30 August 2011

A story with no discernible moral (and sadly, no photos).

About three miles before V, Seven, and I arrived at the in-laws lake home today, V cried from the backseat "I spilled! Oh!" I glanced back to see a large puddle (nearly a pool) of chocolate milk, rapidly moving toward our white dog. For some insane reason, I travel without a full sized bath towel in the front seat, so there was nothing I could do. V was upset, though, and not just because she'd lost the last cup (or more) of her chocolate milk. "Aaah!" What now? "He's DRINKING IT!" Good. Maybe he'll soak less of it into his tail that way.

But as we got out of the car, it was clear that a full half of the dog's fur was chocolatey down to the skin. Now, at our house, I probably would've toweled him off and called it good, but, you know, the in-laws might notice a chocolate milk coating on their carpet and sofa, and their two dogs would certainly notice Seven's new hairdo.

What to do? There was no choice: get V to don her swimsuit, and then toss the dog in after her. He promptly ran out, but I caught him, we washed him, and now he's all fluffy, lake-scented dogginess, with just a hint of chocolate. Yum, yum.

Happy end of summer, y'all.

26 August 2011

I love a good purse...

...and a good bargain, so when I found this lovely canvas/suede embroidered bag at Saver's for $7.99, I could not walk away.
It's even prettier in person, I tell you. But it's rather large, and as such my things have a way of floating around into a massive jumble of unfindable geegaws. This chaos is even more than I, the Prime Minister of Chaos, can bear. Hence, a purse organizer was in order.

Purse organizers aboud, ladies and gentlemen, but even for one that's award winning, I'm not willing to spend $16. I know, I'm cheap. And forget award winning: Oprah even supports one (called the purseket, which makes me think of a parakeet, which makes me think of what an unholy mess a small pet bird could make in any purse...anyhoo), which is totally good enough for me, but at over $20, well, I can make my own.
 Photographed in our bathroom during V's bathtime (hence the scenic towel backdrop), I present my version. It's made of yellow cotton, nearly denim weight, quadrupled upon itself to make the back and two pockets. I used quilt binding at the ends to keep all the ravel-y parts together, and I measured my wallet (that lovely green thing with the peacock, below), our cell phone, my camera, and a little notebook. Then I sewed corresponding pockets and winged the rest, and wa-la!
 My own sunshine-colored purse organizer, made entirely with stash materials, so essentially free. Even if I'd had to buy fabric, it would've been less than $6. That's how I roll, people. Plus it works very well, is sturdy enough to stand on it's own (in the purse) and totally machine wash & dryable. I'll have to take out all my stuff first, of course (said she of having washed a cell phone once so I'm gonna try not to do THAT again fame).
Oprah can call me if she wants to know more. I'll be here, or at a thrift store, or in front of the sewing machine. And my bag will stay cleverly organized, too. Ta-da!

25 August 2011

Quilts of our lives, part 7-ish

This is an exceedingly simple quilt that I really like. I always meant to quilt it more thoroughly, but it's been put into circulation, so I haven't gotten to that. It's roughly a twin-sized quilt, and V uses it on her bed when she's not using the chickens.
 The pink, green, yellow, and blue are all the same pattern of a retro-remake kinda thing, and the white is a lovely medium-weight denim. Due to my tendency to sew through my own appendages, I tend to avoid white, but this quilt demanded it, and I think you'll find the blood barely visible.
 It's quilted in a simple grid pattern and then along the diagonals (the squares are 16" or better); this is just enough to keep the thing together, but it's clean and I like it.

This quilt has a nice cotton batting, so it's got a good heft to it. A simple, vintage-inspired quilt that I'm actually pretty proud of.

These....are the quilts of our lives. (I amuse myself).

20 August 2011

Craftiness and advice seeking (with way too many photos)

I'm on sabbatical, which is fantastic, though I have a sizable work-related project to complete this semester. Still, I'll have more spare time than I've had since I was four years old. Really. One of the things I want to do with this time is invest energy into things I've always wanted to do more but never had time. I'm reading books (another upcoming post, don't worry), and sewing more, and I've decided to apply for a couple of craft shows this semester. I did a few of these in college, and one a few years ago, but craft shows are different now, in many ways, and I'm really excited to try to partake in this newer wave of craftism.
So, without further ado, I present my wares. I'm looking at possibly a show in October and hoping very much to get accepted for one in November.
 Lucky stars: these are little, and plush, with sweet embroidered faces. The four year old down the street declared "These are SO cute!" today, and so I'm hoping the craft show audience will be full of 4 year olds.

 Next up, the earrings. Any of you who've known me for any period of time should by now have been presented with at least one pair of your own, and perhaps more. I wrote about how to make them here.  The earwires are all sterling silver or gold-filled, and the beads come from all over, from vintage pieces to New York to New Orleans, Oregon to overseas. I hand craft each pair and guarantee them for as long as you own your ears.

 I found this cool chicken-wire type cage thing at the thrift store the other day. I think I like it as an earring display: I stuffed it with cream-colored chiffon for a neutral backdrop.

