September 28, 2012

shooting the moon with new camera


























Last night.

Thousands of miles away, under this same moon, my brother and his wife awaited the birth of their firstborn.

Today they welcomed their son Townes into the world. Welcome little one.

Gifties Extraordinaire

Fun little goodies to keep me happy and busy. What a splendid selection of birthday gifts from family and dear friends. I'm such a lucky gal, to be wrapped in such love and kindness. 

~ Folded Paper Flowers Kit (paper!)
~ Subscription to The Sun magazine
~ Ornament Kit by my idol — the incredibly talented Alicia Paulson 
(Posie Gets Cozy blog)




















~ Sweet little doll  (sitting among my serving dishes)
 




















~ Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon 
~ Case for my laptop, with matching mouse pad 





~ New Camera for better blog photos! I'm super excited to start snapping pix. 

We leave tomorrow for a weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming — so I should have lots of great subject matter. 




My favorite bits of all came from my daughters who each crafted a handmade card. They will be tucked away for safe keeping and re-read a million times.

From Emma:

Mommy,
I hope you have a great birthday! To be honest I kinda forgot how old you're turning so I'm just gonna say 22 :) I also think you're crazy how you didn't want cake for your birthday! But that's okay. Whatever floats your boat :)
I hope you and Izzy live till you're 100! haha enjoy your b-day!
Love,
Emma


From Kate:

Dear Mom,
I can not believe you are 43! It seems like you're still like thirty-something. I think you are the best mom and I am not just saying that. Every time other people write birthday or mother's day cards that are like "You're the best mom ever" I think "Girl, you be trippin'. We all know the truth. MY mom's best."
Anyways you have always stuck by me . . . yadee yadee. But never forget (unless you get amnesia) I love you
Kate

September 27, 2012

Fave!


































If you've been reading my blog for very long you probably know that I love this line from poet Mary Oliver.

Last night (while surfing the web at midnight instead of sleeping like a sane person) I found this woman's art and I knew three things . . .

1. I am in love with her work (who says love at first sight doesn't exist!?)
2. I must buy this
3. I wanted you guys to see it too

So here it is. You can find her Etsy shop here.

I have a newsletter design to get done this morning but then I'm planning to do a photo session with all my new birthday presents and show them off. So, plan on checking back my friends!

September 25, 2012

With Gratitude


















Today is my 43rd birthday. I almost didn't tell you. I've never been a fan of birthdays really. Markers of time always feel more like unwelcome guests and when it comes to parties I have never been one who enjoys being fussed over. 

But the older I get the more I appreciate this day of celebration. Not as a celebration of me but as a celebration by me – for this lease on life that I have been handed. It has become a day for giving thanks. 

What luck, to still be riding this gently turning planet, witnessing the mysteries and beauty of the world, clinging to the front seat on this crazy roller coaster called "life." How fortunate I am to have made it 43 years, when there are so many people who never make it this far. So many lives cut short. Yet I've been given a 43rd wonderful year.

So today I celebrate with gratitude another treasured year in this small life.

Thank you. 
Thank you. 
Thank you.



artwork from the book A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor

September 24, 2012

Licking the fire pit























For the last month or it's just smelled like a big ol' camp fire outside, but it's getting worse out there and today it plain feels like you're LICKING the fire pit.

This business of living in a smoke-filled world is getting really old. Warm weather and zero precipitation means forest fires around the state continue to burn and burn, and there's no rain in the forecast. All outdoor sporting events and practices have been cancelled, and people are cautioned to mostly stay indoors. Emma's developed a persistent cough.

By coincidence I'm in the thick of reading the book The Worst Hard Time about the dust bowl and I feel like I'm getting some first-hand insight into how things must have been for those folks. Although, I don't have pounds of dirt blowing in through every crack in the house and I'm not living in a dwelling made of sod (praise the Lord, THAT sounds like a small piece of hell). Also, I have plenty of drinking water and my livelihood doesn't depend on rain coming . . . 

. . . okay, I hear what you're thinking . . . "Jenny, your experience in NO WAY compares to the dust bowl!" 

Yeah, I see that now. Nevermind.










