SO, - BIG news (well, for me... for now, at least!) - Since getting my little Etsy site up and going, I've mustered the courage (with an equally-crazy friend of mine) to hurry up and get some things together to join in on the Petaluma Craft Mafia's annual winter craft fair........Running with Glitter.
Many more picts to come, - but wanted to give you a preview of my new re-purposed Red Cross wool blanket Viking Helmets.... as you can tell, - my boys LOVE them, ... glitter or no glitter. I'll be selling these, along with some other winter wool crowns, little boys and girls aprons, and some of the other things already on my Etsy site.... Wish me luck!
Hello friends! I've just put a few things up on my brand new Etsy site... hopefully you'll head over there to check it out. For the last year or so, I've been a little bit in LOVE with wool, - well - felting it to be exact. SO, - 'wha-la' - my little handmade play mats...
They're made by crossing the raw wool fibers back and forth in a pattern, soaking it with warm soapy water, and then agitating it by hand until the fibers sort of fuse together. It's like... Magic.
I made three different kinds of roll-out play mats - farmland, desert, and 'pirate' - with little wooden pieces that I'm selling along with them. I've got no idea how they'll sell, - I'm not (as I'm sure you've already figured) super 'pro', or motivated to get out there and read all the marketing and selling blogging and Etsy tips (!)... still, - I figured there's no time like the present to give it a try.
I think, really, - that the most difficult bit of this little project of mine was the pricing. The actual creating was - of course - super fun. While it's hard to know what might sell if someone happens to stumble upon it (no, no, - I'm not holding my breath), - its even more difficult to sort out how to adjust for my time. .. And selling these very textural objects in such a flat online format, - well.. who knows?
So, anyway... here's my first go of it, and if nothing else, - it's a lesson I'm always trying to teach my boys: "Live your life"... "Put yourself out there"... and as cliche as it may sound, - "Go for it."
If you feel like stopping by, - please do! I'd LOVE to hear your feedback, suggestions, tips, etc. I'm hoping to put a few more little 'stocking stuffer' style things on the site in the next week or so... we'll be in touch :)
(I linked my Etsy store above, - but if you wanted to browse in general, go to www.etsy.com - to find me, - go to the link for 'sellers' then type in my store name - Loclocshop. Thanks for looking...)
One whole weekend with nowhere to go. OH. JOY!
And, though it started with a big pile of 'TO-DO-s' looming just in front of my morning coffee, - my good senses rightly won over, and this overwhelmed calendar was abruptly closed in favor of ... Oooh, so much more.
Rainy though it may have been, - our weekending was spent wonderfully free... and without a blink, we filled it right on up - with things we all love to do... 'making' and 'meandering' both individually and together, - 'Whole Family' as my Joe so appropriately calls it.
Ooh, for more days like these, please. Please...
Oh my. How time flies. It was so, so many years ago that I was this age... running up the steps to the post office to stand in wonder at the many, magical Post Office boxes... each numbered, each individual, holding rows and rows of little personal letters and treasures - just waiting for the turn of one teeny-tiny marked key.
We never had a P.O. Box ourselves, - but the wonder of it all was a world of possibility, like a little capsule of the unknown... or the long-anticipated.
Of course, then, staring dreamily at these precious little boxes, my youthful, green eyes would wander toward the counter, - the perfect counterbalance to the big, imaginative world of personal correspondence. Over there, was the seemingly perfect 'system' for making it all flow. The rows and rows of boxes awaiting assembly, the little individual stamps and papers indicating 'fragile', 'air mail' - or 'sign for delivery'... the clean white bags-on-wheels just behind the counter, waiting to take each parcel to its unique destination. And, of course, the proudly displayed stamps... in a frame, just out of touch, showcasing the numerous sizes and styles, each holding the promise and knowledge that the more you stick on, the further away your package can go... yes, I dare say, - to places unknown. Oh, yes, - Places Unknown, - lest I forget the PASSPORT window... to me, a 'Land of Oz' curtain, - before my very eyes.
Now that I'm older, I see the lines. I shift there, irritated with the molasses-like movement behind the counter, frustrated with the amount of junk mail that dominates my experience with the Post. BUT, when I bring the boys... well, I remember. And, OH, thank goodness I do.
