Friday, June 28, 2013

permit :-)

Congrats, Bud!!

(look at them guns ~ he still needs the permit for those ;-)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

snake in the coop

Thanks to Brandon and his mad machete skills,
the thieving varmint is now dead - his pieces thrown back in the coop, for the chickens to feast on.

Poetic justice, I think.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Oh my goodness!
I am such a dork!!

All the efficiency techniques in the world won't help me
if I screw up on the basic math.

I often over cut for a quilt,
especially a patchwork.
I like to have plenty of options....

This quilt, though
I have thoroughly planned out.
Well, sort of...
I mean, I figured out exactly what I need, piece wise, but not where they'll go or anything...

I even drew up a fabric cutting diagram,
you know,
for efficiency...

Here, let me show you it again, bigger:

So clever.
So efficient.
Only a teensy tiny smidge of waste.

But do you see what I did?!?

Quilting cotton is roughly 42 inches.
My diagram designates that I'll cut with my fabric folded in half,
giving me roughly 21 inches.
I have 28 inches of cuts.

I am such a dork

Every single fabric I cut,
I was several pieces short.
What's especially bad:
I didn't figure out my error until I started cutting the second half of my stack

I am such a dork.

If you'll excuse me, I need to come up with a new cutting diagram.

a new start

I finally finished my quilt repair,
now all I have to do is take a few pictures of it, then give it away.
I also cut out my shirt
so it was time.
Time to cut into my carefully curated new stack :-)

I'm only half finished.
It's a big stack ;-)

This time, to increase my efficiency further, 
I put my cutting table even closer to the ironing board (and wedged the trash can in between the two)
and marked the table where I'd need to make cuts, so I wouldn't have to think about it each time.
I'll just use alcohol to remove my marks when I'm done with 'em.

Often times, cutting is just a necessary means to an end,
but I've rather enjoyed it this time.
Of course, you can see that there are several Jenean Morrison pieces in those stacks,
so that may have something to do with it...
The only problem is, even with my efficiency measures in place,
 is it is taking so long.
The problem is my iron.
It's been a good iron. A great iron, really,
so long as I'm fine with slow methodical ironing and pressing.
But when I'm starching and ironing 40+ fabrics for cutting,
I'm not really into slow and methodical;
I want a beast of an iron that'll do the job in one quick pass.
Not fifty of 'em.
(any suggestions? besides this one, I mean...)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

(to see just how dumb I am ~ go here.  Sheesh!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



Isn't that crazy?!

The babies are 7 and 8 (ish) weeks old.
There for a few weeks, it seemed they were growing like crazy,
but now that they look like little chickens
instead of baby chicks,
their growth isn't as obvious on a daily basis.

We're down to only eleven, now :-(
One just plain died a few weeks ago,
and then a few days ago,
they started behaving in a very unlady-like and unfriendly fashion.
Now we are giving them extra love and space and sunshine
and we're reminding them, "Friends don't eat friends!"

We think we've remedied the situation, 
but just yesterday, one of the sweetest and smallest got pretty pecked at,
so I guess time will tell.

This farming is a tough business.

I put this little stool out there to encourage kids to come and sit.
The chicks seem to think it was for shade, and about 6 of them will squeeze under there at once.

pretty sure this one's a rooster....
see why I think this?


Sunday, June 23, 2013

purple posies

(or - the fastest quilt I expect I will ever make ;-)

For K, across the ocean.
with love.



For those who are wondering...
I had an MRI on my knee  on Thursday,
and the results weren't as cut and dry as I'd hoped.
My joints and ligaments are fine, which is good news,
'cause if this was arthritis, and I was in this much pain already? I was going to have to cut my leg off.

It looks like I may have a meniscus tear.
But there was no actual injury,
my pain is weird,
and my not-very-active lifestyle doesn't really support that.
So the Dr is still flummoxed.
He gave me a steroid shot in the knee as an experiment,
and we'll proceed depending on things go with that.
He said, "In the end, I think we'll find that it is a meniscus tear."
I, myself, am not so sure...

