Thursday, December 2, 2010

We're Moving!!!

...but don't pack your bags - we aren't going very far.

I figured the ole blog needed a little sprucing, primping, pep in it's step - kind of like my face in this photo:

so, without further ado... voila!

Produced Locally

Grab your hard hat - it's a work in progress.

Go ahead. Click it. I'll see you over there...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving You the Bird...

And the winner is (drumroll please)....

Entry #5 - Crystal

I will contact you soon with details, color preferences, etc.!

Congratulations on "getting the bird"!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter...

Keep spreading the word - you never know when I'll throw another one of these up for grabs!

(Number randomly selected by generator at

Friday, November 19, 2010

The more I am in a mainstream environment the more I want to retreat back to my little cabin in the woods. Retreat may be too passive - run like heck is likely more appropriate. And Pensacola has not failed me yet, it has me wanting to lace up my running shoes.

This is what I saw as I was driving to my gran's house the other day, complete with a photo of beautifully sculpted (and airbrushed I'm sure) abs of a presumed "mommy":

I almost forgot to go when the light turned green.

I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, be disgusted, confused, angry, sad, judgmental, self conscious... and the list goes on.

I didn't know whether to feel these things for the "mommies" who are lured into the web, the doctors who profit from the self-concious, the marketing team who thought this was a good idea, or the society that has blasted the messages that superficial flaws are unacceptable and imperfect.

So I did a little research on the website of this fine institution offering this beauty by botulism. These are the first words in their attempt to win you over:
"Children add limitless joy to a woman’s life, and there’s not much a mother wouldn’t sacrifice for the sake of her children. But not all sacrifices are truly necessary."

So if this is the accepted truth, that mama's would do anything for their babes because the little ones provide more pure and constant joy than one could imagine, remind me again why I need to butcher my belongings - the only thing that is truly mine?

I am not opposed to one taking care of themselves, desiring to have their pre-baby figure back - obviously - but then there are some things that are just absurd. In a country that is supposedly recessing and struggling, it sure does seem that these sorts of options are more and more widely available and even sadder, accepted. And ever sadder, utilized. If you want your shape back, get your butt in the gym, hire a personal trainer, play with your kids, go outside, take a hike, ride a bike, eat better, choose a healthier lifestyle...

But alas, why put forth the effort when there's the instant gratification of a little slit here, tuck there, and voila! good as new...

It's called labor because it's painful and it's work. And I am proud of my battle wounds. When I work just as hard to get my body back as I did those ten months and one day, I'll be just as proud as my new battle marks.

And if my baby brings me endless joy - what else matters?

And I, too, will sacrifice almost everything for my son - but I think I'll hold on to my dignity, thanks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Handgrown Goodness


I am a little late in the game discovering this year's hullabaloo about a growing movement for handmade goodness for the holidays, but I have to say, it's about time, folks! Welcome to the eternally joyful world of gifts of labor and love.

We (the Bowens and Fords) have been doing something similar the past few years for Christmas exchanges - local products from your respective local markets - and a lot of times, but not always, these items lend themselves to handmade goodness ranging from produce to music to state flags. And we (C & me) have loved every single gift we have received and given.

Here are a few other folks who think this is a trend worth trying, not like the "wear faux fur with a military jacket" (or something like that) that will be over next week (we handmakers hope, anyway - and even if the trend dwindles, we will still be making and giving - so there):
  • Love, Lizzie - mostly kid-minded but she could make anything, I tell ya: skirts, capes, soft toys, bags, etc.
  • Plain and Joyful Living - simple family abundantly gifted in handworks.
  • Sew Liberated - great ideas and patterns for little ones and around-the-house items - and she talks about her cute kids, too
  • Made by Rae - Big Butt Baby Pants - enough said. - and she's putting together a "Celebrate the Boy" month in February
Check these folks out for ideas and items to buy. The second link has a remarkable list of folks participating in Handmade Holiday 2010.

I won't launch into a shpiel atop my soap box of why you should, why it's better, who it's good for, I will simply say this:
  • Value is not just monetary.
  • Mother Earth will rejoice in singing.
  • Life lessons gently implied.
  • Gifts that keep on giving.
  • Usable and/or consumable.
  • Gentler eco-footprint.
  • Local economy.
The end. Preaching over.

