Thursday, May 31, 2012

Off with the arms!!!

Summer is's close enough anyway.  Ninety degree temperatures seem to just hit you with no warning.
It was Memorial Day and we had places to go people to see. When I went to pick my shirt for the day I realized I have very little options.  I wanted one of those lightweight vests similar to this. Having very little money and a baby that hates to shop I raided my meager closet and came out with this:

I know what your thinking....why would you ever change such a well crafted piece?
 I actually have one exactly like it in much better condition. (Notice the tags attached by a string? Yeah, it's old.)
 I'm definitely no fashion designer and my fashion sense could best be described as...well...gamer/housewife chic? Ratty T-shirts and double layered tank tops, least I'm comfy.
I decided to cut this sweater up to class myself up a bit. Starting with the arms. 

I started with a knife to cut the seams, realized it was a bad idea, then switched to a seam ripper. (As you can see my seam ripper is broken, it still works just as good anyway.) I should have just cut them off and saved myself the trouble. I ended up cutting them anyway.
This is what is was looking like after the seam ripping. 
It makes me sad to look at the vest during this stage of construction. The ragged arm holes...the weird looking tag...

I decided to braid some scraps from the arms into ties for the top of the arms. This way I could twist the arm fabric inward when I tied it and would hide the sad ragged holes.
I tied a knot at each end of the braids then tied them around the shoulder seams of the newly formed vest.
 Looks good eh? Your probably screaming at me to take the tag I did.......
Nice and flowy. A perfect cover for a tank top.
So I wore it to a BBQ and realized a fatal design flaw. The armholes were too tight. It was flowy everywhere but the armpits. Deodorant stains anyone? As soon as I was home I started cutting.
Now this is made of a knit fabric that I am unfamiliar with. I don't really know how it will fray over time. I may zig zag the armhole seams at a future date.
See the difference on the left side? Just by cutting the armholes deeper it gave it a much more tailored look. What was I thinking before?
One day I will learn to take better pictures. 
I really like how it came out, it just flows now. It's nice to take something that was languishing in the back of the closet to an everyday where item.
Any one else have a similar situation? What have you done to change up the wardrobe?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Talent can still flourish in this dirty, dry desert.

Victorville and the high desert area isn't exactly known for having amazing opportunities and a well connected community. People don't dream as big here and as far as I was concerned until a few months ago, there wasn't much of a music scene and you only ever saw local musicians at coffee shops somewhere in bumfuct Apple Valley or at a party or garage or some other random spot, since venues around here are mostly non existent.

And then there was The Lotus Lounge. 

It started as a weekly event, organized by a group of people that I went to high school with. It brought something to the desert that was unique and original: an opportunity for local musicians, artists, and other collaborates to join together and make music, showcase art, and drink booze somewhere other than a friends backyard party. 

One of my personal favorite performers from our little town is a bluesy rock band called Kayla and the Ghostmen. She has a powerful old-timey sound that soothes my soul. 

I don't love rap, but my longtime friend Jeremy, known by stage name Smirk, makes it pretty much impossible to deny the talent and raw poetry that can happen with the right beat and the right words.

Next is an indie rock band called The Lillies. More commercial sounding than most bands up here, they're pretty popular and participated in Battle of the Bands for Warped Tour. Amazing little band.

Last but not least, the Black Market Butchers. They're a great hip hop group that bring passion, energy and inspiration to fellow desert rats.

 The Lotus Lounge has since closed down because there wasn't enough money, support, marketing, etc, which is common problem that we have up here. Hopefully sometime soon they can start it back up because it really was a diamond in the rough.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

San Diego, Baby!

All of us here at California Poppies are huge Harry Potter fans. We've read all the books and seen all the films. We've even dream planned trips to England through Expedia to visit all the cool places they filmed the movie at. Today we will be furthering our Harry Potter education by heading to San Diego for the National Library of Medicine's exhibit and lecture series on: Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine. Right up our alley for a bunch of nerds and history buffs like us. So over the next couple of days we will be posting about our day trip to San Diego. Expecto Patronum! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Something Old....Something New

