November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving, Ho!

The kids got out of school early today. Moo and I picked them up and then it was off to the library. Oh how I love the library!

Our plans for this upcoming four and a half day holiday weekend include (not in any particular order):

- Playing outside with friends (the kids, not me) while mom makes sweet potato casserole for tomorrow.
- Make dough ornaments
- Watch tons of movies (thanks, Library)
- Watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning
- Finish quilt top (me)
- Finish stuffed elephant and stuffed crocodile (me)
- Put up Christmas tree
- Paint frame and finish photo wall
- Put patches in Andy's pants (the 4th and 5th pair with ruined knees since August)
- Finish 6th and 7th Betsy-the-Queen-of-the-Vampires books by Mary Janice Davidson (really great guilty pleasure for me there)

November 24, 2008

New WIPs

I have a couple of Works In Progress to share today. Just sneak peeks, really.

Also, I found this tutorial on Anna Maria Horner's blog today and want so badly to make one of these for our Christmas tree this year!

And if anyone is keeping track, NO I have not finished the dolls or bound my zigzag quilt yet. Quit nagging!

November 21, 2008

The Eames Era Doll Bed, from Creative Playthings

Oh, I hit the jackpot with this thing.

I was walking through a local thrift store and wondering if the boys were still over playing with the gently used toys, 8 aisles away. Moo was in the cart, hopping so that her little pointy legs flopped up and down. I was looking for a coffee pot - a small one, like they have in hotel rooms. Anyway, I tripped over something wooden in their kitchy-wooden-countrified from the 80's-section of wooden bears and spice racks and bath pegboards. When I looked down, I saw that I had tripped on a doll bed.

Hmmm. It was marked $3. It was relatively bulky - a good 2' x 3', solid wood top and steel legs. I noticed that one of the rubber leg bottoms was gone. It needed a good scrubbing. Mabel smacked it a few times and I threw it in the cart. I wasn't going to because I already have a handmade wooden doll cradle waiting for pickup at my mother's house this Christmas. But it's a cradle and this was a bed. A big one. And modern.

Once home, I noticed it had a sticker on it, and I decided to look it up.

As it turns out, I tripped on a 1950's, Eames-Era doll bed made by Creative Playthings. My $3 doll bed is very valuable.

I don't really care that it's worth anything (and I question that, given the missing rubber stopper) - I love that my taste hit the jackpot, front and center. 1950's? Eames-era? Mid-century modern jackpot. I feel very, very cool.

And I love the bed mostly because it's something Mabel and I can play together. Dollies. Mommy.

So I (grabbed my camera and then) took her into her room and we swaddled "Baby" and put her on the bed. We gave Baby the Cabbage Patch binky and sang a lullaby to her. We patted her scuffed, rubber head. Mabel walked away. I said, "Wait a minute! Come back here! You forgot your Baby!"

So, Mabel walked back and picked Baby up. By the foot. And headed out of the room.

Oh my.

Cuteness! Nana, look how big she is!

And Baby was cast aside. Just like that, left beside the real mommy on the couch. Oh well, one day we'll play. Until then, I'll play. Oh you betcha - I plan to make a mattress and pillow for that bed.

Good times.

November 20, 2008

Living Green and Rocking it Out

Pursuant to my aforementioned List of Lists, please find my new list of FOUND items, thrifted in the past couple of days.

dress up- 3 or 4 suitcases to keep dress up/toys in (need these anyway) - total cost $4.00
overalls - $0.25
hats and wigs - total cost $12
suspenders - $3.50 for 2 pair
clip on ties - $1
desk for Andy - Christmas! - $5
silver glass ornaments - $1
4 buttons (eyes for two stuffed WIPs) - $3
curtain panel for storage room window - $2
2 food storage containers - found 3 for $3
globe - Christmas for Andy! - Ebay for $12
alarm clocks for the boys - $4
travel pillow - $0.50
doll bed for Mabel (not on the list) - $3

Oh, I can feel the GREEN! I didn't have to buy anything brand new and I saved a TON of money. Have you any idea how much money I saved on those suitcases alone? Holy CRAP! We needed them to travel back to Ohio in a month anyway (well, I would have used laundry baskets instead of buying them at full price, had I not found them). They would have cost over $150 for all 3 easily. And the green and black cases are in near-mint condition - they were a buck apiece! I scrubbed the large, gold case for almost an hour and now it's pretty, too - it was $2.