If you want to talk about any of the above topics in more detail, I'd be glad to indulge.

Felt So Good

In the midst of Christmas crafting my fanny off, I visited Living Felt in preparation to resupply my stock very soon (hint on gifts - still act surprised - thanks) and lo and behold I found something that makes me want to dance. I went to the "Testimonials" tab and found this:

Thank you !!

...first project: a sweet bird mobile for a new baby... I got myself to Joann's as hurriedly as I could and nearly fell out at how expensive a quarter of an ounce of roving was going to cost, and I needed a lot more than that. I was a bit discouraged that my new hobby was over before it began because I couldn't afford it. Sad day in the life of a stay-at-home-crafting-to-keep-sane-because-I-live-in-the-woods-and-camp-is-starting-mama. And now I wouldn't be able to make my mobile.

I pulled myself out of that close call with defeat and went home to do some more research online...And that's when I found these fine folks, Living Felt. I quickly and easily found what I wanted and needed to get started at extremely fair prices. I spent about $30 and got a lot of variety of wool and colors...where at J's it would have cost me almost three times that for the same amount.

Not to mention my order was shipped that same day with a sweet hand-written note from the company.

then, just today, I got an email from them checking in to make sure I am enjoying my order and lending their assistance if I have any questions. They are good people, making sure they provide folks with the best product from humane practices... I will definitely continue to order from them...

Holy Guacamole! I am so stinking honored! Not only published in craft but in word as well - and a link to the blog to boot (maybe I should pick up the pace around here)... I am very encouraged.

And because all of this crazy excitement, I am going to give away some felting goodness. Yes, that's right, tell all of your friends. If a little one (or one to be) in your life needs to have a custom-color "Tweet Dreams" mobile hanging about their nursery, leave a comment here (one per day) and I will draw one week from today - so next Tuesday (11/23). Your mobile will be handcrafted and sent to you after the Thanksgiving holidays.

Spread the word. Get the bird.

Oh, you can also boost your possibilities if you get your friends to comment FOR you - just ask them to leave your name in the comment.

Thanks to Living Felt for proudly displaying my very first project, that now adorns my sweet new cousin's nursery.

If you aren't giving handmade for Christmas this year, think about it. Handmade or local - it's the new black. (More on that later...)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cabin Fever

Here at Casa de Ford we get a little something called Cabin Fever.

It's highly contagious with symptoms of cranky pants, fussy faces, and pains in your - well, everywhere.

The cure?

Get the heck out of dodge before the steam bellows out of your ears.

And so we did just that yesterday. Most folks will likely scratch their heads at the thought that we ventured off of camp property to have some outside peace, but your backyard is your backyard - sometimes you need to hop
the fence. We hopped about two miles down the road to the little playground at the Methodist Church - but made sure we vacated before they made us stay for Wednesday night church.

We weren't sure how Noah would like or interact with the play things considering he's just now taking steps on his own, but I'll let you decide:
In the spirit of Abigail: "Nunnels!"
The BIG slide with daddy...
Look, mama is on the slide and in front of the camera...
And for obvious reasons, this one is my favorite.
So the park - it's good for our feverish souls. I just hope winter holds off a little longer - like until next December.

Double Down

Yes, please. I'll have two of those.Pacis, I mean.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

::beep beep beep beep beeeeeeep::

This just in: We have a walker.
Hold on to your hats, drinks, snacks, daughters,
and anything else in a 2ft tall grabbing radius.

Alright, kid. You've proven your point.
You're big, growing, turning into a kid before out very eyes.
Now quit it. Let my heart catch up with the fleeting moments.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ship(ping) Happens

Let me just start with this little insight into my simpleton ways: The joy I get when I open my inbox to find a "Your order has shipped" subject line that wasn't there before makes me want to jump on the desk and do a little song and dance. Most of the time even more so than those "fwd:fwd:fwd My BFF says this really works, send it to 6,347,774 people and your dreams will come true and you can follow/like them on facebook and win $5,465..."

Ridiculous, I am aware.

