Monkey Mat

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Poster My Wall


I love projects and creating graphics and posters for events.  But these days, even the seconds are full, thanks to a toddler, a full-time job which is work even from home, and the occasional urge to enjoy some “me” time. I needed a quicker way to market upcoming events, because DIY projects a la Pinterest are fun, but they take TIME. And boy oh boy, time is of the essence these days.

One afternoon, as I took a quick breather from errands, I turned to Google for a little help. During my search, I discovered PosterMyWall! After taking a “tour” of their site, I found a variety of templates that I could use to advertise my upcoming events. WOOHOO!!! I finally found a way to create some pretty cool posters and flyers that didn’t require too much time or super duper artistic talent.

Even better, PosterMyWall offers prints and downloads. So depending on how quickly I need something, I can either order flyers (even double-sided ones, yes!) or digital files. And I can upload the digital copy to websites and Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter!!! (If you want to know what else PosterMyWall offers, check out this page).

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These are great for events and projects, but also awesome for your home!  So check it out and create a poster for whatever you need!


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A Few Beautiful Blogs


I wanted to share a few blogs on my blog roll this week.  With rainy days all week, these are a few of the places I am visiting when baby is napping.  All are beautiful in their own way.  Relax and enjoy!

Attic 24 – Oh the color!  The yarn!  The patterns!  The crochet!  I absolutely adore this one so very much!  Lucy is most inspiring!

Sew Liberated – After a hiatus, Meg McElwee is back with a revamped blog that I adore!! I have both her sewing books, Sew Liberated and Growing Up Sew Liberated, and love every pattern.  Definitely one of my favorites!

A Beautiful Mess – Talk about inspiring, Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman have created a gorgeous lifestyle blog that is beyond beautiful!  I want every photo to be my life!

Design Mom – Another lifestyle blog that I could stare at for hours.  Gabrielle Blair created a gorgeous blog full of gorgeous things.

Magic Onions – This is a sweet Waldorf Blog I have been perusing for years.  I love all the crafts and ideas!  Many of these have been created in our home when the girls were young.  I love all things Waldorf.

So there you have it….a few blogs I am reading this week!  Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, you may be here awhile!


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Rain And Blossoms…Plus A New Skill To Learn!

It’s raining!  Can you tell I am excited?  We have been looking forward to the rain for a couple weeks now.  The temps are staying in the 80’s and I have windows and doors open to let the sound and smell of the fresh rain in.  Crockpot is bubbling with chicken soup and homemade biscuits are cooling on the rack.  It’s one of those days and I am so happy. 


Another thing making me happy this day is my Daturas!  They are blooming all over and smell like paradise everytime I walk past.  I just love them so much!  Definitely going to be planting more around the yard.  They just glow at night with their snow white blossoms reaching for the sky.  I have another bloom that will most likely go up there with the favorites and will be planted throughout the gardens as well, Texas Star Hibiscus.  Oh what a joy it was to see the blossom bud forming, and this morning was the surprise of a bright red Star Hibiscus blooming here only a few feet from the white Daturas.  With the temps lower, I’m so excited to get back out and start planting more again.  I am a week behind on my winter veggie beds, but that’s okay.  They will get done this Sunday. 

Another thing I am excited about is the new skill I’m trying to learn – the art of spinning wool.  I found a drop spindle at a yarn store near my mom’s place this weekend and so picked it up along with 8 oz. of locally produced roving.  The shop owner gave me a mini lesson on how to use the spindle and then pointed me to a couple websites.  I am so thrilled by this new adventure!  I know it’s going to take alot of practice, but that is just fine with me.  One day I dream of having a full on spinning wheel, but that will be awhile down the road.  For now, I will be satisfied with my drop spindle.  Lola is excited to try it out too.  Her knitting skills are moving forward with leaps and bounds.  She is really good at her knit and purl, and is almost ready for more complicated knitting.  She is finishing up a scarf for herself and has another skein of wool that she wants to knit up for me…I am so proud of her!

 And finally, I will leave you with our view at dinner last night….

Hope your day is full of good food, wonderful weather and happy hobbies!  Peace!

