b.a.zaar time!

Aack! Already?? It's b.a.zaar time! Translated, it's the new and soon-t0-be-annual craft fair for Tulsa and Broken Arrow area Etsy sellers! Held in the Farmer's Market area on Main Street in downtown Broken Arrow, OK, it's going to be a fun day.

Come one, come all, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and get all sorts of cool things, handmade by local artisans!

I know the fair deserves a nice big writeup, but I have to be up in 4 hours to iron my tablecloths, finish packing up the car, and drive to B.A. by 6 a.m.! Oy. And what wasn't made in the last precious hours before now will just have to wait for another craft fair. October always seems so far away when you're still in July, signing up for your first "real" craft show. Many lessons learned along the 3-month journey.

I'll try to blog from the fair if there's a break. Otherwise, I'll post a nice big blog post about it after the fact.

See you soon!

not a creature was stirring...

EXCEPT FOR the mouse!!! Except for, not even... same diff.

So here's our saga: We saw a mouse or three over time, caught a few on glue traps, cleaned up mouse poop in a place or two throughout the months, thought they were finally gone...

Yeah... right.

Now this part is a testament to how little I've been cooking up real meals in our house this super hot summer: they had taken over the pantry and had chewed into cardboard boxes of mixes, flour, crackers, cereal, plastic bags of flour, sugar, chocolate chips, styrofoam cups of ramen lunches (they licked those babies clean!).... All without my knowledge. Well, we saw a trace here or there, thought they were gone, were frankly afraid to look too closely... I mean, who wants to actually dig in there and deal with the after effects of a mouse party? An obvious thing to keep putting off...

I spent all afternoon yesterday throwing away 3/4 of our food and paper supplies, taking shelves out of the shelving system (to be thrown away, thank you very much. Plywood with poop and pee on it? For my food? So not happening. How would you ever get it clean??) , shop-vac-ing the poop and the cardboard/styrofoam/paper bits, 409-ing the walls, the shelf supports, the floor.

And what do we find today? Another friggin mouse! The pantry (aka the front-coat-closet-turned-pantry) still smelled bad, so I opened up the door to air it out and a dang mouse ran straight down the vertical metal part of the shelves! What the crap is left in there for him to eat??? NOTHING! Go home, little annoying disease-carrying make-me-want-to-puke animal! Eat some of that fine bright green mouse, er, food in the little plastic box there, and then go share it with your friends! See ya! "Humane" disposal time is OVER!

This is so not my idea of a well-spent weekend afternoon. Or week, for that matter. Now I get to have new wood cut for our shelves, finish airing out the closet, make sure the stupid mice actually stay out this time (how??), and shop for new food for my family.

Reminds me of the time I thought squirrels were cute... until one got into my dorm room. The thought still makes me shiver to this day!

Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder....

Guess where the boys are this week? At CAMP!!! Woohoo!!!

They did an awesome day camp this summer for a couple of weeks, and there's also a resident version. I kept telling the boys it just wouldn't fit in this year, but we decided to make it work. Wow! I'll do THAT every summer from now on!! :-)

Camp Courage 01

We drove the boys out to Mannford, OK, (middle of nowhere) on Sunday night. As we drove away from camp, we realized that Husky, Aidan's favorite stuffed animal, hadn't made it into the car. So Brad and I drove home the 30+ minutes, grabbed Husky, and drove back again to Mannford (still in the middle of nowhere). Turns out, someone stole the copper from the power substation for our neighborhood that evening, so our house was w/o power when we got home the first time. So at least the second trip to camp was cool, had music, and gave us something to do with our evening. I think it was 90 or so in the house when we left. I was too annoyed and afraid to look at the thermostat when we got home for the final time. Ugh. (We came back to town -- again -- and had dinner at 9 p.m., checked our phones until AEP/PSO said our power was back on, then went home around 11.)

Camp Courage 09

They called us from camp on Monday night and said that Aidan wanted to come home, but the camp director took care of it. No call last night, so whew! :-) Two more nights to go! They're doing a ropes/obstacle course, rock wall climbing, swimming in the lake and the pool, ziplining... I'm sure they're totally wiped out by bedtime!

