Look! I have lettuce! Yay for lettuce!
You have no idea how worried I was that my lettuce would die over the winter. I meant to cover it. I meant to do the same with my strawberry plants. I never made it that far. Told you the “meant to” list was longer than I made it. Honestly, I wasn’t sure the lettuce would even grow at all. Is it an annual? Perhaps it’s a perennial? What do those terms mean, anyway? I should really add some gardening books to my “to read” list.
I really want to expand & improve my little garden. In the dream world where I work out of the home & can pursue all of my crazy and/or artsy endeavors, the garden I have is vast. I’ve got tomato plants like no one’s business because I can’t eat enough of the darn things. I grow 90% of all of my vegetables in this little fantasy. I’ve also become adept at canning in this little dream. Maybe someday it will happen. For right now, I should probably just concentrate on not killing the plants I have. Which means I should start learning more.
Like on the list of things I should be aware of, I’m told, is my hardiness zone. Zone 8a. This is my plant hardiness zone. Hardiness zones, from what I’ve come to understand, are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature during a 30-year period in the past. So 10-15 degrees F is not the lowest temperature ever, but a good average. Ms Mouse has told me repeatedly that she is envious of my zone. I’m still trying to fully understand what it means. Have I mentioned I’m not the most plant savvy girl ever?
My patio garden after some much needed Spring cleaning
I’m also trying to decide whether to toss my hanging basket of cherry tomatoes. I know tomatoes are only supposed to survive a year. However when I pulled the basket down, because I left it up all winter (Don’t judge, I told you I lost track of time,) I noticed a plant trying to poke out of the ground. Could it be that my tomato plant survived? I know the chances are unlikely, but I can’t bring myself to throw the basket away. That has to be one of the signs that I’m a hoarder.
In addition to the potential need for a new tomato plant, I keep thinking of investing in a citrus plant – most likely lemons. The Boy looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. But I argue that if Ms Mouse can grow lemons in Wisconsin of all places, then I should have an easier time, right? Oh, yeah. We’re talking about me, aren’t we? Well, forget that. I still want to try it. How awesome would it be for me to use my own home-grown lemons?!
On the final note- I want flowers this year. But not just any kind of flower will do. No. I cannot make my life easy. I want edible flowers. I want them to be something for the honeybees to eat, and something for me. Yay for multipurpose planting!
Now taking suggestions for edible flowers… and Go!
I meant to craft more over the holidays.
I meant to write home to my family more often.
I meant to laugh more.
I meant to pick up my novel and begin writing again.
I meant to de-clutterfy my living space.
I meant to be more open & honest with myself.
I meant to sign up for those dance classes.
I meant to learn how to be a better seamstress.
I meant to love myself more.
I meant to part ways with 5 pairs of shoes that I never wear.
I meant to let go of some of the yarn I’m hoarding.
I meant to be happier with what I have instead of longing for what I don’t.
I meant to get up and exercise before my scheduled things on Saturday.
I meant to go to church on Sunday.
I meant to not be bitter about things beyond my control.
I meant to write a post to follow up on the small bits of crafting I have done.
I meant to write a post about how I’ve prepped my mini-garden.
I meant to find joy.
Wow. That’s a lot of things I meant to do, and that’s not even a full list. I’m sure I could come up with more. Like meaning to cook enough yesterday so I’d have leftovers for lunch instead of “having” to go buy lunch today. Anyone want to deliver to the Gray Cube of Doom?
To be honest I kind of lost myself a bit during the holidays, and I realize that I haven’t posted anything since before Thanksgiving. I’m sorry. I had one of those very real moments where I seemed to just kind of lose track of time. Today I’m suddenly realizing that it is the end of March. I have no real idea where I put January and February.
I understand I have to go back to scheduling time. If I don’t, I lose myself. My calendar has seen more action in the past few weeks. It’s a bit crazy. I’ve even got little random notes on there to ask me why I’m not doing certain things- like writing. I want to really cut my “I meant to” list. I’m tired of looking back and thinking that I might have missed something fabulous because “I meant to do it, but I just never made the time.”
No more. I’m going back to making time. I’m also going to try to do things for me. I’m not purposely being selfish, but if I can’t enjoy what I’m doing, if I’m only doing it because someone else expects of me, I don’t think I can find joy in that.
Wish me luck. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me again.
Today has been a torrent of emotions. I am thankful. I am stressed. I am pleased. I am angry. I am creative. I need solace. I am nervous. I am too energized.
We can leave all of those negative feelings alone in The Gray Cube of Doom for all I care. I’m trying to exorcise them. We’ll see how that goes. All I can say is I’m glad it’s a short office workweek, and I should be able to concentrate on some homemade goodness.
