Friday, December 19, 2008

Painted Family

I painted these figures for my niece. I got the people from Casey's Wood Products. I decided to make her little family, so there is Emma on the left, her mom (the greatest sister-in-law in the world), my bro and little Even. I hope she likes them!!

From behind!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things I love

I love that Neva is really getting in to drawing and creating

I love her little fingers and miss the baby dimples that use to be on them

I love the look on her face when she is using her scissors, her favorite thing ever!

I was reading Neva stories tonight and felt like I could read to her for 3 more hours. I loved having her on my lap, I love the way she would get up after a book, walk to her bookshelf, and say "hmmmmmmmm" as she searched for another. I was thinking that these moments are such a short time in her life, that in a few years she may not want to sit on my lap and let me put my lips to her cheek. She may not let me nibble on her ear and stroke her hair. I just felt like I could have sat there with her forever.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our New Addition

I grew up with a piano in our house and have many memories of hearing my mother play it. I never formally took piano lessons but being a violinist I knew how to read music, so I would tinker around on it. Ours was in our dining room and thinking back I love the mixture of food and music. Our sweet house is 100 years old, has 2 tiny closets in the whole thing and is about 800 square feet. So when I was offered this FREE piano, I said "I'll make it fit, even if we have to get rid of the couch!" So here it is:

It's a tight fit, makes for coming in with groceries a little bit cramped, but I LOVE having it here and it feels like home. It sounds great, has been nicely kept up, and could use a little bit of a tuning. It is a Francis Bacon, and is a converted player piano. Neva loves opening the doors and seeing the inside. I love letting her, until she started dropping various trinkets in to it.

She loves playing Happy Birthday in her birthday suit! She did come up with a new song that goes like this "I love you, I love you, I love you , I love you" as she bangs away. The other night I was playing (well, trying to play) some Christmas Carols, Neva was in the bath with Stuart and when I finished I hear her start to clap and say "Yeah Mommy!" Awwww, glad she liked it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our Alter

Adding to our Advent Calendar Alter we have 4 candles. On the first Sunday, November 30th, we lit one small candle and the bigger white, soy, Solstice Candle made by Pacifica. That first week we added crystals, rocks, shells and bones. Tonight we begin the honoring of the plants by lighting 2 small candles and the bigger one. During the week while moving the sun baby down, we will add plant objects. Happy 2nd week of advent!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Advent" Calendar

For my birthday this year my dear friend Tina and I went to a Felt Advent Calendar Class. I have been wanting to get in to needle felting and this was the perfect intro. She had 2 examples to choose from as ideas, one was a Traditional Advent with baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, etc. And a Pagan version with Mother Earth and a sun baby. We chose the Pagan version, I liked the honoring of the Solstice better. Don't get me wrong, I am down with Jesus too, but thought the more earth centered calendar fit me more now. So here is the finished product:

There are 29 stars that represent the days leading up to Christmas or the Solstice, which ever we choose to do. The baby starts at the top most star and everyday we move the sun baby down one representing the sun getting lower in the sky.

Getting lower.......

And lower still.......

Until the Sun Baby comes back to Mother Earth symbolizing the light returning to the planet after Solstice.

I mostly needle felted it, used some blanket stitch embroidery around the edge and on Mother Earth. I just love her hair and also love the squirrels! The one part I wish I did differently is the lamb, she just doesn't stand out enough, maybe I'll add some gray to her.

So there it is, I love the way it came out and Neva loves moving the sun baby, I think it will be a tradition she will enjoy every year!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Homemade Play Kitchen

I finally finished the play kitchen for Neva!! I began this journey over 6 months ago with the following goals:

1. To spend under $50 total
2. Use as much recycled materials as possible
3. Limit my driving to acquire these materials, only stop somewhere if it is on my way somewhere else.
4. Make it really cute and have fun doing it

Fortunately for me there are 2 huge construction salvage yards and a handful of thrift stores close to my house, not to mention garage sales on the weekends. I started doing some research on the internet and found some good inspiration. There were homemade kitchens made from old wooden entertainment centers, bookshelves, end tables, cupboards, and computer desks.

After 1 hour at a construction salvage yard I found what I was looking for. It was 3 separate pieces priced at $10 each, but got them all for $20!!