Camp Courage 07

Meanwhile, I've been trying to do some cleaning (Ever have one of those weeks when nothing you did seems visible in the end? Yeah. Me too.) and some sewing. I have a craft show in October, and Murphy's Law says that it will be here before I know it!

Because today is expected to break Tulsa's all-time high of 115 degrees, I drove Brad to work today since his a/c overheats his car at the moment. He works about 20-25 minutes away, and somewhat closer than home to the Fabricut fabric outlet. I say somewhat because it is farther east, but leaving the Port and going to Fabricut then back home is kind of like doing a big triangle rather than just a coupla miles past his office. BUT, somehow that gives me mental license to "keep going" to the outlet for my fabric on occasion. Check out what I got! Won't those plush and textured fabrics be awesome for fall and winter bags and clutches?? Yum!!!


And check out those rolls of basic fabrics! Interlining, interfacing... They'll come in handy on everything! Especially for --- ready? --- FIVE DOLLARS!!! TOTAL! For that entire bag full of rolls! I've really got to take Brad to work more often. :-)


So I'm off to SEW SEW SEW now! Cleaning? What cleaning?

baking....and pools....

Click above...

In the last 30 days, we've had only 4 days under 100 degrees; and those 4 were in the 90s. And it ain't a "dry heat" here in Tulsa. Not most days. (Okay, I had to look today of all days. 26% humidity. Trust me, that's NOT been the norm.) And there's no rain. In all seriousness and with no whining, I truly don't know how they survived during the Dust Bowl era. I suppose "survive" is the key word.

Sooo.... I've reset the horribly totally-not-level pool after much weeping and gnashing of teeth. And sweating buckets of sweat. And crying. Just once this time, though. :-)

I've learned a lot in the month that we've owned a pool...

1. 'Create a stable, level foundation' is easier said than done. Especially when nothing on the box or at the pool company's site mentions that sand is better than dirt, even though that was in the back of my mind from my college years for some reason.


2. All the legal CRAP on the packaging for the pool chemicals make it hard to figure out the simplest of things. Sure, each bottle or box is plastered with a big 1, 2, 3, or 4, but there are multiple 1s, several 2s, and so on! Just spell it out for me in plain English! I promise I won't sue. Or eat the chemicals. Or whatever else the fine print is covering the company's butt for.

3. When you don't read the instructions first, you go out and invest in a nice big outdoor extension cord for the pump.... only to find out later that it's supposed to be a GFCI one. (If anyone with electrical experience or with pool experience knows, do I HAVE to have one if the pump itself has a GFCI box thingy on it?) So you have to wait until payday to go get a new one (once you find it... None at the two Ace hardwares by us), and until then you feel compelled to unplug the pump every time your kids are in it. Just in case.

4. We will FOREVER have some form of a pool in our yard from now on. That's a big step for me, too! I was always afraid to have one around for the sake and safety of my kids or those that might visit. But it's all about responsibility, not going without simply because of my paranoia. Heck, I own a gun! I have a CC license! And I'm afraid of a pool? Really, Holly. Think it through...


5. It is, in retrospect, a wise decision of ours to have two children. When they go out to the pool, the boys have only each other to pay attention to. So when I hear yelling (hopefully happy yelling) and splashing, I know they're both alright. The odds of someone kidnapping them out of the pool, of both being incapacitated at the same time, or some other tragic yet unlikely scenario, are rather slim. BUT if I'd had 3, two could be playing and ignoring the 3rd one who might truly be in trouble. Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that 2 is the safest number in a pool. Or a family. LOL Okay, not in a family. But it works for this theory, at least. And may be a totally flawed conclusion, but please don't burst my bubble. It's a hot and weary summer, and they're OUTSIDE! That doesn't happen often in Tulsa in the end of July!

