With almost 100% of my friends in the working world, I find it hard to inch my way into "workplace attire" conversations when I have no "day job." While they may find it hard to believe that I proudly shop at Savers, and I find it hard to believe that people in corporate America aren't allowed to wear jeans, we do agree on one thing, casual Fridays. (Well, Friday may as well be any day for me, but I completely understand the significance of dedicating a day to an utter wardrobe vacation.)
The problem I've been having lately is that my scarves, while all autumn worthy, aren't dressed down enough for couch-slouching/rolling in the leaves. I spent some time browsing the archives of my favorite blogs recently and found this little idea, that has completely turned my t-shirt days into something drool-worthy, to even my most formal friends.
Attack your husbands t-shirt stash. Take anything you figure he won't notice. I bought a few t-shirts at Savers, since my husband is particularly fond of ALL of his t-shirts. A mother once told me that, "Girls need a lot to keep them happy. Boys just need their FAVORITE t-shirt, EVERY DAY." So, not wanting to upset the apple cart, I bought a few used t's.
Arrange each shirt so it fits on your cutting board, and cut off the bottom hem. You can use a rotary cutter or a scissors. No need to buy supplies for this no-sew project.
Save the hem, you will use it later.
Cut the t-shirt into 3/4" strips (or there about). No need to measure, just eyeball it. Do this to several shirts of different colors.
Give the strips a good stretch. This will cause them to curl slightly.
Wrap these big circles around your fingers until they look like little nests.
Make lots of little nests. You will need about 32 to make one scarf. Each t-shirt should give you at least 10-15 nests.
Take those hem pieces (that I told you to set aside) and cut them into 5" pieces. Line up the nests and tie them together using the hem. Alternate colors, making a pattern or a random eclectic scarf.
You will end up with something like this.
And I am a dork. Ready for casual Friday. Which is tomorrow.
With autumn on the horizon and the days getting shorter, we spent our Saturday cramming all we could into the dwindling daylight.
Two art fairs, one playground, a pumpkin patch/petting zoo and one busy apple orchard. Capping off our day was the most gorgeous hot air balloon, about to set sail before our eyes. Axel was intrigued to say the least.
Thought I would post a few links to some of my new favorite artists, discovered along the St.Croix river, showcasing their talents.
Tru-Leigh Yours Designs
Lots of Minnesota and Wisconsin talent out there. Just getting some ideas for x-mas, which is right around the corner.
It takes a stalker to find great thrifty deals. I've been hitting up Savers, Goodwill and Once Upon a Child every day for the past week, waiting for them to put out the kids winter gear!
Seriously, have you priced kids winter coats? A Columbia can run you upwards of $150, other brands coming in at slightly less. Honestly, for the few times these jackets receive rough and tumble snow action, it is hardly worth parting with a pay check for a one-season-wonder. Kids grow so rapidly you simply cannot count on a coat that fits for multiple seasons.
I hit it big at Once Upon a Child today as I saw this NEW Woolrich coat hanging in the "size 7" section. I knew it looked to be just the right size and TA-DA...it was a 5! I love when things are hung in the wrong spot!
It's seriously adorable. Chocolate corduroy on the outside and completely waterproofed on the inside. The hood has a HUGE closure with cinching mechanisms on the sides, it features lots of pockets for Lightening McQueen and friends, a bottom waistband with rubber/ adjustable snaps to keep it pulled over his hinder, and best of all are the Ninja Sleeves! As Axel put his arms in, his little hands threaded into thumb and finger compartments. What a lovely invention to keep the sleeves in place and prevent snow from biting that precious skin around his wrists.
"It's like a ninja mom!" He came up with that on his own...I'm going with it.
The Ninja was less than thrilled about his modeling gig, but I had to brag a bit about my $16 find. Bring it on Minnesota.
I realize it's been a while since I divulged what my nook and I are paging through. To name a few I'll give a quick book review of my current favorites.
After being highly advised by my editor to "immediately stop the use of semicolons," he followed his harsh words with a strong recommendation to read Madame Bovary. "It's the most perfect piece ever written."
Apparently Flaubert was such a perfectionist that he could be heard shouting each line out loud until it was flawless. I began reading this for the editorial aspects but fell in love with the story line as well. It transcends decades, centuries, and I find many hints of myself in Emma Bovary.
As a side note, the column I submitted to Dennis this week received this comment: "I love this column. It's my favorite you've written so far. I think it's the "ideal" column beause it's conversational, it's personal, it's gently funny, it's full of great visuals and it makes points everyone can relate to. It's also the perfect length. Love it! I can guarantee you readers will enjoy the hell out of it."
Those comments don't come free, or ever. Let's hope the publisher feels the same way and runs it this week. I'll send a link when possible.
A super quick read. Man runs his car into girl on a bicycle. Man lives to deal with the fallout. It's very real, very "what if" and very "no turning back." I admire this piece and the courage he has to tell it, just the way he wants, in a short but powerful memoir.
I chose this book for my new book club this month. Gustavus, my alma mater chose it as well for their "reading in common" program this fall. I was interested in Nerburn as a Minnesota author and for his unbelievable storytelling skills. A beautiful read, a wonderful journey, and one you won't put down.
For good measure I threw in Jane Eyre. It's maybe the fifth time I've read this one and have never fallen out of love with her. Here's to the classics!
I snapped this picture from my kitchen. I like it. These cool nights were just what I needed for the boys to build a fire pit in the backyard. Last night we toasted a few "shmoes" - watch out, that's a Disney movie reference - for the first time.
With just over 30 trees on our little square lot, we'll be raking until spring. That's just fine by me.