No Longer for sale, but one of my favorites.
In the mundane world where I secretly want to be a 1950’s housewife, I am gearing up to host Thanksgiving. This will be the first Thanksgiving dinner I have hosted since I moved to WA and my first as Mrs. The Boy. Every other year we’ve been invited elsewhere. This year, with The Boy’s work schedule being the complete mess that it is, I decided to invite the Chosen Family- the nearest & dearest- over to celebrate our thankfulness. It will be a rather small gathering given the room available, but I think I will be pleased. I have one more ingredient to buy and then I think I’m done. Here’s to hoping my planning skills are as fabulous as I like to believe they are.
I also started crafting Christmas cards last night. And I mean Christmas cards with nativities on the front. I am also working on some non-Christmas holiday cards because I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but in most belief sets there is a winter celebration. I’m pleased with what I got done last night. The Boy also found my work acceptable. Which is good since he’ll be signing some of them.
Speaking of winter holidays, you may have noticed that I have sort of broken one of my rules. Rule number 1- We do not start celebrating Christmas/Yule/Etc before Thanksgiving. Rule number 2- We do NOT start celebrating Christmas/Yule/Etc before Thanksgiving or you end up dealing with an angry ginger. It has always been one of my greatest pet peeves since I enjoy celebrating each holiday as it comes. I feel like each holiday deserves its time. However, given that it is normally accepted that the Christmas/Yule/Etc Season begins at midnight the day after Thanksgiving my social media pages are bursting with Black Friday & Cyber Monday ads. However the one that made me smile today instead of scrunching my face to do a Grinch impersonation was the Small Business Saturday.
I’m a fan of shopping small. I find that stimulating the local business environment makes me feel better, and I know that is helps my neighbors. Add to this the idea of handmade versus commercial & I’m in heaven. Not everyone can craft something fabulous. Some of us don’t have the time, or we just don’t feel we would do the gift justice. I’m going to be looking into some trades with my fellow crafters, but if you are looking for awesome handmade Puget Sound local gift take a look at the list (largely complied by The Darling) below.
Dreadnaught Darling – Tacoma, Washington – Fabulous hair accessories by The Darling herself. Not sure what that someone would want? That’s okay. She does gift certificates as well.
Clover Creek Baby – Tacoma, Washington – Buy something for the baby in your life. She specializes in cloth diapers, diaper bags, nursing covers, wrap carriers, and some cute baby toys.
Suzi San Souci – Seattle, Washington – She offers stunning photo prints and custom watercolor portraits.
BSD Studios – Northridge, California – He makes leather covers for e-readers, leather masks, eye-patches, steampunk couture, and a myriad of other items.
Sweet Nothings – Tumwater, Washington – She makes a fabulous line of bath salts, lotions, body butter and body soap.
Ishtar’s Garden – Olympia, Washington – She does some pretty awesome wirework as well.
The Little Things Store – Bellingham, Washington – She makes wonderful soap & other body products.
AMR Woodcraft – He makes beautiful wooden mugs, boxes, tables and chairs.
Pip and Lola’s Everything Homemade – Tacoma, Washington- A storefront dedicated to local, handmade products. They offer everything from spices to soaps and knitting to knick knacks.
JezFashions – She does fantastic costuming and custom work
A few fabulous out of state places you might want to look into-
Lucy Latham Art – Lancaster, Pennsylvania – A phenomenal artist who just happens to be mom to the fabulous Eowyn of Clover Creek Baby. She does such amazing work.
The Rose of Stonestreet – Columbia, Maryland – My sister’s rad store. Check out her jewelry. It’s fabulous.
Enjoy your holidays, and if you think of a small, homemade seller I don’t have listed please let me know. I’d love to be able to add them to my list.
… Cause They Do.
Today in the United States is Election Day. The day when U.S. citizens are supposed to care enough to get their vote on. Now here in Washington, I associate with very civic-minded people, and most of us have already sent in our ballots. However, there are still some in the fringes of my friend groups where I hear “I don’t vote because it doesn’t change anything anyway.” This bothers me. I was raised to believe voting was a civil liberty you should never take for granted. You can’t really complain about a system and how it does or doesn’t work if you don’t actively try to fix it. Be the change you want in the world people! I know that we call voting a “right” in this country, but it really is one of our greatest privileges.
One of my Facebook friends posted this as her status earlier today- “I voted. My father was finally allowed to vote in 1966, when he was 25. I think about that every time I look at a ballot: in my family, I’m only in the second generation of voters. It’s too early for apathy.”
