Thursday, October 31, 2013

Our Haunted House

Happy Halloween!

I LOVE Halloween! Could be my favorite holiday. Really, I just love the creativity of it all and seeing what people can dream up! I'm putting the finishing touches on Rio's costume right now (just lacking electrical tape...) and have two in the works for a party on Saturday night. Those costumes have some epic potential. Tonight we plan on hitting a few houses for trick or treating, one in particular that Brent has been doing work on. They have a 22' high tornado out front and the whole place is supposedly going to be decked out in Wizard of Oz type decor. Sounds pretty awesome. I'll share all sorts of costume stuff in the next week or so! For now, here are a few of our outdoor decorations...all Brent. You should see it at night. He's a bit of a Griswold, if you catch my drift ;)

Until later, you little goblins, you!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One of Those Outfits: Something (Big) for Myself

Yesterday at school, the teachers were talking about putting together a group costume for the campus costume contest on Thursday. It was decided that each would go as a color and I threw in that there should be a box that is held in front so we could be a box of crayons. Now, I won't be a part of the costume because I don't teach on Thursdays but I am all about figuring out costume ideas, mine or someone else's. During this conversation, before it was realized that I wouldn't be a part of the festivities, it was said more than once that I should be the purple crayon as I was wearing what you see here. What strikes me is that I own VERY little purple but my last outfit here was very purple as is this one so apparently, my destiny is to be a purple crayon. 

How's that for an introduction to an outfit?
This past weekend I decided to make something for myself. I say it over and over again but I'm a busy gal. When I'm making stuff, it's usually for shows, the kid, the shop or gifts. Every once in a while, I'll squeeze in something for myself and it just feels good. So Saturday it was all about me. 
I picked up this pattern at Owl & Drum last month or so with the intention of making it for me! I rarely buy new fabric but when I do, O&D is where I go. It's a fun place to spend some time when I have it :) As far as the pattern goes, it was simple, like it says on the packaging, but it left out some directions that I would have appreciated having on hand. For starters, it didn't give measurements on its sizes so I didn't know if a medium would fit well or be too small. I figured it would be smartest to make it bigger and if I needed to, I could size it down after the fact. Well, I made it as a large and, as you can see, it's biiiiiiig. I will be sizing it down one of these days but it works for now. I made it longer than it called for because I wanted to be able to wear it as a dress and since I only had so much of the striped fabric, I added the solid at the bottom which also made it a little longer. 
My second issue was that there is no mention to NOT cut out the shape of the neckpiece on the back of the tunic. I know, common sense should have kicked in but I was in go-mode and just followed the pattern resulting in me having to somehow reattach the previously cut out neckpiece on the back. I think I fixed it well enough to where it looks like it was on purpose but man, was that not fun to have to deal with! 
The way the collar was made was really ingenious for me. It was confusing as sin at first but once I figured it out, angels sang and my wheels started turning. I have a few necks on shirts that I made years ago that I think I will go back and fix with this of these days.
I DO think I will make myself another one but will do it in a small or medium with the length of an x-large. Even though it does have its issues, I am quite pleased with it and do see it getting lots of wear once I size it down a bit.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Channel Your Inner Monster (Pants)

I *finally* took some time to list the greatest pants in the world in my shop!  One pair is already gone (!!) which leaves six for you to choose from!  I will only have the shop open for a few weeks before I shut down for holiday shows so get it while the gettin' is good :)  Oh, and because I love you, how about a coupon code?!  When you check out, just type in yourespecial and you'll get free shipping on your order!  
Until later!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Twelve Months of Rio, in Polaroids

When Brent and I got married, we had a Polaroid guestbook.  The guests would snap their own photos, put them in a special book and write whatever they wanted by their photo.  It's quite fun to go back through those captures.  We ended up with two or three boxes of Polaroid film leftover so I just stuck it back.  Every once in a while, we'd snap a random photo but, since that film is like gold, we used it very sparingly.  Fast forward five years to the end of my pregnancy and we pulled the camera back out, committing to take a photo of Rio with the leftover wedding film every month to stick in her baby book.  There are a few months where the photo is one day early or one day late but most are on her month-birthday.  There are a few extra special photos of her thrown in too.  Each photo was affixed to its own page in her baby book and around the photo, we wrote little notes about her development, cute things she was doing and so on.  I love that we did this and love that it was a continuation of our union, five years ago.  We still have a bit left so I'm thinking that now, we'll take a photo yearly on her birthday to continue the tradition.
It's amazing how much change takes place in a year.  In her and in us.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Antique Lighter Collection

