28 July 2009

this weekend's big score

Yep, that's a piano... for free.
From the fabulous neighbors.
Scores don't get much sweeter...

27 July 2009

the mystery revealed

I started this blog as a place to chronicle the things I love to do, to inspire me to do more of them and to share them with others. One of my favorite types of projects involve woodworking, usually house projects. I haven't done too much lately, so imagine my surprise when I opened my inbox a month ago to find an email from Lisa at Craftsman tools. She said that they had been following my blog and saw that I liked to do wood and house projects. Would I be interested in trying out one of their tools on project and blogging about it? Do you even have to ask, Lisa? Seriously, ask anyone that really knows me and they will tell you that I love me some power tools.

So, the package that arrived last week, was my tool. My free, very exciting tool. My mom had one of these when I was a kid and used them to make all sorts of fun projects. I had been looking for a second hand one for awhile but nothing had turned up. Enter, Lisa.

So without further adieu, I will unveil the 16-in Variable Speed Scroll Saw from Craftsman. I finally pulled it all the way out of the box last night (Avery was sick most of last week, so I got a whole lotta nothing done). It is way more sophisticated then the one my mom had all those years ago. Hmmmm, I love power tools...

Besides being shiny and new, it has some really nice features that I am excited to try out.

You can hook up your shop vac to that little tube and suck all the sawdust away.

It also has this built in, adjustable blower to blow the sawdust away from your cutting area, so you can see what the heck you're doing.

The package included a total of 5 blades and a 3mm T-wrench to tighten and adjust the various parts. One of the first things I thought upon seeing these little parts, "Crap, I am totally going to loose those, probably by tomorrow morning." Luckily, the design team over at Craftsman was miles ahead of me. They included this little tray to store the blades (above) and a hook for the T-wrench (below). My only addition would be a lid for the blade tray, just because my workspace is always a little transient in nature and that would make it more secure, plus it would keep little fingers out.

In addition to all of these fabulous features, here are a few things that I am already really impressed with:
  • the cutting surface and blade guard foot can slant up to 45 degrees from the blade, allowing you to do a beveled edge.
  • the manual is really user friendly and includes a glossary of "Scroll Saw Terms", an overview of which blades to use for which woods and projects and some really good, detailed instructions on the various uses of the saw.
  • it came to me pretty much assembled. There were a few small adjustments, but I didn't have to do any major, "insert tab A into slot B" sorts of assembly.
So, the next step is to try it out on a few projects and share those with you all. I will be working on some designs and taking it for a test drive this week. This has inspired me to add a new "category" to the blog, Girls With Tools. All future woodworking and house projects will be filed here. Check back for the updates! Trust me, when this is done, every homemaker in America is going to want her own scroll saw... yep, they are that cool...

26 July 2009

garden update

I have posted an update on the garden this week over at 1000 new gardens. Stop by and visit. There are also a couple of posts about installing a drip system that you may want to check out...

Oh and take a gander at this cool article about 40 farmers under 40. So inspirational! And my friends Courtney and Jacob are #s 18 and 19 on the list. You can read more about their adventures over at Prairie Heritage Farm.

22 July 2009

mystery box

This very large, very exciting package was waiting on my door step when I arrived home on Thursday night. What could it be? What could it be?

You will have to wait until next week to see!

21 July 2009


I feel like I am playing catch up from a couple weeks of running like crazy. A few weekends back, Avery and I met my parents at the National Folk Festival in Butte, Montana. Uptown Butte is a crazy place, as anyone who has been there will tell you. At the turn of the last century, Butte was one of the biggest mining towns in the world. Along with its pile of copper, it was one of only two places in the world (the other was in Africa) to have a functioning platinum mine. There was more money running through those dusty streets then people knew what to do with. So they built these amazing buildings, huge, stone buildings with beautiful details. Then the mine closed and now most of those buildings sit empty and abandoned. Coming from a town where commercial real estate, especially cool, vintage real estate, is at a premium, I am always in awe and a little sad when I visit Butte. Here are a few quick photos of our adventure:

You can find more, much more on flickr.

We had a great time with my parents and the bean was a trooper even though it was a long full day. One of the highlights (insert dripping sarcasm here) for me was running into a man-child who was one of my charges in my first babysitting gig 15 years ago, now in college. Always nice to have those reminders of just how old we are really getting to be. That traumatic experience aside, if the National Folk Festival ever comes to a city near you, don't miss the chance to get in on that action!

(any of you regulars will notice the pictures that include the bean. I now have the baby daddy's blessing to post her photos here. Yay!)

16 July 2009

gardening for the greater good

I found this Washington Post article about the White House gardens (via Garden Rant) yesterday. It made me tear up, just a smidge. How much would our nation change, in health, connection to nature, confidence in what we can accomplish, if everyone just did a little bit of gardening? How amazing is to have a leader who is really taking the lead on this and showing people what is possible.

As Craig Ferguson would say, "Its a great day for America!"

15 July 2009

naturally clean

I have been a big fan of non-chemical cleaners for my home for a few years now. Staples at my house include vinegar, baking soda, lavender oil and borax. My friend Carolyn sent me the link to a Real Simple slide show that highlights these products and a few more and gives you a great list of uses for each.

I got some fabulous new tips from this article and I wanted to share it so that you too can harness to non-scary cleaning power of these inexpensive, everyday cleaning superheroes!

14 July 2009

gypsy playhouse

You have to check out this amazing, DIY playhouse at mikodesign.

I don't even care that Avery can't even begin to appreciate it yet. I want to build our own backyard retreat. Pronto!

Oh, and the fact that it is made out of reclaimed and recycled goodness makes it that much cooler. This will definitely be filed away for future ideas...

10 July 2009


As a new gardener, I am continually amazed that it actually seems to be working. I have real, live veggies popping up all over. Here are a few shots from my garden this week. Sorry for the quality of many of them. I didn't get into the garden until almost dark last night. J's grandparents brought some of their oldest friends (the ladies have been friends since 5th grade, so like 60 years!) over to visit and things got late.

(free ranging chickens eating the bugs in my beds)



(yellow squash)


08 July 2009

montana mornings

Another Montana mama and bee keeper extraordinaire that I have been following is starting a new venture. montana mornings is a collaboration with her neighbor to share a little slice of their heaven from "either side of the road".

And judging from the first photos, this is going to be glorious!

07 July 2009

red plastic plates

I am in love with this piece by Ann Toebbe...

and if you haven't checked out 20x200. Go there now and get yourself lost. It is a great concept and they offer some amazing work at prices the rest of us can afford.

06 July 2009

dinner party

For the holiday weekend, we got together with some of our oldest friends from in town and out. We have been planning for weeks and I have over 100 emails in a gmail string to prove it.

Friday night, after everyone arrived, we gathered at our house for an italian dinner on the deck. I love throwing parties, especially with good friends. The weather was perfect. Warm, but with a soft breeze to keep you cool and blow the mosquitoes away. We ate slowly, gabbed a lot, drank wine and played games in the twilight.

A few friends had their fabulous envy-inducing digital SLR cameras there and I got to play around a bit. Here are a few photos from the evening:

01 July 2009

garden inspiration

(a little baby cucumber)

I have been getting all sorts of inspiration from gardeners around the blogosphere. Here are just a few of my recent finds:
I hope you enjoy!

BTW: Head over to 1000 Gardens for my latest post about what's growing.