Friday, June 22, 2012

mama's garden

READ THIS FIRST! Seriously! This post contains pictures of my actual placenta, if that grosses you out or you faint at the sight of blood, you should probably stop reading. If you are even the least bit curious I encourage you to see how normal this process was.

I remember vividly the moment my midwife asked if I wanted to keep the placenta. Up until then I wasn't sure. I had no idea what I was going to do with it but I couldn't let it be thrown away. "YES!" I cried.
This lead to the coconut water and soy milk coming out of our pink travel cooler and the placenta going in, good thing those midwives let you bring your own snacks.

When I received my forsythia on Mother's Day I knew this was the plant I was destined to bury my placenta under. I had been waiting ten months for the right tree to come along.
Check out our prep work for mama's garden here.

Are you wondering what one does with a placenta for ten months? You freeze it, of course. 
In the sleepy haze of new parenthood neither Dana or I bothered to take it out of the biohazard bag it came in and so there it remained, packed in next to the pumpkin bread.

Once it had thawed on the counter, just like chicken, Desmond and I headed outside to meet Dana.

When I cut open the bag there was blood, but surprisingly little. Just like the birth itself, it wasn't what I expected. I don't remember seeing my placenta the first time around, I was busy bonding with Desmond, so I was glad to have this opportunity to witness it, to really know what it looked like.

Before we continue, a little side note about what I am wearing: When I was editing these pictures I reflected that I should have been wearing something special for this occasion, but upon further examination I realized that what I was wearing did hold meaning:
The tank I wore throughout my pregnancy to prenatal yoga class, the shorts are my favorite cut-offs and I was wearing them at Bonnaroo just after my miscarriage, even the flip-flops I bought for and wore on our honeymoon, and I'm wearing Desmond, without him there would be no planting. Special indeed!

Desmond curiously trying to get a better view over my shoulder.
I'm sure our neighbors got an eye full too.

Nestled in the earth shaped like the womb it came from.
Dana really deserves praise for digging such a perfectly round hole.

Covering it with leaves and compost before we plant the forsythia.

One more crucial element for mama's garden, my Madonna. She has been in a state of restoration for a while, perhaps this autumn I can wrap up that project.

She was originally my grandmother's Madonna and she is finally back in the garden after more than a year on our front porch. She is solid cement and I'm pretty sure Dana is hoping he won't have to move her again anytime soon.

The forsythia, my placenta, and Madonna really make this a wonderful beginning to mama's garden.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

digging deep

Sometimes a gift turns into a project. This happens a lot at our house.
I think it's a blessing, my husband may disagree.

A first mother's day gift from my in-laws. My husband's thoughtful mother was paying attention one spring day when I was admiring the flowers on a neighbor's bush.

This overgrown, odd shaped patch to the right of our driveway looks to have been a garden of sorts once. Since it is clearly visible from the house and road I was claiming this space as mama's garden.

I picked a spot and started clearing out weeds and extracting small pines for transplantation. Within minutes I was heading back to the shed to trade in my small garden tools for a serious shovel and rake. This wasn't going to be as easy as it looked.

By the time Dana brought Desmond down to see mama I was fully appreciating this lands unwillingness to give up any growth it had produced, something my husband is all too familiar with.

The previous owners of The Parent Acre inexplicably decided to cut down about half of the trees but didn't bother to remove any stumps. I exchanged my shovel for some baby holding and let Dana make quick work of this particular root to nowhere.

Later in the day I was on mama duty and Dana was getting ready to dig our hole.

But first some vine wrangling. We don't know what these are but they are a force to be reckoned with.

Between mama and papa we weeded out the weeds, relocated leaves, transplanted trees, grabbed compost from the pile and Dana was headed out to pick up some free mulch. 

Did I mention that all of this work was happening in a 5 X 5 foot square?
This old garden bed is a bear and we are taking it one plant at a time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

a day at the beach

Although it feels like the work never ends around The Parent Acre we do take some time to enjoy life every now and then. Especially to celebrate our anniversary.

Here is the little man's first big ocean adventure in pictures:

I think someone had a really good time, and so did we.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

guestroom makeover: reveal

To recap, this is where we started, over. You can see our before the before here.

There are two important challenges  features to note about this style update. 
First, there is one big elephant in the room that is staying in the room, the quilt. You are surprised. I can tell.  Although pastels aren't a part of either of our design styles, this quilt was a handmade wedding gift and we love, and appreciate, handmade. There was no way I was replacing it with a comforter that was made in china.

