"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Monday, April 28, 2008

St. Baldrick's Donation Winners & One More Chance to Win

So, did y'all think I forgot about drawing the prize winners for the St. Baldrick's donors?

Well, I did get around to doing it this morning. I entered all the names here (one chance in the regular drawing for each $10 donated or one chance in the grand prize for each $100 donated), clicked Randomize, and chose the name at the top of the list.

I did this for each drawing and came up with...

-for her choice of one item from my shop

Kristen- for the grand prize-
-anything from Aurora's shop
-one of Jenny's prints
-a full set of grocery bags. (I'll even let you pick the fabric! Or, you could swap this out for one of my aromatherapy necklaces.)

And thanks again to all of you that either donated or posted about this (or both). We really appreciate it!

For those of you that didn't win, you still have a chance. Just leave a comment here guessing the weight of the hair they cut off (total for the three of us). Whoever gets the closest will get a set of Aurora's upcycled, cork stitch-stoppers.

Just to help with the guessing, here's what Aurora's pony tail looked like; mine and Jenny's were a bit more puny.


Congratulations to Jimi and Kristen and good luck to the rest of you!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lasagna Gardening 2008

Here’s what I was up to this last week.


I've sheet composted an area of grass (15 feet by 25 feet) that’s to become this year’s vegetable garden. Sheet composting is also known as lasagna gardening and is basically just composting in place, adding all the layers spread out where they'll eventually be for the garden.

And special thanks to Finny for all the insanely early gardening inspiration. And, yes, her pictures of seedlings were like garden porn to me, especially as I looked out at my celibate, snow-covered yard.

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(Before and after photos)

I guess I've described the process fairly well here and here (layer well-soaked newspaper, composted manure, leaves, hay), but I’ve figured out one little change that I hope will make a big difference, at least in terms of the rate of decomposition. This time, I soaked the hay in buckets of water for between 30 minutes and several hours (actually some of them up to 24 hours) before adding them as the final layer.


I've had the hay sitting out in the elements for a year or two so I’d hoped it would be fairly rotten, but here in Colorado, apparently, things don’t rot. They just desiccate. I figured that soaking it first would help it to hold a decent amount of water when it was layered in. In the front yard the layers did, eventually, break down into compost, but I need this garden to get a move on (last frost date is in less than a month and I’ve got okra to plant).

The thing I didn’t anticipate was how gorgeous (to me anyway) the soaking liquid would be.


After sitting for awhile, it started giving off a fairly nice, composty smell and the water turned dark brown and foamy. I think that it actually formed a good compost tea because of the fact that there was so much air trapped in the stalks. Normally, when you make compost tea (yes, I’ve done it; it’s a bit of a pain, but worth it if you’ve got plant funguses) you need to run a fish tank bubbler through it to keep the biological activity on the aerobic end of things. This is important because if you get the anaerobic bacteria breeding (those that grow in low oxygen conditions), it’ll get ripe and nasty, which obviously is not a good thing.

The other thing about using hay is the fact that, as I believe Dig this Chick mentioned, hay tends to have weed seeds in it. Straw would work better. And shredded straw would be even better than that. But, hay is what I have (free from CraigsList) so hay is what I’m using. I’m actually hoping that any surviving seeds will be kick started into growing by the soaking. Then the tarps that I’ve covered the whole thing with, in addition to keeping all the moisture in, will hopefully kill off any sprouting seeds. Really, though, anything that grows out of this will be so simple to pull that I’m not terribly worried.

I swear, as this composts, the ground becomes like crumbly, chocolate cake (like this from last year) that you can easily poke your fingers into for planting.


I hope I hope I hope.

(Note- All photo credits, except this last one, Jenny Gay. Thanks, Jen!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Picture Sale

I just popped in to tell you about a great photo developing sale over at AdoramaPix. I'm not sure how long it'll last, but I have a feeling it will only be through this weekend.

They're all on vacation for Passover (which I think is a very cool thing- the whole company taking an entire week off in the spring) and they come back on Monday. Which also means that any orders that come in while they're gone will take an extra couple of days to process. But, I'm totally OK with that for half priced printing.

