Sunday, September 14, 2014


I've been having some difficulty with Blogger so I've decided to Move on over to Wordpress.  Come visit me at

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I've been told that people have signed up to follow me and they are not getting updates so I'm trying to fix it.  If you get this let me know.  


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Working from notes I left to myself

The hardest thing about writing a blog is thinking of things to write about. I spend my days hanging out with two toddlers and sometimes have little to no contact with other adults.  My brain is overflowing with things that I end up babbling out to my husband at the end of the day or to the grocery check out lady or the cutie barrista (are they still barristas if they are boys? Does wanting to call them barristos make me old fashioned?).  But people don't really want to read my brain fizz.  So coming up with things to write about that other people will be interested in reading is really the thing. 'Cause lets face it if I didn't want other people to read what I am blogging about I would just write it in the princess diary I keep under the mattress. When a thought strikes me that I think I might have more to say about or might be fun to play around with or just seems important to remember I write it down on something handy...usually paper but denim scraps work too.

So I haven't written in a long time.   Mostly I keep thinking no one is going to be interested in the things I think up to write about.  Yes, self sabotage she is a sneaky beast.

Sometimes the act of typing something out brings on more thoughts...sometimes just delirious weirdness followed by head banging and chocolate binging.
So I thought I would gather up all the random notes I've left myself type some of them out and see what happens.

This is the first one I came across.
(Actual wording of my notes in red... it was really hard not to edit)

The goofy mistakes are the things that say I made this not anyone else
Have you ever noticed how things that are hand made have a quality that is different than things that are machine made or mass produced? Even when the hand made thing is done so well that the hand of the maker is invisible.  There is something subtly different and fundamentally comforting to me about things that are made by hand (This does not in anyway interfere with my love affair with plastic storage boxes).  With most things that are made by hand (yes especially the things I make) the hand of the artist is not invisible and I think that makes them all the more lovable.  It makes them seem more real to me. Slightly uneven stitching or brush strokes in paint say a real person was here and put something of themselves in what you are wearing or looking at.  I have nothing against factory made things or the people who put their sweat into factory made things.  Their job is important and without them many people would not have the things that they need.  But they are part of a human machine that has nothing of the individual in it.  I wear lots of factory made clothes and have lots of factory made things in my house but the things that I truly love and feel like express who I am have some sign of the hand that made them.  Yes I love the functional sameness and easy organization of  clear plastic boxes but those are not the things I am looking for in a hat or a bag or a painting.  I think that the things that I wear and display in my home are kind of a visual description of those things about me that I love the most.  The plastic boxes I keep in the closet.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Opinions are like....

 One of the most interesting things I have ever been called was caustic.  Caustic is one of those great words that invite interpretation.  It means both abrasive and cleansing.  I like it.  I'll take that.

I have opinions and attitudes and snarky comments for just about every situation.  I crack my self up.  But not everyone thinks I'm funny.  Most of us learn to tone down the wise acre shtick as we wander into our 40's and  I have learned to button my lip in most situations.

One of the things that really gets me spouting off and heavy on the sarcasm is parenting BS.  I'm pretty sure that I'm on the right track and anyone who is doing anything I wouldn't do is on the wrong one.  And I babble on the topic with mad abandon.  Especially when it's gonna get a good laugh.  But I do try to keep my opinions to myself when they are not wanted or helpful.

I would like to say something to the whole smug my way is the best way world.  To every "my kid eats kale" mom and "I taught him to read when he was 2" dad.  And maybe more importantly something to say to the family who hasn't slept a full night in two years and the mom who gets called to school three times a week.


When your kid pops out he is who he is and you got nothing to say about it.  It is your job as a parent to teach him how to do things like use a fork and a toilet, how to get along in society.  But whether you got one who sweetly sits at the dinner table and eats all in front of him without being told or you got one who throws food at the wall until you've exhausted your capacity for sending him to the time out chair (or whatever your equivalent is) is not due to anything you did or did not do.  The best thing you can do as a parent is work with what you've got and and attempt to not lose your mind.

