Friday, November 21, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

After school time with Maria, Leo, and Mister Washburn Foo... Miyazaki and popcorn, too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Maybe Not Today

Mister Washburn Foo says,
No bed making today, thank you.
It's naps and baths, and more naps.
That is all.
You may be excused. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When We Gather Leaves

When we gather the fallen leaves...

We bring them to Tasha and Ada Goat...

Then, whoosh! The leaves are gone.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Five Good Things

Our last lilikoi of the season. Maria loves her passionfruit, with a passion. They smell of Hawaii, taste sweet and tangy, and look alien and cool. And that's just the fruit! Have you seen the flowers on a passionfruit vine? They are enticingly, wondrously strange.

Good things...

1. Jelly jars, watered down glue, glitter, and candles... our craft gathering was perfect. We were a small group, but productive. And I think we should add a second event to our calendar, soon.

2. Hearing from friends, near and far {Australia, Spain, Florida!} who were crafting, too. I really love the connections and friendships I've made in this big, beautiful world.

3. Diana showed me how to rescue the stitches I dropped in my knitted thing. The thing may be more than I want to deal with, after all, but I was happy to learn a new trick.

4. Geoff and William labored over the small mill, and finally got it to do something very cool... it's carved, in wax, a small replica of the lion's head knocker on our bathroom door. Next up a carving in koa wood.

5. Sharing our home, our ideas, our manias, and projects with friends. Life is better shared.

Happy Monday!! Just kidding about the exclamation marks... I'm not that perky and go-get-'em about Mondays.

Happy Monday. Happy new week, happy fresh start. I hope you find plenty of goodness to enjoy, and share.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bird House & Barn

... a Farm Report~

Can you tell Ada is bleating to beat the band? Seems it is the time of year when our dear Lady Goats, Ada and Tasha, are looking for romance. We've seen, and heard, the signs, before... long days of bleating, and when Tasha joins Ada in the cry, then we know it's a longing for some male companionship. I am sorry, dear Lady Goats. We haven't found any suitable suitors.

{Bird House & Barn now accepting interviews with handsome, fun-loving bucks, with family-minded intentions. Maybe next year... }

I expect to hear plenty from Tasha Tudor Goat and Ada Lovelace Goat through the day, and probably by tomorrow, they'll be over it.

The barn is really and truly a barn, now that it's painted red. Geoff insisted that we should paint it "Barn Red," but at the hardware store Kathy said that paint color would need many, many coats to get it right, and she led us to another section where we chose our own Barn Red, which Behr calls "Forbidden Red." We kept this minor detail on the down low, knowing Geoff was certain that only genuine "Barn Red" would do. Everyone, we must keep this paint secret under wraps!

"Forbidden Red?"


We painted our barn the truest, most genuine Barn Red.

We keep pretending it's autumn, here at the Bird House. Days are in the sixties, and at night, dip a bit cooler, still. We've had mornings so overcast and foggy we can almost imagine it's actually rained. Around town we've looked for fall color, like the four red maples next to the Taco Town. Janece captured some beautiful fall moments.

I watch our animals for clues, too. Seems a couple of the hens went for a last minute molt. Will they fluff up and feather out in time for a cold, wet winter? I am hoping for all of the above. Ada goat is the one I am really betting on, because her under coat is very wooly... we even felted her fleece! If she's starts to get more of that pale creamy fluff under her hair, then I will know we have a chance of enjoying some lovely winter weather.

They eat like winter is coming!

And not far from the goats, we find Little Debbie. All the other hens are on their side of the run, enjoying their dinner. And Little Debbie, the former queen of the barn yard? She has most assuredly {and deservedly?} been dethroned. Small as she is {think fat pigeon,} she really did rule the roost, hen pecking and chasing all the other hens. It was a bit mean, and awfully silly. Staying top hen among the chickens that towered over her was a full time job, that she relished in earnest. But I warned her, Little Debbie, be careful. Someday they'll realize they are four times your size, and then you won't be so high on the roost! But she was a chicken with conviction, and never gave her feathered sisters a break.

Well, no more. The tide has turned against Little Debbie, and it's not silly, or funny, or fair. Nine hens are chasing, pecking, harassing, and wearing out one wee little chickie. Poor dear. She earned it, true, but it's getting out of hand. There's talk of finding Little Debbie a cottage of her own. Exile, for the former dictator, where she can live out her golden years reflecting on her spotted past, and hopefully find redemption.

Ada, you darling goof. I love you, so.

And you, too, Tasha. Oh, these goaters of ours.

The barn was painted, and we chose paint for the Bird House, too. Of course, it may be another year before we can show you the after pictures. Two stories of house painting. Big walls. Oh my. But before we paint our house, Geoff is making improvements to the deck that leaks into the living room. He tore out rotted wood, and built an extension to hang over the porch. It's nearly complete, and the help from Paul made a nice difference. I love what it does for the look of the back of the house. The second story was a great expanse of siding, and the new little roof acts like eyebrows on a face... making a nice expression.