8x10's are only $0.99 (normally $2.29) and 16x20's are only $4.95 (normally $9.95). I think the bigger ones are only available in the Endura Lustre. And it also looks like there is some great pricing in the Endura Silk as well. Also, you get 25 free prints when you sign up for a free account.

Jenny's bought some pictures from these guys in the past and they're very good quality. They explain why they're better than most here.

Personally, I'll be going through some of our pictures to put up on the walls. Since we've moved in, Jeff and I haven't been able to decide/agree on what art to put up, so our walls remain empty. And we've been here almost 4 years.


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These are just a few of the ones that I'm thinking of putting up in a couple of groupings. They were easy to choose because I think they'll make nice collages of different sized pictures. All of these, by the way, were taken by my very talented sister.

The first group was taken in our hotel room in Tennessee and the second was taken at the Tennessee Aquarium.

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Beyond those, I still need to decide which of my favorite pictures to order.

And yes, I am aware that I was just explaining how many pictures I already have and ordering these is not exactly deCluttering, but there you have it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Misty, Water-Colored Memories

I have to admit it. I've got a lot of old pictures. Not only have I inherited all of my mom's pictures of us as kids, but quite a few that were my grandma's as well. And yah, I, myself, have taken plenty to add to the chaos.

I've got boxes of them. The biggest problem is that everytime I sit down to organize and scan them, I get distracted by how fantastic they are. Not fantastic as in Wow, look how great I look or What perfect composition, but more like Oh my God, I remember that! and That was so much fun!

When I was looking for a picture of me bungee jumping, I did just that. I wanted to post this picture then, but needed to double check with Rachel first.

This is a non-photoshopped picture of the two off us about ten minutes after jumping out of the hot air balloon that's in the background. It was a sort of misty morning, which explains the apparent unreality of the balloon.

Rachel wrote on the back of the picture, "Wendy, we were awesome!!!"

I'd like to think that we still are.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

DeCluttering While Increasing my Dependence on Technology

I don't know about the rest of you, but I never use our phone books anymore. The only circumstances that I can foresee needing them is in the event of a power outage, when I wouldn't be able to access the oh-so-helpful, everything-I-could-possibly-ever-need, storehouse-of-information that is the internets. Occasionally, my in-laws will ask to see a yellow pages and I will kindly direct them to our computer, but I think they're adapting nicely.

I've saved several phone books for present wrapping and yet-to-be-determined craft projects (because we can always use paper), but mostly I recycle them. Which, I know, is the lesser of evils. I'd prefer not to see them at all.

And then, fortuitously, Aurora forwarded me a link about how to opt out of their delivery. I had to actually pick up a phone, make a couple of calls and speak to real live humans, but it didn't take long, like 3 or 4 minutes max.

DEX- 1-877-243-8339 (option 2 when I called)
Yellow Book- 1-800-929-3556
Verizon- 1-800-555-4833

[Actually, she sent me this link like a month or two ago and I'd completely forgotten about making the calls until I was reminded of it this weekend while Jeff and I were cleaning the garage (inspired by Chile's Cut the Crap, Declutter-a-thon that I've been participating in for weeks before I knew she was even doing it). Jeff said about the yet to be recycled pile of phone books, something along the lines of... "you can get yourself on a list to keep telemarketers from bothering you, but you can't stop them from delivering phone books". Hummm. That sounds familiar. Don't I know a way to actually do just that?]

So, I've made all the calls this morning and will now be forever phone book free.

I am now going to follow up that helpful information with thoughts about how dependent on technology I have become (you know, in an unhealthy way, not the phone book saving way).

As I believe I've mentioned before, I'm a walking contradiction.

You may have noticed that last month I agreed to participate in a Technology Free day (once a week) that was suggested over at Elements in Time. I know how easily both the computer and the tv can suck away time that would be better spent living life.

While pondering this, I've thought of a lot of situations in which my brain expects technology to save the day, instances in which I've become mentally dependent. I've talked to my siblings about this and here's what we've come up with.

1) I have a DVR on my tv (which is basically like TiVo, in that we can pause, rewind and replay anything we're watching). Because of this, I expect to be able to do the same thing with, honest to God, people.

