Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rapunzel's Challenge

A lame excuse of a self-portait in the mirror
I tend to give hair stylists a near heart attack when I pull my hair out of the pony tail. I give hair stylists a cocky smile and say, "I present to thee a challenge" as I sit down in the chair. My hair is thick and long. Did I say thick? Because it's really thick. It also has a mind of its own and rebels whenever I try to style it myself. 

For my friend's wedding, we (the bridal party) all had our hair professionally done for us. I didn't realize how intricate my hair style was until I got home in the evening and took some pictures. All I can say is, 'Wow...' It takes real talent to be able to do hair like this. She even curled each individual loose strand of hair that she purposefully kept out of the updo. Top it all off with some silk dogwood flowers and you have for yourself quite the work of art.

I would never in a million years be able to do something like this.

PS - my hair eats bobby pins for lunch. :P

I spy...

How many cats do you see in the box? 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Along for the ride...

That Camry that wasn't exactly driving straight today? Yeah, that was me. I was do-te-do-ing along, just going to the orthodontist. Noting new. No new trails being blazed. Just me, my brother, radio blasting, and a MOUSE?

I was turning onto the road when a fuzzy friend peeped up out of the engine air intake. :blink blink: Did I really just see that?! We had been driving for at least 20 min, stopped at a gas station, and you now decide to show up?! AAHHH!!!

In my defense - it's not every day that you see a mouse on your windshield.

At least the mouse was on the outside of the car. If it was inside, I would have probably crashed. Or made a daring and valiant effort to nonchalantly pulled over and be rid of the intruder.

Now this has me thinking... should I see what else is under the hood of my car?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Positively nutty!

Over cookies, that is. I've ever so slightly altered a recipe - okay, I changed it a lot - from Nourishing Traditions. It's Sally Fallon's Almond Cookies on page 528 of the revised second edition of her boat-rocking cookbook if you want the original. When we started changing over to a more organic diet years and years ago, this book led the way, and these cookies restored my faith in gluten-free baked goods. Little did I know that these cookies would continue to rock my world when I needed to completely switch to gluten free. So, without further ado, I give you my altered recipe.

Coconut-Hazelnut Cookies
Take a look at your pantry and stock pile. You will need:
- 1 1/2 cups of hazelnut meal (throw a couple handfuls of soaked and dried hazelnuts into your food processor and blend until they form a meal-y substance)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- half a dropper full of liquid stevia (the sweetener is really to taste, too much stevia can taste, umm..., nasty)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract

Set the oven to 300 degrees (Fahrenheit). Put everything into your food processor and set to, 'go.' Blend it until everything is thoroughly mixed. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. After the goodness has slightly cooled, you may remove from the cookie sheet and enjoy. :) You'll have to store them in the refrigerator if you don't consume all of them in one sitting. Makes about 18.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weeping Santa Rosa

2 years ago, as I was browsing through a Raintree Nursery catalog, I spied an intriguing little picture of a weeping, flowering tree. Even though it's an ornamental, it still produces some fruit. How convenient! I thought, and I couldn't get the gorgeous tree out of my head. It's such a pretty little thing; doesn't get too tall to be annoying or intrusive, gives up plums, and has a 'weeping tendency'. Oh please, Daddy? This isn't like any of our other trees. You like trees too. :halo: 

Well, we ordered the tree. The UPS man brought it up to the door and rang the door bell. EEK! MY TREE IS HERE! Why I was so excited about a tree, I do not know. I cut open the box to behold a stick. Actually, two sticks. One was a long piece of bamboo, the other was my tree. How on earth is this supposed to grow if it's just a stick with a couple of scraggly roots and a piece of bamboo to support it? We planted it anyway (right next to the front door, I might add), and shortly after a few buds started to swell up. Those few buds became funky branches with a couple leaves on it.

I must admit, I really thought that the thing wouldn't survive the first year. Much to my surprise, it came back with more vigor than before. But no flowers. How is it supposed to produce fruit if it doesn't have flowers?! Oh, well... It's still a cool little funky tree, and it's mine.

This year, as I watched life emerging from the dead of winter, my tree started to produce some buds that didn't look exactly like leaf buds. Could it be? Is my little tree actually flowering?! Well, it did. And I made sure that everyone in the house knew that my tree finally flowered.

A rather, umm, zoomed out picture of my tree. Isn't it cute?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

4-Patch Baby Quilt: Part 2

I started a quilt several weeks ago, and brought you along for the ride. Then I didn't finish it. Well, today we shall finish the quilt top. I'll create a separate tutorial for the layering since that is a universal quilt technique. 

