Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm such a nut, gonna paint my...WHAT?!

There are lots of times in the lives of parents when our kids do or say something we've never seen or heard them do before and we think "where did that come from?"

There are other times, though, when they do or say things and we can immediately identify the influence (i.e. "But daddy says it all the time!").

Here's what my girls were doing during a little quiet painting time today:

And I know exactly who's responsible...So, thank you, David Catrow. I'll go draw a bath now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rainbow of Goodness

The Farmers Market was a huge success yesterday. We both woke up on time. Our awning (that recently got broken) went up and stayed up for the whole day. We got a chance to visit with all the regulars. All of the Traveling Dresses sold out, as well as most of the Chakra Tanks.

However the thing I am most excited about from yesterday is all the produce I got for feasting on over the next week.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

If good fortune finds you in St. Helena tomorrow morning, you'll find us at the Farmer's Market.
Yes, the season is upon us. The one time of year when we have to get ourselves dressed and out of the house before sunrise to go to work. (Work!) We look forward to these early mornings of unpacking and displaying our clothes while the other vendors put out their fruits, vegetables and flowers. It's just us two, no kids (ahhhh). So we get to relax and people watch and chat with each other and all the familiar faces that pop into our little tent.
Here are a couple of new things you'll see if you're there:The Traveling Dress! A sweet little A-line halter with an attached side-tie scarf. For now, these will only be available at the Market. But if you'd really like to see them available in our Etsy shop, then comment away. We've been known to accomodate friendly requests.

The Chakra Tank is the newest item in our shop. We'll have these at the Market, too, in both black and natural (which is organic!).

This is just a teaser, there'll be a few other little things we've whipped up that you'll just have to come see in person. So be there or be square!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Fifth Year

My firstborn just turned five years old. There was kind of a mad dash of events leading up to her birthday party (click it!), including the Avett Brothers show that kept us out until 3 AM the night before (it was worth every second).

As usual, despite all the planning and preparation the party slipped by in a flurry of presents, cupcakes, hot sun and kids splashing in the pool. Perhaps it had something to do with the aforementioned late night, but before she or I knew it, it was bedtime and her birthday was over.

Then in came Hoppy (my dad, her grandpa) the next morning to rekindle the dwindling excitement with a very special present.

There was some assembly required.Mazzy got to help, and got a little lesson in "righty tighty, lefty loosey."They flipped it over and voila!The girl got herself a custom built vintage low rider, and another little piece of family heritage. This was the bike that both my sister and I learned to ride on.

When he pulled it out of his trunk a whole bunch of memories came out with it. I still remember waiting for my dad to fix the broken left pedal with a piece of plywood he cut perfectly to fit (you can barely see it in that last picture). And who doesn't remember the first time they realized they were riding alone, turning around to see their dad back in the distance and wham! getting their first skinned knee. One such crash left the front wheel of this bike a little off center and you still have to hold the handlebars slightly to the right for it to go straight.

Sometimes it's a good thing that my parents were always the kind to never get rid of anything. Because I can't wait to watch Mazzy ride away for the first time on those same wheels.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


The other day when I asked Scarlett what she wanted to do she instantly replied "let's paint in the garden!" That sounded like a perfect idea to me so we grabbed our supplies and headed out.Filled with inspiration from our surroundings we painted most of the afternoon. Butterflies and grapevines and sunshine seemed to be the theme.
I'm so grateful that she shares my love of painting. My heart swells watching her. Lately she's been asking for more direction on how to make her paintings look "real".
She's my inspiration. Constantly reminding me to look at the world with an open mind and an open heart.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I've been thinking about my grandma a lot lately.
I think there are a few reasons for this.
First, my family and I have recently moved to a house farther into the hills and woods, and once you live a good distance away from the nearest town you must learn to plan better and be more resourceful, intuitive and self-reliant. My grandma seems to embody all these qualities, having lived on our family farm in rural Kansas all her life, and I find myself thinking more and more these days something like, "Oh, that's why she always does that." And it makes me feel good to think that finally I'm beginning to get it.

I believe that along with the wisdom that comes with age, there's also a certain bit of nobility. And since we're both women and sisters and mothers, I hold dearly onto all her little sayings and bits of advice. "You never use soap on a skillet, that's just a waste of good grease," and "it might not help get the job done, but grunting always makes it feel easier."

Second, my daughter's birthday is coming up and when I recently talked to her on the phone, she asked if it was alright for her to send Mazzy another doll for her birthday. Let me back this up by saying that my grandma was the youngest of eleven children in her family, and they struggled like everybody during the Depression. She's told me quite a few times about how she only had one doll growing up and it was handmade to begin with and you can imagine how ratty the poor thing must have been. So now she gives my girls dolls every chance she gets and says "I just don't think a girl can have too many dolls." I just can't argue with that.

Third, it's Mother's Day, which is always bittersweet for me because my own mother is gone. But every time I feel that aching sadness of a motherless child, it's followed closely by a deep admiration of my grandmother's strength, as a daughterless mother. I cannot, and hope I never have to wrap my mind around that.

Finally, as I get older myself and see my own legacy take shape, my respect for her grows and I feel a closer connection to her on that cord that ties me to her through my mom and connects my children to generations of women that even I never knew.

She's a simple woman, my grandma, with simple goals. She loves nothing more than to have a house full of guests and family and feed them all and hold babies and take care of my grandpa. And she's spent her whole life doing what she loves. Mothering. Nurturing, nourishing and loving. I don't think anyone can aspire to do anything greater than that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lovely as the month of May

Maybe like a lot of people, we tend to stay pretty close to home. Occasionally a specific need drives us out of our little Valley, but never for long.

The sights and sounds that surround us are anything but boring, and it's only because we see them every day that we take them for granted. Vineyards, wild mustard, wine cellars and famous restaurants, blah, blah, blah.

But in Springtime, and specifically in May, the natural beauty here just demands our attention and gratitude.
There are, after all, lots of places where little scenes like these don't just happen on the side of the road. It's no wonder we never leave.

I'm sure part of the magic of Spring has something to do with feeling the warm sunshine after the Winter months of cold, and anticipating all the outdoor adventures that the Summer brings. The frogs chirp at night and the birds during the day, and if you wake up early enough you'll see hot air balloons drifting overhead. The hills are still green and the seeds in the garden are just sprouting.

We are truly lucky, and we only have to look around us to see why.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's That Time Again

One of my favorite times of the whole year is Garden Planting Time. I love the days spent with my two favorite people in one of my favorite places at such a vibrant time of year. I'm especially motivated this year because I have been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is so inspiring.

I got another burst of inspiration after receiving an email about being featured on a blog. I went to read the write up and got sucked into this really great gardening blog. I ended up getting some good ideas to build some trellises. You can see the one above made out of branches left over from trimming the trees. A couple more down below in the tepee style.

A trip down to our local organic nursery. We picked up sun sugar cherry tomatoes because they are the closest we can get to lollipop plants (which is what Scarlett wanted), zucchini, green beans, cucumber, more tomatoes (lots), basil, thyme and cilantro.

It was a great way to spend the weekend. All of us working together. Creating something together. Something that will nurture and nourish our bodies and our hearts. My mouth is already watering at the thought of Caprese Sandwiches for dinner and salsa made from fresh tomatoes. Food grown with love always tastes the best.