Friday, December 30, 2016

a little rant, about a common misconception

I gotta get this one thing off my chest.

It is incorrect to assume
that because one is FAT,
they eat a lot.

We were at a dinner party a few weeks ago.
There were 4 women at my table;
2 thin, 1 average, and 1 fat.

There was all sorts of zombie apocalypse talk going on
(which I, of course didn't participate in,
as I am completely uneducated on the subject)
and one of the skinny ones,
who was sitting next to me - the fat girl,
says to the other skinny woman,
"You could be on my team,
because you wouldn't eat much."
I'm not easily offended.
And I wasn't offended,
but y'all it has bugged me.

There is a very good chance that I eat less 
than both of those skinny girls.
(and the average-sized one, too)
but because of my size,
the assumption persists
that I,
and other people who carry excess fat on their bodies,
eat a lot.

And that is simply
(maybe even, often)

Rant over.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

bring. it. on.

I just realized
that for the first time in years,
I am not dreading 
the changing of the calendar.

I don't really have time to dwell on why that might be,
I'll just be grateful for it,
and move on.

As we move forward though, 
I want to take one last stroll through 2016.

It was a pretty busy year,
and chock full of learning new things.

Lily still does a lot of hand sewing,
but I think Lex' will do whatever it takes
to not have to sew by hand again.

Brandon learned how to lay block for a foundation.

And how to build  stairs.

We learned how to make a gorgeous cedar ceiling.

And how to pour a concrete pad.

We learned all about plumbing.

And wiring.

Yes. I know. There is not actually any wiring in this picture.... ;-)
That is because there are a million steps to everything.

Brandon's 'official learning' culminated in his high school graduation.
(and y'all - he made straight A's his first semester of college!
Even in Calculus!!)

I learned how to do mock trapunto 

And how to take fabric that is totally not 'me'
(and oh - I learned how to quilt feathers, too)

Lexi learned how to make a whole quilt,
from start to finish.

(and Lex' and Jeremiah learned how to play the ukulele,
and Josiah is just now learning how to play some kind of drum.) 
And I learned that I still do not like to paper piece!

And how to install doors.

And I learned that I can make a quilt pretty darn fast

Although - there is always room for growth in that area.

Here's to growing and learning and loving
in 2017.

Monday, December 26, 2016

the party

I spent 2 hours late afternoon yesterday
sweeping sawdust and insulation debris
out in the house,
so dinner got started late, 
which meant we ate late,
and would have no need of birthday cake for dessert.

I didn't want to be rushed,
so we pushed our birthday celebration 
off 'til today.

After I made the cake
(low carb Italian cream cake)
(genius idea, if I do say so myself.
only took me, what? 4 5 years to figure out ;-)
and made 8 copies,
one for each person,
and one for the finder of the pickle
then cut the money apart,
and secured each person's 'cash' with a clip.
All money earned was paid in a single 'bill'
in the appropriate amount
(for example - Lexi got an $18 bill,
because she earned $10 wrapping presents
and $8 doing extra cleaning jobs)

We played a few games
(Farting Pig and Bananagrams)
then read from Matthew 25
and started shopping.

The kids had all earned extra giving money,
and some dipped into their savings.
I was kinda bummed 
that I didn't have anywhere to pull a few extra dollars from, though.

As usual, we went back and forth between catalogs
and hunted for the best price on the item we wanted to give.
This year there was some doubling of animal gifts
(thank-you special donors for Heifer!)
and some 'your dollar multiplies x times' 
through World Vision,
which this thrifty family especially likes.

All together,
we spent $511
and gave Jesus
$108 for books and school supplies
Honey bees for 4 families
Ten flocks of chickens
 (each flock is anywhere from 10-50 chickens,
depending on location)
Mosquito nets for an entire family
$150 for emergency food
$888 worth of warm clothing
Food for a refugee child for 1 week
2 flocks of ducks
1 Rabbit
(here's hoping some other family gave a rabbit too... ;-)
15 fruit trees
Seeds for a family
2 soccer balls
$50 cash to be used where it's most urgently needed.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!!
We love You.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Miscellany

I finished my final block for Jordan's quilt.