 I really like to use natural materials (and lots of colored glass, as you can see). Above, some polished stones with wood balls.
 My earrings are fairly simple, and basic in structure, but they are well-made and pretty. One friend of mine (at least) still wears pairs she bought from me in the late 90s.
 Finally, some satin flowers. There are lots of tutorials all over the web on how to make these yourself. The one I started with is here, though I use a center button, sewed on, and a bit less hot glue.  This one is good, too.
 This purple flower is about 6" across, and as such is enormous. . But I'm going to sew/glue it to a soft stretchy headband, and then it will be very fancy.Or maybe I'll make it a pin.Or a necklace pendant. Fancy, anyway.
 Those 3 above are all small hairclips and look adorable.
 And this one's sewn unto a strong ponytail holder. Cute, eh?
So what I'm asking is: what do you think? Would you stop by and visit my booth, if you were at a craft show? What would get you to go to a craft show, if you don't go usually? What display/pricing/product suggestions do you have? I like the idea of three sections of the table, one for earrings, one for plush, and one for flowers. And these are three things I love to make lately.

Please, I could use advice/moral support. What do you think?

Mushroom Party 2011

Gentle readers, you know we've had an ongoing obsession with mushrooms here in Languishingland.  Given the wet summer we've had, it seems the mushrooms have arrived early.

 Lovely stepping mushrooms, growing on the woodpile at the lake.
 This mushroom was all by itself, but lovely and creamy white. It was about 5 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter.
 The underbelly, or the gills, or whatever that part is called is my favorite.
 Especially when the sun shines through it.
 Today's last mushroom was tiny tiny tiny (as you can see by the blades of grass). Its stem is only the width of a dandelion stem.
What a perfect little mouse-umbrella. Aren't you excited for mushroom season?

17 August 2011

Something fishy (not suitable for mealtimes. Or anytime, really)

Minnesota, with more coastline than Florida & Hawaii combined, is full of wholesome outdoorsy goodness. We enjoy the weather with outdoor meals, splashing in the clear waters, and fishing for sport and food.
 And sometimes Mother Nature sends a little reminder of how things really are. Right into our idyllic vacation.
 All three of the kids were fascinated, and Jess and I tried hard to hide our complete disgust. Royal nastiness, this.
We still took the time to photograph it, though, so I could share it with all of you. Aren't you glad I'm always thinking of the blog?

10 August 2011

My Little Sister

She inspires me to be a better mama. Her patience and creativity, her obvious love for her children and for my daughter, never cease to move me.
 She's on a new path, now, leaving her preschool teaching job to follow her true calling as a music therapist. Such a huge leap, but I know she can do this.
My brave, smart, patient, loving sister.

Self portrait in silhouette

An afternoon walk at Lake Minnie Bell. Photos of me don't end up on the blog very often, so I thought I'd take a self-portrait.

Wait, though. I look like a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's. Maybe I should move my arms to illustrate that they're arms, and not some awkward square-top-of-my-body-things.

Okay, nevermind.

08 August 2011

Look and learn, grasshopper.

To prove that Languishing's not just a pretty face, I've applied the same concepts that are discussed in this post, about flowers, to this cool grashopper I found on the side of a laundry mat. Don't you love it when ideas are transferrable?
 Okay, so he's slightly above my head, but I got as close to him as I could. Look at the variety of textures on his legs and wings. And the brick of the building? Fantastic backdrop. Thank you, Herr Grasshopper.
To follow my own advice, I tried different angles. The grasshopper is still above my head (I don't really like to touch grasshoppers. Perhaps it's from when I was little and we'd drive out to the farm and grasshoppers would leap on, over, and into our car from all angles. Perhaps it's because I once got a grasshopper in my mouth while riding on the open-cab tractor. Perhaps it's from the recurring nightmares), so I just stretched out my arms and shot him from above. I do this same thing when I shoot from underneath flowers, often: I'm lazy, so I just point the camera from below, take a bunch of shots, and hope it works out. And this top-down shot was the best of Herr Grasshopper from that angle.
 I pulled back a little, because I liked the perspective of the whole wall stretching out to the door of the laundry mat, broken only by this rogue grasshopper. If this were a soap opera, I'd focus in on the laundry mat door to show a disheveled couple leaving the building, trying to look nonchalant, and then I'd zoom back to the grasshopper. Dramatic! Confusing! That's how we roll.
And finally, the from-below shot. I love his red legs. Plus, I know this is why you come to my blog, people: to see fine examples of grasshopper butts.

You're welcome.

03 August 2011

Nebulizers are our friend.

V's cold has settled in her chest, and when that happens, sometimes, her lungs get all pissy, like "Nuh-uh." And then she gets wheezy. Sometimes really really wheezy. So last night we went to the walk-in clinic, because I'd rather spend an evening at the walk-in than end up at the ER at 3am.

Which is where we would've found ourselves, it turns out. Her oxygen was lower than the doctor cared for, so V got two nebulizer treatments there, and they sent us home with one of our very own (rented, for now, anyway). Neb treatments every four hours (including one at five am last night), then every six, along with a steroid, will hopefully kick her lungs into shape.

Seven's a little jealous of the adorable nebulizer, but hopefully in a few days we can send the penguin back from whence he came.

So pardon the light posting: I'm busy playing with plastic penguins and making V stop running around like a 5 year old so she doesn't wear herself out.