How does that make you feel? To know that even 46 years ago there were citizens in these United States who could be drafted for war, but could not vote? Yeah, what would happen now if someone told you that you were required, no choice other than jail, to go fight in a war for the country you lived in but had no civic right in? Your response would be two words, you say? Yes, I’m familiar with those two words.
And even earlier in our history women couldn’t vote. On Nov. 5th in 1872, Susan B. Anthony attempted to cast a ballot after she registered to vote only four days prior. Two weeks later she was arrested and seven months later she was tried and convicted for “illegal voting.” The sentence was only a $100 fine to which she declared, “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.” True to her words, she never paid the fine for the rest of her life! I say good for her, because that was some shady business. And Susan wasn’t the only one.
Thirty-five years to the day after Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women voted illegally in Rochester, New York, Alice Paul was placed in solitary confinement for two weeks and had nothing to eat except bread and water, (11-5-1917) Too weak to walk, she was taken to the prison hospital and began a hunger strike. When doctors feared she might die, they forced a feeding tube down her throat. Prison guards tried sleep deprivation to break her spirit by aiming lights toward her face and turning them on and off every hour, every night. One doctor remarked that the pro-life feminist had “a spirit like Joan of Arc, and it is useless to try to change it. She will die but she will never give up.”
Voting is important. People have given their lives & freedoms so that we have that privilege. Not everyone in the world can vote to help shape the world into the place they want to see; where they’ll feel happy & safe living. Do not take it for granted. Your ancestors fought long & hard to get to this point. Don’t spit on their hard work.
If you have not voted yet, please make sure you get to the polls today before they close, and vote for the candidates you feel are best suited for the position they are running for. PLEASE, vote for the best candidate, not along party lines. (I’ll tell you a dirty little secret- I do NOT vote a straight ticket.) Please vote. It’s one of the most important things you can do for your country…. If you need assistance or have any questions, that’s what your poll workers are there for. And if you’re in line, waiting to vote, and the polls “close” STAY IN LINE AND VOTE. They aren’t allowed to kick you out if you are already in line. As a side note, please be kind to the poll workers. They really are there to help and to insure an honest and fair election. I know. I used to be one.
This civic-minded rant was brought to you by the letter V and the number 4.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day. I’ve been waiting for this for a month. I haven’t done all the planning I had wanted. I’m halfway there, but maybe it’s for the best. I have a beginning. I know where the end should be. It’s the middle part that’s still a jumble. Tomorrow starts National Novel Writing Month.
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a frantic dash of creativity. The ultimate goal is to write a (minimum) 50,000-word novel in 30 days. For those not good at math, that’s a minimum of 1,667 words a day. I’ve participated the previous 3 years and “won” 2 out of 3 years. There’s no huge prize waiting at the end other than the satisfaction that you set out to meet a goal & you did. Oh, and you can print a nifty certificate of completion. Your friends will also probably pat you on the back while telling you how crazy you are.
The Garden Mouse is the friend responsible for my participation. She’s been participating for as long as I’ve known her. One year, she finally won the debate & I signed up to participate. It’s fun. It’s a struggle. I might not always succeed, but I’ll always try.
This year I have a few friends who are participating in NaNoWriMo. I look forward to seeing them succeed. I haven’t heard if Mum is actually going to try writing this year, but she has in the past. She’s not a bad author. She just needs follow through. We all do.
The more I think about NaNoWriMo, the more I realize I’m kind of treating this year like every other craft I try. I have my basic beginning available. I’ve got the opening to my story running through my brain. In fact it’s been ruminating for at least two weeks, but because of the rules, I haven’t been able to write any of it down. I also know what I want my finished product to look like. I also know how the story should end, if my characters are willing to co-operate.
Wish me luck on my writing marathon.
Hello Darlings! Sorry. For some reason my brain was just high-jacked by the Cabaret soundtrack. That’s actually not why I’m writing today.
Copyright Dragonvein Studios 2012
I’m writing today to share a tiny, last minute craft from Friday. The advanced student troupe, Off the Cuff Tribal, of ucanto belly dance performed at Halima’s Spooktacular on Saturday. Because it was a Halloween show, we used a few pieces of music from Moulin Rouge and had the chance to break from our traditional ATS costuming for something a bit fun & flirty. So we dug in our costume closets, and yes, we’ve all got at least a closet full, to find Moulin Rouge-esque costume pieces.
I had borrowed an over skirt bustle from my troupe-mate Petra and combined it with other pieces already in my wardobe. However when it came to my choli, my top felt kind of bland. I needed to fix that. So I took a page from my coin bra & added a more can-can appropriate drape.
Copper chain drape.
