Tuesday, May 31, 2011

hippies like granola

My dad is a hippie. He doesn't think he is a hippie. And to be fair he isn't your everyday run of the mill hippie.  He is a very special esoteric kind of geek/hippie.

He works full time as an aerospace engineer.  He loves rockets.  He wears Kirkland jeans and plaid button down bar-be-que type shirts.  He also wears socks with sandals. A-hem. That's something I'm hoping to work on with him.

He's never had long hair and he only grew his beard out once that I can remember.  During his short beard phase, he took to wearing a  plaid scally cap which made him look like the Scot that he is and nothing at all like a hippie.

But he is a hippie.

He is a peace lover. He is physically incapable of yelling. His voice just doesn't get very loud.  I often wonder what would happen in an emergency if he had to call for help.

But the real hippie part of my dad is that he loves to get out and commune with nature.  In fact, he plans his life around his outdoor trips.  He wanders around and takes photos of his hands on rocks or birds in flight.  He stares off into the horizon at sunset. I'm pretty sure he prays a lot while he's out there communing and stuff.

He's the type of person that could walk into the woods tomorrow and live as a hermit.  He might need his iPhone and his computer to edit his photos, but running water and electricity he could live without.

My dad is a hippie and he loves granola. So I made him some very special and ridiculously delicious granola for father's day. I also made a label for my jar.

I thought I'd share the recipe and my free printable label. You know, in case your dad's a hippie too.

I got this recipe off All Recipe's website. It is the best one I have found.

Megan's Granola


  • 8 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.
  2. Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

You can change up the recipe to suit your own tastes.  My dad loves coconut so I replaced the cranberries with two cups coconut.  Some people left comments on the site saying they added chocolate chips.  I also made a batch using dried cherries instead of cranberries.

Here is the label.  Print it out full size on sticker paper.  It fits a large half gallon jar.

Friday, May 27, 2011

amelie's pinafore pattern

Let the record show that there is no way on God's green Earth that I wasn't going to have a daughter in this life.  And this is why.

Girl stuff. Clothing. Jewelry. Pedicures. Lip Gloss.

Let the record also show that this project is one of the easiest sewing projects you will ever do. The button holes are hardest part. I kid you not.

For this pinafore I used some butter yellow European linen and repurposed shower curtain fabric that I scored a little while back. I am madly in love with linen. It's luscious. Watch this. You might love it too.

You can whip up this pinafore in twenty minutes flat if you skip the embroidery.  Embroidery takes a little time. But it also makes it extra special.

I plan on making The Bird a slew of these babies. The next one will have rick rack around the edge. I'm planning tuxedo ruffles down the front for another one.  If you keep it simple, you can easily make it reversible by adding two flat buttons on each side of the fabric.

You can also sew the buttons on the front panel so the flaps are on top. That looks equally as nice. The pattern fits Amelie at two years as a tunic with room to grow.  I'm thinking it will fit for another year or so.

The possibilities are limitless with this pattern.  The only thing it can't do is your laundry. Sorry.

For free. Cuz that's how I roll. (Mostly)

The file includes my hand drawn embroidery designs that I used. You can also find tons of free and very cute embroidery patterns online.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've always had this deep seated need to do different. Not to be different.  No, no. I don't want people staring at me or making comments. Not that I don't like different. I love different people. I seek them out as friends. I get happy and bubbly when I see someone who's down with their "differentness".  

And I wonder why. Why am I so afraid of people staring?  So what? Who cares?

I do.

Then again, I can't think in what way I would choose to be different.  I don't want a full body tattoo. As a general rule I don't like couture clothing.  I feel ridiculous in loud colors. I like to bathe everyday and do my average head of hair and put on muted colors of make-up and modest clothing.  In Lady Ga Ga's words, "I was born that way baby."

Now doing is another story.  I never want to be doing what everyone else is doing.  I won't read a book if everybody is reading it. Or watch a popular television program. I don't like super trendy clothing or jewelry.  I can't stand most pop culture.  

I am continually stretching my mind to come up with something new. Different. 

Something to call my own.

I marvel at people that can build their own new style through their art.  I've been hacking away at it for some time now.  And so far I've only created a few things that I think are genuine April.  

I guess if art were easy, everyone would be doing it. 

And then I wouldn't want to do it anymore.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I love color. To be more specific, I love color combinations. I love how they can affect emotion and inspire creativity.  I have been "pinning" different color combos on my Pintrest board and I thought I would come up with a few combos of my own.  The first three photos are ones I had saved on my computer. I don't know where I got them. If you do, please leave a comment.  The last three photos are my own.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Sometimes I feel like I don't get anything done, ever.  I've become a professional baby fight referee.  That's all I do. Pull screaming babies away from each other.  And change diapers and pick up toys.  Slobbery ones.

