Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Story of Don Maximo

It's been twelve years since I studied in Mexico but I'm often randomly reminded of my time there.  You may remember that when I'm not teaching, I'm helping run the office for my parents' construction company.  I spend most of my day in the office portion but often find myself in the shop doing odds and ends, including getting my grub together for breakfast and lunch by the sink.  When I stand at there to do dishes or fill up my water bottle, I always see this bar of Don Maximo soap and it always takes me back...
In 2000, when I was down south, I had limited communication with my family and friends back home.  I wasn't a cell phone user, it was expensive to call home and our little town only had one small 'internet cafe' that had sporadic hours plus the internet was often down when they were open or was incredibly slow.  I tried to contact home at least once a week to let everyone know that I was alive and every time contact was made, my dad would ask me if I had found Don Maximo yet.  He even emailed me a photo of the packaging once at the end of my stay...photo emailing back then for my dad was a BIG deal.  He meant business and he wanted me to buy as much as I could.  Seriously.

Somewhere through his years, he had heard that this soap was THE soap for cleaning up yucky, oily messes (and after searching online, I've found that it's supposedly great for laundry too!) but isn't sold in the United States.  I've yet to check any mercados around here though as they might carry it and negate my previous statement.  

Like I mentioned before, my Mexican town was SMALL with very few stores.  I had casually looked around at the little shops that I passed on my daily walks but never found any of this soap.  Then suddenly one day, I realized I'd be going home in less than three days.  My dad's soapy insistence was at an all time high.  I had to get down to sudsy business.

I got word that there was one more store on the outskirts of my town that I hadn't checked yet.  So the day before I was scheduled to leave, I took the walk to this mysterious store and found the soap.  I bought every bar they had.  All thirty of them.  For pennies.  Yes, I bought thirty bars of Mexican soap to bring home with me.  I carried a trash sack FULL of this soap over my shoulder throughout the town; I was quite the sight.

The majority of my carry-on luggage was filled with soap and I honestly doubt that nowadays, they would have let me pass through security with the load I was hauling!  I remember my bag being SO heavy and awkward to carry that when I boarded my flight to Dallas, for the life of me I could not get my bag in the overhead storage bin.  A kind man next to me jumped to my rescue and got the bag placed for me but not without asking, "What have you got in there?  Bricks?!"  I think he thought I was crazy when I awkwardly laughed and replied with, "No, just bars of soap."  
So twelve years later, I'm constantly reminded of lugging that huge trash bag over my shoulder throughout the town of Tepotzlan to bring my dad back his requested souvenir.  And twelve years later, he's still singing the praises of that soap.  I wonder how many bars are left now...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Alliday 3.0

Maybe you remember back in the fall when I was SUPER busy with the end of the semester and getting ready for my second annual Alliday!  I had planned to do a nice follow up post about the show but first came the holidays, then bump surprise and before I knew it, it was June!  But better late than never, eh?
On Saturday, December 17th, we hosted our second annual Alliday Show at the Fairgrounds with 80 handmade artists from Oklahoma and surrounding states.  I was THRILLED with our turnout and the reception the show had.  I was on cloud nine for quite some time :)  We had fabulous media coverage, amazing supporters and ridiculously talented artists who made the show a success.  All I did was give them a place to converge.  
When I found out I was pregnant earlier this year, I never hesitated about hosting another Alliday.  Some (many) have expressed that I must be crazy and maybe I am but crazy has worked for me over the years!  The little lady will be 2-3 months old and I'll be at home with her full time when I'm used to running around for three different jobs.  Yes, yes, I know that having a baby is different but I also know that I thrive on having too many irons in the fire ;)  I have an amazing support network in family and friends that I know I can count on which gives me the confidence that I can do this!  Plus, it's not my first Alliday rodeo so I'll know what to expect for the most part!  