The cabinet on the left and the bottom were just old kitchen cabinets, the piece I put on top, well I am not really sure what that was used for, I just knew it worked. The small cut out rectangle on the back was there when I bought it, but the square cut out on the "cook top"my husband did to put the kitchen sink in.

I took off all the hardware that came with the cabinets and spray painted them silver. I got all my paint at our local recycling center. On Saturday mornings they have a free paint drop off/pick up. You just take what you need and give what you don't! So I got the silver spray paint, white paint for all over, and red accent paint! All for free and all recycled. I scored on the faucet, it cost me $5 and is one of those with hot/cold written on the porcelain handles. It was gold but way cuter silver. I also got new pulls and wooden knobs at the salvage yard for $1 total.

My hubby, attaching thing 1 to thing 2. If you notice the now much larger cut out on the back. I had him make it 11x17 so I could put laminated photos in there, so Neva has a changing view out of her kitchen window!

Almost done! After lots of coats of white paint and red accents, it is beginning to take life! We put in the 2 shelves in the fridge, remember these were originally horizontal cabinets. And one shelf under the stove top to serve as the oven rack.
It's done and better than I could have imagined!

Opened up and ready to be played with!

OK, so I found the "kitchen sink" at the thrift store for $2. Made the "utensil holder" out of a coco powder can, sewed the curtains by hand (don't have a machine), found a curtain rod not being used in our house, bought the burners from Michaels, they were just unpainted wooden discs (2 small/2 larger), wooden knobs from salvage yard and printed a photo taken in Sicily of these really colorful boats when we were there getting married. I plan on changing the "view" depending on the season!

I found the chalk board at the thrift store for $1, painted it red (I think it was blue) and used the same ball ribbon to hang it as I did on the cherry curtain ties. That night I was making Pumpkin Curry Soup, so I made it the "Special"! Notice the "bakers rack" against the back wall, I got that at the thrift store for $2 and plan on using it to store her spices, tea cups, bowls tins full of felt food, etc. But there is not a great place to hang it right now, so I put it away.

So here is the official run down:

$20- 3 cabinets (recycled)
$2- kitchen sink (recycled)
$5- faucet (recycled)
$1-pulls and knobs (recycled)
$1- chalk board (recycled)
$2- bakers rack (recycled)
$12- fabric and ribbon (new)
$4- printed and laminated photo (new)
$12- wood discs for burners (new)
Free- paint (recycled)
Free- wood trim and shelving (recycled) thanks David!

$59 TOTAL!!

I feel really good about that, had so much fun doing it and love the way it turned out. I want to find some sort of oven knob to put on and thought about putting Neva's initials on the fridge doors (is that too over the top?)

So many friends have told me to start selling these things! I thought about it for a minute and decided against it. I do hope it can inspire others to make one themselves all you need is your imagination!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Things to do:

My to-do list is ever expanding and with Stuart being home I thought I could pound it out. Well, Neva has a cold and Stuart has some stuff to do tomorrow, so I am not sure how much I can do. But here are my goals for tomorrow:

Things I will probably get done:
Make chicken soup (I made the broth today)
Wash diapers
Mail package to mom (will have Stu do)
Buy cable to hook up DVD player (will have Stu do)
Cancel milk delivery (this makes me very sad.... but we need to save $, if I only had a cow, or a goat......)

Want to do, may get done:
Hook up printer (hopefully, not sure where the software is)
Sew one felt cupcake for Neva's kitchen
Turn compost
Get a small piece of plastic to cover one dining chair so Neva doesn't ruin the fabric ( I know, bad memories of grandma's house)
Make plum fruit leather or plum bread, or both, but doubtful. If nothing else, cut and freeze all the plums before they go bad.

So there it is, lofty for a Wednesday with a sick kid, but we'll see..........

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


We used cloth diapers for the first year of Neva's life. A mixture of Muttaqin Baby, Fuzzi Bunz, BellaBottoms, and Bum Genius. I washed them at home and loved knowing that I was not contributing to our land fill issues. Then I got lazy...we were moving, the holidays, lots of travel, and well, laziness. Over that last 9 months my guilt and pocket book really started to wear on me. So I gave them all a good wash and am back on the cloth diapering train. Aren't they perty???

