Sunday, March 29, 2009

Springing ahead

Nearly two weeks of varying degrees of coughing and runny noses and we are finally emerging from the fog. I had been feeling like we had gotten away with something this winter since none of us had been sick until this but clearly we didn't. Although I have certain hopes of making it all winter and spring next year without a single sniffle. Wouldn't that be nice?

While the boys came up with the housebound adventures of Indiana Jones (which is pretty cute since they've never actually seen the movies), I let the blogging, painting, and general housework go and spent my time wiping noses and devouring this book. It's one I really recommend if you are interested.

We also planted some heirloom tomato seeds indoors which began to sprout just a few days ago.

I have two types of tomatoes seeds from Abundant Life Seeds here in Oregon. Stupice tomatoes and Red Currant cherry tomatoes. I'll be starting a lettuce blend soon and the rainbow swiss chard after that. The rest I'll get as starter plants at the nursery. Ian and I talk about the vegetable garden nearly every day and about all the things we want to plant. He was nearly as excited as I was when we saw the first little shoot from our tomatoes. This is our first time starting with indoor seeds so we're hoping at least one survives the transplant to the outdoors. We have most of the soil we need for our garden beds so hopefully the sun shines long enough this week to finish them.

For today though... the windows are open and we are happily breathing in the fresh air and getting back to normal life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A bit of sunshine on a rainy day

We are in full spring mode around here with grey skies and lots and lots of rain. So much so that any tiny hint of blue skies and sun has us all running for the outdoors to soak it up.

I worked on a couple projects over the weekend and they turned out so bright and cheery they're already helping me through the upcoming forecast of more grey skies. This first one, a crocheted handbag, I started here and sewed the lining in yesterday. The second project, a fabric trimmed cork board (in the background) took me a few hours on Saturday morning.

This bag was so fun to make and really quite easy. It's just single crochet stitches, increasing and decreasing in various places to make the bottom and the straps. Pattern here.

I sewed fabric on the inside to line it which not only looks great but helps keep the bag from stretching. I've been wanting to make this for awhile now to have something to carry my yarn projects in wherever I go.

I started the second project when I wanted a corkboard in the play area of our living room where the boys could put up pictures they've drawn, pictures we find of animals or places, or just anything interesting we want to look at. I decided to use some fabric I already had to trim the wood edges for a little character since the wood made the whole thing a little blah.

I used a staple gun to secure the fabric on the back and then pushed the fabric between the corkboard and wood frame with a thin nylon scraper (you could use anything, I just happen to see this in the kitchen and it worked great because it was thin, sturdy, and didn't puncture the fabric). I added a little glue to the corners to help the fabric stay in place.

I pinned a few handmade quilt flowers up from a cutter quilt my next door neighbor gave me to add a little more color. It's the perfect height for the boys and I'm excited to see what fun things they will come up with to display.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Buying in bulk

On Monday, the boys and I took a leisurely drive in the wet snowfall out to my sister's house for our bulk food pick up. Every few months we place an order with a local company here in the NW where we can buy organic, natural food mostly in bulk and with better prices than the grocery stores. It comes in on a semi-truck and we gather around the back huddled in our coats waiting to load the boxes into the back of our vehicle. The boys love it when we get home and start to open all the boxes to see what's inside.

We get all sorts of dried beans, rice, oats, nuts, seeds, and gluten free flours. As well as honey, agave nectar, gf/df chocolate chips and the list goes on. I'm slowly building my basement pantry and I'm almost at the place where my weekly grocery trip is only needed to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and other perishables. Maybe even less if I get my garden going this spring.

All of this reminds me of the little articles, blog posts, and websites that I keep seeing lately on the art of homemaking. I'm excited that there is a purposeful return to keeping a home and taking care of those that live there. And most importantly that it's okay to enjoy it.

I'm always surprised to find that everything takes effort and hard work to be done well. Taking pride in writing a grocery list or making sure the laundry is sorted day after day isn't easy unless you realize who you are doing it for and that you are doing it because you love them. I take care of my home because I love creating that sense of home for my family.

This is my 3rd time ordering our food staples this way and I'm still trying to get it right. I seem to order too much of one thing and not enough of another. But I know it just takes time to figure out exactly what my family needs. Maybe in another 3 orders I'll have it down and then I can move on to learning something else. But what seems difficult in the beginning can become second nature over time. That's how I feel about most things, especially concerning this house and what it takes to create a home here. I know it's worth the day to day effort and I'm so encouraged that others do as well.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Week in motion

I still can't believe the weekend is almost here. It's amazing how I can wake up each morning with a plan, a to-do list, and yet only 1/8th of it gets accomplished before I find myself tucked into bed again for the night. Funny how life gets in the way of our structured lists. I'm constantly learning to lessen my grip and let the day figure itself out along the way. Laundry still gets done, we still eat, phone calls still get made, but we have freedom to move about. And I know it's true, that we are happier this way. Happy when we can read just one book more after we've already finished seven, or scramble to get our coats and boots on and run out the front door to take a walk when we see the sun peeking out through the clouds. And happy still when our day is completely upended and nothing from our usual schedule occurs.

Tuesday morning Jeremy woke up with a stuffy nose and groggy voice telling me he was going to work from home that morning. This was very fortunate for me because I woke up with a pinched nerve in my neck and couldn't get out of bed. So being the amazing and wonderful man he is, he dragged himself out of bed, tissue in hand, and got the boys dressed and downstairs to start the morning. I stayed in bed most of the day and the boys wandered up and down the stairs to spend time with both of us. We decided the only prudent thing to do was to declare it a movie day, so we snuggled in and watched a documentary called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (from Netflix). We loved everything about it.


After my day in bed I figured I should make the most of what was left of the week and decided it was time to paint. The kitchen is finally back to her old self.... dill pickle green... and I was able to hang my $3 thrift store find next to the window to hold some garlic, chicken eggs (did you know fresh eggs don't have to be refrigerated?) and washcloths. I'm feeling a little more put together again.


Sawyer was in a rare mood this morning and stood still to let me take some pictures. He has grown up over night and he seems way more two than one lately. He's almost 22 months now so two really isn't so far away.

And Ian who is FULL of personality and opinion these days told me he couldn't smile for the camera because he was a robot and "mom...robots don't smile".


My neck is almost back to normal so I'm hoping to get a few more things done this weekend. Some serious spring cleaning has been filling my head so maybe I'll get those untouched corners organized. Maybe.

Have a wonderful weekend!