My pain has been pretty low - higher than I'd want to live forever with - but no where near excruciating.
But I also can't continue, long-term, the restful way I've been living the past few weeks,
although, I must say, having an excuse to avoid driving anywhere I don't have to go, has been kinda nice,
but I'm sure even that will get old before long ;-)
(I do have a trip to NWA next week, which I'm a tad nervous about
 as I haven't sat (much less been in the car, much less driving...)  for 1 1/2 hours straight since April.)

So. That's where we're at.
We really still don't know anything...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

not my medium!

Tyler asked me earlier what I was going to work on today.
I listed several mundane jobs and told him I also wanted to cut out my shirt today. 
(no. I'm not done fixing the quilt yet, but it is not fun, enjoyable, relaxing, pleasurable sewing.) 
And I missed my deadline (June 20th - because I stupidly made a label as part of the quilt that said it was made in Spring 2013)
so now I don't care when I finish it.
That's not really true, but I'm obviously not going to get my panties in a wad over it.
and I've been wanting to cut into my fabric since I got it...
He told me to go cut out my shirt.
But of course I didn't listen to him, because I had all the yuck work to do.

At 3:00 I finally laid my cutting mat on the table.
As soon as I did that, before I even got the fabric laid out, the kids got out the jewelry supplies...
And I didn't finish cutting out my shirt until a few minutes after 5.
It usually takes me a half hour.
I made a sway back adjustment, so admitedly, a little bit of that time was spent verifying how to make one,
and then making it.
But we're talking 15 - 20 minutes max.

this table was completely empty at 2:59...

I loathe making jewelry with the kids
(which it how it ends up - even when the think they are going to make it all by themselves...)
Jewelry making supplies are not my creative medium of choice,
and I am not one bit gifted in the area.
I can't even get a stupid jump ring to close all the way.
I'd like to be able to make jewelry. Just like I'd like to be able to knit...

7 years ago, I made one nice piece of jewelry.
It was a necklace made with swavorski crystals for Lana for her 18th birthday.
Each bead on it represented a special woman who had spoken into her life over the years,
with the center pendant, a heart, representing her momma who loved (loves!) her so very much.
I would have had my sister make it,
but since it was such meaningful piece, I really want to try to make it myself.
God had to be helping me out,
'cause it went together beautifully (without any stress that I recall now, anyways ;-)
and it held up nicely.
(I think it is actually still in one piece today :-)

The kids asked if Aunt Terri would be a good sewer.
I said probably.
But that she might not like it all that much...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I think I may have overestimated my sewing awesomeness.

I had done some applique on the back of my most recent quilt finish
and when I pulled my perfectly sewn quilt out of the dryer,
let's just say there was a lot of fraying of appliqued fabrics.
I had expected that  the edges would fray slightly, and I was fine with that.
What I hadn't anticipated 
was the appliqued bits fraying so much, that they would completely pull away from the quilt.

I've since learned of the importance of  permanent stabilization... sigh.

Rather than cutting out an Alabama Chanin shirt today,
I've been performing surgery,
and choosing to embrace the fray.

girl warrior

(love this girl so much)

(no worries ~ the lime green bag sticking out of the drawer has been tucked back in.) 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


(after 10 minutes of trying to come up with a title for this - I've got nothin' ~ so I went with it)

A few months ago,
when Alabama Chanin had a 20% off sale, 
I ordered a color card.
and I wanted to be ready the next time AC ran a sale.

Alabama Chanin's jersey is crazy expensive,
but I've also read that it's fabulous.