Except for a couple of flats of flowers I planted before Halloween, the garden is about as quiet as it was the last time I wrote about our neglected garden.

We do have three carrots, though. Salad any one? One. Salad. Small.

Let me wrap up this post, then I'll finish planting these Sweet William, and pansies. And honestly, how hard could it be to sow more carrots, add a row of spinach, and peas? I'll be so glad I did, come March.

You'd think we were in Maine, or Oregon. And seeing our wood stack, I must admit, gives me a comforting sense of readiness.

Come winter! Fall, at least. We want your rain, and wind, your, puddles, and rivulets. Welcome, seasonal weather, long nights, and muddy spots. We are ready for campfire eves, friends in the kitchen, and wooly goats.

The light, this time of year, is soft, pink, golden. It shimmers on the leaves, and makes everything glow. It's lovely.

Friday, November 14, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Bambi and Alex set sail...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Looking For Fall

Last year we took our picnics and cameras to a park, looking for fall, and it was a lovely and low-key adventure, one I am sure we vowed to revisit soon, and often. Seems soon and often is in the realm of once a year. That's okay. I think we are destined to arrive on the finest day of the year. The clouds put on a show, the birds were flighty and full of songs. We even had the amusing honor of being visited by Duke, happiest free-ranging pup on the green! We discovered a small pond (If you are in a region not stricken by drought, please refer to "small pond" as "concrete lined puddle.") Basically, we enjoyed our sandwiches and veggies, had yummy cookies Janece baked, then we settled into leaf gazing, picture taking, and throughly enjoying the activities Maria and Amira invented. Their first success was in finding a terrific length of rope, and from there all manner of imaginary play took root and bloomed. We were treated to fall color, which was lovely to behold. All in all, an ideal afternoon... and really, we should do this again soon, and often.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Five Good Things

Janece and I took a neighborhood walk, down in San Diego... should do this every weekend! Of course not every weekend in fall feels like a day in spring! We had a nice excursion, discovered a yummy cafe, learned about a {tee-hee-snicker-snicker} funny {aptly?} named milk weed variety. And all giggling aside, this plant was amazing... full of Monarchs and ladybug beetles. Of course we have plenty of nurseries in our own neighborhood, but Green Gardens looks like a nursery worth a much longer visit.

Meanwhile, back at the Bird House, Geoff and Paul were making great strides on finishing the new overhang on the porch upstairs... this is all part of Operation Keep Rain Outside. Our leaking ceiling is oh-so-very close to being all dried up, and ready for El Niño winter. There really should be a picture, so I am promising myself to get the camera out there. Not only is the new mini roof going to save our living room, but it's giving the back of the house great visual perks. It looks really good. I already have plans for sleeping on the porch, next summer.

I made another pot of the veggie soup we had last week. Maria offered to name the soup, her new favorite, Confetti Soup! It's green, mostly but with all the heirloom veg we get in there, this time including red spinach! it's festively speckled!

Hey, is today really the tenth of November? Seriously? We are thinking of Maria's birthday, and Thanksgiving, Christmas in the city, Winter Solstice, and more nights like Saturday night... fog rolling in, friends gathered 'round, games at the dining table, and even a fire in the fire place. Absolutely perfect. So happy for the moments when we slow down, because things are moving at unbelievable pace!

Good things...

1. Maria and Amira enjoyed a craft class together, and came home with new skills, and some darling minis.

2. Max hosted a card game party... so successful, their next one is today!

3. My friend Diana discovered stickers on FB message, and I got about fifty Pusheens with Pancakes!

4. We have, mostly, completed the planning phase of our A-frame tent scheme, and have made lumber and canvas purchases. Extra good... I think we've wrangled Paul and Janece into our new mania!

5. Dear friends have welcomed two little ones into their beautiful family! I could not be happier ... No, wait I take that back! When I get to finally meet them in person, and hold them, too, then I will be satisfied!

Happy Monday, friends. Happy Veterans's Day. I am grateful for this day to reflect on the generosity, bravery, skills, and sacrifices made by our service men and women, by all who serve, volunteer, protect, teach, heal, and give for our greater good.

Friday, November 07, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Moments before the party began...

