Saturday, March 30, 2013

One Of Those Outfits: I'm Baaaaack

Gee, right after I professed my love for documenting my garb, my outfits and I vanished.  Like I mentioned before, life got heavy and taking photos of clothing sure wasn't at the top of my priorities.  I'm back with one today though! 
I have been a sewing FOOL lately.  Every extra moment I have is spent cutting, pinning and sewing.  I've been bitten by some bug and have been making tanks, dresses, pillow covers and shirts like a mad woman to prepare for Blue Dome in May!  I'll be sharing a booth with many of my talented make:Tulsa friends and I couldn't be more excited.  The tank in these photos is just one example of what I've been making! 
I've been taking old vintage patterns and modifying them to make them more modern.  They are in alllll sorts of sizes and all sorts of crazy, awesome vintage fabrics.  I'm having an absolute ball with it all and I'm very pleased with what I've been coming up with :)
I'm starting to figure out the short hair thing again.  It always takes me a bit to get back in the game and to feel like I know what I'm doing with it!  I'm hoping the front grows out quickly so I can do more with it but I think I'll probably cut the back up a little more soon.  We'll see :)  It's fun playing around with it for now!  Part of me has also been thinking of toying with color....
This semester is already sooooo close to being done with! It's crazily flown by. We're currently working on group persuasive speeches which is an experiment in itself. I've had them do group speeches before and I've had them do persuasive speeches before but never combined. So far, I'm pleased with how things are going.  Fingers crossed!
This was an easy and simple teaching outfit for me last week.  Pants are from the Gap ten years ago when I got all professional, tank is handmade by moi, undertank is an amazing nursing tank that a friend handed town, same ol' black booties and coconut shell earrings I bought in Switzerland in route to India some years ago. 
See all that green?!  Spring is here!! :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Story of Us

Meeting Brent was the epitome of all of those lovey dovey cliches that you hear and hate.  You'll know it when you find it.  You'll find love when you least expect it.  Blah, blah, blah.
I had never been to The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival before but I was finally convinced last minute to meet up with some of my OKC friends and to bring along some jewelry to throw in a booth to sell.  I threw a tiny tent in my trunk, a few things to eat and drink in an ice chest and some random clothes in a bag and hit the road.  Folk music wasn't (and still really isn't) what I first go to when I want to listen to tunes but out there, it was just what I needed, especially with all that was swimming around in my head with my ailing Granny and such.  I was in NO WAY looking to meet anybody, let alone THAT somebody.  I found my friends and prepared myself for a rejuvenating weekend away from everything I was familiar with.

Meanwhile, Brent traveled to his hometown where the festival was being held (and still is) from OKC.  He had left Okemah for a number of reasons but one of which is because he never thought he'd meet a decent gal there.  Still makes me smile that we met in his home town.  We had a few mutual friends but had never met before to our knowledge.

I remember joining friends on a blanket in the middle of the audience out in the Pastures of Plenty and turning around so my friend could introduce me to the cast of characters sitting in chairs behind me.  One of those characters was Brent.  Time passed and the music for the evening ended.  Myself, a few friends, my booth mates and THAT guy hung out in the Pastures after everything had shut down.  We sat around and had some drinks while THAT guy played guitar, others sang and a few of us did some cartwheels in the middle of a huge open field in the dark.  It was a perfect night.  After a little while, we all said our goodbyes and everyone went on their own ways.  I crawled into my tiny tent and fell asleep thinking about how happy I was that I made the drive out.

We spent much of the next day hanging out at the now-closed-down Grape Ranch Winery.  I was happy to see THAT guy and his friend walk up a little while after we got there.  I remember I had ordered some potato salad from a vendor but didn't finish it all and was bummed that I had no way to store it and would be wasting good food.  Good ol' Brent offered me some of his cooler space for my salad.  So accommodating ;)  It was at this winery on that toasty afternoon that the first ever photo of us was taken.  He is furthest in the back with me, hard to miss in my strange ensemble, in the front.
After that wonderful weekend, we all went back to the real world and Brent and I found each other easily on Myspace.  Remember that cutting edge website?  I sent him a message to thank him for saving my potato salad (which I never remembered to get!) and from there, we never missed a day of communication through email, texting or calling.  That first month's phone bill I got was INSANE.  My plan was quickly changed after that :)  I was pretty smitten.
We would take turns traveling from OKC to Tulsa for the weekends but, I will admit, he came to Tulsa WAY more than I ever went to visit him.  Two months after meeting him, I took him to meet my parents.  My parents had never met anyone I had dated, and really had never even known when I was dating anybody!  I was very private about that with my family for some reason.  He met my parents on my 27th birthday.  That same day was the first time we uttered those priceless three words, too. 

