Handmade With Love

When I was growing up it was the norm to make gifts for Christmas. It could be because we lacked the money to buy store-bought presents, but I like to think that it was a sweet way to express our affection through our imagination and creativity.

Now, over the years I have been a maker of things and have become addicted to gift-making for holidays. I’m not sure that they were always appreciated or even that good of a gift, however it’s helped me save money and keep my mind and hands busy.

I almost wish I had taken a picture of the gifts I’ve made over the years so I could go back and see how my skill and taste level have grown (it would surely make a funny “wall of shame” photo collage), because I know darn well that I was not good at sewing or knitting or crocheting at one time but that didn’t stop me from giving a wonky looking handknit dishcloth or a badly sewn item of clothing. And I know for sure I used some crazy colored yarn that I was gifted from an aged knitter to make my dad a scarf and I never have seen him wear it, and for good reason; it was ugly as hell! But I used what I had and I really never stopped to consider the fact that he actually doesn’t wear scarves and he really didn’t need one that had every shade of 70’s green in it.

Now I am a proficient seamstress and knitter/crocheter and my taste has been developed by European travel and exposure to fashion outside the realm of the country town I dwell now, so I’m finally getting better at this. But as years go by I realize that gifts are not the only way to show our affection for someone we care for and sometimes it’s the more random and less tangible things that have the most heart, like sending a hand-written note when it’s not a holiday or birthday or stopping by to say “Hi!” and give a quick hug or calling up to tell them you were thinking of them and hope they are doing wonderful. Simple stuff, but super powerful way to show your love.

Shopping is fun, don’t get me wrong! I do enjoy that too. I just get a little thrill from making things. This year I haven’t made many gifts though. Seems I waited a bit too long to get started and I had to make a choice: go crazy trying to do more than humanly possible or choose to relax and do less. This year I chose to give myself the gift of peace and decided to focus on keeping it simple. Less truly is more.

Here’s a sneak peak at what I made for someone, not saying who, but they’ll find out in 9 days!

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The Smitten Mitten, for holding hands and staying warm on a winter wonderland walk.

This is a pattern I found on Ravelry. It works up fast on large needles and I used worsted weight yarn but held double strands to make it a bulky weight. My friend, Gwen, taught me how to use one skein of yarn to make it a double strand by grabbing the inner tail and outer tail and using together. I never had thought of that before! When patterns called for holding two yarns, they usually said to use two skeins but then you end up with two partial skeins when your done. With Gwen’s method you can completely use the skein and move onto the next with very little yardage waste. I’m thrifty and this pleases me to no end!! So if you want to make this cool lover’s mitten set go here: Smitten Pattern

Enjoy your day and happy crafting!

~Tillie

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It’s Only Hair

Have you ever looked back at your photos growing up and cringed at the awful hair styles you’ve had? For me that’s a resounding “Yes!” Almost every year or season I changed styles, if you can even call it a “style.” It’s actually quite comical. I own my unique nerdiness, especially when it comes to hair. I like change, what can I say?!

Let me show you what I’m talking about:

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Me at 10 years old with my baby sister. Hair “fails” started young for me. I wish I still had that shirt though!
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I think I am about 12 or 13 here with my Dad and baby sister.
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Ha! This is a classic “hair fail” of mine I like to call my ‘Sister Wives’ do. I was probably 13 or 14. I had a curling iron and a huge can of Aquanet for those bangs. Oh memories…
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I was 14 or 15 here with my Welsh Pony, Pepper, and my dog , Chance. I miss them! But we had good times together and they never once judged me by my epic hair fails.
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The PERM! Yes, I had a few perms I’m not proud of. But that sweet baby there is someone I’m very proud of! This is me at 20 with my first child, Emma.
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At 22/23, I still had hair issues. But it all stems from going too long between hair appointments and choosing cheap service over pricier but better service. Live and Learn…it’s taken me decades but I’ve learned! This picture is Emma at 2 or 3 years old. I miss how little my babies were!