Muffins 101 ~ Cappuccino Muffins




















This weekend I attended the first session of my self-taught Muffins 101 class (see here to find out what the heck I'm talking about). I'm happy to report that it went really well.

As a historically horrid baker I felt a bit tentative, arriving in class a bit sheepish with my hands in my pockets and my expectations low but as soon as things got underway I felt better. 

Result: Tasty, moist and light, not too overly sweet (you can adjust chocolate chips to taste - I may even leave them out sometime).

Grade: A
(I enjoy this homeschooling bit ~ when you grade yourself you always feel like the grades are fair.)

The Recipe: (copied from my neighbor Wendy, who is known by the neighborhood children specifically for her delicious baked goods)


Cappuccino Muffins 

2 cups flour
3/4 c sugar
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 T instant coffee

1 c milk
1/2 c butter, softened
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c chocolate chips

Mix dry and liquid ingredients separately then stir all together just until blended. Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full (I used cupcake papers 'cause I'm lazy like that). Bake at 375 for 17-20 minutes.

 

September 23, 2012

College Football Saturday

























My viewpoint on Saturday afternoon: Sitting with Gary, watching our alma mater blow a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter against a team they were favored to beat by 21 points.

Painful. 

Even a Diet Coke and plate of nachos couldn't lift my spirits. Gary got so crazyfrustrated I thought his head was going to explode into little pieces. At times like those I just quietly crochet and lay low.

September 21, 2012

Orange you glad . . .



. . . it's Fall!





























Tomorrow we welcome the Autumn equinox, and my yard is already plunging ahead into the new season. It seems the Amer Maples like to jump in first with their shocking reds, and those who favor firey oranges follow right behind. Next the whole creek bed of Cottonwoods will erupt in a sea of bright yellows and deep ambers. Then the aspens with their quaking golds will be some of the last to turn, followed by the Willow holdouts. Those willows are true Summer lovers, always the first to leaf out and the last to give up the ghost.

The nights are cold but we're still sleeping with the windows open. The owls have been hooting up a gray storm every night. I snuggle under the blankets, close my eyes and let their deep voices lull me to sleep.

Thus begins my favorite season. I hope it lingers and lingers.

September 20, 2012

Sunflower



















Goodmorning!

Happy music (click here) to accompany this photo I took the other day at Benson's Farm: "Sunflower" by Alice Peacock, from the "Because of Winn Dixie" soundtrack.

If you have little people in your life and you want to snuggle up on the couch and watch a sweet movie then "Because of Winn Dixie" is a fine choice. We still watch it once a year or so, just to be reminded . . .

September 19, 2012

Aaarg!

Just when I feel like things have settled into a nice, easy pace and I've penned a list of what I'm planning to do with my day I find out it's 'International Talk Like A Pirate Day.' What!? Really?!

Honestly I have no idea how to talk like a pirate and it's really far from my personality to do so (I have a brother - Hi Andrew - who is just the kinda guy for pirate talk). I would however LOVE to look like Keira Knightly in Pirates of the Caribbean and possibly even fall in love with a pirate. That could be fun, I guess. But not really because I'm more of the homebody type and I get seasick.

So, I guess mostly I'd just want her hair and period clothing from the movie, although realistically I'd never have any place to wear those dresses.

Well, enough of that . . . I thought you might like to see these photos from this toocuteforwords store downtown Missoula — Noteworthy. This is their "back to school" front window decor.

I try not to go in this store too often, you know, with my paper addiction issues and all.










September 18, 2012

Audrey and Yorkies























Izzy watching for birds.



Since this blog is partly named after Audrey Hepburn I thought I should tell you that Audrey had a yorkie. His name was Mr. Famous.

I didn't know that when I got Izzy, but I like the happy coincidence and I LOVE my yorkie. Owning a yorkie is a lot like owning an overly happy cat that loves to snuggle and doesn't shed. Plus, my yorkie thinks she's really a big dog so she likes to protect our yard from deer and wrestle with our labrador and elkhound.