In preparation for baby and event planning, I'm working on getting as much squared away as possible right now!  Applications are up and ready for artists, details are being finalized and I'm already beginning to get excited about the event!  I would be beyond grateful if you mentioned the show to creatives around you, put the show on your calendar to shop and came out to support in any way!
It's hard to believe that it's already in its third year!  It wouldn't be where it is (nor would I) without your support and encouragement :)  

Monday, June 25, 2012

102 Degrees + 6.5 Months Pregnant

I survived.  And it wasn't terrible.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like Oklahoma summers, 100 degree days and all.  People think I'm insane but whatevs, I probably am in many regards :)  
I finished up Vintage Market Days yesterday after 24 hours (over 3 days) in a field in Bixby with other various vintage dealers.  The vibe was quite nice and I luckily had a booth somewhat situated in the shade.  Many friends came out to visit which truly made my weekend :)  I drank ridiculous amounts of water, ate my share of snow cones, zip-tied an umbrella to my chair and enjoyed the first days of summer.
I had really hoped to do lots of shopping but most of the booths that I fancied were a bit pricier than what I am willing to pay. I prefer to cut out that middle man when hunting for vintage so I can get the good deals.  That's not to say I didn't come home with anything, though!
I moved a little bit of everything which was exciting but it was just little bits which was a bit of a bummer.  Those with furniture booths seemed to clear out half of their inventory by Saturday!  But I was thrilled with what I sold and to whom I sold :)  I cleaned out some of my vintage clothes, sold my first article of clothing that I MADE (!!!), found homes for some of the new pillow coverings (and got great feedback on them!) among other little treasures that made it indoors before I did.
One complaint, if I may - To the three women who sat 50 feet away while watching a noticeably pregnant women set up a canopy by herself without helping, well, I have very unkind thoughts for you.  To everyone else out there who does shows, help your neighbors (pregnant or not) and you'll be amazed how it comes back to you.  Complaint over :)

Oh, and if you've never been under a tornado siren when one has gone off (this one was testing), then you're not living!  I had NO idea how loud those suckers were!  Pretty sure it was heard loud and clear by those in the womb!
I've opened the shop back up and hope to add some more goodies to it soon!  I also plan on hosting a fun Facebook sale with the vintage clothes that didn't sell very soon so keep your eyes open!  
I've one more show next month and then I'll be done with shows until after our little lady is here!  Ahh!  With that being said, I'll be running lots of specials here and there to help with our baby funds! :)  
Hasta pronto!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Up To My Ears In Vintage!

So tomorrow is the second of my three-day, outdoor summer shows!  The first was Blue Dome and next month I'll be at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival.  I figure I've got to get in as many good shows as I can before the kid arrives!  :)  The show for this weekend is Vintage Market Days and is one that I'm starting to really get excited about!  It will be held at Carmichael Farms in Bixby, OK Friday 6-9, Saturday 10-7 and Sunday 1-5.  

So why am I getting so stoked for this show?  As the name implies, there will be LOTS of vintage goods and since we're in the process of creating a nursery, I'm excited to shop!  Also, I'll have some new items - pillow covers made with vintage fabrics!  I've been making bags for a while now but I thought I'd try something new...and I'm in LOVE!  Here's just a few of them :)
Another exciting tidbit about this show is that I'm cleaning out my jewelry stash!  I've been getting rid of goodies left and right, including goodies in my workspace!  I'm pricing things to move, ladies and gents :)
And my last burst of excitement for this post is that I've also been given the green light to bring some of my vintage clothing!  As you know, I looooooooove to hunt for fun and unusual vintage clothes but my closets are busting at the seams.  With my belly also busting out, I've been cleaning out my closets with goods that need a better home!  I sampled some of these items on my Facebook page the other day but even that is just a small batch of them!  Just like the brooches and pendants above, these are priced to sell!