 

 

Yeah, so you see what I mean. I’ve been trying different things with my hair for as long as I can remember, but not always with a good outcome. I’ve only loved two styles and that was when I shaved my head (that felt amazing and was so simple) and when my hair grew out curly and dark with some grey highlights. This year I decided I needed a change and went and colored my hair back to blonde but now I’m wanting to go strawberry blonde or red. Maybe not. I may just shave my head come spring and grow it out all natural again.

The reason I even shaved my head back in 2011 was because I had such a bad hair color application and it couldn’t be fixed and my style was gross, so my husband said “Let’s just shave it and you can start over.” That’s exactly what we did. I was a little nervous because I thought maybe I have a weird shaped head or scars from all the falls I’ve taken off horses and from climbing trees, but it was actually perfect! My husband did the shaving, starting right down the middle so there was no going back! I really loved the feel of it and the way my head tickled when the wind blew over my short wee hairs. Instead of feeling less beautiful or womanly, it was quite the opposite. I felt super sexy and strong, like a true female should.

There you have it. My series of epic hair fails and my most favorite hair style ever: shaved head! I know it is silly to think hair can define a person, but in all actuality it does make statement about who you are. I’m not sure if my constant changing of hair styles means anything about who I am or more like who I’m not. I think it shows that I don’t take myself too seriously and really love a good laugh even at my own expense!

What is your most epic hair “fail” or do you even have one? Some people have flawless hair and good stylists their whole life through. I don’t know what that would be like. Boring?…Great?…I can’t even wrap my head around it, it’s that foreign a concept to me. Some things are better left a mystery, I guess.

Anyway, enjoy your day. Laugh it up and remember: It’s only hair!

The Open Road

There’s 164,000 miles of highway in the US.

There are over 10,000 State Parks in the US.

Who has seen every state? Who has dreamt of pulling up roots and traveling where the wind takes you?

It takes courage and faith to free yourself from convention, to chart your own course into the unknown. The life of an RV owner is a daily adventure with a journey logged in miles and the only constant is change.

It’s my honor, and great joy, to pass on our RV to a new adventurer. Our family has enjoyed several trips in this 1998 Fleetwood Bounder. It has been a place where memories were made, our home away from home, and now it’s time for someone else to create their favorite moments to look back on.

This 34 foot RV is a fully contained Tiny Home on wheels. It has it ALL! (Minus a mortgage) You can use it as it was intended-to travel the open road with all you need in life-or use it as the family vacation home that can go to any destination (this is how our family of 7 used it) or park it in your yard as a guest house or Mother-In-Law suite. It could be a great tour bus for a traveling band or a mobile business center. There are many possibilities with uses for this RV!

It’s a great deal at $21,500. Low miles, good condition, runs, and all appliances work. It’s located in Eatonville, WA but could be delivered if negotiated at the right price. Call 360-832-3354 for more info or to set up a time to see it.

Repeat After Me

Some days I am full of self doubt and can’t find a nice thing to say about myself (those days are generally that one week before my period when all my hormones are all out of whack), but what brings me back to center is a poem by the amazingly talented Maya Angelou that, in my opinion, all women should know and memorize by heart: Phenomenal Woman.

A good friend of mine gave me this poem in a letter when I was 17 years old and it has become not just a poem to me but a mantra that has seen me through some dark times and insecure moments. I thank God for writers who have give words to my emotions, who have put my thoughts in a clear order and shed light on my path.

So, repeat after me, “I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me!”

‘Phenomenal Woman’ by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Just a Little Rant

What’s up with deodorant?

Men and women both use it. It’s a thing of courtesy when we try to smell our best, and I thank everyone who makes an effort. But why the heck can’t us women get deodorant like Old Spice gel stick with a woman’s scent? Seriously, it bugs me that female pit-stick is smaller (less product for the same price or more than the male counterpart=RIP OFF!) and we have to choose between gooey clear gel and white chalk. Huh? Are you kidding me?!

