Thursday, March 31, 2011

Springing at Starlings

Spring has sprung at Starlings.  The crocus are finally dying out and the daffodils are stunning.  Moose and I planted 18 roses last Saturday.  I have put in berries and grapes. I have been building earthworks and clearing grass out so we can plant.
I am currently puzzling over the strawberry patch. Starlings has weird sun, strawberries need sun.  I need my strawberries to not be stolen, trampled or peed on by the 100 or so dogs that are walked by the house each day.

My favorite activity is ninja onion planting.  Ninja onion planting is where I onion sets everywhere I can think of and we will see how things turn out.

I am really tired of spending money on dirt.

A few weeks ago we had the cherry trees trimmed and I passed the branches out to anyone who would take them.  I made this amazing arrangement for the mantle. 


Boba Fett has been catching snakes

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Family is the Answer

 Last week I read a book about the terror threats we face at home and abroad, it was enlightening and terrifying at the same time.  That night I went to bed a little frightened and concerned wondering "What is the answer, how do we fight this irrational foe, what do we do, how can we protect ourselves?" I wrestled with this through the night and then the answer came to me, so simple, so quiet but as clear as the sun at noonday.


Family. That is it.
The decline of the family is the cause of the threat, what makes us vulnerable to it and the strength of the family is what will defeat it.

I am going to spend some time pondering these things and trying to explain what I mean.  I hope to make this a regular feature.

Today, I would like to touch on how is not very astonishing it is that something so very routine as Family can be the answer.

As Latter-day Saints and particularly as Latter-day Saint women we have been told from the time we were in Nursery about the importance of Family.

President Harold B. Lee said "The most you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”

President David O. McKay proclaimed "No other success can compensate for failure in the home”

We have all heard these quotations a million times and many of us have had them stitched, painted, engraved, printed and vinyl-ed on the walls of our homes.
It conjures up warm feelings about motherhood, raising righteous children, wiping snotty noses with a smile and figuring out how to make do with little for the privilege of not working outside the home. Most of all it reminds us not to neglect our families in the pursuit of other more worldly gains.

But I think this sentiment means more than we as LDS initially took it to mean.  Now, as I look at the state of the world, the country and the family I think it means more.  It always meant more but we too far away from the peril to be able to see it yet.
The prophets have been preparing us for decades.  The Church first instituted the Family Home Evening program in 1915, nearly a century ago!

Recently, the family has been more prominent in the focus of church teachings.  I have said this before but in 1995 when the First Presidency issued The Family: A Proclamation to the World it seemed to me a bit superfluous.  "Of course family is important, of course parents have a responsibility to their children, of course fathers and marriage, of course fathers and mothers, of course equal partners."

16 years later I think it was such a prophetic statement that I am in awe.

By the time the Relief Society Declaration was issued in 1999 including "Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families and homes." and
"Strengthen home and family" was added to the Young Women Theme (in 2002?) the need for such statements was becoming apparent.

I am so grateful that I have known and was taught from an early age that Family was important.  I hope that that foundation will aid me as I attempt to discover how the simple word "family" will help save the world.
At first I thought that the simple answer of "Family" was surprising because it was so simple.  Now I see that it shouldn't be surprising at all.  We have been told.

There is a lovely new site, Sunday Society  dedicated to "the best of LDS women's history" I am pleased to be participating this week and hopefully every week in the Sunday Blog Hop.

P.S. I am so lucky to have such fun pictures of my family!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Night Cinema

I meant to get this up earlier but I did yard work in the SUNSHINE all day long.

Date: 2006
Director: Alejandro Gomez Monteverde
Starring: Eduardo Verástegui and Tammy Blanchard

It has been some months since I watched this film so I am a bit fuzzy on the details but this movie was just a simple good movie.  A gently moving story about one day in the life of two people and the amazing influence they make on each other's lives in that time.  It is a movie about how precious life is and nearly scary moment when you think that Nina has gone through with an abortion, but she couldn't.  Amen.

5 out of 7 thimbles

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Tax Man Cometh and Revealeth and I Attempteth to Decideth

We had been waiting for tax time to tally up all of the nickels and dimes and pennies I worked so hard for to help make ends meet as we dealt with having a house on the market for 8 months and paying off the debts incurred just to get that same house ready to sell and then take it off the market.

Just let me say now that I am not complaining, Starlings is worth every brass farthing and needle pricked fingertip.  I am so happy that all of the work I did was merely an amendment to all of the providing that Moose does for our family.  I am so grateful that the Lord has been so bountiful in the blessings he has poured out upon us.

So, anyhow....We were adding up all the pennies and the result was extremely depressing.  The sum total of all my hard work, tears, sleepless nights and bloody fingers was...well really not a lot.  I can not bring myself to type it out.

 Let's just review the many hats of Samurai Mom this year.

