Sunday, December 20, 2009


I just adore Waldorf Dolls. I wish I knew more little girls so I would have a reason to make more dolls.

I made 3 dolls as Christmas presents this year for my niece and her cousins. I used recycled cotton knit (aka used t-shirts from the thrift store) and wool stuffing. They are just so precious. My mom made the clothes for these sweet dolls.

These weird looking things are doll heads-resting in a big pile of fluffy wool

Sunday, October 4, 2009

This says it all

This pretty much sums up life around here these days. I don't know which town this is from, but in my town, signs similar to these have been in place for the past 3 years. First drought then epic flooding. What's next?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shopping Bag Heaven

I just purchased three new reusable shopping bags and they are a joy to behold. This purchase was very unlike me....These bags cost more than the 1.99 I am usually willing to spend on...well just about anything. But just look at them. Aren't they so very pretty. I have many shopping bags-well technically just bags. I have a motley collection of old pre-school totes, Trader Joes canvas bags, a few cheapo bags I picked up here and there and a denim one my grandma made years ago. Sadly I am too embarrassed to take them anywhere but Aldi.

These new bags from BlueQ are awesome. They are sturdy, stay open by themselves (a plus at Walmart where they stare at you like you have 3 heads if you come in with a reusable bag) and they hold a lot. Did I mention they are made form 95% post consumer recyclable material. Yeah baby! Buy some-it will do ya good.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I'll be Homeschooling my son beginning this fall. I am reluctant, terrified, and excited. I recently read this essay, by a homeschoolong mom, that puts my feelings regarding homeschooling into words (with very little effort on my part). So, I am posting it here with full credit given to her. I figure that since all of 2 people read this blog-I am comfortable with my plagiarism.

From Mrs. G., creator of The Women’s Colony

Monday night Mrs. G. was watching Law & Order or something educational on PBS when she bumped the remote and accidentally switched the channel to Wife Swap. One of the wives being swapped was a homeschooler who, once again, confirmed most Americans’ misconceptions about those of us who choose to ejukate educate our kids outside of a traditional school setting: that we are humorless, intolerant, overprotective religious extremist manifesto-writing misfits who chain our 22 children to the kitchen table and teach them that, despite advancements in modern astronomy, the earth is indeed flat; how else would we all not fall off of it?

The Wife Swap’s homeschooling mom lives with her first cousin’s husband and two children on a farm in Iowa. They make every effort to run a self sustaining farm not because they choose a life of volunteer simplicity or wish to leave a softer carbon footprint, but because, like so many of us, they are preparing for the Apocalypse. This family, admirably, raises their own livestock and vegetables and subsists solely on a raw food diet. In other words, they eat only raw food, including their MEAT. And Mrs. G. is not talking about sushi, Carpaccio or lightly seared tuna. These people eat chopped up chunks of raw chicken. They gnaw on raw turkey legs. On special occasions, they indulge in what they call “high meat”—chunks of animal flesh that have been rotting and aging in a jar for at least four days. They aren’t worried about e coli or salmonella because, they insist, God wouldn’t put any bacteria on this earth that was harmful to them.

Now, Mrs. G. is tolerant by nature (and regarded by more than a few folks as odd), but this type of homeschooler is the bane of her existence. It makes her life more difficult in the following ways:

1) The Little League moms sit far away from Mrs. G. during baseball games because they don’t want her to hear them talking about boozing it up over the weekend or their child’s science project on evolution. And this is sad for Mrs. G. (a cradle Catholic) because she is a big fan of alcohol and monkeys.

2) Mrs. G’s relatives feel the need to quiz her children on major holidays with scintillating questions like hey, pass the cranberry sauce, and can you tell me how many quarters there are in a dollar?

3) The women at Mrs. G’s book club, which consists primarily of public school teachers, have a few glasses of wine and say stuff like have you ever noticed how homeschooling boys have such an unhealthy attachment to their mothers or I have this homeschooler in my 7th grade class and she reads at a 3rd grade level and wears a denim jumper and bedroom slippers every single day…and then they remember Mrs. G is a homeschooler and change the subject fast.