Well, sort of.
All of the stars, swoons, fireworks,etc are finished.
I still have to add fabric to all but the swoons
 to make complete blocks.
But phase 1 is finished,
and incurred no swearing, and no tears!
(thought there was a fair amount of seam ripping.
I've come to accept that that is just a part of sewing for me.)

It was silly of me to work on that last week,
when I had so many other (more urgent) things
I could should have been working on,
but I just felt so compelled to finish.
So I did.
It does feel good...

As soon as I finished,
I got to work making a double-ended pot holder for Jeannie.

Stupidly, the only picture I took before wrapping it
was one I snapped quickly to show a friend.

I added hand quilting on the mitt part,
which was probably silly
for a pot holder,
but I am not always sensible with my sewing.

Overly sensible with pretty much everything else, though....
So I guess I've achieved balance.

We had Christmas get-togethers
with my dad and most of my family on Saturday,
and my mom and even more family on Sunday.

I was sad that none of my big kids were there.

Life doesn't always turn out like we think it will...

At my dad's,
we always do a dirty Santa / white elephant exchange,
usually with a theme,
(and a low dollar amount)
and it's always a lot of fun.
I always remind the kids that it is a game,
and if you actually like what you end up with,
that's a bonus.

This year's theme was 'favorites'
so there wasn't quite as much opportunity for craziness
as say  - when we did 'bathroom',
but more people went home with something they'd actually use.


I never posted about Jack.

Jack bit the mail lady a few months back,
and had to go.

As much as I hated that stupid dog,
I cried an awful lot that week.
I sobbed so hard while I was driving him to the shelter
that I was afraid I might have a wreck.
And how dumb would that be?!

Jack was such a nuisome!
But we'd gotten a bark collar, 
and I really thought he was doing better.
So much so, that I'd told him a few times
he just *might* make it to the new house with us.

I hope that some time in the clink straightened him out,
and that he got a new home,
with an old lady
who likes being warned every time anyone
(or a leaf...)
is around,
and he can have a long happy life.

Bonus if the old lady likes to lay out in the sun,
because Jack liked that.
(so long as it wasn't too hot...)


Somebody tried Walmart's online ordering / grocery pick-up
using my code!
If that was you ~ thank-you!!
(they got $10 buck free, and so do I, now :-)


I'd love to sit in my toasty bedroom
with its south facing window
and read all day.
It's in the teens,
which means we'll be lucky
if we can get the rest of the house in the 60's.
But alas,
today needs to be a house cleaning day.
It's gotten totally out of hand.

Monday, December 12, 2016

one way to make a firework star block

There are only three of these (65 piece) 8 inch blocks
 in Jordan's quilt
and at 2 hours and 45 minutes each,
not counting fabric cutting,
I'm not terribly sorry
that there aren't more.
(though they are quite striking,
if I do say so myself )

This was one that I spent a good bit of time on -
figuring out fabric cuts,
and how it should go together.
(I found the block online,
looking for something similar to a swoon block,
and drew it up on graph paper,
then dissected it.)

Then I went and let almost 2 months go by
after making a block to test my maths,
before sewing another block,
so I had to re-figure 
a lot of what I'd already figured out.

I thought I'd write up a quick tute
(complete with awful photographs)
so I don't have to figure it up again.

As you can see in the above photo,
this block is made from an assortment of rectangles and squares,
and more rectangles and squares
sewn into flying geese, half square triangles, and square in a square units.
Since this tute is mostly for my benefit,
I haven't included specifics on making those units,
since I *think* I'll remember that part
and there are already (far better!) tutorials out there
should you need them.

I recommend
 using non directional, all over prints (or solids) for this block,
but if you disregard that recommendation,
(and I did, on my first one)
just know that you'll need to take that into account
when you cut your pieces,
when you sew them together.
(for example - when you sew the hst,
you sew 2 blocks on the diagonal / one way
and 2 blocks \ the opposite way)
And you will most likely end up with a headache.

