30 November 2011

vintage books for kids

photo :: property of this site

a few months back a used book store took over the space that was once a border's. this shop is the most amazing place that ever there was! it is a huge space, filled with shelf after shelf of gently used books (my favorite kind!). most are priced at $1 or $2, which is unheard of even at thrift shops nowadays. 

i have yet to get myself more than a handful of books, because i find that i spend all of my time digging through the children's section. thehobbit has come home with many treasures, & elfling is now the proud owner of a large stack of some very cool board books. 

the best part? i have found some gorgeous vintage kids' books like the one pictured above. elfling likes charlie brown & snoopy, so i tossed the book onto my stack, without even looking at the condition. after all, a 2 year old doesn't much care if pages are torn, or scribbled upon. imagine my surprise when, once home, i discovered the book to not only be in pristine condition, but a first edition. needless to say it was elevated to books we look through only with mama or dada status.  i know, i'm a killjoy.

here are a few more vintage books we have recently added to our collection:

* richard scarry's busy, busy world was one of my favorite childhood books. my mother bought thehobbit many scarry books, which we saved, but not this one. i was thrilled to find a 1970 copy! apparently later editions were edited to be more p.c. - blah. our copy is missing half of one page, but as i only paid two dollars, i am not going to complain. besides, elfling enjoys stopping on that page to say "dis page es teared. bébé not teared et."

* richard scarry's best counting book ever is one i had not seen before. elfling is swoony for this book because it has green bug on nearly every page. our copy is from 1975, but looks as if it's never been read.

* little golden book - cars from 1973 is so cute! elfling loves vehicles of all sorts, so is going to adore this book. unlike the others i chatted about, this one has been set aside for xmas. 

like with other vintage treasures, searching for old books is not for the faint of heart. you have to love the hunt itself beyond measure, because it can be grueling. you also have to be willing to spend hours searching, knowing that most likely you will leave empty handed.

ok, i don't enjoy leaving without a treasure, but i do love, love, love the hunt. so tell me, what books from your childhood have you given your child(ren)?


23 November 2011

sans turkey

photo :: property of this website.
were i aware of my camera's whereabouts, i would have taken a few autumnal photos for you. los angeles in autumn is quite beautiful. as it is i had to rely on a google search for today's photo. i must say, that am happy i could not find the camera - just look at that wonderful old photo!

today my mind is filled with thoughts of food: what i am cooking, what i have gotten already, & what i have yet to buy. honestly, i do not know how people with large families manage. it is just we four, & i am having daydreams of chucking it all, & ordering pizza.

this year i am not attempting a fancy protein dish; instead i bought a quorn roast. earlier this year i discovered that if you thaw the roast, slice it into rounds, marinade it, then roast it, it is much more flavorful & moist. that is the plan for thanksgiving. want to see my menu?

* turk'y roast - with mushroom gravy

* green bean casserole - using fresh haricot vert, instead of canned, & a homemade soup base. i have always caramelized the onions myself for the casserole, but this year bought trader joe's can of fried onions instead. i am pretending it's to be retro, but honestly, i just haven't the time to cook everything from scratch.

* the brussels sprouts dish that i chatted about here.

* my mom's double-layer pie. ok it is actually libby's, but i don't recall the people at libby's ever making it for me, so i'm giving the kudos to my mother. i do alter the recipe a bit: milk, instead of evaporated & condensed, only one box of pudding mix, & i bake a regular pie crust. i do not like graham crusts. ew.

* sweet potatoes, roasted with olive oil, & red onions.

* stuffing. oh my one-&-only reader, i. love. stuffing. to the usual ingredients i add: 3 diced zucchini, a bag of diced mushrooms, tons of garlic, & chopped spinach - all sauteed until fully cooked. i also omit the butter, & add a can of cream of celery soup (or mushroom). i find that veggie broth is too tangy/salty, so use water as the liquid.

ok, now i am hungry.

tell me, what are you making this year? i promise to give you full credit, if i steal your menu :)

22 November 2011

on being thankful


like many of you, i am busy getting ready for thanksgiving. we do not celebrate the myth of the pilgrims & natives - i shan't go into the whys & such here. we do, however, celebrate being thankful. one thing for which i am quite thankful, is you. i am grateful that you take time out of your busy life to come here, & read my babblings. thank you.


18 November 2011

in which i fancied gloves


let me clarify: whilst i did want a pair of gloves, that is not what i meant by fancied. i saw these ugly plain pair of gloves in a dollar bin. thinking they would be fine as-is for going to the park, i bought them. after all, i don't have to be fancy at the park.

only, i simply couldn't let them be. i rummaged through my bins of vintage goodness, hoping to find black lace or velvet ribbon. sadly i found none. what i did find...