Andy's desk is a flashback from my junior high days. Near-mint condition chair with attached desk - metal, modern frame, turquoise fiberglass seat and gray fiberglass desktop. Not a single mark on the seat or desk. He's been asking for one for 2 months and now Santa has it hidden in the storage room until Christmas. All for $5.

More to come on Mabel's new doll bed. I found it for $3 and looked it up online. It's an Eames era original from Creative Playthings (no longer manufactured) and valued over $200! It's gorgeous and in beautiful used condition, missing just one of the rubber nubs at the bottom of one bed leg. I'm in love with it and have many plans for play. More to come, more to come.

A Green Christmas

I am forever thinking of ways to incorporate more sustainability into my life and as I mentioned in my last post, I've been thinking of Christmas lately. Christmas shopping, presents, present wrapping, handmade Christmas?, travel, music, etc. All of it running through my head like reindeer on crack. Every year I think about how much is wasted; don't you? The toy that isn't played with, grandma's 237th sweater, Dad's 93rd tie, the expensive wrapping paper thrown out after it's torn to shreds, the little twistie ties and packaging that requires an xacto knife and a machetti to get through? You SO know what I mean.

So I did some digging this morning and found some great tips to share with you about greening your Christmas. Most of them are super simple and can be accomplished very easily. All of them should give you much to think about this holiday season.

Green Gift Giving Tips

  • Be sure your gift will get used - A gift that the receiver does not use is simply wasted. Give material possessions only if you know the recipient well enough to pick out something they were on the cusp of getting for themselves, or which they really need and will certainly enjoy using. This is particularly true for babies and children; don't buy what they don't really need.
  • Give a consumable gift - Consider organic teas, fair trade coffee, fresh flowers, fresh or dried fruits and nuts, or another consumable gift. It's a guarantee it won't end up in the back of their closet.
  • Give yourself - Avoid material consumption altogether. Instead, offer your services to baby-sit while your friend enjoys a cozy date with their partner, give a gift certificate for a relaxing massage, or a winter’s-worth of driveway shoveling. You've saved money and given a gift worth more than money can buy - your time. I also like the idea of writing out Gift Certificates for "20 minutes of 1 on 1 time with Mommy" for my kids this year.
  • Give a service - Consider giving a service of any kind, like humanitarian services, in-home care for an elderly friend.
  • Give a gift where it is Needed - Give a gift on behalf of someone better off by adopting a child through a reputable third world food or care agency, sponsoring an animal through the local zoo, or donating time or items to your local mission center.
  • Make a gift - The baby sweater you knit yourself is more likely to become a family heirloom, extending the life cycle of the materials in your gift. Save money by using your yarn stash or ask friends for their yarn castoffs.
  • Buy a local gift - Your locally-sourced gift will save the environment from the emissions involved in shipping. Pay attention to the labels and if you're in the US and can't find something in your hometown to give, buy "Made in the USA."
  • Try flea markets or vintage and second-hand shops for quality goods you can afford - Find that cabinet your mother has been hunting for and then clean it up (using eco-friendly cleaners like homemade vinegar and warm water) to make the gift “new.”
  • Think about your packaging - Use packaging that will not go to waste. Your packaging may be part of the gift itself, such as wrapping the gift in a scarf or enclosing it in a box that can be reused for collecting life’s odds and ends. Reusable wrapping, such as a gift bag, will pass on the fun. For family and close friends, consider the Sunday funnies instead of commercial gift wrap.

Adapted/expanded from Planet Green here.