I recently made (most of) a shirt using my tried and true pattern
and some sage colored jersey that I purchased on clearance from either or Girl Charlee fabrics.
A hand-stitched shirt - lightly embellished with random ruffle ruffles, also handsewn, of course,
before garment construction even began.
I'd drafted a little cap sleeve to go on it, so after I sewed one sleeve in, I tried on the shirt, to check the sleeve.
The shirt was too tight! 
At first I thought, "Crap! I've gained weight!"
But then I remembered that I had worn one of my AC tops just a few days before and it fit just fine.
The problem clearly lied with my fabric.
I e-mailed my Alabama Chanin mentor, Anna, to get her thoughts on the matter.
She said she'd had the same trouble before,
and that differing jerseys have different fits,
but it didn't really seem to be an issue of stretch.
She didn't have any wisdom to share on how to know how it would fit before sewing it up.
But she'd never had any problems with Alabama's jersey.
I figured it might just be time to splurge.


Inspired by my recent quilt magnificence 
(Not only did I finish the one-hour-'til-done purple quilt on Sunday, 
just a few hours ago, I put the final stitches in the colorful chevron quilt!)
I decided to pull out my AC fabric that I'd ordered during their Memorial Day sale, and cut out a shirt.

And then I remembered that 
seeing as I hadn't even taken the fabric out of the box yet,
I hadn't pre-washed my fabric.
For a brief second, I considered breaking my 'always pre-wash fabrics for clothing' rule.
Then quickly told myself that $20 a yard fabric was not the fabric to go breaking my rule on.
So I turned the washer on and went to grab some more clothes to throw in with the fabric.

As I untied the bow, the card flipped over.

Happy Day!
(except  - now I've spent all of my cutting out time typing up this post...)

Monday, June 17, 2013


The fact that 3 days ago,
this mammoth 4 inch seedling was housed inside of a half inch pumpkin seed
is nothing short of amazing.

The fact
in 4 months,
this seedling will (could...) become multiple pumpkins, containing hundreds of seeds
is mindbogglingly miraculous.

Crazy, huh?!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

quilt makin' machine

am a quilt makin'
I tell ya.

Never mind the fact that I still haven't finished T's (April) birthday quilt.
(but he doesn't care if he gets it 'til it turns cool, so I'm ok)
(working on the binding, so it's almost finished)
Ignore also
that I haven't even cut into Tyler's stack of fabric.
(it is a gorgeous stack, if I do say so myself)
Nor have I started on the summer vintage sheets quilt I am making for our bed.
(It could happen...)
I up and decided on Tuesday that I was making a new quilt, and I was making it fast.
with Lily and Lexi's help, I proceeded to finish acquiring the fabrics for it that evening.
(I had started a stack quite some time ago, but it hadn't grown very tall yet)

At 3:00 on Thursday
I set up a little station in the kitchen with a 2x4 folding table set up about 1 1/2 - 2 ft away from the ironing board,
so I could starch and iron my fabric, then without going to the other room, as is my usual system,
or even taking a full step,
I could cut my fabric.
It worked amazingly well, and I think I will do this from now on.

After the fabric was cut, I walked around the house,
hoping to find a section of wall big enough to hang the batting.
Using the window in the LEM works ok, but the fabric is much less likely to fall off of my design wall
if the batting is actually against the wall.
Therefore, when I labeled pieces, a step which I hate dislike, but is quite necessary,
I would only need to label every other one, and not every single one.
At this point, I should mention that everyone was gone 
(Daddy took them camping ~ me and my bum knee stayed home with the critters. And the sewing machine ;-)
The only wall that would work was the one behind the couch,
so I pushed the chair over,
pulled the couch out a foot and a half
(very thankful that I had just cleaned out behind it)
took the picture off the wall, 
then ran a swiffer over the top 2 feet of wall that I neglected to clean when I did the great living room clean up a few weeks ago,
and proceeded to hang the batting I'd cut just a few minutes earlier.
It turns out (and I knew this, of course, being that I live here and every thing...)
that the wall is leaning,
so that when I hung the batting, it wasn't actually flush against the wall....
but it was better than being hung in a window, so I just used some masking tape and went with it.

Seeing that I didn't have my Lexi help,
laying out the pieces took quite some time,
plus I fixed dinner (Tyler bought me filet mignon to have for dinner every night while they were gone!)
and ate it,
and it was 10:47 when I finished, so I was going to head to bed.
Heading to bed, mind you, means actually going to bed, about an hour later...