Home Stager, Organizer and Cleaner, 10 months in duration 24/6  Profit? Many negative dollars.
Job Hunter,3 months Profit?  Child neglect and loss of self worth less several
tanks of gas.
Contract Seamstress, 2 months for $125 and the privilege of being fired.  I was not hurt but offended (I thank my friends for being as indignant about the situation as I was.)
Blogger for about 11 cents a day.

Needlework Instructor for 2 months - actually profitable but very difficult to maintain a steady stream of income, also, a really fun job.

 Demi-Milliner;  9 months, I actually made a very, very small profit.  I probably earned 40 cents a day.  

And finally, Nanny.  This is where it is at kids.  Snuggling and hugging a baby all day long (well part of the day,) knowing she is getting loving care and being able to pay off bills.

And so after that pitiful display of the actual $$ worth of an energetic, hard working, talented, college educated, fairly young, trained seamstress and designer where does that leave me?

Well, obviously I am going to keep on with the babysitting gig but will I hang up my demi-hats and hat making supplies?

I just don't know.  I had a lot of fun demi-millinering but it was also purpose driven and a lot of work with very little payoff.

I really enjoy dreaming up hair confections but maybe I should just dream them up for myself and Nutmeg and our friends.

I sit here wrestling with the decision because tomorrow I have a tutorial coming out on Sew Mama, Sew!  Hopefully this will get lots of really crafty people who can make hair ornaments for themselves to my site and maybe 1 or 2 who won't want to bother and pay me to make one for them.  Probably not, but being on Sew Mama, Sew! is really cool so it is almost like being famous and we all know how I love the spotlight.

So what do you think?  As it stands I have a bit of fall inventory, very few supplies, a website, a Facebook page, some fun pictures, 2 wigs, 2 styrofoam heads, some darling business cards and $5.

Part of me says to scrap it and just focus doing all the fun things at Starlings that I haven't had time to do because I have been working so hard.  But the other part of me says not to give up, keep plugging away and one day I will be the next Coco Chanel (she started as a milliner in case you didn't know.)

Don't forget to check out the tutorial tomorrow.  Here is a sneak peak.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Agony and the Rag Curls

For many weeks I have been agonizing over my hair.  Really, the amount of time I spent thinking about my hair was bordering on very vain.  In my defense there were some big decisions to be made.  I have spent the last 3 years growing my hair out and I was still about 2 inches from my goal but my hair was not working for me.  My curls were starting to look lank and ringlet-y and my straight hair seemed to be weighing me down visually.  I found myself wearing a ponytail every day and I wasn't completely happy with that either. I thought about taking a before picture but I was so blah about it I didn't even bother.
The good things about the very long hair were some killer beehives and really being able to work the Bump-it.

Something needed to happen, either keep the long hair and get some layers and movement or go a head and really cut it.

I compiled a file of hair pictures I liked.  It had Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, a late 70's early 80's do that looked just like one my mom had, and was very heavy on the classic Grace Kelly. I printed it out and took myself to JoeAnn, my stylist, whom I have neglected for 2 years.

We decided to go halvsies between what I had and the Grace Kelly/Elizabeth Taylor and ended up with the Rita Hayworth.

Here it is flat ironed fresh from the salon:
So far (29 hours later) I am very happy with it.  Last night I learned that I need a better curling iron and that it is very cute with the ends curled under or flipped up.
And here it is, today, curled with my rag curlers.
 I posted this on Facebook today and the people went wild.  I must say Thank You!  It feels great to have so many compliments in one day.

Jenni and Theresa wanted details on how I do my rag curls and so I give you a very mini tutorial on how I make my "rags". 

If you want a tutorial on how to use the rag curls go here.

I generally tie mine close to the head for more of a naturally curly look but with this new length I will probably try tying them lower on occasion.  I use mousse before I roll as a setting lotion. ( JoeAnn advises rolling the hair in opposite directions do that the curls "collide" but I never remember to do that when I roll them and after 18 months of doing it twice a week I don't know if I can break the habit.)  I also use end wraps.  If you have ever had a perm you will recognize these.  They keep the ends of my hair together when I roll them and prevent the ends from being messy little balls of frizz.  I got mine at Sally.  I just get a section of hair and fold the paper over the ends and then roll the hair on the rag.
My rags aren't rags but 3/4" wide turned strips with finished edges. I do this because in the past when I used rags for rollers  the strings would get tangled up and knotted in my hair.  It was painful. If I were to make these again I would make them 1" to 1 1/2" finished.

 Figure out how wide you need to cut your fabric to make them the desired with doubled plus 1/2" for a 1/4" seam allowance. 
 Then cut a strip that wide the width of the fabric.
Next, sew the strip length wise with a 1/4" seam making a long tube then turn and press.  This is where a loop turner or similar tool is very useful.  
Then cut the rags to 11" or 12" strips mine are 11" because then I could get 4 out of a 44" with fabric.  
Zig-zag the edges.

