A few months ago I found a blue and white striped mens shirt at the thrift store for only $2. Since blue is by far Creamie’s favorite color (and long sleeved dress shirts are usually $5) I picked it up with plans to make her a new dress. And then 8ish months later I finally got around to it. (Mom of the year, right here.)
It’s just a basic raglan style short sleeved dress. I used my favorite pattern (Simplicity 5695) as a guide and just made it a bit longer, a bit skinnier, and added just a bit of elastic to the back to give it some shape. It ended up very boxy without it.
Before I chopped up my shirt I picked the pocket off and used some of the sleeve to make another one. I added the ribbon trim before sewing them back on. This girl LOVES pockets. She has lots of little treasures to carry around with her, so pockets are essential.
My mom recently had a smallish pine tree cut down, and her sweet neighbor came over with his chainsaw and hacked the stumps into an awesome little pathway. (I spent a good chunk of time burying them all a few inches and making sure the ground under them was even so they weren’t so wiggly.) She will spend an hour playing in here. Her dress was filthy by the time she was done, and her shoes didn’t make it more than 3 minutes before they were tossed aside.
Speaking of… I love these shoes. My dad and stepmom gave them to her for Easter, and she wears them all the time. So cute. Also, clearly in need of some new toenail polish.
This old tractor was parked next to my mom’s house. She has an alfalfa field behind her and this tractor has been busy lately. Creamie wanted nothing more than to drive it to the park. She’d take it home with her in a heartbeat. She really does think anything that is blue belongs to her.
Her face when I told her we weren’t trading in the car for a blue tractor. HA! I think the last four dresses I’ve made for Creamie have been blue. And I’ve got a stack of three more to make, also all blue. She prefers to wear a dress most days, so she needs lots of play dresses that no one cares if they are ripped, dirty, or covered with popsicle. And they’ll need to have plenty of pockets for her ever expanding rock and stick collection. So a $2 shirt is TOTALLY the way to go.
(If you’ve never cut up a shirt to make a dress before it’s super easy. There are a million tutorials on pinterest, but I love this pattern. It fits her so well and I love the shape of the neck and sleeves. I’ve probably made 8 shirts and 5 dresses from this pattern in the past year or so. Without pockets this dress was under and hour start to finish. My kind of project. So to start I just cut my shirt apart along the seams. Then it’s as easy as laying out your pattern pieces on top of your shirt shaped pieces of fabric. Piece of cake. If you are in the market for thrifted mens shirts, look at the extra large shirts first. More fabric in them and they are usually the same price as a small. You might not always need that extra few inches, but sometimes it’s nice to have. Of course, if you find a fabric you just love (ahem, blue) then who care what size it is, right? Right.)
Last night I was working on a little crafty project and I had pulled out my little tiny jar of chalkboard paint. After two coats on my project I went to wash my hands to make dinner when I discovered something. The chalkboard paint I had did NOT come off my fingers. Like at all. After scrubbing at it for a minute or two I gave up, decided my hands were clean enough for tacos and I made dinner. After dinner (fingers still black) I did the last two coats of paint on my project and then I got an idea.
Chalkboard Fingernails! And they turned out so awesome I snapped some pictures and am giving you a step by step tutorial. Not that I am any sort of expert on painting fingernails, I should add. I’ve painted my fingers exactly twice since I was 12 years old. But, here you go anyway. You’ll need chalkboard paint, a paintbrush and some fun colored chalk.
1. Using a small clean paintbrush, paint two or three coats onto your fingernails. My directions on my paint says to let the paint dry for an hour between coats, and then let it cure for 24 hours. But who has time for a 28 hour manicure? No one. Throw those directions out the window. 2. When your nails are dry color to your hearts content. 3. If you make a mistake, the chalk will wipe right off and you can try again. If you change your mind, wipe it right off. Of course, if your hands brush against your pants it will wipe right off too… 4. I need to do more things with colored chalk, it’s really pretty. (I got this chalk at Hobby Lobby last year.)
So, what with the whole wiping off your nail art on your clothes/towel/walls/couch etc. a chalkboard manicure is probably not a good idea for everyone. I know. I get it. But it was a fun experiment anyway. And it could possibly keep my child very entertained in a doctors office waiting room…
And after your chalk art wipes off on your curtains then you at least have cool gothic looking nails, right?
Now, a few pointers. After writing on my nails and wiping it off a few times the paint did start to scratch. Probably allowing the paint to set overnight would help with that. Also, my fingernails aren’t flat AT ALL. They are full of deep vertical ridges that made writing on them hard. I think if I do this again I’ll probably buff them good first and then do a base coat with regular polish to try and fill those in a bit. It would probably help me to buff my nails between coats of chalkboard paint as well, to smooth those ridges down a bit. Just sayin. Also, when you are done with gothic scratched chalkboard nails, I found that fingernail polish remover took it off just fine. Well, with a little scrubbing. Nail polish remover also took the dried bits out of my paintbrush bristles. And I only painted my left hand, I told you I’m not a nail polish expert. Just keeping it real. But I’ll try this again, it was a fun little surprise today.
