Tag Archives: Update

Little Big Shop

28 Jan

Here’s what’s up in the shop:


25 Jan

What I’m up to:

– I am finally getting over a cold that’s left me barely functioning for the entire month of January. I know some of you were a little disappointed about the lack of a Follow Friday post last week, but I had been running on empty for days and halfway through editing I knew it was a lost cause. It will be back with a vengeance next week, though, so don’t worry. It’s not going anywhere! In the meantime, check out my new 50 Thrifty Fun Things To Do series. I’m drawing on all my experience of taking care of Isobel while working with a budget that dips into the negative numbers on a regular basis.

– Speaking of vengeance, last week I asked you to send in your questions about me so I could complete the versatile blogger award. I received  a bunch of emails, DMs and tweets after I threatened people to post Beck lyrics if no one responded. Well call me a dead hobo on the patio! After that threat I was inundated with responses so I will answer a couple per week until I make it through all of them. If you still have a question for me it’s not too late–email, tweet, comment, or DM me and I’ll answer it in a following Snapshot post.

– Isobel occasionally refers to Anthony as “Swiper.”

– Next month I’m going away with some friends to visit my dear friend Stephanie in Reno. I’m excited to cross this item off my life list, even though I’ll be going without Anthony and Isobel. Since we started a family Anthony’s gone away for work and fun a couple times, so now it’s my turn. I’m going to be going four hours away over Donner Pass with my besties. What could go wrong? P.S. Can you be kicked out of a state for being inappropriate? Asking for my friends. Specifically.

-Also, this is the first time I can remember going overnight somewhere without Anthony since 1998. Holy shit.

– Since I’ve been sick I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek, and, consequently, Isobel has watched a lot of Star Trek. Fortunately, she loves it and dances and shrieks with joy when she hears the theme song. I shit you not. It’s hilarious to hear her take on what she sees, too. To her, Klingons are lions, the Borg are robots, and Worf’s son Alexander is a girl.

– I have been getting more photography work, which is good because I feel really guilty about quitting my job to stay home with Isobel in such rough economic times. I’m not going to lie, we’re personally dealing with some rough finances and so are most of my friends. A friend recently sent me a link about the Ten Worst Cities for Finding a Job. If you look on that list, the first five cities are within about an hour from where I live. The other day a girl came to our door and asked if I had any scrap metal for her family to sell. It’s so bad  nearly grabbed my bindle, flung Isobel into a sack of potatoes, and rode the rails to Canada.

– Yesterday we were in line for checkout at the grocery store when I noticed Isobel was chewing on a head of broccoli. I let her. Because it was broccoli.

– One of my recent shoots has been for my bestie’s Etsy shop. She is selling some awesome Valentine’s cards, including robots, Alice in Wonderland, and my favorite, the Anti-Valentine. I really love the Eat Me/Drink Me tags. How perfect would those be attached to a plate of homemade cookies for a housewarming gift? Too perfect.

– If you’re into vintage clothes, check out my friend Valerie’s shop. She has been uploading like mad and I’m personally drooling over several dresses, particularly this 1960s rainbow dress. I probably shouldn’t show you this adorable children’s owl sweater or orange townhouse dress.

Little Big Links:

– Thank the Sweet Baby Picard Jesus those Princess Bride movie remake rumors are false.  Via Amanda Stretch

Goats in a tree. This is called “making my day.” Via Ian Boudreau

Reading Rainbow meets Star Trek. This derailed my whole afternoon. Via Veronique Rickets

– Good as backup NFMBFTKS, but not as primairy NFMBFTKS . Read the first review. For Samurai Ninja Rockstars, only. Via Chris.

Downton Abbey Drinking Game. To my utter delight, Anthony enjoys watching this with me–without drinking, even!

Feminism does not predict poor romantic relationships, in fact quite the opposite. A fascinating study. Via Justin

Weekly Photos:

Reader Question:

This post is running waaaay long, so I’ll answer just a few.

