Swellyroo on Etsy

Swellyroo is now available in limited quantities on Etsy! Know someone with an Etsy gift card this season? Direct them on over and help promote handmade creations!

Etsy

Swellyroo Clothing Goes Live

Finally after months and months of sewing, then taking and editing over a 1000 photos, and basically learning CSS to get online, Swellyroo Clothing finally went live August 25th, 2013.

Swellyroo.com Goes Live!

After moving to Texas last November 2012, The Texan and I decided that I would officially start to look for work right after the holidays. Since we were financially stable, we could afford this. Between getting all of my stuff here, unpacked, and getting emotionally settled in to a whole new life, looking for a new job was a little daunting. Okay, really though, looking for a new job is probably always daunting. For the next few months, I started sewing anytime I wasn’t applying for mental health jobs.

[I will discuss the state that Texas “mental health” is in at a later time…please view this video in the meantime that talks about how Texas is LAST in Mental Health Funding.]

To make a long story shorter, I received so much positive feedback about the items I had sewn for my niece Esmé, I decided that I would try my hand at sewing a line of creative and unique baby clothes. Designed to be colorful, unique, and different-than-what-comes-in-a-three-pack at the store, Swellyroo clothing provides the basics in a beautiful way. If all you pair the items with is a white tee, or some moccasins, your baby will still be fashion forward in a fun way.

Swellyroo Zebra Pinafore and matching Bloomer

Swellyroo Zebra Pinafore and matching Bloomer

Swellyroo Custom Clothing: Unique Baby Clothes

When learning that my brother and his wife would be welcoming a little “tidbit” into the world this April, I began to scour the stores for unique clothes for the baby girl. 408 “Princess” shirts later, I decided I was not going to find the types of clothing that I had in mind. So what does any resourceful artist do when we can’t find what we want? We make it of course!

Introducing SWELLYROO Custom Clothing!

Here are the first editions that were gifted to my niece Tidbit this past weekned at the shower in DC. A preview of my vision for Swellyroo clothing.

I have begun sewing the Swellyroo line already to include:

Diaper Covers, Bloomers, Pants, Dresses, Pinafores, Cardigans, Shirts, Headbands, & Shoes!

Check Back Soon for Updates!

Privilege Creek Ranch: A Southern Thanksgiving

Babette and I arrived in Austin just in the nick of time for Thanksgiving. During the last portion of our trip I continued to quote the great John Hughes film Plans, Trains, & Automobiles as it seemed fitting. We had been invited to spend Thanksgiving with my Texan and his family out on the family ranch near Bandera, Texas. Privilege Creek Ranch has been a beloved family destination for multiple generations. I had heard so many wonderful things about the ranch and its splendor.  The Texan told me stories about how he had spent summers out there with his granddad fishing on the lake and hunting on the acreage.  I had built up the ranch in my mind to be this absolutely astounding and beautiful piece of Texas land where the family would gather and share  many wonderful moments.

We made our way down the unpaved winding road, my Texan driving, Babette in the back, while I rode shotgun. I was still in awe that it was some 70 degrees on Thanksgiving. The sun was shining and we wound around until we arrived at the ranch gate. I was so excited! We continued on and finally arrived at the house. Such a warm and loving welcome. We were with our southern family at last.

Final preparations were made, and we gathered to give a prayer of thanks. All were in joyous spirits, and we laughed as each person squeezed around the large dinning room table that wasn’t quite large enough for elbow room. Everyone accepted this humorous eating challenge with excitement. It was a wonderful feast with plenty of left overs. After dinner, many retreated to watch football, some to walk the grounds, with others preparing for pie, coffee, and other goodies. This dessert portion of the afternoon was actually doubling as a wedding shower for a pair that had eloped within the previous month. Laughter and love filled the room as each person shared advice and warm words for the newlywed couple.

After copious amounts of cake, pie, and sweet treats were consumed, it would be assumed that all would return to football or a nearby couch. Not the case. This would be the first round of Thanksgiving hunting. Prior to my departure, my grandpa had gifted me his Winchester 30-30 from the 1920’s. The Texan rounded up the rest of the gear including shells, targets, ear plugs, a 10-20 rifle, and his 30-06. We took the ranch SUV out to the shooting range and set up. After a thorough course on gun safety and operations by my love, Babette and I were ready. AMAZING! What power!? Not too bad of a kick, and I at least hit the target (that was 100 yards away) at least once with the 30-30 and once with the 10-20. Loved it. Of course the Texan was an amazing shot, but he was very supportive of Babette and I spreading our gun wings…..