Catching Up…Or, The Many Sites of AmLo Farms

Yes, it’s been eons and I do apologize…but I have a good excuse – life!  Yes folks, the holidays are upon us and life is taking on a whole new meaning around the farm.  So many preparations and events.  The girls are giddy with holiday surprises and plans.  We got to go to our first company Holiday party with J’s work.  That was great fun!  He even won a Wii for the family which was just what our oldest farmgirl had been wanting….haha!  I’m not a huge fan of video games, but this one is actually alot of fun and promotes cooperation and togetherness – usually unheard of in video games.  We only have the Wii Sports and will most likely keep it to that for quite some time.  As a family we are bowling, playing tennis and golfing (this one elicites squeels of laughter whenever mommy’s turn comes up – no folks, I am not a golfer).  We had a great dinner and yummy desserts as well.  The company gives all the kids presents, face painting and horse-drawn carriage rides to see the lights of the town of New Braunfels.  We all had such a great time!


The day after the company party, we went into Gruene, Texas.  What a great little town!  We got there just as they were opening up their seasonal market days so the Heritage Riders were there re-enacting the jobs of the Pony Express.  They brought a proclamation from the Governor officially opening the markets days in Gruene.  There are quite a few artists in the area, so the open air market had so much to see.  It was a cold day, so hot cocoa was in order from the local coffee house.  We explored the market and then ate sandwiches at the Gristmill.  It is an old cotton mill turned into restaurant and it was good!  There are probably at least 10 dining rooms, not to mention all the outside patios.  We sat near a roaring fire in one of the several fireplaces in the building and treated ourselves.  Not really having money to spend on things like this, it is extra special when we can.


After Gruene we came back to our town and saw Santa at the library.  Xi was quite shy, but Lola explained how we saw a Santa in Gruene who had a cowboy hat on and how he must be an imposter.  Our library Santa gently explained that he has many helpers and no one is trying to fool the kids on purpose..haha!  That made both of them much happier.

We returned home to garden sadness though.  The night before had been our first hard freeze and we covered all that we felt needed it.  The rest were on their own and were just going to have to go through the seasonal changes.  My father in law explained to me to just leave all the plants looking like they do and not cut anything except the annuals.  From what I’ve learned, the frozen bits on the plants act like insulation for the rest of the plant and keeps the inside protected until Spring.  Right after the last frost of the year is when we will prune everything and hopefully Spring will see an explosion of most of it returning.  We need to mulch, mulch, mulch, which we are in the middle of doing.  Today is warm, above 70!  Wierd weather.  Some things made it through just fine of course, so there still is quite a bit of green going on.

Ranunculus are coming up and hopefully growing strong.
Larkspur sprouts
Brocolli going strong as well!

The days are spent preparing for my favorite time of year.  I love the Winter festivals so much.  The girls put their slippers out for St. Nick on the 5th and woke up to fresh oranges, new Nutcrackers and bendy doll winter sprites.  They were thrilled.

We make all our gifts not only because of financial necessity, but mainly because I do believe these are the best gifts to give.  I love creating things for family and friends, putting love into each stitch or stroke of the paintbrush.  This year the girls are getting their annual sweaters as well as some homemade toys and dolls.  One neighbor gave me a scroll saw and another gave me some really nice wood scraps, so I am going to try my hand at toy making today..yay!   I love the wooden figures from Germany, but cannot afford them.  This way I can make the girls and William some heirloom toys that they can pass down.   We are all decorated, ready to bake, continuing our projects and preparations for Christmas. We are all having fun doing it all too!

Instead of a nature table, we have a nature wall.
This little painting hung in J’s grandparents house and was painted by one of his great aunts or uncles.’s a surprise.
 What are you doing to prepare?  Peace to everyone!!!  XOXO

Butterflies and Garden Photos

Some photos from yesterday.  The light was too good to resist.

A Little of This, A Little of That and A Whole Lot of Busy!

I have not abandoned you all, just been on the go for the last couple weeks.  We had a wonderful visit with my darling sister and her family.  My nephew hung with us for the weekend while sis and bro-in-law went to a wedding about 4 hours away.  Mom came up and we had a blast!  Farmgirl’s last soccer game was on Saturday and then the after party, which all the kids loved…who doesn’t love pizza, cake and a playset?  They all got their trophies and talked playdates and next season.  H was having a blast with all the kids and his cousins around.  Later we came back here and had a fun afternoon/evening at the homestead.  The kids did alot of artwork and hanging out.  We were sad to see everyone leave on Monday, but were re-fueled with the visit and look forward to getting together again soon!