And because I am a giving person, I would like to give the opportunity for others to share in my joy, only they aren't being shipped to you, just me. I am very giving like that:

"produced locally" clothing labels
courtesy of Miss Label

Theoretically, they can be shipped to you - just buy something from my shop (more things are being added bit by bit) - and you will find one in your handmade goodie. Or have a cute kid/be pregnant and I will likely make them something - I am a softy for baby bumps and cute babes.

Some folks may think this is a little bit of putting the cart before the horse, considering my shop is slow going and my stuff isn't exactly flying off the shelf, so to speak.

A girl can dream - and be legal.

It was brought to my attention by my fellow sewing mama,
Liz, that the government frowns upon sketchy children's clothing/items - go figure - so they made some rules. One of them is that your items that you sell must possess the company name, place it was made, and when - along with the consumer must be provided with the material and a batch number in the packaging. This is all to protect the buyer as well as the seller - translated: label your junk so you don't get sued for faulty materials and such.

Thanks, China.

So my labels are coming! Woo hoo! It will take me a while to go through these, but I am hoping that before the Farmer's Market starts up again, I can come up with a fun logo and print some more. But for now, these will put a large pep in my step. And I may just dance on the desk (or whatever tall surface is around - counter, changing table, couch) when Chris brings them to me in the mail.


I don't like goodbyes. Frankly, they stink.
But if this was the routine I got every time I had to participate, well, I might leave more often:

Sorry for the fuzziness,
a moving target is a tough specimen.
Let me narrate, from top left to bottom right:
  1. This is the chasing face - him chasing you, you chasing him, him chasing his shadow. This one in particular was Chris chasing him to tell him bye-bye this morning - though we see it morning, noon, and night. And I love it. I mean, who wouldn't?
  2. Blowing kisses - despite the grimace - it's a kiss. Complete with the tiny smacking noise.
  3. (and 4) Bye-Bye! See his little mouth, he's saying it, too! So funny.
Most times when Chris leaves Noah will stand at the screen door once he's realized he's gone and say "dah-dee buh-bye" over and over again. Makes my heart fill with pride and googly-goop. You know the stuff.

Come see us - you might just get this song and dance. And if you don't, well, you'll just have to come back.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Penny-Four

Some days I wish I could lock myself in a room with endless amounts of fabric and sewing notions and craft until my fingers are numb - but alas, there are other things that consume my time like dishes, laundry, diapers,playing outside, teaching, debating politics and why I don't vote, and the two-and-a-smidge foot tall fella who has me in the palm of his little hand. (Happy Voting Day to all of you responsible, patriotic Americans - my mother would be proud of you.) Every now and again I do get to zone out and create things for people I do or don't know, and here is what I've just completed:

The Penny-Four
(This will be it's name until the first little girl wears it,
then it will be named for her.)

I love it. Absolutely adore it. If it were my size, I would wear it today, but I think 4T is a little small. It's a bit hard to tell from the photo, but this is not a dress - it's smock-like and ties in the back, perfect to wear over a t-shirt and jeans in the cool weather and maybe just a pair of shorts in the warm weather. I believe multi-season pieces are a ideal for little ones - they grow so fast and kids clothes can be expensive, so let's make them last more than a couple of months.

I wish I had a little person to try this on, but I don't think Chris would be too keen on playing dress up with Noah. Maybe I will have to try when he's not looking...

I will be posting this one for sale on Etsy this afternoon - but if you or someone you know might like to have this one, let me know. I will be putting more together (different fabs) in the next week or so.

And a random thought to ponder: In order for things to change, they must stay the same for a while.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, Two Feet Tall

When Chris and I worked at Second Nature Blue Ridge we learned more about ourselves and our relationship in that six months than ever before and maybe even since then. I could start a whole separate blog about our adventures there, maybe even write a book. The amount of self-examination and reflection was overwhelming at times but lead to much needed discoveries and growth about ourselves - individually and as husband and wife. Yes, we were there to teach and challenge the youth to desire better, try harder, respect their values, discover themselves, and ultimately believe in who they can be - I challenge anyone, ANYONE, to do that with your whole heart and not walk away a changed person.