2) My brother Tommy was standing in the pharmacy, scanning the shelves for a particular cold medicine and he had the urge to use Control F (find) option to locate it. I, myself, have often felt this way with printed text. And, seriously, wouldn't that be great for lost keys and glasses?

3) Jenny's had instances in which she would love to have a Control Z (except she says Command Z cause she uses a Mac and all) to allow her to undo whatever she just did. I must not make the kind of life and death decisions that she does because this has never occurred to me.

4) I can think of quite a few art projects (or household chores) in which Copy & Paste would come in extra handy. Yah, all that effort and thought I just expending on that last thing, could I just quickly repeat it again and again? I've folded one basket of laundry, now just copy it with a Control C and now apply right here to the next basket of laundry with a Control V. And done. Oh, there's another basket of laundry, well Control V again.

Oh, the genius of it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Oh wow, I have spent way too much time on the someecard site this last week.

Their motto is "when you care enough to hit send". They are so much better than the other ecard sites out there, especially if you have a warped sense of humor (which I do). I find almost everything on it hysterical. And, best of all, they're free.

So, since I don't have the email addresses of all my readers (and it'd probably end up in your spam folder anyway), I'd like to wish you all a happy Earth Day.

PS- Dig This Chick, I think you'd especially like this one.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Good Morning! How are you all doing this lovely spring day?

I, personally, am sore from a weekend of yard work. I still need to finish up a couple of projects later today and then get some pictures loaded, in case you're interested.

But since it's still chilly outside and the projects involve lots of dripping water (I'll explain later), this morning I've spent the last 2 hours, honest to God- 2 hours, creating a new randomized blog list from BlogRolling.

I hadn't updated my list in quite awhile because it was getting pretty lengthy and I didn't want to make it any longer. For that reason, I've been looking for coding for a randomly updated list.

With this one, every time you refresh the page, 9 new blogs come up. I'm so happy with it. Some of the links even have descriptions if you mouse over it. Halfway through loading the links, I realized that I might like to put in the profile names of all my blog friends, like Elsita has done, but am still undecided. I guess it would be more helpful to have the blog type show up when you mouse over it.

Does anyone have opinions on it? Does anyone ever click on my blogroll?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Time Wasters

When I first discovered the internets, I spent an inordinate amount of time taking online personality tests. Some of them were fairly fun.

That's pretty much tapered off until I just took this one about what kind of punctuation mark I am. Sounds lame, but I like what it had to say about me...

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

My favorite, though, is still this one about what Muppet you are, which had this to say...

You Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

You take the title "mad scientist" to the extreme -with very scary things coming out of your lab.
And you've invented some pretty cool things, from a banana sharpener to a robot politician.
But while you're busy turning gold into cottage cheese, you need to watch out for poor little Beaker!
"Oh, that's very naughty, Beaker! Now you eat these paper clips this minute."

And, finally, based on color and style, the Underwear Oracle told me that "You're comfortable in your own skin- and don't care to impress anyone." Hummm. It's true, but I'm not sure I like their tone of voice.

Just so you know, my excuse for these is the fact that I've been sitting here, obsessively checking my Inbox every 2 minutes. I've responded to a CraigsList listing about free compost and am ready to get shoveling.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lindsay

I think one of the more amusing things about being an adult is embarrassing younger members of the family. My mom and aunt did it to me and, looking back, it was pretty funny. One of my personal favorites was the time that my mom followed the boy’s varsity basketball team’s bus all the way to one of their away games. She waved and honked the whole time. After experiences like that, you realize that no matter how much mortification you feel at any one time, eventually you get over it.

It’s kind of like giving birth. After surviving that, you know you can handle most anything.

I got the chance to pay it forward when my cousin, Lindsay, was in Jr. High.

(This is a picture taken 18 years ago of Lindsay and my brother, Tommy.)

I was helping to shuttle some girls to the movies for her birthday party. As I drove them home, they requested that I go by, not-surprisingly, a boy’s house. A boy that Lindsay had a crush on.

Of course, I was more than willing to do it.

As we headed toward the house, we actually drove right by the boy and a couple of his friends walking down the street. All the girls, except Lindsay, squealed that I should turn around to go talk to them. And after a block or two, I did.