Only I couldn't get to sleep, so somewhere around 1
I got up and labeled the blocks, then took them all down, 
preparing them to be sewn as I did.
Then I had a blank design wall again, so I set to work on the back.

When I cut the 6" squares, 
I also 'squared up' the leftover pieces, planning to use them for the back.
(I started out with anywhere from 1/6 of a yard to 1/2 yard fabric cuts and I cut  them out differently - meaning some I'd cut from a long skinny strip, and some I'd cut out using more width of the fabric. I wanted my leftover pieces to be all different sizes for a more attractive backing)
I had a couple of larger pieces that I had collected, but not used in the front, plus I had bought a half yard extra of one fabric, knowing it would be great on the back - so I stuck those on the wall first.
And, like a puzzle, I kept adding pieces in until I had the batting covered.
I actually enjoyed it very much.

Since sleep was still elusive, I took 2 pieces off,
sewed em together, pressed the seams, trimmed them up, and stuck 'em back on the wall.
(Figuring out which order to sew thing together in was a puzzle, too, and I had to do some partial seaming sometimes to make it work.)
I kept doing that 'til I had about a third of the back sewn
and thought maybe I could finally get to sleep.
It was 3:00.

I drug my butt out of bed at 8:00
and, missing Jeremiah, who usually does the task, 
schlepped blurry-eyed back to the coop, and let out and fed the chickens and cooed to the babies (who are barely babies anymore!)

It was almost 10 before I felt alive enough to get back to work.
What can I say? I am a slow waker-upper.
The back was completed in a few hours, and I was pretty tickled with it.

Time to sew the top.
(why is it a quilt top, and a quilt back?!)
To make it fun, I timed myself making rows.
I had the extension table on the machine. It's fabulous!
I usually only used it for quilting and sewing bindings on 
(which is why it was on in the first place - I'd sewn the binding on Penny's quilt before got I started on this one.)
After 6 rows (which was my knee's limit for sitting at the machine, even though I was 'driving' with my left foot)
I had averaged four minute rows.
I sewed 6 10 block rows (the 11 blocks became their own vertical row) in 24 minutes!
Impressed with my speediness, 
I carried a quilt and a pillow outside and laid in the sun for some vitamin D therapy.

I am quickly bored by laying out in the sun
(how did I do that as a teen?!)
so I cooled off in the pool
 then came back in the house to resume sewing.

Twenty four minutes continued to be my limit for sitting,
so I'd sew
then visit my chickens.
then press.
Sew then sunbathe.
(My plans for turning into a bronzed goddess while my family was away
were not as successful as my plan to become a quilt making machine.)
then check blogs.
then talk to my family on the phone
(which was really nice, 'cuz even though I was sewing, and I love sewing, I was lonely. 
And the house was too quite. But I was tired of listening to Pandora. Yes, kids, I can work the Pandora all by myself! :-)
then press...

And a little bit before the sun went down,
lo and behold, I had a lovely starched 60 x 77 inch purple quilt top.

This is getting ridiculously long.
I'll tell the rest in Reader's Digest version:
I basted it.
Love (LOVE) basting spray.
Took care of critters.
Fixed and ate dinner (more steak. with salad this time. Scrumptious.)
And started quilting it.
Talked to my biggest boy for awhile.
Quilted more.
Went to bed even later than I'd gone to bed Thursday night.

I quilted and took care of critters and finally washed all the dishes that had been in the sink (and accumulating) since Thursday and sunbathed and quilted, ate an avocado, and talked to my Marine for an hour. 
I finished quilting around 4.
Made the binding  (which I'd already cut when I cut the rest of the fabric)
sewed it on,
ate a peach,
and at 5:00, I settled into the chair in my room, more reclined than I'd prefer (for the sake of my knee)
put my legs up up the bed, flipped on my light, found a Netflix movie (Lincoln Lawyer ~ I liked it)
and started hand sewing the binding down.