Come on Old Spice, make a woman’s line already. Or better yet, all you lady-brands pick up your game and give us the gel stick like Old Spice with a nice feminine scent. Is it really that hard? I end up using my husband’s pit-stick most times because I love the feel of it and it doesn’t leave white marks on my clothes or goo. It glides on nicely and works pretty damn good. I still have not found a woman’s brand I like and want to stick with.

I also don’t like paying more for less. I notice a lot of things are priced higher when marketed to women than men, which is another problem I see in stores and businesses. Go see for yourself. You can get a package of plain white t-shirts in the men’s department for the price of one t-shirt from the woman’s department. Hair cuts for men, super cheap, woman with a short do will still pay more than a man…why? It’s a fact that men have historically earned higher wages than women in the same line of work and still us ladies will end up paying more for similar universal products and services.

Things that make me go “hmmm…”

drats

Okay, so I posted late on the 2nd and yesterday missed out completely due to spending all my waking hours at a holiday sale in Seattle with my Mom and many talented artists. It was a fun day, but I was too tired to post anything when I got home.

Do I feel bad? Not really. It would have been a lame post anyway if I had tried since I felt tired and uninspired. Someone asked why I would choose December of all months to commit to writing a daily post and I said I like a challenge, but the truth is I’m just crazy; in a good way!

It rained so hard last night that our roof was leaking an upbeat melody into the pots that catch my indoor rainforest. I’m thankful it’s sunny today even if it’s colder than I like. I prefer a warm beach to a snowy mountain, so I will bundle up and make it through these cold months until I can escape to the seaside under the warmth of the sun. Dreaming of the beach keeps me going…

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Hawaii is my future destination. A life on the beach is my dream.

 

In the mean time, I count my blessings. I have a loving husband who makes me breakfast and gives me sweet lovin’ morning, noon, and night-whenever I want it. Our children are healthy and wonderful people. My extended family and in-laws are awesome. I have phenomenal friends that make me a better person. We have a home, food, warm clothes, and all our bills paid. I’m thankful for all that I have! It’s not to say I don’t want for more, just that until then I am happy and grateful for all I have now.

Okay, I’m off to decorate the home for the holidays! Enjoy your day!

Hugs,

~Tillie

 

 

Too Much Fun!

Is there even such a thing as “too much fun?” I don’t think so, but if there is then I just officially had too much fun tonight!

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I got home in time to write this blog post before midnight about my awesome night watching live stand-up comedy at the Tacoma Comedy Club with Gary Gulman. He is seriously funny and I enjoyed his jokes so much. I’ve seen his Netflix comedy specials, but let me tell you, he is even better in person! I admit, I sort of geeked-out when I saw him walking through the club before it started. Scream or squeal, it’s a toss-up on what you would call the sound that I made when I jumped from my chair to shake his hand and get a picture with this tall Amazon of a man. He was super nice and didn’t have me escorted out for being a weirdo fan. (Thanks Gary!)

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Ladies Night Out at the Tacoma Comedy Club to watch Gary Gulman and laugh our butts off

My friend, Michelle, joined me for a ladies night out for some laughs. It was great! I think this is something that should be a regular event. Comedy is so good for the mind, body, soul and these Comics tonight nailed it! I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

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Ladies Night Out with Michelle to see live stand-up comedy in Tacoma, WA

I WISH that I could remember a joke to retell to you, but that just isn’t my strong suit so you’ll have to take my word for it that they were funny as hell! (You can still go see them tomorrow if you are around Tacoma, WA)

Thank you to my friend Michelle for a fabulous night. She drove and I got to have a drink(or two or three) and we had a yummy dinner at 208 Garfield in Parkland where we talked and laughed before heading to our show to see THE Gary Gulman, at his finest I might add. Two great Comics were before him, but I didn’t catch their names unfortunately and I never saw them listed anywhere. They were funny!

All-in-all, a really great night! Can’t wait to do it again.

Sleep good,

~Tillie