Friday, December 30, 2011

Oh Christmas Dress, Oh Christmas Dress...


...In forest green crushed velvet :)


The wee potted tree at my sister-in-law Isolde's house as seen bright and early Christmas morning. We wandered across the street to their house in our PJs at approximately 7:45am for Clover to open presents and do stockings with her cousins. We were greeted with delicious homemade lattes.


This backless beauty of a dress was bestowed upon me by the lovely Brigit. We did a swap, in Spring I think it was, and I had been saving it for the perfect occasion. It made for a wonderful Christmas dress, thanks Brigit! I got many a Christmas compliment on it. I think I will be busting it out when St. Patty's day rolls around too.


More lovely decorations in Isolde's Christmas corner.


Hey, guess what? If you happen to love this dress too, you are in luck, because it has a sister dress in deep purple, and she's available over at Violet Folklore for a steal! Wanna be dress twins? DEEP PURPLE.


Speaking of deep, Clover has inherited my love of chocolate :)


I fittingly trimmed my Christmas dress with past presents: green shell necklace from Milla, crystal bullet from Sadie, and red suede belt lined with teensy brass studs from Oosa.


Her new ballerina bun holder, fairy wings, and dance leotard went on as soon as they were unwrapped.


Mis-sa in her dre-ess, with sun flares. I can always seem to count on this corner of the backyard for interesting light effects. As you can see, on Christmas it was pink pentagons!


Ready to try out her new watercolor paints, while not letting that chocolate bar out of her sight.



Yeah, Santa totally came through with the unicorn. The bandaids too for that matter. He's good, that Santa. Almost as good as Isolde, who HAND MADE these adorable Clover fairy dolls completely from scratch! She even hand sewed their little felt outfits and painted the faces herself. Jonas, my brother-in-law, made their little box too.

Their family was awesome with the homemade gifts this year and really inspired me to be better about getting it together in that department for next year. I did ok with buying handmade and shopping local, but I'd like to get an earlier start next year and do more making myself.


All gussied up for the next family gathering, Christmas brunch at my sister-in-law Kelcey's.


First, a peak at the Christmas morning aftermath in our living room.


The Christmas tree at Kelcey's house. Wild and gangly and covered in lovely ornaments. Jonas and his mom Linda have started making the coolest bags out of repurposed feed sacks. You can spot a couple of chicken feed ones under the tree and I got an awesome one made from a pigeon feed sack.


Ah, the many faces of Christmas... just keepin' it real folks. Not sure what this was about. Most likely I just told her she couldn't eat her chocolate bar yet. Hey, what's Christmas without a few good meltdowns though, right?


See, she's over it, not loosening her grip on the chocolate bar though.


After a delicious brunch at Kelcey's and a lovely afternoon with Lucas' family, we went home for a few hours then off to a gathering of friends at Ben and Julia's house where we enjoyed a super yummy Christmas dinner and a rollicking fun evening with friends that ended up going until the wee hours of the morn.

By the way, we had a wonderful Christmas gathering with my family the weekend before at our house, no pics unfortunately, as I find it impossible to simultaneously host and document an event but I assure you a fun time was had by all. Ok, apparently, I find it impossible to simultaneously attend and document an event as well, since I only managed to get a few shots of everyone's Christmas trees here, ugh.

On that note though, who knew empty Coors Light cans made for such festive tree ornamentation? Way to think outside the box (of beer) Ben. You can see Wain back there working on his "ornament" ;)

We had a really fun, albeit busy, Christmas. I hope yours too was full of family and friends and Christmas dresses, not to mention a chocolate bar or two ;)

Wishing you all a Happy Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Don we now our gay apparel...


This was last Friday. There was a little Christmas party at Clover's pre-school. I wore the red corduroy jumper that arrived in Anne's package along with the cozy cowl she made and Clover looked adorable in her festive layers.


Her outfit also included several gifts from packages of yore, the felt flower hair clip (another of Anne's crafty creations), the little girl on a swing necklace from Milla, and her green "Gretel" skirt from Nicole.




