away we go…..

I guess I sort of have a theme… on the road… away we go…

dang, has life been busy!

We made it through the weekend and we sat down tonight to a dinner of Alaskan Red Salmon, local squash and home grown basil & tomato salad. (Joe says, don't forget the homebrew!) Yum.

The water has stayed in the places where it should… so the kids are planning what they can do 25 sand bags. This could get messy….


sand bags


We owe a huge thank you to our city and to the National Guard for all their hard work, and though it might seem trivial, the young boy in our house has loved (LOVED) watching "all those cool trucks" right outside the front window….


big trucks


The kids kept busy while their feral mother was sewing…. never underestimate the fun in some scrap wood and a box of nails….




Ta-da! Endless entertainment, for sure.




If any of you would like to support the fantastic Squam Art Workshops, you can enter to win one of the many lovely prizes in their raffle. Best of all, you don't even need to be there to win! And one of the grand prizes is a beautiful Spindrift Quilt, donated by yours truly. (Feeling oh so very humbled that my quilt is considered a grand prize, wow.)


raffle quilt


Speaking of Gypsy Forest Handmade, I started a Flickr pool for all you lovely folks to share some photos of Gypsy Forest handmades in action. Do take a look and know that I will be ever so grateful if you choose to join and share some photos. I put a link to it on the left sidebar so you can visit whenever you want.

And of course a promised sneak peek of my goodies…..

The new reversible ORGANIC twirl skirts….. these will be available in the shop as soon as I get home (about June 15) and there will be several of them at the art fair in Squam if you can make it!


reversible skirt


Look at those sweet! Oh my.


So, farewell my sweet friends, until I get back from Squam. Mom & I are headed at the door at 5 am tomorrow and I'm totally unplugging for the trip…

I'll see in 10 days….


Much Love,


On the road…..

Guess What? 

I got all the sewing done!

I can't believe it. I pulled an all-nighter….. but its all finished.

I'll give you a sneak peek when I get it all tagged this weekend…. wait until you see the skirts!

We've got a very, very busy weekend ahead of us.

We're piling in the car in a few moments to drive north to drop Sam off for orientation…. a story for another day…




Fresh coffee & strawberries from the garden….

life is good.


Have a fantastic weekend!


a little swamped…..

Firstly, and most importantly, we're still dry here. (yeah!)

Things are looking very good and we're very hopeful. We're still w-a-i-t-i-n-g for high water…. it's so crazy. But that's just about all we can do.

So while we hope & wait….. I have been sewing.

It turns out the prospect of flooding is the perfect reason to procrastinate. I was so sure that the kids & I would be heading out of town and that my trip would be canceled. So I totally stopped preparing…. what was I thinking?

Now, in true Stephinie (aka queen procrastinator) fashion I'm down to the wire with a crazy to do list that is so long it's actually humorous…. 

I've got about 2 dozen things to finish sewing up, Sam has orientation at his new school (3 hours away) on Friday, my mom comes in Saturday, we pick Sam up Monday and my mom & I leave Tuesday. Sometime before Saturday I should really clean my mama-has-been-busy neglected house and make sure the pantry contains something edible for my dear sweet husband to feed the children while I am away.

You could say I'm feeling a little swamped….

Which is somehow funny to me because I LIVE in a swamp….

(if it's not funny, I'm blaming it on the lack of sleep, over caffeinated brain in my head)

And before I procrastinate any further, I really should get back to work.

But first I want to show you a flower from our garden.




Zinnias, love them. They make me smile.

See, there I go again…. distracted by anything that isn't work. Oh my.


~right now~


right now i am::


~listening to Elizabeth, via podcast & even more excited to meet her next month


~eating heirloom tomatoes from our garden


right now i am


~and grain topped vegetable pie from this book


right now i am


~waiting for this book to arrive at my loved local library


~working and filling a suitcase for the fair


right now i am


~enjoying little helpers who keep me company as I sew


right now i am


~marveling at these sturdy tomatillo plants reaching towards the sun


right now i am


~watching my girl & her magic little dragonfly friend


right now i am


~looking forward to our weekly visit to the farm


  ~grateful for an afternoon scheduled to hang with good friends


A huge heartfelt thank you to all of your comments on that last post. From the bottom of my heart, you are really the best….


Be well & happy weekend to you!


breathing under water….

May 9

Lake Palourde, two blocks from our house


The news crept in slowly over several days as we watched areas north of us cope with water flooding their cities and homes. The flood gates in downtown began to close, leaving just a few open for business owners on the river side. A slow hum began at work for Joe. By Tuesday of last week I could see the worry he carried in his heart. Some folks are concerned, others aren't. We've stood in the front yard for the past week watching the National Guard raise our levee by 3 feet with sand filled HESCO baskets.


HESCO baskets & levee from our driveway.

from our driveway, the levee…. behind the stop sign


On the Levee ~ May 9

stacks of HESCO baskets waiting to be unfolded & filled full of sand


We realized there is a very real possibility of evacuating from our home. High water isn't expected for another week, but we made a plan.