Sometimes I get a crazy streak where I want to do a project and want to do it now!! (Usually when I am supposed to be doing homework.) Such is the case with this:
I had at one time wanted to do some misguided palm tree theme for my bathroom. (Again this was before Pinterest.) This shadow box has been lingering in various places around my house ever since.
One day I was perusing Pinterest and came across a shadow box for movie tickets as seen here.  I really thought it was a cute idea but didn't actually think about starting it as a project until I went to the bathroom later that day. I noticed for the first time since I had put it on the wall two years ago, the sad dusty little palm tree waiting to be loved. 
So, as women do, I decided to love it by changing it. 
 I started by peeling the tape off the edges. I always get so nervous when I start a project because deep down I think I'm just gonna ruin it! 
Yes...I am making a mess on my bed. I do my projects wherever I start them. :O
Then I took my knife (took it straight from the kitchen, I was too lazy to go look for the exacto knife) and proceeded to shove it under the edge and shimmy it down the sides.
 When I came upon a staple I just twisted the knife and out it popped!
Shoulda done this on the first step but didn't. Unscrew the picture hooks from the frame.
 Voila!! The back is off! That little plastic palm tree was just about gone but had two screws and some glue holding it on to the backing.
Here I encountered my first problem. Scraping the glue from the palm tree off ripped up the backing to the shadow box. I sanded it lightly to get all the paper fibers to lay flat then went off to look for some paper to back it with. I needed one backround paper and one complementary paper to make the "Admit One" stub.
My second problem was the paper framing around the glass. There are two layers of it. I cut out the top layer and was about to cut out the bottom when I realized it was in front of the wood piece that formed the box (The pine around the edge) If I took the paper framing out it would show the pine frame in the front. Plus it would have been a pain to get the wood frame out then back in correctly so I decided to leave it.
I'm glad I left it, I think it accents the paper I picked perfectly. 
By the way I bought the paper stack some number of years ago but it is still available. It is called Once Upon A Time stack and you can find it here. It is some seriously awesome, magical paper.
I then cut the parchment colored paper to fit in my printer and printed admit one a couple of times on it. I did this because I figured I would make a couple of mistakes cutting into a ticket form. I traced out where I wanted to cut with pencil then followed the line. It isn't professional but I love crafty things that are clearly homemade.
I then had to figure out how to cut a hole so that I could just slip the stubs in there instead of taking the back off. Let me tell you I could not cut through that back piece for the life of me. I have weak arms, sadly. So I had to wait for my boyfriend to get home to finish the project. 
(So much for woman empowerment!)
He used his leatherman to saw out a hole. Then used the staple gun to reattach the back. Yes there is paper sticking out the side....I left it because you cant see. Lazy...I know.

Here it is all done. I am using my camera phone for all these pictures so it's not the best representation of the colors and how it actually looks but you get the idea.
It's up next to the entry to my guest bathroom. I want all my guests to think about all the fun times we had right before they potty. ;)  I am going to add something else to that wall as soon as I get an idea.

Anyone else re-purpose things from around the house? Make something old new again?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Fell In To An Annular Ring of Fire...

Burning Annular "Ring of Fire" anyone?

This evening about 6:30 or so we were able to view the annular "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse here in southern California. Ever since I was about nine years old and my mother created a cardboard pinhole for me to view the moon crossing over the path of the sun I have had a love for eclipses.

However, I nearly missed this one.

I had noticed that the light had changed but as we were BBQing I had forgotten about the eclipse until my husband, Kevin, got a phone call from a friend reminding him of the astronomical event. While I clamored for cardboard Kevin went into the garage and came out with a set of welding goggles and two more lenses.

"Genius!" I exclaimed.

Placing the goggles on I was able to view the solar eclipse as I had never seen before. Granted, everything was tinted dark green, but I didn't care. I was witnessing the universe in motion.

It seems so strange to me to view two spatial objects that are nearly 100 million miles apart yet visually appear to interact with one another.

Instantly I was reminded of my nine year old self, dreaming of Sally Ride and Christa McAullife; distant planets and alien encounters. I was in the Young Astronauts Club led by teacher extraordinaire: Mr. Tipton. Sadly, none of my rockets ever left earth. Youthful dreams are a wondrous thing and I hope my son is a big dreamer. He already has an obsession with pointing out the moon in the night sky.

Space is a representation to me of that which is bigger than us. Space is the unknown. It makes me realize how little of the universe we know about and perhaps more importantly, how little of it we Earthlings occupy.

I can only hope that I will not forget the nine year old who dreamt of something bigger than herself; that I never stop exploring the universe and never, ever stop dreaming of distant shores.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Who'da Thought A Desert Had A Farmer's Market?!?

