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Etsy Shop update

Woohoo!  It’s Spring and that can only mean one thing…
Ok no it means alot of things BUT when talking about Etsy it means…yard sales and picking junk!
My favorite.
All Winter I crocheted and crocheted and made mason jar cozies out the woo-who and Daryl says “Whatcha gone do with all those cozies?”
And I am like “I promise I will find them homes…other than here…promise!”
But here is what happened Facebook wise over Winter.
They changed up their Fan page viewing.  Now for folks who have “liked” your page and actually want to see what you are posting the fan page owner must pay.  Money!  Or only 1% of your followers will even see what you are posting.
This will be expensive if I keep the Etsy shops and their fan pages separate.  I am a cheap girl.
If you aren’t on the Facebook page then you probably have missed my “I just got $200 in free groceries with coupons…” type of posts from time to time.
I like a deal.  I hate throwing money out a window.

So I have merged all Etsy stuff into one store. (click here)
The day I turned it back on from my Winter break I realized that while my family and I have been laughing at me love of making dishcloths and Cozies…
I am not alone in loving them!

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Within a few days I had orders for dozens more…which just made my day!  Hello!
Made this girl very happy!
Did you know cozies on mason jars are fantastic for weddings/workshops?
Flowers, drinks, candles and candy all go in them just perfectly and make the perfect detail!
No worries though I am still collecting junk and selling my vintage finds as well and any other little crafty item I dream up and make…just cause.
That’s what I love about Etsy.
It’s this place I can share what I make with the world and in turn I do spend a good junk of time seeing all the beautiful arts and crafts others are making as well…such an inspiring community of artists!  <3
So anyhow….back to some dishcloth making!:-)
Be ready!  Every Monday in May I will be doing a free giveaway here and on Facebook!
You just know you need a cozy!

Sharing a patch of dirt…not fun sometimes. {Gardening Chronicles 2014

We have lived here 10 years now…
Some good years…some not so good and a whole bunch in between.
Here is what I know for sure.
Sharing dirt with neighbor Mr. Chemical is quite frustrating sometimes.  See I love him .  He is this “long in the tooth” fellow who also has a love of working in his yard.  You know I love this!  However…Mr. Chemical apparently owns stock in Monsanto’s Roundup.
This fella doesn’t just get out the little magic spray bottle of it….oh no….he gets out his watering can (oh yes a big old watering can) and POURS it along the fence line.
Right. beside. my. organic. garden.  Could care less about what I am trying to grow for our family to EAT.
We have had “the conversation” a million times but lets face it….the old cats just don’t get “organic”.
“You mean you don’t pour Seven dust on everything?  That there is CRAZY!”
Yep…I am the nutter.
This is the thing many don’t think about when they use weed killer freely.  You are making your weeds worse.  Yep…you are.
Don’t believe me?
From my many years of observing this is what I know for sure…he pours it on…it kills the weeds…for a month.  He leaves them instead of pulling them and they just reseed and grow again.  Weeds ALWAYS win against weed killer.  They really do.
In the Fall you will find me in my yard hand pulling the ground ivy and other weeds.  HAND PULLING.  It won’t kill you… I promise.
Can we talk about how absolutely awful weed killer looks?

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Heart breaking actually…see that corner…that WAS my medicinal Yarrow, Wild Dagga, a Crepe Myrtle, Mugwort, honeysuckle and Bee balm.
I shall use NOTHING from this spot…for the obvious reasons.
So pretty isn’t it?  Looking good!  NOT :-/
How does anyone think this makes their lawn better?

I have offered to hand weed this side for years and he simply will not allow it.
So what does a gal do to keep the peace with an elderly neighbor she actually does like?  This is the only side of my yard I can garden on that gets full sun.
I have planted a complete row of nothing but tall plants and even trees that will hopefully “catch” some of his poison before it goes to my veggies.  I try to plant nothing I will eat close to this fence line.  Only flowers (which I have guilt over for fear bees will die from the flowers).  These plants are my “canary in the cage” for knowing when he has been pouring chemicals.  Not that there is a thing in the world I can do about it:-(

UGH!
I think the old saying “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…” is totally not true in this case.  I seriously wouldn’t touch a foot on those chemicals.

