Friday, September 23, 2016

Teddy's Quilt, by Lexi, age 7

You guys!

I can hardly stand it!!

Lexi made this (16 x 20) quilt - almost entirely by herself!

She started it quite a while ago -
when her only option was hand sewing,
of which she is not nearly as big of a fan 
as her sister and I am.

It often took days for her to sew 2 squares together;
she'd tire of it after taking just a few stitches.

Then, once they could use the machine,
she plumb wore herself out making gifts 
so she didn't do much sewing for awhile.

After a sufficient break,
every once in awhile,
the girls would pull out the machine 
and she'd do a little sewing
and eventually, 
she had rows
instead of pieces.

The last time they had the machine out, 
she'd sewed the first two rows together.

she pulled the quilt out again,
and decided she wanted to finish it.

In no time at all, 
she had the other rows sewn together.
(I had already glue basted them and drawn stitching lines for her)

She pressed all seams to one side,
and noticed how much nicer things looked
when she pressed again from the front,
after pressing the back.

I trimmed the quilt
then we basted it together
with Warm and White
and the perfect backing fabric
 (that took 20 minutes to find. grr)

She was set on free motion quilting,
even after I told her straight line would be much easier
and reminded her that she was just 7 years old!

 we talked about drawing out your quilting first,
and she practiced on several sheets of paper,
then told me she was ready to quilt on her practice sandwich.

After a half hour or so,
she was giving her brother FMQing lessons.

She practiced as much as she could,
and then switched threads
and went at it again,
'til she was satisfied she was ready for the real thing.

Thursday morning,
she woke up asking if she could sew.

Her bobbin ran out shortly after she started
(oops - Momma forgot to remind her to make sure you have a full bobbin)
so she got out the bobbin winder,
made a new one,
inserted it by herself,
and got back to quilting.

After she finished the quilting,
we measured the quilt and choose binding.

She thought 2 1/2 inches would be better than 2 1/4,
to give her more room,
since it was her first time,
so that's what I cut.

I taught her how (and why) to make a miter join

then she trimmed her join,
pressed it,
then pressed the binding in half.

I showed her how we leave a little section unsewn,
then we glue basted the binding up to one corner
and she sewed that down

then I showed her how to miter the corner

and she glue basted, then sewed
the next side.

And y'all, here is where she really blew me away;
She attached the rest of the binding by her self.

Mitering the corners and everything!!

Her corners are indistinguishable from mine!

Then she pressed the binding away from the front,
and I helped her press and glue baste it to the back.

I did one side and the first corner,
showing her.
We worked together on the second two,
me folding, her pressing 
then glueing and pressing again,

and then she did the last side and corner
without a lick of help.

I told her she could use a zig zag stitch,
and it would be more likely to catch all of the binding
or she could 
very slowly,
do a straight stitch right next to the binding.

She thought a straight stitch would look nicer 
(that's my girl)
so she proceeded to sew on the binding
by machine
with a straight stitch

Something her Momma has only done a couple of times
in 7 years of quilting!

She missed a few spots,
of course,
and I pinned them so she could re-stitch where necessary.
There was one spot that was only about 3/8 of an inch,
and I told her that it was probably okay to leave it,
but no,
she wanted to fix that too.

And just like that - her quilt was finished.

Needless to say, she is quite pleased with herself
and plans on keeping Teddy's quilt forever.

I am so, so proud of my diligent learner!

linking up with Amanda Jean,
and entering this quilt in the mini quilt category

(Lexi said that when she grows up,
she wants to be a sew-er

I told her she needed to find her own passions,
but that she could share mine
until hers are revealed :-)

Lex' ~ Momma loves you so much!
And I love your heart.
I am so proud of you 
and admire your dedication to excellence
(where it relates to sewing ;-) 
Now, if we could work on the picking up...)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday miscellanies

We went to the dairy today.
And of course stopped at the park,
to play.

