Music To Do Laundry To: Shakey Graves

Most people hate doing laundry. It’s a chore that has four parts: washing, drying, folding, putting away. So it makes sense why people don’t want to do it. This being said, in the past few years I’ve kind of begun to appreciate folding laundry. Maybe it’s that I like organizing things into little piles and putting them away, but I think it’s mostly because it gives me time to just sit and listen to music while still being productive. Sometimes it’s the first time I discover an album, and sometimes I listen to something I love that I haven’t listened to for a while. I don’t remember exactly when I started to put some music on when I was folding the laundry, and I don’t do it all the time, but it’s become a fun little habit, and one that I thought I might share.

If you’re not the type of person to listen to music when you’re folding laundry, then the name “Music To Do Laundry To” might strike you as odd, but maybe it’ll give you a fresh perspective on a never-ending chore!

Recently I caught wind of the music of Shakey Graves, and I started to hear it more and more on the radio. One day not long ago he offered all his music as a pay-what-you-want download on bandcamp, so I got it all and decided to discover this guy and his music.

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Shakey Graves is the personality of Alejandro Rose-Garcia of Austin, TX, who apparently decided on the name after him and a group of friends gave each other native guide names around the campfire. His music sounds very Austin-y, and in a totally good way. It’s very organic, Americana blues-rock, and totally makes me think of summer nights in the wilderness around the campfire.

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You can listen and buy his music, including his newest album And the War Came, HERE.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of Music to do Laundry To! I’m sure there will be more posts about bands I love and are discovering because, as we all know, the laundry never ends!

Cheers,
Lauren.

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Colourful Cotton Dishcloths

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I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like January is already flying by! We head out on the Across the Rockies tour on Saturday, so the past few days have been a flurry of working, cleaning the van, and getting ready to go. I’ve also been finishing up some little nesting projects including making some simple knit dishcloths! Knitting has kind of been on the back burner for me, as I’ve been putting most of my focus on writing and demoing new songs, and launching our new Exclusive Content project, which has been a lot of fun! I still love knitting and crafting, but I’m really excited with some of the other, more musical, projects we’ve been working on, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in it even more.

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That being said, making these dishcloths was super fun to do, and I absolutely LOVE the pop of colour they add to our kitchen! I’ve had a variety of colours of cotton yarn kicking around from making friendship bracelets last summer, so I thought I’d use it up and make something for myself. Not only are these dishcloths great for wiping down the counters, but they make great potholders as well! We had our roommates’ band (The Sweets) over the other night for a potluck and hangout/band meeting, and these simple little dishcloths looked pretty cute on the table, if I do say so myself.

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The pattern was inspired by the Purl Bee’s Soft Cotton Knit Dishtowels. I used some of their design ideas, but changed it to make it smaller and used the colours I had on hand. I’ve written out the pattern below if you want to try and make these for yourself! It’s the perfect project for anyone learning to knit, and even if you’re experienced, it’s totally an instant-gratification project.

Materials:

Cotton yarn in various colours

US8 straight knitting needles

Tapestry needle

Size:

Approximately 8-inches x 8-inches

Pattern:

Cast on 36 stitches in colour A.

Knit two rows in garter stitch, break yarn.

With colour B, knit in garter stitch for about 7-inches, ending with a WS row, break yarn.

Pick up colour A, knit two rows.

Cast off, and weave in ends.

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And that’s all there is to it! Do any of you have knitting or crafting projects on the go right now? This winter weather is the perfect time to bust out the yarn and paints and whatever else!

Until next time,
Lauren.

As of Late: November Edition

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Hello lovelies!

Today I’m starting a monthly blog feature called “As of Late” to share the various things I’ve been up to lately. Partly as an attempt to blog more regularly, partly to document the little moments that I don’t want to forget, and partly to make sure I don’t neglect certain activities that keep my mind and body active. So without further adieu, here’s what I’ve been up to as of late.

Reading…

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The Gift of Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok, an amazing book about a Hasidic Jew whose career as a professional artist has created divisions between him and his family.

Listening to…

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Leelanau by Dana Falconberry, a beautiful album that is the soundtrack to my quiet moments and rainy days.

Knitting…

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Lots of bowties and random accessories to re-stock the suitcase for our upcoming tour. I also made my first mitten, and although it turned out a lot smaller than I expected, it’s super cute, and I can’t wait to make a pair that fit me!

Exploring…

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We got to spend a day off just outside of Dawson Creek, BC a few weeks ago, and our friend Randy took us quadding through his 300 acres of land. The weather was great and we had so much fun traversing through rivers, forests and up and down muddy hills.

Watching…

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Nashville, Season One, which Zoltan definitely makes fun of me for. In my defense, it’s an entertaining (although extremely dramatic) show to knit to.

I’d love to hear what’s keeping you lovely readers busy this fall. Any fun projects or hobbies on the go?

-Lauren.

Summer at the Cabin

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We just finished two weeks of time off, and now that I think about it, it really only felt like a few days. Zoltan and I got right down to business on some home projects that we’ve been wanting to do for a while to help make the cabin a lot more organized. It’s been a year since we moved into the cabin, and between moving last year, travelling lots, and having mice problems in the winter, it’s been in a constant state of flux and we haven’t been able to make use of the space the way we wanted to.

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First on the list was to build a bed; an idea that was inspired by our friends Kraig and Lauren in Seattle. We lifted the bed about four feet to give us some additional storage space and built a tall headboard that acts as a shelf, and a footboard that we put our TV, speakers and record player on. About halfway through the project we were really concerned that it was going to make the room feel tiny, but it did the opposite. It filled the space perfectly and makes the room feel so complete!

