Wednesday, September 17

Happy Autumn

We had ninety degree weather the other day, but while driving later that evening, I saw leaves blowing across a country road, with that magical, rolling bluster of fall. Each season has it's own unique sort of wonder...and I have to say fall is my favorite. 

Here in the Pacific Northwest sometimes we don't really get a real winter but we always get a true fall. This is a green place, so there is lots of dramatic change to celebrate.  

And I love vintage images.  Although I can appreciate the modern, clean lines of places of Ikea, I'd much rather shop at one of the local shops full of vintage and antique items.  Full of memories. 

I don't do a lot to decorate the house for fall, but I made a little tribute to the season with this three page card. The last page has a little space with a special cut out of my two year old daughter,( she's ten now) dressed in her finery.  

Have you made anything for Fall? Do you have any special crafts you're planning to do? 
What is your favorite season?

This is my submission for this weeks Daily Dose of Inspiration on the Party Time Tuesday Blog. If you love paper, card making, altered art, mixed media, and just being creative pop over there and have a look around, because there is really so much too see! 

Sunday, September 14

Blessing Mini-book

I like to make these little books just to give away - this one has found a home, but I have this idea of making one and wrapping it so pretty and just leaving it in some random city place to bless someone.

"The Lord bless you
    and keep you;


"the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn His face toward you

    and give you peace.

I'm still a little insecure about how my homemade gifts are received.  I attempted some gifts as a child that didn't go over well, and the memory still lingers.

But I love unexpected, undeserved, unearned gifts -  I love giving them and I love getting them.  A book like this takes me a couple of days, maybe six hours total to pull all together, fussy cut, arrange, add inks and spray inks, and I feel like, whatever the outcome, I am adding a bit of myself, my personal heart into the mix.  So I want the receiver to like it.  I want them to smile.

It's a little bit of a risk, giving a bit of your heart when you don't know how it will be received. Being a Christian, there is a message in this about Jesus- but I don't want to get preachy in this space.  If  you're curious about the gift Jesus gives that is undeserved or unearned or need prayer, or anything - feel free to ask me at I love to chat about the greatest gift I've ever been given.

Have you made something and just left it as a gift for someone to find?

Have you  been insecure about a gift you created?  How was it received?

I'd love to hear your story.

Be Blessed

Wednesday, September 10

I said HOMOPHONE; What Are Homophones And Why I Hate Them

I Am A Writer

One day I realized that I was writing all the time.  About all different kinds of  fictional and non-fictional things.  It dawned on me - I am writing.  Therefore I am a writer.

I'm not a paid writer.  But still, I write all the time awake and asleep. I even dream stories.

So, since I've shared my stuff publicly here and other places - (I've given three eulogies.  People.  Writing a eulogy that makes people laugh and fondly remember a loved one is really hard and I've done it for dear loved ones three times, so really, I MUST be a writer!) - And I decided to stop saying and thinking, "I want to be a writer, "  and instead just BE a writer.

I've never said I am a quality writer.  And honestly, some of my "stuff" is better than other of my "stuff."

You are never going to believe this, but I read and re-read everything I post a minimum of three times,  usually five or six times.  The reason I don't post more isn't because I don't have material.

Oh trust me.  I've got material.

It's the editing.  Even after five times of reading through, reading out loud, reading in different formats, I still miss things.  I swear I must miss a lot more than the average person.  If I had dyslexia or something I would tell you, because that would be a good excuse right?  But I don't.  It's just my fingers, brain and eyes do not communicate with each other, in the same way that my mouth doesn't always communicate with my brain.

Today I told my son to, "Put the washer in the laundry, please."

Instead of, "Put the laundry in the washer."

Now I know other people do this, but I do it daily. Repeatedly.

I'm an out of the box thinker-and everything else about me is out of the box too, and spread way all over the floor.

Mixed up with a few legos, broken pretzels, and leftover scraps of paper.

My five senses not syncing as quickly or accurately as they should means that although I can edit and do edit - I really am terrible at self-editing.

And Homophones Are the Bane of My Existence. 

This blog comes with a spelling and typo warning.  

However homophones are the worst offenders. A homophone are words that sound the same but mean very different things.  And the creep through my brain to my fingers all the time.  My brain and eyes are reading the great wisdom and heart flowing through me and pouring onto the page, while my fingers are off doing what ever they darn well please and not paying attention at all.

lose vs loose
 whole vs hole
brake vs break
 weather vs whether 

These words are killing me.