On this particular day, the boys and I were mailing a package to Mammy - a Thank You book for the super beach vacation we had spent with her, - and a Thanksgiving Banner, modeled after the one I had just made for home. Henry, especially, was so excited to give it to her, almost dancing up the steps and into line to hand his precious package, trustingly, over the counter... with the utmost confidence that this envelope holding his very important artwork and love notes would make it right to the place it was designed to be.
... When I was young, everyone I knew lived right there in my town. It was rare we sent or received mail to or from some far-off place. I remember vividly, though, the day my aunt and uncle sent me a coconut from Hawaii. It didn't even come in a package... the tag hung right off the top, stapled somehow on the inside, like one over-sized, hairy grenade. Picking it up from the Post Office that day was... Momentous. So, here's to you, dear Post Office, - for the possibilities, memories, and loved ones you help us remember.
I was Oooooh so happy to get those skeletons and rotting pumpkin out of my house, oh. yes.
Isn't that the way it goes, - lots of fun in planning, in winding - up.... but the day after? I am over. it. ... And I know I can't be the only one.
Well, - then what? Yes, of course,... Thanksgiving... One very important season of gratitude.
Frankly, though, I'm not a 'Pilgrims and Indians' kind of gal, - and since we head out of town to my dear Auntie's every year, poor Thanksgiving has been nothing but a little stop-over, with a few left-over pumpkins piled up by my front door.
So I had this idea, this season, for a gratitude banner. My boys love the Birthday/ Celebration ones I've made.... they seem to indicate something special on the horizon, - a little reason for anticipation, celebration, and warmth. And they are SOOO simple ... just fabric scraps, a little bias tape... and NO pattern-reading needed - (ooh thank goodness.)
Just one short evening, and ...
... "Wha-la", - my little Thanksgiving banner - possibly not entirely straightforward in holiday specifics, but 'autumnal-esque' just might be all we need. It did, however, lead to a little confusion this morning, as the boys noticed it immediately and started dancing around and asking whose party it was, and "WHERE DID YOU PUT THE CAKE????!!!?"
Aah, OK, - let's have a party... and cake? - Well, I say: WHY NOT~!
(now if I could only get rid of those ridiculous white switch plates on my green wall - ohh, anyway.)
"The Hunter," sure. This was the proclamation of Henry, my fully-invested one, upon donning his much-anticipated Robin Hood Costume. "The Hunter." OK, sure.
But,...... "Bob Dylan"? To be sure, - announcing his new incarnation right on the heels of Henry's grandly enthusiastic declaration, my little Joe's choice of moniker seemed...... welllllll..... I'll just say it: PERFECT.
You can't harness conviction, right? ... And, maybe, sometimes... it's more about the fanfare, than anything else AT ALL. Agreed?
Oh, How I Love. These. Boys.
A couple of months ago my wild ones saw the old Robin Hood cartoon movie... and they were hooked,... their little hearts resolutely purposed upon one clear goal: Halloween Costumes.
(Really, I mean, really... I don't think anyone can resist Roger Miller singing "Oo-De-Lally" - without getting hooked, - it's just TOO cute.)
Since the declaration was made many weeks prior to the great dress-up event, we thought we'd have plenty of time to convince little Joe to take on the role of "Little John" (the great bear side-kick).... but, as you can imagine, - Joseph Dennis WOULD NOT be contained to such a minor role, - and insisted on being the equally-important title character: Robin Hood.
So, - One evening, 5 yards of felt, a little bit of orange faux fur, a few feathers, and - "ta-daaa" - Robin Hood, and Little Robin Hood were born. (I will, for now, gently dismiss the great-big-ol-can-o-morally-confusing-worms the story did present, however... we'll see to that one, another day.)
NOW, - the true spirit of the costumes could not be fully realized until my good little thieve's dear daddy completed the all-important, much-discussed, - bows and arrows.
(Bravo, Danny - Bravo.)
We barely got the quivers 'round their arms, - and they. were. off.
For the last couple years, Ol' Fall has rushed through and passed me right on by, with hardly an exhale. I know this happens largely because I hold on - so desperately - to Summer... and, probably, of course, because this season seems to becomes a big, stumbling trip, of back-to-school, and prepare-for-rain, and pumpkin-patches, and can't-find-the-galoshes, and Halloween-costumes, and hurry-up-and-do-something-with-those-tomatoes-!
