Wednesday, August 29, 2012

coming together

Plans are coming together nicely for the reception.
I've added a few little things I didn't know we wanted ;-)
and Tyler has taken my big idea
and improved it.
(which is what he does - he makes me and my stuff better!)

I'm a little stressed
that I'm not more stressed.
I'm worried that I'm not thinking of something...
I'll give it another week; I think I'll be properly stressed by then.

Monday, August 27, 2012

the shop

When we bought this place 7+ years ago,
the shop (which is probably in better shape than the house)
was chock FULL of crap.
Some of it got tossed, 
but for the most part, the shop continued to be a not-very-usable trash heap.
We've made little attempts at sorting through things and cleaning the place up,
but the task was always so overwhelming, we never got very far.
It didn't help that we added our own junk (and some of the big kids') over the years...

A few weeks ago, Brandon and Tyler took several loads of glass to the recycling place.
(Tyler bought fish with his earnings to go in his $5 yardsale tank set-up. 
Have I ever mentioned how not good with animals we are? Apparently, that goes for fish, too.)

They spent the majority of the weekend out there (Friday, too ~ he had a flex day :-)
moving, sorting, and trashing stuff.
And now - for the first time in who knows how long, it's clean(ish),
and almost spacious,
and usable.

Which is good, because they have a project to work on.....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

wedding party crafting

has commenced!

I have had the hardest time figuring out just what I wanted to do for the reception / party / celebration,
(are you coming? :-)
but at minus two weeks, it was high time to get started!

I think it's going to be a busy two weeks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

this one's for Nancy

Not really; tha's a joke, Son ;-)
Nancy wants a quilt with no pink and no sashing.
Since she has completely outgrown her last quilt (which barely even counts as a quilt)
Lily picked out fabric for a new quilt way back when we bought the swimsuit fabric.
We pulled out every single bolt and fat quarter she liked that was remotely pink,
then we sorted them by kinda like, really like, and love.
I kept my opinions to myself...
We put back all the 'kinda likes' and sorted through the really likes, putting back the ones she 'really liked' the least.
She had a few more fabric in her 'love' pile that I really wasn't crazy about - and didn't think went with everything else, 
but since she loved them, I bought 1/4 yard of each, along with the rest of 'em that made the cut.
(haha ~ made the cut - get it? ;-)
(I just couldn't bring myself to use them and told Lily we make something else with 'em when she asked where they were)

I figured it'll be getting cold before long, and Lil' would be needin' her quilt,
so last week, while my machine was still in the shop, I cut her fabrics into 4 1/2 inch strips x WoF (width of fabric) 
She wanted sashing, so I calculated how many I'd need and cut a bunch of 1 1/2 inch strips of the white.
Once I forked over $100 and got my machine back (Thursday, maybe?) I sewed a white strip to the top of each printed strip, 
then cut the newly sewn strips into 4 1/2 pieces - saved myself some cutting, there, yes I did.

Saturday afternoon found me with a fresh pile of quilt pieces and a blank canvas.

Lexi woke up from her nap to help me.
Turns out, she's actually quite good at laying out quilts, 
and could quickly spot if the same fabric was too close, necessitating a different fabric choice.

All that to say ~ I've got a finished quilt top (and the back!) all ready to be quilted :-)

I figure I've got about another 11 1/2 -12 hours and it'll be done.

On the reading front - I renewed the books, so I'm still working through the library basket,
although I admit I'd rather sew than read right now.

It may surprise you to know that
I'm joining Elizabeth's

needle and thREAD

but then again ~ maybe not ;-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

water bottles WfM

I bought the kids their own water bottles this summer
as a way for them to make sure they are drinking enough water.
Enough water - to me - means 50% of body weight in ounces.
A forty pound child needs 20 ounces of water.
They don't always drink all their water, but this at least gives us something to shoot for.
Lily, especially, tends to not drink much at all, without some form of reminding.
The water bottle made it so I didn't have to be the one to remind her;
one look at her bottle would tell her if she needed to drink-up.

The surprising bonus of the water bottle system
was that our dishwashing (well - glass washing, if you want to get technical) was reduced.
The kids are only dirtying 1 bottle a day, as opposed to say 4, 5 or 6.
per kid!
When you're hand-washing - and you have a passel of kids - that's a very noticeable difference.