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Steamboat Botanic Gardens

We went to Steamboat Springs last weekend for my triathlon and took a family outing to the Steamboat Botanic Gardens.
This was a perfect place to bring Neva, she loved all the ponds and paths!

I just love the wonder and curiosity kids have.

She played here for a while, splashing and jumping in the water.

The flowers were beautiful!

The light was perfect!

Ooohhh, I just love those little piggies!

Fields of flowers!

Stu and Neva catching some shade!

Nature is perfect!

We finished our day in the Children's Garden where they had a great teepee! It was a wonderful day with the people I love the most!

Neva's BFF

Neva and LuLu, BFF's!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cupcakes for Hannah

Here are the felt cupcakes I made for my friend's daughter Hannah for her 4th birthday. I hope she likes them! It was so hard to believe she is now 4! I had the honor to be there when she was born and have loved watching her grow up! Happy Birthday Hannah!


We had our annual Peach Festival here in Lafayette recently! Colorado is the perfect place to have a festival of any kind because we have over 300 days of sunshine so the weather is always perfect, well not this year. It rained straight for 2 days! I mean RAIN, pouring rain, nonstop for 2 DAYS! It was wonderful for many reasons, but a bummer for the peach festival. We braved the weather, dug out the little rain gear that we have and walked to the festival. We ended up getting about 3 dozen yummy organic peaches! I was so excited to get started on making yummy peachy goodness!

I did a little research and decided on making my own fruit leather, I started with some peaches (duh...):

I pitted them, cut em up and put them in the food processor, skin on, and made a puree, nothing added:

Next I put some unbleached parchment paper in a broiling pan, poured in the puree and put it in the oven on it's lowest setting. Ours is 170 degrees, but if it goes to 150 that would be better. The point is to dry it out. So I would occasionally open the oven door and let a little of the heat out. You have to be careful to not let it *cook*. You could also use a food dehydrator or do it in the sunshine, just cover it with a cloth and rubber band it to the pan, so no bugs get in. This could take up to 3 days and I would recommend to take it in at night.

You let it dry in the oven for about 6 hours until it's set and tacky. Let it cool and cut it in to strips.

VIOLA! Fruit Leather! 100% fruit and nothing else except yummy goodness!

It has been a huge hit!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Me SO happy

This makes me proud... yesterday we elected Jared Polis in the 2nd Congressional District here in Colorado! He is an openly gay Jewish man! Yeah for us!

Me SO sad

I am so sad to say, but I can not do the Steamboat Triathlon next week.. Boo Hoo! A bit of a long story, but I am having "complications" from a nasty virus I got last week. At the advice of my doctor I am going to have to stay on the side lines and cheer for Tina and Tonnie. This was the tri that I have been training for, longer, harder, at altitude. We are still going to go up, enjoy the beauty of one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns and do my best to not dwell on the fact that I will not be participating.
The good news is that The Boulder Tri Babes Tri at the end of September will be a great way to end the season with my girlies. Something to look forward to.

160 Days left........

Thank God it's almost over!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Felt Food

So I decided to start to make Neva's "play food" out of felt. She has some wooden food she likes playing with, but I wanted to add to it with out getting anything plastic. I did some research and realized it is easy, cheap, quick and you don't need a sewing machine. Here is what I have made so far:

I have been getting the felt from the craft store for about .20 a sheet! The other day I looked at the sticker on it and it read, "Eco-Felt, made from %100 recycled plastic bottles"!!!!!!
CRAP!? It is plastic after all!! Real wool felt is much more expensive and harder to get. So I am looking around for some wool and letting her play with what she's got!

Toys I made for Neva

Meet Saxon, she was a ball of yarn until I knit her. I wanted to give Neva a doll that didn't have a big plastic head, when I came across this book I knew I had to make one:
I made her to look like Neva, with white hair and blue eyes. Some say she looks like Christina Aguilera in her "Dirty" days. I agree although that was not on purpose.

I did, for my own sake, give her some pink hair! I also made her a pretty purple dress and some undies. I continue to knit other dresses and accessories for her.


Here is the play kitchen Stuart and I made for Neva. I got the template off the internet for $5, we used recycled cardboard, contact paper and made the sink from a pie plate. It has been great so far, although she has been pretty rough on it, so we are looking in to making her another kitchen out of a recycled entertainment center.