Wednesday, July 31, 2013

thrift store finds: keep oregon green!

It must have been over a year ago now that I was invited to a yard sale thrown by the family of someone I knew from high school. There were a lot of cool things to look at, but in the end, I chose a large wooden crate (will feature in an upcoming post), a salad spinner (as a back-up for the one my kiddo was obsessed with at the time), and this laminated vintage Keep Oregon Green print.

These prints were once used as placemats in various Oregon restaurants, but my laminated version was kept in pristine condition. I think I paid three dollars for mine (but I found one site trying to garner $250 for one. Yikes!).

The print finally made it onto the wall earlier this month after I finished repainting the kitchen. By coincidence, the illustrator, Hugh Hayes, died at the end of June; his 99th birthday is tomorrow, August 1.

Much of Southern Oregon is consumed in smoke and wildfire right now. My fellas and I are up out of the smoke where we are in the state, but other family and friends can't see past their back fences, and the air quality is listed as hazardous, unhealthy, or worse.

A good reminder to keep Oregon (and everywhere else!) green.

Hugh Hayes also illustrated various images of Smokey the Bear. When Smokey says "Only YOU can prevent forest fires," he means it; as many as 95 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans.  (Image credit)

You can download your own copy of the Keep Oregon Green image PDF here, courtesy of the Salem Statesman Journal, the Hayes family, and Keep Oregon Green.

linking up to:

Junkin' Joe at the Cottage Market

Sunday, July 28, 2013

all i need in my tool kit

Fig. 1

Maybe your kid is one of those who leaves stuff alone, but ours repeatedly kept tearing the foam guards off of the safety rail on his toddler bed.

Fig. 2

When hot glue continued to fail, I found some patterned duct tape (this one is Scotch brand), et voila! The foam stayed in place until we replaced the toddler bed with a twin-sized bed earlier this week.

Fig. 3

I purchased our jogging stroller used from a kids' consignment sale. All was in working order, but the foam grip on the handle bar was the worse for wear.

Fig. 4

A little patterned duct tape, and it's not only more functional, but also easier to spot in a crowd of strollers.

I'd offer tutorials, but I think you can figure out how to operate a roll of tape. These fixes are pretty quick, look kinda cute, and prove, once again, that duct tape has a million uses. Make that a million-and-two.

Thanks for reading! 

(p.s. Scotch didn't pay me or send me freebies to use their tape or write about it; if that were ever to happen, I believe in full disclosure. My tape came from Target. Which also didn't pay me.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

a place for everything and everything in its place

"Everything is a fork" is the other advice I've read recently regarding home organization; it's really stuck with me. The point being that in your kitchen, you always know exactly where to find a fork because your drawer has a fork spot. When trying to organize, everything is a fork. Everything needs its own designated home. (I wish I remember where I'd read it; I'll post a link if I run across it again.)

In our small house, with a little kid and two adults and two cats living under one 950-square-foot roof, this is becoming increasingly important.

Enter the broom (from Scheumack Broom Company**) that has been shifting from wherever I leaned it, flopping over, and bashing skulls for a couple of years now.

I picked up two antique hooks from Salvage Works / Solabee / Boys' Fort in Portland awhile back, and have been finding they work really well for hanging brooms. The Green Man broom hangs on the inside of the front door now, looking right at home near the newly-painted dining room.

So now the goal is that everything in my house will be a broom. Everything will have a practical place to live, close at hand, not clonking me in the head.

Has your own spring-cleaning / organizing project spilled over into summer? Made any simple organizational changes that make life easier or at least prevent concussion? Do tell!

Thanks for reading!

p.s. To make these photos larger, just click! But you probably already knew that, clever you!

Linking up to:

The CSI Project

(**I was lucky enough to see the pleased expression on the broom-maker's face when, upon buying a mini version for my kid, I told him that I have one of the Green Man brooms and that yes, I use it for actual sweeping. Apparently lots of folks just use them as art. I love beautiful tools, but make no mistake, they are tools and are meant to be used. The craftspeople who make these brooms make them to stand up to years of long use and be passed down as heirlooms later.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

golden book baby shower invitations

I recently offered to throw a baby shower for a good friend of mine, and because this will be her second child and she already has a house full of hand-me-downs, she requested that the gift giving be kept to a minimum. Partially because of that request (and partially because she's a book lover like me) I settled on a "vintage / classic kids' books" shower theme.

The invitations went through an extensive brainstorming and planning phase, after which I finally decided to use vintage Golden Books as the base.

This may not be a new idea entirely; since landing on the concept I've seen a few different versions of Golden Book baby shower invitations. A few use just the covers, discarding the pages.

Yikes. As a book lover throwing a party for a book lover, that idea makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Admittedly, I have that response to pretty much any project I see people blogging about when it involves chopping up vintage books, even having worked in bookstores and witnessed what happens to mass market paperbacks. Or maybe because of it.

Anyway, I trolled St. Vincent dePaul's section of kids' books to find some classic titles in older editions with a bit of age to them. Because the guest list was small, I didn't mind that each of the books was different, but this project might be a little extreme for a guest list of more than a dozen.