The bump and I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One of Those Outfits: 25ish Weeks

Fifteen weeks left.  Amazing.  To be honest though, I'm not quite sure if I'm 25 or 26 weeks!  I know she's not in there marking days off of the calendar so I'm not too concerned with where I exactly fall, just that everything is moving along smoothly :)  
There was a little bump in the road last week.  Chalk it up to me having two bizarre issues, googling those issues and jumping to a worst case scenario situation.  Really though, when it comes to OUR health right now, I figure you can't be too safe.  After a day having all sorts of labs run and a few doctors appointments, it's safe to say that all is well now :)  Physically, I'm beginning to feel more stretched and I'm noticing that it's taking a bit longer for me to bend over or get up off of the floor.  I'm still quite active though, which is nice.  I've experienced bits of what some refer to as 'placenta brain' - I am having a difficult time remembering words and I even forgot that I ate a meal the other day!  And my hands have been having a time hanging onto things; I can't tell you how many things I've dropped in the past 48 hours!
I'm still feeling well but honestly, I'm also feeling BIG!  And yes, I surely know that I'm just going to get bigger!  I feel wide all around - I'm certainly not one of those pregnant gals that looks like they've just swallowed a basketball!  I've rearranged the skirt section of the closet, moving the elastic banded ones front and center :)  I've also made a few items that I think will serve me well for the rest of the summer, including this skirt!
Everyone seems to think that I must be miserable being pregnant in Oklahoma during this time of the year but so far, I've absolutely no complaints about the weather!  It's been perfect to me!  I'm typically cold anyways so I've been feeling pretty good outside.  I am participating in a three-day outdoor show this weekend though and with forecasts with 100 degree days, my attitude may change!  ;)
I picked up the large Gap tee at a garage sale for $.25 in addition to a purple one, undershirt from the great beyond, skirt was handmade by me, shoes from Payless clearance a few years back, belt from the great beyond (belts are the only thing making me feel like I have a waist!) and coin necklace from the Flea Market.

The third trimester is right around the corner, as is adding to our household!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fuzzy Friday: Forever

In the shelter world when an animal is adopted, we always say that they finally found their 'forever home'.  Unfortunately, there are many (many, many) who seem to have varying definitions of the word 'forever'.  

When I was actively a volunteer in our cat shelter, I heard every excuse in the book for why an animal no longer fit in their lives.  I *do* think there are some situations where a person does need to find a new situation for an animal but more often than not, I truly believe that the person has just forgotten what the word 'forever' means.
I was raised around animals.  I was born into a home with them.  I learned early on to respect the boundaries of my fuzzy housemates and what would result if I did not respect those boundaries.  I found a deeper sense of love and compassion through my relationships with the animals in our lives that I don't think I could have found elsewhere.  I have dealt with the good, the bad and the ugly in regards to health, habits, personalities, smells (hello, ferrets!)... and I still can't imagine not having them in my life.  My sister battles allergies to cats and has a big ol' fluffy one herself.  They are a part of our lives forever.

With a child coming into our world, I don't think about how I'll keep baby and pets separate but rather, how we can integrate them all together.  While I know it is different, these four-legged forever friends are my first children.  They are gaining a sibling, as she is gaining four of her own.  I want her to be raised to respect, love and cherish animals just as I did.  And I want our fuzzies to always feel loved.  Forever.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kitchen Cares

It's amazing to me that it's already the middle of June.  The summer class that I was supposed to teach didn't have enough enrollment so I'm not in the classroom at all which, I'm now realizing, has been quite the blessing.  I've been having trouble thinking of words which is never good for an English teacher ;)  So instead of filling my evenings with lesson planning and grading, I've been cleaning (big surprise), organizing (another shocker), purging, sewing, slowly working on the nursery and spending lots of time in the kitchen.  
Last night I cleared 500+ pictures off of our camera finally and came across this one from a few months back.  I'd been photographing something in the kitchen - garden goods?  a recipe?  who knows -, had set the camera down, spied this through the view finder and snapped it.  

From as young as I can remember, I have spent time in the kitchen be it cooking, cleaning, preparing a meal, being a helping hand to my Granny or Mom but I've always found the kitchen to be a peaceful, relaxing and creative place.  I was raised to embrace it.

Lately, I've been finding myself working in there almost nightly.  The garden is producing heavily now which leads to lots of prep work and fresh meals aplenty, both of which I value.  I've been rethinking where and how we'll store 'mini' dishes in the next few months and hope to begin cleaning out the cupboards to start making room for said dishes soon.  