Obviously, the center square is exempt from that recommendation 😉

Once all pieces are cut,
you'll want to,
using chain piecing,
pair up your 2" squares
and turn them into 8 half square triangles,
(press open)

turn your 1 7/8" squares + diagonally cut 2 1/4" squares
into 4 square in a square blocks
(press to the outsides)

and make 4 flying geese blocks
with your 1 3/4" x 2 3/4" rectangles and the 1 3/4" squares.
(press to outsides)

Trim all units
( FG - 1 1/2"  x  2 1/2", Sq in sq - 2 1/2",  HST - 1 1/2")

I've said it before; I'll say it again. Though ridiculously pricey, bloc loc rulers are the bomb!

then lay out the block

and begin piecing,
top to bottom,
left to right.
again, chain stitching - always chain stitching 😇

Press seams open if your stitching line crosses stitching on both sides,
and to the side (that doesn't have a seam)
when it doesn't.

Lay pieces out again,
and repeat,

and repeat again

A tiny iron is fabulous for this block.
And bonus ~ it doesn't turn itself off!!

and keep repeating,
matching seams where necessary

until all pieces are joined into complete rows.

Then join all rows,
and press all seams open
(I do this one row at a time)
until you have a complete block.
then flip it over,
and press the heck out of it again.

And you've got a gorgeous,
albeit time consuming,
firework star block.

Friday, December 9, 2016

five things on a Friday

Monday was our
Elders and wives appreciation dinner
Ugly Christmas Sweater party.

I didn't participate.

I mean,
I just don't get 
why one would want to purposefully look bad.

none of the ladies that had on Christmas sweaters
wore ugly ones,
so I'm not alone in my thinking,
I think)

did participate.

He used the same sweater he made last time,
and added lights and tinsel-y puff balls.

He said he was going to keep adding to it until he won.

I'm happy to announce he can retire the sweater.


The crud that he had 2 weeks ago,
He still has it.
And all of the kids have had to varying degrees,
though thankfully,
Brandon just today succumbed to it,
so he was able to get through his first semester of college 
without missing any 
due to illness.
I've had it for a week now,
and quite frankly - I'm done!


Speaking of Brandon,
and college,
I am so proud of that boy!
Regardless of his grades
(although it looks like he'll have either all A's,
or 1 B and the rest A's ~ so yay!!)
I'm proud of the way he has managed his time
and really just attacked every project and assignment.

College is a big change for most students,
but it's a huge change
for someone who has been schooled at home
his entire life,
and has been mostly self-taught for much of that time.
(My children are all so much smarter than I am.
I am more of a 'facilitator of learning'
than a 'teacher' when my kids get older)

When he left for his Calculus final today,
he said, "Not to brag,
but - it's really pretty amazing - all that I've accomplished!"

He's right!


Once again,
I haven't managed to get in any sewing this week.
The blocks that I have left in Jordan's quilt
are both complicated,
and I haven't felt well enough to tackle them.

I actually haven't even managed to get the fabric cut.
After spending about and hour and a half
over the course of 2 days
cutting 3 fabrics for 1 8inch block,
I decided I best just wait 'til I'm feeling better
and my brain's not so fuzzy.


I did however read a book
while I've been lazing about.

It's rather sad that I picked up three of the recent acquisitions
 I was keen to read,
and choose
based on largest font size.

The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
was a reasonably good read.
Not so good that I'd read it again,
but good enough that I checked to see if our library had the sequel.
(it doesn't.  pooh.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I've come a long way, Baby!

Brandon and I are pretty excited 
about making concrete counter-tops
for the island.

We've got Tyler on board, too
though he wants to get all fancy and order moldings and such.

We've decided to go with cast-in-place,
because I am scared of severed fingers 
when setting the top on the cabinets
if we make the mold kind,
even though I think those'd look a smidge nicer.

Since we needed to make a pad for the HVAC units,
we figured we'd get a little practice in.
(but yes - we know it's not exactly the same)

Brandon picked up 18 80#bags of concrete mix
which we thought was probably 6 too many,
but we didn't want to risk running out.

We ran out.

While Tyler ran to buy a few more bags,
Brandon and Lexi made a float tool,
becasue Lex' wanted to help too,
and I moved around the concrete on the pad
and tamped it some.

It's really quite cool.
You dump this thick rocky stuff in,
and sorta jiggle it a bit with a trowel or hoe,
and suddenly,
you have a smoothish milk-shakey surface.


