Monthly Archives: July 2010

dig on holiday.

I am on vacation. And, in the true spirit of a holiday, I am taking a wee break from the activities that fill my Missoula days. We have a garden and pet sitter, my etsy shop is on vacation, my sewing machine is on vacation, my phone is on vacation and my computer will take naps (come on. you know I love my computer) So, no blogging the rest of the week as I will be kayaking with my children on Lake Minnetonka, playing folf with my dad and brother, learning about butterfly gardening from my mom, swinging on a hammock, SLEEPING IN, taking naps, going on a date with my husband when he arrives and other lovely things. Ah, just being with my family. Good stuff. Also, I flew for the first time with Margot and Ruby and no husband. It was a deep, permanent notch of empowerment in my mama belt. My I Can Do Belt. Read about our adventure in this week’s mama digs. Read more on dig on holiday….
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dig this sponsor: b. handmade designs

Yay for this month’s sponsor: b. handmade designs! Becky Schreiner has an inspiring business based in Montana’s state capital, Helena. She designs and sews charming, thoughtful, whimsical items that you can’t live without like flattering skirts for women, swimmy squid pinafores, killer diaper changing pads, ruffle clutches…and sister pays attention to details like gorgeous fabric choice, streamlined design and exquisite craftmanship. Really, I really like her stuff. She’s the cat’s pajamas and I am so excited to share her fabulousness with you! (join her facebook page to keep up with her abundant creativity) I had a wee virtual chat with the b. from b. handmade and here it is: What inspired you to start your business? In 2006, I found a love for sewing again, well with the help of a brand new Bernina sewing machine. I’ve been sewing since I was 18, I’m 35 now. And it’s been an on again off again relationship for years. At that point in my life, I had recently moved from Missoula to Helena, a huge change for me, and moved from working with the Forest Service to the private sector doing GIS mapping and watershed analysis. ^ rockin’ red flower headband ^ Everyone says once you hit the 30ish age marker, you will do this huge evaluation of what’s important to you. I had been going through this for a couple years, and struggling with my older sister’s breast cancer diagnosis. I literately took the saying “Life is too short” to heart and out of this sprung my b. handmade designs. I joined and set up my little etsy webshop and decided to try out the Helena Farmer’s Market and set up a booth in 2007. I still have the same spot today. Through all of this, my husband, Nick, has encouraged me to do what I want in life and that no matter what happens we’ll manage, and today we’re still managing. ^ ruffle purse ^ All of your patterns are your designs. Tell us a bit about what the development process like. Most definitely. All of my pieces are original patterned pieces. I only use other patterns if a family or friend asks me to make them a particular patterned piece (which is not often). I kind of do the development backwards, I will usually sew a piece and then I will draw the dimensions in my sketchbook or make a paper pattern after it’s made. I am really good at visualizing what a piece may look like finished. I have more luck making one pattern with my clutches and handbags. With my kid clothes and skirts I usually have to make a pattern and test it out and tweak it a bit until it’s just right. Who/what inspires you? I get inspiration from many facets in life, from my family and friends, other artists, natural elements, etc. Sometimes inspiration strikes me at the oddest times. These days my head is so full of ideas that I seriously am in need of a clone to help myself out! Actually I need that clone to help me out in the more mundane tasks in life like cleaning my house or paying my bills… ^ jenny clutch ^ What’s new right now and where can one purchase your fine work? I just debuted some new items: Ruffle Purse, Pintuck Clutch, Gathered Clutch, Smocked Kid Dress, and this week I have some Ruffle and Floral Knit Shirts debuting at Frayed Sew in Helena and Tart in Bozeman. You can find b. handmade designs on Etsy and facebook. In Helena at Frayed Sew and One Love Baby Boutique, in Bozeman at Tart and Sola Cafe, in Livingston at B. Civilized, or if you are in Columbus, Ohio at Wholly Craft (this is the newest shop to carry b. handmade designs). I welcome custom orders and you can always contact me directly at or 406.422.7725. ^ gathered purse ^ ***************and just for you, dear readers*************** 10% off in Becky’s etsy store! It’s simple: make a purchase, mention ‘dig this chick’ and she’ll refund 10% of the purchase right back to you! ************************************************************ Whenever it’s available my family chooses to make purchases straight from the maker. It’s a wonderful, meaningful exchange where we end up with unique, well-crafted items and directly support an artist/crafter/maker. Becky makes it easy with b. handmade: her beautiful items are affordable and original. Thanks, b. handmade designs! ^ we LOVE our pinafore! ^ Read more on dig this sponsor: b. handmade designs…
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hump day nuggets: my favorite sky