How can I be a good writer when the English language ties me up in knots and won't let go?

Sometimes it's very discouraging.  But, like that time someone heard me singing "I'm walking in Sunshine," and told me with a perfectly serious face, "Don't quit your day job," ...I still sing.

I am a singer.

But nobody pays me for it. 

Here are a couple of links to common Homophones and explanations/definitions. I'm pretty sure you have figured out, if you have visited more than once,  that I'm not a grammar stickler. 

Sunday, September 7

A Close-out Sale, A Long Visit & A New Friend (photo heavy)

I came across this lovely lady's blog via Instagram, I think, while searching tags.  Nancy at Domesticraft had these wonderful pictures- lovely, complete vignettes, a perfect set-up of vintage-ish items, supplies, and crafted items, with this burst of red detail that drew my attention every time.

She achieves this perfect balance and has a knack for adding graphics.

And then I scroll around, visit her blog, and find out she has a gorgeous studio filled with supplies and not only offering table time for crafters of all kinds, she also teaches classes!  Her blog is just filled with great photos and huge energy.  You can't read it and not love her.  Seriously. And she was relatively LOCAL to me.  Not half across the world.  AND better yet, her classes were more than reasonably priced.  I thought -wow, maybe I can make this happen!

I was hoping to take a class in September -

But change happens.  And dear Nancy and her husband decided to downsize and move to a tiny Portland apartment.  Which meant her Huge Studio at Domesticraft had to be downsized.

Which meant I had to see this dream space before it was dismantled, and maybe buy a couple of things for my own dream space.

So-Road Trip!

Onion Rings, Blackberry Milk Shake, Portland
It was a  90 degree day and my car air-conditioning wasn't working so I had to stop...

Now you have to understand.  I love vintage-ish, kitsch, and antiques.  I love the inexpensive stuff, the forgotten bobbles, the papers, the buttons, the things that someone, somewhere loved.  I adore anything that looks like it is holding a story.  I try not to buy a lot of it, because, frankly, I have enough that was passed down to me by my grandparents, but I still love it.  I've had many, many dreams where I get to shop through estate sales at old Victorian homes where the 93 year old owner, who has saved everything from her parents and from her life, has passed quietly in her sleep and now everything there is so reasonably priced I can buy whatever I want.

Beautifully, wonderfully arranged Domesticraft is even much better than a dream.  Nancy told me she spent 9 weeks setting it up, and you can feel the love, the burst of creativity as you walk in the door.  Every detail was put together as a little photo.  And there were lots of details everywhere.  Vintage suitcases, vintage jewelry boxes, vintage buttons in old greenish mason jars with weathered lids, bottles of flowers, stacks of papers, fabric stacks, racks of lace, vintage typewriters and sewing machines, scrapbook tools, and thread spools, odds, ends, ephemera, and elements, just a crafter's dream.

She gave me paper shopping bags and said go for it.  And wow.  I said I was overwhelmed, because it was truly like one of my dreams.  What did she mean go for it?  Really, I could just pick something?

Her studio is located in the basement of a ranch style home.  It looks like a typical 60's ranch style home, but then you see this huge space!  Nancy told me it used to be a bowling alley.  There is a nice little pool in the back of the house, but a bowling alley!  Who does that?  The space has since been remolded (obviously) and filled with crafty goodness you can not tell at all what it once once, except by how long it is!

I filled my paper bags plus I got two tables and a desk.  I really wasn't sure what I could get in the van...but people.  Nancy is very good at playing Tetris.

ZIP, ZAP, ZOOP, she made it fit.  

I made the kids help me unload the car- those kids move fast, I only got a shot of two of them. 

Where Women Create, Craft Space

I'm not nearly as handy at arranging as Nancy- and this photo was taken one morning while I was lying in bed and thinking about what next to do - but you can see the tall work table that I now have thanks to Nancy! ( I thought she gave me more than a good deal, I rather think she was a good deal generous.)

I got so much I had to make two trips!