4) The cashier at Safeway, eying Mrs. G’s children helping her bag groceries during the middle of a school day, asks if it is a school holiday and when they explain they are homeschoolers, she smiles skeptically and says how interesting and then waxes on for two minutes about how high school was the best time of her life.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are between 900,000 and 2,000,000 homeschoolers, and the number is growing at a brisk pace. Mrs. G. finds it exhausting to drop all the necessary conversational hints to prevent others from thinking she is a suburban maverick kook who makes her own kefir and eats raw meat. So, readers, here’s the 411 on homeschooling mama Mrs. G:

* Her children are of average intelligence and don’t play any musical instruments. Not even the recorder.

* She is the good kind of feminist…the old school kind who is hung up on that tired old doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights for women…as well as honoring the beauty and, yes, nobility of raising a family.

* Her children watch television, play video games and eat large quantities of processed food.

* When she is not spinning her own wool and milling her own flour…not that there’s anything wrong with that, she enjoys gardening, gin and historical documentaries. And “The Sopranos.”

* She and her husband chose to homeschool for very personal reasons that had nothing to do with religion, politics or any kind of aversion to public school. Until this spring, Mrs. G. taught creative writing part-time in a public school for eight years.

* She doesn’t jump on bandwagons and is turned off by zealots of all stripes. Mrs. G. is absolutely sure about nothing.

* And she prefers her salad raw and her meat cooked.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Laundry Day

Today I am going to share how to make "homemade" laundry detergent.

This started as a lark. Something I read about on the Internet. Something for the very frugal, the very poor, or the very "crunchy". But still, I was curious. Would it work? Could I really make laundry detergent in the convenience of my own home with a few simple ingredients?

I certainly didn't NEED laundry detergent. I had recently horded about 4 large bottles of Tide. Still, I bought the ingredients and bided (wait is it bided? bid? well you know what I mean) my time...waiting anxiously to use up all of my Tide. I'll admit some days I used two capfuls per load...but hey, I was anxious to begin my experiment. Finally when the Tide was almost gone I made my first batch of laundry detergent-very loosely following a recipe I found on the Internet. Although I made a few mistakes the first time around, I have been using this homemade detergent for a few months now and I am very satisfied. Try it. It costs pennies a load, reduces landfill waste, and has no phosphates (at least I don't think so). A caveat; I have heard that with some water types (you know-hard and soft etc.) this detergent will not work-so if you have the opposite of whatever type of water we have-maybe you better stick with Tide.

To begin you will need to grate one bar of Fels-Naptha soap. I had never seen this soap before but I easily found it at Kroger (a grocery store). The smaller the "bits" of soap, the easier the next step will be-thus the grating.

Next-Fill a large stock pot about 1/3 full of water. Add the grated soap and heat on medium high until the soap is dissolved.

Stir it every now and then. It doesn't take too long-maybe 15 minutes.

Now you will need to add 2 cups each of Borax and Washing Soda. I have always used Borax so I had some already (it can be found at Target or Walmart). I had never seen Washing Soda before but I found it at Kroger.

When the soap is completely dissolved, take the pot off the heat and SLOWLY add the Borax and Washing Soda. If you add these ingredients too quickly the whole mixture will bubble up and spill all over the stove top. Not like I have ever done that! Stir well until the powder dissolves.

Now if you want to get fancy-add a few drops of food coloring to make it look "real" otherwise the soap will be a snotty yellow color.

Add enough cold water to bring the mixture near the top of the pot (but not so full that you can't lift the pot) and stir well.

Use a funnel to fill old detergent bottles with the detergent mixture. I would divide this recipe between 3 large detergent bottles. Then "top off" each bottle with water and give them a good shake (with the lid on of course). Let the bottles sit over night. The liquid will "gel" but it is a snotty, gooey looking, watery gel.

Use about a capful for each load. You can also add some essential oils if you prefer a "scented" detergent. Oh and it is a good idea to give the bottle shake before you use it.

There are many recipes floating around out there that use varying amounts of soap, Borax and washing soda-but this is a good starter recipe. Go ahead and give it a try-I'll bet Al Gore doesn't make his own detergent-so now you can feel all superior inside-you "green" person-you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Favorite Summer "thing"

Summer isn't summer without a windowsill full of tomatoes. Ahhh...that's better. I have been waiting months for this.