Individual water bottles Work for Me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lexi sews

Several weeks ago, Lily taught Lexi how to sew.
she had Lexi watch her.
Then, she and Lexi did a few stitches together, her guiding Lexi's hand.
Next, she had Lexi take a few stitches on her own, while she offered correction.
And finally, Lexi sewed solo, while Lily cheered her on.
I was absolutely amazed that Lily naturally went through all the steps of good teaching.

Yesterday, they got into the fabric scraps again,
and Lexi cut out a (sorta) rectangle to make a make-up bag
and asked me for a threaded needle.
I admit that I often get a little miffed at this request.
It means that whatever hope I had of working on my project
is gone.
I sucked it up, threaded a needle for her with button thread, 
and taught her how to love her thread (skipping the mumbo jumbo)
then asked if she'd like me to even up her bag just a bit before she sewed it.
Thankfully, she did ;-)
As usual, I glue basted the seam allowance (love that stuff!!) and drew stitching lines for her.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Tyler was working on a project and got a little stressed because I hadn't taken over yet.
So I took over and did his work helped him out.
He proceeded to tell me that crafting wasn't his 'area'.

I typed up what needed printing, but since we can't print from a Word document,
I was going to put the document on a flash drive
so I could put it on Tony's computer, 
which he was kind enough to loan us for the occasion, but forgot to tell us the password.
We couldn't find the flash drive
so I put a disc in the computer.
While inserting the disk, I (sweetly) said,
"You know - putting things on DVD is not my area of expertise."

There was a moment of silence, before Brandon deadpanned,
"Which would explain why you called it a DVD"

I should've known

I bought the kids some of those gel beads that people are talking about.
Reviews are mixed,
but I knew our kids would get more than a few minutes of fun out of 'em.
What I didn't expect, silly me, was that we would have 
multiple containers of water marbles
in various stages of growth and combinations of water level / container size
all over the kitchen.

I should've known!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

you know that's right!

"Keeping this place picked up
 - and I'm not talking about clean, just picked up -
is a full-time job!"
said my brother, after staying at the house, with the kids, for the weekend.

I look around and agree; truer words have never been spoken.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

consider yourself invited

We're going for a sort of 'back-yard BBQ' feel -
think Mayberry Community Social (we've been watching Andy Griffith with lunch ;-)
Don't you think that'll be fun?

The budget is tiny
and the gym is huge.
Oh - and I haven't started working on anything yet.
I'm excited to see how we pull it off :-)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

more needle and thREADs

This might just be my favorite (sorta) Alabama Chanin yet.
Even though it's white. and floral.
go figure.

I cut it out while the kids ate snow cones Monday evening, when Tyler was at a meeting.
I quickly sewed up all the seams on my serger,
watching the thread cones closely, as I have two that are very close to empty.
Then I sat down at my sewing machine to add the neck and arm bindings,
tickled that I was going to have made this shirt in about an hour and a half,
start to finish.
I selected a programmed stitch, and slipped some fabric under the presser foot to test it.
It sewed for a second,
then there was a soft clunk
and it quit sewing.
I cleaned the bobbin case, since I hadn't done it after I finished my quilt,
and popped it, and the bobbin, back in.
I turned the wheel to bring the bobbin thread up, but it just sat there.
The needle went down, but no thread came up.
I re-threaded the machine.
Still couldn't bring up the bobbin thread.
My baby had to go to the shop :-(
so I sat down with a needle and thread.

I tried to figure out a different stretch stitch,
but I just can't do it from words and one picture.
I wish Natalie Chanin (or anybody, really) would post some videos of each stitch
for those of us who need a little more help.
Since I couldn't (quickly) figure out a new stitch I just went with the cretan.
While sewing on the first arm binding, I thought,
a few beads might be nice on the collar,
so when I went to town the next morning to take my machine in,
I ran in to Hobby Lobby to grab a tube of beads with a 40% off coupon.

I sewed a bit throughout the day
and in the evening while watching the Olympics
(I've discovered that all noise doesn't bother me nearly as much if I sew while I watch)
and finished it up yesterday afternoon when I needed to rest my feet.
I could have skipped the hemming, since this fabric didn't roll,
but since I'd serged it I didn't want to have problems with all those tails.
It did not occur to me until just this moment,
that I could have buried them in the seam.
oh well.
I did the cretan stitch again, but on the inside

which gave me a really nice stretchy mostly blind hem
on the outside.

