favorite, and I’ve had it on so often that I’ve unconsciously started singing the songs only to be found out and heckled by Anthony. LET YE WHO HAS NEVER SUNG ‘I LIKE FISH’ IN THE VOICE OF TOODEE CAST THE FIRST STONE, ANTHONY.

Before our household underwent a freeze on any non-crucial spending I did pick up a few other things while thrifting and out and about at Michael’s. These presents are for Isobel’s stocking. Er, except the globe, which won’t really fit. But damn, three dollars for a vintage globe that still includes Rhodesia and the USSR? That shit is coming home with mama.

I bought her two kazoos because she’s going to need one each for her and Kingston when he comes over to play. Last summer we got her together with the neighbor kids and made an impromptu marching band with their musical instruments. Imagine the melodious sounds of seven kids, all under the age of 11, banging on drums, wailing on the recorder, and clashing the cymbals as they marched down the street. A ruckus like that is a surefire way to make our property values skyrocket.

That train whistle in the photo above is supposed to be for ages 5 and up. This confuses me as it has no small parts and my child can exhale just as well, if not better than, your average five year old. That’s my baby! She sure can breathe out good.

The teapot we found while thrifting is going to make an excellent addition to her Thrifted Toy Kitchen.

I know many of you are participating in Handmade Christmas. Any one else out there doing a Thrifted Christmas as well?

Little Big Guift Guide: Thriftiest Stocking Stuffers

19 Dec

Today is the last installment of a three-part series I’m doing on inexpensive, yet still fun and creative and useful, Christmas gifts. (Thrifty & Thriftier versions here.) The goal is to give items that would be a welcome gift and not just junk that will likely be tossed out at the end of the day. To be included in this gift guide it must be useful, lovely, and budget-friendly.This “Thriftiest” guide is the longest and most packed with ideas, probably because I’m used to having no budget to work with. I’ve had to get creative and I’m happy to share these ideas with you.

Almonds:  my Mom likes to put toasted almonds in our stockings. I think this is a great idea with or without a spiced, coated seasoning. My aunt once gave us all toasted almonds mixed with M&Ms, and in the days following Christmas I put it in a candy dish and visitors to the house fell upon it like they had never seen almonds or M&Ms before. Sometimes, it’ the little things.

Heirlooms: for my birthday my Dad gave me his Brownie camera that had been collecting dust in my parents’ closet for fifty years. I’ve been looking for a Brownie at yard sales and flea markets for forever, not knowing that my Dad had one in perfect condition all this time. It was his first camera, purchased when he was about thirteen. Receiving this gift was so much better than finding it secondhand: he remembers how it works and can help me open it and load the film.

Handmade: my lovely and talented twitter friend, Erica, crocheted a hat for a cousin and embellished it with buttons from her late Grandpa’s shirt. Such a wonderful, powerful gift.

Custom Spice Mixes:  my Dad loves to cook and he often tucks spice blends and rubs in my stocking. An even thriftier (and quite possibly better, in my opinion) option would be to make your own rubs and spice blends and give those instead.

Dried Herbs: Along the same line as spice rubs above, the last couple years I’ve been harvesting rosemary from my garden, drying it and sealing it in decorated plastic bags and put that in my family’s stockings.

CDs: I like to include burned cds in my family members’ stockings. The thing to remember with this option is to make it appropriate to their tastes. For my aunt I gave her meditative music she could paint to, for my uncle I gave him acoustic guitar-heavy indie music, and for my parents I gave them the nutcracker suite. Decorating the CD is a must.

Bookmarks & Artwork: If you are lucky enough to have some skill with a pencil or a paintbrush, you can make individual cards or bookmarks for gift-giving. I’m friends with a couple who did this and I still treasure and use them.

Your Own Recording:  aside from giving a mix CD, if you have musical talent you can give a CD of your own songs. A friend of mine is making one for this year and I can’t wait to get it.

Cuttings & Seeds: do you have a plant that everyone admires? I’ve had friends request cuttings of my Jade plants and other succulents for birthdays and holidays. My friend Jake has a ton of marigolds that produce seeds like crazy, and in addition to produce from his garden he gave me a cupful of seeds so that I can grow my own golden ruffled beauties.

Your Talent: Coupons are the standard for the thrifty gift and for a reason: they are awesome. Can you offer to baby sit? Do you give good massages? Skill with photoshop? You could offer to paint someone’s portrait, bring them lunch at work, make them a custom headband, run errands for them, bake them bread. Illustrate your coupon beautifully, and you have a winner.

Photos & Thrifted Frames: Christmas is the time of year my parents traditionally gave photos of us kids to the relatives (usually school or family church portraits). Since I’m handy with a camera, I like to print out some of my favorite shots of the kid and give those. Our thrift stores are always bursting with frames, so for under $2.00 I can give a lovely framed photo.

Oranges: Christmas is the time of year when citrus is in season. On her way into the Valley my aunt stops off at a local grower and buys sacks mandarins so sweet they are like candy. Sometimes they end up in the stockings but more often than not we dump all the mandarins out for Christmas snacking and then divide up the leftovers.

Thrifted Goodness: When I go thrifting I always keep my eyes peeled for things someone on my Christmas list might like. This requires you to have a pretty good feel for another’s taste, and the knowledge that they are cool with receiving vintage items. I never pass off something secondhand as new (though I know people who do). I have no shame in giving something that’s secondhand as long as it is awesome. For example, I gave my friend Stef, who adores both vintage and Yosemite, this ceramic souvenir leaf dish from the 1950s.

Homegrown Harvest: I touched on Jake giving me the fruits of his garden for my birthday, and this extends to stocking stuffers, too. Citrus plants are bountiful this time of year, as are apples and pomegranates. I know Californians like me have an advantage, but some things can be harvested in summer and saved for gift-giving now. Dried chilies, sunflower seeds, small pumpkins make great gifts.

Local Gifts: every area has something special to offer, and if you have relatives coming from out of town they might appreciate something you take for granted. Maybe you leave near the beach and you have seashells. My aunt, who lives near the ocean, gave us all seashells one year. I have a friend who lives in the city who has access to usual foreign grocery store items and I asked him for some packages of ramen. Each area has something special that could translate as something to give.

Kid-Made Crafts: when we give cards we like to let Isobel have at the envelope with a crayon first and people love it. When she’s old enough to make crafts you better believe I’m going to spread the crafty love.

Tea Sampler: If you have a few cartons of fancy tea you can easily put together a tea sampler for several people by including a couple bags from each. I do this just about every year for my family. It’s a great way to try new flavors without being committed to a whole box if you don’t like it.

Well, there you have it. Three posts’ worth of fun, creative, and thrifty ideas for stocking stuffers. If you have your own great ideas to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.