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Back to the whole “chemicals aren’t growing a healthier lawn…”
In our neighborhood we HAVE no choice but to have a nicely kept front yard.  We use an organic lawn service.  Granted the pretreatment each year is a chemical based weed killer and I HATE that.  But it is once a year and now that we have been using only organic fertilizers for a few years…
Well you can see the big difference between the two methods.  The picture speaks volumes.

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He has three times the amount of weeds we do and I am NOT exaggerating when I say he is pouring chemicals on it all the time:-(
I am sharing this with you in hopes that maybe…just maybe some of you will be sure to pay attention to what your neighbor is trying to do.
You may not enjoy gardening for food and prefer to “farm grass”…but try and be kind and remember that spraying chemicals all over your neighbors organic garden may not be the best way to keep good relations.
Like I said I would gladly do his weeding along the fence…as is I won’t touch that chemical mess.
Did I mention he thinks flowers are tacky?  Oh how he must hate me;-)

Dear Lord…please get me out of this HOA neighborhood before I die.
The good news?
I will be having a “big garden” again this year out at my inlaws house!  God Bless them…at least there I can control what goes on my food in that garden!

That time when my best friend lived with my family for 8 years…

I was always that girl who had a ton of friends that were guys.
I simply have never understood girl drama…especially in high school.  I could name off the handful of girls I had as friends on 1 or 2 hands.
Jill…well she was always one of them.  I can actually remember the moment I met Jill outside of French Club.  (Yes, I went to “French Club” exactly…2 or 3 times.  Attention span was even worse back then.)
By the time we were 16 I was picking her up for school at 6 something in the morning with Violent Femmes and Nine Inch Nails (basically whatever loudest most obnoxious music I could find at the time) blaring as I drove her to school….and then I would normally skip because school was a hard reminder how not normal my life was.
And even then I was not built for traditional school…my grade point average actually went up a full point when “skipping” became a normal occurrence…but I digress.
She was always quiet and a very good girl.  I was always obnoxious and while a good girl…I was smack in the middle of more family drama than one girl ever should be and spent a good deal of time buried under working my 2-3 jobs.
Jill had this amazing family though and I always loved going over there and just watching how they were all interacting and happy.
Fast forward to around 18 and I started traveling up and down the road to Virginia to be with Daryl.
Long story short I moved here a few weeks after 19 and the rest is history.

For every little event in my life…the good…the bad… and the horrible…there has always been two constants.
Daryl and Jill.
Always there these two.
I always say Daryl is my “soul mate” and Jill is my “soul sister”.   Both are my best friends.
Those people that I feel sooooo lucky to have had in my life for…most of it.  How many people can say that?  A few but not many.

I can tell you that I do not have a ton of people that I really feel “close” to.
Oh sure I have tons of friends and acquaintances that I enjoy but few who really know me well.
You guys know what I share here but there are only a few who know what I don’t share.
I like to think every blogger is like that.  The world thinks you share everything but in reality you only show the bits and pieces you don’t mind sharing.  There are always things you keep to yourself.  It’s part of being human.
I am actually a bit more on the “closet introvert” side of the spectrum.  I truly enjoy being by myself…prefer it most days.
But I have never met a stranger and normally get folks life stories within about 5 minutes of knowing them.
I find people fascinating but often exhausting.  I am not good with trusting.
I have learned the hard way that people come and go but those people who have stayed…well THOSE are the people I focus most of my energy on these days.  Because they are awesome like that and totally deserve my full attention.
I am always reminding the kids “quality not quantity”.  Chose friendships and people that are good friends/people and will weather life with you.  Not those who will flake out the first sign of bad weather or a grumpy day.

Back to Jill.
Today is her 8 year anniversary being part of our family here.
She came down one Summer to be our live in Nanny while I went off to run the photography studio and travel for the wedding season.
She had been laid off and we wanted a Summer together…like the good old days.  She was up for the adventure and already known around these parts as “Aunt Jill”.  She was their Godmother…there for every wedding, birth/death and everything in between.
She is this amazing calm spirit in this house.