Every Thursday on the lower campus of Victor Valley College is the High Desert Farmer's Market. There is something almost...magical about a farmer's market. Not to be too dramatic but I didn't grow up on a farm and my pathetic attempts to grow and harvest my own food have not been successful (Not that I've given up). I really admire the small farmer that can grow from a tiny seed something fit for human consumption.

So how does the High Desert Farmer's Market compare to other semi-local markets? I have always loved Santa Monica'sFarmer's Market. Blocks upon blocks of delicious fresh produce, freshly salted nuts, freshly cut flowers, and trinkets and home crafts galore. It is truly a Mecca of all farmer's markets. 

The High Desert Farmer's Market is no Santa Monica's Farmer's Market but my sister Katie and I have gone to several farmer's markets in other cities across southern California and the HD outshines quite a few. I won't mention which ones we went to but some were really tiny and given the size of some of the towns/cities we visited we were really disappointed. We realized that the High Desert has a pretty awesome one!

When I went to the High Desert Farmer's Market yesterday I found: huge artichokes, gigantic heirloom tomatoes (the best as far as I'm concerned), pounds upon pounds of green beans, onions, celery, potatoes, freshly cut herbs, spinach...practically every seasonal vegetable you could imagine. They also have vendors selling freshly baked bread (YUM!), the best tasting hummus I've EVER had, oranges, pears, strawberries, Jujubes (crazy raisin smelling dried fruit that my friend Jeni and I marveled at), and I'm sure I'm leaving something out but you get the idea. Oh yeah, they also have (periodically) a local chef who demonstrates how to cook a chosen recipe using the ingredients found that day at the High Desert Farmer's Market.

The market also showcases booth's for local arts and crafts for sale. You can find incense, jewelry, clothing, Avon, plants, and a variety of other treasures. Find yourself hungry while you're there?  Grab a bite to eat or a frozen lemonade while you walk around and shop and visit.

I do have one suggestion that would make the Farmer's Market better: live music! Wouldn't it be cool to bring the kiddo's (who are not in school) down to learn about fresh produce, then grab a bite to eat while enjoying some local tunes? I totally think so!

 I don't go every week but I would like to get the vast majority of my produce from local growers. I love the taste, smell, and texture that you can really only find on something picked in the last couple of days. Last night for dinner I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some quinoa and used my carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, green onion, and fresh oregano for a delicious side meal.

So if you get a chance, check out the High Desert Farmer's Market every Thursday from 8 am to noon. and whenever you can, buy local and fresh. Now if I could just get my two year old to eat some of that produce life would be perfect... :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pinterest Changed My Life Yo.....

I have to say that Pinterest changed my life. It really did. It gave me the ability to do all the projects I had always wanted to do but was too intimidated because I never felt like I had any talent at arts and crafts.  I think a lot of people feel this way, which is most likely why Pinterest took off.  The want to make life prettier but not knowing how to get there.  As soon as I figured out how to pin (I’m not gonna lie, I was lost for weeks) it really took off for me. I was suddenly designing my whole house from inspiration pins. I could finally put up a picture wall when I found a pin that showed me an easy way to do it.
 I never even knew what colors I really liked together and all of a sudden I am developing a personal style!  Everything doesn’t have to be brown or match..... what?!?  I’m sure a lot my my blogs will be projects that I have completed from Pinterest and how it turned out. Some of the Pinterest things I have done have been disasters. Some have been successful.  My hope is that if I show that it can be done by me (no skills whatsoever) then you will be inspired to try things too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Today marked my second year of being a mother. My husband and I had a backyard bar-b-que celebrating all the wonderful mothers that we are lucky enough to have in our lives.

According to Wikipedia the official modern day celebration of Mother's Day dates back only 102 years when it was started by Anna Jarvis. Jarvis eventually became dissatisfied in the commercialization of Mother's Day.

I have to agree with Ms. Jarvis. I don't celebrate my mother because a holiday exists or because anyone tells me too. I celebrate my mother, and all the wonderful, hard working mother's I know because I adore them. My mother has stood by me and supported me through everything. I would not be who I am today if it were not for my mother. Here I am with my wonderful mother, Janet Woodard Rollstin.

Now I am my own mother to little charasmatic and rambuctious twenty-seven month old boy named Atticus. Are there days that I want to pull my hair out, scream, cry, lay in a fetal position on the, I mean take a break from all the hard work that being a mom is? Sure. I also struggle at times with giving all I can give to my son without sacrificing who I am as a woman.