Our kitchen is what sold this house to me.  It's large, it's avocado green and it has always felt like home.  It's more than just a room; it's the heart of the home, as they say.  I fully agree with whoever 'they' may be :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The DeGrazia Collection

I have been raised to collect.  It's in my blood and I just can't escape it.  Just like my folks, I have collections here, there and everywhere.  Some of them I've just acquired and others I have slowly put together over the years.  If someone asked me what I collect, I would probably stare at them blankly though.  It's a hard question to answer!  My collecting interests are always changing and some of my collections are done growing, in my opinion, but I'll always have them.  
In my nursery post the other day, I mentioned that I was cleaning through my trunk of wall art and snapped a shot of that in progress.  One of you with very keen eyes noticed some DeGrazias laying about which is the collection on center stage today :)

This particular collection of mine was an acquired one.  A very lucky acquisition.  Before my folks bought their cabin which was about ten years ago, they bought a small, furnished trailer on Lake Hudson to temporarily quell their need to be close to the water.  Out of that trailer, I grabbed some sheets, an awesome avocado green rocking chair and the DeGrazia collection.  The artwork isn't really my folks' style but my dad quickly thought that it may be something I would be interested in.  Living in tiny little apartments at the time without much decor at all, I quickly snatched them up, displayed the ones that really sang to me and began researching them, as I do :) 
Ettore 'Ted' DeGrazia was an Arizonian obviously heavily influenced by the culture surrounding him.  He spent time studying under Diego Rivera whose influence is also apparent to me.  DeGrazia created his vivid art prolifically and gained nationwide attention in a very bold protest against the IRS regarding inheritance taxes; he famously rode horseback with 100 of his original paintings and burned them to the ground.  He would have rather burned his paintings than allow the government to collect money from them after his death.  I find that act fascinating which makes his art that much more intriguing to me.  There is also rumor that around the time of the blaze, DeGrazia buried a few of his original paintings with a map of their location given to his family.  I'd love to know if this was true!
The couple who amassed this collection were also said to have made these prints themselves.  My mom vaguely remembers hearing this and my dad has no recollection of this information but it's something that has stuck with me since the prints came into my possession.  We're still investigating what process they would have used and if they really did, in fact, make their own prints.  Each image is on a thick board which I was surprised to find as I removed some from frames I used in a project a while back.  They also cut out their own mats out of colored printer paper and used bargain bin frames leaving much to be desired on the presentation front.
As we progress in the nursery and colors start to come together, I plan on using several of these prints on the walls.  I want to *finally* reframe and possibly mat the chosen ones to give them the facelift they so deserve and to showcase them better than I ever have before.  I'm incredibly excited about their future life in a new space.  Expect to see them again :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nursery Progress: Transitioning

After a ridiculously fantastic Saturday, the mister and I spent time at home on Sunday working on various odds and ends around the house.  I quickly found myself in the soon-to-be nursery finally starting to wrap my head around what will happen in there design-wise.  To be honest, it's overwhelming.  Some days I feel like I should have more of this baby business done and other days, I feel like I've got all the time in the world.  Before I got pregnant, one of the things I was most excited about was creating a new space in our spare bedroom/my workspace!  I'm still super excited about it but the possibilities are endless which makes it hard for this indecisive Libra to make a plan and stick with it when it comes to this room.