Instead of overlapping the binding at the seams, I left a tail when I attached it 
so I could actually sew the ends together,
which I think looks much neater.

It is soo comfy ~ and as an unplanned bonus ~ I might just be able to wear it with my shoes :-)

As usual ~ I'm joining Elizabeth's 

needle and thREAD

oh. speaking of reading, I hit the jackpot at the library last week,
as well as a few other new books that looked good, but I'd never heard of,
So far, I've read Heaven is Here (not as good as I was expecting, actually)
and I'm about halfway through My life deleted, which is ok, but I'm kinda hoping it gets better...
Yes ~ my standards are just a wee bit high ;-)

and now, I'm off.....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

set up

I found myself sitting in an airport in the early afternoon,
people watching,
just a few hours before my baby shower
when I was pregnant with Tony in late summer of '92.

We were going to pick up a surprise that Tyler had been in cahoots with somebody on
  but it 'wasn't quite ready yet'.
He suggested we wait at the airport, since that was close to the place we needed to go
to pick up this surprise.
(I thought he'd had somebody build something for the baby;
Why I thought that, I'm not sure; he could have built whatever it was.
Surely he didn't outright lie to me, though...)
I am so laid back and trusting.
Without asking any questions, I went along with the plan
and sat there,
at the airport.
Waiting to go pick up a cradle or something.
A plane arrived and we watched people coming into the airport.
Casually, Tyler pointed and said, "Look at that lady with the little girl; 
don't you think she looks kinda like Jodi W?"

It was Jodi W!!
I was so totally set up!
My husband had me sitting in an airport to pick up a friend
and I didn't have a clue.


"I really need to go get my ring cleaned." I said this evening, looking at my left hand.
I'd been planning to do it ever since Tony bought Kacy's engagement ring
and Tyler (whom Tony had asked to go along) had gotten his ring cleaned.
It just seems like a woman ought to have her ring super clean
when she's celebrating her 25th anniversary.
"Let's go right now," he said, "We can tell them we want to look at anniversary rings.
And then they'll offer to clean yours...."

I brushed on another coat of mascara and changed into denim capris
and we hopped in the car.
I prefer to look a little nicer when I go to the mall, but I really wanted my ring cleaned
and we needed to hurry, 'cause the boys had to be picked up from TaeKwanDo soon.

We arrived breathless at the jewelry store
(not really - but it sounded good, eh?)
and Tyler said we wanted to look at anniversary rings.
I just got straight to the point and told her I really wanted my ring cleaned, 
but went over with Tyler to the rings anyways.
The sales girl put my ring in the cleaner and came back over.
"Which ones do you like?" she asked.
Which really was a clever way of asking, because if she'd just said, "See anything you like?"
I could have just said, "Nah." 
Because I wasn't really even looking.
But since she asked which ones, well, I had to pick a few.
I pointed out one and asked Tyler which ones he liked.
Since my ring was still in the cleaner I figured I may as well try one or two on.
His favorite was a thin white gold band with 6 sparkly diamonds.
"This one feels really good." I said when I slipped it on.
Tyler looked at me and grinned,
"I so set you up!"
And he bought me an anniversary ring!

14K White Gold Diamond Anniversary Band, 1/2 ctw.
because I know you'll want to know ~ it looks very much like this one, but with 6 diamonds,  instead of 7

Babe ~ you can set me up any time ;-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

another budding artist

that's me ~ if you couldn't tell :-)

And while we're on the subject of artists, here's Lily's latest picture,
which is quite representative of her drawings right now.
Only often, they are drawn on tiny bits of paper,
then wrapped up in another piece of paper, with lots of tape and stickers
and given as gifts. 

that's a lily about to open up, a bird, a bee, and 3 butterflies. And of course, Lily herself. and the sun....

Saturday, August 4, 2012

mission accomplished

Last Friday evening, around 8 o'clock
I decided I was going to make a quilt in a week.
Just to see if I could.
When Tyler headed out with the kids a few minutes later to buy fish for his $5 fish tank,
I sat down at my machine and randomly sewed 2 squares together.
And repeated 100+ times.