As I slowed down to make a U-turn, Lindsay, who was sitting in the passenger seat, opened her door, jumped out of the car and took off down the street, away from the boys. I never even had a chance to stop the car and she was gone. She was haulin ass, with her arms pumping and her head thrown back, like her body was actually going faster than what her head could keep up with.

I let her go. And decided that if she wasn’t going to stick around, I was really going to embarrass her.

So, I pulled up next to the boys, rolled down my window and asked, “Is one of you Dennis?” [Note- I don’t actually remember what the poor kid’s name was, but for this story, it’s going to be Dennis.] The rest of the girls were, by this time, giggling hysterically in the back seat.

Dennis, who never did admit to actually being Dennis, by the way, looked terrified. I’m not sure if he was more worried about the older woman (I was probably 19 or 20) who knew his name or the car full of laughing girls.

To put him at ease, I said, “I think you know my cousin, Lindsay. Well, it’s her birthday today, and since I didn’t get her anything, I was hoping you would come back to her house with us and be her birthday present.”

Needless to say, he did not get into my car.

Smart boy.

But we did give him directions in case he changed his mind.

So, Happy Belated Birthday, Lindsay. I hope I didn’t do any permanent psychological damage.

And I didn't get you anything this year, either. I have been driving around random neighborhoods with bus fair to Durango, looking for guys. I don't really know your type, though.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Little Pick Me Up

It seems like the only thing I do lately is clean house. And I've spent all morning thinking about why that is.

I think it's because when have something to do, I do it slowly. I start it half heartedly and then get easily distracted before I've really made any dent in it. I'm not sure why this is. Lately I just feel like I'm moving through mud, with my feet all caked with it and too heavy to pick up.

So, I think it's time to put on one of my playlists, one that almost always gets me moving a bit quicker. I don't think it's any coincidence that I haven't listened to this in months.

It's mostly just Rodrigo y Gabriela and Flogging Molly (with a few Madonna songs like Holiday and Express Yourself thrown in for good measure).

Wish me luck. I've got too many fun things to be doing to spend all day cleaning.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Red Juice vs Strawberry Stains

I believe I mentioned the strawberry stains on Joey's Easter dress. I didn't get around to cleaning it until 5 days after Easter. (I know it's 5 days because that's what the date on the picture says. I love time stamping.) Anyway, I use Red Juice for stains like this. It works really well on food stains particularly, not greasy ones so much, but berries and curry and stuff like that.

Strawberry stain

Immediately (like 2 seconds) after using the concentrated Red Juice

A few hours later (I just let it sit, didn't scrub or rinse or anything)

Once when Jeff had an impacted tooth, he got up in the middle of the night for an ice pack and came back to bed with what he thought was a bag of frozen corn (which normally works brilliantly, by the way). In the morning, though, I discovered a bag of blueberries melting onto our comforter. I forgave him because he was all hopped up on pain meds at the time. Besides, the Red Juice worked like a charm. Really. It just dissolved the stain over the course of about 24 hours.

The company that sells it is The Clean Team. You'll need to type "Red Juice" into the search box in the top left corner of that link if you want to see the Red Juice specifically.

The site says this about it... "To start with, the degreaser in Red Juice is made from user friendly and environmentally friendly seaweed, while the degreasers in most similar cleaners are derived from petrol-chemicals. Red Juice is all natural with ingredients such as soybean extracts, palm kernels, and palm oils. Red Juice is pH neutral, non toxic, unscented and completely biodegradable."

It's actually an all purpose cleaner and they sell it in bottles of concentrate, which I really like from an environmental perspective. One bottle of concentrate makes 20 bottles of cleaner, which saves a lot of plastic. Packaging and shipping water is pretty ridiculous, if you ask me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

For Linda

I recently received this in my Inbox...

You haven't posted anything since april 4. Time to report back to work! Some of us check almost every day, and I'm always disappointed when there's nothing there! Hope everything is ok.
Love you!

Obviously, some people are missing me, even if it's only family. Who knew?

So, here goes.

When I was a kid and had a project of any kind to do, I would always clean my room first. At the time, I secretly admitted that it was a form of procrastination, but really, at 10:30 at night, once my room was clean, I always felt energized and ready to go.