Our pictures are tucked into plastic totes and stacked next to the door. Joe & I went through ALL of our paperwork over a bottle of wine one evening. Insurance, home and personal documents are all in order. The suitcases are packed. It's amazing to know in this house filled with stuff, the things we cherish most can fit in a few plastic totes. 

We're watching neighbors & friends do the same thing. Our neighbor across the street just lost her husband unexpectedly two weeks ago and now she is preparing her house for a flood, taking care of her family, keeping on. I am awestruck by her strength, she amazes me.

There is a quiet worry settling over all of us.

And we're all waiting. There isn't really anything else we can do right now. We're watching the lake and the river levels rise. Some of us will stay as long as possible, until the water trickles into the street and threatens to close the roads. Some of us will head out much sooner.



sand filled HESCO baskets lining the levee


Joe said to me, "It's like a slow moving train wreck…. you can see it happening but there isn't a damn thing you can do about it and no one knows how bad it might be."

And he's so right.

But in the mean time. I look at my friend across the street….. and I realize that you just gotta keep on keeping on. (Dylan is so right, you know?)



The laundry still needs done, the garden watered, the children loved and fed. People have to work, children go to school. Hard as it may be you can't let this consume you.

You just take one day at a time.

Be prepared.

And hope.

Mindful Monday

I said to my littlest as I tucked him into bed…

I love you to the moon little bear.

He whispered to me, “but I don’t want to go to the moon,

because it moves, and I might fall off.

Then you can stay right here with me.” I told him.

and a very sleepy, quiet voice told me “good.


{just a moment I want to tuck away into my heart}


The Fox Diaries

I believe in the beginning, my friendship with Valarie started through our mutual love of gnomes. We seemed to become fast friends and when she began sharing her foxes I was a regular visitor to her space to see what those sweet little kits and their mama were up to. It was such a fun few months to see the baby foxes grow and see their mama teach them. I really felt as if I was right there beside my friend, looking out the window with her at these fantastic creatures.

foxes 1


foxes 2

fox photos taken by Valarie Budyar  

The foxes moved on, but my friendship with Valarie has remained. When she announced the upcoming release of her book, The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden Fox, I was so excited for her. Then she asked if I'd like to be a stop on her blog tour and I was quite honored to do so. Valarie sent a copy of her book to our family to enjoy and have we ever! Valarie has woven together a lovely story along with interesting fox information onto the beautiful pages of her book. It's been by someone's bedside since it arrived and my 8 year old daughter has fallen especially in love it. "Don't you just love their names mama." my girl asks, sighing dreamily at the pictures of the foxes. I agree with her, their names are just perfect. 


Fox Diaries flat cover


Valarie has generously offered to give away one gorgeous copy of The Fox Diaries to my readers, you! So please leave a comment below to enter and I will draw a name via random generator on Monday morning to announce it. And as if that weren't kind enough, she is also offering a coupon code for 15% off her book at Audrey Press. Just enter the code "foxes" upon checkout to receive the discount. (good until May 27th)

Congratulations again to my dear friend on her lovely new book. May it bring a little magic into the lives of all who turn its pages.

Comments will close at 8 a.m. central time Monday morning, best of luck to you!

Happy Weekending Friends!


Update, the lucky winner chosen by random number generator is number 3, Rain. Congratulations!


Suburban Gardening


Our little suburban garden is thriving……


garden mixed greens


A little love and lots of water and some fish emulsion & composted chicken manure have turned the seedlings into lush lovely plants that are beginning to bare fruit. It's been very exciting to eat our first salads of mixed greens and cucumbers in the last week. Oh those cucumbers….. I really, really love those cucumbers. We planted suhyo longs, a seedless variety that is doing quite well for us so far!


suhyo long cuke


Some of our heirloom tomatoes have begun to ripen and that has brought on some near hysteria levels of excitement (and further obsession of gardening).




Dragon beans, snap beans and squash blossoms are working over time producing blossoms and the wee beginnings of vegetables for us to eat. After so much trouble in the backyard, I am so happy to finally be enjoying the gardening and feeding my family from it. Even if it's in the smallest dinner salad or sliced cucumber to top their sandwich…. 






All of this excitement spurred our most recent project. A garden journal. It's been a collaborative effort between us girls in the house. We decorated a blank book and have recorded our plant varieties, created a garden map complete with key and what we have harvested from the garden. 








And not surprisingly, the harvesting is the favorite part to record. Counting of strawberries each morning and making slash marks into the book…. anticipating the wee summer squash plumping up on the vines and the cantaloupe that is just starting to make some tiny fruits. Adding a new picture to the list under "HARVEST" is done with great care & excitement by each of us. A thriving garden is such a lovely place to learn and discover a whole lot of natural science.

And of course…… to pick some very yummy snacks….






the first tomato


Last night, when we finally came to the agreement that this heirloom tomato was ripe, we had our first taste of edible sunshine. Sweet and full of flavor. This variety is called a Black Prince and my are those heirlooms ever beautiful? One precious wedge of tomato sat upon each garden fresh greens & sliced cucumber salad at our dinner table. There was a brief moment of silence and much gratitude for that first tomato. 

And then Joe asked, "So how much did that tomato really cost us?"

Which made the big kids roar with laughter.

"But it was the best tomato ever!" I replied…..

And it was.