Bounty from the garden. It doesn't get any better than this.

I Love this Chair

I have a love affair with chairs. I simply love chairs-especially old wooden chairs. I imagine that each one has a story, a history, a life of it's own. It is for this reason that I could not decide on one particular style of chair to go with my new dining room table. I opted instead for the fabulous 90's trend of putting an assortment of different chairs around my table. I love the look but I wanted a little continuity from the three chairs with fabric seats.

So what do you think? I added a little animal print.

You love it don't you? Now try all 3. Fabulous!

And put it all together.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Installment of Blooming

When flowers grow in my yard I am always a little bit astonished. Considering how I used to pop a single marigold in a pot full of topsoil and wish for the best (they always died). Now I photograph every thing in my yard....

The "death" Hydrangea (from my dad's funeral). It is blooming for a second time this year. I feel terribly obligated to keep it alive-that's the trouble with having living flowers at funerals. Don't get me started on the death Spathiphyllum in my dining room.

Day-Lilies are ubiquitous in here in the burbs. You'd be hard pressed to find a yard without them. They are considered an invasive species which means in layman's terms...a plant that you can not kill-making them the ideal plant for me. These lovlies have 3 layers of petals-so they are particularly pretty.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I love Hydrangeas-they are one of my all time favorite flowers. Sadly my yard has no shade and these guys don't really love the all day direct sun that is ubiquitous in my yard. I have managed to grow a few mopheads in planters in the approximately 10 square feet of shade in my yard-well more accurately in my driveway. I had always wanted to change the pH of the soil so I could have a pink Hydrangea. Around these parts the un-assisted hydrangea is blue. So I am pretty excited that by some unknown twist of fate the pH in this planter is increasing -as is evidenced by this pink beauty.

Here is a Lady In Red Hydrangea that lived several very unsuccessful years in my back yard before being transplanted to a pot by the driveway.

And a few more close ups of these beauties

Can you handle the sheer fantastic-ness of these flowers....


Atlanta has been in a drought for the past 3 summers. Our first summer in GA was rainy (our basement even flooded-but that is another story for another day). There was rain and more rain and then a little bit of rain. Everything was cool and green and mossy-even moldy with rain.

The next summer I took up gardening and the rain stopped. It stopped and it never came back. I spent the last 3 summers trying to keep my yard alive. It was nearly futile. The drought was so bad that eventually, as the lakes ran dry, we weren't allowed to water at all. I used gray water to nurture my plants. I took fewer showers. I used bath water to flush the toilets. If anything, the 3 years of drought taught me to live simply and appreciate the small things in life (like water). I learned to live a more earth friendly existence and I taught my children to nurture the earth and protect it's resources.

But now the rain is back. Oh the glorious rain. At first I though it was a fluke. But it keeps coming. I'll admit that after 2 or 3 hot dry days in a row I get a sick feeling in my stomach-thinking it will never rain again...but then it rains...and boy does it rain....our lakes are full and we can water again-but who needs to with all this rain. I hope I can continue to live with the environment in mind-but I am so thankful that we no longer have to.

Too Many Tables

Or maybe I should call this Consumer Excess or Keeping up with the Jones' if the Jones' shopped at Goodwill or There's another table in the basement-too! Either way, last weekend we ended up with exactly 4 tables in our dining room. A beautiful antique drop leaf table that is too old and delicate and "nice" for our family to actually use. A very old walnut veneer table, that many years ago, was being used as a saw horse in the wood shop at the school where my father taught graphic arts before my father rescued and repaired it for my mother. Derek's table, that he bought for his first post divorce-pre Katherine bachelor pad (he is very attached to this one) and finally the new table I purchased at the thrift shop last weekend. It has carved legs. Carved legs!

OK, it seems more than obvious to even the most casual passerby that we did not need another table. And it became painfully obvious to me at the point I took this photo....we have too many tables. And now, even though we have managed to move two of the tables to other rooms, we still have too many tables and may always have too many tables because we are two very sentimental fools, neither of us willing to part with a single table. Can you say "don't all home offices have dining tables." I know I can.