Some other things Izzy does that make me love her even more every day:

1.  Curls up in a TEENY ball when she sleeps and tuck her head like a duck

2.  Acts SUPER excited to see us when we come in the door, even if we were only gone a minute to get the mail

3.  When she's sleepy her eyes start getting squinty and she will nod off like a person does when they are in a boring college lecture

4.  Follows me all around the house the entire day

5. When you're petting her tummy and then you stop she reaches up and pats you to urge you to keep going

6. When you laugh really hard or sniff she comes running and licks your face to make sure you're okay

7. When she's sleepy and you pick her up she makes tiny BABY noises

8. She is CrAzY about dog toys in a way I've never witnessed with another dog. She has her own toy basket and she pulls them out and plays with them or brings them to us so we'll play with her. At night I go around and pick up all her toys, just like I used to do when the kids were toddlers.

9. Her right back leg kicks out the side when she runs really fast

10. She loves to go on car rides and is a very good traveler

11. She lays in sunny spots on the floor and loves to sit on the porch swing with me

12.  She will wear little clothes without complaint, although we don't make her do that very often

*sigh* So glad I have Izzy.




Audrey and 
Mr. Famous

September 14, 2012

Life's Canvas





















I'm all over the place these days. Crocheting a row on Emma's blanket, then jotting down a line for a poem, or noting (on a torn corner of paper that I will never be able to find) a book I need to read, then filing just two of 50 papers that need filed, before I run upstairs to vacuum the living room, getting distracted by the Country Living magazine on the coffee table. I feel like a scattered mess. A happy scattered mess. Life is filled with so much inspiration and so many tasks that call to me at every hour of the day. How am I to chose? There are so MANY ways to throw paint on the canvas of your life — your one, precious life.

For starters I've decided to start making a daily schedule each morning to try to calm by brain. And I've made a boring but necessary new rule that I'm not allowed to start a large project without finishing another. For example I began painting all of the cabinets in our kitchen last November. There are still a few cupboard doors left to paint, but now I'm itching to look at color schemes for the basement walls and my office. Under my new rule, I must finish the kitchen before moving on to the basement. Isn't it high time we quit tripping over those cupboard doors propped in the hallway awaiting their paint job? Another example — I am not allowed to look up crochet patterns for granny square quilts (oh, that sounds sooo fun) until Emma's all snuggled in her finished blanket. It's gonna be hard, but I've gotta give it a try.

In good news the cooler weather has got me hooking away on Emma's blanket. It had been a few months since I'd crocheted and it feels darn good. I snuggle up in bed at night with my skeins of yarn and spread the blanket over my lap. Izzy likes to curl up next to me, pressing her body against my legs. I work by the yellow light of my little bedside lamp and keep a cup of hot tea beside me. It's like a little snippet of heaven. Just me, and the needle, and the yarn twisting and pulling. Creating. My mind is so present in the moment that worries and stress fall away.

Oh, I love this time of year. 

The good news for us all is that today is Friday and that means we get to relax a little and enjoy larger expanses of creative time. I can't wait! Happy weekend to you, whatever your projects may be or your travels may take you. Go throw a little paint on that life of yours!

September 12, 2012

Unexpected Visitor: Jack Frost








































Criminy! I didn't pay attention to the weather guy and the temperature dipped below freezing last night, leaving a thin layer of frost on our corner of the world. My poor unexpecting tomatoes! Fortunately I harvested lots of cherry tomatoes earlier this week, but the larger ones (and there are lots of them!) were all still green, so I left them to keep on sucking up the sunshine. *large sigh* This gardening thing is not really a strong skill of mine.

The chilly air reminded me that I have been a little lazy about working on Emma's blanket. I started it early last spring but as the days warmed the urgency waned and I've all but ignored it now for the last two months. Time to get busy so my gal can snuggle up before the snow flies.

Kate is feeling much better and is putting in a full day of school today. Her neck is still a bit stiff but things improve daily. I told her no jumping on the trampoline for a while.

Tomorrow she and some of her friends are joining the middle school show choir ~ go Glee! Don't Stop Believin'! 


p.s. A couple business items: I've added a button on the right so you can "Join this site" and get updates through Google. Also, if you go to my Facebook page you can 'like' Audrey Finch there and I update my status whenever a new blog post uploads. 

As always, thanks for reading. 