The two hour drive home is always 
so much longer than the two hour drive 
to Claremore.


I can't keep up.

Last Wednesday,
we had eight loads 
stacked in three piles in the living room.
(they'd been accumulating for  a few days,
a few being folded,
more being stacked...)

I finally said enough was enough.

By day's end, I'd folded ten loads.

And Friday,
when kids cleaned their rooms,
they had filled the laundry hampers past overflowing.

I might have had a little fit.


Friday night was Taco Night with some friends.

The noise level was considerably louder
without the use of any electronic devices.


I decided what I wanted to do,
and finished the machine quilting on my current project.

But I'm thinking maybe I'm not finished after all;
there is some pooffiness 
(not to be confused with puffiness...) 
that bothers me.


Sunday afternoons,
the kids (well, probably mostly - the girls)
leave their Bibles
and papers from Sunday school
 -and perhaps a sweater or shoes -
in the living room as they walk through.

More than once,
Momma has called out,
"I do not want to see
 any evidence that we've been to church 
in this house!"


Brandon got word this week
that he got another scholarship!
(we'd long ago given up hope for it)

we'd purchased all of his books using the credit card
(because there was no scholarship money to cover them;
so why would the school even let us charge them??)
so we lost the money for that this semester,
but next semester,
all tuition and books will be paid for.


We had a friend over Sunday afternoon.

Of course, 
her visit included a house tour.

She was excited for us,
and when I told her that sometimes, 
I am almost embarrassed by how big it's going to be,
she said, 
"Oh, I don't think it's too big at all!
I think it suits your family perfectly,
and fits the size of your hearts.

It blessed me so much.


Speaking of the house, 
we didn't accomplish everything we wanted to this weekend,
somewhere this week,
we need to get caught up.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

a revelation

Tyler has tried for years to help me understand this,
but I never really did,
until just now.


I had just the right color thread on hand,
but I only had 3 prewound bobbins of it.

I used  my little roller ruler thing 
and 'walked out' my quilting for a small section,
then multiplied
to end up with a guestimate of how much thread I'd use per row.

I added some yardage, 
and multiplied it by how many rows I had to quilt,
giving me
what I thought was
a pretty good approximation
of how much bobbin thread I would need.

By my calculations,
the 360 yards I had would be enough.

Except that,
it's not.

I sent my 2 local sewing friends an SOS,
but neither of them had any.

And we no longer have a Hancock....

And I'm on a deadline.
(Plus - I'm on a roll... ;-)

So I took another long shot,and texted Bill,
asking if, by chance, he had any time off today,
and he texted back "what do you need?"
and told me he was off until noon.

I called and asked if he would go to JoAnn's and buy thread,
and then mail it to me.

I just don't know that there are many step-dads
that you could ask to do that.

In just over a half hour,
he sent a text telling me not to open my package 
around the kids,
'cause he'd included a treat for me.

I told him he was my hero,
and he replied that his superpowers were recharged
by his love for family.

And I finally got it.
What Tyler has been trying to teach me.

People like to be the hero.
And it's good to give them the chance.

Thanks, Bill!! Thanks a heap!
I love you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

dinosaurs and a dinged up dreamy cabinet

We've finally found someone to do the siding.
It's going to cost $1200 more than it should,
but that's still several thousand less 
than the other bids we've received.

I guess we just have to find somewhere to save $1200.

It can happen.

We went to look at siding samples yesterday,
and since we were already halfway there,
and the boys had been reminiscing 
about the fun they had when Grandpa Bill 
took them on a treasure hunt there,
 we went to the dinosaur park in Mountainburg.

It's just a small park,
and I was afraid it might not live up to their memories of it,

but they all had a great time.

We passed a shop that had an awesome looking cabinet out front
so we stopped on our way home to get a closer look.

Turns out is was a letterpress cabinet
(though unlike any I've seen in photos...)

It was dreamy.

The girls and I were squealing with delight at all the compartments
and scheming about what we could put in them.