My second trip was even better.  I spent more time getting to know Nancy and my reward was a little sewing lesson.  I can't sew (yet) I have an old machine but it keeps breaking needles and I don't know what to do with it!  But Nancy sat me down and just showed me what to do.  I can tell she has a "Quit talking and start doing," attitude that has gotten her far in life. She makes these little Project life pockets with sewing and details that are so cute.  She really has an eye for cute.

She says, "Cute doesn't need a reason."

Dapoppins visits Domesticraft
Just cute!  One of her arrangements.

One thing I didn't do was get a picture of her smile.  How could I have missed that?

Project life pocket cards, domesticraft

It took her about ten fifteen minutes to make this...maybe longer but I don't think so.  First she sewed the crape paper and let me practice, then the bottom layers of the card, then added the Fresh Good's.  We thought it needed something so we added the flower.

She is a natural teacher.  See how she sewed around the flower.  "It doesn't have to be perfect!" She said, and I agree.  I think it is so adorable.  Really.  It's paper and sewing, and look at those tiny stitches.  I have to admit to squealing a bit at the sweetness of it all.  Poor Nancy, she's not use to how "boisterous" I can be.

Nancy wants to get this move done with so that she can get back to crafting.

Some of her stuff, envelopes, papers, tickets.  I don't need any of it, but I really want all of it, plus the shelf too.  And I quite like how it is all arranged. 
Another vingette.  These  little collections were everywhere and  each has a story to tell. 

Her daughter is selling a ton of stuff too, clothing, books, a lot of games, tables of games actually, and  one that Nancy thought I might want.

Mary Poppins, Game, Vintage game, Disney

Oh yes.  You know I brought it home with me. 

I may have been blogging for years, but this incredible lady has so much to teach me and we are going to have some lovely fun times ahead.  

Have you ever made a friend over a garage or estate sale?  Are you still friends?  Let me know in the comments.  I would love to hear your stories. 

You can follow Domesticraft On Instagram here

You can follow Domesticraft on Pinterest here.

You can follow Dapoppins on Instagram here.

You can follow Dapoppins on Pinterest here.

Wednesday, September 3

The Nanny Reads -The Grudge Keeper: Where Do You Store Your Grudges? - Book Review

I've had this book checked out from the library for several weeks.  I just keep reading over and over again.  I take it with me when I have a temp-Nanny day.  One long day I got to read it out loud three times.

Eliza Wheeler's illustrations feel drenched with honey and life.  I know that might sound strange, but she relies on sunshine and light, using my favorite color, yellow, on many of the pictures, adding water color washes of paint that at once gentle and colorful.  Her people have a quill pen feel, from the bell of their gowns to the frowns on their faces, there is just something and flowing about them.

Mara Rockliff's story wields alliteration, consonance and assonance with the same quill pen Wheeler used in her drawings, unafraid of the beauty, power and play of words. While still very tightly written, Mara Rockliff writing just sounds good when read out loud.  Certainly, some of it is a bit of a tongue twister, but that just makes it all the better.  Kids will remember those sounds.  They will better connect with the story because like a pretty song- it sounds good.  This book was made for story time and crafted perfectly for bed time.

Set in the little fictional town of Bonnyripple -It sounds like someplace on the English countryside - where no one ever keeps a grudge, "that is, except old Cornelious, the Grudge Keeper."

Every time the townspeople become upset by some mishap they march down the road dressed in clothing that resembles something from a Dickens novel-only with less formality, and deliver their grudges to old Cornelious.  Until one day...-and that's the story.  What happens when you have to deal with your grudges?

Eliza Wheeler shared sketches and other projects over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, back in March in 2013.  Here is just a peek of her work- But you might want to pop over there for the full interview and even more lovely pictures.

Character sketch for the Grudge Keeper.

You can check this book out from the library locally, once I return it.  Or you can buy it from Amazon -here.

Monday, September 1

Steampunk Journal Cover

The Curious Wold of Keegan Isaiah Honor

My fourteen year old requested a steampunk journal with a guy in a gas mask.

So I googled it.  Added some Tattered Angels Spray Mists, and a few metal things made by Tim Holtz. 

He liked it.

Nanny Life - What does it mean to be a nanny?

There is no other relationship like the one between a Nanny and her long term charges.

Nannies are not babysitters, like parents or big sisters. They have the advantage of being companion, teacher and caregiver.

