22 February 2009

Girl in a cute dress

Remember the end of this post? Way down at the bottom? I finally got a photo of our thrift store treasure on our wee human treasure. Here she is, all dressed up to go out for breakfast with Grandma Myra.
V really liked the fluttery sleeves.
And later in the day, after the dress had come untied, and it was time to wear Mama's shoes instead of her own.

We are behind in our recycling, so it's spilled out into the kitchen proper. Please disregard. Focus on the cute parts. That's how I try to live my life.

21 February 2009

Jeez, where've ya been?

I've been on Facebook. I realize I'm about 4 years behind the curve, and really, I find the blog a more satisfying communication form. But...well, it's likely most of you already understand the lure of Facebook, so I won't go into it. I'm not proud of myself. It's just how it is.

If you were hoping for a blog post with substance or positivity, you should go here instead.

In related news, this is one of my new favorite blogs. Be careful, though: I often find myself laughing out loud. Normally this is fine, but when I'm at work and Sara (who shares a cubicle wall with me) has a student in her office and I suddenly guffaw, um, it's awkward. I can't help it if I think a blog about cakes gone wrong is a fabulous idea. Really. Plus, it makes me hungry for buttercream frosting.

I have about 6 posts floating around in my brain. I just need to find the time/energy/right mix of liquor to get them out. Until then, don't despair, Languishers. I'm here. I'm cold and ornery and I hate February, but I'm still here.

10 February 2009

February planting time

When I taught in Crookston, every Friday was Plant Sale Friday, and for $1 or $2, you could buy a variety of funny little plants. Most of the plants in our picture window are from there, even though it's been four years since I got to go to Plant Sale Friday. I don't know that this proves I have a green thumb so much as shows the hardiness of Crookston's plants.
February is so bleak, I can barely stand it. So this weekend V and I got inspired to try something different. I bought two bags of soil, pulled two overgrown pots of some type of aloe-vera (I think) from our picture windowsill, and we went to work.V put marbles in the bottom of our thrift-store pots, to help with drainage, and then scooped dirt from one container to another. We got good and dirty. Since it was a long process, we had to snack, too, so you'll note the nearby animal crackers.It was really fun to do this with V. She gets excited about getting dirty inside, and likes pouring and scooping stuff. I tried to play teacher and talk to her about roots and sunlight and water and the nutrition plants get from soil, but she mostly wanted to play. I can think of nothing better to chase away the midwinter blues than playing in dirt, can you?

So two overgrown pots became seven reasonable ones. The one on the far right got taken to school today (V loves the mason jar, because she can see the dirt), and the middle orange one went to Grandma Myra's, but the rest are available for adoption. Who wants a nice new plant?

07 February 2009

Regular price, four bucks, four bucks.

Twice a year, one of our area thrift stores has an enormous bag sale, where all clothes, shoes, purses, and belts are $4 for a paper grocery sack full. And everytime it comes around, I think, ah, I think I'll skip it this year. We don't need anything, and we have too much crap already...and then somehow I end up there at 9am, waiting in line for the doors to open with the families of immigrants and the people who have cars packed so full of stuff that they can't see out their windows. When V was an infant, I used a baby carrier, tied her to my body, and took her along for the ride. The last few years, I've left her at home with her Daddy or coerced Grandma to come play, because this sale is not for the faint of heart. This year, though, Grandma was spoken for, and it was Daddy's turn to sleep in. So I braved this crazy place with a three year old, giving her strict instructions to stay by me, and if she couldn't see me, she was to call out "Lumpy?" and I'd answer "Bubbles!" until we found each other. We had to do that twice, but there were no tears, we were in and out in an hour and twenty minutes, and scored two bags worth of clothes for us, Grandma Myra, Auntie Jess, and cousins Will and Emmy.
These are the store tags, all removed. V and I added them up, and you wanna guess the regular thrift store prices for all our items? $87. Eighty seven THRIFT STORE dollars. You can imagine our excitement at paying less than 10% of that. (see kids? Math can be fun). The bright orange ones are actually new products Target donates when they can't sell something. I love it when that happens.
Cooler still is this price tag, on a pair of pants I bought that will probably be too big for my sister. You can't tell in the photo, but they are a lovely black cord with a pattern, and apparently the pattern is made of pure gold, because the store tag reads $98. That can't be right, can it? No one on this planet pays $98 for a pair of pants. Do they? At any rate, if they ARE too big, let me know if you want them. I'll sell them for $47. Otherwise, I'm cutting it these up to put in a quilt. A magic quilt made of gold.