When I found out how much it cost
$500 (!) 
all scheming ended
and we had to be satisfied with a few pictures.

Monday, September 12, 2016

the back porch has a ceiling

GrouchButts Install the Back Porch Ceiling,
because that really would be more accurate.

Neither Tyler or I were feeling great,
and when we headed out to work Saturday morning,
things went from bad to worse.


This picture is a few months old - there is a door on the left where the tyvek is torn, and, of course, an actual porch.

We'd decided that our back porch
really needed a painted ceiling.
With the way it's sort of boxed in on the sides,
we thought a light-colored ceiling would reflect more light
and allow more natural light into the house.
(yada yada yada)
we were a little concerned 
that our living room
might be darker than we preferred
if we went with the cedar in its natural state,
and there was no way on earth 
we were going to go to all that work,
only to paint it.

the guy we're working with at Yeagers (lumber company / hardware store)
suggested car siding.
It's a tongue and grooved finished product made of pine
that has a V groove down the center of the board,
and two half Vs on the outside.
when the boards are installed,
they look kinda like beadboard, 
only more substantial.

We figured we'd like that look,
we decided to go with it.

It'd cost 25% more than what our front porch cost,
(and it's half the size)
but zero prep work was required,
and let's be honest,
that was appealing at this stage of the game.

The car siding (that was supposed to arrive Tuesday...)
got delivered just a few hours before dark
Friday night.

Neither Tyler or I went out to look at it.


We went out Saturday,
not feeling 100%,
but eager to get this job
marked off the list.

I took one look at that pile of boards,

There was not a pile of pristine boards on my back porch;
there was a pile of crap.

I was expecting a top grade 'finish' product.
What we got
was crooked and banged up,
had chunks missing,
cracks running through it,
and some were covered in mildew spots.

Brandon said, "Yeah.
Donnie (delivery guy) said we'd have to have Bobby replace some it."


I was really ticked.

For the most part, we've been really pleased with Yeagers
and Bobby.
I feel like they're taking pretty good care of us,
and they are as appreciative of our business
as we are of their discounts and deliveries.

And to be fair,
if I were feeling great,
I'd probably have been pretty irritated,
but not thoroughly pissed. off.
Sick or not, though,
I just don't understand sending out a product
that you know 
is not acceptable.

And here's the thing:
there was no time for replacing.
We really wanted to get the back porch ceiling done Saturday.
so it was either use the crap boards,
or don't do the porch.

We used the boards.
(obviously ;-)

We had kids scrub the mildew
and we cut creatively
where we could.
We'll fill the cracks and gouges with putty or some such product
and we'll prime the ceiling
and then we'll paint it,
and in the end,
it will be just fine.
Pretty, even.

But it was not a happy process.

from the living room

But - hey, look;
we have a back porch ceiling.

from the dining room doorway

Friday, September 9, 2016

soft and subtle, by hand

After the basting debacle,
the quilt had to sit in time out for a bit
while I cooled off.

(Literally! That was a hot mess.)

Still undecided as to what the machine quilting should be,
I got started on the hand quilting Friday,
when the guys ran to buy a belt sander.

Every chance I got for the past week,
or washing things,
or feeding people,
or schooling them
(though, sometimes even then...)
I hand quilted.

ordinarily, I'd prefer my hand stitching to holler 'helloooo' but this quilt asked for a more subtle approach.
I generally listen when my quilts talk, so quiet and subtle it was, with golden mustard Gitermann silk thread.

All those snippets here and there 
added up
to almost 20 hours
and just a few minutes ago,
I finished the hand-quilting :-)

The back is nice (said in a Jamaican accent ala Cool Runnings :-)

I *think* I've figured out my machine quilting,
though I need more practice.

And I still need to figure out the thread...

My deadline is rapidly approaching,
so I'm glad to have this portion crossed off the list.

Linking up with canoeing Amanda Jean