My first Nanny Charges.  They are all gown up now and married. Taken in Palm Springs on vacation 

As a mom with four kids now ages 10, 12, 14, and 16 - and a Nanny with a career going back to 1988 that includes full time, part time, and temporary Nanny positions, I have a unique perspective of the Nanny life.

At least I like to think so.

I really wanted to be like Jane Eyre.  Long puritan dresses, strong convictions, hired by a grandmotherly housekeeper.  I'd work for a brooding, changeable and  rich male and teach his young ward, an adorable child  who is desperate for attention and will mostly do as I ask without back-talking.

I was nineteen when I started my first job.

It could have happened that way.

But it didn't.

I'm not your fairy tale nanny.

In the end I married a second grade teacher who had a smile that reminded me of Elvis that melted my heart enough we ended up with four beautiful kids.

Full Time Live Out Nanny Position.  He has graduated college now. 
I can tell you, there are indeed, some things about being a Nanny that are quite a bit like being a parent.  Nannies change diapers, solve disputes, run the kid-taxi, often plan the entire day of her charges in the same way that Mom's do.  Nannies multi-task, pick up toys, clean up messes and make judgement calls about how much t.v. is too much t.v. - just like Mom's do.


A Nanny has one job, one focus.

A Nanny has one job, one focus.  It's not on the upkeep of the home, it's not on a job outside the home, it's not a relationship with the Dad of the house, it's not anything but the care, education, safety and entertainment of her charges.

Mom's can often get by without planning that last one -  My job as a mom is to teach my kids to be independent adults. Sometimes I plan their entertainment.  But that is not my goal for the day, and as a Mom, never has been.  Have I wanted my kids happy?  Absolutely.  But if I'm not in the mood to entertain them, then, I have the free choice as a Mom to expect that they entertain themselves or at least turn something on that will entertain them.

To me, this is one of the big distinctions between being a Nanny and being a Mom.

My wedding day. 1995
Mom's are not companion's or playmates.  Sometimes yes.  Great Mom's play with their kids, engage them talk to them and laugh with them, but not usually for ten hours a day.

Nannies are companions and playmates. Nannies are the portable entertainment system.  Depending on the home-rules, sometimes we never turn the t.v. or game system on while we are on the job.

We are friends and teachers at the same time.  If you've never been a Nanny, it's hard to describe.  It's such a unique and beautiful relationship.  During my long term jobs,  a trust has always developed, a special connection that is different from the parent bond, but a powerful bond none-the-less.

Twin boys, also all grown up now.

I know my presence has long term effects on the children I work with.  My 10 hour days with them helped develop character traits, temper attitudes, and explore new horizons. I know this because their parents and their grandparents have told me so.

A Nanny brings her unique character and talents into the family and shares herself with the children with love and confidence.  She is as much a professional at the 5 a.m wake up call as she is at dinner time, bed time, and in the middle of the night -

Parents can grumble, make mistakes, ask forgiveness. We all know that real parents are less like June Clever and more like Rosanne (only with more divorce.) Parents have baggage, get emotional, and can be selfish.

Being a Nanny is a JOB.  I get the big bucks to be professional when I am feeling hot, tired, overwhelmed and worn out.

I've made fewer mistakes as a Nanny than I have as a parent.

Not everyone is cut out to be a Nanny.

Every family is different and it would be impossible for one Nanny to fit every family.

To be a Nanny one must do more than just love them.  I've found that most kids are easy to love.

To be a Nanny one must really enjoy children.  A nanny truly enjoys the stages of development in a child's life, she enjoys being with them, holding them, interacting with them, laughing with them and making them laugh.

That is the key for me.  I love making them laugh.  At any age.  Even the pesky, sometimes difficult tweenagers.  It is my goal for the day, in the first hour, to make every kid I'm with - laugh. This is difficult, because I can never remember the punch-lines to stupid jokes, but I have my ways...the smile blooming on their face and ensuing giggle is it's own reward.

Jane Eyre taught French and Mathematics.  I make 'em laugh.

Yes I like making my own kids laugh too...but sometimes I just want them to go to bed and give me a break.
Making other kids laugh- that's what I'm paid to do.

And that is what makes being a Nanny different from being a Mom.

What is your perspective?  As a Nanny without do you think you will feel differently about your own?

And as a parent with kids- what do you expect from your Nanny?