1. Why the Viking liking?

My family is Swedish-American on both sides, and we still have a pretty strong Swedish culture three generations out. I grew up with lots of stories about Sweden, about my pioneer relatives (it was all very Kirsten), and Scandinavian culture in general. I live in an area settled by many Scandinavian families and my parents used to be very involved in the local Scandinavian heritage festival. So it’s just something I grew up around.  That and vikings are badass.

2. Do you still go in your child’s room at night to see if she’s breathing?

Oh hell yes. Though my main paranoia is in regards to her choking. I still want to slice grapes into miniscule pieces for her. I got too far. It’s totally irrational. She has learned she can fake cough to get my attention because she knows I’ll come running.

3. Are you a loser, baby?

In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey. Butane in my brain and I became the junky with the plastic eyeball. Spray paint the vegetables dog food skull with the beefcake pantyhose. Kill the headlights and put it in neutral. Stock car flaming with a loser in the cruise control. Baby’s in Reno with the vitamin D, got a couple of couches, sleep on the love seat. Someone keeps saying I’m insane to complain about a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt. Don’t believe everything that you breath you got a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve. So shave your face with some mace in the dark. Saving all your food stamps we’re burning down the trailer park.


Cut it.

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

Recipe: Butternut Ravioli And Then Some

8 Dec

– I’ve already started getting Christmas cards in the mail. (Thanks, Melyndersons!) This is no fair. I haven’t even made ours yet, nor even picked out the photo.  I’m still trying to mull over a way to beat last year’s card, and the only possible contender I’ve come up with it to find a giant Julbocken for Isobel to ride while I take her photo on it. I am, so far, unsuccessful in this endeavor. But I hear our local Volvo dealer has a large Dala

Justin found this Star Trek Christmas card and it warmed my nerdly heart.

– This made me laugh until I cried: Fake Kristen Stewart Explains Christmas. Via  SvelteAssassin.

– This weekend I’m getting together with friends for a holiday party that includes an old fashioned sing along. I am so excited to sing hymns and drink nog while Isobel runs around with Kingston shouting, “IS THERE AN L, MOM?! IS THERE AN L?!” The song Noel kind of freaks her out.

– It was only a matter of time before the internet came up with this. Via the Scott.

– Earlier in the week I posted about thrifty ways to wrap presents and thrifty practices I’m using to save money. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to respond to the comments yet but if you enjoyed these posts please click over and read the comments. The comments totally inspired me. LB readers shared some awesome creative and thrifty tips that you might want to bookmark.

– Recent Thrift Store Gore: Terror Santa. He sees you when you’re sleeping.

– Recent Thrift Store Score: Vintage Angels. My small pile of Christmas decorations is growing.


I made butternut ravioli with sage butter for dinner on Monday and it was so good Anthony and I nearly fainted. Isobel didn’t want any and we were like OH GEE THAT’S TOO BAD NOM NOM NOM.

I didn’t use a recipe but it was super easy. The steps were kind of fiddly but they weren’t hard. The longest part was the roasting of the butternut squash, and you can do that a day or two in advance. This is a great way of using up butternut puree.

1. Halve your butter nut, clean out the seeds, and lightly coat it with oil. Roast at 400 degrees F for about an hour.

2. When cool, scoop out roasted flesh and mash.

3. Saute the white parts of a scallion until soft then add the butternut, heavy cream, salt, pepper, a scrape of nutmeg, and warm through. Take off the heat and add a grating of Parmesan cheese.

4.  Lay out wonton wrappers and make ravioli by putting a bit of the butternut mixture in the center of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with a bit of water and fold in a wonton shape.

5. Start the sauce: I made brown butter with sage, which is dead easy. Add the butter to a warm pan along with some whole fresh sage leaves. Heat butter till it foams and starts to brown. You’re done.

6. Boil ravioli briefly then portion out on plates. Pour brown butter over and sprinkle with parsley and more Parmesan if desired.

7. Ta da! Here’s the end result. So good.


7 Dec

-My brother-in-law finally returned from deployment yesterday after a year in Baghdad. I am relieved and grateful he is home.

Holy shit. Let’s hope they are Vulcan.