Sometimes I feel like I will never be a civil, respected adult, ever again.

Last night I felt out of sorts and overwhelmed by all that needed to be done. I took stock of just what I had accomplished in the last few days.

A friend of mine recently gave me a really good idea.  She said instead of writing out a to do list, I should write out a done list.  I should list everything I accomplished that day however small.  Empty dishwasher- check. Got mail- check. Showered- check, check.

I just love to write check marks next to things don't you? It so very satisfying.

For one thing, I finally made the succulent wreath that I've wanted for years. Check!

I also finished three necklaces and a bracelet for the Fall collection. Check.

I worked quite a bit on Spark. I made a bunch of calls and sent emails. I also created a graphic for our blogging panel we are going to have this year.  Super excited about it. Check!

I changed approximately 6-8 diapers a day, made meals, bathed babies, folded laundry, picked up twenty thousand toys, got the car washed, shopped for Summer clothes for the kids, went to the park, hosted a sleep over, kissed hurts, helped with homework, had a picnic and refereed a lot of fights.  Cheeeck.

See? Dosen't that seem like a lot of stuff?

Considering the fact that my great grandmother Mabel Campbell called it a productive day if she was able to get her trash out and have a regular bowel movement, I think I'm doing pretty good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

the importance of dancing in the kitchen

We like to dance in our family.  None of us are any good. Not a single one.  

But dancing isn't about being smooth. Not to us anyway.  It's about an outward expression of emotion.  It's how we say, I love you, you make me happy, without words.

When I was a little girl I'd watch my parents dance or kiss and I remember feeling extremely embarrassed and thrilled at the same time.  Children love to know that their parents love each other. I still like it when my parents are affectionate. I guess it's something you never outgrow.

So my kids will see me dance with my husband. And they will sit back and belly laugh at their dad's silly moves. And I will scoop them up and dance with them, with my cheek next to theirs, twirling. Telling them without words, I love you, I love you, I love you.

Dance a little this weekend. You'll see.

Here's a little dance mix to jump start you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

she's two

Two years ago today I stood next to Amelie's birthmother as she labored to bring her into the world.

I was emotionally raw. But when you are raw like that you are also open. And the spirit of God was able to seep into every fiber of my being.

Each of my children's births are special in some way. But this event was something else. It was transcendent.

And now she is two.

And I haven't forgotten, not for one day, not for one minute, the incredible gift that she is to us.

I love you baby. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

the sweet life no. 2

The Spring issue of Simply the Sweet Life is out! This issue includes my Bradley necklace project.  April Atwater always does an amazing job with this magazine.  You can view it here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

greeting cards and bare arses

It's hard to know how brilliant, or not brilliant at all, your children really are.  I mean, once they are in school you can compare them to other children their same age, but even then you don't know.  Some geniuses flunked out of school.  A lot of geniuses actually.

And I never was one to put much stock into having a "gifted" child. When I hear "gifted child" I think trouble.  I want average kids.  B students.  I want them well rounded and hard working.

But this girl I have, I think might be, maybe, oh boy do I actually say it out loud? Really smart.

She will be two on Wednesday.  And let me tell you something. Smart is a hard thing to deal with in a two-year-old.

Case in point:

The Bird has figured out the iPhone. Totally. She can cruise around, find the games she likes, make calls, take photos and generally really screw up your settings given a very small amount of time.

On Saturday morning while I was in the shower she nabbed my phone.  The Sugar Daddy had just gotten out of the shower and he isn't as vigilant with the phones and the babies as I am.  He could hear her snapping photos.  The Bird's photos are generally of the carpet or Frankie's blurry eyeball.  He paid little attention.

Skip to Sunday afternoon when I awoke from my nap to find a couple of texts asking me about my Instagram profile picture.

Profile picture indeed.

Evidently. Ahem. Evidently the The Bird has taken a photo of Ben's bare arse the day before and decided it should be my profile picture.

Now at first neither of us could quite believe that she did it.  We accused each other until finally we came to the conclusion that I would never want a bare arse as my profile. How rude. And that he, would never want his bare arse on the internet.

That left us with one, rotten, albeit very cute, culprit.  And how do you even punish something like that? Well you don't.  You just live and learn.

And hope that if she really is this smart she uses it in more socially acceptable ways.

Oh yes, and about the greeting cards. I just wanted to say that I will be selling some of my art as greeting cards and prints at Spark, so if you are coming, please buy some.

There will be no nudity on anything. Promise.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

trivial civilities

I'd really love to know who the joker was that started the whole, "Hi, how are you?" greeting.

Is this just an American thing?  I think it must be.