Thursday, November 06, 2014

For The Love of Making

I am a dabbler. Quilting, wool felting, sewing, embroidery, crochet, beading, clay, painting, paper crafts, miniatures, orange peels(??) For as long as I can remember I have wanted to try a lot of different artsy-craftsy-makesy things. There have been successes, flops, total flops, and sometimes just quiet inner peace and contentment, which might be best of all. Some crafts I return to again, and again, like sewing and embroidery, crochet. Some I give a go, then let it go... knitting, weaving. I would love to get back to a potter's wheel! I think sweating copper is fun. I am eager to learn more about circuitry, wiring, and fiddling with LEDs. Did you ever make tissue ghosts, paper snowflakes, walnut shell turtles? As a young girl, I was never happier than when I had some glue, tape, glitter, and paper on hand! I feel quite fortunate to be as much in love with making as ever, and even better supplied! Geoff has been a wonderful influence, insisting that the right tools, and good materials, matter. That it's worth the time to do a good job. Instead of feeling like I was just fooling around, or that I should get by with what's on hand, he's allowed me to respect the process, appreciate the value of ideas, time, effort, and interest. That's a priceless gift.

I used to keep what I affectionally call my Scrapbook of Domestic Fantasies. I still have it... magazine clippings, ideas, hopes, pretty things to admire, all clipped and pasted into a notebook. These days, it's all about Pinterest. On my Crafty Board alone, I have over 200 inspiring ideas. Some I have tried, some I hope to try. And then there are the WIPs! Works In Progress. Oh dear. Unfinished quilts, samplers, projects, a weird thing that was my lazy attempt to crochet a shawl... now mostly a thing Mr Foo sleeps on. Either I lack the patience, or the skill, or I've lost interest, but there are loads of WIPs in my stash. I almost added "lack of time" to the list of my reasons for having so many unfinished projects, but I think that would be disingenuous. When I get interested in a craft, or project, I make the time. I steal, borrow, and obsess over having time to make. It's not pretty, but it's true. And still, I keep adding to my digital Scrapbook of Domestic Fantasies, still hoping to dabble in something new, return to the projects that bring me that quiet inner peace and contentment.

Am I alone? I don't think so. Certainly not in our house, where making, tinkering, and building are such strong passions we have a separate blog dedicated to sharing our projects and interests. Our Young Makers Club, Love & Rockets ~ Art & Engineering has had this wonderful influence on my attitude... making me feel less apologetic, less sheepish, about robots in the driveway, wanting to make "weird things," throwing our hearts and energy into mentoring, exploring, and celebrating STEAM... even the crafty bits! Manual labor, art, tech work, auto shop, wood shop, home economics, cooking, DIY... all of those took such a hard hit in schools, were cut out altogether in most instances, and in many ways our national culture can be very dismissive and unappreciative of making, of creating, tinkering, playing for the sake of playing, so that I was aware that I suppressed my interests, and tried to adhere to the mainstream ideals, and downplay my "hobbies"... but no more! I love making, and I love teaching what I can, I love experimenting, and I don't always have a reason, or plan. Sometimes, as Adam Savage so passionately explains, 'You have to make what you can't not make.'

Making, I have learned, is even more fun with friends. And so in a couple of weeks I am hosting a gathering around our kitchen table, and maybe out the back yard and into the carport... I've invited friends to bring their ideas, their scrapbooks, their WIP's, their questions, their concerns, their skills, their supplies, and share. We'll have time to make progress on projects we want to finish. And I am hoping, too, we can exchange skills, offer support and encouragement and learn from each other. I really hope someone can teach me how to crochet a granny square! I even invited friends I know cannot actually come to Southern California... sure wish they could! But maybe they'll host an event, too? Maybe we will start a home movement, and all of us quiet dabblers, wild knitters, hesitant painters, ultra talented welders, and artful photographers will get together and share, encourage, tinker, dabble, spill glitter, and play together.

Hold on... more deep thoughts and other musings keep coming! I like, too, the idea of going beyond the daydreaming on Pinterest, and actually doing things. I can get inspired, and also discouraged, by all the crafts, art, projects and accomplishments in the glossy magazines, the blogs. It can be so intimidating! There are skills I don't possess, there are those flops I've experienced, and if I let it all fill my head, and if I think about not being as good as... it's a loss, a waste. So, yeah... let's not concern ourselves with perfect outcomes, with making the cover of MSL. This is about learning, sharing, growing, playing, and exploring, starting over, and if need be... giving up! There are some crafts I may never conquer, and frankly, some I will never bother with... if I see one more "amazing-this-can't-be-a-toilet-paper-roll craft" again, I might blurt: But it is. It is a toilet paper roll, and I don't want it on my Thanksgiving table, because it's not 'Uh-mazing!' It's a toilet paper roll. With googly eyes. Stop."

{Sorry, but hey, we all have our crafty limits, right?}

Have you seen Pinterest Fail? "Where good intentions come to die." It's hilarious, and reassuring.

"Not all who wander are lost."
J.R.R. Tolkein

"Not all who Pin & craft are going to make the cover of "Martha Stewart Living," but that shouldn't stop us from making our journey!"
N. Chickenblogger