– I watched PBS’s Bleak House on the days when my Mom had the baby so I could work on my gigantic Esty project. I totally loved it because I love those types of movies even though everyone around me thinks long, historical British dramas are about the boringest thing in existence. I think they are a wonderfully cozy way to spend a cold fall day inside with a project. Also it’s entirely possible that I am really boring as well.

– I checked out NurtureShock from the library and am about halfway through it. Holy wow, that book is excellent. I can’t recommend it enough. Next up is Welcome To Your Child’s Brain.

– I bought some frozen cookie dough through a fundraiser for my bestie’s son Kingston’s daycare. It’s the kind that’s already conveniently pre-shaped into little cookies so all you have to do it pop them in the oven and fifteen minutes later you have melty chocolate chip goodness. I am so addicted to this instant sort of gratification that I’m considering making up a batch of cookie dough and portioning it out so I’ll have homemade chocolatey chip goodness when this batch is finished. Which reminds me, I really should start back up on the elliptical again.

I’m still having a sale! And there are still a few items of Thrift Store Gore left for all your White Elephant needs. Keep checking the shop, as I’m adding more thrifted goodness all the time.

– I meant to post this earlier but kept forgetting: the Life Cycle of a Jack-o-lantern. (I have a severe case of chicken envy.)

– The other day when we had people over my friend Jake looked out the window in time to see Jupey run by with a sword in his mouth. Our neighbors had been playing with Nerf swords and left them on their lawn unattended. Jupey swooped in and grabbed it, ran across the front lawn, and somehow climbed the fence with it still in his jaws. It was at least two and a half times his length. Isobel was particularly excited to get a toy from Jupey that wasn’t a naked, brunette Barbie, and she played with it happily until we could distract her and return the sword.

– I went to a local craft bazaar and had the same experience there that I have every year. I always have a good time, find something awesome, and then get pissed because it’s a clusterfuck of too many people in too small a space. Also I leave before I really start shopping because the crowds make the experience impossible and unpleasant. I can think of half a dozen easy ways to fix this just off the top of my head. It doesn’t need to be this way. Get on it, Handborn.

– My Crohn’s disease has been particularly unpleasant these last couple days, but seeing as how I don’t have Cancer or some other scary new health issue, I’m okay with that.

– I broke down an got a new phone! This explains the massive influx of instagram pics I’ve inflicted upon you all. I’m kind of essited.

– I bought a large bag of party mix for the upcoming winter festivities, and after I put it and the other groceries away I went down the hall and into our bedroom to fold laundry. As I was putting socks away I heard a very strange noise. I looked up to see Isobel lugging the giant sack of party mix, nearly as large as she is, down the hall. It takes her awhile because our hallway is long, but when she finally drags it into our room she hoists it up onto her bed. Then, in a panting, out-of-breath voice she says, “Mama,” (wheeze, wheeze) “It’s a party.”


12 Oct

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

– I forgot to mention last week that Danforth featured my photo on his tumblr. He is hilarious and loves Star Trek. You should follow him, but only if you like things that are awesome.

– My twitter wife Shinyinfo made a pinterest board of all her favorite nerd-larious gifs and photos. It’s amazing. She has magical powers of seeking out all things geeky and combines that talent  with the cataloging prowess of a librarian. I like to think she made this board because my birthday is this weekend, but she was probably looking for a way to more effectively say this or possibly this to the world at large.

– I shot my very first wedding reception last weekend, and using a fancy expensive lens, too, instead of my regular kit lens. I love how the photos came out, but I was unprepared for how my back, neck, and shoulders would ache from lugging around that heavy lens. Using a new lens really inspired me, and besides that, I was able to put the camera down after awhile and enjoy the party. I ate a lot of Assyrian food and convinced the mother of the bride to give me all her secrets, er, recipes.  I’m not quite sure I’m up to dolma, but I’m pretty sure I can replicate at least a few recipes in my kitchen.

Some other fun things:

I’m not saying my mom loves me more than than yours loves you, but mine did save this for me for over ten years.

Isobel made soup.

The problem with banks.

Isobel kisses her reflection 1 and 2.

Swearing is very upsetting.

Two recent thrift store scores.