All the kiddos were given jingly bells to carry as we went off caroling up and down the street. We went to about 5 or 6 houses, mostly elderly neighbors, whose faces lit up and broke into smiles at the sight of the wee carolers :)

The final house belonged to the most adorable older husband and wife who invited us all into their living room to gather 'round the piano and sing along as she played Christmas tunes!


You'll never guess who we found up on the housetop as we made our way back!


Indeed, Santa himself paid an early visit to The Farm, much to the little ones' delight, with gifts of homemade playdough and tiny stuffed bear ornaments too boot.



The brand new baby sister of one of Clover's classmates had her first encounter with Santa and peacefully slept right through it.




Dixie cups full of warm cocoa and whipped cream, red and green playdough everywhere, these kid's know how to party.



Paper stockings were hung by the overflowing bookshelf with care, each kid's account of what Santa would bring them for Christmas this year. Apparently, Clover is getting a unicorn and some bandaids. Fanciful, yet practical, that's my girl ;)



Clover's teachers rigged this up on the fly (harhar) early on in the week and the kids played Santa's sleigh for days! Her teachers are so awesome like that, they come up with the best stuff. We are so thankful that Clover gets to experience the magic that they create here at The Farm. It's a pretty special place.

Now for something else pretty special...


Look who I got to hang out with! A couple of weeks ago I met up with my birthday twin, Amber, fellow blogstress and the brilliance behind the beautiful vintage Etsy shop Violet Folklore, for a couple of hours of girl time in the town of Napa. We did a little thrifting and chatted over beers.

It was fun to spend some one on one time with her, a chance to get to know her a little better, with no wee ones to distract us. Of course, not only do we share a birthday, we also each have a little girl, both of whom appear to have inherited their mama's love of clothing and style in spades!


Amber, super cute outfit and all, struck a pose in the bathroom (something she's been know to do before ;) with her brand new camera, complete with gorgeous leather case. Thank goodness for this camera, because after a long absence, she has recently been blogging up a storm! You can even read what she had to say about our little meet-up here.

I had such a lovely time with Amber, and I'm so glad she'll be giving us glimpses into her world again :)

As for my own bloggy absence of late, as usual it seems, the more there is to document, the worse I get about documenting it! It's frustrating, and one of blogging's great conundrums. For me anyway. I'm just not speedy when it comes to blogging. It takes time to compose posts as well as trying to maintain a commenting presence on all of the blogs that I love, there are too many of you!

When I start to get overwhelmed I tend to shut down. So whenever I disappear, that is usually what the deal is. Not to worry, I always come back. I can never stand to be away from my bloggy sisters for too long ;)

Lately, with holiday happenings and Clover now on Winter break from pre-school, time is even more limited than usual. Therefore, I may continue to be a less than efficient blogger/commenter in the days ahead. Just know that you are in my thoughts dear friends and I wish you all wonderful holidays full of laughter and magical moments!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lovely Bits



Lately the weather 'round here has been a mix of rather intense windstorms (sweeping away the last of the remaining leaves from the trees and even toppling some altogether) and quite a few rather lovely days as well.

The Saturday before last was one such lovely day and we decided to take advantage of the sunshine by heading out for a little family hike up at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.



While the park is only a short half hour drive east of where we live, and in the county where both Lucas and I grew up, shockingly, neither of us had ever been up there, which made it feel a little bit like an adventure.

I want to start making an effort to do more local adventuring! We live in such a wonderful area for it and amazingly, even though we both feel like we know the area so well, it's easy to forget that there is still so much to see and discover.




The meandering creek we walked along and some bits of my 100% thrifted outfit. New fave cardi (the wee quail!), scored along with these beat up old Wranglers on a recent trip to "the digs".




As you can only hike so far with a four year old in tow, most of Sugarloaf's beauty still remains to be explored. Unfortunately, and unbeknown to us at the time, that turned out to be the final weekend before the park's closure!

The massive toll that California's budget crisis is taking on our State park system is such a depressing state of affairs right now, with so many wonderful parks in our area, not to mention all over the state, slated for closure by July. Boo! :(

But hey, let's move on to happier news, shall we?...