... were 2 fancy shell buttons!

now i know they look a bit not so very katish when sitting on my filthy floor, but look!

on, they are perfectly lovely! &, i imagine, they shall look lovelier still when worn with something that is not my jams top.

i am looking forward to taking my fancied gloves to the park.


17 November 2011

thursday things - soap

photo :: property of sacred waters soap co.

normally i feature items from different places that i have stumbled upon. because i also wanted to showcase the shops on my sidebar, i thought it would be fun to combine the two. & so, this week's thursday things is about soap - specifically soap from the oh so fabulous shannon, of sacred waters soap co.

shannon's own words:

I am inspired to create a quiet, simpler life filled with beauty. Soap making seems a perfect extension of that desire.
It all began 11 years ago, my daughter was born and so was my profession. Spurred to greater heights by a desire to stay home with my children and the onset of some skin allergies, I threw myself into the magic that is soap making. I have studied, asked old timers, and practiced hard to perfect my craft.

* pure & natural is my favorite by far. oh, did i forget to mention that we use her soaps? we do. i like this because i am a bit sensitive to fragrances, even natural ones, so having an unscented soap is perfect. i also appreciate having something i can feel comfortable using on elfling.

* the holly & spice soap would be a nice prezzie for those people you don't know very well. i think my postal carrier would love a wintery soap over the boxes of chocolates i know she gets each year.

*  organic peppermint foot scrub spa set - say that 3 times fast! this set has everything you need to make your feet feel good. minus the hot water, of course.

* her laundry soap powder works as well as she claims. shannon graciously let me try a sample of the lavender zen, & i loved it.  sadly, it does not come packaged with an actual person to do the laundry.

there is so much  more to see, & she is happy to take custom orders. please take a look at her shop. the soaps are simply divine.

shannon is offering a discount for the bestest readers in all of blogdom! enter the code soapbox when checking out. woo & hoo, baby!


16 November 2011

ampersand, the end


i could tell you that i have been meaning to show you the completed ampersand for ages. i could, but i would be lying. not about the meaning to bit, but about the completed bit. you see, i kept waiting for time to do the thing properly. it would seem that life with a teen & a toddler leaves one with no time for doing anything, proper or otherwise.

today i asked thehobbit to play with elfling, & set about just getting it done. i knew that rushing the completion would mean a wonky ampersand, but it was either that, or stare at the half-finished project for the rest of my life. i have enough of those, thank you very much.

so it doesn't look like it would have had i had the time, & i am having to force myself to be content with its many imperfections - but that is ok she keeps telling herself.

what do you think? pretend you do not see all the imperfections, please. lie to me if you need. & remember: all comments that do not contain words of praise could quite possibly be deleted.

eventually it will hang higher on the wall, but for now it sits on the mirror. oh, ignore the dusty mirror, please.

it feels good to have one less half-completed project cluttering my home & head.



14 November 2011

we save the brains


thehobbit has begun the annual collecting of the brains. in more polite circles this is known as harvesting nasturtium seeds.

polite circles are dreadfully dull, if you ask me.

what is going on in your garden?


11 November 2011

it's all right


there is such magic in the early morning sunlight. my sewing nook faces eastward, so is filled with this magic at the start of each day. i love how it makes me feel.

things are especially messy at the moment, what with the recent flurry of sewing goodies for theshop. i prefer sewing in the morning, to soak in some of that magic, but my children prefer otherwise :)

today i got as far as poking through my bin of vintage bits & bobs, before i was thwarted. i had hoped on finishing the latest fancy pouch whilst they ate, but a certain elfling insisted he needed an audience for banana-eating, & that his brother would simply not do.

that seen to, i did try to get some sewing done, but the sunlight was quickly settling behind dark clouds. without the sunlight, it just feels cold & normal in there - not nearly as enjoyable as with.

i snapped a few photos before calling it a day.

here comes the sun, & i say
it's all right.