Here's the main pile. Across the top and middle there, you'll see sweet plaid pants, some jeans, four sweaters, a turtleneck, and a green corduroy Land's End jumper, all for V to wear within the next year. Across the bottom, a blouse for Jess, a fleece pullover for Will, and the cutest purple flowered corduroy jacket I've ever seen for Emmy. Also, that blue cardigan in the middle has a faux-fur collar. Also for Emmy, I'm pretty sure my sister wouldn't buy her such a garment, but I'm excited to see her in it. Every baby needs some faux fur.

I asked Shaun to take a picture of just the denim skirt, but he refused. So here we are. I like this picture, because it reminds me of a freakshow photo where a regular sized person stands next to a giant for scale. See, here I'm the giant. The apparently unflattering sweater was already mine, but I didn't have a good long denim skirt. Not pictured for me (because the photos came out worse than that one, above) are a short corduroy skirt in burgundy and rose pink slacks for work. I wouldn't normally chose rose pink slacks, and they look a little like scrubs, but they will be a nice change this spring from my black trouser uniform.
But the best part? You knew I'd save the best part for last, didn't you? The best part has to be these two dresses, the first two things I found as we swarmed the store with the rest of the crowd. Both vintage, both just right for V to wear in the next year (though this first one may be a little big). I could not be more excited! First, a cotton number with corduroy trim:
And this? This may be the most glorious dress I could ever have imagined. Except it's polyester. But the skirt? That's embroidery, people. Nobody embroiders on kids clothes anymore. You think you're gonna find something this pretty at Old Navy? Nuh-uh. Old Navy sells thong underwear for five year olds. This dress is the antidote to thong underwear. After she wears it a few times, I may just have to frame it, I like it so much.May all your future polyester dresses be this fancy. May your bags be full of bargains. And may all your underwear offer full, comfortable coverage.

03 February 2009

Teetering on the edge

Forget waterboarding. Real torture is watching your child be sick. And I'm just talking bad cold/ear infection sick here, realizing that many parents suffer through so much worse. But seriously, V woke up crying "It hurts, Mama! It hurts!" then coughed until she threw up. Twice. There is just nothing good about starting a day that way. Add in sleep deprivation and grading, and you've got one distressed Mama.

But I'm not going to dwell. Because if I dwell, I'm gonna lose my shit and start screaming my bloody head off, and then nobody wins.
Here's something I've been trying to think of how to share with y'all for awhile. It's my version of collage, or ATC, or some such thing. It started with this photo album, bought at a thrift store. It's so pretty, and was in such good shape. But nobody prints 2 1/2 x 3" photos anymore...so I decided to make little collages for each photo slot. I did this in fits and spurts, often while watching evening TV with Shauners after V had gone to bed. Using this method took me about four years to complete all the collages, so I'm not necessarily recommending it. But it was very satisfying: each is supposed to stand alone as a tiny artwork, but also as part of the page layouts. I've tried to find pleasing arrangements.
Sometimes they reflect what was going on in our lives at the time (like the V one with white roses, a few months after she was born, or the one on the bottom right, above, which has a butterfly and the words "Thinking of better jobs" made when I was six months pregnant and unemployed, having just interviewed for my current position), but often they just came together from the materials I had in front of me. The elements come from old calendars, National Geographics, rubber stamps, a prayer tract (I don't know where I got that...), some cool stickers I'd been hoarding, leftover copies of the program from our wedding reception, old Bingo cards... I used a glue stick, primarily, as adhesive, and the backgrounds are generally white or cream cardstock with oil pastels, acrylics, watercolors, or, on two occassions, oil paints. Almost every card has a word or phrase, or sometimes two.
Now that it's done, I'm not quite sure what to do with it. It's difficult to photograph as a whole, obviously, though this image led to this necklace, which was cool.
Beyond that, though, I mean, I make anyone who comes over look at it (those poor Jehovah's Witnesses are still praying for me...) and tell me what they think. And V thinks it's fascinating. I assume when I'm a famous artist this will be a primary exhibit...but until then, you'll have to come visit and see it in person. Trust me, it's totally worth it.