Off and on I've been working on a big post about why I have a lighter collection and it's just taking me forever.  It's such a big part of my youth that it's hard to really get it all out there so I've decided that perhaps I'll just share my collection first and THEN one day I'll share my background with lighters! :)  

In a nutshell though, my dad is an internationally known antique lighter collector (a non-smoking one, at that) and I grew up hunting for lighters and attending lighter conventions with him.  Naturally while sharing that pastime with him, I built my own small collection over the years. 

Being a youngin' at conventions, I was often just gifted lighters.  Some junky and some, beautiful pieces.  Over the years, I always took a shine to a particular design of Ronson lighters.  Many of these pieces are complete with the box, literature and all of the random goodies that came with the old-school lighters back in the day.  They're not necessarily the most rare of the Ronsons but I always thought they were gorgeous and, in the lighter world, very practical and functional. 

One piece of my collection though IS quite notable - this atomizer aka perfume mister.  Yes, it's not a lighter but it does boast that beautiful design I so love.  This also still has its original box and it has the sweetest scent of a perfume from the past.  It's safe to say this is my favorite piece of my collection.

In addition to the purple flower goods (which I'm sure have some snazzy name that I'm not aware of), I picked up some other Ronson pieces.  The Ronson line was quite prolific back in their heyday. 

In regards to my 'other' Ronsons, the most notable would be the gold piece centered below.  Lighter collecting was my first gateway to meeting people from all over the world.  I couldn't even begin to explain some of the characters I met through this hobby.  Once we had a Scot come and stay with our family for a bit.  All I really remember about him was how thick his accent was, how my mom made pies for their arrival and how he brought tons of gifts for us, mainly pertaining to Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest.  One gift he brought for me though was that lighter below; a mint condition, Mother of Pearl, gold Ronson in the box.  I still can't believe he gifted that to me.  It's hard to choose a favorite between that and my atomizer. 

As evidenced by the atomizer above, Ronson did more than just make lighters.  When the company was just starting out, it was known as AMW or Art Metal Works at the turn of the century when they produced all sorts of goods.  I'm lucky enough to have two sets of AMW Buddha bookends in my collection as well.  They are slightly fantastic.

Most of my displayed collection consists of what you've seen above but I do have a few extra special pieces thrown in as well.  I also have a small shoebox filled with those 'junkier' lighters I was given as a kid and my more beat up Ronsons.  They serve no other purpose nowadays except to take me down memory lane every few years when I decide to go through them. 

So there you have it, my lighter collection.  I've been wanting to document this collection for yearrrrrrrs so I'm glad I finally got around to it.  I've really been enjoying sharing some of my random collections here.  There are more to come, one day.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Robbie Quilt

My latest mini quilt was made for a little man inside of the dear Heather of Audrey Eclectic.  Heather is a very talented folk artist who I've had the pleasure of getting to know over the years in our local crafting community.  Also, she is married to an old friend of mine from college which is doubly awesome! :)  Some of our crafty friends got together yesterday to celebrate Heather and her little fam with a handmade baby shower and of course, I had to make her a little quilt! 

I actually started this one out in a completely different direction.  I had a nautical theme in my head and had found the most adorable whale fabric at Owl & Drum that I had planned to use.  I had pulled out a pile of fabrics to use with it but it just wasn't jiving for I completely changed my game plan and now I have some whale fabric to do something with someday! :) 

I pulled out this patterned fabric that I've had for a few years now and knew that it was the one.  It has the strangest collection of old world crafts depicted and nautical-ish stuff while focusing on the New England/Boston area.  If you know Heather, you'll know that this is SO her.  It was meant to be!  The companion fabrics were randoms that I dug out.  The tie-dyed blue and gold star fabric I have had foreverrrrrr and I absolutely love them both.  I have such small amounts of both that I am very selective of where I use them.  Again, meant to be!  When I had finished, Brent said it was very British looking.  Mission accomplished.