November 19, 2008

Living Green, a List of Lists

The other night I sat in the bed after putting the kids to bed and watching Grey's Anatomy, Season 2 with my notebook and pen in my hand. I could not. stop. thinking. I couldn't stop writing. I was feeling all sort of inspiration - and not just inspiration to create and gather, but GREEN inspiration. Ways to get what I wanted and needed that didn't involve a lot of money or theft. I wrote and wrote, and listed and listed, and when I was done I passed out from exhaustion. But not before first deciding to put this list of lists on my blog.

plant boxed spring veggie garden:
cherry tomatoes
green onions
check for eco-friendly planters, fertilizers, rabbit repellents
can I use 2 dresser drawers?

to make:
pork with roasted cinnamon pears (here from Everyday Food)
sweet potato risotto (here from Real Simple)
make soup (veggie, potato, chili)
look up eco-friendly food storage for freezer

Mom's stuffed green peppers (kind of rice? - call Mom)

thrift search:
musical instruments (keyboard, tamborine, guitars) - Christmas!
dress up
- 3 or 4 suitcases to keep dress up/toys in (need these anyway)
- overalls
- glasses (remove glass)
- hats and wigs
- costumes - not scary
- suspenders
- clip on ties
small coffee pot
desk for Andy - Christmas!
games or puzzles (checkers)
silver glass ornaments
4 buttons (eyes for two stuffed WIPs)
2 end tables
curtain panel for storage room window
2 food storage containers
large metal sign letters (R, T, A, M)
globe - Christmas for Andy!
used DS games - Christmas for Trevor!
Christmas cards
antique pear ornaments
antique bird ornaments
full size bed for Trevor (Moo to get his twin)
girlie twin sheets
alarm clocks for the boys
decanter for homemade chocolate sauce
travel pillow

shopping list:
63' thin silver garland
honey crisp apples
4 bell peppers
shelving for the boys' rooms
2'x4' - 1" foam for doll mattress (thrift? tear out of old pillow?)

to do:
finish dolls and clothes for etsy shop
free motion quilt for Moo
DCWV home sayings - apply or return
finish WIPs
bind quilt
paint orange/red frame
paint 2 white frames
reorg frame wall
make "mattress" and pillow for Mabel's dolly bed with old blankets
turkey needs 2 days to thaw - mark calendar
make list of Christmas cards
picture for Christmas cards
recycle Moo's unused glass bottles
make washcloths out of Moo's flannel receiving blankets
make gift list for Christmas

I did make that gift list, but because some of the giftees read my blog, I'm not posting it. There was also a grocery list, but I'll spare you that as well.

What can I say? If you're going to love me, you're going to love all of me. Including this neurotic list-making obsession I have.

November 17, 2008

More Pictures of the House

Seriously Inspiring New Stuff

... especially for a Monday.

Hula Seventy's blog. A new favorite. Find her here.

I am crazy about all of it. The collection of globes and maps (that would put Andy over the moon and would match his room!), the little trees, all of the letters (holy crap - SWOON), and the collection of photos and art in the living room ... all of it. I love every single part.

November 14, 2008

A Very Generic Update

Oh let's see here. What have we been up to since my last post?

Parent Teacher Conferences were yesterday. Both Andy and Trevor are excelling academically. Both are ahead of their peers in reading, spelling, and math. Andy excels at Social Studies and his class isn't even doing Social Studies yet. Both teachers are thrilled to have such inquisitive students. Andy's behavior is so much better than it was at the beginning of the year (which was better than last year), there is virtually no concern there anymore. Well, beyond normal first grader stuff. Trevor's behavior needs some work - he's still blurting out answers without raising his hand, interrupting, and not paying attention. We know he doesn't have ADD, so it's just part of Trevor's wiring that we're all working to untangle together. He's doing remarkably better in the classroom - all green and yellow days for the month of November. That is a HUGE deal.

Mabel is the little engineer. She took apart her high chair strap just now. She likes to unload the cabinets and drawers and walks around with onions from time to time. (Courtesy of the cabinet next to the fridge.) She said "doggie" and "uh-oh" this week and continues to babble like... well, like me. And Trevor. Hey - no one ever said I was quiet.

