On-Our-Shelves Sunday: Normal Norman

On our shelves today is a book called:


*this post contains affiliate links*

Normal Norman

by Tara Lazar

illustrated by S. Britt

What a sweet story about what it means to be “normal”, or really how there isn’t one, and how we are all unique. I adore the retro-styled illustrations, and the message. And the fact that Norman is purple.


What books are YOU reading this week?

Star Hair

While I was perusing Pinterest, as one often does (and by “one” I mean ME, and by “often” I mean every night), I found this fun hairstyle for the Fourth of July. I gave it a try, and it came out adorable. BUT a little while after I did it, my girl was complaining about it pulling and hurting the back of her head, so it didn’t last the whole parade. Luckily, though, I am an opportunist when it comes to blog work, and photographed her with it (before we went to the parade) for an upcoming tour I am on. Since the tour is next week, I can only show you her head.

Star Hair

Cute, right?! I actually can’t wait to share the whole outfit with you. That will have to wait for another post.

Have you tried any hair styles you found on Pinterest?

Fourth Recap

Brace yourselves for another year of a crazy amount of Fourth of July parade photos.


































I made another skipper top for my youngest (like here, here, and here) so she would have something festive to wear to this year’s parade. She paired her stripey shirt with her Wonder Woman skirt, and she was good to go.

After the parade, we actually watched fireworks! In the 19 years we have been out in WA state, we have never seen a fireworks show. Our Falafel came up to us and said it was her dream to see “actual fireworks”, you know, not just the animated ones, and we realized we needed to make this happen.

We are all exhausted, but had a fantastic day, all together. AND it didn’t rain! WOOHOO!

How was your fourth?

Recycled Plastic Bag Christmas Wreath dressed up for the Fourth of July

Recycled Plastic bag wreath dressed up for the Fourth of July

Remember this wreath I made from recycled plastic bags? Well, my Falafel wanted to turn it into a Fourth of July wreath. She took one of her ripped up fuzzy blue socks, and cut it into strips, and tied it on the wreath.


Pretty clever 10 year old, huh?

I think we should use this one for Valentine’s Day  too. Just add some hearts. I like this reuse business. Makes decorating a little easier.

Do you decorate for the Fourth?

Happy Independence Day!

Sewing Rope Bowl Tutorial

I had several requests for a class to teach how to sew rope bowls. I am not offering a class (yet) but have the next best thing….

Sewing Rope Bowl Tutorial

Sewing Rope Bowl Tutorial

What’s even better is, I will teach you how to use pieces of rope to do it. I love being able to save these little pieces from the landfill, and give them purpose once again. My friend Liesl of Pioneering the Simple Life (among other things) sparked this newfound passion when I asked for rope, and she offered pieces that washed up on a local beach. I thought “Why not?!”, and gave it a whirl. And you know, the bowls I made with them are my very favorites.

Sewing Rope Bowl Tutorial

This is one of them, pictured above

The one I am showing you today was made from an old hammock! I had my girls unknot it (in exchange for extra media time). Some pieces are long and some are short, but they all are sturdy and work perfectly for this.

Sewing Rope Bowl Tutorial

After it was made, I set it in a shallow amount of navy blue dye. It bled up the sides and created this subtle ombre effect. I really want to play with this a whole bunch more.

Sewing Rope Bowl Tutorial

If I have piqued your interest, head over to Instructables, and check it out!

Sewing Rope Baskets

Remember the change purses I made for teacher gifts? I never had the chance to show you the rope baskets I made for the end of the year teacher gifts. Now that things have quieted down, I can finally do that.

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Baskets

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

I absolutely adore making these. It is incredibly cathartic. You can see more of these here, here, and here. They make great gifts and you can create any size you want. I think my favorite kind, though, are made with found or recycled rope. Especially if they are stained. It adds such a cool look. So for this batch, I purposely spray painted them with watered down acrylic paint (like I used in my spray paint tutorial). For some of the baskets, I even used blue thread. Ultimately, I think I prefer the white thread, though.

I think for the next batch, I would like to try to make really large ones. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!

What is your most fun sewing project?

On-Our Shelves Sunday: Feeding my inner Survivalist

On our shelves this week is a book that I happened upon at the library, and my inner survivalist couldn’t resist checking it out:

Show me how to survive book review

Show Me How to Survive

*affiliate link*

by Joseph Pred

This book is illustrated with simple universal safety type images, which make my visual heart happy. There are short captions below the images which also help the reader understand what to do. It gives super simplified instructions for everything from making a fire, to catching pigeons to eat, to fending off attackers.Not a complete manual by any means, but a fun and interesting read. Kind of tongue-in-cheek. Note for any parents out there, there are a few graphic images, and some blood in a couple, so not for the visually sensitive child. More of an adult manual (although, our 10 year old was intrigued by it, and read through it a few times already).

I plan to use this book to teach us all how to build a bow drill this Summer. Should be fun for camping!

What is on YOUR shelves this week?

Too Short to Model

Too Short Model dilemma

Looking at that title, you probably are thinking, “What do mean,

Too Short to Model??!”

Well, let me explain. My redhead has wanted to either act or do print modeling for many years. She actually did a runway modeling job last year for Rock it Like a Redhead and again for the Trashion Show this past Spring (both unpaid). Since she was little, she has had a love of acting and being in the spotlight . And I, not being in that field, had absolutely no idea where to start. Now that she is 16, braces off, and an adult size, not to mention that social media makes these things a bit easier, I asked around and found the names of a few modeling agencies to check out.


One of the requirements is that women should be between 5’7 and 6 feet tall. Both agencies had this stipulation. If you are not that tall, don’t bother. Well, I measured my girl, and my ruler said she was 5’6.5, so we decided to take the risk, and go there for the open call. It is only half an inch, afterall.

We filled out the paperwork, I took special headshots and stressed about printing them (it only took about 7 times printing to get it right), we rode the ferry into Seattle, and walked 30 minutes there…only to find out she is too short. They measured her, without her shoes, and said she measured 5’5.5, and sent us on our way without a consideration, and told us that when she grows a few more inches, she can come back.

OK. Well, she is done growing, so that isn’t going to happen.

I was genuinely surprised. I thought, if anything, they would turn her away because of her pale complexion (which can be difficult to photograph), or her wild mane of red hair (which can be equally difficult).

This is not the end of the world, by any means. To her, though, it feels quite devastating. As a parent, I was trying to support my child in doing what she wants to persue, right now. And we both don’t give up very easily.

So my question to you, dear readers is: “Are there any other agencies/ roads/ ways for my daughter to do this, or is this brick wall too thick to bash through?”.

Look for the newsletter next week. I just couldn’t manage everything this week!

On that note, have a great weekend.

Recovered Case

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

I wish I took a photo of the original cover. It was pretty thrashed. Lots of tears, and the fabric was brittle. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could do this. You’ll have to use your imagination.  A friend of mine runs a non-profit music program for kids, regardless of income. It is pretty wonderful. She has a few of these cases that are extremely worn, and she gave me one to play with. I wanted to see if I could recover it, and you know what? I can!

It is far from perfect, being the first one I ever did, but it totally works, and it looks a heck of a lot better than it did. I completely seam ripped (carefully) the old cover off, and removed all the hardware, and then used the old case as a pattern, adding a half inch seam allowance all around. The best part is, I managed to save the zipper and the straps, and reuse them. It is difficult to find a 52″ zipper, so I am thrilled to be able to use the old one.

One case saved from the landfill! I can’t wait to do more.