Of course, Baby Animals was pretty perfect for this project, but really, nearly any Golden Book can be altered to make the perfect invitation (as shown above).

Using my YA Library Book Slips fabric design as a base in Adobe Illustrator, I designed and printed out some library check-out slips on manila card stock using the family's last name (Geisel, in this case, is a pseudonym) in place of the author and "The New Baby" as the title.  These were the "registry" info cards, except in this case they included language inviting people to forego traditional registry gifts in favor of vintage kids' books or small handmade items.

The little envelopes to hold the cards inside the books are made of the same card stock trimmed, folded, and held in place with GlueDots. (If you can't find manila card stock, do what I did and cut some manilla file folders down to 8.5 x 11" sheets using a paper cutter.)

I scanned the front cover (inside and outside) to alter slightly in Photoshop.

For the fronts, I added on each book the words "& Baby Geisel" to the title, matching the the title font and wear pattern as closely as possible.

For printing on the reverse, I moved up the bookplate and made the endpaper pattern fully repeat, before layering on the text in a font similar to the Little Golden Books font. (Click to zoom for detail.)

Printed and trimmed . . .

. . . then scored along the spine and ready to attach . . .

. . . with three glue dots.

I used washi tape tabs to indicate where to open the books . . .

. . . and used more washi tape (white and yellow, so the golden spines still showed through a bit) to cover the spines. Then I tied them up with baker's twine and put them in some shipping envelopes to ready them for mailing (complete with logo for the Geisel Family Library Foundation).

Repeat for all titles.

This project is, admittedly, a bit labor intensive and requires some knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Like the look but want to skip the work? I can put some together for you, too! Contact me for pricing and scheduling by leaving a comment below, or by e-mailing (whoamillie (at)

Thanks for reading!

p.s. you can make these photos larger simply by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that.

Linking up to:
I'm Crafty!

Friday, July 5, 2013

hometown tourist: Dee Wright Observatory in the Santiam/McKenzie Pass

Hello again! We've been away on a bit of a cross country road trip, and so I haven't been around to update the ol' blog in a couple of weeks. June was a busy month anyway, and our trip (to my little sister's wedding, as mentioned in the last post of June) kinda took over my time/house/life for awhile.

As with any road trip of 1000+ miles, this one started at home.

You may know, if you've been reading awhile, that I do an occasional series here called "Hometown Tourist" in which I talk about our little adventures around Lane County and the whole state of Oregon.  I'm always game for a little adventure, especially if it can be found a short distance from my house, and we were lucky enough on this loooooong road trip to see parts of Oregon we haven't seen before on the way to and from our destination.

Enter the Dee Wright Observatory, at the top of the McKenzie/Santiam Pass between Springfield and Sisters, Oregon.

The McKenzie/Santiam Pass itself was clearly built by and for madmen who enjoy driving along narrow, mountainous roads with steep drop-offs, sometimes on both sides at once. (I took a large portion of it at 10-15 mph.)

The structure of the observatory looks equally mad, built of lava rocks atop a large pile of lava rocks. I'm not sure what the underlying structure is made of, but the observatory has been in place since 1935 so they must have done a damn nice job of it.

The staircase to the top is also built of lava rock.

Who knew that past the deep green Oregon forests there's a huge lava rock field up there, the remnant of some extinct volcano? And who can picture settlers to the area trekking across it in 1860? I imagine someone's long-suffering spouse gritting teeth as yet another wagon wheel busted out on the rocks. "I told you we should go around!" that person may or may not have complained. 

This plaque (inside the tower) might tell something of that story, but the lettering is time worn and I didn't have paper or crayons with me to make a rubbing. The wagon is a hint, though.

At the tippy top is a large (3 ft. diameter) cast brass disc with rays pointing towards Cascade Mountain peaks, craters, and other geographic features. I took this next photo for the Mister, who stayed at the car with the kiddo as I took the hike to the top.

There he is down there in the parking lot, taking a photo of me at the top. Hellooooo down there!

You can see for miles in any direction from up there. Miles and miles. And if the brass round at the top isn't clear enough, you can enter the tower where several notches left open in the lava rock walls give a clear view of one geographic feature each. This one shows Little Belknap Crater, a dormant shield volcano two miles distant.

Here are the columns inside the tower.

And one of the large windows.

And finally, some foliage along the (scarily narrow, I promise you) road on the way down the pass.

And there you have it: yet another Hometown Tourist adventure. If you choose to go see this marvel for yourself, travel in summer as the pass closes in the autumn and winter as snow makes it impassable. Also, vehicles beyond 35 feet in length aren't permitted to pass through, as hairpin turns along the way aren't possible for anything that long. Yikes. Can you imagine?

Thanks for reading! I'll have some Out-of-Town Tourist adventures to post sometime, too; we took in a few National Parks and Monuments along the way. Man, what a trip!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

july again

Oh Alice, a very merry unbirthday to you, once again. Wish you were here with all of us.