When Tyler got back with the concrete,
Brandon was finishing up Lex's tool.
Tyler was feeling quite awful with upper respiratory crud,
and since the bags he'd bought were only 60#,
I figured I could just dump it in the mixer,
so he wouldn't have to.

60 pounds is no problem for me.

I forgot to account for the fact 
that my left elbow has been bugging me
and if I hold my arm out from my body,
I have zero strength.
Like - I can't even pick up my water glass.

So I was trying to pour a 60 # bag of concrete mix 
into the mouth of the mixer
which is mixing
and it wasn't coming out very fast
when the piercing pain shot through my elbow,
so I was left holding the bag one handed,
and I dropped it
- bag and all -
into the mixer!

Once upon a time,
that would have really set me off!
Instead I just laughed
and let the kids take pictures of their stupid mom.

The week before
our waitress was really not very good.

We had to ask for everything twice.

In my previous life,
I was a waitress,
and a darn good one,
so my standards are a wee bit high.

I've been known to get more than a little miffed
with bad service.

But I was patient with her,
and just reminded her (again)
with a smile
when we needed something.

About the 5th time
of asking for something
for the second time,
Tyler said,
"She's lucky you are so laid back."

And he was being serious!

That's probably not something
expected to say to me.

And I realized ~ I really have chilled out!!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

fancy faucets

The kitchen faucet has been spraying
- out of places other than the sprayer -
for quite some time.
It was a mild annoyance, but no biggie
(I mean - most things in this house are an annoyance...)
but Monday,
it was no longer spraying,
it was spewing.

Tyler and Brandon set out to fix it after dinner
and quickly determined that the only fix
was a new faucet.

I can assure you,
the last thing we want to do right now,
is spend another cent on anything in this house,
but there we were,
forced to do just that.

They ran to Home Depot
(we usually prefer Lowe's, but recently discovered that HD
has more faucet options, 
at better prices.)
and came home with the cheapest faucet 
(that also had a sprayer)
they could find.

All day Tuesday, 
the kids were talking about how beautiful the new faucet was
and how nice the water came out
and how great the sprayer was.

I'm actually kinda glad now
that the stupid faucet couldn't hang on a few more months;
the new faucet
helped me remember that I don't need a fancy faucet
for the new kitchen;
something simple will work just fine.
(but we'll probably spring for one that's a little nicer... ;-)

Friday, December 2, 2016

stars, sawtooth stars...

After two and a half weeks of no sewing,
I finally got to play with fabric this week,
and managed to make the rest of the 8 inch sawtooth stars 

Jordan prefers the light and deep version of color,
but isn't as big of a fan 
of the brights.
Which, of course,
is what my stash is primarily stocked with.

I only have a tiny bit of this California Dreamin' fabric left. But I had to include some Jenean Morrison 💗

So I had to do a good bit of shopping for this project.
Poor me.

I have mostly chosen fabrics based on their color,
(and the further I've gotten on this project,
the more I've looked for fabrics without a linear design,
because - goodness - those add to the challenge)
meaning, they must go with
(not to be confused with match)
my 'pull it together' fabric
but some have been chosen 
(and down-right hunted for)
with Jordan in mind.

Kitties!! Because Jordan loves animals, especially dogs and cats. Plus - they are so cute!
I think most quilts look best when there is a good mix of
light, dark, and medium,
so it was necessary to include lots medium fabrics
but I've been careful to have most of my 'mediums'
not be brights
(although a few brights have found their way in there, too)

tall buildings and crammed together houses, because Jordan likes 'cities', and her fiancee lives in Chicago
(where, incidentally, I am from. Well. Chicago Heights, that is)
(neither of these were my first choice to represent Chicago; that was one of my online fabric shopping fails...)

I've worked to keep a good balance,
while trying to be a bit heavy with light pinks
as that is Jordan's favorite color.
(although this particular group of blocks
is not at all heavy with pinks,
the quilt will be over all)

I've already used over 80 fabrics,
and have 14 more on the cutting mat
waiting to be turned into 2 more firework blocks,
and the 2 remaining swoon blocks.

Josh & Jordan, in the moonlight. Or - bunnies!
Who knows how many more will be added
for the other sections of the blocks....

Go team Use All the Fabrics 😁

Linking up with AmandaJean