So I'm happy to announce that the Ironman is back in one piece and with just a tiny limp. I'm also elated to say that political foolishness has subsided for now and I'm back in the local paper.
You can read my column this week HERE.
There's only one way to welcome an Ironman back, and that's with pillows. Axel and I whipped up a couple custom creature comforts from some darling mattress ticking to perhaps elevate his ankles or cushion his undeniably sore butt (a bike seat cannot be built for 112 miles...I'm only assuming).
It's not just any day that your brother becomes an Ironman. As he crossed the finish line just before sundown yesterday, after 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running, the world may now recognize him with the elite class of athletes called Ironmen.
I however knew he was an Ironman long before...like the day we brought him home from the hospital...18 years ago...and took embarrassing of pictures of him in a Christmas stocking. He absolutely took that like a man, and has everything to this day.
Here are a few clips of what's "all in a days work" for Tyler. He was smiling through every inch of the 140.6 miles, was the youngest male finisher overall, and can brag about his incredible time of just over 12 hours.
Checking the course, the night before.
Sunrise over a mass-swim start. Three thousand racers take to the 2.4 mile course. Did they get to push off? No. They started in the middle of the lake, only after treading water for up to a half-hour.
Just before mile 100 on the bike. No signs of fatigue.
Half-marathon mark on the run. Still a thumbs up.
Jombo-tron finish. Unbelievable.
Time to replace a few calories.
The gorgeous Menona Terrace at night, under a clear sky and a bright moon. Thank you Madison for hosting such a spectacular event.
Wisconsin's capital in lights, as some of the last finishers victoriously take the finish line.
When you have a child who lives by his own traditions, little things like "first day of school" don't mean much to him. When lining Axel up to take his photo, backpack on, in the driveway, like generations have done before him, his only request was, "I'll take my own picture."
Straightening up, grinning enormously, he stretched his little arms out in front of him and with a very adult camera, snapped the perfectly centered self-portrait.
Making one hilarious moment into a "pee your pants moment," Axel subsequently took a picture of both Jahred and I...on his first day of school. Fair is fair. So here we are.
"Oh that turned out good," Axel says about each of the photos.
When we arrived at his classroom, Axel dropped his bag at the door and ran inside. First, wanting to see if that fish had been flushed (see previous blog post) and second to break-in a fresh batch of playdoh.
When a good friend gets married, you can't wait to go to her wedding. When a great friend gets married, it brings tears to your eyes that after a decade of friendship you get to share in her big day.
My great friend Mary got married this weekend alongside a grazing doe and under a double rainbow. Did it rain? Not really. But as the groom exclaimed, "Seven-thousand dollars for a double rainbow!" we all knew it was a gift.
I often remember days in details, and Mary's wedding was no different. I know you will appreciate all the gems I'm about to show you. Strung together they created the most charming of afternoons!
Apparently my handwriting passed muster because I was the lucky one who got to write on these beautiful handmade chalkboards.
Great use of a vintage suitcase! Since I forgot a card...can you believe that?...I put my pickles in instead.
Multi-purpose place cards...that aren't place cards. Each guest was asked to find his/her name and bring these with to the ceremony. On the back of the colored tag was a word. At one point in the ceremony, guests used their outdoor voices to shower Mary and Terry with these words of wisdom in popcorn style. Jahred and I's word was "balance." How fitting.
After the ceremony, the guests removed the three tags (shown with a tree on them) and placed them in their choice of three crates. Each crate representing a charity Mary and Terry support. After the wedding, they will be making a donation to each of the organizations for each tag collected in it's crate.
The three charities are, Lutheran World Relief, Outfront Minnesota, and the Alzheimer's Association.
Dinner is served. Locally sourced veggies and a platter of pork that would make a non-vegetarian drool was served family style on the longest picnic table I've ever seen. Guess who got to sit by the bride? ME!
So I thought I'd reserve my comments on our new roommate until things settled in to a regular routine. If you need catch up, my brother Tyler has moved in while he goes to Saint Cloud State University. As far as I can tell, a well-put-together teenager is a breath of fresh air compared to my all-or-nothing three-year-old. Sadly I have nothing dramatic to report.
There was a bit of drama however last night during the "off to school night" at Axels new preschool. One of the tasks on our "get to know your classroom" scavenger hunt was to think of a name for the class fish. Being the first people in the classroom, I happened to notice that the Beta fish wasn't presenting in prime shape. In fact, I was 100% sure that he was 100% dead. Immediately I alerted the teacher in order to spare the nearly 30 preschoolers the pain of naming an expired fish. The teacher, brushing me off said, "I'm sure he's fine, I just picked him up this morning."
Axel honed in on the dead fish immediately. "He's stuck," and ultimately, "I think that fish died." Quickly I diverted his attention to the Lego table in hopes that he wouldn't be the spoiler...the "there is no Santa Claus" kid.
The kids came up with plenty of names for the fish, some of them endearing and some of them after themselves. Kids are hilarious that way. Jahred and I wrote Axels selection on the sheet just to give the teacher a chuckle at the burial, surely to follow the chaos of the open house. We thought his name should be "Flush."
Hopefully when the kids show up next Wednesday for their first official day, Flush will be looking dapper in a bright shade of purple, at least I hope one of his relatives from the pet store shows up.
Today after buying a few school supplies we took ourselves out to a deli to celebrate the upcoming school year. Have we finally found our "go to place" in our new hometown? I'm thinking so.
Now that's a deli sandwich. For the record, Jahred was only able to eat part of it.
My vegetarian pita. It was even more delicious than it looks.
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