September 11, 2012

Cattails & Chrysanthemum Tea

























Iced Chrysanthemum Tea
(for sipping on a warm September afternoon)

  • Bring one cup of water to a boil.
  • Add one tablespoon of dried chrysanthemum flowers. 
  • Simmer for 2-5 minutes (the longer it simmers, the strong the flavor and color). Add sugar or honey to taste (optional) and stir to dissolve. 
  • Remove from heat, strain, and serve chilled. 



“September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.” 

               - Alexander Theroux



 

September 10, 2012

When things go a-'wry'

Have you heard of Wry Neck? Me neither. Until yesterday morning when Kate woke up with her head turned to the right side, crying because it was   . . . STUCK THAT WAY! 

She couldn't move her head and when she tried to move at all she was in excruciating pain. I mean, we couldn't even figure out how to get her to a sitting position because any use of her neck muscles or movement of her head made her scream. Of course I immediately got on WebMD and to try drumming up some answers. Gary phoned a doctor/friend and the eventual diagnosis: Wry Neck. Wry Neck (or Torticollis) is just a spasming of the muscles in the neck and apparently it's not that uncommon, even in kids. It can be brought on by strain on the muscles from a fall or whiplash or even by stress. Kate had slipped in some mud the day before and fell on her bottom and had also been feeling really stressed (about all the things that feel really huge when you're eleven-years-old). Then she also informed me that the night before, while pool swimming with a friend, she had performed dozens upon dozens of back flips in the water. Bingo.

We applied the recommended home treatment:

1. apply heat to area

2. take ibuprofen

3. try to slowly begin moving the head/neck as much as possible to loosen the muscles

4. turn body sideways so you can watch TV to get your mind off the fact that you're immobile

5. have your mother spoon-feed you foods of your choice and help you drink from a straw


Within five hours Kate could turn her head to the front and sit up with help (and walk to the restroom thank goodness!). She suggested that perhaps things would improve even more with some Taco Bell food (Hmmm. Methinks she's working the situation a bit?) so we had Taco Bell for dinner. It must have helped because she was almost fully mobile this morning when she woke up although her neck is very sore. I imagine it would be like having a charlie-horse in your calf for a day straight. I used to get those cramps at night when I was pregnant. They only lasted a few minutes but my calves would be quite sore for a while after. 

Needless to say, she's home from school today, resting up from her ordeal. Now hopefully I won't get it due to the stress of her having it. Although I don't have any plans to do dozens of back flips today so I should be okay.


September 9, 2012

Let's Walk the Dog

















































I enjoyed a lazy stroll with my yorkie through the neighborhood down by the University of Montana last Thursday evening (part of my Walking 201 class, which I haven't been so good about attending. Ugh). The "M" in the photo sits about half way up Mount Sentinel, the mountain that drops right down onto the East end of campus. 

The college kids were out and about, biking home from campus, sitting on the lawn chatting, and a few were shooting hoops outside the dorms. Rows and rows of these bushes were blooming. I think they're butterfly bush?

I passed a homeowner mowing his lawn with a manual push mower and I though what an incredible groovy, environmentally-friendly dude he must be. I thought about getting my own push mower. Then I passed the same yard as my walk came full-circle a half hour later and he was still battling with it and had trimmed less than a three foot area since I'd passed earlier! Oh goodness, maybe I won't get one after all.

Some lucky little children own this sunny playhouse, complete with waving Peace flags. I bet they like to sleep out there sometimes.





















This garage had been converted into a darling apartment.





















Isn't that blue door delicious!

September 7, 2012

Fab Direct Mail Design
































I received this design gem in the mail today. It's going directly in my "ideas" file. The colors combination is fresh (note the use of the trendy aqua rather than green) and the feel so clean and AUTUMNAL. Love it when inspiration just shows up in my mailbox like this.

Happy weekend.

September 3, 2012

Puget Sound Dreamin'
































This time of year I always find myself longing for the Puget Sound. The smell of salt water, a pebbly beach, a perfect 75-degree day, a small boat, the ghostly silhouette of a distant ferry, the evergreen breezes. To me, early September is western Washington's finest hour. 

I happened onto these photos this week. Taken one August evening on the Puget Sound in 2005. We didn't have the girls' swim suits but they were dying to wade in so we tied up their dresses and sat on the shore while they puttered about until the sun went down and the air got chilly.

Oh, where are those two little girls now? Where has the time gone?