Olive is coming along swimmingly now that we've figured out she has a food intolerance. She loves her new prescription Royal Canin Intestinal Blend Lamb and Rice food that costs $25 for 7 lbs. (What are you gonna do?) She's finally putting on some weight after having the po0ps every day for her whole life. She doesn't know what it's like to only go potty 3 or 4 times in a day. She's in Heaven, for sure. She even grew into her new collar within two weeks. I'd be willing to bet she's put on more than a pound since the new food. She's so playful now that she feels better. It's time for training!

That leaves me. After my immersion into sewing last week I thought for sure I'd be saturated with fabric and ready to move on to something else. Surprisingly though (and this could be partially because the photos I ordered online haven't arrived yet) I'm still sewing. I don't want to look another stocking for... ever... so I'm working on a project

hold on, there goes Moo with a potato.

Okay... so I'm working on some projects I started at my moms and intended to finish first thing here, but you know, life. I'm making Trevor a stuffed elephant and Andy a stuffed crocodile. Then I'm going to alter the pattern and make a hippo for Moo. I also haven't forgotten that I have three naked dolls downstairs that could make perfect Christmas gifts from my Etsy Shop once finished. Well, that seems a bit adventurous. I'm just wanting to get the elephant and crocodile done so I can get them out of my cabinet.

So that's it really. That and some laundry to put away. Maybe some Golden Girls or Kung Fu Panda and a library trip. I finally got smart and reserved some books online so they would be ready to pick up in a flash. I'm ready to start a new undead series since I've read all of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books already. I didn't think I'd like them, but Lulu convinced me and I'm glad she did.

November 9, 2008

Etsy Shop Update *Large Felt Stockings*

In the shop now, a wide selection of eco-friendly felt stockings. My stockings are 22" from toe to top and the perfect solution for stocking stuffers for your little (or big) ones.

Made with love and handstitched with quality, select from Christmas Trees with buttons or sequins, Snowmen with cute black beaded eyes, or fabric polka dots in Amy Butler and Michael Miller fabric.

In hot pink,

emerald green,

cherry red,

and baby blue.

Enjoy! (Go shop - find them HERE!)
Now, see why I was exhausted?

Etsy Shop Update Tonight or Tomorrow Morning

I have some new products that I'm just wrapping up for the Shop - these are perfect for the upcoming holiday season and of course, eco-friendly. Stay tuned!

Clara, The Superstar!

Clara the sock mouse has been featured on familypicnic's blog as part of a Shopping List Saturday post. Thank you, Charlotte! (Visit FamilyPicnic here.)

Clara is a famous superstar now!

Please head over to my shop on Etsy to check her out (and remember to pay some attention to Sigmund as well, because he gets very lonely when he's not the center of attention.)

Thank you!

November 8, 2008

It's Saturday, and I'm Mute

Today has been busy.

First, I slept in. Well, a little. As much as 2 puppies and a hungry baby will let you. Like 30 minutes.

I finished my photo order so that I can scrapbook this week. (I'm on a 256K upload, so it took all night. Fun.)

I worked on my project for the shop for the rest of the morning while the kids and I watched a few episodes of The Golden Girls.

I vacuumed and did laundry while Andy dusted and Trevor cleaned the bathrooms. (I looooove having kids old enough to help.)

I fixed a quick lunch - actually two since Mabel refused to eat raviolis.

While Mabel napped and the boys watched a movie downstairs, I kept sewing and watched Love Actually. I sewed until my eyes crossed and loosened in their sockets. My neck was throbbing; Trevor came up and rubbed it for me. How sweet he is.

Then I took a break for dinner. I made chicken and stuffing with homemade gravy. The boys also helped me fix an acorn squash with brown sugar and butter; they thought that was super exciting and it kept them busy for a while. In fact, their squash comprised about 95% of Moo's dinner as she was picky for that meal as well.

After cleaning up the dinner dishes and running the dishwasher, I grabbed my phone to call my mom and tell her all that I had accomplished today. I wanted to tell her that I'd wished she was hear to eat chicken and stuffing and squash with us. To tell her that I missed seeing her. But my phone was dead. I am switching to a new service and they chose this exact instant to turn off my phone. Right when I needed to call my mommy. I hope my new phone is here soon.