This was really simple for me to make. The hardest part was making the decision of what components I wanted to use. I chose copper as my base color since I was using a lot of sepia-tones in my skirt choices. I them added crystals for glitter and pearls to match the necklace I was wearing. I’m really pleased with how this turned out. And while goofing around before attaching it to my choli, I found that it even makes a pretty good head-drape piece. I made that 3-strand pearl necklace as well.
I hope you all have a great Monday! And for those of you being hit by Hurricane Sandy, please be safe and follow the instructions that are being sent out by emergency management. You’re in my thoughts.
“Since Mephis knew he’d been hoping Jaenelle would buy more clothes, Saetan growled in disappointment. Sylvia’s idea of appropriate girl clothes hadn’t included a single dress, and the only concession she and Jaenelle had made to his insistence that everyone at the Hall dress for dinner was one long black skirt and two blouses. When he had pointed out- and very reasonably, too- that trousers, shirts, and long sweaters weren’t exactly feminine, Sylvia had given him a scalding lecture, the gist of it being that whatever a woman enjoyed wearing was feminine and anything she didn’t enjoy wearing wasn’t, and if he was too stubborn and old-fashioned to understand that, he could go soak his head in a bucket of cold water. He hadn’t quite forgiven her yet for saying they would have to look hard to find a bucket big enough to fit his head into, but he admired the sass behind the remark.”
~Heir to the Shadows (Black Jewels Series #2) Bishop, Anne
The Black Jewel Series by Anne Bishop has become one of my favorite book series. I re-read them regularly. I find some strange comfort in them. The quote above came to mind this morning after a conversation that began on my personal Facebook page.
I mentioned that I was thinking of buying curlers for my hair, but didn’t want to actually spend the extra money on them because I may only use them once. It’s the same reason I don’t own a hair blow dryer. It’s an extra “thing” to add to my clutter that I’d only rarely use. And they’re expensive! In response to this, I had to friends pipe up suggesting rag-curls. Rag curls, in theory, are insanely easy & inexpensive. There are hundreds of tutorials on the Internet. The tools to do rag curls are minimal. It’s a fabulous idea.
I pride myself on being able to pick up almost anything after seeing it done once or twice. In this instance, I suddenly felt woefully inadequate in my gender role as a female by not just knowing how to do this. I think that women are often assumed to just know every “arcane trick” as The Boy calls them to look super-model perfect. The problem is we aren’t born with that knowledge. It has to be learned.
Most women I know learned their first arcane tricks from their mothers or older sisters. I never had this. My mother has never worn make-up for as long as I have been aware of what make-up is. Out of my two older sisters, who are 13 and 11 years older than I am, only one was girly enough to wear make-up, and by the time I was at that stage of my life she had already moved out and had two children! My young experience with make-up was limited to stage make-up that was required for my dance performances, which does not lend itself to everyday life, and even then my mother’s friends helped me. It seemed Mom was almost as clueless as I was.
The same applies to hair. My hair was always kept long growing up. It made it easier to get it into a French braid or bun for dancing. However curling my hair or any elaborate-looking hairstyle was left out of my growing education. My mother’s idea of personal hair styling was wash & air dry. Oh! And occasionally running a pick through it. My mother, bless her heart, was granted beautiful thick & naturally curly hair. She didn’t have to do anything other than let it be.
I don’t want to get all preachy about how we aren’t women anymore because we don’t take time to put on make-up before we run to the store, but I think there’s something wrong that we don’t even change out of our pj’s anymore to run to the store. I can’t imagine leaving my house in anything but decent outside the home clothing. I’m not sure I can specify the difference any more than that. It just bothers me. I find there’s something lacking in my personal education. I’ve been thinking about how to fix it.
With the interest that seemed to creep up on my Facebook page, I think I may hold a get together with a few of my fellow crafty friends so that we can all fill in the gaps in our girl-education. Being feminine doesn’t require us to do anything specific, and only do what we find we want. I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m trying to set Feminism back almost 100 years. I just think that women like Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for their rights as women in the United States, and still probably gave a damn about how they looked and running their home. Does that qualify as a “first-world problem?” Maybe. I don’t care.
But because I want to I’m going to learn to apply eye shadow & eye liner in a way that will suit my face better. I’m going to learn how to foil-color my own hair. I’m going to learn to be a better seamstress so I can make the dress I want instead of having to pay more for something that’s close to what I want but it’s quite it. I’m going to learn to make lotion & lip gloss. I’m going to vote in the election so I can keep the rights my fore-sisters fought so valiantly to obtain. And damn it, I’m going to learn to rag-curl my hair!