One of the methods that we were taught to use was to present the student's life as if they were looking in a mirror. It wasn't our job to tell them their behavior or choices were wrong because of blah blah blah... rather, it was our job to help them see and reflect on their choices that got them there, allowing them to then search out the destructive nature of their behaviors and hopefully find the will to change. (We were also encouraged to do this without emotional attachment, which for me and my background, I found to be next to impossible - if not for being "with child" this likely would have been the impetus for leaving SNBR eventually.)

A second part of this tool is to mimic the student's actions, tone, verbiage when engaged in conversation - heated, emotional, joyful, painful - to indicate to them that you understand, you hear them, and you are listening. For example, if I am sitting across from a student and they have their head resting on their right hand, I might rest my head in my left - as to mirror them. If a student uses a slang word like pot or reefer or maryjane, that is what I would call it in response rather than marijuana or cannibus - as to not appear above or better than them.

As interesting as all of this may be, and it is, my point is not to ramble on about SNBR - like I said, I could start a whole blog just for that...

Chris, Noah, and I were coming home from supper last night and Chris said, "I want to share an observation with you, more for myself than you, but I still want to tell you about it...". I immediately recognize these words as SNBR lingo and my attention is acutely focused on what he is about to say. He goes on to tell me that when he was changing Noah's diaper earlier in the day he started to get very fussy, for no reason in particular. Sometimes he doesn't care for the changing table, but Chris said that his fussing continued on into the living room when he was playing on the floor with him, and then on into Noah's room when Chris took him in there to play. While in his room Chris noticed that Noah was taking the folded clothes off of the stool and throwing them on the ground while making a growling type of noise and his face all distorted. He continued to watch him to see what he would do...

As he was sitting and watching it hit Chris like a lightning bolt that Noah was absolutely mimicking something he has seen before, most likely from one of two sources that he spends near about every waking moment with - Chris or Grits. Noah's brain computes: I am frustrated = this is what daddy/doggy does = clothes thrown (with meaning) on the floor.
At this point most of his behaviors are learned, something he has seen before whether we would like to admit it or not. It's that whole nurture vs. nature thing - just because nurture sounds like a nice and fluffy word doesn't mean that the nurture part always is. It can be ugly or nice, sassy or sweet, feisty or patient - whichever it is, he sees it, learns it, and repeats it. And that repeating part is the one the either makes us bubble over with joy or want to hide underneath the nearest table.

We've had a lot of lessons in parenting over the last year, but I think now that Noah is really starting to develop his own little sense of self, the lessons get a little personal. He is a walking (hypothetically), talking, fit-pitching, kiss-giving, laughing, adventurous, risk-taking, sassy, clothes throwing miniature of us. Me. Chris. People we allow to be a part of his life. Us.

Time to get our act together, it seems... we now have a reflection, about two and a half feet tall, that mirrors our every step.

Monkey see...
Monkey do.
E.V.E.R.Y. S.T.E.P.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Streak of Luck

Fact: When you turn one you are able to
run around willy-nilly (pun intended).
Myth: When running around willy-nilly,
the one-year-old does not pee on the floor.Fact: There are three extra disinfected tiles in our living arena.
Myth: Parents of said one year old will discontinue willy-nilly time.

Dear IKEA...

You complete me.
Or at least my home.

Chris, Noah, and I set off on an adventure Friday to find and bring back the coolest sink and cabinet this house has ever seen. As you can gather, we did not pass go or collect $200 (more like deposited) and headed straight for
the IKEA. (I may have a small crush on IKEA.) The first time I ever frolicked about the aisles I was toting a four month old on a non-wavering eating regiment and had to see what I could see in about 45 minutes. If anyone has ever stepped foot in IKEA or stood in it's giant shadow outside, you know this is an injustice. This could not be the case again... not when we meant business.

Enter: Grand Parental Units of the Ford persuasion. It just so happens that Grammy Nan and G-DaddyB were coming up from ATL to stay the weekend with us - so we met them there, traded Noah for their truck, and headed on to The Happiest Place on Earth.