As a zany family of four, it is really rare that we get one-on-one time with each other. And, I am finally starting to fully get that I need it. I find it’s easy to cartwheel through bedtime but there’s so much to love when I slow down and trace Margot’s face and sipszsipsz behind her ear and read one more book. It’s easy to nurse Ruby while writing but there’s so much love when I study her knee fat and lock eyes with her as she giggles her way though lunch. It’s easy to do a passing kiss and how was you day? when Andy walks in the door but there’s so much love when I stand on my tip toes, wrap my arms around his neck, kiss him and, with eye contact, how was your day? Of course I don’t always do the so much love things. In fact I don’t make that choice as often as I should. But, I have to say, I never regret it when I take the time. Never. Good to remember. nuggets. :: The morning before Ruby and I hopped on a plane and left Margot in Missoula we had some rockin’ good bed romping. I missed her before I left the ground. :: And then we landed in the cornucopia of California where Montana house plants grow like weeds by the highway. Where smiles abound. Where the light is always beautiful. Where my best friends live. Lindsay, my friend of 21 years, eloped. I remember discovering Pearl Jam in 7th grade, studying for biology tests in her driveway, moving away together and then apart, shared holidays through our twenties…good stuff, old friends are. When Paige, Lindsay and I are all together, we always take a mirror shot. This one was obviously hurried (the new wife had to rush off to France) but funny, no? My beautiful friends. :: I always feel like the mark of a good vacation is when you are happy to leave home and happy to come home. I was so happy to come home. The first thing Margot wanted? She said, mama, I want to cuddle with Ruby and you take a picture. :: Andy walked into this a few days ago. She did a pretty good job, eh? :: Wild Lupine Design keeps rockin’ the dig sponsorship! She offers a 10% discount to dig readers (and always free shipping!). Just mention ‘dig this chick’ at checkout and she’ll refund 10% to your paypal account. Thanks, Wild Lupine Design! :: Margot’s garden and the entire boulevard garden is mostly thriving. It is all a big experiment since it is so out there and public…like, check out her bed. Half is huge and leafy and half is puny. Same soil. Who knows. :: I love summer for spontaneous friend visits that double as a pea-picking, chicken-naming party. Three more pounds of picked peas (10 pounds so far!) and at least a pound eaten in the process. Also, Caroline named our silver laced wyandotte Maude. Perfection. So, now we need just one name for our rhode island red to join Paige, Peanut, 16 Months and Maude. (oh and YES Paige is still crowing! We can’t keep her if she doesn’t stop….) :: Here is how I often work. Sew a shirt, bounce a babe, iron a skirt, sing the wheels on the bus…I’d love an extra arm. That’d be cool. :: Last night, Margot and I spontaneously decided to make a jammied run to the park as I was tucking her in bed. Why not? And this was the sky on our way home. Margot said, oh Mama look at the orange and pink! It’s so beautiful! That’s my favorite sky. And so one-on-one. Dates with Andy, trips with Ruby, walks with Margot where I meander and am thankful. There’s so much love out there. Read more on hump day nuggets: my favorite sky…
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Ruby and I flew to California last week where two of my best friends live. We were there to celebrate and hug…pedicures and champagne, childhood friends who are family and endless conversation, sleepless nights with Ruby and really good coffee. Oh and speaking of sleepless nights and good coffee, I got up with Ruby and the sun last Friday, sleepily tossed wee monkey and my wallet in the sling and headed out into the fog and my fog for coffee. I decided a quad shot was in order. The coffee shop was closed so we walked up and down those insane San Fran hills and when I returned, I was without wallet. I retraced and thought good thoughts, I stopped early morning runners and wanderers to ask if they’d seen a turquoise wallet. I wrote my name and number down at various shops and I eventually returned without coffee to cancel credit cards and try to figure out the whole you-can’t-get-on-a-plane-without-id thing. My only hope was email because my business card was in my wallet…the nice, honest person would have to dig to find it…and Emily from the yoga studio did! So it was returned to me. I wonder how many lives my lost wallet has because I have burned through several…last time it flew off the roof of my car and was run over by a semi truck. By the time my friends and I returned to gather, it had been taken. Turns out Gary from Big Timber collected my wallet confetti on I-90, googled my name, called my mom and met me at a gas station to return it all. These things happen to me with regularity. I also spill liquid a lot, rarely know where my phone is and have crawled through every window in my home due to keys on the inside. And I pack at the last minute no matter what. Oh and I have missed four flights. These are my annoying but funny in hindsight (right?) idiosyncrasies. Who knew this post would be so confessional? Anyway, Cali was awesome and now we’re home (and I love my home). Ruby is crawling, Margot is a whole new kind of hilarious (she just said mama, first I am going to dance with my pink pants, undies and this orange thing on my bed. That’s a good idea! And then you get me a pink mookers that I can hold. I think it’s in the little, tiny goose. I want to be surprised, ok?) and my garden is growing. While our family foursome was split in half, I felt weird. I had thoughts of our plane crashing, of Margot and Andy getting in a car accident. I don’t usually have nutty, nagging thoughts like this, but, really, since becoming a mama I have more than I’ve ever had. When did I get so dark and creepy? I think all of me stretched when I grew and birthed a person. My capacity for love and worry, happiness and despair. It’s all bigger and deeper. And so while my imagination can spin billowing tapestries of rainbows and tall flowers it can also spin over-starched tapestries of shadows and gnarled roots. There’s more to consider and more to imagine….read more in this week’s mama digs, stretch. Read more on confessions…
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hump day nuggets: nearly nugget-free