 I am looking forward to all of the fun I can have with this hair length.  I am excited for my bangs to grow out.  They were very good bangs and I enjoyed every minute of them but not one of my inspiration pictures had fringe.

I am also excited to try out all of the fun tutorials I found at Berlin Hair Baby.  This one first, then maybe will I be kissed by Cary Grant.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Being Prepared to Serve

Some time ago we were having a discussion in Relief Society and someone mentioned that is is easier to serve others when you are prepared to serve.
What I took from this comment was this: Imagine you find that a friend needs some service (lets use a meal as an example) you want to take her a meal but you are totally out of groceries because it is the end of the pay period and there were some unexpected and pricey things that happened this week and you really should wait until Friday to go shopping, also it is a very busy day for you, you have time to make a meal but not really time to go to the market.  You have some essentials in your pantry but are missing key ingredients for a meal.

What can you do?  Will you sigh and give up and say it is the thought that counts?  Will you run to the grocery store to collect the ingredients while you are concerned about money and have even less time to prepare the meal?  Now you have less time and more stress.

If you were prepared to serve the scenario could go something like this:  You walk to the freezer and pull out a frozen entree that you put aside last week when you made a double batch of dinner.  You had planned to use it on a day when you were too tired to think about dinner but because you are prepared to serve you are always ready to use those freezer meals if you are called upon to bring a meal to someone in a pinch.  You put the meal in the oven and mix up a quick side and dessert. Deliver it to your friend, have a short visit with her and you are home just in time.

Being prepared to serve isn't always about food.  It is about being prepared spiritually, emotionally and physically for yourself and your family so that when opportunities for service present themselves you aren't worried about your needs and can focus on the needs of others.

 I don't have much of a freezer, I have an old fridge of questionable age (all I know is that they don't make appliances that color any  longer and they don't decorate the glass shelves with stalks of wheat anymore) but I do have room for a quart of homemade chicken noodle soup and a bag of enchilada filling in the corners of the freezer.

You could also have a box prepared with pre-measured ingredients for a meal so that it doesn't take much time for you or the recipient to put together.

Even you and I can be prepared to serve.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saturday Night Cinema

Me and Orson Welles
Date: 2009
Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Zac Efron, Claire Daines and Christian Mckay

A teenager suddenly finds himself cast in the revolutionary  1937 production the Mercury Theatre and more importantly Orson Welles' production  of Julius Caesar.

I wouldn't watch this with my kids but all in all it is a pretty clean movie.  Miracle of miracles a modern day production about show business that DOES NOT have a homosexual story line.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

An odd choice for the revival of Saturday Night Cinema, perhaps, but I recommend this movie for two reasons; the first being that for the first time since 1997 I found myself wanting to be part of a play again.  To be in the rehearsal process, even to act again.  That is powerful stuff. 

Second, I completely forgot that I wasn't actually wasn't actually watching Orson Welles.  After I watched the movie I was looking up the cast and saw the credit "Christian McKay."  "Who was that?" I asked myself when it dawned on me that Orson Welles was actually played by an actor, not himself.

I think that completely forgetting that one of the most distinctive film personas in history was being acted by an actor is a reason to watch a movie.

5 out of 7 thimbles for the film 7 out of 7 for Christian McKay.

P.S.  This is actually Orson Welles in case you forget what he looks like.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Long Dark Tea-time of My Soul and Body and Sanity

First I got sick.  In bed for 5 days, nearly delirious, sick.  Then I was up and out of bed but still stick.  Then Moose went out of town for 4 days leaving me (still sick) with 3 kids, all of whom are threatening to become ill themselves.

It has been a very grey and boring and lonely and depressing 12 days.

I am irritated that there are so many problems in this world and country that I can't even begin to fix them.

I am irritated that there are so many mean people out there who completely discount the hours upon hours of research, prayer, heartache and hard decision making some parents put in to make choices for their kids and call them irresponsible and reactionary when those same people put about as much thought into their kids as into which pair of jeans they should wear today.

Planning my garden doesn't cheer me up. Going down to the workshop doesn't cheer me up. Choosing a new haircut doesn't help.  Knitting does not help. Knowing I have a deadline that I can't get any inspiration or energy for certainly does not help.

But seeing this outside my kitchen window does help, a little bit.
When Moose gets home in 2 hours and 55 minutes I am running away for the night.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Reasons I do Not Dominate at Scrabble

1) I get too emotionally invested in the words.
  I get so excited about all the clever words that I can make or nearly make that I forgo all strategy just so I can play my clever or funny words.  This is not a winning strategy.  I just played "jew" for 25 points (on my android with my brother and sister-in-law) but believe me if I had room on the board I would have played "jewish' for less points.

2)  I like to play words that mean something.  I think that "zee" and "qi" are lame words and as a consequence I have lost to those very words more than once.

3) Either you can play foreign words or you can't.  I hate this some you can and some you can't business (see "qi" above.)

P.S. did you know that I think LOL Cats are hilarious?