So pull out your quilt top and iron it. If it's been sitting around, it probably has some wrinkles in it like mine did. Finish that? Good, now we add on the narrow border. Using a 1/4" seam, take one of your 1.5" strips and sew it along the longer side of your quilt (the side with 6 blocks). Do the same thing on the opposite side. You're quilt will look something like this:

Head over to your cutting board and trim those renegade tails. You don't want those. Just cut it straight with the edge of your blocks. 

Now take your other narrow strips and sew them on the opposing sides. You'll end up with something like this after you trim the tails. 

Here's a close-up of on of the corners so you know what it's supposed to look like. We're not making mitered corners here. ;)

Now do the same thing with your fat border. When I say 'fat,' I just mean the 3.5" strips. You'll want to really make sure that you sew the longer sides first so that you have enough fabric to go all the way around. This tidbit of wisdom comes from experience. ;)

Here's what your corners will look like:

And that's it for the quilt top! Like I said, I'll make a separate tutorial showing you how to layer and tie the quilt. 

Until next time!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Homegrown Kitchen Shower

Emily's Homegrown Kitchen Shower! We (bridesmaids) wanted to create a homegrown/organic kitchen-y atmosphere to really capture the bride's personality. We had an herb/spice guessing game (the cardamom and oregano really seemed to stump people!), iris bulbs for favors, a recipe binder to add to, and even a clothesline with old linens, an apron and pictures of the happy couple hanging on it. Well, I'm going to stop chatting your ear off and let you enjoy the pictures! 

I didn't have a chalk board to play with, so I pulled the white board off the wall. ;)

Emily and her mom opening gifts

We asked guests to bring a favorite recipe to jump-start Emily's recipe binder.

A small favor for the guests. 

We were planning on using jars for drinks. Then we saw a picture on  pinterest . We had to do that. So Mom and I found some cute, on clearance trays at the store to use! Yay for pinterest! 

The bride doesn't like being the center of attention, so instead of forming a circle with all the chairs, we created a more casual, cafe' atmosphere. On each bistro table, we had various things that needed to be done for the wedding (i.e. napkin tying, favor making)
The devotion time given by Mrs. L, a very sweet neighbor

The clothesline. 

It was so gorgeous outside! We simply had to go out and get some pictures after the shower!

If this is any indicator, I predict that the pictures at the wedding will be quite, umm... goofy. 

Trouble. Right here.

Thank you to Christi for taking these wonderful photos! You can visit her website here:

Dwarf-sized Package

Time for your daily dose of cute! 

Some friends of ours do milking goats. One of the pros of having a dairy animal is constant baby time. And these little guys are so stinkin' cute! Especially since they're Dwarf Nigerians. So they already come in the 'fun size', but then you see them in even 'more fun size'. I think this little guy stole my heart - he's two days old and is as cute as can be! Makes me really want to get goats again. Maybe with a few more back rubs, we can get a few. After I convince Dad that we can and will have enough barn space. ;) 

My sister lavishing affection on the little guy. I think I might be able to get her in on the plot as well. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Raiding the Fabric Stash

 A lot of love went into that gift. Many hours. Plenty of brain power. Stumbled upon inspiration. And a well stocked fabric stash. Yeah. It was a labor of love. And a near miracle that I was able to finish it on time (my sisters can attest to that - I still haven't finished their projects)

My dear friend is getting married, and I had no clue what to get her. Yes, her registry was very diverse and varied, but I wanted to give her something a little more personal and from the heart. But what could I give her? I've known her for years... you would think that it would be an easy choice, but no. The date for her shower as coming up and I still had no idea.

Then I came across this tutorial: granny square quilt. Ooh.... Hmm... That looks simple enough to try. How would I manage to fit that into the kitchen shower theme? I really don't know what path my brain took, but somehow a table runner came to mind. Her kitchen colors are blue, white and yellow? I think I have a bunch of those colors! Boy howdy, I did! Actually, confession time - I didn't have to purchase any fabric for the entire set. That's how much fabric I've collected over the years.

After I finished the main table runner, I had quite a few 2.5" squares left over. I could do something with those too! :makes hot pad: Wow. Still have a lot of pieces left. I think I was a little over-zealous with the rotary cutter. I was starting to be done with granny squares. Yeah, they're simple and go together fast, but you can only make so many before you need a change of pace. What else does a table setting need? Place mats! Do I have enough for two perhaps? Oh, and the math worked out perfectly? I think I might have actually had my brain turned on while I was doing that... o_O 

In the process of making all these quilted items, I realized how much I despise making binding. How can I cheat my way through that one? After some thought and sleeping on it, aha! Extra wide, double fold bias tape. Now, I love sewing on the binding. Just do the hand sewing while 'watching' tv, and you have yourself a gorgeous, almost flawless binding! I almost did the happy dance when I looked at the finished product. Okay, I lied. I did do that happy dance. 