My lovely day got even lovelier when I arrived home to find my bioregional swap package from Anne of A Cup Full of Sunshine waiting for me! As you can see, it was packed to the brim with Southern California goodness. I was pretty blown away by all the amazing goodies and how thoughtfully put together it all was :)

Back when I first read Mary's post on terrallectualism about putting together a bioregional swap and what that would entail, I was excited to join in the fun. Even more excited when I found that my swap partner would be Anne!

Anne and I were already longtime followers of eachother's blogs and we'd even met in person once before. I had already hoped to one day do a swap with her, so what a perfect opportunity this turned out to be!


Of course, Clover was right there to help me with the opening. She's seen me open enough of these packages to know, that more often than not, there's a little somethin' special tucked in there for her too. Once again, she was not disappointed!

Her eyes lit up when she saw the amazing embroidered Sleeping Beauty fairytale cardi. WOW, it even has little princess dolls sewn onto it! Anne definitely knows the way to my little one's heart.


The vintage children's book Leaf Magic, a lovely 1970's story of a boy who is followed around by a big orange wind swept leaf that is apparently trying to play with him, was so perfectly timed with her recent comment about the leaves!


The book is full of wonderful illustrations and whimsical descriptions like the one above. Love Ol' man Fish and Chips and his ramshackle cottage by the sea!


Anne herself lives by the sea and included some treasures gathered on a morning beachcombing excursion. She's also a big fan of succulents (as am I!) and included a few cuttings from her own garden.


I planted them along with a few wee specimens from our own garden in this cool hanging ceramic planter that I recently thrifted. Don't they look lovely?


Beautiful hand-written (and painted!) recipes cards, both of which sound so yummy. I'm excited to try them out.


A bag of tea made by a friend of Anne's and a gorgeous ceramic cup to drink it from. The cup was made by a local artist who also made the incense holder.

The painted driftwood and feather necklace!!! Made by Anne herself. SO AWESOME! I tell ya, this girl is craftier than she lets on ;)


A cool eco-friendly bag made of newspaper and a card by another local artist.


There was also a bundle of sage, a jar of orange marmalade made at her sister's convent, some lovely thrifted vintage (red corduroy jumper perfect for Christmas, a delicate floral blouse, and an adorable calico sundress), not to mention a truly gorgeous cowl that Anne knit herself!

A huge thank you to Anne for putting together such a fantastic package. You obviously know what I like! So much cozy autumnal goodness packed into one box... I loved all the textures, colors, flavors, scents... a package to delight the senses for sure, and thank you to Mary for setting up this wonderful swap!

It was so fun to participate, both receiving my package from Anne and putting one together for her. Speaking of which, you can take a peek at what was in the package that I made for Anne over at her post about the swap, here.


Clover put on her new cardigan right away and said "Let's go take a picture!" So I put on my new necklace and swapped out the scarf I was wearing for my cozy new cowl, and that's just what we did.



It had been awhile since I'd done outfit pics, so I spent some extra time trying to capture Anne's lovely handiwork and playing around with the light a bit.



I love the painted driftwood combined with the feathers. I told Anne she should make some of these for her Etsy shop.

Also, if you took a peek at her post on the package I sent, you may have noticed that I too was inspired to get crafty with driftwood and feathers. Our packages actually turned out to have quite a few similarities, as usual in these matters, synchronicity abounds!


I enjoy a good girlie outfit as much as the next gal, but I've always had a tomboy side to my style as well, and I think I've been embracing it a bit more lately. I like checking out this blog gem for inspiration, and this one's good too.


Fall color in the backyard pre-windstorms. So many of the leaves have since blown away.


The colors in my new cowl seem to have been plucked straight from the Autumn smoke tree :)


Well friends, I wish I could update you on the final kitty name verdict, but even with the help of all your wonderful suggestions on my last post and a wee pocket-sized booklet called the Incomplete Book of Cat Names (thanks Martha!) we still have yet to agree on one!

Yesterday, Clover and I started toying around with the name Marble, which I like, but then she changed it to Mumble and that's what she's calling him now. Her teachers already think our cat's name is Mambo. It's the Guinness/Dennis thing all over again (see comment section of kitty post if you're wondering what I'm talking about).


I think we should just name him Charmin because he's soft and white and we are constantly having to tell Clover not to squeeze him!