A year or so into her “Summer with us”…because the Summer lasted 8 years so far…We had to make the decision to pull the kids from traditional school and I would start homeschooling.  I let the brick and mortar studio go to come home and work with the kids.
I still traveled alot for work and it was always nice to have Aunt Jill here to hold down the fort.
We have a VERY small extended family and with my side of the family being gone and well…in Ohio…our support network is tiny.
Very tiny.  We had very few to call on in an emergency to watch kids or even a date night.
In almost three years Lucas has never spent a single night away from us if that tells you anything.
Having Aunt Jill has been such a Godsend.  She now has a full time job of course…the girl does have bills after all…but every extra minute she gets she is just simply part of this unique, odd family of ours.
We always tease that we don’t know who would need therapy more if she ever left us.  The kids, us or her?
As I know better than most…true “family” is often the hand picked variety.
Our kids even know her family as their own…because they are amazing people.

I always get the comments like:
“I could never let another woman in my house!”
“I couldn’t let another woman be that close to my kids…”
I just think…they don’t have “a Jill” in their life.
“A Jill” (as we lovingly say) is someone who is:
Selfless
Kind
Generous
A team player
Honest
Loyal beyond loyal
Always positive…about everything
Will cry with you
Laugh with you
Loves doing laundry
Loves children…and they love her
Organized
Dependable
and all around….a rare breed.  Very.
If you find “a Jill” I will say count your blessings and keep her close.
Your children can NEVER have to many people that love them.  It’s impossible.  No such thing as “too many people love my child”.
A friend like Jill is absolutely priceless.
We all love her.
She is here to stay.  I can’t imagine my life…our life… without her.

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In 28 years we have never had a single fight.  Not one.  We can get a bit snarky  once in awhile but just laugh about it.
Happy 8 year anniversary Jill!  Glad you are part of our family!:-)
Here’s to another 8 years!

“Simple” is this weeks buzz word…

The thing about making your life “simpler” that no one tells ya?
Well there is just nothing “simple” about it.  It is a whole lot of work…really…alot of work.
What a week!
The weather has decided that it is, indeed, Spring and in turn I have decided that “Spring cleaning” is beyond needed around here.
So much has gone on in the course of one week I am not really sure where to even start.
All good of course!

We started off the weekend with a big old decision.
We have been on this mission of paying off debt for several years now.  After all we didn’t get into debt over night we actually spent several years making bad financial decisions in our younger years and we have been working hard to fix them over the last 5 or so years.
We have made some big leaps with that and can see the light at the end of tunnel!
But we still want to do more and that meant trying to get one of our biggest monthly bills to go down.
Car Payments.
Why did we ever buy new cars ….ever?  Worst decision EVER.  I shall never purchase another new car ever again.
Unless of course I walk in with cash.  Yep than maybe.  But on credit?  No way.
But it’s a hole and you have to dig out of it soooooooo…by by cars.
We sold both cars and traded up for lovely used cars and basically dropped a car payment!   Win win!
What did I end up with?  You mean no more mini van?!!!
Hello Ford Flex…

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In case you are new to the Ford Flex let me tell ya about how we ended up with it…
Daryl traded his Mazda CX9 for the Mazda 3….gas milage baby gas mileage!
This little car gets some amazing gas and he loves a hatchback.  This is actually the second time he has had this little car.  Zoom Zoom.
But that left us with me HAVING to get something big enough for all 5 of us to fit in.
Basically a mini-van or hybrid/SUV with third row seating.
When I saw the Ford Flex I was like…”Ya I like it…but I love the price tag more!”  (Great deal!  You guys know I like a great deal!)
I get in it and first thoughts “Holy crap I need a CDL drivers license to drive this thing don’t I?”
Second thought… “Thank God I used to be licensed to drive a 16 passenger bus for the daycare I worked at!”
Third thought… “Man!  This car fits the teenagers soooo much better than the mini-van ever could!  And uses the same amount of gas!”
Sold!
GINORMOUS isn’t even the best adjective for this vehicle though.
Seriously, I am going to be parking this beast way out in the parking lots for some time.  I definitely miss my reverse camera from the Honda Odyssey but I shall live without it AND have room for us to all actually drive somewhere together.
Hey at least I haven’t resorted to parking like this guy today at Lowes!
I really thought I was bad at parking but this guy made me feel much better:-)

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I even made a new set of rear view mirror pretties.
Of course I had to use sentimental things.  Like the little bird sitting on her three eggs in the nest that Maggie made for me a few years ago…and the little bell that Beckey gave me from her trip to Yogaville last weekend.
Now every time I look out my window I shall remember my friends.  Love that.