I do know that the dark red will be going.  I absolutely love the color and have used it in other living spaces before but I think in a room with four enclosed walls, it's just a bit oppressive.  We're really planning to lighten the room up!  And we're planning to keep things fairly gender neutral, even though we know we're having a girl.  We have actually decided and agreed upon a somewhat neutral wall color and picked up primer yesterday to get this transition on the road!  We also bought paint for the lockers that we're building a wardrobe out of.  The mister has those already prepped and ready for their first coats tonight!  I'm hoping that once we get these first two colors up, the rest of the color/design decisions will come more easily.  And yes, I know the little lady won't care one way or another but we do :)
So what did I do in there on Sunday besides stare at the walls and play around with the echos?  I spent time going through a hope chest my Mimi gave me years ago that I keep filled with the wall art that doesn't quite make it to the walls.  We're now planning on using this trunk for kiddo stuff storage.  I pulled out pieces that we may use in the nursery and got rid of LOTS of random things I've accumulated over the years.  Also found in there were beloved baby quilts of mine made by my 'backwoods family', some entertaining old family photos and my childhood piano music :)  Cleaning out that trunk was a huge item marked off of my every-growing mental to-do list!
Then I spent some time pulling down 50+ years of wallpaper and paint.  After we initially painted this room when we moved in, we noticed that during certain seasons, one wall would somewhat bubble.  After some investigation, we discovered that this particular wall was layered with two layers of wallpaper and three different paint colors.  I was determined to get it all off.  Luckily, everything came down like a charm!  It was somewhat therapeutic, actually.  As far as we can tell, the other walls are wallpaper-free so we're not going to get our hands dirty with those :)

Just like this pregnancy and the thought of raising a child, completely transforming a room is exciting, overwhelming, fun, scary and full of unexpected turns.  Sure, I realize they are *completely* different things but for me, comparable in the range of emotions experienced.  Transitions, in general, really.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Unplanned Perfection

Have you ever had one of those weekends where you didn't plan a thing and it ended up being spectacular? We had one of those weekends.  An adventurous, beautiful, productive weekend together.

For the past few months, I've been carrying around this little pamphlet in my purse for an antique show in Dewey, OK.  I knew that a vendor who sold old lockers would be there and lockers have been on my mental wish list for the nursery for some time now.  I had hoped that we may hit up the show but hadn't made any concrete plans to do so.  Saturday morning when we woke up, the weather looked perfect and nothing else was on the agenda so the mister and I grabbed some doughnuts and hit the road!
We found the lockers within minutes of entering and scarfed them up.  We lack closet space considerably in our mid-century home so we've dreamt up a wardrobe of sorts we'll be building with them!  We're both excited to start working on this project :)
After an hour or so hitting antique shops in the special-to-us town, we scratched our heads where to head next.  There was a festival going on in Bartlesville but when we drove by, parking was scarce and we weren't sure we really wanted to go.  Then one of us randomly brought up Woolaroc and our destination was chosen!
I haven't been to Woolaroc but once, when I was 9 or so years old.  I have VERY vague memories of the wildlife preserve but always knew that I wanted to go back.  The mister had never been before.  I'm sure we'll go back in a few years with our lady but for this trip, it was perfect to enjoy it as just us two :)
At the Mountain Man Camp, we threw axes, shot bows and arrows and traipsed around in tee pees and tents.  I was excited to see an antler instrument in one of the tents, much like the one I grew up playing with.
As you drive through the park, you'll be witness to many different species of wildlife.  My favorite was seeing the water buffalo hanging out in the water, appropriately :)  
The exterior of the museum is something I could stare at for days.
We figured we'd get in a belly shot while we were at it ;)
One of the VERY few things I remember about Woolaroc as a child was feeding appropriate trash to the giant buffalo.  I don't know why that was the only thing that stuck with me but I was quite excited to find this random attraction during our visit.

The mister made a friend in a very cute baby goat :)
After three-ish hours there, we took backroads back to Tulsa but not without stopping by Skiatook Lake just to stop and breathe for a moment.  The lake was FULL of boats.  It really was the perfect weekend to be on the water...or to take impromptu road trips :)
Once we arrived back to Tulsa, we swung by to pick up a house guest for the evening - my parents' dog.  The beast and him are quite an entertaining pair to watch.  We'd never kept this guy overnight before so it was somewhat of an experiment, one that went pretty well.  

We finished off the evening watching the Thunder even up the series and hopefully tonight they'll take the lead!  I'm far from a sports gal but basketball is one I can get excited about...especially this team!
Sunday was equally as wonderful and unplanned, just spent at home.  I don't think I could have planned out a more enjoyable 48 hours if I had tried.
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