6. Although the weight of a billion gallons of water in your pool are indeed heavy, they apparently do not have the strength to shove said water through a 50 (75?) foot hose to water the front yard when you need to drain it due to the aforementioned lack of leveling. But you don't know that until you drag the hose around the house in the 100+ degree heat in the sun, hook up the hose to the sprinkler, figure out how to attach the hose to the pool, and all at about 6:30 in the morning (Okay, I guess it wasn't 100 degrees that morning. 80ish? It felt hotter. May have been the 6:30 part) on a Saturday when you wanted to sleep in but were afraid you'd scald the plants if you didn't water early enough in the day. I literally had to watch our water drain away into the neighbor's yard. Not ONCE did the thought that just NOW popped into my head pop into my head that day: I could have used a shorter hose and siphoned it, couldn't I? I'm an idiot. Sigh.

7. When the drain is 3 inches above the base of the pool, the only way to finish draining approx. 200+ gallons of water (is that RIGHT? I did my old geometry magic and came up with that.. Who knows... that was 20 years ago..) is to grab three mixing bowls (because nobody owns a bucket, right? Oh, they do? Well, we apparently don't.) and have two unenthusiastic helpers help you bail for 30+ minutes. Then you get the Shop Vac and get the rest for the next 30 minutes, disassembling and emptying the Shop Vac every 3 minutes in the process. But hey, we got all the grime that had accumulated as we took 3 unfiltered days to finally get the last of the water out. A bright spot, perhaps? :-)


But all is well now. The pool is back up. It's more level than before. It's not like I'm installing a several thousand dollar pool that will last forever. The water is clear. The boys love to skim the junk from the trees that fall into the water. (Which is good, since I can't find a cover anywhere in town and need to order one.) The chemicals are working their magic. And my boys can cool off, have fun, and give Mom some quiet time, all at the same time! What sweet children! :-)

The garden is half dead, but the okra's doing well! If only I liked okra! LOL But Aidan does, and he specifically requested it.
The upside of the heat is that I can replant EVERYTHING in my garden if I start soon, and I can harvest it all over again! Or for the first time, I guess I should say this year. That's the one (and I emphasize ONE) upside to the perpetual summers here in Tulsa. Tomatoes in September and October? Yes, ma'am!! And carrots, broccoli, and the like for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Ignore the grass in the pictures. One can only stand the heat for a number of hours. Mowing will commence tomorrow.

i got in!!!!

YAY! I wanted to join this swap, but it filled up SO quickly on a weekend when I was really sick. So after lots of agonizing lotteries for replacement people, I finally got in!

4x5 modern Quilt Bee Badge

I'm sure every girl's style changes throughout the years, but I've gone from Victorian in college to MODERN and mid-century (50s) modern!! Quite a jump! We live in a 50s house and although it's nothing like a 50s modern ranch or anything, I try to do what I can inside to make it as modern as I can. I've played with colors for the 10 years we've been here, and I've finally realized that I love the avocados, golds, tomatoes, aquas, and the chartreuses of the 50s and 60s. As accents, that is. I went through a "green phase" where Brad literally forbade me to purchase anything else green for a while. LOL I've been released now and am allowed to buy it again in reasonable quantities. :-)

So, I'm thinking that my new brown sectional needs a cool mid-century modern quilt on it this fall. Here's the color scheme and the angular and modern look of the squares I'm thinking of doing....

4x5 Swap Mosaic

I need to knit a big bulky pillow cover or two, too, for some texture!

Pillow Talk Swap Results


I'm officially sick of this weather. Too hot to do anything outside, too hot in the house (gets up to 80 indoors by mid afternoon). I was NOT created for this climate. Not by a long shot. 80 or 85 is my maximum ideal outdoor temp. And that's only for a month or two at the most. Here, we get a good 6 months above that temp, and right now we're in the triple digits and have been for a few weeks. That usually starts later in July or August, so we're really tired of the fact that it started so soon this year. Ugh.


So... instead, I've kept busy in other ways...