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And then I moved onto the backyard…
We (being me) put the gazebo canopy on again for some nice shade and moved the sandbox over where it will cover the babes as they!

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The canopy has a few little rips but I think I can stretch it out another season before ordering a replacement.  Fingers crossed no huge thunderstorms come whirling by.
I grabbed neighbor George’s tiller and got the garden all tilled up and ready for action!  (Now it really screams “Get to work!”)
Oh and I added two new herb beds!!!  (Growing plants is an addiction…)
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Is it sad that they were almost full instantly from dividing out my old herbs and new volunteers.
Not bad for a days work.
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After a long day it was nice to sit back and watch the kiddos run around and fall in love all over again with our backyard.
My very own little piece of heaven.  I get so sick of this house during the Winter months.  I feel so boxed in and stir crazy.
I start to just hate these walls.
But then this time of year hits and I fall in love again…

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This view is good and two months from now it will be in full bloom and all it’s glory!
Until then…back to cleaning the garage.

Time for some Spring cleaning { Gardening Chronicles

Normally by now I have had enough decent weather that I have already started with the yard “Spring Cleaning”…
You know…all the stuff that I let just die on the vine and tree debris lie.  That darn oak tree in the back yard is my enemy and best friend all at the same time.
We LOVE the shade it gives our homes but HATE all the darn acorns (not the big kind…think tiny little stick in your barefeet like thorns type of acorns).  Thank God the neighbors cut down the gum ball tree last year.  At least I didn’t have gumballs to pick up this year!
Today Adam held the trash bags for me while I filled 20, yes 20, yard bags with leaves and acorns…

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Spikes all like “No Boomer I don’t want to kiss you!  No means NO!”

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And then there are all the herb beds…
I managed to get this one done…come on and grow Oregano, sage, thyme, lavender, mint and whatever else decides to come back!

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I need to hit these two beds this weekend.

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Not even showing the beds by the deck, front yard, and back wall…cause uhm…tis a hot mess!
I have lots of planters I need to tackle as well.

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The garden…My big debate this year is to till or not to till.
That is the question.
I am torn.
On one hand I want to really chop up the old hay, newspapers and leaves.  Really compost it in and on the other end I kindof enjoying digging it by hand.  Sick I know.
Hey some girls like to go to the gym…some girls like to do yard work;-)
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The outdoor “living room” area is looking pretty sad.
It doesn’t bother me a bit because I know a month from now how lovely it will be.  I was going to put the canopy back onto the gazebo today but then Adam was all like “Mom you do know they are calling for snow again next week.  Denying it won’t make it not happen ya know.”  Wise kid….but I still want to ignore it.
But he is right…the canopy will go on after this LAST (yes I demand it be the last) piddly snowfall.
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So Maddie.
Well Maddie and I…we is going to be having a big old “come to Jesus” meeting this Spring.

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Maddie seems to think that she needs to dig a hole to China smack in the middle of my flower beds.
This is clearly NOT going to work for me.
She happens to think of it as her own personal doggy bed.
Yep…we are going to be having many “meetings” I have no doubt.
She’s lucky she is cute and sweet.

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It’s time to harvest the ground ivy this week!

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The chickweed needs about one solid week of warm and sunny temps and then it will be ready!
Which is good because the Chickweed ointment I make for Maddie’s itching ears and skin is running out!  I need more Chickweed oil ASAP.  So far it is the only thing keeping her off of the vet’s “fancy” pills for itchy skin.
Yes, even the animals get herbal medicine around here;-)

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And last but not least…
The babies are looking good!  Won’t be long now and these beauties will be growing in the ground!

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This weekend is supposed to be in the 70′s so I am sure I will be tackling that check list!
Happy Spring everyone!
Now get out there and enjoy:-)

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