When there's housework to do

"...Your mommy hates housework, your daddy hates housework, I hate housework too.  And when you grow up so will you."   Seriously? What are kids for? 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Why my son does dishes or How to do the dishes (with a dishwasher)

I originally started writing this, not as a blog post but as an actual list of instructions to hand to my 11 year old who can't seem to remember how to do the dishes properly. Despite the fact that I require him to do it 3 nights a week.  Despite the fact that he is constantly getting told how to do it.  Despite the fact that doing the dishes is not that flippin complicated!  Well once I started writing (babbling on and on) about each step I started thinking ok, well, maybe doing dishes is a little bit complicated and I should give the kid a break.  Not that I'm going to stop making him do it...not that I'm going to stop yelling at him and making him do it over when it isn't right but maybe I should stop (in my own head) being annoyed when half the dishes get put away still encrusted with last nights noodle glop.  I even (just for a second) entertained the thought that maybe I was expecting too much of the kid.  He is only 11.  Perhaps taking out the trash once a week, cleaning his room, and doing the dishes three nights a week is a lot to ask of an 11 year old. And on top of it I expect him to do these things to my specifications. Then I read this fabulous thing from Renegade Mama and I snapped back to reality.

A while back I read a completely moronic blog post from a woman who decided that she will never ask her child to do chores because the child can't do them right or fast enough or some such idiocy.  It scares me that, for a minute, I was falling into the he might not be ready/ it's easier to do it myself trap.  NO NO NO NO NO!  It is our job as parents to teach our kids.... EVERYTHING! Not just how to walk and talk and use the toilet.  We have to teach them how to do a job and do it right and to take pride in doing it right.  Some crap doesn't matter.  I don't put the dishes away immediately after they have been washed, I let them drip dry and put them away later.  Some people want the kitchen spotless before they go to bed.  We all have to decide what our personal acceptable levels of filth are.  Much like finding your level of bullshit with or without a partner.  But whatever you decide is your acceptable level of filth you have an obligation to teach your children how to do it.  Whatever it is, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping the floor, growing vegetables, grocery shopping....etc, you have to teach your children how to be grown ups.  That's your job!  So that one day we don't end up old and helpless in a world run by people who don't know how to take care of themselves and are pretty sure someone else should be doing it for them anyway! So here you have it.

How to do the dishes (with a dishwasher):

1.  Don't do anything until you have music going.  Pick the tunes and the medium so that you won't feel the need to mess with it for at least an hour (it probably won't take you that long to do the dishes but you might as well be prepared) If you are a person who can't stand to sit through a commercial on the radio that is not the medium for you.  Remember once you've set it up, no messing with the tunes until you are done.  Get a positive atmosphere going but don't let yourself get distracted.  Dishes suck but if you focus and stay on task you will get it done quickly.

2.  Put away any and all clean dishes that happen to have gotten left in the drying rack or dishwasher.  Some people prefer to dry and put away at the end of the process, personally I'm a let it air dry sort of gal. But if you feel the need to do it right away fine, just move this step to the end of the process.
     2a. When you are putting away clean dishes make sure they are CLEAN nobody likes taking out a plate for their lovingly created, gourmet PB&J only to come face to face with a rock hard chunk of yesterdays oatmeal.  Dirty dishes go back in the sink for a redo, no worries just scrape off the chunk, soak it in some water and back in the dishwasher it goes. (If you can scrape the chunk so that the dish looks clean put it away....who's gonna know?)
     2b.Stack things neatly in the cupboards so that they use the least amount of space.  Small things fit inside big things.  Precariously stacked piles of pans are an angry mom waiting to happen.
     2c. If you don't know where it goes ASK.
     2d. LEARN where everything goes.

3. Clear the table.  Take everything into the kitchen and wipe the table off.  Isn't it nice to know one thing is done already.

4. Put away left over food  Whatever is left in serving bowls or pans that is more than a 1/4 cup of food can be someones lunch or midnight snack.  If it made it's way onto a plate but didn't get eaten it's either dog food or compost, deal with it appropriately.

5. Stack.  Your stacking strategy can have an effect on how long the rest of the process takes.  I like to separate things by size on side of the sink so that I can put the smallest things into the dishwasher first and there is room in the sink to rinse everything.  If there are things already in the sink take them out.

6. RINSE  Everything! This might feel like you are washing the dishes before the dishwasher washes the dishes.  Tough.  The dishwasher is a time saving, water saving tool that helps you do the dishes it's not a magical solid chunk of food dissolver.  If you don't rinse first you will end up scraping and soaking the dishes before washing them a second time.  Save yourself the extra work. Use a wash rag to remove the really stuck stuff.  As soon as it's rinsed put it in the dishwasher right away.