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We had also planned on organizing the shed at some point, but after building a bed I definitely didn’t anticipate making that happen on this short period of time off. But when my mother-in-law needed access to her camping gear which was at the back of our shed, everything came out, and the organizing began! I was able to empty about five rubber maids and four boxes of stuff and reorganize and declutter while Zoltan built three sets of shelves. The end result is a shed with more room, and easy access to everything.

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With both of these huge projects finished, and after a much deserved dinner out, we were able to enjoy our redesigned space for a little while before leaving again. And I must say, for the first time since we moved to Brooks I can sit in our home without a long list of projects running through my head. Not that I didn’t enjoy the space before, but it always felt a little bit makeshift and temporary.

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Since moving into a tiny space, I’ve been very inspired by how others use and live in tiny spaces. It’s amazing how much you can do with very little (a philosophy that can be applied to many areas of life). And since finishing these projects, I’m even more amazed at how a room can change with a few adaptations. If you’re discontented with the space you live in or work in, maybe there are some simple things you can do to make the space work for you.

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I hope this inspires you to work with what you have, and develop your space to suit your needs and reflect you and your lifestyle. And if anyone would like to see some more detailed photos of the process of building the bed, I can post them at a later date.

Cheers,

Lauren.

Dried Flower Wall

A week ago, our band found out that we won the 2014 CBC Searchlight contest! It was a two month long contest to find the best new emerging artist in Canada based on public voting, and, for the last two rounds, three celebrity judges. The prizes include $20,000 of gear from Yamaha, a spot at the CBC Music Fest in Vancouver next month, and a live video recording with CBC. It was a pretty momentous occasion for us, and so overwhelming to share the moment with all of our friends, family, and fans around the world. My parents decided to drive two hours from Calgary to Brooks to surprise us at our practice space with a giant congratulatory cake! They also brought me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, which is what I wanted to talk about today and show you the process behind a wall display I made with them.

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The bouquet was full of a variety of flowers of different colours. I didn’t want to just throw them out when they started to wilt, so I decided to dry them and make a display of them in the cabin while I was at it.

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I’ve done lots of decorating in the year we’ve been in the cabin (I’ll give you a little tour sometime) but one area I haven’t tackled is above the bed. I’ve had a few ideas of what I wanted to do, but nothing was really coming together and I didn’t want to rush it until I knew I’d be really happy with it. As soon as I decided to dry these flowers, I knew that this would be the start of the transformation.

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So I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into the process of what I did and how it turned out! The flowers are still drying, so hopefully they keep their colour and shape, but so far so good!

Materials:
Flowers, can be bought or clipped from your garden
Twine
Cotton string
Scissors
Measuring tape
Pencil
Pins (not pictured)

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Step 1:

Once you have your materials gathered, measure the space where you want to hang your flowers. Make a loop on one end of the twine and pin it to the wall, and do the same on the other side. Using the measuring tape and a pencil, mark where you want your flowers to go with even spacing between each one. For example, my space was 68″ wide, and I had nine flowers to hang, so I hung them just over 7″ apart.

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Step 2:

Cut all your flowers to the length you want them, and remove any excess leaves. Cut the cotton string into pieces about 6″ long for each flower. Tie the string around each flower, preferably under a nub so the string doesn’t slip off. Then tie the flowers to the twine and trim the excess string.

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And that’s pretty much all there is to it! I was so surprised how much this simple project added to the room. It’s a great start to a statement wall, but it works just as well on it’s own. If you have flowers or greenery left over, you can always add them to a vase for a table top decoration. I love having plants around the house, it adds such a lively element to a any space.

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I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial! If you are inspired to do something similar, let me know! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Cheers,
Lauren.

Meet Max

Most first blog posts are probably a nice introduction to what the blog is about, who the author is, all nice stuff like that. But I thought I’d switch things up and introduce you to my cat, Maxine (Max for short). She’ll be showing up in posts and photos, so you might as well get acquainted!

 

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We met Max on January 6, 2013. We were helping someone move into a trailer so Zoltan went the day before to shovel the snow at the new place. Max showed up early in the day, and it seemed like she was familiar with the place. Zoltan brought her inside, and we posted her photo online to see if anyone had lost her. No one wrote us back, so our only thought was that the people who moved out must have left her behind. We took her home, unsure of how long we’d keep her for, but we got very attached very quickly.

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We took her to the Brooks Animal Protection Society so she could get checked by the vet and so we could go through the official adoption process. We never planned on having a pet, especially since we travel so much, but she just showed up in our life, and it’s such a joy having her around!

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When we got her, we estimated that she was about a year old, so still quite young! She’s been growing so much and she has a very feisty personality. She’s loves string more than treats, and generally has a burst of energy around midnight where she’ll run around the cabin like a wildcat and pounce on our feet when we’re in bed.

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Since it’s started warming up, we’ve introduced her to the outside world, and we’ve learned that she is an adventurer at heart! She loves roaming the backyard, and has even ventured across the alley and  into the neighbours’ yards. When she’s really feeling the call of the wild (or if she’s being chased by another neighbourhood cat) she’ll run up trees, and she’s even climbed on the roof of the cabin a few times. Luckily, she’s pretty good at getting back down.

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We love our Max and we’re so thankful she’s in our lives!

I hope you enjoyed meeting our kitty friend! And thanks for stopping by the blog!

Cheers,
Lauren.