Multiple critter care trips, a leisurely walk around the property looking at wildflowers, dinner,
cleanup of all my creative mess,
and 3 movies 
(Licoln Lawyer, plus 2 more)
and four some Oreos and a cup of milk later,
at 1:11 am, I went to bed with very sore hands and only an hour left on the binding until I have a completed quilt.

am a quilt making

Saturday, June 8, 2013

double donuts

The kids started asking a few months ago, "When's National Donut Day?"
About the fifth time somebody asked,
I pulled up the blog and searched for it.
Then I double checked the date of the post.
"June 1st," I told them.
Nobody needed to be told twice ~ they all had it down.
And after consulting a calendar, they were happy that June 1st was a Saturday,
'cause Daddy'd be able to celebrate with us.
I was happy, cause that meant I didn't have to drive.

It was wet last Saturday, so we wouldn't be able to re-create our first celebration.
The kids were okay with that,
because, really.
The picnic and park was fun and all,
but it was all about the donuts.

So Saturday,
Tyler and the kids ran errands, and brought home a dozen donuts.
And you know what?
That was good enough.
The kids all got 2 donuts each, and Tyler and I each got one.
Everyone was happy.
Happy National Donut Day.

But then 
one of my friends posted a picture of a donut on facebook.
And said it was National Donut Day.
And I was so confused!
National Donut Day was last week; we'd already celebrated it...
I'd checked my blog;
I knew that I'd posted that post on NDD!

It turns out, I should have googled it.
National Donut Day is not the 1st of June,
it's the 1st Friday in June.

So Tyler had to grab another dozen donuts.

The kids are hopeful I'll make the same mistake next year.

But with my brain, you just never know ;-)

Friday, June 7, 2013


I always assume that people know this,
but maybe they don't.
Blogs are just a snapshot. A close-up snapshot.
They aren't the whole picture.

Anyone who knows me in real life,
knows I am far (far!!) from perfect.
I assume that anyone reading here, who doesn't actually know me,  knows that as well,
simply because, they, also, aren't perfect.

I don't choose to share much of the ugly stuff here.
It's not because I want people to think I'm so great.
Trust me ~ I'm no one to envy!
It's because that's not the stuff I choose to focus on and remember;
it's not the stuff I want photos of, if you will.
The tagline, after all, is 'finding joy in the little things'....

I needed to remind myself of this.
Blogs are just snapshots.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

worse than a c-section

At first,
I thought I'd just indulged a little too much on Easter.
But when my knee was still hurting in mid April
and I hadn't had any wheat or sweets in several days
and my knee was still being a nuisance, 
I started thinking maybe it wasn't diet-related.

By the beginning of May, it was no longer a nuisance, it was downright painful,
and we decided on Thursday, that I probably needed to go to the doctor.
But Friday was Josiah's birthday, plus Tyler was gone (learning to dive...) so I didn't want to go then.
Saturday, we'd be celebrating birthdays, so couldn't go then either,
so we decided I'd go to the walk-in clinic on Sunday.

Dr Alexander was there, so I asked for him.
(he's the one who did some adjustments on my back when my SI joint was hurting so bad)
He found that my hips were out of alignment, but he couldn't see anything else wrong.
He put things back in place, wrote me a prescription for painkillers and muscle relaxers 
and suggested giving it a week or so to see if it got better. 

It was actually worse for the next few days, but then, with lots of rest
(I was dealing with another (non-physical) painful situation and spent a good bit of time in the hammock
and out with my chickens)
it started getting a little better.
Then Sunny died, and things got busy, and I could no longer afford the luxury of lying around a portion of the day.
I had calculated that Dr Alexander would be at the clinic (he works a week on, a week off...)
and decided I really should go back before we left for the funeral.
Sitting is way worse than standing or walking, so I anticipated all the car time increasing my pain and was hoping to preempt that.
But when I drove by after finishing errands on Friday, the parking lot was full,
and I'd already been gone 2 hours longer than I'd intended to be,
and didn't feel like I should be away from the kids much longer,
so I just went home.