For once I didn't stitch in the ditch at all!  I got really fancy and stitched on either SIDE of the ditch.  Groundbreaking, I tell ya ;)  I love the way it ended up looking and am especially proud of the stitch work on this one.  Now, don't look too closely at my binding on this one though...not my best work but it got the job done!

The light blue fabric looks very similar to that on my last quilt but they are, in fact, different fabrics.  I really like the look of having something happening on the backside of quilts so I used some of the scraps from the front to make a haphazard strip.  I quite enjoy how the quilting looks on the back of this one as well. 

When I bound my quilt, I used some vintage bias tape that I had on hand.  I stitched one side of it on and when I went to complete it, well, that's when I realized it was a skinnier tape than what I usually use.  Lesson learned to check that BEFORE I stitch half of it on!  It's not my best binding but it's also not my worst :)  Gives it character, right?

I can't WAIT to meet little Robbie!  I have no doubt that he's going to be an amazing little man with a family like his!  See you soon, little man!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bows in Waiting

One of my oldest friends is due to have her little girl any day now and I couldn't be more excited!  I remember those last few days of being pregnant last year - excited, scared, ready to have my body back to myself, jumping out of my skin to see our baby, just READY for it all.  Our group of gals has had nothing but girls around these parts.  It's awesomely strange, really. 

I was going back through drafted posts that I never shared and came across this one which I thought was more than fitting as we all wait for Mabel to make her appearance.  A few months ago we celebrated Sarah and Mabel with an intimate shower that was a spectacularly wonderful afternoon spent with some of our closest gals (and our many daughters). 

The host of our shower had the cutest idea of having a bow-making station.  Since I'm a hoarder of more crafty things than I'll ever need, I loaded up a basket full of ribbons, glue, odds and ends for the guests to get creative.  While I don't really put bows on Rio, I sure did love this idea and had a blast executing it! 

So here's to Sarah and little Mabel!  The clan of little girls is ready for its newest member!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

One of Those Outfits: A Purple Dancer

I know there are lots of people who don't care to go to weddings.  I am not one of those people.  I love them.  I love watching the union of two who love each other, I love the pomp and circumstance, I love the free food and drink ;), I love the dancing, I love seeing so many great people and I really like getting gussied up for them!  
This outfit is really nothing to write home about...yet I'm blogging about it ;)  I miss doing outfit posts with the regularity that I once did so when I have the opportunity to get somewhat dolled up and have a moment to get snapped, I'm going to take advantage! :)
Within the past year, one of my OTHER favorite things about weddings is that we get all night babysitters, courtesy of my parents!  This was the fourth overnight-er for her/us and it was probably the best since she sleeps all night now and since we're only nursing twice a day now.  So much easier for all involved. It's a great gift to have an evening without a kid ever so often. 
So last night, we witnessed two of our very tall friends (affectionately known as 'The Giants') seal the deal and make this thing official.  It was a fantastic ceremony that was totally them.  The reception was equally enjoyable.  I, literally, kicked off my heals and danced until every muscle in my body was sure to feel the pain today.  Worth it.  Little known fact (or not), back in college I clubbed.  A LOT.  At least once a week, we'd hit different clubs in Oklahoma City and danced until the early morning hours.  Probably the best shape I've ever been in!  At that same time, before I knew the mister, Brent was also hitting those same clubs and raves.  We probably shimmied right past each other more times than we know.  I danced like I used to dance last night and it was good for my soul.
Another awesome tidbit about this particular wedding is that it was held on the top floor of a very, tall building downtown.  Quite fitting for the giants, now that I think of it ;)  We were catapulted up to the 41st floor where we could see all of Tulsa and a gorgeous sunset from up high.  Perfect.
On to the clothes.  I had another number picked out to wear but it was a bit more summery than what I felt in the air and was VERY vibrant for an evening wedding so I pulled out this frock that I picked up at an estate sale a while back (surprise, surprise) for a whopping dollar.  I had forgotten that it was a long dress but that made me love it even more.  It is somewhat sheer so I wore a little black slip dress underneath to fix that issue.  It was tons of fun to dance in and felt classically beautifully to me.  I felt purty :)
Dress - Estate Sale / Shoes - Borrowed from my Moma / Amethyst Necklace and Earrings - hand me down from my Moma

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Sitting Room Facelift

When we set a date for Rio's birthday party, I started looking around the house at projects I wanted to tackle.  One of my favorite things about hosting a party is that it kicks my butt into gear to work on the house!  Win, win!  One of the biggest items on the list was our sitting room.