But there are so many rewards. I get to look at this hysterical face every day. 

Every time I turn around Atticus is changing and growing. I am all too aware that soon, one day down the road, he won't be my snuggle bunny anymore. One day he won't be content to just hang out with mom on a Saturday morning, being silly, and the greatest chore we have on our agenda for the day is to play.  And while all this life is going on the clock keeps ticking on in the background.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Sometimes I feel this frantic feeling that time is ticking away too quickly. It seems like just a few weeks ago that I found out I was pregnant for the first time, and the first time I felt him move in my belly, and the first time I held his little body in my arms. 

Being a mom is truly one of the hardest jobs you can have. (Don't worry, I feel the same way about fathers: stay tuned for June.) And though it's a horrid cliché, I wouldn't have it any other way. I adore my son and I truly cherish every moment with him, even the tough ones that every mom experiences with a two year old. He is another reason that I am a part of this universe, another reason for my existence, another reason for my happiness.

Right now in my life I am just hoping to be the best parent I can be so Atticus will become a respectful, passionate, happy adult. For isn't that truly what all mother's want for their children?


So Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there. All the hard work you do is never in vain and it is always appreciated.

And since my little 2 year old is already an avid music lover, I dedicate this to him. I love you Mr. Atticus. ----"Wake Up" by Arcade Fire is actually quite dark but when I was pregnant with Atticus the movie Where The Wild Things Are was coming out and this song played during the trailer. I would cry every time I heard it and eventually came to think of it as Atticus' and my song. <3

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coldplay at the Hollywood Bowl

Hey blogging world! This is the very first blog post on A Happy Narrative (formerly California Poppies) so bear with us while we get all the kinks worked out. :-)

The honor of the first post should belong to none other than Coldplay: rock gods as far as my sisters and I are concerned. We had the wonderful opportunity to go see them in concert at the Hollywood Bowl on May 4, 2012.

Our love affair with the British foursome began over a decade ago with the release of their brilliant first album Parachutes. I was 21 when I first heard that album, a full-time college student going through all the angst and turmoil of someone trying to find their place in the world. Silly as it may sound, Coldplay's music helped me get through some emotional times as I'm sure it has for millions of people around the world.

What songs do I love the most? My top 5 would have to include: Yellow (Hello! Is there a more romantic song in existence?), Clocks (Makes me think of my husband-we were serenaded to this song while dining at Saddle Ranch Chop House in Universal City Walk), The Scientist (love the Willie Nelson version for the Chipotle commercial), In My Place ("In my place, in my place, were lines that I couldn't change, and I was lost, oh yeah" <3), Fix You (Am I the only one who can't listen to this without balling my eyes out??), Viva La Vida (The historian in me loved that Chris Martin channeled Les Miserable), Lover's In Japan (...will take you out of a bad mood. I suggest listening to it very loudly and singing along.), Paradise (This one is for my sisters.).

Oops, was that more than 5? You're lucky I narrowed it down to 8. I mean come on! Out of all the Coldplay discography, it's pretty hard to narrow down the top 8 songs. They are all really awesome and my sisters and I are so grateful that we were able to see them live.

We were especially excited to see them at the Hollywood Bowl, an awesome outdoor concert venue in the Hollywood Hills that we had never been to. The weather was perfect in the low 70's and the skies were clear. May 4, 2012 also happened to be the night of the so-called Super Moon when the moon is at its closest to the earth. Needless to say the night was made even more magical because of this.

Does Coldplay sound good live? You betcha! They were amazing! They put on a great visual show as well with laser lights, massive amounts of confetti, and these awesome wrist bands that were given out for free when we came into the venue that lit up at various parts of the show.

Basically if you ever have the chance to see Coldplay don't pass it up. And on a sad note May 4, 2012 also happened to be the same day that Adam "MCA" Yauch from the Beastie Boys passed away. As a tribute, Coldplay turned "You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party" into a ballad.  Needless to say, we were all teary.

A note on the venue: The Hollywood Bowl as excellent acoustics and viewing from almost every seat. We were lucky enough to find ourselves just left of center (Suzzane Vega anyone??) in section G2, Row 10, Seats 8,10, and 12.

So what's the best concert you've been to? Anyone have a great venue they like to attend? We have quite a few places here in southern California and I have to say that the Hollywood Bowl has to be one of the best.  Maybe we will make it to one of their classical shows in the future.