I had hoped that Tyler could arrange my blocks for me on Saturday since I struggle so much with that part,
but he went and took a 3+ hour nap and left me on my own.
(in his defense, I never asked him to do my work for me help)
You saw where I was at mid-afternoon last Saturday.
This is how I left things when I went to bed that night, midnightish

I think I had 3 rows sewn together.
I managed another row before church Sunday morning.
(that would be why my hair was only half fixed. I couldn't help it; I had a goal...)

Throughout the week, every time I could spare a minute, I sewed.
I had hoped to be done by Thursday, so I could join the needle and thREAD ladies,
but it just didn't happen.

I don't just love the quilting on the front, somehow it seems to me to draw the eye to 4 block sections.

Friday, I felt somewhat stressed most of the day
and realized that part of that was my own stupid self-imposed goal.
It had gotten to the point that I wasn't enjoying the process, I just wanted to be finished.
Which is just crazy, because I didn't have any real deadline
other than I wanted to see if I could make a quilt in a week, 
plus I was hand-sewing the binding ~ which I normally love to do!

I do, however, love the quilting on the back! I think this may be my favorite quilt back yet.

I ended up just setting it aside all day, until we watched the Olympics in the evening, 
and wouldn't you know it ~ I finished it up anyways.
I did it! I made a quilt in a week!

This super lightweight quilt measures 56x77 after washing and drying.
Fabric is Matsuri, a soft cotton lawn from Connecting Threads. 
I ordered charm packs, because they, surprisingly, weren't any more expensive than yardage.
Along with a bit of yardage of my favorite print from the line, I used a sheet I bought a few years ago from Ikea for the back.
It was unimpressive to work with (low thread count & kinda rough) but it softened up nicely in the wash.
Elizabeth Hartman's Orange Peel  quilting post was the inspiration for the quilting, but I did mine totally different than she did hers.
I used another Matsuri print for the binding. I just barely had enough; I have a 1 1/2" x3" scrap left. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


We have one child who is particularly lazy.
It isn't that he/she can't work ~ when motivated by reward, this child is amazing,
but when there is no reward, it is like p u l l i n g teeth.

I, personally, am not a big fan of reward based systems.
Plus, I don't want to have to keep up with one.
(perhaps I am lazy myself?)
I just think when you're supposed to work, you work.
I can't tell you how I had to force myself to work when I was sick.
I really had decided that I must be the laziest person on the planet,
until Dr Baker changed up my prescription for my hormone cream.
(which still isn't quite right - but I'm going back soon to remedy that)
I took the first dose on my new cream on my birthday last year
(that's how I remember the date - it was my birthday :-)
and for the first time in years 
I wanted to clean.
I wanted to clean ALL THE THINGS.
I wasn't lazy.
I was sick.

But we weren't talking about me,
we were talking about lazy children...
(In googling how to overcome laziness in children, 
I came across the following (stupid - and just plain wrong) quote. 
The foremost cause is that a child develops laziness through her/his parents by way of observing them in its childhood. 
Constantly viewing TV either by a child or an adult develops laziness in the concerned person. 
 'Cause ya'll know - we watch so much TV around here.
And why one child is afflicted, but not the others...)

In talking about this with Tyler the other day,
I was whining telling him that I didn't want to have to do a rewards system
(even though I've had the sneaking suspicion for awhile now that this child would respond well to it)
Because the real world doesn't work that way, I reasoned.
But then I realized,
actually, it does.
You are paid for work.
You get to keep your job and continue to be paid for work, if you do well.
You lose your job if you don't.
Darn it! The world is based on reward systems.

Now, what reward system to use?
Help a girl out? What do you suggest?
(Keep in mind that we have a tiny house, very little wall space, and lots of kids)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

well. that's a first.

Sitting on the picnic cloth, fixin' to eat lunch,
Lexi looked at me lovingly
and very calmly told me, 
"I wish you and Daddy were dead."
I asked her why she would want that
and she replied, "That way I could do whatever I want."

Now, I imagine a child or two has wished me dead
- when they were mad at me -
(and Lord knows, I've wished me dead)
but I have never before had a child (sweetly) tell me she wished me dead.

Silly Lex'.
(I wonder what it is she wants to do so badly?)