This room tends to be our catch-all.  Laundry is done here, baby is unloaded from her carseat here, random things on their way to the garage hang out here for a bit; it's a room that we've somewhat ignored for the past six years.  It has never functioned as a formal dining room for us, despite what it was originally designed for.  You can see bits of it before here, here and here.

We decided that we wanted to paint above the chair rail, install base shoe and hang (find) curtains.  We arranged a day with my mom that we could drop Rio off with her for the day so we could tackle it all in one day.  When we moved in, we painted the room a deep, deep orange.  I love the color and, since I'm a monochromatic decorator, matched the decor to that color.  Brent was all about changing the color completely but I didn't want to worry about completely redecorating the room so we compromised to leave the orange on the bottom and painted the top of the chair rail the same color as the living room.  It TOTALLY makes both spaces seem bigger and more connected, plus I still have bits of the orange that I loved! 
Our house came filled with carpet so when we moved in, we ripped it all up to find the hardwoods we have now.  We never installed base shoe and are now doing it room by room.  Rio's room is the only other room we've done so far.  Hallway is up next!  It's amazing what a difference that makes.  While I taped off the room and started priming, Brent quickly installed the base shoe!  Done and done!
All of the original furniture went back in the room - my great granny's record player, my Mimi's sitting chairs and our pre-fab record storage shelf.  The guitars went back in and within weeks, a whole mess of plants will find their home in here, too.  We really worked to simplify things and clean it up...I couldn't be happier with it.  The elephant table from Rio's room ended up housing my antique lava lamp I've had since I was a kid ended up in here as well as my globe and couch springs from childhood (that's another story). 

Also in my fury of preparing for the party, I rearranged SO much of what was on our walls in the house.  It's amazing how much THAT can change things.  That being said, the large swan picture was moved out as well as a vintage beer sign and a 'restrooms out back' sign.  Classin' it up around here ;)
My printer press drawer filled with random odds and ends, my turtle and horse collections (one day I'll talk about those in more detail), my vintage, heavier-than-sin, handmedown mirror, our "Good People Drink Good Beer" poster and our engagement photo stayed in the room.  The large walking stick took the swan's place but I still go back and forth about having that there.  For now though, it works :) 
We never had curtains in here before but once we painted things, I felt like we needed some curtains to connect the two colors.  I looked for curtains alllll over the place and ended up getting a pair for $22 at Lowes.  Does the job perfectly and keeps the room cooler during the day!  
The room still serves as our laundry room, music room and car seat loading zone but now it feels so much more put together and cohesive.  Thrilled we decided to give it a much-needed facelift.  Looking forward to decorating it for the holidays!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This and Thats

Just wanted to drop you lovelies a note to say hello!  I'm up to my ears in to-do lists so lately every little bit of free time has been spent trying to stay on top of everything.  It's a good thing though.  I thrive in the busy nature of this life.  

I've been working on several BIG posts off and on when I do get screen time.  It seems that those type of posts where I pull thoughts from deep down take me so much longer to complete...and I'm normally a one-draft type gal.  Soon though I'll have more up here again :)  

To fill the void, I have a few things to keep you busy.  My sister released an EP yesterday!  You can listen to it here.  Fair warning, it's awesome and you will quickly fall in love with it.  While you're listening to Human Becoming, I invite you to check out the artists for this year's Alliday Show!  It's seriously going to be the best year yet.  

Until later...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rio's First Birthday Party!

This past weekend, we celebrated one year of Rio!  About a month or so ago, I picked a date, sent out an informal 'save the date' for friends and family and did some mental planning.  I didn't want to do anything over the top but I did want to create a fun, positive party atmosphere for our guests and little lady (I can call her that now since she's ONE!).  

A few years ago, we hosted a Garden Party (1, 2, 3) in the backyard to celebrate finally pulling the trigger and getting a privacy fence.  We had such a good time and in my head, I kind of looked at Rio's party as another sort of Garden Party except with an actual purpose :)  We LOVE our house but as a typical mid-town Tulsa home, it's not the biggest nor can it house a ton of people so the backyard is our best place to have a shindig!  