While we were on the shooting range, we could hear shots in the distance, which we assumed to be the rest of the family who had headed out to the dear blinds. We didn’t return to the house until dusk and when we did, we discovered that 15 year old Zachery had got a buck. While he and some of the other men were bringing it in, we had some bits of delicious leftovers, and plopped down to watch the Cowboys play the Redskins. Apparently, there was a secret cellar in the “Trophy Room” where we were lounging. The Texan took us down there and we discovered a treasure trove of collected items from the ranch including fossils, arrowheads, old bottles, horns, and other dusty items. After we emerged, the Texan disappeared. I didn’t find him until I ventured outside, where he and Zachery, along with two of the other cousins, were beginning to skin the deer. Oh Boy. This is not for the faint of heart. Nor are my photos (you have been warned). I watched (and documented) the entire process and can now say that I know what it sounds like when a severed deer hoof is thrown into a bloody bucket of its insides. Yep.

That night Babette, the Texan, and I stayed awake laughing until the wee hours of the morning. I’m not sure about what exactly, but I remember commenting on the dried deer blood on the Texan’s shirt as he went to hug me… I laughed and accepted my southern fate, and gave him a big hug right back, deer blood and all.

There had been discussion about getting up at 5:30am to go hunting during round 2–this time actually going out to a deer blind and not just the shooting range–however we were simply too tired when the alarm went off. Around 9am, I strolled out to the kitchen for a hot cup of coffee and yummy breakfast of bacon, eggs, and fresh fruit. The hunters returned around 9:45am with 3 more deer who had not been so fortunate. All of the deer made there way into the walk-in cooler, right in between the left over turkey and pies.

For our final ranch activity, the Texan took Babette and I, with several other family members, on a drive around the land. It was a beautiful, warm, and sunny day. It was a perfect way to end our first southern Thanksgiving at Privilege Creek Ranch.

The Eyes Of Texas Are Upon You

As the sun was beginning to set, we neared the border between New Mexico and Texas. Of course I had my heart set on a picture of the ‘Welcome to Texas’ sign that I assumed was going to be larger than life. Everything is bigger in Texas right?! Well apparently not if you cross over in Farwell, Texas on I-84.

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You can imagine my disappointment.

Just as I was about to have a major rant, Texas pulled through in all of its glory.

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Hallelujah!

4284061We had finally made it! Captain didn’t quite understand why I had woken him up for this photo op but he obliged. Holden just sat in the cat tent/cage meowing uncomfortably as he had done for the majority of the trip. A sense of great accomplishment came over Babette and I which solidified our plan to drive straight through to Austin without stopping in Lubbock. We had just about 8 hours of driving left. Babette was finishing one of her shifts, I would drive another three hours, and she would bring us into Austin.

I sent the Texan a screen shot of us, finally in the same state.  I was overjoyed to have made it to my new home state safely and with no major barriers.

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The west Texas sunset was gorgeous that night.

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Babette and I made it to my new Austin home at about 1:30am Wednesday (or very very late Tuesday night) just in time to prepare for Thanksgiving, Texas style! Our road trip was epic. There are so many details that I can’t possibly cover, as I still feel as though I’m recovering from this move half-way across the country. Suffice it to say, she and I are closer than ever and we have perfected the southern accent 😉

I am finally at home with my Texan.

Sigh.

The Hoover Dam and Albuquerque, New Mexico

After leaving Vegas, we made a quick stop at the Hoover Dam. Too bad this was when I was able to get the ‘Welcome to Nevada’ sign…

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

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Made our way through Arizona with a brief stop to visit some of Babette’s family, and finally made it to Albuquerque, New Mexico late that night.  It was so late and we were staaaarving. Rough because we had quite the hankering for this “New Mexican” food we kept reading about, but all of the restaurants were closed! We finally found Frontier Restaurant and had some enchiladas that were meh. By the time we made it to our lovely Econolodge in Old Town Albuquerque (total amount paid for hotel rooms during entire trip was $135) the town appeared deserted. I’m pretty sure it was only about midnight but there wasn’t a soul in sight. Very odd…of course I checked the Life360 when we arrived in our room and decided to turn off the “unsafe” alerts about chi-mos because it was just getting to me. At that point, I called the Texan to check in and wished we were there already. The next debate was whether we would wake up early and plow through the next 12.5 hours to Austin or if we would stop in Lubbock. I had previously checked the Life360 about Lubbock and it was no bueno. Babette and I compromised and decided that if we slept in until 9am, and were well rested, we could push through and get to Austin by midnight or 1am the next day.