Second, I wanted to use items that we owned already wherever I could. This meant keeping some of the elements that were in the room, it wasn't all bad, it just needed to start representing our eclectic style.
Taaaaa Daaaaa!!!

I know the quilt is hard to get over, but look around, you'll notice many new improvements...

...starting with The Montage.  Perhaps my favorite part of the room. It greets you as you walk in and really represents our couple style. Please forgive my shoulder in the mirror, this room is tiny and finding a place to stand for a shot is tough.

Montage Breakdown, counter clockwise:

*Vintage Mirror, from my grandfather's house, I painted it black.

*Framed $2 bill with bicentennial stamp, xmas gift a few years ago, it lived in a different montage at our old house.

*Van Gogh print of Joseph-Etienne Roulin matted and framed, print is from an old calendar, I thrifted the frame with mat for $2.45 and painted it adobo.  I'm not sold on the color completely.

*Framed postcard by The Little Canoe, free with purchase of greeting card, I love her work.

*Hostess letterpress block, thrifted this at Diversity in 2001, finally found a home for it.

*Shadowbox of letters, I am incredibly sentimental and keep almost every card and letter I've ever been given. This box holds about a 100 less important ones sliced down to 1 inch pieces. 
p.s. This shadowbox has been kicking around my studio for at least 8 years, I'm glad I didn't craft swap it.

Here it is up close!

Remember that piece I was waiting for from New York?  That would be my parent's house, in upstate NY. 
This bureau was my uncle's and then my brother's and was painted by my mother in the early 70's.

 It was hiding in a closet and still looking great when it was recently offered to me, for free!!!

Since my mother takes up all of the closet space, my father was thrilled to have a place for his shorts.

I even found a great patterned tissue paper in the $1 section at Target to line the drawers.

Another bonus for my father, or anyone who sleeps on the right side of the bed, a nightstand...finally.
I took the hint a few months back when my dad brought his own portable nightstand to visit, yep, that actually happened. We aren't a subtle family.

Like the lamp, this metal nightstand was damaged and marked down from $60 to $20. I found it after a few days hunting the thrift stores and finding more expensive and less attractive options, I didn't waste any time loading this into my cart. Yep, the damage is there but no one will ever notice. 

As for what lives on the nightstand: the tray (for traveler's miscellany like rings and watches,) the framed and matted art, small sculpture object by Jessica Martinkosky in the tray, and ceramic bowl were all in our house. Even the hydrangeas are from our yard. 

Let us not forget about the other nightstand. Same nightstand with much improved custom lamp and grandfather's rooster bowl, which may or may not be an ashtray, Dana and I are in disagreement.

Let's take a look back at the nightstand before shall we. Hmmm, where did that stack of chic-lit go?

Here. Much better.

 Another bargain, a $20 basket on clearance for $5. There is plenty of room now for diversity in our reading; books, magazines and even a couple of odd museum catalogs. We have everything from historical fiction to Mother Earth News.

The bed pillows were another big DIY undertaking. 

The deer needlepoint is sentimental. My mother made it for my father back in the 70's and it was framed in our house for decades. At some point I came to possess it and recently transformed it into a throw pillow, with piping and zipper too.

The two other throw pillows were place mats that I found on clearance for $2 each and bought them for this purpose. Just seam rip one side, sew in zipper, insert pillow form and you are done. 

The shams I am the most proud of. They really help in the fight against pastel. I made them from this beautiful linen fabric that I had been saving for a worthwhile project. I had exactly enough to make two.

The new room fits in with the rest of our house now. The behind-the-bed art is my favorite upgrade, it really makes an impact when you walk in. Read about how I made it here.

I finally hung a curtain too. Just a shear with a natural print that I bought for our old house at Ikea 5 years ago. It's very earthy and airy. 

There are still some components of this room that need to be addressed in the future, like the overhead fan lighting fixture. We are currently in debates over whether or not a fan is necessary in this room, when my folks weighed in I was out voted. That will be a project for another day.

So what is the bottom line, what did I spend on this transformation? Including the lamp, nightstand, artwork, basket and linens...$75!!!! And $25 of that was on gift cards...yay!!!

Now with only 3 weeks until our house guests arrive let's see what other improvements we will make...