So instead, I sat down to sew again. I got another 2 hours in. I should be able to finish after church tomorrow.

Now the kids are in bed and I am done working for the day.

Soon the dogs will both need to go outside for another round of "Please po0p outside. Please? Please pee. Please. PEE. POOP!" It is frickin' cold as a witch's ass out there and lollygagging at potty time is not nice. I'll have to put on my boots and my hooded sweatshirt and my puffer coat and make two treks out into the Arctic. Doesn't make much sense for me to crawl into bed yet because I will fall asleep before these much-needed potty trips.

I am tired.

November 7, 2008

Pretending I'm Snowed In - and - OLIVE IN BOOTS

We got snow last night. Only about an inch, but enough for Olive to refuse to go po0p for 16 hours. She needed a coat and boots in order to po0p. Poor girl was cold. Might have had something to do with the 40 mph winds and 0 degree wind chill, too.

So I succumbed to the pets-in-clothing thing. Oy.

At first, the parka and boots were a bit hard to negotiate and Olive was ass over elbows for a few minutes.

She looks a bit embarrased, no?

Oh, that's better. She's got it worked out now.

Admit it, you've never seen cuter.
Me either.

Also, we have a guest this week. Charlotte is staying with us while Lulu's gang headed to Michigan unexpectedly, and she is refusing to potty outside entirely. She didn't get the memo that this is South Dakota, where snow is a common thing and it's okay to po0p and pee in the snow. Also, she didn't receive the memo that it's not important to bark and howl all night long; you can save your comments for morning. We sure love having her, but it has added a lot of work for me.

So, long story short, I am working from home this week and today I'm pretending to be snowed in. After I get the kids from school, I am sewing some new things for the shop until my eyeballs fall out.

And then I'm going to scrapbook. Using paper. And adhesive. And actual photos. OOOoooohh!

November 4, 2008

Inspiring Me: Anthropologie, JCrew and Boden




Anyone selling money trees?

Finally, An Etsy Shop For :: rachelcoxdesigns ::

Introducing a new spot to find quality handmade and upcycled vintage fabric and yarn creations, handmade toys and layette goods, and environmentally-friendly felt gifts:

:: rachelcoxdesigns :: on Etsy.
New items in the shop:

Remember Clara?

and also Sigmund.

Please think of me when you're looking for just the right gift this holiday season!

November 2, 2008

Fall Apples, 2005

I'm a little late in updating my blog header to something more fall-ish. I thought about scrapping one, but haven't the time. Then today I sat down with even less time and the memory of this picture came to me in a snap. There they were, these glorious gems, settled into a folder on my hard drive named "Fall Apples 2005."

I took the apple photo (with accompanying quilt that I made for baby Trevor back in 2000) the first fall in our house. As in The House. The "2548 house" as the kids call it. It was an awesome weekend day. I was cleaning and had an itch to be all snappy with the camera. That was before my Rebel, before Photoshop Elements, and before actions.

(this one makes me giggle)

Looking through these old photos, three things come to mind.

1. I can't believe how much little Andy (then age 3) looked like Mabel. Holy cow.

2. I can't believe how much the two of them have grown, though I'm delighted to know their mouths have always been that big.

3. I love Photoshop actions. I say this because the pictures look better, but the truth is that I have learned SO much since I took these; I wish I could go back and change a few things about the lighting, shadows, scarves, etc. But, oh well.

One last thing, if you have been following my blog for a while then you know that we just passed the anniversary of the big boat-rocking that happened to our family last year. One year ago, everything changed. When I look back, I can see clear markers about what our future would be. I can see mistakes that were made. I can count moments and I remember thinking "this could be our last...". But, for now I have decided not to dive deeply into this portion of my memory on my blog just yet. It's still horribly painful. But my, oh my, what a long year it has been - and my goodness, how fast it has gone! I am grateful the love of Jesus has pulled us through. Thanks for still reading.