But NO, not this year. I mean, yes, of course... all those dear-Autumn-I'm-dizzy things are still part of the push... but THIS YEAR, I promised my boys we'd go apple-picking. Doesn't that sound... so... Aautumnal?
Well... OH. MY. GOSH..., was it worth it... full of lots of praise for my "Great Idea, MOM!!!" from Henry, and the adoption of a new Joe-inspired family mantra, "It's-another-golden-delicious!!... It's-ANOTHER-golden-delicious!!!... IT'S ANOTHER GOLDEN DELICIOUS!!!!!" - The surprise, and thrill, and pure 2-year-old-GLEE flooding out of each. and. every. word. (ok, - just so we're clear, - that's not a golden delicious!).
So we visited Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch in Sebastopol, on a warm Friday morning, while my good ol' pal from Colorado was visiting (thanks for coming, - Fatima). It was really just a spur-of-the-moment choice, as we googled 'Sonoma County Apple Picking' first thing in the morning, but it turned out to be just the right place.
The orchard's 3rd generation farmer, Ken Ratzlaff (yes, - that's him... getting the scale ready to weigh our 38 lbs (!!!) of apples) was incredibly generous with his time, giving us a private tour of his family's cider-making equipment ("Like Pure Sugar!!!!" - noted Henry, upon cider taste-testing.) .... We'll definitely have Farmer Ken's cider on our grocery list from now on (It's available at Whole Foods throughout California and Washington in the refrigerated section... just in case... you're interested - and, oooooh, - you SHOULD be.)
So for now, our fridge, and our pantry are FULL, - albeit only with apples. Fortunately, apples can wait - so I'll have a little time to start sewing the boy's halloween costumes before we begin the "Big Applesauce Making Marathon of 2009".
Once Again we join together to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Petaluma, as do many others, in many other towns and villages... El Dia de los Muertos.
My alter has been installed in the front window of Summer Cottage Antiques, and is part of a collection of alters in the street - an inspiring show of community, and reflection. This year I dedicated my Ofrenda to my grandparents, Olin Ozzie and Leona Annie Graves.
My grandfather, Olin, passed away before I was born, but my grandmother ("Grandma-Mom") lived just across our back field, - the same property that was once Olin and Leona's cattle ranch, - the "Diamond G"... this ranch's old street sign now hangs proudly on my own living room wall, one very precious gift from my Daddy.
Olin and Leona were my Dad's parents, and though I only knew Olin Ozzie through my family's stories... I can feel him in my own memories, - a testament to the strength of theirs. I felt that a dedication to these two, this year, was so perfectly appropriate because of just this... and a true example of what I take to be the most beautiful element of the Day of the Dead... the legend of our three deaths...
... The first, when our body dies, when we cease to take another breath. The second, when we are lowered into the ground. And the third, when we no longer live in the memory of our ancestors.
I am so very grateful to my Aunt, and to my Daddy, my Grandma-Mom too... for instilling such memories of this one man in me. I hope only to do my part in passing this world of my dear ancestors on... to my own babies, and to theirs, and to theirs...
Just look at that sky. Can you feel the sun? OOOOH, perfect days. Gone to the water, south of Santa Cruz, this past weekend - Henry, Joe, and their favorite peoples... Daddy, and Mammy, and... well, yes, - my boys still love their Mama.
I KNOW. Is there anything better? After days of rain, big rain here in Northern California (rain we ABSOLUTELY needed, and I am absolutely grateful for)... that warm sun came out smiling, and we all felt ... giddy, really... with this one more weekend of summer. (We love you too, Fall... but can you blame us, really?)
Mammy provided our 4th annual painting by the water experience... both 'o my babes painted the lake, and a duck, - SUCH great lakes... SUCH great ducks... SUCH proud boys.
... And that big Joey of mine grew up overnight: Upon losing his beloved "SHOO-SHAH" (yes, his dear pacifier) in his bed overnight, he woke up to declare that he had "swallowed it"... and didn't need it anymore, anyway.
So, no more words, - just some photos. Snapshots of these good days, - each our own. Each our own.
Too, too good.