Like this pillow I made for my The Pillow Talk Swap partner on Flickr:
PTS Summer 2011 07

Isn't that piping around the edge great, just inside of the scrappy binding?
PTS Summer 2011 09

Here's what it looked like before I quilted it:
PTS summer 201103

Enjoy, partner!

another fun-filled evening....

auction dinner04
Last night was our 4th time to go to the "dinner with the principal" that is always up for bid at our school's silent auction. It's become a tradition and I always insist on bidding on the dinner.

auction dinner01

Ten couples battle it out to win a wonderful evening in someone's back yard (loosely defined. It's always a magazine-worthy poolside place or cozy yard with exquisite landscaping... Sure not like MY back yard!!) with elegantly placed tables, delicious and ample food, top-notch service, and endless glasses of "special water" (water with mint, lemons, limes, and oranges), wine, beer, and margaritas. The dinner is hosted by 5 couples who go all out with food, decorations, fancy invitations.... the whole nine yards.
auction dinner03 auction dinner11

This year's theme was a backyard picnic. We played horseshoes and washers; mason jars full of Queen Anne's lace, marigolds, and zinnias from the farmer's market were on the tables; fried chicken and gourmet cole slaw were served... One of the couples hosted it in their beautiful backyard and their equally beautiful home.
auction dinner06
auction dinner05
Thanks, Mayo party parents, for another highly successful and entertaining evening with a few couples who have become our friends over the last 5 years, not just random parents to our kids' schoolmates. Although I truly loved being a military brat, this is something we just didn't have growing up. It's nice to have primarily the same kids and families in our little circle each year; relationships can grow so much closer and stronger over time, and we value our Mayo friends!

auction dinner10 auction dinner09
So, I'm in another pillow swap. Here's my mosaic of ideas for my partner this round.

Dear PTS5 partner.....

It's been a fun swap to be in each time. I always get my partner and then think, "Oh, crap! I don't know what to make THAT person!" Then of course, I always do. But not without much self doubt. So far, though, I've always been pleased with them in the end, and I've even wanted to keep one or two for myself!

So, partner, have fun! The living room looks basically like this..... (minus the brown wall. It's just too dark in there now that we have the brown sofa. It'll soon become chartreuse or aqua....)

So have fun! Pick whichever room you want to spice up, and go for it! Think texture, gemoetric, IKEA, modern, bold, etc! Save folksy, crafty, and patchworky for another time and have fun with it!

sofa panorama 2 sofa panorama

The bedroom has light aqua bedding on this IKEA bed...

Lighter aqua walls, red curtains, and soon to have the two fabric panels seen above in the living room. As soon as I have something else to put up in the living room, the others'll move.

Tick tock, tick tock... WHOOSH!!!

What the heck? It was in FEBRUARY when I last posted? Really??? Good grief! Okay, here's to another (how many times have I said this??) "restart" of sorts. I pseudo-fixed the looks of the blog and will keep working on it while Brad designs the one I really want. Once he's finished with his clients who actually pay him something.... Yeah, you wives of geeks know what I mean.

Our lives have been HECTIC the last month or so, filled with school activities (am I just tired at this point, or are there always more things crammed in at the end of the school year???), hockey, work and "side jobs," raised garden building, big-ol'-dirt-pile-hauling from driveway to back yard, a surprise trip to Orlando (surprised the boys at the airport!), a craft show and all that is involved with preparing for one.... So needless to say, while I've got pics out the wazoo, I've also got a house that currently resembles those on Hoarders. So I leave you with a picture while I go dig us out this morning. And afternoon. And, aw, heck. Probably all week! But I'll add pics of all our recent adventures periodically. One can't clean all week straight, right???

Until then... a Florida pic of all the cousins....

well, crap....

I'm no web designer.
Note to self: when Brad's sick in bed with a fever for the weekend, don't try to change your own blog's appearance if you have to tweak half a dozen templates and search through code you don't understand.
So, prettiness will be back later. As soon as Brad's feeling better and is able to rescue his web-ignorant wife. :-)

Frazzled Friday

It's been two weeks since I last made contact with civilization....

Okay, it's not that bad. And it's almost over. But even though I still LOVE snow and cold weather, I have decided that I do NOT like to be stranded at home for 4 days straight. It was fun for the first couple of days and was a total license to do nothing if I wanted to do nothing.

Then it started to get annoying to pick the same blanket up off of the living room floor for the 10th time that day or trip over the snow pants and boots that didn't have a mudroom in which to hang...