After the funeral, life didn't slow down and I never managed to find time to rest in the hammock
and my knee just continued to be a bother.
And as time went on, it became a bigger and bigger bother until
last Thursday
when I was writhing in pain driving the boys to TKD.
I couldn't move my foot from gas to brake without using my hand to help lift my knee.
I sent Tyler a text that I was heading to Pro-Med.

But once again, he couldn't find anything wrong with the knee from his examination.
He said my hips were a tiny bit off, which was to be expected with all my knee-favoring, but that didn't seem to be the trouble.
He did a little adjustment and said they'd make an appointment with an orthopedic Dr and give me some more medication.
I told him I'd only taken the pain medicine a couple of nights when the pain was really bad, 
but it didn't really do much pain relieving.
(taking narcotics during the day is out of the question ~ I have to be able to tend to my family...)
He wrote me a prescription for more meds, stronger this time.

I'm still in tremendous pain for a good portion of the day,
although some days, I have little moments here and there (that I am immensely grateful for!) where it doesn't hurt much.
Annoyingly, even with the help of Dr Google, I haven't been able to self-diagnose.
My appointment with Dr Bolyard isn't until the 18th
(originally it was scheduled for the 20th, and Tyler called and asked if I could get in any sooner, or get on a list to be called if there's a cancellation)
I could possibly get in a little sooner if I went with a different doctor, but I don't want to, as I feel like perhaps Lexi's broken arm was to introduce me to this Christian doctor who likes to let the body do what God designed it to do with as little intervention as possible. (maybe?)

I try to take it easy,
don't sit for longer than 8-12 minutes (unless I'm driving, of course),
let out involuntary moans and groans and ARGHs,
and apply heat and castor oil often (supposed to be good for joints. I'm not really feelin' it, but it can't hurt anything...)
In order to sleep at night
(I still wake up with pain several times, though)
I take a muscle relaxer, a higher dose of hydrocodone
and a fuzzy navel.
Tyler bought a bottle of peach schnapps tonight and told the guy at the liquor store that meds alone weren't enough to help me sleep, and wine didn't really help, but fuzzy navels seem to...
The man looked at him and said, "I can't condone what you're doing, but I understand."
(He found it humorous that he was being chastised by this rough looking liquor store man 
for buying alcohol for his lush of a wife ;-)

To understand the level of pain I am experiencing (so you can feel properly sorry for me ;-)
you should know 
that I recover from C-sections with nothing more than ibuprofen.

This is way worse. It's like active labor pains
- in my knee -
since Easters.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

finding treasure

(as usual, you can click on any photo to see it larger)

I bought several field guides at the book sale, along with a few curriculum type books that we'll need,
and a handful of inexpensive books just for pleasure reading.

I was flipping through one of the wildflower books
and recognized a flower that Brandon had picked just two days earlier.
He was mowing the grass
and there were some flowers that had really long stems, about 3 ft or so, ferny leaves, and a few little heads of tiny white flowers.
He found them interesting, so he broke off a few flower heads,
continued mowing,
and brought the flowers in to me (very wilted) a few hours later.
We stuck 'em in some cold water and they perked right up.
As soon as I saw the picture in the book, 
I perked right up, too.
The flowers Brandon picked for me were yarrow.
Yarrow is one of the ingredients in my cold care!

I wondered if perhaps we had any more on our property, as Brandon had mowed down the ones in the shooting field.
Tyler was quick to assure me that we had some in other fields, too.

When he was mowing today,
(9+ acres takes a lot of time to mow, and except for the areas around the house,
most of the property hadn't been mowed yet all year)
he mowed around several patches of yarrow so we could harvest it.

We now have organic wild yarrow drying in the LEM.
This just tickles me to no end.

I'm excited to discover what other goodies we have growing here :-)

(if you have a favorite field guide type book - especially one for our region - care to divulge??)