After a short while, we decided that this traveling back and forth business was getting old and not seeing each other every day was getting even older.  We wanted to live in the same city.  One of us had to move.  I was in the middle of my Masters degree, he was in a band he loved and we both had good full time jobs.  It was no easy decision.  He decided to move here and we decided to buy a house together.  Yeah, we'd never even lived in the same city together, had only known each other five months and we decided to buy a house together.  We would look for houses on the weekends and I would look some on weeknights until one night I came across the house I write this from and I fell in love. 
We closed on the house January 24, 2007 but he didn't move here until February 24th.  On the weekends he'd come up and we'd work our tails off cleaning, updating and making this house livable.  I slept on an air mattress on the living room floor for that first month.  I remember driving down the road coming home that day he moved in and seeing that moving van in the driveway.  It was so scary and so, so exciting.  I remember hoping that we'd made a good decision.  We had.
Three months later, The Beast came into our lives.  Three months after that, he proposed.  Six months later, we married on March 29, 2008.  Four and a half years later, we welcomed Rio into our world.

Tomorrow we celebrate our five year wedding anniversary.  It's been a trip.  A wonderful, emotional, hilarious, scary, exciting, glorious trip.  I love my partner in crime.  Everything about him.  Even the gross and annoying stuff ;) 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm Ready, Spring

Ahh Spring.  I love and hate you.  I love the warmer weather, I love the rejuvenation that you bring.  I hate the allergies and I loathe the scary spring storms in our neck of the woods.  This year though, I'm going to try and focus on what I love about you because I need your rejuvenation.  I need more sunlight and warmth and flowers and life and garden time and walks and camping and so much more.
I haven't been as active here lately because I've just needed some space from this space, I guess.  Mid-February my sister visited, shortly after that Pimmy fell very ill and we lost her a week later.  I was busy with family, being a fuzzy nurse, mourning, not to mention all of my other five million other things and groups I'm obligated to do.  When my downtime came, when I usually blog, I cut and sewed (LOTS), watched Sons of Anarchy and just thought.  Or didn't think.  I needed it.

I feel like I'm emerging from this cloudy funk though with help of the new season.  I'm ready to spend more days outside with the kid.  I'm ready to tackle craft shows with gusto.  I'm ready to rock the rest of the semester.  I'm ready to run to the woods.  I'm ready to grow.  I'm ready, Spring.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Cleo Quilt

I finally finished my largest and most intense quilt to date!  Granted, I've only made three so far (The Rio and The Stella) but I feel like I got pretty ambitious with this one pretty quickly as it was much more of an undertaking than my previous works.  If you have been following me on Instagram (bifftastica) for the past few months you've already seen this finished product and some progress shots.  Not only was it labor intensive, but it was also quite a special quilt to me for many reasons.
I began this one right after the new year and was inspired by the floral fabric which belonged to my Great Granny, Cleo.  She passed away when I was about twenty years old at the ripe old age of 91.  I was very attached to my Great Granny as I spent much of my childhood at her highly organized, ridiculously clean, midcentury home.  The setting for my dreams is often that house.  When she passed away, I didn't inherit much from her except for a small dresser, her console record player, some wall art and this fabric which I have held onto for nearly 15 years.  I knew that I wanted to make something special with it.  I toyed with making some clothing but knew that the kid would grow out of whatever it was soon and if I made it for myself, I would either wear it out or never wear it so I decided to give a quilt a shot.  Luckily, there is much of this fabric leftover though so I CAN make us some clothes out of it now!  :)
I started by cutting out some triangles and laying them out this way and that.  I settled on this pattern, one I later learned is called a Friendship Star, and set out to find my other fabrics.  A friend of mine passed along this striped black fabric from her mother's collection when she passed away, the green fabric came from an estate sale and the bias tape I made out of a sheet I also grabbed at an estate sale.  Anyone who knows me well knows that these colors are MY colors.  This quilt couldn't represent me any better. 
It's SO not perfect.  My perfectionist Great Granny may not have been able to use it ;)  As  imperfect as it is, I absolutely love it.  I totally pieced the squares together incorrectly when I first started and had to completely take them all apart and start over, hence why they are irregular shaped.  Gives it character, right?  Right.  There's puckering on the back and the edges are wavy but that's ok.  It is about 5' x 5' so it's a good couch napper and it was also a feat to fit through my machine at times.  The mister was incredibly good with hanging out with the kid at times so I could work in thirty minute spurts every few days. 
One of the other reasons why this quilt is so special to me is because Pimmy was around for it and would curl up on it at times when she was sleeping in very strange and what seemed to be uncomfortable places.  I have some darling photos of her and Vera cozily sleeping on it together in the midst of its making.  There are even a few of her hairs still on it.  That may be weird to some but it's comforting to me.  She was heavily on my mind and nearby through its evolution.
Speaking of my Vera, I backed this quilt with a Vera sheet.  I had NO idea that she made sheets nor that this was one of them!  I picked up this pair at an estate sale a while back for a few dollars because I loved the scenery and coloring.  When I was trying to figure out what to back this quilt with, the mister and I both agreed that this was the winner.  It wasn't until I was pin-basting that I noticed the Vera signature and may have slightly freaked out. 
And speaking of signatures, I put my signature on this quilt!  In fact, it's the first thing that I've EVER put my label on!
It even made its way to the back of the couch.  In our house, that's the big time.
Quilting is proving to be easily addicting to me.  How appropriate to admit that during National Quilting Month.  Are there support groups?  I've already begun thinking about my next one.  Larger?  More details?  Free motion?  First up though, new pillow covers for the couch to match the quilt! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's Just Hair