The following morning Albuquerque was more alive and we walked around Old Town and looked at some turquoise, silver, and native art. Having a leisurely morning, we were prepared to make the final trek.

Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

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It was pretty funny because Babette and I finally set our pride aside on this last day and decided to drive in 3 hour shifts, trading even if we felt we were awake enough to continue. The previous days, either she or I would drive the 10 or so hours…no real reason other than stubbornness. We decided that if we had been rotating like this for the duration of the trip, we could have made it in one sitting…probably.

Now we just had to make it into Texas.

Las Vegas: Sin (Read Highly Debaucherous) City

We made it to Vegas around 7pm. The strip was glowing. We checked in to our very glamorous Motel 6 (which was pet friendly) and got dressed for the evenings festivities. Captain was a champ and Holden hid under the bed. We decided to head to Fremont St. since we were informed that this was where we would find “Old Vegas.” Upon our arrival, we walked into the light show that happens at the top of the hour. Everyone was standing around starring at the ceiling while smoking and drinking from those weird tubes that look like miniature water towers…liquor towers I suppose. Babette and I shuffled down a few yards to pop into the Starbucks which was more cost effective and more desirable than the liquor towers. While inside the Starbucks, which adjoined a casino–because everything adjoined a casino–I noted that there were people smoking inside. Also of note, there were lots of children running around. You know, small kids, like 5-8 years old. Babette and I continued to wander down the street, past the weird non-official performers, with no real desire to enter any of these “old casinos.” All of a sudden two adult men began assaulting one another. There was quite the crowd of on-lookers, but the men began to run and dash about while attempting to maul each other so I shuffled Babette away. It’s generally my concern in those situations that a firearm might present itself, which may lead to stray bullets. Needless to say, whether my fear is rational or not, there really isn’t any good reason to stand around watching drunk men assault each other. Did I mention there were small children around? So apparently a whole slew of parents were trying to decide between Disneyland and Vegas for their family trip and they went for Vegas. Like a lot. It was at this moment when I checked my Life360 app. My dad had requested that I use this app to be able to check in and track my trip and safety along the journey, but the app has several features that both should and shouldn’t be used. In the midst of this sinfully aggressive and child-filled street, I checked the app which showed the surrounding registered sex offenders, crime alerts, and fires in the area. Useful yes, but once you see how many registered sex offenders with FULL PROFILES AND PICTURES there are, you began to worry that everyone around you is a chi-mo. This isn’t even funny. It was really not funny because of all of the parents who decided to bring their young children to Vegas as a vacation, the parents who had liquor towers in one hand and a child in the other.  Sure, I may be a little conservative about this whole Vegas ordeal, but I’m okay with that. Perhaps I’m just past the point in my life where it seems appealing to spend $50 on a liquor tower, only to stumble around between the sex offenders and pre-traumatized children…but that’s just me.

So we cabbed our way to Caesar’s Palace for dinner, never to speak of Fremont St. again (not really). Dinner was fabulous. We made our way to the 1 cent slot machines and in total gambled $20. The earnings documented below were quickly lost. I figured that was a pretty good limit, and that allowed for enough time to have one complementary martini. We were high class slot jockeys. I couldn’t help but continue to quote one of the most notable Simpsons episodes ever, $pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling) from Season 5.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGc3ZEBmzEQ]

I’m glad that we went through Vegas. One of those things one does for the experience. I can say with confidence however, that it really is the most debaucherous city I’ve visited.

It is safe to assume I will plan for Disneyland when it comes time for family vacations.

Reno to Vegas

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It all fit?

It was sort of a challenge getting the remainder of my belongings into the car. A Scion XD isn’t that big. And when you put two cats in it, it gets even smaller.

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We were wheels up by 1pm. I drove and Babette was quite situated between all of the pillows, the ukulele, and the food. First stop was Reno. At one part of the journey we had some beautiful storm lighting.

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Hours passed. It was decided that instead of trying to “walk the cats” on their harnesses at some rest area, I would find a gas station that has one of those outdoor bathrooms around back. This way, I could bring in the cats, close the door, and have them use the makeshift litter box I prepared. Genius! Although Holden was not having it. Howling Holden was not in a good space. I’ll write more about that latter…
Well we braved some intense rain, a little snow, and finally pulled into our Hotel around 1am. Zzzzzz
Next stop: VEGAS

“Y’all can go to hell, I’m going to Texas!” -Davy Crockett

It begins.

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