Yesterday it rained. I woke up to glorious rain and it rained all day. It rained enough to put out the fire. It never rains all day in the summer. And it never rains in July. It was an incredible miracle. An answer to many many prayers. Late in the afternoon the clouds cleared and the sun came out. I headed to my mom’s so I could see for myself the destruction from the fire that started two days ago.
I don’t have a wide angle lens, and I couldn’t get far enough away from the mountain to get a picture of the whole thing without hiking up the side of the mountain on the other side of the valley. In flip flops. So I took three pictures and pieced them together in photoshop. It’s not perfect. Whatever. (Click the pic to go to flickr and see it larger if you are so inclined.) The burn is horrendous. The new burn meets up with an old burn scar from a wildfire when I was a teenager. (The right edge of this picture.) These mountains have always meant home to me. And to see them burned so horribly breaks my heart. But they will grow back. It takes time. But even covered in burns they are still majestic guardians. They still protect my home. They still watch over the places and people I love. Trees will grow. The grass will be green again. They will change back into something I recognize. It will take years. But these mountains will be beautiful again.
I am so grateful to all the men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line to watch over my small hometown. They are still there, I heard helicopters flying over the burns checking for hot spots. The rain didn’t quite wash everything out, but enough to keep it from spreading. I did see one small plume of smoke rising after the rain was over, but the helicopters were watching it. I am so grateful for them. A sign on a pallet at the end of the street isn’t enough, but it touched my heart. And then another miracle happened. Not two hours after the storm had cleared it started to cloud over again. And it began to rain. It rained hard for almost an hour. I sat in my mom’s living room with all the windows open and listened to the rain on the leaves and the sidewalk and the roof. I breathed in the good clean smell of mountain rain. The horrible sting of smoke was gone.
An hour later the sun came out just in time to reflect the orange and pink glow of sunset across my mountains. Two days ago this mountain looked like the picture above. And after the clouds cleared it looked like this.
A magnificent double rainbow, rising out of the burn. It started here and stretched for 20 miles across the sky before I saw it touch back down. God works in mysterious ways. A rainbow is a symbol of hope. A reminder that after the storm there is peace. Beauty. That life begins again, and that even the worst of experiences will result in some good. And while the fire and the miracle of rain is most of the story, it’s not everything. Last week I mentioned that there would be a silver lining, somewhere. That some good would come from all the bad. And as I watched these rainbows glitter in the sun and then fade to dusk I was reminded again that God has a plan for me. He knows the deepest desires of my heart and he will show me a rainbow after this storm is over. He always opens a window, and if I will just wait for the right time, he will pour out a blessing for me. This rainbow was a wonderful and unexpected reminder for me right now. Just in the past few days I’ve had many small experiences that have reminded me that there is always good in my life. And I truly think this particular rainbow was meant for me. Another reminder painted all across the sky that things will be better. This storm will end. It will take time. It may take years. But it will be beautiful again. Things will grow back, there will be change for me, for my family. This horrible period of my life will one day be like dust in the wind. Ashes from a terrible fire.
Beauty and love and peace will cover the burn. One day. And it only took a twenty mile arc of color to remind me again that there is always a silver lining. Rainbows always follow the storm.Alright… now I promise to stop being so emotional. Sheesh it’s been a week or two, right? Also, can we just pretend that this last pic has a beautiful arched rainbow instead of a choppy one…. turns out without a tripod handy panoramic multiphoto shots that span 20 miles are kind of hard…. So I lined up the mountains and let the rainbow do it’s crooked thing. Don’t judge. Just pretend it’s awesome.
Yesterday afternoon about 2:30 I glanced outside and saw a sickening plume of smoke coming from my hometown. I live about 10 miles away from where I grew up, but I could see a horrific mast of smoke rising into the blue sky from the mountains near my mom’s home.
[ This photo taken through my windshield at a stop sign. It makes me sick to my stomach. ]
Not 5 minutes later my mom called me when the piano lesson she was teaching was interrupted by a sobbing mother who was being evacuated and came to grab her kids. The fire was less than 30 minutes old and they were evacuating homes less than a mile from my mom’s house. She called me, I found a babysitter for Creamie (thanks a million Kim!) and went to help my mom.
[ Stopped on the street right behind my mom’s house. I was too close to get the smoke in one shot. ]
She didn’t end up evacuating, but I was glad she didn’t have to sit and think about it by herself the rest of the day. Looking at everything you own and trying to decide what to take and what is worth losing is emotionally exhausting. The top layer, the VERY most important things is easy. It’s the next layer down that is completely overwhelming. And when you have 15 minutes, the top layer is enough. But if you are looking at the possibility of evacuation a few hours in advance it’s a lot more overwhelming. So we left. We walked outside and sat down with the neighbors on their lawn and watched the fire and the smoke destroy the mountains I have loved my whole life. We watched for hours. It was sickening, but I couldn’t look away. The smoke plume could be seen for 75 miles it was so big. It has spread ash all over the state. It looked like a volcano, or a mushroom cloud. I’ve never seen smoke like that. I hope I never see it again.