7. Load  Loading the dishwasher is a skill you will be honing for years to come. The best way to learn is to play two or three rounds of tetris to get the idea and then do the dishes at least once a day for the rest of your life.  I suggest starting with the smallest things and then washing the big things by hand when you run out of room.  I'm sure everyone has their own style of loading. Whatever your style is, the most important thing is to be sure that the dirtiest part of the implement you are loading faces the spray of water.  Did you hear that? BUSINESS SIDE DOWN!  If the spray of water does not reach the dirty part, the time you spent rinsing will be wasted.

8.  Put detergent in the appropriate places I'll admit to not being totally sure why dishwashers come with two places for detergent but just for good measure I put some in both.  I am a total cheap ass so I make my own dishwasher detergent but I put a bit in each place.  Every fourth or fifth load I put some vinegar in the rinse aid spot.

9. Run the machine  This might seem like an obvious step....but I have gone to empty the dishwasher the morning after it was run only to be faced with a smelly mess.  If you don't turn it on, they don't get clean.

10. Wipe all the surfaces Counters, the stove top, the sink, anything and everything that has something that once might have been food or the makings on it.  This includes the floor, which might require a broom....use your discretion but make it look clean

Yay! you are done.  Great job!  Aren't you proud of how great you made the kitchen look?

P.S.  Take all music playing devices and wet clothing that you removed in the process with you when you leave

Saturday, April 19, 2014

updates and such

If this is not your first time visiting my rodeo you may have noticed that I spend my time in equal parts half assed copying things I find on the internet and trying to reinvent the wheel.  I never feel the need to precisely follow directions and most of the time I'm pretty sure (though most often wrong) that I already know how to do things just by being near them.  Sometimes the things I make come out really cool in a weird new way.  Sometimes they are a total failure.  Most of the time the things I make are good enough...good enough for family gifts or, in the case of food, good enough to put on the table but I won't be getting a tip.

Sometimes I day dream that I will become good enough at making some thing or things that someone might want to pay for them.  But very often the day dreams end with me reminding myself that five years in school and 10 years as a professional photographer took all the fun out of taking pictures.

So the hell with that.

The last week and a half I have been having a little vacation from one of the little ones.  He and his mom went off to Asia.  I miss him terribly but there has been time for me to catch up on some things I've been thinking about doing.

Remember the post There will be cock ups? I pulled that baby out of the closet of crafty delight and unsewed the mess I made while trying to make the machine do the work.  The thing is just too lumpy bumpy.

So I lined it up the way I thought it should go with the lining starting about two inches below the top edge and I spent an entire evening sewing that sucker in by hand.  Which was surprisingly relaxing.  I think I get how women in the past could sit and sew by hand without going insane it gets mesmirizing after a while. Plus I found that doing it by hand I was able to bully the parts into doing what I wanted them to do much more easily.  

Not the prettiest whipstitch (searched for whipstitch video found these gals instead) ever but unless you are looking this close you really can't see it.  
Then I made a pretty pin.  I decided to use a pin instead of a button so it can be taken off and used for decoration other places.  Fun huh?

I found two hat patterns that worked pretty good. This one which I think needs some adjusting.  I made two and sent one to my friend Sheri cause who doesn't love to get a random hat in the mail?

And This one which I copied out of a how to make hats book I got from the library

An old angry birds tshirt got sacrificed.  It's reversible with stripes on the inside.  I drew the shape for the pieces on to newspaper and used that for the pattern.  It's a bit too pointy and it was supposed to fit the big boy but I forgot to calculate in the seam allowance so the little boy gets it.  

I also revisited the Kale chips.  This time I just sprinkled a little salt on them from the salt shaker right before I put them in the oven.  I had to dare my son and his friends to try them but once they did they all said they were good.  Truth be told my kid ate a few, another kid only ate the one I dared him to eat but the third kid chowed the rest of the plate.  I wonder if his mom knows.  

I've been trying out some frugal and/or green cleaning (not necesarily both).  I did take pictures and thought about writing about it but I just couldn't make it interesting even to myself.  If you are interested in how I cleaned my drip pans here are some things I tried.  And just so you know...not one of these methods worked without scrubbing and not one of them got rid of all the gunk even after all the scrubbing.

My little vacation is almost over. My plan for the weekend is to try making my own laundry detergent.  
This is what I hope to try wish me luck!