About Me

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We are 5 llamas, 4 Angora goats, 6 chickens, 2 dogs, 1 cat and 2 humans. We live in beautiful Sams Valley, Oregon and enjoy gardening, animal concerts and small children.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's In a Game?

I started making presents for my family about three years ago, when I discovered Etsy. I'd been long disenchanted with the way the tide was turning in the Commercial Toy world. Due to a constant flood of advertising,we are made to feel cheap or unworthy if we can't fulfill our children's every desire, and this at a time when most families are just getting by. When I discovered Etsy, I decided to join the Handmade Movement, and stand up to Commercialism. But how to do it? How could I make something for my grandchildren that could possibly compete with Walmart and Best Buy? Hmmmmm....

I put my thinking cap on and tried to remember back when I was in their shoes. When I was a little girl we had one black and white television with no remote control. We got three stations. Barbie was not yet a household word, and computers were something out of a sci-fi magazine. I had a number of different "favorite games" and when I look back on them now, they all taught me something. I used to play "grocery store", a game in which my Stay-at-home-mom would lay out all manner of canned goods around the living room, and I would push my play grocery cart around and pick out this weeks fare. At the end of the game Mom would be the cashier, tallying up the totals and taking my play money. Sometimes I had to put back the twinkies because I was low on cash. Menu planning, frugality, and addition were some of the skills I learned from this game.

My favorite of all fun-times were Saturdays at Grandpa's. Every other Saturday my Dad and my Uncle would take me and my cousins out to visit Grandpa. Grandpa had few toys, and even less money for treats. But he had a fruit orchard and made all his own jams, and each Saturday morning he would make us hot cakes from scratch (deep fried in Crisco oil!) with homemade jam on top. While the cakes were frying, my cousins and I were allowed to play "kitchen" in the garage. Grandpa's play kitchen consisted of a wooden box with two plastic basins on top. One held a miriad of discarded kitchen utensils...a bent spoon, a broken ladel, an old potato masher, a set of measuring spoons with two missing. The other basin held sand. I will never forget the fun we would have making all manner of delicacies for ourselves and our baby dolls...that was more fun than any three girls ever had!

These memories fresh in my mind, my first homemade project was "kitchen sets" for my five grandaughters. I made them all aprons with their names embroidered on them, and set them up with all the utensils needed for a well stocked kitchen. I gathered most of these from my attic, but found some at the local Goodwill and a few choice items at garage sales :) I then made them home-made "play dough" and dyed rice and beans in kool aid to complete the cupboard. With their mothers in mind, I then bought each one a plastic table cloth to lay out of the floor before each "cooking session" which could be shook out in the yard after playing. They absolutely loved it, and trust me, there is nothing like seeing a homemade gift being enjoyed (again and again!) by your children!

Since then I've made many other handmade gifts for my grandgirls and have since expanded to cover the rest of the family as well. It's no longer just about battling commercialism and the almighty dollar. It's not just about teaching our children how to "pretend" and how important that is. For me it's also about sharing a little bit of myself with my family. I'm hoping that someday I can be a part of some special memory, just like my Mom and my Grandpa are a part of mine.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Day at The Spa...kindof.

Well we've been working on getting our "llama shearing stall" completed and it's taken (so-what-else-is-new) longer than expected, but we're finally in the "90% done and usable as-is" stage! Today Blue Skies and Cholula took their turns and except for one small moment when Cholula decided that she only wanted to be half sheared (we got one side done, and she tried to cush, almost hanging herself and fully panicking myself), all went pretty well. But the best part of the day was bath time, after all the shearing was done and everything cleaned and put away. Since it's gotten up in the upper 90's and even triple digits lately, the girls have really taken to the water. Every afternoon they get their barn misters turned on, for a little llama air-conditioning, and most afternoons they get a hosing off. Here's a few pics of some wet but happy llamas :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Holidays with the Grandgirls!

We were so lucky this year to be able to spend some quality time with our Grandgirls over the last holidays. Easter was spent at Auntie's house with Mike and Shyla. I love the "Anticipating" Easter" picture of Shyla! She and Mike are here, all dressed up and "going for a walk". And of course it wouldn't be Easter without my cousin Carol and my Auntie June. We all need to get together for our share of Wine-ing and Whining each year about this time!

Then Les and I got to babysit "the girls" while Jen and Robert went to a concert in Portland. Lucky me...it fell on Mother's Day! Cindy, Em and Mel made a "tissue paper boquet" for their mom and then we all baked some cookies for "Mom" but somehow most of the batter went to the Cooks...as well it should be!
Here's the finished product!

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Teddy Pics and Llamas in the Front Yard

Here's some recent Teddy pics. He's growing like a weed and then some! He's still just precious, but getting to that 7 or 8 yr old boy stage...the one where they say "Awww Mom, please don't hug me in front of the guys!" I can still get him to fall asleep in my lap though :) We finally let the llamas out in the front yard. I've been trying to get Les to let me do it forever and he finally gave up the fight. To be honest, I think he just couldn't face mowing the lawn this year...it was getting a bit out of hand. The girls are loving it! And last, but not least, here's some pics of T before the big shearing day. I haven't weighed his fleece yet, but it's got to be at least 10 pounds. That's a whole lotta T!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Meet Teddy Bear!

We have a new addition to the family! His name is Theodore (Teddy for short) and he was born to Sadie Lady Wednesday evening. She is a wonderful mama and is taking good care of him. Today he became "king of the straw bale" and is hopping around and feeling his oats!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Welcome to the Woman Cave!

My husband calls my new studio my Woman Cave...and it appears to be true, because I am so comfortable in my new "happy place"! Here's a few pics of my studio and my second Spinning Class which I held last weekend. It was called "From Hay to Handspun" and was a two day class touching on the animals, fiber preparation, dying and basic spinning techniques. The gals seemed to really enjoy it, which was so gratifying for me. Hopefully, they found a new "happy place" for themselves :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

All My Pretty Girls!

Here's a picture taken yesterday of my ladies as they waited anxiously outside the "hay barn" for their breakfast.... How typical is that, I ask you?! Those girls do enjoy their food!
In this picture it looks as though Ivory might be whispering a secret to Sadie Lady, but actually she is just using Mom as a pillow, having a nice little snooze in the afternoon sun!

And finally, wasn't I the lucky Nana to be invited to my grandaughter's preschool for family day! Here's Shyla modeling the pretty necklace that she made, and Bailie creating her OOAK clay pot...such creativity! Aren't I lucky to have all these pretty girls?!