But I couldn't stop there... If I do something, I tend to go all out. I dive in head first and fearless. The assembly is not complete until I say it is. And it was missing something. Then I went through my Sugar n' Cream stash. Lo-and-behold, there was blue and yellow yarn. I can hardly knit, let alone show you how to do it, but I can make dishcloths without paying attention to what I'm doing, therefore, I like making dishcloths. Just don't knit while watching an intense movie; you will break your yarn and kick yourself for it. So, I continued my evening projects, curled up in my fleece blanket and knitting away. 

As I was going through the craft closet, I came across a set of coasters that I had made years ago. Conveniently, they were in the same fabrics that I had been working with. So into the gift bag it went! 

That is the story of my creative adventures as of late. I couldn't watch my friend open the gift  because I knew that I would start crying (I kept myself busy. It's easy to look busy if you really want to). I even played with the idea of having her mom give it to her after the shower, but that idea was eventually thrown into the mental trash can. 

I kept asking myself, 'Why are you putting so much into a gift? You have a basket full of unfinished projects yet you focus on this one?' The only answer that I could come up with was that this was my therapy. With every stitch, I was closer to accepting the fact that my friend was getting married. She's not going to be living 5 minutes down the road... (/selfish rant) She's entering a new chapter of life. My time will come, but for now I'm still single. I have the time to put into a gift like this. And I'm happy to do it.

I'll have to post pictures of the shower later - it was a lot of fun and I loved how everything turned out!

So long for now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April Showers

One of Dad's plum trees
Can you feel it? That change in the air? Spring is coming. ^_^

Daffodils have started to share their rays of sunshine, the grasses are growing thick and green, the trees have started to leaf out, the orchard is blooming, the birds are wooing each other with songs, golly, the sun even decided to make an appearance! Being welcomed by a sunny morning makes getting out of bed that much easier. Easter this year was blissfully beautiful. I don't think I remember a time when we had a warm Easter - we always had to do the egg hunts indoors.

But then the breeze from the Southwest picks up a bit, it starts playing in your hair more, a chill gives you goose bumps. Then you see it on the horizon - a heavy, looming black cloud is working it's way up the mountain, and with it comes drama. It might bring just a drizzle, it might bear a torrential downpour, it might even deliver hail. Seeking shelter at this time is advised. The chickens are hiding under the cars, the geese are in the puddles (don't ask me why), the cats are curled up in a box, and the llamas are chilling out in the barn munching on hay. But after the storm, look for the rainbow. If gold was indeed stowed away at the end of the rainbow, everyone in this area would be rich. Despite the lack of physical riches hidden there, we are truly blessed with how many rainbows we get here, and every one of them is different.

Anyways... random thought of the day. ;) Go enjoy that sun break while you can!

Friday, April 6, 2012

You're a Character.

Well, aren't we all? A character that is. I'm sure that there is a part of you that would certainly make an... interesting... persona in a novel of some sorts.

Then you start looking at yourself. Oh my. I can identify with parts of characters in books and such, but never have I related to an entire personality. Does that make me a character? What about my family? Those are both a rhetorical question by the way.

I'm sure people look at us (the whole clan) and say, "Wow. Those crazy G's. There they go again! What are they doing now?!" We stop to ask the tree trimmer guys working on the trees that have encroached on the power lines to see if we can have the wood chips. We can thoroughly pick apart your choice of a fancy car while crushing your ego in the process. We clear an entire area to build a shed that has a tall face. We usually have the same thought at the same time and then continue to say what we were thinking, at the same time. We haunt Craigslist for chicken butchering equipment. We tease each other relentlessly but never take it to heart. When we clean, it's usually cleaning the entire house in 5 minutes before company arrives. We can't fence to save our lives even though we have a lot of it in the 'dream farm' plan. We can quote movies out of the blue - we can even hold a conversation using movie quotes. We 'garden' if you include growing a jungle of weeds. We can even be seen chasing various animals around the property, be it fearless coyotes (I'll have to tell you that story later. I'ts  actually kinda funny), a tank of a goat (we no longer have goats, but maybe with some back massages, that will change), the 7 year-old puppy, maybe even a herd of llamas. And I'm talking about getting into rabbits. I'd love to see the scene of trying to chase a renegade rabbit! " 'No, you idiot! My hair is in your machine!' 'Oh, we only have rabbits in here. You'll find that the hare is a much larger mammal.' " - Curse of the Were-Rabbit

What inspired this post? We started describing a neighbor a 'character' and then the thought came to all of us in the car - we're characters, too, aren't we? Then Mom had Dad pull over to ask the tree trimmer dudes for their wood shavings. Yep, we're characters!