And perhaps worse of all this new table has no chairs....well it HAS chairs-we have lots of chairs. Actually once I counted all our chairs for a school project and we had about 48 chairs in our house. I love chairs. But the new table (did I mention it has carved legs) needs new chairs because nothing we have-no, not even a single one of the 48 chairs we currently own-"goes with" the new table. As much as I luv this table....I am starting to think I should have left well enough alone and just gotten over myself and my foolish need to have my home look a certain way. After all, the dogs are content to beg at any type of table and the children are not picky as long as they can eventually smear it with gogurt and finger paint.

Friday, May 29, 2009

You can't fake thin

I have learned in my almost 40 years how to fake a lot of things. In academic circles you can quickly learn how to fake intelligence-use a few key buzz words, mention a few good books-and you’re golden. You can fake an accent. You can fake wealth. I live in an affluent area. I know the key to faking wealth (at least in my neck of the woods). You need the right school magnet on your bumper, a fresh pedicure, an expensive tennis outfit, a new car-detailed weekly, throw in expensive haircut, and busy, attractive kids and voila-fake wealth. You can fake who you know. You can fake talent. You can fake love. You can fake success. You can fake almost anything-but you can’t fake thin.

Thus I have decided that where I live-thin is the one true currency for “belonging.” I was thinking about this at a birthday party I attended recently. I felt oddly out of place as I sat amongst the other moms. Although I adore where I live for a variety of reasons, I have never really felt like I fit in. What was it….my hair was cute, shoes (just causal enough to show I didn’t care –but looked great anyway), my toes were freshly pedi-ed, clothes-check, nice car-check, well dressed kid-check, right school-check…..what the heck could it be….I thought some more….then as I crammed another bite of ice-cream cake into my mouth I noticed…not an ounce of cellulite in the room (oh excluding mine). These women were thin-way thinner than the average women. I am not talking size 6 thin-I’m talking if Kate Moss had three kids thin. Then I thought back…yes that is it….nearly everyone in this town is pencil thin. The more expensive the neighborhood-the thinner the women.

We were recently on vacation and it rained for days-in desperation we took the kids to a local indoor kids play area-I was startled by what I saw. The place was full of average and large sized women. I was a little taken aback-until my kids started fighting and I forgot all about it. I don’t get out of town much. My tony suburb is where I spend about 95% of my time. It tends to skew my image of reality. And these women are not reality. I mean good for them. Who wouldn’t want to be a size 2. But sadly I get the distinct feeling they aren’t thin because they are just super health conscious-but because e they too have come to understand that if they want to be a part of the group they must be emaciated. It is a little sad that women have such poor self images that they feel they can’t belong unless they have a great body-and it is a little sad that some days I wish I were just like them.

Friday, April 3, 2009


My mom came this week to teach me sculpture. I have been wanting to learn for a while but I found it to be a maddening process. I am an "instant gratification" sort of gal. Sculpture, even in clay, isn't a fast process. This is what we managed to accomplish in a few days-a few hours a day.

The head is taking shape

The beginnings of a face

Looking more "human"

This is as far as I got

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I absolutely love this time of year. We are fortunate in Georgia to have an extended spring. In February the daffodils come up, peach, cherry and pear trees start to bloom and so many trees begin to come alive. In March the trees put on leaves, azaleas begin to bloom, red buds come alive and the days begin to warm. I know April will bring the full bloom of azaleas, Asian cherries and apples too. So with all this bloomin' going on I can't stop myself from sharing what's blooming in my yard.

Peach Blossoms (along with pears one of my first flowering trees)

Japanese Magnolia

Creeping Phlox


Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Table for Every Taste (except good)

Are you in the market for a lovely new coffee table? Well look no further than your local Craigslist. You will find some remarkable offerings this week and you may even get a "deal."

OK I sort of like this one-very rustic

I think I saw this at Haverty's

Maybe at a beach house....maybe....

Really? REALLY!

Does the trash on the floor come with it?

Hand painted? I assumed this lovely piece was mass marketed.

There aren't enough beach houses.

I hope this is one of a kind

"Let me out"