This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time. Life as we all know happens, and sometimes prevents us from following through with our plans. Life is always throwing curve balls at people, and I try not to let that bleed over into these postings. Really, we all know life can be rough.
Preliminary Christmas gift tags
When I originally started the Twisted Bird Studio blog I had intended for this to be only an outlet for crafting. It was going to be a place for me to babble about all my crafting, all the time, 24/7, and nothing else. We have all seen how that has worked out. My major problem is that my crafting goes in waves given the toll The Gray Cube of Doom takes on my life and the other craziness I’m involved in.
So the question I’ve been wrestling with is that while I’m not idle, I’m not crafting, so what do I post about? Or if I am crafting, it seems a lot like more of the same thing. How many blog posts do you, dear reader, want to hear about cards I’m making? Do you enjoy hearing about the miscellanea that occurs in the Studio?
All of that aside, I have slowly been working on Christmas stuff. My tree obession will be making an appearance both in gift tags & cards. Once I’ve got the final products done I’ll post them for you to see. With these in process projects the idea of craft fairs has been coming more to the forefront of my brain. Etsy, as much as I love it, just doesn’t seem to work for me as much as I’d like.
As always, your comments are always appreciated. And, again, I’ll try to do better with my posting.
Hope you have a fabulous Monday!
And a good Monday morning to you. I hope your weekend was delightful. Mine was enjoyable & relaxing. Did you catch the Perseid Meteor shower? I caught a small glimpse.
Aren’t they adorable?
I’ve found a downside to attempting to blog regularly. I don’t always craft. There are times where I do other things. I know. It’s very shocking. I enjoy reading. I’m a sucker for crime drama television shows. I also enjoy walking around town with my husband sipping coffee with no other purpose than being together.
This weekend I spent my time watching documentaries about ancient myths and legends, and making more miniature roses because I’m obsessive. I’m really excited to make the Thank You cards that these roses are going to be put on. I need to buy a good brown card stock for a base and then I’m good to go. I had originally planned on distressing some white card-stock I had. However, my attempts at distressing paper are just distressing me. I need more practice before I can offer the service.
Hematite donut, approximately 1-1/4″, wrapped in deep blue jewelry wire.
I also wrapped a hematite stone I had lying around. Other than that, there hasn’t been much work on the jewelry front as I might like. I need to get some 2mm bone beads for my next project. I can’t seem to source them locally, which means I’m going to have to buy them from an online store. Not sure whether that’s good or bad. I always prefer to buy local, but when my local stores don’t carry what I need an Internet store is the next best option. I’ll try to keep you posted.
Have a great Monday!
I hope your morning is as good as my coffee. It’s Friday! It’s a day of rejoicing, and weekend event planning. I am however sorry for the people headed to the ocean today. There’s construction on the ocean beaches highway, and I believe that there will be a huge back up by the time I escape the Gray Cube of Doom today. Thankfully, my drive home heads in the opposite direction of the ocean.
I’m actually excited to head home today because I found a new miniature craft!
Miniature paper roses
While getting inspired to make some custom order Thank You cards, I stumbled across one that featured Prima paper roses. It was beautiful, and I realized that I wanted to include paper roses in this order. We know me. I try to always tell myself, when it comes to crafty things, if I can make it myself, why buy it? Now this doesn’t always mean I succeed, but I should always give it a good effort.
So I went searching for tutorials. The first thing I found was that a search for “paper roses tutorial” will pull up a myriad of options. Most of them being for tissue paper, crate paper, napkins, & coffee filters. So after tweaking my search to “miniature paper roses,” I finally found a tutorial I could understand, and that I thought would help me create the style of roses I wanted.
This tutorial is very simple, and easy to follow. I kind of love it. I used this tutorial to make the roses I have pictured to the left. These are finished, but “unfinished” as I hope to glitz them up a bit more before using them. Here is another tutorial that also works, but varies slightly when it comes to the base of the rose. I’m totally thrilled that I can make these now. I’m looking forward to playing with potential designs.
The first paper rose I made went on the Dreadnaught Darling’s birthday card. While I don’t think the rose was the best paper rose ever crafted, I was proud enough to include it on a gift to a friend. In the future I look to my skills improving.
Happy Birthday Mum!
Speaking of cards! My mum received hers in the mail yesterday. A day late, but it got there intact! I’m pleased with her card for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I think it looks smashing. I used pictures of her guinea pigs and combined them with other stock photography to create a collaged birthday tea party. There was a lot of cutting involved, but I feel it was worth it. Overall, Mum likes it and that’s what matters. Now I just have to mail her the gift I had purchased for her, misplaced, and just found. Silly me.
Have a delightful Friday!