About a month before the party, I made a list of allllll of the projects around the house that I wanted to complete from repainting a room to installing base shoe to reorganizing allll of our wall art; we had our work cut out for us.  Luckily for me, I've got a pretty stellar mister who is a hard worker and puts up with my crazy demands ;)  We crossed almost everything off of that list!

We didn't buy any decorations except for three balloons my brother-in-law got to put out front (I'm honestly a little scared of balloons so I had nothing to do with them!  Ha!) so the night before the party, I decided that we needed, yes needed, a banner flag.  So what did I do?  Make one, of course!  Super, mega easy and fast.  I'm actually toying with making some of these to sell to help clear out my fabric stash!  The little pennant flags were the cutest baby shower gift from my friend Renee.  It was a make-your-own pennant kit!  I screwed up my spacing on 'birthday' but other than that, I thought it was adorable.   I pulled out a few cocktail glasses we had and threw in some popcorn and called it a day! ;)

We totally threw the backyard together last minute but I'm so, so pleased with how it all turned out!  We are crazy lucky to have two hammocks (one, a hand-me-down) so those were naturally a hit.  We also recently installed a baby swing in a tree which was super popular with the kiddos.  I popped up my show tables covered with hoarded tablecloths and set up random chairs (we added more after this photo that my folks let us borrow).  In the back, you'll see the yellow striped wall.  Well, that's just a sheet nailed up with two pieces of art my brother-in-law had made for us before Rio was born.  Spelled out with guitar picks is 'Rio' 'Rae', each in its own frame.  We haven't found the right place for them in the house yet but I knew I wanted to use them somewhere for the party and this was perfect.  We used that area to do cake eating and picture taking :) 

Sometime in the past year or so, I saw something somewhere that talked about a grilled cheese bar.  I filed that away in the depths of my brain and that idea made its way back out when I was thinking about this party!  I googled SO MANY grilled cheese recipes; I had NO IDEA there were so many possibilities!  I basically took note of ingredients that I saw over and over again.  I didn't want to buy too much but I wanted a little variety.  The night before, I wrote up lists and hung them on a cabinet door of cheeses, breads, sauces and toppings so people could see what was there.  That also helped me organize my thoughts about the sandwich building process as I got a little overwhelmed with it the night before!  The process was simple though - build your sandwich to your liking, take it to the grill, have it grilled and eat it!  I also had some homemade tomato soup that I made from tomatoes from my Papa's was delicious!  For those that didn't want soup but did want that tomato taste with their sandwich, we also had a Bloody Mary bar :)

The toppings and such that we went with were Gruyere cheese, Fontina cheese, Cheddar, Swiss, American, Mozzarella, bacon, basil, tomatoes, pears, apples, avocados, limes, jalapenos and alllll sorts of sauces.  I think every sandwich was delicious!  I would definitely recommend this as a party idea!  Big time thanks to my mom who sliced and diced and got this set up an hour before the party.  Lifesaver.  I wish I had taken more food prep photos but alas, this is all you get.

This kid cleaned up when it came to presents.  We have such generous friends and family.  It's time to get rid of our more 'baby' toys to make room for these toddler toys! ;) My sister wasn't able to be here for the party so we FaceTimed her throughout the party so she wouldn't miss out.  Technology, you are awesome!

We made sure to get one family picture before we pulled out the cake and got messy.  I did make her little dress, and actually finished it the day before.  I worked on another one for a week before her birthday but ended up not liking it so I scrapped it and made this one based on another little dress she had.  It's a hair big around the neck (always my problem area!) but that just means she'll be able to wear it for a long time :)

We went with a simple carrot cake as we hadn't ever given her sugar so I wanted something at least a *little* healthy.  My mom took the reigns on that and got a cute one for her that Brent got his hands on too :)  Rio wasn't quite sure what to think at first but ended up getting a few good handfuls in before tiring of it.  A quick bath happened after this :)

It was a perfect afternoon made even more perfect by our family and friends.  It's hard to believe that Rio is one.  REALLY hard to believe but every day she gets more and more awesome making our journey with her magical.  Happy Birthday, Rio!
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