The weekend was a nice break, and then it hit us again. And again, it was fun. For about a day. Now the "I'm bored.... Mom, will you play with me?.... I don't WANT to read a stupid book... Why CAN'T we sleep in the living room tonight?... I don't want to go outside.... He won't leave me alone!" has worn on my nerves for one too many days. I'm ready for things to be "normal" again.

I know that the summer is 6 times this long and is a temperature I HATE, plus I'm a strong believer in a continuous learning (year round) schedule, so this should be easy for me to handle these last 2 weeks. BUT, even though I love the weather and all, I don't like that I can't get out in it very well in my current automotive situation, and I don't like the unexpected "have fun! Your kids are home for 2 weeks!" surprise that I didn't plan for. If I'd planned out the break like I do Spring Break or Summer Break, or at least mentally prepared myself for it, I'd be better off. Not so much this week. There's no schedule. There's no list of chores or limit on the TV. This mom has kicked into survival mode for a day or two and does NOT want to play Halo Reach again, thank you very much. Moms don't do well with first person war video games. Or apparently Mario Brothers 3, World 8. "Don't do that world, Aric. Mom's not ready for it yet." Thanks.

But I did read all of my book that I got Tuesday night in anticipation of that night's snow. The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels(Why is the image so freaking huge? Don't know. Don't care to try to edit it a 4th... 5th?... time to figure it out. ) is an awesome book with a lot of insight. And comedy. And romance. And has me wishing all the more that we lived somewhere other than the middle of town. Ahh, acre or so in the "country" with a Starbucks and a Target still within 15 or 20 minutes, where are you? And nest egg that will get us that acre? Where are YOU?

This morning, I'm tidying up the not-so-tidy house (and blogging...), then we're going to see Gnomeo and Juliet before we pick Brad up from work and go order a sofa for our living room. We waited for a check from one of Brad's side web jobs, and now we're getting a sectional so that we're not all fighting for the only seats in the room. Aaah! Nice! Too bad that it'll take 2 or 3 weeks to arrive. Bummer. But the end is in sight, right? And the boys will be back in school in the meantime, so all is well. :-)

Lest anyone criticize the city for their efforts to remove the immense snow we've had lately, this Yankee transport is actually proud of their accomplishments this year. That's a first. Seriously, our average snowfall for a YEAR is 9.1 inches. We've gotten approximately 25 inches in the last month! In the past, I've gone off on the city for their usual "do very little about it and wait for it to melt" approach. This year, I think they've done as good a job as a semi-southern state can do at removing two friggin' feet of snow from an entire city.

The whiny butts who are crying that they still can't get out of their driveways need to stop and think for a minute. Forty-seventh largest city in the United States plus 30-some-odd snowplows (I've also heard 50ish. Either way...) .... really? You expect them to plow out your neighborhood streets?? Come on. Think that one through. While their idea of priority areas in an entire city and your idea of them may differ, your little cul-de-sac does NOT belong on either list. Be reasonable. That's a LOT of mileage if they drove down every neighborhood street in the city... twice if we wanted both lanes/directions cleared... Give me a break.

Okay. Venting over. Now then. Some cool pictures....

Brad works at the Port of Catoosa, and we took him to work yesterday and got to see the trucks load up on salt while we were there. I've always seen the big mountains of salt before, I've known what they were, etc.. But I'd never really paid attention to their massive size, the sheer amount required to salt an entire city, the small dent a whole semi truck's load would make in the pile... no wonder we still use barges and the like to transport things!

I mean, look at that truck!!! How many truckloads of that stuff makes a mountain that size???

Check out all the trucks waiting in line for salt. Brad says that they were lined up by the dozens the other day, early one morning, probably sleeping in their cabs (I always wanted to do that. How is it that I have a trucker for an uncle and I've never ridden along with him and slept in the little bed in the cab??) while they waited for their turns.

Then it's hauled away to wherever we keep our salt in each city or town, and later it's used on the streets.

Thank you, city, county, and state workers, who have worked 12 hour shifts for two weeks now to make our streets safer. And don't forget that this Ohio girl is actually impressed this time around. Keep up the good work!