Why can't we just bow like Japanese people?  I'm even up to the Frenchy three kisses on the cheek action.

Because here's the thing.  I don't really want to know how you are. And you don't really want to know how I am.  Let's just be honest.

We both just want the "I'm fine and you?" response.  We want to get on with our day.  Admit it.

If you ran into me in Trader Joe's and we were both sweaty and ugly in our gym clothes and you ever so politely and cheerfully greeted me with "Hi, how are you?" and I responded by telling you that I'm hanging on by a very thin thread, you would be uncomfortable. You would feel obligated to take one hand off your shopping cart and stand to face me. And you would be thinking, Oh no. How long is this going to take? I need to get home and change the wash and get the meat in the crockpot.

You don't really want to know that earlier that day I put both babies in their cribs and crawled into the back of my closet and cried until my tears ran dry.  That I feel fat and bloated and particularly unattractive lately.  That I second guess every business decision I make and obsess over losing blog readers.  That I have a blister on my foot that has been bothering me all day.

You don't really want to know. And you aren't alone. Nobody wants to know these things about most of the people we ask.  The checker in the grocery store. The teller at the bank. Meh. Unless they look outwardly ill, I don't really want to know.

So I've decided to change. I'm not going to ask how you are if I don't really want to know.  I am hoping this makes me a more sincere person.  I will smile and say hi.  And then I will bite my cheeks through the awkward silence.

If I really do want to know, and there are some people that I do really want to know how they are, I will look you in the eye and ask. I might put my hand on your shoulder.  I hope this will garner the truth and not a pert "fine", strained "ha ha" and side step away.  

And if I slip up and forget this new resolution, please tell me the truth anyway. Give me the long version. It will help me remember the next time. 

enjoy the process

Sometimes I make something or draw something and I stand back and think- that looks like complete amateur crap.  

Now that I think about it, I do this quite often.

But every now and again, I stand back and think- damn you're good.

I used to get bogged down by all the ugliness I produced. Depressed really. And frustrated.

But I had a life changing moment some years ago.

I took a weekend art course from Anahata Katkin.  When the class ended we were just hanging out and I was basking in her glow.  She's so radiant, I swear the girl actually glows.  Anyway, we were just shooting the bull and she was talking about how she paints all the time. And I asked her what she did with all her paintings and she said that most of them where just in stacks in her studio.  I just couldn't believe this because surely she could sell them no problem. Why let them just sit there?

And then she told me something I'll never forget.  She said that for her, painting is like taking photographs.  You don't show up at a shoot expecting to take just one photo.  You take a whole bunch and pick the best one.  She said she paints a whole bunch of pictures she doesn't like until she paints one she does.

This was big for me.  This made all my creative mistakes and bad decisions okay.  It made them part of the process.

My good friend Rhonna Farrer has made "Enjoy the Process" her personal mantra. Enjoy all the ugly messes I make?  Okay. I will give it a go.

I find that I am much more productive when I don't start each project as if it is my last.

I have found creative freedom in all my mess.

FYI- the photo at the top of the post was the best of ten.

Buying the vintage aqua squirrel vase was a decision I made right the first time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

peace out

I'm not one to spread my political agenda around like peanut butter.  I don't talk about politics in social settings and I don't like when other people do it.  

And I don't intend to ever use this blog or Facebook or Twitter as a platform.  I just don't roll like that.

Let's just say I try to inspect both sides of the proverbial coin. I think about it. 

Then I spend it on a gum ball. 

I've got enough turmoil here in casa de Meeker. Don't need more,  thankyouverymuch.

But I would like to say that I had a delightful time turning Schuyler Colfax into a butterfly bearded bohemian.  I think it suits him.

We all could use a little less stuffy and a lot more je ne sais quoi. No?

Monday, May 09, 2011

waltzing matilda

Here's a little hard core truth for you this Monday morning.

I used to eat bugs.

It's true.  

When I was little my family lived in Australia. Let me show you where exactly.

See where it says "NOTHING"? Right there. That's where we lived. In the middle of the outback.

This is not my map. I don't think Australia is all that bad. I have rather fond memories of it. But I do think that the whole country looks upside down.  Is is just me? But then again, maybe they are upside down. Don't their toilets flush the opposite way? Maybe the equator is the only true right side up place to be. Wow. I'm confusing myself.

So yeah. We lived in Alice Springs.  And I was a scrappy little dirt monger.  Who ate bugs.  I think the aboriginal children taught me that.  I had lice and worms and the soles of my feet were like three inches thick with calluses because I never wore shoes. I was a virtual waltzing Matilda.

And I was happy.  I was a very very happy child.  My bum itched a little because of the worms, but other than that life was good.