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last weekI was *this close* to bagging nuggets this week. Oh July is just plain INSANE round here with gobs of coming and going and going. Just this week we drove to Helena for three hours and then drove back with the kids, returning at 1am so that Andy could get up at 5am and leave for his fishing dude party and he got back on Sunday and I leave tomorrow to a top secret place that you may never know about…I return Sunday and then we leave again to Helena for one day and then to Minneapolis. Oh for the love of all things holy that is the single most boring opening paragraph I have ever written. Maybe I should have bagged the nuggets. But the thing is I love looking back at my week, concentrating on nuggets of beauty and truth and real, raw summer. So if I didn’t do nuggets I’d be thinking about missing nuggets. Anyway, so here I am with Ruby asleep on my lap and it’s 12:37am and these are going to be some rapidly assembled nugs. tiny, fast nuggets. :: Helena. We went for an exhibit opening at the museum because Andy had Oh Deer in the show. Oh my we threw ourselves into the car and then threw ourselves at Helena stopping once so I could feed Ruby. :: And then Andy was gone and I was home doing it all by myself (seriously. single parents deserve a host of lifetime benefits like reserved parking at every grocery store, socially acceptable happy hour at 2pm and free cupcakes). The girls and I got out a lot. Another way to say that is, the girls and I chose to avoid the dust bunnies who were revealing snarling, yellow fangs and sculpting bunny busts out of their ear wax. We instead focused on pretty things outside. :: I FINALLY CAPTURED THE ROGUE HAIR. I have been trying to photograph this long, course, curly hair that has looked exactly like this since she was born. I love this hair. :: We picked seven pounds of peas! I blanched and froze several quarts. We love peas round here. :: Margot’s latest love is collecting piles of random stuff and claiming extreme ownership of the objects, the process of gathering and the composition. Goodness if I need the measuring cup that is in the basket with the tiny horse, orange marker and teething toy…watch out. It’s as if I am removing the keystone from an ancient arch. So she does this at nap time. She is silent. I have no idea and then I go to check on her and she has back handspringed into Ruby’s crib (it is seriously amazing to watch her get in there) and is laying among her treasures. :: So very summer: Margot splashed and giggled at Pam’s pool, ate fist fulls of plums and then crashed the instant she was in her car seat, all sun-warmed and exhausted. I remember that feeling. :: Rubes has taken to sitting at the table with us as if she has been doing it for a lifetime. She enjoys civilized conversation with her hands politely folded. She just calmly hangs through meals and absorbs her family from this new, autonomous perspective. :: Made my girl a sling. Super easy tutorial and I finally had the perfect reason to use this vintage fabric my mom gave me. :: Oh my Ruby’s eyes. There’s an ocean of stories I can’t wait to learn. But I need to get some sleep first. Sweet dreams out there. Read more on hump day nuggets: nearly nugget-free…
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