08 November 2011

elevensies, the sale

photo :: property of ???
beginning this friday, 11-11-11, there will be free shipping on all orders over $11.00! 

ooh & aah kat, but for how long?, you ask. well, my dearest one & only reader, that is the best part of all. this elevensies celebratory goodness will last as long as the year does. by my calendar that means things should go back to normal come the first of january - unless you can find a way to stretch time, that is.

i have already begun sewing & painting lovely goodies for you, & will continue to do so until mid december. in addition to the things usually found in theshop, there shall be: toddler birthday crowns, adventure kits, acorn gnomie kits, fancy lined pouches, & more!

the hows & whats:

beginning 11-11-11 (pacific time, usa), go to theshop, & make your purchases. if your order totals $11.00 or more, you will get free shipping. you needn't let me know anything, nor enter a code of any sort. before your order ships, i'll simply refund your shipping to your paypal account - easy peasy! (please contact me if you need to make your purchase without waiting for the refund. i understand how tough times are right now, & am happy to fidget things for you.)

there you have it! please spread the word, so others can take advantage of the elevensies celebratory sale (& so a certain someone can pay for her blended mocha addiction.)

happy shopping! & happy eleven eleven eleven!


07 November 2011

downton abbey

have you seen it yet? i fell in love with the series earlier this year, when it played on pbs. that link will take you to pbs' downton abbey page, & give you the dates for season two's airing. i have already seen season two! in fact, i just finished watching the last episode. i have connections, don't you know?

actually, i haven't. i watched the second season on fast pass :) 

photo :: property of here

would you just look at those gorgeous costumes? i tell you, there were times i had to replay an episode, because i'd missed so much in paying more attention to what people were wearing. i want that gown on the left - minus the lace collar. 

there is to be a special christmas episode, & then we have to wait until next year for season three. i hate waiting. until then, i shall have to be content with watching the whole thing from the beginning. over & over & over & ...


04 November 2011

clever goings-on


longer ago than i care to admit, i lost my kitchen blackboard's eraser. since then i have used rags, scraps of wool, thehobbit's eraser (which he promptly took back), & even a potholder - basically, whatever was at hand. oh. & my hand.

last week i had a few minutes to myself, so made an item whose purpose is solely to remove chalk from my blackboard. in other words, an actual eraser.

it was so simple:

* take two rectangles of felt, & pink their edges, so they will be oh so fancy.

* cut a small twig to size, making sure you have no sharp bits left behind.

* with some embroidery floss, affix the twig to the center of one felt rectangle.

* place the rectangles, wrong sides, together, & sew three sides shut.

* shove a blob of stuffing into the opening (you could even use felt scraps for this), & stitch the remaining side shut.

* marvel at the cleverness of you.


03 November 2011

thursday things - make it yourself

photo :: my new toddler-sized birthday crown, for sale soon!
i have decided to do away with all pretense, & just admit that i am already working on the winter holiday stuff. sigh. it is not that i want to, i have no choice. if prezzies are going to get made, & theshop is going to overflow with goodies for sale, then i cannot wait for the actual season to arrive. blah.

this week's thursday things focuses on prezzies you can make. hoorah, tutorials!!!

* wooden alphabet magnets this is the set i am making for elfling. i had been searching for new magnets for him, as his set is missing a few letters. it was fine when the magnets were just for moving around the front of my washing machine, but now that he is learning his letters, it's probably best to have them all. 

* mp3 player arm band thehobbit needs one of these! i won't bother with the patchwork (though i do love it myself) & just make it all black, or dark gray. those are the only colors he'll wear these days. i think it's the teen uniform here in los angeles she wrote, ignoring the fact that those are pretty much the only colors she wears as well.

* wrist cuff oh yes! both manlyman & thehobbit are getting an upcycled wrist cuff. 

ack! he is awake? already? sigh. ok, my sweet one & only reader, that will have to be it for today. happy crafting!


02 November 2011

steve, pegged


elfling was given a dvd featuring 3 episodes of blue's clues. assuming he'd enjoy it a few times, then lose interest, i popped on the disc. yeah. there will be no losing of interest anytime soon. my wee boy is knee-deep in bluesmania. he talks, non-stop, about the show, sings the songs, & asks to play bahlews clews, as he calls it, over & over.

as i am trying to make most of the boys' holiday prezzies this year, i decided that a blue's clues play set was in order.

above is my first attempt at steve. not good enough for theshop, but just fine for my own 2 year-old.

i cannot show you my first blue as she, well - wondering if i was being hard on myself, i showed her to elfling. he did not even know who it was! he just sat, staring at her, with a look of utter confusion on his sweet face. that is telling, my friends.

hopefully i will manage a blue peg soon, as i am not so sure a steve's clues play set would be as thrilling ;)


ps :: this is not another too-early xmas post - it is a too-early solstice post. so there.

01 November 2011

a rockin' ho ho ho

photo ::  property of  mimi kirchner

ok, i know i am always one of the first in line each year for complaining about early xmas posts. that said? i just had to show you this doll. isn't he fabulous? i always knew santa was hiding tattoos under his velvets.

you may return to your candy now.

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