The week went by in a blur as I started my holiday gifts.  We make all our gifts and this year I have a long list.  The kids are excited about the upcoming events and preparations as well.  J’s folks came for a visit on Saturday and we were able to celebrate his dad’s 70th birthday with him.  The girls made gifts, but their paper mache’ bowls didn’t dry in time so we’ll give those to him at Thanksgiving.  The folks have just returned from a month of hiking and visiting J’s sister and family in Australia and New Zealand!  I’m in awe of them as they just go go go!  It all sounded like so much fun, and exhausting all at once…haha  Some day I want to take the girls over there.  The photos are just amazing!

I got a little gardening done on Sunday.  Things are finally starting to slow down as the weather gets cooler.  One thing that has exploded in my front garden are the butterflies!  I can’t believe how many we’ve attracted!  Yesterday I counted 7 different types all within a minute.  So beautiful and affirms what we’ve done out there as they obviously are happy.   There are all sizes from large Swallowtails on down to tiny yellow ones that almost don’t look real they are so delicate.  The rest of the gardens are starting to get ready for their long winter’s nap.  I’m really looking forward to what spring will bring…but am excited about gardening in the winter too.  I have brocolli looking beautiful, lettuce, basil, onions, potatoes and beans all still moving forward.  cucumbers are producing too but I’m going to have to start covering them.  I’m thinking about building a hoop house for my raised beds so that some of the plants that don’t tolerate the cold so much have a fighting chance.  We’ll see how that goes!

I’ve finished one of my major gifts for Farmgirl.  Xi’s doll is almost complete too and then I move on to the clothes for her.  Her sweater is on the needles and I found the nicest yarn for her in cotton.  She can’t stand the feel of wool, even a small amount makes her itch so I got advice from my dear friend, Michellerene over at You Just Gotta Keep Knittin’ on a cotton/acrylic blend that works out quite nicely.  It’s super soft and I think Xi will be happy with it.  My sister in law in Australia sent some gorgeous handmade buttons that will be perfect for this project.  I’m going to knit a matching sweater for her doll as well. 

Amidst all this business, J’s cousin (who we are very close to) and his wife gave birth to their beautiful baby girl many weeks too early.  The baby is doing good and while she was only 1 lb 9 oz at birth, is now a hefty 2 pounds at 3 weeks of age.  Poor little thing has had 2 major surgeries already, but the last one seemed to fix her intestine issues and now she’s growing finally.  She was born at 29 weeks, but had stopped growing at about 26.  She’s a fighter though and just precious.  We are going to try and make a trip to see them in the next few weeks.  J’s cousin and wife are my new heroes as their amazing attitude and positive outlook through all of this just shines!  It will be a long road until she gets to go home, but seeing the pictures of mama holding her tiny little girl, and hearing the love in daddy’s almost daily emails just makes my heart swell.  Send lots of good vibes that she continues to grow and thrive so she can go home soon.

So that brings us up to date…just busy.  We are looking forward to the holidays and are hoping that everyone has a warm place to rest and good food to eat.

I need to learn the names of all these butterflies.  This one was sunning himself on the lawn chair in the chill of the morning.
The morning sun.  This is the view from the front door.

Where the Zinnias are at home and seem to still be happy.  Lots of flowers on the Green Envy, Polar Bear and Purple Giants.
Butterfly weed.  Last week there were 2 gorgeous caterpillars I’m assuming will be Monarchs, munching away at the bottom half.  Can’t find them today..hmm…
 I am so happy with the way this bed has filled in.  I hope things reseed for spring.  Otherwise I’m doing this same thing again in the spring.
African Basil we have had going for over a year now.  It is next to the Mexican Lime and manages to get wrapped up with the tree when we wrap for freezes.  Hah!
These guys have been covering my little Passion Flower vine!  I mean dozens of them.  
Sedums still going strong.  I’m starting to break off pieces for other parts of the garden.  We’ll be using all different types in the rock wall we are going to build in the Back 40.
Mother of Millions
And her babies at her feet.
A pile of kids relaxing with a movie on a rainy day.
Xi and my mom.
H and Lola working hard on their drawings.  Notice their matching freckles?
Be still my heart….What a handsome little thing!
Trying to decide what to work on next.  They had so much fun together…

Peace to you all!