I’m still like that. When I have projects, I have a hard time functioning when my space is too messy. It just makes it hard to focus. So, I always clean up first. The area is usually a disaster when I'm done, but at least it starts out clean.

The problem is that a month or so ago, Jeff and I decided to paint the kitchen. And at the same time, I also thought it would be great to make new curtains. But half way through making the curtains, I realized that it would be a whole lot easier if I first moved my sewing table into my new office/workroom. Then I could walk all the way around the table instead of having access to it on just one side. (Here's the table after an especially crazy Halloween/Birthday season. That's fur from Joey's costume all over the place.)

2007 11 01 001

Now let me explain about my sewing table. It belonged to my mom who used to work for an interior designer making drapes and curtains and that sort of thing. She needed a huge table. To get the table into one of our old houses, my uncle had to cut the thing in half so it would fit down the stairs. As Jeff and I began to move it down the hall from our laundry room to my new office, we realized that it needed to be cut down again.

So, we put the moving project on hold. I had a brief flash of sanity and realized that surgery on the table was just one more thing on my plate that I couldn't handle, a wafer thin mint you might say. And yes part of my brain was saying It's only a tiny little thin one. But, I fought the urge and I began to shove all the various crap I’d pulled out from under the table into any available space I could find in the new office.

The new office is now completely full of stuff. And all my sewing stuff is somewhere amongst the piles.

Every time I go in there for something, I cringe.

Eventually the situation came down to this… it was 2 days before Jeff’s 40th birthday party, only two thirds of the curtains were finished and hanging up and I needed to prepare food for somewhere between 50 and 100 people [Note- when someone sends you an Evite, please, for the love of God, respond to it.]

Luckily, Jenny has a Costco membership, lots of serving platters and a generous heart, so she helped with the shopping and food prep. Jeff’s mom helped too. Without those two, it would have been a disaster.

All of this is really just a very long explanation as to why I have no pictures of my finished kitchen or of my new office/workroom, two projects that have taken an inordinate amount of my time the last month and which I planned to post about.

I do have pictures from the party, though.


Doesn't Aurora look fantastic without her hair?

This is Kam and his two Uncle Matts. (Jeff's brother and my brother.)

And one of Jeff's friends brought a bottle of Patron so they all had to do shots. Ugghh.

Jenny actually laid down on the floor to take this one.

Oh, and my apologies for the strange Mr. Creosote, crafting analogy. I wrote this late last night and have decided to leave it in because it so accurately describes my deranged state of mind lately.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Family Love Jeff

Today is Jeff's 40th birthday... and I forgot to tell him Happy Birthday this morning.

Sorry Honey.

Happy Birthday.

I love you lots.

I made this for Jeff many years ago for Father's Day. The kids from top left going clockwise are... Sean, Kenzie, Joey and Randa. Jeff was all of 21 years old when Sean was born. What a kid he was, huh?

(If you don't get the title of this post, it's probably because you haven't watched a million episodes of Arrested Development like we have.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Here They Are!

So, are you tired of posts about kids and bald heads yet? Well, too bad. It's all I've got right now.

So even if you didn't donate over at St. Baldrick's, I've decided to put up pictures for the whole world to see. It isn't like I'm embarrassed of what I look like, I just wanted to get more people to donate. Since we're just under $2,000 as a team, I'm feeling pretty good about what we've done.


(The day before we were getting shaved, Angeleen wrote and asked, "Dude, are you seriously going to shave your head for $75?" Yes, I was going to. And, luckily, a lot more donations came in, including Angeleen's. Most of it is to us as a team, which is appropriate, 'cause that's really what it was, a total team effort.)




We were also on TV, I think mainly because Aurora was crying. (We're at the end of it, so watch all the way through if you want to hear what my nasally voice sounds like.)

I will be doing the prize drawings sometime after April 5th. Sorry, but I've got Jeff's 40th birthday party to figure out before then.

Thanks to all of you that donated and also to those of you who put up links on your sites. We appreciate it so much!


PS- I just realized it's April 1st. And I can assure you that this is not a prank. I am seriously not that good with photoshop (nor do I have access to the Channel 7 news website).

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