I cut off over two feet of hair last Wednesday in memory of our Pimmy.

When I was 18 years old I chopped off all of my hair in memory of my sweet Pinkie.  I once read somewhere that it was a Cherokee tradition for some to cut off your hair when in mourning after losing a loved one.  It always stuck with me and I always saw it to be a beautiful tribute.  I may not look Cherokee at all but it's true, I am part.  

A small portion of my hair will be buried next to Pimmy while the rest will be donated to Locks of Love, my fourth time to donate.  I don't need all of this hair so why not pass it along to someone who does want and need it?  I will always encourage people to donate their hair.

Growing up I never did much with my locks.  Most of the time it was mega-long, super-white and I was always told how beautiful it was and that 'people pay money for hair like that.'  I was always discouraged from cutting it, dyeing it or doing anything drastic to it at all but I always longed for hair experimentation.  I can't count how many times growing up I'd say, 'but it's just hair' when I was wanting to change it.  Once on my own, I had super, SUPER short hair, permed hair, red hair (bad decision!), funky hair, a dreadlock here and there and more.  I finally got to experiment.

I feel more 'me' with long hair and I think I always will but there's certainly something refreshing about whacking it all off.  It seems that this is a cycle for me - grow it out for about three years, chop it all off, play with short hair for about a year and grow it back out again.  I've been told multiple times that one of these days that it won't grow back out again.  So what?  It's just hair. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fuzzy Friday: Farewell, Pimmy

Pimmy passed away this past Tuesday.  
It feels like it was two seconds ago while at the same time feeling like it was two years ago.  

The Tuesday before, she took a dramatic turn for the worst and we knew it wouldn't be long.  That week was rough, raw and draining.  There were moments we almost took her in to end her condition but she never really seemed to be in any pain.  We did visit the vet once during the week for some fluids and were sent home with words of encouragement and support.  Our vet is dear to us.  We knew Pimmy was basically in hospice care at that point so we did what we could to keep her comfortable and showered with love.  

I awoke Tuesday morning to see Vera cuddling with the ailing Pimmy in one of their cat beds.  Vera knew.  I left for work that day feeling confident that if she passed while we were gone, Vera, Mondo and Sammie would be close by comforting her.  We have some beautifully heartwarming and heartbreaking images of Vera and Pimmy cuddling together that day.  I'll always cherish them.

Brent arrived home shortly before I did that afternoon and called to inform me that she didn't look good.  Her passage was starting.  I was home a few minutes later and joined Brent and the other animals on our bedroom floor with Rio.  With her entire family surrounding her, Pimmy took her last breaths ten minutes after I got home.  I like to think she was waiting for us all.  It was peaceful and heartbreaking all at the same time.  I'm so thankful we were all with her.

We buried her in our backyard that evening.
When you open your heart to an animal, you are opening yourself up to guaranteed heartbreak.  If only they could be with us forever.  I've been through my share of pet passings throughout my life and they always reteach me two things:  The impermanence of life and the power of unconditional love.  I value my animal relationships just as much as I do my human relationships.  They don't care if I stink that day, if I yelled at them an hour before or if I'm laughably broke.  They love us the same however we are.  It's an inspiring thing.  They are inspiring things.

I feel honored to have shared ten years of my life with such a spunky, beautiful, entertaining and loving creature.  I'm beyond grateful that her and Rio once knew each other.  She was an animal who her left a mark on you, often both literally and figuratively.  I miss her more than I can express.  One day it won't be so painful but for now, I'll shed my tears, relive crazy Pimmy stories and squeeze our other animals extra tight.

I love you my little Timmy Too.  I'll never stop singing Christmas Carols filled only with your name.
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