28 Sep

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

-I’d like to thank everybody for all the kind words and gestures after my small freakout the other day. I felt better almost immediately after talking through things with my husband and sharing it here. Some of it had to do with the fact that we are now officially living on one paycheck. We are used to cutting back, my whole life story is about cutting back, but it was like living with a cold hard stone in the pit of my stomach called Panic. I was also a bit lonely but that is totally fixable. Now that I’m not subjected to the both wonderful and horrible experience of having coworkers I need to be on top of my social needs. I’m excellent at taking care of Isobel, but sometimes I’m not so good at taking care of myself.

-I have been contacted by several people who told me that not only did they grow up with the Tiny Tots Tree House, but that they took their Weebles toys and played with them in the tree house. This just confirms to me that you all have more than 1970s toys in common: clearly, you all share a large amount of awesomeness.

-Yesterday I went to the local flea market with my friend Brandon and I was totally blown away by all the changes since the last time I went. When I was a little girl that market was full of everything imaginable, including a vibrant secondhand scene. Sometime after I graduated high school it became a place that sold mostly cheap new goods, various knockoffs, and produce. Something must have changed, however, because it was full of secondhand stuff, some of the roads had been repaved so it was very stroller-friendly, and better in pretty much every way. I didn’t have a lot of money with me but I bought these whales for Isobel using some change and we’ve had a great time with them. Fortunately for us, the specie name of each whale is listed in their tales, so when she calls them all “humpback whales!” we can correct her with confidence.

-Isobel and I listen to a lot of music during the day. Lately, if a song comes on that she doesn’t like she’ll say, “Mama, turn off that music! It’s too loud!” It’s like living with the most adorable old lady ever.

-I was featured on Celebrations.com! They liked my Butternut Shiitake Risotto recipe enough to feature it along with some other fall recipes they collected. Check it out!

-I came across year old photos of Isobel’s first ride on the tricycle my friends Angela and Justin bought for her when she was still called “Peanut.” The cuteness is overwhelming.

-Anthony came home from his week long training and we pretty much spent the weekend on the couch snuggling and playing Assassin’s Creed. Which was perfect. Though we did leave the house to go to a free festival with our favorite family and a barbecue with the in-laws a few towns over. It was laid back but a lot of fun.

-I am still making tons of lists. I’ve made so many lists lately that Isobel decided to be just like Mommy and make some lists of her own.

-I’ve started getting some Halloween decorations out (I have photos for you later), and I noticed that Isobel thinks that skulls are “pirates,” probably because a skull and crossbones is the fashionable pirate’s favored accessory. Anthony and I have been working with her to explain the difference between a skull and a pirate, and she caught on right away. This morning, when Anthony wasn’t around, however, she pointed to a skull and whispered to me conspiratorially, “Mama,” she said, “that’s not a skull. That’s a pirate.”

Little Big Shop Update

10 Sep

Here’s what’s up in the shop:

Plaid Picnic Cups, because even your glassware is burly.

Crystal Clear Glass Bowl, I use bowls like this for holding chopped chives for baked potatoes.

Green Japanese Mug Set, the perfect shade of nostalgic green.

1970s Houseplant Needlepoint, I can’t get enough vintage needlepoint right now. I have it up all over the house.

Wall Flower, pay no attention to the toddler trying to swipe it.

Shop work was derailed this week by illness, but I’ll add to the shop again in the next couple days.

Leland Tea Company

14 Mar

A lot has been going on lately, in my world and in the world at large. My heart is heavy from the devastation that has struck Japan, one of my most favorite cultures in the world. It’s nauseating to sit in my comfortable home with my daughter in my lap and read about disaster after disaster occurring thousands of miles away. I’m going to donate to Doctors Without Boarders or The Red Cross, and if you can find it in your budget, I urge you to do the same.

Isobel and I have been sick so often this year I’m going to refer to this time as “Plague Winter” from now on. The weekend started on shaky ground, with me taking Isobel to the doctor last-minute style as her ear infection was returning. As seems to be the case with every goddamn time she gets sick, I spent the weekend feeling like white hot death, shivering with the flu under a mound of blankets.