And now I'm a mother. And although my first baby was kept hermetically sealed in a germ proof environment until the day I got a grip, I let my kids grub in the dirt on a regular basis.  Because I have this theory.

I think that maybe, just maybe, when a human being puts their hands in the soil of the Earth, it's transformative.  It's almost as if we soak up life the way plants do.  When a child is allowed to explore nature with all of their senses they are happier and more well rounded.  That's what I think anyway.

We don't live in an area where my children can roam free the way I used to.  This makes me a little sad. But we do have a big backyard and plenty of fun nature places to visit.  My kids are yet to have lice or worms but Frankie has been known to suck on a snail or two.  I think they are getting a fair dose of nature. And they seem like happy kids.

And I have another theory. I think it might have been the bugs that made me bionic. Yep, I definitely think it was the bugs.

Photo of me by Bubba-Loo

Friday, May 06, 2011

i hate mother's day

Thom came home from school yesterday in a foul mood.  He whined. He sassed. And when he slammed the refrigerator door I snapped.  I grabbed him by the shoulders and said, “You have been a beast since the minute you got in the car. What’s wrong with you?”

“I’ll tell you what!”, he said, because he talks just like me.  “I’ll tell you what’s the matter! I was playing soccer with Jake and Hayden and Jake kept making goals on me and Hayden was the coach and he kept saying good job to Jake and laughing at me and I felt really mad and then Hayden made a trophy for Jake out of an orange cone and he gave it to him. AndIfeltlikeIwasn’tnanybody.  And I wanted to cry and I almost did but then I soaked it up because I didn’t want to cry. Cuz’ that’s embarrassing. So I just soaked it up.”

People. I’m thirty-seven years old, but I can tell you right now that I wanted to go kick that little Hayden’s butt.  By the flag pole. Old school, play yard style.

This is motherhood.  It’s passionate love and excruciating vulnerability.  It’s letting another human being carry a piece of your heart around. Come what may.

Thom used to think he was the coolest thing happening.  He oozed self esteem.  These days he’s “soaking” up other people’s crap.  He’s swallowing what they tell him.

I want to shake it out of him. I want to scream “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!” But he’s a boy. And that’s soooo not cool. And moms don’t know.  They are just moms.

So yeah I kinda hate mother’s day.  I don’t need everyone to be nice to me for one day.  I don’t want pancakes in bed or fuzzy slippers.

Don’t buy me a corsage. Get me a sword and shield to fight a safe path to lead my kids through this life.

I told Thom I know how he feels. I told him sometimes people are mean and it’s important to remember what it feels like so you will never treat anyone unkind.

I did not tell him that “kind” never defines mother bears, and Hayden better watch out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

the bradley necklace project

Here's a quick and super fun craft for mother's day or any normal day when you feel like being extra cute.

I call it the "Bradley Necklace and Bracelet".  Here's what you will need:

* Brads- either already made or ones you can assemble yourself.
* Jump rings
* beads
* Jewelry chain
* Clasp
* Needle nose pilers
* Clippers

All supplies are available at the craft store in the jewelry making section and the brads are most often found in the scrapbooking section.

I wanted to use my own fabric to cover the brads so I bought a tool called an iTop from Imaginisce. It allows you to easily cover metal brads with paper or fabric.

Just follow the directions on the package. Or you can just buy the brads already covered or painted. Either way is super cute.  

Once you have all the brads selected that you want to use start making loops onto the back using your needle nose pilers to bend the prongs. 

Like so.

Snip off the ends of the prongs so that you have a complete loop on each side of the brad.  Use your jump rings to join the brads.  For the bracelet, I used painted brads in a strait row, but for the necklace I added a brad here and there to create a cluster.

Play around with it until you get the look you want.  On the necklace I added a few beads and used my fabric to cover some large oval rings.

This project is simple enough to do with children from about age 5 and up.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


When I was a wee lass I had hair down my back like a silky whip. It tickled my waist and covered my arms like a shawl.

I was fond of my hair because, well, all princesses have long hair. But the upkeep was torture.

"Grab the sink and bite on this comb." my mother would instruct me when it was time to brush through the snarls.

"You must suffer to be beautiful." She'd remind me as I groaned and winced.

What a wicked and cruel mother this princess had!

Yesterday I told The Boy to hold still while I brushed his hair.

"Quit moving around." I said. "Put your hands down. Grab the counter." I brushed. He winced.

And right there in the kitchen it came flying out of my mouth like a bat out of hell.

"You must suffer to be...cute."



While we are talking about brushes, I thought I'd let you know I have more digital brushes of my illustrations for sale.

Five bucks. What a bargain.

You can buy them on the digital brush page located under the header.