We made sure to make a list and set a budget for all things we wanted to purchase - whether for us personally or for the bathroom makeover. Yes, IKEA's schtick is that everything is super affordable and will change your life, but "everything" could get quite pricey, especially when you are footloose and fancy free to move about the store. We are risk takers, but we need to retire sometime. What's the saying -
Champagne taste on a beer budget?

Unfortunately I can't show the bathroom amazingness because the project hasn't started, but I can show a couple of other purchases: our
zigzag shelf and hook rack.

Note to self (and others): Measure before you go.
This shelf is supposed to be horizontal -
good thing we like the end result.

We installed this at 10:30pm - it's just that good.

There will be more photos to follow - just wanted to throw a splash of color out there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twelve: Round Two

Alright. It's kind of fun having a "toddler", I'll admit - even if he doesn't toddle (that's a real word - no red squiggly line) real well and is starting to practice for the Troublesome/Terrific/Terrible/Transformative Atti-Twos. I love him to pieces - sometimes so much my heart aches. I love to watch him play and discover, figure things out, test his limits (he is quite fond of this one), and wonder what is going on in that little brain of his. His imagination already runs wild, I can see it in his eyes. Most days are filled with laughs and games and looks of mutual adoration, often started off with a good morning smooch from the little guy - but I will confess we are entering the phase where the discipline part is kicking into gear, and I am not sure yet how good we are going to be at this part. More to come on that at a later date...

I love being a mama, especially to this little guy:

Noah's Birthday Invite that never got printed or sent...whatever.

...and even if he does call me "Beb", here are a few (or twelve) reasons why, in no particular order:

1. He loves Florida State football - not so much the arena in which it is played, just the team itself. He loves them so much that he had an anal volcano ALL over his seat, shorts, hands, and Grammy Nan just as we were pulling into our parking spot for the game. Perfect. I recently heard that the "adventure only begins when everything else has gone to s#*t" - wise, wise sensei.

Exhausted much? It's hard work being a Nole.
Sidenote: He's worn this jersey every game day except Oklahoma.
We aren't superstitious.
2. Clap on - (clap-clap). Clap off - (clap-clap). Noah has the clap down to a patty cake. I even fed him pancakes the other morning and when I was telling him what it was he started clapping. And the part where you "throw it in the pan" he starts to duck for cover from tickling fingers.

3. Wagging. Taking a walk with a wagon - wagging. This kid loves all things wagon - riding, snacking, pushing, throwing - if he can do it in/to a wagon, count him in.

Wagging is whoa-some for the wandering wagger.
Look closely - it was chicken pox season.
He is riding in his Quarantine Wagon.
4. White boy can dance - well, as rhythmically as his genes allow. The best is that once he starts flailing his arms to the beat he expects everyone else to do the same. And we do. The other day Chris said, "Why does he think that just moving his arms is dancing?" - to which I responded by showing him, in close proximity to his face, the flailing about that we've been inherently teaching for the past 12 months when anything resembling a tune is played. And to that all he could say was, "Oh...".

Go Pack - only when in the presence of Uncle D...
5. Noah plays peek-a-boo now - where he is the "peeker". He will play with most anyone anytime he has something to hide behind - sometimes even himself in the mirror (obviously my favorite to watch). Fair warning: if the object is mobile, watch your face. You've been warned.

6. We have had enough parties to get us through until he's three. Yep, three celebrations of Noah's first year of life: Fairhope, Clyde, and Ten Mile. Each one full of love, laughs, friends, family, food, and fun. The Fairhope party is where we gave him his very own chocolate cake - I have been told since the day he was born that his first cake MUST be chocolate so it shows up in the pictures. And show up it did:

'Scuse me, sir. It is not your birthday.
Please step away from the cake.

I think he liked it.
Finger-lickin' good.Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.
Clean up, clean up, get the chocolate out of your hair.
(Pay no mind to the green gob-lin doing the spraying.)
"diss?"Party numero dos at the Giusti casa. He's not very excited about it.Noah and GiuGiu - she knows how to get down.Mason's face says it all - ha! Love it.
We are thankful for everyone who helped us welcome Noah Matthew into the world a year ago and for everyone who has grown to love him since. We are beyond blessed with the family-by-blood and the family-by-love that surround us.