At this point you’re probably wondering what all these photos are about. I’ll get to it, I promise.

There’s no rest for the weary when you’re a Mama, however, a fact you’ll hear me unbecomingly complain about to the bitter end. Isobel’s second birthday is coming up, and we are planning a party this year. We are also leaving town this weekend, and I have a lot of business to finish up before we leave. (Oh, and I’m having an Etsy sale tomorrow, so stop by the shop and check it out!)

In fantastic news, I received word from an Anonymous Viking that a fourth season for Yo Gabba Gabba has finally been ordered. I like to think it’s because of all the amazing Little Big readers who signed the petition back in January. I also like to think that the Anonymous Viking is an elite super soldier who’s a double-agent working for The Man yet working with his own secret agenda. Yeah. I like to think these things.

So. Sandwiches. This is what I wanted to talk to you about.

Recently we went to San Francisco to celebrate my bestie’s birthday. She took us to one of her favorite spots, Leland Tea Company. Anthony and I intended on having a light lunch in preparation of the decadent dinner we had planned for that evening. The food, however, was so good, and we had been made ravenous by travel and inclement weather, that when the waiter delivered the sandwiches and the tea and the salad and the biscuits, we fell upon them.

We stuffed ourselves full of tomato and brie sandwiches with homemade pesto, turkey and Swiss cheese with a delicate mustard, egg salad, ham and cheddar, cucumber and cream cheese. The salad was slathered with an unctuous dressing and the madeleines were crispy, delicate, and buttery.

And because it was Angela’s birthday, the owner treated us with these (house made—like everything else) red velvet cupcakes with edible glitter.

Edible. Motherfucking. Glitter.

Twelve year old me had an aneurism and died in perfect tea party bliss.

But this lunch sparked some ideas. As you know I’ve been working out with my elliptical and have been trying to eat more healthily. I tried counting calories on a regular basis, but I found it maddeningly hard: calorie counting programs can give you precise information about processed foods, but I’ve been busting my ass to cook from whole ingredients and eschew prepackaged foods. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to try to figure out how many calories are in a cup of soup I make myself, or in a piece of lasagna I froze two months ago. I don’t have the discipline, nor the patience, to figure the weights and measurements for each meal, and I have been feeling very defeated about that.

The trip to the tea company got me thinking—about lunch, about menu planning, and about losing weight. But that’s another post, and I’ll be telling you all about it very soon.

The Haps

13 Jan

I am just not feeling well today. I’m at work and everything’s fine, but my stomach hurts like hell and I’m all weak and Crohns-y.

That aside, I’m just going to keep on truckin’. Here’s what I’ve been up to:


 365 Project

I am using the free Instagram app to do a 365 project. I’m focusing on simple shots of my day-to-day life. Partly this is because this is what I like, and partly because I am so epically lazy. Although I’d participate in the odd 30-day challenge on flickr using my big camera, I just don’t have the time, the inclination, or the desire to pull out the big camera, go through shots, edit, and post the best one everyday. Shocking, I know. I’m just trying to find time to both shower and exercise every day while watching a baby and somehow making a nutritious dinner. I convinced my bestie Angela to also download the app and participate with me, because everything’s more fun with friends. Feel free to join in and let me know so I can follow you.


Anthony will be gone a lot for business the next couple weeks. While I will miss him terribly, I’m also concerned about spending so much time as a Solo Parent. And I’m more than a little worried about my ability to shower. It will be interesting to say the least. Oh, sure, I’m having lots of friends over and I have two very nice neighbors that will be keeping an eye on me, but still. I’m looking forward to a lot of hard work and sleep deprivations. You can look forward to a lot of maudlin tweets about missing my husband. Everybody wins!


I mentioned on twitter last night that I have too many books. It’s sad, but true. We have one whole wall lined with bookshelves and still, we are running short on space for our collection. We can fit one more Ikea bookshelf in our office/library, but that’s it. So, Anthony and I might have to do a bit of purging and pruning of the collection. A lot of it is my favorite, nonfiction. Depending on what and how many books we cull I might have a giveaway since so many people were interested. Locals, I will also be offering books your way as a few of you piped up as well.