[ Several hours later, still burning horribly, but thanks to tankers of fire retardant not moving so fast. ]
The fire was started by a guy in a trackhoe digging a trench. He hit a rock and it sparked and he couldn’t dump dirt on the dry grass fast enough to put it out. It has burned over 3000 acres in less than 24 hours. The firemen, the tanker planes and the blackhawk helicopters have saved every home from burning. One barn was lost, but the homes are all safe.
[ One home that was miraculously saved thanks to helicopters dumping hundreds of gallons of water. Pic from Josh James via twitter.]
This haunting image is a testimony to the amazing men and women who are out battling fires on the ground and from the air. It gives me the shivers. And today, on the 4th of July I am grateful not only for the soldiers and military who keep my country safe from the outside, but I am grateful for the hundreds and millions of people who keep my home safe from the inside.
[ The view from the end of my mom’s street. The flames are only about 1/2 mile away. ]
Fires are nothing new to me. We had four huge fires in the mountains that surrounded home while I was growing up. We were evacuated. We fed firemen at our church. We sat on the grass and watched the beautiful hundred year old pines burn and the moutains turn into a charred ashy hell. But it still doesn’t make it easier. Even thinking about my combined fire experiences makes me sick to my stomach.
[ The fire at night. The fireline on the right side is the same spot as in my picture above. Photo by Single Dad Laughing on flickr (so don’t pin this, it’s not mine.) It will be a long time before all those hotspots have burned out. }
But in all those fires there were never homes lost. People weren’t hurt. I am so thankful for those who are protecting me, my family, my childhood home from all of it. I’m thankful for those who are protecting us abroad and at home. Thanks to them for keeping this the land of the free and the home of the brave. Happy 4th of July.
UPDATE: Here is a time lapse video that was taken at the end of my mom’s street. Two hours of fire burning condensed into 22 seconds. It is sickening how quickly it burned up the side of the mountain and crested the ridge…
I’m glad June is over. July has got to be better. Well, I hope it’s better. If it would snow that would be awesome (not going to happen) but I’ll settle for a few days where it is under 100 degrees.
I am officially starting a few new projects today. I’ll share about them tomorrow, but I hope it will help me get through this next very hot month without getting too grumpy.
And I just want to say thank you to everyone for your kind comments these past few days. They mean the world to me. I really do have the sweetest internet friends ever. Thank you all. I’ll be back soon.
Yesterday I tried to keep myself busy. I went thrifting with a new friend, went to dinner with a few friends and then spent the rest of the evening with more friends talking fabric and pyrex and awesomeness.
The night had been planned for weeks. I had hoped that it would be celebratory. But when I left I still didn’t know Tuesday’s results. Scott called me while I was out. I was in line to buy my dinner. Our project has been cancelled.
I held it together, amazingly. I didn’t let it ruin my night. I didn’t tell anyone until I was back in the car on my way home with just one dear friend to talk to. She let me cry and I didn’t feel awkward. Thanks Amy.
When I got home everyone was asleep. Scott left this morning before I was awake, standard 5:15am routine. I don’t want to talk about it anyway. There is nothing we can do, the vote was 112 to 71 against the project. It kills me that such small numbers decide so much sometimes. But that’s America I guess. Democracy at work.
I don’t know why some things happen and some don’t. That’s not my job. My job is to make the very best of any situation I am in. And I am going to. I don’t know what Plan B is yet. But I’ll make one. Things will “work out”. Whatever that means. There is a silver lining in here somewhere. And I am determined to find it. Over the past three months as we were killing time waiting for this week I decided to clean my entire house, top to bottom, inside out. I had hoped that it would make it that much easier if we were able to move. But, hey, at least now I’m living in a clean house. That’s something.
Thank you dear friends for all your support and love and prayers. I have an overwhelming sense of peace. Which I know is a result of a lot of love and prayer and goodwill in our behalf. And I am so grateful for it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means more to me than you know.
And no matter what, no matter what happens, what is lost, what is gained, I will have these two forever. My family is mine. And they are the most important thing to me. Really, as long as I have them things are “working out”. Whatever that means. I’ll be back soon. I promise.
So the thing about waiting for answers is sometimes you have to just keep waiting. The answer we are waiting for is coming with the results of a special bond election that took place yesterday. The results aren’t published online yet. The small town where this election occured is 350 miles from here. Their city offices aren’t open yet. There are only 200ish houses there. One of Scott’s partners drove for 5.5 hours this morning to wait at the doors for someone to tell us what happened yesterday. We still haven’t heard from him. Still waiting.
Still waiting. And I’ll be eating a lot of cookies today to deal with the waiting. Thank you so much for your kind comments, emails, and prayers. I’ve had an overwhelming sense of peace and calm these past few days. I know that doesn’t just come from me. So thank you friends. I’ll hopefully have a real answer soon. Because I’m going to eat through this batch of cookies pretty quickly….