7. Noah took his second trip to Boone, NC to hang out with Aunt KD & Uncle Dan - and he let us come along, too. Sleeping in the closet went better than before, the little doggies were slightly more tolerant of the other four-legged creature in their midst, wedding things were accomplished, autumn weather was enjoyed, Florida State football was watched, and Green Bay shirts were worn.

Football & snacks with daddy -
sounds like a good Saturday afternoon combo to me.

I love the mountains...I love the rolling hills...I love the Noah and all his simple thrills...
8. Noah has always been a great sleeper - I mean, phenomenal. During his twelfth month he decided that not only is he going to be a great sleeper, but he think he likes being a night owl as well. Down between eight and nine (usually), wakes between eight and nine. Yes, please. Sign me up. AND he still takes a beast of a nap or two during the day - two plus hours per nap. So for those of you (Aunt Meg) who said that "all babies wake between 6:30am and 7am because they are babies and that is what they do and I should just go on and forget about not being a morning person" - you are welcome to sleep in at my house any day. Knock on a big ole piece of wood...
Sleepy McGeeface
9. For the first time in his life Noah got to have all four grandparents all to himself for a whole weekend! We went down to Pensacola/Tallahassee/Fairhope over Labor Day weekend to go to a football game, John Mayer concert, and to celebrate Noah's first year with all of our FL/AL family. While 'beb' and daddy were with Aunt Kelly and Uncle Paul, Noah was hamming it up with his four grand parental units. Scary thought, I know. The amount of sugary love in that room must have been stifling.

A whole lot of this was happening...
while chaos ensued.We look pretty wild, eh?Prom Pose
Watch out - that's how babies happen.

(On prom night? What exactly does that mean?
This post must be running way too long.
Almost over, I promise.)

10. Sippy cups are old news, we have moved on to the straw in this house. Blessing and a curse: 1) He wants to get his grubby little hands on everything with a straw - my drink, your drink, the people at the next table's drink. 2) He has "forgotten" how to tip his sippy cup and drink on his own. Convenient. 3) Meltdown will occur when straw-drinker does not immediately surrender said-drink to the boy. Public spectacle = Slightly embarrassing.

11. I mentioned this before, though I feel it is worth listing here as well. We are ween-ers here in the Fab Ford Fam. No more boob for the little one. He decided it was for babies and very easily and naturally moo-ved on. Amen? Amen.

Any suggestions of how to get him to drink this instead-
without putting chocolate in it?

12. And last, but certainly not least, as this one is probably the biggest milestone of all - for all parties involved: Noah spent his first night away from us and his bed. BIG step - more for us than him. It was very strange not having him with us and felt like we were being irresponsible at times - like we had left him somewhere on accident. Mama Bo and Papa Bo took him with them over to the Giusti house for a few days so that Chris and I could get the house together for Noah's party and spend a little bit of time just the two of us. We went to the climbing gym, to a movie, dinner, and just relaxed. It was wonderful to have the together time, but it felt even better to have Noah home.

That's a whole lot of little boy lovin' right there.

Wow. Big month for our not-so-little guy. It's hard to believe it's been a year (plus) since he changed our lives and hearts forever. Our love for him is worldly and imperfect, yet mighty and unconditional. I would easily give my life for his, my tears for his pain, my joy for his sadness. If knowing that I could protect him from hard lessons and uphill battles would provide for him the best possible outcome, I would - but I know better than to think I know what's best. We love him more than there are stars in the sky, but only his Maker knows that count...

The next update is just around the corner... but here are a few blogs to be looking for: 180 South, 3 Cords, Etsy (gulp)...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Home Rejuvenation

We are no where near finished with all that we want/needs to happen to bring our house up to speed, but let me say that a couple of cans of paint and a seasoned painter can work miracles. I will put Before-and-Afters up later, but here is a small glimpse of our not-so-new, newly glorious digs:
The mantra of my life...
It's gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiney day...Noah is supervising - must be a paternal gene.
That's all for now - can't give too much away. As soon as my living room is out of my kitchen and office, I will post the final results. Prepare to be blown away - if you've been here before. And if you haven't, why the heck not and get your hiney here ASAP.